Transcript #656

Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #656, Rita and Micah’s Hagrid Hot Take (GOF Chapter 24, Rita Skeeter’s Scoop)

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

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

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: This week, settle in for some hot goss as we open up the Daily Prophet. Our Chapter by Chapter reread of the Harry Potter books continues today with Chapter 24, “Rita Skeeter’s Scoop.” And before we get to that, we actually have some exciting Harry Potter news. Actually, this might be the earliest we include a comment on the show here, but Liza in our Discord is already chiming in on the episode. She says, “Let me on the pod”?

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Laura: This is a first.

Andrew: Liza? Liza, you there?

Liza Munk: Andrew, hey!

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Wow, that was so smooth and easy! Hi, Liza, you’re our guest this week. And Liza, the reason I just did that hilarious bit is because Liza is a Patreon supporter and she’s always in our Discord, and we had an open spot this week, so we decided to have you on. So welcome to the show, Liza.

Liza: I’m stoked to be here.

Andrew: It’s our pleasure. So tell us a little bit about yourself.

Liza: So I’m a writer and a researcher who focuses on music and culture. And so right now I live in Santa Barbara in California, but before that, I lived in Amman, Jordan, where I was doing research on alternative Arabic music. And also, I wanted to mention since I know a lot of MuggleCast listeners are big readers, you caught me just as I’m about to share more about a book club that I’ve been hosting this year, where we’re basically reading our way around the world. So if you’re interested in reading books – nonfiction, and we’re going to do some fiction, too, later on – that are all based in different countries, please feel free to hop along with me. You can follow me on Instagram or Twitter; I’m @LizaMunk, and the Munk is M-U-N-K. So yeah, really excited to share that.

Laura: That’s so cool.

Andrew: That’s a very cool idea for a book club.

Liza: Thank you so much.

Andrew: And we’ll have a link in the show notes as well. And of course, we have to get your fandom ID.

Liza: Absolutely. So my favorite book is Order of the Phoenix, and I honestly right now don’t have a favorite movie, so I decided to say I’ll just continue following the watch-along that MuggleCast does, and once you’ve done all of them, maybe by then I can tell you what my favorite movie is.

Andrew: [laughs] Okay.

Liza: My Hogwarts House is Hufflepuff and my Ilvermorny house is Pukwudgie. My Patronus, I think it’s a dolphin; I’m honestly not sure if I made that up or that’s what I got on the Patronus quiz, but we’re just going to go with it.

Andrew: Good idea.

Liza: And my favorite professor is Lupin.

Andrew: Awesome. Well, yeah, welcome again to the show. We’re excited to have you on. You always have so much great feedback in the Discord; we know you’ll fit right in today. I was not kidding about having some news to discuss this week. This is actually pretty big news: All seven Harry Potter audiobooks are going to be transformed into a new full-cast ensemble production, and this is scheduled for release in late 2025, and they’re going to be bringing over 100 voice artists on for these special edition audiobooks. You might call them immersive audiobooks; you might call them dramatized audiobooks. And the press release says that each of the seven English language audiobooks will be released sequentially for a global audience, and will sit alongside and complement the iconic single voice English language recordings by Jim Dale and Stephen Fry. And alongside that new ensemble cast, the audiobooks will be further enhanced with high quality sound design in Dolby Atmos, alongside a stunning original score and real world sound capture, all created to make your experience of the wizarding world feel even more authentic. It’s pretty cool, right?

Laura: Yeah, that sounds awesome.

Micah: This is interesting because… well, I don’t know if I can say anything about a potential audiobook episode that we’re working on…

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: … and it really just made me wonder would this be my entryway into listening to audiobooks, given all the work that seems like it’s about to go into this particular set of them? I haven’t candidly been somebody who’s listened to the audiobooks before. I’ve listened to snippets of Jim Dale and Stephen Fry, but when I’ve read Harry Potter, I’ve read it; I haven’t listened to it. But that’s in no way to take away from the work of Jim Dale or Stephen Fry.

Andrew: Yeah, I actually recently started listening to audiobooks, and I really enjoy the experience. I like walking my dog at night and listening to audiobooks, and not listening to podcasts about the real world; it’s a nice way to escape while going on a walk. And I think what excites me about these new Harry Potter audiobooks most is that this is going to be a new way to experience the original story from start to finish. We have the original books, we have the illustrated editions twice over, we have the movies, we’ll have the TV show, and now we’ll also have these enhanced audiobooks, and it will almost be like we’re getting the movie or TV series we’ve always wanted in that these audiobooks are going to be a performance of every word and scene across the series.

Laura: That’s exactly what I was thinking, is that this doesn’t sound so much like an audiobook as it sounds like a performance. And I don’t say that to take away from Jim Dale and Stephen Fry, because what they did were also performances, right? But it’s just very different. It’s more singular in the fact that you just have one voice, but here you’re going to have all of these effects and tone setting and different characters to bring the dialogue to life. I think it sounds really cool.

Liza: I’ve listened to a lot of Sarah J. Maas books as audiobooks; also recently got into audiobooks and now I’m obsessed. And once I tried one of the dramatizations… and initially I was thrown off, because I don’t think I realized that they might change a few words here and there, so I think what can be helpful is to go into that kind of thing with an open mind. If you want to be able to follow along with every single word of the print book, then maybe start with the audiobook and then try this. But I don’t know; it sort of sounds like it’ll be almost like going to see a play, but just getting the audio, and I’m sure it’ll be incredible.

Andrew: Yeah. And I guess this will work for us because we already know the story so well that even if they do maybe leave out some things from the book, then it’s okay because we know what they might have skipped over. I guess my only question at this point is it says they’re going to be sequentially released. Does that mean one book at a time?

Laura: I think so.

Andrew: Okay.

Micah: It means in order, no?

Andrew: And they just said “scheduled for late 2025,” so does that mean they’re going to start in 2025 and go into 2026? Are they going to be a week apart from each other? That could be kind of fun.

Micah: It’s definitely very cool news to get; I feel like the news that we’ve been getting on Potter has been few and far between over the course of the last even year or so. So I really like the idea that certain people are going to be able to own certain characters, whereas it probably was a struggle at times when you think of all the different voices that Jim Dale and Stephen Fry had to come up with and then remember them to reuse time and time again, and certainly with characters… I’m sure Harry’s voice in Sorcerer’s Stone was not the same as Harry’s voice in Goblet of Fire, was not the same in Deathly Hallows, but knowing that they’re bringing in hundreds of voice actors, that’s going to be really special for those people too.

Andrew: Yeah, in “real world sound capture,” the press release said. I picture them going to King’s Cross and recording just the environment and then using it.

Micah: Choo-choo.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: I can do it.

Andrew: All right, and that’s voice number 101 that will be a part of the audiobook.

Micah: This seems like a perfect opportunity. I’m going to look into more of this after the show.

Andrew: Well, we have this segment during Chapter by Chapter called “Max that”; maybe we could just start submitting ideas for certain lines for the TV show and these audiobooks.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: By the way, Dolby Atmos – also mentioned in the press release – is like surround sound technology, so it’s going to be really cool. This is exciting. And yeah, we’ll update everybody as it gets closer. Also, quick reminder, if you enjoy the show and think other Muggles would too, please tell a friend about the show. And also, help us spread the word by leaving a review in your favorite podcast app, and wouldn’t you know it? We have two reviews to read right now from Apple Podcasts. Laura, would you like to read this first one from IvyBugs?

Laura: Sure. IvyBugs says, “Ahoy, y’all! I am 10 years old. I had a really bad overbite one year ago, and I had to get braces. They are now off and I have a retainer, but I miss my braces. I loved them because they made me feel older and act older. Anyways, my point is not everyone hates their braces. I also think that I now have a high pain tolerance because of my braces as well. I love the show, keep the all girl episodes coming. MuggleCast forever, y’all. Keep on till you’re 80.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Thank you, IvyBugs.

