Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets was the first novel I ever read. It sort of stumbled into my possession when I was 6 years old. I read it, and even though not all of it necessarily made sense, I remember being intrigued. Since then, I have read and re-read the series so many times, I have lost count. I am not sure when I actually began to understand the stories but I know that every time I re-read the books, I learn more and more about my favorite world. So needless to say when I heard about The Cursed Child I was ecstatic.
I wish that I could read Harry Potter endlessly, I wish I never had to say goodbye to my best friends. Yet, we all know that every good thing must come to an end. I have long thought that J.K Rowling may be holding on too tightly to the series that changed the world. I get it. I didn’t create Harry, Ron or Hermione but my feelings for them are real. They helped me get through the good and the bad, they taught me what I should look for in my friends, they taught me that it’s okay to not be perfect, they —- but there comes a time when holding on to something causes more damage than it does good.
The cursed child is the perfect example of just that. It’s supposed to be the eighth part of the series and yet it has little in common with the original seven books, other than the names and histories of the characters. Set nineteen years after the battle of Hogwarts, this story focuses on Harry’s son Albus and Malfoy’s son Scorpius. The friendship between the two is probably the best part of this story. Though, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to cringing many times at how awkward and painful their friendship is.
What bothered me the most about this story was the lack of any identifying characteristics amongst that characters that Rowling has taken years to establish. I refuse to believe that Hermione or Professor McGonagall would abandon their logical thinking and blindly give into everything Potter was demanding. Yes, they are loyal and will do anything to help their friends, but they are also intelligent, savvy ladies who hold important positions of power. The feminist in me was pretty upset that some of the most influential literary characters were written this way. It wasn’t just those two characters though, Ron was such a wimpy character I wanted to shake someone in frustration and Potter was just a illogical, impulsive brat. After years of reading Harry Potter and aspiring to be the people I read about, it was a tragic let down to read a story where the same characters are barely even a shadow of their former selves. If anything, it just shows me that Rowling really is holding on too hard.
The story itself was such a disappointment too. In fact so much so that one month later I have nearly forgotten the details. The story line contributes to the lackluster characters because their reactions to situations is what drives the story line. Yet, none of the reactions were what you would have expected.
It’s hard to criticize something that is such a big part of my childhood and has such a big influence on who I am today. Yet, the Cursed Child does not come anywhere near the legacy that Rowling created. I am still curious enough to see the play, if I ever get a chance. But for the most part I really just want Rowling to move on and stop destroying her legacy by holding onto it too tight. She isn’t the first author to have to do so, and nor will she be that last.