MuggleCast 65 Transcript
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[Intro music plays]
Andrew: Because you still haven’t ordered 11 more MuggleCast T-shirts – thank you Kate, 20, of Florida – this is MuggleCast Episode 65, for November 26, 2006.
[Music continues to play]
Jamie: Two men own yachts. One of them puts his yacht on a river of milk. The other man disapproves considerably, and maintains that such a substance could never keep the balance of the boat at optimum efficiency. The second man puts his yacht in a river of coffee. The first man discusses openly his lack of respect for this decision. Again, the two yacht owners voice their contempt for each other. This creates a very tense atmosphere and both men begin having a huge, huge public argument about their differences in terms of yachts. However, one of the men is a lot more accepting and apathetic than the other. In the end, he turns around and says, “Okay, seriously, let’s stop arguing. Whatever floats your boat.”
Andrew: Oh, boy. What a way to…
Ben: Jamie, I know why the fangirls love you so much.
Andrew: Oh, yeah, I know. What a way to start off our 65th …
Andrew: …episode of MuggleCast.
Ben: How many?
Andrew: You know – 65th.
Ben: We’re ready to retire.
Andrew: We could…
Ben: Isn’t 65 the retirement age?
Andrew: We’re good. Yep, we’re done. This is it.
Ben: All right.
Jamie: We’re getting our special pensions, soon.
Andrew: We do have a good show for everyone this week. We got a special interview with the creators of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix videogame.
Ben: By the way who did that? Who’s in that interview?
Andrew: Me and [whispers] Kevin.
Ben: You didn’t invite me?
Andrew: It’s not that I didn’t invite you; you weren’t around.
Ben: When was it? When did you do it?
Andrew: It was at noon, two weeks ago.
Ben: Thanks. Thanks a lot, dude. Thanks for inviting me.
Andrew: Sorry. Why are you asking now? Why didn’t you… [laughs]
Jamie: Ben, surely you realized after he’d recorded it…
Jamie: …that you weren’t on it.
Ben: I didn’t know when he recorded it.
Andrew: My name is Andrew Sims.
Ben: My name is Benjamin Carl Schoen.
Jamie: My name is Jamie Matthew Lawrence.
Eric: My name is Eric James Matthew Padfoot Scull.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
[Music continues to play]
Micah: Jason Isaacs recently spoke to The Observer about his upcoming projects, and, of course, a little about Harry Potter. He said:
“I spent two weeks having a wand fight with Helena Bonham-Carter (who plays
Bellatrix Lestrange) and Gary Oldman (who plays Sirius Black). Potter is a well-oiled machine now, whichever director is in charge, although it’s a slow process working with all those special effects. But it’s such a laugh – five weeks hanging out with Oldman and Maggie Smith (who plays Professor McGonagall) and Michael Gambon (who plays Professor Dumbledore), who’s a right mischievous devil.”
Speaking of good ole Lucius, Forbes magazine has released a list of the wealthiest fictional characters, and Lucius Malfoy came in at number 12, three places better than last year’s number 15 ranking. The site estimates his net worth to be $1.3 billion.
The Guardian is currently running a competition where entrants must guess the title of Book Sven, and the one judged to be the best and most innovative will win a JK Rowling-signed bookplate. The contest will close at midnight on December 6th.
Electronic Arts, maker of the entire Potter video game series, on Tuesday announced a new video game: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix! The press release can be checked out over on MuggleNet.com.
HBO on Demand is currently airing a special preview of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie. The preview runs for almost four minutes, and includes tons of new footage, including behind the scenes glimpses at the making of the movie.
Be sure to check MuggleNet.com for other various Order of the Phoenix videos, interviews, and photos, including some of the interior of the Ministry of Magic; Harry and Mr. Weasley attending the disciplinary hearing; the writing on Harry’s hand from Umbridge’s quill; Azkaban; concept art of Grawp; a Death Eater; and pics from the set of Snape’s storage room.
Dan Radcliffe will fly to Melbourne, Australia, for the Australian Film Institute awards. On December 7th, Daniel and some other celebrities will announce the winners in the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, with a national telecast on Channel Nine at 9:30 PM.
Finally, in a very special edition of the Leaky Mug released earlier this week, you can learn the details of how Grimmauld Place will appear in the fifth film, hear about the Potter set in general, and much more from Andrew’s special visit to the Order of the Phoenix set.
That’s all the news for this November 26, 2006 edition of MuggleCast. Back to the show.
Andrew: All right. Thank you, Micah.
Micah: You’re welcome.
Andrew: Micah, you know there’s a lot of hot stories this week; Order of the Phoenix…
Micah: There were a lot of hot stories.
Andrew: There were. You want to tell us about them?
Micah: No, absolutely not.
Andrew: Good, because we’re actually…
Andrew: …going to wait until later in the show.
Micah: See I knew that. I knew you were going to say that, so…
Andrew: [laughs] We’re going to get – we’re going to focus…
Andrew: This show is basically about…
Ben: The movie.
Andrew: …Order of the Phoenix and the inter – yeah, the movie in general. We have a couple of rebuttals, of course, but first we do want to talk about some rebuttals. Or, eh, [laughs] announcements. T-shirts. It’s coming to an end. I can’t even talk about them anymore because I’m just going to cry every time I think about them. January 1st is the last – no, December 31st is the last day that we can sell them. January 1st, we have to stop selling the MuggleCast t-shirts forever. So, make sure to purchase your own. I purchased four the other day, because I want to make sure that I stock up. It’s like Y2K. Right before the year 2000, everyone was afraid that all the technology was going to stop working, and everyone bought water and stuff just in case…
Ben: This is the same thing. You have to buy…
Andrew: They stocked up on extra food. It’s the same thing.
Ben: Yeah, you have to buy a million MuggleCast t-shirts.
Andrew: That’s what I’m saying. Exactly. Just in case they never come back, which they won’t. [laughs] Also, interesting little competition going on, on Podcast Alley right now. We beat Keith and Girl, and we’re right up…
Andrew: …there on top with our friends at PotterCast.
Ben: The what?
Jamie: At what, sorry? At what?
Ben: The who?
Andrew: It’s this other Harry Potter podcast…
Ben: Oh, I’ve never heard of them.
Andrew: …you guys ever hear of this?
Andrew: So don’t forget to vote for us on Podcast Alley. Also, a book. We have a book now?
Ben: We have a book.
Andrew: You guys wrote a book?
Ben: Ladies and Gentlemen, MuggleNet.com’s What will happen in Harry Potter 7: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Falls in Love and How the Adventure Finally Ends, by Ben Schoen, Emerson Spartz, Andy Gordon…
Andrew: That’s me.
Ben …Gretchen Stull, and Jamie Lawrence.
Jamie: That’s me, by the way. Just in case you were wondering
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Ben: It’s a very good book. You should go out and buy it. It’s in your local retailers now. For those of you in the Chicago area, Emerson and I will be holding an event at the Skokie, Illinois, Barnes and Noble, which is a Chicago suburb. Yeah, go out and see us; we’re going to be talking about the book. It might be a good idea to read it so you can ask us questions. You know, quiz us about it before – when we get there. Yeah, so come out and see us. It’ll be a good old time. We will post more information on the site and yeah, that’s about it. Remember you can pre-order at Alivan’s, which will help support MuggleCast, the site, everything, so go ahead and do that.
Andrew: So, Ben, as a fan of you, I know that I’m really going to want to do – get a picture with you to post on my MySpace and get your autograph. Will you be doing this at this event?
Ben: I guess. I guess I could oblige for you, Andrew.
Andrew: Awww, okay. Awesome…
Jamie: Fifty dollars you said last time, didn’t you, Ben?
Ben: Yeah. [laughs]
Jamie: That’s your standard charge.
Andrew: Okay. And then, also, we want to remind everyone that coming up with Episode 70, which will be the show we release on New Year’s Eve, I think, will be our MuggleCast Variety Show that is made up of your songs…
Ben: Your Song?
Andrew: Your segments – huh?
Ben: Your Song.
Andrew: Huh? Your Song, the one by Elton John
Andrew: Going to have that as the opening
Jamie: Ben, have you ever heard that song before?
Ben: You need me to sing it for you?
Andrew: No we don’t.
Ben: No, okay.
Andrew: We don’t need that. [laughs] The show will be made up of your song segments – your segments that were submitted back a few months ago, back in February, March or April, I think it was, when we had a “Create Your Own MuggleCast Segment” contest. So, we’re going to air some of those we never aired. And I have a big announcement, to come along with this announcement.
Ben: He’s coming out, folks. He’s coming out.
[Ben and Jamie laugh]
Andrew: I, Andrew Sims – it really is coming out, in a way.
Andrew: I, Andrew Sims…
Jamie: He’s pregnant.
Andrew: …am pregnant. I, Andrew Sims, I am starting my own Wizard Rock Band.
