Despite Rowling’s pleas for fans not to argue over the tweet (which was about as ambitious as a Muggle trying to cast a spell, really), battle lines were drawn almost immediately.
On one side were those Potterheads who have forgiven the notoriously unpleasant Potions Master thanks to his posthumously revealed acts of heroism, and on the other were those who still can’t look past what a jerk he was to Harry and his classmates.
To be honest, I’ve never really understood why the issue of Snape’s redemption always seems to become such a talking point, let alone such a huge bone of contention. To me, not only is Snape one of the most fascinating characters in the Harry Potter series, he’s also – glaring personality flaws included – one of the most heroic.
When the Harry Potter film franchise ended with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows back in 2011, a lot of fans still weren’t quite ready to say goodbye. Although many had already bid the Boy Who Lived farewell once before in the pages of the final novel of the series, it seemed that their appetite for further escapades set in the Wizarding World was far from satisfied.
In the years since then, creator JK Rowling has released a few tiny morsels that served to only feed this hunger – a tantalising opening chapter for a non-existent prequel novel and The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a collection of related fairy tales, both came out in 2009 – but it wasn’t until this year that Potterheads hanging out for a new, fully-fledged adventure were properly rewarded.
The first of these was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the two-part stage show epic that continued (and concluded?) Harry’s story. The second of these was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first film in a new spin-off franchise, which – despite being set 70 years in the series’ past – looks set to ensure the future popularity of the franchise.
That was the key takeaway imparted by Harry Potter creator JK Rowling to those of us lucky enough to attend the preview sessions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the new stage play that continues the story of everyone’s favourite boy wizard.
With that in mind, I’ve held off on posting an in-depth review of Cursed Child until after the official release of the play’s script this week, in order to give fans the chance to experience the story – and its many surprises – for themselves first.
But now I think it’s well and truly safe to deliver a verdict, and I’m happy to say that (overlooking a few quibbles) Cursed Child is, well, pure magic.
It’s fair to say that the excitement generated by Warner Bros Studio’s announcement that it would be continuing the Harry Potter film franchise – with JK Rowling on scriptwriting duties no less – was quickly replaced with bewilderment once it was confirmed that these new films would be based off flimsy tie-in novel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Since then, the signing of Eddie Redmayne as lead Newt Scamander and glimpses of never-before-seen magical New York have slowly brought fans on board with this undoubtedly left field choice.
Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that those longing to see a sequel to the series will get their wish with the upcoming West End show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which will surely make the leap to the silver screen in the near future.
Still, one wonders what other tales of the Wizarding World might make it to the big and small screens between now and then, given the richness of the fictional universe Rowling has created – not to mention the willingness of Warner Bros to green light anything related to The Boy Who Lived quicker than you can say,“Accio cash!”.
So despite most wizards and witches looking down at the admittedly-spotty art of Divination, let’s make like Professor Trelawney and see if we can’t forecast five more potential Harry Potter spin-offs headed our way!