Laura: Well, we’re like halfway there.

Micah: Yeah, we are. Some of us are.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: That was a review, that was some feedback, that was a defense of braces… excellent.

Micah: I sympathize. I was there. So painful.

Andrew: And Micah, do you want to read this other one? And please read the username carefully.

Micah: All right. The next review is from Fred&GeorgeOverMentalStability…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: … and they say, “Best Harry Potter podcast ever. This podcast never fails to brighten up my day or make me happy. I’m thankful for its in-depth conversations; it helps others to understand Harry Potter. I love it so much.”

Andrew: I’m a little alarmed by that username, but thank you for the very nice review.

[Micah laughs]

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: All right, it’s time for Chapter by Chapter, and this week we’re discussing Goblet of Fire Chapter 24, “Rita Skeeter’s Scoop,” and we’ll start with our Seven-Word Summary.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Liza: Rita…

Micah: … ignites…

Andrew: … rumors…

Laura: … in…

Andrew: … the…

Micah: … Three…

Laura: … Broomsticks!

Andrew: Excellent. Smooth, simple, perfect.

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Laura: All right. Well, getting into this chapter, I wanted to pick up on a theme that y’all actually touched on in last week’s episode related to Cedric’s hint to Harry about the second task at the end of the Yule Ball, because I don’t want us to lose sight of the fact that Harry is down to five weeks until the second task and he has no idea about how to solve the mystery of this screeching egg. Not only is that the situation he’s in, but he lies to multiple people throughout the chapter about his progress on resolving the egg, and it seems like it’s all in large part because he doesn’t want to accept any help from Cedric. He obviously hates him right now; he’s jealous of him. But it seemed like last week that everyone except Pam felt like Cedric was offering a fair clue, and I just have to say, there were a number of moments last week – that one included – where I was like, “Yes, Pam. I’m so glad that you’re on.” Because I feel like Pam and I channel each other; we think very similarly about a lot of things, so there were multiple comments throughout the show where I was like, “Heck yeah, Pam. Get it, girl.”

[Andrews laughs]

Laura: And this was one of them, because I was calling nonsense on this non-clue that Cedric gave Harry.

Micah: In fairness, I do think Eric was in agreement with Pam to some extent.

Laura: Okay.

Micah: So I will give him credit. But I wasn’t.

Andrew: Well, my thinking is that they were in a area surrounded by other wizards, and maybe Cedric didn’t want to just explain everything to him right there in front of other people. Maybe if they were alone together that could have happened, but they were near the entrance of the Great Hall, I believe. So it is a little frustrating, but at the same time, I just think Harry will be able to figure it out. And maybe Cedric, this is what he does; he likes having a little fun, sending him on a little treasure hunt.

Micah: [laughs] It’s the Hufflepuff in him, right?

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: What, so he enjoys dangling a carrot?

Micah: Wow.

Laura: Is that what you’re saying?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: So I feel like this is the first of many points in this episode where I’m going to be the odd person out, but I think Harry is allowing his emotions to get in the way of the information that Cedric provides to him. Because not only did Cedric tell him what to do with the egg, he gave him access to the place to do it.

Andrew: It’s pretty nice.

Micah: I just feel like Cedric is not getting full appreciation here. I understand he could say, “Harry, go into the bathroom, put the egg under the water, open the egg, put your head under the water, listen to the egg,” but you know what? Harry’s got to work at it a little bit here.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, there’s only so many things you can do with an egg in a bathroom; you should be able to figure this out pretty quick. I think Harry is also resisting taking this information from Cedric because it’s his pride at play.

Laura: Oh, for sure.

Andrew: He just won, he just did very well on the last tournament, he survived… Mr. Chosen One got maybe a little bit of an ego on him.

Micah: Cedric also feels like he’s giving Harry enough information in this moment. Remember, Cedric is a couple years older than Harry, so maybe the level at which he is thinking is not the same as a fourth year.

Liza: I feel like now I’ve seen this from so many different angles, because before last week’s discussion, I would have just been fully on Harry’s side, but now I can understand that maybe he’s trying to do this balancing act where with the first task, it turned out to be a situation where everyone knew all the information except Cedric, but then now it’s like, “Who knows what the other two schools know about this task?” So he’s trying to keep things a little bit fair, maybe.

Andrew: Oh, that’s true. It’s kind of like a blank slate, and so you don’t want to push things too far.

Liza: Maybe he’s afraid of getting caught, because he is breaking the rules right now to tell him anything.

Micah: Yeah, that’s a fair point. I would also say, though, that it’s very highly likely that both Madame Maxime and Karkaroff are helping Fleur and Krum figure out how the egg works.

Laura: Definitely. And I just have to give a shout-out to Justin in our Discord, who totally understands where I’m coming from by saying, “He can’t just say, ‘You can hear the clue underwater’?”

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: I guess we avoid leaning on this excuse, but it is a good… it’s for the plot. It is a good plot point for Harry to have to try and figure out the clue that Cedric gave him.

Liza: It’s just another way to torture Harry in this book. Draw it out as much as possible.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: For sure. But that said, I can accept that it’s for the plot, and we can keep it moving. Getting into the first chunk of our discussion, I want to focus on Draco Malfoy a little bit here, because obviously, this happens a few pages into the chapter. There’s a lot of establishing happening in the beginning of the chapter, a lot of focus on what the relationship between Ron and Hermione looks like after their big blow-up at the Yule Ball; they are being very courteous – I would say over courteous – towards each other because they’re trying to keep the peace, and we’ll definitely touch on some of that throughout the discussion. But I had a realization about Draco when I was reading this chapter, and it’s that he is an old-timey cartoon villain, because this 14-year-old comes to Care of Magical Creatures class, but before he goes, he’s read the paper with this horrific article about Hagrid, and he’s like, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to bring the newspaper with me. I’m going to put it in my robes, and I’m going to rub Harry’s face in it the first chance that I get.” It just feels… it’s giving Dick Dastardly.

Andrew: I don’t know who that is…

Laura: What?

Andrew: … but I can picture the [in an old-timey cartoon villain voice] “See right here, see right here? Look at this!”

Laura: That’s the vibe.

Andrew: Okay.

Laura: Yeah. And I feel like it all adds up when we think about his other baddie moments, if you will, like the taunting that he does. When he does get into a duel with Harry, he hurls a hex at him that’s basically the magical equivalent of playing an embarrassing prank on somebody. And if we look at this alongside his future inability to actually be the villain when he can’t kill Dumbledore, I think that the groundwork for Draco not being a very successful villain has been being laid since very early on in this series, and I think it’s another example right here.

Micah: So he’s almost a comedic villain, in a way. Like, you can’t take him seriously.

Laura: Right, and I mean, don’t get me wrong, his ideologies are reprehensible and he definitely is representative of the worst part of wizarding society, but he’s just parroting what he’s been told his entire life, and he’s never actually had to stick to his guns. He’s never had to put his neck out there, and I think it shows in the way that he tries to act out, because it’s kind of lame.

Andrew: Yeah, being ready to go with the newspaper, “Oh, look at this. You wondered? Well, here you go. This is why he’s so bothered.”

Laura: Well, unfortunately for Hagrid, the hits do keep coming. So he totally stepped in it with Madame Maxime at the Yule Ball, which y’all chatted about last week, but this article that we get in the Daily Prophet about Hagrid is completely scathing. So not only are Hagrid’s credentials, his education, and whether he’s even safe to be around called into question, but he’s outed in this article as half-giant. This is another example we see of a character of some kind of minority status being outed in this series. We just had Lupin last book.

