Is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Canon?

The Cursed Child Is Canon

Spoilers below!

If you read the comments on Michal Schick’s article declaring Harry Potter and the Cursed Child fan fiction, (an article I refute), you will find a large number of fans declaring the new script not canon.  Alan Johnson, for instance, writes the following:

Arguing the merits of TCC as a stand-alone story is a different matter, but to call it canon means that we as the audience are being asked to compare TCC to the Harry Potter series and to hold it to the same standards. These “standards” are, of course, somewhat subjective and different for every fan/reader/audience member, but when a significant portion of fans feel TCC fails to meet the standards of canon established in the original series, then labeling TCC as canon becomes problematic. Does a story necessarily belong to the author? Or once the story is released into the world, does it then belong to the audience? In this case, I would say the Harry Potter fandom feels a significant degree of connection and ownership over the story. We give a lot of deference to JKR, but when she starts to push old, established “boundaries” (again subjective) too far in new works, we are free to push back.

Here Johnson argues that Harry Potter and his world no longer belong to J. K. Rowling, who created them, because fans like them.  The “standards” of canon to which he refer remain vague.  Perhaps he is saying that the story contradicts previously established information, but nowhere does he explicitly state as much.  Instead his argument, based on  his statement about “connection and ownership” seems to rest on a more subjective feeling that the play just does not match the power of the old works or that fans do not agree with it or like it, and thus fans are free to decide it does not exist.  (Or free to “push back,” as he writes–though that sounds a little aggressive to describe an interaction with a poor author.)

Slughorn’s Trophy Wife later enters this conversation and argues that the play is not canon because lines given to certain characters in some scenes were given to others in CC and that Lily and James being outside contradicts our previous knowledge of their lives.  She also says that she does not consider the story “100% Tier 1” canon.  A Google search did not provide any definitions for or references to such a term, but  Slughorn’s Trophy Wife refers to the theme park rides to indicate that she does not think everything Potter-related to be canon.  So, in this case, I think we are to assume that the commentator believes a thing is more canonical the more explicitly the creator is involved.

All of this is incredibly fascinating because the literal definition of canon is simply that it is the body of work of an author or creator.  Nowhere does the definition suggest that fans have to like a story for it to be canon.  Nowhere does this definition describe how involved an author has to be for their work to be canon.  And nowhere does it suggest that only traditionally-published sources count as canon.  And yet we know that the definition has never been as straight-forward as it appears.

Are These Works Canonical?

There have always been debates about the works of certain authors.  J. R. R. Tolkien, for example, has tons of published material now, most of which his son Christopher released after his death. There are different versions of different stories. Which one is canon?  Are the versions Tolkien himself published canonical and the rest simply drafts?  What if he had published one story, then rewrote it, but never published the later version?  Which is canon?

And what about Star Wars?  When The Force Awakens opened, we learned the book content was no longer considered canon.  So what are the books if not canon?  How can something be canon and then rewritten?

And what about contradictions in an author’s own published material?  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once called John Watson “James” apparently by accident. So is that story, by the logic of Slughorn’s Trophy Wife, no longer canon because it contradicted previously established information?  Alexandre Dumas seems to have shaky characterization in some of his stories–they’re so long he probably forgot what happened himself. Is The Three Musketeers no longer canon because D’Artagnan changes from installment to installment?

Maybe there are levels of authorial intent involved here.  Conan Doyle presumably did not mean to change John’s name, so we can safely ignore what could very well be a printer’s error.  And maybe we can say that what Tolkien himself published takes precedence over what are clearly drafts, though we might have more difficulty choosing the canonical work if faced with an early published version and a later revised but unpublished version.  But in that case, no doubt, scholars would first begin to see if they could discover whether Tolkien had been considering publication.  We might then say that the later version is canon, just as the revised Hobbit with an evil Gollum became canon after The Lord of the Rings.

The problem is, of course, that so often we do not know authorial intent.  If Tolkien did not write in his diary or to his publisher, we have no idea if he meant to revise or publish at all.  And then we begin to question all over again–what did the author mean or want?  Most likely we will then try to decide which version more closely matches all the other information we have about the author’s world–again leading us to the suggestion that contradictions are non-canonical.

But What if What the Author intends Upsets Fans?

