Transcript #576


MuggleCast 576 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #576, How Are Spells Created? Discussing the Physics of Harry Potter

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: I’m Laura.

Andrew: And this week, as we gear up for Back to Hogwarts season, we’ll be discussing the physics of Harry Potter and seeing where we can fill in the gaps of how the wizarding world works.

Laura: And to facilitate that discussion, we are actually joined today by my boyfriend, Marc. Welcome to the show, Marc. I don’t think you’ve been on MuggleCast yet.

Marc: I have not, I have not. Hello, everyone.

Eric: Hey.

Andrew: Making his MuggleCast debut.

Laura: I know. Thank you for joining us.

Marc: Where’s my movie trailer at?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Movie trailer at?

Laura: He expected a movie trailer for his intro to the show. [laughs] Well, I thought we could start out like we do with all of our guests by just getting your fandom ID.

Marc: Let’s see, my House is Slytherin. My favorite book, I’d have to say, is Chamber of Secrets because ironically enough, that was the first one I read. My mom gave me that one.

Andrew: Did she know that was not the first one?

Marc: She had no idea at all.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: You must have been so confused.

Andrew: Here’s the start of this Harry Potter series, the Chamber of Secrets.

Marc: The whole time I was like, “Who are these people?”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: “This is terribly written. Nobody’s introduced properly.”

Marc: Yeah, there’s no character development whatsoever, there’s no intros, so I was very confused.

Andrew: That’s funny.

Marc: I really like Deathly Hallows – Part 1.

Andrew: Was that the first movie you saw? Your mom was like, “This is the first Harry Potter movie. Sorry I screwed up the books.”

[Everyone laughs]

Marc: That would be hilarious. “Here you go. Spoilers, I guess.” My Patronus is an eagle, which is kind of interesting. That I’m a Slytherin with an eagle Patronus is kind of weird. But who am I to argue?

Laura: And what would you say is your favorite magical object?

Marc: Just because of how many interesting conversations it brings up, probably the Time-Turner. Not because of the consistency of it, but just because there’s a lot of fun conversations that come from it. And I’m a sucker for time travel.

Laura: Awesome. Well, getting into things, you are a programmer and a game designer. Just to get a little bit of background, what types of games have you developed?

Marc: I’m a huge horror fan, huge fighting game fan. I just graduated recently, so there’s a bunch of games I developed in school projects, one of which was a medieval fighting game. I made a card game that was pretty fun that was on mobile. And yeah, I mean, my main thing is I just really like messing with the physics engine. It was so interesting to see how many things the physics engine actually handles when you’re designing a game, like something as simple as gravity that people take for granted all the time is a huge issue when you’re coding stuff. If you want your character to move a couple units to the right and gravity is not included, it’s going to just go haywire. I remember the first time I tried to write a jump script and I didn’t put gravity in, and my character jumped and just didn’t stop.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Just kept going?

Andrew: He was flying, basically.

Marc: Yeah, literally, he jumped in the air and then just was like, “All right, bye, my people need me,” and I’ve never… that was it.

[Everyone laughs]

Marc: I had to close the app and open it again.

Laura: Speaking of video games, we have some Hogwarts Legacy stuff to talk about here in a few minutes. But we’re obviously all excited for Hogwarts Legacy; you and I have spent a lot of time talking about it. What are your thoughts based on the trailer so far?

Marc: I think that it looks very interesting. I think it’s very ambitious, which excites and scares me, because it’s really hard to pull off a lot of those things well. I can only think of a handful of games that have an open world that big, with a main story, with a bunch of side missions, with a almost Pokemon animal collector aspect that you can store in your own custom space, kind of like Animal Crossing, but then you can actually battle with them… like, it is a lot. That is a lot going on there. So if they nail it, it’s going to be great. If they don’t… I mean, even if they fall short, even if the magical beast aspect isn’t great, everything else is great, then awesome. And also, one thing that I’m super excited for is that combat looks amazing. When I imagined combat when I was reading the book, that’s what I pictured, just a bunch of random stuff happening.

Andrew: Combat and spellwork, I think, is something that’s always been a little “Eh” in the Harry Potter video games so far, so if they nail the spellwork… especially because that’s one of the things we all really want, right? A fun duel, a duel that feels natural through a game controller. If they nail all that, it’s going to be really incredible.

Eric: I just want my character to go around shouting “Flipendo!”

Laura: Oh my gosh.

Marc: Honestly, that’d be a great Easter egg.

Laura: That is a deep cut. [laughs]

Andrew: Quick news item before we get to our main discussion today: There’s an update about Hogwarts Legacy. Preorders are now open. They opened up preorders this past week, and there was a creepy new trailer. We mentioned the Dark Arts a couple of minutes ago; the trailer was Dark Arts-themed. It looked pretty cool. The story details were still scant; we don’t really know much about what this storyline is. But I just wanted to run through the pricing. So we knew this already, the game is going to be $69.99. This is for the standard edition of the game. This is what new Triple A titles are typically priced at these days. There is a deluxe edition that’s going to be $79.99, and this is going to come with a couple of extra digital benefits like a Thestral mount, you’re going to get a Dark Arts cosmetics set, you’re going to get a Dark Arts battle arena, so it looks like you’ll just be able to fight for funsies. That’s pretty cool. You’re also going to get 72 hours early access to the game. This is probably what’s going to make me sign up for the deluxe edition, though I have to say, it feels like you’re paying extra to be a beta tester for them.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Because while they are testing the game plenty right now, they’re going to be fixing most bugs after it gets into the hands of many more people. So pay extra and then you can be a little test rat for them. Great! And then you’ll also get a hippogriff mount and Felix Felicis potion recipe, which I assume would help you in battle. And then there’s a Collector’s Edition – is everybody sitting down? – $300 for the Collector’s Edition; you get all of the above, plus a life-size, real floating ancient magic wand with a book base. And it floats, I guess, with using the magic of magnets, I assume. So that’s cool. And then you get a steel case and you get a kelpie robe in-game as well. I’m not buying the Collector’s Edition. [laughs] I have my MuggleCast wand; that’s enough for me. I don’t need a floating ancient magic wand.

Marc: Is the robe in-game?

Andrew: Yes.

Marc: Because if it was an actual robe you can wear, I could kind of see it.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, no real robe, sorry. You can go to the Wizarding World theme park and spend like, $500 on a robe if you would like one.

Main Discussion: The Physics of Harry Potter

Andrew: So let’s move into our main discussion now. Laura, do you want to kick things off?

Laura: Yeah, so I thought we could just quickly, Marc, talk about why do we have so many conversations about the intersection of physics and Harry Potter?

