Transcript #183

MuggleCast 183 Transcript

Show Intro

[Intro music begins]

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[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]

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

[Show music begins]

Andrew: Because there is a small chance we may get fired this episode, this is MuggleCast 183 for October 26th, 2009.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: All right, welcome to MuggleCast Episode 183. This is a special episode for two reasons.

Ben: Special.

Andrew: One – oh, the surprise is ruined. [laughs]

Ben: Damn.

Andrew: Ben Schoen is with me in the MuggleCast Studio this week!

Ben: It feels great to be live Andrew, I feel like my voice is clear.

Andrew: It sounds good.

Ben: I feel like I’m me again.

Andrew: [laughs] Yes, you are you again. And also for the first time in MuggleCast history – Emerson Spartz is making his pre-recorded debut. Welcome Emerson.

Emerson: Happy to be here, Andrew.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: How does it feel?

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: I’m excited, you know, I’m excited.

Andrew: [laughs] As everyone knows you have always done the live episodes with us but never a pre-recorded one. Like this one, for example.

Emerson: That’s my style.

Andrew: Yeah, and of course you are also on because we’re celebrating 10 years of MuggleNet. We will talk to your later on in the show about how you got started with the site. I have some questions that I personally am very curious about. So, I’m excited to hear your answers.

Ben: Andrew, always the curious one.

Andrew: [laughs] All right…

[Emerson laughs]

Andrew: So we have a very, very, very busy show today. I am Andrew Sims.

Ben: I’m Ben Schoen.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

Emerson: I’m Emerson Spartz.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: All right Micah, there has been a lot in the news. What’s going on?

Micah: Well, not too much. I’m actually going to take this week off.

Andrew: Come on Micah.

Ben: Step up, Micah, it’s the tenth anniversary.

Andrew: The webmaster of MuggleNet is here; aren’t you trying to impress? Come on.

Micah: No, no, no. I don’t – all right.

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: You’re fired!

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: All right, see you guys.

Ben: I wonder if we can all make it through the show without being fired?

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: I should have been fired a long time ago.

Micah: What’s that?

Ben: Sorry, go ahead Micah, with the news.

News: Deathly Hallows Filming Updates

Micah: All right well let’s start with Deathly Hallows – some filming updates. Tom Felton updated his Twitter, not too long ago, at the beginning of the month, saying that he was filming with Ralph Fiennes and that he was thoroughly enjoying working with him. Some information there about what’s going on. Any idea what scenes they could be?

Andrew: Malfoy Manor? Because – Helen McCrory is also filming as well.

Micah: Yeah, she is.

Andrew: Isn’t she?

Micah: She said that on October 5th a table read for part two of Deathly Hallows was taking place that day. You are probably right, Malfoy Manor.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: Nothing later on in the series has been shot just yet.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: She also noted that many around the set have grown up with the franchise and are sad to see it go.

Andrew: There was an interview with Robby Coltrane too about that and it must be pretty sad.

Ben: Well that is just like us, you know.

Andrew: We’re never ending though.

Ben: MuggleNet is ten years old.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: We’re getting up there,

Andrew: But they are ending.

Ben: Times are changing.

Andrew: But they are ending, you know. It must be sad.

Ben: Yeah, a little bit…

Eric: If they are looking for work they can…

Andrew: They can join MuggleNet.

[Andrew and Micah laughs]

Ben: There are these Twilight films that are coming out.

Andrew: All right, Micah what else?

News: Matt Lewis at Exhibition Opening

Micah: Speaking of Deathly Hallows, Matt Lewis, who plays Neville Longbottom, was at the opening of the Boston Harry Potter Exhibition. He talked a little bit about the seventh film, he said that he has the script for part two and will begin shooting next week, and that the scale of it is enormous. Neville is quote, “a bloody and battered resistant leader, a battle hardened veteran.” Actually, one of our staff members was at that event in Boston, and it opens this Sunday, October 25th.

Andrew: Right – Matt Lewis and Evanna, and I’m sure many other actors, have been hyping up this part two like crazy. Just because of how – part two is going to be basically – mostly the Battle of Hogwarts. They are really hyping this up. Hopefully, it is not a letdown.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Two Part Movie: Good Idea?

Ben: Does everyone still think it’s a good move? Splitting it into two?

Andrew: Definitely.

Eric: Yeah.

Emerson: I do.

Andrew: Financially, alone, they are doubling their money just for one book. Imagine if they did that for all the books? Which they could have done.

Ben: Fourteen movies.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: That would be a bit intense.

Andrew: [laughs] It would be. You are right.

Emerson: But at the same time it would prolong the party.

Andrew: Can you imagine – Jesus, it would be going to like 2020 or something. Something insane.

Ben: That would be insane.

Emerson: And they would start making comparisons to the Saw movies.

[Andrew and Eric laughs]

Ben: Saw 6 came out last week. I saw Saw 1 and 2, but I don’t remember 3 through 5.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Three was good. Two – I hate two. Three was good, four and five did not need to exist.

Andrew: I’m sure they’re also feeling motivated to really make sure this final film is perfect because it’s the last chance they have to really express them – turn the books into the film, so they want to do something that they can really treasure forever.

Eric: Matt Lewis…

Ben: I think it’d be interesting…

Eric: Sorry.

Ben: …when this is all said and done, to look at the first film, and compare it to the last film and see truly how far the special effects team has gone, how far the overall production quality has gone, how far the actors; Dan, Rupert, and Emma – how much better they’ve gotten and the chemistry of the cast and everything, how that’s developed over time and I think it will be interesting to see how it shaped up.

Eric: Maybe mostly in Part 1, it’ll be interesting to see Dobby again, you know, for the first time since part two, you know?

Andrew: Oh yeah.

Eric: And just to see how that CGI works. I know we had Kreacher in the past one, but just watching the same, to see Dobby again…

Andrew: Right, well, I’ll give you an example. Sirius in the fireplace in, what was the first one? In Goblet of Fire

Eric: Largely regarded as a bad CGI.

Andrew: Yeah, it looks terrible! And in Order of the Phoenix, it looked much better.

Eric: Yeah.

Emerson: And Quidditch.

Andrew: Right, and Quidditch.

Emerson: And Quidditch is almost too easy to pick on.

Andrew: Oh God, yeah. I mean, I think I’ve told this story on MuggleCast before. After I saw Half-Blood Prince, I saw Sorcerer’s Stone right away, and the Quidditch in Sorcerer’s Stone, the Quidditch Pitch, it’s very bright and colorful, and it’s not nearly as detailed as what you see in Half-Blood Prince. It’s really…

Ben: What are movies going to look like thirty years from now? You know, can you imagine?

Andrew: Yeah. You won’t be able to tell what’s CGI. It’s as simple as that.

Ben: Yeah.

Emerson: Well, you’re going to be completely immersed into the movie. It’ll be just like you’re an actor on the set.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Yeah, which would be cool because they could go and remake older movies like Diehard with you in them.

Andrew: [laughs] Right. All right Micah, what else?

News: Half-Blood Prince DVD

Micah: All right, over to Half-Blood Prince – this movie never seems to go away. The DVD Times

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: …released a new article detailing what we can expect from the “Close-up with the Cast of Harry Potter” portion of the Half-Blood Prince DVD. Many cast members are contributing with fun segments, which totals close to thirty minutes, and there’s also going to be a Deathly Hallows sneak-peek on the DVD as well.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s big news because they did that on the Order of the Phoenix DVD. They had the Half-Blood Prince sneak-peek. So, hopefully it’ll be good. I wasn’t blown away by that Half-Blood Prince sneak-peek they had on the Order of the Phoenix DVD.

Eric: I don’t recall it, to be perfectly honest.

Andrew: It’s on YouTube if…

Eric: Oh, I’m sure it was there.

[Andrew and Ben laugh]

Eric: Nothing special…

Andrew: Right.

Eric: You know, but it’s nice, especially with Deathly Hallows. Quite a chunk of it is filmed…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: You know, so, it should have some good stuff.

Andrew: Mhm.

News: Half-Blood Prince Community Screening

Micah: And also, David Yates and Dan Radcliffe are going to participate in a community screening of Half-Blood Prince on December 12th at 3 o’clock. Fans who have a copy of the film on Blu-ray and are registered in the BD Live Community will be invited to participate. Andrew, you’ve got to be excited about this, are you going to participate?

Ben: Where’s it at?

Andrew: That’s right Micah. No it’s a digital gathering. Everyone who has Half-Blood Prince on Blu-ray they all get together, this sounds nerdy.

Ben: Oh a “digital gathering”.

[Emerson laughs]

Andrew: Yeah that’s what they’re – it’s called the BD Live Community. So and the PS3s can hook up to the internet so you’re going to be able to hear David Yates and Dan Radcliffe commentate the movie live while everyone watches.

Ben: Oh that is pretty cool.

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: That’s sweet.

Andrew: Yeah so Ben you can come over.

Ben: We’ll have a party.

Andrew: Yeah, but yeah it should be cool and I’ve got to imagine this is the first time Dan Radcliffe is going to be doing commentary for any film so I think it should be interesting, very interesting.

Eric: You know that’s something they should do for the Ultimate Editions, give more commentary tracks.

Andrew: Yeah at least the trio, just get them in there. They can do it.

Ben: I would love to see Dan do Sorcerer’s Stone because I’m sure he would just be ripping himself the entire time.

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: [laughs] He definitely would.

Andrew: I think he has said in past interviews that he can’t bear to watch that first movie because of his acting and his voice.

Micah: Neither can most people.

[Andrew laughs]

Andrew: I can, I can bear it.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: But Micah, if it makes you feel any better I know you’ve said earlier that this movie just won’t go away, but once the DVD’s out I think we’ll be pretty much done with it, so…

Micah: Well you know we had that extra time built in since they postponed it…

Andrew: I know.

Micah: so it’s been around a little bit longer than it should have been.

Andrew: Right.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

News: J.K. Rowling Eavesdropped On

Micah: But all right moving on, J.K. Rowling announced while she was at the Stella McCartney…

Andrew: No she did not announce this, it was overheard.

Micah: Oh, it was secretly over heard at the Stella McCartney show…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Like Obama calling Kanye a jackass, it was overheard.

Micah: No, no, he actually said that…

Andrew: Right yeah that’s on tape. [laughs] So go on.

Micah: …that she is indeed putting quote “pen to paper” and it says “I’m working on something but it is not Harry Potter, I need a Harry break,” and I guess this is kind of interesting after she created the Twitter account a couple weeks ago and said that she was busy working on something. The question is what?

Andrew: Right, I don’t believe this. I think this story is bogus.

Ben: What? You think that she has to be working on…

Andrew: I think she’s working on something Potter, I think it’s the encyclopedia she’s working on, yeah. I don’t know it just seems like why would you – Potter – we have two movies coming up, why would you move on right now?

Ben: Because you’ve spent the past sixteen years slaving away over this stuff.

Emerson: You’ve got a billion dollars in the bank account. [laughs]

Andrew: She has said she’s done with Harry’s story, yeah we get that. But I really – it seems to make sense that she’d be working on the encyclopedia right now.

Ben: But I think it makes equal sense that she’d be working on something else because she’s probably a little burnt out on Harry Potter

Andrew: I guess.

Ben: …right now.

Andrew: No, you’re probably right.

Eric: Let’s look at the facts though. It’s been two years since Deathly Hallows came out, actually two and a half really…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Since Deathly Hallows came out and about a year since Beedle the Bard

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: …that’s the last thing she’s written.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Just fact-wise it’s been two years since she’s written Harry specifically.

Ben: And what does that mean?

Andrew: Yeah. What are you saying?

Eric: Well, it just means like, you know, for being tired of Harry…

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: It’s – she’s already been – I mean, it shocks me that it’s already been two years since Book 7, but it has been.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: Well, next week when she’s on the show, we’ll ask her.

[Emerson laughs]

Eric: Way to upstage Emerson.

[Everyone laughs]

Emerson: Ouch.

Micah: Well, no, we’ve joked about that for, what, five years?

Eric: And it hasn’t been funny any of those times.

Ben: Jo, I know you’re out there.

Andrew: [mimicking] Jo, I know you’re out there. Well, I think, you know, maybe during the next live show, we can stage a massive Twitter attack on Jo’s account, and everyone can just “at” reply her, and be like, “Get on MuggleCast!”

Eric: You know, if she doesn’t log in, she can’t see that, can she?

Andrew: Right.

Emerson: Well, if she’s like me, she can be on Twitter for a year and a half and not know what “at” replies were.

Andrew: Yeah, man.

Emerson: Not know how to check them.

Eric: That’s awesome.

Ben: Emerson – a little background, Emerson was all bashing on Twitter. “I don’t really see the point of this thing.” For a long time.

[Andrew and Emerson laughs]

Andrew: But see, that’s how everyone is when they join it. You said it, too, Ben.

Ben: No, but I knew what the “at” replies were.

Andrew: Oh. [laughs]

Emerson: [laughs] So, if you sent me an “at” reply at any point in the past year.

Andrew: Prior to July.

Emerson: Maybe two months – up ’til July, and I didn’t reply, it’s not because I’m a bad person or I hate you or…

Ben: He’s just a dumbass.

