first posted August 9, 2016 - estimated read time: 4 minutes and 13 seconds
So, I finally got around to starting, and finishing, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yesterday and I have to say that I enjoyed it a lot more than expected. The internet and Harry Potter fans as a whole seem to loathe the story, citing that it reads more like fan fiction than true canon – and I have to agree with them on that point. As much as I enjoyed immersing myself into that world again and as much as I ultimately enjoyed the play, there were some glaring issues with the plot, and most importantly, character behavior that I am having a hard time reconciling with.
I’m sure that the play is a spectacle to behold, but the script itself was tried and found wanting. Here are some of my gripes and questions regarding Harry Potter and the Cursed Child from a pretty die hard Potter fan!
To be blunt, the very inclusion of Time Turners as a plot point was very upsetting for me. Time travel in any literary universe usually opens up far more paradoxes, inconsistencies and plot holes than they are worth. JK Rowling was smart enough to realize this and had them all destroyed in book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to stop people from wondering why the heroes or villains of the story do not ever use them. It’s also important to note that the original time turners were pretty nerfed, only able to go back a few hours.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, however, centralizes on a super powerful time turner that can go back years, at least 30+. To be fair, this turner has a new limitation of only working for 5 minutes at a time, but oh wait, there is another freaking time turner that can go back years and does not have the limitation of only 5 minutes. They solved a major plot hole in the story caused by a time turner by simply adding in a second time turner. Uhg.
I like to talk about the motivation of characters a lot. A character’s motivation is the reason a character does, well, anything. The two ‘protagonists’ are Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy. Their entire motivation and the entire reason for the entire plot of the entire play, is based on them wanting to go back in time to save Cedric Diggory.
Let’s first take a step back and ignore the fact that going back 20 years to do literally anything is supremely stupid, and instead focus on why they wanted to do this in the first place. It’s not like either of them ever got to know Cedric. Cedric may be a fan favorite, but who would he be to the son of a Potter and a Malfoy? It hurts my brain trying to wrap my head around what possible (realistic) reason these two boys would have to risk everything in order to save a man they’ve never met.
The stated reason is that Amos Diggory hears that the ministry has uncovered a powerful time turner, so he visits Harry to beg him to use it and save his son. Harry obviously refuses as it’s an insane idea. Unfortunately, Albus overhears the conversation and somehow mistakes his father’s refusal to use the time turner as evidence that Harry is a heartless asshole or something. Why the hell does Amos blame Harry so much anyways? Why has Amos become so desperate to get his son back 20 years later?
The only rationalization I have been able to come up with is a combination of Delphi whispering in his ear like a sexy Gríma Wormtongue, or possibly dementia. Amos lives at an old age home and apparently has a reputation of being a mean old bastard. And also enough of a bastard to allow two underage wizards to go back 20 years in time to save his son.
There were also some moments in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that made me stop and think “whoa, that’s not right!”. These moments always occurred after a well-established character did something completely out of character. Amos Diggory, as stated above, was one of those characters who just felt off. The Amos I remember loved his son more than anything imaginable, but the idea of him even flirting with the possibility of sending two boys 20 years back in time to save his son is absurd. His new found hatred of Harry is more than just misplaced, it goes against what we already knew about Amos.
However, I think the worst change was not to Amos, but to his son Cedric. During one of the alternate timelines, an embarrassed Cedric turns into a death eater, fights against Harry in the battle of Hogwarts, and murders Neville. Cedric Diggory. Death Eater. This is such an intimately wrong idea that I don’t think I need to explain to any Harry Potter why such a timeline of events would be literally impossible.
Ultimately, I did in fact, enjoy the script and am happy that it was released, but I do not think I will be including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in my own personal headcanon; I’ll stick to the original series thanks!