MuggleCast 103 Transcript
[Intro music begins]
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Andrew: Today’s MuggleCast podcast is brought to you by Border’s. In May, thousands of Harry Potter fans descended upon New Orleans for the Phoenix Rising Conference. Border’s was there to take in the sights and share a lively discussion of the series that has bewitched the world with some of Harry’s most dedicated fans. Listen in and watch the action yourself. Check out the Phoenix Rising Border’s Book Club discussion at BordersMedia.com/HarryPotter, or click on the Border’s banner at the top of the MuggleNet page.
[Show music plays]
Andrew: Oh, wow, jeez!
Andrew: Hello, everyone, and welcome to MuggleCast Live in Chicago.
Andrew: Another town, another show. Emerson’s joining the panel this week – or, today.
Emerson: Yeah, this is – for me it’s a little bit of a coming home because…
Emerson: …I actually – well, I live in LaPorte, Indiana, which is about an hour from here, but I actually was born in Hinsdale, and I lived in Oak Park for a short period.
[A few audience members cheer]
Emerson: Yeah, Oak Park. How many of you guys here were at Oak Park and listened to Ben…
Emerson: Oh, wow! So you guys were there to listen to Ben and I talk about what we thought was going to happen in Book 7.
Andrew: How many people were at Waterstone’s for Jamie and my event?
Ben: Yeah, right.
Jamie: Yeah, in London.
Emerson: That’s a shocker.
Ben: Raise your hand if you’ve finished the book already.
Ben: Okay, by the way, if you haven’t, you might want to leave ’cause we’ll talk about it…
Ben: …a lot, so…
Jamie: That is a serious warning there.
Mikey: You don’t have to – you don’t have to leave, but we’re probably going to spoil parts of the book for you.
Andrew: And by parts you mean…
Emerson: And by parts you mean…
Andrew: …the whole thing.
Mikey: Yeah, the whole thing, kind of.
Andrew: That shirt is not allowed here, ma’am. Please. All right, I guess no one’s leaving! Good…
Emerson’s Thoughts on Book 7
Andrew: Because most events people just walk out of here yelling at us, so – all right, so, Emerson, we want to hear your thoughts on the book first, because we haven’t heard them yet. Is this a hands down, best book ever? Or what?
Emerson: It rocked.
Emerson: I was really happy. Really happy. There was so much action, the ending was just incredible. The – like many of you I thought the epilogue was – it did reek a little bit of some cheese…
Emerson: …but I understand why it had to happen that way. I understand J.K. Rowling said that, you know, she couldn’t try to – she originally was going to crowbar every bit of information that we wanted into it, but it didn’t read very well. By the way, can everybody in the back hear me okay?
Emerson: Well I – my mic – I need my mic to get a little louder please?
Mikey: A little louder.
Emerson: All right, all right, is that a little bit better?
Ben: Come on, dude, get it together back there.
Emerson: I’m pretty much swallowing the mic right now, so…
[Andrew and Audience laugh]
Emerson: …you can blame him if it doesn’t work.
[Microphone makes loud noise]
Andrew: Oh, see, that’s what happens when it gets too loud. Okay, so anyway, Emerson.
Emerson: So I enjoyed the book a lot. I thought it was great, and I also was really, really proud to see that – just by a show of hands who here ever got the chance to pick up a copy of MuggleNet.com’s What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7?
Emerson: Okay. Okay, so…
Ben: We called it, folks, we called it.
Emerson: Like, not to toot our own horn too much, but we were pretty much right.
Ben: Harry’s a Horcrux!
Ben: You have no idea how proud it makes, particularly Emerson and I, to say that because we did probably around 30 or 40 book events this summer. And everywhere we went…
Ben: …everyone was just doubting us. They said, you know, there’s no way he’s a Horcrux, and there are people who supported us, so for those of you who did, thanks a lot. For those who didn’t, I hate you.
Emerson: Seriously, every event we did, as soon as the Horcrux theory came up we spent the entire rest of the event just defending it.
Emerson: Every hand went up, tried to prove us wrong, but I can’t – Ben and I both did – we had to doubt ourselves a little bit because we got so much – there were so few fans who really bought into the theory, but we were right.
Ben: We even did a poll on MuggleNet, and two-thirds of people thought that Harry was not a Horcrux, so we were definitely the minority.
Emerson: And at the beginning of the summer it was probably more like ten percent, I would say. Nobody really understood the theory, and nobody really thought that there was much probability of that happening.
Ben: Right, and then of course Emerson and I became more convincing. Then, you know…
Andrew: I think – it was great reading the line right in the book where Dumbledore just straight up said to Harry, “You are the seventh Horcrux.” [laughs] It was, like, unreal.
Ben: I punched the air at that part.
Emerson: Ben was like, “YEEESS!”
Mikey: No debate at all, Harry was, and is, a Horcrux. So, you were right.
Jamie: Should we stop boasting now and talk about Harry Potter?
Emerson: Because we were talking about the weather right there, Jamie, were we?
Jamie: Oh yeah.
Jamie’s Thoughts on Book 7
Andrew: Anyway, Jamie, what did you think about the book?
Jamie: Well, every single person I’ve spoken to, on the panel here and most other Americans – I don’t know if it’s an American thing – but they just say one word. You know, when I ask them, “how was the book?” they’ll be like – everyone’s like, “It was cool, dude.” You’re like, “That rocked!” No one actually gives an explanation as to what they thought of the book…
Jamie: …because apparently these words encompass everything.
Emerson: So, Jamie, what did you think of the book?
Jamie: It rocked, dude! It was cool.
Jamie: It was good.
Andrew: Emerson, did you cry when you read the book? In parts?
Ben: No, I was there, I was there, and I didn’t see any tears. Unless he hid it really well, because I was there as he finished it.
Emerson: Tears of joy, perhaps, but I…
Andrew: How many – how many people – sorry, go ahead.
Harry Didn’t Die
Emerson: You know, this actually has nothing to do with anything we’re talking about, but I really want to clear something up here: Harry didn’t die!
Emerson: Okay, he did not die! And if you don’t believe me I encourage you to go back and re-read Dumbledore – when Dumbledore says to Harry, you know, what’s the difference between something that, you know, that’s in your head and something that’s real.
Jamie and Mikey’s Theory
Jamie: Mikey, Mikey, should we tell our theory again? About the…
Mikey: We could.
Jamie: You tell it this time.
Mikey: You want me to tell it this time?
Jamie: Yeah, you tell it this time.
Mikey: Okay. So, speaking about, you know, Harry…
Jamie: Build it up.
Mikey: …in his head.
Jamie: Build it up. You know with the context.
Mikey: All right, all right.
Andrew: The abridged version, please.
Mikey: All right, the abridged version, according to Andrew Sims. Well, when you read that chapter about King’s Cross and it’s in Harry’s head, and we don’t know whether he actually died or lived, but – according to Emerson he didn’t die – there’s this, like, screaming baby, deformed and crying, we don’t know what that is. That’s actually Voldemort; that’s his Horcrux. That’s deformed – you know, it’s beyond repair. You can’t bring it back. Harry wanted to go and save it, but Dumbledore’s like, “No, you can’t.” Otherwise when he went ahead, and if he did try to save it he would go ahead and die with Voldemort…
Mikey: …or with part of his soul – or come back. And the reason why it’s deformed baby – Jamie, you want to finish it off there?
Jamie: Well, we sort of talked about how a baby – a newborn baby is a pure piece of symbolism, you know, it’s a pure soul, unadulterated soul, but because it’s deformed, and, you know, burning and crying then it’s Voldemort’s soul.
Mikey: It’s been split seven times and it’s more than what Harry – or Voldemort can actually have. It’s been deformed with malice, everything. And it’s kind of deformed, kind of lying down, deformed crying baby thing.
Mikey: It’s just like – I can just imagine it being like… [makes a terrible gasping noise]
Mikey: It’s just like a piece of a blob-essence baby thing.
Mikey: And, really, it’s part of Voldemort’s soul; it’s the seventh piece of his soul that was an unintentional Horcrux that was in Harry.
Jamie: Yeah, and Harry needs Dumbledore to tell him that he can’t help it, so he has to go back to the world while the baby gets on the train and goes to another world.
Mikey: Yep, and that’s when he goes on the train back to Hogwarts, and that’s when he separated from the seventh Horcrux, and he’s gotten rid of that piece of Voldemort’s soul, and then all we need is Neville Longbottom to chop off that snake’s head…
Mikey: And then Voldemort can die!
Emerson: Followed by a series of Expelliarmuses, which is how…
Emerson: …Harry wins everything.
