Two New (Sort of!) JKRowling.com Posts

Yesterday Rowling broke her Twitter platform silence of eight months with a post and a retweet of a PotterMore posting about the new logo and tagline for ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ (‘J. K. Rowling Returns to Twitter‘).

She also reposted a January 2017 post, ‘Cursed Child Film Rumours,’ at her JKRowling.com website about rumors of a Daniel-Emma-Rupert film production of ‘Cursed Child.’ She says this rumor is “rubbish:”

I have no idea how these stories emerge, but to set the record straight once and for all: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a stage play, it was conceived and written as a stage play, it was always intended to be a stage play and nothing else, and there are absolutely no plans for it to become a movie, a novel, a puppet show, a cartoon, a comic book series or Cursed Child on Ice.

And she posted another link, much like her Twitter re-tweeting, to the PotterMore story about the Times Square logo-and-tag-line unveiling: ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Takes over Times Square.’ That posting included this video.

Three short notes:

(1) The excitement about these events which even we are obliged to note are of no importance whatsoever, the change in logo-tagline of a Broadway play and an author’s return to a social media platform (!), testifies to the currency and vitality of Harry Potter’s status as the global shared text.

(2) If any conclusions are to be drawn from the JKRowling.com twin postings on top of the return to Twitter, my first guesses would be (a) it’s a business decision to use the tweeting platform with more than 14 million followers to highlight marketing events representing no little investment (how much do you think it cost to pull off that Times Square event about essentially nothing beyond reviving interest in a smash hit that may be showing signs of jumping the shark? To make the logo square with books and film logo?) and, (b) Rowling herself may be not totally on board with this. That reposting on her website of the 2017 denial of a movie production in the offing (2026?) sounds a bit like a ‘note to self’ (and to the world) that she is not really a prisoner of Rowling, Inc.’s mercenary concerns.

(3) Does anyone out there doubt that eventually, perhaps as with Tolkien “well after the author’s demise,” this play will be adapted into a movie and that there will be a Harry Potter movie re-booting, as well as a television series, opera, and Ice-Capades? If Christopher Tolkien couldn’t stop it, Rowling won’t be able to, and, given her charity concerns and commitments, I have to wonder at how long she will hold out against pressure externally from Warner Brothers and internally from Lumos and Volant.

Cursed Child Soundtrack — On Vinyl?

We’ve been discussing all the products that the Wizarding World franchise has been putting out of late. It’s something like the order of the day as we await the rollout of the WizardingWorld.com website that has swallowed PotterMore and will charge a subscription fee for access to Gold Status members’ material. See ‘The Problem with Monetizing Harry Potter.’

Yesterday I learned that the ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ stage production company has produced a soundtrack album. And I mean ‘album.’ It’s a pair of long playing 33 1/3 vinyl records that comes in a real record-album. Check out the article on TheaterMania.com.

I love analog recordings. I have a collection my wife is currently cataloging that covers 47 shelves in our bookcases and we guesstimate includes more than 7,000 records, 33 1/3, 45, and 78s. All of it classical and opera except for the 78s. I have more records than books, and, frankly, that’s saying something. [If you want this library, all Near Mint or better, make an offer!] The resurgence of LPs, consequently, is something of a thrill to me.

But why would Rowling, Inc., decide that vinyl was the way to go for their Cursed Child soundtrack? LPs make up an increasing percentage of music sales every year; some estimate it is more than 10% of dollars paid for recorded music. Has it become such a big deal, though, that the Potter marketers decided it was worth the risk of a fail? Or does this medium mean maximizing profits on gift-purchases especially in theaters? Very few presents are as fun to hold and look over again and again as a new record album.

I have read plenty of reviews of this play-as-staged and been part of podcast discussions with Potter Pundits who are Broadway zealots and attended the productions in London and New York. Not once has anyone I can remember mentioned the music. And yet now we have a soundtrack of just that. Who has been asking for this? Is it just fodder for collectors and souvenir Nifflers? 

Let me know what you think. I’m still scratching my head over this news.

Cursed Child and HogwartsProfessor Fan Fiction post Deathly Hallows

I have worked the same Muggle job in Oklahoma City since 2011. One of my fellow ‘Team Members’ who has been with me all this time there recently traveled to New York City to watch ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ on Broadway. He reminded me yesterday that he was the first to tell me the play’s title when it was announced and that it would feature Albus Severus Potter and Scorpio Malfoy. He said he was astonished that my response was to tell him that, “Of course they’ll be friends and be sorted into Slytherin House together; the boy’s initials are A. S. P.” I told him, in what seemed to him a fit of clairvoyance, that their unlikely friendship would begin on the Hogwarts Express and finally resolve the Gryffindor-Slytherin divide.

