Transcript #655

Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #655, Hogwarts is an Insecurity Nightmare (GOF Chapter 23, The Yule Ball)

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: Can you dance like a hippogriff? Because this week we’re proving our emotional span is greater than a teaspoon by covering Hermione’s night at the Yule Ball, and helping us with our discussion this week is friend of the show and Millennial cohost, Taylor Swift super fan…

[Micah and Pam laugh]

Andrew: … Pamela! Welcome back to the show, Pamela.

Pam Gocobachi: Hi, thanks for having me. You’re using my full government name like we haven’t known each other for over ten years. [laughs]

Eric: Taylor Swift Fan is your government name?

[Andrew laughs]

Pam: Yes, it’s my new middle name. [laughs]

Andrew: I had to mention Taylor Swift because it’s release eve for Taylor’s next studio album.

Eric: Oh.

Pam: It is. Happy Tortured Poets Department Eve for all who celebrate with me. [laughs]

Andrew: Aw, we’re excited for you. I’ll be listening at 9:00 p.m. Pacific tonight; I’m sure you will be as well.

Pam: Thank you. I appreciate the support.

Andrew: Of course, of course! We’ll have a little listening party here.

Eric: I think I’m finally understanding a joke from the most recent Slug Club hangout where there was a Dead Poets Society reference?

Andrew: Yes. [laughs]

Eric: Is Tortured Poets a Taylor Swift thing? Okay.

Andrew: Yep. Yeah, I noticed that went over your head during the Slug Club hangout. [laughs]

Eric: I’m sorry; it’s easy to do at times. But she’s from my hometown, so I love seeing new albums from her.

Pam: Oh, from… what is it? Isn’t she from Reading? That’s a small town. That’s her Christmas tree farm town.

Andrew: That’s where SiriusBlack423 is from as well.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Actually, let’s turn our attention to Eric. We should also acknowledge that his birthday is actually the release day of this show, so happy birthday, Eric.

Micah: Happy birthday.

Eric: Hey, thank you. Thank you, Andrew. Thank you, Micah. It’s very kind; appreciate it. Another year gone.

Andrew: [laughs] Yep, that’s pretty much how it goes these days.

Eric: But happy to celebrate a little early and spend time with you guys.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, listeners, if you’re new to the show, Accio that follow or subscribe button so you never miss an episode, which we release every Tuesday. We are your Harry Potter friends who are just having fun talking about Harry Potter every week. This is kind of like a book club. I see it as a book club, a cool book club with sound effects.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And we also love getting your feedback. Here’s what Lars DM’ed us on Instagram about last week’s episode: They said, “In reference to today’s episode on McGonagall being ignorant or dismissive of the pressures of kids asking someone to the ball, my theory is that Minerva was just a bad bitch at Hogwarts and pulled whoever, whenever.”

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Pam: That’s an incredible visual.

Eric: Do they mean when it was time for her to dance, to get a partner for a dance, she just, fwoop?

Andrew: I think so.

Eric: Okay. Okay.

Andrew: Minerva’s got style, as Kingsley would say.

Eric: She’s very assertive. It’s very Gryffindor.

Andrew: Yes.

Pam: Y’all know what pulling means, right?

Eric: Absolutely not.

Pam: She had mad game. Like, she was that B. So pulling is like hitting on someone.

Andrew: Yes.

Eric: Ohh. I feel like I’m very grateful that you’re here to explain these difficult concepts to me.

[Pam laughs]

Micah: I’m glad Pam is just here for this episode in general.

Eric: Honestly, yeah, between Laura last week explaining rizz…

Pam: Oh, y’all didn’t know what rizz was either?

Andrew: Eric didn’t. I did.

Micah: I didn’t.

Eric: He was pulling Angelina for the Yule Ball.

Pam: There you go. See? You said it right. Perfect.

Eric: I can use it in context.

Andrew: My first experience hearing the phrase “pulling” was over in a London club with old MuggleCast cohost Jamie.

Pam: It’s a very Brit phrase but new to the US within the last, I would say, two or three years.

Andrew: Oh, okay, so it finally hopped the pond. But a girl tried to pull me, and I didn’t know what it meant at the time, but I should have been more appreciative in the moment.

Pam: Oh, man. Bad luck for her.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: But hey, speaking of Instagram, we are very close to hitting 10,000 followers on Instagram. So listeners, if you could just take a quick moment to follow us on Instagram if you don’t already, our username is @MuggleCast. Give us a follow. And the reason I’m asking is because when we do hit 10,000 followers, we actually get access to additional features on Instagram, so we would love to access those, and if you could help us out there by just giving us a quick follow, it would mean a lot to us.

Micah: And while we’re calling people out here, I just wanted to mention in the Discord, Katie – whose Bonjoro message we read last week on the show – is enjoying over on our Discord as one of our patrons.

Andrew: Oh, great.

Micah: So welcome, Katie.

Andrew: And another reason to follow us on Instagram, you get to see us. You ever wonder what we look like? Head over to the Instagram and you’ll find out. We still get messages from people; they’re like, “Oh, I didn’t think you guys looked like that at all when I finally saw one of your video clips.” [laughs] “I didn’t expect you to look like that.”

Pam: That’s terrifying. [laughs]

Andrew: Thanks, I guess. [laughs] Look at me in my Barbie hat on our Instagram today.

Eric: Aww.

Micah: You are Kenough, Andrew. You really are.

Andrew: Oh, thank you, Micah. I’m going to cry.

Micah: But you knew that before.

Andrew: [laughs] Right, because I bought a hat to tell me as much.

Micah: No, no, before the hat.

Andrew: Oh, okay. All right.

Micah: Way before the hat.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: All right, well, it’s time for Chapter by Chapter, and this week we’re discussing Goblet of Fire Chapter 23, “The Yule Ball,” and we’ll start like we always do with our Seven-Word Summary.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Micah: Hormones…

Andrew: … fly…

Eric: … amok…

Pam: … at…

Micah: … Hogwarts’s…

Andrew: … big…

Eric: … holiday.

Andrew: Okay, cool.

Micah: We got a lot of H’s in there. A lot of alliteration.

Andrew: Hormones, Hogwarts, holiday. That’s the episode title: “Hormones, Hogwarts, holiday.”

[Everyone laughs]

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Eric: Ah. Well, maybe we’ll change one of those words to “Hermione,” because I have to say that this chapter, which largely focuses – in a continuation from last week – about the interpersonal relations between boys and girls at Hogwarts, this chapter really comes to a head. All of that stuff that was set up last week continues on and comes to a head; the boys have dates for a ball, boys being Harry and Ron, and now the Yule Ball actually happens on Christmas Day. But I wanted to take a moment because I think that part of the benefit of discussing these chapters when we’re older, you can begin to appreciate different viewpoints and different perspectives other than what we just get with the narration that’s centered on Harry, and a big way in which that experience is true this chapter is to really focus on all of the various things that happen to Hermione in this chapter, and I just wanted to really begin a Hermione appreciation discussion because of each of the things in this chapter. We know that it boils to a head between Hermione and Ron, Ron who cannot admit his feelings for her, but separate from Ron’s toxicity, there’s also just a lot more going on with Hermione that I think we should spend time to talk about. So I’m very just impressed by Hermione in this, especially because she has revealed at the end of last chapter that she does have somebody for the Yule Ball, but she won’t, for some reason, say who it is, and despite Ron’s attempts to trip her up, she’s steadfast. She’s like, “Nope, I am not going to tell you.”

Andrew: It is surprising that she keeps the secret for so long. I believe in this chapter she says she was afraid they were going to make fun of her. This is a cool guy; this is one of the four people in the Triwizard Tournament. He’s a very successful Quidditch player. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here.

