Transcript #161

MuggleCast 161 Transcript

Show Intro

[Intro music begins]

Andrew: Hey, Mason, did you know that on July 1st, Yahoo! Domain renewal pricing increased to $34.95 per year?

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Mason: You need a deal? I got the deal you need, Andy! Check this out: transfer your domain to GoDaddy for as little as $6.99 and get a free one year extension plus guaranteed renewal pricing. makes transferring easy and offers loads of extras, including hosting, a five-page site builder, and much more. Oh yeah! Plus, as a listener of MuggleCast, enter code “Muggle” – that’s M-U-G-G-L-E – when you check out and save an additional 10% on any order. Some restrictions do apply. I want you to see the site for the details. Get your piece of the Internet at

[Harry Potter theme plays]

Jim Dale: [as Professor McGonagall] This is Professor McGonagall welcoming you all to MuggleCast hoping you enjoyed – Dobby! Dobby, come here! Here! Dobby! [as Dobby] Yes, I’d just like to say how very pleased I am to introduce MuggleCast to all of you! Thank you! Thank you!

[Show music begins]

Andrew: Because how could we not have an episode on Halloween, this is MuggleCast Episode 161 for October 31st, 2008.

[Halloween music begins playing]

Andrew: All right. We’re here for MuggleCast Episode 160. Elysa’s here. Good morning, Elysa.

Elysa: Thanks. Good morning.

Andrew: Laura is here. Good afternoon, Laura.

Laura: Thank you.

Andrew: And Micah’s here. Hi, Micah.

Micah: What, I don’t get good evening?

Andrew: Good evening, Micah.

Laura: Wow, you sounded so unhappy about that.

Andrew: [imitating Micah] What, I don’t get good evening?

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: And also here, joining me in the MuggleCast studio, it’s been a while, Ben Schoen.

Ben: Hey, everybody. I’m back. I’m live here in southern California, and I’m out of school this week. Came out to see Andrew.

Andrew: What do you think of the MuggleCast studios?

Ben: It’s very impressive. He has a – he has a very nice setup here. I’ve got a real microphone. I feel like I’m doing a real radio show right now or something.

Andrew: Ben required that I deepen his voice prior to recording.

Ben: No. Whatever!

[Ben and Elysa laugh]

Ben: The thing is, he was trying to deepen his because got jealous of my voice.

Andrew: I felt there was too much of a contrast so we had to deepen voices. Anyway, so now we’re good. We got our EQ set. We got a lot to get to this week. This is our Halloween themed show. We’ve got some Halloween stuff going on for everyone this week and a lot more. So I’m Andrew Sims.

Ben: I’m Ben Schoen.

Laura: I’m Laura Thompson.

Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

Elysa: And I’m Elysa Montfort.

[Show music plays]

News: Scholastic Employees Answer Questions

Andrew: All right, Micah, what is in the news this week?

Micah: There’s not a whole lot in the news this week, Andrew, and, in…

Andrew: It’s so dead.

Micah: …fact, it’s kind of disappointing.

Andrew: It really is.

Micah: But I guess one of the things that we can talk about was that Scholastic allowed their employees to do a little bit more of an in-depth interview and give away some of the secrets behind the Harry Potter series in terms of how everything gets put together. And…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …we have three questions here that some of the people over in Scholastic were willing to answer, and I guess we’ll go through all three of them. Do you want me to take the first one, or do you want to go ahead?

Andrew: Sure. Go ahead. Go ahead. These were interesting because it sort of came out of the blue. I don’t know if Scholastic was like, “Oh it’s a really slow time in news. I guess maybe we should do something.”

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: “We should contribute for once.”

Micah: Maybe they just wanted to one up Warner Bros. since Warner Bros. took the movie away. So they decided, “We’ll give people some inside information on the Harry Potter series.”

Ben: What a great replacement for the movie.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Exactly. Well, they do what they can. I mean, they can only do so much.

Ben: Yeah.

Micah: You know what I mean?

Andrew: So I’ll read the first question. It was from Rachel Coone, Director of Marketing. She said, “In your opinion, what has been the best idea for marketing Harry Potter?” And she wrote, “The most brilliant idea came from Jo Rowling. For Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Jo wanted to make sure that every fan had the opportunity to read the book at the same time. Strict on sale date was established. This date is what led to the midnight parties and the unified celebration worldwide.” And that was pretty interesting, because to think that it was actually Jo’s idea to put the books on sale at the same time so you could have that sort of big celebration, which has really defined the Harry Potter fandom.

Ben: Yeah, you know, the – everyone – when people think of Harry Potter they think of lining up outside your local bookstore at midnight and…

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: …kids dressed in robes and stuff.

Andrew: Yeah, and now all the books do it.

Ben: Yeah.

Andrew: Twilight, Eragon. Those – all those big series.

Ben: Well, it’s just a great thing because those are the moments you remember.

Andrew: Mhm.

Ben: Next question comes from David Sailor, a Creative Publisher at Scholastic. “Each book has a different dominant color. How did you decide which color would be good for each book?”

Andrew: This is David answering.

Ben: David answering, my bad. “For most of the books I had a color scheme in mind, based on something that came through in the story. For example, on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, there were specific scenes in the book that dictated the color palate that Mary and I wanted to use. Because J.K. Rowling’s descriptions are so clear and easily imagined, it wasn’t hard to come up with a color scheme. And from the beginning, the palate of the books was based on the jewel tones of Mary’s artwork. Ruby reds, deep amethyst purple, dark sapphires, and emeralds.”

Andrew: And I thought the cover stuff was some the most interesting because there’s a lot involved in deciding these covers. There’s nothing much to really say with these, is there? [laughs]

Ben: Well, the first one was worth talking about.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: How about this last one? Maybe we – I have no idea.

Andrew: All right, and the last one was also to David Sailor. It said, “The cover has changed a lot from Sorcerer’s Stone to Deathly Hallows. Was that a conscious decision? If so, why?” And this is something I’ve always wondered, because they went from the multi-colored covers to the one color, and then back to multiple colors.” And he said, “The biggest change in covers came from Order of the Phoenix where Mary and I though that a more monochromatic look was good for the book based on a particular scene in a revolving room that emphasized the blue candlelight glowing all around Harry. This was also the first book where it felt that Harry was truly growing into the man he would become. He was feeling angry for various good reasons, and the tone of the book became – began – to get more intense. It felt like a shift in the cover was the right thing to do – it felt like a shift in the cover was the right thing to do for Order of the Phoenix.”

Ben: Man, after that, I don’t even need to see the movie anymore.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: You think they – nobody ever complained or anything, but it was such a huge change, just how the series had the multiple colors and they went to that one.

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: I would almost think that must’ve been a hard decision to make.

Elysa: Mhm.

Andrew: Because then the covers…

Micah: I think people ultimately care more about the content and what’s inside the book than…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …what’s on the cover.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: But that’s just my opinion.

Laura: There was a lot of discussion sparked when that cover came out.

Andrew: Really?

Laura: Yeah, I remember just like – I mean, this was before I worked on MuggleNet, but I remember reading the comments and people were going crazy. Like, wondering what this meant. So, it was definitely a pretty big thing for people.

Elysa: Yeah.

Micah: We don’t overanalyze.

Andrew: Is Scholastic cutting back? It’s probably cheaper for them to print in a same color palate.

Ben: Yeah.

Andrew: Maybe that’s what they were doing.

Laura: God, these people. All they ever think about is money.

Andrew: Those cheapos.

Ben: Andrew’s onto it.

[Andrew laughs]

Andrew: So that was really it. There’s a lot more. It was kind of funny in these interviews. The same questions were asked, pretty much, of each person, and they alway ask the question, “Did you get to read the book early?” And four out of six said, “Oh no. Nobody can read them early.” But there’s like two people who were like, “Yeah, I got to read it early.” [laughs]

Ben: Yeah, they probably now are going to be sued.

Andrew: It looks kind of weird. Kind of looks strange.

Ben: Kind of shady. I bet some of them were like, “Oh, we’re not supposed to say that, I don’t think.”

Andrew: Yeah.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Ben: And the other ones, “We broke the embargo.”

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: “Oh no!”

Andrew: So that was really it. There wasn’t much other news to discuss this week.

Micah: Yep.

Andrew: Sorry to say.

Micah: It’s been very, very slow, I would say, over the last couple of weeks. It’s just little things here and there, but nothing worth talking about, unfortunately.

Andrew: Doesn’t it seem unreal now that Half- Blood Prince would’ve been released just a month ago?

Micah: Yeah. Yep.

Elysa: Yeah, for sure.

Micah: Yeah, it would’ve been a lot busier.

Andrew: You know what I mean?

Micah: A lot busier.

Andrew: Like, we…

Ben: Yeah.

Andrew: …would be getting ready for a premiere.

Ben: It’d be more than just the one, short trailer.

Andrew: Yeah.

[Laura laughs]

Ben: How many pictures would’ve been released?

Micah: Thousands at this point.

Andrew: Well, all these – too many.

Ben: Too many.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah. Well, because from all the sticker books and all that, you know.

Ben: Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, I’ve seen a lot. I was just wondering if…

Andrew: I saw you had a folder. You’re collecting them all.

Ben: Yeah.

Andrew: You just browse through them when you’re bored.

Laura: Yeah, I hear Micah’s actually papering his walls with all these Half-Blood Prince pictures. He loves them so much.

Andrew: Is that true, Micah?

Micah: No.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: Maybe a little bit.

Laura: God, you couldn’t even play along with me.

Ben: No, absolutely not.

[Andrew and Ben laugh]

Andrew: Well, thank you, Micah, for that news.

[Laura laughs]

Announcement: Micah is Now a Senior Staff Member

Andrew: Hey, speaking of Micah, Ben, would you like to do the honors with our first announcement?

Ben: This is such a wonderful announcement I am very happy to make. Micah Tannenbaum joined MuggleCast back in 2005, and initially you started off just
transcribing, right, Micah?

Micah: Yup.

Ben: And then you started doing the news, and then he moved over to helping on the main site, and he’s been around quite a while now, and he has now earned the status of senior staff member.

