MuggleCast 208 Transcript
[Intro music begins]
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Andrew: This weeks 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 audioboook of your choice go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast today for details.
[“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 Andrew just can’t accept that Hedwig is a she, this is MuggleCast Episode 208 for September the 13th, 2010.
Andrew: Welcome everyone! Back to the show. It’s a very exciting time to be a Harry Potter fan. We are getting lots of great Deathly Hallows: Part I promotional material. Or is it great? We’ll talk about that coming up in a little bit. Eric, Micah and Laura are here. Hello.
Andrew: Ladies, and Micah and Eric.
Andrew: Laura, I think this is your first regular show. I don’t know maybe…
Laura: I know I did one after the tour. But yeah, this would probably be my first one in about a month. I’ve been busy getting moved back to college and everything.
Andrew: Ah yes…
Laura: But now I’m all settled. So…
Andrew: …back to Maryland.
Andrew: Well, it’s good to be podcasting with you all. So we have a lot to do this week. There’s very little time for a proper intro anymore. There’s just too much to discuss on each and every episode. I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Laura: I’m Laura Thompson.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
[Show music ends]
Andrew: Micah Tannenbaum, tell us what is in the news this week? You are a fantastic reporter. I always look forward to your reports.
Micah: Oh, well thank you. That’s very nice of you to say.
Andrew: You have your finger on the Harry Potter pulse.
News: Deathly Hallows Pictures
Micah: That’s true, I do. Or at least I try. But as you mentioned there’s been a lot of stuff since our last show, and one of the things that I wanted to talk about that you know that I really enjoy very much is pictures when it comes to movies.
Micah: I just really enjoyed all the pictures from Half-Blood Prince that were released last year, and I’m really enjoying all the Deathly Hallows photos that have been released up until this point. We got a lot of them in the last couple of weeks, and I just wanted to know what you guys’ thoughts were, and we can run through some of them here if you want.
Andrew: Yeah, I mean a lot of pictures of the trio. Somebody pointed this out. I think – was it on Twitter? Yeah, yeah. Somebody sent this in to us. Farrah is upset. She said,
“I want more pictures of the other people in the series, not just the trio. I really want to see the earless George.”
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: Which – I don’t think we’re going to get a picture of that.
Eric: Oh! Look the earless George is not a pretty picture. You do not want to see it, I’m sorry. Farrah is obsessed.
Andrew: Well, I look…
Eric: It’s not pretty.
Andrew: …forward to some pictures from the wedding. Let’s see, what else is there to look forward to? The Ministry, seeing Umbridge. I mean, there’s still a lot of good stuff to look forward to that they’re sort of holding back I guess you could say.
Eric: Yeah, I’m glad they keep it under the wraps because it’s good. I just like when they withhold things because I hate when they show the whole movie before it comes out. Although, I think with this movie in particular, there you kind of – they could show a little bit more. At least in the former video, like…
Micah: You don’t like seeing the movie before it comes out?
Andrew: Because you totally saw it.
Micah: Yeah, if I’m not mistaken you saw the movie.
Eric: Oh! Oh! Oh!
Micah: Didn’t you? A couple of weeks ago?
Eric: Come on, Micah. You had to bring that up. I’m talking about them revealing it in the forms of trailers, showing all the scenes, and pictures, exhaustive pictures. This is not the case with Deathly Hallows: Part I. We only…
Laura: You mean like with Goblet of Fire where they released something like twelve video clips from the movie?
Eric: Twelve, separate, five-minute video clips from the movie? Yeah. Yeah, bad idea. Bad marketing. But it seems like they did it with every movie until now. When only yesterday we got a thirty second video.
Micah: Yeah, well that was what I was going to ask you, though. Having seen the film already, are they doing a good job with not showing a lot of stuff that’s in the film? I mean, we’re going to get a trailer at some point in the next couple of days, a week maybe, but do you think that they’ve done a good job so far keeping people in the dark?
Eric: Well, I mean I’m going to reserve judgment until the first official trailer, but these promo pictures for instance, Scrimgeour giving – passing on Dumbledore’s will inside the Burrow, I like that image. I would say it’s probably my favorite promotional image because it’s at an angle. The picture is taken from an angle that we don’t see in the film. So, I like it.
Andrew: Well, I noticed that they have food on their little coffee table. Wasn’t there some perfectly placed food on the coffee table in Half-Blood Prince, too, during that awkward Christmas moment?
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: But I like the look on Scrimgeour’s face. You can see in this picture – you can see his reluctance to hand it over.
Laura: Oh yeah.
Andrew: He looks P.O.’d, which is really cool.
Andrew: I like that.
Laura: He looks awesome. I can’t wait to see him play that role.
Andrew: Yeah. 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. So what other promotional material have we seen, Micah, from the film? Besides pictures?
News: Deathly Hallows TV Spot
Micah: Besides pictures? Well, we got a TV spot yesterday or two days ago.
Andrew: It was on Thursday.
Micah: Thursday! So…
Eric: Is that what you call it, Micah, a TV spot? Because I was pretty sure I exhaled and it was over.
Andrew: Well, that’s the thing about a spot…
Eric: I don’t know what that is.
Andrew: It’s a boom. It’s a little punch. It’s a spot.
Micah: Yes. It’s like a commercial, Eric.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s a commercial. I mean, for some reason they call them “TV spots”, but they’re technically commercials. And it’s pretty good. I wasn’t too blown away by it, but the thing with these commercials is that they’re only thirty seconds so they don’t have much time to build up momentum and emotion. So, you just see a bunch of clips and then before you know it, it’s over.
Micah: A lot of the focus is on Voldemort in this…
Micah: …TV spot, which is – I’m wondering if that’s the direction they’re going to be going in with at least Part I, having a heavy focus on him.
Andrew: Well, yeah, because they’ve got to build up the whole “How is Harry going to defeat this crazy man – this crazy, evil man who wants Harry’s heart”, as he says in the TV spot.
Eric: I don’t know. I don’t think that any of that’s in Part I. I think there’s a lot less of Part I than everybody thinks is in this TV spot. Because all those voice-overs of Voldemort, that’s not – at least in the version of the film I saw it’s not – he doesn’t talk about Harry’s heart and stuff. That doesn’t happen. There’s no direct Voldemort to Harry, using the force to talk to him, none of that.
Micah: Well, it could be just for the TV spot. They could’ve recorded it just for that.
Eric: Yeah, like this overview to build it up – to psych it up. But I didn’t feel like there was a whole lot from Part I, especially new footage. There’s not any in this TV spot. So, I can’t wait for a trailer because I really want to see how they’re going to use the scenes in this movie to portray the film, because we still don’t have a trailer of just Part I.
Micah: There were definitely things in here though that we haven’t seen before.
Eric: Such as?
Andrew: Ghostly Dumbledore…
Andrew: …which was very cool to see. That was our first look at him. We also saw Death Eaters attacking the Burrow, I believe. Somebody said there was a shot of Voldemort or Death Eaters attacking Shell Cottage but I don’t think that’s…
Micah: No, no. I think what they were attacking was Lovegood’s home.
Eric: Yes, that’s Lovegood’s home.
Andrew: Yeah. Okay.
Micah: And we also saw Nagini slithering down the table.
Laura: Yeah that was cool.
Andrew: And if you look closely you can see Snape in that shot by the way. If you look at the end of the table, Voldemort’s – Snape’s sitting right next to Voldemort.
Micah: So what’s her name? Charity Burbage is about to meet her untimely end.
Andrew: Yes, and we see some cool shots of Harry and Hagrid on the motorbike. I feel like that’s going to be one of the clips we are going to see a lot. Harry and Hagrid riding through Britain.
Laura: Yeah I really enjoyed them going through the tunnel in London. [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah the little loop-de-doop? That could be a great new ride at the Wizarding World theme park.
Eric: [laughs] Yeah.
Micah: You should work for them.
Eric: The Motorbike Escape?
Laura: When people get sick of the Forbidden Journey. [laughs]
Micah: But also that mid-air battle between Harry and Voldemort. Where their wands connect?
Eric: Oh they spoiled that. I can’t believe it. That is cool.
Andrew: It’s hard to tell it’s Voldemort though. If you look at it, it just looks like a ghostly figure.
Eric: He’s doing a lot of weird stuff. Voldemort’s…
Andrew: I guess you can kind of figure out what’s going on there.
Micah: So plenty of new stuff.
Andrew: Yeah, and just a minor thing at the end when you see the title it looks like they used the – where it says, And the Deathly Hallows it looks like they used the font that was used on the book. That’s the first time I think that’s ever been done.Which is kind of cool.
Eric: Do you think?
Andrew: I think so.
Andrew: It’s written more closely. It’s more – it’s not exactly but it’s a little closer to what you see on the book.
Andrew: Hey Eric, I meant to ask this actually and this would be really cool, I’ve been meaning to say this on MuggleCast. You know how the Deathly Hallows, the U.S. edition, it says at the beginning, “We now present the seventh and final blah blah blah blah blah”. Wouldn’t that be cool if they had text like that at the beginning of Part I?
Andrew: The movie.
Eric: Wait in Book 7 what happens? You say they present it…
Andrew: At the beginning of Book 7 Scholastic has a page that says, “We now present the seventh and final installment of the greatest series ever” or whatever.
Andrew: You know that page I’m talking about?
Eric: No I don’t! I’m looking it up right now!
Andrew: Micah, you know what I’m talking about, right?
Micah: No, I never saw that.
Eric: That’s not in my copy, Andrew.
Laura: Yeah me neither.
Micah: Is that a special book?
Eric: That is not in my copy. Andrew, you have a special…
Andrew: How about the inside flap? The inside flap?
Eric: Yes! Okay, the inside flap of the hardcover says, “We now present the seventh and final installment of the epic tale of Harry Potter.” That’s in…
Andrew: Yeah they should have…
Andrew: They should have something like that in the beginning of the movie. I think that would be really cool. A little tribute to the book and it’s also to get you freaking pumped!
Eric: [laughs] Well, I wonder when the title card came up in the beginning of the movie, it didn’t say, Part I even then. So, I don’t know when they’re going to – this whole Part I, Part II nonsense. Because there’s no trailer for just Part I I’m really wondering if they’re ever going to say that this is just Part I. But it’s obviously in two parts. So, what I’m saying is I don’t think that they’ll celebrate that it’s the final thing until the next movie. Maybe they can do something for the beginning of the next film. Because this is just – this is just leading onto that. It’s not the finale.
Listener Tweets: Part I Clips
Andrew: We got some feedback sent into our twitter which is Twitter.com/MuggleCast. twistedowl87 says:
“Amazing! I was very pleased with the fact it seemed to only show clips from Part I.”
“Zombie Dumbledore looks freaking awesome! And Bellatrix got a whip?”
Micah: Oh yeah, I forgot about that.
Andrew: Yeah, it was pretty hot. Liz_Anne_B says:
“They showed too much for a thirty second preview. It’s hard to follow and you have to stop at every second to actually see the clip.”
You can’t win with Harry Potter fans. You show too much, people complain it’s too much.
Micah: Well, that’s why I put these in.
