Cursed Child, Take One

I have to be honest, I’d been dreading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ever since I heard it was being released. I’ve grown increasingly disenchanted with Rowling since Deathly Hallows was released nine years ago – she’s continued to meddle and insist on controlling this world and these characters that now feel like they should belong to us. I stopped following Pottermore altogether after several of her posts there felt poorly conceived, contradictory, and in some cases just plain culturally insensitive. I was worried that this play/script would exacerbate some of these problems.

I finally broke down and read it today, though. And… I mostly enjoyed it. It has some huge problems – the main villain is cringe-worthy both in how they are drawn and in their resolution. There are some big gaps in the storytelling that read like bad fanfiction. And I have a HUGE problem with the relationship between Al and Scorpius being set up with obvious romantic overtones and then that being thrown out the window when we’re abruptly informed at the end that they’re both straight (apparently Rowling is okay with saying her characters are gay in interviews, but not in actually writing them that way). But overall, I see what Rowling and her collaborators were trying to do, and I’d say they were moderately successful.

I don’t know whether I’ll want to integrate it here down the road, though regardless I’ll have to allow some time for the fan art to build up before that’s practical. I just left the job I’ve been at for six years that first pulled me away from this place, so I’m hoping to have a bit of time for occasional updates again. We shall see! In the meantime, I’d love your thoughts on the new script as well.

Talk soon!

Josie

~ by Josie on August 16, 2016.

11 Responses to “Cursed Child, Take One”

  1. I am right there with you in my disenchantment with Rowling’s meddling.

    Cursed Child is… interesting. It was neither as bad as some reports lead to believe, nor as good as I wanted it to be. First and foremost, it is not canon. It has literally nothing to do with canon. It takes the canon and spits on it and calmly walks way. Specifically, the rules of time travel as it works in Rowling’s world are completely discarded. However, once I accepted this as no more than an AU fanfic, I began to quite enjoy myself (at least until the fourth act).

    Cursed Child is a fun riff on Days of Future Past in the Harry Potter universe – which is so much fun, one can forgive the absurdity of the premise. This allows the play to go some unexpected and very entertaining places, like Ron marrying Padma, a dystopia where Voldemort reigns, Snape as a hero and the leader of the DA, etc. In fact, it would have been nice to further explore these alternate timelines.

    The story also allows us to spend time with the few characters who did not get an appearance in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Myrtle, and Amos Diggory (whose storyline always seemed like it should have factored into the latter books but hadn’t). There are some very nice deft touches along the way – the integration of Dumbledore’s name into their swearing, the Easter eggs of spells used in Harry and Draco’s duel (Densaugeo was what Draco used to make Hermione’s teeth grow in Book 4; Rictusempra is the tickling charm Harry hits Draco with in Dueling Club in Book 2). One can be pretty sure many of these came from Rowling herself, though most of the story didn’t. I’d also attribute the hilarious stage directions to her – who else would describe Ginny’s tone as “drier than dry”?

    There was plenty of humor to be found in the book, between Scorpius’s adorable geekiness (he definitely stole the show) and Ludo Bagman’s commentary. As for emotional wallop, I didn’t really feel much while reading the play – in fact, the biggest emotional points were the ones that hearkened back to the original seven books, because I just care a lot more. I’m hoping it packs more of a punch when performed on stage.

    Unfortunately, the entire thing goes to shit in Act 4. Up until then, it was a fun riff on alternate timelines, with a good story about Albus exploring who he is and his relationship with Harry. With the Act 3 closer, it suddenly reverts to a poor man’s Harry Potter – they all have to stop Voldemort (or his progeny) from killing Harry (or some timey-wimey equivalent).

    First off: Voldemort having a child is so incredibly lazy, unbelievable, and boring that I was tempted to throw the book. Voldemort is presented in the entire series as a wholly nonsexual being (my friends and I have debated whether he even has Voldybits in his resurrected state), and it beggars belief that Bellatrix could hide a pregnancy from the world (especially from Draco, given that she allegedly gave birth at Malfoy Manor). It’s also wholly unnecessary – if Delphi had just been an acolyte of Voldemort’s, any wannabe Death Eater, nothing about the story would have changed and we all could have shifted our focus to her character instead of her miraculous conception. Especially given the HP series’ emphasis on “it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!” (Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) Giving Voldemort a daughter who is a Voldemort-in-training goes against the entire HP series both canonically and thematically, and it is what turned me off the story.

