A week ago I read Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, and I just recently finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child a few days ago. Fantastic Beast will be a short review, while the Cursed Child will be a lot longer with a lot of spoilers. So let us get started.
Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling). I gave this book three out of five stars on Goodreads. This is a textbook that Harry, Ron, and Hermione used when they went to Hogwarts to study magical creatures. This book was written for Comic Relief to help raise funds to get rid of poverty. The comedy does come in the form of the side notes and conversations that the three had throughout the book.
This book does read like a textbook. The comedy only comes in the form of the side conversations and notes that the three made throughout the book. There is a 10-page section where it is just the textbook with no side notes or conversations. It was the thing that I wished for that there was more of those side notes and conversations throughout the book. I enjoyed reliving some of those moments in the series, as well as getting to see more of this world. I will admit almost off of the side notes and conversations were funny.
As for recommending the book. I would say read it. The side conversations are fun, but I imagine this book will be a lot of fun to have in your hands as you are watching the movie, checking off all the “beasts” that we get to see in the movie. It is a bit gimmicky, but the book is going to a good cause. As for owning the book. The book is no longer in print, so owning a copy would be expensive. I ended up checking this book out at the library.
Now, onto the play!
Before I begin with the play I want to make a disclaimer that I am not a fan of reading plays by myself. I know that it sounds stupid, I have had some bad experiences with reading plays and when it comes to a play, I am very cautious about it. On one hand, I do want to read it, but I feel as though you should always read plays with a group of people. I feel as though plays require that uniqueness as well as these different presences to help bring the story to life. I also want to warn you that there will be spoilers!
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is about father-son relationships and how the past can affect these relationships as well as the father and the son. I did give this book four out of five stars on Goodreads, but if I was honest, I would give this book 3.5 to 3.75 stars out of five.
Let’s first talk about the story line. I did enjoy the story as a whole. Being able to revisit the fourth book with the Triwizard tournament, and being in the present was amazing. It allowed us to see old and new characters. I did not mind the time turner aspect. It made sense that it would now be a black market item and that dark witches and wizards would go through trying to recreate or get their hands on a new one. I know that the time turners is one of the controversies with this play, but I will say that if you spend the time thinking about it, it fits. I will reference The Chamber of Secrets and Harry’s accidental blip in Knockturn Alley, where Harry was in that store that sold artifacts of a dark and questionable pasts. The owner of the store was reference by Draco as being someone who would try to recreate something similar to that. I will also admit that the play did read like fanfiction. I am not sure if this is a pro or a con. On one hand, I did enjoy the quick pace of the story as well as the intensity of some of the scenes. At the same time, I also wished things would be fleshed out and were given more details. The one thing I really did not like about the story line was how we covered three years of Scorpius and Albus being at Hogwarts in one scene. I will admit that there were moments where I wished that the play was in storybook format. I felt that there were scenes that needed to be fleshed out with the characters perspectives. I felt that those perspectives would have been better, and helped us relate and love our characters a bit more.
I will also talk about another controversy of the play, which is the characters. I will admit, that millions of people I fell in love with Scorpius and his little geeky self. He is adorable. However, I am not a fan of the name. Way before we ended up with the height of Voldemort’s rule, I kept reading his name as Scorpion. I could not figure out why Draco would pick the name Scorpius for his child. As for the other character, I do feel as though there are a bit of change, without context. I do understand that we did skip 20 years into the future, but there were some things that did bother me. One of them was Ron. There is a difference between movie and book Ron, and I felt that they just took movie Ron and put him into the series. Movie Ron became more of the comedic relief, and that was this Ron. I did enjoy the humor that Ron gave, and felt that those moments do need to exist, however, I felt as though we lost a bit of book Ron. I felt as though Ron could have been in better use and help flesh out some of the plots as well as help develop some arcs and growth. There are some other character issues. One of them is the Harry freak out on McGonagall. I understood that Harry was freaking out over his missing son and the events that were happening, but I also felt as though that was a bit out of character. I am having a hard time believing that he would ever threaten McGonagall or the school, let alone say some of those harsh things. I could see Draco saying those things, but not Harry. The other character change is Draco. I did enjoy seeing him being a bit nicer to Harry and the gang, and even telling Harry the truth about how he felt. However, he kept switching sides between old Draco and new Draco. I felt as though Draco’s development should have been fleshed out more as well as developed more. For both Harry and Draco, the fatherly role is a great story arc, and is was the focus for most of the story, it just should have taken more time and we should have seen more a development for both of them. Even a development for their relationship for each other should have been fleshed out more.
I am on the fence for recommending this play. I did enjoy it, for its nostalgic purposes. Even though that I did enjoy the story as a whole, I did have some problems with the play that seems to be a constant problem. In short, like millions out there, I do feel as though this should have been in story format. Having the play is great, since I will not be able to travel to London to see it, I am glad that I do get to be a part of it. Nevertheless, I do wish that we could have had both the play as well as the book.
I do hope that you have enjoyed my magical reviews in the world of Harry Potter. Enjoy your week and I will see you next time. Happy reading!