Transcript #637


MuggleCast 637 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #637, Crouchy Ouchy (GOF Chapter 7, Bagman and Crouch) feat. Fantasy Fangirls

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

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

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: Grab your plainest clothing, because this week we are journeying to the Quidditch World Cup undercover and meeting Ludo the gambling man when we discuss Chapter 7 of Goblet of Fire, “Bagman and Crouch.” And we have a supersized panel this week; two amazing guests with us. They are the hosts of Fantasy Fangirls – very popular podcast currently discussing Fourth Wing and Iron Flame, a very popular book series – Nicole and Lexi. Welcome, Nicole and Lexi.

Lexi: Thank you! Thank you so much for having us.

Nicole: Thank you for having us!

Andrew: It is a pleasure. Actually, having you two on is kind of surreal for me because I got into Fourth Wing, and then I went into Fourth Wing TikTok and I started seeing your videos all the time, then I looked at your podcast. We know somebody mutually, actually, as luck would have it. And then here you are. So this is just very exciting to have you both on.

Lexi: That’s so exciting. I am an OG Harry Potter fan, and I actually think that MuggleCast was the very, very first podcast that I listened to. I don’t even know if I knew it was a podcast back then. But this is just the absolute dream come true, and thank you so much for having us.

Nicole: I didn’t know that.

Andrew: Well, thank you. Yes, Lexi is going to prove just how big of a Harry Potter fan she is in a few minutes.

Lexi: For me, the audiobook is my comfort thing. I listen to a Harry Potter audiobook every single night as I fall asleep.

Laura: Aww.

Andrew: I love that.

Lexi: And I have very young children, and so it’s a wonderful thing to keep me company when I’m nursing in the evenings or whatever that might be, in the middle of the night there.

Andrew: That’s amazing. So tell us about your podcast, Fantasy Fangirls.

Lexi: So Nicole and I, we do very deep dives, very similar to MuggleCast is doing right now with Goblet of Fire. And so we are currently taking… well, we did take Fourth Wing. We covered that in September and October. And now that Iron Flame came out earlier this month in November, we are covering that. We’re just about to release Episode 3. And we are just digging into every single morsel, all the foreshadowing, tons of theories. It is an unfinished book series, so that’s one of the big things about it, is there are so many fun theories, so many easter eggs, and Nicole and I are absolutely all about them. We pull in a lot of character analysis, helping people navigate through the hangover that is Iron Flame – if you know, you know – and the community has just been absolutely incredible. We only started a podcast about two and a half months ago, and it just grew overnight. It’s absolutely both overwhelming and exciting in the best way possible.

Nicole: Overwhelming is a really good word for it, but in the best way, yes.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, probably thanks in part to TikTok, right? I guess that’s how a lot of the listeners are finding you, like I did. [laughs]

Lexi: Yes, so in fact, on day one we had our very, very first TikTok of a podcast clip. And we just posted it to TikTok – we had, like, zero followers – and it went viral, and that is how it all started. So from that very first viral TikTok video.

Nicole: We’ve basically been very fortunate to not stop going viral for the last ten weeks, and a lot of people have really rallied around the podcast and shared it with their friends. And since it is such a hot topic right now, I think so many people are loud and proud about it. And they needed an outlet of someone else who is just as passionate about it as they are, and we were the hangover cure that a lot of people have called us. But it’s been the best ten weeks of our lives. It’s been absolutely insane.

Micah: When you were talking about theorizing and character analysis, it gave me a bit of nostalgia because that’s really how we all got started with MuggleCast back in the day.

Andrew: Absolutely.

Nicole: Yeah, I love it. I love it so much.

Andrew: So tell us, why is Fourth Wing so popular? I’ve read it. I imagine Micah, Eric, and Laura are going to read it at some point because I think it’s too hot to avoid.

Laura: I’m reading it right now. What are you talking about?

Andrew: Oh, okay, great. I’m sure many of our listeners have read this book by now. There’s really no avoiding it online, I don’t think. What do you think has made Fourth Wing so popular so far?

Nicole: I think the big thing is people compare it to either… it’s almost an amalgamation of Harry Potter for the school aspect, Game of Thrones for politics and dragons, and then another very popular fantasy series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, for the romance aspect. Romantasy has been a huge up-and-coming genre recently and I think that this just hit every single marker, but it’s also been called the gateway drug to romantasy world. It’s a very contemporary language. And the book is built around and expands on the magical world as you go deeper into it, very Harry Potter-esque if you… we’re in Book 4 as we’re on this podcast; we’re diving into more and more of the world, and that is definitely how Iron Flame is going. It’s just expanding, expanding, expanding. So I think there’s so much familiarity for a lot of readers, and I think that’s one of the major reasons it got so popular so fast. Also, it’s a huge representation book: The main character has Ehlers-Danlos, which is a chronic illness; the male main character is POC; we have a lot of lesbian, gay, bisexual characters. There’s so much representation all in this, and I think people were really starving for something in this world to have such high representation. And it just took off.

Andrew: Yeah, it really did. All the representation is nice to see. And by the way, for our younger listeners, there is some adult language and activities happening in this book…

Nicole: Oh, yeah. [laughs]

Laura: True.

Andrew: … so you may want to ask your parents if Fourth Wing is right for you.

Lexi: Yes, yes. And the podcast as well, on that note too.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Andrew: Lexi, I haven’t seen something get as close to becoming the next Harry Potter in a really long time. It really does seem like this story is unique. Have you been getting those spidey senses as well?

Lexi: I get more of a Twilight sense with this, and that’s saying that I was not a big Twilight fan. I wasn’t super into that. But I do get that a little bit more because it is a little bit more niche. Harry Potter, it’s so ingrained in pop culture. Every single person knows their Hogwarts House. We have Universal Studios and Harry Potter World, and just all of that, and I definitely don’t see any book series, not just this one, getting to that level. Now, of course, Fourth Wing is going to be a TV series; I’m super excited about that. So I do see it definitely really being mainstream, but for it to be ingrained in our pop culture, I don’t know if I’d quite take it that far. And that’s also me just being such a OG Harry Potter fan that I just don’t know if anything could ever quite compare to it.

Eric: Yeah, it’d be hard to imagine, but even Harry Potter started off somewhere.

Lexi: That is very true.

Andrew: To that point, we didn’t think Harry Potter was the next Harry Potter after Chamber of Secrets came out. It took a while. And one reason I’m so bullish on Fourth Wing, Iron Flame, this whole series, is because we only have two books out, and there’s still another three, right? And there might be spinoffs. And Lexi, you mentioned the TV show. So we’re in the very, very early stages of this fandom, and I think that’s very exciting. And I think I agree with you: Ultimately, nothing can potentially ever be the next Harry Potter, but things can get close, and maybe they’ll be their own versions of that. I think this fandom is very exciting.

Lexi: Actually, I’ll change my comparison. Maybe a little bit more like Game of Thrones, because that is another thing that everybody knows about too. Maybe not everybody has read the books, because they are some dense books – I love the books, but they are very dense – but again, before the final season came out, everybody was theorizing. Oh my gosh, on YouTube… I was so immersed in all of that. So I could definitely see this taking on a Game of Thrones aspect too.

Eric: They’ve just got to be sure to stick the landing.

Lexi: Oh, God, don’t get me started on that, Eric.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Well, and I don’t think people are going to want a Game of Thrones theme park, right? I mean, that would be a little…

Lexi: I tell you what, I would not want to go to any wedding ceremony in there.

Nicole: That could get creative real fast.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: One question I did have for you, though, in going back to this being the next Harry Potter: I think, first off, it’s tough to compare anything to Harry Potter. But I think the one thing Harry Potter had – and we’ve talked a lot about this on the show – is it was just the right time, especially with the rise of the Internet. It just was a combination of the right things at the right time before, I think, the Internet got to the point of where it is now, especially with social media. Because I often wonder what Harry Potter would have been like with all these platforms that are out today, and the level of criticism that all of these series have to go through.

Lexi: Yeah, I’ve thought about that as well, especially as… I’ve listened to other deep dives about Harry Potter, and I know that we’re going to be poking fun at some of the… I’ll call them gaping plot holes. [laughs] But we lovingly embrace them because we just have to let them be, and I agree that if… Harry Potter was so perfect at the time that it was, and now, for instance, Fourth Wing, I think it’s perfect for the time that it is because it has so many fun Easter eggs and ways to theorize, and everybody just loves that so much. And it’s got relatable characters, and like Nicole was saying, that representation, and it’s so great for the time that it’s in, the time that it’s coming out.

Andrew: Lexi, you mentioned you’re a big, big Harry Potter fan. You also told us you’re pretty darn good at reciting in order every single chapter in the Harry Potter series.

Lexi: Yes.

Andrew: So we thought if we could get a taste of this… we’re not going to have you do the whole book series.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Andrew: Even though that would be incredibly impressive. Could you just recite every chapter in order from Book 4, the book we’re currently doing Chapter by Chapter on?

