epi-215

Episode 215: Cursed Child as Canon – #BreakTheCurse

Wands at the ready! This episode of Alohomora! is a controversial one. Hosts Alison, Kat, Michael, and guest host Ana engage in an intense (but always friendly) debate over the canonicity of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Add your thoughts to the discussion and help us break the curse!

On Episode 215 we discuss…

→ The curse moves to NYC
→ Can canon be bias-free?
→ Rowling’s fingerprints
→ Entitlement or constructive criticism?
→ Canonizing Non-Canonicity
→ Choose Your Own 19 Years Later
→ “Let’s make a baby! I love you, Bellatrix!”
→ What we miss from the missing characters
→ What’s your canon?
→ Check out Rowling’s thoughts on Cursed Child!

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!

Listen Now: | Download


RECAP: EPISODE 214

On this recap we discuss…

→ Harry, Riddle and moral grayness
→ Relevance and timelessness
→ Rowling’s responsibility
→ Reading Potter with the next generation

Listen Now: | Download

  • FantasticFlobberworm

    First off, I think my definition of canon is that the work is written or approved by (in the case of Harry Potter) Jo and that it doesn’t contradict the canon of the original seven books (there might be a case to be made that the books at some point contradict themselves, and what would then be canon, but that’s a discussion for another day).

    Personally I’m on team Kat in that I don’t consider CC canon at all. I enjoyed the story when I fist read it (although that might have been more because of the hype and excitement over a new story) but the more I’ve been thinking and talking about it the less I like it.

    The thing that made me decide CC wasn’t canon was the time traveling. The time traveling in CC is too different from the time traveling in Prisoner. Yes, I know they say that it’s another kind of time turner but that doesn’t change anything for me. It’s not just that you can go further back with it, but the concept of time lines and time traveling is completely different. In Prisoner the time line is fixed in some kind of circle, the things they go back in time to do has already happened because they will go back to do them. While the time line in CC is Back to the Future-style flexible, anything can be changed in any way. I feel like the time line can’t be both fixed and flexible at the same time in the same story, for me these two kinds of time traveling does not belong to the same story, universe and canon, hence CC is not canon to me.

    Also, great job Anna, it’s so nice to hear other swedish alohomora listeners!

    • Kat

      OH RIGHT – I hadn’t even thought out the total change in how time traveling works. Ugh! Another X in the NO column for this host, haha.

    • DisKid

      I have a feeling that in the Potter world time is both flexible and not flexible when it comes to time turners. Before cursed child came out, JK Rowling wrote on Pottermore how the reason why time turners were made to not be able to travel back in time too far was due to the fact that this was already experimented and it caused disastrous results. One example was a woman who inadvertently caused several of her descendants to vanish due to traveling back in time erasing them from being born. If time in the series was only non-flexible: they wouldn’t know of this disastrous result because, if time is inflexible, they never would have been born or known in the first place by the woman or the observers of this disastrous result. They would just think she changed nothing.

      I always interpreted time in the Harry Potter series to be, if done responsibly, you basically would be changing nothing. If done irresponsibly, you could be causing catastrophic changes. I know that’s awfully head pounding, but the issue of time travel is head pounding in general lol. Nobody can ever agree on whether or not, if a time machine was built, if you could actually change time, if everything stays the same because you already did it, or if it’s possible both ways.

      For the record: in no way defending time to make CC canon, that’s something I’m very borderline on. Just saying that once JK Rowling released that piece on Pottermore, even before CC, I no longer believed time was fixed in the wizarding world. I think it goes both ways pending on whether or not you’re responsible with it.

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        That’s a great point, DisKid! I had forgotten about that piece on Pottermore. I just re-read it and it actually wasn’t her descendants who were “unborn,” it was the descendants of those she interacted with. Though, with that type of time travel, only she should have noticed the 25 people who no longer existed. It doesn’t make sense that everyone else remembered them too. I think, like math, JKR is not very good at theoretical time travel mechanics.

        • Prisoner of Azkaban uses Time Travel in an incredible way that we never see in other stories. The timeline is fixed and everything that happens in the past always results in the present. That cannot be changed. She should have never written anything further to contradict this. Now the door is wide open for the argument that Harry could have just gone back in time and saved his parents.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Though, as SnapesManyButtons points out above, Hermione says, “Professor McGonagall told me what awful things have happened when wizards have meddled with time… Loads of them ended up killing their past or future selves by mistake!” which does not fit into the fixed timeline theory. It’s all a mess and I kind of wish JKR had never touched time travel…even though Prizoner is one of my favorite books.

      • Thunderdor

        So you’re saying time is a big bal of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff?

        • DisKid

          Pretty much! Lol. Love that.

        • travellinginabluebox

          Thank you, fellow Whovian :-)

      • SnapesManyButtons

        It’s not just on Pottermore, the text in Prisoner clearly shows that the timelines don’t always align so neatly. When Harry suggests it would be okay to let themselves and Hagrid see their time travelling counterparts, Hermione tells him, “Professor McGonagall told me what awful things have happened when wizards have meddled with time… Loads of them ended up killing their past or future selves by mistake!” If the time lines were always fixed when time travelling, there would be no need to be so careful who got time-turners or to be careful what you did while using one. I think it is fully possible in the book canon to mess up time lines to result in changes similar to those shown in Cursed Child.

        • DisKid

          Very good point! I had forgotten about that line til you mentioned it.

    • Horned Badger

      This is a great point! In my own definition of Cannon I didn’t really account for contradictions… making me rethink my whole game plan because I think I tend to agree with you. That said, JKR is a house built on contradictions sometimes, especially when it comes to anything with numbers lol: population, size, money, math, and time ! And agreed that Anna was an amazing guest host!

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    Ha, thanks for thinking of me and for the shoutout on the recap, Kat. That part is still one of my favorite funny scenes, gets me everytime. Also, kudos to everyone at Mugglenet for continuing to seek out and represent all manner of opinions and insights within the fandom.

    Now, *deep breath* onto the full episode…

  • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

    Thanks for the shoutout, Kat! I’m glad you liked my alternate time line theory. (And yes, Ana, Theodore Nott inventing the new Time Turner is mentioned in CC. You don’t need to be a super fan to know it.) That’s the only way I can even partially accept it as bottom tier canon. Every time the TT was used, it created an alternate timeline, so even though they think they’ve gone back to the original timeline in the end, they haven’t. The changes may not be immediately noticeable, but the Butterfly Effect shows how even tiny changes can have larger consequences in the future. So, for me, CC is Alternate Timeline/Universe content and the characters represented in it are not the same characters from the novels.

    I want to be in the “no, it’s absolutely not canon” camp. That’s where my heart is. But y’all raised an interesting point regarding Jo calling it canon, therefore she can no longer write anything that contradicts it in the future without rescinding her statement (which I doubt she’d do). UGH. I hate that I agree with you there. Question: Do any of you think Jo regrets stating that CC is canon? Maybe she doesn’t now, but I get the feeling she may in the future. She’s limited herself dramatically in what she can do with the future of those characters by saying that. I wish she’d never answered that question.

    I only wish you’d had time to address the hierarchy/tiering of canon, ie. not all canon has an equal standing when there are so many pieces of extended universe to consider. I don’t think anyone would argue that Lego Movie canon trumps novel canon, for example. But thank you for showing that canon is an individual decision for fans to make. There are too many sources, too many contradictions, too many interpretations, and too many nuances for there to be “one canon to rule them all.”

    • Heather Bentley

      That’s amazing. Thank you for the “Alternate time line theory”. I can fully accept CC as Canon if it’s something like on the show The Flash where Flashpoint is created and there’s another timeline.

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        Flash is exactly where my head was going when forming that theory :) Such a good show!!

  • MartinMiggs

    Major problems I have with considering CC as canon:
    DH epilogue stating “All was well” (except Voldemort having a lunatic daughter and several people dying RIP Craig)
    You can’t bring back the dead (except for when you need a quick fix for your story to work)
    Way too many characters being brought back just for nostalgia purposes. Makes the story too fan fictiony

  • DisKid

    I applaud this discussion! It was very fair and got me thinking. When this discussion started, I gave a big fat “no way!” to CC being canon. It seemed way too off for me and just bothered me in general to possibly use it as canon. I felt like they may as well have named this: Harry Potter and the Twilight Zone because that’s what CC seemed like.

    However, listening to your discussion really got me thinking as to whether or not I should consider this to be canon. My definition of canon is if the author either wrote it or accepts it; then it is canon. Technically, by this definition, it seems like I *should* accept this story as canon even if I do think the story seems off from the world that has been created thus far. Even if JK Rowling’s hand had written the entire script herself, I would still feel this play is off and it wouldn’t feel canon to me even though that would be canon right on point.

    I don’t disagree that it’s possible she may have been pressured due to legalities, as
    she did sign away some of her rights and can’t always stop this. But
    she has never struck me as the type of person who wouldn’t flat out say that she doesn’t accept this as canon she just didn’t have control over it’s release. She seems too protective over her world, which I can understand given how much I know it beat in her mind when she first thought of it on her train ride. When that happens, what you’ve created is very dear to your heart. She may have been forced to give up having complete control over her world, but she technically doesn’t have to agree with every new thing somebody can legally create involving it.

    So congratulations hosts, you got me to think more about whether or not I should consider this story to be canon. However, don’t throw an incredibly big party, because now I’m more so in the middle. It feels like I should, by my standards, accept this as canon as JK Rowling says it is. But I still feel like there’s too many issues with CC, not just that it feels off, but actual plot line issues that I don’t really believe JK Rowling would have written had she written this herself. Not unless she plans on doing a lot of explaining. The woman is a genius; I have no doubt there are ways she can think of to explain these plot issues that can be accepted, but until I hear them, I’m probably going to remain borderline on accepting this as canon.

  • Horned Badger

    Guest Host Anna, hit the nail on the head for me! My subjective take on canon is that it’s 100% up to the original creator(s) of the world. As much as disliked the story and thought it was a weird take on the characters we know and love, if JKR says it’s canon then I can’t argue with that… She signed off on the story, she passes judgement on canon whether or not she wrote it.

    That said, what there’s a caveat for what Alison said about George Lucas abdicating control over Star Wars cannon.

  • Lisa

    I’m definitely glad that the subject of bias came up because that really is what this whole debate boils down too, IMO. It’s not a concidence that people who hate CC are also the ones who don’t see it as canon. It’s natural to look for reasons to disregard something you don’t like but I don’t think those reasons would have come up at all if people loved with the story. I’m not saying this only applies to one side of course, the pro CC side can be biased too. People just have to admit that their feelings about the play influence whether they think is canon or not. And please, it’s not about CC contradicting previous canon. Many times the so called plot holes people point out have actually been explained. The Time Turner for example: we’re told that the Time Turner used in CC was created by a Death Eater so therefore it was different than the Ministry approved time turners. Sure, it’s a plot device and maybe a lame explanation but not a contradiction in itself. The only thing I can see as problematic is the different versions of the epilogue. But even then I would just go with the one in the book and problem solved. The epilogue is less than 10% of the story of CC.

    • MartinMiggs

      there are plenty of people who enjoyed it but don’t consider it canon

      • Lisa

        Not that many according to the poll. Most people are in the “disliked it, not canon” camp.

        • MartinMiggs

          almost a quarter of people enjoyed it but don’t consider it canon. Its not as simple to say the people who think its not canon only think that way because they hated the book/play

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          I agree with the point that bias certainly plays a role, but I’m not sure that this poll is a large enough sample size to make any broad generalizations. Also, the poll itself doesn’t delve deeply enough to separate association from causation. I think there are still many people out there for whom their reasons for disliking it are entirely different from their reasons for not considering it canon. What I find more telling in this poll, is that among the Loved it camp, the split is nearly equal in terms of canon vs non-canon. But again, I don’t think this is a large enough sample to say that this is an indicator of where the fandom as a whole sits.

          • travellinginabluebox

            Absolutely agree! And I definitely think that one major factor is, if people have seen the play AND in which order, if they have seen the play first or read the script first.
            There is too many factors to break it down in a simple poll like that.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Oo yeah, good point! I agree that’s a factor as well. I would definitely enjoy reading the script more if I had the frame of reference from seeing the play. I also had trouble choosing which to pick because while I don’t LOVE CC, I don’t entirely dislike it either. So there’s that too. Just for curiosity’s sake, I’m glad Kat posted the poll, but as you say, too many factors involved to glean much from it.

          • travellinginabluebox

            I mean for a quick poll it was alright, but to come to a definitive and well-researched result, one would have to factor all these outside factors in. Maybe even the location where the people are from, as people from Britain might see it differently than e.g. Americans. Someone please write their thesis on this, I am getting really intrigued now 😀

  • MyNameIsElvendork

    Have any of you read the Cormoran Strike novels? They are these delicious who dun it books that Jo wrote and have the same feeling as the HP books, albeit more mature and gruesome. You can tell it’s her through description, dialogue, scaffolding, etc.

    While reading her screenplay and story sanctioned script, I didn’t get the same feeling from them even though I enjoyed both. I was strongly in the “Kat Korner” until this discussion. My big issue was “she didn’t write CC” in addition to the lack of scaffolding. However, after listening to this fabulous episode, I am more willing to think, “she sanctioned it, the end.” I’m more inclined to think that the medium doesn’t fit her style of setup and story arch. From the Scooby Do plot to the timey wimey contradiction of PoA, it’s the story she approved. Thanks for a great show.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      You’ve hit on something here. Considering CC in regard to her other non-Potter works is actually a totally valid approach to discussing canon. Consider these definitions, from the Oxford dictionary:

      2.1 The works of a particular author or artist that are recognized as genuine.

      2.2 The list of works considered to be permanently established as being of the highest quality

      So, we can talk about canon in terms of what constitutes an author’s complete body of work, i.e the Rowling canon. Even though her other novels are written under a pseudonym, we know that they are hers, not only because she and her editors have confirmed this, but also in that they all share certain hallmarks of her writing, as you described. In their authenticity and shared novel format, they are works that can be studied as representative of her writing as a whole. CC on the other hand, can be argued as not representative of the rest of the canon, in that it is of course, a play, and in that sense a departure from her typical writing style (particularly since she has no other stageplays to her name) It is a sort of apples to oranges situation. Furthermore, given that she was not the playwrite herself, there is a lack in authenticity. We may see some of her fingerprints on it, but without definitive knowledge as to the extent of her contributions, we don’t know whether those fingerprints are actually hers, or merely good copycatting on Jack Thorne’s part. Given this, one could rightly consider CC to be outside of the Rowling canon as a whole, regardless of her approval.

      As the hosts discussed, how many of those hallmarks of Jo’s writing that we see in CC is debatable. I, like you, find them lacking, though Alison and others would argue otherwise. Taking that second definition in tandem with the first then, for those who don’t find it to be very representative of Rowling’s writing, or to have those particular hallmarks, it may be considered of lesser quality compared to her other works. That, coupled with the fact that many don’t even find it to be a particularly well-written story in itself, forms a basis of argument for it not being established as among Jo’s best work, so is again, not necessarily part of the Rowling Canon, or even of Potter canon. So while her name may be on it, if her works were to be a topic of scholarly study, CC may very well be left out. She wouldn’t be the first author to have a piece of work that is considered non-canonical in this regard.

      Just to clarify, these are all issues that boil down to opinion really, but with enough critical analysis in the academic realm, a general consensus might eventually be formed. It is entirely possible that decades from now, Potter scholars might declare CC to indeed be a part of the Rowling Canon, and the Potter canon, or one but not the other, or neither. If it is ever even a matter taken that seriously outside of the fandom. Point is, the fact that you don’t get the same feeling in reading CC as you do with her other novels, does matter.

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        *applause*
        Very well said. On an episode of Mugglenet Academia, several scholars came to the conclusion that it was not canon for the reasons you mentioned. Aren’t there colleges that teach courses on Potter? I get the feeling we may get that scholarly study sooner rather than later, but you’re right; it could be decades or never. So in the meantime, our feelings (or headcanons as it were) absolutely matter.

        You mentioned she wouldn’t be the first author to have a piece of work that is considered non-canonical in this regard. Can you think of some examples? Comps help me hone in on my own feelings.

