MuggleCast 199 Transcript
[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 GoDaddy.com. 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 GoDaddy.com! This week’s episode of MuggleCast is also brought to you by Audible.com, the internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audio book of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast today for details.
[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
Jim Dale: [as Professor McGonagall] This is Professor McGonagall welcoming you all to MuggleCast hoping you enjoy it – Dobby! Dobby, come here! Here! Dobby! [as Dobby] Yes, I’d just like to say how very pleased I am to introduce MuggleCast to all of you! Thank you! Thank you!
[Show music begins]
Andrew: Because we have a new idea for a television network, this is MuggleCast Episode 199 for May 26th, 2010.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 199! We are one episode away from the gigantic 200. We’re so close that poor Ben – he was confused this week. He came on thinking it was 200, but lo and behold, it’s lonely old 199, Ben.
Ben: I know, it nearly broke my heart when you broke the news to me, man.
Andrew: Well, next week – two weeks from now is actually 200. So, you can be here for that as well.
Ben: Yeah and it’s been how long now, Andrew? How long have we been doing this?
Andrew: I don’t know, man. Since the beginning. But we’ll actually…
Ben: That’s usually where it starts.
Ben: At the beginning.
Andrew: But we will…
Eric: It’s a very good place to start, Ben.
Andrew: Related to that, today we’re actually going to be talking a lot about MuggleCast’s five year history. And we’re going to be catching up on news as well, getting to some e-mails. There’s a lot of feedback, a lot of good feedback, about last week’s show, so we’ll get into it. I’m Andrew Sims.
Ben: I’m Ben Schoen.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Micah Tannenbaum, what’s in the news this week?
News: Wizarding World Updates
Micah: A little bit of Wizarding World information. A huge high-res picture – you know how much I love pictures – was released of the hog’s head, in the Hog’s Head.
Eric: And it moves!
Andrew: Yeah, Eric, did you actually see the hog’s head? Does it actually move?
Eric: I don’t even know if I can release that kind of information.
Eric: No, to be perfectly honest, but I will say that if I did see it, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t moving when I saw it.
Eric: If I saw it.
Micah: Well, considering it’s called “animatronic,” I would assume that it moves at some point. It’s interactive with people. And what was cool about it, was they had those shrunken heads from Prisoner of Azkaban…
Andrew: Yeah, that was interesting.
Micah: …kind of hanging out next to them.
Ben: Did they speak in Jamaican voices?
Eric: [laughs] It really enhances the persona of the Hog’s Head as being sort of a dodgy place.
Andrew: Yeah. That’s cool. What else, Micah?
Micah: Virgin Atlantic is getting in on the fun with the theme park. They’ve branded an entire airplane with the Wizarding World logo.
Eric: I want to fly that when I go to Florida for Infinitus.
Andrew: Well, the whole thing behind this is that Virgin has some travel plan with Universal and, Micah, he’s all excited about it, but, Micah, it’s just a little side of the plane. They should have covered the entire thing with Harry Potter.
Andrew: It’s just the left side – like the back and it says Harry Potter on it. [laughs]
Eric: That’d be cool though – instead of sitting in row 9, you’d be in row 9 3/4 B.
Andrew: Yeah, they should have decked the whole plane out and like Ben was saying, they should have the stewardesses – should have been in gowns. They totally dropped the ball here.
Eric: Pushing the trolleys, yeah.
Andrew: Is that next though? I mean could this a sign of whats to come? We have a Harry Potter theme park, why would there not be Harry Potter air travel? A Harry Potter airline?
Ben: It’s like the world slowly is going to evolve into one giant Harry Potter land.
Andrew: Right, it will truly be the Wizarding World.
Ben: It’s coming folks, you heard it here first.
Micah: It’s all a ploy to make money, right Ben?
Ben: That’s life.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Micah: But I guess the big theme park news was that, today, Robbie Coltrane, Emma Watson, Matt Lewis and the Phelps twins got their own sneak peek of the park and there’s some photos up on MuggleNet.com, more photos. Seems like they were having a pretty good time. They were pretty impressed with what they saw.
Andrew: Yeah, there’s like this really goofy photo. We got a photo in the morning right after their arrival and they’re all looking at each other like with surprised look on their face. It’s a funny photo but – first of all, what’s Robbie Coltrane – why is he one of the first stars to go down there?
Andrew: He’s never involved in Harry Potter anything and then we get this picture this morning of Robbie Coltrane in the theme park. [laughs]
Micah: Somebody else must have been busy.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: Yeah, I guess so.
Eric: They’re like, “Robbie, will you go to this?” and he was like…
Micah: Or maybe he was in the area.
Eric: …”I’ll be involved.” That’s true.
Andrew: Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool. But – yeah, and then Emma is there and I heard Universal called this morning. They said, “Andrew, where’s Ben? He’s not anywhere near the South-Eastern area of the country, right?” I was like, “No, no, no. He’s on the West Coast.” They’re like, “Oh good. Because Emma Watson is coming in today. We don’t need anyone chasing her down.”
Ben: Yeah, I’m kind of on one of those watch lists or something at this point I’m sure.
Andrew: If you try to go into the theme park they’re going to deny you, whether Emma is there or not. So yeah, we got these pictures and Emma – [laughs] there is this photo of Emma. It’s actually really nice. She’s looking into one of the windows and she’s holding her hands to her mouth in all – she’s in awe. It’s just really sweet. You know, it really speaks to the level of quality at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.
Eric: And there was a new – have you guys been seeing new commercials on TV for this?
Micah: No. A little bit altered but same…
Micah: …end scene, if that makes sense.
