Transcript #530

Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #530, Celebrating and Criticizing Gryffindor 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 wrapping up our series on the Hogwarts Houses, and this week we are focused on Gryffindor! And our two ex-Gryffindor panelists, me and Eric, will lead today’s discussion as we celebrate and criticize the House, and we are also joined by a current Gryffindor, my boyfriend, Pat. Welcome back to the show, Pat.

Pat: I’m so happy to be back.

Eric: Woo!

Andrew: Pat is a huge Harry Potter fan who knows his stuff, so I’m sure he’s going to add a lot to the show today, like he did last time he was on. But before we get started, make sure you’re following the show for free in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode, and look out for a new episode every Tuesday morning. Also, stay tuned to our Patreon this week for an all new bonus MuggleCast installment in which we look at HBO Max’s new Harry Potter hub, because in this they make movie and TV suggestions for members of each Hogwarts House, so we’re going to look at their lists and determine if they made the right choices. And some choices in there I think are very debatable, so that’s why I wanted to make this a bonus MuggleCast today. For example, is Gossip Girl really for Slytherins?

Laura: Yes.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: This Slytherin won’t be watching it, I’ll tell you that. [laughs] That’ll be available at

Main Discussion: Gryffindor House

Andrew: Okay, so let’s get to our discussion on Gryffindor House today. To kick off this discussion, I thought we could start with why myself, Eric, and Pat all joined Gryffindor initially. So just to catch everybody up, in case you missed it, I’m currently Slytherin. Eric is currently a Hufflepuff. Pat’s been a Gryffindor all this time. I already explained why I left Gryffindor for Slytherin, but I feel like I joined Gryffindor when I was a kid simply because it was the House that the trio were in. That was basically it; I just wanted to be with the trio. And then Pottermore validated my feelings when I did the quiz and I got Sorted into Gryffindor. I was like, “Great. Okay, cool. I don’t have to think about it any further.” How about you, Eric?

Eric: Yeah, same. I mean, more or less, if you wanted to do any kind of costuming, the Harry Potter costume that was available was a Gryffindor costume, and if you wanted a House tie, the Gryffindor House tie was just the most available that you could find. And I had no delusions when I did start dressing up as a Gryffindor – when I got the Gryffindor robes that I got and still have from Twin Roses Designs – I didn’t pretend to be Harry Potter, but I very much felt very comfortable being one of the Gryffindors. They’re the heroes of the books; they’re the series’ heroes. And I felt really that I would be Harry’s friend if we were together at the same time. I just felt like Gryffindor was a natural fit, and I didn’t question it.

Andrew: And Pat, why did you join originally?

Pat: Well, I think for me originally, when I started reading the books… because I did read them in ’98 when they came out in the US, and at that time, I was the shyest kid ever. I would have to go talk in front of people and immediately start crying.

Andrew: What? Oh, gosh.

Pat: Oh, yeah, I was so painfully shy, and I really wanted to break out of that. So I think I just wanted to be like Harry, in a way, because I related in a lot of ways of kind of feeling left out, especially with being gay, so I think subconsciously… now looking at it, I’m like, “Oh, yeah, I made that decision,” but back then, you’re not mature enough to make a decision to be like, “Yes, I am going to change,” or digging in yourself and letting those parts of me that were Gryffindor-esque actually come out and just grow as a person that way, so I kind of unlocked those over the years to become where I am now.

Eric: Yeah, that kind of speaks to what I said last week about Hermione valuing bravery even though she herself, we thought, fit more into Ravenclaw. It seems like again it is about what you value and what traits you most wish to embody.

Pat: Yeah, I see that for sure. And at the time, I think I probably would have been like, “Oh, yeah, I’m a Hufflepuff.” Especially now I realize, too, like in my job that I’m working in now I very much use that Gryffindor side of me to stand up for myself and really be like, “No, this is what’s going to happen, and you’re going to listen to me at this moment.”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Laura: Love it.

Eric: Love it!

Andrew: Scary.

Eric: Just brow-beating people with your job. “I am here.”

[Laura laughs]

Pat: Yes, basically.

Andrew: “Little did you know I’m a Gryffindor! Hear me roar!”

Pat: Right.

Eric: [laughs] Well, that actually kind of touches on… so why I left Gryffindor, why I’m now a proud member of the Hufflepuff family, is I was looking to set down some of the traits that I felt were more negative to me. I reached a point in early 20s where I decided I really had to make a concentrated effort to think before I act on a lot of things, and I felt like some of the boldness and some of the fly by the seat of “Life’s an adventure” stuff that I really enjoyed in the teenage years and really kind of propelled me in my relationships, that I needed to take a step back and start really thinking about what I want and who I am. And so a lot of that brashness, a lot of that teenage energy and spirit kind of flew out of me. And when I read the Hufflepuff welcome letter, it felt like there’s a House that really values interpersonal communication more, and so it just… it wasn’t a rebuke of Gryffindor, but it was very much like “This served a place in my life when I was bolder, and now I’m going to actually work on building and not always going and getting and going and having that mentality.”

Andrew: Yeah, that makes sense.

Laura: It sounds like for most of you, your House alignments were a way for you to step outside of your comfort zones, in a way.

Pat: Yeah, for sure. Especially for me just really embracing the leadership qualities in me as well, because I was such, just so… I don’t want to say “meek,” because I don’t like that word, but I was just very, very shy and quiet until, really, I got to maybe the end of middle school into high school. And then the other stuff, the other clubs that I was in and stuff like that, really pushed me to be a leader, for one, and then just to get out of my comfort zone, and that’s when I found theater and all of that acting stuff, too, to really be on stage where I probably would have pooped myself if I was in middle school and needed to do that.

Eric: [laughs] Hey, fellow theater kid.

Pat: Yes.

Eric: Yeah. But I mean, that’s all about… it’s a cutthroat kind of thing. If you’re fighting for a role, or even just to go and do that takes a lot of energy and confidence, and with confidence in high school, you’ve got to fake it till you make it, baby. And I think Gryffindor is a very good House about faking it till you make it.

Pat: Oh, for sure.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: And Pat, you could have just used Evanesco. You would have been fine.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: So quick question: Do we think many readers or fans who were or are in Gryffindor only there because the trio – like me, guilty as charged – or maybe because Dumbledore is a Gryffindor too? I just feel like most people selected Gryffindor simply because the trio are in it, and then they just stuck with it.

Eric: I feel like there’s probably a huge swath of people that don’t think about it. There’s probably a huge bunch of listeners that are like, “I don’t even know what House I am and it’s cool,” or fans of Harry Potter, at the very least. Maybe not listeners of our show, because on our show, you have to choose. You know that. [laughs] But no, the episodes that we’ve done – the last few episodes on Houses, I feel like – have gone really into details of what makes a House. But we had to fight for that. We had to work for figuring out those details. Gryffindor is the one House in all of Harry Potter that really you get to see just a huge variety of people in it, and the rest of the Houses, like I said, we had to work for. So I wouldn’t be surprised if, even if you do think about what House you are, that most people find themselves in Gryffindor, just because it is the most fleshed out.

Laura: It’s kind of the default, right?

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Micah: It is. I would say, too, I don’t think I thought much about what House I would be in until I finished the books.

Andrew: That’s a good way to do it.

Micah: And maybe that’s why I ended up in Ravenclaw. But I just think that when you’re reading the story, I think you’re just taken by the story. And maybe it was also because so many things came out after the books were released, including being able to be Sorted. I don’t really know that I did too much Sorting of myself beforehand, so… but I agree to, Laura, your point; it’s kind of a default. Or you probably would want to choose Slytherin; I feel like those were probably the two most popular choices, just because we don’t see much of the other two Houses.