[Andrew and Emerson laughs]

Andrew: I love – J.K. Rowling, God. She has so much potential with that Twitter account, though. I mean, like she – you know what I’m saying?

Ben: She probably has even more potential with her bank account.

Andrew: Right.

[Micah laughs]

Emerson: Think about the reason Miley Cyrus deleted her Twitter. Because anytime she’d write anything, the media would pick up on it and start, you know, start conjecturing based on, you know, a 120-character tweet. Imagine what the media would do anytime J.K. Rowling would tweet about anything.

Eric: They just don’t care, though. They seem to just respect Jo’s wishes far more than they do anyone else’s. I wonder if that’s because they’re scared of her.

Andrew: No, I don’t think so.

Ben: Because she has the magic.

Andrew: Well, I just meant like the potential for Jo’s Twitter, like she could put some really funny updates out there.

Micah: Yeah.

Ben: Like, “Chilling with Ben Schoen.”

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Eric: She’s a funny gal.

Andrew: [in a British accent] “Out on a date with Neil. Be back later. Ha ha ha.” “Sipping tea with Fiddy.”

[Emerson laughs]

Eric: And Mario.

Emerson: “Getting pumped for MuggleCast.”

Andrew: Well, what gift – oh! Emerson gave J.K. Rowling the key to La Porte, so she could be like “Oh, I’m just admiring the key Emerson gave me.”

Ben: Well, La Porte is the community Emerson’s from, just…

Andrew: Right.

Ben: Right. Well, yeah. Not everybody listening will know that.

Andrew: Oh, sorry. Okay, sorry.

Emerson: I think probably the most exciting thing you could do with the key to La Porte is like go to the courthouse, and not have to go through the metal detector. That’s about it.

Andrew: That’s the advantage?

Ben: But it’s La Porte. It’s “La Portkey.”

Eric: Ha.

Andrew: Oh, I see. [laughs]

Ben: See. So, it fit in more ways than Emerson even knew.

[Andrew and Emerson laughs]

News: New Award for J.K.R.

Andrew: What else in J.K. Rowling’s world?

Micah: She’s going to be the recipient of the first ever Hans Christian Andersen Award next year in Denmark. She’s going to travel there to accept the award in person on October the 19th, 2010. Now, I don’t know why the felt the need to make a notice about this a year in advance, but…

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: What is the award given for, Micah?

Micah: Well, it’s the first ever of the award.

Ben: Right, but like the…

Micah: I think it’s just in memory of…

Ben: …who wins the Heisman Trophy? Like the best player in college football.

Micah: Right.

Ben: Who wins the Hans Christian Andersen Award?

Micah: I think it’s just in memory of the author…

Ben: He died?

Micah: …because he obviously wrote a lot of young children’s books.

Ben: Oh, okay, yeah. That makes sense.

Andrew: Yeah, it says in this article, “The literature prize is to be awarded to someone who can directly or indirectly be compared with Hans Christian Andersen.”

[Emerson laughs]

Ben: What books…

Emerson: That’s the vaguest description I’ve ever heard for an award.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: What did…

Eric: That’s like six degrees.

Emerson: [laughs] Yeah.

Andrew: I’ll look.

Emerson: If you have anything in common with the man whatsoever you qualify.

Eric: Still, J.K. Rowling deserves every literary award that has to do with respectability.

Andrew: This person has done many fairy tales, it looks like. Quite a few. I don’t know…

Micah: I’m sure you’ve read one of them.

Andrew: What is it?

Micah: I’m sure you’ve read some of them at some point.

Andrew: Oh, The Ugly Duckling. That’s a big one. We all know The Ugly Duckling.

Eric: Oh, that’s huge.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: Oh – that – yeah, that’s huge.

Andrew: The Snow Queen. I guess that probably doesn’t relate to Snow White.

[Emerson laughs]

Andrew: Thumbelina that’s a big one. All right, so yes, this is a very established author.

Micah: Author, yeah.

Andrew: So, she absolutely deserves that award. [In fake British accent] “Oh, going to receive my H.C. Anderson Award! With Neil.”

Eric: On Twitter.

[Emerson laughs]

Andrew: Yeah. Okay, go on Micah.

News: Dan Radcliffe Returning to Broadway?

Micah: Final bit of news this week, Dan Radcliffe may be set to star in another – well, the first one wasn’t a musical, but he’s set to return to Broadway – and I figured I’d ask Eric about this, because Eric, you actually were in this play in high school, weren’t you?

Eric: Yeah, the musical was called: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and it’s a satire of 1960s big business – or 50s – big business concept. It’s really a great, funny show.

Andrew: Hmmm. And it’s a musical?

Eric: Yeah, it’s a musical.

Andrew: So would Dan have the same part as you? What did you play?

Eric: Dan would have the lead role, which is J. Pierrepont Finch, is the character. He’s like a window washer, and just basically this – this low class worker guy, who finds this book titled: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and it – basically it was a real book, actually, like way back when, and they made the musical after it. But it basically, you know, chronicles how to rise in the corporation from the mailroom to, pretty much being the president of the company, without, basically through brown-nosing or through – just doing a various humorous things, and…

Andrew: So did you – are you – your role had to sing – you had to sing some tunes, right?

Eric: Yes, but…

Andrew: Could you give us a sample of one of them?

Eric: Um, sure. Hang on a sec. [sings] “Now there you are, yes, there’s that face. That face, somehow I trust. It may embarrass you to hear me say it, but say it I must, say it I must. You have the cool, clear eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth.” This is a scene – this is a song that he sings to himself in the mirror…

Andrew: That was beautiful. [claps] Thank you.

Eric: …in the middle of the washroom…

Ben: Eric Scull, ladies and gentlemen.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: …trying to pump himself up for a big business conference. Anyways, it’s great. It’s actually a hilarious musical.

Andrew: All right Micah, what else?

Micah: That’s it.

Andrew: Okay, thank you.

Ben: Thank you, Micah.

Andrew: Thank you Micah.

Micah: You’re welcome Ben. Anything for you.

Chapter-by-Chapter Feedback: Dobby’s Intentions

Andrew: We’re going to move on now to some feedback from last week’s Chapter-by-Chapter segment where we looked at chapters one through three of Chamber of Secrets. Ben, would you like to read the first one?

Ben: I would. This comes from Will, 19, from – I don’t know where he’s from. Message:

“First off, got to say I love your podcast. I love how you guys brought back the discussion of the chapters again, since I got to relive the feelings I had when I first read it without actually reading it. I’m too caught up in college right now and missed those easy days when I could read ‘Harry Potter.’ I think the whole point of Dobby dropping the cake was to stop Harry from going to Hogwarts. In his little house elf mind he thought getting Harry in trouble would make the Dursleys would lock him up or punish him so he wouldn’t go to Hogwarts just like when Dobby doesn’t do what he is supposed to do, he gets punished or can’t get what he wants. Dobby knew Harry would be punished but he’d rather Harry be punished or even injured than to be killed. After all Dobby risked during this year and was willing to do in later years, I can’t see Dobby as a character who would do actions out of spite. He always put the other characters, especially Harry, before himself which could be to his own struggles and self hate but he was completely selfless every minute even up to his death.”

Andrew: There you go. So there’s a little feedback for you there.

Eric: Ode to Dobby.

Andrew: Yes. Eric, can you take the next one please?

Chapter-by-Chapter Feedback: Harry’s Treatment

Eric: Sure! This one is from Abhi U., age 15, from Tennessee. And she writes:

“Hey MuggleCasters! I think you’re podcast is GREAT! All caps. And it has saved me from boredom at the many grown-up parties my parents drag me to. I wanted to say that your Chapter-by-Chapter segment was great. The abuse that the Dursleys had caused Harry was horrible. I thought about it the way they treated Dudley, it was almost out of character than the way they act to Harry. I also wanted to talk about the question that someone had asked about “How would Harry feel about the Burrow if his parents were still alive?” I think that growing up with two loving parents and a lot of money might have gone to his head. One count on which Harry and Ron related to each other was they had both suffered in different ways. Ron’s reluctance in the ‘Sorcerer’s Stone’ to tell Harry about his situation, or his poorness, was counterbalanced by Harry telling him about his aunt and uncle abused him and how he never got birthday presents. If Harry was just a kid used to all the luxuries, they may never have bonded. On the other hand, being a Ron Weasley fan, I would like to think they would have become best friends anyway because of fate. Okay, that’s about it. Thanks for reading, Abbey.”

Ben: I think Harry would have been a snob had he had both parents.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean the way he was raised was really just unique. And his parents were obviously loaded.

Eric: Yeah, but look at Lily. She really tried to stomp out that arrogant side of James. Something must have happened where – if you look at Snape’s worst memory from Book 5, Lily detests James being this pompous ass as it were, so even though he has lots of money or they have lots of money later, don’t you think that Lily being a mother, if Harry had his mother, would foster him away from that kind of attitude?

Ben: She would probably try to, but I guess there are plenty of kids – it’s unfair to say just because he had love from both parents that he would turn out to be kind of snobby and not become friends with somebody like Ron.

Andrew: The way he was raised though, definitely put him in a unique situation.

Ben: Yeah.

Eric: And he wouldn’t actually be Harry frickin’ Potter, you know…

Andrew: Right.

Eric: …if his parents were…

Andrew: Of course.

Eric: …still alive.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: They’d still be famous though, for being Aurors or in the Order and…

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: …standing up to Voldemort.

Chapter-by-Chapter Feedback: Technicalities

Andrew: All right. Next e-mail is from Aparna, 19, from India. She writes about two things:

“In Chapter 2 of ‘Chamber of Secrets,’ when Dobby says, ‘Not He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,’ and winds his eyes as if trying to give Harry a clue, it is not because he is hinting at his master. He reveals later in the last chapter, after being freed by Harry, that he was trying to give him a clue saying, ‘The Dark Lord, before he changed his name, could be freely named, you see?'”

Do you guys get that?

Ben: Yeah, do you?

Eric: It’s – I understand what she’s saying, but it’s kind of – I just never liked that part about the book, where it’s like, “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, no, but it was him when he was young!” And I wonder how Dobby even knows that, if Lucius – there was another e-mail we got that I read from the inbox in response to that chapter that we read that said, “How did Dobby know that it was actually Voldemort as a kid who was the Horcrux if Lucius Malfoy didn’t really know that the diary was a Horcrux, or what exactly the diary did?” So it’s a question of what Dobby knew, because he was able to give Harry this hint, but, obviously, Lucius was kept out of the blue on a large, you know…

Micah: Right.

Eric: …bit about what the diary was.

Micah: But he also – sorry.

Ben: Go ahead.

Micah: I was going to say that he also mentioned – we talked about it last show with – he knows that it’s something that Dumbledore might not even be aware of, so it’s possible that he knew about something like Horcruxes even – I don’t know how he could know, but it seems like he does.

Eric: Well through house-elf magic, is implied. But how did he know that it was Tom Riddle, you know, Voldemort as a kid, specifically? That just seems a step further into the mystery about how Dobby was able to know. Because that was a very specific hint because Harry flat out asked if it was Voldemort, and Dobby had to give him a “no” answer even though it was like, “Yes, it was.”

Micah: That’s like a technicality.

Eric: It is a technicality.

Micah: It’s so specific…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: …because he’s saying, “No, not really. It’s not Voldemort, it’s Tom Riddle.”

Eric: For all intents and purposes, given the diary is a Horcrux, a fragment of the actual Voldemort’s soul from when he was Voldemort, I would say it was Voldemort that was causing these issues. It’s almost a non-issue that it’s not Voldemort.

Andrew: All right. And then the second point of her e-mail:

“Somehow I always assumed that the reason why Dobby drops the pudding might be not just to get Harry into trouble with Vernon, but perhaps also because he thinks Harry might get expelled or suspended or something like that.”

I think that’s a good point. I didn’t realize that at the time when we recorded last episode.

Micah: Yeah, good point.

Emerson: That’s what I feel really strange right now, because that’s what I thought it was all along.

Andrew: Oh, really?

Emerson: [laughs] Yeah.

Andrew: Well, I guess should have just come on the last episode! [laughs]

Ben: What’d you think it was for?

Andrew: Well, we were speculating why – was it just to get Harry in trouble? Like, what – how would that have gotten – we said, how would that have gotten Harry – what did we say, Micah? [laughs] I remember it, but I don’t.

Micah: You’re putting me on the spot.

Andrew: Or Eric?

Eric: Yeah, it was, how would that stop him from going to Hogwarts? Dropping a cake on his…

Andrew: Right. That’s it.

Eric: So, unless Dobby knew that using a Hover Charm – unless he knew the way that the Ministry tracks underage magic, which is possible that he did, but – I don’t know. That letter from the Ministry…

Andrew: Right. Because…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Wouldn’t the Ministry have detected Dobby was doing it instead of Harry? You know.

Eric: Though they wouldn’t, because if you’re under the same house as an underage wizard and you’re the only wizard in the house, they…

Ben: They would assume.

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: Like that’s how Harry got in trouble for it.

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: But at the same time, he wasn’t expelled. When he used magic in Movie 5, the Patronus Charm, a far less hurtful, harmful spell than the Hover Charm can be…

Andrew: Right.

Eric: …I suppose.