Laura: Aww.

Ben: So congratulations, Micah!

[Hosts clap]

Laura: Congratulations.

Elysa: Congratulations, Micah.

Ben: We’re all so proud of you.

Andrew: Senior staff member.

Ben: You’ve earned it.

Micah: Thank you. Ben, I heard you were really excited about this too. Andrew was telling me about your e-mail.

Andrew: I had to check with the senior staff to make sure this was a good decision. And what did you write?

Ben: I wrote that I strongly support this decision.

Andrew: I strongly support this decision.

[Laura laughs]

Ben: Because Micah’s the man.

Andrew: Then Jamie came to me and said, [with a bad British accent] “I can’t believe he
said it like that. He’s trying to be so business like.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Ben: I miss Jamie. I think we all do.

Andrew: [laughs] I’m looking at my first e-mail from Micah. It was the transcript – first transcript he sent to me dated August 14, 2005.

Micah: Wow.

Andrew: Congrats, Micah.

Ben: Too many typos.

Micah: Over three years ago.

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: Just kidding, Micah.

Micah: What’d you say?

Ben: I said your first transcript had a lot of typos, but I was kidding.

[Micah laughs]

Ben: But, Micah, I have a question. When you first started transcribing, was it hard for you to, like – how long did it take you to differentiate between the voices? Were there any two that confused you or anything like that?

Micah: Well, I think the thing to keep in mind was back then it was only three people.

Ben: Oh, yeah. I forgot about that.

Micah: And maybe you and Kevin a little bit. Andrew definitely…

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Well, I guess by saying Andrew was easy to differentiate…

Laura: That’s mean.

Micah: …he had a higher pitched voice than you or Kevin.

Andrew: [in a nasally tone] Well, thank you.

Ben: I miss Kevin. When’s the last time Kevin’s been on an episode?

Announcement: MuggleCast at Azkatraz

Andrew: A couple weeks ago. Maybe about a month or two. All right, well, moving along, we have another exciting announcement and that’s that MuggleCast will be at Azkatraz 2009. We are going to be doing a special podcast event. So here’s what’s happening: the movie comes out the seventeenth. Azkatraz starts on the eighteenth. So, this worked out beautifully for Azkatraz. So what they’re going to be doing is
having a midnight viewing of Half-Blood Prince on July 17th – the night of the sixteenth, but the seventeenth. And then following – immediately following the podcast – the movie – the first time all these Harry Potter fans have seen the movie, so it’s going to be really exciting – we are going to be
doing a post-Half-Blood Prince live podcast where we discuss the film.

Ben: Yeah!

Andrew: Yeah. So, it’s going to be cool.

Laura: That’s going to be so fun.

Ben: That sounds, actually, quite exciting.

Andrew: Because this midnight viewing is going to be with diehard – like when you go to the midnight viewings, they’re pretty diehard fans. But midnight viewing at a Harry Potter convention?

Ben: Oh, man.

Andrew: That’s a whole new level.

Ben: That’s just pure madness.

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, and magic. So, more details will be announced about that soon, but for now we do recommend you sign up – you register – fast, because it’s going to be a great event. It’s in San Francisco. Ben and I were talking about it yesterday. Ben will be there,
everyone will be there.

Ben: When is it?

Andrew: [laughs] July 18th.

[Laura laughs]

Ben: Oh, July 18th, okay. That’s when the movie comes out.

Andrew: Yeah, the seventeenth.

Ben: They pushed it back.

Andrew: Right. Right. [laughs]

Ben: Do you want to talk about that? Isn’t that new?

Andrew: It’s a little old, yeah.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Ben: Oh darn.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Ben: I’m kidding.

Andrew: But, yeah. So sign up for Azkatraz., I believe is the URL.

Ben: So, can we tell them where the podcast is happening?

Andrew: We don’t know yet.

Ben: Oh, we’re not doing it on Alcatraz?

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: Why not? Let’s make a petition for it.

Andrew: They may be doing something on Alcatraz.

Ben: I heard there might be a Wizard Wrock around.

Andrew: Yeah, exactly. But, I don’t…

Ben: Is that inside information?

Andrew: That is.

[Andrew and Ben laugh]

Andrew: So, to register, you go to Then they have links there to register. In the referral area, where it says, you know, “How did you hear about us?” put “MuggleNet” or “MuggleCast.” That’s really important so they know where you came from. So, thank you for that.

Announcement: Ministry of Magic Election Coverage

Micah: The Ministry of Magic elections are still rolling along. I think we completed our first primary this past week, and Hermione absolutely destroyed the competition. In all the races…

Ben: But, it brings up the question: do you really think she’s old enough? Do you think she has the experience?

Andrew: Well, because we’re – I think what we’re trying to tell people is that you’re voting for Hermione today. So how old would she be? Like, young twenties, right?

Laura: No, late twenties.

Andrew: Late twenties. Okay. So yeah.

Ben: All right, but does she have the experience?

Andrew: Oh. She may.

Ben: She may.

Andrew: I think she does.

Ben: Is – who – else is running against her?

Andrew: It was Hermione versus Lucius, and Hermione won by, what was it, 91%?

Micah: Yeah. [laughs]

Ben: That’s like…

Andrew: Which is weird, because Lucius had won the round before, so…

Ben: Who did he beat?

Andrew: Who did he beat, Micah?

Micah: He beat Dolores Umbridge, which wasn’t much competition, obviously.

Andrew: Yeah, guess not.

Ben: Yeah, wow.

Micah: But Hermione took out Harry in her first round with a pretty high percentage of the vote.

Elysa: Yeah, I was surprised about that.

Ben: Oh really? That’s interesting. I think – I thought people would’ve been all, “Harry’s the man!”

Andrew: The closest tie so far has been between Kingsley and Minerva. Kingsley won with 55%.

Ben: Ooh.

Andrew: So that was a tight race.

Ben: Not really. A 10% margin is pretty good.

Andrew: Yeah, I guess, I guess. But compared to the other ones where it’s 80%, 75, 91. [laughs]

Micah: So who is it then this week? It’s going to be Kingsley against…

Andrew: Versus Molly.

Ben: So are we having a real election November 4th?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: Oh man. The general election?

Andrew: Yep.

Announcement: Teddy Bears for Hope Update

Micah: Also, just want to do a quick update on Teddy Bears for Hope. We – I think we raised around 15 or
1600 dollars for this, which translated into about – a little over 300 bears. And we started getting them
out to a number of different places. We’ve sent out, as of right now, about 110. So we still have plenty left, and we’re looking into places that they can go out to. The first batch of 30 went to the American Red Cross in
Syracuse, New York. And the next 30 went to – I had to look up, actually, what this stood for, which is the
International Medical Equipment Collaborative…

Andrew: Nice.

Micah: …Care of the International Relief and Development section of that organization. Basically, what that means is that it goes to overseas orphanages. Particularly this one, which is based out of North Andover, Massachusetts, is most likely going to go to Iraq, so…

Laura: Oh, wow.

Micah: …orphanages in Iraq. 30 will go out there. And then 50 went to the Hudson County Child Advocacy Center in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Laura: Wow, that’s fantastic.

Elysa: It really is.

Micah: We hope with some of these places we can get some pictures and things like that so we can post it on the site to show that the money actually went to a worthwhile cause. And we still have plenty more, probably around 200, that we need to find places for. But, it’s been a tremendous success up to this point.

Elysa: Yeah.

Andrew: Cool, awesome. Good work, Micah.

Micah: Thanks.

Muggle Mail: Snape’s Fate After Battle of Hogwarts

Andrew: Okay, well, let’s focus it back to Harry Potter talk. Let’s get into Muggle Mail now. First one comes from Faye, aged 17. She writes:

“Hi, I really enjoyed your discussion on the aftermath of the Battle of Hogwarts, but was
disappointed by the fact that Snape was hardly mentioned. Who went back for his body? Was a funeral held for him? If so, who would’ve attended? Where would he be buried? What sort of recognition would he receive in later years? Just wanted to know what you guys think.”

So yeah, Snape was a very important part of that whole area of the book. So…

Ben: He got recognition because…

Laura: That’s right.

Ben: Harry named one of his kids Albus Severus.

Andrew: That’s true. Yeah.

Ben: So there’s his recognition.

Andrew: But maybe some recognition in the school, or…

Ben: Like a special award?

Andrew: Like a special award or a nice portrait.

Ben: Or like – was Snape’s story still untold?

Laura: No, Harry cleared his name.

Andrew: Yeah. Snape’s story.

Micah: J.K. Rowling did say that he would’ve made sure that people knew Snape’s story and that he wasn’t as bad as everyone thought he was.

Andrew: Hmm. Oh, that’s right. Yeah.

Ben: Yeah. Well, I mean, the fact of the matter, Snape ultimately was heroic, but he still was kind of a – you know what I mean?

Andrew: Yeah, I know what you mean.

Ben: I mean, I hate to talk about the dead, but…

Andrew: Yeah. [laughs]

Ben: It’s just Snape.

Andrew: Yeah. What about these questions that she put in here? Who went back for his body? Was a funeral held for him? I hope some – a very nice funeral was held for him. Although, you know, we were talking about all these different people who died. Did they do just one big funeral or what?

Laura: I’m sure there was some kind of great…

Ben: A mass funeral? [laughs]

Laura: Maybe not a funeral, but I’m sure there was a large memorial service. But I don’t know, I would think that people’s individual families would handle their funerals. And, I mean, obviously Snape has no family,
so I don’t know.

Andrew: You know how sometimes people get buried with some of their favorite things? What do you think Snape
would get buried with?

Laura: Hmm. Yeah.

Andrew: Not shampoo. [laughs sarcastically]

[Micah laughs]

Ben: He’d get buried with…

Andrew: SnapeCast on his iPod.

Laura: [laughs] There we go.

Muggle Mail: Remembering Voldemort

Ben: The next e-mail is from Andrew, 18, from Nashua [pronounces like “Na-Shwa”], New Hampshire.

