Transcript #658

Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #658, Imagine Dumbledore’s Bathroom (GOF Chapter 25, The Egg and The Eye)

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

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

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: And crank up the hot water and pour the bubbles, because this week we are soaking…

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: … in Goblet of Fire Chapter 25, “The Egg and the Eye.” We’re taking a bath, we’re visiting Moaning Myrtle, it’s going to be great. And to help us with today’s discussion is one of our listeners and a Slug Club supporter, Geoff! Welcome, Geoff, to MuggleCast.

Geoff Hutton: Thank you! I feel like Sirius Black. I’ve done my waiting! 14 years of it!

[Everyone laughs]

Geoff: And now I’m finally here with you guys. This is so cool.

Andrew: Well, we’re excited to have you.

Eric: Welcome.

Andrew: Let’s get your fandom ID to kick things off.

Geoff: Well, my favorite book is Order of the Phoenix. My favorite movie is Sorcerer’s Stone. For my Hogwarts House, I am a Puff. [imitating the Puffs from Puffs the Play] Hi! My Ilvermorny House, I am a Pukwudgie. My Patronus is a wolf. Did I miss anything?

Andrew: Excellent. Well, I do have one more important question. In light of today’s chapter, what is your favorite bathroom in Hogwarts?

Geoff: [laughs] My favorite bathroom at Hogwarts. Um…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: You’ve got so many to choose from.

Geoff: Yeah, exactly. There’s this one, and then there’s this other one. But actually, my answer is not really canon, because I’ve always had this theory that Dumbledore’s office has to have the most extravagantly decorated bathroom with a fancy magazine rack next to the toilet…

Andrew: [imitating Dumbledore] “It’s true, it’s true.”

Geoff: … that has just all the most up-to-date knitting pattern magazines for you to peruse.

Andrew: “Yes, yes. It is quite spectacular.”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, I bet he has a really nice bathroom. I mean, if the prefects get that, imagine what the headmaster gets at Hogwarts.

Geoff: No kidding.

Micah: Do you think…? Dose Dumbledore have a bidet? He’s got to, right?

Eric: Oh, absolutely.

Andrew: Definitely. Is that even a question? That was one of his requirements for working at the school.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: It’s a fancy bidet. It even talks to you.

[Andrew laughs]

Geoff: It’s got ten different jet settings on it.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Eric: I will say, bidets are awesome. The last thing that it should do – but probably would in the wizarding world – is talk to you. That’s something I don’t want.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, I don’t want the bidet commenting on what it’s up to.

Micah: In the shape of a phoenix?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Wow.

Eric: “Tuck your pants in, scruffy.”

[Geoff laughs]

Laura: I was just thinking of Hogwarts Legacy and all of the really annoying lines that came out of the Floo Network as you’re trying to navigate around the school and imagining those types of lines coming from Dumbledore’s bidet.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Is that too far? A bridge too far? Do we have to edit that out? [laughs]

Andrew: No, I think that’s fine.

Eric: We brought this on ourselves.

Micah: You have the episode title ready to go.

Eric: “Dumbledore’s Bidet: The Egg and the Eye.” [laughs]

Andrew: So Geoff, you have a great personality. It seems like you are a Potter podcaster yourself. Are you a Potter podcaster?

Geoff: I am in fact a Potter podcaster. I’ve been accused of many things, but that’s definitely one of my favorites. Until recently, I was a host for SpeakBeasty; we recently brought that show to its natural conclusion. And I am also a host for Alohomora!, which thankfully is still going very strong.

Andrew: Excellent. Well, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show, and thanks again for your support.

Geoff: No problem. It’s actually kind of funny, with me being a host on Alohomora! and us discussing this chapter today because we did this chapter, like [laughs] ten episodes ago, so I still had…

Andrew: Oh, really?

Geoff: Oh, yeah, I still had plenty of notes on on this chapter just ready to go.

[Andrew laughs]

Geoff: I did revise it because that’s the thing that you do, but I had plenty of thoughts just at the ready. You sent me this chapter; I said, “Let’s go. Let’s talk about some bathrooms.”

Andrew: What better episode of MuggleCast to be on than a bathroom-themed one?

Eric: Is it okay that this unironically is like my favorite chapter, though, in this book?

Andrew: It’s a great chapter!

Laura: It is good.

Geoff: It’s perfectly fine. There’s plenty to pick apart in this chapter, even outside the bathroom.

Eric: Yes. Mostly, I would argue.

Andrew: We will talk about it in a second, but Micah, I think there’s a little bit of news you wanted to touch on quick?

Micah: Yeah, news is so few and far between these days that when we get a little bit of it, I feel like it’s important to mention, especially for our listeners. Harry Potter: The Exhibition, which has been here in New York and is wrapping up at the end of the summer, is now headed to Boston, so they are going to be releasing some more information, some more details about exactly where the exhibition is going to be and what date it’s going to open. But that is its next stop on what is sure to probably be a multi-city journey over the course of the next couple of years. But for those who have been to the one in New York, it’s totally interactive, totally immersive, which is something that couldn’t be said for the prior exhibition which existed. And we got a chance to interview the person who put it all together back on… I’ll look up what episode it was and we can throw it in the show notes. But I highly recommend for if folks are coming to New York, or if they live or you’re going to be in Boston, to definitely check it out.

Andrew: Okay, cool. Thanks for that update. And we wanted to let everybody know that we have a new bonus MuggleCast coming up on our Patreon and through MuggleCast Gold later this week. Recently, the CEO of WB Games made some interesting comments that hint at what the future might hold for Harry Potter gaming, and he said that they maybe don’t want to do another Hogwarts Legacy, but they want to do something that’s more online, maybe MMORPG, so we’ll talk about that and what we would like to see out of a Harry Potter MMORPG in this week’s bonus MuggleCast. Remember, we’re now recording two bonus MuggleCast installments every month, and like I said, they are being released through Patreon and Apple Podcasts.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: So without further ado, let’s get to Chapter by Chapter, and this week we’re discussing Chapter 25 of Goblet of Fire, “The Egg and the Eye.” And Geoff is going to start and end this Seven-Word Summary, so here we go.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Geoff: Mermaids…

Laura: … sing…

Andrew: … to…

Eric: … a…

Micah: … bathroom…

Laura: … of…

Geoff: … children.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Aww.

Andrew: Okay. All right.

Geoff: I might’ve set myself up a little bit with that one. You guys said I had the first word, I said, “Are you sure?”, and the one who is hoist with their own petard is me.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: You know, Geoff, we have seven words in the Seven-Word Summary, and my favorite two are the ones that you just contributed.

Andrew: It’s true.

Laura: I agree.

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Laura: Despite the maturity of the problems that Harry is coming up against in this book, he’s still salty about Cedric stealing Cho’s heart. But despite this, because of the guilt he feels at the end of the last chapter for lying to Hagrid about working on the egg, he finally does decide to swallow his pride and go to take a nice relaxing bath in the prefects’ bathroom. So this is Cedric’s recommendation, of course, and I think it ends up being a lot more fruitful than Harry thinks it will. But we’re all adults now, right?

Andrew: Uh-oh.

Laura: We’re in our 30s and 40s. Is this bathroom everything we’ve ever wanted?

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Because I read and reread the description of this bathroom, and I went to Marc and I was like, “When we move, this is the bathroom I want.” I want a swimming pool bathtub! [laughs] Geoff.

Andrew: That part’s pretty cool.

Eric: This is the Disneyland of bathrooms.

Geoff: Yeah, you know the nice thing about Disneyland? Other people clean it up and I don’t have to.

[Micah laughs]

Geoff: If I have to clean this bathroom, no way do I want it. I’m a shower person. I don’t want to clean a bathtub this size, no way. Also, is it just me, or is this bathroom just a bath room? Because when they describe this bathroom, there’s no mention of toilets or showers or anything else you’d use it for. It’s just a room in which to bathe, right?

Eric: Maybe it’s in the Roman sense, like a bathhouse, essentially.

Andrew: Yeah, I was thinking of this room more of like a sauna or just a place for prefects to gather and unwind after a hard working day. I don’t think it’s necessarily a place you would go to by yourself.

