Transcript #577


MuggleCast 577 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #577, Back to Hogwarts! We’re Teaching Our Own Magical Lessons!

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: We’re back at Hogwarts, baby, and we are sharing our own Hogwarts lessons!

Micah: Choo-choo.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: It’s a really fun episode we have for everybody this week, and to help us with today’s discussion is one of our Slug Club patrons, Robbie. Hey, Robbie. Welcome to MuggleCast.

Robbie: Thank you for having me.

Andrew: You are so welcome. You actually have a cool background in the Harry Potter fandom; you’re a wand collector, and you share your collection on Instagram, right? Tell us about that.

Robbie: Yeah, on Instagram I’m @RobTonksWandCollector. I’ve been collecting the wands since 2004, so I have all of the Noble Collection ones, and since Instagram I’m collecting within the fandom.

Andrew: Very cool. And you’ll be getting your MuggleCast wand in the next month or two, I think…

Eric: Ohh.

Andrew: … so there’s one to add to your collection. [laughs]

Robbie: Absolutely. Super looking forward to it.

Eric: Robbie, what makes a great wand? What are the things that you enjoy in a wand?

Robbie: I like the differences with them. I like the character wands the most, so I’d like to… part of this discussion today, I like figuring out what the wands of the characters we know belong, who has what and what the wand wood is, what the core is, and why they have it.

Andrew: And so let’s also get your fandom ID.

Robbie: Oh, yeah. My favorite book is Half-Blood Prince. Favorite movie is Sorcerer’s Stone. I’m in Hufflepuff, Thunderbird, and my favorite subject that does exist is Charms.

Micah: It only feels natural to ask, what is your wand?

Andrew: Oh!

Robbie: My wand is silver lime, 10 and 3/4 inches, with phoenix feather core.

Andrew: Is that a Pottermore wand? Or did you just decide on this yourself?

Robbie: It’s the one that Pottermore gave me back in 2011, and I liked the description of it back then and I just stuck with it.

Andrew: Okay, nice. I don’t remember my wand, I’m sorry to say, from Pottermore.

Laura: Yeah, me neither.

Eric: You know what? We just have to go back to that MuggleCast episode, because I bet we say what it was.

Andrew: Oh, yes, thank goodness for podcasters. It’s all logged deep in our archives.

Eric: [laughs] It’s all logged.

Andrew: [laughs] So it’s good to have you here, Robbie, and thanks so much for your support on Patreon.

Main Discussion: Building Our Own Hogwarts Lessons

Andrew: And today’s discussion is a pretty unique one. Since a new term at Hogwarts did just kick off on September 1, we thought we would build our own Hogwarts lessons. And a special shout-out to one of our listeners, Silent Geek, who actually is a teacher himself, we discovered on Instagram this week. He suggested this lesson for us in our Discord for patrons many months ago, and what better time than now to have this discussion? So what we’re all going to do today is we’re all going to pretend to be professors at Hogwarts; we’ve all come up with our own lessons in advance. I think we’ll be primarily using canon, but we’ll also be stepping outside of canon, maybe using some headcanon, maybe just throwing in some other random information for fun and to flesh out our lessons. And we’re each coming to this today with a different subject, so you’re going to get lots of information today. Does anybody want to go first? I don’t think I want to go first.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Laura: I think you’re first in the doc, Andrew.

Andrew: I know, but…

Eric: I think that that’s very arbitrary, and absolutely you should do it.

Andrew: [sighs] Okay, all right, fine. This is scary. I don’t…

Micah: It’s like when you get picked to do your presentation first in class, and you don’t want to go first.

Andrew: [laughs] Oh, no, that’s what’s happening right now.

Laura: But Andrew, that’s always the best because if you go first, then by the time everyone’s done, everyone’s forgotten about your presentation.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Yeah, nobody’s going to remember the lesson that you slaved over. [laughs]

Laura: That was always my tactic. I always volunteered to go first in school because I was like, “Nobody’s going to remember what I said by the time these are all done.” [laughs]

Eric: Everyone’s too busy freaking out about having to do their own.

Andrew: All right, all right. You know what? Yeah, you all are right, and I’ll get it out of the way and then I won’t be stressing about it anymore. So okay, you know what? I’m going first. So I was initially going to do a lesson on Divination, because I wanted to think like Trelawney and be Trelawney, but then I was like, “Ehh, that’s really hard.” I don’t know if I can really live up to the standard, not that Trelawney set, but what people would expect from a Divination lesson. So then I was thinking about our discussion a couple of weeks ago about Professor Binns and how he’s overstayed his welcome. He shouldn’t be there anymore. We need a hip, young professor teaching History of Magic, so I thought, “I’ll do that!”

Micah: Sexy, too.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Darn right, Micah. Thank you. [laughs] So I’m stepping into History of Magic this week, and I’m teaching y’all about the Hogwarts Express. Again, new year at Hogwarts…

Micah: Choo-choo.

