Potter Productions: A Very Potter Musical vs. Cursed Child

A Very Potter Musical may have foreshadowed the events of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We discuss the similarities between the two stage productions.

When Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was announced, fans of the Harry Potter series were eager to see their favourite characters take the stage. However, a musical theatre company from University of Michigan had already proved that Harry Potter can do well on stage in 2009, when Starkid Productions released an unofficial, fan-made parody entitled A Very Potter Musical. Their production went viral and gained enough recognition in the fandom to prompt the releases of A Very Potter Sequel and A Very Potter Senior Year, the latter of which premiered at Leaky Con.

Though the Starkid musicals have no official status, they are popular enough that Evanna Lynch was willing to reprise her role as Luna Lovegood to join the cast of A Very Potter Senior Year. So it’s inevitable with all the hype about Cursed Child, it would be compared to the pre-existing Potter-themed stage productions. It turns out there are some eerie similarities between them.

From time-turners to Voldemort’s love life, the events of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child were predicted by Starkid Productions years before the play was even announced. We run you through a list of some of the most interesting parallels between the musicals and the new play.

10. Malfoy’s Doubtful Paternity

It’s established early on in Cursed Child that there are rumours about the parentage of Scorpius Malfoy. It seems widely believed that Scorpius is Voldemort’s son. Rose Granger-Weasley is immediately wary of Scorpius for that very reason. There comes a point when even Scorpius himself has doubts about his father.

SCORPIUS: Your dad thinks the rumours are true – I am the son of Voldemort?

ALBUS (nods): His department are currently investigating it.

SCORPIUS: Good. Let them. Sometimes – sometimes I find myself thinking – maybe they’re true too.

While throughout Cursed Child, Scorpius assured that he is truly Draco’s son, the same cannot be said for the Malfoy heir in A Very Potter Sequel. It’s a recurring joke for Lucius to be dismissive of Draco. It’s only when Draco and Lucius have their final confrontation that this Malfoy’s parentage comes to light.

LUCIUS: Don’t you want to know who your real father is?

DRACO: What?

LUCIUS: You were never my real son. How could you be? You were always such a horrible disappointment to me.

Cursed Child’s Scorpius may have always been a Malfoy, but AVPS’ Draco is another story. According to Lucius, Narcissa Malfoy had an affair with someone he trusted. In this case, that trusted comrade was not Lord Voldemort… It was the Malfoys’ house-elf, Dobby. How’s that for a plot twist?

9. Malfoy and the Golden Trio Time-Travel to the Past

Time-traveling is a key element in for both stories. In the parody musical, A Very Potter Sequel, Draco travels to the past to ensure that the remaining Death Eaters do not cause Harry’s death before he has a chance to defeat Voldemort. He pairs up with Harry, Ron and Hermione to ensure that everyone survives. This scene echoes the events of Godric’s Hollow in Cursed Child. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Draco all travel to the past. Although initially they go to rescue the next generation of Malfoys and Potters, the ultimate goal of the night ends up being the same as it is in A Very Potter Sequel: Ensuring that Harry lives and Voldemort will be killed. Both productions even include Lucius Malfoy being the Time-Turner’s original owner and protagonists disguising themselves as Dark Wizards to fool the main villain. Ron and Draco still display enmity while Hermione wants to move on from it. Eventually, the characters put aside their differences for the greater good.

In A Very Potter Sequel:

RON: Oh yeah? Why do you want to help Harry all of a sudden?

DRACO: Because in the future, I’m really nice now.

In Cursed Child:

RON: Fine. But if you say one thing about her or me…

DRACO: You’ll do what, Weasley?

HERMIONE: He’ll hug you. Because we’re all on the same team, aren’t we, Ron?

8. Voldemort and Bellatrix’s Relationship

It’s not uncommon to infer that Bellatrix’s fervent devotion to Lord Voldemort could lead to some form of romantic attachment. It seems the Cursed Child team and Starkid Productions came to the same conclusion, because in both productions the romance is explicitly part of the narrative.

In A Very Potter Musical, when Voldemort takes over the Ministry, Bellatrix is at his side. Not only do they reference a past relationship, a romantic scene takes place between them on stage. It’s only Voldemort’s preoccupation with his other partner in the musical, Quirrell, which brings the tension to a halt. Bellatrix’s marriage isn’t referenced at any point, but due to her last name of “Lestrange” we can assume that the two conducted an extramarital affair.

