Transcript #636


MuggleCast 636 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #636, You Are Boot-iful (GOF Chapter 6, The Portkey)

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

Andrew Sims: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: Grab your dirtiest boots that you’re willing to part with, because this week we are diving into Goblet of Fire Chapter 6, “The Portkey.” This week’s episode is also being released Thanksgiving week here in America, so Happy Thanksgiving. We’re thankful for y’all.

Eric: Do you know what I’m thankful for, Andrew? I’m thankful for all of these fun intros we have here going on.

Laura: Same.

Micah: And welcome back, Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks. I’m thankful to not be sick tonight, so I’m thankful for that as well. Let’s pretend we were in the wizarding world and turkeys didn’t exist. What would be on the big platter in the center of the table instead of a turkey in the wizarding world?

Eric: I’ve got something.

Laura: I’ve got a dark thing.

Micah: Look, this might not be a popular opinion. And we’re on Thursday night recordings now, so this is slightly unhinged. But I’m going to go with owls.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: There’s plenty of them.

Laura: Oh my God.

Andrew: A big ol’ owl for you.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: It wasn’t so much the shock of you saying owls, Micah; it was you saying, “There’s plenty of them” as if to justify.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Laura: Are there plenty of them? I don’t know if I would say that.

Eric: I do get where you’re coming from, though, right? Because there’s a turkey surplus, except for the one that gets a pardon every year. Isn’t that something they tell…? Because you can hunt animals that there’s a surplus of.

Andrew: There’s a good supply of turkeys this year. The price of turkeys is actually down this year. That’s a fact. That’s true.

Eric: Wow.

Andrew: Yeah, I would go with a baby hippogriff. Because obviously, a hippogriff is going to be way too big, so a newborn. [laughs] This sounds so bad.

Eric: Somebody has to kill it. [laughs]

Laura: Andrew, I just want you to know Evanna Lynch is never going to come on our show again.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: Forget about the Protego Foundation. Forget about all of these allies that we’ve built up over these years. Asking this question is a no-no.

Micah: So Andrew, I’m curious: Do you bow to it before you slit its throat, or after?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Wow.

Laura: Oh my God.

Andrew: Okay, I would not be doing this myself. I would be… ugh.

Eric: You pay somebody to do it.

Andrew: This is so grim for a wholesome Thanksgiving episode.

Eric: I had a cute one, which was going to be… it’s still sad.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: But you know those little birds that can appear and disappear, the Diricawl?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: So they’re short and pudgy, but I imagine that maybe one if it got too big, it would be a little slow and couldn’t Disapparate in time, so they’d catch it. And that would be the equivalent of a Thanksgiving turkey. Plus, because it’s bigger, it would feed a family. So I can imagine it being a Diricawl.

Andrew: Oh, man. Okay, I like that. How about you, Laura?

Laura: So I feel like if we’re thinking about the wizarding world in 2023 terms, I would like to think that at this point, the wizarding world has caught up with the meatless protein phenomenon that we have here in the Muggle world.

Andrew: This part’s for Evanna and all of our vegetarian listeners.

Eric: Laura single-handedly saving our allies and our alliances.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: I know, I’m over here trying to dig us out of this hole, because I was like, “Oh my God, she’s never going to want to come here again.” [laughs]

Eric: It’s a thankless job, but thank you.

Laura: Yeah, you’re welcome. But yeah, I mean, so I will say, initially, I was thinking dark on this one too. I was like, “What about the qilin?” [laughs]

Andrew: The qilin, yeah.

Laura: Yeah, because you could just say maybe that can kill two birds with one stone, you know?

Andrew: [laughs] I see what you did there. Yeah, I like that idea too. There could be a Beyond Meat version of hippogriff meat. I don’t know what hippogriff meat would taste like, or any of these would taste like, but there could be a rip-off, a fake alternative.

Eric: Maybe it’s made from dirigible plums. They do have a use, like plum base… you know how seitan…?

Micah: No, that’s like a side that I don’t want to taste.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: No, okay, okay. Well, you know what? I have another one, though. I think I have the best answer, besides Laura’s very obviously, superior meat-free. The Occamy. You know how it grows to fit the size of whatever it’s in? So you’d only need one, and it could feed the whole wizarding world. You just put it in a big cathedral or something, and then it fills the space, and then you’re like, “Okay, thank you. We give thanks.” And then that’d be it.

Andrew: That is a beautiful one.

Laura: Well, and then, Eric, you just made me think of Gamp’s Laws of Elemental Transfiguration, right? That’s what it’s called. And how you can’t create food from nothing, but you can duplicate food if you already have some. So maybe the most realistic answer here is to say yes, we do have that Diricawl, that hippogriff, whatever, but we only have one, and we just multiply it and give everyone one.

Eric: In fact, in the wizarding world, Thanksgiving is the most beast-honoring day because there’s just one beast…

[Laura laughs]

Eric: … and they’re like, “This year, we’ve picked the Occamy. This year, we’ve…” and they’re like, “Thank you,” and then they ship it around the world. I think we saved it.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Look, I’m just thinking that… look at Errol in the series. He’s on his way out.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Are you about to say he’s useless, so…?

Eric: Micah is still like, “If we have to kill one bird, it’s got to be that pathetic one.”

Micah: But there is an interesting point that was brought up in the Discord by Erica, who said the conversation made her realize that I don’t think we ever see any wizards eating the meat of magical creatures in the books. It’s always your traditional pork, chicken, beef that we all are accustomed to.

Eric: That’s true. At Hogwarts they don’t serve magical animal products as food.

Andrew: So maybe there is an agreement that those beasts are not to be hunted and eaten.

Eric: Maybe the house-elves refuse to do it.

Andrew: Oh, that would make sense too. Interesting.

Eric: Like a magical creature cannot carve up another magical creature.

Micah: Let’s be real, they don’t have much choice in anything.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Eric: No, they do not have any choice. This is all grim and sad and not at all… we opened with dirty boots; I thought that was awesome. I thought that was a peak. Now I’m just bummed out.

Andrew: And we’re thankful for you all. Let’s just delete this whole section. This is too sad and upsetting.

Eric: Okay, this is going away forever. No one will ever know this happened.

Andrew: I apologize. This was my idea. I should have been sick again this week, I think.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Laura: No, no, no.

Micah: I think it was fine.

Eric: Aww, we never said that.

Andrew: [laughs] I’m just kidding.

Laura: No, no, no, I think it’s great.

Andrew: All right. Well, let’s move out of this subject. Hope everybody who is celebrating has a nice Thanksgiving. Because of Thanksgiving, it falls on a Thursday; that is our new recording day, so we will be off next week. However, we have plenty of bonus MuggleCast installments available over on our Patreon, and in fact, after today’s episode, we’re going to record a new one. Right, Micah? What’s on tap?

Micah: Yeah, so one of the things that I thought would be fun to talk about as we’re reading Goblet of Fire is that back in the day, we were all just youngins working for MuggleNet. One of the most exciting things was always learning what the new title was going to be for the upcoming book. However, there’s a number of different options that were on the table for every book. Let’s face it; “Goblet of Fire” was not the first choice for this book. So we’re going to have a little bit of fun talking about what was the initial choice and some of the other options that were on the table for the fourth book, so it’ll be a good time. Good discussion. We’ll reminisce a bit about our times working for MuggleNet too.

Andrew: So you can check that out at And you can get this bonus audio content within your favorite podcast app, including Spotify; that’s a relatively recent addition. We can’t do this show without your support. So thank you to everybody who supports us on Patreon or Apple Podcasts. By the way, one of our listeners who’s listening live on Patreon tonight, Liza, says the Thanksgiving conversation was genuinely hilarious and she’s vegan. So we’ve got the approval of at least one vegan.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Safe, I think.

Eric: Phew, okay.

Laura: I hope you know I was half joking.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Oh, and Liza also points out that Evanna said she’s dating a non-vegan on the last episode of The ChickPeeps, so I think we’re in the clear, y’all. We can rest easy this holiday season.

Eric: Yeah, it’s not make or break with the relationship. Well, let’s be sure to send her a card anyway.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Yes, a card with AI art that shows a baby hippogriff on a Thanksgiving dinner table.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: That’s the fastest way to get cancelled, actually.

Andrew: So a little reminder, too: We announced this last week, the MuggleCast overstock store is now open. If you’ve ever wanted one of our cool physical gifts that we send to patrons, but maybe you don’t support us on Patreon, we are selling leftover physical gifts from years past, including the MuggleCast beanie – that’s our newest one – the sweet 16 wood car, album art signed by the four of us, T-shirts, socks, and more. This is the MuggleCast and Millennial overstock store; that’s the podcast that Laura and I do. Visit, or you can click the link in the show notes to see the store and purchase your favorites. And once these are gone, these are gone. We are not making these again, so please check them out. Great holiday gift idea, by the way. Maybe you would like one of these on your holiday list. Here you go; send people a link to the store.

Eric: If I didn’t have 50 of them burning a hole in my back porch, the MuggleCast wood car.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Eric: It’s still one of the most creative gifts we’ve ever given, and it’s fun to assemble. I had fun doing the instructions and a little video where you can watch it happen. Also, they’re infinitely customizable; you can paint these things!

Micah: I was actually going to say the beanie. I think that just given the time of year, most folks are facing a little bit of colder weather. And even if you’re not, if you live in a warm place, the AC gets turned up too high…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: … throw your beanie on. Wear it at night when you go to bed.

Andrew: It’s started getting colder here, and I’m actually using the beanie now. And darn, that thing is comfortable. That is a cozy beanie.

Laura: It really is.

Andrew: Don’t miss out on that beanie. Now Eric is wearing it himself.

Eric: It sure is.

Micah: Eric is modeling it.

Eric: Here we go. Keep warm.

Andrew: It’s really nice. Don’t miss out. That’s perfect for Christmas.

Micah: I’ve actually gotten a lot of compliments on it, too, from colleagues who’ve seen it.

Andrew: Oh, cool!

Laura: I was going to recommend the socks, personally. The knit on them is so nice. And they also have our classic iPod shadow design on them from the very first T-shirt we ever came out with, so those are really nice and well made too.

Andrew: Don’t miss out on these lovely gifts. So before we start, we are doing Goblet of Fire Chapter 6, “The Portkey” today, and we would be remiss if we did not mention that the Goblet of Fire movie was released 18 years ago this week.

Eric and Laura: Wow.

Laura: Oh my God.

Eric: You know what that means? It’s the 18th anniversary of “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Come on!”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Yes. This is the 18th anniversary of our first live podcast in New York City.

Eric: Very cool. Very cool.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: So as always, we will start this installment of Chapter by Chapter with our seven-word summary.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Andrew: The…

Laura: … Quidditch…

Micah: … World…

Eric: … is…

Andrew: … excited…

Laura: … regarding…

Micah: … Voldemort.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Oh, okay. Wow.

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: All right. Happy Thanksgiving, once again, everybody.

[Micah laughs]

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Eric: And which one of these are we going to review at the end of the book?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: This one.

Micah: Hey, there are a lot of chapters still to go.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That’s true. This is only Chapter 6.

Eric: All right.

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Laura: Let’s get into our chapter. Specifically, I want to start out this week’s discussion by talking about wizarding modes of transport. We hear quite a bit about this from Arthur Weasley, as he’s explaining how people are getting to the Quidditch World Cup. And I think we learn a little bit more about the ways that wizards travel, right? We’re familiar with brooms and the Hogwarts Express and the Floo Network at this point, but in this chapter, we’re learning a couple of other ways that magical folk get around. First of all, it is noted that 100,000 people come from around the world to the Quidditch World Cup. And I’ll confess, when I read this, when I reread it, I was surprised, because when you think about international World Cup events and the crowds those draw, it’s millions of people who turn up for those things. But then I had to remind myself, “Well, this is a significantly smaller portion of the global population.” But it just made me wonder exactly how many magical people are there in the world?

Eric: We don’t know.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: But I think that, given that there were said to be about 1,000 people at Hogwarts 25 years ago when the author was asked – and that’s even less people than were just at my high school, which is four years – if you want to, there might be some math we could do there, but it’s considerably less. And not only that, but the 100,000 people that are coming are still a huge threat to breaking the Statute of Secrecy, and so I think on days like this, the Ministry is glad there’s only 100,000 people turning up. I did do some math, and it’s only twice the size of Dodger Stadium. Dodger Stadium holds about 56,000.

Andrew: “Only” twice the size.

Micah: You raise a really good point, though, Eric, because all of this needs to be done in secrecy. It’s not like your traditional Olympics, let’s say, where people are able just to fly in from all over the world and not have to worry worry about whether or not they’re seen by other people. So that’s a major factor in all of this.

Andrew: Yeah. And I mean, I think when we were reading Goblet of Fire for the first time, it may have been harder to fathom 100,000 wizards from around the world coming in, because those are… you wouldn’t think there were that many wizards, I don’t think. But now that we’re in this post-Book 7 world where we’ve learned so much more about the wizarding world, the schools around the world, this number is easier for me to believe.

Laura: Yeah. I think as a kid, when you’re reading this, that feels like a huge number. And I mean, it is a big number. But relative to this kind of event, it seems pretty small, from our standpoint.

Andrew: That’s a good point too. Because as a child, when you’re reading this, you’ve never been to something with 100,000 people, maybe not even something with 1,000 people.

Eric and Laura: Right.

Laura: Well, to Eric’s point about the Statute of Secrecy, one of the things that the Ministry does to protect itself from the risk of exposure by all of these wizarding weirdos navigating the Muggle world to get to the Quidditch World Cup is by mandating staggered arrivals, so depending on the ticket you bought, how good your ticket was, how expensive it was, some people had to get there really early. So if you bought cheap seats, you had to get there up to two weeks before the match even started.

Eric: Is it just me or does this feel like San Diego Comic Con all over again?

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Getting in line for the big Twilight panel?

Eric: Do you want to see, yeah, the Pixar panel, whatever the big panel is going to be?

Andrew: I would hate being there two weeks early. I guess you could see it as a nice peaceful camping opportunity, but other than that, this sounds like hell.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: And it’s really crappy that the lower income people would have to get there two weeks early in order to attend the Cup. That is not right or fair. I see why they need to slowly have people trickle in, but still, that’s pretty poor.

Micah: That was my main point with this, is that it seems somewhat counterintuitive. To the point that Andrew is raising, you’d assume the people with cheaper tickets don’t – not in every case – but most of them wouldn’t have the means to put themselves up for two weeks somewhere.

Eric: That’s a good point.

Micah: So forcing them to come in early is not fair.

Eric: Yeah, I think it must come down to how a lot of things in the wizarding world come free or cheaply. We were talking earlier about duplicating food, but living situations are… I’ve never heard of wizarding world real estate being an issue. I mean, if they are on a hill camping, and as long as they can conceal themselves from any Muggles that would walk by, one would think that they would be at least permitted as wizards to stay there indefinitely.

Andrew: Who has two weeks to basically camp out for the event to start? You’ve got to work, you’ve got school…

Micah: Take off work.

Laura and Micah: Yeah.

Laura: That was my thing. I was like, “What about these people’s jobs? How are they supposed to go to work?”

Eric: I would argue we don’t know enough about wizarding professions. The Ministry people are probably working it, but…

Andrew: But they probably get a lot of vacation time because things are just better in the wizarding world. Here in America, it’s like, you get four days a year. In the wizarding world, it’s probably like, you get three months.

Laura: Well, I have bad news for you, Andrew; there are countries around the world where the reality that you’re describing – or excuse me, the fantasy you’re describing – is a reality.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Yeah, I know, I see a lot of Europeans doing a lot of vacationing and I’m like, “How do I get that life?” [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. I was going to say, Andrew, didn’t you see the most recent email from HR? Our four days a year is actually going down to three because of costs.

Andrew: Oh, wonderful. Excellent.

Eric: Yeah, but a big thing for me… so we talked about… I completely agree it’s a class issue. Although, I do think a lot of people who had to be here for two weeks probably aren’t suffering, especially if they can Apparate in and out. It’s unclear exactly what they’re doing two weeks in advance there. It’s just a matter of, again, the Statute of Secrecy. But I want to hear right now, is this better or worse than Ticketmaster’s verified fan whole shenanigans?

Andrew: [laughs] This is actually better. This is better.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Because A, nothing is worse than verified fan, because you have no control of it. At least with getting there two weeks early, you’re like, “I’m in control. I am deciding. I’ll get there two weeks early and I’m guaranteed to get in.” Verified fan, I keep trying to get tickets to Adele in Vegas; I keep getting rejected. Keep getting waitlisted. It’s not my fault. I’m a real fan! But I can’t get the tickets. If I could camp out for two weeks, maybe I would, and then I am in control. [sings] Hello, it’s me… camping out for two weeks to guarantee myself some tickets.

Eric: It’s so low-tech, too, and it just reminds me of… God, kids these days probably wouldn’t know it. Oh, great, we’re officially old; I said “Kids these days.” [laughs] But Black Friday, where you used to see people camping out outside Best Buy the day before or overnight to be there at 7 a.m. when they open to get one of the first 500 HD TVs when they first came out. That to me must have been the inspiration for what this became in the book. It was published in 2000, so it must have been something akin to how do people deal with… or maybe the Olympics were like that too; maybe people were camping out. I really don’t know.

Andrew: My mom camped out for a Nintendo Wii.

Eric: Ooh.

Micah: I was just thinking more so along sporting lines, right? When you have these major events, usually… like in the case of the Quidditch World Cup, it would be the main event, but there’s other things that are happening around the main event, right? So if you’re there for two weeks, hopefully, there’s other things that you can take advantage of that you can go and do as a fan of Quidditch that you otherwise would never have the opportunity to do because this is an event that only happens… what is it, once every however many years? I don’t remember off the top of my head. But I would just hope there’s more fan stuff for these people to take advantage of.

Laura: Well, when we think about how people are actually getting to the World Cup, though, we’re introduced to a couple of concepts by Arthur. First thing he does is tell us that there are 200 of these things called Portkeys placed around Britain, right? These are inanimate objects that are unobtrusive, kind of unassuming looking, but they can actually transport you to a particular destination at a specific time. What I thought was so interesting about this was the I think British point of view we see here, where it’s like, “Yeah, we have 200 of these placed around Britain,” but we also know Arthur says people are coming from all around the world to do this. So it’s not just British people that are going to be traveling by Portkey. And it makes me wonder, does the British Ministry have to collaborate with other countries’ Ministries to get Portkeys set up there and link them to the Portkeys in Britain to get people where they’re going? Just seems like a logistical nightmare.

Eric: I think that the other countries, especially those that are involved in sending their teams to the Quidditch World Cup, Ireland and Bulgaria, they probably have also huge swaths of the people that are coming to represent. So given that we also see a smattering of other international people on the ground later when Harry is roaming, and there’s that guy with the magic carpets and all of this, it really does seem like the other governments would have to be helping the British Ministry just to get their own citizens to the Cup and back.

Laura: That’s also a mutual benefit, right? None of them want the International Statute of Secrecy to be breached. [laughs] Not good for anyone, no matter where you hail from. But Andrew, you had an interesting point about the Portkey’s transportation timer.

Andrew: Yeah, this chapter is our introduction to Portkeys and Apparition, and so we’re learning little details about each mode of magical transportation. And we learn in this chapter that the Portkey has a sort of transportation timer where you have to be holding it at a particular time in order for it to transport you. I do wonder if this is the best option, for it to be based around a time, because it seems like – speaking of nightmares – a safety nightmare for anyone who might accidentally pick it up. And in this chapter, I guess it’s maybe Arthur, he says, “Oh, it’s just an old boot. Nobody’s going to bother touching it.” I feel terrible for that boot. That is insulting to that boot, or any other Portkey, that it’s too ugly for somebody to even pick up to properly dispose of it in the trash can. “You are so ugly, nobody will even help clean up earth by touching you.”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Laura: I really love how you personified the boot. I did not think that’s where we were going with this conversation. [laughs]

Andrew: I’ve seen Toy Story too many times. I personify…

Eric: “I don’t wanna play with you anymore.”

Laura: Aww.

Andrew: [laughs] Right. “I don’t wanna touch you.” No, but really, let’s say the boot wasn’t worthless and untouchable in the eyes of Arthur Weasley. This is not a safe system because some Muggle could be holding it and could be transported.

Laura: Yeah. And to that point, Andrew, this is another example of Muggles being characterized as not paying enough attention to pick up on anything magical. So I was thinking the same thing. I was like, “What if some environmental group was out cleaning up rubbish out of the countryside and just happened to pick up this boot at the precise time that it travels?”

Andrew: Right. Of course, they all had a lengthy debate over who was going to dare to touch the boot, and then somebody lost the bet, and then, yeah, that poor person is transported against their will.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Trying to seek out what the real world thing to be touched on this might be. Because I do that anytime a new magical concept is introduced, like boggarts, for instance, being the monster under your bed you always feared as a kid. I think of Portkeys being… just this idea that they’re out in the middle of the countryside where no one else is, that if you ever had somebody going to the middle of nowhere where nobody else is, it feels weird. And you’re more likely, if you have a friend that went to the middle of nowhere, to come back and hear just a wild story about how they ended up somewhere unexpected and barely got back. It just seems like the wildest things happen at random and derelict buildings and things, so it seems to be maybe a mention to how some of the things Muggles might have encountered are actually Portkeys, or a wizard was supposed to be using them or forgot it was left there.

Laura: Oh, I kind of love that.

Micah: Right. It’s reminiscent of “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

[Eric laughs]

Micah: At least the lens through which this is all being written in that, of course, a Muggle would just brush past a dirty old boot sitting out in the middle of the field. But I wonder if we peeled it back a little bit – and this might be a bit of a stretch – but do you think the Portkey is at all reflective of the class status of Arthur and his family?

Laura: Ooh.

Micah: Dirty old boot, not a lot of money. I can’t see the Malfoys using a dirty old boot to make their way to the Quidditch World Cup.

Eric: They would transfigure it into a stiletto or a nicer shoe first, and then they would use it.

Laura: Yeah. I mean, they’re probably not traveling by Portkey, knowing them.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: True.

Andrew: Not to mention having to travel to the Portkey to begin with. That would be a hassle for a rich family.

Eric: That was the hard part. Yeah, getting up early, I think, also is an indication of their class, to your point, Micah. Even if there are other Portkeys that other families are taking, the 7:45 a.m. one is definitely for the poorer people.

Andrew: The Malfoys would be taking the private jet equivalent.

Eric: They would be taking their peacocks. Remember how Malfoy Manor has peacocks strutting?

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Oh, yeah.

Eric: Which, now we need AI art of Lucius and Draco and Narcissa flying on peacocks to the Quidditch World Cup. Please don’t disappoint me, Micah.

Laura: You know, Micah, now that you bring that up, it makes me think of the moment where they meet Amos and Cedric Diggory, and Amos just assumes that Harry and Hermione are also Arthur’s children. And we already know, we’ve heard several times throughout the series, that the Weasleys are just known for having a gaggle of children and people can’t really keep track of how many. So I think this speaks to your point, too, Micah, that somebody like Amos Diggory would look at Arthur and be like, “Oh, yes, there’s another couple of kids; must be his. That’s what they do.”

Eric: I also want to draw attention to the thing we’ve talked about before, about how rushed the author felt in writing this book. And so what if Amos’s line about “And these are all yours, too, I suspect, Arthur?” might be a reference to that Weasley cousin that was going to be introduced in this book and was cut. Maybe he’d be like, “No, these aren’t mine, but we have a cousin we’re meeting” originally, or something like that.

Laura: Interesting.

Andrew: That was a really funny line, too, the “No, just the redheads are mine.”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: I wonder if as a Weasley, you’re forbidden to change the color of your hair. Like if Bill, he has long hair, but if he had changed it from red, Molly would have flipped on him.

Andrew: And in a situation like the Quidditch World Cup where there’s tons of people, I bet Arthur and Molly really like that their kids have red hair because it’s easy to spot them. It’s like when you go to Disneyworld and you see a family wearing neon green T-shirts, all the same one, so they can easily be spotted. That’s what’s happening here maybe.

Eric: We went to Yellowstone and my mom wore bright pink. It was very easy to spot her. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah, I’m sure.

Micah: This is good for the next time we all go to Universal together.

Laura: Oh, that’s right. We have to pick a group color. Let’s think about it.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: Before we move off of Portkeys, one of the things I just wanted to call attention to is that this is clearly to set up the Portkey that we see used at the end of Goblet of Fire. And we all know that J.K. Rowling is very good at including things in a passing mention, and that’s pretty much what this is for this particular Portkey. And who knows? I don’t think it was ever in my mind as Harry was participating in the third task that the Triwizard cup was going to be a Portkey that took him to the Riddle graveyard, right? So it just goes to show you that we should always be paying attention to what’s on the page, much like the last chapter, that dinner conversation.

Eric: Right. Well, and in this chapter as well, the Summoning Charm is introduced. Harry ends up using that in the first task and it comes in clutch, and Molly Weasley is using it to get candies out of Fred and George’s pockets. So there’s just a ton of that, stuff that’s going to come later in this book, things being hidden or introduced or shown for the first time here, and we don’t really know what it’s going to amount to. I will say, though, Micah, to your point, the Portkeys work differently in the beginning of the book versus at the end of the book. Not only is the Triwizard cup one presumably not timed, right, Harry is not there at a specific minute. Barty Crouch, Jr. is not checking back and forth to see Harry’s progress and, as far as we know, setting the timer to go off in the next 60 seconds. And the element of it being a return cup as well; the fact that Harry is able to touch the cup with Cedric’s body and take it back is very much also not something that’s introduced here. So even though we’re only a book apart, within the same book, it’s actually pretty inconsistent. So as a full introduction to Portkeys and how they work and all that stuff for use later, I think it actually falls short a little bit because these things don’t add up.

Micah: It’s inconsistent.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Micah: And that can also be to the point that you were talking about earlier about the author feeling rushed in her writing for this book.

Laura: Right. Well, we also learn… because we hear that some people obviously would prefer to Apparate to the Quidditch World Cup. But we also learn that there are some trade-offs when it comes to Apparition. It can be dangerous, but you also have to have a license in order to Apparate. And we learn a couple of people that Arthur is aware of who actually got fined for Apparating without a license, and to literally add insult to injury, they splinched themselves, meaning that they did not Apparate successfully and they left part of themselves behind.

Andrew: Do you think they made the noise that Voldemort makes in Deathly Hallows – Part 2? [imitates Voldemort’s grunts of pain]

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Those are so fun to make, by the way. I had a ball doing that with you a few weeks ago, Laura.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: You’re really good at them.

Andrew: So anyone can Apparate, even if you don’t have a license. That’s what we’re gathering from here, right?

Laura: Right.

Eric: Well, I think it’s technically you can be capable of doing the magic, but…

Andrew: You really shouldn’t unless you have the license.

Eric: Yeah, as evidenced by the fact that these guys splinched themselves. If you aren’t going through the licensing process, then you’re not getting the most up-to-date helpful education on it, and so if you try and teach yourself how to, like, “I’m self taught,” and then you go and splinch yourself, it’s like, “Well, you should have just done the licensing course.”

Andrew and Micah: Yeah.

Laura: I mean, it’s just like how somebody can know how to drive but not have a driver’s license.

Eric: It is exciting to see the wizarding world put a lot of systems in place – or just one system in place – for something that they’re doing that’s unsafe. [laughs] That’s new. That’s exciting. You have to license for Apparition. That’s cool.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: So we do have this connecting the threads moment here when Arthur is talking about these two gentlemen getting splinched, because we actually know that later on in Deathly Hallows, Ron goes on to get splinched when he, Harry, and Hermione are Disapparating to get to the Forest of Dean.

Eric: Again, it works a little differently. So Ron needs dittany so he doesn’t bleed to death. In this case, Arthur seems to be talking about the people being not at risk of bleeding to death necessarily. He says half of them was somewhere else, but it seems to be that maybe they’re magically protected, like if you just open a portal and half of you goes through, that the other half is… it seemed like they were still intact; they just weren’t physically in the same… I don’t know. It seems less grim when Arthur is talking about it here than what happened with Ron, which was very serious business.

Laura: Yeah, and it could be that he was trying to spare the kids the gruesome details. Also, I just always think about how nonchalant wizards are when they’re talking about pretty horrific stuff happening, like Dudley’s tongue swelling up inside of his mouth, for example. And Fred and George are just like, “Eh, he’ll be fine. It’s easy enough to fix.” And you hear Arthur talking about this, making light of the fact that these two people got splinched, and you’re like, “Oh, I see where the twins get it from, to be honest.” But there are a lot of people – we just talked about Portkeys – who take Portkeys because they either can’t or don’t want to Apparate because of the risks that come with it. But it made me wonder why, because presumably, Arthur can Apparate. We see him Apparate at other times, right? So why couldn’t he have just used side-along Apparition and made a few trips so that everybody could sleep in? These kids wake up before the sun’s even up and they start walking. [laughs]

Eric: It’s so unfair.

Laura: It’s awful.

Andrew: They’re kids, though, going to a very special event; they’ve got to earn it. I think it’s okay. That part doesn’t bother me. I do like your question, though: Why wouldn’t Arthur even consider side-along Apparition?

Eric: I think it wasn’t invented yet.

Andrew and Micah: Yeah.

Eric: Because the other thing, and we’re going to talk about this in a minute, but the other thing that leads me to believe it wasn’t invented yet is the sheer inconsistency. If you read this chapter of the book and ask yourself “In what year of the wizarding world does a Hogwarts student learn to Apparate?” It’s wildly different, because Percy only just passed, but Percy is out of Hogwarts. He passed year seven, last year. Fred and George are going for their tests next year, but they’re in the fifth year this year. So why should it be next year that they wait for the…? Unless it’s like the year it turns thing. So I just think between all of the people we hear about learning about Apparating, it’s not their fifth year in which they’re doing it. And so the fact that we know that Harry has the instructor at the end of… isn’t it Book 5? Or is it Book 6?

Laura: I think it’s Book 6. And I think the twins are actually sixth years in this, not fifth years.

Eric: So they’re two years ahead of Harry.

Laura: Yeah, because they were third years when Harry started.

Eric: But so for Percy to have just passed two weeks ago, though, he has already graduated Hogwarts though, right?

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: So he learned after his seventh year.

Micah: Yeah, but it’s also…

Laura: Maybe he failed the first time he took it.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: And what is Cedric? He is a seventh year now, correct?

Eric: Cedric is described as just turning 17 or being about 17, so we assume seventh year?

Laura and Micah: Yeah.

Micah: Because it’s mentioned by Amos.

Laura: And we know you have to be of age.

Micah: Right. Amos mentions that he hasn’t passed his Apparition test yet either, so seventh year seems right.

Andrew: Yes.

Eric: And so then Cedric would have passed it at the end of his previous year. So yeah, I just think that everything to do with Apparition is still very new at the time this was written. It’s fun to actually pick out these little elements and be like, “Oh, that actually doesn’t line up with what happens to Harry later.”

Andrew: Anyone who had turned 17 by the day of the exam could take the exam, and if they pass, they received a license.

Laura: Yeah, so that’s why Hermione gets her license before… well, I don’t even know if we ever… we don’t see Harry and Ron get theirs.

Andrew: They don’t. Only Hermione. Look, man, it’s all about the journey. It’s not about the destination, it’s the journey.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Arthur wanted to give them a memorable experience, a nice hike to the boot. [laughs] So they’d never forget the way they entered the Quidditch World Cup. Honestly, though, it’s a good educational experience.

Micah: Also very reminiscent… I’m sure we’ve all been in the situation where maybe we’re taking a big trip, and we had to get up super early.

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Micah: And it could even be… Thanksgiving is coming up. It could even be, “Oh, we’ve got to get up, we’ve got to get in the car and drive for hours to get to whomever’s house that we’re going to celebrate at…”

Andrew: Right.

Micah: It’s kind of like that.

Andrew: Amos got up really early. 2 a.m., he said, I believe, right?

Laura: Yeah, that’s right. And they walked too; that’s the crazy thing to me.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Cedric and his dad walked since two in the morning, and we know that it is at least late enough that Harry is starting to see a faint tinge of green light on the horizon where the sun is rising, so Cedric and Amos walked for like, five hours to get here.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: They’re real outdoorsy types. They’re hard workers.

Andrew: Apparently.

Laura: True.

Micah: Right, and this is a once every four year event, presumably, but their country is hosting it, so it’s exciting. They don’t have a team that’s really in it that they’re cheering for, but there’s an excitement about it.

Laura: Agreed. Well, we were just talking about people failing their Apparition tests, people not having their license as soon as we might expect, based on their age, or based on their year at Hogwarts, but it seems like failing your Apparition test the first time might be fairly common. We learn that Charlie failed his test the first time. We know that Ron is going to fail his in a couple books’ time. Of course, we just chatted about Percy, but we get this great description of him Apparating from his bedroom downstairs every single morning just because he can.

Andrew: Obnoxious.

Laura: Okay, so here’s the thing; I’m actually going to defend it. And y’all know that I’m not really a big Percy fan. But this to me feels like classic teenage behavior; it reminds me of getting your driver’s license, and how you would make excuses or even just go out to do the smallest thing just so that you can get behind the wheel of the car and drive just because you could.

Eric: 100%. 100%.

Andrew: But what he’s doing is going downstairs in the same house.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: If we follow your line of thinking here, it’s like if I just got my driver’s license and I pulled my car out of the garage just to drive to the house next door ten feet away. That’s what’s happening with Percy. So I still think it’s obnoxious.

Eric: Oh, no. The carbon footprint alone is devastating.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: But I think this is their closest equivalent to the experience of being newly licensed to drive a car.

Eric: And excited about it. Yeah, your independence, your freedom.

Andrew: It’s too small of a distance, in my opinion.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: If he was going to a neighbor’s or something, or maybe down the street, okay, but… mm-mm.

Micah: I’ll defend Percy slightly as well…

Andrew: Augh!

Micah: … because I do recall the twins do much of the same in the next book.

Eric: Yep.

Micah: And there’s not as much… I mean, I think it annoys Molly, from what I remember, but it’s not cast in necessarily the same light as Percy doing it. So it just goes to show you that there is favoritism shown towards the twins versus being shown to Percy, and in this case, they’re doing the exact same thing.

Eric: I will also add, based on last week, I talked about Percy’s home life being a complete mess that he resides at the Ministry because he’s escaping home. He’s probably Apparating downstairs to grab his toast for breakfast from his bedroom, and then Apparating back up to his bedroom. Because if he doesn’t, if he tries to take the stairs – you all know what I’m saying, I see it in all of your faces – his siblings are going to trip him, or taunt him, or prevent him, or block his path, or there’s going to be another toffee in the way, or something. Everyone’s turned the crosshairs onto Percy, and so maybe he’s just trying to leave as little of a footprint as possible.

Laura: Yeah, or just trying to avoid people in general, right? We can tell that he’s not really his family’s number one fan at this phase in the series. [laughs]

Micah: True. Though, as much as I defended him, I will say I’m sure there’s a part of him that thoroughly enjoys being able to do this in front of Fred and George.

Laura: Oh yeah, for sure. 100%. Well, Andrew, you had a transportation question.

Andrew: Which would we prefer if we had to pick one? Portkey or Apparition?

Micah: Who’d you rather? Portkey or Apparition?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: No, I think…

Micah: Going back to last week.

Andrew: I like the Portkey from the idea of like, it’s kind of exciting to center your transportation plans around a particular object in time, I think. Actually, I was joking about “the journey” earlier, but I think that is part of the experience, especially when it comes to the Quidditch World Cup. Apparition, there’s some risk to it, whether or not you have your license. I’d rather take the safer route, I think, so long as I don’t have to get up at 2 a.m. to get to my Portkey, five hours away.

Eric: Yeah, Apparition seems to have way too many random variables that could go wrong, so I’m not choosing that anytime soon.

Andrew: So that’s two for the Portkey.

Laura: I’m going to say Apparition, personally. I get motion sickness, and the way the Portkey is described sounds awful to me. So I would just practice and make sure I’m really, really good…

[Eric laughs]

Laura: … before I try to Apparate any kind of significant distance. [laughs]

Micah: Yeah, I’m wondering if this is a Ravenclaw trait on some level, because I feel like ultimately, I’d go with Apparition as well. I just think it’s something, to your point, Laura, you’d have to make sure that you practice enough that you’re doing it safely. Though, that said, we see Newt and Jacob use a Portkey in Fantastic Beasts, and they’re obviously fully grown. And certainly Newt could take Jacob through side-along Apparition. We see him… actually, don’t they do that? Or does he go with Dumbledore? I forget.

Eric: Well, they have to cross the English Channel. And that’s the other aspect of this, because even if you’re an accomplished wizard, the distance makes it worse. It’s harder to do. That’s why Newt takes a ferry liner to get to New York at the beginning of the first movie; he can’t… your risk goes up exponentially based on distance.

Laura: Yeah, that’s why Leta is on the Titanic in the second movie.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Well, speaking of steamliners, we know that some wizards just take loads of Muggle transport. The Ministry somehow has to stagger this and put a cap on how many are doing it so they don’t draw too much attention to themselves. But I have to say, it’s hard for me to imagine this being completely discreet. Think of all the times we’ve seen wizards trying to dress like Muggles, and utterly failing. I’m also thinking of how rowdy sports fans get when there are large sporting events like this going on. No hate towards them; they’re just really, really excited.

Micah: And drunk.

Laura: You can tell when there’s a train full of people coming or going to a game, so I just wonder how much of a mess the Ministry gets to clean up after an event like this. And we know they’re obviously going to have a really big mess to clean up after this one, but in general, I just wonder how much damage control they have to do after a large event.

Eric: Yeah, for sure. I think, too, the event may be over, but their job is just beginning for sanitation crew, cleanup crew, all that kind of a thing. Although, it is funny to actually… I know we led with sort of this “Statute of Secrecy must be preserved,” but I wonder these days, in 2023, how much with conventions being a thing, that we’re all familiar with cosplay… I basically learn about half the conventions that are in Chicago because I see people dressed up wildly on public transit. So I wonder if it’s as severe now in these days and culture, whether the Cup is in a major metropolitan area and people would be like, “Oh, there’s clearly something weird going on,” and they mind their own…

Andrew: “Comic Con London is happening.”

Eric: Yeah, yeah. And then even going back in time, probably to early 2000s when this was written, just wild stuff, again, happens in the middle of nowhere, so maybe a Muggle that lives in the middle of woods on their private property with their 50 acres, they see something weird happening, but that’s just Wednesday afternoon for them. So maybe it isn’t as dire as we think.

Andrew: I really like this point, actually, about conventions. I was going to say, maybe the Ministry gives their constituents very clear guidelines about what to and what not to wear, crystal clear, so there’s no doubt, because yeah, Laura, I don’t trust wizards making up their own mind in terms of what it’s like to dress like a Muggle. But now I’m being swayed by Eric because I do think, to his point, you start seeing people dressed differently than you, you’re like, “Oh, there must be a convention nearby.”

Micah: But yeah, I mean, I would say this is par for the course in New York City. You’d see somebody and you won’t even think twice; they could easily be a witch or a wizard [laughs] and you wouldn’t even bat an eyelash because of all the crazy things that we see here. But when you were talking earlier, Laura, though, about the whole Muggle dress code, even Arthur, who works in the field of Muggles, still doesn’t seem to be able to dress himself to be able to pass as your average person. It drew up the moment that’s in the Order of the Phoenix movie with Mark Williams where he’s doing the moonwalk through the turnstile for the underground because he’s not really sure how it works.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: I think you’d probably get a lot of that going on.

Eric: For sure.

Laura: Yeah. I feel like Arthur knows just enough about Muggles to be dangerous.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Laura: For somebody who has the job he has, he is shockingly out of touch with how Muggles work. [laughs]

Eric: Listen, he’s got the… I don’t know how you… where’s this unfounded accusation coming from? He has a shirt, pants, and a belt. He is succeeding, as far as I’m concerned. He’s the only wizard we ever see who’s an adult that actually succeeds in dressing like a Muggle convincingly.

Laura: Yeah, so he has this one down, I think, for this particular event…

Eric: I’m so proud of him.

Laura: But we see all… yeah, I guess I am proud of him. But I mean, we think about Ron not knowing how to use the telephone, for example.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Eric: That’s true.

Micah: And I want to know why Arthur doesn’t have more pull, working for the Ministry. Why can’t he get there later?

Eric: Because everybody works for the Ministry.

Micah: Everybody, though?

Eric: Yeah. I mean, basically, his department is… yeah.

Micah: So this is like the holiday party. Is that what you’re saying? [laughs]

Eric: This is basically your yearly… yes, I think. Because…

Andrew: Haven’t we also touched on how his job is probably not respected within the Ministry? Haven’t we? So that’s probably another reason why he doesn’t have much pull.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Laura: For sure. Well, keeping it moving, we’re going to move on to the next part of this discussion, which I’ve titled “Sorry, parents, you’re completely cringe to your teenage children.” And we already touched on a couple of these points about why are you forcing these kids on this march to the Portkey? Why couldn’t anybody have used side-along Apparition to make this just an easier experience all around? But I want to focus on Fred and George for a moment, because before everyone leaves the Burrow to go to the boot, Fred and George are caught trying to sneak more of their deadly toffees to the World Cup. But their attempt is ultimately squashed by Mrs. Weasley, and she Accios every last toffee away from them. And I’m wondering, who were the twins planning on passing these out to?

Eric: Can you imagine how disruptive this would have been?

Andrew: Yeah, I also just love that Molly was going “Accio, Accio, Accio!” like she had to do each one individually. It’s too bad there’s not a wider Accio. I guess if they were all in a bag, that would have helped. But to answer your question, maybe they were going to take a strategy similar to what they did with Dudley; just toss them on the ground and see who picks one up and tries to put it in their mouth.

Eric: The only benefit with them trying this again is that people who are suffering from this horrible affliction would be surrounded by wizards. There might actually be an abundance of people trying to help that all have different ideas for how to do it, and that would be potentially awful. But yeah, a crowded space, a public space. The only thing that excuses this, for my mind, is that I think Fred and George really just needed to get them out of the house, because they were afraid that exactly what happened was going to happen, that Molly was going to confiscate them. Maybe they really weren’t planning on actually having people use them. But maybe Lee Jordan or somebody could be able to hold onto them safely until they get to Hogwarts.

Laura: Maybe. I feel like this reminds me of the concept of teenagers, or young people in general, smuggling certain substances, certain contraband that they’re not supposed to have, to an event like a concert or a conference or a dance or something.

Andrew: Yeah. I guess we don’t really know the guidelines here. But presumably, there is a long list of things that are banned from the Quidditch World Cup. Or maybe not, because as I’ve brought up before, anything goes all over the wizarding world. Nothing matters.

Laura: Right, if you think Hogwarts is a security nightmare, then… [laughs]

Andrew: Step outside of Dumbledore and you’ll see just how much crazier it can get. [imitates Dumbledore] “You think I’m bad? Just go to the Cup.”

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: He was probably wearing a Death Eater mask.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Well, speaking of cringy parents, let’s talk about Amos Diggory. I had forgotten how insufferable this man is. And I will say, it hurts to read it because you can tell this man is living vicariously through his son who in nine months’ time he’s going to lose. And that really does hurt. But you think about some of the things that Amos says to Harry, where he’s like, “You’re Harry Potter? Oh man, Cedric is going to be able to tell his grandchildren that he beat you at Quidditch.”

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: “He’s the better flyer because he didn’t fall off his broom.” I felt so much secondhand embarrassment for Cedric reading this.

Eric: That’s the greatest thing about this, though, is that Cedric is actually embarrassed. Fred and George are fuming; they hate being reminded of Hufflepuff’s victory in that one game. But it’s clear that Amos just doesn’t know the full story. Or if he does know it, because I think Cedric might have corrected him at one point, he doesn’t care.

Andrew: He tries to tell him, yeah.

Laura: He did.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: I take your point, but Amos is a proud father. He beat the chosen one. There’s nothing better than that; that is something to brag about. Is it right to brag in front of Harry? No, I guess that’s cringe. But Amos is probably, is obviously starstruck, so he’s not thinking clearly right now, so I’ll stick up for my boy.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: “My boy!”

Micah: Nice play on words there, Andrew.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I’m with you, though, Laura. And it’s just, I think, a product of watching the movies too much. And Jeff Rawle, who played Amos Diggory, he’s very much a friendly character to Harry. He’s never this version of Amos towards Harry. And so to see him behave this way, I completely forgot that this was the type of person that he is.

Eric: It’s so reminiscent of actual parents, though, that are very cringe, to your point, Laura. Just the idea of like, they go into it, then he goes into, “Oh, well, I’m sure even Harry would admit if one man falls off his broom and the other one doesn’t, then the other one is the better athlete!” and it’s like, “Oh my God, stop.”

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: We all know somebody like that, though.

Laura: Yeah, we do. And I just want to point out here, we can’t forget that during that Quidditch match in Prisoner of Azkaban, Cedric actually wanted to replay the match. He wanted a rematch because he didn’t think that it was fair, because Harry had fallen off his broom and it wasn’t Harry’s fault. So Cedric is actually, at least in this regard when it comes to his humility and his self-awareness, he is the polar opposite of his father. Amos is giving, like, stage mother in this.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yes, very good.

Eric: Or what is it with Toddlers and Tiaras where they’re…?

Laura: Yeah, beauty pageant mom. [laughs]

Eric: Beauty, yeah, pageant moms. He is. I will say that unique to Cedric, too, unlike Viktor Krum and Fleur Delacour, we actually, I think, see enough evidence in previous books in the whole series to understand why the Triwizard cup picks Cedric as the champion for Hogwarts. I think that we… or at least we see his Hufflepuff side, his unwillingness to accept the glory for himself. And he’s not the one gloating. Imagine what a different character he would be if he came up to Harry and said, “Hey, Harry, remember when I beat you at Quidditch?” That would be a way different character, but he would never.

Laura: And I had this note here – we’re getting really dark on this episode between the beginning and the end of the chapter here – but reflecting on Amos telling Cedric, “This will be something you tell your grandchildren,” and I was just thinking, as I planned this episode, the narrator coming on and being like, “Cedric would have no grandchildren.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Poor Cedric.

Andrew: Maybe they can do that in the TV show. Cut to a narrator and it can be you, Laura.

Laura: Oh, maybe they can get Helen Mirren to be the narrator of the Harry Potter TV show.

Andrew: Ooh, that’d be fun. Max that!

Laura: That would be so good. That connection is there. [laughs]

[“Max That” sound effect plays]

Odds & Ends

Laura: All right, we’re going to get into a couple of odds and ends here. The Lovegoods are named dropped at the beginning-ish of this chapter, as having already arrived at the World Cup a couple of weeks ago. Arthur mentions this. And this is where we get the first connection to Luna living so close to the Weasleys, even though we don’t know her character yet. But it makes me wonder, did Luna and Xenophilius end up having to get the cheap tickets Arthur was talking about?

Andrew: Yes, the newspaper world is a tough business. There’s no money in it.

Eric: Print does not sell.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: They’re dancing around the forest, so they’re fine.

Andrew: [laughs] They’re holding their own Woodstock.

Eric: I was going to say, to them, I bet they would have chosen to come early for all the people watching and that kind of thing. I just imagine Luna’s summers being filled with nonstop enjoyment, no matter what form that takes.

Laura: Agreed. I also just wanted to mention that Mrs. Weasley calls the twins out for not getting more OWLs again. She just did this around their first incident with the cursed toffees, and here she says it to them again, because they mention “Hey, it took us six months to make those, and you just trashed them.” And she said, “Well, it’s no wonder you didn’t do better on your exams,” when the reality is, in a lot of ways, you could say they demonstrated a much higher level of intellect by being able to develop these than is necessarily reflected by doing well on an exam.

Eric: I think the interesting thing about this for me is that Molly brings it up almost to defend Charlie, because I think it’s the twins that are like, “Charlie failed his Apparition test twice.” She’s defending who could be her favorite child.

MVP of the Week

Laura: All right, and we will go ahead then and get into MVP of the week.

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: And I’m going to give it to the boot Portkey, and listen, boot: You are boot-iful, and worthy of being touched by a Muggle. You are more than untouchable trash to a Muggle like me.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: I would pick you up and put you where you belong. You are my MVB of the week.

Eric: Oh, MVB. I’m going to give mine to Amos for reasons we’ve already said. He gets to gloat about his boy, and it won’t last long, but good for him.

Laura: Well, I’m going to give it to his boy.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: I’m going to give it to Cedric for his self-awareness and his humility in the face of his father kind of bullying a 14-year-old boy low-key. [laughs]

Micah: I’m going to give it to Eric, or [laughs] I’m going to agree with Eric and give it to Amos, because in the spirit of Thanksgiving, he served up some humble pie to Harry.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

[MVP of the Week music ends]

Andrew: If you have any feedback about today’s discussion, you can contact us by emailing or sending a voice memo recorded on your phone to, or you can use our old school phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453.


Andrew: And now it’s time for some of our Harry Potter trivia game, Quizzitch.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s question: According to Amos Diggory, what family couldn’t get tickets to the Quidditch World Cup? And the correct answer was the Fawcetts. Whoever they are, I feel bad for them.

[Quizzitch music ends]

Eric: Micah, please do us the honor of reading last week’s winners who got the correct answer.

Micah: Thanks, Eric. So correct answers were submitted by All hail Andrew, the King of Panera Bread…

Andrew: Interesting. I do love Panera. I don’t know who knows that about me, but thank you.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: … Amos, more like LAMEos; Cedric and his idiot father for jeering at Harry the Almighty; Crystal blue; Daniel Radcliffe’s Abandoned Green Contact Lenses; DavidHeymanYouSexyFantasticBeast…

Laura: True.

Micah: … DF versus Omega Mart read triple trio part 27… [coughs] Sorry, I’m losing my voice now. Elizabeth K.; Famous Amos, Don’t Eat His Cookies; German trains make me dream of Hogwarts Express; Hagrid’s soggy pillow; HallowWolf; I Answered a Harry Potter Trivia Question Correctly and then Proceeded to Get a Lot of Other Trivia Questions Wrong; Justice for Winky; Keep your Galleons in the bag, men; LC; Luna’s Quidditch Week-long Pregame Show featuring her Nargles…

Eric: Yes!

[Laura laughs]

Micah: … Mollywobbles; Muggle, Muggle, toil and trouble, toffees go and cautions don’t bubble; My favorite beast is a shiny shiny Niffler; Ron’s emotional range; and The reason Crookshanks has a squashed face is because… [laughs]

Eric: There’s so much animal cruelty in this episode.

Laura: [laughs] I know.

Micah: The reason Crookshanks has a squashed face is because Ron hit it with a frying pan.

Andrew: Wow.

Eric: Cannot confirm.

Micah: Now, here’s the question, Eric.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Which one is my submission?

Eric: Were you Keep your Galleons in the bag, men?

[Micah makes a buzzing sound]

Laura: I’m going to give it to DavidHeymanYouSexyFantasticBeast.

Andrew: I would vote that one too.

[Micah makes a buzzing sound]

Andrew: What was it, Micah? What was it?

Micah: Well, no, I don’t have to give it away if it’s not properly…

Andrew: All right, he sneaks by again.

Eric: [laughs] He sneaks by again. That reminds me of that old…

Micah: Famous Amos, Don’t Eat His Cookies.

Eric: Oh, okay, okay. That old Onion headline, which is “Ninja parade goes through town unnoticed again.”

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Here is the next Quizzitch question: According to Percy, about how many languages does Mr. Crouch speak? Submit your answer to us on the Quizzitch form located on the website. Go to, click on “Quizzitch,” or go to in your search bar.

Andrew: Also on that site, you’ll find our transcripts, our social media links, our full episode archive, our favorite episodes, and our contact form. Don’t forget, too, that the MuggleCast and Millennial overstock store is now open, so visit to get one-of-a-kind MuggleCast gifts while supplies last. These are great for the holidays, so if you need something for your wishlist or you need something for the MuggleCast fan in your life, check it out. If you enjoy the show and think other Muggles would too, tell that Muggle about the show. We would also appreciate if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app. And last but definitely not least, visit if you want to support the show and receive early access to the show, ad-free episodes, bonus episodes, yearly physical gifts, and much more. If you’re an Apple Podcasts subscriber, you can tap into the show and receive early and ad-free access to each episode for $2.99 a month. We’re going to have some updates there in the New Year, by the way, concerning the Apple Podcasts subscription. More to come. Whether pledging through Patreon or Apple Podcasts, free trials and annual subscriptions are available. So that does it for this week’s Thanksgiving-themed episode, I guess, of MuggleCast. Good luck roasting your baby hippogriff, and hope it goes well. And I apologize.

Micah: Stuffing your owls.

Andrew: Forever sorry, I’m Andrew.

Eric: Eternally also sorry, I’m Eric.

Micah: Forever thankful, I’m Micah.

Andrew: Aww, that’s cute.

Laura: Sorry not sorry, I’m Laura.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Bye, everyone.

Eric, Laura, and Micah: Bye.

Transcript #635


MuggleCast 635 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #635, Percy The Parrot (GOF Chapter 5, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes)

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

Eric Scull: Hello, and welcome to MuggleCast, Episode 635. A very special episode, a [emphasizes] “some girls” episode of MuggleCast.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: This is your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Eric: Stay out of Molly’s kitchen because the sauce ain’t the only thing boiling over tonight.

Laura: Ooh.

Eric: I love whoever wrote that. Probably Micah, right?

Micah: It was me.

Eric: We’re getting back, after a few weeks off, into Goblet of Fire Chapter by Chapter. Very excited to be doing that. But first, Andrew could not make it, and we’re powering forward in his stead. But we do have with us a wonderful Slug Club guest. Hello, Katie.

Katie: Hi.

Eric: Welcome to the show.

Katie: Thank you for having me. I’m very excited.

Eric: Please, can we get your fandom ID?

Katie: Sure. So my favorite book is Order of the Phoenix. My favorite movie is I think Prisoner of Azkaban. I don’t know why.

Laura: Hell yeah. Hell yeah!

Eric: You don’t? You think so but you don’t know why.

Katie: I don’t know why. It’s not that good, but it’s good. My House is Gryffindor. My Patronus is a marsh harrier, I think; some kind of bird.

Laura: Oh!

Katie: My Ilvermorny House is Wampus, which I had to look up before this. And then my favorite Weasley is George.

Eric: Okay! I’m sure you’ll be singing all of George’s praises.

Katie: Of course.

Eric: Well, we have a few announcements before we get into our Chapter by Chapter this week. Micah, why don’t you tell us what’s coming up in bonus?

Micah: Yeah, so we have a really exciting bonus MuggleCast plan, the first for November. Thank you to Andrew, actually, for planning it.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Micah: So he did the work, but we get to have the discussion. And we’re going to be discussing the question, “What did a good character do in the Harry Potter series that really just rubbed us the wrong way?”

Eric: Ooh.

Micah: And this was pulled, I believe, from a Reddit thread. Subreddit. I’m not familiar with Reddit, not a big Reddit user. I want to try and get the terminology right.

Laura: Micah.

Micah: I know Laura is going to kick me off the show, but…

Laura: No, I’m not going to kick you off the show. I just feel bad for you. You’re depriving yourself of so much information. You should see… honestly, Micah, I’m surprised you’re not a Redditor. It feels very up your alley.

Micah: Okay.

Eric: Ooh.

Micah: Well, maybe this bonus MuggleCast will get me going on the Reddit train.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: But yeah, there are a lot of things that “good” characters did in the Harry Potter series that really irked people, and we’re going to discuss them coming up in bonus MuggleCast.

Eric: Well, yeah, I love the topic. I’m very excited to be getting to that, especially because something that was touched on on last week’s MuggleCast, the all girls episode, no character is black or white, and there’s things to love about our favorite characters and things to hate. So by the way, I want to shout out: Laura, great job last week and on that episode, and Chloé and Pam and Meg. Everyone did a really great job.

Laura: I loved doing the episode, and I loved listening back to it after it came out. It came out so well, and I was really happy to hear that the final product felt very much the way I felt when we were recording it. So really hoping that everyone enjoyed, and please, we want to hear your feedback. We want to hear what y’all’s thoughts are because we are always looking for feedback on what things we can do with the show as we move forward, as anyone who took our survey knows. So yeah, really appreciate it.

Micah: It was a really great episode. I listened to it on my commute this week. And I will say, I think there was a bit of inspiration for at least part of this discussion that’s coming up a little bit later on in this episode.

Laura: I know; I loved that. I’m so excited for us to get there.

Eric: Well, cool. Right before we dive in, there’s one more announcement, and this one is really exciting, actually. I’m very stoked about it. It feels like Christmas has come early, or I hope that it will feel that way to listeners of the show. Have you ever wanted one of our cool physical gifts that we send usually to patrons, but you couldn’t or came too late to subscribe to our Patreon? Well, if this is you, you’re in luck. For the first time ever, we are selling the additional copies, the physical gifts, the leftover gifts from years past, on – da-da-da-da – the MuggleCast and Millennial Overstock Store. It’s over on Etsy. The URL for this is, because we combined the two shows’ overstocked gifts, and the MuggleCast beanie is on here. You guys, honestly, by the time that this episode comes out, I’m not even sure we’re still going to have them, but Pickle Pack T-shirts are available, the original Pickle Pack shirts, the progenitor to MuggleCast on Patreon by like, nine years, the ancestor of MuggleCast Patreon. Those shirts are available all on the MuggleCast store. Laura, tell us more.

Laura: And just for anyone who may be listening and going, “Okay, what the heck is Millennial?” we have plugged it before. For anyone at home, Millennial is another podcast that I host with Andrew and with Pam, who was on the all girls episode last week. But since all of these are extra inventory that we’ve collected over the years, everything is only going to be available while supplies last, y’all. These are not going to be printed or sold again. We have several unique anniversary-oriented products, like our 15th anniversary T-shirts and our 16th anniversary wooden cars, so don’t miss out. Your purchase does go to supporting the show, so thank you so much in advance.

Eric: And congrats to our recent Quizzitch Live winners, who won their first pick at some of these presents from the overstock store as well, and they chose the Pickle Pack shirts. So again, I think those are going to go like hotcakes. But I think that may be it for the announcements, and it’s ready to dive in.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Eric: This week we’re discussing Chapter 5 of Goblet of Fire, titled “Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.” I always forget that the name for their eventual joke shop comes quite early in the series.

Laura: I will say, I forgot about that too.

Katie: Me too.

Eric: And I don’t know if it’s an offhand joke or not, but we’ll talk about that in a moment. For seven-word summary, Katie, I hope you don’t mind; we have you in here twice and you’re leading us off.

Katie: Sure, why not? [laughs]

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Katie: Harry…

Micah: … visits…

Eric: … the…

Laura: … Burrow…

Katie: … and…

Laura: There’s so many different directions we could take this.

Eric: I know; what’s it going to be?

Laura: I know. Ah, ah! … and eats…

Micah: … satisfactorily.

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Laura: There we go.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: For the… you know what? Honestly, y’all, I love this one because it is Harry’s first satisfactory meal all summer.

Eric: Oh my God, it is. That’s right. I really feel like you pulled it all together there in the end, Micah, with that last word there.

Laura: You really did.

Katie: It’s great.

Micah: Yeah, I thought about “food,” [laughs] and I just said, “That’s not sufficient for this seven-word summary.”

[Katie laughs]

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Micah: But I do feel like that is a pretty good summary of this chapter because it’s one of those chapters where not a lot happens, but a lot happens at the same time. You’ve got to read between the lines a little bit. And it is great to be back doing Chapter by Chapter; it’s been a couple weeks. And I think it’s actually been three weeks since we’ve been with Harry. He ended up arriving at the Burrow, and really just broke this discussion into two different segments. I want to talk first about family dynamics and life after Hogwarts, because in this chapter, the wizarding world continues to expand, right? That’s one of the things that we talked a lot about with the fourth book in particular is that the world is really starting to open up for Harry; we’re given a look at what life is like for a wizarding family. Yes, we’ve been to the Burrow before, but we get a little bit more in-depth in this chapter. And we also learn a little bit more about what opportunities are available career-wise for witches and wizards, and it’s not all about the Ministry, which I think is important because it’s not just about governmental jobs. The other thing I wanted to raise, and I’m interested to get all of your thoughts, is this chapter really does a terrific job setting up what we can expect from the members of the Weasley family moving forward in the series. It’s kind of a snapshot of the expectation for how the Weasleys are going to behave in these next couple of books.

Eric: Great point.

Laura: Yeah, it also just reminds me of what it felt like to meet members of close friends’ family, who I’d only heard stories about, and then meeting them in person for the first time and either being surprised at the person I was meeting, or not surprised at all at the person I was meeting. It also tells you so much about that friend, right? When you meet your friend’s parents, I feel like oftentimes, you’re like, “Oh, I get it now.”

[Eric laughs]

Laura: But then I think you can say the same thing when you meet siblings that are maybe older and haven’t been around that much.

Eric: Yeah, it’s definitely like seeing another side of the person that you do know, is seeing who else their family members are. Katie, has this happened to you?

Katie: All the time. And actually, I just asked my students, “What would happen when expectations don’t meet your reality?”

Eric: Oh my God.

Katie: Yeah, I just asked that last week, and it was all “They’re going to be disappointed,” but I think in some cases, you’re pleasantly surprised. And I liked when Harry met all of the Weasleys.

Eric: It’s funny because going in, if you remove Bill and Charlie from the picture, Harry does have almost a 50/50 view of the Weasleys, where yeah, Ron is obviously his best friend. Ginny, Harry really does not know enough to form an opinion on; I think that’s clear. She still blushes when he says hello to her. There’s no relationship there. Then he knows Percy is even now a bit pretentious, a bit Ministry, and just doesn’t know what to make of him. So Bill or Charlie could have turned out either way, statistically. It’s like, maybe they aren’t the cool, say… turns out they’re awesome and Harry likes them both.

Katie: Yeah, I like how he’s like, “Oh, I thought Bill was going to be like Percy because he works for Gringotts, and that’s a high-ranking bank job.” And he’s like, no, complete opposite. The dragonhide boots and everything.

Eric: I will say, too, going back to the Burrow is always a magical experience, and I’m thrilled because I don’t believe we did this in the previous book very much.

Laura: No.

Eric: And so getting to… that’s actually this week’s Quizzitch question I’m failing to reference. But yeah, so having the experience of once again being in the kitchen where the dishes do themselves and magic is used for everything, and magic is holding this house up, and you go out to the garden for a nice outdoor meal and all of a sudden, the cat is chasing these gnomes. It just reminds us, I think, what we love about these books is that glimpse into casual wizard life, the life we all want for ourselves secretly when we’re reading these books.

Laura: For sure.

Katie: I was reading it and I was thinking, “This is so charming. I like this.”

Laura: I think that’s a perfect descriptor for this chapter. Even though there is so much going on, and even though you don’t know it as an initial reader, there are a lot of breadcrumbs being dropped in this chapter, right? On its face, it really just feels like a very charming chapter, which lends itself to what Micah was saying about feeling like not that much happens in this chapter. But a little more than we suspect, at least at the beginning, is.

Micah: Yeah, one thing I did want to bring up before we get to actually meeting the Weasleys, the connecting the threads piece of it, where very similar to Chamber of Secrets, the Weasleys arrive home from Privet Drive after having rescued Harry from the Dursleys. And once again, his children have put Arthur in a very precarious situation, and Molly is not very happy. So this is very reminiscent of how Book 2 started off.

Eric: Yeah, with Molly going at some of the children for their actions. It is Fred and George again, actually, that get yelled at, so it’s a heck of a connecting the threads to that moment two books ago. That’s very astute.

Laura: Yeah. On that point about Molly, she says, in retrospect, some hurtful things about her sons. She’s like, “I don’t know where we went wrong with them.” She’s basically being like, “Why can’t they just be normal?”

Eric: [laughs] Well, they just attacked a Muggle…

Laura: Fair.

Eric: … but really almost insidiously too. It’s not just…

Laura: Well, that was Fred. It was Fred. [laughs]

Eric: It was Fred, yeah. It wasn’t Katie’s favorite, George. I think George was largely spared this one. But the twins get in trouble together. I think what it is… honestly, Molly perfectly lays this out with their father’s job at the Ministry, which you know they don’t ever think about at all. Ron didn’t think about it when he took the flying car either. They can’t be doing this to Muggles. [laughs] It’s extra bad. It’s bad to begin with for wizard/Muggle relations, and then it’s extra bad for what it’s going to show up as to their dad.

Laura: 100%. I think Fred and George, I feel like with Molly sometimes, are already at a bit of a disadvantage, because there are so many other things that they do that aren’t necessarily wrong that ruffle her feathers. Let’s think about the fact that it’s mentioned that they didn’t get as many OWLs as she would have expected, so she was already mad at them. It’s clear to me that Fred and George don’t really fit the mold of what Molly wants her children to be. She doesn’t love them any less for it, but that has an impact. And if Fred and George are so hellbent on troublemaking and being the practical jokers and the class clowns, you have to wonder where that comes from, right? That kind of thing doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

Eric: Are you suggesting it’s Molly’s fault that the twins are the way they are?

Laura: No, I mean, I don’t think it’s as simple as saying it’s entirely nature or entirely nurture. I think the answer is probably somewhere in the middle. But Molly has a part in it; I mean, parents shape their children, for better or worse.

Eric: Oh, sure. Sure they do.

Katie: I’m wondering if she had these high expectations because of how Bill, Charlie, and Percy turned out.

Laura: Right.

Katie: And then she gets Fred and George, who don’t meet those expectations.

Eric: That makes me ask, too, what are her expectations with Fred and George? Because I feel like you’ve won a lot with your first three kids, right? Like Bill, Harry takes one look at him, he’s like, “Oh, he’s cool,” and obviously being Head Boy and everything that Charlie and Bill have got going for them. They both have jobs that are fulfilling to them; they both carved their own path. And Percy is on track to be the next Minister for Magic; I mean, not yet, but 15 years from now you could really see that kid turning out great. So the idea that Fred and George aren’t what Molly is expecting, I think it’s the next natural progression to your point, Laura, like a response to almost the other brothers. But I think by the fourth or fifth kid, which is where Fred and George are, as a parent, you relax and you go, “You know what? I’m clearly okay enough at this parenting thing, however they’re turning out. Yeah, it’s different, I’m a little unused to it,” but to be able to relax a little bit more.

Laura: Yeah, you would think so. But maybe Molly is a character that we can chat about in bonus MuggleCast this week, because she is a good character and a character that I am extremely fond of, and a good mother, I would say, who does some things, particularly in Goblet of Fire, that feel incredibly immature for a mother, for someone her age, and for a role model and a mentor. So we’ll share some of those thoughts in bonus.

Micah: So one of the really cool things with this chapter is we’re obviously introduced to two new Weasleys in Bill and Charlie. We’ve talked a little bit about that already, but I wanted to go through the descriptions a little bit because this goes to the point of earlier when we were talking about meeting somebody for the first time and them defying expectations, right? I think both of these – even though it’s really called out more with Bill – both of these characters really just hit Harry in a totally different way than what he was expecting, right? We have Charlie; he’s built like the twins, but shorter and stockier than Percy and Ron. He’s got a broad, good-natured face, which is weatherbeaten and so freckly that he looked tan. He’s got calluses and blisters on his hands from his work with dragons. He’s got these nice biceps, these muscular arms, one with a very clear burn on it, right? So we’ve got Charlie.

Eric: It’s funny because Bill is the one that Harry is like, “This guy is cool,” but Charlie is cool! The burn on his arm is very cool. It’s very, very fetching.

Micah: Yeah, exactly. So you mentioned Bill, and Harry had imagined him, actually, as an older version of Percy. And it just goes to show you don’t judge a book by its cover, from the standpoint of all Harry knows about Bill is what he knows about Bill. He hasn’t actually seen him. When he sees him, he’s like, “Wait, this guy was Head Boy? He works at Gringotts? Wait, hold on a second. This guy is cool.”

Eric: [laughs] It turns out people people who work at banks are cool, apparently. I’m sure that that’s true in real life.

Laura: You can be an academic overachiever and still be cool.

Micah: Totally.

Eric: I think being an academic overachiever is what makes you cool, actually.

Laura: Oh, I agree with that. But this is the ’90s. [laughs]

Eric: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Micah: So for Bill, though, he’s got long hair tied back in a ponytail. He’s got a fang earring, clothes that look like he belonged at a rock concert, and a pair of dragonhide boots. Don’t tell Charlie; he might be a little offended by that.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Eric: That’s right, he’s wearing these boots right… maybe Charlie gifted him them for Christmas.

Micah: Perhaps. That’s kind of cool. But you also brought up, Eric, that he’s got a little bit of a potty mouth too.

Eric: The coolest thing about Bill, yes, it’s true – and I was first reading this book when I was 12 – was that Bill swears in front of his mom. This was clearly a huge influence on my preteen self. [laughs] But he just says… I think at one point Molly asks him about his clothing and he’s like, “Mom, they don’t give a damn what I wear at the bank. They just care about me bringing in treasure.” And it’s just like…

Micah: They probably prefer he doesn’t wear anything. The less Bill wears, the better, at the bank. That’s what I’m thinking.

Laura: He had a little bit of a cowboy lilt to the impression you were doing there, Eric.

Eric: I don’t know what I was doing.

[Katie and Laura laugh]

Eric: It’s time to reveal that I’ve actually just secretly been cosplaying Bill – I got my hair back in a pony right now – this whole time.

Laura: Ooh, look at that.

Eric: But I don’t have the earring or the boots yet. I’m working on it.

[Katie laughs]

Eric: But yeah, just swearing in front of mom. This is something we haven’t yet seen any of the Weasleys do. Ron says “Bloody hell,” and I know it’s a British thing where some people are like, “That’s swearing,” but saying “They don’t give a damn, Mom, and your concerns are not valid” is about the coolest thing we see Bill do.

Laura: I was going to say, and then Molly follows his lead in Deathly Hallows.

Katie: Oh, yeah.

Eric: [laughs] This was a complete lead-in. Molly is like, “Well, my oldest son swears, so I can swear.”

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Katie: She’s not a regular mom; she’s a cool mom.

Laura: Yes, oh my God. Mean Girls reference.

[Katie laughs]

Micah: One of the questions that Andrew put in here was, “Who’s cooler? Is it Bill? Is it Charlie?” And then naturally, it goes to “Who’d you rather?” And then… [laughs]

Laura: Bill.

Micah: Bill? Okay.

Katie: Charlie.

Laura: Because, I mean, you’re going to take my MVP of the week title, but I feel like I have to justify this now. He’s a punk rock king, man.

Eric: He is.

Laura: So yeah, that’s my type.

Micah: Katie disagrees.

Katie: Charlie. I like Charlie. The short stocky guys. Why not?

Eric: Charlie, honestly, in how relaxed he is, shows a lot about how comfortable he is with his life. And that is something when you grow older, you start to appreciate more. It’s like, “Oh, the quieter, more shy, reserved people are the ones that don’t have to fight for everything because they’re happy.” And those end up being the more well-adjusted better partners anyway, I think.

Katie: Yeah.

Micah: You were talking about cowboy earlier. It’s kind of like, you have the farmer and the cowboy going head to head with each other here a bit.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: The farmer and the cowboy. [laughs] I’d love to ascribe different occupations for each of the Weasleys and just continue going down the line. What does that make Percy?

Laura: Ooh. We could say some not nice things about what that makes Percy.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Yeah, we’re going to talk about Percy.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Eric: Okay, we’ll get to him.

Laura: But wait, wait, wait.

Micah: Go ahead.

Laura: Micah, Eric, we need to hear your answers.

Eric: Yeah, probably Bill.

Micah: Charlie.

Eric: I think that Charlie would be the better partner, but it’s Bill. Yeah.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: I’m with Katie on this one.

Laura: Team Bill.

Eric: Well, Micah, do you want Charlie to take you on a magic dragonback ride? Because I would actually switch teams if he could let me ride a dragon.

[Micah laughs]

Katie: Yes.

Micah: Yeah, I mean, you could go make out in the corner of Gringotts, deep in the cave somewhere. So I mean, there’s that.

Eric: That’s kind of fun. Yeah, might get locked in your vault…

Micah: He can take you on a magic… what was that thing they ride down into…?

Eric: Train cart?

Micah: Yeah. It’s not as cool as a dragon, though. I’m sorry.

Laura: But they have dragons in Gringotts.

Eric: Yeah, I feel like both of them are very, pretty cool, and they set the bar really high. It’s amazing that none of the other Weasleys seem to really struggle under the pressure of Bill and Charlie being so dang cool. And I think with Fred and George, they took one look at their older brothers and were just like, “We’re not even going to try.”

[Eric and Katie laugh]

Laura: Probably.

Eric: Like, “We can’t touch that. But they’re not funny like we are.”

Laura: I think that was probably also part of Fred and George finding their identity and finding something that made them stand out, because they had so many siblings. We see Ron go through the same thing, to a more extreme extent, I would argue.

Micah: Let’s talk about Fred and George a little bit. I did want to just call out, though, that on the return to Privet Drive, we see a classic parenting situation where a child is getting reprimanded by one parent, and that parent – in this case, it’s Arthur – is using the other parent as a threat. The ol’ “Wait until your mother hears about this.” And we’ve all been there, right? Whether it was coming from Mom or coming from Dad, using whichever was the stricter parent that we didn’t want to get in trouble with.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I feel like we’ve all been in that situation.

Laura: 1,000%.

Eric: It’s interesting to me because Arthur knows, just like Molly does, that what the twins did put his job at stake, but he still considers not telling Molly. Telling Molly, he seems to decide in the moment, would actually be slightly too far for their offense, even though he’s actually angry. We’ve never seen Arthur this upset at the kids, but he still doesn’t want to go quite so far as to actually telling Molly. He’ll only threaten to tell her. And it’s only because he fails to come up with an alternative thing when she overhears “Wait till I tell your mother” that he actually does end up telling her, and the twins actually get in trouble. But why does he back off? Because he just seems to not advocate enough for himself or the jeopardy that they put his job in just then.

Micah: That’s, to me, what the larger issue is, is that we know that this is… go back to connecting the threads, right, to what happened in Harry’s second year. He got into a lot of trouble. Maybe not initially because of what was done; it really was because of what Ron did, right? Not necessarily Fred and George, but Fred and George were part of that initial test run that they did to Privet Drive. And so I just feel like the twins should be a little bit more aware here. They’re putting their dad in a really tough situation, and they don’t seem to have that awareness.

Eric: Yeah. I think, too, it’s possibly just that whatever qualms we see Mrs. Weasley voice about them having no ambition and all this stuff we’ll get into talking even more about, Arthur doesn’t quite have that same problem with them. I think that’s just clear, because as much as they’ve just threatened his job, he really isn’t… I think it’s not that he’s amused by their antics that it is in Book 2, where he’s like, “How did it go?” which was more of a movie-ism, I think, too. But it’s not that. It really isn’t that. But I think that he understands them. There might in fact be… this is something that just occurred to me: What if Fred and George are in their very personalities channeling more of Arthur than any of the other kids that were born? Like, that whimsical nature. We never hear of Arthur Weasley really cracking a joke, but maybe that bit of him that’s a bit quirky, that likes plugs and Muggle things, maybe Arthur really does actually see a lot of himself or his young self in the twins specifically, so he goes easier on them.

Laura: I think so. I think he also knows that they’re already in deep crap with their mother…

[Eric laughs]

Laura: … so he’s using it as a threat to get them to straighten up and maybe take this a little more seriously. But does he have any real intention of doing that to them? Because they are already on her bad side, and God knows what the rest of the summer has been like. But I think, too, you have a good point, Eric, because… I don’t know. When I think about someone like Arthur Weasley, he is the personification of a dad, the person that you imagine telling a dad joke. And how did that person start out as a younger wizard?

Eric: Probably with an appreciation for the sillier things in life.

Laura and Micah: Yeah.

Katie: And we already know that he likes to tinker with things, like the flying Ford Anglia or whatever it’s called. And then I think Ron even mentions, “Oh, we hear explosions coming from Fred and George’s room all the time.” It’s definitely where they get it from.

Eric: That’s such a good point as well. Now I’m remembering how in LEGO Harry Potter, Arthur Weasley’s skill is that he fixes things.

[Micah laughs]

Laura: Oh yeah, that’s right.

Eric: Yeah, and Fred and George can pick a lock, and they have that Muggle… yeah, I think I’ve just found really what I think it is that lets Arthur let Fred and George off in this chapter and in general, is that he sees too much of himself in them to really go hard, at great personal risk.

Micah: Yeah, because it’s also about how the family is being represented in the outside world, particularly in the non-wizarding community. And we already know what kind of reaction the Dursleys have to wizarding kind, so this does not help Harry’s case either, quite frankly. It’s not just about Arthur and his job, but it’s also about now the fact that Harry has to go back to Privet Drive next summer, and Dudley has gone through this horrific experience. It’s probably going to get him treated even worse than he’s been treated before.

