Transcript #162

MuggleCast 162 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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[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]

Micah: Because we’re talking politics Potter style, this MuggleCast, Episode 162 for November 5th, 2008.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Okay, this is our third show released in just eight days. We’re really pumping them out right now because first we had the Halloween show. Oh, no, no, no. First we had the live show – the live trailer discussion show, and then we had our Halloween show, and now we’re having our election show. All these themed podcasts that have to be out at a certain time. You know, while everyone’s still into it. So, Micah and Elysa are here. Hello, ladies.

Elysa: Hey.

Micah: Hello.

Andrew: Good to hear from you two.

Micah: Ladies?

Matt: Hey, why am I separate?

Elysa: Ladies.

Andrew: Because you’re not a lady. What?

Micah: I was going to congratulate you on the Phillies winning the World Series, too, and then you call me a lady?

Andrew: I’m not a baseball fan. I just support my home team.

Micah: Yeah, but, no, you’re a Phillies fan.

Andrew: My mom texted me today. She’s like, “I’m going to send you a Phillies shirt.” And I was like, “Oh great,” but I’m thinking like, “Why? I’m not a baseball fan.” Whatever. I’ll wear it to the gym.

Matt: It’s a free shirt.

Andrew and Micah: Yeah.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: So we have this great show. We just finished recording the discussion because Laura was involved in it too, but unfortunately she didn’t have as much time to be on the show. But that’s okay. So we have this awesome political discussion, related to Potter politics, and a whole lot more. So let’s get started. I’m Andrew Sims.

Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

Matt: I’m Matthew Britton.

Elysa: And I’m Elysa Montfort.

[Show music continues]

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

Micah: Umm…

Andrew: What? You don’t know?

[Elysa laughs]

Andrew: Aren’t you prepared?

Micah: How am I not prepared? Sorry! I’m tired. We just discussed…

Andrew: Yeah, wah.

Micah: All right, well, anyway. Try that again. I’m sorry.

Andrew Admits He Was Wrong

Andrew: Well, here, while you’re preparing, I’ll start with this, because this is my story. On last week’s episode – well, actually it was Episode 160 – I was speculating a lot about whether or not WB would be asking for the trailer to be removed. And this isn’t really news because it wasn’t removed, but the trailer wasn’t removed! Which was kind of surprising because I heard that WB was considering it, and it looks like it never happened, so… [laughs] Just – I’d just like to admit that I was wrong. And I do make mistakes, so sorry.

Elysa: Hmm. I was surprised about that too though.

Andrew: But I think – well, thank you, Elysa. I think that it just got spread all over the Internet so quickly that…

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: …it would’ve been impossible for them to take it down.

Micah: Yeah, I think the Internet is so fast that, once it spreads – it did happen over the weekend, like you mentioned, and clearly, people are not working at WB as hard as we thought on the weekends, because, if they were, they would’ve been taken down.

Andrew: Well, I was right about that.

Micah: You were right about that, yeah.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I was wrong about that. I thought that they would’ve had somebody would would’ve been on this. Because you think when something like this would happen, they would be alerted to the problem, regardless of whether they’re working or not. Even if you’re at home on the weekends, all these people have Blackberries. They would know what was going on.

Andrew: Well, yeah, but they’re not checking them as frequently because it’s the weekend, and they have their personal phones with them when they’re out and about.

Micah: I guess. I guess. It was interesting, though, to me that Monday morning rolled around and, all of a sudden, they’re aware of it, but they really couldn’t do anything about it.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: In the future, if you’re going to leak trailers, do it on the weekend.

Andrew: Well, that’s exactly what I was saying also. These pictures that come out every – there was a time back in May and June where a new Half-Blood Prince picture came out every Friday, and it seemed very strange. But when you think about it, it was every Friday because then – WB – that’s essentially the weekend, even though they do work on Friday’s, but WB, they can’t put it together to say, “Hey, take this down,” before they clock out for the weekend, so.

Matt: Mhm.

Andrew: It was kind of interesting to watch. And exciting. I know I was up early to check my e-mail to see if there was like, “Please remove immediately!”

Micah: Well, what was funny was, I did think that we had gotten something because I checked my e-mail that morning and I saw something. I’m like, wait, it’s from Scholastic not from Warner Bros., so…

Andrew: Well, that – yeah.

Micah: It threw me off a little bit.

Andrew: That’s what happens, though. Whenever there’s a big movie thing, or vice versa – whenever there’s a big movie thing, the book people come out with some announcement. Whenever there’s a big book thing, the movie people come out with some announcement to remind them that they’re still alive, and while the fan sites are active.

Micah: Well, I was nervous because you told me, “Make sure you check your e-mail tomorrow morning,” because, obviously, we have that time difference. You know, a three hour difference. So if anything did come along, you wanted me to get something up there as fast as possible or take down the trailer. And I was just sitting there all morning, and all of a sudden I saw this e-mail from the guy over at Scholastic – I forget his name – and then I thought that it was from Warner Bros., but – so I got played. I got Punk’d.

Andrew: [laughs] It is still online and, as the saying goes, once it’s on the Internet, it’s never off. It never leaves because people save these things to their computers and forget about it. It’s digital!

Micah: Who does that?

Andrew: It’s digital, baby!

Matt: Digital!

Andrew: Did anyone else save a copy?

Micah: No.

Andrew: I saved a copy in case they were going to take it down. Elysa, what were your thoughts on the trailer? You weren’t on the show, so what did you think of it?

Elysa: No, I wasn’t. I thought it was incredible! I loved it. I mean, I don’t know what else to say. I thought it was brilliant. It exceeded my expectations for sure.

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DH Hype Overshadowing HBP Hype

Micah: Something that happened this week was Robbie Coltrane, who plays Hagrid, did an interview, and he discussed a little bit about Deathly Hallows and his, I guess you would say, motorbike scene. But that’s not really what I wanted to focus on. I’m wondering now with Half-Blood Prince not coming out until July, and filming starting to take place for Deathly Hallows, are we going to see a lot of Deathly Hallows hype overtaking Half-Blood Prince? Is this maybe something that Warner Bros. didn’t think about before they decided to move the date, because I guess it wouldn’t make as much of a difference if we were somewhere in the middle with all these films, but we’re talking about the final film in the Harry Potter series start to film in February. Is this going to be a problem for Half-Blood Prince?

Andrew: I don’t really think so, because when filming starts, typically don’t see much. I mean, there’s going to be the occasional interview where they’re like, “Yeah, we just starting filming. It’s going great. It’s going to be the darkest one ever. Whatever. Sex, drugs, and Harry Potter.”

[Matt and Micah laugh]

Andrew: But I don’t think there’s going to be too much of a mix.

Micah: Yup.

Andrew: I’m looking at Half-Blood Prince background information. They started filming September 2007, and of course that was right after the final book came out, so I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of mixing though. I think it’s a good point though.

Micah: Yeah, that was the one thing that came to mind. There really isn’t a whole lot to the interview. He actually did two interviews, but that was really what came to mind when I was looking. I was thinking to myself, “Hey, is this going to have any impact for Half-Blood Prince?”

News: David Heyman Interview

Micah: But somebody else who also did an interview this week was David Heyman with And he talked about Half-Blood Prince. He said the film is complete except for a little tweak that they think that they are going to have to make. So, interesting to maybe learn down the line what that tweak is going to be.

Andrew: Yeah.

Matt: Mhm.

Andrew: Well, he also noted that it’s going to be a little inconvenient to stop filming for a week when they have to go do press for Half-Blood Prince.

Micah: Well, he can complain to Warner Bros. then.

Andrew: Yeah. He only said a week, though, which kind of surprised me, because the premieres themselves are usually two weeks apart, and around both of those premieres, doing interviews and such – although I guess the U.K. premiere isn’t hard to get to, I mean, it’s an
hour drive down from Leavesden Studios, so. I don’t know. That was – he does seem – when you read this interview, don’t you get a little feeling of frustration from him?

Micah: Well, didn’t he do an interview before this, though, where he talked about the film being pushed back and he said that he didn’t really see a problem with it?
I forget the exact…

Andrew: Yeah, he did. Yeah…

Micah: …quote.

Andrew: …yeah, yeah. He said – he reiterated what he said in this interview, too, which is that “WB is so good to us that we can’t complain.”

Matt: You don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

Micah: Right.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Well, maybe it’s because for a lot of these people that are involved in the movie, I would think that their schedules are dependent upon all these releases and events that they have to go to once the film is finally complete. And so if you’re planning everything for November, and then all of a sudden you get thrown into the middle of July, I mean they’ll be working on Deathly Hallows, but who knows what
else he could have been working on at the time also, or will be working on at the time, because I’m sure he doesn’t stick solely to one film.

Matt: Mhm.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: Maybe that’s what he’s frustrated about. But he’s always seemed to identify more with the fans, too, if you think about it, even from the interview you guys did
with him, I think it was for Goblet of Fire. He always seems to identify with the fans, so maybe he’s just as upset about it getting pushed back.

Andrew: Yeah, definitely.

Matt: Mhm.

Andrew: Wouldn’t it be funny if like the Dark Knight DVD did so well, because they’re in a new fiscal year now – at least in the U.S. they are – wouldn’t it be funny if the Dark Knight DVD did so well for this fiscal year that they’re like, “Oh, you know what? Yeah, we’re set for 2009 too, so you’ll see HBP in 2010.”

Micah: [laughs] Yeah, that wouldn’t be good…

Andrew: No.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: No, that’d be bad.

Micah: To put it lightly.

Andrew: But it’s kind of surprising though. I mean, you know, it’s how easy a film can be moved just because another film in the same fiscal year does so well.

Micah: Right, and something of the magnitude of Harry Potter. This…

Andrew: I may be – yeah. Just a little disclaimer, I may be wrong about that fiscal year, because in the U.S. it’s from – it starts in October and ends in September, and obviously Half-Blood Prince came out – would come out in November, which is not the same fiscal year as Dark Knight, so I don’t know what I’m saying.

[Elysa and Matt laugh]

Andrew: The point is that it’s amazing how quickly they would move this just because one film does extremely well.

Micah: Right, right.

Matt: Mhm.

Micah: All right.

Andrew: I mean, Arthur – there’s got to be some big WB films coming out in 2010 other than Harry Potter, and Harry Potter‘s got a November release in 2010, so…

Micah: For now.

Andrew: …frankly I’m scared. Yeah, for now.

