Episode #585: Does the Sorting Hat Divide Students Equally Across Hogwarts Houses? And More MuggleMail

On this week’s episode we dig deep into our MuggleMail bag as listeners weigh in on our latest chapter-by-chapter discussions. One voicemail leads the hosts to take sides in a Harry Potter date debate! Plus, we have fun paging through the beautifully illustrated Order of the Phoenix by Jim Kay.

  • We review the Order of the Phoenix Illustrated Illustrated Edition. There’s SO much to love in this one!
  • Speaking of books, don’t forget to check out The Magic of MinaLima, which is an exhaustive look at MinaLima’s work for the Harry Potter movies.
  • Voicemails cover magic’s origin, a Harry Potter first date, a Draco-focused Harry Potter TV show and more
  • Several listeners write in about Christmas gifts and Quidditch rules
  • Why doesn’t Hermione use her own wand to stop the troll?
  • Why did Hagrid really go to get Harry from the Dursleys?
  • Should Ron be allowed to have a rat at Hogwarts?
  • Is it the job of the Sorting Hat to equally divide the first year students?
  • One listener presents a strong defense of Petunia Dursley
  • Is the Hogwarts Express super inconvenient for students who already live close to Hogwarts?
  • Troll in the Dungeon:  is Dumbledore sending the Slytherins to their doom?
  • Quizzitch: When McGonagall gives detentions to the trio and Neville in Book 1, she says she’s “never heard of such a thing before.” What is the “thing” to which she is referring?
  • Next week: Chapter-by-Chapter returns with Chapters 15 (The Forbidden Forest) & 16 (Through The Trapdoor) of Sorcerer’s Stone
  • This week’s episode is brought to you by MasterClass ( get 15% off an annual membership at MasterClass.com/MuggleCast).

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Episode #584: Harry Potter and the Hotly Debated Book Title (Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapters 13 – 14)

This week the hosts are joined by Andy of Harry Potter Fan Zone, and Chapter by Chapter continues with chapters 13 and 14 of Sorcerer’s Stone. Listen as we discuss the real-life origins of Nicolas Flamel, debate whether ‘Sorcerer’s Stone’ or ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ is a better title, and revisit a fan theory about what Dumbledore did with alchemy. Then, the trio visit Hagrid’s Hut and Harry uses his powers of persuasion that he may or may not have inherited from Voldemort?! All this and more, including:

  • Welcome back, Andy! Check out Harry Potter Fan Zone, the top Australian HP fan site.
  • News: Many new books are now available including Tom Felton’s autobiography, Alan Rickman’s posthumous diary, and Order of the Phoenix illustrated by Jim Kay. The hosts discuss which ones they’ll be checking out.
  • Main Discussion #1: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 13: Nicolas Flamel
  • 7-Word Summary: Secrets are revealed when chocolate is eaten.
  • We never did find out what work Dumbledore and Nicolas did on alchemy. Did Fantastic Beasts reveal more?
  • We review an old fan theory that we love about Credence’s origins.
  • In talking about the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone, Andrew explains who was responsible for the title change.
  • Which is better, saying “Sorcerer’s Stone” (snappy, alliterative) or “Philosopher’s Stone” (boring)? Andy and the American hosts all debate.
  • The hosts review some early Mary GrandPré artwork including an alternate cover that Andy shares with the title “Harry Potter and the School of Magic”.
  • In fact, Harry Potter Fan Zone has the most impressive gallery of official artwork, exhaustingly sourced and categorized by Andy. Worth your time to check out!
  • Main Discussion #2: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 14: Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback
  • 7-Word Summary: Hagrid reveals illegal practices inside his hut
  • This rare chapter is, in many ways, completely self-contained. The conflict presented is resolved at the end.
  • Life lessons from HP #???: Flattery will get you ev-erywhere!
  • Andrew’s new proposal of an HBO Max television show features Hagrid and his pet dragon. We’re in love.
  • Hagrid clearly has a soft spot for clearly dangerous creatures. Is this intentional foreshadowing to his plotline in Chamber of Secrets?
  • Is it reckless for Ron not to be honest with Madame Pomfrey about his bite? What if it’s magically infected?
  • The scene with Charlie’s friends is unspoilt by adaptation. What do we see when we see it in our heads?
  • We close out the chapter with our MVPs of the Week
  • Next Week: It’s a MuggleMail episode! Send us your thoughts on our recent chapters or tell us what’s on your mind!
  • Quizzitch: Which real-life Wizard Rock artist wrote a classic spurned love ballad titled “1991 – Charlie Weasley”
  • This week’s episode is brought to by Stamps.com (Get a 4-week trial, free postage, and a digital scale at https://www.stamps.com/mugglecast. Thanks toStamps.com for sponsoring the show!), BetterHelp (Get 10% off your first month at BetterHelp.com/mugglecast), and Shudder (Get your first 30 days free by using code ‘mugglecast’)!

