It was marketed as the "eighth story" of Harry Potter, taking place after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
J. K. Rowling, prior to the books' release and the official play's opening night, wanted the plot of the play to remain a secret for as long as possible. Following the opening night of the first preview of the play, she started a #KeepTheSecrets campaign.
The script book was released on 31 July 2016, the day of the opening night following the previews. Many bookstores around the world hosted midnight release parties. The Definitive Edition of the script was released on 25 July 2017.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
The play begins on Platform 9 3/4 and picks up from where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows left off, with a few modifications. Albus Potter and Rose Granger-Weasley say goodbye to their parents and board the train. Harry Potter, Ginevra Weasley, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger wonder whether their children will be okay. Ron remembers his time at Hogwarts.
Albus and Rose wander around the train looking for a compartment to sit in. Rose reminds Albus that their parents met on the train, so decides that finding the right compartment to sit in is very important as they too could meet their lifelong friends here. They open the door to one compartment and find Scorpius Malfoy sitting there. They shyly introduce themselves and Scorpius makes a joke about their parents rivalry. Albus and Scorpius get along very well, but Rose leaves to look for another compartment because she thinks that Scorpius is nothing but trouble. Albus stays and the two become friends, sharing stories and sweets on the journey to Hogwarts.
When the train reaches Hogwarts, the students attend the Sorting ceremony. The Sorting Hat places Rose in Gryffindor, and both Scorpius and Albus in Slytherin. Albus sits next to Scorpius at their table. Unfortunately, Albus is mocked by the other students for being a Potter in Slytherin as every Potter had been placed in Gryffindor. He does not have a natural gift for magic and struggles at his first flying lesson, where the other children call him the "Slytherin Squib."
The following three years of school are tough for Albus and he begins to feel like he has to isolate himself from his father since being a Potter is the reason why great things are being expected from him. Rose has a better time at Hogwarts, becoming very popular and a Chaser for the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
When Albus tells Harry he wants to be alone on the platform before he goes to school in his third year for that reason, Harry is hurt by this and thinks Scorpius is the reason why, requesting Albus to sever his friendship with him. He refuses. After Albus leaves, Draco Malfoy goes up to Harry and asks him for his help in ending a rumour that he and Astoria couldn't conceive a child and used a time-turner to go back in time to conceive one with Voldemort instead. Harry says he cannot do that and they part ways.
The next summer, Harry Potter retrieves a time-turner with the help of the Ministry of Magic created by Theodore Nott. Hermione visits him as she is now Minister for Magic to ask Harry to complete the paperwork he is yet to do and to start work on the other tasks he was given. Harry reminds her that he has lots of work he will get round to in his own time and that he did very recently find a dangerous new object. Hermione and Harry agree the time-turner must be destroyed. They put it away. When Albus finds Scorpius, it is evident that Scorpius did not have a good summer. Scorpius tells him about the death of his mother that summer and asks him to attend the funeral, which Albus agrees to.
A year later, Amos Diggory turns up at Harry's home and asks him to use the time-turner to go back in time and save Cedric Diggory. Amos went round to the house from his care home when Harry kept rescheduling the meeting Amos kept arranging. Harry refuses since saying he cannot meddle with time. Meanwhile, Albus is secretly listening to the conversation until he notices a girl who goes up to him. She says her name is Delphi and claims to be the niece and carer of Amos. She apologises for her uncle who calls Harry cold before he shouts for Delphi to help him return home.
The day before the children return to school, Harry goes to speak to Albus alone in the hope of trying to get him to see the light and change his behaviour. He gives Albus the blanket Harry was wrapped in when he was brought to the Dursleys. Harry had found it when Petunia Dursley died some time before. Albus does not take to the gift too kindly (he throws it across the room) and tries to make his father understand how he feels at school. However, it leads to Albus saying that he sometimes wishes he wasn't Harry's son since the family name has not been helping him at school. Harry then says he sometimes wishes Albus wasn't his son either leading to Albus becoming very hurt. Harry regretted saying it but the damage was done.