Eric: And I will be grading you; I’ve got copy of Goblet of Fire right here.

Lexi: All right, sounds good. And I’ll start by saying the reason that I know all of this is, again, going back to my very young children, I needed something to do after I’d read Harry Potter a million times on the audiobook, and so I started just making a game out of it for myself. And here I am a few years later. So anyway, all right. Chapter 1, we have “The Riddle House,” of course; Chapter 2, “The Scar”; Chapter 3, “The Invitation”; Chapter 4, “Back to the Burrow”; Chapter 5, “Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes”; and Chapter 6, “The Portkey”; Chapter 7, “Bagman and Crouch.” Hey, that’s today’s episode!

[Nicole laughs]

Eric: Hey, for those following at home!

Lexi: Chapter 8, “The Quidditch World Cup.” Then… what am I on? That was Chapter 8. Chapter 9 is “The Dark Mark”; Chapter 10, “Mayhem at the Ministry”; Chapter 11, “Aboard the Hogwarts Express”; Chapter 12 is “The Triwizard Tournament”; Chapter 13 is “Professor” – no, “Mad-Eye Moody”? Yeah, “Mad-Eye Moody”; and then Chapter 14, oh, “The Unforgivable Curses” because that’s right after that. Okay, and then we have “Beauxbatons and Durmstrang”; Chapter 16, we have “The Goblet of Fire”; Chapter 17, we have “The Four Champions”; Chapter 18 “The Weighing of the Wands”; Chapter 19, “The Hungarian Horntail”; Chapter 20, “The First Task”; Chapter 21, we have “The House-Elf Liberation Front”; Chapter 22, we have… okay, then we have “The Unexpected Task”; then Chapter 23, “Yule Ball”; Chapter 24, “Rita Skeeter’s Scoop”; Chapter 25, “The Egg and the Eye”; Chapter 26 is “The Second Task”; Chapter 27 is “Padfoot Returns”; Chapter 28 is “The Madness of Mr. Crouch”; Chapter 29 is “The Dream”; Chapter 20… Chapter 30… what chapter am I on? I’m so nervous that I’m forgetting and I have to…

Eric: You’re doing great. You’re on 30.

Lexi: “The Pensieve.” Chapter 31 is “The Third Task”; Chapter 32 is “Flesh, Blood, and Bone”; Chapter 33 is “The Death Eaters”; Chapter 34 is “Priori Incantatem”; I can’t pronounce that. Chapter 35 is “Veritaserum”; Chapter 36 is “The Parting of the Ways”; and Chapter 37 is “The Beginning.” Yep, I know there’s 37.

Eric and Laura:: Wow.

[Everyone cheers]

Laura: Oh my gosh.

Eric: 100% accuracy!

Nicole: I am so proud to be your sister!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: They’re sisters too! I don’t even think we mentioned this.

Lexi: Oh, yeah, we’re sisters. [laughs] But yeah, I have my milestone chapters and then I have the sequence of events that go through, and so yeah, that’s that.

Eric: Being able to say the numbers before each title? I would never be able to. I’d never be able to, like, “Which one am I on?” Absolutely not. I’d just be able to, like, in an order of something.

Laura: No.

Lexi: That’s why I have… I know the task ones is my is the main one for fourth one. Like I said, those milestone ones, and then I can figure out what’s in between.

Laura: I’m so impressed.

Lexi: Thank you.

Andrew: Yes, you have proven yourself as a real Harry Potter fan.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Andrew: I love your story as to how you remember all these chapters. Lexi and Nicole, such a pleasure to have you on, and listeners, please check out Fantasy Fangirls.

Micah: That’s it. The show’s over.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, we just had you on to see that party trick. Before we get to Chapter by Chapter, quick announcement, and it’s a timely reminder, so I really wanted to bring it up. Don’t forget, listeners, our overstock store is now open. If you ever wanted one of our cool physical gifts that we have sent to patrons over the years, but you didn’t or couldn’t subscribe to our Patreon, now’s your chance to pick up things like T-shirts, the MuggleCast beanie, the MuggleCast socks, the sweet 16 wooden car that you build, signed album art, all kinds of things.; we’ll also have a link in the show notes. This is where you can get very limited time items. Once these are gone, these are gone, because these are the Overstock things that we’ve had over the years, and now we’re finally cleaning out our closets. And we can turn these around pretty quick. So if you’re shopping for the MuggleCast listener in your life, or maybe you could tell a parent or a loved one, “Hey, go grab me a MuggleCast T-shirt,” go to the store. We’ll get it out in the mail ASAP. By mid-December we’re probably going to no longer guarantee things by Christmas. But until then, Santa MuggleCast over here is delivering MuggleCast goods.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: And we may have one more item that we’re adding to the store. We’re going to check on that.

Andrew: Yeah, more lost T-shirts. [laughs] Recently uncovered.

Laura: Ooh.

Andrew: They’re just hiding all over the desert in this case.

Eric: [laughs] Anyone whose house we’ve ever stayed at might have a box of shirts.

Andrew: Yes. [laughs]

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: All right, so with that, let’s move on to Chapter by Chapter, and this week we are discussing Goblet of Fire Chapter 7. What chapter is that again, Lexi? Oh yeah, “Bagman and Crouch.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: And as if there wasn’t enough pressure on Nicole and Lexi – in particular with that reciting of the chapters – we are involving them in the seven-word summary as well. Nicole is going to go first and then Lexi. So are you two ready to be put on the spot again?

Nicole: I’m sweating. I hope you all know this. [laughs] Full on sweating.

Andrew: Oh my God. We get stressed by it too.

Nicole: No, I’m so excited. Let’s do this. I’m ready.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Nicole: Arriving…

Lexi: … at…

Andrew: … the…

Laura: … campsite…

Micah: … makes…

Eric: … much…

Nicole: … happen.

Andrew: Well done, well done.

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Andrew: So the first part of this discussion today is going to be around how the wizards are dealing with the Muggles on site; then we’ll get to Ludo and Barty. So the gang arrive by Portkey and they head to their campsite, where a Muggle named Mr. Roberts will check them in and collect the cost of the campsite. Now, something a little strange happens right off the bat. Arthur needs help from Harry to figure out how much Muggle money he owes Mr. Roberts, and the campsite manager notes that two other people tried to pay him in large gold coins. Nicole, this seems a little odd, right?

Nicole: This is wild to me. The fact that… I have a small bone to pick with Arthur. I’m going to hop on a high horse right off the top of the episode. The fact that this man works in a Muggle-centric part of the Ministry and doesn’t know how to navigate Muggle money, let alone read Muggle money, is wild.

Andrew: Yes.

Laura: Agreed.

Eric: It’s like he’s never seen it before.

Nicole: He thought a 20 was a 5. And I’m like, “My guy. You can do this.”

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Eric: Listen, listen. We know that Hogwarts does not have math class…

Lexi: That is true.

Nicole: You make a very good point, Eric. [laughs]

Eric: … so maybe we can blame former headmasters of Hogwarts on this?

Laura: Yeah, but they have numbers in the wizarding world.

Andrew: What?

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Laura: You don’t have to know math.

Eric: Well, seven. They have seven numbers.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Laura: I could understand if maybe he needed help with the mathematical side of things, okay. But confusing a 5 for a 20 or vice versa makes no sense. I 100% agree with you, Nicole. This is one of my biggest gripes about Arthur. How does he consistently not know things about the Muggle world when it is his job to know them?

Andrew: And he…

Nicole: There’s certain… oh, go for it, Andrew.

Andrew: Well, I was just going to say, he gets so much pleasure out of studying Muggle things, you would think he would also be fascinated by Muggle money. Go ahead, Nicole.

Nicole: Well, and also, I can’t blame him entirely for a lot of things. Later on, he plays with matches, which is concerning…

Eric: No, I’ve done that, yeah.

Nicole: … but maybe not as alarming as not being able to read Muggle money.

[Lexi laughs]

Nicole: That’s terrifying.

Micah: He’s a pyro.

Nicole: But certain things… he gets so excited and he’s so… electricity and everything; he just gets so excited about the Muggle world. But the fact that he doesn’t know how to interact with Muggle things… I think that would be base level, intern level at his job when he entered the Ministry, or Muggle class 101.

Eric: Yes.

Micah: I was thinking, too, with this whole situation, wristbands.

Nicole: Yes!

[Lexi laughs]

Micah: Just wristband everyone. Why does everybody have to pay this guy to get onto the site?

Nicole: Someone’s been to Lollapalooza.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Eric: Look, the wristband situation is very efficient. That’s a great setup. It really works. Why is this guy even here to take their money? That sounds like an endless amount of Memory Charms in the making. And sure enough, that happens in this chapter. People materialize out of anywhere, yell “Obliviate,” and he just goes on with this day, but why is he even here? There can be no way in which this goes off without a hitch. And they could have just either sent him on vacation, did something like they do with the Dursleys to get them out of their home… why is the Muggle even here? We know a lot worse is coming with him and his family later.