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          Just to clarify, by feelings, I definitely don’t mean headcanons. I more mean the expectations that come with picking up any piece of literature in terms of the canon it is a part of. So elements of structure, style, themes, etc that tend to be consistent within the canon. In that sense, the literature “feels” similar.

          Some examples- Shakespeare, to which there are many complexities. First- works to which he has been found to have contributed, but are not considered part of Shakespeare canon. Second- Works that were at first attributed to him because of certain hallmarks of his writing, but then found to not be his at all, so removed from canon. Third- Works in which evidence of his writing can be found, but not concretely proven, so are considered outside of the canon

          Virginia Woolf’s Flush is another. It attained popularity but among critics was not considered worthy of her body of work as a whole. As far as I know, modern scholars have made arguements against that, so it’s debatable, which speaks to the inherent problems with declaring canon, and that it is subject to change.

          An odd one, Maurice Leblanc. His Lupin novels are what he is best known for as they achieved success on par with the Sherlock Holmes books, however, he himself considered them to be of lesser value than his other literary works. It has been argued that we might consider him to have two separate canons, the Lupin works, and then the rest of body of literature, from which the Lupin stories are something of a departure, or vice versa.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Thank you for clarifying what you meant by feelings. I apologize for misinterpreting your words. And I agree that CC did not feel similar to me at all.

            And thank you very much for the examples!! They are most helpful.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            No worries, I realized I worded it very ambiguously.

            Glad those examples help, because I’m positive there are some better ones out there, but my college lit days were years ago and my memory is failing me…

            Oh and you mentioned classes that teach Potter- yes they definitely exist, as does a fair amount of literature on Potter, but I wouldn’t say it is studied to the same degree as say, Hemingway. But perhaps someday. I definitely wasn’t lucky enough to get to study it in school :(

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            I do hope it is studied to a higher degree in the future. I certainly believe such study is well deserved.

            I’m too old to have studied it in school (sigh), but my mom, who is a middle school English teacher, began using it in her classes as soon as it came out in the US. She says it goes in and out of fashion with kids these days, but she always keeps the series in her classroom for students to read.

          • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

            from my experience, children today start reading Potter either early, or not at all. Reading the books for the first time at age eleven or older is more rare than having read all of them before age ten.

          • travellinginabluebox

            Sad to hear it going out of fashion… :-(

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Fear not. There’s a whole generation of Potterheads that will be having children soon and you KNOW their kids will be raised on it :) And this is just what my mom has seen at her school. I also know some parents who helped create Harry Potter parties at their kids’ schools within the past 6 months, so it varies. I always see kids in robes at the WWoHP theme park, midnight book releases and movie releases. HP won’t be disappearing any time soon :)

          • travellinginabluebox

            Glad to hear that then. I know, a friend of mine has just started reading the first Harry Potter book (illustrated version) with her kids and she says her kids love it, especially the amazing drawings. Parenting done right, I’d say :-)

      • UmbridgeRage

        So where would this place Fantastic Beasts, assuming the scripts were published? Your argument would suggest not canon since the style of a movie script would not lend itself to her writing style. The problem is we aren’t simply discussing literary canon but also an over all franchise canon or if WB can comfortably ignore CC if they decide they want to tell other Potter stories in the same time period in the future. Should we accept that they can do that or should we now expect that CC is forever set in stone as what happened 19-23 years after DH. If we do accept it, how do we square the contradictions that arise from the story? Does the Potter universe now need to be a multiverse? *thanks for putting that idea in my head Slughorn’s Trophy Wife*

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          Personally, it’s the lack of Jo being the playwrite that gives me the most pause about accepting CC as canon (though there are plenty of other reasons, too). Since she, alone, is writing the Fantastic Beasts screenplays, I accept them wholeheartedly.

          You make an excellent distinction between literary canon and franchise canon. There is so much EU content now between the movies, video games, chocolate frog cards, play, theme parks, etc, that must be considered. That’s where I start to rate them in a hierarchy or cherry pick the content I like that does not contradict something further up my hierarchy.

          The way it was mentioned in the episode, it sounds like WB would be well within their rights to create movies during the CC years that have nothing to do with CC. And as divisive as CC has proven to be, I wouldn’t blame them at all to pretend it never existed. It would be very interesting to see how Jo would react if WB decided to go down that route.

          And, you’re welcome *bows* haha 😀

          • UmbridgeRage

            But Fantastic Beasts is set in the movie universe which is generally considered not-canon by the fan base, or at least lesser canon. Do you accept FB because it doesn’t contradict anything in Book canon? What if it did?

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            I agree that HP movie canon is lesser canon. Though, I don’t mind including bits of it that don’t exist in the novels into my headcanon. But yes, I accept FB because it’s all new material (as opposed to an adaptation of an existing novel) and does not contradict anything in book canon. If it did, I would throw out the bits that contradict and keep the rest unless Jo came up with a good reason for the contradiction.

            (That reminds me, I need to edit my post above to include Pottermore and Twitter as well!)

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            I’d agree with Slughorn’s Trophy Wife on this, I’m hesitant to lump FB together with the HP movies under the “movie canon” umbrella, strictly because the Potter films are an adaptation of the pre-existing story, while FB is a new story, just told in a different format from the original books. Because FB is written by Jo, and if it ultimately proves to align itself well with what is in the books, I think it could be considered canon. The Potter films however, I don’t even think of as any sort of canon- “movie canon” is just a term of convenience so that we all know what we are talking about. They are an adaptation, taken from a canon, but do not makeup a canon on their own, as they wouldn’t exist without what is already established as canon…if that makes sense.

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          Exactly, this is where things get tricky. And “canon” in any sense, is never set in stone, but remains flexible. And franchise authority over canon versus creator authority is another level of complexity.

          In terms of Fantastic Beasts, screenwriting is a departure from Rowling’s works, however, eventually she will have written 5 of them (assuming she continues to write the next 4 movies herself). So perhaps in the future we could see them as a typical of her writing, and we may see her as both a novelist and a screenwriter. If FB as a whole ends up bombing, then we may very well see it as not being held up among her literary achievements and ignored in terms of The Rowling Canon, but the debate would remain as to where it fits in Potter canon. Personally, I find more of evidence of the hallmarks of her writing in FB than I do in CC, so would be more inclined to include it within her canon. The thing is, despite having her name on it, Rowling wasn’t the playwright, and still isn’t a playwright. So despite CC success in the theatre world, I personally wouldn’t consider a part of the her canon as a whole. I think that can translate to where we consider it in Potter canon as well, in that if we don’t find it to be authentically Rowling, or of comparable quality to the Potter books, then declaring it non-canonical would be valid. The problem here really, is just differences in opinion in whether it does or does not meet those standards.

          • UmbridgeRage

            Well, I’m happy with any argument that means we can ignore CC as canon and you’ve made a good one. We may need to have this discussion again if Jo decides to write about after this period and includes events from CC into the narrative but I don’t really think that going to happen. Thanks for the considered reply.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Yeah, I only see this as getting more complicated with the more she writes. I would agree that it probably isn’t likely she will revisit CC in further writing, as she made it clear that it is meant to be a play, so to do anything with it outside of theatre context in the future would be somewhat contradictory to that. I’ll be interested to see if her Pottermore writings start to reflect CC at all, though, which may very well happen.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            I actually find it quite telling that her Pottermore writings have not begun to reflect CC already. If she’s so certain of it’s canonicity, why is she avoiding the topic?

    • Silverdoe25

      I so agree with your take on the Comoron Strike series. As much as I love the wizarding world, I just adore JK Rowling as an author, period. Even The Casual Vacancy, although a difficult read, had me in tears at the end.

    • Kat

      Kat Korner – I like it. Is that a thing? My Slytherclaw ego enjoys that quite a bit, either way.

      • UmbridgeRage

        If it wasn’t a thing then it is now. Quite a few of us have found ourselves in the Kat Korner

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          I’ll happily claim being in the Kat-Korner too.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Me four! =^..^=

      • MyNameIsElvendork

        So glad that y’all enjoy my cheesy style!

      • travellinginabluebox

        As you would 😛

  • MyNameIsElvendork

    Kat, due to your Logan shout out on the Trolley Witch discussion, I watched it today. It was stellar! Great suggestion.

    • Kat

      OH GOOD. I am so glad you liked it!

      • UmbridgeRage

        Best movie of the year so far. Probably will be at the end too even with a Star Wars movie coming. (and I do love me some Star Wars)

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          Logan was very good but I’m in love with Beauty and the Beast right now. So much nostalgia + so many Potteresque moments = happy tears in my eyes!

          • It’s hard for me to decide which is better, but honestly Logan has many slow moments and I was finding myself falling asleep during a second viewing. Beauty and the Beast, however, was wonderful, alive at every moment, and full of those magical, wonderful songs from nearly 30 years ago!

            I personally hope that the next Planet of the Apes film is better, but right now I also am in love with Beauty and the Beast.

  • UmbridgeRage

    O.K, I’ll admit right off the bat that I haven’t read the script. Was excited for the play for about half a sec before I realized that my chances of seeing it anytime soon (if at all) were very limited as plane ticket to either London or New York from Melbourne is not a tiny expense. I also wasn’t particularly excited for the release of the script because I knew it would be nothing like reading a novel and not how I wanted to experience “the 8th Harry Potter story”. I kinda figured I’d pick it up at some point but I was in no rush. Then the spoilers started filtering through and I was glad I didn’t spend my hard earned on it and at this stage I think I pretty much know everything that happens.

    My biggest problem by far is Delphi. It’s not that I think Voldemort was devoid of physical needs. I assume he still needed to eat and drink and I’m sure he would have loved the power of having one of his followers wives whenever he felt like it. It’s that I can’t wrap my head around the fact that Voldemort would have let either Bella or an unborn Delphi live if he even suspected for a moment that she was his child. Due to the timing of her supposed pregnancy Voldemort must have known about it. He was living at Malfoy Manor too. It’s almost impossible to lie to the Dark Lord and I doubt Bellatrix would even dare try, so the idea that he was told it was Roldolphus’ kid and accepted it is highly unlikely in my view. Voldemort is a narcissist who believes he is the greatest wizard who ever lived. I don’t think it’s too much to assume he would consider any child from his loins would be a powerful witch/wizard especially combined with the pure-blood of the Black family. He would fear such a child. He would eliminate such a child even if he had to kill Bella to do it. Snape was (at the time) his best and most loyal servent and he had zero problems killing him when he stood in his way. Having Delphi be the child of LV screams of a desperate attempt to tie Voldemort back into this story and is the most fan-fictiony thing I’ve ever heard.

    It’s for this reason that, while I do accept CC as canon since J.K said it was (much like I accept the SW prequels no matter how much I dislike them), it will never be part of my headcanon and I can happily never read it despite my love of Potter.

    • UmbridgeRage

      Sorry, meant to add that I also find it highly unlikely that Bella would have kept secret the fact that she was carrying LV’s child. She clearly wishes to be seen as his most devoted and beloved follower. Any chance she could have demonstrated to the other Death Eaters how important she really was would have been gold for her.

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        Those are very good points! I’ve had a similar thought about Voldemort viewing such a child as a threat, but I hadn’t thought of how proud Bella would be and how impossible it would be for her to keep such information to herself…or to hide it from Voldemort. I guess if she’d had ‘relations’ with both men within the span of her fertile period, she might not know whose it was and could honestly believe that Rodolphus was the father. Then she wouldn’t have to lie (but of course she would gleefully wonder). But I could also see Voldemort finding Bella getting knocked up during such an important time very inconvenient. Then again, he does want to keep those pure-bloods coming. UGH. I hate it all. It will never be part of my headcanon either. Cursed Child takes place on Earth 2 as far as I’m concerned. (Any Flash fans out there??) 😉

        • UmbridgeRage

          Yes, I’m sure it takes place on Earth 2. Maybe Harry could warn Harrison that their Flash is really Zoom :-)

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Haha! Yes! *fist bump*

          • UmbridgeRage

            Re-reading the comments and I would like to address the “either of them could have been the father” fix. If given the choice I don’t think Bella would choose to believe it was Roldophus’ child. I don’t think she ever loved him and married him because she was expected, and likely wanted to, marry a “true” pureblood. Isn’t he as old as Voldemort since he appears in Slughorn’s memory. They clearly didn’t meet and fall in love at school like so many other HP couples. I imagine them having like an arranged marriage (not that people in such marriages can’t love each other). From what we know of Roldophus it seems like he would be just as proud that his wife not only “satisfied” the Dark Lord but would jump for joy at the idea that she was carry his child. They were both Coco for Coco-Puffs over Voldemort.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            I like that argument very much. Head-non-canon accepted! And LOL @ Coco for Coco-Puffs XD

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          Full disclosure, I only got the Flash reference because of watching 3 episodes specifically for the fact that Tom Felton was brought on.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Haha! That’s as good a reason as any to watch it 😉 Though I really love the entire series and Cisco makes many Potter references early on in the show. He’s actually my favorite character. Such a geek! 😀

  • SnapesManyButtons

    I’ve decided to agree with a post that I saw on tumblr that suggested that there are different types of canon. Book canon, movie canon and now play canon (and Pottermore canon, which I consider to be a type of book canon.). These are all different mediums that require different approaches to the material. Book canon has 7 books to lay out and explain things (and even then things like Dean Thomas’ story got left out.) Movie canon had to try to get across an entire book of material in one movie, so there had to be things left out, or things created to suggest things that the book had more time to explore. Had there been no books and the stories told only as movies (as Fantastic Beasts is being done) I think the movies would have been very different because the story would have been designed for that medium. And of course play canon depends on visuals, actors whose faces and voices can be used to impart information, sets and effects that entertain while moving the story along. The story was written to be seen on stage, not read in dry print. Canon is canon whether you decide to accept it or not, but when arguing a point with others, you can make clear what your parameters are. When discussing points from the book would seem logical to discount movie and play canon. But if discussing a character, it might seem reasonable to pull from all types of canon in your analysis.

    I think it is also fair to decide if Rowlings comments on twitter or in interviews can be taken as canon. Personally, I think there is a difference between questions like “what does Snape smell like,” and serious things she would surely know like, “was Harry a true Horcrux.” On some she may just come up with an answer for fun, or on others try to remember what she had in her notes as she was writing, but I do think there are some definitive answers she can give that are not ambiguous or made up, like when she described how a pensieve works and that it does represent a valid unbiased view of the memory. I also think it matters if she is trying to remember an answer on the fly or if she has time to think about it or even look back at her notes before she answers.

    That said, I enjoyed Cursed Child quite a bit. It was funny and fun to read. I consider it canon because Rowling had to approve it and I really hope there’s a miracle of some sort by which I’ll be able to see it in a theater some day.

  • I would like to make the argument that it doesn’t matter whether or not a piece of story telling IS or IS NOT canon. This is because we all read Harry Potter differently. Many of us love book 5 because we see a Harry who is ready to take action while people around him shoot him down. Many other people read book 5 and see an angsty Harry who is angry just because its that “teenage phase.” Which Harry is the cannon Harry?

    Because the Harry Potter story can be interpreted so differently from person to person, it’s not even clear what aspects within the main 7 books are technically canon! Harry names his child after Snape. Is it canon that Snape was a good person after all? We continue to hate Snape as fans, but the established 7 books, the “canon,” tells us otherwise.

    I think we need to let the idea of “what officially counts and what doesn’t officially count” go. Let Cursed Child tell a Post Potter story, but something else tell a different Post Potter story. Let some fun short come out that takes place during one of Harry’s years. As long as the stories are good, who cares if they count. That’s the problem with Cursed Child. The story sucks.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      While I generally agree with your sentiment towards the story, I would say that there is a difference between canon and personal interpretation. It is canon that Harry named his child after Snape, and that Harry believed Snape to be brave man. Anything beyond that is just personal interpretation but has no bearing on the canon itself. So we as fans can hate Snape, but can’t deny that canonically, Harry found something admirable in him. Canon isn’t meant to determine our own opinions, only give us the “facts” on which to base those opinions. We can make all the different interpretations we want, but we base those things on the information that the narrative gives us, i.e. The canon.

