Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

As many people know, the nerd world lost its collective mind when it was announced that there would be an eighth installment of the Harry Potter series. I, too, was overjoyed at the thought that I would get to revisit the world of Harry Potter. Unfortunately, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was not a return to the sparkling world of witchcraft and wizardry. Instead, it was more like going to your high school reunion only to discover that your old crush had peaked about halfway through sophomore year.

I’ll admit, I read Cursed Child in one day; it wasn’t that I found the story boring or bad. In fact, it has a great premise: Harry Potter’s second son goes off to Hogwarts and is sorted into Slytherin. To top it off, he becomes best friends with Draco Malfoy’s son. It’s a great idea, as it offers a complete perspective shift of Hogwarts. Sadly, the story-line is primarily driven along by the poor relationship between Harry and his son, which is a story that has been told many times over. The joy that readers felt when reading the initial seven books was primarily related to the sense of wonderment surrounding the wizarding world. I remember being nine years old and feeling completely enveloped by the magic of it all; Harry’s early adventures were deeply entertaining. Sadly, Cursed Child does nothing to recapture that wonderment and joy.

Ultimately, the problem with Cursed Child is that it reads like fan fiction. J.K. Rowling did a wonderful job of world-building in the first seven books. The plot grew in ways that felt preordained and never contrived. This was not so with Cursed Child. It was clear that this was a story that was created much later than the original story, and there was nothing in the original seven books that pointed toward the happenings of Cursed Child. As someone who has loved the world of Harry Potter for over half my life, I was sorely disappointed by everything that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child lacked. It could have been much, much better.

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