Transcript #652

Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #652, Accio, Golden Egg (GOF Chapter 20, The First Task)

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

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

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: Brush up on your Summoning Charms and figure out how to transfigure a rock into a dog, because this week we’re hightailing it out of the dragon’s den on our Firebolt [laughs] when we discuss Chapter 20, “The First Task.” And to help us jump back into Chapter by Chapter this week, we are joined by one of our Slug Club patrons, Catherine. Welcome, Catherine, to MuggleCast.

Catherine: Hi, thanks for having me. I’ve been looking looking forward to my day to have my chance to host a podcast with you guys. I’m really excited, and it’s a great honor and pleasure to be here with you all.

Eric: Welcome, welcome.

Andrew: It’s our pleasure to have you here.

Laura: We’re excited to have you.

Andrew: Yeah, and you and Laura bonded over being in Georgia, living in the same state.

Catherine: We did.

Andrew: So that was fun.

Laura: Yeah!

Andrew: We’re already besties here, as if we weren’t already all good Harry Potter friends.

Catherine: Besties from the resties.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Tell us a little bit about yourself. I know you’re a teacher, right?

Catherine: I am. I teach psychology at a college here in town, and yes, it’s a lot of fun. So definitely rereading the Harry Potter books from a more psychological perspective has been interesting for sure, especially this chapter.

Laura: Ooh.

Eric: Cool.

Andrew: And let’s get your fandom ID.

Catherine: All right, so my favorite book is Prisoner of Azkaban. My favorite movie is also Prisoner of Azkaban, but I also like Order of the Phoenix, because as much as I just… I love to hate Umbridge, so I like to watch it and make myself suffer. But I mean, give it up. Imelda Staunton. I mean, come on. Chef’s kiss.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Catherine: For sure. She makes that movie. My Hogwarts House is Ravenclaw, but also sprinkle a little bit of Gryffindor in there because usually when I take the test, it’s either Ravenclaw or Gryffindor, so give it up to my… what, Ravendors? Or Gryffinclaws? My Ilvermorny House is Thunderbird. My Patronus, an aardvark, which I’ve never really heard many people have that one.

Andrew: Ooh. Shout-out Arthur stans.

Catherine: Yeah! I was going to do the “A-A-R-D-V-A-R-K,” the rap from Arthur, but…

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Catherine: Thank you. Thank you. You understand. And then my favorite character, it’s definitely a tough choice because there’s lots of great ones, but I’ve got to go with my gal Luna.

Andrew: Okay. It’s great to have you here, Catherine, and thanks so much for your support on Patreon. We really appreciate your support there.

Catherine: Thank you so much. Absolutely.

Andrew: So before we get into the chapter, a little bit of news. We can call it a news update, I guess. Eric, do you want to tell us the latest comments from an actor?

[Micah laughs]

Eric: Yeah, so this is our actor roundup for the week…

[Laura laughs]

Eric: … because in a recent article published on Bustle, Helena Bonham Carter was asked her thoughts on the Miriam Margolyes situation. So of course, we have commented – it came up on the last two MuggleCast episodes – that Miriam Margolyes recently had some words to say about adult Harry Potter fans, and I guess Bustle took an opportunity to speak with Helena Bonham Carter about her role as Bellatrix in the movies, and also her thoughts on what Miriam had to say. And a quote from the article from Helena Bonham Carter is, “I love that woman, and she’s somebody who has a big inner child. I think however old we are, we’ve got to keep that child alive.” And so that to me speaks to a very calming down of the “Let’s not fan the flame. Let’s be like, ‘It’s good to have an inner child.'”

Andrew: And she’s speaking to us, too, right?

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: “You can still have that inner…” yeah.

Eric: Because I think there was an implication that we needed to either grow up, or that Harry Potter was for children, I think, in Miriam’s original quote. So I actually found this news to be really satisfying, and it might help dull tensions a little bit.

Andrew: Okay, all right.

Micah: So do we feel like in the next couple of weeks, maybe month or two months, anytime a Harry Potter actor is interviewed, they’re going to get asked a question about Miriam Margolyes? [laughs]

Andrew: Probably.

Eric: It’s so… probably. That’s a good call-out, Micah. And also, I think even Miriam Margolyes realized that it was kind of biting the hand a little bit. She led in her comments by saying, “I’m very grateful to Harry Potter for everything it’s given me.” So this is one of those things where I think the media is having a heyday and they’re sensationalizing comments, and that’s why we get this update of other actors being asked to comment on what Miriam Margolyes has said.

Andrew: Well, thank you, Helena, for standing with us.

Eric: Yeah, and interestingly, that article does talk about the character of Bellatrix, actually, and it was interesting to see that Helena sort of admits that the character of Bellatrix that she played is different than what appears in the books, and she talks about how the Bellatrix character in the movies is a little bit more childish. And I know we definitely got that babying “Neener, neener, neener” kind of personality that really is not a faithful adaptation of the character in the books, who’s just insane, but I think it works.

Laura: I still maintain that Helena Bonham Carter made Bellatrix’s character better, because when we were rereading Order of the Phoenix and reading her character, I was like, “Oh my God, this character does not jump off the page in the same way that Helena Bonham Carter jumped off the screen.”

Eric: Not at all.

Laura: She totally improved Bellatrix.

Andrew: [imitating Bellatrix] “I killed Sirius Black!”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That was a great line. That one always sticks with me.

Eric: Yeah, really gets under your skin.

Micah: You could probably argue it got her more screen time in future films than maybe she otherwise would have gotten. I’m thinking about the Burrow scene in particular, which was not in the books, but was added.

Eric: That’s right.

Andrew: But they needed to make it darker, right? That’s what they said at the time.

Micah: Of course, yeah. Well, especially as we progress throughout the course of the Harry Potter films, everything was darker. Everything had to be darker.

Eric: So darker. I could barely see!

Andrew: “It’s getting darker. This is the darkest one yet.”

Micah: The thing I will say for Professor Sprout and Miriam Margolyes is just they didn’t have a whole lot of screen time in this series overall, and maybe that contributed a little bit to how she feels, versus somebody like Helena Bonham Carter, who got a fair amount as the series went on. And of course, she has a fantastic relationship with Daniel Radcliffe, which we saw come to life in the reunion.

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: All right. Well, we’ll see who comments on this next.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: My money is on one of the trio, probably, and I’m sure they’ll have a nice cordial answer that wins over fans.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: So now it’s time to get into Chapter by Chapter, and this week we are discussing Goblet of Fire Chapter 20, “The First Task.” It’s time for this tournament. And we’ll start as always with our Seven-Word Summary. Here we go.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Micah: Dragons…

Catherine: … are…

Andrew: … afoot…

Eric: … inside…

Micah: … Hogwarts…

Catherine: … grounds…

[Andrew screams]

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Very good.

Andrew: Yeah, I don’t know how to end that otherwise. [laughs]

[Seven-Word Summary music ends]

Micah: What happened to Laura?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, where…?

Eric: Oh my God! I forgot… wait, did I not do that right with five people? I just put our names… okay, Laura, if you could change one word, what would it be?

Catherine: Change it, yeah.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Ooh, that’s fun.

Laura: I thought I was getting a break because I did girls MuggleCast last week.

Micah: That’s true.

Eric: Oh my God, that wasn’t my intention at all.

Laura: Trust me, I am aware. I was happy to sit back and watch y’all work the Seven-Word Summary.

Catherine: I have been stressing about this all day. Like, “What is going to happen?” [laughs]

Eric: Oh my gosh.

Laura: No, you did a great job! Honestly, I think we take the risky click and we leave it as is…

Eric: Wow.

Andrew and Catherine: Okay.

Laura: … and we see if this is one of the ones we end up correcting. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes funny ones like this really resonate with people, so…

Andrew: Laura gets to do all seven words next week, so stay tuned, everybody.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: To make up for this.

Laura: Well, that’s not as fun. [laughs]

Andrew: I know, I’m just kidding.

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Eric: So getting into the chapter, of course – Andrew mentioned this – we finally get face to face with a dragon. The tournament is finally begun. I’m hearing the battle music playing.

Micah: God, it only took 20 chapters.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Well, there was some stuff to introduce first. But yeah, so I’ve broken the chapter into two general components. And of course, Harry is still struggling with what is ahead of him throughout this chapter. It’s bearing down upon him, especially now that he knows that it’s dragons that he has to face. So there’s definitely a lot of anxiety going high, and it definitely is really interesting; this chapter is essentially a good character study on Harry, I think, who, for being the main character, we don’t always check in on, or we don’t see him be as versatile or react so differently to different stimuli as we do in this chapter. It’s really a great study for Harry.

Catherine: It’s kind of funny. I think that we are so inside Harry’s head; we’re seeing it from his perspective, but like you said, we don’t check in with what are his emotions going on right now? What are his intentions behind what he does? What is his motivation behind what he does? We don’t check in with that. I fully agree.

Eric: Yeah, I mean, this whole chapter, he’s basically going from “Oh, Hermione can’t help me; I’m not getting what I need,” to navigating telling Cedric and trying to be fair. Everything that really happens is all… Harry is leading it, and we’re following, but it’s just way different from scene to scene. So the big thing that I did want to call out is Harry does find a really clever way to tell Cedric. He unfortunately splits his brand new backpack, or satchel, which hopefully can be Reparo‘d, but this is the moment where Harry really could have taken what he knows to be an advantage just to him, and we see that Harry is very much not that way at all. He finds the way to tell Cedric, “Hey, Cedric, it’s dragons.” And I just wanted to ask, what does that say about Harry’s character that he does this?

Andrew: It’s one of my favorite types of moments from Harry, just to see him come to the aid of a fellow student. And then once you read back on this, the fact that these were unfortunately Cedric’s final months and giving him an assist…

[Micah laughs]

Eric: God. Tear my heart out!

