ep-201

Episode 201: Cursed Child, 1.2 – The Pull of Time

We’re rewinding the clock and the Time Turner Rage is in full effect! Join hosts Alison, Kat, Michael and returning guest Steve Vander Ark (of the Harry Potter Lexicon) as they venture into the dreams, nightmares, and (of course) the shipping madness of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” Act 1, Part 2.

On Episode 201 we discuss…

→ More first impressions
→ To what effect are the dream sequences helpful?
→ Delphi’s master manipulation
→ Why did Harry listen to Bane? Shouldn’t he know better?
→ Scorpius the Cinnamon Roll
→ J. K. Rowling and Where to Find Her
→ The insane strength of Scorpius Malfoy?
→ Legitimizing 101: How to Make Your Fan Fiction Canon
→ Scorbus: to be or not to be?
→ Is Delphi affected by the AUs?
→ Risk isn’t risk if it can be undone

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!

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RECAP: EPISODE 200

On this recap we discuss…

→ Does Ginny finally get her “Another! *Cup smash*” moment?
→ Scorpius and the Slytherin stigma
→ Harry’s parenting skills
→ J. K. Rowling’s (considerably narrower) Wizarding World

Listen Now: | Download

  • Niffler123

    For me, the problem wasn’t that I was expecting the eighth Harry Potter story and didn’t get it – it’s that I wanted something new and the script constantly threw in references and throwbacks to the original books. This happened to the point that much of the plot actually hinges on the events of the original books such as the Triwizard Tournament, adding to which the climax of this play takes place at the scene of Lily and James’ murder, in other words the opening scene of the entirety of Harry’s story. Does this illustrate my opinion that the plot literally gets us nowhere? This made reading the script a little uncomfortable for me as it felt like they were too afraid to leave the comforting arms of the already successful Harry Potter stories and try something new. Even Scorpius’ creepily accurate knowledge of the golden trio’s school lives suggested to me that the writers felt the need to remind the audience that they’re there for HARRY POTTER, rather than allow them to experience something new. I would have been happy to just have heard little pieces of information about the golden trio’s adult lives (Harry does all the cooking, who saw that coming) after that, I wanted to be able to get to know new characters, see them in new situations. I’m sure the actual stage production distracts from the weaknesses in the plot, but honestly, making the whole play about preventing Voldemort’s return to power felt lazy. After all, that plotline has already been done. Seven times.

    • MartinMiggs

      agreed people wanted to know more about what happened between those 19 years and they got absolutely nothing. It was just going back to the past and disrespecting the stuff we cared about (i.e. Cedric somehow being a DE even though he’s the most humble guy ever).

    • Lisa

      I don’t know, I think nostalgia was sort of the point of this play. They needed the characters that people know and care about to make an appearance or at least be mentioned because what would be the point of introducing completely new characters that no one has any emotional connection to. I guess it’s a matter of taste but for me the reason why I don’t really care about stuff like Fantastic Beasts is because I don’t know any of those characters and so I don’t care about them.

      I see your point, definitely, but for me the problem was more that we didn’t get to see more of the main characters returning (like Luna or Neville for instance, or the older generation like Lucius). This story also used a lot of material from JKR’s notes so obviously her notes would be about the characters in the HP books and not new characters.

      • Niffler123

        Yeah I see what you mean – I’m a little bit torn because I so desperately wanted to find out what all my favourite characters had been up to in the 19 years. I just don’t think this was the way to do it… the play has taken nostalgia to the point that it’s ripped up quite a few of the plot points from the original series and changed them, which for me definitely affects the sense of closure that I got from finishing the books all those years ago.

        I wish that the writers had added to canon rather than tried to change it. One of the most touching moments was the scene at the end where Hagrid finds Harry in the ruins of the Potter house, and I think this works because he is a character that we know and love, but we’re seeing him in a new situation. (By the way, where was Hagrid in the rest of this play?? Like Hell he wouldn’t come running if Harry’s child went missing).

        My other issue is that they had a whole new platform to show the world this story from, so they could have taken a whole other direction with the story than that of the books. Let’s face it, people would have gone to see anything to do with Harry Potter. I guess I just feel like JKR is capable of producing a much more nuanced, original plot than this.

      • travellinginabluebox

        I agree with you. What I also loved about the play was that you got some what ifs answered. Like what would the world have been if Voldemort would have won? Obviously horrible but we get to see a bit of that world. And I loved that in that scene we see Umbridge as the main villain and Voldemort is not on stage until Act 4 or Part 2 Act 2.
        But I see the point that it would have been nice to get a whole new plot.

    • Alison

      I’m not sure; I think using the time turning and seeing the events we’ve seen before in a different light really highlights the theme of trauma and confronting the past and learning to live with it. Personally, I think that’s a beautiful theme, but I do see why a lot of people are upset by it.

  • MartinMiggs

    The problem isn’t people are unfamiliar with reading scripts. First of all everyone (essentially) has read Shakespeare in English class and Cursed Child is a piece of cake to read compared to that. So much of it focuses on the past and magic that we already know about it is not difficult to picture the story.

  • DoraNympha

    Recap: I agree with the fact that plays and musicals tend to create a limited bubble of their world, which I like and expect from theatre, and that’s kind of another argument in favour of not doing an elaborate plot like preventing Voldemort’s return, which could have made a whole book, but just focus on one event. If there was a theatre adaptation of Philosopher’s Stone, for example, I would have to show the kids going to Hogwarts like they do in CC, and the sorting, of course, but the majority of the play and escalating tension should be exclusively the part where they are going through the tasks. I don’t need a play’s plot to last through years, it can be just a real-time event of two hours. When they said this story could best be done on stage, I thought they meant something like this. In a book, a Christmas dinner like the one in PoA is just half a chapter or maybe one chapter, but a dinner can be the entire plot of a play. Apart from Shakespeare’s histories, I don’t need to go through 40 years of past, present, and future during a single play (two-part or otherwise).

    Also, Teddy is a black SHEEP? Still laughing too much to start the new episode.

  • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

    I asked my dad, who is Greek, about the pronunciation of Delphi. Although we say “Del-fye” in English, the Greek pronunciation of the second syllable is “fee”, and the whole word is pronounced “Thelfee,” because “d” is pronounced as a soft “th” in Greek. So it seems that the play’s pronunciation is more or less legit — although arguably it would make more sense for a British character’s name to have the Anglicized pronunciation. (My dad speaks Greek as a second-nature when he’s around Greek people, but since he speaks English 99% of the time, he did want to leave a 1% chance that he could be wrong on this. If anyone here speaks Greek (Efthymia?) and can confirm or correct us, please do.)

    On a related point, I read a little about the history and mythology surrounding the Oracle at Delphi, who was traditionally a priestess referred to as the Pythia and transmitted prophecies from Apollo. According to many ancient sources, she would sit on a tripod stool and inhale ethylene gasses emitted from a chasm in the earth, then fall into a prophetic trance, uttering her prophecies in strange, incomprehensible languages. (There is a lot more information out there on the process of consulting the oracle, which is really interesting!) The origin of the name Pythia is said to come from Pytho, the name of the place where Apollo defeated Python, the giant serpent/dragon who protected the hill at Delphi — considered to be the center of the world — for the Earth Mother goddess, Gaia. I thought the serpent connection was neat in light of Delphi being the (alleged) child of Voldemort, even if it doesn’t directly map onto the myth.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      Also, the most famous of the inscriptions on the temple of Apollo at Delphi is “Know thyself,” which ties in with the play’s theme of the search for one’s identity.

    • Lisa

      I’ve always thought it was pronounced Del-fee as well. That’s how it sounded in my head while I was reading the play. I don’t speak Greek, though. But “phi” is pronounced “fee” in English as well, right? I’m thinking of Phillip or Philadelphia. Maybe someone who’s seen the play can tell us how it’s pronounced by the actors.

      And yes, her name has so many levels of meaning to it. It’s a constellation so it keeps the Black family naming tradition alive, it connects to prophecies, to snakes as you say. It’s all very Rowling-esque.

      • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

        I think Alison said in the podcast that the actors pronounce it Del-fee.

    • elizabeth melas

      I’m Greek. The stress goes on the second syllable. ThelfEE.

      • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

        Thank you for the insight! I really wish I spoke more Greek.

        • elizabeth melas

          Always’ my friend!

    • Phoenix

      I agree that our Delphi would have an anglicised version of the name, i. e. with a normal English D and the stress on the first syllable, as opposed to the Greek pronounciation which elizabeth melas has pointed out (thank you!).
      As an anglicised version, “Delphee” is perfectly acceptable. In fact, it is pronounced that way by British classicists. I suspect this may be a British/American divide, with Americans tending towards “Delpheye” and Brits sticking to “Delphee” – can anyone confirm this?
      Delphi “Diggory”, being British, would of course pronounce her name in the British tradition.

      (Google “The Delphic Oracle BBC Radio 4” for an excellent radio documentary with several British classics professors saying “Delphee” all the time. :))

      • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

        Interesting information — thanks very much!

  • Lisa

    When reading about Albus’s and Scorpiu’s time-travelling shenanigans I couldn’t help wondering why they didn’t just travel straight to the last Triwizard Tournament challenge in the maze and just Stun Cedric. Their strategies for stopping him from winning the trophy just seemed so far fetched and convoluted. It would have been easier to just Stun him before he can get to it, IMO. (Although that would have messed up the plot of GoF of course so the writers needed to make sure Albus and Scorpius don’t succeed in their attempts).

    • Alison

      Because they’re dorky fourteen year old boys who didn’t think that far, just like Harry and his friends never did 😛

  • NoMad

    I’m usually a fan of Alison’s commentary in these episodes but she is getting a tad grating with her reviews of the Cursed Child. I can understand that she has seen the play which will obviously have an impact on how she views it, but as a written piece, it is a very flawed, fan fic lite piece of writing. While everyone’s opinion is valid, Alison in this podcasts is essentially disagreeing with every negative comment and her repose is a “I think” reply. The problem is, it shouldn’t be left up to interpretion.

    I see this as the characters standing still, they’re almost exactly as they were at the end of book 7. The only one who looks to have remotely changed is Ginny and I feel like she has matured and grown. This whole thing of changing the ministry, I don’t see that, Harry as the head Aurora, I don’t see that. I see book Harry, but this is supposed to be Adult Harry, a mature responsible man. Saying “oh, that’s classic Harry” annoys me because it WAS Harry, but he shouldn’t be doing that now, he’s an adult, a father of 3 (4 counting Teddy) and to have him make the mistakes he made as a child in this play just seems like a massive step back, especially when you consider how much he grew over 7 books. The same for Hermione in the scene when she loses control during the meeting at the Ministry, that IS something a young Hermonie would do, it shouldn’t be something a mature confident Hermione would do.

    I see Ron as a character who has matured into a much more comfortable human being, no longer feeling the need to compete, he is happy with his life and happy to be the stay at home Dad who runs the joke shop. This to me feels like a natural progression of Ron from the books where as Harry and Hermione have just stayed still and in some cases have just regressed in their character development. I can understand it is hard for people who have seen the play (and who loved it) to hear people call into questions aspects of the play, but as many MANY people will not get to read it, I feel it should be judged here as a piece of writing and, like Michael has said, it just feels far to much fan fiction and fan service. There are good things about it, don’t get me wrong, the smaller characters moments are lovely and the running joke that Ron and Hermione are always shocked that they’re either attracted to each other or end up together is very sweet but like Kat said, characters we love written by people who don’t understand them and while I can respect an opinion, to have to answer everything critique of the play with an “I think” goes a long way to show that these characters aren’t properly defined because if they were we wouldn’t have to think about their motivations and intent.

    • Lisa

      I don’t think that if they are properly defined we don’t have to think about their motivations. Maybe I’m misunderstanding your point but if there’s nothing to wonder about with a character then they must be a very dull character. People discuss and interpret characters like Snape or Dumbledore all the time. Does that mean they’re poorly written or not properly defined? Good literature should allow us to view characters and their actions from different angles, it shouldn’t be that clear cut what a character is or why s/he does things. I’m not saying CC is great literature, I’m just referring to the fact that characterization doesn’t always have to be super clear in order to be good.

