Transcript #650


MuggleCast 650 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #650, How The Royal Family Influenced Rita Skeeter, and more MuggleMail

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

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

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: And I’m Micah.

Andrew: This week we bust open the Muggle Mailbag and listen to your voicemails on all things Goblet of Fire. It’s been a while since we’ve opened up the mailbag, and it was getting quite full. We were looking like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, am I right? [laughs]

Micah: Oh, you’re right. Laura couldn’t handle it; she said, “No mail. The bag is too big. I can’t handle it.”

Andrew: No, Laura decided to follow the advice of Miriam Margolyes and no longer be a Harry Potter fan, so she’s not here this week.

Eric: Ohh!

Micah: [laughs] Oh, is that what it is?

Andrew: That’s what it is, yeah.

Eric: That was the final straw. It convinced Laura. She was like, “Yeah, she’s right.”

Andrew: She was like, “Yeah, she’s got a point.” No, Laura was planning on being here, and at the last minute she had something come up and she couldn’t make it, unfortunately. She’s okay, but it was something she couldn’t get out of, so unfortunately, she’s not here. However, some good news is that a new all girls MuggleCast is taping next week, so there will be a guyless episode in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned for that. [laughs]

Micah: So what you’re really saying is we strategically planned it so it was just the three of us this week, so that the girls could have it next week?

Andrew: No, no, I’m not saying that.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Laura was planning on being on until 30 minutes ago. [laughs]

Micah: No, I know, I know. Yes. You’re supposed to go along with it, Andrew. You’re supposed to go along with it.

Andrew: Yeah, well… 650 episodes, though; it’s another milestone for us this week. That’s exciting.

Eric: Oh, wow. At this point, they’re ticking by… every couple of weeks, it’s a new 50 episodes, it seems like. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, it’s flying by. I can’t wait for Episode 700 now, in another year or so.

Eric: Well, 700 is going to be very special.

Micah: We’ll get David Heyman back. He’s not doing anything.

Eric: Yeah! We’ll see if he’s any better at Dueling Club. Wait, he already actually won. We’ll see if you’ve improved at Dueling Club, Micah.

Micah: I mean, we could literally say to him, “David, it’s been 500 episodes since you’ve been on.”

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: Which is wild.

Andrew: Episode 700 in our 20th year; that’s pretty nice timing.

Micah: Yeah, that is pretty magical.

Eric: It is wild to think that we’ve been doing this show for 19 years. 19 entire years. I know that’s a big thing; we’ll be making a thing of it throughout the year, since it’s the distance between the epilogue and Harry’s seventh year at Hogwarts, but that said…

Micah: Well, to your point, though, Andrew, I don’t know if there’s… there may be somebody out there who doesn’t like the fact that we’re still podcasting after all these years, [laughs] and she’s part of the Harry Potter cast.

Andrew: Oh, Miriam Margolyes! Oh, we should get a Cameo from her and see what she does.

Eric: Let’s not and say that we did.

Andrew: No?

Eric: Let’s get another one from Dan Fogler.

Micah: He was great.

Andrew: Okay, so let’s get to the story. This made a lot of headlines, and some people I think were feeling a little hurt over the last week. Miriam Margolyes, who plays Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter movies, she said in an interview that Harry Potter fans who are adults now need to grow up.

[Audio clip plays]

Harry Potter… I worry about Harry Potter fans, because they should be over that by now. I mean, it was 25 years ago, and it’s for children. I think it’s for children, but they get stuck in it. And I do Cameos and people say, ‘Oh, we’re having a Harry Potter-themed wedding,’ and I think, ‘Gosh, what’s their first night of fun going to be?'”

[Andrew laughs]

[Audio clip continues]

“I can’t even think about it, no. Harry Potter is wonderful; I’m very grateful to it. It’s over.”

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: This woman is very hard to get mad at, first. Can I start by saying that?

Andrew: She’s a delight.

Micah: She is. She’s very entertaining across the board. Anything you watch her in, she is highly entertaining, and I wonder if that’s what this is.

Andrew: I saw another interview after this one and she kind of doubled down; she did emphasize that this is her opinion. Look, it’s a fact of our Harry Potter lives that a lot of people see Harry Potter as for children. Most of these people have not read the books, maybe a lot of them have not seen the movies, but some people just perceive Harry Potter as being for kids. It’s unfortunate, because we all know – everybody listening knows – it’s not just for kids. It’s an incredible story. What I really take issue with is, does she realize that adults also watch Disney movies? Watch Bluey, which is a children’s television show that adults love? There are lots of things “made for kids” that adults love too.

Eric: I think, too, that her perspective… we have to understand for her, it’s okay if it was just a job or it was just 25 years ago. She did say in that short clip that she’s grateful to Harry Potter; it obviously was the first time I’d seen her in anything, brought her to my attention. She’s given it its due as far as what it did for her career, but she was already in her 60s when Chamber of Secrets came out. And so to an adult, to a middle-aged to senior adult who had the Harry Potter phenomenon through that lens, I can understand them thinking it should be over by now, because they don’t necessarily understand it the same way that we do. And I was texting Micah earlier in the week, but Miriam Margolyes actually did a one-woman show based on the works of Charles Dickens called “Dickens Women”; she started that in 1989, and it reprised in 2007/2008. And so it’s okay if Charles Dickens is her author, if she thinks that his books are going to live forever, etc., etc., but it’s also okay if we don’t think that that’s it for us and if we take these books instead.

Micah: Yeah, I watched a show she was in called Impossibly Australian, and she does all these little trips, and she’s literally driving an RV, which that in and of itself is worth the watch, I think.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah, where can I see this? I’m going to pay for the subscription right now.

Micah: I think I watched it on Netflix. I don’t know if it’s still on there. You could probably look it up; see what streaming service it’s on. And you interviewed her, didn’t you, Eric, for MuggleNet?

Eric: It was actually for “Dickens Women,” yeah, when it came to Chicago. I met her, and she’s very much… so the full clip that’s on YouTube is a four-minute segment that includes this clip. She talks about how she has been viewed as kind of this provocateur or sassy lady; she’s kind of just being herself. But a lot of people didn’t know that about her until she started doing interviews with people like Graham Norton, who are going to get the funny bits out of you and stuff, so you don’t… now, on Cameo, I think what really made headlines recently is that guy who paid her to roast him, the Harry Potter fan who paid various actors…

Micah: Which she’s very good at, by the way.

Eric: Well, yeah, and she’s incredible at it, so I think that’s what this is. I think a lot of it is jest. It’s okay to say, “I worry about Harry Potter fans.” Like, I worry about global warming; it’s just one of those things.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: What are we going to do about global warming?

Micah: And somebody brought this up – and I apologize if it was one of you or it was somebody who’s a member of our Slug Club – but they said, “Clearly she’s still good to do Cameos. For as much as she thinks that it’s over, she’s still making money off of these fans.”

Andrew: The Harry Potter fans, yeah. We’re getting some good comments in our Discord: LC said, “Why put an expiration date on something you love?” Lydia57 said, “HBO Max isn’t spending $250 million for a show for kids.” And Liza said, “She doesn’t realize that many of us are over here needing to do inner child work because all the adults in her generation failed us.” [laughs]

Micah: Wow.

Eric: That is the biggest clapback of all time. This is the next Miriam Margolyes here who said that.

Micah: And somebody also brought up the fact that she has never read the books. Isn’t that true?

Andrew: I think so.

Eric: As far as we know, yeah.

Micah: I think that’s a huge point to bring up here, because if we’re just talking about the movies, yeah, I can understand where she’s coming from. But so many people grew up reading Harry Potter that it has become such a foundational piece of their childhood, so the fact that she is calling that out here… in terms of how I react to it, honestly, it doesn’t really bother me. I don’t know; maybe it’s because of who she is and the fact that I’ve seen her in other things, and I’ve seen her talk in public. This statement from her just doesn’t rattle me the same way it seems to have rattled other people.

Andrew: It bothers me because it reinforces other people’s views that adults our age should grow out of Harry Potter. That’s the only reason it really bugs me.

Eric: Or Disney, or Star Wars, or…

Andrew: Yeah, anything. I mean, look, listeners, enjoy what you want. We all need an escape. We all need things to help us clear our heads. And to paraphrase one of our friends from Fantasy Fangirls, she said on Millennial a couple of weeks ago, “We always have to use our brains for hard things. How about being able to use our brains for just fun things?” And that’s what Harry Potter and fantasy novels allow us to do, so let us enjoy it.

Micah: Look, as somebody who is immersed in sports, you could easily make the same argument, right? You play sports as a kid growing up; you play soccer, you play basketball, you play baseball, you play football… it’s like, “Well, why don’t you grow out of that? Why are you watching that when you’re in your 20s, in your 30s? It’s a bunch of nonsense.”

