Let’s Talk About Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry PotterA lot of you hated it.

I didn’t.

And I want to talk about it.

And I want to give you ample time to stop reading this post if you haven’t read it yet.

I don’t want to be the one to spoil your reading experience.

So if you haven’t read it yet, please stop reading.

I’m not going to hide spoilers. They’ll be here out in the open … ready to spoil you. So please stop reading.

This is your last warning.

I didn’t hate Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

In fact, I liked it, and I’m a little shocked that others didn’t like it too. From what I can tell, one problem one with many readers is “It’s not a book.”

I think calling it “the eighth Harry Potter book” really let a lot of people down. Did the publisher start calling it that? Or did the fans/media? From what I can tell, the media reported it as “OMG THE EIGHTH HARRY POTTER BOOK” and the fans exploded with glee and started calling it that too. In any case, knowing it was a play, I never considered it the eighth Harry Potter “book.” I did, however, consider it the eighth Harry Potter story, which changes a lot, I think. I placed fewer expectations on it than other people did. That, and I’ve read plays before, so I knew what to expect from it.

Problem Two: Time Turners

Canon tells us that time turners have an Hour-Reversal charm on them that keeps the user from going back farther in time than five hours. Cursed Child reveals that someone developed a true time turner, the prototype of which fell into Theodore Nott’s hands. This prototype allows users to go back to any period of time, but they can only stay for five minutes. This is the time turner Hermione and the ministry seize in a raid, and it’s the time turner that Albus and Scorpius use. To complicate matters a little more, we learn that another the final version of this time turner ended up in Lucius Malfoy’s hands, who then passed it to Draco. This is the time turner that Harry et. al use at the end.

So the criticism I’ve seen around focuses on these two true time turners breaking the rules that earlier canon established. But here’s the thing: Cursed Child is canon too, no matter how much people complain about it. We have to accept that we don’t know everything about the Potterverse. The addition of a true time turner felt plausible, therefore, canon.

Problem Three: Albus is Whiny

Yup. And so was Harry in Order of the Phoenix. Like father, like son.

Problem Four: Harry Didn’t Handle Things Well

This one was interesting. We all hero worship Harry, so it’s understandable that we don’t like his behavior in Cursed Child. But it’s never been easy being Harry Potter. That doesn’t change just because Voldemort is gone. Parenting a teen is hard, so I hear. And just because Harry is a hero, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t get angry. He has always lashed out when angry, and lashing out at Albus in this story just tells me that he hasn’t changed much. He gets overwhelmed with his feelings and struggles to communicate when angry. Parents do say shitty things sometimes, but it’s obvious that he loves his son.

Problem Five: Cedric

So many people hated that Cedric Diggory became a Death Eater for two seconds in an alternate timeline. Really? The canon is intact because the timeline rights itself at the end. What’s the problem? That he would never be a Death Eater? People are driven to do some unspeakable things for some very stupid reasons. Perfectly “normal” people become unhinged at the slightest provocation. Being humiliated at the Triwizard Tournament certainly would qualify as “very stupid reasons” and “slightest provocation.”

Problem Six: Voldemort’s Kid

Ok. I’ll give you this one. How did the Death Eaters not know Bellatrix was pregnant? Or Narcissa (her sister)? I mean, we know Bellatrix loved Voldemort. That’s clear. But when did they find the time to procreate? That’s the only thing that seemed implausible to me.

There’s one more thing I didn’t like:

Minister for Magic instead of Minister of Magic. Drove me batty.

But all in all, I’m pleased with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and am glad to read more about the Potter, Granger-Weasley, and Malfoy families. I especially liked that Harry got some closure regarding the death of his parents.

Even though you can call it fan fiction all you want, it is canon. Rowling signed off on it. So there you have it.

four-stars

© 2016, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.

  • Akilah

    I liked it, too. I was annoyed by the time turner thing but that’s only because i am not really a fan of time travel so finding out the ENTIRE PLOT hinged on it drove me batty. But once I accepted that part, I was fine. So.

    • The Book Riot Podcast had a good episode about Cursed Child. They brought up an interesting point about time turners. It was the only way they could write a story that didn’t interfere with the original timeline of the seven books.