Transcript #192

MuggleCast 192 Transcript

Show Intro

[Intro music begins]

Andrew: Looking to start your own website? The first thing you need is a domain name, and the best place to get one is at With your domain registration you’ll get hosting, a free blog, complete e-mail, and much more. Plus, as a MuggleCast listener, enter code Ron, that’s R-O-N, when you check out and get your dot com domain name for just $7.49 a year. Get your piece of the internet at!

[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]

Jim Dale: [as Professor McGonagall] 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 the Crookshanks versus Scabbers battles have begun, this is MuggleCast Episode 192 for February 18th, 2010.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome everyone to Episode 192. We’re approaching – I was doing the math the other day and it looks like we’re going to be hitting Episode 200 in late May or early June, or maybe mid-June, I can’t remember. But it’s very exciting. 200 episodes.

Micah: Unbelievable.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: So…

Andrew: As you think back on all that transcript work for 200 episodes.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: That’s true – very true. Do you think we’ll get a trailer before that?

Andrew: Oh, I hope so.

Micah: Yeah?

Andrew: Oh, geez, I hope so!

[Andrew, Eric, and Micah laugh]

Andrew: But, yeah, I was – there’s not going to be anything big unless they release a trailer around that time, but we’ll have to make sure Episode 200 is one big bonanza.

Eric: So, what you’re saying Andrew, is that we’re going to London?

Andrew: [laughs] I – yes – sure. No.

Eric: Because we did London for the first hundred.

Andrew: Right, right. Yeah, the hundred – Episode 100 was in London for the release of Deathly Hallows. That worked out perfectly.

Eric: It did. It really did.

Andrew: Nothing can top that I don’t think.

Eric: No.

Andrew: But anyway, first we need to get through eight more episodes including this one. There’s – there hasn’t been much news, but we have plenty of e-mails to go through, and of course, Chapter-by-Chapter of Prisoner of Azkaban and all that good other stuff that you’ve come to know and love. I’m Andrew Sims.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

Nick: And I’m Nick Myers.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: All right Micah, what’s in the news this week? It’s a Lego news episode, isn’t it?

News: Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4

Micah: It is a Lego news episode. There hasn’t been much going on as you mentioned, and I figured we’d just take a little bit of time here to talk about Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and the question I wanted to pose, because we’ve gotten a lot of screenshots lately – the producer of the game just recently did another interview and actually today the cover art for the game was officially released. Do you guys think this is shaping up to be the best Potter video game?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: That’s a bold statement. I mean there have been so many classics in the past.

Micah: There have not been.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Nick: It’s certainly shaping up to be the funnest Harry Potter game for sure.

Andrew: Yeah. There’s a lot – and I know we say this for all the EA games – they do the games for each film, but they seem to really be putting a lot of care in this and all the videos look great. I was a big fan of the original Lego Harry Potter. This one looks great too, so, yeah, I think it could be one of the best ones.

Micah: Eric, I know you’re a big Lego video game fan.

Eric: Yeah, yeah definitely. I’m a fan of it. Everything I’ve been reading about the Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 game just seems really awesome and, of course, this cover art just makes it look even cooler.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s really well done.

Eric: It definitely wins the cover art competition for me, compared to other Harry Potter video games.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah, I think it’s going to be – the Lego games have a sort of humor to them that just works really well in a lot of ways and it’s going to work just as well with early Harry Potter. I think it’ll be a great game.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: And the fact that they’ve had practice with two renditions of the Star Wars, two renditions of Indiana Jones, Batman, and a few others that are in the works – it’s great that they’ve waited a little while to get into Harry Potter, but the Lego Harry Potter set is a thriving area of Lego’s company and so it’s great to see that they, with TY Games, has worked on this rendition.

Micah: Yeah. It seems like a lot more care has been put into this game and I don’t mean to knock the games that have come from Electronic Arts because they did an amazing job with Hogwarts and the surrounding areas, but I think the biggest problem…

Andrew: But it ends there.

Eric: [laughs] Yeah.

Micah: Yeah, but the biggest problem people have had with the games is the actual gameplay and there not being enough to do…

[dog barks in the background]

Micah: …as somebody’s dog points out…

Eric: Sorry. [laughs]

Micah: …that they agree – no, your dog agrees which is – that’s a very good thing. [laughs] And I just – I’m hoping that although this seems, in practice, like a more childlike game, meaning that it’s geared more for younger people, our age group may be able to enjoy it more than the EA games because I actually thought that as much as the EA games look like more adult games, they are actually geared more towards children.

Andrew: Yeah, and I mean look where we are in terms of technology these days. I think this game is going to look beautiful on Hi-Def televisions and especially with systems like the PS3 and th Xbox 360. I mean, I’m looking forward to just the graphic quality on these as well.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, and like you were saying about gameplay too, Order of the Phoenix, for instance, had a great roaming Hogwarts, that we read the interviews months before the game came out and we were like, “Oh wow, fully immersive Hogwarts!”

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: And it pretty much – it did, it was pretty big for an environment, but you really couldn’t do anything with it.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And this Lego game is promising to – you can rebuild parts of Hogwarts and destroy them and all that stuff.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And that just sounds totally awesome. So no crevice in the game will go untouched.

Andrew: I have a PS3 that I bought primarily for the Blu-ray capabilities and this will be probably the first video game that I buy for it [laughs] having had the PS3 for close to two years now.

[Eric laughs]

Nick: Whoa.

Andrew: Because it’s a game that actually looks worth it. And I’m just really excited for the quality – the visual quality – that you’re going to get. The trailer – it’s just very animated – it just looks great. It looks great.

Micah: Yeah, the detail as I said is just amazing and I like how the producer pointed out that if you’re in Year 1 you’re not able to access everything around the castle – certain parts of it are locked off – or even other areas that they’ve developed – not just Hogwarts specifically, but – and also that you need to actually travel from one place to another. It’s not going to be like EA where you get these cut scenes and all of a sudden you end up somewhere else. You have to work your way through the years.

Nick: Not only that, but the fact that the characters can grow throughout the game and you’re not given all the spells at the start to practice with and then use throughout like you are with EA games. With this one you’ll learn them and grow throughout the year and that’s fantastic.

Listener Tweet: Unlockable Characters

Andrew: Yeah, that is definitely cool. We got some Twitter – we got some feedback from you guys via Twitter. We asked you on our Twitter account at We asked, “Do you think that this game is turning out to be the best Harry Potter video game?” APGB said:

“I love the fact you’ll be able to play as over 100 unlockable characters – even Fang.”

That’s really cool.

Nick: That’s amazing.

Eric: That’s been a staple of the Lego games though – play as literally that many characters. Like especially Star Wars – everyone – every character even non-play characters – they call them guards and all sorts of soldiers that are in the background of certain cut-scenes and levels are all programmed so you can end up playing as them, especially in free play mode. But playing as Fang and everything – each of the characters have their own skill set, especially in Indiana Jones in particular – and there was an article where they said – they would reference something similar to that – where each of these a hundred characters are going to have a different set of skills and abilities even if it’s just jumping higher, that’s going to help you choose which character you’re going to be roaming Hogwarts.

Andrew: Right, right. And there was a video demonstration the other day of how they’re designing Quidditch. And it’s that same exact thing where Harry is the best person to use for flying around on brooms. And they demonstrated how Ron and Hermione had sort of – they struggle with controlling their brooms and climbing aboard it – so that’s the kind of detail that I think we’re all looking forward to.

Eric: Oh, yeah.

Listener Tweet: Revisiting the Books

Andrew: But FlizLovesKon writes:

“The game looks excellent. I love the way I can revisit the books in gaming format with the added bonus of the Lego theme.”

prudhvii writes:

“The previews look good, but do you think that they will have two games for the seventh book because the movie is in two parts?”

Nick: I don’t think so, personally. I think they’ll do a 5-7 one as well.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Nick: I mean, for me personally one of my problems with the EA games is that the storytelling is actually quite short and the game doesn’t last very long – it’s only the mini quests and adventures that pad it out and I think one of the things that’s going to be good about this Lego game is that it encompasses four whole years and they can add a lot more to the length of the game.

Andrew: Well, also, a possible Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 would – I think would directly ride on how well Years 1-4 do.

Nick: Yeah.

Andrew: Like, you know, in terms of sales and in terms of reviews. You know, if it gets great reviews and great sales they’ll definitely go for 5-7.

Eric: And it – it was…

Andrew: So let’s hope it does well.

Eric: It was really clever and, you know, I almost want to say insightful that they – they stopped, you know, with Years 1-4, that they focused on essentially half the series.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Because I mean after – these games – what I want to say is these games have this level selection and main menu kind of world in and of itself, be it like in Star Wars it was the cantina and in Indiana Jones it was Cambridge where you just – you can walk around and that has its own game play almost as well. And thinking about Years 1-4, you know, I can’t wait and what you said about certain parts of Hogwarts being locked off. You know, as a level select area there’s no better place than Hogwarts but Years 5-7, especially 7, takes place, you know, really far away from Hogwarts so they’re going to have to re-evaluate how they do that for that – that section of the gaming. You know, because a lot of the books start taking place elsewhere and important areas that we’re going to want to play in but – they can revisit – they can cross that bridge when they come to it essentially because they just have Years 1-4 and it’s – they’re all set at Hogwarts and they’re all going to be lots of fun.

Andrew: maritza_cardona writes:

“The visuals seem great and the comedic moments actually made me smile. This one looks better than the first HP games released.”

Prior, I guess she means.

Micah: Absolutely, yeah. I think we all touched on that.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: That we agree this is better than EA.

Andrew: Finally, AndrewNH writes:

“I think they are awesome. So much more like the books and I hope it’s an open world like the other Lego Harry Potter – like the other Lego games. And it will be so fun.”

So there you go. Some feedback from those of you who follow us on Twitter at Thanks for the feedback! In other news Micah?

News: New EA Harry Potter Title

Micah: Well, I just wanted to mention – since we’re on the topic of video games…

Andrew: No!

Micah: …didn’t EA – no? Didn’t do anything?

Andrew: I said onward! Onward! Yah! Yah! No, go ahead. [laughs]

Micah: No, this is important though…

Andrew: Go ahead, you’re right.

Micah: …for the people who love the boring EA games that…

Andrew: [laughs] Ouch.