Eric: Do you have an answer to that? Because I actually want to know.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Watching sports is fun…

Micah: It is.

Andrew: … but when I watch the NFL games on Sundays, I see people dressed up in Vikings gear or full-body makeup…

Eric: That’s their cosplay.

Andrew: That’s their cosplay! They’re so into it. They think they’re hypermasculine, but they’re not any different than somebody wearing a cloak to a Harry Potter conference. It’s the same thing.

Eric: I just think it is crucial – and this has been a fun discussion – but it is crucial that we do not take ourselves too seriously as adults in anything.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Yes.

Eric: I can listen to this clip; I can have a laugh. It’s a little bit important that we look at ourselves and go, “Haha.” It has been a while we’ve been doing this show, for 19/20 years. Did I ever think we’d grow out of it? So we’re kids at heart.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, again, we here at MuggleCast support your love for Harry Potter, and that’s one reason the show has been a success. For a lot of people, we feel like their Harry Potter friends, and we’re happy to be there for you. Well, Micah, you’re planning a new bonus MuggleCast for patrons and Apple Podcasts subscribers this week, right?

Micah: Yeah, so we’re going to be talking about the three individuals who are on the shortlist to produce the new Harry Potter TV series, and our thoughts on the release date for this new Harry Potter TV show. It was announced – was it maybe two weeks ago? – that the new show will be out in 2026. Andrew and I did a quick Instagram Live to talk about it, but definitely want to get Eric’s thoughts on this as well, and then talk about the three people who are on this shortlist. Do we know anything about them? How do we feel? So we’re going to be doing that in bonus MuggleCast, and I think we can expect probably a lot of our bonus MuggleCast segments as we get closer and closer to the release date of the TV show to be focused on that.

Andrew: Yeah, agreed. And the three names you mentioned are three people who are in the running to write the Harry Potter television series, so this is a really big deal. And listeners, what else have you missed in bonus MuggleCast? Well, our analysis of an incredible inside look at the relationship between J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros., in which we learned bombshells like other Harry Potter spinoffs that have been in the works. We also had a discussion about a Harry Potter fanfiction that is getting turned into a new book. And we have two bonus MuggleCast installments every month; we’re doing a lot of fun stuff over there, so definitely check out Or again, through the paid Apple Podcasts subscription you can now get bonus MuggleCast installments.

Micah: I will say that the one bonus MuggleCast that we did on the relationship between J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. is almost like another episode with how long…

Andrew: It was like, 45 minutes. [laughs]

Micah: It was very long, but I think a lot of really great conversation. And I know I always say this, but as it relates to Apple Podcasts, I do feel like it is a really good deal. As somebody who listens to a lot of other podcasts, paying… $4.99 a month?

Andrew: That’s right.

Micah: … for all of our episodes, bonus MuggleCast, ad-free, early access… I look at it as you go to your local coffee shop, you pay for a coffee. You go out to a bar, get a drink with friends. Both of those things likely are going to cost you more than $4.99. Put one of those aside for the entire month and you get really great content as a result of it.

Andrew: A cameo from Miriam Margolyes is $170. That’s 34 months of bonus MuggleCast on Patreon.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: How much for Dan Fogler?

Andrew: [laughs] I think he’s cheaper.

Micah: I don’t want to know what you paid for my birthday gift.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh, no, no, it has nothing to do with that.

Micah: He did it for free, right?

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: He did that one for free. We actually asked for a refund; he was obviously high when he did yours, so we got a refund on that, actually.

Micah: [laughs] He was super high.

Andrew: [laughs] But no, you bring up a good point, Micah, and listeners are supporting an independent podcast.

Micah: Well, I say that because I want listeners to feel like we’re offering them quality, right? For what they’re paying for.

Muggle Mail: Voicemails

Andrew: Okay, well, it’s time for Muggle Mail now, and we’re going to start with voicemails. We love, love, love when listeners send in feedback. So let’s start with this voicemail from Bekah, and she discusses Gringotts being a security nightmare?

[Voicemail plays]

“Hey, MuggleCast, I have a funny thing I always think about in Goblet of Fire about Molly purchasing Harry’s dress robes. I work at a bank. When someone comes to withdraw funds from their account, we need to see their driver’s license, so I always wonder how the hell Molly Weasley was able to get gold from Harry Potter’s vault? She’s not a legal guardian. She doesn’t have any power of attorney paperwork. She’s just this friend’s mom, coming and getting gold from his vault. Makes no sense. But I guess maybe Gringotts is different? I don’t know. They seem pretty strict, but I guess they’re not because Molly can just get Harry’s gold. Thoughts? Because I don’t get it. Thanks, MuggleCast. Bye.”

[Voicemail ends]

Andrew: [laughs] Could Molly be an authorized user? Like how you can add somebody to a credit card or bank account?

Eric: If she was, Harry would be like, “Please take it all.” [laughs] It is wonky with Gringotts, to agree with Bekah here. And in fact, Sirius Black, a convicted felon, is able to mail-order request his money be removed from his vault somehow without tipping anybody off that Sirius Black is removing money from his vault in order to buy Harry the Firebolt. The whole system of money withdrawals from somebody else, from convicted felon… all of that is just very wonky in the Harry Potter books.

Micah: Yeah, there’s a really great comment in the Discord from Paxton Jamison, who says, “The goblins were scared of receiving one of her Howlers, so that must have kept them in check.”

Andrew: That’ll do it.

Micah: I do like the analysis. I think it’s one of those things you don’t necessarily pay any attention to while you’re reading the series; you just assume, “Okay, Harry is staying with the Weasleys; Molly is going to go take care of everything.” But to your point, Eric, if she can take out for Harry’s robes, I mean, she could take out whatever she wants. [laughs]

Eric: The thing is, it is funny because Bekah says she works at a bank. You do need a driver’s license, or you should have one to withdraw someone’s money, but you know what? Did you know you don’t need any identification to deposit money into somebody’s account? If you have the account number, you can just give them the money and say, “Here,” and they’ll take it.

Andrew: Oh, so I should share my account number on the podcast right now and see if anybody…

[Micah laughs]

Eric: And people will just… you’ll probably get hacked, actually.

Andrew: Maybe I should just share my Venmo; that’ll probably be safer. All right, this next voicemail comes from Brenna, and she has a pretty significant theory about portraits and Horcruxes.

[Voicemail plays]

“Hey, MuggleCast, my name is Brenna. I’m a proud Hufflepuff from Ohio, my Patronus is a weasel, and my favorite book of this series is Goblet of Fire. So I have a theory I’d like to put out to y’all, and I don’t know if it’s one that’s ever been discussed on the podcast before, so let me know what you think and if you feel that my theory is worthy of being declared canon. So my theory surrounds portraits, Horcruxes, and why Dumbledore was able to recognize Riddle’s diary as a Horcrux when others were unable to do so. So my theory is that portraits are not that dissimilar from Horcruxes, the key difference being that Horcruxes are created to contain a living piece of the soul and therefore require use of Dark magic because you have to kill a person to rip apart your own soul, whereas a portrait, it uses magic to create a tether to the portrait, creates a resting place for the soul to remain after a person passes so that person can still continue to contribute to the wizarding world, which… [baby noises in background] sorry, that’s my son, Isaac, my future little Hufflepuff. So my theory is that the portraits, being similar to Horcruxes in that they are a resting place for the soul after a person passes away, this is a way for important wizards and witches in the wizarding world to still contribute to everyday life even after their death, because if you note, the portraits in Dumbledore’s office are of significant people; they’re of past headmasters, headmistresses, and past leaders, significant people in history whom you would want to speak to and problem-solve. If you had something going on in your role as headmaster that you would want assistance with, who better to speak to and get opinions from than past headmasters and headmistresses? So my theory is that the portraits are regulated and monitored by the Ministry, and only certain people who are deemed either significant enough to the wizarding world, or those who are only rich enough – like the Malfoys, the Blacks, the Lestranges – to grease the palms of the Ministry get to have a portrait commissioned of them. So being Dumbledore, and all that he has done for the wizarding world, he’s already had his portrait commissioned. And since he’s already experienced that kind of magic of having his own soul tethered to his portrait, he was able to recognize the diary for what it was: the remnants of a vessel that once held a soul. But he knew that it was different, because obviously, it used Dark magic, and he could feel the difference between the magic used to create the vessel of resting place for his soul in his own portrait, versus the vessel that was created of the diary to store a living piece of the soul. So that’s my theory: portraits and Horcruxes, really not that dissimilar, and that’s why Dumbledore was able to recognize it for what it was. So let me know what you think. I really appreciate you guys and all that you do with the podcast; it has been a tremendous help for me and going through my postpartum, so I appreciate all that you guys do. I listen to you daily. Thanks, MuggleCast.”

[Voicemail ends]

Andrew: Daily!

Eric: Wow.

