I finished HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD last week. I was super excited for another Harry Potter book–I’ve been a Potterhead since my teen years. A proud Ravenclaw, I wasn’t about to pass up the chance to read this book. (I hear that there will be two more to follow, of which I will also read.)
So, what did I think of it? Honestly, I liked it. I wasn’t overwhelmingly impressed with it, but I liked it. There has been a lot of talk going around the Potter community that it feels very fanfiction-y and I have to agree with that talk. However, that doesn’t make it inherently bad.I had issues with the story, but not because it felt like fan fiction. Overall, if you go in with the expectation of reading well done fanfiction you’re going to enjoy it. However…
The entire premise of the book is that Harry’s son, Albus, tries to go back in time to save “the spare” aka Cedric Diggory. But in all honesty, when reading the book, it never felt like something that character would actually do. I didn’t actually read Albus as desperately wanting to be some kind of hero. He read more like he was Harry Potter’s son and therefore never seen as Albus Severus Potter. He lived in his dad’s shadow and, more than anything, it seemed like he wanted to be seen as himself especially by his father. So for him to go and try to save Cedric–a boy he never met or had any kind of connection to–felt very out of character. It felt forced. Like they had to make him do this thing because if they didn’t there would be no book.
My second complaint with this book is characterization/growth. Scorpius’ character seemed to bounce around a lot. At times he was very shy and nervous, other times very confident and bold. At the beginning he was trying to talk Albus out of going back in time, but then he was the one advocating for going back a second time (after bad things happened). I also had issue with Ron’s character. He’s always been the bumbling, unsure part of the trio…but it seems like he should have moved a little beyond his “blockhead” mentality by this point. I mean, the book takes place 19 years later. He’s a father now. He shouldn’t be having any of this teenage unsurity that makes him second guess his actions.
The final complaint I have is that the dialogue was lacking. In reality, I think Rowling could have found a better screenwriter. Nothing against the guys who wrote this, mind you. I just think the dialogue could have been more on point, more “in character”. Because we know these characters so well already (well, at least the characters that were part of the original cast) I didn’t have TOO much of an issue with this. But I do wish it had been a bit better written, especially since screenwriters (or any writer really) should lean on people already knowing the character. That’s lazy writing. If someone were to use this book as their introduction to the Potter world they wouldn’t get a good feel for the characters or the world and therefore probably not want to read a whole lot more.
Overall, I think it’s a good read. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads, but I’d probably give it 4 as it’s actually a really entertaining story. It was fun seeing Harry Potter as a dad and how he might parent his kids. They took the angle of exploring father/son relationships, and what it might be like living in the shadow of the famous Harry Potter which I liked. Throughout the entire book, it kind of seemed like Scorpius and Albus were getting closer and closer, and it did kind of leave me wishing they had wound up together. (Who wouldn’t want to see two main characters, especially in such a prominent series, be gay? Hell, I was wishing through the entire Harry Potter series someone would be gay. Dumbledore being gay was awesome, but…I don’t know I wish he’d been more visible? That it had come up in the series? In the movies it’s never even mentioned.) So when Scorpius was all happy about having talked to a girl at the end of the book I was a little disappointed. Though that’s another blog post all together. 😛
In the end I say pick up the book and give it a read. It’s good for any Harry Potter fan, though definitely don’t give this to someone who knows nothing of the universe or to someone that you’re trying to induct into the fandom (and hasn’t read or seen any of the other books/movies). Give them a book in the middle of the series before you do that. They’d at least glean some information from Prisoner of Azkaban that would make them want to continue reading and give them a feel for the in world laws and norms.