Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling

JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Hmmm, I have been in two minds about whether to read this book or not, and indeed I have left it quite some time after it came out due to my indecision, as I was unsure about how comfortable I would feel reading a Harry tale as a script. I did struggle with it in this script style, mostly because of how rushed the text felt with the need for action in every single scene and the way the scenes swiftly jumped from one to the other, and I missed the detailed descriptions of scenes and the characters’ thoughts and feelings. However, it is the wonderful Harry Potter world which I have sorely missed, so it was lovely to be back there in that world again with this book.

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Hmmm, I have been in two minds about whether to read this book or not, and indeed I have left it quite some time after it came out due to my indecision, as I was unsure about how comfortable I would feel reading a Harry tale as a script. I did struggle with it in this script style, mostly because of how rushed the text felt with the need for action in every single scene and the way the scenes swiftly jumped from one to the other, and I missed the detailed descriptions of scenes and the characters’ thoughts and feelings. However, it is the wonderful Harry Potter world which I have sorely missed, so it was lovely to be back there in that world again with this book. 

James Jnr and Albus and Lily Jnr Potter are at King’s Cross Station with their parents, Harry and Ginny. It is Albus’ first term at Hogwarts and he is apprehensive particularly as James has been teasing him (there are tantalisingly interesting characteristics coming out already, with James as the mischievous one much like his namesake, and Albus the more thoughtful and apprehensive one, and of course Albus’ middle name is Severus so he’s named for two very huge but very different and troubled characters). There is also at the station, Rose Granger-Weasley, also in her first year at Hogwarts, with her parents Hermione and Ron (and interesting point too that it’s not only a double-barrelled surname for Rose but that mum’s surname comes first). Rose seems slightly bossy like her mum. Hermione is Minister for Magic, and Ron runs a joke shop (this seems to be Fred and George’s old joke shop in Diagon Alley). She and Ron seem very similar to their younger selves, gently teasing each other. Harry seems more nurturing than we’ve seen him when he was younger, as he is reassuring Albus. Harry is aged 37 now and works at the Ministry for Magic as Head of Magical Law Enforcement, and Ginny is Sports Editor of the Daily Prophet. Harry tells Albus that the Sorting Hat will take his choice of House into account when deciding which House he goes into. It also seems that Neville is a teacher at Hogwarts. Ginny comments on how people look at Harry and Ron and Hermione (so they are clearly still recognised and famous). And Rose shows she is aware of how this will impact her and Albus, as she tells him that everyone will want to be friends with them and that they must choose friends carefully (so also an interesting characteristic with how confident and powerful she feels she is, and that she can choose and discard friends).

Albus and Rose meet Malfoy’s son, Scorpius, on the train. Scorpius is clearly desperate for friendship and nervous in his eagerness, but is obviously often rejected and is resigned to this and expects rejection, and it’s Albus who takes sympathy on him and refuses to act on others’ prejudices or the history between the families, and to be friends with him. Even Rose leaves rather than share a carriage with Scorpius and to be friends with him (so a bit of a role-reversal here from Harry and Draco’s relationship. And a nice generosity from Albus, it shows he’s a kind empathetic person, it seems more of a Lily Snr characteristic with her befriending Snape, than a James Snr characteristic who always wanted to be seen with the cool kids). Scorpius says his parents are Astoria (who is she, where has she come from?) and Draco. Scorpius says his mum was never a Death Eater though his dad was, and that he’s aware of the rumour that his parents couldn’t have children so Lucius and Draco used a Time-Turner to send Astoria back in time to be impregnated by Voldemort and to provide the family with an heir to the Malfoy line. Scorpius says this is untrue and that he has Draco’s nose and hair, he also refers to father-son issues. Scorpius is clearly very unlike Draco, being unconfident and very studious. Later at school, the Sorting Hat puts Rose into Gryffindor, but puts Albus into Slytherin.

The story then shoots forward a year to Harry and Albus waiting on the platform for the Hogwarts Express again (I can’t help feeling slightly cheated at how much is missed out, just to dispense with a whole year like that). Albus is clearly feeling embarrassed at the attention his father attracts, and how this emphasises the differences between him and his successful father and makes him feel inadequate, with Albus being in Slytherin and not so good on a broomstick and not liking Quidditch or being popular with his classmates. Harry is struggling to communicate with Albus, he keeps encouraging him to open up but is pushed away by Albus, he tries to encourage Albus to make more friends but Albus says he has Scorpius who he knows his father doesn’t like. Rose and Albus aren’t actually friends but just pretend to be so for their parents. Draco asks for Harry’s help, saying the rumours about Scorpius’ parentage aren’t going away, that Scorpius is being relentlessly teased about it and needs support particularly as Astoria isn’t well, and he asks Harry to arrange for the Ministry to release a statement that all the Time-Turners were destroyed. Harry says responding to the rumours will just feed them more and that the Ministry can’t get involved. Later at school, Rose is announced as the newest member of the Quidditch team.

Another year goes by (again, what have we missed of their lives in that year) and Harry, now 40, is still struggling to communicate with Albus while they stand waiting for the Hogwarts Express. He hands Albus the signed permission slip for him to visit Hogsmeade, but Albus destroys the slip saying he doesn’t want to visit Hogsmeade as it’ll be full of Hogwarts students. Harry says Professor McGonagall has told him that Albus is isolating himself, Harry asks Albus how he can help him and Albus suggests Harry uses magic to change him into the son he wants. On the train, Scorpius tells Albus his mum has died, he asks Albus to come to the funeral (grrr, how is this not dealt with in more depth? A child losing their parent is so huge. And I had hoped we’d learn more about Astoria too). It is Lily’s first year at Hogwarts, and to Albus’ and Scorpius’ disappointment she is put into Gryffindor.

At the Ministry, Harry has followed a lead and his team have raided Theodore Nott’s house and found a Time-Turner (hmmm, I have questions about this discovery based on how the story then develops later, but I will list all my questions at the end). Harry and Hermione also discuss reports of Voldemort’s old supporters seeming to be gathering, such as mountain trolls moving through Hungary and Europe on graphorns, and giants moving through Greece via the seas, and werewolves seeming to be hiding resulting in them being lost sight of. They also share the difficulties of combining parenting with work. When Harry is at home, an elderly and wheelchair-bound Amos Diggory comes to the door saying he’s heard that the Ministry have found a Time-Turner and he demands they use it to go back and save Cedric from dying. He blames Harry for Cedric’s death, as he knows Voldemort’s words were ‘kill the spare’ and that Voldemort wanted Harry only, he goads Harry with reminding him of how many people have died for him and accuses him of being a stone-cold Ministry man. Albus is secretly listening to all this. So is Delphi Diggory, who introduces herself to Albus as Amos’ niece and carer at St Oswald’s Home for Old Witches and Wizards in Upper Flagley.

On the final night before the return to Hogwarts, Harry tries again to reach out to Albus, he gives him the blanket he was wrapped in when he was left on the Dursleys’ doorstep, this is very precious to Harry as it’s the only thing from his mum. It was found hidden in Petunia’s things when she died, and Dudley passed it onto Harry (surprising that Petunia kept it, and also a sign that Dudley has mellowed by realising this was precious to Harry and allowing him to have it). Harry tentatively asks Albus if they could be together on Hallows Eve, the night when his parents died. Albus scorns the blanket in order to hurt Harry, and mocks his tales of being a poor orphan bullied by the Dursleys who then went on to save the wizarding world. Harry loses his temper (still the same Harry, quick to lose his temper and to act without thinking) saying he’s sick of Albus trying to make out that Harry is responsible for his unhappiness and that Albus should be grateful he has a dad as Harry didn’t have one, Albus retorts that he wishes Harry wasn’t his dad, and Harry retorts there are times he wishes that Albus wasn’t his son. Harry immediately regrets this and tries to take it back, but Albus says he knows Harry meant it. Albus throws the blanket across the room and it hits a bottle of love potion and gets drenched in this, and Albus runs out of the room. Later that night, Harry is dreaming of the time he first met Hagrid and heard about Hogwarts, when into the dream comes Voldemort’s voice saying Harry’s name, and his scar hurts.