Micah: …Electronic Arts announced that there’s going to be a Harry Potter title that’s going to be released this fall and…

Andrew: Right.

Micah: …I’m just kind of wondering though, are they going to break the game up in two? Because that would just be the end…

Andrew: I think so. [laughs]

Micah: They don’t have a choice I guess because they use so many cut scenes from the movies and they’re very movie based as opposed to book based, but…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: I can’t see the sales for that video game doing very well.

Andrew: Well, I think that’s the thing, like, if they don’t release a video game – a Harry Potter title this year, they would have to wait for Part II. They can’t release an entire video game for Part I and Part II this fall, because it would spoil the second half of the movie. So, they got to – I think they see it as a money making opportunity. Even though, I officially have lost faith in EA’s Harry Potter video games. I mean, I know they care so much and they’re such a good team of people. We’ve met them and interviewed them, they’re so nice, but I guess the Harry Potter games just aren’t meant to be built how they are building them because they really don’t work.

Micah: No, they don’t. I think they should’ve developed them more as a role-playing game, kind of similar to Legend of Zelda, where you…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …have that free roaming ability. I mean you do, but it’s still restricted, like if you play these past video games – you know, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, you can move around Hogwarts and you can kind of go to the outlying grounds, but you can’t get into Hogsmeade, you can’t go to other places and travel around, you know, Diagon Alley or – I don’t know, pick a place. But the point is that they really screwed up I think. Not in their design because again, what they did with Hogwarts was unbelievable in how they created it in the video game sense, but just the game-play aspect of it failed so miserably.

Andrew: Yeah. On the other hand, maybe EA could surprise us and release an entirely new game! Like a new Quidditch game, that would be good! Quidditch World Cup! That was a good game.

Eric: Agreed.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: And it was totally – and that seemed to have the least direct influence from a movie or anything. I mean, they basically took Jo’s world and they fleshed it out and – playing that game in Tokyo, for instance…

Andrew: Yeah!

Eric: It’s a beautiful stadium, and you get to play in the sunset. Just amazing visuals, great game-play all around, and it wasn’t an easy fix, you know. You had to go around and play as all the different teams and win the World Cup with them. So it was long playing. You know, it was just a really smart idea.

Andrew: It was fun. So maybe they’ll do a new unique idea like that. But, who knows? We’ll just have to wait and see. Even though my money’s still on Deathly Hallows: Part I, the video game being released. “Run through the forest! Press A! Press A!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: “Zoom around that tree!”

News: New Harry Potter Lego Sets

Micah: So wrapping up the Lego news, there was a press release last week that six new Harry Potter construction sets and a Lego Harry Potter board game are going to be released later on this year, in the fall.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Excited?

Andrew: I’ve always been a fan of the Lego construction…

[Someone “tsks”]

Andrew: Hey, don’t laugh! This is serious!

[Nick laughs]

Andrew: I’ve always been a fan of the Lego construction sets and they tend to be kind of expensive, so I may not buy one, but they’re fun!

Nick: Did you see the video though?

Andrew: Huh? Oh, of the board game?

Nick: It doesn’t even look anything like…

Andrew: Yeah.

Nick: …anything related to the series.

Andrew: The board game they’re building does not look good. But the construction sets look cool! [laughs] And I got to say, those old – you know, they had made a castle close to ten years ago now as a construction set, and that thing is worth a lot of money now.

Eric: Is it?

Andrew: Those things, if you have an original, yeah. My dad bought one and sold it on eBay for like, $300.

Eric: Wow.

Nick: Whoa.

Andrew: [laughing] Yeah! So, I was like, “Dad, why didn’t you give it to me?” And he was like, “Quiet son! Back to the cupboard!”

[Nick, Micah and Eric laugh]

Andrew: But, yeah I’m looking – is anyone else excited for these construction sets?

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: No?

Eric: Yeah. Yeah.

Nick: [laughing] That was a no.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Well, I mean like – and it looks like the Burrow and stuff, the’re getting – they’re getting creative again, you know? And it’s not just the graveyard set where it’s like, you know, maybe a few characters or so, but mostly nothing in – you know, it’s probably difficult to come up with these construction sets. There are so many places in Harry’s world, but they’re so huge. Like the Ministry of Magic, you just don’t want to not do them justice. But yeah, I think they got their little creative edge back.

Andrew: Right, right. Anything else in the news, Micah?

Micah: No, that is it. Lego news.

Happy Birthday Emerson

Andrew: Well, we should also say “Happy Birthday” to Emerson Spartz, the webmaster and founder of MuggleNet. He turns 23 – he turned 23 on February 17th so Happy Birthday to him.

Eric: Happy Birthday Emerson.

Andrew: Sorry, I don’t have a song prepared…

Micah: Yeah, I was waiting for…

Andrew: …I just wanted to say that.

Micah: …something to play there.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: No, but…

Micah: We can all sing if we want. But, I would advise against that.

Andrew: [sings] “Happy Birthday, to you.”

Eric: [sings] “To you.”

Andrew: Okay, well, before we get to Muggle Mail this week, we have a couple of e-mails about that J.K. – that negative J.K. Rowling e-mail that we read on the show last week. We got a lot of feedback but we just have two e-mails here. Nick, do you want to read the first one from Brittany?

Muggle Mail: Looking Deeper into the Books

Nick: Sure. This is from Brittany who’s 14 and from Ohio and she writes:

“After listening to Anna’s letter last episode, which was highly critical, I feel I must disagree with her strongly on one point in particular. She says Harry Potter is nothing more than a staggeringly popular book for children. Well then, how did it get so popular? When she was reading the series, did she understand the emotional depths, powerful themes, and meaningful morals in it? Or did she just read it looking for nothing but pleasure reading and taking in no knowledge whatsoever? This book is not popular because it is merely an enjoyable children’s book. Incidentally, it is not just for children either. It is popular because of the themes of love, grief and trust. Can you get that in a video game? I encourage readers of Harry Potter to look deeper, as the MuggleCasters have always done so well and not judge based on popularity.”

Andrew: I actually do think that’s one of the things thats harmed Harry Potter. You know, an outsider – outsiders look at Harry Potter and say, “Oh, it’s just popular because it’s popular. It’s just in right now. It’s sort of the thing.” But, as Brittany brings up, how did it get so popular? And it’s because of how well written these books are. It wasn’t – I really don’t think it was sort of like trend, you know, people genuinely enjoy the books.

Eric: Yeah, the world and the books is just unmatched, really it is. And as we go through, I know my chapter of Chapter-by-Chapter this week. We’ll just see how crafty, you know, Jo was in these early Harry Potter novels and establishing just how deep her world is and the characters are just really relatable.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And completely…

Nick: It’s unfair to cheapen the series as a fad I think.

Eric: Yeah. Absolutely. Do that with Twilight if you want, I agree with you, but…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I don’t think that we spent 192 episodes on nothing either. Thats the other side of it.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: There have been shows that we’ve really gotten deep into things and one of them would be the politics show that we spent just I think close to two hours discussing the…

Andrew: Politics.

Micah: …symbolism.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Yeah, yeah, I didn’t know what other word to use, but we really did spend a lot of time discussing that, and we’ve broken down characters, we’ve had analysis of a lot of them, devoted shows just to certain characters, so I don’t think that it’s a child’s book – I don’t think you can do that with, you know, the Mother Goose stories, where you can break down [laughs] characters to the depth that we’ve done, or look at the symbolism in those stories as much as you can with a series like this.

Muggle Mail: The Weasley’s Spending

Andrew: Yeah. I think you’re right. There’s no way we could do a podcast, like Micah said at the beginning of that, for one hundred and ninety-two episodes – like there’s just no other book series that I know of – maybe Lord of the Rings, although I’ve never read it. Well, let’s move on now to Muggle Mail. The first e-mail comes from Aaron, nineteen, of Sydney, Austrailia. He says:

“I’m up to the bit where you guys are talking about the Weasley’s winnings and their trip in Episode 191. I think it was not a case of money mismanagement, and I don’t think they should be penalized for spending it the way they did. The Weasleys have lived like this forever, and they’re comfortable with it. They don’t want any Malfoy mansion. The Burrow is their mansion. They’re proud of who they are. Anyway who says investing money to get more money is wise? I think spending the money on the family trip would have brought them much more joy than any amount of money, not to mention all the memories they now have.”

Micah: So…

Andrew: It’s a good point…

Micah: Are these the same people that wrote in about how the Weasleys were mismanaging their money? Now all of a sudden we criticize them and these same people are writing back [laughs] to criticize us? I mean, I know the biggest thing we left out when we discussed it on our last show, was that they were going to visit Bill. And that was their primary reason for the trip.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: And…

Nick: You were all kind of harsh last episode.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Well what’s your opinion of it, Nick?

Nick: They should just invest in banks, and…

[Andrew laughs]

Nick: …I think that was the conclusion?

[Andrew laughs]

Nick: It’s the last time they all got to spend time together as a family before later in the series when half of them die. I think it was a good thing to do, they came across a windfall of unexpected cash, they had lived acceptably before they had it, and yeah. I can’t blame them.

Andrew: Yeah. I don’t know – I just – maybe I was wrong when I said that we always hear them complaining about money, because they really don’t in the books…

Eric: No…

Andrew: …but they do, sort of allude – we do see hints of – J.K. Rowling drops ideas to us of how poor they are, and maybe Aaron’s right. Maybe they enjoy living that way. And that’s fine. And I’m glad they went on a vacation and had a great time.

Micah: It couldn’t have cost that much money, though, if you think about it. I mean, they don’t travel by air.

Eric: With seven kids? Oh, yeah. You’re right.

Micah: And they probably have a place to stay with Bill…

Eric: Or a tent. [laughs]

Micah: So, they probably didn’t spend a whole lot of it on the trip. But I would say we got fifty e-mails alone just on this, and how horrible…

Andrew: People are very passionate.

Micah: …of people we are…

[Andrew and Nick laugh]

Micah: …to be criticizing the Weasleys.

Eric: well, you picked a strong e-mail, I mean, I think that this e-mail is very strong, and not offensive in any way. But it gets to the point. So that’s really good.

Andrew: Yeah.

Nick: I was just wondering, it’s not cleared up in the books, but can’t they just like Floo Powder themselves to Egypt, and then just…

Andrew: You would think so.

