Transcript #646


MuggleCast 646 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #646, For the Love of Chicken Tendies (GOF Chapter 16, The Goblet of Fire)

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.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: And this week, we are tiptoeing across this poorly planned age line from Dumbledore in the hopes of achieving eternal glory. Micah isn’t here this week, but to help us with today’s discussion, we’re very excited about this week’s guest, James Durbin. Hi, James! Welcome to MuggleCast.

James Durbin: Hi, everybody. Longtime listener, second time caller.

Eric: Ooh.

Andrew: Second time?

James: I think I left an awkward message once on the answering machine.

Andrew: Oh, okay, cool.

Eric: We can check that. [laughs] We have ways of verifying.

James: I cannot confirm if I was sober or not.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Well…

Andrew: Okay, now we have to find it.

Eric: Now we have to listen to this, yeah.

Laura: We have to.

[Andrew laughs]

James: There may or may not have been crying.

Andrew: Aww.

Laura: You wouldn’t be the first.

James: Okay. [laughs] I believe that.

Eric: What Laura is referencing, and she’s too polite to say, is I have called the hotline a number of times and cried.

Laura: Yep.

Andrew: [fake cries] “I love us so much!”

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: And I think Eric’s voice is on the voicemail phone line, so you just…

Eric: Oh my… we recorded that like, 15 years ago. [laughs]

Andrew: So you call to listen to yourself and then cry to tell yourself how amazing you are.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Listen, we all gotta get our affirmations somehow.

Andrew: Well, James, tell us about yourself. You’re actually a musician, right?

James: Yeah, I’m a musician, artist, singer, voice actor… I’ve done voice work with Disney and Amazon. I’m the voice inside of the Jingle All the Way Turbo Man reissue from Funko.

Laura: What!

James: “It’s turbo time.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh my God!

Laura: That is so cool.

James: I was on American Idol in 2011, Season 10 on Fox, and for the past 13 years, I’ve been just doing music and personal endeavors, too, as a career. Support my wife and our three kids and all that. And I’ve been a lifelong Harry Potter fan and been listening to MuggleCast for the last six years.

Andrew: That’s awesome. We’re so glad you found us. And I was like, “Whoa, wait, James Durbin?” Because I used to watch American Idol, and I probably watched the season that you were on. So when you started DMing us on Instagram, I was like, “Well, that’s really cool.” But congrats on all your success. You clearly have a lot going on, and your sixth studio album is actually out now. It just came out, right?

James: It just came out.

Andrew: Tell us about it. What’s it called?

James: The album is called Screaming Steel. As an artist, I… I’ll put it this way: My last James Durbin solo album was an Americana album. So I just love music, and especially get on these kicks where I want to just try something new, I want to do something different, I want to challenge myself and do something I’ve always wanted to do. So at the start of the… just before the pandemic, I wrote 100% of an album called The Beast Awakens, which was kind of classic traditional heavy metal in the style of Judas Priest and Ronnie James Dio, Iron Maiden… so my record label that I’m with, Frontiers Records, they wanted a second. So pretty much over the past year I’ve been writing this, and it’s just a great way… traditional heavy metal… heavy metal in general is just such the avenue for singing about all of your nerdy fandoms and subcultures that you love. I’ve got all this Star Wars and wrestling and The Lost Boys and Stranger Things and all this… this is my nerd cave.

[Andrew laughs]

James: … and Harry Potter, especially. Harry Potter is up here, and then I also have an entire cupboard under the stairs full of my Harry Potter stuff.

[Andrew laughs]

James: But I’ve got the books and the LEGO sets and all the things. And of course, the Elder Wand.

Eric: Nice.

Andrew: Very cool.

Laura: You came prepared.

Andrew: Well, speaking of this…

James: It’s a segue.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, speaking of these passions, so one of the songs on your new album is called “Hallows,” inspired by Harry Potter. So tell us about that.

James: Yeah, “Hallows” is kind of a… it’s like a montage song, like if you had an ’80s action movie and it’s a training montage. But imagine it’s just Harry going from the cupboard to Dumbledore’s Army, to dying, and then resurrecting and defeating Voldemort.

[Laura laughs]

James: It’s just kind of… you could play it during that montage. So there’s a lot of easter eggs, and the author’s works are just so varied and so beautiful and it’s amazing. It’s just this… and you guys know; I mean, you’ve been doing this for so long, and still find things to love and appreciate and to dig into and to dive into and dissect. And it’s so inspiring listening to MuggleCast also for that. As a songwriter, you think about different things, especially a songwriter trying to write wizard metal, which is the… this little part of me just wishes it was 2004 again and I was a little older and I had the resources and the name and the visibility to actually be performing wizard metal for a bunch of nerds in a robe, so… [laughs]

Eric and Laura: You still can!

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: There’s still groups, there’s still conventions, there’s still things that you can get behind and do that.

Andrew: Especially ten years ago, wizard rock was pretty popular. And there’s still some wizard rock artists. I actually have two wizard rock singles; I’ll have to send them to you after the show.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: They’re not good, but maybe I can get some feedback on how to improve.

James: Okay, definitely.

Eric: “Don’t Let It Be July,” I’m thinking of, yes.

Andrew: Your lyrics in this song “Hallows” are beautiful.

James: Thank you.

Andrew: And they’re really fun. Not only is the song great to listen to, but also just very fun to read the lyrics as a Harry Potter fan and being like, “Oh, I get what he’s referencing there.”

James: Thank you, I appreciate it. They were fun to write. And it’s not the only Harry Potter-inspired song on the album; the other one is track number three, which is called “Where They Stand,” which is about Death Eaters hiding.

Andrew: Ah, cool.

James: Basically hiding and leaving Voldemort’s side and how where they stand is only where they ran for cover.

Andrew and Laura: Ooh.

Eric: Man, when I was listening to “Hallows” the only thing I could say afterwards was like, “It’s so metal!”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Which is such an easy catch-all, but it is so hardcore metal, man. I am blown away. I mean, between the song “Hallows,” which appeals to everything that we do on this show, and your being the voice of Turbo Man, I am really, really, really fanboying hard, I’ve got to say.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: You’ve won me completely over.

James: Thank you.

Andrew: Listeners, we’ll have a link to the album and the song “Hallows.” There’s a music video for it in the show notes, so definitely check that out. James, last but not least, let’s get your fandom ID like we do for all guests of MuggleCast.

James: Favorite book and movie are Sorcerer’s Stone. I can just… I literally can close my eyes – I can do with my eyes open, too, but I prefer to close my eyes – and I can remember being that 11-year-old kid. I don’t know. I got out of a different movie and there was something going on at the bookstore right next to the movie theater, and realize that it was a Harry Potter book release. And I think it would have been… when the first movie was out, it would have been… Prisoner of Azkaban would have been out by that point.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

James: So I ran home, I put on a bathrobe and grabbed a stick off the tree, and rode my bike back over to the bookstore and was like, “Here I am. Here are all my people.”

Andrew: Aww.

