... in which I kill time by the hour ...

Sep 30, 2016

Review: "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child"

I got mine delivered from White Heron Books which had the loveliest packaging ever (not shown here though)

I’m gonna stop procrastinating and deal with my mixed feelings about the Cursed Child. Be warned, this is NOT a spoiler-free zone! LONG RANT AHEAD.

Overall, I’d say I enjoyed the script. It had a number of engaging plot twists, and great moments of humour that made me laugh out loud, much like the HP books. 
(Albus trying to block Hermione from entering her Ministry office, anyone? XD That scene was so wrong but so hilarious! I enjoyed reading that part more than I should’ve, forgive me I have sinned XD).

And, of course, Scorpius Malfoy - the best thing about the entire play! I love that he wasn’t simply a mini-Draco, but his own person completely different from his father (which ties in with JKR’s canon of Astoria Greengrass and Draco raising Scorpius to be better and more tolerant than Lucius/Narcissa approved of) and a whopping dORK at that. I’d adopt that kid. Screw that, I’d date that kid.

Other good points include exploring the strained relationship between Harry and Albus (with some brutally honest dialogue that genuinely brought tears to my eyes), the distinction that Hogwarts was heaven for Harry but hell for Albus, the intimate friendship between Albus and Scorpius (blatantly pandering to their shippers; who did the writer think he was kidding?!) and – most of all – the look at improved relations between the trio and Malfoy. The use of first names when Harry & Co and Draco spoke with each other was heartening, because it’s nice to see them grown out of their adolescent animosity and establish civility and respect over twenty years after the War. How they reached out for each other and offered assistance in their common goal to find their children was love :’)

But like I said, I’ve mixed feelings abt Cursed Child. My expectations were very low as this wasn’t written by JKR despite her aid with its plot. But still, the play had some heavy blows for me. 
For instance, there were several dialogues hard to digest simply because they were so out-of-character. Some bits said by Harry and Draco actually gave me pause because the people they had become by the end of Deathly Hallows would not have said those lines. In greasy fanfiction, maybe, but canon HP? I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is not how JKR would’ve portrayed this person or that person’ or ‘JKR would’ve written this line differently’ several times.

One of the biggest disappointments was Ron’s character. Anyone who really knows me will know I will defend Ron Weasley, brilliant and absolutely flawed that he is, to my grave. It always irks me when people, especially writers for HP canon (movie screenwriter I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU STEVE KLOVES) who undermine how important and essential he is to both Harry and Hermione and keeping their friendship together. Cursed Child made wan attempts to bring across Ron’s sense of humour, but failed at making him anything more substantial than one-dimensional useless comic relief. 
I get it, writing Harry and Hermione is easy because, for the narrow-minded, you have the simple labels of “the hero with issues” and “the intelligent one with all the answers”. But my true respect is for a writer who can recognise and actually show a character like Ron, a flawed character with true heart and hidden strength, for what he truly is. That’s why I love and respect JKR – she introduced Ron as a foil character to Harry but brilliantly showed his development, his complexities and his significance. And that’s why I lost so much of my respect for Steve Kloves and now, to an extent, Jack Thorne.

Included among disappointing characters is Rose Granger-Weasley, because I’m certain those who understand Hermione and Ron’s characters would know they would raise their children better. 
For eg: Ron (and by extent, all the Weasleys) is a person with a kind heart whose childhood was spent in a toxic community with bone-driven prejudices – against Slytherins, werewolves, half-breeds etc. But the books illustrated how people who’re exposed to society’s prejudices like Ron grow past that – he learned that Lupin’s werewolf status and Hagrid having Giant blood didn’t make them bad people etc; he loved and defended them fiercely. And Hermione has always advocated against all sorts of discrimination. Those two would’ve raised better kids (and I’m certain they would’ve, like Harry, tried to alleviate their kids’ apprehensions about Slytherin’s dark reputation). 
But look at how CC portrayed Rose – I just find it hard to stomach because the entire character development of her parents in the HP books indicate they would’ve raised her better! Not someone who would’ve alienated Scorpius without giving him the benefit of the doubt (despite the rumours of his heritage). 
Though that is just my opinion about a little-known character at the end of the day :/

I did get a laugh out of Scorpius hitting on Rose every chance he got though, but that also did come across more as an offhand attempt to appease the Scorpius-Rose shippers. Actually, the entire next-generation bits felt like 98 percent appealing to Scorpius-Albus shippers and a 2 percent nod at Scorpius-Rose shippers XD

I really did enjoy the adventure Albus and Scorpius, and in parallel, Harry & Co and Draco, went on in Cursed Child. It was fun and even exhilarating some of the things they encountered. But that did not blind me to how farfetched certain plot points were; where they seemed just downright fanfiction-esque. Perhaps the apex of fanfiction was Delphi, the Auguray, and her being the daughter of … well, you know XD I might’ve laughed at that part while trying to suspend my disbelief.

That said, I do understand this was merely a script trying to depict a huge journey without the descriptive advantages of a novel. So, I can suspend my disbelief further regarding the implausible things that happened over its course, because I know certain things come across better on stage with all the necessary visuals than in a cryptic script. 
So, I’m still hoping for a Cursed Child DVD so we can see how all this played out in the theatre. It will give me a deeper perspective of the story, in any case.

TLDR: The Cursed Child was an enjoyable ride, fast paced with quite some good humour, emotional drama and plot twists. Read it without any expectations, keeping in mind that JKR is not the writer though she helped with the plot, and suspend your disbelief. Because CC is flawed – so very much – and if you go in expecting the same brilliance as the HP books, especially if you’re an analyser like myself, this script will read like nothing but fanfiction.