‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘ is very different from the Harry Potter book series, especially because it takes place 19 years after the events of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.’ In this play, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and even Draco are all grown up and leading an adult life filled with responsibility. However, they encounter many difficulties and problems and are still in the process of getting adjusted to adulthood.
Harry has constant problems bonding with his younger son Albus and feels very confused and aimless when he tries to make an effort to understand him. Furthermore, even Albus and Scorpius themselves undergo a lot of experiences that teach them essential life lessons about how to deal with different aspects of life. There are several major themes in the story ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘ that make it an interesting story that delves deeper into the effects of the past on the present-day world. Since the plot consists of time travel, there are a lot of connections between the past and the present, even literally.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Themes
Parenthood is probably the most essential theme in all of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.’ Since the entirety of the Harry Potter series dealt with Harry being an orphan since Voldemort killed his parents, it comes as a very strange but inevitable truth that Harry faces some challenges catering to his son Albus’s needs. While even Ginny, Hermione, Ron, and Draco have important roles in this play and have children themselves, the major element of parenthood and its challenges are portrayed through the relationship between Harry and his son Albus.
In the beginning, when Albus is about to join Hogwarts, as is seen in the epilogue of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,’ Harry is every bit the assuring father to Albus, telling him how it is alright for him to get sorted into the Slytherin house. However, as time passes by, a lot of unforeseen elements enter the frame.
Firstly, it is the legacy and reputation of Harry, something that burdens the young Albus more deeply with every passing moment. ‘The Boy Who Lived,’ ‘The Chosen One,’ and ‘The Boy who Vanquished the Dark Lord’ are really very powerful titles to live up to. While Harry might have somehow managed to be worthy of all these titles more because he had to than he wanted to, it is not at all fair to expect or impose similar actions from Albus just because he is Harry’s son. However, society works very differently, and eventually, Albus found it very difficult to live up to Harry’s reputation. Harry wanted to help him out with this but eventually ended up finding it very difficult to open up to his son and let him know that he accepts him for who he is.
However, in the end, they eventually figure out how to get past this confusion and end up bonding as true father-son bonding would be.
‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘ is a lot more about legacy and the past than it is about its own time. The entire plot of the play is heavily influenced by what happened in the past, and the sole fuel of most of the characters’ actions comes from events like Cedric Diggory’s death and the defeat of Lord Voldemort.
‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘ begins with the reader realizing that all of Harry and Ginny’s children are given names of people Harry loved, cared about, and respected. This, in itself, speaks of a legacy being upheld by Harry’s children’s names. His younger son, Albus Severus Potter, besides being the son of Harry, which in itself is a massive legacy, is named after Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape, two of the major game-changers that were crucial in defeating Lord Voldemort.
Analysis of Key Moments in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny drop their children aboard the Hogwarts Express. It is found out that Harry is the Head of Magical Law Enforcement in the Ministry, Hermione is the Minister of Magic, Ginny is the editor of the Sports Section in The Daily Prophet, and Ron runs the Weasley Wizard Wheezes with George.
- Albus Severus Potter, the younger son of Harry, becomes friends with Scorpius Malfoy, much to the dismay of Rose Granger-Weasley, who warns him about the rumor that Scorpius could be Voldemort’s son. Albus and Scorpius are both sorted into Slytherin.
- As a few years pass, the distance between Harry and Albus increases. Albus finds it very difficult to live under the shadow of his famous father. Meanwhile, Astoria, Scorpius’s mother, dies.
- Harry confiscates a powerful Time Turner from Theodore Nott, a Death Eater, and his scar starts hurting around the same time. Furthermore, Amos Diggory pays a visit to Harry, asking to use the Time Turner to go back in time to prevent his son Cedric from getting killed. Albus meets Delphi Diggory, who introduces herself as Amos’s niece.
- Albus and Scorpius escape from the moving Hogwarts Express and then take Delphi with them to the Ministry of Magic and steal the Time-Turner from Hermione’s office.
- Albus, Scorpius, and Delphi go back in time to the first task of the Triwizard Tournament to stop Cedric from participating in it. However, when they come back to the present, they realize they have changed a lot of things unintentionally, including Ron being married to Padma Patil and Albus being sorted into Gryffindor. Harry is furious with Albus and decides to make him cut ties with Scorpius forcibly.
