Transcript #643


MuggleCast 643 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #643, Karma is Crookshanks Purring in My Lap (GOF Chapter 13, Mad-Eye Moody)

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 favorite ferret…

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: … because this week we are discussing Goblet of Fire unlucky Chapter 13 – for Malfoy, at least – “Mad-Eye Moody.” And Micah will lead us through today’s discussion in a few moments, but first, we have a little bit of news we just want to – as Micah used in our Slack – “light touch” on, to use some corporate lingo. Let’s give it a light touch on air, a light touch, and then we’ll circle back during bonus MuggleCast in the weeks ahead.

Eric: I feel like we’ve already given too much of a touch to this news just by announcing it several times.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Is that light enough? Okay, so let’s move on. That way you’ll never know what the news was.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: I’m ready to jump right into the discussion.

Andrew: No, Deadline has reported on a few of the writers who are talking with Warner Bros. to take on the job as screenwriter of the Harry Potter TV series. The four people they name are Martha Hillier, Kathleen Jordan, Tom Moran, and Michael Lesslie. These are among the people who are presenting their visions to the streaming service and Warner Bros. television. It’s an interesting mix of Brits and Americans, Deadline editorializes, and they have heard that the group of writers were commissioned by Max to create pitches for a series reflecting their take on the Harry Potter intellectual property. The first round of pitch meetings happened in LA this week, and sources said the top choices will go on to the next round in the UK. Deadline also added there also may be an opportunity for more than one of these writers to be involved, and that Max is open to the possibility of developing more than one idea based on Harry Potter.

Eric: I’ll bet that they are.

Andrew: To me, what jumps to mind is, okay, they’ll go for Marauders, or they’ll go for Hogwarts founders, a series around those types of ideas. That’s my hope, anyway.

Laura: I think that they’re definitely going to lead with their concept around the books, but I think they’re probably looking at how do they create a connected universe? So probably at this stage, they’re thinking about the books, but they’re also trying to think ahead about what kinds of spinoffs would be possible.

Andrew: So it’s nice to see that there is progress. Maybe by the end of the year we could get some casting news, if they’re already narrowing down the writers. I don’t think it’s too unreasonable to expect we’d hear about, at least, who will play the trio by the end of the year. That said, whoever plays the trio, we’ll probably have never heard of them. They’re going to cast, what, 10-year-olds, because by the time they get filming, they’ll be 11 or 12.

Laura and Micah: Yeah.

Micah: It’s going to be interesting, especially with the spinoffs, because you’re going to want to establish those characters, because I’m assuming you’re going to want the same actors who play, let’s just say, Sirius, Remus, James, Lily, to be those actors that go into the spinoff series, right?

Andrew: Right.

Micah: Because otherwise, I feel like it gets a little bit too confusing.

Andrew: So we will discuss this more; we’ll look at these four writers and what they’ve written and we’ll see if we know of any of their projects. And there has been some other developments that we will touch on as well in a future installment of bonus MuggleCast, which is available at and also through the Apple Podcasts paid subscription that we are calling MuggleCast Gold.

Micah: Great deal.

Andrew: So we’ll let everybody know when that is released, sometime in February.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: So without further ado, let’s jump into Chapter by Chapter, and this week we’re discussing Goblet of Fire Chapter 13, “Mad-Eye Moody,” and we’ll start, like we always do, with our Seven-Word Summary.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Laura: Karma…

Andrew: … comes…

Micah: … full…

Eric: … ferret…

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: … for…

Andrew: … Draco…

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: What?

Laura: … Malfoy.

Micah: Yay.

Andrew: Laura is giving me a look like I did something bad. [laughs]

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Eric: Full ferret. This ain’t no half-assed ferret.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Eric: This is full ferret.

Andrew: When Laura started it “karma,” if I was a true Swiftie, I would just try to lead us towards a lyric from the Taylor Swift song “Karma,” but I didn’t know what to go with.

Laura: Yeah, I wasn’t sure. So genuinely, “karma” feels like the right word here, and it wasn’t really a Swiftie reference, but it does feel like we could have done something with the lyric where she says something about like, “Karma is the cat purring in my lap.”

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Could it be “Karma is the ferret bouncing…”? How many words is that? Anyway.

Micah: Karma is the Crookshanks bouncing in my lap.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Oh, perfect.

Micah: Purr-fect.

Andrew: Ooh, wow.

Eric: We essentially just Made the Music Connection. We haven’t had that segment in a little while.

Laura: We did.

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Micah: Let’s jump into the chapter discussion. And actually, I wanted to start where we left off at the end of last chapter, but we didn’t really discuss it, because I think it’s important as we start to move forward with all things related to the Triwizard Tournament, and that was the Harry/Ron conversation at the very end of the chapter where you can tell Ron is very excited about the possibility of this thing happening and how cool it would be for his name to end up in it. Harry less so. So as we see those two dynamics play themselves out, it would almost be good for Ron to come back to this moment to reference it, because Harry clearly wants nothing to do with the Triwizard Tournament. And of course, Ron gets pretty pissed off at him in a couple of chapters for being selected, but you can see the different emotions that the two have for what is to come. But let’s talk about some fourth year lessons. And I believe, Eric, this answers the Quizzitch question from last week: The first class that Harry, Ron, and Hermione take is Herbology. And the way that we’re going to do this discussion, we’re going to talk about the three classes that they attend in this chapter, and it’s interesting to take a look at how qualified each of these professors are for their respective positions.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: With Herbology, I think it’s fair to say Professor Sprout is probably the most qualified of the three; we’re going to get to Care of Magical Creatures as well as Divination. But what the lesson is focused on for the group of students is bubotuber pus, and this is extremely valuable for its acne-curing abilities, but if touched undiluted, could leave painful boils on the skin, and for this reason dragon-hide gloves were recommended to be worn. I want to start out by asking, why is Professor Sprout bottling this up? Does she have some kind of side hustle where she sells rare and valuable items on the underground Hogwarts black market?

[Laura laughs]

Eric: You’re thinking of Slughorn.

Andrew: A skincare side hustle. Maybe she works for CeraVe or another popular skincare brand.

Laura: Maybe. A woman ahead of her time; she wanted to become a TikTok influencer.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: She does mention doing this for Madam Pomfrey so that Madam Pomfrey can provide students with a better solution to their acne problems, since some students like Eloise Midgen have taken to trying to curse their acne off and leaving themselves with horrible scars. But I do think it’s really interesting to make the comparison between Professor Sprout and Hagrid using their classes to accomplish some kind of other purpose. They’re using it to kill two birds with one stone. So Professor Sprout is gathering supplies, allegedly for Madam Pomfrey, although it might be her side hustle black market skincare business. Hagrid is using his class to learn more about a magical creature that he actually doesn’t know that much about, so he’s actually learning alongside the students. And I just think it’s really interesting to look at the ways that both of these professors are using their classes as a vehicle to kill two birds with one stone.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yes and no. I think Hagrid is definitely putting the kids in harm’s way to achieve personal satisfaction, whereas for Sprout, I do think that the different subjects at Hogwarts and the different departments should be working together, especially because of the historical overlap between Herbology, the actual practice, and medicine.

Micah: And potions.

Eric: A lot of prescription medications have origins in the plant world; you’d be surprised. It’s a good, wicked deep dive. But so it just makes sense to me that whatever they’re doing in Herbology would end up in the hospital wing at some form or another. Obviously, acne is super relevant to the teenagers that go to this school, so that’s cool.