James: So definitely the first one.

Laura: Oh, that’s beautiful.

James: And then Hogwarts House, I was a Hatstall between Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

Laura: Hell yeah!

James: I chose to be Ravenclaw – or I accepted Ravenclaw – for a minute just because it seemed like that’s what all the cool kids were doing, and then it was like, “Oh, these… no thank you.” So I’m green light. I am a Slytherin.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: In order to succeed at metal, you were like, “I need to embrace the darkness.”

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Right.

James: I needed to be ambitious…

Laura: That’s it.

James: … and realize my intentions. I got my intentions in order and have been manifesting my intentions and that requires ambition. And then, let’s see… Ilvermorny House, when that was a thing, I think it was Pukwudgie. Wand I don’t remember; alder, maybe? And then my Patronus is a raven.

Andrew: Okay. Ooh, a raven and almost Ravenclaw.

Eric: That’s very metal.

Andrew: All right. Well, thanks again, James.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: And now let’s get to Chapter by Chapter. And like I said, this week we’re discussing Goblet of Fire Chapter 16, “The Goblet of Fire.” And we’ll start like we always do, with our Seven-Word Summary. James has been a listener, so he knows what he’s gotten himself into here. And you get the first word, James, so here we go.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

James: Poliakoff…

Andrew: Oh God, I don’t even know how to spell that.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Oh, shoot. Uh, wants…

Andrew: … eternal…

Eric: … wine…

James: … because…

Andrew: … Krum… [laughs]

Laura: … is better.

Eric: That’s eight-word summary.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: But you know what, didn’t we do a five-word summary the other day? So this is fine.

Andrew: “Because Krum’s better.” [laughs]

Eric: Oh, okay. There we do.

Laura: Or just “because Krum.”

Andrew: I was hoping for “because Krum thirsty.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Good times.

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Eric: Well, this is basically… so this is the eponymous chapter title that has the same title of the book; there’s one in most Harry Potter books. But as a matter of fact, in reviewing the events that happen, there’s no really big two main things. Essentially, this chapter is building up to Harry’s name being pulled from the Goblet of Fire, which is obviously a really huge moment. So I thought I’d break it down and talk about some of the smaller things that do happen in this chapter, and the first one that comes to mind – because at the end of last chapter, there was Durmstrang and Beauxbatons coming to Hogwarts – is really just about the cultural differences that we see. And Hogwarts is playing host to these foreign schools; we see it in a change of cuisine, what’s available in the Great Hall, because they go straight up to dinner. And the first matter of business – apparently something that has not been figured out prior to this moment – is where the Beauxbatons students and the Durmstrang students are going to sit in the Great Hall. They are not given their own table, even though there would probably be room for them. And Ron has this moment where he’s trying to like, “Harry, move aside,” and he’s trying to get Viktor Krum to sit next to him because he’s fanboying really hard. But in the end, the Durmstrang students all seem to go with Slytherin, and the Beauxbatons students all seem to go with Ravenclaw.

Laura: Yeah, I was wondering if any of the Slytherin and Durmstrang students might actually know each other. I mean, given the fact… especially at this point in storytelling in the wizarding world where the vibe is very much “Slytherin bad. Gryffindor good. All Slytherins are evil.” We know a lot of these kids’ parents were Death Eaters involved with Voldemort. The same has to be true for the Durmstrang students. So I would imagine their parents have maintained touch over time, and a lot of these kids have maybe met each other before.

Eric: There is that.

Andrew: Yeah, how often could they see each other, though? Probably not often at all, right? Because they’re over in Bulgaria. And I’m consulting Google Maps right now; it looks quite far away from Scotland.

Eric: Not for wizards! Not when you have a ship!

[James laughs]

Andrew: That’s true.

Laura: Yeah, that’s not really an object. They can use the Floo Network, they can use side-along Apparition…

James: A face in the fire.

Laura: Yeah, exactly.

Eric: Maybe they only go halfway.

Laura: They can do the uninvited FaceTime Floo Network. [laughs]

Andrew: I would say at the least they’re aware of the types of vibes that Slytherin gives off, and they might feel most attracted to them, especially to your point thinking about Death Eaters and Karkaroff.

Eric: Yeah, there’s definitely that Dark association between those schools. And then for Beauxbatons, it’s not necessarily like those students aren’t Ravenclaw-ish; they seem to me to be pretty, I would say, reserved, in a generous way. So I think that does fit the qualities of Ravenclaw, which, as stated, are that they value learning. And there are other cultural things we’ll get to about the Beauxbatons kids that we see in this chapter, but for the most part, I think that that’s actually also pretty much a fit. If I had to put all the students from this other school at another table, it would probably be Beauxbatons to Ravenclaw and Durmstrang to Slytherin. But it doesn’t seem well thought out, planned in advance, so why is that?

Andrew: Yeah, well, I feel like they should have made the students sit at all four tables as a way to get the students meeting everybody, kind of like an icebreaker.

Eric: That’s such a great idea.

Andrew: Because otherwise, they’re just going to be clique-y the rest of the time that they’re at Hogwarts. Now they’re going to… Durmstrang is going to just hang with the Slytherins the rest of the time, and Beauxbatons are just going to hang with the Ravenclaws the rest of the time. They connected with people over dinner. That’s it. If you disperse them all, then they’d all intermingle through the rest of the Triwizard Tournament.

Laura: Nah, these are teenagers that are experiencing a lot of culture shock of each other. It’s not just Beauxbatons and Durmstrang; the Hogwarts students are experiencing culture shock too. And they’re competing against each other, and there really hasn’t been space made for the visiting students in the school at all. The Durmstrang students are sleeping on their boat and the Beauxbatons students are sleeping in their freaking carriage all year, by the way.

Andrew: [imitating Dumbledore] “Welcome to Hogwarts, but don’t sleep at Hogwarts.”

Eric: With respect, you don’t know how comfy it is in that carriage. It could be like the Weasleys’ tent.

Laura: Right. It’s like the TARDIS.

Eric: The lap of luxury.

[James and Laura laugh]

Eric: Swimming pools and squash courts.

James: It seems like they would integrate them or give them their own table. I know space is limited in the Great Hall… unless you play Hogwarts Legacy; then there’s plenty of frickin’ room in there.

Andrew: See?

James: Slide in another table. Just get Filch on it.

[Laura laughs]

James: I just love the image of Filch just pushing tables.

Andrew: [laughs] All by himself?

James: You can just imagine the sound. It’s just like, [makes a sound like a large wood table being dragged across a stone floor]

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: “Norris, get over here and help me out.”

James: … recreate it. Yeah, yeah. But yeah, you’d think that they would integrate. But I mean, thinking a little bit forward, even Fleur gets up and goes and tries to grab whatever food it is from Ron.

Andrew: Which is so funny.

James: So I think they’re doing stuff. They’re not super static. But yeah, there should have been a little bit more integration, maybe.