Ben: Yeah, you told me this the other night. I was like, “What are you up to?” And he says, “Starting my own Wizard Rock Band.”
Jamie: What’s it going to be? “Andrew and the Sims”?
Andrew: I do not know. I don’t have a name, yet, for the band. I am working on my first single right now.
Andrew: It has a good beat. It’s – I’ll give you a little preview. It’s about the podcasts that we do, and I really think it’s going to be a really big hit.
Ben: Are you singing, too?
Andrew: Ah, well, it’s more of a rap.
[Jamie and Micah laugh]
Andrew: So, I’m really excited about it, and it’s going to – the single is going to make its premiere on Episode 70, our variety show. And I hope everyone enjoys it. You know, there’s bands out there like U2 and Elton John and I really think I’m right up there with them. So, we’ll see what the response is like. So, if you want to be a part of our Variety Show, please e-mail your song or segment to mugglecast at staff dot mugglenet dot com. We’re looking for MuggleCast remixes – fun stuff like that. Try to keep it short like five minutes, or so. Or it could be shorter than that. Two minutes, whatever. So, thanks for that…
Ben: [clears throat] Make it good.
Listener Rebuttal: Nature vs. Nature
Andrew: We have a rebuttal now.
Micah: All right, the first rebuttal comes from Rivah of Cleveland, Ohio. She says:
“It was very brave of you guys to take on the age old question of ‘Nature vs. Nurture,’ as it relates to the Harry Potter. After several semesters of Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion, I still can’t make up my mind. I do, however, think that if there is something innate in our nature, it will come out. Voldemort would most definitely have been troubled – maybe even psychotic – but his circumstances propensified his evil nature, not to mention the alluring power that magic added to the situation. There are many times he could’ve turned back and stopped, but his callous disregard for life leads me to believe that, no matter what, he would turn out evil. I have to say Laura was given the short end of the stick this week, with the world being so PC it’s hard to find a court case or argument where a person’s environment is not brought up as a factor. It is hard to argue that ‘black and white’, ‘good and evil’ side of ‘Nature vs. Nurture’ argument; kudos for doing such a good job, Laura. Jamie, I think, though, just enjoys playing “Devil’s Advocate”…”
Jamie: I do, very much.
Micah: “…to any argument. Thank goodness he has the intellect and intelligence…”
Micah: “…not to mention an amazing accent that are extremely persuasive. Who knew listening to MuggleCast could be entertaining and intellectually stimulating…”
Micah: “…at the same time?”
Ben: Well, you see, here’s the thing, guys: Jamie, actually, I don’t think – you really weren’t playing Devil’s Advocate, were you?
Jamie: Well, no. I was playing Devil’s – I didn’t believe all the stuff I was saying, but I do think that you…
[Micah and Andrew laugh]
Jamie: …can’t ignore, you know, nurture.. Oh, and adding one more thing to that, she says that the allure of magic is huge, and it’s true. For someone like him, who didn’t grow up in a magical environment – he thought he was a Muggle – the allure is even greater. I mean, if we learn magic now, we’d be drawn to it, more so than if it’s just a normal part of your life. So, that’s one more thing.
Eric: Well, guys, if…
Jamie: To the rebuttal, there.
Eric: …if we fail to be entertaining and intellectually stimulating the first 63 times…
Jamie: It’s not going to happen, yeah.
Eric: …we have in Episode 64.
[Andrew and Ben laugh]
Eric: So, that’s good news. I’m happy. So, that’s cool.
Andrew: Yeah, we got a lot of mixed feedback about that discussion last week. Some people really, really, really enjoyed it, and some people didn’t enjoy it.
Ben: Didn’t, yeah. [laughs]
Andrew: But that’s the way it goes every week, pretty much. So…
Andrew: You know, we try to mix it up, and we can’t talk about…
Jamie: The Forbidden Forest every week.
Andrew: [adopts a funny voice] Horcruxes for the millionth…
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] Yeah.
Ben: I think Episode 73 – 100 should be the Horcrux shows.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Jamie: The Horcrux Series.
Andrew: Get people so sick of it…
Andrew: …they’ll never even e-mail us about it again. [laughs] Yeah.
Order of the Phoenix Developments
Andrew: Before we get to our interview, we are going to talk about the latest Order of the Phoenix developments, because there have been a lot of them. We talked about the trailer a little bit last week, teaser poster, but at that point we didn’t really have it in a good quality version online. Then we have…
Ben: Was it Yahoo who released the high-def version?
Andrew: Yes, they did.
Ben: And so what do you guys think of it? Has anything changed for you, now that you’ve had a chance to watch the trailer a lot of times?
Jamie: No, it’s the same, it’s just in higher definition.
Ben: No, I know this. I know this, but there – you’ll pick more up – you’ll pick up more on the subtle nuances of things in the trailer…
Ben: …the more times you see it, which is what I’m saying.
Andrew: Like when I first saw it on YouTube. The picture was kind of dark, and you couldn’t make out most of it. But then when you see it in high-def, you see every single shot.
Eric and Micah’s Take on the Trailer
Andrew: And you could see Bellatrix, which was really cool. But, Eric and Micah, you guys weren’t on the show last week. What did you guys think of the trailer?
Eric: I liked it. It was completely – it was really short. It didn’t seem like 57 seconds when I first saw it in the theatre. I…
Andrew: That’s because it was 54.
Eric: Okay. Then that…
[Ben and Andrew laugh]
Eric: Okay, that’s solved. Okay, so it’s 54 seconds.
[Ben and Andrew laugh]
Eric: It didn’t seem like that. It flew by really fast. Most of the time was spent on the fading in of the lo – sorry, the logo. So, you know, Sirius Black looks nice.
Eric: I was just wanted to say Sirius Black looks very nice. “Incontrovertible;” that’s a new word for Michael Gambon.
Ben: [laughs] That’s a like a word – that is weird, when he says that…
Micah: I have to say, I have never been a fan of Michael Gambon, but he’s sort of grown on me since Goblet of Fire.
Ben: Hold on, though.
Micah: So, hopefully he does a better job.
Ben: I have a comment about him in the whole little scene where he says, [imitates Michael Gambon] “Evidence that Lord Voldemort is back is incontrovertible!” I don’t know, he just seems too hardcore for me. Like…
Jamie: But Dumbledore is hardcore.
Ben: I think Dumbledore is supposed to be about – he’s supposed to be stern, you know, but he’s not supposed to like, “Aargh!” angry-type Dumbledore. I think he’s just supposed to be more of a…
Jamie: No, he is, though. At some points he’s supposed to be angry. He’s supposed to be…
Ben: Not that angry. I think he’s…
Jamie: Of course he is! The power…
Ben: He’s supposed to be cool. He’s supposed to be cool, calm, and collected. That’s Dumbledore.
Eric: Yeah, there’s a dignified kind of “I will hurt you” type thing to Dumbledore. To clarify what I was saying earlier, it’s not when he says, “I am not weak.” Harry – there’s a scene, it’s like 26 minutes in or 26 seconds in. [laughs] Can’t remember which.
Ben: You saw a different trailer than I did. [laughs]
Eric: No, it’s the same trailer. Twenty-six seconds in, he’s – it’s right after Dumbledore says, “incontrovertible,” and goes to this other scene, kind of panoramic kind of shot of Harry, and he looks like he did in the second Triwizard task with a – or something. There’s something not right about the lighting of that scene, it just makes him look a little weird, like he doesn’t have any hair over his forehead, or anything. It’s kind of just a particularly weirdly dressed Harry. The rest of the trailer looks fine.
The Mysterious Frame
Andrew: Micah, what’d you think?
Micah: Overall, I liked it. I agreed with what Jamie said last week, I think, that that whole scene with Snape, either it’s going to go terribly, terribly right or terribly, terribly wrong. The shot from it, though, seemed as if they did a good job with it. But, actually, something I had a question about was I paused about 28 seconds in, and it’s right after or, actually, right before the whole scene with Harry and Snape, and it looks like Voldemort is shooting something out of his wand, and if you pause it, there’s a picture…
[Jamie and Ben laugh]
Micah: …of a woman in there. [laughs] No, it’s really weird, there’s a WB shield in the bottom right hand corner.
Micah: And there’s a picture of a woman, but it’s not a real woman, and I don’t know where exactly this is being shot.
Andrew: See, I mean… Hmmm. I wish I could see this, but – I mean, most of the visual effects aren’t done yet.
Why O.W.L.s vs. Dobby in the Movie?
Andrew: And like the stuff for the trailer, I’m sure they’re going to tweak more. Like, I’ve said this last week: the pendulum behind Umbridge looks terribly fake. Now here’s my thing – I thought about this earlier today. The O.W.L.s are obviously in, because of what we see in the trailer. I assume that still means they’re in. I mean, they could still cut them. Now, if something like that is in, that doesn’t seem like a very big plot that really deserves a spot in the movie, and it seems like Dobby would be a more welcomed plot.
