Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has more in common with a family drama than it does the seven previous books in the franchise written by author J.K. Rowling.
That shouldn't be too surprising, though, considering Rowling didn't actually write this story — although she did help with the concept and overarching plot — and Cursed Child focuses on Harry's relationship with his youngest child, Albus Severus.
While the play's writing definitely doesn't feel like a Harry Potter book, there are important characters that make an appearance throughout both parts. The best part about these appearances is how vital each one is to the play's development. It could have been very easy for Rowling and co-authors Jack Thorne and John Tiffany to throw in random names as a way to pander to fans, giving them the little fix they need nearly a decade after the release of the final Harry Potter book, Deathly Hallows.
In Cursed Child, however, there isn't much fan pandering, outside of the almost fan fiction-inspired conversations that take place between Ron and Hermione or Harry and Draco. Every reintroduction of a character or favorite aspect serves a very immediate and apparent purpose, making it that much more enjoyable for fans of the original books.
Within the biggest takeaways we discovered while reading the play's script — being sold in book form around the world — are some intense spoilers for what happens to the Potter clan, and of course, what happens within the confines of the production. For those looking to go into the play completely blind, be warned: this post will be full of spoilers.
Let's revisit Cedric Diggory
In the fourth Harry Potter book, Goblet of Fire, beloved seventh-year student and Hufflepuff head of house Cedric Diggory dies at the hands of Voldemort. It's one of the most traumatic events in Harry's life — who's spared because Diggory is killed — and is a moment the wizarding world's savior returns to time and time again far long after. In Cursed Child, Harry is visited by Amos Diggory, Cedric's father, who begs the now head of Magical Law Enforcement to use a Time Turner and save his son.
While Harry refuses to do so, his youngest son, Albus Severus, overhears the conversation and decides to do what his father will not. It's important to understand that this could only happen because Harry's relationship with Albus is, to be blunt, on the brink of imploding. Albus, the only Potter member to be sorted into Slytherin, despises being the son of the all-great Harry Potter and feels like a misfit within his own home. After overhearing that Cedric died because his father was chosen to live, Albus makes it his duty to go back and save the Hufflepuff superstar.
Scorpius Malfoy may not be a Malfoy
One of the most returned to themes throughout Cursed Child is the idea that Scorpius Malfoy, the sole heir to the Malfoy fortune and son of Draco, isn't actually a Malfoy at all. The theory that some within the wizarding community have propagated is that Draco's wife, Astoria, used her own Time Turner to go back in time and have a child with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, Lord Voldemort. As a result, Scorpius is the son of the Dark Lord, not Draco.
It's pretty hard to believe from the get-go since Scorpius Malfoy is, from a character perspective, the Ron Weasley or Neville Longbottom of Cursed Child. He's a sweet, soft spoken boy who becomes instant best friends with Albus, doing whatever he can to make his friend happy. Together, the two go on a series of adventures. Despite one brief period of forced separation — a momentary lapse in judgment from Harry after he believes Scorpius may be the cause of Albus' depression — they're inseparable.
Oh, right. Turns out, Scorpius is not the son of Lord Voldemort.
Hermione and Ron almost didn't get married — twice
Hermione and Ron's relationship was like the Rachel and Ross of the Harry Potter universe. We all knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of when. In the epilogue that appears at the end of Deathly Hallows, which is where Cursed Child takes much of its inspiration, it's revealed that Ron and Hermione got married and had a daughter together named Rose. In 2014, however, seven years after Deathly Hallows was released, Rowling said she questioned whether Hermione should have gotten together with Ron in the first place.
In Cursed Child, Rowling and Jack Thorne explore what could have been through a couple of alternate reality situations.
Ron and Hermione do make the ideal couple
Albus and Scorpius go back in time multiple times throughout the course of the play to try and fix all of their mistakes they made in regards to Cedric. However, as most Harry Potter readers are aware of, changing what happens in the past will have cataclysmic results for the future. In one of the scenarios, Hermione ends up as a Hogwarts professor, teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts and pining after Ron, who married Padma Patil. In another situation, which is far more apocalyptic, the two don't end up together because it's essentially the end of days and Voldemort reigns supreme.
The realization that Rowling and Thorne come to after exploring different options is that Ron and Hermione do make the ideal couple within the Harry Potter universe and the two remain happily wed, but the circumstances that surround the alternate realities do give an interesting look into the other avenues Rowling could have explored with the characters.
Here's the big one: Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort did have a love child
Alright Harry Potter devotees, one of your biggest questions has been answered. For years, fans have been wondering if the Joker/Harley Quinn-inspired love that Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange had for each other was ever, well, consummated. According to Cursed Child, which has many elements that feel like fan fiction at best, they most certainly did. As a result, the two apparently had a love child that was born within the walls of Malfoy Manor.
In the play, Voldemort's daughter tries to manipulate the kind, sad and naive Albus into completing certain tasks that she believes will fulfill the newest prophecy and bring back her father, the darkest wizard of all time. She's one of the more interesting new villains introduced to the Harry Potter universe through Cursed Child, and while some of her antics are distinctly reminiscent of her mother, there's an aura of evil that surrounds her that recalls her father's most notorious characteristics.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is on stage right now in London's West End, but is scheduled to tour North America next year. The script can be purchased in book form both in stores and digitally right now.