[Laura laughs]

Ben: What’s so funny? Nashua. [pronounces like “Na-SHOO-a”]

[Laura laughs]


“Hey MuggleCasters, I was wondering what you guys thinks about Fred’s funeral and where and when it would have taken place. And speaking of funerals, instead of including Dumbledore’s in the sixth film, could they not merely end the film with a shot of the tomb? I think it would be a simple, yet powerful, ending. In response to the debate in Episode 159, I would have to agree with a point that Eric brought up. Perhaps not a wizarding picture of Voldemort but something I feel should have been – should be done at Hogwarts to remember his example. There is so much to be learned from Voldemort’s example after all. As Dumbledore put it, ‘The next time you have to choose between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to someone like Cedric Diggory.’ ‘Remember’ is the keyword. And yes, Voldemort did many terrible things. I don’t want to sound grim, but sometimes it takes some terrible things to really bring about change.”

Laura: Yeah, but, I mean, couldn’t just learning about him…

Ben: Well, I think – I think Cedric Diggory is an example – like, remembering Cedric Diggory is something that – that should be, always be like – they should always like – you know what I mean? They should have something at Hogwarts dedicated to Cedric Diggory.

Laura: Yeah, of course. Yeah.

Ben: And that’s going to remind people of the destruction that Voldemort did. Like, Cedric Diggory is a positive example because he was a kid who was taken away in his prime, whereas if you put up a statue of Voldemort it’s kind of like – you know what I mean? It’s like the diary of Anne Frank. That’s what Cedric is in this situation, and Hitler is Voldemort. And you’re not going to go to Germany, you’re not going to go erect a statue of Hitler, you know? That’s not going to happen. And you get Hogwarts, you can’t put up something of Voldemort.

Andrew: Yep.

Ben: You put up something that can represent that conflict that happened like Cedric though.

Laura: Yeah. I agree.

Elysa: Me too.

Micah: That’s what we said last week. I mean, in the debate, in particular, we referenced putting up a picture of Hitler in a synagogue or Osama Bin Laden in 9/11 memorials would kind of be the comparison of putting Voldemort up in some form of remembrance at Hogwarts. I just thought the really funny thing about this rebuttal was she mentioned that she had to agree with a point that Eric brought up, and Eric wasn’t even part of the debate.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Oh yeah.

Micah: Just goes to show how much Eric likes to talk.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: Do you think that people still have a problem saying Voldemort’s name?

Elysa: Mmm, nah.

Andrew: Mmm…

Ben: Do you still think he’s referenced as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or since he’s gone now and they no longer fear him?

Micah: We’ve never had a problem saying his name.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Ben: No, I mean – yeah, of course.

Andrew: People in the Wizarding World. I think people wouldn’t be afraid to. They’d be – they’re extremely excited that he’s dead, so – and because I think when they said the name they feared that he would appear or…

Laura: Yeah. It could also be generational, too. Like, perhaps some people who grew up during Voldemort’s reign wouldn’t want to say it, but then maybe more progressive people would and younger people would as well, so…

Andrew: Yeah. It’s sort of like when a really bad thing happens in the world. Like, you don’t – like in our world, you don’t joke about it. Like 9/11, when that happened.

Ben: Yeah.

Andrew: You don’t joke about it. But ten years later…

Laura: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: …you don’t joke about it but you sort of start talking about it.

Ben: Like, yeah, because time heals all wounds.

Andrew: Right. Right. So true, Ben.

Ben: So true.

MuggleCast 161 Transcript (continued)

Muggle Mail: Top 10 Things That Happened to Voldemort’s Body

Andrew: [laughs] Okay, next e-mail:

“Andrew, I know you said you were joking, but I couldn’t resist. It’s a bit morbid but, come on, at least I didn’t suggest sushi. Bad Micah! So, Top 10 Things That Happened to Voldemort’s Body. Number 10: He was sent to the Love Room in the Department of Mysteries. We are told he combusted as soon as it was brought in – as he was brought in.”

Ben: Why isn’t this Ben Schoen’s Top 10 List?

Andrew: Go ahead, you do it.

Ben: [laughs] I’m just kidding.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: No, I’ll do it.

“Number 9: It was sent to Borgin and Burkes and sold as human snake.” Oh…

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: “Number 8: He was stuffed and used as a target for Auror training.” [laughs]

Andrew: Nice. I like that.

Ben: “Number 7: He was buried beside his father with a gravestone that simply said ‘Tom.'”

Laura: Wow, that’s kind of sad.

Elysa: Ouch.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Ben: Ouch is right.

“Number 6: He was handed over to centaurs. We’re really not sure what happened after that.”

Andrew: Hey now!

[Micah laughs]

Laura: Same thing that happened to Umbridge.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Ben: “Number 5: He was thrown to the Inferi in the cave.” Ew.

Andrew: Mmm.

[Laura laughs]

Ben: Inferi. Are you scared of Inferi, Andrew? Is it In-fairy? In-feary? In-fery? In-fiery?

Andrew: A little bit…In-feary? In-fiery? I don’t know. It depends on how you interpret it.

Laura: Inferi. [pronounces in-fear-y]

Ben: Okay.

“Number 4: He was reanimated to sing, ‘Weasley is our King’ while doing the Hippogriff.”

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: Well, I don’t want to see him doing the Hippogriff.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: Well, he did, actually, down in Dallas, Texas at Portus 2008.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Oh, that’s right! Yeah.

Andrew: Oh God.

Ben: Who – did you guys see a guy who looked like Voldemort?

Micah: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah. He…

Ben: The guy…

Andrew: He was at our house last night.

Ben: He was at our house last night!

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: Andrew, notice how I say “our house” like…

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: …we live together now.

Andrew: You’re my roommate.

Ben: I’m moving in. I’m moving in here.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: “Number 3: His reanimated corpse was placed in the Aurors’ office to the constant amusement of Ron. Hermione wouldn’t let him bring it home.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Ben: “Number 2: They forgot about his body in the broom closet and a blind Filch found it 25 years later.”

Andrew: Why is he blind?

Micah: [laughs] Yeah, I don’t know.

Ben: Because he got old, dude.

Andrew: Yeah, but he just goes blind? Okay.

Ben: And the number one thing that might have happened to Voldemort’s body is: “Filch mumbled about stupid students and hung Voldemort by his toes in the dungeons.”

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Ew.

Micah: That was from Myra.

Laura: Hope he didn’t forget about him.

Micah: I don’t think you ever said her name.

Muggle Mail: Studying Harry Potter in School

Andrew: All right, and the last e-mail of the day is actually pretty interesting. And, Laura, I almost sent this rebuttal in to us, but luckily somebody else did. It says:

“Hi, everybody. I know that this is completely unoriginal, but I love your show. Listening to MuggleCast is one of the highlights of my week. This week as I was listening to your podcast, Micah mentioned that Scholastic was coming out with a school edition of “Harry Potter.” Somebody then proceeded to say that studying the books in school would make them get sick of them. Well, I’m here to tell you that studying HP in school does not make you get sick of the books. In fact, it makes you love them even more. The past spring, I was lucky enough to be a part of the senior elective class, AP Harry Potter. We read a book every week of the course and met for three hour time slots weekly to discuss the books. Every member of the class had to write a ten-page paper on the books and present to the class about their findings. My paper on the food in the series was the basis for a guest MuggleCast podcast this past spring when I recorded for you for your contest with my sister, Lindsay. After studying the books in depth for eight weeks, I can say I love them more than ever. There’s so much that my class was able to discuss, and there are many details that I never picked up on or never thought about in a certain way that I can now consider in a different light. Kids who get to study these books in school are so lucky. I envy them for getting to read all the books for the first time. Your show rocks, and so do all of you.”

So, Laura, you actually said this in the show, and I didn’t realize it when were recording, but you had said that people would get bored of the books if they’re read in school. Do you really think that, or were you joking, or…

Laura: I don’t remember saying that. I think I’m going to – yeah, I don’t recall.

Andrew: You did.

Laura: I’m going to pull a Ronald Reagan here. I don’t recall what you’re talking about.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Well, you did say that…

Laura: Oh, okay.

Andrew: …and I was like, “What?” I don’t know, maybe your were talking about something else.

Laura: Well, were we debating? Because like…

Andrew: No. No, we were talking about in the news…

Laura: You know…

Andrew: …the school edition of Harry Potter and you were like, “Oh, kids are going to get bored of them if they’re read in school anyway.”

Laura: I don’t know. I feel like you said it too, though.

Andrew: I said yeah, but I wasn’t listening, I was just like, “Yeah…”

[Elysa and Laura laugh]

Laura: Oh, okay.

Micah: Wow, so you don’t listen when Laura talks, is that what you’re saying?

Andrew: No, no, no, no. I don’t know what I’m trying to say.

Micah: I think what happened was, Laura was saying, wouldn’t it be really weird, because our kids are going to read the Harry Potter series years from now, and…

Andrew: Maybe.

Laura: Yeah, I remember saying that.

Micah: …it will almost be mandatory for them to do it in school. And I think that’s why it came up, and she mentioned that they may not like the series because it’s almost forced fed upon them as opposed to having the option to read it themselves.

Laura: Yeah, thank you, Micah. Thank you for remembering what I said, because I’m clearly clue-free.

Micah: But we’re going to talk about that a little bit more later in the show.

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: Yes, we have a debate prepared.

Laura: And I’m going to further incriminate myself.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Okay, well, as I said at the beginning of the show, this is our Halloween episode. Did I say that e-mail was from Renee? I don’t know if I did, but thank you for that.

Micah: You did not.

Main Discussion: Discussing Past Predictions

Andrew: Okay. So we’re going to do some Halloween talk for our main discussion this week. Set the mood here first.

[Halloween music begins]

Andrew: Okay, that’s better. So…

Laura: Oh my God.

Andrew: …every episode we discuss – every Halloween episode, we do some Halloween talk, and Micah thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the things we predicted in Episode 61, which was, I guess, our second Halloween episode. We were making predictions about Book 7. So I have these clips prepared now, and we’re going to listen to a few of them, and we also have a nice one from Laura at the end that we can dig into for a minute.

