Molly Jackson: The Magic of Nitpicking

Harry Potter and the Cursed

Like most geeks, I picked up my very own copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child last weekend. It was definitely cheaper than a ticket abroad to see the play live and waiting for the show to make it stateside would take way too long. I eagerly went home to read it immediately and to once again delve into the world created by J.K. Rowling.

In case you aren’t a Potter fan and are still reading, this latest addition to the Potterverse is a play based off an original short story (that as far as I know hasn’t been released to the public) by Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne. The play was actually crafted by Jack Thorne. A quick note about what I thought about the play. It was enjoyable to be back in that world, if even for a short time. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed that due to the play format we lost some of the usual detail I’ve come to expect in a Potter story.

I also thought that the path of the story was a little boring. It just seemed like an imitation of Rowling’s own work rather than imagined by her, which makes me wonder how much involvement she really had. However, I am glad that I read it and did enjoy that another story made it into the Potterverse. I would love to see it live; to see the special effects described in the story would make it worth it.

My biggest pet peeve of the play isn’t the story or the play itself. It’s that there is no listing of characters with a short description at the start of the play. If you have ever read a playscript, a listing of characters is always at the start, usually with a short description. This just jumped right into the play with no thought to the characters. If you read a play, this is how you are initially introduced to characters, versus watching a play where characters are distinguishable by actor, costume, makeup, or acting style. While I was reading, characters whose names that I did not know just popped up with no introduction or reason for being there and I was forced to go along without understanding. Granted, the main characters I know from years of reading but new characters deserve an introduction.

I went on a long, overdone rant about this oversight to my poor roommate, who happened to be within earshot. She agreed with me, partly to shut me up and partly because she studied theater in college. And I don’t think my concerns are unfounded; I’m positive some high school is already planning their own illegal production of Cursed Child with photocopies of the same edition I own. And these students will not learn about theater in the accepted way. The play format was thrown out by Scholastic, a company that, until now, I considered a standard bearer for youth education.

On the other hand, I have to wonder if I am nitpicking just a little too much. We’ve just watched the four actresses from Ghostbusters (and especially Leslie Jones) get verbally attacked for starring in a female-led version that didn’t conform to fan’s vision. Fans attacked Marvel over the Captain America hails Hydra plot rather than see how it played out. The entertainment culture has changed that if I wanted to, I could repeatedly harass Rowling, Thorne, Tiffany, the editors at Scholastic, the executives at Warner Bros., and so on.

It has become a trend to not just share your opinion on the internet but to shove it in anyone’s face/feed repeatedly until they block you or leave social media.

I see the irony in writing a nitpicky post and then complaining about nitpicky fans. The difference is that beyond this post, I won’t do much. I’ll probably just talk about it with friends, family, and random geeks that I meet and converse with. Do I think I’m right about this oversight in publication? Yes, I really do. Do I think that others will agree with me? Yes, I really do. Am I starting an Internet protest about this? Nope, it just isn’t worth it to me.