MuggleCast 623 Transcript
Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #623, Double Double-Crosser (POA Chapter 19, The Servant of Lord Voldemort)
[Show music plays]
Andrew Sims: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.
Eric Scull: I’m Eric.
Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.
Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.
Andrew: And this week, get ready to cast your best Revelio, because we’re going to turn a rat into a human traitor.
Andrew: This is a big chapter. It’s a big info dump chapter, too.
Andrew: Still much to discuss. But first, gang, we have another announcement. We’ve just been dropping announcements left and right this summer, I feel. Busy times at MuggleCast.
Micah: Oh, thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Last year…
Micah: Oh, I thought you’re going to say happy birthday.
Andrew: Oh, that’s not in our doc. I mean, if you want to add your own birthday announcement.
Eric: Yeah, that’s nowhere here. We don’t have anything about that here.
Andrew: Happy belated birthday, Micah. How was your birthday?
Micah: It was great, thanks so much for asking.
Eric: Micah, we made you a cake, Chloé and I, earlier this month.
Micah: You did. I did want to say, though, the thought that went into that at LeakyCon was very much appreciated.
Eric: I needed something we could easily convert into the pink Harry Hagrid birthday cake, and that one was already already mostly pink, so I just had to get a little bit of icing and writing.
Micah: Yeah, there was additional work that Eric and Chloé did on top of just getting the cake itself, so I really appreciate that.
Eric: Yeah, we sang happy birthday and that video is on our story.
Laura: It was very sweet.
Andrew: Yes, it was. That was the additional work that went into your birthday this year, Micah. There was no video message from the three of us.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: I was going to say, I was expecting Dan Fogler to jump out at some point.
Andrew: Oh, plus, I mean, that’s worth five birthdays, I think. [laughs]
Micah: It really was.
Eric: We’ll just repost that to socials. That’ll be great.
Andrew: Yeah, why not? Why not? It’s evergreen.
Micah: But please, continue with your announcements.
Andrew: So last year, we introduced the MuggleCast Collector’s Club. This is a five-year club program, and each year between now and 2026, we’re sending four to five exclusive brand new stickers that celebrate the show’s past and present. And we’re also giving you this beautiful – seriously beautiful – Collector’s Club card, in which you can place the stickers. So think of State Quarter Program when we were kids; you pop the quarters into the map, it was really cool. Basically very similar to that. So we unveiled, of course, the year one stickers with last year’s announcement, and now we are ready to share year two’s stickers, and I thought we could take turns sharing brief details about each sticker. So I’ll just go first. We’re going to send everybody a Chicken Soup for the MuggleCast Soul sticker. This one… again, really clever art we did this year. We’ve got little souls floating out of MuggleCast soul can.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Eric: Sticker two is – this really takes it back – my first iPod version, I think it was fifth generation scroll wheel iPod, with MuggleCast pulled up and little headphones coming out of it. Nice little icon there of how it may have looked if you, like many are saying, have listened to us on that old, ancient technology.
Micah: We also have an iconic Hogwarts on fire sticker, which is just fully representative of the fact that Hogwarts is a security nightmare. And this may be one of my favorites. Initially I didn’t know, was it from Deathly Hallows – Part 2? But no, it is…
Andrew: Oh, that’s a good point.
Micah: Maybe it serves both.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s whatever you want it to be.
Laura: I feel like it’s evergreen. Hogwarts is always on fire, physically or metaphorically.
Micah: [laughs] In some respect. It’s a great point.
Laura: The next one we have is the Union Jack flag with “British joke” in the center. This is paying homage to OG MuggleCast host Jamie, who was the one Brit on our panel, and he used to tell a British joke of the week. Highly recommend going back and listening to some of those earlier episodes if you want to get a taste of what Jamie’s hosting was like, and what it was like to actually have a British person on a Harry Potter podcast.
Eric: I was thinking about that. We had some some authenticity there a while ago.
Laura: We did.
Micah: I was trying to think if his jokes would be 2023 appropriate, but his jokes were usually pretty corny, from what I remember.
Laura: Yeah, they were dad jokes. That’s honestly…
Micah: Which is appropriate for him now, since he is a dad.
Andrew: And then the fifth sticker is actually a tier-based exclusive. So if you’re a Dumbledore’s Army patron, you’re going to get a sticker with Dumbledore and two characters behind him and it says the DA, and that’s a sticker just for $5 patrons. And then the Slug Club patrons are going to receive a Slug Club sticker, and this one has two slugs, clinking glasses, champagne glasses. They are slugs in a club. We took it pretty literally.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Eric: This is the cutest design I’ve ever seen.
Andrew: It is, it is. So that’s a fun twist we’re trying this year, doing these tier-based exclusives, and we’ve got a couple other ideas for some surprises in the years ahead. So those are the stickers, the year two stickers as part of the MuggleCast Collector’s Club. This is the only year you can get these stickers; you have to remain pledged each year to receive all of the stickers. Year one stickers are no longer available. That said, we will have these blanks, blank stickers if you will, that have stars on them to help everybody fill out the Collector’s Club card at the end. We don’t want to leave people hanging. But to get these specific exclusive designs, you’ve got to stay pledged throughout the entirety of the MuggleCast Collector’s Club. So pledge at the $5 or $10 level by September 22 to receive this year’s stickers and club card; you can still get a club card. So this is just one of many benefits that you receive as a patron, and we’re really excited to be doing this. This is a really fun long-term program benefit, and can’t wait to see everybody’s club cards by the end of it. Yes, we are basically confirming we intend to still be around in 2026.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Andrew: If we end early, I don’t know. Just burn your club card or something. [laughs]
Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary
Andrew: All right, it’s time for Chapter by Chapter, and this week we’re discussing Chapter 19 of Prisoner of Azkaban, “The Servant of Lord Voldemort,” a.k.a. the info dump chapter. So we’ll start as always with our seven-word summary.
[Seven-Word Summary music plays]
Laura: … begs…
Micah: … Harry…
Eric: … for…
Andrew: … forgiveness…
Laura: … for…
Micah: [sinisterly] … murder.
Andrew: Well done. I like it.
[Seven-Word Summary music ends]
Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion
Andrew: So this really is a continuation of the last chapter and the chapter before that; it’s just one big scene. The events are still unfolding in the Shrieking Shack. However, please welcome to the stage, Severus Snape – he has now joined all the fun. Dumbledore is still nowhere to be found, and I will circle back on that by the end of today’s discussion.
Micah: What’s his intro music, though? I feel like if he’s coming to the stage, he needs entrance music.
[Eric hums “Get Ready for This”]
Andrew: Something from my Slytherin playlist. Maybe “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” Snape found out where everyone was after checking in on Lupin and finding the Marauder’s Map open and activated in his office. Now, I think we have uncovered a bit of a mistake by the Marauders. Where is the map’s auto-lock feature, like what our smartphones have? You would think something that is so hard to open up should also be automatically shutting down after so much time, right?
Laura: Yeah, I would think so, especially since we know that it is able to detect certain people trying to access the map; think about earlier in the book when Snape was trying to get access and it insulted him. So you would think that it would have the ability to go into sleep mode or something after a minute or so.
Eric: Well, the Weasley twins were very clear in their instruction to Harry: “You have to wipe the map, you have to say ‘Mischief Managed,’ otherwise anybody else…” They understand. They understand the risk. But Lupin, who… yeah.