Laura: So they get together and unwind in a big bath together? [laughs]

Micah: Oooh.

Geoff: See, that’s another thing. This bathroom – oh my gosh – okay, so the irony of a bathroom that is equally accessible to people of different gender identities to be created by this author at this point, it just… it’s an ironic bathroom.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: It’s like a massage. You go for a massage every once in a while, right?

Eric: Like a day spa.

Andrew: A day spa, massage, yes.

Micah: They give elf massages.

Geoff: [laughs] Gosh, because the elves need something else to do for these kids.

Andrew: That’s who cleans this big tub, by the way.

Micah: That’s what I was going to say. I had questions about this when we were talking about the bath and who cleans it. It’s like, this is another place for the elves to have to manage.

Laura: Well, I want to make sure that we’re really setting the scene here. So I mean, this bathroom – the literal bath room – it’s softly lit by a candle-filled chandelier. Everything is made of white marble. We already established the bathtub is the size of a swimming pool, but it has a diving board.

Andrew: Fun!

Laura: So maybe you’re right, Andrew, people are coming in here to chill, go for a swim. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, 100%. I mean, we’ve all been through it in the Hogwarts Legacy video game, which, it was excellent that they included it. It’s a big space.

Laura: Yeah, it definitely is. A hundred golden taps with different variations of bubble bath mixed with water, and a large pile of fluffy white towels. All I have to say about this is some of us are going to Podcast Movement in August; we will be staying at the Gaylord Hotel in DC. If the Gaylord DC does not have luxury bathrooms like this, I don’t want it. [laughs]

Andrew: If it doesn’t, we’re going to the spa, where it will have these things.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: I once belonged to a gym that had this and it was amazing, but it was $120 a month; it was insane. I had to quit that.

Geoff: Yeah, you won’t find this at Planet Fitness, no way.

Eric: No, no.

Laura: I mean, I’ll say a MuggleCast spa day actually sounds really fun and like a great bonding experience, so let me know if y’all want to do that.

Andrew: You and I can, Laura, because I seem to recall Micah and Eric going to get massages at a Podcast Movement one year. [laughs]

Laura: Oooh!

Eric: I tried to. I ended up not doing it, actually, so I’m still owed.

Andrew: Oh, okay. All right. All right.

Micah: Yeah, in Orlando. I invited both of you and you didn’t want to come.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I’m sure that’s the full story.

Andrew: I was like, “What was you, Micah; you’re in Florida and need a spa day at a podcast conference.”

Micah: Well, I was coming off of a working trip for a week, and then I met the both of you, remember?

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: Oh, that’s what it is. He needed it to be restored.

Laura: So Harry fills up this tub and decides, “I’m going to try and open this wailing egg in the most echoey room that I could possibly open it up in to see what happens.”

[Eric laughs]

Laura: And what happens is predictable. Egg goes rolling away; Harry drops it in shock. And who appears but a great connecting the threads moment: Moaning Myrtle is back.

Andrew: Yes.

Laura: She has been presumably watching Harry. Although she says that she covered her eyes, she closed her eyes when he came in, I don’t know if I buy it.

Andrew: I don’t either.

Laura: I don’t buy it.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: But I really like the connection here because I feel like in at least a couple of books at this point, a really major plot point or secret or clue that Harry needs is something he unearths in a bathroom because of Moaning Myrtle, so it’s a nice connection to Chamber of Secrets.

Andrew and Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: And so first thing, Myrtle is blinking at Harry when she’s like, “Oh, no, I wasn’t looking at you, I promise,” and a lot of blinking can be a sign that you’re actually lying, so there’s that. And another reason I love this chapter and the scene is because having Myrtle here is probably at least partly to remind the reader about Polyjuice Potion, because it’s brought up that Harry used it to impersonate Crabbe and Goyle and Draco with Ron and Hermione, so it’s a very clever reminder for the reader as we gear up for the twist coming later in this book.

Micah: And what happens not too long after in this chapter, right? When Harry gets stuck in the staircase and we learn that somebody is stealing from Snape’s stores. And I think what jumped out to me was the fact that this is the second major character now that has made a reappearance since Chamber of Secrets that wasn’t in Prisoner of Azkaban; we had Dobby a little bit earlier on, and now we have Moaning Myrtle. So my question is, we know the book is rushed, right? Is this just repeating old storylines?

[Geoff and Laura laugh]

Eric: But so much has happened since then that I actually find it really impressive to have these characters come back, and it’s like, “Oh, you thought they were just a Book 2 thing? Wait’ll you hear that they’re part of future plots!” I don’t know. I feel like this part of the book, especially with what Harry sees on the map and going into the very next task, there are so many plot points that are firing at every cylinder that there’s actually future mysteries brought in as well to these two chapters. There’s stuff like… Harry leaves the encounter with Moody at the end of this chapter wondering what Moody was talking about about Snape’s so-called “second chance.” These are entire series-long mysteries that are being dropped while these old characters of yore are being brought back. So I actually think, yes, the book is rushed, but the writing is on point in this chapter.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Yeah, I was also thinking about this just as y’all were making those points about why we would bring characters back from Chamber, and when I think about everything that has set Harry up to be able to function in the Triwizard Tournament, I actually think the events of Chamber of Secrets did a lot more to set him up for being successful in the tournament than the events of Prisoner of Azkaban did, just because of the amount of physical exertion that Harry has to endure throughout this, and fighting off a giant dangerous beast. I think there’s maybe a comparison to be made. And not to say that it was at all the intention to make that comparison, but it makes sense to me that you would get these themes back from Chamber of Secrets that you didn’t necessarily see in Book 3.

Eric: Yeah, Book 3 is all about Harry’s family and his past and finding family that he didn’t know he had, but you’re right, Books 2 and 4, he’s kind of more an action hero.

Geoff: Yeah, in Book 2 he’s solving a mystery, and in this particular task, that’s exactly what he’s supposed to be doing. Task one they say, “We’re not telling you what’s coming”; they all find out anyway because cheating is a traditional part of the tournament. And then the third test, they tell them what’s coming, but it doesn’t really help that much. But in this one, this is the task where they just give them a clue and they have to figure out how to solve it. In Chamber of Secrets, that’s what Harry was doing. He was trying to solve a mystery.

Eric: I mean, there are mysteries in all of them. But I will say, too, specifically because we’ve heard before the author say that Books 2 and 6 were originally going to be swapped, a lot of what didn’t make it into Book 2 is in Book 6, stuff with Tom Riddle’s backstory, for instance. 2 and 6 are really Tom Riddle-focused, really heavy, for obvious reasons. But 4 is the middle book of the whole series, and so it makes sense to see all of these plot threads that are series-long weave their way in through Book 4, maybe not get the world’s biggest focus, but then to see them scuttle off until they’re brought back up in Book 6. So I’m very satisfied when I see these types of connections being made.

Laura: Well, since we’re talking about Myrtle, I think we need to analyze her a little bit because there’s some stuff going on here, and we get some revelations further into her character. So we learn why she’s confined, allegedly, to the Hogwarts plumbing; it’s pretty sad. So Olive Hornby – who we have heard her talk about before in Chamber of Secrets; Olive Hornby was her school bully – apparently had to get the equivalent of a restraining order from the Ministry against Myrtle, who had been stalking and harassing her as a ghost to remind her of the day that Olive found Myrtle’s body after the Basilisk killed her. So according to Myrtle, she was decreed to return to her toilet. [laughs] And I’m wondering here if this is literal, or if she’s embellishing on this?

Geoff: I mean, I think that there’s a Beast, Being, and Spirit Division within the Ministry of Magic, that’s for sure. But this whole thing with ghosts just baffles me because first of all, what gives them the right to dictate how ghosts live their afterlife? And also, how are they going to enforce it? Because let’s just say they tell Myrtle, “Okay, you’ve got to go back. You’ve got to live in your toilet,” or even “You’ve got to live in Hogwarts Castle.” What’s going to keep her there? How are they going to do it? Who’s going to enforce that?

Andrew and Laura: Right.

Geoff: Even if they could do it, it’s Hogwarts. Nobody’s going to keep a ghost in a security nightmare. They can’t keep living children in the security nightmare.

[Micah laughs]

Geoff: They’re not going to be able to keep Myrtle there.

