Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

harry-potter-and-the-cursed-child


Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Series: Harry Potter, #8

Publisher: Little, Brown UK

Release Date: July 31st 2016

Rating:

Four Stars

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

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.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“When spares are spared, when time is turned, when unseen children murder their fathers: Then will the Dark Lord return.”

As soon as I heard there was going to be an eight Harry Potter story released as a play I knew I had to get tickets. I was in an online queue for three hours before I managed to get a ticket for a performance. It was definitely one of my highlights of the year. Then I heard the book was being released and of course I immediately went on to Amazon to pre-order it. I was quite lucky with the timing; the book was being released after I had a ticket to go and see the play.

I really did enjoy this book; it was wonderful going back to the world and seeing the characters who I loved so much when I read the first books as they were released. However, there was a lot in the play that I felt was missing in the book. You can read the stage directions but it’s a very different experience to see it performed on stage. I’m very aware that one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much was because I had seen the play first and was essentially reliving it in my mind as I read.

I would love to see this pay travel around the world, or for a movie to be made so people can have the same experience watching it for themselves as I did, even if they live on the other side of the world.

“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.”

Years after Voldemort’s defeat Harry and his family are safe and happy, and now it’s Albus’s turn to attend Hogwarts. Unlike his father though Albus’s experience is not a happy one. Immediately placed in Slytherin he starts withdrawing from everyone but his best friend Scorpius Malfoy, and as the years pass in the blink of an eye he seems to move further and further away from his father who still makes an effort to reach out to him.

When Harry retrieves a Time Turner in a raid he is aware of how dangerous it could be in the wrong hands, but Albus sees it as an opportunity. When Amos Diggory begs for the life of his son Albus decides to use the Time Turner to go back and save Cedric. With the help of Scorpius and Delphi Diggory Albus travels back, unaware of the disastrous affect they’re having on the time stream and their present day lives.

…The Characters

“Albus Severus, you were named after two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of Them was Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew.”

Albus suffers a lot under the weight of his father’s legacy. Whereas James, and eventually Lily, end up in Gryffindor Albus is the only Potter in Slytherin and that seems to have a profound effect on him. One of the reasons he wanted to save Cedric is because he identified with him. Cedric was the spare and that’s very much how Albus feels among his own family; the one who doesn’t belong. He becomes withdrawn from pretty much everyone but Scorpius, fighting back against the expectations that comes with the Potter family name in the only way he knows how.

“The world changes and we change with it. I am better off in this world. But the world is not better. And I don’t want that.”

Scorpius is definitely my favourite character in this book, and one of my favourite characters from the whole series. He seems to be the best parts of the original trio all in one character; he has Hermione’s intelligence and level-headedness, Ron’s lighter outlook on life and sense of humour, and Harry’s loyalty and dedication to the people he cares about. Like Albus Scorpius struggles under the weight of people’s expectations of him, but this time as Voldemort’s son, or so the rumours say. Still he doesn’t let it get him down because he has his best friend by his side.

The friendship between Albus and Scorpius was one of my favourite aspects of this book, and yes at times Albus could be a little self serving in his quest to right what he sees as his father’s wrong but you never doubt the strength of his feelings for Scorpius.

“Love blinds. We have both tried to give our sons, not what they needed, but what we needed. We’ve been so busy trying to rewrite our own pasts, we’ve blighted their present.”

There was a big emphasis in this book on the relationships between Harry and Albus, and Draco and Scorpius. What I really loved was the new depths we saw to Draco’s character and his actions back in the original series, even his dedication to his family and his son which I didn’t really see coming if I’m being honest. Harry’s relationship with Albus becomes so much more complication and some of the things he did and said in the book I really could not see the Harry I remember from the original series doing and saying.

I felt the story was very much all about the select few characters; Harry, Ginny, Albus, Scorpius, Malfoy and Hermione; everyone else seemed to be forgotten. I understand that there was a limited amount of time, especially in a play, to introduce everyone but there were so many of my favourite characters who were completely missing; Neville Longbottom, the rest of the Weasley family, even some of the next generation who I would have loved to discover more about; Albus’s brother and sister and his cousins.

…The Setting

“Hogwarts isn’t actually that pleasant a place when you don’t fit in.”

What I loved about the original series was seeing Hogwarts, the wonder and the magic, through Harry’s eyes; and one of the things I enjoyed about this book was seeing the same world but through the eyes of someone who doesn’t see that wonder and magic, someone who dreads going back every September. It almost makes it seem more real to be introduced to some of the downsides of Hogwarts and the prejudices against certain houses which, even years after Voldemort has been defeated, are still around. The original series plays a large role in this book, and it was great seeing how they linked the stories together using the Twiwizard tournament and all three of the challenges Harry and Cedric had to face all those years ago. I thought the repercussions Albus and Scorpius were faced with every time they meddled in the past, both the subtle and the not so subtle ones, were just brilliantly written.


This book has a lot of mixed reviews, and I think with something like this it’s easy to be disappointed if it’s not what you’re expecting. For me I loved going back to the world of Hogwarts, seeing it through different eyes and seeing the next generation starting their own adventures, albeit ones that do go horribly wrong.

