MuggleCast 255 Transcript
[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
Andrew: Because it’s been five years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and we’re still ticking, this is MuggleCast Episode 255 for July 22nd, 2012.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week’s podcast 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 255. This is actually take two because we forgot – or no, we didn’t forget. There were some audio glitches last time we recorded this, which was about two weeks ago. But that’s okay, we’re doing it again. Time has passed and things have changed, so some things we won’t even discuss because now it’s irrelevant.
Micah: It’s like that lost episode. What was that episode, again? I forget when…
Andrew: Oh yeah.
Eric: It was like thirteen, wasn’t it? It was…
Andrew: Yeah, it was early on.
Andrew: And we just skipped it, we skipped the episode number. And then our competitors accused us of just trying to up our episode count. We were like, “No, no. See, here’s the lost episode.” But why was it lost? Because we did recover it, so how was it – did we just re-record it? Was that it?
Andrew: Or just – oh, I think it was going to take an especially long amount of time to edit, I think, because somebody’s audio got lost or something.
Eric: Yeah, I think – there were episodes we re-recorded, too – like what we’re doing now – where we had to keep the episode because we totally lost it. I think…
Eric: If I’m remembering correctly, thirteen, because it was like a big deal that it was thirteen and it was cursed – or maybe it was twelve – we were going to do a character discussion and instead we ended up talking about some big news that had just happened, which worked out for the better.
Micah: Could be.
Andrew: It happens.
Andrew: Especially when you reach 255 episodes.
Eric: Oh gosh.
Micah: Yeah. I mean…
Andrew: Good God.
Micah: With all things considered, I think we’ve had a pretty smooth…
Micah: …run through 255 episodes.
Andrew: Yeah. In seven years there’s a couple of bumps in the road here and there.
Micah: Of course.
Eric: Fortunately we’re back.
Eric: So, that’s…
Andrew: And we are celebrating the five-year anniversary of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book release.
Eric: Yes, as we record this on July 21st, 2012. I cannot believe it’s been five years since the last Harry Potter book.
Andrew: Me neither.
Micah: And Episode 100.
Eric: [laughs] Well, that’s true, too. Looking at that and doing the math, I’m like, “Wow, we’re so behind on episodes.”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: But we knew – actually, that was Episode 100, was when we really decided we’re going to taper down a little bit, I think. And…
Andrew: Yeah. So, we basically did 100 weeks in a row, which was good.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s crazy that it’s been five years, though. It just seems like time has absolutely flown by. And I think the big question back then was: will the Harry Potter fandom continue? And it completely has. It’s been as active as ever thanks to Pottermore, the movies…
Eric: The theme park.
Andrew: The theme park, of course.
Eric: The Exhibition and the Leavesden Studios.
Andrew: Yeah, that one’s really kept a-ticking.
Eric: And – hey, that was like the pre-game…
Andrew: No, it’s the theme park.
Eric: That was the pre-game for the studio tour, so…
Micah: And the conventions.
Eric Attends Ascendio 2012
Andrew: Mhm. Speaking of that, Eric was just at Ascendio in Orlando.
Andrew: How was that?
Eric: It was great. Micah was able to join us for the MuggleCast – I don’t want to call it a meet up, but it was like a presentation that was done there, just looking over the seven years of Harry Potter podcasting. And Micah was able to add his thoughts during it. We had about maybe 50 to 100 people show up for that, and that was actually a pretty good turnout because our meet up wasn’t on any of the books. And Ascendio itself was really nice. You guys have been to the Royal Pacific Resort on Universal property. The Portofino Bay at the other end is – it’s grander in scale but it’s super – I want to say silent. It’s quiet, it’s relaxing, it’s done up like an Italian villa. And honestly, the con was kind of themed like if the Malfoy family went on vacation.
Andrew: Oh neat, neat.
Eric: Yeah, everybody put themselves out there. This con was really for me, it was about putting yourself out there.
Micah: And you were there in your own performance though, weren’t you?
Eric: Yes. [laughs] The play Mischief Managed – we had mentioned this a couple of episodes ago on the show – went really well. It was about James Potter and the Marauders during their school years, so that went well, too.
Micah: I was just going to say that I really liked some of the photos that I saw from the MuggleCast meet up where I was tagged as the computer.
Micah: Because my voice was coming over Skype. Was it a bit like the voice of God in a way?
Andrew: You always have the voice of God.
Eric: Yeah, I really don’t – it’s synonymous now. I’m just like, “What do you mean it was a bit like?”
Announcement: LeakyCon 2012
Andrew: Well, let’s move on to some – well, actually speaking of that, we are going to be at LeakyCon. We have been plugging this for thirty years, it sounds like. LeakyCon is August 9th to the 12th in Chicago, Illinois. We’re all going to be there, us three, including Selina [laughs] who we should have invited on the podcast today, come to think of it.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: It’s going to be in Chicago, Illinois. I think registration is almost sold out, but they just announced that StarKid is going to be premiering basically “A Very Potter Three-quel” there. It’s called, A Very Potter Senior Year. Registration is open now, you can go to LeakyCon.com and click “Register Now” at the top. And if there is a referral box or something, let them know MuggleCast sent you.
Micah: Yeah. And speaking of our podcast, we actually know the day and time that we will be doing our show.
Micah: It’s going to be Friday, August 10th from 1:00 to 1:50 – even though it’ll probably go to about 2:00 or so – on the main stage. And earlier that day, we’ll also be doing a meetup. It’s going to be in the Southwest Exhibit Hall from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. So, you have the meetup first from 11:00 to 12:00, and then from 1:00 to 1:50 we’ll be on the main stage doing our podcast, primarily I think looking back at seven years of podcasting. Right, guys?
Andrew: Yeah, and talking about – maybe if there’s new Chamber of Secrets stuff opened up we’ll talk about that. We’ll talk about other news. We’ll take questions from the [yawns] – excuse me, it’s still early here. We’ll take questions from the audience, et cetera, et cetera.
Eric: These live shows are always a great opportunity to hear from the audience. I know it’s kind of been a long time since we’ve done voicemails on the show, but just being able to look at our listeners – and they have questions and maybe still unresolved theories. It’s a great time. And last…
Andrew: Look into their eyes.
Eric: [laughs] Last time Evanna Lynch showed up, so that was cool.
Andrew: Oh right, right. One other thing I was – on the last episode – actually, maybe I didn’t because this episode got lost – I moderated a Harry Potter panel at Comic-Con and it went very well. I was a bit worried because it was the very last panel of the day. It was – I mean, there were other panels going on at the same time, but it was the last time slot of the day. It was 4 PM on Sunday and after five days of madness, I just didn’t think many people were going to show up. But it was a packed room, a very large room as well, and we had a fantastic time. So, anybody who is listening right now and attended, thank you for attending. It was great and it proved that the Harry Potter fandom is still far from over because – a huge turnout.
Micah: Well, clearly they should have moved you earlier…
Micah: …just based on the fact that that many people stayed until the end.
Andrew: Exactly. And actually this panel has been moved into a bigger and bigger room every year. This was definitely the biggest room yet. I just think they’re unsure about it because it’s Harry Potter, but it went really well.
Eric: So, you were on that panel with Melissa and others?
Andrew: …Melissa wasn’t the… Alex Carpenter, Joey Richter from StarKid, Gred and Forge – the wizard rock band, somebody from the International Quidditch Association…
Micah: Heidi, ri…?
Andrew: Somebody from FanFiction.net – no, Heidi wasn’t there.
Eric: Yeah, Heidi was going to and then she stayed back at Ascendio.
Eric: And I saw Alex last night, actually, so it’s pretty funny.
Andrew: Yeah. So, it was a good time. Very well done. A very great turnout.
Okay, so before we get into the news today, we do want to remind you that today’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 and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering you a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their service, and you are going to love it during these warm summer months when you’re outside walking around. Maybe you don’t want to carry a book when you’re walking the dog or you’re on the beach or you’re in the park; you just want to close your eyes and listen to an audiobook just like you do this podcast. And I have a great recommendation for you today – this is a just released book – it’s The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer, also narrated by Chris. He, of course, is a star on Glee. He’s been on the show since the beginning. One of the best actors on the show. One of the most beloved, certainly. He wrote a fantasy book, actually. The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face to face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about. This book is fantastic. We got an advanced reading copy recently. Absolutely loved it. Imagine taking this wonderful fantasy story along with you out and about this summer. Highly recommend it. It is, again, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell and you can get it for free on Audible.com. Just visit AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast for your free audiobook. Again, that’s AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast to get The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell or any other book for absolutely free. Thanks, Audible.