[Emerson laughs]

Eric: He was expelled…

Ben: Unless you’re a Dementor.

Eric: …from Hogwarts.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: So – and just on the spot…

Emerson: Those were completely different circumstances though.

Eric: They were.

Emerson: It wasn’t the Patronus that got Harry expelled. It was that there were people who wanted him expelled.

Ben: Well…

Emerson: Or…

Ben: …not only that, but they had had the Hover Charm as the precedent…

Emerson: Yeah…

Ben: …as well.

Emerson: …that too.

Eric: Hmmm. But both were used in front of a Muggle. So, that’s something else, too.

Chapter-by-Chapter Feedback: Wizard Post

Emerson: The next email is from Laura Cabus, 19 years old, from Honduras. Subject: Chamber of Secrets Chapter – well, okay. [tuts]

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: I got it. [laughs]

Ben: “IP address.”

[Everyone laughs]

Emerson: “Favorite food.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: The information we collect…

Emerson: All right. Here we…

Eric: …from our listeners.

Emerson: All right, here’s the letter:

“Hi guys!”

[Andrew laughs]


“I know that in the last episode, you were wondering how Dobby could get Harry’s mail. And I thought about Half-Blood Prince when Harry stays at the Burrow over the summer and we found out that the Ministry’s intercepting the Weasleys’ mail. So I thought that maybe you could do a spell to change the address where the mail is delivered. Anyway, you guys are great, but I can’t believe you are re-reading the books until now.”

[Andrew and Micah laugh]


“Keep up the great work.”

Andrew: Well…

Ben: I imagine Dobby would, you know, kind of just park outside the window.

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: You know, and wait for the mail to come. And maybe…

Andrew: “I’ll take that!” [laughs]

Ben: Yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: He would just intercept it.

Eric: “I’ll make sure he gets it!”

Ben: I mean, I doubt he had to do some complex spell. I mean…

Andrew: Yeah, it probably is something simple like that, isn’t it? He would just wait and be invisible outside…

Eric: Well, what I thought…

Andrew: …the mailbox.

Eric: What I thought was interesting was that no owl appeared outside Privet Drive. And Harry’s owl, Hedwig, was locked in her cage. So, Dobby was able to intercept mail, but Harry didn’t notice anything strange like Hedwig not reappearing. Or, you know, if he had sent her out – if he was able to send letters to his friends…

Ben: Right.

Eric: So…

Ben: And I think Hedwig – would Hedwig give the mail to Dobby? Or would she want to take it directly to Harry? Would it be…

Eric: Well, right.

Ben: It would probably be easier for some random owl…

Andrew: Mhm.

Ben: …to get the mail from them than from Hedwig.

Eric: And it’s weird because you’ve got to assume that, like – Ron Weasley used Errol, the near-death owl, to deliver some letters. And, you know, Errol’s been known to “get lost” or whatever. But, you know, none of those letters were delivered. So it was really – I don’t know. Just really weird but it was kind of cool how Dobby had somehow managed to intercept all of his mail.

Chapter-by-Chapter Feedback: Malfoy’s Orders

Andrew: Micah, could you read the last email?

Micah: Last email comes from Grant, of Brisbane, Australia. And he says:

“Hi MuggleCasters. Great show, especially with Chapter-by-Chapter at the beginning just after the news. Keep that up. Something that nobody seems to have picked up on is that Dobby was acting under Lucius Malfoy’s orders. Orders that he cannot disobey, no matter what his personal opinions. If you don’t understand Dobby’s actions, it’s because you’re missing this point.”

Ben: Ooh.

Micah: Yeah. I know, right?

Ben: Slapping us.

Eric: Man!


“Everything Dobby did was to prevent Harry from returning to Hogwarts, no matter what reasons he gave for his actions. He was rationalizing his behavior, not necessarily telling the truth. Lucius Malfoy didn’t want Harry at Hogwarts because he didn’t want Harry interfering with his plans for the diary. Harry had already thwarted Voldemort once, at the end of Philosopher’s Stone, and Lucius was trying to make sure Harry wasn’t there to interfere this time. There were no terrible plans for Harry if he returned to Hogwarts other than what Dobby was going to do at Lucius’ bidding. Malfoy did not know what Tom Riddle would have…


Malfoy did not know that Tom Riddle would have a chance to kill Harry, that was unexpected, Riddle says as much. Whatever the diary told Lucius, killing Harry was not part of the plan. Dobby is sending mixed messages because he’s acting against his will. He likes Harry but he’s under orders to prevent Harry from returning – the cake, the barrier at the platform, and so on. Even attacking Harry with the Bludger in Quidditch was to chase Harry away from Hogwarts. Not something Dobby wanted to do, he was compelled.”

Andrew: Hmmm.

Eric: I feel opposite about this. Where’s the proof…

Micah: I do too.

Eric: Yeah. Where is the…

Micah: There’s no proof.

Eric: Yeah. I mean, it seems like – I mean, that’s the thing, that’s the funny joke, “Try not to help me from now on, Dobby.” Because I mean, things like the Bludger attack were a house-elf without orders, behaving the way he thought he had to because of his mixed emotions inside. Dobby is the symbol for house-elf empowerment, because he follows his own – I mean, he was – I didn’t think he was sent to the – to Privet Drive at all, and that was the point.

Micah: No.

Eric: Like…

Micah: Well, yeah, there’s no evidence.

Eric: …Dobby kept saying he’d have to shut his hands in the oven.

Emerson: That’s why – that’s the reason why he’s always beating the crap out of himself…

Andrew: Right.

Emerson: …throughout the book.

Ben: Right.

Emerson: Because he wasn’t supposed to be there, not that he was ordered to Privet Drive.

Ben: Yeah, because she says – this person says here, Lucius didn’t want Harry at Hogwarts because he didn’t want Harry interfering with his plans for the diary. That doesn’t – yeah, that doesn’t make any sense. Yeah, you guys are right, it’s the opposite here.

Micah: Yeah, there’s no evidence to support that Lucius never wanted Harry at Hogwarts…

Eric: And I guess…

Micah: …in the entire book.

Eric: Yeah. And an opportunity to refute it would be that when Riddle is telling Harry at the end about how he discovered Harry’s existence, it was through Ginny writing about Harry that he even really discovered that Harry had been the fall of Voldemort, etcetera, etcetera.

Andrew: Right.

Ben: Well, it’s because Dobby knew of the plan, the evil plan that was going to happen…

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: …and he wanted to keep Harry away from there.

Andrew: That’s why he was trying to help Harry.

Eric: Yeah, I don’t think we’ve missed anything and he was actually sent to Privet Drive. I don’t…

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Eric: I don’t think that’s how it happened. But thanks for the attitude, Brisbane!

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: No, no. I mean it’s…

Ben: We’re just missing the point.

Micah: …it’s an interesting point, if it was actually true.

Andrew and Ben: Yeah.

Andrew: But – yeah, like Ben said the whole – the important thing to keep in mind is that Dobby was trying to protect Harry against coming to school, because he knew what Lucius was doing with the diary.

Micah: Right.

MuggleCast 183 Transcript (continued)

Chapter-by-Chapter: “Flourish and Blotts”

Andrew: Anyway, let’s move on now to this week’s Chapter-by-Chapter segment, which is Chapters 4 through 6 in Chamber of Secrets. And these three chapters basically focus on Harry’s preparation, journey, and start at Hogwarts. And…

Eric: Second year.

Andrew: Yes. And we’re going to start with Chapter 4, which was “Flourish and Blotts.”

Eric: We don’t have a – we don’t have music for this, do we yet? Like [echoing] Chapter-by-Chapter!

Andrew: No, I’m sorry.

Eric: No intro.

Andrew: Got to hire some people to do that. Micah, do you want to kick it off?

Micah: Sure. I’ve just got to find it – okay. So the first chapter at “Flourish and Blotts”…

Eric: Fourth chapter.

Micah: Well – technically…

Andrew: All right, come on.

Micah: …the first chapter we’re discussing – yeah, all right. But it starts off, they’re still at the Burrow, and Harry notes that everyone at the Burrow seems to like him. Which is a huge contrast from what he’s used to from his time on Privet Drive. And during his time there he feels extremely guilty hearing the Weasleys discussing their finances once all the letters from Hogwarts arrive, and how they’re going to pay for everything now with Ginny going to school as well. And it particularly gets worse even later in the chapter, when he goes to Gringotts and he tries to…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: What?

Andrew: No, go ahead.

Micah: What are you laughing at?

Andrew: Well, it was kind of a funny thing, how Harry was trying to hide all his gold sitting in his vault from the Weasleys’ eyes.

Emerson: The way it was written – the way it was written was the saddest excerpt from the books. Because it describes the Weasleys’ vault…

[Eric laughs]

Emerson: …as being this giant, cavernous, empty…

Andrew: Yeah!

Emerson: …and Molly’s, like, sweeping the corners, trying to see if there’s a little Sickle or a Knut that may have been left somewhere. So sad.

Andrew: Yeah. It’s just…

Ben: Okay, I have a question. I just need to clear this up.

Andrew: What?

Ben: Yeah, do you guys remember the Scholastic pronunciation guide?

Andrew: Yes.

Ben: Okay, is it “Ka-noot” or is it “Nut?”

Andrew: Oh! Right!

Ben: Is it a “Ka-noot”? Or is it a “Nut?”

Andrew: I don’t know. We’ll find out. We’ll have to consult that thing.

Ben: Well, the pronunciation guide says “Ka-noot.”

Andrew: Well then, it must be “Ka-noot!”

Ben: All right.

Emerson: I called it “Ka-noot” for about five years, and then I switched back to “Nut.” Because I just…

Andrew: Well, why would they even bother confusing kids? Like, obviously, that reads as “Nut.” Correct me if I’m “nuts,” but I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Eric: Boo.

Andrew: Oh. Well see? I tried.

[Andrew and Emerson laugh]

Eric: But the Weasleys, only have – I think they said they only have one Galleon. Like, a few Sickles and one Galleon, in their entire vault.

Andrew: All right – here we go. This is the official pronunciation, according to Scholastic.

[Audio]: “Ka-noot.”

Andrew: “Ka-noots.” Let’s hear it again.

[Audio]: “Ka-noot.”

Andrew: “Ka-noots.”.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Those British people…

Andrew: That’s ridiculous.

Micah: …don’t know what they’re talking about.

Ben: “Ka-noots.”

[Emerson laughs]

Andrew: Well, no. They have the little pronunciation spelling and it’s got an apostrophe after the “k,” so, “Ka-noots.”

Emerson: That might be how they pronounce it in English, but we speak American.

Ben: American.

Emerson: Exactly. Here, it’s…

Ben: America.

Micah: We can just ask J.K. Rowling when she’s on the show next week.

Andrew: Right.

[Emerson laughs]

Andrew: The pronunciation guide is laughing at us. Go ahead. So yeah, I mean, that – I agree with Emerson, it was well written, and you feel for Harry when he’s trying to keep it [laughs]

Emerson: You can just picture him cracking the door to his vault open…

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: …and the gold spilling out…

[Everyone laughs]

Emerson: …into the hallway.

Andrew: And he is a very modest person, so it really must have been hard for him.

Micah: It’s true.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: But another question would be, why did he never offer to pay for anything for the Weasleys?

Eric: It’s – it’s – he did though.

Andrew: Why should he, though?

Eric: He gave his whole Triwizard winnings to the Weasleys. But I think that’s where he found it was appropriate, is the thing. Like, you know, Harry – I’m sure Harry would have – and Harry’s bought food and stuff, like the trolley, for instance in year one he bought all that candy for him and Ron, but I just don’t think that was – I mean, it just wasn’t appropriate – like an opportune moment for him to do that.

Micah: Right.

Ben: I get the feeling that Ron’s a mooch.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Ben: He’s probably – he probably never has lunch money…

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Ben: …he never has anything, and he always making Harry buy him crap…

[Andrew, Emerson and Eric laugh]

Ben: Like you know – they’re in – you know, in Hogsmeade, and he just – he just goes crazy.

Andrew: Yeah.

[Emerson laughs]

Andrew: Well yeah, I don’t think it was the right time for Harry to be, like, lending the Weasleys money, and really, I don’t think they would have accepted it.

Ben: Well, I mean, Harry walks up to Molly and Arthur in front of their kids, and is like, “Here…

Andrew: Here, yeah.

Ben: …take this for your school supplies.”

Andrew: Right. [laughs]

Ben: I mean, that would be kind of…

Emerson: “My dead parents left this for me.”

[Emerson and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Yeah, they would feel guilty.

Micah: All right.

Andrew: So then we get into Knockturn Alley, and there’s a lot of little things hidden in this room. First on page 50, we see this quote: “Harry looked quickly around and spotted a large, black cabinet to his left.”

Ben: The Vanishing Cabinet.

Andrew: The Vanishing Cabinet!

Eric: Borgin and Burkes.

Andrew: So that was some beautiful foreshadowing, and then some other lines, page 51 and 52: “‘Can I have that?’ interrupted Draco, pointing at the withered hand on its cushion. ‘Ah, the Hand of Glory!’ said Mr. Borgin, abandoning Mr. Malfoy’s list and scurrying over to Draco. ‘Insert a candle and it gives light, only to the holder. Best friend of thieves and plunderers. Your son has fine taste, sir.'”