Mikey: That’s an amazing spell, really.
Jamie: Ben, Ben! Are we being mean when we put forward this theory that Harry – we don’t really think this, but we think – so we do think this – we think that Harry is – he’s an extraordinary boy, but he seems to get a lot of help with a lot of things. Like…
Ben: No, wait.
Jamie: There’s always – every single time, you know, he’ll faint and then…
Ben: Hermione was the real hero, seriously.
Jamie: Hermione will be next to him.
Emerson: Girl power! Go Hermione, people!
[Audience cheers and Andrew laughs]
Emerson: You guys have got to admit, that in Book 7, like every, like, five pages, Harry would be in another near-death situation and it’d be miraculously saved by Hermione or something or other.
Andrew: Or Dobby!
Mikey: I hear that one.
Ben: But every chapter ends with Hermione waking Harry up.
Jamie: Okay, this is my joke; he’s just stolen this!
Jamie: Yeah, so he’ll wake up and he’ll be like, “Oh no! Where am I?” and she’ll be there, all bushy-haired with ash in her hair, and be like, “Oh my God, Harry! That was a close one, again!”
Jamie: So it’s all thanks to her that he won, really.
Why King’s Cross?
Emerson: So yesterday I heard something interesting about why Harry was at King’s Cross, why of all the places he could have possibly imagined himself to be, he imagined, you know, a train station. I was in Valparaiso yesterday, not too far from here – and some people from Valpo back there – yeah! There was a fan who mentioned that maybe the reason why he was at a train station was because he had to make a choice at that point, whether he would go on living or he would – you know, because trains can go either way: get on the train, don’t go on the train. So maybe that is what it was symbolizing. Maybe that’s why he was at a train station.
Emerson: Something to chew on.
Andrew: So, Jamie, I want to tell the story about you. Can we? Because it…
Jamie: Which one, Andrew?
Andrew: …didn’t make the other two recordings. So is that okay?
Andrew: Okay, so we were doing this event in England, and Jamie – we were at this V.I.P party that wasn’t very V.I.P-ish.
Jamie: It wasn’t until…
Ben: Andrew was there, so…
Jamie: It was good; it was fun.
Andrew: It was just a party. And anyway – so who here cried? When they got the book?
Jamie: When you got the book.
Ben: Note that there are only females are raising their hands at this time.
Andrew: So Jamie – to be fair, Jamie had a – was enjoying himself.
Jamie: I was enjoying myself a lot.
Andrew: With beverages.
Andrew: It was legal! I want to say that.
Jamie: Yes, there was free raspberry champagne.
Andrew: Just champagne. It wasn’t anything. But…
Jamie: And yeah, I had two or seven, yeah.
[Andrew and Audience laugh]
Mikey: Before the seventh book, you know, seven. You had to, you know.
Andrew: One for each book.
Jamie: I had three per book.
Andrew: So it was interesting watching Jamie build because as we got to the countdown, you know, we have our hands over each other’s, so we’re like, “this is it, dude, it’s the end. It’s going to end!” And Jamie slowly starts – he’s starting to get – I like to compare it to a volcano eruption, because, you know, it starts low, you just hear the rumblings, and you can sense something’s coming. So we’re there, it’s like this, and then the book comes out and he gets it and it’s just ready to blow. And then he gets it and then he starts walking away and…[makes explosion noise] …the waterworks come.
Jamie: Yeah, I was bawling all over the place. It was so sad. Seriously, I was hugging everyone. Thank you. [laughs]
Andrew: Laura was in tears too.
Jamie: Yeah, I started her off.
Andrew: [laughs] She was crying while reading the book, too, but then on our way out of the Waterstone’s, we were on the fifth floor. We had to work our way down, and Jamie was crying, and I was like, oh great, everyone is going to be taking pictures.
Jamie: Yeah, I was crying. I was literally bawling my eyes out with Andrew, and this guy took a photo, and I just went off on him completely.
Jamie: I was so mean.
Andrew: And then this guy – this one guy from some newspaper, I guess, wanted an interview with you, and I was like, “Oh okay. Let’s go. No more.” It’s like, “Boy cries over Harry Potter.”
Jamie: [unintelligible] …an emotional – yeah. That would be their first question: “Have you found this an emotional night?” I’d be like, just look, just look.
Andrew: All right, so anyway, we’ve been sort of holding a main discussion at each of the shows we talked about. Actually, Episode 102 is now online. Posted it this morning. Has anyone listened yet? No, don’t act like you did. I mean, it just – really?
Audience Member: Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. [laughs]
Mikey: We’re going to repeat a lot of those jokes. We’re sorry.
Main Discussion: Voldemort
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] But we talked about Dumbledore the first show, Snape the second show, and now we’re going to talk about Voldemort, because – Dobby? We could talk about him a little bit later. Anyway, Voldemort, Jamie. Jamie, want to start it off about Voldemort?
Jamie: Yeah, well, Voldemort’s been an interesting character, and everyone hates him, obviously, because he kills all these people and he’s the one who tried to kill Harry Potter. But I’ve heard so many people say how much they feel sorry for him with his upbringing and everything he’s done, and the fact that his plans – he spends ages planning, and he’s thwarted by a boy who can only say, Expelliarmus.
Ben: He’s talking about me, by the way. I’ve been saying this at every event.
Jamie: Yes, he has, he has. Ben’s been a strong proponent of the feel sorry for Voldemort camp, and I kind of agree with you until I remember that he’s a serial killer, which dampens most people’s personalities. But, Ben, do you want to take over this sort of feeling sorry for – or should we just start with a few points about why he’s, you know, why everyone hates him, first of all.
Ben: Well, hmm. He killed people.
Ben: Okay, that’s why.
Jamie: Yeah, that’s probably the main reason. Anyone else?
Emerson: Ben made a very good point.
Mikey: No, no, no, I think I got another one. I got another one: he was mean.
Jamie: He was mean. He was a jerk, right, Mikey?
Mikey: He was a jerk, exactly!
[Audience member says something]
Jamie: Yeah. Yeah. Yep. He tried to kill a baby. Yep. Yeah.
Jamie: It’s true.
Mikey: He talks to snakes.
Emerson: He probably doesn’t say please and thank you.
Ben: That’s kind of weird.
Jamie: He doesn’t put the seat down after he goes.
Andrew: What do you want to ask here, Jamie, though?
Andrew: What do you want to ask?
Mikey: Where do you want to go to, Jamie?
Jamie: Okay, so we’ve established he’s not a very nice guy. But, Ben, can you put forward a theory now as to say why he could actually be not too bad, or why we can’t blame him…
Mikey: Why we should have sympathy…
Jamie: …for what he’s done?
Mikey: …maybe, a little bit? A tear for Voldemort.
Jamie: Okay, yeah.
Ben: Okay, given the situation in which Voldemort grew up. You know, didn’t have any parents. He never knew what love was, and with someone who doesn’t – who can’t really comprehend those things, who was born in a manner where it’s impossible for them to feel emotion, except hate, and to comprehend things like love, can we really be mad at them when it’s out of their control? I mean, should we really be hating Voldemort for what he’s done or should we feel sorry for him and wish that he could have a better life?
Jamie: Should we take a couple of points?
Mikey: I think we should have people come up and tell us what they think about it.
Emerson: I think they just – one thing also to keep in mind with that is that you can say childhood, obviously, had – is a big reason for the reason – that’s why Voldemort is who he is, but you think that, you know – Saddam Hussein was abused as a kid, but so was Oprah.
Emerson: And they turned out a little bit different at that point.
Mikey: And so was someone else in that book series. I think his name was Harry Potter or something like that.
Ben: Right, but at the same time, is it Oprah’s fault that she turned out to be this superstar?
Jamie: Ben, it isn’t really fate that makes us who we are. It’s like something else, and didn’t Dumbledore say something about that?
Ben: Something like…
Emerson: There was a quote.
Ben: … [as Dumbledore] “It is our choices, Harry, far more than our abilities.”
Ben: Thank you.
Jamie: We try and get that in every show somehow.
[Andrew and Audience laugh]
Ben: So who wants to talk about Voldemort? Evil, bad?
Emerson: Anyone have any points?
Ben: Come on up here.
Mikey: We’re going to have you guys come on up, say your name, where you’re from…
Andrew: Let’s go back in…
Ben: Your social security number.
Mikey: …credit card number.
Andrew: MySpace URL.
Audience Member: All right. Hi, I’m Suzanne Walker. What else did you want to know? [laughs]
Andrew: MySpace URL. MySpace.com slash…
Mikey: Where you’re from.
