Transcript – Episode 202

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 202 of Alohomora! for September 17, 2016.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Welcome back, listeners, to another episode of Alohomora!, currently and temporarily’s global reread of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’m Michael Harle.

Kristen Keys: I’m Kristen Keys.

Rosie Morris: And I’m Rosie Morris. And it is my pleasure to introduce today’s guest, which is the lovely Andrea. Andrea, would you like to tell us a bit about yourself?

Andrea Carlson: Hello, yeah. Well, my name is Andrea. I actually turn 23 on Tuesday so this is a great pre-birthday present.

Kristen and Michael: Oh!

Michael and Rosie: Happy birthday.

Andrea: Thank you.

[Andrea and Michael laugh]

Michael: We’re so glad we could give you such a great present.

Andrea: Yeah! It was very well timed.

Michael: [laughs] We totally planned it.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Andrea: Yeah, of course you did. You did a background check, didn’t you?

Michael: [laughs] Yeah.

Andrea: Well, I recently started studying literature at a university in the south of Sweden because I’m Swedish.

Michael: That’s so cool.

Kristen: Very cool.

Michael: Oh, Rosie, you have a kindred spirit on with you today.

Rosie: I do, yeah.

Andrea: Yay, Europe.

[Andrea and Michael laugh]

Rosie: Europe and literature and all of these different things which are also very good.

Andrea: Yeah!

[Kristen and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Andrea, what is your Hogwarts House and what is your backstory with Harry Potter?

Andrea: Well, I’m a Hufflepuff.

[Michael gasps]

Andrea, Michael, and Rosie: Yay!

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: So many Hufflepuffs.

Kristen: Eww.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrea: Sorry, Kristen. We like you anyway.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Kristen: Oh, good. Okay, then it counts. Well, you guys like everybody.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Kristen: Just kidding. Love you all.

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: So yeah, I’m a Hufflepuff. Well, I’m one of those people who grew up with Harry Potter. My sister got the first book for Christmas of ’99 and we started reading it as a family – well, my dad didn’t join, but me and my mum and my sister – and then we just kept going. It actually bugs me a bit that it’s my sister who got the first book because then it’s hers, you know?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrea: And I became the bigger fan, so it would have been nice to have the first book.

Michael: Do you have a shared collection with her, or do you have your own collection now?

Andrea: I have my own collection. I actually don’t have them in Swedish.

Michael: I was going to ask if you read them or experienced them in Swedish, or if you just did it in English.

Andrea: No, the first ones I was too young to read in English, so the first ones were in Swedish. And the Swedish covers are amazing. I’m super biased, but they’re amazing.

[Kristen, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Andrea: And then the older I got, I started reading them in English. I think a lot of kids in the world in general just tackled these massive books in English that we never would have done otherwise because we just could not wait. So I don’t think I’ve actually read Deathly Hallows in Swedish because why would I?

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Andrea: I’ve already read it so many times, so…

Michael: If you listened to our episode, listeners, on the international covers, we were just drooling over the Swedish cover of Deathly Hallows. Everybody wants it as a print on their wall.

Andrea: I know, right? So good.

Michael: [laughs] Yes. You do have pretty amazing covers. That’s awesome, though, that you did tackle it in another language because actually, I’ve been so inspired by that because we’ve had multiple international listeners on this show who have told us that. And I was so inspired that actually, when I was at Half Price Books a few months ago, I saw a copy of Philosopher’s Stone in Spanish and I picked it up because I was like, “You know, this might be a great way for me to start learning Spanish because I know Sorcerer’s Stone so well.”

[Rosie laughs]

Andrea: Yeah, by heart.

Michael: Right.

Rosie: It is, actually.

Andrea: That’s true.

Michael: If I pick it up in Spanish, that might actually be effective, so I’m going to give that a try. But that’s really cool that you did that with the… I’ve heard, too, that some international listeners feel that it’s just better to read the original English version.

Andrea: Yeah, it is. The Swedish translation… I’m not knocking it in any way; it’s good…

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: … but it comes to a point where you’re like, “Wow, it’s supposed to be in English,” especially with the riddles and all the rhymes.

Rosie: All the little translations are just…

Andrea: Yeah, poor translators. Voldemort has a second middle name in Swedish because they couldn’t get the whole Latin thing to work otherwise.

Rosie: Have all the letters in.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Andrea: So they had to add another name, and it’s really stupid.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrea: But I did read that…

Michael: What is his full Swedish name?

Andrea: His full Swedish name, I think, is Tom Gus Marvolo Riddle.

[Kristen, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Andrea: Because what they did is, when he does the whole anagram thing, it doesn’t go Swedish. It goes Latin. So it says, “Ego Sum Lord Voldemort,” which is Latin for, “I am Lord…”

Rosie: Fair enough.

Andrea: Again, why would you translate it and then make it another language that’s not our language anyway?

[Kristen, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: To be fair, I have Philosopher’s Stone in Latin, so…

[Andrea, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: It’s quite fun.

Michael: So do I.

Andrea: Nice, nice.

Michael: We’re so glad to have you here, Andrea…

Andrea: Thank you.

Michael: … for this particular episode, which… I don’t know. I think we all read this one in English because we’re covering…

Andrea: Has it been translated anywhere?

Rosie: No, no. [laughs]

Michael: Not yet. Maybe? [laughs] So we did all read it in English.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We are in Part 2, and kind of confusingly, we’re reading…

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: It’s Act 3, but it’s Act 1 of Part 2, but it’s Act 3 of the whole. It depends on how you want to look at it. But the book calls it Act 3, so we’ll just go ahead and call it Act 3. So make sure [to] read Part 2, Act 3 before listening to this particular episode.

Rosie: And we’d just like to take a moment to thank our episode sponsor from Patreon. It is Kat Tatara. I hope I’m pronouncing your surname right. [laughs] Thank you so much for sponsoring us and for helping us continue our global reread and examination, and whatever else we’re calling it these days…

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: … of the Harry Potter books. Thank you so much, Kat!

Michael: Yay, Kat Tatara! Yay!

Andrea and Kristen: Woo!

[Rosie laughs]

Rosie: And you guys out there could become a sponsor for us for as little as $1 a month. We’ll continue to release lots of little exclusive tidbits and all of those kind of things for sponsors over on Patreon, so please do go and check us out.

Michael: Absolutely. And with that, thanks to Kat Tatara and her donation on Patreon, we can talk about Cursed Child, and we’ll start by actually talking about it as a whole because we do have three individuals on here who have not yet gotten to share their feelings with the wider world.

[Andrea laughs]

Michael: So we’ll start with Kristen and Rosie. Ladies, you’ve heard some pretty polarizing opinions.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: You’ve had a lot of time to hear them and you have both had very unique experiences with the show. We have all had a different experience with how we internalized Cursed Child. So Kristen, how about you? What are your overall feelings?

Kristen: Overall feelings… I’m one of those people. I love it.

Michael: “Love it.”

Kristen: I absolutely love it. I love the feeling when I was down in Aruba but I made sure I downloaded it and sat in the hotel room while everybody else was enjoying the sun so I could finish this book.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: Because I was one of the people [who] couldn’t put it down. I just kept wanting to know more. It’s weak in some parts – I can see that – but overall, I loved it, and I can’t wait. I’m going with Kat in December to see it. So I’m excited to really go [and] actually see it because I [was] so excited when I read it that I can’t wait to now actually see it. It makes me even more excited because I was like, “Ahh, I’m going to go see it. I’m not super, super excited. It’s cool.” But now that I’ve read it, I absolutely cannot wait. Counting down the days.

Michael: So Kristen was one of those people, right? You get to do the backward version from what… [laughs] You’ve read it and you get to go see it. And unusually, you read it on a secluded island…

Kristen: Yes.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: Thank you, eBooks, because I legit even looked up bookstores in Aruba and there’s nothing. I was like, “How am I going to read this?”

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: And I was like, “I’m bringing my iPad just so I can get the e-version of this book and read it.”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: And Rosie, you have a pretty good reason for not having been on the first few episodes of Cursed Child.

Rosie: Yeah. I’ve been avoiding the Internet for about three months.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Because…

Rosie: But it was so worth it because I finally went to go and see the play. I saw it at the very end of August. Was that really over two weeks ago now? Wow.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: And I actually haven’t properly read the script yet. I read Act 3 today so that I could be on the show.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: But I haven’t read any of Part 1, and I haven’t finished Part 2 yet. But I’ve obviously seen the whole thing, so apologies to all of you listeners out there who are probably going to get annoyed with me because I’m going to keep talking about things as they are in production rather than as they are in the script. But if you can go and see the play, you have to go and see the play…

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: … because just from reading Act 3, I can already see so many little differences: so many things that have either been changed or just really don’t translate very well into the script. And just the show itself is so amazing, especially Part 2, and especially this particular act. So I would definitely recommend trying to see the play as much as possible. And I do think also that when we get this second edition script that they’re supposed to be doing – the one that’s not the rehearsal script – it will be a much better, more polished retelling of the story. So don’t judge this tale by the book. It is so much better than it would suggest.

Michael: Ooh, and Rosie, important, fun question for you…

Rosie: Yeah, okay.

Michael: Did you get the “canon cast”?

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Did you get the cast, or were there any cast replacements on the night you went?

Rosie: As far as I know, it was the canon cast. It was the whole cast as it was supposed to be. I didn’t see anyone saying that anyone had changed, so yep. All [of] the trio [and] all of the kids were the key actors, and they were amazing.

Michael: Did you see it on the same day, or did you see it over a period of different days?

Rosie: I saw it on the same day.

Michael: Okay.

Rosie: It was a Saturday showing, so Part 1 [was] just after lunch and then Part 2” [was] just after dinner, so I made a really nice day of it.

[Kristen laughs]

Rosie: And some of the things that happen in Act 3 – so what we’re talking about today – are made so much better by seeing it on the same day as Part 1. I’ll explain that more when we get to it. But yeah, I would recommend trying to see it on the same day if possible. But I do think the tension of the cliffhanger at the end of Part 1 would hopefully build if you had to go and see it on another day. Yeah, it’s definitely not a play you can only see one half of.

[Andrea, Kristen, and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Yeah, I’m trying to remember if Alison saw it on the same day. I felt like she saw Part 2 later.

Rosie: All right.

Michael: But I’m not quite sure on that. We’ll have to get a reminder from her next time she’s on the show about that. Because that would be interesting, too, even though you both saw the play, if you both had drastically…

Michael and Rosie: … different experiences.

Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: How you saw it and how that affects your viewing.

Kristen: Ours is two different evenings.

Michael and Rosie: Oh! Okay.

Rosie: You’ll have to come…

Michael: How crazy. So many different ways to internalize this material. [laughs]

[Andrea laughs]

Rosie: I really don’t want to spoil some of the things, though, so I’m going to have to censor myself a bit in this episode.

Michael: Yes, I know Kat doesn’t want to be spoiled by anything since she’s going to go see it and she doesn’t want to be spoiled on certain visual elements.

Rosie: Okay. I will keep the secrets!

Michael: [laughs] #KeepTheSecrets…

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: Andrea, what are your feelings on Cursed Child?

Andrea: Yeah, I have not seen the play, unfortunately.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Andrea: Although, to be fair, I thought about it before this recording and I was like, “Well, at least it’s easier for me to do it than for you guys.”

Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: Yes, that’s true.

Andrea: I’m way closer.

Michael: [laughs] Quite a bit.

Rosie: You could visit England for a weekend and easily see it.

Andrea: Yeah! For me, it’s actually possible if I can get my hands on one of the Friday Forty. I could actually do that and plan an impromptu weekend to England. It’s harder when you live in the States.

Michael: Yes. Just a tad.

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Just a smidge, as Newt Scamander would say.

Kristen: It takes a lot of planning.

Andrea: Yeah. My general thoughts are… I went and bought it at midnight, which was very nice.

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: I read almost all of it that first night, and I laughed out loud more times than I have done ever reading anything.

[Rosie laughs]

Andrea: Usually when you read something and it’s funny, it’s smirk-funny. It’s not “I’m-actually-going-to-laugh” funny. But this was.

Rosie: That’s good. Nice to hear.

Andrea: But I would also say I enjoy the subplot a lot more than the actual plot.

Andrea: I like the relationships going on between Albus and Harry, Scorpius and Draco, and Scorpius and Albus, and all that. That’s really interesting. I find that really fascinating. The actual stuff that’s driving the play forward? Well… not so much.

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: They’re a bit weird. I mean, I enjoyed them but they seem a bit silly at times. [laughs]

Michael: Well, yeah.

Andrea: It feels like it’s not made for people who listen to this show and like to nitpick things.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: The storyline isn’t quite as rich as we are used to with [the] Harry Potter novels.

Kristen: True.

Andrea: Yeah, definitely. And it’s okay. I mean, I’m okay with that, and I knew that going into it, that this is going to be a play. It’s completely different. It’s made to be enjoyed in a completely different way. So I’m fine with it, but I enjoy the subplot a lot more.

Michael: That’s a perfect lead-in to the discussion, seeing as a pretty big majority of Part 2, Act 3 is subplot.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: And so we’ll go ahead and jump into our discussion of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Part 2, Act 3. So we start in what I’m terming as the Augurey Universe, which…

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: I can’t believe I’m saying that. That’s silly. [laughs] But we’re in the Augurey Universe, and it would seem that Voldemort has taken over. He has a new regime. Now, of course, we have the benefit of knowing now that this is not just Voldemort’s regime; he’s sharing it with somebody. And there’s a lot of emphasis on the imagery, interestingly, of the Augurey. And of course, the revelation will come later that this is Delphi. We do in fact get that revelation in this particular act.

Rosie: It’s interesting. Watching the play, I never really got the Augurey as being a person in this scene. They mention the Augurey as almost an institution, and I saw it as maybe Voldemort’s version of the Aurors or chief Death Eaters. It seemed very high on the hierarchy, but I never quite got it as a particular figure. So it’s quite subtle in its foreshadowing and in the fact that this will obviously become a very important character. It nicely sits there at the back of your mind of “Oh, I know what that word is, but I’m not quite sure what it means yet.”

