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Should I Take My Tweens to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

Are you wondering if it’s worth it to take your teens and tweens to see the play of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Want to know if it’s appropriate for your tweens? And what if you already read the book and didn’t really like it…should you still go to see the production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on stage?

What is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

Do you have Harry Potter fans in your family? Our family is a bit obsessed with Harry Potter! I have read all the books at least three times and seen all the movies more than that, so I would call myself a Harry Potter expert! As a mom, one of my crowning achievements is raising two Harry Potter fans!

Reaching the end of the seventh book (and eighth movie) has been a bittersweet moment each time. It’s so exciting to get to the end and learn how JK Rowling makes it all come together in such a genius way…but then it’s over.

In 2016 we were THRILLED to find out that a “sequel” was coming out…an addition to the story. And then we were disappointed to learn that it was a play that was only going to be presented in London, and here we were, stuck in California.

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But we eagerly purchased the book on the day it was released, July 31, 2016, and I read it together with my then-11-year-old son. This book is different from the other seven books. It is written as a playscript rather than a novel. To be frank, it is less fun to read than the others because of the style.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child continues the story nineteen years later. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are now adults. The story centers on Harry’s son, Albus, who is now a student at Hogwarts. Of course, danger comes his way and excitement ensues.

What is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child about? The story is largely about relationships, especially the relationship between Harry and Albus. Reading it as a book, there is a very different vibe than that of the original seven books.

To be honest, my children and I were not thrilled with the book of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I will just say that it goes in some directions that we felt wouldn’t happen in the Harry Potter universe. We didn’t like how several of the characters were portrayed.

Is the play of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child better than the book?

YES!!!!!! Many Harry Potter fans were disappointed with the book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. However, reading the book and seeing the play are VERY different experiences. The play is fantastic and I recommend it for any Harry Potter fan!

There are still flaws with some of the characters, but the overall play is really, really amazing. It should not be missed!

Is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child worth it to see in person?

Even if you read the book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and you were disappointed, you should still go to see it performed on stage! It is absolutely worth it to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The play is so immersive. Being in the theater, surrounded by other Harry Potter fans, seeing it all played out right in front of me…it was an experience like no other.

As a Harry Potter fan, it felt like being inside of the story. It was as if I were in one of the movies, experiencing it with the characters and with all of the other fans that were there with me.

It was different…and better…than other plays I’ve been to because I was already so invested in the characters and the story. When I’ve been to other plays, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the characters and watching the story unfold. But this was different because I already knew and loved and deeply cared about the characters, and I even already knew the story.

So even though the story isn’t perfect, it’s a unique opportunity to feel like you are in Harry Potter’s world and watch the magic unfold. Every Harry Potter fan should absolutely try to get to this play if possible!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

And the special effects are fantastic! My family and I had such a fun time talking about the special effects afterward and guessing how they were done. It is amazing to see magic done right there in front of you!

There is also new original music that adds to the production, along with some interesting choreography. And of course, the costumes and sets are fun to see.

A sample of Imogen Heap’s music for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Unfortunately for Harry Potter fans around the world, it is only possible to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in a limited number of cities. As I write this, it is playing in London, New York, San Franciso, and Melbourne. Soon it will also be in Hamburg, Tokyo, and Toronto. If you are within a day’s drive of any of these places…GO!

Is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child appropriate for tweens?

You might be wondering what age kids should be to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The producers suggest that to see the play you should be at least ten years old, and children under four are not permitted. I think that bringing a child under the age of ten would be a big mistake. IT IS SCARY.

This is not a story intended for children. I think most eleven and twelve-year-olds would be fine with it, and it is PERFECT for teenagers as it is very exciting.

As I described above, the story centers around the adult Harry’s relationship with his teenage son. Which isn’t a good relationship. I have to admit, I found this troubling, as did my kids. We didn’t like reading about Harry having yet more problems and being unhappy, what with all he went through as a kid to save the world. We didn’t like Harry having a hard time being a dad and his kid not liking him. I think anyone under the age of twelve wouldn’t like this storyline as it is too adult.

But more importantly, it is SCARY. There are dementors floating above the audience, Voldemort is there in the room with you, the lights go out and there are scary noises…it is not for the faint of heart. It is not intended for young kids. We were seated in the mezzanine, and the dementors were floating RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. They are terrifying, even for adults! As an adult, I was thrilled by the excitement! It was a bit much for my tween daughter, but she was okay since we had prepared for it. My teen son LOVED it.

If you are bringing your tweens, I highly recommend that you read the book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child together first. That way, they know what it is about and they know what the scary parts will be and when they are coming. I recommend that both of you read it because you know your own children and you will be able to tell if it is a good idea for your tweens to see the play in person. Plus, you will know when the scary parts are coming so you can “protect” your tween when necessary.

Tweens vary a lot. There is a big difference between a nine-year-old and a twelve-year-old, and there is a big difference in the maturity levels and personalities of individual kids. You know your kids, so make the right decision for your family.