Eric: Well, he’s a hot commodity.

Andrew: He’s a hot Krummodity.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: That’s the episode title. There we go. A hot Krummodity. He is, and this really does speak… you hit it on the head, Andrew, when she says that she’s afraid they’d make fun of her. Who’s she talking about? She’s talking about her closest friends of four years now, namely Harry and Ron. I think she probably thinks Ron, but it says something that she can’t just be honest with them.

Andrew: It is a good question, too, and Justin just brought this up in the Discord: Krum didn’t tell anyone either? That’s surprising. Did they have a little pact? Like, “Let’s keep it a big secret”?

Pam: Maybe. I almost wonder if this was kind of misstated on the author’s part, because Harry and Ron making fun of her seems out of character, given that they’re all freaking out about trying to find dates for the Yule Ball, and I almost wonder if maybe it would have made more sense if she had just said, “You won’t believe me if I told you.” Or maybe what she was really saying is that she was worried about like, if she tells Ron and Harry, then it’ll get out and then she’ll have to deal with other people making fun of the situation, because we know that she’s really ridiculed by the Slytherins in general, and we see at least at the beginning of the book the Durmstrang students are sitting with the Slytherins, and she probably doesn’t want to create a situation where all her date is hearing is about how much she sucks, basically, in their eyes.

Eric: Well, right, it’s not up to the school. And yet, you’re right; if she had announced it earlier or if word got around, they’d be going to Viktor and telling him all the horrible things about Hermione, why he shouldn’t be taking her. It’s unfortunately an aspect of socialization.

Pam: Yeah, that’s the nature of high school, right? Everybody judges you for who you like or don’t like, or who you’re dating or not dating, or who’s hooking up with who.

Eric: Yeah. I had the notion just a moment ago that given Hermione’s secret of last year that she kept the entire year, maybe keeping this secret about who she’s taking to the Yule Ball was easier for her. But maybe it wasn’t. And also, I think, particularly what it’s sad about that she’s had to keep this close to the vest, is that she had a really wonderful thing happen to her, which is that Viktor Krum, this internationally renowned Quidditch star, of the most recent Quidditch World Cup, has apparently been interested in her, been courting her, been trying to meet up with her in the library. We find out that the reason he’s coming into the library throughout this first part of the year is to get to know her better, and at some point, he manages to sneak away from his entourage and actually ask Hermione, this bookish nerd, to the biggest, most prestigious dance of the year. I feel so glad for Hermione, that somebody somewhere notices her and is like, “You’re not like the other girls.”

Micah: It makes me wonder, would anybody have been above criticism on the part of Ron? We can put Harry aside. And this goes back to what you were saying a little bit earlier, where Hermione has this insecurity that she’s going to be made fun of. But I’m wondering, is there any eligible bachelor out there that Hermione could have chosen that would have been above Ron’s criticism? Maybe Harry, but that’s about it.

Pam: Maybe Fred and George, because I just think he’s scared of them.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Pam: He wouldn’t… yeah.

Andrew: He would still be jealous, though.

Pam: He would still be mad. But yeah, I don’t think he would have said as much, because he knows they would have jinxed him or slipped him a Canary Cream or something worse.

Eric: People who could control and manhandle Ron into not complaining would be the right choice. But we’re going to talk plenty about Ron and his awful behavior later; for now I want to talk about what about Hermione stood out to Viktor. It’s so odd that she gets noticed for her good qualities. To Harry and Ron, she’s sort of just their friend forever.

Andrew: Well, I guess it comes back to the library. Krum has seen Hermione in the library and maybe respects how studious she is and how seemingly organized she is. She’s probably coming off as more mature.

Eric: I agree, and that’s just not noticed enough, I think, or called out enough. This example of Krum sort of off the page behind the scenes inviting her and her going as the date of one of the champions – and not Harry – really speaks to Hermione’s, I want to say, aptitude at stuff, and the way that she cleans up for the ball and really stuns everyone because she was able to keep the secret, and everyone is stunned to see her there and the transformation really speaks to, I think, how beautiful she has been on the inside, and I just feel so happy for her.

Pam: I think we have to take the text in the context of when it was written, which is the ’90s, so part of the idea of this really hot Quidditch star noticing the brainy girl is because she’s not like the other girls, right? She’s not giggling and following him around; she’s not paying him any mind. If anything, she’s just scowling in his direction because his presence is a nuisance to her as somebody who wants to study, but I also just feel like I don’t think it’s out of the ordinary that maybe he just thought she was legitimately cute as she was.

Andrew: Yeah, of course.

Pam: Maybe Hogwarts has not seen it, but there’s different beauty standards in different parts of the world. Maybe he saw her and he was like, “She’s super cute, and she’s brainy. Yeah, I would like to get to know her better.”

Micah: It’s also interesting how she gets an initial read on Krum that’s totally off-base, because she looks at him as being this superstar with all of these followers as he’s walking around Hogwarts, but the truth is, he doesn’t really want those people following him around, and one of the ways that he maybe is able to get a little bit of refuge is by going into the library, and he happens upon Hermione.

Pam: She’s also just predisposed not to care. I think he knows, he’s well aware she’s friends with Harry and sees Harry for who he is outside of his fame…

Eric: Ooh.

Pam: … and so he probably appreciates that she’s not enchanted by his celebrity status, that if she says yes and she agrees to spend time with him, she’s going to be invested in who he is as a person and not what he’s famous for.

Andrew: The whole situation is giving me a little Beauty and the Beast, just because it’s an unexpected romance, and here’s the pretty girl and then there’s the broodish fellow. And I also started fan-casting, so Harry is Lumière, Ron is Cogsworth, Draco is Gaston…

[Eric and Pam laugh]

Andrew: … and Molly is Mrs. Potts, obviously.

Eric: Yes, that’s not negotiable. Are we going to Max that, Andrew?

Andrew: Sure, we can Max that. Beauty and the Beast episode of Goblet of Fire, yeah.

[“Max that” sound effect plays]

[Pam laughs]

Andrew: Something kind of fascinating in this chapter is that Hermione teaches Krum how to properly pronounce her name, and I think this couple of paragraphs may have been a major learning experience for readers, too. I used to pronounce it like Krum, “Hermy-own,” prior to getting to this chapter.

Pam: Me too.

Andrew: Yeah. I think Laura has admitted this as well. And it makes me wonder if J.K. Rowling’s editors requested that she put in something like this to help people understand how to pronounce “Hermione.”

Eric: It definitely strikes me as being… I mean, it was very helpful. I came into the series after the movie so I didn’t have this issue, but it’s an almost universal experience where at least 50% or more of people who read it first said, “Yeah, that was me,” so it is useful. And it’s interesting, because how to work that in in an organic way… by the year 2000 when this book came out, Harry Potter was popular enough that I bet plenty of people were saying it out loud maybe during news coverage of book releases or something, and they were saying it wrong.

Andrew: “Hermy-own!”

Pam: And this would have been before the movies, right? So we wouldn’t have even had that to help.

Micah: The other way of looking at it is, “Of course the foreign dumb jock can’t pronounce her name.”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: Right, well, that’s why it works.

Andrew: His English is broken, so yeah, exactly.

Micah: No, but I actually really like this, Andrew. I’m willing to add a plus one to this idea about the name pronunciation, because we all struggled even with Seamus, too; people would call him “Seem-us.” People still do.

Pam: Oh, yeah. That was probably very much an American thing, too, because isn’t that a very Irish name? Right? Seamus?

Andrew: Well, to that point, are you referring to the Kierra Lewis video? She got called out; people were saying she was pronouncing it wrong and she was like, “Everybody, stop!” [laughs]

Pam: Oh, I saw that and I was like, “Bless.” And then I also felt like a lot of people were too hard on her, because everyone did that. I know I also was pronouncing it “Seem-us” when I was reading it as a kid.

