Some spoilers ahead – each with individual warnings, chill
Three weeks ago on Friday I practically skipped into Dymocks to grab my copy of the new Harry Potter book, the eighth, an addendum to a series I have adored from my childhood, and will likely continue to love throughout my adulthood and long past the time old age will make me both wrinkly and potty.
I got home, and in the manner of Hermione Granger buried my nose in the book, barely looking up so that I could finish it as quickly as conceivably possible.
First off, the book isn’t a book at all; it happens to be a play. Not an issue when one sits down with Shakespeare, very much one for people wishing to be transported to the magical world of Hogwarts and Diagon Alley and potentially the Burrow. The play was largely the work of Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, with some contributions from JK Rowling FYI. I assumed it might take a little longer to feel the stirrings of magic in this format, but by Merlin was I ready for that to happen.
By my second perusal of the book – that very Sunday just so you know – the magic was wearing off. I have a number of criticisms of the book, which I will do my best to air without spoiling anything for the rest of you.
The novel reads as if the playwrights never read the novels, never went onto Pottermore, and have no conception of good vs bad fanfiction (for those of you who are interested: good fanfiction can be found on fanfiction.net. I’d recommend looking up The Life and Times, Isolation, or Knowing You – my personal favourite). Bad fanfiction I would define as 50 bloody Shades of Grey. The Cursed Child for all intents and purposes butchered the original characters and their peers to the extent that those of us who have read the books too many times for it to be healthy cannot recognise the essentially two-dimensional creatures they have become. And while yes, I am aware it’s meant to be performed and not read well… The dialogue for some of them is patently ridiculous. I’d have a close look at Ron Weasley if I were you and try not to be horrified with the travesty affected on him.
There’s also a patently daft idea that occupies most of the ‘action sequences’ of the story (and here SPOILER ALERT FOR THIS PARAGRAPH). The concept of time travel, and the time turners which JK Rowling long, long ago covered in the novels and separate interviews comes up to create some issues which Harry’s son Albus Severus, and his coerced best mate Scorpius Malfoy must ‘solve’. The issue with it, is that every scenario from about page 2 requires a leap of faith, and a departure from any previous understanding of this franchise that feels forced, and pushes you away from magical Britain the way it was presented through a seven book series. And of course, the primary antagonist of the story was just… I mean… The complete battiness people wanted us to support about Delphi was patently… well, in existence. I’m trying really hard not to issue spoilers here so read the book or ignore the sentence at the very end of this review.*
Bad, terrible, truly ridiculous fanfiction. That’s all.
And perhaps my most broken-hearted criticism would be that a number of characters I was hoping to hear about were dreadfully absent from the story: there wasn’t a mention of Neville Longbottom, half the Hogwarts professors and ghosts, nor Luna Lovegood.
There were a few redeemable aspects in the book: the friendship of Albus and Scorpius for example, or the parallel to James and Lily’s relationship (read the book if you want to see who that is), and the blessed fact that they didn’t screw up Professor Minnie McGonagall’s character. Thank the gods above for small mercies there!
In good conscience, I’ll finish with this: I was glad to be a part of that childhood magic once more, and I believe it would likely make a damned good production on stage. I cannot however rate the play itself particularly highly, or reward it for significantly ruining aspects of the Harry Potter series.
On a positive note, JK Rowling has announced the addition of three more books for less than £2 each – the magic isn’t gone yet, folks! All I hope is after they’re released, I won’t have to wait 12 blasted years (à la Sirius Black) for the next glimpse into wizarding Britian!
*I cannot believe someone did the Frick Frack with the Dark Lord Voldy.
Voldemort and BELLATRIX HAD SEX
And BELLA’S HUSBAND HAD TO TELL THE OFFSPRING OF HIS WIFE THAT SHE WASN’T HIS KID WHEN HE GOT OUT OF AZKABAN!
You see what I mean by terrible 50 Shades of Grey-esque fanfiction?!