pauraque_bk: (Default)
[personal profile] pauraque_bk
I always used to post about new books before I'd read anybody else's reactions. Never thought I'd get to do it again!

I will say first, there were moments in the adventurey part where I was really getting quite excited, just like the first time I read the original series. She's still got it. It made me eager and hopeful for Fantastic Beasts.

That said, my feeling at the end was something like, "Well, yes, we already knew all that." I mean, maybe for people who aren't in the fandom and haven't spent a lot of time thinking about these characters and what effect the events of the books would have had on them, some of the character developments could have seemed surprising. But I really felt like we'd already worked out everything they were presenting as new, in terms of the characters. Even the next gen characters, who barely existed before!

The only one who seemed off to me was Ron, whose personality seemed more inspired by the movies than the books, and not in a good way. (I like the movies but they do portray Ron as less mature and less competent than the books do.)

As I said, I did like the plotty bits. Not that they were all that original either, and PoA did the time travel plot better, but I still got into it. It was fun to revisit JKR's quirky style of worldbuilding, which always works better when it's in the service of a story than it ever did in the context of Pottermore, where the bland factualness makes you think too hard about the logic of things that only make sense when they're passed breezily by.

I guess my big disappointment was how Delphi was handled at the end, and how close they came to doing something I had really wanted from the books, without actually doing it. I always felt the part about love defeating Voldemort because he doesn't understand it was a loose thread, because the way it was presented implied that he was born incapable of love and there was no time in the past when he could have taken another path. Of course, this is not actually true of real human beings, so it rang false to me.

So, when they start in again on how Tom was just a lonely boy, and then we have the revelation that Voldemort and Bellatrix's relationship was not completely one-sided and was in fact consummated, and this orphaned young woman really just wants a father to love her... It was like we were right there at the thing I always wanted the books to say, and then poof, never mind, the end.

Delphi is still young, and I wanted there to be hope for her. I wanted that to be the point, not this rubbish about Harry's feelings that we knew all along anyway. If she's just plain Evil because her dad was Evil and her parents didn't love each other because his parents didn't love each other... what was the point of even writing the play? To hammer in even harder on this totally incorrect view of how love and hope function in the real world? To come up with an interesting idea for a character, and then do nothing interesting with her?

But maybe it's just me! I don't know how many people have this problem with the books that I did, but it is something that really bothers me about the series, and it's frustrating to see this perfect opportunity to add some nuance to it go to waste.

I did appreciate the acknowledgement, though, that Neville is the one who actually saved the world. ♥

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.

Date: 2016-08-01 04:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] logospilgrim.livejournal.com
~To hammer in even harder on this totally incorrect view of how love and hope function in the real world? To come up with an interesting idea for a character, and then do nothing interesting with her?~

I hear you...

Of course, for me the main excitement was, I mean, do I even have to say it? ;-)

Date: 2016-08-01 05:11 pm (UTC)
pauraque: bird flying (Default)
From: [personal profile] pauraque
Haha, I can imagine! It was good to see him again. :)

Date: 2016-08-01 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] logospilgrim.livejournal.com
It's inspired me greatly. What I read in Cursed Child will be the backbone of Severus Snape and the Art of Being Human.

Date: 2016-08-01 06:15 pm (UTC)
pauraque: bird flying (Default)
From: [personal profile] pauraque
I look forward to that! Even though he's only in the play for a short time, I think they really zeroed in on exactly what makes his character so compelling.

Date: 2016-08-01 06:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] logospilgrim.livejournal.com
Thank you. That really means a lot ♥

Date: 2016-08-01 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tamlane.livejournal.com
YAY!!!! Someone else actually liked it! (For the most part, it sounds like?)

Voldemort's supposed inability to love always struck me as unrealistic and one-dimensional in the books, but I've made peace with JKR's black and white world view and wasn't expecting more from the play. So I was fine with Delphi being a throwaway plot device (and perhaps an authorial send-up of fic tropes). For me, the play was all about Albus and Scorpius, and their characterizations made it worth the read. Also nice to see Draco humanized while remaining true to character. My Malfoy love is bursting at the seams!

Date: 2016-08-01 05:23 pm (UTC)
pauraque: bird flying (Default)
From: [personal profile] pauraque
Yeah, I had fun reading it! My reservations about the way the plot played out were many of the same ones I had about the series as a whole, so I can't pin that on the play specifically.

Oh I loved Albus and Scorpius too! JKR has such a knack for creating memorable characters, and even though we had to use our imaginations a lot because of the script format, I think that still shone through. Draco came off very well too, which surprised me a bit because of some of the less flattering things she's said about him at times. I always did think he was jealous of Harry, and I liked how that admission was handled — not in a way that made him look pathetic, but rather stronger, strong enough to reveal vulnerabilities. Good stuff.