Laura: True.

Eric: Maybe keeping them there is in their best interest because that’s what makes Hogwarts a security nightmare.

[Geoff laughs]

Eric: Filch keeps threatening to have Peeves removed, but Dumbledore is too busy loving Peeves’s chaos to ever get it done.

Micah: They needed to put a trace on Myrtle. That’s what it was.

Geoff: How?

Eric: Yeah, I have to think there’s a way to compel ghosts one way or the other without fully taking their free will away. I don’t know. The whole Olive Hornby story is actually pretty awful. We sort of like the idea of being able to get our high school bullies back, or childhood bullies back, but Myrtle has taken it way too far. She talks about haunting Olive Hornby, showing up at her brother’s wedding, even, which is… that’s super cringe and way too much. And evidently, Olive Hornby has since passed as well. Myrtle essentially led her to an early grave, it could be surmised. So I just feel very bad. It’s an unusual experience reading this book this time, because I feel very bad for Olive, who was, let’s just face it, a teenage age as well, and I don’t think we all deserve to be judged by who we were when we were 13 and 14 or younger.

Laura: Yeah, God no. [laughs]

Geoff: Absolutely not. I did think of something – and it’s a connection to Chamber of Secrets, believe it or not – you can Petrify ghosts. So clearly, they can be in some ways damaged or their condition can be altered, and if they know that, then maybe they can subdue a ghost. It would probably take some pretty strong magic, but I really hate to think what kind of threats they’d have to lobby against Myrtle to get her bound to that castle.

Laura: It’s a good point.

Micah: Yeah, and I feel like within Hogwarts itself, though, that somebody like Dumbledore would give Myrtle free reign of the castle, but she seems the type to stick to what’s familiar to her. She doesn’t seem the adventurous type outside Olive Hornby’s brother’s wedding and everywhere that Olive goes, so I think she just went back to where she was comfortable, quite honestly.

Andrew: And she loved that toilet.

Eric: Yeah, the girls’ bathroom on the second floor was a refuge for her in life, and it makes sense that that would be where she would gravitate to. We really don’t see her in many other places with the exception of those in this and the next chapter. We do see her show up at Nick’s deathday party, but Peeves bullies her back to the bathroom. So she tries to be social; she tries to… Myrtle just can’t catch a break. But in this chapter, her trying to catch a glimpse of Harry is played very much for laughs.

Laura: Yeah, well, and we also learn that Harry is not the only person she tries to catch a glimpse of; she apparently entertains herself by spying on people taking baths in this bathroom all the time. So I’m wondering if she’s just popping into all the school bathrooms to get all the hot goss on people. I mean, clearly, there’s not a whole lot else for her to do.

Geoff: Now, not to excuse Myrtle’s behavior…

[Laura laughs]

Geoff: … because I agree, it’s very cringe. But Myrtle died a very vulnerable young lady who I gather did not easily engage with others, and as has been established, this is unfortunately… even though a bathroom is where she perished, it’s also where she hid when she was feeling vulnerable. And whether they are taking a proper bath, or putting on swimsuits and treating this more like a spa day kind of thing, when you are not very clothed and in a giant tub, you are in a very vulnerable position at any age, I would say. So perhaps this is on some level her recognizing that as a vulnerable person, she can try to connect with other people while their guard is down.

Eric: Oh, so she’s unironically seeking connection.

Geoff: Yes, exactly. It does not excuse cringe behavior, but it is a way of trying to understand why she’s doing it.

Andrew: If you’re trying to figure out… yeah, yeah.

Eric: That’s interesting, for sure.

Micah: So is it then unfair to ask if Myrtle was the original Saltburn?

Eric: The original what?

Andrew: You’re referring to the movie?

Micah: Yes.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Geoff: I did not see Saltburn.

Micah: There’s a specific scene. We don’t have to go into details. We’ll leave it there.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: I will say, for this and many other reasons, Hogwarts is a privacy nightmare.

Geoff: How many people listening to the show right now do you think are getting their phones out and googling Saltburn?

Andrew: Yeah, maybe don’t google it.

[Geoff and Micah laugh]

Eric: I’m trying to resist.

Micah: It’s a bit pervy that she’s spying on students in these types of situations, and it’s actually the second instance of a character trait in these last few chapters that we’ve read. We’ve seen it with Mad-Eye Moody/Barty Crouch, Jr. when he looks through Harry’s pants to see his socks at the Yule Ball. And I saw your air quotes there, Eric.

[Geoff laughs]

Eric: I did the air quotes. “Socks.”

Micah: But it’s in so much that it also upsets Parvati, right? So there’s this weird theme running through these last couple of chapters that I don’t remember when I first read Goblet of Fire.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: When you think you’re alone, you’re not alone. It’s just a very tonally… yeah, I think it’s supposed to kind of give you this sense of your hair standing on the end.

Andrew: Yeah. And I like, Geoff, your deep take on this, but I also think that Myrtle is just trying to pass the time by listening in on people’s conversations in the bathrooms and spying on them. I don’t want to say I support what she’s doing, especially the looking part – hate that – the listening part, though, I think we’ve all been there.

Geoff: Oh, sure.

Andrew: And maybe literally in a bathroom; you’re in one stall and listening to people gossiping in front of the mirrors or something like that. [laughs] That’s the takeaway I was getting from this scene, like Myrtle is just one of those people who’s overhearing what you’re talking about in the bathroom.

Micah: Yeah, and I understand she was 14 at the time when she was killed by the Basilisk, but where my head goes – and this is probably a product of having seen a lot of the films before having read the books – is Shirley Henderson and the fact that she was 35 at the time that she was playing Moaning Myrtle and doing that scene with Daniel Radcliffe, and he was, what, maybe 15/16 at the time? He was a little bit older than the actual age of Harry. But yeah, I mean, that’s what comes to mind, and I’m sure it does for a lot of people too.

Laura: Yeah, I remember how uncomfortable that was, especially with some of the choreography they did in that scene. [laughs]

Eric: You mean, like, the blocking? The way that Harry pulls more bubbles to cover himself?

Andrew: The bubbles, yeah.

Geoff: Yeah, they took an awkward scene in the book and kept it very awkward. And they added that music in the background that kind of sounds like the beginning to that one aria from Carmen; it’s like… [sings] It’s like, this is not mood music! You stop that!

Laura: [laughs] Yeah, not necessary.

Andrew: Well, I guess we’ll have to see how the TV show handles it, because I guess they can start by casting somebody younger for the role of Myrtle. And I mean, Harry doesn’t have to be nude in the tub, either. He could just be wearing a bathing suit, so they could get around it that way too.

Geoff: I should hope so. He does say in the book, “I’m not wearing anything,” which to me kind of destroys the argument of “Oh, the prefects are just chilling out with their buds,” and I’m like, “No. Even at that age, no. Me and my buds are not… no. We would have bathing suits.” But Harry brought nothing but the Invisibility Cloak and the egg because Harry is not a heavy packer.

Andrew: Is the cloak waterproof? He could have just worn that into the tub, actually, and then Myrtle… this problem would not have risen.

Laura: Does the cloak work on ghosts, though?

Geoff: And it makes things invisible, so if he’s wrapping it around all of himself – or even just the certain areas – then they are not visible to anyone. Problem solved.

Eric: The Invisibility Bathing Towel.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Geoff: There you go. That’s a Shark Tank pitch you haven’t seen yet.

Laura: [laughs] Well, we are jumping a little bit ahead in the chapter to do some of this analysis on Myrtle, and we’re going to come back to the egg in a second, but I wanted to also touch on this: Apparently, Myrtle also gets flushed into the lake sometimes, so here’s our confirmation that Hogwarts is dumping its sewage into the lake where the giant squid lives, not to mention all the merpeople and God knows what other members of the ecosystem.

Eric: [laughs] Maybe that’s why they’re so cross. That’s why the merpeople just aren’t very happy.

Andrew: What if the giant squid is the house-elf of the lake and is cleaning the lake? That’s the purpose of the giant squid.

Laura: Aw, that’s so terrible.

Andrew: Well, but wait, there are sea animals that help clean the ocean in their own ways, so maybe that’s the role of the giant squid. That’s why the squid’s been allowed to hang there for so long, and then occasionally waves to people.

