The final edition of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script was released in July, a year after the Rehearsal Edition was published. So what’s different between the two versions of the script?

The Rehearsal Edition of The Cursed Child was published on the same day the West End play officially opened last summer. It’s unlike a play to release its rehearsal script, but given the huge interest in the play and the fact that most fans cannot attend the play themselves, an early edition of the script was published.

The Rehearsal Edition of the script was used during preview performances between June and July, and in July 2017 the Final Edition of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was published in paperback. In addition to the script it includes a timeline of the first seven books’s biggest events as well as a Potter family tree.

Since two editions of this script are now on book store shelves, you might be wondering: What’s different between the two? What did the writers change as they tested the show in front of audiences for over a month?

As a diehard Harry Potter fan, I was curious too and I knew I had to find out. But who would I trust to compare the two scripts? There was only one person I knew who would be crazy enough to do this: Me.

So I went to Target and bought the paperback. Over the past week I’ve been sitting at my desk with the two books on top of one another, comparing every single line.

Differences between Cursed Child Rehearsal and Final Editions

Cursed Child

Scattered throughout the 300 page script you’ll actually find lots of differences to the stage cues — meaning the directions and internal monologues the characters are experiencing. Some of cues have been slightly rearranged to be placed in between difference sentences. There are actually lots of new cues that’ve been added — I think this was to shore up the motives and feelings of each character for future Cursed Child casts.

For example:

Rehearsal:

HARRY reveals the Time-Turner. It shines out alluringly.

Final:

HARRY reveals the Time-Turner. It shines out alluringly. HERMIONE is amazed to see it.

– Act One, Scene Five: Ministry of Magic, Harry’s Office

Rehearsal:

He grins. And then disappears ever up. SCORPIUS hesitates for a moment. He makes a face. And then hoists himself up and disappears after ALBUS.

Final:

He grins. And then disappears ever up. SCORPIUS hesitates for a moment. He makes a face. But he knows what he has to do — what he’s going to do — he joists himself up and disappears after ALBUS.

– Act One, Scene Ten: The Hogwarts Express

Rehearsal:

SCORPIUS enters the office of DOLORES UMBRIDGE. He is dressed in darker, blacker robes. He has a pensive look on his face. He remains coiled and alert.

Final:

And now we’re firmly in a reworked world. And it is a world of darkness.

There is a coating of ash over the earth — which gives it a pallor of uncertainty and dread.

This is reflected in the staging — in the music — but above all else in the tone of the choices we make.

HARRY is dead. VOLDEMORT lives and rules. Nothing is as it should be.

SCORPIUS enters the office of DOLORES UMBRIDGE. He is dressed in darker, blacker robes. He has a pensive look on his face. He is aware of danger from all sides and remains coiled and alert throughout.

– Act Three, Scene One: Hogwarts, Headmistress’s Office

Then there are cases like this, where an internal thought is added and some dialogue is rearranged:

Rehearsal:

DRACO: My father thought he was protecting me. Most of the time. I think you have to make a choice — at a certain point — of the man you want to be. And I tell you that at that time you need a parent or a friend. And if you’ve learnt to hate your parent by then and you have no friends… then you’re all alone. And being alone — that’s so hard. I was alone. And it sent to me a truly dark place. For a long time. Tom Riddle was also a lonely child. You may not understand that, Harry, but I do — and I think Ginny does too.

GINNY: He’s right.

DRACO: Tom Riddle didn’t emerge from his dark place. And so Tom Riddle became Lord Voldemort. Maybe the black cloud Bane saw was Albus’s loneliness. His pain. His hatred. Don’t lose the boy. You’ll regret it. And so will he. Because he needs you, and Scorpius, whether or not he now knows it.

Final:

DRACO: My father thought he was protecting me. Most of the time. People say parenting is the hardest job in the world — they’re wrong — growing up is. We all just forget how hard it was.

As hard as he tries to resist them, these words resonate with HARRY.

I think you have to make a choice — at a certain point — of the man you want to be. All I tell you that at that time you need a parent or a friend. And if you’ve learnt to hate your parent by then and you have no friends… then you’re all alone. And being alone — that’s so hard. I was alone. And it sent to me a truly dark place. For a long time. Tom Riddle was also a lonely child. You may not understand that, Harry, but I do — and I think Ginny does too.

GINNY: He’s right.

DRACO: Tom Riddle didn’t emerge from his dark place. And so Tom Riddle became Lord Voldemort. Maybe the black cloud Bane saw was Albus’s loneliness. His pain. His hatred. Don’t lose the boy. You’ll regret it. And so will he. Because he needs you, and Scorpius.

– Act Two, Scene Fifteen: Harry and Ginny Potter’s House, Kitchen

Dialogue changes

Changes in dialogue between the Cursed Child Rehearsal and Final Editions scripts were far less common. It seems like 99.9% of the script’s dialogue was locked in by the time the Rehearsal Edition was printed.

But there were a couple changes, including this outrageous adjustment that is just another stab in the heart for SCORBUS shippers: The Final Edition removes a line from Albus in which he calls Scorpius “the best person I know”:

Rehearsal:

ALBUS: […] I truly believe Voldemort — Voldemort couldn’t have a child like you.

Beat. SCORPIUS is moved by this.

SCORPIUS: That’s nice — that’s a nice thing to say.

ALBUS: And it’s something I should have said a long time ago. In fact, you’re probably the best person I know. And you don’t — you couldn’t — hold me back. You make me stronger — and when Dad forced us apart — without you —

SCORPIUS: I didn’t much like my life without you in it either.

Final:

ALBUS: […] I truly believe Voldemort — Voldemort couldn’t have a child like you.

Beat. SCORPIUS is moved by this.

SCORPIUS: That’s nice — that’s a nice thing to say.

ALBUS: And it’s something I should have said a long time ago. And you don’t — you couldn’t — hold me back. You make me stronger — and when Dad forced us apart — without you —

SCORPIUS: I didn’t much like my life without you in it either.

– Act Two, Scene Sixteen: Hogwarts Library

Moaning Myrtle also hits on Harry a tad less:

Rehearsal:

MOANING MYRTYLE: I think it was a secret, but I could never keep anything from you, Harry. How is it you’ve grown handsomer and handsomer as you’ve aged? And you’re taller.

Final:

MOANING MYRTYLE: I think it was a secret, but I could never keep anything from you, Harry. How is it you’ve grown handsomer and handsomer as you’ve aged?

– Act Two, Scene Nineteen: Hogwarts, Girls’ Bathroom

Meanwhile, Ron/Hermione shippers get thrown a little bone. In the Final Edition we learn that their love is “true and total.” And Hermione delivers both the “son” and “daughter” lines now, as opposed to each of them noting a kid.

Rehearsal:

HERMIONE: Let’s keep them here and give the boy the best chance we can.

RON looks at her and then nods sadly.

HERMIONE: A daughter.

RON: And a son. I liked that idea too.

Final:

HERMIONE: Let’s keep them here and give the boy the best chance we can.

RON looks at her and then nods sadly.

HERMIONE: A daughter and a son.

He smiles gently at her, their love is true and total.

RON: I liked that idea too.

– Act Three, Scene Nine: Edge of the Forbidden Forest

In summary…

Very few dialogue changes were made between The Cursed Child’s Rehearsal and Final Editions. You could argue that they didn’t even need to release a new version of the script.

As is usually the case with theater, actors will make their own tweaks during their run as they work out their own interpretations of the character. In the case of this play, for example, the original actors who played Rose and Scorpius played up their interest in one another as their time with the show went on.

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