Andrew: Yeah, rather than the O.W.L.s.
Ben: But the house elves are going to be much more costly.
Jamie: Well, I don’t know. It’s an expensive thing, the O.W.L.s. They’ve got to do all that stuff in front of Professor Tofty, and you have to, you know…
Ben: Right, but I doubt it’s – but it’s not as expensive. When, I think it was Newell, said at the premiere last November, which I was at. [laughs] No, I’m just kidding.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Ben: Newell said at the premiere that – what exactly did he say? He said that every time the house elves step on screen, it’s literally hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Andrew: Oh, right, yeah.
Ben: So that’s probably why. I mean, you know, they only have a $320 million budget. I mean there’s…
Jamie: Yeah, exactly. It must be tough.
Ben: They can’t…
Micah: [laughs] With Goblet of Fire, you have a whole story line there which includes, was it Winky, at the beginning? And I think they really change the whole storyline around…
Micah: …just so she didn’t have to be in there.
Jamie: Oh, yeah they did.
Micah: I don’t know if adding Dobby in, really, here, would be that much of a big deal for them, whereas before, in Goblet of Fire it would cost quite a lot of money.
Ben: Wasn’t Winky, Winky was the whole reason, right?
Micah: Yeah, and they completely cut her out.
Ben: That’s screwed up.
Jamie: But it is expensive.
Andrew: I mean, Kreacher is definitely in it, so they’re not completely cutting out house elves.
Andrew: It’s not like they’re – you know, that department is shut down for this film. [laughs]
Eric: That was – my problem with it is, as I mentioned before, is the tie-ins. The very strict, limited tie-ins between movies that I’d like to see, such as Dobby coming back. Just because, every director’s done their own thing, the only thing that’s stayed the same is the actors, pretty much. You know? So, I want to see house elves again, because then it would kind of, I don’t know, link the films together. I don’t know if they’re supposed to be linked, but they say Harry Potter One and Harry Potter Two and Year Three in my DVD collection. So, you know?
Andrew: I…[laughs] what?
Ben: Yeah, that made no sense.
Eric: The DVDs! The movies!
Eric: They – there’s no connection between the films. Except for the actors, everything else changes.
Ben: Well, that’s because the new director, you know?
Andrew: I mean, they do have to change – yeah.
Eric: Well, yeah.
Jamie: That’s because it’s a different film. [laughs]
Ben: Yeah, that, too.
Eric: Well, I understand, but each book has links back and forth, and they cut out all the ties to previous films. It’s like, “Okay, Chris Columbus did the Dobby thing, therefore we can never do the Dobby thing again.”
Jamie: Well, actually, if you read, sort of, Prisoner of Azkaban, it’ll say like they’ll be talking about Quidditch and Jo will say, “Quidditch is a game, you know, played by blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, with blah, blah, blah, balls,” stuff like that. And she’ll say that in the third book, but then come Book Four, Book Five, and Book Six, she won’t offer, sort of, you know, previous bits of information to refresh your memory. I think she’s just assuming that after you get that far, you’re not going to need to remember what Quidditch is and stuff like that.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, she still makes a couple references.
Jamie: Oh, yeah, she does.
Ben: She does do some refreshing a bit, like in the early chapters especially.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
HBO On Demand: Umbridge
Ben: Now, what about the HBO on Demand? That thing was pretty cool.
Andrew: That was intense.
Jamie: Yeah, that was very good.
Ben: What are your guys’ thoughts on it?
Andrew: It was – what was that, like three minutes long? It was a good three-minute look at behind-the-scenes filming, and some interviews with the actors. I really liked it. People, the fans loved it.
Jamie: Imelda Staunton’s acting, as well, it was cringe-worthy in a good way. It was, you know, exactly how Umbridge is supposed to act, I think. The sweet…
Ben: She’s not fat enough.
Jamie: No, no, you’re right. She isn’t. But the sort of sweetness and disgusting, you know, pleasure in her voice came out.
Jamie: Yeah, it’s awfully good, basically.
Ben: I definitely think she did a good job.
HBO On Demand: Dan’s Portrayal as a Leader
Ben: But something that kind of irked me was – it didn’t really irk me – but, to me, Dan Radcliffe, I mean, he does a good job as Harry, but he just doesn’t seem to personify what a leader is. You know what I mean?
Ben: He doesn’t seem to, like, I couldn’t see him leading a bunch of his peers. Daniel Radcliffe, I know Harry can. But I couldn’t see Daniel Radcliffe really get into that role. I don’t know. What about you, what do you guys think?
Andrew: Are you referring to something in the HBO video?
Ben: Yeah. When he was…
Andrew: When he was teaching Neville?
Ben: They start talking about him. They start talking about him teaching. You know?
Andrew: Yeah, and there is…
Ben: I was just thinking about how they’re going to do that because he doesn’t seem like the leader type.
Eric: Are you saying he is kind of like a one-sided actor where is better at portraying the whole “everybody hates me” kind of Harry?
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: As opposed to the – yeah. I kind of see where you come up with that.
Ben: So, I just don’t know how well he is going to be able to portray the “go get ’em” Harry.
Eric: If he does it in a defiant kind of way, like as seen in the trailer where he’s like, “Voldemort is trying to get me, I must stop him.” If he portrays it kind of like in Chamber of Secrets, the trailer, when Lucius Malfoy says that thing about Harry always being around to save the day, he says, “Don’t worry. I will be.”
Ben: Kind of a lame line, but yeah. [laughs]
Eric: That kind of defiant kind of thing. [laughs] He’s kind of got that going for him. I think we just have to see more.
Ben: I don’t know. In the trailer, part of it seems sort of lame. When he says, [does Harry impression] “If Voldemort’s organizing an army, let’s fight” or whatever. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah. “Let’s fight.” That’s what I was talking about. He says, “Let’s fight” and…
Ben: Well, I don’t know. I was just thinking like, occasionally it seems like every movie, it seems, like, they give him a line that is just completely ridiculous and totally lame. Like in Goblet of Fire it was, [Harry impression] “I love magic.” You know? [laughs]
Eric: No! That was not a ridiculous line. That was a great line.
Micah: Yes it was.
Jamie: Indeed. It was atrocious.
Andrew: Wait, he says what? “I love magic?”
Micah: When he walks into the tent…
Ben: When he walks into the tent and sees how big it is.
Andrew: Oh, yeah. [laughs]
Ben: He says, [Harry impression] “I love magic.”
Andrew: Yeah. Do you Harry? Do you?
Jamie: How many buckets did you guys use after that?
Ben: [laughs] Yeah.
Jamie: It was atrocious.
Andrew: Yeah. But that stood out for me in this HBO special where he’s showing Neville how to cast some spell. He just seemed – it stood out because it just seemed different for him. It didn’t seem like his normal portrayal of Harry.
Jamie: But it is different, of course. Him leading is a new thing for him.
Andrew: Oh it is.
Jamie: He couldn’t believe it when they wanted him to teach them, so it’s like – and it says in the book that he is – that it was extremely weird to see people doing what he says and following his orders. So, it’s kind of good if Dan isn’t really too sure how to portray him…
Ben: I guess so.
Jamie: …because it goes into the character, which is a good thing.
HBO On Demand: Matthew Lewis as Neville
Ben: Well. Okay, is it just me or is Matt Lewis really, really good?
Jamie: He is good.
Ben: I think he fits what I’ve always seen as Neville, you know?
Ben: He really fits that character really well.
Andrew: He definitely pulls off the nervous Neville that is always in the books.
Eric: And then some. He has to do it…
Ben: Well, especially in Goblet of Fire. Based off how he did in Goblet of Fire, I mean, most people are expecting pretty great things in Order of the Phoenix.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Tangent: Dan in Equus
Andrew: And back to Dan, I think he has got enough experience under his belt to change up his – how he’s portraying Harry with those scenes, the Dumbledore’s Army scenes.
Jamie: Exactly, yeah.
Ben: So, has he had his West End debut yet? The Equus?
Jamie: No, he hasn’t.
Andrew: That’s February, I think.
Ben: That’s February? Jamie, are you going to go see?
Jamie: I probably will go and see it, to be honest.
Andrew: I was telling Jamie we should have him buy a ticket…
Ben: And cover it for us.
Andrew: …and charge it to MuggleCast, and then – yeah, exactly. Do a review.
Jamie: I’ll do that. Will you pay for my hotel and spending money as well?
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: No. How much are tickets? They’re like $100 right, I think?
Jamie: For good seats, yeah.
OOTP Set Pictures: Azkaban
Andrew: We also saw a lot of set pictures this week. Azkaban Prison, I think that was probably one of the biggest ones. I was reading through the comments on MuggleNet, people not too happy about Azkaban and where it’s placed. Because some people are upset that WB is really changing things up, with Azkaban specifically, because it is on a waterfall on a cliff.
