Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Roundtable: The Good, The Bad and The Verdict

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The secrets are finally out there. Or at least part of them, as it has been a month since the most antecipated book release of the year. July 31 has come and gone and most of us Potterheads have already had the chance to read and analyze and obsess about everything that happened in Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.

The book has received mixed reviews and that is really no surprise, considering that this is one of the most beloved book series of all time. It was bound to be polemic and not please everyone. We were all aware of that, but that didn’t take away from the amazing experience that was visiting the Wizarding World after so many years.

So now that we have all had time to analyze it to death, Fangirlish got a few Potterhead writers together to discuss and dissect some of the key points of Cursed Child.

There seemed to be a pretty obvious intention for us to ship Albus/Scorpius, but surprisingly, they never went through with it. What did you think about that?

Luciana Mangas: While I’m not sure it was ever intentional or not, their relationship was easily one of the best in the play – despite Albus being a huge pain in the ass. I really think they missed a golden opportunity here to explore the theme, as it could’ve been groundbreaking in Young Adult literature, but just hinting at it was already amazing – especially in such a beloved fictional world.

That said, I am very, very pleased about how they wrote Scorpius, and the kid was easily my favorite character and the true hero of this story. Maybe their true intention was to just leave it open to interpretation for the audience to do with that what they wished.

Lizzie Lanuza: I don’t know that they meant for us to ship it – which, honestly, they should have, especially in this day and age. That being said, I did enjoy their interaction more than any other and would have liked it if they’d gone that way.  Maybe the intention was to leave it a bit open to interpretation, I don’t know. I do think that Rose and Scorpius was one of those things that EVERYONE say coming, and though I don’t exactly mind it, I think Albus/Scorpius would have been much more powerful.

Shana Lieberman: It was queer baiting, pure and simple. This was J.K. Rowling’s chance to try to redeem herself after the whole, “oh yeah, Dumbledore was gay” thing that happened after the original series was finished. Rather than finally giving LGBTQ readers real representation, though, Cursed Child was just riddled with constant awkwardness and zero resolution. I get that Cursed Child wasn’t completely J.K.’s “fault,” so to speak;  but I feel like, had she actually wanted her characters to go there, she could have made it happen. She didn’t.

Caryn Welby: I think the intention perhaps, was to leave it open-ended, because of the fact that they are still young. But while Albus was clearly into Delphi and it is subtly alluded to that Scorpius likes Rose, I’m going to assume that they did not intend for readers/viewers to ship Albus and Scorpius especially since I thought since Deathly Hallows that Rose and Scorpius might become a thing. But despite this, I loved the relationship between Albus and Scorpius, and in my head they will be canon.

Beata Eliott: I didn’t exactly expect them to get together, simply because I had heard that Cursed Child failed miserably in terms of LGBTQ representation, but I was still surprised by how much I shipped them.  I think the writers missed out on a wonderful chance to include a same-sex couple in a story that means so much to so many people, and not make a big deal of it. Albus and Scorpius would make such a cute couple and their relationship is so genuine and organic. Like the others said, Rose and Scorpius was really expected and in my heart Albus and Scorpius are in love.

Harry had three kids, but Albus was the only one who was featured prominently. What are your thoughts on this character?

Luci: Dear Lord, Albus was so, so annoying for 85% of the story. Most of the time, I just wanted to shake him really hard and tell him to stop whining and grow the hell up. He had issues that were mostly unfounded and just came off as a real teen pain in the ass. It was a surprise, really, because he seemed to be such a sweet kid when we first caught a glimpse of him in Deathly Hallows. But the Albus we met in Cursed Child was an obnoxious teenager, who thought the world revolved around him.

Poor Harry is trying to be a good dad, but just like every average adult in the world, he has to work, and sometimes doesn’t have a whole lot of free time. Albus created this sea of daddy issues and how it was such a weight on his shoulders to be Harry Potter’s child; and it just seemed to be completely unjustified, because his siblings seemed to be doing just fine, thank you very much.

To be honest, the only good thing about Albus was that he had an amazing friend in Scorpius. And the fact that a Potter and a Malfoy turned out to be best friends – and maybe something more – is just so amazing, that not even the fact that Albus was such a whiny pain in the ass could overshadow it.