Andrew: But who cares if she’s pronouncing it wrong? Honestly, whatever. She’s enjoying the books; leave her alone. People still mispronounce J.K. Rowling. I hear “J.K. Rowling” [pronounces “Row” like “Ow”] all the time still.

Pam: Well, to give an example of something that happened on this show, when we had our girls takeover, we couldn’t figure out how to pronounce Merope. We couldn’t decide if it was [pronounces it “Mer-ope”] Merope or [pronounces it “Mer-oh-pee”] Merope.

Eric: That’s right!

Pam: So yeah, and it had just been so long since any of us had heard the audiobooks, we were like, “Who knows what Jim Dale is saying?” But I would have taken his word for it.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Andrew: As someone who mispronounces things all the time, I just want to say I think it’s okay if we all mispronounce things from time to time.

Eric: It’s a mark of Hermione’s character, too, that she tries with Viktor, and he tries and he doesn’t quite get it but she’s like, “It’s good enough.” She just must be on cloud nine and kind of beside herself just for this experience. It turns out there’s a lot more to Viktor than what she was thinking. And speaking of Hermione’s glow-up, in terms of turning a really bad situation into a good one, we learn that Draco’s recent attack on her in front of the Potions classroom, where her teeth were enlarged, actually turned into Hermione taking more control over her physical appearance. And basically, she went to the hospital wing, Madam Pomfrey put a spell on them to reduce the size of her teeth, and her teeth – which were long a point of anxiety in body image issues for Hermione – she kind of let Madame Pomfrey keep going and make them a little bit more conventionally normal-sized, whatever the case might be. Learning this about Hermione, you see kind of… because body image issues come up so little in these books. There’s plenty of diverse body types, but very rarely do you hear people getting down on themselves for body issues, and I think it’s really important that we get this moment from Hermione, where she says, “This thing about myself, I fixed it.” And I don’t know, I’m just so moved by hearing this story every time.

Andrew: Yeah, because with kids, teens, adults in the Muggle world, obviously people struggle with lots of body issues because of the media; you see these perfect bodies on magazine covers, online, on social media now. Hermione, I guess, should be more insulated from all of that being at Hogwarts, because you’re not getting… you don’t have the Internet, for example. But I think this just illustrates how it’s such a big issue, because as we see throughout this series, and even in this chapter, Draco is making fun of Hermione. Other people might be making fun of Hermione, too, that we don’t see from Harry’s perspective.

Eric: Yeah. I mean, even the teachers; Snape said, “I don’t see a difference” when she had been attacked.

Andrew: Yeah, even the frickin’ professors. Or one of them is.

Eric: Yeah, it’s awful. And on the one hand, I’m like, “What does the most academically successful student at Hogwarts -” let’s say all seven years; Hermione is just probably the best student “- what does she care about her looks? What does she care about what others think?” But it’s inescapable when you’re in a school setting like this to think and care what others think about you and your appearance.

Pam: I would also point out that this is not the first time that she’s shown vulnerability in terms of what people think, because before she becomes friends with Harry and Ron, we do see her struggling with the fact that she can’t make friends, that nobody likes her. And you just have to think about what else she must have heard about herself, and how down on herself she must have been to reach the point where she’s running away to cry in the bathroom for hours because she can’t find anyone that’ll connect with her.

Micah: It’s clearly something that has bothered her, though, for a period of time, and it is somewhat ironic given that her parents are dentists that she hasn’t looked to them – even though she’s had conversations with them about how she doesn’t like her teeth – that she ultimately relies on magic to correct the situation, as opposed to maybe something her parents could have done as she was growing up to help with this situation.

Pam: I’m sure that’s part of her insecurity. If you have parents that are dentists, they’re probably always like, “Oh, your teeth are kind of bad, but don’t worry, honey, we’ll fix them when you’re old enough.”

[Micah and Pam laugh]

Eric: “It’s going to take 18 months, and we’re going to have to make monthly adjustments.”

Micah: Oh, God. That was terrible.

Eric: For anybody with braces, it’s just the worst ever experience.

Pam: I never had braces, but it looks awful. [laughs]

Andrew: Hermione says, “My parents want me to use braces instead of magic,” and actually, that got me thinking, are her parents getting a kickback from big dental by getting her braces?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Like, what’s the big deal if she does magic instead of using braces?

Eric: Well, and again, talk about an 18 month fix versus a five second one, right?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah!

Eric: There’s just some things that magic does better. I don’t blame Hermione at all for this.

Andrew: And there’s bullying that can come with wearing braces, unfortunately, but that’s just a thing that can happen sometimes.

Eric: Yep.

Micah: This may be a conversation for another time, but is there no actual limitation on these types of adjustments? I was thinking that her teeth would revert back to their normal state after Madam Pomfrey’s work wore off, let’s say six months down the line.

Eric: Right.

Micah: Because I would assume any of these charms only have a certain amount of staying power, that they don’t last, inevitably.

Andrew: That’s interesting.

Pam: Maybe it’s different for healing charms, though. Because you wouldn’t want to fix someone’s arm and then have it break six months later again.

Micah: Unless you’re Lockhart.

Eric: Right. Well, and teeth are what, bones, basically? So maybe there’s a difference in how they get affected, whether a spell wears off. It’s not necessarily Transfiguration, which would probably wear off.

Andrew: Pam, you mentioned insecurities, and I just wanted to call out that this chapter has a theme of insecurities. Hermione wants better-looking teeth, Ron loses Hermione to Krum, and we’ll get to this in a little bit, but Ron explaining to Harry about the stigmas around half-giants, and Madame Maxime being outraged at being called a half-giant. This chapter is just full of insecurities and it’s just… it happens in life. We’re all insecure about certain things.

Eric: It’s such a good call-out, too, about that being a theme in this chapter. And Hermione rarely dresses nice or does anything with her hair, but this was the occasion where she said, “I’m going to put the effort in,” and the whole school… now I can’t not picture a ’90s rom-com with a song playing in the background.

Pam: Sixpence is playing in the background as she comes down the great staircase. [laughs]

Eric: Yes! “Kiss Me” is playing.

Andrew: [singing] “Kiss me…”

[Eric and Pam laugh]

Eric: The whole school is wowed. This is like Carrie before Ron drops the bucket.

Pam: Oh no. [laughs]

Eric: “You love me. You really love me.” It’s very beautiful and wonderful. She spends about three hours on it – she leaves at 5:00, the ball starts at 8:00 – and her finished look causes everyone to turn their heads. And it’s like, yeah, that trope of the caterpillar is turned into a butterfly or whatever now. It’s crazy. But I’m looking at it from less of a trope-y genre perspective and just saying, “Good for Hermione.” She doesn’t do this often, but this was her night to celebrate herself. This was her night to…

Micah: People like to dress up and have a good time. I think that’s the biggest piece that we’re taking away from her here is just, this is just a night to kick back, relax, have some fun, and that’s exactly what she ends up doing. And Eric, you mentioned the fact that she’s turning heads; even Draco and Pansy cannot think of anything bad to say as they walk past Hermione.

Andrew: And Harry doesn’t even recognize her.

Eric: That’s right!

Micah: [laughs] Some girl with Viktor Krum.

Pam: Yeah, he’s like, “Some pretty girl that I don’t know.”

Andrew: Speaking of insecurities, when you dress up for a dance some of those insecurities disappear because you spend so much time working on your appearance. You look at yourself in the mirror in that blue dress or in that suit, and you’re like, “Damn, I look good.”