Laura: Yeah, and there was a time, even – to the point that was raised earlier – it is correct that originally, the only House merch you could get was Gryffindor, but when they started releasing more, they released Slytherin items, but for the longest time you couldn’t get Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw. So it was kind of these two rivals. It kind of felt like they were your only two prominent choices.

Eric: They’re the real Houses.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: But I mean, even if you’re Gryffindor because it’s the default, there was enough variety of characters in the books to be like, “Oh, I’m a Hermione Gryffindor,” or, “Oh, I’m the Weasley twins Gryffindor.” You could identify with a different Gryffindor and have that really speak to your individual traits without having to change Houses.

Andrew: Yeah. And I think for a lot of people when they were buying the cloaks or anything else with a Gryffindor emblem on it, I think they just wanted to be a Hogwarts student. It wasn’t necessarily about the House so much as it was looking like a Hogwarts student. But they really lean into the House merchandise now; now you can easily get anything. I go into – we’ve mentioned before – BoxLunch. It’s a Hot Topic, but less emo…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: … and you can buy a shirt for each House, you can buy a scarf for each House… they got ’em all. So let’s talk about what we know about Gryffindors, and like we have with our other House episodes, we’ll start with the Sorting Hat lines about Gryffindor. The Hat says, in one book, “While the bravest and the boldest went to daring Gryffindor,” and in another book, the Hat says, “You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart. Their daring, nerve, and chivalry set Gryffindors apart.” Believe the second one was Book 1.

Laura: Yes.

Eric: “Brave” and “daring” make it in both books. That’s like, “Ah, do you dare? I dare.”

Andrew: They’re double brave. So these are all traits that we admire, and I don’t think there’s anything here that we look down on.

Eric: No.

Andrew: And the reason I mention that is because last week, we discussed how some narration and Sorting Hat descriptions of Ravenclaw don’t do its members any favors. Setting aside talk from outside Hogwarts students in other Houses or professors, is there anything from the Hat or the narration that you all remember reading over the years that maybe you thought put Gryffindor in a bad light?

Eric: Not really.

Andrew: Yeah, I don’t either.

Laura: No, but I think it’s also because we’re reading these books from Harry’s point of view, right? And he kind of has the tone set very early on. He knows that Ron, the first nice person he meets on the Hogwarts Express, wants to be in Gryffindor and is terrified of not ending up there, so I think Harry, by default, kind of romanticizes Gryffindor a little bit. He certainly doesn’t want to end up in Slytherin, right? After he’s met Draco Malfoy…

Andrew: “Not Slytherin… not Slytherin…”

Laura: Malfoy has completely tainted that House’s perception for him. But yeah, I think a lot of it has to do with the viewpoint of the character we’re seeing that House through.

Pat: Yeah, I feel like the only time something negative about Gryffindor is said is any time that Draco says something.

Eric: Yeah, or if it’s specific Gryffindors when Snape says it, right? Usually about Harry’s dad.

Andrew: And we have a quote from Phineas, too, that we’ll get to in a moment.

Micah: I wanted to ask, though, do you feel like this description from the Sorting Hat is the most aspirational of any of the Houses? Because I feel like you’re talking about, at this point, 11-year-old kids, and to have daring and chivalry and bravery, to me… not to say that there aren’t brave 11-year-olds, but I do think perhaps this is the most forward-looking of any of the House descriptions that we see.

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Eric: I think that’s very fair. If I were 11 and I just found out that I’m a wizard and can do magic, I would want to be the boldest and bravest. And chivalry, I had to look that up, but it’s the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak. I’d be like, “I just got all these magical powers? Yeah, I’m going to help the suffering. I’m going to kick some ass.”

[Andrew and Pat laugh]

Eric: “It’s going to be great.” I think that’s a great point about it being aspirational verbiage.

Andrew: Yeah. At the least, I love the point that when you’re that young, you’re not necessarily going to be brave or courageous.

Micah: Unless you’re Harry.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Right, right. Harry is a very special exception.

Eric: He was born that way.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: I feel like this is also the descriptor that is probably the least nuanced of all four Houses. I mean, we could very easily with the other three Houses pick out items and qualities that are represented in the Sorting song that could be interpreted a certain kind of way, but you don’t get that so much here. It’s really hard to read anything potentially negative into this the way that it’s written.

Andrew: Well, on that note, let’s talk about the good of Gryffindor, and we have a couple traits here. Conviction. Now Pat, you wrote these out, so maybe we should let you do this. Tell us about conviction in Gryffindors.

Pat: I do think that when it comes to conviction, most Gryffindors really have a strong sense of what they believe, and they stick to that until you’re proven wrong, which, I’m very much that way. When I speak, I very much use that authority in my voice, and a lot of people just kind of believe what I say, then.

Eric: [laughs] It’s true!

Andrew: Not me. I don’t fall for it.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Pat: But sometimes it’s just if you say something in a way where you believe it yourself, others are also going to believe it. And I think that that’s something that a lot of Gryffindors use because they are so strong-headed, which can also be a negative trait, because you really have to be proven wrong for you to change your mind and have facts come out, just to be like, “Okay, yeah.” I think a good example of that is when Seamus is very much against Harry, until he realizes, “Okay, no, I’m wrong here,” and he immediately apologizes. And I think that happens in a lot of other areas, too; I have this example later, but I think it applies to conviction as well, where Ron is so mad when Harry gets into the Triwizard Tournament and he will not speak to him or anything until he realizes, “Oh, you would never have put yourself up for this. Okay, I’m wrong here,” which is my next point in here, that Gryffindors will usually admit fault right away once they are proven wrong, which to me, I think is a good quality. And also, relating to myself, that’s something I do, too. Especially in my work, if I screw up on something, I am the first to admit, “Hey, I did this wrong. How can I fix it?” Or, “What can I do better next time to make sure that it doesn’t happen again?”

Eric: I think the task of proving a Gryffindor wrong, or showing a Gryffindor that they are wrong, can be an uphill struggle sometimes. I myself am a Taurus; it’s really difficult to convince me I’ve erred, even since my switch to Hufflepuff. And so I think of Lily Potter having to soften James, but he was a straight-up bully for Snape for many, many years, and his friends, especially Sirius. And so while they could admit that they were wrong, I don’t think those particular characters ever do, and so it is a show that when they have their morals, they kind of are on that path, and it can be a bit difficult to sway them a different direction.

Laura: Yeah. I mean, look even at the conflict between Ron and Hermione in Prisoner of Azkaban over Crookshanks and Scabbers. I mean, it’s pretty clear when you’re reading the book that Crookshanks has it out for Scabbers – we later learn that there’s a very good reason for that – but Hermione just doesn’t want to see it.

Pat: And in the same book, too, when both Harry and Ron are mad at Hermione for turning in the Firebolt.

Laura: Yep, great example.

Pat: But Hermione sticks to her guns on it where she’s like, “No, this needs to be looked at.” And once they do all the tests and everything, she’s like, “Well, there you go. At least you know it’s safe.”

Eric: Yeah, she doesn’t apologize on that. [laughs]

Pat: Right. But she was right.

Laura: She was.

Eric and Pat: Yeah.

Eric: Well, she was right in that the broomstick did come from Sirius Black.

Pat: Yeah, but she was wrong on the fact that it was cursed. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, and it’s something bad to it, yeah.

