In our final episode for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, we discuss: convenient bedding, hipster Draco, terrible parenting, why we know everything and nothing, Ron’s transformation into a Muggle, Romeo and Ginny, FUCKING BELLATRIX ARE YOU SERIOUS, Voldemort’s personal boundaries, the sexual dynamics of the Harry Potter series, Rodolphus Lestrange’s deal, how JK Rowling’s skill as a writer single handedly created HP slashfic, Force Lightning Level, the utter uselessness of Brachiobendo, and why we are all Cedric Diggory by the end of this play.
Act 4, Scene 6: CONVENIENT BLANKET IS CONVENIENT
S: Harry and Ginny’s house. Conveniently, Albus’s room. Conveniently, Harry is sitting on Albus’ bed. Ginny enters. Harry: “Don’t worry, I haven’t touched anything. Your shrine is preserved.” CONVENIENTLY.
C: Ginny: “I was wrong to blame you. I always accuse you of jumping to things, and it was me who – Albus went missing and I assumed it was your fault. I’m sorry I did that.” Yes, Ginny, that was in fact shitty.
S: Yeah it was, and kind of unlike you. That was really shitty. At least Harry’s the one who’s crying in this scene instead of Ginny.
C: Ginny’s a tough old broad like her mom.
S: Yeah, she is. He’s going on with his survivor’s guilt: “If only I’d stopped Voldemort sooner.” Harry, you’ve had 20 years to come to terms with what happened and the incredibly complicated way you had to start Voldemort. There’s literally no way you could have stopped him sooner. You had zero options.
C: Yeah, and I understand survivor’s guilt, and I certainly would not want to minimize that, or PTSD, or anything like that. But those people are dead because Voldemort murdered them. Not because of anything Harry did or didn’t do.
S: “If I’d stopped him sooner.” No. Harry, you understand that you couldn’t have because you were there. You know why you couldn’t have stopped him sooner, because you literally stopped him as soon as you possibly could. So – stop it. Now we’re back to the blanket that should not exist, because your Aunt hated you, Harry. Sorry. She hated you, and secondhand things, there’s no way she kept that nasty blanket.
He picks up the blanket. The blanket has holes in it.
And there’s writing burnt through it. So at the time Harry is looking at the blanket I guess it’s being burned into the blanket. They write the message. “Dad, help. Godric’s Hollow.” And then the date: 31/10/81.
C: I think this is the first time we’ve heard Albus described as clever.
S: And the last, I guarantee it. So now they know where and when they are. Harry gets Hermione, Ginny get Draco, we will all meet in Godric’s Hollow with the Time-Turner, and of course, Ginny, we’re going to include you because we kind of sidelined you for most of this play, which is really shitty. We know the writers only care about the dudes in this play, but we’re going to pretend we care about you too.
C: I sort of have a problem with this, because I feel at this point this little cadre of insiders that have been trying to deal with this situation for the entire play and have been failing – maybe why don’t you Time Turn back with the entire fucking Auror department?
S: Maybe call in some reinforcements, because you guys have not been doing the best job. Granted, it’s partly due to your intellectually challenged offspring….
Act 4, Scene 7: Excuse you, Draco shops local and eats farm-to-table
S: Godric’s Hollow. At this point I was kind of in disbelief. No, we are not going to really do this. Not actually. Because at this point I’ve learned enough from these authors to know they’re sending all the adults back to Godric’s Hollow and I was like, oh my god they’re going to have Harry fucking watch his parents get killed. We’re doing all this so Harry Potter can go back in time, witness his parents getting killed, and get some closure?
C: I don’t think that would be considered closure.
S: I don’t think so either but these people have a weird psychosexual understanding of parental relationships, so I don’t think anything’s normal. So I think we’ve reached Level: Ultimate in fanwankery. And we haven’t even gotten there yet, but I know it’s coming and I’m starting to feel nauseated.
Godric’s Hollow. “Oh, look, the farmer’s market.” Draco, you don’t know what a farmer’s market is. You’re a wealthy wizard. You send the house-elf to get the groceries. You’ve never been to a farmer’s market in your life.
C: This entire scene is annoying and pointless. It’s like, let’s start off with what we think is comical commentary on this town, then have some comical back and forth with Ron and Draco, and have Hermione come in and cut that off, and then we move on. What is the point to this scene?
S: There’s no point to this scene. But I do have to say Ron and Draco’s back and forth I like. Ron hesitating, being like, “Oh, Hermione’s mad at me,” and then saying, “Um… nice hair. Draco.” I like that he’s choking on calling him “Draco” as opposed to Malfoy. Yes. You guys are not friends, and having to deal with each other at this point in your life would be extremely uncomfortable. That makes sense. All right, pull out the Time-Turner.
Act 4, Scene 8: Well, we know you and Harry would like
S: Godric’s Hollow. A shed. 1981. And there are the adults. We got the note, we’re joyfully reunited. Draco tells his son “We can hug if you like.”
C: How did they find them? Albus and Scorpius are hiding somewhere in Godric’s Hollow so nobody in the past would interact with them and so they won’t fuck things up, and yet our groups of adults in the present are somehow able to Time Turn back exactly to where they were? Or are we supposed to understand that they searched for a while and found them because Albus and Scorpius are as inept at hiding as they are at literally everything else?