Eric: Wow. I’m going to vote for an Andrew Sims version of the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets audio book.

Andrew: [sarcastically] Oh, thanks.

[Eric laughs]

Emerson: I think perhaps – perhaps the most intriguing thing about analyzing the Harry Potter books, is that unlike a movie, when they introduce a new character, or they deliberately – the camera zooms in on something, and it’s clearly meant to foreshadow, J.K. Rowling introduces so many characters, and so many magical objects, and so many places, and so many things, that you just have no idea what’s foreshadowing, and no idea what’s just…

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Her eccentric?

Emerson: …her imagination. What’s just her ability to create a world so vivid as the Harry Potter world.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: And these things come into play, I mean – you know, this Borgin and Burkes, little did we know at this point, that Voldemort used to work there, and that sort of thing. So there are all these coincidences…

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: …but there’s also characters like Emerson said, that were just introduced either far before their time, or that are still introduced, and still even fleshed out a bit, who are just there in the moment for comedic relief or any other kind of various reasons.

Emerson: But I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where…

Ben: It’s safe to say a lot of thought went into this.

Andrew: Right.

Emerson: Sorry, go ahead.

Ben: Oh, sorry, I was just saying that it’s safe to say that a lot of thought went into all this.

Emerson: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book or seen a movie that introduced so many pieces of unnecessary information but still kept you on your toes because you knew some of it was going to be important.

Andrew: Right.

Emerson: So instead of the movie, the camera that lingers for five and a half minutes, you know, on – on…

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: …a number or a face, [laughs] it’s so subtle. It seems so unimportant.

Andrew: Yeah, and like Ben said, the – just the planning ahead – to think you’re going to include this, the Hand of Glory and many other little hints five, six books later, that’s amazing.

Emerson: I wonder – I wonder what thought process led to her inserting these random clues…

Andrew: I don’t know.

Emerson: …throughout the books. Did she just come up – like did she just go back and say, “Hmm, I think I’m going to throw the Hand of Glory in here – plah!”

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: “See if they catch that.”

Andrew: Well maybe – maybe she could have us all fooled, and while she’s writing Book Six and Book Seven she just goes back to the older books, finds some things she can reference. I mean, you know…

Ben: Right.

Andrew: That sounds like we’re cheapening her writing, but I…

Emerson: No, but that’s smart though.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, could be – or maybe she…

Emerson: Why reinvent the wheel?

Andrew: Right. Or she could have it all in her head. I mean, we do know she planned out most of the series from the get-go.

Eric: And all of these objects, too, even if they’re not exact replicas, they are inspired by actual artifacts. Like, I mean, I’m not just talking about the Sorcerer’s Stone and what she did with that, but things like the Hand of Glory and opal necklaces, all of that may have some, you know, historical connotations. When she talks about druids being a certain place, or doing a certain thing, or some hags laughing in a bar, it’s significant because of other historical or fiction – fictitious accounts, other literary references that she’s playing on. She’s just – she’s brilliant, all these little various things have all sorts of meaning, every single little bit of it. That’s why a lot of people – I mean, that’s why it’s very easy to get lost in this series, why you could, you know, live off nothing but it for a while.

Andrew: All right, well let’s continue moving along. Another quote of some beautiful foreshadowing: “Draco paused to examine a long coil of hangman’s rope and to read, smirking, the card propped on a magnificent necklace of opals.” Is that the right pronunciation?

Micah: Opals, yeah.

Eric: Caution: do not touch if you are Katie Bell.

[Emerson laughs]

Andrew: “Caution: Do Not Touch. Cursed. Has Claimed the Lives of Nineteen Muggle Owners to Date.”

Ben: Nineteen, now why do you think she put nineteen in there?

Andrew: That is a big number.

Ben: Nineteen. One plus nine is ten, nine minus…

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: …one is eight…

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Ben: …minus one is seven…

Andrew: Ohhh!

Ben: Meaning seven books, seven years at Hogwarts.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: You know, Ben, we probably talked about this at some point when we analyzed Half-Blood Prince. We probably devoted a whole episode to it.

Andrew: Yeah, maybe.

Ben: I just think it’s so funny because, you know, overanalyzing things is what we do, and…

[Emerson laughs]

Ben: …and a lot of times – I remember a few years ago, there was a Christmas post on MuggleNet because J.K. Rowling did an update on her site, and it just – we just took it way too far, because it was like: “If you take the number of presents beneath the tree…”

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: “…minus the number of Christmas tree ornaments…”

Andrew: Oh! [laughs]

Ben: “…divided by…”

Emerson: “Count the number of purple ornaments…” [laughs]

Andrew: That was – that was, I’m not going to say who, but one of our staff members came up with that idea and insisted it would be posted.

Ben: All right, it was…

Andrew: It was an insane theory…

Ben: It was just a little bit crazy.

Andrew: It was crazy! [laughs] Completely agree. Oh, man. [laughs]

Emerson: When they were – when they were reading this scene, and Draco sees the – the magnificent necklace of opals, and it says “do not touch, has killed nineteen people,” did anyone else just kind of visualize this necklace just kind of like hanging there? And kind of imagine if you were just walking through the store, and you kind of tripped and fell and died.

[Andrew and Emerson laugh]

Andrew: I’d still be tempted to touch it, because I’d be like, “Does this really kill people?”

Emerson: Kill me? Yeah.

Andrew: Ben, come over here. Come try this for me.

Ben: Try what?

Andrew: Touching the opal necklace. I was pretending…

Ben: Oh, you have one?

Andrew: No. I was pretending.

Ben: Oh, okay.

Eric: The other thing is that it doesn’t say how it kills them. Like, does it strangle them? I mean, we don’t know at this point that if you touch it…

Emerson: It makes them fly up in the air twenty feet and they spin around in circles…

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, right.

Emerson: And look really creepy, and…

Eric: Well, we had known that, but wouldn’t it just be like any other Muggle device that doesn’t behave the way it should, like teapots eating people, you know?

Andrew: I don’t know.

Eric: Or necklace strangling people, it’s just so – it’s awesome.

Micah: We also, when he’s in Borgin and Burkes, hear from Lucius. He says, “I would remind you that it is not prudent to appear less than fond of Harry Potter, not when most of our kind regard him as the hero that made the Dark Lord disappear.”

Andrew: So, do you guys think, was Lucius trying to – was he trying – he was still mentoring Harry to say, “Hey, don’t make fun of him.” But that changes later on in the books where Lucius doesn’t really care. Why was he still telling him to care at this point, to pay Harry respect or show respect?

Ben: Because he – because at the time you have to look at the conditions in the Wizarding world, you know, the Dark Lord isn’t back on the rise at this point.

Andrew: Mhm.

Ben: Everybody’s still – Harry’s still the big hero and the Malfoys are all – they’re big on appearance. That’s the entire way they were able to get out of – when the Dark Lord fell the first time, everyone just said they were under the Imperius Curse or they really weren’t serving him and that kind of thing. And so, they need to maintain that image and if their kid is running around hating Harry Potter, then that would be detrimental to that image.

Andrew: Yeah, you’re right.

Micah: You know, during the conversation, Borgin mentions Malfoy’s manor, and it’s something that is kind of little, but it’s stressed in italics by J.K. Rowling. And I was just wondering, do you think this was a clue to tie back in to the discussion that Ron, Fred, George, and Harry had in the car ride over to The Burrow? You know, they’re talking about Lucius Malfoy and the fact that he has this – this manor, and somebody of that stature would have a house-elf. So, as Emerson was pointing out before, there’s all these little things throughout the course of the books, but could that be a tie back to that conversation they were having, to kind of give the reader a hint that Dobby could belong to the Malfoys?

Eric: I think so.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: I think the reader’s going to be – close reader’s going to say, “Oh, he has a manor.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: It kind of fits his stature, and – but yeah. House-elves – it’s already been stated that house-elves live in manors. So, it can definitely be made that connection. And it’s likely that Dobby couldn’t have been with the Malfoys, but he was in the end, so it’s cool.

Andrew: And this – I don’t think there’s much discussion in this, but then we meet Lucius Malfoy, and he says, “I would have thought you’d be ashamed that a girl of no wizard family beat you in every exam.” He snapped at Draco.

Ben: Oooooh!

Andrew: Oooh. And Mr. Weasley loves the fact that Lucius was selling at Borgin and Burkes. This is something we find out shortly thereafter. And it means that he’s worried.

Eric: It’s interesting that Harry’s reaction to that, Lucius bullying Draco, is actually…

Andrew: He was happy.

Eric: …that he would laugh.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, he says, “Ha!”, because he feels great that Draco feels like crap.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: But actually, it’s kind of in contrast to how Harry normally feels because his best friend was just insulted. You know, in a way it was kind of like…

Andrew: Yeah…

Ben: Well, he was kind of giving her props in a way.

Eric: Mhm.

Ben: I mean indirectly, because she was the top in the class even though she doesn’t have a wizard family. At least he didn’t call her a Mudblood.

Eric: But he’s just picking on his own kid, you know.

Micah: Yeah. And we get a real taste for him, though. I mean, talking about a girl of no wizard family kind of gives you an idea of who he is as an individual and what his views are.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: He’s a prejudiced bastard.

Micah: Pretty much.

Eric: Yep.

Andrew: And then moving along, we see that Mr. Weasley likes the idea of spending time with Muggles and in particular, Hermione’s parents. We see him talking them up and…

Emerson: I feel like I can totally relate to Arthur when it comes to his fascination with Muggles.

Andrew: [laughs] Talking…

Emerson: Sorry, I know this is the most unimportant part of the entire chapter, perhaps the entire book series, but if I were a wizard and I got used to just flicking my fingers and making stuff happen, to find out the amazingly complex system of mechanics and social order that the Muggles have come up with to get by without magic – think about how complex a car is or a computer.

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah.

Emerson: I would feel stupid compared to Muggles. [laughs]

Andrew: Right.

Emerson: Sort of like any dumb jock who just can lift things up instead of having these – Muggles would be awesome. b>[laughs]

Andrew: Well, it’s sort of like people in the Stone Age talking to us and being fascinated by the stuff we created. Cavemen could never have imagined cars.

Eric: To see what we’ve done with the wheel would just…

Andrew: Right. [laughs]

Eric: …blow their minds… [unintelligible] donuts.

Andrew: Exactly! Or vice versa. Us talking to cavemen and being like, “How did you survive without an iPhone?” I still ask some people that question.

Ben: I don’t know how I do it, Andrew.

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: Me neither!

Ben: Andrew’s had like seven iPhones in the past two years.

[Emerson laughs]

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: That’s not true.

Eric: But there’s this note here, guys. Is somebody going to read that?

Andrew: Yeah. My point with this was Hermione’s parents were in Diagon Alley – Jo made that clear. But my question is, aren’t there any rules? Are there any limits – who’s allowed to enter?

Emerson: There’s a bouncer, actually.

Andrew: Well, I guess that would make sense, wouldn’t it? I mean, there’s got to be some sort of regulation because – I guess Hermione’s parents know that they can’t just bring anyone in and be like, “Hey! Everybody come check out this magic stuff.”

[Ben laughs]

Andrew: But where is the line? Can they tell extended family members about Hermione? Can they not because the Ministry is all secret, they don’t want any magic to get out?

Eric: Yeah, but yet they have these totally Muggle people, totally Muggle. Like, completely Muggle.

Andrew: Yeah, Diagon Alley! Seeing all this magic.

Ben: Let’s be real here…

Eric: And my question is what can and can’t they see? Is the other thing, because there’s this recurring theme in the books: “Oh, Muggles! They don’t notice nuffink, do they?” And that’s Stan Shunpike in Prisoner of Azkaban, but they can obviously occupy this space because they’re here in Diagon Alley. Just what do they make of it?

Emerson: Yeah. What if the Muggles are just sitting there and they have no idea, they can’t see anything going on? They’re so confused like, “This is so boring.”

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: “What are we doing here?”

Ben: Let’s be honest, though. If the wizarding world were real – it would be on Twitter. You know what I mean?

[Emerson laughs]

Andrew: [laughs] Right.

Ben: The cat would be let out of the bag. Somebody would be like, “Oh my god!”

Andrew: “I’m in the wizarding…” Yeah. “I’m staring at moving paintings!”

Eric: Yeah, but I mean, there are other things – places like Hogwarts that make you mentally remember that you’ve forgotten something when you show up. Are there similar restrictions on Muggles who visit Diagon Alley to accompany their kid to school?

Andrew: Well, I guess they have to let parents because, you know, parents want to protect their kids. I don’t know. I think that would be another interesting – write that down, Micah. Interesting question for Jo, number 492.

Micah: You’ve got a lot of stuff prepared for next week.

Emerson: Maybe there’s a charm that can measure intent…

Andrew: Aaaah.

Emerson: …and never let you enter Diagon Alley…

Andrew: Yeahhh.

Emerson: …if you have malicious intentions.

Eric: They should apply that to Hogwarts students, then, so that they don’t become Voldemort.

Andrew: [laughs] All right, let’s continue.

