MuggleCast 263 Transcript
[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
Andrew: Because Eric may have one of the best ideas yet for a new Harry Potter book from JK Rowling, this is MuggleCast Episode 263 for March 27th, 2013.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the 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/Tribute.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 263. Micah, Eric, and I, and look who’s back.
Ben: Ben is back.
Andrew: Ben Schoen.
Andrew: MuggleCast co-founder, MuggleNet’s long time MuggleNet staffer up until… what? What year did you…
Ben: I mean, I guess technically…
Ben: …my departure occurred in 2009. However, I still managed to stay on the “About Us” page until 2011 at some point.
Andrew: That’s impressive.
Andrew: See, I was wiped off like the day after. [laughs] So… day after I left.
Micah: I kept you up there, Ben.
Ben: Oh, you did, Micah? That was you?
Micah: I did.
Ben: It was an executive decision?
Micah: Keith wanted to get rid of you… he wanted to get rid of you, but I said, “You can’t take Ben down. It just… the site would crash.”
Ben: Yeah. No, for sure. Keith… I need to take it up with Keith. Actually, I don’t want to take it up with Keith. He’s a big dude. He could beat me up.
Eric: No, I think it was… what it was, Ben, was we weren’t sure that you… we weren’t sure if we got the keys from you after you left. So we had to keep you up on the “About Us” page as sort of like a placating… [laughs] you know, so that you didn’t get angry or something. Maybe do something…
Ben: Oh, you guys were scared that…
Eric: …to the ads, maybe.
Ben: Scared that maybe I built a back door, is what you’re saying.
Andrew: [laughs] Well, it’s good to have you back on the show, Ben.
Ben: I am so glad to be back. It feels good to be on.
Andrew: I know you’ve wanted to come on the show, so that’s great that you did. Before we get to the news, which I am thrilled to be anchoring this time…
Andrew: …because Micah, when he left MuggleNet, apparently he also left the MuggleCast newsroom.
Ben: It’s been empty.
Micah: It’s been empty for quite some time. There’s some cobwebs and…
Eric: Are you there now?
Andrew: We don’t want to know what else. [laughs]
Eric: Oh, okay. Yeah, dead bodies – perfect plan – house-elves…
Pottermore Discussion: PlayStation Home
Andrew: But before we get to that, I just wanted to bring up the point that shouldn’t we be looking forward to new chapters in Pottermore soon? Because…
Ben: Wait, Pottermore is still online?
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] It’s still on, believe it or not.
Ben: Oh, I thought that was like last year’s thing. Or a couple of years ago.
Andrew: Well, they’ve been releasing them a bit differently. They released Sorcerer’s Stone all at once, and now what they do is they release batches of chapters a few times a year to kind of spread out all of the excitement.
Ben: Now, am I alone in my lack of enthusiasm? Are there a lot of fans who email in who genuinely are looking forward to the Pottermore release? Because I don’t want to patronize or condescend to anybody.
Andrew: Yeah, no, people are looking forward… I mean, Pottermore didn’t thrill everybody. They had some launch problems and what not. What people look forward to now is the new content. From JK Rowling, the new writing.
Ben: Well, sometime we need to talk about… a different show, but we need to have a whole hour discussion about the phases of Harry Potter.
Ben: Because I think that at a different phase of my Potter-ness, that I would have been much more excited for these additional releases.
Andrew: Right. Do you think they took too long to release Pottermore?
Ben: Yeah, I think that Pottermore… I think the way that they built it up and everything, they kind of made it out to be something a lot more interactive and better than it was going to be. And yeah, I’m excited to hear the new information, but I can hear that from you guys or there will be enough people talking about it in different places that I can hear that information. I don’t necessarily have to go through Pottermore myself. Does that make me a bad Harry Potter fan?
Eric: No, I think you’re right. They really needed to develop something that would bring people to that site that could only be had on that site – an interactive experience – which is what they were trying to do the whole time. Now, interestingly, last week they released a trailer – did you see this, Andrew? – for Pottermore at PlayStation Home, and it’s because in order to start Pottermore… this whole time has been a joint venture between JK Rowling’s people and Sony, and now they’ve taken that to the next level where they’ve actually come up with – I think it’s in beta testing – a Pottermore app but for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Home Network. So you can actually play it as if it’s a video game, but it’s Pottermore and it’s online. I’m really looking forward to this because I think hopefully, maybe…
Ben: It’ll be a different Pottermore experience.
Eric: Dare I say, it’ll be the Pottermore we were always hoping for.
Andrew: Yeah, it didn’t blow me away. It seems to be a basic Pottermore, but you have an actual character and you kind of walk around Diagon Alley. I have to say, I’ve actually seen Pottermore commercials on TV, after either [laughs] Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy!, and it airs almost every night.
Ben: Wow, they know you. The advertisers know you well, don’t they?
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: Yeah, exactly.
Micah: I was going to say that the demographic for those shows are usually skewed a little bit older, so I don’t know why they’d be going after…
Ben: They’re special ads just for Andrew.
Andrew: I think it more promotes…
Micah: …that type of audience.
Andrew: Yeah, maybe that’s what it is. It promotes, actually, the ebooks. But still, it seems like Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune are older audiences.
Micah: I think…
Ben: Oh, so do you think that Pottermore has… because wasn’t that the exclusive outlet to get the ebooks for a long time?
Andrew: It still is.
Ben: Oh, it still is?
Ben: So, Pottermore has made a ton of money for JK Rowling just by the sale of the ebooks through there, right?
Ben: Because the website itself… I’ve been monitoring the web traffic, and it doesn’t seem to get a ton of people who are regular visitors for it, based upon Quantcast.com and other sites. So, it doesn’t seem like it really is something that fans go to more than once. Once they have the information, it’s not something that they go back to just to mess around on, you know?
Micah: I think that’s the problem. I think there’s nothing that provides people… there’s no retention value. There’s nothing that’s keeping you coming back for more other than the information, which you’re only getting every couple of months, and I feel like Pottermore is becoming too commercial with all these different products that it’s trying to tie into. It’s cool, it’s interactive, but I feel like, in a lot of ways, it missed the wave. For this type of content to be put out there, it could have been done even years before because obviously the books ended in 2007 and here we are in 2013 talking about it. And so I just think that… the content is what people want and that’s it, and I think they’re trying to make too much out of it. They’re trying to make it into something that it’s not. The real fans, they just want to know that information that JK Rowling’s been holding back for all these years.
Eric: Hmm. Well, with the PlayStation Home, in response to that, what I’m most looking forward to is a magical experience. And that may sound dull and cheesy, but in addition to that information… which is true, a lot of people really only care about the information, and that’s why I have only… you know, I logged into Pottermore yesterday and I’m on Chapter 8 of Book 1, and they’ve released [laughs] most of Book 3 at this point, and the reason I don’t… because I don’t want to keep going and clicking to get that information. I just want the information. But once I saw you could walk through Diagon Alley, I thought, well, maybe it’ll be magical again.
Andrew: Well, let’s hope so, Eric. [laughs] For your sake.
Andrew: You know what it is? It’s basically… with Pottermore you kind of walk through but not in a 3D way, like you will be able to on PlayStation Home. So… you know, they’re actually… just today they announced a Doctor Who game on PlayStation Home.
Eric: Oh, cool.
Andrew: So there seems to be this big push all of a sudden for PlayStation Home games.
Eric: Yeah. I’ve been on…
Andrew: I hadn’t even heard of this thing until…
Eric: Well, you had a PS3 and then you got rid of it. Right, Andrew?
Andrew: Yeah, but I still didn’t use PlayStation Home.
Andrew: I don’t know what that is.
Eric: Yeah. It’s…
Ben: Well, aren’t they coming out with the PS4 now and about to make your entire…
Eric: Yeah, they will.
Ben: …conversation irrelevant?
Eric: Well, PlayStation Home is like an avatar… it’s like you have an avatar. You have your character and he’s walking around and there’s these common areas – like a mall, one is an amusement park – and then you have little mini-games or whatever, but you can do it with… everybody in PlayStation Home is another PlayStation user sitting at their PlayStation Home unit.
Ben: How much does it cost? Is it going to be $5.99 or something?
Eric: It’s free but each of those apps have little packages you can buy of coins that allow you to get different clothing and stuff like that. That’s how they make their money. But everything on Playstation Home is through your web connection. So it’s like multiplayer on a video game but the video game is just the Internet, if that makes sense.
Andrew: Yeah. All right, well let’s get into the news here. Hopefully we can get the new Pottermore chapters soon. We’re definitely due for them and I know the Pottermore Twitter has been doing some game which I thought meant it was coming really soon. Maybe it’ll be this week, who knows?
Eric: I hope so.
Micah: It’s been a while.
Andrew: It has.
Ben: [singing] “It’s been a while…”
Andrew: Yeah, that’s why I’m getting very on edge. I’m on the edge of my seat looking forward to the new Prisoner of Azkaban chapters.
