I finished reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child a few hours ago, and I loved it! No, it’s not quite as good as having a real 8th book, and it has a few flaws, but it captures the spirit of the Harry Potter books and feels like a true continuation.
The adult characters are spot-on: Harry is as wonderfully flawed as ever, and Ron and Hermione are true to who they’ve always been. Draco Malfoy is still an obnoxious brat but obviously cares very much about his son. Best of all is Ginny, who always seemed a bit two-dimensional in the movies but really comes to life in the play. She’s every bit as fierce, loving, and spirited as she was in the books, and often comes across as being the sanest one in the room.
The kids are a delight. I would have loved to see more of Rose Granger-Weasley, who is more of a supporting character, but I adored Albus and Scorpius. Albus Potter is impulsive and quick to anger, but basically just feels different from his family and wants to know that he is loved, no matter what. Scorpius Malfoy is a total nerd – which I mean in the best way possible – as well as having a very kind heart and wanting nothing to do with the dark arts. Are we sure he’s really a Malfoy? Yes, probably, but to say any more would be a spoiler. Their friendship is as strong as the original trio’s, and the fact that they are both outcasts just makes it more important.
Then there’s Delphi, who is pretty much a walking spoiler, so all I’m going to say about her is that you’ll probably have a strong reaction to her, be it positive or negative. I think the twist is very in line with some of Rowling’s previous ones, and was foreshadowed well without being blatantly obvious, but it’s a big one and might be difficult for some people to accept.
As I said, the story has its flaws. The biggest is the fact that it’s a play script, and unless it’s filmed, the vast majority of Harry Potter fans will never get to see it performed. Aside from that, there’s one particular detail – which I can’t share without giving away several major spoilers – that I just can’t see happening, ever, and goes pretty strongly against the way a character was portrayed in the original series. Another thing that got under my skin a bit was how common it’s become to say Voldemort’s name. No matter how much things have changed in nineteen years, I would have expected an elderly man like Amos Diggory to still go with “you-know-who”. In another bit that I can’t talk about without spoilers, the use of Voldemort’s name becomes especially out of place.
Yes, there are small pieces that don’t quite fit right. I think this is largely a product of the fact that Cursed Child was a collaboration. While Rowling was heavily involved in creating the story, it was Jack Thorne who wrote the script, and he would likely have been the one to decide small details like the ones I mentioned. He didn’t do a bad job, but no one knows Harry Potter inside and out like J.K. Rowling.
But I want to stress the fact that, overall, I enjoyed it. The characters are believable and easy to relate to. The story deals with parent/child relationships, friendship, loneliness, and the ways that the past affects the present, all things that feel like natural continuations of the original series. The plot itself is enjoyable, although I can’t say too much about it without spoilers, and the story has a good mix of humor and more serious moments. It’s not quite as good as the original seven books, but it’s a fun addition that really does take the reader back to the world of Hogwarts.