MuggleCast 638 Transcript
Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #638, Nothing About Quidditch Is Fair (GOF Chapter 8, The Quidditch World Cup)
[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 Omnioculars and your earplugs, because this week we’re diving into Goblet of Fire Chapter 8, “The Quidditch World Cup.”
Andrew: First of all, though, thank you to everybody who listens to MuggleCast on Spotify and tagged us in their Wraps. Their Wrappeds? Something like that.
Eric: That second one is correct.
Andrew: We were the top podcast for 1,100 listeners, we were in the top five podcasts for 3,400 people, and we were in the top 10 for 4,800 people.
Andrew: Our top episode of the year – I almost forgot this happened this year – Episode 606, “A Harry Potter TV Reboot is Coming!?”
Andrew: And we theorized and that was a lot of fun. Definitely the biggest news item of the year, right?
Eric and Laura: Yeah.
Eric: [laughs] Right at the beginning.
Andrew: And! We couldn’t do this show without listener support. And to thank listeners, we do two bonus MuggleCast installments on our Patreon every month. These bonus MuggleCast installments will also be coming to the Apple Podcast paid subscription, by the way, starting in 2024. Later this week, we’re going to have a new bonus MuggleCast in which we are looking at 2023 in review, and we’re also going to look ahead to 2024 to see what we can maybe expect for the fandom. I thought this was a slow year, but it actually wasn’t when you look at it at a bird’s eye view. Things did happen.
Laura and Micah: Yeah.
Eric: It went fast for me. [laughs] I feel like, another year is gone already?
Micah: I’m waiting for Andrew’s impression.
Andrew: [imitating Dumbledore] “Another year, gone.”
Eric: There you go.
Andrew: I was saving it for next week.
Micah: You’re right, though. Between the announcement of the show, Hogwarts Legacy… those two by themselves are big enough, considering we’re not living in a Fantastic Beasts world anymore.
Andrew: We’ll talk about that, too, in this bonus MuggleCast. So that’ll be available at Patreon.com/MuggleCast this week.
Laura: Fantastic who? I don’t know her.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Eric: It was a fantastic Who. Catherine Tate and David Tennant are back. I thought it was fantastic.
Andrew: Oh, excited for you Whovians. And lastly, don’t forget the MuggleCast overstock store is open; there’s still time to order a MuggleCast gift, or you could ask a loved one to order one for you. Visit MuggleMillennial.Etsy.com to purchase a MuggleCast T-shirt, beanie – which Laura is wearing tonight. How comfy is the beanie tonight, Laura?
Laura: It’s so cozy. It’s very, very cold tonight. And I will also confess, the main reason that I’m wearing it is because we are on camera for this livestream, and I need to wash my hair. It’s a little bit greasy, so this hat is the perfect accessory for tonight’s episode. Makes me look more put together than I am.
Eric: [laughs] Laura, I know that even if you had washed your hair, you would have heavily considered wearing that lovely beanie, wouldn’t you have?
Laura: I would. I would have. Definitely for the finale episode of the year.
Eric: Ooh, yeah.
Andrew: It’s soft, it’s warm; it’s a thick, durable beanie. We’re very happy with it. Actually, I’m currently wearing an In-N-Out hoodie; however, underneath you can see I’m wearing the beige MuggleCast T-shirt.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: Because I, too, am cold!
Micah: Looks like you were about to expose something there, Andrew.
Andrew: [laughs] No. We’ve made great quality gifts over the years and now’s the opportunity for those of you who aren’t patrons, or maybe those of you who missed out on these gifts, to get them. We highly recommend, though, ordering by December 15, and we will get it in the mail for Christmas. At least, we think; USPS does say their deadline for putting things in the mail to have them arrive before Christmas is December 16, so we will do our best to get these to you before Christmas if you are aiming for that.
Micah: This reminded me that this episode is the penultimate episode of the year. I forget whose favorite word on the show that is; it might be Eric’s.
Andrew: No, it’s mine.
Micah: Oh, it’s yours.
Andrew: I think so.
Micah: You can share the word.
Eric: We like the word.
Andrew: So again, MuggleMillennial.Etsy.com. And by purchasing one of these items, not only are you going to love it, but you’re also supporting the show, so we really appreciate that.
Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary
Andrew: So those are our announcements. And now, let’s get to Chapter by Chapter. And this week, in our penultimate episode – I love that word – we’re discussing Goblet of Fire Chapter 8, “The Quidditch World Cup.” And we’ll start, like we always do, with our seven-word summary.
[Seven-Word Summary music plays]
Andrew: … compete…
Laura: … vigorously…
Micah: … against…
Eric: … their…
Andrew: [laughs] … formidable…
Laura: … opponents.
Andrew: Yes! Yes!
Laura: Look at us!
Micah: This is… penultimate.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Eric: Eternal glory has just been gotten.
[Seven-Word Summary music ends]
Andrew: I saved you, Laura.
Laura: Thank you, because I was like, “Oh man, this is going to be rough.” But no, Andrew, you saved that at the end. That’s a great sentence.
Andrew: Hooray for adjectives!
Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion
Eric: So that leads us into discussing this chapter. And I have to say, I think that the environment is perfectly captured, that of a large sporting event. It is lit. I mentioned earplugs at the top of show – or wrote that for the intro – because they will come in handy. There is so much going on here, and continuing the trend of what we’ve seen in the early chapters of Goblet of Fire, the wizarding world continues to expand. And Harry and crew get up to, it turns out, the top most box, the toppermost of the poppermost box of the Quidditch World Cup. And there they find what Harry thinks is Dobby, and he calls out to him, and it turns out it’s not Dobby. We learn more about house-elves through Winky the house-elf, who it turns out is Barty Crouch’s own elf, who says that she is there to save him his seat. And it’s really through Winky that we get this whole mini part of this chapter, which speaks to classism and other thoughts. So what were our first impressions? Do we remember back what we thought of Winky?