Date: 2016-08-01 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tamlane.livejournal.com
I was really surprised by the play's handling of Draco as well. I loved the scene where he admitted he was jealous of the trio - and Ginny agreeing with him to Harry's obvious surprise! And this line...

I don’t care what you did or who you saved, you are a constant curse on my family, Harry Potter.

...broke my heart. Because whether it's true or not, and regardless of how Draco sabotaged himself over the years, you know that's how Draco has always seen it. He just can't get away from Harry Potter no matter what he does, LOL. (My feeeeeels.)

Had to cut my previous comment short, but regarding Ron: I agree he was off from his book characterization, but I feel like that might partially be due to him having such a comparatively small part (as does Hermione), plus the fact that they had to go OVER THE TOP with him in the beginning to contrast with Ron, husband of Padma. But yeah, I felt like he got shortchanged as usual.

Date: 2016-08-01 06:22 pm (UTC)
pauraque: bird flying (Default)
From: [personal profile] pauraque
I agree he was off from his book characterization, but I feel like that might partially be due to him having such a comparatively small part (as does Hermione), plus the fact that they had to go OVER THE TOP with him in the beginning to contrast with Ron, husband of Padma.

That's a good point, maybe it seemed that a subtler difference would not make it clear enough what had changed. (Despite the playwright's repeated insistence that meddling with history had irrevocably altered the part in Ron's hair!!!)

Date: 2016-08-01 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] author-by-night.livejournal.com

Voldemort's supposed inability to love always struck me as unrealistic and one-dimensional in the books, but I've made peace with JKR's black and white world view and wasn't expecting more from the play.


Yeah, same. It's also one of the ways in which Harry Potter, even as it gets older and darker, is at heart a middle grade universe.

My Malfoy love is bursting at the seams!


I know! I was never a huge Draco fan (although I felt sorry for him in HBP & DH), but I really liked him in this story.


Date: 2016-08-01 05:12 pm (UTC)
vaysh11: (Default)
From: [personal profile] vaysh11
You phrase something in actual words that have been moving around in my head since I finished the script. I am all with you about Delphi. It was a wasted opportunity to show, in this one character, what needs to happen for a character to lose empathy. The play discusses it with Draco, with Cedric, with Harry, even with Scorpius. But with Delphi, it seems she is evil by her biological connection to Voldemort and Bellatrix. And was it not the point of that silly rumour about Scorpius to show that this kind of thinking is silly and wrong?

That scene where Harry talks to Dumbledore's portrait - I hated it. What was that?

Date: 2016-08-01 05:38 pm (UTC)
pauraque: bird flying (Default)
From: [personal profile] pauraque
And was it not the point of that silly rumour about Scorpius to show that this kind of thinking is silly and wrong?

Exactly. It's the same thing she did in the books — giving lip service to the idea that it's not all black and white, but then when it comes down to it, it somehow always turns out to be black and white after all. It's frustrating.

That scene where Harry talks to Dumbledore's portrait - I hated it. What was that?

I was uncomfortable with it too. Part of the problem for me was that there is still ambiguity about what, exactly, portraits are. It's hard to know how to react to a scene when we don't even know if we're supposed to think that's "really" Dumbledore or not. If it's just a reflection of Harry's memories, then what is the scene for, and why is it presented like it's a real opportunity for closure for either one of them?

Date: 2016-08-01 06:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tamlane.livejournal.com
That scene with Dumbledore's portrait made me cringe. I tried to handwave over it as the portrait being a shadow of Dumbledore and not the real thing, but... ack. Probably my least favorite part of the play.

Date: 2016-08-01 05:14 pm (UTC)
vaysh11: (a.Daily Snitch)
From: [personal profile] vaysh11
Would it be okay with you if we linked to this CC meta from the Daily Snitch?

Date: 2016-08-01 05:43 pm (UTC)
pauraque: bird flying (Default)
From: [personal profile] pauraque
Oh, it was more just some off the cuff thoughts rather than an attempt at a serious review, but sure, if you'd like to!

Date: 2016-08-01 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] author-by-night.livejournal.com
That said, my feeling at the end was something like, "Well, yes, we already knew all that." I mean, maybe for people who aren't in the fandom and haven't spent a lot of time thinking about these characters and what effect the events of the books would have had on them, some of the character developments could have seemed surprising. But I really felt like we'd already worked out everything they were presenting as new, in terms of the characters.


I actually felt it was almost the point? Like, Harry was supposed to be making the same mistakes adults made with him, and he had to learn from that. You are right that it was a little repetitive though, and yeah, I saw that ending coming from many miles away.



The only one who seemed off to me was Ron, whose personality seemed more inspired by the movies than the books, and not in a good way. (I like the movies but they do portray Ron as less mature and less competent than the books do.)