Marc: [laughs] There’s a lot of times when you’re explaining something to me in the Harry Potter universe, or we’re going over something or we just have a random thought, and just because of how my mind works, I try to be like, “Okay, how did that happen?” And there’s not typically a pretty clear explanation for it. And again, as I said, I’m not a physicist. I read a lot of comics, and a lot of comics have some kind of loose, like, “This is how the speed force works in Flash.” Even though it’s completely fantasy, there’s still some kind of thing you can extrapolate off of. Or like, “These are the Infinity Stones; this is what they do,” right? “And this is how they do what they do for the most part.” But a lot of that is open to interpretation in Harry Potter. And magic is huge because there is not magic, really – spoilers – so you can’t really use our rules to be like, “Oh, obviously, because of Newton’s so-and-so law, this spell works like this.” You can’t really do that. So looking for those explanations are where we have a lot of those conversations because it’s like, “Okay, this dragon can breathe fire. How can it breathe fire? Is there a mechanism in the back of its throat that two pieces of flint click together, and then they have a gas thing, and then it ignites like a flamethrower? Is there a room there? Or is it a spell they’re just inherently born with?” All that stuff, which is pretty fun to talk about.

Laura: Yeah. And of course, there’s no established law of physics in the Harry Potter world, and because it oftentimes is grounded in the Muggle world, we can only assume that it’s the law of physics that we know and understand or at least interact with every day just by existing. So part of the conversation that we’re going to have today is trying to use the laws of physics as we understand them to explain how some of these things might be working. But again, we’re obviously asking these questions for fun, but I think Marc and I would also argue that exploring Harry Potter through this lens further enriches the text because it just gives us a deeper sense of understanding and more opportunity for literary analysis.

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. But just to set the table here, when we say physics, what exactly are we talking about, Laura? I think we should give an explanation for the 9-year-olds listening to the pod and those of us who haven’t been in a science class in a while.

Micah: For me. I need an explanation.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, or those of us who got probably a C or D in science.

Micah: I never took physics, so…

Andrew: Oh, neither did I. [laughs]

Laura: Hey, me neither.

Eric: But have you ever read the book in your video back screen, Micah, the Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking?

Micah: I have not.

Eric: It’s excellent, because he does a really good job of explaining really wonderful space concepts to a layperson. It’s good stuff.

Laura: Well, I’m going to do my best here to explain this. Marc, please keep me honest, because there are probably some 9-year-olds listening to this who have a better understanding of physics than I do, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: So physics is the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy, and the subject matter of physics includes mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms. We obviously will not be getting into all of these aspects today, and we’re specifically going to be looking at things like mechanics, mass, and light to try and explain how, from a physics standpoint, these things could work in the wizarding world. Did I get that right, Marc? Is there anything you would add?

Marc: Oh, no. I mean, just if you’re doing it in a sentence explanation, it’d be just the study of the things that make up the universe. So all of these things are a component of the universe as it exists. So yeah, I mean, that’s pretty much spot on. So basically, if you were looking at a crate full of Legos, and that’s our universe, it would be examining each type of Lego, what are the rules for that Lego, how does that Lego function…

Andrew: You would make a Lego analogy here, and I respect it.

[Laura and Marc laugh]

Laura: Thank you for explaining that. See, Marc’s tool is that he actually understands this. My tool was going to Google.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: When I saw that question in the doc, I was like, “”

Eric: Both very valid tools.

Marc: I wouldn’t have graduated without Google, so…

Laura: Fair.

Marc: One of my most valuable professors.

Andrew: [laughs] 9-year-olds, maybe don’t listen to that. Don’t repeat that one to your parents.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: All right, so we’ve got three topics to look at today. The first one we’re going to look at is the cost of doing magic, and the core question of this is where does the energy to do magic come from and how does it work? Marc, can you talk about some of the reasons why we have this question?

Marc: Yeah, so usually, they talk about it’s in their blood, right? Which, doing magic, and especially some of the spells they do that literally break the laws of physics, just completely shatter them. There would have to be some kind of guideline, some kind of rule to dictate that. Is there a recharge rate for stuff? Do wizards have magic stamina? Is there a mana system like in a game when you do things and you have a resource bar, like a MP bar or whatever, and it goes down the more you do things, and then after time, it slowly builds itself back up? We never really get a clear understanding of how that works. I mean, is the magic being pulled from their environment? Is it being pulled from them themselves? When they said that it’s in their blood, does it mean that it is literally something in their bloodstream? If you gave a wizard a blood transfusion, would they not have that magic anymore? Right? Is it a lineage thing?

Eric: Well, the only time I can think of Harry, for instance, being exhausted after doing spells is the harder spells like the Patronus Charm. That’s where you see him really depleted, like his energy has gone down. But that also, we’re told, is because he has to sort through his emotions, right? So he’s hearing his mother scream, and it’s very draining, but not strictly from his magical reservoir, if you will. It also seems to be because the spell involves a lot of concentration. Same with Legilimency, and same with the Accio summoning spell.

Andrew: I would also argue the Patronus spell is probably more emotionally exhausting, so when we see that exhaustion that you’re describing, Eric, it was just kind of emotional.

Eric: So does Harry then have a limitless supply of magic? Do all wizards have just the ability to keep going?

Micah: Yeah. He’s also doing it at a much younger age, too, so I wonder if he would expend less energy as he gets older, and how does age play into it too?

Laura: Yeah, that’s a great question.

Marc: That’s a good point. I mean, you could make the argument that it is purely emotional-based, right? Because as you mature, you get more understanding or control over your emotions and how you work. Usually, not always. But maybe that emotional maturity can be why some wizards can do more challenging spells. But if it’s literally just limitless, like everybody can just do whatever spell they want, the only thing stopping people is their imagination and their emotional capacity, I guess, which, that still is real vague, because at that point, why are some wizards naturally stronger than others, right? Does it mean that all wizards that are stronger than other wizards are just more emotionally adept?

Eric: Well, if you look at somebody like Snape… so the Patronus Charm says you need a happy memory; you need something very happy. But we see Snape conjure a Patronus in moments of great distress, almost, but he’s so calm and collected that he probably has a little nugget of a happy thought. Whatever it is, doesn’t matter what it is, he doesn’t even think of it. He doesn’t have to become happy in order to conjure a Patronus because he’s got that locked in. He can just tap into it like that no matter what. In the middle of battle, he could conjure a Patronus, whereas somebody like Harry in year three has to really concentrate on something happy, fight the negative thoughts that are coming into his head at all angles. So I just see that as an act of… it’s maturity. It’s exactly like you’re saying, though; self-control, and as you get older, your ability to do two things at once, in a way. Even though that’s been disproven; we can’t multitask. But I think that if anybody could, Snape could.