  • Guys, let’s be honest with ourselves here. Harry Potter is an amazing story. It’s well written, smart, expertly planned out, and incredibly original. We, as fans of the greatest fandom on the planet, can hold things to a higher standard. Cursed Child is crap. We should not accept the story for this reason alone. The story in Cursed Child has been told a million times before! Somebody wishes the didn’t exist and sees a world more horrible without them. In the end, everything goes back to normal and everyone is happy. Is this what Harry Potter has ever been about?

    We, as fans of the greatest fandom, do not need to settle for such typical and overused garbage! Is it canon? Who cares! Even if it is, it’s dumbed down nonsense that we should reject. The fact that a Potter story went anywhere near time turners again should be enough to make us all rally against this story. (And of course I’m talking about the story alone. The play might be fun to watch, but the story is horrible)

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    I thought the hosts did an excellent job of representing all sides of the issue fairly, so well done guys!

    I do think there is one factor absent that this discussion could benefit from though. Apart from the question of how we all define canon, is the question of what is the purpose of canon, and why does it even matter?
    I think this is something that probably also varies individually, and informs in turn, how we define canon.

    For me, the purpose of having an established canon as it relates to fantasy or sci-fi literature, is in establishing the “rules” and truth (i.e. what ACTUALLY is happening) of a fictional world. When we are presented with a world which differs from our own, whether it be because of the presence of magic, or vastly advanced technology, it is still really important to understand the limits of those things. A strong canon dictates what can and can’t happen, and informs us as to why certain events happen the way they do, and explains not only who the characters within it are, but the motivations for their behavior. A fictional world must be bound to reality in a sense, or the story and world building falls apart. So for me, more than “What is Canon?” the important question to ask is “Does including this particular work strengthen or weaken the existing canon?” Does it improve our understanding of how this world, and subsequently the story, functions? One could argue that there are already plot-holes in the seven books, so we shouldn’t see that as an exclusionary factor in new pieces. However, I think that’s exactly why we should. If something already has plot-holes, it is doing the existing story a disservice to then add more.

    The differences in the epilogue scene, therefore, carry a lot of weight for me in terms of canonicity. Before CC, we had a concrete picture of what was happening in this scene. Now, we have two different versions. So which one is “true”? I don’t think that the arguement of it being from different persepectives is valid. We could say that if it were actually a real life account being told by two different people, then yes, there would be differences in perception and faultiness in memory as to what actually happened, but this isn’t the case. This is a narrative, written by someone who DOES know EXACTLY what happened, because she is the one who made it up. Unless it is clearly intended to present the idea that “oh well, Harry saw this one way, but Albus saw it another” having two versions only makes Jo herself an unreliable narrator. I don’t think the majority of the changes make that the clear intent. The intent of the changes is clearly to set up a new story being told by the play. This is fine, if we view it as an adaptation, and story built from that, rather than as canon itself. There is a different tone and purpose behind this scene as it unfolds in the books versus the play, and that matters to the story being told. Including both as canon only confuses the two, and I definitely don’t see this as doing anything to benefit existing canon.

    • Michael Harle

      Thank you for extrapolating on this in a way that I couldn’t manage to do during the recording. This very excellently summarizes my additional problem with the Cursed Child version of 19 Years Later. If we question the validity of the Deathly Hallows version via the argument that it’s Harry’s perception of events, that’s a potentially slippery slope that puts all seven novels into question and invites the canon of the seven books to be further modified or even disregarded altogether.

      I would definitely like to have another episode that goes into more general thoughts/ideas about canon. We’ve already discussed this a bit in other episodes, but it would be great to revisit it; for this particular episode, though, we wanted to keep a bit more on track (seeing as we went on about Cursed Child’s canon issues alone for almost 3 hours!). ^_^

      • UmbridgeRage

        I would have happily listened for another 3 hours. This week was great. So glad I decided to come back this week.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        I fully support revisiting this subject in another episode if you guys are interested in doing so. This is definitely a topic with many complexities to discuss. I didn’t mean to imply that you guys were being neglectful or anything, I just have a lot of thoughts! Heh. I appreciate the care and time you all took with it, I could definitely listen to hours more.

        I also wanted to commend you, Michael on addressing the issue of fan-entitlement and how there actually are a great deal of well thought out and valid arguments regarding CC’s non-canonicity. I’ve seen and had many discussions dismissed due to this perception that we are just mad that we didn’t get our idea of what the story should be, when for many of us in the not-canon camp, that isn’t the issue at all. I thought that was an important point to make and am glad you did.

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        I third the request for hours more of this discussion XD
        Two-hour long recap ep, anyone? 😉

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          Haha, I would not say no..

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          Also..130 comments and it’s only Tuesday. Definitely room for another canon episode

          • travellinginabluebox

            Which is tough if you joined the discussion on Thursday and you are now struggling to keep up with all the comments

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Lol :( no doubt.. I’m betting it’s 300 by the time of next recording. The hosts have their work cut out for ’em when they do the recap that’s for sure.

  • SpinnersEnd

    This is only tangentially related: What happens when a witch’s pregnancy gets complicated? Do she go have a C Section? Are there magical midwives?

    Weird, I know…

    Edit: Is there a wizarding world equivalent of artificial insemination?

    • MartinMiggs

      I’m guessing there are because we don’t see anywhere in St Mungo’s for child birth and I doubt many witches would trust muggle hospitals, even Molly yells at Arthur for using stitches to close up his snake bite

      • UmbridgeRage

        While this question is almost a complete departure from what we are talking about let me add that just because we don’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there. Is there a complete layout of St Mungo’s published somewhere? I don’t remember the Trio exploring all of it in OotP. There is no mention of a toilet at the Burrow or at Pivet Drive so do we assume there isn’t one? I highly doubt witches/wizards go to muggle hospitals for anything.

        • MartinMiggs

          what I meant by see it anywhere was that the sign in St Mungo’s lists whats on every floor (like Creature Induced Injuries on Floor 1) there was no mention of anything related to child birth

    • Minerva the Flufflepuff

      Really interesting question! Since wizards and witches seem to be competent enough at dealing with medical issues that Muggle need hospitals for, I reckon witches probably give birth at home, maybe with the help of potions, or friends or family members who are good at medical spells. Maybe Lockhart wrote a book about it 😛

      • SpinnersEnd

        I don’t think I would trust Lockhart’s advice on delivering a baby. Haha!

      • MartinMiggs

        can anyone think of a book title for that with alliteration?

        • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

          labouring with ladies

          • UmbridgeRage

            Gold

  • MartinMiggs

    MV: Okay. Number one, 19 years later, who’s the headmaster at Hogwarts?

    JKR: Well, it would be someone new. Erm, McGonagall was really getting on a bit. So someone completely new. But if I ever do the encyclopedia, I’m promising I will give details.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFBXJBQ1U08 5:20

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      See, things like this and my comment about Harry’s scar are why I have a problem with the attitude that “Well, if she says it’s canon, it’s canon” as a blanket rule. Sure, she can say that, but if she’s contradicting herself all over the place, then it defeats the purpose of canon altogether. So what is more important, in terms of canon- preserving the integrity of her world building and the story, or her authority as the creator to do whatever she wants.

      • MartinMiggs

        agreed, authors are human and make mistakes which is why you shouldn’t just totally accept what they say as being absolute.

      • Kat

        This is why, for me at least, it is important that it doesn’t contradict the published works. If she says tmrw that harry’s eyes are actually brown – not canon simply because it contradicts published work, which is undeniable, undisputedly, canon.

        So her saying “someone new” is canon to me, because we didn’t have that information before Cursed Child. Therefore, McG still being headmaster in CC isn’t canon, because it contradicts what was said previously.

        Also, JKR didn’t write that McG was headmaster. /that is all

    • MartinMiggs

      I’d love to hear how this is my head canon’s fault for raising my expectations too high from the CC is canon side

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Right? There is a difference between having expectations based on what Rowling HERSELF has led us to believe, and expectations like “#notcanon because I wanted Albus to be in Hufflepuff, since I’ve been imagining it that way all this time”. Obviously, that kind of arguement is ridiculous and anyone trying to use it is severely lacking in understanding what “canon” means entirely. I think we can all agree that any arguement based on CC contradicting an individual’s head-canon is irrelevant. These are not the reasons by which most of us are arguing against CC as canon.

    • Kat

      ha! We had this in the conversation to discuss, but removed it because of time. Glad someone else brought it up!

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    I wanted to point out, Jo stated in an interview that the pain from Harry’s scar was caused by the piece of Voldemort’s soul pushing against it in an effort to get out via the wound through which it entered Harry. So if we’re taking her word as law, there is no valid reason as to why it should start hurting again once that piece of soul was destroyed. It has nothing to do with shared blood, Delphi’s appearance has no reasonable connection to the scar outside of the thematic context of the play. I find this to be a particularly egregious contradiction.

    • Kat

      ^^^^^^^^

    • travellinginabluebox

      Unless of course, and this is the main struggle, with no one understanding the bloody rules of time travelling in CC, the scar starts hurting again because Delphi and the prophecy try to reverse time or are trying to do so anyways? It is soooo confusing! I lost myself in my own point here, sorry.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Yeah, I get what you mean. It’s a case of the play changing things that what previously understood one way, but not going to any lengths to actually explain itself.

  • SpinnersEnd

    What if we thought about cannon as a spectrum as opposed to a black/white, yes/no thing. It’s possible to have pieces that are more canonical than others (i.e. the movies are less authentically cannon than the novels). The spectrum could look something like this:

    Not canon at all –> Tangentially canon (i.e. Fantastic Beasts. Set in the same universe, but does not directly relate to the main story) –> Technically canon, but ignored by most fans (i.e. some of the more poorly written Star Wars novels) –> Head canon –> Widely accepted by fans to be cannon –> Absolutely Canon.

    Also interesting to note, Joss Whedon leans toward a definition of “canon” that means he was involved the creation of a piece. So in the Buffyverse, the Buffy TV show, Angel TV show and graphic novels are all canon, even though Joss was not directly involved with writing every single one of those novels.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      The problem I have with this is that I think it detracts from the entire purpose of canon. Head canon, while a convenient and easily understood term among fans, is actually something of a misnomer because something that is only based on fan-theory, is not in any way, shape, or form canon, no matter how many people accept it. While in some ways I support the idea of a tiered sense of canon, I don’t think of it in terms of differen’t types of canon. Canon is canon, and there is only that. I think it only makes sense to attribute a hierarchy of sorts in in terms of which things are more valid as canon than others, and the arguements about those things arise out of the absence of any sort of established rules about how to determine what is canon. I think we could say Tangential Works, or Related Stories, or even Extended Universe, and Popular Fan-theories, but to call any of these things “canon” of any sort, only confuses the issue.

      The way I look at canon is that the seven books trump all, but it isn’t necessarily a black and white stance. Take Pottermore, for example. For me, I think Jo’s writing on Pottermore (with some exceptions where she contradicts) serves to enhance our understanding of the story, the world, and the characters of the novels. I find this to be comparable to many fantasy and sci-fi books which contain indexes, maps, family-trees, etc, within the novels themselves. They aren’t part of the narrative, yet serve to help the reader understand the narrative, and so are part of the canon. I think Pottermore serves the same function even though it isn’t contained within the novels themselves. If she ever publishes the encyclopedia, I would view it the same way. I think this can also apply to the Hogwarts Library books.

      When it comes to the things Jo says, in interviews, twitter, etc. I think that as long as she doesn’t contradict the canon, then those are also valid, because I think authority does rest with her in the sense that no one can know this world that she has created better than her, and just because it isn’t in the novels doesn’t mean it isn’t part of the world as she imagines it. But I think this is where she does need to be careful, because she can dig herself into a hole by just offhandedly giving information that she finds herself having to retcon in whatever narratives she may wish to tell later. I think in this case, what she says first takes precedence- e.g. explaining why Harry’s scar hurt, which helps our understanding of that phenomenon within the novels, but then in CC contradicting that completely. When it comes to the HP movies- not any sort of canon at all. They are merely an adaptation. Movie-canon, is again just a term of convenience that is an effective means of fans communicating to each other that we are talking specifically about how the movies deal with the material. Fantastic Beasts, I won’t know where I consider it until it is finished. If it does a great job as a prequel of sorts, in telling the Grindelwald/Dumbledore/Newt saga, and fits within the context of the novels without any, or very little, contradictions, then I would be willing to accept them as canonical, because they are from Jo’s imagining of her world and the stories within it, even though it is told through a different medium.
      For me, CC meets none of these standards by which I consider these other things to be canon. So it isn’t any sort of alternative canon, it is simply non-canonical. I can read it, and talk about it, and find meaningful things in it, but I don’t need it to be any kind of canon at all.

      It is interesting to look at how canon is treated by different series, like you brought up with Buffy. I think that because there is no set of actual rules about how to determine canon, that each series is bound to approach it in a way that works for the series itself. Star Wars canon is a mess, so Lucasfilm tried to fix that by officially declaring what is canon, and in doing so, rejected the original creator’s definition of canon. Joss Whedon recognized that the story arcs of Buffy and Co, were so heavily tied to the pieces that he didn’t write that it didn’t make sense in terms of the preserving the canon, to say that those pieces weren’t non-canonical. So within every series, how canon is approached and conceived, may be different and yet still valid.

      • Lisa

        I don’t see the logic in saying that her stating “Dumbledore is gay” is somehow different than her stating “CC is canon”. Either her statements matter or they don’t. By stating CC is canon, she’s essentially saying everything in it “happened”, that everything in it is as much a fact of the Potterverse as “Dumbledore is gay” or “Neville married Hannah.” She doesn’t need to come out and confirm each piece of information in CC one by one (“Yes, Albus ans Scorpius are friends,” Yes, Harry does the cooking” “Yes Astoria died”, etc), she’s already confirmed all of them by calling it canon and marketing it as the eight story.

        And it’s very strange to me that her interview statements are more canon than CC to some people. First of all, interview statements are not “a work” by an author so they don’t even satisfy the first criterion of canon, nevermind the authenticity thing. Sorry but if Jane Austen wrote a letter to a friend about one of her characters that would be much less canon than a work by her written in collaboration with someone else.

        • DoraNympha

          I suppose the difference is that she wrote the books with the mindset that Dumbledore is gay and Neville married Hannah, and Dean’s backstory that never made it into the books, or McGonagall’s etc. Even if Jo hadn’t been there to stop the Davids from Dumbledore mentioning some woman in his youth, he’d still be gay, it’s still a thing, and just because the movies forced Neville and Luna in there, that doesn’t mean it’s canon. Jo may have written the epilogue with the mindset that Albus will indeed be sorted into Slytherin, and that’s canon, then, but she sure wrote the books with the understanding that all time turners were destroyed in OotP, so she can’t retcon a plot point of that magnitude. I mean, she can, but then it’s a plot hole.

      • MyNameIsElvendork

        Head canon is like a hypothesis that is accepted until proven otherwise- in this case, it would be proven or disproven by Jo.

  • SpinnersEnd

    We’ve run up against the issue of Canon vs. Apocrypha. Cursed Child, to me, is more apocrypha than canon. It’s related, it has Jo’s stamp of approval, so therefore, we can’t discount it, but CC holds less authority than the novels.

    • Michael Harle

      Thank you for presenting this word for me to add to my vocabulary! Definitely intrigued to explore this further as it relates to Cursed Child. Maybe you could expand more on this idea for our benefit? :{ )

      • SpinnersEnd

        Absolutely! The Oxford Dictionary defines apocrypha as “Writings or reports not considered genuine.”

        It’s mostly used in connection with the Bible to differentiate between what the canonical and what was not. In Rabbinic Jewish traditions, The Old Testament is canon and the New Testament apocrypha because they are not considered to be divinely inspired (note that I am not Jewish, so this is second hand. Please correct me if I’m wrong).

        One interesting thing to note is the Biblical canon evolved over centuries. This is going to be a bit technical, so hold on…

        One of the earliest lists of Hebrew canon came from Josephus circa 37CE. He listed this in three parts 1) the Torah, 2) the Nevi’im, and 3) Writings. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, they mentioned only the Torah and the Nevi’im, which suggests that these sections were canonized before the Writings.