Andrew: And me. Still battling it. [sighs]

Eric: Oh, I’m so sorry, Andrew. But it is ultimately an interesting lesson. That’s the other thing, is the students aren’t in danger. Yeah, bubotubers are really weird, but they’re sort of benign. They’re not about to give you cuts and bruises and burns in the way that Hagrid’s… which we’ll talk about. But yeah, I just wanted to draw the attention to medicine and herbs, or Herbology and medicine. We saw this back in Book 2 with the mandrakes.

Laura: Yeah, for sure. And I think to your point, Eric, the most interesting classes are the ones where you actually get to apply the knowledge, so we can even draw that comparison to Professor Lupin’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class, right? The classes that seem to have the most impact on these students are when they’re actually getting to contribute to the subject matter in some way, whereas the same can’t be said for Hagrid or Professor Trelawney.

Micah: Right. And LC brought up a really good point in the Discord about the bubotuber pus, in that it comes into play later on in this book when Hermione starts to receive some hate mail.

Eric: Ooh.

Micah: So we will keep an eye out for that, much like the Blast-Ended Skrewt will make an appearance later on in this book. So we’re being set up by the author for some things to come in the future, which she often does. But we talked a little bit about this, comparing the instruction that Professor Sprout provides to her students on how to handle a practical lesson versus Hagrid. And Professor Sprout, she mentions using those dragon-hide gloves to protect your hands, much like she does in Book 2 with the mandrakes, wearing the earmuffs. Imagine Hagrid in that situation. He probably would forget to tell the students to wear earmuffs; they’d all pass out onto the floor.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: He’d probably forget to tell them to wear the dragon-hide gloves and they’d start to get boils all over their hands, so Professor Sprout has probably had a few more years of experience here.

Andrew: Well, definitely as a teacher.

Micah: But she’s definitely the more seasoned expert, and it’s interesting to look at how the two classes are conducted.

Eric: And it’s also unfair to think about the two lessons as being comparable in terms of their subject, because it seems like the bubotubers have some redeeming qualities that the Blast-Ended Skrewts are yet eluding from us. And the thing I like about the bubotubers, while we’re still on them, is they’re described as being kind of gross. The smell is like petrol, which is like gasoline, when you do get the pus out of them, but yet, they’re sort of satisfying to squeeze. And there’s this weird, icky, gooey, kind of satisfying, squelching that’s going on on a class level. And I think that this is just something that is ultimately very hilarious, but feels very human in a way that when we have had something that is like… I don’t know if it’s just a little blemish or something on your skin and you can’t stop touching it. I think this is supposed to be reminiscent of that.

Laura: Yeah, well, and also, I mean, it’s kind of gross, but there are people who genuinely get satisfaction out of popping pimples like that. Don’t do this, but there is a whole rabbit hole on TikTok and YouTube of pimple-popping videos.

Eric: Oh my… thank you. I’m going to block this on all my search algorithms. Thank you.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Isn’t there a TV show called Dr. Pimple Popper? Or is that just a YouTuber?

Laura: There is.

Andrew: Yeah, this is a whole thing. People get a lot of satisfaction, like you’re saying.

Laura: Yeah, they do. And I think it’s really funny that you have teenagers who themselves presumably are very familiar with pimples and they’re getting that satisfaction. Rather than popping the ones on their face, they’re popping the bubotubers.

Micah: [laughs] Oh, geez.

Laura: It’s kind of gross, but it feels like there’s a connection to be drawn there. Weird connection. [laughs]

Micah: Well, on that note, let’s move on to Care of Magical Creatures, which honestly is not that much better. Hagrid is teaching the fourth years about Blast-Ended Skrewts, as we mentioned, and he really continues to prove why he is an unqualified professor. So just to give a little bit of description of what the Skrewts look like, they’re “deformed, shell-less lobsters, horribly pale and slimy-looking, with legs sticking out in very odd places and no visible heads. There were about a hundred of them in each crate, each about six inches long, crawling over one another, bumping blindly into the sides of the boxes. They were giving off a very powerful smell of rotting fish. Every now and then, sparks would fly out of the end of a Skrewt, and with a small phut, it would be propelled forward several inches.” And they’re going to grow. They’re not going to stay this small.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: They’re going to get pretty damn big. They’re actually going to be included into the Triwizard Tournament third task.

Andrew: Yes. And also, we see one IRL in [takes a deep breath before speaking fast] Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Orlando at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade trademark.

Eric: Nice job

Micah: Well done.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: And it’s cool and it’s big. It’s bigger than Hagrid, isn’t it? Or it’s about the same size as Hagrid. I can’t remember.

Eric: It also smells good. They pumped into the air this very fake… do you remember this smell?

Andrew: I remember them pumping a scent. Was it a good scent?

Eric: I seem to recall… well, I also like gasoline, so you really can’t go on my opinion.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Okay, then never mind.

Laura: Wow. You’re one of those.

Eric: But it’s a sweet… somebody else back me up who’s been. It is actually a sweet smell.

Micah: Was that a side car smell? Because I know you were in the sidecar; I was on the motorbike.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: I don’t want to get into this. The whole thing is, the appearance of the Blast-Ended Skrewt at the third task of the Triwizard Tournament should tell you about the Skrewts’ suitability for being taught in class. Literally, only three adult wizards are of age wizards, at 17, are supposed to be able to handle a fully-grown Skrewt. They are not suited for 14-year-old class. And I’m pretty sure – I could be misremembering – but the Skrewts are pretty much all they do this year in this class. They’re just having to take care of them, I guess throughout the year, so it’s just ridiculous and absurd that Hagrid would be giving this to the kids.

Laura: And isn’t the insidious thing here that presumably these are the Skrewts that are being raised for the maze task at the end of the book? Are these fourth years raising these Skrewts throughout the entire year so that somebody can come pick the biggest, most aggressive one, and be like, “Yeah, that’s the one going in the maze”? Who went to Hagrid and was like, “Yo, so we want Skrewts in the maze, so here are some babies. We need you to nurture them over the next eight months and then we’re going to put one…”

Micah: Probably Dumbledore.

Laura: Yeah, I mean, I didn’t want to say it, but thank you, Micah.

Andrew: [as Dumbledore] “Here are some Skrewts. Take care of them.”

[Laura laughs]

Micah: So I think we would all ask the questions that Draco Malfoy poses to Hagrid, and he’s a little bit of an ass to him initially, but then he course corrects very quickly, so he’s maturing a little bit. And he asks Hagrid, “What do we do with them? What’s the point of them?” And Hagrid has no idea how to answer either question. I mean, he basically just punts until the next lesson. He says, “Yeah, we’ll discuss that in the next lesson,” but it’s because he has no idea.

Andrew: And does he answer that question in the next lesson?

Eric: No.

Micah: Well, I guess we’ll find out.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: I mean, probably not.

Micah: I don’t remember.

Laura: Doubtful.

Andrew: But I do love that Draco asks this, because with the benefit of hindsight, and with all of our complaints – with love – on the show about how Hogwarts is a security nightmare, this question of “What’s the point of them?” is a question you can ask about a lot of things in the wizarding world. Like locks. What are the points of locks on doors if you can just unlock them easily with a spell? There’s no point. Hermione even admits after class that the Blast-Ended Skrewts are pretty useless and they should have just stomped on them, which was a pretty interesting admission from Hermione.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Laura: It’s so mean.

