Everyone shut up, sit down and let me tell you about the best part of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It involves a character you have probably never paid attention to, who turns out to be the most terrifying entity in the entirety of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Hey, kids, remember the kind old lady puttering around the Hogwarts Express selling treats to Hogwarts students? She is also the train’s security. She was hired in 1830 by the Minister who got the Hogwarts Express built and she’s stuck around for nearly two centuries feeding kids and keeping them on the train. She’s been doing it for so long she doesn’t remember her name. But she’s never let a kid get off the train.
Now, because the world of Harry Potter is an endless cycle of things that should be terrifying but have been normalised by centuries, the way the Trolley Witch keeps her charges on the train is fairly disturbing.
So let’s play a quick guessing game. How does she keep her charges on the train? Does she:
A) Transform her pumpkin pasties (of which she has made over six million) into a grenade and throw it at children
B) Does something even worse with Chocolate Frogs
C) Have spikes for hands
D) All of the above.
Of course it’s D! It’s the train to Hogwarts, a school where the stairs move around and they once kept a giant three-headed dog, after all. Of course its version of rail security is also “terrifying the students”.
The scariest part of this isn’t just how scary the Trolley Witch is, it’s that the adults’ reaction is, “She keeps talking about letting down the person who hired her, she’s so proud of her record,” and not the more reasonable, “If a kid is up to some minor mischief and thinking about getting off the train, we shouldn’t be sending an old woman with spikes for hands and exploding treats after them.”
I love this development. It is exactly the kind of hilariously ridiculous thing that made me love Harry Potter in the first place. Also, the witch is described in the stage directions as “Her hair wild. Her spikes particularly spiky,” which is amazing.
I really have missed having more Harry Potter stories.