MuggleNet Academia: Four Hogwarts Professors Discuss ‘Cursed Child’

Hogwarts Professors Louise Freeman, Elizabeth Baird-Hardy, Emily Strand, and John Granger spoke with Managing Editor Keith Hawk last week to share our first thoughts about the “Special Rehearsal Edition Script” of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It was a full faculty meeting of your favorite serious reader web site and it was as much fun as you’d have guessed.

Is Cursed Child canon or just Store Brand Meta Potter? What was Rowling thinking to accomplish by putting her name on this time-traveling travesty and then declaring it was the last Harry Potter story, full stop? Would the script pass a computer literary analysis for Rowling syntactic or thematic signatures?

Download and listen to the show — and let us know what you think in the comment boxes below!


  1. It was a good show. I enjoyed the perspectives from all the hosts. But for my money, Keith Hawk is spot on.

  2. I was fortunate enough to see the play last week without having read the script first and without being spoiled on anything beforehand. There are no words to describe the production short of phenomenal. The magic they were able to bring to life left me in awe and I think that the main purpose of this play was to wow the audience with the spectacle and present a story filled with nostalgia for the original story we all love.

    Having said that, I can completely understand the frustration with the “book.” The story itself does not come close to what we as readers are accustomed to. Rowling even said herself that this story needed to be presented as a play, and honestly I’d almost prefer if it was never published in book form. Far fewer people would be able to experience it, but everyone that did so would be seeing it in the form it was meant to be seen in rather than getting what many view as fan-fiction.

    Someone on the podcast brought up seeing the play without having any previous knowledge so I thought I would share my perspective. I look forward to the next episode. Keep up the great work.

  3. Brian Basore says

    What with the published script and actual production of The Cursed Child, and the attendant unsettled state of the fans, I looked for a like example of book, theater production, and author’s approach. I found the 2004 DVD of “Leonard Bernstein’s Candide”. Points of correspondence, structural and story, made it plausible to me that what we have here is a cleaner English Candide, and that I as a fan am never going to get more from the author than repetition of the equivalent of “This is the best of all possible worlds.” That is all the author has Professor Dumbledore, er, Pangloss, say to Harry, er, Candide. Harry is supposed to learn about optimism and reality, and so are the fans. Ask Professor Granger if there’s any validity to what I’m saying. It works for me now while I reappraise how I think and feel about J. K. Rowling.

    At the very end, Candide has learned, and instead says, “make the garden grow.”

  4. Gotta agree with Keith on non-cannon. This is not a book 8. It’s more like the movie “Hook” is to “Peter Pan” – the premise of Hook is that Peter Pan grows up. And the premise of The Cursed Child is that Harry is a bad dad? Not buying it, especially since he’s a bad dad because he seems to have forgotten every lesson he ever learned during books 1-7.

    There are things in The Cursed Child that I enjoyed. But it doesn’t feel like a continuation of Harry’s story.

  5. @ miles 365:
    I thought I was the only one who thought that Harry’s portrayal was wildly out-of-character. It just didn’t sit well with me that Harry would not be able to relate to Albus, or do anything to try and fix it even if it meant ‘die’ trying ( not that a buy for a second that Harry Potter would be a bad father) or be haboring a kind of bubbling estrangement from his son!

    Hello, some of the major premises of the Harry Potter is saga understanding, Christ like compassion (love) and determination (bravery against the evil). Harry Potter has pretty much gone through all the alchemical stages as the good professor explained so why would he suddenly be lacking in in understanding/compassion and in his mentorship abilities. I mean this is the guy that took in Teddy Lupin and his blue hair for heaven’s sake. So how about he be a father to his son!
    Please forgive me this sounds like a rant and may the discussions continue.

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