My Critique of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Joy Gillingham

As a fan of the series of Harry Potter books and movies, I am very disappointed in the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book. Now, unlike a lot of Harry Potter fans, I understood from the get go that this would be a script for a play and not a novel, so I decided to give reading it a chance. When I opened this book, I expected John Tiffany and Jack Thorne both to be enough fans of the worldwide series to know what would work and what wouldn’t in the magical society that J.K. Rowling had written. Considering that J.K. Rowling was the executive producer for all seven Harry Potter movies, I expected her to have more of a hand in creating this play than she did. Instead, they all put a bare minimum of effort into creating this play, which clearly shows that they were just after the money, shame on all of them for creating this garbage. There is so much wrong in this script, it’s hard to know where to begin, because I have read better written fanfiction than this, it is like they have combined all of the worst fanfiction plots ever created into one play on the pretense of pleasing every single fan. Wicked was a better executed play than Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and it was fanfiction to The Wizard of OZ series!

Now, I understand Albus Severus Potter’s resentment of never living up to the high expectations of being his famous father’s son, who is a war hero, who saved the magical society from the most evil wizard in all of history, although, having a bit of Albus’s backstory beforehand like we had with Harry’s would have been really helpful. I understand Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy’s strained relationship with his father, Draco Luscius Malfoy, whose family were great supporters of Voldemort, as well as rumors of Voldemort having a child with one of those supporters, which was very well explained. I can understand the outcast status in their families and in school would bond the boys into a close relationship. I applaud the overtones of Albus and Scorpius’s romantic relationship, even though J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne are too cowardly to admit it, despite J.K. Rowling’s announcement of Dumbledore being gay and claiming that she defends the LGBTQ community. I’m relieved that Harry Potter finally confronted Albus Dumbledore, his father figure, on everything the old man put that then adolescent through. Why the two characters didn’t have this conversation when Harry Potter was sixteen, I’ll never know. What I don’t understand is how convoluted the plot of this play could be, it’s just unbelievable.

As explained in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Time-Turners use the fixed time theory, which states that whatever you do when you go to the past is on a continuous loop, instead of the grandfather clause, which states that if you change the past, then it creates alternative timelines. Why wasn’t it explained in the script when Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Draco discover that Albus and Scorpius used a Time-Turner?

How did Cedric Diggory become a Death Eater? Was he so angry at being humiliated in front of the entire school that he swore vengeance? Did everybody give him such a hard time for failing that he let his negative emotions overwhelm him? When did he join the supporters of the Dark Lord and who recruited him? What else did he do besides just kill Neville Longbottom? How did it happen in the first place, was it an assassination attempt, a spur of the moment encounter, in the middle of a duel?

Since when was Ron Weasley a prankster and conniver by giving Albus a love potion to use on witches? That’s more up his older brother George’s ally than his. How did Ron become a prankster in the first place? Was it a way to replace Fred? Was it from working in a joke shop? Why was Ron Weasley portrayed as stupid? In the movies, only his comic relief side was shown, I was expecting more depth in character development, at least as much as the books.

Polyjuice Potion takes a month to make, since when does it only take a few minutes to an hour to create? Since when is Transfiguration used to have one character look like another? Is this advanced Transfiguration? It sounds like both are just Deus Ex Machina, something that already polluted the books. It’s a writer’s way to cheat on logically explaining how something happened by creating an object or event that instantaneously solves all of the characters problems.

Delphi is the child of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange, how and why? Didn’t Dumbledore say Voldemort didn’t know how to love? Wouldn’t someone closely monitor the child of the worst Wizard in history and the most loyal supporter of him? How could someone fall for Delphi pretending to be Amos Diggory’s niece? Doesn’t St. Oswald’s Home for Old have background checks like every reputable business? How can Harry Potter’s scar be connected to Delphi when she is just Voldemort’s daughter? Delphi didn’t attempt to murder Harry Potter, which would make her and him have a cursed connection like Lily Potter’s sacrifice caused, so the idea of Harry Potter’s scar hurting him after twenty two years doesn’t make any sense at all.

J.K. Rowling said so herself in a 2007 NBC interview that although Severus Snape was very brave, he was not a hero because of his sadistic bullying of adolescence, why Albus Severus Potter would wax poetry about how heroic Snape was is beyond me. Why Severus Snape would be portrayed as some open, emotional, warm but strict teacher instead of a bitter, hateful man who shouldn’t be anywhere near students, is baffling. J.k. Rowling stated on Pottermore that Draco Malfoy was jealous of Harry Potter’s fame and popularity, never did shesay he was bullying Harry, Ron and Hermione because he wanted their friendship.