He speaks with Ginny about it while they are going to bed. Ginny says it will be okay but Harry can't forgive himself. Harry has a nightmare that evening and his scar starts to hurt for the first time in years. The next day, Albus is still very hurt by it as he gets in the train for his fourth year at Hogwarts. He is thinking about getting the time-turner and returning to the past to save Cedric. Rose tries to befriend him again since they had grown apart since they started Hogwarts, only she admits her parents asked her to which makes Albus want nothing to do with her. However, Rose does confirm the existence of the time-turner.
When Albus finds Scorpius, he tells him what his father said along with what Amos wanted. They decide to leave the train and find the time-turner instead of going to Hogwarts. They try to find a way to get off the train except they struggle and decide to try jumping from the roof. However, they are apprehended by the elderly lady who brings around the Honeydukes Express, who tells them the train does not like it when students try to leave it before it reaches Hogwarts. Her hands turn into claws and it scares the kids get back in the train. However, they later do find a way to leave it.
They go to the care home where Amos lives and find Delphi. They tell Amos of their plan and he eventually agrees to it. With Delphi's help, they use Polyjuice Potion to look like Harry (Scorpius), Ron (Albus) and Hermione (Delphi) and go to the Ministry of Magic to find the time-turner. They know it is in Hermione's office. However, while they try to get it, Hermione returns. Ron/Albus goes outside and tries to stall Hermione, suggesting they either have another child or go on holiday. Hermione finds Ron annoying although he stalls her long enough for the others to find the time-turner and they leave.
Meanwhile, Hermione holds a meeting about the nightmares Harry has started to have along with his scar hurting. However, no one thinks it is a threat. They then learn about their children being missing since they did not return to Hogwarts. Ginny thinks Albus ran away because of what Harry said to him. Draco Malfoy then turns up at their house since his son is missing too and has a go at Harry. He believes Harry is responsible after what he said to Albus. They decide to end their feud for the moment to find their children.
Albus says they need to stop Cedric winning the Triwizard Tournament to save him. They decide Delphi needs to stay behind as her age may make her look strange, since she is too old to be attending Hogwarts. They go back to the first task and disarm Cedric so he fails to get the golden egg. However, Scorpius then notices the time-turner shaking and knows something is wrong. They then return to the present with Albus ending up injured.
Meanwhile, Harry has a dream which reveals Albus and Scorpius are in the Forbidden Forest. As he, Ron and Ginny search, they meet the centaur Bane who tells them that a "dark cloud" haunts Albus. They find the children in the forest after they return from the past and Albus is brought to the Hogwarts hospital wing. While Albus sleeps, Harry talks to the portrait of Albus Dumbledore in the Headmaster's office, who tells him to see Albus for who he is. He believes Harry has put unfairly high expectations upon Albus.
When Albus comes round, he finds he has created an alternate timeline. He is now in Gryffindor and Ron and Hermione never got together so Rose no longer exists. He also finds out Cedric still died. Harry once again asks Albus to end his friendship with Scorpius.
When Albus returns to school life as a Gryffindor, he starts to avoid Scorpius. They find Hermione is now the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and consider her mean. Delphi then turns up at Hogwarts and gets Albus and Scorpius to reconcile. They then decide they have to put their mistake right and decide to travel to the second task in the hope making him lose more points will properly save him.
It does, only Scorpius is alone when he returns to the present. They have changed the entire future so that Harry died at the Battle of Hogwarts instead. This means Albus no longer exists. Voldemort won and Hogwarts now teaches Dark magic. Professor Umbridge returns as Headmistress of Hogwarts and tells Scorpius he is acting strange when he questions her about Harry Potter.
Professor Umbridge wonders why Scorpius is still acting different. She tells him that it is Voldemort Day and that he is a model pure-blooded student. When they part ways, she says "For Voldemort and Valour" while putting her hand on her heart and her wrists together. Scorpius finds he is a very popular student at Hogwarts and everyone wants to do his homework for him. He is known as "the Scorpion King" and the girls hope they will get to be his date to the Blood Ball.
