MuggleCast 90 Transcript
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Andrew: Today’s MuggleCast is also brought to you by Borders. It won’t be long before the much-anticipated release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Do you have your mind made up about where Severus Snape’s loyalties lie? Do you think he’ll betray Harry and his friends, or will he help them to triumph over He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Find out more about this complex character in the hot new book The Great Snape Debate available only at Borders. Remember to reserve Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at Borders to save 40 percent.
[Show music begins to play]
Micah: Because the highlight of Spiderman 3 was watching the Order of the Phoenix trailer – thank you Zach, 21, of Philadelphia – this is MuggleCast Episode 90 for May 13th, 2007.
Ben: Guys, I don’t believe it. I’m done with high school.
Kevin: Who let you out of high school?
Ben: I don’t know, but they did. Today was my last day ever.
Mikey: You sound just as excited about it, too.
Mikey: You’re like, “Ooo, yeah, party.”
Ben: Well, I am, dude. High school’s done, man! I was just shocked. I can’t believe it’s over.
Micah: Are you going to graduate?
Ben: Welcome back to MuggleCast, everybody. Yes, I am graduating, Micah. Next week.
Micah: Well, congratulations.
Ben: Next Sunday. Thank you.
Mikey: Where’s my invitation?
Ben: Oh, I’m sorry, Mikey. It must have gotten lost in the mail. But you’re invited. Come by.
Mikey: Okay. I will. I’ll just roll on out to the middle of nowhere and I’ll see you.
Ben: Oh, be quiet. Welcome back, everybody. I’m Ben Schoen.
Kevin: I’m Kevin Steck.
Eric: I am Eric Scull.
Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Mikey: And I’m Mikey B.
[Intro music concludes]
Ben: Let’s to Micah Tannenbaum for a look at this past week’s Harry Potter news stories.
Micah: All right. Thanks, Ben.
The U.S. Harry Potter audio book narrator is set to play host to Barnes & Noble’s Deathly Hallows release party. The event will commence at 10:30 PM, on July 20th, at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square. Dale will discuss how he got the role of narrator, how he creates his characters’ voices, and read excerpts from previous Harry Potter books.
A new listing on Barnes & Noble’s website is promoting an upcoming box set of all seven Harry Potter novels. Due to be released on September 18th, according to Barnes and Noble’s website, the books will be enclosed in a cool case that includes a privacy lock and sticker set. The listing price is $195, but Barnes & Noble has a discounted pre-order of $136.50.
Film Music Weekly recently conducted an interview with Nicholas Hooper, the man who composed the score for the fifth Harry Potter film. In this interview, Nicholas discusses in detail various themes on the soundtrack.
And according to Warner Brothers’ new Dumbledore’s Army website, the fifth Harry Potter movie will be rated PG-13 in the United States. Order of the Phoenix is the second film in the series to receive this rating; Goblet of Fire was the first.
And speaking of Warner Brothers, they confirmed earlier this week that Order of the Phoenix will be released on July 12th, 2007, in the U.K. That is one day earlier than originally scheduled, and U.S. fans will still have to wait until the 13th to see it in theaters.
In addition to the July 12th release in the U.K., Yahoo! U.K. has released another Order of the Phoenix trailer that runs 1 minute and 2 seconds long. Unfortunately, there are no new clips.
For all the latest news, screenshots, posters and interviews related to the fifth movie be sure to head over to MuggleNet.com.
Warner Brothers has announced that the popular 20Q game will be released with Harry Potter answers later this year. The game works by asking the player twenty questions. Once all of them are answered, the system tries to guess what person, place, or thing the person is thinking. Radica, the company behind the game, is asking Potter fans to help train the system by visiting their official website and clicking on “Harry Potter” at the top.
Finally, J.K. Rowling updated her site during the week to answer a few Frequently Asked Questions, as well as update her fan site award. Can we expect more to come? Maybe?
That’s all the news for this May 13th, 2007, edition of MuggleCast. Happy Mother’s Day. Back to the show.
Ben: Thank you for that, Micah. Now we have a little bit of news to discuss. Micah, didn’t you have some requests for Jo? Did you do a little “what’s bugging you” thing? No.
Micah: I did.
Ben: And did she come through for you?
Micah: She did. It was a little bit delayed, though. It was a little delayed. But nonetheless, she did come through. She updated her F.A.Q. section earlier this week, and we got some interesting information out of it.
Ben: Yeah, let’s talk a little bit about that information that we did get. Now, we learned that we don’t know what Draco’s Patronus is, and I don’t know if you guys think that’s going to be significant or not, but she gave us quite a bit of information about the exact date of Voldemort’s birth, and the houses that Tonks and Myrtle were in, and, by the way, they were in Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, respectively. So, Micah, was this quite the update you were expecting or were you wanting a little more?
Micah: I was expecting a little bit more.
Eric: Oh, Micah.
Micah: I mean, I don’t know if these are pressing questions. I mean, even the one that she answered concerning Draco’s wand, I mean, who cares, honestly? Do you guys care?
Eric: Oh, Micah, Micah, Micah.
Mikey: I care. I care. I care. Come on.
Eric: Dude, I care.
Ben: Did they – I don’t think it – Micah makes a good point, though. It’s not exactly…
Kevin: Like vital, yeah.
Ben: …imperative information. It’s not imperative, but it’s – I don’t…
Kevin: It’s interesting. It’s interesting.
Ben: Yeah, it’s interesting, yeah.
Kevin: Yeah, but it’s not like great stuff – juicy stuff that we want.
Eric: But we’re not going to get it. We’re not going to get that stuff. We’re not going to get the juicy, juicy – you know, I mean, Micah begged her, said that if he could he was going to get down on his hands and knees to make her update her site, and so she did, but now you’re – now you guys want even more. She’s a busy woman. Come on, guys.
Ben: Yeah, that’s a good point.
Mikey: She’s working hard on that Harry Potter book. I mean she’s done.
Ben: No, she’s still…
Mikey: I just want to know.
Ben: She’s still editing. She’s still editing.
Eric: Well, no, the editing is gone. The editing is over because they have a page count, but…
Kevin: Oh, that’s true. Yeah.
Ben: That’s a good point, too. Yeah.
Kevin: I don’t think it’s about her being busy…
Ben: She is done. [laughs]
Kevin: I think it’s just what we were saying before. She doesn’t want to give anything away. She’s…
Ben: Well, I guess, guys, we’ll just have to wait ourselves, you know…
Micah: See, but I don’t agree with that, though.
Ben: Oho! I…
Mikey: Was it 71 days?
Ben: Yeah, just a whole 71 days and then find out all this information without reading on her website. [laughs] I don’t know. I think it’s interesting stuff to know and, like Eric says, we aren’t going to get any real juicy stuff.
Micah: She tried a little bit, though. She tried…
Micah: She tried messing around with us with the whole invisibility cloak question that she posted. So…
Eric: Oh, wait. What was that?
Micah: When she asked why – was it Dumbledore? – had James’ invisibility cloak the night that…
Micah: …Voldemort was in Godric’s Hallow.
Eric: Oh, was this a recent update?
Ben: This was a while ago.
Micah: This was months ago.
Ben: We’ve discussed this months ago.
Eric: Oh, okay. I thought this was months ago, but I wasn’t sure. What were you trying to say, Micah?
Micah: What I was saying…
Eric: Oh, was that when she kind of tested the water…
Micah: Yeah. I mean, she can mess around with us…
Ben: Yeah, that’s true.
Micah: …if she wanted to. I mean, we’re still expecting a couple of updates before the book, right? I mean, she does generally do that kind of thing.
Ben: Well, speaking of which, Micah, how long is this mini-update she did now going hold you over for? When are you going to need some more updates, huh?
Micah: Oh, I was ready after I read it. I mean, come on.
Eric: Wow, Micah.
Ben: [laughs] Hold on, hold on…
Mikey: A little demanding.
Ben: We’ll save a “What’s Bugging Micah?” for another day, but right now we have some announcements to get to.
Ben: Vote for us on PodcastAlley. I don’t know where we’re at right now. Let me take a look, see here. I’ll type it into my Google. Not my Google, my Firefox here to see what we are ranked.
Ben: Loading, loading, loading. Okay, right now we are number three.
Number three behind Keith and the Girl, and Free Talk Live. So, go vote for us. We are the only Harry Potter podcast in the top 10. Thank you for making us the number 1 Harry Potter podcast that you listen to. It’s awesome. We love you guys. So, go vote for us there some more. Let’s see here.
Oh, how could I forget? I’m so silly. This summer there is a lot going on with MuggleNet and MuggleCast. I want each and every one of you to be there for the ride. Now we have Enlightening 2007. Micah, what are the dates for that?
Micah: They are, I believe, July 12th through the 15th? I should just double check on that, but I know we’re doing the podcast the night of the 12th, right? Thursday, July 12th?
Ben: Yeah, I think that sounds about right. So, yeah. We have Enlightening where Andrew, Micah, and myself will be there. And you can discuss things with us. Come and have a good time. Then we have Prophecy 2007, another convention this time, this one is in Toronto, Canada, and we are actually going to be having the podcast at midnight. So, come out and see us there. The next event you can find us at is the U.S. premiere and the U.K. premiere. The U.S. premiere is held on the 8th of July, is that correct?
Mikey: Ah, yeah.
Ben: On the 8th of July, and the U.K. premiere is on…when is it, guys? Do you know?
Micah: July 3rd.
Ben: On the 3rd of July. So, yeah. We are going to have shows then, so you can come out and mingle with the MuggleCasters. That will be a good time, and right now we are talking about doing some possible other shows around the country. It just really depends on what exactly we are doing. So, hopefully that all works out. You can find out all the full details on our Summer Tour Schedule coming up on the MuggleCast website.
Another thing: MuggleCast fans, listen here, all right. If you are a hardcore MuggleCast fan. If you are the Number 1 MuggleCast fan, if you are going to be the MuggleCast fan who is at Prophecy, who is at Enlightening, who is at the premieres, who is at all of our Live shows, then we have the thing just for you. Don’t we, Micah?
Micah: Yes, we do.
Ben: Pickle Pack. It’s been released for two weeks now. We have a bunch of members, but we are always in the need of more. It’s for the hardcore MuggleCast fan only. It’s your home to bonus audio, videos, pictures, secret show info, and much, much more. Registration is only open until June 16th. Remember that. June 16th is the last day we are taking signups. We don’t even know if we are going to open them again. It will at least be a year, if we do open signups again. So, today is your last chance to sign up. So, please hurry and sign up today.
Mikey: I’m a member. [laughs]
Ben: Mikey’s always – Mikey’s a member.