Andrew: Thank you, Brenna, that was really sweet. We don’t really get much of an explanation about the diary other than that he heard… he didn’t know about the diary prior to the events of Chamber of Secrets, the book, so he starts hearing about it through Harry and Ginny and I think he assumes it aligns with Tom Riddle, so he puts the pieces together that way. But no, I think this is a cool theory and a good alternative. It’s almost like you have two life paths you can choose from: I can aspire to split up my soul into multiple Horcruxes, or I can aspire to be portrait-worthy because I’m so good.

Eric: Yeah, I mean, other people that interacted with Tom Riddle’s diary when it had the part of his soul in it, though, like Lucius Malfoy, also would have interacted with portraits, surely, quite a bit. And Lucius didn’t seem to, that we know of, make any connection as to what the diary really was. And it’s interesting because I would actually argue that probably portraits don’t have anything to do with someone’s soul? It is interesting, though, that Hogwarts headmasters, for instance, they have to die before their painting is created. That does make it seem like the soul is transferring from their body to the portrait, but even photographs in the Daily Prophet of Harry, for instance, have his personality. They have some remnants and similarities to his personality; they move, but he hasn’t necessarily lost his soul at all during that process.

Micah: I think the one point that she was trying to make, though, is that the difference being… if you were to look at a Dumbledore versus a Lucius in their handling of the diary, that Dumbledore had already commissioned for his portrait to be created, so he was already in a way aware of that type of magic that exists. And in this case, with a portrait, it’s more of a positive attachment, whereas in the case of a Horcrux, it’s obviously a negative attachment. I think it’s a interesting way to look at these two things. But the one thing I will say, though, is I don’t know that with a portrait that a portion of the soul necessarily is in that portrait. In the Horcrux, a portion of the soul lives within the Horcrux and can bring you back to life, right? So I don’t know; it’s very…

Andrew: But then what is in the portrait? I mean, it does capture your essence…

Micah: It does. That’s fair.

Andrew: … so a part of the soul could make sense.

Eric: See, and to that extent, I always assumed conversations with past headmasters would be unfulfilling. There’s that moment in Cursed Child where Harry has this meaningful moment with Dumbledore’s portrait; I’m like, “That would never happen because it’s only surface-level Dumbledore.” Any portrait is a poor recreation of the real thing. I think that might be a quote from somewhere too.

Micah: It’s only the information that that person has imparted upon the portrait, right? And clearly they can do other things. Certain portraits can run within frames; we see that happen.

Andrew: Watch out for enemies.

Micah: Yeah, but I think Dumbledore’s portrait only knew in so much as he was willing to provide Harry with, right? Because at the end of Half-Blood Prince, the portrait is asleep, right? The portrait doesn’t even interact with Harry at all; it’s not till Deathly Hallows that we see that happen. So I don’t know. But I do think it’s an interesting thing to think about.

Andrew: I like it. I like the parallels that Brenna was drawing. All right, this next voicemail comes from Catie, about Rita Skeeter.

[Voicemail plays]

“Hi, this is Catie from San Diego, and I just wanted to comment on Episode 648, the interview with Rita Skeeter in the broom closet. Y’all already touched on the fact that this was not appropriate at all, but I also wanted to highlight the fact that even though Harry is a champion, he was still an underage wizard, so there should have been a chaperone of some sort with him in that interview in the broom closet, whether it was McGonagall or Dumbledore who was taking charge of him in that moment. One of them should have been there; it should not have been up to the Dursleys, because when you’re at a school, the people at the school take charge of you and your safety while you’re there, which also brings up an entire argument about the Hogsmeade situation. However, in this sense, where it was with an interviewer, it should have been a situation where someone was with Harry in that moment, and I think the fact that he was by himself and able to be pulled into there just shows how dirty Rita Skeeter was as an author and as a journalist, and how kind of sleazy she was, and also just how the ball was dropped in terms of keeping Harry safe after his name was pulled out of the Goblet of Fire. I mean, he was not really safe through the rest of the tournament, but I think in this sense, his mental health and wellbeing was really put at risk, and it just really shows how nasty Rita Skeeter was to approach a minor in that sense. I also just wanted to say, loved Pam on the episode. Thank you guys so much for what you do, and have a great day.”

[Voicemail ends]

Andrew: Thanks, Catie, and we’ll pass along the nice words to Pam. Harry needed a publicist with him during that interview!

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: McGonagall or Albus could have played publicist; I think that would have solved a lot of issues. And like I said on that episode, by not having anybody else in that room, in that space – calling it a room is generous – Rita could report anything she wanted and then it’s her word against Harry’s. All right, this next voicemail is from Katie about the three tasks.

[Voicemail plays]

“Hey, MuggleCast. It’s Katie from California. I just wanted to have a comment about the most recent episode for Chapter by Chapter. I think the predictions that Harry and Ron make during their Divination homework is what Harry does in the three tasks of the Triwizard Tournament. The first one he makes is get some burns; he gets some burns in the dragon task. The second one is he loses a possession; in the second task, he loses a possession that he must find. And in the third one, he comes off worse in a fight; Voldemort comes back in the third task, and Harry loses that battle but gets home back to Hogwarts safely.”

[Voicemail ends]

Andrew: That’s really cool.

Eric: That’s awesome.

Micah: I know we did some analysis of that homework, right, of those predictions when we were reading through, but I don’t think we connected the threads fully the way that Katie did here, and it’s really cool the way she did it.

Eric: That is.

Andrew: Yeah. All right, next one comes from Maddie about Viktor Krum.

[Voicemail plays]

“Hi, my name is Maddie from Idaho, USA. Okay, I’ve always wondered this about Viktor Krum. He’s supposed to be 17, right? Because that’s how old you’re going to be in the Goblet of Fire to do that thing, and he is this professional Quidditch player. So I wonder two things: one, is he a little young to be a professional Quidditch player? Does that not matter in the wizarding world, how old he is, if he hasn’t finished school yet? And then two, if he is and they’re like, “Oh, yeah, he can be 17 and be a professional Quidditch player,” then why is he still going to school? What does he need to learn? If that’s his career, could he homeschool or do some other kind of… get a personal trainer to teach him the magic he still needs? Why does he still have to go to school at a boarding…? All these wizarding schools are boarding schools; why does he have to go away for so long to school? Shouldn’t he be training for Quidditch, if that’s the thing? I don’t know. I don’t get how he is in both of those things. How is he essentially a high school student, but also a professional Quidditch player, and they haven’t made him pick one or another or given him a way to do both while training for Quidditch all year long? Anyway, that has always confused me, so I hope you guys touch on it. Thanks, bye.”

[Voicemail ends]

Eric: Micah, it’s a sports question.

Micah: [laughs] So it’s mine, is that what you’re saying? I will say, I do think there’s something to be said for playing for your national team, and that’s what I saw this as, right? So we know Quidditch in the sense that there’s all these different teams throughout the UK; we hear about them throughout the course of the Harry Potter series, but presumably, there’s also… and it’s mentioned, I think, during one of the conversations at the Burrow; there’s actually a team for England, there’s a team for Ireland, there’s a team for Scotland, and so presumably, Viktor is good enough – even if he plays at Durmstrang – to play for the Bulgarian national Quidditch team regardless of how old he is, and that’s what I think this is an example of.

Andrew: I think he’s also an overachiever. Maybe it’s a little backup plan, like, “Oh, if Quidditch doesn’t work out, I can go and be an Auror,” or “If I’m not going to be an Auror, I can be a Quidditch player.” It it interesting that at 18/17 he is on a major Quidditch team and able to compete in the Cup.

Micah: But wouldn’t you equate that…? And I see Lydia doing it the Discord; you could compare that to the Olympics. That’s what the Quidditch World Cup essentially is, and you have athletes of all sorts of ages that compete in the Olympics, so…

Andrew: And he’s doing all kinds of training, you would think, for the Quidditch World Cup, and then he has to go and do the Triwizard Tournament?

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: You’re right.

Andrew: What a year for him.

Eric: It’s a big year for Viktor. Yeah, for sure. We do have on Ron’s authority that he is only just 18 or something, so he’s actually 18…

Andrew: [laughs] Or something.

Eric: Well, we know he’s at least 17 because you have to be – unless you’re Harry – to get into the Triwizard Tournament. But yeah, he’s said to be 18 in the Quidditch World Cup chapter. I just think that the reason he has to still go in school is because academics are important. How often do you hear athletes still have to cram for a test because if they fail it, they’re off the team? I feel like it’s very important to keep his education up.

Andrew: Maybe this is why Hermione had a crush on him. It was like, “Oh my gosh, he’s a Quidditch star and he still prioritizes his schoolwork? Dream man.”

Micah: What a dream.

Eric: Yes, smart people are sexy.

Andrew: Yes!

Micah: Speaking of sexy, let’s talk about Voldemort. [laughs]

Andrew: Okay, final voicemail from Nikki.

