7 Things to Consider When Reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

 

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The new play script being released tonight at midnight is sure to cause some stir, good or bad.

With this in mind, I have some words for the Harry Potter fan community to consider for the inevitable emotional upheavals that will (and have already) occur.

  1. This script wasn’t written directly by JK Rowling

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    If you look carefully at the cover, you’ll see that JK Rowling is credited with having created the “Original Story,” along with two others, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. Jack Thorne is credited as having written the actual script. So while Rowling played a huge part, huger even than in the movies, the words themselves, unlike her work for the Fantastic Beasts film later this year, are not really her own.

    So, though I’m sure Thorne did the best he could to capture the feel of her words and her world, it might not feel quite the same for some readers.

  2. The idea for the project was NOT JK Rowling’s.

    Sonia Friedman, Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Sir Colin Callender

    Producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Calendar are credited with presenting Rowling with the idea for a straight play dealing with Harry as a father. Before this, I’m sure Rowling was content to leave the ending as it was. Though Rowling had gotten stage offers for Harry before – huge spectacles and musicals. This one she vetted because it was more intimate and character-based.

    So just to keep in mind – this is not a cash grab. Rowling would not have worked on this project if she didn’t think it fit the world, but it wasn’t her idea to do this.

  3. The work was written for the stage

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    You remember trying to read Shakespeare to yourself for a school assignment and maybe having a difficult time envisioning certain things?

    While plays should definitely be considered literature, and I’m glad this is being distributed widely in response to the fears of alienating worldwide Potter fans, we must keep in mind that unlike other Potter works, this is a work meant to be performed and said aloud. It may be difficult to envision how actors would inflect certain phrases.

    So you might want to find a quiet room and read aloud to yourself if having trouble (or ask your friends and make it a full-cast reading! Why not?).

  4. The published script is NOT the final version of the story.
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    As a “Special Rehearsal Edition,” the version of Cursed Child being distributed is not quite the version that will premiere live in London on the same date. Production constraints simply wouldn’t make it possible. But between the last dress rehearsal, previews, and the premiere, certain lines could have been changed, whole scenes cut.

    It is really awesome that Bloomsbury and Scholastic managed to pull off this publication so quickly, but I’m hoping we see a final version script published at some point, to get the most developed version.

  5. JK Rowling – and authors in general – are allowed to question their own work.
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    Cursed Child is, in essence, questioning  the ending and perhaps other elements of the earlier series. Fans have gotten angry and confused when Rowling would say something, completely conversational, that she maybe regretted or could have done differently.

    But, haven’t we all looked back on things we’ve done or made and wondered if we could have done them differently? Time changes perspective on many things. And sometimes, those perspectives do make their way into an official work.

    Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, last year, was actually written prior to To Kill a Mockingbird. Clearly, she rethought her original idea, and it resulted in one of the greatest classics of all time.

    Lois Lowry’s The Giver was originally meant to be a standalone, but she created three more stories within the world, one of which may take away the mystery of The Giver’s vague ending. Even Ray Bradbury, when creating a stage version of Fahrenheit 451, altered the original ending to reveal the survival of a character who was originally thought to have died, because he realized the possibility had been left open.

    Authors are allowed to re-explore the worlds they created, to go deeper, add details, some of which may shift readers perspective. They may go a different direction than you would have, but that’s why we’re all individuals. If done for reasons of creativity and not for money, there is nothing wrong with this exploration, even if we as consumers may not agree. So let’s let authors be authors and agree to disagree.

    Rowling and the others did not set out to ruin any childhood imaginings of yours, only to satisfy a natural curiosity, and ask: “what if?“

  6. It may be the eighth story, but it’s not the eighth book.

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    I don’t love how the marketers are really trying to spin this as a sort of “eighth book,” what with the midnight releases and all. But I get it – why wouldn’t you milk the opportunity for all it’s worth?

    Still, let’s keep in mind – Cursed Child will never really be part of the seven-book series that is Harry Potter. It won’t be sold alongside the others in a boxset, or have a matching cover. This is a sequel, an addition, a companion. it may be canon, but the Potter series still stands as a complete work. It’s the Legend of Korra to Avatar the Last Airbender – the works are certainly connected, but you don’t need one to love the other.  They are each their own thing.

  7. There’s more than one definition of “well.”

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    “All was well.” That is how JK Rowling chose to end the seventh book, and it is this point that she chooses to engage with, along with the other two writers, in this play.

    But, what does “well” mean?

    I can say my life is well. I have lovely family and friends who love me and care for me. I went to a good school, and I’m generally a happy person.

    But does that mean there aren’t things in my past that I struggle with? Or that relationships don’t hit snags? Does it mean I don’t worry about the future?

    Absolutely not. 

    Clearly, Cursed Child is going to deal with Harry’s life and his family’s. And it’s going to challenge the definition of “well” for many readers. But for this reader, “well” can mean a lot of things. “Well,” to me, is about finding balance and building and maintaining resilience. It’s about never giving in to despair. For survivors of a war, that is a challenge, but not an impossible one.

    It reminds me of a scene from Legend of Korra. In the second season, the grown children of Aang, the protagonist of the prequel series Avatar the Last Airbender, reunite in a… not-so-harmonious-way.

    After a whole two episodes of clashing personalities, dishing out the past, and accusations of favoritism, all of which cast the beloved (and deceased, within LOK) Aang in an unfavorable light. But in the end, the siblings can look at a childhood family photo and say, honestly, “That’s one happy family.”