News: The Casual Vacancy Book Cover and Page Count Released
Andrew: Let’s get to the news now. There are some very interesting stories to talk about, and now that the – actually, I asked some of these questions at the panel and I got answers I was not happy with.
Andrew: So, I’ll have to bring those up, too. So, go ahead, Micah. Talk – bring us through the news.
Micah: Yeah, so since our last episode J.K. Rowling released the cover and the page count for The Casual Vacancy and I’m sure we’ll talk a little bit about the cover shortly. But the page count is 512 pages long, so I think it just about matches Half-Blood Prince, right? Right around that area. And the book itself is retailing in hardcover for $35. I’m sure people can get it discounted at Amazon.com and other places. And, as we know, it’s going to be released on September 27th, but the big news is the cover. It looks like a ballot box with an X mark in it with some cool Microsoft Word type font [laughs] that says, “The Casual Vacancy.” What are your guys’ thoughts? Anything that you can take away from the cover?
Andrew: It’s very – it’s an adult book cover. That’s really what the big takeaway is from it. I mean, but I really like it. And some people pointed out, “Oh, it’s red and yellow, just like Gryffindor colors.”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: But – no, I’m happy with it. I like the cover. I’m excited to hold it.
Andrew: This is one that I’m excited to actually physically hold.
Eric: And it’s…
Micah: I actually like, Eric, your cover a lot better, to be honest with you, that you created for April Fool’s Day.
Eric: Oh, thank you, Micah. You’re too kind. Yeah, maybe I should go and write them and get some kind of limited edition…
Micah: You’d think she could invest in a better, more visual cover.
Eric: No – well, this is visual…
Andrew: Oh, it’s got nothing to do with that.
Eric: This is perfect for the genre. I think, on our previous show that we lost, take one of this episode, I pointed you guys towards the Raymond Chandler book, The Big Sleep and the cover of it that I have is the same exact color, really. It’s considered to be one of the biggest detective novels of all time. Definitely launched the genre, and it’s very similar in typeface: shaky words and a single item, in which that case it’s a gun, this time it’s a voting ballot. So, I just think that it’s a standard type of book cover for the genre, so I think it fits perfectly. And the other point that I brought up – I’ll bring it up again because I just think it was good – was that, remember when five years ago today, in fact, we got the seventh Harry Potter book, and for a couple of weeks you’d be walking around outside seeing people maybe in the park or on public transit carrying these big Deathly Hallows – very orange, I think it was. The cover in America was orange – books. Well, just think, come September 27th this year, everybody is going to be carrying around these big yellow, red books.
Andrew: Yeah, I hope so.
Eric: And just like before, it was a sense of common identity. You’re like, “Oh, you’re a Harry Potter fan too.” People who you just don’t know are carrying around these whopping Harry Potter books. It’s going to be the same thing all over again. I’m looking really forward to that.
Andrew: Yeah, and I mean, right now I’m at the beach, I’m on planes and stuff, blah, blah, blah, and all I see is Fifty Shades of Grey…
[Eric makes a disparaging sound]
Andrew: …and that black and silver cover. It’s time for something more refreshing. This is a direct strike at the number of Casual Vacancy – oh sorry, Fifty Shades of Grey covers that are out there.
Andrew: It’s ludicrous.
Eric: Oh my God.
Micah: I think people are used…
Eric: Have you read it?
Andrew: I’ve read parts.
Eric: Oh okay.
Andrew: The sexy parts. I…
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: I think though, as a group, we’re kind of more used to the visual Mary GrandPrÈ style of covers at least, because that’s all we’ve known from J.K. Rowling in the past, and so we’re looking for covers to be more revealing as to what’s going to happen in the story. You can actually sit down with one of her book covers and look through and kind of pick out pieces of the story that it’s detailing. And I think, especially with the cover – and I’m just using this as an example – Prisoner of Azkaban, how much detail is in a cover like that. You really kind of have to sit down and look through, whereas this, Andrew, you pointed out, is a much more adult-style book cover. Maybe similar to what we would’ve seen in the U.K. adult versions of Harry Potter, just having kind of that single object. Yeah.
Eric: Well, I think covers are good for one thing. I mean, I know it is just an interpretation of the artist too, is the other thing. We sat down and discussed when the Deathly Hallows cover came out, “Are they in a coliseum?” that kind of thing, “Are they back in the Department of Mysteries?” – no, they were at Hogwarts, but we weren’t counting on Hogwarts being completely demolished to the ground to where there’s just pillars left. So, we still didn’t know. And with your Prisoner of Azkaban cover they’re on a hippogriff, but hippogriffs hadn’t been introduced yet so we just think they’re on a bird or an eagle or something. You don’t know the full story, at least with this cover – cover art, we know…
Andrew and Eric: There’s no questions.
Eric: [laughs] Well, we guess – we can kind of figure there will be an election, right? But that part was in the book summary which was released. So, it really…
Andrew: Yeah. Here’s…
Eric: I think they’re just kind of trying to focus on the content of the book itself. It makes me want the book more, I think. That there is…
Micah: I’m just saying we’re a very analytical group by nature.
Eric: Oh certainly.
Micah: And to your point, we’ve spent episodes upon episodes discussing book covers and what their relevance is, and so when you see a cover like that there is very little you can really draw from it other than it’s a ballot box with a check mark in it…
Micah: …or an X mark in it. And the other thing that’s important here that I know, Andrew, you wrote a whole article about was that the name of the main character changed. It went from being Barry Fairweather to Barry Fairbrother. And not really much of an explanation as to why. Just all of a sudden the main character changes. Although, how relevant to the actual text he’s going to be, I guess we’ll find out. I don’t think he’s going to appear that much because it seems like he dies very early on in the story.
Andrew: Yeah. I think what happened here was – first of all, there’s no way this was a mistake.
Eric: [laughs] What?
Eric: Question everything.
Andrew: Yeah, because Little Brown – it’s Little Brown, right? They said, “Oh, his last name is actually Fairbrother, not Fairweather. This was an error on our part.” But you have to think, this summer, where the Barry Fairweather name went through so many different people, went through J.K. Rowling’s people, went through Little Brown’s people, went through agencies, went through editors – I mean, how could everybody have missed Fairweather? So, I just do not believe that this was a mistake. I think what happened was, it was written as Fairweather and then there was some legal issue that came up, or they were looking ahead to possible movie rights or something, and they said, “Well, we’re not going to be able to use Fairweather,” so then they changed it Fairbrother. And in order to not create – stir the pot any further they just said, “Oh, it’s just a typo.”
Eric: Maybe he was that small a character though [laughs] that everybody didn’t really know his real name.
Andrew: It’s just hilarious that the one character that we know about so far, his name was screwed up.
Eric: [laughs] Had a name change. Exactly.
Eric: We know nothing about this book. [laughs]
Andrew: And so this was announced, like Micah said, when the cover was released and I’m looking – yeah, the iTunes description still says…
Eric: [laughs] Fairweather?
Andrew: …”Barry Fairweather.” And I bet it still does on Amazon as well because everybody is just like, “What the heck?!”
Micah: Well, I remember when we saw J.K. Rowling at Radio City Music Hall, she was kind of still figuring out what the title of Deathly Hallows was going to be. She had a couple of ideas in the back of her mind. I remember her saying that she was thinking about it in the shower…
Eric: [laughs] Yes, I remember that too.
Micah: …and she changed it.
Micah: Yeah, hey. And…
Eric: She said that morning.
Micah: So, it’s certainly possible that this could have been something that she was debating for a long period of time, but the fact that it got as far as it did – eventually, through her, we found out what the other potential titles for Deathly Hallows were going to be. But I just feel like – and I agree with what Andrew said, that you can’t allow something like this to go to publication, and then a couple of weeks later say, “Oh by the way, the name of the main character? We screwed that up.”
Micah: There’s just too much oversight.
Eric: She’s got a Twitter, and…
Micah: [laughs] Oh geez.
