Cursed Child: Three Accio’s and a Whole Bunch of Reducto’s.

Theatre and fans
As Hogpro readers know, the book that was waited for with such fanfare was the “rehearsal script” of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Changes may have already been made to the current version playing in London, and more will undoubtedly come about before the next big premiere, presumably in a year or two, on Broadway.

If I was a producer, there are multiple points I’d take out and at least three I’d add.

OOTP-Screencap-Reducto-ginervra-ginny-weasley-1628131-1024-768Parts to Reducto:

Swearing by Dumbledore’s name. If there is one thing all parties should agree on, 20-odd years after the battle of Hogwarts, it was that Dumbledore, no matter how respected, was an imperfect and highly flawed man. There is no way Harry’s family, or anyone else in the wizarding world, would be evoking his name as if he were some sort of canonized saint. And if one of his portraits overheard it, he’d tell them to knock it off; it’s the last thing in the world our dear departed Headmaster would want. He has only been deceased for twenty years or so; tt would be like a Republicans today walking around saying “Oh, thank Reagan the rain has stopped.” Besides, in the book epilogue, Ron said to Rose, “Thank God you’ve got your mother’s brains.” Not, “Thank Dumbledore you have your mother’s brains.” In short, there is no precedence for any witch or wizard to do this, so the script should lose it immediately.

Sappy relationship conversations. Part of what was great about the original 7 books is that people our Trio did not spend a lot of time discussing their friendship. We knew how much Ron and Hermione meant to Harry when he rescues them from the Black Lake, or uses his memories of them to summon his Patronus. Too often, the play drifts into sappy conversations rather than simply showing how strong a relationship is. The dialogue between Scorpius and Albus, for instances, has led multiple readers to speculate that they are “more than friends,” even though both clearly have crushes on girls.

A particularly bad example is Act 4, Scene 4, when Harry has the long chat with Dumbledore’s portrait, and yells at him for leaving him at Privet Drive, and his various other failings. Then they (figuratively) kiss and make up and tell each other how much they loved each other. That seemed out of place, especially after McGonagall had already reminded him (and us!), the portrait isn’t Dumbledore, it’s a shadow of Dumbledore, paint and memory. Harry should have made his peace with Dumbledore, and what he did and didn’t do for him back at King’s Cross. Rehashing all that with a painting, 22 years later, when he should be focusing on making peace with his son was a pointless distraction. Besides, Harry would never address the painting as “Dumbledore”— we’ve never seen him call his Headmaster anything but “Professor” to his face.

love-potionLove potions. They need to come up with something else for Ron to give Albus to be spilled on the blanket. What kind of sick uncle is going to give his 14-year-old nephew a love potion, particularly when he himself had a pretty bad experience with one as a kid? It’s bad enough they market the stuff to girls. Just who does Ron think Albus is going to use this on? As far as Ron knows, Albus’s only female friend is his cousin Rose—Ron’s own daughter. One little accident and the Weasley-Granger-Potters are going to be as imbred as the Gaunts. Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes is a well-stocked store; surely there is some other joke-related liquid that could get spilled on a blanket.

Fairy wings.  I appreciate that Harry wanted to give his only daughter a gift but… the eldest son gets one of the Deathly Hallows? The middle, a blanket with tremendous sentimental value– even if young ASP doesn’t appreciate it. And the daughter gets… fairy wings? Something “fluttery,” as if it was a dress-up outfit for a five-year-old? Lily is 12, after all, the same age Ginny was when she was pouring her heart into the Horcrux-diary and getting possessed by Voldemort. Seeing her daughter coo over fairy wings is silly, and more than a little sexist. Contrary to what Albus said, fairy wings hardly “make sense” for a wizarding child, unless they actually let the kid fly. Unless Harry wants Lily to be the same type of laughingstock as her namesake Luna Lovegood, he doesn’t need to be sending a second-year off to Hogwarts with something like that. Best wait and hope Grandma Molly has a heirloom or two to pass on, or, if she has a leaning toward Quidditch, give her the “Open at the Close” Snitch.

1443023761-professor-minerva-mcgonagall-professor-mcgonagall-7083850-852-357Minerva Hostility. Harry and Hermione got way too snippy with McGonagall and vice-versa. Their affection and respect for each other was obvious at the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry managed his first Crucio when Carrow spit in McGonagall’s face, and she, in turn, secured the castle for him. I would think their fondness for and pride in each other would have only grown over the years, as Harry and Hermione rose in Ministry ranks, and Minerva led Hogwarts, rebuilding it after the battle into the school Harry and Ginny’s children attend. Surely they can disagree without getting nasty. Minerva could have easily shut down Harry’s “full force of the Ministry—is that understood?” nonsense with a nice dry, “I understand perfectly, Undersecretary Umbridge” comeback.

If Harry wants to impress how concerned he is about Albus, he could threaten to bring him home from Hogwarts to keep him away from Scorpius, instead of using his Ministry muscle. McGonagall knows how much Hogwarts meant to Harry, and how it would break his heart if Albus couldn’t attend.  She might agree to monitor Albus and Scorpius under those circumstances, not because she is threatened by Harry’s fearsome Ministry Authority, but because she respects him as a parent.