      • Niffler123

        I absolutely agree with you on that… I think the point though is that some of these characters do seem to have regressed and forgotten the life lessons they learned in the books, which in a way seems a little sad. One of the defining features of the books for me was the fact that you can watch the characters grow physically and emotionally, and to a certain extent the reader does too. For me, if CC were to stand even a chance of becoming the 8th story it claims to be then it would have to continue this character development where it left off, not try to echo the pre-established personalities of the trio when they were children. I know this is a different format to the books which changes how it can be put across, but I really felt there was room for more character development of these grown up characters than the fact that Harry is afraid of pigeons. I would personally have loved to have watched Harry and co deal with the emotional demons left by what happened to them in the war, and overcome them in a more subtle way than literally bringing Voldemort back. This for me would generate much more thought and discussion into their character and motivations than the clumsily thrown in points such as ‘Harry doesn’t do his homework’ or ‘Harry’s a bad dad’.

    • Cody Scott Hickman

      Meanwhile, I thought every other host was very grating. I want to hear a podcast where Cursed Child isn’t unanimously hated, because I loved it. Yes, it has flaws but the constant berating on both this show and Mugglecast hurts my soul.

    • Alison

      Hello! Thanks for your comment. To your comment about my thoughts being impacted by seeing the show: yes. And that’s the whole point, I think. The thing about theatre is that the way it is performed has an immense impact on how it is (or should be interpreted). I’m reminded of the humorous sketch for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death where many well known British actors who have played Hamlet (including David Tennet and Benedict Cumberbatch) came out on stage and delivered the famous “to be or not to be” line emphasizing different words. When you change the emphasis of any word, it changes the meaning; each interpretation of that line means something different.
      The same thing is happening here; in discussions with others, on and off the podcast, I’ve found that people who have just read the script so far are hearing lines differently and therefore interpreting lines differently. Having seen the show, with its influence from JKR, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany (who, I’m sure, gave at least some direction on how lines should be interpreted), I like to offer that insight (though everyone is welcome to their own interpretation!)
      I’m not saying there aren’t things that feel like fanfic; but we have to remember that there’s been ten years with thousands of people writing fic, and anything they came up with would have probably been put out there before. It’s just a statistic probability.
      I am trying to interpret it as a piece of writing, but the thing with modern theatre like this is that it’s not just writing; like a movie, the visual and acting elements are huge parts of the story. The visuals are a shorthand for what could have been explained with words in a novel.
      Sorry for the novel length response, but I just thought I’d try and clear some things up!

      • roxyblack

        I think we also need to remember that this is a rehearsal script and not a finished article. There are a few things I’ve noticed in the script that are different in the play as it is currently being shown so perhaps some of the flaws are being ironed out that way too.
        As a podcast we are several fans exploring and evaluating the source material, both text and performance, with our own opinions and our own views – trying to do so with a comparative lens. Please remember that we’re all in this as fans and we are all allowed to have our own opinions and disagreements with other hosts 😛
        I have also seen the play so will be commentating on Part Two with a play in performance viewpoint as well as a text. I truly don’t believe the script is meant to be read as it’s own work of literature. It is simply not sophisticated enough in its current form to measure up to the actual experience of watching the show.

  • The Half Blood Princess

    We don’t know that Albus and Scorpius went back in time after Harry’s dream just because it happened afterwards in the play, it’s possible that both are happening at the same time. Therefore, Harry is remembering seeing Albus and Scorpius in Durmstrang robes, because it was starting to have already happened, if that makes sense.

    Delphi, like her father, is sure that the prophecy has to come true.

    Bane’s not the only one who said something that convinced Harry to try and mess up Albus and Scorpius’s friendship, DD does this as well.

    Harry’s still looking for Albus in the Ron/Hermione aren’t-married AU, maybe Albus and Scorpius do know Delphi in that reality because they made the save-Cedric plan with her.

    On time being circular, Hermione says that there have been people who have killed their “past and future selves by accident” in PoA, or something like that. If time were circular, and not “Wibbly wobbly” you wouldn’t be able to do that.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      I feel like Harry twisted Dumbledore’s words and convinced himself that what Dunbledore was saying aligned with Bane’s warning, rather than Dumbledore intentionally implying that the friendship with Scorpius was a problem. Dumbledore tells Harry to look for what is wounding Albus, and Harry takes that in a whole different direction (“or is it *who’s* wounding my son?”) and runs with it. I think Dumbledore is trying to get Harry to focus on the problems in his own relationship with Albus, not on Scorpius and Albus’s relationship.

      • Michael Harle

        This is the reason that I like how Dumbledore is used in the story. Utilizing him as misdirection is how Dumbledore was always utilized, and for once, it makes sense that his character would not have changed in that respect, as he is a portrait. Dumbledore explicitly tells Harry this, and in so many words, makes it quite clear that Harry needs to be mindful of his own behavior towards Albus. Thus, the established magical rules are used to progress the plot; I would have liked to have seen more of *that* in this play, as opposed to the constant rule-breaking to move things forward.

  • ISeeThestrals

    When discussions on traveling back in time was brought into play, I was expecting there to be a mention of bringing Scorpius’s mother back, though she did die of illness, if I’m remember correctly there. But until I could grasp why Albus was going back for Cedric, I found it a bit unusual he’d go to that much trouble for a boy he didn’t know. Cedric was a first death Harry felt responsible for, yet he wasn’t a major character in the series, though it caused Harry much guilt.

    • It is sort of weak but I thought Albus’ motivations to target Cedric for saving were based on overhearing Amos’ pleas to Harry. Already in the mindset of anti-Dad, Albus conjured a vision of doing a “public service” or more like a private service for Amos to “clean up” after his dad, as a reaction or stance against Harry as a hero. Attempting to right a mistake of his father. Interestingly, Voldemort does this too (his father’s mistake: being a muggle, non-magical, and/or “weak”) but just in an evil way.

      By righting his father’s wrong, I got the sense that Albus felt like he would be able to distance himself from Harry in a bolder way than being sorted into Slytherin and by his own hand. So it wasn’t really about who Cedric was (although Albus does mention that he knows or has read that Cedric was a good person, etc.) but about what Cedric’s death represented to Amos and probably some others: a terrible loss due to Harry’s mistake (even if we know that Harry could not have prevented it). I think Albus principally views saving Cedric as an action he can take to outwardly “disapprove” of his father and therefore show that he is not like him.

      I also think, from a writing standpoint, the notion of riffing on “kill the spare” to “save the spare” was a bit too enticing. I wouldn’t be surprised if that little tweak was one of the major germs that kickstarted this plot. If Thorne had that idea and some notion of creating a story about Harry’s kids having a conflict with Harry (or vice versa), then it’s not a big jump to construct a plot around one of Harry’s kids taking on the task of saving the “spare” (as a representation perhaps of all the lesser known or minor characters who died as a result of Harry’s journey). Then you add in Delphi to have a “real” villain and you are set. Or perhaps Thorne started with the Voldemort’s daughter idea and then thought of the prophecy and then constructed the plot to suit. Interesting to think about it from that point of view. What were the main germs of interest that motivated Thorne to create the play and send it to Rowling? Was it centered on Albus as a character? (Honestly I don’t think he’s developed enough for that to be the case.) Was it on the idea of Harry’s kids against Harry? (That makes more sense in the genre about inter-generational conflict.) was it Delphi and threat of a bit of Voldemort still left to menace Harry? (Could be but I also feel like she is not developed enough to have inspired the story so just the idea of a residual threat in the vein of the eighth story … Though I agree this does nit pay off as such.) or the motivation could have been the time-travel itself, meeting all the possible iterations of distinct futures.

      • Lisa

        “What were the main germs of interest that motivated Thorne to create the play and send it to Rowling?”

        My understanding was that Rowling was approached with an idea of creating a HP play and liked it. She said she turned down offers for a HP musical because she doesn’t like musicals (sorry AVPM). All three authors worked on the plot and apparently Rowling supplied her mysterious notebooks with info on the characters. So the play or plot wasn’t fully developed when she was approached.

        (And I really doubt she would let someone else create a daughter for Voldemort. That’s a pretty big revelation for a pretty big character so even though I don’t have any proof of it, it seems very uncharacteristic of Rowling to leave something like that up to someone else. She has stressed the fact that these are her characters and her world way too many times for it to be believable to me that she just let someone else waltz in and make up things about her characters).

      • ISeeThestrals

        I think it can be tough to get why Albus went for Cedric until you read through most of the book, least that’s how it was for me. Seeing an explanation of it makes sense, at the same time it seems a little weird/surprising that the plot ended up being driven around Cedric’s fate.

        I didn’t like the phrasing of “spare” being used in this book, especially when it was used in the prophecy. It seemed like it weirdly gave a lot of credit to Cedric’s death in the series when the biggest prophecy/matter had to do with Harry and Voldemort. Did there really need to be another prophecy?

        With Delphi, I was reminded of Tonks like most people, but I never outright trusted her, so I wasn’t hugely surprised she turned out to be the villain. And if there’s one choice I really didn’t like concerning “Cursed Child”, it’s giving Voldemort a daughter.

  • DoraNympha

    So, I’ve never really cared for the next generation enough to ship any of them, but I feel like CC does fall into patterns typical of queerbaiting. Maybe that’s too harsh a word, but I totally understand if it got criticized for it. As starved as I am for queer visibility, never had I shipped Albus and Scorpius, but to me their lines clearly were not purely platonic, even if it’s theatre, where emotions are overacted and expressed way more elaborately than in real life, or even than in movies or television as a matter of fact.

    And I agree wholeheartedly, I would really love to see more male friendships in fiction with more intimacy and sharing of emotions and everything, without anyone calling “no homo” first, because that is such a rare thing, you can hardly find that kind of relationship in fiction nowadays, and I think that’s a shame. But I think that’s what we get with Sirius and Remus. I know a lot of people ship them, and I can totally see why, but I’ve always supported a platonic reading of their friendship for the same reasons as Alison said in the ep that she does for Scorpius and Albus. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as desperate for representation as the next person, and yes Lupin is queer-coded, we all know it, Alfonso Cuarón knew it, it’s a thing, BUT I agree that sometimes it’d just be nice to see a close, emotional friendship between boys. However, since that’s Sirius and Remus for me, and since the writing is very different for them, Scorpius and Albus felt more like a romantically written relationship.

    Two very strong reasons why Al and Scorp felt romantic rather than platonic and therefore skirting on queerbaiting even without the fact that their shipping has been a big thing in fandom for years and the script is a “fanfictiony piece of crap” indeed: if they were a boy and a girl, every review would call this a romance story, every single one of them; and because of Scorpius’s inexplicable fancying of Rose. Some have expressed dislike of Rose’s character itself, I don’t mind her but she hasn’t really gripped me, but also Scorpius’s liking her feels to me like Mary Watson’s existence in the original Sherlock stories. She’s there to licence all the intense lines between and about Scorp and Al. This is a device used for years and years in pre-legalization literature and film about close male relationships: even if the censors pick up on the subtext, the existence of a wife, even if she never ever appears, is an iron-clad ticket to being able to publish a work. I might have my queer-coding goggles on because I’m literally right in the middle of writing my BA thesis about LGBTQ representation, but CC felt like one of those typical cases of “we’ll just put a girl there so that the audience doesn’t feel so uncomfortable with boys expressing FEELINGS” and omg HUGGING cue shock horror gasps.

    If we stick with a platonic reading of their friendship, however, then yes, it’s a sweet addition to the short line of male friendships in fiction where the characters don’t shy away from expressing how important they are to each other. Not having actually seen the play, and yearning to see more representation, Scorpius and Albus read like a forbidden romance story to me more than Romeo and Juliet. Realistically, though, if CC went there and it got out that Albus and Scorpius are male leads in a children’s story who end up together, we would have certain bigoted groups picketing outside the theatre everyday. Since CC isn’t canon, though……………………. 😛

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      very interesting thoughts, I agree with you that it is better to write stories as clearly and explicitly queer, if you aim for representation. On the other hand, if a medium could get away with having two characters of the same gender being a romantic couple, I guess theatre has the best chances compared to books or movies.

      • DoraNympha

        Absolutely, if there is any medium it’s theatre. (Still campaigning for that Lockhart musical…)

        • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

          I’m so with you in that!

