MuggleCast 204 Transcript
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Andrew: 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 including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
David Heyman: Hello this is David Heyman and I’m the producer of the Harry Potter films and this is MuggleCast.
[Show music begins]
Micah: Because Hedwig’s got a whole lot of ‘tude…
[Sound of owl]
Micah: Hey! Hey! What the?! – This is MuggleCast Episode 204, for August the 6th, 2010.
[Show music continues]
Happy Birthday, MuggleCast!
Andrew: Welcome back to the show, everyone. Very exciting episode! It’s our five – well, we’re celebrating, with Episode 204, we’re celebrating our fifth birthday. Yay!
Andrew: First episode of MuggleCast was August – 5th? 7th? – 7th. Right, Micah? Micah knows.
Laura: I have no idea.
Micah: It was August the 7th, 2005.
Andrew: It was Ben, a person named Kevin…
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: …and I. And it was a wonderful beginning to five years, great podcasting. We’re here now – would you guys have guessed we’d be doing this five years later?
Laura: Definitely not. [laughs]
Laura: Absolutely not.
Andrew: Was that due to lack in faith of us, or what? [laughs]
Laura: Well, no, it was just because by the time we started this show, we only had one book left, and at the time…
Andrew: That’s true.
Laura: …I sort of figured that by the time Book 7 came out, we’d sort of wrap things up.
Andrew: Can you imagine if we started it at Sorcerer’s Stone? Say we were like fifteen, sixteen…
Laura: Like ten years old?
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: No, but say we were fifteen or sixteen, that’d be insane.
Laura: Yeah. And we would be like – yeah. I don’t know, much older now.
Andrew: So we have some celebrating to do today, and we’re also going to kick off Chapter-by-Chapter, Goblet of Fire.
Andrew: We’re going to look at Chapters 1 through 3 of the fourth book in the Harry Potter series, and of course catch everyone up on the latest news. I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Laura: I’m Laura Thompson.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
[Show music continues]
News: Infinitus Recap
Andrew: Micah Tannenbaum, update us, what’s been going on in the Harry Potter world, the past couple of weeks?
Micah: Well, we were in Orlando just a couple of weeks ago, and we had a great time, I think, right? At Infinitus 2010.
Andrew: It was a hot time!
Laura: Oh my God, it was so much fun.
Andrew: Yes, it was.
Micah: It was!
Laura: I wish we could go back to that.
Andrew: It was great to see everyone. All of you, I mean.
Micah: It was.
Andrew: And the listeners, too.
[Andrew, Laura, and Micah laugh]
Micah: So we did two podcasts, as the listeners who were there know. We did one at the actual convention and then we did one at the Wizarding World. I was kind of a little bit more excited for the one at the park, what about you guys? We were all there, we all did the podcasts.
Micah: So what did you guys think?
Eric: I think on the whole, the one at the con was more successful. The one, however, the one in The Three Broomsticks was a landmark. That was what we’re going to remember doing, is moving tables and having the guys inside The Three Broomsticks say, “Where do you want these speakers?”
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Eric: That’s going to be the most memorable.
Andrew: Overall, it was great meeting all the fans there in Orlando. We had a big turnout for the one at the conference.
Andrew: And that was obviously – that was the biggest Harry Potter conference to date. I think they had 2500 attendees there and so we had a big turnout for the MuggleCast at the conference and also a nice sized group in the park.
Laura: Yeah, I mean, the issue with The Three Broomsticks is, of course, it’s a restaurant…
Laura: …so it’s not that big. Not that many people could get in for it. But I definitely think it was – I have to agree with Eric, in saying that was more of a personal landmark for us.
Laura: Being able to – for Micah to be able to say, “…because we’re in The Three Broomsticks…”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Laura: …that was just awesome, that was so much fun.
Micah: Well while we’re on the topic of the park, let’s kind of give our final thoughts on it. What did we think from the food, to the rides, to just the overall experience?
Andrew: I think myself and Eric have given our thoughts plenty, so let’s hear from Micah and Laura. Laura, you’re the lady, so you go first. What did you think? Because literally, that was your first time in the park that night!
Laura: Yeah! [laughs] I was not fortunate enough to get to go into it for any sort of opening event because I wasn’t here, but it was so incredible. I was actually walking into the park for the first time that night, on the Night of a Thousand Wizards, and I was with a friend of ours, Greg Gershman, who you might know from some of our other podcasts, and he was talking to me about something and I was actually paying attention to him, but as soon as we crossed into the Wizarding World, I totally tuned him out. He kept talking, I wasn’t paying attention to him, I was just looking around in awe, like, “Oh my god, I am actually in the world of Harry Potter, this is so amazing!” And he finally looked and me and he was like, “You are geeking out hardcore right now, aren’t you?”
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: Did you tear up, Laura? Did any tears…
Laura: No! I didn’t tear up. But I was definitely taken aback, because you have these books that you’ve been reading since you were ten or eleven years old, you’ve watched them be turned into movies, you’ve been to readings with the author, you’ve met some of the actors, and then it’s like you’re actually in the middle of it and for the first time, it’s tangible and real…
Laura: …and that’s definitely a very surreal feeling, but very cool.
Andrew: How about you, Micah? Any similar sentiments?
Micah: Yeah, I agree with a lot of what Laura just said and just to be able to experience it and to go on those rides. I thought they did a great job with the Forbidden Journey ride and the queue. I thought there was plenty to do even if you’re stuck out in the heat waiting. I didn’t go on the Dragon Challenge, as I mentioned on the live show, I was more scared of Flight of the Hippogriff than I was on the Forbidden Journey.
Andrew: That is so strange.
Micah: I’m just not a roller coaster person…
Micah: …regardless of whether it’s a kids’ roller coaster or an adult roller coaster. But it was just great, and I think the best part of it was just experiencing it all with you guys. For what we’ve done, as we’ve just said, over these last five years, to be able to all go and do it together, that was what was great about it.
Andrew: All right.
Micah: And Butterbeer!
Andrew: Butterbeer was very good!
Micah: It was.
Laura: Yeah, I tried that for the first time on the live show at The Three Broomsticks.
Eric: Oh, that’s right.
Laura: And it was quite good!
Andrew: Yeah, it was cool, that was very cool that you did that.
Andrew: I was like, “All right, here’s the Butterbeer, but you, Matt, and Elysa, you all wait…”
Laura: [laughs] Yeah.
Andrew: “…until the show.”
Laura: You cannot drink that!
Andrew: Don’t drink that.
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Andrew: It’s sitting there tempting you about how delicious…
Eric: That was…
Micah: I think I might have to take it up with Aberforth though, I was not too impressed with The Hog’s Head ale.
Andrew: Oh, really?
Laura: Oh, I didn’t have any of that.
Andrew: Yeah, I’m not into it too much either. If anyone…
Micah: The Strongbow.
Andrew: Yes. If anyone does go, Strongbow is the drink you want to be consuming, of course, if you are older than 21. It’s a cider, very popular in England, and it’s fantastic. I was so happy to hear that they were putting it in the Wizarding World, because it’s not easy to find in America. So very cool that they have that there, because it’s English.
Micah: I’m Googling bars in New York City…
Eric: [laughs] That serve Strongbow.
Micah: …that serve Strongbow, right now.
Micah: I’ve actually thought about doing that and seeing if there are any. I’m sure there’s got to be a couple.
Andrew: I’ve since bought some Strongbow bottles.
Andrew: You can buy them in some liquor stores. Not all, very few, but when you do find it, oh, will you enjoy it.
We’d like to remind everyone again that this podcast 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 bestsellers. For listeners of this podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook, to give you a chance to tryout their service. One audiobook to consider is Sizzling Sixteen, a Stephanie Plume novel by Janet Evanovich. So to listen to that book and many more, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. That’s AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Anyway Micah, what else is going on?
News: Comic Con Footage
Micah: Comic Con 2010 was recently held in San Diego, not too long after Infinitus. Andrew, I know you pretty much hopped your way from Florida, to Cleveland, to San Diego.
Andrew: [laughs] Yes. So this is the first time there was a Harry Potter – you know, I hesitate to call it panel, because it really wasn’t – but there was Harry Potter presence at Comic Con, and they showed footage from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Parts I and II. It was some trailer clips but there was a lot of new clips. It was about five or six minutes total. It was fantastic! It was – I literally, my mouth was probably – my jaw was on the floor for half of the five to six minutes. I mentioned this on a LeakyMug I did with Melissa from the Leaky Cauldron. You see shots of The Seven Potters. You see Malfoy Manor, with Snape talking to Voldemort. The clips were fantastic. You always see these types of – I guess this would be considered a featurette – you see the featurettes and the trailers, and they get you so excited because they add this extra music. And the way it’s packaged. You watch it and you’re like, “Oh my God, best thing ever!” right? Because that’s what you – for all the trailers too, for every movie. “Oh my God! Oh my God! This looks like the best one yet!”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: So I have learned my lesson after all these years. And I will hesitate from saying this looks the best one yet. Even though I really do believe that.
