Transcript #529

Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #529, Celebrating and Criticizing Ravenclaw House

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

Andrew Sims: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly ride into the Wizarding World fandom. I’m Andrew.

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: On today’s episode, we are continuing to look at each Hogwarts House, and this week we are focused on Ravenclaw, and our resident Ravenclaws will guide us through the discussion today, those residents being Laura and Micah. And Laura, you noted you have your purple hair for today?

Laura: I did. I didn’t do my purple hair specifically for today, but I felt like it was a nice tie-in.

Andrew: Just pretend. And I wore this purple shirt specifically because of today’s discussion, yeah!

Micah: Of course you did.

Laura: Sure you did. [laughs]

Andrew: Before we get started, make sure you are following the show for free in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode, and look out for new episodes every Tuesday. That’s it, just a quick little reminder. Let’s jump straight into the discussion today.

Micah: Let’s nerd out.

Andrew: Let’s nerd out!

Micah: Not that we never do that on other episodes of this podcast, but I’m actually excited. We’re all wearing glasses today, too; I think we planned that for the Ravenclaw episode.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: I don’t usually bring these bad boys out, actually.

Andrew: Eric, are those blue light glasses? Are they reading glasses? What are they?

Eric: No, I thought I had pretty good vision until I actually booked an eye doctor appointment, and they did that thing with the lenses where they flip all sorts in front of you, and now I can see in quadruple HD. So I was like, “Wow.”

Andrew: Nice.

Eric: It’s a minor adjustment.

Laura: Isn’t that something?

Eric: Yeah, it’s a minor adjustment. I could use these to read, but I still do all right. [whispers] It’s mostly for the future.

Andrew: Micah and Laura actually need glasses. I just wear blue light glasses because they’re helpful, and because I think they make me look smarter.

Eric: They look nice. Everybody looks nice.

Laura: Oh, that’s very kind. That was a very Hufflepuff thing to say.

Eric: Aw.

Main Discussion: Ravenclaw House

Laura: Jumping on into our discussion, we figured we could start similar to how we started with previous House discussions about highlighting a passage from the Sorting Hat song. Micah, as the other resident Ravenclaw on the panel, would you want to read this passage?

Micah: Of course. I read it every night before I go to bed, actually.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Just to remind myself how smart I am.

Eric: It’s a good affirmation.

Micah: “Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw, if you’ve a ready mind, where those of wit and learning will always find their kind.”

Laura: This leads us to believe, of course, that we’re talking about a high degree of academic prowess, right? But as a Ravenclaw, I feel like that’s one of the only things that people seem to know about this particular House, so I wonder, to kick off this discussion, is Ravenclaw possibly the House that we know the least about?

Eric: This is interesting, because you know what my argument is going to be almost, Laura, about Hufflepuffs getting the short end of the stick and all that stuff.

Micah: You have a movie franchise, though, Eric.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Well, yeah, not only that, there’s not… I mean, I think maybe Kennilworthy Whisp was a Ravenclaw, and he’s going to feature prominently in the Quidditch Through the Ages movie. But no, I think there’s something to be said for this question. I think that it’s quite possible, because they didn’t even get a Triwizard champion from their House. And the characters that we do know – Luna, Cho Chang – also are not very prominent at all, and it never really goes into what their habits are like at Hogwarts, what their personalities are like outside of the friend group that Harry is friends with them. So yeah, I think it could be. It could be that Ravenclaw is the one we know least about.

Andrew: We just hear that they’re intelligent in a hundred different ways throughout the series. For example, I found this little bit of info on the Ravenclaw page on; these are small little tidbits that you may have forgotten. “According to Slytherin prefect Gemma Farley, Ravenclaws were so competitive when it came to academic success that they were known to backstab each other, and likely other students, in order to get top marks. Meanwhile, Hufflepuff prefect Gabriel Truman noted that they were so proud of the success of famous members that they claimed any intelligent wizard as a member of Ravenclaw House…”

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: “… such as Bridget Wenlock, who was in fact a Hufflepuff.”

Eric: That’s right.

Andrew: [laughs] They’re taking credit for smart people even if they’re not in the House, which actually is not too intelligent. Now, of course, this Hufflepuff and this Slytherin could just be making things up or exaggerating the truth because House rivalries, but there’s probably some truth to this.

Laura: But remember, we talked about in the Slytherin episode that we felt like of all four Houses, Ravenclaw and Slytherin shared the most overlap if we were to look at Houses as duos, as Venn diagrams of each other. Micah, as a Ravenclaw, would you still agree with that statement in light of this little bit of info Andrew has presented?

Micah: Definitely, especially reading about the competitive nature; I think that’s something that would be both a trait of a Slytherin and a Ravenclaw. And I’d go back to… I know I mentioned that I was actually a Hatstall when I took the Pottermore quiz between Ravenclaw and Slytherin, but because I had identified all along as being a Ravenclaw, I stuck with Ravenclaw, but I could see traits of Slytherin in myself.

Eric: Well, which traits are those?

Micah: Cunning.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I was slightly joking.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, I don’t see that for you.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I think competition is something I would say probably all the Houses on some level could identify with, competitiveness, but coming at it from different angles.

Eric: Yeah, I agree with that. In trying to see the similarities between Ravenclaw and Slytherin, I get this impression of more introverted people. You think studious, but also just they get their energies from within as opposed to without. I spoke on our last House episode in Hufflepuff about how I feel that Hufflepuff House is very social, and I think that Gryffindors also have this need to be loud in a crowd, but I tend to think of Ravenclaws and Slytherins working the other way.

Laura: Yeah, I think that’s fair. I mean, I’m very much an introvert. Do not enjoy large social settings; they kind of freak me out. I would much prefer to be surrounded by a small group of people, much like this panel.

Micah: Yeah. And as far as Slytherin traits, I know one that we talked a lot about during that episode was ambition, and I feel like Ravenclaws could also have that trait shine through. Again, approaching it maybe from a somewhat different angle; being achievement-oriented certainly is a Slytherin trait, but you could look at it for Ravenclaws as coming from the perspective of wanting to do well academically. I definitely think that there’s some overlap that exists there.

Laura: Definitely. So based on this passage from the Sorting Hat song, it doesn’t seem that there’s any morality tied into why someone would be Sorted into Ravenclaw. It just seems if you’ve a ready mind, if you’re into wit and learning, you’ll always find your kind. So are we to assume that the point of Ravenclaw House is to group students together based on academic prowess, regardless of the morality behind their intent?

Eric: Well, if it’s the Sorting, it’s probably talking about potential academic prowess, right? Or what are the qualities that lead someone to have academic prowess or succeed academically; is it things like patience? Is it things like an ability… just kind of a with it-ness, an interest in the details? I think one of the categories, or one of the traits that I’d be looking for in a Ravenclaw is curiosity. This leads to the other type of Ravenclaw, the non-Cho Chang style, but more the Luna style of being curious about the world, of believing in things that are a little out of the ordinary. But curiosity, the best kinds of curiosity, also do come in the most studious people, because it’s wit and learning, but you have to have that inspiration to want to know more than you already do.

Micah: That’s really interesting.

Laura: Beautifully said.

Micah: There are times, though, too… and Laura, you called attention to the part here where it says, “find their kind.” There’s moments when Ravenclaw House is being talked about – and we’re going to get into another one a little bit later on – where it’s almost like they’re elitist and they look down upon the other Houses because of their level of intelligence, or presumed level of intelligence, I should say. There’s just something that rubs me the wrong way about it saying that they’ll “always find their kind.”

Andrew: It’s interesting you say that.

Laura: Me too. I hate this.

Andrew: Oh, okay. Well, I have a different way to approach this: I kind of took it as there’s a certain kinship between the Ravenclaws, and they just sort of naturally gravitate towards one another. I don’t know if the other Houses, the members of those Houses, have that. I kind of read this as like you naturally gravitate towards a Ravenclaw, whether or not you know that they’re a Ravenclaw.

Eric: I like that too. This seems the least cultish of all the ways that the Houses are described by the Hat. [laughs] But I’m curious in seeing what you guys find at fault with it. Why does it rub you the wrong way, Laura?

Laura: To me, it rings of elitism, and I think that it is possible to excel academically and do really well in that space without looking down your nose at other people. That is the brand of Ravenclawism, if you will, that I don’t particularly care for, and it’s part of what makes me wish that we saw more characterizations of Ravenclaws, that perhaps we had a movie franchise that featured a Ravenclaw so that we could rid ourselves of some of that stigma.