Eric: Well, we do have the 1,000-year old solution, too; before modern plumbing, there was the Evanesco charm. I like to think that maybe some of the ducts at Hogwarts have an automatic Evanesco so that nothing substantial is making it out into the lake.

Micah: So all they had to do was follow the poop in the second… anyway.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Yeah, the spiders and the poop.

Micah: But I like this. This is like a Thief’s Downfall but for poop. It’s poop’s downfall.

Eric: That’s what I’m thinking of. Yeah, on the grates leading right out into the ocean, and the only reason it doesn’t work on Myrtle is because she’s a ghost.

Micah: This episode…

[Geoff and Micah laugh]

Laura: Well, as fun as this is, I think we need to take a bathroom break…

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Ooh, good.

Laura: … because if we keep going on with the bathroom humor too much longer, Andrew is going to kill us, so we’ll be right back after these messages.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: This episode is explicit, without question.

Andrew: This episode is sponsored by Charmin.

[Ad break]

Laura: So now we’re going to talk about working out this egg, right? So Myrtle appears when she realizes Harry is not working out the egg right, and she says, “I’d try putting it in the water if I were you,” causing Harry to drop the egg, cause all the commotion we talked about at the top of the conversation. So he puts the egg in the water, submerges himself, and he hears the song clue. And I wanted to see if anyone here was feeling brave enough, creative enough, inspired enough to do a rendition of this clue.

Andrew: Oh, pfft. Of course. Do you want me to sing it?

Laura: I mean, do whatever feels natural to you.

Eric: Well, hang on. This was not revealed yet, but one among us is actually a wizard wrockstar.

[Laura gasps]

Andrew: Oh, okay. Then Geoff, you do it.

Geoff: I was wondering if this was going to come up or not.

Eric: So ladies and gentlemen, please, coming to the stage to do the rendition of the egg clue, Dream Quaffle.

Geoff: Okay, so shall I just sing it then?

Laura: Do whatever you want.

Andrew: However you think is right.

Eric: However you would. Do the interpretation however you would. Sorry to put you on the spot.

Micah: Yeah, however it speaks to you.

Geoff: [sings]

“Come seek us where our voices sound,
We cannot sing above the ground,
And while you’re searching, ponder this:
We’ve taken what you’ll sorely miss,
An hour long you’ll have to look,
And to recover what we took,
But past an hour – the prospect’s black,
Too late, it’s gone, it won’t come back.”

Laura: Woo!

Micah: Wow.

Andrew: [applauds] Encore!

Laura: That was amazing.

Geoff: Thank you.

Andrew: Yeah, that was really good. [laughs] Way better than anything I had in mind.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Honestly, they need to contact you for the show.

Geoff: Yeah, you know what? They can. I’m @DreamQuaffle on all my social medias. Just send me a DM; we’ll work it out.

Andrew: Max that! Here we go.

[“Max that” sound effect plays]

Micah: Thank you, Geoff, for just bringing the show totally back.

Geoff: Oh, you bet.

Laura: I know. You brought it to a whole new level. [laughs]

Eric: Geoff, I’m looking forward to hearing that rendition live and in person at Leaky this summer.

Geoff: I absolutely will do that for you. I can’t wait.

Eric: Okay, awesome. We’ll do backup. We’ll do the oom-sha-la-las or something.

Geoff: [laughs] The oom-sha-la-las. I did a chant-like thing because that’s the way this text always read to me. My music theory brain kicks in; I’m like, “You know what? Ethereal-sounding mermaid song with a whole bunch of reverb.” This just sounds so chanty to me. But yeah, we’ll throw some sha-na-na-na-nas in the background. You guys can do that.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: Some sha-na-nas, some bah-bah-bah. Very classic wizard rock. I’ve got to say, it’s such a rhythmic and I think entrancing chant for a horrifying message.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, well, I guess that’s the fun of it? The intrigue around it? It’s almost a purposeful misdirect where it’s…

Geoff: Yeah, I would be… oh, yes. The fun of lying to children just intentionally!

Andrew: Well, it’s not…

Geoff: It is!

Andrew: Well, it’s lying in one way, but yeah.

Geoff: It’s a pretty big way.

Andrew: I guess so.

Geoff: You are intentionally telling children that something they care about will never come back if they don’t find it in a specific amount of time. It’s a terrible lie to tell to children.

Laura: It’s very sinister.

Eric: It’s so funny because… this is getting into what I think I do want to bring up next chapter when we talk about the task, but because of the way in which the “We’re going to take something that you love” comes across, I don’t think that Harry is fully set – or anybody – would be fully set up for the reality of what they’re about to face. So now that we finally worked out the clue – it took Harry months to do this – now that he’s worked out the clue, I don’t think the clue is that great. [laughs] I think it’s actually… it doesn’t adequately even… it still doesn’t prepare you. Harry still the needs the help of Myrtle to point out the mermaid for him to really understand what’s going on, and even then, not enough focus on “Wait a minute, they’re taking something? What are they going to take?”

Laura: Well, and also, “How am I going to be able to look for something in the lake for an hour? I’m sure the mermaids live at the very bottom,” he thinks this. So he doesn’t even get any sort of hint as to what he’s supposed to do to be able to embark on this endeavor in the first place. So yeah, I agree; it’s not a great clue. It’s pretty scary.

Micah: Maybe I’m by myself here; I think he makes the connection way too quickly. What context before this does he have to merpeople? I’m not going to go the route of the writing was rushed – I was just joking about that when I brought it up earlier – but even in the movie, you’d think it would take a little bit more thought for him to connect the dots.

Andrew: About the merpeople specifically? Or it just happening underwater?

Micah: Yeah, merpeople. I mean, I know there’s a mermaid or merperson up on the wall of the bathroom…

Eric: Which is lucky.

Micah: Yeah, I mean, how convenient.

Andrew: Well, that’s probably jogging his memory. Obviously putting the egg under the water is a hint that this is happening underwater.

Micah: But you think the singing gives it away, Geoff?

Geoff: It does. It’s not just the fact that it’s… with the Jim Dale narration – I forget about the Stephen Fry narration because I’ve only been through that set of books one time – but the Jim Dale narration, he doesn’t sing it. He just kind of reads it in this raspy voice that sounds very like his Voldemort voice from Deathly Hallows.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: It does, doesn’t it? It was giving Voldemort for me as well,.

Geoff: Hey, you know, he had to do like 300 characters per book; at a certain point, they’re going to start to sound similar. We can’t all be The Simpsons. Anyway, it’s just the line “We cannot sing above the ground,” so they’re either in water or literally underneath the ground, and it’s something that sings. And I don’t know about Harry personally – because they don’t teach creatures or history or any subjects the same way they did when I was this age – but by this point, even I knew when I was 14 that mermaids and sirens sing to lure you towards something, but that’s me personally. I will also admit that at that age, if I were in this position and I had that clue, I would think mermaids first, but I would have talked myself out of it by saying, “No, that’s too obvious. It has to be something more complicated.”

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Geoff: And then I would not have done the task.

Micah: I can see that. I do, though, agree with what was brought up from the standpoint of he has far more to worry about, so connecting the dots to the merpeople is just to get him to the place where he realizes, “Yeah, well, how am I going to swim underwater for an hour?” That’s really what he needs to try and solve here, and that’s a much bigger problem.

Geoff: This one in particular feels like a good point to remind ourselves he is 14. He has the magical education of a 14-year-old who has been through three and a half years of school. He’s not supposed to know how to breathe underwater for an hour…

Micah: [laughs] That’s true.

Geoff: … or even to figure out how should in theory do that. He’s not supposed to be here! So of course he can’t do it without help.

Andrew: Well, he also was not supposed to procrastinate, so this is kind of on him too.

Geoff: Are you kidding? He’s a 14-year-old boy! That’s one thing it’s weird if 14-year-old boys don’t do. They procrastinate.

[Micah laughs]

Laura: Yeah, and I think we established this on an earlier episode, where we talked about the procrastination and how when you’re that young, thinking, “Oh, this task is three months away; that’s an eternity” makes complete sense.