Nick: I can’t imagine the cost being that much anyways.

Andrew: True. Or use a Portkey.

Eric: Yeah.

Nick: Yeah.

Andrew: Nick, can you read the next e-mail for us please?

Muggle Mail: Aunt Marge

Nick: Sure. Next e-mail is from Aaron, who’s 17 and from New Zealand.

“In Episode 191, you were discussing why Harry didn’t stay away from Marge, why Vernon doesn’t stop him being near Marge. Well, the answer is actually in the book. I didn’t see how any of you didn’t pick up on this when you just read those chapters.”

And he quotes the books, and it says:

“Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia usually encouraged Harry to stay out of their way, which Harry was only too happy to do. Aunt Marge, on the other hand, wanted Harry under her eye at all times, so that she could boom out suggestions for his improvement.”

Andrew: I’d like to say that I did know about this and I tried to bring it up, but I think we sort of got sidetracked. My point was that Uncle Vernon should have stepped in and overpowered Aunt Marge, since he knew what Harry could do if he was pushed. So therefore, it was his responsibility to take action. We knew that Aunt Marge wanted Harry there, but Uncle Vernon should have said, “No, he has to stay up in his room. Sorry.” And just leave it at that.

Nick: I think Uncle Vernon is under the hierarchy of people now, isn’t he? He was kind of…

Andrew: It is what in the hierarchy, sorry?

Nick: Lower down. I think Aunt Marge – what she says goes.

Andrew: Yeah…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I guess so. I mean, that is pretty sad if it’s true.

Eric: [laughs] Vernon is kind of submissive there.

Andrew: Eric, you want to take the next e-mail?

MuggleCast 192 Transcript (continued)

Muggle Mail: Refusing Magical Education

Eric: Sure. Next one is from Nicole, 17, from Canada. She says:

“Hey MuggleCasters! First off, I just wanted to say that I love the show. You guys make my day whenever there is a new show. Anyway, I am writing in response to something you said in your last episode, 191, about witches and wizards choosing not to go to school or learning to harness their magic. I just wanted to point out that we see an example of this in Book 7 when Dumbledore’s sister refuses to learn magic and keeps it all bottled inside of her. There are some pretty nasty side effects to this refusal to learn magic: she ends up killing someone. Therefore, I don’t think that a magical person would be allowed by law to decide not to learn how to use their magic properly. Once again, I love the show. Everyone is my favorite, but I think that Lady Dumbledore and Fawkes top my list for sure.”

[Andrew laughs]

“Thanks so much for the show. You…”

Andrew: [as Fawkes] Gaga!

Eric: “…guys are the best!”

Do we have some new…

[Nick laughs]

Eric: …hosts that you guys aren’t telling me about? This Lady Dumbledore and Fawkes?

Andrew: Well, they came alive during one episode.

Eric: Oh, I see.

Andrew: Ben and I created them. They lived through us. But this is a really good point. And I think this is a great example, as Nicole says, of why everybody needs to be educated.

Eric: But Dumbledore’s sister was traumatized, wasn’t she? I mean, it wasn’t like she didn’t want to learn magic in an institution because she didn’t like institutions.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: Right? I mean…

Micah: The insinuation…

Eric: …she was…

Micah: …was always that…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: …she was raped, right?

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: I think.

Eric: Or something serious.

Micah: Something was done to her. Yeah, and I think there is a difference between not learning how to harness your magic or use your magic, and being educated. I think you could learn how to use it at home. You don’t have to go to an institution in order to learn how to use it properly. I’m sure there are people that can teach you outside of school.

Eric: But this issue with Dumbledore’s sister, not learning how to do magic – and it is in the book, that it manifested itself in weird ways and she couldn’t control it, and that sort of thing. I think that had to do more with her emotional state and her ability to come to terms with what happened. And obviously her dad tried to avenge her and ended up in Azkaban, so it was kind of an upset family unit, the Dumbledores. I think of the Dumbledores as being the extreme case in many instances. You’ve got Albus Dumbledore who’s highly intelligent, very successful, discovers twelve different ways to use dragon’s blood, and he’s obviously this great scholar. And then his sister is damaged to the point where she’s a harm to herself with the magic that she possesses. She’s unable to channel it and learn it and study it, and it just seems like the Dumbledores are a family of extremes.

Andrew: Next e-mail, Micah!

Muggle Mail: Colin Creevey’s Camera

Micah: Well if fifty e-mails came in about the Weasleys, I think another fifty came in about this topic. Lauren, 18, from Chicago writes:

“When you got into the argument about Colin Creevey’s camera and why it works at Hogwarts…”

[Eric laughs]

“…it’s because it isn’t really technology. There’s nothing digital about it because it’s an old time-y camera. I’m pretty sure Colin even makes comments about how he needs to get the film developed special to get the pictures to move magically, which implies that he’s kicking it old school photography-wise.”

Nick: Now guys, why was this question asked because Jo answers this on her website, right?

Andrew: No, what – yes. But again, I was – this is something I was trying to get my point across with but everyone was making fun of me on the show! I don’t – yes. Some cameras, old school cameras, were not technically technical. [laughs]

Eric: Electronic, you mean?

Andrew: If that makes sense. Electronic, yes, thank you. So…

Eric: More mechanical than electronic. So what was your point last episode?

Andrew: My point was that – well Ben brought up the question, or someone brought up the question, how can Colin Creevey have a camera at Hogwarts. But that person, whether it was Ben – I think it was Ben – was thinking that it was some digital camera that he can use to upload pictures to Facebook on. But no…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: It’s some old school camera from early 1900’s, I would guess.

Eric: So it’s more mechanical than electronic.

Andrew: Exactly.

Eric: Yeah, and…

Andrew: It’s like a polaroid.

Micah: It wasn’t from Ben, it was from Tiffany, 15, of Pittsburg.

Andrew and



Eric: Look at Micah with his notes.

Micah: Well I actually really just looked at our document from last episode.

Andrew: It was a Tweet. I see. You’re all out for me.

Nick: I’m just looking at Jo’s website now and she explains it fully and how it doesn’t use batteries, it runs off magic and the camera’s developed with different potions. It’s all there.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Well why would we go there, you know? That site’s never updated anyway.

[Eric and Nick laugh]

Andrew: Well here’s the thing, and I…

Nick: True, true.

Andrew: …feel bad when people will e-mail us and they’re like, “Well, duh! It was on her site!” There’s just so much to keep track of at this point it’s kind of [laughs] impossible unless we were Googling every single little thing that we bring up in the show, which can get very hard.

Eric: Some…

Andrew: so…

Eric: Oh. Yeah. But…

Andrew: More often than not we just – unless one of us remembers, as in Nick’s case, he remembered.

Eric: Thanks for that, Nick. Yeah, the best thing we can do is not spend a whole lot of time on it in the follow-up show.

Andrew: Yeah [laughs]. So…

[Eric laughs]

Muggle Mail: Lower Class School

Andrew: …with that said, next e-mail comes from Kayla, 13, of Winitachee, Washington. Win-a-chee, Washington. Something like that.

“Hello, MuggleCasters, I’ve been a short-time listener and have a small point to make. Last episode, you were discussing the fact that Hogwarts seemed to be a lower-class school compared to Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. [laughs] My problem is, in the book, Hogwarts did not seem like the lower class to me, but the middle class. In the Yule Ball, Krum was telling Hermione about Durmstrang, describing it as ‘not as big, nor as comfortable’ as Hogwarts. Students from Durmstrang also seemed very impressed by the Hogwarts castle upon arrival. On the other hand, the students of Beauxbatons had looks of disgust upon their faces and boasted about their beautiful castle. It just seemed to me that Durmstrang was lower class, Beauxbatons was upper class and Hogwarts was in the the healthy middle class. Sorry if that was lengthy but it’s been bugging me all day. Love the show, keep up all the great work, love and hugs, Kayla.”

I think was a point that we missed last episode and I think it’s a very good one.

Eric: Yeah. I think it has less to do with the schools themselves being low, high class at all. I think it has more to do with the geographical region they’re in.

Nick: Yeah.

Eric: The Bulgarian…

Nick: I was going to say that.

Eric: Yeah, Durmstrang, that it’s this drafty – I think they go into more detail later that it’s this horrible, cold place. As opposed to Hogwarts which is too drafty for the Beauxbatons group, but at the same time, Hogwarts is a middle ground in that. But I think the French, I think Jo is characterizing having lived in France, that’s her insight into the kind of personality that French schoolchildren, in the wizarding world at least, would have about their school, that their school’s the best. In other words, I think it’s more of a characterization of Jo, and I think it was less to do with actually, politically, economically, what class goes there. We know that all students in those geographic regions go to those wizard schools, those are the schools to go to. So you get higher class, like Malfoy, who lives in a mansion, and then you go Harry who lived under the cupboard. And they both go to Hogwarts.

Muggle Mail: Harry’s Children

Nick: All right the next e-mail is from Elyse, she’s 18 and from Pennsylvania. She writes,

“Hey guys, love the show, I’ve been listening since Episode 42. Anyways, I wanted to write in, because I was listening to Episode 189 and a listener wrote in wondering how Snape would feel about Harry naming his kid after him. Well I originally agreed with you that he would probably be kind of mad, I soon remembered that Jo made sure to mention in the epilogue that Albus Severus was the only one of Harry’s three kids to inherit Lily’s eyes. I think Snape would be very happy to know that his name was so closely connected to such an important and vivid piece of Lily. Thanks for reading, Elyse.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Why were you guys saying that he would be mad?

Micah: It was another e-mail, we didn’t say that he would be mad…

Eric: Oh.

Micah: …somebody asked if they thought he would be mad, if he would roll over in his grave…

[Eric laughs]

Micah: …or was that the question?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Nick: Yeah, it was something like that.

Andrew: Ah, it’s funny.

Micah: All right, you want me to take the last one?

Andrew: Please.

Muggle Mail: Alluring Books

Micah: The last e-mail comes from Jasmyn, 20, of Chicago and she says,

“Hey, MuggleCasters, I’ve just discovered the show within the past week, and I love it. I can’t believe I’ve gone all this time without hearing about it, and I’ve become an instant fan.”

Andrew: Can I stop you right there for a second?