In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the character of Delphi reveals herself to be the child sired through Voldemort and Bellatrix’s affair. Like her mother, Delphi shows the same extreme devotion to ensuring the Dark Lord’s plans are brought to fruition. Although both her parents were killed during the Battle of Hogwarts, she dedicated her life to defeating Harry Potter just like Voldemort and Bellatrix did.

Though the romance exists in both stories, neither production ultimately has the two end up together. Voldemort and Bellatrix are defeated in the play and are split up in the musical because Voldemort ultimately chooses to be with someone else.

7. Granger and Malfoy One-Sided Romance

Like father, like son. The romantic parallels continue with the next generation. In the A Very Potter Musical universe, Draco Malfoy expresses repeatedly that he has feelings for Hermione Granger. Similarly, in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Scorpius Malfoy shows interest in Rose Granger-Weasley, Hermione’s daughter. Although the feelings are not returned, in both stories, the romantic tension eventually leads to a romantic confession from the Malfoy boys.

In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:

SCORPIUS: Rose Granger Weasley. I asked out Rose Granger Weasley.

ALBUS: And she said no.

SCORPIUS: But I asked her. I planted the acorn. The acorn that will grow into our eventual marriage.

In A Very Potter Sequel, following Draco’s confession to Hermione:

HERMIONE: Draco, I know I have the lowest self-esteem out of anyone at Hogwarts, but I think that I can do better.

DRACO: Right. Sure. No problem.

Neither Granger girl is exactly thrilled at the advance, but ultimately they’re not exactly angry either. Personally, I can understand why Hermione wouldn’t be interested in a boy who had treated her so terribly in the past. There’s no beating around the bush in the rejection she delivers. Scorpius, on the other hand, seems hopeful that Rose will one day change her mind.

6. Headmaster Umbridge Meets Time Travelers

Perhaps the least-liked professor ever to teach at Hogwarts, Umbridge makes an appearance in both the Cursed Child play and one of the Starkid musicals. She collaborates with Lucius Malfoy in A Very Potter Sequel, and in Cursed Child seems to have a close relationship with Scorpius Malfoy in an alternate timeline. In the two productions, Umbridge is Headmaster of Hogwarts when she meets the time-travelling Malfoy. Dumbledore is unable to act as Headmaster in either scene, so Umbridge has taken over Hogwarts in his place. Although she doesn’t seem to be a Death Eater, she is always complicit in their activities.

There is a distinct difference in these two scenarios, in spite of the similarities on paper. In the Starkid production, both Umbridge and the elder Malfoy are working to end Harry Potter’s life. Scorpius, on the other hand, would like nothing more than for Harry Potter to be alive, as it means that his best friend Albus would exist alongside him.

In the end, Umbridge’s reign is never meant to last. Her “good” fortune is reversed by the power of friendship. Scorpius restores the timeline so the other reality does not exist in Cursed Child. In A Very Potter Sequel, Firenze whisks Umbridge away, protecting Draco and the other children.

5. Harry and Cedric Take on a Tournament

Since Cursed Child is meant to be mostly compliant with book canon, part of the story takes place during the events of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The Triwizard Tournament is the key point at which Albus and Scorpius decide to intervene upon the past. The tournament drives the plot as it creates alternate realities. Harry’s life ends up hanging in the balance. The outcomes of that year largely shape the future of the Golden Trio. Cedric unwittingly places a key role in all this.

A Very Potter Musical isn’t exactly meant to take place in the same universe as the books, but it does draw inspiration from the overall story. So, to make use of their talented ensemble cast, we see the Triwizard Tournament replaced by the House Cup Tournament. Draco and Cho take the place of the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons Champions, but Harry and Cedric still compete. Though the tournament doesn’t tout the same name, thematically its purpose is in the plot is the same for Starkid as it is for Cursed Child. Outside forces interfere with the tournament, resulting in a world where Voldemort can regain power. Harry is not meant to survive the tasks, but in the end he manages to live on.

