I have just spent about an hour watching BookTube reviews about the Cursed Child script book. I finished reading it myself a couple of days ago, and I have been mulling it around in my mind since then, trying to decide how I feel about it. I accept that this play is canon as sanctioned by JK Rowling. BUT. The BookTube reviews I have found to be mostly negative, and I have to say I was nodding along in agreement a lot of the time. Here are my (spoiler free) thoughts:
Why isn’t it a novel?
I have tried to get on board with this project being a play, and my friend who has seen it says it is amazing. She’s a huge Potter fan and I highly value her opinion. However, in my deepest heart I just wish that it had been a novel. I feel so conflicted; this is billed as the eighth story and yet it’s not written fully by JK Rowling. Surely the eighth story SHOULD be a novel? Reading a script is obviously very different to a novel… I found the dialogue to be very stilted, yet during the play I am sure that the delivery works very well.
Ron is my favourite Harry Potter character. I simply did not like how he was reduced to a comedic parody of himself in this script. He was annoying and unlikeable. He’s not the only character who is different to their portrayal in the books, and yes, I understand that this play takes place 20 years after the final book and people change…. but, there’s no way that Ron would have morphed from the brave and loyal best friend of Harry Potter into some insipid silly man.
Problems with the plot
Without revealing any plot details, the story jumps about all over the place before leading to an unsatisfactory ending. The big reveal of the cursed child and their background almost made me laugh out loud, it’s so ludicrous. Also, I miss so many characters from the books that were left out. I understand that the cast of a play can’t be huge and sprawling, but we give some unnecessary time to dead characters whilst leaving out living ones who could have been valued (for example, Neville, Luna, Mrs Weasley…)
The time gap between book 7 and now
The epilogue of the final book leant itself to be the starting point of the play, however I for one want more about what happened in those intervening 19 years. I want to see the weddings and meet the babies! I want to know how everyone moved on from the Battle of Hogwarts; how did they cope with all that they had been through? What was it like in the immediate aftermath of a post-Voldemort world?
Nostalgia and cheesiness
OK, this project is impossible to create without a heavy dose of nostalgia. There’s a sense that this script has allowed us to return to the past Pottermania which surrounded every book release and reliving our huge love for the franchise. But, some scenes are just so cheesy and it felt like the quiet, enigmatic feelings of characters which were featured in the books were thrust into the open unnecessarily.
Albus and Harry
Side note: I love Albus and Severus. But the father-son struggle between Albus and Harry? Not so much. I kind of just want to bang their heads together and tell them to get over it.
My main feelings can be described thus: WHAT? WHY? HOW? HMMM…
Over to you: have you read the script? What did you think?