Eric: Yeah. Look, I find it hard to acknowledge the question “What’s the point of something that’s living?” It clearly has a point and a purpose somewhere in the great wide world; it’s just not as a lesson in Hogwarts, not without an accomplished professor instructing you all of the things. The thing is, Hagrid doesn’t know. This is what sets him apart from Professor Sprout, who provides protective gloves. Hagrid doesn’t know you need them. He doesn’t even know what they eat. He literally hands the Skrewts to the class and hands them a bunch of different food items including guts or liver and a bit of lettuce and is like, “We’ll see what happens.” It just is completely… what if the Skrewt really hates lettuce and decides to explode angrily? Literally. Hagrid isn’t prepared for this at all.

Micah: But you think some props are due to Hagrid for the way he handles Malfoy?

Eric: I just think that it makes sense, because he’s faltering… I think the first two questions Malfoy asks Hagrid, like, “Oh, I don’t know,” and then he does expertly maneuver: “We’ll talk about this next time,” and that is the only way to handle somebody like Malfoy. I mean, I do agree Malfoy’s questions are fair, but as a teacher, you’ve got to bring the focus back to what you’re going to be doing, because ultimately, they’re here to be told what to do in this class, and answering questions like “What is the point of this?” is not productive or conducive to continuing the lesson on.

Andrew: In Draco’s defense, so many creatures in the wizarding world do seem to have a purpose, and we hear about good purposes for a lot of the beasts in Fantastic Beasts, for example…

Eric: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: And I feel like if Hagrid is teaching about a particular creature in his Care of Magical Creatures class, there should be… there’s got to be thousands of creatures, just like there’s thousands of different types of insects and animals. There should be a genuine reason that he’s teaching these particular creatures, but in this case, it really just has to do with the Triwizard Tournament, I guess. [laughs]

Eric: Raising them to be tackled by the Triwizards, yeah.

Andrew: “Dumbledore asked me to raise these guys anyway, so let me kill two birds with one stone.”

Eric: Well, and if it was Dumbledore, he certainly knows how Hagrid is going to use them. He’s going to have all these fourth years – and who knows what he’s doing to the younger students – ending up with burns, and that’s not great.

Laura: Yeah, I want to call out in the Discord, LC is pointing out that “Am I mistaken, or did Hagrid breed the Skrewts himself unprompted?” Samwise adding, “I think that’s right. He bred them on his own. He says in the Skeeter interview that he was just having some fun.” And that is ringing a bell for me.

Eric: That actually makes me think the third task is poorly planned and they needed a creature to put in the maze at the last minute, and then Hagrid was like, “Well, I could use a Skrewt.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: So it’s not like, “At least one of them survived.” So I don’t know who to blame about this because I feel like that’s making the best of a bad situation. But why wasn’t the third task planned? They’ve been planning this whole Triwizard Tournament for all year now. Just throw a Skrewt in there.

Andrew: They were focused on the security around who could put their name into the Goblet, you see.

Eric: Which works out so well for them. It’s the tightest security we’ve ever seen.

Andrew: Right.

Laura: It kind of failed.

Eric: I will say about the pointlessness of the Skrewts, too, this is right before J.K. Rowling released the two books for Comic Relief, one of them being Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, so I like to think that this is back before beasts had to serve a purpose. I feel like the making of this book would have created a need to explain some of the beasts’ purpose, because that’s totally what Newt is about. But this book was being written in the year before that, so it’s like a beast can still just serve no purpose, basically. And I’d like to… I want to review, while you guys are talking real quick, what the Skrewt entry is, because I wonder if Newt has anything nice to say about them, because it was probably nothing.

Andrew: Yeah, I was going to ask if it’s mentioned.

Laura: Yeah. It’s a good call-out. And it’s such an interesting conversation to think about the idea that characters in the wizarding world – and I think you can compare this to the real world too – think that a beast has to serve a purpose for them, because that’s the quiet part they don’t say out loud.

Eric: That’s what Draco is asking.

Laura: Yeah, like, “What is it going to do for me?”

Andrew: Yeah, but I guess what I’m saying is, what is the point of teaching it in this class that has limited time across somebody’s entire career at Hogwarts if there is no valid purpose for a wizard?

Laura: Well…

Micah: That’s a fair point.

Andrew: Is that selfish?

[Laura laughs]

Micah: No, I think that’s a fair question, but you could probably ask that about a lot of topics that are taught at Hogwarts, much like you could ask the question about a lot of things that are taught to us when we’re in school, like what do we still use today that we learned back in middle school or high school?

Andrew: No comment. I don’t want to upset any parents who are listening with their children.

Micah: Oh, yes. Or teachers for that matter. I’m sorry. We’re going to get hate mail.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Everything you learned in school is important, Forrest and Luke and all of the children out there.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: But aren’t they at odds with each other now?

Andrew: They can bond around the importance of education.

Micah: Oh, okay.

Eric: Now, my copy of this is, of course, the heavily updated post-movie version of Fantastic Beasts the book, but it skips from Billywig to Bowtruckle. There’s no Blast-Ended Skrewt in here.

Andrew: What about in the S’s? For Skrewt?

Eric: I didn’t find out there either.

Andrew: Oh, okay.

Laura: Well, what are they mixed with? Wasn’t it a Manticore and something else?

Eric: Oh, yeah. That’s right.

Andrew: Yes. And a Fire Crab.

Eric: Oh, I bet that they’re both in here, then. But yeah, under S it goes from Shrake to Snallygaster.

Laura: So wait, did Hagrid come up with this name, by the way, since this is presumably…? Is it a new species? And did Hagrid come up with the name Blast-Ended Skrewt? [laughs]

Andrew: You know what, yes. It’s “a magical hybrid beast bred by Rubeus Hagrid in ’94 by crossbreeding Manticores and Fire Crabs.” [laughs]

Eric: If he had hundreds of them – hundreds of them – he was really successful at breeding.

Andrew: “Whether Hagrid used magic or somehow got the two different species to mate remains unknown.”

Micah: So he’s the one with the side hustle.

Andrew: Yes!

Eric: He’s the one to blame. I mean, it honestly sounds like… with that information from later books and canon, it honestly seems like he tried to devise something that would tickle his fancy the absolute most. Small and dangerous.

Andrew: See, but all the more reason for him not to be teaching about this creature. This is just a personal science project for him. This isn’t part of some curriculum from the Ministry or something or from Dumbledore. This is nuts.

Micah: And along those lines, we do see Dean end up getting stung. And the issue here maybe is less so that Dean gets stung, but Hagrid doesn’t give any warning that this could happen.

Eric: Right.

Micah: He doesn’t properly prepare the students the dangers that could arise. And maybe he doesn’t know, because he just bred these things, what they’re capable of.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: There has to be… look, there’s Ministry officials around. There has to be bans on experimental breeding; I’m pretty sure that comes up at some point.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Be fair, Micah. He just invented these creatures that he’s now throwing in front of students.

Micah: These just popped out of the oven ten minutes before the class started.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Honestly, I feel like… I don’t know; this is all starting to give me Tiger King vibes.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: I’m just imagining a reality show uncovering the darkest secrets of the Hogwarts gamekeeper who has secretly been crossbreeding species without any kind of governmental oversight or expert guidance. Rita Skeeter; she’d be well fed if that was the story. [laughs]

Micah: Can we get AI of Robbie Coltrane and Joe Exotic?

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Another connection between Harry Potter and Tiger King is in both, somebody gets called a bitch.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Well, there you go.