Eric: …if I had all the energy in me, I would be begging her to tweet more. But she had the opportunity, the means established, to communicate.
Andrew: This is straight out of the book of Pottermore. I mean, it’s almost like…
Eric: If an error had been made, they could have been vocal a lot sooner. Now, like you said, they’re going to have to fight a battle – well, if they pick their battle – to fix iTunes and Amazon, which are still broadcasting it as Fairweather, when the publisher itself said, “No, his name is Fairbrother.” They’re still fighting that because they let it sit out there so long with the wrong title. But you could be right. I think it’s due to legal trouble. I think somebody named Fairweather threatened to sue. That’s what I think.
Andrew: Let’s move on. What else is there to – oh, one other thing real quick. On Hypable, we did this fun gallery. We photoshopped the Harry Potter covers. We recreated them as if they were made in the style of the Casual Vacancy cover.
Eric: I saw this. This was cool.
Andrew: Yeah, it turned out really well. And it was so funny because people actually really liked the covers.
Micah: I’m telling you, you have a business here, Andrew.
Andrew: But we only spent like a half hour making them. And it just goes to show you…
Micah: So did the people at The Casual Vacancy.
Andrew: That’s exactly my point. That just goes to show you how simple the Casual Vacancy cover actually was.
Eric: I think we just insulted an artist. Some artist is sitting there in the world, and when he hears our critique, he’s going to be like, “No! That was the best ballot box ever!”
Andrew: Yeah. The one comment I did not expect on this article is, “Oh, I’d actually really want to buy these.” [laughs] I did not expect that at all. So, that was cool. If you go to Hypable, you can do a search for “Harry Potter Casual Vacancy book covers,” something like that. It’ll show up. Anyway, let’s move on now.
News: Slytherin Gets Early Access to Pottermore Book 2
Micah: Well, the other big piece of news was that Chamber of Secrets has now opened on Pottermore. Slytherin, who won the House Cup for the inaugural year of Pottermore, got early access – only 24 hours of early access – to Chamber of Secrets. And I know on the last episode, which is now lost, we were kind of debating when this was all going to open up.
Andrew: And I was right.
Micah: Yeah, you were.
Andrew: For the record.
Micah: You said about a week or so, right?
Andrew: Yeah. We knew it was inni – immi – immin – imminimminimminent.
Eric: [laughs] It was the first day of Ascendio, I think. It was that morning. [laughs] It opened up, and I was like, “Well, I won’t get to that this weekend.”
Eric: But oh well.
Andrew: So, what do you guys – is that what we’re talking about first? Chamber of Secrets?
Eric: Well, hang on…
Andrew: Guide us, Micah. Be our leader.
Eric: Okay, so the book opened, right, but we only have four chapters, right?
Eric: You can’t…
Andrew: Which was a bit of a let down.
Eric: What is that? What are they doing? It’s one thing to taper the books off and not give us any release dates. Then when they say Chamber of Secrets is going to open, and it opens, but it’s only the first four chapters – what are they doing?
Andrew: Well, they said that the next four, I think, are coming soon and then they’ll release the rest in the third part. Or maybe it’s more than four in the second part.
Eric: But they’re toying with us!
Andrew: I know.
Eric: Andrew, I just feel like my heart is on a string and they’re dangling it in front of a three-headed dog or something.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah. On the other hand though, I think it is good to space it out in three parts, because otherwise people will blow through the whole thing in an hour and then they have to wait another six months for Prisoner of Azkaban. That’s just a guess. I don’t know if that’s when POA is coming out.
Eric: I guess I can see that.
Andrew: You know, I was pretty impressed with the first four chapters. One of the first things I noticed was – is this what we’re talking about, Micah? Or should we talk about Slytherin first or something?
Micah: No, no, just keep going. That’s fine.
Andrew: Okay. I need you as our leader. One of the first things I noticed was the artwork. I think the artwork is very much improved. There are some beautiful pieces of Harry and Dobby, Harry in the Dursley’s backyard, Number Four Privet Drive – the front of it, just some really nice artwork that I think was a step up over Sorcerer’s Stone.
Eric: Now, I have a question about Harry and Dobby in this artwork, because didn’t J.K. Rowling say – now, I haven’t seen this Chamber of Secrets yet so maybe that of course would answer it ñ but didn’t Jo say that these artworks, these scenes, wouldn’t have characters in them simply because she doesn’t want to…
Andrew: Well, they don’t.
Eric: She doesn’t want to interfere with people’s interpretation. So…
Andrew: Yes, they do, but you never see their faces.
Eric: Oh, so it’s like the back of their head or…
Andrew: Right. Always the back of the head, or in the case of Dobby you see the top of his head and you see his long nose but you don’t really see his facial features.
Andrew: Which is cool.
Micah: But I think in the fourth chapter, though, you get a pretty good look at Draco Malfoy if you zoom in to the fight that’s going on in Flourish and Blotts.
Andrew and Eric: Hmmm.
Andrew: But is it – let me look. Oh yeah, I see what you mean. But his beautiful blonde hair is kind of covering up – oh. Yeah, I see what you mean. Hmmm.
Eric: Yeah, it could be – it’s probably just an old decision that they’ve since revised, you know?
Micah: Well, one thing – go ahead.
Eric: Go ahead.
Andrew: There is a book covering his face, actually.
Eric: Oh okay. Yeah, I think that…
Micah: Well, one thing…
Eric: Go ahead.
Micah: No, it’s fine. Just finish.
Eric: Yeah, one of those stylistic choices that they made was to still keep it open, because they had to illustrate – a lot of this had to be illustrated, but they still wanted people’s own imagination to take over for the characters, so that’s why I remember. So, when you were saying, “There was Harry,” I was like, “Oh, how does that work?” But that’s cool.
Micah: One thing that I really took away from the first four chapters was that it’s very clear that this is being made for people who are experiencing the books possibly for the first time. And the reason why I say that is because there’s not a whole lot of new information in these first four chapters. There’s a couple of cool little games that they have where you have to keep the cake from hitting the floor when Aunt Petunia makes the cake and the Masons are over visiting. So, you have to play that little game. And then there’s also a game where you can de-gnome the Weasleys’ garden, which is fun. Probably the most fun of anything in those four chapters, because you can throw garden gnomes into the wall. But I really got that feeling overall that this is being made for somebody who is going through and experiencing the books for the first time. And we can talk a little bit about the new information that’s provided. It wasn’t a whole lot. The first was a little bit about technology in the wizarding world and how wizards use technology. Not to say that they can’t, but they don’t really have any interest in it because they have sort of an alternate means of doing the things that we need technology for. And then the second bit, which was more canon, was about the Malfoys and their backstory. And you get a real sense that the Malfoys actually had a very good relationship with Muggles early on, and they liked being a part of high class society and associating themselves with wealthier, regular, everyday people. They didn’t have to be wizards, but that perception on their end kind of changed over the years. It was really only to whatever benefited the Malfoy family at the end of the day. So, there’s some cool new pieces of information, but overall I didn’t think it was that satisfactory for the average fan.
Andrew: Yeah, it was structured very much – when I started taking notes it was very clear that the order of everything was very delicate. It was kind of like: game, new material, game, new material, game, new material. Now, what do you guys think of the addition of mini games? This is something I don’t think we really saw in Sorcerer’s Stone. Like Micah said, the de-gnoming and there was the other one to keep Aunt Petunia’s cake afloat.
Eric: Was this something you used the arrow keys for? How is this…
Andrew: No. It’s with the mouse. The de-gnoming was fun, but the physics were a bit weird, so you kind of had to practice to get the gnomes over the hedge…
Andrew: …which is the goal of the game.
Eric: Cleared thirty yards!
Andrew: Yeah, and the keeping the cake afloat, it was just sort of clicking, clicking, clicking. So, that really didn’t require much skill…
Andrew: …if you will.
Eric: I mean, I like that they’re trying new things, right?
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. It was a fun little thing. But I’ve got to say, in between these – these were the four highlights: the game for Aunt Petunia – the cake – the new material from Jo about technology, the game to de-gnome the garden, and then the new material from J.K. Rowling about the Malfoy family. And then there was one other thing where you had to click ingredients in a particular order. But that was it. Some of the moments were, again, like Sorcerer’s Stone struggled with, so boring. There was no new material, no games, barely anything to collect. There were a couple of things to collect, but as we’ve spoken about before, you collect these things and it’s like, “Okay, what am I doing this for?”
