Hello, everyone! As I look outside my window, the world seems normal. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping. It’s almost as if a devastating massacre of character and plot had not occurred. It’s almost as if a beloved cultural icon had not been destroyed. It’s almost as if The Bloodsucking Cashgrab, also known as Harry Potter and The Cursed Child had not been released. This might be a little ranty, but I’m quite angry, and sad, and disappointed about how the whole thing has turned out. Spoilery stuff ahead, but c’mon…are you really going to London to see it?
Recently, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened in London for a series of preview showings before the official opening in July. I have been ambivalent about this continuation of Harry Potter ever since I heard of it, partly because I’m a person who is very resistant to change, especially if it happens to my beloved pieces of pop-culture, but also because a lot of beloved icons are being “revived” lately and I think that it’s an awful trend. Nevertheless, I wanted to believe in The Cursed Child because that’s just what you do when you really love something. Like lots of people in my generation, Harry Potter is a seminal part of our adolescence. I re-read the books every year, and watch the movies too. The seventh book ended the series in a perfect place. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were adults, with children and stable jobs. That was all we knew and all we needed to know. Harry Potter wasn’t supposed to be about adult life. It was about one boy’s journey to adulthood, and that journey happened to be impeded by evil wizards and basilisks and general magical mayhem. J.K left Harry at a wonderful place. Now that we knew that he had lived to adulthood and had finally become a semi-normal part of society, we could leave him. All of the years after, if we ever felt inclined to fill them in, were left up to our imagination. Then, for some reason that I cannot possibly understand, J.K decided to resurrect the whole gang to tell a story that doesn’t need to be told!
And that isn’t even the worst thing about The Cursed Child. The worst thing is that not only did J.K Rowling needlessly write a new Harry Potter story, she wrote a story that ruins her own canon. If you’ve looked at the news surrounding the play or followed J.K’s Twitter, you’ll have noticed that she has been spreading this hashtag called #KeepTheSecrets and one that says #DontBeWormtail. This is to keep the people who’ve seen the play from spreading spoilers all around the internet. That is infuriating because for one, it’s not like The Cursed Child is a movie that everyone can go to a theater and see, it’s a fucking play that is being released in one theater in London, so only the privileged few can see it, and two, after reading these spoilers, it’s clear that this warning is to keep people in the dark so that they won’t know how badly she fucked up. Despite her wishes, some playgoers have posted spoilers on Reddit and Tumblr and there’s an entire plot synopsis on the Daily Beast. I’m going to talk about a few of these plot points, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now amigo.
From reading the plot synopsis, we gather that the play is mostly about Harry’s son, Albus, and Malfoy’s son Scorpius, and how they decide to travel back in time to stop Cedric Diggory’s murder during the Triwizard Tournament. Now, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, your first reaction might be:
Because you can’t do that! YOU CAN’T DO THAT! In the HP books, time travel is self consistent, so even if you go back in time, you won’t be able to change anything. We saw this in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Harry was saved in the future by a hidden person’s patronus, and then realized when he went back in time that he was the one who cast the patronus. But in The Cursed Child, when Albus and Scorpius go back in time to save Cedric Diggory, they do change the future, which means the entire premise of The Cursed Child, from the very beginning, creates a fucking GIGANTIC plot hole for the whole HP series. If Time Turners really do allow wizards to go back in time and change the future, then why doesn’t Harry save his parents from being murdered? Why doesn’t someone kill Voldemort when he’s a little baby? Why doesn’t Harry save Fred from being killed at the Battle of Hogwarts? If the Time Turner allows wizards to literally re-write the past, then Harry could have saved every single person he loves from dying and there would’ve been no story. The funny thing is that years ago, J.K said that she regretted introducing the Time Turners into HP because they gave wizards too much power. That’s why she had them all destroyed in the Fifth book, therefore preventing anymore fans from asking why Harry didn’t just save Sirius or his parents. She also made Dumbledore put in a cautionary warning saying that if you went back in time, fucking awful things could happen to you and that wizards had killed themselves from fright. But I guess it’s totally okay to base your entire play around time travel with a Time Turner because that doesn’t ruin seven books of canon, not one bit.
So already the premise of the time travel is crazy. But of course, if there is a time-travel element, there must be alternate universes to show the characters how fucked up it is to mess with time. J.K did a fantastic job with these alternate universes because they’re fucking awful. Sorry for the swearing, by the way. I’m just really incensed by this. Anyway, Albus and Scorpius decide to stop Cedric from dying by sabotaging his performance in the Dragon round of the Triwizard Cup. Somehow, this works? But this opens up a whole new can of worms. If Cedric doesn’t win the tournament, then neither does Harry, because Cedric was the one who gave Harry the mermaid egg clue. And if Harry doesn’t win the Tournament, that means he never makes it to the graveyard, which means that Voldemort never even gains a body because he needed Harry’s blood to make it happen, which just means that none of the other books happen GAH!
