Transcript #648


MuggleCast 648 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #648, The Beetle Has Landed (GOF Chapter 18, The Weighing of the Wands)

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

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

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: This week, get ready to hunker down in the nearest broom cupboard for an uncomfortable interview with Rita Skeeter, because we are covering Chapter 18 of Goblet of Fire, “The Weighing of the Wands.” And to help us with today’s discussion, our longtime friend and fellow podcaster Pam is back. Welcome back to the show, Pam.

Pam Gocobachi: Hi. Thanks for having me back.

Andrew: Of course. You, Laura, and I all do Millennial together…

Pam: We do.

Andrew: … which releases new episodes on Wednesdays. This is almost like an episode of Millennial but with Micah, because Eric is not here.

Pam: That’s right.

Micah: It’s true.

Andrew: One of our listeners said that. Micah said he was going to say that; now I’ve just stolen it as well.

Pam: Man, I’m so slow; I just got that joke.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: And it’s interesting because I don’t remember the last time I was actually on Millennial. I feel like it was just after Biden was elected president.

Andrew: No.

Micah: Is that possible?

Andrew: It’s got to be more recent than that.

Pam: We had you and Eric on last year.

Laura: Yeah, we had both of you on.

Andrew: Yeah, last year.

Micah: Okay, never mind.

Pam: But we’re overdue. [laughs] It’s fine.

Laura: Yeah, we can set a date.

Andrew: Yeah, you can come on in 2024.

Micah: Let’s just do Millennial right now.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Well, yeah, this is kind of like… let’s just release this next week; screw it. Well, it’s nice to have you on, Pam. And Pam has been a longtime Harry Potter fan as well. I mean, nobody we podcast with hasn’t been a longtime Harry Potter fan. I believe Pam actually has more editions of Harry Potter than any of us.

Pam: I think we did count them one time, and I maintain that it’s because I also own the entire series in Spanish too.

Laura: That’ll do it.

Andrew: Okay.

Pam: So that racks up pretty quick. [laughs]

Andrew: That’ll do it. All right, well, before we get to Chapter by Chapter this week, we do have a couple of summer announcements.

Micah: Yeah, so Eric and I will be returning to LeakyCon this summer; it’s going to be taking place in Portland from July 5-7 at the Oregon Convention Center. If you’re interested in attending, you can use code “Muggle” to get $10 off your ticket. It’s still early days, and more details to come on panels and meetups and that sort of thing, but Leaky has been announcing a number of guests. I saw for those who are huge Game of Thrones fans, Isaac Hempstead Wright, who played Bran Stark, and Indira Varma, who played Ellaria Sand, have both been confirmed. So definitely check out their website; I know they have a lot more announcements planned in the coming weeks.

Andrew: So that’s happening on the west coast this summer. And on the east coast, Laura, Micah, Eric, and I – maybe Pam, we haven’t spoken about it with Pam too much yet – we are planning on going to a podcasting conference in the Washington DC area, and that conference will be happening August 19-22. This is a podcast industry conference. There’s not going to be a live podcast for the public; it’s more about wheeling and dealing and talking about how to grow your audience and monetize and stuff like that. But we thought since we all will be together most likely this summer for Podcast Movement, we will hold some sort of meetup for listeners who are in the area. So we don’t have details there yet; it’s still a long ways off, but we can say it definitely will be between August 19-22. So if you’re around the area, maybe mark it down on your calendars and we’ll do some sort of meetup.

Laura: Come hang out with us.

Andrew: Come. Hang. Out. With. Us. Once we give you information on where to hang out with us at.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: I just also wanted to mention that our travel and appearances like at LeakyCon and Washington DC are crowdfunded by listeners like you, and by pledging to our Patreon or subscribing to MuggleCast Gold on Apple Podcasts, you’re helping us run and grow the show and its community. Laura, you planned this week’s bonus MuggleCast. What can we expect there?

Laura: Yeah, so we’re going to revisit the topic of fanfiction, but specifically, we’re going to talk about a very popular adult-themed Draco/Hermione a.k.a. Dramione fanfiction that is actually getting the 50 Shades of Grey treatment. For anyone who isn’t aware of that, 50 Shades of Grey was originally a Twilight fanfiction that was then reimagined to be published as an original work. Same thing is happening for the fanfiction “Manacled,” so we’ll chat a little bit more about that in bonus today, and we have a couple of excerpts that we’re going to read.

Andrew: Ooh.

Micah: Oh boy.

Laura: However, I will just caution, folks, if you’re in the market to look up a new fanfiction, this one is very, very dark. Very, very adult. Proceed with caution.

Andrew: Yeah, actually, Liza is saying they hadn’t heard about this yet. I hadn’t either, so Laura, I’m glad you put it on our radar, and I’m excited to talk about that. So that’ll be available at and Apple Podcasts.

Laura: And sometimes we like to sit back and think about what are some ways that we can have a little more fun here at the show, and we thought, “Why don’t we put fun silly questions in our Discord server ahead of our episode livestreams?” So folks who are able to vote in this poll are people who support us over on, and today’s question ahead of reviewing this chapter is “What is more unhinged this chapter? Rita’s broom cupboard interview, Karkaroff’s mustache twirl for the camera, or Fleur’s wand core being her grandmother’s hair?” Now, I do have some breaking news. We have results in this poll. Believe it or not, not at all a close competition. It is Rita’s broom cupboard interview, which makes a ton of sense, and it’s going to be one of the things we spend quite a bit of time talking about today. So thank you to all of our patrons who are in the Discord listening to us live tonight for taking part in my silly poll.

Andrew: I voted for Karkaroff twirling his mustache for the camera. I thought that was the strangest option myself.

Laura: [laughs] It did make me uncomfortable reading that.

[Andrew laughs]

Pam: It was very cartoon villain.

Andrew: Yeah, exactly, exactly.

Laura: Yeah, that’s what I imagined, honestly.

Pam: Me too.

Laura: I imagined, like, Jafar for some reason.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Laura: Because he does that.

Pam: Yeah, or what is it, Rocky and Bullwinkle? The Russian villain in that.

Laura: Yes.

Micah: Rasputin? That’s what he reminds me of.

Pam: Yes, sure. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah. And honestly, I mean, we’ve seen and we’ve talked about in this book, how this story – and honestly, a lot of stories and movies produced during the ’90s – really leaned into that trope of people of vague Eastern European descent being the villains always, so I definitely think that that is what we’re seeing with the way Karkaroff is portrayed here.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: All right, without further ado, it’s time for Chapter by Chapter, and this week we’re discussing Goblet of Fire Chapter 18, “The Weighing of the Wands.” And we’ll start like we always do with our Seven-Word Summary, and since Pam is new to this segment but an experienced podcaster, she’s going first.

Laura: This was so mean. Why do we always do this to the guest?