- Albus and Scorpius again travel back in time, only this time, Albus himself is missing in the present, and Scorpius comes across a world ruled by the Augurey in which Harry Potter was killed by Voldemort and Hogwarts has Dolores Umbridge as its Headmistress. Furthermore, Scorpius also comes across Severus Snape, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley, who are the final line of rebels fighting against Voldemort’s rule.
- Scorpius, Hermione, Snape, and Ron go back in time, prevent Albus’s spell on Cedric and come back to the present, but are attacked by Dementors. Scorpius escapes into the present day, but they are all killed.
- Scorpius and Albus realize the dangers of the Time Turner and decide to destroy it. However, they are stopped by Delphi, who eventually reveals her true identity as that of Delphini, the daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange. She forces them to travel back in time with her and eventually goes back in time to the day Harry’s parents were killed by Voldemort.
- Albus sends a message through time to Harry through the blanket he gave to him, and Harry gathers Ginny and his friends Ron, Hermione, and Draco, and they together come back in time to the same moment.
- Harry disguises himself as Voldemort and stalls Delphi, but she eventually realizes it is Harry in disguise. She fights back but is soon overpowered by Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Draco. The real Voldemort eventually comes to Godric’s Hollow and kills Harry’s parents, as had happened in history, while everybody listens from a distance.
Writing Style and Tone
The writing style of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘ is significantly different from the Harry Potter book series. Firstly, since it is a play and not a novel, ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘ is very different in its form of storytelling. It depends on the narrator a lot less than it does on its very own characters to speak their mind. Secondly, it was a collaboration between Jack Thorne, J. K. Rowling, and John Tiffany, so there is a noticeable change in the way this play is written compared to the Harry Potter books.
Lastly, ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘ was written in 2016, nine years after ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows‘ was published, but from the perspective of the plot, the events of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘ occur 19 years after the events of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows‘ and therefore, it is very different in tone. The characters Albus and Scorpius converse very different in tone than the trio from the Harry Potter books – Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
Analysis of the Key Symbol in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
The Time-Turner is certainly the most important symbol in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.’ It is a very strong metaphor for the entire play as not only do the characters go back in time to ‘repair’ their past, but they are also directly dealing with their present by involving their past way more than is necessary. The biggest lesson that Harry, Albus, and many others eventually learn in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘ is that it doesn’t help
to live in the past. While it is necessary to dwell on it and even remember it at times, the past is behind us, and it is the present that really matters. The Time-Turner does a great job as a symbol in illustrating this fact, as every change, the characters make to their past ends up hurting the present a lot more than repairing it.
What happens to Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
Hermione Granger becomes the Minister of Magic and is very active as the minister in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.’ Furthermore, she is married to Ron Weasley and has two children with him named Rose Granger-Weasley and Hugo Granger-Weasley. She is crucial in helping Harry and Draco get their sons back from the past and in fighting Delphini Diggory, the antagonist of the play, who happens to be the daughter of Voldemort. Hermione is also seen in three other alternate realities in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘ where she is unmarried and the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts, one where she is a rebel fighting against the Augurey, and one where she is a teenager during the Triwizard Tournament task.
Why is Snape in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
Severus Snape appears in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘ after Albus and Scorpius try to change their past with a Time-Turner and give rise to an alternate universe where Harry is killed by Voldemort and the Augurey rules the world. Severus Snape is still fighting to overthrow Voldemort’s rule but is still doing it undercover. He works as a teacher at Hogwarts but is secretly helping Hermione and Ron to overthrow the Augurey. After Scorpius tells him about the future that he lives in, Snape gathers the other two, and they together make Albus’s spell from earlier not hit Cedric, thereby restoring the reality that actually existed.
Is Voldemort alive in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
Since ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘ consists of several events that involve time travel, a more apt question would be if Voldemort is alive in any of the realities we encounter in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.’ Voldemort happens to be alive in one of the alternate realities where Scorpius sees his present involves the death of Harry Potter by Voldemort and the world being ruled by the Augurey, who are the followers of Voldemort. In all other realities (including the original one) that Albus and Scorpius travel to, Voldemort is dead in the present day but is alive in the moments from the past that Albus and Scorpius specifically time travel to.