Andrew: Yeah, it is interesting you using the phrase “outed,” because people can see him, right? And I know maybe there are some people like Ron who thought he just walked in front of an Engorgeo charm, but some people must already suspect this, so Hagrid shouldn’t have taken this as bad as he did.

Laura: I feel like there’s disassociation at play for people.

Liza: Yeah, exactly. I mean, I just agree with you so much that it’s remarkable how much I found that people sometimes want to believe the lies they tell themselves, so until it’s spelled out, who knows what people will make up to make themselves more comfortable, basically?

Micah: I’m trying to remember, too, and I’d have to go back and fact check it, but I feel like Draco often refers to Hagrid as a big giant oaf before this chapter, so it’s not like others couldn’t see Hagrid physically for what he is. And it’s interesting that Hagrid is almost ignorant in a way to how other people perceive him, whether good, bad, or indifferent.

Laura: Part of it is probably that most people are under the assumption that giants aren’t magical in the way wizards are, so one would never be admitted to Hogwarts. Hagrid even alludes to this later in the chapter that his dad was super excited when he realized that Hagrid had magic and could go to Hogwarts, so it could be that people ruled out the possibility of him being a giant because they didn’t think it was possible for one to go to Hogwarts.

Micah: Yeah. And what’s interesting about that is wasn’t Dippet headmaster at that time? Not Dumbledore. So we always talk about how Dumbledore is the one who’s all accepting and willing to bring in folks from all walks of life, but in this case, unless Dumbledore had influence over Dippet, Dippet was the one who allowed Hagrid to come to Hogwarts.

Andrew: Maybe it speaks to a long-standing tradition at Hogwarts, that it has been a welcoming school too. Dumbledore was just the latest in line to be welcoming all types of people.

Micah: And reckless, but we’ll talk about that.

Laura: Something else that I want to touch on with relation to the revelation about Hagrid’s identity is again looking at the way Hermione interprets bigotry in the wizarding world, because I really do feel like her heart is in the right place. She is recognizing bigotry for what it is; she spots it right away. But I think because she didn’t grow up in the wizarding world, there are some cases where she doesn’t have a proper appreciation for how it can manifest, how pervasive it can be, and she tends to oversimplify what she thinks the solutions are. So when talking about prejudice towards giants, when Ron was bringing up to her, “Hey, Hermione, this is a really big deal. I don’t think you understand; some people will care,” she just says, “It’s just bigotry, isn’t it? Just like the way people approach werewolves,” and Ron decides to keep the peace here, but in this moment, I really got the impression that Ron was feeling like, “You just don’t get it, Hermione, because you didn’t grow up around it, so it’s never as simple as saying, ‘It’s just bigotry; if we can get rid of it, then it won’t be a problem anymore.'” So I just think it’s interesting, Hermione’s kind of naïveté around the whole topic at this point. She gets better, but that’s also growth, right? She’s still a child.

Andrew: She is still a child, but with all the reading that she does, you actually might think she would have a better handle on the situation and maybe more of Ron’s perspective if she’s been a student of history.

Liza: And it just… what it reminds me of… initially, I thought of it as an odd and end, but the way that Malfoy, one of his taunts about Hagrid in this chapter is pretty horrific to read as an adult; he calls him the “elephant man,” and that sent me on a little rabbit hole this week about, “Oh, wow, this was a historical figure.” This was someone who was physically disabled, but in the 1800s that might end you up in what was then called a freak show. At that time there were slaves that were also part of those so-called freak shows, and so it’s like, “Wow.” It’s just pointing to how intense the bigotry is.

Micah: It also shows you how the media can enable behavior, because Malfoy says those things after the article has come out, so it’s almost like Rita’s words have empowered him to be even more spiteful and hatred towards Hagrid.

Andrew: Yeah, and he’s excited at the idea that Hagrid might not be returning, so that’s probably further emboldening him. Like he won, in a way.

Micah: Right, especially after the incident with the hippogriff the year before.

Andrew: Yeah, definitely.

Laura: Well, and he’s quoted in this article, too, as talking about that.

Andrew: Right, “Everybody hates Hagrid,” which Harry is particularly pissed about. But I think Hermione also serves as a sort of vessel for the reader, too, so maybe that’s a large part of what’s going on here in terms of Hermione’s character and how she doesn’t have a… just thinking about house-elves as well, she has a lot to learn, just like the reader does, so it’s an opportunity for us to learn with Hermione.

Laura: Yeah, that’s a good point. Usually, I think we’re used to Harry being the vessel for the readers, but I agree with you; I think in this particular case, Hermione is the the everyman, if you will.

Andrew: One important item of note is that the author of the article… so if you look at the article printed in the book, it doesn’t have a byline for who actually wrote it to tell you… because that’s an important bit of information if you’re consuming any article. The article does say there was a conversation with a Daily Prophet reporter, and that is just very sus.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: I don’t know why they wouldn’t just include Rita’s name. They do include it elsewhere in the article, but I think that the Prophet – or maybe this is at Rita’s direction – purposely does not say this was a conversation with Rita, because people know that Rita is a gossip columnist. People probably know she cannot be trusted. So if they put Rita’s name there, if they printed Rita’s name, people might not believe the article and it might not have as much power as it did, at least in Hagrid’s mind.

Micah: Totally. And there is additional proof of her not being fact-checked in this article, and I’m thinking about the whole Flobberworm story when Harry gets angry at Crabbe because Crabbe told Rita in this article that he was bitten by a Flobberworm, but of course, Flobberworms don’t have teeth, so there’s no way that could have possibly happened. So it just goes to show you; you’d think that if she was profiling a Hogwarts professor in this way, that somebody would be making sure it was accurate before it was published in a paper like the Daily Prophet. So I agree with you on that front, in terms of just having some fact-checking going on. We talked about this with the other articles we’ve seen her write up until this point. However, I do have a bit of a hot take.

Andrew: Uh-oh.

Laura: Here we go. Buckle up.

Micah: [laughs] And sorry in advance.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: There is very little that is factually inaccurate about Rita’s article.

Andrew: Oop!

Micah: And this goes back to, Laura, I think something you had raised earlier when you were talking about his credentialing, his expulsion, him being dangerous to be around. He isn’t credentialed. He was expelled, and I don’t really know that the truth was ever fully revealed there about what happened, but all we know is that he was kicked out of school. And he is dangerous to be around, even for the trio.

Andrew: Ah!

Micah: Forget his classes; think about all the danger that Harry, Ron, and Hermione get into. So I’m arguing here that almost all of the first part of her article is true, and as readers, and as Hagrid lovers, we just don’t like the way that it’s written.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: And I pulled out a few nuggets here. Dumbledore is “never afraid to make controversial staff appointments.” That is indisputable, as far as I’m concerned.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Hagrid got the job “ahead of many better-qualified candidates.” That’s true, as we see Professor Grubbly-Plank fills in for him in this chapter, and she does a pretty good job. I think it would have been interesting to see the list of other candidates that were potential hires, or did Hagrid just get the nod and Dumbledore was like, “Eh, forget everybody else”?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: “I like this guy.”

Micah: He “terrifies his students with a succession of horrific creatures.” Again, this is true. The creatures have “maimed several pupils.” “Maimed” may be a strong word, but they have suffered injuries. Even in this book, Seamus is injured by one of the Blast-Ended Skrewts. And he’s breeding dangerous creatures without governmental oversight. So I’m sorry, Hagrid.

Andrew: To the point about creatures maiming several pupils, I can’t remember who does in this chapter, but somebody says, “Oh, do you think the Blast-Ended Skrewts attacked Hagrid?” They don’t even trust the Blast-Ended Skrewts around Hagrid, and vice versa.

Micah: Because they’re a brand new species, as far as we know. We don’t know what they’re going to do, and there’s no expectation. There’s no research on them.