[Voicemail plays]

“Hi MuggleCast, this is Nikki. I was listening to your podcast about the Quidditch World Cup, and I had a thought: What do you think Voldemort would do if he encountered a Veela?”

[Voicemail ends]

Micah: Is this pre- or post-Bellatrix?

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: I think that Veela inspires lust, and I think Voldemort is capable of having that – not of having love, obviously; that’s his book-stated failing. So I think that a Veela would turn his head just as she would anybody else’s.

Andrew: But then he’d be like, [imitating Voldemort] “I need to resist! I must resist all this sexiness. I’ve got business to take care of.”

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Maybe?

Eric: It turns out your Voldemort impression is as good as your Dumbledore. We don’t hear it as often.

Andrew: [laughs] It’s just inspired by, [imitating Voldemort’s cries] “Nyeh! Avada Kedavra!”

Micah: Ralph Fiennes has nothing on you, let’s just say that.

Andrew: [laughs]Avada DeVeela!”

Micah: I just don’t think Veela would have any effect on Voldemort. Lust, love…

Andrew: He seems above it. [laughs]

Micah: Yeah, his focus is on other things.

Eric: Well, he seems, except the plot of Cursed Child tells us that he’s not above human connection.

Andrew: You’re right. You’re right. You’re right, but we’re not considering that canon, are we? [laughs]

Micah: Right. I’m not.

Eric: It really depends.

Micah: Well, thank you, Nikki.

Eric: Thank you.

Andrew: And thank you to everybody who calls in with voicemails. We love when y’all call in. If you want to, you can call our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE, or you can use the Voice Memo app on your phone. We do prefer the latter since it’s higher quality, and just please keep your message around 60 seconds long so we can fit in as many voicemails and emails as possible. So with that, we’ll move over to some emails, but first we’re going to take a quick break and check in on Voldemort. We’ll be right back.

[Ad break]

Muggle Mail: Emails

Micah: All right, so our first email comes from Old Lady Nerd…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: … and she’s talking about Rita Skeeter. She says,

“Ahoy, y’all! I’m surprised no one has mentioned that ‘skeeter’ is a slang term for a mosquito, a blood-sucking parasite. A very apt description of Rita, I think!”

Andrew: Blood-sucking. I’m also thinking about the sucking of the pen; maybe there’s something there, because we still don’t really know what’s going on there.

Eric: Ohh.

Micah: Now, in fairness, is “skeeter” British slang? Because I don’t think it’s really American slang, from what I can tell. At least not here the Northeast.

Eric: Well, I pictured, like, Louisiana. Like, “Ooh, a skeeter” kind of thing. It doesn’t need to be British, specifically, for it to work.

Micah: I think of Skeeter from Doug.

Andrew: I think of Skeeter from Nick Jr. Cousin Skeeter.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: All different Skeeters!

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: We’re connecting the threads.

Eric: Anyway, I think we got schooled by Old Lady Nerd. I think that’s fantastic. I think it has to be intentional.

Micah: It’s really good.

Andrew: Yeah, and we’ll keep that in mind as we continue reading. Thank you, Old Lady Nerd.

Eric: Next email comes from Peggy Ann, also about Rita Skeeter, this time her description.

“Ahoy, y’all! I’m hoping you can discuss the descriptors the author uses for female characters, specifically Rita Skeeter. You’ve previously discussed the way Fleur and Maxime have been described, but this time for my recent reread of Chapter 18 ‘The Weighing of the Wands,’ I was irked by the way Rita is described. I don’t know if it’s from looking at these books with a 2024 lens, or because of how horrific the author is to the trans community on a daily basis on Twitter.”

Eric: It’s that.

“Rita’s hands in this chapter are characterized as ‘large, mannish hands.’ Additionally, when you look at Jim Kay’s drawing of Rita, it is far from the image I had in my head even before seeing Miranda Richardson’s portrayal in 2005. Jim Kay’s representation of Rita is a woman who is, let’s say, not a looker. I don’t know if the author was just trying to portray Rita as an ugly woman or saying she’s more man than woman or what. As I mentioned, Kay’s drawing is definitely not what I had in mind when imagining the character. I love what Miranda Richardson, the costumers, and hair/makeup team brought to the character in the Goblet of Fire film and it is something along those lines to what I always imagined for Rita Skeeter. Interested in hearing your thoughts and continuing the discussion of how female characters are described/portrayed by the author in this series.”

Eric: Thank you, Peggy Ann.

Andrew: Yeah, so I’m looking at Jim Kay’s illustration right now of Rita Skeeter, and I don’t know. It’s giving sleazy gossip journalist to me. Now, as for the manly hands, it could be symbolizing her taking control?

Eric: I think that even before the author was bigoted against trans people, there was a lot of disdain for journalists and… or not journalists; journalist is actually a compliment, but Rita Skeeter, we’ve seen, is not that. Rita Skeeter the mosquito is actually a parasite, and she’s viewed as such, and so any attribute that can be thrown against Rita, even that her hands aren’t feminine, is really meant to illustrate how blood-sucking and inhuman she is viewed, or meant to be viewed, I think, even in the story, and her actions back it up.

Micah: Yeah, I agree with that, and I think comparing it to Miranda Richardson’s portrayal, Rita Skeeter has more of a sex appeal to her in the films. I think that’s really fair to say because there’s even that moment where the quill brushes its end up against Krum’s face…

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Micah: … and so the way that she’s portrayed in the movies is much different than how she’s described in the books. And I know that on the all girls episode that was done several months ago, they dove deep into a lot of these characters and how J.K. Rowling portrays women specifically in the Harry Potter series, and this would be another example of that.

Eric: Yeah, for sure. And I’d say, too, about the difference between the movie… I think the movie and Miranda Richardson’s version is a little bit more believable at somebody who gets to the level that she gets to, in being the only journalist in the wizarding world, the only person who’s able to…

Micah: Right, using her looks. Is that what you were going to say?

Eric: Yeah, yeah, as an explanation. And in the books without that, because she’s described in many ways as unattractive, she just then has to be cutthroat, just very, very, very brutal. Nobody would otherwise take a second look, but because of her horrible reputation that she’s built up, you know when she’s in the room, you have to pay attention, so it’s a much different way of explaining how that character got to where they are.

Andrew: The layer of sex appeal in the movies, interesting. I’m glad they added that layer, but I don’t think we should put too much stock in this adaptation of the character, because it is the movies. They took a lot of liberties when it came to casting and the hair and what people were wearing for all of the characters, so when the point is brought up about the movies, I just can’t put too much stock into it because that’s not canon itself. That was a Hollywood decision, who to cast and how to make her look.

Eric: Well, I think Hollywood realized they missed an opportunity in the characterization of Rita Skeeter in the books.

Andrew: Well, I’ll bet you anything with the TV show they’re going to do the same thing they did with the movie: make it a sexy lady who uses her sex appeal to get an interview.

Eric: There you go.

Micah: All right, so our next email comes from Andrea, on what was the name of Harry’s school? Really good question. She says,

“Ahoy, y’all! After listening to your chapter discussion about the chapter ‘The Goblet of Fire,’ I just wanted to add something that struck me while listening. On the night when Dumbledore explains about the Triwizard Tournament, he asks the students (quote): ‘Anybody wishing to submit themselves as champion must write their names and school upon a slip of parchment.’ When the Goblet gives us the names of the champions, it uses these slips of parchment. Quote 12 pages later, ‘The champion for Durmstrang,’ he read in a strong clear voice, ‘will be Viktor Krum.’ So Dumbledore would have seen under what school Harry’s name was put into the Goblet. What are your thoughts on that? I hope you’re all doing well and want to thank you for being my Harry Potter friends. I love listening to you, laughing along, and more often than not commenting on what you say. Keep up the fantastic work. Greetings from Germany.”

Andrew: Hey, I’m half-German. So, Ilvermorny. The answer is Ilvermorny.

Eric: Could be or Mahoutokoro or any of the others. But I’ll add that Barty Crouch, Jr. disguised as Mad-Eye Fakey actually straight up says that the culprit must have put in a fourth school, so there’s definitely the question…

Andrew: Because the Goblet is only picking one name per school.

Eric: Absolutely. So there’s your confirmation; Dumbledore did see a school, and it has not been mentioned.

Andrew: All right, next email comes from Denise on why didn’t Dumbledore use a tracing spell?

“My name is Denise and I’m from Brazil. I love your podcast. Thank you for your work.”

Andrew: Thank you, Denise.

“Now, I was listening to the episode ‘Professor DUMB-ledore,’ and had an idea. I know that from a creative point of view, the spell that Newt uses to find Tina in Crimes of Grindelwald (the one that is yellowish and shows Tina’s footprint and Yusuf Kama close to her) was created after the Harry Potter series. But can you imagine how the events would have turned out if Dumbledore had used that spell to know who was present in the vicinity the night before the Goblet gave the names of the champions? I guess Moody would have been exposed much sooner. Thank you.”