Eric: Why? It’s going to be the last one. [laughs]
Andrew: I know, I know, and obviously…
Laura: I hope it’s the best one yet…
Andrew: Yeah. It better be, right?
Laura: …otherwise it’s going to be a big let down.
Andrew: Yeah. But I will say the footage was fantastic. It’s leaving me very excited for these final two films. I can’t wait to see it. I’m more excited about Part 1 now than I was before…
Eric: Oh really?
Andrew: …because of all The Seven Potters! You see the seven Harrys and they look so good.
Laura: So now I have a question about that. That was a very funny scene in the book, do they keep it funny in the movie?
Andrew: It was a very quick clip. I didn’t see much, but…
Andrew: …you see Harry wearing different clothes and I think it’s the clothes – the person he had just transformed from.
Laura: Oh, really? [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah. And I think the one I – that stood out to me was, I think, Hermione. I saw him in a girlish type of – but that was surreal. Seeing seven. [laughs] Because…
Andrew: …and I’ve said it on MuggleCast before, I’ve been looking forward to that scene very much…
Andrew: …and to see that on the screen. But Snape and Voldemort – those scenes stood out too. And what else? I can’t – what else did I post about?
Micah: You said a shot of a dead Dumbledore.
Andrew: Yes! And you see Voldemort right over top of him so half…
Andrew: …the screen is Dumbledore, and then the top half…
Laura: Oh, right, so breaking in to take the Elder Wand.
Eric: You and Melissa were freaking out about that in the Leaky Mug.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. Melissa was like hitting my leg half the time. I have a black and blue mark left over from that.
Micah: What’s this about Harry and Hagrid driving through Hogwarts?
Andrew: Oh, no no, not Hogwarts – driving through London. Did I write Hogwarts in my notes?
Andrew: Yeah, because see, I was writing notes down so feverishly, I didn’t take my eyes off the screen. I was just jotting it down, and they made me turn my laptop screen off so I was just writing blankly. [laughs] So I had no idea what I was typing! But no, it’s Harry and Hagrid – a lot of clips of them driving through London. And remember we had seen shots of them filming that stuff like a year or two ago?
Andrew: And they were on the road, and everyone freaked out. They’re like, “Why are they on the road?” Well, they are on the road in the film too. And I guess that’s to make it more dramatic, because they’re zooming in and out of cars.
Andrew: At one point, you see them do sort of a loop-dee-loop in a tunnel. They start driving up on the ceiling to avoid the cars on the road.
Eric: That’s like Men in Black.
Laura: Men and Black style, yeah.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: That’s exactly what it is!
Eric: It’s actually scenes from Men in Black altered for Harry and Hagrid.
Andrew: That’s Harry and Hagrid. They’re on Hagrid’s motorbike, of course.
Laura: Sounds like the ultimate road trip.
Andrew: Yeah, and we also see Ron talking about listening to the radio, because it’s actually a very emotional scene. It’s in the tent and Ron’s talking…
Eric: Right, and leading up to Ron’s fight, right, with…
Andrew: Right, and Ron’s sort of like – maybe he was in tears, but he was saying to Harry, “I’m listening every day just to hear Ginny and Fred and George’s, and all their voices,” and it’s like, “Awww!”
Andrew: He’s kind of homesick. So – oh, and then some crazy shots of Bellatrix. I mean, god, she is crazy!
Andrew: I watch these movies just for her nowadays. She is so intense!
Laura: She’s incredible!
Andrew: Yeah, she…
Laura: I love…
Andrew: …really is.
Laura: …watching her. She clearly has so much fun with that part.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. And by the way, it was Tom Felton who introduced all these clips, and we got to interview him afterwards. It was a nice little sit-down interview, about twenty, thirty minutes. And he didn’t reveal too much new information, but he was saying that he really is proud of this final film and it’s going to be something to look forward to. So…
Micah: He is becoming the face a little bit, isn’t he? Of these movies. He did a lot for Half-Blood Prince and he seems to be doing a lot for this film as well.
Andrew: Exactly. And finally from Comic-Con, they had lots of props on set – or they had lots of props on display. They had Ravenclaw’s diadem, the Elder Wand, the Hufflepuff Cup…
Eric: Yeah, I saw this!
Andrew: …the Time-Turner…
Andrew: …Slytherin’s locket, the Riddle diary. So, that was cool.
Eric: I was, like, “Hey…”
Micah: A Time-Turner?
Micah: How does the Time-Turner fit in with all of these?
Andrew: Fun fact. I don’t know. I don’t know.
Andrew: It looked nice. [laughs] I can’t tell you.
Micah: Because it doesn’t get used in the final book.
Andrew: …it is just leftover. It sort of just…
Laura: Yeah. And I’m sure they just threw it in there because they could. [laughs] You know what I mean?
Eric: Well – I mean…
Andrew: Yeah, it…
Eric: …the diary is a Horcrux, but we’re not going to see the diary again. We’re going to see the Basilisk’s fangs again, possibly.
Andrew: So anyway, what else is going on, Micah? Don’t hold out on us. Come on.
News: Deathly Hallows Video Game
Micah: All right. Well, in a new interview, Deathly Hallows video game executive producer, Jonathan Bunney answered some questions for fans that were posted on Facebook. And some of these things we knew before, but a little bit of new information on the video game. He mentioned that you are no longer going to be at Hogwarts and that is why he thinks this game will appeal to more fans than those that have played – the ones that have come previously. It is kind of more of an action game than previously. Dan and Emma will not be lending their voices to the game.
Micah: They are too busy…
Andrew: Are you…
Laura: Oh my God.
Andrew: That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.
Andrew: But Ron – but Rupert…
Micah: He – no, he will be there. He will record his voice…
Micah: …for the game.
Andrew: Are they doing auditions for Harry and Hermione?
Andrew: I think…
Micah: …you might…
Andrew: …I could do…
Micah: …want to give it a…
Laura: Oh my God…
Micah: …try, yeah.
Laura: …Andrew, you should go for Hermione.
Andrew: Hermione?! Laura Thompson!
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Andrew: That’s fine. If you go for Harry, I’ll go for Hermione.
Laura: Okay, fine. Let’s audition together. I’m serious.
Eric: Oh no.
Andrew: [as Hermione] Alohomora!
Andrew: [as Hermione] Alohomora! Alohomora!
Laura: Exactly! This is…
Laura: …what kills me. Okay…
Eric: With feeling!
Laura: …how many things do they actually say in these games?
Laura: They have five lines…
Laura: …or something…
Eric: And they couldn’t…
Eric: …sit Emma down…
Laura: …like that.
Eric: …and say, “Hey, look. Okay, we’ll give you the test answers. Just come over here. Just…”
Eric: “…come over here real quick.”
Andrew: …school isn’t really an excuse. I mean, they have done – [sighs] I don’t – it should be in their contracts. When they do these films, they should have to do the video game films too.
Laura: I think it was originally, wasn’t it? Any other additional material they had to do. Maybe it is not anymore now that the…
Andrew: And I mean…
Laura: …movies are finished.
Andrew: …these video…
Andrew: …game characters look like the actors. So – wow, that must have been a setback when they found out that Dan and Emma wouldn’t be…
Eric: That is the other thing though. When they are not going to use the original voices, I feel like they could also cast a little bit better as far as sound-a-likes. It is not…
Eric: …like a…
Laura: …that is true.
Eric: If you are not going to, then definitely search far and wide for somebody who sounds just like them.
Eric: Because a lot of people can do really good impressions, so…
Micah: The forest, they will be full of creatures.
Andrew: [laughs] Oh, good.
Micah: Like dragons…
Eric: Oh, like Ben.
Micah: …spiders. There is not going to be a special collector’s edition, but they are going to do something with the packaging. So, that is something to look…
Micah: …forward to, I guess.
Micah: And this game will not be released on PlayStation 2. So, all…
Micah: …those people out there that have PlayStation 2…
Micah: …that are getting aggravated now. I think the LEGO game didn’t come out on PS2 either.
Andrew: Time for an upgrade.
Micah: You guys got to upgrade. Yeah… [laughs]
Eric: Micah, you are killing me. You are telling me to upgrade. I don’t want to upgrade. What if I don’t want to upgrade?
Laura: Yeah, I love my PS2.
Andrew: I am not – I don’t see the point in purchasing this if Dan and Emma are not…
Micah: There you go.
Andrew: …their voices. So…
Laura: However, if Andrew and I are on it, you should all go out…
Laura: …and buy it.
Andrew: …buy it. I’ll buy you a…
Andrew: …PS3, Laura…
Andrew: …if we’re going to be on it.
Micah: But should an advance copy be given to you for a review, then you would have no problem playing it. Right, Andrew?
Andrew: Exactly, exactly.
Andrew: All right, Micah…
Andrew: …what else is going on? Come on.
MuggleCast 204 Transcript (continued)
News: Adrian Jacobs’ Estate sues Scholastic
Micah: British author Adrian Jacobs – this was a story that came about actually when we were in Orlando, with suing Scholastic, claiming that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was substantially similar to Jacob’s 1987 book, The Adventures of Willy the Wizard. Scholastic…
[Laura laughs making Micah laugh]
Eric: What? Just because his name…
Laura: Sorry. [laughs]
Micah: Keep your…
Eric: …is Willy?