At King’s Cross Station, Rose tries to be friendly to Albus but he sees through this guessing she has been put up to it by Ron who was urged to do so by Ginny. Rose also tells Albus that a Time-Turner was found by the Ministry. Albus then tells Scorpius about the Time-Turner and says he plans to steal the Time-Turner in order to help Amos get Cedric back, as he is disgusted that his dad lied to Amos and sees this as Harry not caring, he also feels that Cedric died because Harry couldn’t save him but that this failure, which Albus views as Harry’s, can be righted. Albus says they need to get off the Hogwarts Express and go to St Oswald’s to see Amos. The Trolley Witch appears when they are on the roof of the train preparing to jump and use the cushioning charm Molliare to help them land safely, she says it is her responsibility to ensure no-one leaves the train and she has an unbroken record with this, even though Sirius Black and the Weasley twins used to often attempt to leave the train. She says she doesn’t even remember her own name but that she inherited the job of Trolley Witch from Ottaline Gambol 190 years ago. She makes a pumpkin pasty turn into an exploding grenade and turns her fingers into spikes (an interesting and very surprising development of her character). Albus and Scorpius do escape the train and go to St Oswald’s, where the elderly people just do magic for fun and create lots of mischief (I can imagine this scene was enormous fun to watch on stage). Amos rejects their offer of help, saying Albus is just trading on his famous Potter name and Scorpius is possibly the son of Voldemort, so he says he doesn’t trust them. Delphi urges Amos to trust the boys, saying they have put themselves at risk to get there and that they are the only ones offering to help. Albus says he knows what it feels like to be the spare. Amos says trying to get the Time-Turner will be very dangerous so he sends Delphi with them. Delphi uses Veritaserum on a Minister’s drink when he visits St Oswald’s and he confirms the Time-Turner is in Hermione’s office, and Delphi makes Polyjuice Potion to transform her into Hermione, Albus into Ron, and Scorpius into Harry, so they can enter the Ministry. (I wondered how Delphi got Veritaserum and Polyjuice Potion, but I think McGonagall later refers to someone breaking into the Potions stores so presumably this is Delphi getting supplies to make these potions).

An Extraordinary General Meeting is called at the Ministry, hosted by Hermione and Harry. Hermione first uses her wand to conjure silence in the room. They tell everyone about the movement of Voldemort’s allies, the trolls and giants and werewolves, and that Harry’s scar has been hurting. Professor McGonagall says the Potions store at Hogwarts had been broken into and Boomslang skin and lacewing flies had been taken. Hermione says they don’t know who has encouraged Voldemort’s allies to move or why, and asks if any ex-Death Eaters have felt their Dark Mark burning as they are concerned that some trace of Voldemort is back. This angers Draco, he says Voldemort is dead and gone and that the Ministry is prejudiced against those with a Dark Mark, and that Harry is just saying all this to get in the papers again, and that Hermione only got the Minister for Magic job because she is Harry’s friend, and that the rumours of Scorpius’ parentage were begun by the Ministry and that the Ministry need to refute them. 

Harry and Draco learn their sons didn’t reach Hogwarts and are missing. Hermione has contacted the Muggle Prime Minister who has also instigated searches for them but says no instances of magic have been reported by Muggles. Hermione also has the Aurors investigating those involved in Dark Magic, though Draco says those pursuing Dark Magic now are inferior and wouldn’t dare to take a Malfoy. Ginny believes the boys have run away due to what Harry said to Albus, and Draco is then angry that his son is perhaps in danger because of Harry’s rash words, Draco says Scorpius is his only family and that Harry is a constant curse on his family. Later that night, Harry dreams of being a young boy in the cupboard under the stairs being awoken by Petunia who discovers he has wet the bed and is disgusted at him, he tells her he had a nightmare about his parents dying and that a man was shouting something like Adkava at them and there was the noise of a snake hissing and he could hear his mum scream, Petunia tells him his parents died in a car crash. Harry’s dream changes to Albus standing in some trees wearing red Durmstrang robes looking at Harry, Albus is then pulled away sharply and then Voldemort’s voice speaks Parseltongue saying “He’s coming, he’s coming” and “Harry Potter”. Harry tells Ginny he thinks from the dream that Albus is in the Forbidden Forest. Harry and Ginny go to Hogwarts to ask Professor McGonagall if they can search the Forbidden Forest (I am surprised Harry asked permission, he has grown responsible!). McGonagall suggests that Neville accompany them as his knowledge of plants may be useful. Hermione and Ron and Draco appear through the chimney having used the Floo Network. Ginny says she has also put out an emergency edition of the Daily Prophet to appeal for volunteers to help them search the Forest.

Earlier, Albus and Scorpius and Delphi are at the Ministry. They narrowly avoid being caught by the real Harry and Hermione by Albus distracting them as Ron. Scorpius overhears Harry’s and Hermione’s conversation about Harry’s words to Albus, he sympathises with Albus saying he can see his own dad struggling to comprehend how unalike they are, he says there is a reason Albus and he found each other and became friends. In Hermione’s office they search for the Time-Turner, they take Trelawney’s book on Divination from the bookcase, it opens and speaks riddles which eventually leads them to the Time-Turner, although the bookcase tries to swallow them as Hermione has weaponised it and they are all nearly killed, the bookcase also undoes the Polyjuice Potion. The first riddle spelt the word ‘Dementors’, and a book on Dementors gave a riddle which spelt the name ‘Voldemort’, and a book on Voldemort gave another riddle which spelt the word ‘shadow’, and in a book called Shadows and Spirits they find the Time-Turner. They go to the Forbidden Forest. Their plan is to go back in time and prevent Cedric from winning the Triwizard Tournament so he doesn’t then go to the graveyard with Harry and face Voldemort and be killed. Delphi is teaching Albus the Expelliarmus spell to prepare him (interesting as this was Harry’s favourite spell and the one he used to finally defeat Voldemort, is there significance in this?). Delphi has also taught them how to use the Time-Turner. She gives them Durmstrang robes, explaining that if they wore Hogwarts robes then people would expect to know them. They tell her she can’t come with them as she isn’t young enough to pass for a student and her being there is risking them being discovered. Delphi isn’t happy about this. Harry and Ron and the others are searching in the Forbidden Forest, Harry is met by Bane who tells him he is trespassing and that after the Battle of Hogwarts the Forest was deemed centaur-land, Harry explains he is looking for his son, Bane says the centaurs do not need another war, that he’s seen Albus in the stars and there is a dangerous black cloud around him that may endanger everyone, and that Harry will find his son but then he could lose him forever.

