Transcript – Episode 203

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 203 of Alohomora! for October 1, 2016.

[Show music continues]

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

Rosie Morris: I’m Rosie Morris.

Alison Siggard: And I’m Alison Siggard. And our guest this week is Lorrie! Welcome, Lorrie! Tell us a little about you.

Lorrie Kim: Thank you. I just wrote a book called Snape: A Definitive Reading that came out in early July, and I have done the usual, “No, I disagree!” yelling when I listen to your podcast.

[Everyone laughs]

Lorrie: Because of course, I love Snape or I couldn’t have written about him. And I have two tweens, who are also Harry Potter fans.

Rosie: Are they also fans of Snape?

Lorrie: Yes, but I don’t know if they had any choice.

[Everyone laughs]

Lorrie: When they were little, before they were reading and they wanted to know about the stories, I would explain what I thought was happening. So that’s what happens with parents. You pass on the stories as you understand them. And there’s room for them to disagree with me, and they do disagree with me on a lot, but I’ve heard them defend Snape to their small friends.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Oh, good. We know the debate will continue forever more with that.

[Everyone laughs]

Lorrie: Well, I’ve seen and heard it. Yes.

Michael: And Lorrie, what’s your Hogwarts House?

Lorrie: Oh, Ravenclaw.

Michael: Hey, a Ravenclaw among us Puffs today. How nice. And I guess we can ask everybody, too…

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: I was about to say exactly the same question.

Michael: … since Pottermore taught us how to cast Expecto Patronum properly, what is everybody’s Patronus?

Rosie: I don’t like mine.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: What is yours, Rosie?

Rosie: I did it twice and got two different ones and I don’t really like either of them, so I’m going to try and do another one. I’ve got so many accounts. Never mind. The first one I got was a St. Bernard dog. I’m not a particularly big dog person, which is the only reason I redid that one. I think it’s a nice dog, but… eh. It doesn’t really feel like me. But then the second time I did it, I got a salmon. And that’s just… what?

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: Fish? I don’t even like to eat fish.

Michael: Well, that’s good. You wouldn’t want to eat your Patronus.

Rosie: That’s true. But I don’t necessarily feel like a salmon, either.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: I’m going to give it another go and see if the third time is lucky for me. But yeah, never mind.

Michael: Alison, what was your Patronus?

Alison: So I’ve done it three times too.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Here’s the story, though: The first time I did it, it came out right as I was getting ready to go to work in the morning. I was like, “Pottermore, what is with you and releasing things at the worst possible time for me?” Ilvermorny came out when I was in London, [and] this comes out right as I’m about to leave for work. So it was a little rushed [and] a little weird, and I ended up getting a dolphin and I was like, “No. I’m not a dolphin.”

Michael: Ooh! That’s so cute! I’d love a dolphin.

Alison: Yeah, but I’m just not really a dolphin person. So I took it again, and this time I got a pine marten, which I’m very excited about.

Lorrie: That’s a good one!

Michael: Oh, lucky, you have Lyra’s daemon from Golden Compass.

Alison: Also, what JKR originally said hers was, so I was very happy about that. By the way, that’s the one I’m keeping, I’ve decided. And if any of you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw I had a poll for what I wanted to name him, and his name is Louis. So there we go.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: And then the third time I took it, I was just messing around; I just wanted to see different things. And I ended up getting a cheetah, which was interesting but also not really me. I hate running.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: An interesting big cat to have.

Alison: Yeah, and it said it was unusual, so that was fun. I really like the test. I think it’s a really good quiz.

Rosie: I did it first on my phone so I’m going to give it a go on my laptop and see if it comes out differently.

Michael: Lorrie, did you take the Patronus test yet?

Lorrie: Yeah. Actually, I got a dolphin, too, and I was happy with it. And then I spent some time just happily staring at my screen, not navigating away, just watching it turning the forest into an underwater scene. I just thought it was beautiful.

Alison: It’s therapeutic if you just watch them go through that nice little forest.

Michael: Did you just take it once, Lorrie, or have you taken it more than once?

Lorrie: Oh, it said that you can only take it once.

Michael: Oh, well, you can take it more than once if you’re naughty and set up multiple accounts.

[Everyone laughs]

Lorrie: I think if I had hated mine, I might have retaken it. But no, I was happy with mine.

Michael: Well, because for me, the interesting thing is I have two accounts that I consider both to be legitimate accounts for me because my first Pottermore account is my original account that I recovered and then have added on to. All the stuff on both accounts has mostly been the same. My Ilvernormy House is the same [and] my Hogwarts House is. The only things that changed were my wands, and they changed in ways that made sense to me because my flexibility went down and my wand wood changed from silver lime to sycamore, which I like much better, actually. I think the change in my wand totally made sense. I was like, “Okay, that’s fine.” So then I did the test on both. And it’s so funny; I think a lot of people had it where they either were like, “Whoa, that’s my favorite animal!” or “That’s an animal I love!” And everybody else was like, “What? I hate that animal. I have no connection to this animal.”

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Michael: [On] both tests, I got horses, and I got different horses. And it’s funny because I come from a farming town in Corrales, New Mexico, but I don’t like horses.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Horses scare me because they’re big-bodied and they’re so wild that they’re very unpredictable.

Rosie: They probably make good protective things, though, so it works well as a Patronus.

Michael: Well, see, I just don’t really get too hung up on the size because it doesn’t matter, apparently, what size your Patronus is. So yeah, I got a black stallion on my original account, and I got a white mare on my new account.

Rosie: Interesting. And it’s opposites as well.

Michael: Yes! So I decided, though, that my Patronus – because I’m so attached to this myself – is a husky. And I know it’s an option, and I didn’t get it. But I had a husky and she passed away and she is definitely my guardian spirit animal. So I’m sorry, Rowling, I can only take your canon to a point. [laughs]

Rosie: I just really wanted an otter. I want to transform it into an otter. It’s not going to happen, but never mind.

[Lorrie and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Yeah, no. Well, I’m sure we’ll have an episode on Patronuses because we can do that in future, since today we’re starting to wrap things up with our current topic.

Rosie: The last read-through thing. We’ve got nothing left to read.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: For now.

Rosie: For now, yes.

Alison: So yes, today we’re talking about Cursed Child Part 2, Act 2. It’s our last of our four regularly-scheduled episodes on Cursed Child, so we are rounding out the show.

Michael: Definitely not the last show on Cursed Child, though. We have plans.

Rosie: The last on this particular script.

Michael: Yes, absolutely. And then we have the revised final script to look forward to in 2017!

Rosie: It will be interesting to compare the differences, though. But I don’t think we’ll do another reread-y type thing. It’ll be a “Here are the differences between one and two.”

Alison: I don’t think they’ll change a lot.

Michael: No, it will probably be worth at least one episode.

Rosie: I’m just hoping they add descriptions, basically. That’s all they need.

Alison: Maybe some pictures.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Yeah, there you go. They’ll have show production pictures by then, so…

Michael: Make sure, listeners, to read Part 2, Act 2 before listening to the episode.

Rosie: Also known as Act 4.

Michael: Or Act 4, yeah. Part 2, Act 4. Yes. Make sure and read that because if you haven’t read it yet, don’t listen to this episode or you’re going to be very confused.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: This episode is also sponsored by Aurelia Lieb on Patreon. Thank you so much for sponsoring our episode. You guys out there can also become a sponsor for as little as $1 a month, and we continue to release exclusive tidbits and lots of special stuff over on Patreon for all of our sponsors. So thank you very much, Aurelia. We hope that you enjoy the show.

Michael: Thank you, Aurelia.

Rosie: Thank you!

Michael: So before we go into the main discussion… Finally, it’s come to a point where all the hosts have been able to give their impressions on Cursed Child. But Lorrie, what are your thoughts on Cursed Child as a whole? How did you feel about it?

Lorrie: I went into reading it [and] I liked it, and I was noticing the parts of it that made me a little bit bewildered because I can’t really get something on the first read, especially with Potter. I have to read it several times before I figure out what’s going on. And the first time, I was reading it like, “Okay, this is a play. I understand I’m not going to be seeing the effects or hearing the music,” and that actually held me back. The second time I read it, I thought, “You know what? I’m just going to treat it as a text. I’m going to ask a lot of the text and just analyze it.” And that was much better [and] richer, I found, because I wasn’t constantly wondering what I was missing. And so the second time I read it, I noted the things that had stood out to me as odd. The first one was Cedric Diggory becoming a Death Eater.

[Michael laughs]

Lorrie: And the second was Delphi suddenly showing up with silvery hair. And the third was Voldemort having a biological, mammalian child.

[Everyone laughs]

Lorrie: And okay, what’s going on here? Because for the Cedric Diggory thing, I thought they really chose the single character that – from the first seven books – we know would have been the last person to become a Death Eater. And Voldemort having a child… everything that people try to figure out about this is so strange. Okay, when was Bellatrix showing? Is he still even a mammal? And then the sudden silvery hair? Okay, everyone is like, “This is the biggest marker of a Mary Sue. What’s happening?”

[Michael laughs]

Lorrie: And I thought, “Okay, what [do] these things have in common?” They are the imaginings of Albus, a teenager, as he’s trying to think about understanding his father and think about his own needs. To Albus, Cedric Diggory is just a person that died a long time before he was born. That’s part of his father’s story. We readers know Cedric because we met him through Harry’s story but Albus doesn’t. We readers know Voldemort because we met him through the stories, and we know that this is the coldest, most terrifying man. And if you haven’t met evil like that, you can’t imagine how he couldn’t have had a child. So Albus is quite right. He’s innocent. He hasn’t met anyone as awful as Voldemort. He still thinks that Voldemort could’ve had a child. We know he couldn’t have. And the silvery hair… I thought, “Is that saying that Delphi is a projection of Albus’s imagination that changes according to whatever he’s working through at the time?” So I had those questions in mind when I did my second read, and then I found the key word that made me realize what I’d been missing when Albus is really upset at Harry. He overhears Harry lying to Amos Diggory, and Harry says, “Whatever you’ve heard, the Theodore Knott story is a fiction, Amos, I’m sorry.” And so Albus hears that it’s a lie and he hears the word fiction and he’s very angry at Harry, and then immediately after that, the next word is Delphi saying “Hello” and she just appears out of nowhere.

Michael: Oh my God. This is such a crazy theory that I just might buy it! I like it.

Lorrie: So when I looked at it that way and then I thought about it… because Delphi has all these different names; all of her backstories that she provides are weird and don’t check out and contradict each other. We don’t see her silver hair until this sudden different scene. And then at the end, Delphi, who was taken in by Death Eaters, is a completely different person from Delphini Diggory who trips and is uncoordinated like Tonks. No relation whatsoever. It’s like, “Okay, is that what Albus is working through at each time?” And then there were things in this final act where I was reading it that way and… oh God, it just made the whole thing so beautiful to me when I read it that way, and I was crying and thinking, “Oh! Okay.” I hadn’t known if I was going to accept Cursed Child as canon, and reading it this way, when I’m thinking that Delphi is Albus’s shadow self, then it’s completely canon to me. It’s absolutely the eighth Harry Potter story to me – not the first Albus story, but the eighth Harry Potter story – because I thought, “Okay, the big questions that the series asks – [Book] 1 through [Book] 7 – are to me, in my reading, why would anyone try to kill a baby? Why didn’t that attempt work? What can we as a society do to ensure that that baby reaches adulthood with roughly the same chance at life as his peers can expect?” And then this to me is “Okay, whatever happened to that baby?” Well, he’s 40 years old now and he has three kids. How is that going? Some of it’s good, [but] some of it’s rough for him. And why is it rough for him? Which areas are going well for him and which are not? The areas that are not going well for him are the areas where something was stolen from him by the trauma originally inflicted on him by Voldemort. So when I look at it that way, as Harry’s story then showing what he has to do to overcome yet another thing that Voldemort stole from him, which was latent until he had a child who needed something from him that he couldn’t give… Okay, this is the eighth Harry Potter story for me and I’m good after this. I’m good.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: So that was an excellent, I think, way to frame what we’re about to look at.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: That’s actually a good place for Alison to start taking over this conversation because what I’m expecting in this act, personally, more than anything… and I think what we’ve seen from a lot of the fandom… and I know Alison has one – or lots – of theories about how Act 4 wraps up this storyline and how from here we interpret Cursed Child because this is the big one. This is the big final act. And I think a lot of the things you just said there, Lorrie, are going to be really important with the conversation we have here today.

Alison: Definitely. So let’s dive in, then. So we left off with Harry, Ginny, Draco, Ron, and Hermione hav[ing] just discovered Delphi’s prophecy, which was written all over her room in St. Oswald’s Home for Old Witches and Wizards. So now we’re wondering where she’s taken Albus and Scorpius in time, and the adults are trying to find their children any way they can. And that leads us to this act. So we start out with another one of these grand meetings, and this is actually a thing I really have a beef with: McGonagall’s characterization is way off here. I don’t know if anyone else felt this way. I just don’t buy it at all that she would ever publicly humiliate anyone in this way, much less these students that she was very fond of and that she has developed an adult relationship with as well. I especially was like, “No!” when she calls them negligent about their children in public. No! There’s no way McGonagall would ever, ever say that.

Michael: Doesn’t she say something like they are negligible for their negligence or something? There’s a weird phrasing.

Lorrie: “Your negligence is not negligible”?

Alison and Michael: Yes.

Michael: No, I think this was a pretty unpopular scene for a lot of people in the fandom. And for me, it’s weird because it directly contradicts this scene where they’re in McGonagall’s office and the narration says that Hermione recognizes when she’s overstepped a boundary by being in McGonagall’s office and trying to take control. Well, here’s McGonagall doing that to Hermione.

Alison: And that scene in her office makes sense to me because I feel like in private she would definitely reprimand them if she [were] upset at them, but never, never in such a public setting.

Michael: Well, yeah, that’s in private in McGonagall’s office. This is in public in Hermione’s place of work. That’s not okay.

Rosie: This whole scene, I think, just screams of stagecraft rather than of characterization and story. They don’t have any other dissenting voice. They haven’t really introduced any other adult characters, other than the ones who you already know. And Draco at this point, as we will see in a moment, isn’t that dissenting voice that he has been in the other grand meetings. So because they’ve got that lack, they need some character, and the only one that has any authority is McGonagall. So I think that’s the only reason why she’s the one that speaks up here.

Lorrie: To me, I thought it was in character because she’s horrified earlier when Harry gives her the Marauder’s Map and basically says, “You have to spy on my child.” And she says, “Okay, I don’t know why you’re doing this.” And she knows that his instincts there are not trustworthy. And at this point, it seems to me like she’s just really fed up with the wrong directions that this generation is taking, and she’s really worried about the kids. And I think she wants to tell them, “You may be Minister of Magic, but you’re not going in the right direction.”

Michael: See, and I think what you’re saying there, Lorrie, is why I think the line is there. We talked about this in the last episode, but this is the other moment of reminding the audience that all of the adults are also the cursed children. To treat them like children gets that point across, I think is the additional point of what’s going on here. I still don’t like it because it comes from McGonagall. I think it would have been nice… It could have just been any one of those random [characters]. It would have been fine if it [were] a random wizard in the crowd because everybody is always angry at Harry all the time.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: So why not? Why not?

Rose: You know what would have been really nice? Is if it [were] Craig Bowker, Jr.’s father.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: So much more emotional impact if that been the case. Missed opportunity.

Lorrie: I’m going to say one reason why I’m glad it was McGonagall: Earlier Harry insults her terribly by saying, “Well, you’ve never had children.” And he’s completely off about that. I love that the play makes the point that there’s nothing about being the actual parent of a child that confers this paragraph. Anybody who cares about anybody else should be able to understand this. Anyway… sorry. [laughs] I’ll stop.

