Cursed Child: Act 1, Scenes 8-19

Special shout out to star pupil Alena Zhang, for her accurate portrayal of everyone who stumbles across this site! 

Also, be warned: If you haven’t read the original series before, we don’t hold back on major spoilers.

Scene 8: A lot of setup for a little hissing

S: We’re seeing now the scene in Sorcerer’s Stone where Hagrid comes to get Harry from Hut-on-the-rock, The Sea. And we see it more from the Dursley’s perspective, a little extra dialogue, but it plays out pretty much the same – door, cake, ‘Yer a wizard, Harry.’ And then we have Voldemort hissing ominously in the background.

Scene 9: HARRY IS NOT A FUCKING HORCRUX ANYMORE

S: Harry wakes up from the dream, and I HAVE SO MANY ISSUES WITH THIS SCENE, AND I’M GOING TO YELL ABOUT IT. I’m sorry, I have to do this now. Harry wakes up and his scar hurts.

THIS SHOULD NOT BE HAPPENING. THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE. There’s only one way this is possible and even that is a little far fetched.

Why does Harry have the scar in the first place?

C: He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

S: Yes. But more specifically, Voldemort tries to kill him, the curse rebounds and it turns Harry into a Horcrux. That is why he has the scar. The scar is there as the mark of the curse that causes Harry to become a Horcrux. Thereafter, his scar hurts whenever he’s around or in close proximity to or mentally connected to Voldemort, because he’s a freaking Horcrux. Because that little bit of Voldemort is making that connection happen. That’s where the pain in the scar comes from.

The big gamble Dumbledore takes in Deathly Hallows is if he can finally get it to the point where most of the Horcruxes are gone, and Harry faces down Voldemort, the gamble Dumbledore takes is that when Voldemort kills Harry, Voldemort himself doing it will destroy the Horcrux, but not Harry himself. And it pays off. It works.

So when Harry comes back, his scar doesn’t hurt anymore, because he’s no longer a Horcrux. He no longer sees into Voldemort’s mind. That connection is gone. The scar doesn’t hurt anymore! BECAUSE HE’S NOT A HORCRUX ANYMORE.

SO! I don’t care if Voldemort is somehow back or not, or whatever you’re trying to do here. It doesn’t matter. His scar should not be hurting.

The only way this would be happening is if Harry has psychosomatic pain that he is connecting with all the other times in his past when his scar hurt. And maybe his psyche is manufacturing pain for him to feel. But even that feels kind of weird, because it hasn’t hurt him in years.

C: He may not be a Horcrux now, but you know what he is?

S: What?

C: A tired, 40-year-old man. That scar has arthritis.

S: And Harry’s breathing deeply in the night, and there’s pain in his forehead. In his scar.

C: This is my actual favorite part of this play so far. The stage direction: He takes a moment. Calming himself. And then he feels intense pain in his forehead. In his scar. Around him, Dark Magic moves. That is the greatest thing I have read in my life.

S: How does it move?? Who put it there??

C: Please come see me and my band, Dark Magic Moves, this Saturday night. It’s that, or it’s Dark Magic Moves: eau de parfum. Or it’s a laxative. I can’t decide which is the best, but they all work.

S: So with Dark Magic Moves softly playing in the background –

C: THAT’S THE EMO BAND ALBUS LISTENS TO.

S: He’s got posters of Dark Magic Moves all over his walls! That’s where the Dark Magic comes from – Albus is in his room with the lights off and like, one sole candle, and the volume turned up way too loud. Because he’s so sad and tortured.

C: I’m glad we figured this out.

S: Well, this scene makes much more sense. It’s arthritis, and the Dark Magic Moves.

So Harry wakes up, Ginny is talking to him about his nightmare, and says, “You know, I realize this is a very stressful day for you what with Amos coming to see you, and you tried to connect with your son and that went all to hell, and I totally heard what you said.” I feel like Ginny is well written in this play too. Harry says, “You’re still talking to me after that?” She says, “Yeah, I am, because when the time is right you’ll say sorry, that what you said concealed other things.” And Harry is just like, “Yeahhhhh, I kind of just wish he was more like our other kids.” And Ginny replies, “Maybe don’t be that honest.”

