Synopsis: It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he’s an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.
Dumbledore: Harry, there is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.
This quote doesn’t appear until three quarters of the way through the script, but for me it’s not only beautiful and true to life, it also, in a small way, pertains to this book, particularly the first two lines. Doubtless, you’ve seen a multitude of reviews of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child already. Because of the polarizing views, I thought I’d throw my own into the ring. As always, I’m going to endeavor to be as fair and honest as I can and also not include any spoilers. So here it goes. First of all, if you’re on the fence about reading this, a word of warning: this is not a novel like the original series. This is the script for the play which has opened in London’s West End to mainly rave reviews. IT IS NOT written by J.K. Rowling, although the story and characters originate with her. No, it’s written by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne who gamely try to capture that spark of magic that was always present in the original books, but in my estimation doesn’t quite hit the mark. Many reviewers have said this reads like badly written fan fiction, but I’m not sure I’d go that far. I just wasn’t swept up in the story like I always was with each Harry Potter book. I read this over the space of three days, which given that I’m a rabid fan (just in case you didn’t know!), who gobbled up every one of the originals within twenty-four hours of their release, this was not like me. It wasn’t that the plot moved too slowly, it actually moved along at a pretty brisk clip. It’s more like I struggled with many of the characters and had a difficult time becoming emotionally invested in them. At the heart of the story is Harry’s tumultuous relationship with his youngest son Albus. While Harry is now almost forty years old and has a wonderful family and successful career, all is not well. He still suffers from the trauma in his past and because of this, his fathering skills are not always up to par. He doesn’t underderstand Albus, and at times treats him pretty abysmally. That said, I could understand his frustration and anger even though I didn’t always agree with his actions. While I felt badly for Albus, and the responsibilities and expectations he was carrying on his young shoulders, I thought for the most part, he came across as whiny and bratty. Thankfully there’s Draco’s son Scorpius, who much to my surprise is sweet, funny, loyal, and courageous. Despite him trying to live with a certain horrible rumor swirling around him, he’s a wonderful friend to Albus, and he turned out to be my favorite character in the story. There are many familiar faces here and some come across better than others. I loved Ginny, Hermione, and Draco, but Ron comes across as kind of silly and ineffectual. There’s also the antagonist who never really lives up to their villainous parentage. The ending is a fitting conclusion which I think will satisfy most readers despite a couple of loose ends. I have a feeling this story is a lot more magical on the stage with the actors speaking their lines and the special effects. Despite its flaws though, I’m happy I read this. I was one of those readers that had some lingering questions after The Deathly Hallows and wondered if Harry and company truly lived happily every after. True to life, their adult lives are messy and complicated, but you know what? That’s perfectly alright. In the end what saves the day is love and friendship, and that’s what I’ve come to expect from a Harry Potter story. Rowling has said that this is the last we’ll be seeing of Harry and I think that’s fitting. To continue to go on would be a disservice not only to the incredible world she created, but also to her fans. I hope this review helps any of you who haven’t decided whether or not to read this. I’ve tried not to ramble, but I have to admit I found it difficult to review this without including spoilers. If you choose to take the plunge, just keep an open mind and remember this is a script that’s not written by Rowling. I think as long as you remember those two things you should have an enjoyable reading experience. I hope so anyway!