Eric: The interesting thing about this specifically is that Harry still is all laughs. He was all laughs at first when he was leaving Privet Drive, but this chapter, he does not actually ever calm down and say, “Actually, that was horrible.” He is still super, super, super laughing about it. When Fred and George are talking about it, when they’re being reprimanded by Arthur, Harry does not turn that corner ever yet, saying that anything has made his life worse. So it is being played up for laughs. And I think this is one of those things where being much older and you read the books, you’re like, “Oh, they jeopardized wizard/Muggle relations.” As a kid, you’re like, “Eh, Dudley had it coming.”

Micah: Not only that, they almost killed him. [laughs] Let’s be real.

Eric: Yeah, choking on your tongue is a horrible way to die. We’ve said that.

[Katie laughs]

Laura: Does it qualify as almost killing him if they knew their dad would be able to save him very easily?

Micah: It was Fred, right? He was really the perpetrator. I don’t think Fred would have let it get to that point. But the fact that he was willing to let it happen in the first place… and again, we talked about this I think a couple episodes back, but they’re not above testing a lot of the stuff on first years either, and we see that come into play.

Laura: Right.

Eric: Yeah, they have a really big blind spot. By the way, if anyone’s curious, we keep mentioning Fred being the one behind things. I will say, one of the new transcripts that’s up on the MuggleCast website is number 508, the episode where we do the deep dive into Fred and George Weasley, specifically how to tell them apart from one another. So just a shout-out because this book is so Fred and George Weasley centric. They’re in a lot more than I think in any other book, even Book 6, because Book 6 is about a lot of other stuff. So it’s very exciting to get this Weasley deep dive in this chapter.

Micah: Yeah, no. And shout-out to Meg for all her great work on the transcripts. But speaking about all of this, and just mentioned the testing on first years, Ron fills Harry in on what the twins have been up to, right? The forms that Molly found in their bedroom. And he actually sees their work for what it is, which is actually kind of cool, right? It’s a different kind of intellect that I don’t think that Molly, at least at this point, can appreciate. These two are very talented, and Molly is just blinded by your average governmental daily 9 to 5 type of job, unfortunately.

Eric: I’m trying to think about how our parents were, and Laura and Micah, please tell me, but when you first told them that you work for a Harry Potter website? “Work for.”

[Micah laughs]

Eric: “Oh, do you get paid?” was the first question, because they had trouble conceiving of what it was like to do something you’re more passionate about that didn’t, again, no, we weren’t paid. For more information, see After Darks…

[Katie laughs]

Eric: … and many history of, behind-the-scenes stories, among other… we were not paid. But what it gave us was in a different way rewarding, in the way that Fred and George’s joke shop right now is not netting them any money, but it’s giving them so much more than standardized tests or doing well on said tests could ever. And so it’s like trying to explain, again, working at MuggleNet to your parent. Molly doesn’t get it. It’s only when she’s literally in the premises of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley that she gets it that this is something that is mainstream successful, that is going to allow them the ability to have a life for themselves, but it’s just not the traditional path.

Micah: Right, and I think that there’s this unrealistic expectation about them following in Arthur’s footsteps. The twins are clearly not future Ministry officials; that is just not in their DNA. Sorry, Molly. [laughs] It’s just not. And I think we all know people like that too. Growing up, there was this expectation like maybe you would follow in the family footsteps, or you’d take over a certain business, or you become a lawyer, you become a doctor, the traditional tropes, so to speak. And having friends when you look at them and you know them personally, you’re just like, “There’s no way that that’s going to happen, right? They’re going to follow their passion.” And that’s what Fred and George are doing. And that’s also what I think is so disconcerting about Molly in this situation, is that Fred and George are passionate about this, and she can’t even lean in a bit.

Eric: I think as the sterner parent, she has the harder job, especially because I think what she internalizes her role as being in the parenting of these Weasley children, is to set them on a path for success. And you can only know how to do that in the one way that you know how to do that. So by criticizing, or by coming down on them for not having any real aspirations, she’s really just hoping, I think, to spark them asking that same question in themselves. Turns out they’re right, that their side project has some value. They’re very lucky that it is because they should equally be thrown into Azkaban for experimenting on first years, I think – Micah, I really feel that way – so it’s kind of 50/50. But if you look at it, all the Weasley kids – we’re talking about Bill and Charlie – they all follow their own path too. So actually, what bothers me about Molly in this chapter specifically, is how freaked out she is about them. Because you have Bill and Charlie, who are home for the holidays, and they are the perfect example of how, again, your parenting works. These people have different jobs. They’re both totally different people, but they both are successful, and Percy looks great, so don’t necessarily be freaking out about Fred and George. But I think the reason it’s so heavy in this chapter is because it is, again, reintroducing us to this family, and working on setting up everything that’s going to come from not just the rest of this book, but the rest of the whole series.

Micah: Definitely. Katie, what do you make of Molly in this chapter?

Katie: I mean, I feel like she’s kind of hard on Fred and George, definitely. But then I was thinking about… with her, and she’s expecting them to go into the Ministry, but we don’t see that many jobs outside of the Ministry. So I feel like going into the Ministry, for any wizard, just seems more common. We see Charlie with dragons in Romania, and then we see Bill at Gringotts, but outside of those things, what other jobs are there for wizards?

Eric: Teacher.

Katie: Yeah, teacher.

Eric: That’s about it.

Laura: Yeah, or a shop owner.

Micah: Shop owner, yeah. [laughs]

Katie: And that’s what they become.

Laura: Yeah, there aren’t that many options, come to think of it.

Katie: You think of shop owner, like the ice cream, and then you’ve got the Quidditch ones, but it’s like, “Oh, just shop owner?”

Eric: Well, and Fred and George become those shop owners.

Katie: And they become that. So it’s like, oh, maybe it’s looked down upon to become a shop owner and it’s just more a lead to join the Ministry.

Laura: Yeah. I mean, unfortunately, in reality, there are people who would look down on a shop owner, which is obviously ridiculous. But I think this is another way that Harry Potter does a really good job of holding the mirror up to the reality that is the world we live in.

Micah: Oh, 100%. And we’re going to get to that [laughs] once we hit the dinner conversation. And even speaking of that, too, Laura, with Molly, I mean, she’s just so flustered. This chapter, for her, it’s classic parent being stressed out by everything happening inside of her home. And we don’t have to go into all the examples of things that are happening, but we opened the episode talking about the sauce boiling over. And it’s just her lack of attentiveness to the things that she would normally be focused on because she’s so focused on her kids. She’s so frustrated by what Fred and George have done, and you can just see how stress manifests. It’s actually interesting. I mean, I guess there are comparisons in our society, but just how her stress can manifest into her magic, and that’s causing all these weird things to go on around the kitchen. But again, we’ve all been there, where either we’ve been so stressed out that just things are happening scattered and all over the place, or we’ve pissed off our parents enough that we know, stay out of the room to let them cool down for however long it takes.

Eric: I will say, I do wonder how the twins are reprimanded. We don’t get an image of this because Harry is taken upstairs. There might be a loud noise they hear from down below, they know Fred and George are getting it, but there’s no real aftermath. Fred and George seem perfectly normal at dinner, and dinner is very soon after. So I feel like whatever happened, as mad as Mrs. Weasley might have been, I really doubt that it was the talking-to that maybe they deserved even. [laughs]

Laura: Right.

Micah: Just to wrap up Molly, I do think the harshest thing that she says… and it’s almost like you wonder, “Is she talking to Ron and Harry in the moment? Or is she just thinking out loud to herself?” because she’s like, “Oh, they have no ambition. They’re wasting their brains.” But it’s actually quite the opposite. They do have ambition, and they’re not wasting their brains. They’re super creative, super talented. She just can’t see it in this moment.

Laura: And the irony is Percy is upstairs toiling away in his room to basically be a drone for Barty Crouch. He’s being asked to write a synopsis of a larger report, I mean…

Eric: Okay, that’s pretty on the… yeah, all right.

Micah: It’s bad.

Laura: And so it’s the exact opposite of being creative and using your brain; not to say that doesn’t require brain power. But I would argue that what Fred and George are doing is a hell of a lot more intellectually demanding. I don’t know. Maybe someone is not going to agree with me on that.

Eric: No. The only other thing I’d add, because we’ve talked quite a bit about Fred and George, we’ve talked quite a bit about Molly, is that I have this idea that maybe she expects from them specifically some character traits reminiscent in her brothers, the reason being that her brothers Gideon and Fabian Prewett, who died during the first wizarding world war, are the inspiration or presumably inspiration for the first initial for Fred and George of their names. So their so-called namesake, for instance, if Molly… no matter how she felt about her brothers, if they were a certain way, I feel like Molly would focus specifically on Fred and George’s failings because of comparison to whoever her brothers were.

Laura: And that’s always such a dangerous thing that can happen if you place expectations on a child to live up to the legacy of a dead person that they never even met. I mean, if you want to talk about things that may have influenced Fred and George and molded them into the people they are, that would be one of them.

Micah: That’s a super interesting comparison, though. And I do wonder, to your point, Eric, did they have a recklessness about them, Gideon and Fabian, that ultimately got them killed in that first war?

Eric: Wow.

Micah: Because we see that very same recklessness in Fred and George. And maybe that’s her concern, especially knowing that there’s a war. I mean, Voldemort is not back yet, but he’s going to be pretty soon.

Laura: Right.

Eric: That would be a perfect way of explaining Molly’s apprehension toward their behavior.

Laura: Right, not that they don’t live up to Gideon and Fabian, but that they’re just like them.

Eric: Oh, God. [laughs]

Laura: Go ahead, Katie.

Katie: We know that Gideon and Fabian join the Order of the Phoenix and Molly didn’t, but I mean, that sounds very reckless.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: Knowing that all the Weasleys are Gryffindors anyway paints them all as reckless a little bit, I think. It’s also a Wampus trait.

Micah: Ooh.

[Katie laughs]

Micah: So let’s talk about Percy. And Happy Birthday, Chris Rankin.

Eric: Yes!

Laura: Happy Birthday.

Micah: Now a member of the 40 club, so welcome. It’s a great group to be a part of.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: But anyway, yeah, so we talked about how Percy is interrupted several times in this chapter when he’s trying to do his Ministry work. First time it’s by Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny going upstairs, then a little bit later on, it’s actually kind of a Fred and George moment from Bill and Charlie during their table wars, as I’d call it. They’re trying to annoy Percy; let’s be honest. There’s no reason to have dueling tables in the backyard. But what I really wanted to focus on with Percy is there’s a lot of these what I would consider to be corporate culture references that are worth paying attention to, and I’ll just run through them real fast and we can react to them in totality. So Percy is trying to make himself and his work seem more important than they actually are, right? In truth, most people don’t care about cauldron thickness. Laura, you touched on this earlier, unnecessary reporting and paperwork. Percy is obsessed with work, and it’s noted that he would not come home if Arthur didn’t make him. And he’s in love, head over heels, with Barty Crouch, Sr. So there’s a lot to digest here. But this is the nature of corporate culture – at least that’s been my experience – in Western society. When you talk about the unnecessary reporting, trying to make yourself seem more important than you are in terms of the work that you do… not necessarily that we do that, but you may know people who do that. And then being obsessed with work, not coming home, or just not focusing on work/life balance, your family, things like that. And I get it, he’s young, but I think it’s a little bit of a statement on corporate culture.

Eric: I think that’s very apt, and it’s definitely a statement on corporate… the things you point out are very… that feels like it would be an office sitcom plot to have. “Oh, I have to have this report on cauldron bottoms due,” and it’s like, nobody is going to read that. But for me, I think work is stability. Percy is happy to be stable. When he comes home, his older brothers who are home for the holiday or whatever are banging tables together, as loudly as possible, making them race each other and hit each other and crash and crack. There’s none of that at the Ministry. The Ministry is quiet. The Ministry is solitude. The Ministry is Percy’s happy place, not because he’s a kiss-ass who has no real imagination, but because it’s not the chaos of everywhere else. And so I sympathize with Percy, as somebody who always said they would have loved a job where they could wear a suit every day to work. That’s the kind of job Percy has. I never got that kind of a job; I’m the work with my hands kind of guy. But it just is a different lifestyle. It’s just a different mentality, and none of the other Weasleys have. Arthur does it, but I think that it’s really Percy that we see that really just likes the feeling of working for the government and helping in a way.

Laura: I think that’s true, but I think it’s also true that he’s a kiss-ass. [laughs] Multiple truths, y’all. Multiple truths exist.

Eric: Multiple truths! There we go. We’re going to ring a bell every time that comes up now.

Laura: I know.

Micah: I wanted to riff off of something that you said, Eric, though, because I do think Percy behaves this way because of how his family treats him. I think there’s a part of that that we need to take into consideration here, especially when you’re thinking about something like he doesn’t want to come home. It may not necessarily be because he loves his work at the Ministry, although that can be true too. I think a lot of it has to do with how he’s treated by his family, particularly by his brothers. Not as much so… we don’t see as much, at least right now, with Molly and with Arthur, but he’s really not treated well by Fred and George. Ron and him seem to have a okay type of relationship. But it’s also clear, at least from the very little we see with Bill and Charlie, they like to make fun of him a little bit too.

Eric: He’s their little brother. None of the other Weasleys have that on Percy.

Micah: Right.

Eric: So there’s that angle to it. Yeah, I agree. And the thing about Ron and Percy’s relationship – I would usually agree with you, Micah, that they get along – this chapter Ron bullies Percy. That’s how I would characterize their interaction when they’re going up the stairs. Ron is the one that says to his face, “Oh, that’ll change the world, that report will.” And he says that directly to Percy’s face, and I’m like, “What’s your angle, Ron, here?” Because that’s hurtful. That’s telling his older brother that his older brother’s work doesn’t matter or won’t make a lick of difference in the grand scheme of things. Is that regular negging? I don’t have a brother, so is it really?

Laura: I have a brother. I think that is very normal.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Laura: A younger brother, too, I will add.

Eric: To the older brother, just being insolent? I don’t know. Ron goes pretty hard.

Laura: Yeah, he does, but Percy is also being so annoying this summer. I feel like it’s one of these things where it’s this vicious cycle, right? Percy has, and has always had, a very serious personality. Because of that, he takes it too far sometimes. And because of that, no one in his family takes him seriously except for his mother, and so he seeks out environments where he feels like he is receiving more respect and being taken more seriously, which feeds his addiction to being so serious, and then he comes home and he brings that with him. Kind of to Micah’s point about somebody being too into their corporate culture and not being able to turn it off when they leave the building.

Micah: Right, yeah.

Laura: He comes home and does that, and his family is like, “Wow, you’re extra annoying today.”

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: Yeah, it’s the inability to be able to separate the two, so much so that… and I’ve been guilty of it, too, where I come home and it’s like, “Oh, I’m on my work computer, I’m looking at my work phone,” and it’s eight or nine o’clock at night. And family is like, “Well, what are you doing? Can’t you separate that out?” And I think there is some of that with Percy. The other thing I just looked up, too, is it’s really only Harry that is kind to Percy, because he asks him straight up, “What are you working on?” And that’s probably the nicest thing that anybody has said to Percy these last couple of weeks that he’s been there.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Eric: The bar is so low, it’s beneath Gringotts right now.

Katie: I thought the same thing; I was like, “Harry is being so nice.” I think it’s just because he’s a guest, but he’s also curious about the wizarding world, too, like, “Oh, cauldron bottom thickness, that must be important.” It’s not, according to Ron.

Eric: That is such a good point, Katie, too, is that as the reader, we are the interested party. Harry is the conduit for us to figure out more about the wizarding world in this moment. So it’s funny because we get this information, but it’s characterized as being unimportant,

Katie: Yeah.

Micah: Right. I think even Ginny gets a couple shots in there, too, if I’m not mistaken. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, it’s real bad.

Micah: All right, so wrapping up our conversation about family dynamics, the last thing to touch on here – and this actually comes up at the very tail end of the chapter – it’s noted that Fred and George sent Percy some Norwegian dragon dung in his office inbox. And I’ve got to say, this is a little bit too far. This is crossing that line, because it’s his work; it’s his place of employment. To me, that’s just… you don’t go there.

Laura: I bet Fred did it. It was Fred’s idea.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: There has to be one time when George had the idea, but…

Katie: But I mean, Charlie is home for the summer. So where did he get the dragon dung?

Eric: Yeah, that’s a good question. I just don’t do well with any kind of that flaming dog poo kind of pranks and stuff. Just really leave a bad smell in my nose.

[Eric and Katie laugh]

Eric: You just think about how awful it would have…

Micah: Yeah, it is Fred who says, “We sent it.”

Laura: Mhmm!

Eric: Oh, yeah. Well, there you go.

Katie: He’s like, “It was personal. It was us.”

Micah: But see, that’s trying to embarrass Percy on a whole different level.

Eric and Katie: Yeah.

Eric: That goes too far. Well, I’ve just got to say, I appreciate Percy explaining it away. “A sample of fertilizer from Norway.” [laughs] He’s clever. He thinks on his feet.

Micah: All right, so the second part of this discussion is actually about Percy. It’s continuing our Percy conversation because I think it’s important that we really listen carefully to what Percy has to say, because there’s a lot of things he tells us in this dinner conversation. Not to dismiss what else is going on at the other end of the table, but we get a little bit more insight into a number of characters, some of who we’ve never heard anything about before, some of whom are named dropped in the very first chapter. So we will get to that in just a minute. But Barty Crouch, Sr., we talked a little bit about him in this discussion. He’s Percy’s boss, he’s the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and we’ve been told that he’s working on the Quidditch World Cup. Outside of that, not a whole lot more, despite the amount of ass kissing that Percy does and just the amount of praise that he gives him. Anything else we want to say about Barty, Sr.?

Eric: For me, what interests me is that Barty Crouch, Sr. is interested in Bertha Jorkins’s disappearance, this little factoid that is snuck so cleverly in and immediately explained. So Bertha Jorkins worked for the department at one time. She has been all around; she worked for so many departments. You don’t think it’s significant. The fact that she once worked for Barty Crouch, Sr. is exactly how she wound up at Barty Crouch, Sr.’s house that one time when she happened to see Barty Crouch, Jr. That one bit of information that is exactly the same bit of information that Voldemort takes that formulated this whole plan and this whole book, and it’s something Percy says. “Crouch is distracted, he’s such a great man, he cares about this former employee he once had,” and you’re just like, “I buy it.” This is the most important bit of information hidden in the least likely place.

Micah: That’s a really good call-out.

Laura: It is.

Micah: There’s also Ludo Bagman, who we will meet pretty shortly in the next couple of chapters. He is the Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, and he’s the one who has lost one of his employees, Bertha Jorkins. She went to Albania and she never came back. And given what we witnessed in the first chapter, should we as readers expect that Voldemort maybe has something planned for the Quidditch World Cup?

Eric: Yeah, probably, especially because it’s been named dropped in now two chapters, and these are the early chapters where no names are spared. They’re all very important.

Micah: All right. Now, let’s get to Bertha, because she gets a whole lot of shade thrown her way in this chapter. [laughs]

Laura: For real.

Micah: I really think Percy just goes hard on her. And I wonder, given everything that you all talked about in the last episode, Laura, with Chloé and Meg and Pam, could this be a bit of a larger commentary by J.K. Rowling on how women are perceived in certain work environments? I think it’s important to remember that this was written in the early 2000s. And there’s a heavy influence for J.K. Rowling, given her experiences in workplace environments in the ’80s and ’90s, so not necessarily… even though it’s written in the early 2000s, she’s not drawing on her experiences in the early 2000s; she’s likely drawing on her experiences in her prior careers. So, curious to get your thoughts there.

Laura: Yeah, well, I will say those experiences are a tale as old as time, because this very much still exists with certain people in certain workplaces. I don’t know, though, if I think Percy is actually participating in this right here. He could be, right? I think it totally depends on your interpretation. I really get the sense that Percy is kind of an equal opportunity pick-me, right? He is the definition of a pick-me. And I think that he is someone who will put anyone else down to make himself seem better, seem superior. We have to remember 30 seconds before he said all of this about Bertha Jorkins, he was talking smack about Ludo Bagman too.

Eric: Well, I don’t even think it’s about being a pick-me, which is a fun word I’m just learning.

Laura: Oh, really? Eric, get on TikTok. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, I never… oh, really? That explains it.

Laura: TikTok explains so many things. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. But I think what it is is he’s simply regurgitating the company line, the company line about Bertha that she was forgetful, that she’s department to department… Percy doesn’t have the maturity to think for himself at this point. He is only saying… it’s like the kids who – we’re all guilty of this – your first political views are your parents’ political views. You get in trouble for saying something ignorant, because it’s what you heard at home. This is Percy at work. He’s just saying whatever he was told, or he’s repeating what grownups are saying in the office about Bertha, and so I don’t think it’s him specifically commenting at all on his opinion of her. I doubt he knew her.

Katie: Yeah, I was going to say that he’s only been working at the Ministry for a couple of months. Did he actually even know her?

Eric: No.

Micah: That’s a great question.

Laura: Probably not. And to that point, Eric, this got me thinking again about a real world work comparison, something that I think, unfortunately, can happen in most workplaces. I think Percy has been adopted by a toxic colleague who lives for office drama…

[Eric laughs]

Laura: … and has looped him in on all the hot goss, all the hot office goss, so Percy is basically parroting the limited information that he has to make himself sound more important and knowledgeable. I feel like Percy is on the toxic co-worker pipeline right now. He is setting himself up to become that person who is way too involved in the personal affairs of people at work and knows way too much about their personal lives, or so he thinks, and perpetuates office gossip. It’s not looking good for Percy at this point. [laughs]

Eric: No, it’s because his own family doesn’t accept him that he’s found this new family at work, but the new family at work is slated for demolition because the government is going down and Voldemort is coming up. And so I really feel for Percy because of the trajectory that he’s on. He’s not going to come out looking good. It’s this trajectory that puts him against his family in the next book and the next one.

Micah: Yeah, and it’s the way that he delivers all of this, is with an air of superiority. Because he works for the Ministry, he’s able to speak so eloquently and from a position of what he perceives to be power. And we actually see that a little bit later on when he teases the Triwizard Tournament, but doesn’t give any information about it.

Eric: Oh, yeah.

Micah: But I actually like that as a potential title, Laura, for this episode. “Percy the Parrot.”

Laura: Oh my God, I love that. Andrew, do it.

[Katie and Laura laugh]

Micah: We’ve got a little alliteration going on. Yeah, let’s just talk a little bit about some of the things that Percy says. He says Bertha has gotten lost plenty of times before, that she’s “hopeless,” she’s been shunted from department to department for years, and that she’s more trouble than she’s worth. And he also repeats something that Ludo says, that she probably misread the map and ended up in Australia instead of Albania. Wow.

Laura: I cannot.

Eric: [laughs] That’s actually funny, though. That’s actually… can I say, a lot of this is really bad hating on women. That one’s funny. I just laugh at that.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Laura: Okay, okay. But I have to bring this up. Because when I read this, I pulled up a world map.

Eric: Augh.

Laura: And I just have to say, if Bertha Jorkins is trying to go to Albania and she accidentally ends up in a country whose name the first three letters is AUS, I just want to point out Austria is right there.

Eric: That’s a lot closer. You’re right.

Laura: That’s a lot closer.

Eric: Yeah, well, if the Portkeys are alphabetized to each of these places, Australia isn’t as far away as it is geographically.

Laura: Yeah, I guess that’s true. But why stay there? [laughs] Come back.

Eric: Right. Well, these things don’t actually hold up against a lick of… and that’s actually the dangerous part that I have in here, is all of this that we see Percy saying about Bertha, whether it’s his opinion or not – and I think it is his opinion, as well, that she’s more trouble than she’s worth – that’s a really dangerous thing because this behavior that we see from the Ministry in not searching for one of their own employees is exactly the same behavior that denies Voldemort’s return and endangers the wizarding world and allows the government to fall later. It’s the same exact mechanism, this complete failure to conceive that something deeper and dire has really occurred, and playing it down because it’s convenient, because it means that the public won’t be in an uproar over it. And it buys you some time to go on being as mediocre and status quo as you always are. They are choosing what’s easy over what’s right.

Micah: And for Bagman, we don’t know him yet. That is a classic representation of his personality to say something like that. But when it’s coming through Percy, it just doesn’t land the same way, because we haven’t had the opportunity to meet Ludo yet. And I also think – this is going off of what you said, Eric – Ludo just doesn’t really seem like he takes much responsibility at all here either. He’s willing to jokingly suggest that Bertha is inept in the sense that she can’t figure out where she really wanted to go, but he’s also inept for not doing more to go and find her. He’s bad at his job. That’s his employee that he should….

Eric: Absolutely. Oh, he’s horrible at his job.

Laura: 100%.

Eric: Yeah. He’s a games and sports man, an ex-Quidditch player that just needs to get back to the games and sports.

Micah: And clearly she’s not challenged in any way. She works for the Ministry, so she must be of some level of intellect to get that job in the first place. And maybe she’s department hopping because she’s qualified in multiple areas and she has multiple skill sets. Why does it have to be because she’s bad at her job?

Eric: There you go! She’s damned if she does, she’s damned if she doesn’t. This is complete cultural commentary from this era. Justice for Bertha.

Laura: Yeah, not even just from this era. I’m telling you.

Eric: Oh, God.

Laura: That kind of thing is alive and well, unfortunately.

Micah: Well, the interesting thing about all this is that it’s so seemingly easy as a reader to just glance over this conversation and not pay it much attention, but there is so much happening between the lines in what is being said here. And I figured we could just wrap up the discussion – we teased this a little bit earlier – Percy alludes to the Triwizard Tournament. He’s being a little bit of a prick about it.

[Eric, Katie, and Laura laugh]

Micah: He’s clearly been going on about this with Ron and Fred and George for a while now. And I think that this was his opportunity, and he missed it, to be the cool brother who knew about this event and chose not to share the information with them.

Eric and Katie: Yeah.

Katie: He’s just out of Hogwarts; he knows how cool this would have been if he was at Hogwarts. He could have shared.

Eric: That’s a good point, Katie.

Laura: Honestly, I feel like a cool brother in this moment would have still kept it under wraps. You don’t want to give away too much; you want there to be an air of mystery. But you could literally say something like, or give a fun hint like, “Hey, you might want to learn some French. Wink.”

[Katie and Laura laugh]

Eric: Oh, that’s awesome.

Laura: Something like that, to be like, “Wait, something international is happening.”

Eric: Or “Charlie, we’ll be seeing you soon again, won’t we? Eh? Eh?”

[Katie laughs]

Eric: And then have multiple brothers talking about it or teasing it up. I just love that it’s fallen flat on Percy’s face the way that Harry is genuinely interested. And he looks to Ron and Ron is just like, “No, don’t, we’ve all… he wants us to ask. We’re not asking. None of us have ever asked, because he wants it more every time we don’t ask.” [laughs]

Laura: Don’t we all know someone like that, who drops heavy-handed hints clearly wanting you to ask about something? And you’re like, “I am not going to ask.” [laughs]

Eric: Give Percy a break. Everybody just give Percy a break. He’s literally running from home because the Ministry is quieter than his house. This kid needs some love and some support from his family.

Katie: I do have a soft spot for Percy, though. He’s not that bad.

Laura: He’s not. He’s misguided.

Katie: Yeah.

Odds & Ends

Micah: All right, well, I think that wraps up the discussion. We’ll do a couple of odds and ends here from the chapter. And what I liked about this discussion is we really didn’t spend any time with Harry, Ron, or Hermione, [laughs] even though they’re the lens through which we see all of this transpire. So we touched on this earlier, that Ginny turns red upon seeing Harry for the first time. This is just in case that, as a reader, you forgot that she has a crush On Harry. We also get the information that she is responsible for naming Pigwidgeon, which was a trivia question. Quizzitch question right, Eric? A couple weeks ago.

Eric: I believe so. That’s correct.

Laura: Yes, it was. And just for anyone who needs a reminder or might be curious, “Pigwidgeon” is a noun that means an insignificant or simple person. [laughs]

Micah: Oh, well.

Eric: Aww.

Laura: And Ginny thinks this is sweet.

Eric: That says more about Ginny, yeah.

Laura: I know, and Ron was like, “Ginny says it’s sweet.” And I was like, “What?”

Micah: No.

Laura: [laughs] “It’s sweet. He’s so simple.”

Micah: Well, remember her kids’ names. That’s all I’ll say.

Laura: True.

[Katie laughs]

Eric: Yeah, you got me there.

Laura: We should have seen it coming, honestly.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: Also thought it was important that only 11 were dining in the garden, so we don’t have to worry about the first to rise.

Eric: So there aren’t any pets in somebody’s pockets that are secretly grown men that we could count towards this total?

Micah: No.

Eric: Ugh.

Micah: Unless you want to count the garden gnomes and Crookshanks.

Eric: Oh, yeah.

Micah: Unfortunately, Andrew is not here; I was going to have fun with him on this. But sports, bro; we get Viktor Krum name dropped towards the end of this chapter. We also get just a little bit more insight into the Quidditch World Cup with some of the other countries that are mentioned and how everything played out for us to get to this final between Ireland and Bulgaria. And then lastly, Harry updates Ron and Hermione on his correspondence with Sirius, but doesn’t tell them about his scar or his dream. So this is one of those situations where Harry is just so happy, he doesn’t want to ruin the moment. And that could be looked back maybe in a couple chapters, maybe at the end of this book, as being a little bit of a misstep.

Eric: I agree.

Laura: Yeah.

Micah: But that wraps up Chapter 5.

MVP of the Week

Eric: Well, now it’s time, I believe, for MVP of the week.

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Eric: And I will give it to the garden gnomes for surviving Crookshanks as well as keeping the cat occupied. The reason Crookshanks isn’t bothering anyone right now is because the gnomes have his undivided attention. I think that’s cool that they are still alive. Good for them.

Laura: [laughs] I love how nobody has any objections to this.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: It’s like, the gnomes are taken care of, the cat’s busy, this is great. Hermione, you want to just leave him here?

Katie: It makes sense. [laughs]

Eric: Cats need exercise. It’s good for them.

Laura: I’m going to give mine, as I said earlier on in the show, to Bill, my punk rock king.

Micah: And I’m going to give it to Hermione because she was able to read the room a couple times in this chapter and just usher Harry and Ron to different locations, so I thought she had pretty good awareness in this one.

Katie: I’m giving mine to Charlie for explaining the Quidditch World Cup and how Ireland got to where it’s supposed to be.

Eric: I love it.

Micah: Not for the muscles?

Katie: And the muscles. [laughs]

Micah: And the burn? I guess we can mention Andrew gave his to the Burrow for being a cool place to hang and a wonderful wizarding world space.

Eric: Any time we’re at the Burrow it should get the MVP.

[MVP of the Week music ends]

Eric: If you have feedback about today’s discussion, you can of course contact us by emailing or sending a voice memo recorded on your phone and attached to an email to us at, or by using our phone number 1-920-3-MUGGLE; that’s 1-920-368-4453.

Micah: Next week Goblet of Fire Chapter 6, “The Portkey.”

Eric and Micah: Ooh.


Eric: It’s time now for Quizzitch.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s Quizzitch question was, of course, how many times did Harry physically visit the Burrow during the seven-book series? And this was a pretty hard one. I was pleased because it divided everyone; we don’t have as many winners as usual. A lot of people thought it was various numbers here. The correct answer was five, five times Harry actually physically visits the Burrow. And as Elizabeth K. put it, the answer breakdown is like this: Before the second year with the flying car, before the fourth year for the World Cup, before the sixth year Harry visits after getting Slughorn, the sixth year Harry visits for Christmas, and before the seventh year of Hogwarts for Bill and Fleur’s wedding. Elizabeth also said, “I thought it was more,” so there’s that. I will say also, Laura, there was a request from somebody named “I am Molly Weasley, she’s a girl boss.”

Laura: Oh.

Eric: The request was for you to read, and not me, the additional winners of this week’s Quizzitch. Are you interested?

Laura: Oh my god, yes. I’m so excited.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: I feel like this is… okay.

Micah: What an honor this is.

Eric: I know you can do it justice. I know. You’ve got to have all the fun.

Laura: I mean, we’re going to see. I don’t know if I can live up to Eric, but we’re going to see if I can fill these shoes. All right, last week’s…

Eric: So these were the other correct winners, yes.

Laura: Yes, the other correct winners for last week’s question: Callie Loves Quizzitch; Cate; Dalia the 13-year-old; Dobby will you marry me I really wanna be mentioned here please let you guys get this dear God…

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Laura: … Does anyone else play try to guess which is Micah’s name?; Elizabeth K.; Give Us More Chloé; Grant Chapman; Hagrid’s Hog; Hagrid’s hippogriff eats ferret Draco; Hallow the uncreative Wolf; I am Molly Weasley (she a girlboss); – shout out – I wish we could go back to regular times; I’m Pringles that don’t come in the hard to grab can; IvyBug2013; Justice for Winky; LC; Light the fire tell your stories; Load of Quaffles; Maty B.; My son thought Micah was Tom Segura…

[Micah laughs]

Laura: … One Elder Wand to Rule Them All; The mirror over the mantle piece that cannot abide untucked shirts, hashtag unsung hero…

[Eric laughs]

Laura: … They see me Rowling; Visit the Burrow at Hogwarts on an Island in Daybreak Utah (search Instagram); okay. Voldemort Said “It’s Horcruxing Time” and started Horcruxing all over the place. Wow.

Eric: Yay.

Laura: So y’all, I just have to say, Eric makes that look so much easier than it is.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: No, to be fair you had three seconds’ notice, so I think you did excellent on that.

Laura: That’s fair. Thank you very much. Any time you want me to read those, I’d be happy to. They delight me.

Eric: Honestly, yeah.

Laura: They delight me. I don’t know why, they just do. It’s the simple things in life.

Micah: I did not submit this week, by the way.

Eric: You didn’t submit this week? Okay.

Micah: No.

Laura: Oh, I was going to guess…

Micah: Which one?

Laura: There was a dirty one. Hang on…

Micah: Hagrid’s Hog?

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: I was like, “Where’s the dirty one? That’s the one.” [laughs]

Micah: It wasn’t me. So clearly, I’m having an effect, which is fantastic.

Eric: Amazing, amazing. Micah is like, “My work here is done.” So here is… you know what, since I’m on a kick, on a generous kick of having the rest of you do Quizzitch for me, Katie or Micah, would you like to read next week’s Quizzitch question?

Katie: Sure. Next week’s Quizzitch question is: According to Amos Diggory, what family couldn’t get tickets to the Quidditch World Cup?

Eric: Submit your correct answers to us on the Quizzitch form located on the MuggleCast website by going to and clicking “Quizzitch” at the top of the main nav, or typing in your URL or search bar And as some closing reminders here, don’t forget the MuggleCast and #Millennial overstock store is now open. Visit to get one-of-a-kind MuggleCast gifts, while supplies last. Also, Millennial gifts. These are great holiday gifts to add to your wish list or for the MuggleCast and Millennial fans in your life.

Micah: And if you’re enjoying MuggleCast and think other Muggles would, too, tell a friend about the show. We’d also appreciate it if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app.

Laura: And you can visit if you want to support the show and receive early access to the show, ad-free episodes, bonus episodes, yearly physical gifts, and much more. If you’re an Apple Podcasts subscriber, you can tap into the show and receive early and ad-free access to each episode for $5.99 a month. Whether pledging through Patreon or Apple Podcasts, free trials and annual subscriptions are available. And that Patreon link is

Micah: And of course, you can visit for transcripts, social media links, our full episode archive, our favorite episodes, and, of course, to contact us.

Eric: That’s right. And we would like to thank Katie for joining us on this episode of MuggleCast.

Katie: Thank you for having me. This was great.

Micah: Great job.

Laura: You’re fabulous.

Katie: This was a lot of fun.

Eric: So that will be it for MuggleCast Episode 635. I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Katie: And I’m Katie.

Laura: Bye, y’all.

Eric: Bye.

Transcript #634


MuggleCast 634 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #634, Analyzing the Representation of Women in Harry Potter

Show Intro

Laura: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. This week is a week for the books, because the girls are taking over, so get ready to party with us this week…

Chloé: Woo! [laughs]

Laura: … and also have a lot of meaningful discussion about representation of women in the wizarding world. This is super timely that we have this panel of lovely ladies together, but it’s also worth pointing out that we’ve never had an all-women led episode of MuggleCast in the 630-something episodes that we have. [laughs]

Chloé: Andrew, Eric, and Micah found dead.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Oh no, the chaos is already kicking off.

Chloé: Yeah, I’m here, so…

Laura: Chloé is like, “In case anyone didn’t know, I’m here for the girls episode.”

Chloé: To bring the chaos, yes. [laughs]

Laura: But I thought to get us started today to meet everyone on the panel… secret for all the listeners: You know everyone on this panel already, so you’re going to be really, really happy to hear who all we have with us today. And to do this, we’re going to go around and do some intros and share our fandom IDs, so your House, your favorite movie, and your favorite book.

Meg: I’m Meg, my House is Ravenclaw. And I was just on a MuggleCast episode in July, a Chapter by Chapter for Prisoner, and so I introduced myself then, but as a reminder, my favorite book and movie are both Goblet of Fire. So I was really excited that the Goblet of Fire commentary happened because that movie is just a good time.

Chloé: It was so good.

Laura: And I just want to take a moment to shout out, Meg also received another plug on the show recently because she is spearheading the revival of MuggleCast transcripts.

Chloé: Woo!

Pam: Wow.

Meg: It’s true.

Laura: So allow me to thank you, Meg, because it is such an undertaking, but our listeners are so excited about it.

Meg: Oh, thank you for saying that.

Laura: And it is an important move in the right direction in terms of making our show more accessible.

Chloé: We love accessibility.

Meg: I love it too! I love accessibility. I love the orderliness of having transcripts for every episode. But I’m now going to be hyper aware of everything I say…

[Chloé and Laura laugh]

Meg: … because I’m like, “I’m going to have to transcribe that.” If I don’t finish the sentence, I’m going to have to put in that ellipsis there.

[Pam laughs]

Chloé: Oh my God. Now I’m terrified of what my speech is going to look like written out. [gasps] Meg!

Laura: It’s fine, it’s fine.

Meg: It’s going to be really nice. It’s going to be really nice, I promise.

Laura: They’ll be like, “Oh, this looks like the MuggleCast social copy. That must be Chloé.”

Chloé: [laughs] Yes, everyone knows exactly what I sound like and speak like. Yeah, it’s true.

Pam: Hi, I’m Pam. I can’t remember the last time I was on, but it was probably a couple of years. I also co-host Millennial with Laura and Andrew, so shout-out to anybody that’s listening to this that also listens to our other show. My House is Gryffindor, and my favorite movie – I don’t know if this is controversial – but it’s Prisoner of Azkaban.

Chloé: No, it’s not. Not in my opinion.

Pam: Oh, really?

Chloé: I think it’s gorgeous.

Meg: That’s not controversial.

Pam: Well, with Prisoner, too, I don’t think anybody that was a fan when it first came out actually enjoyed it, because there’s so much that’s missing. But that is the movie in the franchise that’s grown on me the most, so it’s now my favorite. And my favorite book is Order of the Phoenix.

Chloé: Yeah, that movie is gorgeous to watch.

Meg: It’s so pretty.

Pam: Yeah, it’s also… I don’t know if you all ever talk about this, but something that really strikes me is that Prisoner of Azkaban is directly responsible for setting so much of the tone as far as the imagery we’re familiar with in the wizarding world.

Laura: Yes.

Chloé: So true.

Pam: And it’s so incredible that what Alfonso Cuarón was able to do with the look and the style in Prisoner is what ended up sticking, as opposed to what Chris Columbus started with.

Chloé: Thank God.

Pam: So I could talk about Prisoner of Azkaban the movie for hours. I love it so much.

Chloé: The costuming too. The costuming for me is such a big transition in POA, and it’s so much more lived-in and realistic. No, I’m all for it.

Laura: Yeah, I agree. And I just have to say, this is such a great start to the show, because oftentimes I feel like I’m on an island when it comes to defending the POA movie.

[Chloé laughs]

Pam: What?

Laura: Now, I will say, it’s not…

Chloé: The boys don’t get it. [laughs]

Laura: I mean… I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I love my Muggle boys. But it is great to hear that other people feel the same way I do about that movie. Again, it’s not a perfect movie, but none of the movies are, and I think tonally, it just really set the right direction for the rest of the series. But all of that said, Chloé, you want to go ahead and fandom ID? I know people already know our fandom IDs. We put Meg and Pam on the spot; we gotta.

Meg: I want a refresher.

Chloé: My name is Chloé. I am the Social Media Manager; I have been on MuggleCast quite a bit. My House is Slytherin, and I’m damn proud. My favorite book and my favorite movie are also Goblet of Fire, and that’s not just because of Fleur, but definitely a big part of it. Yeah, I’m so excited. This is a dream come true, having everyone on here.

Main Discussion: Femininity in Harry Potter

Laura: So I do want to take a moment to actually talk about the inspiration for this episode, because Chloé, this was your idea. It’s something that we’ve been chatting around in the background for several months at this point about timing and getting the right people together to do an all girls MuggleCast. So could you share a little bit more about your idea?

Chloé: Yeah, we threw it around, God, a few months ago. Laura and I did an episode together, and people were like, “That was hot, loved it, want Laura and Chloé and more women on the pod.” And I was like, “Yes, say less, let’s make it happen, girls’ takeover.” And then it got mentioned a few times, and I feel like Goblet of Fire is also the best time because I feel like we actually really start seeing the topics we’re going to talk about today. So I’m excited and really grateful that all of you were so game.

Laura: Yeah, super stoked about it, and really excited for this discussion. Chloé did a great job fleshing out the discussion here. And as we get into it, Chloé, I know you said that you picked this panel of women because we’re all girls’ girls. For anyone who’s not aware of what a girls’ girl is, could you fill us in?

Chloé: A girls’ girl to me is someone that supports women always, and empowers women, and lifts other women up. Someone who doesn’t feel like they need to compete against other women. I feel like that’s a trope we see a lot in especially 2000s media, women pitted against each other, the idea of the mean girl. But everyone on this panel is a girls’ girl, and that is exactly what I wanted. It’s also a feeling. You know when you meet someone in the wild, and you’re like, “Wow, I feel so supported by you and your energy is so good”? A girls’ girl is someone you meet in the bathroom of a bar, and she tells you that your hair looks pretty and then you feel really good about yourself. That’s the feeling we’re trying to invoke through this panel.

Laura: Yeah. And I felt that, too, immediately when we hopped on, even before the show started. Yeah, it’s just a different feeling to be in a discussion with all women. Again, I love my boys; they’re great, and I would never change my team. But there’s just something special and unique about being with your community, so I really appreciate the idea. But with that said, you alluded, Chloé, to the idea that a lot of this discussion is going to be centered around the portrayal of femininity in the Harry Potter series, I think with a special focus on Goblet of Fire. Could you intro this first topic for us?

Chloé: Sure. We’re talking about the demonization of femininity in Harry Potter and the “I’m not like other girls” pandemic.

Laura: Sigh.

Chloé: Yeah, sigh. Something super prevalent in 2000s media, TV, books, movies. I think we’re definitely seeing a shift, but it’s something that we grew up with. And I definitely wanted to talk about it just because obviously we’re all Harry Potter experts and we love it so much. But also, as someone who considers herself to be very feminine and very girly, and not feeling like that was actually good or acceptable growing up because I wasn’t going to be taken as seriously or it wasn’t as good as the women that we idolize when we’re growing up – like the Hermiones of the world – and even for example Mean Girls, the idea that feminine is mean and feminine is vain. So I’m excited to deep dive into it. For all my girly girls, you are valid. I’m taking you seriously. I’m excited to talk about how it’s empowering to be feminine, despite maybe what JKR says.

Laura: Yeah, and how femininity is not just one thing.

Chloé: Absolutely.

Laura: It’s multifaceted, and femininity can present in a host of different ways. I mean, just to put it out there, I feel like I do not fit the “girly girl” aesthetic as much as maybe you feel like you do, Chloé, right? But it doesn’t make either one of us any more or less woman.

Chloé: And we’re all equally feminine, right? Just in different ways.

Laura: Yeah. Let’s talk about growing up and who we resonated with as kids reading these books, or at least when we were younger. Was there a particular character that growing up we really wanted to be like that person?

Pam: For me, it usually wasn’t the women on the page. But I really appreciate, Laura, that you brought up the fact that you don’t present as feminine, for example, as Chloé does, who self-identifies as a girly girl. For me, growing up, I was just really self-conscious for a number of reasons. I’m Mexican-American, for anyone who doesn’t know, and I grew up in a predominantly white community, so already, I was predisposed to feel other, like the other girl, right? Or feeling like I’m not like the other girls, because the other girls were white, and they were more delicate, and they were thinner. And so escaping into something like Harry Potter… and I think a lot of women fall into this trap; probably a lot of young girls that read the series when they were coming out alongside a few of us as well fall into this trap of feeling insecure and not pretty enough, and so then they do identify with the women in this series who are respected beyond just what they bring as far as looks goes. And so while I don’t think it’s necessarily bad, what I do think is bad is pitting them against each other. Because that’s not fair, right? Somebody that’s outwardly beautiful can still be bookishly smart, like Hermione, for example.

Chloé: Yes.

Pam: But somebody that is super feminine… I definitely present more feminine now than I did when I was growing up, but I’m also a really big baseball fan. Somebody that wears dresses a lot – I love wearing dresses – can still know about baseball and enjoy it, not because they want to be a cool girl that’s in with the boys, but because they genuinely enjoy professional sports.

Chloé: Yes, let women be multifaceted and not just one thing. And I feel like that is one of the main issues with the way that women are written in Harry Potter. It’s like, you’re either a mother, or you’re helping a man, or you’re a pick-me girl, if I’m honest. And women are so many things and are allowed to be so many things, but I feel like each woman in this story is actually put in a category and they’re very rarely allowed to leave it, even though they are so deep in their characterization. Hermione is really smart, but she also is beautiful. There’s no denying both.

Pam: But even when they are allowed to leave – like Hermione gets to leave in Goblet of Fire at the Yule Ball – there’s consequences to that, and the consequence to that is that she has a falling out with Ron, who doesn’t know how to deal with it, and so then she reverts back after one night. I mean, we’ll never know why she does it; it probably just isn’t her vibe. But she wanted to feel beautiful and like a princess for one night, and then he had to go and ruin it because she wasn’t the Hermione that he sees Monday through Friday, every day.

Laura: And he was jealous.

Pam: And he was jealous!

Chloé: Yeah, and confused.

Meg: I think a lot of things in this doc that we’re going to find – especially about women being mean towards each other – a lot of it comes back to their relationships with men, a lot about fighting over men, men being involved… but to answer your original question, Chloé, I definitely felt a kinship with Hermione when I first read the books. I first read them when I was eight, so it was just when I was about to start the awkward years of being a preteen. And I never felt very pretty. I was never popular. I was very shy. Once puberty hit me, I had terrible acne. It was just a lot to deal with, and so reading about Hermione with crazy bushy hair and big teeth, that was comforting. It was like, “Oh, she’s not a beauty queen, but she has other traits that make her a worthwhile character.” But then Emma Watson was cast, who’s a beautiful human specimen…

Pam: I know.

Meg: But I think in the movies they did a pretty good job of… you can’t hide her beauty, but they tried.

Chloé: They tried, maybe in the first and the second, and then gave up. [laughs]

Meg: But yeah, I mean, when you’re watching Goblet, and she comes down the stairs and she’s beautiful, everyone’s like, “Oh my God.” She looks just as beautiful as she always has. This isn’t really anything super new.

Pam: Not to bring in another franchise, but it’s like in Twilight when Bella turns into a vampire. It’s like, well, Kristen Stewart was already beautiful, so how are you going to make her more beautiful? This is so funny.

Meg: It’s every makeover movie. It’s Princess Mia in Princess Diaries. It’s She’s All That. You take off the glasses…

Pam: Fix the hair, relevant to Hermione.

Meg: … and they’re beautiful. And they just needed a man to take off the glasses.

Pam: Yeah. [laughs]

Chloé: Daniel Radcliffe actually even said in an interview, like, “Emma has always been beautiful. And she looked really great, but it wasn’t a huge shift.” And also the idea, in the books and the movie, that curly hair isn’t as beautiful and needs to be tamed and needs to be changed…

Pam: Listen…

Chloé: [laughs] You can talk about it more than I can.

Pam: I can, because actually, in the pandemic, I went back to my natural hair texture. But I feel like that specifically – and Laura can probably speak to this, too – is a testament to just the late ’90s and early 2000s when we were all straightening our hair within an inch of our lives. I just gaslit myself for ten years into thinking that my hair was straight, and it’s only now in the last three years that I’ve been taking better care of it. And it’s like, “Oh yeah, that’s why that one spot in the back of my head never wanted to straighten out.” It’s because I don’t have straight hair. I have curly hair. [laughs]

Chloé: Your hair is gorgeous. And we always want what we don’t have, right? Because growing up, I was like, “Oh my God, I want curls so bad.”

Meg: Yeah, I’m sitting here like, “I always wanted that volume.”

Pam: Yeah, it’s like, curly hair is trendy now; everybody wants to have curly hair. And there’s gatekeeping of what constitutes as curly, which is so dumb. But yeah, when Hermione was born as a character, I guess curly hair was just not chic.

Chloé: Well, that was a thing in the 2000s.

Pam: Right.

Laura: Like you, Chloé, I was just thinking the same thing: You always want what you don’t have. I will say, when I was a kid reading Harry Potter, I specifically wanted curly hair because of Hermione. [laughs]

Chloé: I love that for you.

Pam: Was she your character you wanted to be like?

Laura: Yeah. And I mean, I felt, I think, a kinship to her because again, she was someone who didn’t necessarily fit in with all of her peers. And I think a lot of us more growing up, we feel that way. As a kid, I was definitely a lot more tomboyish, and I was very into school and academics at the same time. So when it came to fitting into traditionally girly female tropes, I didn’t feel like I belonged there. So I really identified with Hermione, and because of that I wanted curly hair, and I used to desperately try to curl it and damaged it by using crimpers and all kinds of stuff on it.

Pam: Oh, not the crimpers! [laughs]

Chloé: I still use a crimper every once in a while. I’m not going to lie.

Pam: The irony of me straightening my hair and then trying to use a crimper after. [laughs] Please.

Chloé: Oh, that is peak millennial behavior. [laughs]

Pam: Tiny Pam had no idea.

Laura: But to get us… oh, go ahead.

Chloé: I was just going to say, I actually felt the exact same way that you did with Hermione in terms of not fitting in growing up, but with Luna, just because I’ve never considered myself technically very book smart. But in elementary school, I had no friends, and I read alone my books on the playground, and felt very alone and very lonely. And I really grasped onto Luna because the idea that someone could have all these different interests and people think that it’s weird, that was something I experienced growing up. And I wanted so badly to be Luna. I think that hasn’t changed; I think I always aspire to be like Luna. But yeah, I mean, I think there’s so many characters, especially the female ones, where you feel almost like there’s a part of you that doesn’t fit in, so you latch onto these characters that have that same experience.

Meg: Yeah, the arrival of Luna was important in a lot of ways, because before that, before Order, if you were reading the books and you wanted to identify with a female character, it was either Hermione or Ginny. It was basically like, “Do you like books, or do you like sports?”

Chloé: Yeah, sports. [laughs]

Meg: And then Luna came along, and it was like, oh, here’s finally a new character…

Chloé: You can be weird.

Meg: You can be weird! You can be the weird girl!

[Chloé and Pam laugh]

Meg: That was very important to me, my little artistic fifth grade self. I was like, “I can be weird?”

Chloé: Exactly! The creatives, we really latched onto Luna.

Meg: The creatives, yes.

[Pam laughs]

Laura: Well, to move us along into the meat of the discussion, we have it noted here that a lot of JKR’s most unlikable characters tend to be strongly associated with overtly feminine characteristics, even if they’re not female characters, I’ll observe. Think about Lockhart, for example.

Chloé: [gasps] Oh, that’s such a good point.

Laura: So you’ve got characters like, Chloé, you brought up Rita Skeeter as an example. What were some of the others?

Chloé: Oh my lord. Rita Skeeter. Umbridge, and I think Pam has some really good points about her. Petunia as well. But yeah, it was so funny; I was joking in the Discord with Court, one of our patrons, a few months ago. And we were saying like, “If I was in JKR’s world, I would be evil. Everything about me would be evil, because of my personality, and the fact that I love pink.” And just being super girly for her, for some reason, is evil. It’s very weird.

Laura: And you’re a Slytherin.

Chloé: And I’m a Slytherin. Yeah, no, I’m, basically Umbridge, actually.

[Chloé and Laura laugh]

Chloé: Likes pink, is a Slytherin.

Meg: Alternatively, she would love me. I’m skinny, and I’m white, and I have brown hair, and I’m a Ravenclaw, and I don’t wear makeup. I would be on the page as probably a love interest to a character.

[Pam laughs]

Laura: Yeah, that’s not your entire purpose in life.

Meg: No.

[Chloé laughs]

Laura: And Meg, you had brought up… I think it’s later in the doc, but I also thought it was really relevant to this question around the way that these overtly feminine characters are portrayed in a negative light, but at the same time, some of the characteristics that are assigned to them are interesting. Would you care to tell us more?

Meg: Yeah, you notice throughout the series that the really feminine interests, the Divination and the high emotions, are really, really criticized. But in a lot of characters, it’s like if you don’t look feminine, that’s just as bad. We have Rita Skeeter being described as having mannish hands, and Millicent Bulstrode has a heavy jaw. And it’s like, acting feminine is bad, but if you don’t look feminine, that’s also bad. That also means you’re an evil character. But then with Rita Skeeter, her fake nails are pointed out, so it’s like, but you can’t try to look feminine. You have to be feminine, but don’t try to. It’s basically America Ferrera’s speech in the Barbie movie.

Chloé: Yeah, you can’t win. You can’t win. And also, if you try to be feminine, you have to be effortlessly feminine. Effortlessly, perfectly. Yeah, because if you’re Fleur, for example – who is described as the prettiest person we meet in the series, whatever – she’s so vain to everyone. Even though she’s very talented, it’s not talked about. All that’s talked about is the fact that she cares about her looks. It’s a lot. There’s no winning for the women in this series, and the women of the world, if we’re completely honest.

Pam: Yeah, I don’t think that she meant to do it. But to Meg’s point about a lot of these women that clearly put an effort into their appearance having mannish features, more masculine characteristics, that’s also such a reflection of the real world. And also, this happens a lot, too, particularly with plus size women who often are held to much higher standards and can’t just go out in effortless athleisure wear without being thought of or seen as sloppy, for example. And I think the same can be said for real-life women who maybe have more masculine energy but want to be treated like the women they are. My best friend is 6’2″ and she talks about this quite a lot, how she feels like because she’s so tall, she’s not seen as delicate, so men will not hold the door open for her…

Chloé: Whoa.

Pam: … as much as they would for someone like me, who’s 5’5″, so I don’t know. I really don’t think that JKR meant to, but in a weird sort of roundabout way, she ended up holding up a mirror to a lot of what is wrong with society and their expectations of women.

Chloé: Liza said in the Discord, “My thought now as I listen: These characters reveal the author’s self-hatred.” And it’s so true, but it’s also like… I don’t know if… JKR definitely wasn’t thinking about it, but it’s such social commentary about just how we view women in this world. And what you were saying, Pam… I had this crazy experience at LeakyCon. Obviously, I had the most amazing time meeting listeners. But because I’m super feminine and I come across a certain way, they thought I was going to be much shorter. I’m 5’9″, so I got the comment five or six times, “Oh my God, you’re so much taller than I thought you were,” which is hilarious, because it’s like, oh, we make assumptions based on people’s personalities or based on their looks, about… we put them in boxes. And that’s literally what we do reading this book and in real life, and JKR just shows us the mirror of what we do.

Pam: Yeah. And I can’t remember which one of you brought up the internalized hatred; I think that that is something that can be said for all women. And what it really boils down to is what you decide to do with that, if you decide to learn and grow from that and become a better person because of it. I think that it’s very clear from the discussion we’ve already had that all four of us are already putting in the work to disband those preconceived biases.

Chloé: We’re not immune, though.

Pam: Exactly, yeah. But we’re not immune, and a testament to that is just us talking about what it was like growing up; we all basically admitted to feeling like at one point we were not like the other girls, but character growth is realizing that you don’t have to be different or put somebody else out to stand out.

Chloé: I’m exactly like the other girls. Period. [laughs]

Pam: Yeah, I like pumpkin spice lattes. I’m exactly like the other girls.

Meg: I want to be like the other girls!

Pam: Yeah, exactly.

Chloé: Yes, I want to be like the other girls.

Laura and Pam: Yeah.

Laura: Well, and I think a really important thing to point out there is what our own perceptions were of these characters as children, because I’ll be honest, from my vantage point, like I said, I was definitely more tomboyish and also more bookish than I was into “traditional girly” things. And definitely, when I was younger and I was reading these books, I absolutely identified with the negative characterizations of the really overly feminine characters, because it was reinforcing what society was telling me already. And that just goes to show, like has already been mentioned here, none of us are immune to this kind of thing. And if we’re artists, the way that we produce art, it is a mirror that reflects who we are and our interpretation of the world and the world’s impact on us. But that’s also true in the way that we interpret art, right? So I think that’s just a really important reminder to carry through the rest of this conversation. And then anytime we’re interpreting works of art, just to remember that your interpretation brings with it to the table your own sets of strengths and opportunities to better yourself as a person.

Chloé: Well, I’m thinking about… this is something people say, but the idea that you get annoyed with other people because they’re showing the worst parts of yourself, or the parts of yourself that you don’t like. And when we’re doing literary analysis, same thing; we see the things in our life or how we act that we don’t like, and we don’t like it in another character, and that’s really important too. There’s something so attractive about being that “I’m not like other girls,” right? Because she’s cool, and she’s different, and boys like her. And I think that – and tell me if I’m being too bold – I think all of us have wanted to be that at one point in our life.

Laura: Sure.

Chloé: Or even attempted to be with boys, putting other women down around men to feel better and to feel like you got their approval. That is absolutely a thing I did. And it’s a thing that Hermione and Ginny and other characters do in these stories, and now looking back, it’s easier… but when I was reading it as a young person, I’m like, “Ooh, I can’t believe she did that,” when I was doing the same thing.

Laura: Yeah, “I would never.” And then it’s like, well, uh, probably did.

[Pam laughs]

Laura: We’re all products of the society that we grew up in. But let’s talk about… I know we’ve touched on this a little bit when we mentioned Divination, but talking about the demonization of feminine interests we see sometimes in the books, whether it comes to courses or just general interests. Also, the theme of some women not wanting to spend time around other women and forging really strong friendships there. What are y’all’s thoughts on those topics?

Chloé: Please spend time with other women. That’s my first other reaction [laughs] is please spend time with other women.

Meg: Yeah, it’s a way to better yourself, to see other women, how their different lived experiences compare and contrast to yours. And it really is such a shame that in the books we see Lavender and Parvati, who love Divination, they just get made fun of.

Chloé: It’s awful.

Meg: Especially by Hermione, who tries to show off that she’s so much better than that, so much so that she drops the class and storms out. And then when Trelawney is sacked in Order of the Phoenix and Firenze takes over, we get that scene in the Great Hall where Lavender and Parvati are talking, like, “We’re so excited for Divination. Hermione, aren’t you upset that you dropped it now?” And she says something like, “I never liked horses that much anyway.”

Laura: I know.

Chloé: Oh my God, that is the craziest scene.

Meg: She’s like, “I’m still better than you in this regard.”

Chloé: Coming from a Muggle-born who has faced discrimination, right? To knock someone… but also the fact that Firenze is immediately considered a better teacher, even because he’s… and I’d argue that part of that is because he’s a man.

Meg: Yeah, he’s not silly, fruity Professor Trelawney.

Chloé: Yeah, well, the thought that someone who is a half-breed – which is considered less than in the wizarding world – who’s a man, is considered immediately better than Trelawney, who is gifted. Yes, she’s cuckoo bananas, and we’ve talked about that at length, but she does have the sight. And it’s super interesting. I will say, something that’s super ironic is recently I watched Emma Watson’s “What’s in my bag?” Vogue video. That girl carries around tarot cards, and pulls tarot cards every single day. Emma Watson would be a Divination girly; she would be with Lavender and Parvati enjoying that class. So I think that is so crazy. And I do love that fun little fact. [laughs]

Meg: And considering Hermione, it would just have been so nice to have seen Hermione have a better relationship with these two girls that she slept in a room with every single night. They must have been talking somewhat. It would have been… and you see the Gryffindor boys all have such a strong bond. It just would have been so nice to see her Hermione have that with her own dorm mates.

Chloé: I think it’s probably both ways, though. I do want to give Hermione grace. I wonder if Lavender and Parvati left Hermione out. Or maybe there was the case where they tried to get Hermione involved. It seems like Lavender and Parvati actually knew more about what Hermione was doing in the earlier books; they know that Hermione goes to the bathroom to cry after Ron insults her, for example. I wonder if they drifted apart because Hermione becomes close to Ron and Harry, and then Lavender and Parvati stop inviting her to things. I think that’s probably a two-way street, and we see that a lot with women.

Laura: Yeah. Well, and I think, too, we have to throw out the possibility that maybe the two of them were just objectively really annoying to be around. Both things can be true, right?

Chloé: Yes, yes.

Laura: There can be nothing wrong with them as characters, as people. And we don’t have to demonize their “girlishness,” but that doesn’t mean that they’re not annoying sometimes, and it’s not because they’re girly, even though I think the text might provide that interpretation. Both things can be true. I’m a fan of multiple truths.

Chloé: I know. Nuance, baby, nuance. [laughs] But I also think that… I love that Lavender – and I know that it comes across annoying, and that kind of bugs me – but I love that Lavender is allowed to be girlish and giggly and childish. Feels like very few of the children in this story are allowed to be children.

Laura: Right.

Chloé: And it feels like Lavender is annoying in a childlike way, which is so valid when you’re 11, 12, 13. I was so annoying. I would not want to spend time with me now as a 13-year-old, and that’s just the truth.

Laura: Well, just to wrap up this part of the discussion, I just want to pose this final question. Chloé, I think you included this in the doc because I know pink is your favorite color. Why does J.K. Rowling hate pink so much? I think this is an interesting question, because all of the representations of pink in this series are pretty negative, to be honest. [laughs]

Chloé: There’s one that isn’t.

Laura: Yeah, but it’s funny because she went on Twitter and said that pink is her favorite color. So I’m confused.

[Laura and Pam laugh]

Meg: Pink is just so feminine, and she needs to… well, and I think especially in the case of Umbridge, it’s the contrast of pink is such a soft, feminine color, and Umbridge is this very brash, evil character. It’s like, going into her room and seeing all the kittens on the plates. Kittens are nice; they’re fluffy. Umbridge is not nice; nor is she fluffy. But yeah, pink really gets demonized in the series, and it’s so funny because the costume designer from the movies, Jany Temime, said an interview once that she kind of assigned colors to the members of the trio, and she gave Emma Watson pink. And Hermione wears pink in a lot of the movies. They even changed the Yule Ball gown to be pink instead of blue.

Chloé: Which looked better on her because of her coloring, which is the reason.

Meg: Yeah, pink suits her.

Chloé: But it’s true; we do associate Emma with pink. But all the book instances of pink, the only other character that wears pink as much as Umbridge – or is mentioned – is Petunia, I’m pretty sure, and we’re not meant to like her.

Pam: Right. And this is something that I wanted to bring up, too, because I think a lot of times, beauty and effort into appearance are… from early on in the series, they’re used to hide something that’s more sinister, to Meg’s point with Umbridge. She has all these frills and pink, and she’s deeply evil underneath. With Rita, she has the really long crimson nails and her hair is done just right, but she’s a little sneak. And Petunia outwardly presents as feminine, the perfect 1950s housewife, if you will, but she’s awful to her nephew. And so I think that what this does, especially for young readers, is that it predisposes us to be wary of anybody that outwardly presents feminine, or is going to be putting more effort into their appearance, because now we have all of these examples of women that have done so and turned out to be not great. So we’re looking at other people like, say Fleur, for example. It’s like, “What is she hiding? She’s so beautiful. What is she hiding?”

Chloé: Hates blondes, hates pinks. It’s okay, I get it. [laughs]

Laura: But I mean, actually, it’s funny because there is that perception of Fleur and we see that throughout the books, but she’s literally the best student at Beauxbatons and that’s why she’s chosen as their champion. So it’s another great example that you can be multiple things. You can be multifaceted.

Chloé: People hate Fleur online, hate her for some reason, and they forget that she’s a total badass.

Pam: I do think so. But it’s tough because a lot of what we see of her is also characters that are observing her being a little snooty, like being loud about everything she hates about Hogwarts. If I loved my school that much, I might be a little pissed off about anybody – not just her – being like, “This place is a dump.” [laughs] That kind of stuff.

Chloé: It’s true. She’s not perfect; she has her moments for sure.

Pam: No, I don’t think she’s trying. I feel like it goes both ways. To Laura’s point, there can be multiple truths. With the Weasleys, definitely you can tell that she butts heads with a lot of them. I would never excuse Molly, Ginny, anyone else for being like, “We don’t like Fleur because she’s just too pretty,” or like, “She must be dumb, because she’s so beautiful.”

Chloé: But that’s kind of how it comes across, though.

Pam: It does. But then also, either in retaliation or for whatever reason, we also see her… she’s complaining about Celestina Warbeck playing during Christmas and stuff, and so I feel like they both go at each other’s throats but for different reasons, and neither one is right. And it sucks that we don’t see them really come together and put aside their differences to forge a better relationship.

Meg: Another thing I was thinking of recently is in the beginning of Half-Blood Prince when Tonks is depressed, Fleur has a moment where she says, “That Tonks has really let herself go. Really disappointing to see,” which is Fleur judging another woman’s femininity. Tonks’s femininity isn’t about the long beautiful blonde hair. Sometimes it’s bright pink. Other times it’s mousy brown, because she’s in her feelings. She’s feeling sad.

Pam: And I’m sure it’s a byproduct of her circumstance, too, because, we know her grandmother was a Veela. Veelas are the most beautiful women unless they’re angry, and then they turn into really scary creatures, but I’m sure that especially… and I’m sure we’ve all heard this too online, that women that are only prized for their beauty also have a lot of internalized hatred, or feel like that’s all that they can offer to the world. So we don’t know how much of the way she behaves is a byproduct of her circumstance, or what her home life was like, or what her family decided she was going to give to the world.

Chloé: That hits so hard, Pam. That hits so hard. As someone who grew up with a plastic surgeon as a father, and my mom, who was a fashion designer and then a skincare person, looks were everything growing up. And I was a child model, and I’ve been told my whole life, “Oh, Chloé, you’re so pretty.” And I was never told, “Oh, Chloé, you’re so creative. Oh, Chloé, you’re so smart. Oh, Chloé, you’re going to go so far.” It was always like, “Oh my gosh, Chloé, you’re so pretty.” And it really, really screwed me up because I just saw so much value in looks and very little value in other things, and I had to deprogram myself. And there are still moments where I immediately go to someone’s looks, or my own looks, and I don’t value other things about me, and it is really, really hard. And I think that Fleur is probably absolutely coming from that place. And also, there’s a part of it that is inherent to being a Veela, and Fleur is not completely human, and I think that does factor into some of the interactions – actually, all of the interactions – that she has with other women in the series, because men inherently like Fleur because biologically, she is a Veela, which threatens other women. And the other women see that she’s vain, and she is vain, because she’s a Veela. There’s a lot of layers when it comes to her. But it’s true that if you are thought of as just a pretty girl your whole life, it’s really hard to see yourself as more, and then when your looks go or when you gain weight or when you feel not as attractive, you’re like, “Oh, I’m worthless.” So I think there’s a part of that too.

Meg: I want to point out in the Discord, Legalize Gillyweed said, “Poor Fleur was probably sexualized from a young age because of her heritage too.”

Chloé: Oh, for sure.

Meg: I think that’s a very serious good point, that she had to grow up with that discomfort of knowing you are a beautiful thing, and men are going to want to look at you. And then take her to Hogwarts, and she walks in and all the boys are looking at her and she’s just used to that, and she’s probably used to other women seeing that and hating her for that reason.

Chloé: I wonder if she gives up even trying to charm women, to Pam’s point.

Meg: Yeah, maybe she just has given up. She’s like, “It’s not worth it. It’s never going to work out.”

Laura: All right, well, we’re going to take a quick break to go back and reevaluate what all of our favorite colors are. I know at least one member of this panel prefers pink, but the rest of us will confer and we’ll be back in just a moment.

[Ad break]

Main Discussion: Female relationships in Harry Potter

Laura: All right, y’all, now we’re going to get into part two of our discussion, which pertains to how women treat other women in the wizarding world. Chloé, you have some points about Luna and Ginny. You want to inform us?

Chloé: Yeah, this is a positive relationship for me, and I really wish that we saw more of them. We obviously can read in between the lines. But Luna and Ginny are in the same year; they probably had classes together, maybe Double Potions, Double DADA. But Luna comes and is introduced to the trio as weird. And I think, actually, Neville is the one that says like, “Oh, I didn’t want to be alone in a carriage with Luna,” and Ginny stands up for her, and I really love that. And Ginny continuously stands up for her throughout the series. Like when Harry takes Luna to Slughorn’s Christmas party, for example, Ginny is like, “That is so great; I’m so glad you’re doing that. She’s so excited.” There’s clearly a relationship between the two women that is positive, and I love that Ginny is willing to stand up for Luna, who’s not as popular, who people think is weird. And Ginny is the most popular girl in school. I really love that, and it is the perfect example. And I think Ginny actually might be the most girls’ girl, except when it comes to Fleur, of the series. She really is supporting Luna here and putting her neck out for a character that other people don’t necessarily understand, and I think that’s awesome.

Meg: And Ginny, who has feelings for Harry, has no jealousy there. She’s like, “Harry is doing a good, kind thing by inviting Luna to this party, and Luna is going to have a great time, and I think that’s wonderful.”

Laura: Yeah, and I think, too, some of this could relate to the fact that Ginny in her own right feels like – and forgive the idiom usage here – but she feels like the odd man out because she’s one sister with a bunch of brothers, so she can identify with the feeling of maybe not belonging in her family. And she’s the only one in her family who’s had a very particular experience of being possessed by Voldemort.

Pam: I was going to say that she did not have a good first year, and I think that that’s probably why she’s so kind to people that are different. I mean, she didn’t make any friends, and that’s why she turned to a diary and then got possessed.

Laura: Well, we’ll pivot a little bit here, still thinking about Ginny, but Meg, I’m wondering if you can talk to us a little bit about Ginny and Hermione.

Meg: Yeah, we see Ginny and Hermione getting along very well. And something about both of them is they’re both really not girly girls. And I would have liked to see more Hermione Ginny interactions throughout the books, find out what they have in common other than just being the main female characters alongside with Harry and Ron. But they get along so well, and the only time they really… well, they disagree on some occasions, like when Ginny says, “Be nice to Luna.” But it’s always very, like, “Hey, knock it off. Luna is cool.” The one time that there’s a heated disagreement is in Half-Blood Prince when they’re talking about Harry having just cast Sectumsempra on Malfoy, and Hermione starts nagging Harry for the Prince’s book, for using that, and Ginny snaps and is like, “Give it a rest.” And Hermione tries to even placate Ginny by being like, “Well, I thought that… he’s off the Quidditch team now; I thought maybe that would upset you.” And she says, “Oh, don’t pretend that you understand Quidditch, you’re only going to embarrass yourself.” And it’s the most heated confrontation we get between Hermione and Ginny, and it’s over a sport, which is a very typically masculine thing, but then at its heart, it’s over Harry. They’re disagreeing over treatment of Harry; Hermione is saying, “Harry brought this on himself.”

Chloé: It’s so real between two best friends to have a disagreement like this and snap at each other. And I’d argue that we have enough evidence that Hermione and Ginny are best friends. Hermione knows about Ginny’s crush on Harry way before anyone else, and it’s clear they’ve had in-depth conversations about it. And also, Hermione has given Ginny advice on how to move on. And we don’t see any of those conversations because we’re reading the book, obviously, from Harry’s point of view, but it’s very clear that Ginny and Hermione have a strong relationship and they talk often about things that the boys probably don’t understand. I’m assuming that everything that Hermione can’t tell the boys, she probably tells Ginny, and I kind of liked that they have a snap at each other because with my best friends, we’ve certainly had moments where I’m like, “Dude, what? Cut it out.” And that’s real. That’s sisterhood.

Meg: It is. I just wish the snap had been over, like, “Stop being such an asshole to Luna! God!”

[Chloé and Pam laugh]

Chloé: I wonder, though… they probably did have those conversations. It’s just we’re seeing it from Harry’s point of view, so of course they’re going to fight about Harry.

Pam: Yeah, Harry’s ears are going to burn if he knows they’re talking about him.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: But yeah, I mean, that’s the limitation of the story being told from a Harry’s point of view is that, as a reader, it could be very easy to walk away with the impression that Hermione and Ginny really aren’t super close, because we really only start to see a core four as opposed to a trio around the time when Ginny is brought to the forefront because she’s being set up to be Harry’s love interest.

Meg: Another great instance of Ginny and Hermione’s friendship, I think, is in Order of the Phoenix when she tries out for Quidditch, and Fred or George is like, “I didn’t know she played Quidditch,” and Hermione is like, “She’s been stealing your broomsticks out of the cupboard since she was eight.”

Chloé: Yes, that’s such a good point.

Meg: It’s like Hermione knows that about her more than any of her brothers do.

Chloé: We have to read the subtext and the context clues when it comes to forming the female relationships and female friendships in Harry Potter, because we get tiny little snippets.

Pam: It is interesting, though, because out of everybody that should be more gatekeepy – because we’ve talked a little bit about how some women gatekeep their relationship with the men in their lives because it makes them feel better – if anybody should gatekeep, it should be Ginny because she’s had her brothers’ attention her whole life. But the fact that we never see her be wary of Hermione or be… not defensive, but she’s never threatened by Hermione, and I think that that speaks volumes to her security as a character. And I think that that’s really cool.

Laura: Y’all are actually making me appreciate Ginny’s character a lot more through this conversation. I’m usually not a huge fan, not because there’s anything wrong with her.

Chloé: Really!

Laura: Yeah, mainly because I’ve always felt like her character in the books was honestly underdeveloped.

Pam: Yeah.

Chloé: That’s true.

Laura: Yeah, but I think if you read the subtext, though, you learn a lot more about her. At the very least, we can fill in some headcanon, right? [laughs]

Chloé: Right, yeah. That’s what you have to do when you’re talking about the women if it’s not Hermione, if I’m honest.

Pam: Yeah, that’s true. And she has some good moments, like her standing up to Harry when he’s just being a total jerk, and being like, “You should have just asked me what it was like to be possessed instead of going crazy, because I have been.”

Chloé: She’s fierce.

Pam: Yeah, she has no fear. And that’s one of the things that does come up time and time again, in tiny little pockets of Ginny throughout the series. [laughs]

Chloé: It’s also the reason that it’s so infuriating how she was portrayed in the movies.

Pam: Right.

Chloé: Because she is such a solid match to Harry sass, and it’s so good. And I always read Ginny and was like, “Oh my God, I want to be that sassy.” I kind of aspired to be as sassy and have as good comebacks as she did, because probably Fred and George taught her a little bit of that.

Pam: Oh, 100%.

Chloé: The subtext is the best part.

Laura: Well, what about Molly and Tonks for another example of a positive relationship between women in the series?

Meg: It’s interesting because the majority of their relationship we see is in Half-Blood Prince, when Remus has told Tonks that he doesn’t want to continue their relationship, and Molly kind of takes on a motherly role. And part of it, you can’t help but wonder, is it because Molly is hoping that Bill will choose Tonks instead of Fleur?

Chloé and Pam: Ooh.

Meg: She has a few lines where she’s like, “You could be with Tonks instead,” and Bill is like, “I don’t want that, Mom.” And you wonder if it’s Molly being like, “Well, Tonks’s femininity is something that I agree with more.” But it is nice to see that Tonks in her depressed state feels comfortable going to the Burrow and sitting at the table and having tea and soup with Molly. And it makes me upset that we didn’t see more of Andromeda in the series…

Pam: That would have been really fun, yeah.

Chloé: Preach.

Meg: … see more of Tonks talking to her own mother about this, especially when we learn so much of Andromeda’s sisters, Narcissa and Bellatrix, and they are both just not nice characters. And it would have been so nice to see Andromeda, how she would compare to her two sisters.

Pam: Yeah, and not that we need more from Harry’s perspective – and I know we’re talking about women, so I’ll just make this point really quick – it just would have been really nice to see Andromeda and Harry talk to each other because she was so close to Sirius, and he lost Sirius so early. And I’m shocked that that never happened, that he never met her.

Meg: And Harry becomes godfather to her grandson.

Pam: Right.

Chloé: Andromeda would have been the best female representation if she was more included, if I’m honest. It feels like she is actually… and again, we get tiny little snippets. But she’s a Slytherin, first of all, and she’s good, and she married a Muggle-born, and she chose love, and she leads with her heart first, and she’s a strong witch. It is really sad we don’t get to see Andromeda. And I think that that’s something that would have added so much to just the world of femininity in Harry Potter.