Micah: And we don’t know what the amount of time was between Lupin leaving his office and Snape coming to his office. So if Lupin just happened to forget and ran out quickly, and Snape shows up within five minutes or so… even ten minutes, I don’t know.
Andrew: Well, I’ll tell everybody, I have my auto-lock on my phone set to 30 seconds. I do not let my phone stay open for long at all. [laughs]
Eric: It saves battery life.
Laura: It does.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. I see some people throw their phones in their bag after using it without locking it; I’m like, “What are you doing? What are you doing? Stop that.”
Laura: Should be a habit. But Andrew, I do find it curious that you have yours set to 30 seconds. Mine’s set to 60. I feel like that’s reasonable, but I don’t know. I feel like I’m learning some new level of paranoia about you.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Andrew: What, do you think I’m hiding something? I’m not hiding anything.
Andrew: Okay, you know what, Laura, I’ll take your… I just switched to one minute. I will see how that goes for me.
Andrew: I’m also just so used to locking it, it doesn’t even matter.
Laura: Yeah, I do the same thing. I’m just giving you a hard time.
Micah: You need to add Laura as a secondary facial recognition so that she can access your phone whenever.
Andrew: [laughs] Why? Why do I want her accessing my…?
Laura: You never know.
Andrew: Never know what?
Eric: The real question I have is just all of the carelessness that Lupin displays regarding his condition in this chapter. It’s one thing… so he sees what’s going on in the grounds. He runs out with the map just open on his desk. Okay, we can forgive that. But why hasn’t he been to take his potion yet? And Snape, who is arriving with the potion because he has not taken it yet, also just does not take it with him when he sees where Lupin is going. He does not bring it down there so that Lupin can have it; he probably just sets it on Lupin’s desk and grabs the map and runs down. Like, thanks for nothing, Snape.
Micah: In fairness to Snape, let’s think about this in a similar fashion to how Lupin reacts to what he sees on the map. So if Snape sees Sirius Black on the map, you’ve got to imagine he’s going to react very quickly and run out of the room after them, so it’s certainly possible that he forgot the potion. And I agree that this whole situation is very convenient, because the potion isn’t even brought up for the remainder of the chapter. It’s mentioned when Snape initially arrives in the Shrieking Shack, but then we hear nothing about it, so it’s almost like the author wants us to forget that Lupin needs to take this potion because something is about to go down.
Eric: [laughs] Well, it’s dangerous given the last time Snape was in the Shrieking Shack or getting close to the Shrieking Shack… the idea that by not bringing him the potion, he’s essentially going to be faced at some point this evening with a fully grown werewolf, which, we’ve just finished reading in the last chapter, are extreme dangers to humans. So Snape is putting everyone in risk by not bringing that Wolfsbane Potion down with him. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
Andrew: Isn’t it worrying? I mean, it is just very worrying that he had forgotten to take the potion. That seems like a major security issue right there. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, by now you’ve formed the habit.
Andrew: Right. I know stuff’s going down around town right now, but still, you’ve got to remember.
Micah: Do we know with 100% certainty that Snape doesn’t have the potion on him? Remember, he gets knocked out, so he could have it inside of his cloak.
Eric: I seem to remember it being a smoking goblet when Harry sees it be delivered a few chapters back, so it doesn’t seem transportable necessarily.
Andrew: So Snape has joined, and he’s in full prosecute mode. He is raging, and any “Snape is good” points being earned initially by appearing to be team Dumbledore – which I’m sure for the trio is interesting and refreshing to see – those points quickly evaporate when the trio asks Snape to consider Lupin and Sirius’s story of what’s going on with Scabbergrew, and Snape just absolutely refuses to hear it. He doesn’t want to hear a peep about this and certainly not from the students. And Lupin is urgent in his tone, it says. Though it did cross my mind, you would think maybe there would be a bit of a rapport or trust at this point between Lupin and Snape since Snape has been making this potion for Lupin, but in Lupin’s words, and he knows exactly what’s going on, Snape is just holding this schoolboy grudge still.
Micah: Yeah. And it’s interesting to compare and contrast how Snape treats Hermione in this moment when she is trying to be a little bit more rational in her thinking and ask some questions, versus how Lupin treated her just a couple chapters ago, even when she was prodding him pretty harshly. And you can see the different teaching styles that Lupin has versus how Snape… just his behavior is… the moment is clearly overwhelming him to the point where he’s not even willing to show any level of respect for Hermione. I mean, he gets pretty nasty with her.
Eric: Oh yeah, he says, “Don’t talk about things you don’t possibly understand,” etc., etc. Yeah, like Andrew said, it’s prosecute mode. He’s not listening to any further evidence. But crucially, as we said, maybe the whole reason for the previous chapter was to establish that Snape really hasn’t heard anything about Peter Pettigrew. The only thing that happens while Snape remains conscious in this chapter is Sirius looking over and going, “But the rat,” and there’s no real payoff to “You need to understand, Peter Pettigrew walks among us,” all this stuff. All that talk about Peter Pettigrew has been cleverly placed out of Snape’s earshot, so he’s coming in. And the other reason for heightened emotions is that he believes Sirius is responsible for betraying the Potters, which ended in Lily’s death, so I think this is more like finally confronting the person that… Snape clearly blames himself to some extent for the death of the Potters, but it’s Sirius who was supposed to be the additional failsafe that failed. And so this whole “Straight to the Dementors, I think two kisses,” is really just Snape acting out his self-hatred and redirecting it toward the people in this room.
Laura: Yeah, I agree. And I think there’s some threads that we can connect around the irrationality that Snape is exhibiting in this moment. Some of it is because he doesn’t have all the information. Some of it is, of course, because he’s too close to this, right? He’s face to face with his school age bully, who he feels is partially responsible for the death of the woman he loves. But we can connect this to the way that Harry reacts to Snape and sometimes even Draco, just being utterly convinced that they are the perpetrators of the various goings-on at Hogwarts and in the wizarding world, only to be proven wrong. Usually Hermione is the one who attempts to fill those gaps for him and he is very dismissive of her, maybe not in as mean of a way as Snape is in this scene, but it’s just funny to see Snape acting in a way that we’re going to see Harry acting throughout the rest of the series at points.
Eric: That comparison hurts.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Eric: But Snape at least gets a little bit even worse when he’s with Fudge later. Let’s come back to this and see if there’s a Harry comparison for that behavior later.
Laura: Yeah, I don’t know if there’s one for that.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Laura: I think it’s on a spectrum, right? It’s shades of this behavior.
Andrew: So Snape is chomping at the bit to take Sirius to the Dementors. “Punish a Marauder? Yes please, I am all for this, and Dumbledore is not here to curb me.” And Laura, you just mentioned this – and I know, Micah, you wanted to bring this up too – Snape is looking at the man he believes is responsible for Lily’s death.
Micah: Yeah, I think this has to be emotional overload for Snape in a lot of ways, coming into this room. Seeing Lupin, who he’s had suspicions about for the entire year, potentially aiding Sirius. Sirius is there. He believes Sirius directly responsible, as has been brought up, for Lily’s death, the woman that he cared for probably more than anybody else in his entire life. And so having that context – and I think, Andrew, you put a point in here about that – is very interesting, because when we first read through this series, I don’t know that we’re necessarily looking at it through that lens of Snape’s love for Lily coming into play. And as I mentioned earlier, it’s emotional overload for Snape. I think we have to be fair to him, at least in this moment, because there isn’t a reason to doubt that Lupin was helping Sirius. Here they are standing in the Shrieking Shack together.