Audience Member: Oh, I’m from Evanston, Illinois. I don’t have a MySpace, so, sorry.
Andrew: You don’t?
Audience Member: Okay, so, like, so I was thinking of a good point in terms of, like – in terms of how he grew up without love, but you have to consider, so did Harry. Like Harry grew up with the Dursleys. Harry never knew love until he was accepted at Hogwarts, and he – at the same time, like, made the choice to – he’s good. He’s – like he found friends. He has friends. He knows love because he chose to. Voldemort, when he got accepted at Hogwarts, he could’ve had friends and stuff, but he didn’t, and I feel like it’s kind of hard to feel sorry for him when you’re also confronted with this same character who grew up in a very similar situation but made a different choice than he did. So, yeah. That’s what I think.
Ben: Right, but early on in Half-Blood Prince, when Dumbledore goes back to the orphanage and we see Tom Riddle as a young child, there’s one point in time when Dumbledore asks Harry, “Are you actually feeling sorry for Tom Riddle?” Because it seems like early on the evil inside of him manifested itself, and then by the time when he actually got to Hogwarts, the decision was easy that, you know, he never had someone look out for him, he had never had anything like that. I mean, at least Harry had a sort of, you know, semi-normal family situation. Even though they all hated him, he was still with a family. I mean – no, it’s different. He went to a normal school. Surely he was picked on, but at the same time, I just think that…
Mikey: Did you live under the stairs too?
Ben: …Voldemort never made the choice. I mean, Voldemort may have made the choice, but it wasn’t his fault. I mean, given his background, would we have all made the same decision as Voldemort?
Emerson: Well, do you – I think – no, Ben actually is kind of right about this. You really can’t – I mean, you can blame him, but at the same time, you don’t know if you would have turned out differently in the same situation that Voldemort was in.
Mikey: Could we maybe blame Dumbledore for not intervening and helping Tom Riddle out?
Jamie: You mean, like…
Mikey: Maybe take him away from the orphanage…
Jamie: Or killing him when he was younger…
Jamie: …so he wouldn’t have to…
Mikey: If he knew, you know.
Mikey: Maybe not – that way James and Lily wouldn’t die, maybe.
Jamie: Yeah, exactly. So it’s Dumbledore’s fault, the entire book…
Mikey: The entire book series is Dumbledore’s fault.
Jamie: We knew there was something strange about him.
Andrew: Fair enough. Thank you. Could we get a differing opinion now? Not…
Mikey: Anybody else have something different? Anybody feel sorry for Voldemort?
Andrew: We’ll go back and forth.
Jamie: Anyone feel very sorry for him?
Mikey: If you feel sorry for him…
Andrew: Really sorry. I mean, like…
Mikey: If you feel really sorry that you wish Voldemort had won and Harry Potter had died…
Jamie: Only if you feel very sorry.
Mikey: …come on up here and talk to us.
Jamie: I hope you feel sorry for him.
Audience Member: [laughs] I was just going to say that I was kind of flip-flopping, actually. What I was going to do, actually, was kind of compare – I do feel sympathetic to Voldemort as a child. I really do. He had a horrible home life, and I think it’s very, very sad. But I also think that as you grow older and you learn what’s good and evil, you have that choice. And what I was going to do was actually – what I – when I first read it, I compared it in my mind to Severus Snape, because we saw in the fifth book that Severus had a horrible, horrible home life, and he had a horrible childhood, and he got picked on relentlessly by the Marauders for no reason. But in the end we find out that he ends up being probably the most noble character in the book. And think of all he sacrificed for it. I mean, Voldemort could have made the decision to not be as powerful. Snape, I mean face it, he hid everything from the Dark Lord. Like, that’s a pretty big achievement. And even with his background, like, to come from a group of friends that hate people that you love, like, I just, like, I do feel sympathetic to Voldemort as a child in the same way I feel sympathetic to Severus. But I think it’s all about Voldemort’s choices. Like, he made the choice to become more powerful and to find love weak and to find friendship weak, and that’s why I…
Ben: But I think you also have to look at why Snape made the choice that he did. Why would Snape all the sudden choose to do the right thing? And it was because he had love and, like, positive emotions enter his life at a very young age, because he met Lily when he was a child. And J.K. Rowling said on the Today Show, had he not been – had it not been for Lily, Snape never would have redeemed himself.
Audience Member: Oh, I…
Ben: So, I mean, I think if Voldemort would have had a Lily-like person meet him when he was younger, perhaps he would have turned out differently.
Audience Member: But how are we to know that he didn’t? Maybe he had…
Audience Member: …a close friend like that, but – I mean, because if you look at Bellatrix, Bellatrix always speaks to him like a lover. And he has every opportunity for it, but I think he sees it as, if you’re in love, you’re weak. And you will never be as powerful as him if you would sacrifice yourself for the sake of love. I mean, I think he sees it as his mother wouldn’t live for him, so why should he live for – why should he have love? It was like a decision that he made then. And it’s very, very, very sad for Voldemort, but I think it’s all about the decision of what’s – what he deems weakness.
Andrew: That’s a good point.
Ben: I think Voldemort trying to comprehend love is like a two year old trying to comprehend quantum physics. You know, they just don’t get it. And I just don’t see how you can blame him for not getting it.
Mikey: You’ve got to understand, also, Dumbledore said in the fifth book that Voldemort – or, sixth book, actually – Voldemort never knew love, and he never actually wanted friends. And at that point he had already decided that instead of love he wanted power, and that kind of became his mistress. And because of that, he didn’t have any redeeming factor like Severus Snape.
Audience Member: Exactly.
Mikey: Again, Serverus Snape had Lily. You know, he was in love with her. Without her, he would never have redeemed himself. Because Voldemort wanted this power, he even called Dumbledore weak because he had gone further than any other wizard to cheat death, to live, to be the most powerful wizard of all time. And because of that power and that drive for it, he never understood love, never comprehended it. And that’s why he made two fatal mistakes: both 14, or back when Harry was a baby, and again at the very end. Because he didn’t understand that love and that protection, that sacrificing yourself for someone else is so important.
Andrew: So you can sympathize for Voldemort in that regard.
Mikey: Yeah, I sympathize that all his laid plans never worked out.
Audience Member: [laughs] This is very true.
Andrew: Okay, can we get – thank you for coming up.
Mikey: Somebody else?
Jamie: Thank you.
Andrew: Another differing opinion? Okay, you next.
Audience Member: Hi. I just wanted to make the point that I think one of the reasons why Voldemort could never understand love, is because his mother basically died for her love for his father, who never really returned that love. And I think he thought that that was such a big mistake on his mother’s part, and thought that it was so weak of her to do that when she was a witch. That kind of, like, caused him to think that love was worthless, and that’s why I think he never could ever understand love. Also, I think one of the reasons why – I mean, ultimately, Harry did decide to be good, but I think that also because Lily died out of love for Harry, that love was already inside of him. So that’s why he wouldn’t ever turn out like Voldemort, because he was already filled with love, even though he had a bad upbringing.
Ben: Excellent point.
Andrew: Can we – yeah, this girl right here. What’s your name? Where are you from?
Audience Member: I’m Faith, and I’m from Oak Forrest, Illinois. They’re my cousins!
Audience Member: I kind of feel sorry for Voldemort, like, as a kid. He made bad choices when he grew up, but I kind of pity him. I mean, the whole time his goal in life was to destroy a seventeen year old boy, and that’s kind of pathetic, actually. [laughs] He was this big, powerful person trying to get power, trying to rule the world, and he wanted to kill Harry, who’s young. And I feel sorry for him, but I really just think that he made a bad choice, and he wasn’t – he couldn’t love. He didn’t know how. He never grew up with it. And – but I think he was also bad at the same time. I’m kind of torn. [laughs]
Mikey: So do you feel sorry for Voldemort?
Audience Member: As a kid.
Mikey: Do you shed a tear? Did you shed a tear when he died?
Audience Member: No, I did not.
Audience Member: No, I cried when Harry – when I thought Harry died.
Mikey: Okay. Just checking.
[Audience Member laughs]
Mikey: Ben cried.
Andrew: Good point. Thank you.
Andrew: You want to take one more?
Jamie: Yeah, one more.
Andrew: One more.
Jamie: What about at the back there?
Andrew: Come on up.
Emerson: I think from just what we’ve heard so far, and I think we can all agree, people are shaped. They’re not born good or bad, and they’re shaped by their environments growing up, and clearly Voldemort just never had a Lily Potter, or someone to sacrifice
themselves to put him, and make him understand that love is powerful and should be valued.
