Latest Addition to Harry Potter Series Disappoints


Harry Potter returns to print in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” after nine years of much-waited excitement since the last installment in the series. Published in script format with acts and scenes, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” was written by playwright Jack Thorne, and not author J.K. Rowling.

The script takes place 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts as Harry Potter sees his youngest son, Albus Severus Potter, off to his first year at Hogwarts. Albus becomes the first Slytherin in the family, and quickly becomes unsociable in Hogwarts. In his first four years, he only finds one friend: Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, a fellow Slytherin and the son of Draco Malfoy, who was Harry’s childhood rival. Albus embarks on a journey through time with Scorpius to save Cedric Diggory—a former Hogwarts student—to resolve Harry’s guilt of not being able to save Cedric. In the process, Albus and Scorpius accidentally set off a series of chain reactions that result in alternate dimensions.

Despite the anticipation for the book and the seemingly exciting plot, the play is a weak chapter in the series with its roundabout plot structure, aimless plot twists and minimal character development.

The plot takes you through multiple alternate realities for little to no reason, and most of the alternate realities could be easily taken out. Although it might be somewhat interesting to see a reality where the dark wizard Voldemort triumphed over Harry, there is no reason why the reader would need to see this alternate reality. However, Thorne puts the reader through another two or three scenes to see a dimension that doesn’t move the plot of the book forward at all. Thorne takes you through more than five dimensions, and only one of them serves any actual purpose in the overall plot. Most of the script is pointless filler between the crucial pieces of the script.

The plot of the script is certainly choppy, but also contains plot twists that don’t logically fit in with the rest of the plot of the entire series. The biggest problem in the plot is the overwhelming amount of contradictions in time travel throughout the script. The introduction of long-term time travel certainly complicated the laws of time in the series. Although the script states that one can only travel back in time for a period of up to five minutes, the characters spend well over 30 minutes when they do travel back in time. Not only are there holes in time travel throughout the script, time travel seems to be a weak and unoriginal idea to revisit past characters, such as Severus Snape and Dolores Umbridge.

In terms of character development, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” performs horribly. The other installments in the series had detailed characterization, but in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, there is not enough time spent developing characters and their relationships with one another. In the previous seven installments, characters were heavily described physically and emotionally. However, in the script, there is only a brief paragraph describing a character’s physical appearance when the reader first encounters him or her. Other than that, the script doesn’t offer much direct insight into the characters’ personality.

The quality of the script begs the question, “Why would Rowling ever approve this work?”

However, in the midst of all of this negativity, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” performs well in certain ways, specifically the introduction of Scorpius Malfoy and the variety of the installment.

Scorpius Malfoy is one of the very few overwhelmingly positive parts of the book. His brave, sarcastic personality proved to be one of the few personal motivators to continue reading the script. His genuinely hilarious comments and bright character convinced me to rate him as one of my favorite characters in the entirety of the series. Although nothing in the book described Scorpius’ personality, his words and actions proved to be incredibly descriptive of his own character. Although he is a social outcast who was falsely accused of being Voldemort’s own son, Scorpius was able to be brave in the midst of opposition. Moreover, his journey with Albus throughout the script would have been deadbeat if Scorpius had not been there.

Although the script was lacking in many ways, the script was a refreshment in the series. With the seven previous books being novels, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” was written in script format. This provided a new perspective on how to read the series as a whole. As scripts are primarily dialogue-driven, the reader was able to focus more on characters’ actions and words in order to better understand them.

All in all, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” personally sits at a 3.5 out of 5. The many plot holes and undescriptive, uninspiring writing has created a heavy weight on the series’ legacy. In the aftermath of reading the script, my expectations were severely let down. Readers would be better off if “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” wasn’t considered to be canon.

Written by Brandon Win, Staff writer
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The Breakdown

Character Development
Plot Development
Style of Writing

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