Jamie: Yeah, I noticed. The thing is…
Ben: That’s kind of strange.
Jamie: …that is the kind of thing where the movies, they have the creative license to change stuff. But it just seems so much easier to put it on a rock where it will A) still look awesome and they know they’ll please people; whereas if they put it on a waterfall they risk alienating some people and it will look awesome, but they sort of are losing by doing it, you know?
Micah: But why? Why does that bother people?
Andrew: Because it’s different from the books.
Micah: It seems like such a small thing.
Andrew: People are really hardcore about some things staying true to the books.
Micah: Well, I mean. But then going back to Goblet of Fire they completely rewrote the entire plot in order to fit it in two-and-a-half hours.
Ben: Yeah, and if you’re worried about…
Micah: I see something like Prisoner, like Azkaban itself being on a waterfall, I don’t see that as big of a deal.
Eric: It just lies in what people want to see is almost like the – one of the benefits of the movies is to, and movies don’t replace what your book eye is seeing, but they are a nice visual, I don’t want to say assurance, but movies are fun to watch and you get to see your favorite parts of the books on the silver screen or whatever. And that’s what I think a lot of people like. Now, the thing with rewriting Goblet of Fire. I mean, yeah, it would have been cool to see Winky, but you still got to see the tasks. The way they rewrote it was a visually pleasing film. Not just in general, but people who had seen all the stuff in their eyes, you know, in their mind’s eye while reading the books. Now, the thing with Azkaban, you want to be terrified of it. You want to imagine what it would be like languishing there for 15 or 16 years before being let out and stuff. So this whole waterfall thing is actually a big deal.
Andrew: I think they’re trying to make it look like there is no way of escaping.
Jamie: Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly what they’re trying to make.
Andrew: They’re ignoring the fans. Yeah.
Andrew: It’s just a terrible place. There’s no way you can get out.
Jamie: The problem with it is that place is actually inescapable. And if it’s on an island, then you can swim across. If you fall out of that thing onto the waterfall and you go all the way down, it looks like a damn big waterfall, you’re going to die. So, there is the problem of Sirius’ escape from there. Dogs can swim, but they can’t survive waterfall falls.
Ben: [laughs] Yeah, that’s true.
Eric: So, there’s no spell that could allow a buffer of some kind? Like a raft?
Micah: Lassie did though.
Ben: Well, he was so weak. He probably couldn’t cast a spell.
Jamie: Oh, I’m sure there is, but it’s still very difficult.
Ben: Something interesting about – you know, like this movie is not going to be a movie for the purists. Because think about it logically.
Jamie: No, it’s not.
Ben: Movie 1, a 308 page book, is put into a two-and-a-half hour movie. Movie 4, a 735 page book, is put into a two-and-a-half hour movie. An 870 page book, they’re going to put it into a two-and-a half-hour movie. So you realize that they are just going to have to keep cutting stuff.
Jamie: Yeah, yeah.
Ben: So, if that upsets you, don’t even bother seeing the movie.
Ben: Because you’re going to walk out and be absolutely infuriated.
Micah: But Andrew, didn’t you say that Azkaban…
Micah: …Was just in the paper? Isn’t it just shown in the paper?
Andrew: Well, they have a newspaper that that picture appears in. I don’t know for sure if it
actually appears in the film or not.
Jamie: They might just do a fly-by.
Andrew: Yeah, I mean, the set, not the set, the fly-by – Azkaban itself was actually designed by Stewart Craig, so, I mean, they’ve got to use it for something worthy of his time.
Andrew: But, anyway, I mean, it would just seem like a waste if they just use it on a newspaper cover.
Andrew: Because that’s where it was.
OOTP Set Photos: Harry’s Hand
Andrew: Here’s another thing that’s been getting fans; a picture got out of Dan’s, well, on Harry’s hand, where he’s inscribing “I will not break rules.”
Jamie: Oh, oh, oh.
Micah: Was that a gorilla?
[Andrew, Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: Yeah, is there a gorilla in here?
Andrew: When in the books it says “I must not tell lies.” You know what’s up with this, Jamie?
Jamie: Well, I was thinking about this, actually, and there’s a huge difference between, “I must not break the rules” and “I must not tell lies.” Because, obviously, if it says, “I must not tell lies,” it’s like a double lie because he’s lying that he’s told lies. You know? And also, it just sort of shows, it sort of, has a sort of Matilda-esque type thing in that it shows that adults are always right if he puts “I must not tell lies” that because he’s a child, he’s automatically wrong. And throughout the books there’s always been this whole “age is foolish if it underestimates youth” and that kind of thing. So, saying “I must not break the rules” doesn’t automatically mean he’s wrong and it comes back to what we were saying last week about incorrect and correct versus wrong and right and that if he says “I must not tell lies,” then that means that he’s wrong and incorrect, but if he says “I must not break the rules” then he’s only incorrect in so far that he’s broken the rules of the adults which aren’t automatically right, they’re just rules that have been put up by them.
Andrew: But, you really think that’s why they changed…
Jamie: Oh, completely. Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. I really do think so.
Andrew: It just seems like such an easy thing to stay true to the books, but, then again, that is an interesting explanation.
Jamie: But, the movies are completely different to the books in that the books, you know, it’s Jo’s creative license and even though her editors can tell her, “Don’t put this in because I really don’t think you should. It’s a bad idea,” Warner Brothers has – I don’t want to say a bigger audience, but a more widespread audience and if one parent talks to another parent and says, “Don’t take your child here because it does something wrong,” then like that. So, they have to stay extremely politically correct and having “I must not tell lies” is that kind of thing and it’s easier for them to change it just to make sure then to stay true to the books. And also, talking about Azkaban, you know, they aren’t supremely concerned if they don’t stay completely true to the books so I think this is just one of those things where they’ve been advised to do it. So, you know?
Andrew: That is a very interesting take on that.
Jamie: Well, thank you.
Ben: I have a question. What do you guys think – like you know how, Jamie you were talking about like the editing stuff – like JK Rowling’s creative license?
Ben: Do you think if the – like her editors come back to her and they say, “We don’t think you should put this in.” Right? Do you think she has the final say since she’s been doing this so long?
Jamie: I think she has – she does but she’s not stupid and people know the market better than she does. She knows Harry Potter the best, but people know the children’s market and what people accept and won’t accept more than her. So, if somebody says, “You really cannot put this in, don’t do it,” I bet she listens more than we’d think.
Micah: The one thing I was going to say about the hands though, I think the fans’ biggest concern was one of the underlying themes of Order of the Phoenix was that nobody believed what Harry had to say and so the whole “I will not tell lies” had a bigger implication for the storyline than just writing on his hand “I will not break the rules.”
Jamie: That is very true, yeah.
Eric: But that’s also, I guess the expense of making a movie from a book. They have to cut some of the inner underlying themes and “I must not tell lies” might sound cool, but I don’t think, given the movie, given the scenes in the movie which we haven’t seen yet, I don’t think that it would be able to be conveyed as meaning the same thing. “I must not tell lies” is obviously very, very heavily political, very heavily Umbridge, and very heavily under, you know, with that theme of everybody not believing Harry. “I will not break rules” is kind of the substitute line where it’s like, okay we’re making a movie, it’s much shorter, we have a lot less time to show this in-depth political, yeah, dictatorship, that’s it.
Micah: But when you think of that, I think of This Simpsons and Bart Simpson writing on the board “I will not break the rules” at the beginning of every show.
Eric: Yeah, yeah. And sometimes it changes. That’s very funny.
OOTP Set Photos: Grawp
Andrew: Yeah. So, Grawp. Ben, what do you think of Grawp?
Ben: I think he looks pretty cool. I mean, we haven’t heard him speak or anything – or, try to speak, but I don’t know. I think it will be alright. I don’t have any like special comments on it, like anything that really makes me mad or anything.
Andrew: I think they did a good job making him – putting him into the movie – like, visually, how he looks.
Eric: There is a storyboard image right here of Grawp in comparison in size to Harry and Hagrid…
Eric: And I think that’s actually quite cool. It will be interesting how they fit him into the forest.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Eric: I mean, not that the forest is small, I mean, by any purposes, it’s not. But, it will just be really interesting, especially because he’s like, I don’t know, his feet are huge and I don’t know. It will be cool. It will be fun to see. Then there’s also this kind of, I don’t want to say it’s wax because it’s not, some of the material just like model. Is that an actual statue of Grawp here that we’re looking at?
Andrew: It’s a model, yeah. I mean…
Eric: Kind of like, yeah…
Andrew: I was kind of wondering what they were going to do with it, because…
Eric: Well, I think…
Andrew: He’s going to be computer-animated anyways, so…
Eric: Well, a lot of… [laughs] EBay, yeah. Besides EBay or charities, they usually build statue models to get motion-capture animation like they have to build a full scale model so that they can actually then scan it three-dimensionally into the computer.
Andrew: Oh, right, right, right.