Eric: Same end scene. And I guess Harry is still – you know, says, “Come on.” But they’re actually flying through Hogsmeade now. I think it’s pretty close to what I think the park will look like.
Andrew: All right, what else is going on, Micah?
News: Rowling Role Model
Micah: J.K. Rowling – according to a poll that was conducted in The Telegraph, eleven percent of British parents want their children to grow up to be like author J.K. Rowling.
Micah: Now, in the same poll, 20 percent of 6 – 16 year olds believe their mother or father is the ultimate role model and 15 percent chose Sir Richard Branson over J.K. Rowling.
Andrew: This was a U.K. poll right?
Micah: Yes, it was a U.K. poll.
Andrew: Because I don’t think any American children would be like “Sir Richard Branson! I want to be like him!”
Micah: Yes, it was in the Telegraph so I’m guessing it was strictly U.K. based. Sir Richard Branson is a cool guy, man. He’s on the cusp of technology. He’s going to send a plane up to the moon.
Andrew: I know.
Ben: Yeah, but J.K. Rowling’s a witch, okay?
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Ben: She can do wicked, crazy things. She put a spell on all of us and here we are 199 episodes later!
Andrew: Actually, that’s kind of interesting because that also shows that Jo is still really relevant.
Andrew: Many kids – the last book came out three years ago now and children it seems are still reading Harry Potter – new kids because I don’t think Jo would be one of the first people that came to my mind if I was a 12 year old unless I’d read the books.
Micah: Well, it was the parents who chose J.K. Rowling, not the kids.
Andrew: Oh, well, then she should be like Oprah and have her own talk show because clearly she’s still very relevant and influential.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Ben: jOprah? Oprah and Jo should should do a show together. Oh my God, that would just shake the world at it’s core.
Eric: jOprah’s book club.
Andrew: Well, Oprah’s starting a television network so maybe Jo can get a show on there. The jOprah show.
Ben: No, I think Jo should start her own network to rival Oprah. It would be like the world’s biggest showdown. Two billionaire, powerful women…
Andrew: [laughs] Competing in content.
Andrew: I think we would go to Oprah. Oprah’s been nicer to us than Jo.
Micah: But what is she doing anyways, by the way? Any updates? I mean…
Andrew: What are you talking about?
Eric: Spy on Jo.
Micah: J.K. Rowling!
Micah: I mean, I haven’t heard from her recently since her White House appearance.
Andrew: Well, she hasn’t been on Twitter either, so we have no tweets to imitate.
Andrew: [trying to do a British accent] “Starting my own network! jOprah!”
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: She hasn’t been on her site in about two years.
Andrew: I know! This is my point! Why are parents still talking about her? No offense.
Ben: She lost touch, guys.
Andrew: [laughs] Update your Twitter, please! All right, is that it Micah?
Micah: That is it.
Our Friends at Audible
Andrew: Before we move on we’d like to remind everyone that this week’s episode of MuggleCast is brought to you by Audible.com, the internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Best Sellers. For listeners of this podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their service. One audiobook to consider is Will Grayson, Will Grayson the new book by John Green. He’s the author of Paper Towns and he’s a great young adult author. So for a free audiobook of your choice such as Will Grayson, Will Grayson, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. That’s AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
Five Years of MuggleCast
Andrew: So now we’re going to – as we lead up to Episode 200 here, we want to have a discussion about where the show has gone over the past 5 years. It’s pretty amazing that we’ve been doing this – it’s almost five years now, our fifth year – our fifth birthday will be this August, the beginning of August. Eric came up with the idea for this and he wanted to treat it sort of like an interview but I also think that it would be good as a group conversation.
Origins of MuggleCast
Eric: All right, sweet. Well in celebration of our almost 200 episodes of MuggleCast, we’ve decided to sit down with the show’s creator and producer, Andrew Tiberius Sims. So first question. All right, Andrew, we’ve heard on the past how this podcast was formed, it was a discussion on the MuggleNet staff forums and some rivalry and accusation with other Harry Potter sites but what, if you could recount once more definitively, started the process of creating a Harry Potter podcast. How did you get involved in this crazy new idea?
Andrew: It all just came out of my head one day. I was meditating and it just popped in my head.
Ben: [laughs] Oh yeah, 15-year-old Andrew was deep in meditation one day.
Andrew: [laughs] No, what happened is on MuggleNet we had staff forums where the staff would convene to plan and organize things. And one day, one of the staff members, one of the editorialists, Sarah, she made a post in the forums saying, “hey, I was watching TV and I saw a news segment on podcasting and I think it would be really – it would be a really cool idea for MuggleNet to have a Harry Potter podcast.” And at that time I had already been listening to a couple of podcasts because iTunes had just kicked off podcasting within – within iTunes. So I immediately jumped on this. I was like, whoa that would be actually a pretty cool idea and I’m, you know, I’m a pretty big nerd so we started planning it within the staff forums and Ben jumped on board. And Eric, did you?
Eric: No, no, no, no.
Ben: No. That was Episode Three.
Eric: Yeah. No, I didn’t…
Andrew: But were you into the idea when we first…
Eric: Yeah, yeah, no I mean I didn’t know anything about podcasts. In fact, I looked at the – the first two news post of MuggleCast – I recall looking at them and being like, “podcasts, what is that.” I had no clue.
Andrew: Yeah. A couple people thought it wouldn’t have been that great of an idea. But we proved them wrong.
Micah: We could name them if we really wanted to.
Andrew: No, that’s all right.