And he does get to the heart of it. He doesn’t want to change anything about Albus, but he understands his other kids, and not Albus. Which is strange – you can’t understand feeling alienated, like you don’t fit, like no one understands you?

But maybe he’s blinded by who he is now – he’s a dad, he feels like he’s given his son everything he didn’t have, and can’t understand why his son isn’t happy.

C: It’s like a poor person who sees a rich person who’s unhappy, and is like, “Really?”

S: Then we have a nice Dumbledore moment, with this quote: “The truth is a great and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with caution.” Ginny: “That’s a weird thing to say to a kid.”

And again, his forehead hurts. FOR NO GODDAMN REASON. Except that he’s old, arthritic, and needs a therapist. Because I don’t care! Even if Voldemort was alive again, Harry STILL would not know it and he wouldn’t have any warning, his scar wouldn’t hurt, and he’d probably get killed, because he’s not a Horcrux anymore. Thank you!

C: If Harry wasn’t a Horcrux – well, we wouldn’t have a series of books—

S: Yeah, but Harry being a Horcrux saved his ass so many times.

C: But now, it would be all up to Hermione.

S: Right? If Voldemort did return at this point, they would all be screwed. You wouldn’t have Harry’s magical inside view into Voldemort’s world.

But yeah, it’s been 22 years. Maybe ask your doctor?

Act 1, Scene 10: We got on the Hogwarts Express, and life went straight to hell

S: It’s year 4, they’re back on the train, Rose is trying to make nice: “You know, maybe we could be friends again, Albus?” Albus: “We were never friends! I hate you!”

C: He is such a pill! I know that they have not gotten along, and I’m sure that Rose has not been nice or treated him well, but I’m also sure he has shunned people as well and chooses to feel victimized constantly. Also, I’m sure they WERE friends before they got on to the Hogwarts Express.

S: Isn’t that how it always goes? Everything was fine until we went to Hogwarts. Then it all went to hell.

But apparently Harry has been active in some Ministry raids, which Albus didn’t know about – and this is the point where Albus learns about the Time-Turner. Thank you Rose, for that bit of Plotsposition.

And now Albus has an idea. I love that this is his idea – “I have to go find Scorpius.” I’m thinking, maybe he’ll be like, “Scorpius, I have a way to save your mom who just died, leaving you and your father terribly depressed!” No, he has a completely other idea.

So they stumble into the compartment, and Scorpius awkwardly hits on Rose by saying she smells like flowers and fresh bread? Which – okay?

C: You know why he’s so bad at flirting? Because she is a girl, and he really wants to flirt with Albus.

S: Flowers and fresh bread – are those the undernotes for Dark Magic Moves?

C: No, I feel like it would have to be patchouli.

S: So She-Who-Smells-Of-Bread-And-Flowers storms off, and Scorpius – the most cheerful person – “Now you’ve found me! Ta-da!” WHY. ARE. YOU. A. SLYTHERIN.

C: You know who he is? He is Jack from 30 Rock.

S: So the train is moving. Scorpius: “Hogwarts ahoy!”

So they’re going to climb out of the train….. He asks Scorpius: “What do you know about the Triwizard Tournament?” Scorpius knows what it is, which apparently makes him a geek? But anyway, the last time they had the Tournament was when Harry competed, and apparently they haven’t had it since Cedric died. Which I also find odd, because they said people had died before….

C: He died because of Voldemort, he didn’t die because of something in the Tournament itself.

S:The only thing I can think that might justify them canceling it – the Tournament itself was so completely hoodwinked by Dark Magic, by someone who managed to get around the ‘impartial’ Goblet of Fire, and then managed to tamper with all of the tasks. Maybe that’s why they cancelled it. It wasn’t because someone died, it was like, “Wow, we really suck at managing this, and we need to stop while we’re ahead.”

So Albus says, “Cedric didn’t need to die, and my father sucks, and this old man came in the middle of the night upset about my dead son. And did my dad care? No he didn’t So we’re going to go save this old man’s son, who I don’t care about at all, but I want to piss off my dad.”

C: He’s just the worst.

S: I get it – when you’re that age you’re so right about absolutely everything, and your parents are idiots and horrible people, and you don’t realize until you’re older that they maybe made decisions for reasons you didn’t know about at the time. At that age, it’s impossible to understand. But I want to kick this kid. Maybe it’s me wanting to kick myself. But even I don’t think I would have done this.

