Transcript #661

Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #661, Kromance (GOF Chapter 28, The Madness of Mr. Crouch) feat. The Fantasy Fangirls!

What the Hype?! announcement

Andrew Sims: Hey, MuggleCast listeners. Before we hop into today’s episode, we have some very exciting news, and you may have actually already seen it! The teams behind MuggleCast and Millennial are launching a new podcast. Yes, show number three. It’s called What the Hype?!

Eric Scull: What the Hype?! is the class you’ve always wanted but were never offered in school. Each week, a panel of pop culture junkies – which is us – educate each other on today’s biggest books, shows, movies, and more. No matter what your experience, there’s something for everyone. If you’re a total noob, we will educate you on why a fandom took off, what makes someone a true fan, and if you’re already an expert, we will see about that. Our subsequent episodes – we’ll have multiple for certain ideas, certain fandoms, certain properties – will take you on a deep deep dive and really test your stanhood. And if you’re somewhere in the middle, teetering on the edge of fandom, we’ll show you what the hype is all about.

Micah Tannenbaum: And to celebrate the launch of the third child we never expected…

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: … we have multiple episodes out right now.

Andrew: Let’s hope this child runs as long as MuggleCast and Millennial.

Laura Tee: I know.

Micah: This is a show we’re going to be publishing through the MuggleCast feed, and the reason that we decided to do this is because we want to expand what we bring to you. It’s been in our name all along; we’re Muggles podcasting, and these Muggles love pop culture.

Laura: But don’t worry, nothing is changing with the MuggleCast that you know and love. Every Tuesday, we are your Harry Potter friends forever and always, but every Friday, you’re now going to receive an episode of What the Hype?! in which we’re educating you and each other on today’s biggest books, shows, movies, and more. No matter your experience on a particular topic, there’ll be something for everyone to enjoy.

Andrew: Check out the first episodes now; they’re available right now in this MuggleCast feed. To learn more about the show, go to, and make sure to follow us on social media as well. We’ll have links, of course, available for you to easily access, but on TikTok, YouTube, Twitch, and Instagram we’re @WhatTheHypePodcast, and on X we’re @WhatTheHypeShow. So check out the show and the social media accounts, and again, we hope you enjoy. And now it’s time for MuggleCast! Harry Potter friend mode activated.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Eric: 661! Let’s go!

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

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

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: And this week we are ignoring our better judgment and investigating the mysterious motion we see in the dark forest. And to help us with today’s discussion of this week’s chapter, we are so excited to have back the Fantasy Fangirls, Nicole and Lexi! Welcome back, girls.

Lexi and Nicole: Thank you!

Lexi: We’re so excited to be back here. We had so much fun last time, and we’re just so excited to be back here. Hi.

Andrew: Hi, hi! So what’s been going on in the world of Fantasy Fangirls? What have you been up to this summer?

Lexi: How much time you got?

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Lexi: No, so right now we’re currently deep diving A Court of Thorns and Roses series, and we are actually in our last few episodes of Book 2, A Court of Mist and Fury. It’s one of our all-time favorite books, and it’s just been so much fun. In fact, this week, Nicole and I are outlining and preparing for the big famous Chapter 54 – if you know, you know – so we’ve been very, very busy with all of that.

Nicole: We’re also going to be doing a bonus episode; we’re already recorded it, but it’s going to be releasing next week with Sarah A. Parker of When the Moon Hatched, which if you all have not read, don’t sleep on it. It is such a phenomenal book.

Lexi: So good.

[Andrew laughs]

Nicole: It’s one of our new favorite fantasy books, and that’s going to be released, I think, actually the Thursday this comes out, because it comes out next Thursday, right, as we’re recording?

Andrew: Tuesday.

Nicole: Tuesday. It’s going to be this Thursday that episode releases!

[Everyone laughs]

Lexi: And then for instance, with our Patreon we have Book Club and so for this month in June, Penn Cole, who is the author of Spark of the Everflame, the Kindred Curse series, she’s going to be joining us, so we’re so excited. Nicole and I are very deep in that series right now; we’re just absolutely devouring those books. Basically, what we’re up to is a lot of fantasy reading, the ACOTAR deep dives, and author interviews. We’re so happy about all of that.

Andrew: Awesome. Yeah, congratulations again on all your success. And the last time we had you on, you were reading Fourth Wing and the sequel, and now I don’t know if you would want to announce this or share this here, but do you plan on jumping back to that series when the third book comes out in January?

