This weekend the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was published, and many Harry Potter fans reacted in horror after they read it and realized how terrible it was. I have to warn you that I won’t #keepthesecrets (as they demanded people who saw the stage play do) in this article as it’s impossible to explain how terrible the story is without spoiling the ending.
Basically, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an extremely lazy romp through the events of Harry’s life via his son. The final Harry Potter story brought his journey to a satisfying close, showing that nineteen years later he was free of pain. It featured great loss, but showed how through friendship people could deal with those issues. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child spits in the face of that story and uses a lazy plot contrivance just for fan service.
The story is about Harry, Ron, and Hermoine’s kids at Hogwarts. Harry’s Slytherin son Albus gets a hold of a Timetwister and goes back in time to The Goblet of Fire and tries to stop Cedric from winning the Triwizard Tournament. This is nothing more than an excuse for fan service, as with Albus going back in time it allows them to have popular characters who died in the original story pop up in the play. Putting Snape in there was just an excuse for applause.
It’s an incredibly lazy story written by some playwrights who are preying on nostalgia. The whole #keepthesecrets thing from the play wasn’t to protect any major secret in here, it was to protect sales of the publish script. Because if people who saw the play warned other Harry Potter fans how terrible the story was, people wouldn’t have lined up at midnight this weekend to buy the book.
To be fair the play wasn’t written by Rowling, it’s just a script she approved of. However, I have a theory as to why she would approve of this nostalgia cash-in.
For a long time people have been calling Harry Potter the “Star Wars” for the generation that grew up in the 2000s. And with the eight movies, one could definitely see how that is an apt comparison. People literally grew up with these characters. However, I think that comparison may have gone to Rowling’s and Warner Bros’ heads.
I say that because after Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the forth-coming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it feels like they’re trying to get the Harry Potter franchise to continue beyond the seven years of Hogwarts and the excellent closure The Deathly Hallows gave to that story. So Harry Potter and the Cursed Child retcons that ending in an attempt to turn Harry Potter into a generational story.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the Prequel (set some 70 years before Harry’s time in school) and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the Sequel. But they handled the Sequel terribly. This is like having The Force Awakens retcon the ending of Return of the Jedi where The Emperor kills Luke Skywalker just so they can continue to have Palpatine be the villain in the sequel trilogy. Say what you will about The Force Awakens reusing elements from A New Hope, they at least came up with a new villain.
Should you read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (or see the play?). Not really. Read a summary of the story and save yourself from the pain. Hopefully Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (which Rowling did actually write) turns out a lot better than this did.