Okay, so because a ton of people didn't even know that an official 8th Harry Potter story (outlined by JK Rowling herself before being written by some playwrights I've never heard of before) was actually turned into a play, and this play script was recently released in the form of a book, I'm here to start things off with GIANT SPOILER WARNINGS!
SPOILER ALERT: I WILL SPOIL THE SHIT OUT OF HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD FROM NOW ON
If you ever intend to read this play script/book, see the play, or watch the inevitable movie, you may not wish to proceed. If, however, you don't plan to, or you don't really give a shit, well then, reader, read on!
Let me first take the time to explain to you why I chose that image for the title graphic of this review... That kind of has maybe something to do with the story at hand, but why I really chose it is because this new Potter story makes me feel like Severus Snape in this image — but instead of cradling the dead Lily Potter (murdered needlessly by the villainous Voldemort), I picture myself lovingly hugging the now besmirched and shat upon earlier Potter books penned by the once great JK Rowling. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is garbage. It is something crapped out for a quick buck that reads even more like terrible fanfiction than the final chapter of the 7th book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where everyone is safely shipped away, they all have beautiful families and children with weird, made-up-sounding names, and everything is rainbow jizz and unicorn farts. I wish it had never come to pass.
"What?!" you ejaculate like a slightly retarded dog that finally clamped down on its own tail after chasing it around in a circle for the last 30 minutes. "What is this?! How can this BE?! JK Rowling is infallible!!!"
I'll tell you the most basic problems with this two-part play (that's right, this thing is so crazy-convoluted, and obnoxiously and needlessly large that they actually turned it into TWO fucking plays!) right now. Number one, it's like this story was written by somebody who had never even read the first 7 Harry Potter tomes. There are plot holes so large and so incredibly apparent that anybody who's even just seen the Harry Potter movies once (while drunk and trying to get into Michelle Ridley's pants the whole time) would notice them. Number two, the dialogue is so stilted that it feels like JK and her bevy of playwrights were attempting to channel Willy Shakespeare, but instead called forth the spirit of Shakes the Clown (one of Bobcat Goldthwait's lesser characters... Think about that).
Let me back up a little now and tell you about the "plot."
So, things start off at Platform 9 3/4ths, where we left Harry and his family in the epilogue of the 7th book. Harry is sending his two boys, James and Albus, to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry for the start of the school year, 20 years after Harry murdered the Dark Lord in front of the magical community that one fateful night, during The Battle at Hogtarts.
Harry tries to comfort his younger son Albus, telling him that it'd be okay if he gets sorted into Slytherin House instead of the glorious Gryffindor House that everybody who wasn't stupid or evil went to.
This of course is a lie. You see, Albus DOES get sorted into Slytherin just because the ONLY person who apparently has ever been the slightest bit kind to him (a boy named Scorpius Malfoy, son to the Death Eater who tried to maim and kill Albus' dad many times in the past) offers him a seat on the train to their first year at Hotwarts. Albus is constantly pissed off at his dad for the sole reason that his father is famous and has a job that keeps him busy keeping the world safe from evil wizards. And it's not like Harry is never there for his kids, it's mainly that Albus is suffering from being a teenage twat. He's full of anger and cuntiness for no fucking reason other than the story calls for it. But I digress.
So it turns out that yes, Harry is kind of tweaked that his son Albus is now a Slytherin (the house that ALL the wicked wizards in the past came from), and 4 years go by pretty quickly wherein we see that Albus and Harry butt heads every second that they're together; Draco Malfoy (Harry's lifelong nemesis) is upset that his son's and Albus' friendship is a little too close for his taste; Albus' cousin (Ron and Black Hermione's daughter, Rose) finds Scorpius to be a weenie even though he crushes on her harder than the typical Harry Potter fangirl crushes on cake; and Delphi Diggory (cousin to Cedric Diggory, who was straight up "Avada Kadavra'd" by Voldetmortes in book 4) is looking for a way to magically revive her 24-year-dead relative because her uncle, Cedric's daddy, is still mourning for him.
