Harry Potter fans worried about not being able to see Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling has good news for you… maybe?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the London stageplay doubling as the official eighth Harry Potter story, is currently in previews.'
That means a small number of fans have already been made privy to Harry’s next adventure… although the number isn’t as small as J.K. Rowling would like it to be.
You know as well as we do that spoilers are already available for those who want them, ranging from small teasers to entire plot synopses. While fans lucky enough to see the play before July 31 (which marks the release of the script book, and therefore the assumed lift on the spoiler ban) obviously don’t want the plot spoiled, the vast majority of fans won’t get to see the play for years — if ever.
But Rowling evidently seems convinced that all Potter fans will get to see Cursed Child in person:
@jk_rowling but most of all fans, dare I say 90%, won't be able to see the play'
— Tatiana❄️ (@tatianosophy) June 11, 2016
If demand is there – remember, it's still at preview stage! – it will run for a long time AND tour – you'll see it! https://t.co/Vi4NMyCKLD
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 11, 2016
First of all, this tweet as good as confirms what she teased months ago, that the play will go on tour. Rowling’s certainty that the fan she’s replying to will see it seems to suggest that it’ll be an extensive, worldwide tour, which will certainly make a lot of fans very happy.
Only one problem: This still doesn’t guarantee that all Harry Potter fans will actually be able to see it.
For one, Cursed Child tickets are hellishly expensive. There are cheaper seats — my ticket was £20 — but they sell out quick. A limited showing in one country is certainly not going to be able to accommodate every single fan who wants to see it, let alone every single fan’s budget. To pull on a relevant reference, do you think Molly and Arthur Weasley would have been able take their seven kids to go see this play? No, neither do I.
And even if, miraculously, tickets were both available and accessible to all fans who wanted them, there are still a lot more expenses involved for most people, including travel and hotel fares. It’s hard to remember sometimes that fandom — perhaps Harry Potter fandom most especially — is comprised of people from an unimaginably wide array of backgrounds. From a villager in Tibet to a Greenlandic scientist to a Uruguayan child to an Aboriginal Australian university student to an elderly man from Alabama, Harry Potter has fans everywhere; in fact, it’s become so famous exactly for its ability to unite so many people around something they love.
Aside from fandom literally spanning the entirety of the globe, there’s also the matter of the children under 18, who might not have a guardian willing/able to accompany them. There’s the people whose religions would prohibit their attendance. And of course there’s the large segment of disabled fans whose disabilities, for one reason or another, rules out their ability to experience a live performance altogether. There’s the terminally ill. The elderly. Those who can’t handle crowds. No, Jo, there is simply no way every single one of these fans would have a realistic opportunity to see this play — unless she’s in fact implying something beyond a world tour.
What if by stating, “If demand is there … you’ll see it,” Rowling is actually indicating that there will eventually be a filmed version of Cursed Child? (As in, within the next five years — not when we’re all retired!) Otherwise, there’s no way all fans will get to experience the eighth Harry Potter story the way it was meant to be seen, and she must know this.
And hey, no one’s saying it has to be available to all (as much in the spirit of Harry Potter as that would be). Releasing this story as a play was always going to make it less accessible, and that’s why the script book is being published. For many people, that’ll be the closest they’re going to get to experiencing it live, and they’ve made their peace with that.
It’s the fact that Rowling is promising so confidently that “you’ll see it,” as though she expects that all fans who really want to will be able to attend a performance eventually. This either speaks of an uncharacteristic level of ignorance about the diversity of her fan base (which almost doesn’t seem possible considering that inclusivity and accessibility have been cornerstones of the Harry Potter fandom since day one), or there is in fact a grand plan in place to make Cursed Child available to all fans, not just those physically and financially capable of attending a tour performance.
So let’s keep telling her we want a filmed version, and perhaps that’ll indicate the ‘demand’ necessary to make it happen!