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Episode #583: High Flying Hijinks (Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapters 11 – 12)

On this week’s episode, we pay tribute to Robbie Coltrane, whose iconic role as Rubeus Hagrid made him beloved to costars and fans alike. Chapter-by-Chapter continues as we take flight with Harry in his first Quidditch match and explore the halls of Hogwarts beneath the Invisibility Cloak.

  • We remember Robbie Coltrane, the beloved actor who played Hagrid in the Harry Potter series
  • Main Discussion #1: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 11: Quidditch
  • 7-Word Summary: Gryffindor surprises Hogwarts with winning very tastily
  • Why does Snape choose to confide in Filch after being attacked by Fluffy? Why does he not go to Madam Pomfrey? Or heal himself?
  • What is going through Snape’s mind when Harry sees him in this vulnerable situation?
  • Does Professor Quirrell’s attack on Harry during the Quidditch match do Quirrell more harm (for him) than good?
  • Security Nightmare: Why are there not more protections in place during Quidditch matches?
  • Main Discussion #2: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 12: The Mirror of Erised
  • 7-Word Summary: Dumbledore gives Harry some advice about life
  • The hosts rank Harry’s Christmas gifts from best to worst, using math
  • How does this new information on The Mirror of Erised influence our thoughts on the magical device?
  • We discuss Harry’s (reckless) tendency of using gifts from anonymous sources
  • Laura connects the threads between several Mirror of Erised and Resurrection Stone passages
  • Why is Nicolas Flamel not more well-known?
  • Who did the hosts select as their Most Valuable Character/Chapter of the Week?
  • Next week: Chapter-By-Chapter continues for Sorcerer’s Stone with Chapters 13 and 14!
  • Quizzitch: In Sorcerer’s Stone, how old is Nicolas Flamel at the time of Harry’s first year at Hogwarts?
  • This week’s episode is brought to you by: the Audible Original The Sandman: Act III, MeUndies (Go to MeUndies.com/MuggleCast for 20% off your first order and free shipping) and Indeed

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Episode #582: Have a Broomstick, Potter (Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapters 9 – 10)

There are certain things you can’t do without becoming best friends, and podcasting about Harry Potter together is one of them! Chapter-by-Chapter returns with analysis of Sorcerer’s Stone’s “The Midnight Duel” and “Halloween”! Our trio of heroes get goaded by Malfoy into a trap, and then accidentally lock a troll in a bathroom. Harry also finds the one thing that he is naturally good at.

  • News: Jim Kay has announced he will be stepping down from making the illustrated edition Potter books. We thank him for his work.
  • Main Discussion #1: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 9: The Midnight Duel
  • 7-Word Summary: Draco challenges Harry to a Midnight Fakeout
  • After Neville’s injury, the students leap to his defense. Have the hosts had similar moments at school, or were we all too scared to speak up?
  • In what is clearly another security nightmare, Madame Hooch abandons her class of 11-year-olds who 5 minutes ago were handed a very fast and dangerous broomstick for each of them. No wonder something bad happens next!
  • Laura asks what (specifically) makes Harry a natural at flying? Maybe abuse from Dudley made his reflexes better?
  • How blatant is what McGonagall does ‘favoritism’ toward Gryffindor House, and why does the First Years rule exist to begin with?
  • After narrowly avoiding trouble during the day, Harry and Ron immediately go wandering the castle at night. Shouldn’t they be more careful?
  • Should Harry have known that Malfoy was planning a trap? How does Malfoy have an inside line to Filch?
  • Did NOBODY walk Neville home from the hospital wing to make sure he could get in the Common Room?
  • Fluffy’s origins and comments on the movie adaptation are covered in ‘Odds and Ends’
  • Main Discussion #2: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 10: Halloween
  • 7-Word Summary: Dinner is interrupted by a massive disturbance
  • Major things almost always happen to Harry on Halloween. Micah recounts some of the big ones.
  • Are Ron’s choice of words against Hermione a bit too much?
  • It is Hermione’s pronunciation advice which helps Ron successfully tackle the troll!
  • Have any of the hosts befriended people they were not expecting to like?
  • Examining Hermione’s motivations to lie, the act which solidifies her friendship with Harry and Ron.
  • HOW is it that Quirrell is not caught or at least hugely suspected for letting in the troll? Should Voldemort have used someone else instead?
  • The students of Hogwarts do not seem to dress up for Halloween, but if they DID, Andrew has ideas as to what they would be.
  • Harry and the Golden Snitch meet for the first time. Our hearts are all aflutter
  • If McGonagall had not discovered Harry’s talent during the first flying lesson, when would there be another chance?
  • Next Week: Chapter-By-Chapter for Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapters 11 and 12!
  • Quizzitch: In Chapter 9 of Book 1, Which secret passage out of Hogwarts do the Weasley Twins suspect Lee Jordan has found?
  • This week’s episode is brought to by the Audible Original The Sandman: Act III, Masterclass (go to Masterclass.com/mugglecast for 15% off an annual subscription), and BetterHelp (Get 10% off your first month at BetterHelp.com/mugglecast)