Mikey: I love it.
Ben: Mikey is one of our first members…
Eric: So, Mikey…
Ben: He loves the pickle pack.
Eric: So Mikey, are you pleased with what you’ve received so far? As a Pickle Pack…
Mikey: Oh, of course. I’m waiting for my t-shirt to come in, you know, I’m excited! I got to see all the “Bickles.”
Mikey: I think the name is amazing. The Blickles are amazing.
Mikey: Jamie and Ben’s and Andrew’s. I love it. I’m a proud member.
Ben: One final announcement here. Go ahead and pick up our book, MuggleNet.com’s What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7. The success for this book has been mind-blowing, to say the least. It’s been incredible how many sales we’ve gotten; how much media coverage we’ve gotten over this thing. Our book is up to Number 2 on the New York Times Best Seller List this week. According to Nielsen Book Sales, it’s the 58th overall best selling book in the country, the 14th best selling paperback, and the 4th best selling children’s book. And the 1st best selling children’s nonfiction book. So, thank you. Thanks to everybody. This is all because of all of you. Everyone who has bought the book. Remember, you can order it online through our online retailer, known as Alivan’s. Alivans.com is selling the book. You can order it through there and support the site and the show. So please do that, if you haven’t yet. It will help hold you over these last 70 days until we finally get our hands on Book 7. So…
Mikey: No mention of the tour? Of the book tour, Ben?
Ben: Yes. Oh yeah. Good point, Mikey. We’re going to be on tour. Visit MuggleNet dot com slash booktour dot shtml. You can find all of our dates. We’re going to be in California, then we’re going to be in Ohio; Portland, Maine; New York; Washington D.C.; Baltimore – all of these places – Connecticut. We’re going to be all over promoting the book. You can come out and meet us. We’ll have a good time. So…
Mikey: It should be fun, right, Ben?
Ben: Yeah. It’s going to be a great time. Mikey’s actually the driver while we’re in California. So, if you want to meet The Mikey B. The Mikey [mispronounces] Bouchereau.
Ben: Come out and see us. [laughs]
Eric: Mikey, you’re not going to be the driver in Portland? Not in Portland?
Mikey: No, no. I just want to be California. That’s it. California. That’s my home state.
Eric: Yeah. Okay, so not in Portland.
Ben: Mikey’s our…
Mikey: I’m the California contact. [laughs]
Eric: [laughs] Yeah.
Mikey: I guess. I guess. I don’t know. So what’s up next, guys?
Listener Rebuttal: Music for Movie 5
Ben: Well, we have some rebuttals this week. Some people who had a problem with what we said on last week’s show. [laughs] I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding, some people may have some disagreements here. Our first e-mail comes from Bruce, age 17, of New York. And he’s talking about the music for Order of the Phoenix.
Hey, MuggleCasters! I was listening to Episode 88 today and was interested in your brief discussion of the ‘Order of the Phoenix’ music. Andrew mistakingly states Peter Doyle as the composer for the new film, when in fact, imdb.com says Nicholas Hooper has composed the music for ‘Order of the Phoenix’ and Patrick Doyle was the composer for ‘Goblet of Fire.’
Ben: Whoops, Andrew! He says:
No worries, Andrew! Everyone makes mistakes. But I am still a bit disappointed that John Williams has not composed the newest HP movie soundtrack.
Should I just be content with the fantastic legacy he has already left on the Harry Potter world?
Love the show.
Eric: Yes. You should be.
Ben: End quote. I don’t know. I’ve never really had an opinion on the composers. Because I’ve listened to the – you know, you hear the music in the movie. And I always think that’s good. But I’ve never really purchased the soundtrack and listened to it fully, so…I know, terrible fan. What do you guys think?
Kevin: I think they should just be satisfied with the work that has already been done. I mean, it’s not likely John Williams is coming back. So, you know, he set the stage for the other composers and they’ve built upon his work.
Ben: Yeah, I think John Williams did a fantastic job.
Kevin: Yeah, it was a great foundation.
Ben: Right. And I think that…
Mikey: Was there a reason…
Ben: Patrick Doyle and Nicholas Hooper are probably – Patrick Doyle, I enjoyed the music in Goblet of Fire. I thought it was great. I think…
Ben: Hooper’s likely to do the same. I don’t think we’re going to be disappointed with the soundtrack. So…
Kevin: I don’t think there was a reason, Mikey.
Mikey: Oh yeah, I didn’t know if there was…
Kevin: I don’t know if there was a reason why John Williams left. Probably just for his own reasons, John Williams, you know?
Ben: He might have just wanted to move on, you know?
Kevin: It could have been, you know, costs. It could have been him just wanting to move on.
Eric: Yeah, it could have been a number of things, really.
Kevin: We don’t know. But, I mean either way, just because it’s John Williams doesn’t – or just because it’s not John Williams doesn’t mean that we’re not going to get great music.
Eric: Oh no, and that’s why…
Mikey: That’s very true.
Eric: That’s why they can still have the rights to “Hedwig’s Theme” and stuff like that. You know? And once John Williams came in and created the world out of it, and come up with the, you know – he has several different underlying, kind of, musical themes?
Eric: Yeah, themes?
Eric: That just get, not recycled, but reinvented…
Eric: …throughout all the movies that he does. And so, when he left in 3, I thought that Prisoner of Azkaban’s score was, like, vastly new. I mean, Chamber of Secrets was too. Just like Chamber of Secrets was before that. But, he left with quite a good few things just to possibly – for other composers to take off of. And just the fact that…
Kevin: Oh, yeah, definitely.
Eric: …you know. And, so the rights of the film, etcetera, that allow other composers to do “Hedwig’s Theme.” I mean, that’s all you really need, “Hedwig’s Theme,” in a Harry Potter movie.
Ben: Yeah, that’s the main one.
Eric: And because of the – well, sorry, I just, I’m just going to finish up here. I just think that the movies now, four and five and stuff, have been done in a certain way where the music does enhance the plot, but it’s not as mystical, I guess, as the previous movies were. You know, they – I wouldn’t say they relied on the music but they’re just different movies where it doesn’t really call for all these different themes, like Umbridge can have her own theme and stuff, but it’s just not – I’m not paying attention to music as much as I used to.
Ben: Yeah, good point, Eric.
Mikey: He – there was actually a reason, and I was searching online because I remember one of my film music teachers telling me about this, why he didn’t continue on. I found it online: he was actually contracted to George Lucas and Steven Spielberg for their films at the time of Goblet of Fire. That’s why he wasn’t able to do work with Warner Brothers on the new Harry Potter film.
Mikey: He was doing War of the Worlds for Spielberg and he was doing Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith with George Lucas.
Eric: Oh, my gosh.
Ben: Both great movies, both great music. [laughs]
Mikey: And so – but he was – obviously they went with Patrick Doyle. I think the music was really good, so obviously they didn’t lose out too much, you know, like you said. Williams made the world with the music, and it’s just continued on. I don’t know if there was another reason why he couldn’t do it with this one, but…
Ben: He quit.
Listener Rebuttal: Voldemort’s Eyes
Ben: Right, but we have some more rebuttals to get to here. Chris, age 20, from Missouri writes – he wants to discuss Voldemort’s red eyes, by the way – and he writes:
Hello, MuggleCast, I am a relatively new listener, and I really enjoy your show. I have a response about the question of why Voldemort has red eyes. I remember watching an interview/behind the scenes that I believe it was the director who said they decided to change Voldemort’s red eyes because, on film, red or dark eyes do not express emotion as well, and they thought with blue eyes, that they could really display Voldemort’s emotions and expressions a lot better. Sorry, this is kind of a broad answer, but that is all that I can remember. I currently don’t have access to the copy of ‘The Goblet of Fire’ to recall the details. I hope this helps. All you guys are very entertaining. Keep it going. Chris.
Micah: A number of people wrote in saying that Heyman actually talked about…
Ben: So it’s probably true. [laughs]
Micah: …that. Yeah, on behind the scenes, the Goblet of Fire DVD, basically what this guy is saying – sorry, forgot his name, Chris – what Chris was saying is accurate, that he didn’t feel that Voldemort’s character could be portrayed the right way. You couldn’t see sort of the emotion in his eyes, so that’s why they decided not to make them red. Not because they would scare little children, like we said on last week’s show.
Ben: Yeah, I was pretty convinced that it’s not because of scaring little children, I just didn’t – I wasn’t aware that David Heyman had said this. [laughs]
Eric: [laughs] Well, it’s like…
Mikey: Wow, I was corrected there.
Mikey: I thought it was because it scared children, but, you know.
Eric: Oh. Well, no, I mean…
Mikey: It would’ve scared me, it would’ve scared me, so I’m okay with it.
Eric: Yeah, it would’ve scared me, too.
Ben: Yeah, but, Mikey, you get scared by pretty much anything.
Mikey: I get scared by vacuum cleaners, too, just like Andrew’s brother. So…
Micah: Ph geez [laughs]
Eric: Just like cats. Mikey, you’re a cat. But no, the – now you can go up to Voldemort now and say, “Hey, you’re so full of anger and hate that…”
Eric: “…your eyes are blue.”
Eric: [laughs] Nevermind.
Mikey: He’s blue with anger.
Ben: He’s blue with anger. [laughs]
[Eric and Mikey laugh]
Eric: [sings] Behind these hazel eyes…
Listener Rebuttal: The Photo of the Order
Ben: Thanks, Eric, thanks. [laughs] We have one final rebuttal this week from Karen, age 23, from Fargo, North Dakota.
Hey, guys, fun show tonight. After listening to you, I was looking at clips on YouTube and came across those ABC specials from ‘Order of the Phoenix.’ Remember those clips that were like 30 seconds a piece and they had one for Bellatrix, the D.A., the director, etcetera? Well, the clip for the Order seems to answer the question you got by one of the Pickle Pack, when she asked what piece of paper (a.k.a. the love note from Cho) Sirius was holding when talking to Harry at the train station. Well, in the clip you hear Sirius say, “That’s the original Order.” So it appears he is showing Harry the pic that Moody showed Harry in the book. Makes sense since we know Sirius also says, “It’s your turn now, Harry,” in that scene. I thought I’d pass that one. Back to studying for my final. Take care. Karen.
Kevin: She’s linking one…
Ben: So what’s she saying here, exactly?
Mikey: Last week we talked about that picture with Sirius at the train station with the scroll, we had no clue what it was. It’s the picture of the Order.
Ben: Oh, okay, so she’s…
Mikey: She’s point something out…
Ben: Yeah, thanks.
Mikey: …that we missed.