Before we continue with today’s episode of MuggleCast, it is time to remind you that today’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including 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 very great service. I am going to give you a recommendation this week that I think you are really going to like if you haven’t read this book already: Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. This is technically the special 20th anniversary edition. Now, why do I recommend this book? Well, first of all it’s a classic – if you’ve read this book you already know that. But second of all, it’s being turned into a film by Lionsgate, the people who brought you The Hunger Games, and if all goes according to plan, this could potentially be a trilogy, just like The Hunger Games was. It is one of the most highly rated books of all time. Ender’s Game isn’t just a sci-fi novel for kids. From an early age Ender must tackle the adult concepts of leadership, independence, and self-reliance, abstract thinking, and accountability. It helps that he’s a genetically engineered super genius, but still, that’s a lot to ask a kid to handle. The multicast narration adds layers of texture to the diverse characters throughout the story. The poster was just released for the film very recently – this past week, actually – and that means that a trailer should be on the horizon. We’ll of course keep an eye out for that because Ender’s Game is, like I said, a beloved book. So again, visit AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast to get an audiobook – perhaps Ender’s Game, the special 20th anniversary edition audiobook – for absolutely free. We thank Audible for their support of the show.
News: JK Rowling Has No Plans For Prequel About The Marauders
Andrew: Let’s talk about some interesting news here actually. JK Rowling had another Casual Vacancy event. This one was at the Bath Literature Festival. I haven’t looked into it, I’m pretty sure people just sit and take baths and read. So JK Rowling evidently wanted to participate in this, and she spoke about The Casual Vacancy…
Ben: Oh, she took a bath there? What?
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, something like that.
Eric: Baths are very soothing.
Ben: Oh, I was going to say. I wish I was there to see Jo take a bath.
Eric: I’m sure the feeling is mutual, Ben.
Andrew: [laughs] And she was asked about… there was a Q&A, and she was asked if she would ever write a Harry Potter prequel, specifically about the Marauders. And she responded by saying that although she has no current plans to return to the series, if she did it would not be about the Marauders. And her reason was because she doesn’t find prequels to be any good. So she basically denied a Marauders book happening and a prequels book happening in the same sentence. [laughs]
Micah: So she feels that prequels are kind of like epilogues?
Ben: Well, I mean, come one, we’ve got to give her a little bit more time. I think that for somebody like her, Harry Potter has been her… it’s been in her life since 1997 or whenever the first book came out, essentially. So, I mean, she needs some time to chill out and just… she worked on The Casual Vacancy. I’m sure there are plenty of projects that she’ll do in between doing something that is going to be a prequel or maybe an extension or maybe we hear what it’s like to grow up, Harry’s kid. But I think she’ll come back to it, eventually.
Ben: I mean, she may never, but I personally think that after some time there may be… she may one day think, “Oh, I wish I had done this.” Or she may think of something that would be fun and interesting for her to do that involves Harry Potter.
Andrew: Yeah. Part of me thinks she’s bluffing.
Andrew: She’s screwing with people.
Eric: Surprise! [laughs]
Andrew: Because the way it happened at this Q&A, it seems like she just laid the ax down about any chances of a prequel. Which is why this kind of… it left a lot of people up in arms because people were looking forward to a Marauders book.
Andrew: That’s been one of the popular hopes.
Micah: But I feel like she’s always said when she’s been interviewed that if she does something it’ll be post-Harry, not before him. And I feel like that gives her the most opportunity, the most chance as well, to write something because it’s open-ended. I mean, if you write about the Marauders you can only write about them up to a point because then we know what happens after that. Whereas if she writes about Harry’s kids, there’s a lot that she has to write about.
Eric: I get what you’re saying, but on one hand her quote, like, “Oh yeah, I won’t do a prequel because prequels are no good.” Well, also sequels are no good, too, sometimes. Like if it’s a sequel, if it’s taking place after Harry has defeated Lord Voldemort, what’s going to happen? What’s going to be your conflict that drives your character, whoever they may be, into action? Oh, is there somebody who is as evil as Voldemort? A second big bad dark wizard?
Ben: What if she picks a random weird character and doesn’t write a prequel or a sequel, but she writes what Filch was doing the entire time.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Ben: She releases Filch’s diary.
Ben: Wouldn’t that be cool?
Andrew: Right. Yeah, so the Harry Potter series from Filch’s perspective.
Ben: Oh yeah, maybe. That would be cool.
Eric: Like a Midnight Sun, but from Filch. A Midnight Squib.
Ben: Or Peeves’s perspective.
Andrew: Right, right.
Ben: That would be cool.
Andrew: [laughs] Midnight Squib. Peeves’s perspective would be cool?
Eric: Yeah. But…
Andrew: Midnight Squib, I like that. Eric is referring to Midnight Sun, which is Twilight from Edward’s perspective. [laughs]
Eric: Yes, and I wish she’d go ahead and write the rest of that because I actually read that a long time ago and I liked it.
Andrew: Me too. Somebody should write Midnight Squib.
Ben: Since when did we start doing Twilight references on this show? Did…
Andrew: I don’t know. Eric…
Eric: There’s a voicemail…
Ben: Did the fandom war… did it end?
Eric: Ben, there’s a voicemail about this.
Ben: Did you guys declare a cease-fire?
Eric: There’s a voicemail about this coming up soon.
Andrew: Ben is just trying to win over all of the Twilight haters who are listening right now.
Ben: Yeah, I’m trying to win over the purists. You can follow me at @benschoen.
Ben: My follower count has stalled for years. Come back.
Micah: Well, I hear you can just buy more if you need to.
Listener Tweets: JK Rowling’s Next Harry Potter Book
Andrew: [laughs] So on Twitter, Twitter.com/MuggleCast, we asked those who follow us: What should JK Rowling’s next Harry Potter book be about, if not a prequel? Besides the encyclopedia, of course; that’s already a popular thing that everybody wants. Everybody asks us nearly every day. Sam said:
“A story about foreign schools of magic!”
“Would love to see…”
Ben: Boo. I don’t like Sam’s idea.
“…the first few years after the war.”
You wouldn’t like a book about a different school?
Ben: Yeah, I don’t want to hear what Viktor Krum was doing. I’m sorry.
Andrew: Yeah. Cherise said:
“Would love to see the first few years after the war, the rebuilding and the growing relationships.”
Ben: Oh, that would be interesting.
Andrew: That’s what you were referring to.
Ben: That would be like post-Civil War reconstruction.
Eric: Ugh, I don’t know. Don’t give… if we’ve learned anything from The Casual Vacancy, please allow it to be… don’t give JK Rowling the opportunity to be dramatic and melodramatic and exhausting and really just sad, sucking the happiness and bleh out of life.
Ben: Well, she did the opposite, so…
Eric: Was that too intense?
Ben: …it was her… she had to balance things out a bit.
Ben: She’s like, “I’m tired of this uplifting stuff.”
Ben: “Love, ah, love, that whole crap, BS I wrote about the power the Dark Lord knows not. Ugh!”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: Shelby said:
“Probably something about after Hogwarts was fixed. Maybe Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione’s children or even others.”
Ben: Well, was there some magic spell to fix Hogwarts? It’s just like, “Reparo Hogwarts!” and Hogwarts is fixed?
Andrew: Hogwarto Reparo. Hogwartus Reparo.
Eric: I just think that because the Harry Potter series was so innovative… or not innovative, unique, and it was so inspiring and for JK Rowling to have written it is just really unique. I think hopefully she’ll come up with an idea that nobody is talking about and execute…
Eric: Like maybe set in the world of Harry Potter… because I guess that’s the point, right? The fact that it’s set in the same world. But to just come up with an idea that’s truly original and surprise us, get us… I’m waiting for JK Rowling’s fifth tweet ever when she announces…
Eric: …what she’s doing.
Ben: Micah is going to miss it.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: That’s right. Because I don’t follow her on Twitter.
Eric: You missed her tweet then the other day, right?
Micah: I doubt she tweeted the other day.
Eric: She really tweeted the other day.
Andrew: She did. She said something about something going on in Britain. It was boring.
Eric: Some politic…
Micah: Oh yeah, I heard about that though. See! I still heard about it.
Andrew: I bet you have a secret account where you secretly follow Jo.
Micah: And that’s the only person that I follow.
Andrew: Do you think… I mean, what are the chances you’ll ever follow JK Rowling again? Is there a chance? What does she have to do to win you over as a follower?
Micah: Take a bath.
Andrew: Oh, my God.
Eric: What if this?
Micah: No, no, I’m joking.
Andrew: No, you’re not.
Micah: I’m not.
Eric: What if the next Harry Potter book is being released over Twitter in 140 character tweets?
Eric: And that… and it’s a serial version of her book?
Andrew: I think in that case, Micah would find the strength to press to Follow button.
Eric: I think so, too.
Ben: If I were Jo…
Micah: Some site is just going to copy it and paste it somewhere.
Eric: And compile it into actual pages that you can flip through.
Ben: If I were Jo…
Andrew: A lot of people on Twitter…
Ben: …I would actually write some Harry Potter fan fiction on one of those sites and then see what people think.
Ben: And then I would laugh at their responses that were like, “This sucks. JK Rowling would never write this.” And I would sit there…
Ben: …and laugh.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, we all remember the classic story. She went into a MuggleNet chatroom and shared some of her theories before the final book came out.