Eric: Yeah, I just think to the value that was added… we had a few foreign exchange students in high school throughout the years, and it couldn’t have been easy for them being the… everyone’s attention went on them, because they’re from a different country. But I know that we all seemed to be a little bit slightly more culturally well-rounded after having gotten to know the people. And it seems like if they are stuck at the Slytherin table or the Ravenclaw table… we already know that the Houses pretty much keep to their own House in the Great Hall, so it just seems like there’s not a lot of good opportunity. And to this point, moving on to the food – you mentioned this, James – bouillabaisse is served, and Ron is just looking at it. The quote from the book is “There was a greater variety of dishes in front of them than Harry had ever seen, including several that were definitely foreign. ‘What’s that?’ said Ron, pointing at a large dish of some sort of shellfish stew that stood beside a large steak-and-kidney pudding.” And then Hermione tells him what it is, and he says, “Bless you.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: And she says, “It’s French. I had it on holiday. It’s very nice.” And Ron said, “‘I’ll take your word for it,’ helping himself instead to black pudding.” Which, by the way, black pudding if you look at what’s in it, it is worse than bouillabaisse.

Laura: Uh, yeah. [laughs]

Eric: But! What is this whole experience where…? On the one hand, I think the elves… it’s said they outdid themselves; they want to make the foreign visitors feel at home. But there was not an attempt… I think this was a missed opportunity to also diversify the Hogwarts students’ cultural palettes, encouraging them to try these foreign dishes. I know it’s still night one. But for me, I grew up very sheltered. I would go to the China buffet with my family and get the chicken wings every time.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That’s basically me too.

Eric: And not one of my family members was like, “You’re not culturally…” I know Micah’s story on the recent bonus really resonated, because I never tried Pad See Ew or any kind of noodle thing, nothing, nothing foreign at all until I was like, 22. And I just feel like, especially Europe being the huge melting pot that it is – before this year, but especially now – Hogwarts should really be trying to educate these kids culturally, because some of these dishes are fabulous.

Andrew: Well, and you also think about how many meals they’ll be eating over the course of their time at Hogwarts because of the Triwizard Tournament. There’s plenty of time to shake up the menu and keep it focused on particular countries. Have something from Bulgaria, have something from France, have something from Scotland to introduce to Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. Yeah, I don’t see why it had to be this hodgepodge on night one; it should have just been a specific theme.

Laura: When you said, Andrew, introducing Scottish cuisine, I immediately thought of haggis. I was like, “Yes, introduce the foreign exchange students to haggis.” [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, maybe not the best options. With peace and love.

Eric: Force them to have all this fatty British food that comes from animal parts.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Well, and I’m glad you bring that up, Eric, because I seem to recall that later on in the book Fleur is like, “I’m not going to fit into my dress robes; all zis Hogwarts food is so heavy.” And I’m like, so do they fall off the routine after night one?

Eric: Oh my gosh.

Laura: They’re like, “Okay, we did the niceties of serving dishes that you’d be familiar with, and we’re not going to do that ever again.”

Eric: Man, we’re not paying the house-elves enough to keep doing special dishes for the extra 40 students, I’m telling you.

James: Well, we’re not paying them at all!

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah, honestly, to this end, I wanted to ask… because it’s nice to make the students feel at home. But because I’ve at least once grown into a lover of foreign cuisines; I’ve tried Ethiopian and I’ve tried… I mean, I’m not going to list. But what are some of our favorite foods that we definitely wouldn’t have tried as children? But I know we’ve traveled as we’ve grown up. Do we all have something that we really love or is our go-to that we just never would have dreamed of when we were school children?

Andrew: Well, even today, my palate is still that of an eight-year-old, so I can’t say I’ve expanded too much.

[James laughs]

Eric: Chicken fingers?

Andrew: But I also haven’t traveled abroad too much. But in England, I’ll eat fish and chips. That counts for something, right? [laughs]

Laura: No, it doesn’t.

Andrew: No?

Laura: No, Andrew.

Andrew: Well, I don’t eat fish over here, so it’s a big deal when I eat it over there. [laughs]

Laura: Oh dear.

Eric: Oh, Andrew. Sweet summer child.

[Andrew and James laugh]

Eric: I have had a number of… just this week, Indian food. Chicken tikka masala.

Laura: Oh, yeah.

Eric: And it’s just different ways of doing chicken or curries or different spices with the same foods that I know and love. It’s still chicken; it’s just different. And pho, if you guys have ever had pho…

Laura: Oh, yeah, I love pho.

Eric: It’s so delicious. And on a cold night it’s the most perfect tonic for however which way you’re feeling, and I just ended up loving… and Pad Thai. There’s so many other wonderful dishes that I just never tried.

Laura: Okay, I’m so excited now because when we go to Podcast Movement in DC in August, we have to go out for a ton of different amazing foreign foods, because DC has an amazing food scene. Eric, I would love to introduce you to some other varieties like Ethiopian food, just based on what you’re describing here. I feel like you would really like it, so let’s do it.

Andrew: You guys have fun; I’ll be at Taco Bell trying out their new menu. Did you hear about their new menu?

Eric: Oh, Andrew!

Laura: Boring.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: I did hear about the new menu with their Baja Blast pie. No.

Eric and James: Ew.

Andrew: Yeah, and they’re doing their own Choco Taco now.

James: Well, that I accept.

[Andrew laughs]

James: I totally ship a chocolate taco.

Eric: James, what are some of your favorite non-American dishes?

James: Well, I’ve always been very much… I mean, like you, Eric – and you, Andrew, as well – just first off reserved, to a scary degree. [laughs] And so the first thing I could think of when Laura was saying about taking you guys somewhere in DC, I was like, “Yeah, we’ll swing by the drive-thru, get Andrew a nice Happy Meal, some nuggies…”

Andrew: Yeah!

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Yeah, some nuggies!

James: Some tendies.

Andrew: In defense of Ron going with the pudding, sometimes you just want to stick with what’s familiar. Maybe you don’t want to think too hard about it. You don’t want to try something new, so you stick with the pudding. But it was also setting up when Fleur comes over and asks about the dish, the… the bouillabaisse? [pronounces it incorrectly]

[Laura laughs]

Eric: I honestly respect you for not trying.

Andrew: [laughs] The way you said it was very good.

Eric: Yeah, bouillabaisse.

Andrew: It’s funny when Ron pretends that he did end up eating it and he really didn’t, but he wants to impress her.

Eric: I just… I think we could all benefit from our mind being opened a little bit more, especially because food tells a story and the experience of… this is why such a culture has come up around food to begin with. If you think about it, food is just something we do because we have to eat because we have to live, but the culture and the way in which we all talk about it and think about it is so worldly. All they need is a good dish that everyone could agree on that’s not pizza, and I think you’ll have it in one year. You’ll have solved the Death Eaters by being like, “No, we’re going to get together and just chat over food.”

Laura: Break bread together.

James: [laughs] All our problems are solved. Sushi for everyone.

[Andrew laughs]

James: Sushi is mine.

Eric: Except I don’t really do sushi. Okay, sushi is yours. There you go. Okay.