        Within the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Book of Psalms had several passages that are not contained in the Book of Psalms we know today. This suggests that the Book was not canonized at the time the Scrolls were written.

        Ok. The technical bit is done. Phew!

        The interesting takeaway is that Biblical canon evolved. It changed over centuries and millennia. It’s not a static thing. Even today, it’s changing. A few years ago the Catholic mass was re-translated to be closer to the original meaning of the texts.

        Thanks for asking for more details. I did a deep dive and learned a few things myself.

        Hope this helps!

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      I agree that this is a valid way to look at it. The thing I keep coming across when in these discussions is that some people think that by saying it isn’t canon, then that means we have to somehow ignore it completely, and that isn’t the case. We absolutely can still discuss it, and enjoy it, and keep it in consideration. But when it comes to saying what is and isn’t “true” in Harry Potter, CC is not solid evidence for anything.

      • Lisa

        CC is like authorial intent. You can say “JKR intends for us to see Scorpius and Albus as friends” but if someone really wants to ignore that, they can do so as well. For me, it’s like the guest host said: this is the future Rowling sees for her characters 19 years later. If people don’t agree with it that’s a different issue. But we can’t be in denial that this what her intention is or act like her statements as to its canonicity don’t matter at all. It’s either this story or no story, imo, as it’s unlikely she will create anything else about Harry’s future.

  • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

    Oh I’d forgotten how condescending that guy came across. You’re right. I haven’t listened to it in awhile, but I thought I remembered the other female guests making good points about the lack of Jo’s fingerprints on CC and, if fed into a program that compared it to her other works, the program would not come to the conclusion that they were written by the same author. I certainly prefer Alohomora 😉

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Oh, I just realized I was confusing two episodes of Academia, though the guest we were talking about was on both. I remember now exactly what you mentioned with the fingerprints thing. Yep, agreed with that analysis wholeheartedly.

  • Silverdoe25

    For me, there is no way Jo Rowling wrote this play. She is a brilliant author, and these words felt as though they could more likely have come from Stephenie Meyer’s pen. I felt even more sure of this when I saw Fantastic Beasts. We’ll probably never know what the original idea was (Harry’s life with the Dursleys) or why is changed. That idea was out there enough to cause the whole #notaprequel series of tweets. I realize that she has stated this is canon. But how could she say anything else? I wonder if handing the Wizarding World over to other authors played a part in her wanting to write Fantastic Beasts for herself?
    The discussion on the show was exceptional. There are so many others who could take a page out of your book to listen and seek to understand others. Bravo.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      That’s rather my feeling as well on why she said yes to the question of its canonicity. It could have seriously hurt the success of the play if she’d said no or “no comment.” And while many of us do not consider it canon, we can still value the production quality and acting involved in the show. Plus, it gets people talking about Potter again. There are some positives to glean from its existence. (The midnight book release was a lot of fun too.) And I like your theory that that experience spurred her to write FB herself.

      I suppose I wish the question had never been posed (except for on Twitter where she could ignore it). But I guess it was bound to be asked in an interview at some point.

  • MartinMiggs

    I love that point Kat made about if a story is too repetitive then don’t write it and the meow sound effect was fantastic/funny. Kudos to whoever put that in

    • Kat

      That would be our incredible Editor, Patrick! He is a rockstar.

  • Huffleclaw

    Before listening to this episode, I thought it was canon because Rowling wrote it, but this episode made me really rethink how I define canon. I think that’s the make of a really good episode. I now look at the inconsistencies as my main form of not canon evidence. They were brought up in the main episode but one that I think was missed to me is the biggest inconsistency of them all. Maybe I’m reaching, but Dumbledore makes clear no magic can raise the dead. Yet, we see at least three characters “return” from the dead – Cedric, Snape, and Voldemort. Certainly you could argue the creation of an artificial timeline throws the previous rules of magic out the window – but should it? This is a fundamental law in JK Rowling’s universe, indeed I would argue that it is crucial to the entire course of the series. In all the times we have seen deceased characters they were echoes of the past – memories, shadows, ect. While I personally enjoyed Cursed Child on its own I cannot reconcile this flaw. It ignores one of the key tenants of the series and thus cannot be canon given the story we already have.

    • UmbridgeRage

      It’s not really returning anyone from the dead since in the new timeline that person didn’t die. I don’t really see DD adding the caveat “unless your prepared to change history.” Surely he wouldn’t want 14yo Harry to know there was one way but it would mean wiping out history as we know it. DD always feared that Harry could become like Voldemort and do anything to get what he most desired. Even during “Kings Cross” he admits he is a better man than he ever gave him credit for.

      • Huffleclaw

        I get that argument, but it creates another inconsistency within that story, ie changes the use of Time Turners and their constraints. It just feels too big a stretch. You either return them from the dead or mess with time by 22+ years.

        • UmbridgeRage

          Agreed. I hated that they changed how TT work. Even though how they are described to work and how they do work in PoA contradicts itself. Note to authors: unless you’re writing Doctor Who stay away from time travel

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Time travel is definitely difficult, and the only way to write it effectively is to have a very clear and solid idea of how it works within the story being written, from the very beginning. It is definitely one of those things that can completely dismantle the reality to which a fictitional story is bound if it isn’t treated very carefully. Again, this is one of the things that forms a basis of canon, and to make a mess of it weakens the canon as a whole.

    • Michael Harle

      This touches on a similar issue that bothers me about Cursed Child, which I brought up the most surrounding the Epilogue alterations. A lot of the core/intention of the book’s Epilogue is intentionally changed purely to suit the narrative of the play, and in doing so it ignores major ideas, themes and meanings that tie the Potter series together. To me, there’s an element of Rowling’s themes and motifs being canon and signifying how much involvement she had. Yours is another excellent example of why I don’t see Rowling in much of this writing.

    • Your point about the dead coming back is the biggest issue in the play. As I stated in the comments for the previous episode, the Potter story is all about death. Death is final. There are no magic tears to bring back life. There is no undoing of the past to keep somebody alive. Cursed Child ignores that completely.

      So why doesn’t Harry just go and save his parents.

      • Lisa

        Well by that logic, in the books they turned back time and saved Buckbeak from death. So does that defy the theme of death? Isn’t the theme of death more defied by the fact that there are ghosts, sentient portraits of dead people, and that Harry himself comes back from the dead?

        • MartinMiggs

          they never see Buckbeak actually die. ghosts are not truly alive. portraits have been taught to act like themselves but are limited in their knowledge. we don’t know that Harry actually died

        • Yes, what MartinMiggs said. Buckbeak never died. He was indeed saved from death, but no differently than Hermione saves Harry from death.

          • Lisa

            The theme of death is not reversed in CC either. Going back in time to save someone is not the same thing as saying that death is not final. Whenever Scorpius and Albus go back in time to fix something they end up ruining five other things so the theme still stands. Not even magic can change fate.

          • Buckbeak never died because Harry and Hermione saved him. This is how it always happened. There is no moment in time where Buckbeak is executed. He is saved and therefore is not cheating death.

            Cursed Child undoes death. Voldemort is alive and victorious for a time. If this is a possibility, well, then all death can be undone. Harry can save his parents, Fred, Dobby, Collin, Dumbledore, and everyone else.

          • Lisa

            They can’t save anyone because whenever they tried to save someone something else went terribly wrong. The lessons are the same as in the books: you can’t change fate and some things are better left alone even if theoretically you might have the magic to fix them.

          • Well those boys were idiots as well. The problem is that the play shows us that it is very possible to undo somebody’s death. Harry Potter told us that you cannot but Cursed Child gives us the possibility. If the okay is canon, characters can now save other characters from death, if done correctly.

            Look at it like this. Harry has the time turner and Ron has a Berti Botts Bean. Ron begins to choke on a bean and Harry cannot help. Ron dies as a result. Well, Harry can now go back 5 minutes and stop Ron from choking.

            This would never have been possible in thr 7 books

          • MartinMiggs

            with the exception of Craig (a minor character who is created just so he can die) they are eventually able to return back to “normal”. There aren’t any major consequences (my apologies to Craig).

  • Minerva the Flufflepuff

    Wow, there’s so much discussion about the particularities of Cursed Child already, but I just wanted to mention how much I loved the panel for this episode:

    I identify with Kat so much (as a Ravenclaw bordering on Slytherin), and her complete refusal to accept any part of this (“#notcanon”) is exactly like me when arguing with friends 😀

    Alison was the opposite of that, so passionate about the play that she sometimes just plain ignored the inconsistencies, but her enthusiasm about Cursed Child was still a joy to listen to even if I completely disagree.

    Michael was very much the voice of reason, and I really enjoyed hearing his thoughts on the various aspects of the play, especially in its contradiction to the DH epilogue.

    And Ana was a fantastic guest host with incredible insight and brought so much to the discussion. Get her back on for another episode please 😀

    The people really made the discussion an interesting one, and it was great to hear the different points of view. My personal opinion is somewhere between Kat and Michael – I just cannot accept the contradictions to the seven books, and if I have to do some serious mental gymnastics to make Cursed Child fit into the Potter universe, it probably doesn’t belong there in the first place.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      “If I have to do some serious mental gymnastics to make Cursed Child fit into the Potter universe, it probably doesn’t belong there in the first place.”

      Quote of the day! I love it! 😀

  • Here’s a canon thought that I’ve been pressing on about for the past few episodes. We cannot be sure how much writing Rowling provided to the play itself, but the characters in the play are built off writing she already had established. So she did have input in this sense.

    So the play comes out and it features a story involving characters from Rowling’s creation. Does this make it canon? Because I can think of another work that features a story involving characters from Rowling’s creation.

    The Lego Batman Movie. The Lego Batman movie is a story that features the villain Voldemort. He is present and in full Voldemort mode, using spells, flying, and attacking good guys. He uses his faithful “Accio really scary lightning storm!” spell. Does this make it canon?

    Just because Cursed Child and Lego Batman are officially and professionally produced stories, are they canon to the 7 books? Did Voldemort really return from the dead thanks to an unknown daughter? Did Voldemort really team up with the Joker to fight Batman?

    They both sound equally ridiculous to me and yet they both have equal merit as well.

    • Lisa

      I don’t really see the comparison you’re trying to make. CC was created by Rowling in collaboration with two other people. She has called it canon and fully licensed its content. The Lego Batman movie has nothing to do with JKR and hasn’t been approved by her in any way.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Yep. Though this does raise a somewhat related issue- clearly this is an example of WB in a way using their rights to the Potterverse towards the creation of outside material. I’m curious as to the specificities of that. Did they need any kind of approval from JKR for the use of a Potter character in a non-HP film or do they have free reign in that respect?

      • Natan Baessi

        Not only it has been approved by her, but she also provided content and feedback:

        “We used Dumbledore in The LEGO Movie as a quick one-off joke, but Voldemort obviously playes a bigger role in this movie,” LEGO Batman director Chris McKay told EW. “J.K. Rowling obviously cares very deeply about these characters, so we absolutely had to run stuff by her.”

        She didn’t give them any negative feedback or notes, but she did offer up some real contribution that McKay would go on to use.

        “The only thing she gave us was spell suggestions and things that Voldemort should say,” he said, implying that her suggested dialogue made it into the film. “It was all really positive and helpful. I can’t say enough good things about working with her.”

        Does her involvement make it canon? No.
        So, why would it make it canon for Cursed Child?

        • Lisa

          She only gave them background info. CC is new material about the futures of the characters. And again, there is a difference between approving an adaptation or allowing someone to use your characters in some way, and allowing someone to add to your universe (which is what Thorne did). They are both approvals but two very different types of approval.

          • Natan Baessi

            From my understanding, I think that our disagreement comes to whether one should accept material written by other authors (in this case, Jack Thorne) in the “Harry Potter” canon, being approved by J.K. Rowling or not. I do not accept it, as for me, it has to legitimately come from herself in order for it to be considerated canonical material. This series is her brain-child and no one can write canonical material for it, but herself
            Approval does not count as authorship, in any way.
            Moreover, in the future during an English course, I doubt any serious instructor will by taking “Cursed Child” or any material that was written by others in consideration when studying Rowling works (because they’re NOT Rowling works!).

          • Lisa

            I can understand why you and others want the ideas to come from her. I guess to me it doesn’t really matter. I need to know that she was involved and that she approves of the ideas. As the author, she has the right to give someone else control over her world if she wants to and it’s not unheard of for authors to write a book together with someone else. The ideas belong to her now anyway since she “canonized” them.
            Maybe no serious instructor would study Cursed Child but then again they won’t study Pottermore or Rowling’s tweets either. So the fandom’s definition of canon is a bit different from the scholarly one.

        • I’m so glad you found these points! I have been pressing on about Cursed Child being just as valid as Lego Batman and this interview confirms her involvement! Haha!

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          I really hope it was JKR’s suggestion to make him say “Accio really scary lightning storm”…hahaha…that thought just makes me giddy, because it shows she can let loose in an environment that’s meant to be parodical.

  • DoraNympha

    I applaud all your ability to remain level-headed throughout the discussion! I think I’m moving away from indignation at the mere mention of CC towards quiet resignation.

    Michael is right: we’ve all read better fanfiction than Cursed Child, many much more canon-compliant. Thorne says he’s a huge fan of the books but the play seems like it was written by someone who saw the movies like once while it was on TV at Christmas. But here’s the thing: the epilogue is changed in the film adaptation DH2 as well, and that’s fine, it falls victim to the change between media, but we don’t then leave the cinema thinking that is now canon instead of the earlier novel version. The films have plenty of things in them that are diversions from the original and some are actually really plausible ideas and have since become sort of accepted things even though they are not evidenced in the books. All the WWW products that are the brainchildren of the amazing props department? Super plausible, super cool, in line with the products we do know about, but doesn’t make them “Gold Stamp Canon”, if such a thing exists. Characterization-wise, also: Wood’s Scottish accent, for example, while it’s not contradicted in the text, it’s never specified to be a thing in the novels so why not just go with it? But this is actually one of the most common logical fallacies: the fallacy of ignorance, i.e. the Lovegood-esque explanation to everything, which is that something is true as long as you can’t prove that it doesn’t exist. Theoretically, the Nott conspiracy and Bellatrix’s pregnancy take advantage of this fallacy. But going by that, there’s nothing to stop us from the wildest theories and background stories as long as it’s not specified in the text. This allows us to play with alternate characterizations and readings, which is an amazing, creative thing that I endorse whole-heartedly but it doesn’t mean that all those infinite number of possible plotlines are canon at the same time. That’s exactly what the term canon does not mean. Characters’ appearances, ethnicities or sexualities are examples for this: if the text doesn’t specify or limit readings, then sure, read them however you want to, but if such a thing as canon exists, then two contradicting readings cannot be simultaneously true. HP 1-7 and CC contradict each other so they cannot be simultaneously canon.

    The thing is, the play doesn’t only screw up the tiny things, like a few out of character lines or characterization such as Ron’s supposed useless comic reliefness (the films do this sometimes too), not even just the incontinuities like McGonagall being Headmistress, but it fails at the biggest building blocks, such as the mixing of ways in which time travel works. You can’t build a house on shifting sand. World-building, the workings of the world, are especially important to respect in fantasy and sci-fi. Cuarón’s PoA changes the way the time travel chapters go but not the entire principle of it. He added to the story so many things to the point where he had to be stopped by Jo lest he added little people to the frog choir and Thewlis was surprised to read about Lupin and Tonks’s later romance because he got quite different directorial instrictions on that front. However, PoA always stayed in line with the principles and fundamental characterisation. Sirius’s line that hadn’t existed yet but Jo said it prophecized something that would be in Deathly Hallows? That’s how you do it. Ginny not letting his kids have sweets and writing a Voldemort’s-daughter storyline is not.