Micah: It’s actually…

Pam: Honestly, I feel like it’s less pressure…

Laura: Yeah, that’s true.

Pam: … because I don’t have to think on my feet for a sec. [laughs]

Micah: I feel like being the glue is more pressure, right?

Laura: True.

Micah: Which happens to be me this week. That’s okay.

[Laura and Pam laugh]

Andrew: All right. Let’s give it a shot.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Pam: Rita…

Laura: … hijacks…

Andrew: … Harry’s…

Micah: … innocence…

Andrew: Ooh.

[Laura and Pam laugh]

Pam: … by…

Laura: …. broom…

Andrew: Okay, by broom closet, I guess.

Pam: Cupboard. [laughs]

Andrew: Good enough. Good enough.

Laura: That took a turn.

[Everyone laughs]

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Laura: So getting into this week’s chapter, there’s a lot going on here. Still a lot of setting the stage for what’s to come for Harry, between the reactions of his classmates to being chosen as the fourth champion to the way the media and people in government regard him and act around him. But first, we’re going to talk about this widespread bullying that Harry is receiving from his classmates. He’s having a really bad time. In fact, Harry’s only ally right now is Hermione, and it seems like only she, Hagrid, Sirius, and Dumbledore believe Harry at this stage that he did not enter his name into the Goblet of Fire. Harry is even persona non grata with Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, who both seem to believe that Harry stole Hufflepuff’s moment of glory. And something that I thought was a uniquely Ravenclaw take is that the Ravenclaws reportedly believed Harry wanted to earn more fame by being able to say he tricked the Goblet of Fire, because honestly, that’s some projection right there.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Laura: That’s something me or Micah would think.

Micah: It’s true. And to go off the point of the mass scale bullying, nothing is being done about it, right? If we look around, none of the teachers are really stepping in to try and help Harry in this situation, and so it just speaks more to Hogwarts being a security nightmare of a different kind. And putting on my Ravenclaw cap for a moment, too, it makes me wonder: If in fact Cedric was the only name that came out of the Goblet of Fire, right, how would the other Houses react? I feel like Slytherin may have gone more the direction of Durmstrang, perhaps, right?

Pam: Oh, that’s interesting.

Laura: That is really interesting, how their allegiances shift depending on the circumstance, which feels like a very Slytherin trait. No shade, Andrew.

Andrew: [laughs] It’s okay.

Pam: Well, and also, it’s tough because they have a legit celebrity competing. So I mean, yes, maybe Slytherin would be like, “Oh, we hear that at Durmstrang they learn the Dark Arts, so we’re down with whatever champion gets picked from that school,” but on the other hand, we also see a lot of the student body get swept up in the idea of Viktor Krum walking through the halls of Hogwarts, so I mean, maybe some of the other Houses or people in the other Houses would have switched allegiances as well.

Micah: Yeah, definitely. And to me, it was surprising that we don’t really see the Horcrux, at least at this moment, try and manipulate the situation. We’ve talked about how there have been other moments in this book in prior books where you can put some of what’s going on onto the Horcrux that’s within Harry, but it seems like the situation is doing a good enough job of isolating Harry that the Horcrux doesn’t really need to jump in right now.

Laura: True. The Horcrux is like, “That’s rough. Man, I don’t need to do anything. Just let this play out.”

Pam: “He’s already having evil thoughts; it’s fine. Doesn’t need me.”

Andrew: I want to address the bullying that’s going on, this mass scale bullying. I was thinking about this, too, and it’s really upsetting that nobody’s stepping in to be like, “Hey, guys, you shouldn’t bully Harry, because this wasn’t his fault.” Somebody who believes Harry should be saying this; let’s look at Dumbledore. Since Dumbledore believes Harry, and in light of all this bullying, I think Albus should say something at breakfast or dinner. “Harry did not put his name in the Goblet, and you know what? In light of this, we’re actually going to put a pause on the tournament to look into this further.” And actually, by not saying anything to the school, it’s kind of implying that he thinks Harry did put his name in and things should go on as planned; things are normal.

Laura: So what you’re saying is he should have gotten up in front of the whole school and been like, [imitating Michael Gambon] “Harry, you did not put your name in the Goblet of Fire!”

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Andrew: Very clever. Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Pam: This also just feels like really textbook ’90s school behavior; everybody believed in the ’90s that bullying was just going to toughen you up. But then also, it must be tough when Harry even… I mean, this could also be paranoia, but Harry even mentions that he thinks that Professor Sprout is giving him the cold shoulder. So we expect Snape to bully Harry, right? That’s kind of his MO. But if even Professor Sprout is doing it, [laughs] it’s kind of a lost cause. Like, that’s crazy to me.

Laura: Yeah. I also sometimes wonder, because we’re seeing things from Harry’s point of view, how much he might be projecting or assuming.

Pam: Right.

Laura: Of all these characters, I feel like Professor Sprout is the least likely to be participating in giving Harry the cold shoulder, so maybe it’s a little bit of both. Maybe she’s being a little standoffish towards him, but maybe he’s also reading into it a little bit because he’s insecure.

Micah: Right, yeah. I think the challenge for Harry is that he doesn’t have anybody to ground him, right? He’s lost Ron, and Ron would be the person that would normally do that, so he’s literally seeing boogeyman everywhere, right? To draw it to a football analogy, right, they talk about how you’re seeing ghosts out there if you’re a quarterback, and no matter what you do, you’re constantly doing something wrong because you’re just spooked, and I feel like Harry is like that a little bit.

Laura: Yeah, he’s having his Mad-Eye Moody moment, dialed down a lot, but he’s seeing so much bad behavior around him at school that he’s starting to see it everywhere, probably. It’s a good point. And to the point about Ron, Hermione rightly points out that Ron is jealous of Harry. We did talk about this last episode and how this is really just all related to Ron’s insecurities about being left out or not being good enough, but the one good thing that comes out of this interaction is she does convince him to write to Sirius about the news, which seems like a good move.

Micah: Yeah, I also think she reveals something to Harry that I don’t know that he is very aware of, and that’s the fact that his fame has impact on other people, particularly his friends, and most importantly, Ron. And she’s trying to convey that; I don’t know that he fully gets it in this moment, but it’s an important point for her to raise.

Pam: Yeah, he just thinks that because he doesn’t like it, it’s obsolete, right? He’s not encouraging it, he’s not a fan of it, so he feels like that should be enough. But you’re right; maybe it’s not enough for Ron, and that’s what Hermione is gently trying to show him.

Andrew: Yeah. Of course, we have to remember they’re younger, so Ron doesn’t fully see it yet. But I think we’ve all heard over the years – Pam, you’ve worked in the world of Hollywood – we often hear how celebrities hate being celebrities because there’s so much attention on you at all times. You get no privacy. Fame is terrible! We all want it, the grass is always greener, but it’s actually terrible, and Ron is too young to understand this right now. And Ron is actually in this ideal position, I think, as Harry’s BFF because he gets to have the cool/famous person as his best friend, but then he doesn’t have to deal with being the Chosen One and getting all the attention himself.