Lizzie: I honestly didn’t much like Albus. He was a spoiled brat who seemed to have issues for no reason whatsoever and whose development seemed to come out of left field – especially considering the glimpse we saw of him in the Epilogue of Deathly Hallows. Though maybe that’s not what bothers me,  characters evolve, after all. Maybe what bothered me was that he really and truly seemed to have no reason to behave like he did sometimes. He wants a hard life? He should go have a talk with Neville Longbottom, Teddy Lupin …even Scorpius Malfoy. Even with his father, really. I don’t think he ever realized that he had it easy, and that bothered me.

Shana: I feel like just about the only person that’s defending Albus at this point, which is sad. I think that, regardless of anything else that Cursed Child might have done poorly, the story was spot-on in terms of examining what it’s like to be the “disappointing” child of someone famous. Even the poor kid’s name was given to him in honor of two of the greatest wizards of all time, which would have been impossible enough to live up to without being the infamous Harry Potter’s son. Was he kind of bratty when expressing himself? Sure. Then again, most kids fall into the “bratty” category in my eyes, and it’s not exactly like Harry did the best job of all time in handling his kid’s obvious inferiority complex. I guess all I’m saying here is that maybe we should give Albus a break. “I know what it is to be the spare.” I mean, seriously. Poor kid.

Caryn: I enjoyed the fact that Albus was different to Harry but also similar to him, that he had a hard time living in his father’s shadow, and the expectations surrounding him. This seems like the most realistic circumstance for someone in Albus’ situation especially if his other siblings were more like his father, and got along with him better. One of the best things about Albus, in my opinion, was that he seemed to learn from his mistakes and grow accordingly.

Beata: Meh. I was definitely very annoyed with him throughout most of the play. He came off as very whiny and dislikable, and though I can appreciate his growth he kind of fell flat for me and will definitely never be one of my favourite characters in the Harry Potter universe.

Hermione as Minister for Magic. Badass or bad decision?

Luci: Badass. So badass. While it was something that came completely as a surprise, at the same time it just felt like it was the natural course of her life. I mean, she’s Hermione Granger, the brightest witch of her generation. How could she not turn out to be Minister for Magic?

It was the best decision they could ever make, and I don’t care that people were complaining that she could only have it all when she was with Ron, and that it was a disservice to her character that she was unhappy when they weren’t together. We’ll talk more about that in a second, but here’s the thing: she’s human. The fact that she’s the smartest, most intelligent witch in the world does not define her. She is still badass and independent and very good at what she does, but she is still fundamentally human. She is not perfect and sometimes her feelings and emotions may get the best of her, but that doesn’t make her any less of the amazing woman that she is.

So yeah, Hermione was destined to be Minister for Magic. I have no idea how we did not see that coming. She definitely has my vote in the next election.

Lizzie: Probably my favorite thing to happen in the entire play. It’s funny, because it’s one of those things you didn’t know you wanted/needed until it happened. And then you’re like …of course! This is the thing that makes the most sense, considering all we know about Hermione.  And, of course, it’s a hard job, and she’s not perfect, no one is. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t good at it or isn’t qualified or shouldn’t hold the position, no.

Shana: I like the concept of both. In theory, it was badass. Obviously. I mean, she’s Hermione Granger. In practice, though, does taking on the role of Minister of Magic automatically make someone incompetent? The kids were able to get their hands on the time turner way, way too easily. Come on, Hermione. You, of all people, should have done better. And don’t get me started on Hermione’s inability to recognize when someone is using Polyjuice Potion, especially to pretend to be her husband.

Caryn: Best decision of the entire play, in my opinion. One of the best qualities of Hermione as a teen was that she was intelligent but she was also practical enough to get the job done, and that is something that I think is important for this role. I enjoy the fact that just like Harry as a parent, they showed that Hermione was not perfect in this position but in many ways she was the best woman for the job.

Beata: Badass, obviously. Hermione will make an excellent Minister of Magic and I could not be more proud of her. This was one of the best parts of the play.

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