Eric: Side by side.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s a good point. And it is really fascinating to reread this with that context. I do wonder if Sirius or Lupin may have suspected themselves that Snape had feelings for Lily, because sometimes you just have a feeling. Sometimes you can see it in their eyes.
Eric: Yeah, I think they would have been highly aware, because Lily would have been publicly seen with Snape for the first probably at least five years of their Hogwarts schooling, based on Snape’s worst memory being the moment that he truly loses Lily by calling her “Mudblood” in public and she walks away. I feel like it would have been well known, actually, that… but it’s not brought up, and this is so crazy to me because this chapter is so detailed and so dense. But there’s this entire other layer of Snape loving Lily, and also Snape being the one that actually gave the prophecy to Voldemort. So there’s nothing about the prophecy sparking Voldemort to go find the Potters; none of that’s in here either. There’s just so many layers to what happened and what caused the Potters’ deaths that you read this early book, and sure, everything in here is correct and interesting, but there’s so much more left to go and you’re just like, “Wow, how does this all play out?” Reasonably, Snape could also be blaming himself. Well, the prophecy and who went to the Potters, it’s unclear what the Marauders know about Dumbledore getting that prophecy and who relayed it to them. If they knew Snape was the one that gave the prophecy to Voldemort, there would just be a murder right now. [laughs] This chapter could not go on.
Laura: I think it’s also interesting because it adds a whole new layer to this moment that happens in this chapter where Snape has his wand between Sirius’s eyes, and he begs him for an excuse to do it. I think in the moment, as an early reader of the series, you’re intended to believe that this is purely because of the schoolboy grudge that he still holds against Sirius, but there’s also that added layer of what he believes Sirius to be responsible for with regard to Lily’s death.
Eric: Yeah, the only person he hates more than Sirius is probably himself.
Micah: Ooh, that’s deep. This also made me think a little bit in terms of connecting the threads, with Snape playing such a pivotal role in the reveal of Sirius in this moment. We also know that Snape is tasked with carrying a message in Order of the Phoenix back to the Order that Harry believes that Sirius is in fact in a lot of trouble, right? And I’m thinking on the spot here, but there’s definitely threads that can be connected between those two moments.
Andrew: Well, so moving along here, with their backs against the wall, Harry, Ron, and Hermione all try to disarm Snape at once, and they knock him out. Harry gives him the ol’ Expelliarmus, of course, and Hermione has a “We’re going to be in so much trouble” thought. And I just wanted to acknowledge that we can add an extra point here for the “Oh my God, we’re totally going to be expelled” count that I presented a while back.
Andrew: Remember in the first couple books, especially, they were constantly thinking they were going to be kicked out of Hogwarts.
Laura: Do they get to a point where they realize they’re not going to be kicked out of Hogwarts? I feel like throughout the books they continue doing stuff like this, but the mentions of “We’re going to be expelled, we’re going to be kicked out” seem to decrease over time.
Micah: They just have a hall pass, don’t they?
Laura: Yeah, and I think they know it. I think that’s the thing.
Andrew: But they’re justified. They have reason.
Laura: Yeah, of course, and they also know Dumbledore is going to be like, “Ahh, kids will be kids.”
Andrew: “Eh, whatever.”
Micah: It is cool that all three of the trio fire at Snape at the same time, without even any coordination. They just do it.
Eric: That’s crazy, yeah.
Andrew: Does that speak to how well they already jibe?
Micah: I think so. And one thing that came to mind for me was Hermione in particular is really now starting to question authority. She’s starting to challenge authority in a way that we haven’t seen throughout the first couple of books. I think she’s been very much believing in the Ministry and believing in Hogwarts as an institution, and here she is, end of the third book, casting a spell against a professor. That’s a pretty big 180 for her.
Laura: Yeah, and a great connecting moment to Order of the Phoenix, right? Which is I think… obviously we see themes of Hermione pushing back against authority in Goblet of Fire, but where we really see it come to fruition is Order of the Phoenix.
Andrew: So yeah, the trio are not punished for this…
Andrew: … and their reasoning for disabling him is sound, of course, but they still did attack a teacher. It seems like a very, very, very, very bad thing to do that should have some serious punishment associated with it no matter the circumstances. Should they have least received a talking-to from Dumbledore? [imitates Dumbledore] “Well, maybe next time let the adults do it. Sirius did offer, didn’t he?”
Eric: Well, Sirius does offer. I wonder what Sirius has up his sleeve. He says, “Harry, you should have let me handle it.” Sirius wasn’t exactly in a great position either.
Andrew: Right, I’m not convinced Sirius would have gotten the job done, but at least you’re still letting the adult do it. [laughs] It wasn’t a student.
Laura: Yeah, but they’re also in the time loop at this point, right? So it’s imperative that everything play out exactly as it was intended to, and I think Dumbledore knows that, so what’s the point of giving them a talking-to about something that had to happen in that exact order?
Micah: And in fairness to Snape – never thought I would say those words – he’s trying to protect Harry, Ron, and Hermione in as much as he is bringing up old school grudges with Sirius. I mean, he believes that Lupin and Sirius are threats to Harry, Ron, and Hermione in that moment, right? He takes Lupin out of the equation and then just is one on one with Sirius. And I think that we need to remember what Dumbledore has tasked Snape with throughout most of the series and that’s the protection of Harry. Maybe that is subconsciously part of the reason why he runs out after seeing Sirius on the map, because he knows… from all he knows, Sirius does want to kill Harry. In defense of Severus Snape.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Eric: Well, that’s why it’s crucial that he’s missing this information and he’s in a non-listening mode about Peter Pettigrew. But there is an element, too, where you cannot blame him for assuming what he does here because nobody has said, “Pettigrew is still alive,” because there would be a convincing argument. You could reason it this way and say, “Lily is dead because of Peter and he’s right here,” and then Peter would be the one not leaving the Shack. I was trying to think when it is that Snape learns that Peter really was alive in here, presuming tonight he is set right by Dumbledore. But Snape also isn’t there when Wormtail revives Voldemort next year in the cemetery, so when Snape eventually does lock eyes with Peter in human form, there’s probably bound to be daggers, maybe sometime during Book 5.
Micah: Why doesn’t he want to kill Pettigrew? If we’re talking about the fact that Pettigrew is responsible for Lily’s death, you would think that Snape would definitely not let him move in and be roommates in Half-Blood Prince like he does. [laughs] Yeah, that can’t be a great living situation for the two of them.
Andrew: So real quick, I wanted to do a little “What if?” mini game here. What if the trio did not knock out Snape? Let’s say he put up a protective shield. He saw them coming at him, put up the shield, and stopped them. How would it have played out next?
[“What if?” sound effect plays]
Laura: I still wonder if Snape would have tried to take the route of sedating Sirius and Remus so that he could hand deliver them. I feel like he really wanted that Order of Merlin, first class. He wanted the glory, right? We see later on in this book how much he revels in that moment, right? So I wonder if he still would have tried to do it. He might have failed.