James: Yeah, last night I had a nice large, [laughs] unfortunately expensive sushi dinner for my album pre-release party.

Andrew: Oh!

Laura: I think that’s merited.

James: Sushi is the way to go. And that’s only four rolls and some pho.

Eric: Did you say, [like Turbo Man] “It’s egg roll time”?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: But yeah, that’s awesome.

James: It’s tempura time!

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: There you go! There you go. There it is.

Laura: I love that. I was really fortunate in that I grew up in a pretty diverse community, and my parents are also adventurous eaters, so I grew up eating all kinds of different foods. And one that I did try as a kid – that I don’t think I would have tried when I was older – was lengua de vaca, which is cow tongue. And I think I only tried it as a kid because one, I didn’t quite know what it was, and I didn’t speak Spanish at the time, so I really didn’t understand. And it just looked like stew or some kind of beef, right? Which I guess technically it is.

Eric: It looks like pot roast.

Laura: Yeah, it definitely does. And it was actually really good, but I think if somebody had presented that to me when I was 15 and told me what it was, I don’t think I would have been adventurous enough to try it. It is good, but I’ve been pescatarian for almost ten years at this point, so it’s been a while. But I remember it being really good.

Eric: I will say, anytime I go to an authentic Mexican place, I get the lingua burrito. It’s absolutely, absolutely delicious.

Laura: Oh, so good.

Eric: So I’m 100% on board with what you’re saying.

James: Really! Huh.

Eric: Yeah, lingua. Try it. It’s just amazing.

Laura: It’s fantastic.

Andrew: We’ll talk about the respect that Madame Maxime receives from students and how it compares to how things at Hogwarts are run, but first we have a quick break. We’ll Floo right back.

[Ad break]

Eric: So I mentioned other cultural differences or other signs of cultural differences. Namely, the biggest one I can think of in addition to the food is that the Beauxbatons students, when Madame Maxime enters and sits at the head table, they rise. They stand up.

Andrew: [in a deep voice] All rise.

Eric: They all rise. They’re not prompted; they stand up. Madame Maxime comes in, she chats with Hagrid a little bit, she sits down, they sit down. And I think that this is… not culty…

[Andrew and James laugh]

Eric: I think it’s discipline. It shows respect. I think the Hogwarts students who are laughing think it’s culty, but for me, it represents a sort of formal education that I think is something to be aspired to, to me, that level of self-control that those students show representing their school. They get laughed at for it.

Andrew: Yeah, I also think it just speaks to how you see this dichotomy between the loosey-goosey-ness of Hogwarts, how it’s just a circus at the school every day. But this just seems to tell me right off the bat that things are run a lot more strictly at that school. Would you catch a Peeves running around Beauxbatons? I don’t think so. I think she garners a lot of respect and rules with an iron fist. And that’s how it should be at Hogwarts!

Laura: It definitely feels reminiscent of a classical education and the kinds of behavior you’d see and expect there. Back when I used to teach – and this is in a completely other life – I worked at a grade school for a period of time. It was a private school and the founder was French, so she really modeled the school after the French curriculum that she recognized from her own upbringing and from raising her own children in French schools. And I will say, the vibe in that kind of environment is quite a bit more formal, so at least based on that experience, this makes sense to me.

Eric: Moving on, one thing in particular that struck me while reading this chapter is Igor Karkaroff, and specifically, his very apparent, very transparent love and preference for Viktor Krum. They are shown walking side by side, huddled together most of the time, and following dinner, Igor Karkaroff goes over to Viktor and says, [imitating Karkaroff] “Have you eaten enough? Have you had some wine? I can have the house-elves…”

Andrew: “You sweet boy.”

[James laughs]

Eric: Yes, he just really lays it on thick. And here’s my question: The champions were not chosen prior to this moment. Both of these other European schools have brought 20 of their best students. 20. It is very clear to me who Karkaroff wants to be the Durmstrang champion.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: And is that fair to the other 20 students, including Poliakoff?

Andrew: No!

Eric: No.

Laura: Of course not.

James: That disgusting boy?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah, exactly.

Andrew: No, and it makes me wonder if Karkaroff feels that by giving Krum a boost of confidence by paying a lot of attention to him, checking in on him, etc., on the grounds of Hogwarts near the Goblet, I’m wondering if this is his way of trying to motivate the Goblet in some way to select Krum as Durmstrang’s champion.

Eric: That’s interesting.

Andrew: We don’t know how the Goblet works, so I’m completely taking a guess here. But the only thing that makes me excited about this idea is that it’s mentioned at one point in this chapter that the Goblet sits exactly where the Sorting Hat normally does, and that just put in my head how the Sorting Hat pays attention to your thoughts and needs. And so I’m just thinking maybe there’s something there with the Goblet detecting who’s most confident who can take this on best from Durmstrang.

Eric: So if the Goblet of Fire sees that Krum has friends in Karkaroff, it’s going to be like, “Oh, I want to choose him!”

Andrew: [laughs] Friends and wine.

James: Have we considered that maybe the item with the magical properties… because if it activates the Sorting Hat, and it activates the Goblet of Fire, it has to be the default wooden stool.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

James: It’s the stool.

Andrew: It all comes back to the stool!

Eric: It’s the stool. It’s had so many butts on it that it’s really warmed to everyone. All the butts.

Andrew: All rise for the stool. That should get people standing up when it enters; forget Dumbledore. It’s the Madame Maxime of Hogwarts, the stool.

[Laura laughs]

James: Well, Karkaroff kind of reminds me of a hype man for a rapper.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

James: “Yo, yo, get my man some wine. My man hasn’t had enough wine.”

[Everyone laughs]

James: Lil Jon comes out with his chalice.

Andrew: Giving him a neck massage. I’m thinking of like, a wrestler’s coach. [laughs]

Eric: It’s just funny because he’s not offering any of the other students wine, and when Poliakoff says, “Professor, I would like some wine,” he’s like, “No! And I see you’ve dribbled food down your front, you disgusting boy.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: And it’s like, that was way extra! That was so absolutely, utterly uncalled for and extra. That’s why it made the Quizzitch question; it’s like, he’s still your charge. And in fact, if we’re led to believe that you’ve brought your best, he’s one of the 20 best in this school that probably has a thousand students, and you’re calling him a disgusting boy. He repulses you. Unbelievable.

James: What if Poliakoff is his own son?

Andrew: Ooh.

Eric: That explains everything.

Laura: Ohhh.

James: It’s kind of a Draco/Lucius sort of thing. It’s interesting. Going back to the Madame Maxime thing, it’s like she… we just see how they treat their own. Their flock, in a way, so it’s…

Eric: Reverence or… yeah.

James: Disdain.

Eric: Yeah. I mean, do we think also that Karkaroff could have been starstruck by Viktor? The idea that maybe Karkaroff doesn’t want to be an educator the rest of his career, so if he’s nice to Krum…

James: It’s his meal ticket.