Eric: Yeah, that confidence. I mean, and Draco, who is stunned originally, I think comes back and tries to say something, and Hermione is riding such a high from how happy she is that she is able to even get Draco back. She’s like, “Oh, Professor Moody! What’s going on?” And he flips around and he does a double take, and it’s just very… she’s so confident, and I love it. I wish it could last all night long.

Pam: Just one more thing I want to say before we move on is that I think that what is truly beautiful about the entire story arc for her – until it gets messed up – is that she is secure in herself to choose not to continue doing the whole getting ready thing every day, despite how much attention it gets her.

Eric: Right.

Pam: Because she’s just like, “It’s too much effort. It’s not me every day. I loved doing it this one time; maybe I’ll do it again, but I’m happy to just exist as myself outside of the confines of this special occasion.”

Eric: Yeah, she tells Harry that in the next chapter, I think. Yeah, it’s a good point, too, that she’s not transfixed and addicted to the popularity. So at the ball, Hermione is pure, graceful, wonderful, amazing. The opposite of all of those traits is Ron Weasley, who from the moment that he sees Hermione is incapable of happiness for her. He sees who she’s with, and I think we know what’s going on here. He is extremely jealous and cannot control the level of emotions that he’s feeling. But I want to go further than that: He essentially makes his entire evening about ruining Hermione’s evening, and this is a very… I’ve mentioned the word toxic, but this is a very horrible thing to do for somebody that’s been your friend and confidant for four years. This goes beyond interpersonal romance, whatever, whatever. Ron is awful to Hermione.

Micah: Yeah. And he’s not just awful to Hermione, he’s awful to his date, as well.

Eric: Yeah!

Micah: Now, she goes off and seemingly has a good time – good for her that she recognized the situation – but it really starts earlier on in the chapter; there’s a point where I think Ron is leaving Gryffindor tower and Dean and Seamus make a comment, basically, “How’d you get the two hottest girls in school to go to the ball with you?” And he says something along the lines – which is totally out of character for Ron – he’s like, “Animal magnetism, baby.”

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: And it’s just something you’d almost expect out of Fred or George or another character. But it is telling that Harry and Ron do take two of the most physically attractive girls to the ball, but end up paying them little to no attention. They’re so caught up with the girls that they’re really interested in having a good time with other people that they really fail to have a good time themselves. So Ron’s attitude, his jealousy, has multiple areas of impact, not just on Hermione.

Eric: Completely, completely agree. And to your point, too, Harry is not exempt from some criticism here in this chapter. Ron’s behavior catches Harry off guard, but he just does not have the skills to combat or deescalate what his friend is doing. They’re both guilty of not showing their partners a good time, and in fact, after Harry has to do the first dance, the champions’ first dance, Parvati wants to dance to the very next song that comes on; she says, “This is a good one,” and Harry is just like, “No, I’m done. We’re sitting down now.”

[Micah and Pam laugh]

Eric: Harry takes her all the way and then doesn’t dance with her. Again, this is a difficult lesson to learn when you’re a teenager, but guess what, guys? Girls are people too.

Andrew: What.

Eric: Andrew, I’m going to blow your mind right now. Girls are people too.

[Micah and Pam laugh]

Eric: And they deserve a good time. There’s no effort at all that these two boys spend at all with these girls that agreed to go to the ball with them, at all.

Andrew: Right. Yeah, I mean, when you invite somebody to a dance, you are expected to be with them that entire time. You’re not supposed to leave them for dead. It was just… there are so many sour grapes happening between Harry and Ron. I was also wondering, well, first of all, we talk about Ron being jealous, but I think Ron is also just mad at himself for not realizing he should have asked Hermione and asked her a lot sooner. We know from the last chapter he wasn’t even thinking of asking her; it just seemed so far fetched of an idea because they were friend zoned at the time?

Pam: Well, my question for you is do you think that he didn’t ask her because he’s never seen her really as a girl, or do you think he didn’t ask her because he was worried about what other people would think? And the only reason that I say that is because they’re nitpicking all of these girls in the process of trying to figure out who to ask, and it’s almost like nobody’s good enough. They talk about Eloise Midgen and her acne, and they talk about another girl who’s too tall, and then one whose nose is apparently not centered enough. And I just think given how much crap Hermione takes day to day at Hogwarts, specifically from the Slytherin students alone, I just wonder if he would have been too insecure to ask her anyway, even if he was in tune with his feelings for her.

Micah: He doesn’t treat her the best even when he is trying to court her. He has that line, “Hermione, you’re a girl.”

Pam: [laughs] I know.

Micah: So to your point, Pam, I don’t know that he would have even really thought of asking her if the opportunity presented itself, because I think he would find something about her to not live up to whatever expectation level he seems to have inside of his head for what his date should look like.

Pam: And I also just think if that was his way of trying to play it too cool, he played it way too cool. He would have been better off just being like, “Hey, we’re friends. We should just go together.”

Eric: Oh, there you go.

Pam: And then he could have turned on the charm a little bit. Boys are so dumb, though, especially at this age…

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: They are. All ages, Pam. All ages.

Pam: … that I’m not even surprised that he thought that the best way to get… that’s true. I’m trying to give you guys a little bit of a benefit of the doubt.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: No need.

Pam: But he just decided that… I can just see it now. He was thinking in his head; he’s like, “How am I going to do this?” And then he was like, “Oh, I’ll just pretend like it doesn’t matter,” and then his answer is to come up with, “Hey by the way, you’re a girl. Maybe we should go together because I’m a boy.” [laughs]

Eric: That would have been so great if that just worked, but it doesn’t for obvious reasons. It’s not authentic. It’s not genuine. It’s not… no girl wants to be asked, like Hermione says, as a last resort. No girl wants, “Oh, you can help us, your friends, out of a tight spot, can’t you?”

Micah: “Help our cause.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: “Help us out again, Hermione.”

Eric: Yeah. So let’s talk about that a little bit more, because… and I think to answer your question, Pam, Ron is so not in touch with what his feelings even are about the situation, that he is so many steps away from being able to handle the situation that he’s faced with correctly. There’s no… it’s the same thing that happens to him with Quidditch much later, where he really needs to get a handle on what’s going on in his head if he’s ever going to beat how his behavior – or in that case, performance – is affecting all of his relationships. So particularly in conversation with Hermione… and again, props to Hermione, because she chooses many deescalation methods when finally it becomes clear that he’s angry with her. She attempts to talk to him and have a reasonable conversation, and unfortunately, nothing that she tries works.

Andrew: I do also wonder if Ron was a little jealous that his two besties are part of the elite champions group at the dance, and he’s the odd man out.

Eric: Ohh.

Andrew: He’s always been a sort of odd man out, whether it be with the family or at school. I can imagine feeling left out when your two best friends… the other two people in your friend circle are at a higher level that night.

Pam: I never thought about it that way. I always just figured that it’s the classic friends to lovers trope where usually it’s one falls first and the other doesn’t realize until it’s almost too late, and I just feel like he probably panicked when he realized Hermione was serious about having a date. He just thought she was going to be, in the words of my Lord and Savior Taylor Swift, right where he left her. [laughs]

Eric: Wow, that is poetic. That is profound. It’s tragic and poetic.

Pam: It really is.

Andrew: From a poet department, in fact. Out April 19.

[Pam laughs]

Eric: Oh, I thought it was society. Damn. You finished it, Andrew. You threaded the needle. Thank you.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah, so let’s talk about the confrontation here with Hermione and Ron, because again, she tries to deescalate. She points out, and rightly so, that it was in fact Ron who wanted Viktor Krum’s autograph!

Micah: She can get it now.

Pam: Well, not with that attitude, she can’t.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: That’s true.

Eric: No autograph for you!

Pam: Right.