Andrew: I would have expected a really great duel between Sirius, Lupin, and Snape that brought down the shack, and the trio have to run for cover or something.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Micah: That would be awesome.
Laura: Bringing down the house.
Eric: Well, especially when you consider that Snape is so good at nonverbal spells and things. It’s just real next level.
Andrew: And he’s just so mad right now. He’s been wanting to take revenge out on Sirius and Lupin for the longest time, and now’s his chance.
Eric: Well, his line “Give me a reason” to Black. The Unforgivable Curses are on the table in this moment. He could give him the Killing Curse, and he would be able to use it. He’s one of the few teachers we see… well, he does use it eventually.
Andrew: For all of Snape’s problems, I wonder if he is the type of person to use one of those in front of students. I mean, it’s special circumstances; he’s concerned about Sirius. But still, in front of kids?
Eric: Well, it shut Sirius down.
Micah: But we know he’s willing to call the Dementors as well. And I wonder if Harry would have tried to dispel them when they show up, to prevent them from… like he does later on in the book.
Eric: I think he would have had to subdue the kids too. So if he himself is not subdued, you have these kids shouting for him to listen, and things are going crazy, and he would have put each of the children… either petrified them or something – or not petrified but Petrificus Totalus them or something – to get them to basically not resist, and then he would have gone off and done the thing.
Andrew: All right. I love these little mind game scenarios played out in our heads.
Eric: We should do one every episode. That was fun.
Andrew: Yeah, it is fun to think about.
Andrew: So moving along here, Snape is out of commission. And Sirius finally gets to explain how he realized that Pettigrew was hiding as Ron’s rat: He saw the family photo of the Weasleys in the Daily Prophet that Fudge had given him while he was in Azkaban, which is just so nice of Fudge, and he recognized him at once because of all the times he had seen him transform, and of course he saw the missing toe. “A finger!”
Eric: This is so classic. It is so utterly… all the pieces that have been littered throughout the book in the story so far now put together, come together, what does it all mean? Unbelievable. Just masterful. Amazing.
Micah: Hey, I’m just impressed with Sirius’s ability to notice a missing toe on a rat in a photo in a newspaper. I mean, that is…
Andrew: Right. [laughs]
Eric: In the dark. In the dark in a cell in Azkaban.
Andrew: I mean, if I’m playing devil’s advocate, if I’m thinking about the Daily Prophets in the movies, those are some pretty sharp pictures they had printed.
Eric: Very HD.
Micah: They move, too, right?
Andrew: They move, too! Right, that’s helpful.
Eric: Yeah, maybe at one point Scabbers hopped off, ran around a little bit.
Andrew: Or he’s waving one of his toes at the camera person.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: Or his hands, I mean. Paws. [laughs]
Laura: Well, we also have to remember Sirius saw him transform hundreds of times, so he probably has a pretty good beat on what Peter looks like in his rat form. I did want to ask, though, do we know when the first time it was noted that Scabbers was missing a toe? It would be interesting to know how early in the series that was mentioned.
Eric: Oh. I mean, I would assume when he takes him into Magical Menagerie this book, but yeah, it would be absolutely crazy if it happened sooner.
Laura: Yeah, well, even just thinking about the fact that Sirius Black gets mentioned in the first chapter of the series.
Laura: So it makes me wonder how quickly we learned this about Scabbers. And then also thinking about the fact… I was thinking about this reading this chapter the other day. Imagine what Pettigrew felt – Scabbergrew in his rat form – when he just so happens to end up in the same train compartment as Harry Potter when he’s going back to Hogwarts. [laughs]
Andrew: “Just my luck!”
Eric: He’s thinking, “Holy cheese.”
Andrew: “Yes, Ron, be friends with him. Be friends with him. That sounds like a great idea.”
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: “I’ll continue to cower right in your pocket and stare at him so I can tell my old friend Lord Voldemort that I’ve got eyes on him.”
Micah: I thought it would be interesting to look up, what does a missing toe signify? And I think it’s very appropriate for how we characterize Pettigrew throughout the series. But it’s said that a missing toe can signify being incomplete, being inadequate, being powerless, regret for missed opportunities, and vulnerability. And I think so many of these apply to Pettigrew as a character, particularly the feeling of inadequacy because I think that has a large role in why he chooses to ultimately side with Voldemort and not stay true to his friends in James, Sirius, and Remus. And I think we’re going to talk about it a little bit later on, but just how he was treated by them. I mean, he was seen kind of as the fourth wheel, and I wonder if that really ended up being a major factor into why he went over to the Dark side.
Andrew: So Sirius then starts giving some love to Crookshanks, and I definitely wanted to talk about this because I think we were talking about it a couple of weeks ago. He revealed that he had formed a relationship with Crookshanks and says, “Crookshanks realized Scabbers was no good right away.” Even though they had formed a partnership, Sirius never learned Crookshanks’s name, though, until this moment where Ron calls Crookshanks by his name. Sirius did say that after some time, he managed to communicate to Crookshanks what he was after, and that he had “been helping me,” so they do communicate somehow. But I do find it interesting that even though they can communicate, Sirius is still not learning Crookshanks’s name. [laughs] Isn’t that a little strange?
Eric: Yeah, it’s wild. Animals have no need for names, right? For each other.
Andrew: Ooh. Just, “That one.”
Micah: How would Crookshanks say what his name is? He can’t communicate.
Andrew: How does Crookshanks say anything else? I don’t know.
Eric: [laughs] That’s a fair question.
Micah: Did he not have a little tag?
Andrew: Oh, a name tag. Yeah.
Laura: I mean, I think we talked about this a few episodes ago, about nonverbal animal communication that you’ll see anytime you see two animals meeting and getting to know each other.
Eric: Dogs and cats especially.
Laura: Yeah, I think we are to assume that’s what happened here.
Andrew: I still am just very frustrated that they never had the small talk of “So what’s your name?”
Eric: Well, it works additionally because Crookshanks is a Kneazle or part Kneazle. And Sirius says, “He’s one of the most brilliant of his kind I’ve ever seen,” so there’s some added leeway there where it’s like, if you don’t believe a person who looks like a dog and thinks like a man could communicate with a cat, then there’s this additional magic bit to it. But I love the idea of gradually building trust, and Crookshanks eventually sees Peter in this chapter and is all hisses and like, “I knew it.”
Andrew: How about a Ouija board? They find a Ouija board and point to the letters. C-R-O…
Eric: Well, I just don’t know… the list of passwords. So Crookshanks… let’s look at what Crookshanks has told Sirius.
Andrew: No, I still want to talk about not knowing their names. I’m just kidding.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Eric: But in animal form, all the things that Crookshanks tells Sirius that he did… and bringing the list of passwords. Crookshanks clearly would have either had to read or knows what’s on that sheet. It’s crazy.
Andrew: Yeah. So the passwords, we learn that Crookshanks did steal the list of passwords for Sirius; he steals it from Neville. I feel like Crookshanks should get in trouble for this. McGonagall, a fellow feline, who is Head of House Gryffindor, where the scene of the crime occurred, the stealing of the password list, should be punishing Crookshanks in some way. It also doesn’t sit right with me because there should be an explicit understanding between human and animal at Hogwarts that they must abide by school rules. They don’t get to do whatever they want. That’s part of the deal of getting to hang out at Hogwarts.
Eric: Have you met cats? Cats do whatever they want.