Scorpius decides he has to change time again. He visits his father who is now the Head of Magical Law Enforcement. He is no help so he finds Professor Snape who is still alive and teaching at Hogwarts even though he is still secretly a member of what remains of Dumbledore's Army. They go to the headquarters and find Ron and Hermione who have been in hiding for several years. They are surprised to hear they are together in the original timeline.
Snape tells Scorpius they have to go back in time and stop his other self intervening with a Shield Charm. However, when they return from fixing the First Task, Hermione, Ron, and Snape get attacked by Dementors; the three sacrifice themselves to hold off the Dementors so that Scorpius can stop his past self at the Second Task. As Scorpius leaves, Snape tells Scorpius to tell Albus he is proud that he has his name and uses his Patronus to guide Scorpius safely to the lake.
The plan works and the original timeline returns. Professor McGonagall is very upset with them and the world they had created. Their parents aren't quite as angry and McGonagall reminds them of the great danger the children created. Harry later visits Albus in his dormitory and they begin to reconcile.
Scorpius wakes Albus up in the middle of the night and shows him the time-turner and suggests that they destroy it. It is revealed that he lied to everyone, saying that they lost the time-turner at the bottom of the Black Lake. They go to the Owlery, where they had agreed to meet Delphi. She agrees to help destroy it until she reveals her Augurey tattoo. Scorpius remembers the right hand witch of Voldemort had this sign in the second alternate timeline and finds it strange when Delphi says her guardian was Euphemia Rowle, since the Rowles were known Death Eaters.
Delphi then reveals her true self. She does not wish to destroy the time-turner. Her plan is to travel to the past and stop Voldemort from ever dying. She wants to create a Dark age. She breaks their wands and kills a prefect named Craig who was sent to look for them. Delphi then makes Albus and Scorpius travel in time with her to the third task.
Albus and Scorpius remember the time-turner only keeps them in the past for five minutes. They try to stall her and end up meeting Cedric Diggory. Cedric helps Albus and Scorpius get the time-turner back, believing it to be an obstacle for the tournament. When he leaves, Albus and Scorpius tell him that his father loves him. When he is gone, Delphi manages to get the time-turner back. Delphi then decides to go back in time further and once she gets there, she destroys the time-turner and she leaves Albus and Scorpius to go on alone.
Harry, Ginny and Draco find out their children have gone missing again and that they were last sighted with Delphi. They also find out Amos sent the children owls and go to talk to him. Amos denies sending the owls although when they mention his niece, Delphi, Amos says he really does not have a niece. They go through Delphi's room and find out she believes she is the daughter of Voldemort. However, since they don't know where the children went, they can only wait until they find more clues.
Albus and Scorpius find out they have travelled to 30 October 1981 - the day before James and Lily Potter were murdered. They think Delphi wants to kill Harry herself so the spell doesn't rebound on Voldemort. They go to Godric's Hollow and find James, Lily and Harry. They decide they need to tell everyone in the future what is happening and use Harry's blanket to write a message
It works and Harry and Ginny decipher the message, gather Hermione, Ron and Draco and try to find a way to help. Draco tells them his parents have a secret time-turner far more advanced than the prototype their children had.
They go back in time and find their children. Ginny realises Delphi only means to stop Voldemort going into the house and killing the Potters, so the downfall never happens. She thinks Delphi believes Voldemort could love her so they decide to make Harry look like Voldemort and apprehend her the next day.
It works for a moment. Delphi pleads with Voldemort/Harry to accept her, revealing she is the daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange born at Malfoy Manor before the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry pretends to accept her although the spell making him look like Voldemort fades and she gets upset. Delphi and Harry duel until his friends and Albus help him. Delphi is stopped and says she only wanted to know her father. Harry tells her he understands how it feels to have no parents but they cannot change the past.
