Episode 200: Cursed Child, 1.1 – King of Angst

We’ve hit a major milestone with episode 200, and what better way to celebrate than to discuss the newest thing in Harry Potter, Cursed Child! Join hosts Alison, Eric, and Caleb, along with guest Gina, as they discuss Part 1, Act 1 in all of its glory. NOTE: there are some spoilers for the stage production on this episode; be aware if you are trying to avoid those!

On Episode 200 we discuss…

→ Our initial thoughts on the play as a whole
→ A functionally different epilogue
→ Rose Granger-Weasley: a study in reading vs. seeing
→ Scorpius Malfoy, the greatest nerd to ever nerd
→ Kids these days… er, in 2020
→ The Trio is all grown up!
→ The lasting effects of Cedric Diggory
→ So, about the trolley witch…
→ Draco and his troubled past

To listen to the show, simply click the player below or direct download the episode. You can also subscribe to us on iTunes. For more information about the podcast and to find out how to be on the show, check out our Be On The Show! page.

Skype users can send us a message to username AlohomoraMN. And as always, be sure to continue the discussion below or on our Forums!

Listen Now: | Download


RECAP: EPISODE 199

On this recap we discuss…

→ Why Umbridge decided to not be a Death Eater
→ “Purr”-sonalities of cats
→ Historical roles of birch
→ Umbridge vs. Voldemort as villains

Listen Now: | Download

  • daveybjones999 .

    On the first scene of the play being different from the epilogue I think it’s a way of J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne letting the audience know that the story they’re about to see isn’t really canon. By directly changing what happened in the epilogue they’re trying to help people come to that decision on their own so that if they don’t like the play they can completely remove it from canon so it doesn’t ruin their enjoyment of the series by knowing that this is what happens to the characters after the books.

    • Lisa

      Then why would she say it’s canon if she were thinking that it wasn’t while writing it? The most likely explanation for the changes is that some things look better on stage than in the novel so they made so minor changes to the first scene. Everything else in the play is written in a way which works with the previous canon so clearly they’ve considered issues of consistency and tried to integrate the new facts with the seven books.

      • daveybjones999 .

        I didn’t know that she said that she wanted people to consider it canon. I don’t follow her on twitter, so that’s probably why I didn’t get that bit of information. Also my thoughts on canon are probably a lot different than how others view it. Specifically with regards to the Harry Potter series, for me, the canon is the 7 books, the books in the Hogwarts Library collection, and everything else that came out after the book, but only if I like it. If I don’t like it I don’t consider it canon. Personally I really liked Cursed Child and have no problems with considering it canon, but I don’t think that other people should feel forced to consider it as such if they don’t, regardless on if Rowling considers it as such of not, because I think people shouldn’t get too hung up on whether something outside the 7 books are canon or not and just experience the parts of Harry Potter that they enjoy.

        • Lisa

          Yup agreed that people can consider whatever they want canon (or not canon). Even if her intention was for it to be canon and they put effort into making it fit with the rest of the series. With all this new material being released I doubt we will ever have a universal definition of canon that everyone agrees on. Everybody seems to draw the line differently.

    • MartinMiggs

      “The eighth story nineteen years later” is not really leaving it up to the fans to decide

  • Jeremy Sicking

    Many of the people who dislike “The Cursed Child” complain how the play comes across as fan fiction. One reason is that people have had 9 years after DH to think of every single possible combination of fan fiction story involving Albus and Scorpius in every scenario, so it would be hard to come up with an “original” plot that fans had not read something similar. One also has to understand the creation of the play almost certainly began with the creative team deciding that if there is going to be a Harry Potter play there will have to be certain elements included in the play: there must be a battle between good and evil using magical effects on stage, it must have the children be the lead characters, the adult trio must have an important supporting role, and the antagonist must be in some way related to the Death Eaters and/or Voldemort. With these conditions in place, the plot was then constructed. A proper comparison to writing “The Cursed Child” was the film “Star Trek: Generations” because the purpose of the film was to pass the film “torch” from the TOS cast to the TNG cast with Captain Kirk and Captain Picard appearing together. The film was OK but probably was the best it could be because based on the plot points that needed to be in the film. Likewise, the conditions on the play limited the originality of the story.
    The best way to think of the play and likewise the films depictions of “Meta-Potter” of the 7 novels as described on http://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/meta-potter-on-whether-cursed-child-is-canon/ meaning that there will always be differences when changing among different forms of media: books, plays, and films.

    • #4HouseHatstallProblems

      I agree that people have had 9 year to obsess about any and every possible situation in the Potterworld, but I say that it reads like fan-fiction because of the Voldemort-Bellatrix “love child” and how absurdly emo Albus is. The character of Voldemort was carefully written and portrayed as never wanting nor needing affection. It is illogical to think that he had an affair with Bellatrix. Albus’ hatred toward Hogwarts is surprising, illogical and indicative of something else going on in his mind. Everyone in his family loves Hogwarts. His best friend loves Hogwarts. Hogwarts is a big enough place for him to find his niche. I was surprised to read Albus saying that he doesn’t want to go to Hogsmede because there will be Hogwarts students. Slytherins are supposed to be very warm to their own. Albus emotional state presented strongly as depression, until he decided to right Cedric’s death. It seamed a little off and wasn’t as fluid and logical as we’re used to reading from Rowling, especially since she told us to consider it canon (which I take issue with as the opening scene is different from the epilogue.)

      At the end of the day, it’s another Potter story, so I love it 🙂

      • Alison

        About Albus being “emo”: I can see that from just reading, but in the presentation, it was so much more nuanced. He really is just a boy looking for who he is and feeling like the black sheep of his family. I really connect with Albus for a lot of reasons, and these feelings are some of them; I, too, felt different from my family and so withdrew myself a little bit to try and find myself and figure out where I fit in. I see Albus doing the same here. I’ll touch on this more in future episodes!

      • SnugglesWithNifflers

        I feel like part of Albus’s dislike of Hogwarts stemmed from how much it was built up to him as this perfect utopian home. Harry loved Hogwarts partially because he was finally able to learn more about his parents, and others compared favorably him to his family that he never got to know. For Albus though, he felt a lot of pressure to live up to Harry, and was constantly told how he didn’t live up to his legacy. Anddd part of it was probably teenage angst, just trying to get in a good zinger in a fight with his dad 🙂

      • The Half Blood Princess

        I saw it as Voldy is described as being incapable of love, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s incapable of lust

        • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

          you’re right, love is not neccessary to create an heir to the powerful Slytherin line, making good use of the unconditional loyality Bellatrix shows, and her pure-blood heritage. I’m less concerned with Voldemort’s intentions than with the similarities that arise if Bellatrix is a mother who has recently given birth fighting in the Battle of Hogwarts and dying that night. Jo’s interpretation of the duel between Bellatrix and Molly get’s several new levels of meaning.

    • Alison

      YES! This is what I’ve been saying for a while. Nine years and thousands of people speculating means that, without a doubt, all of these things would come up.

    • Niffler123

      Yeah I’m not entirely sure this play could ever have lived up to my expectations because, as you said, I have had a lot of time to gather ideas in my own head and view other people’s. Having said that, I don’t think this is why I found the play fan-fictiony. I think the main problem is that the entire plot relies on events which happened in the original books – from the (ridiculous) triwizard tournament time travel situation to the climax of James and Lily’s murder which has already been so heavily explored in the books. Pretty much the only character who was never mentioned in the books is Delphi, who is underdeveloped and let’s face it, fan-fictiony to the core. I’m sure many people have already pointed out how outrageously silly the notion that Voldemort had a child is, not to mention that it outright defies canon. The conditions you stated could have been met in a wide range of other ways- there were a whole host of new characters and new scenarios which could have been used rather than what felt like a throwback to and commentary of the original plot. Frankly, I felt disappointed to find out that what could have been a fresh story which explored new themes and situations and characters had turned out to be a story which, in my opinion, needed to let go of the events which had been resolved 19 years earlier. I’m all for Harry and co working through the emotional issues caused by the war, and for Harry to have trouble parenting Albus, but to me it was completely unnecessary to go uprooting the perfectly resolved plotlines of the previous books.

  • frumpybutsupersmart

    What a good episode! I loved that both Alison and Eric were on so we could hear two very different opinions of the play. I’m so looking forward to the next few episodes.

    One of you mentioned (I think it was Alison?) early on that Rose was playing up her family connections at Hogwarts to impress people, and they said it was a very Ron thing to do. I thought this was a great comparison, but I would also compare this with a young Draco Malfoy, who did the same thing for most of his school life. It’s probably different on stage, but reading the play, Rose did seem a little … unlikeable? She took an immediate dislike to Scorpius because of the rumours that he was Voldemort’s kid, then stopped being friends with Albus because he was a Slytherin (I think that was the reason; it wasn’t really clear in the book). I was pretty disappointed with Rose overall, to be honest; she was barely in the play, and when she was in it she was pretty judgey. I think they could have done much more with her character, and I don’t think a child of Ron and Hermione would be quite so mean.

    As for Hermione being Minister, I have to say I was pretty surprised. It’s not that I’m opposed to the idea of Hermione being in charge of the magical world; I’ve just never seen her as a natural leader in the way that Harry was. She’s certainly intelligent enough to get the job done (and she’d definitely be a better Minister than, say, Fudge), but it was a little jarring, as I expected her to be working more as a behind-the-scenes force than up in front of everyone. For example, with the DA, Hermione was the one who thought of the idea, and the one who got everyone to turn up to the Hog’s Head that first day, and even the one who started addressing everyone; but she also knew that she wouldn’t be the leader of the group.

    Now, the trolley witch – this was way too strange a development for me. I agree with Eric in that giving backstory to a minor character in this way IS a very JKR-esque thing to do; but the backstory she got was just so weird!! That was the moment when I definitely started considering CC as non-canon, because for an old witch to start sprouting spikes and throwing grenades at children was just too out there for me to rationalise. Honestly, she reminded me of the frozen governess from that Doctor Who episode The Snowmen.

    Last point, I promise: the ingredients for the Polyjuice Potion. I just wanted to point out to Thorne and Tiffany that lacewing flies are in the student store cupboard; that boomslang skin WOULD be on the “Restricted Register”, as it was in Snape’s private store; and that there are other ingredients for Polyjuice potion as well, including Bicorn horn, which is ALSO restricted. Interestingly, boomslang skin and lacewing flies are the two things that Snape mentions have been stolen from his cupboard in the Goblet of Fire movie; another movie-ism that was adopted was the viaduct. I’m a little bit of a purist when it comes to the books, so them including things that were exclusively in the movies (and in doing, canonising them) is a little irritating to me.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      I completely agree with you about Rose; in fact, I earlier today wrote a very similar comment, prior to reading yours. I do wish they had elaborated on why she distanced herself from Albus. While I’m sure his attitude had a lot to do with it by the fourth year, at first it does seem to be just because he is sorted into Slytherin and has befriended Scorpius.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Fully on board with you about Rose. I actually was quite surprised when Alison described her as “delightful” on stage, because I wouldn’t say that comes out at all based on the script alone. I also agree that she seems to be a mix of Ron and Hermione personality wise, but to me it seemed to be a mix of the worst of their personalities- Ron’s desire for importance and status, 1st year Hermione’s know-it-all snobbery… it didn’t do much to endear Rose to me. I thought her freak out over Albus being in Slytherin was a bit much.