S: Why do you ask questions like that? Why do you try to make us think about these things? We skipped that point on purpose!
C: I’m sorry, I get caught up in the details!
S: The authors obviously didn’t even know the answer to that, so you’re not getting an answer either. And you know, Draco, you’ve proven overall that you’ve developed as a person, you’ve had some very touching in-depth feely-feely conversations with Harry Potter, who you almost kissed. I feel like you can hug your son without being awkward about it. You were terrified he was gone forever. Just hug him! The daddy issues in this play are unbelievable. So we plotsplain why we’re here, what we’re planning. Need to get somewhere where there’s a good view of the town, so St. Jerome’s Church. Somewhere they can hide, watch, figure out what to do.
Act 4, Scene 9: “Masterful” is code for “contrived”
S: Waiting. Albus is crashed out sleeping in a pew. Ready for action. And Ginny and Harry are chatting about Albus. For some reason in their conversation they never once mention how their son is the worst.
C: This whole thing infuriated me. I just have a bunch of question marks written out after this. Harry: “Poor kid thought he had to save the world.” Harry: “Poor kid has saved the world. That blanket was masterful.” No it wasn’t. “I mean, he also almost destroyed the world but probably best not to focus on that.” No, I think we should focus on it with laser-like intensity, actually!
S: “Poor kid has saved the world.” Nope, not yet. You do realize we’re still in pretty serious danger of not saving the world, right?
C: I am so infuriated at the end of this play at the lack of consequences that Scorpius and Albus face for this.
S: Yeah. And I get the kind of precedent set in the original series. Harry, Ron and Hermione do all sorts of ridiculously dangerous things, break every rule in the book, and consistently face no consequences. But the thing is that most of the time they were drawn into situations kind of beyond their control, they did the best they could with them, came out alive and accomplished some good, and didn’t reset time. So overall I feel that that’s a little more justified than what these fools do.
C: The reason they were into all of that stuff was because of Harry being Harry, and Voldemort, and the curse. Albus and Scorpius just did this for shits and giggles.
S: “I hate my dad. He was never there for me. Even though he came back in time to save me.” And then we have this discussion from Ginny about what it was like for her after Chamber of Secrets – that everyone ignored her, except for Harry, who came across the common room and challenged her to a game of Exploding Snap. “People think that they know all there is to know about you, but the best bits of you are – have always been –heroic in really quiet ways.” Okay. Do we not recall the fact that at the end of Chamber of Secrets –
C: That Ginny was completely fine and back to normal?
S: Not just that. Harry, when trying to explain what happened, did everything he could not to say that Ginny was the one who opened the Chamber. Now, Dumbledore understood very clearly how it had happened. And he talked to Ginny about it, and the family knew. I sincerely doubt that Dumbledore then turned around and publicized that information. Do you think?
S: So I don’t believe that it was common knowledge that Ginny Weasley opened the Chamber of Secrets and was being controlled by Voldemort through a possessed diary. I think that it was common knowledge that Ginny Weasley was taken into the Chamber of Secrets, and rescued by Harry, which would be no reason for anyone to ignore her. So again, we’re ignoring a very important part of the original series that illustrates Dumbledore’s compassion, tact, intense care for his students, the fact that he recognized what a burden it would be for Ginny to deal with the stigma of being victimized by Lord Voldemort.
C: It feels like so much of taking things from the book and either willfully misunderstanding it or completely disregarding it, and using it for your own means, and I find it very frustrating.
S: It is very frustrating.
C: And the point of this whole conversation – hang out with your kid, do father-son crap – why has she not had this conversation with him 3 or 4 years ago?
S: I feel like they would have had that conversation before. And then it gets worse. Harry: “It wasn’t until we thought Albus had gone that I truly understood what my mother had been able to do for me – a countercharm so powerful that was able to repel the spell of death.” No, Harry, you understood a long time ago at an extremely deep level, right before you yourself faced death, what your mother did for you. So no. Don’t give me that crap. Because you did, and it was intensely important. Authors, I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed.
C: And that’s even worse.
S: I feel like you need to go to your room and think about what you’ve done, and stop fanwanking over slashfic while you’re there, because that’s what you’ve clearly been doing and it’s a problem. So I guess it just occurred to them now why she picked this night? I guess they thought her idea was to kill Harry, but Ginny points out, if she wanted to kill you she could have done it a long time ago. She’s not here for you, she’s here to stop Voldemort from killing you.
Act 4, Scene 10: For narrative simplicity, forget everything you have ever done
S: Still in the church, and thank you Ron, who would totally say this: “So let me get this right – we’re fighting to protect Voldemort?”
C: And then it gets followed up with this bullshit from Albus: “Voldemort killed my grandparents. Voldemort tried to kill my dad.” Like you give a shit, Albus.
S: He doesn’t. He’s only saying that to be socially acceptable because the grownups are around. So history books show little about when and how he arrived in Godric’s Hollow. I have a question about that, actually. Trying to think – there’s a moment in one of the books – it’s got to be in 7 – where Harry, through his connection with Voldemort, is thrown into Voldemort’s memories, and he’s seeing them through Voldemort’s eyes of the night he killed the Potters. I feel that in that memory he says something about Apparating there. It follows Voldemort walking through the village. There’s a small animal in the brush, he almost kills it, decides not to, and it’s his thought process. So we do know a LITTLE about how he got there. But that would have required reading the original series.