Micah: …mind out of the gutter, please.
Micah: This is a…
Laura: …not that.
Laura: “Willy the Wizard.” That is so…
Eric: That is so…
Laura: …ridiculous sounding, anyway.
Andrew: [in a silly voice] I’m Willy the wizard!
Eric: “Harry Potter.” That is so simple-minded. Geez.
Andrew: Go ahead.
Micah: Yeah. But Scholastic released a statement saying that this claim is completely without merit, and…
Andrew: Good. Fight it.
Micah: J.K. Rowling basically reiterated what she said back in 2004 when the accusation first took place, that she never heard of the author or the book until that year. So…
Andrew: Maybe I’m crazy, but I just don’t understand how – does the temptation of money you could potentially…
Andrew: …win from a lawsuit sound so large that you just lose all sense of common sense? Because how will they possibly win this case knowing that J.K. Rowling did not copy [in a silly voice] Willy the Wizard?
Laura: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, it’s the same – you’ve seen this before. Who was that author who said that J.K. Rowling stole the word “Muggle” from her?
Andrew: Yeah. I can’t remember, but…
Laura: Yeah, but it’s just ridiculous. I mean, the fact of the matter is with writing, and particularly with genres such as fantasy, you are going to have overlap like that.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Laura: I mean, obviously…
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs]
Laura: …if you are writing about a wizard, there are going to be dragons.
Andrew: [laughs] Right.
Laura: You can’t sit here and say, “Oh my God, she plagiarized me,” because – I don’t know what his exact claim was, but I’m sure it had something to do with the basic storyline or…
Laura: …some of…
Laura: …the creatures that were present. And that is just ridiculous.
Andrew: It had to do with Goblet of Fire in particular, and I…
Andrew: …think the Triwizard Tournament. There was some sort of similarities between three tasks or something.
Laura: Oh wow, because we have never seen that in literature…
Laura: …before. [laughs]
Andrew: Exactly. And even J.K. Rowling was, like, “Honestly, I’ve never heard of this book before.” [laughs]
Andrew: Good for her!
Micah: Yeah. Or the author for that matter. And one of the other claims was that Christopher Little, Rowling’s agent, was also apparently the agent of Adrian Jacobs and that is completely not true. I don’t know where they came up with that, so I guess they were trying to say that because they potentially shared an agent, that…
Andrew: They just…
Micah: …that is…
Andrew: …shared ideas.
Micah: Yeah, exactly. But it’s not even true that…
Andrew: It’s bollocks.
Micah: …they share the same agent. Yeah, crap.
News: Rumors of Universal Theme Park In India
Micah: All right. Well, not even two months after the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park opened in Orlando, there are rumors concerning a park to be opened in India, featuring rides from Universal property such as Harry Potter.
Micah: According to The Wall Street Journal:
“Reliance, a media-to-energy conglomerate backed by billionaire Anil Ambani, would be full owner of the park but would pay Universal royalties and fees for using brands and content linked to popular Hollywood movies such as ‘Jaws,’ ‘E.T.,’ ‘Spider-Man’ and the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise. The park would look much like Universal’s other major theme parks in Los Angeles, Orlando, Florida, and Japan, with a variety of roller coasters and rides, shops with movie-related merchandise and nearby hotels.”
Andrew: Yeah. 400 acres, by the way. The plan for this park is 400 acres. Not the Harry Potter part, but…
Andrew: …I think it would be at least the same size as the one in – the Harry Potter portion would be at least the same size.
Eric: So, it’s just some guy with a lot of money and he can pay royalties to build stuff?
Eric: I don’t…
Andrew: …this – apparently…
Andrew: …this is in the very early stages of discussions.
Eric: Oh, early.
Andrew: So it’s…
Eric: It’s a rumor.
Andrew: …not even close to official, but…
Eric: But I…
Andrew: …it is kind of worth mentioning.
Eric: I feel like – yeah, you could do this – if you could pay your lawyers, you could build your own Harry Potter park, you know?
Eric: Just pay the court costs.
Andrew: Oh, they have some deal with Universal, of course. It’s not as simple as you are making it out [laughs] to sound.
Eric: But I feel like Harry Potter would be a separate – because…
Andrew: Yeah, I agree.
Eric: A Harry Potter park exists because of an agreement between Warner Bros. and Universal. So…
Eric: …it is not exactly Universal property, whereas the other movie rides were produced by Universal as a company. I mean, I think – it is Warner Bros., it is J.K. Rowling, a lot of other things for the Harry Potter portion of that park. So, I feel like that…
Andrew: The only reason this story has credibility is because it is from The Wall Street Journal, otherwise we wouldn’t have posted it. But it is – I think without question, there will be other Harry Potter parks. It’s just going to take several years and this may be the first one.
Micah: That would really piss off London, wouldn’t it?
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] London would get very upset again.
Eric: I think we were saying when we were in the Harry Potter park that they should just tear down the Lost Continent and expand the Harry Potter part…
Andrew: Yeah. It will…
Eric: …of the park.
Andrew: …definitely grow.
Laura: Yeah, I don’t…
Andrew: That is…
Laura: …see why…
Andrew: …free money.
Laura: …they wouldn’t do that, yeah.
Happy Birthday J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter
Micah: A birthday announcement: J.K. Rowling celebrated her 45th birthday. The party was great. The booze was even better.
Micah: I have no idea actually. But…
Micah: …happy birthday to J.K. Rowling and of course, Harry Potter, coincidentally born on the same date. No idea how that happened.
Andrew: And in honor of them, I think we should play “The Unbirthday Song” from Alice in Wonderland!
[“The Unbirthday Song” from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland plays. Andrew interjects with “to Harry Potter” and “and J.K. Rowling” rather than “to you”]
Andrew: Okay. Happy birthday to them.
Micah: That was almost as good as us singing.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
News: Happy Birthday MuggleCast
Micah: And also, as you mentioned at the top of the show, MuggleCast turning five years old on August 7th…
Micah: …which is this Saturday? Yes, Saturday.
Andrew: All right, so we should play the song again!
Laura: No, that’s okay.
[The same song plays. Andrew interjects with “to MuggleCast” rather than “to you”]
Andrew: Happy birthday, guys.
Micah: That was short.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Did You Get Your Pants, Micah?
Eric: [laughs] Hey, Micah?
Eric: Did you get your pants?
Micah: [laughs] Did I get my pants? Yes, I did.
Eric: You got your pants?
Micah: We – our – the hosts of MuggleCast seem…
Micah: …to have a problem leaving their pants in hotel rooms to be shipped at a later date.
Andrew: You too left your pants?
Laura: You did that, Micah? [laughs]
Eric: I have a problem…
Micah: Yeah, I left my slacks.
Eric: …of collecting these pants and [laughs] holding onto them…
Micah: Yeah, Eric…
Eric: …and shipping them.
Micah: …you always seem to be the one who collects them. I don’t know what is up with that.
Laura: Yeah, well, at least…
Andrew: It is a little weird.
Laura: Luckily for you, Micah, it is not as awkward for Eric to ask you on the air if you got your pants in the mail. [laughs]
Andrew: All right. Well, good stuff.
Eric: …I’m glad you got them. Okay.
Andrew: Yeah, there is nothing really else to say about our birthday other than that thank you everyone so much for your support over the years. I mean, it has been five really amazing years of podcasting. MuggleCast started a lot of things for us, so we are all very appreciative. And hopefully everyone has enjoyed the show, and thanks to everyone for sticking with us all this time. There is a lot of people – we have gotten some birthday e-mails so far and there is a lot of people who said, “Yeah, I have been listening since the beginning and I have grown up with the show.” And that is really cool to hear because we have too.
Andrew: So is that it, Micah?
Micah: That is it for the news.
Chapter-by-Chapter Fun Facts: Goblet of Fire
Andrew: All right. Now as promised, we’re going to start Chapter-by-Chapter for Goblet of Fire!
Eric: This is – I got to say, picking this up to do Chapter-by-Chapter – it was the first book I read that I owned. The first…
Andrew: I had to lift weights…
Eric: …Potter book.
Andrew: …to get in shape…
Andrew: …to pick it up…
Andrew: …and [laughs] hold it for long periods of time. But anyway, I thought before we got into the chapters, we could start out with some fun facts about this book that I picked up while researching the book online just a couple of days ago. It was originally titled “Harry Potter and the Doomspell Tournament.” Then Jo came up with “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “Harry Potter and the Triwizard Tournament” before settling on “Goblet of Fire.” And I don’t – thinking in the grand scope…
Andrew: …of the book, “Doomspell Tournament” and “Triwizard Tournament” don’t really make sense, especially “Doomspell.”