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: It’s really cool to see how people are still discovering our show. That really means a lot to us, and that’s really great. I mean, in the back of my head I wonder where have you been for so long, but on the other hand…

[Nick laughs]

Andrew: …it’s great to see that you’re now discovering the show. So thank you, and hello to all new listeners in the past year! [laughs] Or two.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: So anyway.

Micah: So she goes on to say:

“I know you’ve just finished your Chapter-by-Chapter roundup for ‘Chamber of Secrets,’ but when I was catching up with the old episodes, I was struck by your observations about the symmetry of the series, especially between number 2 and number 6. I don’t know if you discussed this before, but I found it interesting that Ginny’s attachment to Riddle’s diary mirrors Harry’s attachment to the Half-Blood Prince’s potion book. Ginny and Harry both fall victim to trusting books with mysterious authors, the use of which almost kills people: the Petrified victims, and ‘Sectumsempra’-ed Draco. I found it odd that Harry would trust the book in the first place after Ginny’s previous experience, but then again, Harry is often unaware of his own obsessions. Thoughts? Thanks for reading my long-winded question. Jasmyn.”

Andrew: That is a great connection!

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: That was a really good connection.

Nick: It’s very interesting.

Andrew: I love that! I love symmetry and parallels and perpendiculars…

[Eric and Nick laugh]

Andrew: Everything is so cool!

Micah: That was a Laura deal, right?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: She was the one who went down – [laughs] – She was the one who went through and broke down all those…

Andrew: Yeah. We got to find that discussion, and maybe make a page out of it on MuggleNet. That would be cool.

Micah: Add it to the Wall of Fame.

Andrew: Yeah. Oh, yeah, that should be a Wall of Fame episode!

Micah: Yeah, I don’t think it’s in there.

Andrew: Yeah, I don’t think so either. We’re always talking about it.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Maybe it didn’t exist. We’ve just been talking about it for so long, you know, we just started thinking it was true.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: [laughs] We invented it. Yeah, that was a good episode that should have existed.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Yeah. Oh, Jasmyn also says that I have a sexy voice.

Eric: So do you want to record a message to Jasmine? Tell her…

Micah: I just read her e-mail. That should suffice I think.

Eric: Yeah. [laughs] Yeah, you’re right.

Andrew: So that does it for Muggle Mail, and now it’s time for Chapter-by-Chapter! It’s so good to be going through these books chapter-by-chapter, because…

Eric: I agree.

Andrew: We have great analysis we’re uncovering, great refresher, just a lot of fun. And…

Eric: We don’t have intro music, do we Andrew? For this…

Andrew: No. [sings] “Da da duh duh, Chapter-by-Chapter, Chapter-by-Chapter, we’re goin’ – Chapter-by-Chapter!”

Micah: Nice. That was a good job.

Nick: That was beautiful. [laughs]

Eric: That worked!

Micah: Spot on.

Andrew: Or this. [sings opera] “Chapter-by-Chapter we slowly discoverrrr things weeee did not once knoooow!”

Micah: Nah, that’s a little bit over the top.

Andrew: Okay. All right. I’ll try to develop something. Or someone else can.

Eric: Or maybe ask the fans! Come up with your most operatic Chapter-by-Chapter intro.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And send that.

Andrew: Come up with a – here’s what we – here’s a fun idea.

Micah: Issue a challenge, Andrew.

A Surprise Andrew’s Listener Challenge!

Andrew: Yes. Andrew’s Listener Challenge, listen up!

Eric: [sings] “Doo do, do do do!”

Andrew: Do do do – oh, we need an intro for that too!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Anyway, come up… [laughs] Come up with your own musical intro for Chapter-by-Chapter, and each week we’ll play a different one to intro it!

Eric: [gasps] That works!

Andrew: Assuming we get enough entries.

Eric: Yeah!

Andrew: Send them in! And we’ll play them before the – make up a little jingle. [sings] “Chapter-by-Chapter, bah bop bop.”” Maybe I’ll make one next week to encourage people to do it. There’s your Listener Challenge!

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: All right, so anyway! [laughs] These three chapters focus on Harry as he makes his journey to Hogwarts, and begins his third year at Hogwarts. And Micah’s going to take chapter four, The Leaky Cauldron.

Chapter-by-Chapter: “The Leaky Cauldron”

Micah: The chapter opens talking about the freedom Harry now enjoys and it’s interesting to get this kind of a look at Harry’s character because normally when all the books open up, he’s stuck at the Dursleys, and he’s very confined and constricted about what he can do. And yes, he was at the Dursley’s at the beginning of this book as well, but now he’s sort of off on his own, and he has the opportunity to wake up when he feels like it. He can eat whenever he wants, and he can kind of go wherever he pleases, as long as he stays within Diagon Alley. And he seems almost like he’s on a bit of a vacation. He’s hanging out around all of these stores, checking out what is in all of these different shops, and they make a note that Harry’s eating ice cream almost every half hour, I think it is. So do you guys think there’s a little bit of a different look into Harry. What might have he been like if he didn’t get stuck with the Dursley’s all the time?

Eric: It’s very awesome. Yeah, to see him like this, like you say Micah, because usually he’s strained, and/or stressed and I don’t think – it’s definitely a rare moment in this series that we see him getting to enjoy this where it’s pretty much Harry going around loving magic. But still, he gets to relax in his world, and that’s just something that obviously, as a tragic hero, he gets very little time to do. So it’s good that you pointed this out, and yeah, it’s great to see Harry and even Florean Fortescue, who is never resolved in Book 7 – Florean Fortescue helps Harry with his homework and that’s really cool. Just a great moment of relaxation for him. So yeah, absolutely.

Micah: Yeah, and I mentioned he’s kind of bumming around Diagon Alley and probably the most important thing that we see him come across that plays a role later on in the book is the Firebolt, and I thought that was a little bit of foreshadowing. Obviously, we know now, Sirius sends it to him with no ill intent but there’s a huge part of the book later on where Harry gets angry with Hermione for telling McGonagall that they don’t know where this broomstick came from.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: But completely different than how this plays out in the movie because he doesn’t get the Firebolt until the end of the movie.

Eric: That’s right, that’s right.

Micah: But just really weird that, here he is looking at this broomstick that ends up playing a role later on.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And he wants it badly too, you know? He’s standing there like, “Wow, I really want this.”

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: And, I think he wonders aloud if he is going to deplete his money, in case he can afford it, and yeah, I had forgotten about that Firebolt being confiscated. That’s a big part of Harry’s character as well that we’ll visit later in this book.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: And I’ve got to say, the Firebolt was one of the first magical objects that I personally was truly, very fascinated by. And I even had in fifth grade, I think, or sixth grade? There was a project where we had to make a product – an imaginary product, like bring it to real life. So I made the Firebolt and I took some gold spray paint and spray painted the broom part of it and I painted the stick red and I put “Firebolt” on it. We might still have it. I had a box – it was gold and it was awesome! And, yeah. It was just a really cool object! You sort of watched Harry be fascinated by it and it made me become fascinated by it.

Micah: I think if Ben or Jamie were on the show right now, they would definitely make fun of you, but…

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: I can’t do a good enough British accent to mock you properly. But anyway we learn in this chapter or we probably heard mentions of it in the chapters preceeding, but Harry is taking two new courses this year; Divination and Care of Magical Creatures. And he goes and he realizes that the Monster Book of Monsters book that Hagrid has given him will come in handy when he goes into Flouish and Blotts and doesn’t have to go through the process and make the store keeper dig into this crate of books that are absolutely tearing each other apart.

Eric: Savage, yeah.

Micah: And he goes to the back of the store with the store keeper to get Unfogging the Future for Divination, and all of a sudden he’s distracted by this book called Death Omens: What to do When You Know the Worst is Coming, and there’s this big black dog on the cover of the book. And we have obviously seen a big black dog earlier on in the – in Prisoner of Azkaban, just before the Knight Bus shows up to get Harry and now we see it again. So, I don’t know if we want to keep count somewhere of how many death omens we see throughout the course of this book.

Eric: It’s probably worth it. But as I say later too, I love the – what it turns out to eventually be is confusion with all these death omens and Harry gets really concerned and people are literally coming up to him and telling him that he’s going to die. And he has all this anxiety for it, and how it plays out. It’s very interesting to see Harry, being only 13 years old wonder, “Am I going to die?” And obviously he’s been slated to by some of the other characters we meet later. But this whole death omens thing is really interesting that it’s – that it’s in this book and very fascinating to read Harry’s reaction to seeing the death omens.

Andrew: And this is a classic example of poor, inexperienced Harry. How he’s so scared by the death omens. And I really like seeing Harry in this sort of stage. It’s cute.

Eric: Yeah, where he’s vulnerable.

Micah: Scared might be a better word. But the next point I put in here because we got the – the e-mails from the last show about how J.K. Rowling doesn’t do a whole lot of character development, and Harry, as he is in Diagon Alley and he spends more time there, a lot of the students begin to show up. And one of the people he runs across is Neville, and he sees Neville with his grandmother. And the book notes that Harry hopes Neville’s grandmother never finds out that he pretended to be Neville while on the run from the Ministry of Magic. And to me that was just – I don’t know, I just thought that was kind of a funny moment. Here’s Harry watching Neville’s grandmother, never really properly introduced to her until Order of the Phoenix, and yet he already has this suspicion that she is just somebody you don’t want to mess with.

Eric: [laughs] Yeah. Definitely not something that would be in the book if J.K. Rowling lacked in character definition.

Andrew: Yeah, exactly.

Eric: So…

Micah: Yeah.

Nick: Definitely.

Eric: Take that.

Micah: Now Harry ends up meeting with Ron and Hermione. And we get our first glimpse into something being up with Hermione when we see that she has three bags full of books and she says herself she’s studying Arithmancy, Care of Magical Creatures, Divination, Study of Ancient Runes, Muggle Studies, and this is all on top of their regular course work like Herbology and Potions and things like that. So does – I wanted to know does Ron raise a good point when he asks her why she’s taking Muggle Studies? This seems like something that would be an easy grade for her, and I know she says she wants to look at it from a wizarding perspective, but that seems like some B.S. to me.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I mean that’s such an easy class for her to take. That’s like when you take Geography 101 in college.

Eric: I remember to this point – oh, Andrew, did you want to say something?

Andrew: No, that was Nick.

Eric: Oh. Nick, did you want to say something?

Nick: Oh, I’ll say after this.

