on July 31st 2016
The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn't much easier now that he is 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 family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.--jacket flap
In honor of September the 1st, the day when Hogwarts students board the train to school, we are going to talk about HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD PARTS 1 & 2.
So let me begin with this: this post is part review, part discussion, and part rant. I have sat on these feelings, listening to podcasts and discussions about it since the book came out, and now I think I’ve finally got a handle on what I want to say.
So first, our ranting:
I’m a little wavery on this ranting, because it depends on how you consider it. As a piece of Harry Potter canon it’s a 2.5. Even though I personally don’t consider it official canon, JK Rowling has approved and confirmed it as such. In this case I will have to ignore dear Jo and pretend that it is not, for my own sanity. JKR herself did not write this book, rather approved the work of John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, and at that it is not even a book. It’s a play. Calling in “The 8th Harry Potter book” is ridiculous as:
a) It’s not a book, it’s a play.
2) It’s not Harry’s story, it’s his son Albus Severus’
c) It’s not written by Rowling herself.
Now, as a play itself and a piece of Harry Potter fan work I am willing to give it 3 nuts. I can be a little more forgiving if I consider it this way and so that is how I choose to. Now with that in mind let’s get into the bulk of my thoughts. Keep in mind as this is also a discussion THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
I love Scorpius Malfoy, in fact I think he’s probably my favorite character. He’s sweet and sensitive, especially for a Malfoy, and I’m so glad that this Draco clearly learned from his own father’s mistakes in raising him this way. He’s the biggest redeeming part of this story so I wanted to talk about him first so this entire post doesn’t come off as all negativity.
God these characters have really stupid-ass names. I’m sorry, Jo, but this fault lays with you. It’s the reason people hate the epilogue of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS and it’s incredibly distracting here.
Harry is SO out of character. I will allow that Harry did not have a very good male role model, or even a decent parental one, but there is no way a kid with that much love in his heart and sweetness in his soul turns into such a bitter, hateful adult. Book Harry would never talk to McGonagall like this, he would never do so little to take the stigma off Scorpius Malfoy, and he would never treat a Slytherin son the way he does here. It’s like all the lessons he learned as a person have left him and I can’t get over that. This is not Harry Potter.
Time turner fan fiction, wooo! lol. Seriously this plot is like some contrived fan fiction alt universe thing that I would have read as a teenager. And for that genre it is perfect. But that SOMEHOW one time turner survives and OH LOOK, Voldemort’s secret daughter. Yeah, fan fictiony. As a guilty pleasure I kind of love it but Potter canon level work, it is not.
SO. MUCH. FLIRTING. Hermione flirts with Snape (16 year old fan fiction writer me screams in delight), Harry and Draco have so much sexual tension (still screaming), and Albus and Scorpius are totally a couple I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU SAY!
That said I do think this was seriously a missed opportunity to have a Scorbus ship as “canon”. While part of me loves their relationship as just a friendship Harry Potter is a little lacking in on page LGBT rep and if JKR insists on calling this canon ( I still deny this) then I think right now would be a great opportunity to make some magic. As much as I love what she did with Dumbledore 1) his relationship was not a healthy nor a happy one and 2) very little clear rep happens in the actual story itself. His orientation was revealed at a reading and shocked a lot of readers who clearly did not see it.
Yay, more Snape! I’ve always been a girl who was fascinated my this character, his warring light and darkness more more interesting than Voldemort’s ultimate evil or Harry’s shining good. To see him again made me very happy.
There’s plenty more I could rant about but I think I’ll leave it here. As a Potter obsessed fangirl this was something I had to have and though I was extremely disappointed, it will remain a part of my collection. However, if you’re more of a casual Potterhead maybe this book isn’t for you and if you’re expecting THE 8TH HARRY POTTER BOOK then this book definitely isn’t. Consider it gratuitous fan fiction and be done with it. I’ve certainly read worse of that in my time.
What did you think of HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Share them in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,
-Long time Potterhead