Eric: We have their posts on the staff forums still where they said this won’t work. So did you ever – for your follow-up question. Did you ever thank this Sarah girl? Maybe like by having her on the show or anything?
Andrew: You know what? We offered to have her on the show. But I think she said she preferred to stay – she’s not one to like go talk – like I don’t know, I guess she was shy or something?
Eric: Yeah. Cool.
Andrew: Yeah but I think we did offer her.
Micah: A modest person.
Andrew: A modest person.
Micah: Didn’t want to take credit for all her success.
Eric: Yeah, she’s the reason we’re – well, okay, so what other…
Micah: Well, she is the reason we are here today. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. So…
Andrew: Thanks, Sarah.
Influence on MuggleCast?
Eric: Yeah, thank you, Sarah. So you mentioned that you listened to other podcasts, Andrew. What – what other podcasts do you remember listening to back then and would you say any of them influenced the style of MuggleCast?
Andrew: [laughs] Well, Ben is going to rip into me, but one of the first podcasts I listened to was TWiT, This Week in Tech with Leo Laporte, and Ben used to listen to it, too. Another podcast was the Dawn and Drew Show, and both those podcasts are still around today, and two really good podcasts, and I would say I was influenced by them, sure.
Eric: So have they changed their style in the past five years?
Andrew: Yeah. You know, podcasts grow and change and…
Ben: They do less Chapter-by-Chapter than they used to.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: Right, yeah. I mean, we didn’t – I don’t think we ever took any segment ideas. I think most podcasts that you see will talk about news about any sort of genre, any genre, specific…
Micah: How about Nobody Likes Onions? That was a – kind of a rivalry for a while, wasn’t it? They liked picking on us.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. I didn’t start – personally, I didn’t start listening to that when we started MuggleCast but, yeah, I had heard of it. I think the first way – first time I heard of it was when somebody told us that they were making fun of us on the show, so…
Eric: Yeah, when we were like…
Andrew: I was like, “Oh, they’re making fun of us but I kind of like it.”
[Andrew, Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: Well, it’s good exposure for us, regardless. I’m sure they had a pretty big audience. They probably still do and they were – we met them in California, I think, right?
Andrew: Yeah, it was awkward. It was awkward for me.
Eric: Because it was like we were picking up the award, weren’t we?
Andrew: Yeah, exactly
Eric: Now when did you, going off from that when did you become aware that MuggleCast was gaining popularity.
Andrew: I think it was – we had some number tracking pie charts, download tracking things, but I don’t think we really knew how popular it was until that first live podcast when it was us and Leaky and we did the Leaky Mug in New York City after the Goblet of Fire premiere and that was, that was a real surprise for us because we didn’t think that many people would show up for a Harry Potter podcast. I mean we knew the premieres get big crowds but we didn’t think one of our shows would get a big crowd. And then meeting the fans afterwards, after the live show.
Eric: How did that live podcast start? Because it was at Barnes and Noble in Union Square. How, who contacted Barnes – did you guys contact them, do they contact you?
Ben: All credit goes to Melissa Anelli.
Eric: Okay, next question.
Andrew: Well, its – [laughs] it started with, the original plan was just to do it in a Starbucks.
Micah: Yeah, that’s right. I remember that.
Eric: Oh, wow.
Andrew: And we were just like we’ll just have a little show in Starbucks and then when we had people starting to RSVP it started, we saw fifty people were planning on coming and we realized “oh we can’t do it in a Starbucks, obviously.” And so then we move to one Barnes and Noble but then the RSVPs kept growing so we moved to another Barnes and Noble and that was the big one in Union Square.
Eric: Oh I remember that. I remember it was another Barnes and Noble at first.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. But even before that we were planning on doing it at a Starbucks! I mean…
Andrew: I would love to revisit that time and think – be at a time where we didn’t know that a live podcast would bring out a bigger audience.
Eric: And just so the fans listening know, that video from that show is still on the site and is – is available in two .mov movies. And you can see there just the fan base that – or at least the people who showed up really did want to listen. And they were a very – they were a very good audience.
What Makes MuggleCast Special?
Eric: So what makes – what makes MuggleCast so special?
Andrew: You guys.
Eric: [laughs] What other podcast have that – that…
Andrew: No I think that what makes – well first of all it’s all thanks to the Harry Potter community that MuggleCast has been successful. You can’t just start a podcast anywhere online and expect to have some sort of – a bigger supportive audience. Something like Harry Potter comes with a very supportive, open, excitable audience. So MuggleCast’s popularity was thanks to MuggleNet and it was thanks to the Harry Potter fans. We know what Harry Potter fans are like. They celebrate book releases, movie releases, big news. Having a podcast was just a natural fit.
Eric: Yeah. So, it’s one thing to have a Harry Potter, built-in, supportive fan community, but by the end of 2005, that’s our first year, you have stated on the podcast that there were over fifty thousand unique subscriptions to MuggleCast on iTunes. Do you have any comments on that?
Andrew: [laughs] No, I mean it’s just awesome. I mean that’s all you can really say about it. And I’m so appreciative of the audience and support that we’ve had over the years.
Micah: What I’ve always thought was cool was that when all these people e-mail in and they’re from all these different places across the world, just the fact that they’re listening…
Micah: …to what we have to say. And they can be in Rome or Tokyo or South Africa or anywhere. Obviously, they’re here in the United States and the U.K., too, but it’s just kind of amazing that it’s that far-reaching. And didn’t Andrew, you also say that Episode – was it 100 or 101 had over one hundred thousand unique listeners?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. That – that episode has over a hundred thousand.
Micah: That’s unbelievable.