Andrew: [laughs] … all of our students just came in on the Hogwarts Express.

[Micah’s “Choo-choo” sound effect plays]

Eric: It’s really hard to tell how much of that is really Micah and how much is the sound effect.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: What’s real and what’s the sound effect?

Eric: I think I just saw his lips move. Did you do it, and then the sound effect played, Micah?

Micah: Yes.

Andrew: So the existence of the Hogwarts Express was born out of the necessity to safely and quietly transport students to school, following the birth of the International Statute of Secrecy in 1692, which, by the way, was approximately 200 years before your former teacher Professor Binns died. Does anyone know how students like you all would get to Hogwarts prior to the Hogwarts Express?

Eric: Ooh, ooh, ooh.

Andrew: Oh, Mr. Scull, in the front?

Eric: Yes, um, they would walk?

Andrew: No. No, I’m sorry. No. Five points from Hufflepuff. [laughs]

Eric: I thought for a second you’d forget what House I was in and then dock the wrong House. I was like, “Okay. Hit me.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Right. “Five points from Gryffindor.” “Oh no, woe is me.”

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Yes, Miss Tee? I see your hand raised.

Laura: Yeah, maybe the Floo Network?

Andrew: Yes, and also Portkeys.

Eric and Laura: Ahh.

Andrew: That was primarily the way. Initially, Hogwarts used Portkeys to transport kids to school, but they were impractical and very uncomfortable of a solution. But nonetheless, these methods continued to be used for a couple hundred years because no other subtle and secure and safe and comfortable mass transportation method had presented itself.

Micah: Professor Sims?

Andrew: Yes.

Micah: Can you give five points to Ravenclaw, please?

Laura: Yeah, we were half right.

Andrew: Oh, yes, yes. Five points to Ravenclaw.

Laura: Thank you.

Andrew: You’re right. But I want to take away five points because you just interrupted me, Micah.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: But I won’t. I won’t.

Micah: You can do that.

Andrew: It’s the first day of term; I’ll let it go. I’ll let it go. But you’ve been warned. [laughs] So in the year 1804, a British Muggle engineer named Richard Trevithick invented the first train. Then the first commercially successful steam train came along in 1812. Meanwhile over in the wizarding world, just about a decade later, the wizards voted in Minister for Magic Ottaline Gambol, who decided to [pauses] gamble [laughs] on an idea.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: What if students were transported via one of these newfangled Muggle trains he had heard about? By the time Gambol had taken office, Muggles had already went through enough iterations of trains to have created a reliable and beautiful method of mass transportation, and Gambol, like many other wizards, was fascinated by Muggle inventions and took up the idea of this fancy new train concept to get students to Hogwarts. He believed the train could easily transport students and their luggage thanks to the size and the strength of the trains that he was seeing. There was just one problem: Wizards didn’t know how to create a train. These complex locomotives represented the best of the Muggle mind, and there was no sense in trying to rip off the idea when the Muggles had already perfected it over two decades. So how did they get a train? Well, they were above ripping off the idea of a train, but they weren’t above stealing a train. Records at the Ministry of Magic indicate that wizards decided to steal a train in the dark of the night, but the cover of darkness was not sufficient enough to pull off a successful heist. In fact, 167 Muggles witnessed the steal, and their memories had to be wiped!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And to get the train to the wizarding world, highly skilled wizards put on the largest ever Concealment Charm. So the train was transported to Hogsmeade, where work began on several magical modifications, including the ability to continue keeping it concealed from Muggles and having it break through the wizard/Muggle barrier in order to make it from Muggle land to Hogwarts. Pure-bloods, by the way, were of course initially upset at the decision to use a Muggle creation, but eventually came around to the idea when they saw it was a safe and secure transportation system. And despite that early pushback, the results of the transportation were highly promising, and the Ministry decreed that this would be the only way students could come to Hogwarts. Though students who rode on the train didn’t know it unless they stepped out of line, Gambol had one more trick up her sleeve: She decided to add onboard security by means of the trolley lady. And while this train employee looked unassuming and seemingly only wanted to sell sweets to excited students, the fact was that the trolley lady was a top notch security guard who would enter goblin mode should any wizard or witch try to step off the train during its journey. So that’s a basic rundown of the history of the Hogwarts Express.

Laura: Thank you.


Andrew: Thank you. Thank you so much. Okay, pop quiz! In what year did a Muggle come up with the first version of a train, clearing the way for the eventual Hogwarts Express? Hmm?

[elongated pause]

Andrew: Oh, man.

Laura: We weren’t paying attention.

[Andrew laughs]

Robbie: Or not paying attention to the right part.

Eric: Was it 1802?

Andrew: That’s pretty darn close. Yeah, it was 1804.

Laura: Okay.