Micah: All right.

Andrew: [laughs] Who’s worse? Bellatrix or Carole King? [laughs] Carol Baskin. Excuse me.

Laura: But does Bellatrix have some hit YouTube songs about her? Because I don’t think she does.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Was she on Dancing with the Stars? Didn’t she go on Dancing with the Stars?

Andrew: That sounds right.

Micah: Carole King?

Laura: She did.

Micah: Or not Carole King. Carol Baskin.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: I believe Carole Baskin did. Anyway.

Andrew: I think so. I think you’re right.

Laura: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Anyway.

Micah: I think we more or less answered this question, but do we think that Hagrid would have been better positioned as a teacher’s assistant as opposed to being a full-blown professor?

Andrew: He needs guidance. Yes.

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: He would have been better as an assistant.

Eric: He shouldn’t even be teaching. Even as an assistant, I think he’d do more harm than good. He just has this desire for danger and it should not be at all channeled through these students. These students should be learning only sanctioned things in a safe, laboratory environment, not exposed to new toxins. What if the…? If this is a truly new species, first time out, that sting could have venom in it. There wouldn’t be necessarily an anti-venom; Dean could die. We just don’t know. [laughs]

Andrew: I would like to defend Hagrid, though, via a comment I saw on Reddit. When we come up with discussion topics for the show, I like to do some Googling to see what other people are saying online, and there was a thread on this matter and SagebrushPoet said, “Hagrid was not the best trained, but he was the best suited for the job. His half-giant heritage made him resistant to the manipulations of magical beasts. He adored monsters that would have been shunned by the majority. He had the strength to quell a hippogriff but the compassion to believe that he was more than a carnivorous flying death machine. He had the courage to tell little twats like Malfoy that it’s not monsters you should be afraid of, it’s your damn ignorance and prejudice that’s the problem, and it can be solved if you just respect the hippogriff and show the thing some compassion.” So that doesn’t perfectly answer this question, but I thought it was a fun defense. [laughs]

Eric: I like that. That’s more Book 3 Hagrid, though. Now he’s gone off the rails.

Andrew: Yeah. [laughs]

Eric: Experimental breeding Skrewts for fourth years.

Andrew and Laura: Yeah.

Laura: You know what? Sometimes I think Dumbledore probably found himself in a position of having a role to fill for his staff, and how many choices did he have? So I think in that regard, you could argue that Hagrid was the best choice.

Andrew: It’s funny how Care of Magical Creatures, there doesn’t seem to be a long line of people wanting this job if he’s giving it to Hagrid, and yet for DADA – the one with a curse – there’s just this revolving door of people willing to take it on.

Eric: But Newt Scamander is still alive; why not get him to take Care of Magical Creatures? That would actually be a really interesting class if Newt taught it.

Andrew: See, Warner Bros. says he’s parked right now, so he’ll maybe get brought back out in due course.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: [imitating David Yates] “He’s parked, yes, that’s right; I forgot he’s parked.” Okay. Yeah, so I just think that Hagrid would be better off maybe traveling or something. But seriously, his ineptitude in this chapter, for the first time, makes me consider that Hagrid is there for the same reason Trelawney is there, and it’s strategic. Something Hagrid did or something Hagrid knows makes him too valuable for Dumbledore to kick to the curb, and maybe groundskeeping was not enough for Hagrid to do. Maybe he was getting restless. Maybe he was thinking he should travel more or see more beasts or be in pursuit of something more fascinating, something more dangerous than his cushy job for which he gets lodging and all this other stuff. Maybe Dumbledore hired him as Care of Magical Creatures teacher just to keep him back on Hogwarts soil.

Laura: I think it was also an attempt to deliver some justice, especially in light of the fact that Hagrid was proven to be innocent at the end of Chamber of Secrets, and there’s no getting all those years back that he was presumed to be guilty of causing the death of Moaning Myrtle. There’s no getting back the education that he never got, but maybe this was one small way that Dumbledore felt like justice could be served.

Eric: It’s just, he’s been there for 50 years, though, so it’s like, “You owe me your life”? Like, “Here’s some redemption, and you’re stuck here basically; I’m not going to let you leave,” almost.

Laura: I don’t know. I’m just trying to think where else Hagrid would realistically go.

Micah: The bar.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: Or maybe under it.

Eric: I mean, we know that when Hagrid does leave Hogwarts, it’s on a mission from Dumbledore where he pretty competently gets across the wilderness against any and all dangers, and the reason he and Maxime split up is because Hagrid goes so extra and manages to actually bring his giant brother all the way back equally undetectedly, so Hagrid actually does have some usable skills for the wilderness, but he’s being forced to teach a class he’s just not good at teaching.

Micah: And look, there’s different teaching styles, certainly, but I think when you go back to Prisoner of Azkaban and you see what happened with the hippogriff and Draco – now, we can debate whether or not that was Draco’s fault versus Hagrid’s – but Hagrid also should have better command of his classroom. And already we see in the very first class of Harry’s fourth year that Dean is attacked by one of these Blast-Ended Skrewts, so he’s not accumulating a very good record here when it comes to the safety of his students, and that should be the number one priority of all the teachers at Hogwarts. Otherwise, it just continues to be this security nightmare.

Andrew: We should really be hired as security consultants at Hogwarts. That’s what I’m starting to realize.

[“It’s starting to sound like a security nightmare!” sound effect plays with sirens]

Eric: I can see the Hogwarts security consultant being a healthy job to have. It would last so long at the school.

Andrew: You’d have a lot to discuss with them, yeah, it could keep you busy for a while.

Micah: Well, isn’t that kind of why Umbridge comes along in the next book?

Andrew: Excuse you. We don’t want her as security consultant.

Micah: Speaking of unqualified professors – depending on which side of the fence you’re on – the next class up is Divination.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: It’s actually a fun part of the chapter just because a lot of the back and forth that happens between Harry and Ron. But Trelawney is up to her usual antics making random predictions, vague predictions in some cases, and the one we’ll really focus on is the piece that on the surface level looks completely wrong, but if you dig a little bit deeper, may actually have some truth to it. Trelawney tells Harry he was born under the baleful influence of Saturn in mid-winter, and while Harry was born in July, Voldemort was in fact born on December the 31st.

Andrew: Ooh!

Micah: And having completed all seven books now, we know that there is a Horcrux living inside of Harry, so is Trelawney picking up on the Horcrux as opposed to just Harry?

Eric: This is fun.

Laura: I do love this. I love when we have these moments of like, “Is it the Horcrux, or is it not the Horcrux? Is it starting to become a little bit sentient? Is it starting to come to life?” Maybe so. I mean, we’re seeing the most activity from Voldemort in this book that we’ve seen in a couple of years, and he’s getting closer and closer. His most faithful servant is literally at Hogwarts with Harry right now.

Andrew: For anyone who wasn’t in the fandom in the buildup to the release of Deathly Hallows, there was a lot of debate going on concerning whether or not Harry was a Horcrux, and I wonder if those who were on Team “Harry is a Horcrux” were looking at this line as one piece of evidence that possibly he was, because of Trelawney sensing a birthday in mid-winter. That said, his birthday is something that she could have easily looked up. If she really wants to impress people, she should probably double check her work before going public with it.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Her not caring to think about this in advance, I guess, could also speak to her genuine interest and passion for Divination. She’s just following whatever her heart and her mind tells her, whether or not she’ll be embarrassed by it.