Laura: She ends up being right again in Half-Blood Prince about the origins of the Half-Blood Prince’s name, right? And she’s trying to explain it to Harry throughout the book and he’s not willing to accept it, and then at the very end, she’s like, “Yeah, see? About that… I was pretty close.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Listen, women cannot be princes, Laura. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this.

[Laura and Pat laugh]

Eric: It cannot happen. It’s not a thing!

Laura: It’s 2021. That’s all I’ll say.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: And then the third trait we have here is loyalty.

Pat: Yeah, I do think Gryffindors are very loyal people, which is in part of the whole description of being a Gryffindor. But I think a very good example of this is with the Marauders and when they do finally realize that Remus is a werewolf, and they just stick by his side the entire time. And yeah, for those first few years until they become full Animagi or however you say it, they still stick by him, and then once they figure it out and they’re able to go along with him, then they go on all the adventures with him and just really defend him to everybody else when everybody’s trying to question and figure out what’s going on. And yeah, they pull the prank on Snape where he almost gets killed, but they’re loyal to him still throughout the whole thing. And especially the trio is usually loyal to each other throughout most of the books, except for petty little arguments. The only time where, at least me, personally, I feel like the loyalty can come as a fault is Harry to Dumbledore, because he really can never see any wrong in Dumbledore. Even throughout reading Rita Skeeter’s book about him, he questions it slightly, but he still really doesn’t ever find a fault in him.

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Eric: And if we’re thinking about the Marauders not really minding or taking care of their friendships – they just expect something to be a certain way – they kind of neglect Peter Pettigrew, and he turns sour because he has all these insecurities about not fitting in, but they’re not minding their friendship; they’re not keeping up with that. They just expect him to fall in line because Gryffindors are all part of the same cool team of knights. And they also downplay the severity of almost every conflict; I think maybe the wizarding war really sobered them a lot, but I think that up until that point, they are thinking that having a best friend who’s a werewolf is nothing but the coolest thing you could ever do or have.

Andrew: New toy!

Eric: Yeah, new toy! Well, yeah, almost. I think they really appreciated Remus as a person, but I think they also thought it was straight-up awesome.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s like a…

Pat: And once Remus also in Book 3 puts together “Hey, Sirius is actually innocent,” his loyalty comes back 100% immediately.

Eric: You’re right.

Micah: And this would also be one of those qualities, I think, that aligns very well with the House sigil. If you think about even talking about zodiac signs, Leos are usually characterized as being immensely loyal individuals. And then another moment of loyalty I thought about, too, was with Neville, but loyalty to the entire House, going back to Sorcerer’s Stone, right? He stands up to the trio, and I think you could define that as a moment of loyalty to Gryffindor House.

Eric: Absolutely.

Pat: And when he gets the sword of Gryffindor out of the Sorting Hat at the end of Book 7. That really shows that loyalty as well there, too, because he is a true Gryffindor in that moment, and he deserves the sword.

Eric: Well, and part of being a knight is having honor. He has that sense of real honor. There are things that you cannot do, and “You should not lose our House more points, because it would dishonor us.”

Micah: Sir Longbottom.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And now let’s talk about the bad. [evil laugh]

Micah: Now Andrew is happy.

Andrew: [laughs] No, I lift up every Hogwarts House. I mentioned this a few minutes ago: Phineas actually had a critique of Gryffindor. He said that other Houses, particularly Slytherin, believe that Gryffindor is sometimes engaged in “pointless heroics.” So a pointless heroic, I guess, would be something that they go out of their way to do for really no good reason other than hoping people will pat them on the back. That’s kind of the read of what I get from a “pointless heroic.”

Eric: Yeah, and there’s evidence of this in the books, again, with James Potter and Snape. But there’s that moment where Harry is horrified that Sirius says he was bored, and so James goes and picks a fight and is like, “Everything’s an adventure; let’s see if we can see Snivellus’s underwear” or whatever, and totally antagonizes Snape in some righteous “We’re the good guys; you’re the creepy, nobody likes you, bad guy of school. We’re going to engage in this pointless heroism of attacking you unprovoked,” absolutely. Phineas’s read on what other people think of Gryffindors… there’s just evidence right there.

Pat: I think that what some people like Phineas – since Phineas, granted, is a Slytherin – but he could consider also helping people as a pointless heroic. Like the times where Harry would maybe pick up somebody’s books when they fall out of their bag, or something like that. Or defending Luna to somebody else, be like, “Oh, she’s my friend.”

Eric: Yes.

Pat: Would a Slytherin then consider that a pointless act of heroism? Just by helping another person?

Eric: Maybe.

Laura: Or what about when Harry went to take on Draco in Book 1 and get Neville’s Remembrall back, right? I could see a Slytherin being like, “Whatever, it’s a Remembrall, who cares? Why are you making such a big deal about this?” But Harry being like, “No, he’s my friend, he’s in my House, and you’re bullying him, so I’m going to stand up to you.”

Micah: Oh, yeah.

Pat: But in the same moment when he agrees to go to the duel, that, I think, is the negative pointless heroic. Like, you really did not need to do that, bro.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It’s a trap anyway.

Andrew and Pat: Right.

Micah: I think you could go even larger scale. I think if you just look at the plot of all seven books, if you’re Phineas, you could say pointless heroics.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: Sorcerer’s Stone? Pointless heroics. Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets? Pointless heroics. Freeing Sirius Black? Pointless heroics.

Andrew: They like doing these things for attention, at least in Phineas’s mind. And probably there is a little bit of truth there, because I feel like there is a bit of an ego to Gryffindor, being considered the brave House, the courageous House. So here’s another one, and again, this person is biased as well: Snape called Gryffindors “self-righteous and arrogant.” Of course, he’s probably speaking about James when he’s talking here. [laughs]

Eric: Right.

Andrew: But here’s a little bit of evidence to back this up: In the Pottermore welcome letter for the Gryffindor House – which we’ve cited a couple of times now across these House discussions – Percy Weasley says, “This is, quite simply, the best House at Hogwarts. It’s where the bravest and boldest end up – for instance: Albus Dumbledore! Yes, Dumbledore himself, the greatest wizard of our time, was a Gryffindor! If that’s not enough for you, I don’t know what is.” And here’s the other thing, because I looked at the other welcome letters: This is the shortest welcome letter of the four, by far.

[Laura and Pat laugh]

Andrew: The Gryffindor welcome letter is, like, a paragraph. Everything else, it’s pages. You’ve got to sit down to read it. [laughs] Maybe Snape is right; they are self-righteous and arrogant. “We have the best House. I don’t even have to convince you.”

Laura: I think it’s also just interesting that Percy was the character that was chosen to write this welcome letter…

Pat: Yeah, that was annoying.

Laura: … because we know how he felt about Dumbledore towards the end of the series. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, but he’s such a kiss-ass.

Laura: I know.

Micah: Couldn’t it also be that because we get Harry’s welcome letter in the book, that they don’t need to make this one as long?

Andrew: I think the length is very purposeful.

Eric: They would just roll the tape of Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best.”

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: The author isn’t one to be short on details.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: She’ll put the work in if she needs to, so I think this just perfectly plays into Snape’s thoughts.

Micah: One thing that I think that’s important about the fact that Snape colors all Gryffindors “self-righteous and arrogant,” shows an important point about how one bad experience can cause an individual to really generalize an entire group of people, and in this case, it’s a group of people that normally all of us would think are pretty good, easygoing individuals. And if you look at it through Snape’s perspective, it’s completely different, and it’s certainly wrong of him, just because particularly James and Sirius treated him so foully that he would look upon the entirety of Gryffindor House the same way.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Eric: And I like at least that in the entirety of the story there are… our Gryffindor heroes do get some pieces knocked off of them. You question Dumbledore by the end of the books. You question Harry. You question what everyone really means or thinks. You question James Potter. So these so-called heroes, there is room in the books made available for you to question what they were going for and whether Snape could even be right.