Laura: Yeah. Well, that actually reminds me, I started reading Harry Potter in the fifth grade. I read it right after Prisoner of Azkaban came out and I was talking to this kid in my class who was also really big into it. And I distinctly remember him telling me, “Yeah, Book 4 is going to be called ‘Harry Potter and the Doomspell Tournament,'” because I guess that was the rumor at the time. And I remember thinking even as an eleven year old, “God, that is a dumb title. Why would she call it that?” [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, totally. I wonder if he got that information from MuggleNet back in the day.
Laura: Possibly, because I didn’t know MuggleNet existed back then.
Andrew: So, she rewrote the ninth chapter “The Dark Mark” thirteen times. That’s another fun fact. And then she almost thought of removing it entirely, and so I thought when we get to that chapter we’ll have to look at it and figure out why on earth it took so many tries. Thirteen times she rewrote it! That’s crazy. And some other facts: she wrote in a new character, a Weasley cousin who served the same purpose as Rita Skeeter, but then removed her because of some plot hole in the middle of the book. I thought that was interesting. And finally, it was the first book to be released in the U.S. and the U.K. on the same day, which was July 8th, 2000. And I still remember going to the store at midnight. I was down at the beach, and I – we were at this shore house at – on the boardwalk. I walked up the boardwalk to the bookstore and waited until midnight, and I took one of their boxes, too. And on the side of the box it said, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire…
Andrew: Do not open until midnight.” [laughs] I still have that box. Do you guys all remember where you were for the midnight releases of this book?
Andrew: Laura, where were you?
Laura: Well I didn’t actually get to go to a midnight release party. I remember we had just moved to Georgia, and I was super angry at my parents because I had no friends in it was summertime, I didn’t know anybody. And I was going to go to a midnight release party, but the bookstore we were going to go to – we decided to try to support an independent book store, and they ended up canceling their midnight release party.
Andrew: Oh, geez!
Laura: So I wasn’t able to go, and I had to wait until the next day. It was killing me, because I had planned on staying up all night to read it. So we had to wait until the next day to go to Barnes & Noble to get it. But I literally spent the next three days holed up in my room reading that book. My poor mother was like, “Wow! It’s seven hundred pages long! It’ll take her all summer to read this, she’ll stop complaining.” Nope, three days. Three days.
Andrew: How fast did you read it. Wow, look at you! Laura Thompson, book machine! Eric, Micah any – Micah, you didn’t get into it at this point – you weren’t into at this point, right?
Micah: No no, July 8th, 2000 – that was the summer before my first year in college. So that – yeah, I wasn’t into Harry Potter I don’t think probably for a couple of years later, maybe ’04, ’05.
Andrew: And Eric, where were you?
Eric: I was not a fan until probably two years later, yeah.
Andrew: Ugh. Ugh, you people.
Micah: Rookies, we’re all rookies.
Andrew: Anyway, Laura and I are all true pros.
Micah: You’re veterans.
Chapter-by-Chapter: “The Riddle House”
Andrew: Yes, exactly. All right. Well let’s get into it, Eric has the first chapter, that would be Chapter 1, “The Riddle House.” I wanted to bring up something – [laughs] – before you started. We got this e-mail from…
Andrew: We got this e-mail from Leisha, 17, of Texas. And she brings up a good point, so it’s something to keep in mind.
“Chapter One is Harry’s first dream about Voldemort, but it differs in one really big way from all the other dreams. And that is that Harry sees things from Frank’s point of view. In all the other dreams, things are seen due to a connection with Voldemort and his Horcruxes. So why would Harry have a connection with Frank? This has always been something that didn’t make sense to me.”
Eric: Now hang on, Leisha. I don’t think that that’s entirely accurate. I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade, but you did try and steal my thunder there. I don’t think that Chapter One is Harry’s dream. I think Harry has a dream involving the events at the end of Chapter One, but a lot of Chapter One is J.K. Rowling, the narrator of the Harry Potter series, writing to us about the history of the town. I don’t think Harry has a dream from Frank’s perspective, at least until the very end, because we get a lot of backstory and stuff that’s just not in the same tone.
Andrew: Oh, you may be right. You may be right.
Laura: I agree.
Eric: You know what I’m saying? I get the feeling that once Frank is in the room with Voldemort, possibly just before when the snake is involved, that’s when Harry’s dream starts. Harry’s dream obviously ends with the death of Frank Bryce, which concludes at the end of this chapter, but we’ll get into that later. So I feel like the whole chapter isn’t Harry’s dream of Voldemort.
Andrew: Fair enough. So get started, go for it.
Eric: Anyway, Goblet of Fire opens up with the discovery – ooh – of the murder of Tom Riddle, Sr. and his parents. This is a cool – this was fun to read. Basically, Tom Riddle, Sr. and his parents live in a mansion – or a manor – in Little Hangleton, it’s a little town. And Frank Bryce, the gardener, is arrested, and the townspeople don’t believe it until they get together at the pubs – sort of the night after the murders, and eventually they get to drinking and talking and one of them says, “I always thought he had a funny look about him, right enough.” And somebody else says, “War turned him funny, if you ask me.” And by the next morning, Jo writes, “hardly anyone in Little Hangleton doubted that Frank Bryce had killed the Riddles.” So I think Jo – what we’re getting here in this first chapter, Jo is commenting on small towns in the Potter series. She’s really illustrating what small town people are like. You know, there’s this big murder, it’s a mystery, nobody knows whodunit, and they get to drink and they get to talk and then all of a sudden they all agree that surely it was the gardener. So do you think – what do you think she’s saying? What are you guys’ thoughts on this whole – how she’s portrayed in – in the first few pages it’s – she’s very brilliantly fleshed out the townspeople.
Andrew: I think you’re right, and it’s sort of – it makes you feel bad for Frank, because – you know, how everyone is so quick to assume it was him when it wasn’t, you know?
Laura: Yeah. And I mean also, having spent the vast majority of my growing up years in a small town, something that you see often times like this – you live in sort of this – it’s almost like a bubble, where people think bad things don’t happen here because it’s not the big city. And then when something bad does happen people almost have this – this need to justify it in some means that their mind can accept it, and so that they can also think it could never happen to me. So for them to look at the circumstances of this murder – now, of course – we all know who actually killed them but nobody would want to confront that terrible realization that, you know, my son could go crazy and kill me. Instead it’s “Yeah, Frank Bryce, he was weird.”
Laura: And it’s always trying to pawn that off on some external factor. Like, “it couldn’t be any of us normal people, it had to be him.” So…
Eric: It had to be – had to be “the war that had done it.”
Laura: Yeah, exactly.
Eric: Yeah, yeah. That’s really interesting. And so, the fact that we’re in this village we’ve never been to before, Little Hangleton – it’s a little bit interesting because the first three Harry Potter books, you know where you are. You’re pretty much all in Privet Drive from the get-go. And so the fact that this takes place – I think it’s 200 miles away – is – I think sets the tone for the book, which is a book about branching out in the world, getting to know the greater Wizarding World, just the world in general. I think it’s a bigger – a book with a bigger mind, so it was really cool to see that. Now, one quick point I wanted to bring up here: Frank Bryce says – he tells the police that he’s innocent, and he says that he saw a teenage boy, a stranger, who was dark-haired and pale around the manor before the Riddles were killed. “But nobody else in the village had seen any such boy, and the police were quite sure that Frank had invented him,” according to the book. I’m asking why was Frank the only one who saw this boy, who we know was actually a young Voldemort?
Laura: Well, I mean…
Andrew: He kept to himself, right? He never went out.
Laura: Well, I think the fact of the matter is Frank really seemed to know the grounds of that home better than anyone else. I mean, he’d been there for some number of years. And, it’s quite possible when you’re living on the grounds you’re going to see more of it than the townspeople are. They don’t live there.
Laura: So if he saw Tom Riddle walking up to the house, he probably was the only one who saw him, especially considering Tom didn’t live there.
Andrew: Yeah. Exactly.
Micah: I think that – and Tom’s a pretty smart person. He’s not going to wander around the village where other people can see him, especially if he’s about to go commit a murder.
Eric: Yeah. So he had a very specific purpose, he had a very specific reason to be there. And he just basically came, did his stuff and left.
Eric: So anyway – what you were saying, Laura, this fits in my next point: the coroner’s report. So everybody in the town expects or suspects Frank, and evidently the report came back on the bodies and “changed everything.” Listen to this, this is great: “None of the Riddles had been poisoned, stabbed, shot, strangled, suffocated, or as far as they could tell harmed at all. In fact, the report continued, the Riddles all appeared to be in relatively perfect health, apart from the fact that they were dead.” [laughs]
Eric: So this is actually – the reason I wrote this, the reason I liked – Jo wrote this, I didn’t write this – but the reason I brought it up is because this is – what we’re getting here is what the Killing Curse, what Avada Kedavra, which plays a great role in the Harry Potter books – this is what it looks like to Muggles. You know…
Micah: The top Twitter trend.
Eric: This is – these are the – what?
Andrew: The top Twitter trend. It’s been trending on Twitter, like the number one spot for the past three days now.
Eric: What has?
Andrew: Avada Kedavra.
Eric: It has?