Pam: Yeah. He still gets the spotlight sometimes, though, by proxy of all of these adventures. Anytime the trio saves the school, it’s never just Dumbledore only awarding Harry all of the glory. He always includes the other people that were players, right?

Andrew: That’s true. He is getting a taste.

Pam: So it’s not like a “None for Gretchen Wieners.”

[Everyone laughs]

Pam: It’s literally everybody that’s involved gets the spotlight. So yeah, it’s a very interesting take for him to have.

Micah: But for the most part, I think, at least at this stage, Ron feels like he plays second fiddle to Harry. And Hermione even brings up the fact of his brothers and how he’s also dealing with this at home, and now he has to deal with this at school. And this behavior doesn’t just happen in this book; we really see it come to fruition in Deathly Hallows.

Laura: Yeah, this is resonating with the Discord, too; LC is saying, “Ron is the Gail to Harry’s Oprah.”

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Laura: LegalizeGillyweed said, “Always a bridesmaid,” a.k.a. never a bride. So yeah, I think we’re on to something here. But I do want to call out some of what Harry actually experiences in classes after being selected as the fourth champion. So there’s a connecting the threads moment I wanted to call out in Herbology, because in that lesson Ernie MacMillan and Justin Finch-Fletchley laugh unpleasantly when a bouncing bulb smacks Harry in the face, when two years ago these two actually distrusted Harry, believing that he was the Heir of Slytherin, and ended up having to apologize to him when they realized he wasn’t. So how quickly the tables have turned. [laughs] Again.

Pam: How quickly Harry forgets that they’re fickle, too, right?

[Andrew laughs]

Laura and Micah: Yeah.

Micah: And I think the reason this happens is in part because Harry is just so distracted, right? He’s not paying attention to the work that he’s doing and all of a sudden he gets hit in the face, and Ernie and Justin take advantage of the situation to make fun of him.

Laura: Then he’s even struggling in Charms, where they’re very conveniently learning Summoning Charms, and Harry is so distracted by everything going on this chapter that he’s really struggling picking up on Summoning Charms, and he gets assigned extra homework. The only other person in class who gets assigned extra homework is, of course, Neville. I always find it interesting how these two… we know they’re on parallel journeys, and one could have been the other, so it’s just interesting when we get these nods along the way of them experiencing similar story beats in their life, if you will. Even Hedwig is ticked off at Harry; he can’t use her to send owls to Sirius anymore, and when he tells her that… she literally lands, stretches out her leg, and is like, “Here, I’ll take your letter, Dad.” And he was like, “No, I can’t use you,” and she’s ticked off at him. I mean, I get it. It’s not even just this; he’s been kind of a jerk to her for a couple chapters now, so it’s justified, right, Andrew?

Andrew: Yeah, and Harry could’ve just said, “Hey, this is for your safety too. This isn’t just for the security between me and Sirius. We’ve got to protect you; you could be intercepted and killed!”

Laura: Too soon.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: It is not too soon. [laughs]

Laura: And then the real, I think, blow comes with the buttons that the Slytherin students are wearing. Harry encounters them in Double Potions with the Slytherins; it’s those buttons that say “Support Cedric Diggory, the real Hogwarts champion,” and when they press them, the text changes to “Potter stinks.” [laughs] How rude.

Andrew: Again, mass scale bullying that this was allowed to be dispersed amongst the students and not stopped. I’m thinking ahead, too; was this ever stopped? I don’t think so.

Laura: No.

Andrew: It’s sad.

Micah: Cedric is the one who really steps in, right?

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: But no professor, and that’s disappointing. I mean, we can imagine here in the Muggle world, if this type of thing was going on, faculty would be doing something about it.

Micah: Especially in this day and age. Somebody brought up earlier how this is happening in the ’90s, and certainly… let’s just think about… we’re going to get to Snape’s behavior. That would be written up; Snape would probably be… good chance he gets fired for what he does. So things were much different in the ’90s than they are here in 2024. But the theme that’s running through here, though, is that Harry’s schoolwork is being impacted by how much he is being bullied. So I didn’t know if there’s anything else we wanted to say about that, because we know that you can make comparisons to real life situations where people are going through bullying and it impacts their job, it impacts their school life, and impacts their home life. And these are just two very small examples with Herbology and then with Charms, but it’s clear it’s having an impact on him.

Andrew: Yeah, and it has an impact on you long term, too, right? It could negatively impact your social skills later in life, how secure you are in yourself later in life… this stuff has a lasting impact.

Laura: At least he’s exempt from end of year exams?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Pam: I was thinking about that too. I wonder if the faculty just doesn’t care because he doesn’t even have to sit for his exams anyway.

Andrew: Aww. But… oh, no.

Pam: That is very sad. I agree with you.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, then why should he be going through these classes at all?

Pam: Yeah, maybe they just think he’s coasting because of that, though. He’s like, “Okay.”

Andrew: Is this what it comes down to for the other students? They want to bully him because they’re jealous they don’t have to deal with final exams?

Pam: Well, Ron says that, right? In the previous chapter.

Andrew: Does he?

Laura: He does.

Pam: He’s like, “Oh, you don’t even have to sit for exams, and you could win money.”

Andrew: So is that the thinking amongst all students? I guess so. I guess that’s one factor.

Micah: Meanwhile, Neville just sucks at Charms. [laughs]

Pam: Poor Neville.

Laura: But see, Neville… see, here’s the thing: Harry right now is experiencing maybe a more mass scale version of what Neville deals with all the time, which explains why Neville does so poorly in a lot of his classes. If you had to live like that, of course it’s going to have an impact, just like you said, Micah. Since we’re in Potions, we have to talk about Harry and Draco trying to start an impromptu dueling club in the Potions classroom. So Draco calls Hermione a Mudblood, and Harry and Draco then proceed to attack each other. Their spells actually end up colliding in midair and they ricochet off each other and end up hitting Goyle and Hermione in the face. So the spell that Harry sent that ended up hitting Goyle in the face was Fernunculus, which is the pimple jinx; Goyle’s face erupts in these boils. And then the hex that Malfoy sent was the Densaugeo hex, which is a teeth enlargement hex. Comes from Latin; “dens” is teeth and then “augeo” is increase. So this is particularly, I think, adding insult to injury for Hermione, who has already been noted several times throughout this series as having larger than average front teeth, so this is just exaggerating something that she’s probably already been teased for before.

Andrew: Yeah, and just the way Snape responds to this is really sickening.

