Why Harry is not a bad father in cursed child
So on the Harry Potter amino i had a quite “nasty” discussion (when you can actually call it that as for a discussion both persons actually have to use arguments, not just one person) with a very thin skinned person (when you spread around cc hate, be prepared that some cc fans may actually argue against you, especially when you don’t use any real arguments whatsover) about Harry in cursed child and cursed child in general. He/she made a blog about his/her arguments after i “rudely forced him” to actually give me some things to back up his /her opinion, but well it is actually amazing how you can make a full blog without giving any actual arguments and just keep repeating “Harry just wouldn’t do that” (you may remember my blog about his/her dealthy hallows argument) all the time without using any quotes or explanations.So i made a blog in respond. Well he/she told me that he/she doesn’t care about my opinion, but i wrote and published this anyway!(When i made effort to write it, why not post it on Tumblr as well?)So here we go! As i structured this based on his/her blog, this is the structure i came up with:
1) Why cursed child is canon
2) Why Harry isn’t out of character in cursed child
3) Why Harry is not a bad father
This will be quite long, so be prepared xD
1) Why cursed child is canon
I heard a lot of people saying that cc isn’t canon, because Rowling didn’t completely write it. It is true that she got help by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne and that she didn’t completely write it on her own. The reasons are clear: She is not a playwriter, she hasn’t done this before and she didn’t think she could pull off a play script on her own.And i agree, writing novels and movie scripts is very different from writing a play script as this medium works different in some ways.
But this doesn’t mean cc isn’t canon. The inventing process was a close cooperation between these three and Rowling had the last say about her characters.
QUOTE: „The collaborators she approved were Thorne and Tiffany. They emphasized that Rowling made sure they stayed true to HER VISION of the characters“
„It took about six months to really map the whole thing out. (…) Jo would say `This feels right, this doesn’t´ - Jack Thorne
„And we didn’t start writing the play as such-or Jack didn’t-until we agreed on what that story was. Jack produced an AMAZING script“ - J.K. Rowling
Do you really think she would agree on a play to be published, if she would disagree with the things that are in it?
Our queen herself stated that cc is 100% canon and when someone can define canon, then it’s her. She wouldn’t have published cc, if she wouldn’t see the story to continue like this and i trust her to know best how HER characters, she invented, would behave.
So yes cursed child is canon, if you like it or not. Of course you are free to dislike the new developement as much as you want, but just because it destroyed your personal headcanons, it’s not less canon. Creators don’t owe us anything, especially not our headcanons, and this is how she sees HER characters. We as a fandom can’t claim to know her characters better than she does and we shouldn’t, which leads me to my next point.
2) Why Harry wasn’t out of character in cc
First of all (a point i actually agree on) cursed child is not a novel. It’s not written in Harry’s perspective and we have an objective look at Harry’s character. And no it’s not Albus‘ perspective, a play unlike a novel isn’t written out of anyone’s perpective.We are no longer influenced by Harry’s subjective opinion, but see everything a little bit more objective, especially Harry’s character. I think due to the perspective used in the novels it’s harder for some people to see Harry’s flaws in the original series.
In cc Harry of course grew up and got older, but he still has a lot of his original character traits.
I think a big problem for a big part of the fandom is that they forgot book Harry, because they watched the movies too often. The movies showed a very different and more bland, perfect and boring version of him.
Here are some things movie Harry didn’t do or did different:
-books Harry had quite a temper and anger issues at times. In book 5 he totally destroyed Dumbledore’s office in a big anger burst and he loses control over himself, when he is under emotional stress (sounds familiar, right?)
-book Harry sucessfully uses crucio (yes an unforgivable torture curse) on a death eater and doesn’t even regret it
-book Harry didn’t hide Snape’s book in halfblood prince, because he thought it was dangerous or wrong to use it, he hid it so Snape wouldn’t find it and he could continue using it
-book Harry said pretty mean stuff to Lupin in Dealthy Hallows. When he is under a lot of emotional pressure, he tends to say things to loved ones, he regrets afterwards (sounds VERY familiar, does it?)
There is more, but i stop now. (and no this has nothing to do with the epilouge from dealthy hallows as this scene is in the books, the movies and cursed child). I love complex and flawed book Harry and they did a very poor job adapting his personality to the screen.
Harry is not a „perfect“ human in cc and he never was in the original series. No well written and realistic and relatable character is „perfect“. The headcanons some people create for Harry are simply unrealistic and don’t fit his flawed personality at all. I am happy Rowling decided to stay with her vision of the characters and didn’t give in to the unrealistic, glorified Harry headcanons.
This doesn’t mean Harry lost his amazing and great characteristics in cc!
He is still the adventurous and brave and caring Harry we know from the books. Although he is indeed an office/ministry worker now, he actually isn’t in his office a lot. Harry still hates paper work and he still loves to explore the danger personally instead of reading about it.
„HERMIONE: (…) – thought i’d check whether you’d kept your promise and were on top of your paperwork.
