Thursday, October 13, 2016

Harry as a Father in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Welcome to another post where I talk about Cursed Child in more detail, ending on far more negative of a note than I wish it did. Today's topic is Harry's parenting skills (or lack of) in Cursed Child.

Over the past few years, several of my favorites series have gotten spin offs that included the son of the previous main character as one of the characters: Avatar, Naruto, and Harry Potter. Each of these spin offs included at least one storyline about the tension between said previous main character and their child(ren), which has been interesting.

I took Aang's failings as a father pretty well because I was happy with how the story was handled. With Naruto, I admit that I haven't watched everything surrounding Boruto yet, but from what I've seen, I think I'll like how it's handled. In the end, neither Aang nor Naruto were miserable failures at parenting. They just had conflicts with their children and weren't perfect, which is realistic, and overall, I think Avatar and Naruto both handled those storylines just fine. I got what the conflict between parent and child was, and I could believe that conflict happened based on the characters and their circumstances.

Cursed Child, on the other hand, didn't do a good job with the father/son conflict. I don't think that because I can't bear to see Harry as anything other than a perfect father. I could handle that.

The problem is that the conflict within Cursed Child makes no sense. Not only does the audience never know why Harry and Albus are fighting, Harry and Albus both admit in the book itself that they don't know why they're fighting. That's just...not how stories work...

Cursed Child is an entire book about a conflict between a dad and his kid except said dad and kid don't even understand why there's a conflict in the first place. There just is. Sure, they think it's about Albus being in Slytherin at first, but I think from a reader's perspective it's obvious from the beginning that it isn't. Even Harry and Albus figure that out later on, but then they never come up with a reason for it later. So we're left with a story about a conflict that isn't actually a conflict, and that's not a real story.

I think that, ultimately, was where Cursed Child completely fell apart. Although there are plenty of other bits and pieces of it that weren't great, making your primary conflict actually nonexistent means you don't have a story. There has to be something driving a conflict, and in this case, we had nothing.

Yes, there was the messing around with time and having to fix it, but that was never the primary conflict. It was supposed to be secondary to the conflict between Albus and Harry, but that "primary" conflict wasn't there.

I don't even know how to describe it because it seems like such a mess, but then again, I guess that's how I feel about Cursed Child as a whole. It was more or less a mess.

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