Andrew: Well, no, really. I mean, it’s like, “Aww, somebody tried.” And the Hogwarts students have to stick together. And Harry could have thought, “Oh, you know what? I’m going to get the advantage over the other Hogwarts student by not telling him,” but he decided, “Because Krum knows, because Fleur knows, because I know, I’m going to make sure Cedric knows, so it’s fair for everybody.” And I just… it’s a very heartwarming moment.

Micah: Yeah, he’s determined, and he’s stalking Cedric through the halls to ensure that he can get some alone time with him. And part of it is I think Harry is longing for some kind of positive connection to anyone that isn’t Hermione. For as much as Hermione has been a great help to him over the course of these last couple of chapters – we see it in this chapter with the Summoning Charm – he is really in need of that connection that he normally has with Ron, and I think by telling Cedric about the task, it validates him, at least in his own mind, as not being the bad guy who snuck into the tournament. I think he’s put in this position where he has to almost clear his own name, and by doing something like this, I think it puts him on better footing with Cedric moving forward.

Eric: That’s such a great, yeah, analysis of Harry needing a friend. And I think he… even if he gets Ron back – which he does at the end of this chapter; everything’s fine now between them – but he needs a friend in this tournament. He needs to have some level of human connection with another one of the champions at minimum. Hopefully, all four of them would have a level of respect that I think they do get to as they know each other better, but nobody knows him. These older students don’t really know him, and they don’t know his character, and so this is really the catalyst for first Cedric realizing… because Cedric even asks Harry, “Why are you telling me this?” And Harry is so taken aback by the question; he’s like, “But it’s fair.”

Andrew: It’s the right thing to do.

Eric: He doesn’t even… that’s the coolest thing about Harry, is he does the right thing, and it’s not difficult for him to do the right thing. This is just what Harry always would have done.

Andrew: It also says to Cedric, “I didn’t put my name in the cup, because why would I put my name in the cup and want to win and then give information to you that could help you win?” So maybe one reason why Harry wanted to tell Cedric was so that Cedric could maybe put the good word in if Cedric is seeing Harry get bullied out and about around school. “Hey, you know what, guys? I really don’t think he did put his name in the Goblet. I think he’s telling the truth.”

Eric: Yeah, we know that Cedric eventually tells the other students, his fellow Hufflepuffs, to not wear the “Potter stinks” badges anymore once it becomes clear to… and I think after the first task alone, when the whole school sees all of them up against dragons, I think more students than will ever say it out loud realize that Harry… yeah, they come to the same realization Ron does, that it would be wildly absurd to think that Harry really chose this for himself. So both Harry’s actions interpersonally and in general, I think, work to clear his name because he’s just a good guy.

Catherine: Absolutely. I mean, that was my point. At the end of the day, Harry has a good heart. We don’t talk about that a lot, but he does. He has a good heart. I don’t see him not sharing that information with Cedric. He knew Cedric didn’t have an informant. I mean, Hagrid was Harry’s informant; the other headmasters clearly in some capacity were the informants to their champions. Cedric doesn’t have anybody. And like we said, he knew it wouldn’t be a fair fight. You’re sending three people in who have this prior knowledge, and that’s not fair. And that’s also not a true Gryffindor either. A true Gryffindor is… you have that bravery, and isn’t it brave to stand up and do the right thing? Harry is showing his true Gryffindor characteristics by sharing that information.

Eric: Is it brave to kneecap yourself and give yourself a disadvantage?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Catherine: I mean, sometimes. [laughs]

Laura: But I mean, I suppose we could argue that a Slytherin probably wouldn’t do this, right? That it wouldn’t be super characteristic, at least in the way that Slytherins are portrayed at this point in the wizarding world. A Slytherin wouldn’t do this. Maybe a Slytherin by 2024 standards would do it, but I tend to agree with Catherine. I also think it just says that he doesn’t want the unfair advantages or special treatment, because people are always trying to foist that upon him and it makes him uncomfortable. He doesn’t like it. He doesn’t want the special attention. We see this theme throughout the series.

Eric: Yeah, later in this chapter Bagman offers again, too, and Harry is just like, “No. No, thank you.” So it’s funny, Micah, because you mentioned Harry stalking Cedric Diggory trying to find him, get him alone and tell him the secret, because somebody is also stalking Harry, it would seem.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: So Barty Crouch, Jr. – oh, sorry, Mad-Eye Fakey – comes out of a less used classroom or something, right as Harry is telling Cedric, and he’s like, “Potter, come with me.” It’s this classic moment of Harry thinks he’s in trouble; he turns out not to be. However, it is funny because it really does seem like Barty Crouch is keeping a very close eye on Harry Potter, and the whole reason why he calls him to his office is to say, “That was a nice thing,” and have an additional experience with Harry.

Micah: So do we find that to be suspicious activity on the part of Moody at this point? Or do we assume that because of Harry’s predicament, that it’s only natural that somebody like Moody would be tailing Harry?

Eric: The genius is in the equal possibilities, right? Especially in hindsight it seems suspicious, or it’s like, “Oh yeah, Moody is here at this scene because he’s following Harry and looking for a chance to, I think, again win his favor a little bit.” And it’s interesting; we’ll talk in a minute about how he goes about doing that. But definitely in the whole sort of stalking Harry, the way it’s written, as a kid when you’re first reading it, you’re like, “Oh, uh-oh, a teacher just happened to see him cheating,” and the book says, “Is he going to go to Dumbledore? What’s going to happen? Am I going to be expelled from Hogwarts?” it almost asks. It’s the classic “Uh-oh, a teacher just witnessed what I did, which might not be 100% aboveboard,” so it gives you that schoolroom drama that you otherwise wouldn’t have.

Laura: Do y’all think that Dumbledore knows that Fakey is tailing Harry, and has he endorsed this? Knowing that something is amiss, somebody entered Harry’s name in the Goblet of Fire, there was a Death Eater procession at the Quidditch World Cup, there’s been all kinds of weird stuff going on, and they have one of the best Aurors of all time at Hogwarts, do we think that Dumbledore put Moody up to keeping an eye on Harry?

Micah: I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m trying to remember the movie, and something is sticking out in my mind where Dumbledore asks Moody to keep an eye on Harry. I think it’s after Barty Crouch, Sr. is murdered.

Catherine: I think you’re right, Micah.

Andrew: And then of course, the advantage with Moody is that he can see through walls, it seems. Because in this scene, Moody is not…

Micah: Yeah, what a perv.

[Andrew and Catherine laugh]

Andrew: Yeah, we don’t talk about that, though. In this scene, he’s not standing out in the hall and happens to witness this; he just kind of pops out after seeing it, so yeah, there’s many advantages, I think, to enlisting Moody to keep an extra eye on Harry.

Eric: Ahh, keep an eye on. When he says “Keep an eye on him,” he takes it really literally.

Andrew: [imitating Dumbledore] “Keep a mad eye on Harry. Get it? Get it?”

Eric: Well, I jump to Dumbledore… doesn’t Dumbledore ask Snape to keep an eye on Draco? Or keep an eye on Quirrell, that’s what it is. He says to Snape, “Can you keep an eye on Quirrell, would you?” And I can easily see that same conversation. Nobody needs to tell Fakey to keep an eye on Harry, believe me. He absolutely will. But I can believe that Dumbledore thinks that he’s solving the problem by asking Moody – who he believes to be Alastor Moody, his old Auror friend – to take a closer look. So I think it works on many levels, which again, for a book that was maybe rushed in printing – we’ve heard it be said before – there’s a lot of really good mystery and things that work on multiple levels. There’s a lot of depth here.

Micah: I want to talk about all of these Dark Detectors that he keeps in his office, and they’re buzzing worse than a beehive during mating season, but it’s not drawing attention to anybody. And in particular, though, I wanted to talk about the Foe-Glass, because Snape being revealed as his true enemy later on in this book really should have been a major clue to his allegiance – and we’ll get there when we get to that chapter – but Moody is doing an introduction to all of these different detectors that are in his office, and they’re all going off, right? The Sneakoscope is going… he said he had to deactivate it, right? If we remember from Prisoner of Azkaban, we all know what the Sneakoscope does. And there was another thing, like a little radio that was doing weird things – I forget the actual name of it – but he’s blaming it on the students! [laughs] He said, “The students are at fault.”

Andrew: Yeah. “Oh, they’re lying about their homework.”

Catherine: The Secrecy Sensor.

Andrew: That’s it.

Eric: Yeah. Well, that’s another thing that works both ways. It works on so many levels. It’s the idea that any of these devices would help you discern where somebody is being tricky or sneaky, when you have a school setting where people are… kids will lie about whether they did their homework or not. I mean, anything.

Micah: It’s the perfect facade. That’s really what it is.

Andrew: Yeah, when I was reading this, it made me think, “Well, can’t you fine tune these to tune out the silly stuff?” Like students lying about their homework, things that ultimately don’t matter, and just fine tune it so it’s only detecting the darkest of magic. You would think Moody would do that, because he doesn’t care, typically, about students lying to each other about who they like and the everyday nonsense that happens in school. And he just… Fakey is a thrill-seeker. Junior is a thrill-seeker, because he also says around this scene, he said, “Oh, these actually could be alerting us to something more than just childhood nonsense.” He’s basically asking Harry to think about it deeper.

Eric: And it’s possible that Fakey did and has fine tuned his Dark Detectors, but if somebody is in his office, he’s going to give the excuse “Oh, this is because of all the students.” So obviously, his Foe-Glass, if we see Snape in there later, that should be that clue, exactly, and it’s a very good clue. But I think what I like the most about these Dark Detectors is they’re non-discriminatory. They’re going off because you have the biggest imposter in the room with you, who has nefarious… the Sneakoscope is almost trying to clue Harry, but the alibi for it is fantastic.

Andrew: Why does he have these in there? Just to sell the Moody image?

Micah: Yeah, sell his persona.

Eric: That’s it.

Andrew: Yeah, “I’m paranoid all the time.”

