Hiya folks! It’s time for my next installment of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Chapter-A-Long read! I really enjoyed doing this last time and hope you enjoyed it as well. I’m moving these posts to Mondays because schedule-wise, that’s easier for me.
This week, we are taking a look at Act 1, Scenes 4 through 6. Let’s jump in!
Scene 4 – Transition Scene
The stage direction of at the beginning of this scene states that “there are no individual scenes, but fragments, shards that show the constant progression of time.” From reading it, I really wish I could have seen how they staged this, especially as someone who has done a bit of theater. It must have been fascinating to design.
First up: Albus’s arrival at Hogwarts, and the hubbub it creates. Everyone is excited to see him and everyone has something to say.
POLLY CHAPMAN: Albus Potter.
KARL JENKINS: A Potter. In our year.
YANN FREDERICKS: He’s got his hair. He’s got hair just like him.
Imagine starting your first year at a new school and having everyone talking about you. Even if they weren’t saying anything bad, it still has to be a lot of pressure!
Moving on to the Sorting. Rose gets sorted into Gryffindor, which she is very happy about. Scorpious gets sorted into Slytherin, which everyone was expecting. And Albus, well . . . he has to face his worst fear as he is also sorted into Slytherin. Everyone is shocked and dismayed, especially Rose. Everyone except for Scorpious, who seems delighted to have a friend. Albus himself seems to have no reaction at all, except for the stage direction that says he is “thoroughly discombobulated.”
By the way, I love the word “discombobulated.” It’s awesome. But I digress. Next scene.
And suddenly a flying lesson is happening with MADAM HOOCH.
I have to admit, Madam Hooch is one of my favorite minor characters from the original books. I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to know more about her. Did she ever play professional Quidditch before retiring to teach? Why does she have yellow eyes like a cat? Is it significant that she is described like a hawk? I want to know these things!
But anyway, the flying lesson is a disaster for Albus, as he is the only one in class to have trouble getting their broom to fly up to their hands. Now the rumor is circulating that not only is Albus a Slytherin, but he’s a Squib as well.
(For any muggles reading this, a Squib is a person born of a magical family who does not have any magical abilities. Notable Squibs in the Harry Potter-verse include Argus Filtch, the dreaded caretaker of Hogwarts. Hmmm. Wonder if he’s still around anywhere?).
The scene segues again into what I thought was a dream sequence, but is actually where Albus arrives at King’s Cross before his second year. Albus is afraid that everyone is saying something about how disappointing he is as a Potter, although Harry is quick to tell him that none of that matters.
HARRY: Look, as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters to me.
I really find it awesome that Harry is such a good dad, considering the fact that he grew up with the worst of examples in the Dursleys. Of course, he also had a lot of influence by the Weasleys, so I guess it evens out. Plus, anyone with half a brain should know not to lock their kids in a cupboard under the stairs.
There is also a weird exchange with Draco Malfoy. He approaches Harry asking for help because the rumors surrounding Scorpious aren’t going away. Harry doesn’t feel the need to do anything about this.
HARRY: If you answer the gossip, you feed the gossip. There’ve been rumors Voldemort had a child for years, Scorpious is not the first to be accused. The Ministry, for your sake as well as ours, needs to steer well clear.
It does make me wonder who else may have been accused of being Voldemort’s child. I imagine there couldn’t be that long of a list (really, who would have gotten THAT close to him??? – don’t want to know . . .)
Also mentioned is the fact that Astoria is sick.
Next scene is in the Great Hall, where Professor McGonagall is announcing that Rose has made the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Scorpious claps along with Albus, and when questioned, he just shrugs and says that he’s doing it because she’s Albus’s cousin. He also thinks that she’s brilliant, so maybe someone has a little crush? Maybe?
Side note: Minerva McGonagall is life. I adore her more than most things.
Next scene is in potions class, where Albus and Scorpious are partners. The other students avoid them and make snide remarks. Things aren’t going well in potions though – their potion explodes! Hey, something of Harry that Albus inherited!