Laura: Agreed.

Meg: She would have been too powerful.

[Laura laughs]

Pam: Everyone’s favorite character, we couldn’t have that.

[Chloé and Meg laugh]

Laura: Well, what about some of the negative portrayals of relationships? We touched a lot on Fleur lately – I will never sound as sophisticated saying that as Chloé does – but why don’t we start there? Because I do see a lot of Fleur v. insert character here in this list.

[Chloé and Pam laugh]

Chloé: I mean, we don’t have to do all of them. I just have to stand for my girl.

Laura: No, no, but I think in general we can talk about Fleur and think about the themes that we see between her and Hermione, her and Molly, her and Ginny, right? And what we’re seeing there.

Chloé: I put in the doc, I said, “Fleur is my pièce de résistance,” because she is arguably the most… she is the most feminine character in Harry Potter, and I’d argue that she’s treated the worst by other women that we see. Everyone attacks her, essentially. And yes, she’s not perfect. We know this; she’s not. But because she is so pretty, she is immediately villainized because men are attracted to her. And it’s men that these women believe that they own, like Molly, for example, with Bill, her first son, her baby, her everything. The first man to marry off picked Fleur, who’s French, who’s a Veela, who’s pretty, who’s vain… and she would prefer someone else. She doesn’t want to give him up to Fleur. And until Fleur proves herself after Bill is bitten by a werewolf, she finally comes around, but she’s ostracized by the entire family. She’s ostracized by Hermione; from the minute Fleur walks in the door, Hermione doesn’t like her because Ron and Harry’s attention is immediately captivated by Fleur. And she makes so many offhanded comments, but Hermione did the same thing with Lockhart. What is that about? They call her “Phlegm,” which I think is a reference to the fact that French people have something in the back of their throat. Is it? I don’t know.

[Meg and Pam laugh]

Laura: I know, I was going to say with Fleur, it’s not just about the internalized misogyny. It’s also xenophobia.

Pam: Right. Aren’t the British kind of prejudiced against French people too?

Meg: Yeah, the British and the French are…

Chloé: They don’t like each other.

Pam: There’s some true colors showing.

Chloé: And it’s also maybe a little racist, I’d argue, because of Fleur’s blood status. She’s not completely human. And there’s a lot of instances where Hermione and even Molly and the Weasleys have shown that they do have some wizarding prejudice when it comes to people that aren’t completely human.

Laura: Yeah, and they don’t so much have the issue when it comes to half-bloods or Muggle-borns, right? But we definitely saw it at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban with the way Ron reacted to Lupin, for example. Yeah.

Chloé: And Hagrid, too, finding out about Hagrid.

Laura: And also the way they react to conversations around house-elf liberation.

Chloé: Yeah, like, “Slavery is normal. We’ve all accepted it.”

Laura: Yeah, “Get over it. That’s just a thing we do here.”

Meg: “They like it!”

[Pam laughs]

Chloé: “They like it,” literally.

Laura: Ugh. Gross. Well, we just talked a little bit about the Weasleys, and we centered on Molly. I was wondering if we could talk about Molly and Hermione quickly, because that’s a big theme in Goblet of Fire.

Chloé: It reminds me of the 40-year-old women that talk shit about teenagers and about what they’re doing. Molly judges Hermione because of a Rita Skeeter gossip article about the fact that she broke Harry’s heart and purposely gives her, what, less… she doesn’t knit her a Weasley jumper that year.

Meg: She gets a smaller Easter egg at Easter.

Chloé: She gets the smaller Easter – it’s so petty. It’s so petty.

Laura: I know.

Meg: It would almost be better if she didn’t send her anything.

Chloé: Yeah, it’s so petty. [laughs] And I’m like, “Hermione is 14. Molly, you are 40. Please. Act like it.”

Meg: I think there can be some grace there because we know how strongly Molly feels as a motherly character towards Harry. And she’s seeing what he’s going through, especially in Goblet. And for him to have to be doing these terrible, scary tasks, and then for someone to be breaking his heart at the same time? It’s just too much for her to handle.

Chloé: It’s true.

Meg: But she really does not approach it maturely. She doesn’t even ask Harry about it; she just makes up her mind.

Chloé: She should have asked Harry or Hermione. Also, you hope that she feels maybe not as strongly towards Hermione, but at least a little bit. She’s known Hermione the same amount of time. Hermione has spent time with her at her house.

Pam: I think it’s that… I get what you’re saying. Yes, she should. But I do think that the relationship is different because she knows that Harry doesn’t have a mother, and we get that beautiful moment in Order of the Phoenix where she says, “He’s as good as mine.” That’s what she basically says. And so we know that she feels a sense of responsibility to be a mother figure for him, because he doesn’t have that and he doesn’t go home to a great life. But I do feel like this is the most frivolous Molly is in the entire series, getting hung up on gossip. It’s kind of like… do you guys remember going…?

Chloé: She’s wonderful.

Pam: I was just going to say, it’s like when you used to go grocery shopping with your parents in the ’90s and it was all tabloids by the register. I don’t think it’s as much that anymore, but I know my mom used to read the headlines and be like, “Ooh, that’s interesting.” [laughs]

Chloé: Oh, my mom loved People. My mom loved… she still does.

Pam: People is reputable, so your mom’s got taste. [laughs]

Chloé: She does, she does. But Molly is a really, really wonderful mother, and I do want to note that. She is a dream, absolutely. But I do love, and I think… Debbie in the Discord said, “Molly is an authentic portrayal of a mother.” Yes, she is authentic. I think that she’s better than a lot of mothers; I’m just going to put that out there.

Pam: The Weasleys are obviously a white family, but a lot of the way that Molly and Arthur operate reminds me a lot of my grandparents. Even if they didn’t have much, they would figure out a way to feed everybody. They would always take in strays. They were everyone else’s grandparents and stuff, and I just feel like that is so Arthur and Molly. It doesn’t matter that they don’t have a lot; they’ll figure out how to make sure everyone has a place to sleep, make sure everybody has a warm meal, make sure everybody has something to open up during Christmas. And I just think that that is so beautiful to think about, all of that.

Chloé: She still sent Hermione a gift. I wonder…

Pam: Yeah, all that she does that we don’t see.

Chloé: Maybe it wasn’t petty.

Pam: I think it was a little petty. [laughs]

Laura: It’s a little petty because…

Chloé: What if it’s both, though?

Laura: … isn’t she also noted in the book as being cold towards Hermione when she sees her? It’s a thing.

Pam: She is, yeah, and then Harry is like, “Oh, Mrs. Weasley, you didn’t actually believe all that?” and she gets all flustered because she did.

Laura: Yeah. Well, this just goes to show they don’t teach media literacy at Hogwarts, which is a problem. But I mean, that’s also a real world problem, so we’ll let them have that.

Pam: That’s true. They only have the Daily Prophet and the Quibbler. Like, what do we expect?

[Meg and Pam laugh]

Chloé: Right, and neither are…

Pam: Reputable? [laughs]

Chloé: Both often do fake news.

Meg: Witch Weekly, the Most Charming Smile Award.

Pam: Oh yeah, Witch Weekly. Yeah, that’s true.

Laura: Well, were there any other points in the negative relationships column y’all wanted to touch on?

Chloé: I think Hermione versus Lavender. We didn’t talk about the way that Hermione treats women, and it’s a little… it’s pretty rough. She just views her as less than because she has different interests, and she’s giggly, and obviously, I think Ron comes into play later. But Hermione has a mean streak, and it’s usually with other women, like the way that she treats… God, what’s Cho’s friend’s name? Marietta Edgecombe. That is too far. She puts Rita Skeeter in a jar; very much Rita Skeeter could have died and would have died if she tried to transform. Hermione doesn’t treat Luna super well. There’s a lot of moments where you’re like, “Whoa, chill, dude.”

Laura: So here’s the thing: Hermione really has no chill. She’s got a very strong sense of justice about her, and 50% of the time I love it. I think the Rita Skeeter plot and the way that that plays out, I think, is really hilarious because honestly, Rita Skeeter is a grown woman who is literally harassing teenagers for a gossip rag.

Chloé: [laughs] She had it coming.

Laura: She definitely had that coming. And also, when it…

Chloé: But she’s cuckoo bananas sometimes. Hermione takes it far.

Laura: Oh, I know. She’s like, “Here, you want to join my club? Sign this piece of paper…”

Chloé: “And I’ll permanently disfigure your face.” Like, whoa.

Pam: That’s why she’s a Gryffindor.

Chloé: Yeah, but the other girl is 15. Oh my God.

Pam: No, I agree. I’m just saying that there are bad traits for every House, and this is Hermione personifying bad traits of Gryffindor. And I can say that, as a Gryffindor.

Meg: Extreme Gryffindorism.

Chloé: But the way she treats Luna and Lavender…

Laura: Yeah, it’s the rashness of it, right?

Pam: Yeah. She’s literally not thinking logically in those moments, because all she’s seeing is red. And I relate. That’s not a great quality to have, but…

Chloé: But it’s a damn Gryffindor quality.

Pam: It is.

Chloé: I think those examples are… obviously, she’s pursuing justice, and that’s what matters to her, so we’re able to think about it and make excuses. I think the way she treats Lavender and Luna is just really insensitive and mean, and I think there’s very little excuse for the way that she treats them.

Meg: With Lavender, there’s also the huge aspect that she loves Ron, and Lavender got there first. And she should be angry at Ron for that, but she makes all these comments about Lavender.

Chloé: But even before, though, in Prisoner of Azkaban.

Meg: Even before. She’s always been very, very against her, but especially with… and when I first read Half-Blood Prince, I didn’t like Lavender, because I loved Ron and Hermione together. I was like, “Lavender is terrible,” because I was 12.

[Chloé laughs]

Meg: And then rereading it, though, Lavender is a true Gryffindor. Lavender went up to Ron and was like, “I’m into you; let’s kiss.”

Chloé: Oh, yeah. No, Lavender is ballsy, and I love it.

Meg: Yeah, that’s her showing her Gryffindorism.

Laura: She also didn’t deserve the way that she was treated the way that Ron ended things with her. Also, she’s just in love and 16. I acted the same way.

Meg: She was just a teenager with a crush on a guy.

Pam: I thought you were going to say she also didn’t deserve the way she maybe died. [laughs]

Chloé: Oh, well, that too, Pam. That’s a given.

Meg: I am a Lavender is alive truther.

Chloé: Me too!

Pam: I hope she is.

Meg: Maybe she’s like Bill and she likes her steaks a little more rare now, but no, she’s fine.

Pam: Right.

Laura: I like that it’s open-ended.

Chloé: Me too. And listen, I would have probably been besties with Lavender and Parvati. Let’s be honest, I would be the giggly girl with them. And I’m all in.

Laura: That would be your trio.

Chloé: That would be my trio, yeah. And I’m all in.

Laura: As we come to an end of this discussion here, there’s a really great point that we have in the doc about internalized misogyny. We’ve talked about throughout the show how the author’s views socially come through in the work. I think our own views – and every other reader, their views – come through in our interpretations of the work. What does it say when we take this particular interpretation of the way women are portrayed in Harry Potter and overlay that with some of the social commentary that has come from prominent people like the author for example?

Meg: It’s an example of pretending to be a feminist, but not acknowledging intersectional feminism at all…

Chloé: [snaps fingers] Snaps.

Meg: … which is needed for feminism to be real feminism.

Laura: Agreed.

Chloé: It is very ’90s feminism, and that’s the truth. New wave feminism, and what I’ve subscribed to, is that you can be a woman in any which way you want, and that is awesome, and I support you.

Pam: Yeah, there’s space for everyone.

Chloé: Yes.

Pam: That’s what, really, feminism should be.

Chloé: Be a tomboy. Be a girly girl. I don’t care.

Pam: There’s space for trans women. There’s space for nonbinary people. There’s space for BIPOC women. There’s space for cis-het woman. There’s space for queer women. And I think that J.K. Rowling might not share those particular views, but the important thing is that we walk away from this discussion keeping that in mind, so that we’re better people outside of this episode.

Chloé: Yes. You can be a woman any way you want, and I will support you and love you for it. As long as you do the same for me, right?

Meg: Yeah, we mentioned earlier in the episode the description of women as having masculine features and how that makes them not real women, not good women, and it’s just so in tune with the comments today of looking at a trans woman, saying, “Oh, we can always tell.” By saying things like that, you’re not only being a horrible person to trans women, but also just cis women who just happen to have more masculine features.

Chloé: Or intersex.

Meg: And it’s the opposite of being a girls’ girl.

Pam: Yeah, not a girls’ girl.

Chloé: Well, to your point, Meg, a listener wrote in to our Patreon about Rita Skeeter being trans-coded. And it’s something that’s talked about online often, but because of the nails and the makeup and being super done up all the time, and also having more masculine features while being done up, people have said that Rita Skeeter… and obviously, she’s not the nicest character; we’re not meant to like Rita Skeeter. People have said that JKR even maybe unintentionally wrote her views regarding trans women into that character, and I think it’s a valid point. I’m not trans, so I don’t think I can really flesh that out. But it’s interesting reading back and knowing what we now know about JKR’s views and seeing the internalized misogyny and the way that she writes women that she doesn’t like tending to be either overtly feminine with masculine qualities… it feels like she was telling us before she actually exposed herself.

Pam: Yeah. We didn’t talk about her, but I would say Madame Maxime falls into that line of thinking as well.

Laura: Oh, yeah.

Pam: Because obviously, we do learn that she’s half-giant too, right? Yeah, like Hagrid. But she is also, because she’s tall, given more masculine features. But then, also is an example of a woman who is dressed extremely elegantly, and more done up than the cool girls or the girls that are not like the other girls and stuff. So again, it’s an example of writing where the beautification on the outside is hiding something on the inside.

Chloé: Madame Maxime is so fabulous, by the way. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah, she is, but she is still described as a handsome woman.

Chloé: True.

Pam: Yes, and because probably, she’s tall. Again, all of these things that people deem as more masculine qualities.

Laura: It’s really interesting the ways that society informs the way that we talk about these things, because I’m sure if you went back over all of our years of podcasting history, you could probably find some coded language that we didn’t even realize we were using, right? And that’s just the reality of the evolution of being a person. So none of this is to say that it would be possible or even that Harry Potter should have been written in a different way. I think that it is…

Chloé: I love that it’s flawed.

Laura: Yeah, and it should be, because people are flawed, right? We are all flawed. And just like we hear a whole lot out of Order of the Phoenix, the world is not separated into good people and Death Eaters. There is light and dark in each and every one of us.

Chloé: And masculine and feminine traits in each and every one of us, and that is awesome and okay.

Laura: I think that puts a nice bow on things. We are going to step away for just a moment, but we’re going to be back with a fun speed round of segments to wrap up the show today.

[Ad break]

Fun segments

Laura: All right, time to get into our speed round of fun questions and answers. Chloé, do you want to kick this off? Because I think these were all your questions.

Chloé: Yes, I just wanted us to have a little fun at the end; obviously, we’ve been so deep this whole time. What chapter in the entire series would you want to see from a woman’s perspective? Obviously, we see it all through Harry. What perspective do you want to see?

Meg: Mine is one we definitely talked about during this episode. We talked about Ginny not being as fleshed out as she could have been in the series, and we talked about the chapter where she says to Harry, “I can’t believe you forgot that I was possessed by Voldemort.”

Chloé: [laughs] Love.

Meg: So I would love to see “Christmas on the Closed Ward” from Ginny’s perspective…

Chloé and Pam: Ooh.

Meg: … because I’d also want to see her dealing with her dad has been attacked by a snake, going through that. We see Harry devastated by it, but to see one of his children devastated by it also. And then I’d love to see her talking with Ron and Hermione, being like, “Why is Harry acting like an ass?” and them being like, “I don’t know, maybe you should talk to him.” And then that moment happening of him saying, “I forgot.”

Chloé: So good.

Meg: That’s what I would say.

Pam: Yeah, to piggyback off of Meg’s, I would love to see probably any chapter in Chamber of Secrets from Ginny’s point of view, because there’s so much of that story that gets glossed over. But also Hermione’s perspective from Chamber of Secrets of figuring everything out, up until the point that she gets Petrified would be fascinating.

Meg: That would be great.

Laura: I was going to say, you don’t want the perspective of her actually being Petrified in the hospital wing for three months.

[Laura and Pam laugh]

Pam: That would be boring. No, but it could fade to black as soon as she peers over the corner and sees the Basilisk.

Laura: For sure. No, I’m just teasing. I’m just teasing.

Pam: Yeah, imagine if she heard every single thing that was happening around her while she was Petrified. [laughs]

Laura: Oh my God, can you imagine Harry and Ron standing by her hospital bed trying to figure it out…

Pam: Yeah, she’d be screaming.

Laura: … and she’s laying there being like, “She answer is literally in my hand.”

Meg: She’s like, “I have it right here.”

Pam: She’s just like, “I’ll stay Petrified because you’ve both killed me.”

[Meg and Pam laugh]

Chloé: Hermione literally saved those boys so many times in the hospital bed frozen. Insane.

Meg: She saves the day even when she can’t even move or talk.

Chloé: Or talk, yes! I think you guys both had such beautiful, deep, meaningful answers. I want to see the Yule Ball from a girl’s perspective. [laughs]

Pam: Fun!

Chloé: Exactly. Any girl’s perspective, maybe Ginny or Hermione, just because I’m assuming they’re getting ready together, and there is nothing better than getting ready with your girls before a night out. I think it’s the best part of the night, usually. And I want them to talk about Viktor Krum and Ginny going with Neville, and talking about that Harry asked Ginny, and all of those… I just want that girliness. And I guess I can get it in another book, but I desperately want to see it from Ginny or Hermione’s perspective. And also, her blowup with Ron, and how she puts it together that Ron is starting to like her and that there’s an undercurrent there now that she didn’t notice before. And also the inner dialogue of her finally feeling really beautiful; that, I would love to read.

Laura: I agree with that. There’s also that great line where Hermione leaves to go get ready for the ball, like, three hours early.

Chloé: Yes. [laughs]

Laura: And Ron shouts after her, “You need three hours?” I remember reading that and being like, “Duh.”

Meg: Yeah, sometimes you do!

Chloé: Yeah, the shower, the hair… you know she has a Spotify playlist in the background that’s like, bad bitch energy. She’s using her Sleekeazy potion, and she had an everything shower. Boys don’t get it.

Laura: Yeah, it’s a ritual. It’s just a ritual.

Chloé: Exactly. And it’s fun. It’s so fun.

Meg: It’s self-care.

Chloé: Yes.

Pam: It is self-care.

Laura: Yeah. I mean, we’ve all, I think, at some point done something like this. I specifically remember being at Harry Potter conventions back in the day, and the big event was the Yule Ball, and I absolutely took three hours to get ready for that. [laughs]

Pam: But also, depending on who you were sharing a room with… because we were all young and bunking up as much as we could to save money. It was like, you have to go back to the hotel halfway through the day because everyone needs to shower first, and everyone has to do their hair, and everyone has to use the same mirror and the same blow dryer. It was an experience.

Laura: Okay, well, these were supposed to be a speed round. [laughs]

Chloé: Oh, shoot.

Laura: It’s okay.

Chloé: Which witch? Which witch do you think you’re most like in the series?

Laura: I was going to say, in some ways Hermione, but I like to think that I’ve got some Tonks going on.

Chloé: Oh, for sure.

Laura: Not just because of the hair.

Chloé: No, you’re badass like her.

Meg: It’s hard to choose, but I think… I would like to say Luna because there are a few strong Luna-isms that I have. Over the summer I like to dye my armpit hair blue; I think that’s something Luna would maybe do for fun.

Chloé: Love.

[Laura laughs]

Pam: That’s incredible.

Meg: I love the… it’s great. It’s fun.

Chloé: You match Laura’s hair!

Meg: I do! Oh my God!

Laura: Twinning!

Meg: Hair matching!

Chloé: That’s a social post.

[Pam laughs]

Meg: And then I also love the more strange, unloved creatures. You guys were so harsh on the tailless whip scorpion in the Goblet of Fire movie commentary.

Pam: Aww.

Meg: Someone called it gross. I think Micah called it gross. I was like, “I’m not here for that.”

[Everyone laughs]

Meg: They’re nonvenomous! They’re not going to hurt you! They just want to hide. They didn’t deserve to be abused like that by Moody.

Pam: My answer would be Hermione, but only a little bit. I don’t really resonate a lot with the women of Harry Potter. But I also think part of that is because I’m a woman of color, so it’s hard to see myself in these stories. I just have to cherry pick qualities from different characters to find myself.

Chloé: I’m Fleur, we all know it. Good and bad parts of her. And I’m willing to admit that.

Laura: Next one.

Chloé: Who’s invited to the sleepover? You can only pick three witches. So who do you want to have a slumber party with?

Laura: Do they have to be witches?

Chloé: They can be nonbinary magical people. [laughs]

Laura: Okay.

Chloé: I was thinking of just the girls theme. But if you want to invite boys to this slumber party, fine.

Laura: No, it’s not that, it’s not that. I was thinking about…

Pam: Laura is like, “I want to invite Crookshanks.”

[Chloé and Pam laugh]

Meg: Hedwig.

Laura: I was thinking about Winky! I feel like she never gets included.

Pam: Oh, Winky!

Chloé: Aww. Female magical beings, yes.

Laura: Yeah.

Chloé: Winky. That’s so cute, Laura. God, you’re so good.

Laura: Oh, thank you. I just feel like she needs a hug.

Pam: She does.

Chloé: She so needs a hug. I also need a hug.

Pam: She needs a girls’ night. Dobby is not cutting it. [laughs]

Chloé: No, no. I feel like Hermione would invite Winky low-key to a girls’ night, though.

Laura: Yeah, I think she would for sure.

Chloé: Dr. Lim said, “Dude, Winky would be a party animal.” True. She does love herself a drink. [laughs]

Meg: She loves that butterbeer.

Laura: Yeah. Well, that’s the other reason I thought of her, too, is I feel like we’d have a good time. But I also feel like she needs the emotional catharsis of being included, so she gets to come.

Chloé: I’m inviting Tonks, Laura, because I have a big fat crush on Tonks, and I also have a big fat crush on Laura.

[Pam laughs]

Chloé: Because I just love Tonks so much. And then also Luna and then also Fleur, because duh. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah, Luna has got to be there for sure.

Meg: She’s going to bring the Gurdyroot.

Pam: She’s also going to do the tarot card readings, 100%. She’s going to read your aura and everything. She’s on my list too. I said Luna, Ginny, and Tonks.

Meg: Same exact for me, because Tonks is always a good time.

Pam: Yes, so Meg and I are hosting a joint sleepover. [laughs]

Chloé: Okay, Laura and I are having our own with Winky. Whatever. I feel like that group would play Just Dance. Does that resonate with anyone else?

Meg: Yeah.

Pam: That’d be fun.

Chloé: I feel like Ginny and Tonks would really slay Just Dance. [laughs]

Meg: They would.

Chloé: “Grubbly-Plank and McGonagall would have an amazing sleepover,” PotterPeep1591 said.

[Meg and Pam laugh]

Chloé: Yes, honestly. Molly, McGonagall, Grubbly-Plant, Sprout. I want to be at that sleepover too. It’s probably classy.

Meg: Madam Hooch!

Chloé: Madam Hooch. We know Madam Hooch likes the ladies. There ain’t no way she doesn’t. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah, I was definitely going to say my third person would be McGonagall. So McGonagall, Winky, and Luna. I feel like…

Chloé: McGonagall is bringing scotch and in her tartan robe.

Pam: She’s going to let her hair down.

Meg: And biscuits.

Pam: Biscuits, that’s important.

Laura: Perfect.

Chloé: And then the last one is what wizarding world cosmetic do you wish was real? And I checked and all of these are canon in the doc, which is pretty cool. But I was wondering which thing would you put above the others? Because I want all of these cosmetics, because it seems easy and it’s magic, but…

Meg: Bubotuber pus, absolutely.

Chloé: Me too, me too.

Meg: Because pimples? Evil.

Pam: I would go with the Sleekeazy’s.

Chloé: Sleekeazy’s, yeah, the hair potion.

Laura: I feel like I would probably choose something like the hair-thickening potion. But here’s the tea, y’all: I do this a lot. I see something, like a product, that I will think, “Oh my God, I need to have this,” and then it sits unused for months. So I imagine that’s what would happen here easily.

Pam: Easily influenced. I can relate. [laughs]

Chloé: First of all, the two of you influence me to get products all the time, so just know that.

Laura: I know.

[Pam laughs]

Chloé: I also feel so good when people ask me, like, “Oh my God, do you have a product recommendation?” because I love giving them. But I feel like, Laura, what probably exists in the wizarding world is hair color changer.

Laura: Hell yeah.

Chloé: A spell to change the color of your hair any color you want. How cool would it be to wake up one day and be like, “Today I want red hair,” and the next day be like, “Today I want black hair”? Like, if that existed? Obsessed.

Meg: Basically Tonks’s ability in a bottle.

Chloé: Yeah, Tonks’s ability in a bottle.

Laura: That would be great. I’d be so into that. All right, well, I’m going to have to decide what my next hair color is going to be based on that discussion, and maybe I’ll fill y’all in.

Meg: Tonks pink?

Laura: Maybe. I don’t know if I can pull off the bubblegum pink. We’ll find out.

Chloé: You can pull anything off.

Laura: Aww, thank you, love. Thank you, love. This has been wonderful; I’ve loved being on this panel with all of you. I feel like we’ve had some discussions that only a panel of women could have about interpretations of Harry Potter and the female characters in it, so thank you so much for being here again. We’ll get into some closing reminders here. If you’re an Apple Podcasts user, for just $2.99 a month you can receive ad-free and early access to MuggleCast right within the Apple Podcasts app. Patreon offers more benefits. If you would prefer to support us right within the Apple Podcasts app, that’s totally fine. The offer is there. Just tap into the show and you’ll see the subscribe button, plus a free trial for this is available. We would also love your support on our Patreon; we are a weekly podcast thanks to our supporters. And just a reminder for any of our Patreon subscribers who listen to us through Spotify, you can go to the MuggleCast show page on Spotify. Tap the banner that says “Exclusive episodes for subscribers,” then you can connect your Patreon account to Spotify and access all of our bonus episodes and ad-free content right there. Make sure that you hit follow on the show, too, because it’s the Patreon-exclusive feed, and it has some super cool artwork. If you use Spotify but aren’t a patron yet, this is also a great way to support us and enjoy our twice monthly bonus MuggleCast segments as well as ad-free MuggleCast. Whether you listen on Patreon, the Patreon app, your favorite podcast app, or Spotify, you get access to bonus MuggleCast if you are a patron. And if you’re enjoying MuggleCast and think other Muggles would, too, you can tell a friend about the show. We’d also appreciate it if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app. And Chloé, do you want to do the honors with the social plug?

Chloé: I would really like to do the honors. Thank you so much, Laura.

Laura: Go for it.

Chloé: Do not forget to follow us on our social media. Our username is @MuggleCast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok – and Andrew for some reason loves to emphasize it, so – and Threads! So go check us out; we have a lot of fun on there. I certainly have a lot of fun on there. [laughs] So make sure to check us out. I also wanted, if any of y’all want to plug yourselves at all, or I know Laura and Pam are on Millennial, so if you enjoy this conversation, you should absolutely check Millennial out. We also have fun on there. Follow me if you feel inclined; I’m at @ChloéLaverson on Instagram and TikTok and YouTube. I do a lot of stuff just like this, talking about Harry Potter and girly stuff, and it’s a lot of fun.

Meg: I’ll plug my art site.

Laura: Go for it.

Chloé: Yes!

Meg: I’m an artist and you can find my stuff at, because was taken. So it’s MegScottArt but with two hyphens in there.

[Chloé laughs]

Pam: And Chloé already did a fabulous job of plugging Millennial for Laura and I; that’s the show that we do with Andrew every week.

Chloé: I’m a stan.

Pam: [laughs] If you want to join us over there and you’re okay with a more explicit show, please feel free to check us out. And if you want to come hang out with me anywhere online, I’m at @PamGocobachi everywhere, and it’s a mouthful, but I’m sure Chloé will include links in the show notes.

Laura: Yep. And y’all know where to find me; I’m @LaumTee on Instagram. On Twitter, @Laurrrrrrrrita is my username.

[Chloé and Pam laugh]

Laura: I don’t remember how many r’s there are in it, but…

Chloé: It’s eight. It’s eight r’s.

Laura: Oh, okay. See, Chloé is our social media expert, so she knows my handles better than I do. If you can’t find it, just go to any of the MuggleCast socials; they follow me, so you can find me there.

Chloé: Flex.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Anyway, this has been so fun. Again, thanks, y’all, for coming. And thanks, everyone who tuned in with us tonight and joined us live in the Discord. We had so, so much fun with y’all tonight. We will see you next time. We’d love to hear your feedback about this week’s episode, so please feel free to leave us some comments on the socials. If you’re a patron, leave some comments on the Patreon. We want to hear it in the Discord and Please keep it coming. We want to hear what you loved about this this week. Again, thanks for tuning in, y’all, and thanks, panel, for being here. I’m Laura.

Chloé: I’m Chloé.

Meg: I’m Meg.

Pam: And I’m Pamela.

Laura: Bye, y’all.

Meg and Pam: Bye.

Chloé: Woo!

Transcript #632


MuggleCast 632 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #632, The Benefits of Electric Fireplaces (GOF Chapter 4, Back to the Burrow)

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

Andrew Sims: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: Unblock your fireplace; Chapter by Chapter is coming floo. Whoa, what word play, Eric.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: Thanks, Andrew.

Micah: Can we make that the seven-word summary?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Somehow, someway?

Andrew: This week we’re discussing Chapter 4, “Back to the Burrow.” But first, a couple of quick reminders. Micah, Quizzitch Live is coming up.

Micah: Yeah, Quizzitch Live is coming later on this week, next Saturday, October 28, 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. I know we’re all very excited to be bringing this back. This is something we all enjoy, doing our best Alex Trebek, Ken Jennings, Mayim Bialik impressions. Impersonations, I should say. It’s something that during the pandemic was, I think, important for us and important for our listeners. We really enjoy doing it; we enjoy giving away prizes. So this edition, I know we’ve talked about it on previous episodes, it’s going to be a little bit Halloween-themed with the wizarding world candy and with James and Lily, but the main focus of it is on OWLs. Charms, Potions, Transfiguration, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Do not study anything other than those subjects. Don’t waste your time because there’s not going to be any questions on other subjects, just those. And shout-out to Nicole H. for coming up with the questions. She’s a longtime listener of the show going all the way back to 2005.

Andrew: And there’s also going to be the wizarding world candy in the James and Lily category, so maybe study up there, too, if you want. But yeah, this is always a lot of fun. We’ll have more info posted on social media so you can tune in live and participate.

Eric: Do you guys remember HQ? How everyone would tune in for that? It was so… this is that level of interactivity and fun, except you’re part of our group when you can go live. And when you’re listening at home later, you can still have all the fun that we’re having talking about Harry Potter. It’s just always a good time.

Andrew: And in our version of live trivia, you’ll win more than a nickel if you actually win the game.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: I don’t think I ever won a nickel.

Andrew: So yeah, stay tuned for that. Also, just a reminder, visit for transcripts, social media links, our full episode archive, our favorite episodes, and to contact us. And visit if you want to support the show and receive early access to the show, ad-free episodes, bonus episodes, yearly physical gifts, and much more. Actually, speaking of bonus episodes, we’re doing two a month, and we’re recording two right after this episode. Eric first, what’s on tap from you?

Eric: Well, Andrew, we have each received a prestigious invitation for a Halloween ball at Malfoy Manor. It’s been 19 years since the events of Book 7, so don’t worry, the place is kind of chill.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: And we’re going to be designing our own wizarding world Halloween costumes, but we’re using magic because we’re all witches and wizards. So the sky is the limit. We’re each going to pick a cool outfit. And we’ll be hearing from patrons, also, who had the same prompt.

Andrew: And then Laura, you’re bringing back a bonus MuggleCast that we did a few weeks ago. We had so much fun with it, so we’re doing another installment.

Laura: Yeah, we’re doing a second installment of Harry Potter headcanons where we propose some of our favorite interpretations of what might have been going on behind the scenes, maybe not on the page from Harry’s perspective, but ultimately, things that don’t break canon but that still add depth to the story. This ended up being a really popular installment of bonus MuggleCast when we did it, so we decided, let’s do a second edition. And who knows? Maybe this will be a recurring theme.

Andrew: It should be, because the sky’s the limit with this segment, I think. So those will both be available at in the next couple of weeks. You can listen to all of our bonus audio content and ad-free MuggleCast and early access to MuggleCast through your favorite podcast apps, by the way. There’s just this one time setup after you pledge on Patreon.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: All right, with that, let’s get to Chapter by Chapter, and this week we’re discussing Chapter 4 of Goblet of Fire, “Back to the Burrow,” and we’ll start with our seven-word summary.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Andrew: Arthur…

Eric: … attempts…

Micah: … to…

Laura: … help…

Eric: … with…

Micah: … Dudley’s…

Andrew: … tongue.

Laura: Hey, we did it.

Eric: Yay!

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Eric: Last week we did two chapters in a row because they were short and to the point. This one is also short and to the point, but I thought it was worth saving this episode for just this chapter, because I wanted to detail out all of the egregious offenses that the Weasleys visit upon the Dursleys. And there are so many things I think that we’re going to be discussing about how this whole situation need not have happened and was needlessly cruel to everyone’s favorite nicest Muggles in the world, Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley.

Andrew: And Eric tends to be a pretty big Weasley fanboy, so for him to come out with this list of offenses, I think, is pretty shocking.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Just Ginny.

Andrew: Well, yeah.

Eric: Yes, Ginny is spared from this criticism. The first offense I want to talk about is not just sending a single delegate. So we’re trying to get Harry to the Burrow, and he’s going to have a great extra two weeks in the wizarding world from what he normally would because they have the Quidditch World Cup. So why is it that Arthur, Ron, Fred, and George all need to come? When it’s just a simple… somebody could come through, give him some Floo Powder, “Harry, come with us.” The Dursleys are just three people. They’re already apprehensive about magic; everyone knows it. Why would there be more than two Weasleys coming to get Harry? And we know in the next chapter Fred and George force their way in, but it shouldn’t even be the kids. Ron already knows what Harry looks like; there’s no point for Ron to be there. Arthur should have brought Molly. Sending the parents would have been the formal thing to do. Remember the chapter “The Invitation”?

Micah: The proper thing.

Eric: The proper thing! The proper thing, especially if they’re trying to make a good impression on these people who are predisposed to dislike wizards.

Andrew: Right, I mean, that’s the key factor there, that they are already very hesitant to be around wizards. They are repulsed by them, it stresses them out, they’re afraid they’re going to attack. So Arthur needs to get control of his kids – see Fred and George…

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: … and not let them go, because he probably sensed this too. He shouldn’t bring a bigger group to pick up Harry.

Micah: It does make sense to me, though, that Ron is there, because he’s Harry’s friend. So naturally, Arthur would take Ron along with him. Fred and George, however, saw an opportunity to create a little bit of havoc, and I think they pounced on that opportunity and decided to come along with Arthur in this case.

Andrew: Or why not just…? Okay, so it’s Ron, Arthur, and Molly, and Arthur and Molly wait on the roof and Ron goes down the chimney by himself, or just knocks on the door, which will…

Laura: Like he’s Santa Claus or something?

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: That’s not how the Floo network works.

Andrew: Arthur and Molly are the reindeer. I’m just trying to think of a less intrusive way for them to get through while still using the chimney.

Micah: Oh, there’s some AI. I’ll work on that for you, Andrew.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: [sings] Molly, the red-haired reindeer…

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Wow, that’s really good.

Micah: Well, we’re two months early for this, but okay.

Laura: I don’t know if this would have gone any better if Arthur had brought Molly. Certainly from the perspective of nobody dropping magic candy on the ground for Dudley to get, right? But I feel like Molly, if anything, is even less knowledgeable about Muggle culture, and could have potentially contributed to things getting more awkward between all of them. I don’t know. I mean, the fact that she even refers in her letter to Harry needing to send his response back the “normal” way… I just think about what her filter would have been in front of the Dursleys, and I don’t know that she would have had one. I think Arthur at least tries.

Eric: That’s true. When Arthur defends, kind of makes Vernon say goodbye to the boy, Molly wouldn’t have let that sit. She would have gone further than that with them.

Micah: It’s also important to remember, though, that Arthur has experience with Muggles, as opposed to Molly, going off what you’re saying, Laura. So Arthur may know how to read the room a little bit better – not totally because things get out of control – but it also raises a question that I had a little bit later on, but why would the Weasleys not let Harry know how they were going to show up?

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: That seems like a big miss that causes a lot of chaos when they decide to pop through the fireplace.

Eric: Yeah, you’re exactly right about that.

Laura: Yeah, they probably just, again, assumed that Harry would know how they were going to arrive. Because he’s been in the wizarding world; he’s familiar with their forms of travel. But what they’re not accounting for is that Harry spent the first 11 years of his life thinking he was a Muggle, right? So I imagine when he goes back to the Dursleys, there’s a different part of his brain that is on. It’s his Muggle brain because he knows he’s there, he can’t use magic, things are not going to be like they are in the other world where he spends 90% of his time. And because the Weasleys have no frame of reference for that, they don’t even think to bring it up to him.

Andrew: And I mean, a theory we go back to time and time again is that wizards just love chaos.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Harry says it himself about Hogwarts a chapter or two ago.

Eric: “Wizards.” We mean Dumbledore, but yes, wizards.

Andrew: Well, just everybody doesn’t seem to mind. Nobody seems to mind the chaos if you’re a wizard.

Micah: Dumbledore is totally watching from outside the window. That’s my headcanon.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: He’s just had tea with Mrs. Figg. Yeah, we’ll put that in the bonus. Yeah, the second offense I want to talk about – and this leans a little bit more toward Fred and George – but I think in general, being insensitive to Dudley’s trauma. Dudley has trauma. Dudley in this chapter is shown multiple times to be grabbing his own backside, rubbing his backside. He remembers, as it turns out, this time when he had a pig’s tail when Hagrid tried to turn him into a whole pig and it failed. In fact, this book actually talks about how the Dursleys had to go to a private hospital to have that tail removed. Look, Dudley does not, and for good reason, have a liking for wizards. He doesn’t feel safe around them; look at what happened last time for no reason. So it’s just unfortunate that the Weasleys would show up and use so much magic. They’re capable of Muggle transit, they drove a car to the Burrow last time… they flew a car. But just using magic, arriving by magic… I know they can’t predict the fireplace will be boarded up, but I think that there was a better way to more calmly… I mean, again, everything everyone knows about the Dursleys is they don’t like magic. Try and arrive in a more normal way. That’s why the invitation was sent through the post and not by owl, because they already knew enough to know the Dursleys don’t like magic. So showing up using all this magic, not to mention what Fred and George do to Dudley on purpose, is very insensitive to Dudley’s trauma.

Micah: Can we just talk… you mentioned the fireplace. You mentioned trauma. Just wanted to bring up the fact that, as you alluded to, it is boarded up. So there’s an additional layer of some kind of trauma that exists here on the part of Vernon and Petunia because they have assumingly not let their fireplace operate as a normal fireplace since Sorcerer’s Stone. They have an electric one in front of it. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, you’re right. That’s a sign of trauma. They don’t feel safe in their own home while their fireplace remains un-boarded.

Andrew: There’s many good reasons to have an electric fireplace, though. No smoke, energy efficient, save money, low maintenance, anyone can enjoy an electric fireplace.

Micah: Are you reading that?

Eric: Andrew, who are our sponsors this week?

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: I googled benefits of electric fireplace. [laughs] Besides blocking wizards.

Eric: Oh, yeah. Well, that’s a bonus for the Dursleys if they were trying to…

Micah: Sorry, I didn’t mean to throw off your question.

Andrew: Well, to get back to it, I read this chapter and really thought Dudley is a victim in this chapter, and has been a victim before. He shouldn’t have gotten that tail; that was unfair. And his parents are the ones that are enabling his bad behavior. He didn’t need to be raised this way. So I just I feel bad for Dudley in this chapter.

Laura: Yeah, his parents definitely set him up for failure. An interesting interpretation I had of this, though – it’s not to say that Dudley isn’t traumatized or that this wasn’t horrible for him – but just zooming out and thinking about the total landscape, the Weasleys don’t know about the pig tail from three years ago. Again, that doesn’t justify anything, but it’s knowledge that they don’t have, I believe. And I do read this through the lens of culture shock, in a way, because I think we’ve all probably experienced this at one point or another, whether we were in another country or otherwise immersed in another culture. Things that may seem obvious to all of us based on our cultural understanding may be the complete opposite if you step into someone else’s home, and I think that’s what’s happening here. I didn’t have this interpretation originally reading the book, I think, because they’re all British, so to an extent, I wasn’t thinking about the idea of culture shock. But them being British is almost secondary to them being wizards versus them being Muggles, which I think is just a really interesting read on the situation. Because you can see the Dursleys, for all of their flaws, they are trying to put their best foot forward in the only way they know how. Arthur is trying to put his best foot forward in the only way he knows how, and it’s just not working.

Eric: I think it’s clear that Fred and George do tip the scale into disaster from slight discomfort.

Laura: Yes.

Eric: So there is at least that, where you’re right, they’re putting their best feet forward. I’ll also say it’s a really great point of this didn’t necessarily come across when we were younger and reading this; it does just seem like culture… now I’m like, “Oh my God, the Weasleys are awful.” [laughs]

Andrew: I had this thought too. Well, especially when it comes to just how Fred and George treated Dudley. As a kid, you read this and you’re like, “Haha, prank.” And that’s the type of thing you see in school maybe, and you don’t think about how that would actually affect the person who the prank is being played on. But now you read it as an adult, and with hindsight and getting older, you’re like, “Whoa, that was actually really, really, really mean.” And as a kid, it’s entertaining. As an adult, it’s disturbing.

Micah: You could make the same point, too, about Sorcerer’s Stone and what Hagrid does. We look past it because Dudley is getting into Harry’s birthday cake, and so, oh, let’s punish Dudley for just wanting to do what he’s always done because his parents have enabled him in that way. But really, you could look at Dudley as being a victim in that chapter as well. Both Dudley and Harry are victims of the Dursleys in very different ways. And Dudley gets his fair share, whether it’s Book 1, it’s in this book, it’s in the next book with the Dementors… he does take quite a beating physically and emotionally in this series.

Eric: That’s a great point. And viewing this through the lens of culture shock, when I think of culture shock, I think of, like, you go to that friend’s house and you’re asked to take your shoes off, right? And you’re like, “Oh, but I wear shoes all around my house,” which is disgusting; you should never do it.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: But you know how that was a big thing. I feel like it came in vogue, or it’s like, “Wait, what? Take my shoes off out front?” It’s like the difference between when they arrive and the fireplace is boarded up; Mr. Weasley is just like, “Wait a minute, why? Who would board up…? What? How does that…?” And you’re right, it’s not really necessarily even a normal response to what happened, because I love this note in the doc. Why didn’t they board up the windows? Why didn’t they…? The letters were coming in the eggs.

Andrew: Yeah, where does it end?

Micah: But because the fireplace is boarded up, that leads to that additional level of culture shock, to your point, Laura, because he has to essentially blow open the fireplace, get the living room completely dirty. He’s got to reset a fire in the hearth for them to be able to get back. So all these things happen as if the Dursleys had just not chosen to board up the fireplace because of their own biases initially. Arthur would have probably made a little bit of a different entrance. It still would have been culture shock, but I don’t know if it would have been as intense.

Laura: Yeah. Well, because to Arthur and to a wizard, they think about making a huge mess like that; it’s not a big deal, because you can just use magic to clean it up real quick. But that’s not a reality for a Muggle, right? Petunia is looking at that being like, “Oh my God, I have to clean all of this up.”

Eric: Yeah, she’s thinking of the physical labor that she’s going to… yeah. And it’s little white dust. If anyone’s ever damaged their wall, that dust goes everywhere. I don’t even think a Reparo can get it all. So this third offense – by the way, there are five – Andrew agrees with me. It’s showing up late af, okay? The Dursleys, try as they might to be as ready as they can, are ready to receive the Weasleys at 4:45 for a 5:00 appointment. They’re dressed nicely, the house is pristine, Harry’s stuff has been packed up since noon. And yet, it isn’t until 5:30, 45 minutes after they’re ready…

Andrew: Ugh.

Eric: … 5:30 that the commotion behind the fireplace starts, so I think it is safe to say that the Weasleys were not on time. This is an egregious offense against everyone. And they really had one shot at this and they blew it.

Andrew: I hate when people are late. And I think we need to ask ourselves, are the Weasleys the type of people who are perpetually late to things? I don’t think there’s a ton to suggest this in the text. But maybe they are, and it wouldn’t surprise me with such a big family. There’s a lot of people to get ready, a lot of fires to be putting out throughout the day.

Eric: And yet, magic helps. A Portkey is timed, you have a timed window, so you can’t possibly be late or you’ll miss the Portkey. In fact, I think that’s the whole thing a few chapters from now. So they’re probably not always late. Look, I get it; when they arrive behind the fireplace, it wasn’t expected that it was blocked, but they didn’t spend 30 minutes stuck behind the fireplace or they would have heard them sooner. They were late. They just showed up. I don’t know what they were doing. I know their clock doesn’t really show time; their clock shows where they are. [laughs] Maybe that’s the problem.

Andrew: Yeah, but I mean, this is an important meeting. They know the Dursleys are going to be expecting them on time. And I know Molly and the Dursleys have seen each other – maybe Arthur, too – prior, on the platform, or outside of Platform 9 3/4. But this is effectively a first meeting. This is an important meeting, and they need to make a good first impression.

Laura: I’ll call that out as another culture shock moment, to be honest with you, because there are absolutely cultures where this is very normal, where you established, “Yeah, we’re going to meet at 5,” and that really means, “We’re meeting at 6.”

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: So again, not saying that nobody has a right to be annoyed by this because that’s just all of our cultural norms, right? I don’t like to be late for things and don’t like to feel like I’m keeping people waiting; it does make me feel weird. But I will confess, I’m pretty bad with time management.

Andrew: I hate being late.

Micah: Me too.

Eric: Thank you for being vulnerable.

Laura: I do hate being late. It gives me so much anxiety. And yet, I’m still late for things.

Andrew: Yeah, Laura, it’s been a sticking point over the years. [sighs]

Laura: Oh, no, I’m calling that out because it’s been well documented, I feel. [laughs]

Andrew: No, I don’t think… I mean, when it comes to our digital work, I don’t think so. We don’t see each other enough in person to know what you’re like. [laughs]

Laura: Oh, okay. Well, if we all ever move into the same neighborhood together, you’ll get to see it firsthand.

Andrew: Right. I’m going to start telling you, “Oh, come over at 4:30,” so you actually come at the time I want you to, which is 5:00 or 5:30 or something like that.

Laura: Yeah, that’s the move. [laughs]

Micah: Learning a lot here today. But I think it just compounds it, though, doesn’t it? I mean, it’s just adding to your list, Eric. Now, I will say I don’t think 30 minutes is late af. It’s late, but it’s not super late.

Andrew: For an important meeting like this and no heads up?

Eric: Well, usually you put af in capitals, and I put it in lowercase. I don’t know if that makes it better.

Micah: You just have to be able to read the room. And we were talking about this earlier, the Weasleys just don’t… at least Arthur doesn’t have enough information on the Dursleys and who they are, and how they function as people, and really how they treat Harry, what their worldviews are… Arthur is doing everything wrong here. Not intentionally, but he’s doing everything wrong.

Eric: Yeah, and you hate to see it because you like to imagine… I know later we’re going to be playing “What If?” [imitates “What If?” sound effect] But you’d like to imagine a world in which the Weasleys and Dursleys can at least exist in the same room without so much acrimony.

Micah: But it’s just so hoity-toity when you hear Petunia say, “Well, of course they’re late, they probably want to stay for dinner.”

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Laura: Oh man.

Eric: And that’s so funny because it’s projecting your own shit on other people. Well, it’s also what Petunia might do; she’s aware of that tactic because she’s the kind of person who… she thinks that way, is what I’m saying. So it’s really interesting, the idea that they would have to feed the Weasleys is a whole other thing. But here’s really the… well, actually, these escalate, these offenses I’ve written down, because number five is even worse. But here’s number four: baiting Dudley. Fred and George know exactly what they’re doing. They know that if they hand candy to a fat kid, he’s still going to be nervous about them and probably not take it, but if they, oopsie, drop candy, which is exactly what happens after Fred and George get from taking Harry’s trunk down from his bedroom, oops, they know that all of the defenses are going to come down and Dudley is going to go grab the toffee, which is what happens. This baiting of Dudley is singly malicious, let alone what it does to him, which is next, but just the baiting is the wrong attitude entirely. This goes beyond a prank.

Laura: Yeah, and they’re exploiting what they know about him being on a very restrictive diet too.

Eric: Ooh, that’s right. Harry told them that just to get food sent to him, and then Fred and George were like, “We can play with this.”

Micah: Yeah, it’s bit sinister.

Laura: It is.

Micah: And we know that Dudley has certain addictions, and one of them is definitely to sweets, and so I think this behavior by the twins is really feeding Dudley’s addiction. It’s tempting him in the moment to betray his diet and all the other things that he’s doing presumably to try and get into better physical shape.

Andrew: And of course, he’s happy to betray his diet.

Micah: Of course, how old is he?

Andrew: I mean, it’s being forced on him. He doesn’t want it at all. Exactly.

Eric: That’s why he’s targeted, he is so calorie restricted right now and then this food just drops on the carpet. And again, it’s done so innocently; if they’d given him the food, Vernon and Petunia would have been like, “No, Dudley, don’t touch that.”

Laura: Do we remember from reading the chapter which one of the twins dropped the toffees?

Eric: I’ll look it up real quick, but I bet it was Fred.

Andrew: Yeah, I bet it was Fred.

Laura: I was going to say, because that would match up with our previous conversations about the differences between Fred and George.

Eric: Yeah, that was… we did a great episode where it was like, “How are they different?” And Fred really is the instigator. Fred also always goes too far.

Andrew: It was Fred, by the way.

Eric: Well, there you go. So yeah, he’s the one that… if there is a hard edge to the Weasley twins, and they both do ridiculous things, but it’s Fred.

Micah: Yeah. And the behavior, though, is not inconsistent with what we see from these twins later on as they start to test their product on first year students.

Eric: That’s right.

Micah: And Dudley is the initial testing ground. And honestly, for Fred, it’s like leaving the scene of the crime because he doesn’t even try and help Dudley. Is it just presumed that his tongue is going to un-swell?

Eric: Well, and that actually puts Arthur in an impossible position, right? Arthur guesses that the toffee is an Engorgement Charm, a simple Engorgement Charm term. What if he’s wrong, right? What if there’s something a little special in there? Fred and George leave Arthur completely unprepared to have to rescue and save this Muggle’s life basically, so that’s bad on them for what they do to their dad too.

Laura: Yeah. Well, and I think this is the moment that teaches them they need to have antidotes on hand, if I recall correctly. When they’re testing on first years, they also go around and pass out the antidote candy to whatever it is they’re testing. But the fact that that wasn’t even a thought here, especially considering that they were testing on a Muggle, is definitely sinister.

Eric: Well, to that point of Fred and George not sticking around, also, they are trying this on a Muggle, and Muggles work a little differently with… it’s been said in the canon that Muggles and potions, they can be poisoned, actually, trying to take a… if you’re a non-magical person taking a magic potion, it’s not just that it won’t affect you: It could be a poison. They could have unusual effects. When they try it on fellow wizards and the students at school, that’s actually fully different than trying it on Dudley, so there was an element there of extra danger that Fred and George just completely overlooked. So moving into the fifth and final offense, the actual result of the toffee is extremely harsh. And I kept… we’re a lot older now than when we first read these books, but now I read this chapter and I go, “Oh, God, what a way to go.” Your tongue growing to the length of four feet long, it’s said, coming out of your mouth. You don’t have a lot of…

Micah: Like Lickitung. That’s kind of what I imagine.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Yeah, like Lickitung. It’s exactly like Lickitung.

Andrew: Pokémon.

Eric: Honestly, yeah.

Micah: One thing I did take a little bit of a look at is the symbolism of choking on one’s own tongue, and particularly in some Native American cultures, it represents the need to find one’s voice and be true to oneself. And I think that’s very appropriate for Dudley because I don’t think that he knows who he is, as any teenager wouldn’t at this time, but I think in particular, being true to himself, I don’t think he is. I think he’s very much influenced at this stage by his parents. And we see that change by Deathly Hallows, so just wanted to call that out.

Laura: That’s a great call-out.

Eric: I love that.

Andrew: Yeah, I was going to say, your Deathly Hallows connection there is very good. And maybe this is something that could be explored more in the TV show, more of Dudley’s hesitancy to just go with the flow with his parents, given what we know about his brief chat with Harry in Deathly Hallows.

Laura: Do we think that the Dursleys are making this worse than it needs to be?

Micah: Yes. [laughs]

Laura: I mean, it’s described as Petunia, like, throws herself on top of Dudley and she’s making him choke worse.

Eric: That’s her kid, though.

Andrew: She’s a Muggle and watching her son’s tongue explode 50 times in length.

Laura: Oh, I know. This is this is like her Joffrey death moment, right?

Eric: Oh, yes!

Laura: She’s freaking out, I understand. But the Dursleys do have a…

Eric: Overdramatic.

Laura: … tendency to overreact to things and make them worse. Again, not justifying it happening. I’m just saying they’re making it worse.

Eric: They’re in an impossible situation, though. The only person who can save Dudley is this person that they don’t trust and have been given no reason to trust because see offenses one through four.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: This man’s child has just poisoned their child,

Micah: Right.

Eric: What does that say about this man, right? And he’s too bumbling to be able to… the twins’ greatest offense was actually against their dad, like I said, because he’s got to clean this all up. It reflects negatively on his job working with Muggles, to Micah’s point earlier, but I think also the characterization of this, why it goes over our heads as a kid, it’s a fun scene. “Don’t the Dursleys suck? Yeah.” But the wording from the narrator at this moment is “Harry didn’t want to miss the fun,” as Vernon is chucking ornaments at Mr. Weasleys head and they’re shattering behind his head on the fireplace. “Harry didn’t want to miss the fun”? [laughs] That’s completely not what’s going on here. Their son is dying. Come on, now.

Laura: Yeah. Well, and this is also a trauma response for Harry, I think, right? Because this is a family of people who have abused him his entire life, so he’s taking some pleasure in watching them suffer.

Micah: Yeah, he’s like, “Hell yeah, chaos in the Dursley living room.”

[Eric laughs]

Micah: What can Harry ask for more than that, honestly? So from the perspective of a 14-year-old, I get it. But it’s also one of those situations where magic got Dudley into this situation, so magic is going to have to get him out of this situation. It’s not… and I was honestly surprised by the pig tail being removed at a regular hospital; I had always for some reason had in my head that he went to St. Mungo’s for that.

Eric: But again, the Dursleys don’t trust wizards, so even though wizards got him into this situation, they’re looking for any and all normal means…

Micah: What are they going to do?

Odds & Ends

Eric: All right, as we get into some little things and odds and ends, I’m reminded that I need to rescind my compliment to Goblet of Fire for not having any recap at the beginning of the book. We actually got a lot of recap. And there’s some more of it here; as Harry is packing his trunk to get ready for the Weasleys, we are reminded that some of his most prized possessions actually come from other people. His Invisibility Cloak he got from his dad, his latest broom he got from his godfather, and the Marauder’s Map he got from Fred and George. Wow, Fred and George, such nice blokes. So it’s just a good way of wrapping it all up and showing that Harry is better with the people that are around him, and I think it casts a light on this chapter of… he’s going to be with his people. We want to see Harry get to be with the kind of people that would give him these gifts because the Dursleys just ain’t that.

Micah: I will say, I do like the fact that James, Sirius, and then it’s Fred and George that are mentioned because the comparisons between them is often very similar in terms of their behavior.

Eric: Oh, that’s so good.

Micah: Although I’m not sure. Well, would James and Sirius have done what Fred and George…? Well, let’s call out Fred. I don’t know which one is more like Fred. James, probably.

Eric: James, yeah. Wow, I wasn’t expecting to draw that comparison, which specific James and Sirius… which Weasley? Yeah, I think it works. If it were Snape, they would. But if it were anyone else, they wouldn’t do the same thing.

Micah: Chloé is pointing out that Sirius almost killed Snape, so maybe he’s more like Fred. very similar in terms of their behavior.

Laura: Yeah, I was sitting here thinking the same thing, that it was maybe more of a Sirius comparison.

Eric: Yeah. I mean, the only thing holding James back would be that Lily would never talk to him again if he hurt Snape, so maybe it is Sirius. Well, it’s an interesting thought experiment. So the other big question I have about this chapter is the use of magic in Privet Drive, because it’s been determined before in these books that magic done in this Muggle home is Harry’s fault. That’s what happens with Dobby and the Hover Charm in Book 2. And so everything from blowing the fireplace out to having to fix Dudley’s tongue, the Ministry would be on them like flies on you-know-what about all of this underage magic all of a sudden happening. Because the trace is flawed, and you can’t really tell who does the magic. Anyway, the Ministry would be here in seconds, I think.

Laura: Doesn’t the Ministry have the ability to detect if someone of age is present at the time of the magic being used? Because I feel like we’ve seen other examples of magic being used at Number 4 that came from adult wizards. Dumbledore definitely uses magic at Number 4.

Eric: Well, it’s possible that’s a plot hole, too, when Dumbledore does it. Because in Book 7 during the Seven Potters, Moody tells Harry that’s why they have to take the Polyjuice Potion, because they will set off the trace and the Ministry will know where they are if they detect magic at Privet Drive.

Laura: Yeah. It is so interesting because we know that the Ministry doesn’t pick up on Dobby because they don’t consider non-human magical beings I think worth the while to have on their radar.

Andrew: Still seems like an oversight.

Eric: Well, when Harry does the Patronus Charm next book is when the whole trial and court date and all that other crap happens, so in that case it is Harry casting the spell.

Andrew: And by the way, with the context of Fantastic Beasts, the movie series, it seems all the more strange that they don’t track magic coming out of creatures. Now, I know Newt is a special case because he’s walking around with his suitcase and has a lot of creatures that he can take out, or he’s trying to meet creatures, beasts, but still. It’s like, you know they can cause trouble, so it’s good to track them just in case they do.

Micah: Yeah, and Privet Drive in and of itself is a special Muggle location. I feel like…

Andrew: Don’t tell Vernon that.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Well, I mean, it probably has its own room at the Ministry where people are constantly monitoring what’s going on there because Harry lives there.

Andrew: [laughs] Don’t tell Vernon that!

Micah: Well, you know what? Tough. But the other thing that came to mind for me in particular, number one, Arthur is a Ministry official. So I’m sure that if a Ministry official is performing magic in a Muggle residence, it’s somewhat permissible. But also layer on, too, the fact that he works for the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office, so presumably he would be using magic in Muggle homes quite often. So I don’t think that it would necessarily raise too many flags.

Eric: That’s a good point. I wonder if it does have to do with that Arthur also got the Privet Drive fireplace hooked up to the Floo Network, which is not particularly legal, he says. Did that same person give a blanket “Magic may happen, we’re going to mute notifications for magic at this sector for the next hour or so”?

Andrew: Focus Mode on the iPhone.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Well, that explains why the court date and all that doesn’t happen for Harry this book; we’ll get it next year. The question that I have… so here’s also the sticking point as far as Arthur standing up to Vernon. Despite everything that’s happened already, Arthur still demands that Vernon say goodbye to the boy. He says, “You’re not going to see him until next year,” and this is a moment where we really actually fall in love with Arthur all over again, right? He’s clearly on the wrong foot so far, but Arthur doesn’t care. He knows that the right thing to do would be to say good boy – [laughs] good boy – goodbye to your nephew.

Andrew: Goodbye and good boy. Yeah, I thought this was a really powerful moment, how Arthur is standing up to Vernon, and it almost comes off like he’s speaking out of turn just because they don’t know each other. If you try to imagine your own father saying this to somebody else… I don’t know. This is… or your own… it’s a unique situation for Harry, but it’s very forward. It’s not something I think you would see coming. And I love Harry’s thought process during this moment, too, just being like, “You know what, it’s fine. I don’t care. Let’s just get out of here. This has already been enough of a moment.” Harry is not looking for that because he also doesn’t need that from Vernon.

Eric: Yeah, he’s selling himself short on that. He’s like, “I don’t expect them to ever do the right thing around me.” He’s like, “Let’s move on; you’re fighting a losing battle.” If the Dursleys were to say “None of your business,” they’d kind of be right, to Arthur, but they don’t know that he’s also the surrogate father that Harry never had. I think it’s a shame that Arthur does never get to actually learn about electricity. He’s excited about the plugs. [laughs] He never would have… he never got to learn how any of it works. So I want to ask…

Andrew: Well, Harry could tell him.

Eric: That’s true.

Andrew: I mean, he’s been living there. He could fill him in if he wanted to.

Eric: Yeah. But if things had gone a little better, which we’re going to talk about in a minute, what about the Dursleys’ appliances, electronics, do we think Arthur would have really liked the most?

Laura: I think he’d be super interested in how cable television works, right? So he would understand the apparatus and how it connects to an electrical outlet to get power, “But how are you getting all these programs on here? How is this transmitted?”

Andrew: “And pictures? Where’s it coming from?”

Eric: Arthur Weasley, couch potato in the making.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: It’s also an interesting question because you have to assume the Dursleys’ home isn’t particularly exciting. With peace and love I say to my grandparents, their house is boring.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: There’s a television. There’s a phone. There’s not much else going on. They have an electric fireplace, too, by the way. I don’t think it’s because somebody tried to come through the fireplace via the Floo Network, but…

Eric: [laughs] It is a perfect comparison. Your grandparents’ house growing up is the Dursleys’ house in these books. Yeah, there’s electric, but there’s nothing else.

Andrew: [laughs] Right? So I think of the television that my grandfather has up way too loud at his old age, but he can’t hear. And then I’m thinking maybe the phone. If Dudley hadn’t thrown the PlayStation out the window, then maybe he’d be interested in the PlayStation and Mega-Mutilation 3, anything else electronic. But again, I just don’t think they have much electronic in the house, or cool.

Laura: I’ll say, as a kid, I loved going to my grandparents’ house. [laughs] For me, it was always really fun.

Andrew: Oh yeah, don’t get me wrong…

Eric: I mean, it was a chill time, and it got good natural light. I’ll say that.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Sunlight was very much the highlight of my grandparents’ house visits, actually.

Micah: Wow.

Andrew: I’m not saying I don’t like my grandparents’ house. I’m just saying it’s the Dursleys’ house.

Laura: Yeah, I understand what you’re saying.

Micah: I think if Arthur had shown up in the “right way,” I could see him being fascinated with the doorbell and just standing there pushing it constantly.

Eric and Laura: Aww.

Andrew: That could be cool, yeah.

Eric: All right, it’s time for “What if?”

[“What if?” sound effect plays]

Eric: I said at the start of our list of offenses segment that it should have been Molly and Arthur who show up, so I’m asking the question now, what if? What if only Molly and Arthur Weasley showed up To take Harry back to the Burrow? So you have his surrogate parents and his guardians meeting. Would it have improved relations between the two? Would they have been okay and maybe improved… been able to see each other in the future in an amicable way?

Andrew: Besties coming over for Poker Night. [laughs] Wouldn’t that have been nice?

Eric: Yeah, different, separate and different days?

Micah: I feel like, because we got Arthur to show up, there was a lot of interaction between him and Vernon. We don’t see really any interaction between Arthur and Petunia. She’s very much hiding behind Vernon, and then of course, once Dudley has his tongue enlarged, she’s focused totally on him. I think it’d be interesting to see what kind of dynamic would have existed between Molly and Petunia. I wonder if you would have got the “Not my Harry, you bitch” earlier on in the stories…

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: … that we get in Deathly Hallows, but I feel like she could have given it to Petunia for the way Harry has been treated.

Laura: She would’ve.

Eric: I love this idea of Molly as a more volatile Arthur. Just very worse, very, very much worse. The forcing Vernon to say goodbye to the boy, Molly would have made them hug or some bullshit. It just would have been awful.

Micah: I wonder if she would have brought knitted sweaters for them as a gift. [laughs]

Eric: Aww. Wait, wait, there’s an example where she could show up. Yeah, a gift. What a great idea that I think Molly might be capable of thinking about, of actually thinking of and bringing up. If they had showed up on time, if they didn’t have to blast the fireplace in to do it, I think there was a potential there for the two to get along. A little friction, sure, sure, but I think that they’re both adults. It’s not that Molly and Arthur are criminally unlikable by Muggles. Maybe these Muggles, but I think Molly and Arthur are generally good people. It’s their kids you’ve got to worry about, Marty. Their kids.

Andrew: [laughs] I would’ve just preferred Molly and Arthur knocking on the front door, ringing the doorbell once, maybe twice because that would have tickled Arthur…

Laura: I don’t think there’s any hope here, honestly. I think Vernon would have been ticked off if they showed up on the doorstep ringing the doorbell because of how they looked, right?

Eric: Oh, right.

Laura: There was no way that the Weasleys could have arrived here and met Vernon and Petunia’s standards because Vernon and Petunia are already predisposed to hate them on the basis of them being wizards, so I think there was nothing they could have done right.

Andrew: What if they went to Target ahead of time and bought some average Muggle clothes?

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: Oh, Target!

Laura: Would they know how to wear them?

Andrew: [laughs] What?

Laura: I mean, think about some of the examples we hear about wizards trying to don Muggle attire for the first time. We see it at the Quidditch World Cup, a gentleman wearing the the long nightgown, which there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s very clear that he’s very enamored with this idea. And he talks about liking a “healthy breeze ’round his privates.” There’s just a degree to which I think the Weasleys do not know enough about Muggles to be able to meet the Dursleys’ standards.

Andrew: Laura, I just had an idea for you. So on our other podcast Millennial, you and Pam picked a wardrobe for me because I hate shopping. You can go wherever you want online, ASOS, H&M, whatever, and find outfits for Arthur and Molly! Muggle outfits.

Laura: That’s a good idea! Oh man. Maybe that’s a bonus we can do before the end of the year.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: That’s a hell of a cool, fun idea.

Laura: Like, styling the Weasleys in Muggle clothes. [laughs]

Eric: Oh my God. Well, I will bring up that in this chapter – while we’re on the subject of fashion – Vernon tells Harry, “I’ve seen what you people wear.” He’s referring to the first chapter of the first book of Harry Potter, a throwback to Sorcerer’s Stone, when he’s just going to work the day after Voldemort’s fall, so November 1 of ’80, and he is clearly so scarred by this little man in a cloak that comes up to him and says, “Oh, Muggles like you should be happy, da-da-da…” that Vernon 13 years later is is still like, “That man, his fashion sucked,” to Harry. [laughs] “You people don’t dress properly.” So you’re right, I think, Laura. Although we don’t assign winners in “What if?”, I completely agree that it might just be an impossible situation and that they never could get along.

Laura: Yeah, the Dursleys just aren’t reachable.

Micah: And I think that’s it, right, Laura, to the point that you raised earlier. There’s nothing that Arthur can do that is going to please the Dursleys. It’s just a no-win situation. If things had gone differently, we would just be having a different conversation about how the Dursleys are just so prejudiced and biased against the wizarding world. So one odd and end I just wanted to bring up – because I know we talked about it in the previous chapter and we talked about it in this discussion with Dudley and his addiction to sweets – in particular, there’s some fat-shaming going on as it relates to Vernon, because he is referenced as being an enraged hippo at one point in this chapter. I think it’s when the ornaments are starting to fly. But I mean, that’s a pretty strong comparison on the part of the author to reference Vernon as a hippo.

Laura: Yeah, and we see this a lot with the Dursleys in this book. I mean, last episode, the chapters we were talking about referred to Dudley as being roughly the size and shape of the of a baby killer whale. There’s that. And then in this chapter, there’s lots of descriptions of Dudley clutching his fat bottom to try and shield it from a potential round two of the pig tail…

Micah: And the pig itself is a reference.

Laura: Yeah, right. 100%. There’s also this moment where Dudley tries to hide behind Vernon but even Vernon is not large enough to completely shield Dudley from view, so yeah, there’s a lot of this happening in the chapter. And again, thinking about it in the context of the time, I remember reading this and just feeling like the whole chapter was so comical. And it is really interesting to think about it in the context of current days and also through the lens of an adult, because this is never something that I think an adult would think was funny.

MVP of the Week

Andrew: And now it’s time for MVP of the week.

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: And you know what? I didn’t think I’d be saying this ever: I’m going to give it to Dudley because he’s taking a lot of crap unfairly. And you know what? He deserves a treat and a sweet.

Eric: [laughs] I’m going to give it to the implied Reparo charm that Arthur needs to use in overdrive to fix the mess he and his family have made and repair Muggle relations.

Laura: Well, speaking of that, I’m going to give mine to Arthur for sticking up for Harry and really observing how abnormal and childish and rude it is for his adult caretakers to not wish him a happy school year.

Micah: And I’m going to give it to the Dursleys’ living room because it just didn’t sign up for this.

[Everyone laughs]

[MVP of the Week music ends]

Andrew: That might be my favorite one ever. If you have any feedback about today’s discussion, you can contact us by emailing or sending a voice memo recorded on your phone to, or you can use our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. That said, we would prefer the voice memos because they are of higher clarity. And next week will be our Quizzitch Live episode. Wow, already. It’s going to be in place of a normal episode, and you can test your skills as they pertain to OWLs and Halloween. And then the following week, bring your pink cardigans and cozy up – [laughs] who wrote this? – to an all girls MuggleCast, and then regular Chapter by Chapter segments return November 14 at our new Thursday night time slot, November 9 on NBC! TGIT.

Eric: Wow. That’s 9, 8 Central.

Andrew: [sings] On NBC.


Andrew: And now it’s time for Quizzitch.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s question, “What does Arthur Weasley ask Dudley Dursley?” And the correct answer is, “Are you having a nice holiday, Dudley? And how is your summer?” Correct answers were submitted – here we go – by Dumbledorky porky dorks; Hi to my Ravenclaw husband; Andrew’s frustration at increasingly unhinged names…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: … Justice for Winky; I am actually a Gryffindor, roar; Some terrific radiant humble Dudley; Mega-Mutilation Parts 1 and 2…

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: … Eric, I am definitely not your father; Oh great master of the universe, bestow upon me Quizzitch answers; I think of parrots; A flimsy substandard cauldron bottom and a suspicious looking rug; Laura, the master of the universe has gone to the side of the trash pandas…

[Laura laughs]

Eric: … Percy accidentally Floo Powdering to Number 4 Private Drive in Ohio; and – three more – Andrew the undercover Harry Potter Store worker hacker; Ravenkell; and Julia the 36-year-old. Shout-out to being 36. Okay.

Laura: Yeah, keep ’em coming, y’all. I love it. [laughs]

Micah: Love it, yeah.

Eric: Yeah, yeah. Here is next week’s question.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: In honor of this past chapter, “Back to the Burrow,” how many times did Harry physically visit the Burrow during the seven-book Harry Potter series? Count them up.

[Quizzitch music ends]

Micah: You’ve got three weeks for this one.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: It’s true. If you want to do a reread of the seven Harry Potter books, go ahead. Submit your answer to us on the Quizzitch form on the MuggleCast website, or click on “Quizzitch” from the top of the main nav.

Andrew: Do you enjoy MuggleCast? Do you think other Muggles would too? Tell a friend about the show. We would also appreciate if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app. Also, don’t forget we couldn’t do this show without your support on Patreon and through Apple Podcasts. Visit to support the show financially and you’ll receive early access to the show, ad-free episodes, bonus episodes, yearly physical gifts, and so much more. Whether you pledge through Patreon or Apple Podcasts, we do have free trials and annual subscriptions available. And one more reminder, Eric just mentioned it: Visit for transcripts, social media links, our full episode archive, our favorite episodes, the Quizzitch form, and to contact us. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: Bye, everybody!

Eric, Laura, and Micah: Bye.

Transcript #631


MuggleCast 631 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #631, Mmmm, Grapefruit and Floor Cake (GOF Chapters 2 & 3, The Scar and The Invitation)

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: And this week, grab your painkillers and your postage stamps, because this week we’re talking about Goblet of Fire Chapters 2 and 3, “The Scar” and “The Invitation.” Yes, two chapters this week, because Chapter 2 is kind of just a recap chapter. We’ll have thoughts on that coming up. But first, a couple of announcements. One of them pretty big and very new. Laura, would you like to share some very cool news with our audience?

Laura: Yeah, really excited to chat about this. So we’re making history here at the show in the next week or so.

Andrew: “Herstory,” you could say.

Laura: [laughs] Right, “herstory.” So in the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be working on some show content, as well as some content for our Patreon, that is a girls’ takeover. So this is going to be a first for the show, an episode with a panel of all women. So it’ll be myself, Chloé, who is our social media manager, and friends of the pod Pam from over at Millennial, and Meg, who has also been a contributor to MuggleCast, just both by being on the show but also by helping us with our transcripts, as Eric plugged last week. We’re super excited to do this because we’re going to be able to look at female relationships in Harry Potter as well as the different types of female representation that you see or maybe don’t see in Harry Potter. And I’m so excited for us to be able to talk about this through the lenses of having grown up being young girls starting out reading Harry Potter, and growing up with the series. So I think similar to how we on this panel have had new revelations as we’ve gotten older, I think that we’re going to be able to put a really unique lens on our interpretation. Patrons are going to be able to join the girls twice. So we will be recording the girls’ takeover episode on Thursday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time. So if you’re a patron, you would be able to join us for that livestream. That episode will later be released on Tuesday, November 7. However, patrons get to join us a second time for a sleepover party on Patreon Saturday, October 21 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. This will replace the Slug Club hangout for the month, but this is a really fun one because the sleepover is open to all $5 patrons and up, so if you’re Dumbledore’s Army and up, you are invited. It’s definitely slumber party-themed, so wear your pajamas, bring those PJs, and bring your favorite beverage of choice. Look forward to that. I am stoked. Want to be sure to give a plug to Chloé here; This was really her idea. And we’re so fortunate to be able to have Pam and Meg joining us because they are members of the MuggleCast family and it’s just great to get us together as a panel.

Eric: What I’m excited about is that unlike Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, this all-girls MuggleCast episode will likely pass the Bechdel Test.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Yes! I think it will. Actually, maybe that’s a goal we can set, at least for a timed portion of the episode.

Eric: Well, it’s women talking about women. That sounds awesome. It sounds fantastic.

Laura: I know, I agree. I’m not going to sit here and say that a male character is not going to come up in the scope of the conversation, but the focus definitely passes the Bechdel Test. You’re right, Eric.

Micah: Where I thought, Eric, you were going, is [laughs] just for me, what I love about it is I don’t have to record that week.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: You get a week off! This is fantastic.

Micah:: No, but it’s going to be great.

Eric: Laura, can non-girls attend the sleepover party?

Laura: Yes! Everyone’s invited.

Eric: Okay, that’s all patrons. But the girls’ MuggleCast, we can’t show up.

Andrew: By design. I mean, you can listen live if you want.

Laura: Yeah, you can be in the audience if you want. You’re welcome to be in the audience and sound off in the Discord.

Eric: Nice. I’m excited for it. It’s going to be great.

Andrew: Yeah. So again, that’ll be out for everybody Tuesday, November 7. And we’ll have more posts about that coming on social media. Speaking of special episodes of the show, Micah, we’ve got another special event coming up, right?

Micah: Yeah, we just keep keep on hitting everybody with these fun things that we’re doing. So Quizzitch Live is going to be making its return on October 28, and given it’s so close to Halloween, we’re going to do a couple of segments that are focused on Halloween. So we’re going to do wizarding world candy, and we’re going to do some questions on James and Lily Potter, just given the significance of Halloween in their lives, but the main crux of Quizzitch this time around is going to be OWLs edition, so make sure specifically that you study up on your Charms, Potions, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Transfiguration. And thank you in advance to Nicole H., who provided these questions for us; it cut down on a lot of the work that we have to do in advance. But we’re really looking forward to it. This is something I know we’ve talked about. We popularized it during the pandemic, but it’s something that we know the listeners have really gotten to love. And we’re excited to bring it back. And of course, there will be prizes.

Eric: We always get a great turnout to these things. And also worth mentioning, all the previous Quizzitch Lives are on YouTube. You can still enjoy all of the work that went into our previous live trivia events in preparation for this month.

Andrew: Including a Halloween one. There’s a Halloween one up there, so this is a second Halloween Quizzitch. And they’re a lot of fun for us to run as well, so we’re all looking forward to that. And that’ll be out for everybody on October 31. But like Micah said, the event itself will be October 28, and more details to come there as well. And lastly, a little show announcement. This is especially for patrons: MuggleCast live recordings are going to be moving to Thursdays beginning November 9 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. That will be our new time, Thursdays 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Episodes will still be out at the normal time the following week, but we’re moving off the weekends. We’re moving to prime time; we’re going to be competing against Friends on NBC and Seinfeld and whatever the…

Eric: The Bachelor.

