Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
I had half an hour at the gate and then an hour-long flight from Columbus to Raleigh-Durham NC and I read the script of both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in that time. It was pretty entertaining, just right for a short flight.
Already on page 34 there is a mention of necromancy (by any other name, but let’s call the desire to go back in time to resurrect someone from the dead what it is). A long-bereaved father appeals to Harry, asking “how many people have died for the Boy Who Lived? I’m asking you to save one of them.”
The action of the play centers on alternate universes created by Harry’s son Albus and Draco’s son Scorpius who are (surprise!) best friends in the universe where the play begins and ends. Scorpius is always having to react to rumors that he is not Draco’s son, but Voldemort’s. Albus is always having to react to people who treat him as his father’s son more than a person in his own right. Together, the two boys live up to their faith in each other, while separately it seems they might drown amid the false expectations of others. At one point, Scorpius says
“I know the–Voldemort thing isn’t–true–and–you know–but sometimes, I think I can see my dad thinking: How did I produce this?”
And Albus replies
“Still better than my dad. I’m pretty sure he spends most of his time thinking: How can I give him back?”
As Walker said to us, after finishing reading the script about 2 am on the night of its midnight release, some of the characters don’t sound quite right. The funniest instance of this is when Ron offers to be the one to transform into Voldemort:
“I mean, it won’t be–exactly nice being Voldemort–but without wishing to blow my own trumpet–I am probably the most chilled out of all of us and . . .so maybe transfiguring into him–into the Dark Lord–will do less damage to me than–any of you more–intense–people.”
But as fanfic authors, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne do create some new voices for the progeny of the famous trio (Hermione and Ron’s daughter has a peripheral part). I like the way the less-famous sons playfully aggrandize each other. At one point Scorpius says:
“Turns out Malfoy the Unanxious is a pretty good liar.”
And a minute later:
“Only you and I have experienced how dangerous this is, that means you and I have to destroy it. No one can do what we did, Albus. No one. No (slightly grandly) it’s time that time-turning became a thing of the past.”
Albus: “You’re quite proud of that phrase, aren’t you?”
Scorpius: “Been working on it all day.”
There’s a self-indulgent scene in which portrait Dumbledore admits to Harry that he loves him, has always loved him, that reads like fan wish fulfillment.
However, I was extremely glad to get to Harry’s line about how he hasn’t been a good parent. In this age of Mama Mia-style Baby Boomers trying to always stay on center stage, it’s refreshing to hear a character say:
“We have both tried to give our sons, not what they needed, but what we needed.”
Maybe it’s time for the Harry Potter generation to start writing some of their own plays and stories.