Eric: Yes.

Micah: I mean, think back to the beginning of the book with the trash cans and everything that happened when he was claiming that somebody was in his yard. He’s on edge all the time. That’s who the real Moody is as a character, right?

Eric: I like to believe that Barty Crouch didn’t have to buy anything to decorate this office; he just scooped up all the Dark Detectors that were around the perimeter of real Moody’s house.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Because I think in the book, it says, “Oh, Harry had been in this office twice, and once there were pictures of Lockhart when Lockhart was in there. When Lupin was in there, it was stuff in tanks.” But for Mad-Eye, it’s this. It’s these Dark Detectors.

Micah: [laughs] It’s a neurotic Auror who thinks there’s something around every corner.

Eric: Well, right. It just fits the character as we think it would be perfectly. Even if real Moody had come back to Hogwarts and taught next year, I doubt he would have changed the office much.

Andrew: Catherine, you saw some foreshadowing happening here, too, right?

Catherine: I did. And I guess I just missed it reading it as a child and then rereading it, but Moody mentions to Harry as he’s talking about the Foe-Glass and he’s talking about the Sneakoscopes, and he was like, “If I see the whites of their eyes, I’m going to head towards my trunk,” and he points over to the trunk. And the thing is, that’s where he’s keeping Moody, OG Moody.

[Laura laughs]

Catherine: So it’s like, “Well, that’s kind of…” and we as readers are not, especially our first time through, we’re not… “Okay, he’s got a trunk. Okay, cool. Maybe it’s an escape hatch, or maybe it’s like Newt Scamander’s in Fantastic Beasts where he’s got corridors in there or something.” But you’re not thinking he’s holding a prisoner there.

Eric: No. It works so well at setting up the most terrifying thing in this room is in this trunk. And Harry is such a good student; he’s not going to ask. He’s just going to be like, “Oh, I’d better stay away from that trunk in case something comes out and bites me.” It’s so perfect at how it… and also it fits with what we know of Barty Crouch, Jr.’s character that he’s drawing attention to it, because he thinks that he is brilliant. And it’s just like when they were in the trophy room and he says, “This is exactly what somebody must have done to Confund the Goblet of Fire.” It’s exactly that where he’s like, “Oh, and this trunk, I would absolutely go straight to it.” It’s like, wow, you can get away with a lot.

Micah: That’s exactly what I was going to say. It’s reminiscent of the conversation that he had in front of some very important people where he revealed exactly what he did, and nobody picked up on it. But let’s also remember, Harry is 14 years old, so if you’re a 14-year-old in your teacher’s office, you’re going to be pretty careful, cautious around all of the things that they have there. You’re not going to go poking in and see what they have in…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Well, maybe you would, Andrew. I could see you doing that.

Andrew: Well, no, I mean, Justin is bringing up a good point in our Discord. I mean, we’re talking about the same Harry who’s gone into the Forbidden Forest, who’s gone down and faced Fluffy and beaten Fluffy. He’s not afraid to poke around and see what’s going on.

Micah: No, but I think he’s afraid of Moody.

Andrew: Okay.

Micah: I do think there’s something in him that is fearful of Moody, not necessarily in a bad way, but in a cautious way.

Eric: Yeah, we’ll talk more about that in a moment. I did want to bring up, though… I had to look up this quote, because regarding his Foe-Glass, Moody says, “I’m not really in trouble till I see the whites of their eyes.” Something about “the whites of their eyes” rang a bell for me, so I did Google just that phrase, and it was something that was said to the Revolutionary War soldiers in the Battle of Bunker Hill. General Putnam said to the American troops, “Don’t fire till you see the whites of their eyes,” meaning the British troops, and so it was truly the closest you could get… also, muskets were very limited, but it was the range that they had to get to for most success. And so I think that this is probably an intentional reference just in general about war time, and to me it just hits all the notes. I find it to be a delicious phrase.

Andrew and Laura: Yeah.

Laura: It’s a good catch.

Andrew: MuggleCast 652: The Battle of Bunker Hill.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: “What? A history lesson?”

Eric: Or the Battle of Stoatshead Hill, but I guess that’s when they attack the Burrow.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Also just wanted to throw out: This chest that Moody has has seven locks on it. I like catching those seven and twelve references.

Eric: Interesting.

Laura: Ahh.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, that seems like a lot, but also I guess that’s paranoid Moody for you. He can’t trust one, two, three, four, five, even six locks. It has to be seven.

Eric: You’re only as strong as the weakest lock.

Andrew: True that. One lock for every Horcrux, if you’re thinking of making those.

Eric: [laughs] Isn’t seven the most magically powerful number of locks to have?

Andrew: I’ve got six on my front door. I think I need to add a seventh.

Eric: Oh my God.

Andrew: This is inspiring me.

Catherine: I also think about it with Moody as well. He’s an Auror; he’s seen some pretty scary things. Would not surprise me if he’s got some PTSD going on, so having those seven locks may make him feel a lot better than having six.

Andrew: Also, lol at Moody saying he told Dumbledore that Karkaroff and Maxime would definitely be cheating when it came to the games. To show that Dumbledore is only human, they want to beat Dumbledore that bad. They really want to show that he’s only human. This made me think, though, maybe this is some evidence that Dumbledore did ask Hagrid to bring Harry into the Forbidden Forest to show him the dragons, because could Dumbledore have thought Harry would then pass this info along to Cedric, because Harry always does the right thing? So here’s an example of Dumbledore being the puppet master – not getting involved himself, keeping his hands somewhat clean – but he suggests to Hagrid that he do it so then Harry would then pass it on to Cedric, and Dumbledore doesn’t have to tell either Harry or Cedric.

Eric: I like it. I will say, it is confirmed later that Moody did tell Hagrid to take Harry out so that he himself wouldn’t have to.

Andrew: Ohh.

Eric: But the interesting thing about this… we understand Moody says to Harry, “Play to your strengths.” But before that, he says, “I’m not going to tell you how to do the first task. I’m not going to tell you.” He says, “I’m just going to give you general advice.”

Laura: Uh-huh. [laughs]

Eric: And it’s this beautiful… right? It’s this wonderful thing where he’s like, “I’m going to tell you exactly how to do it,” and he leads him to the whole thing, like, “Use your broom…”

Micah: They’re breadcrumbs.

Eric: They’re breadcrumbs, yeah. But by saying “I’m not going to tell you,” sets him psychologically… Harry is just like, “Oh, okay, you’re not going to tell me,” and then so he doesn’t suspect anything about where this information is coming from or what Moody’s own personal interest in his success might be.

Micah: The amount of knowledge that fake Moody imparts upon the students could fill up another entire episode of MuggleCast, and we could debate… because I think we’ve gotten feedback from listeners about what’s the true intention behind what Barty Crouch, Jr. is doing here, and does it have a lot to do with how he was raised and how he was treated by his father? But again, another discussion for another time. However, Andrew, I wanted to say, this is a really great catch that you had about Dumbledore being only human, because I actually think it’s a dig by Barty Crouch, Jr. because he’s hiding in plain sight. And he’s saying Dumbledore is only human; he can’t recognize certain things, and this is a perfect example of that.

Catherine: I love that.

Andrew: On a related note, I mean, Dumbledore doesn’t ever go into Moody’s office and see all these Dark Detectors and see them spinning?

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: And he wouldn’t be like, “There’s no way you have these tuned to detect homework lies”? That would be a red flag to me if I was walking into Moody’s office.

Laura: I think we’ve established that there is little to no oversight of the professors at Hogwarts.

Andrew: And Moody can be trusted; he’s an Auror.

Laura: Yeah, and I just don’t think that Dumbledore is dropping in unannounced on these teachers to check out what it is they’re doing. I think everybody is kind of siloed, honestly.

Andrew: All right. Well, on that note, we will go check in on Moody since nobody else is at the school. We’ll be right back after these messages.

[Ad break]

Eric: So returning to the chapter, going a little bit further along, Harry gets with best friend Hermione and says, “You need to help me.” She’s exhausted; she’s been helping him all week, but he says, “We need to practice Summoning Charms,” and they do that. It’s a really wonderful thing for Hermione to do, which I feel like was actually very well covered on the all girls episode last week as well, about what Hermione puts into her relationship with Harry and how she helps him and gives him life in almost a motherly way. Speaking of mothers, though, Minerva McGonagall – who is very matronly toward Harry in the next book – has this moment that I often forget exists, in that she is able to walk Harry down to the actual first task, and it’s an interesting little scene. She says to Harry, “Now, don’t panic… just keep a cool head… we’ve got wizards standing by to control the situation if it gets out of hand… the main thing is just to do your best, and nobody will think any the worst of you… are you all right?” And she says, “You’re to go in here with the other champions,” in a bit of a shaky sort of voice, and she says, “and wait for your turn, Potter. Mr. Bagman is in there… he’ll be telling you the -“ and then she chokes up and says, “the procedure… good luck.” McGonagall cares about Harry, y’all.

Andrew: Yeah, and I think she’s also probably thinking, “My goodness, he does not have any parents to look out for him during this terrifying experience he’s about to go through.” Presumably, she knows about the dragons that they all are about to face. She feels terrible that Harry is going through yet another traumatic experience.

Eric: I do want to correct myself; that first quote is actually from Hermione, but we see the parallel between Hermione and Minerva both just wanting the best of Harry, telling him it’s going to be all right. It’s a very interesting moment we get to see because we know where McGonagall was the day that Harry’s parents died; she was at Privet Drive begging Dumbledore to find better parents for Harry. So it’s just really interesting because pre-the “Have a biscuit, Potter” scene, and pre-Career Advice “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure this kid becomes an Auror,” you just don’t get a lot of direct McGonagall/Harry action.

Laura: It makes me wonder how many times behind the scenes she has pleaded and begged with Dumbledore to do something different for Harry. [laughs] We just didn’t get to see it.

