15 Stages Of Reading 'Cursed Child'

by Emma Oulton

After months of waiting, of painstakingly avoiding Internet spoilers, it's finally here. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is out in the world — and I've read it. And oh boy, has it been an adventure.

It's been ten long years since we were last lining up at midnight to get our hands on a brand new Harry Potter story, but tonight the magic is back. For the first time in a decade, Muggles across the world are losing themselves in the wizarding world — and for the last few hours, I've been doing exactly that.

In 2007, J.K. Rowling showed us Harry Potter waving off his young son Albus Severus on the Hogwarts Express — and assured us that "all was well." Here's what I know now: she lied.

That famous scene at the end of Deathly Hallows wasn't the cozy ending J.K. Rowling would have had us believe; in fact, it was just the beginning. I'm going to try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but it will come as no surprise to you that the Potter family have a ton of adventures still to come after that epilogue. I mean, Cursed Child is a mammoth four-act play — what did you expect?!

And if you've managed to grab yourself a copy at a midnight release party, here are the 15 stages of emotion ahead of you.

1. Anticipation

Will I love it? Will I hate it? Will it change my opinion of the original series? Will it change everything? It's too late; there's no going back now.

2. Excitement

Turning that first page is like nothing else I've ever experienced — not for ten long years, at least.

3. Nostalgia

This is so wonderfully familiar. Right from the start, we're back at Kings Cross — and Harry is saying something I'm pretty sure I've heard before... "Best to do it at a run if you're nervous."

4. Tears

How am I crying already?! It's like page two. But the stage directions just called the Potters a "family" – and Harry never had a family before. I'd like to see you try not to sob.

5. Jealousy

The description of the Hogwarts Express train sounds so beautiful that I wish I was actually seeing this on stage. One day...

6. Shock

OK, OK, so I'd heard the rumors. But that doesn't make it any less shocking seeing that... well, you better read it yourself to find out.

7. Denial

Right from the start, the Cursed Child takes a turn I did not expect. Let's just say that to Albus, Hogwarts isn't the magical place we all fell in love with twenty years ago. C'mon, J.K., we've waited so long to go back to our favorite place on Earth — don't do this to us!

8. Bemusement...Followed By Pride

I promised J.K. Rowling I would #KeepTheSecrets, and I'm going to keep my word — but it is so hard not revealing what Harry and Hermione do for a living these days. Harry's present-day job would certainly have had his Hogwarts professors raising their eyebrows in disbelief — but Hermione's is just perfect.

9. Confusion

OK, here's a very mild spoiler: do you remember Amos Diggory? He's back — and he plays a rather central role in this play. What?!

10. Laughter

Aside from being amazingly creative and dramatic, the original Harry Potter novels were wickedly funny — and that humor is just as strong in the Cursed Child. Surprisingly, though, it's young Scorpius Malfoy who gets a lot of the best lines. Yeah, he's nothing like his fun-sponge father.

11. Overwhelming Gratitude

In the Cursed Child, we get to see never-before-seen moments from the original novels. I thought I knew everything there was to know about Hogwarts from 1991–8, but it turns out I hadn't seen everything. Like Ludo Bagman's commentary for the Triwizard Tournament, for example! The Cursed Child gives us even more glimpses into the world we knew and loved for all that time — and I honestly can't thank everyone involved in this play enough for that.

12. More Tears

We get to see some beloved and long-lost characters again — and after all this time, it's very good to see them.

13. Exhaustion

So much is going on — thank Dumbledore for the regular intervals! If only I was really at the theater and could get some ice-cream...

14. Mega-concentration

Does this all definitely make sense in the world of the book? The Cursed Child script intersects with the original series in a lot of ways, and it takes a lot of concentration to make sure everything checks out.

15. Acceptance

Reading The Cursed Child was never going to be quite the same as reading the original Harry Potter novels — and while the writing is great, nothing can quite beat J.K. Rowling. But you know what? It's pretty fantastic as it is.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One & Two (Special Rehearsal Edition Script), $17.99, Amazon