    Second: While Voldemort occasionally makes Evil Overlord mistakes (speechifying among them), a lot of that can be explained by a mix of his own arrogance and his mastery of propaganda. Delphi, on the other hand, is silly enough to be a villain on Kim Possible or Totally Spies. What kind of self-respecting villain writes her evil plan on the walls of her bedroom? Even if it’s hidden? Is Delphi afraid she’ll forget to “bring back the Dark” if it’s not written on her wall? It’s all dreadfully convenient for bringing the protagonists and audience up to speed, but a hallmark of the Harry Potter series was that one usually didn’t need the “Because plot!” excuse.

    Third: prophecies are usually a storytelling crutch used for additional drama (can they change Fate?!?!), and Rowling quickly dispensed with that in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Dumbledore tells Harry (and the reader): “”You are setting too much store by the prophecy!” Cursed Child rehashes this whole affair, introducing a prophecy (again, conveniently scrawled on the walls of the villain’s lair) that causes everyone to gasp and wring their hands. This is quickly negated by Albus and Scorpius telling Delphi that prophecies are not set in stone, you can change fate, etc. Just like Delphi’s parentage, this prophetic detour adds nothing to the story, aside from maybe answering the question of “Why doesn’t Delphi kills the boys and do it herself?” It’s lazy storytelling – “Because it’s prophesied” is only one step up from “Because plot.”

    Talk of lazy storytelling: Harry et al.’s plan to stop Delphi. It’s like something out of a madcap action comedy – they simply Transfigure Harry into Voldemort, so Harry can do a (shoddy) job masquerading as Voldy, only for Harry’s appearance to change back at the most crucial second for reasons unexplained. Unlike Polyjuice, there is never any indication that Transfiguration expires after a certain time, even putting aside the fact that the brightest witch of her age should have accounted for that. Tiffany and Thorne play fast and loose with the rules of time travel, which I’ll allow for story reasons, but this is just silly. And if they won’t explore the psychological ramifications of transforming into Voldemort (only alluding to their possible existence), then why bother?

    Writing this review, I suppose that’s been my refrain: why bother? Unlike the Potter series, where every word was deliberately and meticulously placed with a purpose in mind, Cursed Child reads like the process was “Yeah, why not? Let’s do that!” Perhaps some of it will be fixed with the revised script, but then don’t publish a half-baked version.

    I want to end on a positive note. So it bears repeating that the first three acts are decent, almost as fun as other fanon stage productions like Puffs or A Very Potter trilogy. It’s nice to see old characters again, it’s nice to see something of a reconciliation between Harry and Draco.

    So yes, a solid 3 stars out of 5. I feel like so much angsting could have been saved if they had not mismarketed it as “The Eighth Story” (which is an insult to Harry’s legacy), and instead put “Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.” It’s average-quality fanfiction, with the author’s blessing, but that is all that it is.

  2. Yeah, hpboy13, well said. I texted a friend that I was loving it around the end of part one, and then Delphi showed up and I was like, “oh no… oh no…” and it all kind of went out the window. There were SO MANY lazy plot points, and they got worse as it went on too (the whole bit with the blanket was just bananas), but I think I could have forgiven most of that and the extreme laziness with the time-turners if the villain weren’t so lazily drawn. I mean, she was out of Central Casting. Ah well.

    I do think that a lot of the intense criticisms I’ve read are coming from people who aren’t used to reading scripts. The size of the book is misleading – this story had to be set up and resolved in the span of time that would be a few chapters in one of the novels.

    I do think Rowling was probably more involved than you’re suggesting. I’ve read that the whole plot was based on a story she’d written, and the reckless uses of time-turners and polyjuice, the way Delphi’s story is resolved, the “let’s break into the Minister of Magic’s office, NBD” plot line, and frankly the need to have a Voldemort figure at all, all reek of her foibles to me. I would bet she wrote the story, it was then turned into a script, and she stayed involved to the end. It’s a fanfic – but then, once the seventh HP book was released, one could argue that everything Rowling has written herself has been a fanfic too.

  3. I saw the play in previews and had already ordered the script. I was very excited for it!

    The production of the play is fab. Really is superbly choreographed and acted. The way they showed magic was a delight. It was a real spectacle. For that alone, it was well worth seeing. But the plot … no. Just no. And there are so many book!canon & character inconsistencies that it’s almost painful at points. I am one of the naysayers, I’m afraid.