Andrew: Yeah, I’m just kind of making fun of my previous comments.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: I think the solution… but nevertheless, you do kind of… I think you make a good point, Geoff, because the 17-year-olds who’ve been through human transfiguration starting in like year six at least have some kind of a fighting edge, or they would have heard about Bubble-Head Charms, the things that the other champions do to survive this task. Harry at 14, yeah, he’s got Bagman sketchily offering him a hint, and he has some other people who kind of check in with him, but nobody is really… this needs to be weighted differently for Harry. I feel like he really should in a… it wouldn’t be cheating for somebody to say, “Here’s generally what you should be doing,” for this task more than anything else, because this task, you could drown if you do it wrong.

Geoff: I mean, poor Cedric. My dear, sweet Cedric boy is so bad at cheating because it is so far outside his nature. If I had been in his shoes and I was trying to help Harry cheat, I wouldn’t tell him, “Hey, take your egg and open it underwater,” because they’re going to check and see if you’ve done that. I would have just told him, “You should probably pull some books on breathing underwater and learn how to do that. There you go.” Then he doesn’t even have to bother with this whole mishegoss in the bathroom; he can just look up how to breathe underwater.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Eh, he still needs to do the clue. It’s part of the experience.

Eric: There is some shade to Cedric, though, because Moaning Myrtle says that Harry got the mermaid clue much faster, and at the time that Harry is in the bathroom, the mermaid is asleep and facing the other way even after the egg opens. But for Cedric, she was doing loop-de-loops, swimming around, and trying to get his attention, and poor little sweet summer child Cedric was so hard at work on the clue that he didn’t notice the mermaid that was literally right in front of his face.

Geoff: That boy is so pure, he wouldn’t have known what to do with that mermaid anyway.

Eric: He’s too pure for this world.

Geoff: And he is, he was, and now he’s… dead.

[Laura laughs]

Geoff: Not at this point, but it’s going to happen.

Laura: Soon.

Micah: Yeah. Well, speaking not of this world, I wanted to just call attention to the last two lines of this clue. “But past an hour, the prospect’s black. Too late, it’s gone, it won’t come back.” There were a lot of theories – maybe it’s not a theory – but there were a lot of thoughts and comments made after Order of the Phoenix had come out that this was a possible reference to Sirius going through the veil and not coming back.

Laura: Ohh.

Eric: That is interesting. The only thing in this entire clue that screams Hogwarts at all is that word “black,” because they sometimes call the lake “the Black Lake.” That’s really the only indicator at all about where this is to take place. Even if you get mermaids, or even if you get something is underwater, something underground, there are so few words in here to actually help – actually help – anything. Like, at all. And so “black” is one of them. And the whole “You won’t get it back, it won’t come back,” again, just is very ominous, and not enough effort has been spent really looking at that. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah, I don’t think Harry initially even imagines that the thing being taken is a person.

Eric: Oh! He thinks it’s like… they’re going to go into his trunk or something.

Laura: [laughs] He thinks they’re going to take his Firebolt. Well, having worked out the clue, all Harry needs to do is mind his business. Go back to Gryffindor tower, go to bed, end chapter, and episode over. Right? No, because Harry doesn’t know how to mind his damn business.

Micah: Amen.

Laura: He’s following the Marauder’s Map under his Invisibility Cloak, and he sees one Bartemius Crouch perusing Snape’s office and thinks, “I gotta go check that out.”

Eric: Okay, vibe check, though: Who among us would absolutely be doing the same thing if they saw somebody raiding Snape’s office and it wasn’t you? You’d be like, “Oh, kindred spirit. Have to check this out.”

Andrew: And it’s also somebody he is suspicious of. And I did also wonder – since we’ve occasionally raised this question before – could Harry’s interest in investigating this be Horcrux Harry at play? Maybe a little desire for trouble, which also is a bit of James Harry, too, but maybe just a natural curiosity towards anyone involved with Voldemort. That’s Horcrux Harry drawing him out to investigate. I know that that’s the type of thing that Harry would be doing, but given Barty Crouch’s connections to Voldemort, Junior’s connections to Voldemort, maybe the Horcrux is steering him along.

Geoff: I like that. I had not thought of that before, but I like it.

Eric: Yeah. It’s a matter of self-preservation for Harry, too, because if he can solve the larger mystery… he sees something this out of place; he assumes it means Crouch Sr. Crouch Sr., who is too sick to work, is now all of a sudden not only at Hogwarts, but didn’t come to Hogwarts when he was supposed to be at Hogwarts during the Yule Ball, now after hours is raiding Snape’s office. It’s too big a mystery for Harry to ignore. I do think that he’s been reckless in the past, but this is something where if you can nip this in the bud, if he had actually solved the mystery tonight, Cedric lives and nothing else bad happens to Harry ever until next year.

Laura: I don’t know. I look at this and I think it would have been a lot more effective to be stealthy about this, not feeling like you have to go directly to the source and see what’s going on. Monitor the map, see where he goes, and try to…

Eric: The map is only so good. We can’t know what Harry would have done had he not gotten stuck in the stair.

Laura: Well, yeah, of course. So it’s for the plot, is what you’re saying?

Geoff: Gryffindors don’t think that far ahead unless they’re Hermione.

Eric: Oh, there you go. Geoff’s got it.

Andrew: Also, Barty was doing circles around Snape’s office on the map; it’s not like he was really on the go, so maybe that further encouraged Harry to go and look, because I mean, he was also kind of trapped in Snape’s office. If you catch him in the office, he has nowhere to run.

Geoff: And then he does what? He encounters this adult wizard who’s probably more skilled and cleverer than he is, who managed to get into Hogwarts without being detected, and then Harry is going to do what? What’s his plan? See, he has no plan.

Andrew: Like you said, Gryffindors don’t think far ahead, yeah.

Geoff: Unless they’re Hermione.

Eric: It is worth noting that it’s unlikely Harry could have gone undetected, because Moody can see through his cloak. So I was going to say Harry would stay in the shadows outside Snape’s office, he would see Moody come out, he would realize that on the map the person that looks like Bartemius Crouch is in fact the teacher Moody, problem solved. It would be great. But I don’t think that Moody would leave without spotting Harry, just because Moody is on alert and that’s what he can do.

Laura: But as Harry is trying to navigate the castle, finding shortcuts to get down to Snape’s office, he does miss the trick step that always trips Neville up, and he ends up stuck with a leg…

Micah: He misstepped, literally.

Laura: [laughs] He did.

Eric: Ha.

Laura: Yeah, he misstepped. He ends up with a leg hanging through the stairs. The egg tumbles out of his hands to the bottom of the stairwell, where it bursts open and starts wailing and screeching, making a ton of noise. All I can imagine is what if someone else was out right now in the castle and they were maybe a floor below where Harry is, and all of a sudden they see this leg come through the stairs and you just start hearing this wailing and screeching because Harry’s leg is no longer covered by the cloak; it’s just hanging through the stairs, so is somebody just down there seeing his leg dangling, presumably, if they’re out?

Eric: I’m picturing that one shot of, what is it, Last Crusade where Indiana Jones steps through the thing and his foot is shown in the thing? I have to ask the question, because this is terrifying: Why is this here? This is a public staircase. I understand Hogwarts is quirky, but this is a pretty commonly trafficked staircase to get to… it’s very handy. But not only is there a trick stair, it’s also not well lit. Filch is standing inches from Harry and can’t see the map that Harry has dropped, so it’s extremely dark at night, not well lit. Not ADA compliant, let’s just go ahead and say that; although, it doesn’t need to be in the UK, but I assume the UK has something similar. This is a medical nightmare. Harry could have twisted his ankle. Harry could have broken his leg. For what? Let’s fix this stair! Come on, people! Let’s patch this up!

Andrew: [laughs] Uh-oh, I fear for the day we discuss Quidditch again. Eric is going to be like, “It’s so dangerous! What is wrong with this?”

Geoff: It is dangerous.

Eric: No, no, no. I don’t… look, a contact sport is something you sign up for. A contact sport is something you sign up for. Going to… I mean, what if the teachers, right? McGonagall is over 100, if she was in Fantastic Beasts. Dumbledore is 150. What about the older…? Maybe this is how Binns died, just going down the stairs one day. Whoops, he’s friggin’ dead!