  • Lydia Miranda

    First, let me say that I have not read or seen the play yet. Based on the spoilers and plot points I’ve heard about, I just can’t in good conscience pay money for it, so it’s on hold at my library. As such, I reserve the right to completely reverse my opinion on this later (and I sincerely hope to be able to do so), but right now I’m firmly in Eric’s camp on this. CC tramples on the HP universe so much, with regards to characterization and themes. This is a mark of lazy storytelling; you shouldn’t have to create long explanations and leaps of logic to explain how elements of the play that are problematic actually do make sense if you just squint and look at them sideways. I enjoy trashy fanfic as much as the next person, and I would totally be on board with this if Rowling hadn’t insisted that this nonsense is canon. Sorry Jo, not buying it this time.

    • Alison

      Interesting take, but as I explained (and will keep bringing up as they develop), I actually think the themes and characterization (of the main characters, at least) were perfectly aligned with the novels. Like all good themes, they just take a bit of study to find the nuance in them

    • DoraNympha

      I agree. The play does have good points but come on, Delphi is literally an idea I only ever ever entertained in connection with the infamous fic My Immortal because there is a general consensus that it is really a horrible idea and that we would never actually take it seriously (I saw a youtube reenactment of it that literally just put question marks on the screen where it should have said that that character is Voldemort’s daughter), and the trolley witch thing would have been one of the crazier ideas even in a Starkid production, which, again, we love because we don’t have to take it seriously. I’ve seen people take such offence at mere jokes that Hufflepuffs or Cedric are good finders because it comes from A Very Potter Musical (if you google “Hufflepuffs are” it’s literally the first search suggestion even now), and yet I’m supposed to just accept the idea that Cedric could have ended up being a Death Eater? Umm well the medallion says that’s dumb so we’re not gonna do that.

  • Really agree with Eric that once I got passed this part, the rest flowed a lot better and I could get into it as a story more. At the beginning, the inconsistencies with the original “Nineteen Years Later” sorta breaks the fantasy wall because I was jarred in the recognition that something was off. And then I was wrestling with my headcanon version of what these characters would be like. But once I “received” the play’s version of the characters and the background and bought into it, I relaxed a bit and let the play unfold as it would without second guessing things. There are little things in the later sections, like Ludo Bagman’s intros to the tasks, that took me out of it a bit. But in all, I felt that the back 3/4 and more so the back half of the script was much more enjoyable as a reading experience.

  • Really great discussion! I wanted to just suggest that there should be a bigger distinction made between the two experiences of this play – 1) the viewing experience for those who have seen the play live; 2) the reading experience for those who have only read the script (a rehearsal script no less).

    At several points during the discussion, Allison mentioned the difference that an actor’s expression or acting choice made to her interpretation of the play. We don’t get that through reading the script. We can only imagine what the acting might bring out beyond the lines and stage direction or in my case, as I was reading, I was not imagining a theatrical performance of the story but more like the events unfolding in my imagination as a head-movie. I don’t experience any of the emotional investment of any of the actors, any of the atmosphere that the set design brings to the story, or any of the excitement that special effects bring to a scene. I am creating that all in my head, as we all do in any reading experience. So I guess I just wanted to point out that differing opinions on the play will naturally follow from different experiences of it.

    We do not all share the viewing experience and so it is difficult for me to appreciate some responses to it based on my more textual and personally imaginative experience. While listening to the discussion, I was considering whether it was prudent of JKR et al. to publish the script prior to the time when the viewing phenomenon becomes wide-reaching. A play is a story told not only in text but in actions and environments that are distinctly chosen to portray what the director (and other crew) want to portray. With only the script, we all are creating parallel though divergent portrayals of this narrative, which granted is a practice very much embedded in theatre as a creative medium, but thinking about Harry Potter as a cohesive thing (if we still can), I feel a bit like I’m missing out on what the story was fully meant to be because I can only experience a portion of the work.

    • LumosShadow

      I agree the line between the play and the script should be a lot harder, at least until the play becomes more accessible. I often get annoyed at people that dismiss the opinions of those that have not seen the play because they haven’t seen the “true intentions” of the story. It creates a class divide in the fandom.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Agreed. While I want to know more about how certain things are portrayed on stage and welcome those insights, I think it is important for those who have seen it to keep in mind that the majority of us have not, and that we really are focusing on the script itself. What is on the page is what we are dissecting, because it is all we have. The thoughts and opinions gathered from it are therefore still perfectly legitimate topics of discussion, whether they are supported by what was on stage or not (especially when you consider that once the rights to the play are released, years down the line, the script is going to be open to interpretation to a certain extent by whoever is creating subsequent productions)
        Once a greater majority of us have seen the play, then we can talk about it in those terms, but for now, it is basically just those who haven’t seen it just having to take the word of those who have scenario, which doesn’t really do much to enhance discussion.

  • I did not have a negative reaction to Rose. I thought she was just being a bit immature and taking after Ron’s slight social prejudices. Remember back to all of Ron’s little comments about Slytherins and even muggles at times. We always talked about how this is a result of his upbringing fully entrenched in the wizarding world and entrenched in many of its biases. I felt like this was where Rose was coming from but I forgive her for it, just like I did Ron.

  • Other than tradition, I don’t see why Scorpius fits in Slytherin house. Based on personality and choice, I think he is much better suited to Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. He doesn’t seem particularly bold, except when he is goaded into it by Albus. He doesn’t seem particularly cunning or sly in getting things his way, in fact it seems like most of his decisions to take action result from his desire to help someone else. Maybe he is ambitious in terms of learning and education but I got the sense he was pretty humble, especially in his reaction to meeting Snape and in his reconciliation with Albus. In his conversations, he is lighthearted and never overly serious. I also got the sense of genuine and deep loyalty from him.

    I understand why it had to be so for the plot, and that’s fine, but it still leaves me wondering whether I understand the house thing at all. Or was he a hat-stall and he chose Slytherin for his dad’s sake? But then again, that is a choice to benefit someone else and underscores his fit with Hufflepuff or even Gryffindor.

  • LOVED THE TROLLEY WITCH!

    In connection with another comment I left, I think the trolley witch was created for the viewing experience and for the dramatic impact. This play is being compared to (and probably was created in light of comparisons to) plays like The Lion King and Wicked. It had to be a show-stopper, a dazzler and so they needed facets that make the audience go WOW! and even WTF! because that’s what makes a play entertaining, when you get some surprises and when you can get lost in the “magic” of it. Further, this show-stopping play was not only created for die-hard HP nerds but for kids and adults that may be coming as casual readers or newbies. So for them, this sort of thing is entertaining and in line with things like the Whomping Willow v. Ford Anglia scene or Hagrid’s Blast-Ended Skrewts or Monster Book of Monsters from the novels. It’s a bit of splash that is meant to be funny. So for all that, I got a kick out of it.

  • This will probably come up more in later eps but I didn’t see much of JKR in the character of Delphi. In all, I thought she was pretty underdeveloped, even for a play when you don’t have a ton of time to get into deep character development but what about a short scene in her secret room thing (as a flashback or something) where we get an intimate portrait of her. I felt disconnected from her story which doesn’t feel like Jo because with all of her villains there is at least something that we learn that makes us consider them beyond their villain-hood. Missing that with Delphi.

    • Alison

      Yes, I have many thoughts on Delphi, because she herself I thought was a very interesting character, though her parentage bothers me. But I have theories on that as well 🙂

  • FrugalFran

    Is no one else bothered (repulsed) by the fact that Albus kissed his aunt, Hermione? Imagine, by some harebrained scheme, Harry had to turn into Petunia and wound up kissing Vernon. When I got to this part in the play I had to put it down. It was all down hill from this point, minus Scorpius because he was adorable.

    • ISeeThestrals

      yeah that was…weird.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      I’m guessing on stage it was nice comedic value, but yeah, somewhat off-putting. I don’t think it was a full-on makeout, but the idea that “it becomes a struggle” made it seem a lot more than just an innocent peck. I’m not sure why it was necessary really, much like a great deal of the action in this play. There are plenty of other distraction tactics that might have been employed.

  • #4HouseHatstallProblems

    For a good portion of the book I was so disappointed to find the POTTERMORE spoiled the Ablus-Scoripus relationship. They posted a picture of the two on an adventure I figure from the frightened adrenaline looks on their faces and both of them are wearing Slytherin ties. I was so disgusted! I hoped that I was over reacting, then was crushed to see that the two were Slytherins and best friends. I also hoped for more Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff representation. I guess we got Hufflepuff from the Diggories? I have my problems with the play, but at the end of the day its a Potter story and return to Hogwarts, so I love it 🙂

  • ISeeThestrals

    Before I listen, is this discussion more focused on the play or will you also be discussing the book? I finished part 1 and just crossing into Part 2 of the book, so I figured I’d be spoiler free for this. Sadly I won’t get the chance to see the play any time soon.

    • Alison

      These episodes are mostly focused on the script, though invariably I jump in with bits of how things were done on stage because I can’t separate the two in my head (having seen it before reading it, I read it remembering the production). But most of the hosts have only read the script, so that’s the focus! Though we do have a special bonus episode coming out soon that will focus on the production itself with other MuggleNet staff members who have seen the show.

  • MartinMiggs

    The whole play/script is completely contrary to the All was well Deathly Hallows ending. It shouldn’t have been sold as the “8th story 19 years later”.

  • MartinMiggs

    When Ron is joking about Harry’s scar hurting this is kinda out of character because he’s usually gets worried about that.

  • ArabellaEm

    I’m afraid the one question I had after reading this play was “What is the point of this story?” It was entertaining at times, but mostly frustrating and surprisingly predictable. Of course it would all work out in the end. And don’t get me started on the time turners and Voldemort’s love child… Ugh!

  • Minerva the Flufflepuff

    Anyone else annoyed by the absence of Hugo? He’s not mentioned at all, like he doesn’t exist in this version of the universe. I also don’t get the love for Rose. I find her obnoxious, arrogant and even malicious in a way that I don’t believe any child of Ron and Hermione’s would be.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Yeah, I think if this is supposed to be “canon”, it is odd that Hugo makes no appearance, though I understand that there are plenty of characters that simply couldn’t make it in, just for the sake of time and plot structure. I too, have no love for Rose. I feel like she is an amplified version of the worst qualities exhibited by Ron and Hermione. I really don’t see where Scorpius’ feelings for her come from. Perhaps if she were actually present more, we could get a better take on her. I’m guessing a lot of it comes down to the actress and how she portrays her. From the images, she looks a lot nicer and bubbly-er than what we get from the script.