Eric: Well, I’m going to put out to WB that I’m available for Lockhart: The Series.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Is he the best representative?

Eric: Of Ravenclaw? I don’t know.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: It’s interesting because if we can… I know we’re going to talk about famous Ravenclaws and stuff, but two of the biggest villains, or two of the biggest, I should say, antagonists in Harry Potter, in Gilderoy Lockhart and in Professor Quirrell, were Ravenclaw, and that’s book canon; it’s said in the books. But with Quirrell, I think his pursuit of knowledge led to him, if I’m remembering correctly – this might have been said on Pottermore – but it led to him thinking that he could destroy Voldemort. He got really big in his britches, and was like, “I’m going to go find Voldemort, and I’m smart enough, I’ve studied enough, that I can defeat him.” And then he did find Voldemort, so he was smart enough, but Voldemort ended up playing him like a fiddle, and we all know what happened there. So I think that there’s some folly existent there. And Lockhart is not without that level of, I think, egotism as well, to a certain extent. I don’t think that it’s a trait of the House to be egotistical, but I think that they all have this in common, where they pursue knowledge, and the pursuit of knowledge has them, depending on whether or not they were successful at making their own goals, they are either down to earth or up in the clouds.

Laura: That’s an interesting point we’ll talk about in a few moments when we get to the Ravenclaw common room. But before we move on to a couple of other points, I wanted to ask: We know the Sorting Hat seriously considered putting Hermione into Ravenclaw. Why do we think it didn’t?

Micah: Harry needed her.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Oh, you went there.

Laura: Plot device.

Andrew: Yeah, it is a plot device. I think sometime on this show we should discuss how the series would have changed if Hermione was a Ravenclaw after all. But there is some bravery that Hermione carries with her, absolutely, throughout the books, so maybe that was a big aspect to it. Maybe… I don’t know. Could the Sorting Hat be like, “Hey, Harry is going to need some help; maybe I’ll put her over in Gryffindor”?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: The Sorting Hat is really just building its own cliques where it sees fit. “And they need comic relief; we’re going to get this Weasley there.”

Micah: I just think it’s wrong to make the assumption that just because Hermione is smart, that she should be in Ravenclaw.

Eric: Yeah, but she also read the entire school book list prior to arriving for year one.

Micah: Are you saying then that no students of ready mind or wit and learning can be in the other Houses? With some of the other famous witches and wizards we’ve discussed from Hufflepuff and from Slytherin, they definitely have those traits, so why not Hermione?

Eric: That’s right, yeah. Well, I think, too, that the argument I hear about Hermione all the time is it’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you value that chooses your Hogwarts House. So Hermione has that line in Book 1, “Books and cleverness! There are more important things, courage, bravery,” and that just goes to show that although she may be intellectually capable, good at reading, knows how to, she really is the kind of person that sees what the importance of standing up to injustice is, and that’s possibly what makes her Gryffindor. That’s what gives her that edge.

Laura: That’s a fair point.

Eric: So I wanted to say, before we continue, I have the question of what makes you guys Ravenclaws? You’ve talked about this a little bit beforehand, about being Ravenclaws, about thinking that you were one and then finding an alignment, but I’m really curious on this point. What are the traits that you think are most similar to you that you hear or see represented in the actions of the characters, versus which ones aren’t that way?

Micah: We’re smart as hell.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Micah does have a lot of books behind him.

Laura: Well, I’m curious to hear… Eric, I want to know what you and Andrew think first.

Micah: Yeah, I was going to flip it too, and that’s such a Ravenclaw thing to do.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: “Yeah, well, what do YOU think?” [laughs]

Laura: Using the Socratic method over here.

Andrew: Well, for starters, I mean, they’re both wearing glasses right now. That’s a sign of intelligence.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: I think they’re both very intelligent people.

Eric: The audience here may not know that Laura actually reads a book before breakfast every day, and that’s why I think she’s a good Ravenclaw. That’s pretty important.

Andrew: Damn. That reminds me of the founder of MuggleNet. He would read a book every day, wouldn’t he?

Laura: Yeah, I was going to say, I’m learning new information about myself right now.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: And Micah is a Ravenclaw because his favorite color is blue. I said it. This all goes back to a third grade teacher, Mrs. Cameron, saying that he looked really nice in a blue sweater that he had, and so ever since then, he’s been real hooked on blue. And when he read Harry Potter, he was like, “Ah, that makes sense.”

Micah: Both Laura and I have eagle tattoos.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Yep. We actually got them at the same time. We got matching eagle tattoos.

Micah: And that’s another thing to talk about with Ravenclaw as well, because it’s such a Ravenclaw thing to be called Ravenclaw but then for your House emblem to be an eagle.

Eric: And then you need to explain it in this longwinded way of “Well, actually…”

Laura: Right.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: No, it was funny because before we started this episode, I was talking about how much it irks me on the official merchandise that they oftentimes depict a raven as Ravenclaw’s mascot, as opposed to an eagle. It super gets on my nerves.

Eric: I feel like it’s a built-in test that Ravenclaw would do to suss out the people that are not Ravenclaws. But if that’s the test, then everyone in the Harry Potter merchandise world has failed it. It’s just obnoxious how many items in the parks… how can they be allowed to sell official merchandise with ravens on it? [laughs] It’s awful.

Micah: I also think, too – and it may not be the case for all Ravenclaws – but there is a strong desire to want to learn, and that could be more so from an academic sense. There’s just this eagerness, and that’s something that I associate with, but it doesn’t have to be true for everybody, because I think street smarts is just as important at times, if not more so, than book smarts.

Andrew: Do either of you really identify with a particular Ravenclaw? Maybe that can help us get a better sense.

Laura: For me personally, of the ones that we know and that we’ve spent a lot of time with, it would be Luna. And I wouldn’t say that I’m a lot like her per se, but I think that we share some qualities. I like to challenge myself, because we’re all human, so we’re all fallible, but I like to challenge myself. I like to challenge my own assumptions about things, and I think that somebody like Luna only gets to exist because she was brought up by people who were open to other possibilities outside of what’s considered the norm, right? So that’s something I try to push myself to do. Something else that I also really love – and I feel like Luna would really love, so maybe this is a Ravenclaw trait – I live for nuance. I love nuance. Nuance is one of my favorite words. I can’t think in a binary, for example. I could not be an engineer, because my brain does not go from point A to point B; it’s point A, but then to get to point B, there’s something really critical that has to happen later in point D that we haven’t even thought about yet. So I tend to think that perhaps it is a trait that Ravenclaws are maybe big picture people. I consider myself a big picture person.

Andrew: And Micah, which Ravenclaw do you identify with most?

Micah: Probably an Ollivander. I always just… we don’t know a whole lot about him, but he seems very much the studious type, the academic who built his entire career around one thing, and did it extremely, extremely well. He became the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: To what Laura was saying, I find myself ultra competitive at times when I don’t even understand why I’m being ultra competitive. I’m the person watching Jeopardy when people get happy for answering the $200 question, I’m like, “Why did you even bother saying that out loud? It’s not even worth our time.”

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Things like that.

Andrew: But it’s funny you say you’re ultra competitive. I don’t think I…

Micah: Low-key.

Andrew: In person, I don’t really ever see you being ultra competitive. You are in front of the television, I guess, is what you’re saying?

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Laura: So I have a question about that: Does your competitiveness manifest in a way that is different from how we might typically think of a competitive person looking? I know for me, for example, it is very important to me – and we can talk about whether or not this is a strength or a weakness a little bit later – it’s incredibly important to me to be seen as impressive or worthy to authority figures, so like my boss, teachers when I was in school. If I’m trying to achieve something major, whether it’s get a new job or, I don’t know, put together a discussion for a podcast, it’s really important to me that the people that I’m either working with or who are above me find the work that I’m producing to be of a certain quality, and so I can be a little hard on myself if I feel like I’ve done something that maybe doesn’t stack up to what is typically expected of me. So it’s almost like competing with myself in a weird way.

Micah: Yeah. No, I totally agree; the competitive edge can come through in many different ways, but I think in a lot of cases, for those who are Ravenclaws, it is a bit under the radar. It’s not as in your face. And the Jeopardy example would be more of one that’s in your face, but I feel like a competitive edge from a Gryffindor or a Slytherin would be more in your face than a Ravenclaw. Ravenclaw is just going to do it under the table, and it’s not going to be as… you’re not going to brag about it.

Laura: So it’s subtle.

