Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has already gained much media attention since its initial announcement in early December 2015. London’s West End Stage play based on an original J.K. Rowling story, co-written by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, instantly found itself in the middle of Twitter controversy after casting Noma Dumezweni as Hermione, a role previously played by Emma Watson in the Harry Potter film franchise.
But almost nine years after the release of Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne gave in to fan cries for a new Harry Potter story. Well, sort of.
On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, news broke that those who couldn’t make it to see the play live in London could rest easy, because they could read every line of the new official script book: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts I & II.
As of February 16, 2016, MediaMiser used its media monitoring software to see how fans and the media received the BIG, almost magical, news.
Well, surprisingly, what would have thought to have been big news has barely sizzled over the weekend. With nearly 3,000 online news articles and 6,500 tweets, it would appear that not everyone is as excited as Rowling, Thorne and Tiffany would have hoped. Again, sort of.
Interestingly, as online news mentions peaked early and then tapered off, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child became quite popular on Twitter—most mentions of the script book being neutral or informational in tone.
Though only 14 per cent of tweets were positive, those who mentioned Harry Potter and the Cursed Child literally could not contain their love and excitement for the “eighth instalment” of the Harry Potter saga, according to our analysis:
MY MOM JUST ORDERED HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD FOR ME HOLY SHDHBJDKDL
— Older Momma Bean (@thugpugs1) February 12, 2016
THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT THE CURSED CHILD ON THE NEWS I FEEL SO ALIVE DPDJDKDKDB
— addilyn (@diagonallen) February 12, 2016
A Twitter user who claimed to be upset about the announcement of a new “Harry Potter book” garnered the most negative attention for the script book (the link to this tweet was also the most shared during the study period):
Me (number 1 fan of the original #HarryPotter franchise) when I found out @jk_rowling is writing an 8th book. pic.twitter.com/qcJYGHOjmT
— Olwethu-Thando Klaas (@Lady_Crunk) February 11, 2016
Further negative mentions came from retweets of a news report stating that Stephen Colbert thought Harry Potter and the Cursed Child seemed depressing.
Stephen Colbert thinks ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ sounds depressing: https://t.co/0XwUq20mp8 pic.twitter.com/iIr4rwDIY5
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) February 12, 2016
But at least we found out the winner in this long-term bet between a student and her former chemistry teacher:
@jk_rowling My chemistry teacher & I have a 2011 bet to settle. With “Cursed Child,” who wins? Only you can decide. pic.twitter.com/2QBzyKRDDa
— τσri (@gillyweedgreen) February 12, 2016
You win! #CursedChild is a play and while we have worked very closely on it, the wonderful writer is @jackthorne https://t.co/MpM5zMoiJN
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) February 12, 2016
The majority of online news uncovered during the study period was neutral and informative, though Naperville readers and booksellers seem to be over the moon about the announcement. This, and articles indicating that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is already slated to be a bestseller, accounted for the two per cent positive coverage observed between February 10 and 16.
Only one per cent of coverage was negative, due to the aforementioned Stephen Colbert article.
Though news of the script book’s release seems to have fallen a little flat in online news and social media, we’re sure that many witches and wizards will be lining up to purchase the book come July, and that online popularity will spike once excerpts and key plot points are revealed.
We’re looking forward to seeing if Harry Potter and his story have aged as well as his legacy has.