      • Minerva the Flufflepuff

        Yeah, Scorpius’s infatuation with Rose made no sense at all to me. I guess it couldn’t be a story without a heterosexual love interest, so they pulled one out of you know where…

  • DoraNympha

    I’m like what Eric said, I can’t get over when something doesn’t play by canonical rules in the first place, regardless of how entertaining it is. Even if it’s so much as a popular Tumblr post about what the Marauders might have got up to at the Yule Ball— my brain is just a party pooper just not being able to let go of the obvious flaw in this that they probably didn’t have a Yule Ball if it’s not a Hogwarts event but a Triwizard event, for example. Or stuff like Luna’s shade of hair, like it’s all funny to compare it to Draco’s but in canon they’re not the same so the whole jenga tower of headcanons built on these bricks cannot actually stand, and I’m bothered by always having to keep in mind that nagging note nullifying the entire thing, that nagging reality check of “yes, BUT-“. If the play just hadn’t been announced as canon or the 8th story, it’d be absolutely fine. As it is…

    But aside from the canon-not-canon issue, moving onto subjective opinions about the play rather than objective critique of its canon-compatibility, here’s my humble two cents:

    The reason why I’ve been underwhelmed from the start by Cursed Child is because the central characters are basically exactly those that I care the least about. If there is anyone whose perspective I’m quite disinterested in, it’s Draco Malfoy’s, to be honest. And this is not the play’s fault, of course, and I’m sure I’d still be amazed at the live show, having heard about how well the special effects are done, but I would have loved to know what literally any other character is doing 19 years on. How is George? Is he okay? What’s Luna doing, is she still travelling, has she found the Snorkacks yet? Has Wood’s team won a national cup? I hope it has, poor chap deserves it. What’s Lee doing? Is he some wizarding celebrity by now, doing radio, being besties with all the coolest bands? And if we’re going to make anyone Minister, why can’t it be Percy? I’d love to see if he’s actually up to the reality of the task, I’d love to see him as the actual Minister for Magic but going home to the Burrow for Christmas where he still doesn’t get to decide what they’re listening to on the radio (and still falling for George’s pranks but without hard feelings now). What’s Teddy doing now that he’s fresh out of Hogwarts? Is it hard for Andromeda that it’s time for him to leave the nest, too? I’d literally rather they had made a musical about poor amnesiac Lockhart’s escapades in London when one day he manages to slip out of the hospital undetected by the Healers and gets himself into all sorts of trouble. (Actually, someone should get on that last idea. Someone call Kenneth Branagh!)

    I mean, that’s what’s always been the most intriguing about HP, the fact that the world is wide and colourful, but instead we concentrate on very few characters who seem to relive the same problems and conflicts they had when they were 17, all over again. Besides, Voldemort didn’t invent wizarding world conflicts. Anyone with an ounce of creativity and five minutes to spare can come up with twenty other ways to create a giant conflict that seems insurmountable but leads to character development and is actually original. That’s why I’m so looking forward to Fantastic Beasts: no Voldemort yet, so there has to be a completely different conflict in the plot in there, which is refreshing.

    Further personal qualm about CC is that it doesn’t only reduce the story to a handful of those characters who reinvent the good old Gryffindor vs Slytherin feud but at least the books contained SOME stuff about other houses. In CC it’s as if Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff don’t exist, let alone characters outside of Harry’s immediate relatives and his childhood enemies. The fact that the play even messes with the magic, like the Time Turner thing, just makes the whole Potterverse it presents quite small. The opposite has been true whenever I open the books, or even Pottermore – those have given us an infinite world. However, CC seems so unusually narrow, and that bugs me quite a lot.

    But again, these were just the personal opinions I have had, the canon debate is an entirely different issue, of course, so don’t shoot me, and I’m sure it must be a great time to be a Draco fan, or a Slytherin, and I hope those fans are making the most of it because it must be really awesome! 🙂 (I’ll just sit here patiently and selfishly for fourty years hoping for a scrap of new story centered around something/someone Ravenclaw…)

    • buckbeak is my spirit animal

      Omg, reading this gave me this amazing image of Lee Jordan as like, Ryan Seacrest. Perfect.

      And “Memory: The Musical! Starring Gilderoy Lockhart” …. I need that to exist.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      I would be the first fangirl in line for that Gilderoy Lockhart musical!

      While I personally am very interested in Draco’s character, I agree with you that it would have been refreshing to see the storyline taken in a new direction, rather than revisiting the specter of Voldemort. I appreciate the themes of the play, and among them the intent to show how we struggle to break free from our pasts, but it felt like the creativity was lacking in some respects.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      Also, I’m right there with you wishing for more Ravenclaw-focused stories or adaptations. Rowena’s and Helena’s lives would make a gorgeous medeival period film!

      Or what if they built on the Fantastic Beasts saga with future stories about Luna’s and Rolf’s adventures?

      • DoraNympha

        Already casting Rolf in my head. Tempted to go on twitter and ask who Evanna Lynch would choose to play him!

        And I agree, Rowena, Helena, the Baron, their story would be so cool and dark and kind of a gothic tale. Although, to be fair, the musical nerd in me definitely wants that Lockhart piece the most! Healers would have to track him down through Muggle London, always one step behind Gilderoy, finding he has crashed a West End production because he thought he could sing better (Anything you can do, he can do better!), signed into some maffia business accidentally, spent a night in jail at a Muggle police station, won a dancing contest in a Soho gay bar, and stole the crown jewels from the Tower because he thought they would bring out his eyes and golden locks in the many MANY tourists’ photographs he photobombed, all the while singing his showstopper signature songs ‘Who am I?’, ‘Remember Me’, and ‘Me, Me, Me’.

        Seriously, if any Ravenclaw story gets made, I’ve got ideas, Warner Bros……..

        • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

          Please pitch your Lockhart musical asap to Jo and this new enterprise, Harry Potter Theatrical Productions (that name just cries out for the Gilderoy touch!). I will be digging out the old tap shoes and character heels to practice for my audition.

          • DoraNympha

            Excellent!!! Now if we could just get Kenneth Branagh to put in a few words for us with Jo… I want it spectactular, like, Gilderoy breaking the fourth wall by stopping a number just to send a dancer off stage so that he himself would be the most handsome person on the stage, and I want a Not the Boy Next Door level of finale song, and a conclusion where Gilderoy is hauled off stage and out of the theatre during applause by Healers in a last bit of fourth-wall-breaking action. “They loved me, they absolutely LOVED me!” he cries happily as he is dragged towards the exit between rows of seats.

            And naturally, all the playbills must be signed. All of them. Authentically.

          • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

            In lilac ink! Beautiful.

            KB will definitely want to be involved. I mean, Gilderoy Lockhart was born for the stage!

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      The fact that we were revisiting the 4th book was part of what lost me too. Honestly, the “lets time travel and explore different realities” is such an unoriginal trope, I was surprised that this is was such a big part of the play. If hypothetically, I knew nothing about CC, and came across it in a bookstore with a summary mentioning anything about kids having to go back in time to “fix” their parents mistakes, I wouldn’t buy it. When we were told “the 8th story” I expected it to be just that, not just a new cast of characters spending a great deal of time rehashing book 4 and themes that have already been explored in depth by the original series. Honestly, the relationships between Albus and Harry, and Albus and Scorpius, were the only things that really peaked my interest, because they were the only parts that felt new, and I think those themes had very little to do with all the extraneous plot devices used to create the story as a whole.

  • SnugglesWithNifflers

    On how Draco managed to have a child as wonderful as Scorpius – I think it may
    partially be due to the world that he grew up in. The wizarding world post-war seems to be a lighter place, and he was obviously not brought up with the same prejudices and values that Narcissa and Lucius held. The world has changed, and Scorpius is a child of his time. It definitely seems as though Draco and Astoria have sought to distance themselves from the Death Eaters, and are better for it. Family has always been very important to the Malfoy family, so I don’t think it’s out of character for Draco to have been a pretty good dad, especially with the positive influence of Astoria. Also mad kudos to Anthony Boyle, who truly brought Scorpius to life on stage!

  • SnugglesWithNifflers

    In some ways, it seemed odd to me that Harry had so much trouble relating to Albus, because I think that of all of his children, Albus was the most similar to him. Maybe in some ways this made them clash, because they definitely both had a temper. But so many of the things that Albus was struggling with, Harry had too. Harry was ostracized by most of the school at various points at Hogwarts (second year when people thought he was Heir of Slytherin and right after he was named Hogwarts champion, for instance), so he should be able to relate to how Albus feels like he doesn’t fit in. Harry also struggled with his identity at Hogwarts, just as Albus does. Harry was often compared with James, and while usually it was a point of pride for him, when he sees his father bullying Snape in the memory, that comparison started to bother him somewhat. It does make sense that Harry might struggle to be a “day-to-day” dad, but in the end I see a lot of similarities between Harry and Albus.

  • LumosShadow

    I can’t stand Part One of this play. I feel the call of fanfiction is a perfect description; even taking the ridiculous plot, there’s nothing more fanfiction then time travel, out of the equation there are many other problems. First, the constant call backs to scene from the previous books, or in a few instances the movies. In smaller amounts I would be more forgiving but Part One is littered with dialogue like the entrance to the platform and the reference Voldy’s lack of a nose that break the emersion. Second, the lack of character growth, like Eric mentioned, from the supposed 19 year time skip. I’m only 24 and yet I act very differently ever since I entered the work force because of the responsibilities and social interactions that I had never before experienced in college. To think that Hermione would still allow people to interrupt her during a meeting is unimaginable considering she is now in a position where people would constantly be trying to undermine her authority for the pettiest of reasons. To even make it to the position of Minister of Magic Hermione would have to have learned long ago how to manage a room. Thirdly, the unnatural way exposition is presented, there’s no logical reason Rose should know more about the Time Turner or Scorpius than Albus does. After all, children love to gossip and I’m sure if Rose had heard something like Voldy having a child she would have eagerly shared this story with her cousins during a family visit. Which leads well in to the idea that even though one of the key aspects of Harry Potter has always been family, no one feels like a family except for the couples. Which is a shame because if you wanted to play up Albus’s isolation there would no better way then to show him first seeking help from and then pulling away from people who would have been close to him throughout childhood like his brother and sister, or super cool almost-brother Teddy Lupin. Speaking of Teddy, I find it hard believe James, Teddy, and Rose didn’t play two-on-two Quidditch growing up and they would definitely need Albus to fill the roster long before his first year.
    Sorry for the rant but I do think that Part Two is much better and we’ll get there.

    • ISeeThestrals

      That was my feeling when I started the book. As soon as the time-turner came in I groaned, already knowing where this was headed.While I don’t find the theme of time-travel fan-ficy, I do find it to be one of those subjects that people tend to be on the fence about. I certainly am. But I didn’t much appreciate it going that route the way it’s going as I’m reading.
      I also hated all the call backs to previous scenes/events. Seems unrealistic to have Albus and Scorpius bringing forth all this info just for the audience/reader’s sakes. Perhaps in the play it makes sense but it’s very annoying.
      I didn’t mind Part 1, but I’m starting to have a hard time on the part I’m currently on.

  • LumosShadow

    To counteract my rant I do want to say something nice. I too adore Scorpius in all his nerd glory, any time he was getting to show his passion was wonderful especially considering how dark he could have been. I don’t really mind Delphi as a character she does seem to have an intelligence that’s rather wasted on this plot. The hosts Tonks comparison was spot on, I didn’t think of it that way at first but i felt the familiarity that you guys into words.
    Here’s a fun thought what if she really isn’t Voldemort’s child but was told that in order to groom her into a new Dark Lord by Death Eaters still holding on to the cause. She could still be Bellatrix’s child but with her husband and he decided to present her as Voldemort’s since everyone knew Bellatrix was close the Dark Lord.

    • Alison

      Ah, you’ve hit on my number one theory of what’s really going on there 🙂

      • Silverdoe25

        Great theory, but I don’t see Cursed Child as Play 1 in a multiple play series, or more books continuing this arc. So it’s pure speculation. Makes for interesting discussion, but it’ll never be resolved.

    • Lisa

      Delphi is a parselmouth. Parseltongue is rare and seems to be hereditary. Why would Rodolphus’s daughter be a Parselmouth? And Rodolphus was in jail when Delphi was conceived anyway.