Micah: Yeah, it’s subtle. And to your point about what you were saying with the work that you do, I find I’m the same way. I’m really analytical of myself, really detail-oriented in the work that I do, and to a fault at times, also; I’m not saying it’s always a positive trait, because I think sometimes it can actually inhibit you and prevent you from being a little bit more open-minded and doing things in different ways. You settle on doing things very specifically, and you’re not willing to deviate from those ways, so it’s not always a positive.

Laura: Oh, yeah. I don’t know, Micah, do you ever get dragged down a rabbit hole that you think is really important and you spend tons of time working on something that feels like it’s the right lead to be chasing, only for somebody to come to you and be like, “This is all really great information, but we want to consider this other context too”? So I think sometimes maybe we’re victims of our own tunnel vision.

Micah: Definitely.

Andrew: I found some other descriptions of Ravenclaws in the Ravenclaw welcome letter on Pottermore, which I think Eric cited the Hufflepuff one a couple weeks ago. Apparently, Ravenclaws “aren’t put off by people who march to a different tune; on the contrary, we value them… our people are the most individual – some might even call them eccentrics… Ravenclaws learn quickly…” they are “the cleverest, quirkiest, and most interesting House at Hogwarts,” and “Gryffindors haven’t got our intellectual curiosity.”

Eric: There’s that C-word, curiosity.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: And the elitism. Why Gryffindors in particular?

Andrew: Well, you know. They’re seen as the top dog.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Well, and it’s all fun that they appreciate each other for marching to the beat of their own drum, but that’s already once they’ve made it into the club of the elites, right? Luna would not say that she has a tremendous time in Ravenclaw House, necessarily. She gets made fun of. She’s not allowed to participate in any of the other Ravenclaw games.

Micah: Well, I think this is actually a really good segue to us talking a bit about how the Ravenclaw common room is described. Eric, I think it’s going to hit on one of the points that you just mentioned. So the description of their common room reads, “The arched windows set into the walls of our circular common room look down at the school grounds…”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Ohh.

Micah: “… the lake, the Forbidden Forest, the Quidditch pitch, and the Herbology gardens. No other House in the school has such stunning views.” So what do we make of these words “look down”? Casual reference or more meaning?

Eric: They’re above it all. They’re above it. They’re better than.

Andrew: I wouldn’t read too far into this. Your common room sits up high. Your tower sits up high. That’s okay.

Laura: I think that there was intended meaning here. This really makes me think of the ivory tower stereotype you often hear thrown at academics who are maybe very lofty and in the clouds and not in touch with reality, with what the everyman is dealing with down amongst the rest of us mere mortals, so I think that it was a nod to that kind of stereotype. Does it necessarily mean that all Ravenclaws are elitist? Of course not. We have a perfect example of that in Luna, in somebody who’s decidedly not elitist. But I think that it was a fun allusion, similar to it was fun to put the Slytherins in the dungeons, it was fun to put the Hufflepuffs next to the kitchens, [laughs] and I don’t know what Gryffindor’s common room signifies. I don’t know if it was placed anywhere significant in the castle like the other three Houses.

Andrew: It was perfectly placed.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: Well, and Andrew, to answer your question, though, why not just say it looks “out” at the school grounds?

Andrew: Because the tower is so high that you have to look down. [laughs] I’m trying to defend it.

Eric: Well, I mean, Hufflepuffs by comparison… isn’t the Slytherin’s…? Aren’t they in the lake? They’re underneath with a view of the lake? And Hufflepuff is basically ground floor as well, very earthy…

Micah: And, by the way, I think it’s very Ravenclaw-like to be as critical of our own House as Laura and I are being on this podcast.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Yeah, 100%.

Andrew: Fair.

Laura: See, that’s like… we are people who are critical of things because we care, right? That’s why I feel like… is it true to say Micah and I are the most critical of Harry Potter? [laughs] Because I’m wondering this now.

Andrew: I don’t know.

Eric: I think we all dish it.

Andrew: It depends on the context.

Micah: We’ve planned the best discussions by far.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Oh, high up in your tower.

Eric: And I wanted to say that, actually… I wanted to make sure when you were talking about being nervous and self-critical, I wanted to say what a fabulous discussion that you two have planned today.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: I just really want to put that out there.

Laura: Thank you, thank you.

Micah: Look, Andrew, Eric, if you’re cool with Laura and I looking down on you, then that’s fine by us.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Well, I will say… look, I take Laura’s point, and I absolutely see how it could be seen that way, and I’ll just back it up now by adding just the way this whole passage is written is also very egotistical. “The eagle soars.” It’s very colorful language. “The eagle soars where others cannot climb.” The common room is “behind a door with an enchanted knocker. The arched windows set into the walls…” and like you said, “look down at the grounds.” “No other House in the school has such stunning views.” The whole thing is just very pompous. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. And I looked up the other Sorting Hat songs; they’re very, very short for Ravenclaw, but Book 4 says, “For Ravenclaw, the cleverest would always be the best.” They actually said “the best.” And in Book 5, “Said Ravenclaw, ‘We’ll teach those whose intelligence is surest.'” So she’s kind of a purist.

Micah: That goes back to the point that we’ve made in the other episodes when we were talking about Slytherin and Hufflepuff, and just the fact that there are inherent biases in each of these Houses, no matter which House you’re talking about.

Eric: That’s a good point.

Laura: Yep. Well, while we talk about elitism, I think you’ll be happy to hear a little bit more about how Ravenclaws get into our common room. Micah, do you want to share?

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Yeah, Andrew touched on this a little bit, but the door to the Ravenclaw common room lies at the top of a tall, winding staircase. It has no handle, but an enchanted bronze knocker in the shape of an eagle. When you rap on the door, this knocker will ask you a question, and if you can answer it correctly, you’re allowed in. This simple barrier has kept out everyone but Ravenclaws for nearly a thousand years, a great bonding experience for students trying to figure out the answers.

Andrew: Security nightmare. Security nightmare!

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Can you imagine 50 kids outside of the… what if you forgot a book for class? You’re totally screwed. [laughs]

Eric: Oh, man.

Andrew: Well, and what are the questions? Are they specific to Ravenclaws, types of Ravenclaw, or Ravenclaw traits? Why can’t the other students get in from other Houses?

Laura: It definitely seems like a faulty security system, for sure.

Eric: Well, considering Gryffindors, where you just have to know a password, right, and they’ll let anybody in?

Andrew: Yeah. No, I know. Oh, we’ll complain about that one next week.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: This week, I’m wondering why it’s just a simple question. And they even have to say “a simple barrier,” which implies that – it could imply that – it’s not a very tough question.

Eric: I would get stuck. I would absolutely be…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: No, really. The sphinx riddle from Book 4 just floored me. Meg had to explain it to me two years ago. It literally stumped me for like, 19 years.

Andrew: Eric, as the host of Quizzitch, you can’t say that. You have to pretend like you know all the answers to everything.

Eric: Oh, goodness!

Laura: It’s like Jeopardy.

Eric: Well, you know how some people didn’t get the sphinx riddle right away? “Spy-d-er” is kind of a little wonky? I feel like with the Ravenclaw common room, at least, the answer given that we see, “A circle has no beginning,” or “They go into non-existence, that is to say, all things,” blah, blah, blah, blah, that could be that… as long as you have a “well-reasoned” argument, like the door knocker compliments, I think it’s Luna, “well-reasoned,” you should be able to talk your way in. If you don’t have the answer, perhaps there are alternate answers to allow you in. So if you’ve forgotten a spell book, as long as you know generally how to showcase that you’ve thought about the question being asked, maybe that’s how you really get in in a rush.

Laura: Perhaps.

Micah: Doesn’t McGonagall get in at some point?

Eric: Yeah, and she and Flitwick, according to Pottermore, were going to be in each other’s Houses. McGonagall was a strong contender for Ravenclaw and Flitwick was that for Gryffindor. I believe that’s what it said.

Laura: Interesting. So I have to admit, I mean, I’m a pretty strong Ravenclaw, but this would stress me out if this was the barrier to entry to where I was living. I would be so nervous that I was going to be the dumb one in my House that couldn’t answer the questions, and that I would just be perpetually stuck outside. It would be crippling for me; my anxiety would just get the best of me.

Andrew: This type of technology needs to be created in the Muggle world, a smart lock for your front door that asks you a question using Amazon’s Echo, and then you have to answer correctly, and if you do, it’ll unlock for you. That’d be so fun!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: But Laura, give yourself some credit. And Micah, too. You would both be able to answer these questions. They can’t be too difficult, because the students got to get in.

Eric: Right.