Michael: I think for me, part of it’s just that I’m not really much of a fan of McGonagall being so heavily used in this script because she’s really not supposed to be Headmistress by this point. She should be retired by now, according to Rowling’s original statement, and to have her still doing that job in 2020 is a little much. I know she’s there because she’s a recognizable point of focus for Hogwarts, but I think she’s just being… This is the point: It was already a lot for the fandom to accept that she’s still the Headmaster, but then to extend it to “and she’s still treating them like children” is taking it even farther already. So I think that might be the problem people have with that.

Alison: But even after that, we get this nice little moment of solidarity. This is one of these other moments that I just love. Harry and Ginny. Harry is getting backlash and Ginny just stands up next to him and supports him. But then we get an interesting thing where Draco becomes part of the group.

[Michael gags]

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: No, it’s so good. It’s so good.

Michael: No! [laughs]

Alison: I don’t know which side I would fall on for that…

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: … because for this moment, I think it’s nice that Draco is going to be an ally. But I also don’t like how chummy Draco is with everyone because I feel like they just couldn’t get over it. They have so much of a history together that if they have to join forces, it would be more unwillingly than…

Rosie: This scene later on, I think, really helps understand that moment, and I think there is a lot of emotional charge that is later explained. And there was an awkwardness to how he joined the group, at least in the performance I saw. One thing we should say about the general meetings is that the staging is made up of two stairs and a grand staircase shape, so they’ve got this really nice play on hierarchy in height. So you’ve got Hermione standing at the top of the stairs talking to all the people in the crowd. And then Harry goes up to join her, and then Ginny goes halfway up the stairs, and then Draco goes and joins them. Then Ron just slowly creeps his way up there to join them as well.

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: It’s a really funny moment. But it’s this really nice moment where in the performance I thought Draco looked like he knew he was out of place on the stairs but felt like he needed to anyway for his son. So again, you’ve got this tension that is still an undercurrent that doesn’t come though in the lines of the script.

Michael: I think it doesn’t help that the way that the script describes it is that it’s a Spartacus moment.

Alison: What does that mean? [laughs]

Michael: Well, Spartacus

Rosie: “I’m Spartacus!” “No, I’m Spartacus!” [laughs]

Alison: Oh, okay.

Michael: Yeah, it’s the thing where everybody stands up and takes the responsibility as a group. But the thing is, that’s what undercuts what Rosie is saying. Because when everybody does stand up and say, “I’m Spartacus,” the idea is that everybody is equally culpable and that everybody is equally in to be a part of something. And the idea that Malfoy is a little resistant or that there’s history there… that doesn’t really [work]. That would completely break down for an “I am Spartacus.” And the dialogue that follows – if you just are reading it from the script – doesn’t really suggest that there’s much in the way of hesitation.

Rosie: No.

Michael: So when you’re just basing it off the script, plus some lines that come later that I’m sure we’ll get to…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Malfoy is just a little more chummy-chummy, I think, on the page. And I think that’s true of the whole play. Their interactions are a lot freer than I was expecting to see.

Alison: Me too.

Rosie: Right from the first act, they deal with each other in a way that is definitely tolerable. I guess it’s a progression of the moment where Draco puts the wand down and doesn’t join the fight in the Battle of Hogwarts and that kind of thing, so there is a chumminess. But the interaction that we saw at “Nineteen Years Later” was very cold. They didn’t talk to each other; there was a look but nothing else. So for them to have gone from that moment in “Nineteen Years Later” to talking to each other relatively politely 22 years later does seem a little bit out of place. But you wouldn’t have been able to have this play if they were freezing each other out, so it does make sense that they would try and build that bridge.

Michael: Which is the other problem because that’s another thing that Rowling, I think, was really adamant about. People asked her up front if Malfoy and Harry ever became friends.

Rosie: Yeah, and she said it was too much.

Michael: And she said no! [laughs] So yeah, too much history. And that they would never really go anywhere beyond acquaintances, or what is depicted in “Nineteen Years Later” in the original story…

Alison: Which I think they could have gotten with staging in this play. I think you could have still gotten that very uptight, not-really-trusting-each-other interaction. But there [are] some parts where I’m just like, “No. You’re too chummy.”

Michael: Yeah, I really would have been fine with these guys leaving off still not really being friends.

Rosie: I like it. [laughs]

Michael: I would have been fine with it… ugh.

Rosie: I think it’s fine. I like Draco’s softening. I like the idea of him being able to be his own person thanks to Astoria and all of that kind of thing. Yeah, I really love the scene that we get to later on, so I’ll stand up for him then. [laughs]

Alison: Speaking of friends, though, we get a little bit of Ron being the best possible Ron that could ever be Ron.

Rosie: Oh, Ron.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Alison: And the thing that this just reminded me of was that theory – I don’t know if you’ve all seen this – that the trio all represent Gryffindor, but they all also represent one of the other Houses in a way. So you’ve got that Harry is a bit more Slytherin, Hermione is a bit more Ravenclaw, and Ron is more Hufflepuff. And I think this scene almost backs up [Ron’s] loyalty of “This is my family and my best friends, and my kids aren’t involved but they’re all up here, so here I am. I’m here to just stand up and take some,” which I think we get a lot of from Ron in this play. The very best of Ron, the loyal Ron, the Ron who is going to keep the home fire going. Everyone else is doing crazy things but he’s going to be making sure that there’s something for them to come back to.

Michael: That’s funny because I feel like this is the moment in the script where Ron literally says, [as Ron] “I didn’t do anything in this whole play.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And it’s very frustrating to me because – and we’ve talked about this already before – I think Ron, out of the trio, really contributes the least to the play. And it’s so weird to me…

Rosie: But he contributes the comedy, and this moment is very much a comic moment. Knowing that this scene is quite tense and that there’s all of this yelling going on, he’s there to stick a pin in it and to make it the bathos of the moment. He is bringing that moment back to “Oh yeah, it’s the trio again. Okay, let’s carry on.” [laughs]

Michael: Which is fun and nice and all, but I think people get frustrated with that because that’s more movie Ron.

Rosie: Yeah, and it belittles his character as well. It doesn’t let him be a natural person. He’s just a clown.

Alison: I think he redeems himself a little bit at the end of this act, but we’ll get there.

Michael: Yeah, he’ll have another moment.

Lorrie: I was thinking Ron saying that was reinforcing his role as a stay-at-home parent, that he was deliberately taking on the same kind of work that he learned from his mother, that he always knows what his job is, to help and support his loved ones. When he steps up there, he is announcing, “I’m not stepping up because my children have anything to do with this. I’m stepping up because I’m doing my chosen job.”

Alison: I like that.

Rosie: Me too.

Alison: I like that about this Ron in this play. It makes me happy. Anyway, Lorrie, you had a point to bring up about this scene as well.

Lorrie: Oh yeah. All of them are disagreeing with each other in this scene, but at the end Harry says, “Somewhere in our past a witch is trying to rewrite everything.” And he’s saying [that] whether she succeeds or not will determine whether a lot of them actually exist or not after that. I thought, “Okay, what’s that about?” I guess they can’t do anything about it. It’s up to Albus and Scorpius to come to their parents’ generation and tell them what they have made out of all of the history that they’ve inherited from their parents. There’s a point at which parents can’t do anything except hope that they’ve connected with their children well enough so that the kids will want to come back to them and say, “Okay, I’ve looked at your past, I’ve looked at our relationship, and I want to come back to you.” That was the interpretation that I was putting on it because it’s strange to think of it in a science fiction-y way. Okay, if some witch is changing history, then they’ll all disappear. If I think of that as science fiction, I can’t wrap my head around it. But if I think of it…

Rosie: Back to the Future?

Lorrie: Yeah. If I think of it as allegory – [that] this is about relationships and how they work – then I can handle it.

Rosie: Sure. I quite like it as a way of highlighting how helpless they are. They’re having this meeting, they’re talking to the adults, and it’s just proving that, actually, this time the trio aren’t the people that are going to save the day. It is now down to the boys in the past, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione have no plan at this point. Someone else is doing something, and there is nothing they can do, and it’s the first time that we’ve really ever seen Harry quite this helpless. Even when he didn’t know where any of the Horcruxes were, he still knew that there were Horcruxes that he needed to find. This is the moment where there is no plan, and that’s part of the story.

Lorrie: You have to respect the kids.

Alison and Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: And speaking of those kids, we jump right back to them. So we get to Albus and Scorpius, who have gotten lost in the past, and we start to understand that Albus is really starting to get Harry a little bit more. He’s starting to understand who Harry is as a person. And we don’t quite see as much of the anger that we saw between them, at least from Albus’s side here. And I think it’s just a really lovely showing of the growth of this character and how these events actually are changing him; he’s actually changing and growing and learning, which I think is really nice. We get a little bit of humor, too, as Scorpius tells him that his father/son issues are not the biggest problem they’ve got right now. [laughs] They probably should be focused on something else.

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: And that something else is where the heck they are and when they are. They’re obviously in Scotland somewhere, and we get this…

Rosie: Somewhere near Glasgow, probably.

Alison: Okay, yeah. And it just says, “Said in strong Scots.”

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: When I was watching this on stage, I got the point this railway station worker was trying to say, but when I was reading it, I [had] no clue. So we’re going to turn this over to you, Rosie. [laughs] Explain to us what “strong Scots” is saying.

Rosie: Okay. So yes, in very strong Scots, which just means that he’s got a very strong… I’m guessing it’s Glaswegian. So Scotland has mainly regional accents, so you can’t really broaden it out to saying just plain Scots, although there are Scottish words that are different from English words, and this is an example of that. So this is going to go very badly now that I’ve practiced it three times and did it really well…

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: So let’s give this a go. Okay. [in Scottish accent] “Ye ken th’ auld reekie train is running late, boys?” [in normal voice] means “You know that the train to Edinburgh is running late?” So “auld reekie” is… It means “Edinborough.” It’s a nickname for the actual city.

Michael: Oh.

Alison: Okay, that makes a lot more sense, then. [laughs]

Rosie: Yeah. [laughs] “Auld reekie” [is] a name for the smoke that covered the old town of Edinburgh, and it’s a nickname that has lasted for a very long time, but it’s quite nice and affectionate. So yeah, it means that the train is running late. And then he says, [in Scottish accent] “If you’re waiting oan th’ auld reekie train, you’ll need tae ken it’s running late. Train wirks oan th’ line. It’s a’ oan th’ amended time buird.” [in normal voice] Did you get that? [laughs]

Michael: Oh!

Alison: Okay, okay, okay!

[Michael laughs]

Lorrie: So American.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: “The train’s running late. There’s works on the line. And there was a notice on the amended time board.” So they look at him [and] can’t understand him either, [so] he points at the thing and just says, “Late.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: That’s pretty much what I got out that he was saying, but I just remember going, “What? What are these words?”

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: I should point out that me attempting to say it then was about 20 times slower than how he does it in the play. He is proper Scots; you cannot understand what he says when he’s on the stage. It is hilarious. [laughs]

Alison: And they have very confused faces, and it’s hilarious.

Rosie: But it’s also a nice reminder that Hogwarts is in Scotland. [laughs]

Alison: And so we are in Scotland, and they figure out when they are. That’s the biggest thing. They’ve been sent back in time to Halloween 1981, which as they discover – and we all know – is the night that Harry’s parents died, and the night that basically this whole saga began. [laughs] [It] began on that night. So is Scorpius right, then? He talks about how Delphi has come back to change the “big prophecy,” as they call it. The “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches” prophecy. Is he right? Can you just break a prophecy like this?

Michael: Yes, because Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood follow up on that by suggesting that you can, which is very much Delphi’s whole motto of being in control of your own fate. That’s something that Dumbledore speaks to Harry about in Half-Blood when Harry is just like, “Well, there’s a prophecy, so I have to do it.” And Dumbledore is like, “You don’t have to, but you will because you’re you.” So yeah, she can break the Prophecy. She can totally break the Prophecy. But the weird part to me is that her plan is to be like, “No, Daddy, don’t go kill Harry,” and I’m like, “Okay, but if you don’t kill Harry, then he’s still alive, which means that there are still two people alive who could still take you out even if… The Prophecy doesn’t say necessarily that Voldemort is going to transfer his power to Harry or that he’s going to connect to Harry because if he had known that, he probably wouldn’t have done what he did.”

Rosie: But I think that’s the key part because the Prophecy says that he will mark him as his equal. So if he doesn’t do that – and at this moment he hasn’t – and the Prophecy is still in flux, that’s why it could be Harry or Neville at this point. Then that prophecy will never come to fruition, and therefore Harry will never become the threat that is his ultimate downfall. If he doesn’t fulfill his part of the bargain, his part of the Prophecy, which is Delphi’s plan, then the whole thing becomes something else, and it doesn’t actually work.

Alison: And I guess my question is: If it’s Delphi trying to do it instead of either Harry or Voldemort – the people that the Prophecy is about – is that possible? Is it possible for someone outside to come break this prophecy?

Lorrie: I have two different thoughts on this, and one of them is “Delphi,” the name from the oracle from Greek mythology. If you just leave the Prophecy alone and ignore it, you can do whatever you want. Once you take issue with it – whether you’re trying to fulfill it or trying to change it – in Greek mythology, generally, you [bring] about the same end whether you wanted it or not. It just happens in a worse way, so I think that’s [why] her name “Delphi” is important. She’s trying to mess with it, so she’s probably not going to get the best of it. That’s usually what happens. But the other thing is, if I’m reading it as Delphi doesn’t exist [and] is just the shadow of whatever Albus needs at the time, then her wanting to prevent the major prophecy from coming true, to me, is just telling me that Albus is starting to want someone’s father to not get hurt. “Daddy, don’t do that. It’s going to hurt you.” Because if Delphi is Albus’s shadow, then we know that Harry’s shadow is often just simply characterized as Voldemort. That’s the person he’s afraid he is. That’s who he’s trying not to be. So if Albus is identifying as Delphi in order to work through what his relationship to Harry is, then he’s definitely identifying Delphi’s father as Voldemort here. That didn’t make any sense, did it? [sighs]

Alison: No, it did.

Michael: No, it made perfect sense.

Lorrie: Okay. [laughs] Oh, good.

Michael: We’re going to get into this more when we get near the end of the play, but I think this is an excellent way to read Cursed Child, what you’ve suggested, Lorrie. I think that actually makes a lot of sense. I don’t know if the performance strengthens this idea, but this is the problem for me with Cursed Child as a whole: I would be so much more open to that interpretation if this were a proper novel. Because as you said, Lorrie, you read it as a text, and I think that might be what helped with that interpretation. But the thing [is] that – and I mentioned this on the last episode too – unlike all of the things in Harry Potter, in the seven novels, Rowling can’t go back and be like, “Oh yeah, this meant this,” or “There was actually an undercurrent of this.” She can’t do that with Cursed Child because it’s a play, and it will be very much out of her hands someday. And I’m just curious if there’s anything else in the play that really strengthens this really great idea because Delphi, as we’ll see with her downfall, [has] just [been] taken care of and put away. And I’m just saying that I guess the hard part for me is that I love your interpretation. I’m just wondering if it will work with the actual material we’re looking at. [Do] you know what I mean?

Rosie: That’s the thing. I like it as a symbolic idea, but Delphi is seen by other characters than just Albus, and she ultimately is fought by all of them and they do go back in time and she kills someone. That can’t just be Albus having an imaginary friend or an imaginary break or that kind of thing because of all of the things that do happen.

Michael: Go ahead, Lorrie.

Lorrie: Okay. Let me tell you why I have this reading, which is not a reading I was looking for, but it hit me over the head. It’s the word “shadow,” because you know that’s one of the riddles in the beginning. “Shadow” is a Jungian term that Carl Jung… I’m going to read a couple [of] different quotes from Jung – one is from 1938, one is from 1945, [and] one is from 1951 – about this concept.

“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it.”

“To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real.”

“A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbor.”