Andrew: Did you experience this too, Micah?
Micah: Yeah, that’s one of the major questions I think a lot of people have, is you’re collecting all these different ingredients or you’re collecting these books. You’re collecting these Frog cards, or Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. What is the purpose? What’s the end game for all that stuff that you’re collecting? Just to collect and have in your trunk? I don’t really understand it. So, I think that overall, because I don’t really care about technology and if wizards use it or not. It just lacked. People have been waiting so long to get into this book, especially the beta testers. I mean, you’re talking almost a year [laughs] at this point. So, I thought it was kind of underwhelming. I don’t want to be a downer in the sense that it wasn’t cool to get the backstory on the Malfoys, or to play those mini games. But like you said, I think there’s so much more from an informational standpoint that they could have done in those chapters, because every chapter is really broken down into three parts. And when you’re clicking through, and you’re zooming in and out, I just feel like there’s little pieces maybe that they could have thrown in. There’s information that’s there on characters and places and spells and things like that, but it’s not anything new to a person who has read the series. It’s just kind of – if Hedwig is there, this is who Hedwig is. And it’s nothing more, there’s no kind of backstory. So, I feel like there could be little pieces that are filled in more that would kind of complete it a little bit better, if that makes any sense.
Andrew: I agree. It’s something I think they’re always going to struggle with, because the whole concept of Pottermore I’m not sure is the best, something they can entirely fix. But look, I’m not going to sit here – I’m done putting down Pottermore, guys.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: We’ve done it for a year and that’s enough. [laughs]
Eric: No, I’m excited – I mean, on that note, if you’re – I think that the Muggles and technology piece will interest me. Anything from Jo will interest me. But…
Andrew: Why haven’t you done it yet, Eric?
Eric: I haven’t completed Book 1 yet, so I can’t.
Andrew: Oh. Yeah, that’s the other thing. Some people have been saying to me, like – I feel like Pottermore tech support sometimes. I get these @ replies at least once a day.
Andrew: Like, “How do you do this?” And a lot of people have been asking, “Why can’t I get into Chamber of Secrets?” and that’s exactly why. You have to complete Sorcerer’s Stone first, and the problem is half the people have not completed Sorcerer’s Stone, because after they get Sorted, they’re just like, “Oh okay.”
Eric: That was me. And I had a con to attend, as we’ve said before. But again, on that positive note, I did want to say, since you said there were four highlights of the first four chapters of Goblet of Fire, that’s roughly…
Andrew: Chamber of Secrets.
Eric: Or Chamber of Secrets. That’s roughly one good thing per chapter. And there are two hundred chapters in the Harry Potter books. One hundred ninety-eight, actually. So, maybe there really will be…
Andrew: There is a lot they have to do.
Andrew: I see what you’re saying.
Eric: Yeah, I’m saying…
Micah: I think…
Eric: Well, in general, if there is one cool thing per chapter in Pottermore, it could still…
Micah: It wasn’t per chapter, though.
Andrew: Yeah, it wasn’t per chapter.
Eric: Well, it wasn’t per chapter but I’m saying if it evens out. The first four chapters of Chamber of Secrets, you find four cool things about it, then maybe Pottermore could still be a success once all the books are done.
Micah: And yeah, Andrew, I agree with what you said. I’m not going to sit here and downplay the site any more. I think it’s very easy to criticize, especially because we’re more than the average fan, so I think we’re expecting more going into it than what it was really created for, and that is for people who are experiencing it for the first time. I mean, you have such a wide range of individuals who are going to be logging on to the site. And a lot of them have read the series more than once, are passionate about it, they want the new information. But at the end of the day, it was designed for, in a lot of cases, a younger kid who is going through and is experiencing this, free of charge, for the first time. And so I guess you can’t really knock that too much. Just this last bit on Pottermore, I thought it was kind of interesting that Slytherin got early access to Chamber of Secrets. Anybody else?
Andrew: Why is that?
Micah: Well, because the heir of Slytherin opened the Chamber of Secrets.
Eric: You’re saying it was rigged?
Micah: I’m just saying.
Micah: But I will say, I did like how they were able to make the house points invisible, in a way, about a week or so before the House Cup was announced so that people couldn’t see who was in the lead. And obviously all the houses were really getting after it, and Slytherin came out the winner. And they did a cool job announcing, I thought, with all of the different banners. And I did say on Twitter, back on June 25th before anything was official, I thought that the house that won the House Cup was going to get early access. I wonder if they’ll continue to do that, moving forward.
Andrew: You’re right. Yeah, I mean, it’s cool. Some people were disappointed because it was only 24 hours advance notice. Or 24 hours…
Eric: And they didn’t give a date, too. So, they were like, “Yes, you’ll get…”
Eric: “…24 hours before everybody else, but we’re not going to tell you when it is.”
Micah: Twenty-four to only four chapters, by the way. [laughs]
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Eric: Yeah. But…
Eric: What was I going to say? Oh yeah, the other funny thing about Slytherin winning the House Cup is that Slytherin had a long history of winning the House Cup every year until Harry came to Hogwarts. So, that was pretty cool.
MuggleCast 255 Transcript (continued)
News: Deathly Hallows Ultimate Editions Announced
Micah: Another interesting piece of news: there was an announcement that the Ultimate Editions for Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 and 2 are going to be released. We don’t have an official date, but Amazon Germany listed October, generally, as a time where it’s going to be released there, so it’s possible that it’s released in the U.S. before. But a little bit of a suspect timing because you would expect that they would have been released before the Wizard’s Collection, and now the fact that they’re being made might deter some people from going out there and purchasing this Wizard’s Collection because it’s really a lot of the Ultimate Editions rolled into this collector’s set.
Andrew: Yeah, and one of the things they announced, actually, recently – we haven’t discussed either – is there’s a new one-on-one interview with J.K. Rowling and the series’ screenwriter Steve Kloves. And this is just like the one-on-one between Harry Potter and Dan Radcliffe. I don’t know when they shot this, but I am so excited because…
Micah: You mean J.K. Rowling?
Micah: You said Harry Potter and Dan Radcliffe. [laughs]
Andrew: Oh right.
Micah: Which would be an interesting conversation.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: That would be a very interesting conversation.
Eric: I imagine it being like Smeagol in Lord of the Rings, only it’s…
Andrew: I think this was around the same time as the Dan Radcliffe/J.K. Rowling one because…
Micah: It looks the same.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. But it looks so good and there’s a little sample clip online they released already, where J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves are talking about the trio and writing the trio, and they dive a little bit into Ron and how he grew. I just think this is fantastic because you have the book writer and the movie writer, one-on-one, no other interviewer. Amazing. I’m so excited for that.
Eric: The stories about those two first meeting, I think that David Heyman told even too, Jo was so nervous meeting Steve Kloves because here is this guy who is going to literally tear apart her writing and write his own stuff.
Eric: But they connected instantly. So, that will be evident I think in this interview.
Micah: And he’s American, so that might have scared her even more.
Eric: Does it justify the $350 to $575 cost? I don’t know. But it will be interesting.
Announcement: LeakyCon 2012
Andrew: So, that is it for news. Just a quick reminder: again, we’re going to be at LeakyCon in Chicago, August 9th to the 12th. We’re going to be a live podcast which will be released. That will be our next – that will be Episode 256. And we will also be doing a meetup there. They’re calling it a signing, but it’s a meetup. And those are the two things – I think MuggleNet is also going to have a booth in the vendor room, right?
Eric: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: And there’s going to be a lot of MuggleNet staff there.
Eric: Yeah. If not everybody, then most everybody.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: Micah has been working on the travel stuff [laughs] and it’s pretty intense.
Andrew: Cool. I’m looking forward to seeing everybody, and they can all throw apples at me.
Eric: Like MacBooks?
Andrew: Bananas? I don’t know. What do you throw at somebody you despise?
Eric: Oh, they don’t despise you.
Micah: Nobody despises you.
Eric: I’m pretty sure we all have Hypable set to our homepage.
Andrew: Hey, listen, listen, I just hope there better be – if there is a MuggleNet party, I better damn well be invited.