      • LumosShadow

        Rodolphus broke out of Azkaban at the same time as Bellatrix in OOTP and wasn’t put back until after the Battle of Hogwarts. Following the theory that Bellatrix was missing from the end of HBP because she was pregnant/had just given birth not long before, like I do, it fits the timeline as well as anything in this play did.
        As for Parseltongue, it’s said multiple times that all the wizarding families are intermarried. Plus both the Blacks and the Lestranges are old, pure blood, Slytherin families they would jump at the chance to marry one of Salazar’s known descendants of they got the chance at some point in the family history. So it would make sense that some of them would have Parseltongue but it would be very, very rare. The only reason the Gaunts exhibit the trait more strongly is because of their incest.
        Following this idea, Rodolphus got back from prison, saw that his daughter could speak Parseltongue, and ran with the opportunities it created.

        • Lisa

          I think Bellatrix was pregnant during DH not HBP though. The HBP pregnancy theory is a popular one and would make sense but Delphi says she was born “before the Battle of Hogwarts”. There’s no reason to mention the battle if she was actually born long before it took place.

          I’m not saying the theory that she was actually Rod’s doesn’t work at all, it’s just that the explanation in the play is more elegant. Bellatrix and Voldemort have always had interesting dynamics together so it’s not far fetched that sex occured at some point. Especially during the year Bella’s husband was locked up.

          I’ve also wondered how Rodolphus could have come back from Azkaban in CC. He should have been serving a life sentence. Maybe he escaped again.

  • RavenClare

    I have found the contrast between the critical response to the play and fan reactions to the script fascinating for Cursed Child. We have become used to the books being critically acclaimed as (largely) children’s fiction, and the films rarely receiving serious critical attention or praise; but here in the UK, the critical response to the play has been amazing, as a serious piece of West End theatre. I’m incredibly lucky to have tickets to see it in a few months’ time, and as a lover (and former student) of theatre, and a fan, I can’t wait.

    Something I particularly enjoyed about the script as a play script were the stage directions. I think part of some of the fan disappointment in Cursed Child (plot issues notwithstanding) has been the absence of JKR’s writing style which we all know and love. On re-reading, however, I’m struck again by how much I love Jack Thorne’s stage directions, something you’d miss if you didn’t read the script. In the Sorting scene alone there’s the “perfect, profound silence” that “sits low, twists a bit and has damage within it”, and Albus is “thoroughly discombobulated”. Great word.

    I wonder whether the adorable awkward humour in the writing of Scorpius and his scenes with Albus is also to an extent Jack Thorne. Another favourite stage direction is Scorpius with his “big hopes and an even bigger case”; and I loved “Have we hugged before? Do we hug?”.

    • RavenClare

      Some scattered thoughts having listened to the episode and then re-read Act 1:

      I was unimpressed by Ron on the first read, but do agree that the awkward and mildly embarrassing dad humour can be a natural progression of his teenage self in the books, especially as joint-owner of a joke shop. Another stage direction I loved: “It’s a lame trick. Everyone enjoys its lameness”.

      “There is nothing to be frightened of” at Hogwarts. Er, sorry – what?!
      The moments where Ginny comments on the fame of the trio, and it’s clear that she has always felt on the outside of that, were (I thought) astute and nuanced.

      While several of the devices in the play (blanket and love potion among them) felt heavy-handed, those giants with the tattoos on their backs feel like pure JKR. I only noticed them on the re-read. THIS is the Jo we know and love – or Jack Thorne channeling her OGM.

      I also made the connection between Delphi and Tonks on first read. It’s clever, because the endearing clumsiness makes us think this is a character we can trust – and Tonks would technically be family for Delphi and even the same generation…! It’s plausible for Bellatrix’s daughter to be like her niece. As for her other parent – Alison, I LOVE your theory, which I read on your Mugglenet post, and that has totally become canon in my head.

  • RavenClare

    Some scattered thoughts having listened to the episode and then re-read Act 1, Scene 1:

    I was unimpressed by Ron on the first read, but do agree that the awkward and mildly embarrassing dad humour can be a natural progression of his teenage self in the books, especially as joint-owner of a joke shop. Another stage direction I loved: “It’s a lame trick. Everyone enjoys its lameness”.

    “There is nothing to be frightened of” at Hogwarts. Er, sorry – what?!

    The moments where Ginny comments on the fame of the trio, and it’s clear that she has always felt on the outside of that, were (I thought) astute and nuanced.

    While several of the devices in the play (blanket and love potion among them) those giants with the tattoos on their backs feel like pure JKR. I only noticed them on the re-read. THIS is the Jo we know and love – or Jack Thorne channeling her OGM.

    I also totally made the connection between Delphi and Tonks on first read. It’s clever, because the endearing clumsiness makes us think this is a character we can trust – and Tonks would technically be family for Delphi and even the same generation…! It’s plausible for Bellatrix’s daughter to be like her niece. As for her other parent – Alison, I LOVE your theory, which I read on your Mugglenet post, and that has totally become canon in my head.

  • RavenClare

    One line which really stood out for me when re-reading Act 1 was Rose, after Albus’s sorting, saying “Albus? But this is wrong, Albus. This is not how it’s supposed to be.” Who is to say how things “are supposed to be” in fictional universes? The characters? The fans? Playwrights authorised by the original author of the universe itself? Is the word of JKR the only ultimate authority on how things “are supposed to be”?

    While initially unconvinced by the existence of illegal time-turners, I have come to see the time-turner device and storyline in this play as a fascinating way for an author, and/or those authorised by an author, to explore the concept of characters having pre-determined destinies, of there being a way things are “supposed to be”. Time-turners mess with how things are “supposed to be”, but so do authors, and adaptations – and our own imaginations, and the fan fictions and canons we build for ourselves.

    I love that the alternate universes offered in the time-turner sequences demonstrate how certain characters are “supposed to be” together, whether other characters survive or die and whether good or evil triumphs.

    • RavenClare

      On a related point: this is a REHEARSAL script. The whole concept is of a work in progress – a living, breathing work, almost incongruously poured over and picked apart on the page as we are currently doing. Fellow English Literature graduates and Shakespeare enthusiasts may be aware that we have several versions of Hamlet, and the famous “To be or not to be” speech differs substantially between them. I’ll be interested to see how much the script of the play I’m going to see in a few months’ time differs from the script I read in July.

  • The largest problem with The Cursed Child isn’t the continuity or plot points or random character actions. The problem is that the story is EXTREMELY UNORIGINAL. Every single TV show has an episode where they go back in time and wipe themselves from history only to find out that life is much worse without them. This story is basically “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or, “The Butterfly Effect.” The story has been told a million times and isn’t necessary in the Harry Potter world.

    That, and this story just isn’t fun. There isn’t any light or happiness. The writers focused on the darkness and drama from the later books and abandoned the light and magic that created the world in the earlier books. Albus is still a kid, but the writers didn’t write a kid.

    • RavenClare

      I hear you on the unoriginality – my first thought when I was slightly spoilt by the play reviews (apparently British newspapers don’t have the same scruples / respect for fans as Mugglenet!) was “Time-turners? Really? They can do better than that…”

      But (as I have outlined in my comment below) I have since started to feel that in the Harry Potter universe the “what if?” element of changing time has a whole other element. We as a fandom have obsessively imagined and re-imagined different possibilities and pairings and happily-ever-afters for our favourite characters far more than ever happened for a sitcom or TV show.

      Maybe this story isn’t necessary in the Harry Potter world, but I think it’s a fun (yes, fun – I do think some of it is knowingly tongue-in-cheek) and fascinating way to explore those different possibilities in a fictional world, where who’s to say what should or shouldn’t happen; and moreover when this world has such a dedicated tradition of fan fiction and fan theory.

      • Part of the reason I felt this story was uneccessary was because by the end of the story all the problems are undone and the world is left as if nothing ever happened, aside from a few relationships possibly growing stronger. That could have been done in a story with stakes and actual risk. Cursed child didn’t have stakes or risk and so the drama was never something to be taken seriously.

        Fun is fun, but if it can be clever fun then it’s all the better. Cursed Child isn’t clever for a moment.

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          I sooo agree with this. Not to say that CC doesn’t have moments that are fun, or clever, but I wouldn’t say that about the story as a whole. During the time-travel shenaningans, I felt like I was just turning pages to get to where they inevitably put things right, and get back to parts of the story that I ACTUALLY cared about, which even then were something of a disappointment. I never once felt fully invested in where the plot was going, at least in terms of it’s villain. Delphi never felt like an actual threat, even in the final showdown, just a nuisance.

    • ISeeThestrals

      My first thought was also “It’s a Wonderful Life” when the time-turner was brought in. Right there I had a good guess at where this was going.
      Still, I had hope, because I do think a time travel story can work in Harry Potter. Thing is, you can usually guess how ‘well’ it’s gonna work out for the character trying to change time. I don’t want to spoil anyone who hasn’t read further, but the way it’s done in the book is a bit crazy to me.
      I feel like much of the light and happiness is presented with Albus and Scorpius. Perhaps there were some forced humorous moments presented elsewhere.

      • You are right. A Time -Travel story CAN work for Harry Potter. We already had it and it DID work. It was what many consider to be the best of the Potter series.

        Problem is, in book 3 you cannot change the past. What’s happened has happened whether it is caused by your influence on the timeline or not, your present is what it is. Cursed Child forgot about that.

        • ISeeThestrals

          This made me think of the line where Hermione said something like wizards have written themselves out of existence due to messing with time. Had they stopped time jumping, and settled into a new reality, we’d have a different plot. But as the case with time-travel, when characters see how much things changed, they realize it was wrong to begin with, change it back, then we fall to the realization that you can’t change the past.
          Also time-travel has the potential to leave a lot of holes and create confusion. To say that Albus and Scorpius traveled back in time while we were reading book 4?? Still, we’re not exactly calling this the 8th book.

        • DoraNympha

          I think this is probably the most major reason why I just can’t relax and enjoy this story unless they admit it can’t be canon. There are various ways to work with time-travel and HP has clearly demonstrated that it goes by the fixed-timeline way, meaning the idea that everything has already happened, everything is forever in a loop. Harry knew he’d be able to conjure the patronus because he had already done it. However, CC works in an alternate unverses world, which HP hadn’t been before. We could forcedly explain this away saying that these are different time-turners or something but that would be a pretty weak argument and it just spoils a device that has already been used really brilliantly in HP. The most amazingly nerve-wrecking, nail-biting few pages are when the time-travel happens in PoA, even in the movie, which changed it around of course but it’s still awesome. AUs can be fun too, don’t get me wrong, I loved About Time just as much as the next person but the way PoA does time-travel, the fixed-timeline, is probably the hardest to do and cleverest in my opinion, so CC doesn’t measure up and it’s pointless to switch to AUs from fixed-timeline because it’s bound to be underwhelming.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Agreed. And Jo was very smart to use a fixed-timeline in PoA. For her purposes it actually was the best approach and she used it exactly as she should have. She did an excellent job of closing up potential plot-holes in its use, which is never easy once time-travel becomes an option. CC, on the other hand, just opens up a can of worms that don’t jive with everything that came before. Exploring alternate realities can be fun, but is far from original. We’ll see how I feel by the end of this second read-through, but at the moment I don’t even feel like the time-travel is essential to the rest of the story in anyway other than forced plot-device. I don’t see any of the cleverness or necessity that was exhibited in PoA.