Ben: Thanks, Karen, for clarifying that. Well, that wraps up this week’s listener rebuttals. Remember, if you have any problems with what we say on the show, if some information is not factual, or you have an opinion that does not agree with ours, go ahead and send us an e-mail telling us why you disagree with us to mugglecast at staff dot mugglenet dot com. Or if you want to attack one of us personally, you can e-mail our first name at staff dot mugglenet dot com.
Eric: And it’s a good thing I don’t check…
Ben: And we’ll gladly reply to you. So… [laughs]
Main Discussion: The Symbol
Ben: Well, it’s time to move on to this week’s main discussion. We’re going to be discussing that symbol. You know what symbol I’m talking about. You all know what symbol I’m talking about. Don’t they, Micah?
Micah: I hope so, otherwise this will be a very short discussion.
Ben: To figure out what we’re talking about here, go to Bloomsbury.com/HarryPotter and the symbol we’re talking about is now the centerpiece of Bloomsbury’s website. So, Micah, you want to do a little explaining here?
Micah: Yeah, I mean, I think that when the covers first came out, we looked at the spine of the U.K. children’s edition, and we were kind of wondering what that symbol was. And I know we came up with a couple different ideas here and there, and we weren’t really sure well was itjust some Bloomsbury print logo that they happened to put on there for the final book? And we looked at some of the other past U.K. children’s editions and saw that there were some pretty significant symbols that were on the bindings. So, I think now that Bloomsbury has taken it and thrown it in the middle of their site, we can be pretty certain that this is pretty important in the final book.
Ben: Right, and what’s interesting is that whoever the illustrator is for the U.K. edition – I’m not familiar with who they are – they decided to take a different approach on making the cover, which they do with every book, of course, but if this is something that’s really pivotal in a way, if it’s key, if it’s an important symbol, what’s interesting is that it isn’t on the American cover. So, Mary Grandpre must not have thought it was that important, I guess. I don’t know. Do you guys have anything to say about that?
Kevin: I don’t think that it necessarily wasn’t that important, it’s just that ehse didn’t want to include it in her cover, you know? She chooses what she wants and what she thinks is interesting, and…
Ben: Right, but if we’re saying that what’s on the Bloomsbury cover – the symbol – if it’s a significant symbol, you know, if it’s something that pivotal, then why wouldn’t it make the cover?
Kevin: Well, just because she chose…
Eric: Because it doesn’t have to make both covers…
Kevin: Because she chose more – maybe not more pivotal, but just another important scene from the book that she wanted to portray. I mean, for all you know that symbol is written on a door, and she didn’t want to paint the door.
Ben: Well I guess it’s true that – well, don’t you remember with Half-Blood Prince when there was the ring on the spine, wasn’t that right?
Mikey: That was on the U.K. version.
Ben: Yeah, on the U.K. edition just like this, and that wasn’t on the U.S. edition.
Kevin: Exactly, so…
Ben: I don’t believe so. So, I guessed there are – if you look to the past, there have always been a little bit of difference between what’s seen – I guess it’s always been different.
Micah: Well, we haven’t seen the inside flaps, though, have we? Of the U.S. edition?
Kevin: No, we haven’t.
Mikey: Yeah, we have… Haven’t we seen the full artwork, though?
Kevin: We have seen the full artwork, but I think Micah’s referring to with their added text, and sometimes they add extra images in there, too. You know?
Micah: Yeah, I mean, I think Mary Grandpre was going for a very basic, not trying to give much away, whereas this U.K. edition – I mean, even putting the symbol aside has so much more on it than the American edition.
Ben: And Bloomsbury has said that it does play a significant role, so that’s not up in the question. It’s just, what role does it play? I’m sure there’s somebody out there who’s studied ancient runes or something that could tell us what the symbol means, so if you have any idea what this symbol represents, please e-mail us. [laughs]
Eric: So Bloomsbury said it was important?
Mikey: Yes. It’s also on their website. Have you been to their site recently at all?
Eric: Yeah, if you go to Bloomsbury.com/harrypotter…
Ben: Yeah, we talked about that at little bit ago.
Eric: You go to the site, and there’s this – is it a piece of chalk or something? That just scrapes across the screen; it goes [makes noise] fwoosh! Fwoosh! Fwoosh! To this like…
Mikey: Wait, you forgot the circle part and the line.
Eric: And the circle and then the line that goes up, and I thought it was being slashed; I thought the new Zorro movie was coming out. But no, it’s just this sign, this symbol for America Online that just keeps haunting all of us.
Mikey: You know…
Ben: Yeah. [laughs]
Mikey: I’m wondering if – because it looks like you said, chalk – what if it’s in stone, maybe that’s Dumbledore’s stone that it’s being written in? Because it’s white.
Eric: Or it could be written in runes.
Mikey: Yeah, but it’s being written on something that’s kind of white, and I’m looking at the cover right now. It’s the same – what’s on the website is the same in this little section on the book cover, also. The same white section, so I don’t know.
The Key of Solomon
Ben: Well see, we’re having trouble here coming up with any explanation for what this symbol means, so let’s get a few listener thoughts on the subject. Jeremy, 18, from Sydney – [says with an Australian accent] from down under… [laughs]
Eric: Ben, that was pretty good.
I’ve heard a lot of people think…
Was it? Thank you.
I’ve heard a lot of people thinking that the spinal art on ‘Deathly Hallows’ may be part of The Key of Solomon. The Key of Solomon is a book on magic attributed to King Solomon. It is divided into two books and contains the conjurations to summon spirits of the dead, spirits from Hell, and how to protect the conjurer. The book has many “magical circles” in that it is usually a type of symbol made up of circles and magic. In the past two books, the spine art has been very relevant, and possibly even a minor cause of the deaths at the end of each book. Sirius died working for the Order of the Phoenix, and in part Dumbledore died because he had weakened himself twice for Horcruxes (or at least Harry thinks he did). So what do you guys think? I’d love to hear your feedback! Thanks, Jeremy.
Kevin: You see the problem with the symbols is that…
Ben: I really don’t know. You got something…
Mikey: He’s got something.
Kevin: …at this time it can be anything. You know what I mean? We have absolutely no basis of where she is linking this symbol in history or in runes so, I could probably – you could probably find a hundred different meanings of the same symbol.
Ben: Well, this book that they’re talking about reminds me of the Book of the Dead in – I think that’s what it’s called in The Mummy? Do you guys remember that movie?
Eric: Yeah, The Mummy. I was just thinking about that. It is the Golden Book of Amman Rah.
Ben: Yeah, that’s it. It has basically all these things on how to summon spirits of the dead, spirits from Hell, and how they kill the Mummy at the end.
[Ben and Eric laugh]
Micah: Well, I like that. I like it because a lot of our discussions about Deathly Hallows was about the day where the Veil’s the thinnest between the world of the living and the dead so, perhaps, this is how it’s somehow tied to it?
Micah: I don’t know.
Ben: So you do think that this indicates that, since Harry and Voldemort really can’t duel and if Harry wants to eventually defeat Voldemort – we all pretty much agree that he will kill Voldemort – do you think that the fact that this is an ancient symbol or something, do you think that it can indicate that Harry is going to have to discover some form of ancient magic…
Eric: Well, Ben…
Ben: …in order to defeat Voldemort?
Eric: Well, Ben, the Book of Amman Rah, the character – Imhotep’s last line in the movie is, “Death is only the beginning,” and death was the very beginning of our Harry Potter series.
MuggleCast 90 Transcript (continued)
Ben: So, yeah that is true. I don’t know. But Rob “Cheeseman”, he knows something. He writes – he is 23 and he is from Liverpool, England – and he writes:
Is it me, or does Ron have Godric Gryffindor’s sword in his hand? More importantly: Why? Regarding the Delta image, Delta in mathematics is used to denote “difference between” or “change in” things. If the other symbol is indeed Phi, then perhaps the image is being used to denote a change in wisdom? As for Phi, the number to which you refer in the “Golden Ratio,” which is intimately related to nature and aesthetically pleasing things, including Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man.” Incidentally, the great pyramid at Giza is proposed to be closely related to the golden ratio. More evidence for an Egyptian adventure? It was also described by Johannes Kepler as “a precious jewel.” Significant? Not entirely sure of the significance of all of this, but I’m sure it’ll make for good discussion.
Eric: More Egypt.
Mikey: Before we go into Delta Phi, I was actually reading – we have another one, actually the next message – the next caller talks about Delta Phi specifically. So…
Mikey: …why don’t we hold off that one.
Ben: …we will go ahead and read that one.
Mikey: Oh, you want to read that one now.
Ben: We will go ahead and read that. Robin, 45 from Santa Rosa, California writes specifically about Delta Phi. She…
I had an idea about what the symbol on the spine of the U.K. children’s edition ‘Deathly Hallows’ cover might be. I was thinking that in Greek, maybe the letters “Delta” and “Phi” might be the abbreviation of “Order of the Phoenix.” I went to BabelFish and did an English to Greek translation of “Order,” and the word that came up did begin with a Delta. Then I put in “Phoenix,” and the word that came up did begin with a Phi. Pretty neat, huh? What do you think? Hmmm. So…
Kevin: That would be pretty interesting.
Ben: That’s crazy.
Ben: That seems almost like too much of a coincidence for me.
Mikey: Yeah, and you know what the symbols for Delta and Phi are, right?
Kevin: Of course, yeah.
Mikey: Delta is a triangle and Phi is a circle with a line through it. So, kind of the symbol here? I don’t know…
Kevin: Phi is typically caps, though, like an “I.”
Mikey: Yeah, it is more like an “I” instead of a line.
Kevin: Capital “I.”
Mikey: I don’t know if I – that’s a cool coincidence. I don’t know if that is actually what the symbol means. I don’t know.
Micah: Well, Mikey, though, you were talking before, though, that this symbol was very similar to sort of the white marble on Dumbledore’s tomb. Isn’t that what you were going for before?
Mikey: Yeah, well it seems like…
Mikey: …well, it is on white so it would make sense, I don’t know.
Micah: It would make sense then if it is the symbol for the Order of the Phoenix.
Ben: Right, if it is Dumbledore’s tomb, but why would it be significant if it was on Dumbledore’s tomb? That’s the thing.
Ben: Well, I guess that Dumbledore – I don’t know.
Mikey: The Order of the Phoenix, it has to be significant.
Ben: It’s so hard to tell.
Mikey: This book is going to be the death of me! I’ll never know.
Mikey: Honestly, like, my brain right now hurts because I’m trying to answer these questions logically…
Mikey: …but there’s so much like, I don’t know. Like, what could it mean?