Lexi: Of course, Andrew.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Nicole: We do; we’re actually wrapping up our ACOTAR coverage just in time. It actually worked out really perfectly – thank you, Rebecca Yarros – for us to be wrapping up A Court of Silver Flames, and then we are going to do a little bit of lead-up into Onyx Storm, and then we’re going straight into many, many, many, many, many weeks of deep diving Onyx Storm.

Andrew: [laughs] Excellent.

Lexi: Yes, so that comes out January 21, and so we’ll probably about two weeks after that start our deep dive.

Andrew: Cool. We’ve been plotting out the end of Chapter by Chapter, and we’re like, “Oh, by the time we’re finished with this, I think the Harry Potter TV series will be airing,” so similarly, we’re like, “Oh, thank goodness. The timing’s going to work out.”

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Perfect.

Lexi: So when does the TV series come out?

Andrew: They claim, what, 2026?

Lexi: Okay. Dang. I’m sorry. I had in my mind early 2025 and I got really excited there for a second. [laughs]

Andrew: Oh, no, we’d be speeding up.

Laura: Trust me, I wish it was coming out that soon.

Lexi: Oh, man. Yeah. All of us.

Andrew: And then as our listeners know, Micah and Eric will be at LeakyCon this summer; you two will as well.

Lexi: Yes! We’re so excited to see you at LeakyCon.

Eric: It’s going to be great.

Andrew: And what are you two doing at LeakyCon?

Nicole: We’re going to be hosting on Friday a Maasverse 101, so if you’re in the Sarah J. Maas world, A Court of Thorns and Roses is one of her books, so we’re going to be doing a spoiler-free walkthrough of those three worlds. And then Saturday, we’re going to be on the podcasting mega panel with Micah and Eric. I’m so excited. We’re also doing our live show that day, which will be all things Empyrean 3 Onyx Storm theories.

Lexi: Yep. And then that afternoon, on Saturday, we are going to have our meet and greet, so we’re super excited to meet our fans and hang out.

Nicole: And then Sunday, we’re doing a Reading as an Adult panel on finding joy in reading again, because so many of us stopped reading for a long time and then started reading and we’re like, “Oh, I feel more alive than I ever have before! This feels great!”

Lexi: I think we talked a lot about that, actually, on your Millennial podcast too.

Nicole: Yes, we did.

Lexi: We talked a lot about that, so it’s essentially taking that topic and then we’re going to do a panel on that.

Andrew: Great.

Nicole: And then we’re also doing a multi-fandom mega trivia Sunday afternoon.

Andrew: Awesome.

Nicole: We’re excited.

Lexi: What about you all? I know that you have a live podcast as well, a meet and greet. What else do you have planned?

Eric: Yeah, so we’re on that panel first thing Saturday morning; that’s the podcaster mega panel. Later that day is our live show, I think at 5:00 p.m. The day before on Friday is our meetup, and Sunday we’re doing a live LeakyMug crossover event to close out the festivities. If anybody was there in Leaky Boston, we broke out the fisticuffs and Micah and I went to town battling Melissa, John, and Frak.

Micah: And I think it’s just helpful context – Andrew mentioned this on the last episode – we have had a long-standing “rivalry” with another Harry Potter podcast called Pottercast, and hence the LeakyMug crossover. Leaky Cauldron was the site that Pottercast was a part of, MuggleNet was the site that MuggleCast was a part of, and that’s how we got to LeakyMug.

Lexi: I love it. I love it so much.

[Everyone laughs]

Nicole: I’m so excited for that.

Eric: Chloé is going to be there. It’s going to be absolutely amazing. I’m just looking really forward to hanging out. Oh, and more paneling and programming will be figured out; we’re still waiting to hear back on certain ones, but it’ll be very exciting.

Lexi: Cool. Well, can’t wait to hang out together.

Nicole: Yes!

Eric: I know. It’s going to be great.

Chapter by Chapter: Seven-Word Summary

Andrew: All right, well, without further ado, let’s jump into Chapter by Chapter, and this week we’re discussing Goblet of Fire Chapter 28, “The Madness of Mr. Crouch.” And we’ll start, like we always do, with our Seven-Word Summary.