Matt: I don’t – no, they’re not going to delay any more movies.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

Micah: Well…

Andrew: Yeah, well, six months ago WB said they would have…

Micah: …I’m not really sure they had any good reason to delay this one, to be honest with you, so…

Matt: No, and I agree with you totally on that, Micah. I really think that it wasn’t that great of a reason. It was – I mean, it’s all about money, but still, I
mean, they should have a good movie every year.

Andrew: Well, they did. Dark Knight. So that’s why they’re pushing the Harry Potter back. [laughs]

Matt: Well, I know. I mean they should have already planned that for the next year.

Andrew: Mmm.

Matt: Just shows you how much faith they had in Dark Knight.

Andrew: Yeah. Anyway, what else is going on?

News: Jo Updates Site

Micah: All right, J.K. Rowling updated her site

Matt: Oh!

Micah: …this past week, finally. Even though she hasn’t updated her journal on the home page since about December ’07…

Andrew: Yeah, I noticed that. Kind of old.

Micah: So she’s trying to go for the whole year without making an update to that. But she did update the news section with her official plans for the Beedle the Bard release on December the 4th, and she will be holding a tea party.

Andrew: Awww. La-dee-da.

Micah: Yeah. Isn’t that exciting?

[Andrew and Elysa laugh]

Micah: Sorry. [laughs]

Andrew: No, it’s nice, it’s nice.

Micah: It’s different. It’s, you know…

Andrew: Yeah, well, Jo’s done a couple tea parties for Beedle the Bard, I’m pretty sure already.

Matt: I love tea.

Andrew: Yeah, yes you do. But you know how Jo has sort of done, like, something for Christmas every year for the fans, like on her fansite? Maybe there’ll be something this year. I can’t think of what, but maybe some sort of exclusive or something. You know? You know what I’m saying?

Micah: Right, but…

Matt: Yeah.

Micah: …it’ll be interesting to see how well this book does in the hype and excitement that surrounds it. Clearly it’s not going to be the level of one of her
previous seven books, but the difference this time I think with the money going to charity, the Children’s High Level Group, I think a lot of Potter fans will want to contribute in that way.

Andrew’s Cryptic Announcement

Andrew: Oh yeah, it’s a great cause. And speaking of that, nothing is official yet. Well, actually it is, but we can’t officially announce it yet. If you live in the U.K., specifically London, or if you can get to London easily for a Beedle the Bard midnight release, I would strongly recommend you keep your plans cleared. Or if you’re in the U.S. and looking for a good reason to go to the U.K., not just for a book release, but a certain Harry Potter podcast doing a certain midnight release for a certain book coming out in December. So…

[Micah laughs]

Matt: Wow, geez.

Micah: Well, that was vague.

Andrew: I know.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: I’m just saying.

Matt: Geez. Way to be cryptic, Andrew.

Andrew: If by chance we were to do something like that I would keep your plans clear. Announcement coming in the next couple weeks. If something were to happen.

[Elysa and Matt laugh]

Micah: I would hope that the next couple of days – the next couple of weeks you’ll already be at the event.

Andrew: That’s true. People need time to book their train tickets and stuff, so in the next week or so you should hear from us and from the bookstore starting in “W” and ending in “aterstones.”

Matt: Ooh.

[Elysa and Micah laugh]

Matt: I mean, how many more Harry Potter books is J.K. Rowling going to write? I mean, this is the – this is probably like the only relevant book…

Andrew: I hope she writes more related to this. Or Harry Potter related.

Matt: She might, but who knows what she’s going to do? I still want to see what kind of books she’s been saying she’s going to write about.

Andrew: You know what’s – sorry, what?

Matt: Well, in that suspenseful book that she was saying she was writing. I haven’t heard anything about that.

Andrew: Yeah.

Matt: Anyway, what?

Andrew: And I think that – is that all for the news this week? I think it is.

Matt: Yep.

Andrew: Cool.

Announcement: Vote for MuggleCast in the Podcast Awards

Andrew: All right, moving onto announcements this week. Don’t forget to vote for us in the…

Andrew and Matt: Podcast Awards.

Andrew: The 2008 Podcast Awards are happening right now and voting is going through, what, November…

Micah: 6th.

Andrew: There’s a few more days left. Sixth.

Matt: Do you – do you have to vote everyday?

Andrew: You don’t have to vote everyday, but you should to help us win. You can vote once every 24 hours. So if you vote at 3PM one day you cannot vote before 3PM the next day. So you have to vote at 3:01PM.

Matt: Oh, that makes sense.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: MuggleCast is nominated in Entertainment and our other Twilight podcast, Imprint, is nominated in the Cultural Arts category.

Elysa: Woot!

Andrew: So feel free – woot woot – so feel free to vote too for other podcasts, too, in the other categories, and thank you so much for your support.

Muggle Mail: Harry Potter Books in School

Andrew: Let’s move onto Muggle Mail. Elysa, do you want to take the first one?

Elysa: Sure. This one’s from Jason Millis:

“This sort of goes with Micah’s idea at the end of the debate subject. Many schools have a program that kids can choose a book to read for a reading project. I think that would be a great place to put the book in the curriculum. That way kids could choose. They should only use Book 1 in the curriculum, wherever they put it, because the suspense could push them further. When they do it – or when they do it at our school rather, they give us an excerpt, sometimes a chapter to read, and see if we want to read the book. Kids might respond to that because they may know someone who reads the books or have seen the movies. The kids could tell their friends about them and their friends would read it too. The parents would also have less of a case against the school districts because their kids aren’t being forced to read them. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the books as much if I did have to read them. I think it was sort of like when I practice my violin. I enjoy practicing when I decide to, not when my parents say ‘go practice.'”

Andrew: Yeah. So I think that’s a pretty interesting way of looking at it.

Elysa: Yeah, that’s a good point.

Micah: Yeah. I don’t even remember my point from the last episode, to be honest. [laughs]

[Elysa laughs]

Micah: It feels like so long ago with all the episodes we’ve recorded over the last week.

Andrew: That’s true.

Micah: Yeah, no, this is an interesting point.

Andrew: Everyone liked your feedback about it the most, Micah, judging by all the e-mails we got about it.

Micah: What can I say? I should be a moderator more often.

Andrew and Matt: Yeah.

Elysa: You should. You should take Jim Lehrer’s place.

Micah: Yeah.

[Andrew and Matt laugh]

Matt: I don’t know who he is. Okay.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: He is a news anchor on PBS.

Muggle Mail: “Forced” to Read Harry Potter Pays Off

Matt: Our next email comes from Corey, and he writes:

“Hi guys. Strangely enough, Micah’s suggestion at the end of one of the books being mandated in one of my classes was how I got into the series. I, too, had dismissed the series as hype at first but was required for a children’s literature class in college to read ‘Sorcerer’s Stone.’ I bought the book, and even though the course was cancelled, due to low enrollment, I figured I’d see what all the fuss was about. Around six years later, one attempt at dressing up this year, and devouring just about everything I could get my hands on in relation to the series, I’m still a ‘Potter’ geek at 26 and am really grateful I was ‘forced’ to read the first one. Thanks again, and you guys still rock.”

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, I’m just – whenever I read a book – I remember in Rowan I had a literature class, and I would read these books, and I always thought to myself, I would enjoy this a lot more if I could read it on my own time, just taking my time with reading it, and not having to pick a book apart and write summaries of it and stuff like that. It just – sometimes that kind of thing can turn you off from reading a book.

Micah: Right. I still think the first book should be mandated, just because I think the role that it’s played in our culture over the last couple of years – decade, whatever you want to call it at this point. But to me, I think, though, when you look at how many fans there are of Harry Potter, I think the next generation, our children, we’re probably going to have them read it anyway. If you think about it, it’s not going to be something that they’re going to be forced fed in school. It’s going to be something that we’re either going to read to them or, at some point, have them read themselves just because we know the importance of it.

Matt: Well, I definitely think that in college it’s going to be required for certain types of classes.

Micah: I agree.

Matt: Like in Corey’s case.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: We’ve already seen some Harry Potter classes in schools that actually do this in colleges. There’s the occasional news report about it and there’s the occasional news story, so it is happening.

Matt: Do any of you guys have a certain book that you were forced to read in class but then you just read it at a later time in your own pace and you actually liked it?

Andrew: No, but when I read a book in class I feel like I would enjoy it more if I wasn’t been pressured into reading it by certain dates and such. That’s what really turns me off. But then again, teachers have to do that or else they’ll never know who’s…

Matt: They’ll never read it.

Andrew: Exactly, so you can’t win.

[Micah laughs]

Matt: Yeah.

Andrew: Unless you’re really studious. And final e-mail from today. Micah, you want to take that?

Muggle Mail: Rowling as a Man

Micah: Sure. It comes from Harry Parker-hill, Boston, England. Does that mean Boston in New England or Boston, England?

Andrew: Boston in England, I think.

Micah: Oh.

Andrew: There’s a Boston in England, right?

Micah: Sure.

Elysa: Sure.

Micah: Anyway. [laughs]

“Hey, just responding…”

Matt: I think he meant New England.

Micah: Yeah. I don’t think Harry knows where he lives, but thats okay.

“Hey, just responding to your discussion
about J.K. Rowling as a man. I think that if she were a man the books wouldn’t even have been written, and here’s why: we all know that J.K. went through her depression after her disastrously short marriage and pregnancy, and this is really what made her write the books, because she had nothing else to lose. But if she were a man, she would never have gotten pregnant, I hope, and therefore would have been able to go out to work. Consequently…”
[laughs] “…she wouldn’t have been able to put the idea on paper purely because she would’ve had to work for a living. Thanks for the great show, Harry.”

Andrew: I mean, you guys laugh, but I think she does bring up…

Matt: She does bring up a very good point.

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, her daughter is what partly defined her. Her relationship with her sister did that too, so – I think that was an interesting perspective and, actually, Harry was not the only person who sent that in. And
by the way, Boston, there is a Boston in England. I just looked it up on Google Maps.

Micah: Yeah. But I just don’t like the point of where she talks about – oh, sorry, he talks about her getting pregnant and therefore would’ve been able to go out to work. I’m pretty sure she still worked when she was pregnant, or at
least attempted to, and even after she had the child, was working as well. I could be wrong on that, but I just don’t see how that would deter her from writing the series if she wasn’t pregnant. You know what I mean?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Micah: This idea that she would’ve worked for a living – she still does work for a living. She
writes. You know, that’s an occupation last time I checked.

