Review of HP and the Cursed Child

I want to start by saying that I read this in one night. To be specific, 4 hours. So clearly it was able to catch (and sustain) my interest. I know this play has gotten a lot of mixed reviews, and having read it, I now see why.

As an English Teacher, I have come to view all literature with a critical eye. This play came across very clearly as amateur at best. It read like Fan Fiction. The controversy was undeveloped, the dramatic scenes basic, and the tone seemed to be too explicitly stated. There was no moral dilemma in these scenes, Delphi was the daughter of Voldemort, and she needed to be stopped. No one was even supporting her- Malfoy was on Harry’s side in this one. It was too cut and dry, designed to paint a perfect picture of the characters, even the “bad” ones, to preserve the memory of the original series. The scenes that were intended to elicit the most drama were not nearly as powerful as those from the original series. I understand how difficult it can be to stand next to a powerhouse such as J.K. Rowling without looking inadequate, but that’s the task the authors, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, took on. Additionally, the issues between Albus and Harry were not described so much as they were stated that they existed. There was no room for inference or imagination. When developing a tone, it is rarely an effective strategy to simply say: these two characters are fighting. It should be developed over time with understated conversations, descriptions, and behavior.

Anther thing that annoyed me was there seemed to be too much reliance on punctuation to create an intended effect. What I mean is, the authors would input a dash whenever they wanted to create a dramatic pause in an attempt to amp up the intensity of the story. The failure of this punctuation-dependency is unfortunate because it made my hyper-aware of my own tendency to do so. However, my work is not eternally connected to the legacy that is Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling, so I have cut myself a break somewhere!

Despite the many critiques I have just offered, the story truly is one that seems necessary to read for all Harry Potter devotee’s such as myself. It offers closure and a certain sense of peace that all is well with our beloved characters, and that the Wizarding World is alive and well. Even though it was not a resurrection of the Harry Potter we once knew, it’s reassuring, like visiting an old friend.

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