I can see why Harry would have a lingering prejudice about Slytherin’s, however, this would mean he lied to his middle son when he claimed that he would accept Albus, even if he was a Slytherin. Why did Harry think forbidding his son’s only friendship and surveil-lancing him was a good idea? I know Harry can be reckless, but this? Also, Harry Potter telling Albus that he sometimes doesn’t want his middle child as a son after everything he himself went through in his own traumatic upbringing? Harry should have more foresight after everything he himself went through to never say that to any of his children, no matter what the circumstance or how much his children test his temper. How would Harry get away with threatening Minerva McGonagall to surveillance his children with the Marauder’s Map, she retired as headmistress, which is stated in the NBC 2007 interview, and she doesn’t put up with bullying from anybody.

Why would Hermione even want to be Minister of Magic? She doesn’t have any ambition for power, she would rather fight for house-elf rights, and anti-discrimination of werewolves, and equal opportunities for half-bloods and muggleborns than to be the leader of the Wizarding community. How would sensible Hermione, who’s a genius of logical puzzles hide a Time-Turner, one of the most dangerous magical objects ever invented, in a riddle inducing bookcase that eats trespassers for two fourteen year old boys and a twenty year old woman to figure out when she herself discovered the answer to Severus Snape’s potion’s riddle in the first book at eleven years old? Also, why would wizards and witches disrespect her high ranking position so much that they would just walk out on her meeting?

Where is independent, feisty Ginny, the one who doesn’t put up with anyone treating her badly, take her husband and brother’s behavior toward her by not listening, as if she doesn’t exist? Half of the lines Draco Malfoy says should go to Ginny, who’s more likely to say them than he ever would. The play’s Ginny is more based off of movie Ginny than book Ginny, which is very disappointing.

Since when is the trolley witch a machine made robot that has been serving snacks on the Hogwarts Express for one hundred twenty nine years? That’s just absurd. There was absolutely no need for that detail, except for to shock the audience, none at all.

Although this script had great potential, it failed spectacularly. I had hoped that as the play went along, the story would get better, instead, I bought something I wish I hadn’t wasted my money on. I expected more from these writers, as they each did wonderful past work. I’m relieved that there will at least not be a ninth Harry Potter book, the “eighth” one is horrendous enough.

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The Hobbit 2, Just Another Action Movie

I watched The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug a few weeks ago.  Although I expected the movie to be based closely on the book The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, while having a few changes, I didn’t expect it to be an action movie only.

Now, I love action movies as much as the next person, it’s when a movie replaces important plot events with made up ones when I have a problem with the movie. In the book, the twelve dwarves and one hobbit are lost in Mirkwood Forest for weeks, starving, dehydrated, in a truly desperate situation when they come across the less than hospitable elves.  Instead of focusing on the few weeks lost in the forest, the movie chooses to show a romance between one of the twelve dwarves and an elf that should have fallen in love with a human many years before The Hobbit takes place. Not only that, but there’s no depth in the story, giving the viewer a chance to get to know the characters, and see them cooperate to survive this outdoor journey.  By the time the viewer gets to the scene in which Bilbo, the hobbit. confronts Smaug the dragon, one begins to wonder when the intensity of the movie will ever let up.  Unfortunately, even this scene is messed with.  According to the book, Bilbo is looking for the dwarves treasure, and takes back a small, golden cup as proof of his confrontation with the dragon.  In the movie, however, Bilbo is looking for the Arkenstone, a magical stone worshiped by the dwarves king, as is explained in the previous movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Furthermore, in the movie, the dwarves and hobbit must work together, to convince the dragon to leave his lair.  However, in the book, Smaug didn’t need the dwarves to do anything to convince him to leave his cavern; in fact, the dwarves are too frightened to be of any help to the hobbit.

Although The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug is closely based on The Hobbit book, the movie is energetically draining to the viewer, because there’s no breaks to give the viewers a rest, and a chance to care about the characters.  Although The Hobbit: A Unexpected Journey did a wonderful job of sticking close to the book, while adding a storyline that creates depth, as far as movies based on books go, giving it a five out of five stars in my books,  The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug gets only three out of five stars for becoming just another action oriented movie, instead of a masterpiece.