Andrew: He owns the campsite. It’s just that simple, isn’t it? So I guess…

Eric: Well, yeah, but he can go on a vacation, or anti-Muggle charms that they put up; make a Muggle forget something at home, like, “Oh, I left the oven on,” he’s got to trek… just go away for a week.

Laura: I mean, Hermione sends her parents to Australia in Book 7. It can be done.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Rent out the entire campsite. The Quidditch World Cup can do it or whatever. Rent out all the campsites that you need. And then, yes, tell Mr. Roberts and all the other owners to go take a little vacation.

Eric: Yeah, there’s got to be someone in the wizarding world that knows how to do money. Just give him a huge sum, tell him he won a trip, and… the best minds are on this. This is the international government effort. And you have this man who is for reasons very obvious, suspicious, personally interacting with every new camper. It seems like people didn’t actually think this out very much.

Laura: Wizards just love chaos, as we talk about on this show all the time. And to the point of all the Memory Charms, I feel like an excessive amount of Memory Charms being performed on a person has to cause some kind of lasting damage. There is no way it doesn’t. And we’ve already seen in Chamber of Secrets the effects of a Memory Charm that is misfired, so I have to think that overdoing it, it’s the equivalent of running somebody… I don’t know if this is a great comparison, but they don’t want to give people MRIs five times a day for a month. You know what I mean? It has some impacts.

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Right.

Lexi: If you think about it, Bertha Jorkins… so we know that Barty Crouch… that’s why she has such bad memory later at the very end of the book. And she’s very prominent at the very end of this chapter, too, as they’re talking about her and why no one’s gone out looking for her, which I have so much to talk about. We’ll get to that. But that’s another example of Memory Charms gone wrong. So I absolutely agree; I don’t think that it’s good for this man’s brain.

Nicole: Well, and I’ll also say, he at first – he meaning Mr. Roberts – forgets to give Arthur his change. Now, this could be because he’s just spinning off and trying to put puzzle pieces together, but it also could be a early onset issue with this many Memory Charms, to which the Ministry immediately gives him a Memory Charm.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Nicole: And then he gives his change back after that.

Eric: “Oh, you’re remembering something? No, you aren’t.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: But that is wizards’ whole approach to everything pretty much when it comes to Muggles.

Micah: It’s also a reflection, too, of how the Ministry views Muggles. And we see a slow de-evolution over the course of the next several books in terms of how the Ministry treats non-wizarding folk, so maybe this is a little bit of a taste for us as readers. Just going back to Arthur for a second, because we’ve talked about this in this book in particular, I’m wondering if he doesn’t know how to use money, is that some kind of statement being made by the author because he doesn’t have a lot of money?

Laura: Ohh.

Eric: Right, he’s never seen a lot of either kind of money, you’re thinking.

Lexi: Oh, that’s so sad.

Nicole: Oh, I never thought of it that way.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, it’s an interesting thought, but also, this is basic math here and a basic understanding of currency.

Eric: Yeah, okay, it’d be one thing if British money had Roman numerals, so it was an X instead of a V and he confused the 10 with a 5 because, okay, that seems fair. But a 5 is a 5 and a 20 is a 20. And they might both have the queen on them, but that’s about it. They’re a different color. British money is different colors.

Andrew: Nicole, you have some thoughts on how wizards don’t know how to blend in with Muggles.

Lexi: So we were talking about them renting out the whole property, which is just a fantastic idea. And you think about whatever the complex logistics that go into that, it can’t be more difficult than trying to keep all of this magic a secret. They’re trying to keep it secret from one Muggle family, who, I understand that they live right there on site and manages or owns the campsite there. And it’s a running joke throughout the series, how wizards, they don’t know how to blend in with Muggles, of course. But it shows just how disassociated and uneducated this wizarding society is from the Muggle world; it ties into their conscious or subconscious feelings of superiority. And I say that even about Arthur. He loves Muggles so much, but there is going to be a sense of superiority, which we especially saw in Chapter 4, “Back to the Burrow” there. And how much secrecy the need to keep themselves, it really separates them. They are not associated with the Muggle community for obvious reasons, and therefore, they don’t know anything about the Muggle community, and that really does show that separation there because they have to keep themselves such a big secret.

Andrew: Somebody made a joke about Muggle 101 or something like that a little while ago; there should be some sort of wizard/Muggle social integration lesson at least, somewhere within Hogwarts, like Muggles Studies.

Eric: Well, and I like the idea that Lexi was saying, that it’s because of the Statute of Secrecy that they can’t see Muggles close enough to learn about them to get educated. Because I’m right with that train of thought that says Muggle Studies – which is just a chosen elective for some people who want to take it in maybe their third year – should absolutely be mandatory before you are ever allowed to set foot on Muggle ground. It should be seven years. It should be a subject that’s… it’s more important than Charms. There, I said it.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: If they outnumber you… look, no offense to Flitwick – he would probably excel at teaching Muggle Studies – but they need… reading this chapter specifically, it is insane and absurd how much craziness goes on and how poorly wizards are equipped to blend in. And it’s like they’re not even trying, even head ones.

Micah: Eric, I love this point, because this is the 422nd iteration of this event; it’s not like they decided to do it yesterday.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: You would think that they would have a much better system in place.

Eric: Honestly, Memory Charms are the only things keeping the Statute of Secrecy up. Well-placed Memory Charms going back centuries.

Nicole: It’s tragic.

Andrew: We used to say it was Dumbledore who enjoys the chaos in the wizarding world, but it’s actually all wizards. They just love the mess. It keeps things exciting for them.

Eric: Oh my God.

Laura: Oh, man. Eric, you bring up an interesting point about a course like Muggle Studies probably should be required, but this is where things always tend to get political with education and what courses are offered. So I’m just trying to imagine the Board of Governors of Hogwarts and them voting on what the required class load is going to be, and them being very dismissive of a course like Muggle Studies. Probably, they would take a similar view towards Divination as well, which is why that’s an elective course. But it just does go to show the many layers in the wizarding world that are impacted by this bias towards Muggles, and a lot of really well-intentioned characters in this series have it and don’t even realize it.

Lexi: That’s such a good point. Yep.

Andrew: So let’s talk about Ludo Bagman. He is the Head of Magical Games and Sports, and he’s not helping with keeping the Muggles in the dark. He keeps loudly talking about Quidditch around the event space. And this situation to keep Muggles from growing suspicious seems untenable, given, as we’re talking about today, the number of wizards on site and how they seem to be pretty lax about keeping their world under wraps. Any other ideas for how they should be handling this?

Laura: Yeah, I mean, I think you’ve already mentioned it, but I’m just thinking about Muggle-Repelling Charms. They use these at Hogwarts to shield a giant castle that is filled with magical children.

Lexi: It’s already such a stressful event for everyone. Why are they adding all of this extra unnecessary stress of monitoring that these wizards, who use magic all day every day, telling them, “Hey, no, you cannot use magic,” as they are Apparating and Disapparating to tell them not to use magic?

Eric: Those Extension Charms that they can do. So if a briefcase can become a full-on zoo in the size of a briefcase, you could fit a World Cup and 100,000 people in a single church or something. I mean, why couldn’t you, like, Room of Requirement? “This year’s Quidditch World Cup will be held in Hogwarts’s Room of Requirement. Thank you. Walk three times on level seven.” It doesn’t make sense. And why is a Muggle present? Of course, we also have the foresight, knowing that the Muggle that’s here, Mr. Roberts and his family, become direct targets for these wizards later. So everything nice and everything accidental about it becomes very intentional, and the Muggle is in more danger. But you just can’t possibly control all of these variables. So the Muggle should be put to sleep for a few days…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: … or something a little bit more ethical maybe.

Laura: That sounds so ominous.

Nicole: [laughs] I was going to say, you’re going to drug him?

Andrew: Put out to pasture…

Eric: They’re going to already drugging him, though! They’re already…

Nicole: [laughs] That’s true, that’s true.

Micah: This is a celebration. This is something that happens once every four years. Why are you going to try and keep people from being excited and having a good time? That’s what I don’t understand.

Andrew: I was going to say this exact thing.

Eric: It’s all fun and games until somebody gets held up by Death Eaters and paraded around in a stupor.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Laura: Listen, all of this was to set up the Portkey.

Lexi: Yes.

Andrew: Well, right.

Laura: That’s literally what this is.

Nicole: That’s a good point.

Eric: J.K. Rowling is like… she literally started with, “I need a boot that does things. How are we going to introduce…? I got it. I got it. Wizards suck.” [laughs]

Andrew: I skipped over this earlier, but to the point about Arthur: Rowling is basically throwing him under the bus, making him go, “Oh, what’s Muggle…? I don’t understand how to interpret Muggle money.” I was trying to think, what does that serve from a storytelling perspective? And it only really seems to be to show Mr. Roberts’s suspicions about these people, but there probably would have been other ways to do that without making Arthur seem like an idiot.