Andrea: Yeah, that’s exactly what I thought as well when I first read it. I thought the Augurey was going to be some weird Voldemort version of the Wizengamot or something.

Rosie: We’re not really used to titles other than for job roles in Harry Potter, so other than “Lord Voldemort” and “the Half-Blood Prince” – self-titled things – there was no reason to suspect the Augurey as something other than an institution.

Michael: Well, and purely going off of… The Augurey thing in itself is interesting because this is another one of those examples of just digging to the deepest depths of Harry Potter canon to get something because Augureys are not important whatsoever in Harry Potter.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: They are given a throwaway mention in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Who knows? For all we know, one might appear in Fantastic Beasts the movie. No confirmation on that. For more information on that, make sure to listen to SpeakBeasty

[Andrea and Kristen laugh]

Michael: …’s Fantastic Beasts podcast. But the funny thing, I guess, to me with the Augurey stuff in general is that the Augurey in Fantastic Beasts is kind of a joke. The whole setup and payoff within its very small paragraph is that it’s this really solemn-looking bird that wizards thought meant death when it cried, but it just means that rain’s coming. So that’s it.

Rosie: [laughs] Pretty much what you would experience in Britain.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So that bird will be crying a lot.

Rosie: A lot!

[Andrea, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Michael: But it’s just funny that something that really is used for such humor in the Harry Potter canon is used so seriously here to become akin to a swastika in its imagery. The wings, at the very least, and what they symbolize. So I thought that for me it was an odd choice just because of the humorous nature of the Augurey.

Rosie: I do see the symbolism, though. So if the Augurey is supposed to be crying [and] symbolizing a death, we can see Delphi as a figure [that is] crying [and] symbolizing the bringing on of the new Dark regime and all that kind of thing. And it’s also an opposite of Dumbledore, still. So if Dumbledore is the phoenix, the Augurey is an opposite of the phoenix. It foretells death rather than life. So for Voldemort’s… child?… to…

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Spoiler. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m talking about; if I’m allowed to say things or not.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: You can say that one.

Rosie: But for the child to be symbolizing that contrast to Dumbledore is quite a nice image as well.

Andrea: Yeah, and I think also maybe they were going for this whole “We need another magical creature that’s connected with death, but we’ve already used Thestrals in another way and we know them too well.”

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: And this was a creature that has been mentioned before – even if it’s throwaway and even if it’s comedy – and it’s been linked to death, so it’s like, “We can shove this in and it makes sense.”

Rosie: It also just sounds really impressive as a title. [laughs]

Michael: [in a dramatic voice] “The Augurey.” Yes. They definitely do a fairly good job in the act of just covering up, like you ladies said, what the Augurey is. I think looking back on it retroactively – when you know that Delphi is who they’re referring to as the Augurey – I did find that fascinating in that I had to wonder how truly high up and influential Delphi would be within Voldemort’s regime, if that was really a thing.

Rosie: She seems to be very high up. So we have to remember that within this new universe she would never have gone to the Rowles. She would have been born and then stayed with Bella and Voldemort. So she would have grown up as Voldemort’s daughter and therefore had all of the status that that would have given her. So I think she would have been fairly high up, if not almost second-in-command. Even if we know that Voldemort is so love stunted that he wouldn’t be able to treat her like a daughter, he would have been able to at least treat her as a powerful being who would be able to help him in his never-quenching thirst for power.

Kristen: I definitely agree with you on that one, especially that blood bond that they have. I think he would want her up there with him.

Michael: See, and that’s fascinating to me because I’m not purely convinced that Voldemort would treat his daughter so well, or that she would hold… to the point that he adopted her symbol as that… That’s the other thing. Okay, so that makes it a little confusing, too, because if that’s the timeline, then why would she have even had the Augurey tattoo?

Andrea: Exactly! It makes no sense because that was from when she was…

Michael: With the Rowles.

Andrea: Yeah. Well, where did she get that? [laughs]

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, that’s something we talked about on the last episode too: the idea that Delphi in all of the alternate…

Rosie: She’s the oddity.

Michael: Yeah. In all of the universes she seems to defy the rules of the Time-Turner.

Kristen: Yeah, a bit.

Rosie: It’s almost as if the prophecy strand is tying all of these worlds together through her. But I think the Augurey itself must become a self-fulfilling prophecy. So she has the tattoo in the original timeline. Whether or not she has it in the Voldemort’s regime timeline, we don’t know. It is a symbol, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be something like…

Andrea: That’s true.

Rosie: Wherever she got that symbol from in the original timeline could also be the place where the Augurey symbol comes from in all the other timelines. It exists as its own creature and it associates itself with her and her storyline for a particular reason, which would still be a reason in whatever universe.

Andrea: Yeah, maybe she’s just always drawn to Augureys no matter what.

Rosie: Yeah. And she seems to have Augurey-esque powers. She literally transforms into an Augurey in the play, so whether or not she’s always had Metamorphmagus-like powers as well, that all [is] leaning toward Augurey. Maybe her Patronus is an Augurey. There’s some kind of symbolism that would link her to this creature in all of the worlds.

Michael: Is that why she can also be so hilariously and easily taken down?

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Which we will get to. We will get to [that]. But yeah, it was just an interesting idea to me that Voldemort would… because as we’ll see in Act 4, Harry is forced to take on a Voldemort persona to trick Delphi, and he treats Delphi with a lot of derision. And actually, everybody seems to think he’s doing pretty good by just brushing her off. Granted, it’s in a timeline where Voldemort doesn’t even envision having a child. It just goes into so many things, I guess, about Voldemort’s character because up until Year 4 of Cursed Child, we had pretty much confirmation from Rowling that Voldemort would not have a child.

Rosie: Yeah. That’s the most problematic thing I find about Delphi, that the Voldemort I know from the books would never sire a child.

Michael: Yeah. [laughs]

Rosie: There would be no way he would ever be able to connect to Bellatrix in any kind of way that would actually produce a child. Like… no. [laughs]

Andrea: I mean, it’s very bizarre to think about a child growing up with Voldemort and Bellatrix. There’s no way of even envisioning that.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: I feel so bad for Rodolphus. Like, geez, that’s your wife.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, he comes into some theories that maybe we’ll touch on in Act 4, that have been tossed around by the fandom, and I know Alison is really eager to explain that one. But I think purely from the information we have from the play, [there] isn’t quite enough to support that theory because the play doesn’t up-and-out say it. And I think the thing to remember about Cursed Child is [that] this is not like the Harry Potter books, where Rowling is going to be adding little tweets about the events of Cursed Child to clarify things. And even if she does…

Rosie: This isn’t solely her story, [so] she can’t do that.

Michael: Yes, exactly.

Michael: She kind of lost – sadly, in a way – the rights to do that when she gave Tiffany and Thorne the rights to do this play. Changing a piece of theater in that way or adding to a piece of theater extra-canonically does not work the same way as adding to the books.

Rosie: No.

Michael: So that will be very interesting to see how that plays out, especially because Rowling has “live tweeted” events from the wizarding world. And it was last year – in 2015, correct? – that she tweeted about James’s Sorting at Hogwarts…

Andrea and Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: So [she] can’t do that too much anymore with Cursed Child events, so it will be interesting to see what happens there. But yeah, I’m definitely interested to see what the listeners think about Delphi and her status within a Voldemort world. Because notwithstanding the fact that, as you said, Rosie, she would never really be needed by book Voldemort anyway, not even [if] the play tries to subtly suggest that she’s a backup Horcrux, which she’s not… [laughs] That’s not how that works! But I don’t even think Voldemort would have… Voldemort was so foolishly secure in his Horcrux plan, I think, is the clarification we get from the novels.

Rosie: Yeah. I think if Delphi [were] anyone’s choice and decision, it would have been Bellatrix. I think she would have been the one that said, “We need to do this to create the child to help you in the future,” [or] something like that. Or she might have convinced Voldemort about a prophecy or something. Maybe that’s it. Maybe that prophecy existed before Voldemort’s downfall and therefore the child had to be made. That would be the only thing that I can think of that would result in Voldemort actually going through with that plan. I would always think it would be because of some outward influence. It has to be because of Bellatrix or because of some prophecy or because it was something else that was creating it, rather than his choice.

Michael: Never his own volition because that would never happen. We’ll touch on Delphi and the Augurey stuff again because it does come up a little later, but going to some more classic characters… my oh my, does this strange new timeline have a lot of familiar faces. One of the first to approach us is Umbridge, and interestingly, she doesn’t really… The funny thing is I only have one point about her, and ladies, if you have anything more to say about her, please feel free to speak up on her because really, she doesn’t do very much.

Kristen: I was very underwhelmed by her. I was just like, “Oh.” I was expecting something [like], “Oh my God, Umbridge is back!”

Rosie: The reveal of her at the end of Act 2 was so brilliant. I literally laughed out loud when I realized who it was that was coming on stage, and it was such a brilliant moment. “Oh my God, that’s Umbridge!” I wish I would have seen her a bit more in Act 3, but I think there is so much going on. Pacing is a real issue in these plays. They were paying lip service to these characters a bit too much. They put Umbridge in there because of the idea of it being quite funny that she would still be there and would be in power and people would recognize her so strongly. But yeah, she doesn’t do anything significant, really.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: Yeah, to get that moment, like you said, Rosie… reading it, I can picture exactly what the reaction was that they wanted from her appearance.

Rosie: Yeah. And they did get it. It is a brilliant reveal of Umbridge.

Michael: And I guess that’s another piece that people have maybe been having a problem with [in] Cursed Child, that idea of “We know that putting these characters here will get a reaction from you, but beyond that, we didn’t really know how to use them.”

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: And Rosie, I’m so interested to see how you feel about this in particular because as I mentioned on the last episode, obviously, I have been steeped in fan fiction quite extensively through being on MuggleNet AudioFictions. But Rosie, you go even further back with that because before you started AudioFictions, you were just the be-all end-all of MuggleNet fan fiction. You were the one who was hat-or-hands in everything over there. And I’m curious because I see this as yet again being another trope of Harry Potter fan fiction…

Rosie: Bringing in characters that people recognize?

Michael: Yep. Yep, yep, yep.

Rosie: Yeah. Firstly, I’m definitely not the be-all and end-all of MuggleNet fan fiction.

[Andrea laughs]

Rosie: There are plenty of other people that work there and do amazing jobs, more than I do.

[Kristen and Rosie laugh]

Michael: If you say so.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: Yeah, it’s definitely one of those fan fiction things of “Everyone knows these characters. Look what I can do with them. Isn’t it fun?” But I can see why she would be there. The only reason why she was overthrown in the books was because of Harry and because of everything that happened. He managed to get rid of her and all that kind of thing. So I can see her being reinstated with a Voldemort regime, but she was thrown out at the end of Book 5, so… end of Book 5, or Book 6?

Michael: Book 5.

Rosie: Yes, Book 5. Doubting myself now. Oh no!

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: So there were two years’ worth of books that would have still potentially happened that seemed to have been unwritten by her coming back to full power. It would have been nice to see maybe a continued fear of centaurs or something in that…

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: … just to show that they were actually paying attention to what happened in the books and not just throwing them back in there. But also, she had a proven record of being a Hogwarts teacher and a particularly nasty Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, so if Voldemort was going to put anyone in there and wanted to remove the Carrows so that they could do his own bidding, then Umbridge would be a good choice. And [Umbridge being there] really is, as we were saying about plots and subplots, a subplot. She’s not really there to move the plot on particularly much other than, of course, the confrontation with Snape, Weasley, and Granger, as we’ll get to in a moment. But yeah, it’s slightly fan fic-y, but you’re always going to get it to be fan fic-y if it’s not actually J.K. Rowling writing the whole thing.

Andrea: Yeah. And canonically, it does make sense. Like you said, why wouldn’t she? I can so imagine her clawing her way back into Hogwarts because she loved being in power there. She thrived on that. There’s no way she would be able to stay away from it.

Rosie: And if we think of Voldemort as Tom Riddle when he first opened the Chamber of Secrets to get rid of all of the Mudbloods and all of that kind of thing – if you were going to pick anyone to carry on that regime at Hogwarts while you were away – then you would [pick] the one person who managed to do it while Albus Dumbledore was still in the picture, and that was Umbridge.

Michael: In a way, I almost don’t think the fandom would argue that she should be there. I guess it’s just…

Rosie: It would have been nice to see a bit more of her.

Kristen: Yeah, I agree.

Michael: As you mentioned, Rosie, just like Delphi, she’s hilariously and easily dispatched.

[Andrea, Kristen, and Rosie laugh]

Michael: On page 194, she is undone by – of all things, which got me laughing – Depulso. Because this is the first time Depulso has been spoken in a written form of Harry Potter. Depulso is the Banishing Charm, which has been mentioned but never spoken by name. It first appeared spoken in the Prisoner of Azkaban video game, and it was a replacement for Flipendo. It was funny when I made this connection in my head that Umbridge, like many of the bad guys in Cursed Child, [goes] down like video game bosses.

[Andrea, Kristen, and Rosie laugh]

Michael: They’re introduced and very easily dispatched, and they’re just a minor annoyance to the characters. And I think while that’s all well and good and something that maybe audience members would be okay and familiar with, at the same time… And Rosie, it’ll be interesting to hear the perspective of somebody who saw it, but it’s funny that the script at least describes both Delphi and Umbridge as being full of Dark magic. They can fly! Which was Voldemort’s ultimate show of Dark magic. But they get taken down with really easy offensive spells.

Rosie: I think the descriptions in the script are particularly lacking, and actually seeing the effects onstage and the magic onstage is a lot more impressive. So the pacing of the spells… It’s a literal shout of “Depulso,” and then an effect happens and suddenly they are repelled across the stage. It feels a lot more serious. They do have major effects.