Micah: Well, if he played his cards right is what I’m saying.

Eric and Pam: Yeah.

Pam: He should have been real happy for them and then maybe she would have done him a solid.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Eric: Well, she’s smart enough to point out the contradiction in his behavior now, and she is not at present bothered by it, but he begins to question… it’s bad enough that he’s questioning her date and whether he looks good enough or whatever, whatever, whatever. He actually starts questioning Hermione’s integrity, Hermione’s character, in saying yes to Viktor. He accuses Hermione of letting Krum be a spy, and essentially, in so doing, when he says things like “Krum is just trying to get the clue to the egg,” or “Krum is just trying to get close to Harry through you,” it completely invalidates Hermione’s good qualities that cause Viktor to ask her to begin with. That’s the problem I have with it, is that it downplays Hermione’s attractiveness. It downplays that Hermione is a fetch, a good catch.

Andrew: Yes. No, you’re right, but I will try to defend Ron here for a second. I do think some of his concerns could be valid. It’s just that if looking at the bigger picture…

Micah: It’s the delivery.

Andrew: Yes, yeah. Looking at the bigger picture, Hermione has every reason to be annoyed at Ron. However, Hermione could potentially help Krum, because we know she’s good at helping Harry and Ron. Also, we and the trio are suspicious of Karkaroff, and I wouldn’t put past Karkaroff him telling Krum to try and get close to Hermione to maybe get some secrets about Harry or something, and Cedric.

Eric: Well, yeah, the only reason that doesn’t work is because earlier in the chapter Karkaroff tells Krum off for giving too much information to Hermione about the castle, about how Durmstrang works.

Andrew: Yeah, but you can’t trust him, I don’t think. He could just be blowing smoke up Dumbledore’s booty.

Eric: Yeah. Well, Hermione says to Ron, “How could you think that I would ever betray Harry? How could you think that?” And I think that’s fair.

Andrew: And that’s true, yeah. That’s a good counterpoint.

Eric: She has the choice to make that kind of a call for herself. She’s smart enough. And it’s just… Ron is telling her, “You’re not attractive and you’re not smart enough to spot something that’s disingenuous; you’re too caught up in your emotions.” Meanwhile, here’s the most emotional boy of all time being so emotional over here.

Micah: He’s caught up in the moment, and he’s looking for anything that he can say that will justify his position. And I think the phrase that stands out to me – it was in the movie and it’s in the book – which is just so over the top is “fraternizing with the enemy.” Positioning Krum as being an enemy, and the fact that Hermione would align herself with somebody – and this was just brought up – that is anti-Harry, or would put Harry’s best interests at such a low level, it just really does not paint Ron in a good light at all.

Pam: Yeah. It’s wild that he decides to flip that because he’s jealous, because if he weren’t jealous, he would have been like, “Oh, yeah, Hermione, that’s great. Keep fraternizing with the enemy, and then you can report back and tell us what his strategy is going to be for the second task.”

Micah: Right.

Pam: But his brain is so caught up in the fact that he can’t stand to see her with someone else. Somebody that he thinks is better than him, too, right? In his head he’s thinking, “How can I compete with that?” And that’s part of the issue.

Eric: Yeah, Viktor is not Hogwarts’s or Harry’s enemy; Viktor is Ron’s personal enemy, because he has what Ron wants.

Micah: Here’s a question, though: Who is he more jealous of? Krum or Hermione?

Pam: Ooh, that’s a good question. [laughs]

Andrew: Krum, because Krum is with Hermione at the dance, I think.

Eric: Yeah, I don’t think he has enough emotional intelligence to be jealous of Hermione for what she has, because I think he sees it as her traits and not anyone’s traits. That’s wild, though. That’s a wild question.

Micah: It’s a very jealous-based book for Ron. I mean, he’s jealous of Harry just a few chapters before this.

Eric: That’s right, and that’s a good point that you point that out. And I would be interested as we move along to the next couple chapters in seeing how this friendship issue between Ron and Hermione resolves, whether Hermione really does just get the last word of this chapter, whether Ron ever apologizes or tries to make it up to Hermione, because the more I go through this chapter, the more I’m like, “Oh, Ron’s behavior is actually really unacceptable.” And he succeeds in bringing her down. That’s the real problem here, is that apart from a friendly quarrel, apart from any valid criticisms – which Ron has none – he just ruins everything. Now, it is a movie-ism, but when Hermione is like, “You’ve ruined everything,” that’s exactly what happens in the book, in terms of he really does manage to take Hermione’s moment to shine and make it feel like garbage.

Pam: I always loved that scene in the movie, too, because I think it’s so realistic to how things often turn out when you go to school dances in middle school and high school. There’s always girls crying in the bathroom.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Eric: My heart just broke for you, Pam.

Pam: I know you guys aren’t in the girls’ bathroom at school dances, but trust me, as a girl who used to be in the school bathroom with friends at dances…

Micah: Moody might be looking in, but we’ll talk about that later.

Pam: [laughs] Right, exactly. Yeah, I just feel like that’s such a real touchstone just to see Hermione crying on the staircase, and then there’s two other girls crying to the side of her. It’s like, “Yeah, that makes sense, so much sense for the age that they are.”

Eric: Boys. But yeah, I guess do we have anything more to say about Harry through these chapters? He’s kind of bemused. He doesn’t really know.

Micah: I give him credit, and I say that because he’s being put in a really tough situation by Ron here, and I don’t think that Ron is necessarily Harry’s responsibility. First and foremost, he has way too much on his plate to begin with, and I think what we see go down in the common room was inevitable based on how the night was going. And Harry does note that he feels Hermione got the point much better than Ron had at the end of the chapter; that’s the line. And earlier, he actually says out loud in front of Ron he had no problem with Hermione going to the ball with Krum, so I’m not sure how much more Harry could have done to deescalate the situation. If anything, Ron helps deescalate the situation by him and Harry going out into the courtyard.

Andrew: Yeah, and Harry also notes at the end of this chapter that he’s too glad to be on speaking terms with Ron to rock the boat again. They just got back together, so he’s just kind of going to take a step back.

Eric: Yeah. As much as I understand exactly why Harry chooses that, that doesn’t support his friendship with Hermione. That goes against his… you have an obligation to… yeah, he doesn’t want to call out Ron, but Ron is ruining Hermione’s evening, and Hermione is the friend that stuck with Harry. Harry has an equal obligation to not bring up something with Ron as much as he does to defend Hermione. It’s just… everyone’s 14 here.

Pam: I’m with you, though, Eric. I wish he would have done more, but I understand why he didn’t. But my only hope is that maybe a conversation happened off camera, so to speak, where he tried to deescalate a little bit because I don’t think it’s fair.

Andrew: That’s what I was going to say. Just go to Hermione in private and be like, “Look, I don’t agree with Ron. He’s acting all nuts right now; he’s just mad that he didn’t ask you. But I’m on your side, Hermione, and I don’t stand by anything Ron has been doing.” He could have just done that.

Eric: Yeah. No, that makes a lot of sense. And before we wrap up the things that happen at the ball, I did want to call out this other opportunity to talk about the experience of Hogwarts for girls. But Mad-Eye Moody comes by and compliments Harry on his socks that he got from Dobby, which are mismatched. And he’s dancing with Parvati at the time, so it’s just the first dance, the obligatory one. [laughs] And Harry is like, “Oh, thanks.” And Parvati says to Harry, “He’s creepy. His eye makes me uncomfortable; it probably shouldn’t be allowed at Hogwarts.” And it’s such a passing comment that offers, I think, a rare but very important insight into the implications of what Moody’s eye can do or how he’s using it, because if he’s looking at Harry’s socks, which are concealed through his pants…

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Hey, you’re right.

