Everything Wrong With The Cursed Child

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I was hesitant when I purchased J. K. Rowling’s Cursed Child script, and as it turns out, this was for good reason. The beloved characters of the Harry Potter series have been described in completely uncharacteristic ways, and the plot either has holes or tears down previously understood rules of the magical world. It should also be noted that while it is based on a story she came up with, she did not write it, Jack Thorne did. From now on, this post will contain spoilers.

  • It’s not a massive problem, but the wording from the “nineteen years later” ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was changed in the opening of Cursed Child.
  • Despite Harry’s upbringing with the Dursleys and the experience of being hated and isolated he had, he tells his son Albus that “there are times when I wish you weren’t my son.” Harry is rude, even to Professor McGonagall, one of the people he respects most: “This map will reveal to you where my son is at all times – I expect you to use it. And if I hear I don’t – then I will come down on this school as hard as I can – using the full force of the Ministry – is that understood?” Fearless McGonagall has been turned into a pushover.
  • How can Harry speak Parseltongue when the Horcux which was enabling him to do so is gone?
  • Hermione has little to no personality. She may be the Minister of Magic, but she is beige, and amongst her old friends is more of a sheep than a leader. One of the smartest witches ever would not have been so stupid as to hide the time-turner in a bookshelf which asked three very simple riddles that the majority of people (and Scorpius) could solve, especially after her experience of fighting to get to the Philosopher’s Stone.
  • Ron is nothing more than comic relief. His character is written so differently that he is unrecognisable.
  • It had been established at the end of the Harry Potter series that Draco had changed, and yet in the alternative universe in which Voldemort won at the Battle of Hogwarts Draco is firmly and happily working for him. He had regretted being a Death Eater since he became one in the series, and yet in the alternate world in Cursed Child he is painted as nothing but dark.
  • It’s  hard to imagine that Harry and Draco would have a full-on wizard fight after the Sectumsempra incident in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
  • Scorpius, the son of Draco, is a Slytherin, but appears to show no characteristics of a Slytherin. Fans feel that Scorpius should have been placed in Ravenclaw, which I agree with.
  • Albus is unlikeable, spending most of the play moaning.
  • The majority of the fandom is positive that Albus and Scorpius belong together as a romantic couple, and find the pairing of Scorpius and Rose ridiculous. Whilst I don’t go so far as to believe that Rowling deliberately did this as a hetero-normative insult, the script undoubtedly implies that they have a romantic interest in each other.
  • Teddy Lupin is never mentioned – for a play about fatherhood and the understanding that Harry is godfather to Teddy and cares about him deeply, he should probably have come up at some point. Then again, Harry’s other two children James and Lily are rarely mentioned as Albus is the central focus of this play.
  • The Trolley Witch is said to be at least 190 years old seems a little far-fetched, although Rowling did say on one occasion that Dumbledore died at 115 and at another at 150 years old.
  • How on earth did Albus, Scoripus and Delphi get onto the Hogwarts grounds when they were not attending school? How did they gain access to one of the safest places in the magical universe?
  • Albus and Scorpius travel back in time with a time-turner that goes back not just hours, but years. When they time-travel, they completely change things in the world – this is something which it is established in the Harry Potter series does not happen. In Prisoner of Azkaban Harry, Ron and Hermione change small things which fit into the past they experienced. They remember the things that they change before they do them – the werewolf that is about to attack Harry doesn’t because it is distracted by Hermione’s howl from the woods, even though there is also a Hermione standing behind Harry out of the woods. However, in the Cursed Child completely different worlds are created, changing a rule of the magical world.
  • It is established in Cursed Child that by going back years, the time-turner only allows them to exist there for five minutes at a time before it pulls them back to the present. However, this is not consistent – it seems that Scorpius is with Snape and everyone is in Godric’s hollow for far longer.
  • When Cedric Diggory’s head is grown by a curse and he fails in the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, he is humiliated. Outrageously, it is scripted that this humiliation caused Cedric to become a Death Eater and murder Neville Longbottom. Cedric has been known as a great man, someone who was “kind, and honest, and brave, and true. Right to the very end.”
  • That Voldemort is found to have had a daughter with Bellatrix Lestrange destroys the previously understood notion amongst the majority of people that Voldemort was asexual, completely disinterested in sex, and had a lust only for power.
  • Overall, this script is also pretty lame. Phrases such “Oh for Potter’s sake” or “Thank Dumbledore” and the new Voldemort and Valor hand signal instead of the typical Dark Mark is really quite pathetic.

Do you disagree with this list? Do you have something to add?

Co-written by Rachael Elizabeth Miles and Florence Miles.

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R.I.P. Dearest Ivy

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On Ivy’s 89th birthday back in 2010 I wrote a poem for her. A part of it was:

Your heart is kind, you seem so great
You’re someone that no-one could hate.

How true that was. Rest in Peace dearest Ivy. You will be sorely missed.

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The Danish Girl v Man Into Woman

I wanted to write a post comparing the recent film release The Danish Girl with the book written by Niels Hoyer, Man Into Woman, which contains diary entries and letters from Lili Elbe herself, and stories of her life written by her friend. They are in very few ways similar.

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Einar does not describe ever being told that he was schizophrenic.

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He does not record ever having to flee to avoid institutionalisation or being forced to undergo any treatment.

