Three Sets of Canon – Part 3: Theater Canon

This is the third part in my series about why the Harry Potter universe has three set realities of canon. There is strict book canon, movie canon, and most recently, theater canon. This is, of course, my personal opinion on how I believe canon works. What I am trying to explain is how all the new Harry Potter content fits into existing canon and how each medium has its own brand of canon.

 

Part 3: Theater Canon

 

cursed child

 

Now, whether you loved the script with all your heart, hated it with every fiber of your being, or fell somewhere in between, J.K. Rowling has said this play is, in fact, canon.

 

CursedChild1

 

Like other people, I had some problems with accepting this statement after I finished reading the script. First of all, J.K. Rowling didn’t write it herself, and it has some continuity errors with the books. Cursed Child wasn’t even a book itself, so how could it possibly be book canon? Then I realized, this was meant as a play, not a script. It was published because every fan of Harry Potter couldn’t possibly travel to London; the creators wanted everyone to have access to the new story. The play itself is a whole new medium for Harry Potter, just like the movies were, and should be treated as such. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is definitely canon, but it is its own reality of canon, theater canon. The play has its own rules, tropes, and guidelines, which is just like the other two sets of canon. J.K. Rowling did collaborate with the creators of this play, as well as give her blessing to it, and therefore, it has its own niche in the Harry Potter universe. Would anything else be considered part of this theater canon? No other stage productions would currently be classified as such. Starkid’s A Very Potter musicals are not theater canon, just brilliant parody. But if for some reason in the future, however unlikely, J.K. Rowling approved or even wrote another play in the Harry Potter universe, perhaps about the rest of Albus and Scorpius’s years of Hogwarts, that would be canon. I would also expect it to follow the existing Cursed Child canon established by the play. Some examples of strictly theater canon include:

CURSED CHILD SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

  • The Time-Turner that goes back years in time but only lasts five minutes
  • Lucius Malfoy’s Time-Turner that can go back to anytime for however long the user pleases
  • Albus Severus Potter being in Slytherin
  • The rumor that Scorpius Malfoy is Voldemort’s child
  • Swear words like “Oh, Dumbledore!” or “Potter!”
  • Petunia Dursley being dead
  • Delphi being Voldemort and Bellatrix’s child
  • Delphi existing at all
  • McGonagall still being the Headmistress in 2017
  • Minister of Magic, Hermione Granger
  • Rose’s last name being Granger-Weasley
  • The “Snape Hermione” reality and everything that reality encompassed
  • The “Voldemort and Valor” reality and everything that reality encompassed
  • The Trolley Witch’s backstory
  • Any new bit of information not previously mentioned in book canon, movie canon, and most notably, the epilogue of Deathly Hallows

These things are all canon, but only theater canon. This is how I personally choose to view the canon of the Harry Potter universe, separated by their art mediums. Others may disagree with me, and that’s okay! One of the best parts of any fandom is getting so many different opinions on things, such as canon! In fact, here are two additional articles explaining two more views on how Harry Potter canon works:

“What Is Canon?” It’s All in J.K. Rowling’s Head

“What Is Canon?” The Books or Not the Books? That Is the Question

Also, be sure to check out Parts 1 and 2 where I discuss book and movie canon.