MuggleCast 228 Transcript
[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
Micah: Because even we can make you invisible for less than $430, this is MuggleCast Episode 228 for May 12th, 2011.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week’s episode of MuggleCast is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
And by Hypable.com, a MuggleNet for the rest of the fandoms in the world and created by MuggleNet staff. Visit Hypable.com for thorough and up-to-the-minute coverage around The Hunger Games, Glee, Doctor Who, The Hobbit, and many more. That’s Hypable.com – H-Y-P-A-B-L-E dot com.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome everyone to MuggleCast Episode 228! Micah, Eric, and I are here this week. Hello gentlemen.
Micah: Hello Andrew.
Andrew: We apologize for the late release. We know you like to rely on us for a new episode every other Sunday but we kind of dropped the ball this week. Apologies. But at any rate, we’re here, we’re square, and we’re everywhere.
Andrew: I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: And I just came up with the worst intro ever.
Andrew: Micah, what’s in the news?
Micah: I was going to let you slide there, Andrew, but you caught yourself. So…
Eric: Good for you.
News: Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 & 2 Win Two National Movie Awards
Micah: A little bit of news going on, actually, as we are recording the show: Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2 won awards tonight at the National Movie Awards in the UK. Deathly Hallows – Part 1 won for Best Fantasy and Deathly Hallows – Part 2 picked up – I think it was Most Anticipated Summer Movie.
Micah: Something like that.
Eric: It’s about all it can win having not been released.
Eric: Right when you were announcing that news, I was like, “Hey, what could it possibly win? Oh, Most Anticipated.”
Andrew: Best Finale Movie of the Summer.
Micah: Exactly. There you go.
Andrew: Best Part 2 Film Ever.
Micah: But David Heyman, David Barron, and Bonnie Wright were there. They accepted the awards and – it is interesting, though, to see the Potter series get some level of recognition, because it doesn’t very often get it here in the US. It seems to get more in the UK, obviously that’s where the movies are made and the story is based, but you would think with the success that it’s had that we would see a little bit more recognition here in the United States.
Andrew: It’s still not over yet though.
Micah: I know.
Andrew: Probably once it ends, everybody will start throwing some awards at them.
Micah: That’d be nice.
Eric: [laughs] I don’t know. It’s funny, it’s David Yates, David Heyman, and Bonnie Wright. [laughs] Did they just call her up, “What are you doing Wednesday night? Let’s go to some awards.” [laughs]
Eric: It’s kind of cool.
Andrew: “Can you break away from Jamie Campbell for a little bit to be with us?”
Andrew: “Your old friends?”
Andrew: “Uncle Heyman and Barron?”
Eric: “Remember us?” Yeah.
News: Strong Sales Continue for Deathly Hallows – Part 1 DVD
Micah: [laughs] All right. Well, also in the news, Deathly Hallows – Part 1 the DVD is continuing big sales. Or actually, according to this article, despite strong sales during its first week, the Part 1 DVD/Blu-ray did continue its reign at the top of the sales chart. This was back on May 4th. And the article said that:
“The film boosted overall consumer spending on DVDs and Blu-ray discs by the double, and giving the home entertainment business some very good news in the wake of a very weak first quarter that spawned negative ‘disc is dead’ headlines all over the country.”
Eric: So what you’re saying is – what I take from that is, despite the lack of special features, fans are still buying the DVD?
Micah: Well no, it…
Andrew: Well, what they’re saying is in an age where everybody kind of relies on Netflix and Redbox, Potter fans are still picking up the – they want to purchase the DVD for themselves, and one advantage is that with Netflix and Redbox you don’t get the special features discs.
Eric: That’s true.
Andrew: You just get the movie.
Andrew: So I think that’s what they’re talking about here.
Micah: Yeah. And again, it was a little bit disappointing that there wasn’t much available on the DVD itself, other than the film. I think that the idea behind it was to push the Blu-ray, but they could have missed the boat. I think they could have probably increased sales even more if they would’ve made certain features available on the DVD.
Andrew: Yeah. And also, fans just want a copy for their collection.
Eric: It’s true. I’ve argued this before with the future being streaming movies. A lot of people really feel streaming movies, that’s the way to do it. It is really convenient, but I think there’s something to having a physical copy in your hand.
Eric: I think that’s why vinyl hasn’t died. But when I pointed that out to somebody they said, “Well, vinyl is dead because [laughs] it’s relegated to these small stores.” But yeah, same difference, I think. People always want to own it and have it on a shelf, and…
Andrew: For fandoms like Harry Potter, definitely.
Andrew: Nobody is looking for a – nobody is looking to purchase Adam Lambert: Glam Nation Live…
Eric: Man, Adam Lambert…
Andrew: …to watch multiple times.
Eric: Glam Nation is his best show yet. Is it a show?
Andrew: It’s – yeah, a concert.
Andrew: What else is going on, Micah?
News: Deathly Hallows Set Visit Preview
Micah: Well, you recently posted a set report. You were on the set of Deathly Hallows, I won’t say Part 1 and Part 2. You kind of were able to see both at the same time since they were filming them both at the same time. And…
Micah: Tell us. What can you reveal?
Andrew: Well, we can’t – I just released a teaser.
Andrew: We can’t release the whole set report yet. [laughs]
Micah: Why not?
Andrew: [laughs] So…
Micah: The movie is…
Andrew: So what I did…
Micah: …less than two months away. This is ridiculous. You should be able to say whatever you want. There’s trailers out there, people who have already seen the movie including two out of the three people on this show. Why can’t you say anything more?
Andrew: Because they just have lots of rules in place.
Micah: They embargoed you?
Andrew: Yes, exactly. It’s an embargo.
Micah: And what happens if you break that embargo? This is the last movie, what are they going to do to you?
Andrew: Well, now that I live in LA, WB will personally drive to my apartment and firebomb it.
Eric: Firebomb it?
Andrew: Whether it’s the last film or not we still want to stay in the good graces of Warner Bros. so in the teaser I didn’t say much, but I did say there’s going to be in my Part 2 set report – the full one that will probably be released in the next month or two. Before the film is released it’ll definitely be out – I’ll be able to talk about the scene that I saw being filmed. It’s actually – now that I’ve seen Part 2 in Chicago at the test screening, I can say it’s actually definitely one of my favorite scenes in the movie.
Andrew: And I also talk about some interesting quotes from Stuart Craig, Dan Radcliffe, some other crazy things, too…
Micah: If I’m not mistaken…
Andrew: …including who I ran into while I was at the urinal.
Micah: Well, I mean…
Andrew: I’m completely kidding. [laughs]
Micah: I’m sure everybody will want to hear that.
Eric: It was a guy, right?
Andrew: I’ll stop that one.
Eric: [laughs] It’s like…
Andrew: No, but I think I’ve said on the show, that was my one worst fear, was going to the bathroom, and then like Jason Isaacs walks in and – what do you say? What do you do?
Eric: [laughs] Yeah.
Andrew: I don’t know what I would do.
Andrew: In the bathroom with an actor.
Andrew: [laughs] Anyway, so the full report will be out in probably a month, or maybe a little bit over a month.
Eric: Yeah, Andrew, as a quick question while we’re talking about that, how do they – because it was two set visits at the same time. Did they just blindfold you and take you to a chamber and say…
Eric: …”This is Part 1 being filmed, this is is Part 2“?
Andrew: No, no.
Eric: How did they separate it?
Andrew: When I was there, I was seeing Part 2 filming, and when we did interviews with the different cast members we talked about both Parts 1 and 2. The set report was of course done back in – we went there March 2010.
Andrew: Or March – yeah, March 2010. It was actually St. Patrick’s Day.
Andrew: So – yeah, and we saw some sets from Part 1, costumes, props, all that good stuff.
Eric: Right, cool. Can’t wait to see that preview.
Andrew: And you can read the Part 1 set report now on MuggleNet.
Andrew: I linked to it in the news post teasing the Part 2 set report.
Eric: Because they’ve allowed you to talk about Part 1 now.
Andrew: Right. Well, the funny thing was they said, “Okay, you can only talk about Part 1 in your Part 1 set report,” but we were like, “Well, where does Part 1 end? You’ve got to tell us that.”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: “We don’t know how much or little to talk about until you tell us where the split is.”
Micah: And wasn’t there some type of incident occurred the night that you were at the set?
Andrew: No, it was like right afterwards.
Andrew: The fire on the set.
Eric: Oh, the fire, yeah.