This book is about the production itself:

Should we read the book of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child before we see the play?

That depends. In general, I think that when movies are based on books, people should read the books before seeing the movies. After all, the stories were originally books and so the reader/viewer should experience the story as the author intended. And usually, the books are better than the movies.

Obviously, if you watched the Harry Potter movies before reading the books, you are a bad person.

Did I mention I am a big Harry Potter fan? I do take this stuff very seriously. Maybe you aren’t a bad person for seeing the movies first. Maybe you were ignorant or misled in some other way. Like my poor husband, who didn’t realize he needed to read the books and then was dragged to all eight movies by his wife. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Just in case, here’s a link to the boxed set of all seven original books:

However, things are different with this book. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a play first – before it was a book. The book is simply the play in print. I think the only reason it was printed as a book is because when the play opened, it was only available in London, which meant that most Harry Potter fans had no way to see it in person.

So really you need to decide if you want to know the plot ahead of time or not. I think for many people, the answer would be no…it would be fun to watch the story unfold in person. But if anyone in your family is sensitive and easily scared, then maybe reading the book first would be better.

What else is special about seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in person?

The theater was amazing! We saw it at the Curran Theater in San Francisco. They redid the wallpaper and carpets to go with the Harry Potter theme.

There were themed snacks available (at sky-high prices) which the kids really enjoyed. We bought them each a chocolate wand and a chocolate frog.

Even the theater staff was dressed in Harry Potter outfits and welcomed us to Hogwarts as we entered the theater. All the details were so spot-on – it was really fun.

Should we see both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in one day?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an unusual stage production in that it is performed in two parts, and you need to purchase two tickets for each person in your party to see the two parts separately. Each part is quite long. Part 1 is 2 hours and 40 minutes and Part 2 is 2 hours and 35 minutes, and both include a 20-minute intermission. This makes attending the play both very long and very expensive.

There are several different choices for how to book tickets. Currently, in most of the cities in which it is playing you can purchase the tickets in the following configurations:

  • Wednesday 2:00 pm & Wednesday 7:30 pm (as of May 19, 2020, this will change in San Francisco to Tuesday 7:30 pm & Wednesday 7:30)
  • Thursday 7:30 pm & Friday 7:30 pm
  • Saturday 2:00 pm & Saturday 7:30 pm
  • Sunday 1:00 pm & Sunday 6:30 pm

Our family saw both parts in one day. We saw it in San Francisco. Since we live about 45 minutes from San Francisco and the traffic is consistently awful, I didn’t want to fight the traffic twice. So I chose to buy tickets for both shows in one day. That was a good experience because we had one very intensive Harry Potter day. There was time to leave the theater and go out to dinner in between. Our family had fun sitting together and talking about the first part of the play. However, it also made for an extremely long day.

Hogwarts uniforms

When you are deciding what to do, there are several things to keep in mind.

  • You only want to do it all in one day if you are very into Harry Potter. Otherwise, I think it would feel pretty long and dragged out. You might prefer to have a longer break in between the two parts.
  • If you live in the city where you are seeing Harry Potter and Cursed Child, I think spreading it over two days would be better.
  • If you live an hour or more from the theater like we do, then you can either do it all in one day or choose to spend the night in the city to make it easier.
  • If you live far away from the theater, then making a trip of it and spending a night or two in the city would be fun. If you see the play over two days, you probably should spend two nights, otherwise you will be leaving the city very late since the show won’t be over until after 10 pm.

Should we dress up to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

We saw several people who dressed up in Hogwarts attire to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It wasn’t super common, but it didn’t seem out of place, either, especially since all of the theater staff were in appropriate Hogwarts outfits. We saw a few tweens wearing Hogwarts robes:

But most tweens and teens might be more comfortable wearing something like this Harry Potter top:

Or a cute accessory like this scarf:

I hope my tips for seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child were helpful for you! I hope you decide to take your tweens and teens to see it! If you found my article useful, please pin and share! If you are planning to see Harry Potter and Cursed Child in San Francisco, please click to read my article with specific tips for doing that!

Have big Harry Potter fans in your family? Click to read my list of 75+ Harry Potter gifts for tweens and teens! It includes more clothing and jewelry ideas, too.

I also have an article with a list of other books that tweens who love Harry Potter would enjoy.

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10 Comments

  1. Although my nieces aren’t tweens, they’re 17+, and they are Harry Potter fans. I appreciate your review it was helpful.

  2. None of my kids were bitten with the Harry Potter bug. I didn’t enjoy it either but I will say I do love the apparel you can buy – its super cool.

  3. This would be SO awesome to see !!🙌 My son isn’t that into Harry Potter yet but he’s only 7 so I still have time to convert him😆

    1. Seven is the perfect age to start reading the Harry Potter books with your son! I highly recommend you read the books to him – it is such a fun family bonding experience. At that age, though, only read the first two books. Wait a couple of years to do the third one.

    1. I know! It is definitely unusual for the play to be better than the book! But that was absolutely the case for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

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