MuggleCast 252 Transcript
[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
Andrew: Because we won’t judge a book by its cover, this is MuggleCast Episode 252 for April 23rd, 2012.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 100,000 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.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 252! Andrew, Eric, Micah – that first one is me, by the way. I’m Andrew.
Andrew: Selina Wilken, hailing from Sweden. Hello, Selina.
Selina: Hi, Andrew. [laughs]
Andrew: Good to have you on MuggleCast.
Selina: I’m glad to be here, thank you.
Andrew: You’re penetrating all the podcasts.
Selina: I am.
Andrew: It’s too much!
Selina: It’s like a virus.
Andrew: Get out of here!
Selina: The Swedish virus.
Andrew: No, we wanted to have you on because you’ll be joining us at LeakyCon this summer, and we need an international host and a female host. So you kill two birds with one stone.
Selina: Yeah! Exactly. Hopefully people will be happy that I can represent the whole world and all the women!
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Andrew: Exactly. [laughs]
Micah: Well, I’m glad we keep the Sweden joke running on the show.
Selina: [laughs] I know.
Eric: Across shows.
Andrew: But as always, we’re here to talk about Harry Potter on this podcast. And there’s lots of interesting news, actually, going on with J.K. Rowling. It was a huge week for J.K. Rowling, about two weeks ago now. So we’re going to talk about all the announcements that she dropped in a period of, like, four days. And also, J.K. Rowling is not the only Harry Potter person who may be writing a new book. Hmm? So we’ll talk about that in a little bit as well.
Micah: Are you writing a book?
Andrew: No. Are you?
Micah: Well, that narrows it.
Andrew: From Hypable, I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: From MuggleNet, I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: From MuggleNet, I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Selina: And from Hypable, I am Selina Wilken.
News: J.K. Rowling Tweets About Site Relaunch
Andrew: So Micah, what is in the news this week?
Micah: Well Andrew, you said it was a big week. Probably about two weeks ago…
Andrew: I did say that.
Micah: …at this point…
Micah: …for J.K. Rowling. And just a lot of news from her, and we hadn’t heard from her in quite a while other than the random tweets that she would…
Micah: …post on her Twitter feed. You didn’t think I was going to let that slip by? I had the opportunity and I just seized it right there.
Eric: Good for you.
Andrew: So now… [laughs]
Micah: I still don’t follow her on Twitter, by the way.
Selina: Aww. [laughs]
Micah: But this proves that when big news is announced, I still found out about it.
Micah: I didn’t have to follow her on Twitter.
Andrew: You didn’t need her.
Selina: She didn’t tweet about any of this, did she?
Andrew: She retweeted Pottermore, I think.
Eric: I think she said, “FYI,” right? And then linked to her website or something? It was a ridiculous tweet. She didn’t use even half of the 140 characters she could have.
Andrew: Yeah, she retweeted Pottermore. She – oh no, that was in March. She retweeted Little, Brown, about the new novel. And she said, “My new author website is now live.”
Micah: That probably got them…
Andrew: She really is boring on Twitter, it’s true.
Micah: You think that got them a few followers?
Selina: No hashtags? Nothing?
Andrew: I have to say, she is probably – honestly, and somebody – if anybody could prove me wrong, please feel free to let me know. But she may be the most boring Twitter person with over a million followers.
Andrew: Who has a million people at their command and is so boring on Twitter?
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Eric: Boring mixed with non-existent.
Micah: She did say…
Eric: She has no presence there.
Micah: She created the account to basically…
Eric: Ward off all the posers.
Selina: Fakers, yeah.
Micah: Exactly, thanks. That’s what I was trying to say.
Andrew: Okay, but a couple of months ago I wrote a list of ways she could easily improve this Twitter account to make it very – to make it entertaining!
Selina: She didn’t even retweet that or anything!
Selina: What is she doing? [laughs]
Andrew: Right. Well no, no, I’m not saying she should retweet them.
Selina: Yeah, yeah, I know.
Andrew: I’m saying she should…
Selina: Read them.
Andrew: …do what I said! [laughs]
Eric: I’ve got to look that list up. I’m sure it’ll be great, but…
Andrew: It’s stuff like throwing in little tidbits about the Harry Potter books, quotes – throw in quotes about Harry Potter. Those would get retweeted a million times. Quotes from the Harry Potter books. Little stuff like that. Do a Q&A. I mean, come on. The possibilities are endless. It’s very easy.
Micah: Why so passionate about Twitter, though? That’s what I want to know. Because clearly there are other things like Facebook where people probably pose as her, and other places around the Internet. Why did she pick Twitter out of everything to kind of validate herself on?
Andrew: I don’t know.
Andrew: I don’t know.
Before we continue with the show, we’d like to remind you that this episode is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For our listeners, Audible is offering a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service. One audiobook to consider is The Sea of Monsters: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2. This book is actually being turned into a film right now, starring Logan Lerman, and the film is due out March 26th, 2013. So that gives you plenty of time to listen to this book, where Percy Jackson finds his seventh-grade school year unnervingly quiet. His biggest problem is dealing with his new friend Tyson, a six-foot-three, mentally-challenged, homeless kid who follows Percy everywhere, making it hard for Percy to have any ‘normal’ friends, this after a summer spent trying to prevent a catastrophic war among the Greek gods. So for a free audiobook, like The Sea of Monsters, visit AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Again, that’s AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast for your free audiobook.
News: J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy Announced
Micah: The Casual Vacancy has been announced as J.K. Rowling’s next project, and the book will be released on Thursday, September 27th. And there’s a brief synopsis here that was actually posted on Little, Brown Agency’s website. Who wants to read it?
Eric: So it’s not called The Lairs of Lady Po?
Micah: [laughs] No, it’s not. But…
Selina: That was a bit of a better title. [laughs]
Micah: Oh. Well, thank you!
Eric: Oh thanks, Selina. You’re talking to the two guys who came up with it. [laughs] I’ll read it.
Andrew: So here’s the…
Eric: Do you want me to read it?
Andrew: Oh, you have it?
Eric: Yeah, I’ve got it.
“‘The Casual Vacancy’
When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and expected revelations?”
“…and unexpected revelations?
Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, ‘The Casual Vacancy’ is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.”
Selina: I’m sorry…
Andrew: I think this sounds really good. I think this synopsis gets me excited for it. It sounds intelligent. It sounds witty.
Eric: You know what I’m going to say, Andrew? Barry? Really?
Andrew: Yeah, Barry…
Selina: [laughs] I know. And Padfoot? Or whatever the town is called?
Eric: Pagford? When I read…
Andrew: Well – but Barry is actually a pretty minor character because it looks like he dies at the beginning.
Andrew: Which is – Barry and – maybe Jo is saying, “I’ve moved on from Harry.”
Andrew: Barry, Harry.
Eric: Because I’m going to kill off…
Andrew: They both die.
Eric: Barry character. Yeah, you’re right. This synopsis reminded me of the first chapter of the fourth book of Harry Potter, where she’s talking about the residents of Little Hangleton.
Selina: That is a good point.
Eric: Or Upper Hangleton. And how they hate each other and the bar is full of these people who are disingenuous. That’s what this reminded me of, and so – I don’t know, that’s what I liked about it, I guess, is that it seemed kind of familiar and that it would be like a whole book based on – or a whole book that is kind of like the first one. I leave it up to her to surprise me and make it different, because I’m sure she will.
Eric: It’s going to be a really riveting book, I think.
Selina: I mean, it definitely has that J.K. Rowling feel when you just read that description. You can tell it was written by J.K. Rowling or even – I don’t know if you guys know this author, but he’s called Jeff Ford. It kind of reminded me – he’s a big author, a British author. It kind of reminded me of one of his books, actually, which is interesting. But – it just does. But at the same time, it almost sounds like a story set in the Muggle world but it’s kind of the same world. Obviously that’s not what it is, but because it’s so similar to something, as you said, that we could have read about Little Hangleton, you know?
Selina: I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I’m really excited for this book, but at the same time, I don’t know.
Andrew: Now, it doesn’t seem like this is going to be a series.