Why Ghosts Stay at Hogwarts

Andrew: Okay, so we’ll go back in time here; we’ll listen to this first clip. This was our prediction of why ghosts stay at Hogwarts:

Andrew: But even so, wanting to stay at Hogwarts, that has to be…

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: …a decision that’s up to the Headmaster. I mean, I would think you would really had to have been a great student…

Micah: Yeah.

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: …at the school, in order, you know, for Dumbledore or whoever to say, “You can stay in my school.”

Laura: Is it up to Dumbledore, though? Do you really think he has that much control over…

Andrew: Well…

Laura: …the school?

Andrew: …the current – the current headmaster?

Laura: Peeves is in the school, and it doesn’t seem like it’s too easy to get rid of him.

Jamie: No, no.

Ben: Well, that’s because Dumbledore wants him around.

Jamie: Exactly. There’s a reason.

Laura: No, I think that…

Ben: No, no, no. Dumbledore won’t oust him. They’ve said that before.

Jamie: Of course, that’s true, yeah.

Laura: I know, but, I mean, I don’t think that Dumbledore can say – tell a ghost to get out of his school.

Jamie: Of course he can! He’s so powerful, it’s ridiculous.

Andrew: [imitating Jamie] “He’s so powerful, it’s ridiculous.”

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: But, okay.

Laura: God, way for everybody to rain all over my parade there. God.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Ben: Laura, you’ve come a long way since then. [laughs] I’m just kidding. I’m sorry, I’m sorry…

Laura: Thanks, I think.

Ben: …I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…

Andrew: So, I guess we didn’t really learn more about that in Book 7, right?

Laura: Not really.

Micah: No.

Ben: No.

Laura: That was a lie.

Ben: Then why was that a prediction?

Laura: Because…

Andrew: Well, it was just a discussion.

Ben: Oh.

Laura: Well, no, but Jo was saying we were going to learn more about ghosts, and we never really did.

The Bloody Baron and Grey Lady

Andrew: Okay, well, how about this next question we answered, which was, what happened to the Bloody Baron?

Micah: The Bloody Baron. How do you guys think the Bloody Baron died?

Jamie: [laughs] He got hacked to pieces, considering all the blood on him.

Laura: Yeah. [laughs] That’s what I was going to say.

Jamie: Or he slipped over a blood factory and banged his head on the ground and died, and then that’s why all the…

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Well, whose or what’s blood do you guys think is on him? It’s described as being silvery. Do you think it belongs to unicorns?

Jamie: Yeah, but he…unicorns…

Laura: I think it’s silvery just because he’s a ghost.

Jamie: Yeah.

Laura: I mean, they’re white and transparent. I think the blood’s just silvery because of the composition of a ghost’s body.

Micah: All right, Laura.

Andrew: [imitating Micah] “All right, Laura.”

Laura: [laughs] Sorry!

Andrew: And the last one, should we do that? What – the impact of the Grey Lady?

Micah: Well, yeah, I mean, they kind of go in hand and hand together, so we can do that.

Andrew: Okay, so this is when we discuss the impact of the Grey Lady:

Micah: The final House ghost, the Grey Lady, from Ravenclaw. We really don’t know a whole lot about her. We don’t really see her that much in the books, but, Jamie, maybe you know something about this. There are various Grey Lady ghost stories that exist in London. Is that true?

Jamie: I have heard a few, yeah. Lady Jane Grey was the great-granddaughter of Henry VII and she reigned as Queen, but she was actually uncrowned and she only reigned for nine days, which is absolutely nothing. And then I think she was beheaded at the Tower of London. So yeah, that’s why her ghost is reported to haunt it. But she is supposed to haunt other castles as well in different places – haunted places. So, I mean, is there anything there? Like, maybe the Grey Lady was only at Hogwarts for nine days and then she got killed?

Andrew: Yeah, I was going to say, maybe – yeah. [laughs]

Jamie: A bit unlikely…

Andrew: Maybe Dumbledore felt bad for her, so he was like, “Come be a House ghost.”

Jamie: Yeah, yeah. “Well, don’t worry, you can become a House ghost.”

Ben: What about Professor Binns? How did he…

Andrew: Can we stay on top of Grey Lady for a second?

Jamie: Yeah, Ben. Yeah, Ben.

Andrew: Not literally. I mean…

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: We’d just fall through and hit the ground.

Micah: So it’s possible that Jo took the name from there?

Jamie: Oh, I’m sure she did. Yeah.

Laura: Yeah, there’s really no doubt behind that.

Andrew: That would probably the most reasonable explanation for…

Jamie: Yeah, but she’s a very mysterious ghost. We – I think we hear once that she was floating by or something like that, but we didn’t hear anything about her. Perhaps we’ll find something new in Book 7?

Micah: I think she’s in “Half-Blood Prince,” if I remember. They said some ghost went by as Harry was talking to Hagrid about overhearing the conversation between Snape and Dumbledore.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: She seems to be around at kind of interesting times, because they said in the movie for “Chamber of Secrets” – and I don’t know if this was in the books too – it was a scene that was cut out where – it’s the first time that Harry goes to open Tom Riddle’s diary.

Andrew: Yeah?

Micah: And he tells the Grey Lady to get lost.

Jamie: No, he doesn’t, does he? Really?

Andrew: It’s a deleted scene.

Laura: Yeah.

Jamie: Oh, sorry. It’s a deleted scene, I see. Sorry.

Micah: [laughs] But I don’t know.

Andrew: Why would they cut that? I mean, what was…

Andrew: So that goes on and on.

Laura: Wow.

Micah: We were – we were pretty close there. I mean, Jamie in particular saying that we would learn something about her in Book 7.

Andrew: Yeah, exactly.

Micah: And we certainly did.

Place of the Final Battle

Andrew: Now there’s one more thing we discussed about on this episode, and – I’ll just play it – we’re talking about where the final battle would be.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Oh God.

Elysa: Uh-oh.

Andrew: Here’s Laura’s thoughts.

Laura: Oh God.

Andrew: Where do you guys think the final battle will take place?

Ben: Hogwarts.

Laura: Not at Hogwarts.

[Laura laughs]

Ben: Hogwarts.

Laura: Not at Hogwarts! Not at Hogwarts. Oh my god.

Andrew: I think it should.

Laura: No!

Ben: Why not, Laura? Why not?

Laura: Every bad fan fiction I’ve ever read in my whole life, they have the final battle take place at Hogwarts, and then…

Micah: Oh, no no.

Laura: …first years are out fighting Death Eaters. It’s ridiculous. No.

Micah: I think it should be at Godric’s Hollow.

Andrew: Yeah. Oh, that would be good. Yeah. You guys want a cool…

Andrew: So, Laura, do you regret…

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: …your statement now or do you still stand by that?

Laura: No, no, I don’t. I mean, she definitely made it fantastic. Like, I completely loved the way she did the final battle. I think the problem was…

Ben: Backtracking now.

[Andrew and Ben laugh]

Laura: Hey, hey, I admit, okay? I admit, I admit I was an ass, okay?

Elysa: No, no, no, no, no, no. I mean, it doesn’t mean you were wrong, though. Because, I mean, I love the way she did it too and I thought it turned out wonderfully, but it doesn’t mean you were wrong, because you were saying that every bad fan fiction is like that.

Laura: It was true.

Elysa: It’s true.

Ben: She’s not calling Book 7 a bad fan fiction. She’s not doing that.

[Elysa laughs]

Laura: No! Not at all. No, seriously, these things would literally – they had the students uniting in this battle front on the front lawns of Hogwarts. Like, it was just so cheesy. Every single one of them was the same.

Elysa: Yeah.

Laura: So when I thought of the final battle being at Hogwarts, I just imagined these fan fictions and I was like, “Oh God, please don’t do it.” [laughs] Because I thought it was going to be awful. But no.

Ben: Wouldn’t it be awesome if Jo wrote fan fiction?

Andrew: She may.

Elysa: Maybe she does.

Andrew: Maybe some rejected chapters from Harry Potter show up on MuggleNet Fan Fiction.

Laura: Wouldn’t that be bad if she submitted something and it got rejected from someone’s fan fiction site?

[Elysa and Laura laugh]

Elysa: Well, there was one story, actually, on MuggleNet Fan Fiction, and it pretty much got everything in Deathly Hallows down pat.

[Laura laughs]

Elysa: I mean, all the major plot points, and we rejected it! [laughs] Not because the plot was bad, obviously…

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Elysa: …but just because it was poorly written. But still, afterwards, you’re like, “Crap! I hope that wasn’t Jo!”

Andrew: It was like when she went into the MuggleNet chat room and was giving theories, but nobody liked them. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: That’s awesome.

Laura: [laughs] Everyone was like, “No!”

Elysa: Yeah.

Laura: “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

[Elysa laughs]

Andrew: And everyone was like, “Give us the chat logs!”

Elysa: Fail.

Andrew: And we’re like, “We don’t have those.” [laughs]

Ben: I wish we did.

Andrew: Yeah. Okay, so that’s what happened with that. And, you know, in a way, it’s almost like – Laura, the directors of the films sort of had the same feelings you did because they’re not having a Battle of Hogwarts in Half-Blood Prince just because there’s one in DH. I mean, is that sort of what you’re saying, is that it would be repetitive, too? Is that one of your ideas?

Laura: Well, no, it wasn’t – well, yeah, I was kind of talking about how every show down was sort of taking place at Hogwarts up until that point, so I was, at that point, hoping that we were going to see something different. I mean, and also you have to remember, I was a huge proponent of something big happening in the Department of Mysteries. So I was really set on the idea of something major happening there.

Andrew: Okay.

Laura: And the thought that it was going to be Hogwarts instead really upset me. But I’m over it now because I enjoyed it.

Andrew: Micah, do you want to take the discussion from here?

Hosts Choose Houses Based on Ghosts

Micah: Sure. Well, I guess we want to stay with the Halloween theme, and it’s kind of different than we have in the past couple of years, because we don’t really have much of the stories to go on in terms of predicting things and basing it off of past books. But this is more of a general discussion, I guess, so let’s start with, if you had to decide which House you would be in based upon the House ghost, which House would you be in and why?