Micah: Oh, so it’s possible that you could have caused that.
Andrew: Yeah, if I let one of my cigarettes burn or something.
Andrew: I don’t smoke, I’m just kidding.
Micah: Smoking is bad. We do not endorse smoking in any way…
Andrew: Absolutely not.
Micah: …on this show.
Eric: No. Smoking kills.
News: Empire Magazine to Include Special Potter Feature
Micah: But speaking of Deathly Hallows – Part 2, in the upcoming issue of Empire Magazine that’s going to be on newsstands May 26th, they are going to have a special feature, kind of its own separate magazine, called Harry Potter: The Ultimate Celebration. And it’s a huge 36-page feature with tons of interviews, and they said even some never-before-seen photos behind the scenes, and I think it’s going to be something that a lot of Potter fans are going to be interested in. A lot of magazines are probably going to be doing this type of thing as we get closer to the release of the movie, but they claim that they traveled the world to get interviews with pretty much every cast member – major cast member from the film over the course of the last ten years, so it’s not just people that are going to be in Part 2. It’s probably going all the way back to Sorcerer’s Stone.
Eric: Yeah. Can we expect Ian Hart, Kenneth Branagh, some of the older crew?
Andrew: I hope so.
Eric: That would be really, really cool.
Andrew: Yeah, it would.
Eric: And that was actually what I found most interesting, that they traveled the world. It’s like Empire sent people out to find these actors and talk to them as opposed to just doing a tele-conference. That’s the way it sounded, anyway.
Andrew: And plus they found these actors to take these beautiful pictures of each one of them.
Eric: Yeah, which I can’t wait to see.
Andrew: Yeah, me too.
Eric: How they’ve all aged.
Andrew: I mean, traveling the world – presumably they conducted the interview with Dan while he was in New York, so they went over at least one ocean…
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: …to work on this feature.
Andrew: Before we continue with today’s show, we’d like to remind everybody that this podcast is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of this podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service. One audiobook to consider is A Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1. It’s a very popular book on Audible, and a television adaptation recently debuted on HBO called Game of Thrones. The first episode was actually so successful that HBO has already renewed it for a second season. So for a free audiobook of your choice such as A Game of Thrones, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. That’s AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
News: Emma Watson Denies Rumors of Being Bullied at Brown University
Micah: All right, and what is this news that – do I need to go up to Brown University?
Eric: Oh, what do you mean? And bully her because she wasn’t? What do you mean “what is this news”?
Micah: Well, I see news there that Emma Watson denied rumors of being bullied at Brown University, and I guess this was all because of her decision to leave, right? She’s no longer a full-time student there.
Eric: She says she doesn’t know.
Andrew: There are rumors – right. This is the weird thing. At first there were rumors that she was being bullied. Then the publicist came out and said, “It wasn’t because she was bullied, but she is leaving Brown.” And then Emma came out with a statement saying, “I am leaving. It wasn’t because of Brown, but it’s only temporary.” She said she was not done. She said she wasn’t sure if she was completely done with Brown. She said:
“Like my other fellow Brown students I am trying to figure out my third year and whether or not I will spend it abroad. This is common.”
So she’s not dropping out, but the publicist made it sound like she was. So I don’t know what’s going on.
Eric: And there are no bullying – there’s no bullying going on either, and she actually…
Eric: She went so far as to say – there was this news story – I only heard it through word of mouth – of certain instances at Brown that she discredited as well. So she’s fine. She’s just schooling at Brown. She really likes it.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, it’s college. Once you get to college – and everybody knows this. Once you get to college, the bullying goes away. There’s no real bullying going on.
Andrew: It was just a good tabloid story, “Emma Watson goes to an American college and gets bullied.” There was that funny story about Emma [laughs] correctly answering a question in class and somebody yelled out, “Ten points to Gryffindor!” [laughs] But it was completely made up. It wasn’t true. It was just a funny rumor.
Micah: And if you think about it, over the course of the years that we’ve done this podcast there really hasn’t been that many stories that are like this, where you have some of the main actors or actresses – where it’s almost like a tabloid-type story.
Micah: And this is just such senseless stuff. They’re just looking for something to grab ahold of and essentially create news, because apparently there’s not enough real news out there.
Eric: Well, now that we’re done…
Andrew: And Micah, you…
Eric: [laughs] …getting angry at journalists…
Micah: Well, “journalists.”
News: Invisibility Cloak for Sale at WBShop.com
Andrew: So, Micah, you now have the ridiculous story of the week. Please tell us what it is.
Micah: Yes, the ridiculous story of the week belongs to the WBShop.com, and it going ahead and putting up the Invisibility Cloak, except that it doesn’t promise to make you invisible. For $429.95…
Micah: …it can’t even do that for you.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: It cannot.
Andrew: This is…
Micah: Let me tell people out there right now – and we love WB and the WB Shop is a great place to go for products that you might want to buy if you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, that you can actually utilize. Kids, listeners, go to your bed, take a blanket, put it over your head, and pretend it’s an invisibility cloak, okay?
Eric: You will save so much money.
Micah: You don’t need to pay $430.
Andrew: You know, WB has come up with some good merchandise over the years. They recently just released a personalized acceptance letter. I think that is a really cool idea.
Andrew: We posted about it last week. But an invisibility cloak for $430, you would think for that price it would actually make you invisible!
Eric: Yeah. For that price, you’re exactly right. The most I would pay for a Harry Potter invisibility cloak – and it looks nice, it looks like the one in the films. It will probably be really fun to have. The most I would pay for that cloak, I think, if I was really crazy and I just had a birthday or Christmas, 175 to 200 dollars, without shipping.
Andrew: Right. Because that’s the cost of the regular cloaks, right?
Eric: Is it? Well yeah, and I mean, I used to…
Andrew: When you buy a Gryffindor cloak.
Eric: Gryffindor cloaks, yeah, $150. And it’s not even that, it’s an invisibility cloak. In a way, it’s less recognizable even though it is modeled after the one in the films.
Andrew: Yeah. I just…
Eric: So $429 – I just don’t know where they get their figures, where they get the – what kind of demographic – what kind of surveys they do to say, “Okay, it’ll be totally cool if we charge this price for this cloak.” And some of the comments on the MuggleNet post, they’re really funny. I urge everybody to read them.
Andrew: I’m sure it’s authentic. I mean, I’m sure it looks really detailed which is nice.
Eric: Yeah. Some of the people said it was – that they had seen this before on the WB Shop. I thought this was new news, because they posted it on their Facebook about twelve hours prior to my posting the news. So if it is old, fine, [laughs] but it’s news to us. And $429.95…
Andrew: Well, there’s zero ratings, so either nobody’s bought it…
Andrew: …since it’s been around or it was just added. And it is featured on the home page, so I think it’s just added. They may have just added it.
Eric: Okay. So take that.
Announcement: LeakyCon 2011
Micah: You know, Andrew? You could go to LeakyCon for less money than that.
Andrew: Oh, what a great…
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: Wow, Micah. This is why you’re still around. Yeah, we’d like to remind everybody we are going to be at LeakyCon.com – or at LeakyCon, not the website. But you can find information there, too. I bet, actually, you’ll be able to find a couple of people who will have purchased this cloak or are wearing one very much like it, at LeakyCon. And it’s going to be…
Micah: And you want to befriend them [laughs] because clearly, they have a lot of money.
Andrew: Right, exactly. You may want to wed them. The conference is being held July 13th to the 17th in Orlando, Florida. You already know this. It’s going to be at the Universal Orlando Resort where The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park is located. It is over the release of Deathly Hallows – Part 2, so it is really going to be a very cool event. There’s going to be a ball, there’s going to be special events, there’s going to be an opening feast. They just announced their party in the park. It is called “Open at the Close.” It’s an additional ticket on top of your LeakyCon registration, but you’ll be able to gain access to the park from 2:00 PM on until 1:30 in the morning. From 10:00 PM until 1:30 in the morning, it will be closed, only available to LeakyCon attendees who have purchased this additional park ticket. With the party in the park ticket, you get access to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, you get access to the party, you get free Butterbeer and food. Unlimited Butterbeer and food. You heard me right! It’s going to be dangerous. I mean, the Butterbeer is so addictive, and the fact that you can keep getting Butterbeer after Butterbeer, it’s not – do not mix it with alcohol, ladies and gentlemen. They will not be good for your stomach. But [laughs] do enjoy all the Butterbeer you can handle.