Andrew: Yeah, like stopped him from being in the tournament, you mean?

Eric: Well, yeah, knowing that McGonagall is at Hogwarts is the only reason I think that Harry’s case can’t be helped for being in the Goblet, because if there was a way to take him out of it McGonagall would have fought for that, because this is BS. Do we have any more insight into McGonagall’s state of mind here?

Catherine: You can clearly see she’s upset. She is upset that Harry could be hurt or worse. I mean, isn’t that what the Goblet…? The whole thing was like, “You could not be alive anymore,” and there is nothing she can do about it. I went and actually looked it up because I couldn’t remember, but there’s essentially a binding contract when they go into the tournament that’s like, “You can’t get out of it.” And for me, outside of Molly, McGonagall is the only stable motherly figure that Harry really has. I don’t think she would want any of her students hurt by any means, but if you think about it, those that are in the… Cedric is of legal age in the wizarding world; Harry is not, so that adds an extra layer of “He’s only 14, not even a legal adult in the terms of the wizarding world, and there’s nothing I can do to help him other than just walk him down here and just wish him luck. That’s all I can do.” And for a mother… I’m not a mother myself, but I couldn’t even imagine sending my child to do that – or someone I view as my child – off to something I can’t control. I have no control over it. It’s got to tear her up a bit.

Micah: Yeah, there’s no question the bond between Harry and McGonagall is really strong. We see it in Deathly Hallows when Amycus Carrow spits on McGonagall and it causes Harry to use one of the Unforgivable Curses as a result of that, so they are very much connected to each other. And I do think, to the points that were raised, it goes all the way back to Sorcerer’s Stone when Harry was first left on the doorstep and she is one of those motherly, grandmotherly figures for him. Because he doesn’t have anybody else. Somebody brought that up earlier.

Andrew: Trace Gatto said, “Minerva is Mom-erva.”

Everyone: Awww.

Eric: Yeah, I think it says a lot that there aren’t more motherly moments between Minerva and Harry in the books, because it shows actually McGonagall’s restraint. Despite her obvious feelings towards Harry, she is also equally committed to fairness. And she’s also… except for the thing with the Nimbus 2000 in year one. We don’t really talk about that.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: I saw a meme today where it was like, “This wand needs replacing, Weasley,” and Ron is like, “Well, can you get me a new wand like you got Harry a broom?” And she says, “No.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: And it’s like, “Oh, God, okay.” So yeah, not all Gryffindors are treated equally. But there’s this impression that McGonagall is fair in everything that she does, and just to my point earlier, I think that’s why we don’t get more motherly moments. But it’s nice because the gears are very much still turning.

Catherine: Absolutely.

Eric: Now, this discussion also leads us into talking about the stakes of this first task. McGonagall is obviously very concerned for all the points that were brought up before; Harry is underage. Not only is Harry underage, but he has the most dangerous dragon. They draw lots and he gets, of course, the Hungarian Horntail, the one that Charlie Weasley was like, “Watch out for that one, Hagrid!”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: “Literally, Hagrid, any of these other ones you’d be fine with, but watch out because the Horntail’s particularly dangerous.” I’ve got to ask the question: Why is there a difficulty difference in these dragons? Should they not either be all of the same breed? Just the idea that a 14-year-old could get the most dangerous dragon is absurd.

Andrew: I guess that’s part of the entertainment value that’s happening here. If it’s the same four dragons, it gets a little repetitive. Potentially, the four people competing in the competition could share notes and work together to figure out the best way to defeat the dragon, because we all know they’re all finding out in advance anyway, and apparently, the people running this tournament know that too. So I just think it makes it more exciting. And plus, there’s the element of drawing from the bag and seeing what dragon that you get, and that’s just the luck of the draw.

Micah: With the little number around its neck. That was… I forgot about that.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I guess if you have the same dragon, though, won’t the dragon get tired? Are you saying having four of the same type of dragon?

Eric: Well, right, so I get the colors are different and that’s exciting visually to the audience…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: … but why is the difficulty level…? The Horntail is at least doubly dangerous. Apart from breathing fire, he’s got the spikes.

Andrew: But that’s just part of the game, I think.

Micah: According to who, though? Because you’d have to assume that there are certain traits that each of these dragons have that could be just as dangerous depending on the circumstance. I think we’re just presuming that the Horntail is the most dangerous of the lot, right? Because it’s Harry’s dragon and because of all the hubbub that was made about it when Harry found in the forest, so I don’t know. I’m sure the Chinese Fireball is pretty damn dangerous. I’m sure the Welsh Green is pretty damn dangerous. I just think, as Andrew was saying earlier, it’s part of the Triwizard Tournament. It’s just part of the excitement, the draw, right? And you know what? Harry’s not supposed to be there anyway; that fourth dragon is not supposed to be there anyway.

Eric: Yeah, which one was the fourth? Which one was the one they brought up?

Laura: Probably the Horntail.

Eric: Well, they’re like, “For extra stakes, oh, a 14-year-old has joined the competition? We need to grab a fourth dragon. Quick, grab the most dangerous one!”

Laura: I don’t think it’s super easy to request a dragon for loan. You know what I mean? They’ve planned this out months in advance, presumably, and they probably had to go about finding a fourth dragon really quickly, and could only take what they could get. I don’t assume that dragons are very easy to get. [laughs]

Andrew: Didn’t we talk about them having a fourth dragon on standby in case one of the dragons was feeling sick that day or something like that?

Eric: That would have been interesting.

Andrew: It would make sense for them to have a backup dragon for any number of reasons.

Laura: The dragon called out sick?

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: No, I feel bad for all of these dragons, side note.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: But also, the dragons are on a reservation, or the dragons are kept in captivity, because otherwise it would be a breaking of the Statute of Secrecy, so they are kept in places like where Charlie Weasley works. And so I do think that they wouldn’t have had to go wrangle one; they would have had to bring a fourth one probably last minute, and that to me makes the argument that one of them is significantly more challenging. Maybe it’s that the other three dragons, whoever they were, were more evenly matched, but then we get this Horntail, which just… I’m sorry, again, Micah, you can’t convince me that the Common Welsh Green, so called, is as scary as even the Chinese FireBall. You can’t.

Micah: All right, you go tickle a sleeping Common Welsh Green and tell me how it goes for you.

Eric: Oh, I think I’ll survive more likely than if it were the Horntail. But Catherine, you have solved this to within an inch of our discussion here. I’m so happy with the solution that you’ve presented as far as points and the dragons’ difficulty; please share.

Catherine: Okay, so I’m a huge video game player, and you know how you have different levels of the difficulty? You’ve got easy, medium, master mode, whatever. And so I was like, “If they wanted to have different dragons, shouldn’t each dragon be worth so many additional points to your score?” So again, like playing on a different level of a video game, so the Horntail being a higher score, seemingly the most dangerous dragon, so you would get four points added to your total score. Versus the Common Welsh Green, maybe in the form that they have, it’s the least difficult, so it’d be more like easy mode, but you get one additional point.

Andrew: Right. I like that.

Catherine: It made sense in my video game brain.

Andrew: That makes a lot of sense.

Laura: That makes total sense.

Catherine: If you’re not wanting to have it where we’re all facing the same dragon, or whether it be the same dragon repeatedly, or there’s four Common Welsh Greens or whatever. That was my thought process.

Laura: I love it. I was thinking similarly to Catherine, although I think Catherine’s approach is a lot more efficient than mine. But I was almost thinking of the way that when you see a lot of different kinds of competitions happening, the judges will rate the competitors based on a number of categories like difficulty, creativity, technique, and they get different individual scores for all of those and the score that they ultimately give them is a composite score. So I was like, “Maybe they’re doing that,” but then I got to the end of the chapter, and I remembered, “Oh, no, that’s not what they’re doing. That’s not it.”

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: It’s funny because we heard Karkaroff in a previous chapter talk about how many months of plannings, all these meetings that they had about how to do this tournament, and he gives Harry a four. And you can just tell that every single judge in this competition has no supervision. There are no rules, there is no repercussions, you can just do whatever you want and show blatant favoritism. I know it’s skipping ahead a little bit, but literally all this planning and no, every judge is their own island. There is no summing up of the total scores at all. It’s a miracle anybody wins with all the other schools behaving the way Karkaroff might.

Andrew: Yeah, I did find it interesting that Bagman… so after the dragons are pulled, nobody’s having a reaction like, “Oh my gosh, we’re facing dragons? Wow, I’m so surprised!”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: They don’t even try to fake it. Now sure, maybe they were a little… you could argue they were stressed, but we also know that they knew going into this they’d be facing dragons. So I’m surprised Bagman didn’t say, like, “Oh, I’m surprised you guys aren’t reacting, or looking scared,” or something like that. I guess it just speaks to the fact that even Bagman and the people organizing this tournament know that the secret’s been out and the secrets already get out. It just sat weird to me; everything is normal. If I were Bagman, I’d be like, “Eh? So what do you guys think? Huh? Huh?”

[Micah laughs]

Catherine: I’ve always thought Ludo Bagman was a little dense, in my opinion.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Catherine: He was not the most impressive of the Ministry of Magic, in my opinion. But so it might have gone over his head that no one was having a reaction.

Andrew: Okay, okay.

Eric: There is definitely a reason why his character wasn’t adapted into the movies, I think, and it’s maybe due to some of these similar flaws.

Micah: The movie adaptation, though, of this particular scene – to kind of answer that question – I thought it was really well done, because you did get that emotional reaction from the four champions as they were drawing the dragons out of the bag, and you had Barty Crouch, Sr., “Chinese Fireball, oooo.”

Andrew: Oooo.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: And Harry muttering under his breath, “Hungarian Horntail,” and Barty Crouch, Sr. reacting to that almost; “Wait, what did you say, boy?”

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: And so it was much better done. You didn’t need the character of Ludo there. It kind of falls flat in comparison; this moment in the actual book falls flat by comparison, I would say.

