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Discussion: Is Cursed Child Canon?

I read Cursed Child this week. It’s a highly controversial book, and I’ve seen plenty of positive and negative reviews, as well as ‘I am so reading this”s to ‘I wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole (or a shorter pole. Or my hand.’

First, for people who don’t know: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play set 19+ years after the Battle of Hogwarts. It’s based on a story written by JK Rowling and 2 other people who I haven’t heard of before, and then it was turned into a play by one of those other people. It’s currently being performed in some place in London.

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oooh ooh I got my own camera and it’s fabulous.

It’s clear why this play is controversial: It’s kind of written by Rowling, but also some other people. It’s in the Harry Potter world with the same characters, but an entirely different time period. So is it canon ?(canon, n. To be true exactly to the book and characters). (I made that definition up.)

Reasons For:

  • It was written by JK Rowling.
  • It has a typical title: Harry Potter and the ________ .  Also same font. In this case, Cursed Child. (Side note: Does cursed have 1 or 2 syllables? I say one, shanti says 2. Please say I’m right). (yes, this isn’t a great argument)
  • It’s about Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione. (also other people)
  • It’s mainly set at Hogwarts, like all the other books.
  • (mini spoiler, but not really): It features flashbacks and many references/settings in the past, at the time when the original books occurred.
  • The opening scene is the last canon one: Kings Cross, Platform 9&3/4, 19 years later.
  • Similar themes: Fighting evil, friendship, magic, belonging.

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These are all (relatively) convincing. But there’s plenty of arguments for why this isn’t canon too.

Reasons Against Cursed Child being canon:

  • The play wasn’t written by JK Rowling, and the story was written with 2 other people.
  • Its cover is not similar to any of the ones before: It’s a different colour, more photoshop-y illustrations, etc. Again, this may not seem like a very relevant argument. But don’t you think that if it was more canon, it would be more matchy?
  • It’s about new characters: Albus and Scorpius and Rose and Polly and Delphini.
  • It might be happening at Hogwarts, but none of the day-to-day drudgery of classes and things are really described, and the book covers more than 1 school year. (Techinically the Deathly Hallows does this too, but not in the same way)
  • It’s at an entirely different time to the other books, when the original characters are all grown up with real jobs and everything, even if it does flashback to the past, it’s with the knowledge * (mini spoiler: kind of) of the outcome of all the events that are being reenacted.
  • By being in the future, it changes the *reality* of the books when they occur. Or something. i.e, not canon.
  • The structure is different; it’s a play, not a novel.
  • It wasn’t planned for in the original series, unlike the other 7 books.
  • The time described isn’t quite linear.
  • The main point isn’t fighting Voldemort; he’s dead now. (spoilery thing: we hope)

Again, many strong arguments, if I do say so myself.

I personally loved what the Cursed Child did to familiar characters, settings, and ideas. I enjoyed reading it, and the ending was quite cute. But at the same time, I think it’s isn’t more than a playful story. To me, Cursed Child isn’t the only thing that could have happened to those characters. It’s an interpretation. A perfectly plausible, enjoyable one, but not the only one. It’s a second ending for characters that already had a  perfectly good one. Because of the play format which allows actors to do a lot of interpretation on stage, which means that our interpretation in the script could be different to that. In a way, it still leaves Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s fates up for interpretation. (used that word a lot. sorry)

JK Rowling (and some other people) wrote an ending for some characters. I won’t let it be the only one.

Have you read Cursed Child? Are you going to? What do you think of the hype/unhpye and the play format? And, most importantly, is is cursed or curs-ed?

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Discussion: Is Cursed Child Canon?

  1. I’ve read it, and I was definitely disappointed. Most of the people I was in it for were incredibly out of character, and just in terms of plot and good themes it was awful. *shakes head* I really wasn’t a fan. Actually, one of my professors went and saw it while he was in England this summer and while they apparently have a really amazing crew doing awesome effects, it wasn’t good theater. So: blah.

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    1. Hmmm… I kind of agree about the out of character thing, especially with Ron and Hermione. And while I was reading, I noticed that the script required a lot of really technical effects, which obviously doesn’t translate to good theatre. But I thought it had some worthwhile themes, although reviving Voldemort as the bad guy seemed unnecessary. I guess we can just agree to disagree.

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  2. I’d have said that cursed was one syllable, but I suppose it depends how you pronounce it. If we’re going to get technical, Albus, Scorpius, and Rose aren’t new characters – they were introduced in the epilogue – but I get what you mean. It IS new for the story to focus on them when all of the others focused on Harry. Is it bad if I aren’t really fussed about whether it’s canon or not? I liked it, and that’s all that matters to me.
    Great post. 🙂

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    1. YES! you agree with my pronunciation, therefore I must be right. I think it’s okay not to worry about its canon-ness (although I definitely think it isn’t) but really, the story matters more than the way it’s defined. I agree that Scorpius and Albus (and Rose) aren’t technically new, but one scene with them doesn’t exactly count, and there were plenty of new characters. (We can be Cursed Child liking Allies) 😀

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