Micah: Well, the other thing, I thought, that they pointed out was, [laughs] there’s not going to be this little – what did we have to go to last year before the actual park opening event?
Andrew: It will be – it was like a pre-event.
Eric: Oh. It’s the pre-event that shall not be named.
Andrew: “Look how amazing” stadium event.
Andrew: There was a stadium event…
Micah: Basically it cut into the time that everybody could spend at the park, so…
Micah: …it’s good to know that…
Eric: Well, that is why people from Leaky spent all their time last year at Infinitus writing down notes.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Eric: Taking notes of everything HPEF had done wrong.
Andrew: “Ix-nay on stadium event-ay.” [laughs]
Eric: That’s exactly why LeakyCon…
Andrew: Well, you know what? I’m sure that wasn’t HPEF’s idea. I think Universal really wanted that to show everybody how amazing Universal was. And it also gave them time to set up in the park, set up all the tables.
Eric: Yeah, which they did…
Andrew: All the extra Butterbeer and stuff.
Andrew: I kind of understood it. But they’re doing it without it this year so that’s great. LeakyCon.com. When you do sign up, use code “Muggle” and that way we can track all the MuggleCast fans who will be coming. Not literally track, we won’t know your GPS location or anything. We’re just…
Eric: Unless you send it to us.
Andrew: We’ll just know how many MuggleCast listeners are coming. Right, unless you send it to us. And we can’t wait to see you there. We’re going to be doing a podcast, of course. We’re going to be doing our live movie – well, I say live. I mean, I would like to stream it live online, we’re not sure about that yet, but would like to – we’re going to do our big movie review episode there, so we’ll talk to everybody. It’s going to be a lot of fun because people will be able to come to the mic, give us their thoughts on Part 2, argue with Micah as he says he hated it, worst film ever, etc. etc.
Micah: I’d never say that.
Andrew: It’s going to be a lot of fun. LeakyCon.com. And also I have to plug something else this week, it’s actually a new site from a couple of people, myself included, who have run MuggleNet over the years. A few months ago we realized there was a problem with entertainment sites, and the problem is there’s not a MuggleNet of sorts for entertainment sites. You can go to Entertainment Weekly or Perez, you can go to TMZ, Oh No They Didn’t!, but they don’t give you complete coverage for particular fandoms. So we made this site called >Hypable, H-Y-P-A-B-L-E dot com. It is a MuggleNet for multiple fandoms: Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Glee, Doctor Who, Idol, Gaga, Adele, Katy Perry, Batman, Captain America, Spiderman, Dexter, The Hobbit, True Blood, Weeds. You name it, we got it. It is complete coverage for all these fandoms. We’re currently covering 27 and we’re continuing to add more. Soon – we haven’t announced this yet, but soon we’re going to be covering Fringe, Supernatural, and Vampire Diaries. Those are our next three that we’re going to be launching. So if you’re looking for complete coverage about the fandoms you care about, go to Hypable.com, H-Y-P-A-B-L-E. We promise you’ll get the stories quick and you’ll get all the stories, and that is something other entertainment sites do not give you.
Eric: Wait, which part?
Andrew: So visit Hypable.com. Both. They don’t give it to you quick and they don’t give everything to you.
Eric: Oh! Looks like they have a…
Andrew: We’re everything, Eric.
Eric: …superiority complex, they think they can just withhold the news and hold it from the world because they can.
Andrew: Well, and they’re not – they don’t care about the fandoms. The people who write about the fandoms on Hypable are true fans. There’s no corporate big-wig sitting at his desk deciding which stuff they’re going to cover and which not. These are real fans. It’s a MuggleNet for multiple fandoms, that’s the best way I can describe it.
Micah: Have you added Game of Thrones?
Andrew: No. We have been reporting on it lightly. We do some miscellaneous news coverage as well, but no. Have you been watching that? Is it good?
Micah: It is. It’s an interesting show. I know it’s a whole book series that I haven’t had a chance to read yet, but it seems pretty cool. It seems like a lot of people out there who are fans of MuggleNet and MuggleCast would be interested in it as well because it’s kind of that fantasy genre.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, and the books are legendary from what I’ve heard.
Micah: And it already got picked up again.
Andrew: HBO can really do no wrong.
Micah: No, they really can’t.
Andrew: So it’s definitely a series…
Micah: They really can’t.
Andrew: Yeah. So check it out…
Eric: So, once again, Hypable.com.
Eric: If you don’t know how to spell it, go on – MuggleNet.com has it in three separate places on the main page right now.
H-Y-P-A-B-L-E dot com.
Andrew: You guys love my reads.
Chapter-by-Chapter Introductory Facts: Order of the Phoenix
Andrew: I appreciate that. Thank you, I’m very flattered. Okay, now we’re going to move on to Chapter-by-Chapter. We’re starting a new book today! Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 1 and 2 we’re looking at. I’ve said this so many times, it is my favorite book in the series and I’m so excited that we’re finally going to go very in-depth on this book.
Eric: Okay, how about Micah, you take all the introductory facts? You take all the introductory facts.
Andrew: Yeah, you tell us since you’re not doing a chapter this week.
Micah: Oh yeah, that’s – well, I did do a chapter, but it may show up in the next episode.
Eric: [whispers] It’s getting cut.
Micah: Or it will show up in the next episode. So Order of the Phoenix was released back on June 21st, 2003. It had an initial print-run of 6.5 million copies in the US and 5 million copies sold worldwide in the first 24 hours. Now…
Andrew: Let me stop you right there. Do you remember where you guys were? Did you guys go to midnight book releases for this one?
Eric: Yes! I absolutely do.
Eric: This is the first book release – this is my first time since becoming a Harry Potter fan that I got to go to a book release.
Eric: And what a book release it was! It was the Oak Park, Illinois actually, which…
Andrew: Oh right, the MuggleNet one.
Eric: Well, MuggleNet and the town of Oak Park and Wizarding World Press, the published authors, all did – we did Wizards Chess in the middle of the street and it was absolutely wonderful. All the shops were turned into Diagon Alley. It was absolutely awesome, great, fantastic time. And then we got the book. So that was actually – that positive experience in Oak Park, Illinois is one of the main, main reasons I live in Chicago today, for the past three years.
Eric: So this was…
Eric: …kind of good cracking open this book again to do Chapter-by-Chapter, because it just reminded me of that good time that was nine years ago.
Eric: Or eight years ago.
Andrew: I also went to a book release, it was my second one, and I went to a local bookstore. And it was packed, of course, absolutely packed. I went with a couple of friends. And I still remember so distinctly opening up the book and reading the first paragraph out loud to my friends because we were walking out. Of course everybody was really excited so we all kind of – I just remember opening it up and seeing that picture of Harry sitting in the grass.
Andrew: And it was good. And then I got sick so I didn’t pick up the book. For some reason I lost interest in reading it, so I didn’t actually start reading it for another five days or something. [laughs]
Eric: You got sick?! Was it nerves?
Andrew: No. Oh, maybe, I don’t know.
Micah: But to answer your question though, I actually didn’t pick up a Potter book until 2004 so I wasn’t on the gravy train yet.
Eric: And only one year later, he would be on MuggleCast, pretending to know a lot more.
Micah: I still pretend to know a lot more.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Eric: Oh come on, I was joking. You know a lot. You’re a good man.
Micah: All right.
Andrew: Give us some other facts.
Micah: The first book published after a Potter film adaptation was released, and in fact two film adaptations were released to theaters and to home video before Book 5 came out. That’s an interesting fact.
Eric: Yeah. So there was a little bit of a gap, you guys remember? The first four Potter books came out year after year after year. And after the fourth book came out – the fourth book was huge, twice the size of the previous books. JK Rowling said, “Okay, that was too much too soon, I felt rushed,” and to this day, even on her website, she said that she feels that Book 4 was rushed and she vowed never to do it again. So Book 5 came out three years after Book 4, and in that time they were able to have Movies 1 and 2 in theaters. Huge, huge success! And it also brought lots of new Harry Potter fans to read the books such as, well, myself included.
Micah: It was 870 pages, and as you note it’s 111 pages longer than Deathly Hallows, 218 pages longer than Half-Blood Prince, and it has the most chapters in a Potter book by just one chapter, 38, and it goes up against Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hallows both for that honor. So it showed that she took three years to write the book.
Eric: Yeah, it did. It’s a long book.
Micah: In terms of how long it was.
