Years ago, I reviewed all seven of the original Harry Potter books on this site. Last year, two new stories were added to the mythos, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and a prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s only right that I review these on this page as well. Since I just finished it, I’ll start with Cursed Child.
Cursed Child is actually published as a play rather than a novel. I realize that using the script as my source for this review may not be the best way to review a play, but I probably might not get to see an actual performance, so here we are. Oh, and spoilers from here on out. You’ve been warned.
Let’s start with what I like. The story starts by replaying the epilogue from Death Hallows. It is now 19 years later. Hermione works for the Ministry of Magic. Ron has taken over Fred and George’s joke shop. (since one of the twins died in the last book, in case you don’t recall.) The story mostly focuses on Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, the son of Draco Malfoy.
Albus isn’t as good as his father was, and the whole book is about him trying to get out of his father’s shadow. This actually is a good motivation. I also liked that Scorpius does NOT take after Draco, and in fact is much nicer. (To be fair, Draco seems to have seen the error of his ways as an adult. Better late than never, I guess.)
Now let’s get to what I don’t like. Strap yourselves in, readers. It seems that Amos Diggory is still upset that his son Cedric died all those years ago and wants Harry to use a Time Turner to change that. Harry lies that he destroyed them all, but we learn that detail from Prisoner of Azkaban is now wrong, because Hermione actually has one, poorly guarded no less. Harry refuses to change history, but that doesn’t stop Albus and Scorpius. They go back, screw things up despite saving Cedric, and create a dark future. Now Harry died in his final battle, and Voldemort rules all. To make matters worse, Dolores Umbridge is now Headmistress of Hogwarts. And then we meet the titular Cursed Child.
Delphini, our true villain, is the daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix. This bugs me. It is so out of character for Voldemort to want a child, of any gender. Voldemort desired immortality. I don’t think he’d be interested in a child. And I shudder to think about him and anyone, let alone Bellatrix, being parents. (I don’t even want to think about how it must’ve happened.)
For the record, this is not an “official fanfiction”, as some fans have called it. Rowling did make a general outline for the play, which was written by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. The two playwrights are not new to this sort of thing. Thorne adapted Let the Right One In into a play. John Tiffany has won a Tony Award and an Olivier Award. Yet, it still doesn’t feel like Rowling’s work. I’ve heard some fans say that it shouldn’t be considered canon, but I don’t think that’s fair. As an analogy, I’m a Trekkie. I despise “Spock’s Brain”. But I can’t throw it out of Star Trek’s canon. It’s even got an entry in Memory Alpha, the Star Trek online wiki. So, for better or worse, this is official canon. But I doubt I’m going to add this to my collection.