MuggleCast 262 Transcript
[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
Andrew: Because everybody is excited, new Harry Potter covers are on the way – at least some people are – this is MuggleCast Episode 262 for February 27th, 2013.
[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]
Micah: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 262. It’s a two-man show this week… this month. We are without our fearless host and leader. Andrew is off enjoying himself and attending to other responsibilities at the Oscars.
Micah: Which is a pretty big deal.
Eric: It’s a big deal.
Micah: So, it’s just Eric and myself here for this particular episode. We have plenty of news to catch up on – some big stories, one Pottermore related, one related to the book series – have several voicemails, tweets, and emails to go through.
Eric: Voicemails are back! Voicemails are back.
Micah: Yes, in full force. Last episode it was just one voicemail – that was just to whet your appetite to get you guys back into the flow of sending in voicemails – but we have quite a few this week.
Eric: Flow it did! We have… well, I won’t say exactly how many but we do have quite a few. So, that’s great. Thank you guys for sending those in, and we’ll also repeat the number for you, the hotline number, as we get closer to the voicemails in the show. So…
News: Interview with Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne
Micah: There was an exclusive interview done with Charlie Redmayne, who is the CEO of Pottermore. It was a sit-down interview, where he really went in-depth about this online platform and answered a lot of questions that people had, even addressed some of the fan frustration that has been ongoing, really since the beta test.
Eric: Yeah, we’ll include this in the show notes, but PottermoreNews.com released this… it was a two-part interview actually, and they just released the second part only a couple of days ago. But I thought it was really insightful, and I always like hearing from the CEO of Pottermore because he’s very passionate about it, but he’s also open and honest about where they want to go and what they want to do.
Micah: Yeah. And for people who are wondering will this content stay solely on Pottermore, or will it be seen in book form, he answered by saying that Pottermore is going to evolve into a range of different digital platforms for people to spend time in, and JK Rowling’s content will appear in all of that. He mentions the Book of Spells as being one of those additional platforms, and the integration with Sony and PlayStation. And he thinks that you’re going to see Pottermore on many different platforms, not just on the Internet, and they’re going to show the content using the functionalities of many different devices that are available to make it the best possible experience for all of us.
Eric: I wonder if I can get it in the shower.
Eric: In a couple of years.
Micah: Do you have a TV in your shower?
Eric: No, no, no, but eventually I wonder if they’ll sell shower doors that have Pottermore on it.
Micah: Yeah. What was the one thing we were talking about, not so long ago… was on the backs of seats in airplanes.
Eric: Yes. Yeah, which… that would be cool, and I haven’t taken a – oh, geez – long enough distance flight for quite a while to actually have – gosh, I miss it – TVs on the back of my seats, but any time you do on sort of an international flight the movie selection screens where you can choose TVs and all that – all the television shows that you want to watch, anything – that would be a great opportunity to review Pottermore and to experience it again if you’re going through the different moments and memories and all that stuff.
Micah: Yeah. Well, I actually just took about a three-and-a-half-hour flight to and from Houston for work over the last week, and you need to fly JetBlue more, Eric, because you get TVs on the back of your seats.
Micah: It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling domestically or internationally… this show is brought to you by JetBlue.com. [laughs]
Eric: [laughs] Well no, no, no. What it is, Micah, you’re brought to us by JetBlue.com because it turns out…
Micah: Oh, okay. Is that what it is?
Eric: Yeah, you’re brought to us there. But really, just to Houston you had TVs on the back of the seat?
Micah: Yeah. It doesn’t matter if you’re taking an hour-and-a-half flight to Chicago or a three-and-a-half-hour flight to Texas or you’re going all the way out to the West Coast, you get TV.
Eric: I’m just going to ask now, how many seats were there across the aisle? How wide was the plane?
Micah: It depends. They have two types of aircrafts. They have the two and two, with the aisle down the middle…
Eric: And there are still TVs on the back of the seats?
Micah: There are still TVs, absolutely.
Eric: Oh my gosh, here I am thinking it’s only big planes. Well, I…
Micah: And they also have the Airbus, which has three on each side.
Eric: I’ve been proven wrong. That’s just crazy. Yeah, usually I get United or Southwest, and it’s a tiny plane, and I’m just like, “Okay, clearly they couldn’t put TVs on the back of every seat.”
Micah: They can. They can.
Micah: You should file a complaint and see how that nets out. But just some other things that Charlie Redmayne touched on in his interview. They asked him how closely is JK Rowling involved in Pottermore, what role does she play. He goes on to say that it was her brainchild, her idea – she wanted to really give something back to the fans, and she’s immensely grateful and respectful to her fans – and that she does look at all the artwork that is put into Pottermore. She’s not necessarily involved day-to-day – that’s more of the Pottermore team that has been hired. And he does mention the fact that he has gone out and hired some of the best digital, technical folk in the business to help with this. I’m assuming most of them are Harry Potter fans. Redmayne says that he is a parent and he has read the first couple of books to his children, who have then gone on to read the remaining by themselves. But he, himself, I guess, if… one would hope that he has become a fan and is, in a way, forced to read the series…
Micah: …but he’s not somebody who has read it previously. Which, I think, you don’t necessarily need. It’s somebody who is coming in with a fresh perspective as well.
Eric: Yeah, yeah, very much so. No, I love to see how Harry Potter continues to affect people and adults – people who are CEOs of this company, for instance. They reached out to him, and he’s probably read the books, at least since that happened. And this is really cool, to see that the books are being celebrated by people who care about them. It really wouldn’t be any other way, though, because there are so many people that this has affected, and there are so many people who want to see more content and want to see this happen that I’m so thrilled to read that the team is experienced, and I’m sure they’re all Harry Potter fans.
Micah: Yeah. And he notes that that’s what he considers to be his greatest accomplishment as CEO of Pottermore, is hiring some of the smartest people in digital publishing. And he notes also that there were some serious challenges in terms of getting the site live, which we’ve spoken about on this show pretty extensively…
Micah: …and more importantly, getting it out of beta. That site was in beta for a very long time, and it was frustrating a lot of people out there who weren’t in that one million group.