Laura: Hmm…

Andrew: I think I would be in Nearly-Headless Nick’s, and I’m kind of just going to base this sort of just on the movie, but it just seems like he’s the most – definitely one of the nicest ghosts to get along with, and he seems so helpful and pleasant.

Micah: Laura?

Ben: I’d have to agree.

Micah: Or Ben?

Ben: I’d have to agree. I think that – I don’t think you really get to see the other – you don’t really get to develop a relationship with the other ghosts like you do with Nick, you know.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: He’s your boy.

Ben: Through Harry’s interaction with him.

Laura: I mean, I guess also – I’m sure the other students developed relationships with their House ghosts. We just didn’t see it, obviously, because the books are written from Harry’s point of view.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: But I don’t know. It’s hard to choose based on a ghost.

Andrew: I wonder if the ghosts really care to develop relationships with the students, because…

Ben: They’re dead.

Andrew: Well, they’re dead, but they’re going to pass through the school and then they’ll never see them again once they graduate.

Laura: Yeah, that’s true. I don’t know. I don’t know, I’d be all about stalking the Bloody Baron because he’s cool, so…

Andrew: Mhm.

Laura: …Slytherin it is.

Andrew: [laughs] Elysa?

Elysa: I don’t know. I was going to go with Nearly-Headless Nick just because he’s the most lively of the bunch. I just think he’s the most fascinating, but now that feels like a really cliche answer. So I guess now I’ll go with the Fat Friar…

Andrew: And Micah?

Elysa: …because I think he’s one of the few that would go with trying to form a relationship with the students so…

Micah: Well, I maybe…

Elysa: …that’d be awesome.

Micah: …would have to choose the Bloody Baron, but, I mean, nobody’s gone for the Grey Lady at all. But I guess that’s just because she’s a little bit too far out there. But I’ll go with the Bloody Baron. I like that choice.

The Halloween-type Characters Significance in the Series

Andrew: So do you guys think that there were enough of the traditional Halloween characters in the series, such as the ghosts, the ghouls, the goblins, the werewolves, and the vampires? Because it seems like some played a significant role while Jo just managed to fit them in. I mean, they didn’t even really play that big of a role in the books. What do you guys think they added to the series?

Laura: I think they just sort of added – yeah.

Andrew: Right. Oh, I see what you’re saying…

Laura: I don’t know.

Andrew: Yeah, just add to it as a whole…

Laura: Well, Remus is a werewolf.

Andrew: …where they’re trying to sort of set a theme in the books?

Laura: I think they just set the atmosphere of the fantasy setting. Like, I don’t really see much purpose beyond that. I don’t – I mean, I don’t know if that’s what you’re asking, but…

Andrew: Yeah, basically. No, that was it. Micah?

Micah: Yeah. I think what I was trying to get at, though, is it seems like we have Remus Lupin, who’s a werewolf, but then you kind of just have these other ghosts and ghouls. Like the ghoul that lived up in the Weasley’s attic and the goblins at Gringotts. And the vampires; they very rarely make an appearance in the series. I agree with Laura that it set the tone just kind of having them around. They didn’t necessarily play a significant role, but it seemed like she took only a few of those and made them important, whereas the others were just kind of scenery. You know what I’m saying?

Laura: Mhm.

Micah: But why do that? I mean, you have seven books. Why not make them more important to the central plot?

Andrew: Well, because you know why. We’ve read them all now. It’s like – maybe around Prisoner of Azkaban you could argue that, but they’re not that important. They don’t really need to be.

Laura: Yeah, and there’s only like so many times that you can make the plot surround some magical creature. Like, it would – I don’t know. I think it would be weird if you had, you know, the book with Remus and being a werewolf, and then in the next book you had someone being a vampire, and the book after that – you know. I think it would get old.

Micah: All right.

Andrew: Elysa.

Elysa: Yeah, I agree. I mean, if anyone could pull it off it would be Jo, but…

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Yeah.

Elysa: But really, I think if there had been too much of that, it would have just turned into a freak circus. And it would detour from the writing and from the plot, anyway, if she had purposely went out of her way to incorporate that.

Andrew: Yeah. And the uniqueness that is Harry Potter. Because it would be very generic to have a story about vampires and stuff. And by keeping these people minor, it’s not really a generic story of vampires or werewolves. I think she balanced it perfectly.

Snape Not a Vampire

Micah: Well, speaking of vampires, one of the main theories that was out there throughout the course of the entire series was that Snape was a vampire. And this theory was obviously absolutely crushed by J.K. Rowling, and I just want to know – I guess maybe just even from Elysa, having read a ton of fan fiction, what did you think… [laughs] …when it was finally put to rest? Because I’m sure there were probably hundreds, if not thousands, of stories based solely on this.

Elysa: Yeah, no, there definitely were. Though to be completely honest, I was never quite sure where that came from, because a lot of the stories, anyway, the reasons that they used for – or the motive, rather, that they used for Snape being a vampire seemed a little arbitrary. I mean, they made for great stories, but I didn’t find that much canon to support it. A lot of the times they would sort of use the whole Remus Lupin being a werewolf thing as a basis for the plot, and Snape being a vampire, him being a werewolf, and the whole vampire/werewolf feud, and so – like, that was usually from a fan fic perspective, what – you know, how it came about, but in terms of it being a legitimate theory of him being a vampire, I wasn’t quite certain where that came from.

Micah: I mean, did any of it come from – there are a couple times in the series that she refers to him as being bat-like.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Or having qualities like that.

Andrew: Well, let’s not forget that in Sorcerer’s Stone Anniversary Edition, she described him as somewhat looking like a vampire, but that is Snape. That’s just his appearance.

The Veil

Micah: Okay. One of the other theories that was out there that I know we spent a lot of time talking about, and Laura in particular…

Laura: Uh-oh.

Micah: …because of her love – [laughs] – because of your love of the Department of Mysteries. Halloween being the day where the Veil between the world of the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and its role in Deathly Hallows. We did spend a lot of time talking about this in past shows, and it was kind of disappointing, because it really ended up having – the Veil itself, actually, having very little impact on the final book.

Laura: Yeah, it like – next to nothing. I was so disappointed. [laughs] Anyway. Yeah, I remember discussing this. Didn’t we do like a three part series?

Micah: [laughs] We probably did, yeah.

Andrew and Laura: On the Department of Mysteries? Yeah.

Laura: And I remember we spent a long time talking about that. And I remember it was because someone was theorizing that maybe Voldemort was going to fall on Halloween, that it would go down on the same day it all started.

Andrew: Yeah, because there was some…

Laura: And I forget whose idea that was.

Andrew: I don’t know, but there were – I had brought up a theory saying there was something related to Halloween where some veil was always the thinnest.

Laura: Mhm.

Andrew: Do you guys remember when we were talking about that?

Laura: Well, yeah, that’s always been sort of a theory, that, like, the bridge between the world of the living and the dead is at its shortest or at its thinnest on Halloween.

Andrew: So you could, theoretically, hear through it better, maybe? Or look…

Laura: Yeah. Or it would allow people to cross over, I guess. I think that was our – and at this point, did we have the title of the book?

Micah: We probably did…

Laura: Because I feel like that’s where…

Micah: …and there – there were so many different things related to Hallows at the time that we were analyzing, that probably did have something to do with it as well.

Laura: And I feel like we heard “hallows” and then we thought, “Oh, Halloween,” you know?

Andrew: Right.

Micah: All Hallows Eve, yeah.

Laura: Yeah, yeah. I think that’s where it was coming from.

Andrew: Yeah, that was it. That was exactly it. Yeah. So…

Micah: So, we…

Laura: Such a different – like, where does this crap come from? Like, where did we get this crap? [laughs]

[Andrew and Micah laughs]

MuggleCast 161 Transcript (continued)


Micah: Well, not only that – you want to go crazy? We spent that whole episode – Laura, I think it was you, me, and Eric talking about the Antipodean
Opaleye, the dragon, because we thought that…

Laura: Oh, my God, yes. [laughs]

Andrew: Oh yeah…

Laura: Oh my God!

Micah: The dragon on the cover of the Deluxe Edition, and that means that – I don’t even know.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: We were talking about that Deathly Hallows symbol being – like, reversing worlds, or going through time, or different ends of the Earth.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: We were all over the place. [laughs]

Laura: Oh, I remember, I remember… [laughs]

Elysa: Oh man.

Laura: What happened was that Eric was saying that the scenery on that cover looked like New Zealand. I wonder why.

Andrew: Oh yeah, yeah.

[Elysa laughs]

Laura: And then he’s like, “Well, maybe they go to New

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: But you’ve got to remember, that’s all we had to work with, so we had to discuss and pick apart every little pixel of those covers.

Micah: Yep.

Laura: I miss that, though. Those days were really fun…

Micah: That was great, yeah.

Laura: …because we really had no clue what was going on. [laughs]

Significance of Halloween

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. So let’s move along. Do you think J.K. Rowling intentionally made significant events happen in the series on Halloween after the Potters’ death? Micah, can you elaborate a little more?

Micah: Do you want me to answer it, or do you want me to elaborate?

Ben: Well, I think – I think that makes sense, because it’s All Hallows Eve, it’s a – it’s like when the spirits come out of Hell or something like that. Isn’t that what it is?

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: So, I mean, all this evil – all evilness is coming out, and some bad stuff has to happen.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, it also just – it also just sets a very interesting theme. You just – I think it’s part of Jo’s really descriptive writing. You get feeling out of
knowing that all this stuff is occurring on Halloween. Because we all know what Halloween feels like, that sort of spirit.

Micah: Right.

Laura: Mhm.

Micah: I think after the Potters’ death, she chose to really make that a significant date in the series.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: Because if you look at all the different events, I mean, what happens on Halloween in the first book is, that’s when the trio really forms. It’s
when they come together to face the troll. And from that point on, at least through – I think it’s like the first four books – there are significant events that take place on Halloween.

Laura: Yeah, I was just trying to remember, like – I don’t know, I don’t want to back track too much, but Book 1, it’s the troll…

Micah: Yeah.