Andrew: And when you think about it we all read that book in London, and as soon as we were finished we all gathered around the laptop, we just hit record, and we spoke for an hour, and we streamed it live on UStream. And it was amazing because it was right after we finished reading, and at that time other people across the world were finishing reading the book, too.
Andrew: I mean I think MuggleNet had about three hundred, four hundred thousand unique people the day after. So that’s a good – the people who had visited wanted to hear what other people thought. So of course a podcast was the most perfect venue to hear other people’s thoughts about the final book.
Eric: And so now you’ve been trying to keep up with technology this whole time. You’ve grown so much in that – in that respect. And obviously this whole live podcast thing which – that was done from your computer in the hotel room on UStream. How has technology changed to allow for – I mean I guess podcasting in general or hasn’t it?
Andrew: Yeah. I mean we’ve always basically used the same stuff. I mean you guys are still using the same headsets. I’m still using the same audio editor. But to do this – these live shows that we do now over UStream now I have a mixer for that and use two computers to do it to make it sound as good as possible and also do video now. Video we just about started a year ago.
Eric: Wow! Now how old were you when you first started MuggleCast?
Andrew: How old were we Ben, 15?
Ben: Fifteen, wow!
Andrew: [starts singing] “When you’re 15 start a podcast, gonna believe it.”
Eric: Can you believe that?
Andrew: Yeah I know. I don’t know where my life’s gone.
Andrew: I think – no, in all seriousness I think it’s really interesting how we’ve really grown up with the show. What I honestly think is most amazing is that I started the show in New Jersey. Ben started the show in Kansas, and now we’re both living in L.A. five years later.
Andrew: And we’re sitting here recording together.
Eric: And yeah.
Andrew: It’s just amazing to think back to then, and then think of now, how that ended up being.
Eric: Yeah. We’ve been…
Ben: I guess it’s just kind of like one of those things where – When we were fifteen, we were just working on a Harry Potter website just for the love of Harry Potter, and we just wanted to create an outlet to be able to – to be able to express ourselves. We had no idea what it was going to lead to, it wasn’t like we sat down one day, and were like, “Oh, we want to get 50,000 subscribers”…
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Ben: …and all that. It just kind of happened out of nowhere, and I think all of us were kind of taken aback by it at first – that people actually value the opinion of some kids rambling about…
Ben: …Horcruxes and the like.
Eric: And you were kids.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s the most rewarding thing, is just that people really care to hear your opinion. And so – I mean that’s what’s still motivating I think to all of us. When we record we know that people are going to be listening to this, and looking forward to it, and hopefully getting something out of it, whether it’s entertainment or information. And that’s why we always include Chicken Soup, because it’s always nice to read those types of e-mails to see how people are actually affected by the show.
Eric: How did your family react towards MuggleNet and MuggleCast?
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Eric: No this is an honest question because everybody’s got this story. Especially if you work on MuggleNet you have this story.
Andrew: Actually, you know what my dad said to me? I may have told this to you, Ben. Because he had known I had been listening to TWiT, Leo’s podcast. And he said, “What do you think you’re going to be, the next Leo Laporte?” And I was like, “No, but we’re just going to do it for fun.” But it did surprise them. And my mom and sister came to that first live podcast we did in New York City, and they were blown away by it. And I was too! It’s just amazing to see, people came out to see us talk about Harry Potter.
Ben: My family thought I was a weirdo.
Ben: Just for the record.
Andrew: They kicked him out of the house.
Ben: And the jury’s still out on that one. No one’s quite sure whether I am or not.
Eric: Yeah. Same. So what about – what about high school? Because you still had two years of school to complete. So obviously by the time you left high school, MuggleCast was huge. So did your peers ever find out what you were doing? Would they come up to you in the halls wanting to discuss each week’s show, or was there a basic understanding that they had to send in a Muggle Mail or a listener rebuttal or voice-mail if they wanted your opinion?
Ben: Well, yeah, that’s the only way they could really reach Andrew…
Ben: Because in high school I know he kind of reached this point where it was like, MuggleCast, or friends?
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Ben: And he chose I guess what he called the more rewarding one.
Andrew: That’s right.
Eric: Andrew, do you really think – I mean, is that…?
Andrew: Nobody knew about MuggleCast and I did not want to tell anyone. And somebody outed me one day. It was actually my TV Tech teacher. I came in one morning and he had the word ‘MuggleCast’ written on the whiteboard. I – my heart – I was so – it was like somebody outed me. And I was so – [laughs] – I actually felt so like, “Oh my God.”
Eric: But he was just trying to be supportive, right?
Andrew: He was like – yeah, yeah. What had happened was my dad had e-mailed him and was like, “Hey, check out this podcast Andrew does.” And so he was like, “Let’s talk later.”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Ben: Oh my.
Andrew: My TV Tech teacher, not my dad. But yeah. And – and people made fun of me in high school for it. I’ll admit that.
Eric: But we’ve seen the videos. You did your morning news and stuff.
Andrew: Oh, yeah. Well eventually – listen, when you tell somebody in high school – there’s a lot of peer pressure in high school and when you tell someone, “I sit in my bedroom and I do a Harry Potter podcast,” what does that translate to? Loser! But then when you tell them, “Hey, a lot of people are listening to it. I get to do this really cool stuff thanks to it, and I made a lot of great friends because of it,” then it becomes, “Oh, that’s really cool. You’re not just sitting in your parents’ basement.”
Ben: So the lesson is to follow your heart, folks.
Ben: And don’t care what anybody thinks.