[Seven-Word Summary music plays]

Nicole: Harry…

Lexi: … finds…

Andrew: … Crouch…

Eric: … disturbed…

Micah: … inside…

Laura: … the…

Lexi: … forest.

Andrew: Wow. Perfect, beautiful, amazing.

[Lexi laughs]

Laura: Perfect. 10 out of 10.

Andrew: Fastest six people ever summarized a chapter.

[Everyone laughs]

Nicole: It’s to the point. I love it.

Laura: No, it’s fantastic.

Chapter by Chapter: Main Discussion

Laura: Well, we’re going to get into this chapter by first talking about poor Winky. This is a tough chapter for her. So the chapter begins with the trio going down to the kitchens to give Dobby his socks that they picked up for him in Hogsmeade, and Hermione very quickly asks after Winky, of course. This is completely in character for Hermione; she knows that Winky has been going through it. She sees that Winky is not amongst the other elves, and it turns out that this is because she’s sitting in front of the fire getting lit on butterbeer. And I wanted to take a moment to do a little bit of fuzzy math here, because Dobby says that she’s having six butterbeers a day, and that butterbeer is strong for house-elves. We can tell when we encounter her based on the way she’s speaking, based on her just general mannerisms and her state, that she is very intoxicated, so I was like, “Okay, let’s look this up.” The average height of an adult house-elf is three feet, so I decided why don’t I just compare these body ratios to a child, a 3-year-old human? And I’m assuming that house-elves are probably really emaciated for the most part. So if we’re thinking about this being an extremely underweight equivalent of a 3-year-old, and saying maybe the house-elf weighs 25 lbs., we can run calculations through a blood alcohol calculator to find out just how drunk Winky is. So I did this; I didn’t need to go to all the trouble to do this, because it’s very clear that she is wasted…

Andrew: [laughs] Answer: wasted.

Laura: Yes, according to this blood alcohol calculator, it says, “Your BAC is approximately 1.29%,” and then it says, “It will take around 86 hours to get to 0% blood alcohol content.”

Andrew: Aww.

Laura: Then it says, “You’re probably not reading this because there’s a good chance that you’re unconscious.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Doesn’t Winky wish? So what you’re saying, Laura, is she’s about 49% butter and 50% beer, with only 1% available for social interaction right now.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Yeah. And amazingly, she reveals a fair bit for somebody who’s as intoxicated as she is.

Eric: Through hiccups.

Laura: Yes.

Nicole: I did see this in the outline and I decided to see that 86 hours, and I was like, “How many days is that?” That’s about 3.58 days, but she’s having six a day, so that means she’s consistently getting more and more and more drunk, and that’s math I cannot even start doing because that’s how much blood alcohol content do you lose in 24 hours, and then you add another 1.9% and just keep doing that until bad things happen.

Laura: Right.

Nicole: So Winky is in the beyond. [laughs]

Eric: It’s also very sad that the elves have just excluded her there; they’ve left her there to do that. It’s one thing… of course, we understand why Winky is side-eyed by the other elves, we understand why Dobby is a pariah, he absolutely… they don’t want him there and treat him as such. But where’s the level of care for your own here? What exactly…? We see later the rest of the house-elves covering Winky up with a tablecloth, but not draped over her shoulders to keep her warm, but literally completely covering her up, and I’m like, “What?” [laughs] They just don’t want to see her; they think that she’s contagious with whatever she’s going through, and she’s not getting the care that she needs.

Laura: They’re embarrassed by her.

Andrew: And to that point, I was thinking of that from a faculty angle. Where is Dumbledore to watch over the elves who are working for him for free? Where’s anybody? Where’s McGonagall? Where’s Sprout? I don’t know. I don’t have to single out Dumbledore; I’m a fan of Dumbledore. I’ve got my “Dumbledore is gay” T-shirt.

[Nicole laughs]

Micah: I’m just shocked at… has the day come where Andrew is questioning Dumbledore?

[Lexi laughs]

Andrew: Oh, please, this is not the first time.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It only took 661 episodes.

Lexi: I will say, Dobby does take care of Winky. He is the only one who does take care of her, because that’s how he knows about the Room of Requirement. So technically, Harry finds out about the Room of Requirement because of Winky’s problem here.

Nicole: Butterfly effect.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Laura: Very true. Oh my gosh.