What did you think of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

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48 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

  1. I loved Harry Potter and the cursed child, I never thought I would be able to read another Harry Potter book with fresh eyes once the original series finished. I enjoyed it very much however for me some of the storyline within the book felt rushed and some characters didn’t seem to be quite themselves – Ron Weasley.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it was still a good story, and honestly I’d never turn down a chance to go back to Harry Potter again be it with The Cursed Child or Fantastic Beasts.
      I think there were aspects of the play that were missing from the book so maybe that was why it felt a little rushed to you. I agree with you about the characters though, I didn’t notice it with Ron so much but I really did with Harry!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So did you see the play, too? Was it awesome?
    I saw this at my library the other day with the express checkouts. Since I didn’t have seven days free, I decided to wait. But I want to read it to see how it is for myself.
    Great review without spoilers! 🙌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, I was lucky enough to get tickets when they first came out (I was in the queue for about three hours though just to get on the ordering page). It was amazing, honestly there aren’t the words to properly describe it.
      It’s a good book overall as well, I think you’ll really enjoy it, especially if you enjoyed the original HP books as a child.
      Thanks so much, and yeah don’t worry I try and avoid spoilers in all my reviews! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I noticed and I love that you do that!
        I’m going to get it from the library, but right now it’s on Express check out, so it’s due back in 7 days. I’ll wait for that to end before I check it out, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You made some very interesting points. I had not thought about the importance of seeing Hogwarts through the eyes of someone who does not see it as the beautiful and magical and exciting school. Maybe I was impervious to it because I actually wanted to go back! Old generations, eh! 😂 I agree on the fact seeing the play might have helped you enjoy the story more than I did. Recreating everything from a script was a little hard for me. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, and yeah I thought it was an interesting take on the story that Albus wasn’t as taken by Hogwarts, didn’t see it as home, as his dad was. The nostalgia was there for me as well, but waiting a little while between seeing the play and reading the book gave me a new perspective on the story.
      Well given Harry, Ron and Hermione were be in their late thirties/early forties old generation fits, for this book at least! 😀
      I imagine it would be hard to see everything in your head if you don’t have a reference for it. Maybe not so much for the magic because we saw the effects of the polyjuice potion for example in the films but for the characters and their actions.
      Thanks Donna! 🙂

      Like

  4. I loved reading a review from someone who has seen the play. I think it is the format of the book that turns most people off it. But oh when I think about what it will look like on stage, it is incredible. The visuals I had in my mind whilst reading the book blew me off my feet!

    I need to get my hands on tickets for the play…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, yeah I do think it was a different experience reading this book having already seen the play, and I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much had I not seen the play beforehand.
      It is amazing on stage, honestly there aren’t enough words to describe it properly. Everything was so wonderfully put together, especially how they did all the feats of magic throughout.
      Oh definitely get tickets as soon as you can, you honestly won’t regret it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really would love it if this play travelled around the world as well. Having read the book and seen the play must be a different experience, and I think that’s what I was missing, when I read the book: seeing the events unfold before my eyes. In the other books of the series, I could clearly see that because of the rich narration, the descriptions, and the incredible world Rowling created. In the play, since it’s a written play, it was a bit harder to project myself back into this world, that’s what I missed. BUT I loved going back into this world as well, it felt so good! 🙂 Great review, Beth! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope so too, London is such a small part of the world and there are Harry Potter fans everywhere who are almost missing out despite the fact that book has been released as well. Oh definitely a different experience, and I do think seeing the play beforehand helped me to enjoy the book that little bit more. The stage directions, while giving a decent enough sense of the story, aren’t the same as the descriptions in the original books or seeing the play performed in front of you.
      The nostalgia must have played a huge part in loads of people loving this book, and I really hope you manage to see the play someday Marie, it’s just an unforgettable experience! 🙂
      Thanks! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I understand why you feel that way, and there are a fair few mixed reviews so it must make you even more wary to pick it up.
      Either way I thought it was a good book, certain parts were better than others, but well worth reading for me.
      If you do decide to pick this up one day I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was so crazily hyped up that it just kept putting me off reading the book! I became so sick and tired of hearing about it that I just have never picked a copy up! Sometimes when books are too hyped up like that one, where it is constantly in your face, it puts me off picking them up. I’m like that with films as well sometimes! I probably will read that some point though … I just never remember it when ordering books

