Why I Won't Read 'Harry Potter & The Cursed Child'
I can hear Potterheads all over shaking their heads and gnashing their teeth in my general direction, because I won't be reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But bear with me, here, because I have a good reason.
I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at age eleven, the same age as Harry when the novels began. I was on a family camping trip on the Pacific Coast in California, and I didn’t think it was possible to add even more magic to the towering ponderosas and craggy, misty shoreline, where it seemed that fairies must surely live. Of course, I was wrong. My life, like many others, was altered forever after the turning of that first page, illuminated as it was by fire and lantern light.
I was on a family camping trip on the Pacific Coast in California, and I didn’t think it was possible to add even more magic to the towering ponderosas and craggy, misty shoreline, where it seemed that fairies must surely live. Of course, I was wrong.
Sixteen years later, and my love affair is still going strong. I have a Marauder’s Map tattoo; I own every piece of memorabilia imaginable; I’ve been to Harry Potter World twice; and I even traveled to Scotland to see the Glenfinnan Viaduct where the famous flying car scene was filmed for the movie version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Every night for the last 10 years, I’ve listened to the Harry Potter audiobooks. I know Jim Dale's voice as well as I know my own.
In other words, I'm a huge fan. So, why on earth wouldn’t I read Cursed Child?
First of all, because I’m scared. I’m a creature of habit, and I firmly believe in the concept of, "If it’s not broken, don’t fix it." Harry Potter? Not "broken." Therefore, how can it possibly be improved upon? There’s no fixing necessary here. I’m scared it won’t live up to the expectations set up by the first seven books. I’m scared I won’t like Harry as an adult. Conversely, I’m also afraid I will like it, which kind of seems an infidelity. I don’t want to cheat on Harry by falling in love with a story that supersedes his own, even though he’s still a part of it. There are a lot of fears revolving around the unknown, and this time, I think I’m OK being kept in the dark.
I’m a creature of habit, and I firmly believe in the concept of, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Harry Potter? Not "broken."
Secondly, J.K. Rowling didn’t write it. This isn’t a slam on playwright Jack Thorne, by any means, since I honestly know nothing about him. It’s more about the fact that I don’t know if the integrity of the story, characters, and writing style can be maintained by someone other than the original author. I’m aware that Rowling, Thorne, and John Tiffany created the story itself, but that’s akin to having a painting with multiple artists – it’s somewhat difficult to maintain continuity with different styles. You can always see the lines where one artist’s brush stroke leaves off and another begins. Since I know Rowling’s words like the back of my hand, I believe the subtle nuances will become more vivid, jerking me out of the romance of the story. Which leads me to my next reason…
Since I know Rowling’s words like the back of my hand, I believe the subtle nuances will become more vivid, jerking me out of the romance of the story.
Lastly, it’s written as a script, and for me, that just takes some of the magic out of it. I want to be entered into a world where I forget my surroundings, where time ceases and I’m transplanted to a realm not my own, though it’s easy to imagine myself part of it. Whether it’s a Special Rehearsal Edition or no, having to read the acts and scenes forces me to remember that the authors intended this to be seen as a play, not read as a book. I’d say I’d like to see it enacted live as a play, but I don’t know if I’m ready to see an actor other than Daniel Radcliffe portray Harry.
Call me close-minded, if you will, but if nothing else, I’m certainly dedicated. My personality means I don’t like change; at least not at first. So I guess I need some convincing. If you really think I should read Cursed Child, let me know, and I solemnly swear that I will listen objectively. In the meantime, I’ll be here practicing my wand work, hoping that at some point a spell just randomly decides to work.