Andrew: We are having a great discussion today. Can’t wait to continue it.

[Ad break]

Andrew: Speaking about habits, let’s talk about some bad habits maybe? Eric, you have an interesting observation about a couple of pairs at Hogwarts.

Eric: Yeah, here’s an interesting personality trait that you don’t find in the Hogwarts Sorting song, [laughs] but it comes in this line from Madam Rosmerta, I believe. And Laura, would you like to read this quote?

Laura: Sure. This is from Prisoner of Azkaban. Madam Rosmerta says,

“‘Naturally,’ with a small laugh. ‘Never saw one without the other, did you? The number of times I had them in here — ooh, they used to make me laugh. Quite the double act, Sirius Black and James Potter!’

Harry dropped his tankard with a loud clunk. Ron kicked him.

‘Precisely,’ said Professor McGonagall. ‘Black and Potter. Ringleaders of their little gang. Both very bright, of course — exceptionally bright, in fact — but I don’t think we’ve ever had such a pair of troublemakers —’

‘I dunno,’ chuckled Hagrid. ‘Fred and George Weasley could give ’em a run fer their money.'”

Eric: So this is an interesting comparison across the generations. You have these two groups, and both of them are two people, troublemakers. What is it that rule-breaking and mischief…? What does that have to do with being a Gryffindor or being brave?

Micah: Well, not necessarily being brave, but I think looking at daring and nerve, those two align a little bit with rule-breaking and mischief. You have to have a little bit of nerve to be mischievous and to break the rules.

Andrew: Absolutely.

Micah: I think it fits.

Andrew: Some courage too.

Laura: I think particularly with James and Sirius, we’re seeing the negative side of bravery and nerve. If you’re viewing those things as a spectrum, as we’ve discussed in previous discussions like this, and you toggle it all the way over to one extreme end, the results are not going to be great. But I like comparing them to Fred and George, because I think even though Fred and George are very mischievous – they’re troublemakers – they’re still pretty different from James and Sirius. Fred and George don’t strike me as bullies. In fact, I remember… I can’t remember the book, but I remember one line where they’re having a fun back and forth and they’re saying, “We always knew where the line was. We might have put a toe across it every now and then, but we never went too far.” And James and Sirius went too far.

Eric: Yeah, that’s actually fair. I think they’ve probably maybe learned from their predecessors, or maybe because they had something like the map, they were less reckless and they could plan more.

Andrew: It maybe has to do with how they were raised as well. They were born to be jokesters and pranksters, but they knew they didn’t want to mess with their parents. We know what Molly does with those Howlers; that’s not something to be messed with.

Eric: [laughs] That’s a good point. Yeah, I like that that leans into sort of the daring side of things. It’s like, “Well, we’ll cause a ruckus.” Yeah, that fits with me for Fred and George.

Andrew: Toe that line. Go just far enough where you can get away with it. Maybe we’ve all been there at some point. [laughs] I can’t think of any examples; don’t ask me for any right now. But I feel like sometimes…

Laura: Andrew is very lawful.

Andrew: Right, right. Sometimes I just get to the edge. I get to the edge.

Pat: Yeah, you push the limits a little bit.

Eric: It seems like in contrast, those Slytherins, if they’re going to be mischievous, they’re going to work within the system to do it, right? So we’ve seen this a bunch of times in the books, actually. I’m thinking of the Inquisitorial Squad, or Malfoy abusing being prefect to take House points away. This is an example. It’s not rule-breaking; it’s mischief and ruckus, but it’s because the system works for him and works for what he wants to do. He’s going to get himself a position of power to give in to his negative whims, whereas Fred and George are exercising that firmly from without the system. They’re breaking the rules.

Pat: Yeah, and I think more of a… instead of breaking the rules, I think the Gryffindor trait is more so bending the rules to your favor. You’re still following the guideline of them, but you find that loophole, like with the DA or Hermione bending the rules as well to knitting the hats and stuff and hiding them around to secretly free elves that she knows she probably shouldn’t do but she still does.

Micah: Or getting a Time-Turner. I mean, that’s pretty rule-breaking as far as I’m concerned.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Eric: Kind of like guerrilla efforts to circumvent the natural flow of things.

Micah: Yeah. I also think we have the benefit of being at school with Fred and George for five years, so we get to see a little bit more of their personalities, versus James and Sirius, we just hear stories, and most of them aren’t that great. The one good one I think about, too, but I guess it’s kind of edgy, is the story J.K. Rowling wrote about the two of them and the police officers and the motorbike that they stole.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: But yeah, I mean, they seem like they get up to more adult type of trouble than the Weasley twins do, also.

Pat: Yeah, because all of the memories we see of James and Sirius are through Snape’s eyes, both in Book 4 and in Book 7, so…

Eric: Well, I think the Pensieve is a non-biased third party, right? Why it’s made. But I also think, thinking of Fred and George not crossing a line, they did experiment on children. They gave their products to… now, it wasn’t anything they didn’t try on themselves first, maybe, but I’m thinking of the Dudley scene. And we know from our Fred and George character discussion that Fred would kind of push the envelope maybe a little too far, and George would try and reign him in. But yeah, there was definitely a reckless aspect to the Weasley twins, though. I wouldn’t want to say that they were too safe in comparison.

Laura: Yeah. I guess we’re talking about the difference here between being reckless and being malicious?

Andrew: Good line to draw.

Eric: Yeah. And Sirius’s own dislike for his own family made him cool to the idea of Slytherins, and James’s just comes from, what, seven generations of Gryffindor? So he’s bound to dislike Slytherins as well.

Andrew: Micah, I think you had a point you wanted to bring up.

Micah: Yeah, we touched on this a little bit already, but just going back to the courage aspect of Gryffindors. I was thinking earlier just how interesting it is that if you look at the plot of all seven books – involving the trio, specifically – they all really exemplify the courage needed to achieve a certain goal, right? And so I just pulled examples; I’m sure there’s a lot of different smaller examples from each of the books of courage, but you think about in Sorcerer’s Stone, defeating the tasks and ultimately defeating Quirrell. Chamber of Secrets, the Chamber of Secrets itself, the Basilisk. Prisoner of Azkaban, confronting Sirius, but also freeing him. Goblet of Fire, you have the Triwizard Tournament and the graveyard. Order of the Phoenix, the battle at the Ministry. Half-Blood Prince, you have the cave. And then in Deathly Hallows, you have the Horcruxes and the final battle. And I think it was probably intentionally done that way by the author, in the fact that you do have three Gryffindors as the main characters, but just the level of courage that would be required to do all of those things in all of those books. They’re just central to the plot.

Andrew: And these are all epic moments in the books. And I’m sure in a lot of literature you can point to great moments of courage that really make the book, so maybe that’s one aspect of it too. It’s like you need some courage in your lead character to make a good story.

Eric: Yeah, and overcome great odds. I was going to say, if you’re telling the story of the hero’s journey, it makes sense that your hero would be from the House of heroes.

Andrew: Yes. Yeah, good thing the Sorting Hat didn’t put him in Slytherin. Damn.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: It’s a pretty good thing.

Andrew: And Eric, Gryffindors don’t always agree with each other, right?

