It turns out that you can use clues from the new Harry Potter mobile game Wizards Unite to place it precisely within the timeline of the main books and their follow-up “eighth story” play. So when does Wizards Unite take place?
(Spoilers for Wizards Unite and the Cursed Child apply.)
We’re still digging through the game here in the Tor dot com office, but a few things are apparent in the game right from the beginning. We’re getting our orders from an adult Hermione and getting advice from an adult Harry, so we’re clearly somewhere between Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But now that Cursed Child has given us greater detail about the wizarding world in the late 2010s, we couldn’t help but wonder when the time-shattering storyline of Wizards Unite takes place.
Okay, SO! Here’s what we know outside of the game:
- Book 7/The Battle of Hogwarts ends on May 8, 1998.
- Book 7’s “19 years later” epilogue takes place in late summer/early fall of 2017, when Harry sends Albus off to Hogwarts for his first year. (This date is often pegged as August 31, 2017, and we see no reason to dispute that.)
- Most of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes place in early fall of 2020, and we know that 1. Albus is starting his fourth year at Hogwarts, 2. Harry is Head of the Auror department, and 3. Hermione is the Minister of Magic.
- Hermione is the head of a Statute of Secrecy Task Force, of which you are the newest member, not the Minister of Magic.
- However, her colleague, Constance Pickering, says she plans to endorse Hermione for Minister of Magic.
So if, as the Harry Potter Wiki says, Ministers of Magic can serve maximum seven-year terms, with the last election running in 2019, and Hermione is elected in 2019 and has already announced her intention to run by the events of Wizards Unite, then that puts us somewhere during the 2019 Minister of Magic campaign, likely in summer of this year.
Why summer 2019?
We don’t know much about the elections for Minister of Magic but we do know that they don’t take place in the first half of a year…thanks to the Battle of Hogwarts.
At the end of the main book series, Kingsley Shacklebolt is named Acting Minister of Magic after the Battle of Hogwarts in May of 1998. He is then elected officially to the position afterwards. We also know that Hermione’s election took place in 2019, and working backwards in 7-year terms puts an election in the year 1998. We know that Minister elections most likely don’t take place before May, since Shacklebolt couldn’t be officially elected until the next scheduled election came around again. (Otherwise why not elect him right then and there post-Battle?) This places wizarding elections in the second half of the year.
Since Wizards Unite is an immersive gaming experience, literally laying the wizarding world over the real world, that probably means that the timeframe of the game’s story is also the same as it is in the real world during the release of the game: June 2019.
Which also means that Wizards Unite takes place during Act 1 of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!
What this means
So, that’s cool, but does it really affect what we already know about what happens in the Cursed Child? As it turns out, it might!
Here’s what we know, so far, about the plot of Wizards Unite:
- A magical event called “The Calamity” is threatening to expose parts of the wizarding world to the Muggle world.
- There are 5 missing wizards, dubbed the “London Five.”
- Weird “young versions” of the book characters keep showing up through the game, suggesting either illusory or wacky time-turner activity.
Meanwhile, here’s what’s happening around the same time in the Cursed Child:
- In August/September 2019, Draco Malfoy is dealing with a nasty rumor about his son, Scorpius, being the illegitimate child of Voldemort and Draco’s wife, thanks to the manipulation of a newly discovered time-turner. He asks Harry for help, confirming Harry is head of the Auror Office and that time-turners are a popular enough concept in the wizarding world that they get appended to widespread rumors.
- In 2020, Harry will conclude his investigation of an actual rogue time-turner, seizing it from Theodore Nott, and turning it into the Ministry.
- If the game’s “Calamity” storyline involves the appearance of artefacts and people from other timelines, then this could be the event that makes Hermione and Harry aware of a rogue time-turner, which is a major plot point in the Cursed Child.
- We know that Hermione wins the Minister election later on in 2019, implying that the player’s successful completion of the Wizards Unite “Calamity” storyline may be key to giving Hermione a positive PR boost heading into the final days/weeks/months of the election! (Congratulations to YOU!)
One other question…
If all of this is true, then what are some of the key players of the Cursed Child doing during Wizards Unite? Take Delphi “Diggory”, for example. If, at this point, she’s already started her plan, pretending to be the niece of Amos Diggory, then will she make an appearance later on in the game? Will we be the only ones who know what she truly is?