Eric: I’m sorry. Actually, I can’t agree enough, actually, that Parvati has reason to be made uncomfortable.

Micah: Everybody on the dance floor has reason to be uncomfortable.

[Micah and Pam laugh]

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Why can he see through the pants but not through the socks? Is he fine-tuning the layers? Like, you can turn off one layer?

Eric: He’s got to choose the focus.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s creepy. I mean, she’s right. I don’t think she’s thinking of it that deeply, though; I think she’s just like, “Wow, that eye? That’s weird. Eugh. What’s going on with that?”

Eric: Yeah, she might just be thinking about how it rotates in its socket a bit.

Andrew: But reading this as adults, yeah, you could take this at a whole different level, and you’re right.

Eric: That’s why this chapter has so much for adults, I think. This is the one chapter that goes really into gender relations and the experience of being teens who have to find a date and just all this stuff, so I thought I’d mention it. And definitely, if it were really Moody, I think we’d have less of an issue. He seems a very disciplined Auror who wouldn’t put up with such nonsense, but since we know he’s a Death Eater in disguise, it’s like, “Okay, you’ve given this Death Eater this horrible device.”

Andrew: Yeah. And this is why Dumbledore signed off on him being there, too, because he is a disciplined Auror, the real one.

Odds & Ends

Eric: I’m going to pass this portion of the discussion to the Odds and Ends Master of Ceremonies for this evening, Micah Tannenbaum.

Andrew: Ooh!

Micah: [laughs] I love this title.

Eric: Micah, you actually… so I was really hung up on the the emotions here…

Micah: You were.

Eric: … but you’ve managed to spot a lot of cool odds and ends.

Micah: Yeah, putting aside all of the teenage angst and hormones, there is a lot of plot development that happens – or at least maybe some sprinkling of seeds – that we’ll see pay off in later chapters, or maybe even later books. So the first one that I wanted to call out was that for Christmas, Harry gets a knife from Sirius, and this knife comes into play in Order of the Phoenix because Harry ends up using it to break into Umbridge’s office not once, but twice. He also tries to use it on the door to the love chamber in the Department of Mysteries; it ends up melting, and I don’t believe Harry ever gets it back, and we can talk about the symbolism of that because we know what happens to Sirius at the end of the book. But wanted to call out that. And it’s not the only Christmas present, but Andrew, you had a note here.

Andrew: Well, yeah, it is interesting that it’s actually introduced in the text as a penknife, which I think reduces any suspicion of it being…

Micah: It’s not a machete.

[Micah and Pam laugh]

Andrew: Yeah, it’s just like any old penknife, and just can handle any lock or just undo a knot like it’s not a big deal. It’s almost a purposeful redirect by calling it a penknife, so I was surprised by that. I had forgotten it was called a penknife in the book.

Eric: Wait, is it more of a knife than a pen? Because I’m actually looking this… I’m learning this term for the first time now too.

Pam: I just thought that meant, like, pocket knife.

Andrew: That’s exactly what it is.

Pam: Oh, okay.

Eric: Ohh.

Andrew: But my dad used to always…

Micah: Like this?

Andrew: Yeah, like that. It’s a knife that folds in half, basically.

Micah: [laughs] I just happen to have it.

Andrew: Micah weirdly has a penknife right next to Dobby on his shelf.

Eric: He pulled it out of his carabiner on his belt right now along with his rock-climbing gear.

[Micah and Pam laugh]

Pam: Utility tool.

Eric: Pretty badass, Micah, to be honest.

Micah: Well, there were a lot of other Christmas gifts that were mentioned, and one of them is the answer to this week’s Quizzitch question…

Eric: Yeah, it is.

Micah: … and I know we’ll get to that in a little bit. But Dobby – speaking of creeps, by the way…

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: Yeah, it’s kind of creepy.

Micah: … he’s literally waking Harry up in not the best way. But Harry gifts Dobby some socks for Christmas, and Dobby notes that he now has seven socks after receiving Harry’s Christmas present.

Andrew: Seven!

Micah: Seven. I did that one especially for you, Andrew. I knew you would like that.

Andrew: Thank you. 7 and 12, you see it a lot, okay? I find it interesting. Micah, I think you should bring that Dobby Lego behind you to LeakyCon and wake up Eric one morning with Dobby lurking over him.

Micah: Oh, geez.

[Micah and Pam laugh]

Micah: He’s just going to smack it and it’s going to break into a million pieces.

Andrew: Glue it together first, maybe. The funny thing about Dobby’s gift to Harry… so Dobby gifts Harry these socks. Actually, you want to introduce this part first? And then I’ll come off of it.

Micah: Yeah, it’s just… I was really upset with how dismissive Harry was of Dobby’s gift. Dobby is so excited to be celebrating Christmas with Harry; he’s so excited just to be in Gryffindor tower with all of Harry’s friends. He’s jumping up and down getting presents from Ron. And it’s noted that basically Harry is like – I’ll have to look up the exact wording – but he’s like, “Now that I get to my real gifts…” like, he’s going through from Ron and Sirius.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: He’s just so dismissive, and it really bothered me reading that.

Andrew: And they were good socks. The one sock had Snitches on it, and then the other one had Quaffles, maybe? It’s a thoughtful…

Micah: Broomsticks.

Andrew: Broomsticks.

Pam: He liked them enough to wear them to the ball.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Micah: That is true.

Eric: You know what, though? As a boy who grew up going to… it was like, “What do I have either on my feet already,” when it’s time to go to the ball; like, “What am I wearing already?” Or, “What’s the bare minimum within a five foot vicinity of me? And I’ll wear that to a ball.” There is some element of that. But the socks are a very kind gift, especially from Dobby.

Micah: Exactly, because it’s what freed him, ultimately, so there’s some symbolism.

Eric: Yeah, it’s so symbolic.

Andrew: But when you are a young child like Harry is, socks aren’t the most exciting Christmas gift, so I think maybe that’s what’s going on here. Harry just knows there’s going to be better gifts than socks waiting for him.

Pam: We would all probably be very excited if we got socks for Christmas now. [laughs]

Andrew: I got socks this past… my mom gets me Bombas socks like, every Christmas. I got some Pixar ones this past Christmas. They’re fun.

Pam: Cute.

Eric: Ooh.

Andrew: I do also find it interesting that Dobby is working at Hogwarts, getting paid, and then using those earnings to work more by knitting socks.

Eric: He’s a workhorse. He’s a workaholic. Somebody needs to tell that house-elf to stop working.

Andrew and Micah: Yeah.

Micah: I looked it up and it says that “Harry’s other presents were much more satisfactory.”

Pam: Hmm.

Andrew: That’s a typical kid. I agree with you; we’d all love socks from Dobby, but for Harry, meh.

Micah: Well, we just got… yeah, I think we just learned the whole purpose of the really creepy eye in that scene was to reveal that in fact, Harry was wearing the socks that Dobby gave him for Christmas.

Pam: Yeah. And that comes into play later, right? Because Dobby is the one who gives him the Gillyweed for the second task, so it tips off Moody that he can help.

Eric: When Harry says, “Thanks, Moody, I got them from Dobby the house-elf,” yeah.

Pam: Or fake Moody. Foody. What do you guys call him? You have a…

Andrew and Micah: Fakey.

Pam: Fakey. [laughs]

Micah: All right, well, getting on into the ball, it’s noted that Crabbe and Goyle don’t have dates, and I think it’s kind of your classic… they’re not even comedic, but just the classic duo, “Not surprised they don’t have dates.” So this, though, does beg the question – I know we brought it up on the last episode – could you go stag if you really wanted to? Unless of course Crabbe and Goyle are going together.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Andrew: They would never go together.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: The thing is, I think everyone can go stag; it’s just that McGonagall’s preference in champions is for each of them to be partnered up. I think it’s perfectly fine for anyone of age 14 and higher to go alone or without a… Ron certainly could do going alone. I kind of wish he had, because he puts other people through hell. But yeah, it’s really just Harry and the champions that needed a date for appearances to kick off the ceremony.