Laura: It is funny, too, in an ironic way, because she doesn’t remember it, but she’s the one who gave the prophecy that marked Harry as Voldemort’s equal, and she literally says a boy will be born at the end of July.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: And there’s some evidence that she really did black out and doesn’t remember her prediction, her prophecy.

Micah: Her and Hagrid could be drinking buddies.

Andrew: Who’s the better teacher?

Eric: Ooh, God, that’s tough.

Micah: Who’s the better drinker?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: But I love the idea that it’s not that Trelawney while conscious is entirely without the sight. The theory that she’s picking up on the Horcrux shows or relies on her actually having some regular ability. She’s picking up on that from somewhere. It’s in the ether, like, immediately in front of her, but she’s not honed her skills to actually get better at that, because I think she even just assumes that she’s a fraud. I think a lot of that self-doubt is preventing her from really, actually believing in what she teaches, because little near misses of info like this show that she could really actually do it.

Micah: But while you could point to that as a moment of accuracy, Laura, I know you also called out another moment where she’s being extremely vague, and it’s like, yeah, anybody could come up with this.

Laura: Yeah, she tells Harry, “I do fear that the thing that you’re dreading will come to pass.” I mean, it’s the same thing that she did with Lavender in Prisoner of Azkaban, right? It’s like, presumably most people are dreading something; however, there’s another reading to that because Harry also remembers Trelawney’s prophecy about Voldemort’s faithful servant helping the Dark Lord rise to power again, and that’s what’s happening in this book. So this is another area where Trelawney is written really well, because you can either read her as a fraud, or you can read her as a genuine prophet.

Micah: While we know that Trelawney’s qualifications can be debated, Hagrid’s certainly cannot, as well as Sprout. I think you have a good mix here, right? We’ve got a good cross section of professors in this chapter and how good they actually are at their jobs at Hogwarts. But I think it’s time for us to do a little bit of ferreting about as we move on in this chapter.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: We get to meal time, and we encounter Draco yet again in this chapter. We learn that Arthur has been named in the Daily Prophet for coming to…

Andrew: Arthur has?

Micah: Sorry, Arnold. [laughs] We’ll talk about that too. Arthur/Arnold has been named in the Daily Prophet for coming to Mad-Eye Moody’s home to investigate a potential break-in. And so I was curious from the start: Was this a Ministry-sanctioned task that Arthur undertook, or did he do it on his own? Because we got a little bit of insight into it, I guess a couple chapters ago, that he was going to be going. And I remember Amos Diggory in the fire; they were talking about it. But did he have to respond to this? Or was he doing it because Mad-Eye is an ex-Auror, he’s a friend? That sort of thing.

Laura: I think it’s a little bit of both, right? Because in the chapter where Amos shows up in the fire right before they go to Hogwarts, Arthur has just been coming off of several days of needing to do damage control at the Ministry, and now they’re looking at another situation where an ex-Auror, who is getting ready to go be a teacher at Hogwarts, presumably overreacted and attacked a bunch of “please-men,” as they’re known, with trash bins. So it could be that part of what Arthur was doing here was damage control to avoid more negative press for the Ministry.

Eric: Yeah, it’s just a shame it doesn’t work. Yeah, I just revisited the beginning of Chapter 11 when that happens, and it’s Amos Diggory directly calling Arthur Weasley with an urgent message from the Ministry, where he tells Arthur that the police are getting involved over at Moody’s and he should go check it out. So it is, in fact, some level of authority of the Ministry that Arthur does try and go and handle this situation. And as far as the contents of Rita’s article, I mean, we can get into that in a minute. But Arthur is just doing his job.

Andrew: Arthur is doing his job, and maybe Amos/people at the Ministry thought Arthur might be a good person to go investigate, because as we learn, Mad-Eye is a little out there, and maybe they thought a friend would be the right person to approach his house and talk to him about it.

Micah: That’s fair. Well, I mean, you also have the misuse of Muggle artifacts going on with these trash bins, so that would also be a reason for Arthur to go out. I was not on that episode where you discussed that chapter, but that’s no excuse. But thank you, Eric, for checking on that.

Eric: No, you’re good. I think the misuse of Muggle artifacts is a perfect reason, too, for Arthur to go, like you just said. And also, I hadn’t thought about one of the reasons that Arthur wants to head them off is because this could just make the Ministry look bad that an Auror is now out of control. Ex-Auror, but still, it falls under the continual slander that the government is having to fall under.

Micah: Sure. And that leads to my question about whether or not the story is even newsworthy to begin with, but first, we can talk about Rita and her journalistic competency, because she calls Arthur “Arnold” in the article.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: So number one, she’s clearly not very good at her job. Number two, does she not have an editor that checks before it’s published that a Ministry official is named correctly?

Andrew: Well, and I can’t remember the exact context, but we were talking about this a few weeks ago: Are there editors at the Daily Prophet? And the answer clearly seems to be no. This is a huge mistake. It’s not like it was one time that the wrong name was used; the mistake is made multiple times throughout the article. It’s shocking to me that the Daily Prophet would not have editors. That’s just how a newspaper works. You have the journalists, you have editors, you have senior editors… these articles go through multiple hands. But not at the Daily Prophet, it seems. It just seems like a free-for-all.

Laura: Journalistic nightmare.

Andrew: It’s like a Tumblr.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: It’s like a bunch of different Harry Potter fan sites or something.

Eric: Well, I just think, too, at this point, she’s doing it on purpose. She has it out for… getting someone’s name wrong, the way that other… Bill a few weeks ago was maybe not named, but referred to as, what, a long-haired pillock? It’s just like she wants to characterize as negatively as possible. And I don’t know; something told me that getting Arthur’s name wrong is just another way to slight against him.

Laura: And it’s interesting because she just quoted him a couple chapters ago, in her article about “Mayhem at the Quidditch World Cup,” except she doesn’t name him there. So in that one she doesn’t name him, and this one, she gets his name wrong.

Micah: She doesn’t name him… right, yeah, exactly.

Eric: Maybe she’s just bad at names. [laughs]

Laura: Maybe.

Micah: Oh, that’s not an excuse.

Eric: She knows it’s a weakness of hers and so she tends to refer to them by descriptors that are very offensive, because it’s her Quick Quotes Quill writing it.

Laura: Oh, actually, I love that. That makes total sense.

Micah: So we’re blaming the quill.

Eric: Yeah, blame the quill.

Andrew: Eh, there still needs to be editors.

Laura: Oh, agreed. And I mean, let’s be clear – the quill is just an extension of Rita herself, so all of the ugly thoughts that come out of it are definitely her own.

Micah: So what do we make of the story, though? Do we think it’s newsworthy?

Andrew: Ehh…

Micah: Mad-Eye has done this before. This is not the first time this has happened.

Laura: Yeah, but he’s also getting ready to go be a teacher.

Andrew: Yes.

Laura: And Rita knows that a lot of these kids’ parents will read the Daily Prophet. They’ll be clamoring to get this article because they would presumably be concerned about a person like this teaching their children.

Andrew: And also, he’s in a tussle with Muggle policeman, which I don’t think is a good look. And I think that also makes it newsworthy; he’s potentially violating the International Statute of Secrecy.