Other than everyone acting like a royal prat, I was okay with things up until this point, but then they brought in that terrible plot device of the 20-year Time Turner. What the FUCK, JK? Really? Sloppy, lazy, shitty storytelling.
Okay, so in The Cursed Child, there exists a super special Time Turner device (a magical hourglass that can reverse time, as seen in book 3)... This super special Time Turner though, unlike the one in The Prisoner of Azkaban book, can do more than just turn back time by up to 7 hours, but not allow the user to actually CHANGE anything. This super special Timer Turner in The Cursed Child can allow the user(s) to travel up to 40 goddamn years through time, and actually affect what has originally come to pass, a la Back to the Future.
The reason this pisses me off so fucking much is because in the 3rd book it is made ABUNDANTLY clear that time travel in the Potterverse is a closed loop. Meaning that if somebody goes back in time, they've ALWAYS gone back in time, and that the effects of their time travel were ALWAYS there. Like when Harry saved himself and Sirius from the Dementors in book 3... The first time Harry experienced that period of time he is saved by somebody who casts a Patronus spell. The second time he lives through those events (after using the Time Turner to go back a few hours), Harry finds out that he himself cast that spell to save the younger version of himself. It always happened that way because you CAN'T CHANGE TIME. Time always was the way that it was.
This version of time travel is already established in the Harry Potter universe! You can't just alter its magical theories now and say that if somebody goes back in time with this NEW Time Turner, they CAN alter history and create an alternate "dark 1985" (as in Back to the Future 2), wherein Voldemort actually won the Wizarding War, and everything is gloomy and nightmarish, and there's a shitty casino where Gringotts used to be, and all our main characters are dead or in hiding. Book 3 is ALL ABOUT the fact that THAT CAN'T IN FACT HAPPEN.
Like I said, this Cursed Child play/book feels like it's written as fanfiction by a child who loved both Harry Potter and Hot Tub Time Machine (which of course they were waaaay too young to have seen, and SHAME on their parents for letting them watch that cinematic masterpiece!). It's like JK and her writing crew completely forgot what the previous books made canon, and were dead set to make their own version of Back to the Future 2, except with wizards instead of Marty and Doc Brown, because "it might be cool... Maybe." And not only that, but the flow and feel of Rowling's beautiful dialogue in the books is gone! Character interactions are all flat and have none of the fun humor, snappiness, or intensity of their book counterparts. It's like they didn't even try to match the play to the books' style in the least.
Anyway, back to the shlot (the "shit plot"). It turns out that Albus and Scorpius are being manipulated by this hot little 20 year-old piece of ass who claims to be Cedric Diggory's cousin, Delphi. But Delphi is actually (GREAT SHOCK!) Voldemort's real, literal, not kidding, really real daughter, and she's trying to get stupid, hard-up Albus and his dumb pal Scorpius to travel back in time, and make tiny "Butterfly Effect" changes that would cause her daddy dearest to not die by Harry Potter's hand, and instead rule the world with her by his side!
So, you ask, who's Delphi's mother? Well, in bad fanfiction form, it's of course Bellatrix LaStrange... Yeah.
"But, when did Bellatrix give birth to Delphi?" you ask like a semi-intelligent fanboy who can apparently keep track of plotlines better than the actual author. "She died by Voldemort's side in The Battle at Hogwash!"
Yes, she did. But in a throw away line in Cursed Child, we're told that Bellatrix gave birth to her blue-haired, tattooed, goth daughter just before that battle.... Think about that. She was pregnant with Delphi pretty much the full length of the 7th book, The Deathly Hallows, yet during that entire story not ONCE is Bellatrix described as pregnant, or "round," or "glowing," or "getting a bit hefty." Not to mention that when Hermione drank Bellatrix's polyjuice potion (when Bellatrix would have been in her 8th month of pregnancy) she didn't notice anything off at all after she magically transformed into the black-hearted woman! And Bellatrix was living with Draco in Malfoy Manor the whole supposed pregnancy too... Wouldn't he have known about this mystery child?