Micah: One important plot point that we get in this chapter is that Barty Crouch, Sr. is not doing well, and in fact, Percy is attending the Yule Ball in his place. We’re going to see – whether you like it or not – a bit more of Percy in the upcoming chapters. But this is notable that Barty Crouch, Sr. is unwell.

Eric: It certainly is.

Micah: One additional thing we do learn at the Yule Ball is that Dumbledore happened upon this one particular room when having to use the bathroom, and we were talking earlier about some things that will pop up in Order of the Phoenix; this is another one of them. This was a very subtle mention of the Room of Requirement.

Andrew: Yeah, and this is one of those moments you read for the first time and you’re just like, “Wow, Hogwarts is amazing.” Not even Dumbledore knows every secret in the school. And honestly, Karkaroff might not know every secret of his school either, but he pretends like he does.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Dumbledore, he doesn’t mind. “To be honest, it’s a security nightmare around here; I don’t really know everything that’s happening at the school.” And I think that’s probably one thing that Dumbledore loves about Hogwarts as well; it has so many mysteries he’s yet to unlock. In Hogwarts Legacy he’s only got, like, 80% completed, I heard.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: That’s amazing.

Micah: Did he find the Room of Requirement?

Andrew: I don’t know.

Eric: It’s funny, though, because there’s this small moment where Harry snorts into his soup, and he thinks he’s sure that Dumbledore gives him a wink. So it’s just very funny, and it’s very tied into Harry using the Room of Requirement next year for Dumbledore’s support, basically.

Andrew: Yes. And he might actually know about the Room of Requirement; he does say that he found the Mirror of Erised there, but I don’t know. There’s conflicting… oh, they use it in Fantastic Beasts, Justin is pointing out too. Uh-oh.

Eric: Well, Fantastic Beasts does tend to ruin this, too, because when you consider that the diadem was hidden in the Room of Lost Things, you would think that Dumbledore, had he known about the room properly, would have actually given that one a search.

Andrew: So assuming Dumbledore did know about the Room of Requirement in Goblet of Fire, then he’s just being his old kooky self, acting like he found a room.

Pam: It just makes it even funnier because he went there purposefully wishing for chamber pots, instead of just a normal flushing toilet. [laughs]

Micah: He’s got a bathroom fetish.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Micah: I mean, it comes up again in Half-Blood Prince when he’s…

Pam: With the knitting patterns?

Andrew: Dumbledore bathroom fetish count.

Eric: He just appreciates the culture, the culture of potpourri.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Andrew: But still, to my point, he’s not afraid to admit that he doesn’t know every secret in the school, whether or not the Room of Requirement one is truthful or not. And that’s admirable, I think.

Pam: Well, he didn’t know where the Chamber of Secrets was, to be fair.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Pam is listing all the things Dumbledore didn’t know in order of importance, and Chamber of Secrets is up there.

Pam: That was a pretty big deal.

Micah: For sure.

Eric: Especially because that’s something you know does exist or must exist somewhere, versus the Room of Requirement, just being surprised by it.

Pam: Right.

Micah: Well, we’re going to head outside now into the courtyard area, and a couple of conversations that are being overheard by Harry and Ron. The first is between Snape and Karkaroff, and it leads us to believe that there is some kind of shady connection between the two of them; we don’t really know yet what it is. We’ve learned that Karkaroff is a former Death Eater. I don’t believe we know that Snape is by this point; I think that comes out in the Pensieve scenes, right?

Andrew: Yeah, no, we don’t know that at this point.

Micah: And then another conversation that is overheard is between Hagrid and Madame Maxime, and this begins to lay the groundwork for the giants subplot in Order of the Phoenix. But of note, there is this pesky little bug hanging around that Harry notes while this conversation is going on, so I believe we can up the Rita Spy Count.

[Andrew gasps]

Eric: Hey!

Andrew: I’ll do it right now – to four! Sound effect is… [buzzes]

[Pam laughs]

Micah: One thing I did want to just call out about this conversation – and Hagrid himself is just not doing himself any favors in what he’s trying to communicate to Madame Maxime – but I actually didn’t really like Ron’s comment either about how he thought that Hagrid just must have happened across an Engorgement Charm. I thought that was kind of an ignorant statement for Ron to make, especially 14-year-old Ron. 5-year-old Ron, okay, I can see it. 14-year-old Ron should know better.

Andrew: I agree with that. And also, I’m just like, “Play that out in your head, Ron.” Like, he runs through an Engorgement Charm, and then, what, he can’t shrink again? We just saw in this chapter that you can shrink things, as demonstrated by Hermione and her teeth, so I don’t get it. And this has never come up? I don’t know. If I were Ron and I was like, “Oh, he must have been hit by an Engorgement Charm,” I might go home to the Burrow and be like, “By the way, y’all, Hagrid – what’s up with him? What happened to him?”

[Eric and Pam laugh]

Eric: Yeah, what I just thought about, though, is we’re witnessing the conflict between what Ron has grown up to believe and what is in practice, because he gets done telling Harry how dangerous giants are and it’s no wonder that it’s a secret, because giants just like killing, and that’s so in contrast to the type of person Hagrid is, who Ron knows. And so it’s actually… Ron can’t even consider that Hagrid might be a giant, because in his mind, giants are these scary boogeyman who kill people.

Micah: One other thing I’ll just add in here was that Hermione does have a bit of a sassy moment; she does make some comments towards… or I don’t know if they’re directly towards Fleur, but she does say some things at the beginning of the chapter about her. And Fleur also has some things that are not really all that complimentary about Hogwarts; she talks about the food, she talks about the decorations, so something to keep an eye on as we move forward to see if their characters change at all in that respect. And then finally, Cedric comes in at the end of the chapter. Probably the last person that Harry wants to really see in this moment.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: That’s fair.

Micah: But he gives him some advice about the second task, and doing him a solid after Harry was nice enough to tip Cedric off about the dragons.

Andrew: There’s some good karma.

Eric: It is good karma.

Pam: Ish. This is like, the worst clue, and Harry literally was like, “Hey, by the way, it’s dragons.”

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Pam: He couldn’t have said, “If you open your egg, it sings”? He’s like, “Let me just give you this riddle. Have fun.”

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Andrew: Yeah, that’s interesting. Maybe Cedric just likes a riddle. Maybe he wishes Harry gave him a riddle instead of being so blunt.

Pam: He probably just wants to win.

Eric: Well, no, I don’t think there’s anything nefarious with the way that Cedric is doing it.

Pam: No.

Eric: I think if Cedric is going to give a fellow champion a hint as recompense for what Harry did for him, he’s going to be honest about it. The thing that I’m thinking of is he knows that Harry needs a bath, and so when he recommends…

Andrew: Wait, what?

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: He’s like, “You stink, Potter. Literally.”

Eric: But think about what he offers him. He gives him the password to the prefects’ bathroom; he tells him exactly where to locate it. This isn’t just any other bathroom. Presumably, there’s other places where Hogwarts students shower, and we never hear about them. But the experience of going into the prefects’ bathroom is the gift that Cedric gives Harry; the knowledge is secondary. Because all of those taps with all of those bubbles, all of those options, the whole spa day Harry is about to have…

Pam: All right. It’s a little treat.

