Wizard’s Council: How Do We Feel About Cursed Child Being Published?


Our Wizard’s Council convenes this week to consider the question of the hour: How do we feel about the “eighth” Harry Potter story coming out in book form?

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Welcome to the Wizard’s Council. Back in olden days, before the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy in 1692, the Wizarding world was governed by the Wizard’s Council. This was the longest serving ruling body over the Wizarding World in history, and though it was disbanded in 1707 with the founding of the Ministry of Magic, it was still considering one of the wisest and august bodies to ever rule the UK and Irish Wizarding Worlds. (Sadly, the same cannot be said for the Ministry, which seems to only be as good as it’s current Minister.) Here at Wizards and Whatnot, we come together once again as this august body to think deeply on the issues of our time.

Philosophical Question of the Hour: How do we feel about the “eighth” Harry Potter story coming out in book form? Remember it’s the rehearsal script published as is, not a novelization. Does that change your opinion on it? Is there a story you would have rather seen instead of 19 years later?

ANI: I have so many questions for Cursed Child, they spilled over into their own post when I started writing here. The idea of returning to the Potterverse, nineteen years on their time, ten years on our time, is a fascinating exercise. Those tween and teen Potter fans for whom a simple ending of “All Was Well” have grown up now, and they know that there is no happily ever after, and though things may be well at the moment, they don’t always stay that way. Rowling always said she wanted to write a series that grew up along with her readers. It looks like she’s still fulfilling that idea.

Personally, I’m so excited that we’re getting another Potter book, I’m thinking I’ll need to take July 31st off from my life, so that I can go stand in line with my wizard and witch folks, dressed in our finest robes and our house scarves, in the middle of a beautiful summer night outside of a book shop. Do I mind it’s a script? Actually, I think that might make acting out scenes easier, don’t you?

As for a story I’d like to see told, I’m hoping that the Fantastic Beasts movies might lead into it–the Great Wizarding War of the 1940s, when Gellert Grindelwald tried not only to take over the UK, but conquer the entire world in the name of Wizardkind. Not only would it bring perspective to the generations prior to those who lived through Voldemort’s reign, but it would extend the Potterverse outside the UK and the US to Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and South America. The chance to grow the magical world to encompass the globe is one I think fans everywhere would appreciate.

KATIE: Since I live in the US and have no foreseeable way to make it across the pond, I’m a-okay with any way I can get my hands on this story. And if that means another midnight release bookstore party, I am so there—any excuse to make another Sharpied fandom T-shirt, right?

I’m not fussed that Cursed Child will be in script form; plays are meant to be seen, but reading them does just as well to get the content across. When the play was first announced, J.K. Rowling said she chose to go that route because the story worked best in that medium, and I trust her on that. As long as we get another story, I personally don’t need another novel.

Were we ever to get another novel, though, my vote is hands-down for Hogwarts class of ‘78. I know, I know—JKR has told us, time and again, that she won’t do a Harry Potter prequel, and her meaning is pretty clear in that she won’t be penning the adventures of Lily Evans and the boy band sensation that is the Marauders. But I’m not that demanding, anyway; like I said, as much as I’d like another novel, I don’t need one. I’ll just as happily take a Pottermore entry or even a couple of tweets detailing some Lily/James backstory. I’m easy. I’m also a desperate, sappy romantic who’s running out of fanfiction ideas, and we all know that JKR’s got the inside scoop on this love story.

DAN: I don’t have a problem with the rehearsal script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child coming out in book form. Like Katie, I don’t plan to cross an ocean to see the play, but I’ll least I’ll get to absorb the story.

And mark my words: there will be a Cursed Child movie.

Or I can watch the inevitable movie. And mark my words: there will be a Cursed Child movie. No way is Hollywood letting that easy money slip through its hands.

And that’s the thing: there’s an air of opportunism around this project that makes me a little uncomfortable. There’s no reason Rowling can’t create more stories in the Harry Potter universe—it’s her universe, it’s a rich universe, and she can do what she wants with it. And kudos to her for choosing to continue the story on the stage. There are a lot of people who stand to benefit financially from another Harry Potter story, and they surely would have preferred a new novel.

Still, now that the play is happening, the opportunists are coming out of the woodwork. I can only imagine the publishing executives who passed out in happiness when they heard there was a new Harry Potter story on the way. Would they make a big deal out of publishing the rehearsal script for a play if it didn’t involve Harry Potter? Almost certainly not, but with the Cursed Child script, they have a guaranteed bestseller. I can already see the dubious marketing campaign that bills the script as the eighth Harry Potter book, even though that’s an arguable point at best. It’s all a little skeevy.

On the other hand, the story itself sounds pretty cool—there are a lot of points in the Harry Potter universe that could do with some exploration, but ultimately I want to see whatever J.K. Rowling has creative confidence in. She seems to have creative confidence in Cursed Child, so I’ll be there, whatever my misgivings.

MARNI: If not called the 8th Harry Potter “book,” Cursed Child is already branded the 8th Harry Potter “story” so the marketing writes itself, and paves the way for the inevitable reprinting and release of the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition, Featuring all Eight Stories!” Snarky realism aside, I can’t hop over to England at the moment so I’ll have no other access to Cursed Child except for this script publishing. I was confused at first because I thought it was a new novelization rather than the existing play, and I was concerned Rowling didn’t have the proper time to flesh it out!

Starting this story where Rowling left us at the end of Deathly Hallows makes perfect sense. I’m super excited to see what this new plot contains and I love that we’re right back with Harry, Hermoine, Ron, and hopefully Ginny as well. I love these characters and can’t get enough of them! The official synopsis is purposefully vague, but I suspect that if darkness is coming from “unexpected places” both Harry and little Albus Severus Potter are going to be dabbling in the dark side. By the way I totally love that the child’s initials spell ASP, as in snake. I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed that. Will he be a Parselmouth too? Maybe that was a clue right out of the gate about young Albus’s future…

KELLY: As excited as I am about having another story set in the Potterverse from JKR, even if it isn’t a novel, I feel like there are a few other stories I would have loved to hear first. Out of all the Potter news that came out this year, including updates on Fantastic Beasts, what I found the most exciting and interesting was the news about the other wizarding schools. This to me was just THE BEST NEWS! If any of you haven’t, make sure you get over to Pottermore ASAP and read about the these wizarding schools. Pottermore goes into different details about each school, including the location, how to get there, certain magical enchantments, and even how students receive their “invitation” to the school (for example, students of the African wizarding school receive their invitation by “dream messengers”). It’s all so mysterious and interesting and just left me craving more.

Therefore, my answer is that I would have loved a novel from JKR that is set in one of these schools. I’m thinking an entirely new set of characters and storyline, with even more magical elements and creatures.

However, beggars can’t be choosers and so I really can’t complain. Anything that JKR wants to gift us with is fine by me! And hey, at least we’ll hopefully get a bit more information on the North American wizarding school, Ilvermorny, once Fantastic Beasts is released.

TARA: I think for me the answer lies in the fact that most of the time I simply prefer to experience stories in their original form. I’m not very big on novelizations of movies (though part of that is because they’re rarely well-written) and as we all know, the book is almost always better than the movie that’s based on it. I mean, I liked the Harry Potter movies okay, but they’re nothing compared to the novels in my eyes. Therefore, with Cursed Child being released as a play, I think I prefer the idea of its book form being the script rather than a novelization of the script.

Next: Ranking Every Death in the Harry Potter Series

Our Wizard’s Council meets every other week, unless there is an emergency session. Check out our other entries here.