Micah: Can you imagine coming back from a long day of classes, maybe you had Quidditch practice, you had to stay out late for any number of reasons, and you just tiredly stumble back to the common room, and it throws out some crazy, quizzical question…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: …and you’re just like, “Forget it. I’m going to sleep right on the floor, right here.”

Laura: Right here. [laughs]

Andrew: Or you just curse it out.

Eric: Well, there’s got to be safety in numbers, right? It’s like doing an escape room with five of your best friends; there can be discussion had, right? You can suss out the answer, and once one person goes through the door, the door is not going to immediately shut and everyone’s going to have to answer their own riddle. It doesn’t work that way.

Micah: True.

Andrew: And again, security nightmare. Somebody can pretend to be a Ravenclaw in this group of Ravenclaws and just go through with the rest of them.

Laura: Well, and I saw somebody in the Discord pointed out earlier, “I’m not going to waste time trying to figure out the password to the tower; I’m just going to scale the tower if I want to get in.”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Wouldn’t that be tougher? Physically tougher.

Laura: Or you can get on a broom and fly up there. That’s the thing that, I think, is the irony about where Ravenclaw’s common room is situated, because you would think that it’s this terribly hard feat to get into, but if you apply an ounce of common sense to it, if you really wanted to get in, you don’t need to go through the main entrance and answer a riddle. It’s a tower. There are windows.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: That look down on the grounds.

Andrew: Do the windows open, though? Hmm…

Eric: That’s a good question. Yeah, it could be like the steps to the girls’ dorms in Gryffindor. It could be like, “Nope, you can’t get in this way. You can only go out the windows.”

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: There you go.

Laura: The founders didn’t trust the other Houses. “They’ll try to get in.”

Eric: [laughs] Yeah. But I’m happy for them. I’m happy they have a good view of the clouds and the scenery and the landscape, to feel like they’ve been elevated, of sorts, among the Houses. I like that, kind of.

Andrew: A nice view is nice to have. People on House Hunters love nice views when they’re shopping for homes.

Laura: How much would you pay for Ravenclaw tower, Andrew?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: As long as it also has a nice kitchen and granite countertops, hundreds of thousands of Galleons.

Laura: I don’t think granite was probably a thing at Hogwarts. [laughs]

Andrew: Fair.

Laura: We’ll be back to the show in just a moment, but first, I wanted to share a quick word from one of our sponsors.

[Ad break]

Micah: Really great Ravenclaw trait that LanceDance just pointed out in the Discord is that Ravenclaws have the best butts, walking up all them stairs all day, every day.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Fair.

Andrew: No need for a stair-stepper.

Laura: I think I would hate that so much. I hate the stair-stepper. So moving on, we wanted to talk about this stereotype of overly studious students, or Ravenclaws, if you will, having their noses stuck in a book. So I thought we could kick this off by asking what kinds of students did we consider ourselves to be during our schooling years? Were you studious? Were you a social butterfly? Were you the class clown? How would you categorize yourselves?

Andrew: I was somewhere in the middle. I never studied too hard. I definitely wasn’t the class clown. I was an outcast in middle school in particular; I kept to myself during all my schooling years, pretty much. I got some very bad grades at times, and I didn’t beat myself up over it too much, [laughs] and I dropped out of college, so I’m just kind of all over the place.

Eric: I was definitely more that class clown vibe. I did well in math and science, but I was more in school for, I don’t know, my own enjoyment necessarily. I did study hard at certain times when there was an importance placed on, like a test, but I was not in any AP classes, and I probably would have liked to have done… there was a AP World History type thing, and I think in retrospect, I really would have enjoyed that, but I did not apply myself enough in academia in order to be qualifiable for that class. One of my high school regrets. While education is free, folks, you’d better do it.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Micah, what about you? Did you have your nose in books all the time?

Micah: I wouldn’t say all the time, but I definitely wasn’t the class clown, and I definitely wasn’t overly social. I think if… I was just part of a group that was really ultra competitive when it came to academics, a group of friends, so that pushed me at times. And I wasn’t always the best, and I think that probably bothered me, but it all worked out okay in the end. I think it’s very stereotypical to say that Ravenclaws have their nose stuck in their books all the time.

Laura: I agree.

Micah: I don’t know that we really even see examples of that, to be honest with you. The most prominent Ravenclaw is Luna, and she moves to the beat of her own drum, right? She’s eccentric, like we were talking about earlier. I don’t know. Maybe when people think of Ravenclaws, they just think of the library filled with blue and gold and just… or blue and gray and just that’s where they are all day, every day.

Eric: It’s actually blue and bronze.

Micah: Oh, see? I don’t even know my House colors.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Blue is what I care most about.

Laura: You failed the test, Micah.

Andrew: Fake member.

Eric: I’m sorry. Yeah, no, in the books, but again, that’s a movie-ism. They change it in the movies.

Micah: Well, being the elitist, I went for gold, because what’s bronze, really, at the end of the day?

Eric: Third place.

Micah: Third place, exactly.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: And Laura?

Laura: I was pretty studious, but I wouldn’t say that I was top of my class or anything like that. I always excelled in academics in the subject matters that I cared about, so for the subject matters that didn’t particularly appeal to me, I still tried to do well, but it resulted in me being an A/B student. I got A’s in all the things that I loved, and in the things that I didn’t care much for, I was more of a B/B+ kind of gal. And I think the same was true throughout my entire academic career. Even when I went to grad school, there were some classes that I just knew I couldn’t be bothered to expend energy on, but then there were other classes where I really, really tried and would work myself into a stupor trying to be good at. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, I feel that. When I really care about something, I will work hard, but if it’s something I don’t care about, if it’s a course I don’t care about, then I’m not going to try. For some reason the grades just weren’t worth it to me. Weren’t worth the stress.

Laura: Well, Micah, you raised an interesting question here about viewing Ravenclaws. We’ve talked about the other Houses as being spectrums, right? We’ve got the creative side of Ravenclaw versus the studious side. Can you tell us a little more about that and where you’re seeing those sides represented?

Micah: Yeah, I actually had copied this over from another document, so I’m not going to take credit for it.

Laura: Oh, excuse me.

Micah: I don’t know if it was Eric or Andrew who put it in there. See, I’m…

Eric: Yeah, you’re citing your sources. Look at you, man.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Is he citing? Now he’s citing.

Eric: Well, he just said one of us did it.

Andrew: Plagiarizing isn’t very Ravenclaw of you, or is it?

Eric: I got caught for plagiarism once. Actually, it was a funny story.

[Andrew gasps]

Eric: I didn’t write the paper, but actually, it was my mom. And so when my science teacher said that my science fair project was plagiarized, it was my mom, who’s got her master’s and 48 credits, and yeah, my mom definitely didn’t plagiarize. It was one of those online software systems. But have you guys ever been caught for plagiarism?

Andrew and Laura: No.

Laura: I would never.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Because we totally got caught…

Micah: But hey, let’s admit to it live on air.

Eric: Well, no, we grew up in where you could just copy and paste people’s assignments into that website that does it.

Andrew: Right, yeah.

Eric: Our teachers would actively run those… and I’m assuming that’s just the norm now.

Laura: It is.

Andrew: I’ve cheated, but I haven’t plagiarized, no.

Laura: Y’all, you’ve got to be careful with this, because to be honest, half the time your teachers don’t even need a plagiarism checker to know when you’re plagiarizing.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Right, it’s just not you.

Laura: Yeah, I caught one of my students doing it one time. I knew from the first line of the paper that he didn’t write it, so sure enough, I googled that first sentence? Article came up.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Oh no.

Laura: Found the exact thing that he pulled it from. I was so mad.

Andrew: What grade was he?

Laura: He was in college.

Eric: Oh, okay.

Micah: Oooh.

Laura: Yeah. [laughs]

Andrew: Now, Eric, did your mom plagiarize or she just wrote it for you?

Eric: She wrote for me, but it came up on my teacher’s plagiarism detector, because there’s a fine line, isn’t there, between citing and paraphrasing? I think it was a paraphrasing issue. I think that it was a unique enough topic. It was whether plants grow with rock music… or no, that wasn’t the one. It was life on Mars.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: And so you’re using a scientific term, and this is 2001 or 2002 so I’m assuming there weren’t that many articles on life on Mars readily available, that kind of thing. So I think it was actually a disagreement in terms of how big to paraphrase, if I had to guess.

Andrew: Oh, okay.

Eric: I got a D. It was not great. [laughs]

Micah: No.

Laura: A D is pretty generous for plagiarism, though, I will say.

