“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” the play based on a new story by J.K. Rowling, sold over 680,000 copies in three days and broke the record of one-week sales for any book released in the past decade. I rushed to get my copy the day the script was released, but now, I only care about the Hufflepuff colors on the cover. The magical kingdom and its characters no longer feel the same.
The back cover of the published script says, “The eighth story. Nineteen years later.” J.K. Rowling and others have embraced the play, written by Jack Thorne and directed by John Tiffany, as a sequel to the tale millions worldwide hold dear, but I will forever keep it separate from the special Harry Potter section of my bookshelf.
The Guardian used the headline, “Don’t Read ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.’” The Washington Post said the missing ingredient is good writing. Granted that this work is a play written by different authors, the plot line, which comes from Rowling herself, does not come close to the original works.
Alexis Wallace, the co-promotions coordinator for California Lutheran University’s Potterfest last semester, has been a fan since age 6. Although Wallace enjoyed the play, she said these and other additions to the tale of Harry Potter, like tweets Rowling makes about characters, have altered fans’ vision of Harry Potter.
“I think she does kind of take away people’s love of the universe by just emphasizing that it’s hers,” Wallace said.
Many fans have been calling for a prequel, particularly regarding the mauraders, which includes Harry Potter’s father James and his closest friends. Instead, we received a poorly written play with a nonsensical plot line I will not delve into in order to avoid spoilers.
Although Rowling has described the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” film as a prequel, the story is set many years before the original Harry Potter tale and includes entirely new characters. Yet again, Rowling has produced something fans were not asking for in the first place.
“A prequel would be really nice to see because so many people really love the story of the mauraders and you don’t really get to know them…I hope that she in the future does take advantage of that because I’m sure it’s going to be well-received,” Wallace said.
As a communication major specializing in film and television production, Wallace also said that from a playwright’s perspective, the mauraders would have been a better choice for a play.
Due to the play’s poor writing, plot and description of characters, I will forever view “The Sorcerer’s Stone” through “The Deathly Hallows” as canon, and exclude the play from my memories of Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest of the magical kingdom.
I will admit, however, one segment toward the end of the play actually moved me to tears. It shows what took place before the opening scene of the first novel, when Hagrid arrived at 4 Pivet Drive in Little Whinging carrying Harry in his arms on the night of the attack at Godric’s Hollow.
According to “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” Hagrid went to the Potters’ home and said upon finding a child in a crib, “Hello, Harry Potter. I’m Rubeus Hagrid. And I’m gonna be yer friend whether yeh like it or not. ‘Cos yeh’ve had it tough, not that yeh know it yet. An’ yer gonna need friends.”
In this scene, I imagine a giant Hagrid leaning over the crib, sentences being broken up through tears as he looks down at a helpless Harry. This is the one segment I will accept, portraying two important characters, with a bond close to father and son as fans have always known them.
J.K. Rowling, we had a good thing going – please just let it be while the magic still lasts.