Micah: But Andrew, to your point about Dumbledore, I think selfishly had he paid more attention to her, perhaps he would have been able to retrieve important information from her that would have shed some light on just what the heck is happening with Crouch and the Triwizard Tournament. It seems like a missed opportunity for him.

Nicole: You’d think that he’d be all over the house-elf… maybe not all over like, “What do you know??” But…

Lexi: [imitating Michael Gambon] “Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?!”

[Nicole laughs]

Eric: He would say it calmly to Winky.

Andrew: “Did you see what was really up with Crouch?!”

Lexi: Well, and we know that he also… because he also is not, I’ll say, above legitimacy. Did I say that correctly? I don’t feel like I said that correctly.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Eric: He’s very legitimate, but Legilimency is what you’re going for.

Lexi: But with the other house-elf from Tom Riddle’s memory and how he did get information from her using his magic, and so he clearly could have done a similar thing here with Winky. Not saying that it’s morally correct, but he has a history of doing that with house-elves.

Eric: It’s a great point that she’s very strategically… she would have all the answers. Between last week, which Micah said aptly has all the answers you could ever want, we now have the heart of the mystery of the book delivered to our doorstep throughout this chapter in multiple ways, so the book is heating up. I know this chapter is many people’s favorite of the whole book, and I can see why.

Micah: And Lexi, I know you said it jokingly, but what a twist it would have been if it was in fact Winky who put Harry’s name in the Goblet of Fire.

[Everyone laughs]

Nicole: Oh my gosh.

Andrew: “I didn’t know what I was doing!”

Laura: I mean, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that we see a house-elf in this series get up to nefarious activities to put Harry in danger, right?

Nicole: And it will not be the last. Kreacher.

Laura: Will not, will not. But Harry is struck by inspiration in this moment because he sees Winky in her current state and he’s like, “You know what? I’m going to ask her about why Crouch stopped showing up.” But even in her altered state, Winky is pretty much Fort Knox. She doesn’t really divulge too much, but she does reveal that she knows more than your average house-elf about her master. And kind of to the point that was alluded to here a couple of moments ago, I’m wondering if it strikes us as odd that Crouch cast her out so easily, given how much she knows. Is he just super confident that whatever magic prevents her from betraying him wouldn’t waver?

Lexi: That is a really good point because I was thinking back to Dobby, and he was able to say bad things about his old masters, the Malfoys, and so I just always assumed that that binding magic where they have to keep their secrets, it goes away once they’re disowned. But even for Dobby, it was really difficult for him to say that, and I always assumed that it was out of just habit, but I guess maybe it could have been out of that lingering magic. So the only thing, yeah, keeping Winky from sharing anything about Mr. Crouch is that steadfast loyalty to him, which that’s very risky of Mr. Crouch, but that’s also very confident of him, which he does think less of house-elves in that way, so…

Eric: Maybe he thinks that the rules surrounding house-elf magic are absolute, and he thinks there’s no chance she could betray him.

Lexi: Probably. And I mean, she doesn’t. [laughs]

Eric: She’s super loyal. No, he’s very lucky to have her, which shows how exactly catastrophic it was to cast her out. The other thing that I’m thinking of, knowing that we really know what’s been going on with Mr. Crouch, perhaps if he did even regret casting her aside, he’s been in no place for a while to call her back. So he had to cause that scene when she was discovered holding the wand that his son had used, etc., etc. That was very performative, but perhaps he regrets it, and especially because of his dissent, yeah, there’s a lot that could have been saved if Winky had been allowed to stay with him.

Laura: Yeah, it is an interesting point because it does make me wonder, had he not been placed under the Imperius Curse and been under that this whole time, would he have come to his senses?

Micah: No.

[Andrew and Nicole laugh]

Micah: Well, going off of what Lexi was talking about and the context that we were given about Barty Crouch, Sr. by Sirius in the previous chapter, I think he was doing what was expected of him as a person of authority. And because of his ultimate thirst for power, just like he cast his son aside to Azkaban, he cast Winky aside because of the embarrassment she’s caused his family. He’s basically reliving the same experience he went through with his son decades earlier, but now it’s with his house-elf, so he has no choice but to get rid of her.

Andrew: The binding magic is interesting because Winky gets so close to saying something really damning and doesn’t. Could a little bit more alcohol have caused her to do so? 1.29%; what if she was up to 3%?

[Lexi laughs]

Nicole: No, it’s more than that because she’s multiple days into this, remember? I will not let that go!

