Lord Voldemort may have been the ultimate Big Bad in the Harry Potter series, but throughout The Boy Who Lived’s time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, there was no bigger git than Draco Malfoy. Harry’s contempt for Draco was palpable from their very first encounter in Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions. The Lion and the Serpent would come to blows numerous times over the next seven years, culminating in their fiery showdown in the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
However, Draco’s reluctance to kill Albus Dumbledore — and his unwillingness to confirm the identities of Harry, Ron, and Hermione in Malfoy Manor — proved that there was still some good left in the young Death Eater. In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the official eighth story in the Harry Potter saga, Draco finds redemption in the form of his delightful son, Scorpius. He’s still not an incredibly warm person, but it’s clear Draco loves his son — and he’d do anything for Scorpius.
“I got his nose, his hair, and his name,” Scorpius says about his father in the two-part production. “Not that that’s a great thing. I mean, father-son issues — I have them.”
I adore Scorpius Malfoy, a character created by J.K. Rowling in the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and written so tenderly by Jack Thorne in Cursed Child. He’s socially awkward, yet brilliant; fiercely loyal, yet gentle. More than anything, he just wants to have one true friend. Oh, and he has a tendency to sporadically burst into song. He’s quite literally too pure and too bright for this world. (Who knew the Malfoys were even capable of producing someone so warm and kind?)
In Cursed Child, Scorpius and his best friend and fellow Slytherin, Albus Severus Potter, struggle to live in their fathers’ shadows. While Albus is constantly being measured against his father, The Boy Who Lived, and his many accomplishments, Scorpius is plagued by vicious rumors that his true father is not Draco, but rather the Dark Lord himself. It’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship, one that becomes the backbone of the entire story.
It’s rare to see a male friendship depicted so tenderly on the page, and yet, Thorne has a certain finesse for it. Thorne, whose credits include Skins, This Is England, and The Scouting Book for Boys, is known for writing affecting young characters coming of age in complicated and confusing circumstances. Albus and Scorpius never shy away from their feelings. In fact, they embrace them; more importantly, they talk about them. In one of the most powerful moments in the script, Scorpius calls Albus out for being so self-involved in his own pain that he doesn't even notice Scorpius’s.
That’s exactly what makes a character like Scorpius so important: He subverts the idea of traditional masculinity. The patriarchy tells young boys that to be strong you must be tough, and being tough means not showing your emotions. But Cursed Child doesn’t make Scorpius and Albus exist within that narrow view of gender identity. Instead, it allows its young heroes to be vulnerable, especially Scorpius — and treats it as one of his greatest strengths.
There are many reasons to adore Scorpius. He’s a self-described geek who loves books almost as much as he loves Albus. He’s hopeless around girls, especially Rose Granger-Weasley. Not to mention, he’s funny, charming, and altogether delightful. But what makes him one of the truly great additions to the Harry Potter canon is his heart.
He’s our eternal optimist, the character who gets dealt a devastating blow and yet picks himself up to devote himself to his friend and his needs. He’s the guy who keeps trying, no matter how many times he’s failed. He refuses to sacrifice his morals for personal gain. He’s hope and goodness personified. The most central theme in the Harry Potter series is love — and no one loves more than Scorpius. He opens his heart to those around him and expects nothing in return.
Perhaps Dumbledore was right; Hogwarts does Sort too soon.