Ben: So we meet Gilderoy Lockhart and he just throws Harry into the spotlight. The confrontation follows with Draco and J.K. Rowling again stresses in italics referring to Ginny as Harry’s “girlfriend” – Draco referring to Ginny as Harry’s girlfriend. Is this foreshadowing or is she just trying to emphasize the sneering? I doubt it’s foreshadowing at this point. Maybe…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: You do?

Ben: Yeah, I mean…

Andrew: It’s not direct foreshadowing.

Ben: It’s not really foreshadowing.

Eric: I mean, it’s because of the events – like, it’s because of quotes, comments like that early in the series that I was so open to and like, happy that Ginny and Harry did get together.

Andrew: Yeah, but look at – you also have to look at it from the, what, the eleven or twelve-year-old age range where, you know, in elementary school or middle school when you say, “Is she your girlfriend?”

[Eric mock gasps]

Andrew: You know, it’s like, “No, what are you talking about?” Like, you know, everyone’s – everyone is offended to, you know, be teased that someone has a girlfriend, that kind of thing.

Eric: But so far, just in this chapter, we’ve gone over at least two things already that are items that play a significant role in Book Six. There are certain books in the Harry Potter series that go together quite similarly. I don’t know if you guys – like Two and Six, for instance, are very similar. You know, we’re talking about Borgin and Burkes, which we learn all about the back story of in Book Six.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Harry – you know, Ginny is Harry’s girlfriend. The Horcruxes, you know, is a big deal because…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …the first Horcrux is the diary, which happened in Book Two and becomes a big role in Book Six.

Andrew: We’ve talked about this before. Yeah, these books are – we had a Main Discussion on this, how One is like Seven, Two is like Six, Three is like Five…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: …and then Four is just there…

Eric: I just said Two is like Six, so we’re seeing lots of these things that connect to…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …later books and specifically Six.

Andrew: The Chamber of Secrets and Half-Blood Prince especially are very closely connected. And as we all know, we’ve brought up a million times, there was – may have it backwards – there was a chapter that was going to be in Chamber of Secrets that was moved to Half-Blood Prince, correct?

Emerson: Yeah, I think she said that.

Andrew: Yeah. Okay, so then we get into this fight between Arthur and Lucius. And honestly, I forgot about this because I’m so used to seeing the movie where this doesn’t happen, but we’ll talk about that later. We really begin to see the core differences between these two pureblood families. This is where Lucius slips the diary to Ginny and as Micah writes, “Isn’t that awfully convenient?”

Micah: Yeah. I mean, what are the chances that he runs into the Weasleys, that he can slip it into Ginny’s – I forget which book it was, you learn later in the – in Chamber of Secrets which book it got put into, but even in the movie, obviously it’s one of those camera moments where it’s not really up close but you can kind of see it happening.

Andrew: You see it, yeah. There’s a specific shot.

Micah: There’s no hint to it, though, here.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: Which makes it – makes it kind of – you know at the end of the book, it’s – well, how did Harry figure out that it was Lucius who slipped it in, in Diagon Alley? Other than Dobby just nodding his head but…

Andrew: Right.

Micah: It’s just one of those things where you – you’d think with all the detail that J.K. Rowling puts into the books that she would have somehow been able to write her way around it.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Well there is the reference, you know later in this chapter – it’s the same chapter when Ginny says, “Oh I forgot my diary,” and they have to go back to the Burrow…

Andrew: Yes.

Eric: …trying to get to King’s Cross on time when they have…

Micah: It’s the beginning of the next chapter.

Eric: …for her diary. Oh, it is? Sorry, my bad. But yeah, and it’s like none of the family says, “Oh, you’ve never had a diary before.” But it’s a specific mention of Ginny’s diary which, you know, the movie did it better at showing Lucius slipping in the book. It’s an all out fist fight, as Andrew said, so it’s conceivable…

Andrew: Where Hagrid comes in, yeah.

Eric: Yeah. Whereas it’s conceivable that – that Lucius would do that. It is a question, you know, that Harry knew that that’s what had happened. But I guess that’s…

Ben: But how could they have – how could they have hinted at this slip? Like what could they have said? Like, “Ginny’s cauldron mysteriously had an extra book in it.”

Eric: Yeah. [unintelligible]

Andrew: Well, no. Maybe Jo could have highlighted Lucius putting the book in, “Harry could have sworn it looked just a tad different than the one she had in there prior.”

Ben: [laughs] That would be obvious.

Andrew: I don’t know! Come on, it’s J.K. Rowling, you know.

Eric: Lucius is there, it’s a distraction and…

Andrew: But if you had read it at the time, you wouldn’t have thought about it.

Ben: Well, I mean, isn’t it awfully convenient? That’s kind of like saying “they can do magic.”

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: Isn’t that really convenient?

Andrew: Yes, but okay…

Micah: But how would the book have gotten there otherwise? That’s the better question, I guess.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: What do you mean?

Andrew: Well…

Eric: How would the diary…

Micah: How would it have ended up at Hogwarts?

Eric: Oh. Well, just give it to Draco.

Andrew: It was mailed. Yeah maybe – maybe Jo…

Emerson: There’s a million ways it could have got to Hogwarts.

Andrew: Yeah. I just think reading it again after knowing what happens, it would have been cool to see the little hint.

Emerson: I agree with that.

Andrew: Let’s move on, though. Some random other little facts just to wrap up this chapter: Ginny still acts weird around Harry; Percy has been holed up in his room for most of the summer; we’re introduced to travel by Floo Powder.

Ben: Ooh!

Andrew: Mrs. Weasley says when the letters arrive at the Burrow that Dumbledore, “Doesn’t miss a trick.” She jokes at the expense – there are jokes at the expense of the bird’s “malting gray feather duster.” Wait, what? What is this?

Eric: I put that in. I’m sorry. It’s not in proper person. There are two jokes about the owls, about Errol. Like at first Harry thinks Errol is a “malting grey feather duster.”

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: That he’s a bird. And then Hermione’s note to Ron saying: “I hope Harry is okay, but if you want to tell me about it, you should probably use a different bird” [laughs] “because another delivery might finish your one off.”

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It was a great Hermione letter. It’s probably one of my favorite things she’s said or written, and I thought I’d put in because it’s like, why is J.K. Rowling being cruel to the birds?

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Like, what did birds ever do to J.K. Rowling?

Andrew: Well, she must have something about them. She killed Hedwig.

Eric: [laughs] Yeah! Exploded Hedwig.

Andrew: Yeah.

Chapter-by-Chapter: “The Whomping Willow”

Andrew: So let’s move on to the next chapter, “The Whomping Willow.” They – so Eric mentioned this earlier – there’s a quote on page 66: “They had almost reached the highway when Ginny shrieked that she’d left her diary.” Now I don’t really see it as a hint. I think it’s sort of a clever little addition. But then we also saw – who else forgot something? Fred or George?

Ben: Yeah.

Eric: Fred forgot his broomstick, George forgot his fireworks, or the other way around.

Ben: But man, she leaves her diary at home, this book’s over.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Yeah, it’s true.

Ben: There’s no point.

Eric: If Arthur Weasley said, “Screw it, I’ll mail it to you”…

Ben: So it’s really Arthur’s fault.

Eric: For not being a firmer father.

Andrew: Right. [laughs]

Eric: And not saying, “No, forget about it. Get it when you get home.”

Andrew: And this is also the chapter where Harry and Ron cannot get through the entrance to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. And so this brings up a couple debates. They try to get in, then they’re like, “Oh, shoot! What should we do?” And Ron notes that he doesn’t know when his parents will be coming back. Although, it should be kind of obvious because they waited till – they tried to get in like a minute before the train left. Then they knew the train had left, so theoretically his parents should have been coming out very soon thereafter. So the question is, why didn’t they – ignoring the fact that this is a story and Jo could have just simply changed the plot, the question is why couldn’t of – why did they take the car? Why couldn’t they have just waited for Ron’s parents?

Ben: Because you have to look at the fact. They’d just come off Year One where they were these big heroes doing big things, and whenever a big problem presents itself, you come up with an even bigger solution. And so, in this situation…

Eric: Nice way of putting it.

Ben: In this situation, they’re pretty confident in themselves.

Andrew: Right.

Ben: And they think, “You know what? We’ll just take the car. I mean, Mom and Dad can Apparate. It all makes sense,” without really thinking it through like the kids they were at the time.

Eric: Yeah.

Ben: Just dive head-on and they screwed up.

Emerson: I think – honestly, I think it’s because J.K. Rowling wanted to put the scene with the flying car and I think she just didn’t do it…

Andrew: Oh, that’s the copout!

Emerson: But – I don’t see – like you said, the parents should have come out like a minute later. J.K. Rowling could have wrote a better excuse in there like, “Oh, well the parents wouldn’t Apparate straight back to their house” or maybe the parents wouldn’t come back. And then there would be a legitimate excuse because then they could be a day late getting to Hogwarts or something like that.

Andrew: Right, right. That’s true.

Eric: Yeah. Yeah, taking the car – taking the car was Ron’s idea. It wasn’t anybody else. So, I mean, Ron could be – it’s a grandeur thing, I guess, according to Ben. But it was Ron’s idea like, “Hey, wait, Harry! The car!”

Andrew: Yeah. Go ahead, Micah. You want to take the next point?

Micah: So they eventually work their way to Hogwarts and they crash into the Whomping Willow and as they’re going up to the castle they’re greeted by Snape. When asking about the car with no seemingly prior knowledge,
J.K. Rowling notes, “This wasn’t the first time Snape had given Harry the impression of being able to read minds.” So, we all know that Snape is very accomplished at reading people’s minds; it’s also referenced in Sorcerer’s Stone. So, again, just a little bit of foreshadowing, I think, as to what Snape is able to be able to do.

Ben: So, my question is, is if a teacher is able to read a student’s mind, can they get them in trouble for something like, you know, like when Harry has the Marauders Map or whatever in Prisoner of Azkaban and Snape is like, “what is this stupid thing?”, you know, and could he, like, read his mind and get him in trouble for the information he’d never actually divulged, but his mind actually divulged it? Does that make sense?

Eric: Well, the question is too, like mind reading and actually reading someone’s thoughts and memory – because there are plenty of moments in the book where Dumbledore gives Harry this piercing stare, I mean Dumbledore does it too, but Snape giving Harry the impression that he can read minds, but that’s something separate from actually casting Legilimens. And, I mean, you remember in class with Snape and Harry, Harry like relives the memories that Snape is receiving and seeing as how that doesn’t happen here, in the book, you know, just at this moment, it’s not the same thing, that Snape can get a general idea maybe, of what’s going on, but he’s not reading Harry’s thoughts; he’s not intruding into his mind that far. So it seems like…

Micah: Yeah, I think it’s one of the simple things though.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: In Sorcerer’s Stone, he seems to think that Snape knows that Harry is gaining more and more knowledge about the Sorcerer’s Stone because everywhere he seems to go, Snape seems to show up. And again here, he seems to be able to read Harry’s mind at least at the very basic level to know what happened. He knew about the car. How would he possibly know about the car? Maybe he saw it driving across the grounds. I don’t know.

Eric: Well, he had the copy of the Evening Prophet. I mean, that was in the book and the movie.

Micah: Yeah, you’re right, but…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: At the same time, I think, that’s just one of those things I think that is written in there so that when you go back and re-read the series, you’re just like: “oh, she threw that in there as a little hint.”

Eric: Well, the question here in the notes is that – is that about Snape trying to protect Harry? Why did Snape particularly notice in particular that Ron and Harry were particularly not in the Great Hall at the time of the sorting and come out and look for them? Was he especially concerned with Harry getting to Hogwarts, and if so, why?

Micah: Hm. Maybe Dumbledore said to look go for him. I don’t know. He trusts Snape.

Andrew: Yeah, I don’t know, I was wondering about that because it just seems like – it seemed like he was – it was sort of a testament to him caring, even though he wouldn’t show it and even though Harry and Ron wouldn’t even consider it.

Eric: Especially after that wonderful, I – Snape has props, the best entrance ever in this book, when Harry and Ron here are debating about whether or not he got sacked. [laughs]

Andrew: Right, right.

Eric: It’s one of the greatest entrances, I think, in the series.

Micah: Well, they should have put that in the movie because that probably would have been pretty funny.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. But, I also wanted to mention – we are going to get to the other things in this chapter – we were just talking about that night right before they leave for school and Ginny forgets her diary – so for one evening, from the time they got back from Diagon Ally and before they left the next morning that both a seventh of Voldemort’s soul and a convicted murderer – a non-convicted murder – was living as a rat in Ron’s bedroom. The Burrow was full of some very evil stuff for just that one evening, a Horcrux and Peter Pettigrew. I was just thinking that.

Micah: Well, two Horcruxes.

Ben: Two.

Eric: Two? Sorry? What?

Micah: Harry.

Eric: Harry.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Oh, sorry Ben, the two published authors among us have corrected me.

Andrew: One of them was Micah.

Ben: That was Micah.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: My bad. I thought it was Ben, sorry.

Ben: Clean the crap out of your ears.

Andrew: Okay, well, we got to speed this up a little faster. Speed it up a little more I should say. Other things to note – Ron’s wand snaps. Micah, real quick, was there anything you wanted to say about that?

Micah: No, that’s why it’s just other things to note.

