Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is now available, and we’ve got one big question to ask: Who the heck was the Cursed Child?!
This article contains plot spoilers for Cursed Child.
Before you take to the comments complaining what a stupid question this is, because it’s obviously insert-character-here, allow me to tell you a story.
Ahead of the Hypable staff members attending the first preview performance of Cursed Child in early June, myself and Andrew had engaged in some heated MuggleCast debates about who the Cursed Child would turn out to be.
Andrew insisted it had to be Albus, because he was on the artwork for the play, and because the synopsis hinted that he would feel ‘cursed’ by his father’s legacy. This all seemed sensible enough, and yet I vehemently insisted it couldn’t be Albus, because that’d just be too obvious — knowing J.K. Rowling, I was sure the title itself would be a key plot point, like it had been for the book titles.
By that logic, I believed the Cursed Child would be either a new enemy, or a new character that had to be saved somehow.
Flash forward to July 9, late in the evening, after we’d all seen the spectacular (if baffling) second half of the play. We were all sitting in a pub, drinking
our sorrows away and discussing the story.
“So, wait,” Kyle called out, halting the conversations around him. “Who was the Cursed Child?”
I sat up a little straighter, casting a smug glance in Andrew’s direction before confidently proclaiming, “Delphi, obviously.”
But as I spoke, Andrew’s voice mixed with mine. “It’s Albus!” he enthused.
In the confused silence that followed, our fellow Hypable staffer Katie cleared her throat. “Wait… wasn’t it Scorpius?”
And then we were at a stalemate. After much discussion, some of the others ended up agreeing that the titular Cursed Child was all of them, and that it’s only not called “Cursed Children” because that sounds lame, but I don’t buy it. Clearly, one of these characters (or secret option #4) is THE Cursed Child — but who is it? And why didn’t the play make it clear?!
So let’s break it down and take a poll, and prove once and for all that I am right. (Um, I mean… let’s just take a poll okay?)
Cursed Child candidate #1: Delphi Riddle
The esteemed Ebony Delphi D’arkness Dementia Diggle Raven Way Riddle Voldemort seems — in my opinion, anyway — the most obvious candidate for the ‘Cursed Child’ moniker.
Born to the Dark Lord and Bellatrix Lestrange, Delphi was always ‘cursed’ by her family legacy. She may not be a child when we meet her (creepily flirting with a 12-year-old, no less), but she’s still framed by her status as Voldemort’s daughter; although the play presents her as a resourceful, intelligent and charming young woman, she later proves herself to be unhinged, scribbling all over her walls and concocting convoluted schemes all in an effort to essentially reconnect with the father she never knew.
The parallel the play draws between Delphi and Harry further seems to support this theory. Harry Potter himself was always a ‘cursed child,’ both because of his predicament as an orphan, and because he was literally cursed by Voldemort. This curse forced him to take a certain path in life and become the Chosen One, and Delphi’s curse — being Voldemort’s daughter, forced by her heritage and guardians to carry on his legacy — led her in a similar direction.
One could argue that, like Harry’s, Delphi’s life was never her own; she was and always will be defined by her connection to Lord Voldemort, and her life is thus exactly as cursed as Harry’s was. The fact that she’s the main aintagonist also lends credence as why the title would refer to her: As intertwined as Delphi’s story is with Albus’, she’s ultimately a dark reflection of Harry himself, and a reminder that Harry will never be free of his own curse because a piece of Voldemort lives on after all.
Finally, to Andrew’s cover theory: The black wings and nest that envelop Albus on the cover art do in fact represent Delphi, her being the ‘Augurey’ and spouting those same black wings in the play. So if the Cursed Child is on the cover of the script book, that could still be Delphi.
Cursed Child candidate #2: Albus Potter
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child = ‘Harry Potter and His Son Albus’?
As much as we love Scorpius Malfoy and Hermione Granger, the real main characters of Cursed Child are Harry and Albus Potter. The father-son dynamic dictates the story, with Albus really carrying the plot forward.
Like Delphi, Albus is ‘cursed’ by his heritage (or at least he believes himself to be), and everything he does is motivated by his complicated relationship with his father, and his rejection of the Potter family legacy.
As the main child in the story, it might be logical to conclude that he’s also the child the title refers to, and the fact that he ends up in Slytherin, estranged from his family (particularly Harry, who chillingly proclaims that he wishes Albus wasn’t his son during a heated fight), might qualify as Albus being ‘cursed.’ Cursed to be the black sheep of the family, cursed to be ‘the spare,’ and cursed with making all the wrong choices.
Cursed Child candidate #3: Scorpius Malfoy
Could everyone’s favorite new character, Scorpius ‘Scorpion King’ Malfoy, actually be the titular Cursed Child? Although he is arguably less pivotal to the plot than Delphi and Albus, Scorpius is not only the emotional heart of the play — he’s also the only character who is actually associated with the word “cursed.”
Over the course of the play, we slowly get the story of Scorpius’ mother Astoria, a tragic figure who passed away after giving birth to him, wanting desperately to leave Draco with a piece of herself even knowing it would kill her faster. Her family was cursed, you see.
Scorpius is left with the guilt of feeling like he’s killed his mother, all the while having to deal with the vicious rumors that claim he is actually the son of Voldemort. Like both Delphi and Albus, Scorpius is also trapped by his family legacy, but — unlike both of them — he actually breaks his own ‘curse’ over the course of the play and becomes a hero.
The main thing speaking against Scorpius being the Cursed Child is that he doesn’t really interact with or influence Harry. The play is called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, after all, which would traditionally mean that the object/character mentioned in the title is directly related to Harry’s story — but then again, Cursed Child is hardly a traditional Harry Potter story.
Cursed Child candidate #4: Cedric Diggory
And no, we’re not talking about the curse of vampirism, here.
As bizarre as it seemed to revisit Cedric Diggory’s story in what was marketed as the next chapter in Harry’s life, we can’t deny that Cedric had a huge influence on everything that happened in Cursed Child. Albus’ entire motivation for going back in time was to save Cedric, whom he identified with as a fellow ‘spare,’ and in many ways, Albus’ emotional breakthrough came when he finally got to tell Cedric that his father loved him.
Although Harry suffered many losses since Cedric, the impact of his fellow Triwizard Champion’s death in fourth year clearly was still an open wound all these years later, with Harry still blaming himself for Cedric’s completely unnecessary death by a #wormtaily hand.
Cedric was the first person Harry saw die, and this traumatic experience led him to be able to see Thestrals. He was the first person killed in conjunction with Voldemort’s return. He was a 17-year-old child, on whom the Death Curse was cast. He was, very literally, a cursed child.
Much like the Goblet of Fire, the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Chamber of Secrets and the Deathly Hallows (and all the other Harry Potter book titles, arguably aside from the Half-Blood Prince), Cedric wasn’t an active participant in the story — but he was a catalyst, and a motivator, and the story’s preoccupation with him ultimately bookended both Albus and Harry’s journeys.
As the literal ‘Cursed Child,’ Cedric was the direct cause of everything that happened over the course of the play. In that context, it would make total sense for the title to refer back to the Harry Potter series’ original tragic hero.
So who is the Cursed Child?!
Now it’s your turn! Was it Delphi? Albus? Scorpius? Cedric? All of them? Someone else entirely? Again, you might think it’s a stupid question — but you’d be surprised how different people’s opinions are on this. Vote in the poll and share your thoughts in the comments!