Andrew: I’ll give you that, though. Another five points to whatever House you’re in. I mean, Hufflepuff.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Wait, you mean five points back?

Andrew: [laughs] Right, you get your five points back.

Eric: Yeah!

Andrew: All right, so that’s my lesson. And homework, students, three and a half pages double spaced on the magical charms installed on the Hogwarts Express that help it stay concealed and cross between Muggle and wizard boundaries, please. Refer to Micah Tannenbaum’s Choo-Choo: An Express History of the Hogwarts Express for further reading and assistance.

Eric: [laughs] I love your homework assignment is so similar with how I poised my homework assignment. “X amount of pages, double spaced.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: It’s very funny. In the books, don’t they talk about inches of parchment that you’ve got to…?

Andrew: That’s what I was… I was trying to think of what it was. I meant to look it up but I didn’t.

Eric: Yeah, it’s inches of parchment, but if you have really small handwriting, it’s awful.

Andrew: Oh, good call, good call. Who wants to go next? [laughs] I think it’s Eric. We’re evidently going in the planning doc order today.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Laura: Yep, we’re going in doc order.

Eric: Document order. Okay, okay. Well, as you mentioned, Andrew, this particular topic could have gone many ways, and I have chosen one particular way for it to go in, but the course is Muggle Studies, so the view of Muggles as depicted for study by wizards. And particularly, this character at Hogwarts that I will be portraying is the Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts. Any questions before we begin?

Andrew: No, but I’m scared. I can’t wait to see what direction this lesson takes.

Eric: Okay, it’s kind of… in the British style of education, it’s more of a lecture, so I don’t know that I’ll pepper in any questions during, but there will be a quiz after. Okay, here we go. Welcome, class. As you well know, wizards and witches are not alone on this planet; there is, of course, the Muggle. Depending on where you live in this great country of ours, you may have a neighbor or two who are without the gift of magic. Maybe your brother or sister, if your parents are Muggles, may also be a Muggle. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course. And while magic folk and non-magical peoples may have quite a bit to learn from the other in a shared symbiosis, today we will be highlighting the overall system of power that governs most Muggle societies. Without having the ability to do magic, we might say Muggles have had the lesser draw in a hand of cards. It’s true; everything from public transportation to things like healthcare might not be concerns or the issues of politics if the Muggles knew that magic existed and could wield it themselves. This is what makes the study of Muggles so fascinating, to examine how they get by without being able to flick their wand and see their way through the darkness in front of them. Well, the answer to this, as to how Muggles get by in the world, is due to something called fascism.

Andrew: Oh, God.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Oh my.

Eric: You see, Muggles, not having much power in and of themselves, like to band together in groups and terrorize each other in the names of other things. Sometimes it is religion, sometimes it’s based on skin color, and in every case, it happens when members of a group all submit to the same higher, more powerful Muggle, also known as a dictator. The benefit of banding together under one of these dictators is twofold. Firstly, because the Muggle is not altogether very powerful alone, and Muggles with harmful and unpopular opinions about society are the least powerful Muggles of them all. The only way for that person to feel strong without earning it on merit is to find other like-minded individuals who are equally rotten. Eventually, a member from within that community of ne’er-do-wells will gain a reputation for being the most heinous, the most rotten, somebody that shocks even the worst of the others by being so darned extra, that that person will gain power and mystique. An air around them will be created, an intake of breath whenever they enter a room, and an uninformed person may mistake this shock, this silence in somebody’s presence, the deference of the weaker-minded rotten folk, as reverence for somebody who’s actually earned it. Rather than develop popular social power policies that bring folks together and help the world at large, the Muggle, largely angry that they do not have magical means (even though many of them don’t know it is an option), find power in the profane. In finding a little group that they join and using it to separate themselves from other groups, based largely on superficial things, they go around pretending that they have power until others start thinking that they do also. The trick is in not mistaking the anger and hate that some Muggles have for their fellow man as either wisdom or charisma. Any power these individuals may gather is not deserved. For in giving in to their darkest natures, they remove themselves from humanity entirely. Surrendering power out of cowardice to those who would cause further harm to others is a Muggle trend that is, globally speaking, on the rise. Fortunately, there are Muggles who do understand the power of such things as compromise, of education, of liberation, of freedom, of democracy. The rule of the many by the few is not their way. They prefer the rule by one another, by the people, for the people, and insofar as such institutions are instilled with safeguards to prevent the abuse by those at the top of the chain, peace and prosperity can historically be had by the most people. No outcasts, no minorities, suffer when all are invited to the table. But it is the fascist who seeks to exclude all others, and only through complicity of a vast majority of others could they ever succeed in doing so. After all, their power comes through social contract with one another, and not from the tips of their wands. The end.

Andrew: So um, I was expecting a lesson on a rubber duck.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: That will be next week’s lesson, Mr. Sims.

Andrew: Ah, okay, a palate cleanser.