Next up: third year. We’re moving along at a good clip! It’s King’s Cross again, where Harry is handing Albus his permission slip to go to Hogsmeade. Albus is not interested, even going so far to light the permission slip on fire with a surprisingly good Incendio spell. Harry tells him of his concerns, that Professor McGonagall had been sending owls. Albus responds in a proper thirteen year-old way.
ALBUS: So what would you like me to do? Magic myself popular? Conjure myself into a new House? Transfigure myself into a better student? Just cast a spell, Dad, and change me into what you want me to be, okay? It’ll work better for both of us.
Yikes. What a change from the soft, sensitive kid who got on the train two years earlier! Even though he’s kind of being a brat, I feel really bad for Albus. He’s had a rough, rough time of it, and I’m watching right now with my own kid how bullying at school can completely change a person. It’s really, really sad, especially since Albus is isolating himself from his family.
He still has Scorpious though, but Scorpious has his own issues to deal with. When Albus finds him on the train, Scorpious tells him that his mother has died. Albus doesn’t know what to do or say. Scorpious is quick to tell him that he doesn’t need much.
SCORPIOUS: Come to the funeral.
ALBUS: Of course.
SCORPIOUS: And be my good friend.
The last little bit of this very long, very complicated scene is the Sorting for this year. And guess what – it’s Lilly’s first year at Hogwarts. She is sorted into Gryffindor and Albus is, well . . . I’m not sure how he feels about it.
SCORPIOUS: Did you really think she’d come to us? Potters don’t belong in Slytherin.
ALBUS: This one does.
So in two years, Albus has become completely different that anyone else in his family. Rebellious, in trouble with the school, with an attitude that will not quit. In fact, it feels like he is rejecting his family, even though it is clear from Harry’s responses that his family is not pushing him away. Some of that could seem like typical early-teen behavior, but this is Hogwarts, and nothing is that simple.
Scene 5 – Ministry of Magic, Harry’s Office
Yes! I’ve always wanted to know what Harry & Co. did after Book 7! It appears that Harry is indeed an Auror working at the Ministry. Harry arrives, bleeding, to find Hermione going through stacks of papers.
HERMIONE: How did it go?
HARRY: It was true.
HERMIONE: Theodore Nott?
HARRY: In custody.
I remember the name Theodore Nott from the original books, but don’t know anything about him other than the fact that he was a Slytherin student who was there during the same time Harry & Co. was. Turns out Nott had a Time-Turner. This is illegal, as all Time-Turners were destroyed, but even before that they were kept under lock and key at the Department of Mysteries. Back in Prisoner of Azkaban, it was very, very, VERY rare that Hermione was given permission to use one – a really big deal. It does make one wonder what Nott was doing with one in the first place.
Harry asks Hermione what she’s doing there, and she responds that she is checking to see if he is keeping up with his paperwork. Of course, he is not. This seems to be a reoccurring discussion with the two of them.
HERMIONE: You know, there’s some interesting stuff in here . . . There are mountain trolls riding Graphorns through Hungary, there are giants with winged tattoos on their backs walking through the Greek Seas, and the werewolves have gone entirely underground –
Okay, here’s what I want. You know all those cop procedural shows on TV? Criminal Minds, CSI, Law & Order, etc? I want one of those, but featuring the Auror department. Can we do that? How awesome would that be!!
Harry gets irritated that Hermione is getting on his case about paperwork, when he is the one going out in the field and getting results. He doesn’t need to read anything – he hears about things going on while he’s working. That’s how he found out about Nott in the first place. Hermione offers him a piece of candy and tells him that she’s not upset, and doesn’t mean to come off that way.
HERMIONE: I just need you to look at your paperwork every now and again, that’s all. Consider this a gentle – nudge – from the Minister for Magic.
Wait a sec.
Does that mean what I think it does?
HERMIONE IS THE MINISTER FOR MAGIC??!!??
