This review contains *mild spoilers*.
I’ve waited for this particular story for what feels like ages, and words cannot even describe for how grateful I am that it finally exists in my hands. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child continues the wondrous magical world that we all know and love.
The story starts out at King’s Cross with the original trio preparing their school-age children to board the train to start their first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
It’s at this time that Harry and his son, Albus, share a nice father-son moment:
“Albus: Dad . . .
Do you think — what if I am — what if I’m put in Slytherin . . .
Harry: And what would be wrong with that?
Albus: Slytherin is the House of the snake, of Dark Magic . . . It’s not a House of brave wizards.
Harry: Albus Severus, you were named after two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew.”
(I dislike Snape, but the overall conversation made me tear up a bit.)
I also really appreciated that they talked about Slytherin in a positive light.
We have a few time jumps here and there, and then complications arise because Harry – Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement – seized an illegal Time-Turner from Theodore Nott and has kept it.
“The once-great Harry Potter, now a stone-cold Ministry man.”
Meanwhile, Albus gets sorted into Slytherin and struggles with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted.
Harry tries to reach out to Albus but finds that he has diffuclity understanding someone different. And their connection wobbles from year to year because of it.
“Harry: Do you want a hand? Packing. I always loved packing. It meant I was leaving Privet Drive and going back to Hogwarts. Which was . . . well, I know you don’t love it but . . .
Albus: For you, it’s the greatest place on earth. I know. The poor orphan, bullied by his uncle and aunt Dursley . . .
Harry: Albus, please — can we just —
Albus: . . . traumatized by his cousin, Dudley, saved by Hogwarts. I know it all, Dad. Blah, blah, blah.
Harry: I’m not going to rise to your bait, Albus Potter.
Albus: The poor orphan who went on to save us all. So may I say — on behalf of wizarding kind — how grateful we are for your heroism. Should we bow now or will a curtsy do?
Harry: Albus, please — you know, I’ve never wanted gratitude.
Albus: But right now I’m overflowing with it — it must be the kind gift of this moldy blanket that did it . . .
Harry: Moldy blanket?
Albus: What did you think would happen? We’d hug. I’d tell you I always loved you. What? What?
Harry (finally losing his temper): You know what? I’m done with being made responsible for your unhappiness. At least you’ve got a dad. Because I didn’t, okay?
Albus: And you think that was unlucky? I don’t.
Harry: You wish me dead?
Albus: No! I just wish you weren’t my dad.”
Harry and Albus are trying to reach each other here, both are failing.
As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.
The Cursed Child answered a lot of topics that had been left unanswered in my mind, and it makes my heart tighten just thinking about everything.
“Harry: And I’ve locked away the map. You won’t see it again. Your mum left your room exactly as it was when you ran away — you know that? Wouldn’t let me go in — wouldn’t let anyone go in — you really scared her . . . And me.
Albus: Really scared you?
Albus: I thought Harry Potter wasn’t afraid of anything?
Harry: Is that how I make you feel?
Albus looks at his dad, trying to figure him out.
ALBUS: I don’t think Scorpius said, but when we returned after failing to fix the first task, I was suddenly in Gryffindor House. Nothing was better between us then either — so — the fact that I’m in Slytherin — that’s not the reason for our problems. It’s not just about that.”
I really appreciated that their relationship was developed in a very honest and raw way.
And not only theirs, but the development of Draco and his son, Scorpius, was truly melting my everything.
“Draco: Astoria always knew that she was not destined for old age. She wanted me to have somebody when she left, because . . . it is exceptionally lonely, being Draco Malfoy. I never realized, though, that by hiding him away from this gossiping, judgmental world, I ensured that my son would emerge shrouded in worse suspicion than I ever endured.
Harry: Love blinds. We have both tried to give our sons, not what they needed, but what we needed. We’ve been so busy trying to rewrite our own pasts, we’ve blighted their present.”
Watching Draco care deeply and fiercely for his child made me open up my heart.
Oh, and I wanted to mention how ecstatic I was when Albus befriended a Malfoy. Their friendship was inspiring until the very last heartbreaking page.
“Scorpius: Your dad thinks the rumors are true — I am the son of Voldemort?
Albus (nods): His department are currently investigating it.
Scorpius: Good. Let them. Sometimes — sometimes I find myself thinking — maybe they’re true too.
Albus: No. They’re not true. And I’ll tell you why. Because I don’t think Voldemort is capable of having a kind son — and you’re kind, Scorpius. To the depths of your belly, to the tips of your fingers. I truly believe Voldemort — Voldemort couldn’t have a child like you.
Scorpius: That’s nice — that’s a nice thing to say.
Albus: And it’s something I should have said a long time ago. In fact, you’re probably the best person I know. And you don’t — you couldn’t — hold me back. You make me stronger — and when Dad forced us apart — without you —
Scorpius: I didn’t much like my life without you in it either.”
“Ron: I mean, we’ve been together so long — and married for so long — I mean, so long —
Hermione: If this is your way of saying you want a marital break, Ron, then, to be clear, I will skewer you with this quill.
Ron: Shut up. Will you shut up for once? I want to do one of those marriage renewal things I’ve read about. Marriage renewal. What do you think?
Hermione (melting slightly): You want to marry me again?
Ron: Well, we were only young when we did it the first time and I got very drunk and — well, to be honest, I can’t remember much of it and . . . The truth is — I love you, Hermione Granger, and whatever time says — I’d like the opportunity to say so in front of lots of other people. Again. Sober.
She looks at him, she smiles, she pulls him to her, she kisses him.
Hermione: You’re sweet.
Ron: And you taste of toffee . . .”
I’m always up for more canon Romione.
To sum up, I thought at first that the format of the story would interfere with getting completely pulled in, but I needn’t have worried— this book was the definition of unputdownable. It truly didn’t take long for me to realize how much I missed reading about Harry Potter and his magical surroundings. Hogwarts will always be like home. And now… I’m getting tearful just thinking about what an impact it made on me, as both the reader and person I am today.
Also, it was pretty nice getting to know that both Harry Potter and I are afraid of pigeons:
“Harry: You told me you don’t think I’m scared of anything, and that — I mean, I’m scared of everything. I mean, I’m afraid of the dark, did you know that?
Albus: Harry Potter is afraid of the dark?
Harry: I don’t like small spaces and — I’ve never told anyone this, but I don’t much like — (he hesitates before saying it) pigeons.
Albus: You don’t like pigeons?
Harry (he scrunches up his face): Nasty, pecky, dirty things. They give me the creeps.”
Oh, and my favorite acts were acts 2 & 4— because family dynamics and mystery!!
Just… I’m so glad this book exists, I truly missed my favorite trio.
5/5 stars (of course)