Transcript #191

MuggleCast 191 Transcript

Show Intro

[Intro music starts]

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[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]

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

[Show music begins]

Micah: Because Ben’s waiting for a cooler addition to the theme park, this is MuggleCast Episode 191 for February the 4th, 2010.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome everyone to Episode 191 of MuggleCast. I’m here with Ben, Jamie, and Micah. Hello boys!

Jamie: Hey!

Ben: Hey. Hey.

Jamie: It’s an all-boys special today, isn’t it?

Andrew: It’s an all – yeah, this is an interesting group. I feel like…

Micah: It’s old school.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: It is old school, yeah.

Andrew: I feel like there’s not going to be any balance. This has potential to get a little crazy, if you know what I’m saying.

Jamie: It could definitely, yeah.

Andrew: Usually we have a female anchor, or – or someone less funny than all of us so it sort of balances out, but…

[Jamie laughs]

Andrew: …today it’s going to be crazy.

Ben: Where’s Laura when you need her?

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Costa Rica.

Andrew: We have a wonderful show, there’s so much news lately. And we’re going to start off our Chapter-by-Chapter series for Prisoner of Azkaban and oh so much more.

Ben: Wow! So it only took us like five years to get through two books and stuff, like after…

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah. Well, we had significant breaks in between.

Jamie: Didn’t we start like eight times?

Andrew: We’ve done Books One, Two and Seven right now. I think that’s pretty good.

Jamie: We can’t count, though if we’ve done Books One, Two and Seven.

Ben: Yeah, that’s not too bad, we’ll be done by the year 2016.

Andrew: And we’re doing three chapters at a time now, too, so…

Jamie: Cool.

Andrew: Yep. I’m Andrew Sims.

Ben: I’m Ben Schoen.

Jamie: I’m Jamie Lawrence.

Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Micah, like I said, there’s been a lot of news, what’s – what’s the latest? From the news desk.

News: Helping Haiti Heal Update

Micah: Well, I wanted to start off talking about something that we all participated in. I guess it was two weeks ago now? The Helping Haiti Heal…

Andrew: Yes.

Micah: …campaign that was put together by the Harry Potter Alliance. As of today, they’ve raised over $66,000…

Andrew: Wow.

Micah: …for Haiti which is just amazing.

Ben: Isn’t it more than that? Isn’t it up to, like $80,000?

Andrew: Yeah, I think it’s over $70,000.

Micah: Oh, is it?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: I was looking on their website. They need to update their website.

Andrew: I think it’s – yeah, I think its well over $70,000. It’s great, and it’s – as everybody knows, we – or should know – we participated in the Helping Haiti Heal event. The first hour of it was MuggleCast and if you want to listen to that episode, which we consider to be Episode 190, you can download it. It’s now available in the feed – the entire four-hour event is in the feed. That includes MuggleCast, Hogwarts Radio, PotterCast, the Harry Potter Alliance’s podcast – all the podcasts, all combined into one. We did one big four-hour bonanza. It was a lot of fun and we raised a lot of money which is excellent. So…

Micah: Absolutely.

Andrew: Yep.

News: Deathly Hallows Previews

Micah: Well, in other news, Total Film magazine previewed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I and II, and it seems like we’re getting more and more previews now as we get a little bit closer – not really, but November will be here before we know it. And Director David Yates called Part I a “road film.” This seems to be the common term used for it.

Andrew: Yes.

Micah: Saying that it was “dynamic, adrenalized, visceral – it’s a refugee story about three kids cut off from everything they know and everybody they love, being pursued relentlessly by people who want to murder them.” So that sounds like a great kids’ movie, doesn’t it?

Andrew: [laughs] But seriously, I’ve mentioned this on numerous shows now, this road movie title. We need to put a stop to this. I’m sick of it already and we know the cast and crew, they’re all, “road movie, road movie, road movie”. I just don’t know.

Micah: He went on to talk a little bit about the split saying, “Do you break it with a moment of suspense or resolution?” So it doesn’t seem like they have an answer yet as to where this movie is going to be split. I’m sure they have some ideas…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …but nothing concrete.

Andrew: I think they’re going to play around with it. Like, you know, they’re going to make – they’re going to put the split somewhere and then sit and watch it and be like, “Hmm, how did that feel?” and you know. So I’m sure we’ll get some interesting insight into that once they actually make their decision and officially announce it, if they even do announce it.

Micah: With Part II, they referred to it as “a big opera, a great big epic, with huge battles,” and Ben’s favorite actress said that she felt like she was on a different film as this one doesn’t have the structure that the previous films had.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: So…

Andrew: What do they mean by opera?

Micah: Maybe there’s going to be some singing?

Andrew: [singing] What’s this? Is it a Horcrux? But wait, is it just a ploy by Voldemort?

Jamie: Wow. That’s not that bad.

Micah: Did you plan that?

Andrew: No.

Ben: Yeah, he did.

Andrew: No, I didn’t.

Ben: He had that planned for like two weeks.

Andrew: I just did it!

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: Suuuuure.

Andrew: But it should be interesting to see what they mean by opera. That is pretty high praise.

Jamie: I think it’s quite high praise, yeah.

Andrew: Big epic opera.

Jamie: It could be big…

Micah: Huge battles.

Jamie: It could be big in the wrong way with music like, you know, really opera-y music. That’s not really a Harry Potter film.

Ben: Now is there really – is there really a nude scene between Dan and Emma or is that just…

Andrew: Yes! Yes!

Ben: How nude are we talking?

Andrew: Well, it’s going to be when Ron has the vision of Harry and…

Jamie: Well, how many different nudes are there?

Andrew: …Hermione kissing and apparently – we don’t know how nude exactly, for sure.

Jamie: What do you mean? Nude means nude. You can’t have half nude.

[Andrew and Ben laugh]

Andrew: Yes, you can.

Ben: Yeah, you can. You can have nude from the waist up. That would be [imitating Jamie] “half nude”.

Andrew: I think…

Jamie: No, it wouldn’t. That’s like – anyway, go on. Go on. We’re just arguing semantics now.

Andrew: I think Harry may be full nude. At least, that’s my hope. [laughs] No.

[Jamie and Micah laugh]

Andrew: If I were… [laughs] If I were to guess… [laughs]

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: …I would say – I would say he’s going to be full nude. I don’t know, I think he’s ready for this after Equus.

Ben: Oh, yeah. I’m sure they’re going to put that in a Harry Potter movie.

[Andrew and Jamie laugh]

Andrew: It’s a little different. You know what I’m saying, but – so I look forward to this opera.

Micah: Okay. But also, we talked about the split a little bit and the screenwriter Steve Kloves said that he thinks that it’s going to be at a point that gives certain characters a good send off or a proper send off, and the only thing I can think of would be Dobby and his death.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: So who else do you have to give a proper send off to other than that?

Andrew: Yeah, I think that’s right, and we saw photos of them filming those scenes, and it looks very sad, but yet a proper send off.

Micah: All right.

Jamie: Proper send off. That’s quite a big promise to make.

Andrew: It is.

Jamie: That must mean it’s good. That must mean it’s good. How can it not be?

Andrew: [laughs] They got to stop, you know, this is where we all get fooled every year, every movie. You know, we always hear this high praise, high praise, and then we actually see it and you know, “Oh, it wasn’t a good send off! Oh, it wasn’t a road movie! Oh, it wasn’t an opera!”

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: [laughs] What was it? Nonsense.

Ben: Actually here’s what happens…

Jamie: That would suck.

Ben: Everyone sees the movie and like, “Oh my god! That was the best thing I’ve ever seen!”

Andrew: [laughs] Right.

[Jamie laughs]

Ben: “Best movie of all time.” And then like, twenty minutes later, they’re like, “Oh, actually it was…”

Jamie: “It’s not that good.” Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, once you come down from the high.

Jamie: Avatar syndrome.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

News: Wizarding World Update

Micah: Well, the other big news that’s been going on is related to the Wizarding World theme park. And fan sites, Harry Potter fan sites got a chance to talk with Thierry Coup, who is the – I don’t really know what his official title is, but he’s like, the Head of Creative…

Andrew: [Exuberantly] Vice President of Creative.

Micah: …for Universal, Orlando.

Ben: Creative what?

Micah: And…

Jamie: That’s the coolest name ever.

Andrew: Yeah. Just, just “creative.” He’s just creative.

Micah: So when he sat down with the fan sites, he specifically talked about Ollivander’s shop and a little bit else about the theme park as a whole. But this was all in relation to last week Warner Brothers released an official press release for the shop and – I think this was the same day USA Today did their whole, “hold your newspaper up to your webcam” and if you’re on the website…

Jamie: Yeah.

Micah: …it shows the theme park and sort of a 3D feature.

Andrew: The augmented reality. I heard it stunk.

Micah: Really?

Andrew: Like, it hardly worked. Yeah. Oh well, they tried. It didn’t show anything new, either. So…

Micah: Well…

Andrew: Oh, well.

Micah: It’s amazing the amount of detail, though. You know, one of the things that Theory talked about – or Thierry talked about was you know, just the authenticity of how this park – of this park. And you know, all the work that’s gone in with respect to having J.K. Rowling involved, having Stuart Craig involved, having a lot of the set crew involved in bringing actual authentic items into the park, and if they couldn’t use the ones from Leavesden Studios, how they were going to use ones that, you know, replicate them. So just…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Just a tremendous amount of detail that’s going into this park. And with Ollivanders the cool thing that I thought about this was that if you don’t get the right wand for you – because this whole experience of going through and, you know, the wand choosing the wizard – there’s these mishaps that occur in the actual store.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: So you have like lightning and thunder that occur in the store if the wand isn’t right for you. And if the wand is right for you, there are a lot of other things that go on.

Andrew: Yeah, it sounds like really cool. So I mean, it’s really going to replicate that scene in the movie where Harry goes into Ollivanders.

Micah: Yeah, absolutely.

Andrew: [as Ollivander] “The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter.”

Micah: Uh-huh.

Andrew: “It’s not clear why.” Yeah, that should be pretty cool. I’m looking forward to that. And then you have the choice of buying it for $59.99!

Ben: Oooh!

Micah: Yeah, exactly. But I mean, that’s part of the experience and you don’t have to buy it. The experience is free.