Eric: Mhm. Yeah, and he talked about – again, in this interview – some expansions for Pottermore, not only into new areas but also the shop. And he mentioned, actually, something interesting about feedback that he’s gotten, and he said that feedback on the shop in particular has exceeded his expectations. And from the publishing industry perspective, “The Pottermore Shop -“ù this is him speaking “- is seen as something that has broken the mold and really changed publishing.”ù So, that’s very cool. Now, is it true… I think you can still get the e-books exclusively from the Pottermore Shop, is that correct?
Micah: Yeah, I believe so.
Eric: Okay. So, that’s really cool. I think that’s still pretty cool, and I like that we were sort of the first… or that Potter really did that. I think it’s really cool.
Micah: Yeah. And also expanding to other languages, not only for the website but in e-book format as well. Which is important because we know the fact that this is a global phenomenon. It’s a huge scope that it reaches, so for it to be available, moving forward, in multiple languages is only going to help the growth of Pottermore. And he went on to say:
“We will be seeing more content to engage with and new developments with the site […] more books rolling out.”
And he goes on to say:
“I hope we are getting faster and better at doing that. I think that some of the feedback we got on the last rollout was that it was great and people got it before Christmas and weren’t [necessarily] expecting that.”
And for the critics out there – which there have been many, including us at times on the show – he said that he realizes that Pottermore is not for everyone.
“But ultimately, what it was always meant to be was JK Rowling giving something back to her fans. Running a website that has so many millions of people using it for free is an immensely expensive undertaking, and I hope it does have value because it is certainly something that JK Rowling is investing a huge amount of time and money in making sure it happens. Nothing like this has ever been done before, and it is [really] a groundbreaking adventure.”
So, that’s something also to think about. We realize how much money JK Rowling does in fact have because we’ve seen stories about it over and over. But one of the things… I didn’t even think of this, and in a way I feel ashamed, the fact that she is putting her own dime into this, and that all those people who are working there are being paid by her.
Eric: That’s got to be so cool to see on your paycheck. [laughs]
Micah: [laughs] Signed by JK Rowling.
Eric: From JK Rowling. [laughs] But yeah, that’s… it’s got to be cool to work for Pottermore. I’ll do an internship for Pottermore if they ask.
Micah: There you go. And then you can go to the Studio Tour.
Eric: There you go! [laughs]
Micah: As many times as you want.
Eric: It’s a plan.
Andrew: We are going to continue with the news in just a moment, but first it is time 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 our listeners, Audible is offering a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service. One audiobook to consider is Divergent by Veronica Roth. Now, I get lots of questions… since we do this podcast and we do a couple of others, people ask us, “Well, what should I read next? What is next? What is the next big thing?” Of course, there was Twilight, there was The Hunger Games. And the next big thing, I’m going to let you in on the secret right now. Some of you know this already because it’s already kind of becoming the next big thing. It is Divergent by Veronica Roth. It is a trilogy, even though only two of the three books are out right now. The third one is due out this year. The second one is called Insurgent, the first one is called Divergent. It is a dystopian novel. I actually just finished reading it the other day. You can listen to it, just like you do a podcast, for absolutely free by visiting AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Do a search for “Divergent”, you will see the book there. You know, people really enjoy the book, and people do believe it’s going to be the next big thing. There is a movie that they haven’t started shooting yet, but they are going to start shooting soon. They actually… the studio just announced the other day that Kate Winslet is going to be in the movie. We don’t know who she’s going to play yet. There are some guesses, but Summit has not announced yet who she is going to play. And by the way, Shailene Woodley is going to have the lead role as Tris. This book follows a girl in the lead character slot. So again, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast, type in “Divergent”, type in “Fifty Shades of Grey”, type in whatever you want. Whatever book you want to read, visit AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast and chances are you’re going to find it. They have, like I said, over 100,000 downloadable titles and many, many, many books you are going to love listening to, just like you do this podcast, are available there on Audible. And we thank Audible for their support of the show.
News: Scholastic to Release 15th Anniversary Harry Potter Paperback Covers
Micah: Well, speaking of JK Rowling, it was announced not too long ago that Scholastic is planning to release 15th anniversary paperback covers.
Micah: And this is going to be a recurring theme, I feel like.
Eric: For all seven Harry Potter books are coming this year, I think.
Micah: Which is awesome because normally the anticipation – what we would anticipate – would have just been for Sorcerer’s Stone, right?
Eric: Right, because didn’t they do… they did a 10th anniversary Sorcerer’s Stone – Scholastic did this – cover.
Micah: Right, and I have that.
Eric: You do have! I was going to say I don’t know anybody – besides my girlfriend – that has it, but you do have it.
Micah: I do have it.
Eric: Is it him on the train platform? I forget.
Micah: Let me go to the bookshelf. [laughs]
Eric: [laughs] Micah goes to his bookshelf.
Micah: Do we have music to play during this?
Eric: Uhhh, sure. I’m sure I can find something in production.
Micah: All right, I got it. Never mind.
Eric: Oh. [laughs]
Micah: It’s actually him staring into the Mirror of Erised.
Eric: Oh okay, right. Okay, sure.
Micah: But there is another drawing, I think, that was new. It’s of Hagrid taking the first years across the lake to Hogwarts, and I think that was by Mary GrandPrÈ.
Eric: Is that on the back of the book, or…
Micah: It’s just before the title page.
Eric: Oh, interesting!
Eric: I don’t know that I knew that existed, actually.
Eric: But I do think that in that case, the 10th anniversary, I’m fairly certain that was designed by Mary GrandPrÈ. In this case both the artwork appearing in that 10th anniversary collection, but actually this time, guess what? Five years later it’s a 15th anniversary collection. [laughs] And there’s actually a pretty cool news story, a pretty cool interview with the artist who has been tasked with designing these new covers.
Micah: Oh, yeah?
Eric: Yeah. His name is Kazu Kibuishi, I believe. And Publishers Weekly first announced it, and they announced that Scholastic was fond of this guy’s work. He’s known mostly for illustrating the Amulet series of books, which I’m unfamiliar with, so I don’t actually know…
Micah: So am I. I’ve never heard of them.