Andrew: You show too little, people complain it’s too little.
Micah: There’s such a mixed response. That’s why I like seeing what people had to say particularly about this clip.
Andrew: mattcahoy said:
“Very solid looking spot. It captures how against the odds Harry is. Plus we see the wands connect in the ‘Seven Potters’ scene.”
“Why does Voldemort say ‘I’ve seen your heart and it is mine’, in the TV spot?”
Andrew: Sounds like a bad romance fan fiction.
Eric: Yeah, APGB, the jury’s out on that one. I don’t know why. [laughs] I don’t know why he says that.
Andrew: And pinkdude64 says:
“Epic! Slightly repetitive and a little confusing. I both can and cannot wait at the same time.”
Muggle Mail: Stretched Images in the TV Spots
So, overall a good TV spot. And finally somebody emailed us, Meghana, 17, from Williamsburg, Virginia. She pointed out that again Warner Bros. used old clips from previous films in the TV spot. And she specifically refers to at the – about the six second mark you see the stretched image of Voldemort, and you can tell it does not fit with this trailer. It’s not even in the proper format. They stretched it out – I think they stretched it out because there’s another person in that scene. And they don’t want people to realize that it’s an old clip. Because you see Voldemort talk, but his mouth…
Eric: Oh yeah!
Andrew: …isn’t moving with those words. Very strange of them to add that.
Eric: Wow! That is very weird.
Andrew: It was one of the first things I noticed.
Eric: I’m looking at that now, I think it’s from Goblet of Fire.
News: Trailer Due?
Andrew: So, anyway we’ve been talking a lot about a trailer, Micah. Apparently it’s due out by the end of this month?
Micah: According to MuggleNet.com, yes.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: The source that we rely on for our news in this show.
Micah: Yes, according to this news post, an alleged tweet from the official Harry Potter Twitter account appeared online claiming a specific date and time for a Deathly Hallows: Part I trailer release. UniverseHarryPotter.com contacted Warner Bros. International to confirm whether or not this was true, and W.B. told them a trailer for the film will indeed be released at the end of this month. So, we will get a trailer.
Andrew: I don’t believe the tweet was real because nobody re-tweeted it, and usually I get a little text message every time this Twitter account sends out a tweet, so I think it was definitely fake. But we know a trailer exists. We talked about it on the last episode. The British Board of Film Classification whatever, they rated a new trailer for Part I. It’s about two minutes long. And it’s just time. Now somebody emailed in and – Joshua, 20, from California e-mailed in and said,
“Do you think the Part I trailer will be premiering in front of ‘Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole,’ another Warner Bros. film released September 24th? ‘The Order of the Phoenix’ trailer debuted before W.B.’s ‘Happy Feet,’ and I think they’d like to show it in front of one of their films with a similar audience and possibly the same weekend online as well.”
I think he’s absolutely right. This owl movie first of all, it looks like you might as well call it ‘Hedwig’s Tale.’
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: It looks like Hedwig. And I only want to see it because it reminds me of Hedwig, and it looks adorable.
Eric: It actually looks like David Bowie in Labyrinth, playing Jareth the Goblin King who can become an owl.
Laura: [laughs] Oh my God!
Eric: That’s what the movie’s stylized like, but I really want to see this Legend of the Guardians.
Andrew: So, I think, yeah, Joshua’s absolutely right. Every time I see the trailer for this movie, this owl movie, I think it’s Hedwig. They should have just made it a Hedwig spin-off.
Micah: Yeah, and what? Blow up the bird in the end?
Andrew: Well, it works great, because in the film, we see Harry let go of Hedwig so this could be Hedwig’s – say he didn’t die. This could be his…
Eric: She. She.
Andrew: She, sorry. This could be his…
Andrew: His epilogue.
Andrew: [laughs] Her epilogue.
Micah: Her illegitimate child?
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Micah: Anyway, but what does that mean for us though? Because normally we would get the trailer before it ends up in theaters.
Andrew: Yeah, I think they’ll release it online first. So, maybe the week beforehand. I actually have a theory I shared with Micah the other day. They are letting me release a tease of my Deathly Hallows: Part I set report on September 15th. So, I’m guessing it’s going to be that week that the trailer comes out. So, in just a few days.
Eric: Oh, they’re like promoting – that thing you did a few months – well you can talk about it but only some of it, and not for another two weeks.
Andrew: Two paragraphs.
Andrew: Two paragraphs, no quotes.
Andrew: So I think they’re going to release it in a few days and that makes sense because I think that’s what they did with Half-Blood Prince too. They released the trailer and at the same time they said: “Oh yeah you can do a tease for your set report.”
Eric: But it’s really close!
Micah: Oh, that’s nice of them.
Eric: It’s really close to the release of the film isn’t it? Like six weeks? Eight weeks? Something like that for a trailer is kind of late in the game.
Andrew: It’s two months, two months. Anyway, what else is going on in the news in the wizarding world Micah?
News: Forbidden Journey Limitations
Micah: We talked about this next story a little bit, or how this story came about, with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in that if you try and go on the Forbidden Journey ride, there is a certain body size limit that may prevent some people from being able to enjoy themselves and you noted that specifically it has to do with your gut area. If the ride worker does not hear the safety harness click inward three times, you cannot go on the ride and apparently, some man was so determined to go on this ride that he actually lost the weight necessary in order to go on the Forbidden Journey.
Laura: Wow, that’s really cool actually.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, it’s a cool idea and he started this whole blog called Banks Lee and the Three Clicks.
Eric: Which is awesome. Everything about this story, everything about this guy inspires me. This is – as soon as I saw the post on MuggleNet I was like I had to friend him on Facebook and I sent him a nice message and I said congratulations because I think it’s cool. This whole three clicks thing is pretty official. Universal says “if we don’t hear it click three times, you’re not going on the ride” and for him to overcome that is awesome.
Laura: Actually, I’m reading his blog right now and it says that they’ve just added modified seating to some of the cars for larger riders so that’s a good thing, I mean because I remember when we were there, there were a lot of people who just flat out got turned away and it was really sad because that was sort of the highlighted event for those of us who were there. So I’m really glad to hear that they’ve done that so that more people have access to it.
Andrew: We’ll have to contact Universal and ask about this because first of all he just posted this today and he said he heard it from one of the commenters. But in a recent article Universal said that they didn’t have any plans to make any changes so we’ll have to look into this, but yeah it’s definitely good news.
Micah: How much did he lose? I think it was 12 pounds? I wonder if he is continuing on to lose weight after that. If this has inspired him to lose weight. It’d be interesting.
Eric: Well I know it’s interesting because both Andrew and Micah, both of you have been hitting the gym a lot in the past two, three years. I read your tweets and stuff, so it’s really cool, fitness. And I really need to – this article made me realize that I should probably get more in shape too.
Andrew: Eric, you’re in fine shape.
Eric: Oh, well thank you, Andrew.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Eric: No, but really, I should work out.
Andrew: I check you out quite frequently. Okay, what else, Micah?
News: Theme Park Expansion?
Micah: Well speaking of the Wizarding World, it’s possible that the theme park will expand within the next two to three years. And Andrew, you actually did some digging on this, and you think that the Lost Continent will be lost…
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: Within, I guess, six to twelve months. And never return. Jurassic Park is going away, and hopefully they don’t make – how many movies are there now? Three?
Eric: There are three.
Eric: There are three.
Micah: Well hopefully they’re not making a fourth. And this is great, I think, for fans of Harry Potter who have already gone to the park and experienced it, that they will have something to look forward to if they decide to go back in the coming years. And there’s really no limit in terms of what they can do, I think, in terms of ideas for rides and other things.
Andrew: Right. I think I said this to you guys at the park, or I said it to some people – you walk through that Lost Continent area and it’s just not good.
Andrew: There’s one good thing about it, and it’s the restaurant Mythos. It’s a really good restaurant. But other than that – there’s this dumb show, I don’t even know. It’s some Greek god battle show. And I went on it once, and when I went on it there was this huge technical difficulty where the audio cut out, so we were just watching all the action in silence. It’s this giant area for nothing. So it’s really good to hear that that’s the big rumor. It makes sense because the first comment on this news post I made said it best: ‘Time to beg my mom take me back.’ That would be the entire point of them expanding it. Once they expand it and open it up, every single person who went for the opening is going to come back again.
Eric: Well, I think some people will come back even without an expansion, and it took them…
Andrew: Of course!
Eric: …two or three years to build the Wizarding World Park. How long would it take to expand? That’s a lot of construction, and in the mean time, you’ve got people trying to get into the park that exists already, the Harry Potter. If there’s construction all throughout the Lost Continent, which is the only way to get into that park. You can also get in through the Jurassic Park entrance, but what I’m saying is, if there’s all this added construction, it’s going to add to the wait times just to get into the Harry Potter park because there’s less space to wait.
Micah: Yeah. Well, one thing we did note is that wait times have diminished at the Wizarding World. One of the bloggers, who writes frequently about the Wizard World theme park did say at the beginning of September, just after Labor Day weekend, that the wait time were going down significantly on the rides, and you could actually navigate your way through Hogsmeade without really bumping into somebody else. If they were going to start, they would definitely have to start it within the next couple of months if they’re looking to open an extended area by 2012.
Andrew: Especially now that the summer is over. It’s…
Micah: It’s a good time.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, crowds are diminished. I don’t think we’re going to get an announcement soon, but you know they’re working on an expansion. We’ve also heard that W.B. has an agreement with Universal stating that they have to make additions every two or three years. Or changes. Something to refresh it every two or three years. That is that. What else Micah?
News: J.K. Rowling Donates 10 Million Pounds
Micah: The final piece of news: according to BBC, J.K. Rowling donated over 10 million pounds, which is I think about 15-and-a-half million dollars, to the University of Edinburgh to set up a Multiple Sclerosis research clinic. This clinic is in memory of her mother, and the hope is to help researches find a cure for the disease, which took her mother’s life just at the age of 45, and the significant thing I think about it was that J.K. Rowling herself just turned 45 in July. So it obviously meant a lot for her to be able to do this at the same age that her mother had passed away at.
Andrew: Well it’s great that she donated all that money. It’s a nice remembrance.
Eric: I hope it works. I hope they find a cure. It seems – there’s always donations of great magnitude. Jo has been a patron of a lot of charities and I hope that it works.
Jonathan Smith Interview
Andrew: Yeah. Okay. So that’s all for news. We have a special interview this week with Jonathan Smith of TT Games, one of the developers of the Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 video game. Micah conducted this interview with him at – what was it Micah, like five in the morning your time? Four?
Micah: Yeah, maybe there were some bloopers to include from the beginning of our conversation, but Jonathan was definitely surprised that I was up at five o’clock in the morning here in New York talking with him but…
Andrew: That’s how much you love the game!
Micah: …that’s how much I love the game, and it was good talking to him – head of production, so he oversees everything – and they’re really happy with the success of the game.
Andrew: Let’s listen to the interview.
Micah: Okay, well we are now joined by Jonathan Smith, who is the head of production at TT Games Publishing, makers of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4. Jonathan, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today.