Andrew: Oh, okay. Well, that’s one thing to note.

[Eric laughs]

Ben: Dumbledore’s humor, you know, it always shines through, Andrew.

Andrew: It does, Ben. What does he say in this chapter that really shined through?

Ben: He said, [imitating Dumbledore] “Come Severus, there is an delicious looking custard tart I want to sample.”

Andrew: [laughs] I thought that was funny because Dumbledore is always about the food and you know…

Emerson: Socks.

Andrew: Socks, random stuff. Knitting, knitting patterns.

[Emerson laughs]

Eric: Tarts, yeah.

Chapter-by-Chapter: “Gilderoy Lockhart”

Andrew: Yeah. So that’s good. Okay, so, the final chapter we are talking about today, “Gilderoy Lockhart.” It starts off with Ron getting the Howler and Harry feels terrible for what he did after hearing Mr. Weasley was facing an inquiry at work. And it’s really funny, of course, because we see – and it turned out great in the movie too – Mrs. Weasley yelling at Ron and it’s a really embarrassing moment for Ron too. And then Lockhart later on thinks that the flying car – he pulls Harry aside – he’s about to go into Herbology and – this is really funny – and Lockhart was so obnoxious in this book, I’d forgotten. He thinks the flying car was a publicity stunt after he gave Harry a taste of fame in Flourish and Blotts. He says, “When I was twelve, I was just as much of a nobody as you are now. In fact, I would say I was even more of a nobody. I mean a few people have heard of you, haven’t they? All that business with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.” I thought that was so funny.

Ben: Fame is a fickle friend.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Celebrity is as celebrity does.

Micah: Is he supposed to be Hogwarts’ resident metro sexual?

Andrew: Yes. Absolutely!

Micah: Someone described him that way. I can’t remember who it was. Maybe it was J.K. Rowling.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I feel like – I was going to say, it may have been her.

Eric: I don’t think she called him a metro sexual though. I don’t think Jo talks about that stuff.

Ben: He’s just one of those people who are so self-absorbed that they go as far as to think that everything is about them. “I gave you that taste of fame.”

Eric: I remember the people that – do you guys remember the people that would come forward and say, “Hey, Jo based Lockhart on me?” You know, there were like…

Andrew: Oh, right.

Eric: …at least two people who said that. But it’s kind of like that song “You’re So Vain.”

Ben: [singing] I bet you think this song is about you.

Emerson: And I’ve been saying this for like a decade now, but I still think that Cary Elwes would have been an amazing Gilderoy Lockhart.

Eric: Yeah.

Ben: Who?

Emerson: The guy from Princess Bride and Robin Hood.

Eric: Though do you not like Kenneth Branagh as Lockhart?

Emerson: No, he was good but I think Cary Elwes would have been amazing.

Eric: Yeah, I think he should do something in Movie 7.

Andrew: And then, of course there’s the Mandrake mayhem, you know, all that crazy stuff going on, which was a clever little plot, but there’s not much to discuss, so we’ll just go right past it. We also meet Colin Creevey and Lockhart shows up again, thinking Harry is signing photographs of himself.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: And that was really well-written, Lockhart’s like “Oh, I should have known it was Harry.”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And everyone was taunting. So that was funny.

Ben: And there’s an interesting quote from Ron…

Andrew: In your mic, in your mic.

Ben: Oh, there’s an interesting quote from Ron: “You’d better hope Creevey doesn’t meet Ginny, or they’ll be starting a Harry Potter Fan Club!”

Andrew: I know, it’s kind of interesting because right around then was when MuggleNet and all these Harry Potter fan clubs were kicking off. I thought.

Eric: When that book was published, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, it’s sort of funny timing. When I read that I was like, ohhh!

Ben: Thanks, Ron. Good idea.

[Andrew and Ben laugh]

Emerson: One year later…

Ben: Emerson, we’ll get to that later.

Andrew: Now I know how you got that idea, you stole it from Ron!

Eric: A Harry Potter fan club sounds like a good idea!

Ben: And then Lockhart attempts to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts and he of course fails miserably. And Ron’s the first to question him, and he says, “Can you believe him?” And this is when the pixies are happening.

Andrew: Right.

Emerson: Peskipiksi Pesternomi!

[Eric laughs]

Ben: And then Harry, of course, can tell he doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing and Hermione is kind of love struck by Lockhart and she’s defending him – because he wrote books! And if he writes books, then he must know what he’s talking about!

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: And Ron of course calls it, by saying, “He says he’s done all this stuff.” So that was interesting. Does anyone remember reading this for the first time and being like, hmm, I wonder if he was full of it, or was he – did he actually do all that stuff?

Emerson: I think that scene made it pretty clear that he didn’t [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah…

Emerson: He definitely did not perform all those amazing feats.

Eric: So the question was, you know, did he fake them all? Or…

Emerson: He couldn’t even handle pixies!

Listener Question: Magical Welfare System

Andrew: He absolutely did! Yeah, he absolutely did fake them all, yeah. Okay, so let’s get into some listener questions and tweets.

Ben: Kat, 16, from Los Angeles, California – SoCal, holler! Me and Andrew!

Andrew: So Cal, baby! Woo!

Ben: Me and Andrew – I have to announce I’m permanently a resident of Southern California now. I have a…

Andrew: Congratulations, Ben. [claps]

Eric: Permanently? You’re not sneaking in someone’s room while they’re away on vacation?

Ben: No, no, I actually have an apartment now.

Eric: Damn.

Ben: That’s why I’m live here in the MuggleCast Studio and you can expect more of this moving forward here in the future.

Andrew: Glad to hear it.

Ben: So, again. Kat, 16, from SoCal writes,

“Hey MuggleCast! I just listened to the latest podcast, number 182, in which you guys talked about discussing chapters 4, 5, and 6 of ‘Chamber of Secrets’ in your next episode. After going back and re-reading these chapters, the Flourish and Blotts bit got me wondering. What happens to wizarding families like the Weasleys who are short of money and are sending their kids to Hogwarts? When Hogwarts letters are sent out to first-year students, does the school faculty take into consideration whether or not the family can actually afford to send their kid to school? I don’t know if there’s any kind of welfare system in the wizarding world, or support from Hogwarts to help families in need, but it’s obvious not everyone can live luxuriously like the Malfoys, where sending their kid to Hogwarts costs them next to nothing. If the family can’t send their kid to Hogwarts, what other alternative do they have? Anyway, just wondering about what you guys thought. Love the show, it makes the bus ride to and from school much more enjoyable. I look forward to the next podcast. Kat.”

Andrew: Don’t you think like most colleges…

Ben: Financial aid?

Andrew: Yeah. [laughs]

Ben: Student loans?

Andrew: [laughs] Right!

Ben: You know, Gringotts probably has a program…

Andrew: They got a loan business on the side.

Emerson: I would like to know what Muggle-born families do when they come to school. Is there a Galleon-Pound exchange rate?

Ben: Well, obviously.

Emerson: Makes me wonder why there would be because…

Andrew: Well, there is, yeah, there’s a reference in Chamber of Secrets to that. When they first meet Hermione’s parents.

Ben: Yeah, there is seventeen Sickles to a – you’re right, but I wonder why wizards couldn’t just easily conjure up fake pounds and dollars…

Andrew: Well, they probably have a way to…

Ben: Those goblins are clever.

Andrew: They can probably detect the fake stuff.

Emerson: No, if wizards wanted to use Muggle money for some reason.

[Andrew and Ben]: Oh!

Emerson: It seems altogether too easy for them to conjure up fake pound notes, or fake dollar bills, and no Muggle is going to be able to detect it.

Ben: Or they could just walk into a Muggle store and stun everybody really quick.

[Everyone laughs]

Emerson: Yeah, exactly.

Ben: Just walk out with whatever they want.

Emerson: There’s a million spells they could use if they wanted any Muggle goods.

Andrew: Well, Jo wrote this when the world wasn’t as crazy as it is today.

[Eric laughs]

Ben: [singing] What’s going on?

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: Wait, you’re telling me ten years from now, they’re going to be questioning the Galleon-Pound exchange rate?

Andrew: Kind of speaking of that, there is this book, that I really want to read, it’s called The Magicians. It’s about this wizard, who’s in the real world. Apparently, it’s been getting really good reviews. It’s relatively new. It’s by Lev Grossman. The Magicians. I’m sure some of you out there have read it.

Ben: That sounds original.

Eric: They’ll make a movie out of it.

Andrew: [laughs] It’s basically about this guy, who lives – he’s a wizard in the real world and that sort of reminded me of it, Emerson. I’m sure some of you have read it and I’m going to read it soon. But, anyway, I think we answered Kat’s question. Micah, would you like to read the next email?

Ben: From Brisbane.

MuggleCast 183 Transcript (continued)

Muggle Mail: Origins of Floo Powder

Micah: I get all the emails from Australia this week. This is from Alice-Elizabeth Witt, of Brisbane, Australia, and she says,

“Hi MuggleCasters. As I was reading Chapter 4, at Flourish and Blotts, I noticed something that I initially thought was absolutely ridiculous, however, the imagery made me consider it further. On page 49 of the American edition, Jo describes traveling by Floo Powder, she wrote, ‘it felt as though he was being sucked down a giant drain.’ This description made me ponder the origin of the term Floo powder. It seemed to me that Jo was trying to draw a parallel between this form of travel and being flushed down a giant toilet. Further, the word Floo itself does contain the English term for a toilet – loo – in it. Is it possible that Jo derived the term Floo powder from the word loo and the latter, it’s description of being flushed down a toilet? I know this must seem really bizarre though I think it would be interesting to consider it in more detail. Love listening to the show, especially the Chapter-by-Chapter discussions. Thank you so much for producing such an awesome podcast. Alice-Elizabeth.”

Andrew: I think that makes sense.

Emerson: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I never thought of it that way.

Eric: Well, a flue is part of a chimney. Its spelled f-l-u-e, but it’s what the British refer to – it’s a duct. I’m looking this up…

Andrew: Yeah, but we’re talking about the loo. L-o-o.

Emerson: No, it’s like a perfect marriage of the two words…

Ben: Right.

Andrew: Ohhh…

Emerson: It’s perfect.

Eric: Jo’s done it before…

Ben: Different spelling but allusion…

Eric: Right, but the word is Floo and it’s actually part of a chimney so it’s absolutely perfect for several reasons. I like this connection that Alice Witt has…

Emerson: Good job, Alice.

Andrew: Good job, Alice.

Eric: …but it’s funny because she’s Australian and I don’t think that they have chimneys in Australia because it’s never cold.

Listener Tweet: Lockhart’s Intentions

Andrew: All right and a couple tweets – from PewterWolf13:

“Why do you think Lockhart actually took the job of Defense Against the Dark Arts?”

Any theories guys?

Ben: Because he wanted another chance to…

Andrew: Promote his book?

Ben: No, promote himself.

Andrew: Sell his books, yeah.

Ben: He’s a shameless self-promoter. What else? – I would expect no less.

Andrew: [laughs] Well plus if you look at the list of required reading – all those Lockhart books. I think it was Hermione who said almost the entire list was Lockhart.

Emerson: Boost sales.

Ben: Yeah, boost sales, for sure.

Listener Tweet: Flaky Teachers

Andrew: Next tweet from Shannon_McAdoo:

“Maybe it was just me, but I feel like Dumbledore would have known how flaky some of these teachers, like Lockhart, were. Thoughts?”

Ben: Well, he was probably aware – at this point, Dumbledore’s aware of the curse put on the position and he’s like, ‘Well this putz doesn’t matter, might as well just let him take the job, let him go die or go to St. Mungo’s, whatever.’

Andrew: [laughs] That is very odd, though. Every other Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher makes sense except for Lockhart.

Ben: What kind of position does that put Dumbledore in though, morally, knowing that the next teacher he’s going to hire is doomed? So it’s like – is that part of the interview process? Like, “Oh by the way this is a one year position. We don’t have anything beyond that.”

Andrew: Well, maybe Lockhart just wanted to sell his books, no matter what.

Micah: But with how smart he is, why would you hire that guy? Although they did say in the book that not a lot of people were interested in the position because of its track record.

Andrew: Oh okay.

Eric: Yeah she always draws up that they’re a little desperate, but at the same time I think the whole Lockhart being completely a fraud kind of grew on everybody. I mean by the end of the year the rest of the teachers are like “Yeah, you really suck,” but at the same time it kind of took them a while to get there.

Andrew: Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Eric: I mean it wasn’t until – if you look at imposter Moody fooling – I mean he was able to fool Dumbledore but he was really like a – you know he was an evil wizard and able to fool Dumbledore, but obviously he’d had some practice. But yeah, with Lockhart it’s kind of like what you guys said.

Micah: It’s just this position – I mean in Prisoner of Azkaban I think it was Madam Pomfrey when Harry first comes in and he’d been attacked on the train and she learns that Lupin had given him chocolate she says something along the lines of “Finally a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who knows what he’s doing.”

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Yeah.

Emerson: I just had a really random thought, talking about Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers, when Crouch was revealed to have been – or Moody was revealed to have been Crouch – Did anyone else kind of have this image of this Scooby Doo villain “And I would have done it if it wasn’t for you meddling kids!”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yeah. That’s so true.