Eric: Well, thank you. Yes, that was very much shown to us as kids, as being the number one thing never to do, and I didn’t do it still to this day, so it’s totally fine. [laughs]

Micah: It’s the opposite, Laura, what you were talking about, that I experienced. One of the kids that I went to school with showed me a paper one time when we were in a high school where they literally wrote in the paper somewhere, “Mr. So-and-So is a bleeping bleep, bleep, bleep…” keep going, keep going, keep going. And he got like an A minus on it, [laughs] so clearly the teacher wasn’t reading.

Andrew: Wow.

Laura: He just didn’t read it.

Eric: Oh no…

Micah: It’s the opposite of plagiarism in this case, I guess.

Laura: Well, I mean, there are lazy people in every profession.

Andrew: And we here at MuggleCast do not endorse cheating, plagiarism, or any other form of…

Micah: Exactly.

Eric: Or even having your mom write papers. Don’t do it.

Micah: So Eric, I will just say that I borrowed a little bit of my Lockhart side for putting this question in the document, but I will give you credit for it.

Laura: There we go.

Micah: Yeah, so I think we’ve talked a lot about the studious side of being a Ravenclaw, but what about the creative side? What about Luna? I mean, is there anybody more creative in the entire Potter series than her, and the way that she just expresses herself and is authentically herself?

Eric: Right.

Laura: I don’t think so.

Andrew: It extends to her father too. I mean, The Quibbler is definitely a unique publication, [laughs] and there’s definitely some creative thinking going on there. But yeah, I mean, the big thing about Luna is she isn’t afraid to be herself, and at first, people are very put off by it. But of course, Harry, most of all, really comes around on Luna.

Eric: Yeah, she has also this blunt honesty, which if wielded by the wrong person, or a person who wanted to do harm, if wielded by anyone other than a Ravenclaw, I think would be very harmful. I think that if anyone’s hurt by something Luna said, it’s because they’re hurt by their own reflection, right? I think that there’s a weird, cutting part of Luna that is all about honesty and truthfulness, and when you hear the phrase “The truth will out,” it’ll come out, you think of Luna’s ability to pierce through all the BS.

Laura: 100%. And I think something that probably helps to set Luna apart from the other students, and it’s also something that allows her to relate to Harry – it’s ultimately the thing that tears down the wall Harry has built between himself and Luna – is the accidental death of her mother. She died doing a rare bit of magic that backfired on her, and Luna had to grow up in a household where taking that kind of risk was apparently something of an expectation, right? I mean, it’s why we see her being so willing to put her life on the line despite not being terribly close with Harry and the rest of the gang at that point in the series, because she felt she was doing what was right and what was asked of her in that moment, and I think that it’s probably a trait she gets from her mom.

Micah: And while she’s definitely a strong example of a creative Ravenclaw – I don’t know that we get a whole lot of insight into her studiousness – but there are certainly characters from Ravenclaw House where they use their wit to serve some really terrible purposes. I know, Laura, you noted that for both Quirrell as well as Lockhart.

Laura: Yeah. And I wonder, is the tipping point for Ravenclaws, is the weakness for Ravenclaws – that is, it’s our Achilles heel; it’s what can turn us potentially to the dark side or to towards nefarious intent – is our pride? And also how that intersects with a potential desire for power and influence, right? We saw that with Quirrell 100% – Micah, you touched on that earlier in the episode – but then you also see it with Lockhart. I mean, we don’t get to see him remain sane long enough to see which side of the wizarding war he would fall on, but we know that he was ultimately willing to wipe the memories of two 12-year-olds to save his reputation as this famously skilled wizard that he actually was not. He was taking credit for other people’s work the whole time.

Micah: Right. He was a fraud and very good at what he did, and it was probably the traits that he honed in Ravenclaw House that allowed him to do what he did, and I think he’s another example of a Peter Pettigrew from Gryffindor. We always talk about how, “Well, can you flip it on the other side?” And I know we’ll probably talk about him when we do our Gryffindor episode, but you could argue that courage comes in many different forms, and the courage to leave your friends and betray your friends and go and join the Dark Lord is certainly not the same as the courage that is shown by other characters in the series, but it’s still courage nonetheless, and so there’s another example of somebody using a House trait to do something that is not so good.

Andrew: That’s an interesting observation. I’m sure part of it, too, is their upbringing outside of Hogwarts that had these negative influences on them, but it’s making me think maybe we need some classes at Hogwarts to teach people how to use these traits of theirs for good. Maybe there needs to be specifically a Ravenclaw class about how you can use Ravenclaw traits to be a good person and why you shouldn’t be a you-know-what.

Eric: Right. I love that idea, like a Ravenclaw seminar type thing, or Gryffindor… yeah, like, “So you’re here; now what?”

Andrew: Right, what do you do with these traits? What do you do in this House that the Sorting Hat assigned to you?

Eric: I like that a lot.

Laura: Yeah. And I think this is a point that has come up in all of these discussions so far, and I’m sure it will continue to, but you can pervert any institution or the intent behind any positive cause or group simply because we’re human, and humans always manage to bring their own interpretations of things to the table. So it makes complete sense that someone like Quirrell would go off into the wilds of Albania hoping to get some real world experience so that his lessons are not just based in theory, and he decides once he’s there and once he’s found what he’s found, “I’m going to level up. I’m going to take this somewhere that nobody would have ever expected me to be able to go.”

Eric: That reminded me as well of that quote from Ollivander about You-Know-Who doing terrible things, but great, and even in that moment, Harry is like, “Harry wasn’t sure that he liked this person very much.” And it’s true, but at the same time, it comes from this being morally outside. There’s no morality to Ollivander; he is disturbingly calling Voldemort’s actions great, as in grandiose. He’s not wrong about that, but it’s so unmoored from something like a Gryffindor mentality of “Voldemort is bad, we’re good,” that it does unsettle you a bit, kind of like how Luna, a fellow Ravenclaw, also just unsettles you with the truth, Ollivander is similarly not tied down to any one morality, it would seem.

Micah: No.

Laura: Yeah, great point.

Micah: And even his line to Harry in Sorcerer’s Stone, “The wand chooses the wizard,” right? That’s such a Ravenclaw thing to say.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: You based your business off that tagline, but I’m sure you could have not played with somebody’s mind, like, “Oh.” Think about what that does to you psychologically, right? When you walk in at that tender age and you’re just, “Wait, wait, the wand is supposed to choose me? What if it’s not a good wand? What if I don’t get what my friend got?” But I don’t know. I’m just…

Eric: That’s a great… well, we all know the iPod chooses the customer, right?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Or the iPhone as well. That’s why I have just the XS and none of the Pros, right?

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: So we’ve talked a lot about the characters, right? We’ve mentioned Luna. We briefly mentioned Cho. Those are the two that really get the most airtime during the Potter series outside of Flitwick, being Head of House. But I’m wondering, with a lot of this other discussion that we’ve had, we’ve talked about Quirrell and Lockhart and Ollivander, if we would have known they were Ravenclaws, would our perspective of the House maybe have changed a little bit?

Eric: Could be.

Micah: Good, bad, indifferent. Doesn’t matter.

Eric: Yeah. I think the books would have had a serious problem with Ravenclaws, kind of like I spotted how all the Hufflepuffs were just very catty and horrible to Harry. If we would have known that Quirrell was a Ravenclaw, Lockhart, Ollivander, the books would have had a really big problem with snooty or self-interested individuals just either straight-up manipulating Harry or being too in pursuit of their own… not necessarily greatness, but proving to others that they’re great in order to endanger people. I think the books would have had a real big problem, because the only antithesis to that is somebody like Luna, who’s just there to live her life and is fine, but Luna cannot hold up the weight of everyone else that is working against either the side of good or just Harry.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting because we were just talking a couple weeks ago about how the tone is set for Hufflepuff very early on. If we found out in Book 1 that Quirrell was a Ravenclaw, if we found out in Book 2 that Lockhart was a Ravenclaw, that could have set a bad tone for Ravenclaw for the remainder of the series.

Laura: True.

Andrew: So maybe it was by design that they’re not mentioned, that their Houses aren’t mentioned. When did we hear it? Pottermore?

Micah: Pottermore.

Laura: Yeah, it was after the fact.

Eric: Yeah, I might have to go back on what I said earlier about it being book canon. I think it was Pottermore, yeah.

Micah: Because to your point, Andrew, it would’ve probably taken a lot of pressure off of Slytherin.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Because if you go through the first two books, and the DADA teacher is from Ravenclaw in both of those books, and Voldemort was on the back of his head in Book 1…

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: … and in Book 2, he’s just a terrible professor.