    Also strong agree on the odd lack of Weasleys and Teddy. George is the biggest lack here. And why isn’t Percy the Minister? When has Hermione ever wanted to be it? Besides, wouldn’t Percy’s kids be at Hogwarts at around the same time? He was on the platform after all. Following the fallacy of ignorance, there’s nothing to stop me from assuming he switched careers and became a teacher then, and he had kids when he was like 23 or only when he was 45+. Not unplausible, nothing to contradict it, it’s just that common sense would tell readers Percy’s there in the epilogue to see his daughter(s) off to school, which makes their absence from the CC story weird. And it’s not the excuse of the media: assuming the writers know their trade and art, the excuse of the media not allowing for these characters to be even mentioned in passing was forfeited when they decided to write about a story enveloping decades. Theatre is not suited for a story with that huge time frame. Why show the epilogue only to follow it up with a fast-forward sequence? Why not just write this in the dialogue and start from 4th year in the first place? It’s as if someone was too afraid to edit this script. Someone should have reminded the writers that sometimes less is more. And I expect West End writers to know that. I want to go and read/see other works by the writers now because I’m sure this is not their best writing, which is kind of a shame also because this is the one nominated for 11 Oliviers.

    And thinking back, they said this story could best be told as a play: huge nope. A story that is best told as a play doesn’t last decades and needs 20+ characters moved that we care about as equally as the 1-2 protagonists. There are wonderful plays out there that are one scene in one room during one day, there are fantastic monodramas out there, those are best as plays. Yes, the medium swallows up so many needed explanations but I would expect professional writers to know that and therefore not pick such a huge, long story to put on stage. A Christmas dinner at the Burrow 19 years on would have been nice, even if Voldemort’s daughter jumps out of the fireplace mid-pudding – but at least the setting and plot would have suited the medium of theatre better. They bit off so much more than theatre can chew.

    So in conclusion, the whole thing is a mistake and #PercyforMinister. (That’s a joke, honestly, I just don’t think HP and CC can be simultaneously canon because of the contradictions big and small.)

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Great points. Agree 100%. I’m glad that you pointed out how it feels like something written by someone who has only seen the movies- that thought stuck me as well. Especially Ron’s characterization- to me, he is totally movie Ron, and not book Ron.

    • the head girl

      #PercyforMinister for LIFE

      • DoraNympha

        *stares proudly into the distance, at visions of a glorious future on the horizon*

        ONE DAY.

  • SlytherinKnight

    To me, there are multiple levels of canon in the Harry Potter Universe. The highest level is book canon, which to me is the end all be all. Then below book canon, there is movie canon, which takes from the books, but there are obviously some changes made. And then there is Cursed Child, which like the films, have taken information from the books and then changed it.

    So Cursed Child is ‘canon’ at least in the barest sense of the word, mainly because it was approved/written (at least in part) by JK Rowling, it does not stack up against the books or even the films in regards to canon.

    • Lisa

      The films are adaptations of the books, Cursed Child is original material. We don’t need the movies to be canon because we already have the books. The information found in CC is not found anywhere else, however.

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    Thank you Kat and Michael for your responses to my comment in the recap! maybe in a couple of years when her English is advanced enough to follow the podcast I’ll invite my daughter to listen to Alohomora and she’ll find your kind words.

    Until then I’ll translate it for her. :-)

  • At first I thought you were making some sort of reference to Alien Vs Predator and the canon argument surrounding those movies. But then I decided that couldn’t be right and I realized you were talking about that youtube Potter play thing.

    I’d say that Lego Batman still has more merit as it’s a Warner Brothers production. Certainly the movies have canon that exists outside of the 7 books, so I think Cursed Child would also have canon that exists outside of the 7 books. This is why I claim that Lego Batman is just as equally canon as Cursed Child.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      See, this is where I disagree with a seeming majority of the fandom- for me the movies aren’t any kind of canon, merely an adaptation OF the canon.

      • I agree with you. As a fan of the 7 books, I don’t see the movies as their own separate thing with it’s own canon. I just see it as an adaptation. The movies don’t influence any knowledge I take out of the books, but they are fun and welcomed nonetheless.

        Cursed Child just tells a dumb story that I would rather not associate with the books I love so much. It’s both an embarrassing and disappointing association.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Lol, sorry for the confusion.. Glad you got my meaning in the end

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    How about this- The strongest arguement I’m hearing in favor of CC as canon is that Jo declared it to be. So say she had never said that, then what would form the basis of arguement in support of canonizing CC? I think Alison made some points in that respect, in that she sees similar themes and Jo’s touches all over it, but I think the case has been made against that as well. It’s largely a matter of opinion, so hard to use it as definitive support either way. Anything else that supports it as canon? I guess I’m trying to understand what the pro-canoners see in CC in terms of it actually strengthening the existing canon, beyond just telling us what is going on with Harry and the next generation.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      That is a fantastic question! *grabs the popcorn*

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        I turned my back on you all for 5 mins… jk 😉
        This certainly spawned quite the discussion.

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          LOL 😀 Indeed it did!

    • DisKid

      What else counts as canon, for anything, if the author didn’t write it and stayed mum on whether or not they supported it? Does it have to do with a feeling? What if she said the fantastic beasts movies are not canon, but they feel like they are to a lot of the fans? (I know she says it’s canon, but I’m hypothetically saying what if she had said it wasn’t) Would we say that was canon as it feels like it? Or is it automatically not if the author says no even if it’s great? If that’s the case, then why doesn’t it work the other way around where something doesn’t feel canon but the author says it is? Is there really any other way to say it’s canon other than the author’s word/hand? Is a feeling enough or is it unfair to the author and the world they created? Do the fans have more say than the author does? Do we know better than the author?

      Indeed to me canon is whether the author wrote it/supports it, so that should make it canon to me. However, the reason why I’m borderline still on calling it canon is because even if that had been JK Rowling’s hand writing the entire story; this story still wouldn’t feel like canon to me. It just feels off and has a lot of plot line issues. Until she does a lot of explaining of these plot issues, if she ever does, I’m going to have a hard time accepting this as canon. It seemed too much like Harry Potter and the Twilight Zone. If JK Rowling had written this, I would wonder if she was trying too hard to please her fans and didn’t give this enough of a think causing plot issues.

      Perhaps that’s me being a little condescending as that’s basically me saying my feelings are over the authors when it comes to this being canon. Especially since, usually, to me it would automatically be canon if she says it is as it’s her world. To me, telling an author they’re wrong when they say something in their world is canon is just like telling an artist they’re wrong when they tell you the meaning of a painting of theirs. Even if it doesn’t make sense to the observer; isn’t it their painting, their world, and they call the shots on it?

      But the fact that we’re having this debate does make you wonder if the author is, indeed, the one who should have the last say on something being canon. And if the answer is no the author doesn’t have the last say, then the question remains: Why not? Why do the fans have it?

      You got to hear from a fan who’s in the middle lol. I guess a shorter answer is: I don’t see anything else that makes it canon, other than the author’s word, but that’s the whole reason I’m borderline on it being canon. I’m borderline because of the hard question for us who say either “no” or “unsure”: Why is it not enough when it’s clarified by the author? Do we call the author out on plot issues and say, if it’s messed up, they can’t be right even though it’s their world and their rules?

      JK Rowling is a genius woman. I’m sure she very well could explain what the deal is with these plot issues in an acceptable way. Then it would be the question of why didn’t we trust the author when she said it was canon? Why did we feel like there couldn’t be another explanation other than to write it off?

      Tough, tough question in this case. Which is why I’m in the middle.

      • The only way a new Potter story could 100% be undeniably canon is an actual 8th book was released. Be it Harry Potter 8 or some sort of prequel story or whatever. Every movie or play is like a branch off of the main canon. It’s there, it exists, but it doesn’t exactly count as fact. The books are the source and the only way to add more canon to the source would be to add more books/

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          I disagree. Fantastic Beasts is 100% written by her so there is nothing stopping it from being canon.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Yeah, I think that yes, a new book written by Rowling, would undisputedly probably be considered canon, even if it weren’t considered good, but I don’t think that is the ONLY thing that could be considered canon.

          • MartinMiggs

            not true if you definition of canon includes “can’t contradict previous works” than yes technically there are things that could stop Fantastic Beasts from being canon

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            If there end up being contradictions, those particular points would not be canon, but that wouldn’t erase the rest of it from being canon.

        • DisKid

          I do agree with you 100% that, if CC was an actual 8th book written by JK Rowling, there would be no doubt it would be canon.

          I disagree though that it’s impossible for anything outside of the books to be canon. I say if she was involved enough, there are grounds for canon outside of the books. Like Fantastic Beasts, as already mentioned. She was heavily involved in the Fantastic Beasts movie to the point of she wrote it. I say it’s ok for Fantastic Beasts movie to be considered canon. Especially since there wasn’t a plot book beforehand that they were going off of to make it; unlike the movies where those were simply new adaptions of already made books where there’s no doubt that if something in the movie contradicts what happens in the book, the book wins.

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        @disqus_4l4miPMwTC:disqus – has she specifically stated that FB (the movie) is canon? It’s very possible that I missed the interview where that question was asked, but I’d be rather surprised if it was asked at all.

        • DisKid

          Yep, she sure did :) Somebody asked her on Twitter if the Fantastic Beasts movies can be considered part of the official canon and her exact response was “Yes, because I’m writing them!”

          I’m not surprised it was asked. The Harry Potter fanbase is one of the most hardcore fanbases I’ve ever seen. It seems the fanbase is sometimes more concerned about whether or not things are canon than JK Rowling. Hence, this whole episode! Lol. Sometimes I think we’re worse than Star Wars fans when it comes to this stuff.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Very interesting that she elaborated with “because I’m writing them” in that case, and only said “yes” regarding CC. How do you explain that people-who-swear-she-wrote-CC?

            And, in retrospect, I guess I’m not surprised it was asked. I’m just surprised that anyone thought for a split second that they wouldn’t be canon :)

          • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

            compared to everything that was ever published in the context of Star Wars, the Potterverse is tiny. Star Wars canon has been a mess since decades and the fans don’t stand a chance in trying to make sense of it. Except if you go with the interpretation that the movies as they were released in the theatres are the source material and everything else is Expanded Universe.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Despite my insistence that CC shouldn’t be canonical, I go back and forth on these things that you do, too. So I totally get where you’re coming from, and the answers are by no means clear . I don’t think that canon lies within the authority of the fandom over the author, but I do think these are all things that should be taken into consideration, if not by us, then by Rowling herself before just declaring a work canon.

        As far as explaining the plot-holes, I think that does raise an important question regarding her responsibility as an author. I think if she does introduce new material that somehow goes back on things that she has already led readers to understand in a particular way, then there is an obligation to explain within the new narrative, how the change is to be understood within the context of the canon, rather than leave it to the readers to make all kinds of vague assumptions and do the mental gymnastics necessary to come to some sort of understanding. To me, that’s just bad writing.

        • DisKid

          I do think JK Rowling probably should explain these plot issues if she’s going to consider them canon. When she does have her explanation ready; I’m honestly all for it! She’s typically incredibly good at explaining things that don’t make sense at first to the fandom.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      At the time and in the specific situation when Jo said for the first time that CC is canon, did she really have the option to say “No, CC is not canon”? My guess is that had she said nothing or not answered the question, the reception of the play by the audience would have been different. Even more people would have regarded it as not relevant. And if Jo had denied that CC is canon, we would be having a different discussion now, with the emphasis on if new Potter material should be published at all in any way, shape or form.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Hmm, yeah, this is an interesting point. I would really like to know more about the impetus behind her saying it’s canon. I don’t think that she necessarily had to say it was canon for people to find it relevant though. I personally wouldn’t have been less interested in it, but I can’t speak to how it might have affected audience reception. I think as the creator she has every right to publish as much or as little as she wants within the Potterverse, but these issues about canon do certainly impact how those new works might be received. If she releases a ton of new material that is remarkably inconsistent with the canon of the seven books, then, canon or not, she could definitely see her readership plummet in that regard. Deterioration of canon does have an effect on how fans perceive her as a writer, and she could potentially lose many when it comes to the inclusion of later works that are deemed sub-par. The original Potter books themselves may retain popularity and credibility in terms of quality, but everything else could become something of a joke, much in the way that we’re already seeing with CC. Which I think is a shame, because all evidence points to it being a really great piece of art on the stage, so I don’t want it discredited in that way. But I think declaring it canon may have put it on a slippery slope.

      • DisKid

        I think she absolutely had the option to say “No, it’s absolutely not canon.” Especially if that’s how she felt. Then she could, basically, let the fandom know somebody messed up her universe and they should *not* take it seriously. She didn’t even have to agree to the play in the first place if she thought it was a bad idea. Even if they had done it in a way to where she couldn’t legally stop them, she did have power to say “This is *not* my world.”

        I don’t agree at all with this idea that, if an author has agreed for something to be made involving their series, they then must agree with it or else. #1 Authors in the past have been outspoken about how much they disliked what was done with their world even though they gave permission for it. One author is known for being so upset with how the movie adaption of her book turned out that she cried in sadness in the theater at the end. #2 JK Rowling is simply too stubborn for that, you can tell by the way she is on twitter. I really do not believe she would say “Yes, it’s canon” out of obligation. I do believe that if she said it’s canon, she legitimately thinks it is. The reason why I’m borderline on it being canon is due to the fact that CC seems so off from the series in general to begin with. I think the question is why JK Rowling thinks it’s canon. I don’t think it’s an question of if she’s being honest about it or not.

        I wonder as to how extensively JK Rowling was involved. Did she read over and approve this script before it came out? Was she asked about some of these plot problems in advance and let them go through? JK Rowling is not uncaring about her world. She was worried, when they were doing the movies, that Steve Kloves was going to mess her world up even though in that case the fans would have a book to reference. I don’t understand why she would let her world go the way it did in CC unless she actually was on board with it cause it’s not like her to allow her world to get messed up. Even if she did approve of it, she still has a lot of explaining to do!

    • Lisa

      It’s her involvement that makes it canon not just that she said so. Also the marketing of it as the eight story. It’s one thing for her to approve something as a fan product ie not suing people for using her characters (like AVPM or HP cookbooks or essays), and another thing to call it canon, the eight story etc. There is no need for other arguments aside from her approval and involvement.

      I also doubt she only called it canon to be nice to Thorne. Come on. This is her world, as obvious from several quotes on the show. She’s not going to let someone else dictate what she can and cannot create about the Potterverse from now on.

      I think the anti canon side are dismissing her words like they mean nothing when she’s in fact saying “here’s what happened 19 years later”. Of course you can ignore it but then again you can also ignore Pottermore or HBP or whatever

      • Even Rowling can make mistakes. If she had been around the actors, rehearsals, the writing team, it would all have been very exciting and a very positive experience. By the time she announced that it was canon she could have been extremely emmersed in the production and not yet have seen the problems in the play.

        It used to be canon that Newt Scamander graduated from Hogwarts, but Rowling’s new Fantastic Beasts edition changed that. So which one is canon?

        My point here is that Rowling is human. She makes mistakes. We don’t need to blame her for those mistakes, but we also don’t need to take her word for everything. She could be wrong from time to time.

        • UmbridgeRage

          Or she did see the problems but realized that if she started tugging that thread the whole thing would fall apart. It wouldn’t be the first time a creative has let a plot hole through simply because there was no way around it without destroying the entire narrative. Take the TT change. This story can’t function without it. Sometimes they just hope not too many people notice. Of course releasing the script meant everyone would end up noticing without the production to dazzle you. But, damned if they did and damned if they didn’t.

        • Lisa

          She’s in charge of her own creation and she decides what happens to her characters next. She decided CC was what happened next. Call it a mistake if you want but it is what it is.

          • But that makes no sense. How many times has she talked about her mistake in bringing time travel into the picture? There is no way she decided that her characters would next go on the most generic adventure through time possible. I think she might have been stuck in fangirl mode for a bit.

          • Lisa

            Well whatever her reasons or however stupid you think it is, she has called CC canon and also the eight story. It doesn’t matter if everyone agrees with her decision or not, or if the story is good or bad. What I’m saying is that what she thinks matters, it’s not as irrelevant as some of you make it out to be. From her POV, Cursed Child is canon, thus from her POV Harry is an Auror, Hermione is the Minister, Voldemort had a daughter, etc. Whether anyone else agrees or not is their business. What’s to stop me from ignoring, say, Snape’s death? Nothing. It’s just that that’s not the official version.