Laura: It is interesting, because we know the Patronus is advanced magic. We know this from the fact that adults are constantly surprised that Harry can do it at such a young age.

Eric: And a full one.

Laura: Yeah, I mean, remember when he’s doing his OWLs, one of the practitioners is like, “Hey, for some extra points, can you do your Patronus?”

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Because they were just so impressed by it. On the other hand, too, in Order of the Phoenix when Dumbledore’s Army is learning how to cast Patronuses in the Room of Requirement, people are really struggling with it. Which makes sense, but then is the argument if you have to have a level of emotional maturity to even be able to broach the topic, does that then suggest that everyone in the Room of Requirement has the right level of emotional maturity to be able to do this? That’s what makes it so unknowable. It’s so ambiguous.

Marc: And that’s the kind of question that we would dig into, because it’s like, okay, if there is no physical or biological or whatever actual limiter, it would make sense why wizards and witches just use magic for mundane stuff, things they could have easily done without magic, because if you don’t have a reservoir and you don’t have an active balance that’s always going down, you don’t have to worry about it. You can basically just use it however you want. But if there is some kind of limit, like even with the Patronus, which was a great example… and linking it to emotions makes sense because the Patronus is the antithesis of a Dementor, right? So the fact that the Dementor’s whole thing is it sucks happiness from you, you beat it by giving it a bunch of pure, pure happiness, right? So that happiness is still coming out of you, regardless of whether the Dementor sucking it out of you or you’re just blasting it with it.

Eric: Oh, so it’s a math equation.

Marc: So maybe it’s like, if all things being equal, you doing a Patronus puts you in the same or a relative state to you getting that happiness forcibly taken out of you, because you still have to experience it, right?

Eric: That is nuts. And I love that… well, the Patronus is not a force of light. I mean, it is in a way, but remember, the way that it’s described by Lupin is that it’s a neutral. It’s a shield. It’s basically just a force that the Dementor can’t get anything from. So it’s conjured, you’re depleted of your happy memory when you send it out, although you get to keep the memory, but it does drain you in that way. But to the Dementor, it’s just a barrier. It’s just a buffer. It’s not necessarily like it’s sending happy vibes at the Dementor; it’s just the Dementor can’t penetrate it right there. There’s something lost in the creation of the Patronus in that the Patronus doesn’t then be some kind of force for happiness or good. It doesn’t feed the Dementor.

Marc: Yeah. And also, it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to be like, Dementors just can’t understand something like that, right? Because if they’re beings of darkness that take happiness… I would even posit that they’re not really taking it because they want happiness; it’s just what they feed off of. But I don’t think a Dementor is capable of actually experiencing happiness, so it could just be like, “I don’t know what… this is freaking me out,” and then they just dip.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah, well, if you want to get into really high level, the stuff that has been hinted… that’s what I like about the wizarding world, is it seems like the author largely doesn’t want to explain it, but occasionally, you’ll get a really weird excerpt and it’s just like, in the middle of nowhere, there’s an answer for something or a potential answer for something. It’s like when Hermione brings up Gamp’s Law; it’s like, “Oh, wait, if that exists in universe, then some wizard somewhere has really actually tried to understand the world around them and was leagues above everyone else that’s just doing magic for mundane tasks.” But the thing that I’m thinking of now, because we’re talking about Dementors, is the suggestion that they might have been created by a wizard.

Laura: Oh, that’s interesting.

Eric: His name is like, something “the Awful.” He founded Azkaban or something, and they think that he might have created the first Dementor. But if you think about the level of magic needed to do that, and the fact that the Dementors are probably breeding and capable of breeding to actually create something that is so anti-force for good, would require a huge knowledge of magic that we just don’t see anyone, really, short of Dumbledore Voldemort performing.

Laura: I think we’ve established that we know for a fact that there are certain aspects of magic that do sap the caster of energy, right? We know it’s true of the Patronus. We know that with Unforgivable Curses, you have to mean it, so that implies that there is some transferal of energy that allows those spells to function at their highest level. So my thought here is maybe most day-to-day spells don’t cost very much. Maybe that’s what this means. There’s only a special set of spells that actually deplete your energy, cost you something, and then require you to either rest or eat chocolate, for example – we see in Book 3 – to be able to regain your energy.

Andrew: Right, because it’s like, what are you doing? If you’re making a feather float, that’s not going to cost a lot of energy because it’s a very simple task. If you’re trying to push Dementors away from you, that’s emotionally, physically exhausting. It’s like if you’re at the gym and you’re picking up a 5-lb. weight or a 50-lb. weight; one of them is going to take more energy than the other. I do think that all spells should absolutely cost something; it doesn’t seem fair that wizards can just do whatever spells they want and there’s no depletion there. On the other hand, I do not want this in the video game, because most people agree that weapon breakdowns in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are very… frustrating.

Laura: Stressful?

Marc: Yes.

Andrew: The Master Sword too. That loses energy. Screw that. [laughs]

Marc: Yeah, that wasn’t great. But also, I mean, even if it’s not… I would be fine if there’s just a stamina bar, right? Because that incentivizes you to level up. If there’s a bar where it’s like, you can do ten little spells or three big spells before your energy needs to recharge, at least then it’s like, “Okay, you’re at Level 25 now; now you have 80 extra magic points,” or whatever. So that would help you scale throughout the game versus you start the game pretty much being able to spam a bunch of spells, because you’re right, 50 lbs. versus 5 lbs. is a huge difference. But if you’re lifting 50 lbs. once versus 5 lbs. 200 times…

Andrew: Ooh, yeah.

Marc: … that’s still going to be… there’s no way you could do that, right?

Andrew: Well, I can, but yeah.

Marc: Oh, of course, of course.

[Laura laughs]

Marc: But for mere mortals, you can’t do stuff like that. So that’s where we have this conversation a lot, because if literally the only thing stopping these kids… a whole school full of kids practicing magic, there should be spells going off everywhere, constantly, at all times. Because if you give a kid a new toy, you hear that all the time, right? You give a kid a toy that makes any kind of noise… or I mean, look at kids nowadays with tablets. They’re on that thing all the time. So if you told the kid, “Hey, by the way, you can do magic now; this is a safe place to do magic,” and it doesn’t cost anything, there’s no way that they can exhaust themselves unless they’re whipping out the big guns, yeah, there should be… if it’s just imagination – and who has a better imagination than kids? So these kids should be pumping out some of the most ridiculous spells anybody’s ever seen, because adults’ imaginations, nothing compared to a kid.