Laura: Yeah, he basically tells Goyle, “Go to the hospital wing,” and when Ron is trying to show… is it Ron or is it Harry? One of them’s trying to show Snape, “Hey, look, he got Hermione, too.” And Snape looks at her – her teeth are down past her collar at this point – and Snape just says, “I don’t see a difference,” and Hermione runs off crying.

Andrew: Unreal.

Laura: I know. This is a 14-year-old girl.

Pam: It’s wild, yeah.

Laura: I would be traumatized.

Pam: The thing is, too, you expect him to say nasty things to Harry because he has… I guess you could argue he has a reason, right? He’s harboring ill intent.

Laura: Right.

Pam: But Hermione shows up to class, answers all of his questions… for all intents and purposes, he should be fine with her. So what is the point of him exacerbating the bullying in this instance? Because everyone’s already laughing at her too.

Micah: Yeah, he seems to have a really nasty spot for Hermione. I’m not sure why. I don’t know. Maybe it is because she’s Muggle-born that he has this… because let’s not forget, he was a Death Eater at one time, right?

Pam: But he’s also a half-blood.

Micah: Well, that didn’t stop Voldemort, either.

Pam: That’s true, but he should have some sympathy as a result. But it’s probably harboring some self-hatred there, right?

Andrew: Yeah, she’s guilty…

Pam: Or maybe she reminds him too much of Lily.

Andrew: That’s what I was just going to say, yeah. Maybe there’s a little bit of that going on. We know that’s why he struggles with being nice to Harry, but also, Hermione is just guilty by association to Harry. She’s Harry’s friend, so that’s enough reason for Snape to get annoyed, unfortunately.

Micah: I mean, in today’s society that would have been recorded on a cell phone, Snape would have probably been suspended pending investigation…

Pam: That’s probably why there’s no cell phones allowed at Hogwarts.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Andrew: Well, yeah, and just… with a competent headmaster… sorry. You guys are starting to wear me down on Dumbledore.

Micah: Slowly.

Laura: Finally.

[Pam laughs]

Andrew: Somebody would have reported that, and there would have been some action.

Laura: We only had to get halfway through the series, but we’ve finally done it.

Andrew: That said, does this ever get back to Dumbledore? Probably not. A student needs to take this to McGonagall or Dumbledore. Harry could have done it, Ron, Hermione…

Pam: It’s interesting she doesn’t do it, because she also… I know this is getting ahead, but if you look at even what happens in Order of the Phoenix, she’s encouraging Harry to tell an adult, and she clearly is not taking her own advice at this point, so that to me is interesting as well.

Laura: Oh, I didn’t think about that. That is so interesting.

Micah: In the Discord, Becky said, “I wonder what Dumbledore or McGonagall’s reaction would have been if they had overheard Snape saying that.” We do get a bit of McGonagall in the… was it the previous chapter? When Snape starts throwing shade at Harry, she throws him a look. So I just don’t think Snape would have likely said that if either of those two were present. He knows better.

Laura: Yeah, I think you’re right. He probably would have just said nothing in response to that and tended to Malfoy and Goyle and ignored the Gryffindors and let McGonagall deal with them.

Micah: I’m wondering now too, though, do you think he’s maybe in the back of his mind playing out the whole Malfoy/Mad-Eye situation and saying, “One of mine got taken advantage of, so in this situation I’m just going to be a complete asshat to Hermione”?

Andrew and Laura: Yeah.

Laura: True. I also just find this – a little bit of a tangent – but I find the choice in attack very interesting here, because you would think that somebody like Malfoy who has these dark allegiances that he claims to have would come up with something a little bit more serious than a teeth enlargement hex. I think it’s really funny that Harry is like, “Pimples!” And then Malfoy is like, “Oh, yeah? Well, I’m going to make your teeth big!”

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Pam: Well, I don’t know how you all imagined this reading it for the first time, but the idea of this was really terrifying to me because I always thought that the teeth are growing curved, and so it’s like, would they at some point grow big enough to puncture her neck?

Laura: Oh my God.

Andrew: Eww.

Laura: I didn’t think about that. I thought about it like walrus teeth; you know how they grow out really long and straight?

Pam: I mean, that makes so much more sense. I don’t know. I guess had a very colorful imagination as a child, but I always thought that maybe…

Laura: But some animals’ teeth do grow like that.

Pam: I guess it was because they describe them like a beaver, right? And beavers’ teeth are kind of curved, so all I could imagine was the teeth curving towards at least her breastbone.

Laura: That is even scarier.

Andrew: Yeah, this is freaking me out.

[Laura laughs]

Pam: I’m telling you, I was really disturbed reading this as a child.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Laura: Well, Harry definitely feels some kind of way about this too. And Pam, earlier on in the episode, you said Harry has some evil thoughts this chapter. We’re about to get into one of those. There’s this part right after the events of this ricochet of hexes and jinxes onto Goyle and Hermione where Harry and Ron both get detention and both get points taken from Gryffindor because they’re yelling very colorful things at Snape in protest of what he’s done. Harry thinks, “If only he knew how to do the Cruciatus Curse… he’d have Snape flat on his back like that spider, jerking and twitching…” And for this, I’ve got to ask a “What if?”

[“What if?” sound effect plays]

Andrew: We have sound effects here, Pam.

[Everyone laughs]

Pam: It’s so exciting. Wow.

Laura: So what if Harry knew how to do the Cruciatus Curse? Is he actually angry enough in this moment to mean it?

Micah: I think he’s angry, but I don’t know that he’s mature enough to cast this spell. And I’m just thinking about Order of the Phoenix as a reference point; Bellatrix only experiences what’s referenced as a brief moment of terrible pain. And this was after she murdered Sirius right in front of Harry, so if in that moment, all Harry can do is give her five seconds of pain, I don’t think Snape’s treatment of Hermione is enough for him to really cast a meaningful Cruciatus Curse against Snape. However, I do think it’s interesting he’s already thinking about using spells that Moody taught him just a couple chapters ago. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, and I just think he would need the courage and the focus to do this on a professor. And this would be a huge deal if he conducted an Unforgivable Curse on a professor; he could potentially be expelled for this. What’s his line of attack on Snape after the fact? Like, “Oh, he insulted Hermione”? That’s not enough to make the Cruciatus Curse okay.

Pam: Aren’t they illegal too? Does he go to the equivalent of juvie for the wizarding world for this?

Laura: Right, you would think so.

Andrew: And let alone on a professor. Like, oh my God.

Pam: Right.

Laura: But two chapters ago, a professor was teaching these curses openly to fourth year students and nothing happened.

Andrew: Yeah, but that was for educational purposes, so it’s okay.

[Pam laughs]

Laura: I’m sure whatever gets flagged at the Ministry when those curses are used come with notations of what the intent was. Like, “This was purely educational; I only killed a spider. No biggie.”