Eric: Yeah, it also makes Harry look good. Harry is happy to step in.

Nicole: This also started earlier in this book with the electric fireplace and… “eckeltricity”? Is that the word he uses for it?

Lexi: That’s what he says, yeah.

Nicole: He starts being this “kooky dad” – is what I’m going to call him – character way earlier than this chapter right here, and continues to be so for, I would probably say, the rest of the series. So I do wonder, what is the storytelling purpose behind having Arthur being a little bit, again, kooky dad energy?

Lexi: I think it goes right back to what we were saying about that subconscious of… he just has such good intentions, but he has always lived separate from them. He works I guess you could say “with” them, but it’s not with them; but it’s really more “around” them, is what it is there. And yes, it would make absolute sense for him to do his job knowing better, but it goes right back to he has always lived separate from them. That doesn’t explain it much more, but yeah.

Andrew: Well, no, I think that is an important little bit of subtext there.

Laura: Agreed.

Andrew: Lexi, again, being a major Harry Potter fan, you’ve also put some thought into the amount of wizards in the wizarding world. In light of this discussion about the Quidditch World Cup – everybody is congregating – how many people are actually there? How many people do you think are actually in the wizarding world?

Lexi: So I go down a lot of rabbit holes here. And I love all the world-building aspects, and so this this chapter in particular… I could argue that any chapter of all the Harry Potter series are my favorite, but this one in particular has so much great world-building about the actual world. So I was wondering, how many witches and wizards are there actually in the world? And I did my digging there, and like many math-related topics in the Harry Potter universe, I found two very different answers.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Lexi: So number one, the author has stated that there are about 3,000 witches and wizards in Britain, which is about 42 witches and wizards to every 1 million in the population. So that would make it super, super rare. 42 out of 1 million are going to be magical. However, there has also been a comment that one in 10 people are magical in the world, which, at the time of our story, that would be approximately 500 million witches and wizards across the globe. I do not think it’s nearly that many there. My guess is that the actual wizarding population is somewhere in between. We know that the Quidditch World Cup stadium, it can seat 100,000, and the tickets were really hard to come by, so we have that context. So if you asked me and I had to give you an answer, I would put it around the 5 to 10 million across the globe. What do you guys think? Just out of curiosity.

Eric: I’m starting to think that neither ADHD or Alzheimer’s are naturally occurring, and that what it is is we’ve just encountered wizards that had to correct their mistakes by Obliviate-ing us.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: That’s why we get so distracted all the time. There’s literally just 500 million wizards always screwing up around us.

Lexi: I love that. That makes me really sad I’m not a witch, though. [laughs]

Laura: I think the logic is sound. I declare canon.

Andrew: Yeah, so I was going to say, Lexi, we have a segment on the show where if we just convince ourselves something must be true, then we declare it canon and it is henceforth canon.

Eric: Play the clip.

[“I declare canon!” sound effect plays with thunder]

Andrew: The lightning makes it official. It would not be official if it weren’t for the lightning.

Eric: I never thought that I would be thinking of… even just parts, people per million, is a great way of analyzing that. I just think… I mean, look, the author self-admittedly is horrible at math.

Lexi: Yes.

Eric: And anytime there’s even like, a Quidditch score, you have to scrutinize it because it’s very taxing. And it’s taxing for all of us; I mean, why would you keep that in track? But if you go by the population of Hogwarts as well, knowing that they also encompass all of British wizards, then you get an even smaller number, I think, than the 42 per million. So you just really… it can’t be known. But 100,000 of them have turned out for this match.

Andrew: 500 million seems like that would be way too many. I mean, I would be terrified to live in a world with 500 million wizards. That’s just a security nightmare. [laughs]

Eric: That’s what I’m saying! That’s why we’re all so forgetful, yeah.

Lexi: [laughs] So yeah, I’m going to go with the 5 million final answer. I’m just pulling that up. I started to do some of the math because we know how many students are at Hogwarts, and so I was starting to look at all the other schools, and then I told myself, “You’ve got to get out of this rabbit hole. Just stop it.” So yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Lexi: Maybe one of these days I’ll actually try to do the math.

Micah: If you ever got the number correct, your memory would likely be wiped by a witch or wizard so that you’d…

Lexi: I’d say, “ADHD.” [laughs]

Andrew: You’ve got to play dumb.

Micah: To Eric’s point earlier, yep.

Andrew: “I just can’t figure it out! Author really stumped us.”

Lexi: You’re going to check in on me in three weeks, and Nicole is going to be like, “I don’t know what happened to Lexi. She ran off, and now she’s in Albania and we lost her.”

[Nicole laughs]

Eric: Lexi is going to need a straitjacket. “Who am I? Who am I?” Yeah.

Andrew: She said she was on Pottercast. I said, “No, you’re on MuggleCast.”

[Lexi laughs]

Laura: But listen, this is where I think our interpretations of the wizarding world can hit some limitations when we’re thinking about 2023 terms. Because yeah, they might come along, Lexi, and Obliviate you, but you’ve already shared this brilliant theory on our show that’s about to be pumped out to tens of thousands of listeners, so they gonna go around and wipe everyone’s memory who ever listen to this episode of the show?

Lexi: I’m so sorry, everyone. [laughs]

Nicole: It’s a lot of work.

Micah: Unless they get Andrew before he edits.

[Laura and Lexi laugh]

Andrew: They just edit it out. Yeah, that’s the easiest way to do it.

Laura: They just delete the whole thing. [laughs] The lost episode.

Micah: Now this gives me an idea for when I say things on the show; I can just go to the Obliviater squad and send them after Andrew so that they end up in the final cut.

Andrew: All right, I see this train riding off the rails, so…

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Andrew is like, “Please, God, stop.”

Micah: Choo-choo.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: So back to what’s happening. Harry and Hermione, they lead the construction of their tent, and Harry assumes it’s going to be some plain old Muggle tent. But once he steps inside, it’s actually more of a magical glamping situation. It’s a three-room flat with a bathroom and a kitchen, and it’s apparently furnished in the style of Mrs. Figg’s house. And Arthur says he got this magical tent from a co-worker at the Ministry; this is Perkins, who we will meet in Order of the Phoenix. It almost seems out of character for him to not have wanted to use a plain Muggle tent. That’s part of getting the Muggle experience; that seems right up Arthur’s alley.

Eric: We’re all a little bit hypocritical when it comes to “Yes, Arthur is loving this, get up at the crack of dawn, carry all your kids there,” but why should they inconvenience themselves with Muggle tents, when it could just look like a tent outside and have all the conveniences on the inside?

Laura: I’ll defend myself here and say that I actually love traditional camping.

Eric: Nobody loves traditional camping! [laughs] I’m sorry.

Laura: I do. I think this is very in character for Arthur, though.

Eric: Right.

Laura: … because again, he’s obsessed with Muggles, but he doesn’t know that much about them, including what it’s like to camp in a tent.

Lexi: For all he knows, this is it.

Micah: I think Arthur said, “You know what, Harry, Hermione? Three years from now, you’re really going to need to know how to build a tent, so get after it.”

Eric: So why does it smell like Mrs. Figg’s house?

Andrew: That is a very good question. I think we actually have some theories. I know, Micah, thank you for putting in the note about Perkins; we meet him in Order of the Phoenix. But Figg is another person we meet in Order of the Phoenix.

Micah: Yep. There’s actually a lot of characters in this chapter that get a brief mention that we meet later on in Order of the Phoenix.

Andrew: Expanding the world, like I think Lexi said. Lexi, you might have a theory here about Perkins and Figg.

Lexi: I do. You can’t bring me onto a podcast and not… [sighs] I’ve got to talk my theories, right? So I love the theory that Perkins and Miss Figg, they dated at some point. Because they seem like they’re around the same age. They’re both older, and poor Perkins has lumbago, and they would go camping, they would go on camping adventures, and they’d bring her cats for whatever reason…

Eric: Ohh.

Lexi: … and he is in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Department as a homage to his continued love for the scribe that got away. That’s my theory right there.

Andrew and Laura:: Aww.

Lexi: Or it’s actually Mrs. Figg’s – or Miss Figg’s – is it Mrs. Figg or Miss Figg?

Eric: I always think of her as a Ms. Figg. [laughs] But that’s just me.

Laura and Nicole:: Mrs.

Lexi: It’s always called “Mrs.,” right? But we never hear anything about her husband, because…

Micah: She’s a cat lady. I mean, let’s be real.

Laura: And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Micah: There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m just saying.

[Andrew, Lexi, and Nicole laugh]

Lexi: Or I was also thinking, maybe it’s Mrs. Figg’s tent and the other tent that doesn’t smell like cats is Perkins’s, but Arthur, he is lying to Harry because he can’t tell him them that it’s actually his neighbor’s cat because she’s undercover and all of that. I don’t think that he’d actually lie to her, but I just have way too much fun.

Andrew and Laura:: Ohh.

