THIS IS NOT SPOILER FREE. I REPEAT, NOT SPOILER FREE. IF YOU HAVEN’T READ CURSED CHILD, TURN BACK NOW. (and then come back later)
I’m in a difficult place with this review. There are so many wonderful things about Cursed Child and a few not so wonderful things, and above all, I really think it needs to be seen on stage to truly appreciate it and I currently have no idea where I will be next week, never mind next year, when the current tickets are selling for. (You can buy them here if you are interested).
I’m going to try and break it down, and bear in mind that this is my childhood and it’s Jo’s world, we just get to read it.
The General Complaints
- It’s too difficult to read as a script
Just no. It’s not. You knew it was a script when you pre-ordered it. It says on the cover ‘Special Edition Rehearsal Script’. You knew it was a play in the West End, so what on earth would make you think it’s a novel??
It’s not too hard to read and you can quite easily forget that it’s a script, and if it helps (which I certainly think it does when reading a play) read it aloud.
2. It’s not what I was expecting
No, and it wasn’t what I was expecting either. But cast your mind back to getting Deathly Hallows in 2007 and your expectations for that. Did any of us expect Hedwig to die? Or Dobby? Or FRED?? Did we expect Snape to be the good guy all along? Did we expect half the things that Jo wrote?
No. But you just have to trust in Jo’s ideas. After all, in 2007 she was the only one who knew what happened 19 years later. We’re just beyond lucky that she chose to share it with us.
3. It reads too much like Fanfiction
Okay, this I agree with in part. It does feel like its something that ‘iluvRonmione96’ might have conjured up to satisfy their cravings for more of HP. But maybe that’s because reading it in script form doesn’t allow it to fully shine through the way a performance would. I really and truly think that the real magic lies in the spectacle.
Which leads me nicely to…
- Who the hell is Delphi Diggory??
Okay, I know that the story needed a BIG BAD so we could have a BIG BATTLE and a BIG ENDING. But Delphi Diggory/Love-child of Voldemort and Bellatrix feels just a little bit ridiculous. When it was revealed that she was Voldemort’s child and there was another prophecy, I just felt a little bit like ‘rly????’.
I trust in Jo completely, and I support this. And I especially support the finding of the Time-Turner and going back in Time, because it’s a really nice way to pay homage to the original series. And we all know that story can work because we’ve seen AVPS.
But there are other ways she could’ve brought it full-circle, by ending it at Godric’s Hollow in 1981. Of course, she couldn’t totally rip off AVPS because that’s plagiarism and very very wrong. But I would’ve liked to see another Death Eater, maybe Rowle or Nott, trying to influence Scorpius, and going back to 1981 to Kill Harry (gasps).
That would’ve made more sense to me, and no need for Delphi Diggory, the most un-Mary Sue Mary Sue. (Does anyone know what the name is of a completely negative Mary Sue, whose purpose is to be the bad guy?)
2. Where are all the other children? Where are all the other characters?
Seriously, this play needed more Rose. She’s barely in it! Hugo Granger-Weasley doesn’t even seem to exist. And where o where is Teddy Lupin? He could’ve sorted all this trouble out.
If this is a play about the Next Gen, we could’ve seen more of James Potter Jr., Rose Granger-Weasley and Lily Potter Jr.
And we could’ve seen Sirius in the past. And we could’ve seen Professor Longbottom. SERIOUSLY.
Things I liked that other people probably didn’t
1. Emphasis on Ronmione
This lovely little script proves that Ronmione just make sense. So all you Harry/Hermione shippers, just get over yourselves. They didn’t have an affair in the future, it is and always will be Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny.
2. Albus is in Slytherin!
Yep. Loved it. For a moment you think ‘But that doesn’t make sense, generations of Weasleys have been in Gryffindor and Harry Potter is the greatest Gryffindor since Dumbledore, how can his and Ginny’s son be a Slytherin?’
Well. Look at Sirius Black. Defied his parentage didn’t he?
And here is the ultimate, definitive proof that not all Gryffindors are good and not all Slytherins are bad. The lines of House Sorting aren’t always clear. Gryffindors can be smart and ambitious as well as brave. And Slytherins can be brave and loyal as well as cunning. Pettigrew and Snape are our Original Canon examples and Albus and Scorpius are our New Gen examples.
Jo has always been adamant that good and bad aren’t as clear as people think: Dumbledore did some awful things in his time and Draco was not always terrible.
Albus being in Slytherin keeps this narrative alive and proves that being Harry and Ginny’s son doesn’t mean he isn’t his own person.