Geoff: It’s canon how Binns died.

Eric: All that is said is that… it is assumed that he woke up, or he went to bed at his office and just woke up and left one day, but I don’t know.

Geoff: I mean, there’s only two explanations that make sense to me. Either they can’t, because similar to not being able to expel a poltergeist for some reason, there’s something quirky about this step; you just can’t fix it. That’s not very satisfying to me. What seems the most likely is it’s one of those minor annoyances that everybody thinks, “Eh, somebody’ll take care of that.” Everybody thinks somebody else is going to be the one to go to Dumbledore and say, “Heyyy, can we get rid of that fake step, because I almost broke my ankle? Okay, thanks,” and then no one ever does.

Andrew: I kind of like the idea that that’s a cursed step like the DADA role and it’s just impossible to fix. I think that would be very Hogwarts for that step to just be permanently in a trap mode. [laughs]

Geoff: I mean, you can make a Permanent Sticking Charm for pictures and stuff; maybe you can make a permanent Minor Damage Charm, and that was something that the architect who put the moving staircases in did as their little joke because their last payment from the founders was late and they’re like, “Okay, you know what? I’m going to give you this step forever and you’re going to be stuck with it. Pay your contractors on time.”

Eric: I like this canon. An angry contractor is my new favorite headcanon. Yeah, okay, I’ll go with that. I do picture, though, Laura, to your question of what do you imagine? The way it’s written is so funny because Harry loses the map, he loses the egg, he loses his cloak…

Andrew: He’s a mess.

Eric: He can’t get his stuff out and he can’t help himself out. I almost picture… there’s a thing in Family Guy with Peter Griffin where he falls down some stairs and just everything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong, and yeah, that’s what I picture. It’s just devastating. He’s trying to be stealthy, and it absolutely blows up in his face in every possible way.

Laura: Yeah. Well, to the point you raised earlier, Eric, Filch is first on the scene; he’s convinced that Peeves has stolen the egg from one of the champions and is up to some mischief. And much to Harry’s chagrin, shortly thereafter appears Snape, and Snape automatically knows “Somebody has been in my office messing with my wares, and I need you to come help me figure out who’s doing it, Filch.” And again, we made this connection – I think Micah did a little bit earlier – but Fakey, a.k.a. Barty Crouch, Jr., is in Snape’s office gathering ingredients to create that sweet, sweet Polyjuice Potion, just like we did in Chamber of Secrets.

Andrew: And it is funny that Snape’s prediction as to why a student would be in his office is mostly accurate here. Somebody is trying to get ingredients for the Polyjuice Potion; the question is who. And this is also another reminder for the reader as to the existence of the Polyjuice Potion and that it will come into play. It did make me think, though, it is too bad that Snape doesn’t have a way of detecting people who are under Polyjuice Potion, because if he has the ingredients to create it, you would think – and he can read minds – he might also have a way to detect if somebody is under Polyjuice Potion, and if he did, this mystery would have been solved right here, am I right?

Geoff: Speaking of detecting people, this is the thing that has always bugged me, because Snape gets so much credit for being so smart, and he is. He’s a jerk, but he’s a smart jerk. But this is a Snape thing that has always really bothered me; he says, “I seal my office with a spell that none but a wizard could break,” but what is the point of that spell if it can’t detect the identity of the witch or wizard in question? I know that Muggle technology doesn’t work at Hogwarts, so you don’t have cameras, but if you can detect the last spell that a wand cast, why can’t you detect some trace of who exactly has been in your office? Especially if he’s so keen to pin it on Harry, if he really thinks that Harry is doing it, he needs a way of proving who’s going into his office. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter. It could be anybody.

Andrew: And it’s certainly possible, because the map is capable of this. [laughs]

Micah: The other thing this made me think about, though, too, in terms of revealing people is Homenum Revelio, right? Why doesn’t Snape choose in that moment when he’s with Filch to actually see if Harry is there? We were told that’s how Dumbledore knew that Harry was in Hagrid’s hut back in Chamber of Secrets, and of course we see the spell used at other times throughout the rest of the series, but it always… that was one thing that came to mind when I was reading this scene. Why didn’t Snape choose to do that?

Eric: Yeah, and the reason that we find out that Snape’s office is barred with a charm that only a wizard could break is because Snape is forced to rule out Peeves as the person that was in his office per Filch’s insistence. So if you’re Snape, and you’re barring your office, and it’s either going to block all wizards from entering or all ghosts from entering, who do you think you’re going to bar your office off from? Wizards, right? All the students that want to creep into your stores and get your potions ingredients. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Snape to be like, “No, my office is protected and nobody but a ghost could get in there”? That’s a lot more secure than “Any wizard ever could go in.” And to your point, Geoff, I wouldn’t know who it was.

Geoff: Yeah, if you’re trying to figure out who’s stealing your stuff and you don’t care about who it is, why are you bothering? Just put it out on the porch and let them take it.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Wow.

Laura: Like Halloween.

Geoff: Yeah, like Halloween. [laughs] Put some Polyjuice ingredients in a pumpkin on your porch. Call it a day.

Laura: Well, I need to go break into Andrew’s potions closet to steal some ingredients, so we’ll be right back after a few words from these sponsors.

Andrew: Laura’s gotten really good at these ad break transitions.

Laura: Oh, thank you.

Eric: She’s so good at it!

[Ad break]

Laura: Okay, and so Mad-Eye Moody – a.k.a. Mad-Eye Fakey – joins the slumber party. He actually calls it out as a pajama party when he shows up and finds Filch and Snape sort of at odds about how to proceed here. And my first thought was in retrospect, a third character appearing in the middle of the night, when it was just established that only another wizard could have been searching Snape’s office, should have been a tip off. Maybe not for Harry, but certainly for us as readers.

Eric: But I think the biggest thing that works to Moody’s favor is that he shows up and immediately takes charge. He takes charge in a way that… Snape and Moody’s real life relationship is tense. It is also revealed through dialogue that Moody has already searched Snape’s office and Snape knew about it, and so that immediately, I think, deflates… you’re like, “Oh, it’s fine. He wouldn’t need to break in there because he’s already searched in person, and Snape knows about it.” So that’s why I think we don’t suspect him. But the way in which Snape is let’s just say handled by Junior here is a masterclass in how to… it’s like, we love that he’s helping Harry out in this moment, but it’s really shocking how good he is at it.

Laura: He is very good, because of course, we established that Harry dropped the Marauder’s Map. Moody very nearly blows Harry’s cover by saying, “Oh, did you drop a bit of parchment?” Snape turns around and immediately recognizes it, and starts casting about with his arms as far out as he can reach. He’s described as literally having his nostrils flared as though he is sniffing Harry out, which is a really bad moment for Harry because he used a bunch of heavily perfumed bath soaps in the prefects’ bathroom.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: “You’re smelling very lovely tonight, Filch. I just have to tell you.”

Laura: [laughs] Not only is he worried about Mrs. Norris being able to smell him – I mean, he’s already worried she can see him through the cloak – but now he’s got Snape literally about to reach out and grab him when Moody takes the Marauder’s Map and says, “Oh, no, sorry, that was mine.” Might be because Harry is frantically waving under the cloak, “No, no, no, that’s mine! That’s mine!” because he knows Moody can see him.

Micah: So I have a question about this, and this is something that has always bothered me a bit. This cloak is not an ordinary cloak. It’s one of the Deathly Hallows.

Andrew: It’s waterproof.

Micah: [laughs] That too. I don’t think Moody should be able to see through it.

Andrew: And definitely not an imposter. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, I mean, I think I would agree that Moody’s eye is overpowered, but I will say at least the book has established by this point – I’m pretty sure it has – that Moody can see through it. So this isn’t the first time we see that happening, which is good.

Laura: Well, and as we established, Mad-Eye really does a good job here. Fakey, excuse me, does a good job here of gaslighting the hell out of Snape and basically turning the tables on him and saying, “Dumbledore is pretty interested in anyone who’s got it out for Harry; why are you so convinced it was him? Why are you so obsessed with him?” [laughs] And it forces Snape to back down, which is so funny, seeing Snape actually be intimidated by someone else, which goes to show he doesn’t suspect that this is an imposter at all.