Albus: “Do you know what I’m really good at?” Harry: “There’s plenty you’re good at, Albus.”
C: No, Albus, you’re not. Delphi made that potion.
S: What? What? “And I think Bathilda Bagshot may have all the ingredients for Polyjuice in her basement. We can Polyjuice into Voldemort and bring her to us.” NO YOU FUCKING CAN’T IT TAKES A MONTH.
C: And then Ron points out to do that, you need a bit of the person. “We don’t have a bit of Voldemort.” Okay, Ron, if that’s true, then how did they turn into you guys earlier in the play?
S: And again, no one points out the obvious. We cannot do that. Hermione: “But I like the concept.” No you don’t, it’s stupid! Don’t patronize him. He’s an idiot! He needs help!
So then Ginny suggests Transfiguring.
C: Can you Transfigure into people?
S: Well, in Book 7 they Transfigure parts of Ron’s face to make him look different enough to pass as a stranger. That’s how they get him into Gringotts with Hermione/Bellatrix. So you definitely could. And Ron volunteers to do it. I’ll give him this. I can see Ron doing it. I don’t care for the line “I am probably the most chilled out of all of us,” but “Transfiguring into him would maybe do less damage to me than any of you more…intense…people.” I can see Ron being willing to step up, thinking about the fact that it might be harder for Harry. Draco volunteers: “I think being Voldemort requires precision and a knowledge of Dark Magic.” Hermione volunteers. Why, I don’t know. And then Ginny: “I know what that voice is like inside your head. I won’t have it in mine again.” Why we didn’t all say, well, Harry, you are the most obvious choice – I feel like Hermione would have said, “I know we’d all like to, but there’s really only one option.” And then looked at Harry. I don’t feel there would be this much discussion. Ron and Hermione immediately would know it needed to be Harry. Harry: “For this plan to work she has to believe it’s him without hesitation. She’ll use Parseltongue, and I knew there was a reason I still have that ability.” There is NO reason why you still have that ability, you shouldn’t still have that ability, because you’re not a Horcrux anymore, let me say it one more time loud and clear, sing it if you know the words: HARRY. IS. NOT. A HORCRUX. ANY. MORE.
This is true: “I know what it is to feel like him. I know what it is to be him.” Ron would not argue with that. It’s stupid to have him try to argue this. Ron knows enough about Harry’s experiences that he may not like it, but he would not try to argue him out of it. Ron: “He could get stuck as Voldemort forever.” No. Ron would have faith in Hermione’s ability to fix it.
C: Yeah. She’s the only one who could, because she’s brilliant. She’s Hermione fucking Granger.
S: Yeah. He would have faith in her. “Whatever happens, Hermione will be able to fix it.”
C: Is this something that comes up in the books, where people Transfigure into a thing and then get stuck as that thing?
S: It comes up occasionally. There’s a lot of times in Transfiguration where they only transfigure something halfway, where they have to wait for it to wear off or fix it. But again, they’re adults, experts at what they do, I’m pretty sure Harry’s good at Transfiguration now that he’s an Auror. This is pretty basic compared to some of the other stuff you guys have dealt with.
What the fuck is this? Ron: “He gets her in here, we zap her together.”
C: …… Zap her?
S: I hate these authors. I hate them. They treat Ron like a Muggle, like he doesn’t even speak the language of this world. Ron would not say that. “Easy – he gets her in here, we trap her. Put her in a full body-bind. We stun her.” These are things he would say.
So the idea is they get her to a certain point and everybody goes after her. NOW Albus trusts his dad.
C: And he calls Malfoy by his first name. Again, inappropriate use of first names.
S: “Mr. Malfoy,” thank you very much, because he’s way older than you, you are not on the same level, AND he’s your lover’s dad. You call him Mr. Malfoy and you like it.
And they transform him into Voldemort. Sure, why not. Nothing else makes any sense.
Act 4, Scene 11: From forth the fatal loins of these two foes/A pair of star-cross’d lovers force us to argue about Voldemort’s sex life
C: Albus: “It’s going to be okay. You know that, Mum?” Ginny: “I know it is, or at least I hope I do. I just – don’t want to see him like that. The man I love shrouded in the man I hate.” Okay, Juliet. My only love sprung from my only hate. These lines. She would not talk to her child that way.
S: And I do appreciate the notion of Ginny struggling with this, because I always felt that was underexplored. That was one of the things Ginny and Harry had that literally no one else could relate to. They could empathize with her. But don’t you think Ginny would be a lot more shaken if he had looked like Tom Riddle? Imagine having Harry transfigure into Tom. That would be traumatizing.
Regardless, this is stupid.
C: And also, would she be focused on “I don’t want to see him like that” or would she be more concerned with what it’s doing to Harry?
S: I think she’d be concerned about that too. Instead of this line I can see her saying to Albus, “I don’t want to see him like that.” And then looking at him, saying, “You don’t know. You’re too young. Your father went through a lot, and this is not something I ever wanted him to have to deal with ever again.” That makes more sense. This characterization of Ginny doesn’t make a lot of sense, and I know we’re all shocked by this. Characterization has had so much integrity up until now. But minor details in otherwise excellent work. Right?