Micah: Thursday night football, bro.

Andrew: Thursday night football! But yeah, just a little update there for patrons. And a reminder real quick: Laura mentioned it, Eric, but we now have transcripts rockin’ and rollin’ on the site, right?

Eric: Yeah, we announced them last week, but already, the most recent four episodes of MuggleCast all have transcripts that are published, if people are looking for it. Reason I mention this, too, is because we got some feedback on our Goblet of Fire commentary episode; happened to see a message come in going, “There’s so much silence between when you guys talk, how am I supposed to listen to this?” And of course, we had to listen. The commentary goes along with the movie; you can’t edit that to be shorter pauses or it won’t align with the movie. So I say to that person, read the transcript. It’s now online.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: If you’re interested. And everyone else who’s never, ever complained about that, awesome. We love you more.

Andrew: Yeah, the commentary tracks are very much intended to be paired with the movie. We definitely acknowledge that you can’t really listen to it without the movie. But that’s why we do these few and far between.

Eric: Yeah, well, that said, I thought that this particular commentary track was a loopy fun good time and is worth a read.

Andrew: Oof, yeah, that gin got to me pretty quick, I will say.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: It was the perfect intro to get into the Goblet of Fire chats that we are now having.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: Oh, and what a beautiful transition. So this week we’re discussing Chapters 2 and 3 of Goblet of Fire, “The Scar” and “The Invitation.” And we are going to do two seven-word summaries this week, and we’re going to go back to one of Micah’s ideas from a few months ago. It’ll just be Eric and I doing this seven-word summary, and then Micah and Laura will take the next chapter. So you ready for this teamwork, Eric?

Eric: Yes.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Andrew: Dumbledore…

Eric: … sometimes…

Andrew: … is…

Eric: … on…

Andrew: [laughs] … the…

Eric: … beach…

Andrew: [laughs] … relaxing.

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Andrew: Wow. Okay, so… good. I have no further comment. Good. [laughs]

Eric: All right. We did it. We summarized this chapter.

Micah: Great job, guys.

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Andrew: Yes, I guess you’re right, Eric. Not much happens in this chapter. This is a recap chapter. It is a chapter, Eric, that if you had made it to – last week you were talking about how you read Chapter 1 of Goblet of Fire

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: … and you hadn’t read any other Harry Potter books and you were like, “What is this? I’m out.” If you had gotten to this chapter, maybe you would have continued reading the book. Do you think that’s fair to say?

Eric: It’s really hard to say because this chapter then… where we were like, “Oh, thank God, there’s no recap in this book” – this is just recap. And the writing is still a little hokey; Harry is picturing his friends in his head, what they would say to his thing, and downplaying his own misery and suffering. And I don’t know, it’s really hard to say because this is also not your standard “Action happens” chapter. Maybe when I was in seventh grade, I wanted an “Action happens” chapter. So this was still not that. And it’s possible that I should just say, “You know what, it wasn’t for me in the year 2000. It wouldn’t be until 2001 that I would like Harry Potter.”

Andrew: Micah, I know you feel like this chapter is in line with something we’ve heard over the years.

Micah: A bit. We’ve heard over the years that the author felt very rushed, in terms of writing Goblet of Fire. And in a chapter like this, I thought that that came through maybe the first time or the second, or before even learning this, right? Before we ever even heard that she felt rushed writing Goblet of Fire. Maybe you just page through it; it’s a quick recap chapter. But with that in the back of our minds, as we move through this book it’ll be interesting to note moments where maybe the plot feels a little bit rushed, or there’s chapters that just… 2 and 3 could really have been combined together into one chapter. There was no reason to have these as being two separate chapters. I know I called it a nothing burger of a chapter.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: But it really is. If you’re a Harry Potter fan that has read the first three books, it’s nice to get a little bit of a refresher, but it doesn’t move the needle for you really at all.

Eric: It’s not an “Action happens” chapter.

Laura: It also feels very out-of-step with the pacing of the chapter that came before it. I had forgotten about this, but reading this chapter immediately after “The Riddle House” feels so jarring. Like, we have this really great mystery being set up, it’s macabre, and there’s little breadcrumbs being dropped throughout, and you’re trying to figure out what everything means. And then it’s like, “Previously on Harry Potter…”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: And yet, it is the obligatory… if the book itself didn’t have these little things about “Voldemort killed Harry’s parents” and “Sirius Black was his godfather,” you would be lost, by the wayside, right? As a non-recurring… saying people made it past the first chapter, which I did not. You do need these little breadcrumbs, right, to understand the overall story?

Micah: You do. I do like what Laura is saying, though, because right in the first chapter of Goblet of Fire, you get the payoff from the ending of Prisoner of Azkaban, which is Pettigrew and Voldemort together, master and servant reunited, and then it just completely drops off and the action isn’t there. But one of the things I did, I went to an interview that the author did shortly after Goblet of Fire was released, and there are some interesting quotes here I thought we could talk about. She says, “The first three books, my plan never failed me. But I should have put that plot under a microscope. I wrote what I thought was half the book, and ‘Ack!’ Huge gaping hole in the middle of the plot.” She’s referring to Goblet of Fire. “I missed my deadline by two months. And the whole profile of the books got so much higher since the third book; there was an edge of external pressure.” Now, there’s also the movies to consider here that are in development, and how fast that she is writing in comparison to the movies being filmed and ultimately released. She had to keep up with that.

Andrew: Well, and I think, also, her publishers were probably pushing her as well. And I seem to recall that after this book, she started to work on her own timeline. She was like, “I need to work on my own schedule; when it’s done, it’s done.” And that’s why we ended up seeing a three-year wait between 4 and 5.

Eric: Yeah, and I mean, if you think about it, even just the fact that the first three Harry Potter books came out a year from each other, and the fourth book did the same… the fourth book is twice as long page count-wise. That shows you. That’s everything you ever need to know about how stressful this must have been. And yet, the book still turns out really, really, really good. She was still, I think, at her peak capacity for world building, plot building, character threading… it’s all just really good stuff.

Andrew: Also, in doing research for starting Chapter by Chapter of this book, I read that she also decided on the title very late. Do y’all remember that? Very late.

Laura: I do remember.

Micah: Wasn’t it The Doomspell Tournament?

Andrew: And then she changed it to Goblet of Fire. That speaks to the point that we’re making here that there was only a year in between these, in between 3 and 4, and how quick the turnaround was. Do you want to read this other quote too?

Micah: Yeah, one other quote that came from this interview. This is a more indirect reference to the plot hole that was mentioned in the previous quote. She says that, “I had to pull a character. There you go: ‘the Phantom character of Harry Potter.’ She was a Weasley cousin (related to Ron Weasley, Harry’s best friend). She served the same function that Rita Skeeter (a sleazy investigative journalist) now serves. Rita was always going to be in the book, but I built her up because I needed a kind of conduit for information outside of the school. Originally, this girl fulfilled this purpose.”

Andrew: That would have been fun. A Weasley cousin like funneling information in and out of Hogwarts, it sounds like.

Laura: And am I remembering this correctly that this Weasley cousin was supposed to have been a Slytherin?

Eric: I don’t remember this.

Micah: It seems familiar.

Laura: Yeah, I feel like I remember this being the case, which would have fit in really well with how Slytherins are being characterized at this point in time of writing these books.

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Laura: But it would have also been an interesting take to see a Slytherin Weasley.

Andrew: Well, turning back to the chapter now, it opens with Harry trying to recall what he had seen in his dream and his scar hurting. And as we said last episode, this was the first time he actually has a direct line of communication with Voldemort. It’s definitely concerning. And we’ll get into that in a second, in terms of how Harry handles it from here, but Laura, I think you wanted to talk about the point of view. Where was that connection exactly? What was it offering him?

Laura: Yeah, so I thought that the point of view here is interesting because Harry is not seeing it from Voldemort’s point of view. He’s seeing it as an observer, which we know doesn’t quite fit with how their mind connection works. We see later on in the series that Harry will see something from Nagini’s point of view. There was at least once where he saw things from Voldemort’s point of view, and he even distinctly remembered the feeling of uttering that cold, conniving laugh. But here, he’s like a fly on the wall. So I was wondering if this was just a case of this particular plot point not being fully fleshed out yet.

Micah: Like the author was rushed?

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Yeah, like the author was rushed. Or also just that the Horcrux mind connection between the two of them just wasn’t fully fleshed out yet. That had not been fully conceived of yet. But you had an interesting headcanon, Micah.

Micah: Well, you mentioned Nagini and how Harry sees things through her perspective, right? Probably the best example is in Order of the Phoenix when he tells Dumbledore, “No, I was the snake attacking Arthur Weasley.” And I was curious if perhaps, as you mentioned the last episode, Laura, Nagini is a narc in this particular moment.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: She could just be hanging out on the landing behind Frank Bryce, waiting for her moment to slither into the room. Could Harry be seeing this through her perspective, very early on, and he just doesn’t know it? And I think it’s a mix of what we’ve all been talking about. I don’t think the Horcrux connection has been fully fleshed out; we see it obviously in Order of the Phoenix. But yeah, I thought that could have been a cool theory to throw out there.

Eric: I love it.

Laura: Yeah, I love that. Honestly, it’s ambiguous where his point of view is coming from, enough that I think we can declare canon, honestly. I love this.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: On what, all of it?

Laura: Yeah, on Harry seeing this from Nagini’s point of view, even though it’s…

Andrew: “It’s true, all of it.”

Eric: Well, it talks about… what, the Dark Side? The Force? It’s all true.

[“I declare canon!” sound effect plays with thunder]

Eric: Ooh, sounds like Chicago out there.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: The example given in the book is that Harry has seen what Voldemort currently looks like, and that’s not possible if the dream is coming through Voldemort’s eyes the way that Harry later experiences Death Eater meetings between Voldemort and the group.

Laura: Right.

Eric: So Nagini being able to see Wormtail and Voldemort and the Muggle… the Nagini perspective is my favorite headcanon now.

Laura: Yeah, same.

Eric: Even though he is not conscious of being in a body of a snake like he is later, where he feels moving around. So the Horcrux connection is either just getting started, and is weak enough that Harry doesn’t feel snaky… I think that that’s all very reasonable. And then the other aspect is the last chapter has a lot of backstory, too, of the war and Little Hangleton and Great Hangleton, and it’s not like Harry is getting that history lesson in his dream. Harry’s dream probably picked up closer to the time when Frank arrives inside the Riddle House.

Andrew: Another line we wanted to call out here. And again, this is a recap chapter. This line… I think we all read this and thought the same thing. The line goes, “Harry was used to bizarre accidents and injuries; they were unavoidable if you attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” basically admitting, midway through the series, the whole school is a what?

[“It’s starting to sound like a security nightmare!” sound effect plays with sirens]

Laura: This story is being told by a third-person omniscient narrator, right? Who has access to all of Harry’s thoughts and feelings. But it’s very clear that there are points where the author’s perspective comes through, and I think we see that in the next chapter, especially around some of the comments made about Dudley, where it’s like, “Okay, so not only does Harry know this, but the author is acknowledging it too.” Security nightmare.

Andrew: So then Harry starts wondering how Dumbledore, Ron, and Hermione would react to being informed that his scar was hurting. And he does think that Hermione and Ron would be concerned. And while he does suspect that Dumbledore is on a beach over the summer holidays, he doesn’t think about how Albus would actually respond to the news that his scar was hurting. So I’m wondering… and we’re dropping all the sound effects this morning.

[“What if?” sound effect plays]

Andrew: What if Harry did tell Dumbledore that his scar was hurting? How would Albus have responded? And I hope that he would have come home from the beach and maybe started teaching him Occlumency… or maybe not because I also think that Dumbledore – I think we’ve discussed on the show – Dumbledore likes that open connection to an extent, so he can see what the Dark side is up to.

Eric: I definitely think that if Harry had told Dumbledore anything about his dream or the fact that his scar hurt, it would have put Dumbledore on slightly better footing to anticipate the year ahead. Dumbledore is often on pretty good footing, it’s true, in regards to what Voldemort is up to and what Voldemort is doing, but I think it would have resulted in at least a follow-up conversation between Dumbledore and Harry. Maybe at start of term – maybe he wouldn’t have shown up on Privet Drive that night to ask him follow-up questions – but I think that Dumbledore really would have wanted to know what Voldemort was talking about in Harry’s dream. And I think you’re right, Andrew, to bring up Occlumency. I think even though he’s trying to foster that connection and wants to leave it open a little bit, there might be certain little things that he would help Harry with in case it happened again, or he would try and prompt them to happen again. He would maybe try and increase that connection, so that he could essentially do what he does at the end of the book, bring back the Order of the Phoenix, prepare for softening Fudge’s position on Voldemort coming back. If Harry even lets the word slip, like “Bertha Jorkins,” then Dumbledore immediately knows more than Fudge about what happened to her and can begin to really unravel the plot. So I think Harry should have told Dumbledore.

Andrew: And Dumbledore does say later in the series that he knew there was a connection between Harry and Voldemort as early as Harry’s first year at Hogwarts, and he did suspect a connection by the end of Chamber of Secrets. He should already be concerned. And I guess he would be further concerned if he heard about what was happening here. At least give Harry some lessons in pain management or something like that so he doesn’t have to deal with the headaches.

[Micah laughs]

Laura: Similar to what Eric said about Dumbledore being on better footing for handling the events of the year, I just think that if Dumbledore knew about this and knew about Harry’s dream, he might have foreseen what would come out of the Goblet of Fire. He might have put two and two together there.

Micah: Definitely. And the thing with Harry when he wakes up is that he goes through what most of us go through in that he doesn’t remember everything, right? And Eric, I don’t know if this is what you were getting at. Is there some kind of magic that can be utilized to show the full scope of the dream? Especially if he’s reaching out to somebody like Dumbledore, whose magical ability is… he can do pretty much anything. And this is also the first time Harry has gone through something like this, right? So he’s probably pretty scared. I don’t know. I felt for him. I feel like we’ve all been in that situation where we experience something and then we’re not really sure if we should tell anybody, and then if we should, who do we tell, right? Is it our friends? Is it our parents? Is it somebody else who can help us out?

Andrew: Like a family member, maybe!

Eric: “Oh, wait! I have a new Godfather!”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: But yeah, I’ll say that Harry’s self doubt… you’re exactly right, Micah, we’ve all gone through it. But ultimately, it’s a new way of seeing how the scar works. Because Harry is like, “The last time my scar hurt, Voldemort was right in front of me. He couldn’t be right in front of me now, could he?” And it’s like, “No, listener, no, reader, he couldn’t be, but he was pretty much right in front of you Horcrux-wise.” The connection is now so intimate that from thousands of miles away, he can be in your head. It’s really fascinating. The scar is working, as it always has, to warn Harry or keep him safe in a way. And it goes back to what Dumbledore said in Chapter 1 of Book 1: “Scars can be useful.” We’re getting a new version, a new understanding, about what Harry’s scar is for and what it does.

Andrew: And also, because Harry is struggling to remember the details, telling Dumbledore is is a bit risky. Why waste Vacation Dumbledore’s time with a dream you barely even remember?

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: He’s having a good time. Dumbledore was nice enough to send us a photo for when he traveled back in Harry’s fourth year, and he is just living his best life. He looks like he’s out at a beach club. He’s indulging in a little bit of… I don’t know if we can say that on the show. But he’s cleansing his mind.

Eric: Huh.

Andrew: Micah recently found the AI image tools and he’s been having a lot of fun recently. So I alluded to this a couple minutes ago: Harry wishes he had a family member to tell about the dream and realizes he should reach out to his new BFF godfather Sirius about his scar hurting, and he sends out the letter in hopes of it finding Sirius in whatever seemingly tropical location he might be in because the birds that were delivering letters from Sirius were tropical of nature. We won’t end up getting a reply from Sirius until a couple of chapters later, but when we do eventually hear back from him, we learn that Sirius is concerned about the scar hurting, because it aligns with other strange things going on, and he’s heading north immediately to deal with the sitch. And this is without him knowing about the dream Harry had; remember in this chapter, Harry hesitates from telling him the details, just that his scar was hurting. So if Sirius heard all the details, that could have changed a lot of things, too, in terms of how the next few chapters played out.

Eric: This really speaks to Sirius’s need to be useful. He sees an opportunity here to… yes, he’s running from the law, yes, it’s a big deal that he doesn’t get caught, and self preservation and all that nonsense, but as soon as there’s an opportunity for Harry to be saved by him or given more info or just… he puts himself a little bit at risk by going back up north where there’s more wizards looking for him, and he does it to save or potentially help Harry with his situation. I just think that’s good godfather material.

Micah: And can we talk about the tropical birds for a second?

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: Just because I wonder…

Eric: Why, do you have more AI art?

Micah: Well, that’s another one we could work on after the show. But I was thinking, part of this is fun, right? Sirius is a fun character. He would do something like this just to make Harry smile. But part of me also wonders if it’s to annoy the Dursleys should they ever find out about it, right? Like, what in the world would a tropical bird be doing in Little Whinging? [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, that’s true.

Micah: I don’t know. I found that to be a very fun moment.

Andrew: And very large, too, at least in the illustrated edition here. I’m holding it up now for the camera; you can see a very large tropical bird. And the Dursleys would not like that either.

Eric: The book says it can barely fit through the window. And I’m like, “What kind of tropical bird is this?”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Like a toucan?

Laura: Yeah, the description was so vague. I distinctly remember reading this as a kid, and even to this day, the imagery I see is like, Toucan Sam [laughs] flying into Harry’s bedroom.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s basically what it’s looking like in the illustrated edition.

Eric: Or a pelican. [makes a pelican noise]

Andrew: And then last thing here, this is minor, but in his letter to Sirius Harry says Dudley could no longer play Mega-Mutilation Part 3 on PlayStation. Now, that’s a real console, of course, but that’s not a real game. J.K. Rowling has a tendency to be really lazy sometimes with naming. Mega-Mutilation? Sometimes she really rushes. And I did, of course, Google Mega-Mutilation, and…

Eric: [laughs] I wonder what your results were. Was safe search turned on?

Andrew: It was just Reddit threads saying, “Hey, is that a real game?” [laughs] Actually, the first one was a Reddit thread that says, “Mega-Mutilation Part 3? Really?”

Laura: I feel like it’s probably referencing fighting games, thinking about all the fighting games that were popular when we were kids. Like Street Fighter, I think. Oh, yeah, Kyle on the Discord is calling it out; Mortal Kombat would be maybe a closer connection. I think this is probably riffing off of that and also meant as a commentary about Dudley because of course he would want to play a game where he got to kill lots and lots of innocent bystanders. [laughs]

Micah: That’s where I was going. Exactly.

Andrew: I was also thinking that Harry was just making up a title, like he didn’t even know what game he was playing.

[Micah laughs]

Laura: Right.

Andrew: Because he doesn’t… he just knows it’s a PlayStation, and Dudley wants to beat people up, like you two are saying. So, Mega-Mutilation Part 3. Kyle in our Discord is also bringing up: This is also one of the famous time errors in the series because the PlayStation wasn’t out in Europe yet in the time that this book was set, only in Japan. So he says, “You have to assume Vernon imported it for him,” which does sound like something Vernon would do for his dear boy, his dear only child. All right, well, that is the chapter and we’ll get to Chapter 3 in a moment.

Micah: [laughs] What a riveting chapter that was.

Andrew: We still had a good discussion about it.

Micah: We did.

Andrew: And you know what? I’m in the mood to feel cozy after a nice cozy chapter like that. Oh, and wouldn’t you know it?

[MeUndies ad break]

Micah: You know who could use some MeUndies?

Andrew: Who?

Micah: Vernon Dursley.

Andrew: [laughs] With a fun avocado toast print on them. I can see it now.

Micah: Grapefruit.

Andrew: Grapefruit? Sure.

Laura: Yeah, that’s his breakfast of… well, not choice, but the breakfast that he is given now.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: Okay, so Micah, Laura, you ready for your seven-word summary duo edition?

Laura: Yes.


Andrew: One-on-one edition, let’s call it. Here we go.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Laura: Molly…

Micah: … tries…

Laura: … to…

Micah: … save…

Laura: … Harry’s…

Micah: … summer…

Laura: … funnily.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Because I’m thinking about the stamps.

Andrew: Oh, okay.

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Andrew: Chapter 3, “The Invitation.” So Harry receives an invitation to go to the Quidditch World Cup with the Weasleys and spend a couple weeks with them at the Burrow in advance of the big event. What a nice invite. But as is always the case, Vernon, now in his MeUndies, is allergic to anything to do with the wizarding world. And when Harry pitches the invitation to Vernon, he replies, “How many times do I have to tell you not to mention that unnaturalness under my roof?” And reading this line, the way the Dursleys and Vernon in particular treats being a wizard just reeked to me of how a homophobic person reacts to an LGBTQ person or family member. It’s just like, “I don’t want to hear it, I don’t want to think it, I don’t want it to even be implied or seen in any manner in this house.” And it’s a nice reminder to me that sometimes you need to find your own chosen family, like Harry does when he’s viewed as an outcast. And obviously, at this point Harry really does have his own chosen family, including the one he just received an invitation from.

Eric: Yeah, by Book 4 it shows us that this relationship is not going to get better between Harry and his relatives. It’s a pretty safe bet because right now we see Harry leverage the connection with his ex-con godfather to just get some basic necessities like food, or rather, their permission to be able to do his school-booking at night. So I just think that it’s clear, especially by now, that you’re right, Andrew, these are the wrong people for Harry, they are not his… they’re his family but not his found family. He needs to find better people who do better and surround himself with them.

Micah: Definitely, and Harry… this moment that you’re calling out, Andrew, was towards the tail end of the conversation, but Harry was very strategic in how he was speaking to Vernon throughout most of that conversation; he was tiptoeing around saying certain words or certain phrases. And not only does Vernon react this way… like, he looks to the window to make sure that there’s nobody that could potentially hear what Harry has said, so he’s completely paranoid.

Laura: Yeah. I also was thinking about the comparison you made, Andrew, about the Dursleys really reacting the same way that a homophobic person would react to an LGBTQ+ person, and it made me remember the fact that the Dursleys literally forced Harry to live in a closet for the first 11 years of his life, so that’s just another added layer of interpretation that we can put on this. But I also could see us taking it broader and saying it’s reflective of how prejudiced people in general react to anything that doesn’t meet their standards of normality.

Eric: Yeah, I mean, Vernon is asking followup questions about this letter that arrives, including, “Who is this woman that sent it?” But then when Harry tells her, he insults Molly, and then he asks, “What is Quizzitch?” Or… [laughs] What is Quidditch? Sorry, I’ve never not going to be able to…

Micah: I do it all the time now too.

Andrew: [laughs] “Quizzitch is the trivia game from MuggleCast.”

Micah: It’s your fault, really.

Eric: It’s just so good. Thank you, Kyle, for giving us the gift of Quizzitch. He says, “What is Quidditch?” And Harry tells him, and he says [makes spluttering noises], “What is this rubbish?” It’s like, you’re asking questions, but not coming from a place of caring or really listening. Vernon is just trying to make sure that it doesn’t affect him, that he doesn’t have to get anywhere near it.

Micah: Yeah, and there’s also… you were mentioning Molly, that he references her as a dumpy sort of a woman…

Andrew: Ugh.

Micah: … and Harry notes how that is comical coming from somebody like Vernon, but it just shows you the lack of self-awareness that the Dursleys have. And we’re going to talk more about that when we get to Dudley and everything that he’s going through, but they’re just so caught up in themselves that they can’t really see their own true reflection in the mirror.

Laura: Yeah, it’s also reflective of a double standard that often gets applied to women. So again, Micah, you calling out that it’s comical that someone like Vernon would call someone like Molly a “dumpy sort of woman,” but the reality is society reinforces that perspective, that it’s more acceptable for a man to have that sort of physical appearance than for a woman to have it.

Eric: Yeah, he’s just stout, he’s portly, he’s…

Micah: He eats well.

Laura: Right. He’s big-boned.

Andrew: Yeah. The double standard point is such a good one, too, and I mean, we see that all the time. And look, I’m guilty of it too; everybody talks crap on other people when they’ve got their own problems as well. It’s just like, deflection, deflection, deflection.

Micah: But it’s not like we would expect Vernon to say anything nice about Molly in the first place, so this is not surprising.

Andrew: Right, right.

Micah: The one thing I did want to call out about the letter that the Dursleys receive: It has a million stamps on it. It’s meant to be funny for us as readers. It’s very similar to when Ron calls Harry in the previous book, right? I think it’s an oversight on the part of the Weasleys. Ron says that they have no clue how normal mail works, but given Arthur’s job, shouldn’t they?

Laura: Yeah, and I remember us asking about this when Ron didn’t know how to use the telephone either. [laughs] It just feels so out of place that Arthur wouldn’t be able to offer some knowledge. Also, Ron’s best friend is Muggle-born. It’s pretty easy to figure this out, buddy.

Eric: Do your research. Ask Hermione. I think where Molly errs is saying, “Send a reply to this in the normal way.” That is a value judgment. That is a loaded sentence that is guaranteed to piss Uncle Vernon off.

Andrew: Yeah. And I just think logically speaking, who would say, “Okay, it is time to mail this. So how do I mail this? I know, I’ll put as many stamps as possible on the front of the envelope.” It just doesn’t make sense. Why would they do that? I know they’re like, “Oh, Muggles are nuts, so they probably would do something like this,” but no, just no. I’m insulted.

Laura: Yeah, I mean, I can understand the confusion because depending on what you’re mailing, where you’re mailing it to, sometimes you do need multiple stamps. You don’t need quite this many, not as many as Molly uses, but it makes me wonder if Arthur maybe only has a passing knowledge of how the Postal Service works and was like, “Yeah, I don’t know how many stamps you’re going to need, but sometimes you need more than one, so just put a bunch on there to be safe.”

Micah: But where’d they get them from? They had to go to the post office. [laughs]

Laura: I know.

Eric: Well, there’s that. Yeah, I don’t know. Again, I said that Molly kind of shoots herself in the foot by the wording that she uses in the letter, but the idea of an invitation being sent to the Dursleys more formally is actually kind of a good idea in its outset. The execution we can all agree is awful. But think about it; she’s entreating them. She’s like, “Hey, we love your nephew. We would love to invite him for this very special once-in-a-lifetime event.” It’s a perfectly, in some levels, polite and appropriate thing to have done.

Micah: And can you fault Vernon in this case? If I were the mailman, I would think it was strange that it had all these stamps on it. We’ve got a kooky old grandma that doesn’t know how to mail you a letter the right way. [laughs]

Eric: Right, right. And the mailman is not coming from a place of malice, it’s just interest, but Vernon does not want to stand out. The books are very clear on Vernon and Petunia’s – which, by the way, where is she? – stance on this whole kind of thing.

Micah: It’s just Vernon not wanting anybody to think anything unnatural of him or his family. That’s what it comes down to. He’s afraid the mailman is going to report him to the post office or something.

Andrew: The post office? [laughs]

Micah: Ruh-roh.

Laura: I were that mailman, I would assume that it was some kind of prank or inside joke. Nobody’s going to go back to their superior and be like, “I delivered a really weird letter today.” Who cares?

Andrew: Right. I’m sure they’ve seen it before from Muggles sending to Muggles just for fun; like, a kid would do that. That seems like something a kid would do. Micah said, we did jump ahead a little bit here. As we read the chapter, Harry is laying out Vernon’s conundrum about letting Harry go to the Cup/the Weasleys or not, and Harry sees it as… he looks at both sides of the situation for Vernon. The pro side Harry is no longer in the house. The downside for Vernon is that Harry will get what he wants, and he doesn’t want that. And his evil godfather will know that Vernon is telling him no, he can’t go, and then Sirius is going to come and kill him or something like that. [laughs] But one thing that Harry doesn’t keep in mind here that I thought was interesting: I would think Vernon is also considering the fact that Harry always gets his way. Year one, the letters inviting him to Hogwarts arrive come hell or high water. No matter where they run, those letters come. Year two, his friends bail him out with a flying car. Year three, his magic pushed him to extremes because he was being treated poorly. So if were Vernon, I’d be like, “I have to say yes,” because something bad is going to happen again. Maybe it’s something with Sirius, maybe not, but that would be my top consideration.

Eric: Right. Joke’s on him because something bad happens anyway. He does say yes, and they still end up with their living room destroyed. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, so maybe he needs to learn “Say yes and get him out quick before some wizards come over.” So let’s move on to what’s going on in terms of the diet at the Dursleys’ house. Dudley is on this diet and Vernon and Petunia are in on the program as well to support their dear boy. Harry, meanwhile… well, and Harry is in on it too. However, Harry is hiding a bunch of wizarding treats up in his room, and I was wondering… Dudley is surely desperate for the good stuff. The real candy, the sugary sweets, all the unhealthy stuff. Would Dudley have wanted to become a wizard if Harry secretly gave him some of those delicious wizarding desserts? I have to think Dudley is absolutely hating this healthy diet; he would do anything to get back to cake and all that. This could have been a bonding moment.

Micah: It could have. I don’t know if he necessarily would have gone the wizard route, although I’m sure there’s part of Dudley that thinks it’s cool that Harry is a wizard, even if he doesn’t admit it out loud. But I do think this could have been a perfect opportunity for Harry to form some sort of relationship with Dudley, right? He has all of this good food for Dudley to eat; Dudley would be over the moon if he could get his hands on some cookies or some cake. But I think it’s also how Dudley has treated Harry over the years and he doesn’t want any of it.

Eric: I think that there’s a great, non-zero possibility that Dudley would have seen Harry having sweets and turned him in for good favor to the other Dursleys, because remember, one of the few – I know, what a narc thing to do; he’s worse than Nagini…

[Laura laughs]

Eric: But one of the only things that keeps Dudley sane during this time is that Petunia is starving Harry even more by giving him a smaller grapefruit wedge for breakfast or lunch or whatever it is. So I think that Dudley has been raised to think of himself as better than, and so he would take whatever Harry could offer but then immediately turn him in or still find some way to not be 100% doing of the right thing, if Harry were to confide in Dudley that he has this secret birthday cake.

Andrew: I think the Dursleys would have rewarded him with a sweet for reporting the sweets, an eye for an eye.

Micah: Ooh.

Laura: I think Dudley would have stolen all of Harry’s treats, and told Harry, “Yeah, go and tell my parents whatever you want. Who do you think they’re going to believe, you or me?” Because if Harry went to the Dursleys and was like, “Yo, I had all this great birthday cake; he took all of it,” and he’s hiding it and stuffing it down his throat, he would just have to be like, “No, I didn’t do that, Mummy. Why would I do that?” And Petunia would be like, “Oh, my little diddy Dudley kins, you would never do that.” So they would probably punish Harry in some way by locking him in his bedroom or throwing him back in the cupboard under the stairs. I just don’t see this not backfiring on Harry.

Micah: It would have been an interesting test run for Harry to just leave Hagrid’s rock cakes outside of Dudley’s room and see what happened.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: But I love that Harry does this. He sends out an APB for cake and food…

[Eric laughs]

Micah: … to be sent to him from all of his friends all over the world.

Andrew: “Help me!”

Micah: But I’m curious, what is it? We talk about how poorly Harry is treated. You mentioned the smaller grapefruit wedge, but I’m just envisioning this kid going back to his room, closing the door, opening the floorboard, taking cake and whatever else he has there out to eat at 14 years old just so he can nourish himself properly. It’s a very sad set of circumstances.

Eric: Floor cake. Delicious. Who doesn’t want a piece of floor cake right now?

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Well, I have a question about this floor cake. How are all of these perishable food items lasting so long? It’s noted that Harry literally receives four birthday cakes in response to his plea for help, and he’s storing them… first of all, how big is this floorboard that he’s storing four birthday cakes and a host of other treats under there? But also, how long is this food lasting? And it made me wonder, is there some kind of charm to preserve food for extended periods of time so that wizards don’t have to worry about their food going bad?

Andrew: You would think so.

Eric: There probably is. But Harry can’t perform that charm; it would have… because that’ll flag the Ministry.

Andrew: No, but other people were making them, so…

Eric: Well, right, so he would have had to say, “Send me stuff and make sure that it can last a while,” that kind of thing… because I can go through four birthday cakes pretty quickly.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: Before it expires, I’ve had to do that before.

Laura: But do you keep them under your floorboard, is the question.

Eric: No, and that’s the other thing. Look, there’s spiders and all sorts of friends that could come and eat that cake as well. How do you keep it…? There were spiders in Harry’s cupboard.

Laura: I know.

Andrew: Muggles have unfortunately perfected the art of preservatives, and I’m sure wizards could do something similar as well.

Laura: I’m sure. But I don’t know, I was reading about him keeping cake and stuff underneath the floorboards and I was like, “Do you want ants? Because that’s how you get ants, man.”

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Or can you give us some tips so that we can do that too? I’d love to keep some cake in my room.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Yeah, Kyle pointed this out in the Discord as well, but what would the…? So Ron probably didn’t make the birthday cake himself, because the book says that he gets cake from Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, and Sirius. All send him cake. Ron did not bake that cake. I mean, maybe he did; maybe people are saying this is Ron assassination. But what would the request have looked like to Molly? For Ron to be like, “Harry is asking us to send food”? That would have… I think she would have dropped all pretense of propriety and not sent this lovely invitation to the Dursleys. It would have been another rescue mission, a Ford Anglia-involved-if-they-still-had-it kind of escape attempt. How did Ron either sneakily or otherwise convey to his family that Harry is asking for food? Because that’s a huge red flag.

Laura: Well, he does note in the letter that he sends Harry, “Ask the Muggles, and if they say yes, we’ll come get you tomorrow. If they say no, we’ll still come get you tomorrow.” So it’s clear that they’re still intending to come get him out. But I think after the events of two summers ago, Molly has taken the lead on planning this because she does not want her children to be breaking any laws to do this like they did a couple years ago.

Eric: Yeah. And Molly did send meat pies as well, so that’s… yeah.

Laura: Yeah, she did. While we’re telling you about food, though, I just want to call out as well that Dudley’s diet is very reflective of the toxic diet culture of the 1990s. A quarter of a grapefruit is not sufficient nutrition for anyone. [laughs]

Andrew: If I’m trying to defend the writing choice at the time, it’s to take a comical perspective on it. It’s exaggerated for comedic purposes, but yes. And I think there has been criticism, especially as time has gone on, that the author was being fatphobic at times in the series with how she describes the Dursleys.

Laura: Yeah, and I agree with that, but I actually don’t think this is fatphobic. I feel like this is a commentary on diet culture of the time, as I said, because there are legitimately – you can look it up – there are diets that have in the past, and in some cases still do, suggest these types of extreme measures that are not sustainable in the long term. And it just reminded me of a lot of the commercial advertisement that we saw around “Lose weight quick” diets, flash diets, and the kinds of extreme measures that people were encouraged to go to to drop weight quickly. And that’s what’s being put on Dudley here, right? Because the Dursleys aren’t educated about the right way to do this and the healthy way to do this, so they’re just trying to do it quick.

Andrew: I think all of us can still visualize the magazine covers at the food store checkout aisles, the promises they were making.

Laura: Yeah, “Lose 10 pounds in 30 days!” type stuff.

Andrew: Yeah, exactly.

Micah: I will say there is no reference, at least in this chapter, about Dudley engaging in any physical activity, which would help, certainly, with a lot of what he’s dealing with.

Eric: Well, right. I will say, although Laura said that that particular thing was not fat shaming or fatphobic, there is a lot in this chapter that is fat shaming and fatphobic. It may actually be the worst offender of every chapter in the Harry Potter books to be fat shaming. The level of comparisons that the narrator is drawing are really offensive to reread, and it’s just pretty egregious, looking back on it, like, “Wow, she actually just compared Dudley’s weight to that of a baby killer whale.” Like, really? How does Harry know what a baby killer whale weighs? It’s just for effect.

Micah: Well, and the fact that the school doesn’t have a uniform big enough for him, right? That’s also brought up in this chapter.

Andrew: And that’s why the school nurse makes the recommendation to Petunia.

Eric: It’s just something to be going on with the Dursleys, something that they are engaged with, so as to not give Harry their full attention. But it’s unfortunate, reading it back going, “Ooh.”

Laura: Yeah. And there’s that whole weird comment about “Dudley had finally achieved what he had been threatening to do since he was three years old, becoming wider than he was tall” or “as wide as he was tall.” And it’s like, what three-year-old is threatening to do that? [laughs] It was definitely an interesting choice.

Micah: Yeah, and I think we can apply what we’ve talked about as it relates to a lot of other characters to Dudley, that he’s a condition of Petunia and Vernon. He’s a reflection of how he’s being raised. And I think we see multiple times in this series how Petunia is just in complete denial about her son. And I wonder if she’s looking across the table and making comparisons to Harry, maybe much like her parents made comparisons between her and Lily. I think there’s definitely something that is going on psychologically with her, where she is just giving anything and everything to her son that he wants when he wants it, regardless of whether or not it’s healthy for him. And that’s both physical and mental health.

Eric: I do want to ask why Petunia was not present for the discussion about the letter because they they clearly dine together as a family, but Petunia, who would normally have a vested interest in keeping out of sight of the neighbors, is not present at all. Vernon handles the confrontation with Harry entirely on his own. And my theory about this – I want to know you guys’ thoughts – is that it might actually speak to a fracture in their relationship, that perhaps this diet that Petunia and Vernon are on is making it so that they’re not spending so much time together, that they’re actually going to different rooms in the house, which we’ve never seen before. The idea that Petunia is leading this charge and they have different ideas about how to raise Dudley, which I think is hinted at. What do we think? Do we think there’s some weight – “some weight” – to that theory?

Andrew: Yeah, I think so. I’ve always just kind of seen Petunia as taking a backseat here, too, when it comes to the decisions around Harry. But I do like that theory. I’m sure this diet program isn’t the best for a relationship in this house.

Eric: I do like your point about Petunia kind of checking out, almost for her own mental health. Like, “I can’t deal with the boy, Vernon.”

Andrew: Well, yeah, and because we know eventually that Petunia was jealous of Lily, so she also takes a backseat for that reason because she would probably be more lenient towards Harry, I think.

Micah: Do we make anything of the grapefruit? Do we think it’s symbolic in any way?

Andrew: Whoa.

Micah: What? [laughs]

Laura: Micah with the deep questions.

Andrew: In what way? [laughs] Have you researched grapefruit or something?

Eric: [laughs] It’s cleansing.

Micah: I don’t know. It’s generally more of a tart, sour type of food.

Eric: It’s not a fan favorite food.

Andrew: Like the Dursleys.

Laura: Well, I love grapefruit.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: No, you don’t. You’ve been conditioned by society to think that you like grapefruits, Laura. You don’t actually like them.

Andrew: That’s an episode title. “Laura loves grapefruit.”

Laura: I do. I’m looking at the benefits. It’s low in calories, high in nutrients, it may benefit your immune system, has weight loss benefits. That’s why they’re giving it to Dudley.

Micah: All right, maybe it’s the perception of it.

Eric: I will say, there’s a Weird Al song, “Grapefruit Diet.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: You gotta listen to it.

Andrew: So a couple of smaller notes here. Pig makes his debut, Ron’s new owl, a scrawny little fella. I love him. I think he’s so cute.

Micah: Didn’t he show up at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban? Am I making this up?

Laura: Yeah, he did.

Andrew: He did. Was he named at the time?

Laura: No.

Micah: He wasn’t named, but why does Harry act like he’s never met him before?

Andrew: Maybe he’s in worse shape. [laughs]

Eric: That’s a great question, actually. Because that’s right, that might be a little…

Micah: No, no, Harry is acting like he’s seeing this thing for the first time. But the whole… remember, Ron takes him and lets Crookshanks sniff him. It definitely was at the end of the last book.

Andrew: Look, sometimes you forget somebody – or some creature. It happens.

Laura: There are certain things in these last two chapters where it’s like Harry all of a sudden just forgets everything that he knew about the wizarding world. He literally is like, “Oh, God, I wish I had someone like a parent.” And then it’s like, “Ah, eureka! I have a godfather!”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: So there is a lot of that going on, and it’s all in the service of giving that recap so that someone who didn’t read the first three books isn’t completely lost. I’m sure that was a requirement by the editor.

Andrew: So also, Percy now works for the Ministry; we’re learning about that for the first time. More to come there. And I think that’s it for the chapter. Okay.

Eric: Two quick ones. Two shorties.

Andrew: Two shorties.

MVP of the Week

Andrew: And now let’s turn to MVP of the week.

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: And I’m going to give it to the Weasleys’ super kind invite. I just love it. Not only is it an invite to the Quidditch World Cup, but also an invite to their house. Aww, so nice.

Eric: I am giving mine to Sirius Black, hello, because he stopped what he was doing, lounging on some beach somewhere in a tropical climate, and gathered the ingredients to make Harry a killer birthday cake.

Laura: I’m going to give mine to Ron. He’s a real one, man. He was vowing to come break Harry out of Privet Drive again if the Dursleys said no.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: And I just gotta give it up for the mailman.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Just a thankless position that he is in. He delivers this letter. He delivers the super kind invite, Andrew, that you made your MVP. So there you have it.

[MVP of the Week music ends]

Andrew: Next week we’re going back to the Burrow with Goblet of Fire Chapter 4, “Back to the Burrow,” and now it’s time for Quizzitch.


[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s question: In opposition of his new diet, what did Dudley throw out the window? The correct answer is his PlayStation. So correct answers were submitted – here we go – by Andy; Bored on the bus; Chocolate chip Dumbledough; Dudley’s tortoise; Draco’s heart is the color of Bellatrix’s knife handle, black – I don’t know what that means – Glory dolphin; High fructose corn syrup; If the wand chooses the wizard, does the knife choose the house-elf? So many knife ones, geez. Joyodi; Luke the 12-year-old; Norwegian blue beautiful plumage; Pumpkin spiced butterbeer; Super mega foxy awesome hot; The Hogsmeade mead maker; The turtle was probably thinking “Thank God he’s gone”; and Time-traveling Dudley who has at least learned not to throw tortoises.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Anyway, thank you all to those who submitted this week’s Quizzitch answer, and here is next week’s Quizzitch question: What does Arthur Weasley ask Dudley Dursley?

Micah: Ooh.

Eric: The two are meeting next chapter.

Andrew: A meeting of the minds.

Micah: Such a fun chapter.

Eric: Yeah, it’s a good chapter coming up next week. So we’re taking submissions over on the Quizzitch form on the MuggleCast website. Visit or click on “Quizzitch” from the main nav.

Micah: One thing I just wanted to say about this particular moment: It goes back to a lot of what we were talking about during the episode, the fact that Dudley can take something of value like his PlayStation and just throw it out the window like it’s nothing. It speaks to the character of the Dursley family overall. This is a high-priced item that I’m sure any child would love to have, and Dudley has just thrown it out the window like it’s nothing.

Andrew: Definitely. You know how hard it was to get the new PlayStation 5 a couple years ago? I would never throw that out the window.

Eric: Or get the regular PlayStation a couple years early.

Andrew: Right. Imported.

Laura: I just think about how my parents would have reacted if I threw an expensive electronic out the window. It would not have been pretty.

Andrew: I’d say you’d be eating grapefruit for a week, but you like grapefruit, so you’d be eating something you don’t like.

Laura: I do like grapefruit.

Eric: That wouldn’t be a punishment at all!

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Yeah, they wouldn’t let me have grapefruit. They’d be like, “No grapefruit for you!”

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I wonder if Mrs. Figg took it and she was just playing that game that he’s not allowed to play anymore.

Andrew: Oh, that’d be fun. Mega-Mutilation 3.

Micah: Do you think she’s a gamer? She seems like a gamer.

Andrew: Probably not.

Micah: No?

Andrew: I bet she is an Apple Podcast user…

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: … and for just $2.99 a month, she can receive ad-free and early access to MuggleCast right within the Apple Podcasts app.

Micah: That’s a great deal.

Andrew: Patreon does offer more benefits, but if you’d prefer to support us right within the Apple Podcasts app, there is an offer for you. Just tap it in the show and you’ll see the subscribe button, plus a free trial is available, as is an annual subscription. We also have free trials and annual subscriptions on the Patreon. You can sign up today and get access to bonus MuggleCast installments, our livestreams, our planning docs, monthly Slug Club hangouts, or this month, we’ve got the super fun girls’ sleepover party. So lots of benefit for you to enjoy on our Patreon. We couldn’t do this without you, so thank you. If you’re enjoying MuggleCast and think other Muggles would too, tell a friend about the show, and we’d also appreciate if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app. And we love reading those reviews too; they warm our hearts. Thank you in advance for leaving a review. And last but not least, don’t forget to follow us on social media; you definitely want to do that if you’re not already, because you’ve got to keep on top of these exciting announcements that we have, like the girls’ episode and Quizzitch Live. We’ll have more details there as they approach. We are @MuggleCast everywhere: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Threads. That’s everywhere for us.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Sorry, we’re not on Snapchat.

Eric: And LinkedIn.

Micah: We’re on YouTube.

Andrew: Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: Thanks for listening. Bye, everybody.

Eric, Laura, and Micah: Bye.

Transcript #630


MuggleCast 630 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #630, Nagini the Narc (GOF Chapter 1, The Riddle House)

Dumbledore: I’ll be going now, Harry.

Harry: Professor, is this all real? Or is it just happening inside my head?

Dumbledore: Of course it’s happening inside your head, Harry, but why should that mean that it’s not real?


[Show music plays]

Andrew Sims: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: And this week we’ll begin Goblet of Fire Chapter by Chapter, and to help us kick off the fourth book in the Harry Potter series, we’re joined by one of our Slug Club patrons this week, Summer. Hi, Summer.

Summer: Hello, thanks for having me.

Andrew: Welcome to the show. We’re excited to have you, and thanks for your support on Patreon. Let’s get your fandom ID.

Summer: Sure, so my favorite book… I’m bad at choosing. Favorite book is Prisoner of Azkaban or Deathly Hallows, favorite movie is Prisoner of Azkaban or Deathly Hallows – Part 1. My Hogwarts House is Gryffindor. My Patronus, I recently found out, is a grey squirrel. And my favorite character is – you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I might be the first person on MuggleCast, and it’s a very unpopular opinion overall – Harry Potter is indeed my favorite character in the Harry Potter series.

Andrew: Aww. That’s sweet.

Summer: I love him. Thank you. I love him. And Sirius Black is a close second. But he grows up in the horrible house that is the Dursleys’, and it really doesn’t turn him into a terrible character at all. If anything, he has a Horcrux living in him, and he’s still a good character at heart. And I think he’s very funny in the books and in the movies, but even funnier on the books. And my favorite first chapter in Harry Potter… this is a great question. I chose “Dudley Demented” from Order of the Phoenix, with “The Other Minister” as a close second. I know everyone loves that. But I love that Order of the Phoenix opening, getting another peek into Harry’s depressing world.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: “Another peak into Harry’s depressing world.” And fun fact about you, you also worked at the Harry Potter Store in New York, right? Their flagship store.

Summer: I did.

Andrew: What was that experience like?

Summer: It was so fun; I worked there this past summer. I was actually at the butterbeer bar, and I absolutely loved it. I will say that I like the butterbeer ice cream a whole lot more than the normal butterbeer, and I ate a cup of it every shift, and I was known for that.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Summer: I would see how long I could go without eating some because food service is hard work, especially when it’s busy every single day. So I loved it, and I got 30% off at the store, so that was another great part. And it was so fun. When the shifts would get long or I’d get tired, I would just stand there, and they play the soundtrack in the background, and then that would center me. And I’d love standing there listening to the music, even though it did get a little loud sometimes. But it was a lot of fun.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: That’s so cool.

Summer: Yeah, and I was surprised by how many people who work there weren’t actually fans, and I was slightly disappointed because they’d be like, “Oh, you actually like Harry Potter?” and I was like, “Yeah, that’s why I applied here.”

Andrew: “I listen to a Harry Potter podcast.”

Summer: Yeah, I was like, “You don’t listen to MuggleCast?”

[Andrew and Summer laugh]

Eric: Listen, you need to hijack the speakers and start playing our episodes.

Summer: Oh, I know it. I might have tried.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I was going to ask, did you convert anybody to a Potter fan?

Summer: I think I tried, but they were… I tried.

Eric: It’s an uphill struggle. Harry Potter is actually over, Micah, nobody cares about it anymore.

Micah: That’s fair.

Andrew: Well, I was going to say, it’s hard in New York. You’ve got to get a job wherever you can, so people are out there being like…

Eric: Okay, that’s fair. That makes sense.

Andrew: “I’m applying at the Sbarro. I’m applying at the Harry Potter Store. I’m applying at the Duane Reade.”

Summer: And the pay was good. My one coworker, who wasn’t as big a fan as me, was also named Andrew, so shout-out to him.

Andrew: Oh, really? Okay.

Summer: And also Slytherin, so shout-out.

Laura: Are you telling us that Andrew worked undercover at the Harry Potter Store?

[Micah and Summer laugh]

Andrew: I was trying to hijack the sound system to play MuggleCast.

Eric: What, Sbarro wouldn’t hire you?

Andrew: [laughs] Well, thanks for sharing that, and welcome to the show. We’re excited to have you and get all your feedback today.

Summer: Thank you.

Andrew: So we have a couple of brand new announcements before we continue. First of all, Micah, I think a lot of listeners will be excited about this.

Micah: Yeah, Quizzitch Live returns later on in October. We’re really excited to bring this back. This was something we had a lot of fun with, particularly during the pandemic, but it’s something that we’re going to keep on doing as long as we can come up with trivia questions, and there are plenty of them out there. So we will be doing Quizzitch on October 28, more details to follow, and then we’re planning on releasing this as a full episode on Halloween. So this Quizzitch Live will have a Halloween feel to it of sorts; we’ll have questions about wizarding world candy, as well as James and Lily, given everything that went down on Halloween all those years ago, but the main focus of it is an OWLs edition, so study up on your Charms, your Potions, your Transfiguration, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. And huge shout-out to listener Nicole H., who provided these questions. Saved me a lot of work, to be quite honest, so we really appreciate her sending these in. She’s been a longtime listener of the show.

Andrew: Yeah, and so we know listeners really like these live Harry Potter trivia games that we put together. Everybody will be able to participate, so stay tuned for more details. But again, like Micah mentioned, this will be occurring on October 28. It is free to play, and there will be prizes.

Micah: Oh yeah, there will.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Andrew gave me full reign of the budget to be able to go and get prizes.

Andrew: I don’t remember talking about that, but all right, maybe Summer gave me too much butterbeer.

Micah: I was just going to go with full-size candy bars like you do for Halloween.

Andrew: Yeah, that is true. Thank you, Costco and your discounts.

Eric: And one thing about the Quizzitch is if you do miss the live stream, you can play at home later because that will be released on Halloween as the episode.

Micah: But no prizes if you play later.

Eric: Oh, yes, fewer prizes. If you want the prizes, the big, big prizes that we have plans for…

Micah: The prize is playing, really, at the end of the day.

Eric: The prize is the friends that we made along the way.

Andrew: So stay tuned for more details, but clear your calendars now, October 28 for the live Quizzitch. And we also have another cool announcement: So longtime listeners might remember that we used to do transcripts for the show.

Micah: Yes, I did.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Micah led the transcripts team, we had a lot of people working on the transcripts for us, they were amazing… And then we got away from it because it was a lot of work. But now times have changed, and there are great transcription tools that automate a lot of the process, and so we’re excited to share that we are getting started again on transcripts, and we’re going to go back into our archive and get all the episodes that we haven’t transcribed, transcribed. And one exciting aspect of this announcement is that Eric’s girlfriend Meg, who is a MuggleCast listener herself, will be doing the transcripts for us. She’s going to be looking through what the bots transcribe and making sure everything’s up to snuff because they’re not good with Harry Potter words.

[Eric laughs]

Summer: I was going to say, they might have some struggles with that.

Eric: “MuggleCast” comes out differently every time we say it. It’s very fun to see. [laughs] But yeah, the coolest thing about it is all the recent episodes of MuggleCast will have transcripts first, so it’s another new way to listen to or experience, let’s say, the latest episodes. They’ll be up usually within a week of the episode coming out. So yeah, it’s a fascinating thing. Transcripts are great. They also work much better in things with screen readers and other additional… it’s just great to have transcripts, and it’s a really great way for the archive to archive all the amazing things we’ve said and done over the years on this show.

Micah: We are now fully accountable for everything we say.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah, unfortunately, that’s the one downside..

Andrew: It’s important for accessibility, as Eric was getting at. And Meg is just, as I said to you, Eric, the perfect person for this because she knows the show. She knows us. She knows Harry Potter, unlike the bots, so…

Eric: The craziest thing is that she’s going to be transcribing our complimenting her in like a week’s time.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: It’s the weirdest thing. So the more we say nice, she’s going to blush, it’s going to be a thing… but yes, we’re very excited to bring Meg on. The reason that we can do this is because of support of listeners like Summer on Patreon. We can fund this kind of work, which is a lot of work. It’s hours and hours of work. The bots help, but they can only do so much, so we’re very grateful to all of our listeners. And hopefully, people use these transcripts. And my favorite thing to do, really, with transcripts is to Google if I’m like, “What’s that episode where we first said ‘Peace and love,’ and what were we talking about?”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: In five years, I’ll have the answer when all the transcripts are complete. Because I forget the origin of that phrase, for instance, but it helps you figure out where it all came from.

Micah: I will just shout out Meg, though, because it is a thankless, tedious job at times, so huge kudos to her in advance of taking on this project.

Andrew: Definitely.

Summer: Thank you, Meg.

Laura: Yeah, she’s amazing.

Andrew: And speaking of Ringo Starr, Eric, you saw Ringo Starr the other day?

[Laura laughs]

Eric: I saw, I got this T-shirt.

Andrew: He’s wearing a “Peace and love” shirt. Oh my gosh.

Eric: Peace and love, everybody, yeah! I’m very excited.

Andrew: Did you yell “Peace and love” at the venue?

Eric: Everyone was yelling “Peace and love” at the venue.

Andrew: Really?

Eric: Yeah, I mean, the shirt… it’s this whole thing now. I think ever since he asked people to stop sending in fan mail to him, because he was getting overwhelmed, that saying… maybe it was before then, and that saying is just iconic. Yeah, he was great. You know what, 83 years old? He can move.

Andrew: Wow. Dang. Good for him.

Eric: Yeah, it was a great concert, his All-Starr band.

Remembering Michael Gambon

Andrew: And on a serious note now, last week we had our Goblet of Fire movie commentary. We actually had recorded that the week prior, as you may have heard at the top of the Goblet of Fire commentary. Michael Gambon passed away a little over a week ago. Of course, he played Albus Dumbledore in movies 3 onward, and we just wanted to take a moment to reflect on his role in Harry Potter. I know we’ve jokingly, maybe some of us more than others, talked about how… there’s always been a debate about who was the better Dumbledore, Richard Harris or Michael Gambon, but I’ve always felt like Michael Gambon was always my favorite Dumbledore. I thought the way he played it was necessary, especially for the later films. I have a hard time picturing Richard Harris playing out the cave scene, for example.

Eric: Yeah, I mean, I’ve said this before, and I think I reiterated it in the commentary, but Movie 6 Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore is flawless in my opinion and one of my favorites. The scene I actually get the most enjoyment out of watching him do is where they go and get Slughorn at the beginning of the movie.

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: That is just so fun, seeing Jim Broadbent, Michael Gambon, and Dan Radcliffe do those things. Everything from the knitting patterns to just… it’s so Dumbledore and it’s so perfect, and so I’m really grateful for him in general. I hope that he rests in peace and his family finds comfort, but yeah, that’s definitely a favorite all-time moment for me for him in films.

Summer: Yeah, going off of that, you just mentioned the cave scene; I actually just rewatched Half-Blood Prince with my boyfriend, and it was almost… I find the cave scene almost hard to watch every time I watch the movies, because Harry forcing him to drink that potion… it’s just awful. It’s awful in the books too. So that part is bad, but then when Harry gets taken under the water by the Inferi… and the whole fire spell scene is just incredible. My mom is a huge Dumbledore fan and a huge Michael Gambon fan, and yeah, Half-Blood Prince is her favorite movie, probably because of Michael Gambon. And also, not just because he passed, but because I feel this way anyway, I will, I think, agree with Andrew in terms of I am a Dumbledore apologist, but I will defend his delivery of the infamous line in Goblet of Fire of “Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire”?

Laura: Yes!

Eric: You can try. You can try defending it. You will fail.

Summer: No, I think… in the books, I understand why he was calm. But in the movie, Dumbledore knows that there’s no way Harry is getting out of this, his name came out of the Goblet of Fire, he is magically bound to participate in the Triwizard Tournament and he is going to be in danger all year because of it, and so he is very stressed and angry at the situation. And I defend how he delivered that line because I think he knows exactly what is going to happen, which is Harry is once again in danger all year.

Eric: So basically, you’re like, “Everyone in this movie is shouting, why not Dumbledore too?”

Summer: [laughs] I mean, like he’s angry on Harry’s behalf that Harry has been drawn into this.

Laura: Well, and here’s what I will say: As Potter fans, no matter how you feel about that line, it is an iconic moment in Potter history. [laughs]

Eric: The shake and scream heard ’round the world.

Andrew: I will say, my favorite was probably the Snape’s memory sequence in Deathly Hallows. I mean, that was amazing. It was just… the info dump there was incredible, of course in the book, but in the movie as well, and I thought Michael Gambon played that really well. So that would be my choice, if not the cave stuff, because I also thought that was very good.

Micah: For me, I think first off, one of the things we have to take into consideration is that Michael Gambon was stepping into a role of a character that quite honestly, outside of the trio, was the biggest role in the series. And that’s obviously with no disrespect to Snape and Alan Rickman’s portrayal, but I think from a character standpoint, Dumbledore was probably the biggest outside of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and so I think it’s tough to come into that in the third film. But I will say, I think he really turned me over time to really appreciate the way that he portrayed Dumbledore, going off a lot of the points that were raised here, and I really loved him in the “King’s Cross” scene in Deathly Hallows – Part 2 with Daniel Radcliffe. I thought his delivery of some of Dumbledore’s most iconic lines was just spot on. And you could tell that he really enjoyed that scene; I think he talked about it being one of his favorite scenes as well. So I think that he became Dumbledore. I don’t know that he started out that way, but I think, at least for me, he became Dumbledore.

Andrew: I think that’s a beautiful assessment. Yeah, I think that’s great.

Laura: I would say a favorite moment that really sticks out to me is the Astronomy Tower at the end of Half-Blood Prince.

[Andrew weeps]

Eric: “Severus, please.”

Laura: I know, and I hate it because that’s Dumbledore’s death scene and we’re talking about Michael Gambon dying here, unfortunately. But I thought the way that he portrayed Dumbledore in that moment, talking Draco through what he’s going through and trying to literally get Draco to back away from the ledge and not do this to himself, full on knowing he’s about to die. Right? This is the plan, it has been the plan all along. I thought that he played that perfectly when I read the book initially. The way that they chose to portray this in the movie is almost exactly the way I imagined it when reading the book. And it felt like one of those moments where across the board, not just Gambon but everyone involved with the movie was completely in sync with the text. And his delivery of those lines and his mentoring of Draco, even though he knew he was about to die, was just spot on.

Andrew: Of course, we’re focused on his career with Harry Potter, but he was a legendary actor outside of the Harry Potter films, so rest in peace, Michael Gambon, and thanks for all of your contributions to the Harry Potter films.

Micah: No easy way to switch gears, but I did want to mention that we oftentimes on the show will talk about special editions of the Harry Potter books that have been released, and we’ve talked about MinaLima and the great work that they have done on the Harry Potter series, particularly the Harry Potter films and the Fantastic Beasts films. But they are in the business of releasing illustrated editions of their own of the Harry Potter books, and Prisoner of Azkaban was just released on October 3, so I wanted to just do a brief mention of that. There’s nothing really more to say, but I’m sure you know seeing their take on things is always very cool.

Chapter by Chapter: Goblet of Fire introduction

Andrew: All right, well, now let’s jump one book ahead to Goblet of Fire because we are kicking off Goblet of Fire Chapter by Chapter today. And before we get into Chapter 1, just wanted to look back at the initial publication of the fourth book. It was originally published July 8, 2000 in the US and the UK; this was the first book to be released simultaneously in both countries. There were midnight release parties, obviously, in both countries, but also around the world. This was the first midnight release party that I went to. I posted a photo to the MuggleCast Instagram; I think we’re going to repurpose that into a TBT coming up soon as well. Anybody else attend the midnight book release for this one?

Micah: Nope.

Laura: I didn’t, and I’m so sad that I didn’t.

Andrew: Summer, not you either?

Summer: Uh, brace yourselves: I wasn’t born yet.

Andrew: You weren’t born yet!

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: What!

Micah: This show is done.

Summer: I got a little bit of a shock looking at the doc and seeing that was the date.

[Everyone laughs]

Summer: I was not even a thought in my mom’s brain.

Eric: Oh my God.

Summer: I was born about a year later on July 7, actually.

Andrew: Oh, okay, so almost a year to the day.

Summer: Yeah, which – quick note on that. I always was a little sad that Harry’s birthday wasn’t on July 7. I thought 7/7 would be a great birthday for him. I know it was on the 31st because of the author’s birthday and the end of July and all that, but I was always like, “I feel like he could have had my birthday.” But yeah, I was not at the at the midnight premiere. [laughs]

Andrew: You were very much not. Well, I was and I had a great time as a millennial.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I don’t think I’m going to recover from this.

Andrew: July 8 was a Saturday, and they purposely picked a Saturday so kids would be off from school. Obviously, it was in the summer too, so that was helpful, but there was also no workday commitments. I think it was probably easier on parents as well to get their kids to a midnight release party if it was happening over the weekend. When was the last time each of us read Goblet of Fire? I think for me it’s been a while.

Laura: It’s been a long time.

Micah: So I was thinking about this, and I can pretty much with confidence say the last time I read Goblet of Fire was the last time we did the Goblet of Fire Chapter by Chapter, which was in 2010, so it has been 13 years since we have read and analyzed Goblet of Fire.

Eric: Hey, that is as long as Voldemort had to wait to kill Harry Potter in this chapter, he says.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: I might be a little rusty with this one.

Eric: This is the one… I’m so excited for this Chapter by Chapter. I always loved the fourth book; it’s very comparable to 3 for me. I have a lot to thank Goblet of Fire for, but here’s a fun fact about that: I also have something to not thank Goblet of Fire for. It was the first Harry Potter book I ever picked up, and I read just this chapter.

[Laura and Summer laugh]

Eric: I read just this chapter. You know what? This is isolating. This is excluding of any general audience member when you… and we’ll go through this, but I picked it up, I didn’t understand what the heck was going on, and I put the book down. And it was two more years before I was a Harry Potter fan. But yeah, Goblet of Fire. It’s funny because the way I read it, I read this chapter now and it’s a fantastic chapter. It’s really good. But not only is Harry not in it, “Wormtail” is a codename, and it’s all about the villagers of Little Hangleton and Great Hangleton and the gossip in the towns. I was like, “What is this book even about? Where are the boy wizards?”

[Laura and Summer laugh]

Eric: So anyway, it’s funny because I think that the departure… what this book does well is it opens up, is really brave, bold, new, exciting, trying new things, good world building, to everyone else’s point. But yeah, it shook me, and I put the book down for at least another year and a half. And it wasn’t until the first movie ended up coming out that I saw what it was all about.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: Now finally, let’s get to Goblet of Fire Chapter by Chapter, and this is Chapter 1, “The Riddle House,” and we’ll start as always with our Seven-Word Summary. Summer will kick things off. Here we go.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Summer: Voldemort…

Eric: … decides…

Laura: … to…

Summer: … plan…

Andrew: … a…

Micah: … amazing…

Eric: … murder.

[Everyone laughs]

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Andrew: All right, off to a good start.

Laura: The most amazing murder, in fact.

Eric: The most amazing murder!

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Laura: So I am so excited to be kicking off Goblet of Fire. I feel like I’m entering my spooky season era, right? This is my favorite month, we’re starting Chapter by Chapter for my favorite book, I’ve got my MuggleCast beanie on, I’m here, I’ve got my Dunkin’…

Andrew: You are living your best life.

Laura: I am living my best life! This is wonderful.

Andrew: You’re feeling all the peace and love, and spooks.

Laura: [laughs] Andrew is like, “Peace and love, please move on.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: If we waste 60 more seconds, Andrew will pass out and have a stroke. It’s good, it’s good.

Laura: He’s like, “Shut up.” But really, getting into it, I want to highlight – it’s pretty obvious, we all know this – but this is the first book since Sorcerer’s Stone to open without Harry. And as a matter of fact, Sorcerer’s Stone, Goblet of Fire, and Half-Blood Prince all do this to set the scene.

Andrew: I was wondering how J.K. Rowling’s editors felt about that when they got the manuscript for Goblet of Fire, like, “Oh, whoa, wait a second. This is a Harry Potter series. You’re big, but I don’t know if you’re that big. You’ve got to hook people from the beginning.” Obviously, at this point, Harry Potter was very big, so maybe they felt like, “Okay, we’ll let her do what she wants.” [laughs] But I don’t know. If I was an editor, I think that would give me pause. You can’t open up a children’s series with some grim chapter that doesn’t involve Harry.

Eric: Look, I’m proof. It turns people away. It really did.

Andrew: Thank you.

Eric: And I wanted those… Goblet of Fire was worth 23 points in Accelerated Reader if you read it, and I really wanted those points. I wouldn’t have to read the rest of the quarter. I might be speaking 1980s terms for people here, but I wanted the rest of those points. I wanted to like this book, and I couldn’t get into it because where the hell is Harry?

Summer: Voldemort and Wormtail are both in it, which are both very recognizable names. Well, I guess… I don’t think they say “Voldemort,” but it’s probably pretty obvious.

Eric: “My Lord,” yeah.

Summer: Yeah, okay. Eric, It says 4 on the binding, so I feel like we can’t keep defending that you read it first.

Eric: Now it does! Now it says 4 on the binding! That’s on me. I’m sorry.

Summer: Maybe it made the editors a little more open to it versus when you read the first book and it’s the Dursleys. I remember quickly losing interest, and it took me a couple tries to get through it. But Andrew, that’s a great point that, yeah, it’s supposed to be a children’s series and it is a very grim opening, so it might have turned a few people away.

Andrew: There is a specific mention of Voldemort. There’s a lot of “My Lord,” but there’s a “Lord Voldemort” at least once. I’m just looking right now.

Eric: Yeah, look, there’s something to be said for starting in the middle of the action. That’s good writing. The middle of this murder plot to get Harry is really good writing. I just read the chapter again; I love it. I will say, this is great. It’s one of the better chapters. The character of Frank, reading through it. But yeah, the whole way that it opens… is Harry absent, though? Because he’s kind of dreaming this.

Micah: Right, he’s there.

Laura: Yeah, we learn at the end of the chapter that…

Summer: It was a dream.

Laura: Yeah, he is somehow connected to this.

Eric: Huh. Like, via Horcrux or something.

Laura: And it’s so funny because there are definitely a couple of important Horcrux mentions in this chapter, even though they’re not directly mentioned. We hear about the events that led to two of Voldemort’s Horcruxes being created in this chapter, which is super fascinating.

Eric: Which two?

Micah: We’ll find out.

Laura: They’re in the course of the discussion. They’ll be revealed [laughs] as we talk.

Micah: This might be a bit of a hot take, but thinking back on it, to me, Sorcerer’s Stone almost opens a bit with a Casual Vacancy vibe to it, just the way that the Dursleys are described. And this book opens up totally differently, because to your point, you do get a lot of action. You get a murder in the very first chapter of Goblet of Fire.

Summer: Three!

Micah: Oh yeah, fair. Three.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Eric: Justice for Tom’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jerkweed Riddle.

Micah: What I wanted to bring up is I think in past books, we talked about how there’s so much recapping of what happened in the prior book, particularly with Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban. And it seems like, at least for the purposes of the first chapter, J.K. Rowling stayed away from that completely. Because I feel like if you are a reader that has been with her through the first three books, you don’t want to get hit with that recap again right away, and I think by the time you get to the fourth book, it’s really something that you shouldn’t need. So sorry, Eric, that you started on the fourth book. [laughs] But it’s just, it gets old.

Laura: Yeah. Well, also, by this point in time, we have to remember Harry Potter was a critical hit. I mean, it was a huge success, even at this point, so that would have given her the freedom to be able to open the book this way. Maybe if it were half as successful as it was or even less, maybe she wouldn’t have had that freedom and she would have had to do the info-dump recap chapter. But she doesn’t have to do it because Harry Potter is so ubiquitous and successful at this point. As a matter of fact, by this point, doesn’t Warner Bros. already have the rights for the first three movies?

Eric: By the time this was published, the movies are filming, I think. That’s also before you were born, Summer.

Summer: [laughs] Don’t keep reminding me.

Laura: Our point of focus from the start of this chapter is the damp, derelict, and unoccupied Riddle House of Little Hangleton. And of course, as anyone who’s read the prior three books, we can immediately tag this as “Okay, this has something to do with Tom Riddle.” So we already know about him. Eric, you had an interesting headcanon, dare I say, about the ownership of the Riddle House?

Eric: One of the things that we get in all of this world-building apart from the history of the mansion, how it went through different owners, is that it is currently owned by someone that does not inhabit it, and the local townsfolk think that this person owns the mansion for tax reasons, because that’s the kind of thing Muggles come up with when they have no explanation for what’s going on here.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: But Frank is also said to be receiving a regular payment to still be the groundskeeper here. And I’m thinking, first of all, who’s the owner? And second of all, is Frank’s payment something that’s managed directly? Who owns the house? Is it Voldemort? If Voldemort has a vested interest, like maybe this was a one day safe house, or if it’s Lucius Malfoy who knew some kind of connection to the house, it ultimately is very interesting. I want to know who it is. And as far as regular payments, you could probably set up a spell to duplicate Muggle money and just deliver it in somebody’s mailbox on a regular… have it appear and reprint. Is Frank Bryce getting paid by an inanimate spell? I’m just thinking about how this all works to keep it going.

Laura: Yeah, it also makes me wonder if Voldemort could’ve Imperiod a Muggle, like found a wealthy Muggle and just cast the Imperius Curse on them to force them to take ownership of this home but never really want to visit it, so they’re financially responsible for maintaining it so it doesn’t get bulldozed or condemned or something like that. And as a result, that person is stuck paying Frank and any other staff who still live on the grounds, but now Voldemort has this safe haven that he can go to any time that he can count on being unoccupied.

Micah: Right.

Summer: I like that theory a lot. Definitely seems like something Voldemort would do, and that’s really an interesting way to think about it. And I also wonder if Voldemort – even though he doesn’t like his dad or his grandparents at all because they’re Muggles – if he feels like he has a right to the house, because technically he would be the heir to it, even though his dad didn’t know he existed or wouldn’t have actually left him the house, I believe. So almost, he would feel like he had a right to it because it belonged to his predecessors.

Eric: Yeah, as much as he tries to disown his predecessors, it’s like, “Oh, but this is also my house.” We know Voldemort likes to keep trophies, so “My father’s house, I killed him and his parents and took his house.” The thing that gets me about Imperius Curse is: Was Frank himself suffering from some level of commitment? There’s a question in this chapter of why Frank remains at the house, and why would you? If you were in your 20s, your employer and his family got murdered, and the whole town – which is a very small town that likes to talk a lot – suspects you, why would you stay? Why would you stay behind? And the question for me is, it’s talking about the boys that come and throw stones and break windows. The book says, “They knew that old Frank’s devotion to the house and grounds amounted to almost an obsession,” and it also says that “They rode their bikes over lawns that Frank worked so hard to keep smooth.” Listen, you’re fighting a losing battle. Why would Frank still invest this much time in this place that’s kind of a bad situation?

Laura: Well, we’re going to unpack Frank’s character and background a little bit here, and we might be able to unearth some hints about why he might do this. But I want to zoom out and think about the overall legend that seems to follow the Riddle House and exist in Little Hangleton. So just to set the scene for the time and place, because we’re talking about present day, this story taking place in 1994, but the events of this chapter actually cover events that transpired 50 years previously. So 50 years before this, so around 1944, the villagers of Little Hangleton all agree that a maid had entered the drawing room one morning at the Riddle House to find all three Riddles dead. Tom Riddle, Sr., his parents, a.k.a. Voldemort’s dad and his grandparents. They’re described as having their eyes wide open, being cold as ice, still in their dinner things. It’s a very bizarre sequence of murders because there’s seemingly no reason for these people to be dead.

Micah: It was the maid in the drawing room with a…

Laura: [laughs] I know, it’s like Clue.

Eric: Right before the Riddles died, there was a voice saying, “Rosebud!” It’s like such a mystery.

Micah: Sorry, I don’t mean to cut you off.

Laura: No, you’re all good. I also wanted to call out, first Horcrux mention of the chapter: Voldemort’s murder of his father, Thomas Riddle, Sr., is where we get the ring Horcrux. So the ring Horcrux was created with this murder back in the mid-1940s.

Summer: Yeah, I was curious. I’m sure it would have been mentioned if it had been, but was the Dark Mark not cast above the house? Maybe it wasn’t a thing yet. Is that something that Voldemort’s supporters made up? Or I’m like, does Voldemort himself ever cast a Dark Mark? Or is it one of the Death Eaters when they murder someone? But I’m imagining it wasn’t there because I think it would have been mentioned in the book, so I was curious why it wasn’t there, why Voldemort didn’t cast… or maybe that’s below him to do that, and that’s just what the Death Eaters do.

Micah: It’s a good question. I tend to think and agree with what you’re saying, that it just didn’t exist yet. And even if it did, it would probably would be passed off as oh, pollution, regular smog in the town of Little Hangleton.

Andrew: [laughs] Pollution?

Summer: Strangely shaped pollution?

Eric: [laughs] That’s a great point, Muggles are unwilling to believe anything could possibly be magical.

Micah: One of the things that’s really curious about this timeframe, too, is it is going towards the end of the Second World War, and this ties a bit into probably what we’re going to talk about with Frank, but that 1944 time period, the fact that Tom returns to his… well, he’s not returning; he’s invading his father’s and grandparents’ home to murder them. But going back to this whole idea of the house being a trophy, I’m also wondering, is there a curse here of some sort on the Riddle home? Because it’s not just this wealthy person that we hear about. The home has actually been owned by multiple people over time, but it’s said that they don’t stay very long, so it makes me think of those scary horror movies that you see where over time people just move in and out because something keeps them from from staying there. It’s very honestly comparable to what happens with the Defense Against the Dark Arts position, right? People continuously cycle in and out. So I wonder, would this have happened…? I’m trying to think of the timeframe with Tom Riddle, but is this another example of him being able to cast a curse of that sort, this time on on the Riddle House?

Laura: That’s so interesting.

Andrew: And maybe it wasn’t even intentional. It’s just like, once that occurred, it was a curse on the house, or just the vibes were off in the house henceforth. Maybe it had a funky smell to it.

Summer: Bad vibes.

Laura: The vibes were sus?

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Laura: No, I mean, I love it because at the very least, the Riddle House is cursed just by association with what happened, right? So it’s common knowledge that three people were murdered in this house, so you can assume that anyone who moved in there either knew about the murders when they chose to move in, or they found out about them not long after they moved to Little Hangleton.

Eric: That’s a good point.

Summer: Unsolved murders at that.

Eric: Oh, that’s creepy. Yeah.

Laura: So with that, I can imagine that it could carry a curse insofar as people just not being comfortable there. I mean, in real life, people have a hard time moving houses where people have died, right? Usually in most states, at least here in the US, you have to disclose that kind of thing, especially if it was something violent like a murder or like what we’re talking about here, and it can make it really hard to sell that kind of house. So there’s definitely a stigma associated with the Riddle House for sure.

Eric: Maybe the subsequent owners just couldn’t stand the gossipy nature of the small town people.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Maybe.

Eric: These people are unbearable.

Summer: They were above it.

Laura: Well, I’m glad that you bring up the villagers because it is noted that they do not waste their breath pretending to feel sad about the murder of the Riddles. Specifically, they are described as “Elderly Mr. and Mrs. Riddle had been rich, snobbish, and rude, and their grown-up son Tom had been, if anything, worse.” I really love this as a comparison to the Dursleys, if we think about the opening chapter of Sorcerer’s Stone where we get that “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of Number Four Privet Drive were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” It’s giving very similar energy. So I love the comparison between the Riddles and the Dursleys as being these upper class, rich, snobbish, worst versions of Muggles you could imagine, and the impact those families have on Harry and Voldemort, who in a lot of ways, are very similar.

Eric: That’s a good connection.

Laura: Yeah, so I just love that because it’s interesting, Harry would never think about going to murder the Dursleys. You have the same family structure, you have the two snobbish parents and their crappy son.

Eric: Huh!

Laura: So the fact that Harry doesn’t do anything overly malicious to them is just another example of Harry making the opposite choices to what Voldemort would do.