Andrew: Hagrid cross-bred them, yeah. [laughs] And Hermione says in this chapter, too, like, “Oh, Grubbly-Plank, I learned so much from her, so much I never would have learned from Hagrid.” This is a tough pill to swallow. I mean, it’s true. But Micah, so let me ask you, because Rita Skeeter’s article was so accurate and you find her to be one of the greatest journalists of our time…

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: … do you think Dumbledore should dump, or should have never hired Hagrid as teacher?

Micah: The latter. I don’t think he should ever have been hired as Care of Magical Creatures professor. I don’t think that Dumbledore set him up for success by doing that, by giving him that position. I just don’t think he was qualified.

Liza: Yeah, it really could have worked out if he hired him and then immediately trained him and supervised him…

Andrew and Laura: Yeah.

Liza: … so it’s one of these things where a lot of these issues happened from him just being thrown in to figure it out on his own.

Andrew: But see, there’s no tuition at Hogwarts, so how’re they going to get money to hire somebody to train Hagrid? [laughs] They’ve just got to pull whoever they can get.

Laura: I feel like they could get Newt Scamander.

Andrew: Ohh. Now, that would have been a great addition. Somebody write that fanfiction. This article happens, Hagrid is devastated, maybe he’s feeling insecure, Dumbledore is like, “Oh, I got a little extra attention on me and the school and my tactics; let me hire old Newt, my old buddy from Fantastic Beasts 2 through 3 and straighten this out.” That would’ve been great.

Micah: It would have been. And I think, to your point, having some sort of formal training in place, like Liza said, would have benefited Hagrid, whether that was learning from the previous professor or bringing in somebody like you said, Laura, like Newt, that he could be an assistant to, that he could learn from. And I think Hagrid would be a great Care of Magical Creatures assistant; he can manage creatures and beasts like nobody else probably could, and he would do it with a level of care that probably could only be rivaled by Newt.

Andrew: You can’t help but feel bad for Hagrid. And we’ll look at the other half of this article – which is loaded with problems – in a moment, but first, we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back.

[Ad break]

Micah: I will say, I think that Rita completely delegitimizes her argument by what she does next, because she transitions to basically an op-ed on giants, and she embellishes past historical interactions and really plays on the wizarding world’s larger fear of what giants represent. And she’s saying that, “Well, just because Hagrid is half-giant, that’s the reason why he’s so unqualified to be a professor.” It’s like, “No, he’s unqualified to be a professor because he just doesn’t have the resources and education that one needs to be successful in this role, and that’s regardless of any kind of background that he may have.”

Laura: Yeah. I think that’s a really great way to put it, and a pitfall that we see journalists in the real world fall into all the time.

Andrew: Yeah. And I think the way that this article is structured is interesting, because as Micah points out, many of the statements in the first part of the article are accurate, so you’re kind of building the reader’s trust by giving them things they, as maybe a parent of a Hogwarts student, would already agree with, and then you get to the second half, and you can’t help but believe the second half because the trust was gained in the first half of the article.

Laura: It’s also just hateful; I think that’s part of what we take issue with as readers, is the facts are the facts, but the slant is very hateful. I think it could be different if this were investigative reporting that wasn’t done as a sort of takedown piece, right? So if you got someone different to write this, especially if Hagrid wasn’t outed without his consent, then I think it would look quite a bit different.

Liza: And what occurs to me now is I feel like it also falls into this classic pattern of treating someone as if they’re dangerous, who is actually maybe the most in danger. If there’s, what, two half-giants that we know of in the entire wizarding world, that’s a extreme position of vulnerability where they just have to wonder at any minute, “If someone finds this out, I’m finished,” right? Also, I’m struck by that there must just be something really well done about the writing here that still makes me so sympathetic for Hagrid, even though all of the things you listed are true. And I’m just like, “Wow, I’m still so on his side,” even though he has done a lot of things that are questionable.

Andrew: And I think this is something the trio struggles with in this chapter as well.

Laura: Yeah, well, and it’s because we all know Hagrid, right? If we didn’t know Hagrid and then we read this article, we might have a different perception. I would hope that we could elevate our critical thinking skills for a moment, but perception is reality a lot of the time, and if you’ve read an article before you engage with a person or a subject matter, it will color your perspective. But because we have three and a half years of experience with Hagrid, we know that while the facts of this article – the first half of it – are true, the substance that is driving the motivation behind the article is false. So I think that’s what really makes us land on Hagrid’s side, at least speaking personally. And he’s taking this all really, really rough. He has shut himself up in his cabin; he will not answer the door. This has to be made worse by the fact that, as you said, Andrew, Professor Grubbly-Plank is a really good teacher.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Ouch.

Andrew: I didn’t say that; Hermione said that. In a way, Grubbly-Plank’s presence isn’t doing Hagrid any favors with any of the students, because suddenly they’re seeing how this class should be taught, and it’s like, “Wait, I’m actually learning and not in danger. Now we get to check out unicorns; that’s pretty cool.”

Laura: Something I will call out there, though: Half the class gets to check out unicorns.

[Micah laughs]

Laura: So I think if we’re talking about the quality of a teacher, accessibility of your classroom content to your full class is a pretty big part of that. So is she a good teacher in general? Yeah, I think she is. Do I think that it’s a miss for her first lesson to have chosen a creature that only half of her class could interact with? Probably wasn’t the best one. It was a flashy one to start with, which, by the way, is the exact same thing Hagrid did in Prisoner of Azkaban by starting with hippogriffs, so it’s just different flavors of the same gusto for the class, I think.

Liza: The other thing I don’t like that she did is her giving Harry the silent treatment. I think a better teacher would have used her words to explain why she wasn’t going to answer the question, like, “This is not my story to tell, Harry,” or like, “I don’t feel it’s appropriate for me to get into this, and now it’s time for class.” The silent treatment is… I mean, I was mad on Harry’s behalf.

Micah: He was being a bit pushy, though, in fairness, wasn’t he?

Liza: He was. Both he was being pushy, and then I just don’t think it’s appropriate to answer someone’s question by just saying nothing, because… I don’t know; maybe that will bring back some negative memories for people.

Andrew: And I would think as a teacher, you understand that students form relationships with other teachers, and Harry is very concerned about his friend. So I think that’s all the more reason to tell Harry, because otherwise, he’s probably not going to be focused in class. At least telling him might help a little bit so he’s not just sitting there wondering where he is. He’ll just be wondering why and feeling terrible for him.

Liza: I get the sense from friends of mine that are still teaching that the latest thing is to think about how you can use trauma-informed messages or methods in the classroom, and that’s about, “Do the students feel safe in class?” And how do you feel safe? If you feel heard. How is the opposite of that? If you ask a question, and someone pretends that you don’t exist, right? So it’s exactly like you’re saying; it’s like she lost Harry before she even started the lesson, so that could have gone differently.

Micah: It’s actually not all that dissimilar from what happens in Prisoner of Azkaban when they ask where Lupin is when Snape is the one who’s filling in for him, and Snape is extremely dismissive, and we see Grubbly-Plank adopt a very similar approach here with Harry.

Andrew: Yeah. It is interesting seeing the trio reconcile the fact that Hagrid is their friend, but at least in Hermione’s mind, Grubbly-Plank is teaching a better class. And I’ll borrow a popular Laura phrase here: Two things can be true!

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Hagrid is a bad teacher, and he’s also a really nice person, and it’s just a hard truth that the students have to live with. Yes, he was hired as a teacher. That’s great; we’re happy for our friend. But he’s just not the best teacher and there are better options out there, and that’s a really tough thing to balance, I think, but you just have to accept that.

Laura and Micah: I agree.

Laura: Couldn’t agree more. Agreeing with my own logic.

Andrew: [laughs] “Ah, yes, two things can be true!”

Laura: [laughs] Nobody’s ever said that before!