Andrew: Right. You don’t have to buy the wand. But obviously they’re going to set it up so you really want to buy that wand.

Jamie: And the children say “mum, mum, mum.”

Ben: They’re going to be doing all the tricks, putting all the pressure on you…

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: …to get the wand.

Andrew: [as Ollivander] “Now you can choose to buy this wand for the price of $59.99.”

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: By the way, I – it’s…

Micah: That’s not the actual price, yeah.

Andrew: We don’t know the actual price. [laughs] It may be, though.

Micah: And one of the things…

Jamie: It could be a lot less than that.

Micah: Yeah. One of the things he said they’re working on is to get the wand to work in other parts of Hogsmeade Village.

Andrew: That would be cool.

Jamie: Aw, that would be insane. That would be so cool.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: So like, you can go into different stores and maybe activate stuff when you “flourish your wand”?

Micah: Exactly. Exactly.

Andrew: Mmm.

Jamie: Basically, yeah.

Andrew: That could be dangerous…

[Micah laughs]

Jamie: That would be very, very cool.

Andrew: Kids running around smacking their friends with the wands, poking them.

Micah: Yeah. But this is a very involved process, though, he said. You know, it – it’s going to be exactly like the movie. The wand keeper is going to ask you questions…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: You know, and you have to give specific answers in order to determine what wand is right for you. And…

Andrew: Cool.

Micah: Yeah. Very authentic experience. He joked about driving around the Ford Anglia, because I guess they brought it over from Leavesden, so he was driving around Orlando… [laughs]

Andrew: What a show-off.

Micah: Yeah, I know, and he said he had a bunch of like, mothers and children chasing after him.

Andrew: Wait, he was really driving it?

Micah: He was driving it, yeah.

Andrew: No. They build those so they actually work?

Micah: I guess so.

Andrew: That’s wild.

Micah: I don’t know, maybe he was showing off.

Andrew: Yeah, I think he was – he was probably kidding.

Micah: I don’t know, he went into pretty big detail on it.

Andrew: [laughs] Really?

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: [laughs] Oh, okay.

Ben: Do – do you guys like theme parks in general?

Andrew: Yes.

Jamie: But you – but you guys live next to one.

Ben: Like, it’s nothing more than a ploy, you know what I mean? To be like, oh…

Andrew: What’s a ploy?

Ben: Well, I mean, think about it. Like, are they really building a theme park for like, “Oh, we want you to have the real authentic Hogwarts experience”?

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Yeah, but Ben, everything in the world is like that!

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: You know, it’s not like…

Ben: Well, the world’s a cruel place, Jamie!

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: It is a cruel place, it is a cruel place. But oil companies don’t be nice to us and give us the nice oil so we can heat our homes, they give it to us because it makes them loads of money.

Andrew: Are – Ben, are you not excited for the park?

Ben: No, but oil has an actual use.

Jamie: So does theme parks…

Andrew: Are you not excited for the park?

Jamie: It creates happiness in children! And I think that’s a very important cause.

Ben: Oh! [laughs] So all of a sudden I’m turning into – I’m anti-happiness for children.

Andrew: Are – you’re not excited for the park?

Ben: I would say – I would say I’m relatively excited. I’m mean I’m not like jumping out of my chair to go see it…

Andrew: Right.

Ben: …or anything, but…

Andrew: Is there any one thing that you think they could add that would make you excited, or is it just because it’s a theme park that you’re not excited?

Ben: It’s not because it’s a theme park, like – I just think – I feel like part of the magic, it was like Hogwarts was this world I created inside my head, and the movies have already deadened that to a certain extent.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: I have a hard time breaking free of the box that the movies put me in, and I feel like the Wizarding World‘s just a further extension of that, and…

Jamie: Ben, do you actually feel that…

Ben: …that deadens the imagination…

Jamie: Ben…

Ben: …and I don’t think this is fair – I don’t think it’s fair.

Andrew: I’m looking into his eyes right now, Jamie. He’s tearing up a bit, I think he’s pretty serious.

Jamie: That was quite an in-depth thing: “I think I’ve created this world in my head, and…” That was quite emotional.

Andrew: No, I think Ben’s serious, and I think he brings up a good point.

Micah: No, it’s a great point.

Ben: And I mean, to be honest, like I’m not much of a – I’m not much of a theme park kind of person.

Andrew: Right.

Ben: And like, to me, the idea of like, you know, going into a mock Ollivanders shop, and you know, standing there and having them be like: “Ooh, this wand is yours!” or whatever, like they’re just trying to sell you a product.

Andrew: All right, so what else is going on, Micah?

Ben: Micah, what else, dude?

News: Park Expansion

Micah: Well, just the final piece to this interview that we had was somebody asked if there was any sort of expansion that was going to be planned for the park. You know, there’s all this kind of happy areas, you know, with Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, but if – was there any plans for kind of, you know, the more evil side of the series with Knockturn Alley and Azkaban? They said that there’s nothing as of right now, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be in the works sometime in the future.

Ben: Now if there was like a field you could go to like torture Mudbloods, now…

[Andrew and Jamie laugh]

Ben: …that’s my kind of theme park.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: But first you have to buy your wand from Ollivanders.

Micah: Yeah.

Jamie: And then torture them with it.

Ben: I know. Damn $59.99.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, I bet they will eventually expand this park.

Micah: Yep.

Andrew: Universal’s got a lot of land down there. They obviously – expanding the park would bring a lot of people back to the park again. I think it would be worth their money and I’m sure they’re going to see Harry Potter – this Wizarding World, as a big success.

Ben: Okay, okay. Over, under, over, under 30 percent of people will be dressed up going to the Wizarding World.

Jamie: Under, under, under. Actually, I’m not sure.

Andrew: Opening week, I’d say over.

Jamie: Maybe, maybe. However, I was going to say when you take into account parents I bet it’s going to be under. Yeah, all the children will be, but if you think on average each person will have two parents with them.

Ben: Unless there is a family that has multiple kids.

Jamie: Yeah, true, true. Or if they have three parents.

Andrew: They may not allow people to dress up and go into the park. They may not allow people to…

Ben: Doesn’t that just destroy the spirit?

Jamie: Yeah, why would you want to do that?

Andrew: Yeah, it kind of is. Well, they don’t want them to be confused with the people working the park that are dressed up too.

Jamie: Yeah, but one is going to be a twenty-two year old guy and the other is a five year old kid; they aren’t going to be working there.

Andrew: Fair enough, but we know our own Eric Scull likes to walk around in a cloak and he’s twenty-two.

Jamie: [laughs] Yeah, that’s true.

Andrew: He walks around New York City with a cloak, I think he…

Ben:: But he looks like he’s 14 so it doesn’t matter.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: All right, what else, Micah?

Micah: There’s been some construction photos of the Wizarding World. It looks like things are coming together…

Andrew: Well I hope so. They are opening up soon.

Micah: Yes, speaking of them opening up, actually today, the day was are recording, NBC’s Today Show is doing a competition to give one lucky class the opportunity to go to the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Andrew, you said the details give a little more insight into when the park might be opening.

Andrew: Yeah, the contest – they are going to pick the winners at the end of April, or that’s when the judging is going to go on to select the class that is going to win this trip.

Ben: Are you a judge?

Andrew: No. I don’t know who is. Probably Al Roker or something. They have to book the trip twenty-five days in advance. Now, the whole point of this contest is to go down there on opening week so if the judging is happening the end of April, then there’s a twenty-five days advanced booking, so I would think we are looking at an opening in late May or early June, maybe mid-June.

Jamie: That is quite exciting.

Ben: Now, when is Infinitus?

Andrew: July.

Ben: Now Andrew, are we doing a live MuggleCast at Infinitus?

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Don’t know yet Ben. I’ll get back to you as soon as I know about it.

Ben: Okay, I was just curious.

Andrew: So that’s that. Very exciting. I wish I was – what it has to be an elementary class or something?

Micah: Actually, I think it is 5 years old through 17 or 18.

Andrew: Hey philosophy class, let’s get together and win this contest!

Jamie: Yeah, I think you’ll get told where to shove it.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: What?! You don’t want to go to Wizarding World? What’s wrong with you!? [laughs] What happened to the child inside, man? What happened to the child inside you?

Andrew: I will bring you along so you can jump in the back of the class and yell that’s a great idea!

Ben: Yay, Andy!

News: Deathly Hallows in 3D

Micah: All right, well this next story I feel the way Ben felt about the theme park. The Hollywood Reporter “Heat Vision” blog reported almost two weeks ago now that Warner Brothers will release both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 3D and this was later confirmed I think just yesterday. What do you guys think about this?

Ben: I think seeing 3D movies makes me nauseous so…

Micah: Yeah, it’s just like a rollercoaster.

Ben: I don’t really care.

Jamie: What type of 3D is it? Is it just a Red/Blue split or is it Avatar 3D?

Ben: I really doubt that it’s…

Andrew: No, no, it’s not Avatar.

Ben: …going to be – I doubt the whole thing is going to be in 3D, there’s going to be like three scenes in 3D.

Andrew: No, no, no, it’s going to be the whole thing…

Jamie: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ben: The whole thing, really?

Andrew: Yes.

Jamie: Ben, there’s like two seconds at the end and two seconds at the beginning…

Andrew: No, they said in parts.

Jamie: …and half-a-second in between.

Andrew: [laughs] Half-a-second. [imitating 3-D glasses directions] “Put on your glasses – take them off – put them back on – take them off.”

Jamie: [laughs] Yeah, yeah.

Ben: I hate wearing those glasses, too. I just feel like a tool sitting there in the theatre with them on.

Jamie: Yeah.

Ben: And I don’t care if everyone else is wearing them.

Jamie: And they’re not comfortable, as well.

Andrew: Well, okay. Here’s – here’s – Jamie’s right, I think Jamie said this – or Ben said this. You get dizzy after watching this for a while – I came out of Avatar spinning. I almost didn’t want to drive, because like, I felt under the influence, I just didn’t feel right.