Eric: I still – that’s what I’m most looking forward to in this Chapter-by-Chapter segment, is that reading this book again for it, I’m going to remember a lot because I feel like Book 5 – I just forget all sorts of stuff. So much happens! It’s essentially the longest year in Harry’s life as a result of it being the biggest book. So, so much happens on these pages.
Micah: Yeah, and you also noted that over 7,000 books were stolen…
Micah: …in Britain a week before the release. I actually remember this story. There was a similar one, I think, with Half-Blood Prince, too.
Eric: Yeah, involving a gun.
Micah: I think that was in Germany. Was that in Germany?
Micah: I can’t remember. But yeah, this always seemed to be sort of the story to expect as you got closer and closer to release, that somebody was going to steal a copy of the book and put it out online.
Eric: [laughs] “Snape kills Dumbledore.”
Micah: Yeah. And you noted that the dedication in this book was: “To Neil, Jessica, and David, who make my world magical.”
Eric: Yeah, so a lot of other things happened in JK Rowling’s life between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix. She married her husband and had a son as well, I believe. So pretty cool.
MuggleCast 228 Transcript (continued)
Chapter-by-Chapter: “Dudley Demented”
Andrew: All right, Eric. Well, you have the first chapter so…
Eric: All right. We start at page 1. At the beginning of the book, Harry has been home on Privet Drive for one month and he has taken an interest in Muggle news channels, which really annoys Petunia and Vernon. So he’s not really welcome in his own house anymore because he really annoys Petunia and Vernon, but he is hiding, as we find him, in a flowerbed just outside of the living room of the Dursleys’ house, at 4 Privet Drive. And he’s listening to the news, just like Petunia and Vernon, but he’s listening to it through the open window and that is – I don’t know, he’s hiding in a bush. So my first question for this chapter – we assume that Harry is listening to the news because at the end of the previous book, Goblet of Fire, Lord Voldemort came back. And Harry is really expecting to hear news, it’s a recurring theme, about Voldemort but he’s trying to do it through the Muggle news. Who gave Harry this idea? And is it really effective or really practical for him to hear something about Voldemort on the Muggle news this early?
Andrew: Well, yeah, because as he guesses it’s likely that if there was damage being caused somewhere in the Muggle world, it’s likely it would have been reported on the news because of course it would be reported. Obviously it’s not going to be news about what Voldemort has done in the wizarding world but if there was something going on in the Muggle world as we see in Half-Blood Prince – he was on the – he had the right idea.
Andrew: And considering that was the only place he could really get his news from.
Andrew: Where else could he go?
Eric: It’s true.
Micah: I think the other part of it, too, is just that he wants some sort of information about what’s going on and clearly he’s not getting anything back from people that he’s corresponding with so it’s just kind of hopeful that something will come across the news that will give him an idea of what’s going on.
Eric: Harry is a really sympathetic – Harry is really different, I think that’s the biggest theme of the first chapter of this book, the one we’re doing now, is that Harry is really different than when we last met him. She paints him really sympathetically at first. He’s actually walking around grabbing newspapers out of trash bins, or she says he’s done that in the past. So anyway, he is deprived of news. So he gets up from the news report, he’s decided that nothing important has happened, and several things – in true JK Rowling style, suddenly several things all happen at once. So first there’s a loud crack in the air and a cat runs out from underneath a local vehicle. Now, Harry pulls his wand out due to this loud crack that has startled him, and soon he finds Uncle Vernon’s hands around his throat. And – so I guess Vernon – he mistook the loud noise for having come from Harry’s wand, and he begins to strangle Harry and tells him to put his wand away. So that’s really interesting. Harry feels that the bang was the exact sound made by Dobby when Apparating or Disapparating, and he is sure that somebody magical has just Apparated near him to Privet Drive. Now my question here – it must have been a really loud crack for Petunia and Vernon to hear it, because they were inside the living room listening to the news. And not only did they hear it, they recognized it as being magical, and then they immediately ran out and found Harry with his wand. So – now these spells – this Apparating obviously, it doesn’t make any noise in the films. That’s one of the biggest departures between the films and the books I’d say, at least casually. But just how loud was this crack of somebody Apparating? Is it – it seems to have echoed or gone quite a large distance.
Andrew: Well, I think they were reacting more to Harry hitting his head on the window…
Eric: Oh okay.
Andrew: …than the crack. But Harry made an accurate guess at what was going on here. As we learn in the next chapter, he was right.
Andrew: Or later in this chapter.
Eric: Yeah. That’s interesting. Now Petunia and Vernon, they don’t believe that Harry is listening to the news to listen to the news. He’s actually – so the past month he’s actually been taking more of an interest in the Muggle news and they’re really suspicious. Then they also tell him that they know he’s getting news from the owls, because lots of owls are swooping by, and Harry says the owls aren’t actually bringing him news. Now, JK Rowling draws attention to the idea that Harry is losing something by admitting this, which is interesting. She says – the quote from the book is something along the lines of, “Harry knew that he would be losing if he admitted to this, that the owls weren’t bringing him news.” But the owls are delivering – it says later in the chapter, the owls are delivering the Daily Prophet to him, and occasionally letters from Ron and Hermione. So although Harry’s attempts to get actual information are thwarted, it is pointed out later that the Prophet is actually reporting relevant details to Harry. Harry only looks at the front page of the Daily Prophet and tosses it aside. So, is this typical Harry? Because he seems to be looking for news in all the right places but just not finding it.
Andrew: Well, the fact that he’s looking at the front page – don’t we – we hear later on, right, that deep in the paper there’s a small story?
Eric: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: About – yeah.
Eric: Hermione says – actually I think Hermione says several stories, like it’s been interesting all summer.
Eric: So it’s just beyond – it’s this notion that Harry has that the first – the front page news is going to be…
Andrew: Is going to be headline.
Eric: Is about Voldemort.
Eric: As opposed to what we find out later, strange disappearances, things like that. How it started last time is actually where he should be looking.
Andrew: And back to the whole losing something thing, I think Harry – what he’s losing is his confidence. I mean, he’s saying – he says the owls aren’t bringing him news and he wants to say, “Oh yeah, Ron and Hermione are sending me all the information, I know what’s going on,” but he can’t say that and that’s why he’s losing confidence.
Micah: Yeah, it’s almost like he’s defeated in a way because…
Micah: …he never wants to give an edge to – I’d say Vernon more than Petunia. He doesn’t want to give them anything that they can kind of use against him, and by admitting that, that’s exactly what he’s doing. So that’s what I think JK Rowling means by losing something. And what you guys were talking about before, with reporting the relevant details, I think that Harry is just somebody who is reactionary and he’s just so quick to look at what’s on the front page, as you guys mentioned. And if this is indeed the return of Voldemort, it’s not going to be front page news. Remember how the last book ended, remember what was the relationship between Fudge and Dumbledore, and what was about to be the parting of the ways, I think is what the name of the chapter was. So…
Andrew: And that’s why Jo went out of her way to say that Harry is looking at the front page and throwing it out.
Andrew: I mean, if I wasn’t so young back then, if I read this now I’d be like, “That’s – why would she even mention that he’s only looking at the front page? I mean, yeah, she’s a descriptive writer…”
Andrew: “…but I don’t know. That seems like even that’s pushing it.”
Micah: Right, exactly. The Ministry is still – or already, I should say, not still. They’re already at this point doing everything they can to kind of keep news about Voldemort’s return very quiet.
Eric: Yeah, I think when it’s explained to Harry that the news is actually second, third page news, he understands it. But it’s just a shame that he doesn’t know that now, because again we’re pulled into this very-not-happy Harry, which is what I’m getting into next.
Micah: Oh yeah, but I will say this: He is treated in ways by Dumbledore in these first few chapters and I guess even throughout this book in my opinion worse than he was treated by the Dursleys.
Eric: Yeah. So we’re – and you’ll get your chance to make that point next. So Harry is angry, he’s very angry. He’s so disappointed that Hermione and Ron are together “having fun.” He thinks they’re at the Burrow without him and that – he’s so angry. Harry – it says Harry threw away both of their birthday gifts to him, and they sent him Honeydukes chocolate. He didn’t even open the chocolate. He knew it was chocolate, somehow. He didn’t even open it, he threw it away because he’s angry at Ron and Hermione. This is shocking. Also, he’s having nightmares about Cedric and his scar is prickling very often at this point. He’s furious because he’s the one who saw Voldemort come back, and he had to endure all that pain only to be shut out of contact with Dumbledore for what Harry says is four solid weeks. Now, I know kind of, Micah, where you stand on this, but just how justified is Harry’s anger towards Ron and Hermione and Dumbledore? And also, how justified are Dumbledore’s reasons? Because obviously we’ve read this book. How justified are the reasons for isolating Harry?