Micah: You’re hosting it, didn’t you know? [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, didn’t you? [laughs]
Andrew: Oh, I’m hosting the MuggleNet party? Oh. So anyway, that’s the main thing we wanted to just plug. That’s really the last thing coming up for us for the summer.
Pottermore Discussion: What Do We Want to Learn More About in Book 2?
Andrew: But the rest of the show, we’re going to talk more about Pottermore, and this is something we talked about on the first take of this episode but then it changed since we got the first few chapters. We want to talk about what we want to learn more about in Chamber of Secrets and we have a small list here to go through.
Eric: So, you say Pottermore currently ends at Flourish and Blotts?
Andrew: Chapter 4.
Eric: Is that the Flourish and Blotts chapter?
Micah: I believe so.
Eric: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s called…
Micah: Or it might not be…
Eric: …”Flourish and Blotts.”
Micah: Oh okay. Yeah.
Andrew: I think that’s right. Yeah, it is called – it’s called “At Flourish and Blotts.”
Eric: Yes! Memory! Woo!
Andrew: So, there’s a couple of things we wanted – what we hope to see in Chamber of Secrets going forward. New material, specifically. The first person: Gilderoy Lockhart.
Andrew: And we actually…
Micah: The Harry Potter series’ metrosexual, I think we’ve called him in the past.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: Have we really? That’s fantastic.
Micah: I think we have, yeah, on an older episode, when we did a character analysis of him.
Andrew: That’s fantastic.
Eric: I think at one point he is described as having very effeminate hands or something, but that’s the only thing I can remember that has anything to do with why we would have mentioned that before.
Andrew: What would you like to hear about him in Pottermore? More of his stories of his actual travels, maybe a sample from a couple of his books?
Eric: Yeah, both! Both of the above. I want to know how he was able to – I mean, because really it’s not – it’s a conscious decision to steal somebody else’s work, and the only thing about him that’s real is that little bit that we get in the Harry Potter books. In Chamber of Secrets, when he’s about to wipe Harry’s memory clean. At the very, very, very end, where he’s like, “I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if people didn’t think I’d actually done that stuff,” time to die, that kind of thing. That was so short, but the little bit of Lockhart that we got there was very scary, very evil, and I’d like to know more about that guy that we only – most of the time it’s this public facade. “Oh, you’ve got to help me sign my fan mail, Harry.” We need to know…
Micah: Well, I think he really believes that though, in a way. He’s very pompous in that sense, isn’t he?
Eric: Yeah, he’s just such an interesting character and really the – when he was revisited, many people – it’s easy to forget this. In St. Mungo’s, in Book 5, he does make an appearance. But it just seems like that wasn’t enough resolution. I still want to know more about that character. He’s just one of the several very well-written characters who only serves a purpose in one of the books, but stays with you forever. So, I want to know more about him.
Micah: Yeah, I think backstory, definitely. That’s what everybody wants, at the end of day. How did he come to be that type of an individual? What House was he in? What did he learn that allowed him to overpower such accomplished wizards…
Micah: …and be able to perform these Memory Charms? Certainly, some of them would have provided some level of resistance to what he was trying to do and then, like you were saying, Eric, what happened to him? Because we don’t hear anything about him after Order of the Phoenix. Did he just spend his life wandering around St. Mungo’s or did he recover part of his memory, all of his memory? What’s the deal?
Andrew: Another thing people are looking forward to or hoping for is Dobby, and even though we’re introduced to Dobby in the first four chapters of Chamber of Secrets, we do see him – like I mentioned earlier, there’s the artwork of Dobby but we don’t get any actual new material. I think there’s a small character page that has basic information but it’s all things we’ve already learned. So, when could we learn about Dobby?
Eric: [sighs] You know…
Micah: It may not be until Deathly Hallows, ultimately, because…
Micah: …I don’t know if you’re allowed, from an editorial standpoint, to put in things that haven’t occurred yet in the series. I think we touched on this on the episode that we recorded previously. Are you allowed to include that kind of information? Because you don’t want to give away the fact that a character is killed six books later or five books later.
Eric: Well, there are things they can say that don’t involve – prior to his death, [laughs] Dobby was this great elf. But it’ll just stink if that’s true, Micah. It’ll just stink seeing Dobby in Book 4 with S.P.E.W. and all these other books. He’s in it like every book. I don’t want to say he’s annoying, but to keep seeing him pop up and to not have any more backstory on him would be troublesome. However, we don’t even actually know that he belongs to the Malfoy family until the end of this book. So, what I would like to know more about regarding Dobby is what life was like for him at the Malfoy Manor, before he very obviously left, and I don’t think we’ll get that until the end of the book. But I do fully expect it at the end of this book because once it’s revealed that Dobby is the Malfoy’s house-elf, I think she could tell us a lot of stuff – again, without spoiling the fact of his fate of what happens in later books – because it’s all backstory, so it wouldn’t get in the way necessarily.
Micah: Yeah. No, that’s a good point.
Andrew: Tom Riddle’s diary. Now, this is something else that we’re introduced to in the first four chapters of the actual book…
Andrew: …but there’s really no mention of it. I think in this case, though, it is a little too early to be learning about Tom Riddle’s diary. Definitely…
Micah: Because it’s a Horcrux?
Andrew: Well, because it’s a Horcrux and because it plays a larger role later in the book, and maybe for spoiler purposes you don’t want to learn about this until Harry learns about it.
Andrew: So, maybe towards the end when he does realize – or maybe when it’s destroyed. Maybe that’s when J.K. Rowling will divulge a little bit more information about it.
Eric: I don’t want to sound sexist here, but I’ve always wondered why Tom Riddle, the darkest, evil-most wizard ever, kept a diary.
Andrew: Even the manliest of men have their own little…
Eric: Well, it is – it could be a journal, right? But that might just be something that kids that age – that British young men, strapping young lads did, was kept a journal. But it’s always been interesting to me because I just didn’t see him as much of an introvert. Well, maybe I did. Never mind.
Andrew: How about Aragog?
Eric: People hate Aragog.
Andrew: Yeah, I don’t want to learn more about him. I don’t really care.
Eric: People really don’t like Aragog.
Andrew: Maybe some history about the Forbidden Forest or living in the Forbidden Forest. Maybe that would be interesting, but I’ve always just been turned off by Aragog. I’m scared just as much as Ron is of him.
Eric: Somebody said to me the other day, too, “My favorite part in Movie 6 is when the spider is dead.” I’m like, “That’s not even…”
Andrew: That’s your favorite part?
Eric: Yeah! “When the spider is dead, because then I can relax and sleep better at night.” And I’m like, “Well, okay.” They were like, “Yeah, the third, fourth, fifth movies I was all really uncomfortable because I thought the spider was going to come out, and then when it died I was like…
Eric: …okay, thank God.” So, I don’t know. People really don’t like Aragog. Yeah, there’s not much to tell – I guess that’s…
Micah: Yeah, I think we got a lot of his story, right, in the book?
Eric: In the books, in the books. His story, as much as we need to know. Maybe I’d like to know why he just wants to eat Harry and Ron. “Goodbye, friends of Hagrid. We will not deny flesh when it comes so willingly into our forest,” what kind of made him an asshole like that. But he’s just an animal.
Eric: He’s just an animal. He’s just got to – he’s a predator. Kind of got to go with that. I don’t think there’s a whole lot more we can learn about him. But I don’t know…
Micah: But don’t they eat bugs? They eat other bugs, why do they want to eat humans?
Eric: Well, the big bugs.
Andrew: Because they’re so tasty.
Eric: Do you know how many bugs they’d have to eat to make-up for what a human…
Micah: [laughs] That’s true.
Eric: …would give them?
Micah: They could capture a centaur or two.
Andrew: How about the next one, Moaning Myrtle and her death? Who wrote about it? Tell us why you want to see that. Who wrote this one down?
Eric: I must have written that one down. I want to see it because it’s a fascinating story. I want to know how – first of all, how Tom Riddle found the Chamber of Secrets, because Harry finds it because he has Moaning Myrtle, but I want to know how Tom found it the first time. How he could do that much research into his ancestor, Salazar Slytherin, and how he could actually locate it through the – via the tap in a girls’ bathroom. I want to know – that’s the story I want to know. So, Moaning Myrtle is included in that story, obviously, because she was in the wrong place. She happened to be in front of the entrance at the wrong time. But just in general, the greater story I want to know about is how young Voldemort found the Chamber and, I guess, what the repercussions of her death were, because that was a very serious time at Hogwarts when Myrtle died.