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As there were in fact shrunken ovaries inside Einar, that makes him intersex, and I’m not sure whether that means he is a transexual as advertised – he didn’t feel like he was in the wrong body, but that there were two persons inside his body instead, and that the female hormones began to dominate. Einar is shown going into a library and looking at a book which depicts the sexual organs of an intersex person, but there are no words to explain what he is examining, and after the twenty seconds in the library it is never referred to again. For a film that has been advertising in interviews that it is representative of the transgender community but has never once mentioned the intersex community, it concerns me that these people did not actually read the real diary of Lili Elbe, and are unknowingly portraying her falsely. Then again, if they did read it, then why are they ignoring the inter-sex community? And why were they ok with the incredible changes made in this film?

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In the film, the man that Lili meets up with several times and kisses, is a man who in the book makes an unwelcome advance and is then punched in the face by Lili, never to be seen again.

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Gerda does not marry Hans the childhood friend of Einar’s, and Einar never describes having kissed him as children. In the biography, it is in fact a childhood friend (possibly this Hans) that proposes to Lili before her final operation. If, then, the film is portraying that Lili’s near-death fiancé in fact married Gerda, then this is a seriously strange edition!

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Whilst it is true that the transgender community has been targeted with violence on many, many occasions, it is not true that Lili ever recorded being physically attacked. Also, nobody even called her names in the street. Lili was suffering emotionally because of her own mental turmoil, but not because of anyone else’s deliberate hurting of her. Overall, then, this film is so loosely inspired that I think it could really be an offence to the memory of Lili and Gerda.

And for the record, Lili comes off as seriously homophobic in the books. As Einar, he describes only ever being attracted to women, and that being a man and kissing a man would be wrong. As Lili, the idea of being with a woman is appalling and disgusting to her. Although scientifically speaking her case may be interesting, I’m not sure she should be idolised in the LGBT community.

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God Bless Our Union

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There was a time when I was prepared to commit myself to a life in the Anglican Church as a priest. A significant reason for my withdrawal was their position on homosexuality; as a bisexual I could not commit myself to a “don’t ask don’t tell” life where I had to hide my love for my girlfriend.

I drifted away from the Church, though I have still attended at times, and have always found myself moved by the liturgy, by the music, by the Eucharist, and have missed it when I have not been there. However, the feeling of being a second-class citizen, rejected, has stopped me from being able to feel like I could ever commit when it is like this.

I hope that things will change. But today, I had to face the undeniable fact that the Church rejects me, even though it was happy to take me as an employee. I am engaged to marry, and today a friend had to tell me that she was not permitted to bless our union in public. She could only do it privately with immediate family, away from prying eyes, hidden.

Why is it such a crime for two women of faith to sing hymns as they declare their love and promises to one another? To acknowledge out loud that the God of Love is present? Why is it illegal for us to read aloud from the Bible?!

I am saddened that a body I have previously called my home is somehow ashamed of me. That it is illegal for me to wear the ring I’ve worn for years when we marry because it has crosses on it.

However, I’m still excited to get married. I know that God can see our love, and that we’re going to have a great day and life together. It’s going to be awesome.

God bless our union.

1 John 4:7-8, 16b, 20-end
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love… God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them… Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

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To Remember with Thanksgiving and Sorrow

As I have done for many years, I made sure to watch BBC’s Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance. For each year that I have watched it, a particular moment has stuck in my mind. For me, it is usually a specific piece of music and the people involved in it. This time, it was the prayer of the national chaplain to The Royal British Legion, Right Rev Nigel McCulloch:

We are here in the presence of God, to remember with thanksgiving and sorrow, those whose lives in world wars and conflicts past and present, have been given and taken away in the course of justice and freedom, to pray for all who in bereavement, disability and pain, continue to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror, and for the Royal British Legion in its ministry of care and support for them, and to commit ourselves, young and old, to work in penitence and faith for reconciliation between the nations of our troubled world, that under God people of every race and creed may be at peace.

O Lord, hear our prayer.

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I Support Love

John-Michael Parker, a member of the band, said in an interview with the Advocate:

we share the belief that all people deserve the opportunity to live happy, healthy, and self-expressed lives, that people should be able to love who they want to love, regardless of any label they or society place on that love, and that we don’t yet live in such a world. So, as artists and changemakers, we considered the tools we had at our disposal — namely, the ability to create an emotional experience that could inspire folks to think and maybe even act differently — and so we set out to make a music video that would let people experience love and equality so that they might in turn spread that in the world.

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The Presentation of the Lord

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Lk 2:21-24 “Presenting Jesus in the temple for circumcision… Mary and Joseph offer a pair of doves or two young pigeons for Mary’s purification according to the Law (Lev 12:8). According to Leviticus, the preferred offering was a young lamb… Evidently, Mary and Joseph do not have enough money to buy the lamb and have to settle for the more economical animals.”

I was pleased when I came across an icon of the circumcision that actually looked remotely accurate compared to the Gospel of Luke, rather than depicting a whole host of people in a richly decorated environment. I had not realised until I came across the above extract from James Arlandon’s Women, class, and society in early Christianity (Hendrickson Publishers, 1997, p.141) that their status in society is again emphasised in this passage – they could not afford to give a lamb for the circumcision of the one we would call the Son of God.

I think it can be easy to forget the reality of some of the circumstances Jesus was in; he was born in a stable amidst the muck of the animals; he chose to ride a donkey rather than something more readily-regarded as noble, he died crucified and naked rather than take up a physical sword.

I have been studying the Gospel of Luke quite a lot recently, and have seen that Luke often portrays Jesus as a friend of the poor and the lowly. His recording of the circumcision has renewed this passage’s significance for me, and so I share it with you.

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