Andrew: Yes, but this is a special cat.
Laura: I was about to ask Eric, as the resident cat parent on this panel…
Eric: Oh boy.
Laura: … is there any way that you could punish a cat? Is that possible? Because from my vantage point…
Andrew: In an unproblematic way? [laughs]
Laura: Yeah, of course. It feels like it’s not possible.
Eric: No, cats are another form of life. You cannot punish them in a way that matters.
Laura: Yeah, they don’t care.
Eric: Totally foreign. What would it be like…?
Micah: I’m just thinking about my interactions with Martha.
Eric: Oh, you love Martha.
Micah: Yeah, we’re friends.
Eric: You’re a friend of all pets, actually.
Micah: I am.
Eric: In two weeks you got Martha love, you got Finn love… a little bit different. They express their love in different ways.
Andrew: Yes, very different ways, yes.
Eric: But no, so I mean, apart from points from Gryffindor, McGonagall really does blame Neville for the list existing. I think any additional information that McGonagall could have about “That list was in fact taken by the cat strictly to Sirius Black…” She already punished Neville for it, the fact that the list was there.
Micah: Yeah, I mean, you could take this in so many different directions, because Neville really shouldn’t have been writing down the passwords to begin with, right?
Micah: Now, if you go even further back, though, it all has to do with the fact that Sir Cadogan was changing the passwords every five minutes. Take it a step back, you just don’t have the right security measures in place for students to be able to access their common room.
Micah: And so we can put this at the feet of Dumbledore, which we did chapters ago – sorry, Andrew – but I do think that there should be some level of responsibility here. I agree with Andrew; you can’t just have your pets running around and stealing things from other people, especially in this case. You’re giving access to a presumed mass murderer to enter the school.
Eric: I’ll push back and say just that these are extraneous circumstances. If Crookshanks had not met a being that is somewhere between human and animal that had built up a trust over the school year and really come together over this other non-human non-animal being in Scabbers, none of this would ever happen. Crookshanks is a well-behaved boy, and he would not have stolen the list of passwords if not coaxed to over many months.
Micah: Shady cat.
Andrew: So Harry is still not understanding what Sirius’s story means, and Lupin has to give a “Don’t you see?” which I always feel like is a choice by an editor editing a book being like, “Okay, we need to make it a little more explicitly clear for the reader; they’re children.”
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: You see this in television too. “Don’t you get it?” [laughs] And then you get the explicit explanation. So Lupin says it twice, “Don’t you see?” to Harry. So the “Don’t you see?” to Harry and the reader is that Peter betrayed Lily and James, and Sirius was the one who tracked Peter down, and then we got an all-caps Harry moment. He says, “THAT’S NOT TRUE! He -” he being Sirius “- was their Secret Keeper! He said so before you turned up. He said he killed them!” And then the twist, Sirius says he persuaded Lily and James to change to Peter at the last moment.
Micah: Why? The big question here… and I thought about this a little bit, and we don’t know a whole lot about Sirius’s character at this point. But I was curious if it can be viewed as a purely selfish move on the part of Sirius, as it takes the target off of his back.
Andrew: Well, so first we have to add, Sirius does say, “I thought it was the perfect plan… a bluff… Voldemort would be sure to come after me, would never dream they’d use a weak, talentless thing like you,” which I think is actually a reasonable thought.
Eric: Yeah, this is probably the best Sirius Black chapter of all of them because of his fierce support. You get the sense, especially when he’s arguing with Peter later about “You should have died rather than betray your friends,” Sirius really actually was prepared to die for Lily and James. I think that joking nature, though, that James and Sirius have been established to have, like the progenitors of the Weasley twins… really were like, “Okay, if Sirius is confronted by Voldemort, and he is our Secret Keeper, there’s a non-zero chance that Voldemort does get the information. Not because Sirius betrays them, but maybe he has these Dark powers that nobody knows about,” which is basically what Peter says, “so let’s actually put it somewhere he’ll just never expect.” This is the equivalent of taking a Horcrux and chucking it into the bottom of the ocean, randomly ocean, not even a specific spot of the ocean. So I think that that was the goal. But I think – not to turn it onto Dumbledore – not making Dumbledore your Secret Keeper is very much, however, Dumbledore not wanting to put himself at risk. I don’t think when Sirius doesn’t do it, it’s that scapegoat kind of a thing, but Dumbledore arguably is the one that was always meant to face off against Voldemort. But I don’t think it’s selfish for Sirius; I think he literally just thought, “Wouldn’t it be nuts if we put it in this random person who, yeah, is loyal to us, so it’ll work?”
Micah: Yeah, I do think it’s an underestimation on their part, though, because it’s not as if Voldemort isn’t an intelligent individual and wouldn’t consider the possibility that they would do something like this. I think the big issue for them deciding to make Pettigrew the Secret Keeper was not realizing that for a year prior, he was already giving information to Voldemort, which is something we learn about in this chapter. And there’s this whole suspicion amongst the Marauders of who the sneak is, right? Who the traitor is amongst them, and Sirius and Remus actually suspect each other for a period of time. So why make any of the Marauders the Secret Keeper, then?
Eric: That’s a good point.
Micah: That goes back to your point, Eric, of Dumbledore should’ve been the Secret Keeper.
Eric: Yeah, well, and what you’re saying, though, is that it is pretty well publicized. Everybody knew that Pettigrew was in with Sirius, James. Even McGonagall has said she way underestimated him, and “Oh, he must have been really brave for what he did.” But yeah, Voldemort would still be able to try Peter. It’s not the world’s smartest idea. It’s not really that great a bluff.
Laura: Yeah. I want to touch on the point you brought up, Micah, of Sirius and Remus saying that they each thought the other was the spy. So clearly, they underestimated Peter’s ability to even do that, right? They never thought that Voldemort would want to be in league with someone like Peter. But I was wondering why they suspected each other. Did Sirius suspect Remus because of Remus being a werewolf and the werewolves as a society largely being aligned with Voldemort? And did Remus think that it was because of Sirius’s familial connections that he finally caved to the Dark side?
Eric: Oh. I like these possibilities because they play into the worst angles of each of our natures.
Eric: I think that Sirius and Lupin – especially if you’re a Wolfstar shipper, too – they have this moment where they talk it out. They’re like, “Will you ever forgive me for thinking it was you?” And it’s like, “Oh, if you do me.” It’s like, oh, love. I don’t think that it was rooted in prejudice, why they behaved each other, but only in the after-the-fact knowledge that it had to have been somebody in the closest circle. So I think that a lot of this suspecting it was the other just happened when they were each isolated from each other in the very moments leading up to Halloween of 1980.
Laura: Yeah. No, it’s a good point because that isolation and the fear really will bring out the worst parts of you, right? And make you assume the worst of other people.
Eric: That’s a good point, too. Yeah, because the Order of the Phoenix in its first iteration was not all moving as one unit, 12 people in a Flying V.
Andrew: [laughs] Flying V.
Eric: They were all each doing their own little missions here and there. And so I think in those moments of solitude, they would have begun to suspect one another, because somehow that info was leaking. But it really is a dramatic underestimation of Peter.
Micah: Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. It also just shows their ignorance towards what Peter could be capable of doing. Certainly, it sounds like there was a level of coercion that was going on by Voldemort in making Peter do what he did, ultimately. But I think there’s this very strong underestimation, which comes from their time at Hogwarts together and treating Pettigrew as if he was just the extra.