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Episode #581: What if Petunia had been accepted to Hogwarts? And more MuggleMail

On this week’s episode, we’re busting open our MuggleMail bag as listeners send in owls about the first several chapters of Sorcerer’s Stone! We entertain a few What Ifs about Petunia and Dudley and get some enlightening perspectives on Narcissa and Lupin!

  • Hey, Apple Podcast users! You can now subscribe to the show right within the Apple Podcasts app. For $2.99/month, you’ll receive early episode releases and ad-free MuggleCast! Thanks in advance for your support.
  • We’re opening up our Chapter-by-Chapter MuggleMail bag!
  • Why was Hagrid sent for Harry?
  • How big is the student body at Hogwarts?
  • What happened to both sets of Harry’s grandparents?
  • How did Dudley’s pigtail finally get removed?
  • Did Harry’s Horcrux impact the Dursley’s treatment of him?
  • What if… Petunia had magical ability and had been accepted at Hogwarts?
  • What if… Dudley was a wizard? Would Vernon have disowned him?
  • Could House-Elves be responsible for sending the Hogwarts letters?
  • Other MuggleMail covers Leta Lestrange, The Elder Wand, Narcissa Malfoy and Remus Lupin
  • Should Dumbledore have been sorted into Slytherin?
  • Why wasn’t Dobby asked to be in The Order?
  • Quizzitch: In one of their very first History of Magic classes, which two famous wizards do the students in Harry’s class get mixed up?
  • On next week’s episode: Chapters 9 & 10 of Sorcerer’s Stone: The Midnight Duel and Halloween
  • In this week’s Bonus MuggleCast available exclusively to Patrons, we discuss excerpts from Alan Rickman’s recently released diary, Truly Madly!
  • This week’s episode is brought to you by The Happiness Lab Podcast, BetterHelp (get 10% off your first month at BetterHelp.com/MuggleCast) and HelloFresh (use code muggle65 for 65% off plus free shipping at HelloFresh.com/Muggle65)!

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Episode #580: Sorting Too Soon (Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapters 7 – 8)

On this week’s episode, we are joined by Potter film actor and director Rohan Gotobed! He joins Andrew, Eric, Laura, and Micah as they continue their Chapter-by-Chapter read-through of Sorcerer’s Stone, covering Chapters 7 and 8! Harry is sorted into Gryffindor House, and learns that Snape really hates him!

  • Welcome to the show, film and theater actor Rohan Gotobed, who you might recognize from playing Young Sirius Black in DH2!
  • Main Discussion #1: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 7: The Sorting Hat
  • 7-Word Summary: Students arrive into the Great Hall nervously
  • Is the Sorting Ceremony too much pressure for First Years? Should there be something easier or a private ceremony?
  • Why is the hat kept a secret from all students and possibly not even mentioned in Hogwarts, a History? We know Hermione checked…
  • Americans struggle with British terms example 4,723, as McGonagall tells the students to ‘smarten themselves up.’
  • New Segment Alert: The hosts play “MAX That!” bringing an element from the chapter to life as a new Harry Potter streaming series
  • Harry has a dream that the hosts find to be VERY illuminating.
  • Was it right for Seamus’ mom to keep her magical secret from his dad?
  • Rohan pays tribute to all of Harry’s peers who made it to the Sorting Ceremony but were never seen again…
  • Main Discussion #2: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 8: The Potions Master
  • 7-Word Summary: Eagerly Harry begins classes with angry teacher
  • What were our first impressions of McGonagall, Sprout, Flitwick and Snape?
  • New Segment: Mini Origin, where we dive into the name Quirinus and Quirrell in an effort to understand him better.
  • Snape speaks of potions very romantically, but is he overcompensating for the lost romance of Harry’s mom?
  • The ability to spot exactly where a potion went wrong is impressive, but Snape should not be teaching students.
  • Harry seeks refuge at Hagrid’s hut, and the hosts describe their in-school hideout locations.
  • The hosts reveal their coveted ‘Most Valuable Character/Chapter of the Week’ award nominees.
  • Next Week: it’s our first Muggle Mailbag episode since starting our Chapter-By-Chapter!
  • Quizzitch: According to Book 1, if you’re in the Great Hall facing the staff table, from LEFT to RIGHT what is the order in which the houses are seated?
  • This week’s episode is brought to by The Happiness Lab Project, Stamps.com (
    Get a 4-week trial, free postage, and a digital scale at https://www.stamps.com/MUGGLECAST. Thanks to Stamps.com for sponsoring the show!), and BetterHelp (Get 10% off your first month at BetterHelp.com/mugglecast)