Andrew: Yeah, probably!

Micah: I really like this.

Eric: Yep.

Andrew: I do too, in part because we were sharing a few different ideas of how this could have been locked down better. Somebody simply watching the Goblet, taking turns, having security people on top of it, security guards on top of it, some wizard camera, or the tracing spell.

Micah: Or handwriting analysis.

Andrew: Fingerprint analysis.

Micah: “Mad-Eye, this handwriting looks very similar to yours, does it not?” [laughs] “I’ve seen this before, Alastor.”

Andrew: [laughs] Well, any good criminal would just use their other hand than their writing hand.

Micah: The next email, also related to Mad-Eye. This is from Maisie, and she wants to know about the Marauder’s Map. She says,

“Ahoy, y’all! I’ve just listened to Goblet of Fire Chapter 15 and thought, could Harry not see Mad-Eye Fakey on the Marauder’s Map? I don’t know if this has come up before; it probably has, but it just came to mind while listening to this episode. Thank you! I love the podcast. Keep up the good work.”

Micah: It’s good question.

Andrew: Are we talking about just Barty Crouch, Jr. on the Marauder’s Map?

Micah: Yeah, I think that’s what she’s saying. I don’t think she’s saying, “Why does it not say Mad-Eye Fakey?” I think she’s saying, “Does it say Barty Crouch, Jr.?” Because in fairness, when Peter Pettigrew was running around as Scabbers, it showed him on the map.

Eric: Well, it does, but it doesn’t say “Jr.” It says “Bartemius Crouch.”

Micah: Ohh.

Eric: And it’s actually a plot point later in the book during “The Egg and the Eye” that Harry… so first of all, for the first half of the book, Harry doesn’t have his Marauder’s Map. It’s a plot hole, because if somebody gives it to him back, or it’s in his trunk, or he’s not using it at all, so that accounts for why Harry isn’t suspecting anything now, like where Crouch, Sr. isn’t supposed to be. But later in the book, he goes to pull it out expecting to see Snape and it’s actually Bartemius Crouch, so then they begin to suspect Barty Crouch, Sr.

Andrew: When he’s in Snape’s office, according to SnailSong. When Harry, I guess, is in…?

Micah: What good is this map, then?

Andrew: [laughs] Well, maybe he’s not consulting it too much.

Eric: If you don’t use it…

Andrew: Right, yeah. But I would probably be obsessed with it. Like we’ve said before, it’s like having all your friends on the Snapchat map or the Find My app on iPhone.

Eric: You can also imagine it gets congested all the time. Even if he’s on there, you’re not necessarily going to see him. It’s like trying to find Waldo.

Andrew: Yeah, imagine how many people are on there. Maybe you can filter by professors, imposters, students, Quidditch players, animals…

Micah: Manipulators.

Eric: Next email comes from Matthew about the Triwizard Tournament’s secrecy. Matthew says,

“If they kept the Triwizard Tournament secret, did they also keep it a secret for the other schools? Did Durmstrang and Beauxbatons parents get a letter? ‘Hey, your kid is going to be away for a while.'”

Andrew: [laughs] And in something quite dangerous, potentially.

Eric: Well, yeah, and also, when did the tryouts happen for…? The top 20 students at each school were selected somehow, so did they need permission forms? And was there a competition to see who gets to enter the competition?

Andrew: I guess it would be considered an exciting extended field trip, so I could see parents being in favor of their kid being away for a while. It’d be like… what’s that called when you go abroad for a semester? Foreign exchange.

Eric and Micah: Study abroad.

Andrew: Study abroad, foreign exchange student, that type of thing.

Eric: Yeah, no, absolutely. I agree with that. But to Matthew’s point, the question of notice is a good one. How much in advance would anybody have had that? So is it really just the kids of Britain, the Hogwarts students that are the host school, that the adult wizards are all able to keep the secret from? Because there’s many more of them than there are of everyone else. So I do like to believe, actually, that it was announced or it was a matter of honor. Remember, too, Draco flaunts that he knows it. A lot of other people know – except the Hogwarts group that we know – about what’s going on.

Micah: The only thing that I can think of, though, is did they communicate the severity, the circumstances under which these students were traveling? Extending off of what you were saying, Eric, right, you have these 20 students that are being chosen from each school. Did they also say, “By the way, your kid can enter a competition and die”?

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: Okay, here’s… I’m going to pay a compliment to the Goblet of Fire movie, and this happens once in like, every ten years, okay? The Goblet of Fire movie, Dumbledore’s line “eternal glory,” that is not in the books, and it dramatically summarizes how you would get the buy-in from parents, or students, in this case, telling the parents that they have a chance for their child to represent their country and also wizards everywhere. If they win that eternal glory at the end of the maze of the third task, that’s going to give… every parent would be proud, especially if they’re like Cedric’s dad. “Oh, you can do it, my boy.” He’s very child-forward; their child is their world, but they want their kid to have that glory because they want to live vicariously through them, so I think there would be plenty of jocks whose parents would absolutely want them in this competition.

Andrew: All right, let’s keep moving along here. This next one is from Lucy on how the first three books mirror the three Triwizard tasks.

Eric: Ooh.

Andrew: Another theory about the Triwizard tasks.

“My name is Lucy and I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I’ve read the books over 60 times since I fell in love with the series five years ago. The reason that I am emailing you is to tell you about this theory that I thought of. I believe that the first three Harry Potter books foreshadow each task in the fourth book. In the first book, Harry is introduced to dragons when Hagrid adopts one illegally, and in the first task of the Triwizard Tournament, he has to go against a dragon. In the second book, Harry meets Moaning Myrtle, who helps Harry figure out the second task. She also mentions that she occasionally gets flushed out into the lake when someone uses the bathroom, and that is where the second task happens. In the third book, we are introduced to Peter Pettigrew and Remus Lupin. Peter was the one who killed Cedric Diggory in the graveyard, and Lupin taught Harry how to produce a Patronus and his class about Boggarts. If Harry hadn’t learned this in his third year, then he wouldn’t have survived the third task. I just randomly thought this theory up a few weeks ago, and I thought you would enjoy hearing it. Love ya, Lucy.”

Andrew: Thank you, Lucy, and that’s great. That’s beautiful. It’s all led to this.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Yeah, I love the connecting of the threads. It’s very well done. Our next email is from Henni on the teaching degrees in the wizarding world, and they say,

“Ahoy, y’all! I hope you are well. I am listening to Episode 643 and started to think about teaching degrees in the wizarding world. We know that teaching isn’t an easy job that anyone can do, especially without formal education. Do we think the wizarding world has a degree/diploma one has to get before starting to teach at Hogwarts or any other school? Based on the books and some of the teachers we know – Hagrid, Trelawney – I would say no, but what do you think?”

[Andrew laughs]

“Love the pod. Stay healthy. All the best, Henni, your friendly Finnish witch.”

Andrew: Well, to your point, Henni, things at Hogwarts are a little loosey-goosey, and while a degree would put you ahead of the competition, it’s not required.

Eric: Yes, we do not know much of anything about continuing education of any sort in the wizarding world. Even if you learn a trade, there’s not a formal process about it. The only thing I think we ever hear about ever at all is Auror training, which seems to be a bit more like studying additional potions, additional defense, and that kind of a thing. But so for teaching, who’s teaching these classes? Who’s teaching these other Aurors? I think it is very much that the teachers at Hogwarts don’t have teaching degrees; they are just proclaimed experts of their field, either by their peers, or they have experience in their field enough to say, “Yeah, I can do, so I can teach.”

Andrew: I can do so I can teach. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, it’s probably like how teachers… I mean, I know they had universities in the 1800s, but I very much think of it as like you’re in the wild west and a guy comes to town and he says he knows medicine, and it’s like, “Oh, great, we need a doctor. You’re the doctor,” and the next day you’re doing surgery or fixing cholera or whatever. It’s a big deal.

Micah: Right. And I’m just thinking about how much a position like Defense Against the Dark Arts turns over, the likelihood that you’re going to have somebody with a degree or a diploma to fulfill that role. I think there’s certain criteria certainly, that you need certain achievements maybe within the wizarding world that would qualify you for certain positions. That said, I think that Henni brings up a really good point with Hagrid. Hagrid, aside from being a lover of all beasts, has zero qualifications to teach students. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, I hope that once they are hired for the job, over the summer in advance of starting this job they get some training at school; how to deal with students, how the school runs, take a couple of meetings with Dumbledore or whoever the headmaster is… I hope there’s some training even after they’re hired to get them up to speed, at least a little bit.