Albus and Scorpius activate the Time-Turner and go back to 1994 and the first task at the Triwizard Tournament with the dragons, Ludo Bagman has used the Sonorous spell to amplify his voice, Charlie Weasley is also there with the dragons. 1994 Hermione appears beside them, Scorpius mistakes her for Rose and talks to her. Scorpius then notices something is wrong with the Time-Turner as it ticks and then bangs just as Albus shouts Expelliarmus and Cedric’s wand flies to him, Scorpius grabs Albus and they are back in present day although Albus seems injured. Harry and Ron and Ginny and Draco appear, and Scorpius slips the Time-Turner into his pocket. Albus goes to hospital under the care of Madame Pomfrey, having his arm re-set which Madame Pomfrey reports is a very unusual break as it seems like it was broken 20 years ago and allowed to re-set in a strange position. Harry is sitting beside Albus’ hospital bed and catches the eye of Dumbledore in his portrait. He asks Dumbledore how he feels about Albus having his name, Dumbledore says it is a great weight to place on a child. Harry asks Dumbledore for advice on how to protect Albus from the danger Bane says he is in, Dumbledore says you can’t protect the young from harm, you can only teach them how to meet life, and that Albus is waiting for Harry to see him clearly and that Harry is blinded by his love for Albus, that Harry needs to see Albus as he is and look for what is wounding him. Albus wakes and tells Harry that they just didn’t want to go back to Hogwarts and thought they could start again in the Muggle world and then changed their minds and were on their way back to Hogwarts when they were found, Harry asks Albus about the Durmstrang robes but Albus is vague with his reply. Harry tells Albus that he needs to keep away from Scorpius, that Bane has said there is a black cloud around Albus, that Harry feels that Dark Magic is in resurgence and he needs to keep Albus safe and this means safe from Scorpius, Harry says he will give the Marauders Map to McGonagall for her to check Albus and Scorpius are not together and if they are together then Harry will fix Albus with a spell so he can watch his every move and hear his every conversation, and Harry will begin investigations into Scorpius’ true heritage. It then becomes apparent that this is an alternative world, presumably altered by Albus and Scorpius going back in time, Albus is in Gryffindor not Slytherin, Ron is married to Padma not Hermione and doesn’t own a joke shop and they have a son Panju not daughter Rose, Hermione is not Minister of Magic but is teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. Albus sees Scorpius briefly as he leaves the hospital wing, he asks if any of it worked and Scorpius says no, Albus then has to shun Scorpius and continues to avoid him over the next few days. McGonagall tries to dissuade Harry from his plan of her monitoring Albus with the Marauders Map, she says there has been no hex or curse found on Albus, and that Harry should be wary of listening to Bane as he is very angry and can twist things seen in the constellations to suit himself and that Harry should also not mistake the painting of Dumbledore for the person. Harry snaps at McGonagall and tells her if she doesn’t do what he instructs then he will bring the full force of the Ministry down on the school, he also snaps at Ginny. Draco comes to Harry’s home to ask if he can lift his ban on Albus’ and Scorpius’ friendship as Scorpius is very upset, Harry explains that Bane said there was a darkness around Albus and he has to protect him, he asks Draco if he is sure Scorpius is his son, this angers Draco and they fight exchanging spells. Few of the spells are explained but they both begin with Expelliarmus, then use Incarcerous, Tarantallegra, Densaugeo, Rictusempra, Flipendo which sends Harry twirling through the air, Brachiabindo which binds Draco, Emancipare which unbinds Draco, Levicorpus, Mobilicorpus which bounces Harry up and down in the air, and Obscuro which puts a blindfold on Draco which he blocks (interesting that none of the Unforgivable spells are used by either, though both have used them before, I guess they are not so impulsive with spells as before and realise that there is no real danger here that they need to employ Unforgivable spells to fight with). When Ginny enters and calms things down, Draco appeals to Harry saying loneliness and pain and hatred could be the black cloud Bane saw around Albus, that Draco used to envy Harry’s friendship with Ron and Hermione and that loneliness sent him to a dark place for a long time, that Tom Riddle was lonely and he didn’t come out of his dark place, that Draco can’t talk to Scorpius about how he feels about his mum dying, like Harry can’t talk to Albus, that Harry is risking losing Albus, and that Albus needs both Harry and Scorpius.

Delphi breaks into Hogwarts to talk to Scorpius, she says Cedric still died at the Triwizard Tournament but that their going back has altered other things. She urges Scorpius to speak to Albus, saying they need each other. She also says she never went to Hogwarts as she was ill as a child. Scorpius speaks to Albus in the library, he says he has now read Rita Skeeter’s book of the Triwizard Tournament in this alternative world and that Hermione didn’t partner Victor Krum at the Yule Ball as she was suspicious that two Durmstrang students she saw had taken Cedric’s wand at the instigation of Victor, she therefore partnered Ron as friends and Ron danced with Padma Patil and they dated and married, so Ron was never jealous of Victor prompting him to declare his feelings for Hermione so they never got together and Rose was never born. Scorpius says Professor Croaker’s Law states the furthest someone can go back in time without the possibility of serious harm to the traveller or time itself is five hours, and they went back years and have caused ripples that have had serious effects. Albus says they need to go back in time again and save both Cedric and Rose, Scorpius disagrees saying they will make things even worse, Albus gets angry with Scorpius for holding him back, Scorpius then gets angry with Albus saying he doesn’t realise how lucky he is and that Scorpius had hoped that changing time would have changed things for him but that his mum still got sick and died and people still accuse him of being Voldemort’s son, and that Albus is selfish and never sees what Scorpius is going through. McGonagall appears, the boys hide under James’ Invisibility Cloak which Albus has stolen, McGonagall seems to be aware they are there but as she hasn’t actually ‘seen’ them she is relieved not to pursue them further. Albus and Scorpius make up, Albus saying how sorry he is about Scorpius’ mother and sorry they don’t talk about it, and that Scorpius makes him stronger. Albus decides the way to stop Cedric winning the Tournament is to humiliate him by using an Engorgement spell on him, they go to the girls’ bathroom on the first floor as they’ve realised the Time-Turner brings you out at the same place you activate it and they need to be in the lake. Moaning Myrtle appears, though she is offended at them calling her ‘Moaning’ saying her name is Myrtle Elizabeth Warren. They use gillyweed so they can breathe underwater, go back in time and put the Engorgement spell on Cedric and hear everyone laugh at him, and prepare to come back to the present time. Meanwhile, Harry and Ginny and Draco have gone to McGonagall, Harry apologises and says he realises he has gone about things in the wrong way. McGonagall looks at the Marauders Map to find the boys’ location, they are surprised to see them in the girls’ bathroom and that they keep disappearing and reappearing on the map. They head there. Myrtle tells them about Cedric and the Time-Turner, and Harry guesses the rest. 

Only Scorpius comes back to the present time, there is no Albus. This is another alternative world. Professor Umbridge is there as Headmistress, Scorpius learns that Cedric became an angry person due to the humiliation and this led him to become a Death Eater and he killed Neville at the Battle of Hogwarts so there is no Neville to kill Nagini (wow, a bit astonishing to consider), so Harry died at Voldemort’s hand at the Battle of Hogwarts, and there is no Albus Potter. There are Dementors around the school, Mudbloods are being tortured and killed in the dungeons which appears to have been Scorpius’ idea, and there is Voldemort Day, people put their hand to their heart and then touch their wrists together saying ‘Voldemort and Valour’, there is the Augurey whose flag is a bird displayed in a fascist manner, there are Mudblood death camps, Scorpius is known as Scorpion King and over the next few days he is offered the position of Head Boy, he is also known as athletic and a talented Quidditch player. Draco is Head of Magical Law Enforcement, and Astoria is still dead. Draco tells Scorpius he is acting strangely by asking questions about Harry Potter. Scorpius says he doesn’t want to be who he is, and he urges his dad to remember that Astoria thought better of him. Scorpius learns Snape is at Hogwarts as Potions Master, so he appeals to Snape and tells him the truth about what has happened with the Time-Turners and that this is an alternative world to the real world where Harry Potter lives. Eventually Snape is convinced by the amount that Scorpius knows, particularly about Snape’s feelings for Lily Snr and him working undercover for Dumbledore, and that Harry named his son for Snape. Snape takes Scorpius to the room hidden in the Whomping Willow (oooh, this is where Snape dies in the original book), Hermione and Ron are there as the only remaining members of Dumbledore’s Army. Scorpius tells them they are married with kids in the real world. Snape guesses that he is dead in the real world as Scorpius was surprised to see him, he asks who killed him and is annoyed that it was Voldemort, though Scorpius tells him he died bravely. Hermione says they can go back using the Time-Turner and use Shield Charms to block the spells Albus puts on Cedric. It works, but when they return to the present time inbetween the two Cedric events, the Dementors spot Hermione and Ron, who elect to have their souls sucked out in order to give Scorpius and Snape time to complete the second Cedric event, Hermione and Ron die together saying they love each other, though hoping that if Snape and Scorpius are successful then they aren’t really dying as a real better world exists. Umbridge also discovers Snape and Scorpius and guesses Snape is not true to them, Snape uses the spell Depulso to shoot Umbridge through the air then conjures his white doe Patronus to protect Scorpius so he can complete the second Cedric task while Snape lures the Dementors away and sacrifices himself, Snape asks Scorpius to tell Albus Severus that he is proud he carries his name. Both Scorpius and Albus come back from the lake to the present time, Albus doesn’t understand what has happened but Scorpius says they have been successful as now nothing has changed. Scorpius says he has lost the Time-Turner. Harry and Ginny and Draco and Hermione and McGonagall come to Albus and Scorpius saying they know everything. McGonagall makes it clear to the boys how dangerously they have acted, that they wiped out Rose and Hugo and many more people, they killed Harry, and brought back Voldemort and a new age of Dark Magic. She says she has thought about expelling them, but she will put them in detention for the rest of the year and cancel all privileges like Hogsmeade. She is also very upset that all Dumbledore did and sacrificed could have been undone, she says they have no idea how dark the Wizarding Wars were and they were reckless with the world that people sacrificed a huge amount to create and sustain. Harry and Albus talk, Harry is also angry at Albus and what he risked, but he says he realises he was wrong about Scorpius and that the Marauders Map won’t be used again. They both tell the other that they are not ok. 

