Book Review: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

Book Review: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

For a script (not even a novel!) that has been selling like hot cakes since its launch on 31st August, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is here to stay. The first thing we notice about the book is its title- for we are told that the book is Albus Potter’s story, about what happened “19 Years Later”, and yet it bears the common name which the 7-book series did. Famously announced by J.K. Rowling as “the last instalment in the Harry Potter world”, the Potterheads will treasure it like Dobby and his sock. But unlike Dobby who was freed with it, we are bound further in this world which we do not wish to leave.

Let me be clear about some facts first- that it is not a novel, so to all those who were commenting “Cursed Child is a huge disappointment”, it was announced much earlier that it is just a script- a script of a play in London.

Secondly, this is also not sole J.K.Rowling- she is joined by two other writers, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. So to many who comment on how it isn’t like the earlier books, it is not supposed to be.

The review comes in much later as compared to the earlier ones, for I have not only read the book unspoiled (A huge task if you’re a part of any HP fan club online), but have also been a part of the trolls and memes and fan stories surrounding the new one. Also, if you’re an Indian Potterhead like me, you know that the book arrives late or are still deciding whether the 580 rupees (approximately) are worth it. I bought it at an impulse, hailing our queen JK, and would advise you to stick with the pdf copy for now (I know it has been doing its rounds), and wait for those prices to drop.

I am not criticising the book, I am merely saying that like loads of other Potterheads, I too went in with the expectations of the same magic generated by the sweet seven, and came out with a tad bit of disappointment. Though with disappointment also came an understanding- the same realisation that Harry faces in the book- that his world is not so adventurous like earlier, as he swaps his death threats to desks, and gets only in trouble when his younger son, bored, is in danger.

Albus Severus Potter was doomed beforehand, with so many expectations riding on his huge name. But he is a surprise and a delight- much like the ones he has been named after- as he challenges notions and fights his own battles, and when battles do not come his way, he creates danger himself.

The first shock comes to us during the Sorting ceremony itself- when he is placed in Slytherin, as we gasp and then murmur in resignation, “Well, his father was initially placed there too”. But he does not fight. No, not here. Instead we see him being best friends with Scorpius- the SECOND hero of the novel, yes, this one has two- who surprises us with his nobility and wit, reminding us of Neville and Hermione.

Yes, we miss some characters- George Weasley, for one- but have a time-travelling journey into the past and alternate universes, as J.K. Rowling picks on some of the most popular instances of the course of Harry’s life and recreates them. There are no Marauders, No Amortentia, No Mirror of Erised, though we do have the Forbidden Forest, Professor Snape and Dumbledore, even Cedric, and yes, Voldemort!

Like Albus Potter, The Cursed Child also might have been a slight bit cursed, as we were riding all our hopes on this last instalment- probably too many, but I believe the play would do the script full justice. For us, who cannot visit London and see it, this is the next best thing. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child may look like exaggerated fan fiction, but it surely had touches of magic in it (Remember how Albus contacted Harry in the end?) In the end, Cursed Child or not, the Internet is going crazy over Panju, all thanks to the book. 😉

A listener, a learner, an observer. Coffee lover. Renowned for the poor quality of jokes made. A writer.