"My Immortal:" it’s the title of the horrendous fanfiction that every Harry Potter fan knows. Heck, even people who are not a part of the Harry Potter fandom know about this infamous piece of writing; writers often use it as an example of what not to do. Because this fanfiction is so awful and widely-known, one would not expect to find actual literary works reminiscent of "My Immortal" through outlandish plot points, characters with a mid-2000s scene kid aesthetic, and the overall feeling that they were written by angsty teenagers. One especially would not expect to see such nonsense in a story and play created by beloved author J.K. Rowling.
I admit, I have not actually been to London to see both parts of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," a play written by Jack Thorne and based on the story written by J.K. Rowling. However, this summary by the Daily Beast is the most detailed synopsis available and based on social media posts by fans, is supposed to be accurate. I would apologize for the spoilers, but it isn’t worth it.
This play has a very convoluted plot line that closely resembles an episode of "Doctor Who" after Steven Moffat took over. I stopped watching "Doctor Who" after that, so of course you can assume that I very much did not care for the storyline at all. It is so long-winded and ridiculous that it is almost impossible to truly summarize this play. However, I will do my utmost best to give the most significant plot points.
"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is, as you may have guessed, about the children of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Ginny, and so on. The play focuses on Albus Severus Potter, Rose Granger-Weasley, and Scorpius Malfoy; by focus, I mean it gives no mention of Teddy Lupin or any of the other kids. Scorpius and Albus both end up in Slytherin and become close friends; Scorpius is unfortunately bullied because of his family’s Death Eater background and because of a wild rumor that he is actually Voldemort’s son. In fact, he brings this up right when he meets Albus and Rose, which is quite strange. Also, Rose is one of the people who bullies Scorpius and is nasty to him in general even though he has a crush on her. Professor McGonagall is headmistress of Hogwarts, Hermione is Minister of Magic, and Harry is the Head of Magical Law enforcement; he is also good friends with Draco, who asks him to help shut down the rumor about Voldemort using a Time Turner to impregnate Draco’s wife.
Despite statements saying that all the Time Turners have been destroyed, an illegal one is confiscated from a wizard and Harry keeps it instead of destroying it. Yes my friends, this story involves a lot of time travel, which if done right, can be quite fun. Unfortunately, such is not the case for this play. Albus overhears Amos Diggory demanding that Harry use the Time Turner to save Cedric, and later meets Delphie Diggory, Amos’s "cool" niece with blue and silver hair. After a nasty fight with his father, Albus and Scorpius decide to steal the Time Turner and go back in time to save Cedric. Each time they do, the future is of course altered so they have to try to fix it. In one instance, their actions in the past result in a future where Harry dies so Albus doesn’t exist, and Voldemort wins. This new future involves emo kid fantasies like a Blood Ball, Voldemort Day, and Scorpius being nicknamed The Scorpion King; trust me, I cringed too. Eventually, with the help of Snape, Ron, and Hermione from this dark new future, Scorpius is able to prevent Albus’s initial interference with the past and everything goes back to normal.
The ending is the wildest part of this mess of a play. Scorpius and Albus decide to go destroy the Time Turner, with the help of Albus’s scene-girl crush, Delphie. However, Delphie steals the Time Turner, takes them back in time, and reveals that she is actually the daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange. She destroys the Time Turner and sends them back several years to Godric’s Hollow, right before Voldemort kills the Potters and is defeated by baby Harry. Her plan is to prevent her father’s defeat. Using another Time Turner, Harry finds them, and he and Albus defeat Delphie; Harry is consequently forced to watch his parents’ murder and he cannot stop it or else the future will be altered. After this comical climax, all is well and Rose agrees to go on a date with Scorpius.
While reading the synopsis, I had to stop every so often and just sigh in disappointment. I could not believe that J.K. Rowling could come up with such a storyline and allow it to be made into a play. Like other fans, I had very high expectations and was so excited for a story about the children of my favorite characters. Now, I wish she would take it all back because I cannot accept this mess as canon. Aside from the plot being absolutely ridiculous and sounding like it had come from the fanfiction.net account of an angsty 15-year-old, there were so many other issues I had with the play in terms of the characters and their relationships.
One of the first things I was angry about was Rose Granger-Weasley. It was very difficult for me to accept that Ron and Hermione would raise a child to be so mean and rude to Scorpius; after all, even Harry became friends with Draco, his nemesis, so where did Rose’s instant hostility for Draco’s son come from? His character is depicted as shy, compassionate, and kind; he hadn’t given her a reason to be mean to him; her teasing was based on the awful rumors spread about him. Surely Ron and Hermione wouldn’t raise their kid to be a bully, especially since they had spent their school lives defending the weak and supporting Harry when he was an outcast.
Next, I was absolutely heartbroken at the new portrayal of Harry. He did not feel like the Harry I had loved and understood when reading the original "Harry Potter" books; rather, this “adult” version felt like a completely different character. I grew up with a Harry was brave, loyal, and loving; he was a strong wizard and when faced with a difficult situation, was able to pull through and succeed without complaint. He had some teenage angst in the sixth book, but overall was driven to defeat Voldemort’s evil with the power of love for his friends and family. This new Harry is jaded, weak, and overall mean. Even though the epilogue of the seventh book showed him being very accepting and understanding of Albus no matter the boy’s House result, the play’s Harry is cold and distant from his youngest son, and even goes as far as to say that he wishes Albus wasn’t his child. Moreover, despite having defeated Voldemort several times, the new Harry couldn’t even hold his own in the fight against Delphie. Harry is probably my favorite character in the series, so it really hurt to see him reduced to this nonsense.
Finally, the aspect of the play that annoyed me the most was that J.K. Rowling imposed heterosexuality upon Albus and Scorpius, despite developing a close relationship between these characters that was much more than just friendship. She acts like her wizarding world is diverse in all aspects, and while she does mention that Dumbledore was gay, it seems like an afterthought; after all, Dumbledore’s sexual orientation is never mentioned in the books or movies, and none of the other major characters have queer inclinations. This play would have been the perfect opportunity for Rowling to include queer representation, especially with major characters like Albus and Scorpius. After all, these characters develop such a close bond where Scorpius is willing to travel through time and accomplish other challenging feats in the “Voldemort Day” future in order to help and save Albus. The parts with Delphie and Rose seemed like they were just tossed in to reassure everyone that the protagonists are not gay. It felt very much like queerbaiting, and I wish Rowling had actually listened to the fanbase and given more LGBTQ+ representation in the play, especially with Albus and Scorpius. This comic by Tumblr user bad-at-games depicts the excitement of possibly having queer characters in "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" only to be met with heteronormative disappointment, as well as the importance of representation within the media for young queer people.
Needless to say that I was disappointed by what I had read. There are some people who say that this is a farce and that these “spoilers” are not real; I really wish that could be true, but I guess the only way to find out would be to read the printed edition of the script that won't be available until July 31. I’m sure the stage production itself was well-done and that the actors were amazing, but I cannot cope with this My Immortal 2.0 storyline. It was convoluted, and my beloved characters were absolutely butchered. If this had been a fanfiction, I would have found it quite funny; unfortunately, the fact that this is all canon brings me great sorrow. All is not well.