Andrew: Right? And that was a question a lot of people were wondering, if Jo’s next book would be the start of another series. But it doesn’t seem like it, unless each book in the series, somebody leaves the…
Eric: The parish council? [laughs]
Andrew: Right, the council. And they’ve got to find somebody new.
Eric: No, I think…
Andrew: Right, so no series.
Selina: Can I ask, what – [laughs] as a non-English native speaker, what is a casual vacancy? Is it something?
Andrew: Well, the vacancy would be the spot that’s open left by Barry Fairweather. The casual part, I think – maybe it just means this vacancy on the council is quite standard but there’s a big deal…
Eric: Surrounding it.
Andrew: The vacancy is actually a big deal, yeah.
Andrew: Does that make sense?
Selina: It makes kind of sense, yeah.
Andrew: It’s kind of sarcastic.
Eric: Like I guess if you’re in an elected position, you’re going out anyway in a couple of years.
Andrew: And you would think it would be pretty simple to replace the person, but…
Eric: Yeah, I think it’s tongue-in-cheek that it’s casual, because clearly…
Eric: …this one guy leaving for that reason has caused the whole town to go up in arms.
Andrew: Overall, though, I do agree, it is a pretty bland title.
Selina: It’s a very passive title.
Selina: ‘Casual’ and ‘vacancy’. It’s kind of like, “Huh.” [laughs]
Eric: Somebody is not there.
Selina: It’s not like “The Very Exciting Empty Space” or something. You know what I mean? [laughs]
Eric: Yeah. Yeah, she’s…
Andrew: Maybe that’s why the synopsis opens up with the name of a character so you can get some sort of direct connection to this. Because, honestly, the first week I had serious trouble remembering the title.
Andrew: I kept saying, “The casual – the casual – the casual what?” So yeah, this is – I guess it’s an adult book title.
Eric: One of the…
Selina: It’s very British as well.
Eric: Well, that should be a good thing then, that she hasn’t lost her identity living up there in Scotland. But I think, too, the other thing – the other book that this reminds me of, or it sounds like to me. There’s a book by Stephen King who has – he and J.K. Rowling have a little bit of a relationship. He’s written in all of her books and stuff. And we saw them together – Andrew and Micah – in New York. But one of his books called Needful Things is this excellent book. Of course he did write a series set in this fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine, and at the very end of it this…
Micah: Caster the Rock?
Selina: Casa Rock, yeah. [laughs]
Eric: No, Castle Rock. Which is why when you guys say that on Game of Owns, I’m like, “Oh my God, it’s just like Stephen King.” So Castle Rock – anyway, this last book that he wrote set in this town, Needful Things – basically this guy opens up shop here and learns all the secrets that everybody in the whole town is hiding and uses it – and their prejudices against one another and uses it against them to literally destroy the town, which is really cool. But it reminded me of that.
Andrew: So are you guys excited for this book? After reading the summary, now we’ve got the title, there was all this hoopla in the Harry Potter fandom.
Eric: Well Andrew, you wrote that news post that said, “Will there be midnight parties for it?”
Eric: What do you think now? Do you think The Casual Vacancy is…
Andrew: I still think so.
Eric: …too boring a title to…
Andrew: No. No, I don’t think that that will affect it at all. I mean, booksellers, I think, want to get in on this excitement, too. So – and one way to do that would be to have midnight-release parties.
Selina: Well, I’m super-excited because, as much as sort of I agreed with you, Andrew – when I first heard the title, it was kind of like, “Oh my God, new book!” And then like, “Okay.” [laughs] You had that moment of going, “Oh, Casual Vacancy.” But now – I mean, if nothing else, however well this book does – I’m sure it’s going to do amazing – but whatever I think of this book, it is going to mean the continuation of the Potter fandom. I mean, the fact that J.K. Rowling is writing a new book, almost…
Andrew: And here’s a question…
Selina: …no matter what it’s about. You know what I mean?
Andrew: Yeah. Here’s a question: Does the Harry Potter fandom morph into something else?
Selina: No, I think it will always be the Potter fandom.
Andrew: Or will we always call it the Harry Potter fandom? Or do we call it something else? I mean, does it one day become the J.K. Rowling fandom?
Eric: Well, it would have to be, right? If it’s no longer about Harry Potter.
Selina: I don’t know.
Eric: But that’s the thing. We’re so touched by the Harry Potter books, but we have to – we can’t necessarily separate the Harry Potter books from J.K. Rowling, the author who wrote them. So a large portion of us will be following her through everything else she writes.
Eric: And we’ll expect to be spoken to in the same way that the Harry Potter – and I’m not saying that this is Jo’s fault or even anything she can control. I’m saying I think that a huge portion of us will just be watching her every move because very early on, her first works got us so hooked up into her writing that now there’s no way she can do this book without it having the attention of almost every Harry Potter fan.
Eric: Even though I don’t think it’s going to have even a reference to Harry Potter in it, and it shouldn’t.
Micah: That’s a great point though, because I had done an interview where somebody had asked, “What do you think the success of this series is going to -” I shouldn’t say ‘series’ “- this book is going to be with respect to Harry Potter?” And I said there’s no way that you can come close to the success of Potter. This book is not going to do as well. You’re not going to have the same readership, in my opinion. You’re going to lose people from Potter because this is a completely different genre that she’s going into, but she may pick up some other people who are interested in this kind of a story, which seems to be a political thriller or a mystery of some sort. So I think there’s going to be drop-off. You’re not going to have the same base of people that are going to continue on to read her work moving forward if it differs from that fantasy world that she has created.
Selina: Yeah, and I totally agree with that and I think – to further what Eric said, I think that people will – we will, all of us, will obviously follow J.K. Rowling to whatever she does and I think many of her fans will. But I think we will always be the Harry Potter fandom. I don’t think we will become The Casual Vacancy fandom. [laughs] That just sounds dumb.
Selina: You know what I mean? We will always – because Harry Potter is what brought us all into this conglomeration of all this stuff that we do, and I think that, yeah, we will follow J.K. Rowling, we will follow Daniel Radcliffe, but it will always be because of Harry Potter.
Micah: But Andrew, you asked before also about how the title sounded and if people could sort of rally behind it, but what do you think ten years ago, twelve years ago, people thought about Harry Potter? Do you think that there was ever that thought that, “Ehh, that sounds like a cool thing maybe some people can get behind”? Or “How stupid does that title sound”?
Micah: “Who would ever be interested in that?”
Micah: I mean, that’s kind of the same thing you’re saying about her new work, as well.
Selina: That’s true.
Andrew: Yeah, it still…
Micah: It doesn’t have that feeling to it, necessarily.
Andrew: Right, there has to be a brand built around it. But I think the problem people have with Casual Vacancy is it’s not a character title. It is very bland. For now.
Eric: I’m glad that it’s bland. It’s her first novel for adults. [laughs]
Andrew: Bland and generic, in a way. Yet a little clever, as we were just talking about.
Andrew: Like Eric said, it’s tongue-in-cheek and I agree with that completely. So yes, I think Casual Vacancy, the brand itself, will kind of grow and everybody will be like, “Wow, that title was actually so great.”
Micah: Don’t judge a book by its title, in this case.
Selina: [laughs] The title.
Andrew: Yes, exactly.
Selina: I had a really quick question for you guys I just thought of about this book. When you read the description, do you get any feel for what time period this is set in at all? Like, is it present time? Is it fifty years ago?
Eric: See, I…
Micah: They talk about war. I don’t know if that’s just her getting creative with language. I don’t really think there’s actual war going on where…
Micah: …it’s like The Hunger Games and people…
Selina: [laughs] Right.
Micah: …are fighting against each other. I think it’s more…
Selina: [laughs] Futuristic.
Micah: …political war. But it’ll be interesting to see how that dynamic plays out, because it seems like everybody is pitted against each other. And we’ve seen strong political undertones in her work. I think about that first chapter of Half-Blood Prince when she makes reference to what a lot of people thought was President Bush at the time, and kind of how he’s this incompetent individual. I forget the exact line from that chapter but there’s a lot throughout the series, not just that book. It’s going to be interesting to see how much politics play into this, because it seems like a lot.