Laura: And I think on that note, it’s really interesting to think about how are spells created? Where do they come from? Are they discovered? It seems like that might be part of this. And I think a really good example to look at here is Lockhart; he is obviously not an example of a great wizard, but he is an adult who manages to mess up magic a lot, and he does inadvertent things like removing the bones in Harry’s arm instead of healing it. So if a full-grown adult is making these kinds of mistakes, you have to imagine there are a ton of hijinks going on offscreen at Hogwarts that we just don’t see.

Marc: Oh, yeah, absolutely. And honestly, this is one of my biggest questions, really, because can you imagine…? Especially with how many just casual wizard duels there are around the school… in fact, there’s a class where you have to do it, right? Can you imagine how terrifying it would be? Because they’ve already established that you can have inadvertent effects if you mess up a spell, and they’ve already proven that wizards can make new spells. Like, Snape created a spell, right? So imagine how many spells witches and wizards have that they just keep in their back pocket. Imagine Lockhart, right? Imagine if he did that and he removed the bones but it was somebody who didn’t tell anybody and no one saw it, and Lockhart is about to duel somebody, and it’s like, “Oh, Voldemort, did you make a giant water snake? That’s cool, I guess. Your bones are gone. The fight’s over. That’s it.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Marc: He’s a puddle of muscle and skin on the ground, trying to hiss very, very pitifully. That’s it. It’s a wrap. Can you imagine? And that’s just one example of getting one thing wrong; that’s pretty simple. Can you imagine? It’s like, “All right, you tried to use Lumos, and now instead of bringing light, you accidentally blinded your friend,” or something. So now you have a spell that just blinds people, and they never tell anybody, because why would you? Why would you show your hand? So that’s like walking into a duel and both parties have an outrageous amount of trap cards just set, ready to go.

[Andrew laughs]

Marc: It’s just like, “Oh, you did that? Oh, yeah? Well, here’s this spell you’ve never seen before. Here’s this spell you’ve never seen before.”

Andrew: It seems very unfair.

Eric: Yeah, that’s a really good point. Even an accessible… even just thinking about this, the spells that the students use pretty early on. And this might be a video game thing, but Lumos Solem, which is the solar light. You could blind somebody if they look… if you look directly in the sun, you get blinded. That’s like playing with a laser pointer right there. That’s insane. You could just blind everyone.

Andrew: Or in the movies, they went, “Lumos Maxima.”

Laura: Oh, yeah.

Andrew:Lumos wasn’t enough. We had to add Maxima to it to make it really bright.”

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: I guess the author and just wizarding society… maybe there’s some unspoken agreement – though of course Voldemort wouldn’t follow it – that you can’t have this collection of spells hiding in your back pocket to unfairly beat somebody else. You know what I mean? It’s almost like these are Unforgivable Curses in that they’re so unfair. Removing the bones, destroying somebody’s wand. I don’t know.

Marc: Honestly, like what Eric was saying earlier, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dementors were made this way by accident, like somebody was trying to do… what if somebody was trying to do a Patronus, and they were trying to think of a happy memory, but they just didn’t have any? So instead of a Patronus, that came out. And they’re just like, “Hmm, there’s this shadowy figure that saps the happiness out of people,” because it came from somebody who never experienced it. You know what I mean? Like, there you go.

Laura: That’s dark. [laughs]

Marc: Yeah, and then Dementors were just around. Who knows what kind of crazy stuff could happen with people accidentally altering spells? Again, I don’t know about you, but losing all my bones sounds terrible. I would take being flung across the room, whatever, right? All those spells that just forcibly push you and you’re like, “Oh, man, you really got me.” It’s like, “You got off so easy. You have no idea what could have happened to you.”

[Eric and Marc laugh]

Eric: As far as people making spells, I always got the sense that it was a push and pull between making or creating a spell and discovering a spell. You see Snape’s notes in his notebook; he’s trying to figure out what the incantation will be for the spell to turn out and do what it is that it does. So there’s really a discovery process; maybe all spells that are intentional magic all exist and wizards just don’t know them or haven’t written them all down. Like, everything that it is possible to do with magic… there’s a finite number of things, but it’s also infinite, but what wizards know is like, 1%.

Laura and Marc: Yeah.

Marc: It’d be just like physics, right? Physics exists already. Scientists don’t really make physics; they just are like, “Oh, it looks like when we look at these things this way, or observe these particles and this specific thing…”

Eric: Right. Well, and the rules change. We have rules that really just exist until they’re contradicted, and then we have to come up with a whole new governing system of physics to understand or explain, like, how light works.

Marc: Which is a doozy.

Eric: It’s a real doozy.

Marc: Gravity is still a theory, technically, right? Like, we know it exists, and we know how it works, but we don’t know a lot about it still.

Micah: Right. Well, I guess my question would be with the example of Snape, then: What source is he connecting with as he’s doing those incantations to create Sectumsempra? Is there a connection, then, between language and some other higher entity that exists? Some source energy?

Eric: Yeah, here’s how I think of it. So a wand, right, channels the existing magic into a fine point and really allows you to do spells, because it’s pulling from say, for instance, an energy field, whether it’s out in the universe like the Force, or whether it’s within you because you’re a magical being. Your wand hones and shapes that magic to allow you to do spells. Words are the same way; the incantation part of magic is your body’s way of channeling meaning into your spell. So because the words mean something to you – or at one point in history, when people spoke Latin every day, the words meant something to them – the finding of a spell, or the shouting of an incantation, is another way of channeling meaning into magic and creating something to happen. That’s kind of the way I see it, is the incantation part of a spell is just as important as the wand because it hones, it specifies, the way in which your magical force is going to be coming out of you.

Laura: So do you think it’s just trial and error, kind of like the way we do scientific discoveries all the time?

Marc: Oh, absolutely. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they taught the scientific method at Hogwarts, because it’s the same… I mean, you make a hypothesis, right? You try to do the thing you’re trying to do, you observe the results, you adjust your hypothesis, and you try again, right? And think about how many discoveries in physics, in science, in our world are discovered intentionally and then are discovered by accident, so I assume the same thing happens with magic. There are probably plenty of spells that were accidental and they’re derivatives of spells that already exist of somebody being like, “Yeah, I tried to do Accio, but I accidentally made it push away from me instead,” right? And now there’s a spell that just forcibly pushes things away from you.

Eric: Yeah, Depulso, I think it is.