    • Lisa

      I’m not sure if I agree that the play was queerbaiting in any way. I’ve seen that label thrown around often with regards to Albus and Scorpius’s friendship but I think there were just as many hints that they are straight as there are “queer” hints or codes. Scorpius was attracted to Rose very early on in the play so it’s not like they just threw her in there at the last minute. Albus’s connection with Delphi also comes rather early. None of these feels like an after-thought in order to establish them as straight (like Sirius’s infamous bikini girls in DH). In the fandom communities I used to visit, Scorose was a thing long before CC. Basically, people started shipping it after the Epilogue and Ron’s warning that “Rosie” shouldn’t get too close to Scorpius. I’ve honestly never met anyone shipping Scorbus before CC. I’m not saying that wasn’t a thing as well, I just didn’t encounter it so I had no expectations when reading CC.

      I can definitely sympathize with people’s desire for representation and would have cheered at Scorbus being the end game. But I think it’s unfair that so many people are acting like the play was deliberately misleading them. It’s normal that two characters who go through a lot together would develop a bond and perhaps even chemistry which they don’t have with a character who is largely kept out of the action (like Rose is). So naturally the readers/viewers also bonded with Scorpius and Albus and then transferred their own feelings onto how the characters must feel about each other. Just my opinion of course.

      • Michael Harle

        Oh, there’s definitely queerbaiting. Or, at the very least, the feeling of it by readers/audience members is valid.

        http://www.vox.com/2016/9/4/12534818/harry-potter-cursed-child-rowling-queerbaiting

        • Roonil Wazlib

          Great article, thank you so much for sharing it!

      • DoraNympha

        I see what you mean about hints with girls not being an afterthought but the majority of the play still is Albus and Scorpius’s bonding and feels despite forces to keep them away from each other, and, more importantly, my problem with almost everything that tries to block the possibility of a same-sex romance with the insertion of a character of a different sex than the one in question: not gay doesn’t mean straight. Maybe Harry is an unreliable point of view and there were also guys on bikes on Sirius’ walls, he just didn’t think anything of them, or Sirius took those pictures with him when he ran away from home, there is literally nothing to stop fans from thinking these, especially that Sirius never gets a love interest because he’s just too busy being a rebel, a prisoner, in house arrest, and dead. Like I said, I don’t even have shipper goggles on but Albus and Scorpius are probably the closest to canon queer ship that we can have picked up on in a written HP work, and it’s not even a canon-compliant story, doubly frustratingly.

  • Yellow Badger

    Amos is a figure in the Bible and Eric pronounced Amos’s name with the Hebrew pronunciation, Ah-mos. But, of course, in the UK, the English pronunciation, Ai-mos, is used.

  • ISeeThestrals

    With the thought of the boys going back to save Cedric, it’s made me wonder now what would’ve happened if they’d gone back to prevent Sirius from dying. He’s my favorite character and it hit me when he died. We saw several characters spring up in this play, but not him. Though he was far from being a perfect fatherly figure to Harry, he still made an impression on him, and his death hit Harry harder than Cedric’s did (least that’s been my gauge on it)
    But their choice to save Cedric did relate to the father/son issues characters were having here. Still, I’d like to have known what would’ve changed if they saved Sirius. Would he have become a man Harry could have followed after in understanding how to be a father himself? Or did Azkaban unhinge Sirius too much for that to happen?

  • MartinMiggs

    I understand it’s tough to be a parent and you might say something awful to your kid in a moment of anger but how could Harry Potter not understand what it’s like to be an outcast or what it’s like to have absurd expectations placed on you? Someon call Seth Myers and Amy Poehler cause really Harry after living as a muggle for years with the Dursleys you don’t understand what its like to be alone and not have friends? Really Harry you don’t know what it’s like to have to live up to your father’s name? Really Harry you don’t know what its like to have ridiculous expectations put on you when people are saying you are the only person who can kill the most dangerous lethal wizard of all time? Really you don’t know what it’s like to have all the students at Hogwarts mock you when they have badges that say “Potter Stinks”?
    Its just so lame and pathetic to have Harry be so flawed for plot reasons when the DH 19 years later showed him as a sympathetic and compassionate father.

    • ISeeThestrals

      Yeah, where were the moments when Harry told Albus he understands what he’s going through. I feel like there might have been one or two lines expressing that but I don’t recall where they were if they were present at all.

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    I read the first half of CC on September 1st, while sitting in a train compartment, and finished it two days later in the shadow of some trees near a lake. Certainly the right atmosphere to read this play!
    That night I listened to episode 200, much later after it’s release than usually because I had waited until I had read the story. Right now I’m wondering if the number of hours I’ve been listening to all of you has already surpassed the number of hours I’ve spent reading Potter. Possibly. And I would never want to turn back time and change that.

    And then, what a wonderful surprise at the beginning of the recap of episode 200: My name as the patreon sponsor! What an honor, what a delight! From now I shall be called: HowShouldWePronounceThis 😉

    • Kat

      Did we butcher the pronunciation of your name?! lol

      • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

        as there is no official English pronounciation that I am aware of, I’m happy to pick the Adele version you suggested. :-)

        In German the last e is not silent, the closest you could get would be A B Lee, I guess.

  • Minerva the Flufflepuff

    I cannot stress how much Spinster Hermione irritated me. I get that it’s supposed to be about how their love makes them complete, but why does Ron get to have another relationship and family and Hermione not? Or, they could have shown her as an equally well adjusted, successful single Hermione. Instead she turns into a bitter Snape parody. So her good characteristics supposedly only exist because of her love for Ron? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Hermione don’t need no man to be awesome! The fact that she’s a “just” a teacher rather than the Minister for Magic is insulting. Really? She has to be married to become a great politician? She has to be in a relationship to be a kind and caring woman? No Ron to snuggle up to and Hermione turns into a mean, student-hating harpy? Please… whether JK wrote this particular detail or not, I expect more from her female characters.

    • Luna LoveDuck

      I agree 10,000% this AU version of Hermione was unforgivable. As much as I love all the hosts, the discussion of this plot point is a perfect of example of what was brought up by They’ve Taken My Wheezy! When Allison started to try to justify spinster Hermione, I cringed a bit… Because it’s really inexcusable.

      • Alison

        This, I think, is a moment where I was projecting myself a bit on Hermione. As someone who has felt a strong connection with Hermione since the first time I read the books at five (with buck teeth, bushy brown hair, and extreme bossiness), I do tend to do this occasionally.
        Let me explain. I am a part of a culture where people get married relatively young, and I’m currently living in a hub of that culture. This means that most of my friends and acquaintances are married, engaged, or seriously dating someone. And I often find myself struggling with feelings of bitterness.
        I’m an independent woman with a good job who’s going places and doing things, but I see why Hermione could become as bitter as she is in this AU, because I see that happening to me sometimes. As more and more of my friends pair off, I start to feel a little alone. I can see Hermione feeling the same way; as her three best friends in the world and most of her other friends too started pairing off, I can see her feeling isolated and lonely. Sure, she’s still as awesome as she always was, but being surrounded by that and feeling alone like that can make you lash out a bit.
        Like I said on the episode, I think it does speak to the themes of how friends and family lift you higher, because when Hermione is surrounded by her friends, she loosens up a bit (I just read that bit to my seventh graders in PS/SS where the narration says Hermione relaxes on rules a bit once she becomes friends with Ron and Harry). I can definitely see her reverting a bit when she looses that influence all the time every day.

        • Luna LoveDuck

          Alison, you are awesome. Thank you for taking the time to share such a thoughtful, well-reasoned response. I feel like you’ve had a difficult task since seeing Cursed Child, you’ve sort of taken on the role of the defender of the play while all the rest of us have mostly negative things to say! Please know that all of us fans of Alohomora appreciate you and all of the hosts, because you freaking rock.

          I have two responses to your comment:

          First off, I so very totally absolutely relate to everything that you said about the pressure to get paired up. In addition to the fact that it feels as though everyone else around me is getting hitched and having babies, I also just turned 30, AND my younger sister got married over the summer… So I feel ya girl, lots of cultural and societal expectations. My issue with AU Hermione is that while I agree that women CAN become bitter because on romantic expectations, the play made me feel like it was endorsing that reaction. I feel like it was the lazy storytelling choice, the easy predictable choice that catered to societal expectations. “Woman is supposed to end up with man, doesn’t end up with man, becomes spinster.” If the writers felt like it was necessary to explore an alternate reality where one of the star-crossed lovers ended up with someone else, it could have been Ron marrying someone else and Hermione moving on with her damn life. It could have been Hermione finding love with someone else instead of Ron. It could have been Hermione realizing that although there are a lot of societal pressures, she actually doesn’t want to be burdened with a relationship and wants to focus on her career instead. It could have been Hermione traveling abroad and leaving everyone behind. It could have been Hermione ending up with Viktor Krum after the Yule Ball and Ron being the sad sap who pined over her lost love for the rest of his sorry life. Any one of those scenarios would have made more sense based on the intelligent, independent Hermione that was laid out in the books. And more importantly, it would have been a great opportunity for the playwright to snub the crappy societal expectations about women needing to marry off. Instead of gals like you and me looking at spinster Hermione and saying “Yeah, I can relate to that,” we could be looking at laughs-in-the-face-of-peer-pressure-and-is-happy-without-a-man Hermione and saying “That’s really encouraging to me, I want to be more like that!”

          Now that I’ve ranted, my second response to your comment is a bit more apologetic. I’ll admit that instead of trying to accept Cursed Child for what it is, I have been rather stuck in the mode of reimagining all that it could have been. The things that disappointed me about this play… (weird out-of-character scenes like spinster Hermione and “Sometimes I wish you weren’t my son” Harry, plus I just hate the time travel stuff, it’s lazy writing and goes back on so much of what Rowling previously said about the use of time turners, and holy moly Voldemort would never have wanted to have a child… Okay, back to my run-on sentence now…) the things that disappointed me about this play are so numerous and so distracting that I’ve definitely just been stuck in complainer mode. My statement above regarding spinster Hermione is a perfect example of how I’ve been reacting to most aspects of this story and the way this production came together. I’m all about the shoulda-coulda-woulda, and I’m not really putting any energy into focusing on any positive aspects. So I just wanted to wrap up my ramble by giving you one more shout out Alison for putting up with the haters like me 😉 Thank you for contributing so much to these awesome discussions!

          • Alison

            I totally think that’s a valid thought to this version of Hermione! And I agree, it could have been better; I’m not saying I like that version of her at all. But I do wonder if, from a storytelling perspective, they decided to go with that because it’s one of the first big changes that signals this is a different timeline, and to have Hermione so dramatically different clues us in to that suddenly. From an in universe perspective, maybe it was just an off day for that version of her too – after all, Ron was at the school and maybe that brought up some bad memories that caused her to be annoyed. Plus, Albus making comments on her personal life? As a teacher, I’d take issue too, haha. In addition, I think there’s something to be said about Hermione being both an independent woman and still wanting that kind of traditional romantic story and family, therefore feeding into this alternate timeline Hermione. I definitely think that you can want and be both and still be a strong woman, and I love seeing examples in media of those kinds of female characters! (Which, incidentally, I think we see a lot of with normal timeline Hermione in the play).

            And thank you for your kind words :) I do admit I’ve been getting quite weary of all the hate lately, but I just keep trying to point out the good parts and I just keep on loving it and being enthusiastic hoping people will take it into consideration :) And thank you for being such great listeners! You are all the reason we are still here and discussing. I always learn something new from all of the varied viewpoints we get on any and all topics!

          • RavenClare

            This is a great thread, thoughtful and well-reasoned on both sides. I agree as a single, independent woman pursuing my career it was a little frustrating to see the spinster stereotype in Act 2 Hermione. (That said, I love the interactions with Ron at every stage of this play, and rebel Hermione in Act 3 is amazing!!)

            I have considered, though, that Hermione’s career path may not just be influenced by Ron. The chapter after The First Task in Goblet of Fire is The House Elf Liberation Front. What if the changes in the first task meant that Hermione never found out how to get down to the kitchens, never found out more about elfish welfare and so didn’t embark on the political career that led to her becoming Minister for Magic…?! One of the things I love about the potential offered by time travel in fiction is exploring the repercussions of changing one tiny thing. Our career choices are influenced by so many chance factors, including but not limited to those we love.

          • Alison

            What a great point! I’d forgotten that the events of the Triwizard led Hermione to the kitchens and the house-elves…guess it’s time for a GoF reread for me!