Eric: Yeah. And speaking of Bagman, he says to Harry – here’s a direct quote from the book – “Got a plan?” Then he lowers his voice conspiratorially; he says, “Because I don’t mind sharing a few pointers, if you’d like them, you know. I mean, you’re the underdog here, Harry… anything I can do to help…” It’s like, okay. I mean, we see what Bagman gives Harry, but it’s just… cheating is rampant. That’s literally all this is. That’s why he’s not surprised anyone knows about the dragons. It’s literally what Moody says. Fakey tells Harry the other professors absolutely would have told their kids to cheat because that’s just the history of this, or the proud tradition of this tournament. It seems right with Bagman offering to help Harry at the last minute.

Andrew: And I think Harry rejected it because he wants things to stay fair, and for him to get some last minute info from Ludo would make things unfair. Now, that said, they’ve all been preparing in their own ways anyway, so I’m not sure what Ludo could have given him that would have definitely given him a leg up, so maybe it wouldn’t have made things more unfair.

Laura: Ludo is probably placing bets on it as well and trying to rig things in his favor.

Eric: Yeah. He owes the goblins a lot of Galleons.

Andrew: Maybe Ludo… I doubt it, because Charlie was having a hard time controlling the dragons, but maybe he’s got some secret hack that automatically gets the dragon to move off the eggs, like you press the fourth toe on the left leg…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah!

Andrew: The dragon flies away. Some secret button.

Laura: Like the Whomping Willow?

Andrew: [laughs] Right, the Whomping Willow.

Eric: I honestly love it. It is very Willow-esque. I love that idea, Andrew, though, because it’s like at this point, this late in the game, what advice would Bagman really have been able to give Harry, especially knowing Harry’s got the most dangerous dragon? Sorry, Micah, I’m going to keep saying that. It’s the most dangerous dragon, and I just think what could he possibly have told Harry? It’s not like Harry can go off and learn the Summoning Charm if he hadn’t already prepared for a day and a half straight of spell casting. No advice Bagman gives Harry would be implementable.

Micah: To go back to the comment that was made about betting by Laura, I think there’s actually a comment that Bagman makes while he’s commentating – was it about covering the spread? There’s something at the very end of the first task that he says that would lead you to believe that he’s very much playing the odds on his own. I have to look it up. But the one thing I did want to bring up is pulling Harry aside, trying to give him this advice, trying to give him this edge… does it raise any suspicions on our end? Does it move him up the suspect board a little bit about dropping his name in the Goblet of Fire? Because why else would you want to help Harry?

Andrew: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, you mentioned the gambling, as did Laura; maybe it’s just as simple as that. And by the way, the line from Bagman was, “Will you look at that! Our youngest champion is quickest to get his egg! Well, this is going to shorten the odds on Mr. Potter!”

Micah: Shorten the odds, there you go.

Laura: Ohh, yeah, there it is.

Andrew: So yeah, I guess that answers your question. [laughs] It’s all about…

Eric: Totally peeing himself. And from one Quidditch player to another, when he sees Harry on his broom, I bet he just loves that as well.

Andrew: All right, well, we’ll get to Harry’s relationship with Ron and that come back in a moment, but first, we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back.

[Ad break]

Eric: So coming back off of that lovely ad break, we have another return, and it is Ron coming back to Harry, and it’s a beautiful scene where I think we could have gotten a little bit more out of it. But Harry has really been wanting to have Ron back, and there’s this moment earlier in the chapter in Divination where his and Ron’s eyes meet for the first time in several weeks, and they still can’t look at each other; they still can’t talk to each other. But finally, after Harry succeeds in what I think is the most phenomenal showing of the first task, Ron comes in and actually apologizes, or he would apologize if Harry doesn’t say “It’s nothing” and then he just totally lets it go.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, he was ready to jump on him.

Eric: I would have absolutely loved to have seen what Ron would have said, but all he manages to get out is “I think you’d have to be a nutter to really put your name in,” so that’s all that Harry needs to just be like, “Okay, we’re friends. Hermione sucked so badly. It was horrible without you.”

[Catherine laughs]

Andrew: I’m willing to forgive Ron because Ron is riding high on Harry’s win; I think he has a fresh appreciation for Harry.

Eric: That’s a good point.

Andrew: I’m sure Ron was very stressed about Harry being in this task too. Deep down, of course, he was going to get back with Harry at some point; the question was just when, and what better opportunity than when he’s so excited that Harry did phenomenal in the first task?

Eric: I think it really does take a life or death situation, the way… the thing that I thought of this go-around was that Ron’s realization mirrors Molly’s when everyone goes off to the Quidditch World Cup and she has that shouting match at Fred and George about their joke shop or whatever, and they come back to the Burrow and she’s in tears and says, “What if the last thing I ever said to you was…?” whatever it was. And so I think Ron has that moment where he’s like, “If Harry had died -” because it’s very realistic that Harry could have died when he faced his dragon “- I would have not been supporting him as a friend at that time.”

Andrew: Yeah. That’s a great parallel.

Eric: It really drives it home.

Laura: I love that. Yeah, just imagining Ron being in the stands and watching his best friend, who he’s been fighting with for weeks, nearly face his death. I mean, to be a fly in the stands, I guess we could say, [laughs] to actually just see the evolution of Ron in those moments go from still being really pissed at Harry to all of a sudden seeing what he’s actually up against…

Eric: Makes it real.

Laura: … and how jarring it would be. Yeah, that’s something that I would also like to see in a TV show, more of an introspective focus on that kind of thing.

Catherine: To add to that, I love Ron as a character, I do. I think the movies do not do him justice sometimes. But he’s very stubborn, as we’ve seen, and we also know that he wants to be the best.

Andrew: [sings] “Like no one ever was…”

[Catherine and Eric laugh]

Catherine: Exactly. I mean, case in point, harkening back to the first book, what does he see in the Mirror of Erised? “I’ve got the Quidditch cup, and I’m the House boy, and I’m a prefect.” He wants to be the best. While I think he never… he loves Harry; we clearly see it throughout the book. He does. I mean, you don’t put yourself in situations if you don’t love your friends, especially dangerous situations. But we see his jealousy throughout the entire series. Every time you turn around, there’s something he’s mad at. I mean, and if you’re… to use one of my favorite phrases, the connecting with threads, I mean, think about to Deathly Hallows when he’s got the locket. Why does he leave? He’s so jealous that Hermione is with Harry and everything, so I mean, that’s amplifying his jealousy even more. That is a common thread throughout these books. But I also agree; I think it does take seeing Harry compete in this task and realizing, “Oh no, I could’ve not had my best friend anymore” to shake him out of that jealousy and come to the senses.

Micah: Yeah, I think that dragon served up a big piece of humble pie to Ron.

Catherine: Absolutely.

Laura: Agreed.

Micah: He’s got some work to do. I’m not going to lie, I’m not back on the Ron train just yet.

Andrew: Oh, okay. Gotta win Micah over, still.

Eric: Some residual disappointment there. Yeah, well, it’s just… I love that you can, though, see it coming. Ron has been reminded, as Harry has, what makes their friendship special. I’m sure… Harry has been feeling that Hermione couldn’t offer the same thing, and Ron, he catches Harry joking in Divination about “Glad I’m going to die quickly, Trelawney,” and you see that almost smile, or Harry notices the almost smile, and it’s like Ron is being reminded just as Harry is that things are more fun when they’re friends. And so it’s really lovely that you have that Divination scene leading up to the first task, and then the payoff is here.

Andrew: And it’s cool to be friends with Harry. Maybe this reminded him of that as well. I think I was alluding to this a couple weeks ago, too; he should be… I get that Ron is young, so he doesn’t really see the full picture, but he should be really lucky to have Harry, the Chosen One, as his bestie. And when you’re friends with a celebrity, that’s what’s going to happen sometimes. They’re going to be getting a lot of the spotlight, but you know that Harry is a good person, so just learn to roll with it.

Micah: Yeah, I mean, that’s what happens when I hang out with Andrew and everybody comes over and wants pictures and autographs.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: And it’s annoying, but somehow I cope.

Andrew: Yeah. You cope, and then I go and defeat a dragon, and you’re like, “Oh, he’s cool. I can roll with this.” So Ron and Harry are besties now, and Ron fills him in on what happened with the other players?

Eric: Yes, and that’s another great thing: Ron is delivering the play by play, and it’s great to see Ron engaged, but Harry wants to know… this is what they bond over constantly, sport and this kind of… not gossip, but it’s just a perfect fit to have them back together. And I did want to ask – because I gush about how Harry handled this whole situation, it’s just wild – but was there another champion whose performance we also really liked? And here’s a small recap of what everyone did: so Cedric Diggory transformed a rock into a Labrador dog to distract the dragon. It sort of worked, according to Ron, but halfway through the dragon changed its mind and Cedric got burned. Fleur Delacour managed to subdue her dragon somehow, but wasn’t counting on its snores to also emit fire, so she got burned. And Viktor Krum hit the dragon in the eyes with a spell, kind of confusing it, but it went around in a rage and then crushed some of the eggs! So all the champions got their eggs, but none of them, including Harry, were unscathed.

Andrew: Which was your favorite, Catherine?

Catherine: I liked Fleur’s subduing the dragon, and I almost… I was thinking about it today; I was wondering if… because she’s part Veela, and I was like, “I wonder if because she’s another magical being, if her Veela-ness was able to come out and she was able to put it to sleep somehow?” I mean, and that’s pretty powerful. They talk about how dragon hide skin is so tough and that’s why their gloves are made out of it for Herbology and stuff. That’s pretty powerful magic.

Eric: That’s really an interesting point.

Catherine: I would like to see that Maxed, personally. To actually see…

Andrew: She said it! She said the thing!

[“Max that” sound effect plays]

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Andrew is ready with the button!