Eric: Yes, yes.

Laura: I have a question, Professor Scull. You’re talking about themes of fascism; I think we’ve clearly seen those present in the wizarding world too. Who do you think came up with fascism first? Wizards or Muggles?

Andrew: Chicken or the egg.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: An excellent question, Miss Tee. It was definitely the Muggles.

Andrew: Yeah, that checks out.

Laura: Sounds about right. [laughs]

Andrew: I don’t really like those Muggles.

Eric: So pop quiz for everyone: Is fascism good or bad?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Let me get back to you on that. I’m not sure. [laughs]

Eric: That’s the wrong answer. Five points from Slytherin, Mr. Sims.

Andrew: Ah, damn it.

Laura: I’m going to say bad. I’m going to say bad.

Robbie: I think bad.

Eric: That’s correct.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: I’m going to say depends which House you ask.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: A very measured answer, Mr. Tannenbaum. I would say five points to Ravenclaw for Miss Tee’s answer, two and a half points to Ravenclaw for Micah’s good point, and the other two and a half points back to Slytherin, because of course a Slytherin would say he’ll get back to you on that.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: And your homework, everybody, boys and girls, three pages double spaced an essay with the topic of: Are Muggles lonely? Discuss.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Yes. Yes, they are. Eric, five points to Hufflepuff for your teacher voice that you’ve been putting on today as well. It’s delightful.

Eric: Thank you.

Andrew: Laura! It’s your turn!

Laura: Good morning, everyone. I’m Professor Tee. I’m here at Hogwarts launching a new course of study that has previously been woefully ignored at Hogwarts, and I think that it’s actually led to some pretty dangerous situations for the students here, so welcome to Introduction to Spell Enunciation.

Eric: Ohh.

Andrew: Good morning, Mrs. Tee.

Laura: [laughs] Right off the bat, can anyone think of a reason why it is very important to be able to enunciate, otherwise pronounce, your spells correctly? Yeah, Robbie.

Robbie: Because some spells sound similar but do vastly different things, like start fire or create water.

Laura: Yeah, 100%. Ten points to Hufflepuff; that’s great. I think that we can see examples of this even in Harry Potter’s time at Hogwarts; there are multiple times where students in his year had unfortunate accidents happen as a direct result of not being able to communicate their spells appropriately – that is, pronounce them, enunciate them – as we would expect. Yeah, Eric?

Eric: Professor, wasn’t it also from history, the Wizard Baruffio, who famously misspelled; he said an “s” instead of “f”?

Laura: Yes, that is a perfect example. I really, really appreciate you bringing that up. Ten points to Hufflepuff. Great job.

Andrew: Ugh, no.

Laura: I know; Hufflepuffs are leading the class today, y’all.

Eric: Hufflepuff is going to win the House Cup!

Andrew: I didn’t realize we were going to have this competition on the show.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Class is very divisive.

Laura: So what we’ll be focusing on today is the basis of Latin and how it works in the conjuring of spells in the wizarding world. But first, I would love to get a volunteer to read over the list of spells I have here in the doc.

Andrew: I will!

Laura: There’s no wrong answer here. Okay, Andrew.

Andrew: Okay. Wingardium Leviosa, Expelliarmus, Petrificus Totalus.

Laura: Perfect. Excellent.

Micah: Well done.

Andrew: Yesss.

Laura: Ten points to Slytherin. As you can tell, I’m an American professor, so I don’t refer to you as Mr. Last Name. We’re on a first name basis in this classroom.

Andrew: Oh, you’re a cool teacher, then.

Eric: Oh, yeah.

Laura: Additionally, I’m going to hand out points like candy anytime you do something well…

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: … because…

Micah: Americans like candy?

Laura: Americans do like candy, but if you look into educational pedagogy, it’s an excellent way to motivate students to remain engaged with their lesson if you are doing a really frequent call and response to try and get them engaged with the work, and rewarding them for being correct, or at the very least attempting to participate. So those were excellent pronunciations, Andrew. Really, really appreciate that.

Andrew: Thank you.

Laura: As we know, many spells in Harry Potter have their roots in Latin, so it is imperative for the successful casting of spells that we have an understanding of base Latin pronunciation. Now, that doesn’t mean that we need to learn Latin; it is a dead language, after all. But we need to have certain proficiencies in mind in order to successfully cast spells. So to give you a little bit of historical context here, there are actually two accepted ways to pronounce in Latin. Any guesses what they are?

Micah: Backwards and forwards?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Subjective and conjunctive? No, no, no. I took Latin for two years in school and I do not know the answer to this question.

Laura: I was going to say; I was like, “I think Eric might be the only person who’s taken Latin on the panel.”

Eric: I actually have, yeah.

Laura: That’s a really great guess, Eric. But what we’re looking for is more of considering how Latin was pronounced back in the day, as the kids say, when it was commonly spoken, which is referred to as classical Latin. And then there’s how we use Latin today, which is almost exclusively in a religious setting, so that is known as church Latin.