Eric: I haven’t been on Twitter in three days. [laughs] That’s pretty funny. Anyways, so this is what the Killing Curse looks like. You know, we’ve been told before that it didn’t really – actually, no, we hadn’t been told before. This is the first instance of the Killing Curse, and it’s really cool to see that it doesn’t really leave a trace. It just – it kills you, but there’s no way to – otherwise, if it weren’t for the fact that you were dead there would be no harm to you. So this was – is just a really interesting thing for the Harry Potter series in general.
Eric: So we don’t really know that there’s just one killing curse at this point in reading the book – the curse that killed Harry’s parents and was meant to kill him and backfired isn’t specifically named, and it’s not known to be the only curse that kills you until later in this book, so I thought that was interesting as well. Also somebody – one of the townspeople says the door wasn’t forced to the Riddle’s house, so I just wanted to point out that even…
Eric: …a young Voldemort uses Alohomora. [laughs]
Andrew: Alohomora! Alohomora! I’m practicing that for the video game.
Laura: You also have to practice Flipendo! Flipendo!
Andrew: Flipendo! Flipendo! Flipendo!
Eric: Is it Flipendo or Stupendo? Is it…
Andrew: No, it’s definitely Flipendo.
Laura: No, it’s Flipendo.
Andrew: I need to find that game and re-record all those spells.
Andrew: Those were great. I hated it! It ran through – never mind.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: So, anyway, having nothing to convict him on, Frank Bryce is let go. He’s not arrested, and years and years and years later, years later, Frank Bryce is considerably older, and he awakens one night to find his leg – which he had hurt in the war – it’s paining him worse than ever. And he goes to turn the kettle on and discovers the lights are on in the Riddle House.
Andrew: And this is where the movie starts, by the way.
Eric: This is where the movie starts. Frank’s putting the kettle on and sees the lights.
Andrew: It’s almost perfect.
Eric: It’s pretty cool. So he thinks it’s pranksters. Those darn, young kids, “get off the grass” sort of thing – always used to break into the house. He goes to investigate and, sure enough, he actually stumbles upon Voldemort and Wormtail. So Voldemort and Wormtail have this little meeting. It’s important to mention, this is Voldemort from the end of – we last saw this Voldemort at the end of Sorcerer’s Stone. We saw Voldemort in Chamber of Secrets, and we didn’t see him in Prisoner of Azkaban at all. But the Voldemort we saw in Chamber of Secrets was diary Tom Riddle, and not this Voldemort, so I thought that was also important to remember. Wormtail on the other hand is fresh from Prisoner of Azkaban. So, I said it’s refreshing to Harry Potter readers still upset over Pettigrew’s escape at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban to be immediately immersed in where he is and what he is doing. Unfortunately it means an evil plot! Oh no! [laughs] Here’s a question, Voldemort tells Wormtail that Wormtail was supposed to milk Nagini before they retire. Do you guys catch this?
Andrew: That’s what I do with my snake too.
Eric: He says, “I need feeding. You need to milk Nagini before we retire.”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Laura: I think – I don’t think he’s referring to actual milk.
Micah: I don’t think he’s talking about nipples.
Laura and Micah: I think he’s talking about venom. Yeah.
Andrew: Yeah. No, I think you’re all right…
Eric: But it says he needs to feed!
Andrew: I just wonder about the necessity of things like this in the Harry Potter series.
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Andrew: There’s enough jokes about wands and such.
Laura: Well yeah.
Micah: In Chamber of Secrets.
Laura: Another fan favorite – I do believe it was from Goblet of Fire was Ron was very exasperated. He said something, and it says at the end of the quote, “Ron ejaculated.” [laughs]
Eric: Ejaculated loudly?
Eric: I first heard that line when Jim Dale read that line to me. And it’s like, ‘”oh, what?” Ron ejaculated loudly.’ It’s funny.
Eric: Anyway. So Voldemort’s going to do some weird thing where he feeds on Nagini’s milk, or maybe Nagini’s milk is going to – whatever.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: I think this is the first time we see Nagini. Because Voldemort has a pet snake we didn’t know about it before, and Jo – here’s a great quote I found. Once Frank is in the room Jo writes, “The snake was curled up on the rotting hearth rug like some horrible travesty of a pet dog.”
Eric: And I thought that was really cool. But Voldemort has a pet snake!
Laura: Yeah. I love her use of description. She is so great. These are some of my favorite things in the books to read.
Micah: You skipped over an important part though. That Nagini is a Horcrux, and Voldemort is essentially surviving off one of his Horcruxes by drinking the venom of Nagini.
Eric: Well is it – yeah, I mean, that’s important, but is it – is he going to use the venom to kill another animal and then feed off that animal? How is that – I mean, is it not milk, is it venom? I just assumed it was its nipples…
Micah: No, I think it’s venom.
Laura: Yeah, no, I think it’s venom.
Eric: So he’s going to eat the venom of – but he’s surviving off of again one of his – well, she’s not entirely his Horcrux like Harry, right? Where part of his soul is also part of her. It’s like when Harry and Dumbledore in Book 6 were talking about it Dumbledore’s like, “well, ordinarily you wouldn’t want to make another living thing your Horcrux because it would be like sharing your soul with somebody else.”
Eric: So I feel if you are a Horcrux, you just have that part of someone else’s soul in you. You’re still your own entity. So you can still be a snake, and have nipples, apparently, but not be totally a Horcrux.
Laura: Yeah, I agree with you.
Micah: I guess so.
Laura: But I mean, it makes sense to me. At this point Voldemort’s not human. He doesn’t have a body. So the fact that he’s feeding off of venom doesn’t disturb me. I mean, it makes sense. He’s evil. Of course he can eat venom.
Eric: [laughs] That’s a good point. Okay, so Frank overhears the whole game plan. It’s pretty interesting and the stage is set. Something will happen involving a murder and it will take place after the Quidditch World Cup. Frank Bryce unfortunately – he stands up…
Andrew: Is about to die.
Eric: …to Voldemort. He says, “Hey you” – he says, yeah.
Andrew: “Show your face!”
Eric: “Face me like a man! Show your face!” and Voldemort’s like, “Oh. Okay.” [laughs] Voldemort, “Wormtail. Turn me around.”
Andrew: This is actually the same exact thing that happened to me when I wanted to see Micah for the first time.
[Eric, Laura and Micah laugh]
Andrew: He was sitting in a chair – reverse me, and I was like, “Show your face!” And then I looked and he turned around. I almost passed out.
Laura: Wow, Andrew!
Micah: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: No problem Micah! Just warning people in the future.
Eric: Yeah, poor Frank.
Andrew: Just kidding! Micah has a beautiful face.
Eric: “He was dead before he hit the floor. And two hundred miles away, the boy called Harry Potter woke with a start.”
Andrew: So Harry only woke with a start because he wasn’t seeing the whole dream, to get back to that original e-mail.
Andrew: He was just awakening from Voldemort’s frustration.
Laura: Yeah. And I think that this goes to show that Eric’s point was correct because clearly here where we’re seeing J.K. Rowling operating a sort of, a complete out-side party, she’s telling us stuff from the point of view of Frank, Voldemort and now Harry. So I don’t think any part of the first chapter was particular to any of those three characters, you know what I mean? I don’t think it was particular to Harry just because she’s talking about him as an outsider.
Eric: So it’s like…
Micah: And this is…
Eric: This was like, “The Other Minister” chapter where it’s…
Eric: …other people.
Micah: This is also where the movie took a little bit of liberty by putting Barty Crouch Jr. into the scene.
Micah: And making it – they made it – the movie made it seem more like Harry was dreaming about this.
Eric: Well I think…
Micah: So maybe that’s where the mix-up occurred.
Eric: And even in the beginning of chapter two of this book Harry is trying to recall – he did see Voldemort and Wormtail in a room. That – I think that’s in the book, where he did see them in a room. But I feel it’s sort of – the events of his dream take place right before Frank dies. Maybe there’s some mumbling, and he sees – Frank sees Voldemort’s face and I think that’s what Harry basically saw.
Laura: Yeah, and a lot of those dreams throughout the book tended to be residual too. I mean, he would have dreams about this scene on more than one occasion. So he might have been seeing little bits and pieces at different times. Maybe not the whole thing at once.
Eric: Right. But I guess we’re meant – I mean this is also kind of his connection with Voldemort through the scar. When he can see when Voldemort’s happy or sad. Voldemort just commits murder and we’re meant to believe at the exact same moment Harry awakes from a nightmare. So it’s kind of like the scar connection has grown.
Andrew: Well, now that Frank Bryce is dead as we had promised we need to get back to playing songs for each fallen character. And Eric, you selected a song for Frank Bryce that’s called, “Wonderful Wonderful” by Johnny Mathis. And here’s a small sample now in honor of…
Eric: Goodbye, Frank.
[“Wonderful Wonderful” by Johnny Mathis plays]
[Andrew sobs dramatically]
Andrew: Rest in peace, Frank Bryce.
Laura: Eric, I don’t know why…
Laura: …but I had a feeling you were being ironic with your song choice.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Eric: Yeah, it was like, “I feel the glow of your love” and it’s the glow of the death curse. I feel like that.
