On the eve of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s release, I did what any good Muggle would do: I went to a midnight launch party, drank two mugs of alcoholic butterbeer, applied a lightning bolt flash tat to my wrist, and stayed up all night to read the official eighth story in the Harry Potter saga. (From start to finish, the entire thing was an emotional experience, surely heightened by the fact that I was reading it at 4 a.m.)
The play, written by Jack Thorne and based on a story from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and director John Tiffany, picks up 19 years after the end of the Second Wizarding War and follows Harry’s young son, Albus Severus Potter, through his Hogwarts years. Sure, Cursed Child is not without its problems, but for the most part, it’s emotionally engaging, deeply cathartic, and, well, magical. Plus, it gives us Scorpius Malfoy, a character so delightfully earnest he’s already become a fan favorite among Potterheads.
I’m also not ashamed to admit that it also made me cry. A lot. Happy tears. Sad tears. Tears of contentment. Tears of utter devastation. Admittedly, it does not take much to make me cry. (For example, this McDonald’s commercial makes me cry every time I see it.) But I digress. I grew up with Harry Potter — I was 17 when The Deathly Hallows was released — so I knew Cursed Child would be a Major Life Event™. Little did I know just how much I would be affected by Thorne’s sweet story. Here, in no particular order, are the moments that made me cry all of the tears.
Platform 9¾Manuel Harlan/HarryPotterThePlay.com
The very first scene is brief, but one moment in particular made me dissolve into a mushy puddle of feelings: When Harry, Ginny, and their three children — James, Albus, and Lily — reach Platform 9¾, Harry gives Albus the same advice Mrs. Weasley gave him all those years ago: “Best to do it at a run if you’re nervous.”
Since I had been stalking Tumblr looking for Cursed Child spoilers ahead of the script’s release, I was already aware that Scorpius was going to have a significant emotional impact on me, a 26-year-old professional fangirl. “I mean — father-son issues, I have them,” Scorpius tells Albus during their first conversation on the Hogwarts Express. It’s a simple statement, but it was one that only Albus could relate to. Not to mention Scorpius was wonderfully awkward, and I personally loved that they, like Harry and Ron before them, bonded over wizarding sweets.
The SortingCHARLIE GRAY/POTTERMORE
Albus’s sorting does not go as I had expected it to, and looking back, that’s what makes it so special. Not only is Albus’s sorting into Slytherin the first real shock of the play — I 100 percent literally gasped when I read it — but it also kicks off a series of moments that showed us how different Albus is from his father.
The Minister For MagicManuel Harlan/HarryPotterThePlay.com
It was obvious that Hermione Granger, the smartest and brightest witch of her age, would go on to do incredible things in the wizarding world, but when Thorne oh-so-subtly drops that Hermione had become Minister For Magic, I clutched my book to my chest and instantly teared up (which, incidentally, was the same reaction I had when Ron and Hermione finally kissed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). Hermione always was a stickler for justice. YOU GO GIRL.
Fathers & Sons, Sons & FathersManuel Harlan/HarryPotterThePlay.com
No moment ripped my heart out quite like the confrontation between Harry and Albus in Act 1. It was bad enough that Albus tells Harry, “I wish you weren’t my dad!” But when Harry daftly responds, “Well, there are times I wish you weren’t my son,” it’s devastating. How could you, Harry?!
Scorbus RisingManuel Harlan/HarryPotterThePlay.com
Cursed Child may have Harry’s name in the title, but this is very much Albus and Scorpius’s story. Their friendship is the play’s heart and soul, as evidenced by this line from Scorp: “All I ever wanted to do was go to Hogwarts and have a mate to get up to mayhem with. Just like Harry Potter. And I got his son. How crazily fortunate is that.” (If you need me, I’ll be crying while scrolling through Scorbus fan art on Tumblr. DON’T MIND ME.)
Best Friends ForeverManuel Harlan/HarryPotterThePlay.com
Speaking of, my other favorite Scorbus moment happens when Albus and Scorpius go back in time to Godric’s Hollow on the eve of Voldemort’s tragic visit, and Scorp drops this line: “If I had to choose a companion to be at the return of eternal darkness with, I’d choose you.” I. Have. So. Many. Feelings.
While reading Cursed Child, I began to empathize with middle-aged Draco. All those years at Hogwarts, he was completely alone. It wasn’t Harry’s fame and attention he was jealous of; it was his friends. “You — the three of you — you shone, you know?” Draco tells Harry. “You liked each other. You had fun. I envied those friendships more than anything else ... And being alone — that’s so hard. I was alone. And it sent me to a truly dark place. For a long time.” Damn, Draco. We knew you were going through it in The Half-Blood Prince, but this reveal is next-level heartbreaking.
Dumbledore's Wise WordsManuel Harlan/HarryPotterThePlay.com
Leave it to Dumbledore’s portrait to still make me cry after all these years. (It’s even more impressive when you consider the fact that Dumbledore has been dead for 20 years.) “Those that we love never truly leave us, Harry,” he said. “There are things that death cannot touch. Paint ... and memory ... and love.” He loved you too, Dumbledore!!! Sob.