Every other piece of Harry Potter writing, I waited rabidly to read and then devoured it as soon as I was able. You think I’m just speaking in hyperbole but I distinctly remember reading the fifth book around my sister’s wedding and the seventh book while another sister tried on wedding dresses. I’d been the maid of honor for that wedding. Being obsessed makes you do awful things. I think Tracie has since forgiven me.
Regardless, my devotion to the Harry Potter series has been second only to my devotion to the Lord, and currently I’m not ashamed of that. Yet, I was initially hesitant about reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I did not count down the days. I did not pre-order it. I did not buy it at midnight. I didn’t even buy it the week it was released. I waited until a friend asked me to go to Barnes and Noble with her. Somehow the script ended up in my bag with the other purchases I made. Side note: I swear to you that I can’t walk into Barnes and Nobles these days without spending at least $50. It’s bad. Real bad. Anyway, since I already had the script… I read it in one afternoon, and have decided there are things you should know prior to reading the script.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS, you’ve been warned.
First, I hope you’ve noticed that I’ve been calling it a script. This is not a book. The writing is not prose. If you go in thinking it’s the eighth book, you are mistaken. It was first and foremost a play, whose script they’ve graciously allowed us to read because many of us will never see the play performed. I thought this was obvious, but some people in the world didn’t know it was a play. I wanted to put that nugget of information out into the world. Yet, even if you knew it was a script, really be aware of how plays read verses books. If you aren’t used to reading plays (or are just bad at it like me) it will be a very quick read. You’ll have to be careful not to make judgement about the flow of the story or plot development because scripts are different from books.
Second, that being said, this story feels a lot like fanfiction to me. VERY, very well written—enough so that JK Rowling put her name in huge font on the cover—but fanfiction nonetheless. For me, I think it was the structure. This had a lot of dialogue because that’s what plays are. As someone who’s read a lot of good and bad fanfiction, some fan writers use a lot of dialogue because they’re shit at writing anything descriptive. For a play, you want a few stage directions, but it’s okay to not have paragraphs describing things. For a book-like story, if you can write a non-dialogue paragraph, you’ll most likely never become a professional writer, but thank you anyways for sharing.
The dialogue was not the only thing that made it feel fanfiction-y. Multiple instances of time manipulation are involved. Sometimes the characters seem like caricatures of their book counterparts. Again, I want to say it’s well written. I did enjoy reading this. You can tell others were involved in the development though. Also, the circumstances surrounding the “villain’s” childhood seems like a bit of a stretch, even in the wizarding world. (Although, I was really pleased with the villain. In the moment, I was one hundred percent in love in that moment when I realized who the villain was.)
Third, circling back to the characters, I loved them, but they are so in touch with their emotions. Like, did an American write this? Just kidding. I did find it funny that JK Rowling has been noted to say that she kept trying to stop the filmmakers from having people hug at the end of the movies to this, where everyone is so rife with emotion and not displaying the typical stoic English persona I’m used to. I can’t say it’s good or bad. It’s different. I know people won’t like different. Give it a chance.
Fourth, no one’s gay. You may wonder why that needs to be stated. Obviously, you don’t troll the internet where everyone believes that Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy are soulmates and that Harry and Draco are in love. Fangirls are fucking weird, and you can see why I’m hesitant to associate myself with them. I was worried though, that a point would be attempted to be made. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m Lutheran. I don’t support gay marriage or homosexuality. I love people as God’s children but I will not deny the Bible either. I spent a lot of the book on edge wondering if I was going to have to endure Albus and Scorpius making out. Arguably, that would have been weird if only for the fact that it’s very clear early on who Scorpius is in love with, and it’s not Albus. No, Scorpius is the Harry to Albus’s Ron. I say that only because Scorpius is that nice, quiet sweetheart, while Albus is big family he feels pressure from/because of. Which makes the story interesting because I wonder now what the books would have looked like with Ron as the main character and not Harry.
As for Draco and Harry, they barely made it to friend status. I think they’re still at, “Don’t throw down in a fight Arthur-Lucius style.” They aren’t gay and they aren’t ever going to be gay. Harry and Ginny are in a super solid relationship. Draco really loved his wife. But, ALSO, Draco makes a comment at the end of the play so rife with repressed sexual tension that even Scorpius says, “Dad…” in a tone which I can only assumed is a horrified, “tuck it back in your pants, father” tone. Draco’s lucky he didn’t get a second broken nose. Amirite? Fun fact: I’m right.
Fifth, time manipulation is involved, and the best thing to come from it is how they play with Ron and Hermione’s relationship. One thing for the guys who wrote it, they aren’t Harry and Hermione shippers. They respected Ron and Hermione in interesting ways. I liked how they played with the idea of who Ron and Hermione would have been if they hadn’t gotten together. That’s another blog post once everyone’s read the script though.
Sixth, you will laugh and feel utmost delight, but you will also cry. I can’t imagine anyone not getting to the end of that play and not feeling for a moment that their heart hasn’t been sandpapered and shredded. I think in the next bit of writing it should be Harry Potter and Nothing terrible happened to him for one day because I think for ONCE he deserves a good fucking day. GOD. Or something to that effect. It’s hard to come up with a sound title when you’re ugly crying in the corner. The ending is good, but not before you hurt a lot. And then, in true Harry Potter fashion, the Golden Trio survives. Man, I’m really trying not to cry thinking about the ending, but it was really hard for me. Unphh. Emotions.
Seventh, this is most important. Regardless of what you hear. Regardless of what people say. JK Rowling will never stop writing Harry Potter related things. She did too good of a job. She was too thorough and creative. She wrote a story people loved too much. Already this September, she’ll be publishing three small works. They aren’t even actual stories. There’s a guide to Hogwarts and writings on wizarding politics. Would I read anything about muggle politics? Not unless under gunpoint. Will I voluntarily spend money to read the history of and information about wizarding politics? Abso-fucking-lutely, my friend.
In all, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is definitely worth reading. I enjoyed it. Even as I digest the reading and keep thinking about it’s different aspects (including but not limited to the realization that it’s glorified fanfiction), I’m glad I read it and didn’t let my hesitation keep me from experiencing it. So, I recommend that you read it too. Let yourself enjoy it. Shuck off the hesitation or the desire (maybe need) for it to be the eighth Harry Potter book. Instead, take it as it is and for what it is.