    • ISeeThestrals

      Because they needed a Snape.
      Until they discussed this on the episode, I was at a lost as to why Hermione turned out that way in the AU. If they needed her to be bitter, there needed to be a better/stronger reason for it. I can’t imagine what that would be. Such a turning point, I’d imagine, could’ve come back when she was friendless in her first year, before she befriended Harry and Ron. Yet that’s not the case here, so there’s little excuse for it. The only thing I can think was that this AU was meant to be so bizarre that characters weren’t in-character anymore.

      • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

        And, what is frustrating to me, is that Hermione’s evolution in this AU doesn’t even directly parallel Snape’s. Snape’s history with Lily is not the only factor that shapes his personality and teaching style, but Hermione’s history with Krum and Ron are apparently — based on the rationale/background information presented in the play — the sole reasons for her change in attitude and career path, placing the emphasis entirely on her need for a man.

        I also have difficulty with this AU in particular, in terms of how we are supposed to read these attitudes and actions that seem so out-of-character.

    • Roonil Wazlib

      Omg yes completely agree!! I would understand if they were trying to show that none of the trio could reach their full potential without the love and support of the others, but even if that were true, Hermione is still one of the smartest witches Hogwarts has ever seen. I could see her being more withdrawn or antisocial, but she would still be throwing herself into whatever line of work she chose and would still be successful. Maybe (just maybe) she wouldn’t be Minister for Magic, but she would obviously be still be top of her field because nothing stops Hermione Granger from being the best.

      • DoraNympha

        This! The Hermione I know created S.P.E.W. and devotedly fought for social justice issues way before she got together with Ron. Hermione, who outright told Scrimgeour that a profession in law would be a waste of time, and whose literal personality is mainly KNOWING STUFF, would value teaching far higher than the post of Minister and therefore wouldn’t be bitter, whether single or not. Hermione, who dated Victor Krum, would also easily have found happiness with someone else if it hadn’t worked out with Ron. She’s awesome in her own right.

  • Luna LoveDuck

    I love the discussions that you guys have been doing for the play, thank you and keep up the good work! I’ve tried not to be too negative about my reactions to Cursed Child, and you guys have been helping me balance my disappointment with a healthy appreciation for the fact that at least we have new fun things to enjoy as fans. There’s one thing I wanna get off my chest, and I think this is the perfect time since you guys had so much to say about theater in this episode.

    I don’t mean to pick on Steve, because he’s awesome, but at the beginning of this episode he made a comment in favor of the play that is similar to what I have been hearing from lots of Cursed Child apologists. The argument basically states that it’s okay that there are major problems with this script because the whole point of a play is to go see the show. I’ll admit that I’m a bit biased (I’m an actor, very passionate about theater), but I’m really disappointed to be hearing versions of this comment from so many fans. It’s as if people think that the point of theater is spectacle first and foremost, and that the quality of the story is secondary. Good writing and good production value are not mutually exclusive concepts. It is not asking too much to expect that a play can balance both of those requirements. The magic of Harry Potter is one thing, and it’s great to hear that people who have seen it have been swept up in the overall experience of the show. But I know plenty of working playwrights who would be offended at hearing so many fans give a free pass to this poorly written script by saying “It’s just a play.”

    • ISeeThestrals

      I made a similar comment in a previous post. I haven’t looked at any reviews for the actual play, but I’ve gotten the impression that there’s more spectacle than story. I haven’t had a chance to really experience theater, but what would draw me to see something, whether it’s a play or a movie, is the story. The more ‘Cursed Child’ is discussed on here, I feel a little better about the plot, just a little. We all know it’s meant to be seen, but the story would still count. From what I’m getting, much of it seems driven around a special effects experience with moments of character interactions mixed in. I’d still like to see the play, but I don’t want to feel the only reason I’d respond strongly to it was because they managed to pull off clever bits of magic on stage. At it’s core it’s a father/son story between Harry/Albus, but with all the time-jumping, odd dreams, and various transformations, I get the impression the story’s a little lost in there.

      • Luna LoveDuck

        You make a great point- These detailed Alohomora discussions are helping me feel a bit better about the plot :) And perhaps another silver lining from all of this will be that Cursed Child will encourage more people to see live theater. My tastes are similar to yours, I would always rather see a story driven by plot and character than by special effects. But it does sound like the magic of this show might get a lot of people excited about theater who might not have considered going to see a play otherwise. Pros and cons, I guess! And hey, best of luck to you if you ever have the opportunity to go see some theater!

        • DoraNympha

          I’m with you on this: I wouldn’t mind a Harry Potter play with absolutely no spells and tricks if the story itself is good. I’m sure I’ve collected very dear memories of amazing theatrical spectacles and amazingly creative visual solutions to various things (I think I fell in love with theatre first when I saw Peter Pan fly around the stage when I was like 9) but if that was all there was to theatre then why would we ever buy tickets to see Beckett plays? Why would we be reading Shakespeare, why would we be adapting Wilde over and over again when there are tons of new movies out there with expensive CGI explosions? If the story and the writing are good, a play is good read or seen or as a radioplay or in any other form it can be. Cursed Child is on one of the best stages of the planet, in one of the best theatre districts of the world, they have everything at their disposal tech-wise, and yet they can’t mask the weak plot. (Kinda having flashbacks to when they sacrificed the story for the effects in DH2 – it would have been so much more satisfying to hear Harry’s big monologue revealing everything in front of Voldemort and every survivor but instead we got that weird fight sequence, I will never understand why.) Point is: I love and support the fact that plays are so much more flexible than novels but the core story should stand because it is magical in itself, not because it relies on stage magic. (and this is coming from a former stage and costume design student, currently an English major)

          • Luna LoveDuck

            Whoot whoot, I knew that my fellow theater nerds would agree with me on this! I mean really, if anything I consider theater to be a medium that is about storytelling first and foremost. The only time throughout the whole process of this play that I was actually excited was at the very beginning of the rumors, when we thought the plot might be about little Harry growing up with the Dursleys. Based on what Rowling was saying in interviews about how Cursed Child was a story that could only be told on stage, I thought to myself “Yeah, she gets what the theater is all about! It’s supposed to be an intimate venue for telling stories about characters, so day-in-the-life at Privet Drive will fit the medium perfectly.” If only things could have worked out that way, sigh…! Anyway, thanks for your awesome comment, love to all the theater nerds 😉

    • the head girl

      Yes! The comparison to The Lion King seemed very, very appropriate – Lion King on stage is 100% spectacle, and the story is basically exactly the same as the movie. The only reason you’d fork out the $100 to see it on stage is for the spectacle, which is AMAZING, but that’s … pretty much it.

  • In this episode, we get confirmation that Alison is indeed fan-girling over the play. Once again she is in hardcore defense mode and doesn’t let a criticism fly, but at least we learn about her infatuation with the male actors and their roles. It all makes sense now.

    • Minerva the Flufflepuff

      I think you’re being a little unfair. She’s the only one on the panel who’s seen the play, so of course her understanding of the story will be tinted by her experience at the theatre.

      • Yea, I am being unfair. I’m not trying to blame her for liking the play or anything like that. I can understand that the entire experience was a lot to take it and be excited about participating in. She is a huge fan of Potter to begin with, she said this was her first book release party experience, she got to be one of the first to actually see the play, and she is not alone to be fan-girling for the actors.

        But even in the bonus episode about the play she still seemed to refuse to accept any criticisms and she does reach quite a bit to make something work in her head. I strongly believe that watching this play will be a different experience than reading it, however, the story itself is just so bad. The performance can and should be something to rave about, but there is no saving such a bad story.

        • Minerva the Flufflepuff

          Sure, I’m not a fan of the play either, and in the podcast I found myself agreeing with Michael and Kat a lot, but to blame Alison’s enthusiasm for the story on “fangirling” and fancying the actors does not do her justice. People have different opinions on the story, and to suggest that Alison’s judgment is somehow blinded by the hotness of the actors is very condescending.

          • I don’t think it’s condescending at all. I mean, she talked about her fan-girl attitude towards the actors in the episode itself! She doesn’t hide it. She is always super giddy about it. I think it’s great that she is able to own her fan-girlness and let it flourish in her episodes. But I do believe that that, on top of the other areas I pointed out, contribute to her praise of the play.

            As readers we don’t have that attachment to the faces on stage or their talent. We don’t have that visual to aid in a character’s likeability. One can say “it’s whats on the inside that counts” all they want, but if Scorpius was an ugly actor, people would probably like him less.

            There is nothing wrong with being a fan-girl. All I’m saying is that her situation is very unique and that it seems to be blinding her to what the story is. No matter how great the performance of the story was, the story is still crap.

    • Alison

      I think you’re being a bit unfair; I definitely listen to criticism and I do have some issues with the show that I’ve brought up. And if I get “giddy” about the actors (all of them, but the way, not just the male ones), it’s because I am enthusiastic about talented and passionate people, which the entire cast is. On the bonus episode, I do admit I was a little blase about the whole thing (during recording, I think I forgot occasionally that I was recording, not just talking to some friends who I don’t get to actually speak with very much in person, and so I was continuing some lighthearted conversations we had been having earlier). But for the most part, I’m just excited about seeing people who are excellent at their craft and breaking down what it is about their performance that makes it so good.
      As for saving the story, I do think that the cast and their performances make up for some of the weaknesses in the script. That’s part of these kinds of mediums for storytelling; theatre, like film, relies on the visual aspect as a contributing factor into how they tell their story.
      And I definitely think I would still love Scorpius, no matter what he looked like; he’s a character that is practically exploding with enthusiasm and passion, and I love those characteristics.

  • DreamLumos30

    This is Lauren, your Patreon for this week. Thanks for the shout-out, guys! It’s an Italian surname, pronounced Day-bew-air-iss, or at least that is as phonetic as I could get it. I’m in no way offended: you can imagine how many different variations I’ve answered to over the years! Thanks again, keep up the good work!

  • buckbeak is my spirit animal

    Okay. Here are my thoughts on the mechanics of time travel within the main book canon and the Cursed Child canon. Forgive me if anyone else has remotely said these things, I haven’t yet read the other comments…..

    In the books…. the “hourly” time turns as Hermione refers to them in CC… you go back x number of turns and you have to RELIVE that time. It is NOT a Tardis or a Time Machine. You can’t jump around, you personally just relive things. I think that’s the big kicker and the big limit that makes Azkaban-style time turning acceptable. You can’t go back and kill baby Voldemort unless you are going to live out your days in that time. You can’t go back and change what you did in the past. You aren’t actually changing anything. You’re just reliving some of your own time. Here’s the best graphic I can make…. ________s______ The straight line is your time line. You live on the straight line, you use your time turner to go back an hour and your personal line continues but you just double back a little along the s, then you rejoin your straight line at the diagonal without breaking or jumping.

    In CC…. You personally maintain your own continuous timeline, but somehow you can jump backwards and forwards. You still can’t change any of the actions you personally made in the past, but if you go back far enough you’re changing the surroundings of your personal timeline. This means everyone else is different but you still retain your own memories of your original/personal tidfmeline. This lets Scorpius go to Voldemort and Valor-land and still be a nice dude because he is living the life we’ve been watching the whole time. The Scorpion King version of him isn’t there anymore because it’s as if that present day Scorpius turn things back and then relived that time (the way Hermione does in Azkaban)…. except they changed the rules of time and you don’t have to live through the time you turned.

    It makes sense that anyone who was touching the time turning retains their personal timeline memories. It doesn’t really excuse how they changed the rules, but it makes sense how it works sort of……

    So… time mechanics? I hope that makes sense….it probably doesn’t. Do you guys think I’m close? I’m wavering but I think my logic is about as sound as it can be….

    And also, Ron like, breaks a leg coming back after fixing the first task, but then his soul gets sucked out and its easy to forget.

    • Minerva the Flufflepuff

      This is a great explanation of the differences in time travel between Prisoner of Azkaban and this! The time travel in Prisoner was such a fresh take on the subject and is still one of my favourite ever Potter chapters. In Cursed Child it just felt like the cheapest of plot devices.

  • buckbeak is my spirit animal

    If I have one problem with Cursed Child, it’s that Rowling heard all of the criticisms and picked out the things that personally bothered her, then used this as a platform for fixing things. Snape’s left off ambiguously? Give him a monologue! Dumbledore isn’t very easy to relate to? Give him a monologue! Draco is a dick? Give him a leading role! Ron and Hermione need counseling? Let’s bash into everyone’s heads that they’re SO HAPPY. Everyone hates Slytherin? Heeeeerreeeeee’s Albus!