Johnson, however, might argue that what the author wants to happen in their world is of little concern.  The fans have enjoyed the story and made it come alive, so now they have the authority to decide what happens.  This sounds kind of nice in theory–that is why we have fan fiction and shows like Sherlock.  It can be fun to play with our favorite stories and make them come alive in ways that are new, ways that make us see them afresh.

However, we are dealing with a living author here and the idea that the author no longer owns her works once she shares them with others becomes problematic.  Copyright laws exist because the author should be allowed to make money from her own intellectual property.  She created the world and it is hers to do with as she sees fit.

Saying that the work is no longer hers also seems disrespectful to creators.  After all, if I buy a pie that I like and enjoy, I would never argue to the baker that her business is my business now because without my purchase she’d be broke and without me her pies would have never realized their full potential as tasty desserts.  They would merely be pretty decorations in the window.  And yet this is the type of logic being thrown at authors.  Yes, ideas and stories are to be shared.  But this does not mean we should wrest creative control away from their originators, especially when they are alive and need to be recognized as the sole author in order to make a living.

But once copyright laws expire, the work of an author is still by definition canon.  Sherlock Holmes is canon.  Elementary and Sherlock, delightful though they may be, are not.

But What About All These Tweets and Pottermore Posts?  Are They Canon?

So the body of work of an author is, by definition, canon whether or not readers like it or agree with it.  But what is the body of work?  Slughorn’s Trophy Wife mentions theme park rides and video games while Emily at Rose Read explores all other bits of information Rowling has given us through the years from interviews to Tweets to Pottermore.

Here I do not consider things like video games and theme park rides to be canon.  Giving other people rights to your work so they can sell stuff does not mean you are giving them artistic authority. However, I do not see why an author providing material in forms other than traditional publication makes their work less valid.  Why should Rowling’s writings on Pottermore be taken less seriously than they would have been if she had published them in an encyclopedia format as was first suggested? Why should her words hold less weight on Twitter than they would if she bound them in paper and sold them at a bookstore?

Conclusion

The question of what is canon can indeed be tricky. However, in this case, it seems clear to me that J. K. Rowling was highly involved with the production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and gave it her approval.  It thus counts as part of her body of work (even with co-creators–Shakespeare’s work is still part of his canon his even though he collaborated!).  Finding small discrepancies like who says what dialogue does not invalidate the story, nor does not liking the story.  And the fact that the story is presented as a play rather than as a novel does not mean it is not part of her body of work.  “Body of work” encompasses various genres and forms.  If Rowling says this is canon, it is.

Krysta 64

43 thoughts on “Is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Canon?

  1. Briana says:

    You do a good job of exploring how questions of canon might get tricky, but my personal opinion is that this case is clear-cut. “Canon” just means that the information has been officially announced by the creator of the work. Interviews count. Pottermore counts. The Cursed Child counts because Rowling was directly involved with the script.

    We talked about this, but I think Go Set a Watchman is more interesting as a question of “Is this canon?” It was written by Harper Lee. But then transformed into To Kill a Mockingbird, and not published. We have no way of knowing whether Lee believes that the things that happen in Go Set a Watchman still “count,” or if she considers them first draft ideas that she has since discarded.

    Liked by 3 people

    • daleydowning says:

      “Go Set a Watchman” is a great example for this discussion. It was never intended to be a sequel, or prequel, to the already published and long-established book. There are lots of theories that the editors/agents went nuts over the idea of money connected to Ms. Harper’s fame. A real shame.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Krysta says:

        Yes, in this case I think it’s clear Cursed Child is canon since Rowling was directly involved and gave it her stamp of approval. I wished to acknowledge that questions of canonical authenticity could indeed be tricky–but you’re right that they’re not in this case.

        Go Set a Watchman does seem to be a first draft by all accounts. It was written, rejected, and rewritten as To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee never seemed to want to publish it, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s just an interesting look at what could have been, but not canon.

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        • daleydowning says:

          Yeah, GSaW could easily have been included in a book of, say, memoirs or interviews about Harper Lee…not published as a whole separate book.

