“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” review

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For years, fans of the blockbuster “Harry Potter” series have been waiting for additional stories and information about the fictional wizarding world created by author Joanne K. Rowling. The last book following Harry and his friends was released in 2007, while the final movie starring actor Daniel Radcliffe as the infamous Boy Who Lived hit theatres in 2010. Since then, fans have been anxiously following Rowling on social media, and even attempting to once again immerse themselves into the universe by participating in competitions on Pottermore, a website where fans can interact with a digital form of the wizarding world. There are also theme parks dedicated to the series in Universal Studios Orlando, where visitors can go on rides with the characters, buy wands, and of course, drink butterbeer.

All this has helped to make “Harry Potter” one of the most vast entertainment empires, although it’s been six years since any follow up material from Rowling has been officially released. However, fan hysteria has reached an all-time high since an official statement was made by the author announcing that there would be a sequel to the series titled “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” which is not a novel, but a two-part West End stage play based in London.

The script was written by screenwriter Jack Thorne, Rowling, and theatre director John Tiffany, and the story follows Harry’s son, Albus as he navigates his time in school at Hogwarts, attempting to maintain his relationship with his best friend Scorpius Malfoy while dealing with the expectations of having a famous father.

As a huge fan of the “Harry Potter” series, I gave into the excitement. The prospect of having a sequel to something that I’ve cared so much about since I was a kid ensured that. I even went to one of the many midnight release parties held in bookstores all across the country, even though I was on vacation at the time. So yes, I had high expectations. Were they met? Honestly, I have no clue.

I’ve never been so conflicted about anything I’ve read before. There were a plethora of things packed in that I loved; for example, the depth of most of the characters. The story mainly centers around Albus and Scorpius, and I can say that I really did feel like I knew them right off the bat. That aspect felt like a “Harry Potter” novel, the characters were extremely relatable and only 20 pages in, I could tell a lot about their personalities by the way they spoke and acted. Also, sentimentally the script does a great job of putting in references to the old series, without piggybacking off of it. Although the writers utilized the original characters, they also added many new elements and plots to the story that fans haven’t seen before.The old and new were perfectly tied in, as we got to read about all of our favorite characters including Harry’s best friends Ron and Hermione in action as adults, and they have huge roles in the show. We also get to see what happened to Draco Malfoy, Harry’s adolescent arch-enemy and Scorpius’ father. This is where the main drama comes in, and also brings both generations of characters together into the story. My favorite part of the show was probably Albus and Scorpius’ unwavering friendship and support of one another. It’s the heart of the show, and gives the audience a nice break from the otherwise stressful, and often confusing, but action-packed storyline.

This story is definitely not for those who want a light read, and many fans have actually complained on social media about how strange the plot is. There’s a lot that can be said about it, but it can be boiled down to a few key things.

First, there are inconsistencies concerning the laws of magic formerly established in the series. Multiple characters are seen performing wandless spells, a feat that not even great wizards such as Dumbledore could do in the books. More ridiculously, one of the new characters, Delphi was able to fly. No spell, curse, or broom behind it, she just flew; but perhaps the worst of all was the trolley witch. The trolley witch is a character seen throughout the series often, and she is an old lady who goes around the train with a small trolley cart selling candy and sweets. It is simple enough until Albus and Scorpius try to leave the train and the trolley witch not only follows them to the roof of the moving vehicle, but reveals that her sweets double as grenades. Then, she grows spikes for hands.

That being said, things looked like they couldn’t get any more wild from there, and that was fairly early in the script. Then, Delphi was introduced. I’d say that my biggest complaint about the story is the fact that Delphi was written into it. She’s completely evil, and has absolutely no dimension. Her background does not align with the timeline of the “Harry Potter” universe whatsoever, nor does it even really make sense. Worst of all, the story really does progress almost completely because of her. The plot would be much less confusing if it didn’t rely so heavily on an inconsistent character with a cliché backstory; but, again, this is the biggest problem with the show.

The rest is very enjoyable, and I can say that while it’s not the best sequel I’ve been hoping for, I’ve grown to weigh the good qualities of it over the bad ones.

According to Rowling, this is it for “Harry Potter.” If this is the final installment of the series, I admit that I’m happy with the way it ended, and that I got to relive some of the childhood excitement I had when digging into the books for the first time. Overall, I’d definitely recommend that fans give it a shot, and to not take the few flaws it has too seriously.