Andrew: That’s fun.

Laura: That’s so fun.

Eric: That’s the interesting thing about this, is that I think this sets up Figg as being more than just a neighbor. And it’s true; we’ve learned she’s a Squib, but after the trial, that doesn’t go anywhere in Order of the Phoenix.

Nicole: Right?

Lexi: I have one more possibility; it’s that Perkins bought it from Mrs. Figg on the wizards’ version of Craigslist, or she gave it to him. Maybe it’s her brother, because she is a Squib, so maybe Perkins is her brother, and for some reason or another when she was done camping, she wanted to settle in as her undercover self. She gave it to him.

Nicole: I’m here for these unhinged theories. I love this.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Lexi: Oh, I have so many with Harry Potter. It’s so much fun.

Nicole: Well, one thing I do want to mention is that this is also foreshadowing using Perkins’s tent here, because Harry mentions that he’s never been camping before, but he will be camping a lot soon, like you were saying, Micah, and in this very same tent. And I didn’t realize until I started doing my deep dives of the Harry Potter world that it was the same tent that they use for the Quidditch World Cup.

Andrew: That is crazy.

Laura: That is such a good catch.

Andrew: Thank you, Perkins.

Micah: Yeah, and this tent, by the way – I don’t know how the rest of the panel feels here – but it leads to one of the cheesiest moments in all of the Harry Potter films, when Harry walks into the tent and he just says, “I love magic.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I love that moment.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Laura: I eye roll every time.

Micah: It was not needed. We’re four movies in. Come on, Mike Newell.

Andrew: He’s vocalizing what all the viewers are saying; that’s all.

Micah: I blame the director for that.

Lexi: He’s pulling an Eric; he’s like, “Yes, I’m not actually having to camp! Yes!”

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Andrew: So let’s focus now on Bagman and Crouch. So Bagman, I mentioned him a few minutes ago; he’s an eccentric wizard. He walks as if he has springs under his feet. And his first words to Harry and company are “Ahoy there,” which if you ever hear that from a stranger, you know you’re going to be in for a treat, I think. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody say “Ahoy there.” Well, maybe I just need to go sailing more, but…

Eric: Let’s normalize saying “Ahoy there.”

Nicole: I was going to say, I might start now.

[Everyone laughs]

Nicole: I feel like this is a challenge.

Andrew: Well, so we got our listeners saying “Hey, y’all,” so maybe they should start saying “Ahoy there.”

Eric: Let’s change the feedback form to manually insert “Ahoy there” at the beginning of every message.

Laura: Do it.

Andrew: We could do that.

Laura: Or, hear me out – hear me out – what about “Ahoy, y’all”?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Ooh, that’s flying a little too close to the sun, Laura. That’s playing with fire.

Lexi: That’s some deep south right there.

[Everyone laughs]

Lexi: I just love the way that Bagman is described. “Made him look like an overgrown schoolboy.” You just have such a great visual picture of him there, and it makes me so sad we didn’t get him in the movie, but I’m not going to go down that hole. And there’s the haggard-looking Ministry workers and they’re running around, they’re super stressed out, while he’s all like, “Well, if there’s not much for me to do!” and it’s like, we all have had that manager or we at least know of that leadership figure, right? Where it’s like, “Oh my God, everything’s on fire and you’re just walking around with a big smile on your face drinking coffee.”

Andrew: [laughs] “Everything’s fine!”

Laura: Yeah, I relate to that so much. I can’t even begin to tell you.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Nicole: I relate to the people running around screaming. That’s my vibe.

[Laura and Lexi laugh]

Micah: It’s funny, yeah, because I know, Laura, you and I can probably picture a few people that we work with that fit this to a tee.

Laura: Oh, yes.

Nicole: I do want to mention, because Ludo mentions Agatha Timms, who bet half of her shares of her eel farm on having a week-long match, and I have a lot of questions about this one sentence right here.

Andrew: Yeah, well, go ahead. Question number one, her age?

Laura: Yeah, no, I mean, it feels really icky to me, because if you’re talking about a child betting the shares of her eel farm, I’m imagining a child betting their shares in their ant farm that they have in their bedroom at home or something.

Eric: Or Crayola crayons in their box.

Laura: Yeah, it’s just so exploitive of a child. And it’s one thing to do this with teenagers, right? Because you can argue that they’re of an age where they can reasonably understand the rules of gambling as it were. But not a kid, man. That’s just gross.

Nicole: I love that you went to the kid land because I was like, “This is a grownup. This is a grownup woman who just has an eel farm.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Well, they do use the word “young.” Bagman does use the word “young,” right, in the text, so I think that’s why…

Nicole: That’s true.

Lexi: I thought he used “little.” I think he uses “little.”

Andrew: Oh, little?

Lexi: So I was under the impression that she was like a Flitwick sort of little.

Andrew and Laura:: Ohh.

Laura: So she’s small of stature, but not necessarily a child.

Lexi: That was my impression. [laughs]

Eric: Well, given that we know what Bagman is doing, which is actively, as the Head of Magical Games and Sports, going around ripping people off with no intention to ever pay them back and making these bets, it is predatory. Actually, reading this chapter, I posit that Ludo Bagman is actually the most morally bankrupt character that we meet in this book, and maybe the whole series. The only people who come close are Umbridge and Mundungus Fletcher.

Nicole: So are you saying Ludo Bagman is worse morally than Umbridge? This is a hot take, Eric.

Eric: Well, that’s why I started off saying “this book.” But he’s pretty morally depraved.

Nicole: I would agree.

Eric: He’s in the top three of the whole series.

Andrew: Just this whole gambling thing does not sit right with me in general. The fact that Ludo is doing this in front of Arthur, too, and even Arthur is like, “No, I don’t think Molly would be happy with this,” he still presses forward.

Eric: And he got them their tickets. So he’s making a bet; he knows he’s going to rip off the Weasley twins for all of their money, literally turning out all of their pockets in front of their father, and Bagman was the one that gave them their tickets to the Cup. That’s like, “Hello, let me lead you to the slaughterhouse, and then I will take all of your money.” There’s so much that’s wrong about this, not to mention the conflict of interest because he’s the Department Head of Magical Games and Sports and he’s going around, but he should be forbidden from placing bets.

Lexi: I never thought of that.

Laura: Yeah, especially since… and Micah, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I mean, there’s always the possibility of an athletic match being rigged, right? And so what if that was the case here, and if Bagman knew exactly what the outcome was going to be, and he was doing this specifically to take advantage of people?

Micah: Sure. Yeah, I think it certainly raises ethical questions, to your point, to Eric’s point, especially because he is directly responsible for putting on this event. He should not be in a betting pool. He could have insider information that could directly impact the outcome of the match, and/or lead him to making more money for himself. Now, the piece that isn’t clear, at least right now, is if he stands to gain anything from this pool. Is he just organizing the pool? Or does he actually have money in the pool himself where he could win or he could lose as a result of that? And yeah, it just doesn’t seem like something a Ministry official should be doing.

Nicole: I’m assuming he has a lot on the line here because of how much the goblin trouble gives him later, to the point where he just gives Fred and George vanishing money. So I feel like he’s trying to keep whatever he can to himself from… I mean, whether it’s ethical or not… none of this is ethical on his part, but whether he’s taking portions knowingly by the external parties, or he’s taking portions unknowingly by the external parties, some shady stuff is going on with our guy Ludo.

Micah: Yeah, and I can say from my own experience, I have to take a specific gambling training at work because of the nature of my job. The only thing I can do is I can be in a fantasy league, but that fantasy league cannot result in any kind of financial or other beneficial gain for me, should I end up winning it at the end of the season.

Eric: Here’s a quick name origin on Ludo Bagman. Ludo is a shortened form of Ludwig, and it translates, in German and Flemish origins, Ludo means “famous fighter.” So for a former Quidditch player, that’s huge. And a “bag man” is an agent who collects or distributes the proceeds of illicit activities.

Andrew: Sometimes these names are very on the nose. [laughs]

Micah: Is he same category as Mundungus Fletcher in our minds?

Laura: I think so.

Eric: But again, morally bankrupt. Really no repercussions. The only difference is status.

Laura: Former Quidditch player, Ministry official.

Lexi: Had the ends to be able to get into the Ministry in the first place.

Andrew: In terms of the betting with the twins, the twins actually do get their bet right.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: Wow.

Micah: Lexi actually has a point in here that I agree with. I don’t think, looking back on it, the prediction was all that hard to come by. If you know the sport, I actually think it’s a really smart pick, actually.

Lexi: I agree, because we know that Ireland’s Chasers are absolutely legendary, and then we know that Krum really carries the other team there. So it makes sense. I mean, yes, it is absolutely still a big risk there, but I think it’s brilliant on their part.

