According to J.K. Rowling, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” should be impossible

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a polarizing addition to the Harry Potter canon mainly because, uh, it undoes the beautiful bow that J.K. Rowling tied up her seven-book series with. Regardless of your feelings for the authorized play though, one writer at Seventeen may have just proven that the events in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child couldn’t have happened — all based on the words of Rowling herself ?

Major spoilers for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follow.

The main plot of The Cursed Child is that Harry and his son Albus have a strained relationship. In an effort to get back at his father, Albus becomes intent on stopping the death of Cedric Diggory with the help of a Time-Turner.

You know, like Harry and Hermione used way back in the day in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Well, Kelsey Stiegman at Seventeen has used Rowling’s own words to prove that all the going back in time that occurs in The Cursed Child breaks the wizarding rules. Stiegman may have an agenda since she’s notably anti-Cursed Child (we feel you, Kelsey!), but it does seem like the Jack Thorne-written play goes against Rowling’s rules of time travel.

In one of the new ebooks that Rowling released in 2016 on Pottermore, she gives information on time travel. Rowling wrote in Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide:

"All attempts to travel back further than a few hours have resulted in catastrophic harm to the witch or wizard involved. It was not realised for many years why time travellers over great distances never survived their journeys."


While Albus and Scorpius Malfoy weren’t going centuries in the past, they did go back decades. Not to mention, the final time travel venture in The Cursed Child has the whole gang — Harry, Hermione, and Ron included — going back to the day Harry’s parents died on October 31st, ‎1981‎.

If Rowling says that time travelers can only go back a few hours or else they will die, then nothing that happened in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child makes ANY sense.

To be fair, this information about time travel comes from an incomplete and unreliable guide, so perhaps there are exceptions to the rule. However, if you like to pretend that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child doesn’t exist and is merely fan-fiction (ahem, guilty as charged), then you have Stiegman to thank for validating your dismissal of the play. If you did love the play, then go back in time a few hours and pretend you never read this.

Filed Under