I just felt like sharing a thought. Since we closed the back cover on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, my sister and I have had a lot of complicated emotions to work through. It’s taken some time. If you haven’t read it, and don’t know what I mean, just find a list of ten things wrong with Cursed Child or something on the internet (disappointed reviews are common on the internet and there are many even more snarky than mine) and you’ll get a glimpse into our heads. Just so you know, here there be spoilers.
So much of the book prompted the question, “WTF?” The weirdest thing about it to me is how unlike Harry Potter it feels. Fantastic Beasts feels like Potter—it has JK Rowling’s spirit in it through and through. It has magic, it has humor, it has Rowling’s cheeky attitude. It feels like reading one of the Potter novels. But Cursed Child…doesn’t. It lacks that attitude and feels more like the stream-of-consciousness ramblings of a poorly planned fan fiction. It feels like the only exposure to the world of Harry Potter they had to work off of was the movies—so much was missing.
Ginny is dull and has lost all of her fire. Harry is brooding and serious. Hermione is near-sighted, close-minded, arrogant and pretentious (she’s pretty much become Cornelius Fudge). Ron has been reduced to little more than Jar Jar Binks. It hurts. Oh how it hurts. Draco Malfoy is the only interesting character. He actually goes through some character development and becomes forgivable and likable.
The heroes are given traits that are completely out of character (Seriously, the Weasleys on a no sugar diet? Harry a workaholic, inattentive father? That’s insulting. Oh, and Harry’s also afraid of pigeons! Good thing that didn’t come up in Prisoner of Azkaban when he was facing the Boggart, the manifestation of a person’s fears. Harry managed to suppress this deep-seated fear of pigeons to have it instead present itself as something that, as Lupin said, suggested what Harry feared most was fear itself!! Now it’s pigeons?). They require the fans to retcon and come up with head cannons that don’t make their stomachs churn (because we can’t handle an ornithophobic Harry Potter. Or is he perhaps just trying to bridge the divide between himself and his sullen son? “Oh yeah, I can relate to you and your petty problems, most of which are of your own creation. I hate pigeons…yeah, aren’t I normal, just like you?” How patronizing.).
The story consistently backs itself into corners and implausible situations with convenient solutions, assuming it shows you a solution at all and doesn’t just distract you away with a pretty special effect. (How’d they steal a blanket from baby Harry? Why did they figure Bathilda Bagshot had tincture of Demiguise? And she just happens to leave her door unlocked? How fortuitous! Basically everything in the finale prompted an unending series of eye rolls.) Things are made so absurdly complicated and so many issues could have been sidestepped if those kids just stopped to think for a moment instead of just being driven by this unaccountable hate for Harry Potter. All the idiocy that Scorpius and Albus commit could’ve been avoided if they just took Rose into their group. Those boys need a Hermione.
Then there’s the scene where they find themselves in an alternate reality with Snape, who’s somehow become heroic and good. Am I the only one who’s getting a little tired of the desperate Snape apologists? I mean, I like Snape—as an ambiguous character you’re not sure if you should like or not but have to reluctantly offer some respect to for his loyalty to Dumbledore. But that doesn’t forgive the years of tormenting students. He may not be a “bad” guy, but he’s not good. I cringed through that entire chapter. All the forced goodness of Snape was so unbelievable.
The worst offender may be Delphi’s parentage. That reeks of Fan Fiction material. And not good fanfic. Bad fanfic. Darkest corners of the internet fanfic. Go visit your local church leader to repent of the shame of seeing this fanfic. Beatrix Lestrange and Voldy? Ew. Truly and sincerely, from the deepest levels of discomfort a human being can possibly feel—ew. Shower for a week and still feel gross ew. Just. Ew.
I won’t get into how I feel that the timeline doesn’t match up, and how, if this girl was born in Malfoy Manor, Draco somehow knew nothing at all about her existence. Please. If Bellatrix was actually having the spawn of Voldemort, she would’ve been shouting it from the highest towers of Malfoy Manor. Delphi was his cousin. Born in his house. To his deranged aunt, who spent the last couple years creeping around his house. He couldn’t possibly have not known.
I have a head cannon of my own I find more satisfying: Delphi was just as delusional and obsessed as Bellatrix. She only believes she’s Voldemort’s daughter. Delphi is an orphan, mother killed in Battle of Hogwarts when she was a baby, who quite easily could have convinced herself that she was the new Heir of Slytherin. It just strikes me as the worst kind of fanfic silliness imaginable. Maybe they were going for a Vader is Luke’s dad kind of feeling, but it was so painfully predictable and just plain wrong. Rowling is better than this “plot twist”.
Well, these are my biggest issues with Cursed Child. I have countless little frustrations with it. But I refuse to accept this as cannon. Nope. Not gonna do it. You can’t make me.
So my sister and I came up with a head cannon to make this story palatable. Here it is:
HOGWARTS, GRYFFINDOR BOYS DORMITORY
RON is asleep in his bed, tossing an turning and mumbling in his sleep. The stage is dark, but for a growing light over RON. The light is a swirl of multiple colors. As RON comes to, the light brightens into a warm golden glow, illuminating the stage and revealing another bed, with HARRY sound asleep under the covers. RON awakes with a start and a loud whimper.
RON: Bloody hell!
RON scrambles out of bed and punches HARRY in the arm to wake him.
RON: Harry! Harry! I just had the weirdest dream!
HARRY: Well, by all means, wake me up the night before the Slytherin Quidditch match to tell me all about it.
RON: We were all grown up. And you and I didn’t eat sugar. And I was an uncomfortable person to be around.
HARRY: How’s that different from now?
RON: No, I mean I made bad jokes and just wanted to be important!
RON: Shut up, mate! It was really weird! I was married to Hermione. And our daughter was insufferable. And you were married to Ginny!
HARRY: Ginny? Whoa, that is weird. Not at all likely. Isn’t she dating Dean Thomas? Yeah, she is. No interest in me at all. And I certainly don’t have dreams about her or think about her hair all the time or anything. Nope. Haha. Hah.
HARRY: Nothing. Never mind.
RON: You named your son after Professor Snape.
HARRY: Excuse me. I have to go vomit.
HARRY gets out of bed and scrambles off stage, unable to take the stomach ache RON has caused him with his story. RON watches him leave. He then sits down on his bed and pulls out a piece of parchment.
RON: Well, this is perfect for my Divination homework. Now I just have to throw in that I die at some point and I’m sure to get top marks.