Eric: Yeah, I don’t know enough about British society to be able to deduce if this book summary sounds current, because I don’t know if – there’s a small – so she says it’s a small English town called Pagford where the parish council – everything revolves around a parish council seat. I don’t know how many small towns still care about that stuff, necessarily. That might be…
Selina: I think they do.
Eric: I don’t mean to be offensive by that.
Selina: Mhm. I think definitely it could be.
Eric: Yeah, I’m sure they do, which is why – but I don’t – I just don’t know.
Selina: It sounds a bit like the present of the Harry Potter novels again – obviously, to draw an obvious comparison – but it’s the kind of present where Dudley plays on a PlayStation and where – it’s present day but it’s also dated…
Eric: Removed a little bit?
Selina: …at the same time. Yeah. Does that makes sense?
Andrew: Yeah. So the book comes out September 27th. I do think there will be midnight release parties. You can already preorder it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Micah: How much?
Andrew: I think – let me check again. It was discounted like Amazon usually does.
Andrew: It’s 21 dollars, discounted from 35. So that’s actually still pretty pricey.
Eric: September 27th is a Thursday. Is that supposed to be – so is it a Wednesday night release date?
Andrew: Do books normally come out that day of the week?
Eric: I mean, I assume Fridays, but Thursday is the 27th. I assume they’re not giving us the 27th at midnight, which means the 28th. They mean the 27th.
Andrew: Now, if I do recall, Harry Potter books did come out on Saturdays, correct?
Eric: Yeah, Friday into Saturday.
Andrew: For the midnight release parties.
Andrew: And again, they’re not designing this book around…
Andrew: Or the release of the book around midnight release parties. I think Thursday is just fine.
Eric: Thursday. So we’re going to be out on Wednesday, hump day, school night. [laughs]
Andrew: And the book…
Eric: Already there’s less kids going to do it.
Andrew: Right. The book is 480 pages.
Andrew: So it’s a sizable tome…
Eric: That is a tome.
Andrew: …that we’re working with.
Andrew: No cover yet, but there’s a nice picture of J.K. Rowling on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s a relatively new photo I think taken recently for publicity for the new book. And currently number 22 Amazon Bestsellers rank in the Books category, number 22. So that’s pretty good, actually, considering preorders started like a week ago and it’s still hanging in that spot. I wish I kept an eye on that rank to see it move up and down.
Micah: To answer your question though, Eric, it says that parish councils are in about 35 percent of England.
Eric: Look at that. Well – so what is it?
Micah: That’s according to Wikipedia.
Eric: It’s not parish like I think, right? It’s not religion?
Selina: Well it is, but it’s…
Micah: No, it has a religious tie.
Selina: Mhm. It is more – obviously, it is a political system. But it is one of the rural setups and it is based on the church, but I don’t think – it’s not about the church, if that makes sense.
Eric: Kind of like a youth group.
Micah: Well, they have the power to raise taxes, it says.
Selina: [laughs] So it’s a big war.
Micah: All right, let’s…
Eric: Well, rich against poor, right? And teens against parents?
Micah: Too much theorizing going on already.
MuggleCast 252 Transcript (continued)
News: Daniel Radcliffe Wants to Write Professionally
Andrew: So – well quickly, we’ll also mention that J.K. Rowling – well, before we get to that, because that leads into the next story, I just want to mention a little side story here. Dan Radcliffe said in a new interview recently that he “really wants to write professionally in the future.” So Dan is a jack of all trades here and I think he could be a good writer. I mean, he’s very intelligent. If you’ve ever heard him speak about world issues or just speaking about what he reads – I mean, he’s a huge reader himself, very well spoken, very intelligent. I think he could come up with a great book. He just needs a good idea.
Selina: [laughs] Yeah, that was kind of the main thing.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s…
Eric: Well, do you think he’d ever have trouble publishing? [laughs]
Andrew: No, absolutely not.
Selina: He has a good name for a front cover, doesn’t he? You can see it: Radcliffe.
Andrew: Dan Radcliffe.
Selina: Daniel Radcliffe.
Andrew: Star of How To Succeed In Business…
Selina: Yes, and Equus.
Eric: And a little movie series…
Micah: Yes, that was his biggest accomplishment.
Eric: …called Harry Potter. Yeah.
[Andrew and Selina laugh]
Andrew: Maybe – see, I can see him releasing a book under a pen name. Because he wouldn’t want – I don’t think he’d want the attention.
Eric: I don’t know, I think he’d try – he’s constantly trying to prove that he is not pigeon holed.
Andrew: He’s amazing.
Eric: No, just that he’s not – can do more than one thing and so this article that The Telegraph wrote – or is it the Hypable one? – just calls him a jack of all trades. So that’s…
Andrew: I had the idea. [laughs]
Eric: Well, it’s true. So he’s already succeeded in proving that he can do more than Harry Potter.
Eric: But I think he would continue that, so I don’t think he would write under a pen name.
Andrew: Yeah, you’re probably right. I would read it, though. I would very much look forward to that.
Eric: Me too. Like you said, he’s really intelligent. So…
Andrew: What kind of book do you think he’d write? I say fantasy.
Selina: A thriller. A murder mystery.
Andrew: A thriller? Yeah, you could be right. Between Equus and The Woman in Black…
Selina: Something really dark.
Eric: He’d write fiction. Yeah, I think he’d write fiction but I think it would be centered around adult characters. Like not even adolescents, but maybe adults.
News: JKRowling.com Relaunched, Mentions Harry Potter Encyclopedia
Andrew: So there was that but also in the J.K. Rowling big news week, she relaunched JKRowling.com. And there wasn’t much here. It’s a redesigned site, they took away all the nice features that people used to like over the years. There’s no more Fan Site Award, which is kind of a shame. The Harry Potter Fan Site Award where she recognized MuggleNet, Leaky, HPANA, Veritaserum, all of these. And so now it’s basically a timeline, and you can scroll back to the very beginning of her life, which is kind of nice but there’s nothing else really here except the FAQ section.
Andrew: And that is where some eagle-eyed Harry Potter fans spotted what, Micah?
Micah: [laughs] Well, it was interesting because I was talking to Andrew one morning – I forget, it was probably two weeks ago at this point – and I copied a piece of text from her site and I sent it to Andrew and I said, “Is this new?” Because she had mentioned in this post that she was still working on the encyclopedia. And I forget the exact quote, I’m sure we have it somewhere, but it was really the first confirmation we had gotten in a long time, especially since Pottermore had been announced, that she still had plans on doing this encyclopedia and giving the proceeds to charity.
Eric: Right. We were worried that…
Selina: I am so excited about this.
Eric: Yeah. We were worried that Pottermore had replaced the encyclopedia.
Andrew: Right. And the other thing – there was concern, “Well, is this new?” I mean, we knew she had in her mind that she was going to work on an encyclopedia. And I’ll tell you why this is new, and there’s no arguing with this: In June at the Pottermore press conference, she addressed this specifically. I’m going to quote it for you. Right now. Once I load it up.
Selina: [laughs] Okay.
Micah: Well here, do you want – oh sorry, go ahead.
Andrew: The question was, “Will there ever be a printed encyclopedia?” and this is what she said in June:
“Will there ever be a book? I don’t know at the moment. The world has kind of outstripped me in the sense that back in 1998 I generated a lot more material than would ever be put in the books. It was simply ridiculous that anyone – to me at the time, I thought, ‘Who would ever want to know the significance of these types of wand woods?'”
Then she goes on and on. And then she says again:
“Will there ever be an encyclopedia? Possibly.”
She said ‘possibly’.
Andrew: That is not a yes. That is not “I am working on this”. That is no confirmation that she is working on the book.
Micah: All right.
Micah: Flash forward.
Andrew: Fast forward.
Andrew: You’re right – to last week when this site was relaunched: “What about the Harry Potter encyclopedia, Jo?” She said:
“For a long time I have been promising an encyclopedia of Harry’s world, and I have started work on this – some of it forms the new content on Pottermore. It is likely to be a time…”
And here’s the other thing. She says:
“It is likely to be a time-consuming job.”