Andrew: And everybody laughed them off.
Andrew: She has said that. She has been on the record.
Andrew: [laughs] A lot of these Twitter responses, by the way, people say… maybe Jo responded in these Twitter responses.
Andrew: Who knows? [laughs] Doubtful. I think she’s… a lot of people seem to want post-Book 7, seeing the kids grow up. So…
Micah: Yeah. But to answer your question, no, I don’t really think that I would follow her. She doesn’t interact enough.
Micah: Is that terrible? I mean, it’s true. I’m not telling people not to follow her. It’s just she doesn’t tweet enough.
Andrew: I understand.
Ben: Can we do a campaign for JK Rowling to follow Micah, so Micah will follow her back?
Ben: We should start one.
Andrew: We should try that. That’ll do it.
Micah: Those are the only circumstances under which I would follow her.
Andrew: All right.
Eric: Is if she follows you?
Micah: That’s right. And I doubt she’s following anybody.
Andrew: By the way, she only follows Pottermore right now. So…
Eric: [laughs] So that’s…
Andrew: Let’s move on to some other news.
News: Bonus Material No Longer Included With 15th Anniversary Harry Potter Paperbacks
Andrew: We talked in the recent episode, either January or February, that new Harry Potter paperbacks are being released with all new covers by Kazu Kibuishi. He is well known actually, in the illustration industry. I mean, he’s got quite a few other titles.
Andrew: I personally have never read them, but I know he’s…
Micah: He’s a comic book artist, right?
Andrew: Yeah. And so far, only the Sorcerer’s Stone cover has been released. But when they announced this, and when the books went up for pre-order, Scholastic had said at the end of each of these books, these new paperbacks, there was going to be bonus material. That phrase exactly. And I happen to peruse the pre-order pages the other day and noticed that the bonus material blurbs had disappeared. So I emailed Scholastic and I said, “Hey, what’s up with this?” And they sent me a statement back, they said that… actually, we’re getting ahead of ourselves in the rundown a little bit. [laughs] But they said to me that:
“When it comes to the ‘Harry Potter’ series, we always want to deliver for the fans. Since we determined that our plan fell short of that expectation, we will not be offering bonus content.”
So either they didn’t like the outcry from fans who didn’t want them to make this sort of money grab. Some people said, “Oh, Scholastic is just adding the bonus material so people who already have the books will go back and buy them again.” Which is a valid point. So some people thought it was a cheap move. Other people, myself included, thought it was a good move because it would be nice to have a little extra feature, these Harry Potter books, to give us a reason to buy them again. Or you just go into Barnes and Noble, and you read the bonus material in the kids section [laughs] and then you walk out. You don’t have to buy the books, you get what you want. Or read it on the Internet. Anyway, these books are also coming out on August 27th. That’s when Amazon is going to start shipping them, and Barnes and Noble as well. And you can pre-order them now. So…
Andrew: What do you guys think? Should the bonus material… should that have been included or what?
Micah: Pottermore had no issues with this?
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: Yeah, maybe Pottermore called and they said, “Hey, you better not release bonus material.”
Micah: Or Sony. Whoever is in charge there.
Eric: Well, once they determined that their plan was going to fall short… I don’t even understand this statement. I didn’t think it made grammatical sense at first. But now that you’re talking about it, now it makes sense. They had some ideas of what the general content would be, but then they just… for whatever reason, they decided against it. Yeah, I think some…
Andrew: Yeah, and I mean…
Eric: But then putting content in a book, like in a regular… I don’t think that any special content of any relevance really should belong in a book. A book that you buy at the store should be that book and almost nothing else. Maybe the publishers already throw in those little ad pages, like other works by this author…
Eric: Or if you like this, you’ll also like this. BS pages. I really think the book should just be the book.
Andrew: I don’t know if anyone should really blame Scholastic, though, for wanting to do that because the book industry is hurting right now…
Eric: Oh, that’s true. And yeah, no, I get what you’re saying too. That would bring and generate revenue, and it would definitely raise interest in addition to the new cover design.
Andrew: Yeah. Think of the good news, would be more people going into mom-and-pop shops, for example, to go and buy the books. You can look at it from that kind of perspective, or you can look at it as Scholastic is just trying to get Harry Potter fans to buy the books again. I’m still not sure if I’m going to go buy them again. The first book, Sorcerer’s Stone, the cover looks great. We’ll have to see how the rest of the covers look. I’m very interested to see how those look.
Andrew: I haven’t decided if I’m going to buy them yet. Have you guys?
Micah: Don’t do it.
Eric: What if they released…
Andrew: [laughs] Don’t do it.
Eric: What if they released a statement saying that they wanted to deliver on the new covers but they decided not to so we’re only getting Sorcerer’s Stone.
Micah: Well, that’s what they did…
Micah: …really with the anniversary edition.
Eric: The 10th anniversary? Yeah, wasn’t it the plan always…
Ben: I’m looking forward to buying these.
Eric: Oh yeah, Ben?
Ben: Yeah, I’m serious because I want to have every Harry Potter book that I possibly can. Do you guys have books with the English covers?
Andrew: I have one or two, I think.
Ben: I have one. I have Book 7.
Ben: I got it at Heathrow Airport, in 2007.
Eric: The rest of us have Book 7 because we were there.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Ben: Oh, that’s right!
Ben: I wasn’t at your guys’ event.
Eric: That’s a fairly… you were in Oak Park, though.
Ben: Yeah, I was at a pretty big event. So…
Eric: That’s pretty cool.
Andrew: When I came back… when I got the book in the UK, and I came back and I saw the actual… the US version, I was like, “Jesus, this is big!”
Eric: [laughs] Right?
Andrew: The UK books are great.
Ben: It’s kind of like their refrigerators and their lavatories.
Ben: Those tiny fridges, tiny bathrooms. Americans, we’re just like, “Man, we eat so much we just need big bathrooms.”
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Eric: We need bigger books.
Ben: Big books, big bathrooms. Big books for our big bathrooms.
Andrew: I think another thing going for Scholastic right now is that they… people’s existing copy of Harry Potter, especially people who read the book still. I mean, I have friends I see on Twitter who say, “I’m reading the Harry Potter books again.” I mean, these copies are starting to fall apart. [laughs] So this is a good time for people to get fresh copies if they want.
Ben: Yeah, it’s like, “Mom, my Harry Potter broke. Can you stop at the store and pick me up a new one?”
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, the box set is going to have new art as well. So I’m looking forward to… if Scholastic is smart they’ll release… they should be releasing one new cover every three to four weeks. Because when they released the Sorcerer’s Stone cover it was a huge deal.
Andrew: So… I mean, it won’t be as big of a deal for the rest of these naturally, just because everybody knows they’re being re-released at this point.
Andrew: But it would be cool for them to do that.
Micah: Are they going to be sold individually or just in the set?
Andrew: No, no, individually as well.
Micah: Okay. Yeah, I mean, I think Ben brought up the point, sort of. I think if you’re a collector it’s definitely something you’d want to have because it’s unique, it’s different. It’s just going to be interesting to see how they plan to do these types of sets moving forward. They had the Sorcerer’s Stone 10th anniversary, which we talked about a little bit on the last episode with the different cover and there was some new art inside, but beyond that there was nothing different about it. And they decided after that anniversary edition, for whatever reason, not to pursue it with any other books.
Micah: And I don’t know why. Maybe it didn’t sell well.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s probably why. I didn’t like that whole idea anyway. I think how they’re doing it now is better. Just release them all at once.
Eric: Yeah, and it will be fresh, the new author… the new artist, I mean. [laughs]
MuggleCast 263 Transcript (continued)
News: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Orlando Expansion Opening in 2014
Andrew: Let’s move on now. The mayor of Orlando says The Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion is opening in 2014.
Eric: Is this news?
Ben: Is that part of his platform when he’s trying to get re-election?
Ben: He’s like, “I expanded the Wizarding World.”
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Ben: “You guys have to re-elect me.”
Eric: Did we know… was there a date already set for it?
Andrew: No, there wasn’t. No, there wasn’t. It was kind of news. Here’s what he said.
Andrew: He said:
“This summer, [Universal Orlando Resort] will open the new ‘Transformers’ 3D ride followed by the opening next year of a new resort hotel and the expansion of ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’.”
So some people took that… Universal, they were asked to comment and they were a bit miffed. They were like, “We didn’t read his comments like that. We read it differently,” meaning he was just referring to it opening in the future sometime, not necessarily 2014. However, you have to think that they’re aiming for 2014, a) because, as we all know, Harry Potter is not exactly getting more and more popular by the day.
Andrew: So they’ve got to move on this while they can. [laughs] And b) if you look at how far construction has gone so far, it’s pretty significant. There were some great, great, great overhead shots taken – [laughs] which I’m sure Universal hated…
Andrew: …by some satellite company. And I mean, this project is moving, so I think it’ll be open next year.
Eric: That’s good. That Transformers ride really snuck in there. [laughs]
Andrew: What do you mean?