Eric: Yes.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s interesting. I mean, certainly the fact that Krum is a very talented Quidditch player probably goes a long way as well. I’m just thinking about how teachers can sometimes pick favorite students, too, if they see a lot of potential in them. Or at least they kind of try to push them further to see them further excel. Maybe that’s what’s happening here between Karkaroff and Krum.

Laura: What I love about this is it really highlights the kind of character that Viktor Krum carries. And I say that because at this point, we don’t know a ton about him. But we see everyone fawning over him all the time, including students; Hermione is scoffing at them. And we later come to learn that Viktor is actually kind of shy, doesn’t really like the attention, doesn’t really want the favoritism. And I had included this as an odd and end, but because we’re really focusing on this right now, I think there’s an interesting distinction to be made between the way Krum is treated here and the way he reacts to it, and the way that Ludo Bagman was treated back after the first wizarding war ended and the favoritism that he was afforded. He essentially was acquitted of charges for passing information to Death Eaters, and the only reason he got off those charges was because the jury was starstruck by him and he played dumb, and was like, “Well, I mean, Rookwood just promised me a job in the Ministry; I can’t spend the rest of my life getting hit by Bludgers.” And here we have Krum, who is also an international Quidditch star, being very humble and demure and just not really wanting the attention and not wanting the fanfare, and I think it’s so cool that they’re both in this space together.

Andrew: That’s a really great point.

Eric: That’s incredible.

James: It’s a great observation, yeah. That’s why I love this show.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: That right there. Laura.

Andrew: No theory is safe.

James: Soundbite. Yeah, that was great.

Eric: The question that I have next is that Karkaroff has this moment where everybody’s about to leave from the feast. And Harry, Ron, and Hermione get up, they’re walking out, Harry decides “I’m going to let them go first,” Karkaroff is like, “Thank you,” then he walks a few steps, turns back, it’s Harry Potter. And we know of Karkaroff’s backstory here. We know that he was a Death Eater for Voldemort; he does have a Dark Mark which has been paining him lately. But how weird must it be when you’re going to Hogwarts, you realize you’re taking your students on this field trip to Hogwarts where the Boy Who Lived is… I bet he didn’t expect to run into Harry so soon. Night one. But here he is, staring him in the face. What must be going through Karkaroff’s head right now?

Andrew: “What if I just did it right here? Right now?”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: “What if I just do it? Voldemort will like me again. The followers will like me again.”

James: “No one’s going to know.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Every former Death Eater that bumps into Harry, like Lucius in year two. Everybody is like, “What if I killed this little child right now?”

Andrew: “Let’s get it done with.”

James: “What if I wasn’t in a bookstore? What if I wasn’t in a school right now?”

Andrew: [laughs] “It’s not as bad as Voldemort trying to kill him as a baby. Now he’s practically an adult; it’s okay to do it now.”

Eric: “He’s fair game.”

Laura: Oh, that’s funny.

James: Something just dawned on me; I was like, in my head, “Can you use Avada Kedavra in Hogwarts?” And you can, because Fakey does it during his lesson, so it is possible.

Andrew: Well, yeah. I mean, he’d get caught very quickly, and there actually wouldn’t be much doubt about who killed him, and he probably wouldn’t be able to get away, so there’d be that issue. But I’m thinking in this moment, on a more serious note, Karkaroff might be having flashbacks to his time with Voldemort. Like you said, Eric, he was probably surprised that… he didn’t expect to see Harry so soon. And he’s thinking back to betraying Voldemort and his followers, which he’s later killed for in the series. And he might also be looking at Harry and thinking about his Dark Mark on his arm, and how it’s been burning, tingling, and putting the pieces together about his future. There’s probably a lot running through his mind right now.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

James: He seems pretty stunned.

Laura: And also, he’s looking at this kid who ended it all for him in a way, in terms of being able to live out those darkest fantasies that he had of being a Death Eater and serving Voldemort. Karkaroff is an opportunist; he didn’t come to the side of light because he saw the error in his ways. He gave Crouch Sr. information because he was locked up in Azkaban for being a Death Eater, so he was desperate. So that doesn’t suggest that any of his ideologies have shifted; he’s just an opportunist and a coward.

Eric: I mean, fair enough. But you know who doesn’t like people who get out of Azkaban early? Barty Crouch, Jr., who also got out of Azkaban early.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: So we’ll talk about that, like, 20 chapters from now. But yeah, the confrontation is cut short because who should come to Harry’s rescue but Mad-Eye Fakey, who’s like, “You got something to say to Potter? If not, you’re holding us up, holding up the door, man.”

Andrew: In charge of crowd control at Hogwarts.

Eric: Honestly, yeah.

Andrew: “Hey, stop blocking the door. Let the kids out.”

Eric: It’s good that Barty is there, or Fakey. It’s good that Fakey is there. But the only person who could possibly have enraged Karkaroff more than Harry, internally or not, is Moody, who is this well-known Auror, a Dark wizard catcher, and Barty Crouch, who hates him personally. So it’s a really delicious confrontation that we know absolutely nothing about when we’re reading for the first time.

Andrew: Well, and then you also think about how we learn in a few pages that somebody put Harry’s name into the Goblet of Fire. And I think we’re led to believe that it probably was Karkaroff who did it, because of… I mean, if you read back this chapter after just seeing somebody put his name in there, you might be very suspicious of Karkaroff at this point.

Laura: Ooh.

Eric: Karkaroff is a red herring or a misdirect.

James: I was just about to say red herring, exactly.

Laura: Right.

Eric: [imitating Tim Curry in Clue] “Karkaroff was only a red herring.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: It’s got many layers.

Andrew: Coming up, we’ll talk about how flawed the Goblet of Fire itself is, but first, a quick break.

[Ad break]

Eric: We do get to the next morning. It’s a very exciting night; everybody goes back to their dorms and they basically can’t sleep.

Andrew: Just filled with pudding.

[James laughs]

Andrew: Just all hyped up.

Eric: Spoilers, Andrew: I don’t know if you’ve looked up black pudding yet, but it’s not actually pudding.

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: It’s not dessert pudding, I’ll say.

Laura: No.

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: It’s not delicious.

Andrew: Oh, I’m looking at it now. It does not look pleasant. I’d rather eat Taco Bell.

[Eric and James laugh]

Eric: But it’s funny because they do manage to catch just a few people throughout the next day. It’s Saturday; it’s October 31. They do catch a few people actually putting their names in the Goblet of Fire. The most famous example of this is, of course, Fred and George Weasley. So we mentioned on opening night… [laughs] “Opening night.” On September 1, the start of school, that Fred and George even then were devising a plan to hoodwink this “impartial judge.” They didn’t know it was going to be the Goblet of Fire. Sure enough, again, once Dumbledore had told them last night that the age line would be drawn up, they again decided to pursue this plan of aging themselves up only slightly. They only need a few more months; their birthday is April 1. And crossing the age line… because if you can get past the age line, presumably the Goblet of Fire will weigh you based on your merits, completely not knowing your age.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: So this is a new development. But it’s funny because Fred and George’s antics here do correctly predict/lead into/explain how the entire plot happens with Barty Crouch, basically what he does to get Harry’s name in there.