    I think I like the play, but it feels overly convenient which things are brought up and “fixed” as they relate to the original series.

    • ISeeThestrals

      I didn’t read the criticisms Jo received for the series, but I definitely noticed there was something odd going on with the way things were presented with the characters.

      Albus as a Slytherin was a move I was hoping for, and I think it’s no surprise there if she needed Albus to be more removed from Harry. Thing is, if it weren’t for the need to time-travel and past over a couple of years as opposed to staying with his first year in Slytherin, I would’ve taken more interest in the House he was placed in. Instead I feel like I didn’t get anything from the Slytherin House. Maybe I’d have to read it again.

    • Lisa

      Agree with most of this but the idea that Ron and Hermione need counselling came from Rowling herself :)

      There is a lot of fan service in the play but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I took it as a fan tribute actually or an acknowledgement that, to many people, enjoyment of the series has always been and still is deeply connected with fandom activities such as theories, discussions or ships.

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    On Harry’s parenting: While telling Albus he sometimes wished Albus wasn’t his son was very bad for their relationship, I feel that in the AU when he makes Albus keep his distance from Scorpius and is so stern for no real reason that he doesn’t listen to anyone, that’s when he does the most damage. He makes true what he fears by trying to prevent it in the wrong way: He pushes Albus further away from him.

    And if Lily and James were in this play at all, I’d wonder why they don’t reach out to their brother. Apart from James teasing Albus we see no sibling interaction and in a family the way brothers and sister treat each other has a big influence on their relationships with their parents.

    • Alison

      This is one of those things that I would think might have to do with Albus pulling away from the family. Of course, that might just be me reading into things though!

    • DeadAsADumbledoreNail

      I think this line is up to interpretation, especially when new productions begin. At first read, yes, it’s harsh. It’s angry. It’s devastating. Harry might as well as taken his wand and Stupified Albus for a cold as it is. But what if you place the emphasis on Harry rather than Albus? Instead of thinking that the schism between father and son is on Albus, what if Harry finds himself lacking? “I wish YOU weren’t my son” might also be read “I wish you weren’t MY son.” Harry could feel that he’s such a lackluster father that part of him wishes that Albus had a different father, a better father. Someone who would know how to relate to Albus in the way that he deserves. How heartbreaking for Harry, to realize that he is such a terrible father in Albus’s eyes. How utterly devastating to realize how far they’ve fallen from each other. This is ultimately a directorial choice, I think. It would depend on the new director and the new Harry and is an opportunity to show a different light on this particular argument.

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    One of my favourite true-to-character-moments is when McGonagall doesn’t see Albus and Scorpius together in the library.

  • Roonil Wazlib

    Okay seriously, it is absolutely bananas to say that in Cursed Child we need representation of platonic male friendship more than we need representation of queer characters and relationships. You want platonic male friendship, look no further than the novels! Harry and Ron, Dean and Seamus, Fred and George and Lee, Sirius and James, Sirius and Lupin (if you believe that was platonic). Are you truly that starved for representations of healthy male friendship?? Do you really need Albus and Scorpius to be just friends that badly?? Even when there are zero openly queer characters in the entire wizarding world??? Come on.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      platonic male friendship that is as affectionate and outspoken as Albus and Scorpius is not that widely represented as we would wish it to be. That’s why it is important to be represented more often, but that does not mean that it should be favoured over explicitly queer representation.

      • Roonil Wazlib

        Yeah I get that and you’re right. But it is still completely unacceptable to me for someone to say that we can’t have queer representation because we haven’t yet had the “perfect” example of male friendship. That is basically what was said on the episode and is what I’m reacting to.

        • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

          Of course, rating the representation of affectionate male friendship as more important than queer representation would be wrong. Any representation is important not just for the represented group, but for all readers/viewers. After listening to that part of the episode again and reading the article about queer-baiting Michael has linked, my impression is that no one of the host does believe that reading Albus and Scorpius as friends is preferable to reading them as romantically involved and in love. As far as I understand, especially Alison wanted to add the discussion about friendship because she feels it needs to be addressed more often than it has been, but not at the expense of discussion other representation.
          as said in the article, “meaningful, well-developed, and happy queer relationships” is what most fans want and what the Potterverse deserves. Not more potentially queer characters whose identities and relationships are coded, hinted at or explained outside of the text.

          • Roonil Wazlib

            I also listened to the episode again. I read the article Michael posted. My interpretation of what was said on the episode has not changed. Please stop trying to explain this to me. It just feels like you are trying to invalidate my feelings and make me take back my anger. I am tired of listening to the hosts of this podcast continually excusing and explaining away homophobia and queerbaiting in Harry Potter. That’s all. Please just drop it.

          • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

            I’m sorry that I made you feel this way. That is not what I intended and I apologize for it.

          • Roonil Wazlib

            Thanks

          • ISeeThestrals

            I agree that any representation of a couple is important. I think the thing is making sure it doesn’t come across as preachy or forced. I want to feel like it’s there naturally and that they’re not a token couple only there as a label.
            It’s not just with relationships, but races as well. With some shows and movies, I get that feeling though it may not be the intention.

      • ISeeThestrals

        The platonic type of relationship I’d like to see more of is between a guy and a girl, especially as leads. They always seem to fall in love in fiction. We have an example with Hermione, but she does end up getting together with one of her friends.

        • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

          Yep, you’re right, that’s important, too.

    • DoraNympha

      And as I See Thestrals also said before me, if anything is forced on characters romantically, it’s more commonly with opposite-sex friends, which is why I cringe at the O Children scene in DH1 even after all these years, or about Luna and Neville in Part 2. Why did they ruin something untouched by this unnecessary heteronormativity in the novels? Nothing against shippers of those non-canon relationship,s but so, those are perfectly okay to force into the story in the films but we can’t have even a tiny hint about Grindelwald and Dumbledore? Not even from Rita so you’re not sure what’s fact and what’s her fiction?

      I mean, funny how opposite-sex friends always at least test their relationship’s boundaries in terms of sexual attraction but when it comes to queer representation it’s suddenly super important for it to be “natural” “unforced” and “organic”. Because Voldemort having a child is totally that, right? Voldemort and Bellatrix procreating, that’s a thought we should totally entertain but there is no way to fit in even a tiny little same-sex school-crush in all of the books in a world that is supposedly not prejudiced about sexual orientation like the Muggle world is… Because it’s totally hilarious for Albus to kiss her own aunt but there is no way that, for example, one of Ginny’s previous relationships could have been with a girl because THAT would be forced…

      Sorry for the abundance of sarcasm but I’m just as frustrated as you – although, I stand by the need for more male-male friendships that are shown to show emotions and talk about their feelings and have both emotional and physical intimacy like hugging depicted as normal, without calling it out, without making a thing of it. HP does have many of those, even if the wider world of fiction doesn’t.

      I was going to end here but sorry, just one more word about queerbaiting, in general, not just within CC: I’d love for authors to take Yoda’s words of wisdom. Do or do not. There is no try. While there is a heritage of subtext that can be exciting if I’m reading a hundred year-old book, sure, but only up to a point, and not without validity or reward in 2016. And if there is a lack of queer representation that makes no logical sense purely based on how many characters we know in a certain universe: stop with the excuses, just say you didn’t want to write queer characters into the story. I accept that. That’s artistic freedom. It still sucks but I accept that as a reason, instead of excuses. Not wanting to write X type of character is absolutely fine. But claiming to want to but never actually doing it because it wouldn’t be believable or motivated or whatever— again, HOW is a Voldemort offspring even vaguely plausible? What do Hagrid and Maxime have in common besides being the only half-giants they met? What did Hermione and Krum really talk about? Not to mention half of Lee’s commentary being about Angelina, which is adorable and I love it but it in no way moves the plot ahead or anything. Why can’t characters be queer just randomly in fiction? Why do they need a reason?? Dumbledore’s sexuality is just as irrelevant to the story as Lee’s is. Okay I’m gonna stop cause I could rant about this for hours (guess that’s why I’m writing my BA thesis about stuff like this)

      • Roonil Wazlib

        Thanks so much for writing this! I definitely agree. It’s really frustrating how heteronormativity is so ingrained in these books and especially the movies. I don’t understand why we give a pass to Rowling and praise her for being so progressive when the text of her novels clearly paints a different picture. It’s all well and good for her to tell us now that homophobia doesn’t exist in the wizarding world, but there is literally no evidence to support that in the text. And I know the hosts like to say the novels were written in a different time/political climate (not an excuse in my book), but there’s especially no excuse for a lack of queer representation in a Harry Potter story released in 2016.

        Also, can I just say this too–maybe queer relationships wouldn’t be seen as a fan fiction trope if authors actually included them in their work in the first place! The idea that there couldn’t be a queer relationship in CC because it would be too fan fiction-y is just augmenting the problem.

        I know you already get it, just venting :) I bet your thesis will be awesome!

        • Michael Harle

          I personally still hold that Rowling’s decision not to “out” Dumbledore within the original text was well-informed. While I think it would’ve strengthened the message of the book, and *maybe* could have done some good for the LGBTQIA community, for its time it could have had long-lasting repercussions on how the story and the Harry Potter series was received and treated during and after the fact. In addition, the story covers so many themes and addresses so many issues that, perhaps, Rowling felt adding that would overwhelm the text. 2007 doesn’t seem that far away, but yes, it *was* a very different social and political climate. We’re seeing more LGBTQIA characters added to all forms of media in more diverse, interesting ways than we were at that time, and in media intended for a wider age range, not just adults. What I *do* think was a mistake on Rowling’s part was *not* seeing the potential for a gay relationship in Cursed Child when it was right under everyone’s noses. Not really sure what happened there . . .

          In addition to what DoraNympha said, I should clarify that by saying queer relationships in Potter would do well to be “natural, unforced and organic” is not to suggest that they cannot depict experimentation, failure and even a “one-night stand”-like physical focus. What I meant is that the writing for queer relationships tends to fall into the realm of stereotypes and fetishizing (a point I brought up on the episode). This is why I think people are most upset that a romantic relationship didn’t come to fruition in the case of Albus and Scorpius; they feel very properly a couple without having succumbed to those issues. Which makes the insistence that they’re “just friends” all the more baffling.

          • DoraNympha

            Exactly, I agree completely with both comments, and when the first spoilers talked about Albus and Scorpius I immediately just assumed it’s typical fandom-like fetishization and dismissed it but it turned out not to be that. Also, I especially didn’t think there was going to be ANY romantic thing at all with the kids in CC, in any kind of way, as soon as we heard we would be seeing them when they are just off to Hogwarts. Ron’s warning about Scorpius in the epilogue is the kind of thing that feels forced to me (how many kindergarten age kids are being nagged at, as we speak, to admit to crushes they don’t even have? How many little boys are called flirts when they put bugs in a girl’s hair?). But we’re supposed to just laugh because they are just children: and that’s exactly why Albus and Scorpius would have been a great example of a romantic unfetishized pairing – they’re just kids, I’m here to see them go on adventures, not snog – just like I was here to see the trio go on adventures, not argue about who likes whom, until they were older. I agree that it’s a real missed potential but there’s nothing we can do. And 2007 was indeed so different from now, AND Harry Potter is a children’s/YA story, so I’m doubtful the publisher would even have allowed Dumbledore or any other character being outed, so to speak, in the text.*

            Two thoughts on Dumbledore:

            Firstly, you brought up fans in the episode who still say that Dumbledore’s homosexuality is not canon since it’s not in the novels: I do think it’s canon, since it does matter when we re-read Deathly Hallows. Once one knows that it is at least possible that Dumbledore was carried away with Grindelwald’s ideas because he was developing feelings for him, then it makes Dumbledore so much less of a person of questionable morals. If Dumbledore just went with the Greater Good idea because he was power-hungry, bored in a village, or really just that stupid, that makes me not like him at all. If there’s even a tiny possibility that he was impressionable because he was crushing on Gellert, then, well, we’ve all been there, Albus, we all have crushes we regret or done things for people we love or are in love with that we wouldn’t normally. He is capable of love, instead of just preaching about it and sacrificing people’s loved ones like puppets left and right without understanding how much it hurts them. Because of Ariana AND Gellert, it does change things a bit – if not the plot, then just my opinion of him. Instead of a power-hungry puppet-master, he is human and relatable.