Micah: I think if – from Dumbledore’s perspective, they’re very justified because if information is being sent in an unsecured way by owl from Ron or Hermione or any other member of the Order of the Phoenix – or I guess we don’t know about the Order of the Phoenix yet, but say Sirius. He’s not always the most careful individual when it comes to taking action, let’s say, we see that at the end of this book. But he can’t risk that kind of information being put out there and getting intercepted in some way, so from Dumbledore’s standpoint he’s completely justified in what he’s doing. Now, on the other hand, Harry is the one who has gone through all this. Dumbledore knows that he’s their only solution, and yet he is being treated not even like he’s fifteen years old, more like he’s eight years old or maybe even younger. And I think that there could have been something done earlier to make this situation better for Harry.
Eric: Well, the owls – bringing up the owls is a good point because we know owls do get intercepted very easily it seems by Death Eaters, so that’s why Ron and Hermione, for instance, couldn’t actually tell Harry anything in their letters to him. But it has been four weeks, Harry’s birthday has come and gone by this point. Four weeks without actual physical contact. It almost seems, at this point, that nobody is coming to rescue him, essentially. So…
Eric: …something like, “I’ll come get you, Harry,” wasn’t even said in a letter. Harry hasn’t heard from Dumbledore, he’s been given a cold shoulder.
Micah: Yeah, there are so many ways that he could reach out to him that doesn’t necessarily require compromising any information, and I just think it’s so cruel that you’re locking up this kid in a house where he doesn’t get along with the people that he’s living with, and on top of that you’re keeping him from his best friends and from his godfather, and not allowing any information to be shared between any of them. So…
Micah: …to me that’s pretty ruthless.
Eric: I think – and I’m not trying to defend Dumbledore, because I agree with what you’re saying, but is it possible that Dumbledore just knows the truth which is that the magical spell on Privet Drive is the tried and tested ancient magic. It’s the safest thing even if Harry is at the Burrow or at the Order of the Phoenix. To be perfectly honest, I feel like Privet Drive is more safe, more impenetrable I should say, than the Order of the Phoenix headquarters at 12 Grimmauld Place protected by the Fidelius Charm.
Eric: We’ve seen the Fidelius Charm broken. It’s possible that Dumbledore really does believe that isolating Harry is the best way to accomplish this.
Micah: Yeah, but to his end, I think. To Dumbledore’s own end. In order for him to…
Eric: Well, Harry is safest. I mean, to be honest even ten or fifteen wizards, Aurors, might have bad days and fail to protect Harry, whereas Harry is safer on Privet Drive without any wizards than he would be at the Burrow or even Grimmauld Place with all of the Order. Actually – well, how protective do you think the enchantment is? I mean, clearly it’s…
Andrew: Well, it worked.
Eric: [laughs] It works all the way until Book 7 when it can’t work anymore, and it lasts that whole time.
Eric: Three years of Voldemort.
Micah: But what I don’t get about that, and we can talk about this another time, is – and actually it’s more relevant in Chapter 3, but how certain people can just show up there. If there is this protective enchantment, why is it that these members of the Advance Guard can show up?
Eric: Oh, interesting. Because why wouldn’t it block everyone?
Micah: Why wouldn’t it block everybody?
Eric: Hmm, interesting.
Micah: But we can talk about that later.
Micah: Or next episode.
Eric: Especially if it’s relevant in Chapter 3. So anyway, Harry is walking and he sits on a swing at the playground. It’s the only swing that Dudley’s gang has not managed to break yet. He sees Dudley’s group, actually, Dudley’s gang. He sees them walking by, and he – it’s weird. Harry has a moment where he feels like he wants to run up to them and start taunting them, he wants to pick a fight. And he gets up with pure intentions because he says that Vernon and Petunia will want him to be home when Dudley gets home, so he does follow Dudley’s gang. But once they split up, he does walk up to Dudley and actually – he picks a fight with Dudley. This is the first time the readers get this sense of Harry – it won’t be the last. He gets into a really huge fight with Dudley and just insults him, left and right, and left and right, and left and right, until – well, eventually it gets even worse. What’s wrong with Harry?
Micah: He’s pissed, man!
Andrew: He’s angry! We were just talking about it.
Eric: [laughs] Sorry, I only had to – I only asked that question because it was in my notes to ask that question.
Andrew: I know.
Micah: Well, he’s been cooped up for four weeks, like you said. He’s not getting any information, he’s living with people he doesn’t like. I’d be pissed, too.
Eric: But it’s not Dudley’s fault! It’s not Dudley’s fault. In fact, the things…
Andrew: But people always take out anger on others, it’s human nature.
Eric: The things he says to Dudley, though, the things he says. So anyway, the good thing about him picking a fight with Mark Evans – [laughs] or with Dudley – or it would be important the way JK Rowling – she classically drops names like dropping Sirius Black’s name in the first Harry Potter book in the first chapter. Harry says to Dudley, “I know you did,” meaning punched Mark Evans two nights ago. “Beat up on any ten-year-olds lately?” Mark Evans shares a last name with Lily Evans, Harry’s mother [laughs] and this is kind of a funny sub-story, just in Harry Potter history and fandom history. There were a lot of theories going out about this kid that just gets his name mentioned, nothing else. His name mentioned – Mark Evans – as having lived near Privet Drive, and a lot of people really felt that maybe he was a lost relation for Harry, or Lily, or that he would somehow play a larger role.
Andrew: And it’s a shame because in the next chapter we see an even bigger theory, one that JK Rowling actually intended to create.
Eric: Well, we’ll have to get into that.
Andrew: We’ll talk about that in a few minutes.
Eric: So, eventually – what I’m getting at, eventually, this Mark Evans was debunked on JK Rowling’s site. [laughs] And it was not without a fight, though. The fans kept asking her, and I think she really answered it out of – what’s the word?
Eric: Desperation. [laughs] Yeah, volume and desperation. She said – I guess we should probably have the actual quote from the website.
Andrew: I have the quote, actually, in the next chapter…
Andrew: …because it relates to this.
Eric: Oh, it does? Okay, fantastic.
Eric: So anyway, unfortunately, Harry picks a fight with Dudley, Dudley’s going to fight back. He’s better at fighting than Harry and he mentions Harry’s nightmares, asks him, “Who’s Cedric, your boyfriend?” And Harry just gets really upset that Dudley knows about his dreams, because he’s being plagued by his nightmares, and Harry draws his wand and almost, almost uses it. He tells Dudley, “Take it back, or else.” But, [laughs] as if things couldn’t get any worse, suddenly the sky goes dark and Dementors appear in Little Whinging. So anyway, all of a sudden there are these Dementors, Harry fights them away eventually. He tries the spell a bunch of times, can’t think of a happy thought, and he’s losing the battle. Dudley is about to be kissed and his soul sucked out, and finally Harry thinks of Ron and Hermione. It’s powerful enough – even though he’s angry at Ron and Hermione, and he threw away all their birthday gifts, he’s able to think of a happy enough thought, conjures his stag Patronus, and it tackles more than one Dementor – two or more Dementors are in Little Whinging – tackles them, gets them away. The Dementor is actually really close to kissing Dudley, like one inch, it says. He’s already pried away Dudley’s hands from his mouth and his face, so it’s really scary. And all of a sudden, [laughs] funny enough, Harry hears some footsteps behind him and Mrs. Figg, this crazy old cat lady from Book 1 and who has been asking him around for tea all summer, comes running up to Harry. Harry tries to put his wand away, Mrs. Figg says, “Don’t do that, idiot boy. Don’t put it away. I’m going to kill Mundungus Fletcher.” And that’s how the chapter ends. Big, big bang. Big, new, scary, different Harry for Chapter 1…
Eric: …of this book.
Chapter-by-Chapter: “A Peck of Owls”
Andrew: Well, and as we talked about in the last Chapter-by-Chapter segment for Goblet of Fire, we see Harry’s anger starting to come through. I specifically mentioned that because we know it’s very apparent in Order of the Phoenix and Chapter 2 is just as action packed. “A Peck of Owls” is the next chapter. Harry begins to learn that Mrs. Figg is a Squib and has been keeping an eye on him with Mundungus. Harry then learns that it was Mundungus who had Apparated earlier, so that got clarified, but at the same time Harry’s temper is rising because now we’re hearing that Mrs. Figg has been a Squib. Harry didn’t know about this.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: He didn’t know somebody was secretly spying on him.