Eric: Well you’ve had – you’ve got souvenirs to prove it, and stamps on your passport. I mean you’ve gone many places as a result of this podcast. I mean you said it yourself, you grew up in New Jersey, and now you’re in L.A. And where else have you gone for this MuggleCast stuff?
Andrew: We’ve been to Las Vegas, we’ve been to London, we’ve been to New York, and we did that Summer tour in 2007.
Eric: Wow. Cool. So the next few questions – and we are almost done with this interview. Thank you so much for your time here…
Eric: [laughs] The first hundred episodes of MuggleCast – we were talking about this a few minutes ago – they took place prior to the release of the seventh and final Harry Potter book. The next hundred episodes took place after. So how would you say –
we’re at basically Episode 200, next episode. How would you say the show has changed and/or stayed the same over this 200-episode span of time?
Andrew: The show has always been a lot of fun. It’s been – us four have been on since basically the beginning. And other than that, other than production, if you – we get a lot of e-mails from people saying “Hey, I’ve been listening for a few months and I decided to listen to Episode 1” and “Wow! You guys have changed a lot!” And you know, that’s true, because if you listen to the first episode, you hear me and I’ve mocked myself for it before. You hear me just being like, [in dorky voice] “Hey guys, welcome to MuggleCast Episode 2. This is Andrew Sims here.” And we all develop personalities. And that was one of the challenges when we started the show. We didn’t really know who we were speaking to, so we were sort of more uptight. But now that we know our audience very well, it’s very easy to speak – to not put up any barriers…
Ben: To really communicate openly with people we want to communicate with.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. And we know how to be entertaining – how to entertain the audience, because we know what they like, what they don’t like.
Ben: Andrew, has your voice changed at all since the first episode?
Andrew: Yeah, I’m sure it cracked a couple – yours has always been the same though, I think.
Eric: I think Ben’s is probably stayed – Ben’s and Micah’s…
Ben: Audible chocolate.
Eric: It’s the…
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: We should start our own show, Ben.
Ben: Me and Micah.
Andrew: The two deep voices?
Andrew: My bass would break. People’s earbuds would crack.
Eric: The woofer would just be always going.
MuggleCast 199 Transcript (continued)
The Various Segments
Eric: So, speaking of keeping it fun, there are various segments on the show that have come and gone throughout the years. Some of them are: Spy on Spartz, Andrew’s Listener Challenge, Top Ten, Give Me a Butterbeer, What’s Buggin’ Micah, Fireside Chats, Crackpot Theory, Make the Connection, Make the Music Connection, Jamie’s British Joke of the Day, The Dueling Club, and The Dueling Club Version 2.0. Do you have a favorite?
Andrew: Oh jeez, Eric. You’re putting me on the spot. I think Make the Music Connection has always been my favorite because it keeps the show really current, and it’s fun.
Eric: Micah, what’s your favorite segment that we’ve done? Because I just listed as many as I could possibly think of.
Micah: You know, going old school, I really like Give Me a Butterbeer because I thought Ben did a really great job with those segments.
Micah: But after – well, I won’t say anything, but let’s just say that The Dueling Club may have become one of my favorite segments [laughs] as we move to Episode 200.
Micah: That’ll be made more clear on Episode 200.
Eric: I think I liked when we changed from The Dueling Club to The Dueling Club Version 2.0, because I guess before we would as a group decide on who we were going to face off against each other the following week and it was kind of in the Google Doc and all that stuff. Then version 2.0, it was more like two of the hosts would have to come up with something on the spot and you didn’t know what the other person was going to use so you had to argue characters – and it was a character discussion. It was like a mini character discussion, because you were facing them off against each other and that – I think that there was always something really cool about that. And of course, Jamie’s British Joke of the Day and the original Make the Connection are my favorites.
Andrew: That’s right. That was another…
Micah: But Ben, you put a lot of hard work into those Butterbeers.
Eric: Yes, yes. Ben definitely did. And I was listening – I’ve been listening to a lot of Ben’s old Top Tens and they’re actually really involved.
Eric: And he spent a lot of time doing them and that was really cool.
Andrew: Yeah. I think that’s what has made the show so fun, because we’ve had all these different segments. So there’s always something new to look forward to with the different segments. We’re always mixing it up, using different ones.
Andrew: Ben, what was your favorite segment on the show, or has been?
Ben: I mean, I’ve always liked Micah’s news.
Eric: As a segment, sure.
Micah: I like how that came full circle right there.
Ben: I mean, it was the thing – things kind of changed when he left the news center in New York.
Andrew: Where did he go?
Ben: Well, I don’t know, but he stopped talking about the news center…
Ben: So I just assumed that he left.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: “That’s all from our news center in New York.”
Ben: But yeah, I mean the opening of the show is always a good time.
Andrew: Aw, Ben.
Ben: I mean, I never – I was always kind of put off by Jamie’s British joke because like…
Ben: …they never were really that funny.
Andrew: Or British.
Ben: Yeah, and I’m glad he’s not here to defend himself because…
Ben: …he’d be [imitating Jamie] “Ben, Ben, Ben! Come on, Ben! Oh geesh, Ben!”
Ben: There’s Jamie for you.
Eric: He might…
Ben: Yeah, I like the Muggle Mail. I like the…
Andrew: You like all the rooted segments.
Andrew: The segments we always do.
Ben: I mean, Chapter-by-Chapter when it first came out needed a little bit of work, but I think it’s evolved into something quite nice.
Eric: Oh, that’s sweet of you.
Andrew: It has.
Ben: But yeah, what I wanted to ask you guys is who’s your favorite host? Who’s your favorite…?