          For me, the fact JKR said CC was fine should be the official and final say. Sorry, fans, but if you happen not to like it, that’s your choice, but it doesn’t violate your rights or something.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Briana says:

        Exactly. I would say it’s not officially canon because there wasn’t really an official go-ahead for the project by Lee. Or any kind of statement about what she thought of it. Even though, yes, she wrote it, I could imagine a world where she would say “Ok, you can publish this for academic reasons, to show people how To Kill a Mockingbird started. But it’s still not an ‘official’ story that explains what happens to the characters twenty years later.”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Bailey @ Fictional Fox says:

    Great post! You asked some very valid questions, and this is increasingly becoming a problem as more fans feel a sense of entitlement and ownership of the stories they love. I recently debated this with someone concerning Star Wars and fans being upset with George Lucas’s direction on some of the story line. The opposing side argued that the story no longer just belonged to George Lucas but to everyone who loved the series. I find this absolutely ridiculous though. There would be no series to love in the first place without George Lucas, who knows the world and characters he created more intimately than anyone.

    I would say that Cursed Child is canon and JK Rowling is clearly credited as one of the writers. If she hadn’t had a hand in the script, then perhaps I could argue otherwise. While I haven’t read the script yet, the contradictions you described between the play and the books seem to be nuances at best and not integral details to the story line.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      Exactly. I think you can feel some sort of spiritual ownership over a text you really love and argue that on some level it is “yours,” but it gets a bit silly if you take that feeling too seriously in the sense you actually expect the author to take your input into account when writing additional books/movies set in their own universe. The idea that someone would offer “deference” to Rowling sounds absolutely condescending to me. It’s her world and characters; she can do whatever she wants with them. I don’t have to like it, of course, but I also don’t think I have a particular right to make my displeasure known to her and expect her to do something about it.

      I was talking with some of these commenters on Hypable, and I don’t think they had any real answers. They were talking grandly about fan ownership over a work but didn’t respond with any practical answers about how exactly such a thing would play out. Must authors crowdsource their next story lines? Set up focus groups to see how people feel about proposed plots? Take polls? And, of course, there is no way to please 100% of fans. What should Rowling do if 40% of fans love something she proposes, 30% hate it, and 30% feel neutral? Will we abide by majority rules, or must we acknowledge the “ownership” of the 30% displeased people and try to please them anyway?

      I think a lot of people are talking at cross-purposes in many discussions about this book. Again, no one is obliged to like it. But I don’t see the point in trying to redefine it as not-canon when it was explicitly approved by Rowling. Whether the script is “good” and whether it’s canon are two separate questions that it seems many people are conflating.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Geraldine @ Corralling Books says:

    Just to put my two cents in here – but I believe that the work does belong to the audiences to some extent, since they have bought the book, and some people do feel betrayed because some of the new canon goes against what they always pictured in their heads. I wouldn’t go outright to say that she doesn’t own the universe anymore – of course she does! I think the huge problem that a lot of people have is that perhaps it feels like she hasn’t thought about it enough? I remember seeing lots of posts online about how awesome HP was because Rowling had foreshadowed everything and there were deeper meanings within parts of the book, etc. – and with Tweets, it can feel less impactful I guess?
    We’ll just agree to disagree? I reckon it’s difficult to really get everyone to see eye to eye with this issue, because it’s such an emotional topic for some people :/

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    • Briana says:

      I feel that what I purchased, however, was either the physical object of the book, or (especially in the case of e-books), simply a copy of the words that the author wrote. For $20, that’s really the extent of my business transaction with the author. If I wanted to purchase “ownership” over the story and have some say over the artistic direction of the book, I’d probably have to pay the author thousands of dollars.

      I do think one can spiritually feel some sort of “ownership” over a world or characters that one has spent a lot of time with. But it seems to me that a lot of fans are taking this indirect form of ownership too far in thinking that Rowling should have quite literally asked for their input before doing anything else with the world because it doesn’t “really” belong to her anymore. Of course it does.

      I suppose it’s possible for an author to do something with their literary world that seems like a betrayal to loyal, invested fans, but to me that would be something really drastic like Rowling writing a final book where Hogwarts burns to the ground, everyone dies, and the Wizarding World is no more. The end. No more magic. I don’t think writing a story that simply seems not to live up to the previous ones is necessarily the end of the world that some people think it is. It’s disappointing, but it happens. Most authors have books that range in quality, instead of continuously writing masterpieces.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Geraldine @ Corralling Books says:

        Yep of course – purchasing the book can make people feel like they own the story – and I think that’s perhaps why some people are being overly drastic with The Cursed Child release.
        I guess some people just feel betrayed more easily than you do – because to some, it does feel like she has backtracked on what the original seven books were about.
        Now I definitely can’t say too much (given that I haven’t read The Cursed Child), but I can definitely see why people are upset and why some are alright with The Cursed Child’s release.
        It is definitely true that a lot of authors have books that range in quality – I think that many people do forget that though, with the almost cult-life following that Rowling has accumulated with the HP series, and don’t give her a lot of slack. It’s definitely something for me to keep in mind!