So I think the fact that Hermione, at the end of Act Three, searches everywhere and says that Delphi isn’t on any records at all – she’s a shadow – and that Bane tells Harry that there’s a black cloud around Albus, and that Harry identifies that black cloud as absolutely everything in the entire world except for Harry Potter and decides, “Oh yes, Scorpius Malfoy must be the son of Voldemort…” It just happens that what Albus needs from Harry happens to fall in Harry’s shadow area of the thing that he never received as a child, therefore he doesn’t have it to pass on to his own children so he’s afraid of that. What Albus wants from him is daily fathering, daily comforting, which is something that was destroyed for Harry by Voldemort, and all he has to pass on is that destruction from Voldemort. It’s scaring him and he’s behaving all sorts of strange ways, which we all do when things scare us that way.

Michael: Yeah. I think everything you’re saying actually totally works for me, and I think there [are] elements of this in the play. I think, actually, what’s happening for me is that the play is failing to live up to what I think is a really good interpretation on your part, Lorrie, because the play doesn’t finish this…

Lorrie: I think it does. [laughs]

Michael: Oh, I don’t think it does.

Lorrie: Yeah, we’ll get there.

Michael: But we’ll have to wait because we’re too far away.

Alison: See, I like this interpretation as… It falls along what I’ve been thinking from the beginning of some of the themes that are happening, but I just don’t know if the staging supports it as that being the literal thing that’s happening, if that makes sense.

Michael: Well, let’s go to Godric’s Hollow and let’s talk about that because we’re going to get back to this, and I think this is a really good idea.

Alison: Yeah. So we are going to Godric’s Hollow, and it’s a really beautiful scene change, just so that’s there.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: And we get some really great lines from these kids who are just figuring their lives out, and I’m so proud of them. [laughs]

Lorrie: Albus goes from the previous scene when he thinks, “Oh, we don’t want something bad to happen to our father because that’ll hurt him,” and he changes that to, “How do we protect my dad?” He’s starting to have protective feelings toward Harry, as opposed to at the very beginning when he thought Harry was evil and awful and wanted to kill him.

Rosie: And the most important thing, I think, is this character progression. Albus is starting to realize what he’s done and what his relationship with Harry could be and why he needs to work on that a bit more.

Alison: Yeah. I have lots of thoughts about that that we can get to later. I think further scenes in Godric’s Hollow really support that growing awareness. But we get one of the greatest Scorpius lines in this whole play in this scene.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Alison: “My geekiness is a-quivering.”

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: And so many people will have issues with it because they haven’t seen the play.

[Lorrie and Michael laugh]

Rosie: I actually found, when I was getting comments for a recap, a comment from ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy. I thought I’d include it here rather than in [the] recap because it was so relevant, and they say,

“I wish I could see even just a short clip of Anthony Boyle’s performance because a lot of the lines I struggle with are Scorpius’s. For instance, the ‘My geekiness is a-quivering’ bit; I know people love it but I just can’t hear it in my head without cringing. Like Michael and Kat, I’m not fan-girling over Scorpius the way others are, so perhaps that’s part of it. I haven’t bought fully into his character. I still feel like I’m missing something there. I also want to point out a thought about Scorpius as the human Pottermore. People have compared his encyclopedic knowledge to that of Hermione. We didn’t question Hermione’s seeming need to know everything, so why should it bother us with Scorpius? The thing is, we always knew [where] Hermione’s information was coming from; not just that she had read it, but often where she had read it. So Hogwarts: A History, The Daily Prophet, books from Dumbledore’s study, etc. It’s rare that she seems to pull knowledge out of thin air, as it often feels with Scorpius. I think we are meant to assume that he is an avid book nerd in the same way, but we aren’t really shown him actually doing that. It just isn’t pulled off as well; I think it would be easier to buy his nerdy bookishness if we actually saw it more, rather than it being almost entirely self-referential.”

And that’s the most important thing because we see it a lot, but it is seen and not spoken about. It’s shown so much through staging; he reads all the time on stage. He pretty much always has a book on him. He’s always got his book bag. The first time we meet him, he is alone in a train carriage, just the way that Ron was when we first met Ron, but he’s not surrounded by snacks or bags or anything like that; he’s surrounded by books. The first time we meet him, he’s reading. Albus is pretty much his only friend, and whenever we see Scorpius on stage without Albus – other than when he’s in the Augury reality – he’s always reading. He’s always doing his homework, he’s always reading or talking about work, or he’s always doing something which wider society would think of as geeky or nerdy. He is very much the Hermione who has no friends and therefore spends all of their life reading a book. And I think when we get to Draco’s scene later on when Draco and Harry are talking, there is a major explanation for that part of his personality that we’ll talk about then. But it is so important that you guys know that he is a geek. The lines make so much sense when you actually do see his portrayal, and I can totally see why people don’t like him in the script, and it’s so sad because from the first moment I saw him, I was like, “Um, okay, Scorpius is the best character in the play.”

[Lorrie and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Everyone that you hear talking about it will probably say something similar. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who watched the play and didn’t like Scorpius, and his lines just don’t translate. Anthony Boyle has been nominated for a Best Newcomer award for the West End, and he so deserves it because he is adorable and his nerdy character is adorable and everyone should love Scorpius.

[Lorrie and Rosie laugh]

Lorrie: He brings so much life to him. It’s wonderful.

Rosie: End of rant. He does. It’s so realistic.

Lorrie: He has so much life and energy, and everything about him is wonderful. What I’ve been saying is that just this script is such a barebones of what this play actually is in its entirety.

Michael: On the other side of that…

Rosie: [laughs] I understand why people don’t like him on the whole “potential love interest with Albus thing” as well because there is an opportunity there, and I think their relationship between the two of them is a really interesting one to explore. But again, yeah.

Michael: Well, hold on with that scene because there’s a whole scene for that.

Rosie: We’ll do that later.

Michael: We’ll get to [that], but I will just say my problems with that line in particular are similar to what RemusWaddiwasiedVoldy said because that is a big part of it for me as a reader because unfortunately, while I have to just take your ladies’ word for it because I can’t see the play, and that’s frustrating… And hopefully the revised script will remedy that. The other thing is that I don’t like the line because it’s super dated. This line will date the play. That’s not a timeless line; that’s a line that Millennials say.

Rosie: Geek chic.

Michael: The play doesn’t commit this too many times, but it commits it more than any Harry Potter novel does. And I think that’s frustrating for me just because… Then again, I know I’m speaking [as] somebody who’s been very spoiled by Rowling’s writing. But her writing is so timeless and a lot of moments in Cursed Child are not. I think that’s the only issue, as far as why this line makes me cringe a little bit. I can definitely see it being… I know that Anthony Boyle is very good at this because [nobody has] said anything to the contrary. But I guess that on top of I think what RemusWaddiwasiedVoldy was also describing about Hermione being the similar fountain of knowledge as Scorpius… The problem I think I see with that is that Scorpius’s knowledge is a little too perfect; it goes down to ridiculously minute details because he has to help move the play forward.

Rosie: Yeah, some of the conversations he has with Hermione and Ron in the alternate universe and stuff is… yeah, that’s information he wouldn’t really be privy to.

Michael: It’s too detailed, versus Hermione, whose knowledge is a little more broad, and she’s there to help Harry and Ron connect dots. She’s usually there to fill in what they miss. Harry and Ron figure out everything about the Chamber of Secrets; Hermione had figured it out, didn’t get to tell them, but she knew the one thing she had to write before she got attacked.

Rosie: There is the fun theory, though, that the Harry Potter books exist in the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child world, where the seven novels are like a biography of Harry’s life.

Lorrie: Histories, yeah.

Rosie: Yeah, so if he had read those, he would know all of that. It’s fine.

Michael: Yeah, exactly. There is a rocky bit of canon there.

Lorrie: Which I actually agree with because I think that might be some of the sense of why Albus knows these big figures from the past even if he hasn’t met them.

Alison: Well, I think that makes sense.

Rosie: There definitely will be some kind of biography and there will definitely be some of that information that he would have read, partly out of fascination for his dad’s story if nothing else.

Alison: Or even just being around his family.

Michael: Yeah, he would know.

Alison: I’m sure its come up at some point, somewhere.

Michael: Yeah, that’s no question. The issue with the first timeline where Scorpius was like, “Well, I read it in Rita Skeeter’s book that this, this, and this…” That’s okay. I’ll let that pass because Rita does go into those ridiculous details of more sordid things that shouldn’t be talked about. But I guess it does get more complicated, like you said, Rosie, in that second alternate timeline when there’s just a little too much knowledge on Scorpius’s part that’s just so specific to every moment. He’s not there to work out the clues; he’s there to just be like, “Here’s the solution because we needed to move forward.”

Rosie: [laughs] I think the other thing that we would have known by then as well is that he and Albus have been friends for three years. And my other issue with that really quick montage sequence of that – skipping that three years – is that we don’t really see their friendship build other than just knowing that they’ve been very close friends for those three years. It doesn’t seem like Scorpius has been around Albus’s house very often and that kind of thing because of the way Harry acts around him. But if he had, then he would’ve picked up on information between the family dynamics going on around him. He might’ve seen Ron and Hermione together a fair amount. I guess if Hermione is actually Minister for Magic, their relationship would be under scrutiny as well, so there might be more public things going on there. But yeah, there just does seem to be a little bit too much stage craft [and] not enough plot.

Michael: Yeah. Don’t get me wrong. I could definitely see liking Scorpius, and I could see that Anthony Boyle’s performance probably really takes it.

Rosie: Yeah. If you ever manage to see it, Michael, you will fall in love with him, I swear.

Alison: Yeah. You really will.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Well, it’s sad, too, because I definitely won’t ever see it with Anthony Boyle, so that’s a bummer. I’m sure there will be many great actors who come along to play the part again. But yeah, it is very sad to know that I won’t be able to see it with him, and a lot of people won’t because it really has been a big breakout role for him, which has been wonderful to hear.

Rosie: I would be surprised if he’s never filmed playing that role in some way, even if it’s just a short performance for an award show or something. I’m sure there will be some clip of him being Scorpius at some point that will allow you to see what it was like.

Michael: I hope so.

Alison: Yeah, and I still wouldn’t be shocked if they broadcast the play at some point. I actually am very suspicious that it will happen at some point. There’s no way they’re not going to. But anyway, speaking of other complicated relationships…

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: We move on to Harry and Dumbledore’s portrait.

Lorrie: Yay.

Alison: [laughs] I’ll admit [that] I cried. It’s a very touching, emotional scene.

Rosie: I cried for Harry. I still didn’t like Dumbledore. [laughs]

Alison: I think, though, it brings up a lot of different things. Rosie, you said earlier that the trio is feeling very helpless. Rereading it this time, it reminded me of the Forest of Dean in Deathly Hallows right after, actually, Harry and Hermione go to Godric’s Hollow. And he has these same emotions of just this helplessness and this anger at Dumbledore and this not understanding about why he’s done what he’s done and what he’s supposed to do now. And he feels like he has nothing he can do at this point, which I think is so important to this play because I think a major theme of this play is the effects that trauma has on people and how they work through this. And so to have this scene of Harry working through this trauma that he experienced at a time when he had to keep moving and couldn’t really work all the way through it, but to have him be able to go back to that and work through it now a little bit more… because we see that he knows everything portrait Dumbledore is going to tell him. He’s heard it before. But to have that moment where he can let out the anger and the emotion that he was feeling and finally hear and understand things that Dumbledore told him when he was alive is just so important, I think, to Harry as a character.

Rosie: I think this is the first scene that I recognized Harry. Jamie Parker does an amazing job, and for this to be the fourth act in the play and for it to be the real heart of his character coming through at this moment, it’s possibly a little bit too late, but that’s story rather than acting or anything like that. This moment is the first time that I’m like, “Okay, maybe this is the same Harry that I’m used to. This is the character that I’m used to seeing trying to deal with his insecurities and his emotions.” And this is a testament to PTSD and that kind of thing as well. This is very much Harry still dealing with all the things that happened, still dealing with Cedric’s death, still dealing with all of the stuff that happened in the war, and now still not knowing quite how to deal with his son and how to overcome all of his guilt. And yeah, this scene is beautiful for Harry. I just wish it hadn’t been Dumbledore that he was talking to.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Michael: I didn’t like this scene as much as I did the first time I read it. That’s one of the few ones where I actually had that feeling. I like the first scene where Harry talks to Dumbledore. This one, for me, read a little clunkier. And again, as a reminder, I am reading this – personally – not connecting it to the seven as canon but also having been told by Rowling that I should. With that in mind, this scene a little bit undercuts the King’s Cross scene in Hallows because they’ve already talked about this, and they’ve already come to this emotional place, and so has Dumbledore. And I get why Dumbledore wouldn’t in portrait form because that’s the Dumbledore before that moment. That’s an old Dumbledore. I guess it’s just weird to me that Harry would hold that resentment when he has had that moment with Dumbledore, and he’s had that opportunity to move past that. And what you ladies were speaking to with the idea that the play as a whole is dealing with the effects of trauma and PTSD, I guess, again, why that’s weird to me is because… There’s a great video out there, listeners, [that] I’m referencing here for the millionth time if you don’t remember: Lindsay Ellis, the Nostalgia Chick. She did three large episodes about the Lord of the Rings films, and when she got to The Return of the King in the end, she had a big beef to pick with Harry Potter. She doesn’t really like Harry Potter. She acknowledges it’s well-written, but she doesn’t really like it. At the end of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King the Hobbits all recognize, “Whoa, we’ve been through a lot. We can’t go home, so we’re going to go on to wherever the next place may be.” And they’re just too traumatized by their experience to just go back to their lives, versus Deathly Hallows, which does suggest that everybody does just go back to normal or finds a way to be happy. And Rowling did state that her goal of Deathly Hallows and the series as a whole was to give Harry the family he never had and to ensure his happiness. And I guess that’s just what my whole problem with this moment is. We’re doing the Lord of the Rings thing of “Well, you can’t be happy. You have to work through things and there [are] still leftovers.” And while I’m not saying that that doesn’t happen in life – because of course it does – I guess for me, I was not thinking [that] even if Harry did have trauma in his life, that it would be at this extreme level that Cursed Child presents.

Rosie: I think there are extra complications, so the trauma isn’t only what he experienced in the seven novels. Although, that is a massive part. With the Hobbits, they couldn’t go home because Hobbiton is so rural. It’s so idyllic. It’s such a nice and normal place to be that having had that massive adventure, if you went back, it would feel boring. It would not be a place that you could ever feel comfortable in again, having known all of this terror that’s going on outside in the world. It would just fade into insignificance, really, and it would feel like a wasted time to be living there. Whereas Harry has all of this fight and he wins in the end, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the end of his struggle. He can have that happy ending and he can have the family that he never had and all of that kind of thing and still be at risk in his adult life in a way that the Hobbits never would’ve been if they had returned to Hobbiton. You can’t compare Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter in that clear cut way. However, the struggles that Harry deals with in Cursed Child are not just the ones from his fight with Voldemort, although that obviously reoccurs and affects him in a different way in this play, but it’s triggered not because he’s afraid that Voldemort might come back, but because he’s afraid that he’s now got that family that he always wanted that he never had, and yet he still can’t work out how to be that family figure.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: And it’s the problems between him and Albus that are triggering the issues rather than the issues triggering the problems with him and Albus, and it’s very much him going, “But I’ve got this perfect family now. I’ve got my kids. I’ve got Ginny. I should be happy, I should know how to talk to my son.” And especially because Albus is actually very similar to Harry, for that to then be the issue of “But my son can’t talk to me and I can’t work out how to interact with him in a way that doesn’t seem to cause this friction” for Harry that is so jarring and is so heartbreaking that he almost feels like he is the Uncle Vernon character in that situation. And for someone who knows all of that childhood torture that we’ve always talked about – and gone on about the fact that those books are very dark or caricatured or whatever, whichever way you want to look at it – for Harry to then feel like he’s as bad of a father to Albus as Vernon was to him makes that issue so strong and so much of a curse, whether or not he’s dealing with that on a conscious level [or] whether it’s in his subconscious in his dreams with Albus coming out with Voldemort’s cloak and all of that kind of stuff. It’s the most realistic I think we will ever see as a parent who has experienced trauma as a child who is then experiencing hardship as an adult with his own family. I love the hardships that Harry has to deal with in this scene and in this play. I truly believe the psychology behind it. I truly believe in everything that is in this scene, and that is the reason why I cried when I watched this scene. Again, I wish it [weren’t] Dumbledore because – as you were saying, Michael – that’s already been done in King’s Cross, and that was such a beautiful moment in King’s Cross that we didn’t need it to be those two again. I would much rather have had maybe a longer, more in-depth conversation with Ginny, or perhaps even a moment between Harry and Ron. We never get an interaction between Harry and Ron, and it’s just so…

Lorrie: I know.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Rosie: I mean, Ron has the emotional range of a teaspoon, we know this. Hopefully, by now it’s a soup spoon. We’ve seen that in the play.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Rosie: But to have Harry admit his insecurities to his closest friend who is also a father at this point and who probably… Rose is as fast and quick-witted as Hermione, and I doubt Ron really understands Rose most of the time. He dotes on her as a loving father and all of that kind of thing, but he would probably still not quite get what was going on most of the time. It’s obviously not to the same level as Harry and Albus, but there would be some kind of knowledge of, “Okay, yes, my best friend is having issues and I can support him.” It would’ve been so nice to see that with Ron rather than Dumbledore.