Eric: I don’t know anything about it. But you know the way that books trend these days, so I’m sure that I would be able to walk into Barnes and Noble and find it. But anyway, apparently he’s a big Harry Potter fan, which is also… works in our favor, I guess. And he says that at first he was hesitant to agree, once he was approached, to redesign the Harry Potter books, but… and here’s a quote from him:
“Initially I didn’t want to see it done because I love the original covers so much. I’m a huge fan. But after thinking about it for a while, I figured if someone were going to do it, I should try it.” [laughs]
Micah: Yeah, so a true fan, like you said earlier.
Micah: Somebody who didn’t want to really mess with the original. And I think the reality is that that cover of SorcererÅ’s Stone by Mary GrandPrÈ, just like all the other American editions, are always going to be the originals. But the thing is, moving forward, there’s obviously going to be these anniversary editions. And I would think that Mary GrandPrÈ has quite a stock in her home somewhere of all the different covers and chapters that she put together at one point or another, where she certainly has extras available. But perhaps she was just busy with other things and she didn’t have time to work on yet another…
Micah: …cover of SorcererÅ’s Stone. I’m sure she’s done plenty in her day and is quite ready to move on to other things.
Eric: Yeah, I’m sure that it was probably Scholastic just wanting to go a different direction. Because from what I know of the art and Mary GrandPrÈ’s art, she doesn’t actually own anything that she produced, Scholastic does. So she can’t resell or reproduce or anything, of her previous work on the book. If they were to ask her to do something else, I’m sure she would. But I think in this case they really just wanted a different look than was with the previous books. And this actually… this discussion reminds me or prompts me to ask – maybe we’ll get into a little bit of a “Favorites” segment here – but since we’re talking about the covers, what’s your favorite American cover of the Harry Potter books, Micah?
Micah: Favorite cover would probably have to be Prisoner of Azkaban.
Eric: Okay. Why?
Micah: There’s a lot in most of her covers that really detail a lot of the scenes and characters and moments of that particular book, but I just feel if you look around that particular cover there’s so much to take stock of. If that makes sense.
Eric: Yeah, so I’m looking at it right now, and it’s Harry and Hermione on the Hippogriff, and I love this scene. It’s obviously the breaking Sirius out of his cell scene.
Eric: Spoiler alert for Book 3.
Micah: Yeah, if you don’t know that by now…
Eric: Yeah, I know, I know. But… and then Sirius Black himself appears on the cover in a shadow, or as a shadow which is totally cool.
Micah: Yeah. And if you look on the inside flap, you actually have Scabbers. The inside flap of the front cover on the bottom right hand side, you can kind of see his shadow magnified a little bit there.
Eric: Oh man, that’s cool. I don’t have an inside cover because I have the paperback.
Micah: Oh, okay.
Eric: So, I…
Micah: I’m talking about the… are the hardcover and paperback different?
Eric: No, I just think anything that would go over – like a flap – doesn’t exist in the paperback.
Micah: Oh, okay.
Eric: Because it’s not the book cover.
Micah: Well, that makes sense.
Eric: Yeah, so there are also those deluxe editions that they did a couple of years ago for the last two books where… I think Book 7 is the Antipodean Opaleye flying across the countryside.
Micah: [laughs] Right.
Eric: And I’m trying to remember what Book 6 is. I think it’s…
Micah: It’s outside of the Gaunt house.
Eric: Yes, yes, and…
Micah: Which is a cool one, too, by the way.
Eric: That’s really cool and then, even the Book 5 one is cool. I’m fairly certain it’s Grimmauld Place from the outside. And then the front cover of the book is him in the Department of Mysteries. So, it’s going to be interesting to…
Micah: I think we’re juggling around in different covers because the cover I actually have for Half-Blood Prince – I’m looking at it right now – is Dumbledore and Harry…
Eric: It’s green.
Micah: …inside the cave, just before…
Eric: Oh yeah, I’m talking about the deluxe edition.
Micah: Oh, the deluxe edition. Okay.
Eric: Yeah, I was talking about the deluxe covers…
Micah: But yeah, I believe that is the deluxe cover for Half-Blood Prince, is the one just outside the Gaunt home.
Eric: You’re right. And that is really cool. I think I would like to own that, or a print of that, or maybe I’ll just go to a used bookstore and then take the cover off the book and then frame it.
Micah: Yup. But you look around a little bit – finishing up the Prisoner of Azkaban cover here – you have Prongs on the inside back flap, and then on the back cover is the Whomping Willow, Crookshanks, what looks to be Lupin in werewolf form, and then a Dementor creepily hanging over one of the porches. Porch is not the right word, but I’m going to call it a porch for right now. [laughs]
Eric: [laughs] I just opened up the full thing. Yeah, man, this is cool. I just found this. I did a Google search for Prisoner of Azkaban US full cover…
Eric: …and so I am able to see the… I guess, yeah, it’s the Whomping Willow and Scabbers and all that. That’s really cool.
Micah: Now, I just looked up Amulet by Kazu, and…
Micah: Yeah. And what’s interesting is he’s actually a comic book artist, it looks like. So, that… and he works for Scholastic, so that might be the tie-in there as to why they decided to bring him on. But we did actually get the cover for Sorcerer’s Stone, and I was just wondering – Eric, what did you think about this cover inside Diagon Alley, Hagrid and Harry walking along? It’s a little bit of a different spin from the original, and the tenth anniversary. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, it is more comic book-y, now that you mention it. I really do like it, this new proposed cover. Whether or not I’m going to buy these books is different only because I have the [laughs] US versions and the UK versions, adult and child.
Micah: Right. Same here.
Eric: And I believe in several copies. So, I don’t know at this point because they’ve only released the cover for the first book. And it’s not even like it depends on how good the image is; I may or may not buy this book. But for new users, for new readers too, I think that this will be very fresh looking and more in touch with what they’re used to seeing too. And not to say anything against the Mary GrandPrÈ version, but this Diagon Alley scene that is being portrayed in this new cover is a lot more, I think, appropriate for the first book because it’s an introduction into the magical world, and when Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley, that’s his introduction to the magical world. Whereas on the previous US book cover, I think it’s him playing Quidditch, and there are some columns or something and he’s on his broom. And look, it’s fine. It absolutely served its purpose. But this, I think, is more allegorical of the story inside.
Micah: Yeah. You’re right, it is him trying to go for the Snitch on the cover. There’s also a unicorn, a shot of Fluffy, and then on the back you have what looks like Dumbledore and an owl. And I’m sure there’s a couple of other nuggets around here. There’s a flying key.