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        • Briana says:

          I honestly feel bad for Rowling in general because no matter what she does people will feel it “isn’t Harry Potter.” I haven’t actually read any of the adult books she’s released, but I know The Casual Vacancy got many negative reviews for not being Harry Potter, when it’s clearly an entirely different story and genre. I completely understand why she went with a pseudonym for The Cuckoo’s Calling, and I’m afraid the end result of all the fan backlash is that we will never get another children’s fantasy series from her. I think it would be too much stress for her to have it compared so much to Harry Potter and inevitably have fans declare that it failed. HP was such a big part of so many people’s childhoods that I think we can no longer separate the actual text from our emotions and memories, and it’s just impossible for something you read when you’re,say, 25 to live up to books that essentially defined your childhood.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      The problem is that the play is meant to be performed. If we watching it, there would no doubt be layers of complexity that we don’t see. What are the characters wearing? Where are they standing or how are they holding themselves? What does the lighting look like? And so forth. It’s hard for me to say it’s not well-thought out or not complex when I haven’t seen it staged.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      This seemed clear-cut to me, but I guess in an age where communication with authors is easier than ever, fans now think they have creative control over a work. I agree creators should be respectful of fans since the fans are the ones helping them achieve their dream by purchasing and supporting their work, but to me that just means the creators don’t insult fans or do something that seems purposely calculated to upset them, like Briana’s example above of killing everyone off and razing Hogwarts to the ground.. But otherwise I think we have to respect authorial integrity or we’re getting into some problematic implications. For example, if the story is crowdsourced in future, does the author not get any royalties?

      I’m also intrigued by this assumption that everyone hates Cursed Child and so Rowling must renounce it. How do we know “everyone” or even a majority hate it that much? Are the type of people who post on Hypable one day after the release really representative of what the majority of fans think?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Emily | RoseRead says:

    Excellent post! I think the reason why I agree with the idea that “books belong to their readers” (to quote John Green) is not copyright or intellectual property, which is clearly the author’s, but for interpretational ownership. Once a work is out there in the world, the readers get to interpret it in whatever way they will. That’s the beauty and point of literature; your Harry is different than my Harry is different than everyone’s Harry. When J.K. Rowling posts a tweet with new HP information, I feel like it’s taking away my agency as a reader to interpret the text. If in my interpretation, Hermione and Ron’s relationship is airtight and unbreakable, and Rowling posts on Twitter that she thinks they’ll need marriage counseling one day (which she did), does that make my interpretation all of a sudden wrong? If we worked by this assumption, so much literary agency would be taken away from us, and that’s not how I view the point of literature. Of course, this argument applies to the little extras in interviews and Twitter and such, not for an actual literary work like Cursed Child.

    As for Cursed Child, for me it’s a question of where do we draw the line? Our fandom is very young; we don’t have a crap-ton of extra books/video games/movies/etc. like Star Wars/Star Trek/Marvel/etc., but we will, and then what will we do? I think the key to Cursed Child is on the cover: “based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling.” If I consider everything “based on” Harry Potter canon, I’d have to include the maps of Hogwarts from the video games, the stories from the Wii Harry Potter Book of Spells, and god forbid, the whole entire movie series. I see Cursed Child the way I see the movies – Rowling had a hand in creating something based of her stories, but it’s not an actual Harry Potter book, so to me it’s not canon.

    Again, wonderful post! Agree to disagree 😉

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I just don’t see why something should be canon if J. K. Rowling publishes it in a book form but not if she Tweets it. I don’t consider her to be taking away my agency in any way because I still have my headcanon available to me (the one in which Hedwig and Sirius are still alive ;b). Furthermore,authors often expand their worlds, much like Brandon Sanderson or Tamora Pierce. Writing a book in the same world years later doesn’t preclude that book from forming part of the canon.