Ben: Yeah dude, I heard about a bunch of wrecks happening…

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: …on the highway, because of…

Andrew: After Avatar. [laughs]

Ben: Driving under the…

Andrew: No, but really, you do feel dizzy after watching a three and a half – or however long – two hour and forty minute movie, and Deathly Hallows is going to be hopefully about the same length, so I don’t know, like, okay, obviously W.B. looks at Avatar, and says: “Wow, the number one top-grossing movie of all time – or soon to be, at least. How do we make that kind of money? Oh, let’s put Harry Potter in 3D!” I think that’s their logic, W.B. is clearly all about the money, they do whatever they can to make more money, and as we saw by pushing Half-Blood Prince back seven months or whatever it was, so. And 3D is “in” this year. It’s like, this is the thing – it’s the cool thing to talk about.

Jamie: Yeah. And it’s going to get bigger.

Andrew: Yeah. And they’re converting the film to 3D, Jamie, so I assume that means it’ll be like a red-blue split kind of thing.

Jamie: Oh, no, that means it won’t be proper 3D then.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: The whole thing about Avatar – aw, that’s going to be rubbish then! That’s not…

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Aw, that’s a shame…

Andrew: It costs…

Jamie: That’s a complete…

Andrew: …it costs about five million a film to convert.

Jamie: But that’s – that isn’t anything out of their budget, that’s like…

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: …a twenty-fifth of their budget or something.

Andrew: And apparently they make a good amount of money off the glasses.

Jamie: That’s ridiculous.

Andrew: Now, if they’re smart, they’ll make the glasses – the 3D glasses Harry’s glasses. I think that would be cool.

Jamie: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, yeah. Aw, that would be incredible.

Ben: And they’ll give out little lightning bolt tattoos…

Jamie: Yeah.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: …to put on your forehead.

Andrew: Yeah. Maybe MuggleNet should manufacture 3D Harry Potter glasses.

Jamie: That would be incredible. That would be…

Ben: Yeah, we’ll just go to our warehouse…

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, our 3D glasses warehouse.

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: But it is important that it will also be available in 2D, so you don’t have to see it in 3D.

Micah: Oh, I…

Ben: But if you really want to waste your money…

Micah: Yeah, yeah, I don’t think I will…

Andrew: I think I will. Really?

Micah: To do a quick poll, how many people are going to see it in 3D?

Andrew: I will.

Micah: I won’t.

Ben: I mean, Andrew will probably drag me along…

Jamie: I might go afterwards.

Andrew: [laughs] Ben, I’ll trick you into it. I’ll tell you it’s the 2D, and then at the last minute I’ll shove the glasses…

Ben: Whip out the glasses, and then you’ll be like: “Hey, surprise!”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: You’ll be like: “Nooo!”

Ben: Straight from the MuggleNet warehouse.

[Andrew laughs]

MuggleCast 191 Transcript (continued)

News: W.B. to Purchase Leavesden Studios

Micah: The final piece of news is that Warner Brothers is set to purchase Leavesden Studios for both production and tourism. So, it seems like W.B.’s means of collecting revenue is endless on this series.

Andrew: But it’s a good idea. Leavesden Studios is where they filmed all the Harry Potter films, Sorcerer’s Stone through Deathly Hallows, and they’re going to – they’re going to, you know – it’s a huge production studio now, I mean, they’ve been filming there for what? Ten years?

Jamie: Yeah, but how popular is it for other companies, apart from them? Because are they going to completely monopolize that, you know, some type of film producing thing, if they buy it? It seems like quite a big thing to buy studios. I mean, how many studios are owned by movie – movie companies? I don’t…

Andrew: I think the – the interesting thing with Leavesden is that – it originally wasn’t a studio, and W.B. sort of converted it to a studio – or maybe not W.B., but Heyman’s production company. So, the – you know, they’re buying it, and I think rightfully so, and it will be a great tourist attraction. I mean, they said one of the things you’ll be able to see when you go in there is the Great Hall. And I mean, that is an iconic set. That is the one set you walk on, and you really feel like you’re at Hogwarts. And I don’t think a theme park will be able to replicate that. I don’t think any part of that exhibit could replicate that. I mean, that is authentic Hogwarts.

Ben: Hey, who – so – Heyday Productions – owns Leavesden right now?

Andrew: Yeah, I’ll look it up real quick. I’m not sure.

Micah: Well Andrew, you’ve been there. I mean…

Andrew: Right.

Micah: How far is it from – say the heart of London? Is it – is it an ideal spot to have a tourist attraction?

Andrew: It’s about half hour – 45 minutes. But – you know – there are these Harry Potter bus tours that go around the places that are used for filming Harry Potter and – those are all day tours – so I don’t think people will mind going up there. Leavesden – the first film to be shot at Leavesden was actually Golden Eye in 1995 and…

Micah: Great movie.

Andrew: It was acquired – yeah. It was acquired by Pinewood – to do other productions. I guess Pinewood owns it right now, but really it’s only been Harry Potter in there. Some Dark Knight stuff was shot in there, as well as Scum 2, which is coming out this year – never heard of it.

Jamie: [sarcastically] That sounds nice.

Andrew: Sleepy Hallow, Mortal Kombat, Star Wars: Episode I.

Jamie: Oh! Mortal Kombat!

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Yeah. So it’s got some history. And – I – I think that’s a great idea.

Jamie: [as voice-over guy] “Choose your destiny.”

Andrew: We talked about that. I remember a long time ago we were wondering what would they do with all those sets after they’re done filming. And now they can preserve them – preserve them – which is great.

Ben: Preserve them and make even more money of them.

Andrew: Yep. Let’s get to Muggle Mail now and then we’ll get – then we’ll get into Chapter-by-Chapter.

Muggle Mail: Homeschooling?

Ben: [loudly] Our first e-mail…

Andrew: [laughs] Go ahead.

Ben: …comes from Renata. I – actually – her name is – she’s from Brazil. She’s sixteen years old, and there was a foreign exchange student at my high school that had the same name and it’s [pronounces name correctly] – it’s not Renata. Renata, 16, from Brazil writes:

“Hello MuggleCasters! While reading ‘Half-Blood Prince’ I always had the impression that neither Voldemort’s mother Merope…”

Is it Merop-ee or is it Merope?

Andrew: Merope.


“…Merope nor her brother Morfin had been to Hogwarts. You think all wizards have to go to magic schools or they have the option to teach at home? Please give your thoughts on this subject. Thanks for reading my e-mail. Renata.”

Now, I think J.K. Rowling has already answered this and that – that – they do have the option to be homeschooled, don’t they? I don’t think Hogwarts is mandatory – I mean…

Jamie: No it’s not, is it? You can’t force someone to go to a school. There always going to be different schools. And also – I guess – you don’t have to learn to use magic. I mean it seems to be the way that you get along if you’re a wizard or witch but I’m sure you could just get a job and earn some money and just not use your magic.

Andrew: Yeah but who doesn’t want to use their magic? You know what I mean?

Jamie: Well, true. But if you’re been brought up thinking that magic is bad, bad, bad, bad, bad and then suddenly you’ve like – “I’ve got magic” – you could be a wizard hating wizard and then you’re like, “I’m not ever going to learn these powers because it’ll be really, really bad and yeah – I’m just going to get a job and become a” – don’t know – think of it though.

Micah: But why wouldn’t they’ve gone to Hogwarts though? I mean, they’re part of Slytherin’s lineage. You’d think that they would go there.

Jamie: Yeah – but Micah – if someone came around to your house and said, “Do you want to come to my wizard school?” you’d probably think they’re on the sex offenders list, you know.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: But you know – you’d get a real explanation. I’m sure Harry wasn’t completely – what was Harry thinking when Hagrid busted down their door and, [as Hagrid] “Yer a wizard Harry.” – and all that.

Jamie: I think he should have been a bit more like critical and assuming. He didn’t even as for any ID!

Andrew: True.

Jamie: He didn’t ask for anything! Like…

Andrew: Well, he was young. He didn’t know.

Jamie: Well, I don’t think that’s any excuse Andrew.

Muggle Mail: The Poor People’s School

Andrew: [laughs] All right! Speaking of schools, the next e-mail comes from Noah, 14, from Wausau, Wisconsin. We’re all over the map with pronunciations today.

“Dear MuggleCasters, I love the show but I’ve only been listening for a short time, and I don’t know if you’ve already covered this topic. Recently, ‘ABC Family’ showed ‘Goblet of Fire,’ and while I was watching I realized that Hogwarts seemed to have a lower class and underprivileged vibe to it. When Durmstrang enters the Great Hall, they come in with their fire-sticks and fur coats, and come off as very upper class. Same thing with – uh, Beau, beau, buh, but…”

Ben: Beauxbatons?

Andrew: Beauxbatons.

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: Wooow.

Andrew: I forgot how it was pronounced! Sorry.

Ben: Wooow!


“They enter with a very professional looking dance and in neatly pressed uniforms. Then the Hogwarts students sing the unrehearsed and off-key school song, directed by their loony headmaster. At this point Madame Maxine – Madame Maxine, Madam Maxime – and Igor – Igor Karakoff…”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Karkaroff!

Jamie: Andrew, you know you’re a radio presenter, how are you so into podcasting when you can’t even say words?

Andrew: Sorry, I don’t know wizard names.

“…scoff and stick their noses in the air. It just seems that the makers of the movie..”

I haven’t read this book in a while, okay?

“…makers of the movie were trying to make Hogwarts look like the place where the misfits and Weasleys of society went, and the rich and pampered went to either Durmstrang or Beauxbatons. Just want to hear your opinions. Love the show, Noah.”

Jamie: I think that’s true. I think…

Ben: No, I don’t think so Jamie, you’re wrong, for several reasons. One…

Jamie: Oh, I’m wrong for several reasons?

Ben: …I think it has to do with geographical location because…

Jamie: I think you’re wrong on that, but more on that in a second. Go on, I’ll let you finish.

Ben: More on that in a second! [laughs] No, there are definitely a lot of people at Hogwarts that are privileged. I don’t think people go to Hogwarts because they’re poor or it’s like the place for the Weasleys. Not to mention that the Triwizard Tournament only occurs once every however long, and I think the reason that they would show up doing all this song and dance is because it’s probably some part of some ceremonial aspect, or…

Jamie: Yeah, you’re right about that.

Ben: …they’re just trying to make their school look more prominent than these other schools. But I don’t think by any means that Hogwarts is on a lower level of standard.

Jamie: I’d go a different way for that, and I would say that the key in his letter is “loopy headmaster.” I think it’s just to show that Dumbledore’s unorthodox, he does it his own way and he succeeds, and he’s put his mark on this school. He’s always like “it is your choices Harry”, go along Ben, do you know?