Nicole: Well, I will say… so the author did address this, because someone at the Leaky Cauldron in 2005 – I went down my own little rabbit hole trying to find the answer to this question – she addressed it with saying, “It was a risk. They risked everything on it. That is Fred and George, isn’t it? They are always the risk-takers of the family.” I was not as in the camp of “Oh yeah, this makes a lot of sense for them.” I was like, “Who has illicit Time-Turners?”

[Everyone laughs]

Nicole: “Who’s got a connection to Krum?” All of these backend… here I am on my unhinged theory train.

[Lexi laughs]

Nicole: But hearing you say that, Lex, I’m like, “Oh, that actually does make a lot more sense now.” [laughs] Maybe they don’t have an illicit Time-Turner.

Eric: Are Fred and George time-traveling Dumbledore?

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Well, and I mean, look, they’re smart guys. I mean, they open up a very successful business. Even Ludo is very impressed with the wand that they show him, and he said he hasn’t seen a prank one like this in years. So they’re smart; they know what they’re doing. I mean, I would not put it past them that they would one day become professional sports bettors. That does seem very them.

Nicole: [tearfully] Not Fred, though.

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Nicole: Sorry.

Laura: RIP.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Any other points about gambling anybody wants to bring up? Otherwise we could probably move on.

Lexi: It’s not so much about the betting, but I did want to raise a question. I’ve always been curious about the incident Arthur helped Ludo with that made him gift Arthur ten tickets to the top box. That is ten VIP tickets in the most prestigious spot of this 100,000 seat stadium. And I get that it’s for the story; Harry and company, they can’t have the nosebleed sections where they can’t see anything. And we need to interact with these important characters in the story, the Malfoys, Fudge, see Krum up close. But my goodness, what did Ludo get into? And more importantly, what did Arthur get him out of that got ten VIP tickets?

Eric: That’s a good question.

Laura: It goes to show that Arthur may not be as squeaky clean as we perceive him to be.

Nicole: He did make a flying car, which was not cool. [laughs]

Eric: The point I was going to make was that we can totally see Ludo Bagman getting into trouble that has to do with illegal activities, malice, not trying to do the right thing, but I would only ever see Mr. Weasley, even if it’s helping a friend or a colleague out of a spot of trouble, stopping short basically of breaking any rules, besides the very unique circumstance of the car.

Micah: Yeah, but he is kind of a rule breaker. And Eric, wasn’t it you on one of the previous shows that talked about how he’s got a bit of Fred and George in him? Or maybe Fred and George have a little bit of Arthur?

Eric: I think Fred and George, yeah.

Laura: I agree.

Andrew: Okay, wait, I have a theory based on what we’re discussing here. Arthur made this flying invisible car, okay? Ludo said “Ahoy” at the top of this conversation.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Andrew: What if Ludo is a sailor, his boat was sinking, and Arthur can fix and build boats as well? Maybe Arthur built him a boat!

Eric: Oh my God.

Nicole: You have been on the Empyrean TikTok!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Hey, this crazy stuff happens in the Harry Potter world too.

Nicole: I love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lexi: I absolutely love it. I just had to throw that question out there because it has been eating at me for years. What did Arthur do to get ten VIP tickets to this thing?

Andrew: Created one heck of a boat.

[Nicole laughs]

Eric: Not only have I never thought to ask that question, I’ve never seen it asked before. So mad props. Mad, mad props.

Laura: Seriously.

Andrew: [laughs] All right, so let’s turn our attention to Crouch. Kind of a… well, really the opposite of Bagman. And he, unlike Ludo, followed the rule of dressing like a Muggle at the Quidditch World Cup. He’s an older man who looks so much like a Muggle that Harry thinks even Vernon would be fooled. Now, a big angle of this scene with Crouch is Percy’s relationship with him. Crouch fanboy Percy offers him a cup of tea, to which Crouch says, “Thank you, Weatherby.”

Nicole: Tough.

Andrew: Talk about a Crouchy Ouchy. That hurts.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: I really think that needs to be the episode title.

Eric: Crouchy Ouchy.

Andrew: Either that or “Ahoy, y’all.”

Eric: Oh my God.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Ahoy, y’all! It’s a Crouchy Ouchy.

[Nicole laughs]

Eric: I feel so sad. Of course, Fred and George… this is all the ammunition that Fred and George need for the next eight years of torment for Percy.

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Eric: The idea that you finally are in the presence of this man that Percy won’t stop kissing his…

Andrew: Tookus?

Micah: Behind.

Eric: … ahoy. But you totally… wait, what was it, Micah?

Micah: I said “behind.” Andrew said “tookus.”

Andrew: What’s the backside of a boat? A stern?

Micah: Yes.

Andrew: The poop deck?

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: The fact that, yes, Percy wouldn’t stop kissing Crouch’s poop deck? That doesn’t sound right.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Eric: And he can’t remember his name. And here’s the thing, it’s funny, and it’s sad. Because I think some aspect… we’ve all experienced maybe this situation, where you’re really passionate but you don’t necessarily get the respect that you deserve or you don’t get really acknowledged. For his boss… Percy is one of his direct reports, or a secretary, whatever, but he still doesn’t remember his name, or gets it wrong. That’s really hurtful. You feel simultaneously bad for Percy, and then every one of his siblings is there to pounce on it? Basically, it’s honestly a DEFCON 5 scenario.

Micah: It’s worst case scenario, right? And I think for Percy, he isn’t as important as he makes himself out to be, so much so that his boss doesn’t even call him by the proper name. And I think he’s exposed in the worst possible way, just given the fact of how we’ve seen him behave up until this point. And what’s even worse is despite the slight, Percy continues to defend Crouch when the conversation turns to the secrecy surrounding the Triwizard Tournament, and that’s, of course, when Fred calls him Weatherby. Of course it’s Fred, because Fred is always the one who does that.

Eric: Always Fred.

Laura: Yeah. Ugh, Fred, why are you so mean? I find this to be particularly embarrassing for Percy because Barty Crouch clearly knows Arthur… [laughs]

Eric and Micah:: Right.

Laura: … and knows his last name, and sees a young red-haired man who he works with there with Arthur. Even if you didn’t know immediately that he was Arthur Weasley’s son, you could put two and two together and be like, “Oh, I’ve been calling this kid the wrong name for the last three months. Oops.”

Nicole: Here’s what I will say. I think that this says… it’s supposed to say a lot about Percy and his all importance and stuff like that, but I do also think it’s supposed to say a lot about Crouch and how he thinks of and treats the people beneath him, setting us up for the Winky stuff. And it’s just supposed to give us a big ol’ “Hmm.” You know how it’s like, “Never date a guy who’s bad to a waiter” or “mean to a waiter”? I feel like this is this version of that.

Laura: It’s great advice.

Eric: Yes, this is the upcoming Sirius quote, as well. “Look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

Lexi: Some advice he should take himself.

Micah: Right. And then you could get into a whole conversation about looking at them as inferiors to begin with. So is that line by Sirius a good one in truth?

Eric: Yeah, we’ll see.

Lexi: True.

Micah: What’s interesting, though, too, is that Slughorn behaves very much the same way in Half-Blood Prince towards Ron, right? He can never remember his name. And whether it’s intentional or not, it’s still a huge sign of disrespect. We talked about “Weasley” is not that hard of a name to pronounce or remember, and Crouch doesn’t seem like the dickish type, to the point that was just brought up; I just think he could care less about Percy and has more important things to worry about.

Eric: I think the second half of that is true, where he’s so stressed. This is why Percy wants to mollify him and is always offering him tea and is stumbling over himself trying to fix things, is because Percy, I think, to some degree is an empath, and to some degree is trying to account for how busy Crouch is. So Percy has put himself in a thankless position, but Crouch really is distracted, because if you were Barty Crouch and you knew that there’s a woman out there that knows that your son did not die in Azkaban like everyone thinks, and you have nothing but a thin Memory Charm protecting that secret from sinking you at any minute, and that woman’s gone missing, you’d be a little freaked out as well. And then the Head of the Department that’s supposed to be looking for her is going around placing bets, shouting about Quidditch in front of Muggles and doesn’t care about finding her? You’d be a little stressed out too. So I don’t necessarily think that it’s that Crouch is a bad dude at all. I mean, keeping in mind whatever happens in the future chapters; it’s been forever since I’ve read. But I just think that he’s terrified and really is distracted.

Laura: Yeah, and we were talking about name origins for Ludo Bagman; let’s talk about Crouch. I mean, to crouch is to be in a defensive posture, and that is where we see this character the entire book.

Micah: Mic drop. [laughs]

Lexi: Eric, you had mentioned… you have Bertha Jorkins right there. And of course, we remember her her from Chapter 1 when Voldemort and Wormtail were talking about her, and it’s so great. It’s such a casual reference about her, and us as readers are really perking up, right? Bagman knows that she has the memory like a “leaky cauldron,” which is at odds with the schoolgirl that Sirius remembers. And it’s such a nice little hint to that Memory Charm that Crouch placed on her, and the damage that it did. And Crouch keeps pressuring Bagman to search for her because he’s worried about her disappearance and what that means for the secret he covered up, exactly what you were just saying there. And he’s probably like, “Hey, we need to keep an eye on her,” and now that she’s disappeared, it makes absolute sense that he wants to find her in hindsight. And I just have to ask, however, why is it Bagman’s job to find her? There is a Department of Magical Law Enforcement. And why is Bagman, the Head of the Sports Department, in charge? He needs to give the green light for his employee to be found? To even be searched for?