Michael: Well, what you’re saying, Rosie, I think is excellent because… I think I agree with you on the choice to do this character examination and this idea that Harry has gone through this trauma and needs to deal with it, I guess. But in the same way, I also agree with you that it almost – and this is what it feels like throughout the play for me reading it – is that the characters are all interacting with the wrong people to get those points across. Because in a way, I think Dumbledore and Snape especially make their reappearance as a poetic link to Albus Severus because they share his name. So I totally get why they’re there, but I still think that there are missed [opportunities], like you’re saying with that moment. And I think we’ve touched on other ones too. There’s just a few moments that could’ve been between different characters that might have better expressed an idea or better strengthened ideas of the play.

Alison: But I don’t think I agree that this is one of them because that’s actually my next point. What they actually talk about is, like you said, [that] they had their moment about Dumbledore’s overarching plan for Harry in King’s Cross. But this moment is not about that overarching plan. This moment is about Dumbledore leaving Harry at Privet Drive.

Lorrie and Rosie: Yes.

Alison: This moment is about the beginning of Harry’s story where Harry felt abandoned and unloved for ten years, and I think that’s a trauma that he’s never really worked through because he got away. He got away and he started going on this journey, and Privet Drive was just a stop he had to stop at once a year and then he could go back to what he was. And I think this actual confrontation, and especially that it’s with Dumbledore’s portrait because the portrait doesn’t know anything new that Harry doesn’t already know… and so this is Harry, in a way, almost working through this with himself. He’s taking what Dumbledore told him before and he’s putting that on the portrait of Dumbledore. But he’s finally working through “This is what I’ve been through in my life. This is what Dumbledore did, whether for good or for bad. This is what I have to do.” And I think it’s…

Rosie: I like the Shadow Theory, wherever in effect Dumbledore’s portrait is Harry’s shadow in this point…

Lorrie: What I’m reading this as [is that] Dumbledore’s portrait starts talking to Harry suddenly and it hasn’t been around for a while, and I was reading that as Harry is now ready to think about these things regarding Dumbledore, because I read both portrait Dumbledore and King’s Cross Dumbledore as just things about Dumbledore that Harry knows. Because if you’re remembering King’s Cross Dumbledore, Harry says, “Is this all taking place in my head?” And Dumbledore says, “Yes, but that doesn’t make it not real.” So the person lives on in you whether they’re alive or dead, but depending on who you are at that point in your life and what you can understand, different things that you remember about them mean different things to you. Because I was thinking about how in Deathly Hallows after Harry loses Dobby – which is his first experience of a death of somebody who was under his protection, whether it’s a child or just somebody that he was trying to protect out of love – and enormous things happen to his emotions after that experience. And I think he’s at a similar crossroads here where he’s desperate for Albus to be safe and okay, but he’s the father of a teen; he has to let Albus fight his own way out of this. And I think he’s realizing now, “Oh, this reminds me of the times that I was desperate for Dumbledore to come be with me, but he left me alone. He left me to fight my way out of things at times when I really could’ve used his help.” And then because he knows that part of the problem that he’s causing in his family is that his shadow areas are where he let down Albus, he’s realizing, “Oh, that was Dumbledore’s issue. He had this history where he loved, and he was so scared of how wrong he got things when he loved that he made those mistakes.” Sirius Black ended up dying because Dumbledore didn’t trust himself to love a kid. So that was Dumbledore being afraid of himself the way that Harry has these areas in his own history that he only now has to tackle if he’s not going to let down this kid.

Michael: I think that’s why I like the use of the Dumbledore portrait the most out of the magical elements of the play, actually, because it’s one of the few things where, as you ladies all touched upon, the magic ends up being a very strong metaphor for what the character is going through. In his first scene, [Dumbledore] reminds the audience how portraits work with the Pottermore information, but it’s used more effectively than just “Oh, well, we’ve got to move the plot on, so here’s this information. Move forward.” It’s used as “Here’s this magic that has severe limitations, but it is representative of this character,” in this case, Harry’s personal, emotional limitations, and the idea that…

Rosie: Yeah. It’s more of the Mirror of Erised moment, isn’t it? It’s very similar to that emotional impact.

Michael: Yeah, however we feel about Dumbledore specifically being used, I think the idea, at least, of the magic within this scene is probably the best use of the canonical magic from Harry Potter, because this is how I think Rowling meant magic to be used.

Rosie: And I’m well aware that I am still projecting my Dumbledore issues on this; sorry, guys.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: This ties into what we were just talking about. Perfect segue. This line keeps hitting me every time I read this: “I have never loved without causing harm.” I don’t know why. It just smacks me in the face. It’s almost the opposite of that famous quote – I think it’s C. S. Lewis – “You can’t love without being hurt. The only way to truly be impervious to ever being injured is to never love.” So Dumbledore makes this statement, “I have never loved without causing harm.” Is this true?

Rosie: I think it’s his guilt speaking more than truth.

Alison: Okay.

Rosie: And that’s what makes it relevant to Harry at this moment.

Michael: Well, as we said before, this is not Dumbledore from King’s Cross.

Rosie: No.

Michael: This is Dumbledore at the end of his life with that limited experience that he didn’t get through King’s Cross, whether that be really Dumbledore in Harry’s mind. That closure that Harry gave him with that by talking to him through that hasn’t come for the portrait version.

Lorrie and Rosie: No.

Michael: So I think that’s why he would say that. The Dumbledore in King’s Cross moved past this.

Rosie: This is a Dumbledore closest to the potion-drinking Dumbledore at Half-Blood Prince. If you think about when Dumbledore’s portrait would’ve been made, it would’ve been made with all of his thoughts and feelings just before he went into the cave, or with a knowledge limited up to that point and everything that he told him in that year and the insecurities and the terror that he saw when he was drinking that potion in the cave with the “Don’t hurt Ariana; hurt me” and all of that kind of stuff. So his last moments, unfortunately, were very much the guilt of never having loved without causing harm, so that statement is very much true of him in that moment. And I think, like Michael was just saying, Deathly Hallows goes a long way of trying to heal that. Even though Dumbledore has died, we still actually manage to work through some of that backstory and some of that truth and some of [those] elements of uncertainty. They don’t know who killed Ariana [and] they don’t know whether that was a right or wrong issue, and I think that this Dumbledore is trying to serve a purpose of maybe showing that Harry is at that Half-Blood Prince moment in this story rather than the end of the Deathly Hallows moment, and that [we’ve] still got this little bit of time still to go for him to work through. If Dumbledore can reach the King’s Cross self – whether that’s in Harry’s head or not – if that story arc can reach that moment, then Harry’s story and this story will reach that too. And as an audience, we’re supposed to go, “That’s not true! You loved Harry. He’s not terribly harmed by what you did.”

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Even though he is, and I really didn’t like Dumbledore. Never mind.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Alison: Well, this lovely little moment gets interrupted – as I feel like so many lovely moments were [laughs] – by Draco walking in.

Rosie: [laughs] I much prefer this moment.

Alison: [laughs] So we get a lot of actually interesting little things in this bit.

Rosie: Yes.

Alison: A lot of insight into Draco, which… I will admit: This play has softened me toward Draco a little bit. I still think he was a little brat growing up.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Alison: And yes, he went through some terrible things, but to see some of his insight was very interesting. We get a lot on that Lucius wanted him to be in the Ministry, and he says what he really wanted to do was to play Quidditch, but he really just wanted to be happy. Is this trying to be an apology to Draco? Or is it trying to explain his behavior in some way? Or is this something that actually works with who he is?

Michael: I feel it goes overboard and is apologist because we already got this in the original novels. I already understand that Draco is not his father. The books really made that clear, that by the end, Draco could not bring himself to do certain things that his family wanted him to do, and that in many ways, Lucius was not the man that he was purporting to be. The Malfoys as a whole crumble between Half-Blood and Hallows and so I feel like, just like many other elements of this play, this is just expanding and pushing in a very fan fiction-y way to me, personally. The idea that “Yes, yes, this is what you wanted the character to say,” or “This is where you want the character to be.” It’s the same idea for me with Ron and Hermione just being like, “Yes, they really loved each other. Do you get it?” And I’m like, “Yes! I got it already. It’s fine for me.” It’s just a little over the top to me that Draco is just spilling his heart out to Harry. It’s another one of those weird interactions [where] I’m like, “Why is this happening right now?” Sure, their sons are both in the same boat, but these two just do not… The funny thing is that these two haven’t had as much of a journey together as you feel they have had because a bunch of those moments have been in alternate timelines!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: These two particular Harry and Dracos haven’t had that conversation over dinner after fighting each other. That didn’t happen in this reality. So that’s what makes this a little problematic for me.

Rosie: The whole difference between showing and telling and all of that kind of stuff. The Harry Potter novels were very good at showing and developing characters through their actions and through what happened. You could tell the emotional difference in them based on how they were acting and reacting, whereas this is Malfoy telling us that he is changed. And I can see why that would be an issue.

Michael: Well, and telling naturally happens because it’s in a play. It’s a play. [laughs] That’s okay.

Rosie: Yeah, yeah. It has to be said through lines and that kind of thing. But I think if we think about conversations that Draco probably had with Scorpius before this scene and before Scorpius disappeared again, there was that short moment of time when Harry was having another fight with Albus and all that kind of thing. I think the relationship between Draco and Scorpius is quite close, and although Scorpius has moments where he’s embarrassed by his dad and all that kind of thing that we see, he has essentially been a single father for a while since Astoria died. And even before that, Astoria was very weak. I think all of that would really shape him, and yes, we’ve seen the progression of Draco leaving his father’s influence, but this is explaining why he is as different as he is. I don’t think the main focus of this conversation is supposed to be Draco’s change. Like you already said, we’ve already known that. But I think it’s more to do with Scorpius and what I was saying earlier about how Scorpius is very much a book reader. And we have this description of Draco saying that he literally hid the family away; he moved them away from people and away from the gossips. And I think that’s probably where the book reading came from. If he didn’t have any friends growing up because he was isolated, then his friends become the books, and Draco is definitely the kind of person that would have a library. So you get a bit more character explanation there. I don’t think this is any more apologist in Draco’s behavior than Snape’s scene was, and I think they both do try and redeem them as dark characters and turn them into heroes or antiheroes. But in the same way, it’s just showing that these guys are adults now. They deal with things in a more adult way, and they deal with things in a more complex way. If that means that Draco is going to try and explain himself, and this is the closest he’s going to get to apologizing to Harry, I like it. I think it’s a good scene and I think it’s got a good emotional impact for both of them.

Lorrie: This scene, to me, brought up the earlier scenes where Draco desperately wants his beloved only child to have a friend, the one friend that his son ever had. And Harry is saying, “No, your son is the child of Voldemort.” That kind of profound mistrust… If it were my kid, I would want to connect with the parent of my child’s only friend and say, “I’m a human. I have traits. I know you don’t trust me, but the good traits that your child sees in my child, he gets some of that from me.” Because that’s the thing that prevents these two adults from having more of a conversation all this time. Draco has been trying to get Harry to go to bat for Scorpius a little, and Harry has just been not paying any attention, and even putting fuel into that rumor about Voldemort’s child.

Rosie: Harry still has a very oblique view of Draco, I think, in the same way that the Marauders and Snape had that same view when they were adults. And Harry hasn’t quite progressed as much as Draco has.

Lorrie: And if your kids are going to be friends, you have to grow up about this.

Rosie: And I think that’s, again, part of Harry’s story. He’s dealing with all of his issues, but that includes having to actually grow up a bit and realize that. Maybe that is a Draco and Astoria thing; he had an outside influence outside of the characters that we were introduced to, whereas Harry has very much stuck to the same group of people, the same situation, and hasn’t really progressed much further beyond where we left him at the end of Book 7, whereas Draco has had some time away. I don’t know. I like it. [laughs]

Alison: Well, Draco comes with some news, actually, and that is that there is another Time-Turner.

[Michael groans]

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: That was an interesting groan there, Michael.

Michael: No, finally the play has been like, “Now we’re not pretending to borrow from [A] Very Potter Musical; we’re just using A Very Potter Musical now.”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Yeah, a little bit. Because this Time-Turner was made for Lucius Malfoy. [sings] “Our history is nothing more than what the loser settles for.” [laughs] Anyway. I was reading this and I was like, “This could be a bit of a deus ex machina. I always say that wrong, so whatever. You know what I’m saying.”

Rosie: Deus, yeah.

Alison: Thank you. Whatever. I say it wrong all the time. Because at first, that’s what I was thinking. I was like, “Eh, that’s a little weak. It’s here because it needs to be here.” But can’t we compare that to the original Time-Turner in Prisoner of Azkaban?

Michael: Yes, yes, yes!

Alison: To Fawkes in Chamber of Secrets? And to a bunch of other things that just show up at the end of the books? I guess what I’m saying is it’s not bad, necessarily, just because it happens. Sometimes things just have to happen. And we just have to be okay with it.

Michael: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Uh-uh!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Nope! For me, that’s problematic because that simplifies Rowling’s use of buildup to the Time-Turner in Prisoner or to Fawkes in Chamber of Secrets. She doesn’t just put them there; she leaves you hints that they are there the whole time.

Rosie: But then this one has also had the hints that they were there the whole time. Harry literally says in this scene, “Hermione Granger, I knew the reason why she kept it in the first place was because she was afraid that there would be others out there.” There have been clues.

Michael: Yeah, but that should have been said earlier.

Rosie: It was said earlier, when Hermione did it.

Michael: Ugh. See, no.

[Lorrie and Rosie laugh]

Alison: When they first get the first one, it’s said directly that it was Theodore Nott, [whom] we know was connected to the Malfoys, and we know it was connected to Lucius Malfoy, and so it’s there…

Michael: See, to me, that’s weak because one, Theodore Nott is not important at all. He’s just a background character from the series that nobody gave a second thought to, and nobody ever thought was going to be mentioned in this play.

Alison: But that’s what everyone thought about Scabbers.

Michael: Yes.

[Alison and Lorrie laugh]

Michael: But Scabbers… No, I don’t think this is fair at all. Because the other thing is this Time-Turner breaks rules. The other Time-Turner in this story breaks rules too. And I think the big problem is that they’re…

Rosie: Yeah, this is not just a normal Time-Turner…

Alison and Michael: No.

Rosie: This is a bigger, better, shinier Time-Turner.

