LONDON — The eighth installment in the Harry Potter series is being presented as a play in London’s West End. The unprecedented demand for tickets has left tens of thousands of Potter fans disappointed.
J.K. Rowling asked the lucky few who will be able to see the show in all its glory to keep the plot of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child secret at least until it is published as a script at the end of July.
It always seemed an unlikely ambition but all of the main plot points were already being discussed on the internet after the very first night of previews, which began in London this week. Posts on Reddit, Tumblr, and Twitter gave away all of the secrets by Friday. If you are going to see the play or intend to wait until the play is published before finding out what happened next in the Wizarding World—please do not read on.
The Daily Beast was at the spectacular Part I & II previews on June 7 and June 9.
It is possible that the plot will evolve during the weeks of previews before the official opening night on July 30, but if you can’t wait until then, this is what happens:
Harry and Ginny are on Kings Cross platform 9 3/4 to see their youngest son, Albus Severus Potter, off to Hogwarts for the first time. Ron and Hermione are also on the platform to see their daughter, Rose, off to school. She can’t wait to board the train. She’s gregarious and quick to laugh—so much more confident than the nervous Albus.
As the train pulls out, Rose reminds Albus that their parents met on the Hogwarts Express so they’d better make a careful choice about where to sit. Much to Rose’s irritation, Albus elects to sit in a carriage with another introspective first-year student. This blond boy introduces himself as Scorpius Malfoy, son of Draco. Despite the kids’ open discussion that his real father could be Voldemort, Albus decides to stay.
When they arrive at school, where Professor McGonagall is headmistress, Rose Granger-Weasley is sorted into Griffindor—of course. Scorpius Malfoy into Slytherin—of course. Next up is Albus Potter: Slytherin! But magic doesn’t come naturally to Albus, nor does making friends.
At the start of his second year at Hogwarts, Harry suggests he tries to make a few more friends. Albus says he doesn’t need any more mates—he has Scorpius, his best friend.
By the start of the second year, Rose is already a brilliant, popular Quidditch chaser. She and Albus are barely on speaking terms. Scorpius seems to like Rose, but she teases and ignores him.
Draco asks Harry to use his position as Head of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic to shut down gossip that a Time-Turner was used to allow Voldemort to impregnate Astoria, Draco’s wife, who gave birth to Scorpius.
He asks for a statement to be released confirming the Time-Turners have all been destroyed, because his son has such a hard time being bullied about it.
A year later, Theodore Nott, one of Draco’s old Slytherin colleagues, is arrested and discovered to have in his possession an illegal Time-Turner—they do still exist.
Hermione, the Minister of Magic, tells Harry he needs to get on top of his paperwork as he hasn’t been tracking giants, werewolves, and trolls, who all seem to be on the move. Harry is still a great wizard but he just can’t bring himself to study the files.
Albus and his father are enduring a difficult relationship. The boy listens in as Amos Diggory demands Harry uses the seized Time-Turner to go back in time to the Triwizard tournament and save his boy, Cedric, who was killed on the orders of Voldemort after winning the event.
Harry denies that he has a Time-Turner. Amos’s niece Delphie gets talking to Albus, as they both listen in from the stairs. Albus is intrigued by this older girl with silver and blue hair and she suggests he visits them at the nursing home where she cares for her uncle.
Worried that Albus is isolating himself at school, Harry gives him a gift of his mother’s blanket, which means a lot to him but doesn’t impress Albus. They have an mighty row. Harry says he sometimes wishes Albus wasn’t his son. Albus throws the blanket down on his bed, where it knocks over a bottle of love potion given to him by Ron.
Back on the train to Hogwarts, Albus hugs Scorpius and tells him they need to go back in time and save Cedric. They jump from the moving train.
Hermione calls a general meeting because Harry’s scar is hurting for the first time in nearly a quarter century and Voldemort’s allies are on the move. Draco claims Harry Potter just wants his face in the paper again.
Albus turns up at the nursing home with Scorpius and offers to help the Diggorys because there’s so much blood on his father’s hands. If Cedric hadn’t won the Triwizard tournament 26 years earlier, he wouldn’t have been killed. So they decide they need to stop him winning. Their first task is to prevent him getting the golden egg from the dragons.
Albus, Scorpius, and Delphie sneak into the Ministry of Magic and steal the Time-Turner.
Albus and Scorpius resolve to go back in Durmstrang robes. Delphie gives Albus a good-luck kiss, which makes him blush.