Harry dreams he is at his parents’ graveside as a young boy with Petunia putting flowers on the grave. He hears Voldemort’s voice saying he can smell guilt in the air, and Voldemort then rises up behind the gravestone, he asks Harry if he still sees with his eyes, then Albus comes from Voldemort’s cloak and reaches out for Harry calling out ‘dad’. Harry wakes terrified knowing he was never at Godric’s Hollow with Petunia, and that Voldemort is still here and they are all still in danger.

Scorpius has secretly hidden the Time-Turner so he can make sure himself that it is destroyed as he doesn’t trust the Ministry not to keep it, he asks Albus to help him and they go to the Owlery at night to do this, they are trying to decide the best way to destroy it and they remember the other Time-Turners were destroyed by Stupefy. But Albus has sent an owl to Delphi so she can join them as they destroy it, however Scorpius notices an Augurey tattoo on the back of Delphi’s neck as she takes the Time-Turner from them, she says Augureys are sinister-looking birds that cry when rain is coming and some wizards believe their cry foretold death, she says her guardian had one in a cage when she was growing up and says this guardian was Euphemia Rowle. Scorpius gets suspicious of Delphi, remembering that the Rowles were Death Eaters, and tries to snatch the Time-Turner back but Delphi uses Fulgari on both of them to bind their arms in cords and she then snaps their wands. She tells them she wants Voldemort’s return and that he is the one true ruler, that they have to humiliate Cedric in the final Triwizard task and that the prophecy says Albus must do this, Albus says he won’t so she uses Crucio on Scorpius to try and force Albus to comply, she says Albus’ weakness is friendship, just like his father. Craig Bowker Jnr runs towards them saying everyone is looking for them, Delphi uses Avada Kedavra to kill Craig, this produces a green light. She says the prophecy is ‘When spares are spared, when time is turned, when unseen children murder their fathers, then will the Dark Lord return’. She says Cedric is the spare, and Albus is the unseen child who will kill his father. She activates the Time Turner to send them back in time to the maze in 1995. Scorpius’ and Albus’ arms are bound and Delphi forces them to walk forwards with her, they whisper together trying to find a way to stop this happening, they remember the five minute rule of the Time-Turner and wonder if they can delay Delphi until the time runs out, Scorpius tells Albus he is prepared to die to stop Delphi, and Albus agrees he is prepared to die also. They try to run and Delphi flies after them without a broom, she uses Crucio on Scorpius but Cedric appears and uses Expelliarmus on Delphi to stop her as Cedric thinks this is a task although he is unsure who he needs to fight or protect, he uses Emancipare to untie Scorpius and Albus, and then walks off to continue the task in the maze, the boys knows this means his death and Albus calls after him that his dad loves him very much. Delphi activates the Time-Turner, Scorpius and Albus grab hold of it, they all go to 1981 and then Delphi destroys the Time-Turner and flies away saying she will try something new and she doesn’t need them any more.

Harry and Ginny and Draco go to Hermione, who is with Ron, telling her the boys are missing again and that Harry’s dreams are still continuing, they realise the boys are with Delphi Diggory and go to Amos to question him about his niece, and he denies having a niece. They realise Delphi must have used a Confundus Charm on Amos and the other staff, Hermione checks with the Ministry and there is no record of a Delphi Diggory. Draco tries Specialis Revelio in the hope Delphi’s room will reveal something to them, but it doesn’t. They begin to search the room and when Ginny unscrews the top of a lamp there is a hissing noise which is Parseltongue, Harry says he’s not been able to understand Parseltongue since Voldemort died but he realises he can now, he tells them it says ‘Welcome Augurey’. Harry orders the room, in Parseltongue, to open, and writhing snakes appear on the walls with the prophecy about spares and unseen children written in fluorescent paint. They realise Cedric was called a spare, Delphi has a Time-Turner, and Harry realises he hadn’t seen his child. Other words appear on the walls reading ‘I will rebirth the Dark. I will bring my father back’. 

Hermione calls another Extraordinary General Meeting at the Ministry’s Grand Meeting Room, she is joined on stage by Harry and Ginny and Draco and Ron, the crowd being surprised to see Harry and Draco united. She says the body of Craig Bowker Jnr has been found, that a room at St Oswald’s revealed a prophecy that promised the return of darkness and a proclamation that Voldemort had a child. She says they have questioned Death Eaters but so far they have found no record of the child or the prophecy, but they know the child in question was kept hidden from the wizarding world, and that she is now out of their reach as she has hidden herself in time. McGonagall is angry that Hermione kept the Time-Turner that Delphi has now got, she calls her reckless and stupid, Harry and Ginny and Draco and Ron all intervene to defend Hermione saying they don’t know how Delphi got the Time-Turner but it may have been Albus who gave it to her or she perhaps stole it from him. Hermione says they have appealed to the giants and trolls for help, and the Aurors are out searching.

Harry is going through paperwork checking they have prepared all they can when Dumbledore speaks to him out of the picture, Harry cuts him off saying he has fought Voldemort on his own before without Dumbledore beside him, that Dumbledore was never really there for him, and that his advice to Harry about Albus that love is blind didn’t help at all. Dumbledore begins to cry, he says he loved Harry but that he himself was not a fit person for Harry to love as he always caused harm where he loved, he says that his love for Harry was blind. Harry says Dumbledore should have told him this earlier and he would have then hurt Harry less. Dumbledore says again ‘those that we love never truly leave us’ (this is one my favourite sayings of Dumbledore’s). Harry tells Dumbledore he did love him too, and Dumbledore says he knows, and then leaves. Draco arrives, he says in the alternative world he was Head of Magical Law Enforcement, which was his dad’s aim for him but that he wanted to be a Quidditch player. He says Theodore Nott’s Time-Turner was a prototype made of inexpensive metal, that it being only able to go back in time for five minutes was a serious flaw, and that Nott had built one for Lucius, and Draco produces this, he says this one is made of gold and there is no five minutes problem with it. He said he kept this Time-Turner concealed as it would have given credence to the rumours about Scorpius, he said they were capable of having children but that Astoria had an inherited blood condition and Draco didn’t want to risk her health, but Astoria wanted them to have a child together and also as company for Draco when she was gone as she knew she wouldn’t live to old age. Draco says he’s had a lonely life always being suspected and never able to escape his past. Draco said he decided to preserve their time together and to conserve Astoria’s strength, so the three hid themselves away, but he realises now that hiding away just increased the gossip. Harry says they have both been so busy trying to rewrite their pasts that they haven’t given their sons what they needed and have blighted their sons’ present. Harry says they can’t use the Time-Turner however as they don’t know where in time to look for their sons, he says they will have to leave it up to Albus and Scorpius to help themselves.

