Sunday, August 14, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne


I cannot believe that I just read a brand new Harry Potter book. I repeat I CANNOT BELIEVE I JUST FINISHED A BRAND NEW HARRY POTTER BOOK. It never crossed my mind in the years that follow since the books and movies have ended that I would find myself reading more adventures about Harry and the gang again particularly after Deathly Hallows. I worshiped the films as a child, I saw the 1st movie twice in the same day of its released and I played all the video games, dressed up like Harry for Halloween, except participate in the midnight release parties because I never read the books until High School.

I wished my passion for reading would have started way sooner because I would have been the million of fans waiting in line in costume waiting for the final book to be released and be part of the conclusion of this beautiful story. Now that the play was being released I was able to participate in that chaos of waiting for the book as millions of fans got to reunite in a bookstore speculating what the play is going to be about and whether this will the end or the continuation of the franchise. 

More than a year ago when this play was announced I had no clue what the plot was going to be about because if you are one of the millions who have read Deathly Hallows, the ending is self-explanatory. I figured maybe it will be about Harry Potter as an adult kicking ass for the ministry of magic and trying to make the Wizarding world a better play but then the title was released and it became Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The title alone speaks volumes and endless possibilities what the play was about and then I realized that the main focus is going to be about the kids and I was right.

In many ways Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has many implications in the play which I found fascinating because it implied many characters and their relationships to one another and I am glad that J.K. Rowling still has the magic touch even though she didn't write the play.


For the millions who have devour this play already, I've seen the reviews and for the most part they either loved it, liked it, or hated it which is perfectly fine. Not every book is going to be a blockbuster for others. But what I've noticed in many reviews from different people in the literary community, they leave out the fact that they went into this book expecting a novel and for many this is the first time reading a play so I can understand their frustrations but if you enter this play with fresh eyes and no expectations this could be a magical experience for you.

The play is divided into two parts with a total of 4 Acts. It begins immediately where Deathly Hallows ended which is Harry and the gang dropping off their kids for the first time on the express train to Hogwarts. We meet James, Lily, Rose Granger-Weasley, and the main character Albus Severus Potter. He is Harry's second child and he is scared up to his wits about Hogwarts because he has big shoes to fill being the son of Harry Potter.

Immediately I fell in love with Albus because he reminded me so much of his father and the stubborn-side of the Weasleys and his cousin Rose is almost an exact replica of Hermoine except the annoyance level reaches a new high. Immediately I wanted to smack her because she enters the train with this cocky attitude that because her family is famous she can use that to her advantage when picking friends that made me think of her as a mean girl.

We can tell that Albus does not like the pressure especially how his family wants to recreate the same experience as when they were children because it's impossible to live the life of your father especially since the circumstances that Harry never knew he was a wizard until he was 11. Somehow history repeats itself and Albus makes a new friend on the train which is Scorpius Malfoy. I can just see the reactions of fans all around the world saying WHAT? Draco and Harry were mortal enemies how can this happen? Well it did happen, it's awesome, and they are my new favorite characters and besides Scorpius is hilarious. We learn he's an outsider because of his last name but it doesn't matter to Albus; just because your last name belongs to a horrible family doesn't mean you are a horrible person.

We get to see them arrive at Hogwarts and the sorting hat ceremony commences and Albus greatest fear happens which is he gets sorted into Slytherin with Scorpius and everything goes downhill from that moment on as he fails at everything that his father succeeded in Hogwarts. Albus basically is fighting two major wars: the war of what people expect him to be as Harry Potter's son and fighting the ghost that you will never be as successful as your father and we see the dilemma hurting him as the years go by. 

Shifting now to Harry life and its interesting to see him as an adult working for the Ministry. He obviously misses the days of Hogwarts and I believe while he had horrible moments growing up I believe deep down everything was perfect and innocent before the Battle of Hogwarts and now we see that grief and guilt affecting him as a grown adult. He is finally a father which doesn't help because he has no experience on what it means to raise a child and teach them about life when your own parents were murdered and you had awful relatives who treated you like garbage.

One day while working on the job, Hermoine and Harry come into possession of a time-turner which supposedly were all destroyed and the difference with this particular time-turner is it can go back in time to days or even years compare to Hermoine's in Prisoner of Azkaban. It's absolutely dangerous and should be destroyed but Hermoine holds on to it. Already the wheels start spinning for me and by then the plot became predictable but I was still entertained. 