Michael: Because I was going to say… I don’t know, Kristen and Andrea, if you felt the same way, but it reads pretty funny on the page.

[Andrea and Michael laugh]

Andrea: It’s not as serious, like we’re super scared of her.

Michael: No. The picture in my head of short, fat, little Umbridge…

[Andrea laughs]

Michael: … being just downed by Depulso after being like, [as Umbridge] “I’m the ultimate Dark witch!” [back to normal voice] and then suddenly, “Ahh!” is pretty hilarious in my head.

Rosie: It’s supposed to be a little bit…

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: Like you said, Rosie, when I kept reading it, that’s how I’m reading it. I’m pretending that it is on a stage or something, so I imagine what you said, Rosie, that someone’s just being dragged across onstage or something like that.

Rosie: Yeah. If you picture some of the movie duels and how quickly the spell after spell after spell happens and how impressive the special effects are and things that are created on those films, if you then translate that to being in an audience, looking at it onstage, the effects are as impressive as the CGI.

Kristen: Wow. Awesome.

Rosie: And you can sit there onstage and wonder, “How have they done that?” Because that is the kind of thing that you do in films when you have spent about three weeks trying to do ten seconds’ worth of an effect.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: And you’re doing it live onstage in front of me. How? The magic on stage is the most impressive thing, I think, about Cursed Child, and it just does not translate in the script. But I do think, as well, I barely even noticed [Umbridge’s downfall] because of everything else that was going on around that scene, because of the emotional storyline around Snape and around Weasley and Granger. And I’m calling them “Weasley” and “Granger” because that’s what their names are in this regime.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: They are not Ron and Hermione. They are Weasley and Granger.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Rosie: And yeah, there’s so much else going on that, to be honest, Umbridge hasn’t done anything. I didn’t care that she was gone. It was just, “Okay, she’s gone now. What about my characters? What are they doing?” So that’s one of the moments where I’m like, “I don’t really mind too much if it wasn’t particularly impressive.” She wasn’t a big bad and didn’t really need to be taken down in anything more than just a small but rather impressive magical effect put on stage.

[Andrea and Kristen laugh]

Andrea: And also, I think, Michael, one of the reasons why it reads as funny is what Snape says directly after, where he’s like, “She was always too…”

Rosie: Snape was so interesting. Sorry, carry on.

Andrea: Yeah, but that line where he ridicules her for… I mean, essentially it is a good line. I like it because it’s one of those “Bad guys… they always take themselves too seriously.” So they do poke fun at that trope, which is quite funny, but it does make the scene less serious at least on page.

Michael: And Kristen, you raised a really interesting question – that I think is worth asking both you and Andrea – that we’ll pause [for] before we get into Snape because he’s up next, and boy, there’s a lot to say about him.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But Kristen and Andrea, were you able…? Because of course, for us, not only [has] none of us gotten to see the play yet, but we’ve also been very limited with what we have been able to catch a glimpse of because they have, as Rosie said, #KeptTheSecrets very well.

[Kristen and Rosie laugh]

Michael: So when you ladies are reading it, are you able to picture it completely on a stage or does your mind accidentally go into movie territory? Do you accidentally have a 360-vision that would not be possible in a play atmosphere? What’s happening for you when you’re reading it?

Kristen: Mine is definitely just the play. I completely went into it going as a play. So after reading this and seeing some of the things… I haven’t been spoiled about the Time-Turner or anything, and just reading the little bit of description, I cannot wait to see what it’s actually going to be like on the stage.

Andrea: I still don’t know how they did it. It’s so cool.

[Rosie laughs]

Kristen: Yeah, and I just hear it’s awesome. But when I was reading it – and you read it multiple times – I was just like, “Oh my God, I cannot wait. I cannot wait. I can’t even…” I’m picturing the stage and I’m trying to figure out how they’re doing this and I’ve got a thing in my mind, but I feel like it’s just going to be blown away. Alison told me, “It is just the best.” And I was like, “Okay, don’t go any further.”

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: “I don’t want to be spoiled. I just want to see it.” So I definitely went into it thinking of it as a play, and as I was reading it I’m reading it as a play and everything like that. I don’t know. I think why I liked it so much is that I could keep that mindset, possibly.

Andrea: Sometimes I’m seeing it as a play and sometimes I definitely have 360-vision.

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: I think especially here. For some reason these scenes become like a movie for me, which does make it a bit weirder because now, when Rosie was talking about Umbridge’s big scene and all that and I pictured it on stage, it did make a lot more sense, and it did look a lot more scary than in a movie version. So I think, yeah, that is one of the problems. I think mostly when they have clear stage directions, that’s when I remember, “Oh right, it’s a play.” And some of it, when I’ve read it and I’ve started thinking, “Oh, that doesn’t make any sense,” or, “This goes by way too fast,” that’s when I pause and go, “Wait a minute. What would it look like with people just walking around?” And then it does make more sense.

Kristen: It sounds stupid, but the characters in my mind are the actors from the movie, but they’re all on stage.

[Andrea, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Kristen: That is how I always envisioned it…

Rosie: That’s cool.

Kristen: … because I haven’t really seen a lot of stuff from the actual actors in the play, so I’m taking the movie characters but they’re on a stage. So it’s like I am seeing Daniel Radcliffe, a little bit older, doing this and this. And then I’ve made up my own version of what Scorpius and Albus really look like and whatever.

Rosie: That’s cool. I do the exact same thing.

Michael: That’s so funny because I very clearly picture the actors that we did get to see. I don’t see the movie actors, and I don’t even see the movie actors for the characters we haven’t seen for those of us that haven’t seen the play. I just I cast them in my head, I guess, and made up some people because I…

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: So to me, even though the play occasionally references the movies, this is so far removed from that for me that I don’t see the movies’ influence very much in my vision of the stage direction at all. And while I didn’t spoil myself on the plot before I read it, I did try and watch as many videos as I could because I knew that they were being very careful about the secrets they revealed. So I was okay with watching the videos, and I think from that I got a fairly good sense of what the stage looked like [and] the actors [and] the general feel.

Andrea: Yeah, and it does help, I think.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely.

Rosie: I think I only watched one video before going in, and that was something about them doing one choreography on the stage. And that was the only video that I watched. And I think it was just introducing the main trio and showing them getting to grips with the world and that kind of thing. And I think I watched it to reassure myself that it was okay, that these… [unintelligible]

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: But I’m so glad I did that going in. And I’m still really glad that I’m having this experience this way round, having seen the play and then reading the script. But what’s interesting to me is that I’ve seen the play – I know what it looks like and what it was on the stage – and yet, in my memory now I’ve got this kind of dual vision where I know what the scene is and I’m picturing the characters on the stage and I can see exactly what happened, and yet in my mind I’ve got all of these events happening in the forest by the lake where Harry and Sirius were fighting off the Dementors from the film.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: That image of Harry and Sirius on the ground and that lake and then Dementors all surrounding him… that is my image of the setting of this scene. And that’s having already seen the play and knowing what they did, so there must be some kind of recollection in that scenery in what they chose that actually has tied it into that image in my head because it is just so vividly that place in my brain that there’s no question of seeing it on stage. Of course, it was that place.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: But the staging doesn’t look like the film. The staging is very much a stage, and it has got some ideas of trees and things, but that’s based on what the general staging for the entire show was. They didn’t actually change too much just to give it this woodland feel. So there’s something about the atmosphere created in that scene that has such a heavy bond with the atmosphere of the scene in the book and the film that ties the whole thing together for me, [and] I’m really glad that all of these different versions of Harry’s universe can exist in my head at the same time and it still works.

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: It’s really nice.

Michael: Yeah, you’re just making me realize that while I can see the stage pretty clearly in my head, the one thing that’s my vice with this and how I picture things is [that] a lot of people were saying, “Try reading it aloud. Maybe that will make you feel better.” It hasn’t, by the way.

Rosie: Oh dear.

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Michael: But the funny thing about that was I read them the way that I read them when I read the original books. I give everybody the same voices. But I realized the biggest one was when I opened my mouth to do Hermione’s voice and I was like, “Nope, I’ve heard Noma speak, and that’s not right at all.”

Rosie: That won’t fit.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: So it’s funny how I realized that even though I can see them, the voices that are coming out of their mouths are the ones that I’ve pictured for the novels, so that’s still…

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: But I think your voices are very much teenage voices as well, so you have to age them a few years and see how they would turn out. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah, I pretty successfully aged Ron and Harry. Not so much on Hermione. But in my head, she sounds the same for the rest of her life.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And we’ll get to the trio soon enough. They have their moments here. But as we mentioned before, [laughs] who should appear and have quite the role in this timeline – or universe, depending on how you want to look at it – but Severus Snape. Oh my goodness. [laughs]

Kristen: Yeah. [laughs]

Rosie: This was my only worry, actually, [sitting] in that audience. I got to the stage at the end of Act 2 or sometime in the beginning of Act 3 where I went, “Hang on a second. If they brought back Umbridge, who else could they bring back?”

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: And then I was like, “But Snape is Alan Rickman. You can’t…” I was so worried about how they were going to do Snape if they did bring him back that I literally couldn’t picture anyone else than Alan Rickman. And I forgot that he would’ve aged and that the character would be different than it would’ve been, in that moment, with Alan Rickman in the films. So when he actually did appear it was reassuring because he is depicted as such an older character in the play that he is not the same Snape. And you can’t see it as the same Snape that was in the books. He is Snape, 20 years older, where he has been wizened by Voldemort’s regime and all of that kind of thing. So it was enough of a different character for me that it was comfortable and reassuring that they hadn’t tried to do an Alan Rickman impression or something like that.

Andrea: Oh, that would’ve been horrible!

Rosie: I know.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Rosie: But it’s not. It’s really, really good. [laughs]

Michael: Well, and I think probably one of the biggest problems about Snape on the page is that, of course, Rosie, the description you just gave is not something we get.

Andrea and Rosie: No.

Andrea: Yeah, when you said it, I was like, “Yeah. Right. He’s older. That makes sense.”

[Kristen, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Oh yeah.

Rosie: It’s a really different depiction of him. Yeah, reading it in the script you have no idea how much it is not the same character, apart from some of the things that he says and the way he acts.

Kristen: Okay.

Rosie: It doesn’t seem like it’s the same character. And he is actually used as quite light relief later on as well.

[Kristen laughs]

Rosie: It’s strange for Snape’s character to be the one that’s making jokes.

Michael: And I think that’s what makes it so fascinating. I think Rosie and I will pretty prominently remember not so long ago – as we called it, “The Great Snape Debate” on Alohomora! – that we ended up having to do a whole second full episode on video chat with you listeners because there was so much to talk about and so much to be said. And this didn’t do anything to help that, in my opinion.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrea: No, definitely not!

Michael: [laughs] Because I have a lot of points here, but probably the biggest one that I feel summarizes what the play sets out to do with Snape is his last appearance on page 195, where the description writes him as standing there as “looking every inch a hero.”

[Andrea scoffs]

Michael: And of course, Snape’s following demise, which is nothing but overly poetic.

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Michael: And my God, if it didn’t come straight out of A Very Potter Musical in its ambition.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: Yep. There’s quite a lot of A Very Potter Musical in this play.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Because I actually went and watched a few clips of the Potter musical because I haven’t watched it in a while, and this particular line gave me the urge to go watch some of it. The thing that I thought of with this moment in particular… Because of course, to give you listeners a reminder, the way that Snape goes out in the play is that he gets his soul sucked out by Dementors, but there’s that moment where the doe Patronus looks back at him and he gets another moment of looking into Lily’s eyes, so to speak, before he dies. And it made me think of that scene in A Very Potter Sequel where Snape happens to be standing by the Mirror of Erised and Lily is in there.

Rosie: It’s so sad! [laughs]

Michael: I wanted to hear the audience[’s] reaction in the Potter Sequel because I wanted to remind myself of it and it was exactly what I remembered.

Michael: It’s a bunch of mostly girls, but everybody, going, “Aww!” [laughs]

Rosie: Aww! Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: The most drawn-out “Aww” you’ve ever heard. And while that may not be exactly the reaction that happened at Cursed Child, I felt like that was definitely the same feeling that was being sought after with Snape as a whole in his appearance with his use in the play. Ladies, please feel free to go further into your feelings about how Snape is utilized in this play and what you see. That’s what I’m seeing.

Rosie: Going on from our Great Snape Debate and the duality in the fandom’s opinion of Snape, there were so many comments [on] just the lines that are like, “Oh, you have to trust me, Snape, because I know that you were in love with Lily and because Harry really trusted you and because you were the name of his child who is my best friend and therefore you should trust me, Snape!” That kind of thing.

[Andrea, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Rosie: The lines were really clunky and really rubbed it home as “Oh, look! Snape is the good guy!” I really think fans would hate that.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: But the portrayal of Snape himself redeemed it. And the interaction between Snape and Granger is the only thing that really made me think, “Okay, Hermione trusts him. Therefore he has been a good guy in this timeline.” For Granger to have those moments of “I’m sorry for what this means to you” and to have these little looks across to each other… She and Snape are on a level when we see them together, and it’s so interesting to see that dynamic. He literally insults her in this scene, and yet she still respects him, so he must have done something so amazing for her to trust him in this way. We just don’t get to see the story, and that is what really intrigues me about Snape in the play.

Michael: I guess part of my challenge with Snape and his appearance is summarized by his line on page 193 when he’s sending Scorpius off away to finish the task of changing time again, and he says, [as Snape] “I couldn’t save Harry for Lily, so now…” [back to normal voice] I’m not going to read it like Snape. [laughs] Because I just can’t. “I couldn’t save Harry for Lily, so now I give my allegiance to the cause she believed in, and it’s possible that, along the way, I started believing in it myself.” Based on how we’ve analyzed Snape through the seven novels – and of course, it’s really hard to analyze this because it is an alternate universe – I think there are a lot of people within the fandom who would question whether Snape would have carried his task and his mission beyond Harry dying and the idea that he would give himself over to the cause that Lily believed in when it was made fairly clear in Hallows that this wasn’t for that.