Albus and Scorpius look at a train timetable and realise they are at 30th Oct 1981, they presume Delphi is aiming to kill baby Harry in order to prevent the curse rebounding onto Voldemort and making him weak for so long, they decide to go to Godric’s Hollow to try and stop her. Albus has never been to Godric’s Hollow, though Harry tried to convince him to go. The church at the graveyard is St Jerome’s Church (is there significance to this saint?). They watch Lily Snr come out of her house with baby Harry and wrap him in the blanket that Harry in present time still has. They try to decide how to get a message of help to the present time, they wonder about telling Lily Snr but decide if she knew that Harry survived then she may not be able to sufficiently beg Voldemort for Harry’s life which then protected him with the counter-charm of everlasting love, they think about finding Dumbledore but again think he may not be able to do all he needed to do if he knew that Harry survived. Albus then remembers the blanket covered in love potion in the corner of his bedroom and that Harry in present time will be keeping that blanket with him that night as he always does on Hallows Eve, they remember love potion contains Pearl Dust which when it reacts with Tincture of Demiguise can be seen, they decide to get some Tincture of Demiguise from Bathilda Bagshot’s house and write a message on the blanket for Harry that he will then see in present time and as Tincture of Demiguise is invisible no-one will see it until the Pearl Dust from the love potion falls onto it (this is really quite neat, I do like this). They write ‘Dad. Help. Godric’s Hollow. 31.10.81’. It is seen by Ginny and Harry, and they send owls to Hermione and Draco to meet them there with the Time-Turner, they go to 1981 and meet Albus and Scorpius and all are delighted to see each other. They decide to use St Jerome’s Church as a good vantage point to spot Delphi. As Delphi doesn’t seem to be arriving as the crucial time is approaching, Ginny suddenly guesses that it isn’t baby Harry that Delphi wants to kill as at this point Harry is a year and half old so Delphi could have chosen any point before that day to kill him, so Ginny thinks it is for the purpose of meeting Voldemort that Delphi has chosen this time and location in order to try and convince Voldemort not to follow the original prophecy and not to try and kill baby Harry at all. Harry decides as they don’t know from where or when Voldemort approached on that day, he will transfigure into Voldemort knowing that will draw Delphi, he will bring her into the church where the others will be hidden and they will capture her. He transfigures into Voldemort and Delphi follows him into the church, she says she is from the future and is his daughter and that Rodolphus Lestrange told her this when he was released from Azkaban and told her the prophecy about the unseen child and said she was destined to fulfill this. She speaks Parseltongue and raises into the air without a broom in order to prove this relationship, she says she is the Augurey to his Dark Lord. She says she has devoted her life to being a child he could be proud of, and says his mission to kill baby Harry is a mistake and it will destroy him as Harry’s mother’s love will cause the spell to rebound on him making him weak and Harry powerful, that he will spend the next 17 years battling Harry and will lose. Harry realises the transfiguration is failing, Delphi sees this too and sends Incendio at Harry who sends the same spell back (so not Expelliarmus from Harry, that seems a nice tying-in opportunity missed), she also uses Colloportus to seal the doors the others are hiding behind, she then disarms Harry of his wand, she sends Expulso at Harry who hides under a church pew, and she uses Wingardium Leviosa to lift the pew. Albus creeps out and throws Harry a wand, Delphi says she will kill both of them, she sends Avada Kedavra at Albus who Harry pushes out of the way, Albus then uses Alohomora to open the sealed doors as Harry fights with Delphi. Delphi is overpowered with Harry and Ron and Ginny and Hermione and Draco’s spells against her. They bind her using Brachiabindo, but Harry angrily approaches her like he might kill her, saying she dared to hurt his son, she says she just wanted to know her father and begs to be allowed to see him and if not then to kill her, Harry says he can’t do either, Albus is shocked Harry won’t kill Delphi as he states she’s dangerous and a murderer, but Harry and Ron and Hermione all say they have to be better than them. Delphi begs for them to take her mind and memory and make her forget who she is, but they say they will take her back to present time and she’ll go to Azkaban, Hermione saying ‘same as your mother’. They hear Voldemort approaching, Delphi cries out to him so they gag her using Silencio and then use Wingardium Leviosa to send her upwards and away. Harry realises his parents are about to be murdered but that he can’t stop it, Draco tells him he is heroic for this, Ginny says Harry doesn’t have to watch but Harry says he must watch as he is letting it happen, so they all say they will watch with him, Albus holds Harry’s hand and Ginny takes his other hand, he sees Lily Snr at the bedroom window and says she looks beautiful, they hear her beg Voldemort for mercy and not to kill her son then hear him shout Avada Kedavra and then a shrunken scream. Harry collapses on the floor of the church. They see Hagrid come to the house and call out for James and Lily, he finds them dead and takes some flowers from his pocket and places these on the floor, he apologises to them for not staying with them but says Dumbledore told him he can’t wait with them, he assures them they won’t be forgotten. He goes to baby Harry in the crib and tells him he will be his friend. The police approach the house, and Hagrid leaves with baby Harry.

In present time, Scorpius and Albus are at Hogwarts and Scorpius is excited at having just asked out Rose, even though she turned him down. Later, Albus and Harry talk, Albus tells Harry that he watched Harry’s parents for a bit and that they all had fun together and that James Snr used to create smoke rings for baby Harry who couldn’t stop giggling, he says he thinks Harry would have liked them and that he himself would have liked them. Harry talks about thinking he’d lost Voldemort a long time ago and then fearing Voldemort would never let him go, but that he realises he had physically lost Voldemort but not lost him mentally. Harry apologises again for what he said to Albus and says he is going to try and be a better dad, he says Albus is wrong when he thinks Harry isn’t scared of anything and that he is scared of the dark and small spaces and pigeons, but what scares him most is being a dad as he has no dad to base himself on so he is having to learn it. Albus says he’ll be a better son although he knows he’ll never be like James Jnr and like Harry who he thinks are very similar, but Harry says he and James are not alike as James gets everything easy whereas Harry’s childhood was a constant struggle. He says Albus is more like Ginny, bold and fierce and funny. Albus questions this saying he almost destroyed the world, but Harry says he saved the world as he brought Delphi out and found a way for them to fight her. Albus says he wanted to kill Delphi and maybe this is what the Sorting Hat saw when it put him in Slytherin, but Harry says Albus was angry as he’d watched her murder Craig but that he wouldn’t have killed her and that no matter whether he has the label of Gryffindor or Slytherin he has a good heart. Harry says that Albus’ names shouldn’t be a burden to him, that both men had their trials and had huge flaws but were great men and their flaws almost made them greater. Harry says the hill they are sitting on is actually a graveyard and Cedric is buried there and that Harry comes there when he can to say sorry.