Andrew and Eric: Oh.

Laura: Now, the Harry Potter spells as we know them, I would say are more heavily influenced by church Latin because of the time and place in which they were envisioned and created. Again, that is just a little nugget of historical knowledge that I think is really fun to know, but it is not something that you will be quizzed on, so don’t worry about it. For today’s lesson, though, we’re going to be talking about vowels, and I would love to start with short vowels, because Latin has short vowels and long vowels. In order to get us started today, we’re going to talk about the six vowels in Latin. Who wants to take a crack at guessing what they are? Do not worry about pronouncing them in Latin; you can start with English, if that’s a hint as to what the six vowels are, or what some of them may be.

Andrew: “A.”

Laura: Andrew, I need you to raise your hand.

Andrew: Oh.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: We actually have been raising our hands today, listeners.

Eric: This is audio.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Just so they know. We have been raising our hands, except for this bad Slytherin student.

Laura: Yes, Andrew?

Andrew: “A.”

Laura: Okay. That’s one. Micah?

Micah: “O.”

Laura: Okay. Robbie?

Robbie: “U.”

Laura: Yes. Eric?

Eric: “I?”

Laura: Mhm. Andrew?

Andrew: “E.”

Laura: Correct. There’s one bonus one. Micah?

Micah: “Y.”

Laura: Correct, yeah. “Y” is really interesting, and it’s not one that we’ll actually spend a lot of time on here today, because it’s not one that is overly prevalent in spells in the wizarding world. It comes from the original Greek vowel of “Y” that Latin speakers would have used back when classical Latin was spoken. We’ll say five points to everyone across the board.

Andrew: Woo-hoo!

Laura: And now that we have our vowels laid out, I want to see if anyone can guess what short vowel pronunciation might be based on your knowledge of how spells are pronounced in Harry Potter. So we can look at the original spells that Andrew laid out for us here a few minutes ago. Let’s look at Petrificus Totalus, specifically the “I” as we would call it in English. Can anybody mimic what that “I” sounds like in Petrificus Totalus?

Eric: “Ihh.”

Laura: Eric, do you think that’s a short vowel or a long vowel?

Eric: Oh, I always get this wrong. Is that a short vowel?

Laura: Correct, yeah. Ten points to Hufflepuff

Andrew: No!

Laura: Just handing out the points like candy here today.

Eric: But Miss Tee, in the other spells, it seems to have the other way of doing it. Expell-ee-armus, Wingard-ee-um Lev-ee-osa.

Laura: Yeah, so would you say that that is the short version or the long version of the “I”?

Eric: Oh, God. Oh, God. Long version?

Laura: That’s correct. Another five points to Hufflepuff; well done. So now it’s time for a pop quiz, and I think that Mr. Scull may have given everybody a bit of a hint about where to look here. I’m going to give you a spell, and I want you to tell me which vowel has its short pronunciation and its long pronunciation present in the spell? The spell is Wingardium Leviosa. Robbie?

Robbie: Is it the “A” for both the long and the short? You’d have the Wingardium would be the long “A,” and in Leviosa, you’d have the short “A.”

Laura: That’s one. There’s two in here. So Robbie, ten points to Hufflepuff. Can anyone pick up on what the other vowel is?

Andrew: The “I”?

Laura: Correct. Yeah, you have the “ihh,” and the… what’s the other one?

Eric: ee-osa.

Andrew: Ah, yeah. Is that right?

Laura: There you go. Very, very good.

Andrew: Thanks, Hufflepuff.

Laura: So I would love to wrap this up by revisiting some spell pronunciations and seeing if we can get another volunteer to read the original three spells that we looked at at the head of today’s lesson to see if we’re feeling a little more confident about how to pronounce them.

Andrew: Ooh, pick me, pick me.

Laura: Well, Andrew, you did the pronunciations in the beginning, so I’m going to hand it off to Robbie.

Robbie: Wingardium Leviosa, Expelliarmus, Petrificus Totalus.

Laura: Perfect. Excellent work. Five points to Hufflepuff. Now that we’ve revisited some spell pronunciations, we’re going to talk a little bit about homework. When it comes to this class, I think that you’re going to get the most out of these lessons by doing applied homework. That is, I’m not going to ask you to write multiple pages about spell pronunciation, because that’s not going to help you learn how to pronounce your spells better. So what I would like you to do is go home and record yourselves practicing the short and the long versions of Latin vowels. I’ll be providing a resource list just in case you need a reminder of what those sound like. But that’s it for today’s lesson, everyone. Thank you so much for your participation.

Micah: Professor Tee, can we try them on siblings?

Laura: [laughs] You can.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: But I would caution being very, very careful. I think we actually in last week’s episode talked about an example of someone who attempted to vanish her sibling and she ended up vanishing herself, so it can be harmful to your sibling, can be harmful to you.