This is OBVIOUSLY not something JK Rowling planned on from the start of her Potter story. She was always so meticulous about knowing who did what and who was where at every point of her original 7 books, but this just reeks of amateurish craftsmanship... Not to mention the character of Voldemort would NEVER have produced a progeny! Having a child to carry on his name and purpose was against EVERYTHING his character stood for.
Voldemort never felt love for anybody either, and his only desire was for himself to live forever and rule the Wizarding World... Bellatrix pined for the Dark Lord, sure, but he never showed ANY lust for her, let alone any desire to fuck her brains out. He was so concerned with power that he was, for the most part, a magical eunuch. Once again, producing a child out of thin air is only something a stupid 10 year-old, or a desperate script-writer for a sitcom that's dipping in ratings would pen. It has no place in the official Harry Potter timeline... I feel sick. But let's get past this shitty turn of events and jump back into the (BWA HA HA HA!) story.
So, Albus and Scorpius stupidly go back in time and muddle with the Tri-Wizard Tournament from the 4th book, The Goblet of Fire in order to prevent Cedric Diggory from getting kacked by Moldy Voldy. Then time gets all wibbly-wobbly, and a dark "present world" forms around the lads when they return (which is another thing the earlier versions of Time Turners could not do... Return). A somber world where Voldemort was triumphant and Harry Potter died, and Cedric Diggory turned into a Death Eater and killed Neville Longbottom... No, I'm not making that shit up. That all happened. Oh, but then it's fixed pretty quickly, but then Delphi herself goes back in time (which, seriously, why didn't she do this in the first place), and then Albus and Hank Scorpio then get trapped back on the date that Harry's parents get moidured by Voldemort, but they send a message through time to Harry and company as to where and when they are through Harry's old baby blanket (don't ask), knowing full well that they used the only remaining Time Turner in existence to get there, and Delphi destroyed it, therefore leaving them stranded and devoid of any hope of rescue.... Don't think about it, Morty.
Well, it turns out that Draco Malfoy actually has ANOTHER super special Time Turner in his possession (because at this point, why the fuck not?), and it too can take him and Harry and Hermione and Ron and Ginny back to the date of Harry's parents' deaths. And when there, and all families are reunited (whilst leaving all their other children abandoned in the present), they stupidly transfigure Harry to look like Voldemort in order to trick Delphi into appearing so that they can capture her and keep her from telling her daddy about the future and thus getting his own killing curse rebounded upon himself when he tries to kill baby Harry. Then they all return to the present and everybody is somehow all better and okay with their lots in life even though NOTHING WAS SORTED OUT AT ALL.
The kicker is that they don't destroy Malfoy's super special Time Turner, and Harry and Hermininny never try to confiscate it, or use it to destroy all of Voldemort's horcruxes and then sneak up and shoot the motherfucker with a magic bullet or something when he skips on over to the Potter residence on Halloween back in '81. Or at the very least stop Dumbledore from ever putting the Gaunt ring on his hand (which led to his downfall)... Or go back in time to when Voldemort was an asshole orphan at the Orphanarium and drop a piano on him before he was even accepted into Hogwarts! They just proved that time travel can affect things, so why not save all those countless lives that Voldidimort killed over all those years of terror?
Whatever... The end. THEY SAID "THE END!"
End of Major Spoilers. Kind of.
The Cursed Child was an absolute goddamn mess. This is coming from a huge Harry Potter fan who's established 15-year-and-going friendships with people over Potter trivia. I loved the books, and was entertained by the movies, but this story had no redeeming values. The whole thing plays off like Rowling was so pissed off by the fandom begging for another Potter tale that she went ahead and wrote the outline for the most insane bullshit she could come up with in order to shut people down from asking for more in the future.
I hated the plot, I hated the dialogue, and I hated almost the entire cast... The only character who I thought was NOT a betrayal to their previous incarnation was Professor McGonagall, and she only had something like 10 lines in this thing. Every other player was stupid as all fuck, dumb as a retarded brick, or just as dense as a petrified redwood. I felt no sympathy for any of the main cast (Albus, Scorpius, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Draco, Ginny, or Delphi), and halfway through this story I was actually rooting for Voldemort to win so that NONE of the characters would exist any more in any timeline. But alas, earwax.