I did thoroughly enjoy reading this book and being back in the Harry world. Ideally there are a few things I would have preferred done differently, namely it being in the format of a novel rather than the format of a script. The script format makes it fast-paced and fun and entertaining, however it just doesn’t flow as well for me and I felt a bit cheated at the huge details that had to be left out in order to do it in this format, I especially missed the characters’ thoughts and doubts and feelings and decisions, and missed the detailed descriptions of scenes which just brings everything alive in my mind (although I’m sure it all looks fantastic and alive on stage), it all just seemed a bit reduced and I felt I didn’t get as much from it as I do from the format of a novel. The essentials are there, such as the Hogwarts Express and the Sorting Hat and our favourite characters, but just briefly, not in the depth they would be in a proper novel, and though it was lovely to have everyone brought back, all the beloved characters that mean so much to me, even the Trolley Witch and Moaning Myrtle and especially Snape, I’m not sure if it felt a little bit forced with everyone crammed in with a mention. It also felt quite hectic and rushed too and quite exhausting to read as it was all action and there was no time for the reader to think things through, I found I read a few scenes and then had to put the book down to give me time to mull over the significance of what I’d read. I just can’t help wishing Rowling had written it as a novel and then had it adapted into a script. And it might be me missing things, but I’m not sure everything was as neatly explained and tied up as it is in her other Harry novels. I found it frustrating that some information was given, but not all. I think Rowling would usually have given us these details, such as the locations of their homes, the details of Draco’s wife, what has happened to Mr and Mrs Weasley, and all the other things that niggled at me, she is usually really good at doing that in her Harry books and I think she loves all the background details of all these things just as much as the reader does, so I find it a shame this was missing from here. So I have ended up with a lot of questions and comments which could imply I’ve found a lot of fault with the book, but that’s not the case, I’ve enjoyed thinking about the Harry world again and mulling things over and trying to understand everything as I did with all the other Harry books. These all might be things that I’ve just missed and the answers are obvious, and for some things I’ve mentioned below I’m not actually looking for answers but just recording the things that were racing around in my mind while I was reading the book. And I had questions at the end of each of the other seven Harry books and that is part of the joy of the books, that they make me curious and occupy my thoughts, and that the world is so well portrayed by Rowling that it seems real and I want to apply logic to it. So my questions and comments below aren’t criticisms really, just things which I have enjoyed puzzling over and obsessing about! And that’s the fun of it!

I am intrigued with just who the ‘cursed child’ is from the title. Obviously the book is mainly about Albus and it is presumed he is the ‘unseen’ child from the prophecy/curse so it is easy to assume it is him referred to in the title, but I feel Scorpius and Delphi fit this title more than Albus really. Scorpius has been cursed with his dad’s and grandfather’s history, and he has to deal with people’s reactions and prejudices to him accordingly. And Delphi was brought up in secret to become clearly an unwell person with her obsession with Voldemort and her lack of morality. And as an interesting extra, Draco says in the book that Harry is a curse on his family, so is Harry another possible contender for the ‘cursed child’ even though he is no longer a child, perhaps also cursed always to have the worry that Voldemort will come back, and cursed to continually feel a failure as a parent?

What causes the trolls and giants and werewolves to move and gather, do we get an answer to this? Is Delphi communicating with them and directing them and sharing her Time-Turning plan with them and her aim to bring Voldemort back? This would surely take great magic and power on her part to direct them like this, is she capable of this? Or is it a great belief in her from them, but are they likely to believe in her like this? Or are they just aware of her movements and aims within some kind of evil network, and they are responding to and preparing for this? After all, it isn’t Voldemort gathering them as he did before, as he doesn’t actually really come back in this book, we only see him in one of the travels back in time, he doesn’t actually touch the present time that the book is set in. 

Why didn’t the old Death-Eaters’ Dark Marks burn, or did they? Was Delphi unable to activate these, or did she activate them but they concealed this? It seems unlikely that Draco would continue to conceal it after he and the others begin to work together, or did Draco’s not burn because he has left his Death-Eater past behind him, although then again would it still burn regardless of his present feelings for the cause?

Are we thinking everyone’s parents are dead, Arthur and Molly Weasley, Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, Vernon and Petunia Dursley, possibly Hagrid too? Why don’t we hear of them? I am thinking if they were alive then they would have been at the Extraordinary General Meetings that Hermione calls and be full of ideas and suggestions and be keen to support Harry and the others even though they would be elderly now. I also would have thought Molly Weasley would have had stern words with her grandson Albus for his carelessness messing with time and endangering the magical world, as McGonagall did!

I know this book is about Albus, but I’d like to have learnt more of James Jnr’s time at Hogwarts, he sounds a lot like the original James to me. I’d like to have had a book about each Potter child’s time at Hogwarts ideally (if Rowling was to ask, tee hee!). And on that theme, why is it Albus who is the main character of this book, is it something to do with the ‘middle child syndrome’ and them possibly feeling a lack of attention and going to extremes to get attention, is it therefore more believable that Albus as the middle child would do the things in this book whereas it’s harder to believe that James as the eldest or Lily as the youngest would? Or is it the fact he isn’t named for a Potter relative, does this make him feel he needs to prove himself more? Or is it the influence of the names he’s been given of memorable and admired and brave people and the pressure to live up to this, and if so is there significance in Albus asserting that he wants to be called Albus, and not Al as Harry keeps calling him? And with that thought, how must McGonagall and the others from Dumbledore’s time feel saying the name Albus and the memories this must bring back to them of Dumbledore? 

What age is Hermione and Ron’s son, Hugo, is he James’ age or Lily’s or older than both?

Was Astoria (Draco’s wife) at Hogwarts? I don’t think I remember her from the other books. If she was at Hogwarts, what House was she in? And what family does she come from? I presume she is a Pure-Blood, although not a Death-Eater. Where did she and Draco meet? How did they deal with their different upbringings? Did Draco marry her in order to emphasise he had left his Death-Eater past behind him? I really really really wanted more information on her and on their marriage, and how she might have contributed to the changed Draco (another book tip, in case Rowling is interested!). 

Is Delphi actually really Voldemort’s child? It just seems so unlikely. Yes, she can fly without a broom like him, but is this something you can learn, like Voldemort learned how to create Horcruxes? Bellatrix Lestrange, supposedly the mother of Delphi, was killed by Mrs Weasley at  the Battle of Hogwarts, so when exactly did she give birth to Delphi, if she was her mother? Apparently the conception and birth happened during the time the Death-Eaters were at Malfoy Manor, so how long were the Death-Eaters at Malfoy Manor for anyway? It’s not that witches give birth sooner than nine months, is it? And wasn’t Voldemort a bit busy with other things at that time to be thinking about providing an heir, and would the providing of an heir even have been something that important to him as in his mind he was the ultimate and the world only needed him, and I can’t imagine he’d have ever considered the possibility of dying and that an heir would be useful to carry on his work as he thought he was cheating death with his Horcruxes so no need for an heir to follow him. And there is no mention of Bellatrix being pregnant at Malfoy Manor, I seem to remember she was quite full-on there with torturing Hermione and throwing a knife at Dobby, she didn’t seem incapacitated in any way, and no mention of the noise of a crying baby from Ollivander or Luna imprisoned in the cellar at Malfoy Manor all that time. And surely the Lestranges and the other Death-Eaters would have shared the news that there was an heir to Voldemort, as this would have been incredibly intimidating to people? No, I think this is a huge stretch, and it must just be Delphi’s desperate hope not actual fact. I am disappointed this Voldemort child thing has even been introduced as an idea, to be honest, it just seems unnecessary and messy, Delphi could just have been a Voldemort fan who grew up with Death-Eater parents praising him and lamenting his passing and she became obsessed with him and determined to bring him back, that would fit as an explanation for her drive to bring him back as he did attract certain types of lonely people looking for a sense of belonging and of power, this would have been more believable than her being his child. I am happier thinking this is all a story told to her by her guardians or Roldophus Lestrange in order to try and keep the cause of Voldemort and the Death Eaters going, which she has chosen to believe in order to feel less lonely and more powerful and that she has family. However, as an aside, if we are saying she is Voldemort’s child then there are a couple of interesting thoughts this brings up, namely that it makes an interesting similarity with Harry as she was brought up in secret like Harry was, and could the ‘unseen children murder their father’ bit in the prophecy mean Delphi (the unseen child) brings about Voldemort’s (her father’s) end by not succeeding in her mission to stop him trying to kill baby Harry, and it is interesting that Hermione tells Delphi she will go to Azkaban ‘like her mother’ therefore implying Hermione believes that Bellatrix is Delphi’s mother at least.

