WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR PART 1 OF HARRY POTTER & THE CURSED CHILD
Happy Voldemort Day, everyone! Yes, i’ve finished reading the first half of Jack Thorne’s abysmal Harry Potter play. Thorne, if he has even read the Potter books, clearly didn’t like them very much, and wants to bastardise everything great about J.K. Rowling’s seven original novels. Cursed Child reads like a greatest hits of everything non-Potter fans remember from the Potter books. Perfect, so, for a mainstream and family-friendly stage play. Not so much for a book advertised as “The Official Eighth Story”.
Here are my thoughts on a few aspects of the plot so far:
- Harry Potter’s terrible parenting of Albus is so, so uncharacteristic. Harry would never be so stubborn, so rude with a child of his.
- The “rumours” surrounding Scorpius’ parentage were the first red light when I started reading the play. Weird Time Turner/Voldemort IVF procreation is just… it’s just not Harry Potter.
- Albus and Scorpius’ relationship is far more believable as a gay romance than a platonic friendship, and I hope the playwright doesn’t chicken out of Going There.
- Using a Time Turner to erase the heartbreaking, poignant ending of Goblet of Fire is pretty much the in-story version of what Thorne has done by writing this horrendous play. Cedric’s death was a necessary storytelling device, and to prevent it is to remove a significant aspect of Harry’s motivation for fighting Voldemort in the later books.
- Using Delphi Diggory as the token female in the “new trio” of Albus/Scorpius/Delphi was a slightly interesting decision, since Rose Granger-Weasley was the obvious choice. Nonetheless, the prominence of the relatively uninteresting Diggory family in this story is peculiar and somewhat lazy– bring in some new characters, for crying out loud!
- When Albus and Scorpius unsuccessfully make their first attempt at going back in time to change the past, then come back to the present to discover the bad side of their work, Hermione-As-Mean-DATDA-Teacher is a horrible piece of storytelling. Her awkward conversation with Ron about “Albus’ delusions of their marriage” is a total insult to years of Rowling’s work. The Potterverse deserves better than this rubbish.
- The descriptions of the practical effects involved in the play- moving Hogwarts staircases, swimming underwater, flying Dementors- sound truly breathtaking. Unfortunately, we can’t see them in this damn book.
- The cliffhanger that concludes Part 1 of the play, as Scorpius discovers from Headmistresses Umbridge that Harry died in the Battle of Hogwarts and that today is “Voldemort Day”, is one of the most unintentionally hilarious pieces of Potter-based comedy I have ever heard. I would genuinely like to know which recreational, mind-altering substance Jack Thorne was consuming when he wrote the words “Voldemort Day”, and what state of insanity he remained in when he heard actors speak the words and didn’t feel the need to remove them from the script.
So far, this play is bloody terrible. I can’t wait to read on…