Micah: And what’s interesting about that, too, is Harry spends way more time with the Dursleys than Tom does with his family. Tom spends all of maybe an hour. Who knows what was going on in that room? That would be a great adaptation for the TV show; we don’t really get that much insight into it as far as I remember. But Harry is spending years with the Dursleys and turns out better than Tom does.

Andrew: And doesn’t want to kill them. [laughs] The whole time.

Micah: Well, as far as we know. I mean, I’m sure there were a couple thoughts.

Andrew: Tom spends an hour and is like, “I want to murder them.”

Micah: One thing I did want to bring up talking about Tom Riddle, Sr.: We don’t know a whole lot about him, at least at this point, and just the way that he’s described as being even worse than his parents, it raises the question as to why Merope was interested in him to begin with? We know that they’re younger, so was it purely looks based? Or what happened to Tom Riddle, Sr., was that a result of what Merope did to him? Does he become even worse than his parents Bbcause of being under this love potion for such a long period of time?

Eric: Ohh.

Laura: I love this.

Micah: Maybe he was the greatest guy in the world when they first met, but he becomes a bit of a you-know-what afterwards.

Summer: Yeah, I did find this description of Tom Riddle, Sr. a little surprising, because in my mind… even though we knew Merope wasn’t genuinely in love with him, in my mind, I saw him as the polite, handsome man who lives near them and Merope is infatuated with him. Maybe she saw him being kind to the neighbors outside and it made her like him and everything, so I was surprised to learn that he wasn’t necessarily a nice person or a polite person. So again, whether or not she was just obsessed with him purely based on looks, I think certainly that comes into it, and they were similar ages. And we know that part of the reason Merope got with Tom Riddle, Sr. was to spite her brother and her dad, the Gaunts, who were very much pure-blood, and because she seemed to be very isolated and had a horrible living situation. So I think any connection to the outside world, like a handsome boy who could distract her while she was living in that horrible house, all led up to her giving the love potion.

Laura: We talk a whole lot about how Voldemort, Tom Riddle, was doomed from the start because there’s just something broken in the soul of a person conceived under the influence of a love potion. I mean, basically Merope roofied Tom Riddle, Sr. into getting her pregnant, right? So if we’re going to say that something happens to impact the soul of a child conceived through these events, what happens to the person who is assaulted? In this case, Tom Riddle, Sr.?

Eric: That’s a great point, and it doesn’t need to be that they really had any kind of relationship. If we’re vilifying Merope for what she did and calling it rape, which it was, then you can kind of just say that this person who descended from a long line of Slytherins – not to malign Slytherins; I promise that’s not where I’m going from this – did the ultimately most Slytherin thing and had the ambition to go after what she wanted. She wanted Tom Riddle Sr. in her bed, and she got him, she reached out, she touched ambition, and so it’s not that they necessarily had a long courtship or that they would have interacted at all. I think he was probably just the stuck-up, snobbish, rich person that two stuck-up, snobbish, rich people have as their child, raised them with their values, a disdain for the local villagers, and that Merope did just think he was cute. She didn’t really have a point of reference, looking at her own family members. And she went for it.

Micah: Laura, going back to what you brought up before, comparing Harry and Tom in these moments, Tom makes the conscious choice to go and really eliminate his bloodline altogether, right? Specifically his father. I don’t know how much he really cares about his grandparents, but I would assume when he went there, the target was his father. And you think about Harry and how much Harry would give just to be able to have family, to have his father, to have his grandparents. It’s two completely opposite ends of the coin.

Eric: Oh, I love that. The other element here about killing all the family, when you said, Micah, just now that maybe just his dad was the target for Voldemort, what surely would have transpired while the Riddle seniors were having dinner is that Voldemort would have come and said, “Dad, why did you abandon my mom?” and the dad would have been like, “I don’t even remember, dude, she was a witch or something, and she coerced me into this crazy thing.” And Voldemort would be so embarrassed, so shocked, so vulnerable, to find out that his mom had hoodwinked a Muggle, that he could leave no survivors. He could not let anyone know how embarrassing and how shameful he must have felt in that moment, and so everyone died. Because he thought this whole time that Tom Riddle just wasn’t a good dad, that he wasn’t there because he had chosen to abandon his kid. He never chose to have the kid, and that’s a twist. And I can’t see Voldemort of any age being emotionally able to really wrestle with what that all means. He would have just killed everyone on site and left.

Laura: I agree with you, but I also think Voldemort went here with the intention of killing them and creating the ring Horcrux.

Summer: Yeah, now I am really curious about whether he confronted his father and they had a whole conversation – I think that would be super interesting to see maybe in the TV show – or if he just marched in there and murdered them. Because at first, I believe he just marched in there and murdered them, but now I’m very curious about whether he took the opportunity to talk to his father, if he would even want to, because we all know what Voldemort thinks about Muggles.

Laura: Right.

Micah: It makes me think of when they talk about Bellatrix, they say she likes to play with her food beforehand.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I don’t know the Voldemort is like that. Voldemort is very business.

Eric: No, but he would have had righteous anger. The thing about that is they all had a look of horror on their face, and if somebody walks in and brandishes a wand and says “Avada Kedavra,” you don’t have time to have a look of horror. You’re like, “Who’s this guy? And also what’s…?” A look of surprise, maybe, if he had just… he talked to them. He shouted at them. He said, “I’m going to kill you,” and that’s why they looked shocked when they died. There was an entire convo.

Laura: Do you think he walked in and went, “Hello, Father?”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Summer: Yes.

Laura: And then Tom Riddle, Sr. was like, “Who are you?”

Eric: He probably looks just like him, to be honest. I bet they knew immediately who Voldemort was.

Laura: It’s a good call. Well, like we see happening in society around major murder cases that are very highly present in the local news cycles or even on social media, if we think about the way things play out today, Little Hangletons in 1944 gathered in the village pub to gossip and spread rumors about this. Very interesting note that the village pub is called the Hanged Man.

Micah: I thought that the pub could easily be a reflection of the topic of discussion, right? Frank Bryce is a hanged man in the court of public opinion, all of these villagers. Maybe they took a little bit of convincing; early on we see that. But once the consensus is out there, Frank did it. And there’s plenty of examples in present-day society that we could point to that are similar to what happens to Frank here.

Eric: Frank has been canceled.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: Exactly.

Andrew: Frank’s been canceled, and when enough people repeat something, it becomes true, right? Maybe with a name like the Hanged Man, they all feel encouraged to show up there and gossip about a lot of people all the time, especially when the mead is flowing.

Laura: I get the impression this is the only pub. Little Hangleton sounds like a very small town, and so when I imagine a small town like this, they have a church, they have the town pub, and they have a football pitch, and those are the things that their social culture revolves around. So the Hanged Man is where all of the Little Hangletons go to discuss town affairs.

Andrew: It’s also probably not news to a lot of our listeners that pubs over in the UK and Ireland have very fun names, and I did a little Googling and maybe J.K. Rowling was actually a fan of the Hanged Man’s Pub in Kildare, Ireland. Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars on Google Maps, so people seem to really enjoy it, and it looks like a great little pub.

Eric: This whole small town discourse is giving Broadchurch.

Laura: I know, right? I didn’t think about that. But Eric, you also had a good point about what the name of this pub could refer to.

Eric: For anyone who’s familiar with tarot – that’s been getting more of a shout-out lately as we talk about prophecies, divination, all these other kinds of cool branches of magic – the hanged man tarot card is the twelfth card in the Major Arcana. It depicts a man suspended upside down from a living world tree, bound by his right foot while his left foot remains free. The hanging man is not in distress as evidenced by his serene expression, signifying he has chosen this position willingly. Again, kind of questions why Frank Bryce would stay around. And if you get this card in tarot and it’s not reversed, it means wisdom, circumspection, discernment, trials, sacrifice, intuition, divination, and prophecy. So it’s just a great friggin’ name.

Laura: Yeah, there are so many layers to it.

Andrew: All right. Well, we’ll continue talking about this chapter in a moment. But first, if you’re hiring for your business on your own, you’re as helpless as Voldemort without an adult body.

[Everyone laughs]

[Indeed ad break]

Summer: Indeed is where I found my job at the Harry Potter Store.

Micah: Really?

Laura: Ooh, great endorsement.

Eric: Whoa, tried and tested, y’all!

Summer: I was so surprised because it said the location of the job, and it was like a 10-point font and it was like, “Harry Potter Store, West 23rd Street,” and I was like, “Is this a joke?” But it wasn’t, so…

[Andrew and Summer laugh]

Laura: That’s amazing.

Andrew: That’s good to know.

Laura: Great connection. Well, we spent a lot of time talking about the imagery that is evoked by the name of this pub, the Hanged Man. We get to hear now about Frank becoming the hanged man, and I love this imagery of it being the Little Hangletons in the Hanged Man who are socially hanging Frank. There’s just a lot to it. I love all the imagery and the alliteration there. But the Riddles’ cook did eventually arrive at the pub and announced that the Riddles’ gardener, Frank Bryce, who we spend most of the chapter with, had been arrested for the murders, so this is where we’re going to talk about Frank. We learn that Frank had had a “hard war,” and that he’s also nearing his 77th birthday in 1994, meaning that he was born somewhere around 1917. When you look at the list of various war conflicts that Great Britain was involved in, there are a few of them that Frank could have fought in, but World War II feels like the most obvious choice based on the timing and also based on the fact that we know World War II is a point in time that the author draws a lot of comparisons and allusions from for writing these books. So it’s interesting to imagine Frank fighting in World War II when we know that the Dumbledore/Grindelwald conflict is happening at exactly the same time. Makes me wonder where Frank might have been stationed, what, if any, contact he might have had with the wizarding conflict unknowingly?

Micah: My question with all of this, and this is a larger question every single time that we get to criminal acts, is: Where’s the evidence that Frank is responsible in the first place for this? Did Voldemort/Tom Riddle set him up in some way? We never hear about that. But why was Frank the choice of anybody to blame for these murders? Just because he’s the weird guy living in the shack on the property?

Andrew: Who had access to it, because there is no sign of anybody breaking in.

Eric: Of forced entry.

Andrew: I think one of the townspeople says that.

Micah: But what about the people already in the house?

Andrew: I agree with you, Micah, though, it’s not a good case. It’s not a good argument, but they just have nobody else.

Micah: What about the maid? Or the cook?

Eric: Well, there were no charges. Oh yeah, the maid got in somehow. Frank was not really arrested; he was questioned. And I think it’s just the coolest thing because this chapter really is about, in some ways, the way Muggles deal with magic being in their midst. None of them know magic is a thing. But later, when Frank hears Voldemort speaking Parseltongue, he’s 100% right in his intuition – having never experienced magic before – that that’s what’s happening. It’s happening in front of him. But confronted with the magic of “These people were killed,” a whole team of Muggles, the coroner and stuff from probably Big Hangleton, are unable to come up with anything and they’re looking at these magically killed corpses and can’t possibly discern what happened. Their best guess is the only thing any of these people are going to get to because they’re not magical. They can’t do a spell reversal. Magic always leaves traces. These Muggles can only guess at it.

Laura: And I think a lot of this, in terms of Frank being the hanged man here, comes down to scapegoating. And it’s so interesting to see this playing out in the Muggle world because we see it happen a whole lot in the wizarding world; we just finished reading a book where Sirius Black was the ultimate scapegoat, even though he didn’t do anything wrong. And people give excuses about Frank being already set up for failure here; they say things about him, like “The war turned him funny,” “He always had a nasty look about him,” “I wouldn’t want to get on his wrong side.” So it really doesn’t take much for the villagers to convince themselves that Frank is indeed the culprit.

Micah: But it’s also them finding something to attach to that gives them the reason to be able to put the blame at his feet. And Eric, you mentioned this earlier, this could be this timeframe’s version of cancel culture. That’s essentially what is happening to Frank Bryce, in this moment. It also seems to be a bit of a commentary, however brief it is, on the effects of war, and PTSD, and how society… not to say we’ve come a long way, with respect to this, because I still think there’s a lot in current day that we need to do. But at that time, how conditions of war affected people and how it was perceived by the rest of the community, the rest of society, it’s very easy for them to place blame at the feet of Frank. And we see this in other characters too, right? And actually one in this book in Mad-Eye Moody, who has also gone through the wizarding wars, and has himself lost his leg. And Frank is somebody who complains when he gets up about pain in his leg. Cormoran Strike is another character who went through the Afghan war, who lost his leg, and so I wonder if there’s a through line here in some of these characters that J.K. Rowling wrote.

Eric: It’s very clearly PTSD that he suffers from. He can’t have loud noises, he doesn’t like people very much, and this antisocial behavior, which is the horrors of war, for crying out loud, are given as evidence to say that he did it.

Andrew: This was definitely reminding me of Cormoran Strike as well while I was rereading this chapter. It almost felt like a chapter out of one of those books.

Summer: Yeah, and he’s kept himself quite isolated. His workplace and his home are on the same grounds; he lives in a little cottage on the ground and he tends to the garden. So if he ever does venture out to the town and people aren’t the nicest to him, it gives him all the more reason to just stay isolated, and then it gives all the townspeople more time to gossip and make up stories about him.

Micah: And we see this happen with Harry, too, right after his name comes out of the Goblet of Fire, and then you could probably even extend it a bit into Order of the Phoenix where he is treated in many ways as public enemy number one. And it’s all because of the gossip and the talk that is associated with him becoming a Triwizard champion, and then becoming a target of the Ministry later on in the series. So it’s just a nice kind of connecting the threads of sorts, because I’m not sure what book we’re supposed to connect Goblet of Fire to, since it’s right in the middle.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Whichever one you want. It’s a wildcard.

Eric: [laughs] It a wildcard. It’s a free space on the Bingo.

Laura: This is why I love Goblet of Fire, because it’s not connected to any other specific book, it’s connected to all of them because Goblet of Fire is the mantlepiece of the series, right? And all of this setup is so dependent on what comes in Books 1 through 3; we have to have the setup from those books for any of this to make sense. But then Goblet of Fire also provides a lot of the necessary setup for the remaining three books in the series, so it’s just perfection. I will die on that hill.

Summer: Laura, I didn’t realize how much you loved Goblet of Fire.

Laura: I adore this story.

Summer: I feel like it’s not a very common favorite book.

Micah: She has a tattoo. I’m just joking.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: I don’t, but I should probably get one. But while we’re talking about Little Hangleton, let’s talk about Great Hangleton. So it becomes clear that it’s really the police force of Great Hangleton that covers Little Hangleton; I guess they don’t have their own police. Frank is over in neighboring Great Hangleton, insisting that he didn’t do anything, and that the only person he had seen near the Riddles’ house on the day of their deaths had been a dark-haired, pale teenage boy. Dun-dun-dun.

Summer: Wonder who that could be.

Eric: James Potter? Snape?

Laura: Ultimately, as we’ve already established, Frank gets released from police custody because the autopsies of the Riddles confirm that the cause of their death is unexplainable. The only thing that the coroner notes is that they all have looks of terror on their faces, and there’s this great line saying something along the lines of, “Have you ever heard of a person being scared to death?” and that’s the only explanation that anyone can give, and there’s just no real way of proving that Frank could have scared them to death. But it is interesting. You have a good point here, Summer, about the Muggle perspective of the Killing Curse.

Summer: Yeah, I thought it was really interesting to get that perspective because we get a lot of the wizarding side of the Avada Kedavra curse, the big green spell and all of that, so I thought it was very interesting to see the Muggle side where it was, you can’t tell at all what it is. It’s not an inside joke, but it’s definitely you have to be on the inside of being a part of the wizarding world to know what happened here. And I’m curious if there was ever a wizard or someone from the magical community who lived in Great Hangleton, if they would have caught on. I think they would have. But yeah, it was interesting to get the Muggle perspective, and how it was just a great mystery. They couldn’t have said that they were… something that wouldn’t necessarily show on the outside, like they were all poisoned or something, but they couldn’t find that on the inside either.

Laura: And it is interesting, too, because you would think that the Department of Magical Law Enforcement would know…

Summer: Or get summoned.

Laura: … that Avada Kedavra was cast here. I mean, we know from all the letters Harry gets that they know when magic is performed in front of or around Muggles.

Summer: Great point.

Laura: So it raises the question, what was the Ministry involvement here? Or was the Ministry so bogged down by everything going on with the Grindelwald conflict at the time, that they just didn’t have the resources to address any of this and they let it skate on by without really investigating anything? We can fast forward now, after we’ve spent some time in the past, to 1994 where Frank Bryce awakens due to his bad leg, which we’ve already established, and when he goes to make himself some tea, he notices some lights glimmering in the upper windows of the Riddle House, and he has had it with these kids on his lawn!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: “Get off of my lawn!”

Laura: “You kids get off my lawn!” So he still has the key to get into the Riddle House. He still remembers the layout. He lets himself in, sneaks upstairs, and he pretty quickly finds the source of the light. It’s a lit fireplace in one of the rooms inside of which are two men, and he overhears a conversation between some man that he can’t see with a croaky high-pitched voice and someone named Wormtail.

Andrew: Some baby man.

Laura: [laughs] Baby man. We’re going to start calling Voldemort “Baby man.”

Andrew: Man child, something like that.

Laura: Honestly, at this point in time, at least based on how the movies depict him, he looks like a fetus, like Fetusmort. Very disturbing.

Andrew: Not an attractive episode title. Crossed my mind for a second.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Please don’t use that.

Andrew: Nobody’s going to hit play on that one.

Micah: I have an option for you coming up.

Andrew: Okay.

Laura: So we hear here that Wormtail is feeding Voldemort with a bottle.

Summer: So weird.

Eric: Aww. Does anyone else get a maternal instinct from this? This is really cute.

Summer: No.

[Micah laughs]

Laura: Yeah, but Voldemort is talking to Wormtail about how he needs to milk Nagini, and I know that he’s talking about her venom, right?

Micah: I hope so.

Laura: So Voldemort is drinking her venom out of a bottle.

Micah: Right, and so this led me down the road of wondering if Peter Pettigrew is in fact a certified snake milker because this is an actual job. It’s true; these people exist out in the world, and a snake milker is a type of herpetologist, which is basically a type of zoologist, and people who work in this highly specialized area extract venom from snakes and other reptiles which produce venom that could cause illness and death. They’re specially trained in handling these sensitive and protected animals, which often have legal protection. So to become a snake milker, it requires a lot of education. And there’s ultimately two main purposes for the extraction of venom: It’s either used for research, or it’s used to create anti-venom when people get bit by snakes to heal them. So I’m just wondering when Pettigrew learned how to do this. Does he just tell Nagini to roll over?

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: And this is our introduction to Nagini, too, right? The first time we’ve ever seen her.

Eric: Yes, and this is the day… well, I don’t want to spoil that.

Micah: Further abuse of her in this matter, actually.

Eric: Depending on Voldemort, what control he has over snakes… talking to snakes is different, but controlling them… he could just make her put up with it and not kill Pettigrew when Pettigrew does it. I can just imagine the sheer terror Pettigrew must feel every time he has to milk her fangs and hold her head down, whatever that is. But Micah, I do want to say thank you, especially on behalf of Meg who loves snakes and animals, to clear that up. This whole thing of “It’s time to milk Nagini,” I didn’t know what that meant for the longest time. The fact that this is a real process with real snakes, it’s a real thing because otherwise, it’s mildly concerning what this means. I don’t know.

Andrew: Was that the episode title you suggesting? “Certified snake milker”? Or is it still coming up?

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I think it works well.

Laura: Well, poor Frank is standing here at the doorway listening to this conversation. It’s clear that this “Wormtail” and this man who is restricted from view at the moment are talking about trying to plan some kind of murder, but they’re talking about waiting until after the Quidditch World Cup and Ministry involvement and using some boy named Harry Potter in order to achieve this plot that the men have in mind.

Summer: Yeah, and real quick, I know you’ve talked about it on the show before, I think in regards to the opening of Half-Blood Prince where Snape is calling Pettigrew “Wormtail,” but why the heck is Voldemort calling Pattigrew by his Marauders name? I always thought that was a little weird. And “Pettigrew” is a perfectly good Death Eater/Voldemort sidekick last name.

[Andrew laughs]

Summer: So I think it’s weird that he calls him by the Marauders name because before Pettigrew turned evil, the Marauders name was quite special during his time at Hogwarts, so I found that a little strange.

Eric: That’s a great point, especially because it’s isolating to readers who didn’t read the third book because who the hell is Wormtail? At least Pettigrew is a proper last surname. Maybe Frank Bryce would confuse it with Miss Pettigrew, who is a nice person. I don’t know. It’s possible also that Voldemort calls Wormtail this because he knows that Wormtail is the name that Peter had with his friends who he betrayed, and so this whole through line where Voldemort says to Peter in this chapter, “You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have anywhere else to go, and you’re not loyal, you’re scared and cowardly,” etc., etc. He calls him “Wormtail,” and he’s Wormtail to all the Death Eaters probably as another way of just twisting the screw on Peter’s loyalty, which is worth garbage. So maybe Voldemort calls him that as a further form of torture.

Laura: Yeah, I mean, it could also be that they used that as a codename essentially for, again, back in the 80s, when Peter was acting as a double agent, right? And he probably didn’t want to have Death Eaters openly using the name Peter Pettigrew because of the events at the time. It would potentially compromise his position.

Summer: Good point.

Eric: That’s great.

Laura: It could be that’s why they were using it. But Eric, I want to talk about Peter’s cowardice here. Because obviously, Voldemort’s plan involves Harry, but Peter starts trying to convince him that another wizard could do; they don’t need to use Harry Potter for this. It’s going to be a lot harder to get close to Harry. They could arrive at the conclusion that we get in the summer following this book much sooner if they just went with another wizard. And he says things like, “My Lord, I do not say this out of concern for the boy. The boy is nothing to me.” But is that true?

Eric: No. I mean, two things I think. One, Pettigrew might, on some level, be aware that he owes Harry a life debt. He might on some level. It’s unknown how common the idea of life debts is because Dumbledore in the previous book said, “It’s deep magic,” so who knows who knows the deep magic? But the thing I think is more likely is that Pettigrew is scared of just having to confront Harry again, be in the same space as Harry again, because he escaped the last time that he was with him. Here’s another thought, maybe he’s even more terrified of what Ron would do to him. Because Harry is bound to be next to Ron whenever they go for Harry, and everyone at Hogwarts… Pettigrew just escaped this horrible situation where he was almost… everything. And so he doesn’t want to deal with… of course he’s scared.

Micah: And he would have to confront, presumably, Remus and Sirius again.

Eric: Oh, to get to Harry! Absolutely.

Micah: Right, there’s another layer of protection now that wasn’t there before.

Eric: There’s something there that wasn’t there before.

Laura: And it’s interesting, too, because it makes me wonder, what is Voldemort’s level of awareness about the events that transpired at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban? Because Harry ultimately made the choice not to kill Peter, right? They could have done it; Remus and Sirius were prepared to do it. Harry made the choice not to, and that directly led to Peter being able to escape. Dumbledore has that great line at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban where he says, “I doubt that Voldemort loves the idea of his servant being indebted to Harry Potter,” right? But I wonder at this point, does Voldemort know and is that why Peter is so nervous? Because he’s like, “Oh no, he’s going to find out”?

Micah: Well, we certainly see that Voldemort has, even in this form, a certain level of Legilimency that he’s using. He can sense when Pettigrew is not telling the truth, so I don’t know if he can read his mind completely, but I would assume at this point he doesn’t know about the debt owed to Harry. Maybe he finds out later on, or maybe he never finds out.

Eric: He underestimates the reasons behind how Pettigrew is feeling. So he insults him, he knows he’s weak, He knows his cowardice, but he doesn’t look further. I like to believe Voldemort doesn’t know about the life debt and never finds out because otherwise… here he needs Pettigrew, to survive, and could not get by without him, but by the time Malfoy Manor comes up in Book 7, he would have killed Pettigrew long before if he knew that he still owed Harry one.

Micah: The other thing that really comes across in this whole exchange is you get to see how truly vicious Voldemort is. We’ve seen a lot of the Tom Riddle side of him, which is a little bit more…

Eric: Polished?

Micah: There’s an attractive side there, whereas with Voldemort, he’s just a complete you-know-what to Pettigrew, and Pettigrew is there for it. He could easily just leave him on the chair and go run off into the night, and he chooses to stay.

Laura: Well, and it almost seems for a second like Pettigrew might be trying to massage the process so that he can do exactly that, Micah, because he’s like, “Give me just a couple days, I will go find a suitable wizard and come right back to you,” and Voldemort is like, “Okay, well, you’re the one who’s responsible for milking Nagini. You’re the one who’s responsible for feeding me. If you leave me for two days, I’ll die, so no.”

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Summer: I think Voldemort would send Nagini with him, or if he tried to escape would send Nagini right after him.

Micah: What if he put baby Voldemort in a backpack and just…?

Andrew: Aww, that’d be cute.

Laura: Like if he swaddled him?

Eric: A little Baby Bjorn.

[Laura and Summer laugh]

Laura: Somebody do the AI art of these.

Summer: In a stroller. In a covered stroller.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: And Micah, you have a great call-out specifically relevant to this moment where Wormtail is reunited with Voldemort about Trelawney’s prophecy.

Micah: Yeah, it’s the prophecy. It’s the prophecy coming true, and to the point of what we were talking about earlier with this first chapter, if you did read Prisoner of Azkaban and you heard the prophecy, you’re getting rewarded right in the first chapter of Goblet of Fire with Wormtail and Voldemort being reunited with each other.

Laura: We also get some pretty heavy-handed hints about the ritual to come at the end of the book. I had forgotten about some of these. So Voldemort says, “I have my reasons for using the boy, as I have already explained to you, and I will use no other.”

Summer: Yeah, so this is referring to the flesh, blood, and bone at the end of this book where Voldemort gets a human body again, and he needs a human’s blood to do that. As far as I’m aware, he could use anyone’s, but he chooses Harry’s because he wants the protection of that and the power of that and just because Voldemort is a little crazy. So are we to believe that he could have had a human body much quicker if he just used anyone else’s blood? He could have had a human body like, today, but he waits a whole year so he could get Harry’s.

Andrew: That was the impression I was getting.

Laura: Yeah, that’s what Pettigrew says.

Eric: Past a certain point, yes. I think that when Pettigrew found him, he was still like dust, basically. But through the combination of Nagini and the milking, he could get one today, but he might not have been able to get one two weeks ago, though.

Summer: No, I agree.

Andrew: He’s crazy and it’s Voldemort’s ego. He’s like, “I will get Harry. I want this you-know-what. He’s mine. We will wait for him.”

Summer: The Boy Who Lived.

Laura: Now this is my other favorite: Voldemort says to Wormtail, “I will allow you to perform an essential task for me, one that many of my followers would give their right hands to perform.”

Summer: Ohh.

Andrew: That was way on the nose, way on the nose.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: I picture Voldemort rolling his little baby body over to the camera and staring right into it. “Just y’all wait.”

Laura: He broke the fourth wall like in an episode of The Office.

Andrew: I want to apologize to Voldemort, too, for just using the phrase “On the nose” right there. I know that’s triggering to you.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That was unintentional. My guy, I’m sorry.

Laura: He also says, “I’m not asking you to do it alone. By that time, my faithful servant will have rejoined us.” And at this stage, that term, “My faithful servant,” could refer to a few different people, right, Micah?

Micah: Totally. There was a lot of theorizing back in the day about who this faithful servant was or was going to be, and it could have been anybody from Barty Crouch, Jr., who we’ll meet a little bit later on in this book, Snape very much a popular opinion, and then also Karkaroff, who we learn is a former Death Eater once we meet him a little bit later on in this book as well. So there was a lot of theorizing going on. That was a fun time to be a Harry Potter book fan. But you always had to read between the lines with these types of comments that were made by different characters.

Laura: Or if you take Cursed Child as cannon, Cedric Diggory. [laughs]

Summer: So do we think it is Barty Crouch, Jr.? Is that who he’s referring to?

Laura: I think so. I think so. Well, this is where we get the Bertha Jorkins name drop. We learn that Peter ended up coming across her somehow at an inn they were staying at, which is an interesting series of events given that Bertha was a Ministry employee and she would know that Peter Pettigrew is supposed to be dead. So obviously, from the moment she came across Peter, she was marked. She was already dead. There was no way she was going to survive this. But Voldemort alludes to information that she gave that allowed him to hatch their plan. I think that the information he’s referring to is about the Triwizard Tournament.

Summer: I agree.

Micah: Yep, definitely.

Summer: And that’ll be a great cover-up for getting Harry to the graveyard.

Laura: Right.

Micah: There’s so many questions, too, for me, that now come into play with Nagini being a Horcrux and her also being milked for the purposes of bringing Voldemort – or at least sustaining him until he’s fully brought back – to life. Because number one, she’s now a Horcrux. And number two, we know from the Fantastic Beasts series that she’s a Maledictus, so she’s cursed in and of herself. There’s a lot I’m sure that we could dive into in terms of how Nagini is being treated by Voldemort, given what we do know about her, but do all those things in terms of the blood and the cursed nature of her blood kind of invigorate Voldemort in a way?

Laura: Yeah, I think so.

Andrew: We mentioned also the Memory Charm, Peter muttering something about that, and I thought that was interesting because it also basically confirms that Wormtail doesn’t know what Voldemort is truly doing. Certainly not what it takes to create a Horcrux, if he’s suggesting something as measly as a Memory Charm. No, we’ve got to do something much greater.

Micah: It also shows he’s kind of stupid, too, because if you just put a Memory Charm on her, presumably there are witches and wizards back at the Ministry who could easily unravel it, and then all of a sudden – and I think Voldemort actually says this – they’re going to know things that they shouldn’t know or that he can’t afford for them to know. So it just shows you, I don’t know, maybe Wormtail is just… in the moment he’s very overwhelmed by everything that’s going on and he can’t think straight, but yeah.

Laura: Yeah, I think the thing is Wormtail is absolutely a baddie, and not in a good way. You can be a baddie in a good way, but he is not a baddie in a good way. He’s a baddie in a very evasive, sneaky way. He doesn’t want to get his own hands dirty, right? So he’s responsible for the Potters’ death, but he didn’t directly kill them, right? And he doesn’t have the stomach to be close to violent activity, it seems. So while he was perfectly happy to hand the Potters over to Voldemort, while he was perfectly happy to hand Bertha Jorkins over to Voldemort, he doesn’t want to have to witness any murder, right? And it is so interesting as we’re talking about the death of Bertha Jorkins, the creation of Nagini as a Horcrux, we know that she is the last Horcrux that he created. So the timing of this is super interesting that Voldemort creates his seventh and final Horcrux somewhere between Book 3 and Book 4. We just don’t know it at this stage as readers. Go ahead, Summer.

Summer: I found that very interesting too. In my mind I was always like, “Oh, they were all created before he came to murder the Potters and baby Harry overpowered him.” So I find that very interesting, too, that he gets a body again and then he wants to make another Horcrux even though he’s already so struggling to survive so much.

Laura: Yeah, no, it’s a great call-out because I had forgotten about the timing of this, too, until I read the chapter and I was like, “Oh my God.” Without even knowing it, we get direct descriptions of the creation of two Horcruxes in this chapter, which which is really, really cool. Well, Frank is not interested in hanging around at this point. He decides for the first time in 50 years, “Okay, maybe I can trust the police with this one thing, so I’m going to make a break for it and go get the police involved.” But before he can do that, Nagini is slithering towards him down the hallway. And I’m calling her Nagini the narc.

Micah: There’s a title.

Eric: That’s an episode title! There we go.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: We found it.

Laura: Nagini the narc tells Voldemort that Frank is outside the door.

Eric: Wait, is she a narc? Or is she a snake narc a.k.a. snarc?

Laura: I love that. Nagini the snarc. And again, this is another case where it’s similar to Bertha Jorkins. Frank is already dead, right? He doesn’t die for a few more minutes. Voldemort invites him into the room, they converse for a few minutes, but it is so clear that it is effectively lights out for Frank. And I loved the description from Frank’s point of view of Voldemort performing the Killing Curse on him because Voldemort’s current physical state is so horrifying that it receives no description. We just read about Frank being so horrified looking at him that he’s screaming. So Frank is so horrified at the sight of Voldemort that he is screaming, right as Voldemort casts the Killing Curse. Frank of course has no point of reference for the Killing Curse, so he doesn’t even catch what it is before he’s unfortunately dead on the floor.

Micah: Yeah, and it made me wonder: How is this version of Voldemort strong enough, number one, to use a wand, and number two, to cast the Killing Curse? Because we know that it does take a tremendous amount of energy, it does affect you, it rips your soul. So it seems like Voldemort in such a weakened state to be able to do this… he must be pure evil. There’s just no other way around it.

Eric: That was exactly the phrase I was thinking in my head when you were talking. Pure evil. He’s got to be pure evil. Also, I assume it gets easier the more times you do it, which is a sad thought.

Summer: Yeah, maybe it doesn’t take Voldemort as much power as it would take…

Eric: Well, it’s like how Harry with the Patronus is like… sometimes by the end of it, “Expecto Patronum!” and it’s like, immediately this whole thing, but it took him some.

Andrew: Yeah. Another day, another Horcrux. [imitates Voldemort] “Another day, another Horcrux.”

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Well, and Voldemort’s soul is irreparably damaged at this point, right? Because he’s created seven Horcruxes at this point. His soul is just ripped to pieces, so it probably doesn’t cost him much of anything to do this. But I’m very interested in how something like this might be portrayed in the TV show, and I really hope that the first episode of the Goblet of Fire season really focuses on this chapter, because as we talked about with the movie commentary, we didn’t get any of this extra context, which really adds to the mystery of this book.

Micah: I was just going to connect the threads one final time here within the same chapter, actually, because it’s coming full circle, right? Voldemort kills his father and his grandparents in this house, Frank is blamed for it, and then at the end of this chapter, it’s Frank who is killed in the Riddle House in exactly the same way. And exactly the same facial reactions, too, right?

Eric: Oh man, what are the locals going to say about that?

Micah: Is the maid going to find him?

Laura: Yeah, who are they going to blame? [laughs]

Micah: Or do you think Nagini just eats him?

Eric: Yeah, Nagini probably eats him.

Laura: Aww, yeah, probably. Ew.

Eric: “Nagini, dinner.”

Laura: That’s her girl dinner.

[Everyone laughs]

Summer: Oh no.

Eric: Way to stay relevant, Laura.

Andrew: With “seemingly ranch.” Swifties will understand that.

Summer: I got the reference, Andrew.

Andrew: Okay, okay.

Laura: So this chapter ends with revisiting the hero of the series, with noting that 200 miles or so away, Harry Potter wakes up with a start, implying that he has witnessed the events of this chapter in his dreams.

Andrew: Hmm, speaking of Horcruxes, it’s almost like there’s a connection here!

Summer: Almost.

Laura: We don’t know it, but this is the third Horcrux that gets mentioned in this chapter.

Andrew: You’re right. Yeah.

Eric: [laughs] Man! The difference between what Harry has dreamt before and what he’s presumably “dreaming” now is that it’s a window into the present. Harry is basically astral projecting. Harry is inhabiting Voldemort. The Horcrux is traveling to connect and touch off of its older… this comes up bigger in Book 5, when Harry is able to witness intimately conversations that Voldemort is having with his Death Eaters. That’s exactly what this is. The difference is Harry is not conscious yet when this happens, but I think Harry’s unconscious mind is having this link. The reason this is happening for the first time is that Voldemort is getting stronger, so Voldemort is more of a person and the brain patterns can relate. It’s basically just this magical special power that Harry has and is just turning on, and it’s extremely exciting. And it’s not touched on the rest of this entire book, but it’s amazing what’s coming. The idea that that happens in the twixt between these first two chapters of Book 4 shows that J.K. Rowling also knew exactly where she was going with this, and it’s heating up. It’s amazing.

Summer: Yeah, I like the connection that you make that it’s probably because Voldemort has a body and so their minds are actually able to connect, whereas in the past, Harry was connected to Voldemort only through his scar and the pains in his scar. So maybe Voldemort in whatever form he was in still had the slight power to trigger Harry’s scar paining, but not give these full visions to him. But now that he’s grown stronger, they get full visions/dreams. Very interesting.

Laura: It is. Well, we’ll pick up with Harry next week when we cover Chapter 2, but I think for now it’s time for us to go ahead and get into MVP of the week.

MVP of the Week

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: I’m going to give it to Wormtail. Look, he’s super helpful and he’s giving legs to Voldemort’s plan.

Summer: [laughs] Oh my God. I just understood what you meant by that.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: I thought a lot about this because I feel like there’s only really one character in this chapter who deserves MVP who’s redeemable, but I think I’m going to have to give it to Voldemort.

Andrew: Wow.

Laura: Mainly because he’s a very effective planner. He had a goal. He’s seeing the goal through. You gotta give it to him for the motivation.

Eric: So MVP, in this case, is most Voldy the person of the week.

Laura: Yes.

Andrew: Our friend Tyler, who’s been on the show once or twice, will be very happy with this pick, I think, Laura.

Laura: I know. Thank you. I’ll have Tyler’s endorsement. That’s all I need.

Eric: I’m going to counteract a Slytherin MVP with a Gryffindor one. Frank used his wartime bravery, and if he had gone to Hogwarts, would have been a Gryffindor. The willingness to set aside his police differences, also that trust in the system that intrinsically comes back to him… just love Frank Bryce.

Micah: My MVP goes to Nagini for being milked and providing Voldemort with the sustenance he needs to go on. Because without Nagini, who knows? Voldemort just… poof.

Laura: Nice Slughorn reference.

Summer: I’m going to echo Eric and choose Frank Bryce because he literally confronted Voldemort face to face and he says something like, “Turn around and face me like a man,” which I thought was very brave of him. And he says he goes in to talk to Voldemort because he hears that Voldemort is planning another murder of this Harry Potter boy and he wants to try to stop him. It’s very brave and valiant of him. So Frank Bryce gets two this week.

[MVP of the Week music ends]

Andrew: Next week we will discuss Goblet of Fire Chapter 2, maybe Chapter 3 as well. I’m heading up next week’s discussion. I looked ahead to Chapter 2…

Micah: Are you sure?

Andrew: It looked a little light. We’ll see. So maybe think about reading Chapter 3 as well. We will see later in the week as we really get planning that episode. And now it’s time for Quizzitch!


[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s question: Who found the Riddle family dead? And some people did submit the wrong answers this week, but the correct answer we’re looking for is the maid. Correct answers were submitted by Forrest the 10-year-old who’s back; Frank’s forgotten kettle choo-choo…

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Frank I’ll-mow-your-lawn-anytime Bryce; Peter the snake milker; Moral fiber PSA you need 25 grams every day; Will the real bad Barty please stand up; Elphias Doge’s dodgy leg; I bet if Draco’s carpet matches – oh God – his drapes they’d probably look like Justin Timberlake’s ramen noodle hairdo…

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: What happened to this segment?

Eric: [laughs] What happened to this whole segment? Dobby had a sock, now Dobby has a knife…

[Everyone laughs]

Summer: Aww.

Eric: Talia loves bagels…

Summer: Oh my god. I’m crying.

Micah: They’re taking after me clearly. [laughs]

Laura: Man, this is… I told you, this is 50% of why I do this show, is just hearing all these names.

Eric: Oh man. Shout-out to everybody. Somebody submitted as “Hey y’all,” somebody else said, “It’s my birthday today October 7.” Congrats. And “Mom who thinks some fan fiction is canon.” Yeah, that’s me too. And I think some canon is fan fiction, so there we go.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Here is next week’s Quizzitch question.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: In opposition of his new diet, what did Dudley Dursley throw out the window? Submit your answer to us on the MuggleCast website at

[Quizzitch music ends]

Micah: It wasn’t Harry.

Eric: He does not throw Harry out the window.

Micah: This is not Game of Thrones.

Eric: Click on “Quizzitch” on the main nav, if you’re on our website checking out the new transcripts that are up there! Last couple episodes are up there. Check them out. There’s a transcripts page. You’ll see it.

Andrew: Transcripts are brought to you by listener support. Your support helps us get those transcripts done. So if you want to support us like Summer does – and get a beanie like she just put on, the MuggleCast beanie, Laura has been supporting it today as well – you can head over to and support us there for between $2-10 per month, and depending on what tier you pledge at, you get a variety of benefits. The Slug Club level is the $10 level and that’s where you get a new physical gift every year. And by the way, for $5 a month and higher patrons, we will be sending out the Collector’s Club stickers in the next few weeks, I think. I actually just got a notification this morning that the stickers have shipped and are on their way to us, so can’t wait to see those and can’t wait to get them out to everybody. You can also support us on Apple Podcasts for just $2.99 a month. You can receive ad-free and early access to MuggleCast right within the Apple Podcast app. If you’re enjoying MuggleCast and think other Muggles would too, tell a friend about the show, and we would also appreciate if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app. And don’t forget to follow us on social media; our username is @MuggleCast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Threads. Summer, thanks so much for joining us today. You were awesome.

Summer: Thank you so much for having me. Thank you. I had a fantastic time, and so glad I got to start off Goblet of Fire with all of y’all.

Andrew: Yes. Another exciting Chapter by Chapter series is ahead. All right, well, that does it for this week’s episode. Thanks, everybody for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Summer: And I’m Summer.

Andrew: Bye, everybody.

Laura: Bye, y’all.

Transcript #629


MuggleCast 629 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #629, ‘Goblet of Fire’ Movie Commentary Track!

Andrew Sims: Hi, everyone. This episode was recorded on Friday, September 22, and since then, legendary actor Michael Gambon, who played Dumbledore in the last six Harry Potter movies, died on September 28. We will talk about his legacy on a future episode of MuggleCast, but we wanted to give you a heads-up that our thoughts on his portrayal in this movie were recorded prior to his passing. And Laura has an important reminder for everybody.

Laura Tee: Just wanted to give y’all a final reminder about the 2023 MuggleCast listener survey. This is your last week to complete the survey if you haven’t had a chance to so far. It will close end of day this Friday, October 6. Again, we want to know what you love about the show, what you think we could be doing better, and what other content you’d be interested in us branching out to into the future. We’re also asking anyone who supports us on our Patreon about y’all’s experience so that we can continue to improve on the content that we’re providing over there, and the survey is open to everyone whether you’re a Patreon supporter or not. Again, you can find links to it through our website, our show notes, and across our various social media channels. Thank you again so much to everyone who’s completed the survey so far, and thanks in advance to anyone who’s able to get their response in before October 6. We really couldn’t do the show without y’all.

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly right into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: We have a special episode for everybody today. We have yet to do this. It was released 18 years ago, and we’re finally getting around to doing it: our Goblet of Fire movie commentary.

Everyone: Woo!

Andrew: This is partly to get us all on the same page for our Goblet of Fire Chapter by Chapter series, which will kick off next week, actually. And this is going to be great, probably for listeners too, because inevitably, when we’re doing Chapter by Chapter, we bring up the movie! So we’re going to go in having just watched the film, and we’ll be ready to talk about it over the next billion weeks as we go chapter by chapter through Goblet of Fire because last time I checked, there are about a billion chapters. So for those listening, we will not be playing the audio from the movie; you have to bring your own copy of the movie to this commentary track, so maybe pause now and go find a copy of Goblet of Fire. This is the standard edition, no advertising either, so if you if you want to watch it through HBO Max, for example, you can’t watch it with the ad tier; you’re probably going to fall out of sync with us. So where to sync up with us so we all are watching the same thing at the same time? Hit play on the movie, and then once the camera goes fully through the WB logo, that’s when you hit pause, and that’s where Eric, Micah, Laura, and I are all paused right now on our own copies. So again, once the camera is fully through the WB logo, hit pause. For me on my digital edition, that’s at the 19 second mark of this movie. You will see a skull. And maybe if you feel like it’s a little out of sync for you, then you can back up and try again. But this isn’t going to be a perfect sync; it might be off by a second or two, but that’s okay. It’s kind of impossible to time this perfectly. Even the four of us won’t be timed perfectly, probably. [laughs]

Laura: No, I know, because as soon as you said there’s going to be a skull, I was like, “Well, I don’t have a skull.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: No, it’s me, you guys. I’m here. Hello.

Andrew: Oh, I get it. Once you see the Eric Scull. That’s when you’re at the right point.

Eric: Yes, yes.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: But let’s get started because we have much a motion picture to get through, to watch and enjoy, over the next two and a half hours. So on 3! On 3! We’re all going to hit play.

Micah: On 3?

Eric: On 3, not the imaginary fourth beat?

Laura: Oh, wait, wait, wait.

Micah: What?

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: You have the wrong movie up. Tell me you have the wrong movie up.

Eric: What happened?

Micah: That’s why you didn’t see the skull.

Laura: Yeah, no, I totally had Order of the Phoenix.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Laura!

Eric: It would have been funny. We would have seen how many minutes in she got before she’s like, “Wait a minute, what?”

Andrew: It would have been like 30 seconds, I bet, or maybe even less, like 10 seconds.

Laura: [laughs] So sorry for this delay.

Eric: Look for the skull. Wait for the skull.

Andrew: You know, we all have shots ready, and I think Laura maybe took hers a little early.

Laura: Yeah, okay. No, no, I definitely did not as a matter of fact.

Andrew: So while Laura gets the movie ready and while everybody gets their movie all synched up…

Laura: I’m ready.

Andrew: Okay. All right. So on 3, we are going to press play. 1, 2, 3.

Laura: All right.

Frank Bryce and the Riddle House

Andrew: And Laura, you’re seeing Goblet of Fire, not Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner, Order…?

Laura: I am seeing skulls and Nagini, so I think I’m in the right place.

Andrew: Oh, that was your dreams last night, Laura. We’re talking about the movie right now.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: All right. Well, now that the film has rolled, maybe we should share because this is only about a half hour away. What shot did we bring for the commentary? A shot of alcohol, and we did this because of course in this movie there’s that iconic line: “Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire? Did ya put your name in the Goblet of Fire?” Dumbledore said not so calmly. So because it’s such an iconic moment in the history of the Harry Potter fandom, we thought we should have a shot ready for that?

Eric: See, I misheard what the directive was. I thought we were waiting for the actual calmest line delivery in the movie, and we each take shots at different moments depending on what we think the calmest line is because it sure as shit ain’t “Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?” Sorry, are we allowed to swear?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Anyway, it’s unhinged. It’s Friday night.

Andrew: It is. But yeah, so I have Gray Whale gin. It’s a favorite gin of mine.

Eric: Looks like Frank Bryce is preparing something.

Andrew: [laughs] He was like, “Wait, what? I want in.”

Laura: I have Angel’s Envy, which is a Kentucky bourbon that is aged in wine barrels, so it’s got a very nice flavor.

Andrew: Very nice.

Micah: Do you think they repurposed the maze for what he’s walking through right now?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: I think so. He’s got to watch out for the branches.

Laura: That’s so funny.

Andrew: Some budget cuts.

Micah: I have Powers Iris whiskey.

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: And I have an old standby, Woodford Reserve rye.

Andrew: Everybody’s got something a little fancy!

Eric: A little fancy. I just have this around the house.

Micah: Go big or go home.

Eric: Yeah, we never would have done this if we did a Goblet of Fire commentary in 2005.

Micah: Yes, we would have. We just wouldn’t have advertised it publicly.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: This would all be sitting here bathtub in a hotel room somewhere.

Eric: Would you guys want to live in the Riddle house? These wood-paneled walls, sweeping staircases… kind of creepy.

Andrew: Absolutely positively not. I get scared very easily. I mean, I love this type of thing for Halloween season, but yeah, no. I also have on closed captioning to help with today’s commentary because between here and y’all…

Micah: I think it’s necessary.

Andrew: It is.

Laura: I agree.

Andrew: There’s lot of talk about that, too, on the Internet. It’s getting harder to hear movies.

Eric: Yeah, there’s that Scooby-Doo image, I think it’s Velma. She’s on the ground looking for glasses, but it says, “I can’t hear without my subtitles.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Yeah, that’s relatable.

Micah: I want to say, I’m fairly impressed that Frank Bryce is not totally freaked out yet.

Eric: Well, he was expecting children. Turns out… oh man.

Laura: I really love that they kept that in the movie.

Eric: Which?

Laura: The whole Frank Bryce introduction.

Eric: There was a lot they didn’t keep, though. He didn’t hear the whole plot.

Laura: Right.

The Quidditch World Cup

Eric: It reeks to me of the bare minimum because you need to see Barty Crouch once before you see him at the end. Harry is already at the Quidditch World Cup.

Micah: I love how Ron pulls up the sheets as if he’s covering his boobs.

Eric: I sleep like that.

Laura: [laughs] Well yeah, they’re trying to communicate that he’s starting to catch feelings. He’s self-conscious.

Eric: This is a great moment in the book, the Portkey. He’s always hanging out in trees.

Micah: No matter the franchise.

Laura: Well, he’s not sparkly in this one.

Eric: Well, that’s as good an entrance as any.

Laura: My favorite effect is about to come up where they’re arriving at the World Cup from the Portkey, and Cedric and two others just come fluttering down. [laughs] I think it’s so hilarious.

Eric: Like they can choose it. Like they can choose their landing.

Andrew: I’m going to say something people probably aren’t going to like: I have never really been a fan of the Quidditch World Cup in the book or movie.

Laura: Oh, I loved it in the book.

Andrew: I guess maybe part of me just flashes back to reading this the first time, and I was just like, “I’d rather be at Hogwarts than at this thing.”

Eric: I think for me, it’s an opportunity for world building without stakes being super high. I mean, they do get high with a Death Eaters later, but you get to see all these cultures and kind of…

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: That’s such a tacky shot.

Micah: Are those the Cliffs of Moher? Or not?

Eric: They’re Dover, maybe.

Andrew: Robert Pattinson was practicing his tacky flying through the air for Twilight in that shot.

Eric: Amazing.

Micah: But come on Andrew. Sports, bro.

Andrew: Spider monkey! Yeah, exactly, like Paraiso Flower said.

Eric: I think they filmed Broadchurch over by those cliffs.

Micah: Oh, there goes the house-elves.

Andrew: Blink and you’ll miss ’em.

Eric: I do like the low flying broom people. That’s fun.

Andrew: That is cool.

Laura: I do feel like they captured the environment of the Quidditch World Cup really well. This is very close to what I imagined when I was reading it.

Eric: I agree.

Andrew: It is exciting.

Micah: But I forget, Laura, do you know how many chapters about the Quidditch World Cup takes up in Goblet of Fire? It’s more than we think, right?

Laura: Yeah. They don’t spend all that much time on it in the movie.

Eric: There’s the line I’m drinking to. Hang on. It’s about to get it… not the “Feet off the table.” Not that one.

Andrew: Oh, “I love magic.”

Eric: “I love magic!” There we go. Who doesn’t love magic?

Micah: Cheese.

Andrew: What you were just saying, Laura, I think that was part of the reason why I was turned off by it when reading, because it’s longer in the book.

Micah: It’s like camping.

Eric: I gotta get my trusty Fantastic Beasts stopwatch out and figure out how much gameplay we actually see. I’m going to time this.

Andrew: And understandably so that it moves so quick in the movie.

Eric: Oh, Jason Isaacs!

Laura: Aw man, he’s my favorite.

Eric: I missed Jason Isaacs in Harry Potter all throughout the third movie, and I’m so glad he’s back.

Micah: I love how he says, “Don’t boast,” but he just made his rain comment.

Laura: He’s so good. I know that Jason Isaacs did play Captain Hook, but I will say sometimes his portrayal of Lucius gives me Captain Hook vibes.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: Fair enough.

Laura: And it’s not a bad thing, it’s just funny.

Eric: Yeah, I mean, Jason Isaacs is famous for villains.

Laura: Oh, yeah.

Micah: And these actually are really good seats. No?

Andrew: Oh, I see what you’re saying.

Eric: Micah, you’re the sports guy. What do you think one of those seats would fetch in today’s economy?

Micah: Well, this is an international event, right? That doesn’t happen very often. So even though I’m inclined to say because they’re so high up that they would be cheap, I don’t know. A couple 100 euros.

Eric: Yeah, so kinda like not a cheap seat in the house? And they’ll always sell out no matter what. Very aggressive.

Laura: I just have to say, this stadium makes my anxiety triggered, I think because it looks so steep.

Eric: Yeah, this is the thing you pay to go see in Chicago where you go out on the glass ledge and you can look below you, the ledge at the Sears Tower. That’s what this is. That’s what Fudge is standing on.

Laura: Awful.

Eric: That was actually a good shot. Everything tracking wise, on Robert Hardy, I think his name is.

Laura: Oh, and hey, look, no game.

Eric: Oh, 3.48 seconds. He said, “Let it begin,” and then it was something else.

Laura: I guess we can’t hold it against Hogwarts Legacy. They didn’t even want to do Quidditch in the movies sometimes.

Eric: At least they didn’t over-promise and under-deliver.

Laura: Right.

Micah: Is that Ginny’s one line in the movie?

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Yeah, blink and you’ll miss it.

Andrew: When we were hanging out with our patrons the other day in our Slug Club hangout, we were talking, I think, a little bit about how I remember it being reported that WB was seriously considering splitting this movie into two. Right?

Eric: Yeah, it was definitely the first time they really, really thought about it.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: They should have. I think it really would have been an improvement. You could have even retconned, you could have explained the Marauders even though that technically is Book 3 stuff. You could have made up for Movie 3’s failings, and shortcomings, I should say, if you had split the fourth one.

Micah: I never really liked how this all played itself out because it would be so easy for somebody to find Harry. Am I the only one?

Eric: No, you’re right. It’s definitely so easy.

Andrew: So easy?

Micah: Yeah, once he gets kicked in the face here.

Laura: [laughs] And they’re like, “Oh, yep, round glasses, scar…”

Micah: All these people are running around him and none of the Death Eaters come across him. Even before Barty Crouch, Jr. shows up.

Eric: Well, they burned it down.

Laura: Is that how it happens in the book? Does Harry get knocked out? I don’t remember.

Eric: I think there is a lapse in time. They get separated and they’re all looking for each other. I will say, this scene in the LEGO game slaps. This level of the LEGO game where everything’s on fire and you’re at the campground. It’s one of the better levels.

Laura: Oh, is David Tennant not doing the weird tick thing yet?

Andrew: We wait with anticipation.

Micah: Oh, now they show up. How convenient.

Eric: Confirmed, David Tennant is scared of redheads. “Not a ginger.” Oh man. Harry’s scar hurts for… oh, okay. Hello, Aurors. Thanks, Hermione, for not explaining anything.

Laura: [laughs] Is that another line they took from another character?

Eric: I bet, yeah.

Laura: That didn’t sound very convincing, Harry.

Micah: No, it didn’t.

Laura: Like, “Oh, uh, over there…”

Eric: “I saw your son tonight, Barty.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: “I only saw his tongue.” Okay, a little ominous, a little foreboding.

Beauxbatons and Durmstrang arrive

Eric: Oh, they’re leaving Hogwarts. [laughs] Doesn’t the train usually go the other way?

Laura: I will say, I feel like I’m remembering one of my main critiques of this movie, which is that the transitions feel very choppy.

Andrew: Do you think that’s partly because they have so much to cram in?

Laura: Yes, 100%.

Eric: I think it’s also because we know what goes between the scenes. I think for the average movie goer, it’s probably fine.

Laura: Yeah, I’m sure it is.

Eric: People who don’t know the Quidditch World Cup wasn’t hours before the train to Hogwarts. But otherwise, I completely agree.

Micah: Oh, yeah.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: We were all thinking it. Micah said it.

Andrew: What I’m thinking is it’s so cool that you get to be on this train now in Universal. And they did it perfectly. It’s wild that they actually let you go on this train there. [laughs]

Eric: It’s really cool. It’s a shame Emma Watson couldn’t make it. But other than that…

Andrew: Ah, for the narration, the video you’re referring to?

Laura: Well, Dan didn’t either, right?

Eric: He at least get a sound alike.

Andrew: Yeah, just the person they got to play Hermione was not a good choice

Laura: No. Although, I felt like the person they got to play Hermione sounded maybe a little bit more like… shoot.

Micah: Isn’t that where Dumbledore is buried?

Laura: Yeah, I think so.

Andrew: I think that’s right, yeah.

Eric: Not yet, but yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Too soon.

Eric: Unless he’s time traveling.

Micah: You know that guy. You never know.

Laura: I thought she sounded a lot like the Jim Dale interpretation of Hermione.

Eric: Oh! I wonder if they got Jim Dale to do it.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Oh my gosh.

Laura: They were like, “Do you just want to play the shadow too? We’ll just get you in there.” Wow, we’re already off. Here they come. Hagrid!

Micah: Air traffic control Hagrid.

Eric: Add that to his CV.

Andrew: I do love that shot, though. I think that’s fun.

Eric: It’s a cool shot.

Micah: It is well done. I wonder if he was drunk.

Eric: Who’s driving that carriage?

Micah: I think the person driving the carriage is drunk.

Eric: Yeah, I was going to say, it’s hard to believe it’s the best and brightest in there.

Andrew: The best and brightest.

Laura: Is this the first movie in the series where we really started getting very tonally dark?

Eric: Uh, yeah. I mean, I really argue that Azkaban holds that, but yeah, it’s next to impossible to see some of these shots.

Andrew: [laughs] Classic Filch moment as well.

Eric: Why?

Andrew: Look at all these long-haired students.

Micah: The dude can barely breathe. Get him a Stairmaster or something he can use on the side.

Andrew: Is he not climbing stairs every day at Hogwarts?

Micah: I mean, but he needs help.

Laura: Listen, he may come across as pathetic and defenseless here, but we know for a fact that he murdered two very prominent Starks, so don’t underestimate him.

Andrew: Oooh.

Eric: Yeah, and he did it without ever getting up from a chair.

Laura: Right.

Micah: Well, three if you count the baby that was on the way.

Eric: Oh, that is too soon.

Laura: And the baby who was going to be called at Eddard. Yikes. So, interesting change here, them making Beauxbatons and Durmstrang just single-gender schools. In the books, they weren’t.

Eric: Right, and Chloé had a good point about this in our meeting recently too, that it diminishes…

Laura: Oh, they fart butterflies. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, wow, totally remember that in the books.

Micah: Wait, you don’t, Laura?

Laura: Wait, what?

Micah: Fart butterflies?

Laura: No, I don’t. You can ask Marc. He’ll confirm. I definitely don’t. [laughs]

Eric: I would like a cannon movie explanation for why Gabrielle and Olympe are dressed differently, but everyone else is in blue, but oh well.

Andrew: I’ve always loved these entrances.

Eric: I mean, they’re momentous.

Andrew: Right. And the music.

Eric: Yeah, the score is actually really good this whole movie. It’s one of the best scores.

Andrew: Of course, they brought this over to the theme park, these little shows, these entrances.

Eric: I feel bad for the floor.

Laura: I like how Krum is just like, “I don’t have to be part of the performance.” [laughs] I wonder how long they practiced.

Micah: Now, was that a phoenix to honor Dumbledore?

Eric: Oh, maybe.

Micah: Meanwhile, my guy can’t even get a chariot or anything to take him to Hogwarts. He’s just slogging through the mud.

Eric: I feel like Brendan Gleeson would walk to Hogwarts.

Laura: He’s like, “Don’t worry, I got ’em covered.” Same.

Eric: Wonder who could outdrink the other.

Laura: Or death.

Eric: [laughs] I mean, look at ice cream. That ice cream is stacked so tall.

Andrew: It’s incredible.

Laura: Yeah, the desserts are unparalleled.

Eric: I bet the second you take one of those scoops, it replenishes.

Andrew: Totally. Thank you, house-elves down below.

Laura: Yeah, all because there’s some poor house-elf waiting below in the kitchens just being like, “Ugh.”

Andrew: But we won’t learn about him in this movie. Oh!

Laura: “House-elves? What elves?”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Why does the Hogwarts ceiling suddenly deliver plot information to us?

Laura: So that we can all sit here and go, “That’s suspicious.”

Eric: I guess so.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: The people who haven’t read the book: “That sure is suspicious.”

Micah: Or were not invented until Goblet of Fire.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: Look at McGonagall being all nervous to hype up the fear.

Eric: Yeah, that’s definitely what’s happening. 100%. If you get McGonagall to gasp, you know you’d better watch out. Where’s his chair? They knew he was coming. Maybe it’s bubble juice.

Laura: Let’s make it really clear.

Micah: Early on. Now, what was the reason for portraying Barty Crouch, Sr. this way? Is he just nervous?

Eric: You know, add that to the list of things to ask the director. But yeah, I mean, both Crouch, Sr., and Bagman, who’s not in this movie at all, were very differently characterized in the book. And Barty Crouch, Sr., though he’s not necessarily a good character, made some really important choices that later blow up in his face and you don’t really get that.

Laura: Yeah, I don’t know if they were trying to go for him being kind of broken because of everything that happened with his son. Maybe they were choosing that interpretation.

Eric: I like that.

Laura: Because what parent wouldn’t be completely shaken to their core to find out that their child is basically a fascist of some sort?

Eric: Fair enough. Nowadays, a lot of parents are accusing their kids of joining cults. Oh no, I’m sure this is aboveboard.

Laura: Hey, speaking of cults, he was in one.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah! And yet Dumbledore embraced him moments ago and was like, “Igor, old friend.”

Eric: Four if you count your mother.

Defense Against the Dark Arts

Andrew: I do love this performance. It’s such a good performance.

Laura: He’s great.

Eric: It’s really good, yeah. If you’ve seen Brendan Gleeson do other stuff, it’s crazy because he’s also so good in that but it’s different.

Andrew: Yeah. It’s just one of those… and I hate to be the Hollywood person who’s like, “This performance in this movie is just amazing,” but some performances just stick with you and this is one of them.

Eric: It’s visceral! He threw the chalk.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: And with the magical eye and the scar, it’s just like, oh yeah.

Eric: Yeah, whoever animated the eye was not the same person that did Dobby because it’s so much better.

Andrew: Yeah.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Micah: And is this fully replicated in the books too? Because we know Ron’s fear of spiders.

Eric: He does show them, yeah, each of the curses, but…

Laura: I don’t remember what he uses them on, though.

Micah: Is that even a spider?

Eric: I’ve always wondered that. That is more like a…

Micah: It’s gross, whatever the hell it is.

Eric: Oh, poor Crabbe. If I had one of those land on my head, it would lead me to smoking.

Laura: This is so good.

Eric: I love the mime hitting where like, they couldn’t actually hit each other. The music here again…

Laura: This was so well written. Good grief.

Eric: Is this the one movie that Steve Kloves didn’t do?

Andrew: I thought it was Movie 5.

Eric: Oh, you’re probably right, because that was David Yates’s first movie and he brought on a guy he had worked with before.

Andrew: Oh, did he? That was why?

Eric: Yeah, they had worked together exclusively as a writer and director team.

Andrew: I see.

Eric: I think that’s right. I’ll look that up.

Micah: Yeah, was it Mike Goldenberg?

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, that does sound right. Do you guys remember one of my biggest mistakes on MuggleNet?

Eric: No. I’m sure you’re going to tell us.

Andrew: I’m trying to remember. I just remember it was a big mistake. I think I misreported something about Michael Goldenberg or something like that. Whatever I did, I screwed up bad. Like, it was just wrong news-wise.

Eric: Oh, no.

Andrew: And I remember WB being really mad at me. The publicist I worked with was not happy with me. So what they did to respond to whatever the screw-up was – I really wish I remembered – was they had Michael Goldenberg do an interview with the Leaky Cauldron. [laughs]

Eric: Oh no!

Andrew: To set the record straight. Do you remember that? And I remember being on vacation at the time, and I was just like.. it ruined the vacation. I was just so embarrassed that I’d screwed up.

Eric: Andrew, I forgive you.

Andrew: Oh, thank you. I can finally find peace.

Eric: That’s ridiculous. I can’t believe they did that. But okay, Michael Goldenberg, who wrote the Green Lantern film with Ryan Reynolds, okay, also wrote the Peter Pan with Jason Isaacs, hello, as Captain Hook, Laura.

Laura: Connecting the threads.

Eric: And he wrote Contact, which is probably the best movie. Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey. It’s incredible. That redeems him for me.

Laura: There it is.

Micah: Does your soul rip when you kill a spider?

Eric: No, that’s not the same. I think it’s human souls.

Laura: Right, only human souls matter, Micah.

Eric: Basically. I like the Escher-esque stairs in the back. They go up the other direction.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Oh, Neville. Never going to be the same.

Micah: This is where Luna yells at Harry later on in the series. I don’t think they ever did a very good job, though, of explaining how messed up this actually was. I mean, we do get the trial flashback in the Pensieve a little bit later on, but it’s just not overly explained the level to which it’s messed up.

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: Right. And in the books, even though this scene in the movie that we just saw where Moody comes and gets Neville is like, sort of tender? In the book, Barty Crouch, Jr. really does guide and mentor Neville and Harry. It’s a big deal that the first person to ever tell Harry he should catch Dark wizards was a Dark wizard. I would actually argue that in the book, his motives and loyalties are a lot more nuanced than they are in the movie. I don’t know if you guys would agree.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah, I’m excited to read the book through that lens because it’s been a while since I’ve read Goblet.

The Goblet of Fire

Eric: Same, I’m looking so forward to it. All right, whose hair is longer right now? Hermione’s or the twins’?

Andrew: [laughs] It’s got to be Hermione, but I like the joke.

Eric: Only because hers is curled. Yeah, so if she straightened it…

Micah: It’s close.

Andrew: Yeah, exactly. Because it’s curly, I think that she’s got the upper hand.

Eric: Yeah, if you straighten it, it will be longer.

Laura: Yeah. They’re not too far behind her, though.

Andrew: We’re getting close, aren’t we? To the moment? You said it’s at 35 minutes in; we’re currently at 30.

Eric: Yeah, it’s going to be Halloween. It’s going to be Halloween in like, three seconds, and then…

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: And then there’s going to be another Quidditch World Tournament and then we’re going to be back.

Eric: This is fun.

Micah: Now whose hair is longer?

Eric: Oh, that’s fun. Whose beard was longer?

Micah: Do you all remember, there’s a really great story from… I think it was the reunion special with Mike Newell. I forget which twin told the story or if it was Mike himself, where he really had to show them how to fight each other.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Oh, yeah.

Micah: And I think he ended up breaking his ankle or there was… he had some serious injury as a result of that.

Eric: You can just tell that he was very hands-on with the actors. Because there’s a moment where Snape just thwacks Harry and gives him a concussion with a book for no reason in this movie. That happens in this movie.

Micah: Oh, he bruised his ribs. That’s what the Discord is saying.

Laura: Snape does a lot of things for no reason.

Eric: Yeah, but that’s no excuse. This movie, he is absolutely unhinged. Book Snape would never.

Andrew: We also need to remember something, and that’s that we had heard over… I can’t remember when, but we heard that Mike Knoll was not a good director to the cast.

Eric: Oh, I didn’t… really?

Andrew: Yeah, didn’t we hear that?

Laura: Yeah, I think I remember hearing that he wasn’t anyone’s fave.

Eric: Oh man.

Andrew: I just vaguely remember him being really hard on the kids? Here I go again misreporting things. Here comes another exclusive with the Leaky Cauldron. [laughs] No, I’m kidding, but really, I really do remember that.

Eric: I just remember they were really excited because it was the first British director which, hello, you’re on Movie 4?

Micah: Oh, please. The cast was all British. Mostly.

Eric: Yeah, I know. What is that written on?

Micah: It looks like a mini hand fan almost. They’re all very specific to the school, except Hogwarts.

Eric: Just a piece of parchment.

Micah: [laughs] It’s just a piece of parchment.

Eric: There’s nothing more Hogwarts than hard work.

Micah: I like what Court said, it appears to be a coffee filter.

Eric: Oh, that’s right.

Laura: Dumbledore in this moment is like, “Oh, thank God Harry’s name didn’t come out of the Goblet.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Why does it say “WIZ”? Oh, “TRI” is on one side, “WIZ” is on the other, and “ARD” is on the other. This has never happened before.

Micah: I hate those hand motions in front of his face. They’re so stupid. Sorry for being critical.

Eric: Well, the thing is, every director had a chance with these movies to put their own spin on the series, so you don’t have the level of consistency between films that you will with the TV show.

Andrew: Ugh, let’s hope. I mean, that’s a 10-year project.

Eric: Yeah, but they’re going to lock that crap down. They’re going to have everybody picked for directing for years in advance, because the quality suffers when…

Micah: Aw, emo Ron.

Laura: The hair just goes so well with the emo state.

Eric: I agree with that.

Laura: I love how… [laughs] We’ll have to compare this to book Dumbledore.

Eric: There are no words. He’s so pissed that he doesn’t say anything. And he glares.

Micah: Right, like Harry did it.

Laura: Oh my God.

Eric: Cool tracking shot, though, of the students.

Micah: So why isn’t it renamed the Quadwizard Tournament? It doesn’t make sense.

Andrew: Ooh! Because this isn’t going to happen again, that’s why.

Micah: Yeah, that’s true.

Laura: Moody is like, “Yeahhh.”

Micah: He’s like, “I did it, I did it…”

Eric: All right, everybody, pour your shots.

Andrew: I did, and my drink, the ice has already melted. It’s all ruined.

Eric: Oh, I’m sorry, Andrew.

Laura: See, Andrew, that’s why you have to get the rocks. That’s what I have in mine. [laughs] Here it comes.

Andrew: Whoo! Drink!

Micah: All right, cheers.

[Glasses clink]

Andrew: Cheers to Michael Gambon. And whoever wrote that line. “Angrily.”

Eric: If Harry were holding a shot right then at that moment, it would be all over the floor. I don’t think you can… you just go up and put the name in, don’t you? That’s it. The goblet takes it from there.

Micah: Oooh.

Eric: That was dark.

Laura: And see, it’s so funny how layered all of this is with Barty Crouch, Jr. because in that moment, he’s on the surface, reminding Karkaroff that “Hey, everyone knows that you used to be a Death Eater.” But really ,what he’s saying is “You betrayed Voldemort. And I’m gonna get you.”

Eric: That’s amazing.

Micah: That shot?

Eric: Yeah, that was a great Caption Contest week when I screenshotted that. There was one recently with Amos and Harry and the top caption was, “Harry, get in my backpack” because it’s so big. Oh, there’s that level in Hogwarts Legacy, the best part of the top tower.

Andrew: I always love these scenes where all the staff are involved too. Just watching all the adult actors work with each other, like when we were…

Eric: This is acting.

Andrew: Right, this is acting.

Eric: With a capital A.

Andrew: [laughs] When we were getting towards the end of Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter by Chapter, I think I said on air, I still remember leaning forward in my seat watching Prisoner of Azkaban for the first time, being so excited seeing Alan Rickman and David Thewlis and Gary Oldman working together, and really, the trio took a backseat. And for at least a few minutes, it was really focused on the adult actors, and I just loved that.

Eric: That’s a great point.

Laura: I just want to call out McGonagall here mentioning, “We can’t just let him compete. He’s not a piece of meat.” And Dumbledore is over there like, “Well… I don’t know about that.”

Eric: I can’t wait to get to that chapter in the book because they say the Goblet of Fire is a magically binding contract, but Harry ultimately did not put his own name in. So I don’t care how many Confunduses you throw at that thing. The fact that you can’t get out of it is BS. Between that and the second task where they may or may not have actually killed Harry’s friends… it’s a real thin plot sometimes.

Eric: Go cry about it, Ron. Oh, good comeback, good comeback.

Laura: Ooh, naughty word. You can tell they’re teenagers now.

Andrew: And whenever they say bad words, or when in Harry Potter we get “Not my daughter, you bitch…” Oh, look at who it is!

Eric: Look at her chew the scenery.

Andrew: But then when parents say like, “Hey, I don’t think that you cursed on the show,” I was like, “But they said that word! So we’re allowed to.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Rita Skeeter

Andrew: Oh, let’s talk about this set that they’re at right now. This is probably… I think Eric joked about a repurposed set at the top of the movie. This set has been repurposed like no other. It was the Room of Requirement, it’s the Trophy Room…

Eric: This becomes the Room of Requirement!

Andrew: I feel like there’s one other. I’m trying to remember. But I just remember this…

Micah: Well, wasn’t it just the Trophy Room? Or is it still the Trophy Room?

Eric: And it’s the Slug Club hangout.

Andrew: This is the Trophy Room.

Eric: It’s the dining room for the Slug Club, where Neville serves drinks. You can tell by the half columns. Yeah, Miranda Richardson is insanely good. And even she manages to be shortchanged, I think, by the scripts. There is a lot more to her, obviously, in the books, but I would give this an eight out of ten pass for character adaptation.

Micah: Yeah, it’s very impressive, the actors who join the cast in this film.

Eric: Even just for one-offs. I want whatever that material is that she’s wearing. It’s like a velvet, but it’s like a satiny kind of… it’s really cool.

Eric: A little bit of, dare I say, the S word tension here between the two of them.

Micah: I think that’s part of her shtick, though.

Eric: Yeah, to be a little flirty.

Micah: She’s very flirtatious.

Eric: That’s a good point.

Laura: She really embodies this, and it’s such a disappointment that they didn’t do anything else with this character after this movie.

Eric: Yeah. I could see her being superimposed onto something during Movie 7 with the “Life and Lies” book haunting Harry. Like if she does like an interview or something and it’s posted in Times Square – or sorry, Piccadilly Circus. Good use of that full-scale model of Hogwarts.

Andrew: You know what, and I’ve said this before, even about Movie 1, it still holds up. These visual effects, all of them. And I don’t know if it’s because… I guess it’s the money they put into it. I mean, obviously, it looks amazing here. But I mean, even with Movie 1, all the special effects, they really do not feel dated to me. Maybe just because we grew up with these movies… I don’t know. I’ve always been really impressed.

Eric: Fun fact, it actually took 18 months for all the bird droppings to be gathered and placed here.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: I hate bringing up the Wizarding World so much, but they did a great job with the owlery. Down to the bird droppings. That’s what made me want to say that.

Eric: Remember when you used to be able to actually send a letter from the theme park? And it would be owl stamped or whatever. I never actually utilized that, but it was a pretty cool feature at the time. Damn, he’s bleeding.

Laura: Yeah, why is that owl such a jerk?

Micah: I think the owl actually did bite him.

Eric: The owl actually took Hedwig’s lines, because Hedwig is always nipping on Harry.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Laura: They took all of Hedwig’s good lines gave them to this owl.

Andrew: Teenage tragedy.

Eric: Good old MinaLima really coming into prominence, in advance of the educational decrees in the next.

Andrew: Oh, that’s an interesting point. I mean, they’ve been involved with all the movies, but I guess they really started standing out with all the newspapers and the signage.

Eric: No, that’s exactly it. Yeah. I think they did do even the Hogwarts letter, the first Hogwarts letter in the first movie.

Sirius in the fire

Laura: Oh, here’s your favorite CG, Andrew, that really doesn’t hold up.

Andrew: Oh, I spoke too soon, didn’t I? This never held up, from day one.

Eric: No, you’re right. You’re right. It doesn’t. For what this cost to do in CGI, they could have flown Gary Oldman here, had him stay in the best hotel in England, and had him just be part of the site.

Andrew: It was just a very bad choice. That’s what this comes down to. They decided “We’re going to have his face sort of…” It’s almost like… I don’t know what the toy is called, but you put your hand into the thing with all the spikes, and then you look at it on the other side. It’s like that.

Eric: Yeah, it’s like, magic something something. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. Well, the thing is, in this book doesn’t somebody forget their coffee and Molly Weasley puts it through the fire and gives them a sip of the coffee or something? It’s so much cooler even in the book.

Micah: Does that happen in the first chapter with the Dursleys?

Eric: I think it’s when they’re first finding out about Aurors and Mad-Eye. At the Burrow, whoever is telling the Weasleys about Mad-Eye is given a biscuit or something extra from Molly. Listeners, correct me if I’m wrong.

Micah: The Other Minister is saying that she feeds someone toast.

Eric: Yeah, there you go. Well, Gary Oldman in this scene is all toast.

Andrew: [laughs] What would happen if you’d roasted marshmallows over top of him? Would it taste a little like him?

Eric: I wonder if he’d taste it.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: You’d stick it in his mouth. “Shut up, Sirius,” you stick the marshmallow down his mouth.

Micah: They did improve it for Order of the Phoenix, though, didn’t they?

Eric: Yeah, it’s more like your image, I think. I really do appreciate this moment in the book. There’s months of trying to catch up with Sirius and get one-on-one time with him, and it’s destroyed when Ron comes down and it feels like such a huge moment. They did it okay in the movie, but again, the buildup is great because Sirius is the only person Harry can confide in during this time. I don’t really think he spends a lot of time with Hermione.

Harry and Neville by the lake

Eric: Neville, you’re being interested in nature again.

Micah: I do love the Harry/Neville bonding.

Eric: Harry complains that Neville is excited about nature? That’s the bonding. This sells teenagers to me more than any other scene.

Laura: We’ve all had a moment like this, right?

Micah: I’m totally on Harry’s side here, though, because… yeah, see, she gets mad at Harry, but Harry’s not the one she should be getting mad at.