Laura: Well, rereading this, I definitely cringed at Harry’s automatic assumption that it was Dobby.
Eric: But Laura, it’s okay because she knows Dobby. They all know each other, right? [laughs]
Laura: And then that was the other thing I was like, “Oh my God.” The cultural cringe is embedded in the text, and you can say that for any, I think, phenomenon, movie, book, whatever.
Laura: But the cultural cringe, the unconscious bias, if you will, is just so present in moments like these. It was very hard to read.
Andrew: It was exciting to hear from another house-elf, but I am confused by Harry’s reaction that he would just assume it was Dobby, and it made me wonder, is Dobby the only other house-elf Harry has seen till this moment? Ron says a few pages later – or actually, at the end of this scene – he’s like, “Oh, so that’s what a house-elf is.” So if Harry has seen one between Dobby and Winky, then it wasn’t with Ron. I guess he hasn’t. But it’s still strange to be like, “Oh, a house-elf. That must be Dobby.”
Laura: Right, there’s only one.
Andrew: Does all the cooking, all the cleaning…
Eric: Yeah, well, that shows what the whole buildup is going to be to house-elves working at Hogwarts, which we know is a huge subplot in this book with Hermione’s arc. And really, it’s surprising that none of the children in their three or four years asked the question, “Where do my clothes go when they get cleaned?” or, “Who takes them?” or anything like that. So it’s interesting that this is all of these 14-year-olds’ first experience with a house-elf.
Andrew: “Who’s making the food I’m eating every day at Hogwarts?”
Laura: Well, and I’ll be honest: Up until the subject of house-elves was really dug into in this book, as a reader, as a child, I always assumed everything was just magic.
Andrew and Eric: Yeah.
Laura: It was all just magic, and things just kind of appeared, and your clothes were just clean when you needed them to be. And I think that in and of itself is a commentary on social systems that rely upon help to complete all of their goings-on around the house. And this idea that the help is seen and not heard, which is very insidious. So I think there’s definitely a commentary going on there where it’s like, the kids were ignorant to it; so were we as readers, because we just weren’t in the position to wonder, “Who is doing this?” And we assumed that it was just magic. And I think in the real world, people can treat it that way. They just expect, if they’re of the social class to have hired help like that… depending – I’m not blanketing here – but just depending, there can be that social element of just expectation that that work is beneath you, and that is somebody else’s job.
Eric: I’m glad you brought up the issue of class, because if you look at the other people that are sharing this top box, it’s the Malfoy family and Crouch himself, Ludo Bagman and Fudge, the Minister of Magic, in fact, the Bulgarian Minister of Magic are there. The Weasleys are a huge long shot compared to all of their much, much higher class compatriots here.
Andrew: But as we now know, it was because Arthur built Ludo a boat in his time of need…
Andrew: … and now he is a member of the upper class.
Micah: What you pointed out here, Eric, is that it’s interesting that there’s a connection of sorts between Winky and Dobby, right? There seems to be some kind of familiarity that exists between the two of them when Harry does mistake her for Dobby. And I’ve always thought of house-elves as being this close-knit community where everybody knows each other. And maybe that’s a mistake on my part, but then I was thinking even further, and we’re talking about, at least in this case, two pure-blood families in the Malfoys and the Crouches. And just knowing how that has come across in the series to date, we would assume that these pure-blood families would have known each other for decades, right? Maybe even centuries. So naturally, their house-elves would have interacted at some point, assuming that Dobby’s family served the Malfoys for generations; Winky’s family did the same. So I think that there would be some kind of relationship that exists between the two of them. Dobby is certainly more of the friendly type. But yeah, that’s what came to mind for me.
Laura: I think that’s fair. I do.
Andrew: Yeah, you can imagine them running into each other at family holiday parties, the Crouches and the Malfoys, or a Ministry party. I don’t know. You could definitely see social events where the Malfoys and the Crouches are in the same place and then that’s when you see the house-elves, because if Winky is showing up to this…
Micah: Now, is she at the far end of the box? Because I can only imagine if Lucius had to sit down next to her what that would have been like.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: She is at the far end of the box.
Micah: She is, okay.
Eric: There’s one seat between her and the wall. But yeah, Winky’s whole behavior speaks to this lower class, especially what Laura was saying about the help and “seen, not heard.” She’s hiding her face. She’s covering her own face. She’s kind of afraid to move it away. Even when she’s engaged with conversation with Harry, she seems to behave as though it would be everyone’s desire for her not to be seen or interacting with them. She’s very downtrodden. But she yet extols this whole virtue of house-elves having this station, that it is their lot, because when the conversation is all about Dobby, she’s talking about how crazy Dobby has gotten and how his freedom is “going to his head.”
Eric: Harry’s natural question is “How’s Dobby?” She said she knows him. And Winky has some opinions.