Eric: I just remember in high school I got upset when a lot of kids took Spanish who already knew how to speak Spanish and I held it against them. But looking at this – this way, and I think later in the year too, Hermione gets 150% or something on the exam for Muggle Studies is what it says – is what the book says. So yes, in one way it is a very easy grade. I at least – I think it’s good that Hermione’s taking 10 extra other classes is all I’m saying. It’s not like she’s taking Muggle Studies instead of Divination or instead of these other classes.

Micah: That’s true. That is true.

Eric: That way it would be an easy grade, but now she’s got the Time Turner and she says, “Well, I’m going to use it to its full potential. I’m going to take all these classes.”

Andrew: And that’s just in her character. She just wants to be busy like this and she wants to know every single thing. And I guess to answer this question best we should look at what Muggle Studies actually teaches. And I’m going to look it up right know because maybe there are some things that Hermione needs to learn. Who knows?

Eric: Actually, if you think about it she only had 11 years, or five or six years of traditional Muggle education.

Andrew: Right. And she’s probably also very interested in seeing the wizards’ perspective of Muggles overall.

Eric: That’s what she said. Yeah.

Nick: That’s what I was going to say. If you think of the stereotypes and the mad things that wizards perceive us to be. And I think that’s one of the reasons I would say, if I was her.

Andrew: According to…

Nick: I mean – I mean it’s the whole Arthur Weasley What-Is-The-Point-Of-A-Rubber-Duck scenario.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Exactly

Nick: Just – just a lesson of that would just be funny to me I guess.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah according to the Harry Potter Lexicon, Muggle Studies is a course in the history, culture and psychology of non-magical people. The class attempts to help young witches and wizards understand the difference between the way Muggles think and the way wizards think. So yeah, I think this is primarily Hermione’s way of learning how – how wizards look at Muggles.

Micah: Easy ‘A.’

Andrew: [Laughs] Yeah, well…

Micah: Or whatever the equivalent is.

Nick: Yeah.

Eric: For how – for how ignorant it seems, that Muggles – or wizards are, throughout the entire books, it seems like Muggle Studies, the class, isn’t much better.

Micah: And what was her official job? Did she move into something that Muggle Studies might have helped in when she grew up?

Eric: Right, that’s a good question. Doesn’t she – not the Muggle Liaison. I’m going to look that up while you guys talk.

Micah: But anyways this is our first look at her taking on a course load that just doesn’t meet with the time requirements. So even early on we get a feeling that Hermione’s up to something. And then we learn from Ron that, “Egypt didn’t agree with Scabbers.”

Andrew: Right.

Micah: And once we are in the pet store, I’ll call it, when Hermione goes to look for an owl, Ron takes Scabbers and puts him on the counter-top and has him inspected. And it’s interesting to me that Ron doesn’t seem to know how old this rat is, or what powers he has. Now that should probably have been the first time we were reading through, knowing J.K. Rowling, a red flag right away.

Nick: Especially when we’re told a normal rat lives three years…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah.

Nick: …or something like that.

Micah: So, something’s up with that, and we get the first mention of – of him missing a toe.

Andrew: Oh yeah.

Micah: Which comes to play later on.

Eric: Yeah. Very significant. But Jo has masked it, and is able to – I mean, we’re able to see – because she says most – because this old storekeeper lady says that rats are only supposed to live three years, and Ron’s like, “Well crap, I’ve had this – this rat’s been in the family forever.” It furthers the anxiety that Scabbers is going to die. So later when – or same day when Hermione gets Crookshanks and throughout the entire book we’re basically told that Scabbers shouldn’t be alive. [laughs] And…

Micah: Right.

Eric: Yeah, we kind of – it helps us side with Ron or at least see where he’s coming from when this woman in authority has told Ron that – to pretty much say goodbye and offers him new rats to buy instead of – instead – it’s interesting. It is a plot point, but it’s masked by this emotion, and that just goes to show how clever J.K. Rowling is.

Micah: So we get introduced to Crookshanks, as you mentioned, Eric, and he ends up being the reason why Scabbers runs out of the store and while Harry and Ron go to find Scabbers, Hermione ends up buying Crookshanks. And I wrote there, “Round One,” because…

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: …of the many incidents throughout the course of this book where the two of them get into it with each other.

Andrew: Yes, and in Chapter Five, the discussion I wrote for, we’ll get into that, I want to delve into that a little deeper, I have a little thing to discuss there.

Nick: Cool.

Micah: Yeah. So later on in the chapter, Arthur Weasley makes the comment, “Black’s not going to be caught by a thirteen-year-old wizard.” And this is just again, J.K. Rowling at her best, I guess, and maybe not if you’re Anna…

[Nick laughs]

Micah: …but there it is, sort of the irony of his statements. Because indeed in a way he is caught by a thirteen-year-old wizard.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Well, it’s interesting, because Arthur is – and the whole world at this point is blind to Sirius Black’s true intentions. So, whereas Arthur Weasley says, “Black’s not going to be caught by a thirteen year old wizard,” implying that he’s so powerful, so dangerous, so dark. Black really – Sirius wants to have a relationship with this thirteen year old wizard that Arthur Weasley is speaking of in his deepest heart. So it’s almost like its non sequitur in a way because he doesn’t have the facts, but in reality it’s – it’s that Sirius is obviously not a villain. But what I want to say is that Black had no choice but to interact with this thirteen year old wizard in a way that – their fates are linked I guess is all I’m trying to say…

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: As is the case so often in these Harry Potter books, the fates are linked. But it’s – it’s really cool to see and to point out that Arthur Weasley’s like, “Oh well. Not going to happen.” And then it does. It’s not a show of bad writing or anything like that. It’s actually the opposite.

Micah: Well, yeah I agree with what you’re saying. And in this chapter also we see a lot of Fred and George making fun of Percy. And I want – this is a larger question throughout the series I guess, but do you think Percy would have turned out to be as big of a git, as they refer to him throughout the books, if Fred and George treated him a little bit better? They do get on Ron but not as much as they do with Percy and they make fun of who he is as a person, his personality. And in this chapter they take his Head boy badge, which he’s real proud of, and they make it read “Bighead boy.” So…

[Andrew and Eric laughs]

Andrew: I don’t know if the amount of badgering they were doing against Percy was really enough to really change Percy’s character.

Micah: Right.

Andrew: So I think there is some deeper stuff going on with Percy there. I certainly think if Fred and George were treating him nicer I don’t think there would have been any difference really. I mean he still would’ve had his issues with the family. So…

Micah: Right. Okay. Well moving on. Harry overhears Mr. and Mrs. Weasley talking about Sirius Black. This – they’re all back at the Leaky Cauldron now and Harry has come downstairs I think to get Ron’s rat tonic…

Eric: Tonic.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Micah: …that he bought for Scabbers.

Eric: It’s like a manicure for rats.

[Nick laughs]

Micah: And we get our first reference of, “He’s at Hogwarts. He’s at Hogwarts,” which they did play up in the movies. And…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …we learn from Mr. Weasley that Fudge never reported this line to The Daily Prophet. Now do you think this was a misstep on his part or do you just think that the information wasn’t there yet to – to make it seem as if maybe it’s not Harry? Maybe it’s somebody else?

Nick: Well, maybe they just didn’t want to report it in case…

Eric: Panic.

Nick: …they thought they could catch Black. So if they put in the papers they know where he is maybe they think Black – Sirius is going to run away or…

Micah: It’s possible.

Nick: …I don’t know. Maybe it was more beneficial to withhold it from the press.

Andrew: I mean yeah…

Micah: I’m sure…

Andrew: …if you think about parents reading this article about a serial – an alleged serial killer…

Eric: Oh yeah.

Andrew: …who was plotting to get someone who is at Hogwarts, they wouldn’t let their kids go to Hogwarts.

Eric: We’d have Book 5, two books early. Or Book 6.

Andrew: Yeah. [laughs]

Nick: Yeah.

Andrew: So – and this is just one of the first poor steps by the Ministry with how they keep not reporting things to The Daily Prophet or making sure they don’t show up in The Daily Prophet.

Eric: But it’s kind of like…

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: It’s kind of like they have no choice but to catch Black. That’s their only lead in a way. So they’re able to put Dementors at the entrance of Hogwarts, and just say out of coincidence or out of happen stance, “Oh this is just for protection. Generally nothing to fear. Etcetera” They’re able to do that under the disguise of just generally protection their student community, when…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …actually that’s their best chance to trap Sirius Black when he does show up. You know what I’m saying?

Andrew: Yeah, you’re right.

Micah: And kind of going off of that point, why does Dumbledore agree to let the Dementors guard Hogwarts? I mean, is it really necessary, and why not put Aurors around the grounds?

Andrew: Well, I think the parents appreciate seeing some protection around Hogwarts, whether they know or not that Sirius may be planning to go to Hogwarts. But I also think – I think Dumbledore, as much he doesn’t like the Dementors, I mean he certainly knows that they’ve got to be a little helpful, right?

Eric: Well, it’s addressed, actually, it’s addressed when the first – either the attack occurs, or something – Hermione – I think it’s at the Quidditch game, Hermione mentions how furious Dumbledore is. This I think this is one of the first references of Dumbledore actually flipping his lid on the Dementors, for breaking barrier, and obviously trying to kiss his Harry I think it was. But Dumbledore doesn’t like them, and I think several characters throughout this book are saying how if Dumbledore saw any other option, he would have taken it. But people seem to respect him for putting these horrible monsters at Hogwarts simply because of the precaution.

Micah: Yeah, and Arthur Weasley says something really interesting. He says, “When you’re dealing with a Wizard like Black you sometimes have to join forces with those you would rather avoid.” And that’s referring to the Dementors. But I was wondering, does that come into play later on in the series, when you’re forced to work with people maybe you’d rather not?

Eric: Yeah, Mundungus Fletcher comes to mind immediately, but that’s not really a big thing, but just how – just the role that Narcissa Malfoy at a later point later plays, I think is – is kind of related. Because Harry trusts her in the very end.

Micah: Yeah…

Eric: I think it’s a good thing.

Micah: And Andrew, I think the final point is yours.