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It seemed to be talked about a lot when the film was due out, but honestly I haven’t heard much about it recently.
        I get that feeling as well, but normally I leave it a few months for the hype to die down and then pick up the book.
        Too many books you need to buy is that the issue? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It was hyped up before that as well because people just love it! I always agonise over which books I want to order when I am ordering and then at some point I’m like, whatever and I just pick random books off of my Goodreads TBR and go with that! 😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s a good book don’t get me wrong but at the same time there are a few better ones out there as well.
        I have no self control, I will pre-order everything but most times if there’s a book I want to buy I will buy it, this is why I needed to put myself on a book buying ban! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I think after the pre order fiasco that was EoS, I will skip the pre ordering from now on!! 😂😂 im interested to see if I get my three dark crowns copy that they told me is going to be here tomorrow! Watch this space!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved this book! I gave it 5 very enthusiastic stars. I tried to separate my feelings about the original series and just read this as if it were a lost story JK Rowling had tucked away, even though some things deviated from her original. I loved Scorpius. I thought he stole the show. I would love to read another book about him. And I loved his relationship with Albus. They were so cute together. I also think I enjoyed this more than most because The Goblet of Fire is my favorite book and movie in the entire series. I loved going back to those days. The nostalgia was the best part for me. I was able to overlook some of the issues with the book and really enjoy it. Great review, Beth! Your experience with this book must’ve been so much better having seen the play. I would’ve loved to have seen this in person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it’s an amazing book, there were just a few things I would have liked to see which made it a four star read for me rather than a five star one (on its own I’d rate the play five stars though).
      That’s a good way to look at it, and it’s great you loved it this much without having seen the play version as well! 🙂
      From the second Scorpius was introduced he was my favourite character and he stayed that way until the end, and every scene with him and Albus together was brilliant.
      I loved the throwbacks to the original series. Goblet of Fire wasn’t my favourite of the series but it’s Harry Potter so in a way all books are favourites of mine you know? And yeah the nostalgia of going back to this series, which still is a favourite of mine, was the best part for me too!
      Thanks so much Jill. It was almost like reliving it in a way, because as I was reading I was practically seeing the play again in my mind. It’d be great if you did get a chance to see it, maybe if you come to London for YALC next year…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think everyone loved Scorpius. Even the people who didn’t like the play or book said they liked him in their reviews. I think it was hard not to like him. Yeah, that must’ve be even better for you. It’s like going to see Wicked live and then reading the book. I still haven’t read that book out of fear it won’t live up to how amazing the play was for me. Oh right. Good point. Do you think they’ll still have the production of the play going in the summer? I could see the play, go to YALC, and go check out the Harry Potter studio tour. That would be awesome! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Everyone’s favourite character right? I guess it’s good that no matter what your opinion on the book you still have a favourite character who you love no matter what right?
        I still haven’t read the book for Wicked yet either, but I imagine if/when I do it will be a lot like reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, reliving the experience of seeing it in the theatre in my mind.
        I reckon they will, trust me the amount of tickets they’ve been selling and the amount of demand it will be going a long time. I’d also be really really surprised if they didn’t take it around the world too eventually! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t read it yet still, so I skipped most of your review after the first few paragraphs because I’m afraid of spoilers, but I can imagine it’s a very different experience reading this compared to watching it as a play. Even with the stage directions, there are so many dimensions of the play that are missing. Voice and intonation can add a lot to dialogue for example! And that’s is just one of the countless aspects. You’re lucky you got to see the play itself! 🙂 It won’t be an option for me, but once I finally get to -read- this, I will come back to read the rest of your review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No that’s all right. I did try and avoid all the major spoilers but honestly I do the same thing with books I’m really excited for. I avoid all reviews until I’ve read it myself! 🙂
      I think the story came across well in the book but it’s the stage directions that are lacking. When they perform magic in the play you can see how they created the effects to make it look like magic. That’s what’s missing from the book more than anything else. But like you said as well some of the smaller gestures and voice and intonation.
      That’s a shame, I really do hope there’s some way for the people outside of London to see the play eventually. Thanks, you’ll have to let me know what you think when you read the book as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I actually have this book sitting on my shelves but haven’t gotten the chance to read it just yet, and I’m glad you laid out the plot so clearly here! I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about how it doesn’t really deserve the title of ‘the eighth book’ and is written more like a fanfiction, but I happen to love fanfiction, and I think the things you said about Scorpious and Draco would be things I love too. Great review, Beth! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it was sitting on my shelves for a while before I got around to it but as I saw the play beforehand it wasn’t at the top of my to-read list. I’m glad my overview of the plot helped, yeah I’ve seen people say that. I think for me there was too much missing for me to class it as the eighth book, I mean just in terms of the characters there were so many more I felt could have been included in the book in a bigger way. I haven’t read much HP fan fiction myself but I think that description kind I suits this instalment more than ‘the eighth book’.
      Oh it’s worth reading just for every scene Draco is in, honestly he was the one character, from the original series more than anything else, whose story was given justice you know?
      Thanks Reg! 🙂

      Like

  9. Great review. I also gave it 4 stars and my opinions were very similar to yours 😊 Scorpius was absolutely adorable and one of my favorite characters as well. Once I looked at this play more as a Harry Potter supplement rather than the “eighth story” I enjoyed it much more. I hope I get to see the play eventually!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Alex. Yeah I think if you saw it as a play or just read it as a book the majority of the downsides I’ve seen in other reviews are the same. Honestly I didn’t expect to love Scorpius as much as I did but from the second he was introduced he was my favourite character! 🙂
      It’s classed as the eighth story but I agree with you it definitely feels more like a supplement to the original series.
      I hope you manage to see it as a play as well, I think no matter what you think of the book it’s well worth getting a ticket! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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