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Nobody brought the Pokéflute? Come on.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Catherine: I was thinking Pokéflute earlier when you said like, “What would Bagman do?” Like he’d slip him a Pokéflute and be like, “Here, put the dragon to sleep.” But I mean, that would be… I think it’d be cool – if we do get our TV show – to see all of these done, because we are only in Harry’s head. It’d be nice to actually see more.

Laura: Right. Yeah, I love what you said there, Catherine, about Fleur because I think Ron says that she put the dragon in some kind of trance, is that right? And it made me think of the way that Ron reacts when he’s around Fleur and when he’s been around Veela before, so I think you’re right. There’s some kind of crossover of whatever magic that is.

Catherine: And her wand has the Veela hair in it as well.

Eric: That’s interesting.

Laura: Yep, great call.

Catherine: Because I went and looked that up too. I was like, “Doesn’t it…?” And according to the wiki, it’s her grandmother’s hair, so maybe there’s that extra connection on top of that. Not only is she a Veela but it’s that lineage as well. That was my thought. I don’t know what the author was thinking about there.

Eric: And it’s a lady dragon, so that’s interesting.

Micah: Can I ask you a question, though, to Catherine and to Laura? Coming off the heels of last week’s episode got me thinking reading this particular chapter because we know that Cedric gets burned, right, on his actual skin, but Fleur only gets her skirt burned, and I just feel like the way that that was written, is there anything more to read into there? Is there a message that the author is trying to send?

Laura: Oh, that’s a really interesting question.

Micah: Maybe not. Maybe I’m thinking more…

Eric: I like the question too, yeah.

Laura: No, I do like the question. I’m trying to consider it. I guess my first…

Micah: Like Fleur is not tough enough to have burns like Cedric or Krum; it’s got to be her skirt.

Eric: Or it’s not practical, yeah. To wear a flowy skirt to battle is really…

Andrew: It’s a bad decision. “What was she thinking, picking something with a skirt?” That type of thing?

Eric: Could be.

Micah: Both of those things.

Laura: I also wonder, do we get Fleur’s and Cedric scores? Because I know we find out the placement of Harry and Krum, right?

Catherine: I don’t think… I have my book; we could find out!

Andrew: Oh, you have the illustrated edition.

Catherine: Oh, yes.

Laura: What I’m wondering is if Fleur is in fourth place after this, I call BS, because she didn’t get her flesh burned, and she actually had a pretty effective approach for dealing with this dragon. So in my opinion, she should definitely not be dead last, and I’m wondering if we get an indication of where she ranks right now.

Eric: As far as… yeah, I don’t know about right now, but standings-wise we do get an update because Fleur has to sit out the second task; she can’t handle it psychologically, which that’s probably saying something about Fleur, but the explanation… everything to do with points in this book is just leading up to the Harry and Cedric tie. From a plot standpoint, I can’t get too deep into what does the scoring mean? Because I’m just like, at the end, it has to be Harry and Cedric.

Catherine: Quick look is no, we do not get any scores.

Laura: Okay.

Catherine: Other than the fact that… which we’ll get to in a minute in the thing about Karkaroff being unfair towards Harry. But no, there was no score for Fleur. But I agree, Laura, she doesn’t need to be dead last for that, exactly. She didn’t get a single burn at all. If we’re going by that, Cedric should be last; he’s the one that got burned up more. Poor guy. God bless him.

[Everyone laughs]

Catherine: Bless his heart.

Eric: Bless him, he tries.

Andrew: It is interesting to me that everybody had a different way of tackling this, and also everybody kind of sort of hacked it? Nobody fought the dragon except for maybe Krum because he shot the spell at the dragon’s eye, but everybody else… Harry with the Firebolt, Cedric with turning a rock into a dog and having the dog distract…

Laura: That’s the most random one.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, it’s hacky.

Micah: I like that, though. It’s trying to distract, right? It’s a decoy.

Andrew: I want a fight, though. Fight, fight, fight.

Laura: But also, honestly, that’s real life. Hacking it.

Andrew: Fake it till you make it.

Micah: Hack it.

Laura: Honestly, the older I get, the more situations I find myself in, it’s like, “What can you do to get the thing done efficiently and mostly correctly?” [laughs]

Andrew: So you can get it over with as soon as possible.

Laura: Yes!

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: It would have blown my teenage mind when I was first reading this book to learn that adults don’t have their ish together and aren’t ever… there’s a plan for everything and an escape plan… like, it would have blown my mind. Now being an adult, being mid 30s and being like, “How much of it is just hacking it?”

Laura: Yeah, most of it. [laughs]

Micah: Imagine the… all of these students were supposed to go into this task without prior knowledge of what they were about to face.

Catherine: There’s no way.

Micah: So they were able to hone in on what it was they wanted to do to try and get the egg away from the dragon. Now, this might not be a popular statement here, but I never liked the way that Harry got the egg from the dragon. I thought summoning his broom… for a guy who just learned how to summon days ago, 24 hours ago, whatever it was…

Eric: Right.

Micah: It’s a cop out. And how far away is the Firebolt? It’s up in Gryffindor tower. He’s down in the forest. The distance, the magic that that would require… he was only summoning things from across a room, not from across an entire field all the way out in the school.

Andrew: But he was determined. I think Hermione was driving that home. “You’ve got to be determined.”

Micah: Okay, so how far away can you summon your vibrating broom, Andrew, right now if you wanted to?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Let me try right now. Hold on. I’ve got my MuggleCast wand right here, actually.

Eric: Andrew is on his broom right now. Joke’s on you.

Andrew: It’s only a few feet away; it won’t be too difficult. I agree with you, but I think that what bothers me most is that he’s bringing in an outside object, like he’s calling it in. You should only be able to fight to complete the task with the things that you have in your possession currently, or that are in the environment, like Cedric turning…

Micah: That’s a good point, yep.

Andrew: That’s what bothered me, I remember, when I first read this book.

Eric: Well, I think that the reason the broom is all the way up in the castle is for the suspense of did it work? Did it not work? Did it work? Did it not work? It makes it very exciting, because very reasonably, Harry’s Firebolt could have been in Hagrid’s broom closet. We know that the gamekeeper… we know that there’s spare brooms and training brooms that are just in a cupboard on the grounds somewhere, and the Firebolt, for all they know… this task could have been done on the Quidditch pitch with that broom closet right there and Harry’s remarkable Summoning Charm wouldn’t have necessarily been that much cooler. It’s just for dramatic effect that the thing was all the way up there. So I don’t know; I give Harry a lot of credit with this. I think that if all you’re given is your wand, you do exactly what Moody says: You play to your strengths. It would have been the same if Harry learned transfiguration and transfigured a rock into a broom instead of a dog. It would have been the same thing of using what you have there. I think it still counts.

Micah: It just falls flat for me, though, because you also have two other participants in this tournament who are exceptional Quidditch players, so the whole idea of playing to your strengths… Cedric doesn’t do it. Krum doesn’t do it. But Harry does it? And you can argue Harry’s strength; I mean, he’s a great Quidditch player, don’t get me wrong, but Defense Against the Dark Arts is probably more of a practical strength than flying is for him.

Eric: I think the issue is, though, again…

Micah: Rushed. It was all rushed. This is what happens when it’s rushed.

[Andrew and Catherine laugh]

Eric: Well, no, the vector is his age again, because what Hermione says is they have never learned to transfigure anything alive yet at this point. By year seven, you absolutely would have done that at Hogwarts, but Harry just… the Summoning Charm represents the maximum possible skill level of magic that Harry at his current age could possibly do and still do well enough that it’s reliable, and that’s why I like it. It’s truly Harry reaching up and touching higher magic, like when he learns the Patronus Charm. Harry is good at this stuff.

Catherine: I mean, would they even have learned Confundus by now?

Eric: Probably not!

Catherine: Right, because I was thinking that maybe that’s what Fleur used to confuse the dragon or whatever. But I mean, that’s a higher level skill, and again, we have to think the age disparity between the three other champions and Harry. But I kind of do agree; I thought the Firebolt thing was kind of a cop-out too.

Eric: Aw, man.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Thank you. I mean, summon the egg! Why are you summoning your broom? Summon the egg. It would have been over in ten seconds.

Andrew: Oh, that’s a good point.

Laura: Ohh, see, now I’m with you, Micah.

Andrew: There must be a charm.

Eric: Well, how you gonna get the dragon off the egg?

Andrew: There was that…

Micah: Summoning it.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: You can’t summon a living thing. This isn’t Fantastic Beasts and the Niffler.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: No, the egg is not living.

Laura: The egg’s not living.

Eric: Well… oh, yeah, “Accio egg.” Well, you know what? It would definitely smash.

Andrew: Summon the dragon and get it off the egg, and then you go grab the egg. [laughs]

Micah: Just move around a little bit.

Laura: You say, “Accio gold egg.”

Andrew: Under dragon butt.

Eric: Wait, since the egg is gold… you could just get a Niffler, since the egg is golden.

Micah: Now you’re thinking.

Eric: Let a Niffler loose, wait five minutes, and then they’ll bring it back to you.

Laura: But then what if the Niffler gets hurt?

Eric: The Niffler won’t get hurt.

Micah: Casualty of war.

[Laura laughs]

Catherine: But that’s when you say, “Accio Niffler,” or “Accio golden egg” and the Niffler will have it in its pouch already.

Andrew: And certainly that wouldn’t stop Cedric. I mean, he’s sacrificing a dog here.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: And I’ll circle back on this in a moment.

Eric: We were going to bring this up at some point in this episode I’m sure anyway, but how do we feel…? Because I like the broom thing. I think it’s an elegant solution; I don’t think it’s a cop-out. But I also am probably alone in liking the adaptation to the movie where they chase each other around Hogwarts.

Catherine: I’m with you, Eric.

Micah: I think you had to. In the movie, I think you absolutely… I didn’t like it, but I think you had to do it. If you were the director, you had to do it, because if you’re just going to do what happens in the book, it’s just not exciting.

