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Does The Cursed Child Live Up to the Hype? (Spoilers)

Hannah Quinn, Writer

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If you’re anything like me, Harry Potter was an integral part of your childhood. You probably sport your Hogwarts house colors regularly (Ravenclaw represent!) and extensively understand the rules of Quidditch. So when J.K. Rowling announced the eighth Harry Potter story would be released in 2016, Potterheads around the world lost their collective minds.

The “book” is actually an enhanced script from a live stage show taking place in London. Rather than focusing on Harry, Ron, and Hermione, The Cursed Child revolves around the iconic characters’ children. ┬áNamely, Harry’s youngest son, Albus Severus, who attends his first year of Hogwarts nineteen year’s after Voldemort’s defeat.

Like I expected, the first few scenes of the play were full of nostalgia. I felt like I was finally on the Hogwarts Express again, and needless to say my expectations were high. And for the first few scenes, they were fulfilled. I texted some of my friends about how excited I was to be back with the gang again. But then the script went off the rails. Literally.

Albus, after an argument with Harry, decides to ditch the Hogwarts Express with his best friend Scorpius Malfoy (yes, THAT Scorpius Malfoy.) Albus, like the typical emo teen he is, thinks that Harry doesn’t understand him and believes that his father doesn’t take responsibility for all the people who died for him, mainly Cedric Diggory. So he and Scorpius ditch the train and decide to get their hands on a Time Turner and save Cedric’s life. Like I said, literally off the rails.

Overall, the plot just felt fanfiction-y and bizarre. The time travel arc is messy and a little confusing, and some of the new character’s backstories are almost unbelievable. One of Scorpius’s main challenges in the story is to confront the rumors circulating about him: that he’s actually Voldemort’s child. And the reasoning behind it is just as crazy as it sounds. Supposedly, Draco and his wife Astoria couldn’t have children, so in order to preserve the Malfoy line and produce a strong heir, Draco sent Astoria back with a Time Turner to the days when Voldemort was still alive…. You see where this is going. This was the point when the play really fell apart for me. Not only is that idea ridiculous behind human comprehension, it also is logically flawed. If Scorpius were Voldemort’s child, he wouldn’t even be a Malfoy. He’d be a Riddle, which completely negates the reasoning that Draco wanted a blood heir to carry on his family name. This is about as believable as the Hogwarts Express trolley witch having spikes for hands and throwing pumpkin pasty grenades at students (this actually happens in the play.)

But all these glaring flaws don’t mean there weren’t things I liked about the book. Hermione is Minister of Magic, as she should be! Finally the wizarding world has the leader they deserve. I also love the idea of Albus and Scorpius being best friends and essentially mending the petty rift that Draco and Harry were too stubborn to repair for seven years. Albus Severus is sorted into Slytherin, much to his dismay. After seven books of Harry irrationally pegging all Slytherins as Death Eaters, it’s about time we had a Slytherin main character who is actually good down to their soul and doesn’t live up to the stereotypes.

I think all the years of waiting for a new Harry Potter story allowed me to build up my expectations to unattainable levels. But whatever you think about The Cursed Child, remember that Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

 

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Does The Cursed Child Live Up to the Hype? (Spoilers)