Andrew: That’s a pretty good choice. I liked it.
Laura: No, well done, well done.
MuggleCast 204 Transcript (continued)
Chapter-by-Chapter: “The Scar”
Andrew: Yeah. For sure. Okay, so now, Chapter 2, The Scar. This is my chapter and I’ve got to say…
Micah: You wrote it?
Andrew: Yes, I wrote this.
Andrew: Actually, I would not be proud to write this, because this was one of the most basic chapters in all of the Harry Potter series.
Andrew: It’s basically one giant review chapter. So we’re going to get through it pretty quick. Harry wakes up and he tries to recall that dream that he had had. Well, see, and here’s – okay. So wait a second. Hold on, Eric, your whole point may be moot, because…
Eric: What?! No.
Andrew: …he did say he had a dream.
Laura: Yeah, but…
Eric: I’m saying he had a dream but it wasn’t all about the Little Hangletons in a bar talking about how Frank Bryce must have murdered and…
Andrew: Okay. Yeah. Not that.
Laura: It was just the Voldemort…
Eric: It was just the Voldemort part at the end…
Andrew: Oh, okay.
Eric: …of Chapter One.
Andrew: Okay, All right. All right.
Andrew: Sorry. Okay. It makes sense now.
Eric: No, that’s cool.
Andrew: So, as Jo does at the start of all the books as – if my memory serves me correctly, we see a lot of reminders about what has happened in the previous books, in this case, the previous three books. Why does she do this? Is this for people who haven’t read the other ones or just a friendly reminder? Because…
Andrew: …if people haven’t – if people are just picking up a book, say, just picking up Goblet of Fire, not having read the other three, shame on them.
Laura: Yeah, but this is pretty common when you have any kind of series or a saga or a trilogy. There’s always a little bit of a recap in the first couple of chapters. And I think it serves a double purpose. I think it serves a purpose for people who do read the books but maybe don’t read into them as deeply as we would, and it’s also for the losers who will go out and pick up Book 3 first and…
Andrew: All right.
Laura: …decide they’re going to skip the first two.
Eric: [laughs] Losers.
Andrew: I don’t like that. I don’t like this. I mean, it’s a nice reminder of some things, but sometimes it’s…
Micah: You know…
Andrew: …very heavy on the reminders.
Eric: I think it’s…
Micah: I wonder though if it’s a publisher’s decision, though, too, because…
Andrew: Probably the editor.
Micah: …to me, it doesn’t seem something like J.K. Rowling would do.
Andrew: Yeah. No, I think you’re right. It’s definitely the publisher/editor looks…
Eric: What do you mean it’s not something she would do? She did do it.
Andrew: …at it – but maybe they suggested adding it, because it is very – I mean, not to complain, it’s just a lot of reminders, and I think Harry Potter fans – a series – like Laura said, yes, it happens probably in a lot of books, but – I don’t know. Just a little thing…
Micah: But it does disappear, though, as the books go on. I mean, I remember when I was first reading the series and I read, I think it was the first four books or the first five books in one summer, and there was that repetitive nature of the first couple of chapters in each of the books after Sorcerer’s Stone, kind of reflecting back a bit on what had happened, and I didn’t think it was absolutely necessary, but…
Micah: Some of it is a little odd too. You have quotes here so I’ll let you get to them but…
Micah: Some of it is odd – I don’t know, she mentions it so matter-of-factly that he almost got killed by a basilisk.
Andrew: [laughs] Well, there are a couple semi-clever ways they remind people – they give people an idea of Harry’s world, for example, quote, “Even Quidditch in Harry’s opinion, the best sport in the world couldn’t distract him at the moment.” So from that you get, “Oh he’s a big fan of Quidditch, okay.” Then another quote, “Privet Drive looked exactly as a respectable suburban street would be expected to look.” So you think “Oh! All right. So Privet Drive is sort of regular, typical. You don’t need a full explanation but it’s a subtle way of reminding people. And then finally, quote, “Harry was no stranger to pain and injury. He had lost all the bones from his right arm once. The same arm had been pierced by a venomous foot-long fang not long afterward. Only last year, Harry had fallen fifty feet from an airborne broomstick.” So – [laughs] – that is the history of Harry’s arm.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: And then a couple of pages later we get an overview of how Voldemort killed Harry’s parents. Anyway…
Andrew: The chapter continues and we see Harry realize that Voldemort couldn’t possibly be nearby despite his scar hurting worse as ever. This is an example of how we see Harry and Voldemort’s connection strengthening as the series progresses. Then Harry wonders if he should let Hermione, Dumbledore or the Weasleys know about the scar hurting and his quote un-quote, “Dream,” but decides against it. And during this little side-part Harry wonders what Dumbledore does during the Hogwarts summer vacation and imagines him at the beach. Lol!
Laura: I wonder what kind of beach he would be at.
Andrew: You think Voldemort goes to the nude beaches, Laura Thompson?
Andrew: I mean Dumbledore.
Laura: Maybe. Dumbledore’s a feisty fellow.
Andrew: I bet he wears a bikini at the beach.
Laura: I bet he totally would.
Eric: I bet he doesn’t even need a bikini. His beard covers him.
Eric: It’s like that Shel Silverstein poem “My Beard”.
Andrew: Wow. That’s a visual – that’s an intense visual.
Eric: Jo’s always writing about his beard, and he can put a belt buckle around it…
Andrew: Put some bling on it.
Andrew: So Harry ultimately decides that he’s not going to tell Dumbledore or Hermione; he’s just going to write to Sirius. And he mentions that things are well and P.S. his scar was hurting. So he keeps it low key; he doesn’t make a big deal about it. This point also leads the way for a review of Sirius and Harry’s relationship. So that’s the chapter – it’s a lot of review and a little progression. The progression was that Sirius – or Harry is writing a letter to Sirius and Dumbledore would look good in a bikini at the beach.
Eric: No – when he’s wearing his beard.
Andrew: Or wearing nothing. So Micah, that brings us to your chapter that you read and picked apart.
Chapter-by-Chapter: “The Invitation”
Micah: I can’t top that, Andrew, but I’m going to try. As you said, this chapter is also a little bit light in terms of some of the stuff that’s going on, so I tried to pull some stuff out of it. The chapter opens with them all at the table for breakfast, and we learn a little bit more about Dudley, what he’s been doing the last year or so. And I want to know, why are the Dursleys so blind to the fact that Dudley is a fat, obnoxious delinquent moron?
Eric: Because they’re fat obnoxious morons.
Micah: You know… [laughs]
Andrew: It’s the only child syndrome. It’s – you’ve got to spoil your child.
Laura: And they’re the typical “my child is a genius and can do no wrong” type of parents.
Micah: Right. Well yeah. That’s kind of what I was hoping you guys would say. They talk about the report card. They talk about, obviously, Dudley’s weight. It’s interesting now that Dudley has to go on a diet, that everybody seems to be having to do the same thing, including Harry. Little do they know, Harry has a whole stash of cakes and other things underneath the floorboard. You’re right, Laura. It’s kind of – and Andrew, too – the only child/my child is the best thing in the world. I don’t know. Dudley is like the kid that’s – it’s interesting because Dudley would be the kid that you would expect to get picked on, but he’s actually not. He’s the one who does the picking. No? Maybe?
Eric: Well, most bullies are bullied themselves, aren’t they? Do you think at school, people…
Micah: Yeah, but…
Eric: …pick on Dudley?
Laura: I don’t know, maybe. I think the thing is, though, he was raised to be such a little brat, he never really had too much of an opportunity to be picked on himself, maybe.
Andrew: And just because he’s big and spoiled, I don’t think that’s any reason…
Andrew: …to get picked on in particular, you know, because a lot of other kids are probably just like him.
Micah: That’s true.
Eric: Yeah. I think Petunia especially indulged him. Vernon and Petunia, they didn’t see any wrong with Dudley. The fact that he’s on a diet now because the school nurse wrote to Petunia is kind of funny. And I think – Petunia’s going about it so everybody has to suffer, so that Dudley can lose some weight, just to make Dudley feel better about it, that everybody is going for the diet thing.
Micah: What did J.K. Rowling refer to him as? A small beluga?
Eric: Yeah, yeah!
Micah: Or a small whale…
Eric: She actually…
Micah: Something like that.
Eric: There are people that are really offended by her word choice in describing large characters in the Harry Potter series.
Andrew: She’s just trying to be funny.
Micah: I wonder who he’s based off of. I wonder if it’s somebody she knew growing up that this character is based off of.
Eric: I doubt it. I doubt it.
Andrew: I just can’t imagine Dudley any other way. I think – you know, that adds to his character. I mean, that’s why we love to hate the Dursleys because on top of them being jerks to Harry, they spoil their kid. And Harry sees that and realizes how spoiled he is. He’s annoyed by how poorly he, Harry, is treated while Dudley – just gift after gift, cake after cake.
Eric: You know…
Andrew: Not anymore, though. Not with this new diet.