Jonathan: Micah, thanks so much for having me here. It’s great to talk to you and all the MuggleNet guys.
Micah: Now, I wanted to start talking about the success that LEGO Harry Potter has enjoyed so far. The last report that I saw said that 2.7 million copies had been shipped to date and I think that was sometime around the end of July, beginning of August. Did you guys anticipate the success that this game was going to enjoy?
Jonathan: Well you’ve made two points, it’s a fantastic number and we’re so proud. I’m so pleased that everyone’s been enjoying the game, that so many people have been enjoying it. We never bank on success, we can’t become complacent. We have had some success in the past with our previous LEGO games but with each new title we work incredibly hard and the whole team works incredibly hard to raise the bar for what they’re putting in the game, the quality of the game, and the scope and the level of ambition of the game. Harry Potter was a completely new world for us to make a LEGO game in and we never know. We never know quite how it’s going to turn out and we never know quite how people are going to receive it so yeah, we’re absolutely delighted.
Micah: How many hours of development went into creating the game itself and the different levels? I played it as soon as it came out in June and I still haven’t made my way completely through it. I think I’m somewhere between the second and third task in Year 4, but the levels themselves just seem far more than anything that we’ve seen previously even in other Harry Potter video games.
Jonathan: Well, you know, we’ve always set out to make games that can be played for a very long time. We’ve always set out to make games that are really fun, not just for a day or two, but for months and months that people can really fall in love with and so expansive, so rich. So luscious is the world in Harry Potter that we just found so much that we wanted to put in the game and so much to get our teeth into, so yeah, it is our biggest ever LEGO game. I said we wanted to raise the bar, raise the scope of ambition each time and that was the goal we set ourselves for Harry Potter. We have had a massive team, the size of the team fluctuates so we’ve had about up to eighty people working on it over the course of two full years. A quick calculation of how many hours that is I supposed it’s many hundreds of thousands of hours. There is a lot of work that’s gone into LEGO Harry Potter and again it’s lovely that it’s paid off.
Micah: Yeah, absolutely, it definitely has paid off, I think, just by sitting down and seeing everything that’s there and just the different areas that have been created that maybe you’ve always wanted to go to but you have had that opportunity from something as simple as the Quidditch Pitch to walking around Diagon Alley and being able to attack different people.
Jonathan: Is that what you always wanted to do? Attack people in Diagon Alley.
Micah: [laughs] Well, you know, it’s interesting the different characters you see walking around Diagon Alley now and again and it’s tempting to take a shot at them, I won’t lie.
Jonathan: That’s where everybody needs to go to get their magical supplies.
Micah: It’s true, it’s true. Now, with creating the levels, was a lot of that taken from the books or the movies or was it a bit of both?
Jonathan: Well, as I’m sure you can tell, it’s both. Visually, we take a look at cues from the movies, the movies have realized the world of Harry Potter over the many years now and in a really compelling way. A lot of people have quite strongly in their imaginations and we really wanted to work and build and take advantage of all the work that has already been done by those extremely talented people so visually there are lots of cues from the movies, very sympathetic to the movies but there are as you’ve pointed out areas which are not yet touched on in the movies and we wanted with the games to create a really coherent game world that’s like everything you’ve imagined from the books with all the presence from the game where we build areas of Hogwarts in particular like the Common Rooms which you haven’t seen before like Hufflepuff Common Room, Slytherin Common Room, sort of extrapolating from clues in the books and then going through – and this is behind everything that’s in the game – really attempting the process of support and feedback and discussion with a lot of representatives from the book side, from J.K. Rowling and from the movie side from Warner Bros. as well and then pull that projection as a reflection of their own imagination of what these places are like and coalesce into what you finally see on the screen.
Micah: Yeah, you mentioned the Hufflepuff Common Room in particular. I was wondering what the process was of creating that particular area because it was only mentioned but never seen in the books – or it was never talked about in the books or described.
Jonathan: Right. You know we have lots of other pieces of information about how Hufflepuffs behave by personality and examples of individual’s who come from it. So you sort of extract that. You build on the clues that are there throughout the text, what you’ve seen in the movies. And you know the world of the books is so imaginative and compelling. You may not have seen a place like Hufflepuff Common Room on screen in the movies before but everybody has read the books. If you were to ask them to describe it they would probably have a pretty good go at it and be able to see it pretty vividly. And I’d have to say what we did was talk with lots of different people who were experts in this area and were very intimately connected with the fiction and with this imaginative world and draw upon everyone else’s ideas. And ultimately it’s the work of a couple of individual artists at Traveller’s Tales – who are putting all of that together with extreme talent. And it seems to have worked.
Micah: You also mentioned building on the other LEGO games that have come before it – Batman, Star Wars. What features were you really looking to improve upon with Harry Potter and maybe what are some features that you added in this game that you were really looking forward to people getting a chance to play?
Jonathan: So in order – the level of improving there is a continual, sort of technical, rolling process of innovation that the teams at Traveller’s Tales are taking on for each project. So you’ll notice with Harry Potter just look back at any game you’ve seen before. There are lots of pieces of innovation technically going on behind them that enable the artist to do their job which sparkles even more than it has done before with a greater level of visual detail. There are technical things going on behind in the background such as now the implementation of a physics system within the world that make the world feel more real, that make the LEGO elements that you encounter in the world behave in a way which is much more like real physics, like real LEGO. You can kick the LEGO around. You don’t build necessarily from pre-scripted animations anymore. You can actually pick up using magic, individual LEGO elements and build them to your own design. That resting on the bedrock of the new physics system which is technical innovation. It’s also a completely new addition that really fits with the world of magic that we wanted to create distinctively in LEGO Harry Potter. So the really big new things that we were focusing on moving forward with LEGO Harry Potter was obviously magic implementation. Lots of different spells, cool spells, special effects, particularly magical building, and then immersing you in the scope of a massive adventure of four full years of experience within Hogwarts and beyond as well. So creating what you were describing earlier. This sort of apparent and massive, sort of awe inspiring environment of Hogwarts which feels real, which feels alive. Which is recognizably the place you’ve been to when your imagination from the books and films, but also functions of the video game environment so you’re not completely overwhelmed when you start. That the game is structured in such a way that by attending lessons, by sometimes perhaps following Nearly Headless Nick, but being always free to explore, you get sufficient cues to lead you on adventures that take you through the story in a way that we hope is compelling.
Micah: Yeah, absolutely. The ability to switch characters I think was essential for the gameplay and I was wondering also – I guess it kind of goes along with this question about – did you feel that the game players would like, obviously, the ability to switch off to different characters? I know in certain scenes you don’t really have a choice, you have to sort of divert from being Harry. I think that is one of the things that people really like about the game. I know there are over 150 or 70 – something like that – playable characters.
Jonathan: That’s right.
Micah: And that’s just unbelievable in and of itself to be able to wander around this world as Scabbers, or Hagrid, or…
Micah: …any number of different characters.
Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely! You know, we refer to it as The World of Harry Potter – the films and the books have got Harry Potter in the title – and Harry Potter is an amazing story, but Harry Potter is not the only person in that world by any means. Anyone who’s a fan of that world and those stories follows the stories of many, many other individuals perhaps equally closely as well. They all add texture, so in our games right from the start we’ve always thought it was important for the way that our team functions and the way we like to play games to be able to be free to try out different things, to experiment. That means experimenting with being different people so that seemed a really good fit for this one.
Micah: Yeah, I know one of the things that people have enjoyed immensely with this LEGO Harry Potter game – or this LEGO game in general – is the humor, and I was wondering who is responsible for putting those cutscenes together? Because one of the things that made this game, in my opinion, so highly anticipated was seeing those vignettes and the way that they were put together. It just seemed like people couldn’t wait to get the game into their hands to play it. Is there a specific group of people that is dedicated to writing those scenes?
Jonathan: There is. We have a specialist LEGO cutscene group within the team at Traveller’s Tales who have worked on the games previously and absolutely relish the opportunity to bring that style of humor. It’s an authentic irreverence, I think. I’ve just coined that term.
Jonathan: We haven’t used it, and it sounds like jargon but it means that we’re always absolutely true to the elements that make the story imagined to be powerful, but at the same time in the world of LEGO, surprising things will happen and it won’t always get played straight because that’s how the world of LEGO behaves. We have a fantastically talented team of animators led by the head of animation at Traveller’s Tales, Jeff Pardon, who are able to draw the inspiration and be absolutely true to the very best and most exciting, most dramatic sequences you remember from the fiction or you see in the films, but then put that wonderful LEGO twist on them, bring the humor out in the characters and out in the scene in a completely fresh way.
Micah: Yeah, and with really no sound, no speaking lines between these characters, I guess it can be difficult to communicate the story.
Jonathan: We always have – sorry, I interrupted you.
Micah: No, it’s okay.
Jonathan: That does make it easier, in some ways, to be funny. That is part of the LEGO characters creating their distinctive way of interacting with each other, adding to the story, which is more funny than were they explaining everything in a way that was very similar to a movie.
Micah: Yeah, I absolutely agree.
Jonathan: But you’re right, there are some instances where not having words can make – particularly where the plots of the LEGO Harry Potters do become quite complex at some points can make that hard to explain, but we do have this quite strict rule that if we start trying to explain things, we’re probably going to have a long part and we should just skip over it.
Jonathan: Because the books tell the stories extremely well, and the movies tell their stories extremely well as well. And our job is not to tell the whole – every detail of the story. We’re not there replicate the experience of reading the books, we cannot come close to the experience of the books in terms of the density of information and the story and the detail that’s there from a plot point of view. We shouldn’t try to do that, the books are there for everybody. We should experience – what we should concentrate on is keeping our tempo moving, keeping people smiling, and communicating the scope and breadth and reach and energy of the overall narrative.
Jonathan: And the personalities.
Micah: [laughs] I was going to say I think those cutscenes do a great job, especially with the humor, of keeping the flow of the story for the game player. Who decided on the main set of spells that were going to be used in this game? I know you sort of had that little circle that you could choose from and you can also go into Diagon Alley and buy additional spells on top of that that you can use – but sort of the core group, were they the most popular in the books and the movies and that’s why you felt that they would work best? What was the process in deciding that?
Jonathan: The lead designer of LEGO Harry Potter at Traveller’s Tales, this chap called Arthur Parsons who’s, as you’d expect, a massive Harry Potter fan and lots of big fans like him…
Micah: Yeah, I met him in New York.
Jonathan: Oh, excellent, so you know Arthur. Arthur was primarily responsible for determining which spells were included in the game and what functions they have and how they were arranged. They were in the process of development over two years, so of course it was back and forth with other people as well. That sort of knocked things in shape, but afterwards picking on certain spells which were very important to fulfill the story of Harry’s progression through Hogwarts in those early years, those certain spells he learns in the lessons and which he learns more memorable and the uses to which he puts those spells to help progress the actual main narrative. Also spells which were very important for us because we had good gameplay effects for them. I mean Leviosa is a case which also covers both of those. Leviosa‘s obviously a signature spell in the fiction early on. Also it enables – in the video game – us to build objects out of LEGO, which is something that is very important to us in a LEGO game. You can go around building and constructing, and particularly in LEGO Harry Potter, building to your own design by moving around individual LEGO bricks, elements. That was naturally a key focus. Many of the other supplemental spells, the bonus spells, the extra spells, Arthur’s just taking from his wide and deep reading of the fiction and just running off in his own imagination about how cool – “I’d like to see some things, and wouldn’t that be really cool if I could turn – put antlers on someone’s head, and a spell which does that, so we’ll put that in the game.” So the energy of the team led by Arthur to include as much as possible, that is fun and cool lies behind the extra spells that there are in the game.