Marc: Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if those both were discovered… one was discovered, and then one was discovered afterwards as like, “Oops, I messed up, but hey, that’s kind of cool,” and then they just refined it to make it do what they wanted, versus somebody being like, “I specifically want a spell to turn this water into chocolate pudding. That’s what I really want.”

Laura: Man, that sounds great.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Marc: Right? And they just keep on trying to do it over and over and over, just trial and error until they get it right. So I assume both happens.

Eric: Can you imagine being Snape and developing Sectumsempra and being happy with the result? Like, “That’s what I want it to do.”

Andrew: [imitating Snape] “Ooh, look at this, eheheh.”

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Marc: He’s like, “Man, I’m good.”

Andrew: [laughs] “Still got it.”

Laura: None of us has wands that we can experiment with in this way…

Andrew: Sorry, I was just practicing my Snape.

Eric: It’s very good.

Laura: Oh, okay.

Marc: “I did it… obviously.”

Andrew: “Obviously I did it.”

[Laura and Marc laugh]

Andrew: I’m just holding my nose. That’s my Snape.

Laura: I think that’s pretty on on the nose, if you will.

[Andrew and Marc laugh]

Laura: Well, looking at our next topic, I think this one is going to be fun for us. We’re looking at food and Evanesco. So the question that we have here…

Eric: [laughs] Uh-oh, the two opposites here.

Laura: Yeah… is where does food come from? And where does beeeep go?

Andrew: Uh-huh.

Laura: Literal and metaphorical. [laughs] Because we know the history of how Evanesco was used in the wizarding world pre-modern plumbing, but also, you can use the same spell to disappear a lot of things. Marc, why do we ask this question?

Marc: Hoo, well, there is a lot of leeway you can give something when it comes to magic. But usually, one of the main things that stay pretty rock solid in most fiction – well, not most fiction, but most systems, as it is – is you can’t make something from nothing and you can’t return something to nothing, right? And from the conservation of mass and energy, you can’t just… it has to be transferred some way into the system, right? Like if you burn a piece of paper, that piece of paper is not gone, right? It turned into ash; the mass that it lost from turning into ash gets transformed into heat and light…

Laura: Carbon.

Marc: Yeah, all those reactions happen when it’s being transferred to a different state. But if you put a piece of paper in something and it just stopped existing, that couldn’t work, because that mass and energy would have to go somewhere. Same thing with making something; you couldn’t make something just appear without taking that mass or energy from something.

Andrew: So one reason we’re asking this is because of what we see in the Great Hall, I assume; the food just appears, and I think there’s some dialogue in the books about how the house-elves are making it downstairs. But then there’s also questions about maybe… looking at the Burrow, where does that food come from? Is that whipped up? Is Molly, or Arthur, going grocery shopping? Are they farming all the food? I think the simplest answer to all of this is that the food is still being farmed; we just don’t hear about it.

Laura: Yeah. And we do get some explanation about this in the book; I think Eric brought it up earlier. We hear a little bit about Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration when Hermione is explaining to Ron how food is made. She says,

“Your mother can’t produce food out of thin air, no one can. Food is the first of the five principal exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration… It’s impossible to make good food out of nothing! You can Summon it if you know where it is, you can transform it, and you can increase the quantity if you’ve already got some.”

And this is where me and Marc have some questions, because if you can’t produce food out of thin air, that feels to be in conflict with the statement that you can increase the quantity of something. Because on its face, you can’t increase the quantity of something and maintain the same properties, right?

Marc: Yeah, exactly. If I ordered a pizza and I ate the whole pizza except for one slice, and then I used a spell to make seven slices of pizza reappear, unless that whole pizza pie now has the same nutritional value as one slice of pizza, that pizza literally came from nowhere. To you, you wouldn’t know that it got multiplied by one piece of pizza, right? You would just see a new pizza, and you’re like, “Where did this come from?”, right? So the statement that if you have something you can make more of it contradicts… when they were like, “You can’t make something out of nothing,” I was like, “Okay, I’m on board. That sounds good.” And then it’s like, “But if you have something, you can make more of it,” and it’s like, “But that is literally making something from nothing.” If you’re making a new thing appear and it has the same… if you eat it, and you get the same nutritional properties, then that’s the same… it’d be one thing if you ate it and it didn’t taste great and it didn’t really fill you up, because you’re basically eating an eighth of one slice of pizza.

Laura: I had a dark thought about this. I was thinking maybe this is, one, why Ron was so hungry the entire time they were on their camping trip, because maybe this is what they’re having to do to eat. They’re having to increase quantities of food. So it seems like they’re eating… let’s say it’s a loaf of bread. Let’s say Hermione takes one loaf of bread and transfigures it into three loaves of bread, but those three loaves are actually representative of the nutritional value of the one original.

Eric: The one loaf, yeah.

Laura: But then I was like, Ron is hungry through the entire series.

Marc: He’s a growing boy.

Laura: Yeah, I mean, I’m thinking of the economic struggles that the Weasleys face, and I’m wondering if there are times where, in order to stretch their money as far as they can, if Molly is having to increase quantities of food.

Andrew: Oh, wow.

Marc: That could definitely be a thing. That makes perfect sense. The only thing I will say, though, is there are instances of people doing the same, like McGonagall when she has the tray of sandwiches that just keeps on replenishing itself. It’s like, so are those sandwiches depreciating in nutritional value? Or are those sandwiches being pulled from somewhere? Are the elves in the basement making all these sandwiches nonstop and they’re just teleporting them to the plate as they’re being made? Right? That would make sense.

Andrew: That’s what I would assume.

Marc: That assumption is honestly my main assumption for food in general in the Harry Potter universe, because it makes way more sense to just say if the food maintains its nutritional value, it’s just coming from somewhere. If Harry is like, “I want a sandwich,” and just waves his wand and a sandwich appears, there is some poor soul in the world who was about to take a bite out of a sandwich, and it just popped out of their hands.

[Andrew laughs]

Marc: That would make more sense to me because either the food that you want teleports to you already prepared as you want it, and you saying, “I want a sandwich,” is essentially you putting out a Google search into the ether that is magic and saying, “These are my search criteria, this is what I want,” and it just finds you that somewhere in the world and brings it to you. Or the other, a less clean version of this, would be when you say, “I want a burger,” right? It would go and find wheat, take that wheat out of the field that it was in, it finds the meat somewhere in a butcher shop or something, and finds all the components of what makes the thing you want, and as it’s getting sent to you, it’s being prepared as you would like it, right? You could do that. But as long as it’s coming from somewhere, that’s the main thing, because if it’s just appearing out of nowhere, then it would be less nutritious the more you make. And just like Laura stated with the economic aspect that could be a consideration, too, maybe the families that are a little bit more sketch, like the Malfoys, maybe they just do take food from people, because why wouldn’t they? They’re like, “We don’t care. We’ll just take food from Muggles,” right? They’ll think that they’re being haunted or something, or those are why there’s so many conspiracy theories, because they’re like, “My sandwich just disappeared from my hand; it’s aliens!” I could totally see a whole thing like that playing out. But maybe people like Molly, who also aren’t well off financially, just have the moral stance, like, “I’m not going to take food from people, because it would be devastating if somebody took food from me and my family.”