Michael: We had a Time-Turner that broke rules, and now we’re introducing a Time-Turner that pretty much breaks every rule. And yeah, I think that’s where that’s problematic because even when Rowling introduces things that are seemingly deus ex machinas, they still have limitations. I think the biggest one for me that’s comparable is actually not any of the ones you listed, Alison. I would say that the Elder Wand is the biggest comparable one…

Alison: I did think about that one too, yeah.

Michael: … and in its own way I think we dug out why it isn’t quite. It still seems like one, and I still feel like it is a little bit of one compared to everything else. While I give the play the excuse that it’s a play and it has a lot of limitations on time and how it can build something up, I think because these Time-Turners just so flagrantly break the rules of the world, that’s why I can’t really accept them and just be okay with them.

Alison: But do they?

Michael: Yes.

Alison: Do they break the rules of what is possible, or do they break the rules of what people decided was a good idea? Because that’s what I always got the impression of, [and] why Hermione’s Time-Turner is only back hours. I think it even said in that Pottermore information that it’s possible, but it’s not a good idea, necessarily, and so…

Michael: Oh yeah. It’s possible to go back farther, but…

Alison: So to have this that can happen… They’re basically taking a huge risk when they use it.

Michael: Well, and I guess the other piece, too, is that the Pottermore piece very strongly suggests that basically by stepping foot in another time period that far back, you’ve already ruined everything, and that is basically how it phrases it. This, and the play as a whole with its butterfly effect issues – and some of our listeners have pointed this out – plays very selective of how it plays with the butterfly effect, and I think that’s where that issue comes into play [of] Pottermore establishing that versus how loosely the play decides to play with those rules of stepping that far back in time. [It’s] too shaky for me and it just doesn’t really… I guess there [were] just so [many] strict measures taken with Time-Turners in the series – and Rowling’s very smart move to destroy them in Order of the Phoenix so as not to have issues with her story – that the extreme and, in my opinion, somewhat overuse of the Time-Turners here is what makes it a little unforgivable for me. But I will not say that we can just forgive that one because…

Alison: Okay, maybe that was a little blasé of me, but whatever.

[Alison and Lorrie laugh]

[Thunder rumbles]

Rosie: I’m loving the pathetic fallacy, Michael. Your anger is clearly shown through the weather at the moment.

[Alison and Micheal laugh]

Lorrie: I want to talk about how I read the Time-Turner here because again, if I look at it as a science fiction plot device, I get lost. But if I look at it as a metaphor, as an allegory for emotion, it works for me. This was much more like the Prisoner of Azkaban use of Time-Turners for me because the rules that Hermione is trained to follow are [that] you can’t be seen and you mustn’t change anything. And those are the rules that Scorpius and Albus don’t know when they are really young and go off on the first alternate universe. The phrase that comes up when they first talk about Time-Turners is “Change everything,” which is another one of those textual moments where I thought, “Okay, that is deliberate juxtaposition to the ‘You must change nothing’ rule that Hermione was doing legally [and] that she was getting Ministry-approved training to use.” So Albus and Scorpius do it all wrong. They change things, they get seen, and then have to, at risk to themselves, go back and put it right. This one, we find that Draco is following what I think of as Rowling’s magical rules: how in Potterverse, if there’s a super powerful object, there are right and wrong ways to use it. If you use it for personal gain, that’s the wrong way. If you use it to protect other people, that’s the right way. If you really know the right way, then you become a master of death. And I realized that the same motion to use the Resurrection Stone, where you turn it over in your hand three times, reminded me of Hermione in Prisoner of Azkaban turning the Time-Turner three times. I think they have some similar use, which is that you use them to really emotionally connect with loved ones in your own memory. So we see that Draco has this incredibly powerful Time-Turner, and he has just barely been able to resist using it even though he would do anything to see his wife again because, I think, it is one of those master of death things. You don’t use the Resurrection Stone thinking you can bring the dead back. You only can use it to make yourself at peace with the reality of death and with how much that person meant to you. So one difference between the way Albus and Scorpius use their stolen Time-Turner and this use is if you go back five hours in your own life, then you can understand yourself and what happened, or with this even more powerful one you can go back a long time in your own life and your own reality and understand yourself better, which is what Harry and Hermione were doing. They were going back to literally give Harry a different perspective on his own strength that got him through things that he couldn’t see at the time, but that frees him from trauma. And he takes a friend with him, and having a person to anchor you is really important.

Michael: Well, what you’re saying, though, Lorrie, is essentially what the Time-Turner will be used for at the end. I think that’s what the ultimate goal is.

Lorrie: This is why Draco’s use of it works for me. That is what he’s proposing. He’s bringing it to Harry to say, “We, together, can use this to go back into our own pasts to see what happened to hurt our own sons that we’re worried about together. And we’re not going to change anything. We don’t want to be seen. And it’s not to comfort ourselves. It’s not to bring the dead back.” So that really increased my respect for Draco, just him saying that he had it and he wanted to use it to see Astoria again and he didn’t. That seems classic Potterverse to me.

Alison: I do love, too – since we’re moving in that direction – this line that Harry has that [says], “We’ve been so busy trying to rewrite our own pasts, we’ve blighted their present.” This is another major theme I think that is running throughout the whole play, and we’ll get to this a little bit more because I think it really becomes very clear when we get back to Godric’s Hollow that the past is so influential on the present and that you can’t get away from things that have happened. You just have to build on them and from them. The whole reason Albus started doing all this is because he got angry because Harry lied. And to have Harry saying, “I messed up. I tried to change something that happened in the past instead of just confronting it face on and saying this is what happened. Let’s figure it out and move on,” he’s now completely thrown his son into all disarray. And I think this is a big moment for Harry and it’s a big moment for the themes of this play.

Rosie: This is the moment where he actually realizes what the key issue is, and it’s not really about Harry and Albus. It is about the fact that Harry hasn’t been dealing with his own issues. And if he had, then Albus would respect him more and then things would be better. And therefore, Harry needs to fix himself before he can fix anything else. And that is such a powerful thought for him, that we see him reflecting on that with Ginny in the next scene.

Alison: And I think going the other way as well, as we go back to Godric’s Hollow, we see that Albus is starting to get the broader picture of this whole story that he’s a part of. And I think that’s an important moment for Albus, to realize that he is a part of a bigger picture. We go back to Godric’s Hollow and we get one of my absolute favorite moments that’s not written in the script either, which I’m disappointed about.

Rosie: I know. Why isn’t it there? [laughs]

Alison: Albus sees his grandparents. And he especially has a moment with Lily, where they just look at each other. And obviously, he knows who she is, but it’s the first time he’s seeing her. She’s a real person. She’s not just this legendary figure that he’s heard about his whole life. And I think he definitely sees the resemblance of his little sister and his mother and his father in her. And I think you almost get this feeling – at least, I did when I was watching it – that Lily almost recognizes him [and] that she sees her husband James in him. She sees Harry in him. But obviously, she’s not putting that together. She doesn’t know what’s going to happen. And so it’s this striking moment where everything is just quiet and they’re just looking at each other. And I think it’s really such a moment for Albus’s character for him to understand that he’s a part of history. He’s a part of this and he can’t just try and get away from it or change it. He has to just accept it. He’s part of this family and he just has to take his own path off of that, then.

Rosie: If we were talking about parallel moments, this is Harry seeing himself across the lake, casting Expecto Patronum and all that stuff. It’s a very similar emotion and realization to that scene. And I do think that to Albus, Lily and James have always been a myth. They’ve always been this part of the Harry Potter legend and a part of his dad being famous, and he’s never really quite seen them as grandparents. They’ve just been part of this epic tale. And this is the first time that he’s actually started to think, “Hang on a second. These are my dad’s parents. And tomorrow, they will be dead.” And it’s the first time his father almost has been real and not Harry Potter to him, at least since he turned 11 and started seeing his father in the eyes of everyone else at Hogwarts rather than the person that he’d grown up with. And I think, yeah, this is the turning point for Albus, other than the moment where he called his father “Dad” a second ago and that whole thing. This is the solidifying moment of Albus realizing Harry’s motivation and accepting that motivation as part of his own as well. It was such a loving moment.

Alison: And I think he almost sees, too, what was taken from Harry and why Harry is going through some of this trauma. He starts to tap into that a little bit more. He sees, “Oh, this is the life I had. My dad had it, and it was taken away from him, and so he doesn’t necessarily know how to deal with that.” And I think it’s such a moment in character [and] in theme with their relationship. And it’s so lovely. I love it. [laughs] And then we get to what I think is one of the best things that happens that gets introduced in here: We get to the blanket. It’s just so clever and just a wonderful addition of this blanket that is the gift Harry could pass on, and at this moment Albus realizes it’s the one thing that’s going to save them.

Rosie: Interestingly to me, this was a clunky moment. Or at least not this bit, but the blanket scene earlier. When the blanket caught fire in the earlier scene after Harry had been talking about it, there was no reaction to it catching fire, and that was so incongruous to the scene. He just [had] gone on and on and on about how his blanket meant so much to him, and then it just caught fire. And no one seemed to notice that it was very much okay [or] that it’s [a] going-to-be-important-later-on moment. When it actually did come back around, it was slightly anticlimatic because I had been waiting for the blanket to be important again, rather than for it to have been, “Oh, that’s why it was a thing.” It might have been just that one.

Alison: I felt [the] opposite. Because I was going to say, earlier it was a touching moment. It was nice. And then you’re like, “Oh, that’s a shame,” because it’s not a huge fire. It’s just a puff of smoke. And I don’t even think I realized it was smoke at first. I thought it was just a bottle tipped over and something came out of it.

Rosie: Oh, really? It was very obviously smoke and fire for my interpretation.

Alison: Interesting.

Michael: That’s funny because I felt, reading it, that this was more like Rowling’s use of a hidden background object than the Time-Turner was. I thought this was handled better.

Rosie: Fair enough. I think it might have been more of a dodgy day when I saw it.

Michael: It caught fire and everybody backstage was like, “Oh my God, that’s not supposed to happen!”

Rosie: Possibly.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: I think the pause after the fire was too long, and the scene didn’t change fast enough or something like that. I don’t know. It seemed a bit too obvious to me. But yeah, it could have been just a quirk with that one particular performance.

Lorrie: The first time I read the play, I found the blanket embarrassing because earlier it was the worst gift. It was so awkward. And then the second time I read it, I just cried and cried because when Harry is giving the three gifts to the three children, he doesn’t have a problem knowing what to give James because James wants something to do with the Marauder’s Map, with flying, and with the self that Harry had from James, his father, through Dumbledore. And he didn’t have a problem with Lily because Snape had given him his mother Lily’s love of flight. So he has a daughter who loves flying; he’s good there. And then with the middle child who just needs a loving, comforting father, it’s like, “All I have is this blanket,” and Albus is like, “This is really inadequate, isn’t it?” And then it suddenly hit me, “Yeah, it is, isn’t it?” That’s all Harry had, and everything he has he is giving to Albus. And then in this scene, when Albus realizes that this is going to be how he can communicate with his father, it turns out to be enough. And he wasn’t ready to accept it then, but now he sees this is why his father was unable to give him any more than this. He understands the things Harry was trying to tell him before by giving him this gift. And so this is finally a way that they can communicate through this object. “Okay, now I see all you ever got was 15 months.” So yeah, I was crying.

Michael: Yeah, I think the blanket makes sense for that purpose. I think it has the right emotional impact that a lot of things in this play for me don’t, because the blanket is well enough explained in its first appearance that it also works within the storyline that [this] is possibly something Harry could be in possession of. And it does work, too, on that beautiful level of, “Well, it’s a gift that means everything to Harry. It means nothing to Albus, but it will mean something to Albus.” Yeah, I think that’s excellently used.

Rosie: And it’s a lovely show of Albus’s thought process as well. He completely dismissed it at the time, but it sat there in his head and his teenage brain processed it in a way that he does eventually realize its importance, and he does have it as “This is important. File it away for later. You will understand it one day.” He doesn’t immediately dismiss it and just forget about it in the way that some people might. I think he’s trying to.

Michael: Yeah. The only thing I find ridiculous in this part is that they know that Bathilda Bagshot’s door is unlocked.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Come on.

Alison: It’s a little weird.

Michael: I know they need potion ingredients, but for goodness’ sake.

Alison: It would have made more sense if they just were going to break in.

Michael: Yeah, they should have just kicked the door down.

Alison: But then Scorpius just tried the door and was like, “It’s unlocked,” and they were like, “Okay.” And they just go in. But I guess we needed to get in there faster than that would have allowed.

Lorrie: This is where I tell myself, “Oh, that’s because this is Albus making it up. Okay, convenience. This is a kid’s imagination.”

Michael: Well, I don’t know, really, how it’s portrayed on the stage – and this brings up a minor logistical question and is something I think the fandom is just going to be wondering about – but this brings up the issue of… Can Lily and James leave the house?

Rosie: Yeah, so that’s one thing that bothered me. They were supposed to be hidden. This is the day before their death. Their house is supposed to have been hidden. It’s supposed to be as secret as Grimmauld Place was. And yet, Albus and Scorpius see them walking around the village. They see the house. They see the whole thing, as do everyone else when they arrive. And yeah, the whole Secret Keeping thing has completely disappeared from this play.

Alison: But was that because they know?

Rosie: No, it can’t be that they know.

Lorrie: This is an allegory for Albus saying, “Okay, I’m ready to go back in time to understand my father’s origin story.” So he’s imagining this whole thing.

Alison: Wait. But the Secret Keeping was broken, wasn’t it? Because by this point, Pettigrew would have already told him.

Lorrie: True.

Rosie: Paradox.

Michael: Yes. I think part of this is a weird issue, too, with the time because Scorpius and Albus come from a time where that secret isn’t even kept. You’re right, Alison. I think that it’s possibly already broken. But also, too, the idea that Lily and James can go for a stroll in the neighborhood is dangerous. [laughs]

Rosie: Yeah, and I think that’s the issue. The moment you were talking about a second ago with Albus and Lily seeing each other and doing this little half smile, and she just walks off like nothing different has happened. And there’s this whole Christmas sequence where all the people are coming in and out of their houses and interacting on the street and all that, and Lily and James are included in that as well. They don’t seem to be hidden. They don’t seem to be afraid. They don’t seem to be worried in any sense at this moment, and it just seems slightly odd when this prophecy is supposed to happen.

Alison: Well, they weren’t really worried.

Rosie: They were worried enough that in Lily’s letter that she wrote to Sirius there was mention of the fact that they were in hiding and that they were getting a bit bored and that James was going stir crazy because he couldn’t get outside. They were meant to have been actually holed up away for longer than one or two days before their death.

Alison: That’s true.

Michael: Well, and there’s a mention that Peter came to visit them. And so there’s the idea that members of the Order are actually providing them things.

Rosie: Yeah. They have to go to them rather than them going out to see them.

Michael: So it’s a minor logistical question. In a way, I wouldn’t sacrifice it because I think what you ladies summarized about that moment that’s not written in the script, which I have heard about… and I wish [it were] because it’s very important. I wouldn’t want to sacrifice that moment.

Rosie: Yeah, and I think it’s interesting that it is referenced in the script in one of Scorpius’s later lines. Scorpius says, “Albus, you saw them.” The actual stage direction of seeing them is extremely minimal. It does actually mention it. It does say that he sees a couple, one with ginger hair and a baby, but it doesn’t actually make it extremely clear that that’s who they’re trying to talk about and the emotion of that scene is definitely not described.

Alison: But then we get back to the action a little bit, and Michael, we’ve got you another Harry/Ginny [as Thor] “Another!” [back to normal voice] moment. [laughs]

Michael: Yes.

Rosie: It’s so good.

Alison: This is a really good one. So Harry and Ginny are in Albus’s room, and Harry is just reflecting and it’s a really emotional moment. Weird question, though: Harry says this is probably his second worst Halloween. Is he talking about 1981, or is there another Halloween in the books that we could classify as worse?

Rosie: No. He means 1981.

Michael: Oh, no.

Alison: Okay.