Matt: Well, it definitely wouldn’t have been the same book.

Andrew: Yeah. It’s just an interesting perspective. I think that…

Micah: I don’t think so. Anyway.

[Andrew, Elysa, and Micah laugh]

Andrew: All right, well, I appreciated it, Harry. Thank you.

Micah: I kid.

Andrew: All right, Laura is joining us now. Hi, Laura!

Laura: Hi everybody.

Elysa: Thompson!

Andrew: How are you doing?

Laura: Good, good. Thanks for letting me join you so last minute here.

Main Discussion: Politics in Potter

Andrew: Oh, well, anything. We’d do anything for you. So this week, as I mentioned earlier, we are going to have our “Politics in Potter” discussion, and…

Matt: Should we really talk about politics? Can’t we just stick to the Harry Potter please?

Andrew: This is – yes…

Matt: Thank you.

Andrew: …average MuggleCast fan. No, this is – we’re going to be sticking to the Harry Potter politics. We’re not going to be getting…

Matt: Oh.

Laura: Well, no promises.

Andrew: Well, at times we may want to.

[Andrew and Matt laughs]

Andrew: All right, so, Micah and Laura, you guys created this whole discussion, so throw it over to you guys.

Parallels to Regimes

Micah: Yep. Well, as you mentioned, it’s timely to be discussing politics on the Potter series, and I guess we divided it up into some major themes that we’ll be going through, but there is a statement that was made by J.K. Rowling on the Harry Potter series as a whole, and I’m not quite sure when she made it, but it must have been close to when the series was over. She said:

“I wanted Harry to leave our world and find exactly the same problems in the Wizarding World. You have the intent to impose a hierarchy, you have bigotry, and this notion of purity, which is this great fallacy. But it crops up all over the world. People like to think themselves superior, and if they can pride themselves on nothing else, they can pride themselves on perceived purity. So yeah, that follows a parallel to Nazism. It wasn’t really exclusively that. I think you can see in the Ministry, even before it’s taken over, there are
parallels to regimes we all know and love.”

So, with that being said, what regimes that we all know and love do you guys think she’s talking about?

Andrew: Well, one we’ve discussed on the show all the time: World War II. Just the parallel between Nazi Germany and Voldemort and his Death Eaters, correct?

Micah: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah, that’s really strong.

Micah: I think she may have been focusing on some other regimes that are a little bit more contemporary.

Laura: I was thinking…

Andrew: Like what?

Laura: …a lot of the press, and how corrupt our – and not just ours, but press all over the world – is. So – and we can get more into that later.

Matt: Do you mean more like press as in media press?

Laura: Media, news outlets, newspapers, any kind of news outlet where you go to get stories and where you go to get your updates. It is all corrupt. And I will tell you why. Later.

Micah: [laughs] So you’re going to give us a little bit of a speech on why the media is corrupt?

Laura: Yes.

Micah: Is that what you’re saying?

Laura: Mhm.

Micah: Cool.

Matt: I have a feeling Laura’s going to be talking a lot about propaganda too.

Laura: Yeah.

[Micah laughs]

Laura: Courtesy of my propaganda class. That class is awesome. But anyway, go ahead.

Micah: I just thought she did a really good job when she said that she wanted Harry to experience the same things that take place in the real world. And I guess that’s what we’re going to be talking about here. But the first major theme that we all wanted to talk about – and, Andrew, you just alluded to it a little bit – was racism, ethnic cleansing, and Nazism and their role in the Harry Potter series. And we’re probably going to spend a majority, I would say, of the discussion on this, because it plays such a huge role. Does anyone else want to take the first point? Talking about really where this all got its origin from that we learn about in the series?

Laura: Sure. I mean, as we all know, the origination of that idea of blood purity comes from Salazar Slytherin – or at least as far as we know. I’m sure he was influenced by somebody else, but that’s really where we see that sort of ideology take its flight. And he was essentially saying that he only wanted a school where pureblooded witches and wizards were able to learn. Of course, the other founders didn’t agree with that so he was able to have his House. And we actually have a quote from the sorting song where it says, “We’ll teach just those whose ancestry is purest,” and that he took only pureblood wizards of great cunning, just like him. So what do you guys – can you draw any sort of parallels to anything contemporary or maybe somewhat contemporary based off that? Like do we have anything sort of like that going on now?

Parallels to Schools

Andrew: We really don’t. I mean, the only thing that would come to mind to me – but this doesn’t even seem that similar – is just like all boys’ school or all girls’ schools or – and this is even a further stretch – but like special education schools where schools just tailor to one specific group of people. And the purebloods were a specific group of people, so I don’t know. Is that a good connection? Or is that…

Laura: No, I think it’s valid.

Micah: Yeah. I think it’s interesting you brought up schooling, because there’s also schools that obviously you can get into based upon your last name or your class status that maybe people who are not as high up in social standing or don’t have that same last name wouldn’t be admitted entrance into that particular school.

Andrew: Mhm.

Parallels to Darfur

Micah: I was thinking more along the lines of what’s going on in Darfur.

Elysa: Mhm.

Micah: And just the overall practices that are being used there in terms of ethnic cleansing and things along that line. I mean, certainly all of this got its beginning with Slytherin, and he even created the Chamber of Secrets with the intention of someday having an heir who would be able to open it and purge the school of those who are not pureblood. And that just whole notion is a really scary thought.

Matt: Yeah.

Elysa: And you know what? Just in relation to the genocide in Sudan that you were just talking about, that sort of reminds me of the government’s creation of the Janjaweed militia, because it was sort of created for the precise purpose of eradicating those of different ethnicities, so it reminds me a lot of the Chamber of Secrets, the creation of that for the pure, explicit purpose of ethnic cleansing reminds me a lot of the Janjaweed.

MuggleCast 162 Transcript (continued)

Parallels Between Salazar Slytherin and Politicians

Laura: You know what kind of bothers me about this whole scenario, is that Slytherin actually created this with the attempt of letting an heir do it for him. And I’m still kind of confused as to why he didn’t do it himself if he was so hell bent on it. And it almost gives him a god-like reverence to his followers, you know?

Elysa: Mhm.

Laura: To anybody who would look up to Salazar Slytherin, it’s like…

Andrew: He’s the original?

Laura: Right. Like he – it’s almost like a god-like way, and I really – I see a parallel, and I’m not going to name specific names, but there have been people – politicians and terrorists otherwise – who have stated that they were meant to do something because of either a god or someone who lived a very long time ago. And I think that’s kind of an unsettling sort of parallel. I don’t know.

Matt: I think that the reason why Salazar Slytherin made the Chamber of Secrets was because at that time when he made it, he knew that he couldn’t do the things that he wanted to do because he couldn’t – wasn’t a good match against Godric Gryffindor and the other founders. So he knew that he would have to do something. So after he would have to leave, someone else could finish the job for him.

Elysa: Mhm.

Laura: Yeah. It’s just – I don’t know. It’s hard for me to understand why he did it the way he did, just because he did leave the school eventually anyway, so it just seems like it would make more sense if his overall goal was to purge the world, and the school more specifically, of people who weren’t pureblooded, then I think that he would just set the monster loose and then leave, but…

Elysa: Right.

Micah: Right. But I mean, this gets into a deeper discussion, I guess, about all the Hitler references and the Nazi references that I’m sure we’ll talk about a little bit later on, but with Slytherin, his mindset was just that only those of the purest blood and nobody else. And that’s a pretty prejudicial stance to have on anything.

Andrew: Oh, he’s just being naive if he assumes that forever and always after he created Hogwarts was just purebloods, that wizards – other wizards would never be educated. I mean, somebody would stand up and do something. Wouldn’t he have thought that?


Micah: Yeah, but what’s interesting is even some of the greatest characters in the series that we tend to identify with a little bit more, those that are on the supposed good side, identified with that type of thinking early on in their life, and particularly Dumbledore. And I know we’ll talk about him right now. But he was somebody that we saw and we learned about in King’s Cross that had a very, very sort of issue. A big issue with power. And he himself thought about how great it would be to have this power over Muggles and people who weren’t of the wizarding blood.

Laura: Yeah, and there were sort of – and I mean, okay. There was sort of a similar attitude held here in the United States for a period of time, when it comes to control of certain groups and what they’re doing. When we were having a great influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe, particularly, the United States was actually sterilizing these people to keep them from breeding, because they didn’t want – yeah, this was the time – it’s sort of a parallel to now, because now we have such a great influx of immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries, and people really – or there’s at least a very large sentiment against these people who are coming, and it’s the same way people felt particularly against the Irish when they came here. So it’s sort of like that same idea of putting them – making them their own group, and sort of dehumanizing them, and then making it okay to deny them their basic human rights, which is what I think Slytherin was doing, or attempting to do, by not allowing Half-bloods and Muggle-borns education.

Elysa: Mhm.

Those Who Want Power Should Not Have Power

Micah: Yeah, and I mean, like I said, he wasn’t the only one that thought along these lines. I know we have a quote here about Dumbledore and Grindelwald, but anybody want to read it?

Laura: The quote is, “It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they will wear it well.”

Andrew: Well, and it’s also been discussed that Harry has a lot of qualities. That quote reminds me of this. Harry Potter has a lot of qualities like Salazar. They were both Parselmouths, they were both resourceful, they had a lot of determination. I mean, these qualities – what is Dumbledore trying to say here exactly?

Laura: Well, he’s basically trying to say that people who desire power and desire to be leaders are probably not the best people to do it, because they become easily corrupt.

Andrew: Oh.

Laura: Which kind of – I mean, just looking at the election, I always kind of felt like anybody who would want to run for President must be somewhat of an egomaniac, because – whoa.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Because that is quite an undertaking, and it’s like – it makes you wonder, what is the motivation behind the people…

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: …who are running for a public office?

Andrew: And – well, that’s a good point, because you have to wonder – they always say, you know, “I’m doing it for you guys!” But are they really? I mean…

Matt: Mhm.

Laura: Mhm.

Andrew: Is there anyone out there who’s that in love with the people of America so much that they would take a role as huge as President?

Elysa: I mean, I don’t know. Honestly, speaking as someone who has plans to be a politician one day, I can personally say that that’s my motivation. I’m not kidding.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: But you’re special, Elysa.

Elysa: Maybe that’s really naive.

Laura: You’re special, though.

Elysa: I am. It’s because I’m a badger, isn’t it? I’m a Hufflepuff.

Laura: Yeah.