Eric: It’s nice that they brought Bonnie Wright along for this scene.

Laura: I know.

Eric: The idea that Hermione and Ron have replaced Harry in the trio by bringing Ginny in and Harry’s just found Neville. [laughs] Oh, the flower.

Laura: Ouch, Hagrid. Geez.

Eric: Man, what would this have been like if Charlie were here?

Andrew: [laughs] Little fun fact, when I was in TV tech, my TV tech teacher brought this up to me when he was talking about filming angles and whatnot, and you guys might know this, too, but I’ll just share it for the listeners. You’ll notice they always shoot Hagrid, and here with Madame Maxime, at a lower angle. And it’s always to make them look taller than they actually are. It just gives you the impression that they are taller than they actually are. And you’re also thinking about how you’re watching Hagrid from, really, a lot of the time, the trio’s point of view, who are, of course, significantly shorter.

Eric: The Discord really likes that fact, Andrew.

Andrew: Aww!

Eric: Yeah, it’s forced perspective. They do it in Lord of the Rings with Gandalf being so much taller than the Hobbits too.

Andrew: Right. Yeah, exactly.

Laura: I think they might have done some of those same angle tricks in some of these earlier movies because there was a period of time where Emma Watson was taller than Dan.

Eric: Yeah, they would have them stand on egg crates too. You can’t tell because it’s not a full body shot, but yeah.

Laura: I know, because girls can’t be taller than boys, even though at this age they usually are.

Eric: Yeah, except Ron is taller than anybody in the books.

Laura: Yeah. Not in the movies, though. Not movie Ron.

Andrew: Stephanie said, “Where’s Charlie? Yes. Hashtag where’s Charlie?

Eric: Charlie should be there subduing the dragon.

Eric: “Potter stinks.” Hey, listen, it’s just hygiene issues. There’s no bathrooms here. Come on, guys.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Aww, Hufflepuffs are dicks.

Andrew: And he is one, ladies and gentlemen.

Micah: Hope they enjoyed their two minutes of fame. And by that, I mean two seconds.

Eric: Yeah. I can appreciate that Cedric isn’t like the other Puffs, and he’s like, “You guys, come on.”

Micah: They’re friends; they went to the Quidditch World Cup together.

Andrew: Folks, there will be justice for Hufflepuffs in the TV show, I am confident.

Micah: They already got a whole movie series and they…

Andrew: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

Laura: Well, that wasn’t Hufflepuff’s fault.

Micah: That’s true.

Andrew: And the reason I say that is because the Internet society was definitely more critical of Hufflepuff back in the day. It was just the running joke. And it still is, to an extent, as Micah is illustrating here. But now people accept Hufflepuffs as cool. And of course, they’re right.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Sorry, the gin is starting to hit. I’ll be honest. You think about the merchandise you see in stores now. Remember when it used to only be Gryffindor merchandise? That was it.

Eric: And Slytherin.

Andrew: All fans of Harry Potter just want to be Gryffindor because that’s where he is.

Eric: Or their enemy.

Andrew: [laughs] Or their enemy, yeah. But these days, you really do see all four Houses represented, and that’s great. It took them way too long to realize people actually identify with other Houses and to profit off of that. But they are now, and that’s why I think in the Harry Potter TV show, you’re going to see a lot less Hufflepuff hate even though the books are guilty of it too, from time to time. We’ve been calling it out in Chapter by Chapter. That’s a marketing opportunity.

Eric: I think it’s such a balanced thing because the reason that the Hufflepuff… as long as they take time to explain exactly what you said – I think it was Micah – that two seconds of fame for their guy… they’re just feeling that if Harry did cheat, he did it and it undermines the glory that they would have had. So yeah, they’re awful to him, and it’s not forgivable, but it is at least understandable.

Micah: Part of it is, I think that it took them so long to get a visual representation of a Hufflepuff or a Ravenclaw, right? Because we don’t really see Hufflepuff fully represented until Cedric comes along. We don’t see Ravenclaw really fully represented. You can throw Cho in there, but it’s really Luna, right? So you’re talking about not just them coming along in the books, but coming along in the movies, and you don’t get that until the mid 2000s.

Eric: Yeah, that’s fair. And then most of the time when they do Ravenclaw merch, it’s still got a friggin Raven on it instead of an eagle.

Laura: Oh my God, tell me about it. Ticks me off.

Eric: Real Ravenclaws, that has to really piss off.

Laura: It’s very irritating.

Eric: That’s a cool prop, I’ll just say, the leg. That’s really cool.

Andrew: It is, yeah.

Micah: Just like Cormoran Strike.

Andrew: [laughs] He’s terrifying.

Eric: Oh, that sounded kind of like Brendan Gleeson in that trunk.

Micah: What a contrast this is from when Harry was in Lupin’s office just a year prior. [laughs] The dude’s taking off his leg.

Eric: Well, and then Umbridge in the next… this is the same office with all the kitten posters. It’s supposed to be. I really do appreciate this.

Laura: He’s like, “Don’t make me spell it out for you, man. What are you good at?”

Eric: “I need you to survive so that you can die.”

Andrew: Ohh.

Eric: Cool. It’s just cool. That’s just very cool.

The first task

Andrew: Here we go, the Quadwizard Tournament. Very exciting. One year only.

Eric: Why is the stadium so far away from Hogwarts?

Andrew: For real.

Eric: Who’s getting up there? I’m taking my broom to get to the broom stadium.

Andrew: How do the competitors get there? They have to hike up a mountain? And compete?

Eric: Listen, it’s the stairs. It’s all those stairs. They trained well.

Andrew: I always really liked this “Potter” jacket too. I feel like I had it at some point…

Eric: Out of the New York shop, they do that those custom jerseys now where you get your name printed on, and I wanted to get one. This is a good shot.

Andrew: God, I really do not intend to, but I think they sell this flight outfit at the Wizarding World parks, or they did for a time.

Eric: I appreciate the photographer character.

Andrew: Justice for him. I hope he makes it to the TV show.

Eric: Same actor.

Micah: There’s Krum’s one line of the entire movie.

Eric: I do appreciate that he sees her for what she is.

Micah: Well yeah, that’s the only time he says anything. [laughs]

Eric: “Did you sneak into this tent?”

Laura: He’s like, “Miss Granger, did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?”

Micah: Actually, there’s another great line coming from Barty Crouch, Sr.

Eric: Is it “Chinese fireball, oooh”?

Micah: It is, yeah.

Eric: I like the little puff of smoke that comes from the bag. That’s probably one of the coolest little effects.

Andrew: This is a fun little game scene exercise.

Eric: The dragon got an upgrade in the movie. In the book it’s the Common Welsh Green. There’s nothing common about this, we’re just going to call it Welsh Green.

Andrew: Do y’all ever think about how they’re going to have to redo all of this for the TV show?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: That’s why they can’t. They have to focus on the other stuff.

Andrew: This isn’t like… David Zaslav I think, or WB, was like, “This is a 10-year series.” No, this is 20 years. This is a 20-year series.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: We’re all going to be in our 50s by the time they finish.

Andrew: Yeah, some of these scenes will just… they could be an episode on their own. There’s just so much to explore.

Eric: All right, now the dragon has woken up from a deep slumber. Oh yeah, I should have started the timer for how long we see other people’s tasks. Zero seconds.

Micah: Is this the same tent they used at the beginning of the movie?

Andrew: You’re hellbent on these repurposed sets.

Micah: I’ve got to imagine, right? From the Quidditch World Cup?

Laura: Yeah. Hey, I mean, given how much they had to spend on special effects, they probably were re-using sets.

Micah: I would, yeah.

Eric: Not to plug the Caption Contest again, but there’s one where I superimposed the Mario brothers in this arena.

Micah: Super Smash?

Eric: The live action with Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo. It was really funny.

Micah: Did they repurpose the Quidditch World Cup for this scene? Or Quidditch?

Eric: The stands are reminiscent… oh, maybe.

Micah: From the first two films or three.

Andrew: That just reminded me we get a shirtless Harry scene in this movie.

Laura: Oh, that’s right.

Andrew: Which was a big deal to me at the time, and probably a lot of other people of course.

Micah: With a 40-year-old MILF next to him. We’ll talk about that.

Andrew: All right, I think we need to cut off Micah from the… are you still drinking, Micah?

Micah: No, I had like two sips.

Eric: We got another Maggie Smith gasping shot. Everybody’s little noisemakers and stuff is really cute.

Andrew: I wonder if they’ll do special episodes. You know how with Stranger Things there’s a 45-minute episode and then all of a sudden there’s an hour and 20 minute episode? I wonder if they’re going to do that with Harry Potter.

Eric: That’s a good point, not rope themselves into a minute count.

Andrew: Yeah, just like… only an hour per episode, sorry.

Eric: Yeah, if you look at even The Mandalorian, it’s doing anywhere from like a 35-minute episode to much longer. A lot of them are 50, but there have been short ones. Oh, and The Last of Us did that too. There was a really, really short episode. It’s because now that they don’t have commercial breaks in between the show, you don’t need to constrain it to fit the hour.

Micah: So I wasn’t a big fan of this scene; I don’t know how you all felt about it. Because this is not book canon.

Eric: Well, I can appreciate that the stakes seem high, and the view of the rooftop of Hogwarts is an area I would have always wanted to see, but logistically it’s a nightmare, right? Because it’s like, wouldn’t there be wizards whose job it is to go after the dragon? Like Charlie Weasley himself would be the one that has to like reign that guy in. I don’t know. This is just beyond the acceptable level of threat for Harry.

Micah: I mean, I understand why they did it for the purposes of a movie. It makes it way more exciting than what happens in the book.

Eric: I wish I could do this in Hogwarts Legacy.

Micah: Hey, you never know. There are dragons flying around.

Eric: I do really guy…

Laura: It’s giving Forbidden Journey.

Eric: I’m glad you pointed that out, Laura. It’s very much the same shot or same height.

Laura: See, this is how I know I’m an adult now, because I’m watching all of this damage be done to the shingles of Hogwarts castle, and being like, “Oh my god, how much it would cost to replace all of that…”

Micah: Well, Filch has to take care of it. I hope he likes heights.

Laura: [laughs] Probably. Man, Dumbledore did him dirty.

Micah: I guess there’s also the point if you went through the effort to create this dragon, then you need to do more than just have them square off in that little an arena.

Laura: True.

Micah: Oh, he’s going after the Elder Wand!

Laura: Wait, doos the dragon die in the movie? Do they kill off the dragon?

Eric: It was just trying to protect its baby. Dragon rights, y’all. Again, another boring task for everyone involved. Why is his broom steaming? Oh, I guess…

Laura: Because the dragon bit the end of it.

Eric: Right.

Laura: Wait, so the dragon just died? Is that what we’re supposed to think?

Eric: Yeah, and Harry got its baby.

Laura: That’s so messed up.

Eric: I appreciate that even the portraits are psyched right now.

Andrew: Yeah, I was just going to say that too. [laughs]

Micah: Kiss of the Irish.

Eric: This is very, like, Stanley Cup.

Laura: [laughs] I love the faces of these portraits.

Eric: Hogwarts is an auditory nightmare.

Micah: Dude, where were you? Bathroom?

Laura: He’s like, “Yeah, but man, you’re supposed to be my best mate. I don’t care what everyone else is doing.”

Yule Ball lead-up

Eric: I really appreciate the table placement settings. All the set dec.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Spit take!

Andrew: Another iconic moment. “How much toast is on those tables?” John says. Not enough! I love toast. [laughs] “Me, myself, and I,” Rita Skeeter.

Laura: I had forgotten about Nigel. [laughs]

Micah: Do they have cereal boxes on the tables at Hogwarts?

Eric: Yeah, that was in the Exhibition. Micah, for how often you’ve been to the Exhibition, I’m surprised you don’t know this. They did cereal boxes.

Andrew: That’s a sore subject for me because when I was very fortunate to go to the Order of the Phoenix or the Half-Blood Prince set… I think it was the Half-Blood Prince set. There were multiple requests from the press to be able to film – just interviews, I think – and record, and they said, “There are so many people wanting to bring their own devices, we will record and film things for you.” And we thought, “Okay, great, that’s way easier.” Well, so they record the interviews for us and it’s great. Then we go into the Great Hall, and they’re like, “You guys can film stand ups, these little introduction videos for your own websites.” And so they let me hold a box of that darn cereal!

Eric: Oh my… so you have a picture of that?

Andrew: No! Let me finish this story. So I do my stand up. It’s great. Melissa from Leaky does it, other press that were there do it. We’re all so excited, right? We have video of us on the set. So cool, an active set. Well, they never gave us the video. Who knows why? It’s probably sitting in an archive somewhere. But it bothered me for so many years that they would not give us the video of us on the set because we of course thought it was the coolest thing. That is going to be a pro-shot video of us on the set.

Eric: Andrew, just wait for the 30th anniversary. You’re going to see your stuff up there.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: You signed the release 18 years ago. Just wait.

Andrew: But that’s why the cereal is triggering, because… [laughs]

Eric: I think they’re Owl-O’s. I can look at it later, for Steph, because she was asking.

Micah: Well, you have other things from the set, don’t you?

Andrew: No comment.

Eric: Do you mean to tell me…? Andrew, after you made that huge kerfuffle about Michael Goldenberg being the director for Order of the Phoenix, they still invited you to the set for Movie 6?

Andrew: [laughs] I’m abstaining from this discussion right now.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I have no comment here. In fact, I didn’t even hear what you said. It broke up for me. But it’s fine, because we’re moving along.

Eric: They still invited you to Movie 6 after you screwed up on Michael Goldenberg coverage?

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, wasn’t that nice of them? Second chances. If they only knew what I did. I blew it again with them.

Micah: The eyes on that cat. And I’m talking about Mrs. Norris.

Eric: I’m dying at Micah’s clarification there.

Laura: Aw, Neville.

Micah: I will say, the score by Patrick Doyle is very well done.

Eric: Yeah, it’s probably the best score all-in. Between “Potter Waltz” and “Neville’s Waltz,” they’re really good.

Micah: Neville’s got shoes too.

Laura: I would totally go to the ball with Neville. He’s like, I think, the ideal date for the Yule Ball.

Micah: Oof, Ravenclaw looks rough.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: Like they’re going to bite his face off. No comment.

Laura: Wait, what? What happened here?

Micah: She ate something out of his beard.

Eric: You know, just like in the book?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Ooh, Krum. He may not say much in the movie, but his actions speak louder than words.

Eric: Krum never skips leg day.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Alan Rickman is such an icon.

Micah: It’s tough because Snape doesn’t really play much of a role at all in this movie. He is in one of the deleted scenes during the Yule Ball.

Laura: He’s got rizz.

Eric: What’s rizz?

Laura: Oh no, we have to have Chloé on. Eric, I’m giving you homework.

Eric: See, Snape… it just doesn’t make any sense. Drama. It always looks like he’s trying to shove their face into pie, but there’s no pie.

Laura: Harry and Ron needed chiropractic care after this year.

Eric: Pulverize me, Snape.

Andrew: Whoa, look at that circle of stones to the right. Did you see that? That’s in Hogwarts Legacy too.

Eric: Yeah, there’s a term for that. But they’re awesome. I really like those.

Andrew: “Stonehenge” is the term.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: Druid circle?

Eric: Yeah, Druid circle. Stonehenge is an example. Yeah, yeah, that’s exactly it, Micah.

Laura: No, they’re all Stonehenge.

Andrew: [laughs] I just call them all Stonehenge. Oh, look at Stonehedge! I didn’t realize that was here in America.

Eric: Oh, it’s totally a thing, though.

Andrew: Oh man. Too relatable, this scene.

Micah: “Sorry”? He said it very clearly.

Laura: Ugh, the secondhand embarrassment. Oh, the swell of heartbreak.

Eric: You know, Harry should just go back to that Druid circle and do a Merlin challenge. He’ll feel much better.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: I got a little tired of those in Hogwarts Legacy. They’re fun.

Eric: There were a lot of them.

Andrew: And I think they were going for what Zelda has with the Korok seeds, and so I liked it from that angle, but it was just more work than the Korok seeds in a lot of cases.

Eric: I just hated how it’s the only gateway to get enough pockets for your clothes. Like, you need to hit every one or you can’t carry a fifth hat.

The Yule Ball

Eric: Yeah, it’s fine. Just make Parvati and Padma in the same Hogwarts House. That’s cool.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: That’s okay, I think the biggest crime is about to be the outfits that they got put in for the Yule Ball. It’s been pretty notably chronicled online that people of Indian culture looked at that and said, “What the hell?”

Eric: Oh man. I’ve always liked Harry’s. You can get this outfit on Hogwarts Legacy, actually.

Andrew: Yeah, that was a nice touch.

Eric: That’s real fun. Because they’re from what, the 1880s or something? And that’s exactly when Legacy is set.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Oh, that’s perfect. I didn’t think about that. I just kind of considered it an Easter egg. But yeah, you’re right.

Eric: I think in the books Ginny is like, “They were last fashionable in the 1800s.” It’s a fun reference.

Andrew: I just feel terrible for Hermione. In this case four. Quadwizard.

Laura: [laughs] I love how casual she is about it.

Andrew: And she’s older! She’s repulsed!

Laura: She’s not that old.

Andrew: Yeah, “repulsed” was a strong word. Sorry, Ron. Everybody’s looking great. Wasn’t this always exciting in school?

Micah: Except Ron. I feel bad.

Andrew: Well, yeah. But it was always so exciting to see everybody dressed up in high school for prom.

Eric: I agree. Like, people that you know, who are only ever in regular school clothes, do it up a little? Yeah, I agree.

Andrew: Or even, honestly, weddings today. It’s like, “Aw, you guys really dressed up!”

Eric: I was about to say, “That’s childhood,” but yeah, that’s life.

Andrew: I’m just wearing gym shorts 99% of my life these days.

Eric: To weddings?

Andrew: [laughs] No, no, the 1% where I don’t is weddings. Every other time…

Eric: Well, now there’s stretchy formal wear. It’s like that business…

Andrew: Yeah, I’ve seen some of that.

Eric: Yeah, that stuff is great.

Andrew: It’s like the work from home type thing, too, like maybe you want to dress up a little bit, but yeah.

Laura: Andrew, if you want to wear basketball shorts to my wedding, that’s fine. I don’t care. Come as you are.

Andrew: Oh my god. Don’t say that, Laura.

Eric: I’ve always wanted a job where I could wear a suit every day. I think that would be cool.

Andrew: You want a job where you can wear a suit every day? Careful what you wish for.

Eric: I always did.

Andrew: Ask Micah what that… well, you don’t wear a suit. But I think people would disagree with you there.

Eric: I’m sure it would get old fast, but I’ve never had it, so that’s why I want it.

Andrew: It’s like me saying like, “I love work from home!” But, and I have said this before, “But I want to go to an office.” Meanwhile, Laura and Micah are like, “You’re insane.” [laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: I just want to see people.

Micah: You can come to my office and work if you want.

Eric: It’s always fun at Micah’s office. He gets us little passes.

Andrew: [laughs] For you, Micah?

Micah: Yeah, for me. You know, we were talking about Patrick Doyle earlier. I would say next to “Hedwig’s Theme,” this is probably the most notable score in the Harry Potter franchise.

Andrew: I would agree with that.

Eric: Although, wait, because Nicolas Hooper comes in with a lead pipe in the next one for the Room of Requirement and the Umbridge theme. Those are actually more widely used at the theme park and stuff.

Micah: What’s with the ferret?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Because it’s fun.

Micah: He transformed Draco back.

Eric: Well, no, then he redid it. Draco is now having lap time.

Micah: Yeah, because we don’t see Draco in this scene.

Eric: No, Draco’s not here.

Micah: It’s a good point.

Laura: So I just want to…

Andrew: Oh! Are you going to ask about the song?

Laura: I want to call… oh, well, we can talk about that in a second. I just want to give props to the chat because people have started calling Karkaroff “Rasputin.” [laughs]

Micah: He is. I mean, basically.

Laura: And the thing is, I was thinking the same thing when I saw him at first, and then I look over at the chat, and I see Casey being like, “Rasputin is back.” [laughs]

Micah: I wouldn’t be very surprised.

Andrew: I’m sorry, I don’t find that very funny.

Laura: You don’t?

Andrew: Go ahead, guys. Go ahead.

Micah: No, I was just going to say, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rasputin inspired his character.

Laura: Oh, yeah, I agree.

Andrew: Okay, I love this song and I’m not apologizing. “Can You Dance Like a Hippogriff,” I’m referring to it, in case it’s not clear for the listeners.

Laura: Listen, we danced to this song at one of the Yule Balls. I was very, uh…

Andrew: [laughs] Excited.

Laura: Inebriated.

Andrew: Okay. It’s a good song. We didn’t get enough original songs, outside of the score. We didn’t get enough original songs. We didn’t get any, really, besides this one.

Eric: Well, unless you bought the soundtrack. You can’t really hear it. I never learned this song or the lyrics.

Andrew: It’s catchy. It’s upbeat. It’s rock! They put it in a Harry Potter movie! I mean, I guess I came to like any non-score song from the Harry Potter movies, like the Deathly Hallows one.

Eric: Yeah, I was going to say, brackets now. Is this better than “O Children”? Or does “Dance Like a Hippogriff”…?

Andrew: Well, they’re very different, right? I’m not playing “O Children” at a dance, but I am playing “Can You Dance Like a Hippogriff.”

Eric: Fair enough.

Andrew: Man, this was all too real with all the dance drama and being hung up.

Laura: Mmhmm. They actually captured that very well because thinking back on high school dances, there was always drama like this. Somebody was always up in some drama.

Andrew: John C. listening live says “O Children” is better. I respect that choice. I remember when that song came out with the movie, I was very into it. I think I bought it on iTunes at the time.

Micah: “They get scary when they get older.” [laughs] That’s such a parent thing to say.

Laura: Yeah, the gaslighting in this moment is…

Micah: Go Neville.

Laura: … very relatable, as someone who experienced being a teenage girl

Micah: Ooh, Hagrid trying to cop a feel.

Eric: “Hagrid, my eyes are up here. No, higher. No, higher.”

Micah: Oh, graveyard time.

Laura: Yeah, they’re like, “Well-mannered frivolity over.”

Micah: Well, they also cut the other scene, as I was mentioning, that Snape was in because he goes into all the carriages to break up all the make-out seshes.

Laura: He would. He’s just salty because he never had a make-out sesh.

Eric: Too soon. “Are you the ghost of Christmases yet to come?” And now, audience, remember there were these two men.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Once upon a time…

Laura: Oh hey, that’s like the thing that was in the sky.

Eric: I have a temporary tattoo of those. So cool.

Micah: Quick, go make sure Mad-Eye is in his bed at Hogwarts.

Eric: The sweat glistening off of his cheek. Real cool. Shiny shoes.

Micah: “Yeah, when I was making out with your future wife.”

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Aww, Neville. See, optimal date for the Yule Ball.

Eric: More girls got to get on that.

Egg clue

Andrew: This bridge gets a lot of airtime in the movies, doesn’t it? It’s on the Studio Tour, too, which is cool.

Eric: Yeah. I like it.

Micah: It gets serious airtime in Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

Andrew: [laughs] Yikes. Wait, what are you referring to? It being blown up?

Micah: Yeah. Boom.

Andrew: Wow. No, but you’re right. [laughs]

Eric: And the LEGO games.

Andrew: Laura, did you ever play the LEGO games? I know Micah and Eric are huge fans.

Laura: Oh yeah. Yeah, I did.

Andrew: I couldn’t get into them.

Micah: Andrew, get ready.

Eric: Try again. They sell them for like six bucks on PlayStation Network.

Andrew: Oh, I know. I own them. I just… ugh.

Eric: Yeah, you need to be in the right mind space. The parody is really, really good. Or like, fun commentary. When you’re playing, you can tell that the people that loved the stories made them.

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: But there are years that go by that I don’t play a LEGO game because it is a very specific humor that you have to be in the mood for.

Laura: The way he delivers this is so weird.

Eric: It’s good. I love that he’s awkward, that he’s allowed to be the school champion on the one hand, and a really awkward person on the other. I appreciate it. It’s like, “Potter, remember those Potter Stinks badges?”

Andrew: Oh, this is the scene you were referring to. [laughs] I was like, “Wait, what am I…?” Yeah, this was a big deal. Shirtless Harry Potter, hello. I don’t care who you are.

Eric: That mermaid is ripped.

Andrew: Speaking of ripped, let’s return our attention to Harry Potter.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Did this bring about any kind of awakening for anybody in 2005?

Andrew: [fake coughs] No, no, no…

Eric: I was just polling the audience.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Laura: He wasn’t singling you out, Andrew. He just wanted to know.

Andrew: I’m just playing.

Eric: I said anybody! I literally want to know, anybody.

Andrew: Was it an awakening moment for me? I honestly can’t remember. Did I enjoy it? Of course.

Micah: Clearly Myrtle is enjoying herself.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, me and Myrtle. Myrtle more than me.

Micah: And the reason why I brought up what I did earlier on is because… and I think Shirley Henderson has spoken about this, but she’s 57 years old now, which means how old was she when she did this scene with Daniel Radcliffe?

Andrew: Probably about 20 years ago.

Eric: Yeah, 39 and he was 14?

Micah: Yeah, so…

Eric: Still, you can’t tell.

Micah: No, you can’t, but it’s slightly awkward. [laughs]

Eric: I do like… okay, it is awkward. I really don’t think Myrtle is that flirty in the books. Is she?

Laura: I think they definitely vamped it up for the movie to make it more awkward.

Andrew: Yeah, and entertaining. It’s just entertaining.

Eric: They have a lovely singing voice.

Micah: And I don’t think they give the full clue here.

Laura: No, they don’t.

Micah: And Harry immediately makes a connection that makes no sense at all.

Eric: “Are there mermaids in the lake?” Well, if you can’t have house-elves, at least you get Moaning Myrtle. The little bubbles. That’s really funny.

Micah: I mean, she says, “Almost all of Cedric’s bubbles were gone,” and then she looks down in the water.

Laura: I think that was from the book, actually. She did say that.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Really? That’s what gave it its PG-13 rating.

Laura: Yeah. [laughs]

Eric: Some frightening imagery and a lack of bubbles.

Laura: I just want to know, did they provide an intimacy coordinator for this scene?

Eric: Was there a safe word?

The second task

Eric: Professor McGonagall is going to kidnap you. You’re always talking about nature, Neville. You suck.

Laura: As a matter of fact…

Eric: A book that thick, you know there’s a way to do that.

Micah: I just don’t like how they cut Dobby out, but I know house-elves are expensive.

Andrew: Just wait for the TV show.

Eric: It was his agent. His agent suggested that he renegotiate his contract and it all went to hell after that.

Andrew: Ahh, too much. It was too much.

Eric: He was too big for his britches.

Micah: I mean, it does build a stronger bond between Harry and Neville for Neville to provide the Gillyweed.

Eric: Yeah, the closeness between Harry and Neville in this is really apt considering their comparisons later. This is probably the best Matt Lewis movie besides Deathly Hallows, ff course. Of sorts. A living, breathing human!

Laura: What is everyone’s favorite task?

Eric: Book or movie?

Laura: Let’s say book.

Andrew: As somebody who has never loved the water levels in Mario, I’m going to say first of all, this one’s off the table. I think the dragon one, actually, for me.

Eric: It’s creepy, it’s dank. Yeah, I agree, not this one. Isn’t the dance called the unexpected task? The Yule Ball is a fourth task, basically.

Laura: Oh, yeah.

Eric: Then I would cheat and say the Yule Ball. But otherwise, it’s probably the first one. I never understood the sphinx riddle. Meg had to explain it to me like 15 years later.

Micah: In the book, I like the maze. In the movie, I actually like this task, because I don’t like the dragon chase scene, and I don’t like how the maze is done in the movie. It just lacks everything that’s in the book.

Eric: This looks cool.

Micah: This takes you to a new place you’ve never been before.

Eric: That’s true. And it’s right in your own backyard.

Micah: They could have thrown the squid in.

Eric: Yeah, the squid should be here.

Laura: I do feel like I… and we’ll see about this when we read the book. I feel like I remember the second task being my favorite, so we’ll see if that still holds true.

Eric: I’d be interested. I just can’t get over whether they were really in danger or not. We’re told that the champions are in danger; that’s why they age restricted it this time. But it seems really weird to take Ron, Hermione… just because Hermione is Viktor’s Yule Ball date, she then is the person that he has to save? And if he were to get caught or captured, what happens to her? Anyway, stuff lurking in kelp is scary.

Laura: Yeah, I think that they explained that in the book at the very least.

Eric: I don’t think they do.

Laura: They’re like, “Did you really think Dumbledore would actually let anything happen to them?” Because of Harry’s panic and feeling like he needs to save Ron and Fleur’s little sister.

Eric: Well, it’s an open question because Dumbledore isn’t like, “Yeah, Harry, you’re safe. I never would have…” Dumbledore did a lot worse.

Laura: That’s very true. He’s like, “More pigs for slaughter.”

Micah: Now I’m going to ask another question: Is that repurposed for the veil?

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Oh my God, stop reaching. Officially reaching.

Eric: I love this thread. Is this repurposed for the Newt scene in the second Fantastic Beasts where he’s in the basement with the kelpie?

Micah: Hmm, probably.

Eric: Or is that the third film? Hey, look, they’re…

Laura: Oh man.

Andrew: This always got me.

Eric: How are they breathing?

Andrew: This is so mean and unfair. I don’t like this one bit.

Laura: I just am struck by how bad these models are.

Andrew: But Laura, it’s deep underwater and they’re passed out. That’s why they look that way.

Eric: Madame Tussaud’s was busy.

Andrew: [laughs] Madame Tussaud’s was busy. I do know what you mean, though. They do look very waxy. And I guess it’s like, why? Why do they look that way? Maybe it was intentional, just to make them look passed out or whatever this is?

Laura: But look at Cedric pulling Cho. Watch this move. It’s so bad.

Micah: Yeah, make sure her head doesn’t fall off.

Laura: They’re like, “Nope.”

Eric: What the hell is her deal? Uh-oh, what don’t they like? Go Krum. Man, it’s a good thing Hermione is not conscious for this. “The time must come where you can choose to do the right thing or the easy thing.” She’s like, “Why am I wet?”

Laura: Yeah, why is she waving? [laughs]

Eric: You know, if somebody waves at you, you wave back. It’s just courtesy. That CGI effect doesn’t get enough praise. I think it’s really cool where his head turns back.

Micah: I’m telling you, that’s the veil. See, Lupin should have thrown a few of these in his tank when he walked out at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban.

Eric: Yeah, what are they?

Micah: They’re grindylows.

Eric: I thought the grindylows have a long, spindly hand that you break. These are those alien creatures from Men in Black. Poor Harry.

Laura: He’s like, “Perfect.”

Eric: “I still want to know if you put your name in the Goblet…”

[Laura laughs]

Eric: That’s a fun moment. Guess they were grindylows. “We have some last-minute points.”

Laura: Get ready for some favoritism, y’all.

Andrew: Yay, second place! Runner-up!

Eric: First is the worst, second is the best.

Laura: What was up with Nigel?

Eric: Isn’t he a stand-in for the Creevey brothers? But why would they not just have the Creevey brothers?

Laura: Just have someone they had already cast? Yeah. Well, you could say that about other characters in this movie.

Eric: Was the Creevey kid doing Spiderwick or something? Yeah, I don’t know.

Laura: Was that him?

Eric: I don’t know.

Micah: Feels like such a disservice to not learn this story in full.

Eric: I mean, it is a really cool part of the book that we’ll definitely spend time on in the show.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Laura: He’s just like, “Son?”

Eric: “My son used to lick his lip like that.”

Laura: He pulls an Amos and he’s like, “That’s my boy!”

Eric: Oh man. Too soon.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Too soon, Laura, yes. Too soon.

Laura: It hasn’t even happened yet!

Andrew: Yeah, it’s too soon! Exactly! We’re like, 40 minutes away from that probably.

Eric: What about the Marauders, Hagrid?

Micah: Ruh-roh.

Eric: What a way to go in the book.

Micah: This just feels too on the nose after what just happened.

Laura: Yeah, I mean… it’s not the only time in the movies that they make it fairly obvious who the bad guy is.

Eric: I mean, did you catch the lightning when he first walked in?

[Laura laughs]

The Pensieve

Eric: Oh, there was some real fire there.

Micah: There’s about to be a cat fight.

Eric: That was well-synced, the door opening to Harry’s hand.

Micah: Well, it’s good to see Fawkes again.

Eric: Oh shit.

Andrew: That bowl is, let’s say, one short because of a certain somebody.

Laura: Oh, yeah?

Eric: Are they really sharp-looking?

Andrew: Why are you asking me that?

Eric: Did you ever…?

Andrew: No. [laughs]

Laura: I was going to say, it sounded like you were implying that you took something.

Andrew: No, no, definitely not. No way.

Micah: Harry does. He drops some.

Eric: They all look CGI. They don’t look like they’ve ever existed.

Andrew: If they felt wooden, I wouldn’t know. I’m just looking at it.

Eric: Okay. That’s a fascinating conjecture.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: I don’t know how it feels in your pocket either, but I would assume it’s pretty pocketable, just looking at it.

Eric: I love everything about this whole conversation.

Andrew: This movie is very blue. The Pensieve, the Goblet…

Eric: I did notice that, yeah.

Andrew: Even the start of it was giving blue.

Laura: Yeah, I mean, even if you look at all the marketing for this movie, everything is blue and gray tones.

Andrew: Do you all remember the comma drama? Which rhymes, but…

Eric: Yusuf Kama?

Andrew: No, no, remember there was a poster that was like, “It is our…” No, what was the poster? There was a poster for Goblet of Fire, and there was a tagline, and all of us, MuggleNet, Leaky, being readers, book nerds, grammatical hawks, we were like, “That poster is missing a comma.”

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Goblet of Fire poster. Let me see if I can find it. Already, not the same poster. But yeah, trust me. There was drama. There was drama.

Laura: I mean, that definitely sounds like something we would have done.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: This set decoration is really cool. That’s a hint.

Andrew: Stephanie is asking, “Is this set repurposed in Order of the Phoenix?” Micah, your thoughts, please?

Laura: Probably.

Micah: Believe so, for Harry’s trial.

Andrew: I think that’s spot on, yeah.

Micah: He’s like, “I saved the best for last, bitch.”

Laura: “I’ve got the mic drop.”

Eric: I met him. Good guy.

Laura: [laughs] Rita’s face. Yeah, I feel like you do see the actor playing Barty Crouch, Sr., you do see a switch here in the way he portrays the character.

Micah: There’s the tongue, so if you don’t know now…

Laura: I know. They’re like, “Just in case you didn’t notice that weird thing.”

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: If you took 40 bathroom breaks. Why does he look like he’s about to pass out? What’s wrong with Dumbledore here?

Eric: There’s so much wrong with Dumbledore here.

Micah: Or he’s constipated?

Eric: It’s too many licorice snaps.

Andrew: Oh, here we go again. Didn’t we just have a conversation? I’m just kidding.

Micah: About what?

Andrew: About Dumbledore. I mean, not tonight.

Micah: There’s the Deathly Hallows.

Andrew: I know we’ve spoken about this until we’ve been blue in the face – pun not intended with how blue this movie is – but I really do love Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore. Sorry.

Laura: Same. I’m right there with you, Andrew. I do not stand for this Michael Gambon slander.

Eric: It’s awful. It’s really bad.

Andrew: No, Eric, you, I think, have been really critical. Haven’t you?

Eric: In 6, he gets it. Movie 6.

Andrew: Oh, but this movie you don’t like?

Eric: No, no. Movie 6 it finally clicks for me and it clicks hard. It really clicks hard. I love him in Movie 6. But before then, no, absolutely not. He gets the worst direction. He doesn’t have a clue. It doesn’t work.

Andrew: Well, okay, so I’m willing to meet you there with Goblet of Fire because like I mentioned earlier, I’m like, “No.” From what we heard, I think not the favorite director.

Eric: The line delivery, like, “Don’t you all have studying to do?” in Movie 5. It’s like, “What? What? Who is he and why is he asking that?”

Andrew: That’s too much, yes. But shouldn’t you blame the screenwriters for that? Yes. Basically what we just said. I don’t think we can blame Mr. Gambon.

Eric: Well, that’s true of any performance, right? These are the shots that they kept. These are the directions that they were given. But no, I mean, because isn’t the question, “Don’t you love Michael Gambon as Dumbledore here?” Also a question about the writing, the directing, the sound that’s going on? So I answered the question.

Micah: Totally. The challenge is, though, that in Richard Harris, you’re dealing with somebody who read the books and took the part for his granddaughter. Michael Gambon, I’m not sure why he took the role but he was very clear that he never read the books. I think that factors in. You don’t get a true sense of Dumbledore by not reading the books.

Eric: I do love this little repurposed Ollivander set in the background that ended up becoming…

Andrew: I was not expecting this commentary to be so heavy on the repurposed set discussions. I think it’s right, I just wasn’t expecting it.

Eric: Look, it’s the same ladder!

Andrew: “The same ladder.”

Eric: [laughs] “I wonder when I’d be seeing you, Mr. Potter.”

Andrew: What exhibition is that a part of now, I wonder?

Eric: I do think that Goblet of Fire is when Alan Rickman looked the best as Snape.

Andrew: Interesting.

Eric: For some reason, something about the uniform and the little white sticking out of the sleeves.

Andrew: And the hair? The hair is a little different.

Eric: The hair and the face. It’s not too wrinkled. He ages a little bit from this point forward, but I think this is the best he’s looked.

Andrew: Of course, I feel like by the end of the series, and I’d have to look at side-by-side photos, but I do feel like Snape’s hair gets a little longer over time. Maybe a little more disheveled? Even looking at him now, it’s ever so slightly… it needs a comb.

The third task

Micah: Uh-oh, here we go.

Eric: Whose boy?

Andrew: Ugh, I’m not ready for this. I need to use the bathroom. Maybe I’ll use it during the “My boy.”

Laura: No.

Andrew: No?

Laura: Oh, look at Amos. He’s so proud.

Eric: He’s championing his son.

Andrew: He’s so excited. Nothing’s going to go wrong.

Eric: They’re doing the Macarena.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: When should I use the bathroom? Y’all tell me when I should use the bathroom.

Eric: Go now.

Andrew: Go now?

Eric: Yeah, you’re not missing anything with the maze. Go now.

Laura: Yeah, nothing happens in the maze, actually. Have y’all seen the meme-ification of the Hogwarts band and this song?

Eric: No.

Laura: So on TikTok it became a trend where people talk about some traumatic event happening, like “Finding out that such-and-such person I really love died,” and then it was like the Hogwarts band just comes on.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: “Now remember, boys, if the cup turns out to be a Portkey, send sparks.” Using that well-known spell. Look at the art in the background, the emblems for Ministry of Magic.

Andrew: I’m back. I’m ready for heartbreak.

Eric: “People change in the maze. When roots spring up and grab you, you become a different person.”

Laura: He’s talking like they’re going out on a nine-month wilderness expedition.

Eric: Oh yeah, they’re going to be done in 20 minutes.

Andrew: You might even even become a vampire.

Eric: You might be naked and afraid.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: And yes, Legalize Gillyweed, the spectators did just sit in the stands a whole time. I think we’ll talk about this when we read the book, but like, what were they doing? They just sit there and stare at the maze?

Andrew: Even this terrifies me. The joy of the outside, the start, to the depths of the maze. Just such a beautiful juxtaposition.

Laura: I like how Dumbledore is like, “That’s a little sus, but…”

Andrew: [laughs] “Eh, Voldemort might be in there somewhere, a bad Portkey, whatever.”

Micah: Look, it’s the repurposed entryway to Malfoy Manor.

Laura: [laughs] Andrew is going to kick Micah off the stream.

Andrew: Nothing can stop me now because pizza just arrived for me. I’m eating for the main event.

Eric: Oh, man. What kind of pizza?

Micah: Shirtless DanRad and pizza. You’re all set for the night.

Laura: How can you eat pizza at a time like this?

Andrew: Domino’s handmade pan, the only way to eat Domino’s. Whoa, way too much pepperoni.

Eric: What are the toppings?

Andrew: Just pep. I’m just a pep guy.

Eric: That’s cool. I respect that. Elegance in simplicity. I did a home video of the maze scene with some neighbor kids and I had this shirt.

Andrew: I feel like this one, too, is at the Wizarding World park.

Micah: We did the maze at Magic at Play.

Eric: You guys ever search for Christmas trees and you feel like that? They’re everywhere. They’re all around you. How are you going to pick the right one? That’s me every December.

Laura: We have a fake tree, so I don’t get that experience. I’m allergic, unfortunately.

Eric: How can you be allergic to Christmas?

Andrew: Don’t you like joy?

Laura: No.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: No, actually, Christmas is my second favorite holiday. Halloween is number one.

Andrew: Wait, wait. I think – if I may speak for you, Laura – Laura’s birthday is very close to Christmas. Is that why you don’t like Christmas? Because it takes away from the real…?

Laura: [laughs] I mean, it does take away from my birthday for real, my entire life. But no, I mean, I actually really like Christmas, but I like Halloween just a little bit more.

Eric: Do you already know what you’re doing this Halloween?

Laura: No, isn’t it on a Tuesday or something lame this year?

Andrew: It is.

Eric: Yeah, well, usually the weekend before would be the weekend where everyone goes to parties.

Laura: Yeah, we might be going to visit some friends, but I don’t know.

Eric: I love the idea where it’s like, if it’s a Tuesday, Laura just doesn’t celebrate her favorite holiday.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Well, what I mean is…

Andrew: She celebrates it once every six years.

Eric: Yeah, six out of every eight years she just sits home.

Laura: Well, okay, nobody’s work closes for Halloween, unfortunately.

Eric: No, it sucks. I’m working Halloween. It’s awful. Not looking forward to it.

Laura: I should take off on Halloween. Screw it.

Eric: You should, just to stick it to them.

Andrew: Okay, you heard it here first, folks. Laura will not be working on Halloween.

Eric: That’s Fleur being repurposed. That is insane.

Andrew: I mean, you’re off work by the time Halloween, the real fun begins. Right? So I would take off November 1, I think, and then party.

Laura: Yeah, that’s true. And then you do Day of the Dead on November 1, a two-day celebration.

Eric: Who’s collecting the people?

Micah: Well, and since Harry did that, shouldn’t Harry be the one taken out?

Eric: Well, isn’t it just now they know where to find her decomposing body?

Micah: I guess?

Eric: This reminds me of the mazes in Link, in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom with the wind tunnel going through the labyrinth. Except you don’t have that boss-ass music.

Micah: What’s interesting is we see all three of the Unforgivables in a very short window here.

Eric: That’s fun.

Micah: Because we presume Krum is under are the Imperius Curse, right?

Eric: Yes, except in this movie it’s showcased as glossy eyes, which they should have carried over to later.

Micah: But we also see the Cruciatus Curse coming up…

Eric: And the death curse.

Micah: … as well as Avada Kedavra. Yeah, should’ve let him stay there.

Eric: Yeah, would have saved his life to be a little selfish.

Laura: Yeah, you would’ve come in real clutch there, Harry. You go die, but no, you’re all noble and stuff…

Eric: “Harry! This adaptation really sucks!” The vines. Well, lucky he didn’t Cedric with that… “Harry, the plot’s got me.” That’s a great moment of truth there. Honesty. That’s very Harry, actually. I really like that. Oh no, the maze is back. The good news is I like all of the other movies that came after this much better.

Andrew: Only up from here.

The graveyard

Eric: That said, everything from this point forward is awesome. Voldemort’s return could have been so many things, and they had to get it right and they do. It’s just so tingly.

Laura: Tingly, huh?

Eric: Yeah. You tingling yet?

Laura: Not yet.

Eric: Wait for it. No like, Ralph Fiennes coming into the role, having just been given a body. It’s real cool.

Andrew: New body, new me.

Laura: Yeah, he’s good. I will say I felt… and we’ll see how I feel when we watch the scene. I felt like he leaned a little bit too much into the snake motif.

Eric: Somebody had to.

Laura: Like, I get it, but it just felt a little cartoony.

Andrew: Well, some of us are very comfortable channeling a snake.

Laura: What do you say, Andrew?

Andrew: Some of us are very comfortable channeling a snake. That’s just the area we like to work through as actors.

Laura: [laughs] I see.

Andrew: Update, I wolfed down three pieces of Domino’s handmade pan pepperoni and I’m full.

Laura: Did you unhinge your jaw like a snake to do it?

Andrew: Basically. Yeah, that was me putting the first slice in. I was really going down on it.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Sorry, we’re missing critical scenes right now.

Laura: This is supposed to be a family friendly commentary.

Andrew: There was nothing wrong about what I said.

Laura: No, no, not at all.

Micah: How is that unwillingly given?

Eric: Well, he’s dead. He can’t consent.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Not just flesh. He put a little bone in there too.

Laura: You know how much force it would take to cut off your own hand?

Eric: Not with a really sharp knife

Micah: I mean, let’s be real, what he honestly needs is a nose, not a hand.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: Yeah, the way that’s shot is pretty cool.

Laura: This is all because you let him get away last year, Harry.

Eric: Yeah, doesn’t that feel great, Harry?

Laura: He’s sitting there right now being like, “Dumbledore said that letting Pettigrew go will have made all the difference!”

Andrew: Right? Harry is too good.

Eric: I love how Voldemort is 20% cauldron right now, because the cauldron disappeared too.

Laura: I do like how it’s giving him robes, so he’s not nakey.

Eric: Yeah, otherwise a Death Eater would have to do it. They’d have to be like, [whispers] “My Lord, you’re nakey.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Specifically using the word “nakey” too.

Eric: It’s real good.

Laura: Oh, Micah, Cassie is calling out that that was recycled CGI.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Ain’t that the truth.

Laura: Looks like Lupin’s wolf.

Andrew: Well, and honestly little baby Voldemort, it looks just like him in Deathly Hallows.

Micah: Well, actually, the transformation of Krum from the shark back into Krum was reminiscent of Lupin transforming to a werewolf.

Andrew: Oh, I thought you were going to say Sharkboy and Lavagirl, the movie.

Eric: There’s no way that Ollivander gave that bone wand to 11-year-old Tom Riddle. There’s no way.

Micah: Ralph Fiennes is so scary.

Laura: He needs to get his nails did, that’s…

Micah: Which one?

Laura: Well, both of them…

Micah: Both? They could go together?

Laura: [laughs] I was thinking about Voldemort. Yikes.

Eric: Why can everybody fly?

Laura: I liked the way they did the costumes for the Death Eaters in this movie. They changed them, didn’t they?

Eric: Well, the pointed hoods never come back.

Laura: Yeah, they were like, “Oh, it’s a little too KKK, I guess.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: I was just thinking that too. It is always interesting to see how things evolve in the series, like these costumes. I’m trying to think of other examples. There’s definitely been others. Obviously Hogwarts, but… I don’t know.

Laura: He’s like, “How do you know? You were out in the forests of Albania, man.”

Eric: Tell him about the diary, Lucius. Man, Wormtail gets no love.

Laura: He looks so happy right now. Voldemort is like, stroking his hair.

Micah: There’s your manicure, Laura.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Metal manicure. Touches him with his foot, I love it.

Laura: Eww, and look, he needs a pedicure too!

Eric: I love it so much. I just picture that scene from Dumb and Dumber where they use a saw to give them pedicures, like a grinder.

Laura: He needs one.

Eric: Voldemort looks so fresh.

Laura: I know, he gets rougher over the course of the movies, which makes sense.

Eric: He’s not even that pale, but it looks like new skin in the moonlight. Maybe it’s that translucent quality, sore so than a white pigment.

Laura: Yeah, I think that he also just gets more haggard-looking over the next few movies.

Eric: I agree. He definitely looks like Hagrid.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: They’re both screaming. He just kissed his own Horcrux.

Andrew: [laughs] Kissed his own Horcrux.

Eric: By a bumbling idiot. Now, this is straight from the book, forcing him to bow. That’s why this scene…

Andrew: Isn’t it so exciting whenever there’s something straight from the book? It’s like, “Yes! Yes! They did the thing!”

Eric: Yeah, it’s so rare in this movie, but they couldn’t skip this. This is why this scene works, it’s so close to the book.

Andrew: I do love the goblet glowing in the background the whole time too. I think I maybe mentioned this on air before or after recording, I had the Goblet of Fire from the noble collection. I don’t know where it is. I wanted to take my shot out of that, but I just couldn’t find it. That would have been cool. Maybe I sold it on eBay. I don’t know.

Micah: I forgot about all these close-up shots of Voldemort. They are really good. And to the point you were talking about before, that gleam?

Eric: Yeah, Ralph Fiennes is good consistently the whole series, but I think there’s something very special about now. This is the man that these Death Eaters are all familiar with. But Harry isn’t. And it’s also strong from a Harry perspective. This isn’t just him having things happen to him. He’s choosing. I hate how every spell became this way, though.

Laura: This is one of my biggest pet peeves. They turned everything into Priori Incantatem.

Eric: It only happens once.

Andrew: I totally agree with what you’re both saying, but it is cinematic.

Laura: And that’s why they stuck with it.

Eric: I appreciate it’s like molten lava-ey.

Andrew: And I guess… [sighs] Did they need to do it as many times as they ended up doing it? No, but I’m just thinking about the average person seeing this movie, not reading Harry Potter.

Laura: For someone who’s not a book reader, yeah.

Andrew: It’s almost like a car race. Like, who’s going to get there first? Who’s going to get to the other end first?

Eric: I can appreciate that when this first started happening, you see Voldemort look up kind of like, “What? What’s going on?”

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: James? “Dad?”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: “My boy!”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: “I’m his boy.”

Micah: Frank doesn’t get any lines?

Andrew: He’s Frank.

Micah: Frank Bryce.

Eric: Yeah, no, nothing.

Andrew: No, I said, “He’s Frank.” He’s just Frank. That’s why he’s not getting any lines.

Laura: He’s just chilling. Is he a Ken?

Andrew: [laughs] He’s Ken, yeah.

Eric: I think in the book Frank Bryce is like, “He was a wizard, that man,” or something?

Laura: I do love that whole “No!” Yeah, see, the Hogwarts band is unhinged. How do you not see that there’s a literal corpse?

Eric: Could be sleeping.

Andrew: Maybe he’s just exhausted. Yeah, like, “Whoa, can’t believe that just happened.” This is like… I mean, shocker. This is just such a horrible scene in a good way.

Eric: All right, I’m going to try and listen to it and not turn away.

Andrew: I need to use the bathroom again. Just kidding.

Eric: Not yet. Okay, right now, Harry, court martial. How did he ask you to bring his body back if he was already dead?

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Fudge actually a man of action there in that moment. The damage is done.

Micah: Classic politician.

Andrew: Everybody sit down. I’m so glad this was all revisited in Cursed Child.

Eric: Yeah, they picked the absolute…

Laura: I mean, I have to say right now, I feel bad about making that joke earlier now.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Laura, it was perfect. It was perfect.

Laura: I agree. I still feel bad about it, though. I wouldn’t change it.

Eric: Okay, let’s be clear. Yeah, all right.

Andrew: I would.

Moody’s office

Eric: “Professor, do you think I might get my arm looked at?”

Micah: It’s also very strange that he just doesn’t take Harry somewhere else.

Eric: Well, isn’t that what tips Dumbledore off? Because real Moody never would have separated him like that. “Careful, Professor, the last time somebody tried to fix my arm…”

Laura: And it was the Defense Against the Dark teacher too.

Andrew: This is all very triggering for him.

Eric: Somebody forgot his potion just like somebody forgot the full moon.

Andrew: Not again!

Laura: Sensing a trend here.

Eric: At least they have the consistency between the Polyjuice being the bubbling of the skin that goes back. That effect, while off-putting, remains consistent. The eye pops out soon.

Andrew: So creepy how interested he is in the details.

Eric: “Neville Longbottom, the witless wonder.”

Andrew: He did a good Hagrid impression. You’ve got to give him that.

Laura: Oh, this is an incredible performance.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, I’m talking about the character jokingly.

Laura: Oh yeah, but I just mean, even thinking about the very short snippet we get of him in the courtroom scene, he’s playing Moody completely differently in that scene, which is another tip off that Moody is not Moody. Did he just lick it?

Micah: Probably, yeah.

Laura: Gross.

Andrew: My movie has just become increasingly out of sync with y’all.

Laura: Really?

Andrew: I didn’t pause it or anything but I’m a little behind. The lick happened like five seconds after you guys. Darn digital edition.

Eric: It’s a frame rate thing. I’ve never understood how that happens exactly, but it’s weird.

Andrew: Well, this is too nerdy, but there’s 29.97 and then there’s something else, and… blah, blah, blah.

Eric: The Veritaserum really went straight down the hatch there. This is a cool thing.

Micah: I loved how they stopped to get Veritaserum before they came to rescue Harry.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Maybe Snape has just been carrying it around this whole time.

Eric: Didn’t he threaten Harry with it?

Andrew: I mean, would you put that past him?

Eric: There’s just normal Brendan Gleeson! Not Harry. This is like a Mission Impossible movie. They take the mask off.

Andrew: I like how they’re so shocked that somebody could be posing as someone else.

Laura: Right, because we’ve never seen that before.

Andrew: [laughs] And here’s this series’ Johnny Depp moment.

Eric: Why does Dumbledore bring Harry’s wrist forward as if to honor a magically binding commitment when Barty Crouch is just like, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”? You don’t need to show him yours. What happened between them?

Laura: Well, I mean, they probably worked together at some point.

Micah: I was just going to say, the interesting thing they left out of the movie, too, is that in the book, you see Dumbledore and Snape – more specifically Snape – in the Foe Glass, which would indicate that Snape is an enemy of Barty Crouch, Jr.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Which proves that Snape is “good.”

Eric: That’s a great point.

Andrew: I thought this was another good Michael Gambon moment.

Eric: This was fine.

Andrew: Fine.

Micah: The lines aren’t great.

Andrew: This part, yes, a little too heavy handed.

Eric: He’s always screaming.

Micah: That’s the thing. It’s over delivered.

Laura: But it’s funny because his delivery wasn’t like this in Prisoner.

Eric: Well, what does he say in Prisoner? “Good night”? That’s about it, right?

Laura: I mean, we hear a little more from him, but point taken. That said, it really feels like a product of the direction and the writing.

Eric: Yeah, Movie 3, I think they were a little self-conscious about the casting so they were like, “Less is more.” Movie 4, more is more. Too much is more. But again, they nail it in 6.

Laura: I agree.

Andrew: This part was good, though. “Celebrate a boy who was kind and honest.”

Eric: I like the ceiling.

Laura: And honestly, because of what happens in Cursed Child, we know that this was the best thing to happen, I guess. If Cedric had lived, he apparently would have gone to the Dark side.

Andrew: Yeah, it was for the best. Absolutely.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Unless you don’t accept that as canon. Cursed Child? We don’t know her.

Andrew: I think the angry moments of Dumbledore… we’ve basically spoken about this tonight. You can just blame Mike Newell. I would just put the blame squarely on him, having heard previously he was not the cast’s favorite director. A little too heavy handed in general, I think.

Micah: But this moment that we’re watching right now is much better.

Andrew: Yes. That was an iconic line. “Dark and difficult times lie ahead.” It was a minute ago for you guys, but it just happened for me.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Is this the movie that ends with them on the Astronomy Tower?

Laura: No, I think that was 6.

Eric: They’re at the top of the school, though, because the carriages take off or something.

Micah: I think they’re just here in the courtyard.

Eric: Harry gets the Firebolt out.

Andrew: Something ends on the Astronomy Tower in Movie 6, Laura, but it’s not the movie.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It’s the upcoming ride in Orlando. Oh, they put Gabrielle in normal clothes.

Micah: I think 6 does end on the Astronomy Tower, though, with Fawkes flying away.

Laura: Yeah, it does.

Eric: Yeah, right here, isn’t it? Okay. You guys got me. This is the entrance courtyard.

Laura: To be honest, I feel like the vibe right now is too cheerful.

Eric: Did the Durmstrang ship just fire a cannonball at Hogwarts?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: It was to honor Cedric.

Andrew: It did look like it was directly at the school.

Eric: The smoke trail, yeah, if you follow that line, half of the hospital wing is gone.

Andrew: [laughs] “There hasn’t been enough trouble this this year; let’s fire a cannon at the school as well.”

Eric: I knew you were trouble when you floated in.

Andrew: “Thanks, y’all. We’re not coming back.”

Eric: Why did she say that so cheery?

Micah: She just got a little make-out session before Krum left.

Andrew: She’s in love.

Eric: Harry can’t tie a tie. Harry, next time, try the double Windsor.

Andrew: Butterflies. Yeah, it’s not a great knot.

Eric: I appreciate that you and I appreciate that.

Andrew: I can’t tie a tie, fun fact about me.

Eric: Really? After all these years?

Andrew: Always.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I’ll teach you.

Andrew: We should rank the ending shots of the movies sometime. That’d be fun.

Eric: This is pretty good.

Andrew: This one would not – oh. [laughs] I was going to say, this would not rank high.

Eric: No, because the ship sinks and then the camera pans up to the sky as the… it’s cool.

Andrew: The ship sinks? Is the camera going to tilt up? Is that what you mean?

Micah: It descends.

Andrew: Oh, oh, it goes down. I was still thinking about that cannon.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Sorry, yeah, it fires a few more shots and then Hogwarts retaliates. Flitwick gets up on the rafters.

Andrew: And again, I’m 10-15 seconds behind you. [laughs]

Eric: I’m sorry.

Andrew: No, no, it’s not your fault.

Micah: The movie is over for us already.

Andrew: Well, there we go. That was Goblet of Fire.

Eric: Wow.

Micah: We should rank the endings of the films.

Andrew: That would be fun, right?

Eric: That one was good

Micah: Prisoner of Azkaban is probably worst, honestly.

Eric: Yeah, freeze-frame is…

Andrew: Yes, in part because I went to the bathroom for the end of that movie the first time I saw it. I didn’t think it was about to end. Then I came back and it was over, I was like, “Whoa.”

Eric: Is there an after credits?

Laura: I don’t think that was a thing at this point in time.

Eric: It was in Movie 2.

Micah: Yeah, they did in Chamber of Secrets.

Laura: What was in the after…?

Eric: It’s Gilderoy Lockhart’s book cover of Who Am I? in the storefront of Flourish and Blotts.

Laura: Oh, that’s right.

Andrew: Well, that was a lot of fun. It’s always nice to sit back and just talk about what we’re watching.

Eric: I’ve got to say, doing the commentary with the Discord watchers audience was really cool.

Laura: Yeah, this was great.

Andrew: Thanks, everybody who joined us on Patreon tonight. It is a Friday night. It’s almost 11 p.m. Eastern, so we appreciate those who stayed up late on a Friday.

Micah: We’ll see you in 12 hours.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yes, we are recording in 12 hours from now. It’s a Muggle Mail episode, so there’ll be less cognitive load, I feel. But so that leaves us, gang…

Micah: Oh, I set them up with some tough questions, though. Don’t you worry.

Eric: [laughs] I would expect nothing less, Micah. Thank you.

Micah: And a bonus MuggleCast, which is actually about Goblet of Fire.

Eric: Oh my God. I think I have to go to bed.

Andrew: Yeah, we will wrap this up. I just want to give everybody a brief little recap here. We have done movie commentaries for Movie 1, 3, 4, 6, and 8, and then all three Fantastic Beasts movies. So we still have Chamber, yep, and then Order of the Phoenix.

Eric: 7, 5, and 2. 2, 5, and 7.

Andrew: Yes.

Micah: Wow, we’re all over the place with these.

Andrew: We really are. Let’s make a mental note, let’s do Order of the Phoenix before Order of the Phoenix Chapter by Chapter.

Eric: That’s settled.

Laura: Great call.

Andrew: In another like year from now.

Eric: Hey, we’re blessed with content.

Andrew: We are. Thanks, everybody, for listening. Thanks for your support. If you have any feedback about the movie or anything else we discussed today, you know where to find us., click on “Contact.” I don’t have all the usual notes pulled up, but you know the drill.

Laura: Yeah. Also, don’t forget to take the 2023 MuggleCast listener survey. Whether you’re a patron or not, the survey is open to everyone through October 6. Help us improve the show. Thank you so, so much.

Andrew: Thanks, everybody, again, and we’ll see you next time. Goodbye.

Eric: Bye.

Laura: Bye, y’all.

Transcript #628


MuggleCast 628 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #628, Did the Dursley’s Gifts to Harry Foreshadow ‘Deathly Hallows’? And More MuggleMail

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

Andrew Sims: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: And this week, we’re getting owl post again as we bust open the Muggle mailbag to get your feedback on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And boy, did we get a lot of great feedback. Micah once again curated it all. And boy, do we have – according to Micah – the best theory he may have ever heard!

Micah: Oh yeah.

Andrew: Coming up. But first, we do have a couple of announcements, and then we’re going to wrap up Prisoner of Azkaban. Laura, you have an important reminder for everybody.

Laura: That’s right. As a reminder, the MuggleCast 2023 listener survey is live now. The survey is going to be open through October 6, and we want to know what you love about the show, what you think we could do to improve it, and what other content you’d be interested in us making in the future. We’re also asking anyone who supports us on our Patreon about their experiences, so we can improve the bonus content over there as well. The survey is open to all whether you’re a Patreon supporter or not, and it will be available through our website and our show notes and across our various social channels. Again, thanks to everyone who’s taken the survey so far, and thanks in advance to everyone who will take it here over the next couple of weeks. We couldn’t do this without you.

Eric: The survey questions for non-patrons is really simple. It’s two questions. Question one is, are you a patron? And question two is, why not?

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: In a way, it’s like that. It’s a little more intricate.

Eric: But yeah, it’s interesting that this genuinely… Laura, you did an amazing job with this. I enjoyed filling it out under various names.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: And it really does help us move the show forward.

Andrew: Yes, Eric, your submissions definitely help us. [laughs]

Laura: We’ll see. Now I’m going to have to go through the data and figure out which bogus responses to omit.

Eric: I put little Easter eggs in there.

Andrew: Don’t do that. No, no, no. We don’t want to encourage listeners to start playing around with that.

Eric: No, I’m only I’m only adding humor so it sparks the engagement of people going and… guys, do this; Laura worked really hard on it, and we’re going to use it. We’re going to use the info for growing the show in a way that you desire.

Micah: For a lot of fun things.

Andrew: You can help us shape the future of the show, so please don’t hesitate to fill that out. And we mentioned Patreon, Micah. We do bonus MuggleCast twice a month, and we’re recording a new one today, right? What can listeners expect later this week?

Micah: Yeah, we’re recording a new edition of bonus MuggleCast today. And given that we are just about to start Goblet of Fire, we did our Goblet of Fire movie commentary last night. I think a Time-Turner has to be involved in some way to have this all makes sense as we talk about it here.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: But yeah, given that inspiration, I thought it’d be fun to talk about what didn’t make the movie. So it’s actually a good thing we watched the movie last night, and now we’re going to talk about what we love so much in the Goblet of Fire book that didn’t make the cut for the film, but certainly could be a possibility for the Harry Potter TV reboot.

Andrew: Yes.

Micah: And should be, in many cases.

Andrew: It’s going to be a long season of that show. But yeah, that’ll be a lot of fun to discuss at this week. So Micah, you also dropped a new playlist on Spotify. We’ve all done playlists, and last but not least, you created a playlist for us, for listeners.

Micah: Yeah, I’ve been busy this week. So I created a playlist that is Quidditch-themed. And you all mentioned that you did it for your respective Houses, and of course, Laura and I are in the same House, and she did such a great job with Ravenclaw that I thought I’d take a little bit of a different spin here. I had a lot of fun putting it together, and so hopefully, whether you’re just using it to go for a walk or you’re working out at the gym, it’s something that’ll amp you up a little bit, get you ready for for your workout.

Andrew: Or, of course, if you’re playing Quidditch.

Micah: Oh yeah, that too.

Andrew: We will have a link to that in the show notes, and the link is already available on social media. Those are the announcements for this week.

Chapter by Chapter wrap-up

Andrew: And now we are going to wrap up Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter by Chapter. First we are going to reread every single one of our Seven-Word Summaries that we did for Book 3. Then we are going to redo one of the Seven-Word Summaries – we voted on which one we were going to redo in advance of recording – and then we will do a Seven-Word Summary for the entire book before jumping into Muggle Mail today. Let’s hear all of our Prisoner of Azkaban Seven-Word Summaries in order now. Chapter 1: Owls deliver presents to Harry’s bedroom window.

Eric: Chapter 2: Aunt Marge enjoys abusing Harry every minute.

Micah: Chapter 3: Help arrives for Harry after an encounter.

Laura: Chapter 4: Discoveries are everywhere around this Leaky Cauldron.

Andrew: Chapter 5: Fear about the murderer abounds on trains.

Eric: Chapter 6: McGonagall shades Trelawney during Transfiguration class, ooh.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Chapter 7: Neville fears rebuke when Snape poisons Trevor.

Laura: Chapter 8: Teachers forbid Harry from going to Hogsmeade.

Andrew: Chapter 9: Suspicions rock the Hogwarts student body tonights.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Chapter 10: Secrets are divulged via professors drinking butterbeer.

Micah: Chapter 11: Somebody sends a Firebolt mysteriously to Harry.

Laura: Chapter 12: Lupin teaches Harry how to fight Dementors.

Andrew: Chapter 13: Cho distracts Harry with her amazing looks.

Eric: Chapter 14: Mud finds its recipient.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Is this the one we didn’t finish?

Eric: Yeah, Micah was like, “Leave it.”

Andrew: That’s my favorite one.

Micah: It’s accurate. Chapter 15: Fatigue sets in for Hermione intensely, whoa.

Laura: Chapter 16: Exams consume clairvoyance and shocking revelations, executions.

Andrew: Chapter 17: Sirius attacks Ron viciously when Scabbers appears.

Eric: Chapter 18: Lupin reveals backstory to many children, ta-dah!

Micah: Chapter 19: Pettigrew begs Harry for forgiveness for murder.

Laura: Chapter 20: Chaos ensues on Hogwarts grounds under moonlight.

Andrew: Chapter 21: Hermione saves Buckbeak with a Time-Turner.

Eric: And Chapter 22: Justice is served by Hermione and Harry.

Andrew: All right, so we all voted in advance, and with three votes, the winner of the redo is actually Chapter 3: “Help arrives for Harry after an encounter.” That was voted on by Micah, Laura, and myself.

Eric: So Chapter 3 is, of course, “The Knight Bus,” usually.

Andrew: Usually? [laughs]

Eric: Yes, when it’s not being titled by us.

Andrew: Oh, oh, okay.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: I want to remind people because we’re going to redo it, right. So it’s “The Knight Bus,” Harry puts his arm out, he sees the Grim…

Andrew: It’s important for us too, yeah. So here we go!

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Eric: Stan…

Laura: … arrives…

Micah: … to…

Andrew: … pick…

Eric: … “Neville”…

Laura: … up…

Micah: … safely.

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Eric: Oh yeah.

Andrew: Okay! I like it. I like the Neville choice.

Laura: I actually think it’s a better summary than what we had before.

Andrew: It is, and that’s why we do this.

Eric: And Neville is in quotes.

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: And now we’re going to do a Seven-Word Book Summary!

Laura: I’m bored.

Andrew: Same order. Here we go.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Eric: Sirius…

Laura: … prevails…

Micah: … over…

Andrew: … Ministry…

Eric: Ooh… officials…

Laura: … and…

Micah: Snape.

Eric: There we go!

[Micah laughs]

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Muggle Mail

Andrew: So to kick off Muggle Mail this week, instead of hearing ourselves talk more, reading your amazing emails, we’ll start with voicemails. And I teased earlier: We have what Micah says may be the best theory he’s ever heard. I can’t wait to hear what this person Cameron said concerning the Dursleys’ Christmas presents.

[Voicemail plays]

“Hi, this is Cameron. I’ve been a listener since the beginning of COVID, and I’m 14 years old, and I just called in to tell you of a theory that I had. I recently finished the fourth book in another reread, and I started focusing on all the gifts that the Dursleys give Harry. I’ve always kind of wondered why they give him gifts, since they usually just send him something that they probably picked from the trash. And I’ve always kind of thought that it was probably Hedwig who would bug them into sending him something. And I started looking at it, and they send him three gifts throughout the series. In the Sorcerer’s Stone, they send him a 50-pence piece. In the second book, they send him a tissue, and in the fourth book, they send him a toothpick. And I don’t know, maybe this theory is kind of a stretch, but a 50-pence piece, in the way that you flip it over and that it doesn’t really have much value unless you look into it, is kind of like the Resurrection Stone. A toothpick is kind of like a wand, maybe the Elder Wand. And a tissue is kind of like a cloak, maybe a Cloak of Invisibility. Now, I’m not saying that the Dursleys were Death, or that they really knew what they were doing. But maybe J.K. set this in as a little teaser for the Deathly Hallows. Just a theory. I love to listen. Bye!”

[Voicemail ends]

Andrew: Wow. Thanks, Cameron.

Laura: I love this. As I was listening to this, I was putting it together and being like, “Oh my god, it’s the Deathly Hallows!” This is such an amazing catch. For anyone who was watching, my face was like, mind blown listening to this.

Micah: Yeah, I saw your face.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: This is so good, Cameron.

Andrew: That is very interesting. I would agree with you that the Dursleys didn’t see what they were doing, of course, but maybe it was an idea from J.K.

Laura: It’s an Easter egg.

Eric: And I checked, and this holds up. I had a memory of the Dursleys giving Harry a coat hanger and one of Vernon’s old socks, but that happened for his 10th birthday, so before the book is set. So yes, during the course of the books, it is only these three gifts that we know about. This is phenomenal.

Micah: Pretty amazing, yeah. And what’s wild is that we’ve been doing this for 18 years. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that theory, ever.

Laura: No.

Micah: So great job, Cameron.

Eric: The next generation is totally fine. Good for you.

Micah: All right, I’m done with the show for the day.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: One of us has to step away and Cameron has to step up. This is the changing of the guard that was foretold.

Andrew: We have so much great feedback today. Here’s a voicemail from Eden, concerning why Voldemort really has no hair.

[Voicemail plays]

“Hey, MuggleCast, this is Eden. I’m a 12-year-old Gryffindor, and I just wanted to share with you something pretty funny that I found. So I was looking through Harry Potter stories and I found one that said that the reason Voldemort didn’t have any hair is so no one can make a Polyjuice Potion of him. I thought that was pretty cool. I think Voldemort really just did it, though, to add to the whole baddie vibe… but that’s a pretty cool added bonus, and it got me thinking, too, of Voldemort with a mullet. Anyway, thank you so much. Love the show. Bye.”

[Voicemail ends]

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That’s great.

Eric: That’s also very cool.

Laura: That’s a good call-out, Eden.

Eric: I suppose you could do it with toenails, but nobody would want to get that close.

Andrew: Eww. His feet definitely smell.

Eric: Oh man.

Micah: I really liked this. And I was trying to think… there’s something about the bald character trait that seems to signify a level of power. I feel like when you… at least for me when I look back on other series that I’ve either watched or read, there’s this significance… people in the magical world, when they’re bald, they seem to have this certain level of power. I don’t know if I’m just making things up at this point.

Eric: Kingsley, Voldemort… who else?

Micah: Slytherin.

Andrew: Mr. Freeze.

Eric: Absolutely.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: I believe most depictions of Slytherin have him as being bald as well.

Andrew: People are listening live right now on Patreon and Margot -am I pronouncing that name right? Margot said, “I’m so glad we have a new generation reading the books and bringing us new theories.” Yes, good call. That’s not an observation I considered before, the back half of that. All right, next voicemail is from Alex with a Snape and Neville theory.

[Voicemail plays]

“Hi, MuggleCast. Stereotypically first time caller, longtime listener. But I had a theory that I wanted to throw your way. I wanted to see what you think. So as we know, Severus Snape is very brutal and very mean to Neville. Of course to Harry, but really Neville. And with Harry, we get it, but Neville, it’s never really so much explained. I have a theory and I want to know what you all think. My theory is because Snape might have known the prophecy, maybe every time he sees Neville, he thinks to himself, ‘It should have been you. It could have been you, and Lily would have been safe.’ Maybe that’s why he channeled so much anger and frustration into Neville. Not okay, of course. Not justified. But it’s a theory. Wanted to know what you all think. Big fan. Hope to hear from you soon, bye.”

[Voicemail ends]

Andrew: 100%. Love it.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Eric: This is brilliant. The only thing I would add to this is the first lesson with Snape ever, Snape as a teacher comes across as not liking what he says are dunderheads. And so he’s over-teaching, in general, incompetent students, because he’s the kind of teacher where he’s like, “Well, it’s easy for me. It’s intuitive for me. Why can’t you get it? You’re stupid.” He has disdain for students that maybe need a little extra help, so that is added on to everything he feels about the prophecy that Alex is saying, and Neville is just the worst at that.

Andrew: Bonus points for your delivery, Alex, of Snape’s thoughts when you were voice-acting. That was really good. Next voicemail, from a mystery caller about the full moon.

[Voicemail plays]

“Hey, guys, I was just listening to this week’s episode when you were talking about Lupin’s transformation. I do some rituals during the new and full moon, and if you look up moon phases and when the full moon is, it’s actually… the reason why Lupin might turn at a specific time is because there’s a certain time that is recorded where the moon is the highest in the sky. This Wednesday, I think it’s actually at 7:30. And other days, other months, it could be 2:00 in the morning, it could be in the afternoon where the full moon is high in the sky, maybe not visible, but still highest in the sky. So I think Lupin’s transformation has less to do with the moonlight – maybe that’s more for dramatic flair – and more to do with the certain timing of the moon phases. Just thought I’d leave that feedback. Hopefully you can hear this; I’m in my car driving to work. Love you guys so much. Bye.”

[Voicemail ends]

Laura: Hey, we love you too. And yeah, I think this is a really good call-out, actually. I think it’s one of those things we can think about as headcanon. I know we’ve talked quite a bit about headcanon in recent history, but just taking something like this and plugging it in to fill the information gap where it feels like a plothole…. but something like this could perfectly explain it, which is great.

Eric: I love this. Yeah, and I love that there’s a certain specific time where rituals have higher success, or the significance of the placement of the moon in addition to all the other cool things that the moon does for us and all the other ways in which its cycle is broken down… good stuff. Really, really love this theory.

Micah: Yep. And just a reminder, when folks do call us, to leave your name. We want to be able to credit you for your voicemail, and I think there’s a tendency sometimes for people to forget. Just wanted to throw that reminder out there, much like Cameron and Eden did. Follow the youngsters; leave your name when you drop us a voicemail.

Andrew: I think also people just… when you leave a voicemail, typically… I know older generations, they still say, “Hi, it’s Grandma.” I know it’s Grandma; I can see that on caller ID. Younger generations aren’t as used to having to say your name, so I see why people forget.

Laura: Well, yeah, and also, I’ll say this: Maybe not everybody wants their name to be shared. In that event, I would say come up with a creative nickname. Think about some of the nicknames people use for Quizzitch.

Micah: Like I do on Quizzitch. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah, do that.

Andrew: Or just say, “I’m Tonks.” Pick a Harry Potter character. All right, well, thanks to everybody who does call in and write in. We really appreciate the voicemails; we love hearing our listeners. If you would like to get in touch with us, if you want to drop a voicemail yourself, you can send a voice memo to Just record it using the Voice Memo app on your phone. Or you can call our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE, 1-920-368-4453. When you do call us, give us your name, or a made up name, and try to keep your message about a minute long.

Micah: Most of these emails are related to Prisoner of Azkaban, but we do have a few at the end that are kind of random. [laughs] I guess it’s the best way to categorize them.

Andrew: And we’ll also end with some sweet chicken soup emails too.

Eric: Aww.

Laura: Well, our first one comes from author C.K. Brooke. I looked this up; C.K. Brooke is an author of YA fantasy romance, so definitely check them out. But Micah, I think you’re getting called out a little bit here. So C.K. says,

“Hey, y’all,”

Thank you for including that.

“I’m writing in response to Micah’s question in your recent Chapter by Chapter discussion of Chapter 21 of Prisoner of Azkaban. In the episode, Micah asked if the Time-Turner might simply have been a lack of creativity on the author’s part, for not being able to think of a better way to free Buckbeak and Sirius. Respectfully, I wanted to say that not only was I dissatisfied with the explanation he gave, but I think the question itself misses the point entirely.”

Micah: Well, hold on. She said “the explanation I was given,” so she’s talking… not only was she dissatisfied with my question, she was dissatisfied with the response that was given from the rest of you all.

Laura: Oh, I see.

Andrew: She handles this very nicely, though.

Laura: Yeah, no, it’s funny.

Micah: It’s all of our faults.