I had forgotten all this but it does sound like what I might have said. The only piece of fan fiction to ever be published at HogwartsProfessor.com was in the frenetic months post publication of Deathly Hallows. From Helen, 9 November 2007:

Please excuse me for inflicting a spot of fan fiction on this illustrious thread, but… I wrote this snippet very shortly after I read DH (and yes, before I heard John speak at Biola). I think John must have trained me to notice the right things…. 🙂

****************
The hat settled softly over the boy’s head, completely hiding his green eyes. The bridge of his nose tickled where the brim rested.

“Hmmm… So you’re the younger one. I remember all of you, of course. You’re quite like your father and your brother. What shall be done with you?

“You’re bright enough to go in Ravenclaw, but I think I won’t put you there. Learning isn’t your first passion.

“A strong sense of loyalty and fair play here… ah, that’s why you were afraid of where I might put you, isn’t it? You don’t like underhandedness and double dealing. Well, there’s very little of that in Hufflepuff. But somehow I don’t think your gifts would be best employed among the badgers.”

The boy thought, “Gifts?”

“Yes, child, you have many. You’re brave as any Gryffindor, certainly, but I believe your greatest gift is the one your grandmother had: to see the good in your friends, so that they can become what you see. Are you brave enough to let me put you where your gift is needed most?”

A tiny nod from the boy under the hat.

“Well then, remember that there’s nothing wrong with ambition if you choose your means and your goals rightly, and go help remake your namesake’s House. Go to SLYTHERIN!”

Albus Severus Potter scrambled down from the high wooden stool and went over to sit at his new House table, next to an obviously gobsmacked Scorpius Malfoy.

“Your father’s going to go off like a Blast-ended Skrewt when he finds out where you got Sorted, Potter!”

“Nah, Dad’ll be all right. He named me after Headmaster Snape, didn’t he? Hey, maybe I was supposed to be here in Slytherin! Do you know what my initials spell?”
***************************
We now return you to more edifying reflections.

This story has expanded from Helen’s original to include a first meeting on the train, in which Scorpius and Albus compare their different but comparable family miseries in a shadow of Harry and Ron’s first conversation. Rose Weasley, sorted after both Malfoy and Potter, chooses Slytherin House as Harry chose Gryffindor during their Sorting Hat experiences.

Could this have inspired the ‘Cursed Child’ script writing trio? Sure. But I guess it’s a fairly well choreographed next step from Harry’s conversation with Albus on the Hogwarts Express platform and one too many other fan fiction writers must have followed to claim any originality. Wasn’t one of the chief complaints about Cursed Child that it reads like fan fiction? Isn’t it still?

 

 

Theatrical Decor for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: An Augery’s Nest of Easter Eggs.

I thought it was curious that the instructions for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child specified that audience members should show up a full hour before curtain time. I even wondered if this was a plot to sell you extra butterbeer, chocolate frogs and T-shirts prior to the show. While there were certainly snacks and souvenirs for sale, as there are for all Broadway productions, there was actually plenty to see and do in the lobby area, that made the hour pass quite enjoyably.

The Lyric Theatre spent over 30 million dollars renovating the theater to host this production, so they clearly expect it to be around for a while. They spared no expense or lack of detail, inside or out. Projects ranged from huge (e.g. the black wing that extended from the entrance all the way down the block, with the augurey nest perched on a distant building) to more subtle (the winged sconces that held the outdoor lanterns) but they all added up to a treasure trove of artistry to delight the serious fan. You might even call it an Augurey’s nest of Easter Eggs.   Find out more after the jump!  Spoilers, ho! [Read more…]

Louise’s Post-Cursed Child Review: Stage Spectacle Out-Shines the Script

Yesterday was it: a day of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, with Part 1 at 2 PM and Part 2 at 7:30. I had been eagerly anticipating this experience since the release of the published script almost 3 years ago. In general, I would say that the show fully met my expectations:  the parts I enjoyed from the script were great on stage, and the parts that made me roll my eyes at the script–I’m looking at you, bed-wetting scene, and tearful conversations with Dumbledore’s portrait— did the same thing on stage.  But, the part of the theatrical experience you can’t get from reading–the staging, the sets, the special effects–were amazing, as has been reported by theater-goers since the London premiere. That, as expected, turned the experience into something well worth the price.

More to come:  but, be forewarned.  Despite the neat #keepthesecrets button they gave me, having already read, discussed, blogged and podcasted about the script extensively, I will be discussing many show spoilers.  Please do not read beyond the jump if you do not want to know the Cursed Secrets. [Read more…]