Elysa: I know. But in all seriousness, I think – I mean, I think there’s a distinction to be made as well. I think that seizing power and – is completely different than putting yourself up for a vote and respecting the rules of democracy and of a republic. But you see with Voldemort, and every other dictator in the world, whether Stalin, or Hitler, or Mussolini, they’ve all seized power and taken it for themselves through a revolution or revolt on that, you know, oftentimes, is completely ignore the rule of law, so I think there is a really big difference between trying to take power for yourself and then to trying to just integrate into a political system.

Matt: Mhm.

Micah: Right.

Matt: Well, I think what J.K. Rowling meant when she did that quote was that she meant – she meant to say that leaders, the great leaders, are born when problems arise and when a leader is needed. I don’t think – I think she means that when you seek power for too much – for more than personal gain, like Andrew said, you just get easily corrupted and you just get – there’s no balance between them.

Elysa: Mmm.

Micah: I think, Elysa, what you said too, the difference between those people you brought up and Dumbledore down the road is that he admits himself that he learned that he was not to be trusted with any sort of power. And…

Elysa: Right.

Micah: We see him tell Harry specifically that he would have never taken the role of Minister of Magic for fear of him being corrupted by that power. Just because of the other things that he enlightens with Harry. And he says – and I’ll just read this quote here real fast. But he says:

“Grindelwald. You cannot imagine how his ideas caught me, Harry, inflamed me. Muggles forced into subservience. We wizards triumphant. Grindelwald and I, the glorious young leaders of the revolution. Oh, I had a few scruples. I assuaged my conscience with empty words. It would all be for the greater good, and any harm done would be repaid a hundredfold in the benefit for wizards. Did I know, in my heart of hearts, what Gellert Grindelwald was? I think I did, but I closed my eyes. If the plans we were making came to fruition, all my dreams would come true.”


Laura: Oh, Dumbledore.

Micah: And that’s Dumbledore speaking.

Matt: Yeah, that kind of upsets me. Like he would – he knows – he knows in the back of his mind about what’s really happening but he just chooses to ignore it and just try to – let Grindelwald cloud his mind. And he lets him do it, and he knows he’s doing it.

Andrew: Because he had a fascination with him!

Matt: I know…

Andrew: Like, J.K. Rowling said…

Matt: That’s what upsets me a little bit. But…

Elysa: Well, I mean, here’s the thing, is that at least I think it happens to most people in their lives, at some point. Probably not on such a grand scale as planning a revolution or an oppression of the people. But I think that – I would say the majority of people are fascinated and overtaken by some kind of concept or person, but not everyone – in fact very few people – have the courage and their perspective to look back and realize that’s what happened and to admit to it. So for me, that whole dynamic that Dumbledore plays out here in this scene made me kind of respect him and love him even more, in a way. Because I felt like it just – it proved how wise he was, because a lot of times being wise isn’t about always being right. It’s about being able to admit when you were wrong.

Matt: Mhm.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Well, yeah, but as we discussed before, this just makes Dumbledore a very real person too.

Micah: Yeah.

Elysa: Yeah, exactly.

Micah: But it also shows that even somebody as great as him and as good as him had these ideas in his head, even though it was probably at a relatively young age. But it just shows that how these ideas really can take hold of people, and how power is really a dangerous thing.

Elysa: Mhm.

Parallel Between Deathly Hallows Symbol and Swastika

Micah: But I guess we can move on. And I know we’ve talked about this on past shows, but the Deathly Hallows symbol shows up on the walls at Durmstrang, and it really did remind me of how the Nazis would use the Swastika in different places to instill fear in those – and it’s not just in World War II; it’s obviously still used to this day to sort of represent racism and prejudice and things of that nature.

Elysa: Well, you know what I found the most fascinating about this, is that both symbols begin out – they originated in sort of like a benign fashion.

Matt: Exactly. I was going to say that too.

Elysa: Yeah, the Swastika originally – it actually – originally I think it was sand script for Swastika, which means “to be good.” And it was used all across central Europe and even actually in a lot of Native American cultures. It’s one of the most universal symbols that there are – that there is. And it was transformed completely by this propaganda of nationalism that the Nazis employed, and so now, even though for 3,000 years it existed as a symbol of peace and good nature, in a course of a few years, a decade, now we look back on it and we see it as a symbol of prejudice and hate. And in a lot of ways rightly so, but it’s the same thing with the Deathly Hallows symbol. I mean, essentially, when you break it down, it’s just a wand and a stone and a cloak, and it originated from a legend – a fairy tale, and it was completely transformed by hate.

Matt: Mhm.

Micah: Right.

Laura: Yeah, and another…

Micah: It’s interesting – go ahead.

Laura: Oh. I was just going to say, another – and this sort of relates to the propaganda thing that Elysa was talking about – but another sort of parallel you can see between the two symbols is they are both so simple. Like, the whole point of having a propaganda campaign…

Elysa: Mhm.

Laura: …is you want it to be simple, because you want people to remember it. If the Swastika had had tons of elaborate…

Elysa: Exactly.

Laura: …design, people wouldn’t remember it as well as they do. But it’s stark, it’s simple, and it just sticks in our brains. And what better symbols to use in the wizarding world than a wand, a cloak, and, what, the Resurrection Stone? Which apparently…

Matt: Yeah.

Laura: …is engrained in bedtime stories…

Elysa: Yeah.

Laura: …that you hear from when you’re a child. So… [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: But when you say “remember,” do you mean it’s easy to remember for people to use so that they can instill that fear?

Laura: No, it’s – I mean, it’s just easy to remember in general. Like you see it and you know. Who didn’t know what the Swastika was when they were a child? Even if you didn’t know all the history behind it, you still knew it was a bad symbol, because you’d been brought up to think that way. Anytime you saw it on a book somewhere, it was some – a book with a negative connotation about Nazism, for instance. You know?

Andrew: Yeah. But for argument’s sake…

Micah: Right.

Andrew: …I mean, is simplicity really what sticks with people in their mind?

Laura: Yes.

Andrew: Because if you think of something – really?

Laura: Yes.

Elysa: Yeah. Well, when you’re trying to make an argument about something, especially when it’s an irrational argument, and a racist or prejudiced argument, the best way to do it is to simplify and to demonize the people.

Andrew: Hmm.

Elysa: So you take a whole race or something and you simplify them to – so they’re not even really humans anymore. They’re just objectified. And when you objectify something, you are inherently simplifying it. And so that’s why propagandists will always use a lot of really simplistic symbols and signs, and even catchphrases, to get their point across.

Laura: Yeah. And honestly, as bad as it sounds, the Nazis were brilliant propagandists. There’s…

Elysa: No, they were. Can’t deny it.

Laura: …absolutely no way around it.

Andrew: Mhm.

Laura: Why do you think that to this day politicians hold these huge rallies? Because it’s harder to have your own individual thought and to actually interpret what they’re telling you when you’re standing in a crowd of 10,000 people screaming. And that’s exactly what the Nazis did. They gave these people their little Swastika flags, and starting yelling about – you know, Hitler did a lot of yelling. [laughs]

[Elysa and Micah laugh]


Laura: And people took it, because it’s so – if you’re sitting across a table from Hitler, it’s much easier to sort of reflect on what he’s saying. But when you’re shouting at the top of your lungs because you feel that your country’s economy has been driven into the ground because of one race, it’s much harder to reflect on that. And that’s what made them so brilliant in what they did, because they knew how to manipulate people.

Andrew: Yeah.

Matt: Mhm.

Laura: And I think Voldemort did too.

Micah: Well, he played…

Andrew: Yeah, I think you’re right.

Micah: I think he played on their fears and insecurities more than Hitler did. Maybe I could be wrong on that, but I think that maybe that’s a shared characteristic between the two of them, and I think that’s how they were able to motivate. You used the example of, hey, the Jewish people are responsible for all the failures in the economy at the time in Europe, and Voldemort kind of did the same thing, saying, oh, well, if we don’t take care of the non-purebloods, then all these half-bloods and Muggles are going to come along and they’re going to take all the jobs away, or they’re going to really just – I guess take the things away from the purebloods that he believed was their given right.

Andrew: Yeah.

Matt: Mhm.

Andrew: Well, and I mean, I think you said that you’re not sure if Voldemort played off their more – their insecurities more than Hitler did, but I think that we just see it more throughout the Harry Potter books than we really saw with Harry.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: But I mean, you’ve got to think about – think about the diary of Anne Frank. I mean, talk about playing off insecurities. There’s some serious insecurity there, so…

Matt: Mhm.

Andrew: I think we just read about it more in this book.

Elysa: I think Hitler, more than anything, played off of anger than anything else, because the Nazi people – or not the Nazi people, listen to me. Geez. The German people – [laughs] – the German people, they were really – they weren’t insecure as much as they were angry over the Treaty of Versailles, the War Guilt Clause, and things of that nature. And so I think, more than any other emotion, Hitler fed off of anger and discontent than insecurity, but that’s just my perspective.

Micah: Well, speaking of Voldemort, let’s…

Andrew: Hey, can I bring something up?

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Just before we move on, though.

Micah: Sure.

The Reason for the Parallels

Andrew: I think that the reason that J.K. Rowling brings all these parallels into the books, like the ones we’re discussing right now, is because those – these parallels are really what can be – get – bring the most emotion out of reading them. Because it’s already been proven and tested that these kinds of stories can really bring a lot of emotion out of people. So I think that – I’m not saying that J.K. Rowling’s just going the easy way by using a similar story, but I think that it’s just a proven formula that works, and I think maybe that was her thinking behind it, perhaps?

Micah: Yeah. I mean, I wouldn’t even say that…

Andrew: Or one of the reasons.

Micah: …it’s – that you could call it an easy route. I think that it takes a lot of creativity…

Andrew: No. Oh yeah.

Micah: …to be able to weave that…

Andrew: Oh yeah.

Micah: …into a story, and really – to have people look through it, pick out the comparisons. And maybe there are a lot of things that are in there that are just coincidence, too. But I think, though, knowing her background, knowing that she used to be a teacher, that there are these events that you can compare to what happened in the real world, and they’re there for a reason. And I think the biggest one is hopefully that people learn from them.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: You know, they can draw similar conclusions and comparisons, and they in themselves can learn from it.

Andrew: Yeah.

Matt: Mhm.

Andrew: I really don’t think it’s a coincidence, to be honest with you, though. I feel like all this stuff was written for a reason.