Eric: And there’s definitely a case to be made for how little they think of him. I mean, he did become an Animagus with them; he did everything that they could do. Yes, he had help, but that’s what friends are for. And it just continually surprises Sirius to the point where 12 people are dead because he underestimated Pettigrew’s ability. And Pettigrew is this perfect weasel character in this chapter, I think, groveling at the feet of anyone who will have him, but it really does show that he’s playing a next-level game; he’s still one step ahead of each of them. And I don’t think we give enough credit to just how evil and capable Peter is.
Andrew: So with no more info to dump, well, there’s nothing left to do but to see if this really is Peter Pettigrew himself hiding as Scabbers. And there’s this cute Marauders moment where Sirius asks Lupin if they want to do the Revelio honors together; we never hear a spell, I don’t think, right? So I’m just pulling the Hogwarts Legacy one. And now, sure enough, they were right. Here’s Pettigrew right in front of them in the flesh, and he immediately begins to paint Sirius as the bad guy associated with Voldemort, who’s been after him for 12 years. But Lupin is not having it; they’re sticking together. And Sirius offers some grim warnings to Pettigrew: Voldemort’s followers aren’t happy with him and they think Pettigrew is dead, or else he’d have to answer to them for being a double double-crosser. A double-crossed double-crosser, he uses some phrase like that.
Eric: Yeah, this is so brilliant. This is, again, there’s an alternate narrative for everything that happens. So Pettigrew might say, “I’ve been hiding from Sirius Black this whole time because Sirius betrayed Lily and James, and he wants to finish me. He got my finger; now he wants to finish me.” And Sirius is like, “You’re not hiding from me; you’re hiding from the other Death Eaters who acted on your evidence and Voldemort fell.” And it’s mind-blowing because you know that that’s really the truth. And I didn’t actually realize that; I’d forgotten about that being called out as a specific thing, the remaining Death Eaters that are still out there that are presumably still loyal to Voldemort. That’s a huge shout-out to those guys, especially because we see them at the end of the very next book coming together. That they are in fact out there, it’s a huge heads-up to the audience that is very subtly put, and also harkens ahead to Book 6 When we see that Slughorn is running from those same people, basically, and that’s why Dumbledore recruits him to go to Hogwarts. So like Slughorn, Pettigrew finds a safe refuge from the Death Eaters at Hogwarts.
Laura: Yeah, that is so interesting. And I think we see an even earlier example of those Death Eaters still being out there just a couple months after the end of this book, right? When they all go to the Quidditch World Cup…
Eric: That’s right.
Laura: … and the Death Eaters attack. They come out of the shadows to attack there. So it’s interesting to think about the timelines of these books and what is just around the corner from this moment.
Eric: Amazing it gets shouted out here, though, first. This book does so much. I completely… I don’t think I’ve ever properly seen this mentioned to these guys.
Laura: I agree.
Andrew: So more info-dumping – sorry that I keep using this not exactly attractive phrase…
Andrew: … occurs to confirm that Pettigrew is bad, and he only does things if he can see the benefits for himself. And we also learn how Sirius broke out of Azkaban, which I think we did actually discuss on the show a few weeks ago. He snuck past the Dementors as a dog when they were feeding him and he was very thin.
Micah: Along those lines, one question that I had was do the Dementors not have the same effect on the truly innocent? In the sense that Sirius seems to not have been affected in the same way that other prisoners have been. I know we get a sense from Hagrid of what his time was like there, but Sirius deep down knows that he is not responsible for this crime. And so I’m wondering, if that is truly what’s going on inside of you, you’re feeling this level of innocence for something you didn’t do, are the Dementors less effective?
Andrew: That’s motivating you? Well, yeah, there’s that, but maybe it’s also just simply motivating you and helping keep your head as clear as possible. Like, “I am innocent. I should not be in here.”
Eric: The way I see it – and I’ve often wondered this, but on this reread, I caught something else – which is when Sirius is talking about how he escaped and things, he definitely has been broken down and worn down by the Dementors, except for that little kernel of knowing he’s innocent, but it’s actually seeing Scabbers’s – or Peter’s – portrait in the Daily Prophet that fuels him. He starts getting more energy because seeing that Peter is there, he has this… he’s able to… his adrenaline kicks into gear. So it’s the knowing he’s innocent has allowed him to keep his head and not go mad, but he still was too weak to actually escape until he started having this drive that kicks in from seeing the… and that’s all described in this chapter.
Laura: Yeah, and I think a key point that Sirius points out, too, is his acknowledgement, his knowledge of his innocence isn’t a happy thought, so that’s not something the Dementors can take from him. And it made me wonder, and this is very sad, but how many happy thoughts does Sirius have? Obviously, his time at Hogwarts was very happy because he was away from his family and with his friends, but that is just a few years of his life. You think about his upbringing with his family and then his time immediately following their graduation from Hogwarts where Voldemort was on the rise, and his best friends got murdered, he got blamed for their death. How many happy memories does this guy have for the Dementors to even take?
Micah: Well, I think that’s why he was so willing to just go without any type of pushback, or he just goes to Azkaban without any kind of fight, because I think he’s lost so much of what – if not everything – at that time that was important to him, which is really, really sad. Andrew, you mentioned Pettigrew, though, and that Sirius and Remus said that he only does things if he can see the benefits for himself. If this is truly what Sirius and Remus thought about Peter when they were students, is it possible that their treatment of him in being the odd man out led him down this road? If he feels like he’s not really part of the crew? I think I used the term “fourth wheel” earlier. Could they have actually been part of the reason why Pettigrew was so willing to go to Voldemort?
Andrew: I could see that.
Eric: Yeah, we all are the product of our previous decisions, even the bad ones, right? I think there’s still… we have to give Pettigrew the credit for choosing his path, and there is a great deal of self preservation and cowardice as it relates to it. And Sirius and Peter get into that in this chapter. But yeah, I think absolutely had they fostered a stronger real connection or friendship, it’s possible that Pettigrew wouldn’t have been so willing to betray Lily and James. But the other side of that is Peter really was in with the in-crowd; he was with the most popular kids in school, and he still betrayed them. So it’s more like what Sirius says to him. Sirius in this chapter… the reason I say it’s the best Sirius Black chapter is Sirius is basically telling Peter what his motivations were, what his thoughts were, and it’s so eerily accurate that Peter can’t speak. He’s shocked. And it’s because Sirius has had 12 years in Azkaban to think about all of these motivations. And he’s finally being able to accuse him of, “Oh, you’ve always been this person that shacks up to the biggest bully on the playground,” right? And so that’s what it was from a Pettigrew standpoint. I think something in Peter is broken and needs that and always was capable of betraying the person he’s with, and that has nothing to do with how the Marauders treated him. I think that’s just how he is.
Micah: What a Gryffindor.
Micah: Along those lines, though, if we are to give Pettigrew a little bit of the benefit of the doubt, he does mention these weapons that the Dark Lord possesses. Timothy Spall does a great job as Pettigrew in delivering this line, and I’m curious, what weapons is he referring to? Do we ever get a sense for that?
