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A Definitive List Of Everything Wrong With "Harry Potter And The Cursed Child"

The release of what has been labelled as the eighth installment of the Harry Potter series was a controversial move-- the epilogue of the "Deathly Hallows" wrapped up the series in a blanket that perfectly balanced the need for closure and the satisfaction of leaving things up to the imagination of the reader, and the addition of an eighth book had the potential to upset this balance... And that's exactly what it did. "The Cursed Child" has its moments, but altogether it reads more like an ambitious fan fiction than as a member of the biggest series in the world. Filled with plot holes and contrasts with the original series that has prompted readers to treat it as an individual, non-canon story, "The Cursed Child" distorts the original characters we've grown to love while simultaneously introducing bizarre concepts to the Harry Potter universe. Without further ado, are some of the more disappointing aspects "The Cursed Child."

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1) Voldemort's Secret Child with Bellatrix

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The idea of Voldemort having sex with Bellatrix Lestrange a short time prior to the Battle of Hogwarts is not only hard to believe, but also fairly gross to think about. First off, there's the unlikeliness of Voldemort being intimate with anybody. Secondly, there's the issue of Bellatrix's pregnancy never being alluded to, especially since it occurred so close to the biggest climax of the seventh book. This entire plot point would have been much more plausible if the mother had been a character constructed only for the "The Cursed Child," rather than one that was fundamental to the original series. Even then, the idea of Voldemort having sex with someone is still hard to swallow.

2) Playing With Time Travel

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One of the biggest complaints regarding the new story has been the usage of time travel. The book revolves around what is arguable one of the most warn out plot points: traveling back in time and messing up the future. The idea of time turners in "Prisoner of Azkaban" was tricky and raised enough questions-- "The Cursed Child" only raises more. How come this time turner only goes back for five minutes? Why does it introduce alternative timelines? While the changes brought on by time travel and the different versions of the Harry Potter universe was an interesting thing to witness, the overall concept was a bit messy and unoriginal.

3) The Lack of Characterization in Ron & Ginny

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Ron and Ginny, two of the most important characters of the Harry Potter series, were, for lack of a better term, ripped off in "The Cursed Child." While the central focus may be on Albus and Scorpius, other characters such as Harry, Hermione, and even Draco were given prominent roles and characterization (it may not have always been good characterization, but we'll get to that later). We get insight into Harry's struggle with fatherhood and Hermione's role as Minister of Magic, but Ron is essentially reduced to a character of comic relief, adding nothing of importance to the storyline other than his position as Hermione's husband shifting due to the time turner. Similarly, the only role Ginny receives in this story is that of Harry's wife, someone for him to relay his thoughts to. The function of both of these undeveloped characters seems to be to strengthen other characters. We see almost nothing regarding their careers and parenting, leaving their presences to seem almost forced into a script in which they do not belong.

4) Harry Claiming He Had No Father Figure

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Near the end of "The Cursed Child," Harry attempts to justify his failures in fatherhood by claiming that his difficulties emerge from not having a father to base things off of. Albus Dumbledore, Remus Lupin, and Sirius Black are frowning down from heaven right now. This claim is rendered false by the variety of men who have essentially acted as father figures to Harry (Arthur Weasley and Rubeus Hagrid, to add to the list). Not to mention the maternal figures that deserve some credit, such as Molly Weasley and Professor McGonnagal. Furthermore, it's hard to believe that the Harry we've grown to love over the course of seven books would disrespect his mentors by saying this.

5) Harry's Actions as a Father in General

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Telling Albus that sometimes he wished he wasn't his son? Going to extreme lengths two keep two best friends apart? Simply put, these seem like things that the Harry Potter who has evolved through the first seven books would never say. As someone who grew up in an abusive household and whose biggest desire was to have loving parents, would he really tell his own son that at times he didn't want him as a child? And as someone who understands the power of friendship and who wouldn't have survived Hogwarts and adolescence without his best friends, would he really threaten to keep his son's only friend away from him? Not to mention, would fiery, smart Ginny really just allow him to do this? It seems as if "The Cursed Child" Harry retained the "Boy Who Lived" background, but lost all of the other experiences that make up his story.