Micah: Not after the – not after that opening quote about how she wanted Harry to face the same things in his world as – that took place in the…

Andrew: Oh yeah.

Comparing Voldemort and Hitler

Micah: In the real world, so. But I guess we can move on to Voldemort, right?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: I mean, we can start with the basic facts. We mentioned before that he was the Heir of Slytherin. And something interesting about him was that he himself was a half-blood. And we all know that Hitler wasn’t very representative of the Aryan race that he prized so much.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: Blonde hair, blue eyes. If you look at a picture of Hitler, he definitely did not have those qualities. And again, I just thought that that was an interesting similarity. Voldemort himself is so gung ho about purebloods, and yet he himself is a half-blood. Isn’t that somewhat hypocritical?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: I guess more so what I wondered was, does he no longer consider himself a half-blood once be becomes Voldemort? Is he now Voldemort the pureblood…

Andrew: He’s just Voldemort, yeah.

Micah: …crazy wizard.

Matt: He’s just – he doesn’t even talk about it. I don’t even think he thinks about it anymore. It’s not even an issue in his mind.

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, he hates himself for being a half-blood. So, yeah. He would – he’s Voldemort.

Matt: Yeah, he doesn’t even consider himself any type of blood. He considers himself immortal.

Laura: Yeah. And although – I will point out that being blonde-haired and blue-eyed wasn’t really a necessity to be part of the Nazi Party. I mean, I know if you look at any number of Nazi propaganda films like Triumph of the Will, you’ll see all these strapping young blonde-haired, blue-eyed soldiers. But actually, what the Nazis believed was that you could be Aryan and have non-Aryan features, because – and this was how they would put it – your ancestors had mixed with the Slavs, or something like that. There’s actually a really great film called Europa Europa about a young Jewish boy who actually infiltrated the Hitler Youth school, and it’s a true story. And they actually brought him up to the front of the classroom and did all the weird scientific measurements they did that would justify whether you were Aryan or not. And they would sit – and they said that this young Jewish boy was of pure Aryan descent, but that he had – that his ancestors had just mixed around a little bit with Slavs and it really wasn’t his fault. So that’s kind of how they viewed that, but I don’t know. I just thought I’d throw that out there.

Matt: Good.

Micah: Yeah. The next couple points are not mine, so I’m going to defer to whoever put them in there.

Andrew: We’re going to turn it over to Laura.

Laura: I didn’t put that there.

Elysa: I think I – I think I put that…

Micah: [laughs] Or Elysa.

[Everyone laughs]

Elysa: Well, the next point was just that both Voldemort and Hitler had experiences in their youth that contributed to their adult prejudices. Voldemort, obviously, with the orphanage and how he always talks about sort of being ostracized and being the odd man out, and not fitting in, and indeed getting so frustrated and angry about it that he would attack the other students and use his magic against them. But Hitler had a similar experience when he was growing up. Hitler was actually Austrian. He was born in Austria. And when he grew up in his town the economy was terrible, primarily because of the reparations that Austria had to pay after World War I. And he blamed the economy on the Jewish people because there was a high percentage of Jews in his particular town. So he just made this very, again, simplistic though largely inaccurate connection between Jews and the economy. And this experience as a youth and growing up in sort of like an impoverished country is a huge factor for why he had a prejudice against Jews later on in his life.

Micah: And then you also mentioned that they both failed in their initial attempts to seize power?

Elysa: Oh, yeah, sorry, I lost the place in the Google doc.

Laura: Isn’t that when he wrote that huge rambling sentence of a novel, Mein Kampf? Didn’t he write that in prison?

Elysa: [laughs] Yeah, yeah, yeah exactly. Hitler tried seizing power first with the Beer Hall Pusch, and it failed miserably, and he almost – he contemplated suicide afterwards and was thrown in jail and that’s where he wrote Mein Kampf. But then, of course, later, his second rise to power, he was much more successful, or closer to succeeding in what his ultimate goal was. And I see a parallel with Voldemort as well. Just in that…

Micah: Right.

Elysa: …Voldemort tried to rise to power, failed. And he failed the second time as well, but so did Hitler. But I think the second time they both came closer.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: Mhm.

Micah: Right.

Andrew: This is a – these parallels really are – this may sound weird, but I think they are pretty beautiful. Just like comparing the Death Eaters to Nazi Germany.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: It’s just so well done.

Comparing Death Eaters and Nazi Soldiers

Micah: Well, we can talk about them, I guess. [laughs] You know, Voldemort, he organized an army who followed his every word and feared his every act. And Elysa and Laura, you guys are far more informed on this than I am, but I know Hitler did some of the same things. But wasn’t it more because people actually believed in what he said, not that they feared his every act?

Elysa: Yeah. I mean, there was, like I said, there was a lot of anger with Hitler. There was a lot of anger among the German people for the reparations and the War Guilt Clause in the Treaty of Versailles. So it started out initially – I think eventually it definitely evolved into a dynamic of fear and oppression for sure. But I think initially Hitler – what’s important to remember is that initially Hitler was elected. He was appointed as Chancellor and he was elected by his party. He – with the exception of the initial Beer Hall Pusch, from which he tried to seize power, after that he learned his lesson and realized that the only way to actually take power was to do it through democratic means, and he did. And obviously, the only way to do that, through democratic means, is to have the power that people are on your side. So initially he was an extremely popular figure.

Micah: Right. As opposed to Voldemort, who was not.

[Elysa and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Yeah.

Elysa: Right. Yeah, certainly not among the entire magical world as Hitler was with the German people, no.

Micah: Now what about this point about Voldemort sort of mobilizing into somewhat underground manner…

[Laura sneezes]

Elysa: Bless you.

Micah: God bless you.

Laura: [laughs] Thank you.

Micah: [laughs] That’s what she thinks about that.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: But…

Laura: Sorry.

Micah: [laughs] Him mobilizing into somewhat underground manner, similar to Hitler. I mean, you mentioned very early on he had this Beer Hall approach. I mean… [laughs] …Voldemort wasn’t going around to all the local taverns and pitching his ideas. But…

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: But he kind of went about it in a comparative way. He was – I always have this idea of Voldemort sort of just going from place to place to place in a kind of a very concealed manner and recruiting people that way. You know what I mean?

Andrew: It’s like – and I mean this isn’t really a joke – but it’s sort of like Osama Bin Laden style, how he’s just always hiding in the caves and we can never find him. Similar to how Voldemort can never really be found unless he wanted to be found.

Micah: Right, and – yeah, I mean that’s not a bad comparison, because he didn’t – same with Bin Laden, he didn’t fully show his true power until he was confident that his plans would work. You know?

Andrew: Right.

Micah: You think about 9/11. He didn’t come to the surface fully until he knew that that act was going to be carried out with success.

Matt: Mhm.

Andrew: It’s always interesting, too, like when you don’t see Bin Laden around for a while, or now a lot of people are concerned about the Korean leader, what’s his name?

Elysa: Kim Jong-Il?

Andrew: Kim Jong…

Elysa: Kim Jong-Il.

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, the government there, I read on CNN, released a picture of him smiling the other day to assure people he’s in good health. I kind of always wished that in Harry Potter it would’ve been cool to see some of that like, “Is Voldemort even still alive? Do we even know?” I mean, there’s not that much time in the books to do that because this is only over seven years.

Micah: So moving on to the Death Eaters. We just mentioned briefly before, very similar to the Nazi’s catching on and following Hitler. And what I really want to talk about here was that you had these Death Eaters after the initial fall of Voldemort that went before the Wizengamot, and they eventually were sent off to Azkaban, some of them hoping one day that Voldemort would return to power. And I thought this was a little bit similar to the Nuremberg trials after the war was over. The Nazis were put on trial, some of the higher officials, and eventually once convicted, these soldiers were executed. I wonder why none of the Death Eaters were ever thought to be executed?

Elysa: I don’t know, but I can say that a parallel that I would draw with this is that the Nuremberg trials, as well as what we see with the Death Eaters, is they both – they both take the guilt off of themselves and try and deflect it to their leader. You know, you see a lot of Death Eaters saying, “I was bewitched. I was put under the Imperius Curse,” and everything else like that. And same case at the Nuremberg trials, a lot of the SS and the Nazis, they were all saying, “I was afraid for my life.” Sort of a Peter Pettigrew defense. Like, “What was I supposed to do?” And so I don’t know. I’m not sure if that actually worked. I know that at the Nuremberg trials there were a couple, not all, but there were a couple of people who got off on that defense. So maybe it was the same thing with the Death Eaters, I don’t know.

Muggle-born Registration Commission and “Magic is Might” Statue

Micah: Okay, well, moving on: the last point we have here in this sort of racism/prejudice category was the Muggle-born Registration Commission and the “Magic is Might” statue that showed up in Deathly Hallows, and I think, Laura, you actually put this in here, talking about that the Commission was not just a tie to the way the Nazis rounded up the Jews and other people in World War II…

Laura: Yeah…

Micah: …but there were other examples in history as well.

Laura: Yes. The one that I was primarily thinking of was – again, it actually took place here, and what’s really disturbing is a lot of people don’t know about it, because it’s pretty well covered up. But after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States rounded up Japanese-Americans and put them in internment camps in the U.S., because they thought that anybody who was of Japanese heritage would be a threat to our society after this attack. So…

Micah: Right.

Laura: …it’s sort of like the same idea, the…

Micah: Right.

Andrew: Definitely.

Matt: Yeah.

Micah: And in particular, the statue, also, that we see in the hall at the Ministry of Magic, it was really disturbing to me because when I read that description, I immediately thought of the concentration camps. You know, you have these people just really twisted and contorted, all on top of each other, and it was just disgusting, if you think about it. You have these wizards sitting on top of this body of bodies, literally. It’s kind of a disturbing picture to put in your head. I see, Laura, here, that you also mentioned that being anti-Semitic and anti-Muggle-born was already somewhat acceptable in the Harry Potter series up until this point, where we see this Commission. Do you mean just from what we’ve heard from people like the Malfoys and other families, or you could even relate that to Dumbledore, I think, because you look at when you hear from him in King’s Cross, he’s talking about the idea of wizards being triumphant and Muggles being subservient.