Andrew: Brilliant! [laughs]

Laura: In contrasting, though, two Hogwarts professors who have both been outed, basically within a year of each other, I wanted to compare Lupin’s and Hagrid’s responses to being outed for their heritage. Lupin is a lot more calm, cool, and collected about it. He knows he needs to resign. Hagrid is not taking it well, and is very clearly emotionally distraught over it. Also trying to resign, but Dumbledore won’t let Hagrid resign. I think it’s interesting to posit the question: Why accept Lupin’s resignation, but not Hagrid’s?

Micah: Well, what first came to mind for me is Lupin’s position is cursed, so there’s that.

Andrew: He’s gotta go. [laughs]

Laura: True.

Micah: He doesn’t have much of a choice. But if we were to remove that, it’s really hard to say, because we know that there were letters – or at least, Lupin thinks that there will be plenty of letters – that will be arriving to the school calling for him to resign, whereas we see in this chapter Dumbledore notes that there’s been a lot of letters in support of Hagrid. Now, supporting him in what sense, I’m interested, because he speaks of those who had been at Hogwarts when Hagrid was there, so it could have been when Hagrid was… probably not when he was a student, but in his role is gamekeeper. And I don’t know that they’re necessarily advocating on behalf of him as a professor, because they have no context for him as a professor, because this is essentially his second year as a professor. So getting letters from parents, I would assume they just loved his good jolly nature as the gamekeeper of Hogwarts; they didn’t have him as the Care of Magical Creatures professor. So I don’t know. I genuinely think that Lupin poses more of a direct threat to students than somebody like Hagrid.

Laura: I agree.

Andrew: I think Dumbledore also sees that Hagrid wears his heart on his sleeve. He lets his emotions get to him and then he doesn’t think clearly. Hagrid thinks with his heart, whereas Lupin is the type of person who thinks with his brain. He has reason to accept Lupin’s resignation; he doesn’t with Hagrid. We’ve all been there; we all have a bad day and we’re like, “Screw this, I’m out of here! Eff everything!” And then we get some sleep and then we come to our senses. I think Dumbledore sees that Hagrid was just caught off guard by this article. He knows deep down Hagrid doesn’t want to leave; he’s just upset right now and he will get better. Sometimes you just need a pat on the back and “Toughen up, kid. I’ll see you at breakfast, 8 a.m. tomorrow.”

Micah: And Hagrid is not going to turn into the Hulk every 30 days and rampage around Hogwarts breaking everything, posing risks to the students and the staff. I think you have to be concerned about that with Lupin if he forgets to take his Wolfsbane Potion.

Andrew: [laughs] We only have to worry about Hagrid’s creatures, not Hagrid himself.

Micah: Right. We have to worry about his teaching methods being dangerous, not him specifically. I don’t know. It’s tough. Dumbledore is in a tough spot. But he hired them both, so he has to deal with it.

Andrew: Hagrid is also the guy who drinks too much and loses control. He needs to be just reined in and everything will be okay. Hagrid will get through this.

Liza: All I could think of was maybe was Dumbledore worried that if Hagrid was not at Hogwarts, that out in the world more people would be likely to take advantage of him and manipulate him towards evil, basically?

Laura: Honestly, I think it’s a good guess, because Dumbledore behaves similarly towards Trelawney. Obviously, him keeping her close and at Hogwarts, there’s a very different reason behind it; he’s trying to protect her because she heard the prophecy. But Hagrid is also Dumbledore’s right hand man, and I have to imagine that there’s a target on Hagrid’s back, too, because of that, so it could be out of protection more than anything else. Throughout the conversation about Hagrid, the trio are trying to figure out how the heck was Rita able to overhear this conversation between him and Madame Maxime, and they get oh so close to figuring out whether or not she was in the garden. But they do try to go see Hagrid, he won’t see them, and ultimately, they opt to go to Hogsmeade for a weekend trip because they’re hoping – or Harry is hoping – that he’ll run into Hagrid there. So we’re going to nip down to the pub here while we play this ad break, but we’ll be right back.

[Ad break]

Laura: So Harry is again choosing not to focus on solving the egg. He could hang out in Gryffindor tower and have the common room basically to himself, but he’s like, “Nah, I’ve got to get down to Hogsmeade so I can try and see Hagrid,” but it becomes clear very quickly that Hagrid is nowhere to be found; he’s still shut up at home. But who is in Hogsmeade in the pub is none other than Ludo Bagman, and he is there with a group of goblins who look decidedly unfriendly.

Micah: Shady, shady, shady, shady.

Laura: Pretty quickly, Bagman approaches Harry and takes him aside to offer him help with the egg, but Harry declines this because he asks, “Are you helping Cedric?” and when it becomes clear that Bagman is not helping Cedric, Harry declines his offer. But something else curious happens over the course of their short conversation here: Harry asks Bagman what he’s doing there with the goblins and what they want, and Ludo tells him that the goblins are actually looking for Barty Crouch, Sr., who has taken ill, is not reporting to work, and is just sending all of his updates to the Ministry, a.k.a. Percy, probably via owl. And there’s this moment where he specifically says, “Don’t go around repeating this, because Rita Skeeter is definitely buzzing around…”

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Laura: “… looking for other stories to tell about us, and I don’t want that to happen.” So I had this moment when I was reading this, and I was like, “Am I crazy, or does it seem like Ludo is trying to plant this story to take attention away from him?” And to play both sides of this goblin equation; like, he’s definitely told the goblins, “Hey, I’m going over to talk to Harry; I am going to make sure that he knows how to win the second task so that I can win whatever bets I’m placing on him and give you your money back,” and at the same time, trying to see if he can goad to Harry into leaking this totally fabricated story about the goblins wanting to meet with Barty Crouch, Sr. to sort of take any heat that might be residually occurring over Bertha Jorkins off of him. Did anyone else pick this up? Was that too long-winded of an explanation?

Andrew: Those were some mental gymnastics that I’m still flipping through.

Laura: Sorry.

Andrew: But Micah, you seem to like it?

Micah: I do, because I think that there’s already been enough information put out there that it’s clear that Bertha Jorkins is missing, and so what better way to deflect that story than to get information into the Prophet about Barty Crouch, Sr.? It takes a lot of pressure off of Ludo’s shoulders. Now, that being said, it would have been interesting if Rita went down the rabbit hole of investigating the situation with Barty Crouch, Sr. and why he’s not showing up to work. It might have spoiled some plans on the part of Voldemort and Barty Crouch, Jr., or it may have ended up with Rita being a squashed bug much earlier in this story. [laughs] One of those two things likely would have happened. But yeah, Ludo is definitely in it for Ludo every moment that he’s on the page. He’s only working for himself.

Andrew: I will also add that Hermione does catch on to what’s going on with Ludo because she starts wondering why goblins would be looking for Crouch.

Laura: Right.

Micah: Yeah, it’s very strange.

Andrew: Because it would be a different department.

Liza: Yeah, I think it’s spot on. I wouldn’t have thought of it, but when I was hearing your explanation, I think you’re exactly right. He’s just doing anything to get the heat off of him, to distract, deflect.

Andrew: Laura loves true crime and a good mystery…

Laura: I do.

Andrew: … so she thinks that way. She gets straight to the point.

Laura: Well, I don’t know if I was straight to the point with that; I was very enthusiastic about being like, “He is totally playing the deflection game; let me take you down every nook and cranny that my brain went about this.” So thank you for indulging me. I think that he knows the kind of journalist Rita is, and she has a reputation, obviously, for overhearing things and catching wind of things that she really shouldn’t. So if he’s planting this seed with Harry, who he knows is likely to go back and tell his two friends… let’s say they’re sitting there talking about that pretty openly; all it takes is for Rita to walk into the pub and overhear them, and boom, there’s the lead that she’s going to chase next. He doesn’t know that she’s also an unregistered Animagus, so that adds a whole other level to this.