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Episode #579: Stop the Huffle-Hate! (Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapters 4 – 6)

On this week’s episode, Chapter-by-Chapter continues with Chapters 4 – 6 of Sorcerer’s Stone! Join us as Harry learns he’s a wizard, ventures to Diagon Alley and boards the Hogwarts Express for the very first time! Plus, we meet Hagrid, Ron, Hermione, Draco and more!

  • It’s been a big week in the UK. Andrew and Laura covered the good and bad that comes with The Queen and the new Prime Minister in their latest episode of #Millennial! Follow the show for free in your favorite podcast app for more fun like we have on MuggleCast!
  • Main Discussion #1: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 4: Keeper of the Keys
  • 7-Word Summary: Suddenly, Hagrid bursts through the door… BAM!
  • You’re a wizard, Harry!
  • Does Petunia’s angry response hint at her own desire to have become a wizard?
  • Do we find Hagrid to be convincing in his claims about Harry and his parents?
  • Main Discussion #2: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 5: Diagon Alley
  • 7-Word Summary: Magic is being shown in the shops
  • Harry enters the Wizarding World for the first time!
  • Irresponsible Hagrid: is he the right person for this job?
  • What is with all of the Hufflepuff hatred?
  • Inside Ollivander’s: Does Harry’s wand foreshadow his Hogwarts House? This scene also explains Harry’s scarf colors on the U.K. cover!
  • What do we make of Harry’s Impostor Syndrome towards the end of the chapter?
  • Main Discussion #3: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 6: The Journey From Platform 9 3/4
  • 7-Word Summary: Aboard the train Harry meets the Weasleys
  • Worst to First: From The Dursleys to The Weasleys
  • Ron & Harry: Bros forever at first sight
  • What are Harry’s first impressions of Hermione?
  • The hosts give their Most Valuable Chapter or Wizard of the Week
  • Next Week: Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapters 7-9
  • Quizzitch: From which vault number does Hagrid retrieve the philosopher’s/sorcerer’s stone?
  • This week’s episode is brought to you by Backbone (visit PlayBackbone.com/MuggleCast to order your Backbone, for a limited time, and get FREE access to over 350 console games and perks), Masterclass (get 15% off an annual membership at Masterclass.com/MuggleCast) and Indeed (visit Indeed.com/MuggleCast to start hiring now).

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Episode #578: Chapter by Chapter Begins! Harry Deserves a Zoo Day (Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapters 1-3)

This week on MuggleCast we bring back the most heavily listener-requested segment, Chapter by Chapter! Join Andrew, Eric, Laura and Micah as they begin Sorcerer’s / Philosopher’s Stone with Chapters 1, 2 and 3! Our read-through of the Potter series contains segments both old AND new (complete with sound effects) and the hosts are all much older now than when they first started more than 16 years ago!

On this week’s episode:

  • Chapter by Chapter is rebooted! We first started the segment March 19, 2006 on Episode 31 (transcript here).
  • What to expect from CbyC includes: 7 Word Summaries, the same (but older) hosts, and brand new segments and games.
  • Main Discussion Part 1: Sorcerer’s Stone Chapter One, “The Boy Who Lived.”
  • 7 Word Summary: Vernon thinks that people are behaving oddly
  • Eric asks, “What are the wizards and witches thinking?! The Statute of Secrecy is at stake here!”
  • Laura makes an excellent point about what humans do after being cooped up and being afraid for long.
  • Was it safe for Dumbledore to leave Harry unattended on a doorstep overnight?
  • Despite the magical protection, we ask, WERE the Dursleys the best option for Dumbledore to choose? Why didn’t Albus raise Harry himself?
  • Main Discussion Part 2: Chapter Two, “The Vanishing Glass.”
  • 7 Word Summary: Dudley can’t understand why he sucks badly
  • Having read the whole series, how do we account for the magic that Harry did when he was young?
  • Where exactly did the “Vanished” glass go? In the book, it is not put back.
  • Would the zoo be able to stay in business after such an incident?
  • The hosts get depressed about the Dursleys’ abuse of Harry, which hits differently now!
  • Main Discussion Part 3: Chapter Three, “The Letters From No One.”
  • 7 Word Summary: Chaos awaits the Dursleys everywhere and above
  • How is it exactly that the letters change addresses for Harry? Is Vernon right, and are the Dursleys being watched?
  • Why don’t Petunia and Vernon just tell Harry who/what he is? Why are they SO resistant?
  • The hosts play What If? regarding Harry opening his Hogwarts letter while in the foyer.
  • Most Valuable Chapter/Character of the Week returns
  • Next week’s Quizzitch question: Who are the four known members of Dudley’s Gang, from Chapter 3 of Book 1?
  • On next week’s episode: Chapters 4-6 of Harry Potter Book One
  • This week’s episode is brought to you by Indeed (Go to Indeed.com/mugglecast to start hiring now), BetterHelp (Go to BetterHelp.com/mugglecast and get 10% off your first month), and MeUndies (Go to MeUndies.com/mugglecast for 20% off your first order)

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Episode #577: Back to Hogwarts! We’re Teaching Our Own Magical Lessons!

To celebrate going Back to Hogwarts, each MuggleCaster brings their own Hogwarts Lesson to the table, and you better pay attention because House Points are up for grabs.  Class is now in session!

  • Welcome Slug Club member, Robbie! Check out his wand collection on Instagram!
  • Main Discussion: Build Your Own Hogwarts Lesson as a new year at the school kicks off.
  • Professor Andrew teaches about the Hogwarts Express in History of Magic.
  • Spend Muggle Studies with Professor Eric
  • Professor Laura introduces us to Proper Spell Enunciation
  • Explore International Wizarding Cultures with Professor Micah
  • Professor Robbie drops some serious Wandlore knowledge on us all!
  • Beware of pop quizzes, homework and security nightmares!
  • Quizzitch:  From what neighborhood does Harry first (accidentally) hail the Knight Bus?
  • On next week’s episode: Chapter-by-Chapter returns with Chapters 1-3 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone!
  • This week’s episode is brought to you by Upside (download the FREE Upside App and use promo code mugglecast to get $5 or more cash back on your first purchase of $10 or more) and BetterHelp (get 10% off your first month at BetterHelp.com/MuggleCast)

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Episode #576: How Are Spells Created? Discussing the Physics of Harry Potter

On this week’s episode, the subject of many a late night with Laura and her boyfriend is made into a main discussion for MuggleCast as the hosts and Marc talk through the physics of Harry Potter! Surely magical objects don’t come from ‘nowhere,’ and there must be a magical cost for doing magic somehow? Those big questions and more are our target as Andrew, Eric, Laura, Micah and Marc put on their thinking caps and dive in!

  • Welcome to this week’s special guest, Laura’s boyfriend Marc!
  • Marc is a game designer with a passion for physics.
  • A new trailer for Hogwarts Legacy has debuted, and we now know what all versions of the game will cost us. You might need to break into Gringotts to be able to afford the Collectors Edition!?
  • Main Discussion: The physics of Harry Potter
  • Just what is ‘physics’ and what answers does the study of physics seek to find?
  • In the Wizarding World, is there a cost for doing magic? What kind of magic seems limitless, and what kind does not?
  • Where does magical ability come from and how does it work?
  • Are new magical spells created, or discovered?
  • Next the MuggleCasters ask: where does the food come from, and where does your sh** go?
  • What do our known laws (such as conservation of mass) have in common with Gamp’s known laws of Elemental Transfiguration? We go point by point.
  • Does the Vanishing Charm break down an object’s atoms, or teleport it to a different dimension?
  • In this week’s Bonus MuggleCast available exclusively to Patrons, the hosts examine the physics of some magical objects including Invisibility Cloaks, Time Turners and Dumbledore’s Deluminator.
  • Quizzitch: In Year 4, What does Ron smush in anger after Draco taunts him about having inside-Ministry information regarding the TriWizard Tournament?
  • Next week’s episode: The hosts are building their own Hogwarts lesson! Come prepared for lectures and a pop quiz!
  • This week’s episode is brought to you by Backbone! Go to PlayBackbone.com/mugglecast NOW to order your Backbone. For a limited time, and get FREE access to over 350 console games and perks.

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