Eric: That’s why that scene in Book 7 didn’t move me. Where Dudley’s like, “Wait a minute. I don’t understand. Harry’s not coming with us?” Because I was like, “No, that’s right. You don’t understand because you’re dumb.”
Eric: Like I could see that it was emotional for Harry and for Dudley maybe and for Petunia, but it didn’t particularly move me in the book when they were walking out the door and Dudley stopped. Because I was like, “Eh, I think it’s a little too late for you.” But yeah, Dudley’s kind of – Dudley’s a monster.
Micah: Yep. So as breakfast concludes Harry gets a letter from Mrs. Weasley. Vernon goes to the door. The postman is there and he’s a little bit concerned that the postman rang the doorbell to deliver this letter from Mrs. Weasley.
Micah: And he in fact called it funny because it was covered in stamps. And we talked about this a little bit – I think it may have been Prisoner of Azkaban when we did Chapter-by-Chapter. Vernon is beyond scared that even the slightest oddity will cause people to think his family is associated with the wizarding world. And the funny thing is that no neighbors, with the exception of one, postal workers, or anybody else even know that such a world exists to associate them with. So is he just afraid of being seen as anything other than mainstream society? Is that what it is?
Laura: Yeah. And I think actually for this, we can go back to Book 1. What is the first line of the first chapter of Sorcerer’s Stone? Something along the line of…
Eric: “Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Dursley of Number Four Privet Drive were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” [laughs]
Andrew: Oh, you’re such a know-it-all, Eric.
Andrew: That’s actually pretty impressive, word-for-word.
Eric: I don’t think it said Vernon, though. But yeah…
Andrew: You’re right. This is a family that’s stuck in their ways. I think we all know people like this.
Eric: Yeah. This happens time and time again. In Book 5, Mad-Eye Moody and the Order lure the Dursleys out of their house by [laughs] luring them away to a best-kept gardens of Britain competition. [laughs] Congratulations, you’ve been nominated…
Eric: …for the best-kept lawn and garden…
Laura: Which is funny considering they were in the middle of a drought at that point in the book. [laughs] So I doubt their lawn looked very good.
Eric: You know, that is funny. I didn’t put two and two together.
Laura: [laughs] Yeah.
Andrew: Go ahead, Micah.
Micah: All right. Well, the back and forth between Harry and Vernon starts over whether or not Harry can go and stay with the Weasleys and see the Quidditch World Cup. That’s the point of Mrs. Weasley sending this letter. And I thought that Vernon’s bigotry really came through here, but so did Harry’s cunning. He was always thinking one step ahead of his uncle. And I don’t know if that’s just because Vernon is not the sharpest knife in the drawer or because Harry has a little bit of his father in him, has a little bit of Voldemort in him. And just some of those examples. Harry stops himself from saying Hogwarts Express because he knew that unless he said the word “train,” his uncle was going to flip out. Then Vernon, kind of on the bigotry end, refers to Mrs. Weasley as a dumpy woman with lots of red-headed kids…
Eric: Yeah, that’s rich.
Micah: And Harry thought that that was comical that Vernon would refer to anybody as being dumpy. And then Vernon asks what Quidditch is and then can’t stand the word “broomstick” being said. And the other thing was, when they were referring to how Harry would send a response back to the Weasleys, “the normal way of response,” Harry says. “You know, owl post. That’s what’s normal for us wizards.” And then Vernon responds – and I think this really typifies his character – when he says, “How many times do I have to tell you not to mention that unnaturalness under my roof?” And I mean, that pretty much describes the Dursley family as a whole. To use the word “unnaturalness” is pretty strong.
Andrew: Yeah. It’s mean. It’s pure mean. They have no sensitivity for Harry. It’s bad and it’s very rough to read.
Eric: Mrs. Weasley has gone out of her way here to write this letter and to stamp it. Sure, they want to make sure that there’s enough stamps – which is funny because you never want to find yourself not having paid enough to ship – not having put enough stamps on something. So it’s funny. But she went out of her way and wrote this letter to Mr. Vernon Dursley and he can’t respect that because it’s weird – it makes him look a little weird. The postman doesn’t think twice about it, but he’s just like, “Oh, this is kind of peculiar” and has to ring the doorbell to deliver it. You know, that really upsets him.
Micah: And so, Harry can see the wheels turning in Vernon’s head about what the decision is going to be and of course, he comes up with the idea that Sirius wouldn’t be too happy. His crazy maniac of a godfather who was once in prison wouldn’t be very happy with the fact of Harry not going to this Quidditch World Cup. And I mentioned earlier, I thought that was a bit of James in Harry, coming up with the cunning decision making there by saying, “Well you know, if you don’t let me go, my crazy godfather that you saw on television – or heard about on television – yeah, he might make a visit here to Privet Drive.” And that was pretty much all Vernon needed in order to…
Eric: And that would be really unnatural. Exactly. Well…
Micah: Oh yeah…
Eric: Because Petunia is the kind of woman who believes what she hears on T.V. So, they’ve seen Sirius Black on T.V. He was on the Muggle – he was an escaped prisoner, and “Oh, he’s my godfather,” says Harry at the end of the last book. So it’s – yeah. It’s good reading Harry like this, because you do get a bit of James, but also it’s kind of – it’s Harry’s personality which I feel like we don’t see enough of, really, in the books. Like him having to act fast or think fast like this and really reason his way out of things or reason with unreasonable people. I don’t know, maybe the whole…
Micah: Yeah, but he’s also at the same time – yeah, he’s grown a lot over the course of the last two books. And you see how his approach to Vernon has changed on certain things, like he knows that he can outwit him, almost. All right, and then so, after this whole fiasco, Harry gets permission to go visit with the Weasleys and go to the Quidditch World Cup. He gets back to his room and he finds this annoying owl flying around, Pigwigon – Pigwidgeon – whatever the hell its name is at this point. I’ll just call him Pig, and Pig has a letter for Harry from Ron. This is what I didn’t get though. One went through the normal post and then Ron sends one by owl. I understand the whole Mrs. Weasley wanting to respect the Dursleys but it’s kind of like mass mail going on. I don’t know – and Hedwig was very upset by the fact that this little puff ball was flying around the room and that Harry had given his response to Ron that he was going to be visiting them to Pig, but then she is very much happy with the fact that Harry decides to give her the responsibility of taking a letter to Sirius. So, Hedwig is a much more dignified owl I guess you could say and has more responsibility.
Eric: Yeah, she’s got ‘tude.
Micah: But look who survives in the end.
Laura: Yeah, exactly, I was going to say look who dies.
Eric: Pigwidgeon’s like “Hey!”
Andrew: “Sucks for you! I showed you Hedwig!”
Micah: Yeah, but the bird does have a little bit of attitude though.
Eric: Yeah, Hedwig’s got attitude. Hedwig’s like Aretha Franklin.
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Andrew: Weird connection, but all right.
Eric: I feel like she’s always just demanding the respect. You’ve got to respect the bird. You know when Harry will let her out of the cage or have her there and he’ll look away to talk to Ron and she’ll peck him on the finger and be like “Hey! I’m your bird. What’s up?”
Micah: Well, she did that a little bit in this chapter too. What was she, clicking her beak?
Eric: Yeah, she always does these little “tut, tut, tuts” and the clicking of her beak. I mean, clearly when he tries to leave without her in Chamber of Secrets, she flips out, and she’s like “squawk! Squawk!” and it ends up waking up Vernon but you know, Harry almost left without her. So I guess Harry kind of deserves some of that indignity – indignant attitude. Still Hedwig is quite a character and it’s just a shame what happens to her.
Micah: And then the final bit of the chapter – I mentioned earlier that Harry was keeping all of these cakes underneath his floorboards…
Micah: …because of the fact that the Dursleys were eating such small portions now. So he wrote to all of his friends, and to Hagrid, and to Sirus, to get some sweets so he can store them safely away. And Andrew, you asked the brilliant question, all these cakes…
Micah: …don’t they need a refrigerator?
Laura: Well, maybe they’re wrapped?
Andrew: That doesn’t – no, no. I had a cake in Las Vegas, for my twenty-first birthday, and it went bad after a day or two. There was no way, unless there’s some sort of cake-o-keep-fresh-o charm…
Laura: Yeah, but…
Eric: Not to mention, Harry couldn’t have put the charm on because that’s underage magic.
Eric: So, unless they were thinking ahead, and already put perservative charms on their food before they sent it to Harry – yeah, he should have put a little mini-fridge underneath his floorboards there.
Andrew: Yeah, I think that’s a serious plot hole.
Micah: Yeah, I don’t think the rock cakes probably would have made much difference. They probably would have tasted the same.
