OH BOY! This is going to be the crudest review I ever made since I just finished reading the play. I’m still feeling things and coming up with thoughts. I do warn that this is a review with spoilers. I’m going to try to not make many though (it won’t work I’m sure)
So being a fangirl is really difficult. Being in fandoms is difficult. Usually what I struggle the most in them is with opinions and critics of others. There are people who don’t have any trouble critiquing what they love, which I think is great because even if you love the thing you acknowledge that they did something wrong. Since the release of the play I have read and seen some harsh reviews. And before reading it I was thinking I wasn’t going to like it but even if it was like that I was going to love it because I just can’t hate Harry Potter, I’m a head over heels potter head and I just can’t hate it.
This is why I didn’t hate The Cursed Child. Did it had some really bad stuff? Yeah, I think it did, did I hate that stuff? hmm… nope, right now the answer is no. Reading this play was like reading a weird but cool fan fiction. That’s how I would describe both the play and the experience. It was like seeing a more serious version of A Very Potter Musical without the musical part. It had really good and funny parts that for me were really crazy to read, for example most of the scenes where they were all together with Draco Malfoy and getting along were really weird but in a good way, like a really good fan fiction you read when you wish everyone could just get along.
Let’s start with the beginning. Writing this I feel this is going to be a long post, I’m warning you guys.
Okay so first thing worth mentioning is that Albus is a Slytherin. I know I say I can’t hate Harry Potter but if there is something I… strongly dislike is stereotyping Hogwarts houses. I even thought about writing about it here because I honestly ha… strongly dislike it. I don’t like that if you’re Slytherin then you must be really mean and if you’re a Gryffindor you must be really brave, if you’re a Hufflepuff you must be really nice or stupid and if you’re a Ravenclaw you’re a nerd. The fact that you stick people to just one word doesn’t work for me.
That’s why I love the fact that Hermione who is really smart and worthy of being in Ravenclaw is also worthy of being in Gryffindor or Neville (my favorite character) who you could consider to be in Hufflepuff is a Gryffindor as well. Or Luna who is a Ravenclaw could also have been easily confused as a Hufflepuff. I live up for kind Gryffindors and smart Hufflepuffs and brave Ravenclaws even if those are not their house’s mottos.
And so though I was a bit sad that Albus wasn’t with this brother James and in the same house his father and mother were and basically his entire family, I was happy that he got sorted in Slytherin. And I was so happy that he became best friends with Scorpius because boy! that kid is so nice and so different from the rest of the Malfoy’s and for some reason after I finished the seventh book I thought Scorpius was going to be a really mean kid like Draco… probably because of his name, Scorpius… poor child. But Scorpius and Albus being friends was the first step of this play looking like a fan fiction because honestly I read fan fiction like this and because I wouldn’t have imagine for Jo to write it.
Moving on we have Albus and Harry’s relationship. This was probably the most real scenario I imagined. When I first heard the name of this play I thought “The cursed child” was supposed to be Albus and the curse of living in his father’s shadow. I imagined something like this was going to happen with their kids.
I felt bad for Albus and his experience in Hogwarts being so different from the others, even from fans who wished to go. Because up to now we all wished some extraordinary event would happen and we would get our Hogwarts letters, how cool would be to go to Hogwarts but then we meet someone who doesn’t want to go and it makes it more striking that this kid is Harry Potter’s son. With Harry we grew up thinking of Hogwarts as a home because Harry felt like it but Albus hates it there, they make fun of him and he feels like a disappointment. This difference was really interesting to read for me.
Then we have Ron, Hermione and Rose. Ron and Hermione were really cute. But I think they could have made Ron a bit more serious cause even if he’s managing his brothers joke shop I didn’t expect him to be such a comic relief. He was funny sure, I laughed a lot reading him but he was more silly than young Ron. I could say I felt this was a little bit out of character. Actually one of my favorite youtubers said she felt everyone was out of character and even though when I read it I was sensing this I decided to take it as something of the character aging, being different because they’re adults now, they have kids and different responsibilities. It sounds silly but I tried to explain this difference in the same characters with that.
The fact that Ron was drunk on him and Hermione’s wedding is a huge disappointment and kind of sad but I tried not to pay too much attention to it because it was a detail. I was also a bit disappointed that Rose and Albus became distant and had to pretend in front of the adults.
I didn’t expect Cedric Diggory to have such an important role here which was interesting since we only get one really short scene with him. I do get though that even though it was about saving Cedric it was also much more than that. It was seeing alternative endings to the things we read in the book. It was about Albus testing himself and reconnecting with his father. Understanding a bit of Harry’s struggle as well and of course Albus and Scorpius friendship.