Andrew: His army, the Elder Wand, his plans with the Elder Wand…
Eric: I read it as the Imperius Curse hasn’t been formally introduced, and the Crucio Curse has not been formally introduced, so it’s possible Voldemort has more… again, Voldemort’s Legilimency is through the roof as well, so he can know when you’re lying, and he says that. But we see this in later books, Voldemort just torturing people to get information out of them, and I think that’s all it needs to be that Pettigrew means. There’s not an easy way to escape direct torture that Voldemort would inflict upon him.
Laura: Yeah, I think it’s also an interesting connection to Order of the Phoenix because throughout that book, we’re constantly hearing about how Voldemort has some kind of weapon, but nobody really knows what it is. And ultimately, we learn that Harry is the weapon, Harry’s mind being infiltrated is the weapon that gives Voldemort the access he needs to the prophecy. So I don’t think that’s exactly what Pettigrew is referring to here, but it is a very interesting choice of words around Voldemort that we see in both this book and in Order of the Phoenix.
Andrew: I would describe it as an abstract weapon or weapons.
Micah: Yeah, Lindsay in the Discord says, “Weapons of mass manipulation,” which I think, knowing how Voldemort can play with people’s minds…
Andrew: Yeah, I like that.
Eric: It’s all about those WMMs.
Micah: I think that’s accurate. And we know at least that Pettigrew’s mother is alive, so who knows the threats that perhaps Voldemort is whispering into Peter’s ear about what he’ll do to his family?
Andrew: And Becky said, “Swords! He’s got swords.” Sometimes it’s just that simple.
Micah: He doesn’t have swords.
Andrew: Maybe he did have. Maybe that was the plan at the time.
Micah: He can’t get the one sword he wants, we know that.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. So Pettigrew starts begging everyone for mercy, “Please, please,” individually spending time with each person. “Please, Harry. Please, Hermione. Please, Sirius, Lupin.” He’s just so desperate. And Harry decides to offer him a bit of mercy after he’s finished going around the table, begging everybody for some. Harry decides Pettigrew should suffer in Azkaban rather than be killed here in the shack, and this is a big character moment for Harry. And of course, we have to set aside the fact that Pettigrew does later escape. Do we agree this is the right decision by Harry not knowing what lies ahead? He says his dad wouldn’t want his friends to be killers, which I think is really sweet and probably accurate. But would James have done the same? Would James have done the same here?
Eric: [sighs] That’s a good question. I think Harry is saying it as a gotcha, like “This person next to me is so beneath my contempt,” and he wants to throw his hat in the tormenting of Peter with the threat of the Dementors. I think he wants to jump on that game, but he is ultimately doing an extremely pure thing, which we know has magical implications later. But I’m just shocked that Sirius and Lupin both agree to heed Harry’s direction here. But it’s right enough to them. They actually knew James; Harry did not know James. So it’s right enough to them that they agree to do it, which is very interesting, because that goes against what Sirius has been trying to do all year.
Micah: It shows… oh, go ahead, Laura.
Laura: I was going to say, we know that getting the Dementor’s Kiss or even being routinely subjected to Dementors is a fate worse than death, so actually, yeah, I think Harry is doing the right thing here. But he’s also basically telling Peter, “It would be a mercy for us to kill you, but we’re not going to do that. We’re going to do something much worse.”
Eric: Yeah. Doesn’t Harry say, “If anybody deserves this place, it’s him”?
Andrew: Okay, but here’s what gets me, and I just had this realization this morning. Sirius escaped from Azkaban. Now they want to put Pettigrew, another Animagus, in Azkaban. What do you think could happen here? Do they have a rat cage for him? I mean, are they going to give him more security? Does Sirius really trust Azkaban? And Harry at this point, knowing that Sirius broke out of Azkaban, as a good place to put him?
Eric: That’s a fair question.
Micah: And a rat could get out a lot easier than a dog can.
Andrew: Right? They just had this discussion five pages ago.
Eric: That’s hilarious.
Laura: I feel like the insinuation is that Peter would get the Dementor’s Kiss, because Sirius was going to get it. And if they’re able to successfully prove that Sirius was innocent, that he spent 12 years wrongfully in prison because Peter was actually the murderer… I feel like especially based on the way the legal system seems to work in the wizarding world where it’s either yeah, no consequences for anything you do, but if it’s bad enough, you’re definitely going to this high security depression wizard prison… I feel like they would go straight…
Andrew: Depression wizard prison.
Laura: Yeah, they would go straight to the Dementor’s Kiss penalty for Peter.
Eric: It’s like what they do with Tina and Newt in the first Fantastic Beasts film, taking them down to that black pool for just… like, what? Extreme, hello.
Eric: Yeah, it’s really interesting.
Micah: Well, and Stray Kneazle brought up a really great point in the Discord, saying that the Ministry didn’t know Sirius was an Animagus. So perhaps they would put different protections in place, knowing that Pettigrew was in fact in Animagus.
Eric: Well, presumably Scabbers couldn’t swim to shore the way the dog did. But also, if you think of it again as a one-two punch of Sirius knowing he’s innocent and having a drive, Pettigrew would have neither of those things. I think the Dementors would do what they are supposed to do on Pettigrew even if they don’t kiss him. I just love that all this talk is like the Dementors are up at Hogwarts right now sipping a cup of tea going, “Well, I’m going to kiss somebody tonight. I don’t care who it is.”
Andrew: “Let me kiss! Let me kiss!”
Laura: “Can I have a breath mint, please?” [laughs]
Micah: You probably need a whole package of Life Savers.
Laura: Oh yeah, for sure. You need that really intense Listerine, the amber-colored one that really burns your mouth. That’s what they need.
Eric: Ahh, the good stuff.
Laura: Yeah. [laughs] I also think Pettigrew, even if he didn’t immediately get the Dementor’s Kiss, I feel like he would be in a lot of danger in Azkaban because we know there are so many Death Eaters there who would presumably want him dead. So prison would also be a very dangerous place for him for different reasons, not just the Dementors.
Micah: Yeah, yeah. Just in going back to what you were saying earlier, Eric, I think it’s a huge moment of maturation for Harry, I agree with that, in making this decision to say that, really thinking what Remus and Sirius aren’t thinking in that moment, right? Which is that if they do do this, they become murderers, and the truth dies with Pettigrew. That’s the worst part of all of this is that if they follow through on this, there’s no way for them to actually prove this entire story that we’ve just learned.
Eric: I’ve been thinking about that, even if Pettigrew were to die and they bring his corpse up, that still doesn’t really say that their version of events happened. It proves that Pettigrew’s body was well preserved over the last 12 years, but really doesn’t put too fine a point on the truth. They need Pettigrew alive. Yeah, forgive Sirius and Remus for not considering the implications against their mortal soul right now, but Harry is there to do that for them and say.
Micah: and it’s very important because it comes back to really benefit Harry in Deathly Hallows when the debt is repaid by Peter.
Eric: Yeah. I have issues with that moment, but I’m glad it exists.
Odds & Ends
Andrew: All right, a couple odds and ends. I mentioned this a couple times, even I can admit. Where is Dumbledore? And I did have a theory. I just imagine him… because come on, he sets up the Shrieking Shack for Lupin; he must have put a camera in there or something to keep an eye on what’s going on.
Andrew: I’m imagining he’s sitting back in his office, feet kicked up on that beautiful desk, and he’s got some popcorn. And he’s just watching the show, and he’s like, “Oh, I don’t need to intervene. Things are going just as I planned, as I hoped.”