Micah: This made me think, though: There is no grocery store in Diagon Alley.

Andrew: I’d like to think there’s a lovely farm, maybe somewhere near Diagon Alley or somewhere… I mean, I think we saw it, actually, in this Hogwarts Legacy ASMR video. There was some farming going on there.

Micah: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: So I think they have some nice farms where they get all their food from, and then the house-elves go and pick it up and then they’re making sandwiches all day in the kitchen and transferring those up. I would also think that they have a sense of how much food they need to make for the kids; just with the school being around for as long as it has been, they have some data on that. But HufflepuffTeach is actually bringing up a good point, too, in our Discord. He said, “The magical community could actually help with Muggle food waste from the restaurant industry with how much food is still good to eat but gets thrown out anyway.” Food waste is a huge issue in the Muggle world. So much food is wasted, not just at restaurants, but at home, right? Think of all the food we throw out when we’re full or whatever else. Imagine a scenario where wizards were quietly… [laughs] maybe pulling food out of the trash cans isn’t the best way to do it, but…

Eric: But cleansing it. You could magically cleanse it because the food still exists.

Marc: Or you could just break it down, right? If you broke it down to its core components…

Eric: Then at least that would explain… yeah, I like that a lot.

Marc: … then that’s where the nutrition is coming from. If they’re literally taking the food people don’t eat and discard and there’s a spell that… like bread, it breaks it down to all of its molecular components, and it’s just waiting in the ether there, waiting until a wizard uses a spell that needs bread or those components to make… or say someone really wants a burrito, right? And they want the wheat. Maybe that’s what it pulls from, because if that’s the case, then yeah, that would explain some of the nutritional discrepancies with that sandwich plate, because honestly, people would be pounding those sandwiches if it was only one sandwich multiplied 50 times.

Laura: Yeah. And I think Court in our Discord brings up a good point: They say, “They eat a lot at Hogwarts. I wonder if it’s a both/and situation where the elves are making a ton of food, but also multiplying some of it to justify the large quantities that are being sent up to the Great Hall all the time.”

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: And yeah, we do know that there is some kind of grocery store. For example, in Order of the Phoenix we see Molly summoning ingredients out of the pantry, so they clearly got that from somewhere. We just don’t know where.

Marc: Yes. And also, moving to the disappearing, right? Because we pretty much… I mean, basically all this food stuff is essentially summoning, right, where you’re summoning the food either “out of nowhere,” or multiplying it, right, or culling it from another location. And imagine Evanesco, right? The fact that you can just wave your wand and something goes away and you’re just deleting it from the universe, again, is a huge no-no, because that energy has to go somewhere the same way that energy had to come from somewhere.

Laura: Right. As a reminder, Evanesco is the Vanishing Spell, and it is famously known for vanishing poo in medieval times before they had modern plumbing.

Andrew: Thank you, Pottermore.

[Marc laughs]

Laura: But it can be used to vanish animate and inanimate objects into nothing, which is to say, everything. And Marc, the issue here is, again, mass can neither be created nor destroyed. Stuff has to go somewhere when you vanish it. You can’t say that it becomes everything and nothing.

Eric: But wait, you can, though. That’s the Ravenclaw door knocker riddle, right? “Where do vanished objects go?” If it goes into everything, then I’m thinking it is some kind of transmutation. It’s becoming energy. You’ve taken matter and just turned it into light or something.

Andrew: That is a good outcome, but don’t you think Evanesco might just transfer it to a landfill?

Marc: And that’s the thing; if it’s teleportation, that means there’s a poop mountain somewhere.

[Everyone laughs]

Marc: Just full of poop. [laughs]

Andrew: Well, like with a real landfill, they’ll cover it up with dirt so you can’t smell it.

Eric: Yeah, and why would a younger person be able to do the same spell as an adult person and have…? Like, does it go to the same…?

Andrew: It gets automatically sorted.

[Andrew and Marc laugh]

Andrew: A single stream system.

Eric: But what system is doing the sorting? What sentient catalog of wheat products and…?

Micah: The Poo Master.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: You know they’re making the house-elves do this too.

Eric: Oh, yeah. Something that I wanted to say at this point is if you think about Disapparition and Apparition, that is very much a teleport kind of effect, but it’s associated – in the books, anyway – with a crack. There is a sound, and that is, I think, the breaking of the sound barrier, like a cracking of a whip. Right? And there’s also this vacuum; there would be a gust of air where a person was standing and is no longer standing. The air would have to rush to fill that gap, that person-sized gap, and so is that why people who are disappearing, it comes with a crack? Is that J.K. Rowling’s way of saying like, “Okay, something physic-wise is being affected here”?

Marc: Yeah. I mean, honestly, there’s a lot that Apparition could be. I mean, if it’s teleportation, and you’re ripping the fabric of spacetime and connecting two points, it may not even be them moving to a new place; it may be you making their two destinations the same for a split second, right? Kind of like wormhole travel. I mean, honestly, physics, when you get into the real crazy stuff like metaphysics, theoretical astrophysics, all that stuff, is basically magic. If you read some of the stuff of what happens to a particle when it approaches light speed, it’s crazy. It’s both big… if you took a particle and shot it through a barn door, right, and it’s going through a barn, it could be bigger than the barn. But at a point, you could fit both ends of that particle in the barn because it’s moving at light speed. The space of it starts getting wonky, right? Gravity, if gravity is dense enough, it messes with light. There’s a bunch of weird things that happen. So if a wizard is moving at light speed to a position, there’d be a lot of weird things happening that we would have no idea about. So yeah, it could just be the universe folding in on itself, making both points the same, or them just moving so fast that it looks like they’re teleporting, because at light speed, time is stopped. Time does not move at light speed, so they could technically freeze time and just appear in the new place.

Eric: Now I think I understand how those wizards can get in the wall in Fantastic Beasts 3.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Oh, we could have a whole other episode, because Marc was so frustrated by that. Something that I thought was interesting when we were looking into Evanesco is the realization that apparently living things can be vanished as well?

