Spoiler alert! The following contains major spoilers from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
What, exactly, just happened?
If you’re like us and you stayed up all Saturday night reading your copy of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script, the eighth Potter story from J.K. Rowling, you now know we live in a world in which time-turners are a plot device again, Hermione is the Minister for Magic, and, oh yeah, Voldemort has a love child.
All is not as well as the epilogue from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had us believe.
And while the play manages to navigate its twists and callbacks and take the series to a new and interesting place, it makes some really insane turns along the way. We break down the biggest twists:
Ron and Hermione almost didn’t end up together
In 2014, Rowling said in an interview with none other than Emma Watson that Hermione and Ron shouldn’t have ended up together. “For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.”
Twice in Cursed Child. Rowling revisits the validity of Ron and Hermione’s relationship, in each alternate timeline created by Albus and Scorpius’ meddling. In the first, a mess-up at the Yule Ball means Ron ends up with Padma Patil, and in the second, the end of the world prevents their happily-ever-after marriage and children. And while it might seem as if those timelines are arguments against the fan-favorite relationship, their love spilled over into each timeline. Hermione and Ron were tested, and if anything, they came out stronger on the other side.
Cedric Diggory was one bad day away from being a Death Eater
The catastrophic change that Albus and Scorpius make in their second trip to the past is to humiliate Cedric Diggory in the second Triwizard Tournament task by making it look as if his magic went wrong. Cedric’s anger over this incident is enough to turn him to Voldemort’s cause, and, while fighting as a Death Eater in the Battle of Hogwarts, he kills Neville Longbottom and prevents one of the horcruxes from being destroyed (because Neville is amazing and slayed that horrible snake). That was enough to tip the scales and let Voldemort win.
The hellish alternate reality that resulted from this change was scary enough, but the idea that Cedric, long upheld as one of the most honorable characters in the entire series, was so close to becoming evil is unsettling to say the least. But Cursed Child doesn’t shy away from graying the lines of good and evil, from Draco’s evolution to Scorpius’ questioned parentage.
The Malfoys had some super-powerful time-turners stashed away
OK, can we talk about the time-turners for a second? Fans have long pointed to these incredibly powerful devices as an easy way for the series to have solved its Voldemort problem once and for all.
After giving time-travel powers to a 13-year-old who overbooked her class schedule, the stock of devices was conveniently destroyed in Order of the Phoenix, but it turns out there were two extra-powerful models in the hands of the Malfoys the entire time. And nobody did anything with them, because Lucius just wanted them for “show.”
Little Miss Voldemort
Oh boy, here it is. The twist that most resembles a fanfic or two that you’ve read. Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange had a love child. And she did not grow up very nice.
Apparently, this daughter was born in Malfoy Manor just before the Battle of Hogwarts. She was told that she was to fulfill a prophecy to bring Voldemort back and was raised by a Death Eater to be a generally terrifying witch who can speak Parseltongue and fly without a broom, just like her old man. She tries to manipulate Albus to fulfill what she believes is his part of the prophecy.
She’s an intriguing new villain to add to the Potter world, but we’re not sure if we’ll ever get over the idea of Voldemort having a child. It’s just feels so wrong.