Eric: No.

Andrew: And maybe this is one reason Fakey is going so hard to help further sell the act. You would never expect Snape to be overpowered. It’s normally him who’s top dog, whether it’s another professor or, of course, a student, so to see this was a really fun read, and also just so cool to see Harry and Moody silently team up.

Laura: Yeah. He also allows Harry to overhear him saying other things to Snape, like “There are some marks that I don’t believe come off.” And Snape then grabs his forearm reflexively, and Harry is like, “Oh, I wonder what’s going on there?” But what do we make of the interaction here between Barty Crouch, Jr. and Snape? Because again, Barty is clever, right? He’s absolutely got animosity towards former Death Eaters who seemingly abandoned Voldemort, but at the same time, he’s playing it all out under the guise of being this former Auror so he completely flies under the radar. What do we think his motivation in this moment is?

Geoff: I used to think he was just venting all this anger that he never got to unload on any of those other Death Eaters that he mentions later in the book where he talks about how they never had to suffer for his master the way he did, but I actually think that when it comes to Snape, it’s a little bit different because he doesn’t know all the things that have gone on with Snape since he went to jail, got broken out, was on house arrest for years. I think he probably knows that Snape is formidable and useful and doesn’t know that his true allegiance is actually with Dumbledore. So I think when he’s amping him up with this discussion about how there are some spots that don’t come off, “You really can’t change your true nature,” it feels very Palpatine-esque to me when I read it now, almost like he’s reminding him, “You can’t change who you really are, Snape. You’re a kick-butt wizard, but you are definitely one of the Dark Lord’s soldiers, and he’s going to rise up again at the end of this book, and when he does, you’d better take that call, buddy, because if you send him to voicemail, he is going to whoop you good.”

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Eric: I love the idea that Junior is leaving the door open for Snape, personally. Between them, hasn’t made his mind up yet, exactly. I really love that because it works for me. It definitely sells this idea of Alastor Moody, who he’s supposed to be, as this grizzled old cop who doesn’t believe in second chances, so I think it really works perfectly. “Once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater” is exactly the prejudicial thing that you can think a retired police officer would say about somebody.

Micah: I’d add that this is also… this whole scene playing out in front of Harry is a major moment of trust-building between Moody and Harry.

Eric: Absolutely.

Micah: And we spoke in prior episodes about how there are other examples; he transforms Draco into a ferret, right? He gives Harry the final piece he needs for the first task. But he really saves Harry’s ass here, and he does it in a way, as Geoff, you just so eloquently put it, debasing Snape. So Harry couldn’t ask for more here; not only is he being saved, but he’s seeing Snape taken down a few pegs and is probably inside loving every minute of it.

Eric: Yeah, very few people could tell Snape to go back to bed…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Literally.

Eric: … and live.

Laura: Well, and it’s so funny that you mention Fakey saving Harry’s butt here, Micah, because Harry doesn’t know it, but he kind of returns the favor. If Harry hadn’t missed the trick step, and subsequently dropped the map and the egg and everything, he likely would have seen Moody come around a corner at some point, looked at the map…

Andrew: “Is this map bugged?”

Laura: … and seen, “That’s not Barty Crouch.” [laughs] And the plot would have ended a lot more quickly, I think, than it does. But I think, again, this is where Barty is so masterful at planting the seed of a different narrative by saying, “Yeah, well, if you think I’m loco for hunting down Dark wizards, I ain’t got nothing on Barty Crouch.” And he makes it his business to do this kind of thing, so again, he’s deflecting Harry’s attention onto Snape as a suspect.

Andrew: And there’s a lot to like about Moody’s performance here, but he’s not perfect. He is temporarily distracted from what Harry is saying because he’s so fascinated by this map. Harry asks him for help and Moody says, “What? Oh, yeah, yeah, of course.” He’s really focused on… maybe he’s thinking, “Whoa, that was close. I could have just been exposed.”

Eric: Well, that’s it, is his months’ long – if not more, multiple years’ long – plan to enter Hogwarts undetected… he’s successfully doing this under the nose of Dumbledore, Snape, McGonagall, all the professors who are all adults. Nobody suspects a thing. Nobody suspects him. All of a sudden this map, he doesn’t know who made this map, where does it come from? Nobody could have predicted or planned for this map to be existing. All of a sudden Harry holds it out, and he’s like, “This said Bartemius Crouch.” It’s like, for all of his planning, I think Junior is humbled in this moment, because something exists that is 100% revealing his true self. And of course he confiscates it, but he also can’t stop looking at it. He holds it the whole rest of the chapter, and I think he’s stunned that something like this could exist. I swear, between Harry trying out all the taps and Junior holding the map, they both have their own “I love magic” moments in this chapter.

Laura: Yeah. Well, the other thing, too… I mean, him taking the map serves a double purpose, right? One, he does not want Harry to have this thing that will reveal his true identity, but it also allows him probably to keep an even closer eye on Harry. He can already do that pretty well because of the magical eye, but now he has this map, he can watch not only Harry, but literally everyone else who’s on the Hogwarts grounds, including Snape, including Karkaroff, the other champions, Dumbledore… this makes it really easy for him. And their interaction in this chapter between Fakey and Harry ends with Fakey complimenting Harry and saying, “Hey, you’re a pretty good detective. Have you ever thought of a career as an Auror?” And I wanted to ask if we thought that that recommendation was sincere from Barty Crouch, Jr.

Geoff: Nope.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: You don’t think so?

Geoff: Because by the end of this year, Harry is supposed to be dead. It doesn’t matter what he aspires to, so why bother making a sincere suggestion that he take on a career that he doesn’t think Harry will ever live to see?

Eric: I think that’s exactly why he does it, is because he knows it’s not going to matter. I think that Barty has a very tongue in cheek approach. Well, Barty has opinions on Aurors. He took the baddest Auror out and assumed a position as him; the baddest Auror that ever was, Mad-Eye Moody, was Play-Doh compared to Barty Crouch, so he’s feeling really good right now, living life. And he has no high opinion of Aurors, so when he says that Harry should be an Auror, it’s both tongue in cheek because he doesn’t think highly of Aurors, and two, “Oh, if we had met 20 years ago under different circumstances, you might have caught me.” I think that’s where this is coming from, as Junior saying, “You might have caught me, actually.”

Andrew: Right, thanks to your detective work with this amazing map. So I think, to quote Laura, two things can be true. He knows Harry is going to be dead, but also, his detective skills are actually pretty good. He’s an inquisitive guy, so why not tell him that as a little pat on the back? Like a “Good job, kid.”

Eric: Yeah, I think so too. I know that we’re on a staircase right now, but it works on many levels.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Ha, ha, ha.

Laura: I was going to say, this gets brought up enough; can we create a shirt – for eventually when we expand more merch – that just says, “Multiple truths exist”?

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Oh, that’s how you want it phrased? Not “Two things can be true”?

Laura: Well, that’s how I say it. [laughs]

Andrew: Oh, okay. We’ll add it to the list.

Laura: Do it.

Eric: She’s quoting himself right now.

Andrew: Merch ideas. “Multiple truths can exist.” Okay.

Geoff: Makes it sound a bit like an X-Files knockoff, but I like it.

Micah: Yeah, I was going to… [laughs]

Eric: “Multiple truths are out there.”

[Geoff and Laura laugh]

Micah: I just think Moody is caught up in the moment. It’s a great performance by a great actor, right? He’s performing throughout this entire book, and this is another one of those moments. And I think part of him probably is like, “Oh, well, how much can I really build up Harry here? I’m going to say he could be an Auror.”

Eric: Exactly. I think the higher he builds Harry up, the more satisfying it’s going to see Harry’s broken body and… a sick thing later.

Andrew: Keep your friends close.

Eric: So I think that he is genuine with his compliment here.

Laura: Yeah, I mean, I think we talked about this a little bit before, but I think he kind of gets off on the danger of this situation a little bit. He’s definitely having fun playing with it. He’s having fun being hidden in plain sight and doing things that would otherwise attract a ton of attention to him, so I think he’s actually enjoying it. It’s almost like he’s taunting all of these characters and saying, like, “Na-na-na-na-na, I’m smarter than you.” That’s really the vibe that I get from Barty Crouch, Jr., and it’s clever; I’ll give it to him.