Eric: Murder.

Laura: And Marc, you were doing some reading and brought up the fact that Hermione literally vanishes a kitten in Order of the Phoenix. And before that, when you’re reading about the kids vanishing snails and invertebrates, there’s not as much of an emotional connection. But when they get to the point where they’re vanishing mammals, that starts to raise questions like “Wait, where are they going?” If Professor McGonagall… we know that she says that they are vanished into non-being, and that is… I mean, the literal definition of non-being is the state of not being and non-existence, so that implies that this kitten is dead, but also doesn’t exist. And Marc actually found that in… which mobile game was it, from Portkey Games, Marc, where…?

Marc: Oh, man, it was…

Andrew: Hogwarts Mystery?

Laura: It might have been Hogwarts Mystery.

Marc: Winifred Warrington.

Laura: Yeah, she was accidentally vanished, and disappeared for a couple of years. And this is from official Warner Bros. Wizarding World games.

Marc: It was Magic Awakened.

Andrew: I hate all this extra “canon” that they’re adding through the video games, but..

Laura: I know.

Marc: But I mean, even in the canon proper, that can… it’s gone. There’s a lot to unpack there. Because if you have a spell that you can just make somebody not exist anymore, and if that’s actually what it’s doing… because the statement of non-being, I did some research in that, too, and I think in Taoism and Daoism non-being is referred to as like a empty cup, right? An empty cup is a thing. It is a physical thing. But the valuable part of an empty cup is the fact that it’s empty, right? Its emptiness is the thing that has meaning, which I get that, but in this sense, it doesn’t really apply because it’s not like they’re shifting to a different state. But they’re just not existing anymore. But the thing that I find interesting is, what if it’s not they’re shifting to another state or they’re not existing anymore, but if they are literally getting put in a pocket dimension? Like they’re just being put in another dimension for a while? And even some things that are summoned, maybe the things that are summoned are things that are just existing in a pocket dimension, because we’d already established that different dimensions and planes of existence exist in Harry Potter world, right?

Laura: Right.

Andrew: Well, this also gets back to what we were saying earlier; some things are just unfair. The fact that you can vanish somebody is just unfair. Just a few weeks ago we were talking about Graham Montague and how the Weasley twins made him vanish and basically tortured him, and he was hospitalized after this, because they put him away into a limbo state through the Vanishing Cabinet. It’s really messed up.

Marc: And that speaks to the moral implications of things, right? If there are Unforgivable Curses, and it’s a curse that literally deletes somebody’s soul, why go through that effort when you could just vanish them? Isn’t it the same…? I mean, probably not the same end product exactly, but it gets the job done, right? And especially since people can be vanished, what does that mean?

Eric: Yeah, and if a sentient person who can do magic is vanished, can they un-vanish themselves? Can they get themselves out of it?

Andrew: It reminds me of how in cars, trunks normally have an escape latch within the trunk, so you can’t trap somebody inside. They can get out themselves.

Marc: I’m not going to lie; when you said cars, I thought you were talking about the Pixar movie. I was like, “Where’s this going to go?” [laughs]

Eric: Well, because that’s a whole physics conversation.

Andrew: I kidnapped Micah once and threw him in the back of my trunk and he got out really quick; I was really disappointed.

Marc: Fair enough.

Laura: [laughs] Sounds about right.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Marc: Out of all these, it seems like the other dimension explanation is the cleanest one. Because again, we already know pictures exist in a different plane. Different pictures can interact with each other. There is a sense of distance – even though it’s different than our world – between pictures; they have to travel to other places to interact with other occupants of a painting, right? If that exists in the the all-star scene when Lally put that poor dude in the wall… he was essentially wall art, and he couldn’t get out. He was just trapped in some different wall dimension. So if wizards and witches can just casually put people in a different dimension, and that dude was stuck there until another wizard on the outside waved his wand and he came out, right? So if you can just trap somebody in a limbo state like that and they’re stuck in another dimension, why does Azkaban exist?

[Eric laughs]

Marc: Why aren’t you just putting people in this dimension? You should just have a bad dudes book, and you just put people in that, and there’s just a hard-binded book that is all the worst of the worst just sitting in there, and they’re pictures you can just flip through on each page. That would make more sense.

Eric: Isn’t that the plot of Superman III?

Marc: Oh, man.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yes, it is.

Laura: Don’t even get him started. I do have a question, because as we’ve established, there is clearly at least one other dimension, the picture dimension, right? So if we’re thinking about where are things disappearing to, we know wizards don’t have the best history of being kind to other people’s environments. Think about the lake, for example, on the Hogwarts grounds. We know that that’s where the plumbing empties out, for example. They know that there are mermaids and the giant squid living there, but they’re like, “Oh, we’ll just flush the poo down there.” I wonder if with Evanesco, if it’s possible that some of these things are being transported to the picture realm, to that dimension, and that’s why maybe some of these portraits are so grumpy, because they’re like, “Stop sending your bleep here.” You know what I mean?

[Andrew and Marc laugh]

Marc: Yeah, that’s true. And honestly, imagine if it doesn’t stop there, right? Because if there’s a picture dimension, who knows how many other dimensions there are, right? What if there’s a trash dimension? What if there’s just a poor dimension where there’s just a portal open in the sky that random stuff is just falling through?

Laura: [laughs] Oh, God.

Marc: And people are like, “What is that?” It’s just been like that for centuries, and they’re like, “Oh, that’s…”

Micah: Kittens falling from the sky.

Laura: Aww.

Marc: Right, it’s like, “Oh, that’s trash mountain.” [laughs]

Eric: Now I’m thinking of… doesn’t that happen in Loki, where there’s this huge dump of things that are being disappeared, or…?

Marc: Oh yeah, the Pruned…

Eric: Yeah, the Pruned objects. That’s kind of where I went to.

Marc: Or with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. That’s it, just food falling from the sky. [laughs]

Eric: Definitely. Well, if you think about portraits real quick, anything you paint can be made to be a world or existence. So if you paint a ballroom and there’s a couple of people in it, you’re still creating something out of nothing by committing it to your art and then doing whatever you have to do to make it into a portrait world. Pretty much anything you can paint, you can turn into a room that people inhabit. It’s kind of nuts, and it is creating something out of nothing.