Chapter-by-Chapter: Movie Comparison

Andrew: Real quick let’s talk about the movie. The movie adaptation of these scenes. The big – one thing I noticed – was Borgin and Burkes, that whole thing was missing, all those little hints. Am I right?

Eric: Well, there is a deleted scene that takes place in Borgin and Burkes. It wasn’t much in the film, Harry basically just lands in the chimney and climbs out and he’s in the exterior of Diagon Alley or – sorry – Knockturn Alley in the movie. In the deleted scene, Harry hears Malfoy and Draco in the shop, and kind of watches them for a little bit, but it’s not a long scene at all, but they did film that part of it.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: The question I had with this movie is they changed why Harry ends up in Diagon Alley. And it’s interesting because the book just says he coughs and lands up in Knockturn Alley but in the movie he does that thing where he’s like, “D-Diagonally!”.

Andrew: Which I thought was cool.

Eric: Yeah it was cool, at the same time it’s like one grate too far. I wanted to talk about that because it was a little bit different. When I was reading this chapter, it seemed that perhaps part of Harry, the part of him that was a Horcrux, wanted it to take him to Borgin and Burkes or was somehow used to travelling to this shop. You know, like he’d been there before.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: Or having a Horcrux acid flashback. However that happens, but I just thought it was very interesting.

Andrew: Okay, and then the other thing that was cut was, like I mentioned earlier, Arthur and Lucius. That big fight. Do you guys think it was cut for the sake of keeping it a children’s movie? Because that could have gotten pretty violent. And they wanted to keep it PG at the time so… Maybe?

Ben: They didn’t cut killing Dumbledore because it was violent…

Micah: Yeah, really.

Andrew: Well, it was rated PG-13, first of all.

Ben: No, it wasn’t.

Eric: For a physical fight. I think they…

Andrew: Killing Dumbledore?

Eric: Columbus found a way to work…

Ben: Half-Blood Prince was PG.

Andrew: Oh that’s right! Oh wow, I forgot about that.

Ben: Wow.

Andrew: Yeah, well it’s a little less violent. I mean, if you see one guy shove another guy. With Dumbledore, you’re just seeing him fall. It gets sad.

Eric: Yeah, it’s hard to respect people who resort to physical violence, those crude adult males.

Micah: But there was just one other thing though. There was another deleted scene and it’s actually Filch who finds Harry and Ron, right?

Andrew: Right.

Micah: That’s how they find out the fact that he’s a Squib and they left that out of the – that doesn’t come till later in the Chamber of Secrets but that was actually a deleted scene from the movie.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: From earlier in the movie, and did you know they added Ben’s favorite line, and I’m wondering if you could do this in hi-def audio, Ben, when Harry falls out of the car.

Andrew: Oh right! [laughs]

Eric: You know, that wasn’t in the book.

Ben: “Hold on!”

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: “I can’t, your hand’s all sweaty!”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: That whole thing, and I remember watching the Chamber of Secrets trailer – which was the first movie I saw on time in theatres being a fan and just seeing that trailer where they find out the train is actually right behind them going over the viaduct…

Andrew: Yeah, that was cool.

Eric: Yeah, awesome. Awesome little movie bit.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Way to liven up the scene because the book…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Just kind of in the clouds, dipping down.

Quote Quiz

Andrew: So next week we’re going to be talking about Chapters seven through nine and it’s time for Quote quote quiz quiz quiz quiz!

“It’s a simple matter if you know what you are doing, if you need help you know where I am.”

Ben: Gilderoy Lockhart.

Andrew: Ah, you knew it. We usually don’t answer but…

Ben: Oh, really?

Andrew: Yeah, it’s all right. You got really in to it so I didn’t want to stop you. [laughs]

Interview with Emerson

Andrew: Okay, so to wrap up the show today we’ll – Emerson, look, it’s been ten years now since you started MuggleNet of course. You’ve explained it before, you’ve described yourself you know – bored, home-schooled student, was that the real reason why you started the fansite? What really motivated you to actually start it other than being bored?

Emerson: Aside from the bored thing which I may have covered…

Andrew: Right.

Emerson: In the past.

Andrew: [laughs] Yes.

Emerson: [laughs] I had created a couple of other failed websites. Really, I found this free web page maker and I was just so excited about the fact that I could make a web page and it wasn’t that hard to do.

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: And I could just drag stuff around and pick colors and I just thought that was the coolest thing in the world. That I could have stuff appear on the internet! But at the time…

Andrew: Right. [laughs] What were your failed websites?

Emerson: [laughs] One was called Extreme Golf.

[Everyone laughs]

Emerson: And the other one was a Simpsons‘ website.

Andrew: Oh.

Emerson: I don’t remember what it was called. [laughs]

Andrew: So you just went after your passions and tried to make websites from them.

Emerson: Yeah, exactly! I was thinking, what am I passionate about? And I really wasn’t that passionate about golf and I wasn’t that passionate about The Simpsons.

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: And it was a couple weeks that I was sitting around trying to come up with a good idea for a website and then it just kind of hit me that I had just finished the third Harry Potter book.

Andrew: Mhm.

Emerson: I actually read – this was a month after Prisoner of Azkaban came out. I read the first two books in one night and then the third book the next night and I thought, “Wait a minute… Harry Potter. Perfect.”

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: But I went online and I checked out all the existing websites and I thought, “Wow, these websites are huge and they have billions of people visiting them.”

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: I thought, “There’s no way I can compete with this. There’s no way. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I’m excited to have a guestbook on my website…”

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: “…and a black background instead of a white one.”

Andrew: Do you remember some of the other sites that were big? At least in your mind?

Emerson: Yeah. There was ‘Harry Potter fans dot net’.

Andrew: Ah, I remember that one. Yeah, Yeah.

Emerson: Yeah, that one was really big.

Andrew: Oh boy.

Emerson: There was the ‘HP network’. The ‘HPN’ was a big one.

Andrew: Okay.

Emerson: ‘iHarry Potter dot net’…

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: …was big for a while.

Andrew: I remember the ‘Unofficial Harry Potter web club’, or was that it? The Unofficial…

Emerson: Yeah, yeah, that was it. The one that was on Angelfire?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Emerson: Those were the big ones. Those were the ones I thought I could never compete with. And remember the first time I talked to the web mistress from the HPN. I was talking to her on AIM and I was so freaked out.

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: I was like, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, this person’s such an internet celebrity! She has such a big website!”

Andrew: That’s how I was with you and Ben.

[Emerson and Andrew laugh]

Ben: What about Dark Mark?

Emerson: I was like, “Oh my god, she’s taking too long to respond! There’s no typing indicator! She must hate me!”

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: Does anybody remember ‘Dark Mark’?

Andrew: Yeah, that was a big one too.

Ben: ‘Death-Curse’? What about ‘Death-Curse’?

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: Death hyphen Curse?

Andrew: How about ‘Grim Defeat’? Do you remember that one?

Ben: Yes!

Andrew: That one came along…

Ben: They said that Dan Radcliffe died in a car accident and that was their un-doing!

[Andrew and Emerson laugh]

Andrew: That killed them!

Emerson: Wow…

Andrew: Ah geez. It’s amazing how all these sites – I don’t know, I guess they saw MuggleNet grow and they were like, “Ah, screw it.” Like what happened? Why did they stop?

Emerson: I think…

Andrew: Why do you think?

Ben: Because it’s a marathon, not a sprint, baby.

[Andrew and Emerson laugh]

Andrew: I guess – do you have any ideas Emerson?

Emerson: I don’t know actually. I kind of assumed that – this was just my own insulated perspective. Thought that they all quit and were all still out there and I just wasn’t really having interaction with them. But I haven’t really heard about – it really seems like a lot of websites did kind of just stop.

Andrew: Be honest. You paid them off, didn’t you?

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: Well, most people grow up and they grow out of things, but not us.

[Andrew and Emerson laugh]

Ben: We’re suspended in a state of arrested development when it comes to Harry Potter.

[Andrew continues to laugh]

Ben: But I think we’re okay with that.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s all right. [laughs]

Emerson: [laughs] Here’s a little known titbit of information about MuggleNet’s early days. MuggleNet wasn’t called MuggleNet originally – and some of you do know this – but originally I thought, “There’s no way I can possibly compete with all these huge Harry Potter mega sites.”

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: So I thought, “You know what – what the Harry Potter web community needs is…” – the problem is each website had its own thing that it did really well. But there was no one place that you could go to find out – one website would have all of the chapter drawings…

Andrew: Right.

Emerson: …and one website would have this and the other website would have this, and so I thought, you know what, I’m going to create a database and I’m going to review websites and I’m going to make this organized Harry Potter links database. There’s no one good place to find them.

Andrew: Ohhh!

Emerson: So the original name for the website was ‘The Best Harry Potter Links.’

Andrew: [laughs] There you go. Look at that.

Ben: Wow.

Andrew: And it turned into MuggleNet.

Emerson: And I quickly realized that that name wasn’t exactly the grabber…

Andrew: [laughs] Right.

Emerson: …that I needed, so I changed it to the scintillating ‘Potterites United’.

Andrew: [laughs] Oh yeah.

Ben: Ooh.

Eric: So who came up with MuggleNet? Is this going to be like an old lady in a park somewhere told you that you’d one day have a website called MuggleNet or…? Who came up with…

Emerson: No, that was actually – that was me. Warner Brothers was cracking down on Harry Potter websites at the time.

Andrew: Right.

Emerson: I remember Claire’s Harry Potter website got shut down because it had Harry Potter in the domain and I started getting worried and thinking, “Man, what if – my name has “Potter” in it. What if…”

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: “…this is a problem?”

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: So I started brainstorming words that didn’t have “Potter” in it, and I was thinking, “Okay, this is a website created by Muggles. It’s like a network of Muggles, it’s like a Muggle connection or a Muggle network…”

Andrew: Mm.

Emerson: “…or a Muggle net.”

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: MuggleNet!

Andrew: Awesome!

Ben: It’s interesting how the studios went from shutting sites down to embracing their presence.

Emerson: Yeah.

Andrew: Oh, yeah. Cool, because …

Emerson: Yeah, because that was truly the early stages of the web for – I mean, that was a microcosm of what was happening to the Internet in general. The Internet was dark and scary, wild, wild West to most corporations, and they just saw this as being a place for people to rip off their content, but now…

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: …they realize the value it can add to the franchises.

Ben: It’s quite the opposite.

Andrew: Well, and also, the press started picking it up, and I remember they highlighted that one girl, she was on the news because she looked so innocent. “Warner Brothers came after me. I was just doing…”

Emerson: Yeah.

Andrew: “… a Harry Potter website!” and that really …

Emerson: That was Claire.

Eric: A documentary…

Andrew: Oh, that was Claire. Okay. Okay.

Emerson: Yeah, that was Claire. And the funny thing was that her website sucked.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Maybe they were taking her down because it sucked.

Emerson: Yeah.

Andrew: Listen, we love…

Ben: We’re doing you a favor.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah. We’d love to have websites for our franchise but not something that’s as crappy as yours.

Ben: Claire is out there right now…

Andrew: Crying.

Ben: …and she’s so angry.

Eric: So it’s MuggleNet dot com too, is something that I find people find interesting when I first tell them that it’s not Muggle dot net.

Andrew: Dot net. Yeah, some people screw that up. It’s annoying.

Ben: Well, my mom still calls the site Mogull net…

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: …after all these years, so …

Andrew: It is a really cool name, though. Like it’s just a cool name, I think. MuggleNet.

Eric: Yeah, I agree.

Andrew: Good job on that one, Emerson. [laughs]

Emerson: Thank you. [laughs]

Andrew: Okay. So another question I really have. When did you realize that MuggleNet was getting huge? Was there suddenly, like – you woke up one morning and you were like, “Oh, wow, a lot of people are visiting and I never planned this.” Was there some sort of moment that indicated that?

Emerson: You know, there was a series of moments and they were all progressively getting larger. The first moment I can remember concretely was – it was a very small victory, but at the time, it was huge, because I was a twelve-year-old and I didn’t know what I was doing. I added MuggleNet to a list of top Harry Potter sites…

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: …one of the top site lists – and immediately it rose up to about thirty-eight on the list. And while that doesn’t seem like very much now, at the time it was – I felt this incredible sense of accomplishment, that my website was better than at least some other websites.

Andrew: [laughs] Right.

Ben: Now what about – wasn’t the other thing, like the BBC, didn’t they do a little…?

Emerson: Yeah, yeah. This was the credibility – this was what made my parents first take note that this wasn’t just some fun little hobby – was that the BBC came out with the list of the top Harry Potter websites, and MuggleNet was on that list. And it was actually the first website they listed. So that was when my parents sat up and they were like, “Wow, okay. Emerson’s not completely wasting his time.”

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: Wasn’t it – didn’t they come out with a list of just fan sites? Because I seem to remember seeing that list and it was like ‘the one ring dot net’ was on there. And then they compared MuggleNet and and that’s a pretty good comparison.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: It’s good to be in league with them.