Eric: Yeah, he knows that Harry is stressed out, he knows that Harry’s friend just turned into a flippin’ volcano, and I think he knows that Harry is going to enjoy himself while he works.

Andrew: I’m also just wondering, maybe there were a few people around as Cedric was sharing this with Harry, so Cedric maybe wanted to be a little more coy?

Pam: Discreet.

Andrew: I’m reading this area back and it doesn’t really say that there’s a lot of people around, but they’re out in the Entrance Hall so there very well could be a bunch of people around.

Eric: Yeah, if Cedric just said to Harry, “Oh, put it under water; it’ll talk to you,” Harry might take it out to the lake or Harry might put it in a sink.

[Pam laughs]

MVP of the Week

Andrew: Okay, well, it’s time for MVP of the Week.

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: I’m going to give it to Dobby for being a hustler. He’s continuing to work, making socks even when he’s not working in the Hogwarts kitchens. I’m impressed.

Eric: Again, shout-out to my girl Hermione for not sinking to Ron’s level. She really… good for her on everything, all of her accomplishments. She really should be proud and happy with herself.

Micah: I’m going to give it to the red and green socks with broomsticks and Snitches that Dobby gives to Harry for Christmas.

Andrew: [laughs] MVP: Most Valuable Pair of socks.

Micah: Most Valuable Pair.

[Eric and Pam laugh]

Pam: And I’m going to give it to Krum for actually being a good and attentive Yule Ball date.

Andrew and Eric: Aww.

Andrew: If listeners have any feedback about today’s discussion, you can contact us by emailing or sending a voice memo recorded on your phone to, or you can use our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. We do have a Muggle Mail coming up in a few weeks, so we’ll get to some of that feedback on air at that time. And next week we will discuss Goblet of Fire Chapter 24, “Rita Skeeter’s Scoop.” [buzzes]


Andrew: Now it’s time for Quizzitch.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s Quizzitch question was: What does Harry get Ron for Christmas in 1994? And the correct answer was a Chudley Cannons hat. It also clashes horribly with his hair, so Harry, I’m sorry, that was a terrible gift. But Ron likes it. Correct answers were submitted by All Snapes and Sizes; Andrea; Dumbledore’s Vanishing Chamber Pot; Elizabeth K.; Gandalf requires more Quizzitch Live… okay. Ginny’s toe that Neville stepped on; Guinea pigs are the best, even the ones with feathers, squeak squeak; Harry Potter’s hairy porter harried hurried portly potters; Harry should have caught Rita right then and there; Hermes, the forgotten pet of Percy… oh, yeah. Hermione is a fairy and a shapeshifter says Ron; James; JennyPenny; LC; Lily and James Potter rolling in their grave over Harry’s dancing ability…

[Pam laughs]

Eric: … Rizzitch Master; Siena; The broom compass that was never used because Voldemort destroyed it instead of Ron; The final remaining Blast-Ended Skrewt; The redheaded non-Weasley; The sad gift wrapping on Ron’s present even though Harry tried his best; The Utah Jazz of Quidditch (as my eyes glisten with the tears of past trauma); The shredded cuffs of Ron’s dress robes that no one can trim properly after how many years at wizarding school?; and last but not least, Tofu Tom. Okay.

Andrew: That was a big group.

Eric: That was a big group. This year… there were actually more people who submitted accidentally the incorrect answer of what Ron gets Harry, which is dungbombs.

Andrew and Micah: Ooh.

Micah: Gotta pay attention to the question.

Eric: Yeah, yeah. That’s right, Micah.

Micah: Which one was I? That’s the real question.

Eric: Ooh. Here is next week’s Quizzitch question: According to Rita Skeeter, what department at the Ministry of Magic would be particularly interested in Hagrid’s Blast-Ended Skrewts? Uh-oh, I think some trouble is brewing – or is it breeding? – at Hogwarts next chapter. Maybe that wasn’t the perfect sign off for this episode.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Micah: Well, there was a lot going on in those bushes. That’s all I’m saying.

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

Micah: Can I just say, though – now that I just brought that up – there is an excellent deleted scene in Goblet of Fire with Alan Rickman going into carriages and separating Hogwarts students, and it’s such a classic Alan Rickman as Snape scene, and I’m really disappointed that it’s not actually in the film.

Eric: I don’t think I’ve ever seen that scene.

Pam: I don’t think I have, either.

Eric: But Alan Rickman was just allowed to manhandle everyone in this movie. I’m thinking about the scene where he grabs Harry and Ron’s heads and shoves it down into their books in the Great Hall. It’s so unnecessary.

Andrew: I just pulled it up and pasted it in our Discord. I vaguely remember this.

Eric: Ooh.

Andrew: Oh, yeah, the carriage is a-rockin’.

[Pam laughs]

Micah: And just a reminder that Eric and I will be at LeakyCon 2024 in Portland, Oregon from July 5-7 at the Oregon Convention Center. And LeakyCon actually just today confirmed another guest to appear, Kit Young from the show Shadow and Bone, so they’re really diversifying the guests that they’re going to be having this year. I know we mentioned in the past Indira Varma and Isaac Hempstead Wright from Game of Thrones, and we’re really excited. And of course, if you want to head out to Portland this summer, just head over to Use code “Muggle” when checking out and you’ll get a little bit of a discount on your order. We look forward to seeing you there, and more details to come in the coming weeks.

Andrew: Sounds good. Visit for all things MuggleCast, including our social media links, our full episode archive, our favorite episodes. While you’re in your podcast app listening to the show, please do leave a review; we would really appreciate it. And tell a friend about the show; we would appreciate Muggles helping us spread the word about this podcast. You can also visit our Etsy store, where you can buy many cool MuggleCast items, like the Cozy Comfy Combo Pack, which is the MuggleCast beanie and MuggleCast socks. I heard they were actually knitted by Dobby. You can get those together at one reduced price. Plus, we’ve got signed album art, signed by all four of us, that you can order. We’ve also got wooden cars, we’ve got T-shirts, a bunch of other things, too, so check it all out at And this show is brought to you by Muggles like you. We don’t have corporate overlords who control the show who can cancel us; we’re just proudly an independent podcast, doing this podcast because we love it, and that does mean we need support from listeners like you. So if you’re an Apple Podcasts user, you can subscribe to MuggleCast Gold, which gets you ad-free, early access to MuggleCast plus two bonus MuggleCast installments every month. And then there’s also, and you’ll get all the benefits of MuggleCast Gold, plus livestreams, our Discord, access planning docs, the chance to co-host the show one day, a new physical gift every year, a video message from one of the four of us, and some other benefits too, so check it all out at Pam, thanks so much for joining us today on Tay-Tay Eve.

[Micah laughs]

Pam: Well, thanks for having me. It’s always a good time with you guys.

Andrew: Yeah! Thanks for all your contributions today. Anything you want to plug?

Pam: Come hang out with us on Millennial. I feel like I say that every time…

Andrew: You should. [laughs]

Pam: … but if you’re over 18 and you want to come hang out with me and Andrew and Laura, you can find us at There’s links for all the ways you can listen over there. You can follow me at @PamelaGocobachi almost anywhere if you want to come hang out with me online, and I’ll see you guys around on the Internet.

Andrew: And since we’ve brought it up a few times, I will mention that Pam will be reviewing Taylor Swift’s new album on the next episode of Millennial, coming out on Wednesday.

Pam: Ah, yes. Swifties, come to me.

[Andrew and Pam laugh]

Andrew: So if you want to get her thoughts, she’s a huge fan and a great music journalist as well.

Pam: Oh, thank you.

Andrew: Definitely check out that episode. Well, that does it for this week’s episode of MuggleCast. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Pam: And I’m Pamela.

Andrew: Goodbye, everybody.

Micah and Pam: Bye.