Andrew: It’s cinematic.

Catherine: It’s not as visually pleasing. Because I mean, I thought… when I was reading this chapter, I was like, “That’s all he did?” I was like, “What happened? I thought the dragon…” and then because I’ve not read the book for so long, I literally thought the movie-ism was right. I was like, “Doesn’t the dragon chase him or do something?”

Eric: Right.

Catherine: I’m like, “Okay, yeah, it snaps a little bit. Okay.”

Eric: Well, there’s a level of deftness to what Harry has to do, because the dragon is a mother that is going to guard its children, and so Harry is flying at a level that’s neck and neck with the dragon. The dragon is predisposed to not go after him, and so it’s actually very, very skillful for Harry to have to rock back and forth and get it out of its own comfort zone, to make the dragon essentially forget that it’s protecting its eggs, to then dive. I just think Harry is a genius, and this is extremely good for him. Anyway, Harry does not have a friend in Karkaroff. Karkaroff gives him probably a higher score than you would, Micah, but Karkaroff gives him a four.

Micah: I wouldn’t take away points; I just think the way it was written was kind of a cop-out.

Andrew: So yeah, the scoring system, very unfair. I mean, there’s just… for Karkaroff to give him a four, for Karkaroff to be judging… [laughs]

Eric: There’s that.

Andrew: For any of these people to be judging, with the exception of Ludo, is pretty nuts.

Micah: None of them should be. None of the headmasters should be judging. And I honestly think the Goblet of Fire should be the one to determine the score; that would have taken away a lot of the bias that we see from all of these participants.

Eric: That’s interesting.

Micah: Because Ludo is also giving scores based on what he’s betting on the side. [laughs]

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Oh, this is all so messed up. I initially was like, “The Sorting Hat, Micah, really? Can’t we come up with another object?” But there has been this recurring theme in Goblet of Fire Chapter by Chapter thus far where we’re giving jobs to the Sorting Hat because he’s so bored the rest of the year when he’s not Sorting. By the end of the series, I hope we have a long list of tasks that the Sorting Hat can handle throughout the year.

Micah: No, no, the Goblet. I’m saying the Goblet needs to do it.

Andrew: Ohh, oh.

Micah: The Goblet caused all this to begin with. But the Sorting Hat could, too.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: It would have brought the Goblet to greater prominence throughout the book. And I actually really like that suggestion, because if you think about it, for a book called “The Goblet of Fire,” the Goblet of Fire exists at the beginning of the book and that’s it. After the names are drawn, it goes into its casket. But the idea of an impartial judge, truly that.

Andrew: So the Goblet’s going to spit out its score? Because it doesn’t have a mouth like the Sorting Hat. We need a third or fourth. So the Sorting Hat is a judge. The Goblet is a judge. What are the other two?

Catherine: I say pull out the Mirror of Erised.

[Everyone laughs]

Catherine: Make them walk up and get their scores.

Andrew: Starting to look like Beauty and the Beast.

Eric: Everyone’s going to get a perfect score.

Catherine: But that would be the impartial… everybody gets a perfect score and then you have everything else.

Andrew: And the Pensieve. [laughs] That’s the fourth judge.

Eric: Well, I will say, I think everyone’s pretty much evenly matched. Harry gets hurt by the spike tail. Everyone gets slightly burned or damages the eggs. There’s a flaw in everyone’s behavior, but nobody deserves a four. This is me coming for Karkaroff right now. A four is extremely low, and somebody should have stopped him. That is absolutely unacceptable for that to be… they shouldn’t even have fours. [laughs]

Laura: I wonder what he gave Cedric and Fleur.

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Catherine: I’m telling you, the TV show. You make it up. Just saying.

Laura: I know. Give us answers.

Catherine: Exactly. Give us the answers we need.

Eric: So yeah, and Bagman, on the other hand, gives a ten, and it’s just like Andrew said, he’s betting on the return. So it’s so clearly biased and flawed, but it is always fun to just examine all the ways in which this is just bogus.

Andrew: It’s fascinating. It’s fascinating.

Catherine: And I was thinking about it – since I do teach college – is there not some kind of rubric? If they’re going to have the headmasters – as they shouldn’t, and I fully agree, it should be completely no one related to them at all – is there not some kind of rubric they need to follow? Or some standard guide of these are the basics for… you get this many points for the amount of time to complete the task, the difficulty of the magic performed, etc.

Eric: Yep. Your dragon.

Catherine: And I was thinking… yeah, the dragon type, etc. But then I was also taking it back to… throwing it to the Muggle world, we’ve got the Olympics coming up. In gymnastics, there are judges that specifically judge the difficulty of a routine or a maneuver, and then there are judges that specifically talk about the execution of the routine, so there’s, like, 12 judges going on, and then how they score is a combined score of what the score for the difficulty and then their execution of the routine, minus any mistakes. So I’m like, why is that not a thing?

Eric: Yeah, and it’s weighted and it’s fair, and everybody gets the same exact treatment. It essentially rules out judge bias.

Catherine: Exactly.

Micah: You know who’s going to be super pissed after this? Moody.

[Catherine laughs]

Andrew: Moody.

Micah: At Karkaroff.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh, that’s funny because Karkaroff directly hinders maybe Harry’s chances of getting to the final. Moody sees that and has to step up his game to either psych Karkaroff out or continue helping Harry along. Pretty interesting.

Odds & Ends

Eric: Well, I believe that may wrap up our main discussion, so let’s move on to the Odds & Ends of the chapter. So something I thought was very fun is it’s easy to forget, with the movie adaptations being fresher in our minds, but in Hogwarts in the books, the wizards years one through seven have pointy wizards caps.

Andrew: Aww.

Eric: I thought that the only pointy wizard’s cap reference was at the end of the first book when everyone’s throwing off… it’s very French Philosopher’s Stone cover, if you’ve seen it; they all have the pointy caps there. But it turns out the opening sentence of this chapter is, “Harry got up on Sunday morning and dressed so inattentively that it was a while before he realized he was trying to pull his hat -“ hello, hello “- onto his foot instead of his sock,” so his hat is still a part of Harry’s uniform in year four.

Laura: I will say, this is one of the movie-isms that I kind of liked, that they got away from the caps.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Because they look goofy. They just look goofy.

Andrew: They’re classic, though.

Laura: Imagine sitting in a classroom trying to see your professor teach but three rows of kids in front of you all are wearing pointy wizard’s caps.

Catherine: You just have this hat doing this, moving back and forth.

Eric: Here’s a catch: Viktor Krum comes into the library. Hermione is devastated; she’s like, “Oh, here he is again.” Apparently, Viktor Krum has been coming to the library, and what Hermione does not like about it is that his whole entourage gaggle of girls comes, and they’re like, “Ahh, Viktor,” whatever. It is said that Viktor comes right in and casts a surly look over at Hermione and Harry, and then goes about with his day, but my question is: Is this an early indicator that Viktor Krum might be coming to the library for Hermione? Is he trying to catch Hermione’s…?

Laura: Yep.

Catherine: Absolutely.

Eric: Okay. I’m glad you guys agree.

Laura: Yeah, that’s I’m pretty sure the only reason he goes.

Andrew: Ayy.

Eric: Look at that, though. He’s smitten.

Micah: I think the look is for Harry specifically.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Micah: I think he’s always surly, so I don’t think that that is…

Eric: Oh, yeah. There’s that. But it’s a clever way of saying that Viktor is looking at Hermione.

Laura: Well, speaking of being in the library, this was just a quick thing – it was a blink and you’ll miss it moment – Harry tosses aside a book called Men Who Love Dragons Too Much.

Andrew: Uh-oh.

[Catherine and Laura laugh]

Andrew: This reminded me of a certain Dumbledore, if you catch my drift, and Micah’s favorite animal.

Laura: Right? [laughs] And I just… what is that book about? And Harry, how do you think that book is going to help you?

Andrew: Hey, he’s looking for any help he can get.

Eric: He’s looking for dragon facts.

Micah: Coming up on bonus MuggleCast…

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: I’m sorry. It just tickled me.

Andrew: What did you catch, Catherine?

Catherine: I had two things. The first, go back to Harry in the tent and everyone else has gone and he’s waiting – Krum has left – and he’s alone in the tent and he’s sitting there waiting. And I forgot exactly what it said in the book, but essentially, he’s almost… he feels out of his body. The crowd is away from him, and the noise in the distance… and I was reading it, and again, from the psychology perspective, I was like, “He’s dissociating. He’s having an out of body experience.” And I’m sure we’ve all had those moments under extreme high stress where you feel out of your own body, out of space. Everything around you is very different. And that’s very common when you’re in a very high stress environment, and I’m like, “Well, yeah, I would be pretty freaked out if I’m having to go fight a dragon.”

Andrew: Yeah, you also experience this feeling when something shocking has happened out of the blue.

Catherine: Exactly, yeah. 100%. Those high moments of stress or anxiety can make us kind of come out of our own selves for a minute. Fortunately, he snaps back in and he’s like, “Okay, I’ve got to do this.”

Andrew: Good catch.

Catherine: But still, I would not have caught that reading it as a teenager, but now as an adult and having stressful moments, experiences, yeah, I know exactly how that feels.

Andrew: It’s a relatable moment.

Catherine: I don’t know how it is to fight a dragon, but I’ve had those moments of stress and anxiety.

Andrew: You’ve been close to that type of situation, fighting a dragon.

Catherine: Yeah, all the time.

Andrew: Fighting a fly. Scary stuff.

Catherine: Exactly. And then I also caught another dragon connection, an interaction dragon connection, since Book 4 is smack dab in the middle of our seven. In Book 1 we’re introduced to dragons through Norbert, and then the fourth book we have the first task is dragons, and then in Book 7, we escape on a dragon from Gringotts.

Laura: Oh, that’s beautiful.