Andrew: All right, so I’m learning to not befriend Micah this school year, because you might try some spells on me.

Laura: Micah, I’m beginning to wonder if we Sorted you too early.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Some Ravenclaws really have a hard edge.

Micah: I was a Hatstall between Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

Andrew: Oh, well, there we freaking go. That explains a lot.

Laura: That explains a whole lot.

Micah: But it is our choices, right?

Eric: Some say.

Micah: All right, well, now it is time to learn about international wizarding cultures, and this lesson is wizarding schools around the world. And just in terms of why I decided to pick this, I think it’s important to learn about other wizarding cultures and other wizarding institutions. We don’t really see much of this in the Harry Potter series. Our exposure to the larger international wizarding community really comes in Goblet of Fire through both the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament, and while Beauxbatons and Durmstrang spend time at Hogwarts, we don’t really get to learn all that much about their schools, or at least not as much as we would like to. So there’s definitely an opportunity at Hogwarts to expand beyond those two schools and learn about the larger wizarding community, their traditions, their politics, and, of course, their magic. Now, there are 11 long established and prestigious wizarding schools worldwide, all of which are registered with the International Confederation of Wizards. Much like Hogwarts, the precise location of each of the following schools is a closely-guarded secret. But for the purposes of this class, however, we’re only going to be focused on just a handful of institutions today. But before we get started, can anybody tell me the name of any of the other wizarding schools? Now, I know I mentioned Beauxabtons and Durmstrang. We’re going to take them off the list. Mr. Scull?

Eric: There was Mahoutokoro.

Micah: Very good. 20 points to Hufflepuff.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Miss Tee?

Laura: There’s Uagadou.

Micah: Very good. 20 points to Ravenclaw. Mr. Sims?

Andrew: Yes! Ilvermorny?

Micah: Very good. Five points to Slytherin.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: Mr. Stillman?

Robbie: I was going to say Ilvermorny, but I can think of the one in Brazil but I don’t want to mispronounce it. I think it’s Castelobruxo?

Micah: Very good. 20 points to Hufflepuff. I’m surprised Mr. Sims didn’t comment on my only five points to Slytherin, but…

Andrew: I was wondering that, but I was like, “Wait…” I was second guessing. You’re such a troll.

Micah: Well, we don’t care as much about the Americans here. That’s what it is.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: So let’s learn a little bit about many of the schools that were mentioned, with the exception of Ilvermorny. We’ll leave that for another class. So Beauxbatons, the school is located somewhere in the Pyrenees. It caters to the French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Luxembourgian, and Belgian students. Its alumni include the well-known alchemist Nicolas Flamel, who is commemorated with a large fountain situated in the middle of the school’s park. This fountain is said to have healing and beautifying properties. Durmstrang. Now, Durmstrang is one of the most secretive of all schools in terms of its whereabouts, so nobody can be quite certain where it is. Visitors – who must comply with Memory Charms to erase their knowledge of how they got there – speak of vast sprawling grounds with many stunning views, not least of the great dark spectral ship that is moored on a mountain lake behind the school, from which the students dive in summertime. Now, I think we all know that Durmstrang has the darkest reputation of all the schools, having fallen twice under the leadership of Dark wizards, and produced at least one infamous pupil. Does anybody know who that infamous pupil is? Miss Tee?

Laura: Is it Gellert Grindelwald?

Micah: Yes, it is. Ten points to Ravenclaw.

Andrew: Oooh.

Micah: And surprisingly, he will be joining us live via Zoom next week to talk about his experience at Durmstrang.

Andrew: Ew.

Laura: Wait, are we getting the Johnny Depp version or the Mads Mikkelsen version?

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: No, this is the real Grindelwald.

Andrew: [laughs] “Real.”

Laura: Oh, okay. So Mads.

Micah: [laughs] It’s not Mads or Johnny. It’s Gellert.

Laura: Okay.

Micah: Now, Mr. Scull, you mentioned Mahoutokoro.

Eric: Yes.

Micah: This school is situated on the volcanic island of Iwo Jima in Japan. The school takes students from the early age of seven years old, although these children do not board at the school until the age of 11. These younger students are actually flown to and from the school daily by flocks of giant storm petrels, which are magical birds. Now, the main feature that sets this school apart from the other schools is that their robes are enchanted to change color as the wearer grows in skill. And fun fact, my mother-in-law actually went here. Horrible woman, but that’s a story for another time.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: Miss Tee, you mentioned Uagadou, which is located in the Mountains of the Moon in Uganda. It produces many students who are highly qualified in subjects such as alchemy, astronomy, and self-transfiguration. Now, instead of receiving a letter by owl, students are told of their acceptance to the school by a message from the headmaster or headmistress, through what are known as dream messengers. It’s very cool.