As a result of saving Cedric, an alternate universe is created where Ron never marries Hermione and other horrible things happen. Don’t ask me why this would happen, because Cedric had no effect on their relationship, but I guess it does. Then Albus and Scorpius go back in time again to change shit, having not learned a single thing from their first botched attempt, and this time the alternate universe they created has Umbridge as headmaster and Harry having been killed in the Battle of Hogwarts. And the reason behind this is because, apparently, after ruining Cedric’s chances of becoming the Triwizard Champion, he became an angry scene kid, joined the Death Eaters, and helped usher in the era of Voldemort.
This aspect of the plot makes me think that The Cursed Child was mostly written by co-writers Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. To write that Cedric Diggory, the boy whose only characteristic was to be the Paul Rudd of Hogwarts, became a Death Eater after losing the Triwizard Tournament to Harry Potter is ridiculous. And you know why I know that? Because Cedric was fucking MURDERED because of Harry Potter and was totally chill with it. He helped Harry beat Voldemort in the graveyard! He’s the last person who would care about losing a tournament and he certainly never would’ve become a Death Eater because of it. Cedric was such a straight arrow that he was practically a Mormon. And anyways, the Triwizard Tournament is a big deal but it’s not that big of a deal. Harry wins the whole damn thing and no one really cares afterwards. I don’t think the Triwizard Tournament was ever mentioned again after the fifth book! It’s not like you gain immortal fame, it’s more like you become Miss America for a year and then everyone forgets about you. And this isn’t the only characterization that isn’t consistent. A prominent conflict in the play is that Harry doesn’t get along with Albus because he’s in Slytherin. He even says that sometimes he wishes Albus wasn’t his son.
Alright, that’s cool. That’s fine. Fatherless Harry Potter who spends the whole series pining after his parents would tell his own son that he wishes he was never born. That’s definitely something that Harry would do. And, after telling Albus in the seventh book that it didn’t matter if he was a Slytherin because he LITERALLY NAMED HIM AFTER A SLYTHERIN, he decides that being a Slytherin is a bad thing. This is not nonsense. It is not nonsense at all.
But the absolute worst plot point of all revolves around the very title of the play, The Cursed Child. Harry doesn’t want Albus to hang out with Scorpius because there are rumors in the Wizarding World that Scorpius is actually Voldemort’s illegitimate son. Then comes the plottiest plot twist of all–there is a Cursed Child, and it isn’t Scorpius, it’s Delphie, who is the illegitimate child of VOLDEMORT AND BELLATRIX.
WHAT THE FUCK? How could J.K Rowling have let this horrible nonsense become a play and let people pay for it and let them watch it? How on Earth did this happen? This is like saying that Sauron had a child with one of his orks. This is like saying that the demon from Insidious had a child with the woman in black. This is like…I can’t even think of any more examples that would illustrate how unlikely and physically impossible this would be. Voldemort wasn’t even a human when he supposedly conceived a child with Bellatrix. He was a disgusting bag of bones and wax made from the blood of a teenager. His body had died and decayed! He had lived in a snake, and on someone’s head and in a diary! His soul was fractured into seven fucking pieces and he didn’t even have a working nose, yet somehow he conceived a child on Bellatrix, who is also a barely functioning human who is rotting inside from all of the dark magic she uses and lived in the cesspool known as Azkaban for 13 years! And even if the physical was possible, which it’s not, why the fuck would Voldemort have sex with anybody? He’s not a person, he’s a force of concentrated evil. He doesn’t feel love, or pleasure, or human desire. All he wants is power. There have been thousands of words of fan-fiction devoted to a fake relationship between Bellatrix and Voldemort and I’m ashamed and astonished that it became a “reality.” It’s true that Bellatrix and Voldemort had an intense relationship, but it wasn’t a sexual thing. She was obsessed with him and he used her. But he also punished her horribly when she failed him and she was terrified of him. There is no plausible situation that would have had him fathering a child on her. None.
So far, all of the “reviews” from audience members have been positive. I don’t get it. Either they haven’t read the books, or they’re lying through their teeth. I don’t see how any fan of the HP books could watch this play and not feel like they had been betrayed, what with the re-writing of canon, the botching of characterization, and that horrid Cursed Child nonsense. I really, really, REALLY want to believe that these faults lie in the hands of Jack Thorne and John Tiffany because I can’t accept that J.K Rowling helped write this travesty. But I can’t deny the fact that she let this be published. I don’t know why she agreed to do this. She’s already incredibly rich and it’s not like she’s faded from public view (her Cormoran Strike books are really popular). All I know is that I feel upset and disappointed and betrayed, and according to the Reddit threads, I’m not the only one. I don’t know what is worse: The Cursed Child or Go Set A Watchman. Both ruined the canon of beloved, iconic works. With that in mind, I’ll do to The Cursed Child exactly what I did to GSAW. I’ll pretend that it doesn’t exist.