Okay, that’s brilliant. Who else would be better! Heck, she was better for the job than Fudge was back when she was sixteen! This is awesome!
Hermione asks after his family, but Harry is clearly worried. He doesn’t know what to do about Albus. Despite getting on Harry’s case for not getting his work done, Hermione urges him to go home and spend time with his family.
Scene 6 – Harry and Ginny Potter’s House
This scene opens with Albus sitting at the top of the stairs listening in on a conversation below. Harry has just gotten home, but has a surprise visitor – Amos Diggory. This is Cedric Diggory’s father, for anyone who didn’t remember. He is very old at this point and is in a wheelchair. He seems very frustrated because he has been trying to get an appointment to speak to Harry and keeps getting that appointment rescheduled.
Harry is very put-off by the fact that Diggory just showed up in the middle of the night when he’s supposed to be dealing with family matters. Personally, I agree. He should be allowed to leave his work at the office. I don’t know what Diggory wants, but these seems like it’s crossing a line.
Oh, and Harry isn’t just an Auror. He’s the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. So he’s THE Auror.
AMOS: There’s plenty you’re responsible for.
AMOS: My son, Cedric, you do remember Cedric, don’t you?
HARRY (remembering Cedric hurts him): Yes, I remember your son. His loss –
AMOS: Voldemort wanted you! Not my son! You told me yourself, the words he said were, “Kill the spare.” The spare. My son, my beautiful son, was a spare.
Oh oh oh. Oh no. You don’t blame Harry for that. Cedric’s death was an awful, awful thing, but Harry certainly didn’t want it to happen. He had nothing to do with it. Cedric was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and sure, if Harry hadn’t been involved Cedric would probably still be alive (or not – he could have died at any point, it’s not like Voldemort was picky), but you can’t blame Harry for Cedric’s death. He didn’t kill him!
Amos’s grief goes even deeper than that though. He has heard about the Time-Turner the Ministry has confiscated. He wants to use it to go get Cedric back.
That is one of the most depressing things I’ve ever heard.
Harry is quick to tell him that the story about Nott and the Time-Turner is not true, that all the Time-Turners were destroyed and they haven’t found any others. At this point, we switch our attention back to Albus and his eavesdropping because he suddenly gets a visitor.
ALBUS jumps a mile as DELPHI – a twenty-something, determined-looking woman – is revealed, looking through the stairs at him.
This is Delphi Diggory, Amos’s niece. Albus is quite taken aback and Delphi jokes that she’s there to steal everything he has (especially the Chocolate Frogs!) She asks who he is and, unlike most everyone at Hogwarts, seems genuinely pleased when she finds out that he is Albus Potter. She asks if it’s awesome to have the famous Harry Potter for a dad, but at Albus’s unenthusiastic answer, she realizes that she has made things uncomfortable.
DELPHI: Ah. Have I just put my foot in it? It’s what they used to say about me at school. Delphi Diggory – there isn’t a hole she couldn’t dig herself into.
Okay, I already love Delphi, and I just met her. Albus seems to like her as well, or at least, sees her as something of a kindred spirit. He mentions that people make fun of his name too. Delphi mentions that she takes care of her uncle at St. Oswald’s Home for Old Witches and Wizards and invites Albus to come visit. He doesn’t have a chance to respond before Amos yells for her to come down so they can leave.
AMOS: Meet the once-great Harry Potter, now a stone-cold Ministry man. I will leave you in peace, sir. If peace I the right word for it.
I think there are many things that Harry has had to deal with that he has not, and may never, make peace with. Cedric’s death has to be one of them. I feel sorry for Amos – losing a child must be the most terrible thing in the world. I can’t imagine the pain that he feels. But this is a low blow, and you can tell that it hurts Harry a great deal. Albus watches all this “thoughtfully.” Maybe he’s starting to realize that being the famous Harry Potter is not always such a good thing. It will probably take a while for that fact to get through all his teenage angst, but maybe it’s a start.
Next review will cover scenes 7 through 13. Seems like a lot, but they are fairly short. See you then!