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Micah: I also think it can be really bad for Harry in the moment, too. Let’s not forget Snape is a Legilimens and an extremely well-accomplished wizard. If he even senses that that’s coming, his reaction in that moment could be very, very bad for Harry.

Andrew: Yeah, acting in self defense, for sure.

Micah: And he would like nothing better, I’m sure.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. In a way, it’s almost like he’s tempting Harry, like he wants Harry to lash out. He thinks he’s just as irresponsible as James. Well, speaking of major mistakes, we are going to discuss Rita Skeeter in one moment, but first we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll Floo right back.

[Ad break]

Laura: Well, we’re back, and the beetle has landed, which means we are going to talk about Rita Skeeter. But first, just need to give a quick shout-out to Colin Creevey here, because he actually comes and fetches Harry right in the nick of time to get him out of Double Potions and this really contentious encounter with Snape to go off for a champions photoshoot. And I wanted to ask, who remembers Nigel from the Goblet of Fire movie? He was the composite replacement for Colin and Dennis Creevey. Do you remember him? That little blonde kid that was bringing people stuff and taking Harry places?

Micah and Pam: Yeah.

Andrew: Ohh.

Pam: He was like, Ron’s secretary, right? Yes.

Andrew: Ron’s secretary.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Andrew: And he’s in Order of the Phoenix.

Laura: Yep. Yeah, I mean, he basically replaces the Creevey brothers. We don’t see Colin Creevey after the second movie.

Andrew: Why is that, I wonder?

Laura: Probably because it was just cleaner from a writing perspective to have one character serve this function. I don’t know why it couldn’t have just been Colin, though.

Andrew: Right.

Laura: They could have left Dennis out entirely.

Andrew: Maybe Hugh Mitchell, the actor, wanted too much money or something.

[Laura and Pam laugh]

Andrew: Did he get himself in trouble? I don’t know. This is surprising.

Pam: They were budget cuts at Hogwarts. [laughs] They couldn’t afford.

Andrew: They managed to hang on to every major actor except for Hugh Mitchell for some reason.

[Pam laughs]

Andrew: Well, I guess they weren’t… they held on to the major actors but couldn’t hang on to Hugh Mitchell for Colin Creevey.

Pam: That’s why, because they had to hold on to the main actors. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, “We don’t have any more money for you, Hugh. Sorry.”

Laura: Bring in Nigel. Well, Harry arrives at this champions’ gathering for a photoshoot, but he is pretty quickly whisked away by Rita Skeeter, who we’ve heard a lot about in this book, but we’re actually seeing her for the first time now. And she settles in with him for a cozy interview in a broom cupboard. Why?

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Micah: Why not?

Andrew: Well, I think it’s because by taking him away from the others, she gets to interview him in private and write whatever she wants, and then nobody will be able to say, “Hey, Harry didn’t say that. Harry didn’t cry.” There’s no proof other than Harry’s word that her reporting is inaccurate.

Micah: And I would have to assume that a broom cupboard is somewhat traumatic or triggering for Harry to have this kind of conversation in, especially given what they’re about to talk about. I’m sure maybe not in this moment, but later he’s having flashbacks to living under the stairs at Number Four Privet Drive.

Pam: Yeah. And I feel like this is one of the moments when the movie-ism does a really good job of literally telling us this, because the actress that plays Rita Skeeter says, “You should feel right at home” when they get into the broom cupboard.

Laura: [gasps] I forgot about that.

Andrew: Oh, yeah. [laughs]

Laura: Oh my God.

Micah: That’s a really good call-out.

Laura: Well, Pam, you are a journalist, so I’m very curious for your take on Miss Rita Skeeter here.

Pam: [laughs] I mean, I don’t claim her, if that’s what you’re asking.

Laura: [laughs] No, not at all. I’m curious for your view on this brand of journalism, because unfortunately, journalists like this do exist. I mean, we’ve talked before about how Rita Skeeter is really most likely a representation of the British tabloids.

Pam: I think you’re right. And the tabloid culture in the UK specifically is way different than what we experience here in the United States, so I think that’s probably a good reason why this is the particular representation that we get in the books. But it’s interesting because we also don’t hear about a lot of other publications in the wizarding world as part of the series, so we’re led to believe that the Daily Prophet is fairly reputable as a result of the fact that that’s the newspaper that most students get brought in. But then if you have somebody like Rita Skeeter that is contributing, at the very least, to the publication, it sort of ruins the credibility. But I mean, I guess at the end of the day, that sets up things very nicely for how we see the reputability of the Daily Prophet progress as we get further and further into the series, because they slowly start becoming more of a propaganda newspaper than an actual reliable piece of news.

Andrew: And on a related note, isn’t it shocking, Pam, that Rita doesn’t seemingly have an editor at the Prophet to fact check her? I mean, she’s getting names wrong, too, in previous articles in this book.

Pam: Yeah. The name wrong thing, it makes my eye twitch only because back when I was still going to school for journalism, you could fail out of a class for getting names wrong.

Andrew: Oh, wow.

Pam: It was an automatic zero, because they really wanted to drive in the fact that it’s very important to get names right whenever you’re reporting on anything, at the very least.

Andrew: Yeah, because if you can’t get that right, what else is wrong in this article?

Pam: I know someone who failed a midterm because they misspelled Gavin Newsom’s name.

Andrew: Ohh.

Pam: It was a policy in the department, yeah. And that was like a cold shower for everyone that was in school at the time, because yeah, they took that very seriously. So it’s wild to me that she was just like, “Who cares? Let’s just spell the names of the other champions however I want.”

Laura: Not at the Daily Prophet. They don’t care.

Micah: No. Well, Rita sells papers; I think that’s really what it comes down to at the end of the day. We can talk about morality or journalistic integrity, but as Pam just mentioned, we see the Daily Prophet slowly slip into becoming a mouthpiece for the Ministry in later books, so this should give us a taste of what to expect from them moving forward. And I’ve always kind of seen Rita as… I don’t know, is she a freelancer? I don’t really think she’s on staff. She reminds me almost of somebody who would be an op-ed journalist for a major paper, and maybe that’s why she’s not held in check as much.

Andrew and Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: I guess so. But still, the Prophet‘s reputation is on the line, so they have every reason to be editing her or making sure her articles are accurate. But yeah, like you said, she does sell papers, seemingly, and so I guess the Prophet feels stuck. But as we’re also saying here, this is an early warning sign of corruption at the Prophet and the Ministry.

Micah: This might be going a step too far, but I could almost see Rita as somebody who has dirt on somebody high up in the Daily Prophet

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Micah: … just given the type of journalism she is known for, and she uses that to her advantage to continue to write for them.

Andrew: I like that.

Laura: Yeah. She has compromising pictures of someone.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Andrew: Ohh, Fudge. Definitely Fudge.

Micah: And it could be Ludo.

Andrew: Oh, Ludo too. Yeah, Ludo is always down for a party.