Micah: For sure. I also would say that I think Ludo’s behavior continues to raise maybe not a guilty status on the suspect meter, but it’s very suspicious. The fact that he… we don’t have the full context right now of the goblin backstory and him being a betting man all the time, but the fact that he tried to help him out just before the start of the first task, now he’s coming over and trying to help him with the second task… we still don’t know who put Harry’s name in the Goblet, so the fact that this man who doesn’t know Harry from anybody else, really, is so willing to help him.

Andrew: Ludo’s behavior doesn’t seem to raise any flags with Harry, does it? At least not in this chapter, in terms of who put his name into the Goblet. So maybe that should tell us something.

Micah: I think he’s working on who put his name in the Goblet about as much as he’s working on the egg.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Which is not much.

Andrew: “Figure it out later.”

Liza: Yeah, but it’s clear, at least, he doesn’t trust him. And there’s this added level of skill to Ludo’s manipulation, because he’s so good at appearing to be the sociable, funny, friendly guy.

Micah: But Harry’s intuition is strong; he can recognize a fake… well, most of the time.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: When he’s speaking with one.

Laura: I also thought this would be a good opportunity to remind ourselves that at this point, Crouch is under the Imperius Curse and being forced to stay home and handle his Ministry business via owl, so that’s been going on for quite some time at this point, and it’s why Percy is having to step in for Crouch as well in more events. Who else should walk in at this moment when Harry and Bagman are talking but Fred and George, and they attempt to invite him for a drink, which he very quickly refuses and dips out as quickly as he can.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Why would you go anywhere near…? If you’re trying to avoid these children who you owe money to, why would you go anywhere near Hogsmeade on a weekend when you know the students are all going to be there? Like, come on, man. [laughs]

Andrew: Right, yeah. He really wanted to get to Harry, I guess.

Liza: Exactly.

Laura: But unfortunately for Harry, Ludo Bagman isn’t the only unwelcome face in the pub that day. Rita Skeeter and her cameraman Bozo…

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: What a name.

Laura: I forgot that was his name. [laughs]

Andrew: Bozo the clown?

Micah: Bozzo.

Laura: Bozzo?

Andrew: Let’s call him Bozo.

[Micah laughs]

Laura: I didn’t know. I thought it was Bozo. [laughs]

Micah: No, I think Bozo is appropriate.

Laura: Okay, UK listeners, is it Bozo or Bozzo? Because as an American reading this, looks like Bozo. [laughs] So let us know. But they walk in and she’s got her Quick Quotes Quill at the ready, and Harry is not having any of it. He and Hermione in particular do not react well to seeing Rita here. And unfortunately for Hermione, she definitely solidifies herself as Rita’s next target by standing up to her and calling her horrible for what she did to Hagrid with that article.

Andrew: Yeah. And Hermione is so livid after this that she vows to get back to Rita for the hit pieces that she’s published so far. Is this kind of a foreshadow alert? In that Hermione does have the last word later on.

Liza: I think so.

[Foreshadowing sound effect plays]

Micah: You just really wanted to play that, didn’t you?

[Andrew makes a buzzing noise]

Laura: We really do need a buzzing sound effect for her.

Liza: And I’m sure this is such a relatable moment for any of us that had been called a little kid, regardless of your gender, or even just been treated as… or questioned based on your age. I mean, I was literally just about to carry three bags of groceries home because the store is so close to me, and I have a neighbor that’s like, “Are you really going to carry all that?” And like, “Huh, I wonder if I was in my early 30s and not a woman you would have questioned whether I could carry three bags.” But yeah, so I really appreciate and relate to this moment of rage for Hermione. Like, “Oh, yeah, sure, demean me, see what happens.”

[Andrew and Liza laugh]

Laura: And in the end, Hermione wins that bet.

Micah: Yeah, she does.

Laura: Yeah, Rita gets some punches in, but… [laughs]

Micah: And I think that Rita reacts the way that she does because she’s getting called out in front of the entire bar. It’s like one of those moments on TV where everything goes silent and everybody’s looking at you, and I don’t think Rita honestly liked the attention at that moment. If she ran into the trio somewhere up in Hogwarts or somewhere else in Hogsmeade where there weren’t all these other people around, she probably wouldn’t have cared as much.

Andrew: Here’s a fly buzzing, okay?

[Buzzing sound effect plays]

[Laura laughs]

Micah: Do you hear a splat sound at the end?

Andrew: I don’t know, I… [laughs]

Laura: You’ve got to get the sound of a jar lid popping, like… [makes popping sound] something like that.

Andrew: [laughs] Let’s put Eric up to this.

Micah: He’s good at this.

Andrew: He likes creating these stories in the sound effects.

Laura: He does. [laughs]

Micah: One other thing I just wanted to call out given that we are in the pub, before we leave the pub, is that I think it just demonstrates how bars and pubs are welcoming, usually, to everybody. If you look around this pub, you have goblins, you have Ludo, you have Rita, you have all these Hogwarts students… so regardless of who, they’re all welcomed in to have a drink. Not saying everybody gets along with each other, but that’s usually the case for most pubs.

Laura: True.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, it helps that it was karaoke night that night, so that’s why probably a lot of people were there.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: But no, I agree. And I guess it also helps that students are allowed to be in the bar, which seems like a whole other problem.

Laura: I mean, drinking culture is different in the UK, as we know.

Andrew: It is, but can the trio have a butterbeer at this age? They can, right?

Laura and Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: But they’re only 14 or 15, and it might be a little alcoholic…?

Micah: I don’t think it’s alcoholic.

Andrew: It’s not?

Laura: Not for humans.

Andrew: Oh.

Laura: It is for house-elves, because we see Winky get real drunk off of it.

Andrew: [laughs] Winky is a lightweight.

Micah: She’s a lush.

Laura: Yeah, but Dobby says that butterbeer is really strong for house-elves, so I don’t think it’s high alcohol content for people.

Andrew: Got it. Right.

Laura: But these pubs, we see that they serve mead and whiskey….

Andrew: Yeah, Firewhisky.

Laura: … yeah, so there’s definitely that element of it. But when you get outside the US, attitudes towards teenagers drinking are really, really different.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, it helps that the drinking age is lower.

Laura: Yeah. Well, as we established, Hermione is fueled by righteous indignation about what has happened with Rita, so she takes off and she marches down to Hagrid’s cabin with Harry and Ron in her wake…

Andrew: Bum-bum-bum-bum…

Laura: … and she practically beats down the door…

Andrew: Boom-boom-boom-boom.

Laura: … trying to get Hagrid to let them in.

Andrew: I’m working on the enhanced audiobook as you narrate all this.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: It’s very good. But much to their surprise, it’s not Hagrid that opens the door, but Dumbledore.

Andrew: I’m putting on my Dumbledore glasses for this section…

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: … because I think Dumbledore is phenomenal in this scene. Absolutely phenomenal. He’s a good friend, he’s funny, he brings up a lot of good points… I am truly obsessed with Dumbledore in this area of the book.

Laura: He is very good.

Micah: I agree.

Laura: He basically uses the trio – particularly Hermione’s reactions here – to make the case.

Micah: Yeah, he uses the trio. What a shock.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: [imitating Dumbledore] “Careful now, careful now.”

Laura: Do you think he orchestrated that somehow to be like, “I need to get them to come down here because I know how they’ll react, so I can prove a point to Hagrid”?

Andrew: The timing did work out well, but I guess maybe Dumbledore assumed that at some point the trio would be back. When, though, I guess was the bigger question.

Liza: It’s like, little do we know, Dumbledore has been there all day, because he’s like, “I know this is the day. Sooner or later…”

Andrew: Yeah, just waiting for Hermione to come and bang on the door.

