In all honesty, when I skimmed Harry Potter and the Cursed Child spoilers online, I thought J.K. Rowling had completely jumped the shark. What little I read of the story seemed like a cliché mess, crafted more out of greed than love. I’ve never been more happy to say I was wrong.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has its flaws, to be sure. It’s possible that some of the rules that govern magic in Rowling’s wizarding world have changed, although it isn’t difficult to find simple explanations for why that may not be the case. Despite being the rehearsal script for a four-act, two-night event, the 300-page story feels rushed.
Perhaps the most damning quality of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the ease with which the play gives up its primary antagonist. Each of the seven main installments followed Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they solved a mystery: what Fluffy was guarding, who the Heir of Slytherin was, how Harry’s name wound up in the Goblet of Fire — the list goes on.
In the Harry Potter play, however, the mystery comes second to the overall story. Once events begin to spiral out of control, readers — and viewers — are left on the edges of their seats in anticipation. As the situation grows more dire, it hardly feels that everyone will make it out alive: an affect the main Potter novels didn’t achieve until after Cedric Diggory’s death in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child really excels is in its characterization of the adults readers grew up with. Now pushing 40, the former Hogwarts students find themselves working at various levels in the Ministry of Magic, raising children who are completely like — or unlike — themselves. The legacies that followed Harry and Draco to Hogwarts have followed their sons, as well, and now the two fathers struggle to help their children navigate a world that they have — for the most part — managed to rise above.
In Albus Severus Potter, Scorpius Malfoy, and — the unfortunately rarely present — Rose Granger-Weasley, Rowling has given us a new set of heroes to cheer for and identify with. Even if she never revisits the wizarding world again, that’s enough. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a worthy addition to the Harry Potter canon. Don’t overlook it.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Image Credit: Karen Roe