Micah: Well, what was interesting – at the end of Goblet of Fire, there is reference to both Mundungus and Mrs. Figg. I can’t remember – I believe it’s Sirius, that he – or no. He tells one of the Weasley kids to go round up the members of the Order of the Phoenix, and I believe that those two are mentioned.
Eric: Arabella – yeah.
Micah: I think it’s – is it Charlie or Bill? Whoever is at the…
Eric: Well, I think it’s Dumbledore, isn’t it? Dumbledore tells them to round up members. He says “Arabella Figg.”
Micah: Yeah, I can’t remember who he gave the task to though.
Eric: Yeah, I can’t either.
Micah: Let’s look at Episode 226. I’ll be right back, you keep going.
Andrew: [laughs] Okay.
Eric: [laughs] You look at the book.
Andrew: Well, as Eric mentioned, the Dementor had affected Dudley, so Harry carries Dudley back to Privet Drive, and while on their way Harry asks Figg why she hadn’t told him she’s a Squib.
Eric: God, everybody’s keeping…
Andrew: “Dumbledore’s orders,” says Mrs. Figg. Uh-oh! Harry continues to…
Micah: That bastard!
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: …feel left out of the loop.
Eric: Dumbledore’s orders.
Andrew: Pig for slaughter.
Eric: Seriously! This is not even keeping secrets about Voldemort from Harry, who is potentially compromised.
Andrew: Right, this is a simple thing.
Eric: This is preventing Harry from having any friends while he’s on…
Eric: Anybody he can relate to even, not just…
Micah: Okay, he sends Sirius…
Eric: Sends Sirius to…
Micah: …to round up the old crew.
Micah: Just to clarify so we don’t get a million e-mails.
Eric: Well, at least he gives Sirius something to do. God, that changes come Book 5.
Andrew: This is the first in a line of secrets that Harry is not involved in. So Mundungus comes back and Figg yells at him, understandably. He then sets off immediately to tell Dumbledore what happened, but after reading this back after having read Book 7 and what transpires with Mundungus in there in terms of trust, I almost didn’t expect him to come back.
Andrew: Or go and do his duty, go and tell Dumbledore. I kind of would have expected him to just run off, peace out, [laughs] and never show up again.
Andrew: To never show his face to anybody in the Order. Harry wants to learn more from Figg, but as soon as they’re back at the Dursleys’ home, Figg runs back to her house. Obviously she’s very surprised by all this. She is worried that Dumbledore is going to give her a spanking.
Andrew: Nobody wants that. Dumbledore has big hands, he’s a big guy.
Micah: Those were her words?
Andrew: No. Vernon and Petunia are alarmed at seeing their son in this condition. That’s very understandable. No matter how evil they are, they’re upset to see their son like this. Dudley implies that Harry was the cause of this. He just says, “The boy.” And Harry begins to explain the situation, but at that moment an owl arrives which sets off Vernon. We all know he does not like owls. And the owl is carrying a letter from the Ministry, which says Harry has been expelled from Hogwarts.
Eric: [gasps] Expelled?
Andrew: It immediately sunk into Harry. He was devastated, and I have a quote here: “He was expelled from Hogwarts. It was all over. He was never going back.” It kind of – it sunk in very quickly for him…
Andrew: …even though he didn’t really stop to think about it.
Eric: [laughs] She’s really dramatic.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, Harry was.
Eric: This is all about a different Harry.
Eric: This is all about…
Micah: This is just…
Micah: When things aren’t going well, they are not going well. [laughs]
Eric: It’s such a difference.
Andrew: It’s a bad day.
Eric: It’s such a change in tone. We talk about the books getting darker, I really feel like this is why. She’s using infinitives, and [laughs] they’re just – he’s never going back. Oh my God.
Andrew: Harry believes he has to run, and as he gets ready to leave, another owl appears. This next owl is from Arthur Weasley who says Dumbledore is at the Ministry trying to sort the whole situation out. He says, “Do not leave the Burrow -” or, “Do not leave the Dursleys’ home!” So Harry suddenly changes his mind, he trusts Arthur. At this point, the Dursleys thought he was going to leave, so now they’re like, “Okay, you’re staying all of a sudden?” Harry is again having an internal struggle. He’s trying to figure out, what is Dumbledore trying to figure out at the Ministry? What on earth is going on?
Eric: Now that would have been a good…
Andrew: So anyway…
Eric: That would have been a good play, wouldn’t it? For Voldemort to have just sent some Dementors to Harry, smoke him out of The Burrow – or smoke him out of Privet Drive, essentially, because Harry wants to leave. He’s about to leave…
Eric: …before Arthur’s letter comes in.
Eric: It would have been all that protection for nothing, so that was really smart.
Andrew: Well, he was out and about to begin with without the Dementors. They didn’t even need to smoke him out.
Eric: That’s true, because he’s walking…
Andrew: I think – it seems like he seems safe around Privet Drive too. It almost seems like it’s not just the house.
Andrew: But we can talk about that another episode, in terms of all this protection and what the rules are. Dudley slowly tries to come to explain what had happened, and Harry finally gets to explain that all this was caused by Dementors.
Andrew: Now, as Harry begins to explain what Dementors are, Petunia finishes his sentence, which takes Harry and Vernon aback. They’re like, “How does Petunia know?” And she says, well, she heard Lily and James talking about them while they were still alive. A third owl arrives, which says Harry is not expelled and he will have to attend a disciplinary hearing to sort the matter out. Vernon says he still has hopes Harry will get expelled. [laughs] But I was wondering here, why? I mean, if he does get expelled, doesn’t that mean he’s at the house for longer? Unless Vernon was hoping he would get thrown in jail.
Eric: Right. Yeah, Vernon is kind of like that. Not that he has double standards, necessarily, but he wants Harry to be miserable but also out of his hair. So yeah, you’re right. Unless he thought that Harry would be imprisoned, that would be a bad thing for Harry not to be in school, not to have anywhere else to go besides Privet Drive.
Micah: Now, did you assume that it was James? Because I was always under the impression after Deathly Hallows that it was Snape that she was talking about.
Eric: Because she just says “that boy.”
Micah: Because she refers to him as “that boy.”
Eric: “That wretched boy,” I think she says. But yeah, that’s right! I guess – wow. Yeah, that’s got to – I’m sold now. I think that’s probably Snape because if you think about it, Petunia had more access to Lily when Lily was younger and with Snape on the prairie or whatever it is, and surely Snape would want to interest Lily in talking about the magical world and Snape, being such a macabre – coming from such a macabre family – would have certainly mentioned Dementors. Yeah, I’m sold.
Andrew: Vernon believes Dudley physically fought the Dementors – oh yeah, okay. So Vernon believes Dudley physically fought the Dementors, but Harry begins to explain it was actually he, Harry, who got rid of them. And there’s not much more time to explain that because a fourth owl appears, setting off Vernon once again.
Andrew: At this point, I’m surprised he didn’t poop himself or his head didn’t explode.
Eric: He swears! He swears!
Andrew: Yes, that’s true.
Andrew: It’s from Sirius this time, and he just says he’s learned what happened. Harry’s temper is continuing to rise because he’s not learning anything…
Andrew: …while it seems like everyone else is in the know.
Eric: [laughs] It’s kind of like that scene and there’s something about – no, I guess there’s not. But everybody is watching Harry this whole time, breathing down his neck, but he – they’re not talking to him. They’re not sharing any information. All they’re doing is telling him the important things, stay put, etc. It gives Harry this false impression or false hope that it’s all going to be revealed to him soon, but in general it’s just – what it’s doing is controlling him and they don’t have to give up anything. They don’t have to give up any of that information. And of course there’s no time, it’s all happening so fast.
Andrew: Vernon demands to know why Dementors were in Little Whinging but Harry admits he doesn’t know. Vernon surmises they were due to him.
Eric: Of course. He’s everybody’s favorite target.
Andrew: Yeah, right. Harry suspects Lord Voldemort sent the Dementors after him. At this point, Vernon doesn’t understand how this is possible if he’s gone but Harry tells him he’s back. And another big moment here: Petunia whispers, “Back?” And Jo writes how Harry is so appreciative that Petunia understands the importance of this information, and I quote: “All he knew was that he was not the only person in the room who had an inkling of what Lord Voldemort being back might mean. Aunt Petunia had never in her life looked at him like that before. Her large, pale eyes were not narrowed in dislike or anger, they were wide and fearful.” So this is comforting to Harry that somebody else gets it in this house.