Andrea: Yeah, it does feel a bit like they’re trying, as you pointed out earlier, very hard to drive home that Snape loved Lily. Snape loved her so much.

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: I mean, this has been a discussion for some time, whether this was actually love. And I mean, the play seems to go off saying, “Yeah, it was love,” because it doesn’t make any sense for Snape to have done this otherwise. There’s no reason why he would hold on for 19+ years. That would be so weird if it [weren’t] actually real love. Some fans are going to disagree with that, but that’s the only way to read it, I think.

Michael: Even with the argument of love or not love – because I’m very much on the side of yes, he did love Lily, but with that said, the way that for seven years he treated her child and other children – he made very clear to Lily within their years that his need to belong ended up overriding his willingness to give things up for her.

Rosie: And I think that’s partly what the motivation is. If it was always this need to belong… and he didn’t belong with Lily, and that didn’t work out, and he didn’t belong with Dumbledore really because he always had to play the double agent, and now Dumbledore is dead, and Harry is dead. So all of that storyline is gone. And he’s left behind in a world where he was the one that really created it, in so far as the whole Prophecy thing. He’s the one that really made this world, and he still doesn’t belong. And I think that would be the main change in his character, the fact that he’s seen both sides of the story. He’s tried to achieve the good world; it didn’t work. He’s tried to live in this bad world, and he still doesn’t quite feel like he deserves or belongs to be there, so I’m really interested. I’m so intrigued by this different Snape and what has brought him to this point because he really is a very different character.

Michael: And Rosie, those few things you just said about Snape [and] the necessity that Snape would have to have realized that he made that world… Wouldn’t it have been interesting if he said that? [laughs] Somewhere in the play.

Rosie: So many lines of “You love Lily” could have been removed [and] replaced by “Why the hell have I done this?”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yeah. And as you said, Rosie, earlier, that’s what’s the issue here. It’s amazing that that’s still an issue, despite the fact that it really does speak to the enormity of Harry Potter that they split it into two parts with two acts, and there’s still not time. There’s even a Time-Turner, and there’s still not time.

[Andrea and Kristen laugh]

Michael: But I do feel like if things had maybe been a little more revised, there still could have been room for that exploration from Snape…

Rosie: I missed the discussion of the first section of the play, obviously, but one of the main things I wish had been different about the whole Cursed Child experience is that I wish they had started on Albus’s third year. I’m not interested in seeing 19 Years Later again. I’m not interested in seeing a montage of the first three years played in fast motion so that we can get to the point of “We used to be brilliant father and son, and now we can’t stand each other.” It didn’t feel right to me. If they had started in Year 3, and we got this mystery of “Hang on a second. This is Harry’s son. What’s gone wrong? He gave him this name that meant so much to him, supposedly, but somehow he can’t connect to him,” I would’ve been so much more engaged with that story and the mystery in trying to work it out than having to see it played. And yeah, there are lots of little tweaks like that where they could have changed how they told that part of the story to refine it and to make it quicker and to make it more engaging to an audience rather than just “Here is what I’m telling you. Go.”

Michael: Yeah. No, absolutely.

Rosie: This is one of them, I think.

Michael: I think that’s definitely a big issue with the play because that stuff doesn’t really end up serving things as much as it just feels short-handed and lazy, so yeah.

Rosie: Yeah. The one thing I am very glad that they repeated is the silver doe because [of] the effect on stage. I cried. It was beautiful.

Michael: Andrea and Kristen, if you agree, please say, but there are moments when I read some of the things that were like, “Yeah, we’re totally going to do this on stage,” and my jaw does drop, and I’m like, “How? How? How did you do this?”

Andrea: Definitely the doe. Why? How?

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: So amazing. How much can I say, is the issue. I don’t want to spoil it.

Kristen: Don’t. Don’t say it.

Rosie: All I’m going to say is that it’s incredibly beautiful, and it is so much more tangible than the films, and that’s all I’m going to say.

Kristen: I can see that.

Michael: I guess the only reason I have reservations about it is more [with] what it’s trying to do for Snape within the fandom. But as a piece of theatrical imagery that connects to Harry Potter, I’m all about it. I think it’s a great moment.

Rosie: And the fact that it protects Scorpius is just gorgeous. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah, yeah. And I guess what I was saying, too, about Snape having that line about perhaps reflecting on what he’s done to make things the way they were… I feel [like] that would have really interestingly connected with what Scorpius and Albus have been doing this whole play. And I feel like that’s where part of the problem lies, too, with Cursed Child: Scorpius and Albus run into so many characters that are just there because, like you said, Rosie, that was [their] lip service to the fans. The characters do have things to teach our new characters, but they’re not really imparting the lessons that I guess you would expect, in a lot of ways. There’s opportunity for those lessons.

Andrea: No, exactly. And again, it’s been so long for Snape. We see him now and we’re like, “Oh, so weird that he would have started believing in Lily’s cause,” but it’s been so many years. Like, two decades. That’s a long time for someone to come around and change their mind and experience new things, and, like you said, Rosie, become lonely. And there’s definitely a very real possibility of him seeing what went wrong because [of] so much time [passing]. And that’s also why it’s so hard for the play to relate everything because you wouldn’t be able to do that with a throwaway line. It’s almost better to not touch it at all because if you start to unravel those 19 years, nobody has got time for that.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Rosie: I started to see parallels between this older Snape and both McGonagall and Dumbledore. If you know their backstories on Pottermore, the whole idea [that] they lost loves early on and then never found another one, and they’ve lived very long lives and all of these kinds of things. Snape in Cursed Child, when we see him here, has a very similar melancholy and solemnity as McGonagall does in Harry’s years at Hogwarts. It’s a similar aging stature, I think, that they’ve got these wizened years, and they’ve seen so many kids come through that they’ve started to see life in a very different way. And Snape seems to be on the cusp of that here, where he really is changing and starting to consider young lives being worth protecting, rather than something to be jealous of.

Michael: Which would make sense as far as Scorpius very easily being like, “Harry named his son after you,” and Snape, rather than being like, “That’s disgusting”…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: … would cry a single manly tear and be like, “I’m touched,” [which] is the way it ends up going in the script.

Rosie: It’s the idea that he’s actually made a difference in someone’s life, and I don’t think [that] Snape has had a lot of that in his life. It’s sad. But he also did do some horrible things.

Kristen: He did it to himself.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kristen: Sorry.

Michael: What a butt. Anyway…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And with that, we move on to the guy that’s been, actually, the other person to blame for all of this, bless his heart…

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: … but not really because he’s such a cinnamon roll.

Rosie: I just did a happy dance. [laughs]

Michael: Here comes Scorpius Malfoy.

[Andrea and Rosie cheer]

Kristen: He’s so cute.

Michael: Oh, lordy. [laughs]

Rosie: Before you say anything else, can you guys tell me is Scorpius as loved from the script as he is from the show? Because obviously, I’ve stayed away from the Internet. I literally know nothing about fandom reaction to any of this. [laughs]

Andrea: Oh, he is adored!

Kristen: Yeah, they love him.

Rosie: Good, because he’s so worth adoring. [laughs]

Michael: I’m the only person, I think, on the planet Earth who doesn’t much care for him.

Kristen: Really?

Rosie: Oh, Michael, if you actually saw the play, you would want to take him home. [laughs]

Michael: Oh, I know I would. I know I’d like him.

Rosie: He’s a lot more sensitive in the actual show, though. I don’t think the anxiety plays well in the script. There’s a definite fragility to him, which then mixes with the Hermione-book-knowledge kind of nerdiness. I see him as a very realistic character. I see him in some of the students I teach, actually.

[Kristen laughs]

Rosie: The portrayal is a lot more real on the stage, I think.

Michael: It’s not that I don’t even find him relatable in a lot of ways. I do. But I guess the…

Rosie: He’s too relatable. [laughs]

Michael: It’s not only that. It’s just that… and that’s why I said borderline Gary Stu, because he’s not perfect. Almost every issue related to Scorpius is just not his fault; it’s everyone else’s fault around him. He’s just not really at fault for anything. He [says] at the end, “I have anxiety.” [laughs] And I’m like, “Okay… I have mild anxiety, too, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t my fault.” [laughs]

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: And he’s just like… I don’t know. That’s my hang-up with Scorpius. I really want to like him, and I can see why he’s been so embraced immediately by [the] fandom. Simultaneously, I’m just like, “Mm, I have problems with you,” because he doesn’t feel more or less pandering than other elements of the show to me.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: But bless his heart.

Kristen: I’ll go along with you, Michael. He’s definitely not my favorite character and I don’t know why people are so obsessed with him.

Rosie: When you see the actor’s portrayal, you will change your mind. [laughs]

Kristen: Okay. Yeah, I was just like, “Meh, he’s there.” I don’t know. I really like Albus, so…

Rosie: See, I’m kind of “Meh” about Albus. I really don’t care that much about Albus.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: I feel like that’s what I hear [from] everyone else. And God, I’m almost the opposite on this for almost this whole play.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Scorpius encounters quite a few people in his little timeline. He has a brief run-in with Polly Chapman, who’s pretty much… [laughs] Most of the new characters who are Hogwarts students… Everybody is like, “Who is Polly Chapman?”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But yeah, Polly Chapman. She’s crazy.

Kristen: She’s Polly, duh.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: You know Polly. But yeah, she’s there. Unfortunately, most of the Hogwarts students serve this purpose to basically provide exposition and be like, “This is what the new timeline is.” She does it a little bit disturbingly because she’s got blood on her shoes the whole time she’s talking to him.

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Kristen: Yeah, the Blood Ball.

Michael: That’s creepy.

Rosie: That’s the regime, though. That’s not her character. That’s just the sign that she’s in this dark Hogwarts.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely.

Kristen: But I like when she goes, “Oh, Potter.”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yeah, like “Potter” is a swear word now.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Andrea: Her whole thing where she’s talking to him and asking him out and it’s just so weird and bizarre and she’s so cocky that it’s amazing. Who talks like that? No one.

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: Polly Chapman does.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Rosie: You’ve got to think of her as the mean girl.

Andrea: Yeah, exactly.

Rosie: She’s very much the top-of-the-pack mean girl who should be the one that is going out with [the] top-of-the-pack jock, who apparently Scorpius is in this other world, much to his terror.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Rosie: What’s interesting about the Polly Chapman in the script is [that] she’s a lot more confident than [the] Polly Chapman that I saw on stage. And when she says [the] “Oh, Potter, I’ve got blood on my shoes” line, there was an element of fear, it sounded like to me, in her voice when I saw her onstage. She bent over to rub it off and then caught herself and went, “Oh no, I can’t do that. I can’t get the blood off my shoes because it’s a sign of me being a Death Eater and I should be proud that I’ve got blood on my shoes,” and that kind of thing. So there was a tension in her character onstage that just isn’t in the book at all. And I don’t know if that was a particular portrayal that has changed since the script was written, or if it was something that is coming out of…

Michael: Well, and that comes with something we mentioned on the previous episode, which is that the one thing that this script is really missing, and the one thing that future productions will be affected by – and there’s been debate on this – is direction, combined with actor choices. Because I think we even saw – and listeners, make sure to listen to our recap discussion with your comments that we’ve incorporated – comments actually on the last episode [with] listeners saying, “I can totally see that line being interpreted ten different ways, or acted upon ten different ways.” And when we had Steve Vander Ark on last week from the Lexicon, he was saying how he’s done a lot of extensive theater – and I personally have a little bit of theater experience myself – and there is that little bit of carte blanche with directors and actors to just say, “Well, let’s try it this way and see what happens. What does this bring out in the character?” So definitely that idea that maybe Polly Chapman has a little bit of fear for what that means to wipe blood off of her shoes was not in the script, not only because it was a director’s choice for this production but because it may not be something they do in another production or that the actors may not choose to do in a future production.

Rosie: And it’s very much a rehearsal script. It is [a] bare bones script.

Andrea: But that is very interesting, if she is a bit afraid. Because as you see it, this other Voldemort regime world, it’s very clear cut. In the script as I read it, she was so on board. And everyone is so on board, and no one’s grey area…

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: And it’s all fine and dandy, Muggles being killed left, right, and center…

Rosie: You don’t have the little bits of dances being described either. The way the Death Eaters and the people in this regime move is so incredibly synchronized. Everyone is a unit. And for this moment of breaking from that unit to appear was so intriguing.

Andrea: Yeah. I mean, that does give it a bit more depth, I think.

Michael: Well, yeah, because I think there’s a lot of extension that… It’s so different within the three mediums of book, film, and theater. [In] the book, Rowling has the ability to very subtly sneak in these parallels to World War II and the Nazi era imagery. The movie beats you over the head with it.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: They just fully went in that direction. And then…

Rosie: And the play does it with interpretive dance.

[Andrea and Kristen laugh]

Michael: Yes. Yeah, exactly! How interesting, those three different ways that we can frame this same idea of Voldemort’s takeover in three drastically different ways. And speaking of Voldemort’s takeover, there’s somebody pretty prominent in that takeover. Draco Malfoy gets what is, in my opinion, a very bizarre scene off this page. It must make a lot more sense on the stage. His scene commits one of my favorite sins about this play. There’s this point where he slams Scorpius on the desk, and Scorpius proceeds to do what he does best and he rattles off a bunch of information from Pottermore.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And Rosie, I had mentioned on a previous episode that my issue with that is that that’s another common trope of Harry Potter fan fiction, to perhaps dig as far as you can deeply into canon to further legitimize your story within canon. And by no means is this the only moment where that happens. And in a way, this moment at least does it in somewhat of a way that is relevant because he just goes on about the whole Malfoy backstory and Astoria…

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: … and it leads up to this Cursed Child revelation that Astoria is very much dead, and the after effects of that…

Rosie: And the revelation that she’s still dead as well… He’s gone back in time twice, the whole storyline has changed, and he still has lost his mum. It’s so sad.