[Andrew and Nicole laugh]

Eric: I’m telling you, she’s 99% butterbeer in a house-elf suit!

[Everyone laughs]

Lexi: One of my absolute favorite things about this book in particular is when after you get all the revelations and then when you go back through and reread it, there’s so many little nuggets, and this chapter in particular is full of them. So I just absolutely love all these little Winky foreshadowing moments here, where “Master is trusting Winky with the most important, the most secret…” and then Harry cut her off. It could be like, “Okay, what? Tell me more.” It’s like, just let her keep talking! [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah. Do you think Winky would have come clean if Harry didn’t cut her off?

Lexi: No, but I do think she might’ve given a few more tiny little sprinkles that… yeah.

Nicole: I think she’s messed up enough to come close.

Micah: With the eye ahead to Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, it is so interesting to see Winky’s loyalty shine through here, because you have to ask is the loyalty to Barty Crouch, Sr. or is it to Barty Crouch, Jr.? Because we see Kreacher develop much of the same relationship with Regulus, right? It’s kind of that young child bond with the house-elf, and they feel this really strong connection to have to protect them.

Nicole: I think it’s both, especially given how she reacts after they bring her in at the very end and they’re starting to tell that side of the tale, and she’s like, “No, master, don’t!” That part breaks my heart for Winky because she’s just having a full-blown terror attack and they’re just like, “Come on, give me the answers!” and it’s like, maybe be a little nicer. She’s okay. Just let her be okay; I’m worried for her.

Eric: I love how completely ill-equipped the trio is just down here. They are completely unprepared. They make everything worse. Everyone down here would be so much better; Dobby wouldn’t have his gift, but everyone else would be perfectly happier, better, able, more well-adjusted if the trio had not come down here. They’re so far out of their element.

Lexi: But those éclairs are calling Ron’s name. [laughs]

Nicole: I will say, Hermione does get a lot of information for the future of SPEW through this interaction of seeing the house-elves in their element.

Eric: Okay.

Nicole: So while a bad situation, they did uncover more truth, which seems to be the motto of Harry Potter.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Eric: That is a great… wow. Yeah, that’s a great point. That’s really good.

Laura: Well, speaking of bad situations, Winky does ultimately pass out, so she’s not going to be drinking butterbeer for at least the next several hours, which is probably good…

Eric: I give her 30 minutes.

Laura: … her poor little liver needs a break.

Andrew: Aw, little liver.

Laura: But she does this while she’s in the middle of telling Harry off for being nosy. She’s like, “You’re being nosy! Mind your own business!”

Andrew: [imitating drunk Winky] “Mind your own business!”

Lexi: I love that so much because he is totally nosy, and she’s not even the only one in this series who calls him out on that. Even Hagrid…

[Andrew laughs]

Lexi: I don’t remember which book, but at some point, he’s like, “You’re being nosy; you’re getting into other people’s business, and that’s not a compliment kind of thing.”

Andrew: [laughs] But he’s the Chosen One. That’s his job.

Nicole: No, I think he relies so much on his nosiness because every single year he has been nosy and solved the big mystery, so I think it’s…

Eric: Well, no one tells him anything!

Nicole: Well, that’s true. No one does, and Dumbledore is really to blame on that one; I’m going to call him out. [laughs]

Eric: But yeah, you’re totally right.

Nicole: Well, because I think he has a little bit of the “Well, my nosiness has saved our butts every single year, so I’m going to keep doing it” complex.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, got a little ego about him.

Nicole: I think he’s got an ego.

Lexi: Definitely.

Nicole: I say that lovingly.

[Andrew and Nicole laugh]

Laura: For sure. There are definitely times like these where it feels like he thinks he’s a little more clever and a little more slick than he actually is.

Lexi: Oh, yeah.

Eric: But even like accidentally letting slip that Crouch hasn’t been to work, which makes Winky so much more worried for him. That’s not something that you… I don’t know. Harry thinks he’s getting more information… he does get more information, but it just freaks the elf out.

Laura: Well, yeah, because she has a pretty good idea why he might not be, right? And so she’s like, “Oh, crap.” Things are starting to unravel. It’s so interesting that we really do get, between this chapter and the last chapter, the plot pretty much laid out, but your first time reading it through, you don’t really make the connection. At least, I didn’t.