The real Voldemort then arrives to kill the Potters and Delphi tries to call him. Hermione and Draco stop her. Harry decides to stay and watch his parents die in the hope it will bring closure and Albus stays with him. Hagrid then appears to pick up Harry as a baby to go to the Dursleys. They return to the present, where Delphi is sent to Azkaban.
Albus and Scorpius return to Hogwarts where Rose now is too. Scorpius asks Rose out and while she turns him down, she allows him to kiss her on the cheek. Albus and Harry then visit Cedric's grave which Harry visits every year to say sorry, where they finally repair their broken relationship.
Behind the scenes
- When the announcement came that the play was to be made into a script book, it was wrongly stated to be the "eighth Harry Potter novel by Rowling", even though it would only be a copy of the play's script. It was written by Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany, rather than Rowling solely by herself.
- As stated by Rowling, the story is part of the canon universe. However, many have chosen not to consider it as such, stating that the play contained too much departure from facts that were well-established in the original books along with past information from Rowling herself. Dissatisfied fans and even some critics stated that while Cursed Child brings forth a sense of nostalgia, the overall quality of the plot was weak when compared to the original books and many have likened the play to amateur fanfiction.
- A major criticism that many fans vocalise about the story is its rampant use of time travel, expressing concerns regarding the fact that time travel in Cursed Child operates differently than time travel does in Prisoner of Azkaban. That said, in Prisoner of Azkaban, there is no attempt to change the timeline, whereas in Cursed Child, there are multiple attempts to do so.
- In Prisoner of Azkaban, the Time-Turners were destroyed during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, and yet in the Cursed Child story, there are two Time-Turners. This apparent contradiction is addressed by the two Time-Turners being unauthorised devices which were made by someone outside of the Ministry of Magic, and operating differently from the ones which were destroyed.
- The characters in the alternate reality apparently act in ways they never would in the original timeline, which confused fans. For instance, in one alternate timeline, Cedric Diggory becomes a Death Eater after losing the Tri-Wizard Tournament, which in the original timeline Cedric would never do such. This apparent contradiction is addressed by major changes in the plots of the alternate timeline.
- Before release, the play was frequently referred to by the press as "a prequel" even though, as it later transpired, most of the events of the play take place twenty-two years after the Battle of Hogwarts.
- A lot of people thought Rowling wrote this play alone, but the play was a joint collaboration by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany, and Rowling.
Notes and references
- J. K. Rowling on Twitter: "The script will be in book form, true, but it's still #NotAPrequel because it's set #19YearsLater"
- J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) on Twitter: "The story of #CursedChild should be considered canon, though. @jackthorne, John Tiffany (the director) and I developed it together."
- Hoffelder, Nate (31 July 2016). "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Disappoints Fans".
- Renfro, Kim (6.10.16). "There's a Big Plot Hole in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child".
- Chaudhary, Srishti (August 13 2016). "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is anything but Magic".
- Ohlheiser, Abby (August 22 2016). "J.K Rowling, Author of the Harry Potter Books, is no longer it's God".
- Rosenburg, Alyssa (August 9 2016). "The Missing Ingredient in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is Good Writing".
- J. K. Rowling on Twitter: "So now you know it really isn't a prequel: Harry Potter & the #CursedChild starts #19yearslater! Go to @HPPlayLDN for more information"
|J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series|
|Philosopher's Stone||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Chamber of Secrets||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Prisoner of Azkaban||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Goblet of Fire||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Order of the Phoenix||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Half-Blood Prince||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Deathly Hallows||book||film 1||game 1||film soundtrack 1||game soundtrack 1|
|film 2||game 2||film soundtrack 2||game soundtrack 2|
|Fantastic Beasts film series|
|Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||book||screenplay||film||soundtrack||game|
|The Crimes of Grindelwald||screenplay||film||soundtrack|
|The Secrets of Dumbledore||screenplay||film||soundtrack|
|Fantastic Beasts 4||film|
|Fantastic Beasts 5||film|