Laura: That’s true. I read the sentence wrong. So,

“From a writer’s perspective, while saving Buckbeak and Sirius is part of the immediate plot, the deeper and overarching theme is that Harry must save himself. Before going back in time, Harry believes it’s his dad who conjured the Patronus that saved him. Only with the Time-Turner could he come to the pivotal realization that it was he, and not his dad, who had to save himself. This speaks to larger themes in the series of Harry’s self-reliance and eventual savior-hood. As well, consider the symbolism behind the message: Your father is not coming to save you; you must save yourself. I suspect this to be a reflection of the author’s feelings toward her own father, from whom we know she’s long been estranged. Whether this messaging was intentional or subconscious on her behalf, though, is probably a separate discussion. So the purpose of time travel in Book 3 is far more than just a device by which to rescue Sirius and Buckbeak. Rather, it was an ingenious way for Harry to be in two places at once so he could literally save himself, thereby learning the self-reliance he needs in order to become the savior of wizardkind. I was a little surprised that nobody touched on this in your discussion, but hopefully it sheds more light on why, from a writing perspective, time travel was a perfectly fitting and creative method by which to convey several of the series’ major themes. Thanks for reading. Hope you keep up the show for many years to come. Peace and love.”

No, I love this

Andrew: Peace and love. Peace and love! I love it too.

Micah: All right, C.K., trying to soften at the end. “Peace and love.”

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: I thought it’s thoughtful.

Micah: No, I agree with you. I think that one of the things to keep in mind is it’s good for us to throw out different questions for the purpose of discussion, right? And I think that, especially when you’re the person who’s responsible for planning a discussion, you try and come up with different ways to pose it to the rest of the panel, and I think that for me, in this moment, I was probably only thinking purely from the standpoint of how the plot plays out, and could there have been a more interesting way for Sirius to have been freed? But I think C.K. really does make a strong point here in that as much as this is about Sirius and Buckbeak, it is about Harry, and Harry having that confidence-building moment to know that there are things that he can do that he doesn’t even know. So I really like this point that she’s making.

Laura: Yeah, same. And honestly, you asking that question, Micah, is exactly what opened the door for a really great email like this to come in.

Andrew: Thank you, C.K. And now, this next email comes from Katie concerning Lupin’s lesson plans, another interesting observation here.

“Have you guys noted that all of Lupin’s DADA lessons are creature-centric? Why? Boggarts, grindylows, Kappas, red caps… was there ever a non-creature focused lesson? There’s surely more to DADA than defense against potentially dangerous creatures? Perhaps Lupin has a special interest in magical beasts given his personal history, or was he just following the traditional textbook? Maybe it’s the theme of the year three text. Is Lupin teaching about defensive spells and other aspects of Dark magic to other years? I have always wondered this, and I’m curious to know your thoughts. Sincerely, former Pickle Pack member Katie.”

Micah: Ooh.

Andrew: Clever way to sign your name.

Laura: Oh man, Katie is an OG.

Andrew: Katie said maybe it’s the theme of the year three text. I would extend that and say it’s a theme of Book 3, and that’s why there’s a focus from the writing perspective. But also, I like this idea that because Lupin is a werewolf himself, he is teaching about creatures, and maybe it’s almost foreshadowing for the reader.

Eric: Yeah, I’m trying to pick… you know how when we did Home Economics – or Family and Consumer Science, it was called – that they waited until we were old enough to cook because we had to handle machinery or because we had to handle things like that. So maybe there is something to handling magical creatures, which is another class they have this year. They’re 13, so they’re judged as being capable of handling it. I think there might be something to that as far as like, it’s the theme of the year. But yeah, I like your idea, Andrew, that maybe because there’s all this focus on beasts in the way of Buckbeak, they’re offsetting it by showing a lot of creatures in the magical world so that it doesn’t seem like she’s always writing about Buckbeak because you’re learning about all these other creatures that exist, and boggarts and Dementors and all this other stuff.

Andrew: Hashtag world building.

Micah: Yeah. I’m trying to think back to the other books and what they actually learned prior to this in Defense Against the Dark Arts. I don’t know that we get a whole lot of time with Quirrell. I think the first DADA class we actually spend time in is with Lockhart, and we know how much of a disaster he is as a professor, although creatures coming into play there, too, right? Cornish pixies. He does teach them how to duel, which is a natural defense against the Dark arts practice. But the other thing with Lupin, though, is that we are seeing more Defense Against the Dark Arts; he’s just teaching Harry. He’s not teaching the rest of the class, and I think he’s setting Harry up for Order of the Phoenix to really be the strategic Defense Against the Dark Arts professor when he starts to teach the rest of Dumbledore’s Army. All right, our next email comes from Jenna, who talks about father figures. She says,

“Hey MuggleCast, listening to Episode 624, and I had a few things to note. You talk about father figures in this episode, and in others. Most father figures to Harry are majorly flawed in some way and I guess Hagrid is the only ‘flawless’ father figure that Harry has. Anyway, my point is, I think the reason for this is because J.K. Rowling herself has a tough relationship with her own father.”

As was noted in a prior email.

“I’m positive I saw an interview with her where they revisit her past and her childhood, and she mentions her relationship with her own father. Perhaps this influences the father figures in Harry’s life. Thanks for being awesome and the best possible way to end what is usually a stressful day at work for me.”

Andrew: Aww. We got you.

Eric: We got you. Yeah, doesn’t make sense. You write what you know. And unfortunately, whether you want to or not, inevitably, the relationship spectrum that you have in your life can appear in your writing, I think, if you really showcase all types of people. And it does happen that a lot of these characters do happen to be fathers, but there is enough of a variety in there. You can picture other characters being good dads, but the ones Harry has, there’s always something else going on with them.

Micah: I don’t know that I would call Hagrid flawless. He has his blind spots.

Andrew: No, but he’s as close to flawless. Nobody’s perfect. Oh my god. I say it every episode, that…

Laura: Yeah, but what about Arthur?

Micah: I thought about him too.

Andrew: Perfect?

Laura: Yeah, Arthur is a father figure to Harry. But I think the interesting thing about it is Harry does have a number of father figures, and the ones that he seems to place the most emphasis on are maybe the ones who weren’t the best father figures to him. But then when you think about people like Hagrid, people like Arthur, who were great father figures, and he could have drawn inspiration for his future children’s names from those people, but he didn’t. He instead chose “Albus Severus.” [laughs] So it’s just very interesting to see that happening, and I think we could also do a deeper reading into the text to think about what that says about Harry and the trauma that he carries around. The lack of a central positive father figure in his life.

Micah: And I think, too, so many of these characters provide different things that Harry needs. They’re not all the same type of father figures, so it’s almost like it’s a collective that is raising him.

Andrew: And that’s life, right?

Laura: It takes a village.

Andrew: You connect with different people. It takes a village, but you connect with different people and get different things out of them. Everybody’s got different skill sets to help you move along through life, whether you’re an orphan or not.

Laura: Yeah, it is really interesting to zoom out and take that 30,000 foot view of how concepts of fatherhood and motherhood are built and portrayed in these books. Again, that could be a whole episode, if we wanted it to be.

Eric: The next email comes from Jackie about Bill the werewolf and the Marauder’s Map.

“Hi, it’s Jackie, and I want to correct you guys on something.”

Very strong beginning to that email.

“Bill isn’t a werewolf. He was scratched by Greyback when Greyback was in human form. And I’ve read a theory concerning why no one saw Peter on the map. That Marauders did a charm that hides the fact that they are Animagi. In the book, when Remus looks at the map he sees Peter and Sirius, but when Snape looks at it, he only sees the trio, Remus, and Sirius, but not Peter (who was still in rat form). This was created as a safety precaution in case the map wound up with a teacher.”

Laura: That’s interesting. So only they would be able to see themselves in Animagus form on the map.

Andrew: Yeah, that seems like a good security measure.

Micah: I like that.

Laura: I wonder how that works.

Eric: Also the importance of closing the map when you’re done using it.

Laura: Yep!

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Micah: Just a little thing, but I think I was the one who had said that Bill was a werewolf, so I appreciate Jackie calling that out.

Laura: It is a good call-out. I think I recall, though, wasn’t there some kind of reference made by Lupin that Bill prefers his steaks on the raw side now or something?

Eric: Yeah, Lupin counsels Bill as a result of what happened. I mean, a scratch is putting it lightly; his face is really cut up.

Micah: I’m trying to remember if that’s actually a line in the books, though. It’s a movie-ism. It’s Deathly Hallows – Part 1 in the Seven Potters scene when Bill is introduced to us.

Laura: Yeah, I think it is from the books, but if I recall correctly, I think it was actually something from Half-Blood Prince said in the hospital wing, and I think they just ported the line over to Deathly Hallows – Part 1.

Micah: Right, because isn’t there a back and forth with Molly and Fleur about how she really still loves him even if he is in this condition?

Eric and Laura: Right.

Eric: And that makes Molly…

Micah: Maybe he’s just not full-blown werewolf.

Eric: It’s in Chapter 29, “The Phoenix Lament,” and it just says his wounds are cursed, so they have some element of lycanthropy, but yeah, he’s not a werewolf.

Laura: Yeah, not full blown, at any rate.

Eric: I did check and Teddy Lupin is also does not have his father’s curse.

Andrew: All right, next email comes from Rachel.

“Hey guys, I was reading Chapter 19 of Prisoner and noticed something odd. After the trio knocks Snape out, Lupin wants to offer up proof about Pettigrew. He refers to Ron as ‘you, boy…’ I wondered why he would refer to Ron this way, because he was always such a casual and personable professor and often called his students by their first name. Do y’all think the author meant to have Sirius give that line/was it an editing mistake? Or is this just an out of character moment for Lupin? Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.”

Eric: For me, it reads like a Dickensian way, like when Scrooge wakes up and he’s so excited and he runs out the window and he’s like, “You, boy! Do they still have that prize turkey in the window?” Yeah, he’s thinking too quickly, he’s extremely excited, and Ron, even though he… you’re right, he always gives that first person touch relationship with the students. Maybe Ron really is that boy that he addressed the least or is least familiar with. I think just quickly, “You, boy,” that works.

Laura: All right. Our next one comes from Jenny, and it’s about Veritaserum and Secret Keepers. Jenny says,

“Hi, y’all! After listening to the podcast about Chapter 19, I got to thinking about being a Secret Keeper. Do you think the magic of being a Secret Keeper is stronger than the magic of the Veritaserum potion? Otherwise, what would stop someone from giving a Secret Keeper the potion to learn the secret?”

Eric: Oh, I love these branches of magic, and it’s like we pit them against each other and are like, “Okay, so which one will win out?” It’s like the Dueling Club all over again.

Andrew: So sometimes I just get Googling when people ask us great questions because obviously, Harry Potter is massive and everybody’s got a theory on every question on the Internet. We obviously love trying to answer these ourselves, but like I said, I went Googling and I liked this answer I saw on, which is like a Quora website. This one person said, and this is – it looks like – Au101, in 2016. They said,

“The first thing I’d say is that Veritaserum is only one tool. It may be magic, but it is not invincible. It is not infallible. Rowling has gone on record saying, ‘Veritaserum works best on the unsuspecting, vulnerable, and those insufficiently skilled in one way or another to protect themselves against it.’ As such, in no sense can Veritaserum be relied upon to always force the truth out of someone. That, I think, is worth bearing in mind. Secondly, the magic of the Fidelius Charm to me is rather beautiful. It’s about fidelity, loyalty, trust, and friendship. To me, the element of choice there is all-important. The spell is broken if your Secret Keeper betrays you. It’s about betrayal, infidelity, treachery.”

Andrew: So that’s the short answer, and I like that.

Laura: Interesting.

Eric: Yeah, I like that too. Also, Lauren in the discord says, “I thought the Secret Keeper has to willingly give the answer. It can’t be forced out of them.” That speaks to like betrayal, loyalty, the fact that you’re being fidelious…

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. Right.

Eric: Yeah, that’s really interesting.

Micah: Cool. Our next email comes from Jonathan talking about the godfather’s magical bond. I feel like Eric will really like this email.

Eric: I’m waiting.

Micah: He says,

“Hi y’all, I’m from Mississippi, after all. I just finished listening to Episodes 624…”

624 was a big one we got feedback on. “Where’s the Moonscreen?”

Andrew: With a title like that, it got everybody tuning in.

Eric: I’ve got to say, I’m happy about several titles coming from my brain lately, you guys.

Micah: Well, and Mississippi – maybe they interpreted that as “Where’s the moonshine?”

[Eric and Laura laugh]

[Micah continues reading]

“When Laura first talked about Sirius being Harry’s godfather, it got me thinking. There are a few times in the series that it talks about a magical way to bind two people. The Unbreakable Vow (Snape and Narcissa), blood pact/oath (Dumbledore and Grindelwald), and the less life-threatening bond between Bill and Fleur when they got married. Do you think that when James and Lily asked Sirius to be Harry’s godfather, that there was some kind of bond that formed ‘binding’ him to Harry? I believe that there was, even if no one realized it at the time. It may not be as strong as when Lily gave her life to save Harry, which took a little time for Dumbledore to figure out, but I believe something happened. Keep up the good work on the podcast. I’ve been a Potter fan for about 12 years, and got into it because of my kids that are now adults. Keep up the good work and let me know what you think of my headcanon, Jonathan, Ravenclaw, Hogwarts class of ’93. P.S. I asked Dumbledore, ‘Why Lockhart?’ And he just smiled and said, ‘You’ll laugh with me. I’m sure of it.'”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: I guess it’s a reference to him hiring Lockhart?

Andrew: I think so, yeah.

Laura: I think so.

Andrew: Hogwarts class of ’93. That’s a fun little part of your signature, your sign off.

Laura: I do love that.

Eric: I do fully agree with this, that there’s probably some kind of magical bond, because famously, godparents are the ones who vow – it is a vow – to look after the child in the event of their parents’ demise. There are reasons why Sirius obviously can’t fulfill his vow. But if you’re Catholic, for instance, you have to be baptized, which is a sacrament, one of the few in the church, and you’re present at the baptism of the child as well, so you’re witnessing the next generation and you’re a prominent part of that baptism ceremony. I know there’s not a religious-leaning aspect to the wizarding world, but there’s still that same, “This is important, this will be a magical commitment,” or a supernatural, let’s say, commitment with impact and ramifications to the world beyond. 100%, I think it’s probably some level of a magical bond there.

Laura: I agree. And I think, too, that religion, particularly Christianity, does come through in these books quite a bit, which makes a lot of sense; the author is Christian. And a lot of those overarching themes of the savior character who dies but then comes back, really do come through in these books. And actually, that’s one of the most interesting readings that I think you can do about Harry Potter, is picking out where biblical references really do come through in the books. Thinking about it from a very academic perspective, of course; not to say that you should use Harry Potter to preach to anybody. But I think that it is a really true representation of the fact that religion and myth play such a huge role in the stories that we tell, even if we don’t necessarily know that that’s what we’re doing. So it’s an amazing call-out, and I would just say, to add to your point about the bond of godparents, Eric, even outside of a religious context, there’s legalese sometimes tied up in somebody being a godparent. I didn’t grow up religious, but I do have godparents, right? And that was something that was written into my parents’ will, that if something happened to them, that this is where me and my brother were going to go. So the idea of there being an unbreakable bond, I think, is very real.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: For me, when you just think about the whole mother’s love angle that is so important in this series, I can buy this as well.

Laura: Same.

Micah: Yeah, just to build off of what was said, I think there is such an importance in being somebody’s godfather or godmother because you’re being entrusted with the responsibility to raise that child. The parents are looking at you and saying, “If anything happens to us, you are the next best option to take care of my child.”

Eric: Did Lily not have any friends?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: They had to go with James’s.

Micah: But it shows how much they cared about Sirius, and trusted him, more importantly, with Harry, and so I would believe that on some level that constitutes a magical contract between Harry and Sirius.

Eric: This next one comes from Corn! Question is did Cursed Child steal their prophecy?

“In Cursed Child, which has a debatable level of canoninity, there is, of course, a prophecy.”

Here it is, oh joy.

“‘When spares are spared, when time is turned, when unseen children murder their fathers, then will the Dark Lord return.’ I think this is perfectly applicable to not Albus and Scorpius’s adventures, but the events of Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire. Harry spares Pettigrew, they then turn time to spare additionally Sirius and Buckbeak; the unseen (literally for an Invisibility Cloak, figuratively for his disownment and shields from public view) Barty Crouch, Jr. kills his father Barty, Sr.; and at the end of Goblet of Fire, the Dark Lord returns. Just a thought.”

Oh, yeah, so the prophecy really can be relevant to the plot of Books 3 and 4, even though the prophecy is occurring later when Cursed Child is going on. So the idea that the prophecy would even be relevant to events that have already passed means or indicates that we’re going to experience those events again and then that will make the Dark Lord return-return-return again?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Return-return-return, is that what you just said?

Eric: He already did, yeah.

Micah: We do see so much of Goblet of Fire in Cursed Child because of when Albus and Scorpius travel back in time too, but the way I took the email was almost as if the writers of Cursed Child were borrowing their own narrative in a way, or in this case, the prophecy from the events of Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire, so they they weren’t doing a whole lot of their own thinking, so to speak.

Eric: Well, that’s true.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: That’s kind of what I was going to say. We don’t know who exactly wrote this prophecy; if you remember, it was Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne who wrote this screenplay. I took this email and the revelation as, they’re making a callback to the books. It wasn’t a coincidence. It was probably purposeful that they’re referring to the core series. All right, this next email comes from Lauren about Hermione’s hatred of Divination.

“Hi all, I’m a new listener catching up to follow along with your chapter by chapter analysis, so I’m a little behind on the discussion of POA. But I’ve had Hermione’s skepticism toward Divination on my mind, and I think I found the origin of her close-mindedness on the subject. I recently reread Sorcerer’s Stone and noticed this passage at the end of Chapter 15, after Harry tells Ron and Hermione about his run in with Quirrellmort and the centaurs.

‘Hermione looked very frightened, but she had a word of comfort. “Harry, everyone says Dumbledore’s the only one You-Know-Who was ever afraid of. With Dumbledore around, You-Know-Who won’t touch you. Anyway, who says the centaurs are right? It sounds like fortune-telling to me, and Professor McGonagall says that’s a very imprecise branch of magic.”‘

Turns out Hermione had already been influenced to mistrust Divination by her first year. And based on the context of the situation, this could be where she develops a seed of bias against centaurs after they basically told her best friend he was doomed to die. While she could just be trying to comfort Harry in that moment by dismissing what the centaurs told him, we see her opinion remain on both Divination and centaurs for years after (although Trelawney didn’t help her case.) Thanks for all the great work you do on my new favorite pod! P.S. I’m a Ravenclaw whose favorite book and movie are both POA.”

Eric: Aww.

Andrew: Welcome to the show, Lauren. Excited to have you. And excellent theory.

Eric: Good catch. Yeah, it’s a great catch. I also love the idea that the professional relationship between McGonagall and Trelawney is so poor that even to her first year class, McGonagall is just like, “Fortune-telling sucks!”

[Micah laughs]

Eric: And certain kids who care about…

Micah: Impressionable.

Eric: Yeah, impressionable kids. Hermione picked up on the fact that McGonagall, at some point during their first year, was talking about fortune-telling being imprecise, and internalized it as, “Oh, maybe that’s not even worthy of study” that early on. So it’s because McGonagall hates Divination that Hermione even in Book 1 is skeptical of it.

Micah: Definitely. There’s something I would argue, that for Hermione, it’s aspirational when she sees McGonagall, and there’s something that she really sees in her and I think that we see that develop over the course of the series. But yeah, the whole idea that this is… it’s not on a subconscious level, but perhaps she hears McGonagall say this, she stores it, and then when third year rolls around, she’s already going into the Divination class with a preconceived notion of what it’s supposed to be like. It informs her behavior towards Trelawney. I mean, let’s not forget, Hermione is not the best to Trelawney throughout… I think it’s probably one of the only relationships we see with a teacher where she’s willing to really, really push back until maybe we get to Umbridge.

Eric: Right.

Laura: Yeah. I think this also just highlights how Hermione does not navigate ambiguity very well, especially when it comes to her academics. She’s very prescriptive. It’s binary. It’s yes or no, this or that. And that’s not Divination; Divination is a very qualitative type of science where there is a lot of nuance. There’s a lot of interpretation that things are left up to and she just doesn’t navigate those kinds of spaces very well, because there aren’t necessarily clear answers. All right, our next email comes from Angela, who’s asking about Professor Binn’s grading practices. Angela says,

“I have just had this random shower thought and I can’t believe it’s never been mentioned before. How did Professor Binns grade his papers?”

[Eric laughs]

“He can’t move the parchment or lift a quill. Did you have a classroom aide? Or was it another professor? As I recall, he doesn’t know he’s dead. Would Dumbledore have convinced him to allow someone else to do his grading for him? Like, ‘Hey, Binnsy. You are so important to us that we would like to give you a break from from this most tedious portion of your job.’ I mean, why would Dumbledore tell him he’s dead when he now has a position he never has to pay?”

Andrew: [laughs] These must be those other emails Micah was teasing.

Laura: That’s funny.

Micah: Yes, we’ve moved off of Prisoner of Azkaban. Now we are in unchartered waters.

Andrew: Got it. Interesting.

Laura: So here’s the thing: Hogwarts? Accessibility nightmare.

Eric: Yeah, shout-out to shower thoughts. Really. Honestly, this is great. I love the idea that you’d be like, “Wait, what?”

Micah: Yeah, “What do you think about in the shower?” “Professor Binns.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Right between the shampoo and the conditioner phase? I’m thinking of ghosts. Yeah, no. So the thing about Professor Binns, maybe there’s ghosts, parchment and ghost paper, that he can write the grades that transferred over with him, his whole library. It’s an option. For me, we see him not even know what the students’ names are. Or it’s not that… okay, he gets their names wrong, but I have full confidence that the names he calls them were the names of previous students that might have been around when he was alive, and so it’s possible that these children legitimately aren’t getting graded at all in History of Magic. Maybe Binns is doing some kind of a routine where he’s grading the same old students and then somewhere it’s getting converted to… maybe nothing they do in that class really matters, just like everybody thinks it doesn’t.

Micah: Yeah, I think that’s right. And I love the fact that he and his classroom are both in Hogwarts Legacy, and that you can explore that.

Laura: I was just thinking about that.

Eric: You have to push X to not fall asleep.

Laura: Okay, so I’ve got to call out, my character definitely fell asleep because the droning of his voice made me totally zone out and I wasn’t remembering to press X, so I fell asleep during History of Magic.

Eric: It’s perfect. It’s the perfect little mini game.

Andrew: Laura, you fell sleep IRL?

Laura: No, no, no, my character did.

Andrew: Oh, just your character. [laughs] It almost sounded like you were saying you fell asleep so you forgot to hit X.

Laura: No, I just zoned out.

Eric: Eleanor survived History of Magic. I almost want a T-shirt in Hogwarts Legacy where it says “I survived.”

Micah: All right, our next email comes from Abby about the narration of Harry Potter, and she says,

“Hey, MuggleCast, I’m a 12 year old Raven-puff (a cross between a Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw in case y’all didn’t know) and I love you guys. I’ve been trying to catch up with your chapter by chapter for a while now. I finally did, so I was scrolling through your episodes looking for something to listen to. I clicked on Episode 338 and had an idea about a question that was asked. You were wondering if Harry Potter was being narrated, and if so, who the narrator could be. I think it’s possible the narrator could be Ginny telling your kids a bedtime story. What are your thoughts on this? I would love to hear what y’all think.”

This is quite the bedtime story.

Eric: “How I met your father.”

Andrew: [laughs] Who would narrate? Dumbledore. Yeah, I want Dumbledore as my narrator.

Eric: I can see Dumbledore doing it; he’s kind of the manipulator of all time and space anyway. For me, I will say when I was young, I really, really, really internalized the Jim Dale narration voice on the DVD menus, if you remember, because it would be like, “Welcome to Hogwarts.” You’d load up the DVD and there would just be this voice talking at you, and I always internalized that as being the voice of the world itself guiding you through. So if there were a narrator, it would be in his voice for me. And it wouldn’t necessarily be a person that you could go up to in touch and meet, but truly a disembodied, omniscient narrator guy, just a narrator guy, the way Jim Dale narrates Pushing Daisies.

Andrew: Bring us home, Eric.

Eric: Okay, this is from Dalia. Beautiful name. Beautiful flower too.

“My name is Dalia, I’m 13, and I’m a Hufflepuff. I’m writing to you because recently my family went to the Berkshires of Western Mass. J.K. Rowling’s Potter-no-more article about Ilvermorny says that it’s located on the top of Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts, which is located in the Berkshires. I convinced my family to drive up to the top of the mountain.”

Laura: Awesome.

Eric: This is so cool, Dalia.

“On the top there is a war memorial, lodge, hiking trails, and more. The thing that stood out to me, though, was at the bottom. In the article about Ilvermorny, it says that the school started out as a stone cottage. When we were driving up to the top, at the base of the mountain was a small stone cottage that had a sign on it that said schoolhouse from 18-something.”

Andrew: Whoa.

“My theory is that even though Ilvermorny is supposed to be at the top of the mountain and founded in the 1600s, the cottage I saw is the original Ilvermorny. They could have moved the small cottage down the mountain to make room for a bigger school using magic, and as for the date, Muggles get lots of things wrong.”

Andrew: That is so cool. That is so observant, and I love that you’re merging book canon with the real world. [laughs] You made something physical in the real world canon in your head.

Eric: Yeah, that’s the beauty of this level of storytelling, where it’s like the wizarding world lives alongside our world, because then when you go out in nature – and the woods can be kind of spooky, but they’re definitely magical – and you can it’s easy to imagine that cottages and nothing is what it seems.

Micah: I really like this email and the fact that she was able to get her family to go to the top of the mountain.

Eric: You have to drive to the top of the mountain, I read it on Potter-no-more.

Micah: And in fairness, we know that J.K. Rowling does a lot of research before creating these parts of the magical world. Now, in some cases, we also know that she should have done a little bit more research, but for this, let’s just say I think there’s something to take away from Dalia’s email. It’s very cool. If you have a picture of it, send it in. We’d love to see it.

Andrew: Yeah, we’d love to see that. I bet she does.

Laura: Well, and the placement of Ilvermorny being in New England is just so apropos historically, just because we know about the Salem witch trials and things like that. So there has always been a strong emphasis, I think, in Harry Potter on drawing inspirations from real life events, or even the inclusion of real characters of mythological origin, right? Think about Merlin, for example, who was a student at Hogwarts, but obviously isn’t just a Harry Potter character. So I love this connection. Great catch, Dalia.

Andrew: Now we’ll move to a couple of chicken soup emails to wrap up this Muggle Mail episode. This is from Shannon.

“Hi MuggleCasters, or should I say hey, y’all?”

That really stuck, Laura. Listeners love it.

Laura: I know, it’s so good. Anyway, go ahead. [laughs]

“Longtime listener here since 2007ish. I was listening to the 18th birthday episode and loved how Laura mentioned that MuggleCast gives a sense of routine and safety through life’s struggles. I had my first child back in March, and he unexpectedly spent his first week of life in the NICU. Several months later, the emotions of it all really started to get to me. I was back at work, not getting to see my little boy but a few hours a day, and was really struggling to stay strong for him when I did see him. As a new mom with a difficult birth experience, I didn’t really know how to find myself again after what I had been through. I was not and am not the same person I was before my son was born. But when things got really tough, I was able to start listening to MuggleCast at work again. There you were, just as you had always been: that little piece of my old self to fall back on and remind me of who I am.”

Andrew: This is so sweet; I’m going to cry.

“While I’ve been through a trying experience and have changed a lot, I am still a Harry Potter fan. That remains the same. MuggleCast has helped to remind me of who I am in trying times, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for that. Shannon.”

Shannon, that is so beautifully written and heartfelt and meaningful to us. Thank you.

Laura: All right. And our next email comes from Tuesday, who says,

“Hey y’all (this sounds terrible in my Scottish accent so it’s strictly written use only).”

I would love to hear what it sounds like for a Scottish person to say, “Hey, y’all.”

Andrew: Call in.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: There’s this one video where it’s trying to get Scottish guys to say just the weirdest words and they can’t say it. Like, “ouroboros,” and they just can’t do it.

Laura: Well, Tuesday says,

“I’m late to the party, but I still wanted to message you guys to tell you one of my favorite MuggleCast moments and to say thank you. Towards the end of last year into the beginning of this year I found myself homeless. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. I was staying in various temporary accommodations, it was negative eight degrees in Scotland, there was no heating, and I couldn’t get a hot shower. I was miserable and spent many a night in tears. I also had no Internet access, which in itself doesn’t bother me too much, but it meant I struggled to get podcasts and audiobooks – I’m registered blind and those are my go-to media form. Around the new year, I got to stay with a family I know through scouting. One of the first things I did was catch up on podcasts. I was sitting in the warm, in newly washed clothes, having had a lovely hot shower, and listening to you guys. I remember not what any of the episodes were, but I do remember the feeling of being surrounded by friends, of laughing for the first time in ages, and feeling content. Fast forward a few months and I’m sitting in a flat of my own. Scotland has turned the temperature up to 25 degrees Celsius, and I’m listening to you guys with that same contented smile on my face. Thank you for being there when I needed it most. Here’s to many more years of magic.”

Andrew: Here’s to many more years of magic. Amen to that.

Laura: And I’m so glad that you’re doing okay. It sounds like things have gotten a lot better, and I’m so glad to hear it.

Andrew: Well, listeners, you have once again inspired us, moved us, and reminded us why we do it, after all this time. We know the show makes a big impact on y’all and obviously makes a big impact on us too. We really love doing it. We really enjoy being your Harry Potter friends. Next week, we will have our Goblet of Fire movie commentary track. We recorded it last night so we’ve been on our mics for quite a bit over the last 18 hours or so.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: This is hour five, yeah.

Andrew: It was a lot of fun. We hope you all enjoy it too. You will need to bring your own copy of Goblet of Fire, by the way, just be aware of that. We do help you sync up with us as we’re watching. We all brought our own shot of alcohol to shoot when Dumbledore screams, “Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?” because it’s such an iconic moment in the Harry Potter fandom. [laughs] We had to celebrate that decision.

Eric: I will say, yes, legal age adults only. Do not try that at home if you’re underage, as many of you, now we are learning more with every episode, are.

Andrew: 100%. Unfortunately for us on the panel here, we are way past 18. And if they’re – sorry, 21. And because of that, we are allowed to have some alcohol from time to time. But if you’re under 21, bring a little soda or glass of water.

Eric: Oh yeah, something special that you like.


Andrew: It’s time for Quizzitch.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s question: Who gives Pigwidgeon his name? The correct answer is Ginny Weasley. I never ever pass up an opportunity to have Ginny be the correct Quizzitch answer. And oh boy, do we have some great names that people submitted under, and got the correct question. They include Harry Potter picked a peck of pickled peppers; an unregistered fluffy Snitch disguised as an owl; guys I had homecoming last week and then had to march in a parade the next day Lucy the 15-year-old; pickles for Pigwidgeon; Luke the 12-year-old hey y’all it’s Luke in math class oh crap he sees me bye; HBO’s reboot better not do Ginny dirty; Bort the 32-year-old; Rocket the aptly named golden retriever; Niffle puff; Yer a qwizzard Harry; Accio 12 Bagels; what happened to Quizzitch Live give me Quizzitch Live; flu chowder cooking TM; orb-worthy prophecy; Matthew the 11-year-old; tell Kevin to play Tears of the Kingdom if he likes Skyrim; Jenny Penny loves Sirius Black; Yo Rufus on Fiya is back; loony loopy lovely Lupin; Voldy moldy and the goldie trollies; Luke the 12-year-old; Ivy soon to be 10-year-old; I am the biggest fan of Piggly Wiggly; Winky’s bubbly little problem; and the one that Micah submitted under. Are you ready for it? If you needed any more proof Ginny is terrible at naming things, see her children.

[Everyong laughs]

Andrew: There will be news on Quizzitch Live, for that Quizzitch person who submitted. There will be a Quizzitch Live sooner rather than later, I would say.

Eric: Within a month!

Micah: We’re working on it.

Eric: Announcement to come later on that. Here is next week’s Quizzitch question.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Who found the Riddle family dead? As in, who discovered their bodies? Submit your answer to us on the Quizzitch form located on the MuggleCast website,, or go to and click on Quizzitch from the main nav.

Andrew: If you’re an Apple Podcast user, for just $2.99 a month you can receive ad-free and early access to MuggleCast right in the Apple Podcast app. We have lots more benefits on Patreon, though, so be sure to hit up You’ll also get access to bonus MuggleCast on Patreon. Like Micah said at the top of today’s episode, we’ll be recording a new one about the things from the Goblet of Fire book that didn’t make it to the movie and hopefully, will make it to the TV show. We have a great list together that we will talk through. If you’re a Spotify user, you can pledge to Patreon pretty easily. Just tap into the show on Spotify, and you’ll see a Patreon banner there, and then you can get the audio benefits that we post on Patreon right within the Spotify app, actually. This is a newer feature. It’s really great. So tap into the show, Spotify users, and check it out. If you enjoy the show and think other Muggles would too, tell a friend about the show. We love when people spread the good word about the pod. And we would also appreciate if you left us a review on your favorite podcast app. And last but not least, don’t forget that we are on social media, posting all kinds of stuff throughout the week. We’re @MuggleCast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Threads. Thanks, everybody for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: Bye, everyone.

Transcript #627


MuggleCast 627 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #627, A Normal Friday Night at Hogwarts (POA Chapter 22, Owl Post Again)

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

Andrew Sims: Welcome to MuggleCast your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: And this week, be sure to check with the cat that your new pet is really what they seem, because we are going to read and analyze the final chapter of Prisoner of Azkaban, “Owl Post Again.” And to help us with today’s discussion, we’re joined by one of our Slug Club supporters and listeners, Melissa. Welcome to the show, Melissa!

Melissa: Hi. Thanks for having me, guys.

Andrew: Yeah, and when we reached out, I think you told me Prisoner of Azkaban is your favorite book. Is that right?

Melissa: It is. It really is.

Laura: Oh, how fitting.

Andrew: So we got you in right under the wire, yes!

Melissa: Literally perfect.

Andrew: We planned it this way. [laughs] So before we get any further, let’s get your fandom ID, Melissa.

Melissa: Okay, so my favorite book… also, I will say that every single time I read “favorite,” it’s messing with my head because it’s the American spelling and not the Canadian spelling.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Ah, that’s right. Canadians are very persnickety.

Melissa: We like our extra letters a lot.

Eric: All right, well, I’m going to update the document right now.

Melissa: [laughs] So favorite book is Prisoner of Azkaban, favorite film is… this is always really hard for me because Prisoner of Azkaban, but also Half-Blood Prince for very different reasons. Hogwarts House is Ravenclaw. Ilvermorny is Thunderbird? Favorite Marauder is Remus, and favorite owl is Hedwig and a snowy owl, because they’re gorgeous.

Eric: Tell me, is Prisoner of Azkaban spelled any differently? Are there extra O’s or U’s or anything in the title?

Melissa: [laughs] You can add them wherever your heart desires, and I will appreciate it. How about that?

Andrew: I will say, I do enjoy getting close to the Canadian border from the American side because when you go to used bookstores, let’s say in Seattle, you start seeing those UK covers because they hop over the border. Canadians get UK covers.

Eric: Life hack.

Andrew: Yeah, I think I sent y’all a picture when I was up in Portland earlier this year. I saw some UK covers. I was like, “Ooh, this is exciting, a whole different world.”

Eric: That’s cool.

Andrew: Anyway, great to have you, Melissa, and thank you so much for your support on Patreon. We really appreciate it.

Melissa: My pleasure.

Andrew: Speaking of Patreon, there have been a couple of Fantastic Beasts movie and HP reboot news stories recently. David Yates, the director of many wizarding world movies at this point, suggested he’s done with doing those movies, and David Heyman, the longtime producer of all the wizarding world projects, says the HP reboot will go deeper into the series than the movies did, which is exactly what we were hoping for. We’re going to talk about these stories on a deeper level level on our Patreon this week. is where you can get bonus MuggleCast installments twice a month. And Laura, you have some big news for us.

Laura: Yeah, I do. I wanted to plug something that we’ve been working on for the last few weeks here, and it is the MuggleCast 2023 listener survey, going live as of the recording of this episode. So the survey will be open to all listeners through October 6, so we will be plugging it over the next couple of weeks. We want to know what you love about the show, what you think could improve it, and what other content you’d be interested in us making. We’re also asking anyone who supports us on our Patreon about their experience so we can learn what kinds of bonus content y’all would be interested in seeing in the future. The survey is open to all, whether you are a Patreon supporter or not, and will be available through our website, in our show notes, and across our various social channels. Thanks so much in advance for taking the time to help us improve the show, whether you’ve been with us for 18 years, are new to the show, or anywhere in between. We truly could not do this show without y’all.

Eric: Laura, I’m filling this out right now; it asked me how I have heard about the show. There’s not an option for “Is a host,” so how do I…?

Laura: [laughs] “Am host.”

Eric: I’ll put “Other” and in the write-in, “Am host.” Okay.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: You heard about the show through the staff forum in 2005.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: OG, baby, I bet nobody else filling this out will be able to say that.

Micah: Just do what I do on the Quizzitch form and just make up a really creative username.

Laura: Oh, that’s so brilliant.

Micah: I’m not saying I do that.

Andrew: Except then that’s bad data. We want listeners. We don’t want the hosts.

Eric: Yeah, we don’t want to pollute… this negatively affects us if I mess this up. [laughs]

Laura: Well, I will say that I will be screening the responses, and if there are any clearly bogus host responses to this, I will be removing those results.

Andrew: Thank you.

Laura: Sorry about that.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Laura is policing this. She’s taking this really seriously, y’all.

Laura: I am.

Eric: But really, thank you for filling it out. We really want to hear from you. And this will affect the future of the show.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, we have ideas, so we really appreciate getting your feedback on some ideas we’re kicking around.

Eric: So another update, actually, this coming week, you’ll be able to hear me talking about the history of the Harry Potter fandom for two and a half hours. Or actually, part one of this long retrospect. I was a guest host on the Belated Binge podcast, which is the binge podcast that does not take the series or itself too seriously. It was a lot of fun. The podcast, again, called Belated Binge, is going to be available wherever podcasts are found, but especially on YouTube. There’s actually going to be a video version of it. And I just sat down… Zac is a longtime listener of MuggleCast; he actually reached out. I went back and found a very old email that he sent back in the before times, and read it back to him on the show. But mostly, it was a question about the origins of the fandom and how the different eras of Potter, based on what was happening, affected both MuggleCast and just being a Harry Potter fan. So it was actually a really engaging discussion. It was fun to go through and test my own knowledge as far as what happened, but it’s worth checking out. Part one will be this coming week, and part two will be the following week. We’ll put the link in the show notes. Definitely check out Belated Binge podcast.

Andrew: And last but not least, a reminder: Year two of the MuggleCast Collector’s Club is open now. This is the last chance for everyone to get the stickers whether or not you are currently a patron, so make sure you fill out that form that’s available on our Patreon. We introduced the Collector’s Club last year, in which each year between now and 2026 we’re sending four to five exclusive new stickers that celebrate the show’s past and present. And we’re also giving you the Collector’s Club card on which you can place the stickers; it’s a beautiful backing card. We absolutely love it. Year two stickers celebrate the old Chicken Soup segment; we did one with the classic iPod with MuggleCast playing; we’ve got Hogwarts on fire, hashtag security nightmare; we’ve got Jamie’s old British Joke segment, a sticker dedicated to that; and then a tier-based exclusive, either a Dumbledore’s Army or Slug Club sticker. These are the only chance you can get these stickers. Available now and then never again, and then the next three years, wee’re going to have exclusive stickers as well.

Eric: Melissa, are you excited about the Slug Club sticker? The slugs clinking little glasses?

Melissa: I’m so excited, it’s actually unreal.

[Andrew, Eric, and Melissa laugh]

Andrew: Yeah, the designs are awesome. So pledge at the $5 or $10 level by September 22 and then fill out the form by September 23 to receive this year’s stickers! Thank you in advance, everybody.

Micah: And Andrew, I’ve been working very hard on my Spotify playlist. I know you all did House themes, and I was the odd person out. I didn’t want to do another Ravenclaw because Laura’s was so good. I did a Quidditch-themed playlist and it’s coming to a theater near you sometime soon.

Andrew: A theater?

Micah: Oh, sorry, an iPhone…

Eric: A home theater.

Micah: Whatever you listen to. Yeah, home theater.

Eric: I’ll play it through my surround sound when it comes out.

Micah: There you go. It just sounded better to say coming to a theater near you.

Eric: Coming soon to theaters.

Andrew: Sounds good. Well, without further ado, it’s time for Chapter by Chapter, and like I said, we’re discussing the final chapter in Prisoner of Azkaban, “Owl Post Again.” Once more for this book, it’s time for our Seven-Word Summary.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Micah: Justice…

Eric: … is…

Melissa: … served…

Laura: … by…

Andrew: … Hermione…

Micah: … and…

Eric: Harry.

Laura: Beautiful. Well done, y’all.

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Eric: Well, welcome, everybody, to the final chapter of most of our favorite books. It’s really interesting coming off of the long high that was the time travel shenanigans and the whole back half of this book with all of its ups and downs. There’s a lot of summary and closing the book out and events that happen in this book. Harry goes back on the train, we see Uncle Vernon at the end of it. But I wanted to do more of an overview of this chapter because there are a few events that happen where there’s positive news and then there’s negative news, or there’s negative news but there’s a silver lining. I’ve broken up different moments, and we’re going to go through them and have a discussion about what some of these are. And I do think that in these moments, the consolations that we get are useful. Of course, we know Voldemort wasn’t going to be destroyed at the end of the third book out of seven. Harry doesn’t get to live with Sirius yet. That can’t be, as much as we would love that. So we’re going to go through and talk about this stuff. Number one thing is that Snape was really, really, really, really horrible. We’ve been talking about this the last couple of chapters, but now he ultimately did not get what he wanted and Sirius gets to keep his soul in his mouth or his body. [laughs] But Snape is just really, really, really angry about it. He also knows that it was Harry and Hermione who did this. He thinks he knows. Does he really know? That’s my first question.

Micah: Who knows? He just seems completely unhinged in this moment, and I think there’s a lot of emotion that is processing through Snape here. It’s a combination of what we’ve talked about in the previous chapters, that he believes Sirius responsible for the death of Lily Potter, but then there’s probably something deep down inside of him that just thinks that nothing goes right for Snape, right? And when nothing goes right for Snape, or something is up at Hogwarts, Harry usually has something to do with it.

Laura: Yeah, and he’s really projecting his insecurities about James onto Harry as well. We see throughout the series, when Snape says again and again how very much like his arrogant father Harry is, so it feels very much like he’s taking that high school insecurity and projecting it onto the literal embodiment of James Potter in this moment.

Eric: It’s funny because he doesn’t need evidence, really. And in fact, he gets none. We’re going to talk about Dumbledore in a minute and what Dumbledore says to Snape, but Snape doesn’t need concrete proof that it was Harry and Hermione because he is going to resolve to make their lives more miserable than ever. And in fact, that happens. It’s glossed over blissfully, thank God, but Snape manages to even be worse of a teacher to the two of them throughout the remaining part of this school year. In fact, Harry suspects he nearly failed him from the class, and that could affect his future!

Andrew: I also think that Snape definitely knows it was them because they helped save the day at the end of the other two books, so it just stands to reason that they’re going to help save the day again.

Eric: It’s interesting that phrase, “Save the day,” because if viewed from Snape’s perspective, it means that he knows he’s on the wrong side of it. If he’s like, “Oh, these two save the day.” I think that he really does feel outwitted by them, and the culture, the environment is very permissive of them to be better than him in this moment. I think he does have an inkling that he’s on the wrong side of the argument here. He still thinks that he should have his way. So enter Dumbledore, who I see in this chapter as really stoking the flames, particularly for Snape’s anger. He says, “Well, there you have it, Severus. Unless you are suggesting that Harry and Hermione are able to be in two places at once, I’m afraid I don’t see any point in troubling them further.” And it’s like, okay, hang on now, because Dumbledore literally is upping the ante and saying that if Snape can prove that Harry and Hermione, or has any idea how Harry and Hermione might be in two places at once, then there would be some kind of foundation to his argument. But because Snape apparently doesn’t know about the Time-Turner, he can’t do that. Still, this is very interesting baiting from Dumbledore, isn’t it? Because how secret is Hermione Time-Turner from the rest of the staff?

Andrew: It’s such strong baiting. It’s shockingly risky.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: “Unless there was a way… I mean, there’s no way right way, right? You wouldn’t know any way, but unless there’s a way, which, come on, there can’t be a way, right?” I was shocked.

Eric: I mean, at any point in the future, this could come up. A throwaway line from another teacher, whether Professor Vector or somebody that Hermione had to like rush and was late to their class… it could easily be spilled that Hermione had a Time-Turner in year three, and if it does, Dumbledore is going to have a severe Snape problem. But he couldn’t resist having the fun.

Laura: He really couldn’t. And it just stands to reason that the other professors, at least some of them, would have to know, right? To your point, Eric. And given how much work we knew went into getting Hermione this Time-Turner from the Ministry in the first place, it feels risky to be doing this in front of Fudge too.

Eric: Yeah, because presumably, somebody at the Ministry signed off on this 13-year-old being the only person ever to have a Time-Turner for classwork and getting this Time-Turner, and now Fudge is there, and Dumbledore is saying that “the reason that you’re wrong is because we can’t prove somebody was in two places at once.”

Andrew: It’s almost like Dumbledore is trying to have a fun inside joke moment with Fudge, like “Unless you’re suggesting that Harry and Hermione are able to be in two places at once,” and he turns to Fudge and winks, “I don’t see how it could have happened!”

Eric: “I don’t know!” You also had a point about Fudge, Andrew.

Andrew: Yes, so when Snape storms out, you read this dialogue back, and it’s interesting once you get to Snape’s backstory later in the series. So the quote I’m referencing is,

“Fellow seems quite unbalanced,” said Fudge. “I’d watch out for him if I were you, Dumbledore.”

And then Dumbledore says,

“Oh, he’s not unbalanced. He’s just suffered a severe disappointment.”

And of course, he’s suffered a severe disappointment in this moment, but once you get through the series and read this back, it almost reads like Dumbledore is dropping another little Easter egg by hand here when it comes to losing Lily. Just a thought that crossed my mind, and maybe crossed Dumbledore’s mind in that moment too.

Laura: It is interesting, because it reads as funny in this moment, right? Like, “Oh, he’s just having a little temper tantrum. He’ll be okay.” But actually, it’s a lot deeper than that.

Eric: He’s minimizing.

Melissa: I think I look at it a little bit differently, but I feel like this is one of those times where Dumbledore puts Snape in his place. He’s basically like, “Trust me. You have to trust me, I’m telling you that I’m involved in this, so back off,” and it’s like Snape knows that he has to listen to Dumbledore, and I think that this is one of those moments that that shines through early on in the series, if that makes sense.

Laura: It does.

Eric: I think you’re right because Snape’s actions immediately following this undermine Dumbledore and make life difficult for Dumbledore as much as they do for Lupin or anybody else. Dumbledore doesn’t want to have to again look for a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, so Snape’s retaliation against Lupin could also be seen as him bucking the system and causing havoc wherever he can, since Dumbledore did put him in his place. So that makes sense to me. Is there any other thoughts before we move on regarding the Time-Turner and Hermione’s acquisition of it? Also, she gives it back. Nobody tells her she has to give it back. She decides that she has had enough, and she says to Harry, “I’ve given it back to McGonagall.”

Andrew: “I can’t take this anymore, I’m tired, I’m stressed…”

Eric: [laughs] Would she have been allowed to keep it?

Andrew: That is a good question.

Micah: It’s another example, though, of Hogwarts being a security nightmare, right? Well, in fairness, there’s so much going on in this particular sequence of events that the Time-Turner is probably the last thing that is on their mind in terms of, “Oh yeah, we need to go and make sure that Hermione returns her Time-Turner to the Ministry at the end of the school year.” But in terms of anything else about this particular scene, I tended to think that even if Fudge were aware of the Time-Turner… which you’d think as the Minister for Magic, he would have to be, right? This is something that would rise to his level, a little memo on his desk, so to speak, at the beginning of the Hogwarts term. I just think it’s highly unlikely he would think it possible that Harry and Hermione could go back in time and do all of this, right? He’s very ignorant towards… well, we see it just a chapter prior, right? He’s he’s got a sweet spot for Harry right now.

Eric: Yeah, and it does help that Fudge himself was a witness to Buckbeak’s escape, right? He just saw him out the window, or he knows that it was a close call that… because potentially, what the kids did while traveling back in time could have had repercussions for Hagrid. I think it was maybe McNair that had said, “Oh, I just saw him out the window a moment ago.” They could have really started to suspect Hagrid let him go, and so the intricate level to which Fudge was directly involved means that he’ll put the rubber stamp on “There was nothing untoward; it’s unexplainable that the Buckbeak got away,” or “It’s unexplainable that these children… the matron says that they were in the hospital wing the whole time, they must have been in the hospital wing the whole time.” Really deliberately not thinking outside the box here because he’s more of a “You believe what you see kind of a thing” kind of guy.

Andrew: Real quickly, Micah’s point about a memo coming across Fudge’s desk, I’m just imagining him reading a memo that says, “Third year at Hogwarts gets Time-Turner.” Okay, great, next.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: I could see him just rolling his eyes and being like, “Dumbledore again.”

Andrew: [laughs] He sits there with his own little security nightmare button.

Laura: Is this another sign of Fudge’s incompetence? Either he was very blasé about this request, or he just didn’t know about it. It wasn’t surfaced to him.

Eric: It’s possible. This whole thing, it’s funny because as we’ve gone through this book, we’ve totally destroyed any credibility of Hermione getting this, but I love that she has it. It’s my favorite book for a reason, and a lot of that has to do with the time travel aspect. [laughs] So it doesn’t really make any sense, but it works so well for the plot, I just have to be like, “Okay, I don’t know.” I don’t think less of Fudge. I’m glad she got it. But it is funny that she is the person that hands it back. She says to Harry, “I’ve gone and given it back.” Unbelievable. So the next setback, or bad news – we talked about this a moment ago – Lupin is not going to be able to teach next year. This is because Snape storms off out of the hospital wing, and the very next morning at breakfast let slip that Lupin was a werewolf. And it’s a sad moment; Harry immediately has to go and talk with Lupin and really catch up and say his goodbyes. But as sort of a silver lining, Lupin says, “Because I’m no longer your teacher, I no longer need to confiscate this highly dangerous Marauder’s Map, so here you go, kid.” And that just feels right.

Andrew: It feels right. It’s a passing of the torch, so to speak.

Micah: Yeah, and I think not only is it a way for Lupin and Harry to maintain that connection, it’s a way for him to stay, in a way connected, to his father, right? Prongs is always with him, and I think that is a nice moment for Harry here with Lupin in his office.

Laura: And that’s a huge theme in this chapter, Prongs always being alive in Harry. We see examples of that come a little bit later. But it is one of the bittersweet, I think, parts of this chapter, like you were saying at the lead, Eric. There’s a lot of happiness and good news that we get, but there’s also this bitter twist to it because we ultimately know what it all means for Harry’s future, which is more of the same: having to go back to the Dursleys every summer, having infrequent contact with his newly found godfather… so it’s a little rough still.

Eric: Yeah, and now interestingly, although Lupin is banished because of this anticipated controversy that the parents of Hogwarts will be writing in in droves and saying, “My kids can’t be around a werewolf,” Dumbledore apparently managed to convince Fudge that Lupin was not helping Sirius Black to escape the night before. And I’ve really got to ask because we don’t… this is easy to miss, as I mentioned, but Dumbledore probably had to do some fancy footwork, given the extensive prejudice against werewolves in general that people have, coupled with the fact that Lupin last night really was extremely dangerous. Lupin himself says, “I could have eaten somebody.” It’s a real big deal. So how did Dumbledore finagle it so that Lupin is essentially allowed to leave also, without any suspicion of having had any hand in the previous night’s events?

Melissa: I think that at this point in the series, Fudge trusts Dumbledore, but he’s also completely incompetent. Fudge is always incompetent, always will be. But I really wonder if at this point, it would have been as simple as modifying a memory, putting it in the Pensieve, and showing it to Fudge to be like, “Look, he’s innocent, we trust him.” And then what really, this made me think about, was whether or not Dumbledore would be more adept at modifying memories than someone like Slughorn, where you can obviously really tell that those memories are modified. Could he have used modified memories against Fudge at this point? Would Fudge have fallen for that?

Laura: Probably, to be honest. Even if Dumbledore didn’t do a great job of modifying the memories – which I agree with you, Melissa, I think he would probably be very skilled at it – I don’t think Fudge would be able to tell. He’s not competent enough to be able to tell, so it would be pretty easy to pass something like that by him.

Andrew: And as the Minister of Magic for the entire country, you’ve got a lot of stuff on your plate. You don’t need to focus too hard on any one thing. You’re operating at a higher level, at more of a bird’s eye view, telling people what to do. So even just a little bit of evidence, he’s like, “Okay, thank you very much. I’m moving on with my day.”

Eric: But still, this is the years long search for Sirius Black, so I would think he’d be more personally invested in who might have been a co-conspirator. I realize we only have one chapter to wrap this book up, and maybe that’s why these pieces fall into place so nicely, because you could see this being more of an issue of contention, especially Lupin himself. If this were Book 5, Lupin would be at a trial right now for maybe helping Sirius because it’s well known enough that they were friends in school, by the teachers, at least.

Laura: Right. Melissa brought this up; I think part of it is at this point in the series, Fudge is really still very dependent on Dumbledore and really trusts him and his judgment. We always knew that Fudge has a little bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to Dumbledore because he knows that others wanted Dumbledore to be the Minister for Magic more than they wanted him, so he’s constantly writing to Dumbledore asking for advice proactively throughout this point in the series. We see that take a shift towards the end of the next book. But honestly, I could see Dumbledore using the timing to explain this away, similar to how he does for Harry and Hermione, in saying, “Listen, Lupin was transformed and running around somewhere in the Forbidden Forest when Sirius escaped, so he couldn’t have been part of an escape plan.” And I think that something else – and this is just alternate headcanon here – I could also see him telling Fudge that Lupin came to Hogwarts to serve as an informant because of how close he and Sirius were when they were in school, because they knew Sirius to be a threat to Harry, that Dumbledore specifically sought Lupin out to take this post in protection of Harry.

Eric: I could see that.

Micah: Yeah, I mean, he’s not above placing people at Hogwarts to either protect them or use them for his own purposes, see Trelawney, see Slughorn, and I’m sure there’s examples of others as well.

Laura: Oh yeah.

Micah: But I mean, look, can you prove that Lupin cannot scale the walls of Hogwarts and climb all the way up to – what was it, the seventh floor? 13th window? – and release Sirius. That’s actually my point, and this goes to the lack of just investigative work the Ministry does. There’s no evidence, even if Fudge was to look to charge Lupin. There is no evidence anywhere throughout the entire school year that Lupin aided Sirius Black in any way, shape, or form.

Laura: Yeah. Also, we have to remember that Fudge is extremely driven by optics, and he has an optics problem here with the Dementors because if you start digging into who was part of the grand Sirius Black escape plan, it also bubbles to the surface that the Dementors literally tried to attack students and suck their souls out. He’s not going to want to have to deal with a Ministry inquiry about that, and we never see that happen. So I think, to protect himself and his position and perception of his integrity as Minister, I think this all gets swept under the rug for the most part. You can’t, obviously, sweep the whole Sirius Black escaping under the rug bit, but when it comes to the other events of the night, a werewolf getting loose on the grounds, the Dementors attacking students… that’s not something that Fudge is going to want to get out there.

Eric: Sounds like a normal Friday night at Hogwarts, honestly.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: It really does.

Micah: There’s your title, “Normal Friday night at Hogwarts.”

[Laura laughs]

Eric: But honestly, yeah, what you’re saying, Laura, makes a lot of sense. And at least nobody died. By the grace of God, nobody was eaten by Lupin or attacked by Sirius Black. It’s got to be weird that Sirius, whatever his mission is presumed to have been by Fudge, he abandons it and just goes on the run the next two years. What does Fudge make of…? Because I don’t think he’s heard about the Peter Pettigrew theory, so it just is weird because all of a sudden Sirius Black is no longer coming towards Hogwarts. They have to do some kind of explanation as far as that goes.

Micah: I think that’s really an interesting point, that that whole storyline just falls by the wayside after being such a focal point of the third book. It’s almost like… we hear mentions in passing, sightings of Sirius Black, but the Ministry really just, their focus turns elsewhere. Kind of to Andrew’s point earlier, the minister has much more to worry about than just one mass murderer being on the loose.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Well, and we’re privy to, not to say they start next year or start around this time, but we’re privy to, in Book 4, the world really opens up a lot more, and not even just talking about the other schools of magic, but the Bertha Jorkins disappearance is a hot topic of conversation for obvious reasons. We know it directly relates to Voldemort’s return. But the idea that the Ministry has a lot going on and is failing to not just catch a murderer, but their staff is going rogue, MIA, completely unexplainable… all of these little teeny cracks in the surface of the Ministry’s perception, it is an optics problem, and we’re starting to see the glass shatter of the Ministry being able to handle it.

Micah: One other thing that came to mind, and Laura, I’m wondering if you can help me out here kind of connecting the threads a little bit, is at the end of this book, we see somebody who is part of the wizarding community but considered basically to be non-human, and as a result of his condition is no longer able to be a professor at Hogwarts. It’s almost like there’s justice in Order of the Phoenix when we see non-human creatures take out the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor when the centaurs do what they do with Umbridge.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: I’m trying to connect the thread, but… something that just popped into my mind, reading this chapter.

Laura: I think you just connected the thread, Micah. I don’t think you needed my help. Especially given how much of a bigot that new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor was and the horrible things she said about Lupin.

Eric: So do we think that maybe Fudge also already knew about Lupin? I mean, we know he didn’t know anything about the Time-Turner, apparently, but certainly having a werewolf student at Hogwarts. It’s old news by now that Lupin was a werewolf, potentially, to the Minister for Magic, because he isn’t seen to react to it at all, the idea that Lupin specifically… Fudge is not calling for any kind of adverse action against Lupin. And in this moment, I do blame… I think having reread this book, most recently now along with us, I do think Lupin should resign not because of the prejudice, but because he did forget to take his potion. I mean, it’s weird how it works, that it’s only one night and done, but it’s huge! It’s absolutely huge. And I’m sorry, but you really did put people in danger. Even Lupin is like, “I really did put people in danger.” You have to leave. You can’t do that at a school and expect to still be a teacher.

Andrew: Yeah, and just thinking about it from the parent angle, of course they’re not going to want this either. It’s just so risky that you can’t risk that again. And we were speaking about this a few weeks ago, he knew it was coming. He knew the full moon was coming. This wasn’t a surprise. But hey, that’s just the DADA curse, right? It was inevitable, I suppose.

Eric: That’s its own silver lining. Yes, Lupin has to leave, boo. But he’s alive.

Andrew: But that was going to happen anyway! Yeah, if it wasn’t this, it was going to be someone else that got him kicked out. So might as well be this.

Eric: Yeah. Aren’t we glad that that Lupin gets to live another day? [laughs] He didn’t get disintegrated when Harry touched him to shake his hand goodbye.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Right. No, he makes it to the Battle of Hogwarts, so… [laughs]

Eric: Oh, wow. I want a T-shirt that says that: “Made it to…”

Andrew: At least he made it to the Battle of Hogwarts.

Eric: Yeah, to say nothing of walking away.

Andrew: [laughs] I guess he got to fight in a war.

Laura: No, I mean, this is maybe a dark take, but I guess you could say that was the DADA curse finally closing the loop on Lupin.

Andrew: Wow. Laura, please leave.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Oh my God. My mind is blown. That’s amazing.

Laura: I’m turning this into group therapy today.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: The next time he sets foot at Hogwarts, the curse has its way.

Laura: I know. It’s been waiting. It’s been sitting there tapping its watch. “Where are you?”

Eric: Oh my God.

Micah: What is that movie series? Final Destination?

Eric: Yeah, no, that’s exactly how it all works. Also, real quick question about Lupin. So he packs all his stuff into a tiny little bag and a grindylow tank, and he carries out the grindylow tank kind of awkwardly. I’m picturing almost like an aquarium. What’s the importance of this thing? Why can’t he vanish it or shrink it or something? It’s just such a classic… I guess because it’s visually interesting to picture Lupin carrying out a grindylow tank with his suitcase.

Melissa: I feel like it just comes down to like, man’s gotta eat. Maybe he’s re-selling the tank when he leaves.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: “This is a good tank. This holds all the grindylows.”

Micah: It could be a little bit of a head nod to Goblet of Fire. I feel like we get a couple of different nuggets in this chapter that resurface in Goblet of Fire. There’s the mention of the Quidditch World Cup, there is the mention of dragons guarding the entrance to Hogwarts, and then there’s also the mention here of the grindylow. Might’ve been the author’s way of just dropping a few clues in the last chapter here.

Eric: I like that.

Andrew: Yeah, and I would also just say we know Rowling has very colorful writing, and this is just more of that. That’s all. The attention to detail is strong.

Eric: Here’s an interesting one: So Harry is really upset that Pettigrew got away. And Dumbledore, who showed up to say goodbye to Lupin after Harry did, tells Harry, “Hey, you know what? Yeah, that’s bad. But your choices, they made all the difference.” [laughs] Like, what? Does this feel like Dumbledore is just giving an empty promise? Or is this classic Dumbledore in that he is comforting and kind of fatherly toward Harry in this moment? How do we read this consolation of “Yeah, he got away, yeah, you told Sirius and Lupin not to kill him, but that matters, buddy”?

Andrew: Well, you think about the fatherly angle. He’s talking to a child; he needs to be supportive here.

Melissa: I really think that it’s classic Dumbledore, where I think we can all agree, terrible person, fantastic character.

[Andrew laughs]

Melissa: So I think he cares about Harry, but I also think that he is always calculating. He’s always planning ahead. So I think that this is actually part of Dumbledore preparing Harry as a lamb for slaughter. I think he’s trying to… as a young man, he is realizing that he has to help build that confidence and character that Harry will eventually need in order to sacrifice himself as the last Horcrux.

Eric: Wow, that’s pretty deep.

[Andrew sighs]

Laura: I think also, this is an important contrast between Harry and Voldemort. Dumbledore has this conversation with Harry later in the series, but Harry is doing the exact opposite of what Voldemort would do in this moment, and that is what matters. That is the power that Harry has over Voldemort. It ties back into what Dumbledore says, the famous quote, “It is our choices that determine who we are, not how we were born,” or something to that effect. I think this is an early distinction being made between Harry and Voldemort as characters, which we know matters because the two of them end up having so much in common.

Eric: That’s a really good point.

Micah: Agreed. I will say, the one thing that I actually like about the Prisoner of Azkaban movie… and the movie has grown on me over the years, so I’m not completely crapping on it in this particular moment. What I did really enjoy about the movie was that it’s actually Lupin that delivers many of these lines to Harry, and I think to your question, Eric, they feel more authentic coming from Lupin than from Dumbledore, right? Because we know the relationship that Lupin and Sirius have. So when he says, “You helped uncover the truth, you saved an innocent man from a terrible fate,” he’s talking about one of his best friends in this moment. For Dumbledore to say it, it just seems a little bit out of place and out of character for him. In this moment. I’m not saying that Dumbledore doesn’t care about Harry – I think he does on some level – but he cares more about the greater good and his own objectives, as we see play out later on in the series. I’m just curious what you all think about that.

Eric: Yeah, well, I know that we have… so at the end of the next book, there’s this classic moment, this gleam of triumph that Dumbledore has, and it’s when he finds out that Voldemort used Harry’s blood to build his new body. But there’s not not that same kind of moment here when Dumbledore goes into it a little bit more, and you’re like, “Well, what do you mean that this was a good thing, Dumbledore?” And he tells Harry that “Pettigrew owes his life to you. You have sent Voldemort a deputy who is in your debt… When one wizard saves another wizard’s life, it creates a certain bond between them… and I’m much mistaken if Voldemort wants his servant in the debt of Harry Potter… This is magic at its deepest, most impenetrable, Harry. But trust me… the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew’s life.” Dumbledore is spot on regarding this.

Micah: Because he’s God.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: He’s already seen this all play out.

Eric: Maybe, yeah. I think that the payoff to this line is botched a little; Pettigrew’s hand is weird enough, and then it’s a question whether or not there’s actually a calling in of the debt versus Pettigrew hesitating, or maybe because he hesitates and the hand kills him… Pettigrew’s death scene is when this pays off, and it’s all very weird to me; I’ll need to reread it. But as far as advice for the future, this is Dumbledore at his finest, in a way, because he is claiming to know stuff about magic that is deeper than pretty much anybody will ever know about magic. Dumbledore has gone further and is able to speak to magic, like the magic that involves love, but when we think about the protection on Privet Drive, that’s actually really the level of magic that Dumbledore is talking about here. The fact that there’s somebody in Harry’s family that’s able to… and that ends up concealing Harry for so, so long. So I guess nobody else is qualified to speak to how big a moment or how big a deal Harry’s sparing Peter was than Dumbledore. So it does make sense, I guess, that this comes from Dumbledore.

Micah: It does. I see it as a Pillsbury Doughboy moment where he’s like, “Oohoo, this is even better than I expected.”

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: “Ooh, this is even better than I thought! This is all going according to plan.”

Micah: Yeah, Andrew does it better than I do.

Andrew: “Oohoo!”

Laura: That raises the question for me, and I know we bring this up every so often, but how much does Dumbledore know at this point about the connection between Harry and Voldemort? How much does he suspect? Is he already investigating Horcruxes? Does he already have an inkling of how this is going to play out?

Eric: Horcrux-wise, yes, because he tells Harry later that the diary was the first real proof that he had that Horcruxes had been made, so I think he’s onto the Horcrux thing. For me, this also speaks to… going back to the prophecy, which we’re going to talk about the prophecy later in the chapter, the other prophecy that Trelawney made, but the first one, knowing that Voldemort had a choice between two people and physically acted to mark Harry over Neville, and then watching the pieces fall into play… nobody else had ever survived the Killing Curse, but Harry does. This speaks to me to be that same level of… Dumbledore is just spotting the moments where something is going to be set up that’s paid off later. Because this life debt thing, Dumbledore is like, “You’ve sent Voldemort a servant that’s in your debt. That’s going to fail catastrophically.” I feel like that’s actually a really good educated guess that is reasonable if you’re familiar with how prophecies work. And knowing that eventually, Harry… we want him to triumph, and he’s going to get special skills that will allow him to triumph. This sounds like a very obvious way by which Harry will have an advantage over Voldemort. So thinking of it in terms of “We know there’s a prophecy here,” it also makes sense that Dumbledore would connect the dots and be like, “That’s a problem. Harry can’t go live with Sirius, and he’s not looking forward to going back to the Dursleys.” But Ron brings up the prospect of the Quidditch World Cup.

Andrew: I do like that little look ahead to Book 4.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, it’s a look ahead, and it also shows that even though Harry is feeling down in this chapter, the future is not all dread. That’s what I’m getting at with this whole overview, it’s like, every bad news, there’s still some good news here..

Andrew: It’s still the wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando.

Eric: [laughs] Specifically down in Orlando, Florida. I think the needle really is threaded by the author of setting our mood because we’ve had such a profound disappointment. And because I fell so in love with Sirius Black when I first met him in reading this book the first time, I ultimately didn’t come away feeling so disappointed because there was this massaging of the bad moments with the good throughout this entire chapter. That feels like what’s happening is this massaging of the bad facts with some good facts.

Micah: Yeah, it’s like for every down moment, you’re uplifted very soon thereafter.

Eric: Yeah. So we’re looking forward to the Quidditch World Cup. Here’s another example: Ron doesn’t have a rat anymore, which could be lonely. It could be lonely for for Ron.

Andrew: Oh, yeah. Ron needs a pet.

Eric: For many, many years, Ron has had a pet. Well, guess what? This chapter solves that problem because Sirius Black sends a letter to the Hogwarts Express that reaches Harry and Ron, and at the end of it, he says, “Ron should have this owl seeing as how it’s my fault he doesn’t have a pet anymore.”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Which I thought was also an interesting move from the perspective of building a relationship with Harry, between Sirius and Harry.

Eric: Ooh.

Andrew: Because Sirius is gifting his BFF a meaningful animal. It’s just a very thoughtful gift.

Eric: 100%.

Andrew: And you think about building relationships here in the horrible Muggle world, that means a lot. That means a lot if you’re thinking about somebody’s friends as well and trying to win them over. So this is actually winning Ron over in terms of that angle, too, Harry and Sirius being friends now.

Eric: That’s a great point.

Laura: And he also sent Harry a signed permission form for visiting Hogsmeade, so he’s just knocking it out of the park here as godfather.

Eric: Well, you know Ron isn’t expecting the gift. I think that’s what makes it especially… Ron doesn’t yet have that persecution process where it’s like, nobody ever thinks about Ron, “I’m just the sidekick,” whatever. That all happens next year. But he ultimately, nevertheless, is not expecting correspondence between Sirius and Harry to relate to him at all. And he’s given this wonderful gift; it’s genuinely thoughtful. Yes, it strategically serves him to give it, but I think it matters. I think it really does. Ron has already, I think, over the last chapter been coming to the realization that Sirius is a good person. I think he’s thankful that Scabbers has been exposed, because even though he resisted it, he’s glad to know and is repulsed by his own not having known for so long. But when he comes to in the hospital wing at the beginning of the chapter, the first thing he asks is, “Where’s Sirius? Where’s Lupin?” Sirius first? I think he’s already started to kind of… just in the way, Andrew, that you were saying that Sirius is thinking about how to get in with Harry and part of that is wooing his friend, I think Ron wants to get closer to Harry by feeling closer to Harry’s relations, if that makes sense. Doing that friend thing where you want to get to know your friend’s parents, so to speak, to get you in with them. I think Ron is already beginning to feel some of that almost semi-friend/family connection to Sirius. And the gift helps.

Micah: Let’s not forget, too… yeah, the gift in part because of what happened to Pettigrew, but he also broke his leg. Like, in fairness, “Sorry I broke your leg, dude. Have this owl,” as a thank you for it. Also, if I was Hermione I’d be kind of pissed. Like, without my Time-Turner. “You didn’t get me anything?”

Laura: [laughs] That’s right. “You wouldn’t have a soul right now if it weren’t for me.”

Eric: Maybe she thinks it’s even, because the Firebolt situation… because that also happens in this chapter. Sirius is like, in the letter, “By the way, it was me who got you the Firebolt,” and Hermione says, “Ha!” and she feels vindicated. Maybe that’s a gift. That’s the gift he gives. That’s the gift he gives Hermione, the peace of mind that she was right. And you know what, there’s no greater gift.

Micah: True.

Melissa: I do also think, though, here you also get a full circle kind of healing moment for Ron and Hermione, in that Ron asks Crookshanks to basically verify that the owl is an owl. So I also think Hermione gets that in a form of a gift, just that her and Ron have come full circle, and they’re done with their little healing journey for this book.

Eric: I just got chills in that analysis. That’s awesome. So Hermione does get some good things.

Laura: Yeah. I did want to point out, just speaking of things coming full circle, doesn’t Ron pretty quickly start talking smack about Pig, his new owl, in the next book? So he’s back on his old you-know-what?

[Melissa and Micah laugh]

Eric: Complain about your pet? Yeah. It’s funny because everyone loves Pig, and I think Ron is feeling immediately almost quasi-threatened about it. The fact that he didn’t even get to name it himself, that other people are taking an interest, and it’s a little bit more enthusiastic than Scabbers was, so there’s this adjustment phase where Ron doesn’t know how to pet-parent him.

Laura: And he’s like, “Hey, this is my excitable owl that was gifted to me by an escaped madman.” [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, not anyone else’s pet. So there’s that. And we mentioned this, but the the last thing I have here is even though Harry is hurtling on a train back towards the Dursleys for a shitty partial summer, at least, his Hogsmeade permission slip has been signed. And not only do I think that this is the most heartwarming moment in the book, or the series… and it involves Sirius reading Dumbledore’s reaction, like, “Yeah, Dumbledore will go for this.” Because the official stance of the Ministry is still that Sirius is an escaped convict and no other person besides Dumbledore would actually accept this permission slip. But for me, it really shows Sirius’s emotional wholeness, to know how Harry feels about having been left out in that moment, and Harry’s own struggle with authorization from the Dursleys. I just think that this moment of including the permission slip in the letter is really good insight and proof that emotional intelligence does exist in Sirius Black. Those phrases are not always put next to each other. But I think that Sirius really understands Harry in a deep way, and this shows it.

Andrew: You mentioned it being very heartwarming, one of the most in the series, if not the most. I think we spoke earlier in the series about how as readers, we really wanted to see Harry get to go to Hogsmeade. We wanted him to have that experience because we wanted that type of experience, and he’s being left out. He’s being excluded, and everybody else gets to have all the fun. So for him, finally, to receive a permission slip that to the reader just makes a lot of sense… that is family giving him permission to go. It’s just so vindicating as a reader to because in a way you get to go to Hogsmeade as well.

Micah: It’s about us, at the end of the day. Not about Harry. [laughs]

Andrew: Sorry to be selfish…

Micah: No, it’s fair.

Andrew: I don’t know. As a reader, you put yourself in Harry’s shoes, right? That definitely… I agree with you, Eric, it is one of the most heartwarming moments and it’s one of those moments that sticks with you, I think. The first time I read it… I still remember that first time reading this part and being like, “Ooh!”

Micah: Yeah, it’s that uplift, right? We were talking about the different parts of this chapter. You get let down one moment, but then not long thereafter, you’re uplifted again. And I think this is really a full book moment, too, especially once we get to the end of the chapter and Harry gets off the train and he he throws Sirius into Vernon’s face. Let’s not forget, Vernon knows the name “Sirius Black.” He’s heard it on TV. He knows he’s an escaped convict; goes all the way back to the beginning of this book. And in the beginning of the book, it was the Dursleys who had the upper hand, right? Vernon, Petunia, Marge in particular. Now chapter 22, here we are. Harry has the upper hand going back home to Privet Drive because he can dangle Sirius above the Dursleys’ head.

Laura: And it’s bookended with those chapter titles, right? Chapter 1, it’s “Owl Post.” This chapter, it’s “Owl Post Again.”

Eric: Okay, so just getting into a much smaller portion of discussion for this chapter. There’s two things that come up that apparently Dumbledore did not know anything about, and would not have known anything about if it weren’t for the events of the last chapter and this one. And this is stunning to me. We always talk about Dumbledore being this master manipulator with hands in every pie, but Harry is the one that tells Dumbledore that Trelawney has made another prediction. And immediately by Harry’s description, he knows that it’s authentic because Dumbledore knows. But the only one that can tell Dumbledore that this happened is Harry because they were alone together, so that’s why Dumbledore didn’t know. However, it’s just really interesting that this bit of information catches Dumbledore like… it is the Pillsbury moment. He’s like, “Oh, another! Oohoo!”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Another prediction to deal with? What? And I wonder if he then is going to go interview Trelawney or try and figure out more detail about what it was.

Melissa: I was actually just thinking about this, that something that would be interesting is like, does Dumbledore secretly extract this memory out of Harry so that it can then go to the Hall of prophecies? Or does he just rely on Harry’s memory of it?

Andrew: Ooh.

Eric: Yeah, because he doesn’t ask for it word for word. He actually plays it really chill. Dumbledore is just like, “Oh, I do believe that was the second real prophecy she’s ever made. Haha, perhaps I should give her a raise. Haha.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: But you know he’s doing further investigation. You know he’s gotta… I mean, I thought it was one of the Unspeakables that’s recording the prophecy, like somebody is standing by at the Hall of Prophecy with a radio transmitter and it’s just transcribing all the… that’s what I always imagined it was, because you can’t get it from Sybill. She doesn’t remember doing it. So how is that prophecy then officially recorded? I don’t know.

Andrew: Does Dumbledore have the school mic’d up? That wouldn’t surprise me.

[Micah laughs]

Laura: Well, I don’t think this prophecy does get recorded. I don’t think we ever get any information one way or the other.

Melissa: No, we definitely don’t.

Micah: Right. You would think Fudge would act on it. Or you would think Fudge would be more likely to side with Dumbledore if this prophecy was actually recorded, right?

Eric: Well, there’s no option that it wasn’t recorded, right? It’s just deep in the bowels of the Hall of Prophecy? My understanding of how that works, again, is like a transcript. But an Unspeakable by definition is not going to be taking that to the Minister of Magic going, “This prophecy was received today.”

Micah: But it’s curious then why Dumbledore didn’t use it to try and influence Fudge.

Melissa: Well, couldn’t you argue that Fudge could think that the servant returning to Voldemort is Sirius?

Andrew: Ahh.

Micah: That’s fair.

Eric: Yeah, because it’s deliberately written to be either of them. Because back when we first hear it, we think it means Sirius.

Micah: But even then, though, it’s still implying that Voldemort will return. So you have Fudge who is ignorant and not believing that… so I guess the piece of it that Fudge would ignore is that Voldemort is going to come back.