Andrew: I just… and what cracks me up, too, is that they’re speaking about their plan pretty openly as well. It’s not like it’s exactly a secret.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: They’re proud of it. They almost don’t mind getting caught by faculty. And then of course, the age line kicks them away, and Dumbledore is even amused by…

Eric: Well, Dumbledore was there. He was hiding behind a wall or a column or something just waiting for the plan…

Andrew: “Ooh, I got you, hoo-hoo!”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Pretty much!

Andrew: It’s fun and games for Dumbledore, too; he’s just having a ball setting up this age line with this beard trick. It’s just so flawed, this whole thing, especially with Harry, his name being in there, and then is being forced to compete anyway. And Dumbledore even says something when he’s warning the students, something like “If your name comes out, there’s no take-backsies.” But it’s like, how about for people who didn’t put their name in?

Eric: Yeah, it’s really, really bad. And Dumbledore, meanwhile, I think is too occupied with how smart he is.

Andrew: [laughs] What do you mean? Because of his age line?

Eric: Because of his age line. So he just loves… two other students before Fred and George also went in and they’re in the hospital wing, and he tells them about it. He’s like, “This is so fun.” But it’s a very glaring error on his part that literally if anybody puts in a name that is not their own, it’s a problem.

Laura: It feels like a huge miss when you zoom out to the whole series so far and realize… wouldn’t be uncharacteristic for Voldemort to try to come to Hogwarts where Harry is; he’s already done it twice. [laughs] And now there’s this major international event happening at Hogwarts on the heels of the giant Death Eater march at the Quidditch World Cup, and Bertha Jorkins’s disappearance, and all the other signs that we know Dumbledore is aware of at this point, so it does feel like a miss that he wasn’t like, “Hmm. Could I see Voldemort trying to use the events of the Triwizard Tournament to get into Hogwarts? Maybe.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: You know why Dumbledore doesn’t spot Voldemort’s method of turning the Triwizard Tournament into a weapon against students? Because it already is a weapon against students. [laughs]

Laura: True. Ultimate cover.

Andrew: It was just as simple as setting up round the clock security. The Goblet was only taking submissions for 24 hours. How hard would it have been to have four 6-hour shifts or something like that?

Eric: Oh my God.

Andrew: One professor every six hours watching over it. This would not have been difficult to do.

Eric: I mean, Moody presumably would have been one of the four teachers put in charge of that.

James: [laughs] Yeah.

Andrew: All right, all right, so just Snape. He’s watching for 24 hours. You just give him a lot of coffee or the Celsius energy drinks and he’ll be good to go.

Eric: Or Dumbledore himself! At the end of the day, where are the other people making sure that this is safe? And you’re right, Andrew, it’s only 24 hours.

Andrew: Or how about a Hogwarts House portrait? I mean, a lot of them sleep; maybe that’s not a good idea.

James: Well, I don’t understand how there was no restriction put on the Goblet to where only students could put their names in. It makes me think of the movie when Karkaroff closes the doors and goes in to where the Goblet is. They show a scene where he’s just going in to lead your mind in the opposite direction, but it doesn’t necessarily say that Karkaroff was the one to put the name in. I believe Krum put it in of his own accord in the book.

Andrew: Or program the Goblet of Fire to not accept any entries that aren’t from students, and anybody’s name who’s underage, they don’t get accepted period. They don’t get drawn. They don’t get spit out when it’s selection time.

Eric: Yeah, it’s weird how simultaneously the Goblet of Fire could know enough about you to make you the champion, that it knows enough about your character and presumably whatever it’s looking for to choose you, but then also can’t be taught to ignore the fact… the people who started the Goblet of Fire wanted to kill 14-year-olds. They were fine with it. [laughs] Pretty much.

Laura: It makes me wonder what the Goblet of Fire was used for before they started using it for the Triwizard Tournament.

James: It was speed dating.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: The pieces came out and you’d be like, “Okay, so-and-so, you get to meet each other.”

Andrew: I was going to say just drinking Firewhisky, but that’s a more fun answer.

Eric: I mean, that’s pretty much what they use the Stanley Cup for after the hockey tournaments.

[Andrew and James laugh]

Laura: But yeah, I mean… I don’t know; it just seems like the Goblet of Fire is a one trick pony. To the question about, “Well, why couldn’t it cross reference with, say, the Sorting Hat or the book in the Headmaster’s office to see, ‘Okay, these are all underage…'” It can’t. One trick pony. It can only determine if you have the grit and the soul to fight to the death, and that’s all it can do.

James: It’s old tech.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Well, and it’s interesting… yeah, old tech. But from what we know, it’s only ever been the Triwizard Tournament, meaning there never, ever should be a fourth champion, no matter… it should just know that it shuts off. Because we all think it goes to sleep when it’s pulled its third name or whatever, and the addition of a fourth is surprising, but it looks like nobody throughout the years protected against a fourth name being drawn. And we’ll get into this next chapter when we discuss it, but what ended up happening was somebody put Harry’s name in under a fourth school.

James: That’s right.

Eric: So even then…

Andrew: Ilvermorny was the fourth school, by the way. This was the first mention of Ilvermorny.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Do you think it was? Yeah, do you think it’s Ilvermorny? Because Harry doesn’t even go there, so I don’t know what the deal is with that. But my point is the Goblet of Fire then didn’t know… it was like, “Oh, it’s another school.” Did they make up a school? If it was a real school still, that school isn’t competing this year. There has to have been a way to block out.

Andrew: Right. Well, and from Dumbledore’s view, the fact that he came out fourth should be grounds to not include him, period. End of story. “Oops, the Goblet just had a little hiccup. It happens. Some of us… we don’t know where it’s coming.”

Eric: It had a senior moment.

Andrew: Yeah, a senior moment. [laughs]

James: What is the binding contract? Has the author said anything about that?

Laura: We never find out.

Eric: That’s the other thing, where my personal suspicion is that this is before Unbreakable Vows were a thing, and I think that it’s probably some of the same magic that goes into an Unbreakable Vow. But the crux of this is that Harry did not submit his own name, and so you cannot be… if the intention was never there… the closest Harry gets to entering is somebody asks him – I think it’s Dean or Seamus or somebody across the table – “Hey, if you found out how to do it, would you?” And Harry is like, “Ah, that’d be nice, because Cho would love me then.”

[James laughs]

Eric: But he doesn’t. That’s way different than actually going up and consenting and putting your thing… and if you didn’t do that, even with the Unbreakable Vow you have to hold the other person’s wrist and do the spell. The magic, to me… this seems like an early progenitor of the Unbreakable Vow, which we eventually learn about, but it’s not well explained because the plot has to happen. And I’ve said it before, but the author was rushed on this book, so maybe… there’s just a lot even in this chapter that goes on, and I’m just like, “Wow, I wish this had another year of buildup in the writing.”