Eric: Yeah, she’s really good with compiling things on top of each other. Give her that credit for sure. And actually, we didn’t… we covered your favorite. My favorite, I have to say though, the US Goblet of Fire is still my favorite book cover. Mostly because of what you see on the front. I never, I don’t think, owned the hard cover of it so I didn’t look at the flaps or the back. But on the front, I think, is still the best image because Harry is there with his wand, he’s smiling, you see Cedric and the other two champions Victor and Fleur. And he’s got his pot of gold, or actually… I always thought it was a pot of gold, his Triwizard winnings, but actually it’s a golden egg, now that I’m looking at it.
Eric: Wow. I never got that. I just think this is the best drawing of Harry.
Micah: And a lot of different creatures.
Eric: The look of joy. Yeah, the look of joy is on his face. And in the back, which I’ve also pulled the back cover, you see a dragon actually – the Hungarian Horntail, I presume – is the entire length of the cover. Maybe is that… what do you think is in the lower left, Micah, besides the dragon? There’s… I think you see its eye and it has two antenna, I want to say. [laughs] Do you see what I’m talking about?
Micah: Yeah, I wonder if they worked in some of the Care of Magical Creatures into this cover.
Micah: Just because there seems to be a lot of weird looking creatures on this cover.
Eric: Yeah. And then… oh, Madame Maxime’s carriage in the back being towed by the horse. Or the horses towing it.
Eric: And of course the Goblet itself. Of Fire.
Micah: Which looks like it’s being put through the brush there by fake Moody, I would guess. It has… or is it perhaps…
Micah: No, hold on. I think that’s Harry’s outstretched arm grabbing the cup. That’s what it is. He’s reach… yeah, yeah.
Eric: Oh, you think so?
Micah: If you look, his arm actually goes over the spine and through the bush and grabs the cup.
Eric: Oh, but that’s… I think that’s Victor Krum. Victor Krum’s arm. You know what I’m saying?
Micah: All right. Well…
Eric: Maybe it’s Moody. Maybe that’s Moody.
Micah: Maybe it is. We don’t mean to get into too much analysis here, but…
Eric: Yeah sorry, I can’t believe it’s Episode 262…
Micah: I don’t think we’ve ever broken down the covers on the show.
Eric: It’s Episode 262, and we haven’t talked about that.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Eric: I mean… well, no, I think we’ll always find stuff to talk about, by the way. But we did talk about Book 7 when that was released, obviously, because that was huge.
Micah: Yeah, absolutely.
Eric: But yeah, in terms of the other covers, I guess I never realized how intricate this stuff was. But yeah, I’m excited to see the upcoming book covers. And the thing is, I’m glad they’re releasing them all at once. They only previewed the first book, but the fact that all the books on the shelves of Harry Potter are going to be seen new is refreshing because otherwise we’d have to wait a year until the next one, a year until the next one, a year until the next one, then three years, then two years. And it would be like, oh come on already. But yeah, they’re celebrating fifteen years of Potter. It’s pretty cool.
Listener Tweets: Future 15th Anniversary Harry Potter Paperback Covers
Micah: And we did ask on Twitter what people would like to see these fifteenth anniversary covers look like for the different books. Obviously we’ve seen Sorcerer’s Stone, Eric, as you pointed out, but we did get some responses. itsnotnostalgic – that’s a cool Twitter name – said:
“For ‘Order of the Phoenix’…”
“…it should definitely be Harry and company flying to the Ministry to ‘save’ Sirius.”
Eric: Hmm, okay.
Micah: Energezer1 said:
“I’d love to see a shot of the Weasleys’ joke shop on Book 6. Maybe even the vanishing cabinet!”
Eric: [laughs] How can you see a vanishing cabinet?
Micah: I was going to say that. WonderousWatson:
“I would love to see Harry and Ron crashing into the barrier for ‘Chamber of Secrets’.”
That would be a cool cover.
Eric: That would be epic. [laughs]
Micah: AmityHufflepuff says:
“Hmm… maybe the Yule Ball for ‘Goblet of Fire’. I wish I could have gone to it.”
“Harry fighting the basilisk, it would bring in new readers. Who wouldn’t buy a book that had a twelve year old fighting a huge snake?”
Eric: Hmm. That’s a good question. Who indeed? Who indeed would not?
MuggleCast 262 Transcript (continued)
Voicemail: Extended Editions of the Harry Potter Films
Micah: Well, as mentioned at the top of the show, we do have several voicemails that you guys sent in that we want to go through. And so, we’ll play the first one right now.
Eric: Okay, and our first one comes from Simone.
[Audio]: Hey MuggleCast, this is Simone calling with a question. Personally, I really enjoyed the extended editions of the first two movies. There wasn’t a ton of content, but it was still interesting. Do you think we’ll ever see extended versions of the other movies? I think Warner Bros. has displayed a lot of creativity in ways to try to get us to spend money. I have to say, I would definitely show up for this. Thanks a lot. Love the show, keep it up. Bye.
Eric: So, Simone asked if there will be extended editions, if we think there will be extended editions to the later Harry Potter films, and I assume that means versions with deleted scenes and all that put back in the way that the Ultimate Editions did for the first two Harry Potter films.
Micah: Yeah, and does he mean in theaters, or is he talking about… because they have done them on television. In particular with ABC Family, I know they always put the deleted scenes in.
Eric: Mhm, yeah, and show the extended versions. I assume he means home video, but, just thinking about it, I feel like the deleted scenes… as the films went on, the scripts changed, the way that they wrote the film changed. So, it became less about, “We have to capture this scene from the book on film,” than, “We have to tell the story.” So, what I mean to say is that a lot of the deleted scenes that you do see on the DVDs, the Blu-rays, and the features and stuff tend to be… I don’t want to say extraneous. They kind of go different directions and they would confuse the narrative if inserted. Unlike the first two films which are really just very faithful to the books, in the right order, and they’re completely new scenes. So, my argument would be that the films kind of changed the way that they were created and therefore there couldn’t be extended editions, because they knew pretty much what scenes they wanted to keep and they knew fairly early that Dobby wouldn’t be coming back in films, and Dumbledore wouldn’t have a funeral, and all that stuff so they never filmed it. So, they really wouldn’t be able to put something like that back into a film.