[Laura and Pam laugh]

Laura: Well, during their broom cupboard interview, Rita tries to goad Harry into admitting he entered his name for the tournament. And all the while, her quill is actively embellishing their conversation, and she’s speaking so fast and changing the subject so much, it’s clearly disorienting for Harry, and that feels intentional. It feels like the choice of setting, the rapid fire questions, the Quick Quotes Quill, all of it is designed to knock Harry off his game.

Pam: She’s asking very leading questions, too. They’re all designed for him to just kind of say, “Yeah, I guess,” and then she can say, “Well, he agreed to my specific phrasing, so now I can quote him as using that phrasing, even if he didn’t say it, so…”

Laura: Yeah. And he’s not in the right frame of mind for this anyway, right, Micah?

Micah: No, I think we saw that earlier on in the chapter just with how he’s not performing up to his usual standards in class. And now he gets called away and thrown into this photoshoot, and there’s Rita; Ludo offers him up no problem. So going off of our conversation from last week, if we’re looking at the suspect list, this is somewhat of a suspect move on the part of Ludo. I know Ludo wants to make this the biggest thing following the Quidditch World Cup, but it seems a little bit suspicious, right? Like, “No problem, you can have the Chosen One, you can sit down and interview him, you can leave the room with him…”

Andrew: Exactly, in private. “Take him away to wherever you want for as long as you want.” Normally, people get media training so they figure out how to handle the press. There’s a limited amount of time that they have with the person so they can’t ask too many questions.

Micah: Yeah, and…

Andrew: But also… go ahead.

Micah: No, I think that also speaks to the maturity level, too, of these contestants, right? We talk about are they prepared from a competition standpoint, but are they also prepared for things like this? Harry is very young, whereas the other three are several years older than him, and I’m not saying they’ve had media training, but they wouldn’t just walk off with Rita into a private broom cupboard to have a conversation, nor would they probably put up with a lot of what she’s throwing out there.

Pam: Well, and technically, they’re of age, too, right? 17 is how old you have to be to enter, and so they’re all 17; that’s the legal age. So I think that this is a prime example of how Harry gets lost in the crossfire of all of that as a result of just not needing to be there in the first place. He shouldn’t have been allowed to enter, and he also, unfortunately, does not have an adult to take care of him. Nobody at home… the Dursleys are not going to object to a smear campaign in the paper.

Micah: They’d love it. [laughs]

Pam: Yeah, they’d be like, “We always knew he was rotten.” I think there’s a couple of different things at play here.

Micah: And I’ll just throw this out there. Maybe it was the way it was written – and it’s not just these two; there’s another pair coming up a little bit later on – but I thought maybe something’s going on between Ludo and Rita.

Andrew: Really.

Laura: What makes you think that?

Micah: It was just the way it was written, the way that they were talking to each other when Harry first comes in and then all of a sudden Ludo is more than game to just offer Harry up to her.

Laura: Interesting. At the very least, there’s a conflict of interest one way or another.

Andrew: Yeah. Or maybe Rita has something on Ludo, so Ludo has to be extra nice to her and she just leans into it for her own personal enjoyment.

Laura: Or both.

Andrew and Pam: Yeah.

Andrew: LegalizeGillyweed said their new ship is Rudo.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: I love that. Well, fortunately for Harry, things don’t go too far before Dumbledore finally comes to the rescue. Thanks for showing up, man. I do wonder how Dumbledore knew exactly where Harry and Rita were. Maybe he has some Dumbledore-esque version of the Marauder’s Map…

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Laura: … where he can detect where people are at all times, and he sees Harry Potter and Rita Skeeter practically on top of each other in this broom cupboard.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That would be cause for alarm.

Laura: Yeah, he’s like, “I gotta go.”

Pam: He can see through the Invisibility Cloak, right? He can see through the cloak, so maybe he can see through walls. Who knows?

Laura: Right. Well, we get a blast from the past when Harry gets back to the photoshoot event. Mr. Ollivander is there, and it’s because he is going to be performing the weighing of the wands, which is to evaluate the conditions of the champions’ wands to make sure that they’re in proper condition in order for the champions to compete with those wands. Is it a conflict of interest that only a British wandmaker is performing this evaluation? Two out of the four wands are not created in Britain.

Andrew: So I could see why it could be, but two things here: Perhaps this speaks to how Ollivander is respected on the wizarding world stage, and another factor is maybe Ollivander was selected as evaluator in advance of the school signing on to the Triwizard Tournament, so they knew that he would be the one doing the inspections, and so that’s why Maxime and Karkaroff aren’t surprised to see him there. But that said, given the surprise of Harry’s name coming out of the Goblet and accusations being floated that the game was rigged, it’s actually kind of surprising that Karkaroff and Maxime don’t raise any concerns, in light of what happened with the Goblet.

Micah: It is happening at Hogwarts, though, and so that’s where my head went. He is the most renowned British wandmaker. Who else would you have in this situation?

Andrew: Yeah, hosting country gets to have their wandmaker.

Micah: Yeah, exactly. It’s the host school.

Andrew: That makes sense to me.

Laura: But he talks smack about Viktor and Fleur’s wands. He makes a couple of…

Micah: Just a little gamesmanship.

Laura: Yeah, a couple of salty comments.

Andrew: Weren’t Dumbledore and Ollivander talking before Ollivander came down? So Dumbledore was probably encouraging him to [imitating Dumbledore] “Talk a little smack, just a little bit; just get them riled up for me, please?”

[Laura and Pam laugh]

Andrew: “I love when that kind of thing happens.”

Laura: Well, we learn a little bit more about the other three champions through hearing more about their wands, but we do get confirmation that Fleur is part Veela. Her wand core is a single Veela hair, and in fact, it is one of her grandmother’s hairs. So that, I thought, was just an interesting piece of color to put in the story, because I don’t think we ever see anybody else in this series with human hair – or I don’t want to say Veelas aren’t human, but to say humanoid hair – in their wand core, do we? She’s the only one.

Micah: Believe so.

Pam: I’m mostly just curious about how that happens. Do they just custom make a wand?

Laura: I guess so.

Pam: I mean, in their case, then, the wand does not choose them. Right?

Andrew: Oh.

Laura: Yeah. And Ollivander does say that Veela hair as a wand core can make a wand very temperamental, which I think is intended to be a reflection on Fleur’s character, fair or unfair. I mean, we’ve also established that there’s definitely some xenophobia in the characterizations of French characters and Eastern European characters happening in this book. So we also get a little bit of a foreshadowing alert.

[Foreshadowing sound effect plays]

Micah: Pam, do you like it’s like an ice cream truck and then a cuckoo clock?

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: It’s like something you would hear in a Simpsons video game.