            Secondly, the future literary canon argument is sadly quite valid: when JKR is just one of the exam modules kids complain about having to learn a hundred years from now, no one will know or care that the author, long ago dead, gave some interview, and said Dumbledore was gay. I’ve heard this argument so many times, I hate it but it’s true. Dumbledore may be gay now but he won’t be in 2116. (Wish we had those new Time-Turners now, just so we can see what happens to HP in the future!)

            BUT… how many named characters are there in HP that we actually know? I’m reminded of that bit in A Year in the Life of J. K. Rowling, when the interviewer asks her if Charlie is gay because he never marries, and Jo says “Dumbledore is gay.” Okay, Dumbledore is gay, cool, but, can no one else be, then, because he is? The thing is, if I headcanon about X character being anything in the acronym LGBTQIA, it feels like I might be projecting my own self onto a character, and it feels like I might be twisting canon, which I don’t like to do. And I’m not talking about fetishization – actually I can count HP fics I’ve read on one hand and I’ve never read an HP fic that was rated too mature, and I definitely do not want to, because it’d feel like reading smut of Disney cartoons, HP is a story I read as a child, sexualizing it is almost always cringey anyway, I’m truly just talking about visibility that matters to me as a person to whom it would mean a lot to. So point is: I’m happy to accept Jo saying there could never ever have been anything between, say, Sirius and Lupin, but I’d really love it if she told us which characters we’re allowed to ship instead, without breaking canon. I mean, how big is Drarry in fandom? They literally can’t stand each other in canon, they’re enemies and yet… isn’t that just being starved for representation? I’m sure that ship would barely exist if we had legit same-sex parings in canon. I mean, one has to merely make the observation that Wood and Percy were roommates in a Tumblr post and wait 5 minutes for it to be turned into a romantic and sexual thing in the hands of rebloggers, and a lot of that is fetishization but what isn’t I’d call simply desperation and understandably so…

            *If I think about what authors had to go through to publish their works pre-legalization — I wrote an essay last year at university about how E. M. Forster dedicated Maurice “to a Happier Year”, a book which he never saw published in his lifetime because he stuck with giving a happy ending to a gay couple instead of narrative punishment as was the practice. Isn’t today the happier year? If I think about the immense body of works I’ve been researching for months that fell victim to various levels of censorship and were used against authors in court, etc., like, compared to that, we’re spoiled. We are so spoiled. Jo Rowling is so freaking spoiled to live in an age where she could just tweet that fans have been right after all and Charlie Weasley IS asexual and nothing would really happen. The fact that we have absolutely no representation in HP does sometimes make me feel like, yes, kind of a pervert for daring to suggest that X character might be bi or gay or queer and if we had even one real evidence that some girls took girls to the Yule Ball and some boys took boys, I wouldn’t feel like this. It’s okay if they didn’t want to make Albus and Scorpius a romantic pairing, just don’t write it in a way to get our hopes up is all. I wonder if authors know this at all and I doubt they do. And I’d like to give credit to Jack Thorne and Jo that they mean well, but, I still see people go ‘”not this again” when HP and homosexuality comes up, which is not often anyway, and I can’t help wishing Jo just unlocked and normalized this subject with real representation now that she could.

          • Lisa

            Just my two cents to this discussion: I think the complaints about Scorbus are more valid than the complaints about Sirius/Remus which were also mentioned in the article posted by Michael. I feel like Scorbus did have a dynamic which could have been romantic (they’re certainly less platonic than Ron and Harry for example). However, people being upset over Remus/Sirius not happening is a bit entitled, IMO. Sure, there are some hints yes. There were also hints between Harry/Hermione yet that didn’t happen. Not only did it not happen but it was also okay for the entire fandom community to ridicule those shippers. So I think it is a bit of a double standard if we start perceiving gay ships as somehow more “noble” or more worthy of becoming canon than straight ships. Representation is one thing and I fulle agree with that. However claiming that a particular character should be gay or else…, seems less legit to me. I’m referring to the recent controversy on twitter because there was a rumor (unfounded as it turns out) that JKR said Sirius was straight. Which upset many people.

            I guess to me the problems with the books not being progressive enough is not just about gay representation but I would like a more diverse fictional world in general. When I found out that JKR was planning CC I rolled my eyes at yet another story with a male protagonist (turns out it was actually two male protagonists), despite the author claiming to be a feminist. At least CC had a main female villain. Fantastic Beasts being criticized for its all white cast is another thing. So in general, I think JKR’s works lack diversity and her making very left-wing statements on twitter makes matters worse because fans perceive it as her talking the talk but not walking the walk.

            As for Dumbledore, I agree with DoraNympha that the arguments that his sexuality was irrelevant are silly. Sorry, but if his crush on GG made him blind to his evilness then that is very relevant to his characterization. Much more relevant than Bill and Fleur’s wedding for example. And even if it were irrelevant, there are plenty other relationships which are equally irrelevant in the big scheme of things. So the “irrelevant” argument just doesn’t make sense to me at all.

            I don’t consider JKR’s comments to be canon, however, because they do not fulfill the criteria for canonicity. Comments are not “works by an author” so Dumbledore’s gayness is authorial intent which became an accepted “fact” of the Potterverse because it made sense and because so many people liked it. But whether people will even know about it 100 years from now, who knows? The Internet is not going anywhere so if someone googles Dumbledore (or uses whatever search engine people will use 100 years from now) they might know what the author said about him. But it not being in the book makes it less important, especially for future generations and more casual readers.

          • Roonil Wazlib

            Omg hard agree about general lack of diversity in Rowling’s work. I have a lot of thoughts about CC having two white male protagonists that I’ve yet to express fully. And great point about how the work will be read and interpreted in the future, I’d never even thought of that honestly.

          • Roonil Wazlib

            Thanks for your thoughts, Michael! I agree, Albus and Scorpius as platonic friends is completely perplexing given how natural their relationship feels.
            I think we’ll always just disagree on this point though. In my opinion, given the popularity of the series, if she had actually wanted to out Dumbledore in Hallows she could’ve done it. Yes there would have been repercussions, it would’ve been a news story. But she would’ve survived and we would have our seven books. I understand not wanting to deal with blowback. I get why she apparently made that choice. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be okay with it. These books contain elements of homophobia in not outing Dumbledore, in Dumbledore’s story itself, and in other ways too. I’m not going to excuse Rowling’s homophobia just because society at the time was also more homophobic. Everyone else being homophobic doesn’t make it okay for her to be homophobic. It doesn’t make her choices less bad or less hurtful. 2007 being a different time maybe makes her choices more understandable, but still not okay in my opinion.

          • DoraNympha

            If I may butt in a bit, I’m not sure I’d call it homophobic not to have made it clear in canon at the time that Dumbledore is gay because I remember it being different nine years ago indeed, I mean she only said this outside of canon and it was enough for some weird Americans to burn books and take it off library shelves, all hell DID break loose, if my memory doesn’t fail me. However, you could argue that that’s exactly a reason why she should have had some LGBTQ representation, even if not Dumbledore, but at least some background characters (I’ll take what I can get – hey, if there was enough word count to slip in a little make out session with half-Veela cousins at the wedding for Fred and George, then I’m not entitled when I’m begging for morsels).

            Also, Harry Potter became a worldwide success very early on, and by the time DH was published, it was this huge global phenomenon of both books and movies, and remember, at the time, even America was book-burning, I mean, most of the world is still very behind today, I mean I live in Hungary and there’s a constitutional ban on marriage equality here installed in 2012, by the time that’s overturned… I think there may have been a consideration for a worldwide audience in there, in spite of HP being very British. Also, I always wondered whether the movies could have slipped in a little hint at least, because the only way an extra bit of info like Dumbledore’s sexuality can be remembered on the long term is if all the adaptations keep including it. Remember, there’s no balcony in Romeo and Juliet, just a window, yet the balcony scene is a must have, whether it’s an elementary school play or a big budget Hollywood adaptation. I doubt this is going to happen, though.

            So I do agree that Rowling wasn’t really wrong not to put it in canon at the time, but she DOES say she always wants to champion the downtrodden, the marginalized, the underdogs, and yet, she does the thing where she says there are good Slytherins but doesn’t actually show it in writing, or she says race is not an issue in the wizarding world but then Pansy totally insults Angelina’s hair, she says all religions are represented at Hogwarts but not in the text (maybe that’s better this way?), and I do have to doubt whether pure-bloods really don’t have an issue with sexuality (and that’s another discussion in its own right) but okay let’s say that’s true, yet there is no visibility at all. Disability does get shown and class-like differences like economic status or the fictional issue of blood-purity.

            I’ve recently conducted a survey on whether misrepresentation is better than no representation, and everyone said misrep is better just because then at least a conversation can begin, whereas with no rep there’s nothing, just nothing, every LGBTQ character seems to have invested in an Invisibility Cloak and we’re just not supposed to question that. And normally I would say, whatever, plenty more stories out there, and whatever, we can just write out own stories but this is Harry Potter, I’m not going to just put the books down, forget it and get over it. You know, maybe if Harry Potter never got this famous and it stayed a book popular in Britain only, Jo may have been freer to write more diversity but then we wouldn’t be having this discussion and this site wouldn’t exist. And normally I’d say, well, if a fictional world isn’t welcoming, then okay I’ll just go find one that is, but the frustrating thing about HP is that is IS welcoming, Jo said it’s an unprejudiced world, that makes me want it to be real even more: no prejudice and magic exists? Sign me up. So it’s not like LGBTQ people are not welcome, it’s just that there’s no evidence of it. I wouldn’t exactly call that homophobic just disappointing but not unexpected.

          • Roonil Wazlib

            Yeah I mean maybe I’m wrong about the amount freedom she had in choosing whether to include openly queer characters or not based on societal pressures and threats of repercussions. However, I still believe that erasure is a form of homophobia. It’s not blatant, but it’s pretty common. And it’s still hurtful, regardless of the explanation (author’s homophobia vs pressures from homophobic publishers/society or whatever). I guess most people don’t share my opinion on this, which is fine. I think you make a great point in bringing up how the things she says about diversity and tolerance are not supported by the words she has written. I love JKR, but she is not a perfect person and I’m just not convinced she has fully unlearned all of her prejudices. Going back to one of the main points of this conversation–on one hand having Albus and Scorpius as “just friends” in Cursed Child is perplexing, because their relationship feels so natural. On the other hand, given Rowling’s previous work….maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. I feel like I’ve said about all I can on this topic for now. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

  • DoraNympha

    I have a question to those who saw the play: did they get the Ravenclaw colours right? I hope they didn’t unnecessarily change the bronze to silver. Just nitpicking.

    Also, while I may hope for a touring version of the play, there is a huge chance they won’t come anywhere near me, these things rarely do, even if it’s a really big production. If in the distant future the play starts to be played in different languages around the world, I will probably go see it only begrudgingly because it’s been filtered and they’d be pronouncing the names all wrong and ughhh it doesn’t feel like it’s really Hogwarts when they aren’t speaking English.

    So the thing is, as a theatre nerd, I understand every reason why they don’t want to release a DVD BUT, knowing from experience, if I want to see this play in its best form, they’d have to sell DVDs because a live or recorded cinema screening of the play will never ever ever happen near where I live. They MAY play a recorded version in the actual theatre, not the cinema, they do that with Globe performances sometimes (freaking subtitled in giant letters to break the illusion of course *sighhhh*). But in actual reality, unless the play is still on the West End in like 2-3 years, maybe I can manage to go see it between semesters, but if not then well I’ve missed it, unless I can watch it on a DVD or a bootleg, which, please don’t let us resort to that, please please please, I’m starved for culture and actual quality theatre here, that’s why I spent my teenage years reading HP and ignoring how real life sucks, like millions of others. Here, most movies aren’t even shown without voice-over translation, let alone a play, let alone a new one, even if it’s got Harry Potter in the title, please release a DVD, if 3 years or 10 years from now, I don’t care, just do. Of course everyone wishes they could see it properly, but, REALISTICALLY most of us can’t. If I could just hop on a plane just to see one fanfictiony HP play, I would in a heartbeat. I understand the fear but a DVD is not going to stop people from wanting to see the play. I don’t even like the story and I would love to see it. Who wouldn’t, if they could??? I’m sure I’d love to see it live even after having watched it on DVD!

