All the things I need 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' to explain
If you’re a Harry Potter fan and not living under a philosopher’s stone (see what I did there?), you’ve most likely heard about J.K. Rowling’s newest foray into the world of the universe’s most famous teen wizard: the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, scheduled to open in summer of 2016 in London’s West End.
The play is not a prequel, according to JKR, but an article in the U.K.’s Daily Mail does report that, “The Cursed Child delves into what happened to Harry’s parents — Lily Evans Potter and James Potter — before they were killed by Lord Voldemort, forcing an infant Harry to be raised in miserable circumstances by his mother’s sister, Petunia, her horrid husband Vernon and their spoiled son Dudley.” I’m not sure what exactly constitutes a prequel to Ms. Rowling, but that sounds pretty darn prequel-esque to me.
And yours truly is actually planning a trip to Europe with a stop in London at the end of next summer (yes, by coincidence – surprisingly, I did not plan my trip around this play, though it is something I would totally do, oops)! So here are some things I hope Harry Potter and the Cursed Child explores or, at the very least, touches on while I’m in a seat at the Palace Theatre, clutching my face uncontrollably while my husband pretends he doesn’t know me.
(Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read all the novels/seen all the movies!)
The development of the romantic relationship between James and Lily (and their wedding, duh)
The only exchanges between James and Lily we’ve really seen from a front-row seat are when Harry visits Dumbledore’s Pensieve and sees everything from Snape’s point of view – AKA only the bad stuff, and before James and Lily were really together. We know James and Lily loved each other, but we don’t get to see how that developed from such a deep-seeded annoyance (on Lily’s side, at least). What made her finally come around to James and see past his pigheadedness? Why did they decide to have a baby so young, and in the middle of a war? What made them choose to live in Godric’s Hollow?
I also need to know more about their wedding. I need an entire wedding scene. Yes, Sirius was Best Man, but who officiated? I hope it was Hagrid. How could it anyone BUT Hagrid!? Did the Weird Sisters or Celestina Warbeck perform? Did they have lilies as flowers but not petunias? Did they have pumpkin pasties instead of cake? SO MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT OBVIOUSLY IMPORTANT THINGS.
More about Petunia’s inner workings, as well as her reaction to Lily and James’ death
Lily and her sister, Petunia, didn’t speak much after James and Lily were married – in fact, their relationship was wrought with tension from the moment Lily discovered she was a witch right up until the final years of her life. But what happened in Petunia’s own teenage and young-adult years that made her so unwilling to accept her sister – especially given the fact that her parents felt so differently?
I think there’s so much more to Petunia than we’ve been given thus far – especially considering Dudley’s handshake and farewell to Harry before the events of Deathly Hallows and their somewhat forced yet genuine attempt at contact in the years after the Battle of Hogwarts. There had to be some influence from Dudley’s mother there, because we know there was nothing but contempt from his father. I’d love to see more about Petunia, and what was really going on beneath the surface past the initial jealousy she felt for her sister.
I’d also like to think she eventually divorced Vernon, but that’s another play for another time. Actually, I think it’d make a great musical.
The thought process behind Voldemort choosing Harry over Neville – and Snape’s reaction
The Prophecy given by Sybill Trelawney in early 1980 stated that the one who has the power to defeat Voldemort, who cannot be alive if Voldemort is alive and vice versa, will be born at the end of July to parents who have defied him three times. This could describe both the Potters and the Longbottoms, but Voldemort chooses Harry over Neville – the half-blood over the pure-blood, likely because he can relate to that aspect of Harry (according to Dumbledore, at least).
Voldemort, as evil as he is, is an intensely complex character, and a scene or handful of scenes depicting him making this choice would add a lot to the story. Did he show moments of vulnerability when choosing Harry? Did he do it alone, or did someone else persuade him? How did Snape hold it together in front of his pseudo-master when Voldemort told him the news and Snape tried persuading him otherwise? More humanity given to an otherwise basically inhuman character is always a plus in my book.
Any kind of depth whatsoever to Peter Pettigrew’s character
Peter Pettigrew is my least favorite character in the series – even more so than Voldemort, Umbridge, and Bellatrix combined. My reasoning is a very Gryffindor one in the sense that at least the latter three characters committed to a cause and fought tooth and nail for it. Granted they were terrible causes, but someone who at the end of the day is making contributions to these same terrible causes AND being a lying, back-stabbing jerk takes the cake for the number-one spot on my most-hated Harry Potter characters list.
So why did the respectable James and Lily choose Pettigrew as their Secret-Keeper? Yes, he was their friend, but so were Remus Lupin and Sirius Black. And as we all know, Snape would’ve kept the hell out of that secret – AND not have been an obvious choice. There is little about Pettigrew’s trustworthiness in the novels, so I’d love to see a scene or two covering where exactly he went sour and why. JK Rowling has given us little tidbits about certain characters like Umbridge and Malfoy through Pottermore that make us sympathize with them at least a TINY bit (Malfoy more so than Umbridge) and an entire backstory for Voldemort, but Pettigrew is a bit of a mystery. Also, I think we can all agree that “bravery” is at the bottom of Pettigrew’s list of attributes, so what did the Sorting Hat see to ultimately decide to sort him into Gryffindor?
More about James Potter’s family
We know that James was the only child born to elderly parents who were wealthy (most likely how Harry got all those Galleons before his first year at Hogwarts) and that they died sometime between 1975 and 1981, but who were they? Where did they live? What did they do for a living? How did they feel about their son marrying a Muggle-born witch? Were they alive long enough to see Harry born?
It would also be really cool to see the scene where James inherits the invisibility cloak from his father. Did his dad ever tell him the story of the Deathly Hallows and his ancestor Ignotus Peverell? Or was James just as clueless as Harry and never found out what the cloak really meant?
What McGonagall was up to during all this
McGonagall is my favorite character, so I just basically want to know what kind of badassery she was up to during this time period. What was the courtship like with her husband whom she was married to from 1982 until his death in 1985? What fun things did she do, both as a human as a cat, in her off time from the Order of the Phoenix and her teaching duties? Did she create a wizarding-world version of I Can Has Cheezburger (just kidding, she’s way too serious), or purposely get herself “stuck” in a tree just to mess with Muggle firefighters (much more her speed)?
So many questions and scenes left to explore. Bring on summer 2016!