The highly anticipated 8th story to the Harry Potter saga is finally here. If you're a fan of Harry Potter, it's likely that you've already bought your copy and were shocked to see that is a script. Yes, the Cursed Child is actually a play, not a novel. The script was not even written by JK Rowling, just the story was. Since I'm a super die hard fan of Harry Potter I wasn't phased.
The story begins where the epilogue started, with Albus Potter heading off to Hogwarts for the first time. During the train ride, Albus befriends Scorpius Malfoy who is very different from his father, Draco, but still suffers from the association. Scorpius is also rumored to be the son of Voldemort, which makes many people avoid him. Once we arrive at Hogwarts we discover that Albus' anxieties about being placed in Slytherin turn out to be valid. He also appears to not have inherited any of Harry's skills which creates a tension between Harry and Albus. While Albus' other siblings, Lily and James, are predictable and easy to understand, Harry has trouble connecting with Albus.
Now, jump to a much less interesting subplot of time turners (from book 3) that have suddenly become a problem again. The ministry is tasked with rounding up the last of them and destroying them for the obvious reason that time travel is dangerous. However, Amos Diggory (Cedric's father) in his old age suddenly has the idea that Harry can use a time turner to go back and save Cedric. Of course Harry refused knowing that it would be too dangerous. Little does he know that Albus, who knows about the last time turner that was found, was listening. This launches the book into a convoluted time travel adventure as Albus and Scorpius try and stop Cedric from winning the Tri- Wizard Tournament. In this universe, time travel does not follow any defined rules at all. How do Scorpius and Albus remember the past timeline when they travel back into a new one? When Scorpius goes back to stop Albus and other Scorpius from humiliating Cedric, shouldn't that cause some sort of paradox? None of the questions are ever answered.
The quest to save Cedric distracts from the far more interesting relationships between Harry and Albus, and Albus and Scorpius. Therefore less time is dedicated to character development and growth, making it very hard to stay interested in the time travel plot line. The old characters like Hermione and Ron are reduced to side characters that pop on and off as needed. Sentimental moments are thrown together then immediately cut off, leaving very little time for us to invest in the story.
On a positive note, what the Cursed Child does do well is continue the theme of friendship/love trumping all. It is the only thing that really keeps the story going. By the end of the play, once the time travel plot has been exhausted the writers resolve the tension between Harry and his son, Albus. The play closes on that moment and therefore the reader/audience is left with that sentiment of love and companionship which has always been integral to the Harry Potter books.
In total, the play was hard to believe and badly written at some parts. I know that I am missing a large part of the experience because I am not watching the play. However, when I analyze the story itself, I find it to be a disappointing often convoluted direction when there were so many other options JK Rowling could have explored.