Somehow word gets spread around and one evening Amos Diggory (father of Cedric Diggory aka Robert Pattinson in the 4th movie) visits Harry asking if he can use the time-turning to rescue his son and Harry says no. Albus overhears the conversation and cannot believe that his father won't help Amos. Albus is outraged by it and not being in good terms with Harry pushes him over and he decides he's going to take matters into his own hands and will retrieve the time-turner and save Cedric during the Triwizard tournament. While he knows the basic story of what happen in the tournament, he won't realize the repercussions of his actions till it's too late and not even considering the possibility that he can bring back Voldemort.

This is where I leave off for those who haven't read the play. I haven't spoiled much of the plot and trust me there's so much action that you won't believe it! Plus you shouldn't be reading a review for a book that you haven't read yet but are going to. Now I am placing a warning because the rest of this review will be about my thoughts and beliefs about the play going forward. 


This was a phenomenal play and I would love to see it in London because there were scenes like Albus and Scorpius jumping off the train, the time turner sequences, and trying to retrieve the time-turner that made perfect sense with CGI on film but on stage with a live audience that must be difficult and spellbinding at the same time if they did those scenes correctly.

I love this play and I cannot rave enough about it but if I am being completely honest: I wish this was a novel. In a play there is so much you can do with bringing characters together in scenes and I disliked how there wasn't enough scenes about Rose, Hugo, James and the other siblings. If this were written as a novel we would have gotten more action with these characters but because of time constraint and plot we got mini snippets with them and the main focus was Albus and Scorpius which makes sense since they are children of Draco and Harry. 

There were many scenes that needed explanation and in a novel J.K. Rowling could divulge plenty information about Hogwarts now, the characters, and the time-turner. Plus we got no scenes of Hagrid in the present tense which made me felt like he had died because he's not referenced except in scenes of Harry as a boy. But in the end I realize that J.K. Rowling didn't want to write a book because I know millions would automatically believe that she is setting everything up for HP Books 8-15. So by having this play acted out it leaves the readers to interpret the scenes and accept everything in face value until you see the play live in person.

Another major issue that I had in the book and I hope I wasn't alone was Albus and Scorpius relationship. These two characters reminded me a lot of Aristotle and Dante!! They way the communicated to each other, express their feelings, and how they bond it felt familiar to me and I was heartbroken when we finally reach the end and it all went to shit when Scorpius asked Rose out.

I do not know where I went wrong because 9/10 I am always right when it comes to gay romance in books and because they extremely similar to Aristotle and Dante I thought finally J.K. Rowling made a bold move and show gay romance in the Wizarding World. Some may say well Dumbledore is gay. Yea he is but it's not directly mentioned in the books and I guarantee you if someone had read just the books themselves without any outside knowledge they wouldn't have known that fact.

I felt like we got this organic relationship blossoming between these two characters and then rushing towards the end they try to make the friendship appear similar to Harry and Ron and ruined the moment. Harry and Ron are definitely straight based on the writing and the way they communicate to one another. But there were awkward scenes where Albus hugs Scorpius about 2-3 times throughout the play and they are long embraced hugs. There were countless homoerotic undertones that suggest they are a couple and if she decides to continue this series I hope this relationship is true and it's just a matter of Albus and Scorpius accepting their identity.

Now to one of my beliefs that has made people outraged. It is revealed Voldemort apparently has a daughter and the mother is Bellatrix Lestrange. The whole baby drama was being foreshadowed from the very beginning but with the wrong child. The character Delphi was extremely obvious she was a villain from the first moment we laid eyes on her. I do not believe she is Voldemort's daughter and here is my reasons why:

1. Voldemort thought he was going to successfully kill Harry Potter and therefore didn't need an offspring to avenge him. Plus if he had a child he would have that fear that the child would try to destroy him and that's a big no no for him.

2. Voldemort did not know the meaning of love. That was the whole point because he never felt genuine love and was never raised with compassion and empathy, he always felt like an outcast and went into a dark place where he made the sick connection that he can be powerful without human emotions and that's why he tried every possible course to remove all that is human about him including his name.