Michael: Yeah, and the other interesting thing about that with Draco is that [it] ties into what we were talking about with how Snape is treated, that Draco is also given a similar treatment in that way. Not quite, perhaps, to me, as heavy-handed as Snape is in this script, but…

Rosie: No, definitely it’s more subtle. I think the reeling off all of the Pottermore information thing – the heightened emotion in this scene – makes a lot of sense. That would be what Scorpius is saying in this moment, and not [like], “Oh, I’ve just read an encyclopedia on our family…”

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: But [more], “I am your son and you’ve let me down in this way because of all of this information.” It does make sense that he would say it. And it is interesting to see a grown-up Draco who doesn’t have his father’s shadow. He’s very much living up to the Malfoy name as he is making it, rather than as his father has told him he should. And it is interesting that still, even in this dark timeline, he still stood up to his father, he still married the girl he wanted to, and he still had Scorpius. Even Astoria died, but I don’t think Draco has changed that much between the two timelines. He is in charge of this horrible department in the Ministry, but I think he’s jumping through hoops. He really doesn’t strike me as a particularly different character between the different worlds, which was quite an interesting take on the character. And the fact that it reassures us that Draco will always be the kid that put down the wand rather than kill Dumbledore… He’s always the kid who will have to put a lot of money toward the Muggles to try to and cover up the bad doings of the Death Eaters, but he doesn’t seem to be the one that’s out there doing it himself, which is what Scorpius is trying to reassure himself. He’s questioning his dad and saying, “Please, please, don’t be the character that everyone thinks that you were. Please don’t be the evil person that they seem to think you were. Be the nice dad that my mum saw that you could be.” And I do think that Draco is that, and starts to see a future with a son [who] is seeing that, rather than a son who is the Scorpion King. And even in the script, you’ve got that little description of him looking at him and questioning him, and it’s almost like a redeeming thing rather than a disgust thing, which is quite nice.

Michael: So Rosie, that was beautiful.

Rosie: Ahh, thank you. [laughs]

Michael: Andrea and Kristen, did you get all of that from the script?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrea: Well, I mainly thought about… [laughs] I think it’s interesting that you say that Draco is basically the same, and in a sense I think he is but that also highlights how much Draco is influenced by his surroundings because Draco in a world with Harry becomes this… he’s not the best guy in the world, but he’s also not that awful.

Rosie: No, he’s just a very protective father, basically.

Andrea: Yeah. Draco in a world without Harry…

Rosie: We don’t even know his job, do we?

Andrea: No, he just has money.

Rosie: He’s just there.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Kristen: He’s rich, doing whatever he wants.

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: He’s super rich; he doesn’t have to work. But Draco without Harry is this sleazy, awful person working in a Ministry that is run by Voldemort and has not broken free from that in any way, and it’s so clear that… I was never a Drarry shipper…

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: … but it is interesting how much Harry would affect Draco’s life, and that without Harry, in a sense, Draco would become this awful person. In a way, he recognizes that this wasn’t as good as it could have been.

Michael: And how interesting, again, to have the idea that maybe somewhere that could have been said, because that so perfectly parallels Scorpius being without Albus.

Andrea: Oh yeah.

Michael: And it’s almost like… [laughs] When you guys are saying these things, I’m just like, “Why didn’t anyone say that in the play?”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Andrea: Because Draco almost says it in the last act, where he’s like, “I always envied you, Harry. You and your friends.” They were never friends and they’re not [friends] in the real timeline either, but…

Rosie: I think [it’s] the closest thing we get to it.

Andrea: Exactly.

Rosie: Sorry, carry on.

Andrea: You get something that’s close to it, and then in this alternate timeline, there’s nothing like it at all, and then it all sucks.

Michael: I guess maybe part of the problem for me is that these beats perhaps aren’t coming where I would want them to be, and maybe it’s…

Rosie: There’s a line that Draco says, which is, “She made being brave very easy, your mother…”

Andrea: Aww.

Rosie: … and just the thing that says, “That was another you,” and he looks back at his dad with a frown. “I’ve done bad things. You’ve done worse. What have we become, Dad?” And then Draco says, “We haven’t become anything. We simply are as we are.” That just shows how little control Draco feels like he’s got over his life. And I think Draco in Harry’s world has control over his life. He made those decisions in the final battle, and he managed to take control and be the person he wants to be. He’s still a Malfoy – he’s still got all of these rumors and everything going on – but he is trying to forge the life that he wants. And it is really down to outward influences that are forcing Scorpius and all these characters to be different. And if Scorpius never managed to reset the world and it had to be this Voldemort Day world forever, [laughs] at least this scene gives me hope that he would be able to live with Draco, and maybe Draco would leave his place in the Ministry because he can now see that if [Scorpius’s] mother gave him hope, then now Scorpius can be the one that gives him hope [and] some sense of control. Just this little redeeming bit.

Michael: I guess this is still kind of bizarre to me. And maybe what’s happening here for me is that hearing you guys speak about these things is making me go, “Yeah, that makes sense,” but I guess then I go back and read it, and I’m just like, “I’m not feeling any of that,” just purely from the page. And I don’t even know, and who knows if I’ll ever be able to say? But I don’t even know if sitting in the theater – with all of my frequent rereads of Harry Potter – I would still even necessarily feel that [with] all of that backstory and information washing over me in tandem with the performance and the script. I guess that’s sort of a lofty expectation.

Rosie: I think that’s partly what we do here on Alohomora!, isn’t it? We read these lines and we take it so far from what it actually is in the text.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrea: And find all of these backstories that are not actually there, but kind of [are].

[Kristen laughs]

Rosie: But their potential and their richness to a world that can exist if we want it to, but it is… The fact that this is a play and the script is so bare emphasizes how much of this world is open to interpretation, and it will be interpreted in so many different ways now [and] in the future, this particular storyline and this particular world. That this is the moment where canon stops and everything becomes so much more interpretive, and you’re allowed to because it is within the remit of this script. You can choose to have Draco be completely evil in this scene. If you really wanted to, you can make him really nice. You could show him as having a completely broken backbone and being the little dog of the Ministry that’s doing all of the dirty work and doesn’t particularly want to be there. It’s all open to the actor’s interpretation. And these characters aren’t characters that we’re used to anymore, and it’s impossible to read them in the same way. So you have to approach it with an open mind and decide what you want for these characters. And in that way it’s very much fan fiction because…

Andrea: I was just going to say that is very fan fiction-y.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, you basically defined fan fiction.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: You should take all that and write that as the heading for MuggleNet Fan Fiction because that’s kind of what it is.

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: These are the characters of your own creations.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: And speaking of the background of the world and that anybody can be what you want them to be, this may just perhaps be the most laughable part and where this all crumbles for a lot of people. The off-screen development of this world basically suggests that Cedric Diggory went stupid crazy and became a Death Eater.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: Oh my God, the reason for what actually happened in the final battle and why everything changed was such a pin drop moment in the theater.

Michael: Oh, you mean with Neville?

Rosie: We’ll get to that. English theater doesn’t gasp, but they gasped.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Even with that, I guess, again like I was saying, this all does hinge on the idea that a tad bit of bizarre humiliation in a moment is what destroyed Cedric Diggory’s life.

Andrea: Yeah, and that just bothers me so much.

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: Cedric is just made up to be this amazing person in the books. He’s this outstanding guy who always does the right thing. He’s Hufflepuff squared.

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: And somehow he gets shamed in the Triwizard Tournament and he becomes the most bitter guy in the world and becomes a Death Eater. That doesn’t make any sense.

Rosie: No.

Andrea: And to me, it’s really a slight to his memory. I just remember the eulogy that Dumbledore gives for him at the end of the fourth book, and it’s so beautiful, about how he was such a nice guy and all these things. Then suddenly he’s a Death Eater. What? No. Please don’t do this to the one Hufflepuff.

Rosie: Especially when we were promised the year of the Hufflepuff. The only Hufflepuff hero we’ve been given, really, other than, like, two others, and you’re going to completely destroy him for about a quarter of this play?

Michael: [laughs] The funny thing was the way that Scorpius describes it later to Albus in this act. [He] kind of says, “Diggory was a different person.” It was funny because my immediate reaction was, “Did I skip a page?”

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Because for some reason that line gave me the sense that Scorpius actually encountered Cedric, the way that he phrases it.

Rosie: Because he does. Not in the script.

Michael: See, I need that. I need that scene. I need him to meet him. That’s necessary.

Rosie: So the interpretive dance I mentioned… Diggory is the leader to it.

Andrea: What?

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: The troop of Death Eaters, basically, that marches across the stage and does this really powerful synchronized “We are all Death Eaters” dance thing… Diggory is basically the head Death Eater at this point. And Scorpius comes across them and does a halting step backward. He does encounter Diggory the Death Eater.

Andrea: How does he know that it’s Diggory? Does he have a name tag?

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: See, that’s what I’m not sure [about] and that’s what I didn’t get until they later said that Diggory was a Death Eater because I didn’t get that it was meant to be Cedric the first time I saw it. It was only the later reveal that, “Oh, that was Cedric. That’s bad.” So that was quite a nice twist.

Andrea: But how would Scorpius recognize him?

Rosie: Because they went back in the past, and they saw this guy, and they should know what he looked like.

Michael: With all that said, no. There [are] some things I will never believe. And Cedric Diggory becoming a Death Eater… absolutely not.

Rosie: There was a moment where I was wondering if they were going to get R-Patz on just to have him there.

[Andrea and Michael laugh]

Michael: Just felt like a little too much of a stretch.

Andrea: Yeah. My Hufflepuff heart cannot handle that sort of shenanigan.

Michael: Yeah, there’s really nothing textually from Cedric’s previous appearances to suggest that that could possibly happen.

Rosie: Other than his arrogance. There is a touch of arrogance that could be played upon to make him… It would have to be completely severe and his whole world fall apart for it to happen. Yeah, it seems extreme, but we don’t know what happened to him after the different tasks, I guess.

Andrea: Yeah, I guess if you fall from far enough…

Rosie: Harry stole his girlfriend and all of that kind of thing.

Andrea: He was very popular in the Triwizard Tournament. You’ve got to say that. It would have been a very hard fall to go from being the most popular Triwizard champion with this great girlfriend and everyone wears badges in your honor, and then nothing.

Rosie: Playing second fiddle to the famous Harry Potter.

Michael: Simultaneously, though, the fact that by that point Cedric has already settled his beef with Harry. Plus, he still would have had another task for a chance at redemption anyway, and I’m sure Cedric would have seen it that way based on his continual drive from the book. So I feel like that slight would not have quite gone to the extreme that the play suggests it did.

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Kristen: You never know. People surprise you.

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: Do you reckon the boys would have helped each other, had Cedric messed up the first task? Like, secrets of the egg and all of that kind of thing? With the first task and the dragon chasing the stone not working and Cedric being in the hospital wing for a while to recover from that, it would have meant he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to tell Harry about the egg. So how Harry knew about the lake task, we don’t know. And how Diggory managed to prepare for the lake task and that kind of thing… There would have been a lot of butterfly effect moments that would have changed just from the tiny things that the boys changed going back into the past. So even though it seems like such small changes had such a massive extreme effect, I think that’s what the butterfly effect is trying to say. This was the standalone butterfly and Diggory becoming the Death Eater was the tsunami on the other side of the world. It was the extreme result.

Rosie: But at the same time, the play seems to suggest that the butterfly effect doesn’t exist because there’s not enough change in the timelines. There are so many things that should’ve changed if this ripple thing [were] actually a thing, except for when it was really necessary.

Andrea: Neville died!

Kristen: If Snape can be nice, then Diggory can be a Death Eater.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: That’s the thing. There we go. We solved it.

[Kristen and Rosie laugh]

Michael: I’m still going to hold out on that one because it’s just too crazy for me. But something that’s maybe not so crazy is the appearance of Ron and Hermione, who, bless their hearts, as I put it in the last episode, have nothing to contribute to this play. So their whole plotline is the reminder that they should be a couple.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: Aww, I loved it, though.

Michael: I feel like their alternate, as we’re terming them, Granger and Weasley…

Rosie: That’s how the play terms them.

Michael: Absolutely.

Rosie: It’s not very evident in the script but they are definitely Granger and Weasley in the production.

Michael: Yeah, and I feel like that version of them succeeds a little more than their previous timeline version in getting the point across. Listeners, if you haven’t yet checked out the discussion by you, the listeners, on Episode 201 with your comments, there was quite a lengthy discussion about, as we’ve been calling her, Spinster Hermione.

Rosie: And we’ll discuss it on the recap as well.

Michael: Yeah, so we’ll get to that. But I feel like this doesn’t quite fall into those pitfalls. In fact, in many ways, it tries to go exactly the opposite of that by making Hermione this kind of guerrilla military leader who has kind of gone over the edge.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: I think this Ron and Hermione are the closest that we see to the year of camping in the tent in Deathly Hallows. You can easily see this is a continuation of them. Okay, they’ve lost Harry, but they’re carrying on doing exactly the same things that they were in that year. And that’s why this works.

Michael: And it almost ends up being a short-handed version of the original book, where they hold out on each other and then reveal it at the end. I do say that partially humorously. But what do you guys feel? Because I still feel this way about Ron and Hermione, that their plotline seems to be in direct response to the whole controversy over what Rowling said about them. And do you guys feel that they do hold up their end of the story enough to warrant their storyline being what it is in Cursed Child? And does it contribute to the larger narrative of Cursed Child?

[Prolonged silence]

Michael: Ooh, that’s the big question, isn’t it? [laughs]

Andrea: Yeah, the larger narrative…

Kristen: I enjoy it.

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: I love it because I really like Ron and Hermione and I love seeing them interact in all these different ways, and it’s great fun to have them being all these different characters. But as far as seeing the whole play… It’s nice, I guess.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: You have everybody else changing a little bit, so showing their side of the change, too, because you know everybody wants to know about them… and in this scene, the changes would affect them as well.