          • DoraNympha

            Right, and it’s just such a bitter pill to swallow when I remember reading those interviews when Jo clearly stated that time travel was one of those things that make too many loopholes possible so she had to destroy them all and put the just-for-a-few-hours limitation on it in the first place, lest the enemy can be defeated too easily, with still two more books to go after OotP. If these super time-turners had been available all this time, what’s stopping Harry from going back in time to save Sirius? Or to go back to that time in PoA, being a THIRD Harry in the grounds, capturing Pettigrew, after all, before he goes and finds Voldemort? Or Umbridge or Thicknesse or Voldemort himself to get to it while the Ministry was in their hands? If this is meant to be canon, then we’re back at those panels asking the same questions all over again.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Exactly. It’s one of many things in this play that even though I’d still feel was a poor choice, I could let slide, IF ONLY she hadn’t declared it canon. I can read and enjoy fan-fic (good ones anyway) because I know that none of it is actually influencing the world or Jo’s stories within that world. I can approach it as experimentation and exploration, rather than “reality”. By declaring CC canon, we now have to believe the events of CC as part of the reality of the books, and that’s problematic when they don’t accurately represent that reality. Like you said, questions previously answered are back on the table, along with many new ones.

  • Phoenix

    Quick comment on “Delphi Last Name Pending”:
    Don’t you think her first name is just as unclear? Delphini Diggory is such a perfect combination of names that I think she made the first name up to match the last name. (Being a creation of JK Rowling, she obviously loves alliteration.) Also, I believe Bellatrix would have named her after a constellation.

    Edit: I just realised there is a constellation called Delphinus, so she might as well be named after that…

    • Lisa

      I’ve also wondered whether “Delphi” was her real name or a name she’d taken in order to hide her true identity. We have no reason to believe that it isn’t the name she was given at birth but who knows? If it is her real name it’s funny that Bellatrix would give her baby such a cute name. She seems more like the type of woman who would name her kid something tough like Ursula or Lucretia or something. This cutesy name makes me love Bellatrix even more so I hope it came from her. It’s certainly better than both “Scorpius” and “Albus Severus”.

      One of the new Pottermore ebooks will feature an article on the Black family naming tradition so maybe Delphi will show up there? I hope so! Her last name should be Black because why would they name her after Voldemort’s Muggle father whom he hated when Bellatrix has a perfectly nice pureblooded name to give her kid.

      • Phoenix

        Yeah, but why Black? I like your matrileneal way of thinking! 🙂 But I don’t think that’s how Death Eaters think.
        I think it is most plausible that they would call her Rowles after her foster parents, since they certainly wanted to draw as little attention to her identity as possible.
        Then again, she seems to have grown up in hiding, so the name may not have mattered much either way.

        • Lisa

          I just think that if they had to choose between Riddle and Black then Black would be preferable as it’s a pureblood name. Not that I think they actually named her Black though, but it would have made more sense than Riddle anyway (Riddle being a Muggle name which we know Voldemort hated). Of course there’s also Lestrange but I agree that Rowles is the most likely option. After her parents died, the Rowles probably gave her their last name anyway so it hardly matters what she was called during her first months of life. We don’t know how wanted she was by her parents so maybe they didn’t bother naming her at all but just gave her to the Rowles as soon as she was born? Ahhh I wanna discuss her so badly, can we skip forward to the Part Two, Act Two episode already please? 😀

  • badonkaTonks

    Are there a lot of people out there like me who are kind at loss or don’t know how to feel about the cursed child? When first began to read it, of course I had the big ass grin I used to when I would first crack open a new Harry Potter book. And I will admit that reading the first couple scenes I did I my fair share of “aww” in all the moments in sure they intended me too, but by the end the luster had wore off, which is something that has never happened to me while reading a Harry Potter story. I think first and foremost the reason why is because it didn’t fell like Jo wrote it, aside from a few moments, none it felt like it had her voice attached to it.

    I feel like this play tried too hard to shatter our preconceived ideas of who these characters grew to be. I don’t think any of us would have guess Albus would be a “ugh my dad ruined my life” emo kid, or the Scorpius would be the nicest kid ever born, and that Harry would be (to some extent) failing the family he always dreamed of having. They made Ron a borderline alcoholic and can we honestly say Hermione would have married him while he was in a drunken state? More to that fact, I don’t believe they Ron would have married her in a drunken state. Given how in love we are supposed to believe they are, Ron would have not need a drop of alcohol to marry her. To me, how it was written cheapened their marriage.

    • ISeeThestrals

      Me! I don’t know how to feel so far. I went through the same thing. I got that air of excitement at picking up a new Harry Potter book, but slowly it started to fade the further I get in this book.

      For me it wasn’t so much that it didn’t feel like Jo wrote it. My thrill started to fall as I started to see where the plot was going and the types of characters we’re given. I’m not so sure I’m down with the story as a whole. I think the character of Albus can be expected because it’s a character trope seen often in many movies and shows. I kind of thought it was refreshing to see the p.o.v of a kid who wasn’t adhering to the Hogwarts experience. And if a story is going to revolve around a person’s son, more than likely there’s going to be the father/son relationship issue in the mix.

      Hearing about the wedding thing was just not good. Feels like something I’d read in a not-so-good fanfic. I’m assuming it’s somehow meant to come across as comedic in a small way, and then touching???
      But there were other points in the book that seem off or even way off.

      • badonkaTonks

        I get what you are saying about expecting Albus to be the way he was, but I think just the fact that you said it’s a common story for a character such as his to have, is part of my disappointment. I’m so used to a Harry Potter story being more outside of the box or rather putting a unique spin on a old story. I did expect to have some sort of trouble being Harry Potter’s son, but I guess for me he just kind of came of like a brat, although one could also argue he was being a typical teenager. Maybe my gripe with him is more of an over gripe with the story, I started off reading and being like “weee this is fun again” but by the end I was just going “are you f-ing kidding me”.

        • ISeeThestrals

          Oh I totally see the issue with Albus. The more I read, the more he did come across as bratty. It was like they were heightening Albus’s issues with his father where it’s a little too much. Further in the story I was starting to question why it had gotten so extreme, to the point where Albus was starting to feel less like a real character/person, unlike Harry had in the past books. They may have wanted to depict a typical teenager, but they might have dramatized it too much.

          • badonkaTonks

            Maybe I need another read through but I (and I mean this in loosest way) but I didn’t see a need for Harry and Albus’ relationship to be they strained. I get it was about them coming together and understanding each other but it felt like Albus had absolutely zero appreciation and understand for what Harry did for the wizarding world. Harry is the war hero of all war heros in the wizarding world and Albus just kind of seemed just BFD because of my dad saving world now my life sucks. How can you grow up in that world, with him as your father and at least be the tiniest in aww of him and think wow that must of been really hard to do.

    • I don’t believe Ron would have been drunk at the time of their marriage either. He has his moments, but he’s a romantic and full of heart. He would have wanted to remember that moment sober, and he would have wanted it to be perfect for Hermione. I refuse to believe it, and honestly, it feels like something that was just put in the script to make the audience laugh.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      I’m with you for most of this, but I’m not sure about your take on Ron. Being drunk at a wedding, even your own, doesn’t make someone a “borderline alcoholic”. I’ve been to a ton of weddings in the last few years, and trust me, it isn’t abnormal for people to have some drinks beforehand. Being fall down drunk at the alter is one thing, but I don’t think that is the case here. Getting married is an incredibly nerve-wrecking experience- you and your partner are the center of attention in a way that people rarely experience, you’ve spent months planning the event in hopes nothing goes wrong, plus, you are sharing an incredibly intimate moment with other people. Trust me, it isn’t about needing booze to actually go through with marrying someone, but it does help to calm the nerves and relax a little bit. My husband and I have a great marriage, and there was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted to marry him, but I was still nervous as hell on the day of our wedding. That is the case for many people, so to turn to a bit of liquid courage beforehand isn’t unreasonable, nor uncommon. I would also argue that this is actually quite in line with Ron’s character. We know how nervous he gets when he is put on the spot, think about what he was like in Quidditch. Plus, his whole lack of self-confidence thing- no doubt it would have gotten better over the years, but I’m sure for him it was still somewhat surreal to him that Hermione was actually agreeing to marry him. I can see Ron as being the sort to not really shake the feeling that maybe it wouldn’t happen until it actually did. To me it seems totally normal that he’d need a drink beforehand, and even more “Ron” if he got a bit carried away in the process. Still though, doesn’t make him an alcoholic or anything close.
      This is one of the few parts for me that I actually felt like the Ron as we know him was shining through, rather than just being relegated to telling lame dad-jokes.

      • badonkaTonks

        I don’t dispute that getting married is a nerve racking event and a lot of people have a drink or two to calm themselves down before their wedding but the fact that Ron specifically stated he felt he need to marry Hermoine again because he was drunk the first time suggested to me that it was not as special as it could have been, like there was disappointment and regret. And as I said I’ve only read cursed child once, so a read through could be in order but wasn’t Ron also seen leaving a pub at some point and the suggestion was that he was perhaps drunk again? He is the only character we seeing doing this, not that the others as adults now are not indulging in drinks, but it was focused on Ron, why? I can’t answer that but it rubbed me the wrong way, over all they made Ron too foolish, too easy going and too much of the butt of jokes.

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          Oh, there absolutely would be some regret for Ron if he was deunk enough to not remember their wedding clearly. I think you’re right that he is feeling some remorse about it, I just don’t think it was out of character for him, nor do I see implications that he’s got a drinking problem. I can’t remember the bit about him leaving the pub in detail, but I still wouldn’t say it implies alcoholism. I think it is more of an indicator that he has less responsibility on his shoulders than Harry and Hermione, as he runs a joke shop rather being in a high level ministry position. Plus, this is in England- being at the pub, even on a regular basis, isn’t exactly unheard of nor frowned upon. Overall, I think it just shows his continued growth in maturity, that he is better able to express his appreciation and love for Hermione now than when they were young. It doesn’t mean that their wedding was less meaningful for him the first time around, just that he behaved differently then.

          That said, I am totally with you in thinking that he was turned into something of a clown. Overall, I was fairly disappointed in how the play painted him. He really did seem to exist purely for comic relief for most of the play (really “lame” comedy at that) and I found it a bit out of line. In the books, Ron was often funny, but his humour was more dry and sarcastic, not cheeseball dad-jokes. The only moments I felt we got “real” Ron were when he was talking about the wedding with Hermione and most of all, when he threatened to hit Malfoy after he made disparaging remarks about Hermione as Minister.

          • badonkaTonks

            Perhaps that is my problem with the “drinking Ron”, they screwed up so much, they kind of turned him to a buffoon that when he mentioned the whole being drunk for the wedding, it felt to me like “aww for Christ sake Ron, get your stuff together.” They way he was so jokey, and lame he came off as not giving a crap about anything, and like I said when the wedding thing came up I think I was like “for god sake Ron, take one thing seriously”. I agree with Ron has alway been the comic relief to a certain degree, but yes it was not dry and sarcastic, but he knew when it was time to be serious. They dumbed him down by making him such a doofus, and it pissed me off, he may not have always shown it in past but Ron is WAY more intelligent then that!

  • Phoenix

    One small – but in some way not so small – thing that really bothered me while reading the play is that Harry’s circle constantly call Voldemort “The Dark Lord”, while his followers (Delphi and everyone in the worst case time travel scenario) call him “Voldemort”. They got this exactly the wrong way round, and I don’t think there is any excuse for that. Shouldn’t JK Rowling have pointed this out to them? After all, in her own book series, she never missed any opportunity to draw attention to the importance of that name, from Dumbledore’s talk about fear in book 1 to Harry confronting Snape about using the respectful name “The Dark Lord” in book 5, the taboo in book 7 and so on…

  • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

    Haven’t listened to the episode in its entirety yet, but going to put up a couple quick posts to get my thoughts out.

