Sequel Fails to Enchant

Anna Mason, Staff writer

Although marketed as the eighth Harry Potter story, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” does little to live up to the legacies of its predecessors.

The script was co-written by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, and first performed on stage July 30 (the script was released July 31, which die-hard Potter fans will recognize as Harry’s birthday). The play begins 19 years after Harry defeats Voldemort. It chronicles the life of his son, Albus. Albus, along with his friend Scorpius Malfoy, decide, with no apparent reasoning, to go back in time and do what Harry couldn’t: save Cedric Diggory.

What follows is an increasingly contrived and clichéd plot, as the two boys recklessly travel back into time, affecting the course of events and heedlessly disrupting history, naturally creating a series of nightmarish results. Aided by the enigmatic Delphi, who claims to be Cedric’s cousin, Albus and Scorpius manage to create multiple realities. There is one in which the beloved Ron and Hermione never marry. In another, Voldemort survives, the tyrannical Dolores Umbridge reigns freely over Hogwarts and Ron and Hermione are the last living members of an underground resistance movement.

Albus’s careless actions stem from his relationship from his famous father, which is strained at best.

Albus struggles with the weight of Harry’s reputation as well as with his own shortcomings. Harry’s attempts to reach out to him ultimately fail, as illustrated by the cringe-worthy dialogue.

“No! I just wish you weren’t my dad,” Albus says during a heated argument. Harry uncharacteristically replies, “Well, there are times I wish you weren’t my son.”

These uninspired exchanges only serve to bog down both the pace and the quality of the narrative. Harry’s flippant comments towards his youngest son cause him to be seen as an unlikable bully, which is a sharp contrast between the Harry of the earlier books, who devoted his teenage years to fighting against bullies.

As the boys finally realize the error of their ways, the Time-turner is stolen by Delphi. In the most shocking reveal yet, Delphi is apparently Voldemort’s daughter. This cheap plot device further seeks to advance the unoriginal storyline. Delphi is ultimately thwarted by both the adults and Albus, a “heartwarming” end that causes Harry and Albus to finally bond.

One of the few redeaming aspects is the relationship between Scorpius and Albus. Their friendship carries the entire script through their heartfelt interactions, and the amicable Scorpius particularly stands out in a story otherwise populated by bland characters. His friendly, easygoing nature is a breath of fresh air in comparison with the other characters, who are unappealing and lacking compelling personality traits.

Readers hoping to encounter Rowling’s distinctive writing style will be sorely disappointed by the script format, because it only includes dialogue.

The book fails to whisk its readers off to the whimsical halls of Hogwarts, and is missing some much-needed magic.