Ben: Before we get ahead of ourselves here, Daniel, 19, from Armagh – someone’s going to get mad and correct me – Ireland. [pronounces several different ways] Armagh? Armagh? E-mail me and tell me…
Eric: Ask Ciaran.
Ben: …how it’s pronounced – has a little bit of information about – has a question and a little information about Dumbledore’s tomb:
Hi all you MuggleCasters, I love the show and can’t get enough of your cover coverage. Let’s get to it. In one of the previous episodes, 80 something, I can’t remember which one exactly, you talk about the odd symbol on the top of the spine on the U.K. children’s cover. And I noticed that when you look closer at the background for the symbol it appears to be marbled. Now, when I realized this I tried to remember any time that marble is mentioned and I came up with Gringotts, which we can eliminate, I think, because it is described in the book as being snowy white not really marble, and Dumbledore’s tomb. So, I think the symbol on the spine can be some sort of symbol on Dumbledore’s tomb that might be recognized and translated by, say, someone who has been studying Ancient Runes for the past three years. No idea formulated about what it could mean yet, but just an interesting point. Hmmm, who’s been studying Ancient Runes?
Micah: Uh, Hermione? [laughs]
Ben: Yeah. So, yeah, mark my words. That’s probably going to play a role. Hermione’s knowledge in ancient runes.
Eric: Oh wow!
Eric: I just realized. I was looking up – I’m on Wikipedia and I searched for marble, and there’s a term called [mispronounces] faux-marbling or [mispronounces again] faux-marbling.
Kevin: [correct pronunciation] Faux. Yeah
Eric: Or whatever. And it’s a wall painting technique. Faux, yeah, that’s what it is, but I saw [pronounces like “Fawkes”] faux and I was like, “Holy crap!” But no. Nevermind.
Mikey: How were you like? What were you doing?
Eric: I’m looking up marble – I’m looking up marble and…
Micah: Are you redecorating?
Eric: …trying to see, it just says [laughs]: “Marble is a metamorphic rock.” No, I was just on Wikipedia. “Marble is a metamorphic rock, resulting from regional or early-contact metamorphism of sedimentary carbonate rock, either limestone of Dulles stone. The metamorphic processes causes a complete…” This is why I’m not taking Geography or Geology. Yeah. Geology. This is why I’m not a geologist. Nevermind.
[Kevin and Mikey laugh]
Eric: I thought I’d found something.
Ben: [laughs] Yeah.
Eric: But Jo, Jo, Jo – but speaking about marble, though, Jo did talk about Alchemy in the first book, you know? The Philosopher’s Stone? And Dumbledore did some work on Alchemy with Nicholas Flamel. I’m wondering if Alchemy itself will come into play in the future books.
Ben: Future book, you mean. There’s only one left.
Eric: Oh, right! Yeah, crap.
Eric: Future book. Future 700, or 800-some pages. Yeah.
Ben: I don’t know, but this symbol is what’s important right now and I don’t think…
Micah: I think these are a lot of good ideas, and I think they raise just a whole lot more questions.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s true. And like I said before, we have no basis for what…
Kevin: …it’s linked to, so it could be linked to anything in history. Or it could be – like, I saw an e-mail recently…
Kevin: …that said it’s a triangle, which represents the trio, and a circle, which represents unity, and a line down the middle, which represents a breaking of this unity.
Ben: Right, and…
Kevin: That was a completely interpreted response to the symbol that could be absolutely correct.
More Symbol Analysis
Ben: Yeah, and we have an e-mail about that from Jared Pratt, 20, from Canandaigua, New York, correct me on that, too. He says:
Micah: No, you got it right.
Ben: Hey, MuggleCasters… – Is that right?
Micah: Yeah, Canandaigua…
Micah: Upstate New York. Yeah.
Micah: Indian territory. Native American, sorry. Native American territory.
Hey, MuggleCasters, I heard about the symbol in Episode 85 and promptly turned to my copy of ‘The Book of Signs’ by Rudolph Coke. After examining the picture of the U.K. cover and analyzing the symbol through the compendium…
Is that right?
…of symbols, I have come to this conclusion. It’s the compound signet comprised of two elemental symbols. The vertical split circle, which stands for God’s vision of light from darkness and/or time, and the vertically split equilateral triangle means a broken trinity or loss of faith. This is purely an academic view as my amateur analysis can reveal. I’d love to hear what you guys have to say on this.
Ben: End quote. Thanks for that…
Kevin: See, and like I said before, where, I mean, it sounds…
Mikey: So many questions.
Kevin: It’s completely plausible. You know, there’s – it’s absolutely plausible that’s what it’s going to be, but…
Kevin: …until we get at least some bit of information as to where it links, whether it be Greek or, you know, this book of signs, we won’t have any idea exactly what it is. I think it could absolutely be correct. Yeah.
Ben: But his interpretation, Jared’s interpretation here about it – well, yeah, I think even if this is not specifically what the symbol was referencing in Half-Blood Prince, I think that his interpretation could mean – the symbol could have more than one meaning, because, you know, he talks about an equilateral triangle – a split equilateral triangle meaning a broken trinity or loss of faith. Well, that would make sense because, as they have this time of war going on and stuff, a lot of people may start to lose faith in the cause on both sides. You know? They may lose faith in the fact of thinking that things are going to work themselves out. So, when there’s despair going on, when there’s war going on, it does make sense for there to be a loss in faith…
Ben: …even in that symbol isn’t referring to that…
Eric: Yeah. Well, I mean…
Eric: We learned about – I mean, Half-Blood Prince is the name Snape called himself. Maybe Draco goes around calling himself this.
Eric: Like maybe he took a leaf out of Prince’s book, you know? Just…
Mikey: [laughs] The wizard formerly known as Draco Malfoy?
Eric: Yeah. So now he’s Phi Delta, or something. I don’t know.
Mikey: Delta Phi.
Eric: Delta Phi.
Ben: That’d be funny. Well…
Mikey: Well, what do you guys think?
Ben: Well, that wraps up this week’s main discussion.
Ben: We’re sorry we can’t offer anything that isn’t really anything more than conjecture, but we haven’t read the book yet, so we don’t know what’s going on, but…
Mikey: Well, I have, but…
Ben: Oh, right, Mikey. [laughs] Well, hopefully this gives you guys – gives each of you a few ideas as to what to expect or what it could possibly be and that’s the best we could do. If you have any rebuttals of this or any e-mails or any thoughts that we have missed in the show, please e-mail us at mugglecast at staff dot mugglenet dot com.
Voicemail: Harry Killing Voldemort
Ben: Now, we have a few voicemails this week about stuff other than analyzing the cover – well, overanalyzing the cover like we love to do. So, we have a few voicemails for you here this week, and let’s roll the first one.
[Audio]: Hey, MuggleCasters. This is Wesley from California. Your show is fantastic. I just started listening to it about a week ago and now you guys have me completely addicted. Anyways, my question is this: From what I can tell, you guys seem to have concluded that Harry will not be able to kill Voldemort as long as Voldemort still has a wand with the same phoenix feather as Harry’s, because if Harry tries to do the Avada Kedavra on Voldemort, Priori Incantantem will just keep blocking it. Although this is logical, in The Goblet of Fire, Voldemort still performs a Cruciatus curse on Harry even while Harry has his wand drawn. I think this was because Harry wasn’t performing a spell at that exact same time, so Priori Incantantem didn’t block it. Doesn’t this mean that Harry could actually kill Voldemort as long as Voldemort wasn’t doing a spell at the exact same time? What do you guys think? Thanks, bye.
Ben: This person makes a very interesting point, and I think Harry can kill Voldemort as long as Voldemort doesn’t shoot up any type of curse so – to create the Priori Incantantem. So, they can’t duel and can’t shoot spells at each other at the same time, but they can put spells on each other. So – but everything would be all too easy to block, that’s the thing. If Harry attacks…
Kevin: If all he had to do is shout out any random spell that comes to…
Ben: Any random spell, right.
Kevin: Yeah. I think it’s…
Ben: Because, what was it that saved Harry? It was Expelliarmus. [laughs]
Kevin: Yeah. I think it’s going to come down to something beyond – I think either one of them is going to lose their wand or, you know, something unique. It’s not going to be wand on wand.
Mikey: You know, I have a question about that, maybe you guys know. Is it that – if they were able to just toss out anything, you know, wouldn’t Harry’s shield charm or shield spell backfire Voldemort’s Avada Kedavra then, because they’re technically connecting? Or is it that the spell has left the wand and it’s no longer connected? How does Priori Incantantem actually work?
Kevin: I think the wands just link. It completely nullifies whatever spell you were casting and just links the wands.
Eric: But it’s not that a shield charm cast by Harry’s wand would deflect something or cause a problem for Voldemort’s wand. I just think it’s when the wands are directly faced with each other.
Micah: Yeah, I don’t think the spell matters.
Kevin: It’s basically – exactly. Anything that comes out of the wand is nullified by the fact that the two wands are brother wands.
Ben: Right. Brother wands and they can’t really – they can’t fight each other. So…
Mikey: So they connect somehow.
Micah: This could be interesting for – on the cover of the American edition of Deathly Hallows, if they’re both reaching for a wand, maybe Harry’s reaching for it and Voldemort’s trying to push it away.
Kevin: Yeah. I’ve seen someone – someone sent that in at one point, and I thought it was pretty interesting, where it comes down to just a single wand between the two of them, and whoever gets the wand first is going to, you know, win. That would be pretty interesting.
Eric: Well it’s – what I like about Star Wars is that when they’re lightsaber dueling, some of the coolest stuff happens without the lightsabers. I mean, lightsabers are cool, but they’ll also punch each other or their lightsaber will get cut in half, or they’ll lose it and they’ll have to go hand-to-hand combat or jumping and rely on everything else. You know? It’s not just strictly lightsaber battles, it’s actually just hand-to-hand combat and face-to-face, and really battle of the wits, and, you know, everything else.
Ben: Well, guys, how athletic is Voldemort? How do you think Voldemort would handle hand-to-hand combat?
Kevin: Yeah, I don’t think so, either.
Ben: He wouldn’t have to use it, would he? Because he could just use wandless magic, he wouldn’t even need his wand.
Eric: Well it’s not exactly like you can test Harry and Voldemort to run the mile, either, now that they can just Apparate.
Kevin: Yeah [laughs].
Ben: Yeah, that’s true [laughs]. Who can Apparate the quickest?
Eric: So to answer your question, I don’t know how physically fit they are. Because…
Ben: I don’t think it matters. See, that’s the beauty of the wizarding world. You don’t have to be…
Ben: To be a good wizard, you don’t have to be buff. You don’t have to be thin.