Albus and Scorpius succeed in getting back to the Triwizard tournament and sabotaging Cedric in the first round by casting a spell to snatch his wand.
Meanwhile, their parents are terrified and searching for the missing boys. Bane, the centaur, tells Harry that he has seen Albus in the movement of the stars. He says there is a dangerous dark cloud around him.
Harry and Draco finally discover the boys outside Hogwarts when they are suddenly transported back to the present without warning. It seems the Time-Turner has a five-minute limit and Albus has suffered a nasty arm break while being snapped back through time.
Harry is sitting at his son’s bedside, and Dumbledore appears in the picture frame above his bed. He tells Harry he must see Albus for what he is—he’s become blinded by his love—and doesn’t see what is wounding him.
Harry concludes that it must be someone—not something—wounding his son. He asks Albus if Scorpius encouraged him to run away? Then says there’s a reason to believe black magic is in the ascendency and Albus must never speak to his best friend Scorpius again. He’ll use a Marauder’s Map to make sure Albus and Scorpius stay apart.
When Albus wakes, it begins to become clear that things have changed. Ron is married to Padma Patil, Hermione is a teacher at Hogwarts, and Albus is in Gryffindor, although he still doesn’t get on with his father.
They decide to go back again, to try and fix it.
Harry realizes he was wrong to keep the kids apart and goes back to find them with Ginny and Draco. They arrive just after Albus and Scorpius have used Moaning Myrtle’s help and the Time-Turner to get back to the lake during the Triwizard tournament.
The boys use an engorgement spell on Cedric that makes him float out of the Black Lake, ruining his chances in the second task in the Triwizard tournament.
Scorpius emerges triumphant from the water back in the present day. But he looks around and there’s no sign of Albus. Professor Umbridge tells him to get out of the lake—she is now the headmistress of Hogwarts. She says he can’t get away with breaking the rules just because he’s from an important family.
Umbridge tells Scorpius there is no such student as Albus Potter, there hasn’t been a Potter at Hogwarts since Harry Potter was killed during a failed coup on the school at the Battle of Hogwarts. She tells him to get back to school or he’s going to ruin Voldemort Day.
A new Hogwarts symbol hangs above the school.
The headmistress calls in Scorpius to say that he seems to be behaving differently. He had been an athletic Quidditch star who caught all the snake charms, and helped make the school a safer and purer place by rooting out the dilettante students.
Every conversation in this alternate reality ends by people crossing their wrists and saying: For Voldemort and valor.
Every girl at Hogwarts is hoping Scorpius—known as the Scorpion King—will ask them to the Blood Ball. The other kids do his homework.
We hear Mudbloods screaming in the dungeons—which was apparently Scorpius’s idea.
Draco is the head of Magical Law Enforcement. Scorpius says he’s appalled by what’s happening: Three wizards were caught blowing up bridges to see how many Muggles they could kill with one blast, there are Mudblood death camps, there’s torture and the burning alive of people that oppose the wizards.
Scorpius tells Draco that his mother had always said Drace was a better man than he seemed. Draco said there is more of his mother in Scorpius—she always emphasized the light side. He seems to respect this in his son.
Scorpius goes to Severus Snape—who is still alive in this reality—and asks for help. At first Snape denies that he was once an undercover agent working for Dumbledore, until Scorpius shares so many details that could have been known by no one in this reality. He tells him that Harry named his son Albus Severus Potter.
Scorpius explains there was another world where Harry Potter was alive and Voldemort was dead.
Snape lets him into a secret room where Hermione and Ron are in hiding. Hermione is the most wanted wizard in the world. They are stunned to hear that in the alternate reality they are happily married, and Hermione is Minister for Magic. Snape realizes that he must be dead in the other world.
Hermione and Ron can’t safely go outside without the Dementors getting them, but they are willing to take that risk in order to restore the other reality.
They use the Time-Turner to go back to the Triwizard tournament and Hermione prevents Albus from casting his first spell on Cedric Diggory.
Just as Albus was injured by his first use of the Time-Turner, Ron suffers a leg injury. As soon as they return to the present, Dementors descend on them. Hermione says she will stay and face them while the others run. Ron refuses to go and the two of them are enveloped by the Dementors, who suck out their souls and carry their bodies away.
Snape and Scorpius escape but are soon confronted by Professor Umbridge. She says they were seen with Hermione. They are cornered—so Snape kills her.
