When I recently wrote about the upcoming re-release of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script book, I was surprised to see the reaction.
Diehard fans — who must be diehard if they’re following my Harry Potter podcast on Facebook — came out strongly against the re-release, which’ll include a finalized copy of the play’s script (with “subtle” adjustments made after the Rehearsal Edition was published last July), a pre-Cursed Child timeline, and a Potter family tree.
Look at how people reacted:
— Andrew Sims (@sims) April 12, 2017
We all know this comment thread isn’t the only place where people are voicing their undying hatred for The Cursed Child. Another home of hate: Amazon. The top three Customer Reviews on the book’s page are 1 and 2-star reviews, each with thousands of “people found this review helpful” votes.
“Sigh,” writes the top review. “Pity those who read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” writes the second most popular. “I wanted to like it. I really did,” said the third.
Listen, I understand just as much as anyone else that the script book is super weird to read. Romance between Voldemort and Bellatrix, their baby Delphi, all the Time Turner action, Voldemort coming back… it’s a lot to digest. Many people call it fan-fiction since it seems like it wants to be Harry Potter: The Greatest Hits.
I have a message for those of you who are judging it and have only read the script book: Don’t you dare come for the show before you see the show. I’m tired of this shit!
“Andrew, you elitist douche, I’m buried in student debt and don’t have time or money to go to London,” you’re saying. I know, I know, seeing the show live is not very easy to do right now. London’s West End is The Cursed Child’s exclusive home at the moment, and tickets are unavailable for the foreseeable future. Americans will have an opportunity to see it when it opens on Broadway next year, but that’s a long way off — and we know tickets for the American iteration will be impossible to get a hold of when they go on sale.
But until you see it, you can’t say it’s crap. It’s really not crap! Sure, the story has its problems, but what you see on stage will completely change your mind.
You’ll watch magic happen before your eyes, and you’ll wonder how it can look so real. You’ll see unique sets, striking stage movement, and genuinely fantastic acting. The show is also immersive! It takes over the entire theater at points.
By seeing it on stage, you’ll witness the next chapter in Harry Potter’s story — remember, J.K. Rowling deemed The Cursed Child canon — right before your own eyes. This is a first for the fandom (in an official capacity), so the opportunity should be cherished.
Once you walk into the theater and experience all of this yourself, you’ll realize that the show, its messages, its performances, and all of its various forms of magic are, well, magic.
And you’ll get your money’s worth! Tickets start at £30 to see both parts (for about five hours of show). £6 per hour is better than the price of a movie ticket, and Cursed Child is way more fun than any of the Harry Potter movies.
Recently it won nine Olivier Awards. That’s a record-breaker. You’re talking down to a record-breaking show.
So all I ask is that you stop trolling Cursed Child until you see it. That may be a while from now, but you have no other choice. As the saying goes: Don’t judge a
book play by its cover script book.
Don’t worry, it’s not your fault you feel this way
How did we even get here? If we were to point the blame at someone for causing this perception issue, we have to of course look towards J.K. Rowling and The Cursed Child team. They could easily get this show to fans around the world.
I’ve been cheerleading this idea for a while: Put cameras in the theater (with the original cast before their contracts end in May!!!) and stream it live to movie theaters around the world. Just like it was important to get the Rehearsal Edition of the script book printed and out to the public to prevent spoilers from being read in unofficial ways, it’s equally important to let fans see the show so they can understand why it exists.
Unfortunately, I can exclusively confirm* the show doesn’t want to stream it live or release it on DVD/Blu-ray anytime soon, because as soon as they do, they’ll hurt the play’s ticket sales.
But I ask you, J.K. Rowling, what’s more important: The sanctity of Harry Potter, or money?
*My source: Captain Obvious.