            And again, there’s no reason to assume she was lying about her involvement. Really, I honestly think the problem here is that some people just can’t accept the fact that she agreed to something that goes so much against their personal preferences or against what they think is a good story. Whereas I’m saying that you can hate something and think it sucks and also recognize that she approved it and called it canon without anyone threatening her family or putting a gun to her head.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            I must have missed the news story where someone sent Jo death threats and mugged her because of CC.

          • Lisa

            That’s my point. She did it of her own free will and for fans to not accept this and think there’s some malicious reason behind it is just strange.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            I don’t think anyone is accusing JKR of doing anything malicious.

        • DoraNympha

          Thanks, it’s needed to point out in a discussion like this that Jo can make mistakes, even if it should go without saying.

          My problem with CC is that there’s a difference between a plot hole, such as Newt’s education, and such giant contradictions and diversions such as, well, most things in the play compared to the books. Rowling is allowed to be self-contradictory on the number of Hogwarts students and days of the week and full moons and stuff, but it’s more than just a plot hole to come up with a supertimeturner, and then another, and to erase entire characters from a scene detailed in the epilogue.

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          Exactly, if we can’t take her at her word on things like “Newt graduated Hogwarts” or “McGonagall wouldn’t still be headmaster” then why should “CC is canon” be the one thing we do have to accept without question. I don’t buy it either.

      • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

        I disagree. I’m sure she was also involved in and approved the video game content. Are those canon to you? And who says it was her decision to call it the eighth story? I think that was all marketing’s decision to sell the play. You say her involvement is obvious from quotes in the show. Many of us think the opposite. So that’s obviously a matter of opinion.

        • Lisa

          She never called the video content canon. Don’t you see the difference between approving a fan product and approving a continuation of a story?

          She says in the quotes it’s still her world. No one forced her to approve anything or do anything. She’s among the richest people on the planet so why is everyone acting like she’s a victim forced to give up control over her characters? You don’t have to accept anything as canon but there’s no reason to believe she is lying about her involvement in the story.

          • She was also involved in the films, but are those canon? I mean, Cursed Child changes the way the 7th book ends. Does this mean the epilogue from book 7 is no longer canon as Cursed Child has taken it’s place? Now we are losing previously established canon for new canon?

          • Lisa

            What do you mean? If there are any contradictions between CC and the books, just go with the books. The movies are adaptations and thus do not belong in a discussion on canon. And once again you’re missing the point: it’s one thing to approve something in general (like video games, wands, movies, a musical) and another to approve it as _canon_ . I really don’t see the hang up in admitting this distinction. CC sets the bar for what she can create from now for her characters (“Is Harry a teacher? No, CC says he’s an Auror”), the movies/video games/fanfics/podcasts do not.

          • DoraNympha

            I understand that we should sensibly regard film adaptations and CC differently because one is an adaptation whereas the other is a new addition, a continuation of the existing novels. However, in my heart of hearts, I am more selective about this: the films on the whole are adaptations, yes, therefore not able to override the base story. However, I’m inclined to consider elements within the films plausible, but only those which do not contradict canon, and which add to the world in a manner reasonably motivated by the story, and are approved by Jo. They are a sort of quasi-canon, part of my imagination until Jo specifically says they do not exist in that way.

            For example, the prop department’s inventions of all the Weasley products: they have been approved by Jo, they do fit into the plot and the shop and everything… sure, there’s no specific mention of Kissing Concoctions in the books, but knowing Fred and George sell at least one type of love potion as part of the WonderWitch line, it’s very plausible that this Kissing Concoction would indeed occur to them, if not now, then at some point in the history of the shop.

            Another example is Umbridge’s many proclamations: the film adaptation of OotP increased the number of her proclamations drastically, which is obviously not canon. However, it is very plausible for her to have specifically uttered such prohibitions or planned to issue such prohibitions as those created for the movie. They don’t simply stay in her character, they actually add to it.

            The shrunken heads, the paintings, every bit of thing in the Leaky Cauldron from the science wizard to the floating jugs in Prisoner of Azkaban? Amazing. Totally part of my imagination until Jo overrides them. At the same time, however, sensibly, we know that Mr Weasley and Percy should be wearing glasses, Harry’s eyes are green and everyone wears robes.

            See, I don’t like to discard good ideas from the films just because the entire thing as a whole is an audio-visual representation of the textual story, and my approach is a more compartmentalizing one. I don’t mind picking and choosing but canon is something shared, a consensus, so this individual approach is not a solution. CC fundamentally upends the laws of magic, so I cannot regard it as canon as a whole, but I love the casting for the trio. I’m sure if CC had any great ideas that were in character and in line with the wizarding world that we’ve known from the books, I’d hold them on the doorstep of canon next to film stuff as well.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            I feel the same way as you @DoraNympha:disqus :)

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            You don’t seem to understand they hypothetical question that @thattimeremuswaddiwasiedvoldy:disqus posed above:

            “The strongest arguement I’m hearing in favor of CC as canon is that Jo declared it to be. So say she had never said that, then what would form the basis of arguement in support of canonizing CC?”

            I never said that she called the video game content canon. We are talking in hypotheticals here. And in that hypothetical situation, CC and video game content would be equally valid or invalid according to your personal definition of canon. If your definition includes anything she’s approved and been involved with, then it should include the video games as well if she had never called CC canon. Do you get my meaning now?

            EDIT: BTW, video games are not fan products. They are officially licensed products created by corporations.

          • Lisa

            Whatever she wants to include in her canon, whether it’s video games, movies, fanfics, etc, is canon, IMO. If she had called the video games canon then problem solved. It might seem absurd but it’s her creation and her universe and she decides what is or isn’t included in it. Likewise, if she wanted CC to be seen just as a fun play with no further implications for her characters or her world then of course no one would be calling it canon. My point is that how a story is presented to an audience matters. It matters that it’s called the eight story even if some people think it’s just a PR trick.

            I think you’re missing the difference between an original product and a secondary one. CC is an original product, video games are based on something which already exists, ie the books put into a more entertaining mode. CC tells us something about the future of the characters. Movies, video games, wands, movie merchandise do not. They are just a representation of the books (which are already canon, of course).

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            See what @disqus_4l4miPMwTC:disqus said above about the video games:

            “I know how they play gobstones and exploding snap in the video games is canon because they asked her! Lol! I also know all of the famous witches and wizards cards, including the monsters, vampires, ect, were all written exclusively by her. While she did, obviously, base some of them off old wives tales; their bios were 100% written by her. The game makers did not put anything of their own in wizard cards or the monsters except for the pictures. They asked her for the information early in development as they wanted it to be her world. So I guess those parts could also be considered canon, even if some of it is exclusive only to the games, as it was created by her more than CC was.”

            I view those pieces as original content – not secondary. But, as he agreed, the missions contradict canon so would not be included.

        • DisKid

          I know how they play gobstones and exploding snap in the video games is canon because they asked her! Lol! I also know all of the famous witches and wizards cards, including the monsters, vampires, ect, were all written exclusively by her. While she did, obviously, base some of them off old wives tales; their bios were 100% written by her. The game makers did not put anything of their own in wizard cards or the monsters except for the pictures. They asked her for the information early in development as they wanted it to be her world. So I guess those parts could also be considered canon, even if some of it is exclusive only to the games, as it was created by her more than CC was.

          Now definitely the side missions, in fact most of the missions, I would say that is not canon lol especially the missions that go against what happened in the books. Those are just things they had to put in the game because, well, it’s a video game. You play it, not read/watch it! She did, however, give input into these missions. Which included telling the makers they should change the characters who do it or ax the mission altogether.

          Just thought that was a funny little trivia thing to mention :) I’m a hard core Harry Potter video gamer, as if you can’t tell right? I can say, yes, she was involved in the games probably more than the fanbase realizes unless they’re hardcore with the games like me. I would say the games, in general, are not canon except for the parts she specifically created for it. Like the cards, monsters, and rules for the Hogwarts games.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        I think by your logic then we would also have to conclude that the Potter films as canon. She was involved (though to a lesser extent in the later ones) and gave approval.

        • Lisa

          No. The movies are adaptations, she allowed them to make some changes to represent her books but that’s what they are: visual adaptations. She never approved them as _canon_ (which would be weird if she did anyway because we already have the books). An example which hopefully clears this up: Just because she approved Emma Watson as Hermione doesn’t mean the description of Hermione in the books has changed. Just because she approved Neville/Luna in the movies doesn’t mean she’s saying they’re together in her universe. Just because she approved the fire at the Burrow doesn’t mean that there actually was a Death Eater attack on the Burrow.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Agreed. But we’re talking about the hypothetical that she hadn’t approved CC as canon. So had she not actually said that CC was canon, it wouldn’t merit any more canonicity than the movies.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Ok, judging by the turn this particular conversation has taken, I’ve realized that the heart of what I’m trying to get at with my question is based on the context of my own definition of canon. @slughornstrophywife, @theyvetakenmywheezy
        Perhaps by providing that information I can give some clarity

        So, I draw my conception of canon first from the definition of canon, as stated by Oxford English Dictionary as ” A general law, rule, or principle , or criterion by which something is judged” For me, this speaks to the function and purpose of canon. Translated from the its biblical origins to its place in terms of fantasy/sci-fi literature, this means that “canon” is those rules, laws, etc, that bind the fictional universe to reality within the narrative. When you have a universe that is created outside our own bounds of reality, it still must have it’s own limits and rules or else there is nothing at stake, and therefore, nothing driving the narrative. This goes beyond just the problem of creating plot holes; in a fictional world not bound by it’s own sense of reality, anything is possible and in that sense there is no story, or at least, not a good or interesting one. Magic, within HP, has limits that create it’s own reality. Love can’t be magically created, death is inevitable, magic doesn’t grant the ability to just fix any and every problem. Character behavior and motivations are driven by the confines of their reality. Canon dictates how we as readers, understand the possibilities and limits within the fictional universe. It is essentially the scaffolding upon which the narrative is built. For me, for anything to be conceived as canon, it must ultimatly fit that purpose. Once a canon is established, as with the 7 HP books, anything introduced into that canon, should at the very least not weaken that structure or confuse our understanding of that universe. Ideally, new material should build upon or add to our understanding of the fictional universe.

        I take into account with that understanding of canon’s purpose, the definition more commonly referenced- “A collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine” and it’s sub definition “The works of a particular author or artist that are recognized as genuine”. With this comes the implication that creator authority does matter. To me, that means that because HP is a fictional universe, no one can possibly understand it better than JKR. She is the one who has created those rules by which the Potterverse is bound. This is why the issue of new material being “genuine” i.e. of her, and only her, creation. So yes, what she says does matter. What she leads readers to believe through whatever medium, be it new material or questions in interviews, should be trusted as true to the world, because that is how she envisions it. However, that ultimate authority comes into question when she begins to disagree, not with fan interpretation or head-canons, but with herself, what she has already created as canon. So when she makes a blanket statement decreeing something as canon, when it in fact contradicts what she has previously established as her own envisioning of the reality of her fictional universe, then she is deteriorating the canon. For me then, she is defeating the entire purpose of canon, and that is where the limit of her authority over such things end.

        So I guess what I’m trying to get at with my question before, is how am I to reconcile her authority over the universe with the purpose that having a strong canon serves? I want to know if people who support canon on the basis that “she said so” can separate that from the discussion and tell me how CC’s inclusion actually benefits the canon as a whole.

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          Thank you for explaining your meaning further, @thattimeremuswaddiwasiedvoldy:disqus! I want to give a “TEN POINTS TO WHICHEVER HOUSE YOU IDENTIFY WITH” for the second to last paragraph there. I want to quote the entire thing, but that would be redundant 😉 I believe you are absolutely correct that making the blanket statement of “yes” to CC’s canonicity while it contradicts her previous works does deteriorate the canon, and is probably why so many of us take umbrage to it. Thank you for articulating that point so well. And good luck finding someone who can appropriately answer your question :)

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Hurrrah Ravenclaw! Thanks, I’m so terribly long winded when it comes to this stuff, so appreciate anyone who actually reads it all, haha. I’m glad you find that it all makes sense. Another ten points to anyone who manages to come up with a good answer, because I reallllly do want to hear one.

          • DoraNympha

            Proud Ravenclaw here, just watching the beautiful sapphires gather in the hourglass with every amazingly articulated argument. ^^

            I don’t have a solution but think of all the unpublished stuff in her desk drawers. Some of that might contradict canon by now, either because she’s changed her mind since she had noted them down or because they don’t fit into published plotlines but I’m still of the opinion that every scrap of napkin/Notepad file/parchment that she’s scribbled some information on is still more canon than the published script for CC.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Hear hear! *caws*

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Aww, you’re too kind! Thanks, I’m glad to do our house proud! And points to whatever house @disqus_CPtOmLcjmO:disqus is in for giving me a run for my money. My Ravenclaw brain loves a healthy dose of good debate.

            I agree with your sentiment about all that information she has filed away. I think part of our awe in Jo is related to the fact that we are fully aware of just how much she actually does know about this world she created. She has clearly put so much thought and care into building the world, if not in published work, then at least in her own mind and is so often very forthcoming with that information, that to see it kind of fall by the wayside is disappointing. And perhaps that does speak to our sense of entitlement, but I think that is something of a natural effect created by her willingness to give us a glimpses into her brain that way. For me, and I’m obviously not the only one, very little of CC’s plot lines feels like it came from those many files and notebooks she has on the Potterverse. I would be willing to bet a hefty sum of money that there’s no mention of a pregnant Bellatrix in them, or Scorpius and Albus being around to mess with the Triwizard Tournament, or an alternate timeline where Cedric is a Death Eater.

          • Lisa

            Slytherin forever! And thanks, same for your insightful posts :)

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        I think the issue is that her words absolutely do mean something. The fact is she isn’t JUST saying “here’s what happened 19 years later”. She is CHANGING what she already established as happening 19 years later, in the epilogue, and also a number of things as they happened in the previous books, or as she led us to understand them as having happened. The problems we are having arise from the fact that she is contradicting herself. So yes, what she says does matter.

        The fact that she let Thorne actually write the script, rather than writing it herself, does indicate that she is certainly willing to let others mess around with her world. She didn’t decide herself that there should be a play, someone else approached her. She could have said “Yeah, that’s a great idea, however, I’m no playwright so I’m not sure I could pull that off”. Instead she said “Sure, great idea, but someone else is going to have to write it”. To me that is releasing a great deal of control for something that is supposed to be canon, regardless of how much input she gave in the creation of the story.

        • Lisa

          I don’t see as many contradictions as you do and I guess that’s where we differ. Yeah, she changed the rule about the time turners but so what? Her comments about the limits of time turners were mostly on Pottermore anyway not in the books. She’s also changed stuff about the Fidelius charm, within the books, as it fit her agenda. The woman makes mistakes or changes rules to suit the narrative, she’s always done this. CC doesn’t create more problems than any of the other seven books. Not to mention that many of these so-called contradictions are purely subjective anyway. Some might think this character or that characters is OOC but that’s not something everyone will agree on.

          To respond to your other comment, you’re basing your definition of canon on the seven books because to a first generation HP fan those are the most important ones. However to a new fan something like CC or FB or Pottermore are going to be what they are introduced to first so the books might not hold the same status. And besides, all this talk about rules is fun and all but at the end of the day would anyone say CC isn’t canon if it had been written entirely by Rowling no matter how many “rules” it broke? Doesn’t it all come down to authorship anyway in the end?