Laura: I didn’t actually put the point in there, but I can tell you what I think. I think it’s just another parallel to show. I mean, it is completely inaccurate to say that we live in a society without racism and prejudice. It is very much present in our society, and in many areas, it’s acceptable, which is disgusting. But it’s true. So I think it’s just another tie to our more contemporary society, to make it more prevalent, so…

Micah: Yeah. I think in particular here, you just see it manifesting itself, whereas – and I’ll even bring it up, because I know it’s something that took place recently, but you look at what has gone on at some of the campaign rallies holded – held, excuse me – by Senator McCain and Governor Palin, in terms of the crowd’s response to certain things that were said and what they’ve said about Senator Obama. And the idea that racism, as you’ve just said, it does not exist in today’s society, all you have to do is go and look at something like that, in 2008, this kind of stuff is still going on.

Andrew: Yeah. It was about Obama specifically when they were talking about some of his stances, and I remember hearing that that did end up getting a lot of press a couple of weeks ago, and I remember hearing that once they saw what was going on, or once it started gaining press they, McCain and Palin, adjusted their speeches a bit, I guess to, I don’t know, calm the crowds down or something, but it’s amazing that that really still happens, and even over our presidential candidates.

Laura: And what’s very disturbing is we see the kind sort of scapegoating going on right now that you can also draw a parallel to the Holocaust. There’s been that big flap the past few months about people thinking that Barack Obama is a Muslim. First of all, he’s not. Second of all, who cares?

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: Why would it matter if he was? Because currently in our society, people of Arabic descent and people who practice Islam are considered scapegoats. And any time these people want to blame something terrible on someone else, they blame it on someone who is either Arabic or fits a very generic Middle-Eastern stereotype in terms of how they look. And I remember a few weeks ago there was footage of John McCain speaking with a woman who said she couldn’t trust Barack Obama because he was an Arab. And what bothered me more than anything, more than her saying that, was that John McCain responded to her and said, “No ma’am, he is not. He is a good citizen with whom I have disagreements.” So he made a distinction between being an Arab and being a good citizen. And that really, really bothered me. And I’m going to shut up now.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Well, yeah, I mean, this is the point, you know, that I think Micah’s – we’re all – we’ve all been trying to make, is that it was very real in the Harry Potter fandom too. And it was almost coincidental that Jo brought this up because, really, I mean, there hasn’t been many blatant – unless I’m missing something, or maybe I’m completely off – but there hasn’t been many blatant attempts at racism lately other than – but – well, there hasn’t been any attempts before this presidential election. I mean, am I right or…

Elysa: There was actually – I don’t know, no one’s really sure…

Andrew: Well, there’s the occasional story, like Don Imus having a remark about a woman’s basketball team.

Laura: Well, did you hear about the – the two men who were just arrested because they had an assassination plot? And they were – they were planning to kill…

Micah: Yeah.

Laura: …something like twenty other African-American citizens before they – yeah. It happens.

Micah: Yeah. I think…

Andrew: But you – I mean…

Micah: …Andrew’s referring to other incidents…

Laura: Like…

Micah: …before the election.

Laura: Oh, before the election. Like…

Andrew: Right. Yeah, yeah.

Micah: Yeah, I think…

Andrew: I think it’s coincidental that Jo brought this up a year ago in Deathly Hallows, but now it’s happening again. It seems to be picking up more
than it was actually at about a year ago.

Matt: Mhm.

Micah: Yeah, but I think there are always isolated incidents that are going to make the national media, but you have to remember there are also incidents that take place at the local level, in your local newspaper, that you never hear about – or sorry – that the national audience never hears about. So it still does exist; there’s no question about it. I mean, there are incidents – there was one that just took place on Long Island about a Swastika being spray-painted on a temple or a Menorah being overturned and vandalized. I mean, it does take place; it may not be at the level of – to receive national attention, but it still does happen.

Elysa: Right.

Laura: Mhm. I agree.

Micah: And you know that kind of – those were the final points about the Muggle-borns, saying that they were really responsible, according to Voldemort, for the falling standards of the Wizarding World, and I know Laura alluded to before about how that was similar – or, Elysa did – about, you know, Germany’s failing economy, and the Jews were blamed for that, so there’s another comparison there. And it also says here that in the years prior to the Holocaust, Jews would often be terrorized and have their residences and businesses vandalized, the biggest night of course being
Kristallnacht, which was the Night of Broken Glass, where literally hundreds, if not thousands, of stores and homes were just completely destroyed. And I think Laura here pointed out – there’s a similar incidence with a Muggle family in Goblet of Fire, where they’re tortured at the Quidditch World Cup, and nobody really thinks of it as being against the law. They just see it as happening. And they kind of turn a blind eye because they’re all running for their lives themselves.

Andrew: The final quote we wanted to make here on this topic was that even Ron said that he would tell everyone Hermione was his cousin so Hermione wasn’t known as a Mudblood. And oftentimes, friends of Jewish families would attempt to do this too, so another good parallel and a very interesting and a slightly more hidden one, I think.

Micah: Well, yeah, you brought up Anne Frank before. That’s a…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …perfect example of that.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. It’s an amazing story.

Micah: All right.

Andrew: And movie.

Micah: So we’ve finally moved off our first point there of racism and ethnic cleansing and Nazism.

Andrew: Whoo! Happy Election Day!

[Matt and Micah laugh]

The Evils of War: Innocents Killed

Micah: Yeah, exactly. The remainder of the points, I guess, are a little bit shorter, but one of the things I just want to touch on real fast was the evils of war and,
obviously, with a lot going on with our country, here in the U.S., and others around the world who are helping out, but J.K. Rowling said, “I very consciously
wanted to show what is one of the great evils of war, which is that totally innocent people are slaughtered.” Another great evil of war is that children lose their
families. So…

Andrew: And I mean, this is her talking about the deaths in Book 7, I guess, or just as a whole. Yeah. I mean, yeah, that was – that was one of the – I remember
the first quote when Jo said like oh, it’s going to be a bloodbath, and the press picked that up. And everyone said, well, you know, of course, the press eats that kind of stuff up, but, really, it’s not a surprise because they are going into a war, and innocent people would die, so…

Micah: Yeah. I actually think this was in response to a question about why Remus and Tonks had to die.

Andrew: Oh, okay.

Matt: Mhm.

Micah: And it makes sense, if you think about it.

Matt: They were just boring characters.

Andrew: It does make sense, although people…

[Everyone laughs]

Elysa: Matt! Oh, my God! Blasphemy! Kick him off the show now.

Andrew: Banned from the show.

Matt: No!

Andrew: Mic off. No more mic.

Micah: No, we needed a good laugh. This was too serious of a show so far. [laughs]

Andrew: Hey, his mic’s off for ten minutes.

Elysa: I do not find insulting Remus Lupin funny.

Matt: Hook my mic up! Thank you.

Micah: Matt.

Andrew: Okay.

[Elysa and Micah laugh]

Matt: What?

Andrew: Do you have any apologies or anything to say?

Matt: Yeah, I’m sorry…

Andrew: Sorry, your mic’s off. Sorry, can’t hear you.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Joke’s over.

MuggleCast 162 Transcript (continued)

Ministry Corruption: Cornelius Fudge

Micah: All right, so moving away from war – obviously played a big role in the series, but now Ministry corruption, educational reforms, and biased media – huge topics in and of themselves. But this is something I think Laura and Elysa are going to have a lot of fun with, particularly the ignorance of Cornelius Fudge throughout the course of the Harry Potter series. And one interesting thing that J.K. Rowling said was that you should question authority and you should not assume that the establishment or the press tells you all the
truth. And an interesting quote by Dumbledore from Goblet of Fire. He says, “You’re blinded by the love of the office you hold, Cornelius. You place too much importance, and you always have done, on the so-called purity of blood. You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow up to be.” So, Laura, I’ll let you go off. Obviously, Cornelius – I hate him just as much as Umbridge, to be honest with you, in the series, and he’s just…

Andrew: Of course.

Micah: …a piece of work.

Laura: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know that there’s tons that we can say about him, and I kind of have a very biased… [laughs] …opinion that I put in writing that I won’t share.

Andrew: Yeah, you know…

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: …before I even read that, I realized, is Jo trying to pull any parallels here? I mean, in all seriousness, do you think she is? Like, because everything else in the Ministry seems to be some sort of parallel, so does Fudge have any?

Micah and Laura: Yeah.

Micah: Actually…

Andrew: I mean, we can point the finger…

Micah: Well…

Andrew: …on Jo.

Micah: …the…

Andrew: …instead of us being political, it’s Jo. Go ahead, Micah.

Micah: The bullet point actually got moved down to the Prophet and The Quibbler, but she said in an interview that he was based on the character of Neville Chamberlain, who was a British Prime Minister…

Andrew: Ah, there you go.

Micah: …in the late 1930s, and Chamberlain so hoped to avert another war in Europe that he looked the other way when it came to the Nazi Regime’s atrocities, and allowed Germany to annex parts of Czechoslovakia, calling it peace for our time. He eventually declared war on Germany when Hitler invaded Poland. Chamberlain was succeeded as Prime Minister by Winston Churchill. So, again, more World War II referencing, and you can clearly see the similarities between Chamberlain and Fudge. Just sort of really turning a blind eye to everything that’s going on and acting in complete and utter ignorance.

Elysa: Well, it seems to me, then, if she’s making this parallel between Chamberlain and Cornelius Fudge, Chamberlain’s known for – what she’s talking about here, this turning a blind eye. The technical term for that is appeasement. So it seems to me that if she’s drawing this parallel between the two, that the character Cornelius
Fudge is a rather strong – rather strong speaking out of against appeasement and the whole concept of appeasing one’s enemies to get peace for oneself.

Laura: Mhm. Yeah, I was just going to kind of throw this little point in here really quickly. I don’t know if any of you remember, but there are a lot of people who try
to draw comparisons between Voldemort and George Bush, and other characters in the series. A lot of – there are a lot of characters people try to compare to George
Bush. But actually, in chapter one of Half-Blood Prince – and this is just my opinion – it’s chapter one, “The Other Minister,” it’s talking about the Prime
Minister of England, and it said:

“He was waiting for a call from the president of a far, distant country, and between wondering when the wretched man would telephone
and trying to suppress unpleasant memories of what had been a very long, tiring, and difficult week…”

Blah, blah, blah, it goes on from there. I think that was her little nod towards our Commander-in-Chief, but that’s just me.