Ben: [as Dumbledore] “It is our choices, Harry…”

Andrew: Wow.

Ben: Wow. Dumbledore’s…dead.

[Everyone laughs]

Jamie: It sounds like he’s dead. Anyway, so yeah, he’s put his mark on it and that’s how he wants people to sort of think, that even if the song is weird and off-key, it still brings them together and binds them and stuff like that.

Andrew: Yeah, I think you’re right. It gives Hogwarts character too, I mean, you see this school…

Jamie: Yeah, it does.

Andrew: …and it certainly was interesting to suddenly be exposed to these two new magical schools, who were extremely different from Hogwarts. I think, as a first-time reader, you’re like “Wow, look at this, there’s sort of different cultures within the magical community.” And we see that between Durmstrang and Beaux…

Ben: Now, now, do you think it’s a coincidence that like the people from Durmstrang all seem to have accents and like…

Andrew: Well they are from different countries, so…

Ben: Yeah so, maybe it’s related to geographical location.

Andrew: Oh definitely.

Jamie: Oh yeah, yeah, true.

Micah: Didn’t you say that Ben? At the beginning?

Ben: See, I did say that, but Jamie told me that he was going to prove me wrong, and then he didn’t!

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: No, no, I was just going to say…

Ben: Story of his life, story of his life.

Jamie: …oh yeah, yeah, I… [laughs]

Muggle Mail: Ultimate Editions in Australia

Andrew: All right, Micah, next e-mail?

Micah: Next e-mail comes from Jake, 13, of Victoria, Australia. And he says:

“Hi guys, I was listening to the latest episode when someone from Australia pointed out that they haven’t seen or heard anything about the Ultimate Editions. I was curious and a bit sad myself until I saw them in a shop, ‘Dick Smith,’ as DVDs, not the Blu-rays though. Anyway, just thought I’d share. Mikey, Andrew, and Laura are the best. Cheers, Jake.”

Andrew: Actually…

Ben: Awww.

Andrew: …we got a lot of e-mails about this. I was, we were, definitely wrong. They are available in Australia, not England. So, we’ll wait.

Ben: Oh, Jamie, Jamie, you can’t get Ultimate Edition, how does that make you feel?

Jamie: Pretty cut up.

[Ben laughs]

Jamie: Very cut up.

Andrew: Next e-mail, Ben?

Ben: Tony, 29, from Wisconsin, writes…

Andrew: Oh, sorry, I missed Jamie! Jamie, did you want to read an e-mail?

Jamie: Nah, its fine. Ben started it, he can finish.

Andrew: [laughs] Okay.

Muggle Mail: Dumbledore Had the Hots for Lockhart?

Ben: Tony, 29, from Wisconsin – we got a lot of Wisconsin going on here today. Right.

In Episode 187, you were debating the reason Dumbledore hired Lockhart and decided that no other teachers wanted the position, and Dumbledore was taking anyone that wanted it. Instead, do you think it is possible that Dumbledore hired him because he, like all the girls, had a crush on Lockhart?”

[Micah and Andrew laugh]

“…Or more likely, do you think that Dumbledore recognized Lockhart for the liar he was, and knew that Lockhart would be exposed as a fraud by being in that position. More or less Dumbledore’s way of letting Lockhart expose himself?”

Jamie: I think that’s a good point. It’s a tough one to know why he would. He wouldn’t deliberately hire an incompetent teacher.

Ben: Unless he was a piece of eye candy!

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Unless he was a piece of eye candy, yeah! Dumbledore circles his stuff with hearts…

Ben: And, I mean, Hermione is pretty clever and she was fooled by his good looks, do you think maybe Dumbledore was under the same spell?

Jamie: Maybe.

Andrew: But like Dumbledore said, it’s very hard to find a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher these days…

Jamie: That’s true.

Andrew: …so maybe he was the only one he could find. I think this e-mail’s a little more, you know, on the joking side than anything else, I would think…

Ben: Well, so, if Dumbledore knew that there was this curse on the position, like, what – how does that implicate him morally in making that decision?

Andrew: That’s true.

Ben: Like, if he knows that the person who takes on the position is not going to last through the year, and, I mean, when they say they’re not going to last, I guess that means that, just like, they’re not going to make it through the job, but they’re going to get removed from the job somehow, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to die.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: So maybe that’s how he was able to, you know, rationalize it.

Andrew: Well, maybe Dumbledore warns them, “Hey, this job is sort of cursed, as you’ve probably seen. People – we can’t get someone to stick around for more than a year.” I think they may…

Ben: So he probably just gives them a one year contract, you know, that’s all you need…

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: But if you think about it, the reason each one has taken it, hasn’t – you know, it’s all been like; Lupin took it because he can’t really get work anywhere else, and Dumbledore let him do it. Lockhart took it maybe because his ego is so big he thought that he could do it. Moody took it because he’s kind of crazy. Quirrell took it…

Andrew: What about Lupin?

Jamie: No, yeah, I said him, because he can’t get a job anywhere, because he’s a werewolf…

Andrew: Oh, oh, sorry.

Ben: What about Umbridge?

Jamie: Eh, she’s just a bitch.

Andrew: Well, Umbridge, obviously – the Ministry made her take it. I think – so, that’s a good point, Jamie. They all had their own unique motivations.

Ben: So you don’t think Dumbledore could’ve had a crush on him though?

Andrew: No, I think he could. He may have.

Ben: You think Dumbledore had a crush on Harry?

Andrew: No.

Jamie: Probably.

Andrew: Oh, I don’t know. Do we really want to go there?

Ben: Why, why not?

Andrew: I don’t know, I don’t think…

Jamie: It’s an adult discussion, Andrew. We can go wherever we want!

Ben: Yeah…

Andrew: Harry saw him as a – no, Dumbledore saw Harry as the child prodigy, as a friend, it – Dumbledore – I mean, come on. I…

Ben: What?

Andrew: Okay, you explain! [laughs] Go ahead!

Ben: What – what do you mean? What do you mean?

Jamie: Andrew, Andrew, Andrew…

Andrew: Wha?

Jamie: Love knows no bounds!

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: Isn’t age just a number?

Andrew: It is just a number.

Jamie: Age is just a number!

Andrew: All right, maybe – maybe Dumbledore did have a crush on him. How could you not?

Ben: Haha! He is the boy who lived.

Andrew: Right! Do you think he did?

Ben: Hmm?

Andrew: Do you think he did?

Jamie: No.

Ben: I mean, I don’t know, maybe! Maybe, who knows?

Micah: Let’s ask him.

Andrew: I know.

Micah: Dumbledore?

Andrew: Dumbledore, did you have a crush on Harry?

Ben: [as Dumbledore] “Why, yes, I did.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Oh, boy.

Jamie: Dumbledore, do you want to explain that a bit more?

[Prolonged silence]

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: [as Dumbledore] “No. No comment.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Fair enough.

Jamie: It’s a private matter, isn’t it?

Andrew: It would cause a lot of controversy in the wizarding world. He probably doesn’t want to comment much.

Jamie: Yeah, delusional, delusional!

Muggle Mail: Colin Creevey’s Camera

Andrew: Maybe Rita Skeeter can get on it. Jamie can you read the next e-mail from Tiffany.

Jamie: Yep, this is from Tiffany, 15, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Ben: Pittsburgh.

Jamie: Pittsburgh!

“This is kind of a random question, but it’s been bugging me for a while. How does Colin Creevey’s camera work in Hogwarts? According to Hermione, Muggle electronics don’t work within Hogwarts so how the heck is he taking all those pictures? There are probably a lot of more obvious questions I should be asking you guys, but I’m a bit of an over thinker. Anyway, MuggleCast rocks my socks.”

Ben: This is where Jo dropped the ball again.

Andrew: No!

Ben: What are you talking about?

Andrew: Well, think about other real Muggle objects that work in the wizarding world.

Ben: Name one!

Andrew: Well, the Ford Anglia is a sort of a…

Ben: Oh, wait a second, you just mean it wasn’t enchanted.

Andrew: Okay, so maybe the camera was enchanted.

Jamie: And that’s not electronics either, it’s mechanical. Whereas a camera’s electronic.

Ben: But the flash – the camera has a flash.

Andrew: Mmm.

Ben: Now, how do – like throughout – do we ever see a wizard camera in the books anywhere that takes the pictures that are alive? You know what I’m saying? Like is it a special type of camera?

Andrew: Surely.

Jamie: We do in the films! We do in the films, don’t we? Doesn’t someone – I’m trying to think, I recognize a…

Andrew: Oh well, the press.

Jamie: …someone taking a – yeah, yeah, the press! Taking photos that went on the Daily Prophet or something like that.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah, for Lockhart and Harry in the Chamber of Secrets.

Andrew: Yeah!

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: And the start of Half-Blood Prince, when you see the Ministry or the press surrounding…

Jamie: Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Andrew: …Harry and Dumbledore in the Ministry.

Jamie: There you go!

[Ben starts to read the next e-mail]

Andrew: Next e-mail comes from, oh – no, you just read an e-mail. My turn!

Ben: You always…

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Next e-mail. This is a big one. This is hard to navigate. This next e-mail is…

Jamie: You can’t handle it Ben.

Andrew: No, you can’t handle this next e-mail.

Ben: Dude, you don’t even know how to read.

[Everyone laughs]

Muggle Mail: Some In-Depth Questions

Andrew: Dude, that hurts. I’m bummed. This next e-mail comes from Liz, of Arizona.

“Hi guys, love the show, been a listener for years. I have some quick questions. Unfortunately, they have nothing to do with anything you’ve been talking about recently, however, I have some nagging questions that I thought I would share with you. Okay, here we go.”

Now she’s asking us three questions, so bear with us.

“Question number one: Why weren’t the Weasleys in the Order the first time? We know the Weasleys were not in the Order the first time around. I’m assuming it’s because at that time they had six small children. I can understand that Molly might not want to be in the Order, but Arthur? It always puzzled me, because they were so involved in the Order the second time around.”

Any theories guys?

Jamie: Maybe because they had six children, and if Arthur had died then it would have been one person bringing up six children. That’s what I can think of, but I don’t know.