Micah: I would hope that at least there’s NEWT-level credentials for most of these positions. I’m thinking of your Snapes, your McGonagalls, your Sprouts, your Flitwicks… they seem like they have pretty legit credentials to do the work that they do.

Eric: We do have a real time correction, which I love. I love, love, love.

Micah: Okay.

Eric: We do hear about another profession that does have some schooling, and it’s a residency at St. Mungo’s. You can be a trainee healer, and that is from JigglyJane, as well as Magizoology 101 that says you can be a trainee healer. So there are some medical professions at Mungo’s that do require additional training, residency schooling, same thing.

Micah: So basically that just reaffirms that Hogwarts is a free-for-all.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Well, the school itself will teach you… we don’t necessarily see a nursing class of sixth and seven years studying under Madam Pomfrey, but that’s not to say it didn’t happen. This next email is pretty interesting because it may offer a retort to the Rita Skeeter stuff we were talking about earlier. Ashley sends in,

“Ahoy, y’all! With the Chapter by Chapter right now focusing on Goblet of Fire and soon Order of the Phoenix again, I’d like to point out something when it comes to the themes in those books. There are many discussions with these two books about media, publishing, and lack of trust in the government. I think a small but significant thing to keep in mind when looking at those themes is that there are less than three years between the death of Princess Diana and Goblet of Fire being published. This means that the book was written in the heat of theories regarding the royal family’s involvement and the ramifications of tabloid stories in the UK and globally. I’d love to hear your thoughts.”

Andrew: That’s some important context, yeah.

Eric: This is incredibly important. Absolutely. The paparazzi and the role of tabloid media in the death of Princess Di and just their role in society, what are they for? It was a hot topic.

Andrew: And they remain in the headlines. Where are you, Kate Middleton? Where are you? I’ve been following all of that. I’m fascinated.

Eric: Now it’s cool investigative individuals on X that are really figuring it out and cracking it.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: But yes, this was an amazing point, so thank you for sending it in, Ashley. And the next one comes from Abby, who says,

“I have had this thought for a while, but I thought this would be a perfect time to tell you. You have talked about how bad the Goblet of Fire is at its job, and that the Sorting Hat has nothing to do for most of the year. Well, I can kill two birds with one stone! Fire the Goblet of Fire and let the Sorting Hat take over! It will remove the chances of someone cheating the Goblet, because the Sorting Hat knows everyone and knows their ages and handwriting. He is also sentient, so no one could find a loophole in the system. It will also give the Sorting Hat something to prepare for in his off-time. He could make a song for the Triwizard Tournament, or maybe even help design the three trials. I really think that this is a good idea, and I want to know what you think about it.”

Andrew: I love it. I love it. I’m very concerned about what the Sorting Hat is doing in between Sorting ceremonies.

Micah: He needs a side hustle.

Andrew: Yeah, I think it’d be fun for him to come up with some trials too. He could think about the students that he studies and think about how to thread the needle in terms of designing the perfect tasks, so I’m all for this.

Micah: He would’ve done a much better job, much better job than the Goblet.

Andrew: I agree. Okay, next email comes from Angie on the domestication of house-elves. Angie said,

“Ahoy, y’all! I was listening to the conversation about house-elves and it made me think about (and go with me on this) the domestication of dogs. Some people say dogs were domesticated by people, but others say they domesticated themselves. There are some dogs who love to be with people, and some, like livestock guardians, who love to be outside with the flock working and protecting. What if house-elves domesticated themselves and enjoy working for wizards? Some wizards are terrible, just like there are terrible dog owners. But what if most wizards understand the nature of the elves and let them do their thing with the relationship like people have with their dogs? Not that the house-elves are dogs by any means, but just reframing the view of the argument.”

Andrew: Interesting, but I think the whole point about house-elves in the Harry Potter books is that they are enslaved; I mean, this is a lesson we are to take from this. So I like the different frame of mind, Angie, but ultimately, eh.

Micah: Yeah, and I think one of the key things to keep in mind here, too – we were just talking about a level of sentience with the Sorting Hat – house-elves are their own… they have a level of sentience themselves, right? Whereas dogs really don’t, so to make that comparison is a tough one.

Eric: It’s problematic, too, potentially. This is all fictional characters.

Micah: No, no, and to Andrew’s point, I do like the fact that Angie is trying to reimagine how we look at the situation, but I think it’s clear from even when Dobby explains to Harry in Chamber of Secrets, the history of house-elves… this wasn’t a choice that they made. They didn’t domesticate themselves; they were enslaved by wizards.

Eric: Your dog would never tell you “I want to be free” the way that Dobby would have had he been given the possibility. I mean, Andrew, how would you feel if Brooklyn was like, “I’m out of here”?

Andrew: [laughs] I’d say, “No! Bad dog!”

Eric: [laughs] So that’s why it’s slavery, because not every house-elf who feels the way Dobby does gets that choice.

Micah: Exactly. Next email is from Sarah, and also talking about house-elves, but specifically related to laundry. And she says,

“I was wondering if anyone had commented on your comments about the house-elves doing laundry. Y’all keep mentioning that they take care of cooking, cleaning, and laundry at Hogwarts, but how can they do the laundry? Wouldn’t that make them free? And in Book 5 or 6 when Hermione knits and leaves hats for the elves, she purposefully puts trash on top to trick them into picking it up. So that begs the question, who does the laundry in Hogwarts? Just something I keep thinking about each time it comes up.”

Micah:I still think they do the laundry. It’s different if somebody is giving them clothing to free them versus just “Here, do the wash.”

Eric: Yes.

Andrew: What’s the intention behind it? The intent to give them laundry is to make them work to clean it, not to wear it.

Eric: 1,000%. I think this would be my answer as well. There is a special magical deed in the gifting of clothing; that’s why it’s such a big… because owners give their house-elves their clothes all the time to wash, but it’s way different when it’s… and so it calls into question the loophole of Lucius freeing Dobby in the end, because he didn’t know he was giving it, but the intention was to free him all the same. I think that house-elves have a sixth sense about that, and so the house-elves that are offended by Hermione are able to sense what she’s doing and that’s why they avoid it. That’s why the Gryffindor dormitory doesn’t get cleaned for a long time, is because they can sense it and they’re repulsed by what she’s doing because they know that if they touch it, they won’t have a job anymore.

Micah: And Pax brings up a good point in the Discord, saying that there is kind of a gray area for how Dobby was freed because Lucius never had the intention of freeing Dobby by handing him that book, right?

Eric: That’s what I’m saying, yeah. That’s why that doesn’t work really anymore, but if Harry put the sock in the book with the intention that that sock sets Dobby free, then the sock is magi-fied with set-you-free energy, and then Lucius doesn’t think about it, passes it on…

Micah: Oh, okay.

Andrew: It’s almost like passing a key along.

Eric: But it still has to count because only Lucius could actually free Dobby, so Lucius did hand Dobby a sock that was charged with set-you-free energy, didn’t revoke the set-you-free energy when he did it… there it is; it’s explained.

Micah: I think the real answer, though, is that Hogwarts students… they don’t go to the bathroom, they don’t shower, they don’t change their clothes.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: I do feel like there should be a spell to just clean your clothes. That seems like a simple one that could be dreamed up.

Eric: Yeah, especially if it’s only a day old or you only just wore it half the day, so here we go. But our next email is actually one of my favorite emails that we’ve ever gotten. It’s Angie.

“Ahoy, y’all! I was listening to your episode about Mad-Eye Fakey and your discussion how the other students and Hermione didn’t think about who made the food at Hogwarts. As a mom of young kids, I can 100% see how none of the kids noticed. Go with me: Besides being highly self-centered at this age (which is developmentally normal for kids this age to think they are the center of the universe and everyone will notice that pimple on their face), most kids don’t know what their parents/guardians do to make a house run and may not ever notice the extent of the work until they move out on their own. My kids see me cook regularly, but there are days when food ‘magically appears’ and they are genuinely surprised by how a plate of snacks shows up on the table. Usually they don’t ask me how I made or did anything. They know their sheets get changed, but almost assume it’s magic. My running joke is that as soon as they get taller than I am, I’m going to get a shirt that says ‘Dobby’ on it and wear it around the house.”

Andrew: I love that.

Eric: Listen, Angie, you’ve got to take time for yourself if you don’t already. This seems like a tough situation, and you’re doing a great thing which is raising children, but make sure that you’re giving yourself the time.

Micah: I’ll take some pizza rolls first, if that’s okay.

Eric: Oh, man! Micah!

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: That magically appear. That’d be a fun surprise.

Eric: Yeah, it’s hilarious. Thank you for sending that email.

Andrew: And this is the same Angie from two emails ago…

Micah: It is.

Andrew: … and I love how in both emails she used the phrase “Go with me.” [laughs] Don’t worry, Angie. You don’t have to try and hold our attention.

Micah: We’re with you.

Andrew: We’re with you always.