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      I’m so with you. If a filmed version is never released, I feel like a significant portion of the fandom will feel entirely snubbed, and rightly so. I still don’t understand how she thought declaring it canon, when so many fans will never get to experience it fully, was a good idea. Or maybe I am underestemating how much becoming a billionaire might have changed her, though I don’t want to think that of her. Perhaps she just didn’t consider that for many, the costs go beyond just the ticket price, and even flights and hotels. I honestly think that if she is going to demand we take it as canon, then she owes it to the fandom, the very people who CARE about HP canon, to find a way to make it realistically available to all.

    • Alison

      It’s a bit better than the films, but no bronze still; instead, it’s a lighter blue. I think it has mostly to do with how well bronze and blue would show up on stage; the color combination might be hard to see from far away. I was slightly disappointed by it, I will admit!

      • DoraNympha

        I see, thanks for replying, it’s hard to see in the photos. At least they used an eagle, not a raven! :)

        • Alison

          They did! I was glad for that.

  • LumosShadow

    I dearly hope the hosts are wrong about the people in charge of CC keeping the play’s direction under close supervision, though I fear they might be right. Part of what makes theatre such a unique artform for me is the reimaginings that each director and actor brings to the play. If they wanted a more static medium they should have followed NBC’s work and created a live broadcast performance.

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    I highly suggest reading the play again after listening to all four of the Alohomora episodes that discuss it, and maybe again after all planned episodes are released.
    On my second reading I enjoyed it much more, saw the details I had missed the first time and could make the connections between the scenes more easily.

    This exchange between McGonagall and Draco caught my eye:
    “Sorry about your floor, Minerva.”
    “I dare say it’s my fault for owning a chimney.”
    So on point, so funny.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Agreed, though overall my impressions of it haven’t changed much. But I do have more appreciation for certain things I didn’t before.

      Loved that line from McGonagall the 2nd time around. That and Bane calling Albus as stupid as Harry made me laugh aloud. I’m totally with Alison on that one.

  • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

    On the topic of how the play represented platonic male friendship, what did you guys think about the dialogue every time Albus and Scorpius hug? It seems to be an actual motif in the play:

    First hug – Scorpius: “Do we hug?”

    Second hug – Scorpius: “That’s the second time you’ve done that.”

    And especially the last hug, in the asking Rose out scene – Albus: “I thought we decided we don’t hug.” Scorpius: “I wasn’t sure. Whether we should. In this new version of us — I had in my head.” (I know we haven’t gotten to that scene yet, but it ties in with my question.)

    Is this just a cute, humorous way to depict typical teen boy awkwardness about showing affection in a physical way? Or is it there to reinforce their bro-ness and/or that they are not attracted to each other, and if so, is it overkill? I found myself thinking, why can’t they just hug without the commentary? Then I started reading it as a potential clue that they were attracted to each other … But we know how that turns out. And why do they suddenly question if they should stop hugging just because they have become more self-confident versions of themselves by the end of the play?

    • DoraNympha

      That’s another thing… don’t only love interests have awkwardness about hugs and stuff in HP? Ron and Harry never did, Sirius and Remus never did. I know the awkward handshake at the end of Chamber of Secrets between Ron and Hermione is just a movie thing but don’t we get other Romione awkwardness? And then Harry has some apprehension about Mr or Mrs Weasley being there when he wanted to hold Ginny? I should look up evidence in the books for all these. When they hug but then think second about it it kinda feels like when Joey and Chandler developed in reverse on Friends: they hugged all the time, kissed that one time at New Year very early, Joey was begging Ross and Chandler to help him practice kissing for a role, etc., clearly they are bros who have few boundaries, but then in later seasons it’s like “hug or handshake? handshake, handshake……..” WHY would they be awkward about hugs by that point? I don’t get this hugging with Al and Scorp either: if it’s because they are friends then it’s pointless, if it’s supposed to imply something romantic then it’s too vague and awkward writing. If it’s meant to specifically show us that they are becoming MEN who DO NOT HUG then it’s actually pro-toxic-masculinity, not against (plus, it’s also a miss, since lots of same-sex pairings are given hugs where straight couples would definitely kiss on screen, it’s a recurring thing). I think I’m just reading too much into it, maybe they are just hugs.

      • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

        Thanks for your thoughts! You make some great points, and no, I don’t think you are over analyzing it — if they were *just* hugs, the dialogue wouldn’t repeatedly call attention to it. It may be just a touch of humor, or maybe even a satirical reference to hugging in British culture, or male Western culture, but it is definitely there.

  • Silverdoe25

    Not done with the episode yet. Enjoying Steve as a guest host. One comment regarding the execution of the play with a different cast down the road: “HARRY, DID YOU PUT YOUR NAME IN THE GOBLET OF FIRE?????”

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    I’m very much looking forward to the bonus episode you mentioned, especially after Alison said she has a link to Star Wars. After 16 years of enjoying the Potterverse and 18 years as a Star Wars fan I’m very interested in looking at the developments and finding connections.

    Back when I started reading Star Wars novels at age 13 and was mad because they contradicted the movies, I didn’t bother that they weren’t written by Lucas, because the galaxy far far away was already so huge that one person could never come up with everything in it. Continuity was still important to me, but I was always fine with several authors, creators and editors / translators adding to the mix. Maybe that’s why I’m fine with other people chiming in on Harry’s world. As long as they care about it as much as we do.

    • Alison

      Oh dear, I may have to up my Star Wars knowledge then…I’ve been familiar with it my whole life, but I wouldn’t call myself an expert in that series by any means!

  • IFoundTheDiadem

    One of my overall thoughts on CC was that it was largely a story of Albus finding his place within the family dynamic. “Harry Potter and the Middle Child” if you will. He desperately wants his parents to see him as his own person (as portrait Dumbledore urged Harry to do) and to prove he is not just a spare child… Albus creates such a problematic scenario that his parents drop EVERYTHING (James is at school, but where is little Lilly the whole time the gang is searching for Albus and Scorpius?) to find him. Finally he has a moment in the end when he proves his strength and feels like he is a necessity to the family group, not just the “spare” middle child stuck in between the confident, Gryffindor older brother and the adored baby sister. Maybe this is why calling Cedric the “spare” had such an effect on him?

    • Alison

      Lily is also at school by the point most of the action happens.
      And I agree! It’s totally a story of Albus finding out who he is and where he fits in this world and this extremely famous history. And I do think he feels a bit like a spare; he’s not James, who he thinks Harry thinks is most like him (he’s wrong, of course, we see that Albus is most like Harry in everything from looks to making dumb reckless decisions), and he’s not Lily, the only girl. So the kid goes out, thinking he’s doing what’s right and making an identity for himself, but he’s a liiiiiiiiitle misguided. And as a child who felt many of those same feelings, it endears him entirely to me.

      • IFoundTheDiadem

        Oh right, of course Lily is at school! like you all were saying in a recent discussion, it’s probably easier to keep all the timelines and characters organized when seeing the production and having the visual cues with lighting, etc. I am a middle child, and like you felt many of the same feelings and might have done some “misguided” things based on those feelings in the past. I love how everyone finds parts of themselves reflected in Harry’s stories in their personal interpretations. I’m choosing to focus on this aspect that *did* have an emotional pull for me, rather than the frustrating gaping holes in plot and omission of characters I *did* want to see/inclusion of those I did not need to revisit…

        • Alison

          Definitely easier to keep track with the visuals! After the show, my friend and I were talking about just that. It’s one of the reasons I think Jo kept saying it had to be theatre; written down, it could have been a bit confusing to keep everything straight. The slight differences in visuals and actor portrayal help to keep everything separated.

  • Remember how the Harry Potter series was always about how Death is final and you cannot bring people back, but also how that’s not a bad thing and that we shouldn’t fear death, but accept it?

    Cursed Child forgot about that.

    • Lisa

      Hmm how so? Characters aren’t really brought back, it’s more like they’re alive but in alternative universes. Which is different and doesn’t mess up the theamtic importance of death, IMO.

      • Michael Harle

        In this case I would say it’s because a lot of the characters who *did* die in the original novels get the kind of closure that death doesn’t always bring. Snape is probably the biggest one, and while he’s an “alternate timeline” version of himself, the emotional piece of his appearance is, of course, to suggest that he got to hear everything he couldn’t in life.

        Snape probably gets the biggest reprieve, but in addition, Cedric, James and Lily are all similarly used so that either they or other characters can experience that catharsis that death doesn’t always allow for (at least in the way that the play’s rules enable).

        A big piece of Potter is the idea that our lost loved ones can’t always give us all the answers, advice or words of comfort that we need (in my opinion best shown in the Godric’s Hollow chapter of Hallows). Their presence is a bit more spiritual and less straightforward than that (i.e. portraits, the Resurrection Stone, the Mirror of Erised, etc.). We may not be able to speak to them at length, but we can take strength from them.

        Cursed Child isn’t particularly interested in that idea. I only see shades of this at the end, and even then it’s a bit heavy-handed compared to how Potter has treated the concept in the past (in my opinion).

      • Michael touched on the important thematic elements of death and how it’s used in the Harry Potter world very excellently. I just want to add a thought or two on time travel here. Time travel doesn’t create alternate universes. It creates alternate timelines. There cannot be TWO different timelines at the same exact time. That doesn’t make any sense. Instead a new timeline is created, one that is an alternative to the main timeline. When a new timeline is created, the main timeline ceases to exist. This new timeline is now the ONLY timeline.

        So Harry can quite easily take that limitless time turner and, say, save Fred, Dobby, the Lupins, and anybody else. Death is no longer a finite thing now. We see a timeline where Cedric lives as well as Voldemort himself. That is not a timeline that has no meaning because it is an alternative. That is a timeline that is THE ONLY timeline. Voldemort truly did survive and so did Cedric.

        • Lisa

          Ok thanks for explaining. Considering the fact that all my favorite characters are dead I cannot be too upset at the possibility that someone could bring them back to life 😛

          But yeah, if I’m objective for a minute I can understand why that would weaken the “death is final” theme. However, I think it’s made clear in the play that even if you have a powerful time turner and can theoretically go back in time and fix one thing, the risk is that five other things get broken. Albus managed to delete his own existence after all. So I guess that’s one way of saying that you cannot change the past and that rescuing someone who is supposed to be dead can have terrible consequence because then you’re essentially fighting fate, if that makes sense.

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    Has anyone seen the book at a library? I had been wondering where they would place it. In our library they have only one volume yet, but ordered two more, which are sorted with the english books for children and young adults. I thought because it is a play, the german translation could be put on the shelves for nonfiction books, right beside the biographies about Jo. But the staff has decided to just put it where her other books are, and roll with it.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      In my library it is still placed in a section for new releases instead of the general collection, though it hasn’t actually been on the shelf much yet since it is still being checked out regularly. My friend who volunteers there said that they will eventually move one copy to the childrens section and another to the adult fantasy, since they have a collection of all the HP books in both those sections. So pretty much the same as yours. They do have a section dedicated to novelized plays though, so I’m sort of surprised it won’t be placed with those.

      • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

        seems like they went for convenience and not for accuracy regarding the type of text. Our library has a cardboard-figure of worm-hair Harry from the german cover on his broom hovering over the shelf where the books are, so if you’re looking for Potter, you’ll find him.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    I had some thoughts over the past week that I thought might be worth sharing, for anyone willing to bear with me…
    So the weekend this episode was released proved to be a lovely confluence of events that led to a perfectly Potter filled few days for me. To begin with, it being Sept 1st meant the obligatory Harry Potter weekend on Freeform. I am a bartender and one of my co-workers is also a fan so, needless to say, we had the movies playing at the bar all weekend long. This is an excellent way to identify the Potterheads among our customers, which is always a treat. On top of that, we had Dragon-Con going on, at which the HP fandom had a strong showing (shout out for the amazing CC Hermione cosplayer btw!). So between work and my forays to the con in full Ravenclaw robes, there were ample opportunities to discuss all things Potter, but mainly CC, as expected. I have to say, I was SO impressed with how engaging, thoughtful, and in depth the conversations I took part in were. Like it, love it, or hate it, no one was taking it lightly. I hope the hosts take heart in my own testament that, like Alohomora, the fandom is having the kind of discussions that we find so valueable. Very few people I met were basing their thoughts on merely “surface” reasoning, so I think y’all, especially Alison, would be proud.

