WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Like many other people my age, who grew up reading the Harry Potter books, watching the films and generally being massive fangirls (or boys) over the franchise, I rushed to buy my copy of The Cursed Child as soon as it hit the bookshelves. Luckily for me, I was off to Portugal that day, so I got my copy at W.H. Smith Gatwick and flew away with it tucked under my arm.

I’m proud to say I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in a mere 5 hours (lunch break included) so when the play, considerably shorter than the mammoth HP books, came out, I knew I could have it finished by the time the flight ended. And I did.

Naturally, as a play it was going to be different to the book series; it’s an entirely different format, and it isn’t actually written by J.K. Rowling herself. The play has since received mixed reviews, mainly from fans who felt dissatisfied with the characterisation of the characters we know and love, and through issues with the plot.

There’s no denying the plot is at times wacky, containing all sorts of weirdness like time-travel, rumours of Scorpius Malfoy being Voldemort’s son, the existence of a woman who turns out to be Bellatrix and Voldemort’s love child, Harry temporarily turning into Voldemort, and the presence of Snape. Put like that, it seems like the most bizarre piece of fan fiction ever, but it does make sense when reading it, trust me!

“There’s something wonderful about being back with the characters I grew up with”

Despite this, I did actually enjoy it, especially as there’s something wonderful about being back with the characters I grew up with. It’s lovely to see Harry and Ginny’s relationship and to see that Hermione and Ron haven’t divorced yet. I do, however, refuse to accept Albus being in Slytherin, or that he hates Quidditch is canon, but that’s for another article. Furthermore, as a massive fan of Dumbledore and Harry’s relationship in the books, I did really appreciate a scene in which Dumbledore, in portrait form, admits his mistakes and tells Harry he loved him (I cried at that bit).

Furthermore, as a massive fan of Dumbledore and Harry’s relationship in the books, I did really appreciate a scene in which Dumbledore, in portrait form, admits his mistakes and tells Harry he loved him (I cried at that bit).

“Hermione has become a massive bitch”

It’s also interesting to read the scenes in which Albus goes back in time to rescue Cedric Diggory from his untimely death in Goblet of Fire, and how much that changes things. In one scenario Ron is married to Padma Patil and has a son called Panju, and Albus is in Gryffindor. One issue I have with this is that as a result, Hermione has become a massive bitch, which is entirely at odds with her characterisation.

The books constantly enforced that Hermione was a strong, independent woman and didn’t need a man, so why does she become cruel and unfeeling simply because Ron didn’t marry her?!

“You can see how problematic this can be for fans”

Another scenario consists of Voldemort having won the Battle of Hogwarts, killing Harry in the process, leaving Umbridge Headmistress of Hogwarts. This is where Snape comes in, who is hiding Hermione and Ron (keeping up?!).

The three are all then killed by Dementors, and we discover that Cedric Diggory has become a Death Eater and killed Neville. You can see how problematic this can be for fans, however, overall the plot comes together to create quite an interesting and fun storyline.

“It’s obvious that it’s meant to be viewed rather than read”

When reading it, it’s obvious that it’s meant to be viewed rather than read, something that is clear to see from the overwhelmingly positive reviews that the West End play has had. Sadly, until I can get tickets to see the play, I’ll be stuck with the book version, which, whilst a good read, and whilst it is lovely to immerse oneself back into the world of Harry Potter, seems to have caused more problems than it solved.

Emily Harbottle

Image credit: Amy Wilcockson

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