1

In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Scorpius and Albus go back in time to change the events during the Triwizard Tournament.

From their own timeline (1), they visit the first task, and succeed in creating a new timeline (2) that's slightly different. Then, they visit the second task, creating a very different timeline (3) in which Voldemort wins the war.

Scorpius then finds Snape, Hermione and Ron, and the group set about reverting the changes, going back to timeline (1). At this point, the obvious thing would be to go to the second task, reverting to timeline (2), and then back to timeline (1). Instead, they start out by visiting the first task, creating yet another timeline (4), which is very similar to (3).

Why would they do that?

Why create a fourth timeline, which may be very different to any of the others? For all they know, it might be impossible to return to the second task from timeline (4). Going back to (2), besides being the natural thing to do, should be much safer. What's the rationale here?

2

They go to task 1 since it was their earliest influence of the timeline.

If task 1 hadn't changed then alternate task 2 (timeline 2 and 3) would never have happened, ergo fix task 1 and they go poof.
If they had gone to task 2 then they would still need to go back to task 1 later and fix it, thereby removing alternate task 2 from ever happening anyway.
My guess is that they messed up when they were supposed to revert the original timeline and instead created timeline 4.

I should add that I haven't actually read The Cursed Child, so I'm taking my intell from your question.
And of course there are a lot of different theories how time travel work, if they create parallel universes etc. so every author has the liberty to make their own version.

Timeline Diagram

  • You need two spaces at the end of the paragraph and the line break instead of just the line break if you want the line break to render. – TheLethalCarrot Jan 9 at 15:34

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