Eric: So, they have to do that. But I was going to say – and I think I did say over top of what Ben was going to say that – he looks like the Hulk with a beer belly in this particular statue.
Andrew: Good point.
Micah: Do we actually see a scene in HBO with Hagrid pretending to talk to him?
Andrew: Yeah, there was one shot of Hagrid, yeah. In the forest, yeah.
Micah: But there wasn’t any image of Grawp there?
Andrew: No, I don’t think so, yeah.
HBO On Demand: Evanna Lynch as Luna
Andrew: Jumping back to the HBO special, we got our first look at Evanna performing. It was two words, but she goes [in a high-pitched voice] “They’re Thestrals!” I can’t even do it, her voice is so high. It’s “They’re Thestrals!”
Andrew: What do you…
Micah: Perhaps I should’ve used my chipmunk voice. [laughs]
Andrew: What do you guys think of Evanna? And keep in mind, keep it good, because she listens to the show.
Eric: I think it’s good. I think we obviously need to see a lot more of her, but everybody who was on the set – everybody who’s seen her – said she is Luna. So, I think I’m going to continue believing them. A lot of people saw this and they’re giving up all hope, and saying “That’s not my Luna at all!” I think some of the things with – even Alan Rickman as Snape and things – we had to give a little bit of allowances of our own minds, the very personal, what we see as their character, and just give into it and see it’s a little bit different but still the same character in the movies being portrayed.
Eric: And two words. Why is everybody basing everything on Evanna on two words? I don’t think that’s fair at all. I think we need to see a lot more, and I’m interested to see a lot more.
Andrew: She actually told me that whenever we talk about her on the podcast, she actually fast forwards through it [laughs] because she can’t stand hearing about herself.
Micah: Well then, let’s continue.
Andrew: Let’s continue that then.
Micah: Jo said she was perfect, so if Jo thinks that she’s perfect then…
Eric: Oh yeah.
Micah: …that’s pretty much the final decision.
Interview: Order of the Phoenix Video Game
Andrew: All right, so we are going to play a special interview now that Kevin and I conducted with two producers of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix video game. Here it is now.
Andrew: Hi everyone. I’m now joined with Kevin.
Andrew: Kevin, we haven’t seen you in awhile.
Kevin: Yeah, no kidding.
Andrew: It’s good to hear from you again, and we’re here with two very special people from EA.
Their names are Justin and Matt. Hey guys.
Justin and Matt: Hi!
Andrew: You guys work on the Order of the Phoenix video game at Electronic Arts over in London, correct?
Justin: That’s right. We have the pleasure of working on the Harry Potter front, and we have done since Goblet of Fire.
Matt: Yeah, and then for me I work on the platform since Prisoner of Azkaban.
Justin: And I worked on the GPA Prisoner of Azkaban title.
Matt: Yeah, well, I worked on Quidditch!
Justin: Well, so did I!
Andrew: Everyone’s impressed. Everyone’s impressed. [laughs]
[Justin and Matt laugh]
Matt: Yeah, we work on Harry Potter which is obviously fantastic.
Andrew: Yeah. Can you tell us about your jobs at EA, what exactly you guys do with the games?
Justin: Sure, yeah. I’m producer on the title, and that kind of means what I try and do is find out what people want from the game, and find out from fans like yourselves, find out from the kids buying the game, what it is they are after, and try and make sure the designs, make sure the audio and the art and everything really fits what people are after.
Matt: My role on the project is primarily to put the design together and work on, you know, what it is you actually do within the game and work on making sure we have all the Harry Potter fiction in there and really deliver that Harry Potter experience that I as a fan want to get to, and I know you guys do.
Kevin: Now how long have you guys been working at EA?
Justin: I’ve been working at EA probably since 2000, so nearly six or so years. And I’ve been a producer practically all that time.
Matt: Yeah, I’ve been here – my goodness – seven-and-a-half years and most of that time I’ve been a game director, which is essentially running the design for the projects.
Andrew: Okay. Now, Matt, was it you that was on the Order of the Phoenix set in late September?
Matt: It was, it was.
Andrew: Next question I got for you [laughs] well, I know your answer, which is: You guys big fans of the books and movies? I know you are.
Justin: Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think we could do this job if we weren’t. I mean, we have to live the fiction day-by-day, year-on-year. I mean Matt absolutely tralls the fiction day-by-day. I think he’s seen the movies virtually every day this year.
Andrew: Uh huh.
Justin: The people on the scene, including the artists come to me and ask me all sorts of obscure questions. Like, I’ve been trying to build the broom cupboard that Harry drags Crabbe and Goyle into in Chamber of Secrets and I did find which door it is in the Entrance Hall that the broom cupboard is in.
[Andrew and Kevin laugh]
Justin: Yeah, I watch rather too much.
Andrew: Yeah, well, it’s great that there’s dedicated fans of the books and the movies working on this game. I know the fans really appreciate that.
Justin: Absolutely, with this, and I think the directions for this game, above all the others we’ve done, is really, really to get back to the book and the movies have been just as pure to them as possible. I know Matt for sure has been through every member of the DA to find their whole back stories, whether there’s three lines written about them in the book, or whether there’s 25, or whole books written about them. It’s just finding anything we can about these guys.
Matt: Trying to make game play out of that rather then and invent something first, then kind of fit the fiction around it. We’re starting with the fiction first and then inventing game play around that.
Andrew: Mhm. I see. Yeah, cool.
Justin: It completely is an approach. I mean, it’s a lot more detail and it does require the art guys, our designers and spending loads of time on the books and movies to get the information we need.
Justin: Just so we can get the things that you guys will suddenly spot in the game as you’re going through and go “Oh, they put that in.”
Justin: That’s what we want to get. We want to get that kind of response this year.
Matt: Absolutely. That direction for the design theme is been very much, you know? This year we’re not building a game and putting “Harry Potter” on it. It’s about taking Harry Potter and getting a game from it.
Matt: Fiction 100% leads the game.
Andrew: All right.
Kevin: That’s great.
Andrew: We saw a preview of the video game on the set back in late September, and it really – the things you guys have done with the game in comparison to other ones, a big step forward.
Justin: You ought to see it, man. You ought to see the Grand Staircase.
Andrew: [laughs] Ah, I can imagine. Well, speaking of…
Justin: Yeah, and, first of all, thanks very much for all the feedback. That’s fantastic because I was so nervous standing in front of the fans.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs]
Justin: Like “Oh my God, what are these guys going to think?”
[Andrew and Kevin laugh]
Justin: You guys are wonderful again, so great feedback on that day and we’ve been getting more as we’ve gone on. But honestly, the new version…
[Andrew and Kevin laugh]
Justin: One of your questions leads into what we’re most proud of. So many things this time around, and the Grand Staircase went in a few days ago and – oh my goodness.
Andrew: Oh wow!
Matt: I hope you’re going to be blown away by it.
Andrew: Yeah, I know we will. Now, a few of our listeners had called in a few weeks ago with some questions for you guys, and we have them ready for you guys now.
Andrew: So, Kevin?
Kevin: Sure. I am just going to read the first question for you guys. How does the release of the Wii-mote, as they are calling it, going to affect the game play aspects of the game, and how are these new Wii specific features going to impact the other consoles?
Justin: So, what we’ve done this year actually, we’ve kind of pre-empted the Wii on all platforms. We’ve gone for a new way of casting and selecting magic this year. I’m not going to talk too much about it in detail, but suffice it to say we don’t want this kind of menu driven selection or the context sensitive selection of Goblet of Fire that we had. We’re really looking to have the player cast magic, and obviously with the Wii we’ve got a real opportunity with the Wii-mote because it can behave just like a wand. So, we really want to pursue putting you, and your game character, with this wand in your hand to be able to cast magic that way. So the game will, you know, be viewed from a different perspective and it will play slightly differently based on the fact that you will be able to use your Wii-mote as a wand. And I say, I’m not going to go into too many details now because we’re still refining those details, but definitely very excited about doing Harry Potter on Wii.
Andrew: Cool. Now, next question we have here: What part of any of the Harry Potter games are you guys, the designers, most proud of?
Matt: I think the way we’ve dealt with this project; the way we’re sort of taking it from the fan’s perspective and working with the fiction first, and putting the design in second is, you know, probably the biggest single thing we could choose as designers to be proud of, because it’s incredibly hard to do it that way round. I mean, looking at something like the Invisibility Cloak, you can imagine, you know, Invisibility Cloak absolutely, as a fan, I want to have a go in the Invisibility Cloak. It’s so awesome!
Matt: But as a designer, you know, we can put the ability to wander around the castle and have people not be able to see them. It presents a whole bunch of new challenges, so I think the approach is something I’m hugely proud of, but then there’s so many things. I mean, the Gryffindor common room, which you guys saw, I’m so proud of that, because it’s one of the things, that you know, the team worked so hard to get done and taking something like the film set and transforming it into a game, it requires a lot of thought process and we have to approach it quite differently than you would approach a standard game. I think what we’re doing with this year and taking the fiction and how we’re translating that is probably one of the things that I’m most proud of.
