The Cursed Child. Where do I start?
My first thought was that, for the most part, the characters didn’t sound like the characters we know from all seven novels and eight films. If I didn’t pay attention to who was saying which line, I couldn’t identify who was speaking. The characters did have distinctive voices, but they were not the voices they had in the books. For example, Ron. I started off enjoying Ron’s character, but as the play continued it became obvious that his character was nothing more than a way of providing some comic relief. Sure in the books Ron can be funny, but he’s also so brave and integral to the story. It’s as though we are supposed to forget this Ron and just accept now that he is a bit of a buffoon. I felt similarly about a lot of the older characters and thought that they were quite one-dimensional.
The plot. The plot was so exciting. Don’t get me wrong, I had some issues with it, but it was certainly an adventure and I didn’t want to put it down once this action really kicked off.
Time turners. They brought back time turners. Why? I really enjoyed Prisoner of Azkaban originally, and still do now, but we all know that introducing time travel into the mix was a mistake. If they were giving time turners to third year students to take extra classes, surely someone earlier on would’ve thought to stick Voldemort in Azkaban years ago, before he really started to gain any power or following? We have had to accept this plot flaw, and for the most part we have, and we have accepted that they were all destroyed during book five. But why then bring them back? They cause so much trouble!
We know from book three how the time turners work. The reality that they are living exists because when they were in the past they were merely another person in the past, unable to change the future. Time turners don’t change the future, the make the future possible. In book three everything Hermione and Harry did in the past was to make their present possible, not to change it. That’s how time travel works in this world. But that’s not how it worked in The Cursed Child.
If you can accept that flaw then the plot really is great. It’s exciting, and fast-paced. I liked how it referred to specific events from the original books, though if they were going to do that then they were going to have to do it exactly right. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t remember Goblet of Fire well enough, but I had difficulty believing that when Albus and Scorpius were at the events of the Triwizard Tournament that they were the same events I’d already read about. They didn’t have the same feel to them, and the dialogue was a bit off. But then perhaps that is because of the format and it would feel more real to actually watch the play.
Some old characters’ pieces of dialogue were just all wrong for me. For example, Bane didn’t sound like the Bane I remembered. Petunia (in Harry’s dream) wouldn’t have said some of the things she said. Myrtle was so disappointing. Myrtle is one of my favourite characters from the books, but she was nothing like book Myrtle in the script. However, I do think they really captured Dumbledore’s voice, and I really enjoyed the scene with Harry and Dumbledore, and I’m glad Harry finally got that bit of closure.
Can we talk about some of the alternate history sections? I enjoyed the scenes with Ron and Hermione in the timelines where they weren’t married, because it felt like the characters we know, and it took me back to reading about them the first time. Saying that, I didn’t like Hermione’s character when she was a professor. Was she really so bitter because she didn’t have Ron? Presumably there’s a lot more to it than that but unfortunately it wasn’t explored.
One other thing that I don’t think was explained well was how they were able to successfully transfigure Harry into Voldemort. This was way back in 1981 – did any of them even know what Voldemort looked like then? How could the successfully transfigure something they can’t accurately picture in their minds?
I also didn’t understand how Albus and Scoprpius were able to find the Polyjuice potion they needed. We know from Chamber of Secrets that it takes a month to make, and yet Albus and Scorpius had some to hand. Perhaps Delphi provided it, but even if she did how did she obtain hair from Ron, Hermione and Harry?
Speaking of Delphi, I was so suspicious of her from the start. Nothing was explained, everything she did was strangely convenient, and then we find out that she is Voldemort’s child. What?! That is so out of character. I know that Bellatrix was infatuated with him, so I can believe her character wanting to mother his child. But Voldemort? Is he even physically capable of creating a child? He’s really old and has lived for a long time without a body. If he’s lacking a nose, what else might he be lacking? It’s just so out of character and so unbelievable to me. We know Delphi was born just before the Battle of Hogwarts, but we see Bellatrix in Deathly Hallows and she’s definitely not visibly pregnant at least and there are absolutely no hints that she might be or might have been.
Sadly, we never get to see either Teddy or Neville in the script, and that’s really sad. I was interested to see if Teddy grew up to be at all like his parents, and see how Neville is getting on as a Hogwarts professor.
I did really like the relationship between Albus and Scorpius. It was nice to see some good guys in Slytherin, though they didn’t at all feel like Slytherins to me. But I enjoyed that aspect regardless, and their friendship was wonderful. At times I felt as though I was reading Carry On and I was almost routing for a Albus/Scorpius (Simon/Baz) romantic relationship. It felt so much like fan fiction. Though if it were fan fiction, they’d have become an established couple by the end.
In summary? This play was all about relationships: between Scorpius and Albus, Harry and Albus, Harry and Draco, Ron and Hermione, and more. You have to see it this way because if not all you will see are plot holes. Plot holes everywhere. The relationships were great, but it is impossible to see this script as a whole without the glaring plot holes. Though I enjoyed some aspects of this book, in the future I’d much rather reread one of the original novels, or even Carry On.
Perhaps this story would’ve worked better as a nine hundred page novel, and not a three hour long play. Perhaps all of the plot holes would have been filled if there were pages and pages used to explain them.