Warning: This article contains spoilers for the new Harry Potter play. Since reading this is way cheaper than taking a plane to London and buying a theater ticket, we thought you wouldn’t mind.
If you were hoping for Harry Potter stories where Harry is less of a boy wizard and more of a middle-aged piece of shit, well, you’re in luck. The new play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child is currently being performed in London, but since the words “Harry Potter” are the cocaine to book publishers’ Tony Montana, the script was naturally also released in book form.
Arthur A. Levine Books
Harry Potter And We Need To Pay Off Our Summer Homes didn’t have the same ring to it.
Here’s the thing, though: The play totally undoes the entire fabric of the Harry Potter universe.
The story, co-conceived by Potter author (and female British equivalent of George Lucas) J.K. Rowling, centers around Time-Turners — those shiny doodads that look like they came from the bottom of a cereal box, but have the power to break the laws of physics and let a person travel through time.
For those who don’t remember, Time-Turners were first introduced in Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, in which Hermione is secretly issued one so she can go back in time to take extra classes …
… which in retrospect seems like an insanely mundane reason to time travel. It’s like if Doc Brown used the DeLorean to go back and tape an episode of Miami Vice he missed. But at least that Time-Turner was only able to go back a few hours or so. That’s not the case in the new story.
The play finds Harry Potter’s son Albus and Draco Malfoy’s son (and presumptive future Bond villain) Scorpius using an illegal Time-Turner to go back decades. Not surprisingly, their incessant time-meddling changes the present, resulting in a depressing reality wherein Voldemort is alive and Harry is dead.
So the whole thing is basically a rehash of Back To The Future Part II, stopping short of making Hogwarts a trashy Casino Hotel and giving Professor McGonagall ludicrously cartoonish breasts.
Manuel Harlan/Palace Theatre
“Expecto Pa— wait, that’s just my finger.”
To put things right, Harry and Draco travel back in time themselves. How? Draco reveals that the Time-Turner Albus and Scorpius have been using is merely a prototype for one that his douchebag Edgar-Winter-haired dad commissioned to be built.
DRACO: The Time-Turner the Ministry seized was a prototype. Made of inexpensive metal. It does the job — sure. But only being able to go back in time for five minutes — that’s a serious flaw — it isn’t something you’d sell to true collectors of Dark Magic.
HARRY realizes what DRACO is saying.
HARRY: He was working for you?
DRACO: No. My father. He liked owning things that no one else had. The Ministry’s Time-Turners — thanks to Croaker — were always a little vanilla for him. He wanted the ability to go back further than an hour, he wanted the ability to travel back years. He’d never have used it. Secretly I think he preferred a world without Voldemort. But yes, the Time-Turner was built for him.
Yup, apparently wizards can just commission pocket-sized time machines. So the real question is: Why weren’t these things being used all of the goddamn time? Sure, maybe the good guys consider it immoral and dangerous, but why the hell wouldn’t the villains constantly screw with the past? Maybe, say, by going back to rectify one of the many times their ghoulish minions were embarrassingly bested by a group of schoolchildren?
And why would Voldemort need to go to the trouble of making Horcruxes if he could simply pop back in time whenever things didn’t go his way? Doesn’t tearing your soul apart and cramming it into a bunch of random objects seem like a colossal waste of time?
Time travel is such a potential narrative clusterfuck that Rowling wrote a post on her website about how messy and story-ruining it can be.
J. K. Rowling
We’re still waiting for her to write about how exactly the postal service is worse than a system that leaves owl shit everywhere.
The post has since been deleted, paving way for this new play, which has more time travel per page than the Doctor Who/Terminator erotic fan fiction that we’re guessing exists somewhere.
Even putting aside the fact that this story retroactively makes the villains dumb as hell, it also introduces the possibility that at any time in the future, some evil wizard could possibly go back and undo all of Harry’s heroic victories. Hell, these dumbass kids did exactly that, and they weren’t even trying.
Congrats. You’re a “meddling kids” comment away from being Scooby-Doo villains.
And even aside from the universe-shattering implications of time travel, the play goes to some pretty fucked-up places. Harry uses his cherished Marauder’s Map to spy on his son, Albus makes out with his Aunt Hermione, and in the play’s biggest twist, it turns out that Voldemort had a daughter with Bellatrix Lestrange. Yup, we almost went the whole franchise without answering the question of whether Voldemort had a dick.
What’s that magic potion that erases your memory? We’ll take all of that, please.
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