      I don’t consider the movies or the video games or any merchandise to be canon. Those are separate creative endeavors and often just licensed to make money or to please fans. They also tend not to be stories. Like Burger King releasing LotR toys that doesn’t mean the characters now canonically look however they were depicted. But if J. K. Rowling’s name is on the cover on the story, she was highly involved in it (even if she didn’t write every word herself), and she approves it and says it’s Harry’s story, as far as I’m concerned, it’s canon. It’s her idea and someone just turned into a drama for her because she’s not accustomed to writing drama. Plus if we’re getting into who wrote what and how, now it’s almost like we have to decide if something an editor put in the original seven books is canon because “Rowling didn’t write it” or come up with it herself.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Emily | RoseRead says:

        Yes, this raises some interesting questions. Like, what’s the difference between interpretaion and headcanon? Is my interpreation of Ron and Hermione’s relationship demoted to headcanon now that Jo disagreed with it publicly? Is authorial intent/interpreation the only right interpreation? If so, then what’s the purpose of interpreting literature? Have I wasted my academic career? *existential crisis*

        Does it maybe also have to do with visibility and memory? Like with the video game Wii Harry Potter Book of Spells, Jo actually wrote stories for that game that you listen to and then learn spells from. But does anyone talk about it or consider it canon? No, because the game was a flop. Her Tweets are seen by millions of people, and maybe that somehow canonizes them more than a game no one remembers? I’ve never heard anyone consider that game into the canon, but she wrote it. I think once time goes by and people forget all about ephemeral Tweets, what will last in literature are the books. Classic authors wrote in letters to people interpreting their work. Does Jane Austen saying in a letter that she supposes Mrs. Bingley’s favorite color is green make it canon? The letter was a private communication, so does it still count? I think ultimately time will tell on the issue.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      That’s interesting. I guess this is one of the few times in history where we live in a world where readers have such direct interaction with authors and authors feel the need to continue commenting on their own work (often after being asked to by fans). I think it’s a bit of weird experience to have the author continuously dropping new facts about the world years after the publication of the book because it’s continuously changing what you think of the book after you thought it was reasonably well-established. I’d still consider the information “canon” according to the definition of the word, though.

      I think The Cursed Child is different from video games story lines that were probably just written for kicks or so the creators could have the marketing benefit of associating Rowling’s name with the game. Rowling was directly involved with TCC and has officially approved it as a sequel to the seven-book series and officially labelled it “Harry Potter #8.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Emily | RoseRead says:

        Yeah, I understand including Cursed Child into the canon; that makes sense to me (even though I’m not personally including it) . What I don’t understand is including all the Tweets and Pottermore and random comments in interviews and such, cause that means she can just Tweet something willy-nilly, like it was all just a dream, and we’d have to accept it. It definitely complicates the reader-author-text relationship.

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        • Krysta says:

          I admit that if she said it was all a dream I would have trouble accepting that as canon. ;b I guess I would argue on an intellectual level that it is, but in my heart, I would deny it. Because if it’s all a dream, that means I can’t attend Hogwarts and that’s not okay. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Lunch-Time Librarian says:

    This is such a great and informative post. In my opinion, everything the author creates is canon regardless of what fans think. The books don’t belong to fans, they belong to the author. These are her characters and she decides. You can’t say something isn’t canon just because you didn’t like it. The fact that, that’s even happening is confusing. What I do understand, is the story FEELING like fanfiction and READING like fanfiction. That being said, there’s lot of AMAZING fanfiction out there that I have sometimes preferred to the books.

    I think all this boils down to, is people being disappointed by the 8th book and wanted to separate it from the rest of the series they love by claiming that it’s fanfiction or not canon. It is neither of those things. It is a book with beloved characters by a beloved author and some people didn’t like it. I don’t understand why it can’t be left at that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I think you got to the heart of the debate. Basically people are saying, “It’s not canon because I don’t like it.” Okay, I didn’t like all the character deaths in Books 1-7, but that doesn’t mean they’re not canon.

      And I think we’re taking “the stories belong to the readers” too far here. Yes, readers have a stake in the stories and they’re free to interpret them differently (I happen to think of Hermione as Black but I’m pretty sure Rowling meant her to be white, but one line about her being more tan than usual doesn’t preclude either of our interpretations in this case). However, feeling personally invested in the story doesn’t mean you can choose what is canon now or form some sort of mob to try to make an author feel sorry for what’s she written.