McGonagall, for her part, has no business lecturing Hermione on irresponsible Time-Turner usage, given that a certain Head of Gryffindor once gave one to an over-ambitious third year who couldn’t decide which electives to take. I would think Hermione would be quick-witted enough to remind her of this.

Centaur Hostility. If Hermione was at all successful in her efforts to improve relationships between wizards and other magical creatures, the centaurs should not be so grouchy now. Swap Bane for Firenze and have him do the creepy prophecy without the trespass accusations. Harry has far more reason to trust Firenze than Bane.

Watch your language. There were a couple of lines that I’m afraid may be unintentionally funny. a997798b1b34a4af91b097d249d89f24b85a02e7_1Take, for instance, page 11 where Harry tells Albus, “There’s nothing to be frightened of at Hogwarts.” Unless Gildroy Lockhart has gotten out of St. Mungo’s and hit Harry with a memory spell, there is no way Harry could, or would, say that with a straight face. And if Hagrid is still Gamekeeper or teaching Care of Dangerous Magical Creatures,–trust me, there is something there to be frightened of—and Hogwarts would not be Hogwarts unless there was something dark and dangerous around.

Minerva: “I’m not sure this is what the Marauder’s Map was intended for.” Darn right, it wasn’t, it was intended to make it easier for four trouble-making students to make trouble, and therefore not something Headmistress McGonagall would appreciate. My guess is that Minerva would rather kiss a Carrow than have it in her school.

I also hope Harry and Hermione made a nice return visit to Godric’s Hollow on holiday sometime since they were 17. Because in Act 4, Scene 7, when she says, “You remember when we were last here? Seems like old times…” Excuse me, Hermione, but the last time you two were here, you got your butts kicked by a snake dressed up in an old lady’s rotting corpse!  Not something I’d remember with particular fondness.

Three Parts to Accio:

maxresdefaultFirst: Someone needs to point out that Albus Severus has Lily’s eyes, just like Harry does. The scene where Harry gives him the blanket would be the perfect time. “People have always told me I had my mother’s eyes—I think you do too.” Or have Snape ask Scorpius what Albus’s eyes look like, and react when Scorpius tells him they’re green, like his father’s. Then, when Harry is watching Lily at the end, and saying how beautiful she is, he could hug Albus and tell him, “You have your grandmother’s eyes.” That would just be perfect.

635f66ae0a5cc789b12e5d25dfa94feeSecond: I want to see Neville as an adult, onstage. I’m glad they mentioned him and if recognized him as a game-changing character–but I want to see him as a Hogwarts professor and I want to see him befriend Albus. That would make a very nice scene in the first part, when those first three years are flying by. Maybe Albus getting attacked by a Devils Snare in Herbology class or something, and Neville saving him and then trying to reassure him, giving him the type of support he needed from his teachers as a child–invite him for a cup of tea or something–because he knows what it’s like to be thought of as a Squib. Of course, Neville will eventually make the same mistake everyone else does, and bring up how much he admires Harry, so Albus will get all sullen and bratty again— “You don’t care about me, you just want me to stop embarrassing my dad!” But, it would be nice to see someone try. It wouldn’t take long– maybe adding  2-3 minutes to the play. If they need room in the script they can cut the sappy dialogue with Dumbledore’s portrait. Addition:  I just read a Pottermore blurb stating Neville is young ASP’s godfather.  All the more reason to have him make a special effort to assist him.

e83e_harry_potter_marauders_mapThird: The walk by Cedric’s grave is all well and good, but the truly perfect father-son bonding moment to end the play on would be to have Harry give Albus the Marauder’s Map. The blanket is damaged now and, well, let’s face it, Albus had a point, it was a pretty lame gift, compared to the Invisibility Cloak. Harry could recognize that Albus, who is “bold, fierce and funny” like Ginny, would probably enjoy getting up to a bit of mischief with his best friend—and given that McGonagall undoubtedly has them both in detention for life, the Map could come in handy.  It would be a nice echo to Lupin returning the map to Harry at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban.  More importantly, it would show that Harry is sorry for the way he hoped to use the Map to spy on him, that he fully accepts Albus and Scorpius’s friendship and wants to make Hogwarts a bit more fun for the two of them.


  1. JKR is at it again … … There is no end. Last one, wot? This won’t be canon either.

    Ah, one for the money; two for the show, three to get ready; fan fic us some more!

  2. Dolores Gordon-Smith says

    Louise, what a brilliant post! I agree with every word of it. Something that really bugged me, reading the script, was how often Albus and Scorpius hugged. Yes, they’re mates, but they wouldn’t hug each other. One of the (many) great things about the books was how well the relationships were caught and how realistic they were.

  3. I think this site is great! And yep, I totally agree. I too believe that instead of being the eighth book of the series, it is like an elaborated, kind-of-crappy epilogue sorta stuff. And also, the new Malfoy and Potter do seem more than friends.

    I was wondering if you could please please check out my website, which is a Potter head Hub. I’m sure you would find it interesting… Thanks.

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