Micah: I definitely think that you can tell his passion for the series when you go and you play the game, because there’s just so much that’s there from a detail standpoint. I thought it was unbelievable just playing though those first couple days when I got the game and just seeing everything that’s there, that you would think about when you went and read the books. So it’s just an unbelievable job and that’s why we’ve pushed this so much on the site, on the podcast, “Go out and play this game because if you’re a Harry Potter fan you will absolutely love it.”
Jonathan: That’s what we set out to achieve.
Micah: [laughs] A couple of final questions – I’m assuming that you’ve played the game, do you have a favorite year, a favorite, task, a favorite character, from your time sitting down and…
Jonathan: Yeah, I mean, we’re seeing the game – as the game’s being built up, we see new sequences, new themes come in over the course of a very long time rather than having the experience of playing them all through in a very smooth progression. And so some of them have – some things have real impact at the point that they first appear. I think what really stands out most is the dragon task from Year Four for us. When we first saw that fantastic creature, the fire, all the drama and the action and that, it came at a point in the development when we were – we’d just got Hogwarts – Hogwarts was just starting to work. The whole thing was starting to fall into place after quite a long period of trying to put it all together. It’s a long time, when you’re making a game, before you can actually play it. The whole thing was just starting to come together and then in the individual story sequences – to have that as a real signature “wow, this is how cool and exciting the action’s going to be and that really stands out,” it’s absolutely a favorite. Favorite character, like so many other people it has to be Snape, I think. I think to a very specific extent it’s the story of – I mean, for me it is the story of Harry Potter is what is very dramatically the story of Snape.
Jonathan: And that’s a great story.
Micah: Do you play as him throughout the course of the game? Have you…
Jonathan: [laughs] Well, you’re – where possible. I mean, often when we’re checking specific things within the game we’re just trying to get through things as quickly as possible under a very short program we use to try and get through things as quick as possible. But for pleasure, for fun, let’s say for pleasure, yes.
Micah: [laughs] Okay. Anything as far as Easter eggs – I think is what they call them, that if you’re a diehard Harry Potter fan that you should keep an eye out for that may be hidden in the game?
Jonathan: I think you’ll find them all over…
Jonathan: …throughout the whole game, since if you’re a fan you should find some things, surprises, at every turn rather than having a little bit of fan service tucked away later on in the game. That’s what you should find in Harry Potter, definitely.
Micah: Okay. Well…
Jonathan: So I wouldn’t pick up any individual – I mean, it’s just so full of little sort of winks and nods.
Micah: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. I think it’s…
Jonathan: That’s the way the game works, it’s full of secrets and things.
Micah: It’s very rich with detail. Now I want to thank you – those are all the questions that I have – for taking the time to speak with us, we really appreciate it.
Jonathan: It’s a great pleasure. I’m really glad you’ve enjoyed playing the game and thank you for your time.
Andrew: All right, great job, Micah. Even at four or five in the morning you are still an intrepid reporter. Thank you.
Laura: Yeah, that was impressive.
Andrew: And the game’s been a huge success, like you guys talked about. So it’s pretty impressive that – I’m really happy to see it was so successful, because it totally deserved it. Matt got it the other day and I’ve been watching him play it and the graphics are beautiful, the gameplay’s great, and a pleasant surprise, I found, was that they used all the music from the films. So that really added a lot of the authenticity of it. Even just when you’re just walking around, you hear the nice – some of John Williams’ nice compositions from the film. It was really nice.
Micah: Probably the biggest question that I didn’t ask that a lot of people are probably wondering is are they going to make a follow up? Years five through seven. And I would bet on it. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to ask that question, but I would bet on them making another game because of the success that this one’s had, like close to three million copies sold just in these first couple months.
Eric: And speaking of Matt, it’s his birthday today. Isn’t it?
Andrew: Yes, it is.
Andrew: Matt’s not on the show this week, but…
Chapter-by-Chapter: “Bagman and Crouch”
Andrew: Happy birthday to Matt Britton, turning 25, and playing LEGO Harry Potter as we record this. Always Harry Potter going on in this apartment. Anyway, time now for Chapter-by-Chapter. This week we’re looking through Chapters 7-9 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Cozy up, open up your book. We have a lot to talk about this week ladies and gentlemen. We’re going to start with Chapter 7 of course, and this chapter is called “Bagman and Crouch.” And I have to say before we start, I have a paperback version of Goblet of Fire, and it’s really falling apart…
Eric: Mine too.
Andrew: …and I’m going to be really impressed if we get through Chapter-by-Chapter without this thing completely splitting in half…
Andrew: …because that’s the condition it’s in. So anyway, the chapter begins with Harry, the Weasleys, and the Diggorys arriving at the World Cup campsites, and they head to their particular tent. Mr. Weasley struggles with the Muggle money, and I – because he has to pay the Muggle owner of the campsite, and I agree with Mr. Weasley. The British Muggle money is very – something about it, I have yet to learn their coins very well. I’m still very confused. I have to sit there like a tourist and pick out the specific coins.
Eric: The coins are cool. I think that the two pence piece is like gold surrounded by silver. I love it.
Andrew: They’re cool, but…
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. Those are my favorite.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: I don’t like to spend them, I like collecting them, holding them. So the Muggle who owns the campsite tells Mr. Weasley he doesn’t understand why all these people are showing up at the same time, which I feel is a bit risky. And they keep wiping – Mr. Roberts, the Muggle owner, they keep wiping his memory. They say they have to wipe it ten times a day. It just seems very interesting that with all the magic in the world and all the precautions they put around the Quidditch World Cup stadium itself, so Muggles when they walk towards it they remember an urgent appointment, Why couldn’t they have built their own, I don’t know, underground – something where all these people can stay? I mean, we talked on the last episode that it must be very hard to coordinate a huge event where one hundred thousand wizards are all descending on one Muggle area, but…
Eric: Yeah, well, they do say in the book that it was like – it did take months and months of preparation and, I’m wondering if they wipe Mr. Roberts’ memory ten times a day why even bother paying him for his services? Why go through the hassle of British money at all? If, I mean, I feel like he needs to have some memory, that’s why they don’t just do away with him, or – why didn’t they relocate Mr. Roberts and his family? Say he won a trip to Hawaii…
Eric: …or something?
Andrew: Right. I mean, I guess they want the Muggle to earn their – I mean, he runs a business. He’s running his campsite business and they want to pay…
Andrew: …him for his business. So this book, I’ve been noticing, even in these early chapters, Harry’s learning a lot. And…
Andrew: It’s something I’ve forgot. [laughs] Even in Goblet of Fire, he’s still learning quite a lot of big bits of information. So, Harry and Ron start going to walk around for water – to get water, and Harry gets his first look at a large group of Wizards. And he sees wizarding mothers and children for the first time, which I thought was interesting because it’s just hard to imagine. This is his first time! This is his fourth year going to Hogwarts, and he’s just now getting a good look at real wizard families other than the Weasleys.
Andrew: And he also realizes, “Wow, there are a lot of wizards in the world” now. And we also here get our first look at Krum. And Ron points him out. [laughs] And Hermione only notes that he looks really grumpy.
Andrew: But we’ll see in a couple of chapters later the developing love interest there…
Andrew: …but she brushes him off so quick. Which tends to be my problem with women. They brush me off very quick until I show off my great skills and then they – my great podcasting skills.
Laura: Yep. That’s how you win them all, Andrew.
Eric: I think it’s the line, “Don’t you know who I am?”
Andrew: So, speaking of love interests, we also get to see Cho Chang. Now, this wasn’t the first time we get to see her but Harry’s still very taken with her. He spills his water all over himself when he goes to wave at Cho. He’s very nervous, the poor guy.
Andrew: So they get back to the campsite and the group meets Ludo Bagman, and Mr. Weasley makes a cheap bet with him while the Weasley twins make a pretty large one.
Andrew: And Ludo asks for Crouch’s whereabouts but nobody knows, so Mr. Weasley asks for an update on Bertha but there is none, and he suspects she’s just lost, the poor girl.
Micah: I wanted to ask you a question here. There was actually a tweet that somebody sent in, a DoctorSubmarine, asked about Bagman.
Micah: Yeah, I don’t know, DoctorSubmarine. Anyway:
“Bagman is one of the biggest omissions from the films. Why do you think that is and would you have preferred to see him in it?”
Eric: Okay, so Bagman is what? The International Department of Magical Games and Sports, right? That’s Bagman. That’s not Crouch.
Micah: Yes. That is Bagman.
Eric: And he gets into debt with some goblins in this chapter or later on, and ends up getting – disappeared by the mob. I feel like even Mr. Crouch when they showed – a lot of Crouch Sr. is omitted too, particularly his death. Isn’t it? Or is it not? Is his death omitted from movie four? I forget.
Micah: No, it’s there.
Eric: The focus in all of this is Crouch Jr. where they had to splice him into the beginning scenes so the end of the movie would make sense. So a lot of this I feel like – the wider world as it were – this book is all about the wider magical world, but I feel like the movie didn’t really – had to omit it because there’s so much.
Micah: Yeah. Well, no, I agree. I think there’s definitely bigger omissions of characters in this book than just Ludo Bagman, but I don’t know. He comes into play obviously later on towards the end of the book, and he’s really the whole reason why Harry ends up giving his winnings to the Weasley twins because Ludo never came through.
Eric: Oh, I didn’t remember that.
Andrew: So Barty finally does show up and discusses business with Ludo, Arthur, and Percy. Ludo drops another hint about that big thing that’s happening at Hogwarts. Fred finally gets curious and asks what it is, but Percy insists that “it must remain secret. The Ministry isn’t ready to disclose the information.” Blah, blah, blah.
Andrew: Percy is such a jerk. That’s something else I forgot. Ugh. How annoying. He’s got real issues. So the summary of the chapter, I think, is that this is one giant disorganized event. It looks to be impossible to organize without Muggles not realizing what’s going on. It just seems like a lot of trouble.
Eric: Well, Muggles – there are some things Muggles can’t see – what’s going on. So I feel like they have some – and what’s the difference between an unorganized and disorganized event and an organized one? Really? If you’re talking about a sporting event, what decides if it’s organized or not? I think this is as good as it’s going to get. They did this for months, and without the disappearance of Bertha Jorkins, which I think she worked in this department – did she? Or something organizing this. I feel like losing her – I feel like she was one of the planners somehow, but in the end I feel like it came off pretty well.
Micah: She was involved with the Triwizard Tournament. That’s why she was of such value to Pettigrew.
Eric: Oh, yes. Okay, my bad.