Laura: …and then Book 2, Deathday party slash whatever. They find the first…

Micah: The first attack, yeah.

Laura: Yeah. Book 3, Sirius broke into the castle. Book 4, Harry…

Andrew: We had a main discussion on this, didn’t we?

Laura: Yeah.

Micah: Probably, yeah.

Laura: Yeah, we did.

Andrew: We did.

Laura: I think we went over everything that had happened. I think this was our first Halloween episode, actually…

Micah: Yeah.

Laura: …that we went over all the stuff that happened on Halloween. That is crazy.

Micah: What was Goblet of Fire? That was the actual…

Laura: Harry was chosen, I think.

Micah: Right, right.

Laura: From the Goblet.

Micah: And then it – nothing happened in the last three books, I don’t think.

Ben: [imitating angry Dumbledore in Movie 4] “Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?!”

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Oh, we’re joined by Michael Gambon, everybody.

Laura: Yeah. [laughs]

Micah: I guess we could talk briefly about – it’s obviously Rowling’s favorite holiday. It’s a day of both great triumph and tragedy for the Wizarding World. I guess the only real thing to say about that is just that it was the day that Voldemort met his match in Harry Potter, but it was also a day of great tragedy,
because both Harry’s parents were killed.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: That was kind of the only point that I was trying to make there.

Andrew: Yeah. It’s interesting.

Micah: And, actually, somebody brought this up just before, but should Voldemort have fallen on October 31st? You know, would that had brought the story full circle? Better than what happened?

Andrew: I think it was already full circle enough with Remus and Tonks’ kid losing Remus and Tonks. So, I think it would’ve been cool, but I don’t know if it’d be necessary. But I guess when you think about all the events that did happen on Halloween, it would’ve been pretty fitting. Although, if you think about it, let’s see, they were – school had started when they were still searching for the Horcruxes. So don’t you think with the Harry Potter timeline in mind, like…

Micah: You wouldn’t have been able to have a battle at Hogwarts, really. In the way that she wrote it, if you waited until Halloween. I don’t think.

Andrew: Do you – when did this happen, exactly? Was it before Halloween?

Micah: Yeah. I think so.

Laura: Well, technically. No, wait, the final battle at Hogwarts?

Micah: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah, that was in June. Like, it was towards the end of the school year, I think.

Andrew: Right. So they had already passed.

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: You know what I’m saying?

Micah: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking, is that they – it would’ve – like, the book started in, what, July?

Andrew: Right.

Micah: Probably. Yeah.

Laura: It would’ve been – it would’ve been a few months long, the timeline of the book.

Micah: Yeah. It would’ve had to have been – it would’ve had to have spanned two Halloweens in order for it to get to where we wanted it to be, you know? We would’ve
passed the first Halloween, where they were in the forest, or something, and then the second one would’ve had to extend beyond that Battle of Hogwarts for it to
actually be worth anything. But that’s what I’m saying. I don’t think that it would’ve worked well for – for her to have to write it that way. It didn’t make

Andrew: Okay. So I guess we’re going to get into the fun portion of the discussion now. If you had to dress up as a Harry Potter character for Halloween, who would it be? I’ve already done it. I’ve been Harry.

Laura: Dork!

[Elysa laughs]

Andrew: How about you guys? Ben, who would you be if you had to dress up as a character for Halloween? Harry Potter character for Halloween?

Ben: [imitating Hagrid] Rubeus Hagrid!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: You would fit the character well.

Ben: Thanks, Andrew, because I’m a giant. I’m larger than life.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: I didn’t mean it that way.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: I didn’t mean it that way. I meant that you’re tall. That’s all I meant.

Ben: This is why I don’t come on, Andrew.

[Andrew laughs]

Elysa: Oh, my gosh! [laughs]

Andrew: MuggleCast 160, Larger than Life. Should be a show title.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Micah, how about you? If you had to be one character? Actually I – let me guess, let me guess. I would say you would want to be…

Ben: Hermione.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: I would guess you’d want to be Snape.

Micah: That might not be a bad character. I’m trying to think of a really obscure character that would kind of fit.

Ben: Dawlish.

Micah: [laughs] Dawlish. I don’t know.

Andrew: Well, here, we’ll get back to you in a second. Laura and Elysa? How about you guys? You think about it though, Micah.

Laura: I don’t know. I mean, I don’t really – I can’t think of anything. But I will confess I did dress up as Hermione for Halloween in fifth grade.

Elysa: Nice!

Andrew: Well – so yeah. So you would want to…

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: Wow, fifth grade.

Laura: Yeah.

Ben: Wow.

Andrew: Nobody was really dressing up like Harry Potter back then.

Laura: I was, like…

Ben: I think Laura’s a trendsetter, I think.

[Andrew and Ben laugh]

Laura: Yeah, that’s right.

Ben: She broke the mold.

Laura: That’s right.

Andrew: You should’ve copyrighted the costume design before – before WB got to it.

Laura: Yeah, really. What was I thinking?

[Elysa laughs]

Laura: My dumb eleven year-old self. Like…

Elysa: Aww!

Andrew: [laughs] Elysa, how about you? I could see you dressing up as Tonks.

Elysa: I’m going to go with…

Ben: No.

Elysa: Tonks?

Ben: Bellatrix.

Andrew: Oh, Bellatrix.

Elysa: Bellatrix?! Ouch!

Ben: What?

Andrew: It’s not an insult. Just a…

Ben: She’s a badass.

Andrew: Yeah.

Elysa: Yeah. Actually, I’m going to go with Hedwig.

[Andrew laughs]

Elysa: No one ever thinks of Hedwig!

Ben: I’m going to be a Nimbus 2000.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: And then we would – and then we would have to blow you up.

Micah: [laughs] Yeah. I mean, he’s nothing more than a puff of feathers. Or she.

Elysa: Oh no! Blasphemy! No!

Micah: Nothing more than a puff of feathers.

Elysa: [laughs] Actually, Thompson, I have a proposition for you.

Laura: Uh-oh.

Ben: Who’s Thompson?

Elysa: Yeah, I was thinking about this. And if I was thinking to be Hedwig, I would totally want to be Firenze. So…

Laura: [laughs] What?!

Elysa: …you know how, like, those old fashioned – those old fashioned horse outfits? Like, could you – would you please do me the honor of being my…

Andrew: Back legs?

Elysa: …backside?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Elysa: Would you please do that for me?

Laura: Yeah. You know, I’ll just go ahead and go book a flight right now and fly out to England.

Elysa: Yeah!

Laura: It’ll be fun. We’ll walk around the Oxford campus.

Elysa: Yes! Seriously! When? Come on out.

Andrew: As Firenze?

Elysa: Yeah, I think that would totally work. Let’s do it.

Laura: That’d be pretty fun. Maybe we’ll run into Emma Watson and – yeah. She’ll be really impressed by that, right?

Elysa: Probably would.

[Laura laughs]

Elysa: Scare the living daylights out of her.

Andrew: This has been girl talk on MuggleCast.

[Micah laughs]

What If?

Andrew: All right. Well, that’s our Halloween main discussion for now. Hopefully everyone enjoyed it. We’ll do it next year. Grasping for even more straws, unless J.K. Rowling reveals something interesting in Beedle the Bard, maybe. When it comes to Halloween discussion, I mean. Next up we have an interesting What If?, and we haven’t done this in a while. And when Micah originally suggested it, I wasn’t sure if it would offend people. But I don’t think – it’s not offensive. Micah, go ahead. Why don’t
you introduce it?

Micah: Okay, well, the What If? segment… [laughs] …for this week is, what if J.K. Rowling were a man? And I guess…

Elysa: Mmm…

Laura: Oh, I’m so offended.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: No, but the best two people to ask about this, I really did think, were Laura and Elysa, because I’m interested in what their take would be if she were actually a man and this was a man who was writing the series. Do you think there would be a different reaction to it? Do you think that sales would have been different? Maybe she would have had a little bit more success early on in her career when the series first came out?

Laura: I don’t – I mean, how much more success can you ask for? I mean, she’s been pretty…

Micah: Well, we all know it didn’t take off the way that it obviously blossomed into later on, years later.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah, but I think that’s just being an author, though. I mean, you go to any…

Micah: Well…

Laura: …famous author, they didn’t just – most of them didn’t just take off overnight. I don’t know that it’s gender-specific.

Micah: Well, didn’t they specifically have her name be changed to J.K…

Laura: Yes. They did.

Micah: …Rowling on the book covers?

Elysa: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah, they did that because they thought that, what was it? They don’t think that – there’s some study…

Andrew: Women authors would sell.

Laura: Well, no, that’s not it. They think that women readers don’t discriminate based on sex, but that male readers aren’t likely to pick up books by female

Andrew: Oh, right. Right.

Laura: And so that’s why they did it. But, I mean, these are also the same people who changed the name of the first book in the U.S. because they thought American kids were too dumb to know what a philosopher was. So…

Andrew: I was too dumb to know what a sorcerer was.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: They should have just kept it. It would have been the same thing. I think that – I think the biggest difference would be the writing style, don’t you think? Because there are differences between a man writing and a woman writing, and I think J. K. Rowling’s extremely…

Laura: Mhm.

Andrew: …clever writing style and her witty remarks from Dumbledore and all that, I think it’s from J.K. Rowling’s feminine qualities. You know what I mean? Or am I way off here?

Laura: Yeah. Well, no, no no. I mean, I think there’s something to be said for that fact, just because if she were a man, she would obviously be a completely different person.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: So, I mean, clearly, the perspective would be different.

Micah: Yeah. I don’t think you would have as many powerful female characters, probably, as you do in this series. I mean, you look across the board, whether it’s
Hermione or Molly – or even Umbridge and Bellatrix – they’re very, very powerful. Ginny too. I don’t know that you would have that in a book that was written by a man.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: Mhm. It depends. I mean, some men do write very powerful female characters. It just depends on the guy, I guess.