Micah: I think it’s really great that Dumbledore has given Hagrid his space to work through everything that’s been going on, but then at the end of all of it, says, “All right, man, enough. Your butt better be at work on Monday.”

Andrew: “You cried it out. Toughen up, man. Let’s get back at it. You got this.”

Micah: Right. One thing that also jumped to mind is when Hagrid was talking about Dumbledore, he says, “Trusts people, he does. Gives them second chances… that’s what sets him apart from the other Heads, see. He’ll accept anyone at Hogwarts, s’long as they’ve got the talent. Knows people can turn out okay even if their families weren’t… well… all that respectable.” And I’m curious, now that we have Deathly Hallows, we have Fantastic Beasts, do we think that this stems from his own experiences with Grindelwald and Aberforth and Ariana, the way that he is so welcoming to all at Hogwarts?

Andrew and Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: I think that’s a really good observation.

Laura: Well, especially with his dad.

Andrew: Yeah, so Hagrid does say in this same area, “Great man, Dumbledore,” but Dumbledore does an excellent…

Laura: We need southern Hagrid.

Micah: [in a southern accent] “Great man, Dumbledore.”

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: That wasn’t really southern.

Andrew: That was just normal Hagrid.

Micah: That was normal Hagrid.

Laura: That was really good, though.

Liza: That was good.

Andrew: But Dumbledore does an excellent job here trying to make Hagrid feel better, and he also says something that I’m going to now share with y’all every time you complain about him: Dumbledore says, “Not a week has passed since I became headmaster of this school when I haven’t had at least one owl complaining about the way I run it. But what should I do? Barricade myself in my study and refuse to talk to anybody?” Dumbledore’s point is so true. We can plus one this being podcasters; you can never please everybody. When you’re in a leadership role, you’re always pissing somebody off; you’re always upsetting somebody, because not everybody’s going to agree with your style. Can I get an amen up in here?

Micah: Amen.

Andrew: Now let the music play.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: That’s a Drag Race reference.

Micah: Well, I can definitely agree because I’ve read a lot of the emails or other complaints that we’ve received over the years…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: … and they’re not even complaints; they’re just feedback. And not everybody, to your point, Andrew, and to Dumbledore’s point, agrees with what we have to say, and that’s okay.

Andrew: That’s okay.

Liza: Yep, that’s why… I mean, I just had that today; some people weren’t happy with the book I chose for the next book club I’m leading, and I got angry initially, but then… I feel like the most amazing thing I’ve learned this year is that the whole reason that all these different approaches tell us to just focus on the moment and your breath or notice something else in the present, is it literally allows you to process emotion. So it’s like what Dumbledore could add, it’s just like, “Yep, you can get angry, but you’ve just got to let yourself take a breath, process it, and then go ahead and do exactly what you were going to do.”

Andrew: Take a breath. Listen to the birds outside Liza’s window. Just relax.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: I wonder how many of the professors at Hogwarts were hired or appointed by Dumbledore versus them being there when he assumed position of headmaster, because… and again, what he says in this moment is a great moment; don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to nitpick at him at all. But I wonder if some of these letters would be lessened if he would have maybe had some more qualified people in the positions that he’s hired, right? You think about Hagrid, you think about Trelawney, you think even about Snape. Snape is… we’ve talked about this; he’s not a good person, he is a good teacher, but you probably don’t want that type of person teaching these students. He’s also a former Death Eater. Then you have all of the DADA professors, and presumably the position is cursed mostly because of Dumbledore and the fact that he didn’t let Tom Riddle take the position. So I mean, you can spend a lot of time probably examining. I’m curious who was there before? Your McGonagalls, your Sprouts, your Flitwicks. Obviously Binns; he was there probably before Dumbledore. But it’s interesting to me that a lot of the teachers he’s hired, I don’t know how good they are.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Well, according to Fantastic Beasts, McGonagall was there before he became headmaster.

Micah: [laughs] Right.

Liza: Binns bothers me a lot because I think history is super compelling. Not everyone knows how to convey it in a compelling way, but it’s like, don’t believe that all history is boring like Binns makes it seem.

Andrew: Yeah. And when you’re a kid reading this and maybe you haven’t had history classes yet, you just go into your first history class assuming it’s going to be as boring as Professor Binns’s. [laughs] Society really does not do history classes any favors in general.

Laura: No, it doesn’t. And that’s why we repeat it so much. But anyway…

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Laura: During the course of this conversation as Hagrid starts feeling better, he pulls out a picture of his dad and starts sharing stories about his relationship with his dad and how his dad was really the one who told him never to be ashamed of who he was. I think it’s important for Harry to hear this always, but particularly in this moment when he’s dealing with so much uncertainty and pressure, and still just coming off the heels of having basically three quarters of the student body hating him for what they perceived him to have done. But Hagrid also has this really lovely, touching fatherly moment with Harry, saying, “I think you’re going to win. I believe you’re going to win. How are you doing with the egg?”

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Laura: And Harry lies again, and this time, he deservedly feels like crap about it because Hagrid is here all teary eyed from crying a whole bunch, but he’s smiling and he’s happy and he’s so proud of Harry, and he believes in him so much. And Harry just feels that pit of guilt in the bottom of his stomach in this moment. I know we’ve all been there.

Andrew: Yes, and it also reminds Hagrid, I think… well, Hagrid is being reminded of why he loves being at Hogwarts and why he should trust Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s opinion when it comes to moving forward after this article. He’s remembering in this moment… he’s past the darkest point with this article, and now he’s like, “Oh.” He’s starting to remember all the good things that come with being at Hogwarts and why he should continue being at Hogwarts. But yes, I think we’ve all been there where somebody asks you how a certain project is going, and you’re like, “Haha, yeah, everything’s fine, it’s good,” and you haven’t even started it, but sometimes you just say that to placate somebody and fake it till you make it.

Micah: And it’s like, did he learn nothing from both the first task and the unexpected task? He’s got two tasks that he’s more or less failed spectacularly at preparing for, and so he’s in the exact same spot he was in just a couple months ago.

Andrew: Yeah, we didn’t even touch on this, but Bagman tries to give him some help in this chapter, and Harry says, “Nope. No, thank you. I don’t need it. I don’t want it, because that would be cheating.”

Liza: Yeah, I honestly used to hate this book because of Harry’s continual procrastination. I think it was painful to me to be like, “Harry, stop procrastinating.” And I mean, at least now I have a little more sympathy because it’s like, wow, he is under such pressure that it’s driving him to a little bit of his worst instincts.

Andrew: Yeah. Harry should be looking into this, but five weeks is still a lot of time. [laughs] That’s a long time.

Laura: It’s not, though.

Micah: It’s plenty of time to take a shower or bath.

[Everyone laughs]

Liza: It’s such a shame. Hermione would’ve helped him… that’s the one, especially… I can understand why he didn’t want Ludo’s help – that could go south fast – but Hermione was a real help.

Andrew: That’s kids, though. That’s adult. You’ve got other stuff going on. I hate to defend Harry here, but I just can’t be like, “Bad Harry for procrastinating,” because we all do it. It’s a miracle when some of us get something done five weeks in advance of the deadline. [laughs]

Laura: Oh, for sure.

Andrew: Who are we to judge?

Liza: Exactly. It’s like, now as an adult I understand the moments of the book that made me the most mad are like, “Oh, because did it remind me of myself? Maybe.”

Andrew and Laura: Yeah.

Laura: That’s a good point. Although, I will say, I don’t think the penalty for any of us procrastinating in our day-to-day lives is death…

[Liza laughs]

Laura: … so the stakes are a little higher for Harry. But again, that probably drives him to that procrastination, because he’s just trying not to think about it.

Andrew: Yeah. Career death is what we face by procrastinating, but not real death.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: Imagine if he would have procrastinated in the next book with Sirius. Then perhaps things would have turned out differently.

