Warning: This post contains spoilers for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
The real star of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the new play by Jack Thorne based on a story by himself, J.K. Rowling and John Tiffany, is not the boy who lived, but the boy who lived to loathe him. Harry’s son Albus takes center stage as the Hogwarts misfit who resents his father’s fame, plotting to undo one of Harry’s mistakes and making a huge mistake of his own in the process. He’s joined by new faces—most notably Scorpius Malfoy, son of Draco, and Delphie, daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange—but the script also features a wide range of heroes, villains and lovable bit players from the original book series. Here are a few of the most endearing, upsetting and surprising cameos in the eighth story:
- The Dursleys. It’s a surprise to learn that Harry apparently has a reasonably warm adult relationship with his cousin. When he shows Albus his baby blanket, he says, “I thought it had gone forever and then, when your great-aunt Petunia died, hidden among her possessions, surprisingly, Dudley found this and he kindly sent it to me.” This also means Petunia did have at least a soft enough spot in her heart for Harry and/or Lily to keep the blanket for all those years. We also get a dream-sequence flashback to Harry and Petunia at his parents’ grave, though he says that never actually happened.
- The Trolley Witch. The sweet old lady who sells sweets to children on the Hogwarts Express turns out to be tougher than she looks. When Albus and Scorpius try to escape the train, she reveals that she can weaponize her Pumpkin Pasties and Chocolate Frogs to keep passengers in their place. She can even transfigure her hands into sharp spikes—but Albus and Scorpius still manage to get away.
- Madam Hooch. Harry’s old flying instructor is still at Hogwarts, but she has no love for Albus, who has not inherited his father’s skill with a broomstick.
- Theodore Nott. Harry’s bright but seldom-seen Slytherin peer (the son of a Death Eater) is taken into custody at the beginning of Cursed Child for possessing the contraband Time-Turner.
- Neville Longbottom. The hero of the Battle of Hogwarts is mentioned but not seen in Cursed Child; he’s now a professor at Hogwarts.
- Bane. Harry once again needs help from the centaur as he searches for his son in the Forbidden Forest.
- Ludo Bagman. With the Tournament comes Bagman, the self-proclaimed “greatest showman on earth,” who served as the announcer at the games, thanks to his position as the Ministry’s head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports. The character was not in the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, so it was fun to revisit the entertainingly pompous personality.
- Moaning Myrtle. Everyone’s favorite teen ghost is back and as boy-crazy as ever, mooning over Harry, Albus and Draco alike. The play also confirms her full name, previously announced by J.K. Rowling: Myrtle Elizabeth Warren.
- Dolores Umbridge. In one alternate reality created by the Time-Turner, the terrifying former Defense Against the Dark Arts professor is serving as Headmistress of Hogwarts.
- Snape and his Patronus. The Potions professor also appears in this alternate reality and quickly agrees to help Scorpius when he learns what’s going on. He conjures Lily’s white doe Patronus in a scene that’s a bit sappy, even for the character who launched a million “Always” GIFs.
- Dumbledore. The Wizarding World’s favorite Hogwarts headmaster is back! Well, sort of. Dumbledore appears in an animated portrait, giving Harry counsel as he deals with his troubled relationship with his son, though Professor McGonagall reminds Harry “to not mistake the painting for the person.” Still, his words of advice here—”Those that we love never truly leave us”—recalls his quote in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: “You think the dead we love ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble?”
- Euphemia Rowle. The Rowle family are an old pure-blood clan in the Wizarding World, and Thorfinn Rowle was a notable Death Eater. It’s unclear how Euphemia Rowle is related to him (sister? wife? cousin?) but in Cursed Child we learn she was Delphi’s guardian. While her name doesn’t appear in the books, Insider points out that it does appear in a piece of fan fiction—oddly appropriate considering that Cursed Child itself has all the twists, turns, inside-jokes, callbacks and satisfying conclusions of a work of fan fiction itself.
- Bathilda Bagshot. Albus and Scorpius spot Dumbledore’s old neighbor in Godric’s Hollow, where Scorpius nerds out over sighting the author of A History of Magic.