Andrew: I think you have a point there.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: But, I mean, there’s very little…

Laura: It’s very – it’s very subtle, though, that’s what’s great about it.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: Like, it could be anyone you want it to be, which is probably what’s best about it, but considering the political climate… [laughs]

Andrew: I mean, maybe it’s just a coincidence. I mean…

Laura: [laughs] Elysa…

Andrew: …at least this one could be a coincidence. Or at least, you know, the parallel you’re trying to draw, because there haven’t been any United States-related parallels, I don’t think, in – United States, specifically, parallels in the Harry Potter books. So I don’t know if that would make any difference, but…

Laura: No.

Micah: Right.

Laura: But considering the – considering the relationship that the United States and Britain have…

Andrew: Mhm.

Matt: Mhm.

Laura: I’ll just leave it at that. And Elysa’s informing me…

Micah: If I was a betting man…

Laura: …that I’m going to get death threats, so…

Micah: If I was a betting man, I would say that J.K. Rowling is not too fond of George W. Bush. We should leave it at that.

Andrew: Well, and…

Laura: Yeah. I mean, considering she gave how much money she gave to, what, the Labor Party?

Andrew: Yeah, the Labor Party.

Micah: Right.

Laura: Yeah.

How the Press Manipulates

Micah: Yup. The next part has to do with the press, and I know that, Laura, you put most of the press-related stuff in here. And you were actually – we were talking a
little bit about it before the show, how you feel that the press can often manipulate…

Laura: Mhm.

Micah: …people who read their news.

Laura: Right, of course. What’s really disturbing about the press in general – and it’s really a parallel that we see in Harry Potter – is that all of our media outlets are owned by the same four or five people, who have very vested interests in what those outlets are reporting to us. For instance, one of – one of the most well-known ones is that General Electric owns NBC. So if there’s ever an energy scandal that has anything to do with General Electric you will never hear about it on NBC. Furthermore, I think I was reading that NBC, out of all of the news networks, they cover energy the least.

Micah: Wow.

Laura: So, yeah.

Andrew: Well, NBC’s had those – I remember last year they had the whole Green Week, and I remember some shows actually had the lights off. They had like most of their
studio lights off. And they were trying to send a message about how to conserve energy.

Laura: Right. I mean, I’m not saying that they don’t cover any sort of energy stories, but…

Micah: Well, that’s positive press though.

Laura: Right, yeah, it’s positive press for them. That’s essentially what it boils down to. And a lot of those same tactics are used by the Public Relations Committee. I mean there’s so many instances in which I can think of, that the United States has been at war, and at large the public opinion of it was not good. There was a lot of political dissent. Particularly I’m thinking of when Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait.

Matt: Mhm.

Laura: Am I right on that, Elysa? Yeah? Gulf War?

Elysa: Indeed, indeed.

Laura: And there was a huge, huge public uprising against this; people did not want this to happen. Well, the Public Relations Committee created a quote unquote citizen group called Citizens for a Free Kuwait…

Elysa: Yeah.

Laura: …in order to convince citizens that at the most part, U.S. citizens wanted to free Kuwait, which was a complete success in terms of propaganda at the very least, and I think we see the same kind of tactics used by The Daily Prophet.

Andrew: Oh yeah.

Laura: Particularly, in the last two Potter books, where the government completely took over the papers, and it’s very prevalent because now, anytime the government
wants to do something or release something, they don’t do it without consulting someone from PR.

Micah: Right.

Laura: So there’s definitely a huge tie there.

Micah: Yeah, it’s all selective information. I mean – and one of the things that I can think about today is that if you think about it, whenever we hear about events in Iraq or Afghanistan, it will always be about – on, I guess, the more depressing side of things, when there are incidents where soldiers are killed. It’s usually all you hear about is if they’re American, if they’re British,
Australian, so on and so forth, and when you get these counts of people who have been killed, you never hear anything about the number of Iraqis that have been killed
over in Iraq or the number of citizens of Afghanistan that have been killed, and these are regular everyday people. I’m not talking about soldiers. So it’s very selective in terms of the amount of information that you hear.

Laura: Yeah. And actually, isn’t it true that we don’t keep a count at all? It’s like we don’t actually keep a count of how many Iraqi civilians are dying in the war?

Andrew: Yeah, I thought I heard that too.

Laura: Yeah.

Micah: It’s got to be hundreds of thousands now.

Laura: Yeah, it has to be.

Elysa: Well, I know that – I know that the reason that it’s not being counted as closely as it would be otherwise is because they’re arguing that of course it’s difficult to count when you’re talking about civilian casualties who are being bombed from the push of a button you know, so – and I don’t know. I can say a lot more on that, but I’ll…

Andrew: I did a whole paper on the ethics of journalism a while ago, and it was just really interesting and eye-opening to see how pick and choosy, so to speak, that the media is. And The Daily Prophet is definitely a beautiful representation of the real life media in today’s society. It’s terrible. It’s so bad and that’s why things like YouTube and podcasting – I just sounded like Sarah Palin when I said [with Sarah Palin accent] YouTube.

Elysa: [Sarah Palin accent] YouTube.

Andrew: Yeah.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Matt: [as Sarah Palin] Well, I can see YouTube from my chair.

[Laura laughs]

Elysa: [as Sarah Palin] Maverick.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: It’s – they’re growing so quickly and people love them so much because it’s true free speech and – whereas with, like Laura said, with NBC not reporting on energy
as much, with just average people reporting on whatever they want because they’re not limited by a boss overhead. That’s the beauty of podcasting specifically.

Micah: Yeah. Even today we can rattle off a number of different news outlets and newspapers that tend to lean one way or the other, and it’s kind of scary though because it’s all crafted to that particular audience, and say you don’t know any better, what are you really learning? You’re not learning the truth at all. You’re learning a skewed version of the truth.

Laura: And one thing that I noticed, and it wasn’t just something that The Daily Prophet did, it was something that was performed by the Ministry, calling what they were doing to Muggle-borns the Muggle-born Registration Commission. It’s giving a very terrible act a much nicer name, in order to convince people, or at least to put their minds at ease, that maybe what’s going on isn’t so terrible. And it’s sort of like all the names that we see given to all of these terrible things that are happening now. Like conservatives – instead of calling it “global warming,” they say “climate change” and it’s not the war in Iraq, it’s Project Iraqi Freedom. And it’s very disturbing how just giving something a positive connotation completely changes the way a lot of people think about it.

Micah: Yeah, no, you’re absolutely right.

Elysa: Well, that reminds me of George Orwell. I just had to throw that out there.

Laura: Oh, yes!

Elysa: 1984

Laura: Oh, the Ministry of Truth.

Elysa: The Ministry of Truth and NewSpeak and euphemisms and the whole – yeah, that’s very Orwellian. And I also just wanted to bring up really quick that I think the beauty of The Daily Prophet dynamic is that The Daily Prophet is supposed to represent, theoretically, just like all newspapers and press and media, at least in Western democracies, is supposed to represent a beacon of information and truth, and they’re supposed – the people behind it are supposed to have good intentions. So I think The Daily Prophet really exemplifies how evil isn’t – doesn’t just come from bad people, that evil isn’t necessarily a person or a tangible object; it’s also when someone with good intentions does something wrong. So, people who are trying to do something good, who are trying to put the truth out there, are not doing it because they think they’re doing something good when it’s really only hurting everyone else. So I think The Daily
‘s lesson is that you can’t – even people that you think you can trust in war times, you can’t because the propaganda’s machine is always rolling.

Micah: Yeah. Well, wasn’t it Sirius who told Harry the world isn’t separated into good people and Death Eaters?

Laura: Yes.

Elysa: Right, exactly!

Micah: Or something along those lines.

Elysa: Exactly. I think that’s what The Daily Prophet‘s lesson is. I think that’s just another example of that in the story.

Corruption: Educational Decrees

Micah: All right, so, moving on to the last piece of corruption, I guess you could say, is Dolores Umbridge and her Educational Decrees.

Andrew: Ugh!

Micah: [laughs] Your favorite character, Andrew!

Andrew: Yes. Yeah, no, she really is.

Micah: So, apparently education is extremely corrupt, particularly here in the United States. Laura, would you care to enlighten me?

Laura: Oh. [laughs] Well, I was thinking specifically in terms of the area where I’m from. I know that as a homeschooler, during three years of high school, I really got to experience how corrupt, at least my local educational system, was. For starters, they really tried to discourage me from leaving the public school system. And I later found out that a lot of the reason they discouraged students from homeschooling and pursuing a GED is because they lose funding for those students. For every day that you’re in school, the school gets a certain amount of funding. Also, I think that a lot of educational boards gear what the local school systems are allowed to teach in terms of what the general consensus of the area is, which is really, I think, something that Umbridge did. She came at such a time of fear for people, because Voldemort was uprising, there was a lot of uncertainty, and when you take a large mass of uncertain people, it’s very, very easy to bend them to your will and say, “Look, I’m just doing this to protect you. I’m doing this to protect your children.” And that’s all you have to do in order to convince them that what you’re doing is right.

Micah: Laura, couldn’t you say, though, that that’s really similar to how certain people that are in power in politics in our country today have used certain events
that have taken place in the past to their own advantage?

Laura: Yep.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Absolutely.

Andrew: Leave it at that.

Micah: Without getting too political!

Laura: Right, I don’t want to name any names or anything, but I feel like 70% of the country knows who you’re talking about.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: I think that Umbridge is a definition of a politician who really wouldn’t be able to get away in the real world with all the things that she does. Because I know the Ministry was corrupted so they were on her side, but the things that she was doing, namely, I mean, the Muggle-born Registration Committee – I mean, that was huge. I just think that she would never get away with the things she did in the real world.

Micah: Yeah. And she was…

Andrew: At school or in the Ministry.

Micah: And she was the perfect example of a “yes man.” You know. She just followed everything to the T. It’s like she was brought up to never question authority and anything that was laid out is exactly how it has to be done. So the government tells you this, or in this case the Minister is giving her ground rules, you have to follow everything exactly to the T. And I think that’s what annoyed so many people reading about her.

Laura: I don’t know what – I don’t know if you’ll agree with me on this, Andrew, but just like based off your point of wondering whether or not she would get away with
that type of thing, I think there is one place in current society where she would get away with that, and that place is called Guantanomo Bay.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

Laura: I’m pretty sure…

Andrew: Yeah, we can agree on that.

Elysa: Where we are all going.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: But anywhere else…

Elysa: We’ll all be there together.

Laura: [laughs] I know!

Micah: Yeah, I think that wraps up our political discussion. At least for now. I know we have some more talking points that we could get to in another episode, but I feel like we’ve exhausted it.