Eric: That’s true. Yeah, that’s fair. I mean, given how closely the wizards have already gotten to that this year, it doesn’t… [laughs] and so egregiously. I mean, the thing for me, though, is that at the end of the day, this is Arthur’s everyday job. He’s in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office; anytime there’s a teacup that bites or a dustbin that comes after you, that’s his job: to go. And Rita seems to make a point about “several Muggle memories were modified before everything calmed down.” We know how liberal the wizards modify memories. That’s standard practice. That is standard operating procedure whenever Muggles are involved. The Accident Magical Reversal Squad… everybody just sets the Dursleys back up, they set all these Muggles back up, so it’s not even a point to say that, “Oh, they have to modify so many memories; they blundered this so badly.” It’s like, no, that’s just standard practice. And I bet Arthur more than most wizards is probably pretty good at it at this point.

Andrew: I’m also just thinking that deciding to run this story of Rita’s in the Prophet is almost a commentary on the poor decisions at all media outlets. I don’t care your political leanings, whatever media outlets you enjoy following; they pick stupid stories to cover a lot of the time. The New York Times recently did an article on the number of times Taylor Swift has appeared during football games, because she’s dating Travis Kelce. They’ve got more important things to cover around the world, but they choose to cover that. Newspapers make bad decisions a lot of the time.

Micah: True.

Eric: It’d just be like Rita Skeeter following one of us at our day jobs and trying to sensationalize our daily practice, a normal day at work.

Micah: I’m actually glad you said that, though, Eric, because I think the real question here is how did she get the scoop? Was she there in her human Rita Skeeter form? Or was she there in her Animagus form as a little beetle, under the lid of one of the dustbins or something like that?

Andrew: [laughs] I think once you get a taste of covering the news that way, you might get addicted to it.

Eric: I agree with that.

Andrew: If you’re spying to gather your scoops, why not use that method all the time? I mean, especially when you consider how hard it is to become an Animagus to begin with. You remember that long list of guidelines?

Eric and Laura: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: I’d be using it a lot.

Eric: She’s like, “I suffered for this!” [laughs]

Laura: I think we’re led to believe that anyone at the Ministry avoids her like the plague, so the only way for her to get close enough to get this story at this stage would be to be spying, because I don’t think anyone would willingly talk to her.

Eric: Also, well, any good investigative journalist has sources, too, to leak it to, so I think probably somebody in the Improper Use of Magic Office is on her payroll and can just give her a tip when this comes. But I think it does happen, because this is a continued campaign of hers to discredit the Ministry’s workings, and we’ve discussed before; she’s not entirely wrong or barking down the wrong tree in doing this, but this article is all fluff. There’s nothing to it, and it’s ridiculous.

Micah: So do we think it’s fair to say that we can add one to the Rita Spy count?

Eric: Ooh.

Laura: I would vote in favor of that.

Andrew: Yep, me too. Dun-da-dun-a-dunnn. That’s our sound effect.

Micah: Nice. You’re going to have to do that every time. Are you prepared?

Andrew: [laughs] That’s fine.

Laura: We have to get a sound effect of Miranda Richardson doing something. I don’t remember what her shtick was, but she had something. She had a laugh or something.

Eric: Yeah, I’ll go pull it from her 30 seconds of screen time.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Somebody who got plenty of screen time, Draco Malfoy. He doesn’t just stop at calling out Arnold Weasley in the Daily Prophet; he goes a step further and insults Ron’s mother upon seeing a picture of the Weasley family. I don’t know a nice way to say it, but he basically calls her fat and dumpy.

Eric: I mean, fat jokes? Really, Malfoy? Come on.

Laura: I mean, these are teenagers, and fat jokes and insults are the lowest hanging fruit they can reach for. This feels pretty in line with what I would expect from someone like him.

Andrew: And now, I know Draco started it, but Harry also has the line to him, “Keep your fat mouth shut, then,” so they’re both rolling around in the dirt with the same types of insults.

Eric: Kind of.

Micah: Well, he also insults Narcissa and he says basically, “Does she always look like she has poop under her nose? Or is it only when you’re around?”

Andrew: [laughs] Which is…

Eric: It’s a good comeback.

Andrew: See, that’s the face I make when I go past that Blast-Ended Skrewt at Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure…

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: … because it smells like gasoline, like Eric was saying. It is also interesting, that line that Harry says about Narcissa, because of what Narcissa gives him at the end of the series. I was like, “My, how times have changed.” [laughs]

Micah: It also does show how much of a mama’s boy Draco is, not only because of that, because I think there’s actually a mention at the start of the chapter about how Draco got his normal either sweets or treats from home, and we know Lucius is not sitting at home baking with an apron on; that it’s probably Narcissa sending it.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I was going to say it’s probably the house-elf, but Dobby is gone now.

Micah: Dobby is gone.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: So Lucius took up cooking and baking.

Eric: Oh, man.

Micah: But you can see there is a close relationship between Narcissa and Draco, and to your point, Andrew, that’s the whole reason why at the end of the series she ultimately saves Harry. It’s because she knows that Draco is safe.

Eric: While an important relationship to keep track of, certainly, throughout the series, nothing excuses Draco’s behavior here. He insults Ron’s house. We’ve heard this all before. That’s the thing; we’ve just really heard it all before. Malfoy causes a scene again, and Harry didn’t go right to insulting Draco’s mother back. Harry is just trying to defend Ron. He’s trying to help Ron. He’s trying to make Ron feel better and show Ron that he’s protected.

Micah: And Draco was probably also lucky that Fred and George aren’t around at this moment either, because they probably would have been a lot more aggressive than Ron in this moment, even though Harry is holding Ron back.

Eric: And Hermione.

Micah: And Hermione, yeah.

Laura: Well, he’s being brave right now. He’s being bold because he thinks there’s no one around to serve him his just desserts, but boy is he wrong.

Micah: Yes, very wrong, because Draco tries to curse Harry with his back turned, and actually, it seems like he gets off a spell initially, right? Something goes past Harry’s ear. But then Mad-Eye Moody shows up and turns Draco into a ferret, which reading this back was probably one of the best adapted scenes from page to screen in this series. Brendan Gleeson does an amazing job as Mad-Eye in that moment. But yeah, Draco gets his comeuppance here a little bit.

Laura: He does. It’s so interesting to reread this and then compare it to the movie scene because I would argue the movie scene was very well adapted, but it was not nearly as violent as the scene in the book, where Moody is literally slamming ferret Draco into the ground repeatedly. In the movie, he just kind of bounces him around in the air.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah. Which is funny in and of itself, because from what I remember, Mad-Eye seems to be enjoying himself.

Laura: Yeah. He’s like a conductor, just waving his wand around.

Andrew: Yes. Doing his best John Williams.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: So this is important, though, I think, because Draco also has a comment to Moody after he finally gets transformed back by McGonagall, who steps in, and he mutters something about letting his father know about this, and Moody responds by saying, “I know your father of old, boy.” And we haven’t seen too much of this to date, but we know from having read the series that Lucius is not looked favorably upon by his fellow Death Eaters, especially those that went to Azkaban. So it’s kind of cool to look at this through the lens of Mad-Eye Moody talking, but it’s also fun to look at it through the lens of Barty Crouch, Jr. talking, who’s the actual person who is speaking here. So clearly, Barty does not like Lucius very much.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Eric: We know that Barty went to Azkaban for being a Death Eater, and Lucius lied and said he was bewitched and didn’t, so I just love how many layers deep this animosity runs. And ultimately, I did look this up: Ferrets are related to weasels. They are weasels, basically. By transfiguring Draco, he calls him a weasel, essentially. He knows that this casting a spell while your opponent’s back is turned is without honor, and it’s so interesting to have Barty Crouch, Jr. be some kind of defender of honor here and the rightness of how magic should be done. It’s very interesting that he takes this moment and so aptly punishes Draco.