Michael: No, and I think that part of the problem is that Ron and Hermione very much are there because they have to be there, not necessarily… because, unfortunately, what happened with poor Ron near the end of this act is that he mostly reveals that he’s there to fill in the “They went that way!” role, because he does. He’s like, [as Ron] “Oh yeah, Albus was on top of the Owlery a few nights ago. I was drunk, so whatever.”

[Andrea laughs]

Michael: And I really can’t recall a script, or a movie, theatrical show, anything where there have been so many characters that exclusively serve the purpose to say, “They went that way!” That happens a lot here, and Ron, unfortunately, becomes a victim of that.

Rosie: I think that’s partly the problem of setting it when they did because they forced themselves to do the 19 Years Later scene, even though the actual play is not 19 years later; it’s actually, like, 21. And because they set themselves up with the cast of these characters, they had to include all of these characters, and then they didn’t really know what to do with them. The character of Rose is so under-utilized throughout the whole thing. Cherrelle, she’s such an amazing actress, and she actually plays young Hermione, which is brilliant, and that’s…

Michael: Yes, that is mentioned in the script.

Rosie: Yeah, good. That’s a brilliant thing for her character and for her role, but Rose should be there. She should be more of a lead character, and it’s disappointing that she’s not. And then it’s like we were saying about plots and subplots: These guys, they serve the subplots, and the subplots are very much where the Harry Potter world feels like Harry Potter. The main plot itself doesn’t feel like Harry Potter because it’s not. It’s Albus and it’s Scorpius, and this play is definitely Scorpius. He is the main character for the whole of Act 3, basically. And Ron and Hermione don’t really fit into Scorpius’s storyline because he is the friend of their child’s cousin; he’s not actually directly related to them in any way. So for him to be the one that goes, “Oh yeah, by the way, you guys were married, and you had kids,” and [for] them to go, “Really? That’s…interesting.”

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: It doesn’t work as well as perhaps it would if it were Albus in that situation going, “But you’re my aunt and uncle. Why aren’t you together?”

Michael: Saying it, yeah.

Kristen: But they’re so famous. That’s why he knows so much.

Michael: Well, I guess, though, that does speak to another problem I have with this act in particular – with it being Scorpius’s act – because the play already has the problem of being called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. As Kat said, it probably shouldn’t have been called that because Harry Potter is not the main character.

Rosie: Yeah. There are a lot of things this shouldn’t have been. It shouldn’t have been “the eighth story.”

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: It shouldn’t have been “19 Years Later.” It shouldn’t have been Harry Potter and the… And technically, the cursed child… there [are] three of them, not one.

Michael: Well, and that actually speaks to another moment by another character who appears… By the way, we’ll wrap up Ron and Hermione by saying, at the very least, their demise is quite tragic. I will give it that.

Rosie: Yes, it was so effective.

Kristen: They’re amazing, and I love it, and I’m so glad it was a part of it, not just senseless.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: We love the subplots.

Michael: Regardless of how they’re used, we do cave to the fact that yes, if they hadn’t been there, we would’ve died.

Andrea: And you have to say that in the end, where Ron and Hermione have the scene where they’re back in the normal timeline, we get to see a Ron that has grown out of the teaspoon phase. There’s not a teaspoon in sight in that scene.

Rosie: He’s a whole soup spoon now!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrea: Yeah, there’s so much emotion. Good on you!

Michael and Kristen: He’s a ladle!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But it was great, Rosie, what you said about that there might be three cursed children because in a way, McGonagall is actually used way more than I think anybody thought she would be, considering that Rowling said she was retired by now. But she’s here, and she does have actually quite a bit to say, and what she says, to me, in a way, actually is the title of the play. She gets probably the closest to saying it. Nobody actually drops [the phrase] “Cursed Child,” I don’t think.

Rosie: No.

Michael: But she gets close by saying on page 201, “You’re so young,” and the stage direction says, “She looks at Harry, Draco, Ginny, and Hermione,” – and keep in mind that Albus and Scorpius are also in the room – and she says, to follow that up, “You’re all so young.” And to me, the twist of the “Cursed Child” is that it’s not the poster. And all of the promotional material would definitely drive home the idea that it’s Albus, but in a way, I think it’s everybody. There [are] a lot of cursed children in Cursed Child, and not all of them are children, I guess.

Rosie: Yeah, you could so easily see it as Harry as the one that is the cursed child, still.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. I think there’s an element that Malfoy and Scorpius are cursed in their own way, and even in their…

Rosie: And of course, Delphi herself.

Michael: Yes, absolutely. And in their own little way, Ron and Hermione in their little cul-de-sac subplot are cursed. [laughs] So everybody…

Rosie: And Rose and Hugo. Hugo is the real cursed child. He doesn’t exist in this play.

Michael: He doesn’t even exist! [laughs]

Andrea: He got cursed right off the page.

Michael: Yeah. I do love that McGonagall’s final note on the matter is, [as McGonagall] “Your children didn’t exist!”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That is the ultimate “Oh my God,” right?

Andrea: “Terrible parents. You lost your children! Don’t do that!”

Michael: [laughs] So it is interesting to me that McGonagall – again, being that the original previous canon was that she was retired by this time – is actually still here, and she’s actually imparting the big lesson that the characters need to learn to connect things. She’s the one who sets them all on the right track, and while Albus and Scorpius still proceed to do the wrong thing, I think they do it with a much better sense of intent.

Rosie: Yeah. If Snape has become McGonagall, then McGonagall has become the lecturing side of Dumbledore. She’s not in control, and she’s not all aware like Dumbledore was, but she is just as good at doing these little messages and looking down at them as if they’re going, “Aww, so young.”

[Kristen and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Yeah. And interestingly, to follow that up, Harry comes up to Albus’s room and nothing is learned whatsoever.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: Same old, same old.

Michael: The catharsis will come later, but they do have a moment where they’re at least getting through things a little better. And interestingly, a fun little sideline tidbit is that Harry says, “I’ve locked away the Map; you won’t see it again,” and he’s talking about the Marauder’s Map, which is interesting because that concern came from one of the alternate universes, not from this one. So I guess Albus must have summarized what happened with the map when he was telling them everything that happened. I just thought that was interesting, though, that Harry – this universe Harry – was like, “Just to reassure you that I’m not that-universe Harry, I put the Map away.” Also, interestingly, I guess that’s the setup for… Because in the canon, James eventually takes the Map from Harry, so I guess that’s set up for those of us in the know in a little bit of a wink wink, nudge nudge…

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Andrea: Yeah, and if we say that Ron has grown out of his emotional range of a teaspoon, here we get a throwback to old, screaming Harry from Order of the Phoenix where he’s like, “I don’t choose adventure!” and you’re like, “Yes, we know.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yeah, and that’s something we talked about a little more ostensibly in the last few acts because Harry is featured in them more. This is probably where he plays the least part of all the parts, because like you said, Rosie, this act is mainly Scorpius’s story, and that’s still the problem I have with the… And I think that this part is so much a personal decision of how you read Harry because this is something that everybody, I think, is having different feelings about. Because I, personally, can’t read Harry the way that the play wants me to see him because “19 Years Later” Harry in Deathly Hallows is a completely different Harry to me than what they’re trying to propose here. I get it [and] totally think it’s possible. [It’s] just not my Harry. Cursed Child in itself is a different universe, AU, to me because the Harry that I personally read in “19 Years Later” is a very affectionate Harry who has overcome so many of his emotional challenges that he would not be in the same place where he’s…

Rosie: This is not an “All was well” Harry.

Michael: Yeah, no. A Harry who still can’t express his emotions and empathize rather than sympathize with his children. That’s confusing to me especially. As many of our listeners have pointed out, Harry went through many of the same things Albus went through at school, and I think the Harry I read can cross the line of sympathy into empathy. This Harry can only hit sympathy, which is why Albus doesn’t like him.

Andrea: Yeah…

Michael: Go ahead, Andrea.

Andrea: I think “All was well” makes it [laughs] so well.

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: It’s hard to imagine any world where Harry has problems after that. Of course, it would be completely unrealistic to have a character where everything is well. That was a good way to end a story, but when you want to continue it, not so much.

Rosie: And that’s why I have the big issue with why I wanted it to start 22 years later rather than 19 years later. If that had been our presentation, we’ve gone suddenly from “All was well” to “All was not well.”

Michael: “All was ridiculously bad.” [laughs]

Rosie: Then we’ve got a mystery that needs to be solved, and that would cause intrigue and that would cause us to go, “But everything was fine. Why is it not fine now?”

[Andrea and Michael laugh]

Rosie: “What is this? We want to be with our characters, and we want to help.” But because they show this ridiculous decline that doesn’t make any sense, it just doesn’t really work. There’s no reason for Harry and Albus to drift apart in this way. There’s no reason for Albus to turn against Harry, and there’s no reason for Harry to stop being able to understand his son. It doesn’t make any sense.

Andrea: At least not to the extent [that] it happens. I don’t have any kids, but I can understand that being a parent is a lot harder than maybe you expect, and I can understand that maybe Harry can’t relate to his kids in the way that he wanted to.

Rosie: But he would still have 11 years’ worth of backstory and relationship with that son that was seemingly nothing.

Andrea: Exactly.

Kristen: But kids can be so difficult – and especially [at] the age that Albus is – that you find they are drifting apart. It’s not necessarily Harry; it’s [that] his kid is going through so much right now that it’s hard for him to relate. So he is giving more sympathy [than] empathy because he’s not being able to relate to him right now. It’s more like typical families. You see that all the time where you have this perfect bond with two kids, and then there’s this one kid who’s going through so much stuff and you just can’t… I don’t know.

Rosie: But I feel like that excuse is a cop-out. I really do feel like, “Yes, I definitely agree with all that and it does exist with families and everything, but the way they show it doesn’t feel realistic to me.” The way that they show the decline of this relationship and the way they show Harry not understanding him and the way they show Albus not understanding Harry and all that kind of thing.. If it [were] written better, it would be more believable.

Andrea: Yeah, and I think in a way…

Rosie: And I think if Jo had written it a bit more, it would have been…

Andrea: Because Harry is so not understanding.

Rosie: He just doesn’t get it at all.

Andrea: Exactly. And I know parents who are the nicest people in the world and they can’t connect to their kids for whatever reason, but they still understand their kids better and they try harder than I feel like Harry is doing in this play, where he’s just trying to be this completely worthless person…

[Michael laughs]

Andrea: … when it comes to communicating at all. So if he had just tuned it down a smidge, it would have been more believable.

Michael: [It’s] made more hilariously ridiculous with Ginny being next to him and being like, “I’m a good parent. Why aren’t you a good parent?”

[Andrea and Kristen laugh]

Michael: And then not giving him any help. Yeah, what you guys are saying actually bleeds really well into this last bizarre dream [that] we get in Godric’s Hollow at the graveyard. And of course, I think from the moment you see it, everybody in the fandom turns to each other and goes, “This didn’t happen. It can’t have happened.”

Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: And Harry acknowledges that when he wakes up. Fascinatingly, the dream does try to be a little apologist to Aunt Petunia, but it’s a dream, so we can give it that room. [laughs] It definitely tries to do the same thing that the deleted scene from Deathly Hallows – Part 1 tried to do. But what’s interesting here is that Albus ends up coming out of Voldemort’s robes. And this is perhaps the only reason that the play threw me for a loop a little bit because this and other dream imagery suggested to me… and I, in a way, think this might have been a better route to go; still not very unexpected, but somehow, I think, better. I thought Albus might have a piece of a Horcrux in him or something of the like. Maybe not even necessarily a Horcrux because I don’t know how that would work with James and Lily…

Andrea: Yeah, it would be weird.

Michael: … but I feel like the play, in a lot of ways, was trying to directly connect Albus to Voldemort. And Rosie, you wouldn’t have had the benefit of this part of the script: In the earlier acts, when Albus is on his downward spiral, the physical description of him almost beat-for-beat matches Voldemort.

Rosie: Really?

Michael: He’s suggested to be very sallow, hollow-eyed, like he’s aged dramatically in a very short span of time.

Andrea: Wow.

Michael: So there [are] weird hints in the writing that there’s a more direct connection between Albus and Voldemort. And it hearkened, to me, back to ideas from Order of the Phoenix, which – while Order of the Phoenix is my least favorite book – I think has some of the most fascinating metaphors for being a teenager, and I feel like that could’ve really connected well with what they were trying to do here.

Rosie: I could understand that. So you’re saying that all of Harry’s worries of “Am I good or am I evil?” are now turning into “Okay, so I’ve decided that Sirius said I can be good. And there is good and bad in all of us; we’re not split into good people and Death Eaters. But what if my son is the evil one instead? So what if it’s not me now? What if it’s Albus?” That’s what this dream seems to be showing. Yeah, that’s interesting. And that would explain some of this tension a bit more: He’s so worried that he’s created a potential Voldemort, rather than…

Michael: Yeah, and even with the Sorting into Slytherin, I guess that’s where I thought this was going.

Rosie: I think that’s what we’re lacking. We’re lacking some of Harry’s thoughts. We’re lacking that insecurity [and] that clear depiction of why it is that Harry is so worried about Albus. If we could have that mention of him being worried that, “Hang on a second, Albus is in Slytherin. Does that mean he’s going to be evil?” Because that’s what he seems to see the world as. That would’ve been just a little bit more helpful in understanding Harry’s motivation throughout this play.

Michael: Which, in its own self, is already problematic because Rowling has stated that the reputation of Slytherin has drastically diluted over the years.

Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: Plus, Harry has a completely new outlook on what Slytherin is because of his life experiences.

Rosie: But I guess, then, it’s internal bias. When he joined the wizarding world, it was what he always grew up thinking. It’s hard to go against that, but it doesn’t seem to work.