Micah: The one other thing I was just going to mention was the – we get a mention of American wizard school, which is, I think, really the only time throughout the entire series with a reference to American wizards actually existing.
Andrew: Oh, yeah.
Eric: There may be one or two in Fantastic Beasts, I feel like, where they mention America somehow, but it’s very rare, and a lot of people I think – and I don’t know if Jo ever responded to that, but she’s like they are British books, so…
Eric: …we shouldn’t expect to find – I know fanfic, the first thing you find is people – American wizards. Right, Laura?
Laura: Oh, God. I can’t even tell you how many times we got the ones with the American exchange student. I was like, please, spare me.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: Was it the Salem Institute, I think? Wasn’t that what it was called in Goblet of Fire?
Laura: Yeah. Everyone used that – I don’t understand. Oh my God.
Eric: Because the witch trials!
Laura: So annoying.
Eric: Salem, Massachusetts.
Laura: Yeah, I get that. But – I mean – come on.
Micah: I think that’s actually what it’s called…
Laura: Be a little more creative.
Andrew: So that wraps up Chapter Seven. Unfortunately, Laura has to leave a little early…
Laura: Yeah, sorry guys.
Andrew: No, it’s okay. I blame Eric because Eric delayed us a half hour.
Laura: Oh well. It was nice chatting with you guys.
Andrew: Yeah. So we’ll speak to you soon.
Laura: I’ll talk to you soon. Buh-bye.
MuggleCast 208 Transcript (continued)
Chapter-by-Chapter: “The Quidditch World Cup”
Andrew: Bye. Now, let’s get into Chapter 8, “The Quidditch World Cup.” Micah, what a perfect chapter for you, you are a sports fanatic.
Micah: It is. It’s true. This is a great chapter for me. I actually mention – I’ll go right to that point – that J.K. Rowling does such a good job, I thought, for somebody who I – I don’t know – I don’t really think she’s that much of a sports girl. I’m not sure, but she does a really great job describing Quidditch and this whole match that takes place between the Irish and the Bulgarians, and just the way that she could be able to go from one player to the next and all the different moves that these players were doing, and I was wondering, you know, maybe one day she has a chance at for working for ESPN. What do you guys think?
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, well – hasn’t Jo admitted that she isn’t a fan – she doesn’t like writing Quidditch scenes. Right?
Eric: Yeah, she said something like that, yeah, because she – but she’s always been good at keeping track of who won. Like Micah said, too, the details. I feel like there were only seven or eight actual quidditch matches in the series that she had to write out. But even when she did that book for charity, Quidditch Through the Ages, she was really meticulous about details of how the sport came about. So she didn’t putz around creating that sport. She’s been 100 percent on that. And I feel like you’re right – I feel like she did say at some point that she needed to come up with ways to make the Quidditch matches at Hogwarts not seem repetitive, setting one in the rain, you know, having Dementors – that sort of thing, set them apart in her memory. I still feel like there were quite a bit of Quidditch matches in the game. This is, obviously, the most important because it’s international, and she can write about how the difference in international teams and their supporters – that’s what makes this chapter so interesting.
Micah: Yeah. So, the actual chapter though, starts out with them heading off to the event itself, and there’s this back and forth again between Harry and Mr. Weasley telling Harry that the stadium could hold a hundred thousand people, and Harry is shocked at this. You have to remember that this is a kid who’s probably been – or not probably – has been locked up for the majority of his young life and hasn’t had the opportunity to experience anything like this even going to a sporting event in England. I’m sure soccer matches or football as they call it would have comparable crowds certainly, but maybe he’s only ever caught a glimpse of it on TV. And I thought – Andrew you mentioned liking sports before – one of the things I hate about sports is all the advertising and commercials that take place, but even in this wizarding world there are these scrolling advertisements that are on these boards throughout the stadium, so a little bit of our world meeting their world I guess.
Andrew: Yeah, and something else I thought was interesting, when they climb to the top – when they get to their seats, it’s at the very top of the stadium. I thought that was – and that’s the best seats you can get.
Andrew: I thought that was interesting because in the Muggle world, at any sporting event, the best seats are always the lowest.
Andrew: Now, obviously the best seats in Quidditch are the highest because the gameplay takes place in the air, but I just thought that was interesting how it was the complete opposite.
Andrew: If you heard somebody had the best seats at a basketball game all the way at the top, you’d be like “Oh, great. I’m in the nosebleeds. How is that good?”
Andrew: But in the magical world it’s – the best seats are at the top.
Micah: Yup. You just mentioned this, but the difference between the book and the movies is that the Weasley’s, Harry, and Hermione they sit in the Minister’s box in the book, but in the movie they’re up in those “cheap seats” all the way in the top of the stadium, and I think – who would it have been at the time – Mike Newell did that to kind of show the difference between the Weasley’s and the Malfoy’s. The Malfoys obviously end up sitting in the Minister’s box in the movie when in the book they share it together. And J.K. Rowling notes the reason why Malfoy is there is because he made this huge contribution to St. Mungo’s. You look at somebody like Mr. Weasley who kind of made it there on his own merit and wasn’t it that he got tickets from somebody that he knew? I forget.
Eric: Somebody in the office, yeah.
Micah: Somebody in the office, versus Malfoy who kind of paid his way into it.
Andrew: Yeah, so I was – I wanted to ask you guys that. Did he – did Lucius make that donation to the hospital just so he could get those good seats? Do you think he knew he would get those seats if he made that donation? Because why else would he have?
Eric: Well, St.Mungo’s is like – I know its not really – we don’t really go there until Book Five, but I feel like early on there were these clues that St. Mungo’s – a lot of it was dodgy. Lucius Malfoy – thats the question. Lucius Malfoy donates money to it, doesn’t it seem like they’re doing something wrong? Or something shady, if…
Eric: …Lucius Malfoy is going to throw his money at it? But it could be what you’re saying – just to get a seat at the Quidditch World Cup. I think thats perfectly plausible.
Micah: Right. Because you…
Andrew: I – that’s what I think.
Micah: You learn that he’s there on Fudge’s invitation after Fudge says, specifically, that Malfoy has made this donation. So, I’m sure that played into it somehow. But also, speaking of Lucius, we get to see his wife for the first time, Narcissa.
Andrew: Oh la la!
Micah: And she is introduced as looking as if she has something fowl underneath her nose.
Andrew: [laughs] She’s just one of those women.
Micah: But I would assume that that might have something to do with the fact that the Weasleys and Hermione were in the box as well. But…
Eric: That is an excellent descriptor, the dung under her nose thing. I was surprised when Harry actually says that to Malfoy later on, because its one of those instances where I am reading and I am thinking, ‘That is a great way to describe somebody. She turns her nose up at anybody who is below her in class…’
Micah: Yeah, absolutely.
Eric: ‘… in status,’ and its a great descriptor. So when Harry actually says that out loud to Malfoy, it almost doesn’t translate as well when you are saying it. It still makes sense and everything, but I’m surprised that he did that. But it was a good comeback, I guess. I just…
Eric: …felt like it was better reading it than for Harry to say that, but it’s still funny. It’s still a good way to depict high class narcissism.
Micah: That’s where she gets her name.
Micah: Anyway, but before the Malfoys even enter the Minister’s box, Harry encounters Winky for the first time. And, initially, he thinks its Dobby because she looks very much like him. And I thought it was interesting as she talks about Dobby getting out of control and ending up in front of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, “like some common Goblin.” Now here’s a house-elf who is basically born into servitude making it seem like some Goblin is less of a creature than the house-elf. I thought it was kind of ironic that you’d have a house-elf insulting a Goblin, but that’s just my own take on it. But the bigger question, I thought, that nobody raises, not even Harry, is how does Winky know Dobby? You know, this whole conversation that’s going on between them, she never says how she knows him. And I thought that might have been a clue early on to readers that perhaps Winky belongs to somebody that is not so good.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, maybe Harry just figures…
Micah: All house-elves know each other? [laughs]
Andrew: And it sounds a little extreme, but we know that these are very unique creatures, and they’re all – I mean, I guess they encounter each other at one point or another. Then that brings up the whole question, like, what’s the house-elf family tree look like? How are these things even born?
Micah: That’s a good question.
Andrew: Yeah, I just think that – I love house-elves, first of all, and not because they’re slaves to wizards, but I think that – I feel like they all know each other some way or another. They’re all very old. They’ve been around forever.
Andrew: You know?
Micah: Well, this is really our first re-introduction to Dobby, I think, since Chamber of Secrets.
Eric: Yeah, he was absent in Prisoner of Azkaban.
Eric: I don’t even think he was mentioned.
Micah: And obviously he comes into play a lot in this book and after that, but – and, again, we see how house-elves are treated. This particular one is up in this box, hundreds – not hundreds, but thousands of feet in the air, and she’s very much afraid of heights. So, again, the whole cruelty factor – her having to sit here. She’s peering through her fingers because she doesn’t want to look out into the arena, basically. Also, a couple other things happening in this Minister’s box. Fudge ends up showing up, and he greets Harry as if he’s this old friend. And you can tell Percy is a little bit jealous. He’s a little envious…
Micah: …of the way the Minister is interacting with Harry. So, I wonder, do you think that played at all in Order of the Phoenix when Percy completely not only turns on his family, but turns on Harry.
Eric: That he’s jealous?
Micah: Well, I think – does that play at all into it? You know, Fudge, his opinion of Harry begins to change, obviously, and Percy is pretty much a carbon copy of the Minister in terms of ideas and how he views what’s going on. So, you know, I wonder if this at all plays into it. You know, this is just the beginning of Percy developing that jealousy about Harry because of this relationship he seems to have with the Minister. And then once the Minister’s point of view changes, he immediately latches on to it.
Eric: Yeah, I feel like Percy at many times is like a – seems like a zombie, because he’s just that intense on – or intent on – gaining status under Fudge’s eyes. The fact that Fudge can’t even remember Percy’s name, but yet Percy continues to work for him, you know, later on in this book absolutely says something. And I think sure, Percy being jealous – it’s that and it’s how he turns to Mr. Weasley and says, you know, ‘I need to make something for our family.’ Later on, when times get tough, he feels like his family is kind of a laughing stock. And so, it’s not just that they’re blood traitors, although that is what it amounts to, Percy is just – confused. This is just the time of his life where he’s confused.
Micah: One other thing that I pointed out was I thought it would have been a funny scene in the movie between Harry, Fudge, and the Bulgarian Prime Minister when Fudge is trying to introduce him and they have this whole language barrier problem. And as we learn later in the chapter, the Bulgarian Prime Minister speaks English pretty well…
Micah: …but just wanted to have a good time at Fudge’s expense. So, we finally get to the match and during the team introductions, Ron gives the gold that he gets from the leprechauns – you know, the mascots are introduced prior to this; the Bulgarians have the veelas which captivate the attention of all the males in the audience, and then the Irish present the leprechauns who are throwing all these gold coins around. And Ron’s first – what do you call it?
Eric: His instinct! Instinct? Yeah?
Micah: Yeah, there you go. That’ll work. So Ron’s first instinct is to give the gold to Harry, to repay him for the Omnioculars that he bought for Ron before they entered the stadium. So, what does that say that his first thought is to repay Harry instead of just pocketing it? Keeping it for himself?