Eric: And not only that, she’s showing some kind of shred of care for him in that her eyes are wide – I mean, it might not be for him, that might be too far. But her eyes being wide and fearful, she understands. In fact, he could have told her sooner. Maybe they would have had – maybe they would have been on speaking terms by now.
Andrew: Well, I think – and it also mentions that Harry felt like “This is my mother’s sister. This is the person I was hoping to know.”
Micah: And finally somebody believes him.
Andrew: Yeah. That’s comforting too, especially with all this other bad news he’s been getting today. Finally some good news!
Eric: So it is pretty well orchestrated.
Andrew: This all begins to click with Vernon and he orders Harry to get out. At this time a fifth owl arrives and it’s addressed to Petunia. And this is the big theory I was talking about earlier, Eric. It’s addressed – I like this: “Mrs. Petunia Dursley, The Kitchen, Number Four, Privet Drive.” It’s a Howler, Petunia is about to open it and she’s kind of hesitating. Harry says, open it, it’s just going to open itself anyway. And it says, “Remember my last, Petunia.” Everyone is surprised by the message. Petunia is equally caught off guard. She tells Vernon all of a sudden that Harry must stay. She argues he needs to stay because otherwise “the neighbors will talk,” and it’s clear she’s hiding some information. So Harry tries to ask – he’s really surprised by this note. Harry tries to ask if she’s been interacting with wizards but she dodges the question and orders him upstairs. Now, this was a big thing that a lot of people talked about, because everybody was thinking, “Okay, why would Dumbledore say this to Petunia?” And it was so speculated upon that JK Rowling added this question to an FAQ poll on her site. You guys remember the good old days when Jo would put up theories and fans could vote on which one Jo would answer?
Eric: Before pen and paper were her priority?
Andrew: Her priority, right.
Eric: Those nine or eight times. [laughs]
Andrew: So she said:
“What did Dumbledore’s Howler to Aunt Petunia mean? (‘Remember my last’?)”
That was the question, and she answered:
“Well, it is a relief to move on after the Mark Evans fiasco.”
“This time, two out of the three poll questions had interesting answers (or so I think) and thank goodness you chose one of them.
So: Dumbledore is referring to his last letter, which means, of course, the letter he left upon the Dursleys’ doorstep when Harry was one year old. But why then (you may well ask) did he not just say ‘remember my letter?’ Why did he say my last letter? Why, obviously because there were letters before that…
Now let the speculation begin, and mind you type clearly, I’ll be watching…”
[laughs] So what Jo is saying is that yes, Dumbledore was referring to the letter put on the doorstep with Harry.
Eric: I don’t…
Eric: Go ahead.
Andrew: But there were other letters that were being sent between Petunia and Dumbledore, so now fans were thinking, “What is this extra communication…”
Andrew: “…between Dumbledore and Petunia?” And hold on, one last thing: correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe – didn’t Jo say there would be more information about Petunia revealed in Book 7?
Eric: Well, it’s revealed in Book 7 that Dumbledore did write – I think Dumbledore wrote young Petunia a letter because she asked to go to Hogwarts. Am I completely…
Andrew: Yes, that’s true.
Eric: Okay. So he wrote a letter back, I think, apologizing, explaining things, which he didn’t have to do. Totally nice of him. So I feel like that – but the questions I have about this Howler – first of all, Harry doesn’t recognize it being Dumbledore’s voice and Harry sees Dumbledore frequently. Why and how would Petunia be able to discern that this is Dumbledore, that this is Albus Dumbledore? Especially if Dumbledore hasn’t talked to her, but then it was in fact a letter. Dumbledore just says, “Remember my last.” He doesn’t say, “Remember my last letter,” and the fact that JK Rowling is like, why wouldn’t he just say “Remember my letter” because it’s his last letter? He doesn’t say anything about a damn letter. And you don’t hear somebody’s voice in a letter unless it’s a Howler, or in the case of the movie, Ministry – I just don’t feel like Petunia would have ever heard Dumbledore’s voice, especially when it’s not recognizable enough for Harry to hear it because he’s screaming it at her. This just doesn’t make any sense at all.
Andrew: Micah, what do you think about all this?
Micah: Well, to answer your question I think there was stuff revealed about Petunia. Eric brought up that there was correspondence obviously between her and Dumbledore when she was younger, and also I think we got some insight into her relationship with her sister and her obviously knowing Snape a little bit, in “The Prince’s Tale,” if for nothing else at least by sight. So something was revealed about her. To Eric’s point though, I mean, I think you’re just kind of [laughs] trying to create some…
Micah: Yeah. I mean, she clearly states that the reason why it was “Remember my last” was because it clearly wasn’t – there were clearly more letters than just the last one that was sent. And she even goes on…
Eric: Isn’t a term. “Last” isn’t a term!
Eric: Nobody says “last” meaning last communication.
Andrew: That’s – oh, come on.
Micah: I think…
Andrew: Eric, that’s really…
Andrew: …being over…
Micah: I think it’s trying to be – it’s to create a vague situation.
Andrew: Yeah, of course.
Micah: I mean, where – and vague in the sense that it doesn’t give away what last he’s referring to. Only Petunia would know.
Andrew: And it’s bad-ass. “Remember my last.”
Andrew: That’s cool.
Eric: [laughs] He can see people getting it tattooed on their arm.
Micah: Yeah, Dumbledore is a very…
Micah: …cryptic person.
Eric: He is cryptic, I’ll give you that. But how would she recognize his voice anyway? How would she know it was from him?
Andrew: I don’t know that.
Andrew: I don’t know that.
Eric: They had only sent letters before. All right.
Andrew: I get – well, I mean, she recognized it somehow so they must have spoke with each other at one point.
Andrew: Face to face.
Eric: Now, it’s interesting…
Andrew: I guess.
Eric: This FAQ…
Andrew: The weird thing…
Eric: Okay, go ahead.
Andrew: Well actually, here’s the weird thing: Harry didn’t recognize that it was Dumbledore’s voice.
Eric: That’s what I’m saying.
Andrew: But Petunia did.
Andrew: Yeah, that is strange.
Eric: Oh, this FAQ – there’s a P.S. here. Can I read that?
Andrew: Yeah, what does it say?
Eric: Yeah, when she answered the question there, she said:
“It has been suggested that I am wrong in saying that Dumbledore’s last letter was the one he left on the doorstep with baby Harry, and that he has sent a letter since then concerning Harry’s illegal flight to school. However, both Dumbledore and I differentiate between letters sent to the Dursleys as a couple, and messages directed to Petunia ALONE. And that’s my final word on the subject – though I doubt it will be yours.”
[laughs] So I guess fans were accusing JK Rowling of being wrong. But she says – so the letter that Dumbledore is referring to is one he only sent to Petunia. Wait, but no, because she said it was the letter he left upon the Dursleys’ doorstep. I don’t know. Anyway, moving on. But yeah, this is kind of funny.
Favorites: Harry Potter Quote
Andrew: That’s Chapter-by-Chapter, Order of the Phoenix Chapters 1 and 2. We’re going to move on now to Favorites: Favorite Harry Potter quote.
Andrew: Now, personally I do not have to have just one favorite quote. I mean, there’s so many great lines. But in the spirit of us starting Order of the Phoenix I am going to say that my favorite quote – “Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses. ‘It is time,’ he said, ‘for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything. I ask only a little patience.'”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: Well no, I think – that was a perfect strategy for anybody to put on the flap, on the side flap. The other thing, wasn’t it – it was obviously – that was officially released before the book, because people have access to the artwork in the flap before, right? I mean, that came out before the book so it wasn’t just on the book before you opened it. It was actually released ahead of time, wasn’t it?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: People were really excited.
Andrew: Well, I mean, we may have gotten a preview of the inside flap so that may have been how it appeared, too.
Eric: Ahhh, I think that’s what it was.
Andrew: I don’t know.
Eric: Yeah, well – so reading that and having that on the front inside flap or back inside flap is really kind of cool because with that in mind that that scene is apparently going to happen at some point in this book, you kind of forgive Dumbledore and how for most of the book he just completely avoids Harry.
Andrew: Mhm. Yeah.
Eric: So there is a lot of build-up, but I can see that – that was kind of clever putting that quote there and it’s also a good favorite quote. I like the story behind that.
Andrew: Micah, what is your favorite quote?