    By the end of the weekend, I realized there was something beautifully cathartic in the whole experience. My opinions of CC remain largely unchanged, but my attitude towards it has been altered. It has been really difficult being a fan and not loving CC. Even my least favorite of the books I still love, but I can’t say that about CC and it’s been a struggle coming to terms with it. However, I came to some important realizations through the course of all the conversations I had. For those of us who haven’t seen the play, and are dissapointed in the script, there is this feeling of being on the outside, looking in. When confronted with those who have seen it and love it, we are left asking ourselves “so…what am I missing here?”. It was nice to come across so many others that felt the same way, and the truth is, we are missing something. All of the nuance that Alison describes, how characters are actually portrayed, etc., all that is lost on us. This is most definitively a case pf not being able to fully understand something we haven’t seen for ourselves. In talking with others though, I found a sense of acceptance in that. I can’t wholeheartedly understand the joy in CC that those like Alison do, just like they can’t entirely separate the experience of what they saw on stage from the experience of reading the script alone. So really, neither side is wrong in our beliefs, they are just colored by two very different ways of experiencing this work and we must all understand that. I can’t begrudge anyone’s enjoyment of it it anymore than they can refute my displeasure. There was definitely a trend among those I’ve talked to- people who were the most enthusiastically in support of the play had actually seen it, while those who were most against it had not. The fault for this divide lies with Jo for allowing the creation of material that isn’t fully accessible, and I still feel she’s done the fandom a disservice in that but the point is, it doesn’t have to be that divisive an issue. From my experiences that weekend, my hopes are raised that it won’t be and isn’t. I no longer feel like anyone is trying to convince me or sway my opinion, and judge me for it; and neither am I. From what I saw, what it boils down to is that more than anything, as a fandom, we are all really just seeking understanding of this new thing and whatever our opinions, still just REALLY want to talk about it. This is the amazing thing, some of us may hate CC, yet we are all still deriving joy and pleasure from talking about it.

    So while I may forever yell NOT CANON!, I still consider myself lucky to be around to experience all of it (well, apart from actually seeing CC, in all likelyhood), as I do in getting to be a part of the generation that grew up with Harry. I feel like now, when I look at the scriptbook on my shelf next to the others, there’s a sentimentality attached to it that wasn’t there before. It has, in a way, earned its place.

    • Anna_

      As someone who has not seen the play but still likes the script anyway I can relate to your experiences but to me it has been the other way around. While I don’t participate much in the fandom, I am a lurker on several sites and it has been quite sad to see how split the fandom is on the issue of CC. I often feel as though there is no place left in the fandom for people who don’t hate the play or think it’s crap. Mugglenet used to be one of my favorite sites but I stopped visiting it when it descended into senseless CC bashing. It not longer represented all the different views fans can have on a HP product and just allowed some of its bitter staff members to completely take over the CC coverage. I’m definitely up for criticizing the play for its flaws and at least Alohomora offers some well thought out criticism. Emotional rants and hating the play for petty reasons (such as a character having blue hair) is just not for me. This is why I think it’s good that at least one host on the show can defend the play because it’s no fun when things turn into a hate fest rather than a serious discussion. Fans should understand things together through discussing them but people who agree with you all the time are not going to broaden your horizons in any way. It would just be negativity feeding off more negativity.

      I don’t love CC nor do I hate it. Like with the rest of the books, there are parts in there that I enjoy and parts I don’t. But the fun of fiction is exactly that it’s not facts. People can always revel in the things they like (even in a bad story) and ignore their least favorite parts. I find many things in CC to be silly but I think that’s fine. The series is over now and Harry has won his great battle. Some silliness is okay because it doesn’t take anything away from the seven books (at least for me). This is why I feel like the hatred towards this play has sometimes reached irrational levels and there is widespread “surface reasoning” as you call it. Discussing its flaws is one thing yet so many people seem to have knee-jerk reactions to things they dislike. Even if no agreement can be reached regarding the play’s quality or level of enjoyment, we should all keep an open mind and not let CC or anything else JKR might produce in the future polarize us to such a degree as we are now.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        I want to assure you, you’re definitely not alone. People’s feelings on CC definitely run the gamut. I have come across plenty of people who enjoy it as is, without having seen the play, though unfortunately if I had to judge based on my observations alone, it is a minority opinion. But that’s just my own experience, so I could be wrong. Just know that you aren’t the only one in your camp.

        Something as big as CC was bound to illicit very strong emotional reactions, especially at first. I myself considered going all Farenheit 451 and lighting the sucker up. Happily, I’m no longer in that dark of a place about it, and that is due to simply talking about it with many people, both those who agree and disagree with me. I think right now we are still in a stage where people have a lot of feelings to get off their chest, particularly those who don’t view the script favorably and that is what accounts for all the negativity online. I think over time, and I’m already seeing it happen, the rants will dissipate, and be replaced with more healthy, well-rounded discussion. That is certainly what I’ve experienced in actually talking to people in person versus browsing various comment sections.

        One thought that has been voiced by many I’ve talked to, is that if Jo hadn’t declared it canon, they would be able to enjoy it significantly more. And this comes from people all over the spectrum from love to hate. So I think a lot of the negativity comes from how seriously individuals feel about preserving canon. So it is easier for some to just let the silly stuff slide than it is for others. For instance, to me it is a big deal but my co-worker couldn’t really care less, she wants every Potter story she can get, so for her some of my own complaints may seem petty. In her own words though “I like it, but then again I also love fan-fic”. I love to analyze the canon, something she isn’t really into and strikes her as over-thinking things. Never the less, we are both huge fans, just in different ways and it doesn’t deter us from being fans together, if that makes sense. That is something worth remembering within the fandom as a whole- we are all coming at CC from different angles, and that is okay.

      • Alison

        Know that some of us on the MN staff (including myself and Sophie and others) enjoy the play and are trying to write articles from that side as well! So they should be coming. (unfortunately, my time has become much more restrictive because I just started teaching and life has been insane). Sophie and I for sure are working on a few articles about things we loved and why!

    • Alison

      This was beautiful, and I think really sums up so many of the same trends I’m seeing. I think it’s especially true about the divide between those who have and haven’t seen it, and I think that is the most tragic thing about the play. I am so hoping that they broadcast it at some point, because I just want everyone to see it and have the full experience!

  • RavenClare

    Some thoughts/research on time-turners…

    I’ve been reading the newly released “Hogwarts School Books” alongside my re-read of Cursed Child to keep up with Alohomora, and spotted the time-turner information in “Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide”.

    Because Pottermore is so difficult to navigate these days, in brief: a Professor Saul Croaker has spent his entire career in the Department of Mysteries studying time magic, and has concluded that five hours is the maximum period that can be relived without the possibility of serious harm to the traveller or time itself. The tale of Eloise Mintumble is related: she travelled back to 1402 in 1899 for five days, and the effects were significant, including her own death shortly after returning. More on that later.

    Much like Moaning Myrtle’s name (as discussed in the episode), Scorpius’s reference to Professor Croaker’s law in Act 2 feels like a fan-fiction nod to show the writer has read Pottermore…

    The flip side of this, however, is that JKR did think about the limitations on time-turners (no more than five hours to avoid serious harm to the traveller or time itself) and the possibility of time actually changing (twenty five people were un-born after Madam Mintumble’s journey into the distant past) before Cursed Child. Whether this was really before or simultaneous to the script-writing / concept is up for debate, but we do know “new Pottermore content” comes from the brain of JKR.

    We assume based on Prisoner that time doesn’t actually change – that meddling with time has already happened in the past before someone thinks about changing it – but Hermione never travels back for more than a few hours at a time, and it only takes three to save Buckbeak and Sirius. This Pottermore information does back up the possibility of major consequences after meddling with time; so to that extent, Cursed Child fits with the broader world of JKR’s written output. (Can you tell I’m avoiding the word “canon”?!)…

    The flaw is that Madam Mintumble ages five hundred years in her return to the present in this anecdote, and was “irreparably damaged”. Did Scorpius and Albus age (several times)? Did everyone who went back to Godric’s Hollow age by 40(ish) years?! This is where the fan fiction writer who appears to have done his Pottermore homework trips up…

  • Alison

    It’s a bit color distorted; it’s almost more of a brassy brown. Again, I think it’s just trying to make sure the visuals (like the cute House mascots in the letters!!) are clear for the entire audience, even us who are very far away from the stage!

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Good to know. I do really like these adaptations of the house banners, the animals within the letters are perfect for the stage. They are also a nice break from the movie versions. I wouldn’t mind having merch with these on them.

      • Alison

        I love the new designs so much; I got so excited when I first saw them. They’re so beautiful and different from the films, and the mascots in the letters was one of my favorite things! Definitely spent a lot at the merch table in between parts :)

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          I’m sure! The little house pins are so lovely, I want them all.

  • DeadAsADumbledoreNail

    Are we really to believe that the two Time Turners in The Cursed Child are the only two left in the world? Surely there exist other Turners in the world under the care and supervision of foreign wizarding governments. Do they expect us to believe that MACUSA would really allow Britain to be the only wizarding center capable of traveling through time? There has to have been other scholars studying time in other countries. What if Delphi had gone to another country whose entire stock of Time Turners hasn’t been destroyed? Do Time Turners look different in other countries? Do American Wizards drive enchanted Delorians or even phonebooths?

    • Lisa

      Well, it’s not so much an issue of travelling to other countries. I’m sure they still had time turners, but the problem is that she needed to go back in time over twenty years and most time turners work only for a couple of hours. My understanding was that these two time turners were special and unique so it isn’t likely that they could be found anywhere else. Besides, she ended up in prison so we don’t know what she would have done if plan A didn’t work out.

      • DeadAsADumbledoreNail

        Right, but I just think it’s weird that Britain is the only country with Time Turners? I would think that the International Confederation of Wizards (the magical UN) would have some STRICT rules about the use of time travel. This seems like a huge breech that would have repercussions for wizarding Britain. Would the British Ministry face sanctions if this incident was ever made public? Would Hermione be in trouble as Minister? I wonder if there’s a way to alert wizards when timelines have changed, a warning siren or something along those lines. If they can monitor other kinds of magic, why not time magic?

  • MartinMiggs

    Even if we accept the ridiculous notion that Cedric could ever become a death eater, how does him being evil effect the Elder Wand story? Draco disarms Dumbledore and becomes the master. Snape kills Dumbledore and Voldemort kills Snape thinking he was the master. Harry steals Draco’s wand to become the true master. Why would Snape still be alive in the alternate universe? Why would Voldemort be able to kill Harry with the Elder Wand simply because Nagini is alive? The curse should’ve destroyed his body once again.

    • Lisa

      It’s a matter of the butterfly effect, I think. It isn’t like the whole story is unchanged except for the small detail that Cedric is now evil. It’s more like we’re supposed to assume that one little change also caused other, bigger changes. I’ve wondered about the Elder Wand plot as well and why it would be affected by Cedric’s being a Death Eater. The only explanation I can come up with is that one cannot go back in time and only change one single thing while leaving everything else unaffected. Remember that Hermione’s life (and Ron’s) changed completely because of just one encounter with Albus and Scorpius disguised as Durmstrang boys. Who knows– maybe Cedric knew someone who knew someone who made Voldemort a wand so he never had to go look for the EW in the first place. Or maybe Ollivander died before he could tell Voldemort about the Hallows. I agree with you that the whole thing is a bit far fetched, though.

  • ILoveLunaLoveGood

    I have no problem if the ship was to put Scorpius and Albus together, and before reading it I had heard clues about it. But Scorpius is clearly into Rose… from the begining he’s swooning over her and he savours every moment & interaction with her (much like Ginny probably did with Harry).
    Albus is definitely broodier so we cant rule it out on his part although there are hints that he is interested in Delphie… ? so where is it coming from? Wishful thinking? 2 guys bromancing/guy loving each other. Scrubs did this years ago. It happens. Even when Harry was seperated from Ron there were elements of his lonlieness and his disinterest in Hermione (im sure there is slash fanfiction out there but generally we dont argue that Harry and Ron “complete each other”).

    The conversation about it is important but like why not mention Scorpius’ interest in Rose???