Andrew: I think it shows that Ron’s very – that Ron was raised right. He knows – he feels bad that Harry bought this for him – bought the Omnioculars for him, and I think we saw that when Harry initially did buy them.
Eric: They were like a hundred Galleons, weren’t they?
Andrew: Yeah! And Harry reminded him, “Oh, it’s your Christmas gift for the next ten years.”
Andrew: Or something like that. So I think Ron was very grateful for it, and he wanted to pay him back. I understand that. It was very nice of Ron. It says a lot about his character.
Eric: Or maybe he knew …
Andrew: I know Eric wouldn’t do that for me.
Andrew: I know you wouldn’t do that for me. You’d keep the money for yourself.
Eric: Oh, if I knew the secret of leprechaun gold, I would absolutely do that for you.
Micah: [laughs] But the action gets underway, and like I said before, Jo does a really good job of really following the event and describing it and it sounds like a real sporting event where people are getting into it and having a great time. There’s a lot of fighting that goes on, really, between these two teams. A lot of questionable moves where people get temporarily injured. And I thought the Omnioculars were a really cool thing. You know, they let you slow down the action, they tell you the different moves that are being done. We don’t really have anything comparable to that in the Muggle world. I guess you have instant replay or slow motion, but that doesn’t really let you do it in real time. So…
Eric: And it’s not – it’s someone else showing you what to look at, too.
Eric: It’s not like you can go on your own and point at something and say, “I want to see what that was doing 25 seconds ago.” That’s really cool.
Micah: Yeah. It’s really through your own perspective.
Eric: It’s almost like Jo is a sports fan because she knows exactly what…
Micah: I think she is.
Eric: Yeah, because she knows exactly what we would want. It’s like an interview she gave about the Internet and she said, “Oh, wizards have something much cooler than the Internet,” which ended up being Patronuses, I think, because they communicate that way. But yeah, she makes these really cool magical improvements that – Omnioculars, they’re awesome. They’re very real.
Micah: Yeah. And the other thing from this match that I wanted to bring up was the word, “mediwizards” who tend to the injured players. Is that specific to sports? Because I don’t ever remember this word being used at any other point in the series.
Eric: Which – oh, mediwizards?
Andrew: Yeah, I think – and maybe for a game as large as the Quidditch World Cup – I mean, think about it, have we ever seen – well okay, let’s say at Hogwarts they have the hospital wing and that can handle the school, but when you think about a hundred thousand wizards descending on one location there has to be some sort of medical care. You know, like when you go to a concert or something, you’ll see an ambulance or two out front just in case something happens.
Eric: Paramedics is the word.
Andrew: Paramedic, yeah.
Eric: Paramedics is a word you’ll never hear anywhere else. Paramedics don’t work at a hospital, or I may sound stupid if that’s untrue. But I mean – I feel like paramedics are the people in the field who are going to resuscitate you and get you to the hospital. So the school nurse is at school. You’re not going to have paramedics at your school, you’re going to have the school nurse.
Eric: So I feel like mediwizards is like paramedics.
Micah: Yeah, but when we go to St. Mungo’s in Order of the Phoenix, I just don’t ever remember hearing that word being used. I could be wrong. It could be in that chapter, but I just don’t remember it.
Eric: I think that’s a long chapter, but yeah, I don’t remember it either.
Micah: It was always like Healers or, you know – even in that list of…
Eric: Yeah, you’re right.
Micah: You know when they see the list on the wall of all the different units in St. Mungo’s and all the different levels that you could go to? I’m sure mediwizard was in there somewhere, but it just seemed like such an odd word.
Andrew: I think you see them mentioned here because it’s on location.
Micah: Yeah, you’re probably right. One funny scene that during the match that might have worked in the movies as well is Hasan Mostafa, the referee, during one of the timeouts after an injury, gets taken with the veelas, and he’s over there under their spell flexing his muscles and…
Andrew: Yeah, the veela are so interesting. At one point we saw Harry put his leg over the box.
Andrew: It’s so odd what is going on. It’s almost like sexual.
Eric: It is!
Andrew: Of course, Jo didn’t want to say what the guys were thinking, but it is very – I think there are some very sexual thoughts going on.
Eric: But it’s almost like subconsciously, too because…
Andrew: Right. You can’t control it.
Eric: Yeah. You’re not thinking, “Oh, I want to bang her,” but your body is thinking that. It’s Harry with his leg over the box…
Andrew: Well, speak for yourself.
Eric: Yeah, yeah. Well… but there’s more about the veelas here.
Micah: There is.
Eric: In the notes.
Micah: Even Arthur Weasley says once they – I can’t remember exactly what happens, but the veela start throwing fire at the leprechauns. I know the referee wants to throw them out of the stadium because of what has just happened to him, but I think there’s some sort of dirty move that takes place. Or the leprechauns join in formation and stick up, basically, a middle finger.
Eric: Yeah, it’s like a giant middle finger. I think that’s…
Micah: And so the veelas start throwing fire.
Micah: And Arthur Weasley makes the comment, “That’s why you should never go for looks alone.” And Harry sees through the Omnioculars that these once-beautiful women are now crazy, decrepit-looking, fire-throwing beasts.
Eric: That’s why I think I like veelas as my favorite fantastic beasts, just because of this. There’s the saying: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” And there you go, ladies and gentlemen. That’s J.K. Rowling’s companion to that statement. There are these fire-throwing beasts.
Micah: There you go. So the match is finally ended when Krum grabs the Snitch. And actually, Ireland ends up winning the match because they were enough ahead. And Hermione thinks that Krum is so brave for going and grabbing the Snitch, even though he knew that it wouldn’t end up giving his team the win. The point being, the Irish were just too good, they were just too fast, and they were going to outscore them no matter what. So Krum decided that for everyone involved, it would be best just to capture the Snitch and put an end to all of it. So the Weasleys’ prediction comes true, that the Irish would win but Krum would get the Snitch. And I always wondered, did they just pull that out of their butt? Did they just say, “Okay, this is what’s going to happen in the Quidditch World Cup”? I mean, it was so accurate a prediction. It was almost like they had some sort of inside as to what was going to happen.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s interesting. Because we never get an explanation.
Eric: I feel like Jo eventually answered this. This is like the number one mystery for me, too because it just seems like they’re time traveling. You know, Fred and George, going through time, cheating people out of winnings that way. But yeah, I don’t know how they did it. And you’re right, it’s a million to one kind of odds thing where it’s like…
Micah: Yeah. But the one thing…
Eric: I think in Quidditch Through the Ages it’s even said something like how often that happens.
Micah: Yeah. Well, the thing is too, it does set up the whole joke shop storyline. Because without it, you don’t progress along that line. You never know, though, I guess. Even if Ludo did pay up – we’re discussing here how they knew it, but maybe that’s just a plot point. Jo said, “Okay, how am I going to get them to get enough money for the joke shop? Well, I’m going to write that they accurately predict the Quidditch World Cup and everything falls out from there.”
Andrew: There is a – I just did a quick Google search to find an answer and somebody has an editorial up and they suggest either they used a Time Turner, they just guessed, the match was fixed, or they used magic other than the Time Turner. So no solid theories, but I don’t think there is a specific answer. I don’t think Jo ever…
Eric: Yeah. I Googled it, too and I can’t find anything.
Andrew: I mean…
Eric: Maybe we should be using Bing, the decision engine.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: Feel free to send in your thoughts, everyone listening. I don’t – I think they got lucky. And it’s typical Fred and George, right? Because they go against the popular opinion, and they end up with a positive outcome.
Micah: Yep. And once they face Ludo at the end of the chapter, he’s like “How much do I owe you guys?”
Micah: So you can tell that that’s going to be a little bit of a problem moving forward. So the only other thing though was about Hermione sort of changing her opinion on Krum – I know you mentioned that earlier. We see that change a lot throughout the next couple chapters.
Chapter-by-Chapter: “The Dark Mark”
Andrew: All right, so now it’s time for Chapter 9, our final chapter for today.
Micah: “The Dark Mark.”
Eric: Beans! “The Dark Mark.” So…
Andrew: Another chapter where Harry learns a lot.
Eric: Yeah. There’s these separate moments, it almost seems – I’m not going to say forced, because it’s not ever seemed forced – but they totally stop amidst all the chaos, and there’s lots of chaos in this chapter, to learn things. So the chapter opens up, they’re heading back from the Quidditch match, and Mr. Weasley tells Fred and George not to tell their mother that they have been gambling. Even though they won all this money, “Don’t tell your mom you’ve been gambling.” I feel like Mr. Weasley’s a good guy, he’s a good time guy. He realizes…
Andrew: Hey, not to go too off-track, but when I read this, it made me think, why is Mr. Weasley with Mrs. Weasley? It just seems like nothing but hiding things from her. She’s always getting angry at everyone.
Eric: [laughs] This is going to be like our…
Andrew: Is this a healthy relationship? I’m not so sure about this relationship.
Eric: Didn’t we just talk about if Hermione and Ron are a healthy relationship?
Eric: Didn’t we do that?
Andrew: I mean sure, there were times when my dad said, “Don’t tell your mother this,” but it seems like Mr. Weasley’s always doing that. It’s like, so many secrets, I can’t handle it.
Eric: Yeah. Well, the twins agree. At any rate, the twins do agree that they don’t want their winnings confiscated.
Eric: Like their mom would take their money. Well, she did take their sweets at the beginning.
Eric: Yeah. She was like, “Accio sweets!” But anyway, they all go back, they’re really excited about the Quidditch match, nobody asks Fred and George how they knew the outcome. I don’t think – I didn’t read it, that they did.
Andrew: I don’t think so, we never got a real explanation.
Eric: Yeah, it’s really awkward. That seems to be a pressing issue. But anyway, I digress. They all pretty much fall asleep talking about the match, though it’s really late in the morning and Harry doesn’t even feel tired. Ginny falls asleep at the table and spills some hot chocolate, then Mr. Weasley says, “Okay everybody, off to bed.” So, Harry has this dream, and I had to say it because it’s canon, but I didn’t think it was. In Goblet of Fire, okay, right here, Harry’s asleep and he has this fantasy – he’s actually not quite asleep – he fantasizes that he “saw himself in robes that had his name on the back, and he imagined the sensation of hearing a hundred-thousand-strong crowd roar, as Ludo Bagman’s voice echoed throughout the stadium, ‘I give you… Potter!'” And the whole name on the back thing that was in the Quidditch World Cup, I forgot that that was actually what they did. I thought that having Harry’s name on the back of his Quidditch robes was a strict movie-ism. And number seven, when was Harry number seven? That just seemed like it was never in the book, but…
Andrew: Well, yeah. And I remember before Book 7 came out, we would speculate what Harry was going to do – in the epilogue because we knew there would be an epilogue – so we weren’t sure. And I think that was one of the stronger theories, that Harry would end up playing Quidditch one way or another in the future.
Eric: And Harry having this fantasy of him being a Quidditch player, this is one of those things where he’s fantasizing about being famous, but it’s for something that he earns. It’s for his prowess on the Quidditch field and…
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. Totally.