Andrew: Yeah, the final thing in this chapter, I thought was interesting, there’s a quote at the end of this chapter, “The thing that bothered Harry most was the fact that his chances of visiting Hogsmeade now looked like zero. Nobody would want Harry to leave the safety of the castle until Black was caught.” So, I’m wondering why out of everything that Harry’s learning all of the sudden that what bothered Harry most was that he wouldn’t be able to go to a village.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I know it’s Harry’s sort of way of being a normal wizard. I get that and I sympathize, but why is that what bothered him most? Is that sort of his immaturity or does he not really understand – I mean he doesn’t know that Sirius is his – Uncle…

Micah: Godfather.

Andrew: So – Godfather, sorry.

Micah: Same thing.

Andrew: Godfather. So…

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Why is he not concerned? But he thinks he’s a top – yeah he should be scared if he’s 13.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: He thinks he’s almost the top guy because he’s like, “I’ve defeated Voldemort twice.”

Eric: Yeah your question in this Doc is he less concerned about his safety? You know why is that?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And I just think that Harry wants to be normal. I think that’s what it is. I mean he just doesn’t want any special treatment which is the one side of it and the other side of it is he just does want to get on with being regular. So I mean him being excluded from Hogsmeade which it very much seems like he will be and later we find out yes, that’s exactly what’s happening. He just doesn’t want to be put apart, he doesn’t want people to know that he’s being treated differently, that he’s not one of the crowd because he really wants to blend in. I think that’s a traditional way for a 13 year old to feel.

MuggleCast 192 Transcript (continued)

Chapter-by-Chapter: “The Dementor”

Andrew: Chapter Five, “The Dementor.” Starts off with Harry wanting to tell Ron and Hermione what he had learned the night previously but they’re all interrupted by the busy morning of trying to get to King’s Cross. And here we see more bickering about Crookshanks and Scabbers between Hermione and Ron.

Micah: Round Two.

Andrew: And this got me – yeah Round Two.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: So this got me thinking are the two animals sort of reflections of their respective owners? When you think about it Crookshanks is a character who likes to physically attack the lower animals in the food chain similar to how Hermione is higher on the educational foodchain so to speak, regularly attacks Ron verbally. Do you guys see any parallels between Hermione and Crookshanks and Ron and Scabbers?

Micah: Yeah I think it’s interesting that you bring that up. I mean I know Crookshanks is going after Scabbers because he realises that Scabbers is not what he appears to be…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: But I also think thats an interesting insight in Ron and Hermione’s characters though definitely. I mean Crookshanks does act that way a lot throughout the course of the series, I mean he kind of polices and goes after – I think in Order of the Phoenix he jumps at some of the fireworks and occasionally he’ll go after an owl or two – so its interesting [laughs].

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I don’t know it’s cool that…

Eric: Crookshanks is going to be the death of Hedwig. No I agree, it’s – and thinking of Scabbers as a mass murderer simply doesn’t work in this question but its fascinating because watching Ron being protective over Scabbers, Scabbers being the weak rodent who has already lost a toe and Ron you know protecting him and getting genuinely offended at every little step that Hermione’s pet makes I think it’s – and what you said Micah, about Crookshanks policing you know – totally, exactly it. So yeah, I think there is a great connection.

Andrew: So at this point we reach a little movie comparison – they’re about to board the Hogwarts Express and Mrs. Weasley starts distributing sandwiches for the train ride which is very thoughtful of her.

Micah: Yeah, very nice.

Andrew: And… [laughs]

Micah: [laughs] Sorry…

Eric: Is something funny – or what?

Micah: No, its just funny that she does that I mean it’s definitely a motherly thing to do.

Andrew: Yeah exactly. Her last little help – her way to help the kids before they go to Hogwarts again. So Mr. Weasley notices at this moment he can pull Harry away so he does and prepares to tell him about Sirius but Harry stops him and tells him “Hey, I heard what you and Mrs. Weasley said last night.” And Arthur says this isn’t the way he would’ve hoped for Harry to find out. But to make matters worse he follows up with this statement, I can’t believe he says this to Harry: “Harry, you must be very scared,” I mean that’s not something you want to say to a kid who potentially could be scared! That’s not very comforting and he is looking up to you for support. If a parent told me, “You must be scared” or “You must stink” or something like that I would be very hurt.

Nick: Especially when you’ve seen death omens over…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: “Harry you must be wanting to give up.”

Andrew: I don’t know, I guess it’s to spur the moment sort of thing…

Eric: His heart is in the right place, it’s like a plot device because of your next point Andrew, but his heart is in the right place.

Andrew: Well, so Arthur asks Harry to swear to him that he won’t go looking for Black, and that’s sort of a cool line in the movie; by the way, the movie comparison I was making was that Arthur does not tell him at King’s Cross, he tells him at what the Three Broomsticks or the Leaky Cauldron?

Micah: Leaky Cauldron, yeah.

Andrew: Leaky Cauldron. So Arthur asks Harry to swear to him that he won’t go looking for Black, and that was a cool quote on the movie, “Swear to me that you won’t go looking for Black…”

Eric: “Why would I go looking for someone that wants to kill me.”

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, and Harry is confused by this statement but there is little time to clarify because the Hogwarts Express begins to pull away, so Arthur quickly tells him to not believe what he may hear and Harry starts to run away, so technically Harry never agrees that he won’t go looking because he goes running for the train. I just wanted to note that for the record.

Micah: Well, I hate to bring this up but wouldn’t this have been the best time to explain to Harry everything that was going on between Harry’s parents and Sirius Black? I mean, I know he finds out about it later in the book overhearing it when he shouldn’t be, but again, they never give him this information, he finds out when he is under the Invisibility Cloak in the Three Broomsticks. Wouldn’t this have been an ideal time, both the Weasleys being sort of the parental figures to him to sit him down and tell him what exactly transpired between Sirius and Harry’s parents?

Eric: And to think that Dumbledore should at least step in too – I mean – once Harry arrived – I mean giving him just the time on the train to think it out sure, but had they approached him early he probably wouldn’t have wanted to break into Hogsmeade this badly because he ends up putting himself in further danger just to overhear the true story anyway, or as much as they know it. If Dumbledore were to sit down with Harry in the beginning of term, treat him like an adult, which we know Dumbledore himself regrets not doing sooner, just sitting him down and saying this is the deal, giving Harry the support structure to a) have the knowledge and b) make the decisions of what he wants to do. I guess the fear is that Harry wants to avenge his parents’ death, that that’s going to be the big thing.

Micah: But that happens anyway!

Eric: Well it happens anyway but giving him the context of a whole year instead of just a few weeks or a few days – I forget which it is later on – to decide what he wants to do with that information and giving him the support structure, the students and the teachers and the parents that know what position he is in would have possibly influenced things for Harry’s better, but at the same time wouldn’t have worked as well with obviously Harry as susceptible to believe that Black isn’t actually a villain I guess.

Andrew: So, moving along, Harry tells Ron and Hermione he needs to speak with them in private. They find the compartment with only Lupin inside and establish that he will be the new Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher because on his case, it says ‘Professor Lupin’, and they are, like, oh, there’s only one spot to fill. So, Harry fills Ron and Hermione in on what he learned, and they too are confused by Arthur’s warning about searching for Sirius. And Ron and Hermione begin to talk about Hogsmeade at this point, and this upsets Harry. And when discussing how Harry could join them, Ron briefly considers asking Fred and George if there are passages out of the castle to Hogsmeade.

Micah: But it is foreshadowing about the Marauder’s Map, which comes into play later on obviously.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Micah: Yeah. Oh, my point about before that I thought, just real quick, was that I just thought it was really foul how Draco knew more than Harry though…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: …because…

Andrew: Definitely.

Micah: …Draco – not – taunts him at points during this book almost like he knows – well, he does know, about Sirius and what Sirius did. And the fact that Harry has no clue, I thought that was wrong.

Eric: Yeah, and surely others…

Nick: Yeah.

Eric: …in the wizarding community – I mean, they don’t know that Black was the Secret-Keeper. Or, whatever Fudge says has been kept out of the press as well. But surely, they do know – I mean, the popular knowledge should be a little bit more than Harry knows. And that is just a bad position to put Harry in just in general. I don’t think that is fair.

Andrew: So, Draco, Crabbe and Goyle briefly enter the trio’s compartment, but don’t pick a fight as Ron is quick to point out that a new Hogwarts teacher is right there with them. And so, they leave and then suddenly things start to get nasty. The train begins to come to a stop as everything outside grows darker. We know it was raining pretty much the whole time. And lights go off in the train and people begin to panic. So, this is where another movie difference comes in. In the book, Lupin awakes before the Dementor comes in. And Lupin lights a fire in his hand, but the Dementor opens the door before Lupin can reach it. The Dementor begins to suck out Harry’s soul. It begins to black out and he starts feeling very depressed. We see all the effects of what a Dementor can do to you when you are sucking out – when your soul is being removed. Of course, the movie difference here is that in the movie, the Dementor begins to come in. And then, Lupin just suddenly happens to awake and sends the spell. So, it was just funny because there are so many things that happen in this compartment right before the Dementors come in that this is the thing that wakes Lupin up. I just thought that to be kind of…

Eric: He’s…

Andrew: I don’t know.

Eric: …got an eye for danger. [laughs] A…

Andrew: I’m not…

Eric: …sixth sense.

Andrew: …criticizing…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: …it, but there was a lot more louder things going on and I don’t think the Dementor… [laughs] …attack was too loud. I don’t know.

Eric: Well, was…

Micah: Well, maybe…

Eric and



Micah: Go ahead.

Eric: Was he sleeping? I mean…

Andrew: Oh, maybe…

Eric: It never comes into play. It’s not relevant except speculative. Was he asleep? That was always the question I was asking. Was Lupin really asleep?

Andrew: But, they still come in there. I mean, he wasn’t planning on the trio coming in there, would he? Did he assume that only the trio would end up coming into his compartment? I…

Eric: I don’t know. I mean, he doesn’t know…

Andrew: Because…

Eric: …them at the point.

Andrew: …I just don’t see the point of why he would be sleeping to begin – or pretending to be sleeping…

Eric: Right.

Andrew: …to begin with. Unless he really was sleeping and then he…

Micah: Maybe…

Andrew: Well, I bet…

Micah: …he just sensed the presence of the Dementor and he knew that that was – of course he could have been woken up at times, you don’t have to open your eyes just to be awake and maybe he just kind of just pushed it aside as young kids being obnoxious but when he felt the presence of the Dementor and felt the train slow down, he jumped into action.

