Friday, August 5, 2016

The Cursed Child, er, Book: SPOILERS

HUGE, HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

I knew this was not a novel. This was a script where JK Rowling contributed towards the story idea. That usually means disaster, as we have seen eight times in the past, thanks to eight disasters from Warner Bros.

I was prepared for that, for I knew JKR could never go wrong with the storyline. What the heck, she gave me a world I have sought solace in for over a decade now. I know I am not the only one.

I also knew that since this was a script, the book will be shorter than the behemoths that happened towards the end of the series. There would be no narration (which, as I have mentioned a gazillion times before, is something nobody does better than JKR).

But there would be dialogues, and JKR is a champion when it comes to telling a story through dialogues. If you are not convinced, revisit Spinner’s End.

I had wanted the book to happen for because it has been nine years, despite “at the Solstice will come a new and none will come after,” for I knew what it was to wait for a new book in the series.

There were expectations. A lot. And they came down with a sound so earth-shattering that it is a wonder how the world stayed asleep.

***

The highs:
1. Draco Malfoy 2.0. The more I think of the transformed Malfoy I love him.
2. Scorpius Malfoy, obviously. He was the reason for the high hopes after the first few pages.
3. The concept of multiple to-and-fro time travel. Yes, it got a bit tedious after a while, but the alternate universe was a novelty.

The lows:
Everything else.

The serious lows:
1. Ron, one of my favourite characters from the series, is portrayed as a brainless buffoon. Not only did he have some of the finest lines in the series, he was one of the most likable and human characters. Agreed, he had a few lines in the play, but he was not the Ron from the books. People do change with time, but not to this extent.
2. Hermione. Perhaps it was this extremely drab Hermione that changed Ron. “I’ll hug you” was probably the breaking point.
3. Ginny. Nobody told me that Ginny would be little more than furniture.
4. Harry and McGonagall. Forget everything else, Harry was the one who used Cruciatus on Amycus Carrow when he had spat on McGonagall. Despite his rank, power, designation, whatever, Harry would not have bullied McGonagall, or worse, address her as Minerva. Never. Ever. Never. Ever.
5. Rose. I have no clue why she got screen presence that reeked of uselessness. More importantly, despite the friendly bromance, Albus and Scorpius were very, very clearly attracted to each other, so why involve Rose at all? Why not give her the Hugo treatment?
6. Ludo Bagman and his WTF announcements (a friend mentioned the eerie similarity with Indigo Airlines announcements...)
6. Er, should Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley not have made an appearance? What about Neville, despite multiple mentions? But fine, that was acceptable, given the above points.

The WTF lows:
1. The name Panju Weasley. I repeat, PANJU Weasley. Why, JKR, why?
2. Ron gifting a love potion to a teenager as a joke. Ron. RON. RON. Who had once almost died after during a love potion aftermath, also as a teenager. RON.
3. The WTF Trolley Witch.
4. Albus kissing Hermione.
5. VOLDEMORT slept with BELLATRIX?
More specifically, VOLDEMORT slept with ANYONE?
I mean, VOLDEMORT had sex?
The words VOLDEMORT and sex cannot exist in the same sentence. But perhaps he wanted an heir...
But how does sex work when you have Horcruxes? Does the answer change if one or more of them has been destroyed?
Most importantly, can you unsee Voldemort having sex? Can you? Can you?

The unforgivable low:
When does a sequel or prequel become unforgivable? When it clashes with canon.
1. James and Lily were supposed to stay inside. There was a reason the Fidelius Charm was used.
2. Sirius, not Hagrid, was the first to reach the Potters after James and Lily died, and yet...

***

But let me finish this on a high. For the theory lovers and timeline-mappers, that is. Keep this excellent map handy, meanwhile.

Delphini (Riddle?) was born “in Malfoy Manor before the Battle of Hogwarts”, which narrows it down to either Half-Blood Prince or Deathly Hallows. Bellatrix was noticeably absent during the attack on Hogwarts (The Lightning-Struck Tower), so she might have been pregnant at that point of time.

There was no indication that Bellatrix was pregnant with Delphini when the trio was at Malfoy Manor in Deathly Hallows (there was no evidence that she was not pregnant, either).

But let us think about this: did this happen much, much earlier? Let us go back to Spinner’s End...
“She crumpled, falling at his feet, sobbing and moaning on the floor.
“’My only son... my only son...’
“’You should be proud!’ said Bellatrix ruthlessly. ‘If I had sons, I would be glad to give them up to the service of the Dark Lord!’”

We know that OWL results had arrived in July. We know that Spinner’s End had taken place before that.

Let us assume that the Narcissa-Bellatrix-Snape rendezvous happened in June (the last month of the semester).

We know Dumbledore died the June after.

Do the arithmetic. I will leave you at that.

***

PS: I just realised that this was the first time I reviewed a Harry Potter book, for Deathly Hallows had come out before I had created my blog.

2 comments:

  1. JK Rowling, after the PoA, must have realized that she has opened a Pandora's box with her concept of time-turners, and possibly that's why she decided to get them all destroyed at the end of OotP. But now she comes back with the time-turners once again.
    A fiction book, written on a presumably nonexistent magical world, aimed primarily at children and teenage readers, is expected to have some plot holes. That is not the reason why I disliked this book.

    What actually hurt me was that this book, unlike all its predecessors, was not unputdownable.

    And I agree with you on the poor portrayal of characters. Hermione, having solved a puzzle in her first year, would be unlikely to put an important object under the protection of puzzles only. Harry, who refused to take Slytherins as hostage during the seventh book, was unlikely to ask Scorpius Malfoy to be kept away for his son... whatever the reasons may be. Dumbledore would never have done that. And Ron could not have been portrayed in a worse light.

    I am confused about the alternate time-worlds. Speaking of Voldemort and Bellatrix having a child, did it happen actually, or it was a possibility that could have been? Or are we having an infinite number of time-worlds around us, each carrying the consequences of the actions that we did not take? Einstein would have gone mad!

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  2. I agree with most of your points. However, the "Harry bullying McGonagall" part was in an alternate reality where Hermione was the DADA teacher and Ron was married to Padma. So it was a pretty WTF reality to begin with, and maybe that's why Harry was not the Harry whom we know?

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