Thursday, August 11, 2016

Read This Book...

...I mean play.

So, I am the only one who didn't know that the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was going to be released in book form? I must have been living in a hole in the ground for the past few months, because honestly, I thought the play had already started in London a while ago.

So, I came into Cursed Child with very few expectations. I hadn't been thinking about it, so I didn't know what I thought it would be like. But I was excited to read it, if a little skeptical, which is why I spur-of-the-moment bought it on Amazon a few days after it came out.

I'll try not to give too many spoilers. But I'm feeling like I really need to vent/rant/purge myself of this here, so I make no promises.

I didn't like it. It's been a long time since I've read Harry Potter, and I don't think I'm enough of a super-fan that I was going to be automatically in love or automatically disappointed, if that makes sense. I've heard that the special effects for the play are amazing, and the actors are good, so I'm sure that adds a lot. And I'm used to reading plays in book form like this, so that didn't throw me off or anything. But still...I just didn't really like it.

I'm feeling lazy, so I guess the best way to organize my rant is in list form:

1. First off, characters. This play was not faithful to the dignity of the original characters. AT ALL. Ron. Every time Ron was "on stage" I just felt wildly cheated. Sure, Ron is supposed to be the comic relief. But he's also smart in his own way and full of more grit than he gets credit for--even if he struggles with self-confidence sometimes. The play-version of Ron was a hollow shell of a character, sort of like the ghost of Fred. And while Ron is the most vivid example of poor characterization, he was not the only one. I'm not sure if one character seemed really authentic to me. Maybe Ginny? It's not just the old characters who are cheated, it's also the new characters. The new characters aren't given convincing motivations for the actions they take, and that was very frustrating to me.

2. Holes in the plot. SPOILER ALERT...

....Time travel? Really? We all know you can't change time, right? There are no "other" realities. There is only what happened, and if someone went back in time, well, then, the effects of their actions would have originally existed. That's how it was in the third book. And of all the cool things that could have happened in Harry's life, why are we obsessed with time travel? There was a golden opportunity here to dissect Harry's future and the ramifications of all the amazing things that happened in Book 7, but instead the play just rehashes older books, and not in a flattering way. That's dumb. It's like there were no good ideas for the authors to run with, so they resorted to this. Annoying.

3. The deconstruction of the magical world. There are a few little things that just kept bugging me. It's like they tried to fit too much plot into the play, and to make things easier, they had to make things almost less magical. It was very easy for the younger characters to get away with doing stupid things because some of the rules of the magical world just didn't see to apply anymore, and that kind of convenient forgettery (just made that word up) in writing is lazy.

So there are lots of crazy things that happen in the play that I didn't discuss. I was actually more okay with unexpected twists and turns than I thought I would be. It was the bad writing that really got me. I mean, we all know that Harry Potter isn't the most wonderfully written book, right? Right. But it was complex and the characters were so real and the world was so believable and there were always beautiful messages about life at the core of the story. A lot of that was missing in the play.

So I'm basically going to treat Cursed Child like it is fan fiction. It's not part of the Harry Potter cannon, as far as I'm concerned. I don't read fan fiction, because I have better things to do with my time, and because usually it's bad. So what would be my recommendation for Cursed Child? Read it if it will drive you crazy not to. I think a lot of people like it more than I do, and that's fine. Whatever. But if you expect to see the real characters we all fell in love with, you might be disappointed

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