Eric: And what is this about a new resort? I’m going to look this up.
Andrew: Yeah, they’re opening a new resort, too. A new hotel resort.
Eric: Where is there room?
Andrew: I don’t know, but they saw how popular LeakyCon was. They were like, “We need a bigger hotel to do this at,” so…
Eric: Yeah, maybe this one will just be called something Harry Potter.
Andrew: They’re going to call it “The Leaky Cauldron” or “The Leaky…”
Ben: The Leaky Inn.
Andrew: What are these other hotels called? [laughs] The Leaky Inn.
Ben: Loews Leaky Inn.
Eric: The Royal Pacific and the Portofino Bay…
Eric: …and the Hard Rock.
Ben: The Hard Rock.
Eric: What Ben said.
Ben: What Eric said.
Andrew: The new hotel resort, the new resort, is called Universal’s Cabana Beach… Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Ben: Say that five times fast.
Eric: [unintelligible] …themes there.
Andrew: And look at the concept art. Yeah. Cabana Bay Beach Resort. It looks like something out of the ’50s. That’s kind of the theme that they’re going with. That’s kind of cool.
Andrew: Yeah. Get to live in the Mad Men area when you go to visit Universal now.
News: Rupert Grint and Stephen Fry to Co-star in Super Clyde
Andrew: One other piece of news today. We spoke, I think – maybe, I’m not sure, I can’t remember – about Rupert Grint. He’s got a US comedy… he’s got a CBS comedy pilot in the works called Super Clyde [laughs] where he plays a superhero. And as it turns out – little Harry Potter connection – Stephen Fry is going to co-star in it. The Harry Potter connection to Stephen Fry is that he narrated the UK Harry Potter audiobooks.
Eric: Hmm. This is…
Andrew: He is going to be the butler.
Andrew: He’s going to be Rupert Grint’s butler on the show. [laughs]
Eric: This show is going to fail, but…
[Andrew and Ben laugh]
Micah: Way to be optimistic.
Eric: …for every millisecond that exists…
Ben: Yeah, this has not been a very optimistic news section.
Eric: Before it fails, every second that it exists, I am going to enjoy and cherish.
Andrew: See, I’m excited. I think this is actually… now that Stephen Fry is involved, I’m actually pretty excited.
Eric: But CBS… don’t get me wrong, I think CBS is on fire right now. All the cool shows that I watch – like Person of Interest – are on CBS, and I think this is awesome. But then it kind of worries me because then I’m wondering, why is this on American television? Why isn’t it on BBC One or BBC America? All the television channels that we, obviously, can’t get a hold of. But it just seems so weird that it’s American.
Andrew: Because we Americans make superheroes. Think of Marvel and everything. We are superheroes, so that’s why this show is…
Ben: That’s because we’re in dire need of a superhero.
Micah: That’s right.
Eric: Yeah. I just worry that we wouldn’t…
Micah: The Beninator.
Eric: I’m into it. I’m interested.
Micah: No, you don’t like that name?
Eric: What’s that?
Ben: I love that name, Micah.
Micah: The Beninator?
Eric: The Beninator.
Ben: The Beninator.
Ben: No, I don’t like that name.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Ben: On second thought, don’t ever call me that.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: All right, so…
Micah: I was just going to say, it’s not like we’ve never had a superhero who has had a butler and that being made into a show before. Right?
Ben: A superhero with a butler?
Andrew: What are you saying? What is the point you’re making here?
Micah: Well, that seems to be the plot point, right? Young…
Andrew: Oh, you’re saying it’s original. This is an original show.
Micah: No, it’s not. I mean, a young superhero with a butler?
Andrew: Well, he’s not necessarily a superhero. He’s a superhero because he’s rich, and he’s going to use his fortune…
Micah: [laughs] Oh, a rich superhero with a butler.
Andrew: [laughs] No, no, he’s using his…
Andrew: His superpower is that he’s rich, and he’s going to use his money to take care of people or solve problems. That part of the plot, I’m not so sure about. And… [sighs] Rupert Grint I personally don’t find to be a great actor, so I’m… that’s my hang-up with this show. That’s why I don’t…
Micah: [laughs] Cue the email!
Andrew: Well, no. But really, look…
Ben: Rupert Grint was the best of the three. Throughout the entire Harry Potter series, Rupert Grint was the best of the three actors. I mean…
Andrew: You mean that seriously?
Ben: Yeah, I genuinely mean that.
Eric: Somehow he’s the only one to not currently be featured in wax at Madame Tussauds in London.
Ben: Well, that doesn’t mean anything.
Ben: That doesn’t… there are times when people who are great actors…
Eric: That’s because the wax is walking and breathing. Oh, burn.
Andrew: Well, I’m glad you think that, Ben, because we need differing opinions on here.
Ben: Well, I’m saying that Emma Watson… Rupert Grint is probably the least attractive out of all… out of the three.
Ben: Sorry, sorry, Rupert.
Andrew: See, no… well, many girls would disagree with you.
Ben: Well, yeah. I know… I’m not the best at evaluating men, so I don’t know. But I’m just saying that I feel like market… take the looks out of it. Just marketability, I feel Emma and Dan have much greater marketability than Rupert ever has.
Andrew: Mhm. Right, they’re much more… they have that Hollywood look.
Ben: He is stigmatized because he is a ginger.
Ben: There’s ginger bullying. I’m serious about this. I joke around a lot, but I’m dead serious about this. If he wasn’t ginger, he would be further.
Andrew: Well, people also really like him because he’s ginger. I mean, look at Rupert-Grint.us. That’s the only fansite left out of the three trio in terms of trio member fan sites. Rupert Grint is very big. I think you’re not giving him as much credit as you should.
Ben: I mean, how big is he compared to Dan?
Andrew: I honestly think people freak out about Rupert as much as they do… Ben, think of some of our friends. I think of Bre and Sam Friedman, who…
Ben: But think about the quantity of people freaking out over Dan…
Andrew: Yeah, no, I do think…
Ben: …versus the quantity of people freaking out over Rupert.
Andrew: I think it could be very similar numbers. I don’t know, it’s hard to say. We don’t have a girl on the show today. People do love Rupert…
Ben: Now, is Emma making… who made more money last year? Is it still Dan?
Andrew: I bet Dan did because he’s got a bunch of projects.
Eric: Now, come to think of it though…
Ben: I’m interested to see how that averages over time. Like if this were a horse race, I would bet on Emma Watson by…
Andrew: Oh, yeah.
Ben: Say in like 20 years, in the next 20 years, we measured how much money they each made per year. I think Emma Watson is going to blow them both out of the park.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, I think you’re right.
Eric: Though now that we’re talking about it, I do think I’ve probably seen more Rupert Grint films than Emma Watson or Dan Radcliffe films that aren’t Harry Potter. I saw this movie Rupert…
Ben: Have you ever seen this movie, Perks? What everyone is calling Perks?
Eric: Yeah, Perks.
Ben: I have not seen that film. Should I see it?
Eric: Emma is in it. She…
Ben: No, I know she’s in it, but is it worth seeing? Am I going to be disappointed?
Andrew: No, no.
Ben: Is it going to change my outlook on Emma in a good way?
Andrew: You’re going to love her even more.
Eric: I think so, too. But…
Andrew: It’s based on the book by Stephen Chbosky, which is beloved.
Andrew: It came out in the ’90s, and he directed the movie. He did a great job with it. He’s one of the nicest people on the planet. And Emma Watson did a great job.
Andrew: So yeah, definitely watch it.
Eric: Rupert did a film called Wild Target that I saw, and Bill Nighy is in it as well, but I just really actually quite liked it. So, I guess I do like Rupert as an actor in films other than Harry Potter. It’s just… I do think he’s a bit random, and I do think the fact that this is going to be an American series on CBS is a bit random. So I hope he can survive, and until then I know that I’ll be tuning in and watching it and enjoying it.
Voicemail: Harry Potter Fan Clubs
Andrew: Okay, let’s move onto some voicemails now. We have three here this week.
[Audio]: Hi, my name is Shelby R. I’m calling from Arizona, nice and hot. I was just calling to see if you guys knew of any Harry Potter-related fan clubs, or anything that we could find in our area. Not just here, all over the country. I know about the Harry Potter Alliance, but sometimes it’s hard to get to them or they’re not near your area. So I wanted to know if you guys knew of any easier way to find other Harry Potter fans. I’ve tried Craigslist, but I don’t want to talk about that. Thanks for making the show, guys. I love it. I listen to it every time you guys have a new episode, and I’ll miss you. I wish you would come out with one every week. Have a great day. Buh-bye.
Andrew: So, Harry Potter fan clubs.
Ben: I’m interested…
Ben: …to see – or to hear, rather – how many other people out there are like her who would be willing to organize a Harry Potter fan club within their own city.
Andrew: I think… well, I know, for starters, Los Angeles has a very active one called the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army.
Andrew: And I went to a bowling night, Harry Potter Bowling Night.
Andrew: And it was actually… it was pretty fun, but they’ve got a few events coming up in the next… they have one, two, three, four, five, six events coming up between now and May including Harry Potter Roller Skating Night. Ninety people attending, second annual event.