Andrew: Yeah, I think you’re right. But I was wondering a little what if here, what if they hadn’t chosen the compartment Lupin was sleeping in to stay in or what if Lupin wasn’t on the train at all? Who would’ve saved Harry?

Eric: That’s a good question.

Andrew: Could a student have jumped in who’s experienced with fighting Dementors, sending their Patronus?

Eric: Yeah it seems like Dementors were never a part of the original curriculum. In any of the books it’s not like, “okay now we’re going to deal with Dementors.” I wonder if anybody, sans the conductor and maybe the trolley lady would have come in and kicked Dementor butt.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: You know they’re all underaged wizards with the seventh years, obviously a little ambiguous there, but yeah it’s a darn good question. How is the Hogwarts Express vulnerable from attack or is it? And I think a Dementor would have made off with Harry’s soul.

Andrew: I think you’re right. I don’t see how else he could have gotten out of it. Unless Hermione had conveniently learned…

Eric: Read about it. Accio-ed some books from the library.

Andrew:Accio someone else’s Patronus!”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I don’t know. Okay so everyone arrives at Hogwarts and Draco teases Harry for passing out and McGonagall brings the trio up to her office to speak with them but Harry insists that he is fine and does not need any assistance from Madam Pomfrey. Madam Pomfrey is sort of there and being like “oh you messed yourself up again,” she’s kind of mean. I didn’t like her, and then McGonagall has a private word with Hermione and who exits the brief meeting with a big smile on her face. Is this the moment she receives her Time Turner, you think?

Eric: Yeah

Micah: Yup.

Nick: Yeah. It seems so.

Micah: Or that she would be allowed to use it, she gets the permission, maybe.

Andrew: Yeah because I was going to say we see – I can’t remember if this happens in the book, but in the movie, Hermione says Dumbledore gave it to me.

Eric: Does she?

Andrew: Yeah I’m pretty sure when she’s explaining it to Harry. So Dumbledore gives his welcome feast speech and warns the students “not to leave the grounds or they will be greeted by an unfriendly Dementor” and Dumbledore announces that Lupin will be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and Hagrid will take over the Care of Magical Creatures position. To this Hagrid was very excited, he shed some tears, it was really bittersweet and to Harry’s surprise, Snape gives Lupin a loathing look only comparable to when Snape looks at Harry. This is when Dumbledore announces that Lupin will be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. So why would Snape do this even though he’s a good guy? Is he just upset he’s still not the teacher?

Eric: [unintelligble]

Micah: I don’t think so. I don’t believe that. I think when you look at Order of the Phoenix and you go into Snape’s memory, as much as Lupin wasn’t responsible for what happened to Snape during his time there. He really didn’t do much to prevent it, so I think it’s one of those situations where even though you’re not acting on it you’re still complicit on it because you didn’t do anything about it and I think Snape holds him accountable for that.

Nick: Yeah.

Micah: And for being James’ and Sirius’ best friend.

Eric: It’s bad memories. We’ve seen Snape lose it like, “Don’t call me a coward” He gets emotional when he’s not able to be professional and obviously this old school rivalry is not something Snape needed.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And to see it first hand is just bitter. So he’s bitter.

Andrew: So the feast begins and all is well – until the next chapter.

Chapter-by-Chapter: “Talons and Tea Leaves”

Eric: Dun dun dunnn – so similarly to what Andrew of the last comment on the chapter. My first note about chapter six is about chapter five. The last words of the chapter, quote “They reach their familiar circular dormitory with it’s five poster beds and Harry looking around felt that he was home at last.” That’s just a great character moment where Harry is like, oh I’m finally home. So it’s his first day at Hogwarts in chapter six: “Talons and Tea Leaves” and Harry is a little upset because he fainted on the train and all of the Slytherins are making fun of him. And that’s really a recurring theme of this chapter, that Harry is feeling really weak, he’s starting to feel out of the loop and there’s great moment where Fred and George turned the subject to Quiddich and they’re like yeah, we’ll just whip his butt in Quiddich, don’t worry about Malfoy. So that’s really cool and they’re handed their class schedules, which is great because we get to see for the first time that they are taking new classes so we get to learn a little more about the different branches of magic in the world which is great, and now it comes to a head where Ron sees Hermione’s schedule and tells her that there simply isn’t enough time, which was italicized, for her to take ten classes. She tells him to mind his own subplots but he persists. She has Divination, Muggle Studies, and Arithmancy all at 9:00 a.m. Okay.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: My point is she actually has three classes at once. Which means she’s taking one of the classes, going back in time, take that class, going back in time again and that is her 9:00AM slot. And I can’t help but think when reading this it’s got to add up. She’s basically older than she should and it’s not a little thing because they are at Hogwarts for what, 8 months or so and by the end of the year, sure she has dropped Divination but she’s got to be that many hours older than herself.

Andrew: Well, I don’t know how relevant, I don’t know if it makes too much of a difference. And what I was going to say earlier, it’s really interesting at the start of each of these school years to see all these new classes and the new books. It was always fun to read all the clever titles that Jo wrote – that Jo came up for the school books and the and just to see the new classes as well.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: But I still I can’t figure out – I know Hermione is a hard-core student but I still can’t figure out why she wanted to take all of these classes so badly.

Eric: You’re – there were four more years she could have done this, so…

Andrew: Yeah, and I mean it certainly wasn’t necessary.

Eric: No.

Andrew: Because otherwise all the students would be doing it. Everyone would have a Time Turner. It would just be one crazy time warp.

Eric: Yeah. Well, I mean, that’s interesting because how it’s convenient, but at the same time – I just think, and I’ve mentioned in my notes, Book 4 where they have that age restriction drought that Fred and George try and trip, you know…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: If Hermione had done enough time traveling, she would have been old enough to put her name in the Goblet of Fire, had she wanted to. But that was just – that’s an extreme. Okay, so they meet Sir Cadogan on their way to Divination. They come upon this painting of a grassy patch with a pony and Sir Cadogan agrees to show them the rest of the way to the North Tower. And it’s just Harry’s kind of an “I love magic” moment, but Jo writes how Sir Cadogan is traveling through all these other paintings of monks that look hostile, and it’s – I just put here that I really wish that at some point throughout the series they would have skidooed and gone into the portrait world, [laughs] just because it seems really cool.

Micah: Yeah, well, isn’t it – is it Charlie or Bill who asks about Sir Cadogan? I think it’s in Goblet of Fire when…

Eric: Yeah, they ask, “Is that old knight…?”

Micah: …one of them says – yeah, something like that, “Is he still running around?” or – I can’t remember what the exact question was, but again it shows how even how insignificant the character is, J.K. Rowling still makes them relevant throughout the course of the series.

Eric: Yeah, that he’s got – that other people at Hogwarts, Bill and Charlie in their time, knew him somehow. All these stories waiting to be told. [laughs] So we do meet Trelawney – they get to Divination and we meet Sybill Trelawney. And I write here that she is the second concrete link to Harry’s past that we have – in this book, at least, because apart from Sirius Black, who’s been blamed for telling Voldemort where Lily and James were hiding out, Trelawney, we later find out, was the Seer who made the original prophecy, directly the reason that Voldemort came after Harry to begin with. Very important character that is passed off as this kook and this teacher that we – little do we know, but it’s just fascinating how Jo, at the same time she’s telling a story about Harry in his third year, he’s thirteen, his new classes, she’s also fleshing out the back story – one of the great things, I think, about this book that I will bring up when I can. So basically, the Divination class goes on. They make – Trelawney starts making tiny, I say, cryptic pronouncements about certain members of the class. She’s like, “Oh, Neville, your grandmother – is she well? I wouldn’t be so sure.” And Ron reads Harry’s tea leaves, and he says there’s this – do you guys remember at one point – Micah, I think you may have talked about this? About how Ron suggests that Harry’s going to get some unexpected gold? And that obviously does happen in Year 4. But some of these prophecies, I think Jo has hidden as being actual foreshadowing to the future books.

Micah: Yeah. I agree with that. I think that all the little things that get thrown in there that you have to pay attention to, that you realize more so when you go back and re-read the series for however many times. But there’s always something in there that maybe you didn’t notice previously, and this is one of those things. Like you said, “an unexpected windfall of gold.” It obviously comes Harry’s way at the end of Goblet of Fire.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Plus, when you think about the – what’s going on right now, Trelawney, who’s made out to be some insane woman, is teaching them how to read tea leaves, and Ron is giving Harry a prediction. So between Ron, who’s not the best student, and Trelawney…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: …being some crazy woman, you would never guess that this prediction would actually come true. Even if it did truly come true, it could be a mere coincidence.

Eric: Yeah, and I think what I was – yeah, what I was trying to remember was later in the book when they actually purposefully – Ron and Harry are purposefully making stuff up. That’s when it actually, I think, even deeper and more correctly foreshadows the rest of the series. But it’s cool and it’s evidence of pre-planning, so MuggleCast: 6, Anna: 0. The Grim…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: No, one or two, I’d say, for Anna. The Grim, we’ve got death omen count number three or four. Micah, do you know so far?

Micah: Three, I think.

Eric: Three. It’s just – yeah, this really upsets Harry. It’s Harry being vulnerable again and really…

Andrew: What’s the omen?

Eric: The omen is…

Andrew: Oh. Oh, Trelawney’s prediction. Sorry.

Eric: Yeah, Trelawney’s predicting that he’s got the Grim in his teacup, and Harry’s like “Okay, I’m going to die, and I keep seeing this dog,” which he later tells Ron at lunch in this chapter, and it’s just – it’s really disconcerting to him. The only thing that allays Harry’s fears is Syb – sorry, McGonagall in Transfiguration, which happens after Divination. She tells them that Trelawney predicts the death of students every year and it’s never happened. So Harry’s…

Andrew: At this point, do you think Harry’s number one concern was still not going to Hogsmeade or has it changed by this point?

Eric: [laughs] I think he’s more concerned about seeing the Grim, actually, and I think, as evidenced by Hermione and Ron specifically dueling it out about this in this chapter. I don’t have it in the notes, but Hermione’s like, “You didn’t think it was that important. You weren’t ranting about Uncle Bilius when you were telling Harry that his tea leaves were sheep instead of a Grim.” It’s just this really – they know how Harry’s feeling but at the same time I don’t think – I think death is the priority. So much so that I’m really worried that Harry’s a little young to be worried if he’s going to die. I mean, he’s thirteen. So is this a children’s book? I mean, Harry is basically seeing these death omens.