Andrew: One of my favorite shows is Breaking Bad and you see this with Walter White as the series progresses.

Laura: Yes.

Andrew: He gets an ego on him and he starts taunting his brother-in-law, who’s the DEA officer! And he enjoys it!

Geoff: He regrets it.

Andrew: Well, by the end he regrets it, but in the moment, in these moments where he’s got an ego about him, he is really going for it, rolling the dice, and I think it’s because – just to bring it back to Harry Potter – Barty Crouch, Jr. believes he’s pulling this off really well, and that ego just builds.

Geoff: Okay, I’ll give you this. Later in the book when he thinks he’s about to wipe Harry out once and for all, he points out that he thinks Harry is stupid. So if anything, him saying Harry should become an Auror is just pointing out that Aurors are stupid, which I think kind of serves the point that Andrew was just making.

Eric: There you go.

Odds & Ends

Laura: Well, let’s get into some odds and ends. Micah, take us away.

Micah: Yeah, so I wanted to bring up this is the second straight book where Harry loses the Marauder’s Map to the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor.

[Andrew laughs]

Geoff: Oooh.

Eric: Weird. If I had a nickel… I’d have two nickels.

Geoff: Not a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice.

Eric: Exactly.

Laura: And it’s funny because can’t we argue that both times the professor took it to protect themselves in a way?

Eric: Oh, yep.

[Geoff and Laura laugh]

Geoff: I’d agree.

Micah: And Snape was there both times too.

Laura: Yep.

Eric: Oooh.

Micah: Lazy writing. I’m just kidding.

Laura: [laughs] It was rushed. It was rushed. What do you have, Geoff?

Geoff: I just… one of my favorite things about the world-building of this take on the wizarding world. It’s one of the reasons why this version of magic is so dear to me, is just the occasional reminders of just the whimsy and the nonsense that they not only have, but they endeavor to preserve. Because the bathroom that we just spent so much time in is across from a tapestry of someone called “Boris the Bewildered,” proving once again, the wizarding world is a place where they immortalize weirdos for things that are kind of explained, but not really.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Geoff: He’s got his gloves on the wrong hands, I think. There’s another tapestry that comes up in a different book where there’s a guy trying to train trolls for the ballet. There was somebody who thought they should make a cheese cauldron. These are the people who are the heroes of the wizarding world, the total just off-ball weirdos, but we draw the line at Arthur Weasley because he wants to know how airplanes fly. Sure, okay.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I mean, I agree with you, Geoff, but I would eat a cheese cauldron.

MVP of the Week

Laura: All right, well, let’s jump into MVP of the Week.

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: I’m going to give mine to Moaning Myrtle for helping her crush Harry with uncovering the secret of the egg. Good job, girl. Even though you’re kind of creepy.

Eric: I’m going to give it to Cedric for being such a hard worker, not being distracted by the mermaid across the room trying to get his attention.

Micah: I’m going to give it to the trick step for teaching Harry not to be such a snoop.

Laura: I’m going to give it to Barty Crouch, Jr. – very important distinguisher there – for honestly being clever and playing everyone in this chapter, and in this book, like a fiddle.

Geoff: I’m going to give it to the engineer who designed the golden egg clue. Even if the riddle does imply something very terrible you should not do, traumatizing children, the mechanism of the golden egg clues is such a cool example of magical ingenuity.

Andrew: Well, if you have any feedback about today’s discussion, you can contact us by emailing or sending a voice memo that you record on your phone to, or you can use our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. And of course, you can also go to, and you will find a contact form.


Andrew: And now it’s time for Quizzitch.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s Quizzitch question: Where specifically did Moaning Myrtle haunt Olive Hornby? And the correct answer was her brother’s wedding. Okay, and correct answers were submitted by Merlin’s Saggy Left Earlobe…

[Laura laughs]

Eric: … Assigned Hufflepuff at birth but I identify as Gryffindor; Buff Daddy; Casper the giant lover; Elizabeth K.; Hallow Wolf; LC; Liz the Muggle Mussel Whisperer; Muggle McGonagall; My Accio brings all the brooms to the yard; Olive Hornby’s confused Muggle therapists… love that one. Stan Shunpike’s dermatologist; The Hoggy Warty Hufflepuff; The really, really super long name that absolutely no one wants to read out loud because they’re afraid they might mess up and make a fool of themselves, and then 10 exclamation points; You’re a Quizzard, Harry; and The feather Ron destroyed with his pronunciation. And thank you to all who submitted the correct answers. Here is next week’s Quizzitch question: According to Hagrid, at what age does a unicorn become pure white? Submit your answer to us on the Quizzitch form on the MuggleCast website by going to, or if you’re already on the MuggleCast website, click on “Quizzitch” from the main nav.

Andrew: This show is brought to you by Muggles like you and Geoff; we don’t have corporate overlords who own the show, control the show, take over the show, could cancel us at any moment. We’re very proudly an independent podcast, but that does mean we need support from listeners like you. So you can support us by going into Apple Podcasts and subscribing to MuggleCast Gold; you’ll get ad-free MuggleCast, early access to MuggleCast, and two bonus MuggleCast installments every month, including one we’re going to be recording today. And then there’s also, and you will get all of what I just mentioned, plus access to our livestreams, our planning docs, the chance to co-host the show one day like Geoff did today, a new physical gift every year, and a video message from one of the four of us. Geoff, thank you so much for joining us today. It was great having you on.

Geoff: Thank you. It was well worth 14 years of waiting to have this conversation.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Aww.

Geoff: Absolutely loved being here with you guys today.

Andrew: Well, thank you for listening for 14 years. That’s amazing. We really appreciate that you’ve been with us [imitating Dumbledore] after all this time.

Geoff: Always.

Andrew: Do you have a MuggleCast shirt, Geoff?

Geoff: I do have a MuggleCast shirt. I should have worn it.

Andrew: Well, that’s okay, because actually, Laura and I are both wearing our MuggleCast shirts today. Listeners, if you want to grab one and don’t have one, you can head to; we have shirts from our 15th anniversary that you can purchase right there. We’ve also got MuggleCast beanies and socks and collectors cars and signed album art, so check it all out at That’s another way you can support us.

Micah: And Eric, Geoff, and I will be at LeakyCon 2024 from July 5-7 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, and they’re announcing guests left and right now, it seems like. I know on the last episode you mentioned that Team StarKid has been announced for LeakyCon this year, and I know many more will follow. And of course, as we pull together what our show is going to look like and when the other panels we’ll be doing, we will be sure to share it with you all. But if you head over to and use code “Muggle” when checking out, you’ll get a nice little discount, so be sure to do that. Let them know that we sent you.

Eric: Absolutely. Catherine Tate was announced today, for any Doctor Who fans out there. And Geoff, I wanted to ask about the Bookish Songs Collective. Could you give us a rundown real quick?

Geoff: Sure. So in addition to the five or six panels that I’m on, I also have the privilege of playing the fandom wrock show along with Brian Ross of Draco and the Malfoys, and the Bookish Songs Collective, which is a group of some incredibly talented young musicians. I believe they’re all female identifying; I may be wrong about that. But the music that they write is specifically based around literature. For example, Kendra Dantes is one of my absolute favorite folk musicians; she’s got a lot of songs based out of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, one of which was actually even included in an episode of Lucifer, so I’m hopeful – fingers crossed – that she will at some point in the weekend grace us with a performance of “Dirty Hands.”

Eric: That would be pretty cool.

Geoff: I would love it.

Andrew: If you enjoyed the show and think other Muggles would too, we would appreciate if you spread the word about MuggleCast. We’d also appreciate if you left us a review in your favorite podcast app. And last but not least, visit for transcripts – we’re adding new ones every week, including, of course, for the latest episodes – we also have our social media links there, our full episode archive, our favorite episodes to listen to in the “Must listens” page, and a lot more. Everything you could want is on So that does it for this week’s episode. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Geoff: And I’m Geoff.

Andrew: Bye, everybody.

Laura: Bye, y’all.