“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” – A cursed sequel

The title might be a little too harsh, but I assure you, I’m not the only person who feels that way. I read the script and sometimes I wish I hadn’t. While there are some revelations in it that I like, there are other parts that I just can’t accept are canon.

I’ve been a huge fan of the Harry Potter books for the last 6 years or so, and like any other, I’ve read the whole series countless times, and every time it feels like a failed attempt at time travel. You relive the moments, it mostly feels great, and soon you forget that you are rereading it for the gazillionth time. At other times you wish, or rather hope,  that certain events, (take particular deaths for example,)  would happen differently.
When reading “The Deathly Hallows,” I was a bit uncertain about whether or not I wanted to finish it, and when Harry waved the train away and touched his scar, I wondered what to with my life. I knew I could always reread it, and so I did, and like everyone else, I had questions, I had answers, I had loopholes to talk about, and I wanted to know more.

Any fan would welcome a sequel, and while some would argue that sequels suck, even they’d want one. Because you always want to know more, and so when the news came out that after all these years, Rowling was working on one, we were delighted. I admit that I was a bit annoyed at finding out that it was a play, because there was no chance of me getting to see it, I was equally relieved when it was announced that the script would be available in book form (As if it wasn’t obvious. I mean, all good plays are published books) Although, it was clear that being a play, it would be short and would lack details and I was further infuriated when I noticed that it was a collaboration and that Rowling was a fraction of a team.

Nevertheless, I waited. The title bothered me a bit because it seemed a bit too dry. For some reason, it didn’t sound like Harry Potter at all, but that was probably because I was expecting disappointment, and so naturally, I didn’t grow overly fond of the cover either. The cast, however, was perfect. I loved it. They couldn’t have found people better suited for the role, at least visually.
Well, time passed, the day for the release of the script-book arrived, and I immediately starting searching for a PDF or EPUB, and soon I got my hands on one. As a result, I used up all the daylight, the next day, reading it. Not that it needed daylight. I was just impatient.

From the very first page, I couldn’t help but wondering if I was the only one bothered by it. I just couldn’t think of anything that could justify the changes that were made to the Kings Cross scene. It was a good idea to have it start from where the books left it, but what was the point of making stupid changes to minor details in the scene? That crap about Ron picking up Lily and pulling off her nose, although one could argue that what wasn’t mentioned in the books didn’t necessarily not happen. But what about: “Mum, I can’t give a professor love!” In the books, it was James Sirius who said that, while in this flawed play, it was Rose. All I have to say about this is: why? Same goes for the ‘thestrals’ thing. James’ statement about them was different and unlike in the books, Harry didn’t bother giving any assurances that “Thestrals are nothing to worry about.” 
While these were minor details, they just ruined it for me. You’ve probably heard that phrase: “First impression is the last impression.” That’s it. The first impression sucked.

I did however like and was actually relieved by how Albus and Scorpius became friends, and how Albus got sorted into Slytherin, and how Draco and the Potter-Weasleys had grown to respect each other. Because these were the things that just had to happen, because that’s how the world works, especially in fiction. The Potter-Malfoy enmity didn’t have to carry on to future generations, and so it didn’t. The slytherins-are-evil stereotype had to be broken. Malfoy who was actually brilliant-minded couldn’t have Crabbe and Goyle by his side anymore, and the events of the war had already made him rethink and reconsider his life. These things are definitely canon for me.

As you move through the play, you’d realize that it reminds you of an old classic from 1985. Yep, Back to the future. That pretty much sums it all up. Someone went back in time, screwed up and as a result, another few trips had to be made. It sucked. It was a stupid plot and what’s more, the alternate timelines sucked and were extremely stupid. Cedric wasn’t an idiot who’d join the death eaters just because of a messed up Triwizard Task, although what they did was definitely humiliating. And the big reveal at the end wasn’t just unneeded and stupid. It was kinda logically impossible. Do the math. The trolley witch was incredibly lame. Another continuity error is how calmly the magical community is using Voldemort’s name. I mean, when Voldy died at the end of the first war, people believed him to be gone, there were only a chosen few who understood him well enough to understand that there was some probability of his return. For the rest of the world, he was gone and yet, 14 years were not enough for them to get over the fear of saying his name out loud. But for some reason, after the second war, they were all extremely confident that Voldy’s gone for good and they didn’t fear his name anymore, although one could argue that it was the next generation of witches and wizards that hadn’t seen the horrors that their ancestors had.

By the time I was finished with the book, I was surprised at how it had ended already while virtually nothing had even happened. It was like a stupid fan-fiction.. Oh no! Allow me to rephrase it. Fan-fiction can be more convincing than that shit. Rather than wrapping up, it also created a whole lot of unanswered questions. I’m sorry, but that’s it. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” was not a good end for the series. I’m sure that there’s a whole world of people on this planet, who’d rather it had never been written, and I might actually be a part of it. Like I said, it got some things right, but the number of things that it got wrong is several times that much. It’s definitely not canon; not for me, and not for a lot of people.

 

Anas Ismail Khan

 

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