Andrew: Wow.

Laura: I want to go there. That school seems way cooler than Hogwarts.

Andrew: You just started here at Hogwarts and already you’re getting ready to leave? Dang.

Laura: [laughs] But we’re all in remedial classes. We’re in our…

Eric: [laughs] I wasn’t going to mention the fact that we’ve already been through school and are now back somehow, inexplicably.

Laura: Hey, we’re late-blooming wizards, okay?

Eric: Right.

Laura: Going back to Hogwarts above the age of 17.

Micah: And finally, for today’s lesson, Castelobruxo. Located deeply within the rainforest, it is shaped like a castle in Brazil, and it takes students from all over South America. Now, the school grounds are protected by the Caipora, small creatures who are said to be tricky and mysterious. The school specializes in Herbology and Magizoology, and offers exchange programs for European students wanting to encounter other types of flora and fauna. Also, one other fun fact: It is the famed failed location for the site of Fantastic Beasts 3: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: All right, well, I hope you all enjoyed learning a little bit about some of the other wizarding institutions around the world. We’ll wrap up here with a quick pop quiz. Which school did my mother-in-law attend?

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Miss Tee?

Laura: Durmstrang.

Micah: I’m sorry, that is not correct.

Laura: What?

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: I thought she was horrible.

Micah: Mr. Scull.

Eric: Was it Mahoutokoro?

Micah: It was. Very good. 50 points to Hufflepuff.

Eric: Man, I hope Chloé can count this, I am telling you. Hufflepuff is on the rise.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Wait, is she actually keeping track?

Eric: She was, in the Discord.

Andrew: Oh my God. You go, Chloé.

Laura: Yep. Hufflepuff rising.

Micah: We will venture to each of these locations in our minds, of course, throughout the year, but we will also be joined by many a special guest, including Gellert Grindelwald next week, so make sure you come back.

Andrew: Oh, I can’t wait. I love guest speakers.

Micah: Homework, a roll of parchment on which school you would most like to visit, and why.

Eric: Aww.

Andrew: All right, Robbie, time to bring us home today with your lesson.

Robbie: Awesome. And going right after Micah, Ilvermorny is my least favorite school because with wands in particular, they don’t let you keep them in the summertime. They keep them at the school.

Andrew: [gasps] What?

Robbie: They don’t trust you.

Andrew: Ilvermorny is canceled.

Micah: [laughs] Magic filth.

[Andrew laughs]

Robbie: Well, so yeah, wandlore. And just to begin with a little security issue, we don’t start this class until year three as an elective, and there’s minimal use of wands except for close examination. So no spells, nothing like that, so you should keep safe that way. Additionally, this class is unique that to go on to NEWT level, you have to not just have an OWL in wandlore; you have to have OWLs in Herbology and Care Magical Creatures, because you’ll be learning to procure wand wood and use magical cores. Now, today we’re starting with just wand woods, and it’s interesting to start so soon at year three because only a minority of trees can produce wand-quality wood, just as a minority of humans can produce magic. It takes years of experience to tell which ones have the gift, although the job is made easier if Bowtruckles are found nesting amid leaves. Now, today there will be no pop quiz, but I will ask as I’m going to describe two different types of wands, and I’m going to ask if you guys can guess which of my fellow Hogwarts professors have wands made of these woods. The first one is cedar. “One who carries a cedar wand has strength of character and unusual loyalty. The cedar wand finds its perfect home where there’s shrewdness and perception. Those with cedar are incredibly difficult to fool, and I have never yet met the owner of a cedar wand whom I would care to cross, especially if harm is done to those of whom they are fond. The witch or wizard who is well-matched with cedar carries the potential to be a frightening adversary, which often comes as a shock to those who have thoughtlessly challenged them.” Which professor at Hogwarts is a cedar? Professor Flitwick, Professor Sprout, and Professor Slughorn.

Andrew: Can’t be Slughorn.

Eric: Is it Professor Flitwick?

Robbie: It is not.

Laura: Okay, it’s got to be Sprout.

Robbie: It is not. It actually is Slughorn.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: No, he’s not loyal! Boo.

Laura: Oh my God, look at us over here leading with assumptions.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Well, you said it’s a loyal professor, right? I just was like, “Slughorn, eh.”

Robbie: I mean, if you think about it, he is loyal. Battle of Hogwarts, and loyal to Dumbledore to an extent. There was a hint in there that I changed one of the words to shrewdness, because that’s well-described for Slytherin.

Andrew: Ooh.

Laura: Very true.

Robbie: Well, no points given for that one.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Laura: Womp, womp.