Micah: Is that like roller derby where you can hit other people?
Andrew: No, no. Come on, we’re Harry Potter fans. We don’t hit people. What are you talking about?
Micah: Oh. Sorry, it’s too much Game of Thrones influence.
Andrew: [laughs] Okay.
Micah: No, but where is she calling from?
Eric: She is calling from Arizona. Nice and hot, as she says. And I think… the thing of it is, we really do need to come up with… and she said she used Craigslist [laughs] but that she didn’t want to talk about her experience there. I think that we do need to continue to use the Internet as a resource. Say maybe Facebook or… I just did a Google search for Arizona Harry Potter fans, and I came up with this article on LightningOctopus.com, and it’s about Phoenix Lament which is Arizona’s Harry Potter fan club group. So I would recommend searching for Phoenix Lament. There are other ways to sort of do this, and if our listeners can help out, if any other listeners are also in the Arizona area and want to meet up or want to have a fan club group, I think we’ll just have to play matchmaker this one time.
Andrew: I would also recommend Meetup.com. This is how the LA one is organized. And you can do a search within X miles of your location. So just keep expanding the search until you find something, and then – like the LA Harry Potter club – they put all their events in here. And you can sign up, you can join. Now, the LA Harry Potter club, they have a membership due of $5 every six months and I’m a little weird about that.
Micah: What does it go towards?
Andrew: I don’t know what it goes towards. Now, I’m not a member. I don’t know how they collect the money…
Ben: You don’t have a card?
Andrew: No, but [laughs] I’m on the mailing list and…
Ben: How did you get on the mailing list if you’re not a member?
Andrew: …I still get notified about their events.
Ben: I’m going to get you off the mailing list, then.
Andrew: I hit the “Join Us” button, and I signed up, and that was it.
Ben: Oh, okay.
Andrew: And I know for the bowling night, I had to pay a little cover fee to get in there. But that was just the bowling alley’s fee.
Ben: A little Harry Potter cover fee? Or do you think…
Andrew: Yeah, that was just the bowling…
Ben: Wait, do you think maybe the bowling alley and the Harry Potter club are in cahoots?
Andrew: They could be, I don’t know what’s going on. But it was a fun thing. It was a fun event. So check Meetup.com, do a Google search, look for the nearest major city near you.
Micah: Doesn’t Mason run one out in Arizona that she could join?
Andrew: [laughs] No. Should he start one? GoDaddy…
Ben: Actually, there’s a club over where Andrew lives. You can go to Andrew’s place any time for a Harry Potter meet up.
Micah: What’s the address?
Andrew: Well, and…
Ben: It’s an open invite.
Andrew: Yeah, no, there’s no address.
Ben: I can’t remember the address. He lives over there in the… somewhere in the valley.
Andrew: [laughs] Whimsic Alley is a store in LA. They do a bunch of Harry Potter events. Let’s move on to the next voicemail.
Voicemail: The Casual Vacancy TV Series
[Audio]: Hi MuggleCast, this is Michaela Hansen. I’m from Missoula, Montana. You might know it better as the town where Hank Green is from. I wanted to know what you thought of The Casual Vacancy being announced, that they’re creating it as a TV show. I’m not completely sure about it because The Casual Vacancy was such a short book and didn’t have a lot going on, in my opinion. But what do you think it will be like as a TV show? Will it work better? Maybe JK Rowling can explore the town more, maybe we’ll get more details. I just wanted to know your thoughts about it, and I’ve been listening to you guys for years and I love you. Keep up the good work, and thank you so much for bringing a smile to my face every day. Thanks, bye.
Andrew: That was sweet! Well, this is part of the reason why I think JK Rowling is lying about the prequel because we all remember when she was once asked, “Can you see The Casual Vacancy as a movie?” and she said no. I have no clue why this would work as a TV show but not a movie. That doesn’t make sense to me.
Ben: I think that it could be better as a TV show than a movie. I mean, the Harry Potter books could have been made into a TV show. I think that… I mean, Game of Thrones is made in… whatever the George RR Martin…
Eric: A Song of Ice and Fire.
Ben: Yeah, something of ice and fire.
Ben: That’s what I… I couldn’t remember what it was actually called. It’s not Game of Thrones. I think a TV show could be a good format for it. Personally, I wasn’t able to finish The Casual Vacancy.
Eric: Yeah, we should maybe defer to Micah, the only one of these four who has actually finished the book. [laughs]
Andrew: [laughs] Who climbed the mountain.
Micah: I think Ben makes a great point, though. I think that it does suit TV well because you have all these different character arcs, and there’s not as many of them as there are in Potter so it’s a little bit easier to follow along. Again, I don’t know how many episodes they’re going to be making The Casual Vacancy into. I think they could probably do everything that’s in that book in one season, so it actually is more of a miniseries than an actual…
Andrew: Yeah, it is a miniseries.
Micah: …full-blown television show. So I think it could be interesting and I kind of disagree with the voicemail. I think there’s plenty of stuff that can be included. I think it’s obviously a lot more mature in content than something like Harry Potter. There’s a lot of negative to it, just as far as the overall tone of the book. So it’s not necessarily a positive, feel-good [laughs] type of miniseries.
Micah: It’s just…
Ben: People love negative stuff, though.
Micah: That’s true.
Ben: So I could see it being a hit, personally. I think maybe it was a crappy book – sorry if that offends anybody – but maybe it could be a better TV show. Maybe we’ll be raving about…
Eric: An award-winning dramatic miniseries.
Ben: …this miniseries.
Micah: Right. And it’d be interesting because I’m sure that several Potter actors could hop on board.
Eric: Well, they’re going to have to if they want anybody from Britain. [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, because everybody was involved.
Eric: Everybody except Tim Roth.
Andrew: I was trying to see if there was a certain amount of episodes that the BBC ordered. I thought it was six. I mean, that… they call it a miniseries…
Andrew: So I don’t think it can be more than six. But like Micah said, if they focus on the different character arcs, one per episode, that would… I suppose that would…
Eric: That would be interesting.
Ben: Jamie Waylett is going to make a comeback with this one.
Andrew: Is he?
Ben: Yeah, that’s what I heard. It’s just in the rumor mill. It’s on…
Andrew: You should start that rumor.
Andrew: This is his comeback project.
Ben: Andrew, can I start the Hypable back page where I just make up [censored]?
Ben: I mean make up stuff.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s called April Fool’s Day.
Ben: Oh, is that coming up? Oh man, that’s coming up!
Andrew: You should do that, actually. Write that story for April Fool’s Day. [laughs] “Jamie Waylett’s Comeback.”
Micah: Yeah, he can play…
Eric: Tell him that… tell everybody that the terms of his parole indicate…
Eric: …that he has to play a drug addict on TV in order to recover from…
Ben: No, no, I’m going to say that Warner Bros. is attempting to buy him out…
Ben: …of jail. No, JK Rowling personally posted bail for Jamie Waylett on Monday.
Micah: He could play a specific character, though.
Ben: He’s staying at his guest house and watering her flowers.
Andrew: Can you see a character for him in that book, Micah?
Micah: Yeah, Fats.
Andrew: Fats. He did drugs.
Eric: Yeah. He’s actually quite a comedic character. Obviously tortured, but I enjoyed reading Fats for as long as I could keep the book open.
Micah: He likes to get his schwerve on, too.
Eric: Oh, yeah.
Ben: His schwerve on.
Micah: Was that from Wayne’s World? I think so.
Eric: I don’t know what that is.
Micah: All right.
Ben: I don’t know…
Micah: It came from some movie.
Ben: I just quoted you, Micah.
Andrew: All right.
Eric: Final voicemail.
Andrew: One more voicemail.
Ben: [singing] One more voicemail.
Voicemail: Harry Potter vs. Other Book Series
[Audio]: Hey MuggleCast! I’m a long time listener and I work in a bookstore now and I was just… happened across a lady who was having her daughter read The Hunger Games, and her daughter was eleven years old. And when I offered her Harry Potter, which is a lighter book, she told me that Harry Potter was a horrible story. Now, why do you think Harry Potter is still the bad guy when there’s so much worse out there and they let them read Twilight and Hunger Games, which are great books but are much on the harder and more gruesome scale. So I was just wondering what you guys thought. Thanks for everything you guys do. I’ve been listening ever since the beginning. Thanks.
Andrew: Thank you! I think people… well, we don’t know the context. We don’t know why she thought Harry Potter was a bad story. It may have been the whole religion thing. That would probably be my first guess. Or she got really, really bad information from somebody else.
Eric: [laughs] Somebody clearly was hating on Harry Potter though, and I guess this begs the question…
Eric: …in a world where – [as a movie voice-over] in a world where – [back to normal voice] The Hunger Games is being heralded as, say, the next Twilight, Twilight was the next Harry Potter, but they’re all different books. They all offer something different and Hunger Games is quite, I guess, brutal because it is about killing each other and only the seventh Harry Potter book is about that. And Twilight is obviously very romantic, but, to me, in my opinion, having read all of the Twilight books – except for that spin-off BS, whatever she did with that one character, Bree whatever – and having read The Hunger Games, I still think Harry Potter is special and unique, and I still prefer it to the other ones even though I really like The Hunger Games. So…
Ben: Harry Potter…
Eric: …why is Harry Potter somehow not cool enough for an eleven year old to read? This girl is eleven. Shouldn’t she be reading Harry Potter and not Twilight and maybe not Hunger Games?