Nicole: I want to be Ludo Bagman’s employee because I can just, like, yeet for three weeks.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: On his boat.

Nicole: No one would care. That’d be pretty cool. I guess PTO is just not really a thing.

Lexi: I just find that so fascinating. Why does Bagman have to be looking for her? I mean, he should care, but it’s not really his job to find her. It’s a different department that should be looking for her simply as a missing person in general.

Eric: That’s a fair, fair point. I like to think that if there was law enforcement that came to Bagman and asked him, though, his dismissiveness of it would keep them at bay for a little while. If Bagman were, when asked, to characterize her as being like, “That’s a little unusual. She has been a little confused in the past, but is mostly really good. I’m worried.” Instead he’s like, “Oh, pfft, she’ll show up,” or whatever, and the law enforcement then doesn’t have that extra impetus to really search for her.

Lexi: That is a fantastic point.

Micah: Bagman is the type of individual, the less responsibility the better. If he doesn’t have to worry about a missing employee, he doesn’t have to worry about a missing employee.

Nicole: He doesn’t even know he should!

Micah: It’s his attitude. It’s who he is.

Lexi: All right, that gives me some peace there.

Andrew: For now.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Odds & Ends

Andrew: So the chapter does end with them heading to the Cup itself. Let’s get into some odds and ends. A forthcoming major event is once again hinted at, and this time we learn it’s going to be happening at Hogwarts, so that’s a new development. And Fred asks Arthur for more information, but dad and Percy – or Weatherby – don’t offer him any clues. Ron also is fangirling over Krum.

Lexi: I love how Hermione comments that he looks grumpy and it’s like, “Oh, don’t worry, girl. He won’t be grumpy with you.”

Eric: Aww.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: We mentioned this earlier too; I just wanted to shout out, again, lots of color in terms of what it’s like to live amongst wizards. We are getting a lot of wizarding world world-building, which was really nice to see.

Nicole: Well, shouts to our welcome crew, Basil and another wizard who’s unnamed. But the wizard who’s unnamed is wearing thigh high galoshes, which I needed to look up. That is thigh high rubber boots. What a look.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Yeah, that’s just typical Muggle attire, right?

Nicole: I would wear that. Ten out of ten.

Lexi: With a kilt and a poncho.

Eric: I would wear it if I were wading in a river.

[Lexi and Micah laugh]

Laura: Also, we get a call-out to other wizarding schools for the first time in this chapter. We hear about Bill’s old pen pal from Brazil, who I guess sent him a cursed hat, I think because Bill couldn’t go to visit him in Brazil. And it’s just clear that the international flair of the Quidditch World Cup is meant to set up for this year’s events at Hogwarts and for the Triwizard Tournament and two new schools coming into the picture.

Micah: Yeah, and it continues the world building that we’ve talked about, opening Harry’s eyes to the fact that there’s more than just Hogwarts out there. And the first three books were very much like, this is it. It’s Hogwarts. Harry gets on the train, or he flies a car, or he gets on the bus, and he goes. Now it’s like, hey, there’s this whole other world out there with so much other cool stuff to explore.

Lexi: And then I just want to give a shout-out to my fellow families of small children. I have two very young ones and I just felt so seen rereading this now, because hey, my children also wake up at the crack of dawn. So it’s just a nice little nod to us parents.

Eric: Aww.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Do they play with wands too? Do they steal your wand?

Nicole: Not yet.

Lexi: I was going to say, I wish, but not with the wands. I do wish, however, that we had the little mini flying brooms, and how they just race. I just thought that was the cutest little thing and I just want to get my son one of those so badly.

Laura: I know.

Andrew: I was disturbed by the child getting a hold of Dad’s wand. I mean, that seems like that could cause a world of problems.

Micah: Wasn’t there a lawsuit recently about that?

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Micah: No, I’m serious.

Andrew: There was some sort of lawsuit. TMZ reported on it; a wand, I don’t know, poked an eye out or something. [laughs] Oh, yeah. “Warner Bros. sued over Harry Potter wand: It impaled my kid’s eye!” I mean, anything can do that.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Lexi: That’s not funny. I’m sorry. But it is funny, but it’s not funny.

Nicole: I should not laugh either.

Micah: Hashtag better parenting. Well, we mentioned Perkins; we mentioned Mrs. Figg; we also get a mention of Bode the Unspeakable, and I say, “Hey, it was nice seeing you. We’ll catch up in Order of the Phoenix.”

Eric: For me – talk about deep dives or things that send you on them – I looked up what lumbago is because I was like, “What’s that?” Turns out, it’s something that many of us suffer from and never knew it: lower back pain.

Andrew: Ah, makes sense.

Nicole: Wow. I feel so seen right now.

Eric: That is why Perkins cannot make it all the way to the Cup, because of lower back pain. Unbelievable. And speaking of characters that we will meet or hear about later, Seamus Finnigan’s mother is here. And famously, Seamus and Harry clash because of his mother and the growing threat around Hogwarts; we know that she does not support Dumbledore. But at the Quidditch World Cup, she’s thrilled to be flying the colors of Ireland, which I assume is just kind of green. But yes, it’s fun to pop by her.

Lexi: The fact that on all this land, and all these hundreds of tents, there is only one tap marked on the other side of the field, so our trio has to walk quite a distance, stand in a long line, fill up their pots and pans, and then dredge on back. And I’m just going to say, I’m a Muggle, and I wouldn’t want to do that. I would definitely be one of those witches who would just pretend like I’m not doing magic, but I would totally be doing magic. [laughs]

Eric: Aguamenti that.

Micah: So literally when I was reading this… I don’t know if anybody else watches Survivor.

Andrew: Oh, I’ve gotten into it. Yes, yeah.

Micah: You have? Okay, cool. But when they have to walk to the water tap to get fresh water from the well, this very much reminded me of that. And these people are not on a deserted island somewhere in the South Pacific.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Nicole: They literally have Aguamenti. Mr. Weasley playing with matches; I mentioned this earlier, but I just can so vividly see this man having the time of his life. Who needs Disney World when you have Arthur with matches?

Andrew: They’re fun to light.

Micah: I played with matches as a kid. [laughs] I got into a lot of trouble.

Andrew: And you turned out fine!

[Lexi laughs]

Andrew: I bet you have some burn marks on your fingers, but you turned out fine other than that.

Micah: No, the other people do.

[Everyone laughs]

Lexi: I love the mention of the magic carpet as a family vehicle. I just love these familiar magical devices – from Aladdin, “A Whole New World” – just pop up like this in the story. And then, of course, the foreshadowing about all of Crouch’s ancestors. They’ve always abided strictly by the law, except, hey, he doesn’t, really, so I just love that little bit there. And lastly, to wrap us up here, I have one more little deep dive here into the world-building of our story. So Omni… Omnioculars… wow, I do not know how to say that. [laughs]

Andrew: Omnioculars is how I say it, personally.

Nicole: Omnioculars.

Lexi: Omnioculars seem very expensive for what they are. They cost 10 Galleons. And I just want to give you all a little list here of what other things in the wizarding world cost, just to give you some price comparisons here. Apparition lesson program, which is a multi-week program, it costs 12 Galleons. The Advanced Potion-Making book, that costs nine Galleons. But then a wand, the most important thing that any witch or wizard uses, it only costs seven Galleons. However, a unicorn hair that goes into the wand costs 10 Galleons, which gives me some serious questions about the profit margin, but we’ll put a pin in that for right now. So 10 Galleons equal out to about 50 pounds or $73.50. And Harry bought three of them. They never use them again. And I really just hope his friends use them when watching him in the Triwizard Tournament.

Andrew: [laughs] I have so many thoughts here. First of all, maybe the wand is very cheap maybe because it’s subsidized by the Ministry. Just a random thought that popped into my head. The Omnioculars, they’re very high tech. I mean, you can rewind, right? You can do the instant replay thing. It’s almost like buying a high-tech camera.

Micah: You can slow down.

Andrew: You can slow down time. Yeah, I think they’re very cool. It is hilarious that they use them once and then never again. It reminds me of like, you go to a concert and you buy a souvenir T-shirt or something, and half the people who buy those things never wear them again. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah. I mean, I will say, merch that is sold at events like this does tend to be overpriced. But I agree with the point, Lexi, about cost and value in the wizarding world being extremely inconsistent in general, when you think about things like… I mean, you have this perfect list; I don’t even need to come up with anything else. It just doesn’t make all that much sense when you really start breaking it down, unless Ollivander is buying supplies in bulk, and so he gets…

Lexi: Maybe.

