i tried to get tickets when they first went out but wasn't able to get any. i'm really curious how it came off on stage, maybe it was better seeing it acted out on stage? I guess there would be lots of non spoken acting bits that get missed when it's just a script and not a novelization of the play.
I read some plot spoilers when the play first started (no shame) and I was not excited, so many things were unbelieveable. I got the book and read the whole thing because I felt like I had to. Like, the two main plot points in it I very rarely touched in fanfiction because it's so hard to do them well. There were some funny lines in it, mostly funny because they were bad, but I still enjoyed them. Did not enjoy Harry though most of it. Might have been okay with the plot if he'd been written differently.
Well, the script features stage direction as well. What we do miss however, is tone and body language Which I can only assume would change things between a readers perspective, to actually acting it out.
I think there are lots of points of difference between a script and a full performance, because a script is ultimately a lifeless thing. It's not a novel, where every detail of character response, of background scenery, of effects is written out for you because there's no other way for you to be given it; a script is only one part of the full experience of a play's performance, alongside the acting, the set, the amount of time consumed and how much of your attention you have to devote to it. It would probably have been better to have filmed a final version of the play and released that on a DVD packaged with the script or something, because the script won't tell you everything. Then again, part of the beauty of a playscript is that it is open to interpretation. Every production, and indeed every performance, is individual. But that's more of a long-term consideration.
I also think it's important to approach this story, like any story, with an open and unspoiled mind, however, because it is very easy to take plot points out of context and have them sound outlandish and fanfictionesque. Not that I don't have problems with the story - I have a few objections, which I'll outline below - but I think that if you encounter a plot point outside of the proper context in which it is built up and then introduced, you will never know whether you would have felt differently if you had read the story as it was intended. And obviously, if you approach a story prepared to be cynical about it, it'll take a lot to change your mind. People have tended to forget this in recent years, with the advent of obsessive fan trawling for spoilers and spoiler-based marketing that caters to them.
Anyway, onto the details. I read the script more or less wholly unspoiled; the only things I knew in advance were a couple of broad-brush details I'd picked up in a review, and which were only the sort of things which you might have found on the back cover of a regular HP book. And as I said before, one of my big impressions was that the play was meant to bring the world of Harry Potter, all of it, to the stage, packing in as many familiar elements as possible, through the medium of an original story. I think it's a script that's advocating pretty strongly for the power of the stage, and honestly, some of the stunts in the text I've no idea how they'd handle on-stage, without CGI and clever camerawork, so I have to applaud them for taking on a challenge and not shying away from the big picture of the HP world. So again, another way I think you have to take the story is as a giant tribute to the power of theatre. That's another reason you should probably see it staged for real, but that was never going to be possible for most people, so oh well. But in addition to that, I also took away that there are some really big themes which the story revolves around, big enough that I'm going to have to spoiler-tag them:
Parenthood, the legacy of one's parents, the differing ways of repairing past mistakes, and personal control of one's future.
And those are all intertwined, obviously. When you look at the story through that glass, a lot of the decisions they make in the plot make a huge amount of sense, where if you approach it simply from a narrative "what would and wouldn't happen," then some of the ideas don't make sense. With that said, a coherent narrative is important, and that's why I do object pretty strongly to a couple of core devices which it's fair to say are at the heart of the plot and which the bulk of the story would be entirely different without, so I appreciate that there's not much they could do about that:
Time-Turners being able to actually change the past now, and prophecies being optional. ...Well, I guess in a sense it wasn't optional, as it did happen, it just subsequently didn't happen, which seems like kind of a cop-out for a prophecy, especially as it's dependent on Time-Turners being able to actually change the past now.