Andrew: Yeah. Well, she never said Twilight, right?
Eric: Yeah, yeah. It’s Twilight.
Andrew: I think it’s just a case of bad information. And I mean, The Hunger Games I think is a quicker choice right now because it’s in the spotlight so much.
Andrew: Whereas Harry Potter really isn’t, and I think that’s one of the reasons that Scholastic is re-releasing the books in paperback, is because it will put the Harry Potter books back at the front of store shelves.
Eric: I didn’t think about that. That’s a good idea.
Andrew: Yeah. And who knows where it will go after the first couple of months. I’m assuming they’re hoping the sales are strong through the holiday season. That would be ideal.
Andrew: And if they really want to play it up hard, get JK Rowling to do a new interview on The Today Show or something about the books. I don’t know.
Eric: Yeah. No, it’s…
Andrew: But yeah, I think… I can’t… there’s multiple reasons why potentially that person said Harry Potter was a bad book. She could have had bad information. It could have been a religious thing. But in terms of picking The Hunger Games, it’s just the book right now.
Ben: Andrew, I thought of another April Fool’s story.
Ben: JK Rowling has to write more Harry Potter books because her husband Neil was such a bad gambler that now she’s in debt to a bunch of bookies.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: That’s just sad.
Micah: You should tweet that at her, see if she replies to you.
Andrew: [laughs] Okay. So that’s it for voicemails. You can continue to send us voicemails by using the phone number. It’s… were you about to interject something, Micah?
Andrew: Oh. Who’s got the new number?
Ben: Is it 1-866-MUGGLECAST-4?
Eric: I have the new number. The new number is…
Eric: …323-984-8547. And believe me, I spent like a good five minutes trying to figure out if that spelled anything or was somehow easy to remember, and it’s not. But again…
Eric: That’s okay! I wonder what happened. I wonder who has 1-218-20-MAGIC now. But the number is, again, 323-984-8547. And we do want to thank you guys for continuing to send in your questions and your comments.
MuggleCast 263 Transcript (continued)
Announcement: MuggleCast Will Be Ending Regular Episodes
Andrew: Right. So here’s something else that we have to discuss about today’s show, or about the show, and then we’ll move onto Muggle Mail.
Ben: Oh, don’t do it, Andrew.
Ben: Say it’s so. Please?
Andrew: As some people may have already heard, and I’m sorry for announcing it in advance of talking about it on the show…
Andrew: …we have decided to end MuggleCast later this year. Now, the plan is to end the regular shows in August. So we’ll go up until our eighth anniversary, so we’ll be eight years old and then end the show. So that we’ll be a solid eight year run, so that means we have April, May, June, July, August – so at least five more episodes to come. The reason we’re going to do this… well, for one, the reason we wanted to announce it in advance is so that we can make five remaining great episodes. We can plan so that we can get everybody back, including Ben, to make sure everybody can come on again. And by the way, now that everybody knows the show is going to be ending, a lot of the hosts will want to come back.
Andrew: So this is… [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, definitely…
Micah: This is all a ploy to get them to come back…
Micah: …and then we say, “Surprise,” in August, “It’s not really ending.”
Ben: And then the ploy is going to continue because we’re going to end up having a reunion tour in like five years.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: Where we all realize our lives were nothing without MuggleCast. [laughs]
Ben: Exactly. No, it’s been fun though. This is really kind of sad. The chapter is ending.
Andrew: Yeah, but one of the reasons that we wanted to end it is that… end it at a specific point is that we wanted to end it on a good note, not it drifting off and you get an episode maybe every four or five months. Or you still get episodes every month, but the episodes… it’s just that we have… I won’t say we’ve run out of stuff to talk about, but we want to end it when there’s still a lot of good stuff to talk about, whether… instead of just beating a dead horse. I mean, that may be a little too dramatic…
Eric: That’s too dramatic to say on MuggleCast, I think.
Andrew: [laughs] Just what I mean by it is we don’t want to be pushing it too far. I mean, eight years is a very long time for a podcast.
Eric: Oh, yeah. We’re really proud of… and I think I speak for all of us here, we’re really proud of MuggleCast. We’re really proud of the past eight years and everything we’ve done and everything we’ve grown to be over the years. And now I think it’s… everybody individually slowly in the past five years, as individuals we’ve grown off, sort of, into other things. We’ll all still love Harry Potter, but in terms of regularly putting out content on MuggleCast, I think the time for that is… we feel it approaching and…
Ben: Eric, I think you need to be honest with the fans. If you could just get along with Micah behind the scenes…
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Ben: …we wouldn’t be having this problem. We could keep the show going, Eric.
Eric: I really don’t think that I should have joined that other podcast, Ben, because…
Micah: So step down…
Eric: Yeah. What?
Micah: …gracefully, right here…
Ben: Yeah. [laughs]
Micah: …and we’ll continue the show past August.
Eric: Oh gosh, you guys are putting me in a hell of a pickle.
Andrew: [laughs] So we… another good advantage of knowing when this show is going to end is that we can come up with segments for the listeners to participate in. Maybe they want to say their favorite… we’ve done the whole “favorite moment of the show” so many times, but now that the show is actually going to come to an end, then it feels like this will be the best time for people to pick their best… their favorite moments. And by the way, if JK Rowling in a year from now announces the encyclopedia, of course we’ll make a comeback…
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: …and do a few more episodes! But this is the end of regular episodes.
Andrew: Regularly scheduled…
Micah: Or if she wants to come on the show.
Andrew: Oh, that’s the other thing, and I’m serious about this. Somebody brought this up to me. I think it was my family actually, earlier today. Or… somebody… whatever. Now that we know this, guys, this is our chance to get JK Rowling on the show. If we message her now… and I’m very fine with discussing this publicly. If we message her now and say, “Look, we’ve got five more episodes. Can you throw us a freakin’ bone?”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: “Talk to us for thirty minutes…”
Andrew: “…for an interview, and that’s it! That’s all we want from you.”
Eric: It would be a wonderful opportunity.
Micah: I’d follow her on Twitter if she came on the show.
Eric: There you go, that’s incentive.
Micah: And then once we’d got her off, I’d unfollow her again.
Andrew: So I think we should, in all seriousness, make an attempt to do that. I mean, why not?
Andrew: What do we have to lose?
Eric: Absolutely. No, I think this ending date gives us a lot of clarity in terms of how to plan the remaining few shows.
Andrew: Yeah. And if we get JK Rowling, that’ll be a beautiful way to round out this podcast that we’ve done. If not, no big deal. But yeah, so we’re all looking forward to this and I’m sure everybody will enjoy the final few episodes…
Micah: So here’s what we do.
Micah: I want everybody who’s listening right now to this episode to tweet at JK Rowling…
Micah: …and to let her know that we have five episodes left and we’d like her to come on the show before it’s all said and done.
Eric: Micah, how can you go ahead and give people her Twitter name? You don’t follow her on Twitter. You’ve got to make sure you give the right Twitter name because there’s @jk_rowling…
Micah: I’m going to go out on a limb…
Eric: …the real JK Rowling…
Micah: …and I’m going to assume that the people listening to this show follow her on Twitter.
Eric: Okay, but just to be clear, it is @jk_rowling on Twitter.
Andrew: I don’t think she even looks at her own Twitter, let alone her @ replies.
Eric: I don’t think so either. She has a 1,643,000 followers.
Micah: She has somebody who handles her Twitter account that will see all the @ replies.
Andrew: I think we… yeah. So people can do that. I encourage people to do that as well, but I do think we have better means of contacting her and we will try those avenues as well.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: Ben, it’s all you, buddy.
Ben: It’s all Ben. Muggle Mail now?
Micah: [laughs] Go take a bath with her and then we’ll be all set.
Ben: Oh, now we’re definitely never going to get her. Awww.
Andrew: Anyway, so…
Ben: Can I read the Muggle Mail?
Andrew: Yes, just one second. So we hope everybody will enjoy the next five episodes and we wanted to give everybody a heads up about that. So look forward to segments where you can participate in. There will be opportunities.
Ben: And there’s going to be Muggle-more after that.
Eric: [laughs] Muggle-more.
Micah: [laughs] Muggle-more?
Eric: Pickle Pack 2.
Muggle Mail: Praise for MuggleCast
Andrew: Let’s move on now to Muggle Mail. Go ahead, Ben.
Andrew: Read the first email.
Ben: Brian, with “too many gray hairs” in Colorado. Wants to talk about some praise for us.