3. Ron as Comic Relief
Anyone who thinks that just because Ron went through all the struggles of his teenager-dom means he must have changed by middle-age is just wrong. These characters might be 20 years older but they are still inherently themselves. Ron is still loyal and humorous just as Hermione is brilliant and strong-willed and Harry is the hero. Plus, now Ron’s a Dad so he’s bound to be even funnier and in an even more embarrassing way. Ron Granger-Weasley is peak Dad Jokes.
Other things I liked
1. Albus/Scorpius relationship
Anyone who didn’t love this (Scorbus? Is that what we’re calling it? I approve) is just being ridiculous. It’s Harry/Ron all over again except with less jealousy and more homoeroticism. I’ve always said that the most important relationships in Harry Potter are the friendships, and Jo continues this in Cursed Child. Yes, I see the homosexual undertones as well as you do. But to be fair, the boys are 14 and might not be comfortable expressing their love for each other yet.
Let it flow, what will be will be. And all those people that were crying for Rose/Scorpius at the end of Deathly Hallows (you know who you are, I’ve seen the fanfics), got a little bit of what they were hoping for. Though I’m sure a solid 80% have jumped ship to the Good Ship Scorbus now.
2. Scorpius himself
Scorpius is such a loser. I LOVE IT. Malfoy thought he was all that and a bag of chips, but his son is a total loser. Which proves that people are made not born. In a world where being a Malfoy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Scorpius ended up at the bottom of the food chain. But he still managed to be a hero.
Scorpius is the Neville of Cursed Child. And we all know how great Nevilles are.
3. The characters are not perfect
Because Jo’s characters never are. Those people who are complaining that (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT, LOOK AWAY NOW, IN FACT WHY ARE YOU STILL READING???) Harry told Albus that he wished Albus wasn’t his son are forgetting that Harry is one of the most imperfect characters in literature. He often gets in rages and says things he doesn’t mean. He is an angry and impulsive character. Remember all those times he screamed at Ron and Hermione? His best friends? His only family? That horrible way he spoke to Lupin, when he said he’d be ashamed of him if he were Lupin’s son.
This actually makes sense for Harry, especially because he allows himself to get wound up so easily. This is the boy that was so wound up by Malfoy that he went off on a midnight mission round Hogwarts aged 11 and nearly got eaten by Fluffy.
Of course his own son is going to push his buttons. But part of Harry Potter is about owning your mistakes and correcting them. Which he does. Parent/child relationships aren’t always easy and they are rarely perfect. And in a Next-Gen story which is about this kind of relationship, Jo deals with it ideally.
Also, Rose is a little bitch at times and really needs to sort her act out. But again, not perfect. Lord knows Hermione could be a bitch at times, especially to the ones she loved. Poor Ron never got over the bird attack.
4. Its themes and heart are true to the Harry Potter narrative
At its core Cursed Child deals with what it means to be a hero. Or the son-of-a-hero. Or the son-of-an-evil-little-shit. Throughout Harry Potter Harry dealt with the pressure of being James and Lily’s son, the Chosen One. Here, Albus deals with the pressure of being Harry’s son.
The lines of good and evil are blurred, just like in Harry Potter and always, always, in HP love was the heart of the narrative. And Cursed Child maintains these themes and ideas until the end.
Also this bit:
Harry Potter in a nutshell.
Even post-Voldemort (2020 PV) Harry still has the burden of being the Chosen One, and in one single line Jo encapsulates what it means to be Harry Potter.
Reading it I was like:
So who is the Cursed Child?
I know sources say that the Cursed Child is Albus, but I think arguments can be made that the Cursed Child could be Harry, Albus, or Scorpius.
All three were burdened with names and expectations that they felt they couldn’t live up to. They never asked to be a Potter or a Malfoy or the Chosen One.
You could even say that Delphi was the Cursed Child.
Maybe Jo herself is the Cursed one, because she’ll never satisfy everyone.
Jo, John, and Jack’s story isn’t by any means perfect, but that doesn’t stop it from being nostalgic, complex, and iconic.
I, for one, am just grateful that Jo gifted us with the Eight Story and a play that will hopefully run for many years on the West End, a play which is ‘easily the most wizard piece of theatre to hit the West End in years’.
I think it needs to be seen to be believed.
So I just need to get my hands on some tickets.
Oh, and I totally cried at the end. It was just beautifully heartfelt and emotional at the end. I’m positive there will be buckets in the theatre.
And remember: #KeepTheSecrets