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Is J.K. Rowling chasing pavements with The Cursed Child spoilers?

April 23, 2016

A 90-second new clip has been released online today, with footage from inside Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s rehearsals, revealing the cast working and also J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany talking about the play. 

This new video not only shows some moments from the play rehearsals – where we see Ron and Hermione, for example – but also J.K. Rowling talking to the director and writer. In that moment, Rowling gives a message about how she would like the spoiler issue to be handled by those who watch the play.

Rowling asks fans to avoid sharing what happens in the play. Nevertheless, she believes that this won’t happen because the people in the Harry Potter fandom care for each other.

One of the things that I’ve valued most about the Potter fandom is that as a community they have really looked after each other. People have each other’s backs, it’s a special thing. It’s for that reason more than any other I would like us if we can to manage to keep our secrets. This will be such an incredible theatrical experience that I would love us to be able to surprise people and move people in a natural way that a story should surprise and move people.

Sorry Jo, but if you were so worried about the spoilers, a theater play is not the best format to show a story. Not only is it impossible to avoid spoilers from the play to surface online, but also it is a little innocent to believe that the fandom will not share the contents of it.

First of all,  why shouldn’t the fans who were lucky to watch the play discuss it online? If they do want to comment and share, how can you prevent the snowball effect? People that are not part of the fandom and who do not care about the play may start sharing it everywhere, just for the sake of it. And, let’s not forget about the media and news websites that will be trying to pick up as much information as they can. Secondly, why is it the Harry Potter fandom special? Fandoms are made of people – good and bad, and this one is just like any other fandom. Even so, the fandom is not a Secret Keeper of what happens in the play, so it is out of reach to control who leaks and who doesn’t not.

It’s true: the script will be released to the world on July 31st, 2016 – but that’s almost two months after the first performances of The Cursed Child. In the Internet era, two months is a lot of time, more than enough to spoil everything. But even if it is somehow possible to avoid leaks to that date – what happens with the people who have tickets to later dates? Should we wait until the person with the last ticket sees it?

The problem is that spoilers do not care – and Rowling is giving them too much importance. She said in the past that the theater format gives the possibility of telling the story in a different way, and that is why The Cursed Child is exciting. The plot, though important, should not be the main characteristic of this product. The whole experience is what matters.

Just like The Lion King, which we all know how it ends but it is still one of the most important shows in the West End, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child should run the same course. The most likely scenario is that they won’t be able to spoiler proof the play, but in spite of that, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child should surprise you, thrill you, make you think, even if you know the story by heart. Because the spoilers should not matter. And that is why J.K. Rowling is chasing pavements.

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