Micah: Yeah, and also this is the first time Voldemort, Tom Riddle, whatever you want to call him, creates a Horcrux. It’s the diary that is created into a Horcrux through Moaning Myrtle’s death. So, you get a little bit more backstory there would certainly, I think, be interesting. And also, how did the Basilisk get into the school initially? Because we’re assuming it’s the same Basilisk that’s attacking students in Chamber of Secrets that were attacking students back when Tom Riddle was in school. Was it always there? Did Slytherin put it there?
Eric: If you use the movies as a clue you see all the rat skulls, so it was just feeding on rats for presumedly the last thousand years since Salazar put it there.
Micah: Damn, that is one old snake.
Eric: That’s a lot of rats. But – sorry. Yeah, a lot of that backstory would be cool.
Andrew: Moving along here. Lost my spot in the doc.
Eric: It’s also really tough – sorry, it’s also really tough to create a basilisk. I think we’re given – somewhere it says in the books that you have to hatch a chicken egg beneath a frog or something, and that creates…
Andrew: Oh, that’s easy. I…
Eric: [laughs] Well, there are chickens and then there are toads both running around the Burrow all the time, so I think – there was some speculation early on that the Burrow would have a basilisk attack.
Andrew: How about the Sword of Gryffindor? I mean, that could potentially have a ton of history. How it was acquired, how Dumbledore acquired it, making the duplicate in Deathly Hallows, which means we probably won’t…
Eric: Yeah, it’s probably more of a Deathly Hallows thing.
Andrew: …hear about it for a while. Yeah.
Eric: I was surprised that it had so much backstory, because Harry and Griphook get into who really owns it, wizards or goblins and stuff. But that’s all Book 7, so I don’t know. Maybe more about the Sorting Hat, because the Sorting Hat makes a pretty big reappearance in a couple of scenes in Book 2.
Andrew: All right. And we’re rounding up the end of the list here. How about Fawkes? Fawkes I could see actually appearing in Chamber of Secrets. The history, maybe.
Micah: Yeah, how did Dumbledore first come by him? Or how did Fawkes find Dumbledore?
Andrew: Yeah. Fawkes is one of my favorite creatures.
Eric: Yeah. He’s very majestic, and named after a criminal who tried to blow up Parliament, so that’s pretty cool.
Andrew: Ooh, I didn’t know that.
Eric: Well yeah, Guy Fawkes. Have you seen V for Vendetta?
Andrew: Oh right, got it. Yes, I have.
Eric: So, Guy Fawkes Day is a celebration that involves lots of fireworks, and then they burn Guy Fawkes’ effigy. But I assume that’s where the name comes from.
Micah: And how about just the overall creation of the Chamber of Secrets itself? How did Salazar Slytherin build this massive chamber with nobody else noticing? Or did the other founders notice what was going on but just kind of paid it no attention, just kind of the basement of Hogwarts? [laughs]
Eric: This is the thing, all of the founders seem almost superhuman in their ability to come together and construct a school. And I guess the movies created this – like a fifth character, the architect. But really, if you’re thinking about these wizards who are moving time and space to build this castle, I would love to hear more of a story about how they do that. Like you were saying, how does Salazar dig this tunnel for just his descendant to open, and how does he keep it secret from everybody else to the point where no one believes it exists?
Andrew: Maybe a new mini game where you get to dig the tunnel…
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: …and then you get to learn that way.
Eric: But only Slytherins! Only Slytherins get to do that.
Andrew: Right, right.
Micah: But that’s the thing, though. Did the founders build Hogwarts, or are there wizard and witch architects out there, or are there creatures that are particularly adept at building something like Hogwarts?
Eric: I think they got the house-elves to do it, just like in Egypt.
Micah: Right, so did Slytherin confound or pay off a group of witches and wizards to create the Chamber of Secrets kind of separate from what else was going on at Hogwarts when it was being built?
Eric: And then killed them all? Yeah, well I want to know who laid the first brick, right? I mean, that’s the real exciting thing, like this castle has been there for a thousand years. We know next to nothing about the people who founded it. So, I don’t know when the time is right, but maybe she’ll do this, maybe she’ll do – the founders will each have a series in Pottermore. Obviously, Ravenclaw doesn’t really appear until the very, very end, Deathly Hallows and the like. But Salazar Slytherin…
Micah: And Hufflepuff doesn’t appear at all.
Eric: And Hufflepuff not at all. She’ll have to work that in somehow. As a Pottermore-puff, I demand it. But I think Chamber of Secrets could very easily be a Salazar Slytherin backstory type of experience. And the time would be right for it. I don’t think there’s a better time to really delve into Salazar Slytherin than dealing with why he looks so much like a monkey at the end of this book.
Andrew: And then finally the Whomping Willow. That seems like – I mean, we’re coming up on that – if Chamber of Secrets releases the next batch of chapters in the next few weeks like they say, we have to learn something about that. I mean, how can you not?
Eric: Well, I think it’s more of a Book 3 thing if you’re going to really talk about it. The Whomping Willow – even though it’s…
Andrew: Oh, hiding? Right, I see what you’re saying.
Eric: Yeah, it’s introduced in Chamber of Secrets, it’s the brilliance of J.K.R.’s writing that she uses it again and it has a much bigger purpose than just stopping flying cars. So yeah, I think, just the way these moments go, “Oh! Da da da da, a diary. Da da da da, ran into a tree.” It’s not going to be important until the third book. I don’t think so. I mean, I could be totally wrong.
Andrew: Well, if you have any ideas about any of these items, or maybe one we did not bring up, feel free to visit MuggleCast.com, click on “Contact Us”, and let us know what you hope to see in Chamber of Secrets. And maybe, just maybe, we will talk about it on the next episode that we record at LeakyCon. Or if you’re going to LeakyCon, have your answer prepared, and just say it to us face to face. And if it’s bad, then we can laugh at you.
Micah: Yeah, I think when we got some Twitter responses for the last show, they were pretty consistent with a lot of what we just mentioned.
Muggle Mail: Pottermore Accessibility Issues
Andrew: They were, yeah. Let’s move on now to e-mails. This first one is from Leah, 22 of Sydney. She actually talks a little bit about Pottermore.
“Hi guys. In relation to the accessibility features Jim wrote in about last episode, I’ve been having somewhat less important but frustrating problems of my own with accessing Pottermore. My main computer device is actually an iPad as I’m on public transport a lot. I thought it would be amazing to go through Pottermore during my morning and evening commute to work but unfortunately as the site uses Flash I can’t access most of the content. Do you think it’s realistic to hope for a Pottermore app for iPad or a more compatible site? Love your work, guys.”
Thank you. I think in the future – Charlie Redmayne, the Pottermore CEO has said he wants Pottermore everywhere. He even said he wants it on seatbacks on the planes. You know you sit and you order your drink on the plane? He wants it there, too. So, I think it’s safe to say that eventually it will be on the iPad. But you’re right. I mean, they have to get over that Flash barrier, and lord knows how they’re going to do that, so it may actually take a while.
Micah: Yeah, and I know Jim, when he wrote into the last episode, was enquiring specifically about having some sort of visual impairment or being legally blind and having difficulty using the site. So, hopefully they’re able to figure that out within the next couple of weeks or months because there’s certainly a large group of people out there that are in Jim’s situation that would like to be using Pottermore just like everybody else.
Eric: I think Jim Dale should narrate Pottermore. What do you guys think?
Andrew: That would be awesome. [laughs] Micah, do you want to read the next e-mail? This is a prediction one. I love these.
Muggle Mail: Jamie’s Correct Prediction
Micah: The next e-mail comes from Betty Bae, 21, from Seoul, Korea, and she says:
Hi! I’ve been listening again to the really early episodes starting from Episode 1, and on Episode 34, while talking about the school song, Jamie makes a comment about how the Weasley twins singing the school song to a funeral march and how it could be foreshadowing disaster for the Weasley family. He was actually spot on because Fred died. What do you guys think?