C: I like this part from Albus: “I liked her, Mum. You know that? I really liked her. Delphi. She was Voldemort’s daughter.” And that is right after his father has just been Transfigured into Voldemort, and right after his mother has just expressed an intense emotional dismay about what his father is going through – and Albus immediately turns it around to make it all about him.
C: But at least he says, “This is all my fault.” And then Ginny proceeds to absolve him of blame.
S: Of all guilt. “How funny? Your dad seems to think it’s all his. Strange pair that you are.” Ginny, you and Harry are bad parents. You have a worthless son and you don’t hold him accountable for anything. Take some parenting classes, because he’s going to end up literally blowing up the world if you don’t do something now.
C: He’s going to end up being a total prat as an adult. Not just going through early-teens-emo-we’re-all-like-this. Which is partly what I think we’re supposed to think about Albus, and partly just that he’s really emotional and a deep thinker, and Lily and James are just shallower, easier kids, but Albus has all this depth to him. Um… no. He’s just an idiot.
S: No, he’s just a spoiled, petulant child. And I also get the feeling that the writers read a little Dramione fanfic. This little conversation: “Hermione Granger. I’m being bossed around by Hermione Granger. And I’m mildly enjoying it.” You know, we could do this recreationally, if that’s what you’re in to.
C: The porn parody writes itself.
S: Now we have Harry being Voldemort, Shakespeare-style. “If you were my daughter, I’d know of you.” Delphi: “I’m from the future!” This is the point where I banged the book against my forehead and started shouting unintelligible phrases that didn’t make any sense. “I am from the future. The child of Bellatrix Lestrange and you. I was born in Malfoy Manor before the Battle of Hogwarts – a battle you are going to lose. I have come to save you.” I want to scream really loudly right now, but I need to take pity on everyone’s ears. Because WHYYYYY? Please tell me you are not on board with this bullshit.
C: Which part exactly am I not supposed to be on board with?
S: The child of Bellatrix Lestrange? Number one, we never got any indication that Bellatrix was pregnant at any point in time. Number 2, there is enough evidence in the book that Voldemort was pretty much constantly just using Bellatrix. He didn’t care about her at all.
C: You don’t have to care about people to make a child with them.
S: I know, but – maybe the thing I object to is vulnerability. This kind of thing – fucking your really insane, married lieutenant – especially at this point – is an extreme and dangerous vulnerability. I do not see Voldemort being willing to engage in that kind of thing.
C: Why do you think it’s a vulnerability?
S: Why isn’t it?
C: She’s obsessed with him, she’s not going anywhere.
S: Yes, but it requires a connection, even if you don’t emotionally feel something about someone. Sex makes you vulnerable.
C: I don’t think that’s always true.
S: It’s an act of more or less vulnerability, unless you’re talking about rape, but still – even then I’d argue a sort of anthropological-level vulnerability. I do not buy Voldemort in this kind of dynamic with one of his servants.
C: I disagree fundamentally with your premise that sex makes you vulnerable. I think there are plenty of people who would tell you, “I can fuck a stranger and it means nothing.”
S: No, when I say vulnerable I don’t mean emotionally vulnerable per se. Let me see if I can parse what I mean. Do I mean that by having sex with Bellatrix Voldemort makes himself emotionally vulnerable? No. Do I mean that he’s exposing himself to the possibility of caring for her? No. To possibly getting hurt? No. It’s just the act itself is in such a fundamental way, by definition vulnerable. You are allowing a person intensely intimate contact with your body. I think most people can compartmentalize, or you can have sex with someone casually which is fine – but regardless of how you view it, it is an act of physical intimacy and physical vulnerability. You are removing the artifices we wear and allowing a person access to your physical body. And I’m not saying that Voldemort would be afraid of Bellatrix in any way. But I don’t see him ever lessening that barrier between himself, which allowed him such an appearance of power and control over others, keeping himself above and separate from others, to have sex with someone. It’s almost as if by doing that he’d be putting himself on their level. It’s admitting to having a certain level of human urge, of having an urge that controls you to a certain extent. And acting on that with people who you are controlling reduces your position somewhat.
C: I think you’re way over romanticizing it, because when I’m thinking of Voldemort and Bellatrix having sex, I’m not thinking of them tumbling around together naked in the sheets. I’m thinking he bends her over the back of a sofa, unzips his fly and fucks her. There’s no vulnerability there.
S: Yeah, I know.
C: I think there’s an argument to be made for Voldemort’s only purpose – it was to gain power and extend his life indefinitely, and that such things would be beneath him – there’s an argument for that. But someone who wants power wants to enjoy it and to flaunt it. And he’s got this group of people who are terrified of him but willing to do anything to curry his favor. And I think he would greatly enjoy doing things like saying, “Hey, Rodolphus Lestrange, I’m going to make you watch while I fuck your wife.” I can see him doing that to prove how powerful he is, that he can do anything to anyone and they’ll stick by him because they’re so afraid.