Eric: Yeah, I thought it would be interesting to delve a little deeper into the Seamus and Harry conflict. Pat, you had a good summary and explanation of it at the start, but I wanted to actually read the specific where they butt heads, because not only is Gryffindor the House we know the most about and see the most of firsthand in the books, but we can actually… there’s so much of it that there’s such nuance here.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: So there’s actually… this is crazy, because you could see where Seamus is coming from as a reader when the whole thing goes down. So Andrew, would you like to read the first bit here?

Andrew: Yeah.

“Seamus did not answer immediately; he was making rather a meal of ensuring that his poster of the Kenmare Kestrels Quidditch team was quite straight. Then he said, with his back still turned to Harry,

‘Me mam didn’t want me to come back.’

‘What?’ said Harry, pausing in the act of pulling off his robes.

‘She didn’t want me to come back to Hogwarts.’

Seamus turned away from his poster and pulled his own pajamas out of his trunk, still not looking at Harry.

‘But — why?’ said Harry, astonished. He knew that Seamus’s mother was a witch and could not understand, therefore, why she should have come over so Dursley-ish.

Seamus did not answer until he had finished buttoning his pajamas.

‘Well,’ he said in a measured voice, ‘I suppose… because of you.’

‘What d’you mean?’ said Harry quickly. His heart was beating rather fast. He felt vaguely as though something was closing in on him.

‘Well,’ said Seamus again, still avoiding Harry’s eyes, ‘she… er… well, it’s not just you, it’s Dumbledore too…’

‘She believes the Daily Prophet?’ said Harry. ‘She thinks I’m a liar and Dumbledore’s an old fool?’

Seamus looked up at him. ‘Yeah, something like that.'”

Eric: So I mean, Seamus is in a pickle. I don’t think any of us envy him the situation where he may not be being allowed to continue his year of education. But what’s at issue is not necessarily the facts; it’s how they’re stated. Seamus at first says, “It’s you; you’re the reason why I haven’t come back,” and that’s just false. And he immediately tries to backtrack and say, “Oh, actually, it’s also Dumbledore,” but by this point, Harry is so… he could not handle just the idea that somebody’s coming for him, that he just reacts so poorly and he completely shuts down. He’s in defense mode.

Andrew: Yeah, “something was closing in on him,” like the line says. And I don’t blame him; you cannot blame him for this. “You weren’t going to come back to school because of me?” Suddenly people see him as a threat. That’s a terrible feeling.

Eric: It’s a really bad feeling. Micah, would you like to read the other part of this quote?

Micah: “He got into bed and made to pull the hangings closed around him, but before he could do so, Seamus said, ‘Look… what did happen that night when… you know, when… with Cedric Diggory and all?’

Seamus sounded nervous and eager at the same time. Dean, who had been bending over his trunk, trying to retrieve a slipper, went oddly still and Harry knew he was listening hard.

‘What are you asking me for?’ Harry retorted. ‘Just read the Daily Prophet like your mother, why don’t you? That’ll tell you all you need to know.’

‘Don’t you have a go at my mother,’ snapped Seamus.

‘I’ll have a go at anyone who calls me a liar,’ said Harry.

‘Don’t talk to me like that!’

‘I’ll talk to you how I want,’ said Harry, his temper rising so fast he snatched his wand back from his bedside table. ‘If you’ve got a problem sharing a dormitory with me, go and ask McGonagall if you can be moved, stop your mummy worrying —’

‘Leave my mother out of this, Potter!’

‘What’s going on?’

Ron had appeared in the doorway. His wide eyes traveled from Harry, who was kneeling on his bed with his wand pointing at Seamus, to Seamus, who was standing there with his fists raised.

‘He’s having a go at my mother!’ Seamus yelled.

‘What?’ said Ron. ‘Harry wouldn’t do that — we met your mother, we liked her…’

‘That’s before she started believing every word the stinking Daily Prophet writes about me!’ said Harry at the top of his voice.

‘Oh,’ said Ron, comprehension dawning across his freckled face.

‘Oh… right.'”

Eric: So much here, right? I mean, tempers are high, and Harry’s got his wand out! What? What’s he going to…? He’s provoked to a fight because Seamus is…?

Micah: He’s being courageous.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah, and Seamus has got his fists raised. This is just absolutely nuts. And even when Ron has to come in and defend Harry, he’s like, “Wait, Harry, wouldn’t… I don’t care. I know I just missed the conversation, but there’s no way Harry is making fun of your mom; that doesn’t make any sense.” Immediately leaps into defensive friendship mode, defense of Harry. It’s just crazy. This is Gryffindor, maybe the negative side of Gryffindor, but this is Gryffindor.

Andrew: Yeah. Courage on courage. Gryffindor on Gryffindor. Tempers are going to rise up. I think they’re going to really butt heads when they both think they can win an argument in the moment.

Eric: They haven’t seen each other all summer, and all of a sudden, it’s fists up and wands out. And they’re both Gryffindor. [laughs] They’re both in the same House.

Micah: Yeah, it’s very much, though, a loyalty being questioned type of moment, right? Truthfulness being questioned, or calling his character into question. So it’s like a knight pulling out a sword and defending himself, and that’s what Harry is doing in that moment.

Eric: Could it also be a masculinity thing? Like Harry’s… or honor, because Harry’s honor is being questioned, right? Whether or not he’s truthful.

Micah: Yeah, but I don’t think it’s… I mean, maybe just in terms of testosterone, but I don’t think it’s like his masculinity is being called into question here. I think it’s more like a believability factor. Truthfulness.

Andrew: They both have reason to be angry. For Seamus, Harry is involving his mom. For Harry, he’s being attacked and being told he can’t be believed, and neither can Dumbledore. So I can see where both sides are coming from and why they both have reason to be angry.

Laura: I think that they’re both defending their honor in a way. Harry is in this state where he’s not prepared to be questioned about what he experienced, and Seamus is one of the many students last year who had to just take Dumbledore’s word for it. Seamus wasn’t in the maze; he didn’t get to see what happened. All he got to see was Harry come back to school with Cedric Diggory’s body, and he had to take Dumbledore’s word for it. And then he spent all summer hearing about his mother reading the Daily Prophet, so it makes sense that he would be skeptical. Now, I would argue that both of them, they’re not handling conflict in the best possible way here.

Eric: Let’s talk about it, boys.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: But they’re teenagers, so it’s not uncommon. I wasn’t good at handling conflict when I was 15.

Micah: And remember the summer Harry has had up until this point.

Pat: I was just going to say that too.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Yeah, the last thing he wants at this moment is one of his closest Housemates to call his believability into question.

Andrew: In the darn dorm.

Eric and Pat: Yeah.

Eric: That’s fair.

Pat: Yeah, he spent all summer in the dark; he spent all summer just really mad at Ron and Hermione because they weren’t allowed to write to him.

Eric: That’s right.

Pat: He fought with them as soon as he got to them. Then he had to go to court…

[Eric laughs]

Pat: … and then jump right into school where he’s being attacked for his sanity, basically, because everybody thinks he’s crazy. Yeah, I would have flown off, probably, just like Harry at that moment too.

Laura: True. He’s been traumatized, and people are expecting him to relive that for them, when he’s like, “I’m actively still living the trauma. Leave me alone.”

Pat: Yeah, even months later when they start the DA, they ask, “Oh, what happened?”

Eric: And he’s still like, “Mm, not going to talk about it.” Hogwarts really needs grief counselors.

Andrew: We screamed again, somebody, please get these people grief counselors. My gosh. Get them therapy. Get them our sponsor, BetterHelp.