Michael: Which gets into the issues of reverting characters to who they were versus growing them from the implied places to where they were growing and how you take that and reread the original series. But that was just funny to me because the way that the play decides to interpret the dreams, to me, is a little more far-fetched than what I thought they were giving me. I thought it was funny, the whole dream where Harry has that weird thing with being with Aunt Petunia, and then suddenly he’s in the forest – he was in the closet, now he’s in the forest – and Albus is there, [and Harry] is like, “Ahh, he’s in the forest!” and I’m like, “What? That’s what you got from that? There’s so much more going on in that dream!”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: … because the dreams, to me, hold up to the original Harry Potter dreams. They’re super surreal and interpretive and they cover a lot of ideas, and it’s just so funny to me that even the dreams are still functioning as, “He went that way!”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: After all of that beautiful imagery, that’s all it is.

Rosie: I guess it’s quite difficult when you’ve got such a complex world to actually, say, give them reasons to go to these places, if not “He went that way.”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: And speaking of the way they went, who should be taking them there… We come full circle in our discussion. We end with dear old Delphi. She shows up. Now, the interesting thing about Delphi – in terms of what we were talking about earlier with her relation to Harry and Voldemort – is that the play, at the very last moment with the last dream, has Voldemort say, [as Voldemort] “Do you still see with my eyes, Harry Potter?”

Rosie: I love the fact that the script actually goes, [as Voldemort] “Harry Potter…”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrea: Yeah, you can very much hear that. That was a stage direction that really bled through.

Michael: Well, I think the reason that bleeds through for us who maybe haven’t seen it, too, is that [it’s] from the movies.

Andrea: [laughs] Oh yeah.

Rosie: Yeah, and that’s from the early movies, as well. That’s right from almost the first film, and it lingers.

Michael: Yep, yep, yep. But it’s interesting because that’s the play’s attempt to be like, “See, there’s a reason that Harry and Delphi are connected!” But it doesn’t really go further than that because if you think about it long enough, there shouldn’t be a reason.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: Because of course, the other issue is that Harry can speak Parseltongue. That’s wrong. I guess the idea that the play is trying to say is that Delphi, by being Voldemort’s child, still has that connection with Harry. But if she’s not a Horcrux, that doesn’t work, right?

Andrea: Yeah, exactly. Because Harry didn’t have a connection with Voldemort himself. It was never a gene thing; it was specifically a Horcrux thing.

Rosie: So it suggests that there is some life in that Horcrux if it is reawakened somehow, which is just not good. [laughs]

Andrea: No.

Michael: The excuse we can give it, of course, is that we are working with extremely Dark magic here. So potentially, there’s some stuff that has been unseen up to this point. Harry, of course, is such a unique case. So I guess that’s how you can explain it off? But at the same time – with the rules that we have established – this shouldn’t work this way.

Andrea: Yeah, again, this is one of those…

Rosie: Which, in this way, may just mean that Harry’s dreams are Harry’s dreams this time. It may be that his scar hasn’t hurt since he was a kid and all of these kind of things, but it could be that – like Ginny is trying to say – his brain is sensing danger. It’s danger for his son, and his brain knows that the way Harry manages to translate warnings of danger is through what he did as he was a teenager, and it pseudo-Horcruxes him. There’s no actual Horcrux.

[Andrea laughs]

Rosie: It’s just pretending that it’s there so that it can do all of these things for him. [laughs]

Michael: Well, and Steven Vander Ark reminded us that Harry does have prophetic-like dreams before Voldemort comes back to his body.

Andrea: That is true.

Michael: So Harry does have dreams like that. But at the same time, his dreams were never quite that informative, I guess.

[Kristen and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Plus, there is definitely… I think the play is trying to actively stress that there is a connection between Harry and Delphi that can’t exist by the rules that we know.

Andrea: Again, where the play is not really for people who have picked apart the series to the extent…

[Everyone laughs]

Andrea: It doesn’t make sense to us, but for everyone else…

Rosie: Which fits with you, with Delphi not being able to exist.

Andrea: Yeah. For everyone else, I think it’s like, “Oh yeah, that makes sense.”

[Kristen, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Andrea: And if you have specific rules for how Horcruxes work.

Michael: “I saw the movies!”

Andrea: “No! Because A, B, C, D…” and everyone’s like, “Where did you get all these bullet points from?”

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: And we can go, “Alohomora!

[Kristen and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Well, like you said, Rosie, the biggest problem lies in [it] being marketed as “Nineteen years later! The eighth story!”

Rosie: Yep. It’s not.

Michael: If you did take this purely as just a fan fic-y-like extension without that expectation, that would work. That would totally work.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: The other problem I have with Delphi is that she, to me – and I mentioned this briefly before – pulls the same thing that Quirrell does, and even more so because… We’ve talked about how her character is almost dependent on our previous knowledge of Tonks. She’s very Tonks-like in her initial appearances, and to follow that up…

Rosie: I think that’s an act, though.

Michael: Oh yeah. No, no, and it is.

Rosie: I don’t think she… yeah.

Michael: But that’s just what I’m saying. Just like Quirrell, she’s an act. And at the very end she’s like, “Aha! Surprise! I’m crazy.”

Rosie: [as Quirrell] “No one would suspect p-p-poor st-st-st-stuttering Pr-Professor Quirrell.”

Michael: Yes!

[Andrea laughs]

Michael: “Who would expect the clumsy adorable Delphi?” is basically what she was saying.

Rosie: She is very much a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She is the Alaska Young. She is the character that is exactly designed for Albus to just blindly follow. And I didn’t trust her for a moment from the first time she turned up! [laughs]

Kristen: Me neither. [laughs]

Michael: I think she’s one of the few Harry Potter villains who is very easy to sniff out.

Rosie: But I think that’s also because we know every single other character in the play, other than a handful of new Hogwarts students who we can accept as being new Hogwarts students. She is so standout, as she is supposed to be an important character and yet you’ve never once heard of her ever before. It just doesn’t work and it’s not as subtle as we’re used to from Jo. So it really goes, “Well, that’s not right. This is going to end badly.”

Kristen: But I didn’t know how badly it was going to go. That’s for sure.

Rosie: You’ve just got a slight suspicion of [Delphi]. It could have just been, “She’s going to be a bad love interest for Albus,” but nope. She is the ultimate Big Bad this time, apparently.

Andrea: You know how in cartoons sometimes everything is sort of hand drawn and nice, and then there’s this one thing that’s in a different animation style because someone’s going to pick it up? She sort of feels like that object, where it’s like, “That doesn’t fit. That is definitely going to be used in this scene.”

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: She’s the thing with the blue lighting in the video game.

Andrea: Yeah!

[Kristen and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Yeah, she definitely does when you read her. She does feel – maybe even more so on [page] than onstage – very out of place because she’s so much more obvious in the script, where she’s just like, [as Delphi] “Why don’t you do this thing? How about you try this?” And rather than be the “Let’s go that way” [person], she’s like, “Let’s do this.” That’s her role. And her suggestions come out of nowhere. Like you said, she goes in tandem with what I was saying earlier about the idea that the play could have been more about – what you said, Rosie – Harry being fearful that Albus is the monster. With that in mind, you wouldn’t need Delphi.

Rosie: Yeah, the story would write itself. It would be a psychological drama.

Michael: Which is more what I was actually thinking it was going to be, based on the marketing that we got for Cursed Child. While there would be the whizz-bang magic, there would be more of a character drama than what Cursed Child ended up being, I guess.

Kristen: Yeah. That’s the way I thought it was going to go as well.

Rosie: But I do still think there is enough emotion in this second part that does drive it. I really enjoyed Part 2 a lot more than Part 1.

Michael: I’ve heard that.

Rosie: Considering that Delphi is the Big Bad in Part 2, she must be worth it in having that character and to make it not just another story about Harry and Voldemort. That would feel like, “Okay, here we go again.” There is some element of a new fresh blood to it, but I’m not sure where the story would have ended had it just been about Harry and Albus.

Michael: Well, see, that’s why I’m just… Rowling and potentially a team of other writers could have come up with an idea for where that would have ended, I guess. It’s not…

Kristen: Hermione and Ron would have had a better involvement.

Michael: [laughs] Yes. I feel like these ideas that we’re just mulling around… it’s not our responsibility to make that ending. It was theirs. And maybe that’s because the ending we get didn’t really wow me. But we’ll get to that in the next episode. But as they’re at the top of the owlery, Delphi proceeds to pretty much do the villain monologue where she’s like, “Aha! Here I am! This is who I am, except I’m not going to give you the last bit of information, but here’s everything else.”

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: And Rosie, you noted this here about the bit with the tattoo that I think is actually what’s most problematic about this reveal. So go ahead with that.

Rosie: Yes. I mean, the speech does mention it as well, but the fact that the stage direction literally says she has an Augurey tattoo is such a spoiler! Yes, she comes into this scene and her costume is a bit different. We can see that she’s got tattoos but it’s not particularly clear what they are, and we can see that she’s not as clean cut as she was earlier on so she’s slightly more disheveled. She looks slightly less of a good character, and then Albus notices these tattoos and they start talking about the symbol. But if they had just described it as [being] like a bird, then it at least creates some idea of suspense and, “Oh, that’s an interesting tattoo,” and they’re getting to know each other a bit more. The fact that she immediately… The stage direction goes, “Aha! Here is the Augurey.”

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: It just spoils it. It’s just rubbish. It could be described in such a more interesting way. As a teacher, who teaches scripts and things as well and [tries] to get the kids to understand the subtleties of stage directions, never write a stage direction like this one, please, kids. It’s rubbish.

[Andrea and Michael laugh]

Andrea: To be fair, I’ve got to say, I was reading so fast by this point…

Rosie: That you missed it?

Andrea: Yeah. I was just going, “Whatever. There’s a bird on her back. I don’t care.”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Andrea: And then Scorpius made the connection, and I was like, “Oh yeah, I should have noticed that. I’m an idiot.” But yeah.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: Yeah, the thing about the Augurey stuff is that it does somewhat feel Rowling-esque, as in, it is sprinkled through the acts, especially with the one that’s probably the most fun [in] the very first act with Hermione. [as Hermione] “Oh, some giants with bird tattoos…” [back to normal voice] which is the hint. And that added element of it being revealed to be on her back, visually, is something we don’t get as readers, that added piece. So I definitely see how the script is like, “Ca-clunk, ca-clunk, ca-clunk,” on that part.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: But it would be so easy just to describe it rather than just sell it as a thing, and that’s why I’m really hoping that the second edition script isn’t a rehearsal script; that it is a proper stage direction with nice description.

Michael: Proper, yeah. Well, the other little tidbit she drops is that she was actually adopted by the Rowles. It’s not confirmed if Euphemia was married to Thorfinn, but it’s implied. So apparently, she was taken in by a Death Eater family. Yet another moment of like, “Wow, the Rowles. They were super not-important to anything.”

[Andrea and Michael laugh]

Michael: Just a little dash of Harry Potter fun in there, I guess. And then she…

Rosie: You could have used the Carrows, couldn’t you?

Michael: Yes!

Rosie: It could have said “Carrow,” and then people would have gone, ”Oh, I know who that person is!” And then it would have been fine. But no, it had to be…

Michael: Well, how interesting that would have been.

Rosie: But still, Death Eater Number 4!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And how much more interesting that would have been with how much more involved the Carrows were in Harry and Voldemort’s life and what their takedown was. But she takes them to the third task because we had to hit every task.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Interestingly, the maze and the imagery of the maze… and Rosie, I don’t know if it plays out that way onstage, but the way the script has it is from the movie, and the idea that the maze is carnivorous…?

Rosie: Well, that’s from the book as well.

Michael: Does the…?

Rosie: The hedges move in the maze in the book, I’m fairly sure.

Michael: Harry, I think, at one point wonders if the hedges are moving.

Rosie: Okay.

Michael: He doesn’t actually see it, but the maze in the book is almost purely tasks within the maze.

Rosie: I’m now realizing how many years ago it was that we read Goblet of Fire.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, and to be fair, the play does clarify that with Cedric coming up against them and [thinking] they’re a task.

Rosie: It’s so sweet.

Michael: But at the same time, they kind of blended the movie’s maze and the book’s maze.

Rosie: Yeah. I think the staging of a maze on a stage is so difficult…

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: … that I was quite impressed by how they did it. It was more symbolically a maze than anything else, but I could clearly understand what they were trying to do with it, and I think it worked.

Michael: Mhm. Oh, and I forgot to mention [that] before they get to the maze, Craig Bowker, Jr. dies. Oh, well.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: Yay! So sad!

Michael: Sucks to be Craig Bowker, Jr.

Rosie: That was such an important moment.

Michael: Was it? I forgot. [laughs]

Rosie: It really feels like another Cedric. He is the second spare. It really does feel like, “Poor Craig!”

[Kristen laughs]

Rosie: I’m so much more emotionally attached to his [character] now because I know that he died, yeah.

Andrea: Aww.

Rosie: He’s a character that pops up once or twice, and then suddenly he’s dead and you go, “No! No! Craig!”

[Andrea and Michael laugh]

Rosie: “I liked him!”

Michael: Well, yeah.

Rosie: It’s sad.

Michael: Go ahead, go ahead.

Andrea: I don’t like that he dies – that’s awful – but it is nice to get that parallel of the first character that dies in Harry Potter where you go, “What? What? No, no, no, no! That’s not supposed to happen. This is a children’s story! People don’t die in children’s stories. This isn’t nice!”

Michael: No, yeah, he’s a very short…

Andrea: It’s good to establish that this is for real. This is serious. She’s going through with this stuff.

Kristen: I agree.

Rosie: Yeah, it’s the only thing that makes her a true villain. [It’s] that she actually does kill someone.

Michael: Kill somebody.

Rosie: Otherwise, she is the disappointing “Okay, we can pick you down quite easily. Go away, Manic Pixie Dream Girl” kind of girl.

Michael: Which is funny because she is taken down very easily in this section by Cedric.