Andrew: We’ve talked long enough today, yeah. Laura, Elysa and Micah, great job on coming up with this discussion, by the way.

Elysa: Thank you.

Laura: It was mostly Micah.

Andrew: It’s been in the works…

Micah: You could easily spend an entire episode on one of these things.

Andrew: Oh yeah, definitely.

Laura: Yeah.

Laura Leaves to do School Work

Andrew: There’s a lot to talk about and there’s a perfect time to discuss Potter politics. All right, so, Laura, we’ll let go of you for now. You’re busy with school; that’s understandable. But…

Laura: Yes.

Andrew: …we thank you for coming on…

Laura: Well, thank you for having me!

Andrew: …in this time of politics.

Matt: [imitating Laura] Oh, no problem!

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: And we’ll talk to you later.

Laura: All right, I’ll see you guys around.

Matt: All right. Bye, Laura!

Elysa: Bye, Thompson!

Make the Music Connection

Andrew: It’s time to do something fun now. We’re going to do Make the Music Connection.

Matt: Make the M-m-m-mu – oh, sorry.

Andrew: Make the M-m-m-music Connection!

Micah: I actually thought that was the sound bite, Matt.

Andrew: I’ve gotten feedback that people prefer I just do it live rather than playing the prerecorded sound effect, so…

Matt: That’s good.

Andrew: Make the M-m-m-music…

Matt: Connection!

Andrew: I forget how I used to do it anyway. Anyway, Matt’s got the songs this week.

Matt: This one is for Micah.

Andrew: You ready? Okay, here’s the first one.

[“It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” by R.E.M. plays]

Andrew: “It’s End Of The World As We Know It.”

Micah: I don’t know. I think that would be a really cool song to play after McGonagall casts that spell where all the statues and portraits and everything else in Hogwarts comes to life and they go running down…

Andrew: But that’s not the end of the world! That’s the beginning, the beginning of something new! That’s good, Micah.

Matt: That’s good.

Andrew: All right, how about, Elysa, you next.

Matt: Okay.

Elysa: Okay.

Matt: Elysa, this one’s for you.

[“Rock Your Body” by Justin Timberlake plays]

[Elysa laughs]

Andrew: “Rock Your Body” by Justin Timberlake.

Elysa: Yeah, you know, the first thing comes to mind…

Andrew: Make the connection.

Elysa: …is Neville. I see Neville after he slays Nagini, and he’s all feeling proud of himself and he’s like doing some Michael Jackson pop and lock moves to the song as he walks away.

Matt: He moonwalks across Voldemort. [laughs]

Elysa: Or even when he’s dancing by himself in Goblet of Fire. Awww.

[Andrew laughs]

Elysa: Awww, Neville.

Andrew: That’s good.

Matt: That just seems like a song that I can see Neville listening to in the bathroom while he’s getting his hair done or something, just looking at himself like, yeaaaah!

Elysa: [laughs] Exactly!

Andrew: All right, and how about me?

[“I Want It All” from High School Musical 3 plays]

Andrew: Oh geez. I love this song. This is “I Want It All” from the new hit movie High School Musical 3,
of course, as everyone knows. I saw Micah get excited as soon as the song started playing.

Micah: Oh yeah. I was actually dancing here. You couldn’t see it. And singing along, to be honest.

[Andrew laughs]

Elysa: You sound exhilarated.

Micah: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: If I had to make a connection between this, it would be in Book 7 when Harry and Hermione – well, the trio is learning about the Horcruxes and they’re deciding to go out on a mission and actually go and get them all. To leave the Burrow and go get them all. So that’s how you play Make the M-m-m-music Connection.

[Matt makes strange sound effect]

This Week in MuggleCast History

Andrew: Okay, we’re going to now go to This Week In MuggleCast History. This is a fun one. Oh, I love this one. This goes back to Episode 62, November 5, 2006. And this was when Jo announced that she had a third title for Book 7. And this also led into some predictions about when the book would be released and the predictions were very off, and I don’t think I was on the show because you never hear me talking.

Ben: She said she has a third title for Book 7. We were all there at Radio City Music Hall the second night – well, some of us were. And she said how that morning, or that day during the – while she was in the shower, she thought of a second title for Book 7, and now she has a third one and she said that it is ahead by a short nose, or “perhaps that should be a vowel and two consonants.” So, what do you guys think about the whole title stuff?

Eric: I think she added three letters.

Kevin: I think she’s teasing us.

Micah: Yeah, I mean, now there’s not just two; now there’s three. She just likes messing around with us.

Jamie: Oh, I feel…

Ben: I know. Hopefully, hopefully we’ll get to know what the other two titles are.

Jamie: I know what it is. It’s…

Ben: What?

Jamie: She’s just added the word “the” to it. That’s two consonants and a vowel.

[Eric and Kevin laugh]

Jamie: I bet it’s something, something, and something, and then, oh, sorry, “Harry Potter” and something, and then she’s added “the” into it. I bet that’s it. In fact,
I will eat…

Eric: You know what that…

Jamie: Actually, no I won’t.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: You stop right there.

Ben: “I will eat.” [laughs] I love those bets.

Eric: Yeah.

Jamie: Although, I just think it means that she favors this title above the other two and that it’s just got a few more letters than the other two, as well.

Ben: Right, but if she didn’t release the title this – on Halloween, when do you think we can see it? I mean, when do you think we will see it?

Jamie: Christmas, maybe?

Eric: I don’t want to wait that long.

Ben: I don’t know.

Jamie: It’s like a month.

Eric: I think maybe something like this. Guy Fawkes Day.

Jamie: Huh?

Ben: Yeah, but what about…

Eric: It’s Guy Fawkes Day today.

Ben: Today?

Eric: Maybe by the end of the night she’ll release the title.

Ben: I doubt it.

Kevin: Maybe Christmas?

Ben: So, what do you think this means for the timing of Book 7? I still think it’s going to be 2008.

Jamie: Yeah, I agree.

Kevin: Yeah, I do, too.

Jamie: Of course, all the way, 2008.

Andrew: [imitating Jamie] 2008, for sure. For sure, 2008.

Matt: Oh right.

Elysa: Right.

Andrew: See, I thought was funny because kind of off there. But what was the other – there was – one of the titles was Harry Potter and the Elder Wand, of course Deathly Hallows. What was the third one? Did she ever say?

Micah: I feel like she did. I don’t know if I can…

Chicken Soup for the MuggleCast Soul

Andrew: She must have. Because that’s kind of a big question. Okay, well, we’ll wrap up today with Chicken Soup for the MuggleCast Soul. This comes from Jessica:

“Dear MuggleCast: Hi. My name is Jessica Hernandez and I’m 11 years old. This is my first Chicken Soup, so here goes. MuggleCast has helped cope through my summer.
I was visiting my grandma and auntie in Mexico, but my sisters couldn’t come so I felt lonely. Also I was in a car accident on September 19th, Hermione’s birthday. It
was pretty serious but nobody needed to be hospitalized. But ever since then I can’t be in a car without freaking out, so I bring my mp3 player in the car to calm my nerves down. Your podcast helped me through these things. Thanks. Love, Jessica, your number one fan.”

Thank you, Jessica.

Micah: Thank you.

Elysa: Awww.

Andrew: We’re glad you’re okay.

Micah: Yep. I actually found out that other title.

Andrew: What is it?

Micah: It was Harry Potter and the Peverell Quest.

Andrew: No.

Matt: No.

Andrew: No.

Matt: No.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Where you reading that?

Micah: From J.K. Rowling’s live chat.

Andrew: Wow.

Micah: She said the other two considered were, Harry Potter and the Elder Wand and
Harry Potter and the Peverell Quest. Referring, I guess, to the brothers.

Elysa: I definitely like – yeah.

Andrew: What were you saying?

Elysa: I definitely like Deathly Hallows more.

Matt: How can you be torn between those though? the Deathly Hallows sounds so much better.

Andrew: I was…

Elysa: Yeah, it really does.

Andrew: I was a real fan of The Elder Wand. I thought that was a really, just sort of like a badass title, I just thought.

Micah: Yeah. Well Deathly Hallows only sounds good because that’s actually the title that was chosen. If she chose any of the other two I would still think we
would say, “Oh Deathly Hallows, psh, why the hell would she use that?”

Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] That’s true. I was never really a fan of this title.

Micah: Why?

Elysa: Really?

Matt: Really?

Andrew: I don’t know, Deathly Hallows. Eh, it’s cool, but I don’t know. I – when I first – when I heard she wanted it – after I read it when I heard she wanted to do Elder Wand I thought it was like – I don’t know.

[Show music begins]

Contact Information and Show Close

Andrew: But I liked it. But anyway, I think that wraps up this very long show for today. We had a great discussion on the election and this is our third show, as I said at the beginning, in eight days, so we’ll be back in a couple of weeks.

Matt: Mhm.

Andrew: At least with an announcement containing – related to Beedle the Bard. But let’s remind everyone…

Micah: Do…

Andrew: What?

Micah: I was just going to say we’ll do another live show when another trailer leaks out in the next couple of weeks.

Andrew: Oh yeah. [laughs] Whenever a trailer leaks we’re there for you.

Okay, well, if you would like to send something to the P.O. Box it’s MuggleCast, P.O. Box 3151, Cumming, GA 30028. If you want to leave a voicemail question, which we’ll get back to next week, if you’re in the United States you can dial, 1-218-20-MAGIC, if you’re in the United Kingdom you can dial 028114 – sorry – 81440677, and if you’re in Australia, you can dial 0280035668. You can also Skype the username MuggleCast, but just remember, no matter how you wish to call us, keep your message under 30 seconds and eliminate as much background noise as possible, please. You can also visit for a handy feedback form, although it’s now available at Or just use anyone of our first names at staff dot mugglenet dot com. And don’t forget to also visit the MuggleCast website for the community outlets,
including the MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Frappr, Last.FM, the fanlisting and the forums at And also follow us on Twitter, Digg the show at, and vote for us once a month at Podcast Alley

Okay, once again, I’m Andrew Sims.

Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

Matt: I’m Matthew Britton.

Elysa: And I’m Elysa Montfort.

Andrew: We’ll see you next time for Episode 163. Buh-bye!

Micah: Bye.

Elysa: Bye.

Matt: Bye.


Matt: Sorry, so back to your History class. I’ll go back to sleep.

Andrew: Ooh!

Elysa: Ooh – ouch!

Laura: You know you love it, Matt. You know you love it. You do.