Laura: Yeah. And I think, to your point, Eric, about the station that Winky feels like she possesses or that she occupies, the reason she’s covering her face is because she’s terrified of heights. And she’s being forced to reserve Mr. Crouch’s seat in this box, way up at the top of the stadium, and she’s terrified, but she also feels like she has to. She thinks that she’s beholden to that. And that speaks directly to the point that you bring up about her saying “Dobby is getting a big head about himself, he is flying far above his station, and he needs to find a good family and settle down. I’m afraid that he is going to have to go in front of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.” And it is such an interesting contrast to what we’re going to see with Hermione’s character arc throughout the rest of this book, in observing, as Winky points out to Harry here, that the question of freedom for house-elves is not as black and white as maybe he perceived it to be when he freed Dobby, because it was easy for Harry, a 12-year-old, to free Dobby, because it’s the right thing to do. Why wouldn’t you? But this book really starts to open up some of the more complicated, messy questions, like what contingencies do you have in place for the backlash that an elf is going to receive when they are freed? What contingencies are in place to help that elf be successful and prosper in a society that does not accept the concept of free elves? And it’s really interesting because we see Hermione go all the way to the extreme, very similar to where Harry was a couple years ago, being like, “Yeah, freedom is obviously right,” and we all agree with her, “Yeah, it is,” but there are also a lot of questions and some really valid concerns that I think any house-elf like Winky would have for “What does freedom mean for me?”
Micah: Yeah. The only comparison I can really think of: It’s almost similar to when you have a domesticated animal and it’s released out into the wild. And if it’s not slowly integrated back into the wild, it is inevitably going to die because its ability to adapt is so limited. And I think we see a lot of that with Winky later on in Goblet of Fire when she is released by Crouch. Dobby less so. I think Dobby is a trendsetter.
Micah: I mean, how many house-elves have been set free and go about trying to get work? And not only get work, but wanting to be compensated? I mean, God forbid he get compensated for his work.
Laura: I know.
Andrew: He’s a man who knows what he wants.
Eric: It’s skilled labor. It has a value, it has a monetary value, and he’s asking for it. Yeah.
Micah: And I think it’s fascinating. And we can talk more about this later as we start to meet more house-elves in the series, but in both Winky and in Kreacher, you have two households that were fiercely loyal to younger members of the family in Crouch, Jr. and in Regulus. And then on the flip side, you have somebody like Dobby who is anything but loyal to the Malfoys, so just looking at the behavior of all these different house-elves and how they’ve probably grown to respond to their families over time is just so interesting.
Eric: Yeah, I’m thinking of Hokey the house-elf as well…
Micah: That’s another one.
Laura: Oh, yeah.
Eric: … wasn’t that Hepzibah Smith’s? Because she has a drinking problem, and her house-elf obviously is duty-bound and honor-bound to help her, but then it takes a toll in an entirely different mental… well, I think those three house-elves, Kreacher, Dobby – well, Winky and Hokey are the perfect spectrum of how that all works out. But yeah, just the idea that Dobby would ask for pay. Harry is like, “He should; why shouldn’t he be compensated?” But it’s just this ignorant thing of like, “Well, the world doesn’t necessarily work that way.” I’m sure anyone would want to be freed from working for the Malfoys, though, who, by the way, show up minutes after this conversation, which is so… like you said, asking the question if Lucius had to sit next to Winky. What would he think? What would he say?
Andrew: Don’t bring any socks near her.
Laura: [laughs] I want to point out something that Justin is pointing out in the Discord, which is that Dobby, his payment that he wants for providing services is not money. It’s socks.
Laura: And this, I think, on its face can come across as kind of, oh, a charming, quirky character-ism, but it is another symptom of this overall cultural problem that even when Dobby does obtain his freedom, the concept of monetary gain just isn’t the first thing his mind goes to when he thinks about charging for his services.
Eric: Oh, that’s a great point. [laughs] Just thinking about the time that I worked for MuggleNet for three years and got a hat out of it.
Micah: It’s more than most.
Laura: You were like, “You could have at least given me a sock!”
Eric: No, I wanted the hat. I wanted the hat.
Eric: I think it was Notre Dame.
Micah: You did better than some, Eric. Just throwing that out there.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: Some of us wrote a book and didn’t get anything.
Eric: Oh my God.
Eric: Is there a larger question to deal with? We talked about the higher class occupants of this booth. But there’s this tense moment between Arthur and Lucius, and the Minister is there; Fudge very happily proclaims that Lucius just gave this bunch of gold to St. Mungo’s, and Arthur is forced, because of professional courtesy, to say “Oh, nice.” But then Lucius turns around and completely insults Arthur, asking him what he did to get these good seats, and selling his house surely wouldn’t be enough. And it’s just this complete classism that’s happening here, coupled with the house-elf thing that’s going on in this otherwise very action-packed chapter. What is this chapter trying to say about these themes, really?
Micah: I mean, to me, it’s not something that is really uncommon in the Muggle world too, right? We’ve probably all seen things like this or maybe even experienced it ourselves. There’s this really strong feeling that the Weasleys are just visiting a place that the Malfoys regularly frequent.
Micah: And I feel for them in this moment in particular. But I will say, in terms of if we were to take the 10,000 foot view of this and spin it more to a positive end, I think it can show the unifying aspect of sport, right? That’s something that is often talked about, because you’re able to bring people together from so many different walks of life to enjoy a game like this. And if you look at… Eric, you rattled off who was in the box earlier, but you have two pure-blood families in the Weasleys and the Malfoys, three if you want to count the Crouches; you have a half-blood in Harry; a Muggle-born in Hermione; you have a house-elf in Winky; and you have a couple of Ministers for Magic and other dignitaries. It’s really a odd group of individuals to all have in one place. [laughs] But they are all there to watch the Quidditch World Cup and they don’t get into fisticuffs, really; they just kind of put their differences aside and enjoy the match.
Andrew: Another lesson of this chapter is that you actually can buy your way into high profile events like this.
Micah: Of course.
Andrew: We hear from Fudge that Lucius bought his way in. He didn’t say those words, but he said, “Lucius has just given a very generous contribution to St. Mungo’s.”
Andrew: Does Lucius suddenly care about the hospital? No, he wanted to buy his way in to the Quidditch World Cup. That’s all he did that for.
Eric: Just like he did with the brooms to get Draco on the Quidditch team.
