"Harry Potter" Rants and Raves
"The Cursed Child"
Many of you who consider yourselves more than casual fans of the Harry Potter series will be aware that the author (JK Rowling) has written a play about the title character's second eldest child, Albus Severus Potter. This will only currently be performed in London, but copies of the script will be available to purchase from 31st July - in England, anyway.
There are many aspects of this play that the fans of Harry Potter are not happy about, particularly those who cannot distinguish between the play and the film franchise. I shall (at least try) to address some of them.
Firstly, who even asked for a story about Harry's children? Some would argue that leaving the series open to interpretation by fans was the better way to end, as it enables the creativity and imagination of others to connect with the Potter universe. The majority of fans appeared to be longing for a series about the Marauders (James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew) and so this play has gone in the completely opposite direction.
However, what critics seem to miss is that this is Rowling's world. She has created it, for the enjoyment of others, but it is hers. Ask yourself, if you had come up with such a popular franchise and you got an idea for a further installment, would you ignore it simply because the fans would prefer a tale about something else? No, you wouldn't. The Cursed Child does not mean that Rowling will never write about the Marauders in future, it just means that this is a story that she is currently working on. Who's to say that ten years down the line we won't have a story about the creation of Hogwarts itself?
The factor that appears to have caused the most uproar is the casting of Hermione. Noma Dumezweni was chosen to play the role and this has caused particular controversy because she is black, whereas in the films, Hermione was portrayed by Emma Watson, who is white. Despite Rowling's support for the casting and comments from Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom in the film franchise), some fans are still upset.
What they fail to understand is that this play is not a direct continuation from the films, it is a continuation from the books. All of the actors have been changed and will continue to change in future if the play becomes a success. Also, theatre is completely different to film. Previously on the stage, we have had a female Hamlet. Casting directors tend to choose the actor that they feel performs the role best, regardless of external characteristics. If the play is a success and Noma moves on to another project, it may well be that she is replaced by a white actress because canonically, Hermione has no set ethnicity. In my personal opinion, the race of the actress makes no difference, so long as she plays Hermione as the character we all fell in love with in the books.
I expect that The Cursed Child will continue to cause controversy for as long as it is on the stage and years beyond, as Harry Potter continues to start debates today. However, hopefully, it will be reduced to a small group of noisy people at the back that cannot be heard over the enjoyment of others over time rather than their current state at the forefront of every discussion.