And Scorpius is the only person to speak reason here: “Okay, whatever was holding your brain together seems to have snapped.”

C: I just don’t see either one of us getting angry at our parents and thinking, “You let someone die on purpose and you don’t even care!”

S: So they climb out of the windows onto the roof of the train. WHY DO THE WINDOWS OPEN.

C: Why aren’t they charmed to not open?

S: You have scores of rambunctious children on a train that travel for hours without any adult supervision! Why do the windows open?! And even if they do, why are there not charms to prevent you throwing something OUT of the open window?

C: Because you know some dumbass at some point stuck their head out as they were going through a tunnel and was then decapitated.

S: There’s no reason this should work.

Act 1, Scene 11: Hogwarts security died with Ottaline Gambol

S: NOW they’re on the roof of the Hogwarts Express, where THEY SHOULD NOT BE, and again there should be magical measures keeping you from getting this far, and then from getting off the train.

So now we have the Trolley Witch. Oh my God, the Trolley Witch.

C: I have so many questions. First of all, who is Ottaline Gambol? Because she clearly is someone of great importance and I need to know her story.

S: This woman doesn’t remember her own name, but she remembers Ottaline Gambol!

C: That’s another thing – what the hell? Her fingers become spikes? What is that??

S: None of this makes any sense. Who wrote this scene? Did they read the original series at all?

She says that she has been the Hogwarts Express Trolley Witch for 190 years. And her Pumpkin Pasties can transform into grenades. And she says she has never let anyone off this train before they reached their destination, but that some have tried, like Sirius Black and his friends, and Fred and George Weasley. Okay. So Fred and George  and Sirius and the Marauders failed to get off the train –

C: But these two losers manage it.

S: You would assume the security would be quite formidable. So why doesn’t she have a freaking wand? It would be so much more useful than her hands turning into spikes! Because what is she going to do?? Okay, your hands transfigure into spikes! We’re still students and children! Are you going to stab us? Are you literally going to impale us on your spikes and take us back into the train? Spikes are useless!

C: The only thing I can think is that somehow she instinctively knows how emo Albus is and is trying to appeal to him by emulating Edward Scissorhands.

S: And then Albus, who was giving Scorpius a hard time about being a nerd for knowing about the Triwizard Tournament —  yet he knows the location of a viaduct along the Hogwarts Express route, and decides they’re going to jump into the water. Again – there are NO SPELLS keeping them on the roof of this train. The Trolley Witch doesn’t have a wand that would allow her to, I don’t know, Petrificus Totalus them, or put up a Shield Charm to keep them from jumping off, or even Apparating them back into the train. A wand would be so much more useful than random hand spikes!

And so Albus just jumps! And nothing stops him jumping off a moving train! I don’t understand this at all! And then the Trolley Witch is still approaching, apparently just zombie-ing closer and closer, her hair and spikes particularly spiky now. And Scorpius gets the best line: “Well, as fun as you clearly look, I have to go after my friend.” BECAUSE HOGWARTS HAS THE WORST SECURITY EVER. You deserve everything that has ever happened to you, Hogwarts, because you have magic but you can’t keep children inside a train.

C: It’s just not well thought out. And I’m sure that when you’re watching it you’re transported by the spectacle of it all and you don’t really think about it, and so you can kind of get away with it, but when you’re reading it and discussing with a friend, it does not hold up.

S:  And that’s disappointing! Because this grand adventure of trying to get off the Hogwarts Express – I never thought about that. What would it take to get off the Hogwarts Express? Think about the things you’d have to get around – it’s got to be incredibly difficult. And it’s a brilliant idea! I love the idea of seeing them try to figure it out!

C: Think about when we were in school on trips. It’s not like we could get on a bus and there would be the driver and that’s it. You’d have teachers on the bus with you. Apparently, all they have is the Trolley Witch, so if that’s the case, they would have to have, one would assume, lots of magical ways of keeping kids safe on the train. Because you’re responsible for how many hundreds of children? You can’t just have one random ancient psycho weird-ass Trolley Witch and expect them to be fine.