3. You do not have to be in love to have sex with people but regardless having sex with someone makes a connection whether you acknowledge or not. While I have no doubt that Bellatrix would gladly sleep with her master, I do not think Voldemort would be capable enough to sleep with anyone. He's crazy, angry, and lack all human emotions so he couldn't bond with someone sexually even if he wanted to. I could see if Voldemort had succeeded in killing Potter that he would help raise the child under his image as the first child under his new regime.

4. Plus I believe her real parents are Bellatrix and her husband. Her Husband was sent to Azkaban after the Battle of Hogwarts and I believe by having his child hidden from the world, he could teach her how to become powerful and try to resurrect the Dark Lord and what better way then telling her that Voldemort is her father and this made up prophecy.

5. From my understanding, all prophecies either end up being recorded and stored in the Ministry of Magic or a famous prophet like Trelawney (thanks to her ancestors) would have spoken about a prophecy years ago to Dumbledore or someone of high position so I believe the prophecy was made up by Delphi to cater to her own agenda. 

I was excited to see familiar faces again especially Snape and I wanted to tear up when he mentions how he took up the cause for Lily but along the way he found himself and love Harry Potter. Plus how he was proud that Harry named his second child as Albus Severus Potter after the two names of one of the respected and powerful wizards. Dumbledores scenes are still as powerful in the books and we got to see a vulnerable yet wise side of him even though he was a painting. It was intense between him and Harry and I love how in many ways he still helps Harry even though he is dead and his painting is speaking for him. I wanted to cry when Albus and Scorpius met Cedric during the maze and couldn't do nothing except watch him run to his death but at least he knew his father loved him.

Then the moment where the flood gates opened and couldn't hold it in which is Harry watching his parents being murdered and he couldn't do nothing about it. He had visions growing up of the murder but it's always been distorted and he only remembers his mothers screams and trying to protect him. But this time around he saw his father getting killed instantly and then his mother pleading for his life. We read those scenes countless before but when I was reading it I felt like I was part of the scene and got caught up in the moment and it felt real. I cannot describe the experience but I felt like my heart was being ripped out while reading and watching that scene being played out in my head. 

Harry and Albus are extremely similar and I believe that is part of the reason why it was difficult for both of them to bond because Harry saw himself in Albus and his son thought of Harry as the savior and not a human being. Living under your fathers or any parents light can be quite difficult when you want to stand out from the crowd and hearing all these tales of your father saving the day makes it seem that he is this perfect savior and that makes you more of a task and not a person and that really affected Albus and the way he approaches his father. The other issue is Harry wants Albus to experience everything that Harry missed out in his life like his parents, growing up not knowing he was a famous wizard, and growing up in a happy household that it backfired on Albus who knows everything about his family past. One quote that fits perfect with this is when Harry is speaking to Draco and says:

"Love blinds. We have both tried to give our sons, not what they needed, but what we needed. We've been so busy trying to rewrite our own pasts, we've blighted their present." 

Can I quickly mention how bad I want to see the scene on stage of Draco and Harry fighting each other in the kitchen? It reminded me of when they were kids and it brought back warm feelings in that intense moment until Ginny comes back. Also Hermoine as Ministry of Magic? CONGRATULATIONS GIRL! I see you moved up the ranks and I guarantee you she will be one of the best Ministers in history! Plus I love how when Albus and Scorpius was messing with time, she became essentially Snape (and Ron is Lily) and then a rebel warrior which was interesting how she survives any obstacle no matter how rough life gets for her. 

I had a marvelous time reading this play and I read it nonstop. I didn't want to take a moment to pause because I felt like I would miss an important detail. I usually tend to not reread books but once I finish reading the Harry Potter series again I will gladly read this play again to see if I retrieve something different that I didn't see the first time around.

Usually I write reviews right after I finish reading the book and yet with this play I wanted to take my time and throughly process everything. Rowling has announced that this is the end for Harry Potter and whether that is true or not I will never know until they make announcement for a brand new Harry Potter story whether it be a play, movie, tv show, or any other form of art that illustrates this magnificent world of magic and storytelling. This play was not enough to fill up my Harry Potter hunger but it's a milestone compare to the epilogue of Deathly Hallows. I feel like I am back at square one when it comes to Harry's future but I am grateful for this journey that J.K. Rowling has taken us on and being kind enough to publish the play for those who are unable to see the play in London.

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