36 Spoiler-Free Questions About “Harry Potter and The Cursed Child”

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Lumos Ambassadors Alex, Katie, Katy, Ashleigh and Charlie.

Let me tell you a little story.

The year was 2008 and I am spending the summer in Rochester, New York, working at the city’s largest newspaper. I had stayed up all night, first with witches and wizards in full robes, wands at the ready, as the last Harry Potter book was released. That morning, I was at a cafe with a group of elderly book lovers, also in robes, who were celebrating the fact that they had lived long enough to see the last book released.

potter

Courtesy of The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

This was, I thought, my final chance to enter the world of Harry Potter and be part of that universe. J.K. Rowling swore she wasn’t writing anything else and at the time we believed her. I was going to spend the next few days as immersed as I could be. Because I loved these stories. When they were first released, I was so young, my mom was reading them to me. And then later on, every time a new book would come out, I would lose track of my life and go on an adventure with the most famous boy wizard in the world.

Of course, since then J. K. has since added on to her work with books and sites like Pottermore, but ten years after the novels finished (and five after the films), the core novels remain sacred – and still do.

Yes, even with this new play.

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The Cursed Child is the eighth story, the continuation of the Harry Potter legacy. Not written by Rowling but written with her permission and guidance, it tells what happens after that final chapter, where we see an aged Harry and Ginny sending their children off on their own adventures at Hogwarts.

This play is that adventure.

As I mentioned, in my previous post, I’ve recently been asked to be an ambassador for Lumos, J.K. Rowling’s charity. Because of this, I was invited to a special gala performance to watch both Part 1 and Part 2. It was… amazing. Beyond amazing. It was so brilliant, it’s hard to talk about it without rambling on like an idiot about all the tiny specific things I love, and I am hardcore not going to do that (#KeepTheSecrets).

But I figure there are still those who do want to see it and don’t want to be spoiled but do have some questions about the play. Questions I may be able to answer. And so, here are…

36 Spoiler-Free Questions About Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

hp15_q4_square_ls_pottermore1. OK, So What Is This Play About:

Again, no spoilers here, so let’s start with the official synopsis:

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Which also gives me a chance to post this classic bit:

http://geekygirlgab.tumblr.com/post/148376859478/reading-deathly-hallow-epilogue-and-then-reading

2. How Long Is It?

Hella crazy long, but it’s because the play is lovingly delivered in two parts, and each part is about two and a half hours total with its own an intermission. Settle in, it’s a monster.

3. Is It As Good As The Books?

Yes.

4. Just Yes?

Without saying more, I’m going to say this play captured everything I loved about the novels and turned it into five hours of amazing theatre.

5. Well, Is It As Good As The Movies?

See, while I liked the movies, I didn’t love the movies. Not like I loved the books. So I’m actually going to say that this play is BETTER than the movies. Much better. I felt that same sense of magical wonder, crushing anguish, and overall joy watching this, as I did reading any of the books. There were times when I was at the edge of my seat, heart racing, just like when I read the books all those years ago.

Photograph by Manuel Harlan.

Photograph by Manuel Harlan.

6. Did It Have To Be A Play? Couldn’t It Have Been Another Book Or Film?

This is a very good question. People have debated. What I will say is that this is a play about the awkwardness and intimacy of families and that intimacy plays out really well on a stage even if, as you may have read, it doesn’t play out as well in the script.

7. Why Are Some People Hating On The Script?

I actually haven’t read the script, so I’m going to let Katy from Little Miss Katy, who has read the script, answer this. Katy, your thoughts please:

“The script and the play aren’t different, but the script is only ever going to tell you about 15% of the information that you’d get from the actual stage show. Hand gestures, tone of voice, timing, pace, characterisation, energy, personality… by its nature, a script is simply dialogue and very, very basic staging instructions. It’s very different to just read: ‘performs a spell’ than to watch sparks and flames shoot out of a wand as the actor does a cartwheel in mid-air!”

So there you go!

8. Is The Play True To The Harry Potter Universe At Least?

So true. The true-est. The characters, the sets, the story, it feels like stepping right back into the world.