Eric: Andrew, you have a really good topic here to talk about, which may be causing the Gryffindors some extra grief throughout the books.

Andrew: [laughs] Yes, and part of this is inspired by last week’s Ravenclaw discussion. We spoke about the Ravenclaw common room; the entrance is guarded by a trivia question. For the Gryffindor common room, it’s guarded by a simple password. And again, we’ve got a big security nightmare on our hands. Anybody can grab the password, find it out, overhear it, walk up to Fat Lady, say the password, and she lets you on in, presumably. Why does it have to be so simple? This is a major security issue, Pat. Aren’t you concerned when you sleep in the dormitory at night that somebody’s going to break in? It’s happened before.

Pat: [laughs] I would say for me, no, because if I don’t want somebody in there, I’m not going to tell them. And somebody would have to be trustworthy enough to really give the password to somebody else, I think. I think at the same time, though, a part of me is like, “Okay, well, the Fat Lady has some sort of sentient being to her; she should know who all the Gryffindors are and who all the professors are.”

Andrew: It should just be that simple for all of them.

Eric: Really.

Pat: Right, so she shouldn’t allow anybody else in…

Eric: Yes.

Pat: … but she did allow Sirius in. Unless there’s something with the portraits where she’s like, “Oh, you were a Gryffindor once. You can come in.”

Eric: Well, wasn’t it Sir Cadogan that let Sirius in because he had the whole list of Neville’s passwords?

Pat: Oh, that’s right.

Laura: Yeah, because Sirius slashed the Fat Lady up.

Eric: Because she wouldn’t let him in, but he also didn’t have the passwords then. But yeah, Sir Cadogan as a knight, who is tasked with defending the castle, defending Gryffindor tower… I get it; it’s a plot point about Neville, but he shouldn’t have let just some random – former Gryffindor – but some random older guy in, especially after hours.

Pat: My question more so with the password system… because we’re never explained it. How do they know when it’s changed? And nobody ever says anything; there’s never a notice. Maybe there’s something on the notice board. But the Fat Lady, she’s always pretty petty, the way that she gossips with other portraits and stuff.

Laura: Oh, yeah.

Pat: I would love to just… like if Harry when he was pissed at Ron, or vice versa, if they would have been like, “You know what, I’m mad. Hey, you want to change the password and not tell him?”

Eric: Ha!

Pat: I think that would have been hilarious.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: It also seems like the password updates are always spread by word of mouth. I feel like there are so many points in the book where somebody’s like, “Oh yeah, the new password is ‘Cockroach Cluster'” as they walk into the portrait, so they’re openly saying the password.

Eric: In the middle of the hallway. Anyone can overhear.

Laura: [laughs] In the middle of the hall.

Pat: Isn’t that how Percy tells them in the very first book when he’s prefect?

Eric: Yeah, I think so. And the passwords are never one foreign character, a capital, lowercase… they’re not even that secure of passwords. They’re at least random. I would say the hierarchy of passwords has Dumbledore’s password being the worst to get into his office.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Because if you know anything about Dumbledore, you just keep guessing sweets. But then Gryffindor is right beneath it, because it is just word-based. Slytherin, it is a password, I think, too, usually a racist one – like “Mudblood” when they use it – but Slytherin, at least, has the benefit of being down in the dungeons. I think that all dungeons kind of look alike; I would have a little bit of difficulty trying to find and suss out what wall to say a racist word to, so that would be difficult. But Gryffindor tower, I think it’s probably pretty jewel-encrusted with an easy path. Everyone knows where the entrance to Gryffindor is, so I would say Gryffindor does have a really super weak whole system.

Pat: I do think it’s kind of, granted, a lazy system in a way as well. One, I don’t think Gryffindors really want to think too hard about when they want to just go study or go to bed, whatever. But also, at the same time, I mean, it worked throughout the entire prohibition for speakeasies. They had passwords to get in, so if it worked for them for how long…

Laura: Fair.

Andrew: I’m looking at a list of known passwords used to enter the Gryffindor common room. We should have made a game out of this, but we didn’t think of it, so instead I’ll just read some of them off: Banana Fritters, Fairy Lights, Abstinence…

Eric: [laughs] That’s the best one.

Andrew: Yeah, like, what’s up with that one? What’s the context there?

Micah: That’s got to be in Half-Blood Prince.

Eric: Isn’t it when everyone’s snogging?

Andrew: That was Half-Blood Prince, yeah. Of course, Mimbulus Mimbletonia, the only one that Neville could remember. Pig Snout, Scurvy Cur, Tapeworm, Wattlebird, amongst others, some of which I can’t pronounce. Flibbertigibbet, Balderdash… random indeed. I just think… I like the idea that was brought up a few minutes ago: Every portrait should just be in charge of knowing who belongs in the House and who doesn’t, who’s in that House and who isn’t. That simple. Hogwarts is quirky, I get it, so that’s why they each have these different systems, but man, it could be so much simpler. Sometimes things are just too complicated at Hogwarts. Complication nightmare, am I right?

Eric: You’re right.

Micah: Or a key.

Andrew: Or a key, sure.

Eric: Oh, yeah! Like, it can’t be duplicated by anybody other than Professor McGonagall type key?

Micah: There you go.

Andrew: Give ’em a key. Or in the case of Gryffindors’ House, make them display an act of courage in some form. I don’t know.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Every time?

Andrew: Every time.

Pat: And just think, because you need to be courageous, stealing it from Book 6, like when the blood on the wall of a cave. If they had to prick their thumb and touch a spot on the wall every time or something.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: They all have to lick the same brick on the wall because it’s brave that they won’t catch something.

Andrew: Eugh!

Eric: Or some kind of germ feature type to it.

[Pat laughs]

Micah: Oh, man.

Andrew: COVID nightmare. To wrap this up, we have some notable Gryffindors to run through.

Eric: We tend to know a lot about these Gryffindors already because Gryffindors are the heroes and the main characters in Harry Potter. But worth just noting Godric Gryffindor himself, of course, one of the four founders. He was apparently, according to, a truly exceptional wizard; he was also the most accomplished dueler. And we know that he left behind not only his sword, but the hat that he had itself, as heirlooms that would become very important to Harry and many generations of Hogwarts students. I’ve got to say, it always seemed like a hat that would have the ability to look inside your head and Sort always seemed more like a Ravenclaw trait to me. I’m surprised that the Sorting Hat wasn’t Ravenclaw’s originally.

Pat: Well, wasn’t he just wearing the hat, though, and he plucked it off, and they all made it speak and everything?

Eric: Oh, that’s a good point. Yes.

Laura: Plus, if it had been Ravenclaw, it would have been the Sorting Tiara.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Pat: Ah, that would’ve been way better.

Eric: I’m a fan of that! [laughs]

Pat: The little jewel in the middle has a mouth that talks.

Laura: Yep.

[Laura and Pat laugh]

Eric: Yeah, you’re Sorted into House Genevia. You can go now.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Of course, we also have Albus Dumbledore we talked about. Now, Dumbledore is very brave, but he gets into murky territory when he’s talking about the ambition of subjugating for the greater good, all the stuff with Grindelwald, thinking that wizards should be superior and could somehow take by force. I know he’s disillusioned of this, but he remains a figure who ultimately way manipulates people for the greater good. He still lies and cheats and holds the truth from people who probably deserve to hear the truth, because he ultimately believes that he is a righteous knight, an avenging angel against what is impure in the world.

Andrew: Beautiful. Put that on his headstone.