Andrew: Good point, Spartz.
Audience Member: Well, I think that – oh, I’m Abbie [unintelligible] and I’m from Munster, Indiana. And I think that I shed a tear for Tom Riddle. I don’t shed a tear, I don’t care, about the man Voldemort. Because what he did is wrong, and trying to justify what Voldemort did, because of his childhood,
or because of the people he knew, is like trying to justify, like, Hitler, or just these evil people, because he was truly evil. Tom Riddle wasn’t evil. Voldemort was evil.
Mikey: You know, in the final battle scene, Harry asks Voldemort to show some type of remorse because he sees what happens to him. I can kind of compare this to, you know, Luke versus Darth Vader. There’s still good in you.
Mikey: And in the end, if they make a choice to come back, you know,
when you ask for forgiveness, no matter how horrendous your crimes are, you really should be forgiven. I understand you have to make amends for that and Voldemort, by all means, you know, definitely if he apologized and said sorry to everyone, especially to Harry after killing everyone he cared about…
Ben: It will all be okay if he said sorry.
Jamie: It would’ve been awesome if…
Mikey: He said sorry! He still should go to Azkaban or something like that, but, you know – we saw Grindelwald in Nurmengard, where, like, he did show remorse. And Dumbledore was like, “I think he realized what he had done was wrong.” And, you know…
Jamie: That would have been an awesome Star Wars ending to it…
Mikey: I know, it would be great if Voldemort was, like…
Jamie: If he’d shocked him with that stuff…
Mikey: “Harry, I’m your father.”
Jamie: …out of his hands. Yeah.
Mikey: Something along those lines. No, but I think if Voldemort had – because we saw – we saw what was part of his soul, and Dumbledore told him to ask for some type of remorse. And he told Voldemort, if he – you know, I’ve seen what you’ve become, and, you know, show some type of remorse. I think if Voldemort had shown some type of
remorse in the afterlife, he wouldn’t be this deformed blob, baby thing. You know, because he had, you know, if he was truly remorseful, obviously the way the character is set up he can’t be remorseful because he’s just pure evil. But, you know, if he had, I think things would have ended up a little bit different. Kind of
like in Star Wars.
Jamie: But it’s because – well, I was going to say that, because
he split his soul so many times, that’s why he can’t show remorse. If he’d been that evil, but still a human being with a full soul, it’s going to be your soul that shows the remorse, not your mind, so I’d say that if he hadn’t done his Horcruxes he could come back from the dark side.
Ben: In Radio City Music Hall last August, Jo said that – when someone asked about redemption and characters who could possibly have redemption, and Voldemort came up, and she said he’s literally a psychopath, that there – he’s the one character that it’s impossible for him to redeem himself. And I think – what gets me is if someone’s brain is hard-wired to be the way they are, I don’t know. I mean, I know he did terrible things. All these ruthless dictators out there did terrible things. But I can’t help but think that if we were born in the same circumstances and same situation, that we’d all be the exact same as they are. But – I mean, I’m
not calling you all a bunch of Voldemorts…
Emerson: And – and – and we had the same genes. The same genetic make up. That’s also important. Some people are just more predisposed for certain types of behavior, so it’s obviously a combination of environment and genes. So – but I agree, though. I
think anything can happen when you’re in a situation like that.
Andrew: Sorry. All right. We’re going to move along here?
Emerson: Yeah, it just got really geeky here.
Jamie: It did.
Jamie: Should we debate it?
Andrew: Whatever. Yeah.
Emerson: Yeah, let’s go.
Jamie: And Voldemort is a – you come up with it.
Mikey: So, we’re going to do a debate, and I think Ben’s going to come up with a question right now.
Jamie: Yeah, Ben’s going to come up with a question. Basically…
Mikey: Put him on the spot.
Jamie: …for anyone who can’t remember, we haven’t been on the show for a while. A debate works where half of us will argue one side, half of us will argue the other side.
Andrew: So is half of Emerson going to argue one side and the other half the other?
Jamie: Yeah, he is.
Emerson: I’ll pick the better side.
Mikey: I want Emerson on my team.
Jamie: So, basically, you’ll have two minutes, we’ll have two minutes, and then we’re arguing for the question, so we probably don’t believe in what we’re arguing. But we’re arguing vehemently just to make sure we win.
Emerson: Nice work.
Andrew: For the record, though, Mikey and I are two for two.
Mikey: Two for two! Oh yeah!
Jamie: Let’s explain this.
Jamie: We had the worse side of the argument twice.
Ben: Just so you know, we were on the hard – we were playing devil’s advocate both times because Mikey and Andrew couldn’t handle it.
Ben: Second of all, there are people coming up to us, half of them whispering to us, “You know, you really did win, it’s okay.”
Andrew: Oh no, no, no.
Mikey: The five people – even yesterday, someone said, “Give it up, Ben. You lost.” And it was just like, yeah.
Ben: That wasn’t yesterday. That was like in Vegas, but whatever.
Mikey: We’ve driven, like, twenty-two hundred miles to get here, so we’re a little tired. We don’t even know where we are anymore.
Andrew: No excuses. No excuses, Mikey.
Mikey: No excuses, we still won.
Mikey: The question is…
Jamie: Okay, the debate question, and it isn’t that good, we don’t think. But does Voldemort deserve sympathy?
Ben: We are going to say, “Yes, he does.”
Mikey: So, we’re saying, “No, he does not deserve sympathy.” Correct?
Jamie: You can either pick your side or…
Mikey: Pick your side. Or you can be a judge.
Jamie: Or you can be a judge.
Mikey: Yeah, but now we have to convince him…
Jamie: This is fun, seriously. This is good.
Mikey: Emerson, you want to be a judge? You want to sit this one out?
Jamie: Or choose a side?
Emerson: I will…
Ben: You want to judge it, Emmy?
Emerson: I’ll keep you honest. That’s what I’ll do.
Mikey: He’ll keep us honest, all right.
Emerson: I’m going to call you guys out if you start – if your logic is bad. I’m going to tell you.
Andrew: Okay, so who wants to…
Ben: You guys can start.
Jamie: Yeah, you guys can start.
Andrew: So, we’re defending that Voldemort does not deserve sympathy. Okay, Voldemort does not deserve sympathy because, if we’re referring to Voldemort, Voldemort killed thousands of people and that’s just cruel. He never – we never saw a specific reason why
we should give him sympathy, other than that he never had anyone to love. Mikey?
Mikey: I think we need to differentiate the difference between Tom Riddle and Voldemort, so we can’t really talk about…
Ben: Okay, no, no, no…
Andrew: We’re looking at Voldemort here, we’re looking at Voldemort here! [laughs]
Ben: Let’s get this straight. First of all, Tom Riddle became Voldemort, so they are one in the same. So before you start going off about how Voldemort is different from Tom Riddle…
Emerson: Gentlemen, please!
Ben: Let’s settle down here.
Mikey: I’m sorry, sir.
Ben: Cut his mic! No, I’m kidding.
Jamie: No, you can’t differentiate from them. They’re one in the same.
Emerson: See, I’m not sure. I think Mikey…
Jamie: You traitor.
Emerson: …is allowed to make his point.
Mikey: Well, okay, hold on, hold on, hold on.
Ben: No, if you intend…
Emerson: Wait, when it’s your turn, you can talk.
Mikey: No, listen, Ben…
Emerson: When it’s your turn, you can talk.
Mikey: [in high-pitched voice] Cut his mic! Cut his mic! Cut it, cut it, cut it!
Mikey: All right, all right, all right, hold on…
Ben: No, okay, if you intended to go this route, we’re changing it to Tom Riddle slash Voldemort, because you guys – you’re trying to get a cheap victory, Mikey! I’m in on your games.
[Audience and Mikey laugh]
Mikey: All right, all right. Tom Riddle and Voldemort are one in the same, but we are arguing the Voldemort, who has split his soul. So basically I believe, like in Star Wars, once…
Andrew: Why are we arguing this?
Emerson: Children, please.
Mikey: …once Tom Riddle split his soul and created his first Horcrux, he ceased to become Tom Riddle and became Lord Voldemort, who is this evil killer…
Mikey: …who had performed a murder by splitting his soul, and because he split his soul, he had no chance of redemption, because his soul is maimed, and he was just a cold-blooded murderer from then on. He does not deserve sympathy because once he split his soul with that first murder and created his first Horcrux, he is nothing
but an evil, evil man that deserves to die by Harry Potter!
Jamie: Or, rather, by Hermione Granger.
Mikey: Beat that, guys.