Eric: Yeah, the rock cakes would have tasted the same. [laughs]
Muggle Mail: Inception Similarities
Andrew: So, that’s chapters one through three of Goblet of Fire. If you have any feedback for us, feel free to e-mail in by visiting MuggleCast.com and let us know if you agree or disagree with any of the discussions we had today. Speaking of e-mail, we’re going to get to Muggle Mail now. This first one comes from Zach, of Washington, he writes:
“Hey guys, I’m a big fan of the show since I’ve been listening since day one in August 2005. However, I’m a few episodes behind so apologies if you’ve recently discussed the following. After watching and loving ‘Inception,’ I realized how similar elements of the movie are to ‘Harry Potter’ concepts. One, extraction, stealing someone’s secrets from their minds whilst they are dreaming is just like Legilimency. Two, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character can train people to defend their minds from such intrusions, just like Occlumency. Lastly, the title concept of ‘Inception,’ planting an idea in someone’s head is exactly what Voldemort did in Book 5 to Harry when he uses a false memory of Sirius! Just thought they were neat connections. Keep up the good work. Zach.”
Have you guys seen Inception?
Laura: Oh my God, it was so good. I loved it! I love that movie.
Micah: No, I’ve not.
Eric: It was awesome. It really was.
Andrew: Were you guys thinking about the Harry Potter connections?
Laura: Actually, no. I hadn’t thought about until just now.
Laura: But, it’s true! It just goes to show that there aren’t too many original ideas anymore but there are original twists that you can take on them. So…
Andrew: Laura, could you read the next e-mail from Liz, please?
Muggle Mail: Deathly Hallows Trailer
Laura: Sure. Liz, age 18 from Montreal writes:
“Hello everyone. So, I love the analysis of the trailer. There were a lot of scenes discussed that I didn’t seen before, so that was pretty sweet, and seriously the Voldy/Harry kissing comments cracked me up. But you guys argued, speculated, and complained a lot about the scene where Harry and Voldemort are battling in the courtyard and I thought I would suggest my thoughts on that clip. This is the same courtyard that we see Professor Trelawney being fired and booted out of by Umbridge in the ‘Order of the Phoenix’ film. In that scene, there is no one in the courtyard, but everyone is watching from beneath the archways that surround the open space. Is it possible that when Harry tells all the other people to stop fighting, that it has to be just him and Voldemort, they retreat to the archways and watch from there? It’s much more fitting to Harry’s character to keep everyone out of harms way. Obviously, that space wouldn’t fit as many people as the Great Hall would have and it’s probably not as a satisfying a solution, but it’s still possible that there are witnesses to the epic final fight. Anyway, just a speculation. Thanks for reading, Liz.”
Andrew: Yeah, so as everyone remembers, as Liz brought up, we were like why – first of all, it’s not in the Great Hall, even though not too many people were bothered by that, when we discussed it on out live show but also there is a lack of people around and that was kind of a cool thing to see in the book. That’s a good theory, I guess. I still think in those shots you would have seen the people in the background.
Eric: Although, they did edit out the blood off Hermione’s hands so maybe they just edited out all the thousands of people that were watching Harry fight Voldemort.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Andrew: That’s not suitable for all audiences when watching this trailer.
Andrew: You saw dead bodies though.
Micah: Yeah, you did. I was just about to say that. I think I was the one who probably had the biggest problem with them not doing it in the Great Hall, but we’ll see what happens. Obviously, I’m not the decision maker and they’ve already made the decision. It’ll be interesting. I don’t think – that was such a wide shot that if there were people there, you probably would have seen a few of them.
Laura: Everything was in ruins around them too.
Eric: Yeah, because of the state of ruin, I felt that there was nobody around for miles and it was just Harry and Voldemort. I feel like the scene in the Great Hall might happen where Harry’s like “Hey Tom,” and Voldemort’s like, “My name is Voldemort.” He’s like, “No it’s Tom, Tom.” And then I feel like they’re going to take it outside
Laura: [laughs] And then Voldemort’s like, “Let’s take this outside.”
Eric: “Let’s take this outside.” Yeah. “I hate it when you call me ‘Tom!'”
Andrew: Outside. Tree. Five o’clock.
Eric: Seriously. I feel like that scene may still happen but if I am even guessing – if I’m going to pretend to know the direction the films have taken in the past, I feel like they would think it’s a more personal idea to have Harry and Voldemort when it’s actually coming down to the very, very, very end for it to just be Harry and Voldemort. It’s also cheaper. [laughs]
Andrew: And final e-mail, Micah, can you read that please?
Eric: Oh, can I do this?
Andrew: Oh, sure. Go ahead.
Muggle Mail: “Drugwarts”
Eric: All right, this one’s from Ellie, 15, of Glastonbury, U.K. Subject is “Drugwarts”:
“Hey guys. I don’t know how to start this so I’m just going to jump right in. Why is everyone at Hogwarts so good? They never smoke, do drugs, get drunk or high, and the wildest their parties get is McGonagall quieting their celebrations. I realize this book is set from Harry’s perspective, and he’s too preoccupied with saving the world from You-Know-Who to do you-know-what, but it all seems a little unfeasible. Do you think the students do anything like that, and J.K. just tried to keep things PG and not encourage injecting Mandrake juice or whatever? Or do Muggle wizard drugs affect them weirdly? Thanks for reading my rambles. Oodles and oodles of love, Ellie.”
Laura: Well, we actually do see examples in the books, though – small ones. Like there’s one in particular at Christmas, it’s pretty clear McGonagall has had some amount of alcohol because she blushes and turns red when Dumbledore kisses her on the cheek.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Laura: And then, of course, they talk about Trelawney and all of her sherry. So – I don’t know. I think it’s just…
Andrew: But she’s…
Laura: I don’t know.
Andrew: Ellie’s talking about wild, wild parties, crazy stuff going on, like cops show up and…
Andrew: Sorry, Head Boys show up and bust the parties, stuff like that.
Eric: [sighs] Yeah.
Andrew: And honestly, the simple answer is there’s no place for it in these books.
Laura: Yeah, what would be the point, honestly?
Andrew: However, if it did – realistically, of course they have to party. Come on! Hermione needs a drink.
Eric: I think it is – yeah, I think it’s funny, though, that the alcoholics, the partiers, the people who behave inappropriately in the Harry Potter books are the adults, are Hagrid, who gets way too drunk and needs…
Eric: …Harry, Hermione and Ron to dip his head in a cauldron. And it’s Trelawney who wanders the halls dropping bottles of alcohol. So that’s interesting. But yeah, I think everybody parties. And I think the very mention of things like Firewhiskey and all the various other little products that Jo has mentioned are signs that people do…
Laura: Yeah. And the house-elves get drunk too.
Andrew: [laughs] Right.
Eric: The house-elves get drunk. Not to mention the house-elves, for crying out loud.
Andrew: And we’ll see a lot from them in later installments of Chapter-by-Chapter.
Eric: Yeah. Yeah, we will.
Chicken Soup for the MuggleCast Soul
Andrew: To wrap up the show today we’ll get a Chicken Soup e-mail. This one’s from Chantal, 18, of British Columbia, Canada:
“Hey guys. For the past summer, I’ve been working around ten hours a day, five days a week. My job entails staring at sweet bell peppers as they pass on a conveyer belt.”
[Show music begins]
Andrew: “The pay is good, but ninety percent of the time, I’m dying of boredom. I’d heard about you before, but never quite got into it until this summer. I began listening to the Chapter-by-Chapter episodes. You basically saved me from slow, boring death. I am a huge ‘Harry Potter’ nerd. The books never were quite as addicting to my other friends as they are to me, but I love flaunting my odd obsession. I’ve read almost all the books over 20 times so the Chapter-by-Chapter is really a great way to read them from a different angle. Thank you so much. You guys rock. Chantal.”
All right, thanks Chantal.
Andrew: Nice e-mail.
Andrew: So, that’s it. Five years, guys. Any final words for five years of MuggleCast? I just want to say “thanks” again.
Laura: Yeah, it’s been really incredible. I didn’t think I would know you guys this long, to be honest.
Andrew: Yeah, well…
Micah: Would you just stop knowing us?
Laura: Well, I don’t know. I didn’t imagine that five years later, we’d all still be podcasting together – all still getting on Skype. So it’s definitely really cool.
Andrew: And it’s opened a lot of opportunities that, personally, I’m eternally grateful for…
Laura: Yeah, definitely…
Andrew: …and it’s been great.
Laura: …and ultimately I’ve made some of my best friends doing this.
Andrew: Definitely, definitely. So it’s been a good time, been a good time. And Episode 205, our next episode, should be released around August 18th so keep an eye out for it then. Thanks again everyone. We really appreciate your support over the years. You’re all wonderful. And here is to five more years!
Eric: Five more years.
Micah: Five more years…
Micah: 200 more episodes.
Andrew: Yeah, we will keep podcasting more a very long time. You do not have to worry about any sort of end. I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Laura: I’m Laura Thompson.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: We’ll see you next time for Episode 205. Bye.
[Show music continues]
Eric: Laura, it was so good to have you back.
Laura: Aw, thank you.
Andrew: It was good to have you back.
Laura: I missed you guys.
Andrew: Missed you, too. Your voice is so soothing. It really is. All the other times I was kidding, but now, having not heard it for so long, I can really appreciate it.
Laura: Aw, well thanks. [laughs] I guess.
Andrew: I’m going to replay your audio clip tonight before I go to bed.
Laura: That’s kind of creepy sir, but whatever does it for you, I guess.