Elysa: Yeah, I don’t know. I’m tempted to speculate on a whole host of things that might have been different, including what Micah was saying about strong female characters. But, honestly, I feel like it wouldn’t make much difference at all. And I hate using such a loaded word, but I feel like feminism is about equality, not being better, or being worse, or even different intellectually, just equal. So I don’t think it’d really matter. I don’t feel like the characters she created, or the plot she created, or the atmosphere, or the level of creativity, I don’t think any of that is gender-specific, and I think the books would have been just as good and had all the
same positives, or negatives, if she were a man.

Ben: That’s what I learned in my Sociology class at school, was that in society we tend to think – we tend to associate gender roles. Like, you know, men are better at fixing cars…

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Ben: …or women are better at doing this thing, when the actual studies indicate that it’s completely the opposite way, that gender doesn’t matter.

Elysa: Right.

Ben: It doesn’t affect the quality of work.

Elysa: Yeah. I think the only time it matters is in perception.

Ben: But don’t they say perception is reality?

Elysa: That’s true. I disagree, though.

Andrew: J.K. Rowling has always admitted that she’s been shy. She was very shy, you know, as an author, back in the ’90s, and she still kind of is now. Do you think that would have changed at all? I mean…

Laura: No.

Andrew: …this is a tricky thing to step around, because you don’t want to come off like you’re sexist or anything.

Laura: No, I don’t think so. I mean…

Andrew: Like, you know, only women are shy, which is obviously not the case. I mean, look at Ben.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: So…

Laura: Hey! Stop insulting my gender.

[Elysa laughs]

Laura: Anyway – I’m just kidding, Ben. [laughs] What I think – okay, here’s what I think. If we’re like taking this – like we’re assuming, right, that it’s exactly her, like same person, just in a male body, right? Like that’s what we’re saying?

Ben: But then it’s not her anymore.

Laura: Right.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: Like same personality, like same everything, like carbon copy, but male. Okay.

Andrew: I don’t know. How exactly should we put it, Micah? Like…

Micah: Well…

Andrew: What are we exactly talking about?

Micah: Well, I think we’ve addressed some of the things.

Andrew: Because personality changes.

Micah: We’ve definitely talked about some of the things so far, I mean, in terms of her writing style, in terms of how the readers would choose to accept her or not accept her, or maybe even, would she be a more aggressive person? You know, would she be a little bit more arrogant? I mean, not that she – she’s definitely not an arrogant person, and you mentioned that she’s very shy and reserved. But, you know, if you lend that quality to – or rather, if you changed the gender, does that change completely? I mean, is she somebody that then doesn’t donate to charity or doesn’t do some of the things that J.K. Rowling has been known to do?

Laura: Hmm. I don’t know. I mean – just like – one of my favorite authors, Michael Connelly, is extremely shy. I mean, you see this guy interviewed on the news and he’s like in shock, like he – you can tell – he’s completely confused by the idea that people want to talk to him. And it’s – and I like it because it’s very humbling, and you feel like that person actually deserves to be where they are. But no, I don’t think that shyness or any other personality trait like that is gender specific. And I mean, I think assuming like what I was saying earlier, if we’re just saying she’s the same exact person just with a different gender, then I don’t think anything would change. But at the same time, I do think that there are – I mean, I personally feel like if I had been born male, I wouldn’t be the same person. I mean, it’s like – I would probably have some things that were different about me. So – but for the sake of the argument, I was assuming…

Ben: But society conditions you, though.

Laura: Right.

Ben: When you’re born male, your crib and the sheets have to be blue. When you’re female, the sheets have to be pink. And girls play with dolls and boys play with action figures, so…

Laura: I played with Tonka trucks. That’s just me though.

Ben: Yeah, but you’re weird.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Thanks, Ben. [laughs]

Ben: Good to be back.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: It’s great to have you back.

Andrew: All right, so is this what we’ve come up with? So, if J.K. Rowling were a man, there really wouldn’t be many differences.

Micah: It’s just…

Ben: I just think you can’t tell because it’s all like – everything was timing, you know what I mean? That’s why Jo was successful was because she – all the pieces fell into place in the right way, and you don’t know that if she was a man, all the pieces would have fell the exact same way because her being a man completely changes who she is as a person.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: You know what I mean? Because…

Laura: Right.

Ben: You know, if you – if you’ve had – if you identify as being female and you identify as being male, you know what I mean? Clearly going to be different, so who knows if the book would have even been published to begin with.

Elysa: Right. I agree.

Ben: Or it could have been even popular, who knows?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Or it could’ve been Eragon.

Andrew: I think there would be…

Laura: Oh, God.

Andrew: …some changes in personality.

Micah: I mean, it’s a very dicey subject, and you know…

Andrew: Yeah. Oh, definitely.

Micah: …like you said in the beginning, and obviously we’re just trying to come up with some sort of ideas over… [laughs] …a very messed up topic.

[Elysa and Laura laugh]

Andrew: It’s not messed up. It’s a fun topic. We’re shock jocks.

Debate: Harry Potter Mandatory Reading in Schools

Micah: All right, well, it is time for our debate segment this week, and I’d like to thank all of you for coming here today, and I’ll ask the audience to please be quiet during the debate.

[Elysa and Laura laugh]

Micah: Except for this time, when we welcome in our two sides…

[Elysa and Laura laugh]

Micah: …to argue whether the Harry Potter series or one of the seven books should be made mandatory reading in U.S. public schools. On the side arguing that they should be made mandatory, if – are Ben Schoen and Elysa Montfort. On the side arguing that they should not be made mandatory are Andrew Sims and Laura Thompson.

Andrew: That’s me!

Micah: Each side will have two minutes to make their case followed by a one minute rebuttal period. Ben and Elysa, you go first. You have two minutes, and your time starts now.

Ben: Well, my friends…

[Elysa and Laura laugh]

Ben: …I would just like to say that the impact Harry Potter has had on literacy is absolutely undeniable, and I have never met a single person who’s read Harry Potter and said, man, I wish I’d never done that. And the fact of the matter remains that you continue to hear success story after success story that of people who have read Harry Potter, that have gone on to read other things, and Harry Potter sparked their interest in reading. And it’s been proven, through so many – when we’re at these podcasts, doing these events, we’ll talk to parents of kids who say, “My child didn’t read before Harry Potter and now it’s helped them become passionate about learning and passionate about education.” And I think that if the Harry Potter books were made mandatory, you’re going to spread that education and you’re going to make that something that’s important to these kids, and Harry Potter is a great hook to suck them in. Elysa, do you have anything to add?

Elysa: Yeah, I just wanted to say that I agree completely, and I actually found a newspaper article on talking about Robert Meller’s Primary School, which is in a depraved – a deprived area, has jumped from the bottom twenty-five percent of schools in the U.K. to just outside of the top five percent over the last three years alone after deciding to incorporate the Harry Potter books into their curriculum and making it mandatory reading in their English classes. So that’s hard evidence of what Ben was just saying. And especially in the United States, where we rank number eighteen on literacy rates in the whole world, with countries like Moldova and Lithuania being ranked higher than us, I think it’s extremely important to make literacy and the Harry Potter books mandatory reading and a higher priority in our education system.

Ben: It is all about education, my friends.

Micah: All right. Your time is up.

Elysa: Yeah, forty million adults in the U.S. are functionally illiterate.

Micah: Andrew and Laura, you have two minutes.

[Clapping sound clip plays]

Laura: Okay.

Andrew: Go ahead, Laura.

Laura: So students…

Micah: I said no clapping.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: …by the audience. Only when the candidates entered.

Laura: This better not cost me time.

[Audience booing sound clips plays]

Micah: No, you’re two minutes will start now, but please refrain the audience from clapping in your favor. I’ll have none of that in my debate hall.

Laura: Okay, well, thank you for having us here tonight, Micah.

[Audience cheer sound clip plays]

[Laura and Elysa laugh]

Laura: Oh my God! Okay.

Andrew: Okay, go. That’s it.

Micah: Mr. Sims.

Laura: So…

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: Stop making hand gestures to the crowd.

Andrew: Go ahead. We’re done. Go ahead.

Laura: So first point, students are notorious for hating books they’re forced to read in school. One of the reasons that we all love Harry Potter so much is because we’re allowed to find it at our own pace as opposed to being forced to have a certain amount of chapters read by a certain time. Why do that to kids? Why would we possibly want to destroy the magic that we’ve gotten from Harry Potter by making it something mandatory? Furthermore, it’s great and all that some schools are involving Harry Potter in their curriculum, but there are a number of ignorant people out there who would be adverse to allowing their children to participate in classes in which Harry Potter was being taught, and I don’t sympathize with these people, but rather, I don’t think schools should have to deal with the kind of distraction that could arise from several students refusing to take part in classroom activities. Like think of Laura Mallory, seriously, and think about where I live; people would definitely do it. Furthermore, I’m thinking of Chronicles of Narnia. You couldn’t possibly teach all of the Chronicles of Narnia in school, so they picked the first and most popular book and made everybody read it five million times, to the point where no one wanted to read it any more. And I fear that this would also happen with Harry Potter. Go ahead, Andrew.

Andrew: Yeah, there’s something about making sure that students read a book. Once you read a book, you suddenly lose – it doesn’t come – it’s not as fun for you to read that book. And, like Laura was saying, this would just spark a whole bunch of new debates over whether – it would start with fights in schools with parents versus the administrators saying, oh, you shouldn’t allow – my kid shouldn’t be reading this. I don’t want them to be reading this. It’s sort of like with the flag, the American flag. That one line, “One nation, under God.” That sparked a whole thing because schools were making them say, “One nation, under God.” And, oh, well, you know, I’m Atheist or support a different religion. So that’s why. It would just cause too much of an uproar; it’s better off with people just simply reading it on their own time in a relaxing environment.

Micah: All right, Ben and Elysa, you have one minute rebuttal time.