Justin: Definitely. We started from, you know, a) the fiction but b) the blue prints of the castle. We’ve been working quite hard with the movie people to try and get the, you know, “de facto Hogwarts” and in the past we’ve designed Hogwarts almost around game play. You know? How our camera system works, how our AI system works, this one was actually built from blueprints. You know, like Matt said, it presents so many design challenges. So, to make a fun game building from a real world set, that’s quite a challenge, and I really think we’ve kind of pulled it off. And I think also, you know, bringing that to life with magic, I mean you guys said you’d seen the demo; there’s sort of various discoverable items, enchanted items in the world that you can discover with magic.
Justin: Just having those things in, and the wizard games, and the fictional precedence for all the missions we’re putting in, we’re really trying to bring Hogwarts to life. It’s really what we’re excited about and it’s so different to the games you’ve seen before.
Kevin: Okay. Now, going back a little to the Wii, how many different console versions will there be, and what are going to be the slight differences between each?
Justin: So, what we’ve done this year…we’ve kind of got a PS2. We’ve got a PC. We’ve got X-Box 360. We’ve got a PS3. We got PSP, GBA, and NDS, sort of Nintendo DS. And what we’ve tried to do is, kind of, take the broad design, the story, the narratives, but give each of those platforms something slightly unique. We’re calling it, perhaps a little bit of a twist for each of those platforms, because what we realized is each of those platforms are in the hands of different people. You know, people playing PSP aren’t necessarily people playing NDS, and so forth.
Matt: So, what we’ve tried to do is kind of skew the game play, just a little bit, so that those people playing those consoles get something that’s designed for that console. So, for the NDS, for example, it’s got the style of – we’re maximizing the two screens, all the game play centered around interactions through the styles of your wand, in this case. But again, the game play might be a bit more puzzle oriented for the Wii, the DS, because those kind of people prefer, you know, puzzle oriented gaming and sorts of games that are coming out in the DS are more in that fashion. Whereas you might go with the PSP, it’s a bit more hardcore for all the boys. It might be something slightly different. And again with the Wii-mote and the Wii, it’s all about the controller. We’re trying to make it so that you’re casting spells, so you feel that you’re really, kind of, using the wand with the Wii-mote. So, we’re just trying to skew them individually, but the core game stays the same in terms of telling the same story, you know, doing the same things. It’s still all about Hogwarts and the enchanted Hogwarts, but we’re just trying to do one or two little things on each platform that’s unique.
Andrew: Right. I was actually using a Wii up in New York City last week, and I was playing a tennis game and all I could think about when I was playing that was how cool it’s going to be to use that Wii-mote with a – as a wand. So…
Justin: Yeah. We saw it, as well, and I’ve played the same tennis game and, you know, as soon as you pick it up you’re like, “Oh my god!” That was awesome.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
[Andrew and Kevin laugh]
Justin: This controller, you know, is like Nintendo sort of went, “How would we make the ultimate Harry Potter game? We put a wand in your hand!”
Andrew: Exactly. [laughs]
Justin: [laughs] It’s fantastic. I was blown away by it.
Justin: It’s a great console.
Interview: Order of the Phoenix Video Game (continued)
Andrew: It’s really cool. Could you give us a brief description about what we can expect from Order of the Phoenix? For example: is it a free roamer like Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban, or will it have defined levels, and how are the objectives laid out, and also, should we expect any new game play elements that weren’t previously available in other games?
Matt: I would say that this game is probably taking the best bits of the games you mentioned, but it’s more open if anything.
Matt: So, we kind of have an open, roamable Hogwarts, but we’re filling it with side quests, portrait quests, mini-games, enchanted items for you to discover, as well as the narrative mission. I mean, what we’ve really learned is people have been really wanting Hogwarts. It’s the biggest source of feedback we’ve had for the last couple of years. You know, they really want to explore Hogwarts and sort of see the characters they know and love and kind of do the things that the guys do in the books and in the films. So, we’ve put that really at the center of what we’re trying to do this year. And part of that is magic. We’ve kind of done spell casting in the past, but what we’re trying to do is really bring the world to life with magic. We’ve been watching the films and sort of looking at things like, when you see the chairs stack themselves in the Leaky Cauldron. You know, that’s magic in the Harry Potter world; it’s not necessarily big kind of spell casting. So, for us, I guess the difference this year is we’ve got this open-roaming Hogwarts that you can either choose to do the narrative missions – and even with that there’s probably several narrative missions open at any one time, particularly when you’re sort of trying to recruit the DA and you’re exploring Hogwarts, but we’ve also given you side missions you can pick up, doing stuff for the portraits and the ghosts, really bringing those kind of lively elements in. And then there’s this discovery element. You can go around Hogwarts and you can find all the little enchanted items that you can interact with, with your magic.
Justin: Yeah. I mean, it’s really – this time around, we’ve kept the sort of big moments from fiction, and with things like Grimmauld Place will be there for you to go in, meet Sirius and spend some time with him, and we’ll have the Ministry of Magic at the end, and of course, there’s the whole set of events in Hogwarts with Umbridge, and we really want to sort of…
Justin: …make sure that that’s – all fiction is covered in that, but we want to go beyond that, as well. So, we’ve really got to expand Hogwarts out a lot more. And so I mean, we showed you guys the common room and in there we have things like the snitch, which is from one of the references in the book with Harry when he gets so angry after Umbridge has banned him from Quidditch that he goes up there and he realizes he’s still got the snitch in his hand and he’s sulking around the common room with Crookshanks trying to grab it. We’ve tried to grab all of that and also put that in there for you to discover, so going around Hogwarts you’ve kind of got the main narrative game, but you’ve got all of this extra stuff in there, which is all about finding bits of the fiction; talking to the portraits, seeing what they know and, you know, you might come across McGonagall shouting at Umbridge in a corridor and hopefully, as fans, we can all go, “Oh, man, I remember that bit! That’s so awesome! And now I’ve experienced that myself!”
Andrew: Right. [laughs]
Justin: So, it really is sort of about making that Hogwarts experience really, really rich. I mean, I think you’ll be able to spend as much time, if not more time just walking around Hogwarts trying to find everything as you do just going down the main mission path, which is quite huge, as well, because we’ve got all of the DA members in there and then you’ve got to spend time trying to undermine Umbridge. So, with a couple of extra characters in there to play, you get a moment with Fred and George, who rock. [laughs]
Andrew: Oh, cool! [laughs]
Justin: Very cool, very cool. [laughs] I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Fred and George are awesome!
Andrew: You know what? I can see that big smile of yours from across this Atlantic Ocean. I can picture it in my head.
Justin: I must admit, I keep seeing some of the stuff coming through, and we’ve just been working on the character models for Fred and George and I’m so excited! I can’t wait!
Andrew: [laugh] Cool.
Justin: So, I’ve been controlling these guys and wandering around with them. Obviously, everybody’s got favorite characters, and we’re trying to put loads of them in there, so we’re trying to do almost all the DA and we’ve covered a lot of the extra characters and you get your moment with Sirius – awesome.
Andrew: Oh, cool.
Justin: So, I’m very excited about it. The game should be much more open and, as fans, we should be able to spend as much time just – if not directed time, if I want to go off and just spend time looking around the castle and finding all the students, having a game of wizard chess with people, I’ll be able to do that. So…
Matt: And join in.
Justin: And join in. Yeah, yeah. I mean, you get to play wizard chess. So…
Andrew: Oh, wow.
Justin: …and gobstones and wizardsnap, so we’ve got all of these things in there and these little tournaments and things to find out, and hopefully all these little things that are touched on in the fiction, we get to expand out and, as fans get to experience that.
Matt: There’s classes, as well. We forgot to mention the classes! You can go in and do classes. You can make your own potions, and go to Charms and Transfiguration…
Matt: …and Herbology.
Andrew: That’s really amazing.
Kevin: Yeah, I have to say, I’m pretty glad to find out that it’s a free-roaming game because we must have gotten that question about 100 times.
[Justin and Matt laugh]
Kevin: You don’t understand how many voicemails asked that specific question.
Matt: It’s funny because, I mean, so many kids are playing open-world games now. It’s just – you have to do that.
Matt: It’s what people expect, so it would be silly not to. And I think Hogwarts lends itself to being open. It’s such a great world. We’d love to build more. We’re just sort of [laughs] limited into what we can build, and I think we’re doing Hogwarts a great degree of justice. It’s a real focus just on it.
Kevin: Yeah, that’s cool. Now, is there going to be anything in the games concerning Occlumency?
Matt: Oh, of course there is!
Matt: It’s just fantastic. The electricity between Harry and Snape is just – you know, I’ve read all that stuff and my heart’s in my mouth all the time.
