Back to the Wizarding World! | What to Expect from “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”
By Regina Sicat
The Boy Who Lived lives on with the recent release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Like its predecessors, the eighth story of the series has broken records. It’s this decade’s fastest selling book in the U.K.; it’s sold over two million copies in just two days in the U.S. Locally, it’s the first book to create a tiff between rivals National Book Store and Fully Booked, due to distribution issues. It’s official: fans have been brought back into the Wizarding World.
The story follows the lives of Albus, Harry’s son, as he struggles under his father’s shadow, and Harry as he juggles the difficulties of parenthood and Ministry work.Their journeys collide as father and son realize the power of friendship, strength in love, and finding value in the present.Despite its record-breaking success the book’s reception is as varied as Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. However, one growing agreement among Potterheads is resounding: it feels like fanfiction.
Veritaserum be damned, I think it’s true. Here are eight reasons that make “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” feel like fanfiction.
8. It’s not by Rowling.
Fanfiction is when fans make their own stories inspired by, and using, the characters and settings of an original work. Cursed Child may feel like one because it’s actually written by Jack Thorne and only approved by Rowling. Thorne’s writing style, coupled with the script format, evidently makes it very different from the previous novels. Without the lengthy prose, Cursed Child lacks the usual rich storytelling. Thorne, however, makes up for it with witty dialogue and poignant lines.
7. Alternate Universes
Through the Time Turner, Albus and his friend Scorpius Malfoy learn a lesson akin to Marty McFly’s: one small change in the past can greatly affect the future. The dimensions occurring after each time jaunt is similar to the alternate universes written by fans that answer questions like “What if the Golden Trio were Muggles?” The Cursed Child will show you, in an ”It’s A Wonderful Life” manner, what happens if Ron isn’t with Hermione or what happens when someone pranks Cedric Diggory in the Triwizard Tournament.
6. Unconventional Pairings
There is no fanfiction without pairings or “ships.” While Cursed Child doesn’t switch up the couples, it does evolve relationships that weren’t brushed on previously. The ability to focus on these unconventional partnerships is something that I believe fans and Thorne are really good at. I particularly enjoyed Draco and Harry’s development that will leave Drarry fans, apparently the biggest “ship” on the net, happy.
5. Teenage Angst
The Cursed Child has pointed out that Albus is Siriusly (pun intended) the Black sheep of his family. Thorne emphasizes Albus’ frustration at never living up to his father’s expectations. His brooding demeanor and the father-son fight filled with angst and unintentionally hilarious lines is similar to the stories on Archives of Our Own.
4. The Mary Sue
A Mary Sue is a seemingly perfect character that saves the day through unrealistic abilities. It’s not a trope exclusive to fanfiction, but it’s quite common. Delphini “Delphi” Diggory is one that initially fits the bill. She can outsmart, outmaneuver, and out-charm anyone. However, she becomes more flawed and complex as the story progresses. That paced shift in character shows some of Thorne’s writing capabilities.
3. Out-of-Character Characters
Four words: Grenade-Throwing Trolley Witch. Fans were left speechless as the rest of the cast act weirdly and in contradiction to their characterization in the past books. While Thorne’s development of protagonists like Scorpius or Harry is nuanced and fitting, it’s hard to reconcile it with the off-color-ness of Ron or Cedric. The absurdity of their characterizations is where I truly felt the difference from the previous books.
2. Plot Holes
With neither the length of the previous novels nor the visuals of the play, the flaws of the Cursed Child’s plot become evident. There are scenes that contradict established Potter lore; such as the reconfiguration of Time Turners or the easily available Polyjuice Potion among other things. These plot holes and inconsistencies to the canon are mistakes that many fanfics, and now Thorne, commit.
1. Like Any Good Fanfic, It’s Addictive and Entertaining
At the end of the day, there’s a reason fanfiction is popular. It gives fans the ability to remain in a world they’ve read and love, long after they’ve finished the books. It may not be great all the time but they can still be enjoyable to read. Cursed Child may not live up to its legacy, but it’ll give you the same addictive rush as you read Albus’ adventure, cry at the mention of Snape, laugh at the zany jokes, and make you feel like, even after all this time, you never really left Hogwarts.