Emerson: Yeah. And that was actually one of the biggest reasons why MuggleNet grew as fast as it did. Was because of – there was two things that I did early on. I didn’t realize exactly what I was getting into, but I noticed that people were always eager to contribute content to the website. There was always people submitting things that they were writing or otherwise sending in pictures. And at the time all the other websites were just kids like me, doing it whenever they had time. But I thought “Hey, these people all really want to help out.” So I would say, “Wow, okay, this person’s sending in so many of these great editorials. I’ll just – you can write as many as you want.”

Andrew: Hire them!

Emerson: Exactly, hire them! Work together. Many hands make light work.

Andrew: Right.

Emerson: So MuggleNet was one of the first websites that actually had a staff…

Andrew: Mhm.

Emerson: …and that made the website grow exponentially. The other big thing was that, at the time – again, all the big Harry Potter websites seemed like they could never be caught, but I noticed that they didn’t really get updated all that often and they were – there was no one website that had sort of everything that you’d need if you were a Harry Potter fan. They were all limited. And I noticed that there was other fandoms, other web communities, that had been around for much longer. And even as big as you know, harrypotterfans dot net seemed, sites like theonering dot net seemed much more professional and seemed just like much better websites altogether. So I would go around to Dragon Ball Z websites or Pok√©mon websites or Lord of the Rings websites and I would just kind of borrow their best ideas. And I would use them on MuggleNet. And sure enough, little things like having a poll – something that seems really obvious – or having quotes, or having…

Andrew: Yeah.

Emerson: …comments on news posts. You know, things like that were a lot of times plucked from other communities.

Ben: Thank you, Dragon Ball Z.

Eric: Is that why you started the caption contest?

Emerson: Yes, it was.

Ben: No, Eric, it was because he wanted to give you something to do so you would shut up.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Well, actually, I mention it because it was exactly seven years ago this week that the caption contest first started.

Andrew: Ahhh!

Eric: And I took over three weeks or so in, after I met Emerson but Emerson started that on his own. That was not anybody else so…

Ben: So you said two weeks from now it will be have been seven years? Or two weeks ago?

Eric: No, no, no. It’s exactly seven years this week.

Ben: Ohhh!

Eric: …that Emerson started the Caption Contest on MuggleNet.

Ben: I’m thinking that next month should be the Caption Contest seventh anniversary celebration.

[Everyone laughs]

Emerson: Yeah, we’ll do a top fifteen…

Andrew: We’ll get Dylan on the layout. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’ll be good.

Emerson: No.

Eric: But seriously, I asked Emerson because I never really knew the story behind why he started it, and why he chose this first picture of Gilderoy Lockhart at the Dueling Club as the caption images.

Andrew: Well, to wrap this little talk up, Emerson, if you had to pick one favorite moment from your time on MuggleNet – just one – what would it be?

Emerson: You know, I think I would have to go back in time to a particular morning in May…

Andrew: Of 2004, when you hired me…

Emerson: This happened perhaps at 8 A.M. …

Andrew: [in British accent] Hello, Emerson? This is Jo.

Emerson: For the one or two people out there who didn’t hear this out. My dad had come bursting into my room and he had this very panicked look on his face. And he was holding the phone in his hand, and he just kind of barking at me, [in a strangled voice] “Emerson, it’s Jo.”

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: My first thought was, you know, why is some guy named Joe calling at eight o’clock in the morning.

Andrew: Right. [laughs]

Ben: Yeah, like what the hell?

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: So he hands me the phone and I hear this, of course, very clipped British accent on the other end of the line, [as Jo] “Hello Emerson, this is Jo.” And…

Ben: You’re like, “What’s up, dude?”

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: Oh, what’s up? What’s up, man?

Andrew: Yeah, and the rest is history.

Emerson: Yeah, because I spent the next two months crapping my pants…

Andrew: Right. Literally.

Emerson: …and not being able to sleep. Well, maybe somewhat literally.

[Andrew and Ben laugh]

Ben: I remember you got online after that happened, and you’re like, “Big news man, like huge news.” And I was like, “What’s going on?” “I can’t tell you.”

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: “Seriously can’t tell you.”

[Andrew continues to laugh]

Ben: And I was like – and then at the time, there was this – one of our mutual friends who Emerson happened to take to the Prisoner of Azkaban premiere, Mike McColleage. Emerson told him…

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: …about it, and this kid’s sitting there rubbing it in my face, and I’m just like, “Tell me. You shouldn’t have told me you have anything to tell me.”

Andrew: Right.

[Emerson laughs]

Andrew: Oh…

Emerson: I just remember, throughout the entire interview with Jo, I had – I spent half the time paying attention to what she was saying and trying to formulate good counter-questions. I spent the other half of the interview just thinking to myself, “Holy crap.”

Andrew: Right. Well, we do have to start wrapping up the show, we’ll get into some announcements. But thanks Emerson for that insight into the site.

Ben: Oh, but for the record, since it’s like the tenth anniversary. Andrew, who hired you at MuggleNet? I’m just curious.

Andrew: That was you, Ben.

Ben: Oh, it was me, okay.

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: Oh, oh, oh…

Ben: Just making sure.

Andrew: It was you, Ben, I’m so glad you did it.

Ben: I joined the staff in November 2003. That’s when the site really started to take off.

Andrew: Of course. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, yeah. I’d been there for a year, failed to do anything interesting, so Ben took over.

Ben: I took that trivia page. I just took it to the top.

[Everyone laughs]

Emerson: When Ben got his job – he spent several months begging me for a job on MSN, and I just didn’t know who he was, I just thought he was some kid. And finally, he proved himself by being annoying enough. And so I thought, I’ll test him. I’ll give him the most boring work.

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: The most dull and dry job I can possibly think of.

Andrew: The trivia page…

Emerson: Managing the trivia page.

Ben: So the key to anything – everything – is remember, if you’re interviewing for a job and you really want it, lie. So like…

Andrew: So what did you say?

Ben: Well Emerson’s like, “Do you know FTP?” and I was like, “Oh yeah, of course…”

[Emerson laughs]

Ben: …FTP? Like…

Andrew: No problem.

Ben: Yeah totally. “Do you know HTML?” And I was like, “Yeah, of course!” At the time I knew how to do just like a little bit.

Andrew: Right.

Ben: But…

Andrew: That’s funny.

Eric: I will always remember…

Ben: I can’t believe that that was six years ago, that’s weird.

Eric: I will always remember the first time…

Emerson: Ben Schoen’s words of wisdom, ladies and gentleman: lie on all of your…

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: …job applications.

Andrew: I was honest to you, Ben.

Eric: We’ll see…

Andrew: And I bugged you just like you did to Emerson. What, Eric?

Eric: I was honest to Emerson. He interviewed me for Fan of the Week as per…

[Emerson laughs]

Eric: …the request of my friend.

Andrew: Ah.

Eric: And we met on AIM, didn’t we, Emerson?

Emerson: Yeah. I remember…

Eric: Afterwards…

Emerson: Eric’s friend just – Eric seemed to me like perhaps the biggest Harry Potter fan that had ever been born and I could not believe he existed so I was like hey…

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: …this guy…

Ben: I still can’t believe he exists.

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: I just, I love you Eric, you know I love you.

Eric: Hey, I love you too, Ben. No, my friend found MuggleNet and was like, “Hey, you got to check this out!” But had already e-mailed Emerson and was like, “Hey, I have this friend and…”

Andrew: Oh, that’s cool.

Eric: …and he should do the Fan of the Week…”

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: so it was my friend, Justin, was the reason I got involved with MuggleNet. But it was great. Oh and the first time I logged on to MuggleNet’s FTP was just really cool.

[Emerson laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, I remember that too, I was like, [sings] I got the power.

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: I remember when I was interviewing Andrew, I was busy and I didn’t know how serious he was about all this and so I just kept stringing him along. I would tell him, “Be online tomorrow at 3 P.M. …”

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: “…and I’ll tell you then!”

[Andrew laughs]

Andrew: I was…

[Emerson laughs]

Ben: And he’d get on at 3 P.M. and I wouldn’t message him and like I’d just sit there and wait…

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: …to see if he’d message me.

Andrew: That time period where you had me waiting, I’m honest to God, I would not leave my computer because I was very paranoid that I would miss you – I would not be online when you wanted to tell me the good news, the impending good news.

[Ben laughs]

Andrew: You were quite the tease.

Ben: And finally I was just like, all right.

Andrew: Time to let me off the hook, I was ugh. Anyway.

Ben: And here we are.

Andrew: Yes.

Ben: SoCal baby.

Andrew: Well it’s wild to think you started in Kansas, I started in New Jersey and now we’re both together in SoCal.

Ben: We’re not together, Andrew.

Andrew: You know what I mean.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: We’re podcasting together in SoCal.

Ben: Yeah, right. Just for the record, I don’t want any crazy ships going on out there.

Andrew: You mean I made my bed for nothing today?

[Ben laughs]

Eric: Bandrew.

Announcement: Podcast Alley

Andrew: Well we could talk about this forever and maybe we will on another episode, we’ll reminisce more. But for now, before we let everyone go today, we want to remind you about a couple of announcements first please do vote for us on Podcast Alley, it’s…

Ben: We’ve been reminding you for four years on this one, so…

[Andrew laughs]

Andrew: And it’s still just as important as ever.

Ben: Please.

Announcement: Infinitus 2010

Andrew: So thank you for that. Also HPEF’s next Con is coming up, Harry Potter conference, Infinitus 2010. They actually just redid their website, it looks pretty cool., you can go over there and register for the conference.

Ben: And we’re doing a MuggleCast there?

Andrew: Well, we can’t announce anything yet but…

Ben: Oh okay.

Andrew: Let’s hope we do…

Ben: Let’s hope so.

Announcement: Revamped Sections

Andrew: Yes. [laughs] When you do register, there’s a little referral box, and put MuggleCast in the box – or MuggleNet, so they know where you came from. We do greatly appreciate that as well. Also, we’ve recently re-done our Deathly Hallows and Wizarding World sections on MuggleNet, you know, we do have great content on MuggleNet, so we encourage you to head over there, check out the movie seven section, which I just said was recently revamped with a lot of new stuff, and the Wizarding World section was revamped. And of course, all the other pages on the site are getting frequent updates all the time, so…

Emerson: Wall of Shame! [laughs]

Andrew: …just check it all out. Yeah, Wall of Shame. Emerson, you’ve got to add some new stuff on there. Maybe some new crazies will email you after this show.

Emerson: I think the problem is that I have become too jaded…

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: …to Wall of Shame worthy emails…

Andrew: Right.

Emerson: …and I’ve just read so many of them now that I feel like…

Ben: J-j-jaded!

Emerson: …I’ve lost the self-confidence that I need to be able to determine…

[Andrew laughs]

Emerson: …what is truly funny and what is truly obnoxious. Because it’s all obnoxious now.

Andrew: I understand.

Ben: Aw.

Announcement: Roller Coaster Tycoon Challenge

Andrew: And Eric, quickly, your announcement about the Roller Coaster Tycoon thing.

Ben: Quickly.

Eric: Roller Coaster Tycoon! I’ve received six entries so far, but they’ve all kicked serious bum. So, Roller Coaster Tycoon, last day to send your Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park save game files is Tuesday, October 27th at 12 PM Eastern Standard Time, and I’m going to post the winners or my favorites on the site on Halloween.

Andrew: Cool.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: And last…

Eric: Emerson, did you play Roller Coaster Tycoon at all?

Emerson: I played all the Tycoons except that one, I think.

Andrew: That’s the best one, so you clearly have not played the Tycoons.

Emerson: I was all about Sim City.

Andrew: Oh.

Emerson: For training for later on in life, when I’m running my own.

[Show music begins]

Ben: Mayor Spartz.

[Emerson laughs]

Contact Information

Andrew: And as always, you can visit the MuggleCast website at for more information about the show including our contact information, there you’ll find a feedback form, or just email any one of us using our first name at staff dot mugglenet dot com.

Ben: And you can follow us on Twitter, at

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Or

Ben: Either or.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: Yeah, same thing practically. Actually, this is something that I’d like to mention…

Andrew: Go ahead.

MuggleNet and Breast Cancer

Ben: On MuggleNet, we – we’re actively supporting breast cancer awareness month, there’s a product called a BeMitt which will allow you to increase your sensitivity of touch in order to conduct these breast self-exams. So you – if you do have a lump in your breast, it will be easier to detect it earlier, hopefully before it’s too late. Remember, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime, so this is a very serious matter. Maggie Smith, one of our own, is a breast cancer survivor, so go out, get your early detection methods down, conduct your self-exams, and don’t play around with your life.

Show Close

Andrew: All right. Thank you Ben. So that wraps it up. Thank you Emerson for joining us, it was a lot of fun having you here on the show. Happy ten years, everyone!

Ben: Ten years!

[Emerson laughs]

Ben: Here’s to another ten!

Andrew: Oh yes!

[Andrew and Emerson laugh]

Emerson: I feel like we need – we need a theme song that we need to play for that.

Ben: Oh we – we – that’s MuggleNet at ten. You know, we should make up a really dramatic video, where it’s like…

Andrew: Ten years.

[Emerson laughs]

Andrew: Once again, I’m Andrew Sims.

Ben: I’m Ben Schoen.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

Emerson: I am Emerson Spartz.

Andrew: We’ll see you next time for Episode 184. Buh-bye!

Ben: Peace!

[Show music continues]