Everyone has been talking about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – the eighth Harry Potter story currently playing at the Palace Theatre, London. Though I have tickets for October, I couldn’t stay away from reading the script, so I purchased a copy, had a read, and proceeded to look at reviews. Let’s say many people were far from happy, and here’s why…
*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
# 1 It was a play script rather than a novel
Many seemed to find it difficult to read a Potter story as a script rather than as a novel. Perhaps because for most people the last time they read a script was Romeo and Juliet in GCSE English. This was mainly because with a script, you get the bare bones of the story, rather than a grand prose description of every detail and Harry’s most inner thoughts. Can’t see what all the fuss is about – a script is supposed to be performed rather than sat and read. It also requires you to use much more imagination.
#2 “It wasn’t the characters I knew!”
Well, the last time we saw the Golden Trio was when they were eighteen (discounting the “nineteen years later epilogue) and had just come out of a year of camping and a pretty big war. Now, in Cursed Child, they are full blown adults in their thirties (actual, real, adults) and we don’t know much about what happened between them finishing off Voldemort and having kids. So, naturally, they’ll have changed quite a bit. I know I’ve changed in the last two years let along nineteen plus. Also, is the story really about Harry anymore? I mean, it’s more about Albus if anything. Again, we miss a lot of nuances when reading the script, so surely in the play the actors will have embodied the characters as we know them, just in a more mature way.
On a different note, since when did Ludo Bagman refer to Cedric as “Delicious Diggory”?
#3 It didn’t really give us anything new
Sure, we now know what the personalities of a few of the kids are (basically just Albus and Scorpius) and that Hermione is Minister for Magic, and there’s a few pretty impressive timeturners knocking around, but the story itself wasn’t exciting. It all kept harking on at the past…which maybe was the point? The point of the play wasn’t to have anything sensational occur, but to focus on character’s relationships and internal struggles rather than massive societal events such as another Wizarding War (which would have been even more repetitive than going back to the past).
#4 Those timeturners though…
My head was in a right frazzle trying to work out how you can suddenly delete a timeline and create a new one just by embarrassing someone. Everything happened so fast and I felt a bit confused as to how some of the characters (*cough* Hermione) seemed to have a major personality transplant between these timelines. It was all a bit too Doctor Who for my liking, and wasn’t it oh-so-convenient that Draco had an extra timeturner to save the day…?
#5 Queer Baiting
Why was it deemed okay to create a perfect relationship between Albus and Scorpius, which could easily have blossomed into much more than friendship (“I thought we didn’t do hugs?!”) only to have it struck down by Rose Weasley, who makes little appearance in the play, suddenly becoming the apple of Scorpius’ eye? His crush on her is mentioned in passing maybe twice, yet the yearning between Albus and Scorpius when forced to stay away from each other seemed so much more tangible and realistic. When there is little LGBT representation is in the Potter universe as there is (and theatre also), it’s such a shame when tangible possibilities are cut off to suit a heteronormative society.
#6 A lack of characters
I was very excited to be seeing a grown-up Teddy Lupin, as well as more of the Weasley children including Victoire and young Fred Weasley. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. I don’t think there was even a trace or whisper of their name throughout the entire script. I wish I’d seen them, as well as old favourites Luna, Neville, and Kingsley Shacklebolt (how did his reign as Minister go?). Instead, we got reincarnations of dead/removed characters Snape and Umbridge, amongst others, which felt as if they were placed to add nostalgia to the piece, rather than to move the play and the Potter timeline up to date.
#7 We all underestimated Voldemort’s penis
Shit. Voldemort had a child. That means he did the…but Dumbledore said he “can’t love”. So how did he…? I mean, come on. You don’t have to love someone to have sex with them. It’s called lust. What with Voldemort’s obsession with power and wanting to continue on it doesn’t surprise me that he’d want a child to continue the Riddle/Gaunt/Slytherin blood line. Obviously, this is his last option I suppose, as he already knew Harry and co were hunting his Horcruxes.
I guess Bellatrix was an obvious choice for mother considering he unwavering and obsessive loyalty over him. Come on, how many fan fictions have been written about Bella and Voldy getting it on? Now that it’s finally happened, people are pissed? I admit the timeline and secrecy of it all is a bit off, but it’s entirely plausible.
#8 And speaking of fan fiction…
Because of the strangely outlandish plot which appears to bear no resemblance to earlier Rowling works, and that some parts of the plot (a la Voldermot and Bellatrix and the relationship between Albus and Scorpius) have appeared before on various Tumblr fan fiction blogs, many say the story is amateur and merely a wad of fan fiction created to make money. I don’t agree with the idea that this has been done purely to make money (Does Joanne Kathleen Rowling really need any more?), but the fact the script was written by experienced theatre writers Jack Thorne and Johnathan Tiffany suggests that they may have gone for ideas they thought would captivate an audience’s eyes rather than the hearts of fans. Saying that, J.K was the creator of the story, so she obviously gave everything her blessing.
The thing that gets me is that people are saying the show isn’t part of the “Potter Canon”, which is ludicrous. Of course it is. It is an official “sequel” and has been created and blessed by JK Rowling herself. The only way we would be able to say it is not part of the canon is if in many years’ time people have not considered it a must-read after Deathly Hallows and shunned it from the library. THEN we’d be able to forget about its existence all together.
#9 But finally, on a lighter note…THE TROLLEY WITCH?!!?