Welcome to this week’s installment of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This week, Harry and Albus share a heartbreaking moment and Harry has a terrifying dream that may have much bigger consequences.
Scene 7 – Harry & Ginny Potter’s House, Albus’s Room
We’ve seen in previous scenes how isolated Albus has become, especially in regards to his own family. This scene begins with what appears to be the Potters getting ready to head off for Albus’s fourth year at Hogwarts. There is a great deal of commotion, but Albus stays tucked in his room, ignoring it all. James is bellowing across the hall (his hair has turned pink?), Lily is trying to convince her mother to let her take fairy wings to school (“They’re fluttery!”), Ginny is trying her darnedest to get rooms cleaned and trunks packed. Harry stops in Albus’s room.
HARRY: Just delivering a pre-Hogwarts gift – gifts – Ron’s sent this . . .
ALBUS: Okay. A love potion. Okay.
HARRY: I think it’s a joke about – I don’t know what. Lily got farting gnomes, James got a comb that’s made his hair turn a shade of pink. Ron – well, Ron’s Ron, you know?
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Oh Ron, don’t ever change! I guess Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes is still in business!
You can tell that Harry is struggling with something and he eventually pulls out his gift to Albus for the year – and it’s one of the most heart wrenching things I think I’ve ever seen.
ALBUS: An old blanket?
HARRY: I thought a lot about what to give you this year. James – well, James has been going on about the Invisibility Cloak since time itself, and Lily – I knew she’d love wings – but you. You’re fourteen years old now, Albus, and I wanted to give you something which – meant something. This . . . is the last thing I had from my mum. The only thing. I was given to the Dursleys wrapped in it. I thought it had gone forever and then, when your great-aunt Petunia died, hidden amongst her possessions, surprisingly, Dudley found this and he kindly sent it on to me, and ever since then – well, anytime I’ve wanted luck I’ve found it and just tried to hold it and I wondered if you . . .
The blanket. The blanket from the beginning of Sorcerer’s Stone that Baby Harry was wrapped in when Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Hagrid left him on the Dursleys’ doorstep all those years ago. The only thing left of the parents that had loved him, that had gone with him that horrible night.
I can’t believe they kept it. It doesn’t seem in character for them at all. Harry speculates that Petunia must have wanted him to have it, even after everything that happened. Also, I guess we now know that Petunia is no longer living, although Dudley is (which would make sense, since he’s Harry’s age). No word on Vernon yet.
Albus, being 14 and a bit of a prat, doesn’t see this gift as meaningfully as Harry does. Harry mentions that he would like to be with Albus, holding the blanket on Halloween night, the night his parents died, to honor them. He believes that his mother would have wanted Albus to have the blanket. Instead, Albus sees this as another affront. James got a cool gift, Lily got a cool gift, and all he got was a blanket. He tries to brush Harry off, but Harry is really trying to reach out and connect with his son. He instead offers to help pack because he always loved packing for Hogwarts.
ALBUS: For you, it’s the greatest place on earth. I know. The poor orphan, bullied by his uncle and aunt Dursley . . .
HARRY: Albus, please – can we just –
ALBUS: . . . traumatized by his cousin, Dudley, saved by Hogwarts. I know it all, Dad. Blah, blah, blah.
Clearly Harry Potter’s origin story isn’t as exciting when you’re his kid. Or when you’ve heard it a million times.
Harry is trying to keep his temper, he really is, but Albus knows just how to get under his skin. Albus taunts him, making light of this gift, and finally it’s too much.
HARRY: (finally losing his temper): You know what? I’m done with being made responsible for your unhappiness. At least you’ve got a dad. Because I didn’t, okay?
ALBUS: And you think that was unlucky? I don’t.
HARRY: You wish me dead?
ALBUS: No! I just wish you weren’t my dad.
HARRY (seeing red): Well, there are times I wish you weren’t my son.
