Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child What's Up With the Ending?

By Jack Thorne, based on a story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

What's Up With the Ending?

You Can Never Go Home Again

If you cried at the end of Half-Blood Prince when Dumbledore died, you better bring a whole box of tissues to the end of this story. While it lacks the shock value of that mind-blowing finale, it's insanely more devastating when you sit and think about it.

Don't worry. We've done a lot of the thinking for you…and we have the pile of sopping tissues to prove it.

First, the good things. Harry and the gang travel into the past to stop Delphi from resurrecting Voldemort. Yay! Albus redeems himself by helping Harry during the final fight. Huzzah! And Scorpius feels newfound confidence upon returning to Hogwarts. Wahoo!

But let's backtrack a bit to the whole "resurrecting Voldemort" thing, shall we? After stopping Delphi, Harry, as the Head of Magical Law Enforcement, has to dole out punishment. And he deals the ultimate blow to Delphi. "Just let me—see him" (4.11.112), she begs Harry, the "him" being her noseless daddy Voldemort. "I can't and I won't" (4.11.113), says Harry.

Is he being too harsh?

If he's being harsh on Delphi (and we don't think he is, because she killed someone), Harry is equally as harsh on himself. Yes, he punishes himself by watching Voldemort do what Voldemort does best: kill Harry's parents. Harry now has children of his own, so watching his parents—who are at the time of their deaths younger than Harry is now—sacrifice themselves for him takes on a whole new meaning.

What do you think Harry is thinking about in that moment? Is he still in awe that they made such a sacrifice for him? Is he wondering if he would do the same for his own son? Is he really hungry? (Time travel takes it out of you, we're guessing.) Whatever he's thinking then, the ultimate lesson for Harry is this: stop living in the past, and don't feel guilty that you lived.

After returning to the present, we witness Scorpius' newfound confidence, as he gushes to Albus about a "new version of us" (4.14.38). We can see how Scorpius has changed—he's bubbly, outgoing, and might even try out for Quidditch, but how has Albus changed?

We see Albus mellow a bit in the play's final scene, a conversation with him and his father in a graveyard. They promise to treat each other better, but will they? They have their discussion in front of Cedric Diggory's grave. Is the site of their conversation significant? Does it show Harry with two feet still in the past, or does it show him willing to take steps away from the past and move toward a better future?

We might have to wait for the next Harry Potter story to find out. What form will it take? A book? Another play? A Vine video? Only time will tell.