      Cursed Child isn’t the greatest story ever written. It has flaws and it has loopholes (I’m still wondering how Albus and Scorpius got that blanket.) But other authors have written inferior works and I don’t see anyone claiming those works aren’t canonical.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lost In A Good Book says:

        This whole thing reminds me of the now famous quote by Neil Gaiman. When fans kept harassing George R.R. Martin over the release of his next book Winds of Winter, Gaiman said emphatically to them, “George, is not your bitch!” I understand that people love these books, and feel like they own them, but they don’t. If you don’t like the way the story goes, or how fast it comes out or anything else then go write your own! But otherwise, let an author be. I would hate for public opinion to start influencing how J.K. Rowling (or any other author) writes. She doesn’t need us to tell her how to do her job.

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        • Krysta says:

          Yes, it’s fine to disagree with her interpretation or even to not like what she’s written. And I think the debates cropping up around canonical authenticity and such are fun. But it does seem like some of the more vocal fans are starting to sound almost threatening and that’s not all right. Can you imagine Rowling trying to publish another Potter story if she’s going to receive harassing messages about everything she does?

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    • Emily | RoseRead says:

      Oh no! I hope that people see the “not-canon” side as people with a legitimate argument, and not just in denial because they didn’t like Cursed Child. This debate has been happening long before Cursed Child’s existence was announced, and both sides have very legitimate, intellectual arguments for what they consider canon. It’s slightly belittling to hear that my argument is from pure emotion or mere dislike of Cursed Child. I’ve been on the not-canon side since before I read Cursed Child for intellectual/literary reasons, not because I can’t see past the emotion I feel for Harry Potter. It’s more than just “I didn’t like it, so I won’t accept it.” I’m sure that’s the case for some people, but there are plenty of fans on the not-canon team who are smarter than that.

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      • Krysta says:

        I don’t consider every argument made against CC as emotionally-based. I think you wrote a compelling look at the way technology is changing the way we view canon, author intervention, and fan reaction. But a lot of what I have seen on the Internet in general seems like a mob mentality against Rowling because fans feel what what she gave us didn’t live up to their expectations. Why is Alan Johnson on Hypable (in the comments) saying fans can “push back” against authors and why did Slughorn’s Trophy Wife write that authors “must also reap the consequences if their actions upset their fans.” ? The only consequences fans can give are writing negative reviews or choosing not to support an artistic endeavor with their money. Fans do not own Rowling’s work or world now simply because she chose to share it with us.

        Also, I find the backlash kind of wild because I have not seen these arguments widely used before. Is TCC not canon because it was written later and adds more to the story/changes what we might have imagined would have happened? I guess Sanderson’s second Mistborn series isn’t canon and I guess all of the Tortall books after Alanna’s aren’t really canon. After all, we see Alanna now married and making appearance in later books–but maybe we didn’t think she’d be doing what Pierce depicts her as doing!

        And I disagree that Rowling “didn’t write” TCC and so it isn’t canon. If it’s “based on a story” by her, that suggests to me that she wrote the plot, including that Time Turner everyone hates and Voldemort’s heir. Presumably the other authors simply dramatized the work because Rowling’s never written drama before. And presumably they asked her if it was all right before they published it. It isn’t like Thorne and Tiffany randomly wrote fan fiction and slapped Rowling’s name on it without her knowing anything about what was happening. I seriously doubt they’d make up an heir for Voldemort and publish it against J. K. Rowling’s will.

        Of course, we’re getting into shady area about what counts as a person writing. Should we toss Shakespeare because most of his work was collaborative? This idea of the author having to be the lone genius doing everything by him or herself for it to count or be valid is pretty new. It seems like Rowling is now suffering because of a modern bias against collaboration.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. DoingDewey says:

    Logically, I don’t know that I disagree with you, but in my heart, only the original seven books will ever be canon. I have very little interest in engaging with anything new in the Harry Potter world since then because I prefer to preserve fond childhood memories of the original series. Legally, of course Rowling owns the creative rights and can do whatever she wants, but personally, I wish she’d move on and leave a good thing alone.

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    • Krysta says:

      Most of her work seems to have been her publishing her writer’s notes on Pottermore, which I think is really interesting and especially for scholars. I think that most of what she does after this will be along those lines (like with the new e-books announced) as she gets so much criticism for everything she tries to do. I have to say, though, Fantastic Beasts looks like it’s going to be pretty great–so I’m glad she hasn’t stopped with the HP universe quite yet!