Eric: Oh, that’s the one question for the record I did not put into this Google doc of Andrew Sims Interview.
Andrew: I really don’t have a favorite host.
Andrew: It’s not – it really is a collective effort. It’s the chemistry between hosts that make it really click.
Ben: What happened to Laura Thompson?
Eric: Laura Thompson gets her own question, actually. There is a question specifically about that and I’m going to ask that right now, so…
Andrew: Go ahead.
Eric: MuggleCast only really has one girl host…
Eric: Yet the majority of its listeners appear to be female. So what’s it like hosting a literary discussion with other males when the responding audience is a bunch – literally a huge bunch of well-read females? And are you at all intimidated?
Andrew: I think it’s about 75 percent female and absolutely – intimidated? No.
Eric: Only 75?
Andrew: Bring them on! Yeah, according to our demographics…
Ben: I am definitely not intimidated. I embrace our female audience.
Andrew: Yeah, and that’s what makes it fun. Listen, we are very – gosh, how to put it – spontaneous, goofy on the show. It wouldn’t appeal to a majority male audience. And I love our male audience, too. [laughs] I mean, I don’t know what to say. We’ve met so many amazing people through the show. Whether it’s just meeting each other, the hosts, or meeting members of the audience, it’s been something really special.
Andrew: And I have Harry Potter to thank for everything, everything.
Eric: Okay, second to last question: Where do you see the Harry Potter fandom going in the future?
Ben: [singing] Down, down, down…
Andrew: No, everybody asks this question. Like “Where’s Harry Potter going to be after the movies come out?” And honestly, who knows? Especially after the movies come out. Everybody was wondering, what would happen after the books came out. And I say it’s still pretty good now…
Eric: One hundred episodes…
Andrew: Granted, after the movies come out, there won’t be much more to look forward to, but there’s still a great group of friends that everyone has made. Everyone’s got their group of friends within Harry Potter, and we’ll always have those life-long friendships, even if they’re not based around Harry Potter no longer.
Eric: Yeah. All right, and that concludes our interview with Andrew Tiberius/James Sims.
Andrew: Ah, great job Eric. You know, I – it took up a lot of my schedule, but it was certainly a nice ego-booster…
Eric: No, honestly, I think that’s very important that we did that, because it’s 200 episodes and you’ve edited like nearly every episode except for like…
Ben: Andrew, the fans are dying to know: What kind of shoes do you wear?
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: No, but yeah, that was fun, Eric.
Eric: Yeah, cool.
Muggle Mail: Happy Birthday Gabrielle
Andrew: So now let’s move on to Muggle Mail this week. I’ll take the first one. Eric put this in, I think. You know, I’m a nice guy, I’m happy to grant this kind of request.
“Hello Andrew, my name is Gigi T. My friend named Gabrielle is celebrating her birthday today, May 11th. As she is a huge MuggleCast fan, I was wondering if it was all possible to wish her a happy birthday on the show, I’m sure she would love it and it would be a nice surprise. She’s turning twelve years old, and though she is not the oldest ‘Potter’ fan, she is certainly one of the biggest. Thank you so much for your time.”
Happy birthday, Gabrielle!
Ben: [sings] Happy, happy birthday.
Andrew: Ben, can you read the next e-mail from Michaela?
Muggle Mail: Wolfsbane Correction
Ben: Michaela, 14, from Long Island, New York – Micah, she’s up in the hood, dog!
Ben: She says:
“Hi everyone. When you were talking about Lupin taking the Wolfsbane – I think that’s the name – Potion, I think you made a mistake. When J.K. Rowling said that they had to take it the week before the full moon I think she meant the week leading up to it, as in you start taking it seven days before the full moon…” [sneezes]
Ben: Oh my gosh.
Eric: That’s written in the Muggle Mail – “sneeze here.”
“…and on the day of the full moon. Also, I think when Snape finds Harry watching his worst memory in ‘Order of the Phoenix’ might be the angriest we see him. He refused to give him Occlumency lessons thus disobeying Dumbledore, which you just do not do. Love the show and keep up the great podcasting. Michaela.”
Andrew: Micah, we got a lot of e-mails about this, didn’t we?
Micah: We got many e-mails about this…
Ben: You’re supposed to be experts!
Micah: …probably close to 100 or more. [laughs] But…
Andrew: Was this basically what most of them were saying?
Micah: Yes. Yeah.
Eric: So that kind of makes a little bit more sense then.
Micah: Yeah, but she should have done a better job explaining it. Maybe at least – I don’t know. I don’t understand it. Everyone else seemed to understand it.
Andrew: You guys were analyzing it so much I knew – I just sat there saying, “I bet these guys must be…”
Muggle Mail: Less Serious Crimes
Micah: Anyway, next e-mail comes from Sarah, 15, of New York and she says:
“Hi guys, love the show. Listening to how you guys described Sirius last week made me wonder: Where do they keep the less dangerous prisoners? J.K. Rowling writes a lot about how decrepit Sirius is and how evil the Dementors are but shouldn’t there be some guidelines about how prisoners are treated, especially ones that have simply robbed a store or something? Do they go to Azkaban as well or smaller prisons? Do they even go to prison at all? I’m just wondering what you guys thought.”
Ben: I feel like Azkaban is the Alcatraz. Like the maximum security prison.
Ben: …where they keep the most dangerous offenders. Because Dementors are very draining on anyone they come in contact with. So it wouldn’t be wise for every single prison to have those – to have them there. So I’m sure if you just rob a bank or steal someone’s bike or something that you wouldn’t have to go to Azkaban because that would be a bit extreme.
