- Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Script for a Play)
- Author: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne
- Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 09/11/2016
This is a script book – a script for a play. I knew that going in, and I’ve read many television and film scripts before (though not as many plays) so I knew going in what to expect (dialogue labeled by character, very little description, etc). I also found that I was quickly absorbed into the plot as I have been by the rest of the Harry Potter series, and especially during the second act.
Harry’s son, Albus Serveus Potter is about to start his first year at Hogwart’s. But Albus and Harry are already having father-son problems. Harry isn’t really sure how to be a parent – and Albus doesn’t like being the son of the “oh so famous” Harry Potter. That would be enough fuel for a more generic “next generation” novel – but Rowling is a stronger writer than that and produces a much stronger play. In the first few scenes, Albus leaves his family and is happy about it (but for entirely different reasons that Harry’s joy at leaving his foster family) and on the train to Hogwarts meets Scorpius Malfoy who’s sitting all alone on the train because nasty rumors are already circulating about his parentage. Albus and Scorpius become fast friends – much to the horror of Harry. Albus is also sorted into Slytherin House.
Albus over-hears part of a conversation between Amos Diggory (father of Cedric Diggory) and his father, Harry. When Harry denies having access to a time turner and refuses to help “bring back Cedric” – Albus starts to jump to conclusions. When he finds out the Ministry of Magic has a Time Turner, and it’s in Hermione’s office (Hermione being the Minister of Magic), Albus talks Scorpius into helping him steal it. The two then plot to keep Cedric alive by stopping him from winning the first task during the Triwizarding cup.
However, though they succeed in causing him to fail – when they return to the present, things have changed, instead of marrying Hermione and running a joke shop – Ron is serious and married to Padil. Rose Granger-Weasley no longer exists. Hermione, rather than Minister of Magic, is a teacher – and not a good one. Albus and Scorpius realize they’ve made a horrible mistake.
Unfortunately, in trying to fix it – they make things worse, much worse, and we see a world where Harry Potter died and Voldemort won the Battle at Hogwarts. Now the world “lives” in an era of Nazi-like tyranny – with Muggles being sent to concentration camps, and upstanding wizards being in fear of their lives. Hermione and Ron are outlaws, and Snape is alive and with them. Ron, Snape, and Hermione give their lives so Scorpius can escape and reverse what has happened (Albus no longer exists because Harry died.)
Scorpius is able to somewhat set things right – but someone who had pushed Albus and Scorpius to use the time-turner in the first place turns out to be not who they think she is. The last half of the second act is a race – a race to prevent a re-writing of everything we know about Hogwarts and the characters who occupy that world.
This novel is about generational prejudice. Harry doesn’t want Albus to be friends with Scorpius because he’s Draco’s son. And Harry (especially in his alternate guise) is, well, not as much a “controlling” father – as someone who in trying to spare his son pain – fails to let him make his own choices, and even his own mistakes. The rest of the Wizarding World has similar issues – having ignored the signs of Voldemort’s return while Harry and company were at school – they now lean too far in the other direction and are beginning to see Death Eaters under every tree and bush. Especially for the children and grandchildren of Death Eaters and their allies – the prevailing thought is that family association makes one guilty. This is unfair to children like Scorpius, who really is a very good, yet lonely, child.