Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Identity

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

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At Hogwarts, students learn spells for everything. They can levitate objects, unlock doors, repair broken glasses, and literally transform themselves into animals and other people. But one thing magic can't do is eliminate the years-long torture of teen angst, the results from fumbling toward an identity in an uncertain, confusing world.

Magic should make this search for an ideal self into an easier journey. A flick of the wrist, a wave of the want, a "self-actualizio!" spell, and poof: it's all figured out.

But magic doesn't work that way. In fact, it might be even more confusing to find out who you are when magic spells are whizzing past your ears and the threat of dark wizards always lies on the horizon. In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, we watch two fifteen-year-olds try to figure out who they really areā€¦and a forty-year-old who still isn't quite sure.

Questions About Identity

  1. How would you describe Albus in three words? What about Scorpius?
  2. Do Albus and Scorpius grow over the course of the play?
  3. How has Harry changed in the last eighteen years?
  4. What events most shape Albus and Scorpius during the play?

Chew on This

Harry's upset that Albus isn't like him, but Albus is more like Harry than he's willing to admit: stubborn, reckless, but ultimately trying to do good.

Scorpius is inspired to be a better person after seeing what he can do in the world where Albus doesn't exist, but Scorpius wants to be a better person because Albus is in his life, so he must reconcile these two aspects of his identity.

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