Micah: Yeah, and I think we’ve seen deleted scenes from later films, and some we’ve questioned and said, “Yeah, that would be great if it was included.” Others have just not fit, and that’s exactly why they didn’t make the final cut, is that they don’t fit. So, I agree with you. A lot of the deleted scenes, specifically from Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets, flow extremely well, and I think a lot of that has to with loyalty to the books. Whereas as we’ve gone forward in the series, what’s happened is… because of the size of the books, it’s been pretty difficult to not deviate from going literally chapter-by-chapter in the movie. So, just from a flow issue, I don’t know if it would necessarily work. But I would, at the end of the day, like to see something that has all of the extra content, maybe even some things that we haven’t seen that are still lying on the cutting room floor somewhere at Leavesden Studios, put together, and allow us to watch it consecutively.
Eric: Yeah, very much so.
Voicemail: Fan Fiction
Eric: And the next voicemail comes from Zoey.
[Audio]: Hi! I’m Zoey, and I’m fourteen, and I’m from Maryland, and I just wanted to know what you guys think about fan fiction. Do you think it’s cool or derogatory? Or do you just not read it? I know you have fan fiction on MuggleNet, and I just wanted to know your thoughts. By the way, I’m a huge fan, and I’m really glad that Selina joined because I also listen to Onceable and she is great there, too. So thanks, guys. Bye.
Eric: So, we have a Selina fan. And Zoey, thank you for submitting your question. I don’t think we’ve been asked this before. Maybe we have. But, Micah, what do you think about fan fiction?
Micah: Well, I’ll answer the other part of her question which was, “Do I read it?” and the answer is no.
Micah: And that doesn’t mean that I dislike it or I think that it’s stupid or any of those types of things. I think it certainly has a purpose. I think it shows a lot of the creativity, in many cases, that our listeners and that the fan community as a whole can demonstrate. That’s just one of those areas… you talk about wizard rock or Quidditch or podcasting. I feel as if fan fiction and the writing element of it, fan art… it all kind of flows together and it works in synergy with other things. So, I think it just demonstrates the imagination and the creativity of the people who are a part of this fan community.
Eric: Yeah, I would agree, and I think that all writing is exercise, and having the ability to write new stories with established characters is… well, it’s kind of easier in some ways, but also it allows you to… it fuels your passion for writing. It builds your muscles for writing, and also allows you to explore those characters that other people know and love so well, that you know and love so well, in new venues. So I think it’s actually interesting, but I can’t say I’ve read a lot…
Micah: Yeah, and sure, we all know there are things out there that are interesting, to say the least.
Eric: Obscure. [laughs]
Micah: Yeah, but I think that’s all part of it.
Eric: Yeah, no, I think so too. So thank you again, Zoey, for sending in that question.
Voicemail: Sorcerer’s Stone Film Soundtrack
Eric: And next we go to Matt.
[Audio]: Hello, MuggleCast! This is Matt, calling from Nashville, Tennessee, again. I really appreciate you guys listening to my voicemail on the last podcast, even if I was the only one who submitted. My next question is – and this one is not quite as deep – have any of you noticed the music that plays when Hagrid introduces Harry to Diagon Alley in the Sorcerer’s Stone film is not on the movie soundtrack? Just something I’ve always wondered about, do any of you know why that is? Thanks so much, and take care, guys. Appreciate it.
Eric: So, this one’s interesting. Matt was helpful enough and gracious enough to grace us with another voicemail. This time it’s about that soundtrack. Do you know what moment he’s talking about, Micah?
Micah: I’m guessing when Hagrid taps the bricks, and it opens to Diagon Alley.
Eric: What is the music there? Is it like [sings part of the film score] or is that the Great Hall?
Micah: No, I think that’s right. I actually watched Sorcerer’s Stone, it’s been on HBO quite a few times in the last couple weeks.
Micah: And I did watch it, and I did see that scene in particular, but I don’t recall off the top of my head what music is playing. And I actually confess, I don’t own any of the soundtracks to the films, so I’d have to defer to somebody who does.
Eric: Yeah, I have “2” and I have “3” and I think I have “5”, soundtrack-wise. But I don’t have the first one. The first one was interesting because even though it’s John Williams, it always felt like it was, sort of, selections from the soundtrack, more than it was every theme present. So, that might sort of reinforce what Matt asked. But I wonder if it’s really just not part of another track. Maybe… not that John Williams reuses themes, although we know he does because that’s the point. I wonder if that bit might not actually be labeled something different. But to be sure, we should re-watch that scene and also get the soundtrack to find out. But if any of our listeners can help out and happen to have the Sorcerer’s Stone soundtrack, and just want to see if Matt is correct and, in fact, that song is not on the soundtrack, write in to us. Let us know or submit a voicemail of your own, and we’ll play it on our forthcoming show and we’ll get that cleared up.
Micah: Yup, absolutely. I’m actually trying to see if I can pull it up here on YouTube.
Eric: Oh, okay. That’s a good idea, actually. Let’s see.
Micah: It sounds like Christmas music, basically. Though I would seem to think that this particular song is somewhere on the soundtrack. But we’ll move on to the next voicemail and, like Eric said, we’ll get back to you guys on the next episode. Once we have our research team here at MuggleCast dig into that deeply.
Eric: Actually, Micah, this song is – many people don’t know this – it’s actually from the Home Alone soundtrack. And that’s where you can find it because it’s Christmas time. [laughs]
Micah: [laughs] That’s what I said! It sounded like Christmas music.
Eric: It sounds like Christmas music. No, but yeah, very weird, and we will indeed have our scouts get on that for you.
Voicemail: Room of Requirement
Eric: So, the next voicemail comes from David.
[Audio]: Hi, MuggleCast. This is David. And my first thing is, I was wondering, whatever happened to the Room of Requirement after Crabbe – or was it Goyle? One of Malfoy’s two henchmen – set fire to it – Fiendfyre – in the seventh book? So, I’d love to hear your take on that. Bye!
Eric: So, David wants to know what happened to the Room of Requirement after the Fiendfyre incident.
Eric: In Book 7.
Micah: All those fire animals running around.