S: And these kids have magic! They’re worse than regular kids! Regular kids get up to all sorts of shit! You don’t think for a second these kids haven’t tried really stupid stuff?

C: Fun to watch, but dumb.

Act 1, Scene 12: Nameless characters have all the fun

S: We’re at the Ministry of Magic in the Grand Meeting Room. Stage direction: The stage is full of wizards and witches. They rattle and chatter like only true wizards and witches can.

C: What does that mean?

S: I don’t know. Apparently Muggles in large groups are well behaved and quiet. So amongst this group is Ginny, Draco and Ron, and on stage are Harry and Hermione, because they are apparently the only members of the government currently in existence in the Ministry of Magic.

So Hermione calls everyone to order. Now, Harry says “Voldemort’s allies have been moving around, giants, werewolves – we don’t know where they’re going and we’re worried it might mean something so we’re asking has anyone seen or heard anything?”

McGonagall speaks up: Potions stores looked like they had been interfered with back from summer break, but not a lot was missing. Just some boomslang skin and lacewing flies. Nothing on the Restricted Register.

This is such a disappointing moment to me, because at this point I’m thinking, okay, well I know where this is going. I know that boomslang skin and lacewing flies are for Polyjuice Potion. I was disappointed because I thought, man, couldn’t it have been something else? A new potion I’ve not heard of that I could then spend part of the play puzzling over, trying to figure out? As it is, I already know. Somebody’s using Polyjuice Potion, making it for some nefarious reason.

I feel like people either lack imagination or lack depth of knowledge of the Wizarding world. I mean, come on, McGonagall, you know it’s not Peeves.

C: Why do they keep these things where people can get to them? Hermione as a 12 year old should not have been able to get into the Potions stores to get those. It’s a part of the books, we don’t find fault with it, it is what it is, but –

S: Maybe the Wizarding world doesn’t believe in security!

C: They’re very trusting for a group of people who are constantly beset by evil.

S: Hermione says, “We’ll investigate!” (Because I don’t know exactly what those potion ingredients mean, having stolen them myself back in the day! No recollection of what that might mean!)

Oh, and Harry’s scar is hurting again. Draco: “Can I just add that Voldemort is freaking dead?”

BecauseHarrywasahorcruxandisn’tahorcruxanymoresohisscarshouldn’tbehurtinganymore. Thank you, Draco.

So Harry asks an entirely reasonable question: “I hate to ask, but we do have to ask: if you have a Dark Mark, have you heard/noticed/felt anything?”

And Draco goes back to Totally Pissy: “Screw you, Potter, how dare you be prejudiced against my Dark Mark!”

C: How dare you question me, I’ve been nothing but trustworthy!

S: He starts accusing Ginny of collusion, since she works for the Daily Prophet, and Harry of wanting publicity, and then he says Hermione is only Minister because she’s Harry’s friend. He reverts to younger Draco, mimicking Harry. And comes back to: “I don’t care, you’re using this as an opportunity to defame me and my family, because it’s all about me.”

C: What I find so weird about this is people just watch this scene unfold.

S: I’m picturing a bunch of wizards with popcorn. So Draco walks out, and everyone leaves with him. Hermione asks people to come back – they need a strategy – but no.

Act 1, Scene 13: Last tango in St. Oswald’s

S: St. Oswald’s, which is the weirdest place. I feel very, very bad for whoever works here. There are some dirty old wizards making workers dance the tango for their amusement, and probably all sorts of other things happening. This is an old folks home where witches and wizards just go nuts with magic for fun. So Albus and Scorpius got off the train and are here looking for Amos Diggory. Who should appear, but Delphi! Who immediately remembers who Albus is, and invites him in to see Amos.

Act 1, Scene 14: Dumb and dumber

C: This is where it gets dumb.

S: In Amos’s room. Amos: “You overheard my conversation and decided to come interfere.” Albus: “That’s exactly what I want, because my dad has a Time-Turner.” Amos: “You can’t do much.” And Albus, in trying to prove that he deserves to do this because his dad is no good, argues “My dad proved that you don’t have to be grown up to save the Wizarding world!” Way to notice the disconnect there, buddy.

