8 things wrong with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
[SPOILER ALERT: Anticipate any and all information about the plot of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be ruined in this piece. Do not come here if you haven’t read the book or are afraid to be spoiled!]
J.K. Rowling’s new addition to the series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child came out on July 31.
With the last piece of Harry Potter being the final movie that came out five years ago, fans were itching to have their hands on something- nay, anything to enjoy. So out we all went, spent our money…
…and then we began to read.
It’s a strange set up: the script wasn’t actually written by J.K., though the story was created by her and a couple of other people. Jack Thorne was the actual writer, and he and the play’s director John Tiffany assisted in creating the story with Rowling. The show is currently on stage in London.
After reading the script, it’s easy to see things should have been left to the creator herself. Fans have been upset from beginning to end, and it’s time to rally up those points that really left everyone scratching their heads.
Ladies and gentlemen, eight things wrong with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
8. Ronald Weasley is a wuss.
Why? Why is it that Ron is always made out to be the sidekick? In every book Ron makes himself out to be more than that. He’s a friend to Harry; a foil to Harry’s anxieties, he’s a casual guy with a casual look on life. He’s entertaining, fun and struggles to be accepted among his peers. Let’s not forget that Weasley is our King was initially used to tease Ron for his skills as a keeper. But he forced himself to do better, and grew. He fought in the Battle of Hogwarts, for goodness sake, only to be brought back as a pathetic portrayal of a jolly old man.
Even the script admits it, with Ron confessing at one point that he’s not even involved in any of the conflicts going on, but hey, he’ll support his friends just because!
It was infuriating to watch one of the Golden Trio be turned into such a sucker for the sake of comedy.
7. Hermione can’t be Minister unless she’s married.
And then there’s the other part of the Golden Trio that got totally screwed. In the beginning Hermione is nothing short of a bad ass. We all know it. She’s kick ass with spells, confident and strong in her beliefs, and isn’t afraid to punch a bully in the face when it’s really necessary.
But according to The Cursed Child, Hermione’s fantastic strengths diminish unless she’s married to Ron. In a whirlwind plot we are brought into a different timeline; a what if scenario where Hermione and Ron never kiss. In this set up Hermione is a teacher at Hogwarts who is made out to be nothing more than a shrill spinster.
This only slightly differs from her role as Minister for Magic in the actual timeline. You know, only a smidge.
Considering that our society revels in making women out to be strong, independent creatures who don’t rely on anyone but themselves to make it in the world, it was slightly sad to watch such a literary hero be put to shreds because she didn’t kiss the right guy at the right time.
6. Rose Weasley is a plot point, not a character.
The first glimpse of Rose Weasley in Harry Potter in the Cursed Child is awesome. Here we are, face to face with a totally cool eleven year old, who while albeit is a little prejudiced against Slytherins and ex-death eaters, is a confident cool gal.
I’d want to be friends with her if I was her age. Frankly, I want to be friends with her now. But as the story goes on, our confident, strong Rose disappears from the plot and story line. Eventually she is placed neatly as Scorpius Malfoy’s crush.
…and that’s it.
We had another opportunity for another kick-ass trio and it was thrown to the wind. Rose Weasley was set backstage and put aside to use only to remind us that Scorpius was a bit of a dweeb, and nothing else. Can we stop doing that with cool characters? Thanks.
5. Harry Potter the dad-less wonder is… a bad dad?!
I don’t know if this is as much of a problem with storytelling as much as it was a personal issue, but for a guy who’s never had a father figure, Harry Potter sure does get kicked a lot for being a bad parent.
Everyone who’s been a sort of parental figure has disappeared on him. Sirius Black? Dead. Remus Lupin? Dead. His own actual dad? Dead. And I’m sorry, we are not giving Vernon Dursley any awards for parent of the year. Most of his rearing came from just sucking it up and doing it himself, so it’s no wonder he doesn’t know how to treat his own kid when they’re having a rough go of it. As far as he’s concerned you just learn to deal and eventually the problems go away after an annual battle with a certain evil dark lord that’s trying to take over the world.
Instead his wife Ginny berates him for not doing a good enough job, for not trying hard enough to be nice to his kid.
And at no point does anyone stop and say, “Hey Harry. I know it must be tough because you never had any parents yourself to learn any of this from. You probably don’t know what you’re doing. Just take a breath, we’ll work this out together.”
Nope, he just has to learn to smarten up. He’s in his mid-thirties now, and we all know once you get that old there’s no chance for character development.
4. What was going on with the trolley witch?!
Being that Harry Potter is a work of fiction, readers have to accept that there are a certain few things that are strange. We know that a wand can make things fly, a green flash of light generally means you’re about to die, and owls always know where people are – always.
However, it was hard to believe that the trolley witch, a minor character in the books and films, would be capable of living for over 190 years. We’ve been told the only people capable of that are Dumbledore and Nicholas Flamel since they, you know, created and possessed the Philosopher’s Stone. We also have never met a witch who is capable of instantaneously transfiguring her hands into spikes either.
Or turning edible pumpkin pasties into grenades to launch at students who try to escape the train.
What kind of plot point was this? Sure, everyone likes a little Jason Statham excitement in their plot line, but at what point do we need to stop and realize that we turned the trolley witch into a giant robot grenade launching monster and edible treats into bombs?
Do the parents know that Hogwarts is feeding their children explosives? Is that going to be the plot of the next book?! Someone’s father has to be hearing about this.
3. Time turners don’t work like that.
Alright, big problem right here. Canon was thrown right out the window with this one.
Time turners. They’re magical items that were destroyed after the events of the fifth book, where they were all shattered. Let’s ignore that of course a couple managed to magically survive to drive the plot of this whole story, for the sake of forgiveness. Maybe a couple time turners could get forgotten.
