In Defense Of The Harry Potter And The Cursed Child Script Book
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne (Image from vanity fair.com)
Beware: This post will include SPOILERS of the script book near the end.
I’ve seen and heard many reviews/commentaries ranging from positive, negative, and somewhat in between about the script book, Harry Potter and Cursed Child. My reading experience leans towards the positive, and it was hard to understand why there was so much negative critique of the script book. I’m not saying that the script is perfect. It could have been delayed a bit to tweak the script from previews, so readers could read the official version now being performed. This script we were given was the one they used for previews, so they felt confident about what this script includes. Therefore we should give this script a chance, and I believe it is worth reading. Even though I enjoyed the script, I believe that this story is something that needs to be seen. Hopefully they will record the play with the original cast, and make it available through cinemas and/or television. And also record a dramatic audio book with the original cast.
This script should be read differently as opposed to the seven novels we’re familiar with. First, it must be looked at part of a whole. The script does not include what the actors/actresses put into their characters, the set and costume designs, and the whole immersive experience of the theatre performance. It does help to look at the behind the scenes videos and images the production has provided on their website. This helps imagine how this play would be performed while reading the play. Many fans read the script, I believe, with really high expectations. It is somewhat expected since we have had much time to ponder what would happen after the Deathly Hallows epilogue, and our great love for the book series. The script though somewhat a continuation of the book series should be seen as an extra short story. A short story has a different focus than what a novel would. It is also a limited format. By looking at the themes, and what the story is trying to present, we can fully experience the play as much as possible to how it was intended. We should remember when looking at the script this quote from Poppy Miller, who plays Ginny, “The characters are older now, they’re ours to fill but with this fantastic backstory.” With all of this in mind, I’ll now focus on some of the important aspects from the script.
The story focuses on the psychological weaved into fantasy and a bit of comedy. The past is brought back to the present more than just through time turners. Even though Harry has had time to deal with the trauma of his past, there will be things that will trigger and come to the surface. Albus Potter is greatly affected by his father’s distance more than he realizes at first. As well, Harry doesn’t quite understand why parenting his son Albus is different than his other kids. They both realize at the end, as as do we, that they are more similar than they quite realize. This realization stems from Albus’s friendship with Scorpius. This friendship greatly affects Albus’s experience in Hogwarts, more than just being sorted into Slytherin. First because Albus helps Scorpius deal with bullying from the rumors that he’s the son of Voldemort, and ends up affected by the bullying as well since he’s sorted outside of what is expected. This struggle causes both boys to drift away from the rest of students because the treatment that they are both different from the rest. We also see that Scorpius’s relationship with his father is distant as well because of Draco’s upbringing, but most of all the lost of Astoria Malfoy. So the boys learn to rely on themselves, and made it easier for Delphi’s persuasion to change time. Albus and Scorpius, as well as many of the characters, had to travel through time to deal with the past, grow, and strengthen several relationships: friendship, father-son, and for the couples, Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione.
The second part of the script was stronger than the first because it was where we began to see where the story was going. The story focuses on the importance of friendship and family, and ultimately love, as always. I think that Delphi without love was made to believe that she was the daughter of Voldemort. She wanted to escape from being an orphan. She is the cursed child. She is the one in the design that we see on the cover. There has been some assumption that the child looks like a boy, but I think they purposely made the child look like they could be either gender so we wouldn’t know who the cursed child was. Delphi’s upbringing, and the rumors, were designed to bring Voldemort back. Delphi’s first name was foreshowing to her character. From what I know of mythology, the oracles of Delphi in Greece were not trustworthy and willing to shape prophesies for their own ends. It also seems clever that her name also comes from a constellation, very much like those in the Black/Malfoy family. In the same night sky of July 31st, there are constellations Delphinus, Draco, and Scorpius, almost or exactly like some of the notable characters in the play. Even in the night sky, there is a distance between Draco, and Scorpius, and you can find one above the other. As an Astronomy nerd, and English scholar, these little things excite me, and makes me realize how much astronomy affects the series. Most notably with Dumbledore’s death, but also within the play where Bane directs Harry unsuccessfully on the path that there was something affecting Albus.
The more I think about the script, the more I love it. I believe that J.K. Rowling left the play open to interpretation. So fans can interpret the story how they want. J.K. Rowling let Jack Thorne play in her world, but I think she had a large, even larger than the Harry Potter movies, influence on the story. They both allowed input from the director, John Tiffany, and as they mention at the end of the script (and the behind the scene videos) input from the cast themselves. This story was a group effort towards creation, but we also have a part in creating the story by finding what the play means to us, and most of all, enjoy the magic of the story. What I connected to the most with this story was the friendship between Albus and Scorpius. They reminded me that there are friends, and friendships, you and the world can’t live without. The present period of the story changed not only when these characters made changes, but when they were separated. It proves that friendship makes an impact larger than we could ever realize. Even though they did make a mess of things, their friendship ended up making things better at the end. Those who believe that some characters aren’t in canon, might have forgotten that characters aren’t perfect, they grow, and are affected by their life experiences. The women in the play are the strongest characters, they direct the other characters, and many of them provide strength in difficult times. There is so much that can be discussed about the play, and so much that are positives about the play, you just have to give the story a chance. I recommend re-reading the script. It’s even better the second time around. And I bet it gets better with every re-read, just like the previous books. I agree with what my cousin said after reading the script, “Every Harry Potter book is worth reading.” Always.