Andrew: Yeah. Well it must’ve been hard, just even as two people to raise six children full-time.

Jamie: Can I just say though, can I say, witches and wizards complaining about bringing up children. You flick your wand and…

Andrew: The diaper is changed.

Jamie: …dinner is ready.

[Micah laughs]

Jamie: Yeah, and diapers changed. Sorry, I shouldn’t say diaper, really, I should say nappy.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Nappy’s been changed, but yeah, it’s not exactly – I honestly don’t get this magic thing. I remember in The Sword and the Stone when Wart is walking with Merlin and he says, “Now don’t you think that magic will solve all your problems, because it won’t.” But, it just seems like it does.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: Well, that’s from a Muggle point of view, man. That’s like not having an iPhone and thinking that the iPhone is going to solve all your problems and then when you get the iPhone, it feels like it is better for a while, then after a while you’re like, man. You get used to it and it’s just like – it ain’t nothing man.

Andrew: What were you going to say, Micah?

Jamie: I don’t have anything to say to that, that’s a good point.

Micah: Well, no, I was going to say though, Molly’s brothers were both in the Order, so maybe she kind of got a taste for what it was like and didn’t want her family to be at risk any more than they already were.


“Question two: What’s up with Harry having no grandparents? Lily and James were quite young when they had Harry, about nineteen, twenty years old. We know at least, that Lily’s parents were alive when she was eleven and James’ parents, I assume, were alive and well into his teens. I assume Lily’s were alive though, her seventh year just due to logistics. Wouldn’t there be another family member there to care for Lily and Petunia if they were underage?”

Jamie: Mm.

Ben: Yeah, I’m not so much concerned about the grandparents’ side of things, like, I mean I think that it is a bit fishy that there are no grandparents but I’m thinking like – there’s not even a great uncle or a great aunt, that the grandparents had some kind of siblings, you know?

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: The chance of that happening of all of them being dead? They seem to be very slim.

Andrew: I guess it was a little too convenient for the story. It would have been too convenient for the story. Or maybe – I bet Jo has some story made up for the grandparents. Why they’re not around.

Jamie: Or she’ll make one up.

Andrew: Yeah.

“Question number three: Wouldn’t Snape be pissed that Harry named his kid after him? Severus? Puh-lease!”

Ben: [as Snape] “I am honored, Potter.”


“How PO’d do you think Snape would be to find out Harry named his kid after him, how his name will forever be next to Potter? Yes, it was a sign of respect on Harry’s part, but if Snape was never nice to Harry at all in seven years, regardless of the love he felt for Harry’s mother, I could not see him being okay with that.”

Jamie: I agree. I think he would be annoyed, but the fact of the matter is he’s dead, so Harry’s like, “this entire feud is over now and I’m going to sign it by calling my son after you.”

Ben: Is he turning over in his grave? Is Snape turning over in his grave?

Andrew: No.

Jamie: Well, no. Because he’s dead.

Andrew: I think Snape likes it. Because Harry’s related to Lily and Snape is in love with Lily. And now Lily’s child has a kid…

Jamie: But he was in love with Lily Evans, not – well, I guess he was always in love with her. But I don’t know if he – oh, I don’t know. It’s a very tough question to answer.

Andrew: It is. It really is.

Jamie: It’s a good question though. That one.

Andrew: Alright, and final e-mail today. Ben, go ahead.

Muggle Mail: Dumbledore and the Hallows

Ben: Stefanie White, from Phoenix, Arizona writes:

“Hey guys, I just wanted to make a few quick comments. First, in Episode 187, when you were discussing the point that Dumbledore could sense where Harry and Ron are, and someone thought it was because Dumbledore could sense the presence of a Hallow, well, even though in Episode 189 someone wrote in and said J.K. Rowling said he simply used ‘Homen…'”

Dude, this is…

Andrew: Hominum Revelio.

Ben: This does not even flow at all!

[Everyone laughs]


“Well, even though in Episode 189 someone wrote in and said that J.K.R. had said he simply used Hominum Revelio, I definitely agree with you guys that it was much too simple as that – I agree that had that been the case…”

[Andrew laughs]

“Snape and many others would have been able to see where they are and that spell couldn’t possibly have worked, because the fact that the cloak was a powerful object and no spell could penetrate it…”

[Everyone laughs]

“I did want to say however, that I do not think – I don’t – I do not think Dumbledore would have recognized Harry under the cloak because it was a Hallow, but perhaps because of the magic emanating from it. It is known that Book Two has ties to Book Six, and perhaps the whole magic, especially dark magic, leaves traces theme comes into play here. I thought that Dumbledore may have sensed Harry simply because he is a Horcrux. What do you think?”

Andrew: Okay.

Jamie: But the Hallows aren’t really evil, they’re just completely neutral. But that’s the thing about them. They just do what they do and you don’t really have any innate evil or goodness about them. Whereas Horcruxes are completely evil through and through, whereas Hallows are just what they are. You know, like you can use the wand to do good, or you can hide under the Invisibility Cloak to help people, you know? I guess the stone, you can’t really help people with. Yeah, that just killed my point. Sorry.

Ben: So Jamie, Jamie, would you rather brutally murder three innocent puppies or make three Horcruxes?

Jamie: Aww, well, surely I’d be making – well, you’re saying, would I rather kill three people or three puppies?

Ben: Yes.

Jamie: Well, to be honest, people aren’t very nice whereas puppies, they just do what they do. So…

Andrew: They love you unconditionally.

[Ben laughs]

Jamie: Yeah, they love you unconditionally so I guess I’d rather kill three horrible, horrible people. But I can’t say that in today’s world! So I have to say no for the greater good, utilitarianism and everything I’d kill the three puppies. I’d probably cry.

Micah: Would you eat them?

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: They’re not free range meat are they?

[Everyone laughs]

Jamie: No, I wouldn’t eat them then! I wouldn’t eat them! Unless they’re raised fairly and nicely, I wouldn’t touch them! I wouldn’t touch them, no. I would still give them a proper burial, though.

Chapter-by-Chapter: Prisoner of Azkaban

Andrew: So, that’s all for the book of e-mails we had this week. Now it’s time for Chapter-by-Chapter. Like I said, we’re starting off with Chapters 1 through 3 of Prisoner of Azkaban.

Ben: What a book this was, folks! What a book!

Andrew: It was. It was quite a book. And Micah’s going to lead the discussion of the first chapter and I’ve got the last two – Chapters 2 and 3.

Micah: All right.

Ben: Why do you get two? I don’t get that. Why do you get two chapters?

Andrew: Well, Ben, you would have been more than welcome to have done one.

[Prolonged silence]

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That’s what I thought.

Ben: What do you mean, “Do one”? I could do one right now! I could do it on the fly! I can do it better than you ever could!

Andrew: No, no! Come on. Let’s just go! We’re 50 minutes into the show.

Jamie: That’s a challenge there!

Micah: That is a challenge! All right.

Andrew: All right. Great. Save it for next time.

MuggleCast 191 Transcript (continued)

Chapter-by-Chapter: Owl Post

Micah: So, the story opens up with Harry, of course, being locked up in his room. And it seems like he’s doing a fair bit of work over the Summer. He’s stolen the little bits and pieces that he needs in order to get some work done from the cabinet – the closet under the stairs. And I wanted to know, Jamie, is it traditional to have this much homework in the U.K. over the Summer in between school years?

Jamie: I don’t know. It depends, really, which school you go to. Not enough that he’s having to do it by candlelight, or whatever it was he does it by. I mean I guess he has to, though, because of who he lives with. But I don’t know. I’m trying to think back to how much work I got. God, it seems like so long ago now.

Ben: Well, you didn’t do any of it, so…

Jamie: Well, it didn’t make any difference then!

[Ben laughs]

Jamie: I don’t know. I guess so. Some schools set that much.

Ben: Do you think plagiarism is a problem in the wizarding world?

Jamie: No! When you can just point your wand at something, copy it, paste it, then do a charm on someone’s mind so they’d forget about it – you could copy anything! I could be the author of the Bible or Shakespeare or anything, just by doing – just by casting a few simple charms!

Andrew: Onward Micah.

Micah: So I talked a little bit about how Harry had to go downstairs and kind of steal some of his stuff back. I want to know why the Dursleys are so insistent on making it seem like Harry doesn’t exist. They hide his spell books, his broom, everything they can except Hedwig. And they ensure that he doesn’t speak at all with the neighbors. Now to me this would seem suspicious if you were a neighbor of the Dursleys. Are their actions doing more harm than good?

Jamie: But that – I think that’s a really interesting point. But that completely goes along with what people have done in history. If they just accept it and just be normal and don’t mention you’re magic. But it’s – people are always trying to suppress the things that they don’t like, and then the people just rise up and are really, really mean to them. It’s – I think when robots come out – get created, like intelligent ones, humans will be like, “Oh, no no! We have to control them and enslave them. Because otherwise they’ll rise up against us and force them to work.” And then the robots will be like, “Well hold on a minute. We’re ten times as powerful and we’re just going to kill everyone.” But if you treat the robots well and say, “Please could you work for us, because you don’t get tired, and we do,” and you treat them as human beings, basically, then they probably won’t rise up. Sorry to go off on a tangent.

Andrew: [laughs] Well, I think it just really bothers the Dursleys a lot to see anything to do with magic, and they – and they dread – when they know Harry’s about to come home for the Summer, and then he comes home and they’re like, aw, it’s that magic, and he probably – and they’re freaked out. Because…

Jamie: They are freaked out, yeah.

Andrew: … with every year he’s spending at Hogwarts, he’s learning more and more magic, so he’s probably weirder and weirder in their minds. And yeah, I think they’re just paranoid that magic could backfire on them, or Harry would do a spell on them, or something like that.

Jamie: After Dudley’s pig tail, as well.

Andrew: Right, right. Yeah.

Micah: Well, it – the next point about the telephone incident is pretty much more of the same. His uncle goes absolutely crazy when Ron calls, and he really treats Harry – why would you give this number out to anybody? But what is – what is Vernon Dursley think is – could possibly happen in the result of Ron having Harry’s phone number?

Andrew: Well again, and I mean, Ron calls him, and all of a sudden he hears: [shouting] “Hi, how are you? Can I speak to Ver – or to Harry, please?” And Ron obviously doesn’t know how to use the phone.