Eric: Do you think he’s got a master Marauder’s Map that sees slightly beyond the boundary, and he’s just watching it all down and he’s like, “Ha, ha, ha”?
Andrew: Maybe. There’s so much happening here with so many important characters and he’s just nowhere to be found. Like, what is he doing? He’s got to be watching. He’s got to be listening.
Eric: He’s in London.
Micah: He’s drinking tea with the Dementors that Laura mentioned earlier.
Micah: They’re just waiting for the fallout in a couple of hours.
Andrew: “I want to kiss.”
Micah: Maybe he’s making out with the Dementors. I don’t know.
Andrew: I just also want to mention Scabbers. He had been in the family for 12 years, and this specific period, the number 12… I’ve brought this up before; it’s coming up numerous times this chapter. 12, 12, 12. Rowling loves using that number in the Harry Potter series. And also, I wanted to call out a couple funny moments. When Pettigrew asked Remus if he believes Sirius, Lupin replies, “I must admit, Peter, I have difficulty in understanding why an innocent man would want to spend 12 years as a rat.” That made me chuckle. And then Ron said to Pettigrew at one point, “I let you sleep in my bed!”
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Laura: Yeah, Ron observes the thing that all the fans observe too. How, again, did his brothers never notice that for three years, there was a Peter Pettigrew in Ron’s bed?
Eric: You know what, here’s a headcanon: Fred and George, when they first discovered the map, made a habit of not looking at what their brothers were up to in the Gryffindor rooms, because they had Bill in Charlie at Hogwarts as well. They don’t pay attention to the Gryffindor dormitories.
Micah: But shouldn’t Pettigrew also go to jail for this? I mean, he’s sleeping in the bed of underage kids.
Eric: When it’s a rat, it’s fine.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Micah: I mean, is it?
Andrew: All right, it’s time for MVP of the Week. Let’s get out of this before we…
Eric: Pin it to the door.
Micah: Add it to the list? Is that what you’re saying?
MVP of the Week
Andrew: Time for MVP of the Week.
[MVP of the Week music plays]
Andrew: I’m going to give it to Harry for choosing to spare Pettigrew’s life. I could never. I would be the one who just wants to exact revenge on him in this moment and just not have to worry about him anymore.
Laura: It’s the Slytherin in you.
[Andrew laughs evilly]
Eric: Definitely going to give my MVP to my man, Sirius Black. There’s at least 423 moments of awesome that he does in this chapter, so thanks for being real.
Andrew: Wait, wait, wait, how many moments did you say?
Andrew: That’s your old email address!
Eric: I know, I know. @aol.com.
Micah: I’m going to give it to Expelliarmus. That’s my MVP of this chapter.
Laura: I’m going to give mine to Hermione. I feel like of everyone in this chapter, she is the person who remains the most levelheaded throughout and asks a lot of really good questions, once she takes the time to really understand what’s unfolding in front of her. So she’s no longer in denial about what she’s being told, but she’s still asking the probing questions that the reader is asking as they read through this. So I think in this moment, Hermione really is standing in for the reader.
[MVP of the Week music ends]
Andrew: So we’re about to wrap this episode up, but we are recording a bonus MuggleCast installment this week. Laura, can you tell us what our patrons will be able to hear later this week?
Laura: Yeah, so on this week’s bonus, we’re going to be talking about Harry Potter headcanons, so really, those scenarios or interactions between characters that we imagine may have happened offscreen but weren’t necessarily represented in the text. We’ve talked about a lot of headcanons here on the show, but we’re going to be unpacking some additional ones in bonus this week.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s just one of many benefits on our Patreon, Patreon.com/MuggleCast. And as we shared last week, there’s now a Spotify integration, so you can listen to all of our bonus audio content right through Spotify. Most podcast apps support listening to our bonus audio content, which is really nice; that way you don’t have to use the Patreon app to listen to bonus MuggleCast and ad-free MuggleCast. Of course, we’ve got the MuggleCast Collector’s Club going on too. Become a patron by September 22 – and there will be a forum for patrons to fill out – and we will get you this year’s stickers, and for as long as you remain a patron, you will receive the following years’ stickers as well. MuggleCast confirming this week and reminding you all that we will be active through at least 2026. Next week, we will discuss Chapter 20 of Prisoner of Azkaban. And if you have any feedback about today’s episode or the chapters ahead, you can send an owl to MuggleCast@gmail.com or you can use the contact form on MuggleCast.com. To send a voice message, just record it using the Voice Memo app on your phone and then email us that file, or use our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. Speaking of contacting us, it’s time for our weekly trivia game, Quizzitch.
[Quizzitch music plays]
Eric: Last week’s question, who casts Expelliarmus against Snape inside the Shrieking Shack? We had many, many submissions, but not everyone got the correct answer. It’s actually the trio; Harry, Ron, and Hermione all cast it. This causes Snape to lift up, his wand goes shooting, all that good stuff. But people who did get the correct answer include Bang-ended scoot; BuffDaddy; Callie loves Quizzitch; Crookshanks’s broken brush; If Harry wanted to name his kid after Snape, he should have just chosen “Man Baby” as a middle name…
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Eric: … Landon; Luke the 11-year-old; Plomping pillow; Puff the Hufflepuff; Serpent sorcerers; Snoopy 199; Teddy Lupin traumatized by Wolfstar; The owl that doesn’t take baths: The Cajun Gryffindor; The eighth Animagus; and the Mandrake leaf under Sirius’s tongue.
Laura: Gross! [laughs]
Andrew: Laura remains tickled by the Quizzitch names.
Laura: I do. Listen, I told you, that’s 50% of why I show up to these recordings, is just to hear the Quizzitch names.
Andrew: That’s why she’s here through 2026 at least.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Laura: Keep ’em coming.
Eric: Here is next week’s Quizzitch question: Who leads the group first out of the Shrieking Shack? You’ve got about a one in eight chance, I think, of answering this correctly. So submit your responses to us on the Quizzitch form found on the MuggleCast website, MuggleCast.com/Quizzitch, or go to MuggleCast.com and click on “Quizzitch” from the main nav.
Andrew: I mentioned Patreon and Spotify, but I know a lot of listeners use Apple, and if you’d prefer to support us through there, for just $2.99 a month you can receive ad-free and early access to MuggleCast right within the Apple Podcasts app. Patreon does offer more benefits, including bonus MuggleCast and the Collector’s Club, but maybe you just want to support us through there. It’s so easy; it’s like buying an app. $2.99 a month.
Micah: It’s a good deal.
Andrew: We also have the free trial. We also have a annual pledge you can do, too, so check that out. It’s a great way to support us. It’s just the four of us plus our social media manager Chloé; this isn’t some corporation.
Micah: Not yet, it isn’t.
Andrew: This is just us, so we need your financial support. It really helps keep the show running. Tell a friend about the show. We’d also appreciate if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app. Don’t forget to follow us on social media; our username is @MuggleCast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Threads. And that does it for this week’s episode. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.
Eric: I’m SiriusBlack423.
Micah: I’m Micah.
Laura: And I’m Laura.
Andrew: See everybody next time, goodbye.
Laura: Bye, y’all.
Laura: Are we sharing AIM screen names? Because I would totally pull out the “I’m PhoenixWrath88.”
Eric: Aww, PhoenixWrath.