9. How’s The Acting?

Incredible. The whole cast is as talented as any I’ve seen, especially since they’re doing so much theatre in one go.

10. What The About The Special Effects I Keep Hearing About?

The special effects in this play are the best I have ever seen in theatre, ever. Nothing has ever come close and the things they do here are, oh hell I’m just going to say it, they’re magical.

11. The Original Series Was Really Written For Kids, So Is This Play Good For Adults?

Honestly, it’s probably better for adults. There are scenes that connected with me as a 30-year-old more intensely than they ever would have when I was a kid. Plus, there are some parts that are truly dark and damn terrifying.

12. Ok Then, Is It Good For Children?

Let me put that again: dark and damn terrifying! However, if you think a kid can handle it, it’s an amazing and beautiful story of family and love and one that everyone can relate to, so yes, as long as they’re ready, it’s good for all ages.

13. I Heard It Was A Musical?

Nooooo. Not really. Sort of. There is beautiful new creepy Harry Potter-esq music and some truly fantastic dance sequences but no one sings a song. Does dancing and music make it a musical? These are the questions for the ages.

14. It’s Set 19-Years After The Books. So Is It Weird Watching Harry Potter & Co. All Grown Up?

It is weird.

It’s also not weird since the books do a great job at keeping the core heart of them intact (except maybe Ron, who’s way more of a nutter goofball here than he was in the books). But watching adult Harry Potter does feel a little wonky. It’s like if the kids from Full House grew up and had jobs and kids of their own. That would be hard to watch, right? And really it would be a terrible… What? What are you talking about? What’s Fuller House. That’s not a real thing? Why are you turning on Netflix? Oh you’ve got to be kidding me…

15. Then Is It Weird Watching New Actors Playing Old Familiar Characters?

You do miss the joy of seeing Daniel Radcliffe rock the scar, but the actors are so good, and the writing or the characters so detailed, that you quickly forget that other people once played these roles and just enjoy being able to spend a little more time with these familiar faces, even if they’re not quite the familiar faces you’re used to.

16. Ok, So, Is Hermoine Really Played By A Black Actress?

Yes, the unbelievably talented Noma Dumezweni. So is the Sorting Hat (the also truly excellent Chris Jarman). To be honest, the characters in the books are as diverse as people in the real world, so it’s nice the play reflects that.

17. But Lots Of People Are Saying It Should Matter. Should It?

I honestly can’t tell you a reason why it should. But I’m just going to let J.K. Rowling answer this…

img_249918. What is this #KeepTheSecrets I Keep Seeing?

This is the hashtag people are using (and being handed out on some very beautiful badges) as a way to remind people not to spoil any plot twists that may or may not be in the play. It’s basically a new nerdier way of saying #NoSpoilers. And I’m totally in. No. Damn. Spoilers.

19. What Are Those Wings And The Nest I’ve Seen Outside The Theatre?

Did you literally not read the last question. Oooooh, you make me so mad sometimes.

20. Can You At Least Tell Us What Characters Are Returning?

I swear to god, you keep this up, I’m going to give you such a good kicking.

21. Who Is The Cursed Child?

Last warning. Last. Damn. Warning.

22. Come On, We Won’t Tell Anyone.

That’s it. Get over here. Time for the kicking.

23. Wait, Wait, We’re Sorry. We Won’t Ask Again. But On Another Note, We Heard That The Cursed Child Is Actually…

*Kicks You In The Knee*

24. OW!

Mmhmm.

img_248325. Ok, Moving On. What’s Is Lumos You Mentioned Earlier?

Lumos is J.K. Rowling’s charity that’s trying to find homes for the eight million children that are currently in orphanages and at risk of mental, physical and emotional harm. You can read more in my post here as well as on their website. Do check it out, they’re doing work that’s literally changing lives daily.

They’ve also got a badass limited edition t-shirt campaign going on right now, which you can buy here.

img_2566t-shirt_design26. When You Went With Lumos To See The Show, Did You Have Any Fun Tweets From That Day?