So the plot of the play means that the HP universe now has two completely different and entirely contradictory time-travel mechanics. In Prisoner of Azkaban, there are no alterations to the timeline and everything "already happened" the first time around, you just didn't realise it; in Cursed Child, you can mess with whatever you want. ...It might be possible to handwave these together by arguing that Hour-Reversal Turners function differently to year-turners, that changes made over the course of a few hours are small and recent enough to collide together whereas meddling with stuff years ago is a different kettle of fish - but that's not really my problem. My problem is, firstly, that they made a big mechanical change purely for the sake of what's actually a fairly conventional time-travel plot that doesn't really do anything fresh and original, even if it does show us some interesting alternative universes; when you consider that the third and final time-travel jaunt plays out exactly as history required it to, you realise that possibly they could have done something cleverer with the previous ones, but no. But secondly, stable-loop no-changes time-travel requires you to be a cleverer writer. Elegantly constructing the plot so that every apparent change factors into what we already knew - well, I'm a fan of detective fiction, and so is JKR, so I think we can appreciate these things; appreciate a plot that's not about what will happen, but about what has already happened, as I've heard it described. Time-travel that changes history is easy to write. Though I do appreciate the fact that the chains of logic that fed through to the present day were both subtle and rigorous... even if Cedric's humiliation leading him to become a Death Eater is a bit "Ron the Death Eater."
Oh, and as for prophecies also being optional now... Well, strictly speaking, since we don't know where thie prophecy in this play came from, it could be bunk, and as I outlined before you could argue that it did actually happen, and you might even contort an explanation of how Act Four represents an alternative playing-out of it. But that's not really the overall intent of the play, which is to show that the future is in the hands of individuals rather than of sweeping magical devices, and so what we end up with is a world where there is now absolutely no reason not to play historical eugenics; if you can change the past and ignore prophecies, there's nothing stopping you from assembling an army in the present and then going back and beating Voldemort before he did anything bad, and in fact you could argue that it's a moral imperative. The play ultimately doesn't even bother to leave a big "messing with the past is bad" message, because at the end of the day they did mess with the past and it was all fine. So that's a bit rubbish.
...None of which is actually the plot point I'm sure people found most controversial, and which, while I found it fanfictionesque, I ultimately accepted:
The idea of Voldemort having a child. Well, quite apart from the fact that I anticipated the real child's identity from Act One, I think it's actually a very natural conspiracy theory to have existed in-universe. As to why Voldemort would, in fact, have produced a child, I honestly think there are any number of cynical reasons you can come up with. A child could have been designated as a reserve Horcrux in case he needed to recreate any, for instance, or might have been figured as a completely loyal and most trusted servant, or even have been planned for some other immortality-related scheme, such as transferring Voldemort's soul to their body once his own body aged too far to function. Assuming that a child of Voldemort had to be the product of some torrid affair with the Dark Lord is silly; even the rumours about Scorpius don't suggest that that's what happened. It's all part of a plan. Very arguably, the play actually proves that.
So those are some of my most pressing, and, hopefully, most detailed thoughts. It's kind of an odd story, but I think it's very theme-driven and very medium-driven, and criticism should take that into account.
I'm not to afraid of harry potter spoilers -I had a large amount of the past books spoiled for me by other people before i could read them, so i suppose i haee the feeling of, i've had elements of the series spoiled to me before, so I guess i don't mind it happenning again - so i have heard some parts of the story. paticularly the stuff Dante spoilered and, tbh, it's not very encouraging, paticularly what is in Dante's first spoiler. The type of story that this book seems to be is not the type of story that I paticularly like, and the series hasn't exactly been the best at handling complex story telling as it is...
I've not had any paticualr urge to read this book in general though. To me, Harry Potter is over. The nineteen years later bit was already too much, this seems quite unneccesary. If I do never read it, am I missing out?
It's a very different piece, so I don't think it's compulsory reading/viewing. It sounds like you're maybe not the most gargantuan fan of the series anyway, so I don't think you need to be a completist about consuming every single little fragment of the canon. Well, for that matter, I haven't touched Pottermore.
My memory of PoA is that, while certainly the time-travelling there did not change the past, it rather carefully did not say that you can't change the past, only that it is very dangerous to try to do so. Which, as this story shows, it is. The way the idea of changing the past is taken for granted by all characters, though, is rather disconcerting, I will admit. (I think it would be fair simply to say that this isn't exactly the world of the books, just as the films aren't.)
'The difference between the two sides of the schism is that one side puts out fires, and the other starts them' - Klaus Baudelaire.