Emerson: I’m going to say something somewhat neutral here. I think what the question is, is what does it mean to be human? Are we animals, or are – is there something…
Jamie: The question is, does Voldemort…
Mikey: We do have a werewolf in there.
Emerson: Hey, hey, hey! I’m the judge here, I’m talking.
Jamie: Sorry, Emerson.
Emerson: Okay. Are we really responsible for our choices? That is the question that you have to answer. How much different are humans than chimps? If you can answer that question, you can answer whether Voldemort is worthy of blame.
Jamie: No, seriously. Okay, I’m going to go on from there and say that can anyone here say a hundred percent that if they were placed in Voldemort’s position, with his background, you wouldn’t grow up to be the same as him? We understand he’s made bad choices, but those bad choices have come as the result of his bad upbringing and his misunderstanding of how things work. Once he started creating his Horcruxes, he made a bad choice. Everyone here has made bad choices, everyone in the world has made bad choices, it’s how we’re still human. The fact that he stopped himself being human was a dreadful choice. But I can – immortality is a, you know, a prized concept, even in the human world, and there are a lot of people who would – who want immortality. So if you could do Horcruxes, I think there would be a lot of people who’d consider it. It was a very, very bad choice that Voldemort made. However, considering what
he’d been through, his upbringing, I’m not going to throw the first stone at him.
Ben: Now also – also, think about – each of you, I want you to stop and consider what has made you who you are today. What things have made you a loving person? What has made you care about others? Has it been your family? Has it been your friends?
Ben: Of course. Now, what was Voldemort lacking when he grew up? Family and friends.
Ben: So the fact that someone – these things are obviously out of their control. Now – out of Voldemort’s control. He didn’t choose to be born, you know…
Jamie: No one wants to be a serial killer.
Ben: Yeah, nobody wants to be a serial killer.
Mikey: Unless you’re Voldemort.
Ben: It just so happened that when he was born, he grew up in an environment where he was conditioned not to love, and that love became something that he simply could not comprehend. And as he grew older, one choice led to another and, you know, what became his main goal was power. And the fact that he didn’t have any of these
other outside factors, like love, family, and friendship, is what made him make these decisions.
Ben: And you have to listen to me here when I say that each and every one of us would be the exact same way…
Jamie: I mean…
Ben: …had we not been raised the way we were.
Jamie: You have to feel sorry for someone like that, for someone who, when he kills Snape, his most trusted advisor, he thinks at that point that Snape has been loyal the entire time. If you can’t feel emotion, if you can’t feel remorse at something like that, you’re a shell of a human being, and you have to feel sorry for someone like that. You’re supposed to pity them.
[Emerson makes a buzzer noise]
Jamie: Don’t get us wrong. Don’t get us wrong. One last thing, one last thing.
Emerson: I think they’ve gone over their clock, ladies and gentlemen.
Ben: Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that Voldemort should be completely forgiven, and that what he did wasn’t wrong, we’re just saying you should have sympathy rather than hating him for it.
Andrew: Voldemort was messed up from the beginning. There are hotlines available to fix this; he didn’t call them. That’s the problem.
Mikey: [laughs] Again, exactly, the same thing about the hotlines. You know, Dumbledore says it’s our choices. We know this is our choices. Voldemort had a devout group of followers while he was at school. He has Bellatrix, who acts like a lover, but he’s not close to any of them. Why? Because he doesn’t care about them.
Severus Snape was probably one of his most trusted Death Eaters, yet he just killed him to have more power. I think that right there shows that Voldemort does not deserve any redemption, does not deserve to be pitied, does not deserve to be cared for, because he killed someone that showed complete loyalty to him just to gain more power. A power hungry killer does not make someone – is not someone who should be…
Ben: Which is all the more reason to feel sorry for him. If we have a person who is incapable of understanding emotion and comprehending true feeling, how could you ever be mad at them? Why shouldn’t you feel sorry for them because they’re not able to feel the same pleasure, have the same experiences, that you are?
Jamie: Could you imagine that, Mikey? Could you imagine living a half life, a cursed life like that, a shell of your former self, Mikey? Mikey, imagine it, Mikey.
[Andrew and Audience laugh]
Jamie: The thought’s horrible.
Mikey: Yeah, I still wouldn’t feel sorry for myself even.
Andrew: It doesn’t matter, though. Voldemort still lived this corrupted life that was not – he could have corrected this after his childhood.
Ben: Could he, though? Could he, though?
Andrew: He could’ve!
Andrew: There’s help. I’ve told you, there’s hotlines!
Ben: That is so simple!
Andrew: I don’t have the number, but…
Jamie: That’s so…
Andrew: It’s so simple, you’re right!
Ben: That is such a microscopic…
Andrew: We don’t have enough backstory on Voldemort to come up with an example of how he could have fixed this. But he could’ve – he could’ve fixed this. He wanted to kill Harry Potter. You can’t have sympathy for him!
Jamie: Okay, Andrew…
Mikey: Hold on, guys, hold on, guys. So you’re saying…
Emerson: We got to wrap it up.
Mikey: Okay, we got to wrap it up in a second, but you’re saying after Voldemort was defeated, and everyone’s all happy, and Ron, Harry, and Hermione are together, and everyone’s happy and joyed, that they should be crying and sad that, you know, Voldemort was dead. And not, you know, feel that they are no longer, you know, being tormented…
Mikey: …by a dictator, killer.
Ben: Okay, the debate side of me is coming out. You’re creating here what we call a strong man fallacy, Mikey. We didn’t actually say that at all. What we said was that, okay, Voldemort died. It’s a good thing that the Dark Lord has been vanquished. However, we feel sorry for him because the way that he grew up is what conditioned him to be who he was. No hotline could fix Voldemort, believe me.
Jamie: No, no.
Ben: I’m sure he tried that. Decisions did shape who he was…
Ben: …but his bad childhood led to the decisions that he made.
Jamie: How can you not feel sorry for someone…
Andrew: We’ve got to wrap it up.
Emerson: It’s time to wrap this up.
Mikey: So, what does the audience think? If you agree with me and Andrew, just scream really loud.
Jamie: You are so heartless.
Andrew: If you agree with Ben and Emerson – or Ben and Jamie, scream really loud.
[Audience cheers louder]
Andrew: They won!
Mikey: I think they won today.
Ben: Now I want to hear Emerson’s opinion.
Emerson: Having heard – having been an impartial observer of the entertaining debate that just occurred, I am actually going to say Voldemort deserves sympathy, not hate.
Emerson: Oh, well. I believe people are a product of their environments. And while he is obviously – he is a terrible person, I think anybody, like Ben said, who is incapable of feeling love, of feeling emotion, of knowing what it’s like to have friends, you should feel sorry for that person, not hate them for it.
Andrew: That’s how I felt anyway.
Mikey: You know, Harry even asked him to show remorse because he felt bad and he pitied Voldemort and he pitied the living.
MuggleCast 103 Transcript (continued)
General Questions and Comments
Andrew: All right, so let’s move on now. We want to finish up the show today. Just – yeah, enough Voldemort for – well, you can talk about him. We just want general questions about the book. Anyone have any thoughts about the fandom as a whole?
Mikey: Anybody sad about Remus Lupin’s death? I Was.
Andrew: “Where’s the show going?”
Mikey: I was.
[Audience members talk]
Mikey: Oh yeah, and what did you guys think about Molly Weasley?
Andrew: Give it up for Molly Weasley!
Mikey: Yeah! Really, it’s awesome! Can you imagine the movie? Really, can you imagine Movie 7 with Molly Weasley just throwing her cloak: “STAY AWAY FROM MY DAUGHTER YOU-” witch!
Mikey: All right, still trying to talk [unintelligible].
Andrew: Hey! Hey.
Mikey: It’s “witch.” We changed the “B” with a “W.”
Andrew: It’s a children’s program.
Emerson: How many other people in this crowd right now can actually see their moms doing that? I can see my mom doing that.
Mikey: How many people can imagine Ben Schoen doing that?
Ben: How would my mom do that?
Andrew: Would Cheryl Schoen do that?
Ben: “Not my Benny.”
Mikey: We love Molly Weasley up here.
Andrew: So anyone have thoughts like that about the book? Here, I’ll take one right…
Mikey: Any favorite scenes from the book you want to tell us about?
Andrew: Maybe you can come up next, sign up here.
Ben: I like the salami, personally.
Mikey: Yeah, let’s get a group of people. Not too many, just a few.
Andrew: Just a couple for now, then we’ll call more people up. What’s your name? Where are you from? Let me guess, it’s in Illinois.
Audience Member: Yeah! Oh my god. Hi, my name is Genevieve and I’m from Oak Lawn.