Eric: Bribing is totally… because they’re there as Fudge’s guests, personal guests, as a result of that donation. So there you go.
Andrew: Yes. But that area’s kind of glossed over; that’s one of those things you might read the first time as a kid and you don’t really notice it, but then after, you’re like, “Oh, okay, he just bought his way in. That’s all that was.”
Eric: Yeah, I mean, honestly, I don’t blame early eagle-eyed fans for thinking that there was then some kind of untoward lean to St. Mungo’s. If Lucius Malfoy is their biggest patron, which is not said that he is, but if the kind of people that are donating there are Death Eaters, former and present, then you should question whether the hospital exists to make people better or not.
Micah: Or so they can sneak things in later on in the series.
Eric: That doesn’t bode well, I don’t think.
Micah: No, it doesn’t. Well done.
Laura: I don’t know. I think we can see examples even in today’s day and age of people, whose morals we might question, throw their money around to good causes to make them look like maybe they have better manners than they do. And I mean, also, I have to imagine… I don’t know what taxes look like in the wizarding world…
Laura: … but that’s a big thing people do, at least here in the States, is make some pretty massive charitable contributions for the tax write-off.
Micah: Yeah, and the Malfoys are definitely there – at least Lucius is – as a status symbol, whereas the Weasleys are there, Harry is there, to enjoy the match, right? Harry and Ron in particular are just super excited to even have this opportunity. I’m sure they wouldn’t care where they sat in that stadium; just the fact that they’re there is exciting.
Eric: So I want to talk about the actual Quidditch World Cup game, and something that stood out to me absolutely is the complete mayhem caused during this game by the mascots that are brought here. I mean, it’s something I, of course, remember from the match, but something that really takes the front seat and lasts the whole match. I mean, the pandemonium that is set off by both the leprechauns making rude gestures with their formations and the Veela just by their nature, and by some of their actions that we’re going to detail, really are disastrous. It’s like if the Chicago Bears brought actual bears to a football game and let them loose on the field.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Eric: Seriously, it’s nuts, the idea that these wizarding teams have creatures that are emblematic of their home country, but which do not necessarily behave themselves and are allowed to basically storm the field.
Micah: I’m so glad you said that, Eric, though, because not all mascots are just dressed up in costume and cute little furry things that kids want to take pictures with. They are actual animals in the Muggle world, so this isn’t that much of a stretch, and we get careless too. And I put a video – we can put it in the show notes – of Bevo from the University of Texas, and Uga, who is a bulldog from the University of Georgia. They met a couple of years ago in the Sugar Bowl, and Bevo was not having any of Uga, let’s just say that. I don’t know if y’all want to watch the video.
Eric: I can’t wait to.
Andrew: I watched it.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Andrew: It’s hard to watch because the commentators are like, “Oh, man, that was so cool! I want to watch that happen again.” But the dog’s life was threatened!
Eric: Not Bevo and Uga at the Sugar Bowl! [laughs] I love sports.
Laura: As someone who grew up in Georgia, to hear someone that I’m friends with in another state mention Uga did something to my brain.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Laura: It was just weird. It was a weird worlds colliding moment. [laughs]
Micah: But what’s so great about it is you literally think it would have been the other way around, but it’s actually… you would think it would be the bulldog going after the longhorn, but it’s actually the longhorn going after the bulldog.
Andrew: Oh, that doesn’t surprise me at all. [laughs]
Eric: So imagine that you have any of these fantastic beasts – or magical beings or creatures, however they choose to classify or are classified arbitrarily by wizards – imagine those being let loose on a good day, not in the most prime sporting event of every four years or whatever it is. And it’s just complete pandemonium. In fact, I’m blown away by the safety concerns, which shouldn’t, at this point, surprise any of us that the wizards are so carefree about safety. But the thing about the Veela in particular, as Bulgaria’s mascots that they bring there, the Veela have an effect, an immediate entrancing effect on presumably every male in the stadium, and nobody was adequately prepared for it. The big thing that happens, to me, to point out is that Harry feels that he immediately needs to do something impressive. These are the most beautiful, questionably human women that he’s ever seen in his life, and he needs to impress them. How is he going to do it? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that he has to jump out of the top box at the Quidditch World Cup and plummet into the stadium below. He doesn’t have his broom with him. He doesn’t know the Summoning Charm. He has to…
Andrew: He turns into a zombie. He’s just like, [in a droning voice] “Lady. Beautiful lady.”
Eric: Yeah, and when he comes to, Hermione is pulling him back because one of his legs is against the wall of the box. He literally had gotten to his feet and jumped up. And it’s like, “If they stop singing and dancing, something terrible is going to happen.” That’s all Harry knows in his mind. Multiply that by 50 or 60,000, assuming the genders of the men in the audience. Wow, this is insane.
Micah: Look, I mean, Barty Crouch, Jr. could have ended it all right there. We wouldn’t even have needed to have a fourth book.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Eric: Given him an extra push. [laughs]
Laura: It made me wonder if it was insinuating that while Veela in this universe definitely target men – right, men are the ones that are attracted to them – I think it’s amiss that we didn’t see any women getting a little bit flustered, if you will. [laughs] But I think it’s interesting because we see Mr. Weasley grinning about this because he knows what’s going on, and it feels like a commentary maybe on teenage hormones. But given the vast reaction from the rest of the stadium, it makes me wonder if it also is a commentary on drunkenness. I have to imagine being at a big sporting event like this, a lot of these people are drunk, and when you reach that level of inebriation, the filter between your brain and your mouth kind of goes away; you lose all inhibition. And I think that would probably make a grown man more likely to react to the Veela in this way. It’s a vulnerability thing, in a way. They don’t think they’re vulnerable, but they are.