Eric: You can have treacle tart and pumpkin pasties all day long and just Apparate to work and never be late and never be fit.
Ben: Seriously, obesity must be a big problem, because imagine if you didn’t have to walk anywhere.
Ben: Actually, you can probably just zap the fat right off.
Micah: Oh boy.
Ben: There’s probably some weight loss potion. Aw man, I wish I lived in that world. Thank you…
Micah: Ben, I think you just titled the show.
Micah: “Zap The Fat Right Off.”
Ben: “Zap The Fat Right Off”? Yeah. [laughs]
Mikey: Oh, man.
Voicemail: Aunt Petunia and Dumbledore
Ben: [laughs] Thank you. Thank you for that voicemail; we have another one here. Go ahead and roll the clip.
[Audio]: Hey, MuggleCast! I was reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to my two younger sisters and I came across some quotes in the hardback edition of the U.S. book. On page 8, it said, “Nothing like this man has ever been seen on Privet Drive,” of course referring to Albus Dumbledore. This made me think. Knowing that we’re missing 24 hours from the Potters’ death and where the book picked up, do you think Dumbledore talked to Aunt Petunia about her sister’s death somewhere else than Privet Drive? If you think – if so, where? I would love to know. I love your show. Bye! Pickle!
Ben: That really sounds like pure conjecture to me. I don’t – it’s not necessarily – it’s not unlikely, but I don’t know. She – that was the purpose of the letter, I think. I don’t think a letter would have been left if they had already met and discussed these things.
Kevin: Yeah, it was to explain the situation.
Micah: I think it’s just setting the tone for the book. I mean, you know, it’s supposed to be taking out of just the sort of mundane style of life that these people normally have and just…
Kevin: Yeah, it’s supposed to be mysterious and…
Micah: Yeah. It sets up who Dumbledore is, too.
Ben: Yeah, and there wouldn’t be as much of – I mean, okay, imagine if you’re Petunia and Vernon, and a baby is just on your doorstep. What can you do, you know? Imagine how cruel – I mean, I know they’re cruel people, but I don’t think they’re viciously cruel to the point where they wouldn’t even… [laughs] You know, if someone drops a baby off on my doorstep, I’m going to take care of it until I can turn it over to the proper authorities or whatever, you know? So, I think that there really – I really doubt that there was a prior meeting to when Dumbledore showed up.
Kevin: Yeah, I’m fairly it’s the letter that set everything up.
Voicemail: Harry Will Die
Ben: Yup. Thanks for that voicemail. Our next voicemail comes from two girls from Los Angeles, California:
[Audio]: Girl #1: Hi, I’m Audrey [unintelligible]…
Girl #2: And I’m [unintelligible], and we’re two 11-year-old MuggleCast fans from Los Angeles, California.
Girl #1: Our theory is that Harry with die in Deathly Hallows because when he encountered the Mirror of Erised, his heart’s desire was to be with his family, and dying would certainly make that happen.
Girl #2: We thought that the book would culminate in a big battle between Harry and Voldemort, in which they both die. That way, it would be sad because Harry dies, and happy because Harry sees his family again and Voldemort dies, too.
Girl #1: Jo could do the ending from many different takes. It would be totally an awesome way to end the series. We think it’s a probable theory and we want to know what you guys think.
Girl #2: Keep up the good work!
Both girls: Bye!
Micah: I thought we have always talked on the show about how your desire changes. And I think that when Harry is so young, that is his desire, to be with his family, but I think if he looked in the Mirror now, it would be a completely different picture. Do you agree with that?
Ben: Yeah, I think that makes sense that his ultimate desire has changed and I think that he wants – saving the wizarding world is now more important to him than being with his family. Because Harry isn’t a selfish person, he’s going to put the needs of the few – I mean, excuse me – the needs of the many are going to out way the needs of himself. So…
Eric: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think it goes back to the Mirror of Erised and if you believe that it will actually show what’s true, because Dumbledore said it didn’t show truth, nor knowledge…
Kevin: Or the future.
Ron and the Mirror of Erised
Eric: …nor anything else like that. But at the same time – or the future, yeah. But at the same time, Ron as since become Head Boy, and won the Quidditch Cup, and done all the crap that he saw in the Mirror. Or done all the stuff that he saw in the Mirror of Erised. So, I don’t know what to think about the Mirror of Erised anymore, because what Ron saw came true. So…
Ben: Well, right, right, but that doesn’t mean that all of the sudden it’s prophetic, if that’s even a word. Is that even a word?
Mikey: Yeah, it is.
Ben: It’s not like – it doesn’t mean – that does not mean that Mirror is predicting these things. Because if you think about it, people have their greatest desires in life come true at times, but at the same time a lot of people don’t. So…
Kevin: And also, remember Ron has always had a confidence problem. And what better to boost his confidence than seeing that his desires – seeing himself as the Quidditch champion? It could’ve just been the fact that seeing it motivated him to try to be what he desired.
Ben: Because once he saw himself, than he realized, “I can do this.” He realized the potential, maybe.
Mikey: You know, I don’t think Ron was aiming that high to where – his most desires were out of his reach. You know? Being Head Boy and Quidditch Captain.
Ben: Well, at the time they seemed a bit extreme because he wasn’t even on the Quidditch team, he was this first year who didn’t…
Mikey: [imitating Ron] “Bloody hell, Harry!”
Ben: Hold on a second. Has Ron become Head Boy?
Mikey: No. We don’t know. We don’t know Seven yet.
Ben: Has Ron become Head Boy?
Mikey: No. He’s not Quidditch Captain, either.
Eric: But he’s been a Prefect.
Kevin: He’s getting close. He’s getting close to his goal. Yeah.
Eric: Well, he’s a Prefect. He’s getting very close.
Mikey: He’s on the Quidditch team. He’s a Prefect, yes, but he’s not there yet.
Eric: Well, Weasley is our King! Come on.
Ben: Well, there you go. He didn’t even achieve his goals, so…
Eric: He came pretty darn close.
Mikey: And he’s not coming back to school for year 7. He’s going on the hunt for the Horcruxes.
Ben: Oh, please…
Mikey: So he’s not getting that.
Ben: According to Mikey… according to Mikey.
Eric: Was he not in Book 6 holding the Quidditch Cup after he blocked all of the goals against Slytherin or something?
Mikey: Except for the whole point to that was so that Harry and Ginny can get their mack on.
Eric: Well, okay, they can get their mack on.
Ben: [laughs] Their mack…
Mikey: I’m trying to keep it nice and, you know, PG-rated here.
Mikey: I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know about the whole Mirror of Erised. I don’t think it means that much. I think we are looking way too much into it.
Eric: No, I don’t agree that it shows much. I mean, I don’t think it does,
is what I was trying to say.
Back to Harry Dying
Micah: Well, I still think that his desire – at least on Harry’s side – his desires have definitely changed, and it’s not to be with his parents anymore, I don’t think. When he was young, definitely. When he was only 11 years-old, then I’m sure after everything he has been through, that that’s what he wants more than anything else.
Eric: He just needs someone to love. Someone to be loved.
Micah: But I always – I don’t think that that foreshadows Harry dying, because I think in Sorcerer’s Stone – and so many people have sent this in, and I don’t know if we have talked about it – but there is a quotein pg. 262 of Sorcerer’s Stone, and it says, “In years to come, Harry would never quite remember how he managed to get through his exams, when he half expected Voldemort to come bursting through the door at any moment.”
Eric: Yeah! You know what? That’s cool. I don’t recall if we ever talked about that, Micah, but I remember reading that.
Micah: So, “In years to come…” I mean, that to me signifies much more than just a couple years down the road.
Eric: Yeah. Yeah. Me, too, because during years two through six as we have seen, Harry is not exactly thinking in depth about exam week in Year One. You know what I’m saying? So that J.K. put this, “In years to come Harry would never quite know how he got through exams in Year One…” We don’t see him thinking about that, so it’s possible – it is very possible that because…
Micah: Does he never quite remember, because he dies, or does he never quite remember, because…
Eric: [laughs] Yeah. In years to come, Harry would never quite reflect on the task of the…
Micah: Yeah. But if you are a supporter of Harry living, then that’s definitely a quote that works in your favor, I think.
Eric: It’s pretty good.
MuggleCast 90 Transcript (continued)
Voicemail: How Book 7 Will End
Ben: Yeah. [laughs] Well, thanks for that voicemail. We have another one here from Emma from Australia.
[Audio]: Hi, MuggleCast! This is Emma, 17, from Victoria in Australia. I’m submitting a theory about how Book 7 will finally end. My theory is that Harry will go back to Godric’s Hollow, as he said in Half-Blood Prince, and then he will journey with Ron and Hermione to find the Horcruxes. Harry will then lead Voldemort to Godric’s Hollow and try to destroy the final one of the Dark Lord’s soul, which is Voldemort himself. I define Deathly Hallows as a holy place of death and furthermore believe it is where Harry’s parents are buried. I am confident that the final battle between Harry and Voldemort will take place at Lily and James Potter’s grave where Harry will be driven to kill Voldemort due to the love he can generate from being with his parents. I hope you like what I think. Bye! Pickles!
Kevin: I don’t know about that. I mean, it’s pure speculation. It would be cool to have it end where it began, but I don’t think necessarily that it’s going to. I think it is just – I don’t know, a long stretch to actually say where the final battle is going to take place, but I do think it would be pretty cool to have it end where it began.
Ben: Definitely. Godric’s Hollow seems like a likely place where it could happen, but the thing about hallowed ground, holy ground, I think that would be one of the holiest places they could probably go to would be his parents’ grave, but another holy place – we don’t even know.
Kevin: And you also have to remember, what do you think would have brought Harry to that place, besides maybe a Horcrux? You know, is Voldemort really going to meet Harry there, or is it somewhat unlikely that that will occur?
Ben: I think we all can agree that Harry is going to have to be the one being the one playing the game this time.
Kevin: Instigator. Yeah, exactly. He’s the one…
Ben: Because before he was the one always getting suckered in, so he is going to be so prepared that he is the one who – like you said – he instigates the…
Kevin: And that’s what I’m saying. Exactly. Is it likely that Voldemort would be at Harry’s parents’ grave?
Ben: Well, he’s got to lure him there if that’s where he wants to have the battle, I guess.
Kevin: That’s true. He could.
Ben: And the whole gathering the motivation, I think that it, you know, the saving the wizarding world is going [laughs] to pump Harry up enough…
Kevin: [laughs] Yeah.