Which implies that she is on the cusp of this, not that she’s been working on it for ten years.
“It is likely to be a time-consuming job…”
Selina: [laughs] Right.
Eric: Yeah, future tense.
“…but when finished I shall donate all royalties to charity.”
So the difference between June and this past week is that she went from “Possibly there is going to be an encyclopedia” to “I am working on this now”. [laughs]
Selina: She was probably doing The Casual Vacancy at that point, so she wasn’t able to think further ahead than that, you know?
Andrew: Yeah, right.
Eric: 480 pages is a lot of pages.
Andrew and Selina: Yeah.
Andrew: So there were some clear differences here, and this is news. And it got picked up everywhere, and rightfully so. And Harry Potter fans loved to hear this little update on the encyclopedia. And now there’s no going back. This is the first time we have heard from Jo, and it says she’s not going back. She has started on it now and it’s going to happen. Every other time before, it’s been possibly or way down the road.
Selina: Mhm. I’m just so, so relieved. I mean, I’m sure everybody is so relieved because when Pottermore came about – I mean, obviously I was like, “Yay, Pottermore!” but it just had that bitterness because I was like, “Well, I don’t want this instead of the encyclopedia. I don’t want to have to go into this chapter to read about whatever. I want to be able to look it up in a book,” you know? [laughs]
Selina: Like a real Harry Potter geek that I am. And this is going to be great. Even if most of it will have been released in Pottermore, just getting it in a book by J.K. Rowling, that whole thing of her sort of having both what she thought about it and entries on each little thing – I mean, even if we don’t get it in twenty years, I will still be super excited. I will still be at the midnight premiere. [laughs]
Andrew: So when do you guys think it will come out? I mean, it has to be within…
Selina: Twenty years? [laughs]
Andrew: …I would say three years.
Selina: Really? I don’t think so.
Eric: I don’t think she’s likely to give herself a deadline like that. We still don’t know when Pottermore is going to stop releasing new content. I think she could totally wait on it, to be honest.
Eric: She’s busy raising her family, and she’s going to have to promote this book and that’s going to be some time off. Three years seems fair, but then again it’s been five years since Book 7 and nothing has happened. So it’s just…
Andrew: Well, then you could put it in the perspective of eight years after the final book came out, which is a long time.
Eric: Yeah, but why not make it an even ten? Just for…
Micah: [laughs] I was going to say that you also have Pottermore that will bridge that gap, so you will have new information that’s being released – she said as much in that quote – on Pottermore. I’m wondering how much more information does she have that’s going to appear in this encyclopedia that isn’t going to show up on Pottermore. There’s got to be some catch to it that people are going to want to go and buy it, because otherwise why not just go onto Pottermore and get it for free?
Eric: Well, the “being in print form” works, although they could also sell it in the e-book store, now that they have that. But – so are you suggesting that – well, I always thought that what she was doing was – I thought she was replacing the encyclopedia idea with Pottermore. Because it’s more interactive, it’s more fun, and you can still disseminate new information. I thought – so say she has a whole pile…
Micah: I think a lot of us thought that, though.
Eric: Well, yeah. So say she has a whole pile of stuff that is extra that never made it into the books. She takes the most appealing stuff, the stuff we’re going to care about, and infuses it in the chapters of the books where they best fit. And that’s what I thought was going to happen, so no encyclopedia. Now, if she is writing this encyclopedia and wants it to benefit a charity, won’t she have to withhold stuff from Pottermore to put it into the encyclopedia? Or is the stuff in the encyclopedia – is it going to be known for the stuff that wouldn’t translate somehow to an interactive Flash format and instead be something like huge lists and stuff that are sprawling across the page? It would be a little difficult to get through that on Pottermore because it’s very text based.
Selina: Mhm. I mean, I’m hoping that the encyclopedia will be really visual. You’ll get her sketches of the characters, you’ll get the Black family tree as she envisioned it, you’ll get little pictures of Mandrakes or whatever, you’ll have that more hand-drawn interactivity along with all the text. So maybe that’s going to be…
Eric: That’s a good point, because she does draw a lot. We know that from her.
Micah: And that’s why it’s news though, right Andrew?
Andrew: Yeah, it’s news because she went from “Yeah, it’ll possibly happen” to “I’m working on it now, it’s happening”.
Andrew: She said it’s happening! It’s happening now.
Andrew: She didn’t say that in June.
Andrew: It’s different.
Eric: So more about this J.K. Rowling – new website, this timeline. It’s pretty interesting.
Andrew: It’s so Facebook of her.
Eric: [laughs] I haven’t ñ well, how is it Facebook? Oh, because of the timeline?
Andrew: Well, because Facebook now it’s all about the timeline.
Eric: Yeah, and you can go back to birth and stuff. I’ve played around on here a little bit, but you can actually filter on the timeline the history of events of Harry Potter, J.K herself, and the new book. And what I thought about, which I just had to laugh, was when you separate everything but the new book, there’s only one entry in 2012 and it’s this book description that we just read. But there’s nothing about her tweeting incessantly – or rather I should say she barely – she just kept tweeting once every six months that she was still writing something, for two or three years. So I didn’t see that represented on her timeline, but I just think there is more to this Casual Vacancy book than the info about it. She could have done a little bit more to express her own desires to write the book, “When I actually knew that I was moving on from Harry” kind of ñ this date, and then following, “I secured a new publisher”, this date. I don’t know, it’s just not – I want more.
Micah: Yeah, and there’s that other piece though that she answers right underneath about the encyclopedia. And I think we obviously have heard this from her before, where she responds to the question about writing any more Harry Potter. And her response was that she’s never going to say ‘never’.
Eric: Well, not only that. I mean, there’s more to it than that, right?
Andrew: I mean, I think ñ I don’t think she’s ever going to write one at this point.
Selina: Yeah, I’m kind of the same.
Andrew: Another Harry Potter. It just seems odd. I think she’s just covering her bases just in case but I really don’t think that’s ever going to happen.
Eric: Well, she does say she has no immediate plans to write another Harry Potter novel, and she does think that she has rounded off Harry’s story in the seven published books. So if she does write a story…
Eric: We’ve talked about this. If she does write a story in the Harry Potter universe, wouldn’t it be about somebody else?
Andrew: Well, I think she’s implying she would only do it from Harry’s perspective.
Eric: I get that.
Selina: Well, I think that – I don’t know that she could do anything else with Harry though, because his story was so complete. I think if Jo is going to go back and do something in the world, she would either choose James or Albus Severus or someone in a completely different timeline. I would love a story about Godric Gryffindor or something. But I just don’t think she’s going to do it, because I think anything she does at this point is going to get compared to Harry Potter, and I think she’s really aware of that. And I think, maybe a bit like Daniel Radcliffe, she’s eager to show that [laughs] she can do other stuff. And I also just think that the pressure that would come with doing…
Selina: …another Potter, it would be too much. I don’t think she would do it.
Micah: Read into it what you will. I mean, this is her response. She said:
“I have always refused to say ‘never’ to this question, because I think it would be foolish to rule out something I might want to do in a few years’ time. However, I have no immediate plans to write another ‘Harry Potter’ novel, and I do think that I have rounded off Harry’s story in the seven published books.”
Eric: So what she’s saying is she doesn’t want to rule something out that she might want to do in a few years’ time. So that’s the other thing, is – I guess from that, I inflect or I get that she isn’t burnt out from Harry completely. She is open to the possibility that she might want to write more Harry Potter in a few years’ time, which I really like because up until now I’ve been reading that – or not been reading, but I’ve just been guessing that Harry Potter really tired her out.
Micah: Well, I think it was the deadlines. I think it was the fact that she had to meet certain deadlines all the time, book after book after book after book. Now she’s taking a break. She can come back to it, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be – although it probably would be – a new series within that world.
Eric: Do you think she would bring Voldemort back?
[Andrew and Selina laugh]
Selina: And Dumbledore. [laughs]
Andrew: That would be very disappointing after all of this.