Andrew: But then maybe there would have had to have been scenes where we’re hearing… Harry is being told, “Just because there’s a couple bad eggs in a House doesn’t mean everybody’s so bad,” and that would have been a good reminder for the reader as well when they’re thinking about Slytherin.

Eric: It just doesn’t mesh well with “There’s not a witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin.” It’s a direct contradiction to that.

Laura: Right, but that’s also Hagrid’s perception, right?

Andrew: Yeah, Hagrid is just being a…

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: He was a little tipsy when he said that.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: But I think that it is an interesting thing to point out that perhaps intellectual elitism may have been a larger issue in this story if there hadn’t been the overarching issues of a war happening, of the classism that was at play, the discrimination that was at play based on blood status or whatever breed of magical creature you may have been. Perhaps if there had been less serious and life-threatening drama happening, Harry et al. would have had more time to be like, “Oh, the Ravenclaws are so obnoxious. They’re so snooty; they think they’re better than us.” Because with Ravenclaw, maybe you can make the assumption, or you can lean on the stereotype that they think they’re smarter than you, so they think they’re better than you, but I would argue that it’s way worse to think that you’re better than someone because of their blood status than it is to think you’re better than someone because of your intellect. Does that make sense?

Andrew: Well said. Yeah, definitely.

Laura: We should talk about the Grey Lady. She really captures something that I think is really interesting context on Ravenclaw herself. So we know the Grey Lady, Helena Ravenclaw, was the daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw. We find out in Book 7 towards the end that the Grey Lady actually stole Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem, and Harry is, of course, shocked to learn that Rowena’s own daughter took this from her, but she added this additional bit of context. She said, “My mother, they say, never admitted that the diadem was gone, but pretended that she had it still. She concealed her loss, my dreadful betrayal, even from the other founders of Hogwarts.”

Eric: Yeah, fake it till you make it, or kind of like, nobody will know the difference, prove it… there’s an arrogance, but there’s also… and there’s pride, but there’s a lot of hurt for when your own child… when you suffer this betrayal. So she faked it convincingly from those even closest to her, but it came from this place she didn’t willingly decide to fake it out of just because she was going to be smart enough to pull it off, right? So she made the best of a bad situation.

Laura: I think that there had to be a level of embarrassment too. I mean, the creator of this tiara that effectively made you so much wittier and so much more clever, the person who originated all of the values that would come to make up the idea of Ravenclaw House did not foresee that her own daughter would be so threatened by her that she would try to steal the diadem. So I think there is an element of pride here; I think she was using her pride to shield herself from the embarrassment, from the judgment from the other founders, and also the fear of losing this thing that was so iconically hers, right? Wanting to conceal this tool of cleverness that she had all this time, to pretend she still had it, to give her whatever power or influence that she thought she had while that thing was in her possession, I would argue those were the things she didn’t want to let go of.

Andrew: FrumpyButSuperSmart said in our Discord, “Another symptom of Ravenclaw elitism: She literally made herself a crown.” [laughs]

Laura: Yeah. “I’m going to make myself a crown to make myself smarter.”

Eric: I would just go to Burger King and get the $1 paper crown that they gave with kids’ meals. I liked wearing that.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: That’s so Hufflepuff.

Andrew: Do they charge you a dollar for that piece of cardboard?

Eric: What? It was jewel-encrusted, or paper jewel-encrusted, but it was really nice.

Micah: In fairness, Slytherin created an entire chamber below the school with a horrible monster in it, and Gryffindor had a sword, so it’s… I get the whole crown thing, but… I mean, I guess Hufflepuff gets through unscathed here a little bit.

Andrew: Just a Burger King crown.

Laura: We should all want to be Hufflepuffs, remember? That was the lesson we learned.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: That’s right. Paper crowns all the way.

Micah: Well, I thought we could talk a little bit about Cho as well, given that she was Harry’s real first love interest in the series.

Andrew: [emotionally] Yeah, she was.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Interesting that Harry is drawn to Ravenclaw. Instead of being critical here, Laura did a really nice job of laying out the fact that Cho actually has some really good moments in the series.

Laura: Yeah, so I just want to highlight, yes, Cho makes a very big mistake in Book 5, right? But we have to remember that she comes across as a pretty genuinely kind person at other points in the series. I would also argue that much of the Cho hate in this fandom comes from Movie 5 changing the plot point about Marietta Edgecombe. We remember in the book, it was Cho’s friend Marietta who ratted out the DA, but in the film, they changed it so that it would be Cho as the person ratting the DA out.

Andrew: Good point.

Eric: Oh, I forgot about that.

Laura: Yeah, and I think that’s where a lot of the Cho hate comes from. I think it’s very undeserved. Eric, would you like to read this passage from Goblet of Fire where Harry is asking Cho to the ball?

Eric: [laughs] Oh, would I?

“‘D’you — d’you want to go to the ball with me?’ said Harry. Why did he have to go red now? Why?

‘Oh!’ said Cho, and she went red too. ‘Oh Harry, I’m really sorry,’ and she truly looked it. ‘I’ve already said I’ll go with someone else.’

‘Oh,’ said Harry.

It was odd; a moment before his insides had been writhing like snakes, but suddenly he didn’t seem to have any insides at all.

‘Oh, okay,’ he said, ‘no problem.’

‘I’m really sorry,’ she said again.”

Laura: This is a really genuine interaction. They’re both embarrassed.

Andrew: Cho is very kind about it.

Laura: But she genuinely seems sorry for needing to say no.

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: It’s a really good scene, actually, because I think we’ve all been in similar situations where we’re turned down for something, and I don’t think Cho could have handled it better other than saying, “Yes, I will go to the ball with you.” [laughs]

Eric: Right, yeah. If she’s booked up, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, this is the next best way to handle it.

Laura: I agree.

Andrew: So yeah, you’ve got to give her props for this.

Laura: I’ll read another passage from Book 5, and this is when Cho and Harry meet in the owlery. She says, “That Umbridge woman’s foul. Putting you in detention just because you told the truth about how — how — how he died. Everyone heard about it, it was all over the school. You were really brave standing up to her like that.” Again, I think these are the moments people forget about when it comes to Cho. I feel like Cho got done dirty here.

Andrew: Justice for Cho!

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: Actually, as far as Harry being into Cho, I can’t get out of my head this… I don’t know if it’s a joke or discourse I read online, that was like, “Harry is only romantically interested in girls who could kick his ass at Quidditch.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Because if you think about like, he’s into Ginny, and he’s into Cho, and they’re both on the Quidditch team, they’re both jocks… I really like that characterization of why Harry is interested in both of them. But yeah, Cho is very heartfelt, and just because we see more of her emotions on display… I’m always thinking of the Puddifoot’s tea scene when I’m thinking of Cho, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, and honestly, she’s been through trauma. I think Cho, as a character, has the difficult position in the books of reminding the readers that people and characters actually are suffering as a result of what is going on. Harry kind of goes with the flow the whole time, even when he’s right next to death’s door, and it’s only till Deathly Hallows that he really analyzes where he is, but Cho has to break down and mourn Cedric in a way that makes Harry just consistently uncomfortable, but it’s because that’s what gives the whole situation weight.

Laura: Yeah. And also, her wanting to be close to Harry, because he was the last person to be with Cedric when Cedric was alive, right? I think that a lot of the Cho hate is so undeserved because as you said, Eric, she’s gone through an incredible, immense trauma, and Harry does not have the emotional maturity at that point in the series to understand it, so he just thinks she’s kind of a whiny crybaby. But I think we all have to ask ourselves, how would we react in that kind of situation?

Micah: Yeah. It’s also interesting to me, too, that as you work through Goblet of Fire and then into Order of the Phoenix, you have basically Ravenclaws on opposite sides of Harry, right? Cho is on one side; Luna is on the other. One kind of falls out of favor with him; the other really becomes one of his best friends. And I just found that interesting that those two characters happen to be from the same House, whereas we don’t necessarily see that at all with Hufflepuff or with Slytherin.

Eric: That’s a good point.

Laura: I feel like that’s a good ring theory moment, too, because aren’t we first introduced to Cho in Prisoner of Azkaban?

Micah: Yeah, in Quidditch.

Laura: Yeah, and then to Luna in Order of the Phoenix, and they sort of swap, right? Because in Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry’s stomach is already doing flip-flops when he sees Cho out on the Quidditch field, and he sort of peaks with her, in a way. He really, really admires her, and then it just drops off so suddenly in Book 5, and that’s around the time that his admiration for Luna is starting to ascend. I like that point. That’s really cool.