Andrew: And Kelsey in the Discord said, “Is it only straight men who are affected? Would Dumbledore be affected by the Veela? What about lesbians?” So there is a line or two from Hermione when she’s seeing what Harry is doing, and she says, “Harry, what are you doing?” And then a couple lines later, she pulls Harry back and she goes, “Honestly.” So it doesn’t seem to be affecting her and presumably most straight women there. Lesbians, presumably, yes, it would be affecting them.
Eric: This is the next generation Thestral test that we play on the crowd of figuring out who can see them, who can’t, who would be affected by Veela, who wouldn’t…
Andrew: Yeah. Dumbledore would be affected, but he would just be going, “Yas, queen, yas, work it.”
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Eric: Honestly, this chapter… and I love whenever we ask the question, “Is it analogous to” sports fans or things like that. Is this a commentary on how aggressive men get at sporting matches? Possibly, right? I for one was thinking, bringing these very attractive female-presenting creatures out, is that a commentary on cheerleading? On cheerleaders? And how the Dallas Cowboys have an attractive bunch of… I mean, they’re known for having an attractive group of cheerleaders. But the other thing that it made me think of was Greek mythology.
Andrew: Ooh. Cheerleaders in Greek mythology.
Eric: [laughs] I decided to look up the Veela and figure out where the origins might be, and it turns out that Veela are actually very real. “The word ‘Veela’ is an Anglicization of the Slavic term ‘Vila.’ Veela are described as fairy or nymph-like creatures in Slavic mythology, who live in bodies of water and have power and the ability over storms. They may be the ghosts of women who drowned, especially those who were betrayed by their lovers.” And so I’m sensing a theme here that they may be similar to either harpies or sirens from Greek myth, if you guys know your Odyssey.
Laura: I was thinking about the siren comparison for sure.
Micah: Yeah, especially given how the men behave.
Eric: Yeah, harpies are more birdlike, but later in the match, the Veela sprout wings, so there is something birdlike about them. But the sirens in particular… Arthur Weasley says, “Cover your ears” later in the game. Everyone is covering their ears to prevent the effects. Odysseus actually has wax that he puts in his ears, and he commands all of his men wear it and he prevents the… he ties himself to the mast of his ship, so that he doesn’t… and he forbids all of his men from rowing to shore, despite how he’s going to command them to untie him. So it’s a big deal to avoid these things. And yet, they’re thrust upon an unsuspecting populace in the whole people of… I just think some mascots maybe should have been banned.
Andrew: Yeah, well, I guess just what bugs me – and Micah and I have a point to tag team – the point of the Veela and the leprechauns almost seems to be winning the crowd over to get the crowd on the side of the team that the mascots are representing. The Veela, it’s making all the men H-word.
Micah: You can say it. That’s an okay word.
Andrew: And then with the leprechauns, they’re paying the crowd! They’re paying the crowd off with gold!
Eric: With golf ball-sized gold. [laughs] I mean, you know how much damage hail does?
Eric: The audience is hit with falling gold coins.
Andrew: And then Ron is paying Harry back the debts that he is owed. [laughs]
Eric: This is chaos. Both teams’ mascots are only bound to cause such chaos. And obviously, it’s funny. It’s enjoyable. But what the heck were organizers thinking?
Micah: They weren’t! It’s Ludo!
Eric: Yeah, it’s Ludo.
Micah: That’s what you have to remember at the end of the day. But what I think is so fascinating is that both mascots are not what they appear to be, in the sense that on the surface level, we know the Veela are masked by their looks; the leprechauns are masked by their money because the money isn’t real either. I mean, think about how pissed off you would be if you’re at a sporting event and you got the T-shirt toss, but then when you went home, the T-shirt disappeared. You wouldn’t like that, would you?
Eric: No. I mean, I’m only paying for my drinks at the stadium with leprechaun gold, because that they can’t take away from me.
Micah: But if you come with me, you get the drinks for free, as well as the tickets. Right, Eric?
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: We didn’t know that. We found that out thanks to our our neighbor, who was next to us at the Bulls game. But anyway.
Eric: Yeah, so again, just going back to Veelas’ origin in history. Here’s two more excerpts I pulled from Wiki: “Vila are usually friendly to people, but they can take horrible revenge on those who insult them, disregard their orders, or uninvitedly, approached their circle dance,” and “Within the Czech tradition, Vily are almost always malicious, unless respected and avoided. They are portrayed as beautiful women with long flowing hair, who primarily live in the woods, marshes, or forest clearings. They are said to try to entrance men, who wander into their land, by their looks and beautiful voices.” So yeah, definitely woodland and water-based fairy creatures from the Slavic regions. Spot on.
Laura: And to that note, did anyone else remember that Veela are native to Bulgaria? Obviously, I remember them being here in this chapter, but I think I had forgotten that Veela are actually from Bulgaria in this series; I think because Fleur is French, I somewhere along the way decided that Veela were French, but they’re not. [laughs]
Eric: That’s right!
Micah: Yeah, that’s a really good point.
Andrew: I had forgotten that too, yeah. Also, another thing that bothers me about these mascots: They are used as a distraction as the game progresses, which seems totally unfair, and that’s not what Quidditch is about. Let me just read you a quick passage. “The leprechauns had risen into the air again, and this time, they formed a giant hand, which was making a very rude sign indeed at the Veela across the field.”
Andrew: “At this, the Veela lost control. Instead of dancing, they launched themselves across the field and began throwing what seemed to be handfuls of fire at the leprechauns.” I mean, come on. How is this allowed?
Micah: It’s Bevo and Uga all over again.
Andrew: Is the Quidditch game not exciting enough? It is!
Micah: Well, eh.