Micah: [laughs] We keep going back to that e-mail. I think that’s funny, but what’s also kind of interesting here is that McGonagall basically through her creative language dismisses what Trelawney is all about, but yet in Order of the Phoenix she actually feels terrible for the way Trelawney gets treated by Umbridge. So it’s a little bit of a turnaround for McGonagall’s character from where things are nice in this book, and they get really bad in Order of the Phoenix.

Eric: Yeah. She’s got her heart in the right place. She just doesn’t like what the Ministry’s doing and that’s very [sniffs] – very apparent. So I just have – between Divination and Transfiguration, Hermione has also gone back in time twice, which isn’t mentioned obviously, but that’s just – I’m trying to keep a count. [laughs]. So they get to Care of Magical Creatures after lunch, and it’s really out of loyalty – this is just a great Harry character moment. He’s concerned. He just came from lunch, they’re talking about whether or not he’s going to die, and Harry sees that Hagrid’s class is not going well. Obviously, they’ve been given this Monster Book of Monsters, which nobody opened. Hagrid’s really upset, he prepared since 5:00AM for this, he said before. Harry volunteers to go up and talk to Buckbeak, slightly different than what happens in the movie. I think what happens in the movie is funny but slightly different. You know, it’s out of Harry’s loyalty for Hagrid that he volunteers to go up and try and get on Buckbeak. I wanted to mention, because the hippogriff is like this fantastic beast to say it, obviously.

Andrew: And where to find them.

Eric: [laughs] And where to find it is this paddock. But this characterization of the creature Buckbeak, how they’re proud creatures, how you have to bow to them – I don’t know how much fantasy literature you guys have read, but have you guys ever really read anything like this? Nick, have you read anything where there’s this character or this animal that’s characterized like this? I mean, it’s just…

Nick: No, I haven’t come across anything like that. No.

Eric: It’s quite cool.

Andrew: Well, it is a magical world. I mean, what do you expect?

Eric: But characters – creatures that you have to bow to?

Andrew: Well…

Nick: The depth of the personification of these creatures, I think, is just a testament to Jo’s creativity and her writing.

Andrew: Yeah.

Nick: And again goes back to the whole point that Anna made. [laughs]

Andrew: But also, when you think about approaching, let’s say a tiger, [laughs] you do it with caution. I know you can’t just simply bow to it and be able to approach it, but I think what Jo’s trying to get across here is this is a very powerful creature that’s high up on the food chain. Sort of like, say a lion or a tiger, and you need to show it respect. And this is the way that people in the wizarding world can connect with the animal and show it respect by bowing to it. Because you are saying permission to approach you. You know, maybe there’s some way we can do that with lions and tigers and bears.

Eric: Oh, that’s a good point.

Andrew: We don’t know.

Eric: That’s true. It’s true, that’s how you gain the trust of any animal. That’s a good point. I definitely wasn’t thinking about that.

Andrew: Yeah. PETA, baby! Animal rights!

[Eric and Nick laugh]

Eric: That last point then is that the Trio is upset with the class. Obviously Malfoy gets injured by the hippogriff because he wasn’t paying attention. There’s this big scene which I just basically skipped over because: a) we’re all familiar with it and b) the aftermath is in some ways, we’ll cover it all when dealing with the aftermath. So the Trio, they go to Hagrid’s hut after hours. They see that there’s a light on and they go visit him. He’s really drunk. Obviously he’s scared, but Hagrid is just really drunk.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Slurring speech, completely out of sorts, and it’s interesting just because they’re taking care of him. And we’ve seen the Trio care to him in the past, but it’s just – they take him out back and soak his head in a bucket.

[Andrew and Nick laugh]

Eric: And I just wanted to mention because it’s really – it’s like co-dependent but it’s just also very interesting that this is in the book. I mean…

Andrew: Well, you know, we see it in the Half-Blood Prince film. Why didn’t we see drunk Hagrid in the Prisoner of Azkaban film?

Eric: You’d think…

Andrew: What changed? Was it a “time issue”? [laughs] Too soon, I guess.

Eric: Too soon. There was no way to work a shrunken head into Hagrid’s hut, that just would’ve been too much.

Andrew: Yeah, maybe. I don’t know, but now I’m wishing – now I want to watch Half-Blood Prince tonight, because I want to see a drunk Hagrid.

Eric: Yeah, but he’s drunk really early on. These are thirteen-year-olds. Obviously he wasn’t planning on being visited, but still. And he does jump to the parental guidance side of him when he comes to after dunking his head in water and sends them immediately back up to the dormitories because they’re out after hours.

Micah: Yeah. But this really begins with Draco, sort of his series of trying to get Hagrid into trouble. And if it wasn’t a hippogriff, it would have ended up being some other creature that Draco tried to taunt in order to make Hagrid look bad.

Eric: Well, there’s Norbert, too, in Book One. It’s just, Draco doesn’t like Hagrid. Half-breeds, he’s been raised to believe that they’re less human.

Andrew: So there we go, four through six of Prisoner of Azkaban. Boy, that was one of our longest Chapter-by-Chapter segments, I think, but, you know, we got away with it.

Micah: It’s a lot of material.

Quote Quiz

Andrew: There is a lot of material. Absolutely. We got away from Quote Quiz last week, and maybe even the episode before that, so Quote Quiz-quiz-quiz! It’s a difficult one. You guys will all be challenged. “Riddikulus!” That’s Quote Quiz. Who said it?

Micah: Everyone?

Eric: Everyone.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: Everyone except Harry.

This Week in MuggleCast History

Andrew: That’s why – yes, that’s why it’s a challenge. But good catch, guys. I thought I had you fooled. Not the MuggleCasters. It’s time now for This Week in MuggleCast History. We went all the way back to Episode 28, February 19th, 2006. Our main discussion was Professor McGonagall. And good old Laura Thompson – and Kevin makes an appearance, too. Kevin Steck, we all remember Kevin Steck. They have some speculating to do, and it’s pretty funny. Take a listen. [Makes time travelling sound]

[Andrew plays a clip from Episode 28. To view the transcript for this episode, click here.]

Andrew: [Makes time travelling sound] There’s a little moment there from Episode 28. Laura…

Eric: Kevin Steck!

Andrew: [laughs] I know. It was funny. Laura was so afraid to bring it up. She was like, “Are they possibly in a relationship?”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And boy, if we only knew then.

Eric: What do we know now?

Andrew: We know that Dumbledore is gay, so they would definitely not be together. [laughs]

Eric: Oh yes, of course. Crap. I just – I forget that.

Chicken Soup for the MuggleCast Soul

Andrew: Something else we haven’t done in a while here on MuggleCast, and to wrap up the show today – Chicken Soup for the MuggleCast Soul. This one comes from Amy, 22, of Cardiff, Wales. Care-diff, Wales? How do you pronounce that, Nick?

Nick: Cardiff, Wales.

Andrew: Cardiff, yes. Thank you.

[Eric laughs]


“I just wanted all you guys to know how much you have helped me ever since you began, but especially in the recent months. Last year I took a gap year from my degree because I wasn’t enjoying it. I had a fabulous time away, but last September it was time for me to return and finish the final year of my course. My university is in Cardiff, but my home is 183 miles away and it takes me nearly six hours to get home. All my friends who I was at University with graduated last year and I now know no one. I’m very lonely and not enjoying my course. Listening to you guys reminds me of better, happier times and feels like I have friends around me. It means a lot and I know you have touched many others around the world in the same way. Thank you and keep it up… for my sanity, Amy.”

Well, Amy. Glad to hear that the show’s helping you out. MuggleNet’s been our constant in many of our lives, I’d like to think. But before we wrap up the show today, we have a couple of announcements…

Announcement: Podcast Alley

Andrew: Don’t forget to vote for us on Podcast Alley. We ask every week – or every episode, and we do appreciate it. We’re in the middle of FuggleCast February, and as I can see right now, we’re not on the top ten list. So if you could go to and vote for us, we would greatly appreciate that.

Announcement: Infinitus 2010

Andrew: Also, Infinitus 2010! New website on Infinitus – the website is and the location is Orlando, Florida from July 15th to the 18th of this year. They just announced that there is going to be a party in the park exclusively for Infinitus attendees. So that means the Harry Potter theme park is going to close down and they’re only going to let in Infinitus attendees in a special night party. So in other words, it’s going to be the biggest Harry Potter fans all together at one giant Harry Potter party in the Harry Potter theme park. I don’t know how much better it can get than that. [laughs] And I was thinking that we should get all the MuggleCast listeners together and do a sort of – we could all ride on the rides together.

[Nick laughs]

Show Close

[Show music begins]

Andrew: So go to to learn more details and to register. We’re going to be doing a MuggleCast there – it’s going to be a lot of fun. And finally today, I would just like to plug something. You guys are going to laugh at me. I’m sure you’re looking at it in the Google Doc right now and wondering what’s going on, but I am starting a Lady Gaga fan site, and it’s called TheGaga… [laughs] Matt just laughed at me!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: It’s called It’s your all-around, ultimate fan site for Lady Gaga. And like Harry Potter and Twilight, Lady Gaga is a phenomenon, so I wanted to jump in on this, too. I’m doing this with a couple friends and it’s going to be a lot of fun. So again, visit if you’re a Lady Gaga fan and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to run a Lady Gaga fan site. I know you all think I’m crazy but you know what? I don’t care. I do a Harry Potter podcast, what can I say?

Eric: Let me know if you need a Gaga caption contest.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: I think we would need one with all the crazy costumes she wears, so maybe I’ll take you up on that. Anyway, thanks everyone for listening. It’s been a very full show but a very fun show. We want to remind you all again that is the website where you can get all of the information you need pertaining to the show. You can follow us on Twitter, fan us on Facebook, you can e-mail us through, too. That’s how we get all your feedback that we read here on the show each and every week. Thanks again, everyone for listening, I’m Andrew Sims.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

Nick: And I’m Nick Myers.

Andrew: We’ll see you next time for episode 193. Bye-bye!

Nick: Bye.

Micah: Bye.

Eric: Bye.

[Show music continues]