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  7. luvtoread says:

    Interesting debate here. Even though I didn’t care for Cursed Child, I do feel that it is canon. Even if parts of it just don’t make sense and the characters don’t seem to be themselves.
    If JK Rowling said it, then it is. I may not like it, but it is not up to me!
    Now, in my own head, I’m only truly considering the original 7 books, as those 7 are the ones that will last and stand the test of time. Those are the ones I will re-read. I won’t look at her tweets, or her writings on Pottermore, and I probably won’t re-read Cursed Child. Not because I don’t believe them, but because all of that extra stuff just seems like it’s done for profit, and to make sure that the HP name/brand stays in the conversation. So it seems a bit false and like someone trying to stay in the spotlight.
    Cursed Child just doesn’t have that same level of detail and originality to it. But it is also hard to judge something without having seen it as it was intended. I haven’t seen the play, and think that if I had seen it, I would be kinder towards it, as the magic and the effects and atmosphere would’ve perhaps “covered up” the lacking plot points.

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    • Krysta says:

      I always thought Rowling released more stuff because her fans were clamoring for it and she was trying to oblige. She certainly doesn’t need the money and she seems to donate most of what she earns to charity. I also don’t see how she’s really making money off Pottemore, which sells ebooks, I think, but I don’t think that’s why people go there. And people would continue to buy HP even without it, especially since the publishers are remarketing it with different covers, we’re getting a Fantastic Beasts trilogy, etc. Really, when I look at what Rowling’s been doing, it all seems to try to please the fans. She said after HP she was done, but the fans didn’t want her to be done.

      I don’t think we can judge the level of detail of play just by reading the script, so I’m going to have to plead ignorance on that one. But I’m sure there’s a lot going on visually with lighting, costuming, scenery, facial expressions, etc. that would certainly add to the complexity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • luvtoread says:

        Yes, I believe that seeing the play would be a far different experience than just reading the script. Maybe one day it will travel around and I’ll be able to see it! But I don’t know if I’ll race out and buy tickets if it heads my direction. I’m just kind of meh about it now. If I hadn’t already read the script I’d be far more excited to see the play live.
        Fantastic Beasts doesn’t look all that interesting to me, so I may skip that movie.
        Just because fans want something, doesn’t mean it’s good for them to get it! I also wonder exactly how much say JK Rowling had in the script. It was based on a story of hers, but I feel that if she were to write a full-length book with that same plot, it would be far different (more complex, better characterization, plots that make sense) than what was in the script. I don’t think anyone can say that the script was 100% the best it could have been. There is always room for improvement in everything! And again, seeing something live is bound to be different than just reading the script without the scenery, effects, acting, etc. It may be that the script by itself is not that good, but combined with everything else it shows better than it reads.
        And again, even though I may not like it (and I don’t), that doesn’t mean that I don’t think it is canon.

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        • Krysta says:

          Maybe I’m an outlier on this because I never though the original seven books were more remarkable than most other MG and YA fantasies. I like the world of HP, but I always thought the characterization was a little weak and there are parts of the original books that are just as convenient/difficult for me to accept. Like it’s just really amazing how Harry is naturally good at quidditch, gets special permission to have a broom, and gets the best on the market. Highly convenient Hermione can brew Polyjuice Potion at age 12. Remarkable government officials decided it was totally safe to give a Time Turner to a thirteen-year-old. Maybe Cursed Child’s plot doesn’t make 100% sense (I really have trouble believing Cedric went to the dark side over being humiliated at the Triwizard Tournament, for example, and I find it hard to believe Hermione would ever join the dark side–or that they would accept a Muggle-born), but the original books have their flaws, too.

          Liked by 1 person

          • luvtoread says:

            Oh absolutely the original books have flaws. But, there is a certain magic to HP that I haven’t found in any other MG or YA fantasy series. Even though the books are geared towards a younger audience, I never felt that as an adult reading them, that they were too young for me. Perhaps I fell in love with the world and ignored all the little issues. But I’ve re-read the series about 4 or 5 times now, and it stands up to re-reads and I do love the characters of Ron, Hermione, Snape, & Luna. Harry not so much. He’s kinda bland, but I rarely ever gravitate towards a main character. I almost always prefer the supporting characters.

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            • Krysta says:

              Yes, I think the mark of a good story is that you can enjoy it at any age! HP holds up pretty well in that regard. 🙂

              I’ve never been too attached to Harry, either, but the books are full of so many great characters that that never bothered me.

              Liked by 1 person

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