    Using time travel is always going to be risky and to do this a number of times within the plot thereby creating alternate realities didn’t really hold up to scrutiny, I felt. In PoA we have closed loop time travel which is an easier beast to control because we can point at the text and see that the outcome was always the same within that set of circumstances. Here, in the play, it got out of control very quickly and the logic of that time travel started to feel very shaky. The twist of Delphie being Voldemort and Bellatrix’s daughter feels like really poorly thought-out fanfic. If we had to have the twist of a child for Voldemort, I think I would have preferred perhaps Harry battling to make a decent human being of her, for her to be more than cartoon evil and the sum of her parents’ psychoses. I would have found that more compelling than a time travel fic, to be honest, and would have fitted more with the survivor angst motif that surfaced so often.

    Lots of the characters felt OOC. A few off the top of my head: Hermione without Ron becomes Snape 2.0, Snape becomes – I don’t know who that was, but I know it wasn’t Severus Snape. The Rose and Albus on the train don’t feel like the Rose and Albus on the platform in the Epilogue, effectively re-writing the Epilogue, in my view. Harry is fine about Albus being in Slytherin, but then just isn’t fine with it. Special mention goes to Film!Ron (the idiot) who pervades the play, unfortunately. He doesn’t resemble the Ron of the books at all who has genuine humour rather than just being a buffoon. (Btw, they showed the spells as they worked in the films, too, rather than how they work in the books. I was disappointed with that.)

    There were a couple of canon inconsistencies that I really hated:

    1. When Albus and Scorpius go back the second time and humiliate Cedric, he becomes a Death Eater – let’s think about that: Cedric – good, kind, intelligent Cedric. Ooo-kay. And the one thing that changes is that Death Eater Cedric kills Neville at the Battle of Hogwarts. The knock-on for this is then explained as Neville doesn’t kill Nagini so Harry dies at the Battle of Hogwarts. Wait, what? That makes no sense at all. Neville kills Nagini after Harry has come back from death in canon, so I don’t see how it makes a difference. Someone else could have killed Nagini for the same result. Harry is still tied to life because Voldemort took his blood so I don’t see that Neville’s death changes this so Harry dies. The only way this works is if they somehow stopped Voldemort taking Harry’s blood – which they didn’t – or for Cedric (or anyone else really) to have killed Harry so he isn’t tied to life by the duel with Voldemort.

    2. Plus Snape living. Why does he live? Again, Neville killed the snake after Voldemort killed Snape for the Elder Wand – what does killing Neville have to do with Snape living? I’m not feeling this is very coherent!

    3. Present-day Harry’s scar starts to hurt and he can speak Parseltongue again. Why? It used to hurt and he could speak Parseltongue because he was a horcrux – a part of Voldemort’s soul lived in him. That soul portion was destroyed. It’s never “undestroyed” in the play’s Harry. That makes no sense.

    4. Albus and Scorpius go back in time to Godric’s Hollow on Hallowe’en 1981 before Harry’s parents are murdered and the first thing they do is point to James & Lily’s house and talk about how great it is to see it!! Do we just forget the Fidelius Charm? And then J&L go for a walk!! But weren’t they in hiding, even from Harry’s first birthday?

    5. Adult Harry, Hermione, Ron and Draco also travel back to rescue Albus and Scorpius (and to stop Delphi) and have to let history play itself out (meaning Harry watches as his parents are killed – which would have been sad, except I kept thinking about that damn Fidelius and wondering why they can see/hear it!).

    6. Then we see Hagrid come to rescue baby Harry from the flames and leave with him. No Sirius and no bike. Which made me sad.

    So, yes, I had a lot of issues with this. What I love about the original seven novels is how tight a rein JKR kept on her plot and its manifold threads. This play is a very different kettle of fish. Flabbily plotted and ill-thought-through and some real fanservice moments that cheapened it even more. I would have liked to enjoyed the story more, but there it is.