Yeah, that was odd. At some points he did seem more book Ron, but he definitely had movie!Ron moments. Although honestly, when I re-read HBP, I realized even there, Ron came very close to to movie Ron at times, so I wonder if the movies just sort of shaped how JKR started to write him. Which is a shame, because while he had his "moments" in canon too, he was also often the voice of reason, even over Hermione. (Who was very smart, but not always people savvy.)


So, when they start in again on how Tom was just a lonely boy, and then we have the revelation that Voldemort and Bellatrix's relationship was not completely one-sided and was in fact consummated, and this orphaned young woman really just wants a father to love her... It was like we were right there at the thing I always wanted the books to say, and then poof, never mind, the end.


That's a good point. She definitely did just disappear. There was also no true explanation for her in the first place. How did even Draco not know Bellatrix was pregnant/had a kid, considering she and the other DEs were living at his house? Did she hide it with magic? Was it another time travel thing? And what happened to Delphi in between... everything?

You're also right that they could have done more in the way of redeeming her.

Although it DID make the Amos Diggory begging Harry to bring Cedric back plotline, well, make sense. Because I re-read GoF last year, and while Amos was smug in the beginning, at the end of the book it's emphasized that the Diggorys do not blame Harry, and won't even take the award money. So I was really upset that Jo apparently forgot all of that, and pleased when it came together.


I did appreciate the acknowledgement, though, that Neville is the one who actually saved the world. ♥


Me too, although dark future!Ron's surprise annoyed me. It's pretty clear in DH that he spent the year running the place. But yes, it was Neville's crowning moment of awesome. (Although for all that being said, where was Neville? That occurred to me after reading.)
Edited Date: 2016-08-01 05:23 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-08-01 05:58 pm (UTC)
pauraque: bird flying (Default)
From: [personal profile] pauraque
Although honestly, when I re-read HBP, I realized even there, Ron came very close to to movie Ron at times, so I wonder if the movies just sort of shaped how JKR started to write him. Which is a shame, because while he had his "moments" in canon too, he was also often the voice of reason, even over Hermione. (Who was very smart, but not always people savvy.)

Agreed, on both points. I think many of the characters changed somewhat in the last couple of books under the influence of the movies, which isn't really that surprising. Even as the creator, I imagine it would have been impossible for JKR to erase from her mind all traces of the screenwriter's and actors' interpretations.

How did even Draco not know Bellatrix was pregnant/had a kid, considering she and the other DEs were living at his house? Did she hide it with magic? Was it another time travel thing? And what happened to Delphi in between... everything?

Yeah, I wanted to know the answers to all those questions. Draco's right there, so why not ask him? I know the rules of pacing are different in a play than a novel, but at times I felt like things were glossed over too quickly without explanation. There was even a moment or two where I genuinely thought I might have skipped a page and went back to make sure I hadn't.

Date: 2016-08-03 12:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] author-by-night.livejournal.com

Agreed, on both points. I think many of the characters changed somewhat in the last couple of books under the influence of the movies, which isn't really that surprising. Even as the creator, I imagine it would have been impossible for JKR to erase from her mind all traces of the screenwriter's and actors' interpretations.


Yeah, good point. Especially as JKR still advised and approved a lot in the films.

There was even a moment or two where I genuinely thought I might have skipped a page and went back to make sure I hadn't.

Glad that it wasn't just me!

Date: 2016-08-01 08:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] black-dog.livejournal.com
I'm so glad to hear your take on this -- I had sort of decided to give the book a pass, though I did seek out spoilers just to be up and current. :) But if you like it, at least in parts, there must be something to it. Maybe I'll try to read it in time to jump in on some conversations.

Date: 2016-08-02 02:50 pm (UTC)
pauraque: bird flying (Default)
From: [personal profile] pauraque
Ooh, no pressure — if you hate it, don't blame me! :D

Date: 2016-08-02 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] black-dog.livejournal.com
Oh, hating it would be fine. It can be interesting even if you hate it, and that's what counts. :)

Date: 2016-08-01 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drinkingcocoa.livejournal.com
I don't know if this would be helpful to you or not... my reading of JKR's take on Voldemort and love is different. I thought she was saying not that he was born incapable of love but that he had known so little -- in the way that fate sometimes robs some humans of all chance of love in life -- that he did not know what was happening to him when he saw baby Harry get love from Lily and felt mortal pangs of craving for the same kind of love that he WAS capable of but never received. And that put him in a position, his whole life, of acknowledging that he craved love (which would open him up to the horrible pain of knowing that he never got it) or denying the importance of love and therefore his damage in not being loved. Which is an intolerable place of pain -- and yet one that exists in the real world -- and he still could have chosen not to be a mass murderer -- but he did choose it. And yet he never stopped craving love, which he tried to steal from Harry in his blood, which manifested as his continuing obsession with Harry, the only person with whom he ever identified. In my reading, the intolerable pain Voldemort felt whenever in contact with Harry was actually the evidence of his ability to love and his suffering over the contrast between how much love Harry got versus his loveless life. It was less painful for Voldemort to deny it all. In my reading. :-)