They try to talk him into it, and Delphi speaks up: “We should trust them because they’re the only ones volunteering to help, and they’re being brave, putting themselves at risk. So let’s do this.” Amos lets himself be talked into it, and suggests Delphi join them. So they’re like, yes, we’re down with this random girl joining us.

C: This whole thing is so dumb!

S: It’s about to get dumber!

Act 1, Scene 15: It’s not like that’s our job

S: Harry and Ginny’s house, Ron and Hermione have come over for dinner. Apparently Ginny reached out to Draco after Astoria died, trying to extend an olive branch. Draco’s response was to send an owl demanding that Harry issue that statement about Scorpius. That’s all he cares about.

C: Go ahead and do it, Harry, and let Draco see how it does not help at all.

S: Meanwhile, Ron is trying to cheer everyone up / be the voice of reason: it could be nothing. But again, Ron, I feel like you would know better by now. He brings in some comedic relief, jokes about them getting old. Hermione is determined not to ignore this like Cornelius Fudge did.

Then they get the letter from McGonagall saying Albus and Scorpius didn’t make it to Hogwarts, because we are the worst at protecting children in our care.

Act 1, Scene 16: Maybe she’s just really, really prepared

S: A cellar in Whitehall.

C: What the hell is a Whitehall?

S: It’s an area of London. And now we know where the Polyjuice Potion is, since we know ingredients were stolen over the summer. Delphi happens to have Polyjuice Potion, you know, for no reason. Because it takes a month to make. And they have no questions about this?

C: I have questions! My biggest question is: when you make Polyjuice Potion, you pick a specific person to turn into, and you need bits of that person. How does she have bits of Harry, Ron and Hermione? Where did she get that?

S: Because Polyjuice  was never part of the boys’ plan. They don’t have bits of their family on them. She already has it. That’s not suspicious at all.

C: And Harry, Ron and Hermione learned about Polyjuice in year 2. These guys in year 4 should know enough to say, “What the fuck, lady, why do you have this already made and ready for us to turn into these people?” ALL KINDS of red flags.

S: And since we’re basically remixing year 4 here – Goblet of Fire – I feel like there was another major character involved in Polyjuice potion who was not what they appeared! But we’re going to just go with this.

So they take the coincidentally perfectly prepared Polyjuice Potion and turn into Harry, Ron and Hermione.

Why? All of this?

They go to the Ministry, where again, we are shown the Wizarding world REALLY needs to work on its security! Is there no way to detect that these people are other people masquerading as other people using Polyjuice Potion? Does every aspect of your DNA change? Could we not have something in place to detect if you’re actually you? Harry, Ron and Hermione broke into the Ministry in their 7th year USING POLYJUICE POTION. Which surely came out after the fact. I would think the ministry would up their security since then!

Come ON, Hermione, your’e the one who broke in using this! It’s an obvious weakness!

C: If they’re doing it this way, there needs to be a comment on it later in the play, in my opinion. You can’t just leave something like this unremarked upon. It’s just dumb.

S: It’s such an obvious flaw.

Act 1, Scene 17: A plague o’all non-Slytherin houses

S: Harry, Ginny, Hermione are all pacing. Draco is being proactive: “Have we searched? What are we doing?” Hermione: “I don’t know, but the Trolley Witch is REALLY upset!”

C: She keeps talking about Ottaline Gambol! I need to know!! Somebody please write me fanfic about the Trolley Witch and Ottaline Gambol.

S: So the Muggle prime minister is filing a ‘misper,’ or missing person’s report (come on, Hermione, your parents were Muggles. You know what this is called). And Draco is clearly just furious, wound up – and it seems that he has a better handle on his kid than Harry does: “Scorpius is a follower, not a leader.” That’s fair! And at least Draco knows it. I feel like he has abetter relationship with him than Harry does with Albus.

C: I also don’t think, for the record – Harry bravely says, “And I told him that there were times when I wished he wasn’t my son.” Draco doesn’t need to know what was said. That’s not relevant.

S: And that line isn’t going to be all that significant to Draco. And from there he steps up and tries to intimidate Harry. “You know, Potter, I don’t care what you said to your son! I don’t care about your son at all! I want my son back.”

But I love that Ginny goes toe to toe with Draco. He yells, “My son is missing!” She yells back, “SO IS MINE!” Give Draco credit, he offers money, anything he has. Why are the Slytherins in this story acting better than everyone else?