Andrew: Wow. Not this soon after Kierra just hit that part of Order of the Phoenix.

Laura: I know.

Micah: [laughs] Oh, yeah. I saw that.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I can’t wait for my Cousin Harry sweatshirt.

Andrew: Did you order one?

Micah: I did.

Andrew: Oh, sweet.

Laura: I got a shirt.

Micah: We’ve got to all wear them on an upcoming episode.

Laura: I would love that.

Odds & Ends

Laura: Well, let’s get into some odds and ends for this chapter. Micah, you want to kick us off?

Micah: Yeah. Well, speaking of the second task, at least we know that one person seems to be practicing. Now, that’s at least how I read it; we could assume that he just enjoys swimming in the cold Black Lake there, but I do think that he is training for the second task.

Andrew: Yeah, I think you’re right.

Laura: I agree.

Liza: Definitely.

Laura: Hermione’s justification here is kind of weird where she’s like, “Yeah, I mean, it’s a lot colder where he’s from; that probably feels warm to him.” I’m like, “Nah, girl. No.”

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: But speaking of Hermione, she reveals at the start of this chapter that she used Sleekeazy’s hair potion to get her sleek hairstyle for the Yule Ball, and Harry’s ancestor Fleamont Potter is actually the creator of Sleekeazy’s hair potion.

Micah: Ooh.

Liza: I love that.

Laura: Which is ironic that Harry never uses it, because he needs it.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Also, just wanted to give a quick shout-out to Hogwarts Legacy because goblin rebellions are briefly mentioned in this chapter.

Andrew: And I remember there were critics of Hogwarts Legacy who were like, “Why did they decide to make goblin rebellions a focus of this game?” Well, turns out it’s canon.

Laura and Micah: Yeah.

Micah: I killed a lot of goblins in that video game.

Andrew: Me too. Sorry, buddies.

Laura: I was using the Unforgivable Curses like crazy, so I just killed a lot of things.

Micah: Everybody?

Andrew: You’re a monster.

[Laura laughs]

Micah: Well, speaking of using spells, we do get a mention in this chapter of Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth performing inappropriate charms on goats. I think he also questions Aberforth’s ability to read, which was… [laughs] I did not remember that.

[Andrew laughs]

MVP of the Week

Andrew: And now it’s time for MVP of the Week.

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: I was raving a few minutes ago; Dumbledore is getting my MVP of the Week. Albus, not Aberforth. Albus for his wit, his wisdom, and his kindness as Hagrid was very upset about the Rita article. He was a really good friend, a really supportive friend and leader in that moment.

Micah: Got to give it to Hermione for calling that bitch out in front of the whole bar.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: I’m going to give it to Harry. I feel like we never do this, but I’m giving it to him because he could have accepted Bagman’s help, but even though he hates Cedric right now, he didn’t want to have an unfair advantage.

Liza: And I’m going to give it to the unicorns because like the all girls episode, we allow the girls to come to the front for this one.

Laura: Yep, very smart of them to prefer a woman’s touch.

Andrew: Next week’s episode is a Muggle Mail episode, so if you have any feedback about today’s discussion or recent discussions, please send it on in. 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. All of our contact information, including a contact form, is also available on


Andrew: And now it’s time for a Quizzitch, with guest host, Micah Tannenbaum!

[Quizzitch music plays]

Micah: Oh, wow. I didn’t know.

Andrew: Did you know that? Now you do.

Micah: Now I do.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Last week’s Quizzitch question: According to Rita Skeeter, what department at the Ministry would be particularly interested in Hagrid’s Blast-Ended Skrewts?

Andrew: You should’ve said according to that bitch, [laughs] like you did in your MVP award.

Micah: [laughs] No, I’ll only curse one time, and you can bleep me out.

Andrew: All right. “Bitch” is safe.

Micah: Oh, is it?

Andrew: The rule is if it’s in the books, we can say it. But just not crazy amounts.

Micah: Oh, okay. All right, and the correct answer is the Department for the Regulation and Control for Magical Creatures. Correct answers were submitted by All Snapes and Sizes; Draco’s Etsy Shop; DumbledoreTheRizzler4229; Elizabeth K.; Cousin Skeeter, Rita’s cousin from the ’90s, who starred on Nickelodeon where NOBODY was harmed by Blast-Ended Skrewts; Hermione’s pink dress was actually a good movie decision; Micah Micah Micah Micah Vroom Vroom Vroom…

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: … Must be a Wheezy; Pop goes the Weasley; Shyam; The Blast-Ended Skrewt that’s loose on Hogwarts grounds; The entirely aboveboard and totally legit Rita Skeeter, who has never done anything remotely dodgy in her life, no siree; The Flobberworm that allegedly bit Crabbe; The Flobberworm who bit Crabbe; The Knights Who Say “Skeet!”…

Andrew: What?!

Micah: … The way Andrew pronounces subsequent is bizarre…

Andrew: Sub-sequent?

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: … and TotallyInnocentBangEndedScoot.

Andrew: Well, that was a unique bunch. That is for sure.

Micah: Next week’s Quizzitch question: The tub in the prefects’ bathroom features roughly how many golden taps? Each presumably doing different things to the water.

Andrew: Okay. All right. [laughs]

Micah: To submit your answer, head over to

Andrew: Please prepare now for some sub-sequent messages.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: This show is brought to you by Muggles like you. We do not have corporate overlords who control the show and could cancel us at any moment; we’re an indie podcast, and that means 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. We just released a new headcanons installment over on MuggleCast Gold. You can also get bonus MuggleCast installments and ad-free MuggleCast and early access to MuggleCast on our Patreon. Liza is a patron. is where you can support us, and you’ll get all those benefits I just mentioned, plus livestreams, planning docs, the chance to co-host the show one day, the MuggleCast Collector’s Club – we send out new stickers every year – another new physical gift every year, and a video message from one of the four of us. So lots of great benefits. We lined up so many benefits because we’re so grateful for listener support. Another way to support us is by going to, and you can get some of our patron gifts from years past, like a T-shirt, signed album art, wooden cars, and some other items like the MuggleCast beanie and MuggleCast socks. And Micah, what are you and Eric doing this summer?

Micah: Eric and I will be in Portland, Oregon from July 5-7 at the Oregon Convention Center for LeakyCon 2024. We just put out a really fun announcement video in collaboration with LeakyCon on Instagram; thanks to Chloé for helping us edit that all together, but a lot of fun inside jokes there to go and check out. And of course, we’d love to see you out in Portland. Head on over to to register, and use code “Muggle” when checking out; you’ll get a nice little discount as a thanks for listening to the show. And of course, plenty of information to come in terms of panels and guests and all that other stuff in the coming weeks.

Andrew: Speaking of summer, a few of us will be in the DC area in August, and we’ll have more details to share as it gets closer. Liza, thank you so much for joining us today.

Liza: You are so welcome. It was an absolute delight. So happy to be here.

Andrew: Aww. Please tell us about your book club one more time.

Liza: Absolutely. So if you find yourself wanting more… we’ve got the book club with this read-along for Goblet of Fire, but if you want more, feel free to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for announcements about upcoming monthly book club meetings as well that will help us travel around the world by reading. So I’m @LizaMunk on Twitter, and @Liza.Munk on Instagram, so we’d love to have you.

Laura: So cool.

Andrew: It’s a great idea because people want to travel the world, but it’s expensive and time-consuming, and now you’re traveling the world through reading. That’s really sweet.

Liza: Thank you.

Andrew: Listeners, we’ll have a link in the show notes as well. Also, visit for those show notes, and transcripts, our social media links, our full episode archive, and our favorite episodes. And that does it for this week’s episode. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Liza: And I’m Liza.

Andrew: Bye, everybody.

Laura: Bye, y’all.

Micah: Bye.