I just wanted to send some well-deserved praise to all of you for your years of effort in providing ‘Harry Potter’ coverage and discussion to us fans. I found your work a year ago and combined with a trip to the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ in Florida, I became re-energized in my fandom of all things ‘Potter’. Since then, I have caught up on all your episodes available on iTunes and am working my way from Episode 1 into the 200s. I have to say I really appreciate the ongoing ‘casts and have enjoyed how all of you have improved and matured over the years. From the humble and shaky Ben-led early years to the current Andrew-Micah-Eric-etc dominated episodes of recent vintage, your insightful discussion of the books and movies, fun personalities, and just the right amount of wit and self-deprecation make for perfect entertainment.”
Andrew: Well I’m glad you think that, Brian. Thank you for the email. Very well-written email, too, I must say.
Andrew: “From the humble and shaky Ben-led early years…”
Ben: Yeah, talk about a back-handed compliment.
[Andrew, Eric, and Micah laugh]
Ben: Who said this? Brian. I hope your gray hairs fall out.
Eric: No, honestly, I think that’s…
Ben: I’m just kidding.
Eric: I think we really put ourselves out there though on the interwebs, and before we knew that we had anything good we had people listening to it. And we’re lucky that it was good, but it has lasted so long now.
Eric: Again, going back on eight years. We’re just really grateful.
Micah: It’s so much to the point where if you actually do a Google search of my name, [laughs] one of the recommended searches that comes up adds “goats” onto the end of it.
Andrew: That’s me. I search you every day…
Micah: Do you? [laughs] Is that what it is?
Eric: [laughs] You’re skewing Google?
Andrew: …in hopes there’s new Micah goat content to be seen.
Micah: Oh, man.
Muggle Mail: The Elder Wand
Andrew: Next email comes from…
Andrew and Ben: Bethany McCoy…
Ben: …age 18.
Ben: I’m taking the show over. We’re going smooth! Here on out.
Andrew: Go ahead! Let’s go back…
Micah: Ben, you’ve got to make up for those shaky-led early years.
Andrew: Yeah, let’s see how smooth this is.
Ben: Okay. I need some water here. One second, let me take a sip of this Gatorade.
Eric: And if you can, just pick up the tempo a little bit.
Ben: Okay, I’m sorry, Eric.
Ben: You can shut up, man. You’re not from New York, man. You’re from Chicago. All right. Bethany McCoy, age 18, from Phoenix, Arizona wants to talk about the Elder Wand.
“So I’ve been playing with this question for about three years now. I’ve asked all of my ‘Harry Potter’ nerd friends. My question in short is, how was the wand ever even Gregorovitch’s for Dumbledore to win? In further detail: The wand was stolen from Grindelwald, presumably by Gregorovitch. Gregorovitch then lost it to Dumbledore who lost it to Draco who lost it to Harry, etc. But Gregorovitch never truly won the Elder Wand since he obtained it by stealing it, right? And through that I fail to understand how it was then ever truly Dumbledore’s and so on. I hope you guys can provide some insight. It drives me crazy whenever I think about it because I’m sure there’s some obvious minor detail that I’m overlooking but I just can’t seem to solve it. Thanks for your time. I’ve been listening for over two years; it’s definitely my favorite podcast. Keep it up!”
Micah: This is a great question for when JK Rowling comes on the show.
Eric: Oh, I wouldn’t ask her about this because it’s just one of those things in the books where wand allegiance… it does what it has to do for the plot to go forward, you know? But not only that – and I didn’t mean to sound negative in saying that – but I think the wand allegiance – you can kill the owner and that can change the allegiance, but I honestly think that Grindelwald’s stealing the Elder Wand from Gregorovitch – [laughs] Gregora-goravitch…
Eric: Thank you… gave the allegiance, made the allegiance transfer. Even though Gregorovitch was left alive, I think that the allegiance still did transfer because it was an act of cunning, let’s say, for Grindelwald to fly up to that window and take the wand from him. So I don’t think it’s only death that allows wands’ allegiances to transfer. For instance, Harry has Draco’s wand and all of that. So yeah, I think it’s very fluid. Obviously it’s a concept that’s not even introduced until the very last chapter of the very last book. But even though it’s done hastily, I was able to understand that there are kind of other things that allow you to transfer the wand’s allegiance.
Andrew: I think JK Rowling has alluded to that in the past as well.
Andrew: I think you’re right. The matter of it being cunning was a good enough reason.
Eric: Yeah, and…
Andrew: It just seems… it just wants to get around however it can. [laughs]
Eric: Plus it’s Grindelwald. He’s the most important bad guy before Voldemort, isn’t he? The dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945. So I think the Elder Wand would have liked his power and similarly would have liked its power. So I think they were made for each other, like two and two. Like, you know…
Andrew: Harry and Ginny.
Ben: Like [unintelligible]…
Eric: Like Harry and the Book Ginny.
Ben: …liking Harry Potter and jelly.
Andrew: All right, there’s that shaky start.
Ben: Oh, what are you talking about?
Ben: I didn’t know I was reading the next one, but let’s go on to the next voicemail.
Andrew: I don’t know. Well… [laughs]
Muggle Mail: Sorting Petunia Into a Hogwarts House
Ben: Jasmine, 16, from Canada wants to talk about “What if?”
Just want to… just first…”
I don’t even know what I’m reading anymore.
Ben: Anyway, starting over.
“Just first of all want to say I’m a big fan of your podcast. I’ve been listening for over six years now and I’m not going to stop.”
Except in August! You have to stop.
“Now, I was listening to the episode where you talk about Petunia and the new information that we got from her from Pottermore. Now, this leads into my thinking: What if Petunia had gotten into Hogwarts? What house do you think she’d be in? We all know that the books would have been different, she probably wouldn’t have married Vernon…”
Dudley wouldn’t have been born, he wouldn’t have been so ugly…
“…maybe she would have been nicer to Harry, so on and so forth. What do you think? Thank you for reading this. Laura and Elysa are my favorites.”
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
What, did I say that wrong?
Micah: No, no. We were just…
Andrew: No, you said it right. I just felt bad because they haven’t been on for so long. [laughs]
Ben: I know.
Micah: They’re actually on a double date with Brent Greg right now. [laughs] They couldn’t make tonight’s episode.
Andrew: Okay. No, they’re not.
Andrew: No, no, no. Well yeah, I think that’s an interesting question. But the fact that Vernon and Petunia took in Harry to begin with was one of the nicest things they’ve ever done.
Andrew: And one of the reasons it’s hard to call them bad people. I mean, of course in the books you read about how cruel they are, and yes, they definitely were cruel. But the fact that they accepted Harry into their family was the nicest thing… was incredibly nice.
Ben: Oh yeah, and they abused him. Put him in the cupboard under the stairs and bought the other kid…
Andrew: Yeah, but he still got to go to Hogwarts. He still…
Ben: No, no. They ran.
Andrew: Thanks to Dumbledore’s treat.
Ben: They went on the run, Andrew. They were on the run and Hagrid had to chase them down on an island in a shack in order to get him.
Andrew: Well, that’s true.
Eric: Yeah, there’s such a gray area…
Ben: Don’t tell me you’re a Dursley sympathizer, Andrew.
Andrew: I’m just trying to…
Micah: The truth comes out in five episodes to go.
Eric: That’s true. Well, if she were sorted though… but guys, as the Muggle Mail says, if Petunia were sorted where would you place her?
Ben: Oh, yeah.
Eric: I have to say, I’m having a Puff Pride moment here because I think I would place Petunia into Hufflepuff, and this is the thing where everybody rats on Hufflepuff and nobody likes Petunia so they place her there. But I do think that she has been loyal to Vernon all these years. They do have a very loyal to each other… even though they’re both crazy, I would put her in Hufflepuff because she’s loyal.
Ben: No, I bet she’s a Slytherin.
Eric: It’s possible.
Ben: I just think I’ve got to put her…
Andrew: She has those qualities.
Ben: She seems like a snake to me. Like a snake mother.
Andrew: Well, Eric does bring up a good point about loyalty though. So…
Eric: And it may be closer to what you were saying, Andrew, about the family aspect, where she does, begrudgingly… and they treat him bad, but she lets Harry in, and that makes everything else possible that follows.
Andrew: And think about Dudley, at the end of the series when he talks to Harry, when Harry leaves the house. That was… of course, that’s not Vernon and Petunia, but where did he get that little hint of kindness from?
Eric: Yeah! I think it’s all…
Andrew: Inherited from Harry? or did he actually get it from his parents? Somewhere in that gene pool?
Eric: He’s all one giant misunderstanding.
Eric: They thought Harry was the bum next door or something. I don’t know.
Andrew: Well, let’s not forget, Petunia wanted to go. Petunia was always jealous of Lily.
Eric: Yeah, and she…
Andrew: And her magical powers.
Eric: Exactly. And if they had allowed Muggles into Hogwarts, she would have been let in.
Muggle Mail: Curse That Attacked Hermione in Book 5
Andrew: Okay, final email is from Carlie, 22, of Shellharbour, Australia. Go, Ben. Say…
“I was re-reading…”
Ben: Hey, I was just listening to everybody and…
Andrew: It’s fine.
Ben: …letting the conversation go on. It wasn’t shaky.
Andrew: It’s fine.
Eric: Can you read this in an Australian accent?