HARRY: Ah. Turns out i’m not.
HARRY: Great, let’s get out there. I’ll get the team together.
HERMIONE: Harry, i get it. Paperwork’s boring…“
He is still the brave, charming and adventurous Harry we know so well and love from the books and he wants to be right in the action. He is also still very caring about his loved ones, but i will get to that at my next point.
3) Why Harry isn’t a bad father
As i said Harry is not a perfect human being and he is not a perfect father, which doesn’t mean that he is a bad one!
In the play it gets clear that Harry is still very traumatised by the war, the dead people, his parent’s death and his abusive childhood. It is very hard for him to connect to people and to open up to another person.
You always have to look at both parts of a relationship to understand the motives why characters are acting like they do.
a) Blanket scene
In this scene we have the infamous „I wish you weren’t my son “ line, which so many people take out of context and totally ignore the circumstances of.
The blanket scene is VERY important as it shows the basic misunderstanding between Harry and Albus, which leads to their difficult relationship.
In this scene we have proof of how much Harry cares for Albus. He knows that they distant themselve from each other and Harry wants to change that, because he loves Albus. So he decides to give Albus his most precious possession, the only thing he has left from his mother. It is clear how much this blanket means to Harry and that he wants to give it to Albus shows how caring Harry in cc is.
But when Albus rejects the blanket and distants himself more from him, of course Harry feels horribly hurt. This blanket means everything to him and that Albus rejects his kind gesture, really breaks his heart.
Parents are humans too and they are not immune to feelings and pain of rejection, especially not Harry who always had a bad temper. As in the original series Harry is portrayed very human and realistic in cc.
People who just look at this line out of context, mostly forget Albus‘ line immediately before Harry’s:
ALBUS: No! I just wish you weren’t my dad.
Here is where the essence of the play lies, the reason their relationship is so difficult.
Here lies the big misunderstanding between Harry and Albus. Everyone expects Harry to be perfect. Everyone just sees him as the „hero“ without any flaws, noone sees the human Harry, the frightened and flawed and realistic human being and person.
So Albus suffers under the unrealistically high expectations people set for him and he gets bullied at school. So of course he understandably projects his anger and pain on to Harry. He blames Harry for his suffering, but he actually doesn’t mean Harry as a person, but Harry’s fame and the high expectations that come with it. So with „i wish you weren’t my dad“ deep down he didn’t mean that Harry personally shouldn’t be his father, but that the famous Harry Potter shouldn’t be his father.
Harry of course is heartbroken, because he feels rejected by Albus and the line escapes his mouth. It is VERY clear, that he immediately regrets it and he tries the whole play to make up for it.
And their relationship wasn’t always like that. At the beginning of the play their relationship is portrayed as very close and friendly. Albus is open about his fears and Harry is as open to him. Their relationship just went in the wrong direction after Albus gets bullied at school. Harry didn’t do anything wrong or different, it was Albus who (understandably) changed because of his father’s fame. We don’t see any problems between Harry and his other children, it’s just between Albus and him. The problem of their relationship isn’t based on what Harry did wrong as a parent, it’s based on what happened in his past and how his fame affects the way people treat Albus. They are both complex and interesting characters, who i can both understand very well. I can see why both of them feel how they feel and i feel bad for both of them. That’s why their relationship is so interesting and amazingly written, because you can understand both parts of this difficult relationship and you are rooting for them to overcome their problems.
b) Seperating Albus and Scorpius
You can say what you want, but you can’t say that Harry doesn’t love his son and that he doesn’t care for him. Every mistake he makes is based on his desperate need to protect Albus.
When Harry hears about the „black cloud“, he feels such a big need to protect his son that he loses his sense of reality. He never met Scorpius and he doesn’t know him. He just connects the black cloud to Scorpius (isn’t the first time his mistery solving attempts went wrong…Snape and Quirell *cough).
Is it illogical and wrong to do this? Of course! But it is also understandable in Harry’s situation as he is put under a lot of emotional pressure and all he wants is to see his son safe. I’m pretty sure he never really believed in what he was saying. He was so easily convinced by Ginny and Draco and he very easily regrets it and apologizes to Albus for it.
Harry is not a perfect dad in cursed child and like any real parent he makes mistakes, but he is by no means a bad father.
„Love blinds“ is a theme of the play and yes, his love for Albus does blind him. But you can’t argue that he doesn’t love or care for Albus. He would do everything to keep his son safe – he throws himself in front of a killing curse for Albus – and his love and his caring make him a pretty good dad actually. Their relationship started of with difficulties because of Harry’s fame, but he never gave up on Albus and it is beautiful to see them finally finding each other at the end of the play. They finally show their love for one another and Albus can finally see Harry as a human, not as a famous hero. This is why the pidgeon line is so important. Harry admits his flaws and his fears to Albus and shows him that he is human. I love how Harry puts his arm around Albus in the last scene on stage. It’s such a beautiful and hopeful ending to the play.