Andrew: To play devil’s advocate, though, maybe there is no Unbreakable Vow or something adjacent to that for the cup, and in a sick way they’re almost making an example out of Harry. By not giving him a pass, this is telling people, “Hey, we don’t care that Harry is number four. We don’t care that he didn’t actually enter his name. Don’t y’all forget, if your name comes out of that Goblet for future Triwizard Tournaments, you are competing.”

[James and Laura laugh]

James: “Warn your grandchildren.”

Andrew: [laughs] Yes.

Eric: Dumbledore’s voice, “It serves you right,” or whatever.

Andrew: [imitating Dumbledore] “No take-backsies. That’s what I said.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: “Once it hiccups your name, you’re in. You’re facing a dragon. That’s it.”

Eric: Oh my God.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: So because all of that is very heavy to think about, there’s one light point that I’d love to discuss here during our chapter, and it is we learn that Rubeus Hagrid has a crush, and apparently a suit of some kind, and a bottle of cologne that somebody should have taken from him and confiscated years ago.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: The trio is bored because it’s Saturday, they don’t have class, and the Goblet of Fire thing is happening tonight, so they decide to visit Hagrid. And during this time, they basically spend the afternoon chatting. “Who’s it going to be?” and all this kind of stuff. And it just reminded me of a simpler time, when we were all excited about a cultural event, or maybe something even school-related; who’s going to be prom king, who’s going to be… that kind of thing. What kind of moments get sparked by this kind of discussion that they’re having?

Andrew: Also reminds me of the selection of a new pope, where there’s a lot of anticipation.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Waiting for the pope signal. The pope chimney.

James: Wow.

Andrew: Or James, you might appreciate this one: waiting for Ryan Seacrest to announce the winner of American Idol, or who won that week’s competition.

James: Yeah, or who got voted off.

[Andrew and James laugh]

James: Fourth place. Hey, we’re on the fourth book. It’s okay. Perfect timing.

Andrew: Hey, fourth place is pretty damn good.

Eric: That’s really good.

James: Fourth place out of a country full of hopefuls is pretty sweet. Or like Halloween; it is Halloween time, also, so there’s that spirit in the air, although they’re not dressing up and trick or treating. But it still is a… the Great Hall is going to be filled with live bats and pumpkins and everything, so it is a festive time of year. And they haven’t visited Hagrid yet! So that’s also… I could imagine visiting Hagrid, you never know what you’re going to get. But it seems like when they go, they definitely stay.

Eric: That’s true. Even despite his beef stew.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah, it’s really nice to see because apparently, when Hagrid was volun-told to take care of Madame Maxime’s horses, and he found out he was up to the challenge, he apparently struck up a conversation with this woman that he dodges out of the hut to meet. And who knows? Good for them. He’s sweet on Madame Maxime, and given that it’s just Valentine’s Day the other day, I’m feeling the love for these two.

Andrew: Aww. Well, yeah, and you think about how some students – namely Slytherins – will make fun of Hagrid. We’ve always seen him alone, basically, setting aside Fang. It’s nice to see that Hagrid actually can catch feelings for somebody. And that person feels the same way, as we come to learn.

Eric: Absolutely.

James: It’s got to be tough being a giant fish in a small pond, with a giant crush.

Andrew: [laughs] Or a half-giant.

James: A half-giant, yes.

Eric: He’s got a big heart. More to love. Except for house-elves; he will not join their cause, unfortunately. Well, to be clear, it’s not their cause.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Hagrid refuses flat-out to join. They’re going down to Hagrid’s, and Hermione is like, “We can’t go yet; I need to get my badges so that Hagrid can join SPEW,” and then he doesn’t. And he presents the most compelling argument so far that we have yet seen against SPEW being a thing. What do we think about…? What does it mean that Hagrid doesn’t join?

Andrew: Which part of his argument did you find compelling? Because at one point he says, [laughs] “There’s always a weirdo like Dobby, who enjoys being free.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: I just laugh that he said “weirdo.”

Eric: Yeah, okay, he does blanket erase the possibility that house-elves could want to be free. I don’t know. I just feel like, if you’re at Hogwarts for 60 years or 50 years that Hagrid has been, you probably do see some house-elves every once in a while and… I don’t know. I just think that when he tells Hermione – again, plenty of people have said this, but it doesn’t count because Ron is 14 – but when Hagrid says they are happy serving wizards, I feel like he has the authority to tell Hermione that more than anybody who’s done it before.

Laura: I think he’s doing the same thing that Hermione is doing, just to the opposite extreme. Where Hermione is assuming that she knows what exactly freedom would mean to house-elves and how they would want it to look, I think he’s also assuming just based on his socialization that this is what they want. I doubt that Hagrid has ever talked to a house-elf and been like, “Hey, so do you actually like being a slave?” [laughs] I don’t think that conversation has happened. I think Hagrid has been socialized like everyone else in the wizarding world to just feel like this is normal, so he doesn’t question it. But the funny thing about that is people do the exact same stereotyping and broad generalizing about giants, which Hagrid is, and he suffers the consequences of that in this book, so it’s just funny.

Andrew: Yeah. On one hand, I appreciate Hagrid just being straightforward and speaking his mind telling Hermione no, but on the other hand, Hermione is a student only in her fourth year, barely halfway through her career at Hogwarts. Why not support this effort and just sign up just to placate her? I don’t understand why he wouldn’t just do that just to be a good role model, a good supportive teacher to Hermione, who clearly cares about this topic.

Eric: Hagrid takes his politics very seriously. He never signs a petition unless he 100% believes in it.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: The only petition that he’s ever signed was for baby dragons for everybody that Quirrell floated around a few years ago.

[James laughs]

Eric: So he takes it all very seriously. All right, well, I think that those were the main elements of this chapter, “The Goblet of Fire.”

Odds & Ends

Eric: Let’s get into some Odds & Ends now. There is one moment where I mentioned earlier, but Harry’s adoration of Cho Chang. And I have to say, for setting the basis for Ron and Harry’s eventual – well, actually quite soon – falling out, I just don’t think that there is enough grounds for Ron to think that Harry is at all really, really wanting the cup. There’s no way Ron can know that Harry is fantasizing about Cho, and he never says it out loud that he would want to put his own name in, so I think Ron’s insecurity is about to get the best of him in a big way. It’d be a big deal if Harry on the other hand had answered Dean or Seamus or somebody and been like, “Yeah, I’d love to; this rule sucks!” That would be a way for you to be like, “Oh, Harry found a way,” but it very much isn’t that.

Andrew: Yeah.

MVP of the Week

Andrew: All right, well, with that, let’s move on to MVP of the week.

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: And I have to give it to Ron – he’s been really cracking me up lately – for yelling “NO!” when Cedric’s name came out of the Goblet.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Bro, support your school! It doesn’t matter who! It doesn’t matter if it’s… I mean, if it was Draco, then you scream “No,” but otherwise, you don’t say that. You’ve got to support him. You are jelly.

