Published by Little Brown UK on July 31st 2016
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
This post is going to be a little different. First, assume this whole post is full of spoilers. Second, I discussed my initial thoughts on live stream a few days ago, so I’m going to include that video and then just list bullet points.
Thought One: It feels like fanfic
Since the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, fans have been theorizing about life after Hogwarts, especially the “19 Years Later” scene. This scene is essentially the beginning of the play.
- Scorpius and Albus become friends – This is something fans have theorized about and wanted for years. We see it happen in the play, and it is perfect. In some ways, fanfic ruined me, because I fully expected a romance and not just a platonic friendship.
- Albus Potter is Slytherin – YES! Finally, some redemtion for my house. The feeling I got before the play came out was that Slytherins were desperate for this to happen. I found it rewarding as a reader and I enjoyed that it played into the themes of the play nicely.
- Time travel and alternate universes – This is something that comes up all the time in fanfic. It is a main reason why the play feels so much like fanfic. It is incredibly well done.
- THIS IS NOT A KIDS BOOK – One, nobody likes Scorpius because everyone thinks his dad couldn’t have kids and used a time turner to send his wife back to procreate with Voldemort. Everything about this makes my skin crawl. Two, Bellatrix and Voldemort had a baby and IT IS CANON!
- The Trolley Witch – Everything about this scene made my head explore. It is fun and ridiculous in the best way. I had to literally stop reading, so I could smile and wrap my head around the fact that ALL OF THIS IS NOW CANON!
Thought Two: Problematic Story Devices
- A lot of people have commented on how love potions in general are basically magical roofies. They blur the line of consent and have always made me uncomfortable. Other people have explained this much better than I have time for, but I mention it because it ties in with my two other major ick problems:
- Ron, an adult, gives a love potion to 13-year old Albus. Adults forcing children to be romantic or sexual is gross, creepy, and inappropriate. I am troubled that this is played for laughs so often. Let Albus grow up at his own pace. Later, Ron sees Albus with a 20 year-old woman, and assumes Albus had success with the love potion. First, (again) love potions are essentially magical date-rape drugs. Second, a 20 year old with a 13 year old is not okay. Its predatory and gross and inappropriate. I am so tired of media playing these relationships off as something good for young men to aspire to and for laughs. It’s gross. If Ron had been an adult and checked on this, as he should have, he would have realized his nephew was being captured by Voldemort’s daughter who is trying to change the past to bring her dad back.
- Albus uses polyjuice potion to sneak into the Ministry of Magic. Of course, he is pretending to be Ron, and he runs into Hermione. He basically throws himself at his aunt, claiming he wants to have another baby. Again, we see a young boy going after an older woman being played up for laughs. Then, we must also consider that Hermione thinks she is kissing her husband and probably wouldn’t consent to kissing her 13-year-old nephew in the same way. The entire scene makes my skin crawl.
- Albus and Scorpius cementing their friendship on the Hogwarts Express feels SO MUCH like Harry and Ron cementing their friendship before the sorting hat.
- Draco is actually a much better father than Harry, but then again, Draco had an example, even if Lucious wasn’t a good one.
- The events of the HP series are horrific, and the play doesn’t shy away from this. I liked that the characters had to actually deal with all the traumatic events of the books, even years later.
- I will never forgive Harry for telling his son that sometimes he wishes he weren’t his father. The play handled it well, though. I loved how dark and deep the story goes, emotionally.