Eric: Yeah, and more powerful enough that it could destroy a Horcrux. I don’t know. I wonder what happened to… I don’t think it was… I don’t think it burned down the room, you know what I’m saying? But everything in it was probably obliterated.
Micah: Right. And I think that it was Crabbe who did it, if I recall correctly. And I would agree, Eric. I don’t know what happened to the room. I would assume that it would always be there to serve the purpose of whomever happened to cross it in the future.
Eric: Mhm. It’s kind of like that tree falling in the woods thing.
Eric: If nobody is in the Room of Requirement, is it still on fire and burning? Or what would happen to the next guy who just needs a toilet?
Eric: [laughs] Or a chamber pot.
Eric: And he goes in and the door opens and it’s flames.
Micah: What’s interesting about it is, I feel like there is the Room of Requirement default, which is what we see with the Vanishing Cabinet and then when Harry, Ron, and Hermione go into it in Deathly Hallows to destroy the Horcrux. And then there’s the version of it when they need it to practice for Dumbledore’s Army. You know what I mean?
Eric: Yeah, like they…
Micah: I feel like the room with all the crap in it, that’s like the default setting.
Eric: Mhm, or…
Micah: That’s its true form.
Eric: I’m sure it’s… well, I wonder if its true form wouldn’t be emptier although that’s a movie-ism because in the books it’s actually got bookshelves of defensive spell work and all sorts of other stuff that they use it to practice in. But, yeah, Harry’s specific line to the Room of Requirement when he finds or when he wants to hide the diadem, is it… or something he says. “I need a place to hide my book.” There it is, the Half-Blood Prince book that he needs to hide. “I need a place to hide my book,” and then that appears. So, yeah, I think in some incarnation… and pretty much everything in that room, anything anybody hid at Hogwarts which that’s how that room got so crowded, is that’s how many people use that room to hide stuff. So, I think you’re right, Micah. If it’s not the default, it’s at least the most common room that people are looking for. So…
Micah: Probably a make-out room, too. I’m just guessing.
Eric: Probably a… well, there was the incident with the [laughs] mistletoe.
Micah: Yup, there you go.
Eric: With Cho. So…
Voicemail: Introduction to Other Fandoms
Micah: All right, final voicemail is from…
Micah: All right.
[Audio]: Hey, this is Carl from Hawaii, and I just wanted to say thank you for having a wonderful show. If it wasn’t for you guys, I probably wouldn’t be a Twilight and Hunger Games and all those fans because… I found you guys because I was a Harry Potter fan, but because of you guys doing the spin-off podcasts I got involved in all those shows, all those movies, too. So, I just want to say thank you and aloha and have a nice day.
Eric: Aloha, Carl. Thanks for submitting your voicemail. So, Carl just wanted to say thanks, and that’s really cool to hear that we turned you on to some other fandoms and some of the other book series that we enjoy.
Micah: Yeah. Very envious of the weather out in Hawaii right now, I’ll tell you that.
Eric: Oh, what is it? Do you have it pulled up?
Micah: No, but we…
Eric: Are you one of those guys who always has the weather app turned to Hawaii?
Micah: [laughs] No, no, but I guarantee you it’s much nicer in Hawaii than it is right now in New York. But, anyway, I always like hearing those types of voicemails or emails or tweets because I think Potter introduced all of us to a lot of different things as well. We talk about our other projects, our other podcasts, our other interests really. And it was kind of a gateway to doing a lot of what we all do right now.
Eric: Very much so. And just to answer your question, it is 80 degrees in Hawaii right now.
Micah: Nice. So, I’m sure that Carl is much warmer than we are in New York and Chicago.
Eric: Probably enjoying some iced tea right now.
Micah: [laughs] Why not? But that’s it for the voicemails. Eric, how can people submit voicemails just like these five listeners did for this show?
Eric: So, voicemails can be submitted to us as basically just like calling us on the phone. And the MuggleCast hotline number has changed, so if you listen to some of our older episodes, you’ll hear a different number. The current number is (323) 984-8547. So, definitely give us a call. You can leave comments, feedback, or ask us questions and they can be about anything. They can be about the books, they can be about fan fiction, literally anything, and we will continue to play them on the episodes that we air.
Muggle Mail: What If Dumbledore Didn’t Die?
Micah: Awesome. So, thanks to everybody who sent those voicemails in and we’ll now go over to the hard written copy.
Micah: Still electronic, but not as tech savvy, shall we say, with our Muggle Mail submissions for this week. And Eric, I think… do you mind taking the first one?
Eric: Yeah, no, no problem. First one is from Izzy, of Bethel, Maine, age 10, which is really exciting. Izzy says:
“Hey, MuggleCast! I’ve only been listening to you for two days but I absolutely love you guys! I was wondering, how do you think the story would change if Dumbledore didn’t die? Thanks!”
Micah: Sometimes it’s the simple questions, and that’s why I put Izzy’s email in here. A very good question for a ten-year-old, by the way.
Eric: Yeah, I think so too.
Micah: What if Dumbledore didn’t die?
Eric: Well, I don’t know. It’s hard to imagine because JK Rowling kind of has a killing people thing [laughs] and it was really important for her… well, it’s important for Harry to grow by no longer having any mentors to look up to. That’s why Sirius died, Dumbledore the following year, and all those people the year after. So, I don’t know if it would have an effect on Harry’s growth as realizing that it really, really will come down to just him and Voldemort. I guess the absence of Dumbledore really helped him learn that, but I also think that if Dumbledore hadn’t died, maybe we would have gotten more insight into the Order and Harry’s parents and all that stuff because after Book 5, you actually – as of Book 6, even – Harry’s relationship with Dumbledore is very good, and Dumbledore was able to call him in for those special lessons about the Horcruxes and everything like that. It’s wonderful to read and I really feel like Book 7 would have been a lot more comfortable for everybody if Dumbledore were still alive.
Micah: Right. It definitely would have altered Snape, I think, and his character path because clearly there needed to be that moment where Snape proved himself loyal to Voldemort, and there was no better way to do that than by killing Dumbledore. So, it would be weird to see how that all played out if Dumbledore, in fact, had lived through Book 6, and I just think we also wouldn’t have gotten the same amount of insight into his life that we did in Book 7. That…
Eric: Right. With The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore.