Eric: Well, if she did it from James’ perspective she could bring…
Andrew: Yeah, if it was like a prequel.
Eric: Yeah, then she could bring both Dumbledore and Voldemort back. How cool would that be?
Andrew: See, I would like a prequel.
Selina: It would be so good!
Andrew: I think more so, because…
Selina: I would love a prequel, yeah.
Andrew: Because the threat of Voldemort is so interesting.
Eric: Well, some people would just be like – would not read it, because they’re like, “I know how it ends!” [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, that’s true.
Selina: I don’t know…
Andrew: That’s true.
Selina: It would be so much more interesting than a sequel though. I would much rather read about the Marauders than read about Albus Severus [laughs] and those guys. Because we don’t know them. We don’t – I don’t know, we don’t have that kind of connection to them.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. Yup. Yeah, you’re exactly right. Let’s move on now to the final J.K. Rowling story of the big J.K. Rowling story – of J.K. Rowling’s big week. What was that, Micah?
News: Pottermore Now Officially Open to the Public
Micah: We touched on it briefly, I think, and that’s the fact that Pottermore has now officially opened to the public. [laughs] There is no more waiting after about six months after it was supposed to open in October of 2011, it opened its doors to everybody a couple of weeks ago. So you mentioned here that it opened on a Saturday which is statistically the slowest Internet traffic day.
Andrew: Yeah, it seems like they released it on a Saturday to help prevent a big surge of people hitting the site at once. If they did that on a Monday or Tuesday, it would have been much worse. So – but you said there’s no more waiting. I mean, there still is waiting. You have to…
Micah: You have to go through the process, right?
Andrew: Once you…
Micah: Of registering?
Andrew: Well, you have to wait for an e-mail, still. They still have to send it to you. Granted, you get it within a day or two, but – or maybe even sooner than that. It could be a couple of hours. But they were doing that to help regulate the amount of people going into the site at the same time. And I heard reports it was down the other day, but it’s back now. So – I feel like they didn’t capture the excitement that would have happened in October when it was supposed to launch. Because remember there was this big countdown to October when Pottermore would make its grand opening?
Eric: Well, they were always extremely vague about when in October that would happen anyway.
Eric: Same with April. Like, I’m looking at the news post – or J.K. Rowling’s tweet from 8th of March, and she said, “Waiting for -” well, she retweeted the Pottermore Insider, and they said, “Click here to find out when we’ll be opening to everybody.” And you click there and it says, “We are pleased to announce that Pottermore.com will be opening to everyone in early April 2012.” They still don’t list a specific date, so it’s really boring and it’s really impossible for people to really get excited about this…
Micah: But it…
Eric: …because there’s not one date where it’s guaranteed to be open.
Micah: To Andrew’s…
Eric: It’s just ‘this month’.
Micah: His point though, is the whole reason why they were generic, is that if you put a specific date on it, their servers were not going to be able to handle all the traffic…
Micah: …that were going to be hitting that site. And…
Eric: But once it’s open, people are going to flock to it. Like, people will get the word that it’s open and all go to it on the same day anyway. What I’m saying – all you’re doing by announcing a vague date is having people check the website and being disappointed, which you do not want more people disappointed when it comes to Pottermore.
Micah: Well, how about this? And this is why I agree with what Andrew just said, is that if you go back to “The owls are gathering”, that whole campaign which took place – I think it was in June, right? Of last year? You’ve gone almost an entire year from announcing that this thing was going to launch. That’s too long. I mean, you can’t have that much lead time going into a project. Like look, even with J.K. Rowling’s new book, it’s going to be out in September. So when you have almost a year’s worth of lead time going into a project that you know is going to excite millions of people around the world, and then you don’t deliver on it time and time again, I think it’s just become in some ways not interesting anymore to people.
Andrew: It got tired.
Selina: Yeah, I agree with you.
Andrew: And remember, when the initial announcement was coming with the owls and all that, that was so exciting for Harry Potter fans.
Eric: Super cool.
Andrew: They did a great job with that.
Eric: Super cool.
Andrew: It felt like an announcement about a new book was coming up, and figuring out the name…
Eric: It was before the last movie came out…
Eric: …so we were like, “Oh, Harry Potter is going to live!”
Andrew: Yeah exactly, right.
Selina: But I think definitely there are still people who are super excited, especially the people that didn’t get in the first time. That’s sort of the comments that we’re always seeing, it’s like, “Why are you guys dissing on Pottermore? Because you are all this exclusive club that got in!”
[Andrew and Selina laugh]
Selina: But I think I totally agree with you because I think all of us got in, and all of us sort of had that initial excitement of “Yeah, we have to get our usernames and we have to be sorted” and all of that. But after you do that though, it was just kind of like, “Oh, okay. [laughs] What now?”
Selina: And so after all this time waiting for something that in the end wasn’t all that different.
Micah: Well, for the…
Selina: It’s just kind of ‘hmm’.
Micah: Yeah, for the non-beta users now, they’ve waited all this time to get in.
Selina: For this.
Micah: For the beta users, we waited all this time for nothing new.
Micah: I mean, that’s another issue that they’re probably dealing with from people who have already experienced Pottermore. It’s now however many months later and what’s interesting? You’ve got to kind of captivate and bring those people back.
Selina: Yeah, and I think that’s kind of the main problem because I’m not saying that everybody who wanted to got in in the beta part, but most of the people that really wanted to get into Pottermore got into Pottermore. You know what I mean? Most people did and so all of those people are going to be the ones they’re going to want to capture so they can keep coming back, and they haven’t done that for the most part. I haven’t been back. I don’t even remember my username. [laughs] It’s kind of embarrassing.
Listener Tweets: Pottermore’s Official Opening
Andrew: I haven’t either. Let’s get to some tweets. These people are commenting – we asked people who follow us on MuggleCast, Twitter.com/MuggleCast, what do you think about the Pottermore opening? Dana said:
“The awesomest thing that happened in my life. It Potters my world more.”
Selina: Aww, that’s nice.
Andrew: See, so not everybody thinks like us. Mia Cole said:
“I’ve still had technical difficulties on the site. As of now, I can only use it on my iPhone. No fun.”
Which, I didn’t – I don’t even think you can use it on your iPhone.
Eric: Yeah, isn’t it Flash? You can’t…
Andrew: Yeah, it’s Flash. So – Daniella says:
“It’s just so…”
[laughs] Oh geez. Oh gosh, people are just – [sighs] okay. Daniella says:
“It’s just so boring.”
[Andrew and Selina laugh]
“I was expecting something a lot more interesting but it just seems like a giant waste of time.”
Eric: I take offense at that.
Andrew: These are from people who just got in, by the way.
Andrew: Steph Bourne says:
“Pottermore has been good, seems really well done. Biggest issue right now is what in the world the point of collecting stuff is.”
Selina: I agree with this. [laughs] There needs to be a point.
Andrew: I think that some of this stuff is going to come in play in future books.
Selina: Right. I mean, it’s fun, but…
Eric: Do you think we’ll have to use those items to get past some place?
Andrew: Yeah, maybe. Maybe. Susana says:
“Pottermore has been spectacular! But I wonder when they will open the second book.”
I would guess – I’m going to guess October. No – yes, October – no…
Eric: Is it competing with – remember the…
Andrew: I’m going to guess late summer.
Eric: Her new book is September 27th.
Andrew: Yeah. I’m going to guess late summer, late August.
Eric: That’d be cool.
Andrew: Because now they can hopefully start moving on from the grand opening stuff and start focusing on Books 2 and 3 and onward. Angela says:
“Pottermore is kidding themselves if they think kids are the main users. People who grew up with ‘Harry’ are the main users!”
Eric: I agree a hundred percent.
Andrew: This is my point.
Selina: I know you guys said this before, but it’s so true!
Eric: I’m going to find that tweet and favorite it.
Selina: I know, because it’s like – that’s what they don’t get, and it keeps being annoying because they haven’t realized that we all read them when we were kids but we’re all grown up now.
Andrew: Right. And when J.K. Rowling introduced Pottermore she was like, “This is my thank you to the fans. It’s a free service to those who supported the Harry Potter books over the years.” It’s like, well, these people are at least sixteen now.