  4. I couldn’t agree more, hpboy13 ! It felt more like a glorified fan fiction. While I enjoryed the book more like a fun ride, it certainly lacked the “Harry Potter Magic” . There were so many cringe worthy moments where I had to take deep breaths and start reading again. Snippy dialogues felt totally out of character. For instance, I was absolutely thrilled to see Snape at first, but what I read felt like a caricature of him. It is understandable that a play requires memorable dialogues and visual appeal. I think Cursed child would make a wonderful theater experience but it I cannot completely accept it as canon.

  5. Take it for what it is. I was disappointed like you guys. I wasn’t looking for a great novel. I think it was a fun little romp. TROLLEY WITCH!!!

    Anyway, as ridiculous as it was I can’t believe she approved that to represent the wonderful universe she created. I read the first half, and I put it down for a day. I really hoped it wasn’t going the way I thought it was going.

    So much canon thrown out the window. I think this would be fun for an animated movie.

  6. Hey Josie,

    I’ve haven’t read this new script, yet, so I can’t really comment specifically on that, but I did want to comment on the frustration with Jo’s continuing to “meddle…[and} controlling this world…[that] should belong to us.”

    I feel that frustration too, to an extent, but really this is something that she’s always done. The difference being that, prior to the original story’s completion, fans (and I’m just as guilty as anyone else) wanted her to do exactly this and we were hanging on her every word like gospel. I imagine she doesn’t see herself doing anything differently now than she was doing ten years ago. In interviews, Jo was constantly adding to, changing, contradicting, or confusing things she had already written about. She mentioned that James’s profession and where the Potters got their money would be revealed and said that some magical tool or item that was “better than the internet” would show up in the last book, but neither ever made it in. In both books and interviews, she continued to change the way certain magic worked (apparition, splinching, Fidelius Charm, etc.) without realizing (or maybe not caring) that she was contradicting something she wrote or said earlier.

    In hindsight, this kind of hyper-attention Jo was receiving with all the incessant questions and speculation from fans, probably created the “monster” we’re now dealing with (I mean “monster” in a lovingly, btw). I don’t think other authors go to the same lengths in providing detailed information of the minutiae of the world they’ve created. I think it was Neil Gaiman who expressed some concern at one point with the amount of out-of-book information Jo was giving fans. Even the “HP encyclopedia” that fans have been clamoring for (although that interest seems to have faded recently) is a product of this intense fan response. Fans might have the same reaction to the encyclopedia (if it ever comes out) in regards to canon as they do with “The Cursed Child”, I’m sure the encyclopedia will create even more problems.

    As relates to Jo meddling and, especially, changing things, I think some of that comes down to how she approaches writing the books versus how fans read the books (and the assumptions fans have made about how she wrote them). Magic, to Jo, has always been in service of the “plot” and is less tied down to the “setting”. In a story where “magic is setting”, an author creates definitive rules that dictate how magic works and then weaves the plot around these rules. These magical guidelines can create barriers to things the author wants to accomplish in the story and the author then has to work around these barriers, without destroying them, to achieve their story goals. In “magic as plot”, magic can change as the story dictates. Consistency and even clarity are less important, since you can write a piece of magic in book 1, but then change that magic in book 2 because the magic needs to work differently to move book 2’s plot along. This may also explain certain “uber-magic” like time-turners, house-elf magic, and the Room of Requirement, that seem to drop into the story like a bomb, but then is quietly swept away. Fans are left flabbergasted because not only is this magic so powerful and can change the story in dramatic ways, but its never used again, and sometimes none of the characters even think to use it again!

    Anyway, for better or worse (and for good or bad), this is the way HP canon will be (and always has been, really).

  7. I love live theater, andI appreciate the effort to bring some “Potter” into that medium, even if I never see it performed. But I wasn’t enthralled by the story. After reading the play twice during the first week, I feel I need the distance of time and a third read in order to be certain of my opinions. For now, the most salient general plus and minus impressions I was left with are the following **Includes SPOILERS**

    + Scorpius. A genuinely likeable fellow worthy of respect for his guilelessness, sincerity, vulnerability, loyalty, and promising young moral compass.

    + The boy’s friendship. I can imagine that the stage production rendered both the friendship and Scorpius much more three-demensional and heart-touching, as it was palpable even in the limitations of a script.

    + Including a character of the requires-eldercare generation. Several layers there, including the tragic truth that even the “care” that appears attentive on the surface can be nefarious or even abusive (true of most any relationship type at most any age).

    + Even at the end, we can imagine that several of the characters are “the cursed child,” an ambiguity I found more satisfyingly believable and true to the stories (just as in real life, sadly).