Ben: …to motivate him to try and finally kill Voldemort once and for all. But, I guess I see what she means, how it could – it’s a significant place, that means a personal – that means personal to him. That’s very personal to him. You know? Sort of – “Am I going to let Voldemort kill me on my own parent’s grave?” He’s not going to let that happen. So…
Eric: I don’t think that the …
Micah: Do you guys think that…
Eric: Sorry, Micah.
Ben: Go – go ahead, Micah.
Micah: I was just going to say, do you guys think he’d go there more than once in the book? Because he says at the end of Half-Blood Prince that he’s going to Godric’s Hollow, so we would expect him to go there at the beginning of the seventh book.
Ben: Unless he gets delayed.
Kevin: Either that or if he’s trying to lure Voldemort into a trap. I mean…
Micah: That’s true.
Kevin: It’s a good place to lure him.
Micah: Maybe there’s something special about Godric’s Hollow…
Kevin: About the place, exactly.
Micah: …that we still don’t know. Maybe there’s magic still there.
Eric: Well, it’s a question because, apparently, Hogsmeade is the only wizard establishment – only all wizard establishment in Britain or whatever, and that really leaves the question, Godric’s Hollow. Is it – are there Muggles in Godric’s Hollow? Or – or being in Godric’s Hollow, if you happen to be the heir of Godric Gryffindor, if that’s what the name reference is, is Godric’s Hollow somehow different or special for you, if you are the heir of Gryffindor? And, you know, if that’s true, is Harry the heir of Gryffindor, or is Ron, whatever? But, I don’t think he’s going to be there more than once or twice and I think it’s very unlikely that Voldemort will have a Horcrux in Godric’s Hollow. Because Voldemort had to go to Godric’s Hollow – you know think of the context, Voldemort was only in Godric’s Hollow because he found out that that’s where the Potters were hiding. You know? And once he was dead there was no opportunity to…
Kevin: Create a Horcrux. Yeah.
Eric: …place a Horcrux, yeah. Well, not just create a Horcrux but to actually place a Horcrux somewhere in Godric’s Hollow. I think it’s very unlikely that – that he would have done that.
Ben: And by the way, J.K. Rowling said on her website that Harry is not…
Ben: …the heir of Gryffindor.
Eric: Okay. So, that’s fine but it – what I was trying to establish is the place. You know, the place. Is the place special? If Hogsmeade is the only wizard establishment – the only all wizard establishment, what is Godric’s Hollow? You know, what is it really?
Mikey: Isn’t Godric’s Hollow where the Snitch was invented or something like that?
Ben: I have not read my copy of Quidditch Through the Ages for…
Ben: …a year now. So… [laughs].
Eric: Well, Quidditch…
Ben: I could not tell you.
Eric: Quidditch was invented near Queer Ditch Marsh or something, but I don’t remember about the Snitch.
Voicemail: Graduating from Hogwarts
Ben: Well, thanks, Emma for that – for the e-mail. Love the accent, I love Australians. Keith Urban, give a shout-out. We have one more voicemail, this one comes from Melissa from Illinois.
[Audio]: Hey, this is Melissa from Illinois. I was just wondering what you guys thought about the nice dress robes being graduation robes and maybe that does imply that end battle or adventure will be, you know, in June at the end of the school year?
Ben: I don’t think Harry’s going to be graduating from Hogwarts.
Kevin: I don’t think so, either.
Ben: Personally, but…
Micah: Well why would it be…
Ben: I guess that would make sense.
Micah: Why would it take place at Hogwarts? Just because they have the robes on doesn’t mean it’s at Hogwarts, you know?
Ben: That’s true. And she was saying they might be graduation robes?
Micah: No, I think…
Eric: Well, not, that’s…
Micah: They could be from the wedding. That was my initial thought. You know, they’re all dressed up from Bill and Fleur’s wedding.
Kevin: Yeah, you’re right. That’s…
Eric: Yeah, yeah. They’re just at a wedding and then all of a sudden they get swept into the world of Narnia or, I mean, Gringotts. Whatever.
[Micah and Ben laugh]
Ben: Hmmm. I don’t know! You see, with all these voicemails that we get, we don’t – we can’t exactly say whether or not that seems…
Eric: Definitively, yeah.
Ben: I mean, that does seem realistic, but [laughs], I don’t know. Well actually, I guess it kind of doesn’t seem realistic since I don’t think Harry’s going to be…
Eric: Well, even if they were…
Ben: …at graduation.
Eric: Yeah, that’s the question.
Ben: But – and do they even have graduation?
Eric: We don’t know, because we’ve never seen…
Ben: Or do they just send them on their way? [laughs]
Eric: Every year…
Micah: Harry is not dressed the same. But Harry…
Eric: But every year students from Hogwarts graduate and, you know, Year 7’s all graduate, but yet, the only time we’ve seen Year 7’s, or whoever, leave school, is to actually quit! You know? Fred and George’s exit – that’s the only thing. But graduation happens every year, so is there a ceremony? Is there a graduation? But then again, at the end of every year is usually when all of the crap goes down, or when all the stuff goes down, that allows Dumbledore to cancel final exams and for all these large school dramas to happen. So…
Ben: Convenient, huh?
Eric: Yeah, convenient! So maybe it’s true that the past six years, nobody’s graduated Hogwarts, or everyone’s graduated, but they haven’t had a ceremony, just because of all the stuff that Harry Potter gets himself into.
Ben: That’s a good point. Good point, Eric.
Well, that wraps up this week’s voicemails. If you have – we’ll get to contact information a little bit later in the show, but remember, you can send those into us by calling – skyping the name MuggleCast, in the U.S. call 18…
Eric: 218. 218.
Ben: …00…wait a second. 1866. Wait, nevermind. No, no, I lied. 1-218-20-MAGIC.
Chicken Soup for the MuggleCast Listener’s Soul
Ben: Now, before we wrap up the show this week, we have a Chicken Soup for the MuggleCast Listener’s Soul. This comes from Brittany, age 16, from California.
Hey, MuggleCasters, recently my grandmother was diagnosed with brain cancer. Because of all the radiation and medication, she has been losing memory and becoming very confused, which is extremely often. She now has to live with us. Everyday, I have to make sure she gets up, eats, and take her where I go, when I can. Balancing that, school, track, and volleyball everyday has made me go crazy. The only way I could find time to relax was to listen to you guys. You make me laugh, and just get on with the day. Whenever I begin to get all stressed out, I just listen to one of the episodes and I feel much better. I just want to thank you guys for doing this show and keeping me sane. I love all of you. Thank you so much. Brittany.
Well, I’m glad – I’m glad we can help you out, Brittany. I know what it’s like to have relatives sick, and I’m sure some of the other hosts do, too. So…
Kevin: Yeah, that’s tough.
Ben: It’s good that we can help you get you through your day. If you have an inspiring situation or an inspiring story in which MuggleNet or MuggleCast has helped you out, go ahead and send us an e-mail.
Ben: Before we wrap up this week’s show, we have some contact information for you.
You can e-mail us at mugglecast at staff dot mugglenet dot com or, each of the hosts’ first name at staff dot mugglenet dot com, or you can use the contact form on the website.
We have some numbers for you to call and leave a voicemail. If you live in the United States, please dial 1-218-20-MAGIC. If you live in the United Kingdom, call 020-8144-0677. And if you live in Australia, call 02-8003-5668.
[Show music begins playing]
And, oh yes, you can catch us on many other places out there. MySpace – blegh, I can’t say it like Andrew; I mean, I haven’t been doing this as long as he has. Let’s see here – MySpace, Facebook,YouTube, Frappr, LastFM, Fanlisting/Forums. Digg the show at Digg.com, vote for us once a month at Podcast Alley, and rate and review us at Yahoo! Podcasts.
Kevin: Yeah, that was pretty good.
Eric: That was pretty darn good, there. Good job.
Micah: Don’t forget the P.O Box, man.
Ben: Oh, don’t forget about the P.O. Box.
P.O. Box 223
Send us anything! Any type of parcel mail.
Micah: And then I have one announcement from Andrew. He just – he gave a listener rebuttal – or not a listener rebuttal, listener challenge out on last week’s show and he said the results will be on Episode 91. So, for those people wondering…
Ben: Guys, we’re 90!
Micah: We’re old.
Ben: That’s crazy how time flies.
Eric: You know, we’re going think of something really cool for our 100th show. We have to.
Eric: We have to do something really cool for our 100th show.
Kevin: Well, we have ten episodes to…
Eric: Not to state the obvious. Not to state the obvious.
Kevin: …decide. Yeah.
Ben: I agree.
Eric: Ten episodes to plan it, so…
Ben: If you have any cool ideas for our 100th show, go ahead and send those bad boys in. Well, it’s been a fun ride. I hope you learned a little bit more about Deathly Hallows and all that stuff, but I think that does it for us this week on Episode 90. I’m Ben Schoen.
Kevin: I’m Kevin Steck.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Mikey: And I’m Mikey B.
Ben: That does it for us. Come back – check back next week for Episode 91. Have a good week, people.
[Show music ends]
EA Interview: Part One
Andrew: Andrew here using the magic of editing to insert myself into this week’s show. As we told everyone last week, Jamie was at EA Studios a few weeks ago to conduct some interviews with the folks making the great new Order of the Phoenix video game. And for the next few weeks we’re going to air a few of those interviews, and here is Part One right now.
Wayne: So my name is Wayne, I’m the – my role here is the supervisor on the game team. So, I’ll try to work out the best way to describe it to you – have you guys met Calvin yet?
Female Interviewer: Not yet, no.
Wayne: So, I want you to meet Calvin, who is the art director of the game. It’s probably a little bit easier to explain what I do by explaining what he does. He defines the style of artwork for the game, you know, whether – say whether or not Hogwarts is going to be seen at night or dark or certain color pallets or things like this. He defines pretty much what he wants the game artwork to look like. My job is then to deliver that artwork into the game. To work with the art teams and make sure they do it. And I – my job is sort of a mixture of art and technology, basically. So, when you meet some of the world guys that build the worlds like Simon and stuff like that, the tools that they use to build stuff, I help work with them to make sure that they’ve got those tools in place. Really, what we’re ending up with inside the game is what Calvin did.
Basically, I also then work with all the producers and production and to make sure they’re both on target. I work with the game’s engineers who then have to, like obviously, write the code to make the stuff play in certain frames. And I sort of – I give – there’s a balancing act between all the different worlds and trying to put stuff in the game and trying to make the game run. I just sort of work between them – or do – speak on what we’re delivering, on what we’ve actually done. Make sure we’re also pushing the bounds on what we do. We have a great job because I get to push what we get into the game, which means I also have a tough job, which means I have to say well, unfortunately, we can’t get into the games. You know what? If we had our way, we would make this game for years, and years, and years, and we would keep on adding stuff until it would end. Unfortunately, it all has to end at some point.