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            I just had to pop in and say that no matter what a new fan reads/watches first, the seven novels will ALWAYS trump all other canon. Their personal experience has no bearing on that fact.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Yeah, I’d agree that the extent to which we see contradictions and where, is the basis of our disagreement. I see much bigger contradictions made by CC then I do any of the books. Like, I have no idea what you mean by her changing information about the Fidelius charm within the book narrative. That is definitely something I never saw as being inconsistent in the series, but the treatment of it in CC certainly gives me pause. I do of course recognize that there are some inconsistencies, but for the most part I see them resulting from information via Pottermore, or interviews- like her miscalculations of the Hogwarts student body. I don’t see nearly as many inconsistencies just within the books themselves. I also don’t expect any fantasy series to be completely perfect in that sense, I doubt that there is a single one that is. However, the frequency of those contradictions is an indicator of the quality of the writing. If just a few, particularly those that don’t have great baring on the overarching themes or narrative structure and plot, then sure they can be overlooked, but the more there are, the more the story deteriorates. For me, CC has enough issues that cause not only its own story to suffer, but also our understanding of Harry’s story and the Potterverse. And no one has given me any rationale otherwise; not one good reason as to why those inconsistencies are worth overlooking because of something that CC adds to our understanding of the Potterverse. The only explanations I keep getting are “Because Jo says so” and “It’s the 8th story” which isn’t good enough because it’s not like the Potter story was incomplete. It was finished, it doesn’t need another story in order to be a completed work. Sure fans are always asking for more Maurauder stories, more Pottermore background, more next gen stories, but the truth is none of that is actually necessitated by the seven books themselves. That is for sure entitlement. It is nice to get them, and a lot of information we get outside the books does help us to understand the series better, I just don’t find CC to do that in any way.

            As to your second point, I complete disagree that a readers entry point into the Potter has any baring on canon. Harry Potter, as a novel, came first. It is the basis on which the entire Potterverse is built, no matter what one reads first. Everything outside of those novels is ancillary, and would not exist without Harry’s story. It doesn’t matter what fans like more, or were introduced to first. Would you say that someone who saw the movies but never bothered to read the books has as thorough an understanding of the story as they would if they hadn’t read the books? And, if JKR did write CC all by herself, and it was just as inconsistent with the previous canon as I and others find it to be now, then I absolutely think people would still be questioning its canonicity.

            What I said about letting others mess with her world has nothing to do with fans deciding anything. I’m not saying it isn’t within her rights to do that, it certainly is, and it has nothing to do with what fans feel about it. My point was only that it is an indicator of her having a pretty lax approach to this world that she has created and has previously been so protective of, especially as something that she deems canon, versus it being more akin to adaptation or ancillary works.

          • Lisa

            What CC and DH have in common is that they’re both full of convenient plot devices without which the story could not have happened or without which the story would have turned out very differently. It isn’t a contradiction that a Death Eater created a powerful time turner but it’s a convenient plot device. Likewise, it isn’t a contradiction that there are wand rules we knew nothing about until book seven but it’s a convenient plot device without which Harry could not have won. It isn’t a contradiction that a person can be their own secret keeper (like Bill) but it’s very convenient that James and Lily didn’t choose that option. And so on. I would also say that since DH is a part of the main story and the grand finale no less, plot holes or contrivances in it bother me even more than in a spin-off where there is nothing at stake anyway.

            Ultimately, CC isn’t about time turners or any other plot mechanics, it’s about dealing with your past, accepting your legacy and, in Harry’s case, your trauma. The time turner is just a plot device needed to tell the story. Thematically, it has several things in common with the main series: the father-son relationships and their problems, the foolishness of using magic to solve one’s problems, redemption (of Malfoy for example), the trauma of unloved children/orphans, as well as things coming full circle, like Albus’s friendship with Scorpius which stands in contrast to their fathers’ relationship while at school. Did we need to know all these things? Maybe not but they’re certainly interesting. Harry’s relationship to his son does add another dimension to him, his relationship with Ginny is finally one of equals not heroes and damsels in distress, Draco Malfoy’s behavior at school and his relationship with his father is also explored, likewise the Bella/Voldy dynamics. The only character which loses in CC is Ron, IMO, but that’s subjective of course.

            So while I see problems with it from a plot point of view, the characterization doesn’t suffer and there’s plenty of new fun information for fans to sink their teeth into and speculate on how that fits into the series. Maybe it wasn’t necessary but then again neither is any of the information on Pottermore. The books should stand on their own and they do.

            And yes, I think there is a generational aspect to this whole thing. The books will always be first, yes, but as Alison said the Potterverse can also be viewed as a story in itself. It’s no longer just Harry’s story, it obviously isn’t, considering Fantastic Beasts (which btw also has its inconsistencies in how magic works). The original idea, ie boy with glasses fights dark lord, has developed and is no longer the only story worth telling from that universe (especially considering how much the third person narrative in the books was limiting what info she could give us about the other characters).

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Ah I see what you meant about the Fidelius thing, thanks for clarifying.

            See, I guess this is also where we differ, because while I see plot devices, as well as contradictions in DH, I don’t see nearly as many of them as I do in CC. Also, I find that a lot of those things in CC are not only convenient plot devices, but also contradictory to canon at the same time, and that the overall narrative hinges quite heavily on them.

            I do like all the things you mentioned as far as themes and character exploration in the play. I think those things are where the value in it as a story, and a piece of theatre, really lie. However, I think if it were going to be considered canon, it could, and should, have explored those themes and characters in a way that didn’t rely so heavily on breaking with canon, or convenient, contradictory, nonsensical plot-devices. This is why I think it is better to look at CC as a stand alone work that has it’s own merits and it’s own story, rather than trying to place it within a canonical context. That doesn’t mean we can’t analyze it with the original series in mind, but for me, it just makes sense to look at it as an exploratory piece that is asking “what if..” rather than “this is the what definitely happened”.

          • Lisa

            Do you have any examples of these contradictions with canon? I’m genuinely asking because while I see small things here and there I don’t think it’s that bad.

            To be honest what bothers me most about it is the dialogue because the lines are so cheesy and seem taken from a Hollywood teen movie. I definitely agree that it’s not JKR’s writing style at all which is why I’d rather ignore the play itself and focus on the story and events, if that makes sense.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            But it is a contradiction that Albus and Scorpius could see the Potter house when they went back in time, as it was under the Fidelius charm. And it’s a contradiction that Lily and James would be strolling around town with baby Harry in plain sight of all, when Lily’s letter to Sirius said James was getting stir crazy because they couldn’t leave the house (and because strolling around when you know you’re being hunted by LV is just plain STUPID).

          • Lisa

            Yeah, but those things don’t seem like such grave mistakes to me that it makes me doubt the play’s canonicity. The books are full of small mistakes like that.

  • Natan Baessi

    Personally, there are two rules that constitute a work as “Harry Potter” canon for me:

    1) I has to be authored by J.K. Rowling herself. By authored, I mean that her involvelment has to be tangible, not including things she approved and were realized by others.

    2) It has to be a complete creative work. By that I mean, it has to be something published, with some editorial care, not just some random tweets or interviews.

    The Cursed Child fits the second rule perfectly, but it fails the first rule, so I strike-it off as non-canonical material. It goes to the same pile of material such as the eight movies, video-games, etc; as there is some J.K. Rowling involvement (varying degrees) on its development, but it is mostly authored by others, with her voice not being present enough to grant it a canonical status.

    And honestly, as much as I respect Jo’s opinion on it, generally the author’s opinion is not taken in consideration that much in these debates.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      This is a good way of looking at it. I think this definitely speaks to the purpose of canon and why it matters. It is slightly stricter than my own sense of canon, but the more I think about and the debate the issue, the more I find myself in favor of that. Also, it is has been my impression that the author’s opinion isn’t generally given so much consideration and weight as Jo’s is, but I honestly am not sure why I have that impression so it’s nice to hear someone else say it.

  • Natan Baessi

    Also, from an interview with Jack Thorne for the Telegraph that kind of demonstrates the level of involvement J.K. Rowling had with it:

    The script was wholly Thorne’s own, based on a story he had devised with Rowling and the show’s director, John Tiffany.

    “I was also lucky in that she [Rowling] was happy to collaborate. There were lots of points where she could have pulled the plug, where she could have said ‘no, I don’t think this is right’. But she never did. She is too kind a person to do that.”

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      Exactly. She chose kindness over quality. Just as I think her calling it canon was the “kind” thing to do for her friends when she didn’t want their play to bomb.

    • DoraNympha

      It shows. I didn’t know about this exact quote when I left a comment yesterday that the play reads as if whoever edited it wasn’t strong enough but I didn’t know it was actually the case. This is the reason why students choose to have strict instructors to oversee their theses: yeah it’ll be less pleasant than if you chose the nicest teacher, but the end product will be better for it.

  • Maybe we need to look at Canon differently. Certain works that come out relate a bit more closely to canon than other works. It might help if we look at the whole mess as a tree, like a family tree. We have the main 7 books as the base. Pottermore and the Hogwarts books branch off, closest to the 7 books. Then Rowling’s twitter branches off, a bit farther away from the books. Then the Potter films and play branch off as well. None of it is technically canon. It’s all bonus material that relates to canon, some relating closer than others.

    I tried to visualize this. It failed, but I spent the time to make it so here it is – http://imgur.com/a/Nhl8T

    • DoraNympha

      Lol at the pic. By the way, and this is without the intention of resurrecting ship wars, the thing is, the dance may have been canon but not the romantic tension intended by Yates, nor the song that hadn’t existed for 10 more years in the correct timeline. (And I love both the movies and Nick Cave.)

      What I’ve learnt from CC about canon: Compartmentalization = peace of mind.

      • I only used the dance because it was the first scene I thought of that wasn’t in the books. It easily could have been in the books, but wasn’t. Cursed Child could have easily been in the books, but wasn’t.

        • DoraNympha

          To be honest, not just the dance but like normal friend stuff, like rubbing your mate’s back when they come back inside from their watch in the cold snowy woods and giving them a blanket and a cup of tea, like these things probably transpired between Harry and Hermione all the time. But it’s a good example of what we can take away from the films and what to reject, and I plan to follow the same with CC and Fantastic Beasts, too. Thus, yes for all the Harry-Hermione friendly interaction that could have easily been in the books but knowing that romance-wise Hermione was crying herself to sleep over Ron, who found his way back because of her, while Harry was staring at Ginny’s dot on the Marauder’s Map. I hope to do the same picking-and-choosing with FB and CC, even if it’s a bit complicated. For example, I don’t mind Newt’s expulsion or McGonagall’s being Headmistress, Jo’s allowed to change her mind, but the CC script doesn’t override the epilogue. I like your phrasing “could easily have been in the books”, because that’s the thing: the dance, the science wizard, Al’s sorting, and for that matter, Dean’s, McGonagall’s, Lupin’s, Umbridge’s, or Lockhart’s backstories, the Dumbledore/Grindelwald thing, the making of Horcruxes could have been in the books but weren’t. It’s like all this is at the airport of a country they don’t have a passport to, on neutral ground, technically there within the country but not really, waiting to be let in to walk the streets and become part of the community&network already built.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      A tree is what I imagined, too, to visualize how in this case with Potter the original source and the works that followed are related. And adding to your comparisons, this particular tree has lots of smaller and bigger fruit hanging on it, representing fan fiction and headcanons.

  • Chikowashere

    I like the Malfoy’s in Cursed Child. That’s the only canon I’m accepting. Imo Cursed Child was just a fanfic that made me fan sick.

    Good play, just not canon. AVPM is more canon imo. I’ll take Quirelldemort over Delphi anyday. (Can you tell I’m a Gryffindor?)

  • Well… good luck hosts!

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    Arghhadjgjrkf….disqus is being wonky (we broke the internet guys) and the comment I wanted to reply to isn’t showing up, so I’m dropping this here.

    What this boils down to for me is that while we all have our own interpretations, there is still a logic and purpose behind canonicity, otherwise it wouldn’t even be a thing that fandoms talked about. CC defies that logic and purpose in many ways- its contradictory, it’s authenticity is questionable, etc.

    It’s like having a farmer present you with an orange, yet tell you it’s an apple- “Well, I grew it myself so if I say it’s an apple that’s what it is”. No, sorry, it’s not.

    • Love that

    • Lisa

      Except that an apple is an objective “fact” which doesn’t depend upon anyone to define it whereas in a fictional universe the only facts that exist are the ones the author decides.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        …until she starts changing or seemingly can’t decide with certainty herself what those facts are.

  • Jared Jenkins

    Who do you think is this the head playwright is?

  • the head girl

    I just finished reading all the comments, and DANG, y’all. This debate does my soul good.

    My main issue with the debate was when Alison asked if only the episodes of a TV show written by the show runner were canon, which, of course not. When a TV show is being written, it is building the canon. John Logan wrote most of Penny Dreadful, but the episodes he didn’t write are just as canon as the ones he did.

    I consider CC to be paracanon – within the wider universe, but not necessarily part of the true “canon.” I guess it’s similar to the Star Wars EU before Disney got rid of it. I think it was Kat who said she puts different “canons” in different “boxes” and I’m pretty much the same way.

    I will also admit that part of the reason I don’t care for CC is because so much of the show takes place in the Ministry, so much official Ministry stuff happens, and Percy doesn’t even get a name drop. I realize I am the president and only member of the Percy Weasley Fanclub, but it seems a shame to have a character that is the Ministry’s biggest fanboy and then not use him at all.

    • DoraNympha

      Can I join the club? Like the one thing he wanted above all was recognition and yet not a single line was given. Oh the irony. But then again, I don’t regard CC canon so it might be for the better that Percy, George, Teddy etc. didn’t get dragged into this mess! (Ministry memo: Shall we put it on the Club agenda to campaign for a Percy episode?)

      • the head girl

        There is always room in the fanclub! I kept looking for him in the big Ministry scenes and nada. I know he’s a minor character (except in my heart) but it seemed like a real oversight.

        Also yes, Percy episode! Or at least Weasley episode. I’ve been trying to figure out discussion points for one.

        • DoraNympha

          Well, I think there’s plenty for a stand-alone episode on Percy, or each Weasley respectively. What his character and arc represent, whether there’s a defence/justification for his actions (obviously I think there are plenty, without being an “apologist” about it). Is his pompous self an act or is that when he is himself? The spy accusation and the connotations and potentials behind it. Was Arthur right/at fault? What really was said in that fight that Percy up and left? Isn’t his ambition just the same as that of Fred and George? His relationship with certain characters, justifications for his sorting (I am so against the quick assumption that he should have been in Slytherin btw, I think he is a meritocrat in rather a Ravenclaw way but I digress). I think his real transgression/transformation wasn’t even the redemption arc but seeing things for what they are at last – he must have been so smart academically but his judgement is horrible. He recommended Divination, he fell for Umbridge’s facade, he didn’t realise Crouch was bewitched (although I will defend him on this adamantly, come on, he barely/didn’t know Crouch before we was Imperiused, noticing something’s up with the guy was not his responsibility). What was he doing during DH? How did he catch on when the regime changed?

          Also, wouldn’t it be fantastic if they could get Chris Rankin on the show again? I wonder if that’s possible….. (hence the open discussion about this, albeit off-topic, wink-wink-nudge-nudge, Alohomora).

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Omg, I’m 100% on board for a Percy episode, especially if they can get Chris Rankin back for it. You’re a genius.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      What if.. just spitballing here…after the events of HBP and DH Percy became thoroughly disenchanted with government, said “screw this nonsense” and left to go work on developing safer, indestructible, cauldrons. He’s got some experience there, after all.

      • DoraNympha

        LOL I’m sure cauldron bottoms were excellently regulated under Percy Weasley’s examplary authority. I’d like to think he became Minister in some distant future, introduced voting, and lost the next/first election. That sounds like him.

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          HAHA! That would certainly be a lovely and fitting irony to his story arc. And imagine the one-liners from George making fun of him for it.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Oh god, I just made myself sad though thinking about George teasing Percy without Fred…forget I said anything…

          • DoraNympha

            No, it’s got to be discussed at some point (I actually would love to know if it was ever in the air or would they have liked to film it or how if there’s really an episode one day). Here’s something to cheer us all up, though: George would totally teach Percy’s kids how to prank him. That’s the kind of next gen thing I would have been so here for… (we’re on topic, vaguely, see? :D)

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Agreed.. and points awarded for the image of Percy’s kids pranking him a la Fred and George.

          • DoraNympha

            (I just realised Percy missed out on seeing Fred in the shop. Note to self: find someone to take ten points off Ravenclaw for my being a downer.)

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            I guess that’s both of us losing points for Ravenclaw then..damn.

      • the head girl

        You have no idea how here I am for Percy Weasley, Cauldron Tycoon. One time (for something I never finished, I think) I wrote a long, cauldron-quality related rant for Percy and it was great. I think he’d be awesome at it.