Eric: Well see, that’s interesting because in Chamber of Secrets they took Hagrid to Azkaban just for being a suspect. It was a pretty gruesome thing, a bunch of petrifications of students but at the same time they had no proof and Hagrid went straight off to Azkaban. It’s not like…
Ben: Well maybe because Hagrid’s such a big guy that they didn’t think they could detain him.
Eric: [laughs] Possibly.
Andrew: Fit him elsewhere.
Eric: I just feel like…
Micah: Well he’s also tied to a previous crime.
Eric: Well at the same time I just feel like there’s really – there’s only one school for the entire region. I can’t see why there would be more than one prison.
Andrew: Yeah – I don’t know.
Eric: And I mean, Dementors…
Andrew: I think that maybe there’s some cells in the Ministry of Magic where they just throw some people occasionally…
Eric: There are courts there.
Andrew: …when they have little misdemeanors.
Eric: It just seems like everyone we’ve known – and they’ve all been Death Eaters. So it’s a very good question because they go to Azkaban, but they’re Death Eaters, aren’t they? Dementors only make you sad. They kind of make you in fact, Dementors are a kind of a good thing to have at a prison, because you lose track of time and isn’t that what serving a sentence is all about, how long it is?
Micah: Yeah, but there has to be some smaller prison though. Guys like Mundungus Fletcher, I’m sure they end up in jail in some point of their life.
Muggle Mail: Time-Turners
Eric: Next e-mail’s from another Sarah, this one’s from Mississippi. The subject is Time-Turners. Sarah says:
“In Episode 198 you all were talking about the fact that Harry and Hermione end up in the Entrance Hall rather than staying in the Hospital Wing, as happens in the movie. I wondered about the same thing recently as I’ve been listening to the Jim Dale audio versions lately. I think that the Time-Turner not only reverses time but actually places you at or near where you were at the time you chose. Example: Three turns or three hours before the Hospital Wing the trio was in the Entrance Hall, J.K.R. describes all the flashes of color Harry sees as he’s traveling rather than he sees people coming and going around him. So if you were to remain stationary while moving through time, you could end up landing on someone else who may have been at that spot in the past, whereas if you return to a spot at or near where you were in the past, you’re less likely to displace someone else. Just my take on a very deep and confusing subject.”
What do you guys think about that?
Andrew: I’m still not totally convinced. I just think that Jo just did it for timing to keep things moving quicker. That’s the only thing I can think of. I think she just took a little…
Micah: It makes sense, though. If you look at the two different sides of it. Like doing it in the book makes sense this way. Doing it in the movie kind of makes sense the way that they did it.
Micah: I don’t know.
Eric: I agree. It works for the medium that it’s presented in. I just think – in a way, time transporting yourself to a place near where you were helps if somebody spots you and that way you’re not to far away from where you just were, in a way. But at the same time I feel like you run exactly the same risk as landing on top of somebody as you would if you stayed still. Just because you don’t know where – unless it’s a place where no one else is going, like if you appeared in the Chamber of Secrets every time you went back in time, there’s just no way to tell if it’s a public area you run the same risk of running over somebody, I think.
Andrew: I think it’s risky either way. Just as risky. I don’t know. I think Sarah brings up a good point, but – I still like how they did it in the movie.
Muggle Mail: Wolfsbane Potion
Andrew: Next e-mail comes from Meg, 23, of Atlanta:
“Hey guys! Just a comment in response to your discussion to Lupin and the Wolfsbane Potion in Chapter-by-Chapter. You guys were wondering why he would have needed to take the Wolfsbane Potion on the night of the full moon when he had indicated earlier in the story that he had to take it in, ‘the week preceding the full moon.’ I think this is just a semantics issue. I think what Lupin’s statement means is that he needs to take the potion everyday for a week prior to and including the day of the full moon. This would mean he needed to take it on the night of the encounter at the Shrieking Shack. As to why he wouldn’t have just gulped it down before running off to his shack, I don’t know. Maybe he just forgot it in his haste to get there. Love the podcast. I listen to it in the car to make the time in Atlanta traffic pass by. I just found out I’m getting to go to the Wizarding World in August. I’m super excited! Can’t wait to hear your reports from the grand opening.”
So this is a bit of a different take on…
Eric: Andrew, are any of us going to be at the grand opening of the park?
Andrew: I am.
Andrew: Not to brag, but…
Eric: …that’s cool.
Ben: When is that?
Andrew: See, Ben, here is my invite right up here. I haven’t shown it to you yet.
Ben: When is that?
Andrew: June 18th. Yeah, I’m going to be hanging out with Emma. What can I say?
Ben: Is she going to be there?
Andrew: I don’t know. I’m going to put the moves on her and she won’t run away like she did for you.
Muggle Mail: Killing Pettigrew
Ben: Right, Andrew. Asia, 18, from Birmingham, United Kingdom writes:
“Hi guys! On the subject of Remus and Sirius deciding not to kill Pettigrew, I believe that perhaps J.K.R. is making a point here when she wants to emphasize the morality of the story, if you can call it that. Besides, as we have seen throughout the books, Voldemort and his Death Eaters have been quick to wipe out their wands and ‘Avada Kedavra’ anyone who threatens their evil plans or whatever. However, Jo wanted to show the good guys, being Remus and Sirius here, as being, you know, good. Correct me if I am wrong but members of the Order or their allies have not killed unless necessary or being under attack. So maybe J.K. Rowling did not have Pettigrew killed only so that Harry could benefit from this in the later books, but also to have that fairy tale moral kind of ending where the hero lets the villain live. I know that while reading this one might be screaming (I know I was, at least), ‘Freaking kill them now!’ but Jo wants to appeal to the readers’ better nature. Regards, Asia.”
