Who would ever have thought it would come to this?
Two BFFS, Bookeater Kelly and Bookeater Rachel, at odds over The Cursed Child!
Kelly loved it, Rachel hated it- how will they ever reconcile their friendship?
With a BookEater Book Battle of course! The literary version of a corridor death match pistols at dawn duel!
Who will open up a can of literary whoopass and emerge victorious?!
(We made efforts to keep it spoiler free but failed miserably towards the end… you are duly warned!)
Rachel: So, I didn’t like it. To start with, I didn’t particularly like the format. The difference between the richness of the Harry Potter books and this bare bones play was stark
Kelly: I agree with that, but it was never trying to be a book. It was published as a screenplay so it was always going to be different.
Rachel: That’s true but I didn’t consider it a positive difference
Kelly: I think it depends what you wanted from it. I loved the idea of finding out what happened to the characters afterwards, the “living in your father’s shadow” theme and the impossibility of living up to being the son of the boy who lived. For me, the characters made up for any lack in description.
Rachel: That’s interesting because I thought the characters and the theme were pretty terrible
Rachel: The characters didn’t seem to be in line with how they were portrayed in the books and I found the theme of living in your father’s shadow to be depressingly mundane
Rachel: I wasn’t expecting them to have been the exact same as in the books but I felt the fundamentals of their characters were different
Kelly: But we grow up and change. We aren’t the same people we are at school. I mean- you and I are awesome still, but for different reasons!
Kelly: And a lot of the actual stories in the original series are mundane, just set in a magical environment- like this one was.
Kelly: Although if you delve into Harry’s personality more, he was always filled with doubt about his wizarding skills, it’s just that now he doubts his parenting skills.
Kelly: I loved Scorpius!
Rachel: We do grow up and change but we aren’t witches nor are we the focus of an entire franchise of books devoted to making magic out of the mundane. That is what made JK Rowling’s stories so wonderful and that isn’t what happens here. Here the magic is burdened, is dragged down and is overwhelmed by the ordinary, the boring, the mundane.
What does The Boy Who Lived grow up and do? Erm, well actually he has a pretty boring desk job, three kids and a severely middle class, suburban outlook on life.
Wow what an exciting sequel. #snooze #evaporatedmagic
Rachel: Scorpius wasn’t bad. What did you like so much about him?
Kelly: I can’t help but feel that the play is much different and pulls on the magic more. Again, because it’s a screenplay we lose some of the description and background that makes it more magical. We only have the dialogue, and that’s never going to be able to incorporate all the magic.
Kelly: I thought Scorpius was a wonderfully funny character. He’s so the opposite of what you expect a Malfoy to be. I kept waiting for him to do something evil!
Kelly: I found it quite nostalgic. I can’t expand on that because of spoilers. Did it give you that feel at all?
Rachel: Not really to be honest. I felt a bit betrayed (or something slightly less dramatic!). I felt a bit like I did when I found out Father Christmas doesn’t exist (is that a spoiler too?!)
Kelly: (What do you mean? Father Christmas is real- I’ve met him!!)
Rachel: I agree with you on Scorpius actually. He was pretty funny and loyal, and I could see him being in the original extended gang. He made up for my disappointment in the neutering of Draco Malfoy
Rachel: Which to be totally honest was a process begun by Rowling
Rachel: (Oh, yes, OF COURSE he is real…..)
Kelly: It was- it began in the last book. When you are on the losing side, you are going to be neutered. But there is still the distrust between him and Harry.
Kelly: (Thank goodness! You had me worried for a bit!)
Rachel: Which I didn’t find believable. But again, this is really Rowling’s fault. He didn’t seem to have suffered any consequence in her epilogue for having been essentially evil albeit in a flawed manner so why would he here?
I found the family aspect of his storyline to be a bit affecting (although think it clashed with stated facts from the epilogue)
Kelly: Affecting in what way?
Rachel: I felt sorry for Draco because of what happened to his family (close to spoiler territory!). And his reactions felt real
Rachel: Which unfortunately just contrasted with how unaffecting I found Harry
Kelly: I agree with your comments on Draco, but disagree about Harry. I thought his actions were realistic and he made me react emotionally throughout the screenplay. I felt angry with him, a bit disappointed in his reactions (which I think was the point) and sad for him. Can I say that the bit I was most disappointed with was how small a role Ginny had.