[Pat laughs]

Eric: I mean, I think Dumbledore… are we surprised that he was a Gryffindor? Because he could have also been, I think, Slytherin.

Laura: Oh, I think that point got brought up on our Slytherin episode. We were like, “Why was Dumbledore a Gryffindor again?”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Or Ravenclaw.

Andrew: To be in the same House as Harry.

Pat: Yeah. Until this discussion, I’ve never associated Dumbledore with a House ever, really. He’s just always kind of been a culmination of all of them, I think. I think of most characters, he is a little bit of every single one equally in my mind, at least, so I never… I don’t know why I never associated or thought, “Oh, what House was Dumbledore in?” It just never occurred to me.

Eric: I know what you mean. It could have been cool… J.K. Rowling could have invented it where, because Albus is older than everybody else – he’s 150 – she could have made it where there weren’t any Houses when he was at Hogwarts, right? And have the Sorting Hat be only something that came after his time, so he literally would have been in all Houses, or omni-Houses, and then they switched to a different system.

Andrew: I’d love that.

Eric: So she could have gotten out of having to place him there.

Andrew: I just wish the Sorting Hat put him in all four Houses.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Or at least deemed him a Hatstall. That would have been cool too.

Eric and Micah: Yeah.

Eric: “You can just do independent study. Whatever you want, sir.”

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: It’s interesting, too, that you said… when you were kind of going off there, you mentioned knight, and one of his middle names, Percival, is actually a knight from Arthurian legend, so probably not by accident that J.K. Rowling gave him that middle name.

Eric: Ohh. That’s why the Sorting Hat put him there. He’s like, “Oh, finally, something to go off of. Chivalry! Knight! Percival, got it.” Well, we also have Minerva McGonagall. And we all love McGonagall, but as Head of Gryffindor House, what traits of a Gryffindor do we think that McGonagall exemplifies?

Pat: I think becoming an Animagus, because can you imagine if that does go wrong? How hard it is to perfect that? That’s a brave thing to even endure learning to be able to do.

Andrew: And I want to also observe that Minerva actually was a Hatstall, and the Hat was debating between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.

Eric: Yeah. The way that she stands up to Umbridge comes out, stands out to me. Definitely huge bravery there. Huge cojones.

Laura: I’m going to say honor, because she doesn’t take BS off anyone, including her own students.

Pat: Very true.

Laura: So she’ll be the first one to step up and let them know, “Hey, I think you messed up.”

Pat: And I think out of… besides Snape, she’s probably the one that takes away House points from Gryffindor the most.

Eric: That’s a good one. So also, we have Hagrid in Gryffindor House, and he was only allowed to study for about three years, but when he did, he was a Gryffindor. What do we think that says about Hagrid’s character, that he was a Gryffindor specifically?

Pat: I really do think it fits. I mean, yes, he can be kind of buffoonish once in a while, but he really always stands up for the people he cares about, no matter what. Even in… I mean, yes, he has his moments, like in Book 4 when he’s outed, basically, but he still stands up for everybody else around him once he gets over his feelings.

Andrew: He’s very loyal to Dumbledore and he believes Dumbledore through and through, so there’s the conviction as well.

Eric: Okay, we also have Neville. We talked about Neville being very honor-bound and like a knight and defending his own House, even among friends.

Laura: He was also the other Chosen One, right? That speaks for itself.

Eric: Yeah. So Voldemort, if you’re going to go up against two potential babies, they’re both going to be in the House that’s opposite the House that you were.

Laura: Right. And red and green are opposites on the color wheel, right?

Eric: Oh, yeah, they are! Love that.

Pat: I don’t know; I’m colorblind.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Are you red/green colorblind?

Andrew: Womp-womp.

Micah: Yeah, and I would say, too, just… we talked on other episodes about how Neville has his glow-up during Order of the Phoenix – everything that he does inside of the Ministry, facing down Bellatrix – and then ultimately even facing down Voldemort in Deathly Hallows, right? He’s the ringleader back at Hogwarts for Dumbledore’s Army when the trio aren’t there. So I would say he probably has the biggest arc of any character in Harry’s year, outside of maybe Harry himself.

Pat: How many does he ask to the Yule Ball?

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Yep, gotta get him that.

Pat: All of that too. He’s just very… and that takes a lot of guts, too, when you’re what, 14?

Eric: Yeah!

Andrew: Oh, yeah. It’s one of the hardest things you do at that age.

Eric: [laughs] Yeah, pretty much. And then two others here, two other Gryffindors of note: We have Celestina Warbeck, who… that actually shocks me.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: But it takes a lot… and not for any particular reason. I just, she could be in any… you could tell me she were a Slytherin, you could tell me she were Hufflepuff, and I’d be like, “Oh, that’s interesting.”

Andrew: Right.

Eric: But as a Gryffindor, I would just say, probably you need to be bold. You need to be brave to try and make it in the cutthroat industry of entertainment, arts and entertainment, and you need to be persistent – sometimes bullheaded – to get your record out there and have these record execs listen to your demo. You’ve got to do it.

Andrew: And to not have stage fright. That takes a lot of courage to get up there and perform live in front of audiences at Universal Orlando every day.

[Pat laughs]

Eric: Yep. And as a thought experiment here, do we think anything of Peter Pettigrew? What do we make of him being in Gryffindor? This is the one that I think least fits, not because he betrays his fellow friends, but because a lot of his character arc is marked by cowardice. And that is called out multiple times, not just by his Marauder friends, but by Voldemort. What Voldemort cannot get by with Pettigrew is his cowardice. Even when he acts to betray his friends, it’s because he’s specifically not being brave. So why is he a Gryffindor?

Laura: I think this boils down to choice. Pettigrew probably had the qualities to make him a Gryffindor, but he chose not to live up to them. It’s similar to what, Eric, you and Pat were both saying at the top of the episode. You both made the conscious choice about selecting the kinds of values that you wanted your House to represent in yourself, and at some point, Pettigrew made a choice. Not the right one.

Pat: Yeah. And I mean, he very well could have been like Harry. Maybe the Hat was debating between two, and he chose. He asked to be in Gryffindor, maybe.

Andrew: The Hat did. The Hat was also thinking about putting them in Slytherin.

Eric: If it is about wanting to surround yourself with everyone who’s stronger than you, I can see why Peter would absolutely want to go to Gryffindor.

Andrew: Also, this from the author: “The Sorting Hat, which is infamously stubborn, still refuses to accept that its decision in the case of the latter,” in the case of Peter Pettigrew, “may have been erroneous, citing the manner in which Pettigrew died as (dubious) evidence.”

Eric: I don’t really know what any of those words mean.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Because he made good on his promise? Or I guess it’s not a promise.

Eric: He didn’t have a choice on that, right? His hand…

Micah: Harry saved his life, yeah.

Eric: He hesitated.

Micah: Yeah, well, I think a part of that was due to the fact that it was magic that Voldemort had used to create his hand, and so effectively, he was going against his master’s wish, and so he had to. Yeah, I mean, I know I saw some feedback on I think it was the last episode when we were talking about certain characters that don’t really fit with their Houses, and Pettigrew was used as an example. But I said that maybe there is a bit of courage, a bit of bravery that comes with betraying your friends. I know it’s seen as sort of this pure cowardly action, but I don’t know. I feel like there has to be something in him – maybe it’s the nerve or the daring – that allowed him to do what he did. Maybe it’s not real courage in the truest sense of the word, but I don’t know. I’m not willing to completely write him off as a Gryffindor. We don’t get a whole lot about him from the time with the Marauders, just because he’s always kind of seen as that person on the side that nobody really pays a whole lot of attention to. But maybe we Sort too soon.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I think what it is is economy of storytelling. I think they could have made it where Peter Pettigrew was one of the Marauders, they could have made it where he was one of their core four, all this other stuff, but he could have been from Slytherin. He could have been from Ravenclaw. He could have been from Hufflepuff. I just think all the other Houses fit Peter better, but because in the Harry Potter books, Houses don’t really mingle with one another, no matter how much you try, they really just don’t hang out. I think for that reason alone, Peter had to be a Gryffindor like the rest of them.