Michael: It’s a dark joke about that 1981 Halloween. [laughs]

Alison: Okay, that’s what I thought. But all of a sudden I was like, “Wait. Let me just double check.”

Rosie: I mean, he doesn’t have any good Halloweens, really, but this is definitely the worst.

Alison: And then we get into Harry [talking] about [how] he’s just so incredibly guilty over everyone who was lost in the Battle of Hogwarts and during the seven books, and this moment is just such a gut punch. I mean, I remember hearing the phrase “the fallen 50” for the first time and thinking, “Oh my gosh. Now I’m going to have to go through and check off who people are, and that’s going to be traumatizing.” And it’s a very Harry moment, I think.

Michael: Yeah, this is another piece where I’m just a little unsure of how to feel because I think, for the way that the play is going, it feels right. But at the same time, I guess my view of those interim 19 years was where Harry would have been experiencing this healing. Because within those 19 years [before] Cursed Child, in my head things are going a very different way. And the idea that Harry is repairing himself through his family and his connections, and the idea that there are still… I think Harry had a pretty good understanding of what those sacrifices meant even back then; that doesn’t mean that makes them easy… or in that way. But at the same time, he already has that understanding [or] that idea that there’s blood on his hands. I think [that] was something he overcame already.

Rosie: I think he had that understanding and he did overcome it in some sense. But the difference here is that he is now genuinely worried that Voldemort might come back, and therefore the Fallen Fifty may have fallen for nothing, so there’s a new layer of guilt of “Yes, they died and we won and therefore I’m guilty, but ultimately we did the right thing.” Whereas now, it’s “They died and we won, but ultimately it might have been for nothing and therefore, their blood is on my hands and it still didn’t even matter. There’s still no hope.” And this is Harry at his most depressed and darkest moment, I think. And it’s a fresh guilt, rather than the guilt he has been feeling for the last 19 years.

Michael: Yeah, that worked more for me. I don’t know why it is this way, versus the Harry Potter novels that I just don’t… In a novelized form, I would see that. As the script, I don’t.

Rosie: It’s because we don’t get to see Harry’s thoughts. The narrator in the books is Harry, or as close to Harry as we get. Here it’s not, and we have this distance and we can’t see what he’s thinking in the same way. So when he’s saying it, we don’t get the additional information. We only get the words. And we are seeing it from Ginny’s point of view, essentially, and she is the best kind of person to try and understand him because she has seen him for those 19 years and before that. But even she still doesn’t quite get it; she can’t work out why he and Albus have these issues. So there is this distancing there. And like I said earlier, [in] the first three acts, the Harry that we see isn’t really the Harry that we know, and we still may be trying to regain that connection to him and this is the closest that we really get. So without that trust in the character that we have undeniably through the seven books, there’s a little bit more of a distancing between us and Harry here.

Alison: So after they decipher the message in the blanket… which is really nice; I like that they split the stage. So you have Scorpius and Albus writing the message, which again emphasizes… Scorpius thinks they should write “Harry” first, and Albus is adamant that they write “Dad” so that he knows it’s him and that he knows…

Michael: By the way, how big is this blanket?

Alison: Oh, it’s your standard…

Rosie: It’s quite big. It’s a baby blanket. It’s what he was swaddled in when he was left on the doorstep.

Michael: Okay.

Alison: And then you’ve got Harry and Ginny trying to figure out what’s going on next to them. But they figure out what’s happening, they run to grab Hermione and Ron and Draco and this Time-Turner, and then we show back up in Godric’s Hollow again where we figure out that – plot twist – Delphi is not trying to kill Harry; she’s trying to save Voldemort. And it’s Ginny who figures it out, which I think is very nice.

Rosie: She figured out the blanket as well. It’s so nice to see book Ginny in the play rather than film Ginny. Sorry, Bonnie.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Nothing against you, Bonnie.

Alison: It’s the writing.

Michael: Yes.

Alison: And once they’ve figured this out and they’re all holed up in the church in Godric’s Hollow… which I think is a nice throwback to Deathly Hallows where they go to that church and they’re behind it.

Rosie: Yeah, in the graveyard.

Alison: Yeah. And everyone volunteers to be Voldemort. So here’s my question: Who has the best claim, really? Obviously, it has to be Harry, but is there someone else that maybe it should have been because they actually have a better reason to be Voldemort than Harry?

Michael: Well, not Hermione because she’s an awful actress.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Alison: Yeah, we’re not doing that again.

Rosie: Ginny was possessed by him and therefore has the best knowledge of his thoughts, but then those were blackouts rather than necessarily his [thoughts]. There was nothing lingering in her brain after she was possessed, so I don’t know. [laughs]

Alison: I actually think Ron has a pretty good claim, because he says…

Michael: I feel like Ron has a good claim but he’s at risk. Because this Ron is not book Ron, he’s at risk for screwing it up.

Alison: [laughs] Well, I think book Ron could have screwed it up too.

Michael: Well, yeah. Book Ron could have definitely screwed it up, but I think book Ron might have had a better chance than Cursed Child Ron. He’s purely there to be silly, but his claim is a good one.

Alison: Because he’s claiming that he’s the most rational in this situation, and I think that’s a really good point. [laughs]

Michael: Well, he’s the most distanced out of all of them from all of this. He doesn’t quite have as much at stake in this as everybody else directly. He still does because his children could once again be erased from time, but that aside, he doesn’t have that… Out of everybody, he perhaps doesn’t have quite [the] personal connection with Voldemort as the rest. But no, it has to be Harry. Of course it’s going to be Harry.

Alison: And this is where we get to another confusing logistical thing. There’s no clarity on whether Harry lost and then regained or if he just kept knowing Parseltongue. So I guess this one, though – if you’re considering it a retcon, or not in canon or whatever – depends on what you take as canon because that information came from Jo in a little bit more of an informal way. It’s from the Deathly Hallows web chat in July of 2007 right after the book came out.

Michael: And I think, actually, that the definitive statement on the Parseltongue did make it through to Pottermore.

Alison: Oh, did it?

Michael: Yeah, that he’s lost the ability. Parseltongue has a section, I think, on Pottermore or something akin to that. So it is canon.

Alison: So that’s confusing. [laughs]

Rosie: But it’s canon within the play as well. He says – the same with the dreams, I think – that he hasn’t been able to understand it since [Voldemort died]. It’s the moment when he is trying to enter Delphi’s room and he says, “It’s Parseltongue, but I shouldn’t know this.”

Alison: Oh yeah, that’s right.

Rosie: And then he says it. So there is – again, with the dreams and the Parseltongue and with the scar hurting – this crossover of these things [that] shouldn’t be happening, and therefore, what’s going on? And this is still part of that.

Lorrie: I think it’s a throwback to how it feels for Harry when the damage from Voldemort is really active in him because Voldemort’s whole thing was [that] he wanted this baby to know how he felt. He put a part of himself in this baby; he tried to take over this baby’s mind and put some of his own skills into the baby. So yeah, Harry is remembering all of that. He’s feeling it again. There are a couple of times in canon when people are able to use Parseltongue who aren’t descended from Slytherin, and that’s Ginny when she’s possessed and it’s Ron in Deathly Hallows after he has been possessed by the locket. And also, Harry in Chamber of Secrets, the first time he speaks Parseltongue even though there’s no snake in front of him. He realizes, “I can reproduce the feeling. I can squint at the snake and remember how it feels to be faced with a real snake, and then I can reproduce those conditions and speak Parseltongue.” So with all of those things, I feel like if you’re in a position where you can understand how Voldemort feels and you’ve been somehow possessed by him or have part of him in you, then you may be able to speak the language that he’s using.

Michael: I think that’s a stretch that the play is asking us to make.

Lorrie: Well, I saw that stretch in Deathly Hallows. A lot of people were like, “How could Ron open the Chamber of Secrets in Deathly Hallows?” That’s the stretch that I made to explain that to myself. [laughs]

Michael: Well, yeah, Ron does have a fair claim. He’s just like, “Yeah, I’ve heard Harry do it a couple times. That’s good enough.” That to me just works a little better than the strict establishing that there’s a complete disconnect between Voldemort and Harry in that way.

Rosie: Am I right in thinking that every time Harry experiences one of the dreams or the scar hurting or him being able to speak Parseltongue is when Albus is back in time?

Lorrie: Oh!

Rosie: I don’t think it ever happens once Albus is in the normal timeline. And I think there’s an element of…

Michael: Time.

Rosie: … timelines being in flux. So [it’s] the whole fixed point idea. Whenever something is potentially being changed [and] whenever Voldemort is potentially coming back – which could happen with any small change at any butterfly effect moment that Albus is doing when he’s back in the past – that is when both normal Harry and Horcrux Harry [have] this moment of potential. And therefore, the Horcrux is both alive and not alive in those moments because it can be both Voldemort-has-been-defeated and has-not-been-defeated in those moments. So whenever there’s this moment of flux – a moment of change – it’s like this bleeding through of the Horcrux back into Harry, and therefore the connection to Parseltongue [and] to the dreams [and] to all of the things that made him Horcrux Harry instead.

Alison: Wow, I think you just got it. Yep.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Michael: That’s good. I wish the play had said that.

Rosie: Well, that only works if it’s always when Albus is back in time. [laughs]

Lorrie: It’s not. The first time he wakes up with a nightmare and Ginny says, “How long has it been since your scar hurt?” Albus has not gotten the Time-Turner yet.

Rosie: Okay.

Alison: Haven’t they?

Lorrie: No. It’s just when issues of trauma from Voldemort come back into Harry’s consciousness.

Rosie: In which case, that could just be a normal dream. But yeah, we don’t know.

[Lorrie and Rosie laugh]

Alison: Man, I really like that theory, though.

Michael: The first dream is the one where Harry is in the cupboard, right?

Alison: Yes. And that’s the one where he sees Albus in the Durmstrang robes.

Michael: Yeah, and so that was actually…

Rosie: And then Albus has already gone back in time by then, I thought.

Alison: Yeah, he’s going back in time.

Lorrie: No.

Michael: He’s about to. But that’s something that a listener actually suggested to us in a previous comment…

Rosie: Yes.

Michael: … that those things aren’t necessarily happening in that sequence just because you’re seeing them that way. It’s hard to argue because it’s a play.

Rosie: They could actually be happening at the same moment in time.

Michael: I think that’s a really great suggestion. Like I said, I wish the play would’ve just said it, though, at some point.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: That’s one of those mysteries that the play leaves as a loose string, and it should have tied them all up.

Rosie: Well, Jo, if you’re listening, feel free to steal that theory and put it right.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Speaking of theories, let’s move on to the big one. So we get to Delphi and she comes in, they get in a fight, and we find out the big shock/biggest problem a lot of people have – it’s actually my biggest problem with the play too – Delphi’s parentage. She claims that she is the daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix. Oh boy. So before we start debating it, I just want to put out [that] I have three major theories on this one that I’ve talked to some people [about], and I’ve seen some other places too. The first one is the one I came up with actually watching the show because I was like, “No, please don’t do this. This is terrible.”

[Michael laughs]

Alison: But my main theory – the one I’ve kind of accepted – is that she’s really Bellatrix and Rodolphus’s child, but when he got out of Azkaban he lied to her because he wanted to get rid of her; he didn’t want to have to deal with her, which thematically really contrasts with Albus and Scorpius, these children that are really adored and loved. And even if they are misunderstood, their parents still want them and are trying to have that relationship. And so he lied to her and she grew up thinking she was Voldemort’s daughter, so she started trying to live up to that and therefore was able to develop these other powers, or she looked into this Dark magic [and] things like that. So that’s my biggest theory. [laughs] The second one is actually one that a coworker of mine came up with: It’s that somehow Bellatrix was impregnated using magic, and it was either through Voldemort or from herself.

Michael: This is coming up a lot in the fandom. This is probably one of the most popular ones right now.

Alison: There’s an interesting line – and it’s Harry saying it, so it could just be him trying to copy Voldemort’s super dramatic speeches where he monologues – [where] he says, “I want to examine what my blood made,” which I think you could interpret to being that there was some Dark magic going on there. We know that Voldemort tested the bounds of creating bodies, at least with himself. And then the other one is that he used the promise of a night together to entice Bellatrix to be even more devoted to him or to do something [that] maybe she didn’t want to do [or] maybe to lean on Narcissa and the Malfoys to get them to do what he wanted Draco to do to embarrass them or something else. So those are my three big theories.

Michael: I think those touch on probably the major theories that the fandom has come up with. I mean, it’s already problematic because how did Rodolphus get out of Azkaban to even tell her this? He killed people; he’s in there for life. But with that said, I prefer the idea that she is Bellatrix and Rodolphus’s, and that Rodolphus lied to her out of spite.

Rosie: But Rodolphus also told her the prophecy.

Michael: Yeah, that’s what doesn’t make sense.

Alison: But he could have made it up, couldn’t he have? That could’ve been part of the lie.

Michael: Well, ostensibly…

Lorrie: [laughs] But we’ve never seen that much imagination from him.

Rosie: That’s a lot of effort.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: No, but we didn’t see much of him at all.

Michael: With all of that said and all of these theories, in the end, once again, this is the point that I get to with Cursed Child where I just say, “How does it really matter or help to theorize these things past the text?” We could do that with Harry Potter as novels because one, there were seven of them over the span of ten years and we had time to cull those theories that would eventually pay off, versus this play, which is just two acts. You have at most a few days in between Acts 1 and 2 to theorize and what you see is what you get.

Rosie: And I don’t think as much thought has gone into the writing of it as Jo always put into her books. So I don’t think they would have known the truth behind this; the extent of their knowledge of how Delphi was created will be the lines that she says in the script. I don’t think they’ll have gone into the details of it. But I think if we were going to follow any of the theories, I like the idea of “Voldemort [has] already created a body for himself in Goblet of Fire, and therefore, probably has a similar magical potion that he could use to create a baby.” In that way, I think that’s the one way I could see Voldemort reproducing.

Lorrie: No, but Voldemort could not create the adult body for himself without Harry’s blood. He spent all of Goblet of Fire year in that small rudimentary body because he needed Harry’s blood.

Rosie: But it’s a different situation.

Lorrie: Nope. What Harry is saying – “What my blood made” – is empathy. Love and empathy and the ability to forgive. I know I have my pet theory, which I think maybe you guys don’t buy, but if the AUs that Albus is making up are to work through his questions about his father’s culpability… At first he starts out with Cedric Diggory: “He died for my father; is my father actually evil?” And now he’s thinking, “My father destroyed Voldemort; did Voldemort have people who loved him? What if Voldemort had a child? What if I had a counterpart? I know my father is a person with loved ones; what did he do to Voldemort? Is there more blood on my father’s soul than he’s telling me?” So he’s inventing what it would have been like if Voldemort had a daughter. He’s trying to think through this because he doesn’t know the Voldemort that we know, and he doesn’t know the Bellatrix that we know, the cold woman who said that if she had sons – which, of course, she didn’t – that she would have sacrificed them for the Dark Lord. This is the last person we want to think about coming to term [and] bearing children. This is not who we know, but Albus is trying to imagine this because that’s what he knows of family. And I think when Harry is saying, “What my blood made,” he’s seeing that Albus is applying his knowledge of love and family to this scenario that he’s working through, and that’s why. The whole thought of Voldemort and Bellatrix having a child – any way that people have tried to make sense of this – is utterly ridiculous. I think that’s meant to be. I think it’s meant to tell us [that] that’s because somebody who didn’t know them is just using this scenario to work through something.