    I’m with Alison that the no sugar stuff is just weird and out of character for both Ginny and Harry. Yes, it’s a small thing, and Eric’s totally right that its purpose is to show that the trio have grown-up worries. But it also feels like a forced attempt to be topical, and it is jarring because it pulls us out of the Potterverse in which the magical sweets are such a part of the whimsy and fun (I mean, half of the excitement of going to the Wizarding World for many people is trying the butterbeer ice cream and chocolate frogs). It makes Ginny seem like the anti-Mrs. Weasley; sure, she was a pro athlete and would prioritize fitness, but forbidding all sweets for her kids is extreme.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Yeah, this seemed really odd to me too. While reading, I wondered if on stage it seemed more comedic and so wasn’t as jarring? If the purpose is to make them seem “more adult” then I find it completely unnecessary. We know they are adults, especially if you’re watching the play. They are already dealing with plenty of “adult” issues, especially those having to do with parenting. For me, the sugar thing was just another element that contributed to what I perceive as a rather clumsy script at times.

      • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

        Maybe it was also meant to help set the play in our present, ~2017-2020, but again, unnecessary. Most of the contemporary audience for this play will already be aware of that, and they could easily have put dates in the playbill and script — if it really matters at all. The HP novels don’t contain any references to “fat-free” foods (the diet fad of the ’90s), and barely any cultural references or ’90s slang/speech patterns at all, in fact, which gives them a timeless quality that I find appealing and think will help keep them alive for future generations of readers. I’m sure a lot of the script plays out better onstage, though, and I generally think the script is well-written, with some beautiful moments to balance out the clumsy (perfect word!) moments. But really – Harry doing the cooking, makes sense; Ginny as the food police who brainwashes Harry into abstaining forever from treacle tarts, nonsense.

  • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

    I’m glad Eric pointed out the elitist aspect of Rose’s character. Her judgy attitude surprised me, and I can’t imagine that it would pass unnoticed by a theater audience, no matter how charming the actress. She judges Scorpius on sight because of his family and refuses even to get to know him. Then she distances herself from Albus, her cousin and former close friend, refusing to speak to him at school. Why? Because he’s in Slytherin? Because he is best friends with a kid who is genuinely nice and smart, who she probably would get along with great if she weren’t such a snob? I wish they’d had time in the play to explore the process of Rose’s and Albus’ growing apart, because I don’t see an explanation for it other than that she ostracized him due to his placement in Slytherin and his unpopularity.

    Rose has some great lines, and I want to like her more, but she read as pretty superficial and snobby to me.

    • Phoenix

      To be fair, I think *Albus* distances himself from *her*.

      • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

        True, they seem to push each other away. Growing apart from some of your childhood friends during middle and high school is part of the natural course of growing up. And she does seem genuinely concerned about him on the Hogwarts Express heading to their fourth year, regardless of whether or not she only reached out because Ron asked her to. And Albus certainly rebuffs her attempt to reach out at that point.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        I don’t know about that, her reaction to him being in Slytherin isn’t exactly accepting or friendly. “This is wrong…This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.”
        That’s a pretty hurtful and judgemental thing to say to a friend about their sorting. Why couldn’t she have been more accepting? It makes sense that she’d be dissapointed they don’t get to be in the same house, but to call his sorting “wrong”. She is essentially passing judgement on his entire identity, simply because he ended up in Slytherin. Clearly she is carrying some prejudice.

  • ISeeThestrals

    Congrats on your 200th episode by the way 😀

  • ISeeThestrals

    Aww, bring the play to the U.S!!!
    I know there’s a difference between reading it and watching it.

    • SnapesManyButtons

      I want to see it, too! The US is so big, though, unless it comes to Dallas or Houston I probably still won’t get to see it.

      One thing I like about all the hate the play is getting, though, I wouldn’t have to compete with those people to buy tickets!

  • ISeeThestrals

    Quick question, but where was the year 2017 stated? I don’t recall seeing mention of that particular date, less I missed it.

    • MartinMiggs

      its based on Deathly Hallows being set in 1997-1998 so 19 years later is 2017

      • ISeeThestrals

        oh right, lol. thanks 🙂

  • Alison is on hardcore defense mode in this episode. She wont let a single criticism pass without a “but!” That leads me to believe that either the play is truly a spectacular show or that she is just a super fan-girl. As a story in a book, Cursed Child is just bad. So I guess we will have to see the play for ourselves to see if Alison’s defenses are warranted or not!

    • SnapesManyButtons

      One thing that keeps going through my mind is that Rowling said “When you see it, you’ll know why this story had to be done as a play.” Not a novel, not a movie, it had to be a play. So I imagine that seeing the story as it was meant to be seen, as a play, makes all the difference in the world. In that situation you are swept up in it and not analyzing it with a fine tooth comb. I hear that the special effects are beautifully done and the death scenes tear-inducing. I want to see it!

      • ISeeThestrals

        I think it would make a difference too. Considering the book, you know you’re reading more of a performance than an actual novel. Thing is, Special effects and great performances can’t and shouldn’t try to hide or cover over a plot that one might not be excited about. That still has to come through. I’d still like to see it, but I feel like my feelings would be similar to my feelings on the book.

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          Yeah, the impression I’ve gotten from those who have seen it is that the story itself is essentially riding on the coattails of an amzing overall production. There are plenty of parts that I take issue with, but have to push aside because I don’t know exactly how they come off on stage. Seeing it on stage certainly would make a difference. A terribly written line might be delivered in such a way that seems perfectly natural, for example. However, that doesn’t speak to the quality of the script but rather the quality of the actor. So while it is important to keep in mind that we are missing a lot of supporting elements in reading the script alone, I think there is still a lot of validity to the issues brought up by those who haven’t seen the play. We aren’t getting caught up in wonder at the production as a whole, but are rather taking a microscope to the story itself. And many of us are finding it to be wanting.

  • Kirsten

    Quick question: A couple times the hosts mentioned something about the play “being released more widely.” Does this mean a recording of the play will eventually be released on DVD/Bluray? A movie? What did I miss?

    • SnapesManyButtons

      The only thing I’ve heard is that Rowling has said that the play will be taken to other cities and countries. I hope a recording of the play will be released one day. Even if it plays in America, it will likely be in New York and/or Los Angeles, which would both require a plane ticket and hotel rooms for me to go see. Which means I wouldn’t see it…

  • Phoenix

    I was shocked to hear the scene in the old people’s home was so frightening! In the book, I read it as humorous. The stage direction reads:
    “This is chaos. This is magic. This is St Oswald’s Home for Old Witches and Wizards and it is as wonderful as you might hope. […] These people are relieved of the burden of having to do magic for reason — instead, these witches and wizards do magic for fun. And what fun they have.”

    None of this suggested to me that I should be freaked out. Did any of you read the scene as anything other than lovely?

    • ISeeThestrals

      I had a little trouble picturing the scene. In this case it’s probably easier to see in action. I’m very curious to know what makes it seem that way.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Well, to me the idea of potentially senile people doing magic willy-nilly was a bit disconcerting. I mean, chaotic magic does seem rather dangerous. Really though, I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel about this scene on first read, it was kind of a toss up between whimsical and “uh-oh, this could end poorly”.

  • Silverdoe25

    Thank you, Eric, for your healthy dose of skepticism! I am so glad we have something new to discuss, but it would be so dreadfully dull if everyone was simply gushing over it. I’m one of the people who thinks that the script has a fan fiction feel to it, but I am on a reread, so perhaps that will change. I had a few talking points to address from this episode. 1. Alohomora Office = dumb. Bookcase riddles = not so dumb with canon evidence. In PS/SS, Hermione remarks at the potion bottle puzzle, “A lot of the greatest wizards haven’t got an ounce of logic. They’d be stuck in here forever!” 2. Trolley Witch = fantastic! I was immediately reminded of the Veela, who also turned into those vicious bird creatures. Granted that Trolley Witch didn’t go berserk with the demeanors or the Death Eaters on the train, but what if her only trigger was students trying to leave the train? She’s like the Hogwarts Express Den Mother. I love the thought of her appearing on the train roof, complete with the trolley and her standard tag line. 3. Harry = bad dad. No excuses. None. I’m a parent and an educator. I have been way angry with kids too many times to count. I’ve made some doozy mistakes with my kids. But I would never, ever tell either of my kids that I wished they weren’t mine. And I never would have believed it from Harry Potter. It’s tough of swallow that he isn’t the kindest and gentlest dad, which was the exact image I was left with on Platform 9 3/4 in the Epilogue. “Harry kept smiling and waving, even though it was like a little bereavement, watching his son glide away from him.”

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      The line that really upset me is when he says to Ginny, “I just wish he were more like James and Lily.” The text redeems this slightly by having Ginny remind Harry that Albus being his own unique person is a good thing, but I agree, this representation of Harry is painful to read. Parents who compare their children and wish they would force themselves into the mold of some “ideal child” disgust me. Plus, as another commenter perceptively pointed out, Albus seems very like Harry when he was younger, in some ways. So it seemed to me as if Harry wished Albus were more the type of kid Harry himself wished he could have been when younger – carefree, fun-loving, just enjoying school without the burden of his destiny shadowing him. And Harry sees that Albus clearly carries burdens and anger, and he partly identifies with that but more so feels frustrated by it and, rather than try to work through it with his son, avoids it and passively wishes his child were different until he feels compelled to reach out. Hope that makes some sense. Relationship stuff is tricky to think about.

  • buckbeak is my spirit animal

    On the sugar thing….. I really like that. It feels like the sort of thing you pick up on Pinterest, see on your Facebook feed, then completely internalize as face. I think it really modernizes these characters. Ginny, as a mother, has to watch out for everyone and banning types of food is totally something a mom would do these days. If only it was gluten!

    Scorpious is totally modern in his speech, too, and Hermione actually refers to Ron just as “husband” later. I love it!

    • I love how it puts Ginny in a somewhat contrast to Molly. Where perhaps the other Weasley’s may have wondered if Ginny would be the same kind of mother as Molly, it shows that whilst they’re both fiercely protective of their children, they’re very different parents. Molly, who would feed her children portion after portion of all kinds of food and fear they were wasting away contradicts Ginny, who is monitoring and banning their intake of sugar.

  • WhatAboutPanju?

    I agree that Harry is a bad dad, which is part of what pains me so much about this script. It was brought up in the episode that since Harry only had parental figures, but no day to day parents, that he would have issues being a day to day dad. I agree with this thought and would find it consistent with his character if Ginny, having been raised in a healthy family, was frustrated at being the “strict” parent while Harry was a little too loose with everyday discipline and a tiny bit reckless with his children’s safety. What I find disconcerting is that Harry doesn’t fail at the minor structural aspects of parenting, but rather the very heart of it. Although Harry has his weaknesses, his greatest strength is his ability to love and empathize with those around him to the point where he is willing to die for them. I can’t believe that his commitment to his children would be any less. I find it implausible that Albus would suffer from feeling so unloved and misunderstood. How would Harry, who has repeatedly stated that he did not ask to be famous, have such a hard time connecting with his son who feels that same weight of expectation? Harry has always longed for the family and the love he never got from the Dursleys. Having felt the sting of rejection from them, I cannot see Harry, even when provoked, inflicting that same rejection on his own child by telling him he wished that he was not his son. Phrases like that are exclusively re-used by people that have only heard them in anger, but never in truth

    • Lisa

      I actually didn’t think Harry was that bad. Granted, I’ve only read the play once so some things might slip my mind but it seemed like a normal teenager-parent relationship with all the angst and the whole “you don’t understand me!!!” that goes with it. It makes sense that given Harry’s dysfunctional upbringing he wouldn’t be a stellar parent especially with a child like Albus who gave him more trouble than his other two kids. In the books, he was a pretty crappy friend at times and seemed very self-absorbed so I’m not surprised by his treatment of Albus. Even his anger issues are in-character since he basically trashed Dumbledore’s office after Sirius’s death and carried a lot of angst in general (not that he didn’t have a reason for it).