  • travellinginabluebox

    I wanted to share my journey and thoughts regarding CC, as I struggle putting myself in either team:

    I have seen CC for the first time end of June 2016, so roughly a month before it officially opened, because I got lucky in the Friday Forty. So I experienced the play in an unbiased way. I didn’t know anything, apart from it starting with the epiloge. So on that day I went on a magical journey and was blown away by the magic of it all. I went to see it on a Sunday, so I had both parts on the same day, so about 6 hours of mind-blowing magic! The friend and fellow MN colleague I went with, was just like me amazed by the magic of the play. We discussed everything we learnt in the break and were obviously anxious what would happen in part 2 after Umbridge had just come back.
    After the play we met the lovely and brilliant cast at the stage door, who not only shared inside tidbits but also asked us, what we thought and if we liked it. I learned that everyone working at the theatre (and I mean everyone!) had to get officially sorted on Pottermore, and that the staff of the theatre wear the correct uniforms. So if you see staff wearing a Hufflepuff tie, they are legit Hufflepuffs. Another little insight I learned from none other than Anthony Boyle (aka Scorpius Malfoy) was, that the cast were also sorted and he is a Slytherin. The cast also does a weekly house cup challenge, were the members can earn points for excellent acting and lose points for tardiness and such. Which is such a lovely and excellent idea and makes you feel the Potter family vibe.

    After the script got released I got confronted by “haters” of the play for the first time, because there were not that many people to talk to … #keepthesecrets
    And whilst I see the points that get brought up, why the story line isn’t the best and maybe even contradicting canon, I still love the play so much! I don’t have an issue with the time travelling on a whole, because it gives us the opportunity to see what could have been. We see a world where Voldemort has one the war and it is scary!
    I do however see the issue with the time travelling as a whole and the concept of changing everything back to normal, to end up in regular time line again confuses me and doesn’t make sense to me either. I am regularly confronted by time travelling in my other fandom, but this here just seems inconsistent. So why the time travelling on a whole is ok with me, I just want to understand the logic behind it and I fear I do not see any! This is the major issue for me.
    The trolley witch I can overlook, because that is just theatre being weird and funny to me, or the change of the epiloge itself, I would agree with Alison. The time travelling though…

    But that didn’t stop me from seeing the play again this past December. I experienced all the love and joy once more and got to pay more attention to what happened aside from the action and I still loved it! I also got to see Kat’s reaction to the play, who as you all know doesn’t like the story at all. But as someone who has read the story first and experienced the play second, she could still see the magic of it.

    So I suppose, my conclusion is that I think it is canon, but that the time travelling puts me off a bit. I hope, everyone will get to see the magic of the play at one point, even if that is just a dream of mine. Also, sorry everyone for this incredibly long comment. Hope I didn’t scare away everyone :-)

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Haha, don’t worry about the long comment- this week is full of them! I’m guilty of it myself (like, loads of long comments). It’s just bound to happen with this particular topic. I’m actually glad you shared the info about the cast and crew sortings here, because I thought that was super cool when you told me in our skype convo. Plus you are still the only one that I’ve heard talk about that, so it’s a nice little tidbit to share with everyone.

      • travellinginabluebox

        Yeah, I think they were more open to share those story back before it officially opened, because the stage door was just less crowded and they took the time to properly talk with you.
        I also will never forget how Noma (aka Hermione) asked us for our names and then introduced herself. That was just so incredibly down-to-earth and she was soooo nice! I am really glad that the cast is not only super talented but also just as awesome as the movie cast.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    One thing I’m confused about, and it really has nothing to do with canon, but more the origins of CC. So Jo said that thing about this story needing to be a play and we would understand why once we saw it- which ok, fair enough. But then we also have the “Sonya came to my office saying ‘I’d like to do a play'” thing. To me, that first statement makes it sounds like the story was perhaps being tossed around, and then Jo decided that it would work best as a play. However, that second statement makes it clear that it was “let’s do a play” and then the story came second. This feels a little chicken or the egg to me. Like, well duh, if it was originally conceived for the stage then of course it’s “meant” to be a play. That is different than saying “oh here’s this story, but it really works best for the theatre”. I guess I’m not sure what the point of the “this needs to be a play” bit was, apart from just silencing fans whining about it being a script and not a book. In which case it isn’t a very good arguement if the truth is really that she was just approached about doing a play and was down for doing a play. Why not just say that.

    • travellinginabluebox

      You are right, that is two different things entirely. I must have missed that interview where she stated it had to be a play, because I always thought that it was Sonya Friedman, who came up with the idea and because JKR loves theatre she was like “Hey, that might work. Let’s give it a go.”
      Either way, I am sure though, that the story was considered with deep care, as Jo would not just hand her world over to someone else to have a go. And those interview tidbits are always hard, as we only get bits and not the whole story. She might have also phrased that differently in the video above than it was originally. It is really hard to tell for us.

  • andrewilley

    I’ve FINALLY finished listening to this episode over several half-hour walking chunks (it is nearly three hours long!). I kept thinking of things I wanted to say, but by the time I’d got home they’d gone. :( Anyway, I’m going to post three thoughts (in separate posts to make it more readable):

    First, the question of whether Cursed Child can be considered canon or not was answered fairly early on in the mammoth podcast. It really comes down to the simple question of whether it was written by – or even loosely based on a story from – J.K. Rowling?

    From everything we have learned to date, the answer appears to be no. It was an original concept presented to J.K. Rowling by playwright Jack Thorne, with further input from John Tiffany and the production team. The outline was then fleshed out in meetings by that trio, and then Jack Thorne actually wrote it. J.K. Rowling was pretty busy working on the screenplay for the Fantastic Beasts film at the time, however she did stay involved enough to ensure that the result was not wholly inappropriate for her characters, and she did approve of the final play.

    All of which means that Cursed Child is a work of third-party fiction (fan fiction if you like) which, while being based on J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world, is not actually PART of that world.

    As an independent stage play it is a wonderful live experience, well acted and superbly presented, and it is definitely worth seeing if you get a chance. I saw it shortly after the official opening and overall really enjoyed the show.

    However what it most emphatically is NOT is canonically the eight Harry Potter story.

    I’m guessing that from a marketing point of view they all felt that it needed a solid endorsement though, as it sounds a lot more enticing as a by-line than “Jack Thorne presents his story about the Harry Potter characters, which J.K. Rowling says she likes”, which is closer to the truth.

    • Lisa

      “From everything we have learned to date, the answer appears to be no. ”
      So you’re saying she was lying when she said they developed it together? I’m curious as to your evidence for this.

      • andrewilley

        JKR initially said (https://www.facebook.com/JKRowling/posts/490670751041546):

        “Over the years I have received countless approaches about turning Harry Potter into a theatrical production, but Sonia and Colin’s vision was the only one that really made sense to me, and which had the sensitivity, intensity and intimacy I thought appropriate for bringing Harry’s story to the stage.”

        and in an interview for Wonderland Magazine, February/March 2014:

        “Yes that was a really interesting idea that Sonia Friedman came up with. I’ve been so resistant for a long time about theatre productions. Quite a few people wanted to do a Harry Potter musical. I didn’t really see Harry as a musical so we said no to all of that, but Sonia came along with a very thoughtful, very interesting idea. I’m quite excited about that.”

        And Sonia Friedman stated in an interview:

        “[JKR] had no intention of doing a theater show, but we when explained what we wanted to do, and how we were going to do it, she seemed to be fine.”

        So broadly speaking, Cursed Child does not appear to be J.K. Rowling’s original idea. It was initially presented to her by the theatrical team,and then she, Jack and John brainstormed the overall story and John wrote it. So yes, it was a three (or more) way collaboration, but since she was not actually the author I can’t see how it can be canon in the same way that the seven books were.

        • Lisa

          Well from what I gathered Fantastic Beasts wasn’t entirely her idea either. She was approached with an idea to make a movie about Newt and insisted that she should write the script. So the situations are similar in that way. But just because the initiative wasn’t hers with CC doesn’t mean she wasn’t involved in the creative process, as she says she was.

  • andrewilley

    Second point: it did seem a bit irrelevant to spend quite so long nit-picking a few odd changes in wording or character involvement from the Epilogue of book seven when compared to the opening of Cursed Child.

    This is a stage play not a book, and so the content was freely adapted to fit the new medium and also was there to set up the forthcoming new story.

    Even the film series took liberties with how the book ended, as it is an adaptation not a carbon-copy. I thought the gist and sentiment were pretty true to the original material though, if not every single actual word.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      I think this is an important element when it come to canon though. Sure, the changes are totally fine if you look at it as an adaptation of sorts, but if we’re trying to argue that CC is canon, then those changes are important, because they are altering previously established canon. It essentially creates two versions of a scene, which doesn’t make sense canonically.

      • andrewilley

        I’m saying it is NOT canon – although I think the movies are closer as at least they are adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s work. the very start of CC could also be classed that way (unlike the rest).

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          Oh I know, me too, I’m just saying that’s why it was discussed in such detail.

  • andrewilley

    Finally (to avoid this getting ridiculously long!): Time Turners. The device we saw used in the stage play had a completely different operational methodology to the one we saw Hermione using in book three.

    Hermione’s Time Turner was a very subtle and clever concept which merely provided the user with the opportunity to experience a short period of their recent history again. When Hermione and Harry used it near the end of the book, they didn’t so much “travel” in time as re-wound and experienced the same events for a second time from a different perspective, as duplicates of their contemporaneous selves. There was no “returning to the present” as they merely continued to live through that period again until they got to the moment from whence their original selves had departed.

    Everything that they did during the rewind had in fact already happened (although their original selves were not aware of this fact, for example with the casting of the Patronus) and there were even several occasions where their first instances noticed tell-tell signs but didn’t realise what they were observing.

    Nothing at all was actually changed from the way that events originally transpired, but in the second run-through we got to find out WHY those events happened the way they did, and realise that some of the things which we first saw were not quite as they seemed. There was no temporal “butterfly effect” to worry about as nothing had changed, we just saw the same things happen twice but from a different point of view.

    In Cursed Child though, time travel is a much blunter and cruder tool, more akin to regular science-fiction fare such as Doctor Who’s TARDIS. The characters travel back a number of years, and then rather than continuing to live on through the intervening years and consequently growing older in the process, they ‘jumped’ back to the present. Their actions in the past could change the present, as they were not merely part of the exiting flow of events but creating a new and different history.

    However their actions gradually diverging from the version of history that had originally occurred (mostly in relation to Cedric Diggory, but also with other characters). Thus after they returned from each trip, the subsequent period had been subtly – and often not so subtly – altered from what we (or they) remembered.

    The fact that their final trip was to return to the time of the death of Harry’s parents, and event right back at the start of book one, means that everything since then could have been rewritten – although hopefully only in relatively minor ways since they did try to minimise the damage to the timeline.

    So if you were to pick up a copy of Philosopher’s Stone sometime after the events of the play had concluded, you might find the narrative had been altered in small ways, and perhaps in bigger ways from the fourth book onwards. All of which would very neatly explain why characterisations have changed from those that we previously remembered, and even dialogue in the Epilogue, as it is in effect part of a completely new version of the story which we have not experienced before.

    All of which shows just how clever J.K. Rowling was when she originally wrote the Time Turner storyline, and why she subsequently arranged for them to be removed from her world to avoid further complications later. It’s a shame that Jack Thorne didn’t seem to understand that in his haste to involve as much Potter history as he could.

    • I also would like to point out that Time Turners are not naturally magic items. Like the flying car, Time Turners have been enchanted by wizards. This is why I always thought that there was a limit on how far back one could turn time. Not for safety reasons, but magical capacity reasons. The magic involved in turning time is surely complex, otherwise every wizard might be doing it. I can’t imagine there being an item that was enchanted to take you anywhere in time as this would require an extreme amount of difficult and possibly unstable magic.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Yeah, which raises some questions about Theodore Nott. I mean, we know he did pretty well in school, but was never shown to be some sort of wizarding genius. Going along with what you said about the complexities of time-turning magic, this seems like some Dumbledore-level stuff here, so unless Nott is some sort of specialist to a high degree in this, why would Malfoy approach him about it. “Hey man, I need a time-turner” “sure, I got you bro, no prob..”

        ( It is Nott who is supposed to have developed it right? Or am I getting that wrong and he was only arrested with one…?) ugh…CC, confusing as ever.

        • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

          I was under the impression that he created them as well, but now that you mention it, I’m not certain. It WOULD take an exceptionally skilled wizard to do so (presumably one who worked in the Dept. of Mysteries and had experience with them). Confusing indeed!

          • travellinginabluebox

            For some reason that never bothered me and now that I properly think about it, I realized why: In a lot of fanfiction out there the Notts are always described as this family that collects dark artefacts and are actually no Death Eaters, just merely interested in the artefacts themselves. However, that is just fanfiction!

            I consulted the wiki (Pottermore doesn’t have a profile for him) and that is what I could find out:
            Theodore is a clever, solitary boy who has never felt compelled to join “gangs,” such as the one headed by Draco. He is seen as a loner who does things by himself. Although he does seem fit to join in laughing at Hermione’s blood-status.

            Full bio here: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Theodore_Nott

        • I would expect somebody like Dumbledore to be able to tap into the “raw” magic involved in turning time, just as he can tap into magic to turn himself invisible without the need of a cloak. But to go back 20+ years? I really don’t think any wizard would be able to do that!

          • UmbridgeRage

            Even Dumbledore’s ability had limits that he would have been able to exceed because he was master of the most powerful wand ever. The fact that Harry was able to repair his original wand proves that. We see nothing that would lead us to believe that Nott was such an exceptional wizard.

          • great point!

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      Question: Earlier in the discussion, @snapesmanybuttons:disqus pointed out a quote from Prizoner that seems to go against the fixed timeline theory:

      “Professor McGonagall told me what awful things have happened when wizards have meddled with time… Loads of them ended up killing their past or future selves by mistake!”

      I’m just trying to think this out. If you kill your past self, I imagine your future self would disappear (poof!). But if you kill your future self, couldn’t you simply then choose not to go back in time, therefore you would never encounter your future self and, therefore, die? Or would fate somehow make you “have to” go back in time, and things would still play out, like a self-fulfilling prophecy? If so, then it’s still fixed timeline…it’s just that those individuals weren’t careful enough and were always destined to die in that fashion.

      • DoraNympha

        Well, let’s look at the possibilities.

        If you go back in time and make a mistake so much that you kill your past self, then there’s no self to go back in time to kill you. This either nullifies itself or creates a loop that a person is forever stuck in, dying and not dying, dying and not dying. Same with killing ancestors and I’m inclined to think that nothing actually consequential happens because if you pulled even one person out of history, everyone’s existence/lives would change.

        CC is multiverse but HP works with the grandfather paradox fixed timeline theory. Other possibilities: the universe might be preventing you killing your past self no matter what, or maybe you can kill yourself but that would damage the time-space continuum of the world or whatever and therefore physics/magic would collapse.

        If you go back in time and your past self kills your future self, then, again, your time-traveling self would already have killed yourself so you would remember that. This would be a strange way to commit suicide but if you’ve already killed a person looking like you then why would you travel back in time later if not with suicidal intent? That’s not actually impossible to do with the Time-Turner as we know it.

        Other potential awful things: overdoing it and therefore ending up in a Vanishing Cabinet type limbo between times, splinching yourself between times, etc. which is why you can’t/mustn’t travel more than 5 hours and have to make sure your past/future self doesn’t see you, damaging the TT in the past/future beyond repair and having to live life like that, ageing centuries upon return… I bet in the developmental phases there were people who went back in time and erased their memories…

      • You could never possibly in any way kill your past self. Time travel is extremely difficult to discuss through text chat, but I’ll try.

        Everything in your past will always equal your present. No matter what you go back in time to try to change, your present will always remain your present as a direct result of your actions in the past. If you kill you past self, well, then your past self will never become your present self and will never have the change to go back in time to kill your past self. Future you will is still a result of past you. If you kill past you, future you cannot exist and therefore you cannot kill past you.