Wayne: I don’t explain what I do terribly well, but. So…
Female Interviewer: Okay, so over to you guys, really, to ask some questions.
Jamie: It’s very impressive for a fan who doesn’t know how these things are done…
Jamie: …to sort of, you know, watch the first video and see Hogwarts in all
its glory. Can you describe sort of the process from – you start off with, I assume, a sort of stencil drawing of Hogwarts. Do you – it’s your job to turn that into the computer thing.
Wayne: Absolutely. So, I think the process that we use is not so
different to what architectural or design firms use today, as well. They will typically say if they – say if you want to build a building. You get someone to come and build it and your going to spend a lot of money on building that building. Typically what will happen is you’ll hire an architect, they’ll draw blueprints and design layouts. And then they’ll do a computer mock up for you that you’ll go through, and then they’ll refine that and might put like trees and stuff that so that you get a really good sense as to what is going on.
We actually go through a similar process. The difference is, we got our blueprints from the set designers, and from Warner Brothers, and then ourselves. We basically – they don’t work with, they’ve mapped out – they have interpreted what, I guess, J.K. Rowling’s vision of what these rooms would look like, etc. And they put blueprints for the set. So we took that, and what we did is we built basic mock up layouts of those. So it was like, all the rooms, all the corridors, the outside, the courtyards, the boathouse, the common rooms, etc. Except they would just done this like gray and blue architectural drawings. Everything was to scale inside those rooms, the doors where there were supposed to be, but there was no dressing on them, there was no texture on them, they were just gray.
That gives us our starting point because that lays out Hogwarts for us. Obviously, Hogwarts is a really big part of our game. So that gave us a place. What was really great with that, really early on, we could walk through Hogwarts. It sort of looked like you were walking through an architect’s blueprints, so it looked a little bit odd. But everything was where it was supposed to be and where that is sort of really important, is that we could start to lay out a game play into those rooms. We could start to set up our cameras into those rooms. And we could sort out a lot – 1,001 technical issues.
One of the fantastic things about our games is that we have what we call – really no streaming – no, sorry, fully streams, we have no loading signs. And what’s neat about that is that you can walk from the blueprints – ah, blueprints – the boathouse to the Owlery, and you don’t see a loading screen. That’s kind of cool. And so I guess… And getting that for PS2 is almost unheard of. That doesn’t happen just by magic, obviously. There’s a lot of very boring details into how we actually achieve that. By setting up Hogwarts in a very low resolution fashion enables us to do that. What it means is also those blueprints can go off to our world artists and things like that, and they can then start to actually model all the detail into those. And they have very accurate blueprint of what the room looked like. This kind of a process that I went through is sort of like: I got the blueprint, did the mock ups, start to build, and then everything just – it’s sort of like it gets built, you know, the whole game just builds up respectively on top of…
Jamie: Yeah, so at what stage do you sort of completely abandon drawing and, you know, manual stuff, and you move it all – after you’ve got the blueprints?
Wayne: Yeah, we do it… Yeah, exactly. As we get each blueprint for each room we will immediately start building a computer…
Wayne: …mock up of it at that point in time. And the game will exist as greyscale. If you’ve seen the game – if you’ve walked to the game say, three months ago, you would’ve seen – a lot of it would have been all lit and textured, but you still would have walked into rooms that would have looked just like three dimensional blueprints, at least. We built the entire castle out of these blueprints and then we just built up each section of it.
Jamie: And how does it work for sort of the owls, or, you know, the characters, or…
Wayne: How do we build those?
Wayne: So, they go through a really slightly different process. We sort of get them given to us throughout the year, typically, particularly if it is a new character inside the movie, we have to wait until we get stills of them. Some of the older characters like Harry, we know what they are going to look like. So, the biggest thing we have to wait on is, well, what uniform might he be wearing this year, or what changes might the movie have made to him this year that we recognize. We have, you know, newer characters that appear in the movie that we’ve never, you know, seen before. We have to wait to get photographic reference off of Warner Brothers. And also we – They’re great. They give us a lot of – they help us out a lot like that. So, we sort of wait for that to come through from them. And we just… But they’re built from a relatively high resolution right from the way we go. We don’t sort of sketch them out. We just kind of build them as quickly as we can. We don’t have time to a large extent. Or otherwise – we have an awful lot of characters in this game. I can’t remember the exact ones, but a huge amount. When we get stuff we just build it
Female Interviewer: Wonder if you might mind taking how different from video games and what you have an interest in too?
Wayne: Right. My background is I’ve been at Electronic Arts for – coming on to about two-and-a-half, kind of three years now. Before that I worked in the movie industry for a very long time. I worked for a company in New Zealand called Weta.
Jamie: Who did Lord of the Rings?
Wayne: Yeah, we’ve done Lord of the Rings films. I’ve actually worked out of Weta for a very long time before Lord of the Rings. But I left there for another movie company called P.D.I. DreamWorks, to work with them, then I started moving into the gaming industry. I moved into the gaming industry because it got kind of interesting. And I’ve always played a lot of games. I thought with the next generation hardware and things like that – Xbox 360, PS3 – it was going to become kind of interesting. As it turns out, I discovered I could care less about that. I don’t actually care about the Xbox 360, I don’t care about PS3s. What I discovered – what I probably always knew – is that it’s like anything in life. What really matters is what you are working on. I just really enjoy working on Harry Potter movies. You know? I like the books and stuff like that, you know. I’m a bit of a – I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan, and a lot of other science fiction type fan. So, I’m also a big Harry Potter-type fan. So, the more I got into making games, the more fun it just became, the actual process of just making a game. And you know what? Making Harry Potter games is a pretty cool thing to be able to do in life. To me, probably making a war game or something wouldn’t be so interesting, but I just happen to like – the fact is, I like castles, as well.
[Female Interviewer laughs]
Wayne: Harry Potter is great. It’s one of the great things about moving to England, of course. All over Europe you have these great castles. I mean, we have a fantastic one here in Gilford. But I got to – you know, I get to make castles. Sort of moving, I don’t see it being that much of a difference between working inside a movie and working inside a game. We’re both just trying to entertain people; we have different ways of doing it. You know? One’s a game, an interactive thing, one’s a movie they set for two, two-and-a-half hours, whatever the movie is. But it’s all about, you know, just really trying to bring this entertainment to somebody, probably where their jobs are. Try and do. Does that answer your question?
Jamie: Thank you.
Female Interviewer: Yes. Do we have anything else?
Jamie: The thing I was going to ask about – the – some of the things like water, and grass, and the trees react brilliantly to the elements and the – you know, the grass sways in the wind, so do the trees and the water looks like it’s shimmering. How do you achieve this?
Wayne: So, I guess I can answer that sort of like – the grass and the trees, for those, you’ll notice that they don’t do that on like the PS2, they only do that the Xbox 360, and on the PS3s. They just simply take advantage of the graphics hardware that’s inside them. What that graphics hardware enables me to do is, if I create a model like this, with the texture – with the texture of a branch on it, what I can do is that model is made up – excuse me [coughs] – of a number of little points, and what I can do in real time is I can actually move those points around, so when you see those things shimmering, all I’m doing is – it’s like everything in life.
It’s like everything from an illusionist on stage to visual effects in a game. It’s just an optical trick. And so it just moves those things around. And if you want to get all – if you can remember your mathematics – it’s a sign wave. I don’t know if you guys remember your mathematics at all, but if you remember a sign wave – I can’t remember it very much but it basically does this. If you ever look at it, that’s what a branch is. And we adjust the speed, and we adjust things like this, but it just moves around. And like everything we try to put it in there so we don’t draw attention to it. It’s just part of it. And the water is done very simply – sorry, very similarly in that it’s just a bunch of optical illusions, but we sort of know what a reflection should look like to your eye. So we cheat things to give you that version of it. And it’s like everything that we do has to be achieved because, you know, in the real world, God has a bit of an easier type of time in that He’s got infinite computing power to make these things look great, so we have to do our best facsimile of that, our best adaptation of that. And incidentally, a lot of the tricks that we use for doing that is very similar to identical to what you would do in visual effects. The same sort of like processes is more common across the industries than you…
Female Interviewer: With the games, obviously, you’ve seen those kind of little touches add to that kind of like ambiance of the world and that whole experience, as well, and it’s all those kind of little details that add together to really give you such an immersive experience, as well.
Wayne: And I can honestly tell you in the next Potter games that will come out after this, you will see more and more of that inside – that we spent a lot of time on this game trying to build up Hogwarts and things like that, and for me, now, when I play through the game, I think, “Man, I want to add this to it, I want to add this to it.” I want to just continue to dress that world, so as we’ve learned more how to do that we just continue to add those background details.
Female Interviewer: I think that was kind of what Harvey was saying earlier. That, you know, if we could, we’d sit there and add more, and more, and more to the game and, you know, timelines and milestones would go out the window…
Female Interviewer: But, you know, this is where, you know, these sort of things that are being learned along the way will kind of go into the next game so, you know, that will progress like that. Okay? You carry on, Jamie, please, carry on.
Jamie: This is more personal, sort of, interest. Where do you think, with these next generation consoles, where do you see computer, you know, video game graphics going? What’s going to happen next? You know, we have the realism. Do you think it’s just going to keep getting more realistic?
Wayne: You know, I sort of don’t know. I think that’s a good question and I honestly don’t know the answer to it. It’s sort of – a lot of people search for the holy grail of photorealism. I don’t see the point. And the reason why I don’t see the point is the point of a gaming console is not to make something photorealistic. The point of a gaming console is to give somebody a great game that they can play and have enjoyment. Now, the style of the game might push that towards realism, but I don’t think every game needs to follow. I play games like Viva Pinata and stuff like that on the 360 that aren’t at all photorealistic that I enjoy. I think we will push towards – we will definitely push towards going more realistic. We’ll push towards making our characters look and talk and act more realistic, but the purpose of that is not just to make them look realistic for their own sake, it’s to try to immerse you in the game more. It’s going to be all for game-play’s sake, is the only reason why we would do that. If I wanted to do something just to make something look realistic as I could, I’d go and buy a camera. Film it. If it isn’t helping out the game and making the game look better, and in our case making our world of Harry Potter look better, it’s very much my own personal opinion. I know people would probably hang me up for saying that.