Laura: Well, Andrew, where I think you’re wrong is when you said, “This isn’t fair.” Quidditch isn’t fair. Nothing about Quidditch is fair.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Andrew: Wizards. Love. Chaos.
Laura: They do.
Micah: It’s true, though. If I was trying to find a real world comparison that’s not a longhorn and a bulldog going after each other, [laughs] I thought about… you know when you have those moments where a fan runs onto the field or a fan runs onto the court and it’s just complete chaos as security tries to chase them down? I don’t know if it’s an exact comparison. Or maybe when teams get into all-out brawls with each other.
Andrew: Yeah, well, okay, but in the Muggle world, during sporting events, you attend one; you’ll hear chants and music play in between batter swings, in between plays; they always cut the music before the play begins. If the mascots want to be having fun during breaks in the Quidditch game – which, admittedly, there don’t seem to be many, but they could probably squeeze some in somewhere – that’s okay. That would be fine. But this is going on as the gameplay is happening.
Eric: Yeah, it’s interference… from mascots. [laughs]
Micah: Well, I think if we’re going back to our conversation earlier with house-elves, it just goes to show you, they don’t control the creatures of the wizarding world. They’re their own individuals that can do what they want.
Andrew: But then they shouldn’t be allowed to attend these games.
Micah: Blame Ludo!
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Eric: Yeah. I mean, “Blame Ludo” is very easy, but yeah. There is some kind of national recognition that the countries themselves are being recognized, right? Ireland is very proud to be there; on behalf of Ireland they brought leprechauns, they brought Irish things, and a lot of their people. Same with Bulgaria. So this idea that the mascots are there representing their country, but they’re also their own group, is very interesting because then these fights break out that’s more to do with… honestly, it all just disguises the fact that Bulgaria gets clobbered point-wise. Bulgaria is so, so well beaten by… Harry is very impressed by Ireland’s Chasers’ flying, but yeah, it’s just a crazy way to add to the already existing craziness in the chapter, and otherwise, a pretty well-written Quidditch match that goes by so fast that Harry can’t use the slow down setting on his Omnioculars, and before you know it, it’s over.
Andrew: Yeah, Eric, as listeners probably know, you are leading today’s discussion. I was actually surprised you didn’t really focus on the game itself in our main discussion today.
Eric: Yeah, but I know we have a lot of odds and ends to talk about, mostly as a result of that.
Andrew: We sure do. I’m having a very big sportbro year, so maybe that’s why I noticed the lack of actual Quidditch talk.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Eric: Well, please, no, take her away. It’s just, we all know what happens in the thing, and I figured…
Micah: If folks haven’t seen your Instagram, Andrew, it’s quite impressive, all the sporting events you’ve been to the last couple of months.
Andrew: Oh my gosh. Thank you, Micah. The guy who works in sports says I’m quite impressive. What can I say?
Eric: Meanwhile, I thought to reel you in, I’d have to compare the Quidditch World Cup to a Bruce Springsteen concert or something.
Andrew: [laughs] I went to plenty of those too this year.
Eric: Pretty wild in those crowds.
Andrew: It’s been a great year for me. I’m living.
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Andrew: But yeah, so Micah, well, I didn’t hear Instagram.com/AndrewSims. That was it. I just wanted to make sure you said that.
Odds & Ends
Andrew: So yeah, odds and ends. At the beginning of the chapter, Arthur says that there are Muggle-Repelling Charms on the Quidditch World Cup stadium, and if a Muggle approaches, they’ll remember an urgent appointment and dash away. I was wondering, when and how does that wear off? Because I’m imagining it wears off and then they go back to where the Quidditch World Cup is, and then they remember and are going to go back out again. Is it just this endless loop where they’re going back and forth between two places? And also, why wasn’t something like this used on the campsites?
Andrew: We were talking about this last week. This seems like a good way to get the Muggles away.
Laura: That was the first thing I wondered when reading this chapter. Like, literally, y’all are using it in the same sort of proximity and you didn’t think to use it at the campsites?
Laura: No, we’re just going to Obliviate this poor Muggle ten times a day.
Eric: They get it even worse next chapter, too; it’s awful. I had forgotten about that. It is next chapter. But yeah, the Muggles are just an afterthought. Like everything else, blame Ludo, blame the government… I mean, it’s on the stadium but not on the campgrounds. I can’t make sense of it.
Andrew: Another Quidditch-related note I had: This game, this particular match, is an example – I’m sorry – of why people say Quidditch is stupid. Peace and love, peace and love. That you can end the game when you’re behind should not be allowed. That’s ridiculous. Harry says Krum caught the Snitch because “he knew they were never going to catch up. The Irish Chasers were too good… he wanted to end it on his terms, that’s all.” That’s Harry’s quote.
Eric: I respect the way that this game ends, if Harry is right and that’s why Krum did it. You see this game that is, apart from the mascots, devolving into chaos and violence; the Beaters start using their clubs to hit players directly, not even Bludgers anymore; and the acrimonious relationship between the two teams is completely devolving. So somebody like Krum, who’s a natural leader, who’s somebody worthy of the Goblet of Fire choosing him for the Triwizard Cup, is going to naturally see that his team, his country, is not represented in the best light, and he’s going to do everything in his power to end it before things get even worse.