Andrew: Oak Lawn. Yeah!
Audience Member: Oak Lawn, yeah!
Mikey: Oak Lawn!
Audience Member: Yeah! [laughs]
Emerson: I love how every Chicago suburb starts with “Oak.” You’ve got Oak Park, Oak Forest, Oak…
Emerson: I’m kidding! I know the suburbs, but there’s four Chicago suburbs at least that start with “Oak.”
Mikey: Skoak. Oak, oak…
Emerson: Yeah, I heard you. Anyway, go ahead.
Mikey: Anyway, go ahead.
The Grey Lady
Audience Member: Not very creative, if you’ve noticed. Come on now. I’m wondering, you know how they said about the Grey Lady, how she was Ravenclaw? How come we’ve never known about that before? They never said in the first book, “Oh, that’s Ravenclaw’s ghost” or – we know about Nearly Headless Nick and the Bloody Baron.
Jamie: They did, didn’t they? I thought they mentioned it in passing. She was like, “Oh, that’s the Grey Lady. That’s the Ravenclaw ghost.”
Mikey: Yeah, we knew it was the Ravenclaw – we knew what all the ghosts’ Houses they were. You know, we knew the Fat Friar was Hufflepuff, the Bloody Baron was Slytherin. But we didn’t know the Grey Lady was Ravenclaw’s daughter.
Audience Member: Yeah.
Mikey: And I don’t think that’s something that’s common.
Audience Member: They give, like, more description about Nearly Headless Nick because, yeah, he’s from Gryffindor and everything – sorry. [laughs] And everything, but why do you think, like, J.K. Rowling had the Bloody Baron and the Grey Lady, like, together somewhat? Like, somehow. I know that the Bloody Baron was, like, in love with the Grey Lady.
Jamie: Just because it links it. Like, you know, we’ve seen the Bloody Baron, and we’ve seen all the ghosts, and we’ve seen the Grey Lady. And everyone’s wondered why the Bloody Baron had all the blood over him, obviously, and those chains that he wears. And then she finally answered a question that people were thinking, I’d say.
Mikey: I think it’s kind of also we’re seeing the books through Harry’s eyes, and since he’s a Gryffindor, we know a little bit more about Nearly Headless Nick, about his Death Day, how he can’t get into the Headless Hunt, and we don’t know anything else about, really, the Bloody Baron other than he was kind of bloody, he’s listened to him. So I think that’s why we didn’t know more about the ghosts because we’re learning from Harry’s point of view. And if we were learning from, like, Luna Lovegood, we would hear about Nargles and stuff like that, and probably about the Grey Lady. So, yeah, so that’s probably why.
Andrew: Hi, what’s your name? Where are you from?
Audience Member: Hi, I’m Natalie, and I’m from Oak Park.
Audience Member: Yeah, I know.
Characters Killed Off
Audience Member: Yeah. [laughs] But we know that J.K. Rowling said that when – a long time ago she said she killed off two characters she hadn’t originally planned to kill, and in return granted one a reprieve. She said that the reprieve was Arthur Weasley, but who do you think the two…
[Audience members say something]
Audience Member: Really?
Ben: Lupin and Tonks.
Mikey: She said Lupin and Tonks.
Audience Member: She said it? Okay, that was my guess. Nevermind, then.
Andrew: Check the news on MuggleNet, ma’am. You would’ve known this.
Mikey: And that’s also – that’s also probably the reason why Lupin doesn’t get, like, a heroic death, and it made me kind of sad that, “Oh, he’s dead,” instead of, like, being like…
Andrew: We’ll have Alex Carpenter…
Mikey: Yeah, we’ll have Alex Carpenter tell you his feelings about that, because he’s dead.
Andrew: Hi, what’s your name, where are you from? Which Oak are you from in Chicago?
Audience Member: I’m Jen, of Chicago, City Proper.
Events Too Convenient
Audience Member: But via transplant from San Francisco. I want to know what everybody thinks about the lack of emphasis on the destruction of the other Horcruxes, seeing as the ring had a curse that, you know, gave Dumbledore only like a year to live based on Snape’s repairing of him, and that the locket had such an adventure surrounding it, but the rest of them were destroyed so easily.
Ben: Yeah, I know.
Mikey: [unintelligible] …one book.
Ben: It was like I was saying, everything – everything in this book, everything in Half-Blood – excuse me, Deathly Hallows – was just incredibly convenient, you know? The whole entire time Harry wouldn’t even have found out he was a Horcrux, had he not just happened to be there at the exact time that Voldemort was setting the snake loose on Snape, you know? And then every time – he barely makes it out of the Malfoy Manor, you know.
Ben: He gets naked and jumps into some swimming pool filled with ice and then Ron just happens to show up in the nick of time. I don’t know, it’s just all too convenient.
Andrew: And don’t forget the fire.
Ben: Yeah, and there’s the fire.
Jamie: Yeah, the [unintelligible] that happened to destroy Horcruxes.
Emerson: I still don’t really understand how when they were flying away from Privet Drive, Harry’s in that, you know, nose dive down to the ground, and Voldemort’s chasing him. How did he just wake up, like, fine? And how come Voldemort just like quit on him because his wand didn’t work?
Andrew: Because he went through the protective barrier.
Mikey: It went through the protection barrier around the house.
Ben: Also, Accio Hagrid. I mean, come on. Like that’s actually going to work.
Ben: Does anyone remember that?
Jamie: But I’d say to that point, it is a good point, but I wouldn’t call breaking into Gringotts and then flying off on a dragon through five levels easy.
Jamie: I mean, that seemed quite dark.
Andrew: But I think that’s right. I mean a lot of it did feel convenient.
Jamie: Yeah, completely. Hermione waking up next to him. [laughs]
Andrew: But in a sense some of that is storytelling. It’s like it all just happens for a reason, it all leads from one thing to the next, that’s just how it happens. But it does feel extra convenient in this book, I think. Hi where are you from, what’s your name?
Audience Member: I’m Jacky, and I’m from Lake Forest, so not an oak.
Mikey: But a forest, where oaks are from.
Why Didn’t Dumbledore Tell Snape Harry Might Live?
Audience Member: All right then. No, my question is about how Dumbledore never mentioned to Severus Snape that he thought that Harry was going to live, and I thought that after everything that Snape has gone through and Dumbledore knowing all about it, why wouldn’t he mention that he had a suspicion, especially when he was pretty confident he was going to be right? And I would think that he would at least tell Snape that to give him some hope about what would happen in the future.
Jamie: I’m done trying to analyze why Dumbledore does things.
Jamie: It – I’m through with it. I just – clearly, he’s a cleverer man than we are, and he had a plan and it worked… [laughs] …so we can’t really fault him.
Mikey: He’s like a puppet master…
Jamie: He is, yeah.
Mikey: …pulling the strings. Harry’s a marionette. Harry’s like, you know, Pinocchio. [singing] “I got no strings.”
Audience Member: What if he hadn’t told Snape because of periods within the memory he wouldn’t have been able to… [unintelligible]
Jamie: Oh yeah.
Ben: Yeah, that’s true.
Mikey: Yeah, he had to believe he would have to die. He had to believe it.
Jamie: Well done. We were testing you there. Well done.
Mikey: We were test…
Mikey: Of course.
Jamie: Good point.
Ben: …raise your hand – raise your hand when Dumbledore says – when Dumbledore told Snape that Voldemort is going to have to kill Harry, who here was like – you know, like the, oh, blank feeling? – like the, “Oh my god.” You know what I’m talking about? Who here felt that – like “Aww, no!”
Mikey: I threw my book.
Mikey: I was like, “No! I – I – lie! My eyes lie to me.”
Emerson: I remain firm in my convictions of Harry living.
Audience Member: Me too!
Emerson: So I – I… [laughs]
Reacting Out Loud to the Book
Andrew: I do have to say we haven’t really told this story yet. Does anyone really get enthralled in the book when they’re reading it? Like completely, like, you’re reacting out loud?
Andrew: Well, Laura, Jamie, Kevin, Eric and I were all in this one little hotel room in London, and Laura really got into the book. Like she was sitting there curled up on the bed. Anyone watch the live stream, by the way? Best thing ever, right?
Andrew: It was…
Ben: It was – that was weird.
Andrew: …an original, creative idea.
Jamie: Was it boring? Do you know…
Andrew: It was boring!
Ben: It was really exhilarating watching four people read a book…
Andrew: Well, we haven’t… [laughs]
Ben: …on the Internet.
Andrew: It was boring, but it…
Ben: It was incredible.