Ben: Well, I can do a Garth Franklin impersonation.
Ben: DarkHorizons.com, little plug there.
“I was re-reading ‘Order of the Phoenix’ yesterday, and I got thinking about Hermione’s attack. JK Rowling never states exactly what the curse is that Hermione was hit with in the Department of Mysteries. We know it was purple, was enough to render her unconscious without even having the words said aloud, and she had to take ten potions a day to recover and had extreme pain in her ribs. But I was wondering what exactly it was, and wondered what you guys thought. My thought was some kind of internal damage, but I’m not sure.”
Andrew: Wow, what a specific question.
Eric: Yeah, and I had completely forgotten about this moment. And granted, there’s a lot in Book 5. Even by the time you’re at the Department of Mysteries, there’s a lot there, going on. I forgot about this – that Hermione had been attacked, needed ten potions a day to recover. In fact, I don’t recall ever reading it the first time.
Micah: Yeah, me neither.
Eric: That said, I feel like this would be a question for…
Micah: JK Rowling?
Eric: …our fellow podcasters over at Alohomora! – MuggleNet’s Alohomora! podcast – because they’re doing a Chapter-by-Chapter; they’re currently on Prisoner of Azkaban. But they’re doing a global re-read, and I know Noah over there in particular – and Kat and Caleb – would all really be interested in talking about that kind of stuff, and also they’re a lot more…
Andrew: Are you saying we wouldn’t?
Micah: Yeah. Come on, man.
Eric: I’m saying they’re a lot more specific. They’re a lot more… in terms of tearing it apart, and they… believe me, if you were to ask them what spells are purple, they will give you a list. So I’m just saying that they might have skills that I lack.
Micah: Well, they’re not going to get to Order of the Phoenix for like another two years.
Eric: Yeah. So in the meantime, [laughs] you can ask JK Rowling, or we could look it up ourselves and get back to you.
Micah: I think it was a Grimace spell. Like the Grimace from McDonald’s.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: You know if you eat McDonald’s you get extreme pain in your ribs sometimes?
Eric: And you need ten potions to recover.
Andrew: Well, an internal injury would make sense because, of course, even though they are wizards they can still get physical injuries. So look at Harry losing his… breaking his bones and having to use the Skele-Gro, and that was an immensely painful recovery for him. So this could possibly be an alternate way that wizards recover from pain, where they’re taking… or from internal injuries, when they’re having to take, for example, ten potions a day.
Micah: Yeah, what I think is interesting, though, is in the series we really only learned about the three Unforgivable Curses, but clearly there are other curses out there that are really, really dangerous and can have serious effects on people. It’d be interesting to learn about what those are.
Micah: And maybe that would answer this question from Carlie.
Andrew: So if you want to submit your own email, you can go to MuggleCast.com and click on “Contact” at the top of the site. You can fill out the feedback form to get in touch with us, or you can just email mugglecast at gmail dot com. While you’re on the MuggleCast site you can follow us on Twitter, Twitter.com/MuggleCast, where we always ask a question before recording new episodes, and you can “Like” us on Facebook, Facebook.com/MuggleCast. And don’t forget our fan Tumblr, which is MuggleCast.Tumblr.com, where the current top picture is Eric and his MuggleCast tattoo. Eric, are you going to get the tattoo removed now that we are closing the show?
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Eric: Because it would probably cost as much as it did to get the tattoo! [laughs]
Andrew: And cause ten times more pain.
Eric: Irreparable scarring!
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: Which I guess that’s the point of a scar, right? Ehhh.
Andrew: Oh, there you go. Perfect. [laughs]
Eric: No, I got this as a token because I’m so proud of the show, and so that’s…
Eric: And that’ll never change, so there.
Micah: There you go.
Andrew: There you go.
Andrew: There you go. I also want to tell everybody about the podcast we do over on Hypable.com called Hype. It is… basically for me, it’s my future MuggleCast. After MuggleNet came Hypable, and after MuggleCast comes Hype. It’s a general entertainment podcast. We’re covering some of the biggest stories that we talk about on Hypable. And we try to… I know a concern we’ve gotten about Hype so far is, “Well, I’m not interested in all the things you’re talking about,” and the point is that we’re not only introducing you to these things that you may not be aware of but we’re also not dwelling on them. So it’s not an entire episode dedicated to something you may not be interested in. And we offer context about these things that we’re talking about as well, so you’re not going to be out in the dark. You’re still going to be in the loop like all the cool kids. And let’s face it, you’ve got to be up on everything in pop culture these days. I mean, when you go out on a date, what do you talk about? You talk about movies, you talk about TV shows, these are the common interests.
Eric: It’s a competitive world.
Andrew: Yeah. So the next time I try to go out on a date with Micah, trying to win him over for what may be the fifteenth time, I’m going to talk to him about Game of Thrones. I haven’t seen it before, but thanks to Hype I know a little bit about it.
Eric: There you go.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Micah: That was such a great plug, Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you.
Micah: Speaking of Game of Thrones and podcasts you can find on Hypable, as well as other places, I’ll just take a moment, with Game of Thrones premiering this Sunday on HBO, to let you know that Eric and myself as well as Selina, who’s occasionally on the show, and our good friend Zack Luye, have a Game of Thrones podcast called Game of Owns, which you can check out on the web. We recently partnered with a very well-known Game of Thrones website called WinterIsComing.net, so we’ll be working with them moving forward. The podcast will be featured on that site as well as Hypable, and you can find us at all the regular places: Twitter.com/GameOfOwns, Facebook.com/GameOfOwns, and we’re looking forward to discussing the season. And we release episodes actually three times a week, so there’s plenty of content for people to listen to.
Andrew: I’m going to get into Game of Thrones. People tell me the problem is I start out… I don’t try. Because I hear you have to get past the first couple of episodes for it to really get good. Would you guys agree with that?
Eric: In terms of watching the show, no, I wouldn’t say. Well, it really depends on what you’re into, and that’s super subjective, but there are… because there’s an air of the mysterious. There’s some supernatural stuff going on, but that really does have a back burner. If you like sex, there’s that. If you like… it really depends on what you’re into.
Andrew: Sold! Yeah. I’ve just heard that the pilot was kind of bad, so it’s…
Eric: I don’t know, I liked it. But we just… Micah and I just watched it recently – hint hint, spoiler spoiler – but we… I don’t think it’s that bad. What do you think, Micah?
Micah: I’d hope not, if we’re spending this much time doing a show about it. [laughs]
Eric: No, no.
Andrew: Well, obviously the show is big and it’s a success. It’s one of those popular things on HBO.
Micah: No, I mean I think it really does have something that’s going to interest everybody, and in terms of mature content there’s a ton of it. And the good thing about HBO is that there’s no restrictions, and if there’s stuff in the book that’s going to be considered controversial it’s going to be on the show. And I think that’s the whole reason behind why…
Micah: …the author, George RR Martin, decided to go ahead with HBO and producing Game of Thrones as a TV series because there weren’t going to be these restrictions. He can do blood, he can do sex, he can do dragons, he can do all different types of things and there wasn’t going to be any limitations.
Eric: Yeah, it’s definitely a myriad. Now that we’re all older than we were when we first started doing MuggleCast, I can recommend this to ourselves because it’s definitely… even though the books were out… the first book came out, was it early ’90s, mid ’90s? So these books have been out for two decades now, some of them, and they’re very adult. And that’s something to keep in mind when taking our recommendation to go and listen to that show, Game of Owns, is because the podcast is appropriate for the content, and the content can be pretty dark.
Andrew: That’s a good point. As we’re all growing up, we get interested in these new television shows, and Game of Thrones definitely is a good one for the Harry Potter audience.
Eric: Yeah, but you should watch it, Andrew. I really, really think you might like it.
Andrew: I’m going to try again. And I’m going to do my third go at the pilot, and see if I can get through it this time.
Andrew: I’m going to stick with it!
Eric: Oh, well the last… [laughs] the last few moments of the pilot are, shall we say, a long time…
Andrew: Bad? Oh, okay.
Eric: A long fall on the way to the… well…
Andrew: Say no more.
Andrew: Say no more, I got you. All right. Ben, thanks for coming on the show. I’m sure we’ll have you on again.
Ben: Thank you, Andrew. Thanks for having me.
Andrew: No, thank you, Ben. Thank you for everything. From your shaky start at the very beginning…
Ben: To my shaky end.
Andrew: …to this.
Andrew: You’ve truly come full circle.
Eric: Do you have any plugs, Ben? What have you even been doing?
Ben: I just sell online advertising. So if you have a website, hit me up. That’s what I’m saying.
Micah: Follow @benschoen on Twitter.
Ben: Yeah, follow me on Twitter.
Andrew: There you go, that’s what he wants to plug.
[Show music begins]
Ben: Yeah, follow me on there. Then you can listen to my propaganda…
Ben: …and I will send you places.
Andrew: All right. Thanks everybody for listening. We’ll see you next time for Episode 264. Goodbye.
Eric: Goodbye, everybody.
Ben: Bye. Bye. Byeeeee.
[Show music continues]