Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is like pure Potter concentrate; that is to say, the plot twists come thick and they come fast, and they are all pretty much ridiculous. Here are the absolute craziest moments from the new play — some awesome, some outrageously horrible, but all of them completely insane. All images by Manuel Harlan via harrypottertheplay.com
[Author's note: I want everyone to know that I did not pick the horrible number joke in this list. My editor did. (I did laugh and agree, though.)]
9 ¾) The Trolley Witch
I've already gone into this in depth, but the revelation that the old woman who sells treats on the Hogwarts Express is also a terrifying witch with spikes for hands who throws exploding pumpkin pasties at rascally kids is one of the best things in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
9) Scorpius keeps the Time-Turner
A lot of Cursed Child is about Harry and Ginny's son Albus and Draco's son Scorpius — who are actually good pals — going into the past with the help of a Time-Turner. They manage to briefly create a dystopia where Voldemort won, although they do fix it. But when they return to the present — again, after nearly destroying the world — Scorpius elects to keep the Time-Turner instead of giving it to the adults. Which of course gives the villain another opportunity to destroy them all. The sad truth is that Scorpius is still the smartest person in this play.
8) Ron gives his 14-year-old nephew a love potion
Love potions are already one of the creepier things in Harry Potter, to the point where it's much nicer to imagine that they don't work any better than they do in the real world. But it takes a whole new level of skeeviness when Ron gives one to Albus Potter as a back-to-school gift. "Here, teenage nephew of mine, here's something lets you get physically involved with someone against their will!"
7) Apparently the thing that brought Ron and Hermione together was Viktor Krum
The first time Albus and Scorpius travel back in time to the events of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, they disguise themselves as Durmstrang students. Their suspicious behaviour keeps Hermione from going to the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum. (Credit where credit is due, this means that it freaked Hermione out that two Durmstrang students she'd never met knew her name. Good instincts that something weird was going on, Hermione.) Apparently, though, Ron's jealousy over Krum taking Hermione to the ball was the thing that got the two of them together, because after Albus and Scorpius mess this up and return to the future, Ron and Hermione are not a couple.
6) Not marrying Ron made Hermione cruel as hell
Once Albus and Scorpius got back to the present, they discover Ron has married Padma Patil instead, while Hermione became the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and she is mean. Like, Snape-levels of mean. She says to Albus, "Just keep quiet, Potter, otherwise you'll lose what limited popularity you already have." She also mocks Albus about having an invisible friend. You know, like all good teachers do to their students.
5) Hermione hid the Time-Turner in a very dumb way
When Albus, Scorpius and Delphi break into the Ministry to steal the Time-Turner, they end up in Hermione, the Minister for Magic's, office. There, Scorpius takes a book off a shelf, opens it, and discovers it gives him a riddle. Solving it leads to another book with another riddle, which leads to another book. This continues until it leads them to a book which contains the Time-Turner.
So, instead of using a spell that only strong magic would defeat, she left it protected by riddles that a kid — a very smart kid, but a kid nonetheless — figured out. Even Dumbledore used more than just a riddle to hide the Sorcerer's Stone, and he was horrible at his job.
Maybe you should put a little bit more effort into hiding something that can change the course of time, Hermione, is all we're saying. McGonagall speaks for us all: "And in a bookcase. You kept it in a bookcase. It's almost laughable."
4) The Mirror Potterverse
The second time Albus and Scorpius travel back in time, they humiliate Cedric Diggory by turning him into a balloon during the second task of the Triwizard tournament. This humiliation is so bad that he becomes a Death Eater. Also he kills Neville and that leads to a total Voldemort victory.
This leads to an alternate timeline which is so much the Mirror Potterverse that I'm shocked that young Mirror Scorpius doesn't have a goatee. (In addition to the horrors of a Wizarding Britain under Voldemort, the new timeline has somehow made Scorpius athletic.) Also the people celebrate Voldemort Day and have a Blood Ball. And Hermione is the top of the Most Wanted list. It's all kinds of amazing.
3) Harry Potter turns his son's life into a surveillance state
After Harry decides that the problem in Albus' life is that Scorpius is his only friend, he forbids Albus from being in the same room as the Malfoy kid — to the point where he forces Hogwarts to change class schedules around so they won't be together. That's pretty crazy, but then Harry takes it a step further. He gives the Marauder's Map to Headmistress Minerva McGonagall so that, I swear to God, she can use it as a spying tool to watch his kid (and others). Even she's reluctant to do it and she points out it's definitely the opposite of what the makers intended. Good going, Harry.
2) Albus kisses his aunt
During the aforementioned break-in of Hermione's office, Delphini, Albus and Scorpius use the time-honoured method of Polyjuice Potion to impersonate Hermione, Ron and Harry. Of course, while they're in the office, Harry and Hermione show up, so only Albus-as-Ron can go out and distract them. Which he does by kissing Hermione and asking to have a) another baby and/or b) a holiday. With his aunt. Excuse me while I set my hair on fire.
Kudos to Scorpius for saying, "I don't know whether to high-five you or frown at you for kissing your aunt about five hundred times!" Frown, Scorpius. Frown.
1) Delphini is the daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange
It turns out that Delphini is the love child of He Who Must Not Be Named and Nymphadora Tonks' aunt. Besides having the image of them having sex burned into your brain forever, your dream of one day having a Harry Potter story without Voldemort and his followers being the ultimate villains is as dead as he is.