S: I give you that. I’m having a hard time expressing what I mean, because the words I’m using have an emotional connotation to them, and I don’t actually mean it in that sense. I’m extremely big-picturing it, almost anthropologically, looking at the mechanics of that basic human interaction and its fundamental functions and implications. But I see your point. And maybe the part that causes me this struggle is the fact that whether or not the books got extremely dark, it is still fundamentally a children’s series. And Rowling did excise most of the sexual implications from the books. Even the romances in the books are very innocent. Yes, Ron makes out with Lavender Brown every chance he gets but there’s not a lot of innuendo or laden language there. She’s very respectful of the children’s series and doesn’t oversexualize. Even the adults, there’s no real sexual connotations to most of the adult relationships. Which is why slashfic and fanfic have exploded from this series, because people read this and want that sexual dynamic, and then turn around and write what they want to introduce those components. Because she took such care to keep it out.
C: Yes. To use Ron as an example, we’re supposed to be thinking, Ew, Ron, get a grip. It’s not written in a way that’s supposed to be at all titillating. You’re not supposed to cheer for it.
S: Even Harry – read between the lines, and Harry and Ginny spend a lot of time making out. But it’s written so tastefully – there’s even a moment when he and Ron are talking and he’s struggling with his attraction to Ginny. There’s a line where Harry is “devoutly grateful that Ron could not read his thoughts.” It’s tastefully done – you understand what’s happening, but it’s not being exploited. So maybe my complete gut rejection of this kind of plotline for Voldemort is a result of her having done her job very well. Maybe the way she wrote him makes me struggle intensely to create a sexual dynamic for that character, when it seems so excised from his character. But I don’t struggle to do that for other characters, so I don’t know.
C: I think if there was a situation like Voldemort in real life – a charismatic leader with a bunch of people in his thrall – he would 100 percent be fucking all the women.
S: Yes, and I think we’ve seen that over and over. These extremely powerful people who fall, and then we find out all the dirty little things they’re up to. I’ll give you that. I don’t think I will ever be able to integrate that into my understanding of Voldemort. I may, but I think I’ll always be that person who just can’t see it.
C: It doesn’t bother me either way. I don’t necessarily believe that she is his kid. The only thing that really lends it credence in this play is the fact that she speaks Parseltongue. But if she is, she is, if she’s not, she’s not. What are the odds that we’re ever going to see anything with her in it ever again?
S: Considering that I reject most everything about this play, this plotline is just icing on the illogical cake. Do I really need to struggle with the notion of Voldemort having a kid? Not really, because this whole thing is stupid. It’s bad fanfiction and it ignores the best things about the characters, so I generally reject the play. So am I that fussed about having to reject this notion of Delphi as Voldemort’s kid? Not really. I don’t buy this play for a second, so for the purposes of this play, since everything up to now has been ludicrous, sure she’s his kid! Why not? I’m suspending all belief and emotional investment, other than my disgust.
C: I understand what you mean about her writing and how careful she was. To bring it back to my favorite subject of Star Wars: in A New Hope you have this terrible thing that happens. Owen and Beru get killed, there are charred bones, and Luke is very moved by it. Later on in the movie, the entire fucking planet of Alderaan is blown up. And later, Obi-Wan gives up his life fighting Vader. Obi-Wan and Owen and Beru’s deaths are treated in the movie as more important than Leia getting her planet blown up. In the movie they’re on the Millennium Falcon, they escape, Luke is sitting there, “I can’t believe he’s gone.” Leia puts her arm around him and comforts him. Meanwhile she has suffered something far more traumatic, something none of us will ever be able to wrap our minds around because we are all on our planet, but those things are treated as more important than literally billions of people dying all at once. It comes down to what you want to focus on, and what beats you want to hit. In the context of the movie, it plays out fine. It’s not like you watch it and think, “Luke, how can you not be reciprocating for Leia?” Because Leia has shown that she is resilient and a badass, and she at that point in the movie is much tougher, cooler and smarter than Luke is. So we’re not worried about her.
S: She’s also capable of extending compassion even while dealing with her emotions, and not having to put them on someone else. So that’s a testament to the strength of that character. It depends on what your focus is. I think the world of fanfiction has gone completely the other way because the books were so sexless, and so fanfiction turned around and tried to write every possible iteration of the characters screwing each other madly. But I don’t believe the books are entirely sexless, and I believe there’s a lot of sexual implications that are important to talk about.
C: I’m looking forward to 5-7 to parse everything about Bellatrix and Voldemort, and see if there’s a way this can fit. Whether it does or not it will be fun.
S: The only thing I can give you that I think might work against my argument is Rodolphus Lestrange. Bellatrix’s husband, who was in Azkaban with her, is released when they all escape, and we are led to assume is still hanging around – but who we hardly ever see. Instead, we see Bellatrix with Voldemort constantly, throwing her heaving bosom at him, and him just generally ignoring that. But if you were going to argue something between Bellatrix and Voldemort, I think Rodolphus Lestrange is the key to that argument. Because there is clearly a dynamic there where Rodolphus is her husband but is completely out of the picture. Maybe that’s part of his loyal service to Lord Voldemort – yes, he’s married to Bellatrix Lestrange, but he doesn’t act like a husband in any sense of the word.