Pam: Sounded like I was in Disneyland.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Laura: So we get another info dump; I know we’ve been chatting about these as they’ve come up. We got a really detailed description of the night Harry’s parents died and the order in which they died, which becomes really important later on. But we also get an info re-dump reminding us of the relationship between Harry and Voldemort’s wands. Harry thinks that he’s “very fond of his wand, and as far as he was concerned, its relation to Voldemort’s wand was something it couldn’t help,”, just like him. He just doesn’t know that he’s making the connection. He’s connecting the threads and he doesn’t even know it.

Micah: Yeah, I would have never remembered this moment either. But certainly now, reading the chapter again, knowing what’s coming at the end of this book, it’s super important that this is brought up here.

Andrew: Definitely. And it is stated here that Ollivander “spent much longer examining Harry’s wand than anyone else’s,” and I was wondering if maybe this is concern from him or Dumbledore. Remember, I mentioned a few minutes ago that Dumbledore and Ollivander were talking privately. Maybe this is concern from one of them that someone is rigging Harry’s wand in light of what happened with the Goblet, and other concerns, other hijinks that have been afoot around the wizarding world. Or maybe Ollivander is simply just thinking back to his meeting with Harry in Diagon Alley.

Micah: The other thing, too, is Ollivander goes into much more detail on the other three wands, whereas with Harry’s, I’m curious if Dumbledore gave him instructions not to talk loudly about the history of the wand and what’s at its core, because even Harry notes that that would be a story in and of itself. And if you have Rita in the room, and she decides, “Oh, I’m going to run with this story, Harry and Voldemort’s wands share the same core,” can you imagine? That would have been front page news.

Andrew: Yeah. “Is Harry the new Voldemort?”

Micah: Right.

Pam: They might have also just thought that of course this is why Dumbledore is letting Harry compete, because doesn’t the phoenix feather come from Fawkes, right? Who’s owned by Dumbledore, so there’s another connection there.

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Pam: And so I don’t know; maybe he’s just trying to cut Harry some slack.

Micah: That would be another juicy nugget.

Laura: Oh, yeah. That would be another reason for Karkaroff and Madame Maxime to call this whole thing as rigged. Like, “Hogwarts gets two champions, one of the two champions has a wand core that actually came from Dumbledore’s own phoenix… it’s rigged.”

Pam: He’s been planning this for 14 years. [laughs] However old Harry is in Goblet of Fire.

Laura: Yeah. [laughs] Stop the count. Yeah, and the chapter ultimately ends with Harry receiving a reply from Sirius, so we’ll pick up next chapter and see what the results of that communication are going to be.

Andrew: All right, we have some Odds and Ends, including a little more on the Quick Quotes Quill, but first, we’re going to take a quick break, and we’ll be right back.

[Ad break]

Odds & Ends

Laura: All right, so I have a question: How does the Quick Quotes Quill work? And I don’t know how to ask this without it sounding suggestive, so I apologize…

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: … but it is noted that every time Rita uses this thing, she has to suck on the tip of the quill before she can use it. And I don’t get it.

Andrew: It is a gross visual. It reminds me of someone dipping a quill in ink; maybe that’s what Rowling was going for here. It’s like what she has to do to activate it, and I’m also wondering if it becomes loyal to whoever sucks it? [makes a disgusted sound]

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: It’s just gross.

Micah: No, I think there’s something to that. It’s almost like it’s taking a part of her into the quill so that it… to your point, it’s a loyalty factor, right? It’s going to then write on her behalf what’s inside of her mind.

Andrew: Yeah, inside of her mind and favorably towards Rita. Case in point, the quill’s reporting calls Rita an attractive blonde. [laughs]

Pam: Well, maybe that’s how she perceives herself, right?

Andrew: Right.

Pam: So to Micah’s point, that’s what I was thinking, too, is that maybe it pulls her own train of thought. Because then if not, it’s basically like the equivalent of AI writing your article for you.

Laura: Oh, she would totally use ChatGPT.

[Andrew laughs]

Pam: Yeah, probably. [laughs] But that would make sense to me.

Laura: Yeah, that makes sense. I feel a little bit better about this now. When it was mentioned twice in the same chapter, I was like, “This makes me uncomfortable,” especially with the broom cupboard and… bleh.

Micah: Well, when you’re relying on me to keep it clean, you know there’s a problem.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Well, yeah, that’s true. And that was the other thing, Micah; I was like, “Not to be too delicate about it, but I don’t know how to ask this question without it turning into a gutter conversation,” so I appreciate everyone for being adults about this. [laughs]

Andrew: I was tempted to try and replicate the sound, what that must sound like when she’s sucking the quill…

[Pam laughs]

Laura: Noo!

Andrew: But yeah, the people who hate ASMR would never listen to the show again, I think.

Micah: Well, I can take it into a slightly more… not dirty, but a more mature direction here with Fleur and Cedric, because it seems like there’s some flirting going on here. And I don’t know if it’s just gamesmanship on the part of Fleur to try and use her looks to maybe falsely lure Cedric into… I don’t know what she’s trying to lure him into, but use your mind.

Andrew: Maybe focusing less on the tournament.

Micah: Less focus, yeah.

Laura: Or maybe she just likes him.

Pam: Yeah, he is described as handsome.

Micah: Yeah, they’re both attractive, so yeah.

Andrew: Who doesn’t love Edward Cullen?

Laura: [laughs] Doesn’t she try to turn on her charm to get him to ask her to the Yule Ball later on in the story?

Pam: Oh, does she? Interesting.

Laura: Yeah, and I think she hits Ron with it, and then, remember, Ron then has his meltdown?

[Pam laughs]

Laura: Because he asks her.

Micah: Ohh.

Laura: So maybe that’s what she’s doing here. But honestly, I couldn’t really pick up any vibes from Cedric. I don’t know if he was picking up on it, if it was one-sided. Did anyone else have any feelings there?

Pam: Hard to tell, because he’s a Hufflepuff. He’s probably just nice to everyone.

Andrew: Aww.

Laura: And he is. Well, we also get a Gregorovitch mention. Gregorovitch is of course the wandmaker who made Viktor Krum’s wand, and this is a really important name when we get into the last book of this series, so stay tuned for that. And who had this Hogwarts Legacy nod?

Micah: So probably the most important thing that happens in the entire chapter…

[Laura laughs]

Micah: … when Harry and Hermione are going for their morning stroll, Harry tosses toast into the Black Lake and the giant squid chows down on it. And I thought that Hogwarts Legacy did a really nice job with this, because I didn’t choose Slytherin, but I believe it’s a Slytherin-specific task. Is that true?

Andrew: Maybe?

Laura: I didn’t get to do this.

Micah: I didn’t either. Or were you Slytherin, Laura?

Laura: No, I was Ravenclaw.

Micah: I was Ravenclaw. I think it’s only a Slytherin task.