Micah: Yeah, it’s kind of like what you were saying: it’s a little bit tough because there are so many great quotes from different characters throughout the course of the series. But just for right now for this one, I’m going with Sorcerer’s Stone and I believe it’s the quote that Dumbledore says to Harry when he’s looking in the mirror. It’s when he says, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
Andrew: Mmm, yeah.
Micah: It’s a very powerful quote, very powerful statement, especially knowing now after seven books how much Dumbledore…
Micah: …really did dream and was so consumed by power in the chance to kind of be this all-powerful individual and not really live for those years of his life.
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely.
Eric: Yeah, it’s kind of…
Andrew: And Eric?
Eric: …a quote that has gained more meaning the longer it’s been around.
Micah: Yeah, especially also now knowing what he himself would see if he looked into the mirror.
Eric: Right, the same thing as Harry. So…
Andrew: Eric, your favorite quote?
Eric: My favorite quote. I had one from Sirius Black in this book but I’m actually going to go back to – I’ve just decided I’m going to choose – it’s from Prisoner of Azkaban. It is a quote spoken by the owner of Flourish and Blotts to Harry and he says, “I thought we’d seen the worst when we bought two hundred copies of The Invisible Book of Invisibility – cost a fortune and we never found them.” It’s a quote that happens after [laughs] the owner has to wrestle The Monster Book of Monsters into a cage and he says, “I thought we’d seen the worst.” So The Invisible Book of Invisibility – funny, funny, funny, funny stuff from the world of JK Rowling.
Andrew: And those are our favorite quotes.
Micah: [laughs] That’s also retailing of the WBShop.com for four hundred dollars.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: Or actually, maybe you get a free book with the cloak when you buy it.
Muggle Mail: Story About Steve Kloves Gaining JK Rowling’s Trust
Andrew: Let’s get to some Muggle Mail now. This first one comes from Karina, 20, of Indonesia:
“Hi MuggleCast, I was just listening to MuggleCast 226 when you guys were talking about Rowling’s ‘new’ interview where she says she trusted Kloves because of ‘one word.’ Someone mentioned…”
It was Laura.
“…this was covered in a really old interview. I almost immediately remembered that I read something like it in ‘Reader’s Digest’ when the first movie was coming out and I found the article online. The exact quote was…”
Back in the year 2000.
“…’When I first met screenwriter Steve Kloves the fact that he was American made me spiky and I felt he was going to mutilate my baby. But as soon as he said his favorite character was Hermione, I melted because she is very close to me. I was very like her at that age.'”
So Laura and Karina were absolutely right. JK Rowling once said this before so this indeed was technically not news.
Andrew: But we all forgot it, so…
Eric: It was probably – I’m surprised Laura picked that out. I listened to the episode. She was awesome at that.
Andrew: She’s very smart.
Eric: Yeah. But it’s also good for Karina to have found this quote because now we know and that’s a – and I think you said on that episode that it seemed kind of like a fake story that they make up later to kind of romanticize the first meeting.
Eric: But I think that lent some credence to it actually having happened even though I agreed with you.
Andrew: Good point, Eric. Why don’t you read the next e-mail?
Micah: Well, that proves two things: one, they are recycling interviews, and two, she doesn’t like Americans.
Eric: [laughs] Do you think…
Andrew: Good point, Micah. Why don’t you read the next e-mail?
Eric: [laughs] JK Rowling doesn’t like Americans?
Micah: Who’s reading it? Me or…
Andrew: It doesn’t matter.
Muggle Mail: Episode 226’s Make the Connection
Eric: I’m going to read it. This next one is from Misti.
Andrew: Go ahead.
Eric: She says:
“Hey MuggleCast! I really enjoy your show. I was listening to Episode 226 when you guys were relating ‘Harry Potter’ to random things.”
I assume she means Make the Connection.
“I was thinking that it was like when Hagrid told Harry that he was a wizard. He had no clue or idea that a wizarding world even existed prior to the conversation. Also, Harry was pretty unprivileged due to the Dursleys’ bad treatment of him even though he had a roof over his head. Just a suggestion. You guys are awesome! I always look forward your podcasts! Misti.”
This was in response to one of Jamie’s Make the Connections. I just don’t know which one.
Andrew: That was the Two and a Half Men connection.
Eric: Oh, look at that.
Micah: Make the connection between Harry Potter and asking a homeless person if they’ve ever watched an episode…
Micah: …of Two and a Half Men.
Muggle Mail: Birthday Shout-Outs
Andrew: Also on the last episode I think we read a birthday e-mail and we joked that we would suddenly get a lot of birthday e-mail requests. We did get a few and we’re happy to read them. I’m just going to go through a couple of the birthday names real quick. First of all, Happy 17th Birthday to Ivory. Happy 13th Birthday to Ike. Happy Birthday to Megan Himel. Happy 14th Birthday to Claire. Happy Birthday to everyone.
Andrew: Guys, come on.
Micah: All right.
Andrew: Say “Happy Birthday.”
Eric: Happy Birthday!
Micah: Happy Birthday! Today’s birthdays are brought to you by Audible.com.
Eric: The web’s leading provider of audiobooks. [laughs]
Muggle Mail: Shout-Out to AP European History Exam-Takers
Micah: Last e-mail, you want me to do it?
Micah: Is from Christie, 16, here in the US and she says:
“Dear MuggleCasters, I thoroughly enjoy the show and regretfully I am getting this e-mail to you late. I have my AP European History exam on Friday. My stomach is in knots and it’s only Monday. For the written portion of the exam – a document based question essay and two free response essays – I will be channeling my inner MuggleCaster. Your debates are fantastic and help me when proving points. Please give a shout to me and anyone else taking this exam on Friday. Wish us luck, please, we are going to need it. Much love, from Christie.”
Eric: Look at that.
Andrew: Good luck, Christie. It’s kind of a Chicken Soup around finals time. Lots of people are finishing up their schooling for the year. Congrats to anyone who’s graduating. Congrats to anyone who’s finishing their first year or their second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth. After that, I don’t know if we should congratulate you. I’m just kidding.
Eric: [laughs] You bring it upon yourself. And good luck to anybody in AP European History this year.
Eric: Look at that.
Andrew: A couple of announcement reminders before we wrap up today. LeakyCon.com, it’s where we’re going to be for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in theaters. The biggest fans are all going to be descending upon Orlando to watch the film together. Visit LeakyCon.com for more information and when you register, use code “Muggle” so we know how many MuggleCast fans we can expect at the event. I also want to remind everybody about Hypable.com – H-Y-P-A-B-L-E.com. It’s a MuggleNet for multiple fandoms: Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Glee, Doctor Who, Idol, Gaga, Adele, a bunch of comics, The Hobbit, many more, all right there. All the news you need quickly, reliably, dependably, you got it at Hypable.com, for fans by fans!
Eric: Mhm. And if you ever forget to spell it, look on MuggleNet. It’s there three different places down the page.
Andrew: [laughs] And finally…
Micah: The Voice. Do you guys do The Voice?
Andrew: We’ve done a couple of reports on that. I actually wrote an opinion piece on it. You can visit Hypable.com, check it out.
Eric: What’s The Voice?
Andrew: I’ve written two about The Voice.
Micah: Why? I can talk to you right here. What do you think of The Voice?
Eric: What’s The Voice?
Andrew: It’s a great show.
Micah: Just really quickly.
Andrew: It’s a great show.
Micah: Yeah. I like it.
Andrew: It’s original and the judges are actually talented.
Micah: Yeah, and you know who created it?
Andrew: Mark Burnett.
Micah: The same guy who created Survivor, yeah.
Andrew: He’s a smart guy.
Eric: No kidding.
Micah: Yeah. Very successful.
Andrew: And finally, good old MuggleCast.com, the website you can go to for everything you need about this show. We have links to LeakyCon. There should be a link to Hypable there quite honestly.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: Four places, everybody. Four places to find out how to spell “Hypable.”
Andrew: A link to our Twitter which is Twitter.com/MuggleCast, our Facebook page…
[Show music begins]
Andrew: …which is Facebook.com/MuggleCast, and our fan Tumblr which is MuggleCast.Tumblr.com. Also visit the MuggleCast website for a contact link. Just click on “Contact” at the top of the page and there you can send in your feedback about the show, and we may just read it on Episode 229. So thanks everyone. I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: And we’ll see you next time on Episode 229! Buh-bye.
Eric: Take it easy, everybody.
[Show music continues]