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Granted, she’s not expecting it, but he takes her down with Expelliarmus and Brachiabindo. [It’s] so funny that Brachiabindo is really built up to be the spell that, for some reason, nobody can get out of, except you can get out of it because Draco does it.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: Because there’s a very easy counter-curse, apparently. And in that moment, Cedric has his little apologist part of the series where he gets his [as Albus] “Oh yes, your dad loved you, by the way.”

Rosie: It was so sweet.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: It was.

Rosie: It was. I was sat there with a smile all over my face, but it was really sad as well because I knew he was about to die.

[Andrea and Michael laugh]

Kristen: Yes. True.

Rosie: And I have to say that in that babyish voice.

Michael: Oh yes.

Rosie: I don’t know why, but it was just…

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Michael: No, it’s required. It’s definitely required. It just keeps pushing why this feels fan fic-y to me. It’s like every character who you would want to get that moment gets that moment, I guess. Like, over and over and over again, and in a way it’s going, again, full circle. It is very A Very Potter Musical in that way.

Rosie: But if it [were] true fan fic, then we would have had Sirius back.

[Andrea laughs]

Kristen: Not quite yet, but true.

Michael: It’s because they didn’t have time for a Part 3. [laughs] I’m sure he’s in a draft somewhere!

Rosie: Probably.

Michael: But yeah, of course, that’s the bit with the maze. And then, ostensibly, they get left in Lily and James’s time and somehow will make their way all the way over to Godric’s Hollow, but that’s for the next act. But the very last bit, of course, is that Harry and the gang discover that, of course, poor Amos, who is left behind by the script completely, did not have any siblings and therefore could not have a niece. So they do find a way to get into Delphi’s room – her very basic little room – with a shocking reveal. And it’s funny, Rosie, how you put here your feelings about this reveal…

[Andrea and Rosie laugh]

Michael: … because this is one of the few moments of the stage description – the other one would probably be the Time-Turner like you were saying, Kristen – where I saw this really clearly, and I felt exactly what I should be feeling for that moment.

Kristen: Really?

Rosie: Good.

Michael: I don’t know if it was because of how it was written, but I could see it. I could definitely see it.

Andrea: Yeah, me too.

Rosie: I’m so relieved because from not knowing anything about it, actually seeing it happen was just astounding. For, like, half an hour after that moment, I wasn’t able to think about anything other than that moment.

[Andrea laughs]

Rosie: It was so incredible. [I was] sitting in the stalls as well, so I had a roof over my head and [was] quite close to the wall. If you can’t picture it, and you are ever going to see the play, I don’t want to describe it too much because it will spoil it, but this… Before I went into the play for Act 2, my sister said to me – because she had managed to see it at the beginning of the summer – “I’m really looking forward to hearing what you think about the moment. You’ll know it when you see it.”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Rosie: And boy, did I know it when I saw it. [laughs] Because just after all of these magic effects and all of these different illusions and things that they’d managed, for it then to be, God, basically in surround sound… but not sound and vision; the magic happened above my head and to my side.

Michael: No, yeah.

Rosie: It’s so simple; it was UV lighting. But it was amazing.

Michael: I think that’s why I felt it more than any of the other stuff, because I know what it’s like to be in a theater and the magic of what’s happening onstage comes out into the audience… there’s an indescribable thrill when that box that you’re looking at in front of you stretches out. It’s the reason why everybody loves 3D movies so much. [It’s] because they want that, but theater can actually give it to you. And it really is indescribable, but there is just that thrill when you become a part of the story or the play and it feels like you can touch it.

Rosie: I have literally no idea what happened onstage at this moment…

Michael: Because you were too busy looking around you, yeah!

[Kristen laughs]

Rosie: I was.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. There are definitely effects like that in various theater shows. And again, as I said on the last episode, listeners, even if you can’t see Cursed Child, I hope you get to experience some really great theater in your life because the one thing that I’ll give this play is that at the very least it is exposing a generation of Harry Potter lovers, who maybe don’t know theater very well, to theater and the magic of theater, so to speak.

Rosie: But also, don’t think that theater has to be these amazing, over-the-top, massive budget projects.

Michael: No!

Rosie: If you ever go and see Much Ado About Nothing with a three man cast in a tiny little touring box that goes around to an open air theater or whatever.

[Kristen laughs]

Rosie: Three people doing Much Ado About Nothing, where the main cast is a cast of six, is amazing. Theater can be whatever you make of it, and it’s so important to see small productions as well as big productions because it is a completely different experience and so worthwhile. Theater is amazing.

Michael: I like the idea that the Harry Potter books got a generation of reluctant readers into reading. The idea that maybe Cursed Child

Rosie: Hopefully, this will bring them to the theater.

Michael: Yeah! Seemingly reluctant people who…

Andrea: Oh, that would be so nice!

Kristen: Yeah, that’s pretty cool.

Rosie: It’s an awesome idea.

Michael: Yeah, the idea that there’s maybe… Certain people do have stigmas around theater and [have] their thoughts, their impressions, [and] their stereotypes about theater. And it would be really great, the idea that Harry Potter could work that way, too. And hopefully, with Rowling’s insistence that this will tour, that will be possible.

Andrea: Please.

Rosie: Yes.

Michael: Please, yes, please!

Rosie: And I think it will, just from thinking back to what my audience was like.

Kristen: It has to.

Rosie: There were a lot of people my age who had obviously grown up with the books, there were a few kids, there were a few older people, and it was an extremely diverse audience. And I would say there were probably a lot of people in there that wouldn’t have normally gone to see a play but would because it was Harry Potter. So I’m really hopeful that with it transferring to America probably eventually and touring around the world and all those different things, it’s bound to bring a lot of people to see what this eighth story whatever…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: This thing.

Rosie: [laughs] Yeah. But it’s so worth it if you can. Please do.

Michael: We’ll wrap up this discussion by actually just having a brief chat about… because now that we’ve totally geeked out and nerded out over the effect of the prophecy, the prophecy itself is: “When spares are spared, when time is turned, when unseen children murder their fathers, then will the Dark Lord return.” Notwithstanding… I don’t know how you ladies feel about this, but I don’t think that prophecy is exactly the prettiest prophecy we’ve ever heard from Harry Potter.

Andrea: Nope.

Michael: Eh, it’s a little clunky for me, especially because it doesn’t quite follow a rhythm and the rhyme scheme’s a little off.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: And it’s a short one. It’s pretty short.

Rosie: Well, if you’re going to write it all over the theater, you can’t do something that long.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yeah, exactly. For sure. But what’s fascinating to me about this prophecy is probably the part that the play doesn’t spend as much time on, which is “When unseen children murder their fathers.” The written script gives no regard to that line; there’s no mention of it again. It’s of course quoted, but Harry and Draco don’t seem terribly concerned at the idea that their children might kill them.

[Rosie and Michael laugh]

Michael: And [it’s] also seemingly another part of the play that I thought was building up to something that didn’t happen…

Rosie: It had already happened by this point, I think is the key idea. Albus had already killed Harry, and they’d fixed it.

Michael: I guess what was interesting to me was that the current Harry and Malfoy don’t really feel that it’s still potentially a risk, I guess. The other question, of course, is that this prophecy… Where on earth did it come from? [laughs] And Rosie, you brought up a great supposition of “When did it come from?” How does this affect the knowledge, perhaps, of Voldemort, Bellatrix, other characters in the series…?

Rosie: It’s “All role and no play make Delphi something, something.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That’s a great summation of Delphi, actually, I think.

Rosie: And a nice, nifty Simpsons reference there!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And with that, we end on this dramatic revelation that yes, Delphi is the child of Voldemort…

Andrea: Dun, dun, dun!

Michael: … and her prophecy means something, something. The end!

Kristen: Cut to black.

Michael: [laughs] Cut to black!

Rosie: But it’s such a good moment to have the interval as well. Literally, the fact that the words were on the ceiling and were all around me… I was like, “Whoa,” and then had half an hour to go, “Whoa.”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Rosie: And then I was like, “Okay! Ready for the next bit now.” [laughs]

Michael: I guess for me, personally… And a few of our listeners have spoken to this issue, that a lot of people are rushing to the defense of “You have to see it” and “Well, it’s a different medium, so it requires different things.” For me, though – and I’ve heard some of our listeners say this, like you were saying, Rosie, about cop-outs – there’s a little bit of a cop-out to me to say that because theater doesn’t have to be flimsy stories.

Andrea: It could be, really.

Rosie: No.

Michael: And maybe we have been spoiled by Harry Potter in many ways. I know I have. But I still feel like this could’ve been better. This could have been a better story.

Andrea: Yeah, it is a cop-out to say that it’s supposed to be viewed, because we do read scripts. I mean, Rosie, like you said, you teach writing also. I’m guessing you teach your kids some reading of drama.

Rosie: Yep, we do Shakespeare every year and include various plays throughout the school.

Andrea: Exactly. In my literature course, we’re just about to start reading drama. So it’s not like it’s impossible to read a script and enjoy it if it’s well-written.

Rosie: Yeah. In its current state, I would never teach Cursed Child. It is just not a good script in terms of its literary merit.

Michael: And I think that’s a good reminder, Rosie, that you’ve been saying. The thing I think the fandom is quickly forgetting is that this is a rehearsal script. But time will tell once we get to the final draft.

Rosie: And it was just so rushed out as well. For this script to have been published when it was, it had to have been finalized and gotten through the publishing things before even the previews opened. This is not the play as it currently is. This is an early, early draft of the play. So I really do hope that people out there reading the script and feeling slightly disappointed by it are hedging their bets a bit and are being aware that yes, it’s a script, and yes, it was there for you to read, and it should stand up for itself and not have to be seen. You should be able to imagine what was going on and the storyline, and it is not what we would expect from a Harry Potter story. But it’s not a Harry Potter story. It is a script, and it is a bare bones script. We have done four or five years of analysis of how rich this world is, and because we have done that, we got all of this knowledge that we can bring to the play. Please see the script as a skeleton, and the flesh that you put on it and the world that you put around it is one of your own making and one of our own. Imagine the Cursed Child lives within our brains, so flesh it out, make it your own, and do go and see it if you get the chance because their interpretation of this script is phenomenal.

Michael: We have been not only spoiled by the writing of Rowling, but we’ve been spoiled by the fact that we are living in an age where an author like Rowling is so accessible. We can ask her a question, and ostensibly, if she sees it, she will answer you. The fact that Rowling is still around to grow her world and has taken a lot of steps to ensure that she is the one who calls the shots – I guess, in a way – makes the result of Cursed Child a little more baffling to a lot of us because it’s a little unlike some of the things that she said was going to happen or that she was going to do with the world. And in a way, [that’s] why I think a lot more of the fandom is sitting and waiting more excitedly for Fantastic Beasts.

[Kristen and Rosie laugh]

Michael: I think there’s a lot more of her in that, perhaps, than Cursed Child. But like you said, Rosie, I think that’s an excellent point. For those of us who can see it, hopefully we do. And definitely, everybody else will just lie in wait for that proper script when it’s released. I guess next year is the target.

Kristen: We would also like to thank Andrea for coming and being a part of our show today.

Andrea: Thank you for having me.

Rosie: Thank you.

Michael: You were an awesome guest, Andrea.

Andrea: Thank you so much. I enjoyed it incredibly. I can so see why you’ve done this for four years.

[Andrea, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, you contributed some great points, and I really do love, too, that your last audition to us was you basically talking. You performed your own #keepthesecrets in your audition because you basically spent the whole time going, “I don’t want to spoil for you what I want to talk about.”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Andrea: Yeah, because I was so, so unsure about who had read what, and “What can I say and at the same time make it sound interesting? Oh no.” [laughs]

Michael: [laughs] One of the things we love most about Alohomora! is that we do get to have guests not just from the UK and the US, but from all over the world who get to share their thoughts and opinions in different background with Harry Potter. So Andrea, thank you so much for bringing that to today’s episode.

Rosie: And of course, guys, the next topic will be Cursed Child Part 2, Act 4. Not Act 2. So the second half of Part 2, and the Augurey is taking over, and what will happen? Who knows? Well, anyone that’s read the script.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: Not enough. It’s so good.

Michael: Or is it? [laughs]

Rosie: We shall discuss next week, or next fortnight.

Michael: We can discuss that. And we want you to be here to discuss that with us, listeners. If you’d like to be on the show for Cursed Child or any future episodes, we want to make that happen for you. We have a topics submit page on our main site, We need you to go make some suggestions for that because we will be finished with Cursed Child very soon. Yet again, how fast we seem to go through these Harry Potter novels. But we will be finished very soon with Cursed Child, and we want your ideas of what to discuss next because as you may have forgotten with all this Cursed Child business, we do have a new format on Alohomora! where we will be doing more topic-based episodes, and we want your input for that. And again, we want you to join us for that. If you have a set of headphones with a built-in mic or a built-in mic onto your computer [or] laptop as well as a stand-alone microphone and a recording program, you’re all set. We really don’t require any fancy equipment, and we will help walk you through the process if you are selected to be on the show. So we’ve got you covered.

Kristen: And don’t forget to check us out on our mini social media sites. We’re on Twitter @AlohomoraMN, and Facebook at Don’t forget to check out our website at, and over there you can send us an owl on audioBoom. If you’re going to send one, please just keep it under 60 seconds.

Rosie: And we got just one more reminder to check out our Patreon page. It is on You can sponsor us for as low as $1 a month, and everything that you give goes straight back into making this show amazing, and we can’t thank you enough.

Michael: Thanks again to Kat Tatara for sponsoring this particular episode too. We appreciate it.

Rosie: Thank you, Kat.

Michael: If you haven’t heard your name yet on the Patreon list, it’s because we’ve got a lot of you who helped us out. And you will be here.

Kristen: Woo-hoo. Thank you.

Michael: So we will be hearing your name on future episodes, so just keep listening.

Rosie: And all that remains for us to say is that I am Rosie Morris.

[Show music begins]

Michael: I’m Michael Harle.

Kristen: And I’m Kristen Keys. Thank you for listening to Episode 202 of Alohomora!.

[Show music continues]

Rosie: Open the Dumbledore.

[Show music ends]