Laura: That is interesting. I feel like in a way he’s modeling himself after Voldemort, because Voldemort is horrible, but there are certain niceties that we’ve seen him exhibit.

Eric: Well, doesn’t he use that word? “The niceties must be observed,” and he forces Harry to bow?

Laura: Yes, 100%. Yeah, and even with Frank Bryce in the beginning of the book. I mean, it was cold and it was calculated and horrifying, but he didn’t go full Marvel supervillain in any of these scenes. He’s somebody who adheres to a certain social code of conduct to sort of, I think, smooth over interactions and allow him entry to a space, if that makes sense. And it feels like Barty is adopting that same approach here.

Micah: Yeah. And Eric, what you said about the ferret, too, made me think, was he also in a way making Draco a member of the Weasley family?

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: He’s like, “Okay, you’re…” Just hear me out. “You’re going to insult this family – talk about how poor they are, how they look, all these things – so I’m going to make you a member of the family by turning you into a ferret.”

Eric: It all happened so fast, it’s hard to really picture what was meant by this. But I mean, do we think that Draco deserved this? Because I can see where McGonagall is coming from.

Micah: Yeah, do we think it’s fair that Crouch did this in the first place?

Eric: Right.

Andrew: No. Well, I wanted to ask, does this raise any flags? McGonagall obviously reprimands Moody, but does it raise any other flags? Because I guess it would be out of the realm of possibility for them to imagine that Mad-Eye isn’t actually who they think he is, but I guess this also speaks to what they would expect of the real Mad-Eye, to have a moment of weakness.

Micah: Right, he’s a kook.

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Eric: Well, because crucially, you’re not supposed to use – McGonagall says this – transfiguration as a form of punishment. It is only used instructively to teach, and there could be negative repercussions for doing such a thing. Maybe when you’re an Auror hunting a Death Eater, you might use transfiguration to slow them in their tracks, but it’s never, ever, ever supposed to be used in the manner in which he’s seeing him use it.

Andrew: Do they get a rule book when they when they start at Hogwarts? How to teach here at Hogwarts? “Don’t transfigure students, please”? [laughs]

Eric: Well, I like the idea that Moody is just edgy enough where he might have done it, right? And so that’s why he’s ultimately able to fly under the radar.

Andrew: [laughs] What a great hire.

Laura: I mean, listen…

Eric: [laughs] Listen, Dumbledore is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Laura: And we have to remember, this is the ’90s, y’all. I’m not saying that it was the wild west or anything, but the degree to which there are, I think, dedicated trainings for people coming into jobs now just looks very different than it did at this time. And we’ve also heard from listeners in the UK that a lot of the same social services systems that here in America we would expect to catch this kind of issue didn’t really exist in the same way at this period in time. Not to say they didn’t have them at all, but it’s just, I think, a different cultural approach to how these jobs are regarded and the autonomy that people in certain jobs have to do whatever they want.

Micah: Yeah, well, let’s not forget, we spent the first half of this discussion talking about qualifications of three different professors.

Laura: Right.

Micah: This is the fourth that we’re talking about. Is he actually qualified to be doing this job at Hogwarts?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I think he’s extremely qualified.

Micah: The other thing I think that’s fun to keep in mind about Moody as we read through this book is we don’t know what House he belongs to. It’s never been defined.

Eric and Laura: Ohh.

Micah: So when he does this, yes, it’s Barty Crouch, Jr., but Moody, is it from a place of Gryffindor? Ravenclaw? Hufflepuff? We don’t know.

Laura: He’s a Hufflepuff.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: I think Moody is a Hufflepuff.

Micah: I don’t think he was in Slytherin; I’m going to go out on a limb there.

Eric: No, Tonks is a Hufflepuff, and Moody is reluctant to train her, so they can’t be from the same House.

Micah: But Eric, I thought you had a really good point here about this action by Barty Crouch, Jr. and what it actually means for all those that are witnessing what’s going on.

Eric: It’s good for Draco that this happens. Somebody needed to show him… I mean, think about the level of confidence whereby Draco calls this out in the Great Hall, ultimately just openly bullies Ron incessantly, makes all of these inappropriate cracks and things. The idea that he was stopped in his tracks, especially from cursing Harry… we don’t know what that curse was. We know that Malfoy already has used curses he shouldn’t have access to in school settings. I’m thinking the Dueling Club; those curses were way above what was allowed. So yeah, ultimately Draco needs to be told or shown that somebody is watching, that somebody is going to be there who is looking out for his behavior, because it’s nothing short of the complete absence of that, for the first four years of Draco’s schooling, that have allowed him to become this big of a bully and allowed him to conduct himself in this manner. So you need, I think, not to be transfigured as punishment and have your ribcage continually smashed against the ground, [laughs] but you need to be shown that somebody is actually watching and somebody is going to hold you to that level of decorum that we all say is there. But until it’s proven to be there, you can walk right over it roughshod, and that’s exactly what Malfoy has been doing, and I think that’s what he stops doing at this moment.

Micah: Right. Well, the point I really also like that you had was that it really builds trust with Harry.

Eric: Yeah, that’s the other aspect.

Micah: And that’s the more important piece of it, I think, too, is that now there’s…

Eric: Sorry, sorry. I was really passionate about how much Malfoy needed it.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: No, no, but now there’s a level of trust, presumably, between Barty Crouch, Jr. and Harry as a result of this.

Eric: Yep. Yeah, he won Harry over in three seconds flat. And I mean, there’s a lot to admire…

Micah: And other students probably too.

Eric: Yeah, there’s a lot to admire about it, his quickness, the way that he was… and I think the reason Draco’s spell missed Harry was because he literally was transformed as he was casting it, which, that shows the fastest reflex you could ever imagine, for coming across the Great Hall.

Micah: Yeah. Well, the chapter wraps up with Draco being taken to go see his Head of House, and he’s being taken there by Mad-Eye Moody, who refers to Snape as “Another old friend… I’ve been looking forward to a chat with old Snape.”

[Eric laughs]

Micah: So I’m curious, what do we imagine Barty wants to talk to Sev about? What do they want to catch up on?

Laura: Well, I mean, I think he knows that Voldemort met his downfall by pursuing information given to him by Snape, so I could see Barty wanting to use the perception or the figure of Moody, somebody who was hunting people like him down back when he was a Death Eater… I think he wants to use that as an intimidation factor to get back at Snape, to show him, “I’m watching you too. You don’t know who I am, you don’t know who I really am, but I’m somebody that you would already expect to be watching you, so it’s not suspect that I’m here.” He has the perfect cover in so many ways.

Eric: I still wouldn’t risk it, though. I feel like Snape is the one person you really can’t pull too much double agenting on, because Snape is acting as a double agent so often. And I feel like Moody, who’s secretly Barty Crouch, Jr. so he’s secretly a Death Eater that doesn’t like Snape, but he could be a Death Eater that likes Snape and wants more info about Voldemort, and then he could be Mad-Eye, who’s not inclined to like Snape for his Death Eater past… it’s just so many levels. Stay away. I don’t think Barty Crouch should say anything to Snape, because you risk blowing one or both of their cover. I feel like it’d be easier to hoodwink Dumbledore and pretend you’re his old friend Alastor Moody than it would be to fool Snape.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I almost wouldn’t pull that thread at all. If he does, he’s got real kahunas.