Andrew: Or at least 21. I mean, all of us here – none of us – I think the youngest age here is 22 and that’s me. It’s crazy. What’s happening here? We can’t use our real names because we have to appeal to the ten-year-olds who weren’t even alive when Sorcerer’s Stone was published!
Andrew: Or Philosopher’s Stone. Anyway, moving on with these tweets. Russ said:
“I like all the new information, but besides that it’s pretty underwhelming. Slow-paced point and click died when dial-up did.”
Andrew: See this guy can’t share his opinion. If he’s still on dial-up I can’t accept that opinion.
Micah: No, no, no…
Andrew: Just kidding.
Eric: He’s saying…
Micah: …he’s not saying – he’s saying the whole idea of point and click died when dial-up died.
Micah: Not that he’s on dial-up.
Andrew: I see. And finally Marissa said:
“It was cool at first, I had fun getting sorted and all that jazz. But once I finished the first book I barely have returned.”
Selina: Yeah, the same.
Andrew: And this is why they need pets! Pottermore pets!
Eric: I downloaded…
Selina: Yeah, you… [unintelligible]
Eric: There’s an app called Dream Zoo, Andrew. You’d be proud. I was taking care of my baby giraffes.
Andrew: I need to do this. Do they have owls? I’ll pretend it’s in Pottermore.
Eric: I think they do have owls.
Eric: Yeah, you’ve got to get it. Because they’ll push notify you when the – like, I had zebras and they had a baby. And then you can do stuff – yeah, you’d like it. You’d like it.
Selina: Wow, talk about appealing to the kids. [laughs]
Eric: Dream Zoo.
Selina: I had a Tamagotchi when I was thirteen. [laughs]
Eric: Tamagotchis were cool, except you’d walk away and then come back and find a steaming pile of dung.
MuggleCast 252 Transcript (continued)
Pottermore Discussion: ‘Ghost Plots’
Andrew: Well, speaking of Pottermore, we are going to discuss some new material this week. That is it for the news. We’re going to talk about two aspects this week and this is new material found within Pottermore, written by J.K. Rowling. We’re going to talk about the Hufflepuff common room, but first, ‘ghost plots’. So J.K. Rowling says:
“Over the seventeen years that I planned and wrote the seven ‘Harry Potter’ books, I generated a mass of information about the magical world that never appeared in the books. I liked knowing these things and often, when I needed a throwaway detail, I had it ready because of the background I had developed.
I also found myself developing story-lines for secondary characters that were superfluous to requirements. More of a wrench were the plots I worked out for some much more important characters that had to be sacrificed for the bigger story. All these I inwardly termed ‘ghost plots’, my private expression for all the untold stories that sometimes seemed quite as real to me as the ‘final cut’. I have occasionally been in conversation with a reader and made mention of part of a ghost plot; looks of consternation cross their faces as, for a split second, they ask themselves whether they have accidentally skipped twenty pages somewhere. I apologize to anyone I might have accidentally wrong-footed in this way; the problem is, literally, all in my head.”
[laughs] Such a great writer. So I mean, I would think – we were just talking about the encyclopedia earlier – a lot of these ‘ghost plots’ could actually show up…
Andrew: …in the encyclopedia.
Selina: This is the stuff I’m excited for. This could be things like Hermione’s sister and things like that.
Eric: Hermione has a sister?
Selina: They existed, but they didn’t – well, she did. In the first – when J.K. Rowling was first writing the book she wrote in a younger sister for Hermione that got sent to Hogwarts and it was this whole big thing. Then she just cut her and she just didn’t have a sister in the end.
Andrew: Yeah. Well – but she says ‘ghost plots’ refer to…
Selina: Yeah, things that were real, I guess.
Andrew: Things that were – yeah. But – I mean, Hermione’s sister could very well end up being one. Now, why did she insert this in Chapter 4 of Sorcerer’s Stone? Is this suggesting that there is a ‘ghost plot’ or two that happened around Chapter 4 of Sorcerer’s Stone?
Eric: I’d say so.
Selina: Maybe something about the Dursleys, maybe?
Andrew: Yeah, the Dursleys or maybe more time at the hut on the rock?
Eric: Who knows.
Andrew: Maybe more dialogue between Harry and Hagrid? Or maybe between Hagrid and Petunia and Vernon?
Eric: Yeah, in the chapters to come we’re about to learn all about the wizarding world for the first time, so I’m sure there’s at least one thing that didn’t make it in there.
Andrew: And then – anything else to address about that?
Pottermore Discussion: Hufflepuff Common Room
Andrew: And then another portion we wanted to talk about was the Hufflepuff common room, and that – she writes about that during Chapter 7. In Moment 3, you can unlock this information.
Selina: [laughs] Yay!
Andrew: And she says – [laughs] just in case you want to find it yourself.
“When I first planned the series, I expected Harry to visit all four house common rooms during his time at Hogwarts. There came a point when I realized that there was never going to be a valid reason to enter the Hufflepuff room.”
[Andrew and Selina laugh]
“Nevertheless, it is quite as real to me as the other three, and I always knew exactly where those Hufflepuffs were going when they headed off towards the kitchens after lessons.”
Selina: Those irrelevant Hufflepuffs. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah. Yeah, now I’m just like…
Selina: Speaking as Hufflepuffs… [laughs]
Eric: Now I’m just upset.
Selina: Me too.
Eric: That’s sand on a wound. That’s sand on a wound.
Selina: Are you a Hufflepuff as well, Eric?
Eric: I am.
Selina: A Pottermore Hufflepuff?
Eric: I am a Pottermore Hufflepuff and I have to say…
Selina: Right, me too.
Eric: …Jo, come on. “There came a point when I realized that there was never going to be a valid reason to enter the Hufflepuff room”?
Selina: I know! [laughs]
Eric: Come on!
Andrew: But – I mean, she had it all written out. You can then advance to a page where she describes the Hufflepuff common room in great details. She says:
“A portrait over the wooden mantelpiece shows…”
Selina: We, of course, get to see it.
“…Helga Hufflepuff, one of the four founders of Hogwarts, toasting her students with a tiny, two-handled golden cup. Small, round windows just level with the ground at the foot of the castle show a pleasant view of rippling grass and dandelions, and, occasionally, passing feet.”
Selina: This is a Hobbit hole. [laughs] This is not the common room.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: Hufflepuffs, to the Hobbit hole!
Selina: I mean, this is probably one of the reasons I’m not a big fan of Pottermore, because I’m like, “Why am I collecting points for Hufflepuff?”
Selina: Sorry, Hufflepuffs. [laughs]
Eric: This stuff – no, actually, the Hufflepuff common room is described when you first get – when you get your letter and it says, “Welcome to our house.” And she did it – well, in the – I want to say the afterlife, it’s Pottermore. But it’s just funny that in the books – and I get this, that there really wasn’t any reason for Harry – I mean, the Hufflepuffs kind of distance themselves from Harry. They’re kind of – I don’t want to say cliquey but they keep to themselves. So they’re antisocial, so they’re not likely to be involved in…
Selina: [laughs] In their Hobbit hole.
Eric: With the exception of – well, they’re very – they have this internal pride, like with Cedric Diggory. So – yeah. No, I can see that they’re – whether it – be it their personality traits or just the fact that the book is written about Gryffindors, that you’d more likely get Gryffindor’s main rival Slytherin the most. And then maybe Ravenclaw when it comes in the picture because you need smart people to defeat the bad guy. So, I don’t know. I get it but it was just so funny the way she worded it, still. I was just like, “Oh, that’s – okay, never a valid reason.”
Micah: Well, we all got information about our houses. Was there anything new that you guys can remember when you were sorted, that you learned about your house or the house that the person was named after?
Eric: With Hufflepuff, yeah, everything was new, pretty much. I mean, with the exception of Helga Hufflepuff being the founder, everything was new. It was really cool, actually. She talks about – basically that they’re very earthy, kind of like Professor Sprout, big surprise. But their common room is kind of like a garden apartment. It’s underground but not so far underground because there are windows at the very top that shine out – the daylight shines in. So, I don’t know. It’s cool but they’re kind of like badgers, I guess, is really what it all sounded like.
