I just recently finished the eighth and latest story in the Harry Potter universe – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. Being a huge Harry Potter fan, I was really excited to hear about the play and the recently published script because I was so excited to see where the story picked up nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts. But honestly, I ended up being a little disappointed in the story.
It’s been a bit difficult to pin exactly what I don’t like about this eighth story but there were plenty of awkward moments. The time travel aspect felt weird compared to the other books – I know that the Prisoner of Azkaban relied on the use of time turners for its plot and development but that story wasn’t focused primarily on time travel while the Cursed Child is. Also, I don’t really know why but I kept thinking of Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way from the notorious fanfiction My Immortal whenever Delphini appeared. Actually, the entire story felt like some sort of fanfiction miraculously becoming canon.
The characters also felt incredibly different in the Cursed Child, especially Hermione. The idea that she becomes a bitter person and a mean Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher because she didn’t marry Ron in one of the timelines flies in the face of her character and the very nature of who she is. Hermione was a brilliant witch in her own right – she was smart, the most caring person, and definitely would not have been heartbroken to the point of being mean to children because the boy she loved married another girl. I’m still beyond excited that Noma Dumezweni is playing Hermione so my disappointment in how the character is treated has everything to do with how the story treats her.
It’s not just Hermione though – the other characters felt different too. Ginny didn’t seem to be as fiery as I remember and didn’t really seem to be too important to the narrative (which is frustrating in it’s own right). And then there’s the idea that Cedric turns evil in one of the timelines because he was embarrassed during one of tasks of the Triwizard Tournament. This seems to be a weird change in character because while not a saint, he’s still a really decent guy. Just one example: he wanted to call off that Quidditch game when Harry fell off his broom because of dementors, even though it meant forfeiting his team’s win. The Cedric I knew in the original books doesn’t seem like the kind to go to the dark side because he was humiliated.
Reading a script rather than a novel made the experience significantly different than reading the novels as a kid, in big part because the novels and this latest story are written in two completely different ways. Plus, reading the script rather than watching the play also made for a different experience because there’s so much more that goes into this story that can’t really be captured by the written word. There’s the set design and props, what the actors bring to the characters and how they interact with each other, how the lines are said, etc etc. Scripts aren’t meant to be read as prose – they’re meant to be performed and experienced live.
With all of that in mind, I’ve been wondering if reading it as a script impacted my reaction to the story and if my opinion changed if I were to see the play live or if the story had been written as a novel like the seven books. Would I be as disappointed? I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be able to see the two plays (as the tale has been split into two parts) and while there’s the possibility of the play becoming a movie, I’m not holding my breath.
Overall, I can really only comment on the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the photos that come from the production. There are so many holes in my experience of the story that left me a bit disappointed but something I definitely should have expected knowing that I would only have access to the script. But even with all of that in mind, I still felt that the actual story left much to be desired. There were awkward moments and characters that seemed to be far different from their nature in the original series.