Micah: Only a point a Ravenclaw would make.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: All right.

Laura: Well, we made it together, though.

Micah: We did. Two Ravenclaws.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Andrew…

Andrew: May I read this last quote?

Laura: Yeah, I’m wondering if you can read this. I feel like this gets into some of the nuance that I was talking about earlier.

Andrew: Yeah, so this is the scene about Marietta that Laura mentioned before.

“‘She’s a lovely person really,’ said Cho. ‘She just made a mistake —’

Harry looked at her incredulously.

‘A lovely person who made a mistake? She sold us all out, including you!’

‘Well… we all got away, didn’t we?’ said Cho pleadingly. ‘You know, her mum works for the Ministry, it’s really difficult for her —'”

Laura: So I want to know, is there an argument to be made in Marietta’s defense here? If we were Cho, would we try defending our friend in this case?

Eric: On paper, it’s fair. When you’re in it, when you’re in the books, when you’re in Harry’s Gryffindor mindset, there’s only good and evil. There’s only black and white. There is no nuance. She is a traitor, and Cho by extension is a traitor for seeing what Marietta did as anything other than the height of disaster, of betrayal.

Andrew: This is a tough one for me.

Micah: Yeah, it is. I think hindsight allows us to definitely be a little bit more sympathetic towards Cho in this moment. This is also her best friend, presumably, at the time, and you’d expect your best friend to defend you. And doesn’t Harry also make the point that other members of Dumbledore’s Army have family members who work for the Ministry too?

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Eric: That’s a good point.

Laura: He makes that point about Ron.

Eric: And I forgot, Cho calls something Hermione did foul; was it the payback charm? Where she…

Laura: Yeah, the jinx.

Eric: Yeah, and then Harry is like, “Don’t insult my friend. I think she’s brilliant. I think Hermione is awesome, and I think Marietta got totally what she deserved!” This is a good walk into our Gryffindor discussion next week.

Laura: Right, yeah, which was the wrong thing to say if he was trying to win Cho back.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: No, and it’s gone. It’s done forever because Harry is too beetle-headed about this, and with the amount of pressure from the top that Dolores Umbridge was able to put on these children – they’re still 15 this year – there was always going to be a weak link. Just because it’s Marietta, just because it’s Cho’s friend, she has to bear the brunt of it, but there was always going to be a crack in… the weak link just happened to be a Ravenclaw. I don’t think that has anything to do with her House, and everything to do with the emotions and the very real considerations that somebody realistically would have as a member of the secret society in a school when secret societies are banned.

Laura: Yeah. I’ll also say, too, I think this could be somewhat of a Ravenclaw trait. I know for me, I will be very defensive of the people that I care about in these kinds of public contexts, if you will. So if somebody’s coming at my best friend about something they think my friend did wrong, and I think they’re out of line, I think that they’re taking it too far, I will rise to the occasion to defend my friend, even if I agree that my friend was wrong, because I feel like if anyone is going to tell my friend that they were wrong, it’s going to be me, and I’m doing that because I care.

Andrew: Yeah, right.

Micah: And was it just a movie-ism, too, that Veritaserum was used? Or did she use that on Marietta as well in the books? Do we…?

Eric: I think, don’t they fix it so that…?

Laura: I think that was a movie-ism.

Eric: Does Dumbledore and them all fix it so that Marietta can’t confess?

Laura: Yes, so Kingsley casts a spell on her in the moment so that she can’t confirm any of the information.

Micah: Oh, that’s right.

Laura: But if I recall correctly, I think the Veritaserum was a movie-ism.

Andrew: It’s a movie thing. Yeah, I just looked it up.

Micah: It’s all Dumbledore’s fault at the end of the day.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Go easy on Dumbledore! That’s not right! I’m saying that because I saw a review recently saying we’re too hard on Dumbledore.

Eric: Well, Dumbledore is a Gryffindor, so we can get to that next week.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Yeah. Also, Dumbledore… he’s got his faults.

Andrew: No, that’s not true at all!

Laura: Sorry not sorry.

Micah: We could do a whole episode on that.

Laura: He’s simultaneously one of the best and worst characters in the Harry Potter books.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: That’s where he should be.

Andrew: All right, so we’ll wrap up our discussion on Ravenclaw in a moment. We’re going to talk about some other Ravenclaws quickly, and then I had an idea for a segment. I don’t know. Maybe we need to throw it out now, and I’ll discuss why when we get there. But first, it’s time for a word from this week’s sponsor.

[Ad break]

Laura: All right, Micah, let’s run through a few of the notable Ravenclaws that we didn’t get very much time to highlight today.

Micah: Yeah, so I think we can probably start with Padma Patil. We did mention Luna, we mentioned Cho, but Padma is certainly another one of the Ravenclaw characters that does come up fairly frequently. She’s probably most notable for taking Ron to the Yule Ball.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Laura: Poor thing.

Micah: Notice how I flipped that around there. I think it’s very interesting, too, that while she was Sorted into Ravenclaw, her sister – her twin sister – was Sorted into Gryffindor.

Eric: That’s right.

Andrew: I wonder what life would be like when your twin is in another Hogwarts House.

Eric: Yeah. She also became a prefect in her fifth year, so she was a Ravenclaw prefect that year, which speaks to her with it-ness.

Micah: I can’t imagine the riddles she had to come up with for the common room as a prefect.

Eric: Oh, God, do you think everybody gets a hard, higher-level riddle if they have a prefect badge on? That would be awful.

Micah: Or they’re responsible for coming up with some of those riddles.

Eric: Oh, yeah!

Laura: Then we also have Professor Trelawney.

Andrew: [imitating Trelawney] “Yes, you do! Yes, yes, yes, I am a Ravenclaw.”

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Kind of like Gilderoy in the fact that she was a big old fraud, but figured out a way to… well, mostly a fraud.

Micah: But is she fraud, though? She has an ability she can’t control, really.

Andrew: She didn’t think she was a fraud.

Eric: Well, I think she does think that she’s a fraud. I think nobody would be more surprised than Sybill herself to learn that she actually gave good intel, but Dumbledore, for strategic reasons, does not tell her that she did.

Andrew: Does she believe she is superior?

Eric: No.

Andrew: No?

Eric: But she’s… I don’t think so. She definitely interacts with the students in a way that suggests that she is very full of herself and very hoity-toity, but I think that that comes from a place of deep insecurity. I think that she, kind of like Lockhart, is of a “Fake it till you make it” type kind of mentality here, and I think that she learned everything that she could without herself really utilizing her gift. And yeah, so I think it’s a complete accident that she’s not a fraud, but I think that she’s behaving as if she is a fraud and has to conceal it from everyone by overacting and claiming to do all these amazing feats.

Laura: I do think that she can be a bit elitist when it comes to who she thinks is capable of performing in the field of Divination. So we absolutely see this with her, effectively, prejudice towards Firenze, right? When he starts teaching the subject. We see it in her reaction towards students who don’t gel with the subject. We see it in the way she treats Hermione, for example. I mean, the way that she is perfectly willing to tell a 13-year-old child that “Your soul is old and dry” and all of these horrible things.

Eric: [laughs] “You do not have the gift.”

Laura: Yeah. So I think that there’s some of that there. You could make an argument that it’s confined specifically to the field of Divination, though.

Micah: Yeah. It is somewhat disappointing, though, that so many of the Ravenclaws that we’re talking about here are considered to be frauds.

Andrew: Aww.

Micah: Though, I would say that if you look at, from a teaching standpoint, the cross section of subject, it’s also interesting that Ravenclaws are sort of the most diversified, right? You have Lockhart, who ends up teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts. Quirrell taught Muggle Studies before becoming the DADA professor. Trelawney teaches Divination, and then Flitwick teaches Charms. So I don’t know if that has anything to do with their studious nature or that’s just a coincidence.

Eric: I think that’s a good point.

Micah: But speaking of Flitwick, Head of Ravenclaw House, and I think has a lot of cool moments throughout the course of the series.

Andrew: Yeah, overall good dude. Nobody’s got a complaint about Flitwick.

Eric: No.

Andrew: Except when his homework is too hard.

Laura: He’s a great choir director, too.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: And Charms are one of those subjects that when perfected… the coolest spells of all time are charms. They’re just… you can do really neat stuff with them.

Micah: Yeah, and was presumably a dueling champion back in his heyday.

Eric: That’s right!

Laura: Indeed.

Eric: He dueled people twice his size.