However, they’re called time turners. As in you have to turn them. It’s explained in the Prisoner of Azkaban, and we watched Hermione Granger turn it a certain amount of time in the film to try and save everyone.
But in the Cursed Child? Nah. No turning necessary. All you have to do is think really hard and you’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to be. It’ll be the right moment, exactly, and all is good!
Why did they choose to do this? Why didn’t someone hold everything up and remind the team that it’s a time turner? It seems like no one on the team read the books! If you’re really squished for time, watch the movies. At least care a little.
2. Delphi sucks.
It’s pretty easy to figure out that Delphi, our supposed “cursed child” in the book, is a big ol’ Mary Sue. She’s the OC everyone dreamt of: silver-blue hair, pretty but mysterious, talented, but a little older. The main character has a crush on her.
…and of course, she’s Voldemort’s daughter.
Without throwing a table or something, it’s easy to see how ridiculously cliche this plot decision was. Why was Voldemort having sex? Why would he ever plan to have a child? What good did this ever do him?
Her existence alone is eye-roll worthy, and her character is worthy of another few heads spinning. Of course she looks different, and charming, and can float in mid-air… wait, what?
Yeah, just… no.
1. WHY DID VOLDEMORT HAVE SEX?
No one understands. J.K., you told us all he was born from a love potion and would never feel love. You told us he had no interest in family, or growth; that people meant nothing to him, save for himself.
Somehow, someway you expected us to understand why Voldemort would decide to have a child.
You expected us to understand that he’d be fully capable of getting it up for Bellatrix Lestrange, one of the creepiest crawlies to cross the wizarding world (another tidbit that was just thrown in for the sake of it, leaving all of us to roll our eyes).
You expected us to just accept this as normal.
The guy doesn’t have a nose; none of us were planning for him to use his penis.
…it’s just weird.
So there it is. It’s not all of it, there are ups and downs in between these flaws. But they were enough to make me put the book down and laugh in disbelief. They were enough to make me close the book and consequently leave disappointed.
Please, tell us this was all a hilarious prank.
We deserved better.
*SPOILER COMMENT. Reader’s discretion is advised*
I think what really caught my eye was the continuity error with Snape in the alternate timeline. Let’s say Voldemort won the Battle at Hogwarts because Cedric Diggory survived and turned into a Death Eater and killed Neville Longbottom. Snape would still be dead. He was killed before this even happened because Voldemort wanted the Elder Wand and thought Snape was its master.
But let’s argue, for the moment, that there was some butterfly effect that altered some miniscule details that allowed for Snape to survive. If Voldemort won, all he would see is stalwart and incredibly gifted lieutenant and he would have at the very least maintained him as the Headmaster of Hogwarts — if not given *him* the position as Head of Magical Law Enforcement — instead of Draco Malfoy whose family had fallen out of favour and who had been tasked with killing Dumbledore as punishment against the Malfoys *which he failed to do.* Or at the very least a petty bureaucrat like Umbridge would be given a higher position in the Ministry and made to continue her Inquisition against “the Mudbloods,” while letting the more magically capable and ruthless Death Eaters, like Snape seemed to be in Voldemort’s eyes — mould the next generation of Hogwarts wizards and witches.
As for the rest of it, I can definitely concede to your points about Ron and Hermione. Ron had gained character growth and Hermione should have been Minister for Magic given her experiences: even if she were different without her marriage to Ron.
The Trolley Witch was interesting and I suspect there is a story behind her. I’m also led to believe that witches and wizards can live a long time in the Potterverse even without the Philosopher’s Stone and there may be … something creepy behind her longevity. Perhaps a Curse or an Oath of some kind. This is also assuming she is still even alive in the conventional sense. Pleasant thoughts all around.
That detail about how to use the Time-Turners was an unfortunate oversight and another example of the research they should have undertaken, or a least a rereading of the books. As for Rose Weasley-Granger, I would have liked to see her more as a character working with the duo and less than the background character and supposed love interest she was regulated into later. Personally, I didn’t really care for her attitude very much, especially with regards to Scorpius at the beginning, but it was in keeping with the fact that they are all children and have much to learn before they can mature.
I really don’t disagree about Delphi. She just appeared from nowhere and, honestly, for all she may have had the aptitude for magic she also needed a teacher and resources to get to the level where she found herself. And I don’t care how gifted she is, Harry is an experienced wizard and Head of the Aurors and should have been able to *destroy* her in combat given that he fought Voldemort and countless Dark Wizards ever since before she was even born.
But as for Voldemort and having a child … the thing is, the two are not mutually exclusive. Voldemort may not feel love, but I’m sure he can still feel desire and a lust for power and some of the … power dynamics that can go with that, especially with someone like Bellatrix. Also, while he might not be interested in family or people, I could see him wanting to make a dynasty with an heir over his empire and the entire world. That child and anyone associated with him would just be extensions of the one thing he is the most attached to in this world: himself. Nothing more, and nothing less. This is unless of course he wants to gain immortality, but we’ve been told that he wouldn’t want to be dependent on anything: not even a Philosopher’s Stone.
Personally, I also would have loved to see Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Severus Potter be much more … ruthless, almost anti-heroes that get the job done due to their affiliation with Slytherin. Slytherin is not about losers, it’s about ambition and cunning. I got some of that in there, and it was a good idea to put them in that House, but … there you go again.
But there you go. These are my thoughts. I also can’t help but wonder if the performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child might differ from the rehearsal script itself: if any each performance might have different details. The problem here is that the script had been presented as Harry Potter Book 8 and that is not fair to the product. I do think it has its issues, but it also does have its interesting moments.