Reading, Writing, Rowling Episode 12: Serious Readers Talk About Cursed Child Performances in NYC, London

“Reading, Writing Rowling” Episode 11: “Experiencing The Cursed Child: London and New York”

A Great Conversation with Potter Pundits who have seen ‘Cursed Child’ on stage in London and New York City!

From the Page About the Podcast:

Whether or not you think it’s canon, seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child offers a unique Harry Potter experience. Readers of the script were often disappointed, but those who attend the play rave about it. Are you curious about how Harry Potter aficionados responded to seeing the play?

On this episode, John and Katy interview guests who have seen Harry Potter and the Cursed Child either in London or in New York. Dolores Gordon-Smith (author of the Jack Haldean mysteries) and her daughter Elspeth Gordon-Smith (film studies graduate and primary school teacher) saw the play with the original cast in London, while Tracy Bealer (Borough of Manhattan Community College) and Heidi Tandy (FictionAlley and Organization for Transformative Works) have recently seen the Broadway version. We talk about their impressions of the play as a literary event and a fan experience. We’ll hear about their favorite characters, scenes, and special effects and reasons Harry Potter fans will want to go see this play – but also critiques of the story and the interpretation of our beloved wizarding world characters. Come along for impressions and analyses that will whet your appetite for your own experience with the play or allow you to live vicariously through those who’ve had a chance to see the show.

Why should you care about a story Rowling didn’t write? Here are a few urls to catch you up on a play that is taking over the world —

I hope you enjoy learning about what serious readers think of ‘Cursed Child’ as much I enjoyed speaking with them (and having my misconceptions corrected!). Let me know what you think in the comment boxes below!


  1. I’m a little behind in listening to this, but I wanted to write a couple of comments anyway.

    First, this was a great episode and it finally helped me to understand why people seemed to dislike reading the script of Cursed Child so much but liked the play. That’s been so mystifying. But I can see how the stage craft and experience could be amazing. I liked John’s comment on how it might bring people who might not consider going to Broadway to Broadway. I think I’ll still go to Orlando or London if I have the funds, though. Thank you, Dolores, for the tip about the studio tour in London. I haven’t read the script of the Cursed Child and I think I’ll continue my boycott –about half way through this episode you did almost have me convinced to try it out. But more details I hear about it, the more I feel like I’ll be happier avoiding it. I don’t think that it is canon and I think that is important as the wizarding world continues to get expanded. I did quite enjoy the first Fantastic Beasts movies, though; I’m not a complete zealot. I liked Katie’s thoughts about exploring the “what if’s” of the series, but I think that that still kind of takes Cursed Child back into the area of considering it fan fiction. (Side note, my husband has only seen a few Star Wars movies entirely because of me and is not a fan. And he hated “The Last Jedi” as well.)

    My other thought was that I disagree that Harry’s tendency to think of himself as alone and do things by himself isn’t addressed in the books. He definitely has a problem with doing things by himself, being a loner, especially in book 5, but books 6 and 7 have him increasingly learning to include others, particularly Ron and Hermione. He shares all he learns from Dumbledore in his private lessons. And he actually spends most of book 6 trying to convince Ron and Hermione that ____ is a death eater and they won’t listen to him. By the end of book 7, Harry has been able to overcome his past and even recent betrayals. He’s become the anti-Voldemort and anti-Dumbledore, both of whom keep secrets and at least somewhat prefer to work alone. Harry takes former Dumbledore’s Army, Order of the Phoenix, and sundry Hogwarts students and professors somewhat into his confidences and Neville entirely into his confidence (as time allows).

    But to a certain extent, Harry is alone. He does understand that he’s a marked man and that some things are his responsibility and his alone. But even in that, at the end of book 7, he asks for help in the forest. I guess he doesn’t ask for help in the great hall, but perhaps because of what he understands about the Deathly Hallows. However, the book does end with him thinking of some house elf might bring him a sandwich!

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