Andrew: I was Slytherin. I guess that’s sort of ringing a bell. My clearest memory of the giant squid was when you’re doing the broom training, I guess it is, and you see the squid tentacles pop up, but…

Micah: Yeah, that you do see, but I think you have to leave toast for the giant squid.

Andrew: We’re getting yeses from people. Yeah. That’s fun. Did I do that? I guess I did.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Laura: Man, Ravenclaw didn’t get any cool House-specific challenges.

Micah: What did we get? Something in the Owlery, or…?

Laura: Yeah, it was just the Jackdaw mission.

Micah: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Laura: And they changed that mission slightly for each House. But when it came to little nods like this one, we didn’t get any of that, and I’m mad. [laughs]

Micah: No. I mean, Eric got to go to Azkaban with Hufflepuff.

Andrew: I watched that on YouTube. I was so curious.

Laura: Was it worth it? Should I replay as a Hufflepuff so I can experience it, or…?

Andrew: Eh, it’s okay. It wasn’t as detailed as you might think.

Micah: Don’t make yourself a Hufflepuff.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: I’ve been actually wanting to replay the game. I kind of miss it. Just replay from the start, but maybe a different House.

Laura and Micah: Me too.

MVP of the Week

Andrew: All right, well, that does it for the chapter, and now it’s time for MVP of the Week.

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: I’m going to give it to Dumbledore for stepping into the Rita interview and being honest about how terrible her profile on him was in a previous piece. He says that piece was “enchantingly nasty… I particularly enjoyed your description of me as an obsolete dingbat.” [laughs]

Laura: These are the best Dumbledore moments, when he gets to be so charming, but also…

Andrew: Savage?

[Pam laughs]

Laura: … call somebody out, yeah. I’m going to give it to Krum, mainly because I see a lot of myself in him in the way he’s characterized as being surly, not wanting to be there, because frequently when I find myself at any kind of function like the one that they’re in this chapter, I don’t want to be there, so I identified with this, so Krum all the way.

Micah: I’m going to give it to Ollivander for his field work, and this is when he’s talking about Cedric’s wand. He mentions that he had to pluck a hair from the tail of a male unicorn, and he lived to tell the tale.

Laura: Good job.

Pam: And I’m going to give it to Hermione for being a good friend and also dealing with stupid boys, because that must have been really exhausting.

Laura: She’s not an owl.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

[MVP of the Week music ends]

Micah: I’m wondering, now that I just said that, can we connect the threads between Cedric having a unicorn tail core of his wand and the unicorn that was killed in Sorcerer’s Stone?

Andrew: Oh, wow.

Laura: Aw, yeah, because they’re so pure.

Andrew: Yeah, we can connect that. Stitch that up.

Micah: We need a connecting the threads sound effect.

[Pam laughs]

Laura: We don’t have one. It needs to be like, a stringed instrument.

Pam: Like a little harp.

Andrew: Just somebody knitting.

[Laura and Pam laugh]

Andrew: Listeners, if you have any feedback about today’s discussion, you can contact us by emailing or sending a voice memo recorded on your phone to, or you can contact us by using our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. Next week, we’ll have Chapter 19, “The Hungarian Horntail,” and then after that will be our Muggle Mail episode, Episode 650. Another landmark episode will be a mailbag episode. And we have a couple of guests we’re hoping to bring on in the next couple weeks as well, so stay tuned for some additional appearances.


Andrew: Now it’s time for Quizzitch!

[Quizzitch music plays]

Micah: Last week’s Quizzitch question: Rita Skeeter’s Quick Quotes Quill first describes her by using which adjective? And I think we mentioned this earlier; the correct answer is attractive. Andrew, would you like to do the honors for the first of last week’s winners?

Andrew: Yes, and the note here says “Must be read in Andrew’s Dumbledore impressionist voice.” And this winner was “Welcome, everyone, to the Die-Wizard Tournament!”

[Micah and Pam laugh]

Micah: How do I follow that? The rest of the winners included Insert attractive blonde joke here; Colonel Fubster; Call Me Neville; Elizabeth K.; Attractive brunette; Buff Daddy; Drarryfan1; Harry’s fourth year head lice; Jenn Penn; Katie from Hufflepuff; LC; MegaNerd Sarah; One of the ghosts of Harry’s past that caused his eyes to glisten…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: … Professional Skrewt Walker… yeah, we didn’t talk about that in this chapter, but they do take the Blast-Ended Skrewts for a walk. Rita Rifle Skeeter; Robbie; Sir Kngofkngs; Snape’s best memory; That one scene of Voldemort’s foot caressing Cedric’s face…

[Laura and Pam laugh]

Micah: … The spiders in the broom cupboard embarrassed for Harry as they eavesdrop on the interview; and TofuTomTV. Next week’s Quizzitch question: This is a geography question, in no way shape or form really related to Harry Potter. In honor of next week’s “Hungarian Horntail” chapter, what is the capital of Hungary? And you can submit your answers by going to

Andrew: Pam, thanks for joining us. We can hear you with Laura and myself on Millennial every Wednesday. Anything else you want to plug?

Pam: I don’t think so. Come hang out with us on Millennial if you’re okay with listening to an explicit podcast – not for the kids – but we have a good time over there.

Andrew: We talk about politics, pop culture, the Millennial lifestyle, and yeah, it was great having you on today.

Pam: Yeah, thanks for having me. It’s always a good time.

Laura: And if you want to hang out with Pam again, she will be back a little bit later this month. Myself, Pam, ChloĆ©, and Meg are going to come together again to do another installment of Girls’ Takeover MuggleCast in honor of Women’s History Month, so keep an eye on our social channels for scheduling around that. It’s going to be super fun. We had a lot of fun last time and we got a lot of really great feedback, so we wanted to do it again.

Andrew: Couple other reminders, 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. Also, we have our overstock store; we’ve got goods from MuggleCast and Millennial at You can get the Comfy Cozy Combo Pack, which are our beanie and socks at one reduced price. We have signed album art, we have adulting planners, we have wooden cars inspired by MuggleCast’s 16th birthday, we’ve got T-shirts, and more. Check it all out at And last but not least, this show is brought to you by Muggles like you; we don’t have any fancy corporate or network funding. We aren’t celebrities; we’re just proudly independent podcasters, so you can help us out. If you’re an Apple Podcasts user, you can tap into the show and then you can subscribe to MuggleCast Gold, which gets you ad-free early access to MuggleCast, plus two bonus MuggleCast installments every month, including the one that we’re recording shortly after this episode. And then there’s also, and you’ll get all the benefits of MuggleCast Gold, plus livestreams, our planning docs, the chance to co-host the show one day, a new physical gift every year, the MuggleCast Collector’s Club, a video message from one of the four of us… so many benefits at So that does it for this week’s episode. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Pam: And I’m Pamela.

Andrew: Bye, everybody.

Laura, Micah, and Pam: Bye.