Laura: I don’t know.

Eric: He makes his wands.

Micah: Well, it’s also another commentary on the Weasleys’ financial situation, too, right? Because Ron is somewhat embarrassed of the fact that Harry is going to buy this for him. And he turns around, and I think he says, like, “I won’t get you a Christmas present” or something along those lines, but…

Andrew: For ten years. [laughs]

Micah: Yeah. But Harry is just joking around.

Laura: No, it’s like, it’s not that serious, Harry. You’re rich. Calm down.

[Lexi laughs]

Andrew: Right. Maybe the Omnioculars say “Quidditch World Cup” on them too. That would be cool.

Laura: That would be.

Nicole: Ooh, branded.

Micah: And the year, right? Maybe, yeah. But I just feel like, having gone through this whole discussion, that it was really done such a disservice in the movies. I know we get a few seconds early on of being able to see the bit of diversity we see at the Quidditch World Cup, but it seems like for a TV show adaptation, they can do so much better. And one of the moments I’m really looking forward to is when the trail lights up, going to the actual Quidditch World Cup. I feel like that would be so fun to see on screen.

Nicole: The fact that they spent two seconds on “I love magic,” and not two seconds on anything else that they could have done.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: Listen, once you start playing that game, there’s no going back.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Nicole: Too late. It’s too late.

Andrew: That was turned into a gif that’s been used again and again online. It’s a meme and it’s priceless.

Micah: That’s true.

Nicole: It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Andrew: Yeah, you can’t put a price on that. [laughs]

Eric: I like that moment.

MVP of the Week

Andrew: All right, well, this has been a lot of fun, and now it’s time for MVP of the week.

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: And I’m going to give it to Crouch for calling Percy “Weatherby.” I think it’s pretty funny and puts him in his place.

Eric: My MVP also goes to Crouch, but this time for pressuring Bagman to do something about Bertha’s disappearance. Barty is kind of annoyed by him, but good for him.

Laura: I’m going to give mine to Bagman for giving young readers their first introduction to that annoying, useless, “Fake it until you make it” coworker.

Micah: Nice. No surprise, I’m giving it to Archie for liking a healthy breeze around his privates and not caring who knows it. To that I say: Be you, Archie. Be you.

Lexi: Oh man, that was mine too. That might be one of my favorite little random moments of the whole series. But mine is going to be Fred and George because of the bet that they made and how this is their first business attempt to get money. Big risk, big reward, and it worked.

Nicole: And I’m going to go with the wizarding tents, because unlike Laura, I am not a camper in the slightest.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Nicole: But this is the type of camping that would actually convince me to mingle with the outdoors.

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Andrew: I was gifted a camping tent two years ago, three years ago, and it’s yet to be opened. It really just needs to go on eBay at this point. Laura, would you like my camping tent?

Laura: I was going to say, send it to me. I’ll use it.

Andrew: I’ll throw a MuggleCast beanie in there. You’ll be warm in the tent over the whole visit.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Laura: Oh my gosh. It’s not like I already have four of them, but sure.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: I don’t know. If you have any feedback about today’s discussion, you can contact us by emailing or sending a voice memo recorded on your phone to, or by using our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. And next week, we will discuss Goblet of Fire Chapter 8, “The Quidditch World Cup.”


Andrew: And speaking of Quidditch, now it’s time for our weekly trivia game, Quizzitch.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Yes, we took a few weeks off, so we got a lot of entries this week. Last week’s question was: According to Percy Weasley, about how many languages does Mr. Crouch speak? The correct answer was over 200.

Andrew: All right, so I believe it’s my turn to do the names, right?

Eric: I think so, yes. Please, Andrew, be our guest here.

Andrew: Now here’s how you do it. This is how you move quickly through the list. [clears throat] Last week’s winners: HallowWolf; Hermione4ever; PeanutOnABroomStick; No Diggory I got to bag it up; Oliviathehufflepuff; Remembralls are fun but Accio is quicker; Luke the 12 year old; Micah tricked us again even though I like Famous Amos…

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: … MMRTG a.k.a Multi-Mission Radiostope Thermoelectric Generator I just wrote that to make you say it…

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: [takes a deep breath] … Dobby stole my socks; Elizabeth K… one normal name, excellent. Andrew Sims canceled for magical creature cruelty read more on page six; SoltheSoulSucker; Percy Weatherby; Am I going crazy or is Eric slacking by giving everyone else the job of reading Quizzitch names… yes. Barty we hardly knew ye; Barty is a Duolingo maven says Percy; Carly; Cedric dies and becomes a sparkly vampire…

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: … WhoIsBabysittingCrookshanks; There no one else Percy would Weather-by; and Weatherbitch, where’s my tea?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That’s the first and last time I’m doing that, even though that was fun. That was fun, though.

Lexi: I have questions. [laughs]

Laura: You did well.

Andrew: This segment started as a nice thing where, “Oh, congratulations to Anna, Laura, Mark,” and then slowly one person after the other started coming up with a surprising nickname, and now that’s what it’s devolved into. And they’re a lot of fun to read.

Nicole: That was unhinged chaos, and I’m so here for it.

Lexi: I love it! I absolutely love that. Oh my gosh.

Andrew: [laughs] I’m glad.

Eric: Maybe we’ll do a week where people can only submit their legal names.

[Eric and Lexi laugh]

Laura: No, that’s so boring.

Andrew: You must submit your photo ID.

Eric: Yeah, photo ID along your name to play Quizzitch.

Andrew: That should go over well.

Eric: No, no, we love Quizzitch and all the people who enter it, and speaking of, here is the next week’s question: What broomstick does Harry see advertised as being “for all the family” at the Quidditch World Cup? And submit your answer to us on the MuggleCast website,, or go to the MuggleCast website and click on “Quizzitch” from the top nav bar. Thank you so much.

Andrew: Nicole and Lexi, this has been amazing. Thank you for joining us. This was so fun.

Nicole: Thank you for having us.

Lexi: Yes, thank you.

Andrew: Thank you for all the theories, all the research, all the energy. It was perfect. Where can we find Fantasy Fangirls online?

Nicole: We are on every podcasting platform if you search “Fantasy Fangirls,” and a lot of people like watching us on YouTube because apparently we make crazy facial expressions, so we are on there as well, also at Fantasy Fangirls.

Lexi: And you can find us at Fantasy We are also very active on TikTok and Instagram at @FantasyFangirlsPod.

Andrew: Awesome. Yeah, y’all are killing it on TikTok in particular; that’s where I see you, at least. Oh my gosh, just well done. Very well done. It’s hard to grow a podcast these days; it’s an issue a lot of people struggle to figure out, and you two just killed it with the TikTok and Instagram, the social media posts that you do.

Eric: Congratulations on your success.

Nicole: We sacrificed the right goat to the TikTok algorithm gods. That’s how I feel.

[Lexi laughs]

Eric: Ohh.

Nicole: That’s how this has worked out in the last ten weeks.

Micah: I’m just going to say, it’s a very good thing that you saved sacrificing a goat to the end of the show as opposed to bring it up earlier on.

Eric: Yeah, we love goats here.

[Lexi laughs]

Nicole: Oh, thank God. Okay, good. Glad to close it out.

Eric: We have stuffed goats nearby. There’s always a stuffed goat.

Andrew: It’s another running joke here on MuggleCast.

Laura: They’re our mascot. [laughs]

Eric: That’s what I had to do to become famous on TikTok? Just kill this guy? I don’t think I could do it.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Nicole: Sometimes it’s not worth fame. It’s fine.

[Lexi laughs]

Andrew: No, I mean, in all seriousness, I think you two could teach some sort of masterclass or online course on growing a podcast through TikTok.

Laura: For sure.

Andrew: Chef’s kiss on how you’ve done that. We’re impressed.

Nicole: Thank you. That means a lot.

Lexi: Thank you.

Andrew: I think I’m going to hop on Fantasy Fangirls in the next month or something like that, so listeners, stay tuned for that. We’ll talk about Fourth Wing and crossover there with the world of Harry Potter. Couple reminders before we wrap up on our end, visit for transcripts, social media links, our full episode archive, our favorite episodes, and to contact us. And don’t forget, the MuggleCast and Millennial overstock store is now open; is where you can get one-of-a-kind MuggleCast gifts while supplies last, and the next two weeks is the time to order if you want Santa Andrew and Eric to get your gift there before Christmas. Him and I are the ones shipping this stuff out. If you enjoy MuggleCast and think other Muggles would, too, tell a friend about the show. And we would also appreciate if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app. We’d also appreciate your support on Patreon,, or if you’re an Apple Podcasts subscriber, you can tap into the show and hit subscribe, and you’ll get ad-free and early access to each episode. All right, that does it. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Nicole: I’m Nicole.

Lexi: And I’m Lexi.

Andrew: Bye, everyone. Thanks again, Fantasy Fangirls.

Laura: Bye, y’all.