Micah: Right, I’m just saying that inevitably, there are going to be bad seeds in every House, right? You can’t get away from that. If we were to say, before we had the information, “Oh, by the way, Lockhart was a Ravenclaw,” what would our reaction be? “No, he would have had to be in Slytherin, because that’s the House where all the evil wizards are,” right? But I mean, we pretty much talked through Lockhart using the cunningness and intellect of Ravenclaw House to his advantage, and I think maybe Pettigrew did a bit of that himself.

Laura: That’s a great point.

Andrew: Well, on that note, I want to revisit this question from last week: Is there anything else we need to address to maybe take Gryffindors’ heads out of the clouds? Like Pat’s?

[Eric and Pat laugh]

Micah: Dumbledore. That’s all you’ve got to say.

Andrew: [laughs] A flawed man indeed.

Pat: I fully believe that after Slytherins, Gryffindors would be the next House to use Dark magic and to successfully use an Unforgivable Curse purely because of their conviction, like when you see in Book 5, when Bellatrix is like, “Oh, you really have to feel it,” and Harry does use it on her, and it works the next time.

[Eric laughs]

Pat: So I just think that there is that next step, that with the courage and the bravery, I do think that they would be the next ones to do it. And you see that in Snape’s memories, too, where they use the spells that they invent – or not invent – but they use the spells on other people to play pranks on them, and it usually just makes a fool of the other person. Not necessarily meaning that that’s Dark magic. But I could 100% see a Gryffindor make their own form of a Horcrux that doesn’t involve killing somebody. If there’s some other way to do it, I think a Gryffindor would do it.

Eric: Yeah, that’s an amazing point about Dark magic and Unforgivable Curses. They would do it just on a dare. And to that point, I would say for Gryffindors, just try and think before you act; try and consider the options. It doesn’t need to come to fists all the time. And here’s the thing: If you get into a wizard duel, there’s going to be a loser of that duel. Duels do not end in ties. And for the sheer fact that you cannot have more than a 50% real chance of winning a duel, don’t duel everything. Don’t make everything down to a duel. Just think, just consider, talk it out, deescalate, and there are other ways to solve things.

Pat: That’s my issue. I get in trouble so many times at work because my mouth just goes off and I say exactly what comes to my head instead of thinking about it, and then my boss is like, “Okay, next time, sit back, write your passionate email, set it aside for an hour, and then come back to it.”

[Eric laughs]

Laura: That’s a great strategy.

Micah: See, this is where you need Ravenclaws to give you multiple options, to your point, Pat and Eric. Having alternate options. And I think we see the decisions made a lot of times by Gryffindor with them not taking recklessness into account, especially… the best example I could think of that is going to the Ministry to try and rescue a Sirius Black who’s not there, and a lot of the driving factor there for Harry… of course he cares about Sirius, but I don’t think he fully appreciates and thinks through the situation. It’s actually another Gryffindor in Hermione who’s trying to convince him, “Hey, why don’t you consider the alternatives here?” And I think that if he had, it would have been a much different outcome.

Laura: I think that if I were a Gryffindor, I would aspire to be a Neville Gryffindor, someone who is true to his values all the time and doesn’t go… he doesn’t blow with the prevailing wind, right? He sticks up for what he believes in, even when he knows he’s wrong and finds himself singled out. I mean, think about in Book 3 when McGonagall demands to know who left their list of passwords laying around. He admits it. He admits it in front of all of his peers because he’s honest and true, and I think that is what I would aspire to be if I were a Gryffindor.

Andrew: The only thing I would… I don’t have anything to add, other than to reiterate I think there is a chip on Gryffindors’ shoulders across fandom and in the books as well, and we’ve presented a little bit of evidence around that today. So that’s my one critique. They can stop thinking they’re the best House.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: And I do think we should just shout out the House ghost, Nearly Headless Nick, because we’ve done it for every other House that we’ve discussed, and he may be by far the coolest of any of the four.

Andrew: [imitating Hermione]Nearly Headless?”

Eric: [laughs] I think he’s great. He’s a ghost who… he’s not sure; that’s the thing. If he were the most cavalier ghost, there’d be issues, but I think he’s a soft Gryffindor himself.

Andrew: Well, if you have any feedback about today’s discussion, you can contact us by writing or sending a voice message to, and for the latter, just record a message using the Voice Memo app on your phone. You can also use the contact form on or you can leave a voicemail on our phone. The number is 1-920-3-MUGGLE; that’s 1-920-368-4453. Next week’s episode is a Muggle Mail episode, so get your feedback in ASAP, and we’ll catch up on some feedback next week. I think we’re also going to touch on Sorcerer’s Stone the film a little bit because the 20th anniversary of that movie is quickly approaching.

Laura: Wild.

Pat: I was in sixth grade.

Laura: Me too!

Eric: I was in eighth.


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

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s question – Ravenclaw themed – was on which floor at Hogwarts can you find the staircase that leads directly to the door to Ravenclaw’s common room? And this is in a scene from when they’re trying to get to the diadem in Book 7. The correct answer is the fifth floor; Luna leads Harry up to the fifth floor, where they find the spiral staircase. Correct answers were submitted by S. Ram; The Dark Bort; Pius Thicknesse is back; Countess Bucatini; Would Micah date a Hufflepuff?…

Laura: Oooh.

Eric: … Micah Choo-Choo is godly; Fanfiction is cool; HufflepuffDes744; MustBeAWeasley922; BlueSnake88; Andrew, you should be a pop star…

Andrew: I know.

Eric: … Natasha, your fave local Hufflepuff; and I answered this question before listening to the episode, as somebody submitted as their name? Micah, what do you think?

Micah: Choo-choo.

[Andrew and Pat laugh]

Micah: Of course.

Andrew: That’s his pickup line.

Laura: Full steam ahead you would date a Hufflepuff?

Andrew: [laughs] Full steam ahead.

Micah: Well done, Laura. Well done.

Pat: That was good. That was real good.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: All right, Hufflepuffs. You heard him.

Eric: That would win. And here we go for a Gryffindor-themed Quizzitch question: The Sorting Hat tells us that Hufflepuff came from valley broad, Slytherin from fen, and Ravenclaw from glen, but from where did Godric hail?

Micah: Hollow.

Eric: Submit your answers to us on the MuggleCast website, also located at

Andrew: Coming up on bonus MuggleCast this week, we’re discussing the movies and TV shows HBO Max thinks each Hogwarts House should be watching on their platform. Did they make the right choices? We’re going to look at it and tell you. This and many more bonus MuggleCast installments are available at; so much to check out on our Patreon. And your support goes to running the show, growing the show, and spending more time on the show, and it just makes us feel good that we receive your support, so thank you very much. Also, don’t forget to follow us on social media. Our username is @MuggleCast on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Pat, thanks for joining us today. You are a true Gryffindor, as we learned today.

Pat: Yesss.

Andrew: And we’ll see everybody for next week’s episode. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Pat: And I’m Pat.

Everyone: Bye.