C: Am I just making this up, or is there something in Book 5 where Sirius talks about Bellatrix and Rodolphus being married basically for pure-blood reasons, to carry on pure-blood lines?
S: I don’t recally him saying that specifically about Bellatrix, although it’s more or less implied, because he talks about how the Blacks always marry their cousins and that it narrows the pool considerably if you are determined only to marry other purebloods. We also know Bellatrix did not have any children by Book 6. Whatever her relationship with her husband was, it was interesting. I’ve always been interested in that dynamic. Because Rodolphus Lestrange, for all intents and purposes, might as well be dead – but he’s not! He’s around. But that’s even weirder when you take that into consideration.
S: Yeah, 5 is going to be fun.
C: I’m interested!
S: So now that we’ve completely segued into whether Voldemort is a sexual being – I say no, you say yes – we agree, however that this play is ludicrous – and we move forward.
VoldeHarry pretends to be skeptical that she is his daughter. “You look like Bellatrix, though you haven’t inherited the best of her.” Nice dismissive comment. Delphi speaks in Parseltongue. Harrymort: “Not good enough.” Delphi hovers. Apparently that’s good enough? Dude, Umbridge can fly! Snape can fly! It’s not a hereditary thing. Could have learned it anywhere it seems.
C: The Parseltongue is much more convincing to me, of those two things.
S: So she doesn’t claim to be worthy of him, but she has devoted her life to being a child he could be proud of. Harrymort accepts her, calls her daughter.
C: Which – no fucking way. It would take much more than that.
S: Maybe. Possible. See, again, this is where my perception of Voldemort is problematic. Harrymort: “I have never met a witch or wizard who attempted to be my equal before.” In my mind, that’s a warning bell and you should turn and run the other way. Because Voldemort does not tolerate anyone attempting to be his equal. And if his daughter showed up and is like, you know, I’ve tried to be as good as you or better – if he invites you to step closer so he can look at you? You’re about to die! He’s not going to tolerate that.
C: I think that’s actually the biggest argument for why she wouldn’t be his kid. Why would you want to have a child, or carry on – it wouldn’t even be a pure-blood line, because he’s not pure-blood, but everyone assumes he is – his plan is to be immortal. Why would he want anyone —
S: He doesn’t. He doesn’t want an heir, family, child – he doesn’t want someone running around who could lay claim to his power or try to be special based on their relationship with him. He likes the ability to kick people to the curb whenever he feels like it, no matter how long they’ve been serving him.
C: So I don’t find the sex problematic at all. I find the possibility that there could be a child – presumably, let’s say for the sake of argument that she was really his kid, and she was born at Malfoy Manor before the Battle of Hogwarts – he knows she exists. Unless Bellatrix decides that she’s then going to try to pass it off as her husband’s, but —
S: I think Voldemort knows that’s probably not the case, and she couldn’t hide the fact that she was pregnant. I think everyone would have figured out what was going on. So… this is problematic.
C: How much of her do we actually see in Book 6? We see her in 5 and 7, and we get a lot of werewolf shit, but not her.
S: Yeah, we don’t see a lot of her in Book 6. If she’s born in Malfoy Manor before the Battle of Hogwarts, lots of people would know about it. Lots of people would know she had been pregnant. I don’t think anyone would honestly think she was the child of Rodolphus Lestrange. So we’d have way more than rumors – people would know it. And it would be pretty common knowledge that it was the notorious Bellatrix Lestrange’s child.
C: Maybe that’s the reason why the rumors have stuck around so long, though. We talked earlier in the play about how dumb it was that these things hung around for so long and there was no proof, although frankly in this play everyone seems to know everything they shouldn’t know —
S: But then why would the rumors spring up around Draco? Bellatrix is as infamous as Voldemort. Why would anyone think if Voldemort had a child, that it would be Draco’s wifes? Why would anyone think – unless – I’m so confused! If you go back and try to parse this out, it gets harder. If we go the route that she’s not actually his kid but thinks she is, that’s something else. Because then you have a person raised on this false notion who has completely committed herself to emulating this evil figure, believing him to be her father, who has taught herself Dark Magic and has now committed to bringing him back. That’s interesting.
C: Well, maybe the reason why the rumor would come around someone like the Malfoys is they’re also a pure-blood, Dark Magic family, and it’s purposely done as misdirection.
S: I think that’s giving these people wayyyyy too much credit. No one in this play understands misdirection. It’s interesting, though.
C: I feel like I could talk about just this part alone for a while.
S: For a long time. I get the feeling we’re going to go back to it when we hit that point in the books, too.
C: If nothing else, this has given us something very interesting to discuss.
S: I’m very much looking forward to discussing the sexual dynamics of the Wizarding world. That’s a rich subject!
C: I think we have to be hands down, by far the sexiest Harry Potter podcast out there.
S: By far, the sexiest. And the porniest.
C: And the cursiest.
S: So Harrymort gets an icky line, in light of what we are talking about: “Come here in the light so I may examine what my blood made.” EWWWWWWWWWW. Why is that so gross?
C: He must have gone to sex ed classes in America! Because that’s not what blood makes!
S: That’s not what happens! Maybe they didn’t have sex! Maybe it’s a magical blood magic pregnancy spell! It’s as good an explanation as anything. For some reason the Transfiguration is wearing off. Why? Why is it wearing off?