Lexi: Yeah, Barty Crouch, Jr. still being alive and pretending to be Moody was not on my bingo card.

[Andrew laughs]

Lexi: And if it was on anybody’s, I would really… I mean, gold star for you, but wow, that is super left field.

Nicole: Yeah, good job.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, once you get to the whole backstory and all the info comes out, it’s a lot. It’s a lot happening here to get to this point.

Nicole: Truly.

Laura: We’ll be back in just a moment to talk about the maze, but first, we’re going to go drink five or six butterbeers each, and while we do that, check out these words from these sponsors.

[Ad breaks]

Laura: So we are going to jump ahead here to talking about the maze. There is quite a bit that happens in this chapter that we’re not going to focus on too heavily today; we have Hermione getting hate mail because of Rita Skeeter, we have an actually pretty successful Care of Magical Creatures lesson led by Hagrid, where Nifflers are introduced and they’re super cute. But we really want to get to the introduction of the maze, and then also the very, very dumb moment in which Harry decides to follow one of his competitors into a dark forest because he’s clearly never listened to a true crime podcast before, and it shows.

[Andrew and Nicole laugh]

Eric: Wow.

Micah: Yeah, I mean, what? Like, “Oh, let’s go talk in the forest.”

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: There’s no side room inside of the entrance to Hogwarts that they could go talk?

Laura: Yeah, nothing dangerous in the forest.

Lexi: Or even just walking back to the school just the two of them, with the next person, Bagman, just being way ahead of them, yeah.

Laura: For sure.

Eric: Well, it’s a sensitive topic that can only be discussed with exclusive privacy.

Andrew: Or just out in the field, the lawn of Hogwarts. Just talk outside somewhere and you could still have Crouch crawl up to them.

[Andrew laughs]

Lexi: Just make him work for it a little, you know?

Andrew: Just imagine him crawling…

Eric: Listen, he’s travelled far enough. He has crawled on his feet and on his knees the whole way here, I’m sure.

Andrew: [weakly] “Help me, Weatherby…”

[Lexi laughs]

Nicole: I do have a contingency with that, because I don’t know if he has walked all the way from where he was being held captive with Voldemort because… Lexi is about to crack it open. [laughs]

Lexi: Okay, because I was thinking about this, too, and it has been several weeks. We don’t have an exact timeline, but it has been several weeks since Wormtail told Barty Crouch, Jr. about Mr. Crouch, and so Barty Crouch, Jr. has been looking for his dad on the Marauder’s Map. And I think you need your wand in order to Apparate versus not Apparate, and to our knowledge, at least, he does not have his wand.

Nicole: You got me there.

Laura: Right, I mean, unless he somehow was able to travel via the Floo Network, but I can’t see them making it that easy for him to get away either.

Andrew: Right.

Lexi: Yeah, of course, I can imagine him trying to have his wand with him, but also, is he in the right state of mind to be doing all that? Which then also brings up the question, if he didn’t, then he has no supplies. He has just his robes with him right now, clothes on his back. He doesn’t have any food. How did this…? And especially, this guy has been cared for by a house-elf for most of his life, or at least his adult life. That’s impressive. [laughs]

Nicole: Now, I do wonder…

Eric: Yeah, here’s the descriptor from the book. It says, “He looked as though he’d been traveling for days. The knees of his robes were ripped and bloody, his face scratched.”

Andrew: I guess that confirms it, then.

Eric: So yeah, he’s been crawling through twigs.

Lexi: Literally crawling.

Laura: He’s been through it.

Eric: “… he was unshaven and gray with exhaustion. His neat hair and mustache were both in need of a wash and trim. His strange appearance, however, was nothing to the way he was behaving.” Yeah, he has traveled this whole way, and not only that, but he’s had to fight himself the entire way there because he’s still half-to-most under the control of an Imperius Curse.

Nicole: So how is he feeding himself and drinking water? Because if that’s multiple weeks of travel… and to your point, Lex, he has been cared for by a house-elf; I don’t see Barty Crouch being like, “Those mushrooms look safe; let’s try those out.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Right, not good at foraging for survival.

Laura: He’s like, “They don’t look safe, but they might be fun.”