Micah: Yeah, I agree. And I think if we’re to look, though, at the math, which I know we always have fun doing on this show – I wish that Nicole and Lexi were here because they did a much better job of it last week…
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Micah: … but I believe the score is only a ten-point differential, right, once Krum catches the Snitch, so it’s not like they were down by such a huge margin, catching the Snitch notwithstanding. But if Krum would have just waited – and you don’t know how the game would have played itself out, so we can’t presume – but if they were just to score twice more and Krum caught the Snitch, the game would have gone in favor of Bulgaria. So that’s where I wonder, but I do agree with what you’re saying, Eric; I definitely think he wanted to do it on his own terms. And the match was just devolving, like you said. But I did think that J.K. Rowling did take the opportunity to make this the Quidditch moment of the book, as we won’t get any for the remainder of Goblet of Fire. And even into Order of the Phoenix, right, once Umbridge enacts her Educational Decree, so we are Quidditchless for a good period of time before Half-Blood Prince. So she went all out, because I would say, I think for as hard as it has been for her to write that, and she’s been outspoken about that, she did a pretty good job.
Eric and Laura: Yeah.
Eric: And it’s like, Quidditch is not timed. That’s the other thing. So in the absence of timing, you do need an ending, a big game-ending thing like 150 points to catch the Snitch. So that’s why I think Quidditch, unlike football, basketball, everything, is like, okay, because they have the Snitch instead. They have this huge point gain instead. So you’re, as a Quidditch fan, either watching what the Chasers, Beater, and Keeper are all up to, or you’re watching the Seeker.
Micah: Yeah. One other moment that stood out to me was from Cornelius Fudge, when he was trying at times in the box to interact with the Bulgarian Minister for Magic, because he presumed… I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that Fudge never actually made an attempt to even ask him if he spoke English. And then, surprise, at the very end of this chapter he does, and he congratulates his team on the effort that they put forth. And it kind of reminded me of your traditional xenophobic moment, “You stupid American,” in this case, “You stupid Brit,” for not really making an effort, just assuming because they’re from another country that they don’t know your language or they don’t know your customs, and it speaks to Fudge’s character in this series.
Laura: Right. I agree for sure. There’s a definite superiority complex at play and kind of an ethnocentrism, too, at play that is 100% in Fudge’s character. Onto something a little less nefarious than that, though, the Omnioculars. We learn pretty quickly that Harry actually can’t be watching the match and slowing it down and rewinding, because this match is going by quick, like Eric said earlier. But something that I thought was really cool about these is they’re able to highlight the names of plays on their instant replay, which is cool. There are these blue bubble letters that were coming up to describe the names of plays, and one of the plays that I had forgotten about that is kind of horrifying is… I forget the name of it, but it’s the one where the Seeker effectively pretends to see the Snitch and dive bombs towards the ground to lure the other Seeker also towards the ground.
Eric: That’ll be the Wronski Feint.
Laura: Yes, that’s right. Thank you. The Wronski Feint. Pulling out of it at the last moment and causing the other Seeker to just go boom into the ground.
Eric: Listen, that’s hilarious because the Omnioculars even have a disclaimer for that one. It’s their equivalent of “Do not try this at home.”
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Eric: Like, “Widely controversial Seeker thing” is what it says behind it. All the other plays listed are just the name of the play, but this one says that it’s pretty dangerous. [laughs]
Micah: Yeah. And what I just really loved about these moments was that it was pure joy of Harry loving Quidditch.
Eric: “I love Quidditch.”
Micah: He didn’t say that. But it’s…
Andrew: That’s coming in the TV show. “I love Quidditch.”
Micah: That’s in the TV show. But it’s just very cool to see him getting a chance to study the game that he clearly is very good at himself.
Andrew: “Study the game.” That’s an interesting way to put it. I do think the Omnioculars are very cool, in particular for this feature that you called out, Laura, and I will revisit this in MVP of the Week.
Eric: I did wonder… knowing that Winky is not alone in the press box, this was the chance to really see and observe Harry Potter for Barty Crouch, Jr. prior to Hogwarts, prior to Barty Crouch serving as Mad-Eye Moody this year, which is obviously a nefarious Death Eater plot. And if I’m remembering correctly, Barty Crouch, Jr. is actually under his father’s Imperius Curse right now, so he can’t necessarily give Harry that extra kick out of the box like we suggested earlier. But what must Barty Crouch have been thinking? Because Barty Crouch, Jr.’s and Harry’s relationship is a really, I want to say, series unique one. Harry gets a lot of, I think, genuine lessons out of Barty Crouch, Jr. So knowing that, what do we imagine is Barty Crouch, Jr.’s take on what’s going on in this chapter?
Andrew: I wonder if he got fooled by the Veelas.
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Eric: He nearly jumped out of his Invisibility Cloak and… yeah.
Eric: He’s seen it all before.
Andrew: His leg popped out.
Micah: I was thinking that this may be one of the more outrageous security nightmares in the entire book. So basically, you’re telling me that anybody with an Invisibility Cloak, or the ability to turn themselves invisible, can just walk into the Quidditch World Cup. There’s no security.
Eric: Well, maybe Crouch, Sr. snuck him in.
Micah: I’m assuming that’s how it happened.
Eric: In his tent. He packed up the tent, the kid’s in the tent, they open up the tent, surprise.
Micah: I’m sure we’ll get more information on that as the book goes on. But what if somebody accidentally tripped over Barty? What if somebody sat on top of him? Imagine the chaos that would ensue inside the box. I mean, good thing Dumbledore wasn’t there, because Dumbledore can see through Invisibility Cloaks.
Eric: Right, anyone could cast Homenum Revelio and it would show up. The fact that Barty is on the end of the bench makes it more dangerous, because people would naturally go into that row in order to like, “Okay, sorry, Winky. Can you stand up?” So you’re right; it’s a pretty big security thing.
Andrew: Well, and even if Sr. did sneak Jr. in, you would think there would be additional security protocols to keep an eye out for somebody sneaking in. Dark detectors, if you will. Something that Crouch, Sr. wouldn’t have been able to sneak by because it’s a wider net, detection net, stadium wide, something like that.
