Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Feels More Like Fanfiction Than Canon

Harry Potter is my gateway fandom. It’s the first fandom that snowballed me into distinguishing myself as a geek. My dad would read the stories to me before I went to bed, and when he passed away from cancer, those books were a link to his memory and how much he meant to me.

I mention my story first because it tells you how much this series has impacted my life. When I read online that the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage play was being released as a book in July, I preordered it and waited patiently. Now that it’s here, I have to say that I liked Cursed Child, but it doesn’t feel like a true eighth Harry Potter story to me.

The author, Mariah Kaercher, smiling and holding Harry Potter Cursed Child

It’s here!

Warning: There are serious spoilers ahead. If you haven’t read the play and you don’t want it spoiled for you, don’t read the rest of this review.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child starts with the epilogue from The Deathly Hallows: Albus Severus Potter is insecure about being sorted into Slytherin, and Harry gives his speech about who he is named after and all that jazz. This story is really about the relationship between Albus and Harry—who have distance in their relationship due to a lot of different factors, including Harry’s continued fame after the Wizarding War—but it’s also about a companionship between Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy.

The plot is spurred when Albus overhears a conversation between his father and Amos Diggory about Amos’s son, Cedric. Albus gets the crazy idea to go back in time to save Cedric, looping Scorpius into the plan, and hell breaks loose when time is changed. loved the use of the Time-Turner. Every wizard (including Hermione) has always said that “bad things happen to people who meddle with time,” and Cursed Child demonstrates this philosophy.

Emotionally, the play brought me to tears at parts. When Harry witnesses the murder of his parents again, I felt like my heart broke again into a million pieces. It’s devastating reading this part because Harry can’t help them; he would change the course of history, and he couldn’t be sure what that outcome would be. What has happened is meant to happen. Also, when Albus and Scorpius are rescued by Cedric in the Triwizard Tournament and they tell Cedric to go get the cup . . . the heartbreak just gets worse and worse. Albus and Scorpius have seen the world that is created if Cedric lives, so they know he must die for their freedom. These parts were so emotional for me to read.

However, the title of this review describes my overall feelings toward the book: it doesn’t feel “canon” to me. Instead, it feels like a really good fanfiction story about Albus and Scorpius saving the magical world. I think that’s because it was written as a play versus a novel. The books are so detailed and describe every single adventure in the story, whereas in the play, Albus’s first couple years at Hogwarts are skipped, and we don’t see his friendship with Scorpius developing. I hope that J. K. Rowling writes an eighth book that is 600 pages and has more detail.

Still, Cursed Child was something I really enjoyed. I wish that it felt like an actual story, less like fanfiction, but I still liked it. As a Hufflepuff, I was patient in receiving this book, and I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed. I’m loyal to the Harry Potter franchise, so whether it’s a play or another story, I’ll read every single bit of it!

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