***CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM THE ENTIRE HARRY POTTER SERIES INC. THE CURSED CHILD***
A couple of months ago, I finally read Harry Potter’s stage play The Cursed Child. Since it’s release, I have read an awful lot of criticism about this play. Having now read the play, I feel I can now provide my opinion on both the play itself and the reaction that has swarmed around it.
At the end of Harry Potter and The Dealthy Hallows we were left with 3 words.
‘…All was well….’
The conclusion we were provided allowed us to believe that everyone in the series was as happy as they could be. Harry especially seemed to have found some sort of peace at what appeared to be a hideous process for any teenager to go through. I think though, the ending should have stated ‘…..All was well, until….’
In The Cursed Child, Harry is a 30 something man struggling to connect with his son Albus. I think we can agree that parenting does not come naturally to Harry. He is not perfect. In the book, he handles certain situations poorly and makes mistakes. One of the things I enjoyed most about the play was Harry’s imperfections to deal with his son and his own emotions. He had an exceptional childhood. If this was an more adult storyline, I would be almost certain the guy would have turned to alcoholism or such to help deal with what he went through. That fact he fails to cope with his son, who very much struggles with his dad’s ‘legacy’. Also, the kid was named after the greatest wizard of all time, as well as the most controversial one. The poor sod was always going to struggle!
When reading it, I thought this was very much a story about teenage angst and confusion. People were still affected by the past but of course, a person’s actions are always going to affect those around us. None more so than our children.
I was a little pissed at the time turner making another appearance. This is mainly because I struggle to understand the rules around time travel at the best of time. For this reason I am unable to criticise the issues people had around the travelling stuff. Hopefully, someone will be able to explain it to me without me getting a headache over it all!
Overall, I enjoyed the story. I did not GRAB me like the other books but this does lead me to my next issue with all the criticism.
I read a script, NOT a novel
I had a bitter-sweet reaction to hearing that The Cursed Child would be released as a script. I was excited that the story was continuing but I was so upset that it would not be another novel.
All you get with a script is a brief description on the setting, limited stage directions and dialogue. That is it. This in itself cannot even minutely compare to Rowling’s in-depth telling of the Wizarding World. Her novels were packed with tiny little details, some of which you will not even pick up until reading them for the 2nd or 3rd time. Her descriptions on the settings she had created, the characters she had named and the world we all craved to be part of, must be appreciated.
I truly believe that if this was to be turned into a novel, the reaction to it would have been a lot less harsh. To read The Cursed Child you must already be in the Harry Potter. It is no good thinking a script will take you there. It will not. Well, this one will not anyway. That is what the staging is for.
I hear the staging for this play is spectacular. Everyone who has seen it, says it is amazing. Having never seen it, I cannot comment but if the reaction of those actually going to see it is good, then that tells me that the script must only be providing us with slice of what this play has to offer.
The Casting of Hermione
I will be dedicating an entire blog to the issue of casting different ethnicities into certain roles. But for this blog I will say this – despite the colour of her skin (which, remains undescriptive in the books but I will acknowledge Hermione does blush), the actress Noma Dumezweni has a better likeness to the ‘book’ Hermione than Emma Watson. Also as long as she performs the role well, it should not matter what her ethnicity is.
Some roles do require a specific ethnicity to portray them. This is not one of them. So, the argument in my view is entirely invalid.
“JK Rowling did not write The Cursed Child. It is not more than badly written fanfiction”
This is another argument which, frustrates me. Harry Potter is a massive empire. When it is given opportunity to become a westend play you want to ensure the best play-writes are involved. Rowling has so far, written 1 movie screenplay. She has never written a westend play before. I think having someone else write it was a good idea. I could tell it was written by someone who has experience writing plays for the westend.
The worse complaint I have come across though, are fans who will outright refuse to accept this story as canon. YOU CANNOT DISMISS SOMETHING AS FANFICTION JUST BECAUSE YOU DO NOT LIKE THE ENDING! If Rowling has put her name to it, then you cannot ignore it.
Ultimately, I put the reaction to this book in the same context as the films. Is it perfect? No but seeing as Rowling gets final say in nearly everything about this world, if she is happy you should be too. After all, it is her creation.
But if you hated it that much, then re-read the first novel and fall back in the love with Harry Potter again!