Ben: All right, well, first of all, I would like to point out that education is the value that we are saying that we should win on because education is the most important thing by far, and, like I said, before I read the Harry Potter books I absolutely hated them. I didn’t think – I heard all about them and I hated all of the hype about it and then when I actually took the opportunity to read it, I loved it. And I think if you made people read these books it can spark their interest in reading, and that will be the most important. On to your point about the controversy that it would cause having the books in the classrooms: fact of the matter is, they’re just books. They encourage children to read. The controversy would be more than worth it because education outweighs any controversy that could possibly be brought up. Not only that, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Huckleberry Finn are two books that are read a lot of times in classrooms, even though they may cause some controversy. It’s like when a teacher shows a rated R movie – a movie that’s rated R or something in the class, they just have to get permission slip signed by the parents. It’ll be fine. If kids can’t participate, that’s fine, that’s their loss. But education wins here. Period.

Andrew: Laura, you want to start again?

Laura: Sure. [laughs]

Micah: Andrew and Laura, you have a minute for rebuttal.

Laura: Okay, it’s not that we don’t think that Harry Potter has educational merit, because we do. But the problem is that Harry Potter has been such a integral part of our lives and it has allowed us grow so much as people and have so many great experiences, and I would frankly hate to see for my children to bring this book home from school one day and be like, “Oh, I have to read this dumb Harry Potter book because my teacher’s making me do it.” I want my kids to be able to pick up those books and find the same magic that I found in them, and I didn’t find that by being forced to read it.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, look. It’s…

Micah: Thirty seconds.

Andrew: People just cannot enjoy a story when you’re being forced to read it. And parents – Ben was saying that if your parents sign a permission slip or they sign something saying that they can’t read this book, that’s just not acceptable because then those kids…

Micah: Five seconds.

Andrew: …are losing an education when they all could be reading a book that they agree on.

Micah: That concludes our debate for this evening.

Andrew: Micah, who do you think won?

Micah: Well, this is a very interesting topic, and I’m not going to call it my inquisition, as Eric did last week, and spend a lot of time discussing. I think both sides raised very good points. The one thing I was a little bit concerned about, and obviously, you do have to base your opinions strongly on your own experiences, but worrying a little bit about your own personal experience with the series, I thought – you can’t really use that as a basis for the future generations, because they’re not going to have the same experience and they’re not going to go through the midnight release parties or sort of the magic surrounding the series as a whole; it’s just not going to happen no matter how you try to recreate it for them. But another point that I didn’t hear brought up from either side was that these books could be read before your children even get to school, so if you’re worried about preserving the magic of the series, just like with a lot of other fantasy series, certainly one thing that could be done is introducing the books to them before they would have to encounter them at school.

Andrew: But to enjoy it fully, I think you need to read it at at least middle school.

Ben: Well, I think the problem is that you’re going to have a lot of people – the fact of the matter is that if it’s mandated that they have to read it, then you’re going to have a lot more people who actually do read it, and you could gain more interest in the series because there may be kids who never would have read it unless it was assigned in English.

Elysa: Right, I agree.

Andrew: And I think little kids get turned off by the size of the books. My brother’s an example of that. I know that’s not everyone, but people look at some of the sizes of these books and think, “I can’t read all that,” because they’re used to these books where the print is larger and there’s just less pages.

Micah: And I think the other point that was brought up that was strong was the controversial topics. That shouldn’t be a reason why it’s left out of a curriculum. Whether it’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin or even The Diary of Anne Frank, would be another example, not wanting to delve into the whole issue of the Holocaust. I mean, there are so many different books that you could go through that have those sort of racial undertones or some sort of controversial issue attached to them that you don’t want kid’s minds being affected by that. This, I guess, is more of a religious issue than anything else, but I still don’t think that that’s a reason to keep it out of children’s hands and being taught, because there’s so many things within the series itself, I think, that can be taught and are being taught even today at a lot of different colleges and universities. If I had to make a decision – I’m trying to stay nonpartisan as the media always does, you know…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: That was a bad attempt at a joke.

Andrew: Well, good point.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: You brought up some valid points.

Micah: I would have to say that it should be. Not the series as a whole, but one of the books possibly mandated for kids to read and then leave it up to the kids.

Andrew: Sure.

Micah: The children. Do you want to explore it further? And then that’s your choice.

Laura: That’s a good middle ground.

Andrew: All right, well, that does it for our debate. And that actually wraps up our show for this wonderful 160 milestone.

Laura: And let me just say, I didn’t agree with anything I said. I was just arguing.

Andrew: Yeah, me too. Me too.

Laura: Yeah, because I know people are going to be like, “Laura! You hate education!”

Ben: So, Micah, who won?

Micah: I said I would have to side with you and Elysa, based on the debate.

Ben: I think I’m undefeated in these things.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: But I’m sure that there’s plenty of stuff that people are going to send in both about the debate and if J.K. Rowling were a man.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Ben: I just think that the point is that education shall overcome everything.

Andrew: Yeah. [singing] We shall overcome.

Ben: All-right-y.

Show Close

Andrew: It’s been a great show! Happy Halloween, everyone. Happy Election Day! Vote no on Proposition 8.

Laura: Happy Halloween!

Ben: Thanks for…

Andrew: Ben, I hope you’ve enjoyed your time in the MuggleCast studio.

Ben: Yeah, thanks for welcoming me back with open arms, everybody. Laura, it’s been great. Eliza -Elysa, it’s been great.

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: Micah, it’s been even better.

Laura: Way to remember your co-hosts names.

Micah: Hey, it’s good to be a member of the senior staff now with you, Ben. I can’t say enough about your endorsement of, you know, my staff…

Andrew: You’re right up there on the same level. He strongly supports the decision.

Ben: First senior staff, next Tannenbaum ’16.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Ben: 2016!

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: I’m running his campaign.

Andrew: Well, Ben and I have to go because we’re actually going to go to a Wizard Rock show. It’s a Potter day for us!

Ben: [singing] Fell in love with a girl at the w-rock show.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: Wizard Rock with a W, thank you very much. W-rock.

Andrew: We’re going to go see The Remus Lupins and Ministry of Magic.

Micah: Is that the crazy Voldemort dude?

[Elysa and Laura laugh]

Andrew: It is, it is. So we’re looking forward to it.

Ben: He’s not crazy. He’s actually quite a nice guy, Micah.

Andrew: Yeah, he’s cool.

Micah: I meant crazy in a good way. You know, like a cool, hip kind of way.

Andrew: All right, well, if you would like to send something in to our P.O. Box, Ben – no, sorry, Laura, what’s the P.O. Box?

Ben: P.O. Box 223, Moundridge, Kansas – oh wait.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

[Show music begins]

Laura: Oh, my gosh, it’s P.O. Box 3151, Cumming, Georgia, 30028.

Andrew: You can also use the MuggleCast hotline to give us a call. If you’re in the United States you can dial 1-218-20-MAGIC. If you’re in the United Kingdom you can dial 02081440677. And if you’re in Australia, you can dial 0280035668. Or Skype the username MuggleCast, but remember, now matter how you call us, just remember to keep your message under 60 seconds and eliminate as much background noise as possible. Don’t forget, you can also visit to use our feedback form since we could never get the MuggleCast one working.

Ben: I don’t know why.

Andrew: It’s weird. We gave up.

Ben: It just broke out of the blue, didn’t it?

Andrew: Yeah. These people, these people on the staff. Micah, get that working. You’re senior staff now.

Micah: All right.

Andrew: Responsible.

Micah: Where’s Damon?

Andrew: I think that wraps up the show.

Ben: That wraps – that’s a wrap.

Andrew: And don’t forget the community outlets, but you all know them. The MySpace, the Facebook

Ben: YouTube, Frappr, Last.FM, the forums and fanlistings.

Andrew: Follow us on Twitter.

Ben: Twitter.

Andrew: I’m trying to get Ben to Twitter.

Ben: Andrew is so excited for tonight.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Ben: He’s going to go to the w-rock show.

Andrew: I’m going to Tweet that right now. So excited for tonight.

Ben: Laura, are you coming out for the w-rock show?

Laura: Yeah, I’m actually going to go down to BWI as soon as I finish here, and I’ll be there in three hours? Four hours?

Andrew: All right, guys, once again…

Ben: Wrap it up.

Andrew: …I’m Andrew Sims.

Ben: I’m Ben Shoen.

Laura: I’m Laura Thompson.

Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

Elysa: And I’m Elysa Monfort.

Andrew: Thank you, everyone, for joining us. We’ll see you next time for Episode 161. Buh-bye!

Micah: Bye.

Ben: MuggleCast 160 is in the can.

Laura: Bye!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That’s what [unintelligible] said, right?

[Show music ends]

Blooper 1

Andrew: Micah, what’s in the news this week? Hold on, that was bad. That was bad.

Ben: Lay it on me, Micah.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: That’s what she said.

Blooper 2

Andrew: Okay, that’s all. [laughs]

Ben: No. Snape. Snape’s greasy.

Andrew: [unintelligible] What’s going on?

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: What the hell?

[Micah laughs]

Ben: I’m just chilling. I’m having a good time in the MuggleCast news studio.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: Actually, that’s in New York. I want to go visit the news center.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: Micah, do you have a sweet set-up?

Micah: [laughs] I just – I have a headset and a Macbook. It’s not that exciting.

Ben: Oh. Oh, damn.

Micah: I don’t get the layout that Andrew does with the…

Ben: Well, Andrew has an announcement to make. Andrew, go ahead and tell them.

Andrew: What?

Ben: Andrew’s going to be buying everybody soundboards.

Laura: Oh, really? Great!

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: They’re in the mail, so…

Blooper 3

Andrew: Okay, this last blooper requires a brief set-up. We recorded the episode successfully, and the reason this show was delayed was because we accidentally lost Elysa’s audio. So she had to re-record her voice. So I don’t know if any of you could tell, but when she spoke in this episode, she wasn’t speaking live. She was when we recorded, but we lost her recording, so she had to re-record everything that she said. So this is the little message she attached to the end of her audio file after she finished re-recording and heard the final goodbye of the show. Hope you enjoy.

Elysa: Yes! I’m [bleep] done. Oh, [bleep] on a cracker. Oh, my God, that was painful. Oh, God. God bless you, Andrew. I don’t know if there’s another human being on this planet that could make me do that [bleep]. That was [bleep] ridiculous. Okay. Anyway, this is completely unrelated to the show, so I’m ending this now. Bye!