This is a spoiler free review
[Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, based on an original story by J.K Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany]
Me two weeks ago: NO, I can’t! I just can’t. What if it ruins everything and I’m never able to read Harry Potter again?! But, what if it ends the series perfectly and it’s over…OVER…O.V.E.R. I’m not ready for that. Not yet, I need more time.
My boyfriend: Lizz, why are you shouting at that book..?
Part of me always hoped that J.K would give us another Harry Potter book (maybe following a younger Dumbledore or the Marauder’s adventures in Hogwarts), but after my wish was finally granted I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do – think dog chasing car.
When J. K. Rowling announced the release of the eighth and final Harry Potter story, the world simultaneously became extremely excited and extremely nervous. None of us ever really wanted to let go of Harry, but let’s be honest we weren’t sure whether what we were about to be given would live up to or ruin the futures we imagined for all of these characters in our head.
Personally, I was quite scared, I brought the play the day it came out, but I put off reading it for almost a month. This play has got so many mixed reviews (ranging from one of my friends claiming that it was perfect closure, one review I love refusing to rate it because he didn’t look it or hate it ‘it just exists to me’, and one of my friends mocking it, and claiming it was just poorly written fanfiction) that at one point I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to read it.
In the end I had to compromise and pretend I wasn’t reading a Harry Potter play, it was something else, anything else.
And in the end, I was pleasantly underwhelmed. This play was neither the end of the world, or the closure I wanted. I think it would have been so much fun to see this play in the West End with all the special effects and fantastical staging, but as a script it was nothing special.
The play itself was not particularly well written. I have to read quite a lot of plays for my classes so the formatting of this book didn’t phase me. I had a few problems with this script as a script, before we even get to the story. (1) None of the characters really had individual or distinguishable voices (playwriting 101: not all characters sound the same). (2) The dialogue was awkward in many places and more expositional then it needed to be. (3) For a play it was really long – like longer than most shakespeare plays (all together the two plays are 6 hours 15 minutes). The plays are too long to see as one play but not enough happens in either of them individually to make it worth paying to see both.
Story-wise I don’t have much to say.
I didn’t hate the plot but I was caught up in it or wowed by it. I thought it was a clever idea and I did enjoy some of the alternate timeline twists.
Seeing the trio, Ginny and Malfoy grown up was a lot of fun and the highlight of the play for me. Hermione and Ron’s relationship was a blast. Most of the times I laughed at this play were because of banter between these five characters. Also Malfoy has a ponytail now!!!!!! We got to see more Ginny which I’m happy about because Ginny is the best and she’s grown up to be a loving, patient badass like we all knew she would.
Concerning the claims that this reads like bad Harry Potter fanfiction, the week before I read this play I read Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell, which has also been called bad Harry Potter fanfiction. Which did I prefer? The Cursed Child without a shadow of a doubt! In The Cursed Child had an original story and plot that answered my questions at the end.
If this play had been a novel, and had not been labeled as Harry Potter I think that it could have done really well. It beautifully explores the ideas of what happens when the chosen one grows up and what life is like for the generation afterwards who have to deal with the decisions their parents made. But it was a Harry Potter play and therefore underwhelmed many, many people.