Rachel: Yes! It was as if she was totally erased as a proper character!
Rachel: And they had such a good opportunity to show how the two characters had grown together and complemented each other
Kelly: Exactly. She was purely there to give Harry and Albus a sounding board, and to give them advice that they ignored. Such a shame.
Rachel: She could have easily been a brand new character for all of the emotional attachment I had to her
Rachel: Wasn’t massively impressed with Ron or Hermione either. The Trio felt missing. I couldn’t find that amazing connection and camaraderie they had
Rachel: And don’t tell me that it’s because they’re grown up and friendships change because we’re living proof that friendships can be just as marvellous, if not better, decades on!
Kelly: Ha ha! We are living proof of that! But not everyone is as lucky as us, and doesn’t Hermione admit that work has gotten in the way and they haven’t been as close as they once were? Or did I make that bit up? I’m sure it was part of the story.
Kelly: But less of the decades please. We’ll stick to “years on”. It ages us less!
Rachel: Maybe I am biased because even when work and life gets in the way of us, we still managed to get through the, erm, several years on (!) with our closeness still intact.
I just felt that these three saved the world together; they wouldn’t let work get in the way
Rachel: Particularly as their friendship was SUCH a core element of the original story
Kelly: I do get what you mean.
Rachel: So I think I could have forgiven or got past most of my concerns (not really to the extent of thinking it was a good book/play, but at least to the stage of not regretting I’d read it) if it hadn’t have been for the plot. Not so much the main plot as I thought that was fairly decent. It was the addition of that character and their origin… You know the one I mean
Kelly: I do. I understand what you mean, but again I feel it draws on the themes of the play. Without giving too much away, you have Scorpius who is forging a path away from his father and is a good guy, Albus who is struggling to make a life away from his father’s shadow, and then the other person who just embraces their father’s character. It provides contrast.
Rachel: It provide contrast but in a way that completely undermines the character of the father, and as such, undermines a central concept of the original series. It’s difficult to not spoil things but this new character’s very existence contradicts a central aspect of the father’s core belief and the actions they take on those beliefs.
If they were going to introduce this new character, they could have done it a different way. They didn’t actually need to be that character’s progeny
Kelly: I don’t know how to reply without spoiling the book. I would say that I disagree and think that we don’t know completely that this would be against the characters core beliefs. In fact, it’s in keeping with the characters actions.
AND HERE IS WHERE OUR ATTEMPT AT A SPOILER FREE BATTLE GOES COMPLETELY OUT OF THE WINDOW!! BE WARNED!!
Kelly: But wouldn’t Voldemort have created her as another horcrux? There was nothing to suggest love between them
Rachel: The idea that he would feel enough human emotion to actually have sex with Bellatrix is baffling to me, but more importantly, it’s a distraction from his main purpose
Rachel: And it’s totally unrealistic that no-one ever found out
Rachel: And why did she confund Amos except that otherwise the rest if that story makes no sense
Kelly: But we don’t know Voldemort as well before he tried to kill Harry, there may have been aspects of him we don’t know.
Kelly: Maybe it was a turkey baster?!
Rachel: I think it was sensationalism. Delphi would have worked better had she been the child of Bellatrix and Rodolphus and was trying to live up to her mother’s legacy and restore Voldemort for her
Rachel: Still fits in with the theme
Kelly: I do get what you mean, that’s a good way around it and makes just as much sense
Kelly: (Is it ok that this isn’t a battle, more a polite discussion of views?)
Rachel: (Yep, we’re bffs, we aren’t going to let a book bring us to fisticuffs!)
Kelly: I still really enjoyed this book, as a screen play. It works as that, it’s not a novel and shouldn’t be treated as one. I completely got your beef with “that” character and feel your solution is much better. Maybe you should write to JK?!
Rachel: Kelly hasn’t swayed me although I do concede that I’m perhaps too harshly punishing the cursed child for being a play rather than a novel. However, it was billed so much as the continuation of the original series, the ‘what happens next’ and I think it just gets so many things wrong. And the new character tipped me over the edge! (Seriously, I have SO many beefs with it!)