Micah: Right.

Andrew: And, so Vernon just gets really annoyed by that, and I – I kind of think I understand that.

Micah: You do?

Andrew: If someone I don’t like – his friend is calling me – if I was in Vernon’s position I think that would be annoying. Yeah.

Micah: Well, Harry also makes note of the fact that if Hermione had called it would have been a little bit different – that he thinks that she would have been able to not mention all the stuff related to Hogwarts. Which I thought was a little bit of a knock on Ron, like not…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …not that he’s stupid, but just that he’s not very shrewd.

Andrew: Yeah. All right.

Micah: So, Harry ends up getting his first birthday card and a present from Ron, who is off vacationing in Egypt. Now a lot of people sent this in. This is – it wasn’t my own original thought, but what is up with this quote un-quote “Poor Weasley family spending money on a vacation? Aren’t there better uses for their money?” It…

Andrew: That they won.

Micah: Yeah, that they won the money, yeah.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: So…

Andrew: That they won the money, and they’re poor, and they decided to waste it on a vacation. That’s silly.

Jamie: That’s the code of freedom, isn’t it? It’s like, “Oh my god, we got all this money, what are we going to do? Aw, let’s treat ourselves…”

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: “…because we haven’t had all this money for so long. So let’s…”

Andrew: And Ron does tell Harry in the letter that most of the money is going to the trip, but they’re going to buy Ron a new wand for next year.

Ben: Well, couldn’t they…

Andrew: Invest it?

Jamie: Use it for food?

Ben: Yeah, invest it, or I don’t know. I mean that is a typical thing as Jamie was saying, among like poor families to – when you get – when you get a lot of money, it’s like you’ve never had that much money to begin with. So there’s a tendency to miss-manage it, I would say.

Andrew: And I – now I really don’t have any sympathy for the Weasleys anymore. They clearly don’t know how to manage their money, and this is a good example of that, so…

Micah: We can probably understand why they…

Jamie: You should take a bit of sympathy with them.

Micah: …would take a vacation with it. I mean, that’s all well and good. But they – J.K. Rowling makes a point of how poor they are in every single book.

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Yeah, it’s true, she does. Andrew, you should probably have a bit of sympathy with them, considering that half of them are dead now.

Andrew: [laughs] No, I – I, what I meant was, I have no sympathy for them being poor…

Ben: I mean…

Andrew: …because they clearly don’t manage their money.

Ben: What if they got an awesome deal? What if – what if a trip to Egypt usually costs like…

Jamie: Fifty million galleons, yeah.

Ben: …four times what they paid for it?

Jamie: [laughs] Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Because it’s still a waste, because if you invested it, you could probably get – you could maybe get a return.

Jamie: Yeah, but Andrew, Andrew, what happens if a trip to Egypt normally costs a billion Galleons and they got it for 700?

Andrew: Well Egypt is…

Ben: That trip – Egypt is a sure thing, Andrew. An investment, you don’t know when that’s going to pan out or if it’s going to pan out.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: That’s fine though.

Ben: Egypt is a sure thing guaranteed.

Jamie: So, who’s at fault?

Andrew: That’s fine, but when you continue reading this book and the books after it and hear, “Oh we’re so poor; we can’t afford anything.” Just think back to the Egypt tripped – trip.

Micah: Yes.

Jamie: Tripped.

Ben: I know because then they could have ten more waffles.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Waffles.

Andrew: Yes, that 700 would go – anyway, onward.

Micah: Harry gets a pocket Sneakoscope from Ron which Ron tells him is supposed to be used to catch untrustworthy people. And he claims that it went wild at dinner with the Weasleys and Ron thinks it’s because Fred and George played a prank on Bill and put beetles in his soup. But it’s really because his pet rat, Scabbers, is not who he appears to be. And one thing I wanted to point out about this picture though is that if they don’t go to Egypt the picture is never taken and Sirius never sees…

Jamie: Yeah. So that’s probably why they spent their money on the Egypt trip…

Micah: Right.

Jamie: …and now Andrew hates them for it.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Absolutely.

Jamie: [unintelligible]

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: And…

Andrew: Well…

Jamie: The plot – it had to happen for the plot.

Andrew: Yeah, but Percy – Harry notes that Percy looks smug in the picture and I’m wondering if that’s a little bit of foreshadowing of things that come because why would he look smug? Does he realize he has a plan to go against his family?

Ben: He always looks smug.

Micah: Yeah. [laughs]

Jamie: He is a smug – yeah he is. He’s pompous anyway. Perhaps he’s just…

Andrew: All right. Maybe it’s all foreshadowing.

Jamie: Maybe everything’s foreshadowing.

Andrew: Everything.

Micah: He looks that way because he’s been made Head Boy, right?

Andrew: Oh, I guess so. Okay.

Micah: But no it could be foreshadowing. All right. So he gets a broom-servicing kit from Hermione. And he always seems to be overly surprised by what Hermione gives him.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: It just seems to be that way throughout the book. She always gives him some cool gifts. And then Hagrid ends up giving him The Monster Book of Monsters which he says will come in useful in his third year. And we all know later on that it does come in useful. And then Harry, in addition, gets a letter from Hogwarts and he’s faced with the problem of needing a parent or guardian’s signature in order to visit Hogsmeade in his third year. As…

Andrew: I know this is morally wrong, but I always thought that Harry should’ve just forged the signature.

Jamie: Maybe they can test against it.

Andrew: Oh maybe.

Jamie: I don’t know how but…

Ben: Yeah. That’s what I would do. In school they would always try to give – make you sign a – have a permission slip to watch a movie that was…

[Andrew laughs]

Andrew: Inappropriate?

Ben: Yeah or something like that. The teacher would pass out the permission slips and I would give it right back to him.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: “How did you get this signed so fast?” “Oh, my mom was outside in the hallway.”

Micah: I was going to ask…

Jamie: [laughs] Yeah.

Micah: … with The Monster Book of Monsters – you guys think that’s just another example of Hagrid not realizing when things are actually dangerous?

Andrew: Hey, while I’m thinking…

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: … about it – while I’m thinking about Ben and his impressions – it’s Warwick Davis’ birthday today, Ben.

Jamie: Oh, come on Ben. Yeah.

Ben: Warwick. Warwick Davis.

[Andrew and Ben laugh]

Andrew: Can you do a big one for his birthday, please?

Jamie: Go on Ben. Do a huge one.

Ben: Warwick Davis!

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: Whoa. Oh my. That one hurt.

Jamie: Hey Ben, Ben, Ben. Take it ten stages further.

[Andrew and Jamie laugh]

Jamie: Ten stages further. Just, just do it.

Ben: Warwick Davis.

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: Warwick Davis.

[Andrew laughs]

Andrew: Thank you.

Ben: Warwick Davis.

Andrew: I still don’t know how that came about. It’s obviously not an impression of Warwick Davis, but…

Jamie: Whether the aforementioned activity really did happen.

[Andrew and Jamie laugh]

Chapter-by-Chapter: “Aunt Marge’s Big Mistake”

Andrew: Okay. So Chapter two, “Aunt Marge’s Big Mistake,” we’re introduced to a really cool character – well not cool, but interesting character – Aunt Marge.

Jamie: Aunt Trunchbull. I’m sorry, not Aunt Trunchbull. What am I talking – oh yeah, yeah. I’m sorry. Go on.

Andrew: We’ll get to her in a minute, but first, the chapter starts with our first mention of Sirius Black through a report Harry sees on the T.V. and Uncle Vernon in his typical judgmental attitude judges Sirius as being simply no good, just because he looks filthy. There’s a picture of Sirius on the screen…

Ben: Oh, wait, wait, when they’re like “Fugitive! Man on the run! Need to capture this guy.” You don’t think that had anything to do with his judgement?

Andrew: Well…

[Jamie laughs]

Andrew: No, because Uncle Vernon says “No need to tell us he’s no good. Look at the state of him! The filthy layabout. Look at his hair” So, Uncle Vernon is saying…

Micah: Well, if you had been in prison for thirteen years, don’t you would…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: …look a little…

Jamie: You are not going to be wearing a suit, yeah.

Micah: …grubby?

Andrew: Okay, and related to this we have a Twitter question, sent in by LuisaLucca:

“When you first read it, did you remember Hagrid’s mention of Sirius in ‘Sorcerer’s Stone’?”


Jamie: When he borrowed his motorbike?

Andrew: Mmm.

Jamie: That one?

Andrew: Did anyone remember that? Micah, did you?

Micah: Probably not, when I read it the first time.

Andrew: Yeah. Good point, though…

Jamie: I don’t know though. I can’t remember.

Micah: Yeah, me neither.

Jamie: Can’t remember.

Andrew: So, we learn that Aunt Marge is visiting the Dursleys for a week, and Harry must act like a Muggle, or else Vernon will not sign his Hogsmeade permission form. So it’s a little game, and now Harry’s like “Oh, I can handle this! It will be hard, but I can do it.” And Harry recounts all the times Aunt Marge has come over and been a real annoyance to him. Then – you know, so Aunt Marge arrives, and she comes out swinging at Harry. She tells him she would have sent him straight to an orphanage if he was dropped on her doorstep. Which, may – the Dursley’s, nothing but judgmental attitudes through all of them. Would she have really taken Harry straight to an orphanage, if he was dropped on her doorstep? Because she doesn’t even know that Harry is a wizard, which is the primary reason Vernon and Petunia don’t like him. So what do you think gives here? Is Petunia that mean? If any person – little baby – showed up on her doorstep…

Ben: Well, Andrew…

Jamie: I think she’s being…

Ben: Coming up, she’s saying that the father was a drunk, the family was worthless, so…

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Ben: …from her perspective, if you come from trash, you are trash. So, she would have more likely would have gotten rid of him.

Andrew: Yeah…

Jamie: Which is not very nice.

Andrew: I guess. But she doesn’t know anything about Harry, that’s what I’m saying. She would have – well, whatever.

Micah: Yeah, but…

Andrew: I guess…

Micah: …she’s judging his based off of what Ben just said, off of what Petunia and Vernon have told her about…

Andrew: Right.

Micah: …Harry’s parents, which is complete B.S. anyway.

Andrew: The wrong way to do it.

Micah: But why? That’s the question. When push comes to shove, Petunia is still Lily’s sister, so you’ve got to wonder why she’s made up all this crap about her family.