Eric: Oh my God. I love it. I’m going to give mine to Hagrid for shooting his shot. You go, Hagrid.

Laura: I’m going to give mine to Fleur. I’m trying to get my pronunciations better on this. I’ve got to give it to her, girl power champion, and Hermione needs to chill. Hermione is being a little extra in this chapter, being super prickly towards the foreign exchange students. She needs to calm down.

James: I was going to give my MVP to the Goblet of Fire itself, as it is the name of the book and the name of the chapter, because in the movie, it’s portrayed as this glorious chalice, but it’s actually just a wooden cup.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

James: So because of that, I am disqualifying it, and I’m giving it to my MVP, the one true champion, Poliakoff.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

James: Get that boy some mead. Get that boy some mead.

Andrew: You really like that guy.

James: That disgusting boy. Get that disgusting boy some mead.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

James: I want to shake his hand.

[MVP of the Week music ends]

Andrew: You’re right about the cup, by the way. The movie had poisoned my memory; I had forgotten that it’s not as sexy in the book as it is in the movie. And what also has changed my memory of it is I got a Goblet of Fire from the Noble Collection – I think it was sent to me at one point – and I have it somewhere, but it’s beautiful. And then I read in the book it’s this wooden piece of kind of crap, and I’m just like, “Oh, that’s not what mine looks like.”

[James and Laura laugh]

James: No.

Andrew: Anyway.

James: But you know what? It goes to show: Fake it till you make it, and you, too, could be sitting on the magical stool.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: That’s the real MVP of this week, the stool that seems to invoke a lot of magical power to inanimate objects. But anyway…

James: Evanesco. Wrong stool.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

James: Poof.

Andrew: Listeners, if you have any feedback about today’s discussion, you can email You can also send a voice memo there – just like James did many years ago – or you can use our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. We will get to a Muggle Mail episode in the weeks ahead. We have not had one in a while and we were talking about it the other day. Stay tuned for a Muggle Mail episode, but next week we will have Goblet of Fire Chapter 17, “The Four Champions.”


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

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s Quizzitch question: Which Durmstrang student asks Igor Karkaroff to have some wine? Everybody, let’s say it out loud. The correct answer was…

Everyone: Poliakoff!

Eric: There we go.

James: Yay. Disgusting boy.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Yay, that disgusting boy, and newly crowned MVP of the week. Thank you, James.

James: Unanimously.

Andrew: Sure.

Eric: Oh, yeah, we all did it.

[James and Laura laugh]

Eric: Correct answers were submitted to us by – oh boy, here we go – Binge McCrinkle Harry; Bully a bass, the new French Veela special; Cameron; Cho Chang’s defense attorney; Crookshanks is a Flerken…

[Laura laughs]

Eric: … Elizabeth K.; Forrest the 11-year-old; I’d date a guy of any height, match me, MuggleCast…

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: … Jiggly Jane; Jen Pen; Katie; Elsie; Lloyd the Kiwi; Nymphagonagall…

Andrew: Ooh.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: … which is a ship name. See last week’s bonus. Raven White Claw; Robbie; The dribbled food down Poliakoff’s robes; The old cardigan under someone’s bed that Taylor Swift felt like; The sad rejected mulled wine Krum was offered…

[Laura laughs]

Eric: … The scissors that the hairdresser lost on the set of the fourth movie; The Wandering Wheatbelt Warlock; and finally, You do the Poliakoff Poliakoff and dribble food down your fur coat, that’s what it’s all about.

[James and Laura laugh]

Eric: Here is next week’s Quizzitch question: What was the birthday present that Mad-Eye Moody received and smashed thinking that it was a Basilisk egg?

Andrew: Ooh, sounds like James knows.

Eric: I know. That’s next chapter it gets mentioned, as always during our read-throughs.

James: I’m going to be working on my name.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah, you’ve got to figure it out. How about just James Durbin, whose awesome single “Hallows” is out from his new album? That’s friggin’ metal, man. That’s so cool.

James: I submitted as Lord Durbin, but it didn’t make it, so I’ve got to be more creative.

Andrew, Eric, and Laura: Aww.

Eric: It wasn’t one of the top 15 creative names this week, and I’m trying to balance.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I’m very sorry. But you’re here in person, and that is the real treat.

James: Yes. Amen. Thank you.

Eric: Yeah, so submit your Quizzitch answers to us on the Quizzitch form on the MuggleCast website,, or click on “Quizzitch” if you’re already on our website. Maybe you set it as your homepage. Click on “Quizzitch” on the main nav.

Andrew: James, congrats on the release of your new studio album, Screaming Steel, and the wizard rock single. What did you…? Wizard…? You called it wizard metal.

James: Wizard metal, yeah.

Andrew: “Hallows,” and plus you’ve got the other Harry Potter theme song on there. Where else can people find you online? Where can they follow you, your website… plug it all.

James: I am on Instagram, @JamesDurbinOfficial, verified. On, verified. Twitter was verified, but it’s @DurbinRock, and I ain’t paying for that.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

James: I’m in like, eight different bands and projects. I just played the Sphere two days ago in Vegas…

Laura: Oh!

James: … for Salesforce, which was crazy, with one of the bands I play with. And I play a lot in the San Francisco Bay area, so check out my socials if you’re nearby there. And if not, the music is streaming everywhere. Durbin Screaming Steel; it’s my latest album. I’ve got… like I said, it’s my sixth solo album. So I’ve done rock, I’ve done pop, I’ve done Americana, I’ve done kind of punky classic rock, and now classic new wave of traditional heavy metal, so…

Andrew: Amazing.

James: I just love music. I love making music and enjoy doing it and have fans that enjoy all sorts, so I keep doing it.

Andrew: Well, we’re fans of you as well, and your work, and I’m definitely going to be spending my day tomorrow listening to your full discography, because you’re speaking my language here with some of these genres you’re describing. So thanks again, and listeners, we’ll have links in the show notes so you can check out James online and his music. Couple other reminders before we wrap up the show: Check out my wizard rock single – no, I’m kidding.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Visit for transcripts, social media links, our full episode archive, our favorite episodes, and to contact us. And if you enjoy MuggleCast and think other Muggle friends would, too, tell your friends about the show, and we’d also appreciate if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app. And of course, we couldn’t do this show without support from listeners like you, so if you’re an Apple Podcasts user, you can subscribe to MuggleCast Gold, where you’ll get two bonus MuggleCast installments every month, plus ad-free and early access to the show. And then on Patreon you get those things as well, plus our livestreams, our planning docs, a new physical gift every year… all kinds of things. So is where you can find all of that. All right, that does it for this week’s episode. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Laura: I’m Laura.

James: And I’m Lord Durbin.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

James: [in a different voice] And I’m Poliakoff.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That one character. [laughs] Does he get mentioned again in the entire series?

Eric: Never, no.

Andrew: He’s getting a lot of attention tonight.

Eric: Justice for – justice and mulled wine – for Poliakoff.