Micah: Yeah. So, we learned a lot about his family, his brother, his sister, his parents, as well as his relationship with Grindelwald and their quest for power. So…
Eric: Right. We learned all that without him being there.
Micah: Yeah, so it completely changes the course of Deathly Hallows, and it would be an interesting question to ask JK Rowling. Did she ever consider having that Obi-Wan type figure live through the end of the series?
Eric: I wonder who would have appeared to Harry at King’s Cross, if Dumbledore hadn’t died.
Micah: Dobby? No.
Eric: Probably his parents.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Eric: [as Dobby] “Harry Potter!”
Micah: You know what was so weird is I just watched The Woman in Black for the first time.
Eric: Oh, really?
Micah: Speaking of King’s Cross, because there’s kind of a similarity to how that movie ends.
Eric: I never thought of that before, but you’re right.
Micah: Yeah. So, anyway, we won’t spoil that movie for you.
Muggle Mail: Appearance of Wands
Micah: But the next email comes from Josh, 23, of Wilmington, North Carolina, and he writes in about the wand discussion we had on last week’s episode. He said he was listening to that episode when we…
“…started talking about how wands, specifically about how in the first two films the wands look ‘quite plain’ and that for PoA it was changed so that characters had more ornate wands that reflect their characters. In the books, Jo doesn’t often describe wands and when she does she usually only gives us the kind of wood used, the core ingredient, and the length, but doesn’t really give detail as to the outer facade of the wands because it really isn’t important to the story. It does, however, make sense that a visual medium like film would want to make the wands look as unique and character-specific as possible. That being said, it does seem unlikely that Ollivander’s would sell an eleven-year-old a wand that looks like Voldemort and it got me thinking, what if the wand’s appearance changes over time? That is a popular mechanic of RPG games, that a weapon or item will change appearance as it is used, thus reflecting the character’s bravery, skill, and morality. In the same way a wand might change appearance based on the kind of spells you use and your proficiency with them as well as your own personality as you grow, it would also explain why the wand chooses the wizard because the wand knows that the wizard will change it. Would love to hear what you think about this theory. Keep up the great work. P.S. Slytherin rules.”
Eric: Well, thank you for that email, Josh.
Micah: That’s cool.
Eric: I think that’s pretty insightful, yeah. Never thought of something like wands changing over time. That is pretty cool.
Micah: Yeah, definitely, and I think that, to his point, we all play RPGs, or have at one point, and so there is something to be said for the weapons that you choose kind of maturing – I don’t know if that’s the right word, but…
Eric: Yeah, yeah.
Micah: …over time.
Eric: And reflecting.
Eric: Yeah. And reflecting you, and I think that that’s… there’s definitely a basis in the Harry Potter books with wand loyalties as well. So, overall, very cool.
Muggle Mail: Dumbledore’s Plan to Defeat Voldemort
Eric: And the next one comes from Rebecca, from Vancouver:
“Hi, MuggleCasters. I had a thought the other day: If Harry’s mom hadn’t died to save Harry and Voldemort just killed his parents without Lily having the chance to be a martyr, then how do you think Dumbledore would have finished off Voldemort? Dumbledore’s ‘master plan’ that comes out in Book 7 in which Harry essentially sacrifices himself only works because Harry is a Horcrux from his mother’s love saving him. So, do you think Dumbledore and the Order could have tracked down Voldemort’s other Horcruxes on their own had they not had the extra power of a bit of Voldemort’s soul on their side, or was the entire good side just in trouble before Halloween 1981? Still love the show! Rebecca.”
Hmm. That’s interesting. I wonder if Lily’s love wasn’t what caused the Horcrux to happen. I wonder if, in fact, it was just that the prophecy was fated to fail, for Voldemort to fail, that whoever he chose for whatever reason would end up… something would backfire and then that person would be fated to defeat him.
Micah: Yeah, but I think the issue here is that if Lily died just normally, without stepping in front of Harry, Harry would have died as well, and Voldemort would have sustained. So, I guess what Rebecca is asking then, is: “What would Dumbeldore’s plan have been after all the Potters were dead?” and, “What would the Order’s plan have been? Would they have been able to track down these Horcruxes?” The thing is, Dumbledore doesn’t really have a clue as to what Tom Riddle/Voldemort has been up to prior to Chamber of Secrets with the diary. So, Dumbledore really has no clue as to how he has been able to anchor himself to life.
Eric: That’s a good point. That’s actually a really good point. It’s probably burning Dumbledore for twelve years, then.
Eric: You know? How did he survive? This, that, the other thing.
Micah: So yes, they would have been screwed, to answer your question.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: Rebecca, sorry we couldn’t do any better than that.
Muggle Mail: Sorting MuggleCast on Pottermore
Micah: But the next email is from Kat, 19, from Sydney, Australia, and she says:
“Hey! So, I’m listening to Episode 239, and I’ve decided that you should (be outrageous and break some rules) and do an episode where you make a Pottermore account and be sorted and, like, debate out the questions and see what house MuggleCast is in/what wand you cumulatively get. Kind of because I think that would be cool, kind of because it could be interesting to hear you debate the questions. I don’t know, I would enjoy it. Anyway, just as a side note, I’m in love with 78, actual best episode ever. It’s my go-to episode, whenever I’m doing something tedious and want a podcast, it’s 78. As another side note, when I first started listening to you guys, circa episode one, I was too little for my own computer or iPod and used to burn episodes on CDs and listen to them on my sister’s old Walkman! Sad, sad. Well I guess, hopefully, this happens for me.”
Eric: I’m looking at the episode description from Episode 78 because I have to say that this is not one of those show numbers that sticks out to me. And according to the show notes: Jamie is back, okay, we have a Fawkes character discussion, and at the end of it, there is an interview with Joe Fulton of MillionairePlayboy.com about the latest Order of the Phoenix toy news. So not much would indicate that that’s a good episode, but…
Micah: It must be because Jamie came back.
Eric: …a stand out episode. Yes, but it must be because Jamie came back.
Micah: All right.
Eric: So, that’s great. And we should have Jamie back on soon, I think.
Eric: On one of our newest episodes.
Micah: He’s back from his travels throughout Africa.