Andrew: Just mean, just bad, bad – romance going on there. So Aunt Marge continues her berating of Harry, and finally pushes him over the limit when she says, quote: “If there’s something wrong with the bitch, there will be something wrong with the pup.” And Marge’s wine glass suddenly explodes, and she believes it was her own fault, but Harry, Vernon, and Petunia know it was Harry’s – you know, Harry loses his temper and then can do magic without even really intentionally doing it. So this brings up an interesting question. Why was this not more of a warning sign to Vernon? We know that Marge likes to berate Harry, but why can’t Vernon be the smart one here and say, “Harry, all right, you obviously can’t control yourself. Go up in the room, stay there,” to prevent any further problems. Why would Vernon not do anything about this?

Micah: I don’t know. It would make sense, and I don’t know that Vernon always makes a whole lot of sense.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: You would think that’s what he would do. He would say, “Stay up here boy,” but wouldn’t Marge ask questions? Wouldn’t she say “Where is he?”

Andrew: I guess so. But he could make excuses, like he does for everything else about him.

Micah: Maybe he likes that Marge has a go at Harry all the time. Maybe he enjoys it.

Andrew: Yeah, he gets to watch. Yeah, entertaining. But this should have been a warning. That’s my point. He should have kept Harry in his room from there on out, because who – she could have exploded next, which she sort of did. Another Twitter question, at this point, sent in from BaileyMichelle1:

“When Aunt Marge comes to Privet Drive, why doesn’t Harry just try to stay as far away as possible from her?”

So this is basically what we were just asking, but I think Harry can’t. Harry was told by the Dursleys, “Stay there. Stay here. Let Aunt Marge berate you because that’s how she validates herself in life.” So on the final evening of Marge’s visit she is again insulting Harry and his family, and Harry can’t take it. And his anger leads him to unintentionally make Marge swell up to the point of where she’s floating in the air. This of course causes havoc in the Dursley home, and Harry makes a run for it. And this leads us into chapter three, “The Knight Bus.”

Ben: Well, I think it’s funny though, to wrap up that chapter, how she makes him blow up, so he makes her blow up.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: It’s kind of karma. Complete karma. But also, I think it kind of sets Harry’s mood for the entire series, or his stubbornness and anger. His anger is always quick to – below the surface. He can’t take stuff, and he stands up for what he believes in. He can’t just accept stuff blindly.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: It’s quite a good scene apart from that it leads perfectly for him getting into the Knight Bus.

Chapter-by-Chapter: “The Knight Bus”

Andrew: So, chapter three, “The Knight Bus.” The chapter begins with Harry ending his run. He’s sort of out of breath and tired. He realizes that he’s in a really bad position at this point. He’s got no place to go, he’s got no money, and he’s likely expelled from Hogwarts for using magic outside of school again. So he starts plotting ways to get to Hogwarts, but then all of a sudden he’s disrupted. He senses that somebody – what exactly happens? He sort of senses that somebody is watching him or something?

Jamie: Yeah, his hairs prickle up, don’t they? And then he realizes that there’s someone or something watching him, sees it, and then the Knight Bus comes up.

Andrew: Yeah, right.

Jamie: But it’s a weird causation there, because he trips over, which signals the Knight Bus, and if he hadn’t tripped over he would have – it wouldn’t have come. I don’t know, it’s a weird scene that bit.

Andrew: Yeah. So, this is also – as we know, Harry thinks he saw a dog. And as we find out later – or we can kind of gather, he saw Sirius. And I’m wondering, if the Knight Bus hadn’t appeared a moment later, would Sirius have transformed into himself and spoken with him? Or was Sirius sort of just trying to keep a careful eye on him? What would Sirius have done? Would he have killed him?

Micah: Obviously not. [laughs]

Jamie: I’m eating, but I think – doesn’t he say later on, he just wanted to catch a glimpse of him? So he might not have done anything. He might have just run away.

Andrew: Yeah, I think more than anything he was just looking out for him.

Micah: Right.

Andrew: And would have stepped in.

Jamie: He just wanted to see him.

Andrew: Yeah. So as luck would have it, the Knight Bus appears just as Harry focuses in on this dog, and it turns out this bus is for witches and wizards exactly in Harry’s situation: Stranded. So, through the Daily Prophet – Harry gets on the Daily Prophet – meets Stan and the driver. He gets a hold of a copy of the Daily Prophet and Harry learns a little more about Sirius Black and his alleged attack on thirteen people twelve years ago. And then the Knight Bus finally arrives at the Leaky Cauldron after dropping a bunch of people off. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So then Fudge explains – so they get to the Leaky Cauldron, and Fudge is there waiting for Harry. And he grabs him by the shoulder – gets a tight grip on him to make sure Harry doesn’t run way or whatever – and Fudge explains how the Ministry cleaned up Harry’s accident with Marge. And Fudge doesn’t berate Harry at all, and is actually quite nice to him. You know, he’s treating him nicely, which is completely different from how we see Fudge treat Harry later on in the books, and the Ministry as a whole. So – and Harry picks up on this – how nice the Ministry is and Fudge and – [imitating Fudge] “Oh it’s okay. It’s fine. Every thing’s fixed.” He senses that something is going on behind his back – Harry does. Micah, why do you think Fudge is acting this way?

Micah: Because he realizes that quite possibly the biggest criminal ever under his watch has now broken out of prison, and Harry’s in danger. And I don’t think Harry knows – or he doesn’t think that Harry knows that he’s in danger, and he’s doing everything possible to keep Harry safe.

Jamie: But it’s kind of a…

Micah: Yeah.

Jamie: Sorry.

Micah: No, go ahead.

Jamie: I was going to say – it’s kind of ridiculous that he would even think about disciplining him because – I don’t know it seems to me it’s like telling someone who is like – I don’t know I can’t think of a direct example, but I guess like a swimmer who hasn’t broken their personal best, telling them off for not doing it when they can’t control themselves yet. You can’t tell someone off when he can’t control his magic. School has to teach him better. Then if he like – you know if anger does that then it’s a fault with what he knows rather than him. I don’t think he’s being naughty. I think it’s being a bit harsh to say “You’ve been bad. You’ve been a bad boy.”

Micah: Yeah, I think it’s about – it’s about Fudge though, acting in his best interest, and that’s all Fudge has ever done. In this case his best interest is protecting Harry. In Order of the Phoenix, it’s protecting himself and the Ministry. And you know, that’s his character. He does – you know, he’s kind of overwhelmed by the power of it all, and doing what’s best for his image.

Jamie: Yeah, that’s true.

Micah: And what’s best for his image right now is to protect Harry from who they think…

Jamie: From…

Micah: Yeah from who’s Lord Voldemort’s greatest supporter, supposedly.

Andrew: Reading back on the series, it is very interesting to see Fudge acting like this. I was taken aback. I was like, “What?!” So Fudge leaves Harry at the Leaky Cauldron where he’ll have a room to stay in which is very nice, and Fudge encourages him to go nowhere outside of Diagon Alley. “So just stay there and you’ll be safe.” Blah, blah, blah…

Micah: Do you think he’s being watched in Diagon Alley? You know…

Jamie: He must be.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Similar to…

Jamie: There has to be some sort of protection.

Micah:Order of the Phoenix. Like he never knew that Mrs. Figg was watching him and Mundungus Fletcher, but…

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …I wonder if he’s got people watching him during Prisoner of Azkaban.

Andrew: I bet so. So that does it for the three – for talking about the three chapters themselves. Pretty basic chapters, not too much to discuss. It will get deeper as we go along. But a couple of movie comparisons we found. The Monster Book of Monsters isn’t a gift from Hagrid in the movie. He gets it while staying at the Three Broomsticks.

Micah: Oh, that’s my mistake. It’s the Leaky Cauldron, not the Three Broomsticks.

Andrew: At the Leaky Cauldron. Micah, Jesus! Another comparison, Harry learns about Sirius while on the Knight Bus from Stan not from the news like he does in the book. And also in the movie Harry doesn’t learn Neville’s name on the Knight Bus as he does in the book. I think – I’m pretty sure in the movie, right? He’s just like – he – they know he’s Harry Potter.

Micah: Well they don’t know. Stan asks him his name and he’s like, “I didn’t get your name,” or something along the lines and Harry says, “I never gave it to you,” or something.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: And then Stan realizes once he drops Harry off…

Andrew: Oh okay.

Micah: …that it was Harry. But yeah – I thought that was one of the more simple things they could have kept to keep it consistent with the books that he gives Neville’s name on the Knight Bus.

Andrew: Yeah, it would have been funny. So, like I said, that does it for Chapter-by-Chapter this week. For Episode 192, our next episode, please send in your feedback about Chapters 4 through 6. And you can do that by going to and clicking on ‘Contact’. And you can fill out the feedback form. All right, and just a final e-mail about this chapter, Kyle, 31, of Knoxville, Tennessee, brings up a couple of points:

“Is September 1st a Sunday and 2nd a Monday every school year? Term always starts on September 1st with a feast, followed by the Monday of the first day of classes.”

It’s a good point. Maybe in the wizarding world, the days don’t change. The calendars don’t change.

Jamie: That is an interesting point.

Micah: That’s a book mistake.

Jamie: Wow, that…

[Micah laughs]

Jamie: …must be a book mistake, yeah.

Andrew: And also from Kyle:

“Interesting foreshadowing by Uncle Vernon when he feared Sirius Black would be walking up the street several days before Sirius really did come to the street.”

Jamie: That is quite interesting, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: I didn’t ever think about that.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: That foreshadowing.

Andrew: That is…

Jamie: If you just read every book thinking everything is foreshadowing, then you can pretty much predict the plot…

Andrew: Right. [laughs]

Jamie: …I guess.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, you can.

[Micah laughs]

Jamie: Why didn’t we just do that?

Andrew: I don’t know. We should have. What were we thinking? We were inexperienced back then.

Ben: Next time, my friends. Next time.