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      I didn’t see Harry as necessarily a “bad” dad, but I also did have trouble buying into WHY he couldn’t seem to communicate, like, AT ALL, with Albus. I don’t think the play did enough to establish exactly where all the animosity between them was coming from. Was it there before Albus went to Hogwarts, or is it just a result of Albus being bullied at Hogwarts? Where is Albus getting the impression that is he isn’t living up to expectations from, other than the bullies at school? We don’t see any of it actually coming from his home life or Harry himself. It get’s brought up in their arguements, but until THE fight, where Harry says the terrible thing, Harry never gives any indication that he thinks Albus is some sort of disappointment. Are we meant to assume that Harry has done or said things to Albus off-screen? I get the feeling that until Harry actually expresses his frustration with Albus, that the animosity is all one-sided as a result of Albus’s experiences at school, and his own inability (typical teenage behavior) to just talk to his dad about what’s going on. I would say most of the issue is with Albus, and Harry simply not knowing how to get him to open up, which is a very normal problem between teens and parents.

      Like you though, I do have a huge problem with Harry telling Albus that he sometimes wishes he weren’t his son. It isn’t that I think the line itself unrealistic, I think it is something that would totally slip out of a parent’s mouth in anger during a fight with a particularly surly teen. However, I don’t think it is something that would ever come out of HARRY’s mouth. Like you said, Harry lived that rejection and the last thing he would ever want to do to his kids is make them feel that way. He spent his entire childhood being raised, fed, sheltered by the Dursleys, a situation which could have easily resulted in Harry being treated as an adopted son, but he never was. It was always made very clear to him that he was the “unwanted” son. So I just don’t see him, no matter how angry, ever making his children feel that way. Honestly, I can’t imagine him ever even thinking “I wish he weren’t my son”. Harry wishing Albus were different, more easy to relate to, less of a problem, sure, that is realistic and understandable, but to ever wish his own child to not be his, and worse, to actually tell him? That isn’t the Harry we know, in my opinion.

  • I’m sorry Alison, but the trolly-witch is the best thing. Yes, it’s obviously the most WTF thing in the play, but it’s like the Maryland flag – so bad it’s brilliant.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Sure, its crazy and bizarre and fun and is probably amazing on stage… but it still makes no sense. Logically, it is pointless to have the person who is meant keep the students safe and on the train, throwing pasty grenades at them. It’s just bad writing.

  • Roonil Wazlib

    –My problem with time jump (from Albus’s first year to his fourth year) is that it makes the characters’ growth seem unrealistic. Even though we get the vignettes, they don’t provide us with enough context and slow evolution to give us a real understanding of the strain in Harry and Albus’s relationship. For example, the evolution of Ron and Hermione’s relationship in the novels is so great because it happens slowly and organically, and we get to witness every moment. We see Albus’s growth and the evolution of Harry and Albus’s relationship in about 10 pages, which leaves it feeling hollow. We are supposed to blindly accept the changes in these characters without any understanding of why or how the changes came about.

    –UGH @ Albus kissing Hermione. They just had to slip in some “hilarious” sexual assault didn’t they. I hate this so much. It’s so weird and creepy and awful from every perspective. Sexual assault, incest (I know they aren’t blood relatives but still), an adult kissing a minor, I’m honestly not sure they could’ve made it worse if they’d tried.

    –Okay so the bookcase is weaponized the way it is and yet it doesn’t incorporate some sort of alarm system that alerts Hermione when someone starts trying to break into it?? I like that Hermione made this because it reminds me of the Hermione who solved the logic puzzle in SS and trapped Rita Skeeter in a jar in GoF, but I’m disappointed that this is not also the Hermione who created the enchanted galleons for Dumbledore’s Army in OotP.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Yes to all of this.

      I agree that a lot of the context for the deterioration in Harry and Albus’s relationship is missing. Until THE fight, we never get any indication that Harry himself is actually doing anything to create the impression that Albus seems to have – that his father thinks he is a disappointment. It seems like all the animosity is just a result of the bullying at school rather than anything that is actually happening at home, which makes the anger Albus throws at Harry seem somewhat uncalled for. It makes Albus come of as more of a bratty, angsty, teen, taking his anger out on his dad for not “understanding” him, when he never does anything to explain himself in the first place. Reading it the first time, all of Albus’ anger and resentment was fairly bewildering, as it seemed to be coming out of nowhere, or was largely misdirected. I never got the impression that Harry himself was actually doing anything to warrant it, other than simply not knowing what Albus was going through at school. Given that their relationship is such a crucial theme of the story, it seems like a rather flimsy basis to start with.

  • SnapesManyButtons

    Parenthood looks very different when you become a parent. You realize quickly that you are just you, you don’t magically become some all-knowing entity who can solve any problem. As much as you love your child and as close as you may be to them, their thoughts and feelings are their own and you can’t know them all. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t surprised me with something I would have thought out of character for them. We can know people well, but we aren’t them and we can’t know every secret wish or fear they hold. Harry clearly loves Albus, he just doesn’t know how to connect with him when Albus is very purposely trying to keep him at a distance. He seems to understand his other two children, but they aren’t trying to push him away, they aren’t struggling with the issues Albus is. Parenthood is a 24 hour a day job and it just isn’t possible to clearly and rationally consider and plan every word and action. I believe every parent has their moments of being a “bad parent,” whether it be a careless word spoken in anger, not noticing a problem the child is struggling with, or just believing something about them that you later learn to be false. But that doesn’t make you a bad parent overall. Harry is trying, he wants to help Albus, he wants there to be a solution, but when everything he tries fails, his frustration explodes in those thoughtless words that he wishes Albus weren’t his son. He certainly didn’t mean it, didn’t plan it, it was just a knee-jerk reaction to his anger and frustration. Those words would never have originated with Harry, they were an explosive response to Albus rejecting all his attempts to help and saying it first.

    One of the hardest things in parenthood is watching your child struggle with pain you can’t ease. And the older they get, the more there is you can’t fix. Part of that, too, is knowing that things aren’t as bad as the child perceives it. As an adult you know a broken toy or a lost friend aren’t the end of the world, but in a child’s world it can feel that way. Albus is feeling the pressure of being Harry’s son and he blames Harry for that. He doubts himself because he doesn’t fit the mold of “Harry’s son,” but he isn’t able to just say, “So what, this is who I am,” he feels inadequate and decides it’s Harry’s fault because he wouldn’t have these expectations to live up to if his father were someone else. Harry can’t fix this, this is something that only time and maturing will fix. All he can do is let Albus know that he is there and will always be there for him no matter how much Albus tries to push him away. And I think he’s doing that. He gives Albus the blanket in an attempt to give him something more personal and meaningful than the other two kids get. But I think Albus would have rejected anything Harry gave him, He wants to punish Harry for putting him in the situation he is in and blame him for all the unhappiness he feels. In real life, with real people, there are no magic words that fix everything. And in real life people can be unhappy in what others would consider the best of situations (or happy in what others see as a horrible situation.)

    So I don’t see it as “Harry is a bad parent” or “Albus should be happy with his charmed life.” It’s a coming of age story. A father and son story. It is about two people struggling to deal with the hands that life has dealt them and not always doing it perfectly.

  • Lisa

    I have to say that I was never into Harry and Ginny’s relationship and definitely not into Ginny as a character but this play kind of made me warm up to them a bit. I was happy to see Harry and Ginny working as partners instead of Harry pushing her aside and always trying to protect her like he does in the books. He didn’t seem to understand her at all in the books so I’m glad their dynamics changed a bit. He was no longer excluding her from the action and choosing to confide in Ron and Hermione instead. As for Ginny herself, I could barely tolerate her in the books because I often perceived her as bratty and rather useless in the fights. I like her much better in the play. It’s funny because one of Mugglenet’s reviewers said that they didn’t like Ginny in the play or in the movies and that only Rowling can write her. To me, it’s the exact opposite: I like her in the movies and in the play but don’t like her in the books. So my conclusion would be that anyone but Rowling can write Ginny 😀

    One character I thought suffered a bit was Ron. He was mostly comic relief and I don’t remember him bringing anything of importance to the table when the other characters were trying to rescue Albus and Scorpius. He seemed more like movie!Ron than book!Ron. Hermione also annoyed me very much in this play and it sort of put me off book!Hermione to be honest. I used to like her character but in this play she just seemed self-righteous and like she didn’t grow up at all.

    Regarding Harry, I agree completely with @snapesmanybuttons:disqus . I think that because he is the hero of the series people have unduly idealized his character and didn’t really realize that Harry has always had problems with other people’s emotional needs (remember Cho?). It doesn’t surprise me that he would react as he did to Albus because he’s always been the type of person who wished people were just going along with whatever he wanted or liked and didn’t bother him too much with their own needs and wants. This is all understandable considering his upbringing so I don’t blame him at all. His relationship with Albus will be a learning experince for both of them. All parents and teenagers have problems and say things to each other they don’t mean. It’s not that big of a deal, IMO.

  • I understand that children know how to push their parents buttons and that parents sometimes say things in the heat of the moment, but I struggle to forgive Harry for what he said to Albus. Whilst he had been pushed and seen red, that doesn’t excuse telling your child that you wish they weren’t yours. Even though he tries to work past their conflict, I would have thought Harry, of all people would have been very grateful for his children, no matter their house or their personalities; because all he ever wanted was a family – not something so hard to hear.

    Albus and Harry may have made up and be starting to grow closer by the end of the play, but for me, that doesn’t write off what Harry said. Albus said that he wished Harry wasn’t his Dad due to a struggle of being ‘Harry Potter’s Slytherin son.’ Whereas Harry said he wished the reverse due to the fact that he doesn’t have the same connection with him as he does with James or Lily. Speaking from experience, the things your parents say to you whether ‘in anger’ or not, stick with you for a lifetime. And no matter the progression of the relationship, I wholeheartedly believe that ‘sometimes I wish you weren’t my son’ would have haunted Albus for quite some time afterward.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      I really agree with your last point — those words left a scar. I forgive Harry and generally agree with those who have defended him as a parent, but one theme of the play is that we cannot go back and undo the past; our words, once spoken, cannot be unsaid, or once heard, unheard. We can apologize and explain, forgive and make new meanings and understandings, but we continue to live with our past and overcoming it takes time.

  • The Half Blood Princess

    Hi! I’m back!

    Right, so before I start, I have a feeling that you guys didn’t like the Cursed Child, and I can see why. I had many problems with plot-points and portrayals of the characters. However, the way I would describe it would be enjoyable. Not a masterpiece, not as good as the original Harry Potter books, but still a good read, if you’re willing to tolerate it’s flaws. I’d compare it to The Force Awakens from Star Wars, both are long awaited sequels, both make shameless appeals to nostalgia, and I could tear either of them apart if I wanted to, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy them if I want to as well.

    Alright, now I’m going to start listening.