Jamie: Yeah, we had…
Ben: We have to do it again.
Jamie: We had like 850 people watching this thing.
Andrew: More than that.
Jamie: And then we put a sign up saying, “Gone to dinner. Be back soon.” And then we came back and there were, like, a thousand people.
Jamie: Then as soon as we took the sign away and put it back on us, it dropped about 200 people.
Jamie: It was genius.
Andrew: But Laura would sit there and read the book…
Andrew: …and like every – seriously, it was like every five to ten minutes there was just – you know, it was dead silent and then, [imitating Laura] “Oh my god!”
Andrew: [imitating Laura] “Blah blah blah!” And – and she…
Jamie: The language was considerably worse than…
Andrew: It was – her…
Jamie: …”Oh my god,” though, when she was doing it.
Andrew: …hair was over her face, so I’d peek in and she’s like – tears rolling down her face.
Ben: Tell the Kevin story, too.
Andrew: She’s like, “This is so…up!” It was – it was very…
Jamie: Kevin’s story…
Jamie: Should we tell the Kevin…?
Andrew: It was hilarious. I was dying.
Jamie: Andrew, do you want to tell the Kevin story very quickly?
Andrew: Yeah, you could start off.
Jamie: Okay, well, Kevin Steck – just – if anyone ever had…
Andrew: Oh, well – oh, okay. [laughs]
Jamie: …a book to read…
Mikey: Don’t ever read with Kevin Steck.
Andrew: He had finished reading before…
Andrew: …any of us.
Jamie: Do not read with Kevin Steck.
Andrew: A while before any of us, because he’s Kevin. He’s a fast reader. And I gave him the nickname, “The Player’s Guide,” because what he would do is – we would be reading the book, he’d be like, “Oh. What page are you at?” And we’d be like, “Page 496, Kevin.” He’s like, “Oh. Five more pages you’re going to hit a really good scene!”
Andrew: “A really good scene! And just wait for…”
Andrew: “…fifteen more pages…”
Andrew: “…after that.”
Jamie: …this entire thing. Yeah, throughout this entire thing he’d be like, “Jamie, what page are you on?” And I had to be like, “501, Kevin,” and he’d sort of put his hand on his head and be, “Oooo.”
[Andrew and Audience laugh]
Jamie: “You just wait until 504.”
[Andrew and audience laugh]
Jamie: And then even worse than that is you cannot get any silence when you’re reading and Kevin’s around, because…
Andrew: Or Eric. Eric. Eric. [laughs]
Jamie: Or Eric, because you’ll say like, okay, it’s reading time now. For the next 45 minutes, all we’re going to do is read, you know, to get further in the book. So you’ll sit down, and everyone will open their books and start reading. And then before you can really get into it and relax, Kevin will say something and this will jog you out of your concentration of reading the book. So you’ll say – complete silence and then two minutes later, “Guys, I am hungry.”
Jamie: And then soon we’ll be like, “well, in 45 minutes we’ll go get some food.” And he’ll say, “okay.” Then two minutes later, “Andrew, have you seen that new article on the Internet about this thing?”
Andrew: “No, Kevin!”
Jamie: Yeah, then Andrew will be getting as annoyed as I am, and we’ll exchange a look that says, you know. And then two minutes later Kevin will come up with something else again, and again, and again…
Andrew: And then Eric will be like, “Hey, Kevin, you want to go see Transformers tonight?”
Jamie: Yeah, yeah, and Eric will come up with some…
Andrew: No, shut up!
Jamie: And then, in the end, we’ll just go read in the bathroom or something. Close the door so Kevin can’t annoy us with his comments.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] Anyway…
Mikey: I get the bathtub.
Andrew: What’s your name and where are you from?
Audience Member: I’m Laura, I’m from Evanston, and it’s my birthday today.
Jamie: Happy Birthday!
Mikey: Happy Birthday!
Snape the Bat
Audience Member: Thank you. So my question slash comment is about Snape. We’ve, all through the books, had these rumors of him being a vampire or a bat. And then, you know, after he’s done with his conversation slash fight with McGonagall…
Jamie: Oh yeah.
Audience Member: …he finally jumps out the window and we see a bat streaking out…
Jamie: I thought that was just…
Audience Member: Is he just – is he an Animagus? I mean, we’ve had a lot of illegal Anima – Animagus.
Jamie: I think he just looks like a bat, because after he does that, I think it’s Flitwick says, “so you’ve been learning some new spells from your master.” And Voldemort, as we know, can fly without the use of any – anything. A spell or a cloak or anything like that.
Audience Member: But I mean…
Jamie: He looks like a bat.
Audience Member: …there’s a huge difference in size from Snape to a bat.
Jamie: Yes, I think, I think – but I thought they said, “looking like a bat.”
Mikey: I think it’s more as he’s flying away his cloak is billowing, and as he gets farther away he gets smaller and smaller like a bat small. He’s like, “wheee!”
Andrew: We’re going to – in the interest of time, you’ll be the last person. Yeah, in your Dumbledore’s Army shirt because we got to…
Mikey: We have to wrap it up for some really cool rock n’ roll after this. We’re sorry, guys.
Mikey: But we’ll be sticking around for the show.
Mikey: Alex is pretty cool. I like him. He’s cool.
Audience Member: I’m Eddie from Western Springs.
Emerson: I’ve seen this kid at, like, every Chicago event that we’ve ever done. Yeah.
Parseltongue Ability and Hermione
Audience Member: And I was wondering, Harry has the Parseltongue ability because he was a Horcrux. And now that he’s not a Horcrux, do you think that was removed from him?
Ben: Yeah. I think so. I think since he lost the Horcrux, he lost the abilities that came with it.
Audience Member: And also, I think we should give it up for Hermione for modifying her parents’…
Jamie: For helping Harry and saving the day.
Audience Member: …memory.
Andrew: That’s a very good idea.
Emerson: That takes some serious ovaries.
Jamie: Don’t you all think that…
Andrew: What happened?
Mikey: He said that takes some serious ovaries.
Emerson: I don’t know where that came from.
Mikey: We’ll have to edit that out.
Andrew: Too much.
Mikey: Too much, Emerson, too much.
Ben: What’s the point of editing it out? It doesn’t even make sense.
Mikey: I don’t know.
Andrew: We say “witch” and then you go off on that…
Mikey: We say “witch” and [unintelligible] and “ovary”…
Andrew: Hi, what’s your name?
Audience Member: Hi, I’m Cassandra from Skocky, Illinois.
Audience Member: Hi. So I just wanted to comment slash complain about the lack of Fred Weasley being alive at the end.
Jamie: Oh yeah.
Audience Member: I felt there was no explanation afterwards. It made me hysterical. I mean, she’ll vouch for me, I was screaming on the phone to her about it. And there was no explanation and now I’m just wondering, what you guys think about this too, like, what did George do? I mean, he lost a part of himself almost, you know?
Ben: He lost his ear, too.
Audience Member: Yeah, and he literally lost a part of himself. [laughs] It just made me sad.
Mikey: Well, to be fair, for the twins’ sake, we did come up with one twin almost completely fine. He’s like nine-tenths whole. And then, you know, the other twin. Someone from the Weasley family had to die. It had to make it real for them. You know, it’s sad. It’s sad, and it’s like the twins were among my favorite characters. But, really, if, you know, you go to battle with your entire family and everyone makes it out okay, that’s a little unrealistic.
Jamie: Yeah, that is true.
Emerson: And there’s like a thousand of you.
Mikey: Yeah. Okay, let’s continue on.
Confusion About Wands
Audience Member: Hi. [laughs] Hi, I’m Nancy Allendine, and I’m from LeGrange here. And I was just wondering, like, about when Voldemort died, it was because, like, Harry’s wand – or when – no, wait. He was using the Elder Wand. And, like – no wait, sorry!
[Nancy and Audience laugh]
Audience Member: Wait, Voldemort was using the Elder Wand and Harry was the rightful master because he, like, stole Draco’s other wand. I don’t really get that, but okay. And so, since, like, Harry wanted Voldemort dead, then it killed Voldemort, but what was the part about, like, Lily’s blood being in Voldemort? How did that affect it and why wouldn’t that make Voldemort show more love?
Mikey: Okay. We had a long discussion about this at one point in the car.
Jamie: At one point.
Ben: What we do in the car is talk about Harry Potter a little bit and then we argue.