6) The Way Harry (and Hermione) Spoke to McGonnagal

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Harry may have griped about McGonnagal's strictness and homework assignments, but that doesn't change the fact that he had bundles of respect for the woman. So the fact that he bursts into her office, threatens her job, and tells her that she doesn't know what it's like to have kids? Not only do these interactions destroy the beautiful relationship that formed between the two over the first 7 books, but it's also just not Harry. Also, are we really expected to believe that Hermione Granger, who gave every single professor (with the exception of Umbridge) respect and gratitude, would comply with Harry's bizarre requests and act as if she's better than McGonnagal because of her position of Minister of Magic?

7) Hermione and Ginny Never Standing Up to Harry

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This issue is referenced in the above two points, but it warrants further mentioning. Are we really expected to believe that these two bold, intelligent witches would go along with all of "The Cursed Child" Harry's ridiculous actions. Hermione, who was never afraid to stand up to Harry and was willing to hurt their friendship if it meant protecting him (for example, when she reported the mysterious broomstick package in "The Prisoner of Azkaban") pretty much went along with everything he said in "The Cursed Child." And Ginny, an extremely spirited and defiant character in the books, stepped back and let Harry make all the decisions regarding Albus. Her strongest actions consisted of meek protests. Why did these strong and opinionated female characters become Harry's cheerleaders?

8) New Female Characters Are Introduced... And Used as Love Interests

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The addition of Rose Granger-Weasley was an exciting opportunity to perhaps provide a female perspective of youth in Hogwarts... Until we find out that the character is virtually only used as Scorpius's love interest. It's also hard to believe that the child of Hermione and Ron could be so cruel, especially since she comes from a mother who knew what it felt like to be ostracized in society. The only time Rose is used in the book is when she's either ignoring Albus for being unpopular or when Scorpius is talking about how much he likes her. The other new female character, Delphi, was an interesting and progressive addition because she served as the main villain of the book. Not an accomplice of a main male villain, but the central antagonist herself, a rare development in stories even in modern time. However, it becomes a little less progressive when she also serves as the love interest for the male protagonist. Maybe this was done to bring young love into the story, maybe to quell homosexual hints between Albus and Scorpius, but both paths arrive at the same conclusion: "The Cursed Child" had the opportunity to bring gender diversity and go beyond the usage of females as love interests for males characters... And it blew it.

9) The Effects of Time Travel

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The "small changes in the past resulting in big changes in the future" trope has been used countless times, so it's fair to assume that Albus and Scorpius visiting the past for five minutes could be disastrous in the future. However, the different reasonings that the book provides are quite hard to believe. Are we really supposed to accept that Cedric being humiliated in the Triwizard Tournament would propel him into becoming a Death Eater? Cedric, a kind and loyal Hufflepuff boy who showed no affiliation with the dark arts and whose handsome looks and suave manner would most likely eventually overpower the humiliation? And are we supposed to accept that Hermione would develop a Snape-like malice just because she didn't marry Ron? Hermione, an independent and kind-hearted student who put up with years of taunts just for being different would make fun of a lonely child and talk about his "invisible friend" in front of his peers because she's not with Ron? Okay, sure.

10) Weakening Strong Moments From the Past by Revisiting Them

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"The Cursed Child" was not shy about revisiting some of the most powerful and emotional moments of the original series. However, it's arguable that by doing this, "The Cursed Child" arguably weakened these moments. It's like when a movie ends on a really high note, and then a sequel comes along and ruins it. The conversation between Harry and Dumbledore's portrait was emotional, but also an unnecessary addition to the relationship that was explored so thoroughly in "The Deathly Hallows." And the idea that not just Harry, but Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Draco, Albus, and Scorpius all watched James and Lily die takes away the power and mystique of that revolutionary moment.

11) Albus's Unreasonable Hatred of His Father

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Okay, so Albus was tired of the high expectations that came with the "Potter" name and sick of living as the son of the "Chosen One." Understandable. But the way he treated his father was not. Ridiculing Harry for giving him the baby blanket that was Harry's sole possession from his life with James and Lily and probably the most important item he owns? Repeatedly blaming and hating on his father because of his fame, not because of anything he did? Blaming Harry for Cedric's death when it clearly wasn't his fault? Yes, Harry retaliating by saying that he wished Albus wasn't his son sometimes was a horrible thing to say, but Albus's hatred was at a high point before Harry said this, not to mention Harry instantly regretted it and tried to apologize. Rather than maturing, Albus's attitude only worsened with age. It's hard to read at some points, especially when it's so easy to relate with Harry after enjoying seven books worth of his stories, but there's not much precedent regarding Albus's perspective.