Laura: Now I’m just wondering how the heck do prophecies get recorded at all?

[Micah laughs]

Laura: How does that happen? Does that get explained in Order of the Phoenix?

Andrew: Well, Eric said they just kind of go to the Hall of Prophecies, right? And that’s my recollection of how it works.

Eric: It’s weird because there’s… that’s a future plot hole for Book 5 discussion.

[Laura and Melissa laugh]

Eric: But really, the really authentic ones get a prophecy container put to them, but how do you know if it’s authentic? Because there’s thousands and hundreds of thousands, so they don’t all come true. So they have to be real enough to warrant an orb, but they still might not then all come true, I guess is the difference.

Laura: Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t like this idea that there’s some nebulous force that records and extracts prophecies in the moment that they’re made, because to your point, Eric, then there’s no vetting system.

Eric: Well, the alternative is that somebody has to report it.

Melissa: I was just going to say, I wonder if it’s the same magic that makes Remembralls work. It’s a little orb, it has a memory or something stored in it, and I wonder if we knew more about how that worked if we’d be able to decipher how prophecies are stored.

Eric: If a single human is involved in the process of recording the prophecy, there will be human error, and it wouldn’t work, so it has to be this ethereal thing. Regardless, Dumbledore would not know about this second prophecy if Harry didn’t directly tell him in this chapter, so that to me is really interesting. And I think that although Dumbledore jokes about giving Trelawney a raise, if I were Dumbledore, I would actually be really excited to know, first of all, that Trelawney can still do it, that she still… there’s a reason… this for anything is the payoff.

Micah: She’s still got it.

Eric: She’s still got it, baby!

Micah: After all these years.

Andrew: [imitates Trelaney] “I still got it! Ahh!”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: This justifies him keeping her on for the last 13…

Andrew: [laughs] “You earned your keep, girl. Good work.”

Micah: Well, along those lines, I was wondering, do we think that as a seer, Trelawney is – and this may not be the right term – deep linked to Harry and Voldemort? Because she often gets made fun of for being a fraud, but she clearly has the gift of prophecy. So perhaps through magic or some other means, Harry and Voldemort are the only ones that can trigger her.

Eric: That’s an interesting thought.

Melissa: Ooh, I love that.

Eric: So she’s gifted in the art of prophecy, but only as it pertains to one very narrow subject.

Micah: Right.

Andrew: Wow.

Melissa: Is that just some level of proximity where she’s nearby them?

Eric: She’s the closest seer.

Melissa: Dumbledore is very invested in this.

Eric: Yeah, 100%. The other thing that Dumbledore has learned, that apparently he really actually didn’t know, was that the Marauders were Animagi. And that is something that he finds out from talking with Sirius and later, I assume, Lupin to some degree. Because we talked about how permissive Dumbledore is to Harry exploring the castle, I would have thought he would have actually been fine with the Marauders galavanting around, even putting people in human danger from Lupin, if he had known about it. But the line in the book really is that he didn’t, and he tells Harry that he really didn’t, and I believe him when he says it. So that’s something… I mean, the way he says it to Harry is “The most impressive part about all of this is that they kept it from me.” And I find that to be like, good on you, Marauders.

Laura: Yeah, I find it curious, given the fact that the Marauders were not exactly discreet about any of this when they were in school. I mean, they literally assigned themselves nicknames that were reflective of their animal forms. And I think it’s just such an interesting observation about Dumbledore that he is so good at seeing through people and picking up on these, I think to Dumbledore, otherwise very obvious red flags that other people don’t see. Tom Riddle is a perfect prime example of this. But it seems like he just may not be paying as close attention if the key players aren’t “baddies.”

Eric: Well, and even Voldemort, he allows Tom Riddle to rise to the occasion of being awful and evil, and that demonstrates some level of failure somewhere down further along the line. But yeah, when you were saying that, Laura, I thought, “Dumbledore is a human Mirror of Erised.” He knows what the desires are of pretty much everybody near him and is constantly using that info to manipulate them. But yeah, he still has blind spots.

Laura: Yeah. I love that comparison of Dumbledore being a human Mirror of Erised.

Micah: I don’t think Dumbledore could have known, if we’re following the story, because let’s not forget, he would have then been fully responsible for Lupin being out on the grounds as a werewolf. And he was taking every measure to protect the other students by creating the Shrieking Shack, by putting the Whomping Willow in place, right? So if he was aware of the Marauders doing what they were doing, and that they were all Animagi, that would call into question his ability as headmaster, right?

Laura: We call those to question every episode.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: But Andrew shared that note we got on Slack, and now I’m trying to be a little bit nicer to Dumbledore.

Andrew: You know, I appreciate that. I received a text message from somebody who listens to the show, his name is Lucas, and he’s been concerned about this before. Should I read it real quick?

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: He said to me, “I would love for the rest of the panel to be challenged at some point to actually like Dumbledore again. I can’t take all the Dumble-hate, he’s my favorite and they take all the fun and whimsy out of him. I know everyone is analyzing this Chapter by Chapter with a more adult perspective this time around, but sometimes it seems like they hate Dumbledore more than Voldemort at this point!”

Micah: Well, Voldemort hasn’t been here enough.

Eric: Yeah, that’s a good point. You know what we’re going to do? At the beginning of next book, starting Chapter 1 of Book 4, we’re going to start a Voldemort sucks count.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Every time Voldemort sucks, we’re going to count it, and every time Voldemort lies, we’re going to count it. And I bet by the end of the next book, Voldemort will have lied more than Dumbledore did the whole series, and if we implement that count, it will prove to listeners once and for all we like Dumbledore.

[Andrew gasps]

Eric: Just like Melissa said, sucky person, fantastic character. We all love Dumbledore! I don’t know what this person is talking about.

Andrew: Well, I think you guys have kind of snowballed into…

Eric: “You guys.” Not Andrew.

Andrew: You people… no, I think… so Dumbledore is not perfect, obviously. But I think you guys have maybe turned it into sort of a running joke, but I’m not sure it’s a joke.

Micah: None of the characters are perfect, right? That’s the beauty of this.

Andrew: Right, I mean, how many times do I need to quote Hannah Montana? Nobody’s perfect. This is one of the greatest lessons I learned from her.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: Except you. You’re perfect.

Eric: We don’t have a Seamus lie count or a Nearly Headless Nick sucks count.

Laura: Well, yeah, they’re not they’re not on screen enough.

Eric: That’s what I’m saying about restitution. We really will do a Voldemort sucks count, and I think it’ll prevent some of these emails from being sent of like, we’re all hating on Dumbledore and nobody else.

Melissa: We know Dumbledore on a more personal level. All things considered, we don’t get a lot of face time with Voldemort and his actual thoughts. We always get perceptions of his thoughts and perceptions of his actions. So I think we also have the ability to be more scrutinies with Dumbledore because we see him more, and we see him as more of a person and not a villain, if that makes sense.

Laura: Yeah, and I think part of it, too… and I accept the feedback. I think it’s really valid. At the end of the day, Dumbledore is a very complicated character, and that’s one of the things that I actually love the most about him. I feel the same way about Snape, right? Snape is one of my favorite characters, not because I think he’s a great guy, but he’s extremely well written and very complicated, and I would say the same for Dumbledore. I think when we’re doing these Chapter by Chapter rereads, we’re also doing it through the lens that we know what’s coming later in the series. And as a first-time reader of these books, you are under the impression that Dumbledore is this kind of perfect, godlike, all-knowing character. And then the facade starts to be dismantled the further you get into the series, and you learn that Dumbledore is just human, just like anyone else. I think a well-intentioned human, someone who at the end of the day got things right, largely, but there are a lot of imperfections. And I think it’s a really interesting point of conversation to look at those, given the stature that Dumbledore has in the wizarding world, especially if we’re comparing and contrasting him with figures like Grindelwald like Voldemort, who are equally matched in terms of magical ability, but on completely different moral pages.

Micah: Yes.

Laura: It goes back to our choices.

Eric: It would be wrong for us to wait until Book 7 when Book 7 actively questions Dumbledore and his whole ability and his meaning and all that, for us to be doing that. That would be way too late in the game because I think these moments exist in the earlier books for us to pick up on and question and get into detail with, because this story… Dumbledore has been Dumbledore and the author has been writing Dumbledore the same exact way since Book 1 with his sort of “Will I tell him, will I not tell him” kind of attitude, and so it’s perfectly ripe for our discussion to be doing this.

Laura: Yeah, but I will say I think Lucas does raise a good point. There are a lot of really fun Dumbledore moments and maybe it’s time for us to start… Andrew is like, squinting right now. Andrew, you’re the Dumbledore apologist.

Andrew: No, keep going, keep going, keep going.

Micah: He’s noting all of the nice things.

Laura: I think that there probably are more opportunities to observe those fun, whimsical moments.

Micah: We just did, in this chapter.

Eric: Okay, we’re starting a “Dumbledore is fun” count.

Micah: I mean, let’s not forget, I know we’re going to get to Odds & Ends, but one of the Odds & Ends that comes out of this conversation is we learn about Harry’s Patronus actually taking the form of Prongs before we even see it in the last chapter, because it happens during the Quidditch match and we’re not told in the moment that it took the form of a stag. And Dumbledore has this really powerful quote where he says, “Prongs rode again last night.” That’s the Dumbledore that we all love, right? There’s a Dumbledore that we grow not to love.

Andrew: Right, that we all love.

Micah: Yes, there you go.

Andrew: Well, thank you.

Micah: No problem.

Andrew: Thank you, panel, for indulging me and Lucas and I’m sure many others.

Odds & Ends

Eric: All right, it’s time for Odds & Ends. Real fun moment here is once the news about Lupin comes out, there’s kind of a pool going as far as who their next DADA professor will be. I think it’s Seamus Finnigan who jokes, “What if it’s a vampire?” The idea that the kids are picking up on Hogwarts being a security nightmare is always very funny and entertaining. They’re like, “What dangerous person could they possibly ascribe to us next?” It’s just a very fun moment. But they’re not wrong, in a way. I mean, I think an ex-Auror is pretty much as badass as you can get, to be honest, about the stakes getting higher every book.

Micah: There’s also a brief moment where Percy gives Ministry vibes and he talks about what he would do once he works for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and I just think that that’s comical given where he ends up in the not too distant future.

Eric: That’s a good point. And this one is from Meg: Harry sitting down by the water and lamenting that he doesn’t get to go and live with Sirius apparently is reflective of a moment at Order of the Phoenix where Harry sits by the lake after Sirius has died and reflects on the fact that he doesn’t have Sirius anymore.

Laura: Oh, what a great catch.

Eric: So very, very sad but incredible connection.

Laura: Great catch, Meg.

Melissa: I know something that stands out to me is, this is one of those times where we got a moment that doesn’t necessarily make sense until Book 7 – similar to the gleam of triumph that Dumbledore gets – is that we’re watching Dumbledore through Harry learning about this prophecy, and that Dumbledore is starting to realize that we’re getting closer and closer and closer to Voldemort coming back.

Eric: That is interesting.

MVP of the Week

Andrew: All right, well, this has been a great discussion and it’s time for MVP of the week.

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: I’m going to give it to Harry, specifically for telling Vernon he has a godfather who is a convicted murderer who escaped from prison just to troll him. Very good.

Eric: I’m going to give it to Snape, who tells people that you cannot Apparate or Disapparate in Hogwarts. He sounds a little bit like Hermione when he does it. But that means that Snape has read Hogwarts: A History.

Micah: It also shows you how much Fudge doesn’t know.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: I’m going to give it to Santa Sirius, just throwing gifts all around this chapter from the Hogsmeade permission slip to Pigwidgeon to, as you said, Andrew, giving Harry something to hang over Uncle Vernon’s head for the entire summer. And also mentioning the fact that he sent Harry the Firebolt back in the earlier part of the year. So Santa Sirius gets my MVP.

Laura: I’m going to give mine to Hermione because punctuality has its perks, including not messing up the timeline.

Melissa: And I’m giving it to Remus because he managed to wander the Hogwarts grounds as a werewolf without eating anything or anyone.

[MVP of the Week music ends]

Andrew: I was also thinking earlier, to Laura’s MVP choice, that maybe Hermione was just so satisfied that the year worked out with the Time-Turner that she didn’t need any other gifts. She was personally fulfilled just pulling off the Time-Turner stuff so well.

Micah: Okay, Andrew.

Andrew: Uh-oh.

Micah: If you were sitting in the train car, right, and you see Harry get the letter, the truth about the Firebolt, you see Ron get a new pet, aren’t you going to feel a little left out?

Andrew: Okay, but I just pulled off a sweet Time-Turner…

Micah: Or is it just the satisfaction of knowing that you gave Sirius his freedom?

Andrew: Oh, well, no, there’s that, but I’m also just so relieved that the whole Time-Turner situation worked out. Like, “Phew, thank God that’s all over!” I don’t know, that feels like a good gift to me.

Micah: I don’t know, I feel like if we were talking after this happened and you had experienced that, you would feel a little left out. Like if I gave presents to everyone on the panel here for the holidays, and I didn’t give you a present, you would feel left out.

Andrew: Yes, but if I also just felt like I pulled off a sweet holiday season, I was personally fulfilled in other ways…

Micah: Or that our friendship is enough? Is that it?

Andrew: Maybe that gift… If you have any feedback about this debate or anything else in today’s episode…

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: … send an owl to or you can use the contact form on To send a voice message, record it using the Voice Memo app on your phone and then email us that file, or you can use our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. So next week we’ll have a Muggle Mail episode, and any other POA wrap-up we want to do if we’re going to continue this heated debate that Micah and I were just having. And then the week after will be the previously announced Goblet of Fire movie commentary, and then the week after, Goblet of Fire Chapter by Chapter will begin.

Eric: With our Voldemort Sucks count.

Andrew: [laughs] With our Voldemort Sucks count.


Andrew: And now it’s time for Quizzitch.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s question: At the end of term, who arrives to see Lupin after Harry does? The correct answer is Professor Dumbledore, or as one person put it, that well-known liar Dumbledore. Correct answers… we actually got Rick-rolled this week. Somebody sent a YouTube link in their name form to “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

[Laura laughs]

Eric: This is getting really out of hand now, if I’m having to click from an Excel doc to go into a YouTube link, so toned it down, y’all.

Laura: No, don’t.

Andrew: Peace and love, peace and love.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Laura: I love it. Keep it coming.

[Quizzitch music ends]

Eric: Correct answers were submitted by Buff Daddy; Bagels for Buckbeak; Crookshanks supremacy; Drunk Hagrid; Dan the 33-almost-34-year-old – love people are putting their names in here – Luke the 12-year-old, yes, it’s my birthday – happy birthday, Luke!

Laura: Aww, happy birthday!

Eric: That’s crazy, when your your Quizzitch submission people turn a year older in their names. Jenny Penny Landon, age 37; Mrs. Snape; The software update you have to install before you play Hogwarts Legacy; The Fat Lady deserves an MVP for taking Sirius’s abuse;; Your favorite Slytherin Grace; and Snape’s chance at beautiful glory crushed, ground into dust, the bitter taste still in his mouth. Wow.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: Congratulations to all of you who’ve done that and more. And here is next week’s Quizzitch question.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Who gives Pigwigeon his name? Submit your answer to us on the Quizzitch form,, or click on “Quizzitch” from the main nav.

[Quizzitch music ends]

Eric: Also, fun fact about Pigwidgeon: did not appear in the Goblet of Fire movie, but was cast and a promotional photo does exist, I found, of Rupert Grint holding this tiny little owl. And I put it in our show document for those who are able to view that live, but it’s really adorable.

Andrew: Wicked!

Eric: Wicked.

Andrew: Melissa, it was great having you on the show today. Thanks so much.

Melissa: Thank you guys for having me so much.

Andrew: You’re so welcome. Your contributions were awesome, and we really appreciate your support on Patreon. And we’ll keep an eye out for more UK editions and we’ll continue putting U’s in words that we normally don’t in your honor.

[Andrew and Melissa laugh]

Melissa: I appreciate that very much.

Andrew: If you want the opportunity to be a co-host on MuggleCast like Melissa was today, you can join our Patreon,, and become a Slug Club level patron. And you get lots of other benefits, too, including access to our live streams, ad-free MuggleCast, the monthly Slug Club hangouts that we do, a new physical gift every year – beanies will be going out soon, BTW – and so much more. Oh, well Melissa, you’re up in Canada so you’re probably going to appreciate the beanie, right?

Melissa: Absolutely, never have enough. But it’s called a toque.

Andrew: A togue?!

Eric: Like, “Fool of a Took”?

Melissa: Toque, spelled T-O-Q-U-E.

Andrew: Wow.

Eric: Spelling is weird in Canada, y’all.

Melissa: We borrow from the French and the British.

Laura: We don’t get to make those statements, Eric, because we’re the ones who made changes to the way we spell when we separated from the British. We were like, “We’re going to take all the U’s out, we’re going to drive on the other side of the road, we’re just going to do it completely differently.”

Eric: You’re right, Laura, I retract my earlier statement. We have no jambe to stand on, which is French for leg.

[Laura and Melissa laugh]

Andrew: Well, Melissa, look forward to your MuggleCast toque coming in another month-ish, let’s say, just in time for fall and winter. If you don’t want to support us on Patreon, we do have a couple other options. You can support us on Apple Podcast financially. For $2.99 a month, you can receive ad-free and early access to MuggleCast right within the Apple Podcast app. Patreon does offer more benefits, but if you’d prefer to support us right there, we do really appreciate that. You can also tap into the Patreon banner from Spotify if you’re a Spotify user instead. Don’t forget to fill out the survey, check out our show notes and our social media channels for a link to that. We really appreciate your feedback. Don’t forget to fill out the form for the MuggleCast Collector’s Club. There’s always stuff happening here at MuggleCast. It’s like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And last but not least, do follow us on social media. We’re @MuggleCast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Threads, where we cover occasionally connecting the threads. We will be recording a bonus MuggleCast as well for Patreon supporters this week, so be sure to enjoy that once it comes out. And I think that about does it, so thanks everybody for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Melissa: And I’m Melissa.

Andrew: Bye, everybody.

Laura: Bye, y’all.

Micah: Bye.

Transcript #626


MuggleCast 626 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #626, Snape’s Best Memory (POA Chapter 21, Hermione’s Secret)

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

Andrew Sims: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: This week, be sure to not be seen by anyone, especially yourself.

Eric: It’s against the law.

Andrew: We’re discussing Chapter 21 of Prisoner of Azkaban, the penultimate – I love that word…

Eric: It’s a good word.

Andrew: … chapter in Prisoner of Azkaban. Before we get to that, a couple of announcements. Don’t forget, there’s still time to pledge to our Patreon and join the MuggleCast Collector’s Club. Last year we introduced the MuggleCast Collector’s Club, in which each year between now and 2026 we’re sending five exclusive stickers that celebrate the show’s past and present. We’re also giving you the Collector’s Club card, on which you can place the stickers. It’s a beautiful backing card showing MuggleCast listeners heading into Hogwarts. Good time of year to talk about that, since we just celebrated back to Hogwarts season.

Micah: Choo-choo.

Laura: Year two’s stickers depict our old Chicken Soup for the MuggleCast Soul segment; A classic iPod with MuggleCast playing on it; Hogwarts on fire, which pays homage to our classic security nightmare correlations that we frequently draw on the show; we have a sticker that honors Jamie’s old British Joke of the Week segment; plus, we have tier-based exclusives, either a Dumbledore’s Army or Slug Club sticker. And I have to say, the Slug Club sticker is super cute because it has literal slugs clinking glasses, as slugs are known to do in a club.

Andrew: [laughs] Sure, yes. That’s canon now. So you can pledge at the $5 or $10 level by September 22, and you have to fill out the form on Patreon to receive this year’s stickers and the club card. This is just one of many benefits you receive, so do pledge now, and thanks everybody who supports us. Speaking of support, maybe you can’t support us financially. That’s okay. We would love a review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify because it helps introduce new listeners to the show. Here’s a recent review we received from Anika on Apple Podcasts in Australia.

Eric: It’s a five star review. They say, [reads in an Australian accent]

“I first discovered MuggleCast…”

[drops accent] I can’t do an Australia accent.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Oh my God. Well, you did live in Australia or New Zealand for a little time.

Eric: I did, I did, yeah. I think I got it. [reads in an Australian accent]

“I first discovered MuggleCast back in the long, long ago, before the Potter series was…”

[laughs] I can’t do it, I’m sorry. [drops accent]

“… before the Potter series was complete, and I was hungry for speculation, analysis, and community around my favorite series. I am now 31 and have rediscovered the show this year, and listening to each episode feels like coming home. Thanks for keeping the series going and for bringing new and insightful discussion to the table after all this time.”

Andrew: That’s really nice. Thank you so much.

Laura: Aww, that’s so sweet.

Andrew: Hopefully you don’t give us a negative review now if you didn’t like Eric’s accent…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: … but I feel like it was good enough.

Eric: It was bursting through.

Micah: No, only one review is allowed.

Eric: Oh, that’s right.

Andrew: Oh, that’s true. Yeah, we’re safe.

Micah: I do like hearing listeners who are coming back to the show after so much time. It is very cool to hear that people listened to us back in the day and now that they’re a little bit older, they’re finding us again and it feels like coming home.

Andrew: Yeah, and I think part of it for people is they just kind of assume we don’t exist anymore, which would be understandable when you’ve been around for so long.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: 18 years!

Andrew: “No way that podcast is still around.” And thanks to everybody who leaves a review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and anywhere else, but mainly Apple Podcasts and Spotify have a review function. That’s why we focus on those two. But if your app has a review function, please do drop a review, we would appreciate it.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: And now it’s time for Chapter by Chapter. This week we’re discussing Chapter 21 of Prisoner of Azkaban, “Hermione’s Secret,” and we’ll start as always with our seven-word summary.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Andrew: Hermione…

Laura: … saves…

Eric: … Buckbeak…

Micah: … with…

Andrew: … a…

Laura: … Time…

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: Quick, don’t let it run out.

Eric: … Turner!

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Andrew: Turner! I was hoping it was going to go towards like, “with a shiny thing,” or I don’t know. [laughs]

Laura: “With a shiny thing.” Not me sitting here panicking in the moment thinking, “Is Time-Turner one word or two?”

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: For the purposes of this seven-word summary.

Eric: It’s hyphenated.

Micah: It’s hyphenated, isn’t it?

Laura: Yeah, because we’re Americans. We hyphenate these things, right?

Eric: Yay.

Laura: [laughs] So it counts.

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Micah: Yeah, so this is the chapter where I noted both a lot and not a lot happen at the same time. And if we’re to expand a little bit on the seven-word summary, basically what happens in this chapter is Hermione reveals she has a Time-Turner and she and Harry go back in time about three hours to “fix” everything that happened in the last several chapters. And that’s it.

Andrew: Well, thanks, everybody for listening. I’m Andrew.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: We should do five-minute mini MuggleCasts. Like, mini mini MuggleCasts. Mini C-by-C.

Laura: That’d be funny.

Micah: But the way I wanted to take a look at this chapter is through two different lenses, right? The first is Snape and his behavior at the beginning of the chapter, and then the second is talking about something I think Laura will enjoy very much, the morality of Time-Turning magic.

Laura: Ooh, yes.

Micah: And how it played a role in this book but kind of disappeared afterwards, and was not a convenient plot device until Cursed Child came along. So first discussion, I titled “Somebody call the wambulance for Snivellus.”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: What is the “wambulance?”

Micah: It’s like the ambulance but for somebody who’s just complaining a lot.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s when you’re going “Wahhh.”

Eric: Oh my God, that’s amazing.

Micah: Snape is having a very productive therapy session with the Minister, but he’s embellishing a little bit in what he is telling him. And I thought we could start out… since we often give Dumbledore a hard time for all of the lies that he tells throughout the course of the Harry Potter series, why not talk about the lies that another character tells?

Andrew: The lies of Severus.

Micah: And Snape actually throws out quite a few in just a very short period of time. He’s telling Fudge that Black had bewitched them, talking about Harry, Ron and Hermione, “I saw it immediately. A Confundus Charm, to judge by their behavior.” We know that to not be true. And we would think, right, Snape is definitely smart enough to know when a Confundus Charm has been used. He’s covering here, is that fair to say?

Eric: Yes. It would not be advisable for him to say that his temper got the better of him and he was going to… basically, that Snape went in there and all he did was escalate, and that’s not going to be on his official report to Fudge.

Micah: The second lie, he says that “They seemed to think there was the possibility he -” Sirius ” – was innocent.” No, they 100% believed him to be innocent. The third lie, “They weren’t responsible for their actions.” No, they were definitely responsible for those actions.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: That’s a point where he is letting one thing slide in order to completely bury them under. Like, “Oh, they didn’t know what they were doing.” But he completely discredits everything that they all say as a result of that, so he’s getting something out of being able to say they weren’t responsible.

Micah: Yeah. And we could talk about this a little bit later on, but I think he’s covering for the fact that he was bested by three 13-year-olds.

Eric: There is that.

Micah: He doesn’t want to make it seem like Harry, Ron, and Hermione could have gotten the better of him. “Of course they were Confunded; there’s no way they could have known what they were doing, Minister.”

Eric: Right, and the way in which he says, “As a matter of fact, it was the children,” and Fudge is like, “No! What?”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: If we’ve seen Snape’s worse memory, this is Snape’s best memory with these children here.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: And the way that he’s conveying…

Andrew: We’ve got a lot of good episode title potential options already.

Laura: I know.

Andrew: “Somebody call the wambulance.” What did Eric just say? Snape’s best memory?

Eric: Snape’s best memory.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Fudge is like, “Oh, Order of Merlin, second class – first class if I can wrangle it!” Like, come on, dude, this is all a cock and bull.

Micah: This next one is debatable but you could fit it into the lie category. He says, “On the other hand, their interference might have permitted Black to escape.” I think that was their intention. Maybe not to escape, but certainly for the truth to come out.

Andrew: And that’s literally what ends up happening. [laughs]

Micah: And the final lie, “They obviously thought they were going to catch Black single-handed.”

Eric: I hate that. That stinks of…

Micah: That’s not why they went after Black in the first place. It was because Ron was injured.

Laura: Right.

Andrew: So Snape has already been through so much with the trio, Harry in particular. Let’s even just set aside the whole Lily angle of it all. He keeps seeing Harry get away with things; he doesn’t like the preferential treatment he gets from Dumbledore. Part of me can see why Snape is frustrated. However, I don’t like all of the lying. And speaking of the preferential treatment, Fudge admits to Snape they’ve all got a “blind spot” when it comes to Harry. They give him a little more leniency because of his background. But I do wonder, what specifically earns that leniency? Because in Snape’s defense, and I still…

Micah: He’s Harry effin’ Potter.

Andrew: Another episode title.

Eric: If it weren’t for Harry, Voldemort would still be reigning and everyone would be subjugated and dead.

Andrew: But where is the line? Because he shouldn’t be able to get away with attacking a teacher. [laughs]

Eric: Well, yeah, that’s the thing. Well, he was Confunded. [laughs]

Laura: I mean, he’s also basically the Messiah character of this book, so of course everybody is treating him like he’s special until they decide that he’s actually a traitor. But that’s a couple books from now.

Eric: Well, now that you mention that, this definitely leads into that. This is the first time I think somebody has taken this tone with Fudge about Harry. Fudge doesn’t know how to handle these accusations that Harry is given special treatment by Dumbledore; that plays into Fudge’s own insecurities about Dumbledore. So I really think that this conversation between Snape and Fudge really sets the scene, not just thematically, but directly leads into Fudge’s thought patterns and influences, the way Fudge treats Harry and Dumbledore in the later books.

Laura: Yeah, I think so. Fudge is someone who blows with the prevailing wind, to be honest with you, so yeah, I think this definitely sets the stage. What were you going to say, Micah?

Micah: Could you say that Snape is taking umbrage with Harry’s actions?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: All right, another episode title: “Snape takes umbrage.”

Andrew: [laughs] People are going to be like, “Wait, what? What book are you guys talking about?”

Micah: That could be a fan fic, too.

Laura: Yeah, I was about to say, I don’t know if we want to make that the episode title.

Eric: Welcome to Wednesday night.

Micah: Yep. No, but I think that’s a really great point that gets raised, though, because of the threads that you can connect to Order of the Phoenix. We see Fudge here being very protective of Harry, but actually, once we get to Order of the Phoenix, it’s very much the opposite of that.

Eric: And let’s be clear, I think Snape really has done well to gloss completely over his own culpability. I think on the one hand, he really did miss every mention of Peter Pettigrew. By the time he got down to the Shrieking Shack, the children were saying that Sirius was innocent or that he needed to be heard out. And Snape, due to his own bias, wasn’t hearing it. But he’s got to own that because Snape is actually calling for Sirius to be deprived of his soul, and so it doesn’t matter, the ignorance. It’s cool that Snape particularly didn’t hear that Peter was still alive at this point, but it doesn’t matter so much because he’s really calling for Black’s death – or worse than – with no real evidence and with a few people saying, “That’s not what happened.”

Micah: Yeah, I agree. He’s very much, as you say, glossing over his own responsibility in much of what has happened already this evening. But it doesn’t stop there; it is officially time… if that wasn’t enough, now you can hear the wambulance getting closer and closer to the infirmary inside of Hogwarts. And Snape goes on to say that “They’ve gotten away with a great deal before now. I’m afraid it’s given them rather high opinions of themselves… and of course, Potter has always been allowed an extraordinary amount of license by the headmaster.” And this is really one of the first times we see Dumbledore being called into question by one of the professors. I don’t know that we’ve seen it happen prior to this. Certainly there’s other characters that have called in his ability to be headmaster into question, but certainly not one of the professors.

Eric: And Snape would not do this if he wasn’t feeling 100% on top of the world right now, right? Because Snape owes Dumbledore a whole heckin’ lot for the life that he currently has. Snape was a Death Eater; Snape would be in Azkaban at the cell right next to Sirius if they knew about betraying the Potters and that kind of thing. So in general, anything less than Snape’s best time of his life right now, and Snape wouldn’t be playing this card. But Snape is driving a wedge between Fudge and Dumbledore for his own personal gain. And that’s the kind of guy he is.

Laura: It’s also interesting, too, thinking about the fact that we know Snape throughout the entire series is sworn to protect Harry, and I wonder how exactly he’s doing that in this scene. I think by giving Fudge the narrative that they were Confunded and they weren’t responsible for their actions, he’s preventing them from being expelled, I suppose. Harry being expelled from Hogwarts is basically like putting a target on his back. It would only be a matter of time, at that point, so maybe that’s what he’s angling for. But in doing all of this, he is again trying to shift the blame for the Potters’ death onto the person who he believes to have betrayed them, even though he played a pretty big role in betraying them himself.

Micah: He just didn’t know it.

Eric: Nobody hates Snape more than Snape himself.

Laura: Right.

Andrew: Aww.

Micah: Well, just while we’re on the topic of the Marauders, what do we think about him in this particular moment, drawing on his feelings towards James and Sirius? Because I think he sees, as we’ve read in the books, a lot of James in Harry, and I think there’s a lot of emotions that are coming up in this moment where he’s seeing the opportunity to take out a lot of what he wanted to take out on James on Harry.

Eric: Absolutely. This is top of mind. He even brings it up when Dumbledore enters. The event that happened so many years ago is still absolutely fresh and he is seething. He wants revenge for what has occurred. Snape is not one to forgive and forget; this man can hold a grudge.

Micah: He also goes on to say that he tries to treat Harry like any other student, which we know is just complete nonsense.

Eric: [laughs] This is a lie. This is Snape’s next lie. Are we still counting those?

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Might as well. This would be number six. So he’s already closing in on Dumbledore, and this is only one chapter.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: Oh man, that’s rough.

Andrew: See, and you thought Dumbledore is bad? Look how fast Snape lays them all down.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Laura: That’s funny.

Micah: That’s why he must be so good with Voldemort.

Eric: That’s right.

Laura: Something that I will say in Dumbledore’s defense here is I don’t think Dumbledore would say something like this. I don’t think that he would claim to treat Harry like he treats any other student. I think Dumbledore absolutely knows and owns that he plays favorites with Harry and with Gryffindor, so it’s an interesting contrast between these two in their treatment of him.

Micah: Definitely. And he goes on to say, “Out of bounds at night, consorting with a werewolf and a murderer, and I have reason to believe he was visiting Hogsmeade illegally.” And to that I say, bro, you should have just stopped at consorting with a murderer. Yeah, you could throw in the werewolf, but by the time you get to Hogsmeade, it’s just like you’re trying to throw a little bit more salt on the wound. It’s like, [in a nasally voice] “Oh, and he was going to Hogsmeade.”

[Andrew laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, who cares?

Micah: Hogsmeade is the least of those offenses on the board.

Eric: Yeah, Fudge is going to be like, “Okay, the werewolf is one thing, but going to Hogsmeade illegally?”

Andrew: Well, I think that’s to the point of just like, look how much he’s scrambling. He’s at the bottom of the barrel here.

Micah: He wants to dump everything out on the table.

Andrew: “And one time he looked at me funny in the hallway!” [fake cries]

Micah: One thing I did want to call attention to, though, is even Fudge is astonished by Snape’s treatment of Hermione. He flat out tells her to shut up in this chapter when she’s trying to explain what happened in the Shrieking Shack, and this goes to our point earlier that I think that Snape is just butthurt that he got bested by three 13-year-olds. The other part of this scene that I thought was pretty cool was this mini Dumbledore/Snape standoff that we have and what it must have felt like for Snape to not be believed, and furthermore, to have Dumbledore send him to quiet time while he talks with Harry and Hermione.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Especially if you think back to the pact that they’ve made. It almost feels like you’re losing the trust of Dumbledore after he says he supposedly trusts you, and you trust each other, and now for Dumbledore to treat you as lesser than the trio… I mean, obviously the other factor here is that the trio are right; Dumbledore does say later in this chapter that he does believe them, he just doesn’t have evidence that can help them. So I can understand where Snape’s frustrations are coming from here, given their history.

Micah: Well, and let’s not forget who the audience is here too. We have Fudge in front of everything that’s going on, and presumably Snape has just really talked poorly about Dumbledore in front of Fudge. So who knows what Dumbledore may or may not have overheard of that conversation?

Eric: Oh there’s that too. Yeah, I mean, Dumbledore still has the ultimate authority here. And that’s very similar to the other ends of other books where Dumbledore shows up and saves the day, and this is the most we get of that in setting in motion the events of telling Hermione to use the Time-Turner, etc., etc. But yeah, not believing Snape is step one… or just shutting Snape down because Snape is going way too far. Dumbledore can clearly see that he’s, at this point, really just motivated by his desire for revenge, and I think that may even help convince Dumbledore of Sirius’s innocence in seeing how much Snape is embellishing here.

Andrew: Oh, yeah, yeah. That’s a good point.

Laura: Oh, that’s a great point.

Andrew: And Snape is also being unfair when he reminds Dumbledore that Sirius tried to kill him as a kid. I mean, people grow up. Really? Do you still really want to hang that over his head?

Eric: And there’s reason to believe he’s been going into Hogsmeade!

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Right. And he looked at me funny!

Eric: Wambulance.

Andrew: And his breath smells.

Eric: Oh, man.

Laura: Snape is one of those adults who still lives in their high school days, I feel. Not letting go of grudges from things that happened 15-20 years ago, still spending so much time ruminating over people that he hasn’t seen in ages… in this case, one person who’s been dead for 13 years. He won’t let it go.

Eric: It doesn’t help that he’s still at Hogwarts, right? So he’s having to… I think a change of scenery, if Snape had been allowed to leave, allowed to really branch out, see the world, be somewhere else… but he can’t because he owes Dumbledore everything.

Andrew: Yeah, how are you going to move on if you’re still in the room where it happened, so to speak? This is such a huge can of worms that we’re opening up right here, though, too.

Eric: I know.

Andrew: Oh my God. Because you do see that in life, to Eric’s point. People are just like, “You know what, I need to get out of this place or else…” Like, god forbid you lose a loved one. People are like, “I can’t live in the same house as where we spent our lives together.” You can’t move on if you’re still in that same space. Maybe people can, but a lot of people can’t and understandably so. And so that’s a great point.

Eric: Now I’m going to draw the comparison between Snape being stunted and Sirius being stunted by his many years in prison. Neither of them have had the opportunity to really emotionally process and move on from themselves as teenagers. And the whole Sirius Black bouncing Snape’s head on the cave wall shows that Sirius has absolutely not matured either.

Micah: No, definitely not.

Andrew: Do we think Snape actually believes Harry and Hermione in the slightest but he just wants to see Sirius suffer? Because that’s ultimately what he wants, right?

Eric: It’s possible, yeah, I think. He’s so close. He feels so close to justice, and he wanted to be the one to catch him. Actually, I think that’s a line strictly for… made for the movie, is “How I wanted to be the one to catch you.”

Laura: Yeah, that’s right.

Eric: That’s him. That’s him.

Laura: Snape gets tunnel vision. When he decides that he has unearthed the truth of something, he falls into a lot of confirmation bias, right? He sees something that he feels confirms what he believes to be true and then that to him is just further evidence. And to him, the evidence is “Well, Sirius tried to kill me when I was at school, he was terrible to me, he bullied me, so he must be a murderer. He must have killed all those Muggles. He must have been responsible for Lily and James dying.” So he’s seeing what he wants to see, which is funny because Harry does the same damn thing sometimes. When he decides that Snape is the perpetrator of something, when he decides that Draco is the perpetrator of something, Harry falls into the same trap.

Eric: Snape is Harry’s father, confirmed.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Oh no.

Eric: People are pointing out in the Discord that Snape does in the later books really showcase his powers of mental mind-reading, basically. He’s the guy who teaches Harry Occlumency. He’s an accomplished Legilimens. Not to mention nonverbal spells. Snape, the entire time he’s arguing here, could really be searching their minds to figure out if what he’s saying is true or not if he had any interest at all, but that’s using the later books to inform the scene. I don’t even know if the Unforgivable Curses were invented yet at the time this book was written, because if you think about it, saying Harry and Hermione were Confunded? Yeah, that’s one thing, but if they were Imperiused, then that would add to a list of Sirius’s charges because they’re Unforgivable Curses, so that would be an even better lie. Why aren’t you lying more, Snape? But maybe that didn’t exist.

Micah: I think he’s probably also trying to think on his feet a little bit here as well. But I will say, I do think that Snape is almost minimized in the situation with Dumbledore because the way that he says what he does about what happened when they were 16 years old is almost like a child trying to get an adult to believe in what it is that they’re saying. So going back to what you were talking about earlier, with being so stunted, emotionally not having matured, this really shines through in this moment between the two of them.

Eric: Yeah. There’s a saying I heard at one point that I find is relevant, which is “Shouting demonstrates a complete loss of control. Once you’re shouting, you’ve already lost.”

Micah: He does a bit of that. That’s for sure.

Andrew: [laughs] “Hold your tongue,” or whatever he says in all caps.

Eric: Goodness. Poor Hermione. That puts a kink in what Fudge thinks of Snape, too, watching him treat Hermione like that.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, that’s a good point. Not a great look. Not a great look in front of the Minister for Magic.

Eric: He does himself a disservice by going for the gold, or shooting for the moon.

Micah: He’s going to get dropped down to that next tier of Order of Merlin as a result.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: Order of Merlin, pissant class.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Micah: Another potential episode title.

Eric: There you go.

Laura: Oh my God.

Micah: Well, just to wrap up this section, Dumbledore talks with Harry and Hermione, and this is when they’re trying… they don’t really have to convince Dumbledore. Dumbledore believes them. But in terms of the ability to convince others of this story, he says, “I have no power to make other men see truth or to overrule the Minister for Magic.” To which I say, except there’s this thing that’s called Veritaserum that you could use in this moment to get the truth out of any number of people that are present. And Eric, you also had a point as well, another device that could be used.

Eric: Yeah, a Pensieve and Veritaserum; these are things that come in Book 4. I was just talking about this, how the Unforgivable Curses, too, may not have been written yet. But these are all… they could have their place in this interrogation. They could have their their place in this sort of execution or what Fudge is… I mean, it could be standard practice to use a Pensieve before…

Micah: And the reason why this all comes to mind is we’re just one book away from this actually playing itself out. It’s literally the same situation but with a different character, where they’re given Veritaserum to spill their beans and then they get the Dementor’s kiss as a result of it. So clearly the author went through with what she wanted to from this book in Goblet of Fire.

Andrew: These are invasive ways to get the truth out, though. I think these are things you should only be using in extreme circumstances. I guess you could argue there’s an important reason to be using one of these here, but it is extreme. Who exactly are we giving Veritaserum to?

Micah: Sirius.

Laura: I mean, it is life and death, effectively, right? How much more serious can you get?

Andrew: Yeah, I know, but he was just in Azkaban and now you’re going to force the truth out of him? I guess he’d be up for it just to make his point, but I don’t know. It’s still… because then if you go down this rabbit hole, what if Snape is standing right there too and throws a question at him as well? It’s very risky. I’m playing devil’s advocate just for fun, but…

Eric: Well, you’re doing a good job. I would say, like Dumbledore sums it up by saying “There’s no evidence. I believe Sirius, but there’s no evidence.” And it’s like, what are you going to do?

Andrew: Right. And Dumbledore actually does bring up a point right before this line about “I have no power to make other men see truth.” Dumbledore said that Sirius had not acted like an innocent man. Some of the cards are stacked against him; he attacked the Fat Lady and he entered Gryffindor tower with a knife. Not a good look when you’re trying to make your case. I know he’s been in Azkaban, so I’m sure that’s a factor. We’ve talked about that throughout the course of this Chapter by Chapter series thus far; that probably did a number on him. But still.

Micah: One thing that also came to mind, too, when Dumbledore had that line, is now that we’ve gotten a chance to at least get a peek inside to the world of Fantastic Beasts and meet Grindelwald, it gave me very much Grindelwald vibes when he says “I have no power to make other men see truth.” I’m wondering if he’s drawing on his past experiences here.

Eric: Ohh. Like, “I regret that I can’t fix everything.”

Laura: That’s an interesting reading.

Micah: So the next discussion is on the morality of Time-Turning magic. Time-Turners clearly play a huge role in this chapter, and then disappear forever minus the Hall of Prophecy in Order of the Phoenix. And I thought it could be fun just to read a little bit from about Time-Turners and I thought we could take turns. I’m happy to go first. Got a nice short paragraph. “According to Professor Saul Croaker, who has spent his entire career in the Department of Mysteries studying Time-Turning magic, this is what he has to say about Time-Turners.

Andrew: “As our investigations currently stand, the longest period that may be relived without the possibility of serious harm to the traveler or to time itself is around five hours. We have been able to encase single Hour-Reversal Charms, which are unstable and benefit from containment in small enchanted hour glasses that may be worn around a witch or wizard’s neck and revolved according to the number of hours the user wishes to relive.”

Eric: “All attempts to travel back further than a few hours have resulted in catastrophic harm to the witch or wizard involved. It was not realized for many years why time travelers over great distances never survived their journeys. All such experiments have been abandoned since 1899, when Eloise Mintumble became trapped for a period of five days in the year 1402.”

Laura: “Now we understand that her body had aged five centuries in its return to the present, and irreparably damaged, she died in St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries shortly after we managed to retrieve her. What is more, her five days in the distant past caused great disturbance to the life paths of all those she met, changing the course of their lives so dramatically that no fewer than 25 of their descendants vanished in the present, having been unborn.”

Andrew: [laughs] Great.

Micah: And it gets even worse from from here. I couldn’t… you know. This is a family show. So to include what else was on is just…

Eric: Oh, yikes.

Andrew: What?

Eric: All right, nobody go to

Micah: But basically, what this all says is that time travel is extremely, extremely dangerous, and it can cause irreparable harm to present day and the future. Is that fair to say?

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: Yes, to say the least.

Eric: If used as directed, I’m not convinced that it can. So if you just go back five hours, right, you can’t unborn someone. You don’t know about anyone that you unborn if you’re only going back five hours.

Laura: I don’t know. I mean, can you account for every possible scenario in which someone within a certain radius of where you are is conceiving a child at that moment?

Eric: Eh, they’ll go for another one.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: But it would be a different child!

Eric: They don’t know any different! They don’t know because they’re not from the future.

Micah: This could be a whole other episode. We could dive deep…

Eric: Yeah. Okay, okay. Is time travel moral? Well, look at what it does. Look at how it’s used in this book. Sirius Black is going to be wrongfully terminated, Buckbeak is going to be wrongfully terminated, and in this chapter they are both set free. Because they tried to be nice, they tried to do it legally, they tried to convince everybody Buckbeak shouldn’t be dead, and he’s still sentenced to death. And they try to convince everyone of Sirius’s innocence, and it doesn’t work. So they provided justice where there was tremendous injustice. I can’t think of anything more moral than using the Time-Turner.

Andrew: And Dumbledore did give them permission to do so. In fact, he…

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Yeah. It is Dumbledore fault.

Andrew: Yeah. Does that make you feel better if you just blame Dumbledore?

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: You mean God?

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: So here’s the thing, though: I feel like in the grand scheme of the universe, the circumstances in this particular time loop were pretty small on the cosmic scale, right? This was very much told in a self-contained way. I feel like that, combined with this description we just read, really substantiates what we’ve been talking about for I think 100 episodes now, which is that there is only one timeline. In the wizarding world, you don’t have branching timelines. So the fact that you have people who are just unborn, who never exist, and it doesn’t just create a new timeline where they don’t exist… it’s just in the singular timeline. They are no more. That’s really messy, as we’ve talked about in prior episodes, because the logic becomes really difficult to keep up with if you are to use this as a plot device moving forward, which is why I think the author chose not to until she and some playwrights decided to use it again.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: Right.

Micah: What’s interesting there is I do think there’s a distinction between the Time-Turner that Hermione uses and the Time-Turners that are used in Curse Child, because they allow for much more time time travel to happen.

Andrew: But weren’t we wondering back in 2016? Like, “Wait, I thought Time-Turners only go back a few hours? It’s not canon for them to go back years.”

Eric: Well, I’m pretty sure that Albus Severus and Scorpius suffer some trauma. Don’t they collapse after traveling back 20 years both times? Or after coming back to the future?

Micah: Yeah, I mean, let’s not forget they go all the way back to the night that Voldemort killed the Potters.

Eric: Oh, that’s right. Yeah.

Micah: That’s pretty far back.

Eric: Well, you know, it would sell tickets. That’s why they did it.

Micah: Yeah, I mean, it’s great on stage.

Andrew: Exactly. I mean, but you do have to wonder, whose idea was that? Was that actually Rowling’s, or…? I can’t remember the behind-the-scenes info at this point. But didn’t the producers, the writers, come to her first with the pitch and…?

Eric: I think that’s right.

Andrew: I can’t see J.K. Rowling being like, “You know what? It’s time to bring Time-Turners back. It’s been a while; let’s do it.” It was probably their idea, in her defense.

Eric: She was probably like, “No,” and they were probably like, “But people love Time-Turners!” And she was like, “All right.” That’s how I imagine that conversation having gone. Yeah, I don’t know. With the Time-Turner, the whole situation even despite its flaws, I’m so glad it exists because this chapter is one of my favorite chapters of the entire series. It’s a wild ride. Harry is like, “This is the craziest thing we’ve done,” and then you see it. And the thing that I find most important about this chapter is there are still rules, right? So you can’t interact with yourself. And partly because it’s been abused before, there are these rules that Hermione is just casually doling out as the chapter goes on. Harry wants to take the cloak from Snape so that Snape can’t use it to sneak down into the Shrieking Shack, and Hermione is like, “No, you can’t do that.” And so it hurts because at the end of the day, even though they are able to save Buckbeak and Sirius, they aren’t able to right all of the wrongs, right? Pettigrew still gets away, Snape still gets his moment of glory, and it becomes very precarious. So I think this question about the Time-Turners being moral or not, I think it’s even more moral or made more moral by the fact that it’s not a solve-all. There are still consequences. There are still areas in which two people using this will fall short in getting everything they ever wanted. There are unexpected consequences, and so I would argue that the the Time-Turner is value neutral almost.

Micah: But why not use that opportunity to stop Pettigrew? Why is freeing Sirius the moment that they’re allowed to actually alter? Why is that okay?

Eric: That’s a good question.

Micah: But not intervening in what happens when Pettigrew inevitably escapes?

Eric: Because Voldemort needs to come back and because Harry needs him to pay off his life debt.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, it’s probably just as simple as that. [Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah, not even from a plot standpoint, but the overall… the stars indicated that Voldemort would come back, so let’s blame it on the centaurs’ way of divining the future.

Micah: Yeah, I mean, I think there are a million different questions that can come out of this particular type of discussion, and maybe we do another episode focused on Time-Turning specifically. But I did want to ask, why entrust a 13-year-old with something as, I’m going to say, dangerous as a Time-Turner? We see that Hermione gets exhausted at one point in this book; I’m sure it happens a lot throughout the course of her third year with all the classes that she’s taking. But what if she accidentally fell asleep when she went back in time? Then she would be probably just as well off as Eloise Mintumble or anybody else who screws with time.

Andrew: So giving it to any child at Hogwarts is a bad decision. I’ll just say that upfront. But if you’re going to give it to any child at Hogwarts, it might as well be Hermione.

Micah: Yeah, I guess.

Andrew: She’s trustworthy. She’s well read. She knows what she’s doing. She can navigate difficult situations, as Dumbledore and McGonagall have already seen in her time at Hogwarts so far. Maybe they’ve got other reasons. Maybe there’s another Time-Turner story about a student at Hogwarts. Do we know for sure she’s the first student to have one at Hogwarts, come to think of it? I mean, maybe there have been experiences before where another student has had a Time-Turner. There must have been other Hermiones at Hogwarts prior to Hermione, and by that I mean students who just want to educate themselves in as many courses as possible.

Laura: I don’t know. I mean, we know it was hard to get, right? McGonagall had to write a whole bunch of letters to the Ministry to get this for Hermione, and presumably that all got started in Chamber of Secrets when Hermione signed up for everything. We do get that in Chamber of Secrets when she notes that she had signed up for all of the classes. So presumably, this was something that took some doing on McGonagall’s part, and she probably had to kind of lead a months long persuasion campaign to make it happen.

Micah: I did want to ask that question: What do we think McGonagall had to do? Did she have to lay her career on the line here?

Eric: I mean, this is one of those things where it immediately falls apart under scrutiny. Because, you know, 13, and for all the points we’re making. Maybe she just thinks it’s really important that Hermione gets a Runes education.

Andrew: But it can’t be that, right? [laughs]

Eric: No, Runes are really important!

Andrew: No, no, but I just… okay, Runes, fine. But does she really need every class that she can possibly take with the assistance of a Time-Turner? No, she’s got seven years at Hogwarts.

Eric: Maybe this was a trial run, like Hermione would have been the first and then if it worked, more students could have been able to learn more.

Andrew: [laughs] Can you imagine?

Eric: Oh God. Yeah, multiple versions of every kid in the Great Hall.

Andrew: More Time-Turners.

Eric: But no, Hallow Wolf in the Discord has a good point, which is going back to Hermione’s full class schedule that she was exhausted from. Hallow Wolf says, “Percy had more OWLs than Hermione,” so it seems like he wouldn’t be able to do that without a Time-Turner. So yeah, again, it goes back to scheduling.

Micah: This raises the question, though, are there other means by which Hermione could have taken these classes? Could she have spent the evenings or the weekends in private tutorial sessions with professors? I’m sure there’s other options that could have been put on the table…

Andrew: Summer school.

Micah: … where they don’t need to risk giving her a Time-Turner in order for her to meet her class obligations. It seems like a huge risk on the part of Dumbledore and McGonagall.

Eric: I agree.

Micah: Because what if it ended up in the wrong hands?

Eric: Yeah, I mean, you could easily see Draco being like, “What’s that necklace, Granger?” and messing with it.

Andrew: [laughs] “Nice necklace, Granger.”

Laura: Right? Because there’s no magic preventing the Time-Turner from being used by someone else; Harry gets to use it in this chapter. So if in one of her stupors, where she’s passed out somewhere…

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: Hermione is always in a stupor.

Laura: … somebody had come up to her and taken the Time-Turner… I mean, they take the Time-Turner, she wakes up, and she suddenly has no way to move around in time. She’s stuck, and then somebody else is off playing with the Time-Turner. It makes me wonder if this Time-Turner was like, baby’s first Time-Turner. You know what I mean?

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Like a Fisher Price-ified Time-Turner, not as intense as the real thing.

Micah: Not like, Noble Collection Time-Turner?

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Well, based on the writeup, Time-Turners really only are Hour Reversal Charms encased in an hourglass sort of thing.

Micah: Unless you’re in Cursed Child.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Right. So presumably, you could get a wand, and you could perform an Hour Reversal Charm and go back in time using just your wand, but only an hour.

Laura: And those are apparently really unstable spells, which is why they encase them in the Time-Turners. So it’s probably even more dangerous to do it that way.

Eric: Right, so it’s not that Hermione’s is like a Fisher Price, or less than, that there’s more powerful ones out there. It’s just a very imprecise and dangerous magic period.

Micah: I think that’s fair to say. Now, Dumbledore is playing a bit of God in this situation, as he does through most of the Harry Potter series, let’s be real. But the reason why I say that is he is essentially rewriting history in this moment, and I want to know, what gives him the authority to do that? And how fair is it that he’s entrusting the success of this mission to 13-year-old kids? Why not go back in time with them?

Eric: Oh, that would be fun.

Andrew: [laughs] That would be fun. [imitates Dumbledore] “Ooh, let’s do this thing. This will be fun.”

Laura: I wonder if in this scenario, Dumbledore kind of is God…

Andrew: You’re darn right he is. [laughs]

Laura: … because he already knows what happened, right? Because he was down at Hagrid’s hut during the execution, which we now know never happened. So is he just setting the wheels in motion for what he knows is already going to happen?

Eric: Right.

Andrew: Won’t be the last time he uses that strategy.

Eric: Maybe he’s not playing God at all. Maybe he was genuinely surprised to see Buckbeak escape, and then he realized some trickery was afoot. So he’s just following the script he has been given.

Laura: What came first, the chicken or the egg?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Hard to say.

Micah: All of this stems from the fact that Dumbledore thinks that the Ministry is not going to believe the word of two 13-year-olds. And Lupin also gets thrown into the conversation as well, but Dumbledore mentions that he’s off running around the forest, doing werewolf things, and that generally, the werewolf community is not looked favorably upon by the wizarding community as a whole, not just the Ministry. So what do we make of this? Especially as we start to think maybe a little bit about Order of the Phoenix and some of the other members of the wizarding community that are mistreated. Fair to say the Ministry is a bit shortsighted here; much like it didn’t do the investigation of Sirius back whenever that was, they’re not investigating it appropriately here either.

Eric: It’s one of those systemic issues that you’re never going to 100% solve because people are so flawed.

Andrew: [chants] Fudge needs to go. Fudge is fudging. Fudge needs to go.

Eric: Yeah, I do like to think the world was more just with Kingsley as Minister and later Hermione.

Andrew: I guess if I were to try and defend the Ministry, I would say, “Time is of the essence here. They’ve got to make a move.”

Laura: Yeah, “Let’s commit an execution in a children’s school.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Absolutely.

Andrew: “There’s no time! We’ve gotta throw the axe down now!”

Micah: Well, they do it in the next book.

Laura: It’s funny because we actually have nothing but time because there’s a freaking Time-Turner here. But yeah, you’re right, Micah, in the next book, they do exactly what they intended to do in this book. And I understand time was of the essence there as well, but do you need to commit something worse than murder on school grounds?

Eric: Yeah, what happened to due process?

Laura: Right. [laughs]

Micah: Well, one other “What if?” I wanted to get in before we wrap up the discussion is, what if it all went wrong?

[“What if?” sound effect plays]

Micah: We’ve touched on this a little bit so far, but who gets blamed and what are the ramifications for misuse of a Time-Turner? We know Hermione has been given permission to use it for classes, but clearly in this situation she’s using it to free a presumed mass murder.

Andrew: I would just say, to defend Hermione and her getting the Time-Turner further, we do see Hermione multiple times strongly tell Harry “We cannot be seen.” And there’s the example that happens, basically as she’s telling Harry this, where Harry wants to grab the Invisibility Cloak so Snape won’t grab it, but then Hermione stops him. And it pays off; it was a good choice by Hermione because Hagrid walks in view of the cloak a moment later. So I see your points. I take your points. It’s a fun scenario to play out. But I also think it’s important just to remember Rowling did try to make the argument for why Hermione could have it and why we wouldn’t even have to worry that it could all go wrong. If it all went wrong, though, I don’t know.

Eric: Yeah, I mean, I hope that there’s some time guardian or something that’s able to go back and set the timeline right, that nobody can really die. But it’s more exciting to hear Hermione be like, “Witches and wizards…”

Micah: Wow, that reminds me of another Zelda game. What was that? Was it Skyward Sword with the time guardians?

Eric: Oh, is there? Well, that’s a common thing, somebody like Dumbledore, who’s all-seeing or can see into other timelines, is preserving the timeline. Oh, Loki. It’s in Loki.

Andrew: Oh yeah. Season 2 coming soon.

Laura: Except Loki has branching timelines, which are a lot more fun and easier, I think, to world-build off of.

Eric: Yay.

Laura: It’s one of the things that frustrates me about time travel in these books. Although I will say, viewing this chapter as self-contained is very fun. It’s a super fun chapter to read, even though if you start pulling the threads a little bit, it all comes apart pretty fast.

Eric: This is a house of cards, but it’s disguised like a Harley Davidson motorbike.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: Yeah, I think it’s fair to say that time travel is messy, right? There’s nothing clean about it because so much can go wrong.

Eric: We haven’t even talked about how when Hermione turns the Time-Turner she shows up in the middle of the Entrance Hall. Like, what is that?

Micah: Yeah, that’s something that I wanted to talk about, too, is in the movie, at least, they get it right. They go back in time to the infirmary. But yeah, why did they go there?

Eric: That’s inherently dangerous for her to just be appearing in the middle of the Entrance Hall, considering how many times…

Micah: Is that always where she goes, I wonder?

Eric: Right, because considering how many times she’s done that this year, it’s absurd. There would definitely have been a student or somebody that would see her. Imagine having to explain that. [laughs] Maybe McGonagall has been going around behind corners and Confunding students that have seen Hermione just appear here.

Laura: Would have been a lot less work to just give Hermione independent study for a few off these classes.

Eric: Yeah, anyway.

Laura: [laughs] But for the plot…

Andrew: For the plot!

Micah: This might be a bit of a hot take question…

Andrew: [laughs] I’ve been waiting for this for days.

Micah: And the reason why I ask it maybe is not, Andrew, why you think I’m asking it.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: But I will ask it. Could J.K. Rowling not come up with a more creative way for Sirius to have escaped? And the reason why I framed it this way was because she’s opening up a huge door, and we’ll get to her comments about Time-Turners, but presumably then anything in the future could be solved with the use of a Time-Turner. And that’s why I said “a more creative way” for Sirius to escape.

Andrew: Okay, I take your point. It was creative for the series at the time because it was new. [laughs]

Eric: We’re talking about, basically, because of how many plot holes it potentially creates, would there have been…?

Andrew: It’s more trouble than it’s worth?

Micah: The solution is just every time, “Oh, get a Time-Turner.”

Eric: Well, that’s why they all get destroyed. It’s great.

Andrew: Allegedly. [laughs]

Eric: Although we still don’t have the answer of how Fred and George Weasley predicted the end of the match of the Quidditch World Cup. That they won the… yeah. I thought that was a Time-Turner kind of a thing, but yeah, it’s definitely a plot hole. But I can’t imagine anything being more creative, though, Micah, to your question. I think it’s the coolest thing ever.

Andrew: I mean, it’s on the cover, too, we have to call out. It’s worth mentioning, since Micah is throwing shade add it, it’s on the US cover.

Laura: Like I said before, I really regard this chapter as being somewhat a self-contained story. Obviously, it’s not; it has implications for the rest of the series. But the way that I choose to take it in is to just enjoy the series of events as they’re laid out based on the breadcrumbs that we’ve been left all year. It’s definitely problematic from a plot perspective; there’s no getting around it. It is still a great chapter, though, and I do have a hard time thinking of something more creative. I’m sure we could. Again, that’s a whole other episode. So if you’ve started taking a shot every time we say that, you’re welcome.

Andrew: [laughs] And we need to update our brainstorming doc with these ideas.

Micah: Well, maybe the question should have been, could JKR have come up with a less plot-holey way for Sirius to escape?

Laura: Probably.

Andrew: Let’s just say this, though: Let’s look at that iconic moment from the cover, right? Buckbeak escapes… well, it’s not on the cover really. Well, I guess it’s sort of…

Eric: Harry and Hermione. The British cover actually has it.

Andrew: Oh, yeah, yeah. So just think of the cinematic moment of Sirius flying on Buckbeak to escape. You needed the Time-Turner to get to that because they had to free Buckbeak as well. So I guess, sure, maybe without Time-Turners they could have broken Buckbeak free themselves or something and still had that cinematic ending, but I think the Time-Turner assisted with leading us to that cinematic climactic ending in which Sirius flies free, if you will, after being imprisoned.

Micah: Well, and so does Buckbeak, right? It’s the two of them together.

Andrew: Right. Well, yeah.

Eric: It’s really the ups and downs that this whole book has been doing. You get completely turned around thinking Sirius Black is the bad guy, then he’s the good guy, then you think Harry is going to live with him, then you think, “Oh my God, Pettigrew is escaping, all is lost.” And even though it’s not the happiest ending for this book, this chapter really shows you that it is going to be a happy ending book. It is going to be a slightly less happy ending, but the guy that you wanted to go free does get to go free. And that feels right. That feels like justice. But anything less than the Time-Turner confusion, going back, being constantly caught off-guard, would be ultimately, I think, less satisfying than what was in the book.

Micah: All right, you convinced me.

Eric: Hey, cool. I win the debate.

Micah: And I really didn’t think about it in the way of just the symbolism of the two unjustly accused escaping with each other at the end of the book.

Andrew: Freedom!

Micah: And plus they have each other now. Sirius isn’t alone. But just to wrap things up, we’ve been talking about this a little bit in that, was it going to be a possibility that J.K. Rowling was planning to use Time-Turners later on in the series but just ended up thinking better of it? And she did say that she went far too lightheartedly into the subject of time travel in Prisoner of Azkaban. “While I do not regret it, (Prisoner of Azkaban is one of my favorite books in the series), it opened up a vast number of problems for me, because after all, if wizards could go back and undo problems, where were my future plots? I solved the problem to my own satisfaction in stages. Firstly, I had Dumbledore and Hermione emphasize how dangerous it would be to be seen in the past, to remind the reader that there might be unforeseen and dangerous consequences as well as solutions in time travel. Secondly, I had Hermione give back the only Time-Turner ever to enter Hogwarts.” So that answers your question from earlier, Andrew, if there was anybody who used it previously. “Thirdly, I smashed all remaining Time-Turners during the battle in the Department of Mysteries, removing the possibility of reliving even short periods in the future.” I guess she didn’t know about Cursed Child at that time. “This is just one example of the ways in which, when writing fantasy novels, one must be careful what one invents. For every benefit, there’s usually a drawback.”

Andrew: Well, it’s very convenient to say “the only Time-Turner, by the way, ever to enter Hogwarts.” Was that ever in the books? Because otherwise, you have to be cautious with taking that at face value. She could have conveniently made that canon when writing this [laughs] just to cover her bases further.

Eric: Oh, that’s funny. The work continues to…

Andrew: Right, exactly. She’s continuing to cover over the plot holes. [laughs]

Eric: Listen, even in 1999 or whatever she didn’t believe that people will be reading this so closely 25 years later.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s a valid point.

Micah: Fair point.

Andrew: Can you imagine our own work being torn to pieces like Harry Potter or any other popular book is?

Laura: True.

Eric: I can; it’s getting close to that. But yeah, you’re right. It shouldn’t be.

Andrew: It’s like, we get emails from people, and of course we love the emails, but people point out when we make mistakes. I mean, that’s basically what happens when you’re the author as well on a much, much larger scale.

Micah: We never make mistakes.

Laura: Yeah, we criticize because we love.

Andrew: [laughs] I feel like we’ve gotten better for sure. But I feel like we used to get a lot more emails about mistakes.

Micah: Look, we’re human. We make mistakes. It happens.

Andrew: Yes. Yep, you’re right. We’re not perfect. Nobody’s perfect, in the words of Miley Cyrus. Hannah Montana, sorry.

Micah: Anything else on this chapter before we go to odds and ends? I know we didn’t go through the plot step by step. But anything we might’ve…?

Andrew: We already did. Ha, ha, ha! The backing up in time… okay, never mind.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: That’s funny.

Eric: It’s just really nice that Harry has the touching moment with the stag Patronus, and coming to the realization that it was him that sent the Patronus. And it’s funny that the reason he can do it is because he did it before, but really, that’s the coming-of-age part that everyone talks about that then became, in the movie adaptation, Harry fiddling with himself under the sheets when the movie opens. The reason this is a coming-of age-book is because of that moment with him and his dad, that wholesome moment where he realizes his father is gone, even though he’s been reintroduced to all of these friends that ran around. Again, it’s not that perfect happy ending. It’s a less than perfect happy ending. And the version of James that Harry has is the Patronus part that lives inside him, so that really is just the crucial, I think, moment where Harry comes of age and realizes that although he can be surprised by the past, the future is equally, I guess, hopeful as it is the opposite.

Micah: And I think it was nice to see the final Marauder included in the story as well. We’ve spent so much time with Remus throughout this book, then we get Sirius, then we get Pettigrew, but we don’t really get James. And there’s that hope – and I think there were fan theories for a long time – that perhaps if all these Marauders are alive, especially Pettigrew, perhaps James is alive as well in some way, shape, or form. And the other really touching moment of this chapter is the fact that Harry is willing to confide that to Hermione when they’re having that conversation. He’s letting his guard down a bit and saying, “Yeah, I actually thought it was my dad.” And I think you only do that with somebody who you consider to be a real true friend.

Odds & Ends

Micah: Time for some odds and ends. First one, when Harry looks over at Hermione in the hospital wing, it’s noted that she looked “petrified,” which I thought was a nice Chamber of Secrets throwback because she was Petrified in the same spot just one book earlier.

Eric: I like that Harry looks over and she’s just like, “Shh, we’re both listening in, this is crazy.”

Micah: It’s noted that Sirius is in the 13th window from the right of the west tower, seventh floor. So if you are the first to escape out of the 13th window, you are the first to die. That’s the other not as well-known Trelawney-ism.

Eric: [laughs] I love that. That’s great.

Micah: And best of all, drunk Hagrid is back.

Eric: Yeah! That should be the episode title.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Well, and one of my favorite lines, definitely in this chapter – I think they brought it over to the movie as well.

Micah: It’s in the movie.

Andrew: Yeah, okay. I love how Dumbledore quickly gives up on trying to find Buckbeak and instead asks Hagrid for tea or brandy.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I just think that’s so great. And now he’s just in don’t-give-a-bleep mode. He’s just like, “Well, that was that! That was fun.”

Eric: “What can you do?”

Laura: I do love it. And I loved Michael Gambon’s portrayal in these moments.

Andrew: I do too.

Laura: I felt like he really captured Dumbledore at this point in the series.

Andrew: Yes. And also in this movie when he says, “Three or four turns should do it. Good luck,” and then he goes behind the doors, I thought that was a great moment by Michael Gambon as well.

Micah: And when they come back, they’re like, “We did it,” and he’s like, “Did what?” And he just walks away.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: That was great.

Andrew: And all this Time-Turner talk, it’s got me thinking about a date I went on about 11 years ago now. I may have told this on the show or maybe on Millennial at one point. I was going on this date with this guy in Los Angeles. And he knew I was doing… I have my Harry Potter background, and he shows up to the date wearing a Time-Turner because of my Harry

Laura: Aww, that’s very sweet.

Micah: Just the Time-Turner?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: You guys, stop it.

Micah: Yeah, the little Noble Collection necklace and that was it?

Andrew: No, Micah, I’ve only seen you wearing nothing but a Time-Turner.

Micah: It’s true.

Andrew: So anyway, we go on the date. I’m very touched by this little touch, his little accessory. It didn’t work out because I started learning a little more about him; let’s just say I was a little concerned for my safety if things didn’t work out. [laughs]

Eric: Yikes! All right.

Micah: I’m just letting you know, for reference, you did say that you were “touched by his little accessory.”

Andrew: Trust me, that went through my head when I said that too, okay? I’m talking about the Time-Turner.

Laura: I wasn’t going to say anything.

Andrew: I really need the music this week to bail out of certain scenarios.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Micah: Are you sure you want to do weeknight recordings?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Not anymore.

Andrew: I think this is fun.

Micah: This is fun.

Laura: It’s going to be unhinged.

Andrew: All right, it’s time for MVP of the week. [laughs]

MVP of the Week

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: Maybe I should call an audible and say I’m going to give it to Hermione’s little accessory.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: There you go. We’ll let you do that.

Andrew: Okay, I’m giving it to Hermione’s Time-Turner. I love that little accessory.

Eric: I’m going to give it to Dumbledore for the way he handles Snape. He’s playing with some serious fire here, and it works.

Micah: I like that play on words.

Laura: I do like it. Speaking of, I’m going to give mine to Sirius. Let’s think about the events of this chapter from his point of view, particularly at the end. They’re all unconscious. They get brought up to Hogwarts on stretchers. Presumably, he wakes up in this classroom, up on the seventh floor, doesn’t know why he’s been brought there, doesn’t know where everyone else is. And all of a sudden, he sees his godson and one of his best friends on a hippogriff outside the window, and he doesn’t pause. He’s like, “All right.”

[Eric laughs]

Laura: So I’m going to give it to him for recognizing, “This might be a little shifty, but I know what’s waiting for me on the other side of that door…”

Eric: Time to get out of Dodge.

Laura: “… I’m going to jump out the window.”

Micah: I gotta give it to Buckbeak. He was very well-behaved in this chapter. If he ran off, the whole plan would have been just completely screwed.

Andrew: All right.

Micah: There are moments where he wants to run up to Hagrid, and he saves the day at the end. I mean, to Laura, your point, Sirius can get away now. They can become really good friends somewhere off in the… where do they go? The mountains? The forest? Hogsmeade?

Eric: They’re around.

Laura: Yeah, they’re in a cave for a while, right?

[MVP of the Week music ends]

Andrew: Oh yeah, that sounds right. All right, well, next week will be the final chapter in our Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter by Chapter series, Chapter 22, “Owl Post Again.” Did you three know that’s it’s only been a year since we started Chapter by Chapter?

Eric: What?

Andrew: I saw it come up in my iPhone memories this week. Our first… and I’m talking Book 1. We started Book 1 September 13, 2022. It feels like so much longer.

Eric: It really does. Wow.

Andrew: [laughs] We move too fast with that first book. That’s my takeaway.

Laura: Yeah, moving back to one chapter a week was the move.

Andrew: And of course, Book 4 is very large, so it might take us a year to get through it, especially if we’re doing other episodes.

Eric: I’m really excited for Book 4.

Andrew: Well, speaking of Book 4, we have some exciting news, I think, for everybody. Before we start Goblet of Fire Chapter by Chapter, we will be doing – drumroll please – for the first time ever, a Goblet of Fire movie commentary. Woop woop!

Laura: I’m so excited for this. I haven’t seen this movie in a long time.

Andrew: Me neither. I’ve been growing my hair in anticipation for watching this movie with all the long-haired kids in that motion picture.

Eric: It’s time to announce that that’s why my hair has been growing long as well.

Andrew: It’s all making sense now. So yeah, we actually did do a Prisoner of Azkaban movie commentary, and we thought about doing it again, but it was just back in May 2021 that we did that. It’s only about two years ago.

Eric: It’s all current. Same people, same opinions. It has not changed at all.

Andrew: Exactly, exactly. So after we do Goblet of Fire, we will have still Chamber of Secrets to do and Order of the Phoenix and Deathly Hallows – Part 1. So we still have some to work through, and we will get there because just like we’re enjoying doing this complete Chapter by Chapter series, we would love to do all the movie commentaries. We have to.

Eric: Absolutely.

Andrew: How have the MuggleCasters not done every movie at this point?

Eric: We’re completionists multiple times over.

Micah: This movie quite possibly has the worst scene in all of the Harry Potter films.

Eric: [intensely and angrily] “Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire? Did you ask another student to do it for you?”

Andrew: Everybody automatically knows what you’re talking about when you say that.

Micah: It rivals the “He was their friend.” I don’t do that very well.

Eric: No, it’s worse because it’s coming from an adult.

Laura: Yeah, no, you gotta shout that.

Andrew: Well, I think in light of that being such a huge meme and huge part of the Harry Potter fandom, maybe we should all have a shot ready for that scene and we take the shot when…

Laura: Yeah, I’m down.

Andrew: Okay. I didn’t have to convince them. I couldn’t even get through that sentence.

Laura: No! Are you kidding me? I’m always ready.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: We need to take a shot from a goblet.

Andrew: Ooh, now you’re talking. I used to have a goblet from the Noble Collection.

Eric: That’s a waste of… because then you got to wash the goblet, if you just put a little bit of something in it. [laughs]

Micah: I’m sure Target has some we can get before we do our commentary.

Andrew: It’s worth it for the pod.

Micah: It is.

Andrew: But we thought it would be a great idea to refresh ourselves on this movie because of course, when we’re doing Chapter by Chapter, we talk about the movie from time to time. So this will be a great introduction.

Eric: Yeah, I love the idea of watching the movie first as a primer because we’ll reference it. Obviously, the book is much more complicated. And not to spoil the next week interim between Books 3 and 4, but Book 3, I’ve said it forever, is my favorite book in the series. Book 4, when I first read it, I asked myself at the end of it, “Is this book, my new favorite? Do I like it more than 3?” And my answer was yes. So there’s a possibility that Book 4, as we go through it, might usurp Book 3 for me because I’m trying to stay true to the original 14-year-old that read this.

Andrew: Aww. Well, I hope it lives up to…

Eric: That’s sort of a personal life update. [laughs] I don’t know if that was actually interesting at all.

Andrew: No, it was, but we can we can definitely talk about that more, too, at the beginning of Chapter by Chapter. The first time we read it. I definitely have fond memories getting Goblet of Fire because that was the first midnight release I attended.

Eric: Oh yeah, that’ll be a whole thing.

Andrew: If you have any feedback about today’s episode or the chapters ahead, you can send an owl to, or you can use the contact form on You can also send a voice message; just record it using the Voice Memo app on your phone and then email us that file. Or you can use our phone number, which is 1-920-3MUGGLE, that’s 1-920-368-4453. And now it’s time for Quizzitch.


[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s Quizzitch question, how old was Sirius Black when he played the trick on Snape with Lupin? The correct answer was 16. Correct answers were submitted by 10-year-old Laura, the Master of the Universe; Accio 12 bagels; Beaky for life; Chocolate chip Dumbledough; Defend Dumbledore; Dock hooper; Elizabeth K.; Fantastic Beasts is amazing but isn’t happening; For 10 minutes Snape has a very magical object in his grubby mitts and doesn’t quite seem to realize it; Something smart and witty that I cannot think of; Sour grapes Snape; Luke the 11-year-old… let’s see… Ally the 25-year-old; love people are giving us their names. Lost sugar quill abrew; Towels enough effing towels; Wolfstar, Dadfoot, and Moomie? And Wolf Starbucks for the win; and many more, including, somebody sent the very first Quizzitch snswer song lyric filk. They sent an entire song as their Quizzitch answer, and maybe I’ll read it after that episode ends. Or sing it. But shout-out to Hippogriff rider 2000. Next week’s Quizzitch question: At the end of term, who arrives to see Lupin after Harry does? Submit your answer to us on the MuggleCast website,, or click on “Quizzitch” from the main nav if you’re already on our website. We know how many of you have it bookmarked.

[Quizzitch music ends]

Andrew: If you’re an Apple Podcasts user, for just $2.99 a month you can receive ad-free and early access to MuggleCast right within the Apple Podcasts app. Patreon does offer more benefits, but if you’d prefer to support us right within the Apple Podcasts app, we know it’s nice and easy because you already have your credit card there. The offer is there, and you can just tap into the show and you’ll see the subscribe button, Plus a free trial is available and annual subscription is available as well. We also have a free trial and annual subscription on our Patreon, and you get a lot more benefits there. Don’t forget now is the time to pledge to gain access to the MuggleCast collector’s club. You will also need to fill out a form to let us know you want to receive the stickers and the backing card. And speaking of Patreon, those of you who use Spotify, you can now tap into the show and you can easily access our Patreon. And then you can actually get our bonus audio content. we do two bonus MuggleCast installments a month we also post ad free MuggleCast and early access to MuggleCast within Patreon, you can get all those audio benefits right within Spotify now. nice and easy. We’re very excited that they added that. and don’t forget to follow us on social media. We are @MuggleCast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Threads. Thanks everybody for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: Bye everyone.

Laura: Bye.