    Family is hard. And for someone who never had a traditional family, I can imagine it’s a little harder for Harry, as it was for nomadic Aang after the events of Avatar the Last Airbender to raise the family that comes to squabble in Legend of Korra. But love was there. And whatever hurt feelings existed, doesn’t mean things weren’t, in general, “well.”

    Tolstoy once said, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” But to me that suggests that “happy” equals “perfect,“ which is simply not true. The Weasley family was certainly happy most of the time, but it wasn’t perfect. Stressed parents, children who sometimes felt overlooked, struggles with money, all played a part in the Weasleys’ lives. But Weasleys were happy. They loved each other, they persevered with or eventually sorted out what problems came up, and had enough love to extend to others, like Harry and Hermione. The Weasleys had problems, but they were “well,” at the end of the day.

    “Well” was never meant to mean “perfect.” But it does mean, I think, appreciating what you have. Harry Potter can, in the moment we left him on the platform at Kings Cross, feel that “All was well,” even if overworked, even if struggling in everyday life, even if there are more struggles with his children to come. Because he isn’t doing any of this alone anymore.

    And for Harry, considering where he began? That’s pretty amazing.

     

So, how are you guys feeling about the script? Going to a midnight release party? Discuss below!

 

Apologies, Announcements, and Avengers

Hey everyone!
So…it’s kind of been awhile. 
… And by awhile, I mean six weeks.
…Yeah.
I’m really sorry I left it so long. See, I’ve been balancing two new jobs since March, and between that and finishing up some classes at NYU, I honestly haven’t been able to scrounge up the energy to finish a single article. But I’m her to officially say I’m back and ready to write again, so expect a new post this Tuesday! 
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Additionally, some exciting related news –
You can now find Kate’s Curiosities on tumblr! For various fandom gif sets, rants, and observances (as well as the occasional puppies and kitties, as is custom for tumblr 😄 ), follow me!
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I am also on Twitter, though admittedly I’m not on this platform quite as much. But feel free to engage me on this platform, I’ll be sharing some quips, quotes, and fun links.
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Finally, as mentioned, I am currently holding two jobs related to books. One of these is as Children’s Editor on Riffle, which is a visually-based book site that helps you read more books by connecting you with avid readers and books you’ll love. That books list I shared in this post was actually part of my application! 
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I’m mostly covering children’s books up to middle grade, but I also share some more general book related stuff on the Riffle Discussions pages and on the Riffle Childrens tumblr page. I’ll be reviewing books, responding to other people’s reviews, and creating and recommending more awesome booklists. So, check out the site, view and share some booklists, and if you end up joining, make sure to follow me! 
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For your convenience:
Riffle profile: http://read.rifflebooks.com/profiles/119389
Riffle Children’s tumblr: http://rifflechildrens.tumblr.com
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(PS – If you’re already on Goodreads, Riffle has a Goodreads export button to make things easier 😉 )
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Okay, that’s enough announcements for now. And, as compensation for missing so many weeks, here are some extra special Avengers parody videos I hope you’ll enjoy. Thank you for your patience and continued support, can’t wait to get back up and rolling!
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~Kate
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How I Met Ron Weasley – Analyzing Ron’s First Appearance in Sorcerer’s Stone

Today on Kate’s Curiosities, we’re going to talk about one of my favorite Harry Potter characters: Ickle Ronniekins… er, I mean, Ron Weasley.

(I said Ron! How did he know?)

(Sorry, kidding)

Specifically, we’re going to talk about his characterization in the first two chapters he shows up in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. And there will be merriment and lots of literary nostalgia goodness.

But first, a Public Service Announcement:


The Magic of Reading

If you click the picture above, you’ll see that I have created a list of 23 books and series, from Early Readers to Young Adult, that I think capture the magic of reading and the joys of being bookish for all ages, either through their plots or through their equally bookish characters. Hermione, of course, had to be included on that list, but you’ll find many other lovely books, classic and contemporary, that you’ll want to check out if you haven’t already. Then, share it on your blog, your Facebook, your Twitter, your Tumblr. Share it with your bookish friends, and your friends who have bookish kids, and so on.

A lot of care and thought went into putting this together, and I’d appreciate some support in this endeavor. Plus I think you, my audience, will appreciate the literary goodness. There are even quotes from each entry about books and reading, for added goodness 🙂 Here’s the link if the picture doesn’t work: https://read.rifflebooks.com/list/170475

Okay, I’m done with the self-promoting. Now onto Ron!

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Moving Pictures: A Brief Reflection on the Oscars Opening

The annual Oscars have come and gone, and this year I actually saw more than a few of the nominees (probably because I wasn’t, y’know, studying my butt off as was the norm up until now).

There were a lot of really great moments at Sunday night’s ceremony. But of course, grabbing attention from the get go is important, and what would a Neil Patrick Harris-hosted event be without a dynamite opening number?

Penned by the composer and lyricist of Frozen, I found the song very intriguing given the cultural environment that surrounded this year’s Oscars. I won’t go into detail on all that, as there are others who have stated it better and more passionately than I could.

And also, it is interesting to reflect on the song after having seen the whole ceremony, because so many of this year’s acceptance speeches ended up talking about films as representative of issues that wouldn’t otherwise be talked about. That films even have a responsibility to be socially aware and advocate on behalf of others, and to do it right.  And on many levels, I so agree with all of that! All kinds of storytelling invite us to empathize with people in situations unfamiliar to us, and that is part of what makes them so important.

But… what about when we realize that a story we love is problematic? 

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