Mikey: Yeah, arguing about Harry Potter is all we do in the car. Basically, the blood being in Voldemort was kind of like the glimmer in Volde – Dumbledore’s eye. The reason that it strengthened the connection between Dumbledore – or Voldemort and Harry – that strengthened – that connection made it so that way Harry’s wand had already overpowered Voldemort. So that’s why his phoenix wand was so important when Voldemort stole – kidnapped Ollivander and told him about the twin wands. He thought that Lucius’ would actually just be strong enough to, you know, to be able to take it out because they’re no longer connected. But because of that blood connection between the two of them, since Harry had already taken some of Voldemort’s power into his wand, because his wand already overpowered Voldemort’s back in Goblet of Fire, some of Voldemort’s own power was regurgitated to him, which was more powerful than anything Lucius’ wand had ever put out. So that was stronger than his. Now, back to the Elder Wand. Since he – Voldemort was never the rightful master. Dumbledore was, and then Dumbledore was defeated – not necessarily killed – was defeated by Draco Malfoy with the Expelliarmus spell. Again, that Expelliarmus does everything in the books.
Mikey: Draco Malfoy was the rightful owner – wielder of the Wand. So since Harry, two weeks before the confrontation with Voldemort, had defeated Draco, he was the rightful owner. Voldemort’s wand, the Elder Wand, would not be as strong with Voldemort as it would with Harry. It recognized its true master within its distance trying to kill – or someone else trying to use his wand to kill himself. And the wand – and basically, the spell backfired because Harry was truly the Master of Death at that time. Because he was the owner of the wand, the owner of the ring, and the owner of the Cloak at that time. So that’s why it backfired, and the blood was simply making the connection stronger at that time.
Audience Member: I was under the impression that the blood was the reason that Voldemort didn’t actually – wasn’t able to kill Harry. It was like… [unintelligible]
Jamie: No, yeah, it’s because he has Harry’s blood in his veins.
Mikey: It was again for the…
Jamie: Yeah, yeah.
Mikey: …for the – for the Horcrux.
Jamie: Because Harry died.
Mikey: But it strengthened the connection between the two of them until when the wands also – that’s what strengthened their wands being so powerful against each other. And Dumbledore explains that in his portrait in the very end. That’s why his wand was so powerful only against Voldemort, because their connection was so strong.
Audience Member: You know, the whole thing with the Expelliarmus. The whole reason J.K. loves that and not the Adava – sorry. Hi. By the way, I drove all the way out from Michigan for this. [laughs] The whole reason with the Expelliarmus curse, is much more doted over the Avada Kedavra, or however you say that – Avada Kedavra – is because J.K. wanted to emphasize the disarming over the killing. It’s showing mercy. It’s not being cold-blooded killers like the Death Eaters, it’s – you’re powerless, but you’re still alive.
Ben: And Harry doesn’t know anything else, so…
Mikey: To open a door, Expelliarmus.
Emerson: Real quick here, somebody actually sent me an e-mail two days ago pointing out that in the Goblet of Fire movie, apparently – I haven’t been able to check this yet – but there’s a scene…
Andrew: [unintelligible], yeah.
Emerson: Yeah, do we have screen shots of that? I was going to ask, because [unintelligible] in the graveyard or what?
Andrew: It’s not very convincing. It looks like it, but it’s just coincidence. I mean…
Emerson: And Dumbledore – it’s coincidences…
Andrew: I think it’s Dumbledore’s…
Emerson: It’s in Dumbledore’s office. He apparently – he opens up a – on the glass shelf, and there’s like an object in there that has a line, a circle, and a triangle.
Mikey: Now, that’s – there’s actually screen shots online somewhere.
Andrew: There are screen shots, yeah.
Mikey: Yeah, I think they’re actually on your gallery somewhere.
Andrew: Maybe they are. Okay, final question for today?
Mikey: Or in the forums somewhere.
Audience Member: Hi, I’m Donna from Henepa, Illinois, almost Iowa. And…
Audience Member: [laughs] There you go. I listened to the book with Jim Dale’s recording rather than reading it. So, first of all, yeah I wanted all the details in the ending, but I knew we couldn’t have that, and I really liked the literary device that J.K. used when you wave good bye with Harry to the train departing the station. But since I was listening to it and didn’t have it in front of me, I really expected the Harry Potter music at the end of the recording. Every recording. To come up after Harry said, “The greatest man I ever knew.” And I really thought that was going to be the ending. I don’t know if anybody else felt that way, who had listened to the book.
Andrew: Did anyone else listen to the book yet? Yeah? How long was the recording?
Emerson: Twenty-six hours.
Mikey: [unintelligible] CDs. It’s in my apartment at home.
Mikey: Did anyone listen to music while reading the book? I listened to the Order of the Phoenix soundtrack, and, man, that soundtrack was perfect for the book. Like, especially when, like, Hedwig died. I was a little – the music was all sad, and I was just like, “Oh man. I need to stop reading.”
Andrew: I love Jim Dale. I look – we were sort of thinking about listening to it in the car, but we preferred classic…
Mikey: [unintelligible] …argue over…
Andrew: All right, guys, looking for – Alex, do you want to come up here real quick? Alex Carpenter from the Remus Lupins.
Mikey: Isn’t he dreamy? Look at him.
Andrew: Alex, look at…
Emerson: We also – before we let Alex take the stage and rock this Border’s, we have a couple prizes to give away.
Andrew: Oh yeah.
Emerson: So we’re going to be doing a drawing.
Mikey: There’s so many of you here.
Emerson: The first – the first prize…
Andrew: Get out your raffle tickets.
Emerson: …is a Harry Potter “Scene It?”
Mikey: Have you “scene it”?
Ben: I’ll draw.
[Andrew sarcastically laughs]
Mikey: Whoever draws automatically wins.
Audience Member: 694707?
Mikey: 694707? Who got the Scene It? Raise your hand.
Andrew: What’s the number again? 694707?
[Audience member screams]
Andrew: Ah, I heard a…
Mikey: Someone back there! Lots of excited sounds. Uh-oh.
Andrew: Someone’s coming. There she is. We have a winner!
Andrew: Wearing a MuggleCast t-shirt. That’s very good.
Mikey: I’m not on that shirt.
Andrew: All right. Next number, next number. Let’s move along.
Mikey: We got to check.
Emerson: And the next prize is another Harry Potter “Scene It?”
Mikey: Harry Potter “Scene It?” Again! They’re really fun to play. Is this the new one with Order of the Phoenix video? Wow!
Ben: Do we have a winner over here?
Andrew: Winner right over there, yeah.
Mikey: Come on, get the “Scene It?” Woo!
Andrew: And third number. Jamie.
Emerson: Third number for – what is this for? A “Scene It?”
Emerson: It’s 694478. You sound so sad. Person who won, come and be happy.
Mikey: Be excited. Yay! Prizes.
Andrew: Are we giving that away? Is someone…
Emerson: Yes, we have a sign – if you look in the back there, there’s a big poster. Deathly Hallows cover art. It’s signed by the illustrator, Mary GrandPre.
Andrew: Where’s my ticket? I want that.
Mikey: How come I didn’t get a ticket?
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs]
Emerson: Okay, for the poster…
[Audience member says something and Andrew laughs]
Emerson: Here we go, tickets out. 6947…
Mikey: It’s me!
[Audience member screams]
Emerson: Yay! Yeah, just grab it, you don’t need to wait.
Andrew: Thank you, everyone, for coming.
Ben: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Before we wrap things up here…
Mikey: Hold your horses, Andrew.
Ben: First of all, thank you to Adam Bromberg for driving us around. He’s selling our merchandise, he’s been great. Give him a round of applause.
Mikey: He gives away free hugs. He’s been feeling really lonely on the trip, so go…
Emerson: Also, thanks – the reason – when you guys go on the website each day, and you have, like, 25,000 layouts to choose from, it’s because my little brother, Dylan Spartz back there, works on…
Andrew: He’s so hot. And also…
Ben: Thank you to the Borders’ staff for having us, also. That’s great. Give them a round of applause.
Andrew: Merchandise is back there. You can get some fantastic Remus Lupins, MuggleCast…
Emerson: And for the first time in over half a year, if you guys – we can only sell them here at this event, but MuggleNet t-shirts are once again available for sale.
Andrew: Brand new!
Mikey: They’re really cool looking.
Andrew: They’re new too.
Mikey: I got the old one. He’s got the really cool new one.
Emerson: This may be your last opportunity to ever buy one, because when we run out of these few boxes we have left, we are done. We can’t sell any more. So in the back, $15.00 each.
Mikey: Purchase Remus Lupin CDs. T-shirts.
Andrew: Alex Carpenter’s going to rock this Border’s out! Stick around, don’t go anywhere!
Mikey: Stick around for it, so stay and watch some rock n’ roll.