Micah: Another notable Ravenclaw to mention is Millicent Bagnold; she was the Minister for Magic when Harry defeated Voldemort the first time around. And I will say, for anybody who would make the argument that Ravenclaws do not like to party, she is known for saying, after Voldemort fell, that “I assert our inalienable right to party.”

Andrew: To parrrr-tay!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: I never doubted Ravenclaws don’t party. I just look at Laura and Micah and I know they like to party.

Laura: That is true. I do like to party. I think we just enjoy indulging in a nice stiff drink now and again.

Eric: Oh, I was going to suggest that Ravenclaws were more the smoke and listen to jazz party, whereas Hufflepuffs the more drinking, and Gryffindor… but I won’t even complete that thought.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: We like a good speakeasy.

Laura: Oh, yes, speakeasies are my favorite.

Andrew: Said everyone ever. That’s not a Ravenclaw trait, that’s just a cool thing to do.

Micah: Ah, geez.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: No, but real speakeasies.

Micah: But could you get in without us?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Wow.

Andrew: Well, I don’t know. You guys don’t know the answer to a trivia question at your common room door, so how do you do with other doors?

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Micah: You bring Uric the oddball with you, and this is by far the strangest of any of the “notable” Ravenclaw House members.

Eric: It’s in the name.

Micah: He was a medieval wizard who was famous for his eccentric behavior, such as wearing a jellyfish as a hat…

Andrew: Fun.

Micah: … and sleeping in a room with 50 pet Augureys. He’s just weird, bottom line.

Eric: Huh.

Laura: Hence the name.

Micah: He’s the punchline for a lot of jokes. He seemed to be cool with it. And then finally, Ignatia Wildsmith, or as I like to call her, Ignatia “diagonalley” Wildsmith.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: She was the founder of – or the inventor, I should say – of Floo Powder.

Andrew: Fun, fun.

Eric: Oh. Very cool.

Micah: So finally an academic thing that we can get great for.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Eric: Honestly, that’s a bit surprising.

Laura: Not a fraud. We’re probably going to find out that she stole the idea from somebody. [laughs]

Eric: Oh my goodness. Probably a Hufflepuff who did all the hard work.

Micah: That’s the list. I mean, pretty much everybody else that we had on this list we talked about at some point during the episode.

Andrew: In our Hufflepuff and Slytherin episodes, we all said something nice about these Houses, and I thought since Ravenclaw and Gryffindor don’t need to be defended as badly as Hufflepuff and Slytherin do, we should say something critical of Ravenclaws here. However, I feel like we have been very critical of Ravenclaw throughout today’s discussion, so we can table this, but I want to say, I am very surprised by how critical Laura and Micah were of their House today, and now we’re going to need an episode dedicated to defending Ravenclaw! Look at this!

Laura: I mean, you shouldn’t be surprised. We say this on the show all the time: We are critical because we care.

Andrew: Right.

Laura: We care very much about our House. I think about any other item that we care about when we feel… great example is if something locally is happening, if a law is being passed, or your school board is doing something you disagree with, you’re not critical of those things because you hate your state or you hate your locality. You’re critical of them because you care about that thing and you want it to be the best version of itself that it can be. And that’s how I feel about Ravenclaw; I feel like we have not had enough positive representation of Ravenclaws as of yet. I hope that that changes.

Andrew: Fair, fair. Well, maybe we’ll get a TV show or movie about it one day. This new Hogwarts Legacy game, too; this is where we can right all the wrongs that we found.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: No, you’re right.

Andrew: Isn’t the tagline “Write your own destiny,” or something like that? “Write your own story”? It’s something like that.

Micah: I just don’t think it would have been… go back to what I said earlier, right? We are critical by nature. We are analytical by nature, so it would be odd for the episode to be anything but that. Doesn’t mean we don’t love our House. Maybe that’s part of the reason we do. Forget about Lockhart and Trelawney.

Eric: They give Ravenclaws a bad name.

Andrew: I’ll give Trelawney some credit. I don’t like being hard on her.

Laura: When you’re trying to think of positive representations of Ravenclaw, think about me and Micah.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: And Luna.

Eric: Yeah!

Andrew: Okaaayyy… sure…

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Hogwarts’s favorite graduates.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Put us in place. Please put us in place over Lockhart and Trelawney.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: All right, well, if you have any feedback about today’s discussion, you can email or use the contact form on You can also record a voice memo on your phone and send that to You can also call us, 1-920-368-4453; that’s 1-920-3-MUGGLE. We say it both ways because we’ve got to show off that our phone number has the word “Muggle” in it, but also we want to make it easy for you, so you get it both ways every week. We love getting your feedback; we can’t respond to it all, but we do read it all, and sometimes it makes it onto forthcoming Muggle Mail episodes.


Andrew: All right, it’s time for Quizzitch!

[Quizzitch music plays]

Andrew: We need a new host now that Eric has admitted he’d fail at trivia questions at the Ravenclaw door.

Eric: Augh, yeah.

Andrew: [laughs] I’m kidding.

Eric: Okay, last week’s question – it was a tough one: In what books does Harry not directly interact with Draco Malfoy while on the Hogwarts Express? Let’s go through this. In Book 1, Scabbers bites Goyle when Malfoy is present. In Book 3, Draco comes in to make fun of Harry and sees that Lupin, a teacher, is there, and chickens out. In Book 4, he makes fun of Ron’s dress robes. In Book 5, he makes fun of being a prefect, and Harry says, “Ah, but I’m not a git.” And in Book 6, he smashes Harry’s nose. This means that the only books in which Harry does not interact with Draco during the Hogwarts Express is when he doesn’t get on the Hogwarts Express at all! The correct answer is Books 2 and 7.

Micah: He’s not on the Hogwarts Express in Book 7, right? Nor in Book 2.

Eric: Right, nor in Book 2, exactly.

Andrew: There you go.

Eric: So he interacts with Draco every time.

Andrew: I shudder to think what would have happened if he was on the train in Books 2 and 7.

Eric: Oh my goodness, yeah. So anyway…

Micah: Cormac McLaggen would have taken care of it since he showed up in the movie and shouldn’t have been there.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Right, that’s right. Well, we actually had a fair amount of people who did get the correct answer. Congratulations to surely what must be these Ravenclaws: A lost packet of Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum; Annette the Hufflepuff; Bubotuber Pus; But I am the Chosen One; Countess Chocula; Frumpy But Super Smart; Helena deserved better; Hero with 1,000 fandoms; Marta Morgan; MustBeAWeasley92; Obscure Bloody Baron; Peeves Fanfic; Please say XXXX 10 times; The Dark Bort; Voldemort’s lost nose; What Is Your Name; and last but not least, “Give me your ramen, or else I will send the Monster Book of Monsters on you and Macnair and the Hufferhead common room.”

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: All right, next week’s question: On which floor at Hogwarts can you find the staircase that leads directly to the door to Ravenclaw’s common room?

Andrew: Fun!

Eric: Very specific Ravenclaw question.

Micah: Laura and I know the answer.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I’ll look at my Lego set and I’ll let you know.

Micah: Yeah, you know, I was thinking one other thing here, because when we did the Slytherin episode, we kind of just honorarily inducted Cornelius Fudge into Slytherin House. I feel like we need to do that at least one time for Ravenclaw as well, and there was a character that came to mind that I looked up, but I couldn’t find anything for his House, and so I because we’ve had two really crappy Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers find their way into Ravenclaw House, I’m going to take Mad-Eye Moody for Ravenclaw.

Eric: Oh, I like that.

Laura: Yes. I can accept this headcanon. I love it.

Andrew: So it shall be written.

Micah: You have to say that in your Trelawney voice,

Andrew: [imitating Trelawney] “So it shall be written! So it shall be written…”

[Laura laughs]

Eric: We need a lightning/thunder sound effect.

[Andrew makes thunder noises]

Eric: Yeah. Submit your Quizzitch answer to us on the MuggleCast website,, or select “Quizzitch” from the main menu.

Andrew: After that, we would love your support at Our Patreon helps us keep the show running and growing, and in exchange for your support, you’ll receive bonus MuggleCast installments, access to our recording studio via a weekly livestream, early access to each episode, a personal video thank you message made just for you, and a whole lot more. Again, that’s Thank you so much for your support; we could not do this without you, and your support makes us feel good. So that does it for this week’s episode of MuggleCast. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: and I’m Laura.

Andrew: Bye, everyone.

Laura and Micah: Bye.

Eric: Stay in school, kids. And write your own science fair project.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]