What first struck me about Cursed Child was its weak premise which bordered on the illogical many a times. Many devices such as characters (like that of Amos Diggory) and other thematic supplements such as time-traveling (the presence of time-turners) seems to be conveniently put where needed, as the progression of the plot demanded, out of bare necessity to create some sort of story.
The alternative realities in the story are a concoction and answer to many fan fiction writers, the quotidian “what if…” asked by Harry Potter fans. What if Harry Potter had died, what if Snape had lived, what if Ron never married Hermione, what if Harry Potter had a chance so stop Voldemort from killing his parents…so on and so forth. Add to that the cringe worthy, unreliable portrayal of the unconvincing friendship between Albus and Scorpius which made me think how I was still more interested in Harry Potter’s story, and not that of his progeny. The writers were one thought short of altering the sex of either to make them lovers.
The inconsistencies of characters baffle me. Ron Weasley (much to my dismay) has been used as a mere prop, delivering ill-placed jokey lines in dreary situations, Hermione comes off as all brain with no mind of its own, and Harry Potter himself – a distant father figure who has lost all his mercurial brilliance which HP fans had come to love in the books. His relationship with his son is erratic, and despite Albus’ inability to conform to his father’s high standing in the magical world, we are left with no other reason as to why the relationship is so terribly strained. At least in the course of the book, nothing heroic has been demanded of Albus. What is greatly missing from the Cursed Child story is the one factor which have pulled Albus and Scorpius closer together. What led to such great differences of their past and ancestors become reconciled when it comes to the younger generation?
The convenience of the story has led to many plot holes and implausible plot twists. Am I supposed to simply believe in Voldermort and Bellatrix’s intercourse that spawned a daughter who would come back later to fulfil a prophecy that had no prior mention in the Books? What reason other than that of his namesake would sort Albus Severus Potter into Slytherin? Why would a time-turner have a five minute time limit?
The only bits that appealed to my nostalgic sensibilities were that of Albus Dumbledore’s portrait conversing with Harry Potter, and Snape’s poignant portrayal as a survivor of Battle of Hogwarts with changed allegiances. Now THAT is closure!
So far, the only assuring feeling I’ve had regarding this book is that it should’ve been a proper novel, not a half-baked script. The story deserves more detail in terms of reading it. As a stand-alone theatrical production perhaps the book suffices, but not as a literature piece to be read as either a sequel or novel story. If anything, it deserves a more “proper treatment” in novel form. It would definitely be exciting to see it on stage, with all the stage transformations mixed with live magic conjured up in front of the audience. But the same effect is dampened due to brevity the script demands. It is after all a rehearsal script.
I wonder how Rowling could have approved of all this. I would have preferred a story set in the same magical universe of Harry Potter but which concerned with another family altogether. Dumbledore, Snape, Neville Longbottom seem to be ideal contenders. The story lacked the magic and wonder that came inherently with HP novels, the sense of adventure of the two boys was thwarted by telling and squeezing too much in too little time. All focus on the lacklustre Albus robbed me of the pleasures of delving more into Delphi’s past. Some things are better left to their rightful end, and “Epilogue” is the end we truly deserve.