Eric: So it’s for skill and also – it’s interesting to have this moment because by the end of the book, Harry has such a task ahead of him, to kill Voldemort… This is before Voldemort comes back, so Harry’s actually considering a career aspiration that isn’t an Auror. Later on, he just says, “Well, I never really considered it, but I always figured I’d probably just fight dark wizards…”
Eric: Now it’s kind of like – in the age of innocence, in a way.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. It’s another sign of his childhood.
Andrew: Because a lot of kids this age will be like, “I want to be a firefighter! I want to be the quarterback on my favorite football team!” So, and this – I think this is sort of like Hedwig being a sign of Harry’s childhood – this aspiration to become a Quidditch player is also a childhood dream that he grows out of, I think.
Micah: Yeah, he does. But I also wondered if it was a nod towards what happens with the Triwizard Tournament, because with Ludo Bagman introducing him in the first task, and having all those people around – maybe not a hundred thousand people, but there’s still a crowd there. So I wondered if it was a bit of foreshadowing to the Triwizard Tournament.
Eric: You know, that’s a good point. That’s a good point.
Andrew: And Harry has his name on the back of his – thing.
Eric: Well, in the movie.
Andrew: It says “Potter.”
Eric: Not in the – even in the book, do you think?
Andrew: Well, I don’t know about the book, but…
Andrew: But yeah, it’s still connected.
Eric: Still connected.
Andrew: All right. Well, that was interesting.
Eric: So they have their nice little evening until the middle of the night – or later, later that night, [laughs] Mr. Weasley wakes Harry and Ron up. He says, “Get a jacket on! There’s no time to actually get dressed in proper clothes!” It’s pretty hectic from this point on. They go – Bill, Charlie, Percy, and Mr. Weasley are going to help the Ministry sort out this problem. People are running, people are scared, there are other children that are sort of walking, and Harry and Ron and Hermione make their way into the woods, and they are separated from Ginny and the rest of the Weasleys, but they make their way into the woods, and [laughs] Ron trips and – I forgot who lost their wand. It is Harry, but I felt like this is where Ron would lose his wand, but he says something – Hermione can’t find him, she uses Lumos, and she finds him. He tripped, and Ron says, “I tripped over a tree root,” he says angrily. He gets to his feet. And then they hear a voice [laughs] – I’ll read it quote-for-quote from the book: “‘Well, with feet that size, it’s hard not to,’ said a drawling voice from behind them. Harry, Ron, and Hermione turned sharply. Draco Malfoy was standing alone nearby, leaning against a tree, looking utterly relaxed. His arms folded, he seemed to have been watching the scene through a gap in the trees.” So…
Andrew: So he knew exactly what was going on.
Eric: Yeah. Basically, that’s what this amounts to. I said this as Draco like a great opening line, because he’s like, “Well, with feet that size…” I don’t know why he’s concerned with the size of Ron’s feet, but…
Andrew: Well, it’s a typical cheap insult.
Eric: Yeah. Cheap insult. Not very funny, you know. Whatever you can think of, flying by the seat of your pants sort of thing. But Draco has been watching this whole thing. So they meet Draco and they pretty much assume, especially by the end of the chapter, that Lucius Malfoy was out causing all this chaos. Now they meet a few other people in the woods; they sort of leave Draco. They encounter a French student who is looking – who is asking where Madam Maxime is. She’s like, “Ou est Madame Maxime?” and they don’t speak French so they’re like “What?” And she says, “Oh, Hogwarts” and Hermione assumes correctly that this is a student from Beauxbatons and Ron’s like “What?” And she says, “They must go to Beauxbatons. You know, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic… I read about it in An Appraisal of Magical Education in Europe.” That’s what she says to him. Wouldn’t it have been easier for her to say “It’s another wizarding school in France” like she tells Ron…?
Andrew: Yeah, this is just “Hermione-Know-It-All” and as you point out in your notes, she does this twice! She goes, “I read about it in blah-blah-blah,” and it reminds me of in the movie when she goes “I read about it in Hogwarts: A History.”
Eric: Quite importantly, Harry realizes he’s lost his wand. At some point he reaches into his pocket, they’re traveling through the woods, and he’s like “I don’t have my wand.” So again we talk about Jo, how she’s less subtle about conveying information, but in this book it says “Harry usually kept his wand with him at all times in the wizarding world, and finding himself without it in the midst of a scene like this made him feel very vulnerable.” So she says that Harry’s feeling vulnerable because he doesn’t have his wand. By Book 7 she just kills Hedwig to make him feel vulnerable, but right now it’s just the loss of his wand. And pretty soon, Winky, the house elf, finds her way out of some bushes and it’s also stated in the books – this is verbatim: “She was moving in a most peculiar fashion, apparently with great difficulty; it was as though someone invisible were trying to hold her back.”
Andrew: So why didn’t Winky say – okay, Winky…
Eric: Basically Winky’s whole…
Andrew: Winky is told not to say anything.
Eric: …task is to babysit Barty Crouch Jr. so that he can go to the Quidditch World Cup. At least that’s what I remember, is that she basically has to look after him. I think it’s probably Barty Crouch Jr. that actually steals Harry’s wand. There is a Veela in the woods and this is interesting, there is like a clearing in the woods and there is a Veela and she is surrounded by all these men who are trying to impress the Veela. They say a few things. Harry recognizes Stan Shunpike who is telling the Veela that he is up for grabs for the next Minister of Magic. Kind of foreshadowing that the Minister of Magic will be kind of done with, but maybe a little early I guess for this. But it is a scene of chaos and Ron even at this point – this is kind of the thing with Harry having his leg over the box. Ron just out of context just jumps in, “And I’ve invented a broomstick that will travel to Jupiter.” [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, they are just trying to pull the most impressive things and I guess in Stan’s mind, to impress a woman, it’s – one of the most impressive things you could say is that you will be the next [laughs] Minister of Magic.
Eric: [laughs] Yeah, it’s kind of goofy.
Andrew: …it is.
Eric: …way to pull the nerd card there. [laughs]
Andrew: Why? I guess he has an aspiring – he thinks being a Minister of Magic is cool, which sort of is.
Micah: And I mean, they cut all of this out of the movie for obvious reasons. But I mean, this whole Winky storyline was never included.
Andrew: And S.P.E.W.
Micah: Yeah, that too. I mean, that…
Micah: …comes in…
Eric: …and S.P.E.W.
Micah: …later on, but…
Andrew: The whole first 20-30 minutes of the Goblet of Fire movie moves so fast.
Eric: It does.
Micah: Yeah, they do.
Eric: That’s why I…
Eric: You – yeah, we were saying, I think – it wasn’t before the film came out, but after we saw the film. At the first live podcast, MuggleCast, I think we talked about how the Quidditch World Cup could be a 20-30 minute deal. And what we were just saying in Chapter-by-Chapter last chapter, all the advertising and stuff, you can kind of see it in the movie but it’s – the movie scene really only lasts fifteen seconds. They sit down, they grab their seats at the Wizarding World Cup and then there is that overhead shot where you see Fudge announce it. And then there is an overhead shot of the whole stadium, and that’s it. That’s the Quidditch World Cup. I mean, until nightfall. But it is very condensed.
Micah: No, I agree. It is very condensed, and I think they did a great job with it. I’m just disappointed that they left out such an integral part of Goblet of Fire because I think what it is is they have Harry just get caught up in a crowd, and he trips and loses his wand. And then Barty Crouch Jr. finds it and loses it. But there is so much more to the story that J.K. Rowling included in the books, so it was kind of disappointing to see it left out of the movie.
Andrew: And remember, this is the film that they first considered turning into two parts.
Eric: Yeah, I wonder how that…
Andrew: They have…
Eric: …would have…
Andrew: …said that.
Eric: Yeah, I wonder how that would have played out because if you think about…
Andrew: Well, a lot less would have been cut.
Eric: [sarcastically] Oh, really?
Eric: Yeah, but I feel like…
Andrew: I mean…
Andrew: And they were – reading this back now – I mean, this is the first time I’ve read it in a while, probably since before the film came out. And it reminds you how much there was that could have been included. I mean…
Andrew: …the whole S.P.E.W. thing would have taken up quite a bit of time, and I think it would have been interesting to see, even though the house-elves would have been expensive to…
Andrew: …produce, but…
Micah: Yeah, instead of just throwing them on a camel for 0.5 seconds…
Andrew: That was the funniest…
Micah: …in the movie…
Andrew: …thing in…
Micah: …of the – in the beginning of Goblet of Fire.
Eric: Oh, to show that they had been to Egypt or what?
Micah: No, there is a scene…
Micah: …that Andrew – I think Andrew was the one who pointed it out.
Andrew: Somebody emailed it in to us.
Micah: Where there is house-elves in Goblet of Fire but it is literally for a second. It…
Andrew: At the Quidditch…
Micah: At the…
Andrew: …World Cup.
Micah: …Quidditch World Cup, yeah.
Eric: Oh, wow. What? That’s awesome.
Micah: They are…
Eric: That’s awesome.
Micah: …riding on a camel or [laughs] something like that.
Eric: [laughs] That’s – I don’t think that’s accurate. That’s really weird. If the movie were split into two, they obviously would have had to split every movie after that into two, wouldn’t they?
Eric: Do you think?
Andrew: Yeah, I guess so. There definitely would have been a lot more pressure to do that.
Eric: 5 is…
Eric: …the longest…
Andrew: But then there wouldn’t have been time to release so many films. I mean, by the time they got to Deathly Hallows, the actors would have been too old. So that may have been an issue too, time constraints. Getting these films shot before the kids grew up too much. And Emma was rushing to cut her hair. She didn’t want to wait…
Andrew: …any longer than she had to.
Eric: She would have gone – [laughs] anyway, moving on. What happens is they end up meeting up with Winky again. But they are in the woods and first they pass a group of goblins who are described as – I think it is the ones that Barty – or Ludo Bagman paid off because they are just huddled around their gold, and they seem totally disinterested in what is going on to the wizards. Basically, Ron, Harry and Hermione – they hear a voice in the woods. It is the incantation which sends off the Dark Mark and the incantation is Morsmordre. What do you think – what was the point of us hearing the incantation and then seeing this thing that we don’t yet know what it is. First we heard this low voice. I feel like it gives it a special entrance. What did you guys think when you were reading this?
Andrew: I thought it was a good introduction for the Dark Mark. There is – it was a very eerie, as you put, cryptic way to introduce it because Harry doesn’t know what it is, and this is one of the two major things he learns about in this chapter: the Dark Mark and also Death Eaters. And I was surprised to see that this was the first time he had been able to associate a term with those hooded masked figures. But no, I thought it was a fine introduction.
Micah: Yeah, I agree. It was very dark feeling, that something was definitely wrong. I mean, it’s just one of those things where you know that something isn’t right.
Micah: And just the word itself, it has a deathly feeling about it.
