Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Easy Target for Critics; So What?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Easy Target for Critics; So What?

Article excerpt

Byline: Sally Allen


Authors: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

Data: Arthur A. Levine Books, 320 pages, $29.99

Predictably, the release of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," the rehearsal script for the play of the same name currently running in London, generated passionate fervor not seen since, well, the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" nine years ago. Midnight release parties, fans decked out in fancy dress, sorting games and 2.5 million copies sold in the first day.

And yet ... in our age of disposability, the rosy glow wears off ever more quickly. Collectively speaking, we're like a cat that meows persistently at a closed door. You know that cat, right? You rush to open the door only to have the cat stand in exactly the same spot, staring at you like it had nothing to do with your decision to open that door.

Weeks after the script release, resentful criticism keeps pace with the rising sales figures. The plot is clumsy and unbelievable. The time travel doesn't work at all. Why did Rowling collaborate with lesser mortals? The characters are stilted. The dialogue is terrible. What has Rowling wrought? Commence hand-wringing and garment-rending.

My personal favorite critique (by which I mean the critique that causes steam to issue from my face) demands that Rowling cease and desist writing. One hyperbolic piece was laced with the suggestion that it may be time Rowling went on to what Albus Dumbledore called the "next great adventure," which would be death, if we're being literal with our interpretation.

I hate to point out the obvious, but did you know? It's actually entirely possible to choose not to read Harry Potter. Or anything Harry Potter related. In the case of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," the script sold upwards of 2 million copies in the first day because of passionate audiences who do want more. They filled independent bookshops and their Instagram feeds with their enthusiasm and passion for Rowling's characters and their stories.

I can understand what has critics riled up. …

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