Michael: Yeah, see, I really like this theory. It actually isn’t that I don’t buy it. What I feel is that this is something the play could have done if it had gone through more drafts. Your theory, Lorrie, is at a higher intellectual level than what the play is doing with this plot point. And it’s an excellent way to read this text to get more out of it. But because it is a play and because [it has that] take-it-or-leave-it aspect…

And the fact that, unfortunately, I still feel like – and we’ll see maybe when we get to the fight here, coming up – how maybe you feel this wraps up, because I still think the play is underselling your idea because of the interactions that Delphi has with other characters and how she’s dealt with by the play’s end. And I think in some ways she’s still meant to be that mirror/metaphor for Albus. I think what you’re touching on is definitely what she’s meant to be there for. And as much for Albus [and] in some ways as for Harry because Harry actually has a small interaction with her here at the end that cements that there’s a connection between the two of them…

Rosie: I agree with all of the whole shadow idea and the whole allegory idea. I don’t agree with the “Delphi doesn’t exist” part of it. I think she definitely does exist and all of that part does exist. It’s just [that] the characterization [and] the [symbolism] of the shadow is… Yeah, I agree with that allegory, but she is there. You couldn’t have two thirds of this play without her being an actual existing character, and there’s no proof to prove that three thirds of this play is existing only in Albus’s mind.

Lorrie: Not only in Albus’s mind. But that they all know that it exists all in their mind because they all are paying attention to the fact that Albus needs to work through this, just as all the adults are there waiting to be available to the kids when the kids want to communicate with them. Oh gosh, there’s a line I want to bring up but it skips ahead. I don’t know.

Rosie: In that case, it would be a very Kafka-esque play, and I’m not quite sure it’s quite up to that standard.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Well, yeah. And there [are] elements of your theory, too, Lorrie, that I like because they actually, to me, call back to the ideas of Horcruxes, and especially Chamber of Secrets and the strengthening of Riddle’s Horcrux and bringing him from something that’s not real to something that’s real. There’s a lot of that in that theory, which again, in a way, I feel ties in with what I had presented in previous episodes. Not fully fleshed out because I’m not J.K. Rowling and that’s not my job.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: The idea that this play, in my head, was more of a character study with less of this conflict that the play presents, and that there might have been more of that connection within Horcrux business that the play just decides to put aside… But in the end, I think the thing that bothers people so much about the Voldemort/Bellatrix thing is that that is something that has been, I think, just very clearly stated through the original text, that that would not happen. And it’s so outlandish, I guess, the idea, too, because the idea that there were other individuals that were around when Bellatrix would have been pregnant and would have had to have known somehow… That could not have been kept secret.

Rosie: She was never away from them that much.

Michael: No. Yeah, she was in the Malfoy house and that would have come up.

Alison: Well, after we sort of find out who she is, we get this fight between Harry and Delphi. [sighs] Rereading it again, I take issue with the wording of the stage direction because actually, I realized that I take issue with a lot of wording in the stage directions throughout the whole play.

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: I don’t know who wrote these stage directions, but I don’t think they did the greatest job a lot of times.

Michael: I have to assume it’s Thorne because he’s credited as the writer.

Rosie: Is he? I thought it was different. Hang on one second…

Alison: I wonder, though, if in this novelization process of this script it’s someone else.

Rosie: Yeah, there is an actual name on it somewhere.

Alison: It is Thorne.

Michael: Oh, interesting. Special script.

Rosie: Missed that. Maybe it is Thorne.

Alison: But he could still have an assistant or something.

Rosie: Yeah, there was like “a rehearsal script written by this person” thing.

Alison: It could have been a little bit of ghostwriting going on.

Michael: Well, I think what’s happening, too, a little bit, is that Thorne probably was a little rushed on this particular script because, as we’ve established, this is an unusual script. It’s a rehearsal script.

Rosie: I really don’t think they should have ever released it. [laughs]

Alison: I don’t either.

Michael: I think that might have been a mistake. I think as far as stage directions go, that’s up to the final draft to remedy.

Alison: Anyway, this wording says that Delphi is far stronger than Harry, and I think that’s a problem because I don’t think that’s possible, if that makes sense. Harry is a lot older than her. He’s been through a lot more. I feel that they would at least be equal. And I think the reason that she’s able to disarm him is just because he’s taken aback by the whole situation rather than she’s somehow better than him.

Lorrie: I want to say what I see in that, and I’m going to try and wrap up quickly and not pay too much attention because we are short on time now. What that reminded me of is the anger. At that point, Delphi is using Albus’s anger against Harry, which is murderous because that is how people experience anger against their parents. Harry is this great hero who can do everything well, but he doesn’t have the guts to turn around and face his son and look at his son. So that is something that Albus gets out of this: Harry is able finally to turn around and look at Albus and still be protective of him and still love him even though Albus was that angry at him. But Voldemort, Tom Riddle, did not get that, and that was the pain of Tom Riddle, the lonely child. Ever since he was an infant, nothing in his entire life was greater than his own rage. And that’s what children want from their parents, to be completely unforgivable [and] angry and still have a parent say, “I’m still stronger than you, and I want to protect you and love you and comfort you down from your rage.” Voldemort was so angry that he killed people when he was still a child. Nothing ever stopped him [or] comforted him, and that’s why he chased down this baby Harry Potter to say, “Could you be the one to stop me? That’s why I’m obsessed with you.” So the rage that Albus feels here, I think, is that basic rage that a lot of children can and do feel toward their parents, except that Albus gets what Voldemort didn’t get.

Michael: And that speaks to some ideas of Albus paralleling Voldemort in ways that I was expecting the play to play more with, that it didn’t end up doing. And it ends up doing it through Delphi, which is still why I’m of the mind – and it’s a completely different play in my head without this – [that] I don’t want Delphi in the play. I just want more of a connection between the Voldemort story and Albus. Delphi just seems a bit strenuous, like she’s just a little too beat-you-over-the-head-with-these-ideas.

Alison: I think she’s still needed, though.

Michael: I don’t think so, because she’s just taken out so easily that by the end of it she doesn’t really matter.

Alison: Well, then someone has to trigger everything happening.

Michael: But that’s what I’m saying. Those things can be triggered by more magical elements of the world and a recall because the play decides to so recall everything from Harry Potter [laughs] so beat for beat in a lot of ways that it could have just gone full-on and done that without Delphi. I think there is a way. I don’t know what that way is. Like I said, I’m not J.K. Rowling. It’s not my job.

Rosie: [laughs] I think that the only way they could have triggered the events and all that kind of thing in a similar way would make it identical to the plot of [A] Very Potter Sequel.

[Michael and Alison laugh]

Rosie: It would have been having Lucius triggering it all. I think if we didn’t have Delphi, it would have needed to have been a pre-existing character, which would have felt better for us because it’s not this “manic pixie dream girl” character coming in and changing everything. But the only person left who would have wanted to resurrect Voldemort, or to go back and change things and then bring him back, would have been potentially Lucius. Bellatrix was dead, and all of the other Death Eaters were inconsequential in reality. So the only figure that would have been able to create a plot like this would have had to have had some kind of connection to Voldemort, and therefore Delphi or a character who was like Delphi is the logical choice.

Lorrie: My reading of Delphi being overcome easily is not because of Harry’s power, but because Delphi served her purpose. She was Albus’s mouthpiece to say, “I’ve been trying my entire life to be a worthy child to you, Father, for the moment when you finally took a look at me.” And once Albus delivers that, Harry can’t retain the Voldemort form anymore. He starts turning back into Harry because what this Delphi and/or Albus person wants is a human connection between parent and child, something that the actual Voldemort could never have provided, and Harry is responding to that. And when Albus’s feeling of connection with his father becomes greater than his rage, I think his need for Delphi recedes. It’s not even that. [sighs] All of the people around Harry who “zap” Delphi… Thank you, Ron…

[Alison, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Lorrie: … It’s just telling Albus that “Yeah, we all know your father. We’re all here supporting you. We know this man. We’re here helping you through knowing him.” And then when Delphi is defeated, she actually goes away. She does leave the narrative. It says, “There is a noise like a shrunken scream, and we just watch, and slowly what was there is no longer there.” And that’s both Delphi the character and the conflict in Albus that’s now been resolved.

Michael: Yeah, and that’s why I think that she’s definitely playing that role that you’re suggesting, Lorrie. And in a way, I would have just really liked the idea that she’s a manifestation of something that Albus created because I think that would have been more along the lines of what I thought would have been a better storyline. I feel that a lot of themes within Harry Potter, and what this play touches on, is the idea that you are in control of your own fate, and there are certain things that you create for yourself [and] you can’t blame other people for these misfortunes that befall you. And I guess that’s my problem with Delphi. She’s just so far outside of the narrative; she just comes in to mess everything up. And that’s why I really like the idea that she would be more this manifestation of Albus and his feelings.

Rosie: Yeah, the main issue is that she is outside the narrative if you’re seeing the narrative as the storyline between Harry and Albus, which is the main emotional heart of the story. There [are] two plot lines: There’s the emotional plot line and the action plot line. And Delphi is action, not emotion. But Delphi’s downfall happens when the emotional plot line is complete.

Michael: Comes in, yeah.

Rosie: So Harry’s line of “I’ve never fought alone, you see. And I never will,” when his family [comes] back and they fight together and Delphi is defeated, that is not really about Harry realizing that he’s not alone; it’s part of that guilt thing that we were talking about just a moment ago. He’s overcoming that and realizing if it’s on his hands, it’s on all these other people’s hands as well. But it’s also Albus realizing that his father didn’t do it alone; it’s not all down to Harry. It wasn’t just Harry that was having to deal with all of this and it was all of them together, so he can’t hold Harry personally responsible. He has to see it as a wider picture.

Alison: Well, and I think that’s part of the reason why Delphi is overcome so easily: She gives up. She sees that Harry is so enraged, he has help, [and] he has people who actually care about him. Harry cares about people. This father that she was trying to play against his son cares so much about his son. He asks multiple times, “Is he okay? Just tell me he’s okay. But just tell me my son is okay [and] he’s not hurt at all.” And I think she just gives up, and all her dreams have been shattered. And some of that could’ve been how it was on the stage because I don’t think that necessarily comes through this script. But she sees that she has no hope; she will never get the one thing she wanted above everything else. And these people that she’s against have that, and she’s never going to have it.

Rosie: I think she still seemed to be fighting back.

Alison: She is a little bit.

Rosie: She was just ultimately overpowered. I think her main issue is exactly the same as Voldemort’s downfall. It’s the arrogance. She considers herself to be Voldemort’s child and therefore more powerful, and that’s why at the beginning she does seem to be. But ultimately, because she has entered the scene alone and has no backup, she’s even more arrogant than Voldemort was. Voldemort had his Death Eaters, at least. Because she puts herself in the situation naively, thinking that she cannot be beaten, therefore she is beaten as soon as she’s met with a group of foes. And that’s why she is so easily overpowered, because her flaw is so fundamental that even she can’t see it.

Michael: I think the thing, too, to remember about Delphi that might be easy to forget because we’re so used to Voldemort – and she’s so tied to Voldemort through the script and unfortunately, in a way, the script dooms her to being a poor man’s Voldemort, which isn’t really her fault – is that she has emotions, and Voldemort doesn’t. So that’s another big piece to remember, because Voldemort has no emotional attachments to anything, and Delphi, for all of her talk, does have this weird, perverted, emotional attachment to Voldemort.

Alison: Definitely.

Rosie: In the same way that Bellatrix did.

Michael: Yes. So that’s a big factor that I think is the difference between those downfalls because this time, more than the first time, I felt it made a little more sense when I read her going down because I realized, too, that she was taken out by all of them. And then they Brachio-binded her and I was like,”Well, she could get out of it. It’s really easy.” [laughs] But she’s lost the will to try. And like you said, Rosie…

Rosie: I think she had lost her wand at that point as well. She was properly bound.

Michael: And I don’t know if that’s how the staging does it, but the script implies that she has magic that doesn’t necessarily require a wand.

Rosie: That’s true, yeah. Ignore me. It’s how fast I’ve forgotten everything. [laughs]

Michael: Well, no, it’s hard to say. I wasn’t sure because the script mentions that she uses bolts of magic from her hand that don’t require a wand.

Rosie: From her hands, yeah. And she’s flying at this point and all that kind of thing as well.

Michael: So that’s hard to say. But yeah, the only reason I can buy that she doesn’t do the horror movie thing where she gets up after she’s seemingly defeated and tries to strike them again is because she has just lost the will to do it. And that’s something that Voldemort wouldn’t do because Voldemort doesn’t have emotional attachments to things like that – to people – and he couldn’t be taken down emotionally, whereas Delphi obviously can. That is her downfall. Harry makes his little speech to her about being an orphan and that deflates her. So anyway, she’s gone. Wingardium Leviosa.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Then we get to the scene where I cried more than I think I’ve ever cried openly in public before in my whole life.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: We’ve come full circle from everything. Throughout this whole play we’ve had scatterings of all of Harry’s journey, and now we’re back to the very beginning. And I think… because a lot of people have said this feels like they’re really trying to just manipulate emotion? But I think it’s real emotion because it’s the first time Harry is experiencing this firsthand and he’s actually been there and he could’ve done something, but he has to make that choice not to.

Rosie: It’s so painful as an audience as well, sitting there and knowing exactly what’s going on. It’s a beautiful scene with what they actually show on stage because just like every other version of this scene that we’ve seen, we don’t actually see it happening. The movies show us more. In this scene we literally just see the characters onstage and hear what’s going on in the same way that Harry’s dreams always were the sounds of it. And we see their reactions and it’s just gutwrenching that we’re sitting there watching him not being able to do anything.

Alison: And I think some of it, too, comes from seeing these characters we’ve grown to love so much in so much pain…

Rosie: It is pain, yeah.

Alison: … because they’re great at acting like they’re in such mental torment that it’s physically painful. It hurts a lot.

Rosie: And it’s the amount of them that are supporting Harry in that moment. Harry has completely crumbled and they’re all surrounding him and trying to be there for him and help him. And I’m literally lost for words just remembering it.

Alison: And I love, too, that Albus reacts. Albus is scared. And this is another thing that the stage directions I don’t think quite got because he’s trying to comfort Harry, but he is also scared himself. And so Harry is in so much pain but is also trying to comfort his son. And so you get this back and forth that they’re so connected, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

Rosie: And that’s the first time in the play that they have been connected as well.

Alison: And you get the line where Harry says, “I can see my mom in the window,” and it’s just like… I lost it. I’m going to lose it right now.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Alison: Anyway, let’s move on then.

Rosie: You can hear it in our voices, can’t you?

[Alison laughs]

Michael: This scene is another debated one for me because I do believe it’s manipulative, but at the same time it seems…

Rosie: All of these scenes are manipulative. What’s the problem with it being manipulative?

Michael: No.

Rosie: Plays are there for the emotion.

Michael: Yes.

Rosie: You wouldn’t want this scene without it making us feel this bad.

Michael: No, I think there’s another way to achieve that emotion without rehashing something we’ve already seen.

Alison and Rosie: But we haven’t.

Rosie: We don’t see what we’ve already seen. We see the characters reacting to seeing something that they have never seen.

Michael: Okay, hold on. Wait, wait, wait. Let me finish, please. Because I do want to say why I feel…

Rosie: Go ahead. Sorry.

Michael: I just think that’s unfair to say that it’s not manipulative because it is, and that’s okay for any play to do. I think yes, you can reach, but manipulative in the sense that it’s banking on knowing that you’re going to be upset about this already because we are already upset about this. This is something that while Harry hasn’t confronted [it] literally looking at it, he’s pretty much done that in every other way. He has relived. He has heard his mother screaming. He has heard his father pleading. He has heard and seen almost all of this, except he saw it through Voldemort, the lead up to it.

Rosie: But this is the first time he had the potential to actually change it and doesn’t. In the same way that Draco could have gone back to have that one minute more with Astoria, this is the same.