C: That didn’t take long. Maybe because 15 separate people cast the stupid spell, instead of just letting Hermione do it?
S: There’s no reason for this except that it is convenient for the plot, and these people are all about ruining this world in the service of their crappy-ass plot.
C: Delphi says “Father” so many times.
S: She’s got daddy issues too. So Harrymort is quicky turning back into Harry but trying not to show it, and Delphi is getting suspicious. And then sees very clearly that he’s not Voldemort.
C: Why does she have to stand exactly in the light? Why can’t they just rush her right now? I don’t understand–
S: What they’re waiting on?
C: They don’t have a net suspended from the ceiling waiting to drop on her. There’s no X for her to stand on before they drop her into the Rancor pit. Just open the goddamn doors and stun her!
S: They’ve cast spells at each other. “The bolts meet in a beautiful explosion in the middle of the room.” I have a problem with this also, but I’ll yell about it when we get to Book 4.
C: I want to say – she is shooting bolts from her hand!
S: Force lightning! WE ARE ACTUALLY AT THE FORCE LIGHTNING LEVEL NOW.
Then she does Colloportus to seal the doors. I’m pretty sure I remember a counterjinx to Colloportus that Hermione would know?
Anyway, it’s Harry and Delphi fighting. She disarms him, and then she monologues, because that’s what villains do. Explosions, stuff moving on set. Albus runs in and she tries to kill Albus, which doesn’t work.
S: Albus uses Alohomora to open the doors. If that’s all it took to open the doors sealed using Colloportus then I have no faith in any of these people any longer. They all come running in, and she can’t fight them all.
C: Now we have this line from Harry: “I’ve never fought alone, you see. And I never will.” Okay, well, go apologize to Dumbledore’s portrait.
S: Yeah. You need to go apologize right now, young man. So they circle her, take her down, Hermione puts Brachiobendo on her, which is stupid, use Bodybind. Albus is okay – he crawled through the grate, apparently?
C: I think it strange – Ginny says “He was the only one small enough to crawl through the grate.” I have been picturing Scorpius as smaller than him this entire time.
S: Me too. I pictured Scorpius as kind of petite compared to Albus. And why do these words take Harry by surprise? “I only wanted to know my father.” Why does that take you by surprise? That’s not surprising at all, given what you know!
And now we are at the point where I am dead. I have died due to the sheer disgustingly indulgent fanwankery that we have reached. Because, here we go – they hear the real Voldemort arriving. “There is a noise like death.”
C: Why don’t they just go forward in time?
S: Go forward! Get out of there! No, we can’t – because Harry has to see this. It’s very important.
C: I don’t agree with that. At all.
S: I don’t agree with this either.
Act 4, Scene 12: They get off on watching, too??
S: Harry’s having an existential crisis about the fact that Voldemort’s about to kill his parents and there’s nothing he can do to stop him. Albus: “There is something you could do to stop him. But you won’t.” Draco: “That’s heroic.”
C: Can I just say that I love that she’s Brachiobendo’ed, when she should be Petrificus Totalus’ed, and that would have taken care of everything, but then Draco hits her with Silencio, and then Wingardium Leviosa. Stage direction: “She is sent upwards and away.” TO WHERE?
S: Where does she go?
C: Who is watching her? She just floated off somewhere? You fucking kidding me?
S: Is she just hovering? It’s just a Hovering Charm. Draco, should have thought that through.
Ginny: “You don’t have to watch, Harry.” Harry: “I’m letting it happen. Of course I have to watch.” Hermione: “Then we’ll all witness it.” Ron: “We’ll all watch.”
C: Why don’t you all just return to the point in time where you are supposed to be?
S: Fuck this fuck this fuck all of this.
C: There is no way—thank God my parents have never been murdered, thank God Time-Turners don’t exist and people can’t fuck around with stuff like this – but there is no fucking way that I would ever submit willingly to watching someone I loved be murdered.
S: I can understand the sort of helpless fascination it might hold for Harry, getting to see his parents even if it’s at the most horrible moment of their lives, given how significant it’s been through his entire life. I grant you that.
C: But this is all for the audience, it’s not for the character.
S: This is exactly for the audience. It’s not about Harry, the plot or the story. This is about a bunch of audience members getting off on Harry Potter with tears in his eyes watching his parents’ noble sacrifice. This is the ultimate fanwankery. And it’s gross. The over the top sentimentality. This is not about Harry, and that pisses me off. It’s just doing it for the audience.
C: It’s like emotional torture porn.
S: “It’s like lightning passes through Harry’s body. He’s sent to the floor, a pure mess of grief.” Stage transforms, rotates.
Act 4, Scene 13: Giant, weepy set dressing
S: They’re watching Hagrid going through the house and finding Harry, weeping, and taking him away. Fan service again.
C: Which is such an abrupt tonal shift that I extremely dislike it. Also because it’s Scorpius and Albus, and I extremely dislike them.
S: And also because they’re acting like everything’s fine and great, and there are zero consequences.
C: Which is pretty annoying.
S: And insulting.
Act 4, Scene 14: Don’t worry, Scorpius, you’ll make him jealous yet
S: Scorpius is all excited that he asked out Rose. Scorpius, you don’t need a beard! Just be honest about your feelings!