Is transfiguration that easy that Harry can change into Voldemort just like that? What is the point of Polyjuice Potion then? I guess it was quite a fragile transfiguration and began to fail quite quickly, and I guess it can’t be too difficult once you know how as James and Sirius and Peter Pettigrew used to do it regularly at Hogwarts in order to spend time with Lupin, but transfiguration just didn’t seem to be used much in the other Harry books. 

I struggle to believe that Albus and Scorpius weren’t shunned and hated by all for being so careless and nearly bringing back Voldemort and destroying the peace the others from a generation before had sacrificed so much to gain, and potentially eliminating several children of their own generation and killing Harry! And their parents also not shunned for not controlling their children adequately. Or was it all just conveniently hushed up? 

Where do Harry and Ginny, and Ron and Hermione live? In one of the magical villages? I presume none of them live at Godric’s Hollow or Upper Flagley (wasn’t this a magical village mentioned in one of the Harry books?) as Albus knows neither of these places. Does one of these families live at the Weasleys’ old home? I presume Draco and Scorpius live at Malfoy Manor, though do we know where this is? 

What happened to Harry’s aim of becoming an Auror? Clearly the Auror Department still exists because Hermione calls them in to help search for Delphi and to question Death Eaters about the possibility of Voldemort having a child. Was it getting married and having children that changed his aims? Harry just always seemed so determined on this path and it seemed to fit him so perfectly, that I struggle to believe he didn’t follow it.

Why do we not see Neville at all in this book? He is mentioned several times, but not actually seen (unless I’ve misremembered?). He was helping the parents search in the Forbidden Forest for Albus and Scorpius but he doesn’t say anything or anyone chat to him, he just doesn’t really feature at all. I know from other reviews that other readers have missed Hagrid, but he at least is seen when they go back in time and he collects baby Harry from the destroyed Potter house and we get some extra little bonus details of what he says there and the lovely moment of him leaving a flower on the floor beside James Snr, but there is no speech or action of Neville’s, which really disappoints me as he is so crucial to the final Harry book and the destruction of Voldemort (and in my thoughts further down about the prophecy and who it could fit, I can’t help thinking the ‘unseen’ and ‘spare’ bits of the prophecy potentially fit poor Neville). 

Was it Albus’ choice to be put into Slytherin House, as a wish to be with Scorpius who had just been put into Slytherin? This would say a lot about Albus’ character and his loyalty to his friend. Or did he not choose it, and the Sorting Hat saw some Slytherin characteristics in him, as it saw in Harry? And (even more hugely for me) what changed in Albus’ character that put him in Gryffindor House when he and Scorpius come back to the present time but in an alternative world after their first attempt with the Time-Turner? Albus is still friends with Scorpius in that alternative world, so if Albus selected Slytherin as his choice while wearing the Sorting Hat then he would surely have still done this in the alternative world, or if it wasn’t Albus’ choice to go into Slytherin and it was something the Sorting Hat saw in his character then these characteristics would surely still be there to put him in Slytherin in the alternative world too? Also the more stern bossy demanding uncompromising determined and unlistening Harry in this alternative world surely increases his own Slytherin characteristics, which Albus would presumably have inherited from his father in this alternative world so making it even more likely he’d be in Slytherin in this alternative world rather than Gryffindor. And I have questions about the Sorting Hat from the other Harry books, as it seems quite harsh and prejudging of the Hat to just make a snap assessment about the character of a child and then sort them into a particular House accordingly. It has quite fascinated me over the years wondering how much this decision of the Hat could potentially result in emphasising particular characteristics of the child, or the child then suiting their actions to the traditional ones of their particular House, and so how different they could have been as people if they had been put in a different House and potentially how much the Hat’s decision then determined the child’s life and actions and whether this is a dangerous responsibility. You could apply this to lots of different characters in the Harry books and wonder how differently they’d have turned out, and how different the overall story could have been, if they’d been put into a different House (whilst remembering, obviously, this is just a Hat, of course!).

What causes Harry’s dreams of Voldemort and makes his scar hurt? It’s not Voldemort, is it, as he doesn’t actually come back or gain in strength in this book, as before in previous books when Harry’s scar hurt? Is it Delphi creating these dreams somehow in order to intimidate Harry? Or just Harry being aware of an undercurrent of evil growing? Or is it just the stress of recent events going round in Harry’s mind when he is going to sleep and he quite naturally dreams about them? But in essence, all this evil is from Delphi, not from Voldemort, so why does Harry’s scar hurt as it did in relation to Voldemort? And the only dream that seems hard to explain as not caused by Harry’s stress, is the one with Albus standing at the edge of the Forbidden Forest in Durmstrang robes, which is accurate and aids their attempt to rescue the boys, so it seems unlikely that Delphi would give Harry this clue if she has control over his dreams, or does this go to demonstrate the closeness of Albus and Harry and that they can sometimes almost read each other’s mind? Or with the book focusing on prophecies, could it be that Harry is actually able to prophesise a little himself?

Some of Albus and Scorpius’ movements in this book puzzle me. Eg, how do they exit the Ministry after finding the Time-Turner when the Polyjuice Potion has worn off (and, as an aside, did they leave Hermione’s office in a mess of overturned bookcases and books, and did no-one discover this?). And from the Ministry they go to the Forbidden Forest to use the Time-Turner, but how did they get there so quickly, by some Portkey, by broomsticks? And then how do they get to Godric’s Hollow on 30th Oct 1981 from the train station we last see them at, as Delphi had snapped their wands and there was no mention of them having broomsticks or Floo Powder or a Portkey, and the train would surely take ages?

And I know this is a boring question, but where does Delphi get the Durmstrang robes from that she gives to Albus and Scorpius? And can she wander freely into Hogwarts, both to steal from the Potions stores and to see Albus and Scorpius, are the restrictions not in place to prevent access to Hogwarts as there used to be?

What are the Augureys, and where have they come from? I don’t think I remember them from the other Harry books which just dealt with Death-Eaters and the Dark Mark, this is all I remember Voldemort using, so are these Augureys a new version of Death-Eater? They seemed to be first mentioned in the alternative world that Scorpius went back in time to where Harry had died and Voldemort survived, but as this was an alternative (ie. not real) world then how does Delphi become an Augurey member in the present time? She says her Death Eater guardians, the Rowles, had an augurey bird in a cage, so was it always a connection with Death-Eaters in some way? I see in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them that augurey birds are mentioned there but just as a description of the bird not in any link to Voldemort or Death-Eaters. 

What really has Albus got to complain about with his parents, is he really ‘unseen’ by Harry? I can’t really see that Harry is doing anything badly wrong with Albus, as he clearly loves him and has frequently told him so and is aware he’s struggling at Hogwarts and has tried to help and tried to talk to Albus and encourage him to share things, but Albus has been a typical sullen teen and not responded. Ginny clearly hasn’t been able to do anything differently to Harry in order to help Albus fit in at Hogwarts. I know that the crutch of the story is Albus as the ‘unseen’ child who rebels because of being unseen, but I really don’t see that Albus has anything to complain of really apart from being different in his likes and interests to Harry, but that’s not Harry’s fault, they are just different to each other. Has Harry actually treated Albus any differently to James Jnr? I imagine not. Or is Albus angry at Harry for the pressure he feels at being given Dumbledore’s and Snape’s names? But either way, I don’t think any of this makes Albus ‘unseen’ by Harry.