C: Minus Albus, obviously. He’s just the worst.

S: He’s not a Slytherin. He should be in his own house, labeled The Worst. And I like this line of Draco’s: “I don’t care what you did or who you saved, you are a constant curse on my house, Harry Potter.” You know what, yes. Granted your family brought a lot of that on themselves by being evil asshats, but I like that Draco brought it up. At least SOMEONE is being true to character.

Act 1, Scene 18: Learning things is for suckers

S: Back at Ministry of Magic with fake Harry, Ron and Hermione strolling around with no security alarms going off even though we are literally impersonating the Minister of Magic.

Delphi explains that it was her uncle’s idea to use Veritaserum on a visiting Ministry official’s drink, who told them that the Time Turner is in the Minister’s office. Does this not set off ANY alarm bells? To anyone? Why have Veritaserum? Use it on an official? THIS IS SO AWFULLY CONVENIENT, COME ON, BOYS.

C: This is the only thing in this book that gives me the impression that Albus and Scorpius are NOT actually gay, because I have to imagine that all they’re doing while she’s telling them this bullshit is staring at her boobs.

S:I buy that! They’re not registering anything problematic here! So on their way, the real Hermione and Harry show up. The kids try to hide. Again, Hermione – WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING. Your door opens with Alohomora. Alohomora, Hermione.

You opened a door with that your first year at Hogwarts! Why would you let that be the thing that opens your door??

C: You know what’s ironic, too is all you would have to do to stymie 50 to 75 percent of the Wizarding population is put a Muggle padlock on it.

S:It seems like the smartest thing! So they need to hide and don’t know what to do. So Albus as Ron goes to head them off, pretends to have come to see Hermione, and is getting all up in her business kissing her, being so weird. And then he blocks her from going to her office – this must have been a ridiculously funny scene to watch, Albus-as-Ron tryng to block her by proposing that they have another baby or take a holiday, one of the two.

C: They have just lost their son and nephew. Ron wasn’t in that previous scene, right? Why don’t either of them say, “Ron, have you heard? Albus is missing!” Maybe they sent him an owl between scenes?

S: It feels like a sitcom move in the middle of the play. This scene would work on That 70s Show… Maybe Hermione has become much less perspective over the years. That depresses me. I’m not going to think that.

Anyway, Albus distracts her long enough that she decides not to go in her office anyway.

Act 1, Scene 19: There’s a wonderful group that can help you, Hermione, called           Alcoholics Anonymous

S: By far the most depressing chapter to me. This kills me. I will establish that yes, this scene must be amazing visually to watch, because Hermione hides the Time Turner in her office, in freaking books.

C: I think it’s funny that it’s in a book by Trelawney.

S: And I like that she kept the books from Dumbledore’s office: Magicke Moste Evile, which has info on Horcruxes, Fifteenth Century Fiends – if they would be safe with anyone they would be safe with her –

C: Or so we thought! But apparently anyone can walk in and grab it if they make Polyjuice Potion.

S: Oh God, ANYONE can get these! So they go in and take a book from the shelf. The book falls open and begins to speak in riddles. And the riddles…are the worst. They do not sound like anything Hermione would ever say or write.

C: So I have a joke for you. This is a joke for you that my young niece told me.

S: Oh, awesome!

C: What did the 2 say to the 10?

S: I don’t know.

C: TTTBBBBBTHTTBBBBBTHTTH. Did you get that?

S: It sounded like you just stuck your tongue out at me!

C: That is exactly what I did. Now, I happen to think that that is the funniest, most adorable joke that has ever been told in the history of jokes. However, strictly speaking, probably not the best. I feel like these riddles are that kind of joke. I imagine six-year-old Rose wrote these riddles for Hermione, and she was so charmed by them that she used them in her security book case.

S: And I get that these are supposed to mimic the riddles from the maze in Goblet of Fire. The kind of riddles Harry had to face. But again, that was Harry’s experience, not Hermione’s. Now Hermione has had to logic her way past quite a few barriers, most outstandingly in Sorcerer’s Stone, when they had to figure out how to get past all of those ‘security measures’ guarding the Stone, which she reasoned her way through – at the age of 11.

