Harry Potter and The Cursed Child: The Stigma of Slytherin
July 31st is a very well known date both amongst wizards and muggles, as it is Harry Potter’s birthday (and of his author J.K Rowling) and this year, by no coincidence, the eighth Potter installment was released on that very same day. Much like in the past people of all ages cued up patiently at bookstores, many even for the midnight release, and began reading the book cross-legged on the sidewalk. When I went to get my own copy, memories of past Harry Potter anticipation flared up: I remembered as I once sat on the hard floor taking in every word, burning with curiosity and excitement. The world went mad for Harry once again, this time filling us with nostalgia and sentimentality as we reminisce on all the adventures we shared with the unbeatable trio, the joy, the sadness and the magic. Harry was a part of so many lives, and continues to be so for future generations; the series has become a classic, a rite of passage, a tradition almost.
So I went on to read Harry Potter and The Cursed Child in six straight hours, I even forgot to eat (or rather didn’t feel the need) and I must say I wasn’t disappointed. The two-part play scripted by Jack Thorne and thought up by J.K Rowling and John Tiffany is hard to explain, besides the fact that it reads different than any other Harry Potter book. I enjoyed the story, but I don’t know if I loved it because of my deep fondness of Harry Potter or because it was a good story and a large part of me thinks the former. Don’t get me wrong, the adventures of Scorpius Malfoy (Draco’s son) and Albus Potter (Harry’s son) are fantastic, so enticing that I wish the original trio had less to do with it. I’ve always had reservations on J.K. Rowling’s public opinions on Draco, she’s openly stated that — although in the end he didn’t have it in him to kill Dumbledore — he wasn’t hiding a “heart of gold” from us. I agree with that, he doesn’t have a “heart of gold,” but quite frankly neither do a lot of archetypically good characters the author draws up. Rowling has been so wonderful at giving all her wizards very human qualities, faults and imperfections. Not to mention Draco and Lucius are different people, clearly shown in the way Scorpius was raised (in comparison to Draco), after all do any of you know what it’s like living with a Death Eater? We all know what life was like in the cupboard under the stairs, as Harry faced child abuse from his aunt, uncle and cousin, but don’t think that Draco’s life was flowers and peaches in Malfoy Manner. Which goes to show it doesn’t matter how much you own, or how much you earn, if you live an uncompassionate and cruel life you’ll be an unhappy and isolated person thus Draco must have been very lonely. Comparing him to Harry is unfair, children react to child abuse (in real life) in different ways and they should be equally helped, rich or poor, Harry just seemed to have found the right people at the right time, while Draco was left with Death Eater cronies. I may sound like Slytherin’s defense attorney — I’m a Hufflepuff according to Pottermore after all — but I’m glad the eighth installment unstigmatized the house which was tainted by the likes of Salazar Slytherin and, of course, Lord Voldermort, with characters such as Albus and most of all, Scorpius, an abundantly kind and loving person, who melts your heart at every line. I mean, c’mon, he’s unrequitedly infatuated with Rose Weasley! How can you not love him? Harry Potter and The Cursed Child shows a side of Slytherin House that otherwise only the most avid readers would be aware of.
If you’re a Potterhead, I highly recommend you read this play; if at times it’s written a bit like fanfiction, the story is also gripping, exciting, apprehensive, and heartwarming just like any of the other Harry Potter books, plus it’ll put you in a good mood for days. As for the future of the franchise, I hope we hear more about Albus and Scorpio’s adventures, our new unlikely heroes.