And I do have a few issues with this prophecy ‘When spares are spared, when time is turned, when unseen children murder their fathers, then will the Dark Lord return’. Firstly, it is quite vague. Ok, I guess prophecies are generally quite vague, but the one regarding Harry and Voldemort seemed slightly more specific as it named the birth date of the child who was to bring about Voldemort’s destruction and a hint to who the parents were by saying they had defied him three times. So the ‘spares’ bit of the prophecy first, there are surely many many many contenders apart from Cedric for feeling like the spare. Could a case be made for Neville as a spare, for Ron as a spare, even Albus says to Amos that he knows what it’s like to feel like a spare. Yes, Voldemort used the words ‘the spare’ in relation to Cedric but it still feels a bit of a stretch to presume Cedric is the one the prophecy refers to. And again, the prophecy seems to relate to plural ‘spares’ not just the one spare of Cedric. So the ‘time is turned’ bit of the prophecy, in the paragraph below I mention my great number of doubts with the whole Time-Turner thing. So the ‘unseen children’ bit of the prophecy, how can it be assumed it is Albus that is the unseen child? I guess if you’re wanting to bring Voldemort back then it would be understandable to focus on Harry and his family but I’m sure lots of kids would say they’re unseen, and also this would surely only be known within the family itself, not outside the family? It could be said that Delphi herself is an unseen child, being hidden away and brought up in secret. Or the fact the prophecy says ‘children’ and not child, does this imply it involves several children? So the ‘murder their fathers’ bit of the prophecy, who is this supposed to refer as murdering their father, is it supposed to be Albus changing time which therefore allows Voldemort to kill Harry, but then Albus isn’t murdering Harry himself as the prophecy seems to state? Or is it Delphi murdering her supposed father Voldemort by not succeeding in her mission to stop him from trying to kill baby Harry? I guess also the original prophecy regarding Harry and Voldemort demonstrates how these prophecies can be misinterpreted regarding the people involved, as that prophecy could have been applied to either Harry or Neville (and again, could this not tie in with Neville being the ‘spare’ or the ‘unseen child’ as he wasn’t considered by Voldemort to be the one featured in the original prophecy?) so the vagueness of this prophecy I guess isn’t surprising, but it’s intriguing to consider who potentially could fit the different bits of the prophecy. And the prophecy was told to Delphi by Roldophus Lestrange, so where is Roldophus now in present time, and the Rowles too, are they all dead or could they not be questioned where this prophecy came from, or Delphi questioned further about it? Why did Rodolphus tell this prophecy to Delphi and make her believe she had to carry it out, and say she was Voldemort and Bellatrix’s child, did he see the potential for obsession and evil in Delphi and thought she could cause trouble in this way if he gave her something to believe in? And was this prophecy not stored at the Ministry, as the others are? How do the prophecies get into the storage at the Ministry, do they have to be collected by a Ministry person (and what an interesting and challenging job this would be!) and therefore any prophecies unknown to the Ministry aren’t collected, or when a prophecy is spoken does it just magically and automatically go to the storage at the Ministry? 

And I do have a few issues with the whole Time-Turner thing, it just seems a bit flakey/fragile/built on coincidences to me. When it was found at Theodore Nott’s house, then what was the order of this in the events? Did Delphi know Nott had a Time-Turner and so formed her plans of using this to bring back Voldemort, had she tried to get the Time-Turner from Nott already, would he not give it to her so she arranged for its existence to be revealed so the Ministry raided his house so it’d then be stored at the Ministry which she felt she could access more easily? Or did the discovery of Nott’s Time-Turner put the idea of resurrecting Voldemort in her mind, with her knowing the prophecy about time being turned? And in that case, does she at that point of the Time-Turner being seized decide to become Amos’ carer, linking this with the prophecy saying the ‘spare’ Cedric being spared? But if that is the case this is when I really struggle with the flakiness/fragility of the Time-Turner, as if Nott having a Time-Turner had never been discovered by the Ministry then all the following events wouldn’t have happened, would they? And (I hate saying this) there seems even more holes in this Time-Turner thing as it seems to more and more just rest on coincidences and random actions by people, and that if they’d not acted in a completely unpremeditated way then the whole sequence of events wouldn’t have happened. Eg, what if Albus had not overhead Amos pleading with Harry to use the Time-Turner to bring Cedric back, what if Rose had not mentioned to Albus that she’d heard her parents say that a Time-Turner had been found, what if Albus had not decided to offer to help Amos get Cedric back, and what if Albus had not decided to tell Delphi that he and Scorpius were going to destroy the Time-Turner at the Owlery which allowed her to stop them doing so. In fact, all of the following final dramas happen solely because Albus invites Delphi to be there when they destroy the Time-Turner, so if he hadn’t done this and they had destroyed the Time-Turner then all Delphi’s plans would be over surely? This seems a very loose piece of chance! And brings about the question of why is Delphi letting the boys be involved with the Time-Turner at all, why not just do it all herself? Yes, the prophecy implies a child (an ‘unseen’ child) must be involved, so is this her thinking for involving them? But the chance of success seems even more fragile with the boys involved and means Delphi has no control over huge parts of it, which seems foolhardy for the master criminal that she proposes to be as there are so many things that could have happened slightly differently which would have hugely affected her chance of success, and why on earth would so powerful a witch who seems able to instruct trolls and giants and werewolves need two children to help her? Yes, she says Cedric is the ‘spare’ and Albus is the ‘unseen’ child who will kill his father, so maybe she is unable to do all this herself as the prophecy must be followed exactly, but even if that was the case I don’t think she’d leave so many things to chance. And what was her original plan with the Time-Turner anyway, is that actually stated? The taking of Cedric’s wand so he doesn’t win the Tournament and reach the graveyard, and then the humiliation of Cedric in the Tournament in order to ensure he doesn’t win and reach the graveyard were Albus and Scorpius’ ideas, weren’t they? Or was this her plan that she suggested to them? But even if this was her plan that she suggested to them, she hadn’t gone back in time with the boys anyway, so how did she aim to alter further events to save Voldemort being defeated by Harry at the graveyard, as Harry would probably still have defeated Voldemort regardless of whether Cedric was there with him or not? If she planned to kill Harry at the graveyard after the Tournament, thereby preventing Voldemort being defeated there and the Battle of Hogwarts then not happening and Voldemort not being killed by Harry in this Battle, then how was she going to be there back in time to do this? Or if it’s not her but Albus that will kill Harry at the graveyard after the Tournament, as she says the prophecy states that Albus is the unseen child who will kill his father, how was she going to make Albus do this if she’s not there with him to force him to act? Or if she is the one to kill Harry, she doesn’t have the Time-Turner to go back in time herself after the boys have altered things with Cedric, as the boys always keep the Time-Turner with them, and this again seems bad planning on her part that she doesn’t actually keep the main weapon herself. And her plan to warn Voldemort not to attempt to kill baby Harry was actually a later plan spontaneously decided upon after events changed in the maze, wasn’t it, so again I am unsure what her original plan was. And again, I question how Delphi could force a Time-Turner to be discovered, yes she could get close to Amos as the spare’s father in the hope something may happen, and she could get close to Albus as the unseen child, but the Time-Turner part of the prophecy seems out of her control. And again, when Scorpius and Albus were about to destroy the Time-Turner in the Owlery, it was only by chance that Albus contacted Delphi to tell her what they were about to do, otherwise they’d have destroyed it without her intervening. I go round and round in circles with this, to be honest, I just don’t like all the aspects of chance in it and it doesn’t seem to fit with Delphi’s determination to leave so many things to chance.

And on the subject of prophecies, Bane’s prophecy to Harry in the Forbidden Forest seems more useful and more accurate than the one that Delphi follows, as Bane says that he’s seen Albus in the stars and there is a dangerous black cloud around him that may endanger everyone and that Harry will find his son but then he could lose him forever, all of which I guess is true as clearly Albus is involved in dangerous things (a black cloud) even though he doesn’t realise the full extent of these and the risk to everyone that he is potentially creating, and that Harry finds Albus after this particular escapade but then risks losing him in time forever. Maybe it’s just prophecies of the centaurs that should be followed, this seems a lot simpler! 

Ok, that’s it for the questions otherwise I’ll never finish this review! Phew, I just love Harry books, I love how the world seems so real and fills my mind with far more entertaining things than what should be in my mind (work, finances, family, etc!), it is wonderful escapism and I love everything about it and can’t bear to reach the final page and close the book!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling available on Amazon
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