    + Unlike for some, for me the use of the blanket was one of the gems, one of the few onteresting places in the story where I felt I was experiencing some of the surprising cleverness of books 1-7 . . . a respite among the not-clever redundancies of time spirals and mostly unsurprising consequences.

    How Albus succeeded with the blanket is what he might later recognize shows how he possesses more of Harry’s powerful intuition-creativity than previously believed. I found this part of the story little different from many places in the original books where one must not become too real-world-analytical or one wouldn’t continue to believe and be swept along in the fantasy adventure.

    In some ways, the precious gift of the blanket is a bit like the magic mirror Sirius gave Harry: both gifts were thrown aside, forgotten or resented, and yet eventually become what saves each boy and others from impossible situations.

    + The moral fortitude and wisdom required to resist interfering in the murders of James and Lilly that fateful night in Godric’s Hollow.

    – Distractingly bad (because too simplistic and inaccurately shallow) rendering of adult Ron.

    – Unbelievable antagonist. Felt distractingly trite.

    – Worse: Ubelievable antagonist origin. While a painful *rumor* maligning Scorpius’ parentage is a realistic thread in the weave of the story, asking us to believe in the purported physical union of V. and B. fractures the fictional magic with a wedge of incredulity that pulls one out of the story into a place of analyzing it instead.

    What *is* somewhat believable is that a severely personality-disordered person such as Bellatrix could delude herself that a liason she had, in actual fact, with some other death eater creep was what *her fantasy|obsession* wishes reality had been. I.e., she lied to her daughter. (There also is the problem others note of how to believably fit B’s pregnancy into the Potterverse time and place.)

    I find it easier to believe that the antagonist’s deluded mother falsely told her that V. was the father.

    – I was not pleased with a story beholden to repeated spiralling through the tiresome and not-easily-believed time-travel trope.

    But I will say that after being bored with the (too predictable, felt prosaic) story for too many pages, eventually I had the pleasure of feeling some surprise.

    hpboy articulates what I believe more truthfully describes the play’s place in the Potterverse|’Wizarding World’:
    It would have been more accurate “if they had not mismarketed it as ‘The Eighth Story’ . . . and instead put ‘Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.'” Amen.

  8. Personally I think cursed child is awful. I will keep it for my collection but will never read it again unlike the first seven. I think the plot is rubbish from the start, the fact the trolley lady suddenly grows spike hands?? Also the fact she states she has stopped the likes of Fred and George and the Marauders from escaping. You’re telling me none of them thought to jump off?? Also Voldemort has always been shown as someone who worked alone, keeping his plans secret, not revealing too much to anyone and using people as pawns to get the information he needs. The fact he has a child is just a lazy excuse for a plot. It doesn’t fit with the Voldemort we know who is unable to understand or feel love but he can reproduce???

    But all the original characters are the same. Hermione the brightest witch of her age becomes Hermione who thinks to hide a time turner in a book which of course nobody would think to look there or an innocent passerby might not be curious to look in such eye catching book titles. Harry who lost his parents and lived with the Dursleys says some very unharry things to Albus and treats a lot of people in the book with zero respect. McGonnagal for instance and after Umbridge he seemed the last person to involve the ministry in school matters. After all his character building through the series Ron becomes a joker who seems unable to keep his hands off Hermione; holiday or another kid?? And as Albus/Ron snogs Hermione right outside her office and Hermione doesn’t get suspicious seems to me that must be a regular occurrence.

    I think the only decent thing to come out of the cursed child is Scorpius even though its a shame he was put in Slytherin. I didn’t see one ounce of Slytherin in him but guess he had to be for the plot of Albus becoming Slytherin. Still think it would of been better for him to be the first Ravenclaw/Gryffindor in a long line of Slytherins like Sirius but he was a decently made character. It took a while to recall all this because since I finished the book I’ve been trying hard to forget everything I had read.

  9. I can’t be as generous toward Cursed Child as Josie, hpboy13 and vandysnape have been. To me it read like bad fan fiction through and through. (And very expensive fan fiction – half the displays of magic in the story seemed to be there to wow the audience rather than to advance the plot.)

    I agree with what others have said about how the play violates what we know about the magical world. But I’d also like to say that it meddles unconvincingly with the characters and their relationships and motivations.