4. Severus Snape Comes to the Rescue

Whatever your opinion on Snape, most of his actions on Dumbledore’s behalf are behind the scenes during the Harry Potter series. Unless you count sharing his memories, Snape rarely engages in acts of bravery in plain sight of the protagonists. His role is less active, planting information and acting as a spy. When he does do something to protect someone, it’s not always clear at the time. But in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the Starkid productions, he takes on a flashier role. For Cursed Child, in the timeline where Voldemort reigns, Snape sacrifices himself so Scorpius can get away.

SNAPE: Tell Albus – tell Albus Severus – I’m proud he carries my name. Now go. Go.

Ironically, there’s an echo of Snape’s least favourite person in this line of dialogue – James Potter. In both the book series and the play, James called out to Lily Potter, “Lily, take Harry and go. Go! Run! I’ll hold him off.” The fact that Snape is mirroring a character so overtly on Dumbledore’s side of the war is a testament to Cursed Child wanting his bravery to be more public.

The same can also be said in A Very Potter Sequel. When Lucius is ready to kill Harry and his friends, Snape steps in to stop the attack. Dumbledore isn’t present in either scene for Snape to claim he was acting on someone’s request. He intervenes to ensure that the Potters survive.

3. Order Absentseeism

Although the wizarding world is once again in danger of being taken over by Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter in Cursed Child, the Order of the Phoenix appears to have disbanded. Kingsley Shacklebolt, who became Minister for Magic after the Battle of Hogwarts according to Pottermore, is nowhere to be seen. Hermione takes on the seat of Minister instead. Even the existing members of the Order of the Phoenix like Minerva McGonagall kept in the dark about the threats until the very last minute. The only concrete rebel organization shown is in an alternate timeline. Presumably there wasn’t enough room in the story to address the fates of those who fought in the first and second wizarding war.

A Very Potter Musical also decided to leave the Order out of the fight. Members of the organization appear in later musicals, but as for the original production, they explain the fates of the Order in exchange between Molly and Ron Weasley:

MOLLY: I came here with the Order of the Phoenix. Lupin, Tonks, Mad-Eye Moody, Sirius Black, and your brother, Fred.

RON: Oh great, where are they?

MOLLY: They’re all dead.

Since a lot of the Order didn’t appear in any of the Cursed Child, it’s probably safe to assume most of them are dead in every timeline.

2. Ginny Inspires Harry to Fight

Harry’s lack of communication with Albus Severus in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is definitely upsetting for Ginny. Harry behaves rather unlike himself in his urgency to make sure his son is alright. But when things take a turn for the worse, you can count on Ginny to provide Harry with the perspective he needs. She reminds Harry that there is still more fighting to be done.

GINNY: Can we not treat this as if the battle is already lost?

It is through Harry’s discussion with Ginny that he discovers the clue about where his son can be found, and when he leaves he is once again ready to defeat Voldemort. Ginny is one of the few characters in the Harry Potter series who knows what it’s like to have Voldemort in her head, and that gives her an ability to relate to Harry in a way no one else can. Without her in this scene, he would not be able to fight on.

Similarly, in A Very Potter Musical, when Harry finds himself without any hope of beating Voldemort, it is Ginny who gives him support as she sings, “Not Alone.” She reminds him that they will take on this fight together. By the end of the scene, Harry feels ready to once again take on the world.

1. Epilogues and Apologies: It’s Not Too Late to Say Sorry

In A Very Potter Musical, Voldemort is a fan favourite. In large part, that’s due to his relationship with Quirrell. Though in the book series, Voldemort was a terrible villain incapable of feeling love, the parody musical shows him forming a bond with Professor Quirrell that can even overcome death. Though Voldemort turns on Quirrell when he gets his body back, he returns in the final scene of the play to reconcile with him. Quirrell accepts that Voldemort has changed, and they are reunited.

Although in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, no such friendship is formed, they do have in common a final scene that has a sense of reconciliation. A rift is between Harry and his son Albus for most of the play and just like the musical, the last scene feels like an apology for all the hurt that has been caused. Harry and Albus both indirectly admit how sorry they are as they stand over Cedric’s grave.

HARRY: I didn’t know Cedric well enough either. He could have played Quidditch for England. Or been a brilliant Auror. He could have been anything. And Amos is right – he was stolen. So I come here. Just to say sorry. When I can.

ALBUS: That’s a – good thing to do.

It’s nice to see that no matter how a person tells the story of Harry Potter, it always has a happy ending.