The Dementors descend again. This time Snape allows himself to be destroyed so that Scorpius can escape. He goes back to fix the other spell.
Cut back to the present and Scorpius emerges from the lake—followed by Albus. Scorpius is ecstatic but Albus has no idea what he’s talking about.
Harry, Ginny, Draco and Professor McGonagall arrive. They are both alive, but now they are in big trouble.
McGonagall says bravery does not forgive stupidity—they should be expelled but it might be safer for them to stay in her care. She gives the boys detention for the rest of the year and bans them from Hogsmeade.
Scorpius says he has lost the Time-Turner.
Harry is furious with Albus, says he didn’t go looking for adventures—he was forced to act when he was a schoolboy. But he apologizes for thinking the worst of Scorpius.
Harry has a nightmare in which he sees Voldemort snatching Albus away. He believes his son is still in danger.
Albus and Scorpius are sitting up in their beds chatting about what a star Scorpius was in the alternate reality. It’s given him far more confidence in the current world. He even tried to hug Rose, although she kicked him in the shin. Albus says he is delighted to be friends with this version of Scorpius.
Scorpius reaches under his pillow and produces the Time-Turner. He says they can’t trust the Ministry to destroy it, they must do it themselves. So they sneak out of the dorm to go and disable the dangerous device.
Alarmed by the dream, Harry and Ginny rush to Hogwarts only to find the boys’ beds are empty.
While the boys debate which spell to use, Delphie arrives. Albus has sent her an owl. He wants to apologize—they will no longer be able to go back to save Cedric. They explain they had created an alternative universe in which Cedric’s Triwizard humiliation turned him into an angry young man, who became a Death Eater and eventually killed Neville Longbottom, helping to usher in an era of the Dark Lord.
Delphie is excited by the drama and explains that Cedric would understand, she says they should destroy the Time-Turner together and explain to her uncle why Cedric would not be saved.
Albus hands her the Time-Turner.
They notice a black tattoo of a bird inked onto her back. Delphie says it’s an Augury, which reminded her of her childhood as an orphan when she was raised by the Rowle family.
Scorpius points out that the Rowles are an extreme Death Eater family. He suddenly tells Delphie to stay away—and threatens to cast a spell on her.
She pulls out a wand and binds them together, before snapping their wands.
Delphie says she is the answer this world has been looking for and leads them away.
The adults are trying to figure out how to find the boys when Ron comes in. He tells Harry he saw Albus with an older girlfriend last night with silver hair. Harry says he must mean Delphie Diggory, Amos’s niece.
They go to see Amos and demand to know where his niece and Albus are, and how they are plotting to save Cedric this time.
“I don’t have a niece,” says Amos.
So who is she?
Delphie is now telling Albus and Scorpius that she wants to travel back in time to rebirth the dark; she wants a world of pure magic. She says Voldemort is the one true ruler of the Wizarding World.
Delphie tells Albus he is going back to the maze task at the Triwizard tournament, where he must stop Cedric winning—and humiliate him thoroughly, to ensure he becomes that angry young man again. She says she wants him to fly out of that maze naked on a broom of purple feathers.
Dephie says Albus must be the one to interfere in time because the prophecy says an unseen child will act. Albus refuses but she threatens to kill Scorpius, his only friend. Craig, another student from Hogwarts, rushes up to say the whole school is looking for them. Delphie kills him instantly.
She says Albus’s weakness is the same as his father’s. It’s not pride, or the need to impress his father—it’s friendship.
Delphie says Voldemort will return and the Augury will sit at his side as it was prophecized.
She takes them back in time, but Albus and Scorpius refuse to co-operate. As Delphie screams and raises her wand to kill Scorpius, she is struck from behind.
It’s Cedric Diggory.
He thinks this is part of the Triwizard task. Albus tells him to free them, which he does before returning to the challenge.
Then Delphie staggers to her feet and picks up the Time-Turner—Albus and Scorpius rush toward her and grab the device. They race through time once again, but once they arrive Delphie destroys the Time-Turner and flies away.
The boys don’t even know what year they are in.
The adults race to Delphie’s room to try to discover who she is. In the room, concealed by a Parseltongue code, are more details of the prophesy—including the claim that she will bring her father back.
This can only mean one thing: Voldemort had a daughter!