Eric: But no points taken, so that’s…

Robbie: No points taken. I’m not that kind of Professor; I don’t like to penalize people. Now, the second wand wood today is English oak. “A wand for good times and bad, this is a friend as loyal as the wizard who deserves it. Wands in English oak demand partners of strength, courage, and fidelity. Less well-known is the propensity for owners of English oak to have powerful intuition, and often an affinity with the magic of the natural world, with the creatures and plants that are necessary to wizardkind for both magic and pleasure. The oak tree is also called the King of the Forest from winter solstice up to the summer solstice, and its wood should only be collected during that time.” Madam Pomfrey, Professor Sprout, Professor Hagrid.

Andrew: I’m going to say my boy Hagrid. Professor Hagrid.

Robbie: It is Professor Hagrid.

Andrew: Woo!

Robbie: Ten points to Slytherin.

Laura: Good job.

Andrew: My boy.

Robbie: Second question with English oak: There is a wizard within the wizarding world and Muggle folklore who also supposedly had a English oak wand. Any guesses? Mr. Scull?

Eric: Is it Merlin?

Robbie: It is. Ten points to Hufflepuff.

Andrew: Wow!

Robbie: As we wrap up today, the only homework I have for each of you is to write a one-page essay on your own wand wood and what resonates about it with you and what it shows you.

Andrew: Aw. Okay.

Eric: Can I actually email this to you afterwards? I’m interested.

[Everyone laughs]

Robbie: Oh, sure. That would be awesome. Honestly, when Pottermore came out and you could add friends and all that, I would copy and paste what my friends’ wand woods were and I’d just put it in a doc.

Andrew: Oh my gosh. That’s so sweet.

Laura: That’s very sweet.

Andrew: That was great, Robbie.

Robbie: Thank you.

Andrew: And there we go. That’s our first day at Hogwarts. Whew, that was exhausting. I got a lot of homework to do. Chloé, do you know who won? Which House won?

Micah: Hufflepuff definitely won.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, I think it was Hufflepuff too.

Micah: Not even close.

Laura: I think we know Hufflepuff was first. Gryffindor was last, because there are no Gryffindors on the panel.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: That’s all that matters, really.

Laura: Watch Dumbledore come busting in here like the Kool-Aid man and he’s like, “3,000 points to Gryffindor!”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Oh, at the very last minute?

Andrew: “Ohh, yeahhh,” like the Kool-Aid man. [laughs] Okay, the official tally is… yeah, Hufflepuff won, Ravenclaw second, Slytherin third, Gryffindor lost. Thank you, Chloé, for keeping track. All right, that was fun.

Laura: I loved that. [laughs]

Andrew: Thanks again, everybody. Job well done for putting together lessons.

Robbie: That was a great way to start Saturday morning.

Eric: Oh, man.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Way more fun than a typical Muggle Saturday morning. And next week, it begins. Chapter by Chapter returns to MuggleCast. We’ll be going through the first three chapters of Sorcerer’s Stone; grab your books, get reading, and we’ll be back Tuesday with a new episode. Kicking off Chapter by Chapter, we’ve got some new segments in store, and these new segments will also pop up, maybe not in this first installment, but in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned for that. If you have any feedback on today’s episode, or maybe about Chapters 1-3 of Sorcerer’s Stone, you can send an owl to, or use the contact form on To send a voice message, record it using the Voice Memo app on your phone and then email us that file, or just call us on the old telephone. We’re at 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453.


Andrew: And now it’s time for one more pop quiz today with Quizzitch!

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last 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? The correct answer is his Cauldron Cake. And that was submitted correctly from various people, including Buff Daddy; Bubotuber Pus; Artemis Fido the Second; Florian BORT-escue; Hoofly-poof; Youngledore; Not Actually Isabel; and My name is no, My sign is no, My number is no, You need to let it go…

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: … which I don’t know what that’s all about. But congratulations to all those winners and more, and here is next week’s Quizzitch question: From what neighborhood does Harry first accidentally hail the Knight Bus? Submit your answer to us over on the MuggleCast website,, or choose “Quizzitch” from the top menu.

Andrew: Robbie, it was so great having you on the show today. Thanks again.

Robbie: Yeah, thank you again for having me.

Andrew: Yeah, you’re very welcome. And where can we find you on social media again?

Robbie: I’m on Instagram at @RobTonksWandCollector.

Andrew: Excellent. We’ll check you out. And for all of you at home, make sure you’re following the show for free in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode, and you can leave us a review if they allow you to. Also, don’t forget to follow us on social media; we are @MuggleCast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. And finally, a plug for our Patreon, where Robbie also supports us, and thanks for your support, Robbie. We do really appreciate that. You get bonus MuggleCast installments, access to our livestreams, our planning docs, early access to MuggleCast, ad-free MuggleCast, and the list goes on. So enjoy all those benefits, and the support really means a lot to us. So thank you, everybody. Okay, I think that does it for this week’s episode. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Robbie: I’m Robbie.

Andrew: Happy back to Hogwarts! Wait, where is it?

Micah: Choo-choo!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, you just do it. Why am I playing it? [laughs]