WARNING!! WARNING!! THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE CURSED CHILD! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
With the Cursed Child we re-enter the magical world once more, this is the journey we embark upon again. We tread cautiously, seeing only skeletons of script and scene, and of Rowling’s previous work. We come across familiar names and places, but all is it not as it seems. We know they have different faces and we know that age has developed the characters beyond what we are used to. This may be why some conversations between the adults appear dry and the children have to make for it. But that’s the point, I think, as the story centers about Albus and Scorpius, and what it means to be children of legacies. For Albus it means carrying around a perception that he is far from and being bullied for that diversity. For Scorpius it’s living with the reality that his father was a death eater and the presumption that he is the rumoured child of Voldemort himself – which is ironic, I’ll tell you why a bit later.
Jack Thorne’s contribution to the script provides a new modern edge to the raw emotional intensity of Rowling’s original dialogue:
HARRY: Voldemort is going to kill my mum and dad—and there’s nothing I can do to stop him.
DRACO: That’s not true.
SCORPIUS: Dad, now is not the time…
ALBUS: There is something you could do—to stop him. But you won’t.
DRACO: That’s heroic.
LILY: (from off): Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry…
VOLDEMORT (from off): Stand aside, you silly girl ... Stand aside, now…
Lily’s repetition continue to ring in our hearts after many years and brings back the grief we felt (or continue to feel) for characters. I would say that the Cursed Child provides a new angle to what we already know, adding more to canon and telling us more about Harry even though the focal point is on his son. However, some would say that it is clumsily added to original pieces from the Harry Potter series in order to try and seam different minds together.
One central arch through the script is how Albus and Scorpius go through time in order to save Cedric’s life and fix some of Harry’s recklessness. Each time - ha a pun! – They change something of the past, the present they arrive back is startlingly different. These consequences change their friendships and in one instance we are plunged into a world where Voldemort won and Snape never died. This allows various what ifs to be explored and drives home the seriousness of consequences. Although, I must admit that this seemed a bit repetitive they tried to fix something, they made it worse, they tried to fix that and they made it worse again. In all seriousness the Voldemort ruled universe was somewhat predictable. Also, Albus’ recklessness in going into the Ministry of Magic, stealing a time turner via polyjuice potion and then going back in time several times served as a twin to Harry Potter’s own adventures, such as using polyjuice potion to enter the Ministry and take Slytherin’s locket in the Deathly Hallows.
Though pasts and futures are undone and redone, by the end we are left where we began. The almost inconceivably immaculate tying together of loose ends and plot revelations is one aspect that still closely mirrors the previous series, so an older Harry Potter becomes reconciled to his family, and to his young son whose rebellions uncannily reflect his own. In the end, the play teeters on the edge of its own re-invention, as does the time turner, its symbolic centerpiece, pausing between redundancy and revolution:
“And time stops.
And then it turns over, thinks a bit, and begins spooling backwards, slow at first…
And then it speeds up.”
As ‘time stops’, we are given space to contemplate the timelessness of this tale. Once more “all is well”. Yet this new work opens up possibilities and alternatives that we as readers are left to imagine and create in an ongoing experimentation. Ultimately, the play should be read not only in relation to its fictional histories and futures, but as a new response to the Harry Potter universe.
Some questions that I have to answer before finishing:
Why wasn’t it very detailed? I wish Rowling had wrote another book.
She didn’t write another book and I think many went into it with the notion that it would be a book and not a script that it clearly was. A script is very open to interpretation, it is there solely for the directors and the actors and luckily for the benefit of us too. Rowling wanted to explore the franchise which is why she helped write a script. She ‘helped’ meaning that there were other contributors to the writing which means that not everything is going to be exactly what you think.
The thing with Bellatrix and Voldemort seemed wrong, like fan fiction?
It was rather obvious that Bellatrix had feelings for Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, is it that bizarre to think that Voldemort gave into her affections once to get her off of his back? You don’t necessarily have to have feelings for someone to conceive a child. One night stands anyone? There’s another thing where people say that he didn’t have a nose so he didn’t have a penis in order to conceive the child known as Delphi. This is the magic world we are talking about here, anything is possible. Having a child and then being forced to abandon it in favour of going to Azkaban per se might also be a reason for Bellatrix’s insanity and then utter devotion to Voldemort’s cause.
Also is referring to it as fan fiction an insult or bad in any way? There are some really good fanfictions out there and authors such as Cassandra Clare started out as fan fiction writers. Just because it may feel like fan fiction, not canon and totally bizarre does not mean that it’s not good.
Rowling missed a big chance on not making Albus and Scorpius a couple?
Okay I get it, you want an LGBT couple to show diversity and if she did that it would immediately boost support just like saying that Dumbledore was gay did. But Rowling is anything but predictable. When we all thought that Harry and Hermione would get together from the start, Rowling created the Romione ship. I liked how it was just a friendship and it in some way rectified how Harry denied Draco’s friendship back in Philosopher’s Stone. Their children being best friend’s kind of forces Harry and Draco to be civil with one another. Again just because she didn’t include an LGBT couple does not make it in any way bad. Why should we demand things of Rowling anyway? She could have all just left us hanging after Deathly Hallows.
But I found it good and I would certainly read it again just as I would read the Harry Potter series again. But I think the hype for the book was way too much and resulted in many fans thinking it would be more than it was. That is a bit disappointing, but oh well.