Micah: Well, let’s not forget how good of a Legilimens Snape is as well, right?

Eric: Yeah. He would sense something is off.

Micah: I really liked that. I think that Snape should actually be very careful around somebody like Barty Crouch, Jr., and vice versa, for that matter. But yeah, the chapter wraps up, really, with Moody endearing himself to Harry on a number of levels, right? He insults Lucius, he turns Draco into a ferret, and as readers, we love the fact he’s about to go toe to toe with Snape. So like, who doesn’t love this guy?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: And he’s talked up, actually, a lot at the end of the chapter, right? We hear Fred and George talking about the lesson, like, “He’s the real deal,” basically. So I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of fun with his first class in the next chapter.

Eric: Yeah.

Odds & Ends

Micah: All right, so a few odds and ends here. Foreshadowing the future romantic relationship between Ron and Lavender Brown – this is in Divination – Ron asks, “Can I have a look at Uranus, too, Lavender?”

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: [sighs] Micah.

Eric: Foreshadow alert!

[Foreshadowing sound effect plays]

Micah: You know it wasn’t there by accident, right?

Andrew: I think Micah is cuckoo.

Micah: I think J.K. Rowling is cuckoo for putting that in there. We also get a couple mentions of Hermione sneaking off to the library, so what is she up to?

Andrew: Yeah. And jumping back to Ron and his humor for a moment, Ron is generally pretty funny, and one joy of rereading these books is being reminded of that, because they kind of wash that out in the movies. But I wanted to highlight some choice comments in this chapter just to celebrate how funny he is. First passage:

“‘You’re eating again, I notice,’ said Ron, watching Hermione adding liberal amounts of jam to her toast too.

‘I’ve decided there are better ways of making a stand about elf rights,’ said Hermione haughtily.

‘Yeah… and you were hungry,’ said Ron.”

Next line:

“They sat down at the Gryffindor table and helped themselves to lamb chops and potatoes. Hermione began to eat so fast that Harry and Ron stared at her.

‘Er – is this a new stand on elf rights?’ said Ron. ‘You’re going to make yourself puke instead?'”

[laughs] And then at the end of the chapter, this passage:

“‘Don’t talk to me,’ Ron said quietly to Harry and Hermione as they sat down at the Gryffindor table a few minutes later, surrounded by excited talk on all sides about what had just happened.’ [whispers] With Draco.

‘Why not?’ said Hermione in surprise.

‘Because I want to fix that in my memory forever,’ said Ron. ‘Draco Malfoy, the amazing bouncing ferret…'”

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: He was making me chuckle this chapter.

Laura: For sure.

MVP of the Week

Andrew: Time for MVP of the week.

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: I’m going to give it to Harry, for when Draco was making fun of Ron and Harry lobs the insult, “Get stuffed, Malfoy.”

Eric: [laughs] I’m giving my MVP of the week to Mad-Eye Fakey, because he’s so excellently in character.

Laura: Actually, to your point, Andrew, I’m giving mine to Ron. I feel like his humor gets overshadowed by the twins.

Andrew: Good point.

Laura: And because of the way that he’s written in the movies – and I love Rupert Grint; he’s a perfect Ron – but I think that we tend to forget that he’s a funny character.

Micah: And I’m going to give it to Professor Vector for giving no homework.

[Eric mocks a sigh of relief]

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: And this is especially important because it’s coming from Hermione, who is making fun of Harry and Ron for still being in Divination and having, I don’t know, some ridiculous amount of homework that Trelawney gave them.

Andrew: We love hearing from listeners after you listen to each episode, so if you have any feedback you’d like to share, you can contact us by emailing or sending a voice memo that’s recorded on your phone to, or you can use our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. Next week on the show, we’ll discuss Chapter 14 of Goblet of Fire, “The Unforgivable Curses,” but that’s not all, because later this week, we’re going to have a new bonus MuggleCast out on Apple Podcasts through MuggleCast Gold, and through our Patreon. Micah, what will we be talking about in bonus MuggleCast this week?

Micah: We’ll be talking about the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden Studios just outside of London. I was there a couple of weeks ago and had a really great time, so I’m looking forward to all the questions that you guys put together.

Andrew: So thanks to everybody who supports us; we couldn’t do this without you. We really appreciate your financial support. We also appreciate when you share the show with a friend, rate and review us… any way you can help us thrive and grow is greatly appreciated. Now it’s time for Quizzitch.


[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s question was: What is the trio’s first class of their fourth Hogwarts year? Well, despite being titled “Mad-Eye Moody,” this chapter does not have Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson in it. That’s the next one. I fooled about eight people with that little reference last week, so I’m pretty happy about it. The correct answer was Herbology, and correct answers were submitted by Ashley Rose Tobin-Hill, Brennan, Zach Brennan, CJ, Elizabeth K., Hannah H., Hugh J., Jason K. (a.k.a. Buff Daddy), Jenna, Josephine, JOSIE AUGUST PROTESTS FOR NICKNAMES, LC, Lucille Cartwright, Mae, Margaret Eleanor, Meaghan Clark, Molly, Neil Down, and Robbie. Ahh, wasn’t it so nice to hear everyone’s real government names, everybody?

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: It sure was.

Laura: Eh.

Eric: I feel like I got through 30 of them in just a short amount of time.

Micah: I don’t think Buff Daddy is a government name. I’d be very surprised if that were true.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It was “a.k.a.” so they did put the username that way.

Micah: I don’t know.

Eric: And people are still trying to game the system, because certain names that seem like real names, if you really look at them, fall apart. Barry Obama. Hello. Do we think former President Barack Obama has submitted to Quizzitch?

Micah: I don’t know.

Andrew: He’s got kids; he probably read them Harry Potter. Maybe he’s a MuggleCast listener. He had a hard eight years; maybe he just wants to relax with some Harry Potter analysis.

Laura: And you never know. Barack Obama follows me on Twitter – or formerly known as Twitter, now known as X – so maybe.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Did you tweet last week about the Quizzitch question?

Laura: Not that I remember, but I’ll have to go check on that. [laughs]

Eric: All right. Well, we also got an answer from Taylor Alison Swift. I doubt it.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: You never know.

Eric: Thank you all for submitting your regular names for this month. I love that. Okay, here’s next week’s Quizzitch question: What is Lavender showing Parvati in DADA that gets her scolded by Mad-Eye? Is it Uranus? Submit your correct answer to us on the MuggleCast website,, or click on “Quizzitch” from the main nav bar.

Andrew: You can also go to for transcripts, social media links, our full episode archive, our Wall of Fame, which features our favorite episodes, and of course, we’ve got a contact form there. Lots more, too, on, so be sure to check that all out. Also, just one more reminder: If you want to support us, but maybe not through Apple Podcasts or Patreon, you can visit our Etsy store where you can buy many cool MuggleCast items from Patreon years past, like the Cozy Comfy Combo Pack, which is the beanie and the socks at one reduced price. They’re really nice; don’t miss out. is where you can find that, or you can buy the beanie and the socks separately. We also have signed album art signed by all four of us, we also have T-shirts, and we also have a car, a MuggleCast Sweet 16 car inspired by the Ford Anglia that you can also purchase. We’ve all put them together. Micah is showing it off on camera now. Patrons, by the way, right now have special access to a free shipping offer now through January 31. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: Bye, everybody.

Laura and Micah: Bye.