Speaking of friendship and these two, let’s get real for a minute. Friendship was not was I was sensing at all. Through the whole play one thought was always constant and was that J. K. Rowling (John Tiffany and Jack Thorne too) was clearly queer baiting us hard. I could imagine the people reading these two character and shipping them together because I did it myself, it was so obvious!
I think that what, for me, was most fan fiction material was obviously Delphi being Voldemort’s child that wanted to change the past so Voldemort could come back. That was so fanfic cliché dude! And the fact that she was the daughter of Bellatrix?! What?! How?! When?! Did they just informed us that Bellatrix and Voldemort did it?!?!?! EW! It didn’t make sense either because of the 5 W’s (what, why, when, where and how)
About the boy who lived, we get some really emotional and intense scenes revolving around Harry. For me it was really intriguing to see grown up Harry and to some this might be surprising but I actually liked him. From what I read most didn’t. I know he said some horrible things to Albus and made some mistakes too and that was not okay but this was the only character I didn’t feel like it was out of character. And believe this was surprising for me because I’m not Harry’s number one fan. I read that one of the most debated subjects was actually this, the fact that this was no like Harry at all.
For some strange reason I could imagine Harry getting angry enough to say something like that. I think they didn’t wanted to make it look like something Harry would say but as something a parent, any normal real muggle world parent would say. Parents often might say things that hurt and don’t mean it, even if they’re supposed to be the adults one in the discussion. I think I understood the struggle (Of Harry and Albus) on both sides. Well have in mind you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t have really good parents figures (I’m talking about me). I’m not saying that what he said to Albus was okay though, I’m not justifying it, just trying to understand it, I know it was horrible and if I was Albus I wouldn’t be able to forget it.
I will say though that the way he treated Minerva was NOT OKAY! What the hell dude!?
Another scene with Harry that was really emotional for me was his talk with Dumbledore. It was a bit silly, he was talking to a portrait after all but I imagine in the theater it would sound and feel more real (check pic below) I even cried, don’t laugh but Dumbledore telling him that he should have told Harry that he loved him, the whole scene was an emotional mess… I mean me, I was the emotional mess. It was cliché but I don’t care I got into it anyway.
The saddest one was probably Harry having to hear his parents being murdered and not being able to do something about it. It was so sad! I started crying here too.
Ginny was great, a little more quiet than I expected, more motherly. I imagined she would be more outspoken but I also enjoyed this Ginny. I have the feeling she was more like movie Ginny rather than book Ginny or maybe a mix of both. She might also have been more mature. People change after having three kids you know.
Snape’s appearance was also a surprise. I have difficulties with this character because I know I shouldn’t like him, he was a bully, what he did with the kids was not right and though, yes he helped Dumbledore I like to see it more like his interests happened to be the same ones the good guys had. But I grew up liking him and then becoming aware that the way he treated children was not okay was difficult. So I always say that I like him as a bad guy. And here in the play we had him so different, and though it was an alternative universe this didn’t convince me. He made me laugh a little but I didn’t like it that much because he was totally out of character and I couldn’t justify him by saying he was older because he was the same age, these scenes with him were honestly fan service in my opinion. And believe me I would have loved to like them specially since they give me a reason to like Snape but it didn’t feel real.
On the other hand we have Draco. In the books I had a similar view of Draco and Snape because one was a bad guy who was helping the good ones and the other one was just a kid who had to grow up without a choice. They both struggle, they both were kinda mean. I liked Draco more though. In the play Draco grows up to be so different from what I expected. His story was so nice, marrying someone so different from what I imagined who tried to show him the light and who loved him. I would have loved to read more about Astoria, such a pity she didn’t even appear. And his relationship with his son and the way he cared about him, I loved that. even if it was kind of fanfic like I didn’t care.
I know Harry Potter and The Cursed Child didn’t change anything. I know it had some big plot holes, out of character behaviors, plots that were worth of fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org but for me it was more about receiving something new of Harry Potter, feeling that the story wasn’t over even after all these years. It was the laughter that brought the play and the tears at the cliché moments. I do think though that people who are going to see it in the theater and don’t want to spoil themselves by reading it first are going to enjoy it more and are probably going to be more positive about it.
I only wish I could go and see the play now, though I know it’s impossible. I do love the actors though, I though they did great casting. Hopefully one day we might get to see it on YouTube or somewhere illegally.