5:50 am EDT, June 29, 2015

J.K. Rowling really wants you to know that ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ is not a prequel (updated)

So... she's saying it might be a prequel...? You might need to tell us ONE more time, Jo.

Guys, we think J.K. Rowling might be trying to tell us that the new Harry Potter play is not a prequel. Just a hunch.

“I can exclusively reveal that #CursedChild isn’t a prequel.”

“I thought I’d said! #CursedChild isn’t a prequel.”

“Sadly, not a prequel. I thought I’d said that at some point. Anyway. Not a prequel.”

“NOT a prequel. Not. A. Prequel. #CursedChild”

It sure looks like J.K. Rowling is trying to tell us something about that Harry Potter prequel, huh?

The amazing (and increasingly entertaining) author has taken to Twitter to remind fans — again, and again and another 20 more times — that the upcoming play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is not a prequel.

She’s taken individual news outlets to task for calling it a prequel, although the lack of information about the plot hasn’t left us much the wiser about how that’s possible.

Lily James Harry Potter Play

The only thing we know about the play, from The Daily Mail’s original report (which we’re inclined to believe, since the publication has previously delivered credible information about Cursed Child), is that it would take place during Harry’s early years, before his parents were murdered by Lord Voldemort.

We would learn more about Lily and James, the report said, which had us hoping the play would fill in some of the blanks in the Marauders’ story.

Related: Why J.K. Rowling needs to never let Harry Potter go (opinion)

And yet, it’s not a prequel. “It really, really isn’t a prequel. Not a prequel. Not at all prequelly. It is an anti-prequel.” Oh Jo, you always had a way with words.

But what does it mean?

Being the super serious journalists that we are, we went to Wikipedia for a definition of the word “prequel.” Here it is:

A prequel is a literary, dramatic, or filmic work whose story precedes that of a previous work, by focusing on events that occur before the original narrative. A prequel is a work that forms part of a back-story to the preceding work.

By this description, Cursed Child would, in fact, be a prequel if it attempted to fill in the blanks of Harry’s story pre-Sorcerer’s Stone.

When outlets call Fantastic Beasts a Harry Potter prequel, it’s technically inaccurate (since it has nothing to do with Harry), but Jo hasn’t tweet-sploded all over that misrepresentation.

Related: J.K. Rowling drops reality bombshell: “You all went to Hogwarts”

So what makes Cursed Child such a non-prequel, she feels the need to troll us in such a hilarious fashion? Is she just messing with us?

The way we see it, there are only three ways Harry Potter and the Cursed Child could avoid the “prequel” label:

1. It’s a sequel

Oh boy, we’re sure Jo would love this one. She did call it an anti-prequel though.

Everyone’s assuming Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is some kind of backstory piece, due to The Daily Mail’s report. What if it’s not?

What if “the Cursed Child” is someone Harry encounters later in life? What if it’s his child?

(…It’s probably not a sequel, as Rowling has repeatedly stated she won’t be doing one of those. But maybe she changed her mind.)

2. It’s not about Harry at all

The “Harry Potter AND” identifier seems to indicate that Harry will be the main character in this new story.

However, maybe Jo is so adamant about #NotAPrequel because it indicates that Cursed Child is tied into the plot of the seven Potter books, when that’s not the case.

Instead, much like Fantastic Beasts, the new play could explore a whole new part of the Wizarding World.

After all, linking to a Cursed Child article which calls the play, “a whole new story by itself,” Rowling calls the write-up “almost correct.”

3. It’s not actually canon

Here’s what we actually know about the play: it’s about some kid named Harry Potter. There’s a cursed child involved. That’s about it.

So if it can’t be called a sequel, maybe that’s because it has nothing to do with the story we know.

Maybe this is an alternate imagining of what Harry’s life might have been like, if certain factors had been different.

Related: “Harry was a figment of Ron’s imagination,” admits J.K. Rowling (Happy April Fool’s!)

Maybe Harry’s parents are alive. Maybe Neville is the Chosen One. Maybe Hogwarts was all a dream and this is what happens after Harry wakes up in his cupboard.

(Merlin’s beard, but we hope that’s not it!)

Updated: J.K. Rowling later tweeted that “Cursed Child should be considered canon,” so we guess the all-a-dream theory is out the window. What a relief!

What do you think ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ is about?

What’s with all this “not a prequel” business? Is it J.K. Rowling’s way of telling us something? Is there an anagram in here somewhere? (We’ve got “Potter” and “Patronus,” feel free to keep speculating.)

Or is it merely a technicality? Andrew Sims speculates that J.K. Rowling is just trying not to get our hopes up, and he could very well be right.

Or maybe Rowling just loves to see us wring our brains trying to work out what the heck is going on.

We want to hear your thoughts on this topic!
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