Date: 2016-08-02 03:05 pm (UTC)
pauraque: bird flying (Default)
From: [personal profile] pauraque
I love that idea! Do you think there's strong support for it in the text, or is it more a headcanon thing for you? And don't get me wrong, I have great respect for headcanon — I'm just wondering if I wanted to look in the books for evidence, where I would want to start. Other than just going ahead and re-reading the whole series with that in mind. :)

Date: 2016-08-02 03:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drinkingcocoa.livejournal.com
Purely in the text. <3

Date: 2016-08-02 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drinkingcocoa.livejournal.com
Voldemort in Godric's Hollow in book 7, remembering what happened when he looked into the face of a baby, wanted to watch, saw the baby cry, saw that the baby now felt the same way Tom Riddle felt as an infant when there was nobody for him, realized *he* had done that to the baby and made someone into a baby like he was himself, and then felt pain beyond pain because "he had killed the boy, and yet he *was* the boy." That was empathy and guilt and remorse. It was so painful that it would have killed him except that he had made horcruxes, so he was damned to live without a body in the forest for years, neither dead nor alive. He tried to possess other animals to regain a body, even getting Wormtail to obtain a rudimentary body for him, but he realized that he could only depend on Harry's blood to reinstate a body that could *grow* because he knew for sure that Harry had received love (oxytocin) and that is the element that makes the difference between abandoned infants thriving (as Harry did) and suffering without relief (as infant Tom Riddle did). Stark stuff. Really stark. So glad JKR works with orphanages to get kids into better situations where they get more human interaction.

Date: 2016-08-02 03:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drinkingcocoa.livejournal.com
The "gleam" in Dumbledore's eye was because once Voldemort took in the oxytocin from Harry's blood in order to grow, he also doomed himself to be more vulnerable to feeling actual empathy or remorse (other effects of oxytocin), which "doubled" the connection between Harry and Voldemort because now Voldemort *really* identified with Harry, having admitted that he needed love like Harry had received in order to grow. So when Harry said "be a man... I've seen what you've become... try... try for remorse," he was the only person in the world whose words could actually *reach* Voldemort, and Voldemort knew, by that point, that Dumbledore's words were true: that there is something worse than death, and that is to feel remorse for crimes if you've committed crimes as bad as Voldemort's. So he refused Harry's offer and felt death because it was the less painful option for him. It would have been more available to him had he stopped committing crimes sooner, but he had so much damage on his conscience (= his soul was so fractured and unstable) that he wasn't able to withstand it.

Date: 2016-08-02 03:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drinkingcocoa.livejournal.com
That's my reading of the text, anyway! :-)

Date: 2016-08-02 03:51 pm (UTC)
pauraque: bird flying (Default)
From: [personal profile] pauraque
Voldemort in Godric's Hollow in book 7, remembering what happened when he looked into the face of a baby, wanted to watch, saw the baby cry, saw that the baby now felt the same way Tom Riddle felt as an infant when there was nobody for him, realized *he* had done that to the baby and made someone into a baby like he was himself, and then felt pain beyond pain because "he had killed the boy, and yet he *was* the boy." That was empathy and guilt and remorse.

Ahh, I just re-read the chapter and I see what you mean. I think on first reading I wasn't sure if "he had killed the boy and yet he was the boy" referred to the fact that by this point, Harry's experience of Voldemort's memories is deteriorating and he's literally no longer sure who he is, or if it could also reflect Voldemort's realization on some level that a part of his soul had entered Harry when the curse failed. Your idea is far more interesting, of course! I'll have to ponder it. :)

Date: 2016-08-03 12:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] author-by-night.livejournal.com
I love this interpretation, and I think you're probably right.

And on a darker level too, I think he had to understand it to do some of the things he did to other people. What good would threatening other people's families have been, in his perspective, if love wasn't powerful? Although I guess you could argue he simply felt people would want to protect their sense of "belonging." In any case, I think he understood love, he just... well, what you said.

(I mean, there's also the fact that a lot of his followers don't seem to have had a lot of love otherwise, which to me suggests he took them in purposely. Even Bellatrix and Regulus were from a horrible family - I can't imagine what it would've been like being Baby Bellatrix and Baby Regulus. Not that I think Voldemort bought them toys and sung them to sleep, but he knew how to recruit lonelier people.)
Edited Date: 2016-08-03 12:29 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-08-02 10:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oceaxe.livejournal.com
In your criticism of the handling of Delphi's character, you nail the major weakness of the play. Well said.

Date: 2016-08-03 01:17 pm (UTC)
pauraque: bird flying (Default)
From: [personal profile] pauraque
Thanks!

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