12) No Mention of the Other Kids?

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For someone who repeatedly whines about being the least favorite child, Albus sure receives a lot of attention. What exactly are the young James and Lily doing?

They're only mentioned in passing, and while we can assume they are at Hogwarts it's a little hard to believe that Harry and Ginny would visit the school several times in pursuit of Albus, but not once make an effort to ensure that their other children are also safe. The sibling relationships are also notably absent-- Albus talks about how Scorpius is his only friend, but what about James and Lily?

It's hard to believe that they completely ignore him at Hogwarts, even if they are in different houses. We already touched upon the lack of Rose Granger-Weasley, but what about Hugo? He receives maybe one or two references throughout the book. And what about Harry's supposed godson, Ted Tonks? He's mentioned in the epilogue, so he deserves some sort of shoutout in "The Cursed Child." And while we're on the topic of the missing kids, what about characters who were pivotal in the original series, like the other Weasleys or Luna Lovegood? It would be nice to have at the very least a sentence shedding some light as to what they're up to.

13) Hermione's Protection of the Time Turner

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The brightest witch of her year, who has firsthand experience at conquering enchantments set by much older wizards (like helping save the philosopher's stone at the age of eleven), would surely put much more effort into hiding the time turner than she did in "The Cursed Child." The swallowing bookcase and the easily solvable riddles? That's something Hermione would laugh at. Honestly, it's surprising that she hasn't enchanted her office so that it alerts her when there are intruders. Professor McGonnagal yelling "shame at you!" when discovering that children had stolen the time turner was, while a bit out of character for their relationship, appropriate given the childish protection Hermione provided, and probably something young Hogwarts Hermione would tell her adult self.

14) Transfiguring into Voldemort

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Transfiguration on humans had been done before, but never to this extent. For example, when Hermione transfigured Ron when sneaking into Gringotts in "The Deathly Hallows," he retained much of his original appearance, and he didn't start gradually reverting back to his former self like Harry did in "The Cursed Child". It seems unlikely that they could transfigure Harry into Voldemort, as he is the most inhuman human of the wizarding world. And even if they could, why was this level of magic never visited in the first seven books?

15) And Finally... Albus Kissing His Aunt

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So can we talk about the scene where Albus Severus Potter literally kisses his aunt multiple times? Not just a little disturbing, but downright creepy. Let's forget about the fact that they're literally related for a second... What about the issue that he's a minor? Also, are we really supposed to accept that Hermione Granger, who has had experience with polyjuice potion and taking over identities since the age of 12, would not be able to realize that the man blocking her from entering her office by kissing her several times is not her husband?

So, "The Cursed Child" had it's fair share of lows. Quite a few of them, actually. It's difficult to treat it as an actual part of the "Harry Potter" series, especially when there are so many contrasts with the the Harry Potter universe we're familiar with. But when viewing it as an individual project separate from the series that is in no way canon, it actually makes for a fun read. A bit pricey for a play script that's a bit fan-fictiony, but entertaining nonetheless. And it's not fair to decipher everything that's wrong with it without pointing out some of the positives: the trolley cart lady functioning as a spiky fingered guard, a muggle-born as the Minister of Magic, getting to see Snape discover that Harry named a son after him, seeing Draco and Harry work together and a young Malfoy Potter friendship, Rose having "Granger-Weasley" as a last name, and the cute ending scene where Harry finally connects with his son. "The Cursed Child" definitely has its problems, the biggest of which is that it takes away the power of imagination given to the readers with the open-ended epilogue of "The Deathly Hallows" by filling in too many blanks. But the story itself does make for an interesting 308 pages. That's why I for one will choose to treat it as a separate entity, opening its pages when I want a bit of Potterverse related entertainment but don't have time to commit to the real thing.

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