Eric: Yeah. And this particular scene is in the movie with him shouting, “Morsmordre!” But obviously, it rushes by pretty quick. There is a scene, I brushed through it really quick because – they interrogate Winky, they find Winky, she has Harry’s wand. We also learn in a kind of a Hermione-bookish moment, but I forget who says it. I think it is Bagman – says that there is under Article 3 of the section of International Magical Cooperation I think it is, that house-elves and other non-humans are not allowed to carry a wand. That is actually a breach of a law, only wizards can carry a wand. And this is mentioned in Book 7 I believe it is, when Griphook is talking about wizards being fair to other creatures because only wizards are allowed to carry a wand. All other beings that are magical can do magic, but not carry a wand. So…
Andrew: And we’ll discuss the elf rights stuff later when we get into S.P.E.W and all that.
Eric: But there are other wizards all around. This is what annoys me – who have actually seen the Dark Mark before. Mr. Weasley says later on, it was a simple, used only when Death Eaters killed, and imagine coming home and finding it above your house with your family – knowing that you can expect to find your family dead inside. That is an amazing image. It is horrible, it is dreadful. And this whole Hermione saying, “Oh, it’s simple. I read about it in this,” in front of all these other wizards seems almost disrespectful, certainly inappropriate. And it annoys me. Why is she like this? I just want to shake her.
Micah: Well, I mean, maybe she was the only one not afraid to admit what it was to Mr. Weasley and others around her – around him. That means something far more significant than it would to a fourteen-year-old Hermione. I mean…
Eric: So, they are…
Micah: …that part…
Eric: …in denial.
Micah: …could mean – well, maybe they don’t want to admit to themselves that he could possibly be back. Because that meant…
Andrew: Yeah, and they…
Micah: Yeah, go ahead.
Andrew: They said that they haven’t seen it in, what, thirteen years? Or something like that. So it’s been a really long time since they had seen the Dark Mark, and so…
Eric: So, it is…
Andrew: …I guess…
Eric: …almost like…
Andrew: …it is a bit…
Eric: …nobody would have talked…
Andrew: Yeah, it is denial and it is shock. And it is just in the moment.
Eric: Okay, so – yeah, to wrap up this chapter, we basically – we learnt that the Death Eaters or what is left of them, they were scared away by the Dark Mark. This is – they actually pretty much deduced that for themselves, Mr. Weasley and the trio, that somebody cast the Dark Mark and it actually scared the Death Eaters away. The Death Eaters had been torturing the Muggles, at least the Muggle family, Mr. Roberts and his wife. She is turned upside down in mid-air, exposing her knickers. It is pretty disgusting. And basically the Death Eaters were scared away by the Dark Mark. So somebody, perhaps even more faithful – and this brings back the first chapter of Goblet of Fire where Voldemort talks about his faithful servant at Hogwarts who is going to be called into action. Somebody almost more faithful than even these Death Eaters who were torturing these Muggles cast this Dark Mark. They were really close to Harry. They didn’t kill Harry even though they were right next to him, but apparently they scared the real Death Eaters away. So, it kind of – it is very foreboding. It is very, very scary leading up to the future of the book.
Listener Tweet: Harry Losing His Wand
Andrew: Okay, so that’s it for Chapter-by-Chapter. But first we have a couple of tweets sent in to our Twitter account, Twitter.com/MuggleCast and Micah is going to run through them.
Micah: All right. We already talked about DoctorSubmarine with Ludo Bagman and his character being omitted from the movie. We know a lot of characters were omitted from the film. So, Lizz_Anne_B says:
“I feel like in Chapter 9, Harry losing his wand is too convenient and for Barty Crouch Jr. to find it too easy. What do you think?”
Andrew: Yeah, and especially because Harry is not one to drop his wand [laughs] and forget.
Eric: Well, Winky…
Eric: Winky, that’s the thing. I think – I…
Micah: That’s the movie though.
Eric: [sighs] Yeah, that’s the movie. I feel…
Andrew: What’s the movie?
Eric: Yeah, where he trips and drops his wand. A wand…
Andrew: No, I’m not even referring to the movie. I’m referring to the book.
Eric: Well, in the book…
Andrew: And he has…
Andrew: …it with him in the book.
Eric: Winky is at the…
Micah: She steals it…
Eric: …scene of the crime. Winky steals…
Micah: She steals it…
Eric: …it from him. I mean…
Micah: …in the box.
Eric: Yeah, she doesn’t – oh, in the box?
Micah: Yeah, he loses his wand in the box.
Eric: Oh, I forgot…
Andrew: Yeah. Well…
Eric: …about that.
Andrew: …but no. But no. But see, that’s my point. It’s still – Harry doesn’t do that. [laughs]
Andrew: I mean…
Eric: …wouldn’t Harry have realized that he lost…
Andrew: It’s sort of like a cell phone. You always check to make sure you have it before you go to your next – like me.
Eric: It is…
Andrew: I’m checking my…
Eric: …like a cell phone. It really is. That’s a good comparison.
Andrew: When I’m out and about, I’m checking to see if I have my cell phone with me. I mean, that’s how the wand should be treated too.
Micah: Well, especially that he goes back to the tent, goes to sleep and doesn’t realize that it is missing until he is in the forest. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, yeah. That is…
Andrew: That is…
Eric: But okay…
Andrew: This is my point. It is…
Eric: But okay, even if she hadn’t stolen it then, remember, they meet up with Winky before they actually meet up with Winky the second time after she has cast the spell. So Winky – where she is dragging something as if it were invisible, they meet her then. So she could have stolen Harry’s wand then. Even though she stole it in the box – if Jo were so inclined, she has them meeting that other time and just after that happens, Harry realizes that he has lost his wand.
Listener Tweet: House-elves at Hogwarts
Micah: Okay. JazminesWings says:
“If Winky isn’t in the movies along with the other house-elves besides Dobby, what do you think they are going to do in ‘Deathly Hallows’?”
Well Eric, you have seen the movie and Kreacher…
Eric: I assume…
Micah: …and Dobby are both there.
Eric: Yeah, they are both there. I assume she means as far as the final battle where house-elves are throwing pots and pans, and forks and knives at the Death Eaters.
Andrew: I’m sure…
Eric: It will be weird actually.
Andrew: I think they will have them.
Eric: They will – but it will…
Andrew: It will be weird.
Eric: But it is weird because even in the movies, you see the food just appear and because you never go down underneath the kitchens in the movie, seeing a bunch of weird elves that we haven’t seen before residing at Hogwarts coming out of Hogwarts would probably be weird. I don’t – I feel like…
Andrew: But maybe they will just be in the background. There won’t be a big scene with the house-elves rebelling – or not rebelling, fighting. It’s just – you see them in the background or you see them mixed in with the crowd because I think it would be a nice tribute to the book. And considering how long the battle is going to be, they need as much variety as possible.
Eric: They do…
Andrew: So seeing…
Eric: …need variety.
Andrew: …the house-elves would be great for the book – for the film.
Eric: I agree with that. But I feel like the final battle is already going to be really different than it is in the book because…
Eric: …as we have seen in the trailers for both parts, Voldemort and Harry alone in the middle of a courtyard with half of Hogwarts missing. That is totally different and – because there is nobody surrounding them also fighting. So that is going to be interesting how they get to that statement. So, I almost want to say – I feel like we won’t see giants storming the battlefront. You have to see that because it is such an iconic scene in the book. But I really wonder what it is going to look like because things like house-elves, they could just not include if the movie takes them a different place. And they would – it would still be a satisfying Battle of Hogwarts.
Listener Tweet: Bill Weasley
Micah: Yeah. I mean, I think – I would hope that – like Andrew said, that they would be there as a tribute to the books. The same thing with the centaurs and I don’t remember if the Merpeople got involved either, but certainly sort of as a whole group coming together to fight against Voldemort. But – final tweet is from Gryffin_Sandler, who says:
“Why is Bill just as smart as Percy but so much cooler? How do you think it affects Percy?”
Andrew: Percy just has personality issues. He is very stuck-up, he is in serious need of friends and a life. Yeah, whereas Bill has friends and a life. So obviously, we lost a lot of Muggles during this whole battle. And in memory of these poor people who lost their lives, we have a song to play for them because as we all know, we now – well, we’re getting back to a tradition on MuggleCast where we play a song in memory of those who have passed away as we read their deaths in the series. So, this song was chosen by Eric and this is for them.
[“The Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet plays]
Andrew: [sings with the song] “Ballroom Blitz.”
Andrew: So rest in peace, dear Muggles.
Eric: Dear Muggles. Poor Muggles. A lot of craziness at the hand of – they even said in that chapter the Death Eaters used to kill people just for fun. Just for fun.
Andrew: That’s right. Well, it’s been a very full show and a very long one, so we’re going to wrap it up. We want to remind everybody about our website, MuggleCast.com. It’s got all the information you need about the show, including how to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, get all the episodes, get all the transcripts, read about us…
Micah: Transcripts, yeah.
Andrew: …because you know you like to read about us. And…
P.O. Box Update
Andrew: …I have a very exciting announcement. We now have a new P.O. Box. Laura…
Andrew: …of course, now is in Maryland for her studies and it is just faster if the mail goes to someone else. So it’s going to go to me from now on. [laughs] And…
Andrew: …we have a…
Eric: That’s awesome.
Andrew: …new P.O. Box. If you have sent mail and it didn’t get sent back to you, we did receive it and – so we do have it. So don’t worry if you sent it to the old P.O. Box. We still received it and we thank you very much for what you have sent. We really do appreciate it. We have a new P.O. Box. It is on the MuggleCast website. It is:
PO Box 3634
So that is a long address, so just visit MuggleCast.com, click on ‘Contact’ at the top and you will see the new P.O. Box there. You can send us baked goods, small animals, items for Micah for his news desk, etc., etc.
Micah: Bobble heads. I like…
Eric: Bobble heads.
Micah: …bobble heads.
Andrew: …heads for sure. You don’t have to send anything. We set up the P.O. Box a long time ago because people wanted to send us written letters and actually, I have a couple here on my bulletin board. Nice memories…
Andrew: …and stuff.
Eric: Christmas cards are nice. People always do really nice things for us for Christmas.
Andrew: Yeah, so – and we’ll get back to thanking people on the air for things that come in, so send us stuff!
Eric: And it is…
Andrew: We’d like…
Eric: …Matt’s birthday.
Andrew: …to receive it.
Eric: It is – Matt Britton’s birthday is today. So, happy birthday.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: Yes, or send Matt a gift. So, you can also find a feedback form on the ‘Contact Us’ page to write in, give us your thoughts about everything that we discussed today. We want to hear how you – what did you – how do you think Fred and George figured out who would win the Quidditch World Cup? I mean, if anyone could figure it out easily, surely everyone would do it, and bet on it and make big money, right? So, a lot to debate there.
Micah: And I’m sure…
Andrew: So yeah, MuggleCast.com…
Micah: …we made a mistake or two somewhere…
Andrew: …has all the information…
Micah: …along the line.
Andrew: …you need. Yes, that’s right. So, that does it for this week’s show. We will – probably our next episode may be a live one since the trailer is probably due out soon. I am guessing – it is very – it is imminent at this point. Thanks again everyone for listening! I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: We’ll see you next time for Episode 209. Buh-bye!
[Show music continues]