Andrew: She also actually touched – at the end of the new information on the Hufflepuff common room, she touched on how the entrances to each house reflect the intelligence of the students. She says:
“The complexity or otherwise of the entrance to the common rooms might be said to give a very rough idea of the intellectual reputation of each house: Hufflepuff has an unchanging portal and requires [stumbles on pronunciation] rhythmic…”
Eric: So, wait. Pause.
Selina: Wow. [laughs]
Eric: What does that say about the intellectual representation of each house? It’s an unchanging portal.
Andrew: That they’re steady.
Eric: You don’t want to change it because that would be confusing, right? At least Gryffindor…
Selina: [laughs] To the poor Hufflepuffs!
Andrew: Right, they can’t handle it. [laughs]
Eric: Gryffindor is not – yeah.
Selina: Oh God.
Eric: Gryffindor is not so stupid that – their password changes, at least.
Selina: Yeah. [laughs]
Eric: Hufflepuff? Eh, don’t want to change their password.
Selina: They’re just stupid. [laughs]
Eric: They’d be stuck out there. Those poor things would be stuck out there all night if you changed…
Eric: …the portal to the Hufflepuff room. Rhythmic tapping. So even if they’re having a seizure they could probably get into their house by…
Selina: You have to make sure they don’t get confused. [laughs] This is so bad.
Andrew: Remember, Hufflepuffs. One, two, three, four.
Andrew: One, two…
Eric: Rhythmic tapping? What is that? Here’s exactly what that is. [makes rhythmic tapping sounds]
Selina: See, you got it!
Eric: That’s rhythmic tapping.
Selina: You’re a real Hufflepuff! [laughs]
Andrew: Good job!
Eric: Yeah. Good job, Hufflepuff! Welcome! Welcome!
Selina: Jo is just – she’s not making it easy. I really want to be proud but…
Micah: It also says [laughs] at the very bottom:
“Several outstanding brains have emerged from Hufflepuff house over the centuries.”
Selina: Oh, that’s good to know.
“These fine minds simply happened to be allied to outstanding qualities of patience, a strong work ethic and constancy, all traditional hallmarks of Hufflepuff house.”
But who are they?
Eric: [laughs] Yeah.
Andrew: [laughs] She doesn’t name anyone.
Eric: She doesn’t name any of them. Well, it’s…
Selina: It’s really hard to have house pride even though we really try. It’s like, “Yes, Hufflepuff!” but it’s like, “Ehh.”
[Andrew and Selina laugh]
Eric: Selina, are you a Hufflepuff too?
Selina: Yeah, I was sorted into Hufflepuff. [laughs]
Eric: That’s awesome. Well, hang on one second because I’m sure in the welcome message, which was very easy to be found, it should mention at least one more Hufflepuff. Okay, yeah, here we go.
Micah: Where do you get your welcome letter? Where do you have to click for that?
Eric: It’s just at the top. It says – for some reason I’m back to “The Sorting Hat has placed you in Hufflepuff.” Maybe if you click the badger or the…
Selina: Well, I still buy into Andrew’s whole theory, that it’s all orchestrated to get equal amounts of people in each house.
Eric: Well, it’s – I mean, I’d say it’s definitive just because of the way that the points have been laid out, although I really want to see JKR acknowledge that. Because people are still – now with it opening publicly, people are still putting a lot in store by it and I would hate to see even more people hoodwinked. You know what I’m saying?
Selina: I feel hoodwinked.
Eric: If it’s fun, have it be fun. But anyway, this is from the Hufflepuff welcome letter after the first paragraph:
“Now, there are a few things you should know about Hufflepuff house. First of all, let’s deal with the perennial myth about the place, which is that we’re the least clever house. WRONG.”
“Hufflepuff is certainly the least boastful house, but we’ve produced just as many brilliant witches and wizards as any other. Want proof? Look up Grogan Stump, one of the most popular Ministers for Magic of all time. He was a Hufflepuff ñ as were the successful Ministers Artemesia Lufkin and Dugald McPhail. Then there’s the world authority on magical creatures, Newt Scamander…”
Selina: Ooh, we know him! [laughs]
Eric: I’ve heard of him.
“Bridget Wenlock, the famous thirteenth-century Arithmancer who first discovered the magical properties of the number seven…”
That’s kind of cool.
“…and Hengist of Woodcroft, who founded the all-wizarding village of Hogsmeade, which lies very near Hogwarts School. Hufflepuffs all.”
Okay, look at that. The founder of Hogsmeade was a Hufflepuff. There we go.
Selina: I bet the person who invented Butterbeer was a Hufflepuff.
Eric: [laughs] Yeah, but even after a whole night of drinking Butterbeer, they could still remember the entrance to the Hufflepuff room.
Selina: [laughs] It was not hard.
Eric: Because it hadn’t changed.
Micah: What’s funny is, in complete contrast to what you just read, Eric, the opening – well, the second paragraph – to the Ravenclaw one, after you’re welcomed by Robert Hilliard – I don’t even – that sounds like a celebrity, almost.
Micah: I don’t even know who that person is. But it starts off:
“Without wishing to boast, this is the house where the cleverest wizards and witches live.”
Selina: Oh wow.
Micah: So I thought that was funny.
Selina: That is kind of funny.
Eric: Yeah, it’s a play on the words about boasting and clever.
Andrew: And the Gryffindor one is quite small, and it’s like a little introduction from Percy Weasley and that’s it.
Eric: I was pleased when I saw that, that Gryffindor was the smallest. Just because…
Andrew: Yeah, because we’ve already learned so much.
Selina: Yeah, I don’t know. I still call foul play, [laughs] but maybe I’m just in denial.
Eric: No, I…
Andrew: So, on the next episode – go ahead.
Eric: Oh. No, I literally don’t have anything to say. I’m sorry.
Andrew: Okay. [laughs] So, on the next episode, we will discuss the McGonagall backstory, which is very lengthy and another whole new section written by J.K. Rowling within Pottermore. Read it yourself. Sign up for Pottermore, read it yourself, and then we’ll discuss it on Episode 253.
Micah: One thing I’d like to say though, is…
Andrew: Go ahead.
Micah: …I really think that Pottermore should put out a schedule of when they plan to release the rest of these books.
Micah: How about that?
Eric: Well, even if they did, it would be a vague month. “Oh, the month of November.” Give us specific dates, that way nobody is disappointed.
Andrew: Yeah. I’m sure they have a time frame in mind, they just don’t want to tell people in case there are…
Eric: Well, the interesting thing…
Selina: Yeah, and commit to it! Because after…
Eric: Didn’t they already tell everybody?
Selina: But that’s the thing, though.
Eric: And then they had to change it, obviously.
Selina: They told people, and then they had to change it by months and months and months, and ended up making people really mad. So I think they’ll be really sort of reluctant to do the same thing again.
Andrew: Yeah. They won’t do that again, no way. I really don’t think so. Really don’t think so. I mean, maybe they’ll give us a month advance warning. Or it could come out of nowhere, I wouldn’t be surprised by that either.
Listener Tweets: J.K. Rowling’s Upcoming Books
Andrew: So, to wrap up the show, we have more tweets. These are about The Casual Vacancy and the encyclopedia, two books we know J.K. Rowling is working on. Well, she’s finished The Casual Vacancy now, but she’s working on the encyclopedia. These are from people who follow us on Twitter, Twitter.com/MuggleCast. Sultana says:
“I’m just glad there’s going to be something more than Pottermore to look forward to. :)”
“As long as JKR is the writer, it’s amazing.”
“‘The Casual Vacancy’ is definitely a book to watch out for. It will show more of Jo’s writing skills and open chances for more readers.”
Do you think J.K. Rowling’s audience will grow with The Casual Vacancy?
Andrew: I mean, how much bigger can it get?
Selina: I think it will change slightly.
Eric: Well – because this is for adults.
Eric: Do you think that adults reading and liking this book will actually go back and give Harry a chance?
