Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Roshni Kumaravel, III Year B.V.A. Fine Arts

When it was first announced that a play based on Harry Potter was in the works, speculations arose that it would be a prequel to the Harry Potter series. People were ecstatic. Of course, JK Rowling was quick to shut down the rumor and along with it the enthusiasm of billions of hopeful fans all across the world. She vehemently stated that The Cursed Child was #NotAPrequel (Yeah, it was a thing. The hashtag was an actual thing). When she announced that it was a sequel the fans responded with overwhelming excitement. Expectations were so high. Plans were made to earn money, save, travel to London and watch the play. You can imagine the joy when JK announced on Pottermore that the screenplay would be available for purchase. People called it the 8th Harry Potter story.

In my opinion, the book was a great let-down. Here’s why.

The Harry Potter series wasn’t just about Harry Potter, it was about his friends as well. Hermione convinced us that it was cool to be a nerdy know-it-all. Ron was the best friend a person could ask for. Ginny Weasley was a strong and fiercely independent woman. Neville was that goof we all came to love just as much as Harry. Whereas in ‘Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’, Harry was a dad who had no idea how to raise a child, Hermione was just another Ministry official, Ginny was a wife whose only job is to take care of her kids and validate her husband. This just wasn’t believable character development. You know there is something wrong with the book when Ron Weasley has pretty much been reduced to a laughing stock. In fact, I bet you could remove Ron from the story and rewrite it with little or no changes to the plot.

It wasn’t just the characters that were inconsistent with the original stories. The Time Turners we saw were completely different from the ones we were introduced to in ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban’. The ones we were familiar with were used to simply reverse time and complete events that had already taken place in real time. However in ‘The Cursed Child’, the Time Turners were used to travel back in time, alter certain events and start an alternate chain of events. The plot itself didn’t seem very Harry Potter-esque, but rather like a badly written Doctor Who/Harry Potter fan fiction. The introduction of the deus ex-machina Time Turner was completely ridiculous and the plot lacked the detailed ending that’s a key feature of JK Rowling’s works.

The book did have a few redeeming qualities though. The scenes at the Potter household seemed reminiscent of the camaraderie at 12, Grimmauld Place in ‘The Order of the Phoenix’. The bromance between James and Sirius that we’ve mostly only heard about was presented to us through Albus and Scorpius, and was enjoyable.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is not the worst book I’ve ever read. However, it was a colossal disappointment and I reject it as canon.

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