Guest Post: PotterPundit at Cursed Child

Dolores Gordon-Smith, acclaimed author of the Jack Haldean mysteries and profound Potter Pundit, went to see the West End production of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.’ I begged her to write up her thoughts, she complied graciously and gave me her permission to post these notes here. To read J. K. Rowling’s long interview on the subject last week go here and to buy tickets for the 2018 opening of ‘Cursed Child’ in NYC with most of the original cast, try this.

Well, I’ve seen it! And what did I think?

The stage craft is just superb, with audible gasps from the audience on occasion. Honestly, the set designs are just stunning and the acting – for the most part – is terrific. Snape, young and old Harry, excellent Draco, Scorpius was amazing, Albus was good and Ron was outstanding – all excellent.

However, I didn’t like the way Hermione was written. She never looked at/mentioned a book and seemed to shout an awful lot. She improved in the second act but she still wasn’t Hermione. I haven’t got any problem with casting a black actress (although Hermione in the books isn’t black) but she lost her academic edge totally.

Ginny – she shouted an awful lot, too, and there was none of the devilry or charm that Ginny has in the books.

There’s a great story in there, but marred in the telling. If you’ve read the script, you know what the problems are.

Why has Harry made such a dog’s dinner of bringing up Albus when James and Lily are fine? It’s all to get Albus and Scorpius to the point where they try and change the Tri-Wizard tournament and prevent Cedric from dying, but it’s so clumsy.

You know; you’ve read it. But all the angst seems so unnecessary.

And why is Dumbledore so lachrymose? He and Harry sorted everything out and tied up the ends of their story at Kings Cross, so why is he now breaking his heart over the way he ‘brought up’ Harry?

The last scene is brilliant, with the murder of Lily and James but it took a lot of getting to.

And no; I can well believe that Beatrix Lestrange would want Voldemort’s child, but why does Voldermort want offspring? He’s immortal – he doesn’t want to share that with anyone.

Delphine could easily have wanted to be Voldemort’s daughter – you’d have the same effect without anyone who gets Voldermort thinking, “Yeah, right”.

So brilliant staging, some excellent acting but the script needed some drastic editing to make the story stand up.

It got a standing ovation though.

BBC1 Strike: The Silkworm Episode 2

Thanks to Candice — and to our Friend in Iraq who captures and uploads the shows for us outside BBC1 broadcast range! Again, watch while you can; it may be taken down at any time.

New Reading, Writing, Rowling Podcast: Oxford University’s Beatrice Groves ‘Literary Allusion in Harry Potter’

The latest podcast on MuggleNet’s ‘Reading, Writing, Rowling’ series is out — and it’s a ‘wow’!

From the description on the page with the downloadable program:

In this episode, hosts Katy McDaniel (Marietta College) and John Granger talk with Oxford University Research Fellow Beatrice Groves about her new book, Literary Allusion in Harry Potter.

Rowling’s works are filled with references, some obvious, some oblique, to other literary works. Groves’ book explores the allusions throughout the Harry Potter novels, to everything from Petrarch to Shakespeare, Austen, Tennyson, and even Monty Python. As a specialist in Renaissance English literature, Groves guides us through these references so that we can understand how Rowling wants us to read and how she converses with other texts of the Western literary canon.

Join John, Katy, and Professor Groves as they discuss Rowling’s practice of “Cratylic naming” (“Dumbledore,” “Argus Filch,” the “House of Gaunt,” and more!), her links to Chaucer and Shakespeare, and her allusion to Austen’s gothic stylings in Northanger Abbey (connected by that tricky vanishing cabinet), among many other references. Groves shows us that for Rowling books are, like the ones in Hogwarts’ library’s restricted  section, literally whispering to us, and we should be listening.

It was great fun speaking with Dr Groves and the conversation was both challenging and informative. Check it out and let me know what you think! And buy the book — you won’t regret it.

Weekly Vlog: Embedded Misdirection

Did you know that J. K. Rowling’s ‘voice choice’ for her Harry Potter novels is such an important part of her artistry that she embeds narrative misdirection in the plot lines of each and every book, i.e., that characters are experiencing the same kind of twist in struggling with the texts and narratives they encounter that we are as readers?

BBC1 Strike: The Silkworm Episode 1