    On the gender thing, Umbridge is also very stereotypically feminine, into pink and kittens and stuff, in a way that Bellatrix is not. (Although they are both loathsome sadists.)

    Umbridge is introduced as discriminating right from the get go, as she passed laws that made it hard for Lupin to get a job since he was a werewolf.

    About cats in general, not just persian cats, the two characters that are associated with cats the most are McGonagall and Umbridge, and the two are foils to each other. Both are teachers, and both are in a position of authority. Umbridge, however, completely abuses her authority, and that’s part of what makes her so hatable, because it’s very real.

    Another thing that makes Umbridge worse than Voldy, is I feel like Voldy’s got clear motivations, he wants to take over, he wants to be immortal, and what he does is to accomplish these goals. Umbridge’s crimes however, such as torturing Harry, feel more like an end unto itself.

    Okay, that was the recap. Onto the main episode.

    I’m surprised that so many of you liked the Cursed Child. Maybe because of all the bad reviews I’ve been hearing, maybe because of the fact that I always saw Alohamora as my more critical side, which rejects the book more, I thought that you wouldn’t like that.

    On the epilogue being differenet, I didn’t get that either, but remember that the movies almost never have scenes exactly like the books.

    I personally didn’t like Rose, maybe because she wasn’t in it that much. She came off as very entitled to me, she says she’s a “granger-weasley” so she get’s her pick of friends, and then immediatly decides not to be friends with Scorpius because of who his father is, and because of this ridiculous rumor that makes no sense whatsoever. And Scorpius was my favorite character in that book. I remember not liking hermione when we first met her and her becoming one of my favorite characters though, so maybe I would’ve liked her more if we saw more of her.

    The rumor makes absolutely no sense. Even if the Malfoys were having trouble having a child, why would their solution be to send Astoria back in time to sleep with Voldy? Even if they wanted to do something like that, why would they have the father be Voldy, literally anyone else would be a better choice. and why would Voldy go along with it? And why would Scorpius look almost identical to his father? However, ridiculous rumors are a theme in Harry Potter. I bet Rita Skeeter was behind it…

    I think Delpi’s name is foreshadowing since it makes me think of the oracle of Delphi, which is mysterious and often gives prophecies that are hard to interpet because they sound different then they are, which connects to riddles.

    Yeah, it was pretty frustrating that Hermione didn’t recognize the ingredients for polyjuice potion, I recognised it, and I’d like to think Hermione is smarter than me. It is possible that Hermione investigated privately but just didn’t want to say anything at the meeting.

    • Lisa

      I’ve also wondered about the rumour. My guess is that it’s supposed to show how disliked the Malfoys were in the community because of their involvement with Voldemort and them getting away without any punishment for their crimes. So the rumor was just a way for people to express their hatred of them and what better way to do so than to question Draco’s fatherhood. Suspecting that the child was Voldemort’s not Draco’s was a way for people to remind everyone of Draco’s connection with Voldemort lest it was ever forgotten what the Malfoys did. And Scorpius serves as a red herring for Voldemort’s real child Delphi, which is a pretty classic move from Rowling and the fantasy/mystery genre in general. It’s all like “Hey everyone look at Scorpius and wonder about his parents while ignoring the mysterious young woman he hangs out with and her origins”. It still doesn’t make much sense but at least that’s my explanation for it.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      Thanks for mentioning the connection to the oracle at Delphi — that’s what I thought of, too. Surprised it hasn’t been mentioned more.

  • daveybjones999 .

    The biggest criticism that I’ve seen of the Harry Potter series in general is that Harry’s life is too happy in the epilogue and that he should have PTSD or that his experiences should have ruined him in some way. So one of the things that struck me about Cursed Child is that it seems to be a response to this criticism, whether that was intentional or not is up to debate. Many things in the play seem to be trying to find a balance between Harry getting to have that happy ending, while still having enough problems so that it’s not too perfect. I think that it does a pretty good job at giving that balance, but what does anyone else think.

  • The Half Blood Princess

    On Delphi being Tonks-esque, (something I noticed as well) Could that have been foreshadowing? They are first cousins.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    The Trolley Witch- I wanted to love her. It even really did feel like a Jo idea at first, and I love the notion that the whole time she has been there, watching over the students because honestly it is a question that has been floating around fandom- Would anyone really send a train full of magical students on a day long train ride with absolutely no adult supervision? That is putting a great deal of trust in the Prefects, who are after all, still teenagers themselves. So the trolley witch having this duel purpose of serving snacks but also watching over the kids makes sense. The fact that she is getting on in years and seems to have gone a rather senile even seems about par for the Hogwarts course.

    Then she grew spiky hands and threw a pasty grenade. What, I ask, is the point in either of these actions? If her purpose is to keep them safe and on the train, throwing a pasty grenade is counter-productive. It not only creates MORE danger, but is ineffective in actually stopping them. Why not use a spell to freeze them in their tracks, create an invisible barrier stopping them from jumping off, etc.? The spiky hands, again, what was their intended purpose? Was she going to stab one of them and pin them to the train? Perhaps the idea was to scare Scorpius and Albus into obedience? If so, then again, that seems like the least effective means to an end. If I were a kid and had a crazy lady with spiked hands coming at me, you can be sure I’d be ready to jump the hell off that train too.

    Also, the idea that Fred and George and the Marauders had all tried to leave the train before too…completely believable. Yet, apparently they were unsuccessful. Okay, I’d buy that too, EXCEPT for the fact that Albus and Scorpius are able to escape simply by JUMPING OFF with a CUSHIONING CHARM. While terrifying, that is probably the easiest solution anyone could possibly think of, and we are to believe that the twins or the Marauders never could manage it? The only explanation is that in the past 19 years the Trolley Witch has really gone off her rocker and is totally off her game and fairly useless at this point. Perhaps in the twins’ day she applied better tactics, but has now just totally lost it and resorts to throwing pasty grenades. *sideeye*

    I’m sure it is an amazingly bizarre scene on stage, but it is one of many scenes that when put under the microscope, really makes no sense. It comes off as being weird just for weirdness’s sake, rather than for an actual purpose, beyond creating “action”. So much of the wizarding world is bizarre and outrageous, but rarely are those elements so illogical and pointless. It is this sort of thing that creates the fan-fic vibes for me.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    How the new generation would be sorted was the least of my worries with this play, so I don’t take any issue with that, though I agree it would have been nice to get more Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw representation. My friends and I were reading aloud at a bar after leaving the release, and we all broke out in cheers when Albus got sorted into Slytherin, so we were all pretty excited about it. However, we were taken out of that excitement pretty quickly by Rose saying “This is wrong..” etc. (One of my friends drunkenly shouted “F..You ROSE!”). I was actually taken aback by what a big deal it seemed to be, at least to the kids, that Albus was in Slytherin. I’ve always thought after the epilogue in the books, that while there still might be some anti-Slytherin bias, that the Trio and their families would have learned enough not to let it be a big deal, that if any of their children ended up in Slytherin, they would go to extra lengths to support that child and let them know that they aren’t “bad” because of the house they ended up in. So it seemed weird to me that Rose in particular seemed to have such a problem with Albus being in Slytherin. I’m curious to know how that line was delivered on stage, because I can’t get a clear sense of the emotion behind it, because I don’t understand where the idea that Albus’s sorting is “wrong” would come from.

    It occured to me though, that we are missing a piece of the epilogue in relation to this issue. In DH, after Albus asks what if he is put in Slytherin, Harry responds with ” then Slytherin House will have gained an excellent student, won’t it? It doesn’t matter to us, Al.” This is HUGE. This is the moment when Harry makes it clear to Albus that it is OKAY if he ends up in Slytherin, that the people who love him don’t see it as a black mark, that whatever kind of person he is isn’t tainted by being in that house. In CC, Albus doesn’t get that reassurance, no one tells him that it doesn’t matter. Harry only mentions that Severus was a brave man and a Slytherin, which does more to reinforce the legendary Potter trait of Gryffindorish bravery, and that he can choose when it comes down to it. Without the “it doesn’t matter” it just comes of as Harry essentially saying “well, you can still be kind of a Gryffindor, even if you’re in Slytherin, but really you can just be a Gryffindor if you want”. All the emphasis is placed in context of being brave, rather than being himself. For me this is the biggest divergence between the play and the book, and Albus’s story seems to ride fully on that aspect. It is no wonder he perceives himself as such a disappointment, as Harry’s “Slytherin son”. No one has told him otherwise, as far as we can tell.

    For me, this is one of the biggest reasons why I can’t consider CC canon. I feel like the “it doesn’t matter” line was such an integral part of the message of the epilogue and that it had to be left out in order for this story to be told the way it was. I don’t think that the epilogue in DH would have led to “emo Albus” or to the fractured relationship between Harry and Albus that we see in CC. They may have had issues still certainly, but I don’t think the whole Albus is a Slytherin shocker would have been as big of a deal, at least not to him and his immediate family.

    • Lisa

      I don’t think all the negativity between Albus and Harry was due to Albus being a Slytherin. It seemed like it was mostly because Albus felt like he had a lot to live up to being Harry Potter’s son, and Harry didn’t really understand him. It’s possible that him being in Slytherin didn’t help either but I don’t think it’s fair to say that the Albus from the epilogue would not have had issues with his father. And the message of what Harry says is the same: Snape was a Slytherin and that means Slytherins can be good people. I don’t think that even in the epilogue we can say that Harry completely got over house rivalry. It’s been part of his entire school life and many people who hurt him and his family/friends were Slytherins. So even if he comforts Albus it still doesn’t mean that all is forgiven or forgotten with the Slytherin house. We see that Ron has pretty much the same opinions of Slyths he had when he was young and I doubt Harry was that much more mature.

      (Awesome that you have friends who are into HP! I really wish some of my friends liked it but alas I’m alone with my obsession…)

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      Good call with that missing line, and with your analysis that it makes a difference to take out a line in which Harry explicitly states that it doesn’t matter to the family. He does say in the play, “And what would be wrong with that?”, but depending on the delivery of that line, it’s not as emphatic or clear. The script also implies that Harry is telling Albus not to be influenced by what others say about Slytherin, but the emphasis is on reassuring him that he can still choose Gryffindor: “If it matters to you, *you*, the Sorting Hat will take your feelings into account.” I find it interesting how they rearranged that “it doesn’t matter” phrase and how it subtly changes the meaning …

      Also, in the play’s version of this scene, Albus says: “Slytherin is the house of the snake, of Dark Magic. … It’s not a house of brave wizards.” Where is Albus getting these ideas? From his peers, or Rose? From stories of Voldemort? Or from the way his parents have spoken about the houses? Something in that line makes me think he was brought up around these ideas — not taught prejudice outright, but not educated to see things differently, either.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      So, not having seen the stage production, I interpreted what Rose said about the sorting as an expression of being upset at her imagined scenario not playing out. Like, when your plans in life don’t go the way you expect or want them to, you might get frustrated and confused, and say, “No, this is all wrong! It wasn’t supposed to happen this way!” (It actually sounds akin to something Hermione would say if one of her spells didn’t work the way she intended it too.) Given what Rose said on the train about them scoping out friends together, I assume she imagined that they would be in the same house and friend group throughout school, and was shocked when it became clear they would be separated (at least, by house). Clearly she had some issues with Slytherin itself, but this line reads for me more like disappointment at being separated from her cousin. And I am no fan of Rose’s character, but this seemed kind of sweet — even if the better response would have been to act supportive and cheer him on.