At another general meeting, Professor McGonagall is furious at Hermione for keeping the Time-Turner, and furious that Harry’s son gave it to Delphie. Draco stands up to defend them.
Harry tells the meeting there is nothing any of them can do now; they must wait and see if the witch succeeds in bringing the Dark Lord back from the dead.
It’s up to the boys now.
Albus and Scorpius discover that have been transported to October 30, 1981—the day before Harry Potter’s parents were killed by Voldemort. If Delphie stops Voldemort from accidentally putting part of their soul into Harry—with a rebounded curse—he can’t be defeated.
They rush to Godric’s Hollow to try and intercept Delphie before she kills Harry in a bid to save Voldemort.
Back in the present, Harry is weeping in his office, and Draco comes in. He reminds him that he is Head of Magical Law Enforcement in the alternative reality, and jokes that maybe he will be again soon.
He reveals that Theodore Nott’s Time-Turner was simply a prototype for one Nott was building for Draco’s father. He produces the perfected Time-Turner from his pocket—this one has a golden finish and doesn’t suffer from the five-minute limit.
He says it’s exceptionally lonely being Draco Malfoy and says he kept the Time-Turner secret because he didn’t want to fuel the rumors that Scorpius was Voldemort’s son.
Draco is keen to use the Time-Turner to go searching for their sons but Harry says it’s futile. They have no idea where or when they are.
Albus is coming to the same realization; he needs to somehow send a message about where they are to his father in the future. But how can they do it? He sees his grandmother tucking Harry in with his blanket—the same blanket that Harry would later give to Albus.
He knows his father still loves that blanket. They can’t write on it, because he will read the message too soon and ruin time again.
But Albus remembers that the love potion is spilled on the blanket just before he went back to Hogwarts—if they can find a chemical that will react with that potion, it will react and spell out a message at just the right time. His father will seek out the blanket again on All Hallows Eve and see their cry for help.
The boys break into Bathilda Bagshot’s house and steal the ingredients they need.
As All Hallows Eve arrives in the present, Harry and Ginny are in mournful mood. Harry says he wishes he had died. Dumbledore was right. He picks up his cherished blanket, and sees that something has appeared on it.
It’s hard to decipher but he sees the date—31/10/81. It’s a message!
Harry, Ginny, Draco, Ron, and Hermione head back to Godric’s Hollow 1981 to help the boys. Albus and Scorpius explain that Delphie is coming to kill Harry. They hide in the church where they can look out for her without being seen.
Ginny realizes Delphie wouldn’t have come to this date to kill Harry. She must be waiting to stop Voldemort trying to kill Harry, otherwise she could have killed Harry when he was even younger. Hermione agrees.
Harry volunteers to transfigure into Voldemort and lead Delphie into a trap. The others will wait in the church behind the large wooden doors and he will lure her inside.
Delphie finally appears and Harry, as Voldemort, pretends not to know who she is. She explains that she is the child of an affair between Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange
He says together they could become an unstoppable force together, but the transfiguration begins to fade. She sees that is Harry, and claims she has studied him and knows him better than her father did. She locks the doors to prevent the others jumping out to help.
Without a wand, he is forced to hide beneath a church pew as she is attacking him.
Delphie lifts the pew into the air to reveal Harry lying prostrate on the floor. Just as he is about to be murdered, Albus pops up through a hatch in the floor and throws a wand to his father.
Together they are able to overpower Delphie.
Albus was the only one small enough to crawl through a grate beneath the floor.
The young wizard wants to kill her in an act of vengeance for Craig, but Harry and the others insist she must be imprisoned at Azkaban.
The sound of snakes is heard and the real Voldemort appears. They hide as he walks toward the Potter home. Harry knows he cannot intervene to save his parents because he would meddle with time once again.
Together they all watch as Harry’s parents are murdered. Harry collapses to the floor in tears.
Back in the present. Scorpius is saying to Albus: I can’t believe I did that! I asked out Rose Granger-Weasley. After a pitying glance, she eventually accepts his invitation.
Harry promises Albus he’ll be a better dad. He confesses that he’s not such a perfect figure. Says he’s afraid of the dark, small spaces... and pigeons.
Most of all he’s scared of being a dad. He has no role model so he says he’s doing his best.
Albus asks if he is like his dad, rather than his confident big brother, James. Harry replies that he’s more like his mother.
Harry tells his son that he shouldn’t be weighed down by his name because Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape were great men, but they were also flawed. It was those flaws that made them even greater.