Tag Archive: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

On Fanfic

This is a thing that’s been written about a million times before and will be a million more times, minimum. So, I’m probably not saying much that’s new here and I don’t really expect that I’m going to shed light on something huge for anybody. Thing is in my Harry Potter and the Cursed Child review I mentioned that it felt very much like fan fiction, specifically early aughts fan fiction. So what did I mean by that?

With any sufficiently popular series fans are going to respond with their own takes on things, whether this is extrapolating from what’s already given or “fixing” something they didn’t agree with, it’s all a matter of people embracing a thing and making part of it their own. Fan writers and artists also have a tendency to feed off each other, to make it a conversation as well as expression. This tends to lead to fan works having common tropes or bits of lore that are used repeatedly in similar ways. It’s also worth keeping in mind that a lot of fan works are produced by hobby writers rather than professionals, so there is a mix of people who have been writing for years and people who’ve just realized that they enjoy it.

So back in the early aughts Harry Potter was huge and unfinished and we had a dead Cedric and canon time travel and fan writers who were, by and large, fairly young. There was a lot of saving Cedric and using the time turner, lots of “fixing” going on. That’s where I’m coming from with The Cursed Child. It feels like a fix fic from back in the day. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing in some cases, but it feels very young. Like something  my eleven year old self would have looked sideways at for using fan characters instead of the golden trio.

I suppose my point in all this is that, especially now with fandom being as much a part of my online time as it is, I read a lot of really good fan fiction. So I hate to use the term as a negative without giving an explanation as to why I did. I love seeing the way people interact with the things they love and I’ve seen enough other places where fan fiction is used as a negative comparison, so I wanted to clarify.

That’s about it. Tell me what you guys think, what are your experiences with fandom from now or back in the day?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany is a sequel of sorts to Rowling’s tremendously famous Harry Potter novels. This is probably one of the only things people who’ve read it so far will agree on. Now, the book was released because the play is only being shown in England and fans elsewhere would have thrown a fit if they weren’t able to experience it in some way. It’s important to remember going in that this is a play script rather than a novel. That actually affects a lot in this review as well as my general feelings towards the book.

The story follows Albus Severus, his friend Scorpius, and Harry Potter the father who could do better as Albus and Scorpius attempt to set right what once went wrong. Albus and Harry have nothing in common, something that we are led to think gets thrown in Albus’ face quite a bit at school. He can’t measure up to his famous dad and Harry doesn’t have the time to spend with him for them to work through that. So he grows bitter over the first few years he’s at Hogwarts, until an overheard conversation leads him to stealing a time-turner to go save Cedric Diggory. This is all fine, I’m good with this plot line.  What I feel like the script needed was a little more attention to each different version of the timeline, consequences essentially. I would have also liked to have seen more of the villain prior to the very end.

All that said, is it a good Harry Potter novel? Well, no, if you walk into reading this expecting a Harry Potter novel you will be very disappointed. The language used for a novel and a script are very different, with plays being as visual as they are the book lacks a lot of the description that a novel would have and you don’t get much about how characters feel beyond the occasional note for clarification. The story also feels disjointed in places because of scene shifts and not being able to see the actors’ reactions directly. That said, it’s a script, so I can’t really hold it to novel standards. As far as scripts go, I could have gone with more stage direction in the book itself to help follow what was going on, but it wasn’t bad.  My big problem with Cursed Child is that it lacks the scope the series proper felt like it had, the weight of consequence when characters made choices. Partly because of how directly involved they were in things compared to how successful they were, the villain also felt very small, again, I’d have liked to see more build up there.

As to the good parts, I really liked Scorpius and the way that wanting to take care of him humanized Malfoy. The friendship between Scorpius and Albus was also pretty fun, I would have actually like to have seen that used to give us more insight into some of the other young characters. I appreciate that the golden trio mess up massively, even as adults, especially things like Harry not keeping up with his paperwork. More effort needed to have been given to showing that Harry is under a tremendous amount of stress though, there is a scene that feels very out of character because of this lack.

So, what’s the long and short of this? How does Harry Potter and the Cursed Child rank? For me, it gets a solid three out of five. There was a lot wrong that could have and should have been worked out better, especially given that plays tend to go through multiple runs. The language was off, again that difference between novels and scripts, and didn’t feel like J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. The characters could have all been more developed. But, the story is pretty good if a little too much like early aughts fan fiction, and it makes me want to see the show. That I think is the big thing here, there isn’t a sequel to worry over, but reading the script does make me want to see the play. I think that’s a pretty fair measure of it doing its job.

So, I’m still working on getting things sorted and the blog up and running regularly again. There is no denying that, so I’m just going to roll with it.

I’ve got a review for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child coming up soon, hopefully the next couple of days, but my internet is going to be spotty for a bit. Bear with me on that. I’m aware that spoilers were posted before the book came out, but I’m still trying to avoid them in my review, that’s part of why it’s taking so long.

There are a few more reviews in the works, those will be up in short order. I’m trying to get to where I can do one a week again, plus other posts about related things. If anyone has ideas on what kind of content they’re interested in, feel free to comment and let me know. I’m still tossing ideas around on my end of things.

So, today is the day most places are doing a midnight release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. If you haven’t pre-ordered yet, but wanted to most places will still be doing pre-order sales until about two hours before the event starts. Also with Books-A-Million at least, you will be able to come enjoy the festivities without pre-ordering. That’s about it, have fun everyone.

Rambling a Little

So, the book that I’m working on a review for and the book I just started have a lot of surface similarities and it’s kind of funny. The similarities make how different the writing is stand out more than I would have initially thought, and it’s kind of making me enjoy the one I’m reading now more than I think I would have if I hadn’t read the other. It’s cool.

Also, new Harry Potter book is coming out Sunday. I’m going to pre-order that while I can still get a discount on it. I have to work the midnight release though, so that isn’t as much fun as it could have been. I do want to do a costume for it though, since we can dress up. I’ve got my wand part way finished and a vague idea of what I want to do for the clothing. The big problem is that I can’t sew and it’s hard to find a robe that works right on short notice.

I’ve got a couple guest posts on the way, need to get those posted but they’re mostly ready. Also another review should be ready in, say, a week. Probably less. I’m also still considering posting bits of that thing I’ve been writing, but I’m not honestly sure anyone would be interested or if this would be the place to post it.