My soul is wrung out. They’re talking about girls and seducing older women. Scorpius: “Rose is going to take years to persuade.”
C: God, this line from Albus: “I honestly thought I’d be the first to get a girlfriend.” Self absorbed cock to the end.
S: He definitely is. And Quidditch is happening. Albus: “I thought we hated Quidditch.” Scorpius: “People can change!” Oh, we can like things other people like now and it’s not a betrayal of our emo-ness? Awwww. And then Harry wants to take Albus somewhere.
C: Albus: “I know. I think it’s a bonding thing or something similarly vomit-inducing. Still, you know, I think I’ll go.” Well, that’s fucking generous of you, Albus.
S: Yeah, that’s nice of you! Given that you now have a new understanding of the sacrifices your father made on behalf of the entire future, the world, and you – yeah, you be generous with your time and spare him a few minutes of your day.
C: I fucking hate him so much.
S: Scorpius reaches in and hugs Albus. “What’s this? I thought we decided we don’t hug.” Scorpius: “I wasn’t sure whether we should. In this new version of us I had in my head.” Well. Okay. A hug’s a start. We all know where it leads.
C: Make sure you leave enough room for Jesus.
Act 4, Scene 15: The hills are alive…
S: “A beautiful hill.” Harry and Albus are out on their walk. Albus is telling him some of the things he saw when he was watching James and Lily. They try to explain away why Harry’s scar was hurting, dreaming, and speaking in Parseltongue. Their explanation: “The part of me that was Voldemort died a long time ago. But it wasn’t enough to be physically rid of him. I had to be mentally rid of him. And that is a lot to learn for a 40 year old man.” No. Just no. I reject it. Harry’s afraid of the dark? No he’s not. Small spaces, I can buy. Harry doesn’t like pigeons? What the fuck is this?
C: Why are pigeons so maligned? There’s nothing wrong with pigeons. They’re just birds.
S: At least this is fine. Harry’s like, hey, I didn’t have a dad, I don’t have a lot to go on, and I’m trying to be a better dad for you. Albus: “I’ll try and be a better son.” YOU THINK YOU CAN TRY? CAN YOU? THAT’S GENEROUS.
And again Harry’s letting him off the hook! “I almost destroyed the world.” “You know, Delphi wasn’t going anywhere. You brought her into the light and you found a way for us to fight her.” Noooo…. She used you because you were being stupid and conveniently screwed herself. Albus didn’t really have much to do with that… but sure.
C: I have a huge problem with that. “You may not see it now, but you saved us.” Bull. Shit.
S: And we’re back to Slytherin – Gryffindor – labels – thing. “The name shouldn’t be a burden. Dumbledore had trials. Snape had trials. They were great men. They had huge flaws.” And they come to Cedric’s grave. Apparently there’s a graveyard near Hogwarts?
C: So where the fuck are they walking? Why is Cedric buried there?
S: They just say they’re on a beautiful hill. They may not necessarily be near Hogwarts. Who knows. At least they mention Cedric. Harry: “I didn’t know Cedric well enough. He could have played Quidditch for England. Been a brilliant Auror. He could have been anything. So I come here, just to say sorry, when I can.” I see Harry doing that.
But the fact that this play ends with them staring at the blue sky, happy together, saying “I think it’s going to be a nice day” and absolutely no one has suffered any consequences for the complete, sheer fuckwittery of this entire play – except for the audience, who now has a migraine and feels emotionally violated – is some bullshit, and I’ve never been gladder to close a book in my entire life.
C: Yeah, I’m really glad that we’re done with this. If we don’t have at least one sex tangent per episode, it’s a wasted episode. But I still think it was the right move to go with this first, because it is the most recent thing, but I’m glad to have it in the rearview mirror until 5-7 when we can bring it back in and talk about it in terms of Voldemort and Bellatrix, and maybe…
S: Some of the more interesting issues proposed that the play doesn’t touch at all, but which are actually there.
Now the next thing: you need to see Fantastic Beasts, because we need to talk about it.
C: I intended to do it this weekend, but we got over 4 inches of rain, so no. But hopefully I’ll see it this weekend, and after that – Rogue One! Where we will start our Star Wars podcast.
S: And then we will start with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Cannot wait. So many things to talk about, it will be wonderful!
Thank you so much for putting up with our long, rambling episodes. If you have any comments about Voldemort’s sex life, or lack thereof, please feel free to share.
Shout out to Cajun Ginger, who let me know that they’ve been reading everything we put up, felt bad about not commenting (please don’t!). Thank you for letting us know you enjoy it and that you’re there paying attention. That makes us really happy! And even if you don’t have anything witty to say, just pop in to say hi!
Shoutout also to Happy Berry, who informed me that our ludicrous episode titles got them to start reading. Mission: accomplished.
Thank you for suffering with us. I feel like we’ve grown as people. I’ve learned things about myself. You know what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Right?
C: So I hear. But in every moment of happiness, remember that there is poison. That you will one day hurt again.
S: And when that happens, I will hole up in my room, put on some Dark Magic Moves, and just watch the porn parody. For this week, I am Professor Seraphine –
C: I am Professor Creed —
S: And we’ll see you next time.