Matt: But, yes, Occlumency is going to be in there, and you’re going to be able to go back to it a number of times, like many of the other lessons. And so, yeah, Occlumency’s definitely going to be part of the experience, and all that, obviously, is kind of an abstract concept, so we’re spending a little bit of time at the moment experimenting with various ways Occlumency could be done.
Andrew: Cool. Next question we have here: Have you guys ever considered making an online version of any of the Harry Potter games or possibly any in the future?
Justin: I think we’ve considered making lots of games. [laughs] Ultimately, we’d love to make more than we do, but…
Andrew: Uh huh.
Justin: …the movie games are taking up all our time and effort right now and we’ve still got two more after this one to go, so…
Justin: …I think we’ll be making movie games for a little while yet. So, yes, we’d love to. I’m sure we’ve had the ideas, but we’re not doing it right now.
Kevin: Okay. Our next question is: Will Jim Dale be narrating the game?
Justin: We don’t actually have a narrator this year. One of the things we’ve really, really, really tried to do from the outset of this game, is design it so that the implementation of the stories is integral to the game play. And we want you to have this kind of seamless presentation of
the game that’s immersing into the fiction from the minute you sort of start the game to the final credits, really. And so, all the story is done through characters or through in game characters. It’s not really that we come up against these narrative cut scenes once in a while that try to fill in the story. We’re hoping to tell the story throughout your character and interactions throughout Hogwarts, and just throughout the game from start to finish. So, we’re not using any narrators this year.
Justin: For the story.
Andrew: Go ahead, Kevin.
Kevin: Okay, the next question: Are you going to be – let me check, one second. Are you going to be put… I’m trying to read this question off this thing. [laughs] Okay, are you going to be putting anything into the game that has been edited out of the movie?
Justin: Ummm, well…
Kevin: Such as things…
Justin: Not specifically what has been left out of the movie, but obviously the movie can only cover a certain amount of the actual book and the story, so we’re picking up some aspects of that and we’re spending a lot of time trying to take the text and find ways of putting it into the game. So, we’ve got you going and finding all the DA members, and we’ve gone through all the texts and found all these little details about them and tried to make missions from them, so you’re doing something that’s relevant to the fiction with everybody. So, we’re not just going to make something up and have you do that. It’s going to be taking something from the fiction, something that we’ve found, we all know…
Justin: …and making you be a part of that. So, hopefully we’re going to be able to bring a lot more of the fiction into the video game experience, sort of expand on it as you get to play it. And so I’m expecting there’s going to be various things that you’re only going to be able to solve if you’re a real hardcore fan. I’m looking forward to seeing what everybody makes of it.
Andrew: Okay, cool.
Andrew: And will there be any connectivity to any other Nintendo video game systems? The WII version could possibly be paired up with the DS, like there was for Chamber of Secrets?
Justin: Actually, the only thing more I can say, is that we actually haven’t got any plans to support this currently.
Justin: We’ve kind of done this sort of thing in the past, but we’re not planning to do it this year, unfortunately. I think the Wii will stand alone and I think the DS will
stand alone as really good games in their own right, but we’re not planning any connectivity.
Justin: Sorry about that. [laughs]
Andrew: It’s fine. [laughs]
Kevin: Yeah, it is fine. Now, this is a pretty important question: What is the game going to be rated and why?
Lisa: Well, I guess that’s where I come in. [laughs]
Andrew: Let’s introduce you, Lisa.
Andrew: Lisa, what is your exact title at Electronic Arts?
Lisa: I’m Marketing Manager for Harry Potter.
Lisa: So, I work very closely with Justin and Matt and to make sure we send out all the right messages out to all the right people. And so, in answer to your question about the ratings; we’re not entirely sure what the rating is going to be yet. The last product, Goblet of Fire, was the highest rating that we’ve done to date. And the other thing is that the films are getting darker and, obviously, the games are following suit. So, we’re expecting to have the same ESRB in the US, Peggy in Europe, and the USK and Germany, so it’s safe to say it’s the same as the Goblet of Fire, but it is yet to be confirmed.
Justin: That was an E10 in ESRB, Peggy was 7+ and USK and Germany was 12+.
Kevin: Okay, that’s good.
Andrew: Well, Lisa, Justin, and Matt, that concludes all of our questions from our listeners. It definitely looks like an excellent Harry Potter video game and we’re looking forward to it. Are you guys allowed to talk about release date? Do you have one yet?
Lisa: We can, actually. Yes, because I think by the time this is broadcast, actually…
Lisa: …we’re going to have made an announcement.
Lisa: So, the plan at the moment is that – the plan is, is that we’ll be releasing the game on the same day as the movie release…
Kevin: Oh, that’s cool.
Lisa: …in America and in the UK. And then what we’re going to do is do a stack of the release across all the other countries, as well, so we’ll make sure that the game is in the shops the same day as the movie comes out.
Andrew: Cool. So, after we all see the movie, we can run out and buy the video games and then relive the whole thing again.
Justin: [laughs] We hope so.
Justin: I mean I think Matt and I would really like to thank you guys and certainly all the fans that have been asking the questions and feeding back, and I think we’ve found it really invaluable. And the more sort of feedback we get, the better. It really helps us work out whether we’re making the right game and we’re putting the right things in. As you can appreciate, we’ve got only so much time and only so many people working on the game, and we have to make some decisions some time where things don’t go in or they do go in. If we’ve got some feedback of people telling us something’s really, really important, we can make better decisions about what goes in the game and hopefully please people and make the game that they want. So really, definitely thanks for you and any continuing feedback you give us.
Andrew: Okay, well, no problem. And I know I’ll be purchasing the Wii copy of the video game when it comes out, so I’m definitely looking forward to using the Wii-mode as a wand. [laughs]
Justin: I can’t wait.
Kevin: I think everyone is.
Andrew: Yeah. Okay.
Justin: Thank you so much, guys. Really.
Lisa: Thank you so much.
Kevin: Yeah, thanks.
Andrew: So, once again, the video game will be in stores on July 13th. Eric, I know you’re a big video game player.
Eric: Yeah, I’ll do a review on it like I did on Goblet of Fire video game, if you want.
Andrew: Oh, excellent.
Eric: I think it’s cool, though, that we’ve had the early teens, I think it was, or the late teens, we got our first sneak peak of Goblet of Fire. You know, the first trailer, the first pictures, the first everything, and then we were going into it and introducing it and talking about it. We’re doing the same thing now with Order of the Phoenix. I think that’s great. I think that’s really cool how we got to do this for two movies so far.
Andrew: Yeah, good point.
Eric: On this show.
Andrew: Well, we’ve been around for over a year now. We’re getting old. We have some Dumbledore/Norris facts, now. We haven’t had these in a while, and I know people have been really looking forward to these, Jamie.
Jamie: Well, I’ve got a special list of them this week, since it’s been so long.
Andrew: Oh, oh awesome.
Jamie: Now, there are a couple that have been ripped straight off Chuck Norris, and a couple that haven’t, so here goes a couple: When Dumbledore jumps into water, he doesn’t get wet, the water gets “Dumbledored.”
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Jamie: Dumbledore maintains that his only weakness is giant trolls with several large clubs, but this is, in fact, a lie designed to lure more giant trolls to Dumbledore.
Jamie: Dumbledore destroyed the periodic table because he only recognizes the element of surprise.
Andrew: Ohhh! [laughs]
Jamie: The mirror of Erised is actually enchanted to show you the second deepest desire of your heart; otherwise, everyone would see Dumbledore.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Jamie: These three, these three, these three… Oh, yeah, these next three and that last one are from Mike, who sent his e-mail quite a while ago, and I just found it in my inbox, and they’re awesome, so thank you very much, Mike. Albus Dumbledore made them change the title to Head Man while he was at Hogwarts; Albus Dumbledore is no one’s boy.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Jamie: When he was young, Albus Dumbledore entered the Triwizard tournament on behalf of all three schools. Each school finished first that year, because Albus Dumbledore is second to no one, including himself. I like that one.
Jamie: Albus Dumbledore does not speak Parseltongue; he forces snakes to speak English out of fear.
Jamie: Thank you very much, Mike.
Jamie: And I’ll be back with some more next week as well. Keep sending them in.
Ben: I must admit, I’m pretty impressed with those.
Ben: Usually I’m a disser of this segment. Those are pretty good.
Jamie: Well, I’m glad you like them. Thank Mike. So, yeah, please keep sending them in, especially the original Dumbledore ones. You know, fashioned on stuff from Harry Potter.
Listener Rebuttal: Snape’s Boggart
Andrew: We have another rebuttal now from Narcissa Snape.
Jamie: Andrew, you need…
Andrew: I didn’t know she was a listener, 36, from Spinner’s End, as everyone knows. She wrote to us about Snape and the boggart. She writes:
I think it is more likely that Snape left the room as he didn’t want anyone to see what his boggart was.
Good point. Good point.