I love the show, I’ve been listening since single-digit episodes.”
Andrew: I love these kind of things where we see into the future.
Andrew: We make accurate predictions. By “we,” I mean Jamie and everybody else. Not me. Actually, I think I got one.
Eric: You got one. I think we all had at least one throughout the years. But I also love hearing from listeners who’ve been listening this long to us. And if only there were a straight shot from Korea to Chicago so she could be at LeakyCon, because we’re celebrating seven years.
Micah: Maybe she will be there. We don’t know.
Eric: Maybe. But regarding the Weasley twins, yeah that’s one of those things where in retrospect, you’re like, “Oh, I wonder if they put the nail in their own coffin by singing a funeral march version of the Hogwarts school song.”
Micah: [laughs] I think the fact that we theorized for ninety-nine episodes leading up to Deathly Hallows, if we didn’t get at least a few things right…
Micah: …then we should just hang it up and try something else.
Eric: Now, occasionally we do get these e-mails though, and it’s like, “Hey, Ben said this,” or “Micah said this.” I mean, wasn’t one of our episodes titled “Micah Gets Results,” because you were right about Jo and Pottermore? Or Jo just in general responding to things in a timely fashion? So yeah, we had a lot of fun, those first hundred episodes, predicting what would happen.
Muggle Mail: Harry Potter Encyclopedia
Andrew: Next e-mail. Eric, do you want to read that one?
Eric: Comes from Jimmi from Virginia:
“So, if everything is released, then there isn’t going to be an encyclopedia. But what about those of us (I am not a gamer, I don’t have the time to do Pottermore) who don’t get the game because of whatever the reason (costs, etc.) or those of us who don’t use Pottermore for whatever reason (I already spend too much time online)? I want a physical book because I feel like sitting down and reading a book is worthwhile but a game or a website is not. Just my feelings! Thanks for the episodes, keep it up.”
So, this is somebody who really just doesn’t want to do a video game or a website, who wants a book. Is he S.O.L.? How do we do this? Because I guess the news comes – Jo keeps changing what she’s saying about whether or not there will ever be an encyclopedia. So, what do you guys think?
Andrew: My heartstrings just can’t take it anymore. I think there will still be an encyclopedia. It’s just going to be a while. I mean, we’ve kind of talked about this already. I just think that there will be one, but first J.K. Rowling wants to please her people. And that involves Sony, and branching off of that Pottermore, and now Book of Spells. So, it’s going to be a while unfortunately, and it sucks. But I’ve ranted about this before.
Eric: I think it comes down to how big a Harry Potter fan you are. I think it’s – in a way it’s fair to say if you’re not on Pottermore you’re not as big a Harry Potter fan as those who are. I mean, there’s different degrees of fans but I’m looking at myself – directly at myself – when I say this, and I haven’t completed Book 1 on Pottermore yet. And so, as a result – I mean, there’s information on there I know I will want to read and it is a matter of finding the time to do it. But ultimately if I am – I realize that if I’m ever going to read that stuff, I actually have to go online and do it. And so I’m going to make the time to do it.
Eric: When the game comes out, if I have to maybe rent the equipment – the Book of Spells, the Wonderbook. If I have to rent it maybe as opposed to buying it, I’ll do that or maybe somebody will be aggregating it online where you can just read all the spell information, which would be a massive task but it would be the way I would read it. But ultimately, as a Harry Potter fan, I’m drawn to this information. And ultimately, I’m not saying I’m going to buy the game, but I’m going to find a way to make it work because I really do want to experience Potter in all these new ways. I think it’s actually exciting that they’re doing these new different ways other than books. Not to say I wouldn’t want a book, but it’s kind of like you have to accept that this is where J.K. Rowling is going with her new stuff. If you are at all interested in reading that stuff, you’re going to have to suck it up in a little way. What do you guys think?
Micah: I agree with you though to a certain extent because I think what is being said here by Jimmi is what a lot of people feel, and that is the content is being put in very select areas. So, if you don’t own a PS3 how are you going to enjoy a Book of Spells and get the new information on the spells that are going to be included in this game, right? And if you’re not somebody who’s very much interested in going online and doing Pottermore, how are you going to get the information that’s contained within Pottermore? So, I understand the need and the desire to have an actual book where you can go and get all this information. It’s kind of a one stop shop. And I think the reality, though, is that people got into reading because of Harry Potter and because of the story that was created by J.K. Rowling, and now it seems like everything is moving to digital. All the information is…
Andrew: Which is a shame.
Micah: …being put in a digital space. Because how many interviews has J.K. Rowling done where she’s said – one of the biggest things is that she hopes that because of writing these books that not only will people read and children read, but also move on to other books and other series as a result of that. So – but now you’re putting everything in a digital space, so…
Eric: Well, I guess there is a little bit of a difference between the game and Pottermore, which is that Pottermore is free. The game is going to cost you like $400. Nobody is denying that, okay? Pottermore, though, is free. Even though it’s in a digital space, it is still things that you can read presented in a pretty easy to find format.
Andrew: And people can access it at their libraries, et cetera. You can get onto a computer in most cases.
Micah: And it’s in other places.
Andrew: I know not everybody can. Yeah, right.
Micah: The sites like MuggleNet and Hypable and Leaky and so on and so forth, they’re all going to promote and push this content in different ways. So yeah, it’s out there. I’m sure there’s a wiki out there that lists everything that’s been released on Pottermore since it opened. So yeah, there is that, but it’s not the same. And I know, Andrew, [laughs] you’ve talked about this at times. It’s not the same as holding a physical book in your hands.
Andrew: Right, that’s the thing, and J.K. Rowling started with the book and that’s why we all loved her so much. It’s always been about the book, and now Sony is kind of – is dirtying her, if you will.
Muggle Mail: House Sortings
Andrew: Let’s move on now, next e-mail. Erica, 26, of Indiana:
“Hey MuggleCast! When I was sorted on Pottermore I was put into Hufflepuff. It seems right for me right now at 26, but the more I got to thinking about how I was sorted the more I thought Hufflepuff would not have been the right house for me at eleven years old when I would have actually been sorted at Hogwarts – I know my answers to some questions would have been different. So, a couple weeks ago I made another account…”
“…and answered the questions like I would have as an eleven-year-old as best as I could. I was sorted into Gryffindor that time. It made sense to me because at eleven years old I would say I definitely had more characteristics for Gryffindor than any other house. Has anyone else done this or think they would have been sorted differently as an eleven-year-old child versus now? Would love to hear your thoughts on this!”
That’s an interesting question. I think it’s spot on because you really are a different person when you’re eleven years old. An entirely different person at eleven years old. So, I hope that the Sorting Hat – in the books, not so much on Pottermore because it’d be impossible – I hope that the Sorting Hat in the books actually, when it’s inside your head, is looking into your future, looking at who you are going to develop into.
Eric: Yeah. I mean, it’s just so weird because I didn’t even know about Harry Potter until I was thirteen. So, thinking of how much that one thing alone has changed me, I was or would’ve been or could’ve been a totally different person. So, I do think it changes. I do think what house you would be in changes a lot with the age and experience, how you would react. Maybe the Hat does know who you’ll be, but maybe not.
Micah: But the other thing is we’re all getting sorted at an age older than eleven. So, the house at that time that you’re determined to be in is as an eleven-year-old and it ultimately shapes who you become. So, none of us actually went through the process at eleven years old, went to Hogwarts, [laughs] and are now graduates and can say that, “Actually, today I’m more of this than that.” But I had a choice, I could either go into Ravenclaw or Slytherin. So, I wonder at eleven years old, would I have had the same choice? To sway the Sorting Hat one way or another? Or would I have been in a different house altogether? It’s a great question though.
Eric: It depends on if you liked the color green [laughs] when you were eleven, I think.
Eric: I mean, that’s really what those things come down to when you’re that young, when you make choices. It can be simply because you like a certain color.
Chicken Soup for the MuggleCast Soul
Andrew: We’re going to wrap up today with a quick Chicken Soup. This is from Sarah F., 27, of Wisconsin. She says:
“Hi MuggleCast. A while ago as I walked to and from classes in college you helped me survive the Wisconsin winters. Now you are helping me through another ‘winter’ in my life. I now get to spend my long drives to and from work, and my long days on the couch recovering from chemo with the help of MuggleCast. I’m catching up on the three-year break I had from you guys (life just got in the way of MuggleCast). But I think it was fate because I needed those episodes more now than I did then. Thanks for keeping me company!”