Micah: The next email is from Rebecca on Barty Crouch, Jr., and she says,

“Aloha(mora), MuggleCast! I’ve always thought that fake Moody was one of Harry’s better teachers. While he may have been harsh at times, he treated the students like adults and taught them about real-life spells and horrors in the wizarding world. He gave them the opportunity to practice defending themselves in a controlled environment. During my latest read-through the book, I got to thinking about why he was such a good teacher. Did he just get wrapped up in the acting? Or did he actually have a passion for teaching students and was teaching them things he wished he had learned? Barty Crouch, Jr. spent years suffering under his father’s Imperius Curse. Perhaps he had students practice overcoming the curse so that they don’t ever suffer like he did.”

Andrew: Ooh.

“We don’t know much about Barty Crouch, Jr.’s motivations for becoming a Death Eater. All we really see is a scared boy at a trial, crying for his parents. What if during the first war, he wasn’t even a real Death Eater? What if he was under the Imperius Curse when torturing Neville’s parents? Or maybe he just fell into the wrong crowd, but didn’t care much about Voldemort and his cause and wasn’t a very loyal Death Eater. Maybe he only became a powerful/loyal Death Eater after his father said, ‘You are no son of mine,’ as if to say to his father, ‘If this is who you think I am, this is what I’ll become.’ Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Rebecca.”

Andrew: This is an amazing theory. I love it. I don’t have any notes other than yes.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: Yeah, there’s so much about this that is so thoughtful, and the fact that he is teaching these kids the Imperius Curse so that they can protect themselves in the future from a fate that he himself suffered for a period of his life…

Andrew: And he could enjoy acting, and he could enjoy teaching too.

Micah: Well, yeah, I mean, he loves everything about this primarily because he’s sticking it to his father, right? That is clear. But in terms of his loyalty, though, I wonder a little bit about that, because clearly in Goblet of Fire, he is very loyal to Voldemort.

Eric: Yeah, but it is interesting to think about, too, he doesn’t seem like this mega Death Eater, Voldemort’s most loyal supporter, in the courtroom scene in the Pensieve. In the movie he does. In the movie it’s very clear, but in the book, he seems just like a teenager who got caught up in the action. So this idea that he might have been under the curse himself when he was younger is really interesting. And definitely, I think that Mad-Eye Fakey enjoys teaching period; I think that he is really relishing… there’s room for all of these multiple truths here, but I think that it’s pretty clear from our analysis already of the character that he loves to do what he’s doing, even if just what he’s doing is sticking it to Death Eaters or sticking it to dad. He loves doing it, for sure.

Andrew: All right, this next email comes from Darin on what Arthur did for Ludo.

“My name is Darin, a.k.a. JigglyJane…”

Andrew: … who just came up a few minutes ago…

“… and I’ve been a longtime listener of you all since Day 1!”

Andrew: Thank you, Darin.

Eric: Wow.

“I just want to chime in about the debate about why Ludo gave tickets to the World Cup to Arthur and the gang: In the book, when they are all sitting down to dinner the night before the World Cup, Arthur is speaking to Percy and he does mention that he did Ludo a favor, by helping his brother out with a lawnmower with ‘unnatural powers,’ and then he smoothed the whole thing over. Love you guys.”

Andrew: All right, well, my boat theory was…

Micah: There goes “Ahoy, y’all.”

Andrew: Yeah. Undo “Declare canon.”

Micah: It was fun while it lasted.

Andrew: It was. Thank you, Darin, for catching that.

Micah: All right, next email is from Jason, talking about the Killing Curse, and he says,

“G’day from Tasmania, Australia! I’ve been listening to MuggleCast constantly since around Episode 50 (I went back and listened to the first 50 as well) and would be one of your oldest listeners at 54 years young. Just listened to Episode 644. A couple of things jumped out. In the discussion on Avada Kedavra, Micah mentioned that every time you kill by using Avada Kedavra, it splits your soul. In Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23, we found out from Slughorn’s memory that it splits the soul ‘by an act of evil – the supreme act of evil. By committing murder.’ So from that reading, it would seem if a wizard uses it in self-defense, or an Auror uses it in the line of duty, it wouldn’t split the soul. With the Imperius Curse, I thought back to the Veela in a previous chapter and wondered if they have a ‘built-in’ Imperius Curse, or even a variant Imperius Curse, which makes people do all the strange things they do? Would love to hear your thoughts.”

Andrew: Yeah, it makes sense to me in terms of the Slughorn line “by an act of evil, the supreme act of evil.” So the intent has to be evil?

Micah: It can’t be self-defense, is what we’re saying.

Eric: Well, I think that it’s hard to tell what is Slughorn’s own personal embellishment on this, but I think that a human killing a human is going to split the soul, even if in self-defense. I think that’s why there’s that argument; Dumbledore is like, “Your soul matters more than mine,” the purity of your soul, and then Snape is like, “Okay, screw my soul, then.” I think that no matter what, it’s going to split your soul, because that’s how we weigh humanity against the wild. We are the only sentient species.

Andrew: But Moody is an Auror, as Jason reminds us, too, and he has a free pass almost.

Eric: Well, yeah, that’s a good point.

Andrew: He has a license to use it, let’s say.

Eric: But there’s actually precious few times in which I think having a very split-up soul is going to come into play and affect you. If your soul is distant from yourself, that’s what made Voldemort so unhinged and less human as time went on, is he had actually separated his soul. Wasn’t the actual crack in it like a sprained ankle? But actually, the removal of and storage of his soul in different parts, I think, made him less human than if he just had killed a bunch of people and not done that.

Micah: Right. I liked what you said, Eric, about it’s more of a representation of Slughorn’s character in this moment. The way that he’s talking, it reveals more about him, the fact that he would reference it in this way. But I do think, at the end of the day, the Killing Curse is the Killing Curse, and it does rip the soul. Now, you could argue, is it equal when you kill a spider versus killing a human?

Eric: No.

Andrew: That’s where I’m getting tripped up here. What are we debating right now? Are we debating the spider specifically? Or are we debating it in general? Because the spider… I mean, he’s using the spider to teach a class. On the other hand… what is a supreme act of evil? Is it killing an innocent spider? Some would argue that.

Micah: Well, you could argue the casting of the spell itself is a supreme act of evil, regardless of what it’s being used on.

Andrew: And in what context? Like teaching?

Eric: I’d also like to believe that even though Aurors are the wizarding world’s version of police officers, in many, many, many countries across the world, police officers don’t commit murder.

Andrew: Or don’t have guns.

Eric: Or they’re taught to deescalate at all costs before resorting to that level of force, and so Moody’s own personal AK record might actually be pretty light, or lighter than we’re expecting when we think about cops and murder count.

Micah: But I guess, if we’re to think of it in this context, right, if you’re walking down the halls of Hogwarts and you step on a spider, does that rip the soul? [laughs]

Eric: No.

Micah: Or is it only by using…?

Andrew: No, but that’s an accident, potentially.

Micah: Well, is it?

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: Not if you’re Ron; he’s going to do everything to kill it. It’s an interesting question. The second part of this, though, I feel like we’ve talked a little bit about it before. Eric, I think you made the reference to the Sirens and how in mythology, they’re very much comparable to the Veela in that the sounds that they make… it’s The Odyssey, right?

Eric: Yeah, it’s entrancing. And there’s a difference here between something that is naturally intoxicating – I don’t know if they use pheromones – or like things in nature that occur that take your agency away, like psychotropic drugs, versus a spell that’s doing it. So Incendio – or wow, Imperius Charm – that specifically is designed to take your agency away, make you do the will, make you follow the will of the caster, is not altogether that different than somebody with that natural ability like the Veela have, so I do agree there’s a connection. The next email comes from Ivan, who says,

“Hello, team! I’m slowly catching up with Chapter by Chapter, and I bring a little correction from the Christmas discussion on Book 2.”

Eric: So glad we got to this.

“Laura said that we didn’t know if Harry had even read Ron’s gift, ‘Flying with the Cannons,’ but we do! In Book 4 it is said that he reread it for the ‘tenth time.'”

Andrew: Aww.

Eric: And that comes up in Chapter 22. I love that! Harry loves his present from Ron.

Micah: All these emails tie back to Goblet of Fire in some way. [laughs]

Andrew: All the answers were right here in the middle book.

Eric: Very clever. Very smart.

Andrew: That’s why we’re rereading. And this is from Isabel, on common room/dorm rules: “Ahoy, y’all!” [laughs] I think we’ve got to update it now that we have a new Muggle Mail episode out. It’s time to come up with a new opening line.

Eric: Now that Ludo bagman is a lie.

Andrew: Yeah, right.

“Ahoy, y’all! Hogwarts Houses. It’s kind of sad that non-Housemates aren’t allowed in the common room or dorms, when you think about it. What if your best friend is in another House? Then there can’t ever be the magical equivalent of late night movie watching or hanging out in the dorm swapping secrets. Think of the Patil twins (from the books)!”