Selina: If they’re smart, they will do. [laughs]
Eric: Oh yeah.
Eric: Good answer. I agree.
Andrew: But there’s still this stigma with Harry Potter, that it’s a kids’ series. You know what they should do? They should re-release Harry Potter adult editions with the adult covers. They’ve done that before in the UK.
Andrew: I don’t think they’ve done it in the US. But they should do that at the same time as The Casual Vacancy comes out. I think that would be a very smart idea.
Eric: It would be cool. Only it would be impossible to organize, because it’s not the same publisher.
Selina: Oh, that’s a good point.
Andrew: No, but they know what time it’s coming out.
Andrew: So all they’ve got to do is get it…
Micah: Isn’t that the same month the Super Deluxe Ultra Edition of the movies is coming out?
Andrew: Yes, Harry Potter: Wizard’s Collection.
Micah: That too.
Andrew: Is that what you were talking about?
Micah: I just didn’t know the name of it, so I made it up.
Andrew: Comes out September 7th. So yeah, same…
Eric: Oh wow.
Andrew: Good observation there. Chelsea says:
“Excited about the encyclopedia! Don’t have enough info about ‘Casual Vacancy’ yet. I want to read the back cover first.”
[laughs] I think that synopsis is the back cover.
Selina: I was going to say. I think – yeah.
Andrew: iGoNananafor1D – that’s a weird name – writes:
“I hope she finishes the encyclopedia soon and I can’t wait for ‘Casual Vacancy’!”
“Sounds like something she’d write, and write well!”
“Very excited for both! More so for ‘The Casual Vacancy’. It sounds great and I hope it will showcase her talent and versatility.”
“The book seems interesting. Also, the encyclopedia was such a shocker. Now we know it’s a real deal and I couldn’t be more excited.”
And finally, Cat says:
“I’m excited for the new book, but I think no matter how good it is, people are going to be disappointed simply because it’s not ‘HP’.”
Selina: I fear the same…
Andrew: I disagree with that.
Selina: I fear the same thing, actually.
Andrew: Really, why?
Selina: Yeah. Well, because I think that – I mean, obviously we all know it’s not going to be Harry Potter, but I think J.K. Rowling – that series for us can do no wrong, and I think no matter what, a lot of people will be disappointed and we can’t help that. I mean, I don’t think I will be disappointed. I’m really excited for it. But I definitely see what she means.
Eric: Yeah, you have to go into that book for the right reasons, I think.
Selina: Yeah, not expecting…
Eric: You’re obviously – so obviously not going to get a continuation of the story or any of the characters. What you’re going to find though, is those little elements of humor, especially – like I was saying about when she was talking about Little Hangleton and how people relate to each other in the real world. That kind of stuff, I think, the book will be ripe with, and if you’re going into it looking for that kind of stuff, for the intelligence that Jo so clearly has, then you’re going to like it. But you just kind of have to realize that it’s not another Harry Potter book.
Andrew: Okay, well there you go. Before we go, we want to remind everybody – and we haven’t actually discussed this yet, I don’t think. Maybe once, but not much other than that. We are – oh, yes we did, actually. What am I talking about? We are going to be at LeakyCon 2012 this upcoming summer. It is in August in Chicago. The specific dates are August 9th to the 12th, in Chicago. Registration is open now. We are going to be doing a live podcast, including Selina.
Andrew: Selina will be there with us and doing the podcast.
Selina: So excited!
Andrew: So that’s why we wanted to have her on the show, in part.
Micah: All the way from Sweden.
Selina: [laughs] I know!
Andrew: All the – wow, what a trip.
Selina: Long journey from Sweden.
Andrew: Oh my goodness, what a trip.
Selina: I don’t know why…
Eric: Selina, we can play the Game of Thrones video game.
Selina: Yes! Yes! Of course! We’ll do that! Who cares about Harry Potter? No, I’m kidding! [laughs]
Andrew: And by that point, we’ll have – hopefully, the Casual Vacancy cover out…
Andrew: …and maybe more info about it, maybe Jo will have done an interview or two about it. So there’s going to be lots of info – lots of great discussion.
Selina: You guys should just give in and rename your podcast “The CayVay Cast”.
Andrew: CayVay Cast.
Selina: Casual Vacancy, CayVay.
Eric: Oh, CayVay.
Selina: Get it? Yeah. [laughs]
Andrew: Hmm. How about just JoCast?
Selina: JoCast? Yeah!
Eric: Rowling CayVay.
Andrew: JKRowlingOgleCast. Casual Vacancy…
Andrew: RuggleCast? Ooh, I like that.
Micah: Well, speaking of other podcasts, can we throw in a quick plug?
Andrew: Yes. I would say the newest one is actually Game of Owns with you three and two other friends. And that comes out after the release of every new Game of Thrones episode on HBO, correct?
Andrew: And you guys discuss each one and whatnot.
Micah: That is correct.
Eric: And recently featured on iTunes’ “New and Notable” and gosh, do I remember when MuggleCast was there.
Eric: So that was super cool.
Andrew: And also Selina and I do a Hunger Games podcast called Hunger Games Chat. It’s on Hypable.com. You can also just Google it and easily find it that way or search on iTunes. Bunch of podcasts going on, we’re doing lots of things. Even though MuggleCast is once a month or twice a month, there’s still quite a lot of action.
Selina: Yeah, and there’s a Doctor Who podcast starting as well. It’s crazy.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly.
Andrew: We’ll have more info about the Doctor Who podcast coming up in a couple of weeks.
Micah: I would just say, though – not to discourage anybody, but the Game of Thrones podcast that we do called Game of Owns, it is a little bit more mature material that George R.R. Martin [laughs] writes about than what’s in the Potter series.
Micah: So just kind of take that into consideration before you listen to the show or watch the show on TV.
Andrew: Right. Yeah, I was going to say the show is as well, so it makes sense that the podcast is a little more risqué.
Micah: Yeah, there’s – the language is a little bit different, I would say, from what we use on MuggleCast, but that’s – not to discourage anybody, but just throwing that out there before you download, listen, and say something about…
Selina: [laughs] Play it out loud?
Micah: “I can’t believe they cursed!” or “I can’t believe they talked about this or that or -” but yeah.
Andrew: “I was listening to this with my daughter thinking it would be just like MuggleCast, and oh no!”
Eric: Yeah, I would definitely recommend seeing the show and a few episodes of the show first.
Micah: Yes. Or reading a book.
Eric: Or reading one of the books.
Andrew: But the fun thing about TV podcasts is that you have so much new material to discuss after every new episode.
Andrew: So that’s why Game of Owns is so interesting. So, that is it for MuggleCast Episode 252. Thank you everybody for listening. Don’t forget to check out MuggleCast.com. It has everything you need to get everything you could possibly want about this wonderful Harry Potter podcast that we do. On the right side of the site, in fact, you can find links to our iTunes where you can subscribe and review us. You can also follow us on Twitter, Twitter.com/MuggleCast, like us on Facebook, Facebook.com/MuggleCast, and follow the fan Tumblr, which is MuggleCast.Tumblr.com. Fun to look at, especially if you are a Tumblr user. And also a quick plug for the Wall of Fame. We all know and love the Wall of Fame. We need to add a new entry or two. Surely we’ve done some good shows since November 20th, 2010. That was the last one we added. [laughs]
Micah: What happened then?
Andrew: That was the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 review episode.
Micah: Oh, we’ve had David Yates on the show…
Micah: …we’ve had Oliver Phelps on the show…
Micah: Yeah, there’s got to be an episode or two, like you say.
Micah: I hope.
Andrew: So check out the Wall of Fame if you’re itching for some old MuggleCast episodes.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: The Wall of Fame, those are our personal picks, so definitely browse through those. Those are all great ones. We highly recommend them all. From Hypable.com, I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: From MuggleNet.com, I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: From GameofOwns.com, I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Selina: And from Hypable.com, I’m Selina Wilken.
Andrew: We’ll see everybody next time for Episode 253. Goodbye!
[Eric makes rhythmic tapping sounds]
[Show music continues]