Jamie: Very good point. Interestingly, what would Snape’s boggart be? People calling him a coward? People losing faith in him? Stuff like that? People not trusting him?
Eric: Oh, okay, Moony. Okay, Prongs. Just go on making fun of the Snape.
Andrew: Ah, yeah, I don’t know. People – how can you – the boggart can morph into people making fun of him, I guess?
Jamie: Yeah, that could be it. Yeah.
Eric: Or his father.
Andrew: There’s got to be something else. That just seems like his teenage…
Eric: Probably his father, guys. His family.
Ben: Guys, guys, I have a question. What would your boggart be?
Jamie: You, Ben.
Ben: I bet. Eric, I really want to know what your boggart is.
Eric: I’m trying to think. Nothing, because I’m scared of nothing.
Jamie: [laughs] No, Dumbledore is scared of nothing.
Eric: [laughs] No, I don’t know. I’ll think about it.
Andrew: All right.
Eric: I’ll text-message you.
Listener Rebuttal: Mature Listeners
Andrew: Robin, 45, of Santa Rosa California writes in about mature listeners. Older listeners in the show, and she has a challenge for them, and she has one herself.
“Hi MuggleCasters. I’ve been listening to your podcast for over a year now, and I thought it was time I wrote you a real live fan letter, and made a challenge to a very special subset of your listeners. First, the fan part. I am 45 years old, and I have been a Harry Potter fan for years, right from the time of the first book. When I got an iPod last year, one of the first things I did was search for Harry Potter on iTunes, and up popped MuggleCast. I subscribed and have enjoyed every minute since. Now, I hate to go all “mom” on you guys, [laughs] but I just have to say that one of the things I enjoy most about the show is just listening to young people speaking articulately and enthusiastically about something they enjoy and have fun with. You do a great job, and set a great example. I have a ten-year old, and a seven-year old, both huge Harry Potter fans, of course, and I hope they turn out as well as you have.”
Andrew: Thank you Robin.
“Now, for the challenge. I have to admit it…I have to admit I took some…”
Andrew: “I have to admit it took some courage to admit to you all that I’m forty five and I listen to MuggleCast, BUT I KNOW I’M NOT ALONE!”
In all caps.
“I’d like to challenge all your mature listeners to come out from hiding and reveal themselves. Come on, people of a certain age, I know you’re out there. Get out from under your invisibility cloaks and show yourselves. Yours in fandom. Robin.”
Andrew: So, that’s Robin’s challenge, so I guess she wants people to write into us and say I’m a mature listener and I listen to this show.
Eric: We’ve heard from a small fraction of our audience, and that has influenced the show. What I’m saying is there’s a large portion of people who – I’ll just call them non-participants, who enjoy the show, but don’t really say anything about it. So, Robin’s challenge is just to hear from some more of these people.
Listener Rebuttal: Dumbledore’s Letters
Andrew: We do get e-mails sometimes from the more mature listeners with rebuttals and such, and of course, we appreciate it. And so that’s Robin’s challenge. E-mail us. Let us know you’re a listener. We have another rebuttal now from Melissa Wah…Wine…kah…schroer [has a difficult time pronouncing name] Way…hen…schroer.
Andrew: I can’t do it. I’m not good with my German.
Jamie: Wiehenstroer, I think.
Andrew: Fifteen, of Syracuse, New York.
“Hi, MuggleCasters. I was rereading Book 6 when I noticed how Dumbledore always used a different person to give Harry a note about their Voldemort meetings. First was Jack Sloper, then Ginny, then Hermione, Luna, and lastly, Jimmy Peakes. I was just wondering why Dumbledore didn’t send Harry these notes directly and what, if any, significance this has?”
Jamie: Isn’t it just because he trusts people and he doesn’t think about these things because he thinks, he sees someone walking by and he thinks well, he can give it to Harry, since, you know?
Eric: And that’s a good answer. [Laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, he’s sort of trying to avoid them anyway. So…
Jamie: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah, especially, yeah.
Eric: So that’s why he didn’t give them in person, because if Dumbledore had been seen with Harry, you know, but…
Andrew: Anything to add to this, Micah?
Micah: No. I think that you guys pretty much covered it in saying that he probably just didn’t want the same person carrying it to Harry all the time, like…
Jamie: It gets suspicious, yeah.
Micah: He didn’t want anybody seen directly…
Jamie: Favoritism and stuff.
Micah: Yeah. Maybe there’s somebody there he doesn’t trust.
Andrew: Jamie, you had success this past week.
Listener Rebuttal: Structural Architects
Jamie: I did, yeah. I asked in 64 about structural architects, and somebody sent in this rebuttal. This is from Joanne, 36, from San Francisco, California. She says,
“Jamie, you said in Episode 64 that the cast would have to ‘ask a structural architect – we’ve got plenty of those as listeners’ when discussing the columns in the Room of Requirement. I sensed sarcasm and disbelief in your end statement, so let me reassure you that you have at least one listener who is a structural engineer. I don’t know what a structural architect is. I’m assuming that’s a UK term. Maybe that’s like a structural…”
“Maybe that’s like an architectural engineer over here. So, the technical answer to the question ‘What’s holding the ceiling up in the Room of Requirement?’ is this: it’s magic. Actually, when I saw the DA group photo in the Room of Requirement, I thought those weird hanging column things were ventilation, especially since the group is standing on a giant grate. It looks like the room is set up for some serious high-volume air exchange. I love the show! Joanne.”
Well, perhaps that’s like wind stuff to create for the Expelliarmus spell. But, I think she’s saying that the ceiling – that ceiling would fall down if it was a real ceiling, so it must be real magic. So, thank you, Joanne, for writing in.
Andrew: The grates are – lighting comes out of those.
Jamie: Oh, okay.
Andrew: It’s for lighting.
Jamie: But the next week’s challenge is: if you’re an astronaut, can you write in?
Ben: Yeah NASA.
[Eric and Micah laughs]
Jamie: I can see it next week – from, Neil Armstrong, age, however old he is…
Jamie: …from the moon. Thank you, Joanne, for that.
Andrew’s Listener Challenge Update
Andrew: I have a McDonald’s update now. We’ve been getting lots of submissions. You have until the end of the month to send in your Listener Challenge entries. Once again, you take a photo of yourself and a little promotional sign for MuggleCast, whether it’s in McDonalds, or Subway, or any place out in public to help spread the word. Send those in to mugglecast at staff dot mugglenet dot com, and put in the subject line, please, “Listener Challenge” so it’s easy for me to find all these, and then we’ll post them, I guess in early December. And the contest winner will be winning a t-shirt, and a copy of the new MuggleNet book. Can we do that, Ben?
Ben: Yes. We can do that.
British Joke of the Day
Andrew: Jamie, you want to wrap things up today with a little – with a British Joke of the Day?
Jamie: Yes. Somebody sent this in. I’m sorry, I accidentally got rid of the email, so I can’t remember who it’s from. But…
Andrew: [laughs] We’re all…
Jamie: [laughs] Yeah, I know. We’re so useful. Okay. “A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious, and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music, and anything else he could think of to clean up the bird’s vocab. Finally, John was extremely fed up, and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot. The parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird, and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes, the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed, then suddenly, there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said, ‘I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions, and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.’ John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, ‘May I ask what the turkey did?'”
Eric: That’s my favorite joke!
Micah: That was good.
Jamie: I’m glad you like it.
Andrew [Show Close with the music in the background]: If you would like to contact us, you can use the phone number 1-218-20-MAGIC (62442), in the United States. If you’re in the United Kingdom, you can dial 020-8144-0677. If you’re in Australia, you can dial 02-8003-5668. What’s the PO Box, Ben?
Ben: PO Box 223, Moundridge, KS 67107.
Andrew: You can also Skype the name MuggleCast to leave us a voicemail. And we’d like to remind everyone that next week is our voicemail show, so we’re going to have ten or 15 voicemail questions to answer. It’s just going to be – oh gosh, it’s going to be crazy. And you can also use the MuggleCast website to contact us via email or the feedback form. You could just do any of our names at staff dot mugglenet dot com, or mugglecast at staff dot mugglenet dot com. And don’t forget to become our friend on MySpace because we love MySpace! And join our Facebook group, YouTube group, Frappr group, Last.FM group, Fanlisting Forums – it’s all there on MuggleCast.com. So that’s it! Next week – I’m Andrew Sims.
Ben: I’m Ben Schoen.
Jamie: I’m Jamie Lawrence.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: We’ll see everyone next week for Episode 66. Bye bye!
Ben: Bye bye.
Eric: Bye bye.
Micah: The Guardian is currently running a competition where entrants must… [farting noise interrupts Micah] Oh, Ben, that was nasty!
Written by: Micah, Adrienne, Briana, Eloise, Jessica, Judy, Mandie, Martina, Matt, Megan, Roni, Samantha, Sarah, Shannon and Shelly