Muggle Mail: A Violent Disagreement

Andrew: All right, to wrap up the show today, we’re going to talk about an e-mail we received about J.K. Rowling and it’s negative. It’s very negative. It’s interesting. It’s from Anna Park, 18, of Ohio. She writes:

“Hello. I’ve been listening to your show since the beginning and I’m afraid I have to disagree, possibly violently, with Andrew’s declaration that the intricate plotting of the ‘Harry Potter’ series is proof that it transcends children’s literature, and is a work of depth and meaning. While I won’t deny that J.K. Rowling is an engaging storyteller, she has done no more with her story than generations of ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ game masters, who are capable of exactly the same level of writing, have done with theirs. The only difference is that Ms. Rowling, being at liberty to publish her work, has made a metric trainload of money. If you look at the ‘Harry Potter’ series, it’s really just an amalgam of clichés and forced symbolism staring a hero whose generousness goes beyond acceptable limits and a villain who quite honestly seems to have attended the ‘Snidely Whiplash School of Villainy’. It is this particular point that irks me most. How the whole wizarding world came to fear Voldemort is anyone’s guess, when all he does is stand around and talk, occasionally killing someone or ordering his band of criminally inept Death Eaters to bungle something.”

Ben: Excuse me! That’s like saying all Hitler did was stand around and talk.

Jamie: I – can I just say, I completely agree with you, Ben, on this point. The whole – people are terrified of stuff they don’t know about. If – the person who wrote this, I think if you read any type of literature from the Nazi era or Mussolini or any type of dictatorship now, you realize that it’s living in fear, which is this thing that does people in it. It hasn’t got anything to do with what happens in public. It’s being terrified that your neighbor will tell on you, and you’ll come back and see the Dark Mark, which is obviously the wizard analogy, over your door. It’s politics of fear. That’s why Voldemort is a perfect villain. Not perfect in the literary sense. I agree that there are better written villains, but he’s by no means a bad villain just because of the way he talks, when she’s writing for a particular audience.

Ben: Anyway, sorry, go on. Continue, Andrew.


“You think someone could just sneak up on him during one of his monologues and take him out if they weren’t all cowering in their homes, fearing what the author had told them about him instead of what he had actually done. If Voldemort was any sort of villain, he wouldn’t have gone down so easily over several points in the series, to children. Now would I rather my own children, should I have any, read ‘Harry Potter’ than most of the other trash about teen angst and relationships that might be available to them? Of course. But would I hold it up as an example of solid literature, one that deserves to have college courses based on it? Of course not. Twists, turns and foreshadowing in the plot are not deep thinking or profound analyses of the human condition. They are merely signs of clever writing, something you can find in many video games, although I would argue that there are video games with more depth to them than ‘Harry Potter.’ While ‘Harry Potter’ is, due to its gripping story and wide cast of likeable side characters, certainly an enjoyable read, it does not deserve to be held as anything more than a staggeringly popular book for children.”

Micah: Wow.

Ben: Wow.

Micah: Wow, can I ask a question though? She says twists, turns and foreshadowing in the plot are not deep thinking or profound analysis of the human condition, yet all we do is analysis and you listen to this show. So aren’t you kind of contradicting yourself?

Andrew: Yeah that’s what I’m kind of wondering, well maybe we’re not analyzing deep…

Ben: Well she’s taking a shot at us then…

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: …if the series itself isn’t deep then any analysis we do couldn’t be deep either.

Jamie: I think she brings up – it is a valid point but I think it’s not the best literary stuff ever but she says it is an engaging book but her being at liberty to publish her work is all very good now, but any writer knows how hard it is to get anything out of the door with like twenty-five rejection letters so the fact that it’s achieved commercial success means it has achieved a standard that obviously deserves recognition.

Andrew: I think that’s one of the biggest issues with people recognizing the Harry Potter series as what I believe to be the remarkable, well-written book series that it is. It’s become so popular, people think it’s popular because it’s popular. You know what I mean? It’s just this thing, it’s just what’s in. But people don’t realize – people who haven’t read the books don’t realize how great the stories are, you know what I’m saying?

Jamie: No, but it is a black swan, she brings up a – do you guys know the black swan thing?

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: Yeah.

Jamie: I was reading about it. It is a black swan because there are books like it that haven’t got as popular and it has just got extremely popular. Whether that’s down to the great writing which some people would argue or the fact that it just appeals to children, no one ever knows. It’s like Hemingway didn’t get popular when he was still alive but after he died he got extremely popular. So genius is completely dependent on the culture around you. I think…

Ben: I don’t think popularity determines genius.

Jamie: No, no, it doesn’t. Exactly, that’s what I’m saying. To a reader now, James Joyce is not going to be a particularly good read, I don’t think. I personally wouldn’t choose to read it. I don’t doubt he’s a genius for writing what he did or Tolstoy or something like that. But I think if I was going to write a book that I wanted to get published now, I wouldn’t go that ten thousand page thing. You have to go for something snappy, you have to go for something readable with today’s fast-paced society and that’s a lot harder than writing epic novels and what she has done, which is create seven books, is genius because ask any author how hard it is to get that amount of money pumped into you is damn hard. I think she has to be commended on that, but I do agree that some of the twists and turns are written for children and will always be written for children.

Andrew: I agree with that, I agree. But there is something about the Harry Potter series – and maybe we could talk about this more next week, I’m sure we’ll get some feedback about this – that really is incredible and I think, like Anna says in her e-mail, the characters are fantastic, the plot is fantastic, and there are some deeper – there’s a lot of deeper meanings to a lot of things we see in the books. In terms of love – the Horcrux stuff, I thought was pretty deep…

Ben: I would like to see a – when she says “forced symbolism,” I’d like to hear her justification – her explanation of what’s unforced symbolism.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: Because I think – like Andrew like you were saying, I think there are a lot of deeper points to this and the whole idea of overcoming death and all those things. That’s not forced, in my opinion.

Andrew: Yeah. Maybe…

Jamie: Symbolism is very basic and primal as well. You get new ways of saying symbolism, you don’t really get new symbolism.

Andrew: Maybe we just do such a good job of explaining the symbolism on the show that it looks forced…

Jamie: I doubt that.

Andrew: …but really we’re just genius. I’m kidding. So yeah, send in your feedback about this e-mail. Anna, feel free to send in more and we have your IP address so we’ll know if it’s not actually you, so nobody send in fake e-mails, but we do look forward to seeing what people think about this. It’s certainly an interesting point to discuss and listen, we’re not going to be – we love the Harry Potter series, but we certainly entertain people writing in and looking for, you know…

Ben: Dissenting opinions.

Announcement: Podcast Alley

Andrew: Dissenting – thank you. Okay, so a couple announcements before we wrap up the show today. Don’t forget to vote for us on Podcast Alley. We ask you all the time, and this episode is no different.

Micah: It’s a new month.

Andrew: It is Fugglecast February. [laughs]

Micah: [laughs] What?

Jamie: Hey!

Announcement: Infinitus 2010

Andrew: Oh no no, MuggleCast Mebruary. It’s actually funnier if we change the first letter of MuggleCast, so FuggleCast February. We’ll start doing that instead. And also a reminder we will be at, they’ve actually recently…

Ben: We’re going to be at the website?

[Jamie laughs]

Andrew: Well actually, Ben, I guess – you asked me earlier if we’re doing a podcast and I said we can’t confirm or deny at this time, but actually we can because they put up a rough schedule of events. They put up a preliminary schedule and we’re currently scheduled to have a MuggleCast podcast on Friday, July 16th at 5:30 PM. So yes, we will be at Infinitus, we will be doing a podcast. We encourage you all to come, it will be in Orlando, Florida from July 15th to the 18th, in the resort, in the Universal Orland resort, which is where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park is. We’ll go all over together to ride the rides together. We’ll be having a great time! We’ll be doing panels and hanging out with everyone.

Show Close

[Outro music begins]

Andrew: Oh, such a good time!

Ben: How much time do you think – how many days – are we going to go to the Wizarding World for multiple days?

Andrew: Maybe – At least two.

Ben: At least two. Now, could you see yourself spending all day every day, like ten hours a day there?

Andrew: No. No!

Ben: Would that be weird?

Andrew: Because there are only three rides. [laughs] So…

Ben: Oh, really? Imagine how long those lines are.

Andrew: I know, there’s going to be long lines, there’s going to be long waits.

Jamie: Right, yeah. We’ll be waiting forever.

Andrew: There’ll be three rides…

Jamie: Not that many…

Andrew: …a few shops. And I think one restaurant. And I bet they’ll have other little things going on…

Ben: Now is the Butterbeer going to have any alcohol in it?

Andrew: No.

Ben: What?!

Andrew: No.

Jamie: Ben, Ben…

Andrew: You can add your own.

Jamie: You could hook up with Yega.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Have a Yega Butterbeer going. That would be insane.

Andrew: Only if you’re 21. So, again Register, we’ll see you there. It’ll be an amazing time. People have been there, to these Harry Potter cons before. Everybody loves them they’re a lot of fun. We should talk about it more, in depth, maybe on an upcoming episode. Okay, so before we let everybody go, we want to remind you is a site where you can get all your information you need pertaining to the site. Just don’t forget you can follow us on

Ben: Or

Jamie: Or

Andrew: Or And you can also visit the MuggleCast website to write an e-mail to us, which we love. We love to hear from you. Just go to MuggleCast and click on contact at the top.

Ben: It better be good though, make it good.

Andrew: So, that does it for the show this week. Thanks again everyone for listening. I’m Andrew Sims.

Ben: I’m Ben Schoen.

Jamie: I am Jamie Lawrence.

Micah: And I am Micah Tannenbaum.

Andrew: We’ll see you next time for Episode 192! Bye!

Ben: So long!

Jamie: Buh bye!

[Show music continues]

Blooper: What’s the Episode?

Andrew: Welcome, everybody, to Episode 190! Oh wait, no. Is this episode 190 or 191, Micah?

Ben: Isn’t this 200?

Andrew: No. [laughs]

Micah: It’s 191, isn’t it? You made the Haiti…

Andrew: Oh, the Haiti show was 190. Oh, I see!

Micah: Try again.

Blooper: Coaster Reeka

Jamie: Co-sta Rica. Why do you say Co-sta Rica? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s obviously Costa Rica.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: Do you really think Costa?

Jamie: No, no. I don’t say Cah-sta, I said Costa.

Ben: Costa.

Jamie: Yeah, there you go Ben that’s perfect! Now try again.

Ben: Costa.

[Jamie laughs]

Andrew: This is exactly what I was talking about.

Jamie: Perfect.