Well thank you, Sarah, and I hope your chemo continues to go well. And hey, lots of episodes – I noticed – somebody said to me last night, “I checked out of MuggleCast after Book 7 came out.” I was like, “Oh. Well, aren’t you something?” [laughs] But hey, now people like Sarah get to listen to a whole backlog of episodes. I mean, there’s a good – we just did the math earlier in the show. There’s a good 155 episodes since the release of Book 7.
Micah: Yeah, and it’s really kind of inspiring in a way to hear that we’re able to help you get through something as difficult as fighting cancer.
Micah: Obviously, we all hope you have a speedy recovery.
Eric: Yeah. What it comes down to is that we share in our passion for Harry. Harry is something so widespread that we all connect with, and we connect with each other because of it. So, we’re just really happy to hear that we can help.
Andrew: You can connect with us on the MuggleCast website.
Eric: Nice transition!
Andrew: Go to MuggleCast.com, you can click on “Contact Us” to e-mail in maybe a Chicken Soup, a thought about today’s show. Then also on the right side of the site, you can find our Twitter, Facebook and fan Tumblr, as well as our iTunes and a link to download the most recent episode. I want to do a quick plug for a new podcast on Hypable. It’s called The Rotoscopers and it’s a fan podcast all about animation films, so anything Disney does, Pixar does, Dreamworks – and the three hosts are absolutely fantastic. I have to say – [laughs] besides us, of course…
Andrew: …I think they are a fantastic threesome, if you will, in podcasting. So, check out The Rotoscopers if you love animation films – animated films. They talk about all of them, including – well, I’m sure this will be on an upcoming episode – there’s news that there’s going to be a Finding Nemo 2.
Andrew: Which I personally am very excited for.
Micah: I thought you found him once. How can you find him again?
Andrew: Well, this is a good point. Maybe it’s a prequel. I don’t know, that still wouldn’t make sense. I don’t know.
Andrew: Maybe he’ll get a GPS this time.
Andrew: Or a tracking device.
Micah: Yeah, and MuggleNet has two new – well, not really new anymore – Harry Potter podcasts that they’ve created. One is called Alohomora!, which is hosted by MuggleNet staff members Rosie, Kat, Noah and Caleb, and it’s really an in depth re-read – similar to, I guess in a way, our Chapter-by-Chapter where they go through the books of the series. It’s a global re-read, as they’ve called it, and it’s really interactive. They try to have a guest host on that’s a regular listener of the show to discuss the series with them. And if you’re one of those people that’s really analytical and likes to theorize, even long after the books have been out, definitely take a listen to Alohomora!. And then there’s MuggleNet Academia where MuggleNet staff member Keith Hawk sits down with the Hogwarts Professor John Granger and goes through a number of different topics in the Harry Potter world. Anything from linguistics and translations, to the role of the legal system in the Harry Potter films, so it’s much more of an academic twist on things but another good listen, for sure. So, check both of those out.
Micah: And you can get links to them on MuggleNet.com.
Eric: Micah, you…
Micah: And really quick…
Micah: Go ahead.
Eric: You had transcript news too?
Micah: Yeah, I was just going to plug this real quick because the team that we have here at MuggleCast, the transcription team, has done a really amazing job putting together transcripts for all of our episodes. Not just the 255, but the off ones that we’ve done at different conventions, and specials that we’ve done throughout, interviews that we’ve had with guests like David Heyman and David Yates, Oliver Phelps, Warwick Davis, the list goes on. So, I just want to take a quick moment to thank them. So, let me just thank them really quickly. Tracey, who leads up the entire team, has done an amazing job, as well as Arialle, Elise, Eric, Lakshmi, Laura, Laura, Mariam, Olivia, Shana, Aldrin, Alexandra, Caroline, Conrad, Desta, Dilara, Elly, Emily, Emily, Heather, Jean, Kristin, Kristina, Leah, Liam, Marissa, Maritza, Matt, Maxine, Niki, PJ, Rachel, Rachel, Shannon, Shelby, Siobhan – is that how you pronounce that? Do you know?
Andrew: That sounds about right.
Andrew: Well, you just redefined it.
Micah: …[laughs] Tara, Tim, Victoria, and that’s it.
Andrew: And Micah.
Micah: [laughs] No, no, I just put them up.
Eric: I think that’s pretty fitting that there’s 255 episodes of MuggleCast and…
Micah: [laughs] 255 transcribers.
Eric: …255 transcribers. [laughs]
Micah: And anyone I left off I do apologize, but I was just reading off the transcriber bio page.
Andrew: That’s everybody on the staff page.
Andrew: Actually, I just have a new idea for a new podcast. Micah just reads names from a list.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: That was so fascinating to see him do that. It was so eloquent and yet crazy. I don’t know what I’m saying.
Andrew: Hey, I – okay, go ahead.
Micah: But yeah, I do encourage everybody to check out this page. We feature these interviews that we’ve done with some of the cast and crew, as well as others from the Harry Potter films. And if you’re not entirely sure who they are by name, there’s photos up of them now, so you can just click on their photo and it takes you to the interview that they did with us over the years.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s a nice little feature. I have one more plug, I’m sorry.
Andrew: This just happens sometimes. I think I’ve talked before, I started a podcast about a year ago called HYPE – not to be confused with Hypable, but HYPE. It’s like a general BS, odd topics…
Micah: Don’t call it BS, you’re plugging it.
Andrew: No, no, no. We just talk about whatever. It’s a really loose…
Micah: I’ve been on the show.
Andrew: …uncensored, unedited show. So anyway, recently we started – and I know this is going to sound a bit foreign to some people, but we actually turned it into a subscription podcast whereby for $3.99 a month you’re getting four to five episodes a month, which is something we don’t do for any of the other podcasts. And these episodes usually last a good – I mean, lately they’ve been an hour fifteen, an hour and a half. So, if you are interested in hearing more from me and various other people involved – I would like to get Micah and Eric, you two, involved in the show in the future.
Micah: I’ve been on your show!
Andrew: Visit HypePodcast.com. It’s basically a general entertainment podcast, but we talk about world stories as well. We talk about various entertainment stories. The good thing about it being weekly is that we’re really on top of news as soon as it happens. We talk about a lot of stuff. I confess way too much on this show, and that isn’t a tease, it’s just the honest truth. But because it’s behind a paywall, I feel more comfortable with opening up. [laughs] Visit HypePodcast.com. You can listen to samples of the shows. We’ve released four so far under this new subscription service, and I think you’ll really like it. It’s a month to month thing so you can sign up for a month, and if you don’t like it, then you can cancel. You don’t need to commit to a certain amount of time. But I encourage you to check it out, HypePodcast.com. Anyway…
Micah: Yeah, I think it’s a great show.
Andrew: Hey thanks!
Micah: I was a guest – I don’t even know how long ago, at this point – but we were discussing Penn State, I remember.
Micah: But that was back when the story was first breaking, so I guess it was probably either the fall or the winter of last year.
Micah: But it is…
Andrew: And we had you on because you’re really up on sports.
Micah: Yeah, and it is just a kind of really laid back show, and you get to speak your mind and you certainly get people’s perspectives on different events that are going around the world.
Andrew: Yeah. One type of feedback we always get about it is, “Oh, it’s so nice to hear you guys talk outside of Harry Potter.” And people get really excited when we curse…
Andrew: …which is the strangest thing. And I don’t mean like overly cursing, but I guess it’s refreshing for people to hear the real us.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: Not that this isn’t the real us on MuggleCast, but just – we talk about stuff outside of Harry Potter. That’s what those people like most.
Andrew: Anyway, Eric is coughing which means…
Micah: That signals the end of the show.
Andrew: Yes. [laughs]
Eric: Oh no, please, I hope that none of these coughs make it into the episode. That’s terrible.
Andrew: Thanks everybody for listening. Our next episode will be 256 from LeakyCon 2012. It will be a fun live episode, which we haven’t had in about a year since the last LeakyCon. So, we will see everybody next time!
[Show music continues]