Micah: It’s another Ludo Bagman special.
[“It’s starting to sound like a security nightmare!” sound effect plays with sirens]
Eric: There it is. Hey, I just had one other thought going back to Bagman, who we know is this world-renowned Quidditch player. Seeing Krum move and do his thing in this chapter is very exciting. We mentioned that Harry falls in love with Quidditch again, kind of, in this chapter; it really reaffirms it. I would have liked to have seen somewhere in the Triwizard Tournament… knowing of the plot of this book, knowing that Harry and Krum are both champions, I really would have liked to have seen them face off together directly on broomstick. Wouldn’t that have actually been pretty cool if later in the book Harry has to directly race Krum on a broom, given that he observes him so deftly during this game?
Andrew and Micah: That would be cool.
Andrew: A little exhibition match.
Eric: International Quidditch star… yeah, or just challenging each other, like a banter kind of thing that develops in between two tasks.
Micah: You may get to do that in the new Quidditch video game. I’m sure you can pick certain characters to play with.
Eric: Oh, that’s what I’m looking forward to in 2024.
MVP of the Week
Andrew: All right, well, that is the chapter. And with that, let’s move on to MVP of the Week.
[MVP of the Week music plays]
Andrew: And as I set up a couple minutes ago, I’m going to give it to the Omnioculars for all of their features. The Quidditch play details, the instant replay, slowing time down… very cool tech. And the reason I wanted to call it out is because I feel like one day we could probably see something like this in the Muggle world. We have augmented reality and smart glasses. Something like this will exist in the Muggle world one day.
Eric: And I’m going to give it to Viktor Krum. Again, think he’s a cool guy, but for doing the hard thing and bringing this disastrous Quidditch match to an end.
Laura: I’m going to give it to the leprechauns for being an absolute mood.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Laura: I felt so seen reading over the leprechauns.
Laura: Yeah, you know me; I’m known to make a rude gesture here and there.
Andrew: Oh. Yes, I’ve got photos of those.
Laura: I felt a kinship with them. [laughs]
Andrew: I see.
Micah: And I’m going to give it to Oblansk, the Bulgarian Minister for Magic, for owning Fudge and providing some much needed laughter at the end of the chapter.
[MVP of the Week music ends]
Andrew: 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 MuggleCast@gmail.com, or by using our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. Next week, our final episode of the year, though we will also release a bonus MuggleCast to the public over our winter break. But this will be the final new episode of the year. It’ll be Chapter by Chapter once more; Goblet of Fire Chapter 9, “The Dark Mark.”
Andrew: And now it’s time for our weekly trivia game, Quizzitch.
[Quizzitch music plays]
Eric: Last week’s question: What broomstick does Harry see advertised as being for all the family at the Quidditch World Cup? The correct answer is the Bluebottle. Bluebottle, room for all the family. Wonder how that worked, if all the family fits on it or what? But correct answers were submitted by Justice for cat ladies; Micah the Reddit virgin; Arthur Weasley’s libido…
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Eric: … Hufflepuff Andrew fan; Hogsmeade fashion capital of the world; Callie loves Quizzitch; Bulgaria’s moral victory; Andrew’s vibrating broomstick is a broom for all the family…
Eric: … Ahoy, wishing y’all no Crouchie Ouchies this holiday season…
Eric: … Albus burstblipple wolf freak bran muffin dumpfulltruck, Shnorder of Shmerlin first supreme mugwump wizard man… ooh. And Grace the 13-year-old Slytherin; Neville the snake slayer; Dudley’s poor PlayStation; Insert completely unhinged name here; Ahoy y’all; a healthy breeze – no, the healthy breeze around Archie’s privates.
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Eric: And finally, somebody who wrote “I’m afraid all the answers for this I can think of reference The Goon Show, which may be a bit niche for US audiences, as in, ‘He’s fallen in the water.'” Yeah, Goon Show is a deep throwback. So congratulations to all of the winners and more, and here is next week’s question: In what book does Hermione learn about Beauxbatons Academy of Magic? Submit your answer to us on the MuggleCast website, MuggleCast.com/Quizzitch, or click on “Quizzitch” if you’re on the website already via the main nav.
Andrew: Less than a week, less than a week, less than a week! To visit MuggleMillennial.Etsy.com and get one-of-a-kind MuggleCast and Millennial podcast items from our overstock store. These are great holiday gifts to add to your wish list or for the MuggleCast fan in your life. So there’s less than a week to order and have it there in time for Christmas, so please, with peace and love, peace and love, place those orders now, or ask Santa to place those orders now. You can also visit MuggleCast.com for transcripts, social media links, our full episode archive, our favorite episodes, and to contact us. By the way, one of our Quizzitch players was “Ahoy y’all”; well, there’s been an update to the contact page and the form.
Andrew: If you are enjoying MuggleCast and think other Muggles would too – maybe some of your friends want some more Harry Potter friends in their lives – we’re here for y’all. Tell a friend about the show. We’d also appreciate it if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app. Last but not least, visit Patreon.com if you want to support the show and receive early access to the show, ad-free episodes, bonus episodes, yearly physical gifts, and a lot more. We couldn’t do this without your support. So thank you; whether you support us at Patreon.com/MuggleCast or through the Apple Podcasts paid subscription, we really, really, really appreciate it. So that does it. Don’t forget, we’re going to have a new bonus MuggleCast out later this week in which we are doing a year in review looking at what happened over the past year in the Harry Potter fandom and also a 2024 preview, and maybe we’ll make some predictions. So that’s it. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.
Eric: I’m Eric.
Micah: I’m Micah.
Laura: And I’m Laura.
Andrew: Bye everyone.
Laura and Micah: Bye.