Oh no. Oh no no no no. I understand this. I really do. As a parent, there are times when my daughter says or does something that puts me just to the limits of what I can tolerate. But you can’t do that. You have to be the bigger person in this case. You can’t say things like this to your kids, even if you mean it at the time. That kind of thing will stick with a child forever, even if they pretend like it’s nothing.
Which is what Albus does. He says he doesn’t blame his dad for feeling that way and asks that he leave, throwing the blanket after him. Harry realizes what a terrible mistake he’s made, but once words are said, they can’t be unsaid. I feel sorry for both of them.
Scene 8 – Dream, Hut-on-the-Rock
I’m assuming this is Harry’s dream, since no one in his family would know about the Hut on the Rock. It’s the scene from Sorcerer’s Stone when Hagrid comes to give him his Hogwarts letter. Hagrid is banging on the door. Dudley, Petunia and Vernon are all cowering in the corner. Vernon has his rifle. There is one part that I don’t remember in the original book.
AUNT PETUNIA: We’re cursed! He’s cursed us! The boy has cursed us! (Seeing YOUNG HARRY) This is all your fault. Get back in your hole.
I don’t remember Petunia ever saying anything about Harry being a curse, although maybe she thought it a few times.
Hagrid breaks through the door and the scene goes mostly like we expect. Vernon tries to be menacing with the rifle (and fails miserably). Hagrid ties the barrel of the gun into a bow. He also sees Harry, tells him he looks like his parents, and wishes him a happy birthday, giving him his cake. Hagrid starts telling Harry about Hogwarts, taking offense at the fact that the Dursleys had never told him about it. As I said, it all goes as planned until we get to the famous “Harry – yer a wizard” line. Then this happens.
And then, right from the back of the room, whispering around everyone.
Words said with an unmistakable voice. The voice of VOLDEMORT. . .
It’s been over twenty years and Harry is still haunted by this. I guess I had hoped, after reading the Deathly Hallows epilogue, that Harry had put all that behind him, but I guess he hasn’t. Being upset from the Albus situation probably doesn’t help either.
Scene 9 – Harry & Ginny Potter’s House, Bedroom
Harry jerks awake and we get the idea that this was more than just a nightmare. His forehead hurts him and he can see Dark Magic swirling around the room. Ginny wakes up, but Harry tells her to go back to sleep. She doesn’t listen and tries to talk to him about it. He grudgingly tells her that it was a dream about the Dursleys, but that it turned into something else.
Ginny is a good wife. I really love their relationship. She is supportive, even though she knows that he behaved badly, both with Albus and with Amos Diggory.
GINNY:Because I know that when the time is right you’ll say sorry. That you didn’t mean it. That what you said concealed . . . other things. You can be honest with him, Harry . . . That’s all he needs.
HARRY: I wish he was more like James or Lily.
GINNY (dry): Yeah, maybe don’t be that honest.
Harry clarifies it, saying that it’s not that he wants Albus to change, he just wishes he could understand him.
I know the feeling. Actually, my issues are usually that when my daughter is behaving badly, I understand her exactly. She is so much like me, it’s scary. Seriously scary.
Ginny tells Harry that he needs to be honest with Albus, that Albus knows when Harry is putting on a front and doesn’t want to deal with that.
HARRY: “The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”
GINNY looks at him, surprised.
GINNY: A strange thing to say to a child.
HARRY: Not when you believe that child will have to die to save the world.
It’s times like this that I really hate Dumbledore. The way that he played Harry . . . I know he had his reasons, and those reasons were to save the world, but still. Harry was a child. What did I say earlier about adults knowing better and should behave better than children? Really, it’s amazing that Harry is as well-adjusted as he is. I don’t know how he made it.
Harry tries to pretend that his forehead isn’t still in intense pain, but Ginny isn’t buying it. Harry brushes it off and says they should go back to sleep. Ginny asks how long it’s been since his scar hurt. Twenty-two years. That’s how long.
This can’t be good.