Andrew: Yeah, that’s a good point. I mean, Hogwarts is very large, so there’s plenty of places to hang out, but there is something cozy and secluded and private about the common room where a hangout could be good.

Micah: I like to think that it’s course corrected after the series was written that there could be some level of inter-House mingling that went on. Maybe if you’re a prefect, you could go into the other common rooms. I don’t know. It does seem kind of silly.

Andrew: Well, actually, I don’t know. I don’t see a reason for it to be course corrected post-series.

Micah: I mean, you can’t do it in Hogwarts Legacy, right?

Andrew: Well, it’s a crowd control thing, to me.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: I mean, you’ve got to have somewhere you can escape the other students, right? [laughs] But Court said, “Maybe there’s a common common room.” Ooh.

Micah: There’s a Prefects’ bathroom, and presumably…

Andrew: [laughs] Hang out in the Great Hall, I guess. I just… again, there’s so many places in Hogwarts to hang out that I guess that’s their answer, if you want to hang out with other House people.

Micah: Well, Andrew, I feel like we’ve saved the best email for last. This was literally my favorite email of the entire bunch.

Andrew: Wow, okay. So this is from Jake: “Ahoy, y’all!”

Micah: [laughs] Of course.

“Loving Chapter by Chapter. I was just wondering if maybe Percy purposely went along with or maybe even originally introduced himself to Crouch as Weatherby to hide his association with Arthur. His embarrassment then also comes from his family potentially finding this out.”

Andrew: Okay, I like that.

Micah: Yeah, I mean, this is something I don’t think we’ve ever considered, but it’s in Percy’s character to do this. We know how he thinks about his father, and how his father is perceived at the Ministry, and by allowing these names to go on, he’s not associated with the Weasley family.

Andrew: Which he later tries to do further. [laughs]

Micah: Right.

Andrew: Disassociate. Yeah, that’s a really good theory. I still stand by what I had suggested a few episodes ago, which is that he didn’t have the guts to correct him either. He is like, “Yes, sir. Yes, sir. You’re amazing, sir. You’re perfect, sir. Anything you say, sir.” So there’s that to consider. But it’s also very convenient that he also gets to… it works out for him, I should say, that he gets to disassociate from his family. And to his credit, he gets to build a reputation on his own work, his own time, at the Ministry, instead of riding on his father’s coattails, even though those coattails aren’t that great to ride on.

Micah: It would be interesting to see if he’s consistently called Weatherby throughout, because in Half-Blood Prince, Slughorn bungles Ron’s name a million times in a million different ways, but I feel like for Barty Crouch, Sr., he’s consistent with what he calls him, so that would lend itself to this theory that Percy isn’t doing anything to tell Barty Crouch, Sr. otherwise, and maybe it’s because he’s like, “I don’t want to be associated with my father.” He’s constantly…

Eric: It’s brutal to consider. I love the idea that Percy is so unimportant versus how important Percy thinks he is that it’s our more standard understanding of it, which is like, this guy’s not giving Percy the time of day and he’s trying to look great. But if you remember Umbridge’s backstory back from reading Book 5, Umbridge’s backstory on Pottermore is given that she tried to disassociate herself from her father as well, who also worked at the Ministry. And so in this case, it would be a connection between Percy and Umbridge, and they’re both very ambitious characters, so I can see it.

Micah: And they’re on the same page for most of Order of the Phoenix.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: All right, well, that wraps up the Muggle Mailbag. We do have one Chicken Soup for the MuggleCast Soul.

Andrew: Bring us home, Micah. Bring us home.

Micah: It is from Heather, who says,

“Hey guys! I first listened to MuggleCast waaaay back when it first came out in 2005 when I was a senior in high school. I’d listen to the episodes on my long bus rides to and from school. While my relationship to Harry Potter has had its ups and downs since then, I’ve recently found my way back to the comfort and nostalgia of the wizarding world. One of the first things I did was look up MuggleCast and was pleasantly surprised to find that not only are you all still going strong, but your discussions are as interesting as ever. I’ve been listening to the Chapter by Chapter episodes, and it really feels like not a day has passed. It’s like catching up with old friends.”

Micah: Thank you, Heather.

Andrew: Aww. Thank you, Heather. What an appropriate email for our 650th episode, as well. And I agree. I mean, one of the joys that we get from doing the show these days is our discussions on the series and the character motivations and the themes, and all these things have evolved so much as adults – proud, adult readers of the Harry Potter series, Miriam Margolyes…

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: … and I’m very glad that you feel that way, and I think other listeners do as well. There’s so much to discuss. Even today, I get comments from people: “What do you talk about these days?” I’m like, “We can easily do 90 minutes on Harry Potter every week!”

Micah: What don’t we talk about?

Eric: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

Andrew: Try us. [laughs]

Micah: We just did.

Andrew: Yeah, we just did. We could go for another 45 minutes tonight easily.

Micah: Easily.

Andrew: And we’re going to, because we’re going to record a bonus MuggleCast. [laughs] Well, thank you, Heather, and thanks to everybody who wrote in. Whether or not we read your email on air, we really, really appreciate that you take the time to send in the voicemails, the emails; we do read and listen to everything that is submitted. If you have any feedback about today’s episode or other Chapter by Chapter installments, you can email or send a voice memo to, or you can use our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. If you’re calling us, please keep your message around 60 seconds so we can try to get to as many voicemails as possible. And next week, back to Chapter by Chapter; we’ll be discussing Goblet of Fire Chapter 20, “The First Task.”


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

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s question: What class does Cedric Diggory have next when Harry catches up with him to tell him about the dragons? And the correct answer was Charms class. Correct answers were submitted by a Little Winky Drinky; Amanda; BangEndedScoot18; Becca; Buff Daddy; Draco’s Etsy badge shop; Elizabeth K.; Evil Ringo; Fakey Dakey Makey No Mistakey…

[Micah laughs]

Eric: … Fred and George’s overall mental stability; Harry’s cruel summers; I just got my PhD and wanted to share with you all…

Micah: Oh, congrats.

Eric: … JigglyJane; Katie from Hufflepuff; LC; Megwich; Merlin’s most baggy fronts; Morgue97; My Accio brings all the brooms to the yard… that’s hilarious.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: That is true.

Eric: That’s maybe my favorite.

Micah: That’s what’s happening in the next chapter.

Eric: Yeah. We had a couple of other really long-titled ones; I’m going to try and get through them. The ink spitting all over a guide to Advanced Transfiguration; The marshmallows Harry’s legs are made out of; the Pillsbury Doughboy who is feeling very offended at being compared to Dumbledore because he thinks his laugh is perfect and he perfects it for hours for his commercials, I mostly just wanted to hear you say that.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Well, you got your wish.

Eric: Okay, there you go. We love Cedric, he is so sympathetic, but if he dies again, it is probably genetic.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Okay, and two more: Winky by the fire with the butterbeer – okay – and You’re a Quizzard, Harry.

Andrew: Love it. Love it, love it, love it all.

Eric: So congratulations. That was a big 650 edition of Quizzitch. Here is next week’s question: What is the first bit of Professor Moody’s advice to Harry about the first task? That happens next chapter, to celebrate us getting back to Chapter by Chapter. Submit your answer to us on the Quizzitch form,, or go to the MuggleCast website and click on “Quizzitch” from the main nav.

Andrew: To celebrate this milestone episode of MuggleCast, we recommend hitting up – we’ll have a link in the show notes as well – where you can buy many cool MuggleCast items that we’ve given away over the years, and we have extras and we want to get them into the hands of listeners. And we’re also using it as an opportunity for you all to support the show if you can, so hit up We have signed album art; we’ve got our Cozy Comfy Combo Pack, which is the MuggleCast beanie and the socks at one reduced price; we have wooden cars; we have T-shirts; and other items. Again, that’s You can go to for transcripts, social media links, our full episode archive, our favorite episodes, and to contact us. And if you enjoy the show and think your other Harry Potter friends would, too, tell those friends about the show, and we’d also appreciate if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app. And this show is brought to you by Muggles like you. We don’t have any fancy corporate or network funding; it’s just us doing our best to put on this show week to week. We are proudly an independent podcast, and we always want to keep it that way. So not only can you go to our Etsy shop to support us that way, but if you’re an Apple Podcasts user, you can tap into the show and hit that subscribe button, and that’s going to get you two bonus MuggleCast installments every month, plus ad-free and early access to MuggleCast. And then there’s; you get all the benefits that I just mentioned, plus livestreams, planning docs, the chance to co-host the show one day, a new physical gift every year, and more. So check it all out. That does it for the 650th time. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: Thank you, everyone. I’m Eric.

Micah: And I’m Micah. Thank you.

Andrew: And ahoy. Goodbye!