Catherine: And then also, connecting 4 and 7 with flying with a dragon. So Harry is on his Firebolt flying with a dragon, and then they escape flying on a dragon, so that was my connection.

Laura: No, those are really great threads. Good job.

Catherine: Thank you!

Eric: Micah, you had an idea that kind of blew my mind.

Micah: Yeah, so keeping in mind that we now know that Rita is an Animagus, there’s this line for when Harry is in Divination. It says, “He managed to make a fly zoom straight into his hand, though he wasn’t entirely sure that was owing to his prowess at Summoning Charms – perhaps the fly was just stupid.” And we all know Rita is a beetle, but it’s probably very easy to misconstrue fly for beetle. And the way that J.K. Rowling chooses to write this moment just made me think that perhaps this was Rita, saying, “Oh, well, perhaps the fly was just stupid.” Well, no, the fly’s not stupid. The fly’s going right into Harry’s hand. You can make what you want of that, and a smart fly would do that in order to stay with Harry and get a story out of it.

Andrew and Catherine: Yeah.

Eric: I like it.

Laura: Yeah, Max that.

[Catherine and Micah laugh]

Andrew: I just wanted to say plus one to Trelawney for predicting that people in July were going to be in great danger of sudden violent deaths. She’s not exactly wrong here; Harry was in great danger of a sudden violent death. Now, this also was an easy prediction to make, especially if she knew what the first task would entail, but I like seeing her make these predictions that end up being accurate. And also just wanted to say I found Pomfrey’s reaction at the end of the first task interesting. Her quote is, “‘Dragons!’ she said in a disgusted tone, pulling Harry inside.” She seems to be almost shocked that the kids just had to face dragons. Did she not know about this in advance? Which I feel like would be a major issue when you are the school nurse. You have to be ready for these kids when they are inevitably probably attacked by dragons.

Eric: I agree with you. This is absolutely crazy.

Andrew: Or she’s still not over it after she found out weeks ago, but boy does that seem like an oversight.

Micah: Yeah, I think it’s more of her just commentary on the situation. I would hope that she knew in advance, but knowing how much the school is a security nightmare, I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t. But she’s very much… rightly so, but she’s always the one that’s complaining about how awful the school is and how much in danger the students always are.

Eric: I can see Dumbledore coming to her 30 minutes before, like, [imitating Dumbledore] “Hi, Poppy. You doing anything?”

Andrew: [imitating Dumbledore] “Bee tee dubs, we’re going to have the kids face some dragons.”

Eric: [imitating Madam Pomfrey] “Dragons?!”

Andrew: [imitating Dumbledore] “Yeah, they don’t know what they’re getting into, allegedly.”

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, just the way she exclaimed “Dragons!” made me feel like… you only say it that way if you just found out, [laughs] I think.

Eric: Yeah. I like to think there’s a whole bunch of Healers straight from St. Mungo’s, because also, a dragon burn is surely worse than just a stovetop burn. Dragon fire, it has to be extra, extra bad.

Micah: Well, not unless it’s from a Hungarian Horntail, right, Eric?

Eric: Right, that’s double. Yeah, that’s double as bad.

Micah: From the other dragons, it’s just nothing.

Eric: Hungarian Horntail fire actually has spikes when it comes out.

Micah: Ohh, okay.

MVP of the Week

Andrew: It’s time for MVP of the Week!

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: I’m going to flip things around for me this week. I’m awarding an un-MVP of the Week, maybe a Worst Valuable Player: Cedric, for sacrificing a rock turned dog in the name of winning the task. Come on, man. I don’t care if that dog was just a rock. That’s not cool.

Eric: I am a fellow dog lover, but the dragon didn’t go for the dog in the end, so the dog rock is fine.

Andrew: Eugh. Too risky.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Yeah, I mean, the dragon could probably sense that it wasn’t a dog. He was like, “That’s a rock.” [laughs]

Eric: Ohh.

Andrew: It fooled the dragon for a minute.

Micah: Maybe he should have tried that in the graveyard. Am I right, Andrew?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Whoaaa.

Catherine: Wow. Wow.

Laura: Ouch. [laughs]

Eric: All right, I’m giving my MVP to Cedric – just kidding…

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: … to Hermione for taking on the hopeless case of Harry Potter learning to do magic and helping him master Summoning Charms in just one day. It really can’t have been easy, and he cannot possibly as long as he lives thank her enough for what she did.

Laura: And he doesn’t, honestly.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Eric: Instead, yeah.

Micah: So Eric does.

Catherine: Shout-out Hermione.

Micah: I’m going to give it to the Firebolt, traveling long distances across Hogwarts grounds…

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Micah: … to come and save Harry’s ass in the first task.

Andrew: I like that.

Micah: Nobody showed up bigger. Maybe with the exception of Hermione; I do like that, Eric. But I’m going to give it to the Firebolt.

Eric: “Nobody showed up bigger.” [laughs]

Laura: I’m going to give it to Fakey, because ultimately, he’s the one who helped Harry figure out what he even needed to do. So allegiances aside, he did help cousin Harry out.

Catherine: And I’m going to give it to Professor McGonagall. Even though while she was having all the feels about Harry potentially being hurt, she was still trying to keep him calm and in the zone.

[MVP of the Week music ends]

Andrew: Well, listeners, if you have any feedback about today’s discussion, you can email or send a voice memo recorded on your phone to, or you can use our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. We do have to say, though, we do prefer the voice memos. And if you could keep the message about a minute long, we would appreciate that, so we can fit in as many voicemails as possible. And next week we’ll discuss Chapter 21 of Goblet of Fire, “The House-Elf Liberation Front.”


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

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s Quizzitch question: What color are the Hungarian Horntail’s eyes? The correct answer is that they’re yellow. And I’m hearing Moaning Myrtle’s voice, “those horrible yellow eyes.” But congratulations to all the folks that got that correct, and these are some of the best Quizzitch names of all time. Are you guys ready?

Laura: [gasps] I’m so excited.

Catherine: Let’s go.

Eric: Amazing. Okay, correct answers were submitted by a Pretty Pack of Partly Pink and Purple Polka Dotted Pygmy Puffs Playing Piano…

[Laura laughs]

Eric: … All Snapes and Sizes…

Micah: Oh, that’s a good one.

Eric: … Buff Daddy; Clicking kudos for the girls episodes leaving a comment…

Laura: Aww.

Eric: … Flambéed Harry on a golden egg sandwich à la mode…

[Laura laughs]

Eric: … Everyone wants second helpings; HallowWolf; Harry’s greasiest problem; Hermione the mom friend; Hi to my Ravenclaw husband; JennPenn1013; LC; Petition to stop using dragons for sporting purposes; Swagrid’s got drip…

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Eric: … The egg crushed by Fleur’s dragon; the Last Peruvian Vipertooth in Tibet; the one 11-year-old who is obsessed with MuggleCast… aww… We all love Newt, y’all should salute, put on your suits, and kiss his boots…

Andrew: Fun.

Eric: … and finally, the Swedish Short-Snout that would like to tell Cedric “Good job,” oh wait, he’s dead.

[Laura laughs]

Catherine: Ohh, ouch.

Andrew: There’s a lot of Cedric hate on this show, I think.

Eric: I hope it’s been enough time. We had two weeks off of Chapter by Chapter, and let’s be honest, that was just to give Kierra enough time to read ahead, right? So we didn’t just spoil right now?

Andrew: Yes. True.

Eric: Great. Thank you for the fun names; here is next week’s Quizzitch question. It’s another color question, or similar.

Micah: Ooh.

Eric: What is the pattern of Dobby’s tie when Harry first encounters him in the Hogwarts kitchens? What pattern is Dobby’s tie?

Micah: Dobby’s back.

Eric: Dobby’s back!

Andrew: Wooo!

Micah: That’s a spoiler, isn’t it?

Eric: It’s kind of a… well, foreshadow? I mean, okay, we’re going to see Dobby.

Micah: I’m excited to see Dobby.

Eric: Business Dobby. He’s got a tie.

[Andrew laughs]

Andrew and Micah: Business Dobby.

Eric: Dobby wears a tie to work.

Andrew: Business in the front, pillow in the back.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Submit your Quizzitch answers to us on the MuggleCast website,, or click on “Quizzitch” from the main nav bar.

Andrew: Thanks so much for joining us today, Catherine.

Catherine: Absolutely. It was an absolute pleasure. I’ve had so much fun. Like I said, I’ve been an OG fan since 2005, so this is an absolute dream to meet you all and to hang out for the couple hours we hung out, so I appreciate it. Have me back on; I’d love it.

Andrew: Yeah, we’d love to have you back on! You contributed so much today, and thanks for your support over the years. This show is brought to you, listeners, by Muggles like Catherine and you all. We don’t have any fancy corporate or network funding; we’re just Harry Potter fans trying to be your Harry Potter friends, and we’re very proudly an independent podcast. So you can support us by going to, and you can have the chance to be a co-host on MuggleCast one day like Catherine was today. You get access to our livestreams, our planning docs, a new physical gift every year, and then the MuggleCast Collector’s Club too. And then if you’d prefer to support us through Apple Podcasts, you can do that. You can get ad-free, early access to MuggleCast, plus two bonus MuggleCast installments every month, as do patrons. All you have to do is sign up for MuggleCast Gold; just tap into the show on Apple Podcasts and you’ll see the subscribe button. And whether you subscribe through Patreon or Apple Podcasts, we do have a free trial as well as an annual subscription, and if you do the annual subscription, you will save a little money, and that’s our way of thanking you for pledging for a year upfront. Visit for transcripts, social media links, our full episode archive, our favorite episodes, and a lot more about the show. And if you enjoy the show and think other Muggles would, too, tell a friend about the show, and we’d also appreciate if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app. All right, that does it for this week’s episode. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Catherine: And I’m Catherine.

Andrew: Bye, everybody.

Laura: Bye, y’all.

Catherine: Bye.