Hermione, you are better than this. You know that this is a bad idea. Everything in your life has taught you this! Why would you put this very dangerous thing in your bookshelf with these ridiculously awful riddles being the only things guarding it? I don’t understand, Hermione, have you started drinking since we saw you last?

C: Too much sugar?

S: And why would she write a riddle about the Gaunts? Oh, you know what? This riddle is the lyrics to Dark Magic Moves’s major single.

“I was born in a cage

But smashed it with rage

The Gaunt inside me

Riddled me free

Of that which would stop me to be.”

C: Worst riddle ever, best emo alternative rock song ever.

S: But none of that stuff would matter to Hermione! Yeah, she knows who the Gaunts are, she knows who Tom Riddle is, but is that vastly significant to her in the way that something else would be?

C: If she was going to do something about this, have riddles about her Muggle family! Something no one but her would know.

S: Yes, a personal, private thing that no one with a basic knowledge of Wizarding history could break through, because this is ridiculous. This hurts me at a personal level, because Hermione is not this stupid! How did she become Minister of Magic? Did everyone else competent die?

C: It’s bad. Like you said, I’m sure the whole scene plays out well on stage, it seems complicated with a lot of stuff going on. But when you get down to the brass tacks, it doesn’t make any sense.

S: Yes, you have these cool things with people getting pulled into the bookcases, and that’s awesome. But yeah, this is awful. And worse, to me, is that it takes away Hermione’s agency or significance as a character. These riddles, this setup — all of it is meant to be stuff that an audience with a knowledge of the series can puzzle out, but it’s also all based on Harry’s experience, not Hermione’s. So in trying to pander cleverly to the audience, they’ve stripped Hermione of her unique character and just subbed in Harry’s.

But it ends, finally, with the worst detective ever cracking the easiest security measures ever to get a Time-Turner. And that is the end of Act 1. And now we’re going to go save Cedric, as part of the worst idea ever.

C: I can’t tell you how excited I am to read the next act.

S: This should not be called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! It should be called Albus Potter is The Worst.

C: It should be called Dark Magic Moves.

Summary, with homework

S: So we made it through! If we had to sum it up – there are things about this that I like, moments that are good and play well, and maybe I’m being overly critical, but the plot is so obvious, the plot elements are so predictable, and they’re things we’ve seen before and there’s no real new way to use them, and the holes in the plot are massive. Albus is not a likeable character, which makes it harder. Scorpius is so much more likeable. Albus is an emo kid who doesn’t like his dad and wants to go pout in the corner and write about his soul. If this is the eighth Harry Potter story, this is vastly disappointing.

C: The thing is it’s not Harry’s story, it’s Albus’s story. So a little false advertising, I guess.

S: I mean, it’s an interesting idea seeing how Harry’s legacy has affected everyone.

C: But it’s not executed well. I’m sure it’s really fun to see on stage, everybody does a good job, it’s fun to watch – I’m sure all of those things are true. But this plot doesn’t work for me. There are ways you could have told the same or similar story and it wouldn’t have been so much at the expense of the intelligence of everyone actually in the story. It’s mediocre, because parts of it don’t make sense, and are just sort of handwaved.

S: Agreed! And that’s what’s disappointing to me because I’ve always loved the thought and complexity of this world, and this feels like fanfiction to me.

C: You’re just angry about the scar thing.

S: Arthritis is a bitch! But if nothing else, we got Dark Magic Moves out of it.

C: That right there is worth this entire book.

S: So.. that’s our analysis! We will try to consider Act 2 this week about this time. We would love to hear what you think in the comments. Feel free to write lots of angry things in the comments about us, our accents, our personalities, our existence if you must! We would also like to hear what you think about the play. And if you strongly disagree, that’s awesome – we’d love to hear some alternative perspectives.

C: I would like to hear some alternative riddles for Hermione’s bookcase. Also, write us some songs for Dark Magic Moves.

S: That is your homework! Hermione clearly needs help, and we need the inaugural single for Dark Magic Moves.

C: If anyone can draw the album art? Please. I would love to be able to, but I can’t.

S: Well, this has been a blast! Thank you, Professor Creed!

C: And to you, Professor Seraphine.

S: Join us next week for Act 2!

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