In the end I suffered through reading this 320-page script about a couple of intensely stupid teenagers being tricked into traps in ways that a semi-intelligent kindergartner would know to avoid, and a bunch of supposedly wizened adults acting all uber-emotional and illogical so as to compete with the eye-rollingly asinine teenagers in question when it comes to acts of absurd lunacy.
Since finishing the book/script and the review above, I've gone online to see if I was alone in my detestment of this thing. I was not. In fact, I feel a unity with most Potter fans that I have not shared since we gushed in unison over The Deathly Hallows when it came out almost a decade ago. My favorite quote from a disillusioned fellow fan was that they view The Cursed Child the same way they see The Simpsons Halloween specials. IE. nothing but a spoof involving their beloved characters, and nothing that should truly be considered canon.
Ah don't know what Ah was expectin' but a 3-hour read about the hazards of time travel by two stupid teenagers who're dumber than Bill and Ted was not at all something that Ah wanted.
Ah have a theory that this here play was the result of a bet. Ah am willin' to believe that mah beautiful Ms. Rowling had to write an' produce this piece of garbage in order to spend millions on the terrible play, just so that she could earn a billion dollar inheritance or somethin'... Like Richard Pryor in Brewster's Millions.
Or maybe it's like that movie The Producers! Like Ms. Rowlin' got hundreds of investors to put money into her play, while promisin' them each 100% of the returns, but then she wrote somethin' so terrible that she thought there was no way to make any profit, an' therefore she'd get to keep all those hundreds of investors' moneys!... Ah hope it's this... Otherwise she's just lost her magial touch.
How could somebody who spent so many years meticulously constructin' this magical Harry Potter world, with all its intricacies and well-thought-out plot twists, create this idiotic trash? Nothin' in this entire story made any kind'a sense. Even my inbred, noseless, crack-baby cousin (who we call "Voldemort" for obvious reasons) stopped me from reading this to him and asked, "But Cousin Tammi, why for does Harry Potter's brain damaged son do so much stupid things? And why does Harry Potter's mom take baby Harry out for a walk in a pram when they is under the Fidelius Charm and can't leave their house, 'cause the bad man might kill them? Whyyyyy?"
Ah had to respond, "Because, Cuz Voldemort, Ms. JK Rowlin' was put under an Imperius Curse! She was forced to write this trash by magical means! An' we should pray for her soul that she is freed and can then write us all a REAL Harry Potter story... One that doesn't cause our brains to hurt." Cousin Voldemort agreed, an' then we spent 10 minutes lightin' this Cursed Child book on fire an' then puttin' it out by pissin' on it.
As someone greater than Ah once said on the internets: The Cursed Child is not the Phantom Menace to the Harry Potter series. It is in fact The Holiday Special.
I have learned to LOVE the mothafuckin' JK in the Rowling, my homies! I love her Potter books, I love her gritty murder mysteries with that dude with the one leg and his hawt, hawt secretary! That JK knows what she is doin! Know what I'm sayin'?
So let me just tell you, it HURTS me when peeps say, "Oh noooo! This new Potter play is aaaaawful! It's like bad fanfiction!"
Bad fanfiction?!? fanfiction?! You bitches wouldn't know bad fanfiction if it slapped you in the face like a dead, wet Magikarp! Fanfiction is filled with nothing but shitty wish fulfillment that warps well-known and beloved fuckin' characters' personalities in ways that they were never intended! Fanfiction focuses on shitty plot twists that destroy already established plot lines or tries to converge with said plot lines in fan servicy ways that would only make sense to retarded Potterheads 12 years-old or younger. Fanfiction is all about bringing back people who either left the story or died, and making them do stuff totally out of character just because the writer thought it would be soooo cooooool! And most importantly, fanfiction's about shipping characters together that should never be together, and making them have sex, which typically leads to dumb pregnancies!
How DARE you call this Potter play, The Cursed Child, bad fanfiction!