I do!

27. When You Went, Did You See Anyone Come In Costume?

So many! People came in all kinds of fancy dress, from school uniforms to full robes. It’s obviously not required, but if you want to nerd out with pure joy, you will not be alone!

28. I’m Booking Tickets! Should I Do Both Parts On The Same Day Or One After Another?

Same day. I honestly believe that if I had to wait a full day (or longer) to see Part 2 after Part 1 finished, I would have gone insane. Or… read spoilers (GASP!) Do it in one go. It’s a long day, but worth it.

img_256129. Is There Anything You Didn’t Like?

There are some serious unanswered questions. I can’t get into them without revealing things I’m not going to reveal, so come talk to me about it in person. I have thoughts.

30. How Do I Get Tickets?

Considering tickets are sold out for years, I’d probably resort to evil magic. Come on, you know you want too…


Wait, wrong fandom. Ok, moving on.

31. Any Other Way Than To Become a Death Eather Or Sith Lord?

OK, one other way. From the official Cursed Child website:

“Every Friday at 1pm, (they) release 40 tickets for every performance the following week, for some of the very best seats in the theatre, at an amazingly low price. These tickets are known as ‘The Friday Forty’.” (Find more here.)

32. I’m Still Angry I Didn’t Get My Hogwarts Letter. Anything You Can Do About This?

You and me both. I think we just have to keep holding onto hope that it got lost in the mail and will someday arrive. Damn postal system.

33. Why Wasn’t This Blog Post Delivered To Me By Owl?

Because you didn’t believe hard enough.

34. I Believe!

Ok, I believe you. *Rolls Eyes*

35. Have You Ever Been Facebook Poked By Voldemort?

My god, I hope not.

36. Do You Ever Think “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” Will Tour?

It will. Someday, it will. J.K. Rowling has all but promised it:

Not sure when. Not sure where. But someday it will move beyond London. And when it does, grab those tickets as soon as you damn can. But remember, no dark magic (unless you reeeeeeeeeeally have too.)

BONUS QUESTION: Can You Sum Up How You Feel About This Play Using Only Emojis?

👍🏼⚡️🎭😀😭😍👍🏼


THE GOOD: Almost everything. The play was an incredible return to this magic world I, and many others, grew up in. It’s beautiful, it’s sad, it’s wonderful.

THE BAD: It’s very, very long and there are some serious unanswered questions. It is also only playing in London and even if you live here, tickets are incredibly hard to get. Also, the script doesn’t do the play justice at all. If you can, don’t read the script, see the show (but again bringing us back to our third point.) Someday it will tour though and on that day, buy tickets. Buy them so fast.

ONE QUOTE FROM J.K. ROWLING, AUTHOR OF HARRY POTTER, AT THE GALA PERFORMANCE:

“The story you’re about to see is primarily about family: about what it means to us, even when it’s imperfect, which it has to be, because we are all of us imperfect…

Through the work I’ve been privileged to do with Lumos over the past decade, I’ve come to have a new understanding of why those of us with imperfect families have far better chances of surviving this difficult world than those who don’t.”

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child runs daily at the Palace Theatre. 40 tickets for all performances for the following week are released every Friday at 1pm at a low price. Find more here.

And if you have seen the play, don’t forget to review your own spoiler-free experience in the comments or on Yelp!

2 Comments

  • Tom R.

    [NO SPOILERS]

    While the production is stunning, I have to admit to being disappointed by the story and its handling – particularly in relation to your point above of Cursed Child being ‘true to the Harry Potter universe’.

    Without sounding like too much of a geek, there’s a major, major aspect of of the play that is entirely opposite to canon from the books and their movie adaptations.

    I think it’s more of a tread warily to viewers, because there are some noticeable plotholes.

    • Alex

      I know exactly what you are talking about and I agree completely, there were some… issues storywise. The plotholes really, really bugged me until a friend pointed out that it’s not my world, it’s J.K. Rowling’s. And if she says that it can work like this in the universe, even if we didn’t see it in past books, who am I to say it couldn’t, you know?

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