Eric: Yes, which is true.
Micah: That is true, we’re not making that up.
Eric: Yeah, we’re totally not making that up.
Chicken Soup for the MuggleCast Soul
Micah: All right, so the next couple of emails that we have are Chicken Soup-ish. Eric?
Eric: And I’ll take… yeah, and I’ll take the first one.
Micah: Go ahead.
Eric: First one’s from Luke, 33, of Illinois. The subject is “Encouragement.”
“MuggleCast, my name is Luke and in the past six months I have gone through some very hard times with my life, dealing with career issues and family issues. It’s been very difficult and to help deal with the stress and help get through each day, I’ve been going on long runs while listening to all the old MuggleCast episodes in reverse order, which is interesting. Honestly, it’s the one thing that’s given me some joy and laughter in each day, and gives me something to look forward to while navigating a difficult time in my life. I’ve found a lot of comfort in those minutes of listening to you guys talk about ‘Potter’ and joke around. It’s been a real lifesaver for me. I just wanted you to know that your hard work and fun have really helped a complete stranger get through a very hard time in life. Thanks for your work, I really appreciate it and will always be listening and running!”
Eric: Very nice. Thank you, Luke.
Micah: So, Luke knows all the secret codes by playing our episodes in reverse order…
Eric: [laughs] Yeah.
Micah: …that we’ve put out there over the course of the last seven plus years.
Eric: Shhh, Micah. Micah, it’s supposed to remain a secret! Nobody is supposed to know…
Eric: …that if you play the entire five hundred hours of the show backwards you get Mozart’s, I don’t know, tenth symphony.
Micah: It’s true. The next email comes from Christine, 21, of Paris, and she says thank you:
“Dear MuggleCasters, from listening to your show for the last six years, I know you must get a lot of similar messages, but I still wanted to write in to tell you how much I appreciate MuggleCast. I come from South Africa, but I have been living in Paris for the last six months by myself. And while Paris is definitely a nice place to be, I often get homesick, and then I find it really comforting to listen to old episodes of your show. When I first started listening to your show all those years ago, it felt wonderful to finally find people who knew all sorts of geeky facts about Harry Potter and liked to talk about it – just like me! And it still feels that way today. So, thank you!”
Eric: Very cool.
Micah: Well thank you, Christine.
Eric: Yeah, thanks, Christine. We’re happy that we can anchor you back to home. And the next email… oh, the final email comes from Laine, age 30, from Australia:
“Hi MuggleCasters, I am from Queensland, Australia and we recently had a series of floods caused by a tropical cyclone.”
Pfft. Why anybody would live in Australia is beyond me. [laughs] Cyclones.
“One of the worst areas hit was the Bay of Bundaberg which is approximately 289 miles north of the capital of Brisbane where I live. I work for the state government and am part of a team that will assist when a natural disaster occurs. Part of the job that we do is assist in the granting of a monetary amount that is offered by the government and while doing this we hear their stories. Some of these people have lost everything and you cannot help but be affected by it all. As part of my wind down at the end of the day, I would listen to your podcasts and just hearing your voices helped me calm down. Thank you. Laine.”
Micah: Well thanks, Laine. It sounds like you’re doing a lot of good work out there in Australia.
Eric: Very much so.
Micah: Cool that we’re hearing from some international listeners there.
Micah: Two from Australia, and one from France. So… actually, three from Australia.
Micah: Going back to the… and one from Vancouver, so we’re just all over the place.
Eric: We are international, baby.
Micah: We are. But that about wraps it up for Episode 262. People who want to follow us can do so in many different ways. We are on Twitter at Twitter.com/MuggleCast. We’re also on Facebook at Facebook.com/MuggleCast. You can also subscribe and review us, subscribe to the show. We’re assuming that if you’re listening to us now you’re subscribed to the show but perhaps you wandered onto the MuggleCast site and clicked on the “On Air” graphic, so you can of course subscribe to us on iTunes. You can rate and review us there as well. We always like hearing from you guys and getting feedback. You can shoot us an email either by directly sending it to mugglecast at staff dot mugglenet dot com or you can use the feedback form on the website. And we do have a Tumblr as well, which is MuggleCast.Tumblr.com.
Eric: Yes, and that’s… you know, I always enjoy visiting the MuggleCast… and it’s a fan Tumblr, so we have some of our listeners… and actually it’s a great… turned into a really great community on Tumblr there for us, so definitely check that out. And again, if you’d like to send us a voicemail, you can do so. That number, again, is (323) 984-8547, and that’s the MuggleCast hotline. You can reach us there 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Micah: Somebody is calling us right now.
Eric: Whoa, who’s that? Who could that be?
Micah: Not sure. But in case you’re looking for any of this information, we will be sure to put the new voicemail number in the show notes but also onto the MuggleCast website. If you log on to MuggleCast.com, there’s a handy dandy bunch of icons located on the right-hand side of the website for iTunes, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, and you can just click on “Contact” and there will be a feedback form on that page where you can send us questions you have, concerns, whatever you want, pictures. And also transcripts are available on MuggleCast.com for all of our episodes now. We might just have one or two that need to be posted but it is pretty up-to-date, so if you choose to read our show instead of listening to our show, or do both, you can check out the transcript section. There’s also a section on the site… we don’t talk much about this over the course of the last couple of episodes, but we do have a Wall of Fame section where we put notable episodes onto our website in a nice little list for you guys to check out, and there’s about ten to fifteen episodes… maybe a little bit more than that, actually, looking at it now, possibly twenty. Twenty out of the 200-plus, 250-plus episodes that we’ve done, sort of the ones that have stood out to us and stood out for the fans. And if you have one that you think warrants being on the Wall of Fame, let us know and we’ll put it up there.
Eric: Such as Kat from Sydney, Australia, who says Episode 78.
Micah: 78, the return of Jamie.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
[Show music begins]
Micah: But I think that about wraps it up for this episode of MuggleCast. Right, Eric?
Eric: Yeah. We’ll see you in the next month.
Micah: Well, that does it for Episode 262 of MuggleCast. We will see you next time for Episode 263.
Eric: In the month of March.
Micah: March. I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Eric: March. And I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: See ya. [laughs]
Eric: [laughs and imitates Micah] See ya.
[Show music continues]