Michael: I understand Harry as someone who already wouldn’t do that. The only thing that’s important to me about this moment is what you ladies said, which is the connection between Harry and Albus, which I’ve been waiting for this play to deal with a little more directly. Rosie, we even talked about this when we were reflecting on the alternate timeline with Scorpius, and there was that discussion [about how] maybe Albus should have been a part of that timeline somehow because there [are] interactions that would have been valuable to his character development that go to Scorpius and that ultimately don’t reward Albus in a way that they should for his relationship with Harry. This moment for that is important because yes, this does for me, seal Albus’s understanding of Harry’s pain. In a way, at the same time, I could still see the value in the characters – because they know they can’t change anything – making the active decision to leave before they have to watch it, and in that same way, not necessarily while suffering through the pain of watching it but understanding that there’s nothing that they can do and that they need to move on with their lives, which is something the play has been encouraging the idea of. You ladies referenced that particular line where Harry says to Draco that in revising their past, they’ve been trying to change their boys’ future.

Alison: I think some of that has to do with timing, though…

Lorrie: I would have been disappointed.

Alison: Sorry, I was just going to say, yeah.

Rosie: Yeah, to have had this buildup.

Alison: Just the way it goes, it’s almost so immediate that they see him and this all starts happening. Whereas in the script I think you have to flip a page or something, so it doesn’t feel…

Rosie: It’s a different scene.

Michael and Rosie: It’s a whole other scene.

Alison: Yeah, and so it feels like there’s more of a break than there is on stage. Because on stage, it feels like it’s almost that train wreck effect.

Rosie: It runs into it immediately.

Alison: You can’t look away and it happens right then and so it’s not like they necessarily even have that much time to make that decision. Yeah, Ginny says, “We can go, if you want,” but it’s basically happening by then. And so Harry says, “No, I’m already here. This is already happening. We’re just going to stay.”

Rosie: This is how he has to deal with it at this point. If they’re going to be there, he can’t just grab the girl and go. Because it has already started, he now has to see it through. If we’ve been talking about how he’s dealing with his PTSD and his guilt, then this is the ultimate exposure treatment. He has always had this understanding of what happened and he has always dealt with the guilt [that] they died for him, but this is the only time that he will ever be able to truly understand exactly what happened and appreciate it in the horrible, horrific way that means that he can live to be in this moment with his son.

Alison: And having them all there changes it more from “They just died for Harry” to “They died for all of us.”

Rosie: He died for all of them, yeah.

Alison: And I think that helps Harry.

Lorrie: I didn’t find this manipulative because I think it was set up properly by the play. The whole question of the play is Albus going, “Harry, why can’t you be a proper father to me in this way that I need?” And the answer is “Because this thing happened to me when I was a baby.” And it’s maybe not an excuse, but we have to look at it. And it’s hard to accept the horror of what happened to James and Lily, but Albus is upset when he witnesses Harry shying away from that horror to Amos Diggory. You have to accept that sometimes these things happen. They have happened; we can’t change them. They happened. You have to accept it. And we see the boys witnessing Cedric dying, so they understand that when they go to bear witness with Harry, Harry has to face this so that he doesn’t tell these lies that end up hurting Albus. It was Albus’s really loud objection to Harry’s lie to Amos Diggory that brought this issue out into the light, and [in] the line in the last scene, Harry says to Albus, “Delphi wasn’t going anywhere. You brought her out into the light, and you found a way for us to fight her.” This is so emotional. They got Harry to face it and to come to terms with the fact that yes, it happened. He can try to deny it. He can try to go back into the past and change it. No. The thing to do is to know that it happened and you have to accept it and you have to grieve.

Rosie: And if we keep talking about circle theories and all of that, for us to have stayed throughout that whole scene and into this next one where Hagrid comes back, we can say that full circle would have been back to the death of Lily and James, but no, full circle is finally getting to see Hagrid finding Harry and taking him to the Dursleys’. That is the very first moment in Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone. So for us to be able to see that moment… admittedly, it’s wrong and there’s no motorbike and all this stuff.

Lorrie: But it’s so beautiful.

Rosie: But for it to actually be there and for us to see it in this way, that is [the] ultimate full circle. The story has reached its fruition point, and yeah, it’s heartbreaking.

Lorrie: Yeah, it’s the eighth story for me. Does Harry Potter get a family that can understand what he went through and love him?

Rosie: Yeah, this is the only bit that makes it a Harry Potter story. The rest of it has all been…

Lorrie: Strange.

Rosie: This act is the only one that would, for me, be a Harry Potter story.

Alison: And so we round out this scene with that beautiful addition that you were just talking about of Hagrid telling Harry, “I’m going to be your friend, whether you like it or not.” [sighs] Anyway, so now that we’re all sobbing and crying our eyes out…

Michael: I’m not, but I apparently have a heart of stone.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Alison: We get back to the future or the present or whatever timeline this is in. We get back to Hogwarts. And no, I’m fine.

Rosie: Do you need a moment, Alison? [laughs]

Alison: I’m fine because we’re getting to cute, funny things now.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Alison: And Scorpius and Albus are back to being their dorky little 14-year-old best buddy selves. And Scorpius has asked out Rose, who hints that yeah, maybe someday he might get somewhere with that, which I think is nice [and] almost Hermione-ish in Half-Blood Prince-ish. Maybe a little bit. Taking it a step further. She’s more confident in that it might happen than Hermione was, I think.

Michael: I would be doing a disservice to the gay community if I did not say that this is the “no homo” scene.

Alison and Lorrie: Yes.

Lorrie: I agree.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: I was thinking about this, and this is how I came to the conclusion that I really don’t like whoever wrote the stage directions because I think it’s the stage directions that are leading, in a lot of ways, to that feeling.

Rosie: There are no stage directions.

Alison: No, sorry, the stage directions throughout. This is a side note. I had a friend who read it first and then went and saw it. And one of the first things she texted me was “The script felt a lot more gay than the play did.” And I was like, “Yeah, I got that feeling too.” So we can have that conversation later. And we had it a couple of weeks ago, a little bit. But a side note. Sorry, Michael. Continue.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: The tough thing, too, about even putting that forth is for some reason, people who aren’t gay feel that they can say, “Well, it didn’t feel gay” or “It felt gay.” And the thing is, it shouldn’t have to feel that way.

Alison: Yeah, you’re right.

Michael: It should just feel natural. And I guess that’s where my problem with the script is: It’s that their relationship feels natural. It doesn’t necessarily feel gay or straight or whatever. It just feels like love. And I feel like it would have cemented a lot of the ideas that the play puts forth if they had been a couple by the end or if they had acknowledged their feelings for each other. I mean, for goodness’ sake, they’re 14. They don’t have to stay together forever. Just because it happened for everybody in Harry’s year does not mean it has to happen for these two.

[Everyone laugh]

Rosie: But equally, Michael, they’re 14. And just because it doesn’t happen now doesn’t mean it won’t happen in a few years’ time. And I know that that’s the problem and that we want representation in the plays and we want representation in the books.

Michael: And we’ve even had comments from listeners that suggest that, and that’s great.

Rosie: I know. Yeah.

Michael: But it’s not enough.

Rosie: I think that having seen it, watching Act I, I definitely saw their relationship and thought, “Oh, that would actually be really interesting.” And I can definitely see thousands of people writing fan fic about it and all of that, as we’ve always done with the Harry Potter books. I do think Scorpius isn’t, but Albus could be. And I think that you can have the friendship between the boys without it having to be a deeper relationship. You can also have the friendship between the boys with it being that deeper relationship. And I don’t see a problem with it not being one or the other. Although, I would have liked to have seen some representation of the gay community within the Harry Potter novels. And that’s always been a running issue, but the world has changed so much as these books were coming out and so much for the better. I don’t think when the books were being written, it would have been a major thing to have had “There are gay characters in Harry Potter. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And that would have been amazing, and it would have been so good. But at the same time, it would have been a major issue, rather than “Here are some accepted characters within an accepted book.” They shouldn’t be token characters. And we can have this relationship between these two boys and potentially it being something more. Because of that gorgeous relationship that is between them, it doesn’t necessarily have to be token. And you can see it either way. You can interpret it as that relationship if you want to. And yes, he is asking out Rose, and Rose says no. There’s this hint that maybe there’s something more in the future. But that happens in high school, and it happens for gay kids, too, that they have a straight relationship first and all that. And there’s nothing to say that Scorpius and Albus would never get together in the future if they are gay or if they are bi[sexual] or are just with each other. And I think it’s important that we recognize that these characters mean so much to so many people within the books and also these new characters that can mean these things to new people. And I really don’t think there was any element of trying to withhold it and trying to say, “No, Scorpius is with Rose.” I don’t think that was the point here. I think the relationship and the chemistry between Scorpius and Albus was almost accidental, and that the plan was always going to be Scorpius to ask out Rose and it was meant to be this relationship between them two. But because Rose is so underutilized, that seems odd to us. If Rose had been a bigger character, it would seem less odd. We may still be wanting Scorpius and Albus together, and that’s absolutely fine. But because Rose is so underutilized, for that relationship to be so strongly forced on us makes that heterosexual relationship seem the one that is out of place. And that is actually, in itself, a major thing. For us to have a character who is trying to have a heterosexual relationship and for it to feel slightly strange is weirdly progress. And I know everyone is going to tell me that’s wrong and I shouldn’t be saying this and that stuff, but we wouldn’t have had this argument ten years ago. So for it to actually be at a point where it’s a potential thing that the main characters could have been is still slightly a good thing.

Michael: I don’t agree with any of that.

[Everyone laugh]

Rosie: No? That’s fine.

Michael: But it was well-reasoned. We don’t have time to go into it, unfortunately.

Rosie: I’m sure that we will have a topic episode.

Michael: We’ll have to have an episode on this topic because actually, what you said, Rosie, falls into a lot of what’s termed as “gay coding.”

Lorrie: Yep.

Rosie: Right.

Michael: And I think that’s what the issue with the play is. There’s so much more that we could talk about with this, but we’ll move on because we’ve got to get to Harry and Albus. Because that, I think, is important to touch on because I think our listeners actually are already having an excellent conversation about that. So we’ll keep that conversation going.

Alison: But we end out with actually Harry and Albus having a moment where we get a lot of really big wrapping-up things. I don’t know why this didn’t hit me before, but just rereading it, I [noticed] the line [that] Harry says he can’t just be physically rid of Voldemort; he had to be mentally rid of him, which I think is basically summing up a huge theme in this play of… Again, we’re going back to trauma. He has to confront it. He can’t just have said, “Voldemort is dead. We won. It’s fine.” And sometimes I think it makes sense that it would’ve taken this long for him to actually confront this instead of just saying, “I ended it. I can move on.” He had to recognize that in some ways, he hadn’t ended it, and then he could confront it and then he could move on.

Rosie: And I think he threw himself into finding healing straight off of the battle anyway, so it didn’t end at the point where we think it ended. It has taken this long for him to actually deal with the ramifications of what happened.

Alison: And then we just get lots of understanding, love, [and] emotion, everything [and] everywhere, all the time between the two of them. It’s actually very cute and touching. And I’m going to be controversial and say I actually think that “It’s going to be a nice day” [and] “So do I” might be a better ending… not better, necessarily, [but] a more realistic ending than “All was well” because it still leaves us with hope, but it reminds us that things aren’t perfect yet and that’s okay, and that these characters are very realistic and that they’re going to live lives. Real lives.

Rosie: I think it’s a very, very similar ending to “All was well.” It’s slightly more satisfying because of that connection and because it’s not saying that everything was fine forever. It’s saying that we’ll take it one day at a time and we now can do it together, and that relationship is healed. More realistic. Less fairy tale. More emotive. [laughs] Michael?

Michael: All right. [laughs] I do like it because it doesn’t wrap it up perfectly. I don’t think this play has taken Harry and Albus to a place where it can’t possibly be wrapped up perfectly. I don’t know how I feel as far as the play taking them to that place, but I feel that ending them in this place makes sense. For some reason, the thing I get hung up on here is that I really do hate that Harry says the thing about pigeons.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Michael: It’s such a ridiculous line, but also, I feel like there’s so much more that could be culled from Rowling’s world here that’s just not. That idea that Harry fears everything is something that’s calling back to Prisoner of Azkaban and the idea of boggarts and Dementors, and I feel like there’s something there that could’ve just somehow been used, especially because Dementors were used thematically in the stage play. Because the play has to go for these relatable lines that the casual theatergoer will understand, it has to sacrifice using more specific pieces from Potter and from Rowling’s worldbuilding to explain things or to convey things.

Rosie: I have a feeling “pigeons” is a dad joke, though. I’m not entirely sure his fear of pigeons is real.

Alison: Yeah, I feel like it was just supposed to be funny. It was just supposed to be silly. And I mean, he works in the city; of course he’s afraid of the nasty flying rats that are rude.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: The “small spaces” one resonates.

Michael: No, and I get that. And that’s what I mean, though. There’s just a little more missing in this conversation. Oddly enough, with this play just being so much about Harry’s and Albus’s relationship, again from purely reading the script, I feel like there’s not quite enough of the two of them actively being able to work together to fix that and talk about it. And again, I just picture this play in my head being more successful if it had approached a few things differently. But yeah, no, I think for what it is, it ends just fine. I think that’s the only way you really can end this story.

Alison: Well, and then with that, we go dark. Curtain call. Cast comes out. Takes bows. Applause.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Everyone is crying and emotional. Anyway, yes. Exactly. For, like, ten minutes. [laughs]

Rosie: Yep.

Michael: And I believe somebody who deserves applause is our guest, Lorrie, for joining us this week. Lorrie, thank you so much for contributing to the show.

Alison: Thank you.

Rosie: Thank you, Lorrie.

Lorrie: Thank you for having me.

Michael: And remind us before you go of your book, one more time.

Lorrie: It’s called Snape: A Definitive Reading. My name is Lorrie Kim. You can get it on Amazon. Thank you so much for having me on to talk about this play because obviously, I found it wondrous, and I really did love talking about it. Thank you.

Alison: Thank you.

Michael: Thank you, Lorrie. We really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Rosie: Thank you.

Alison: And now that we’ve finished up Cursed Child, our next topic that we’ve decided on — thanks to help from you, our listeners — is the women in Harry Potter. So that’s going to be really exciting.

Michael: Yes.

Rosie: There are so many good people to talk about.

Alison: There are so many good things to talk about.

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: So look forward to that in a couple weeks.

Rosie: And if you guys want to be on that show joining us to talk about women in Harry Potter, all you need to go and do is go to our topic submit page, suggest a topic, or just suggest yourself and what you want to say about women in Harry Potter. If you have a set of maybe Apple headphones or a microphone in your laptop, whatever you want, you’re all set. No fancy equipment needed. Just a relatively decent Internet connection.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Rosie: And about, well, a few hours spare to talk to us lovely lot. [laughs]

Alison: And if you want to just talk to us, you can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN [and] on Facebook at Our website, of course, is, and you can always send us an owl with AudioBooms on our website. Just keep them under 60 seconds, please, because then we can actually play them on the show.

Michael: And once again, we want to remind you, listeners, about our Patreon. You can sponsor us at for as low as $1 a month, and we want to thank our sponsor on this episode one more time. Aurelia Lieb, thank you so much for sponsoring this episode and allowing us to continue our discussion of Harry Potter. It’s because of you, the listeners, that we’re able to keep going with this. But for now, as Alison mentioned, we are closing the curtain on Cursed Child. But don’t worry. I’m sure there’ll be another performance soon in the future.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: But for now, I’m Michael Harle.

[Show music begins]

Alison: I’m Alison Siggard.

Rosie: And I’m Rosie Morris. I think it’s going to be a beautiful day, and thank you for listening to Episode 203 of Alohomora!

Alison: Open the Dumbledore. So do I.

[Show music continues]

Michael: And the play as a whole is a little more…

[Sound of thunder]

Michael: Ooh. Big thunder.

Lorrie: Wow. Even I heard that one.

Alison: I heard that one, yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I think as a whole….

Rosie: Yep. This is the moment where he actually realizes what the key issue is, and it’s not really about…

[Sound of thunder]

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: Punctuation. Thank you. [laughs]

Michael: That’s not a reflection of my feelings, I swear.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: It’s not really about…

[Sound of thunder]

Alison: We go back to… Oh my gosh.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Okay. Yay. The end.

[Everyone laughs]