    Deathly Hallows ends on a warm and fuzzy note, leaving us with the impression that Harry shares a special bond with Albus. Harry assures Albus that the Sorting Hat won’t put him into Slytherin against his will, and that if he does end up in Slytherin it won’t make any difference to him. A few scenes into Cursed Child, we see that Albus IS sorted into Slytherin, it DOES make a difference, and there’s no real bond at all between Harry and Albus.

    Are we seriously supposed to believe that Albus, after a ride on the Hogwarts Express where he has a disagreement with Rose and starts a friendship with Scorpius, does a complete reversal from dreading Slytherin to wanting to be a part of it? Why would the Sorting Hat consider Albus for Slytherin at all? He’s not ambitious or cunning. He’s as gallant, foolish and brave as any Gryffindor we’ve known. And Scorpius is clearly a Ravenclaw by nature, only placed in Slytherin because of his family history and because he was resigned to being in Slytherin. But if the Sorting Hat applied the same criterion to Albus, it would have put him in Gryffindor – his parents and grandparents were all in Gryffindor.

    And why on earth does the wizarding community believe that preposterous rumor about Scorpius being Voldemort’s son? And why would Draco insist that the rumor is coming from the Ministry and that it’s Harry’s responsibility (specifically Harry’s) to squash it?

    The inconsistencies of the characters and their motivations don’t get any better as the play goes on, but I’ll leave it here. Though I do want to add this to hpboy13’s excellent points about Bellatrix: If she gave birth to Delphi “before the Battle of Hogwarts,” she would have been noticeably pregnant when Harry & Co. were at Malfoy Manor in DH. If she’d already given birth before then, Delphi would hardly have described herself as being born before the Battle of Hogwarts.

    Two things I did like about the play: Act 2, Scene 15, when Ginny and Draco both admit that they were lonely at school and envied Harry, Ron and Hermione’s friendship. About time someone recognized that. And the first alternate reality, when Ron was married to Padma – Ron was henpecked and defeated, and Hermione was single and mean. Just underlining the fact that Ron and Hermione really are good for each other!

    And here’s my burning question: Who is the cursed child? Albus? Scorpius? Delphi? The only person in the story who seems to qualify as a cursed child is Astoria, and we never even meet her.

    Maybe I’ll read the script again . . .

  10. I absolutely LOVED my experience re-reading HP and following the chapter discussions here. Would adore to see some Cursed Child posts.

  11. Hi folks. Long time lurker, first time poster. Great to see the site is still active. Just a few thoughts about whether or not the play is ‘canon’.

    The issue of ‘canon’ in fandom is a messy area. It’s true that Rowling endorsed the play, but it’s important to remember that this alone does not equate to everlasting truth. Continuity is never as rigid as people think it is because the creator’s intentions and viewpoints can shift at any moment. Rowling once categorically denied that Voldemort ever had a child, but here we are. Likewise, the canonicity of the play can be validated or dismissed at any point in the future.

    My first impulse is to ignore the play’s canonicity for several reasons. There are numerous examples where the story contradicts plot points from the original series or where characters behave in ways that are fundamentally inconsistent with their younger selves which the passage of time alone cannot sufficiently account for. These can be explained away to varying degrees of success, but the fact that these problems can be identified to begin with is a cause for concern.

    In these cases, the original series must take precedence. The seven books were planned, at least in broad strokes, well in advance of their publication. For the most part, Rowling had clear objectives and intentions from the start that remained unchanged and were fulfilled upon their completion. Those books exist as a complete unit and deserve to stand on their own as they were intended. Regardless of Rowling’s involvement in subsequent material, everything else (including the play and Pottermore) is, I think, supplementary.

    Furthermore, it’s unclear precisely how much input Jo had in the conceptualization and fine-tuning of the play. My first impression was that it wasn’t all that significant; that she may have simply acted as a consultant and her role has been emphasized to attract more interest. I have no way of knowing for sure, but if this is true and the decision to market the play as the official ‘eighth story’ was driven more by commercial rather than artistic imperatives, then that’s yet another reason why it can be ignored in the continuity debate.

    Really, at the end of the day, why does it even matter? If people want to reject the play’s canonicity, that’s fine. People would lead far happier lives if they could better compartmentalize good things from bad things. One aspect of something doesn’t have to irrevocably detract from or tarnish every other aspect.

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