Wayne: But it is just personal. It is just personal opinion. It’s just what I look for. I enjoyed making Shrek 2, very not at all photorealistic, as much as I did, say, work on Lord of the Rings or something like that.
Female Interviewer: Okay?
Jamie: Thank you very much.
Wayne: You’re welcome.
Female Interviewer: Thank you so much, Wayne. Appreciate it.
Interview #2: Game Designer
Designer: I’m a game designer on Harry Potter, and my job is, I work really close with Matt because he’s my creative director. And what I do is work through the whole story of the game, plotted out all the missions, mapped out what all the game-play was, worked on all the game-play mechanics, like the magic and how you do that, how he moves and, basically, turned the story into the levels that you have. And then what my job then, from that point on, is to go through the game and work with all the other designers, and the programmers, and the artists to make sure that everything that we started with is what we get, and also plays well, and kind of an ongoing job. And now at the end, I’m just playing the game and making sure that it’s what we want it to be and solve all the problems, basically.
Jamie: How many hours of testing do you think go into this until it’s done?
Designer: [whistles] Well, we have, what, five embedded testers on the team and then we have, I think, about 70 or 80, and also we have languages testers, as well, to make sure languages are correct. So hundreds of hours…
Jamie: That’s a great deal of people.
Designer: Hundreds of hours. Working shifts towards the end of the game, we have people just covering 24 hour shifts.
Designer: That they have worked 24 hours. With different groups.
Designer: That would be Draconian.
Jamie: That would be terrible.
Designer: You’ve got people working a normal day and when they go home somebody works another shift.
Jamie: Do you have to see every single thing in the game? Every single scene?
Designer: Yes, and have to be able to tell Warner Brothers and Christopher Little Agency exactly what everything is so they know we’re not doing anything crazy like Harry Potter robot, you know, they don’t want that. We have to make sure that everything is as it should be.
Jamie: How do you choose missions for the game? Is it – Do you and Matt, sort of, you know, think what would be best for the game, for the people who play it?
Designer: Yes, we do that, but then the other thing that we do do is we get very early access to the movie scripts so that gives us a really good idea of how they’ve broken down the story, so what they think is important in the movie helps us, sort of, figure out where to put our emphasis. It’s not always – it’s not an exact science because there’s changes a lot from the script, but Warner Brothers is great. They give us a lot of support so we get to see a lot of stuff like the concept art and stuff early on so we can sort of get an idea of what things we need, so we can work out – I mean, the first pass you do is you pick what are the major story points, figure out what game-play you want to do in those, and then you also have to think about a whole unified game-play. So how is the game going to play from start to finish? Because you don’t want Harry planning to learn a new thing every five minutes. They never will, they’ll just forget.
Designer: So you have to have a set system to figure that out. And we have stuff like, we looked at the D.A. and saw a really good structure. We really have been with all the missions and their personalities, who is giving you the…
Jamie: Choose the sort of game-play after the art mark up is done as well, what do you sort of do?
Designer: Or after and during. Because you can, you know, the game is designed on paper. We do lots of video prototypes and that sort of thing. And, you know, build models, do all that. And then the art starts going in, you see something and everyone is like, “Oh, I really like that. That’s really cool. We could do this.”
Designer: Or, “Wow, that fountain’s really cool. We need to figure out a way we can turn it on and off.” It’s a constant process.
Jamie: Favorite part of the game? [laughs]
Designer: I really like the bit I showed you earlier where Draco’s goading Ron about having been taken away and then Ron loses it, tries to cast a spell at Draco, Draco blocks it, and then it all dissolves into a big, massive scrap.
Jamie: It all heats up.
Designer: Yeah. And I really like that. I really love Dumbledore versus Voldemort.
Designer: Because it’s likely you are not going to get the chance to play that again, as we’ve found out.
Jamie: What do you think is different, or what have you tried to do different in this game that’s going to appeal to…
Designer: Well, I think what we’ve done is, we’ve looked at the audience that we make the game for, which is Harry Potter fans, primarily. And we’ve tried not to make a super hard core game experience, because we need to really appeal to a broad audience, but we want to make it incredibly rich in content. We don’t want to make a really easy game where you can sink everything in five minutes.
Designer: But we want to make a game that isn’t frustrating that has literally tons of stuff to do. Initially, they feel as if they’ve got, you know, too much to do, which I think is really good. And then they can just play it at their own pace. I think if you look at previous Harry Potter games, they’re very puzzle-orientated, very linear. Just bang, bang, bang, bang. And also, they maybe drift a little too far from the story. And so, I think with this one we stick really close and we set out to do Hogwarts, and I think that’s what we did.
Female Interviewer: Guys?
Designer: Any questions?
Female Interviewer: No? Could you possibly just go into a little bit more detail about how you work with Matt?
Female Interviewer: And probably your, kind of, thoughts on the Potter franchise, as well, and how you’ve kind of got into it, and what you thought, say – If you can start with the Matt bit…
Female Interviewer: …and then how you feel about Harry afterwards, that would be good.
Designer: One of the cool things is that I get on really well with Matt, and before I did Harry Potter I worked on a series of games called Burnout. I did those for six years. And I really, I’ve always been a big Harry Potter fan. And I spoke to Matt and he said, “Well, why not Harry Potter? We’ll work together?” And I’m like, “I’ll do that, that sounds awesome.” And then, you know, it’s – And we work very closely. So basically, what we do is we draw out the timeline of the story initially at the start. And we’ll both just throw around ideas, disagree and argue our points. You know? And just say, “Okay, that would make a really good mission.” But he would be, “No, no. Don’t do that.” And Matt, his knowledge of the fiction is very large. And, you know, mine’s pretty big, and we end up having quite a few, sort of, heated discussions…
Designer: …about what goes in and what doesn’t. We try and sort of, you know, out-geek each other, which is always fun. And then once you’ve done that, we kind of work out how we want to break it down into prototypes. So say, for instance, with the spells and the fighting we actually filmed each other, loads of us, doing spell gestures to see what they would look like.
Designer: Because we’re dealing with people, so we may as well film people. And then we filmed corridors with people and watched what would happen if somebody walked down the corridor and how people would react. Because if you look in the game when you’re playing it, you wouldn’t notice it because it’s really subtle. But people in the corridor would look at Harry as he walked passed, and they would do that. If you think about somebody like Harry who is really famous, and he is famous in the school, so if you walk passed, people would look at him. So we looked at that and did lots of prototype stuff for that, which is really cool. And then we worked very closely with the artists to try and figure out how Hogwarts would fit together.
Designer: So, initially, we did – we looked at some new designs, and built a map filled with boxes for the locations. So how it would all locate together. So then we live with that for quite a long time. So then I could say, “Okay, to get to D.A.D.A., you go out of the common room, you go down to the third floor, you go down the third floor corridor, across the suspension bridge of the D.A.D.A. tower, and you’re in D.A.D.A.” But if you’re going to Occlumency you go down out of the D.A.D.A. tower, onto the second floor corridor, and then down to the bottom corridor.
Designer: So we knew exactly where everything was. And so we built the map in our heads. So then, the artists also lived with it, and then when they were building it they knew how Hogwarts was built. And then we looked at things like the Little Whinging, and we wanted to have a big opening. So we wanted it to have a – we didn’t want it to be long, we just wanted it to be a big moment where the Dementors attack, like the movie does. Almost like that bit in the Bond movie, you know, where you have, like, a three credit sequence, like every action scene. We knew that, fathomed that Grimmauld Place was cool, but we also needed a place where we could teach the player all the basics in the right place to do it. Because Ron is always shooting off spells, and Ginny is younger, and Hermione, you know, is always ready to teach. And also, Harry, at that point, is a little bit nervous about using magic because of the trial, or the upcoming trial. So it just seemed like a really logical point where Harry would get back on the horse. One of the things we have to deal with in every Potter game is, we have to teach the player how to use spells that Harry actually, fictionally…
Jamie: Knows already.
Designer: …knows already.
Designer: So we have to always come up with some sort of reasonable way of doing that. And then we go back at Christmas to Grimmauld Place for no other reason than for the fans. Loads of fan stuff. So you can find some things that will be important, and you can look at the Black Family Tree, you can go there after the Weasleys are there, after the accident and you just get to walk around. Just as guests at – would walk around a place, and you can leave whenever you want. And basically, we’ve set it up so then, as the missions get bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and the fights get bigger and bigger, and then once you get to the Ministry of Magic, you get to play with Sirius and you get to play as Dumbledore and fight Voldemort with Occlumency.
Jamie: You mentioned you worked on other games, Burnout?
Jamie: How does the Harry Potter experience sort of differ from every other game? Are there any sort of…
Designer: I think there’s a lot of similarities in the way games are made, but one thing I really love about working on Harry Potter, is it’s a really specific audience. You know who you’re making the game for. I think one thing with games is sometimes game developers can be a little selfish and make the game for themselves. And I think it was really nice to have as much contact with the people who buy the games. Speaking to you guys have been really good, and loads of focus testing, stuff like that. All the way through this game we’ve had kids of various ages in playing the game. That, for me, is great, because I have to react to what people want.
Female Interviewer: I have something to add into that – is constantly on the forums, I think in a sense that every single person in here, what’s happening on fansite forums and, you know, and early on in the process as well, about what we wanted, what you guys wanted in the game. And a lot of it, as well, was kind of validation, because a lot of points, we kind of had an idea of what was going in.
Female Interviewer: But it was just really great to see what was coming up on the forums, what people wanted and be able to check it back and go, “Yeah, we were on the right track.” We know we’re on the right track, this is what people want. We really believe that we are really on track to deliver something that, you know, is what people are after.
Designer: We’d have been really worrying if we can’t have the fansites. And if nothing we were doing were on those, we’d have been, “Oh, no!” But it was a case of, “Yes!” We think we’re in the right place. Just going back to what you said earlier, working on other games. Forums for games in general are usually bitter, twisted, nasty places. Whereas, you know, this has been an entirely useful, you know, useful forums like – we’ve looked at just great feedback, basically. It’s not always positive, but it’s helpful, and it’s just great.
Female Interviewer: And a lot of the patrons were actually really constructive, as well, weren’t they?
Female Interviewer: Really, really constructive. Like you said, there was no kind of negativity, nastiness. It was all like, people really genuinely…
Designer: Wanted to help.
Female Interviewer: …wanted to help. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Written by: Micah, Briana, Christina, Cindy, Haley, Hannah, Jessalyn, Jessica, Jessie, Karen, Laura, Leah, Luke, Margaret, Marya, Matt, Meredith, Rebeca, Samantha, Sapna, Shannon, Shelly, and Tina