Marc: And also even with that, right? This is another thing where if you put somebody in the picture dimension, are they experiencing that dimension as if they’re natively part of that dimension? If I got put into a picture dimension, does everything look like it’s painted to me? Or does everything look normal? Right? How does that work? And even with that, it may be that they’re creating something out of nothing – which, we already established, that’s a big no-no – but if you were to try to figure out a way to make it work somehow… the parallel dimensions theory in theoretical physics, right? There’s technically a dimension – there’s infinite amount of them. So if it’s infinity, anything you draw technically already exists in a parallel dimension; you’re just making a bridge to that thing, right? So by that logic, you painting a picture wouldn’t be you… say, like, “Okay, I want to paint a picture of the movie Cars, where I can talk to cars with eyes in their headlights,” right? You drawing a picture of that wouldn’t be you creating that dimension, it would be you making a bridge to one out of infinite dimensions where that already exists. Because if it’s infinite, then everything technically already exists to some degree.

Laura: Yeah, it’s kind of like the creation of spells that we were talking about a few minutes, right? You’re not actually making something new, you’re just discovering something that was previously undiscovered.

Marc: Yeah, physics exists, right? Just because we’re finding it doesn’t mean that it didn’t already exist, like if you find a fossil.

Eric: I’m glad that all the portraits at Hogwarts are realist paintings and not abstract because I’d hate to think what would happen if abstract art existed in the wizarding world.

Laura: Oh my God. [laughs]

Marc: Oh, man.

[Andrew and Marc laugh]

Eric: You’d see these sentient paint blobs coming at you.

Laura: Like a Salvador DalĂ­ painting, for example?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: No! Like, brought to life? No, that’s horrifying.

Marc: What was the one with the scream? The yell? What’s it called? The person doing this. The Macauley Culkin.

Eric: Oh, “The Scream”?

Laura: [laughs] Oh, “The Scream.”

Marc: Can you imagine being put in that? That is nightmare fuel.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: Even just walking through it on my way to find my friend and hang out with her. The Fat Lady wandering through all the Expressionists.

Marc: Right, and who knows what the qualification is? What if somebody just did a stick drawing and you walk in and it’s just a stick world with terrifying stick people walking around? And you’re like, “Nope, nope, I am out of this.”

Eric: Like, what’s the consistency? I think at a certain point when building this world, the author thought, “Wouldn’t that be cool if…?”, and it’s not the author’s job – it’s not really even our job – to be like, “How does that work?” But it’s fun as a thought experiment.

Laura: Yeah, exactly. Well, I know that this has maybe raised a lot of questions for people, but hopefully, we were able to posit some potential answers for why some of these things work in the wizarding world. You can obviously take this discussion to the nth degree, and we definitely want to hear from y’all, so if you have feedback, please write in, and I think Andrew is going to tell you how you can do that.

Andrew: Yeah, so of course,, or you can use the contact form on You can also send a voice message; just record it using the Voice Memo app on your phone, and then email us that file. Or you can call us, 1-920-3-MUGGLE, which is 1-920-368-4453. Thanks, Marc, for coming on and sharing all your physics wisdom with us.

Marc: Yeah, thanks, anytime, anytime.

Laura: I feel like we leveled up today.

Eric: I definitely feel like I learned something.

Micah: I could listen to Marc talk for hours, so we’re going to have to have him back.

Marc: Aww.

Laura: You know what’s funny, Micah, people say the same thing about you.

Marc: Yeah, I was about to say, same to you, buddy. Same to you.

[Laura laughs]

Marc: We’re going to branch off and start our own podcast.

Micah: Ooh, I like that.

Marc: Smooth Sounds from Marc and Micah.

Andrew: Micah and Marc, yeah.

Marc: Switch it up.

Andrew: The Marcah Show. [laughs]

Marc: There you go, there you go.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: I would listen.

Micah: M & M.

Marc: Oh, perfect.

Andrew: And now we know what happens in Laura and Marc’s apartment on weekend nights. These are the conversations you can expect, so we’re all planning our sleepovers now.

[Marc laughs]

Laura: It’s real. You just got a real-life glimpse into our lives. [laughs]

Andrew: Coming up in bonus MuggleCast today, we’ll actually extend this discussion today, right, Laura? What can they expect over on our Patreon in bonus MuggleCast?

Laura: Yeah, so we’re going to be talking about some of our favorite magical objects and asking the question, “How could physics explain some of these magical items?” We’re going to be talking about the Invisibility Cloak, Time-Turners, and the Deluminator, and trying to answer the question, “How could physics possibly explain why the Deluminator seems to have some kind of pocket dimension?”

Andrew: Sounds good. So that’ll be at this week. Sometimes we release extended discussions on there or behind-the-scenes chats on our Patreon; we like to open up more behind the scenes. Next week on the show, another super fun and interesting discussion: We are going to build our own Hogwarts lessons. This was at least partly inspired by one of our listeners; The Silent Geek suggested this. We’re just warming up for a new term at Hogwarts. And this is all before we return to Chapter by Chapter, which will be kicking off a week or two later. We’re planning lots of fun little mini segments for Chapter by Chapter 2; I was having a lot of fun coming up with names for these segments the other day, so, excited to finalize all that. Lots of fun stuff coming up on MuggleCast. But before then, it’s time for another round of Quizzitch.


[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s question: What did the Muggle Mr. Roberts say to the Weasley family as they left the Quidditch World Cup? He said, “Merry Christmas.” And of course, it was like, July.

Laura: I forgot about that.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: That poor Muggle. His memory is never going to be the same. Congrats to those who submitted the correct answer, including Ryan; Caleb; Mrs. Breen; Fred the Harry Potter Frog; My cat has a sailor leash; Kaladin Stormblessed; Sir KngofKngs; Dumbledore is gay but it’s actually a publicity stunt dot com…

Andrew: Whoa!

Eric: … Death Eater Colt Member 7; Tom Holland likes Harry Potter (but not more than me); and Hufflepuffing along, trying to spot the official Portkey; and Peggy. Okay, next week’s question: In year four, what does Ron smush in anger after Draco taunts him about having inside Ministry information regarding the Triwizard Tournament? So another Goblet of Fire question. Submit your answer to us via the form on MuggleCast’s website,

Andrew: A couple other reminders: Make sure you’re following the show for free in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode, and leave us a review if they allow you to. Thank you to everybody who leaves reviews; we see them steadily coming in and they’re really fun to read, so thank you, everyone, for your support in however you support the show. And speaking of supporting the show, we would love your support at, and you’ll get bonus MuggleCast installments, access to our recording studio, our planning docs, lots of other fun benefits all available. We couldn’t do this without you, so thanks for your support. And also follow us on social media; we are @MuggleCast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. Thank you, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Marc: And I’m Marc.

Andrew: Bye, everybody!

Micah: Bye.