Love your name by the way.
Andrew: I do understand. Asia brings up a good point here. It sort of teaches the readers a lesson. You can give people a second chance. You don’t have to kill. So, there is sort of a nice little lesson there.
Ben: It is like when Jesus was on the cross and he said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do,” in response to the people who were crucifying him.
Eric: How is…
Ben: So, it is the same thing, as it is like we should forgive even our deepest enemies no matter what they do because we need to all be compassionate and understand the predicament we are all kind of stuck in.
Andrew: I guess my point was – on Episode 198 or 197, was that it should have been assumed that Pettigrew would have absolutely tried to escape.
Andrew: And of course he did and it was quite successful…
Eric: …as we said, he could have at least put the same protection they put on Snape, on Pettigrew.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah!
Andrew: Exactly! I mean, come on! Use some brains for once.
Micah: Or send for Dumbledore.
Ben: Come on!
Listener Tweet: Dementors
Andrew: And finally today we have some tweets about Prisoner of Azkaban. cbolterr writes:
“Since the dementors are loyal to Voldemort, if they thought Sirius was a Death Eater, why would they try so hard to catch him?”
Eric Scull, do you have the answer…
Andrew: …to this?
Eric: “Since the dementors are loyal to Voldemort, if they thought Sirius was a Death Eater” – at this point the dementors were not under Voldemort’s control and – I use that term loosely, where the dementors can be under anybody’s control. Voldemort promised them a whole host of souls to eat and that was why they ended up leaving the Ministry. I just – I think at the point where the dementors are – where Sirius Black escaped, the dementors were very much unawakened in that sense, where they weren’t – though maybe the dementors – did I get this wrong? Were the dementors on Voldemort’s side the first time? Did they abandon the Ministry in the past?
Ben: Yeah, they were.
Eric: Okay. I just get the feeling that at this point, it wasn’t on their minds.
Listener Tweet: James in Hogwarts
Andrew: AylaBesemer had this to say about Prisoner of Azkaban:
“‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ is a fantastic book because it is the first time we really get a glimpse into Harry’s father’s time at Hogwarts.”
Listener Tweet: Funniest Scene
Andrew: That is so true. Anneehd writes:
“Funniest scene from the book: the part where Snape tries to read from the map and it throws insults at him. Hilarious!”
Listener Tweet: Changing Themes
Andrew: That was also a great part in the movie. bighugegiant writes:
“From a cinematic point of view, the ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ movie was a huge improvement. It was also less faithful to the book.”
I wish the podcast was around when the movie came out because we would have had so many discussions about how the themes changed.
Andrew: I mean, Alfonso introduced a huge switch.
Eric: Yeah. Actually I know we will have more on this subject next week.
Micah: …we will. There is – whomever we may be speaking to next week, their favorite movie was in fact Prisoner of Azkaban.
Listener Tweet: Snape
Andrew: megan_zero_135 writes:
“This is actually when I started to love Snape. You sort of get a glimpse into his life before he graduated Hogwarts.”
Love Snape? Ugh!
Eric: I think the work done in Prisoner of Azkaban by Jo really helps the scene in Order of the Phoenix which we are reading eventually on Chapter-by-Chapter where we learn about that in the past, all this stuff about James. And we were so warmed to the idea of James as a kid at Hogwarts with the Marauders that the scene in Order of the Phoenix when they are all bullies is really upsetting and it unnerves the readers as it unnerves Harry. So, I think that that is partially in sync with Book 3, that scene in Book 5.
Listener Tweet: Eliminating The Marauders
Andrew: Yeah. And the last tweet come from LuisaLucca:
“The Marauders were really what got me addicted to ‘Harry Potter’. Eliminating them was the worst decisions the movies ever made!”
Whoa! All right. Well, that about does it for this week’s episode.
Announcements: Special Interview and Infinitus 2010
[Show music begins]
Andrew: We want to let you know, of course, our 200th episode is obviously our next show. It will be released on June 7th or 8th or maybe 9th. It will be around there. Last week, Micah and Eric recorded a special interview that will be revealed on that show. It was a great interview. We were so happy to get this person for Episode 200 because they are very involved with the Harry Potter franchise, so you will definitely enjoy the interview. We also want to remind everybody this week that we’re going to be at Infinitus 2010. It’s going to be in Orlando from July 15th to the 18th at the Universal Resort. I’m looking at their site now. They have a little countdown. Fifty-five days until Infinitus everybody. So, visit Infinitus2010.org for information about the conference and if you do register, we can’t wait to see you there. And don’t forget to put “MuggleNet” or “MuggleCast” in the referral box so they know how many people we are sending. Yeah.
Ben: They know who is…
Andrew: Ben, do you have any questions about the con?
Ben: The con? Who is getting conned?
Andrew: [laughs] No, like about us doing a podcast or…
Ben: Oh, well, we are doing a podcast, right?
Andrew: Yes, we are doing a podcast at Infinitus 2010. Don’t forget to visit MuggleCast.com for all the information about the show. You can subscribe to us, rate and review us on iTunes. You can follow us on Twitter, you can fan us on Facebook, and of course don’t forget to vote for us at Podcast Alley. And you can get all the information you need about the show right there on MuggleCast.com, including transcripts. Thanks everyone for listening! We’ll see you next time for Episode 200! I’m Andrew Sims.
Ben: I’m Ben Schoen.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
[Show music continues]