Andrew: That’s why he’s delusional.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: I’m really glad, though – not to take us back too much – but I’m really glad that everyone’s picking up on the passage of time here, because the time jump in this chapter is crazy. So the champions are all summoned down to the Quidditch pitch to talk about the third task in the last week of May, and we know that this chapter started sometime before Easter, which was in mid-April in 1995 when this takes place, so we literally do a six-to-eight-week jump in this chapter.

Nicole: On Fantasy Fangirls we always go, “Montaaaage!”

[Everyone laughs]

Lexi: They’re usually training montages because fantasy and whatnot.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Nicole: We’ll call this… because Harry is… no, he’s not training yet for the maze; never mind.

Eric: No, Harry is staring at Hagrid from the windows of the owlery; he watches him a good long while. That would be Harry’s… but actually, Harry sees the owl come by that’s for Barty Crouch from Wormtail telling him that his dad…

Lexi: Yes, that’s true.

Micah: Eagle owl.

Lexi: Again, just love those little nuggets so much.

Laura: Well, Bagman introduces them to the maze and the hedges that they’re growing on the Quidditch pitch. By the way, Harry and Cedric are very suspicious and unhappy about this, because they’re like, “What the heck? Not only has Quidditch been canceled, but now you’re growing hedges on our pitch.” [laughs] But they’re short enough at this point to be climbed over, but in about a month’s time when it’s time for the task, they’re going to be 20 feet tall. And Bagman at first makes the task sound simple enough by saying, “Hey, the Triwizard cup is going to be at the center of the maze, and whoever reaches it first will get full points and win.”

Nicole: I’m not going to lie; this is where I’m out of the Triwizard Tournament.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: It wasn’t going underwater…

Lexi: Not facing a dragon.

Nicole: [laughs] This is where I’m out. I despise…

Eric: The outdoors, the rugged outdoors? No.

Nicole: I live in Colorado; I should not be this. But I absolutely hate haunted houses, and this to me is like a haunted house on steroids, but the actors are scary creatures that can actually kill you. And I would walk six inches into this maze and send up red sparks.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Nicole: I’m a Gryffindor, and I don’t care.

Andrew: “Can’t say I didn’t try. I made it six inches in.”

Laura: Honestly, it’s giving The Shining.

Nicole: Thank you.

Laura: For anyone who’s a Stephen King fan. Like, no thank you. I’ve seen how that goes. I don’t think so. [laughs]

Eric: Well, and the book version of The Shining, too, is very… there are topiaries that come alive. It’s really kind of creepy, but more … the movie version of the hedge maze is really, really extreme. But I think that the stakes are high enough without the vines that come out and grab you; I think that really having to battle your way through this the way that the Triwizard founders probably intended is itself very taxing and very extraordinary. I think this is… this had the potential to be actually a really cool task, I think.

Lexi: I agree.

Micah: And Laura, it’s been mentioned, kind of, all the little nuggets, and I had this in odds and ends, but I want to bring it up here. It’s mentioned that when Cedric first approaches the maze, he stops dead. I don’t think that that is unintentional.

Laura: Oh, no.

Eric: Like, he comes to a halt and he’s just shocked?

Nicole: No, he actually drops dead right there.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Roll credits. Book’s over.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Laura: So I want to do a fairness check on this, and I’m glad that we have a really full panel today. Micah, I’m very curious for your insights here. So because Harry and Cedric are the top champions at the moment, they’re going to get a head start since they’re currently leading. They’re going to be followed by Krum, then Fleur. But Bagman makes it pretty clear that the points so far don’t really matter, and that if you find the Triwizard cup first, you just win the tournament. So theoretically, Fleur, who is in last place, could come out ahead; she could pull off a last minute upset here. It really feels like Whose Line Is It Anyway? points rules.

Andrew: Well, it feels like Quidditch, too; you could be way behind and you catch the Snitch and it’s like, “That’s it, you won. Congratulations.”

Eric: The great equalizer.

Nicole: That’s true, so maybe they’re just like, “If Quidditch can do it, so can we!”

Andrew: [laughs] “Yeah, they’ve gotten away with it, throughout the ages.”

Lexi: For me, it’s like for all that they’ve already gone through, all the… they’ve had to go up against a dragon, they had to go underwater, and then the only thing that they get out of all of that is a few minutes of a head start? Yes, it can make a difference – go Fleur, if she was able to make that happen – but it kind of makes the other two tasks not matter at all, and I would personally be really upset because I would stress so hard over those last two tasks and now it’s like, “What do you mean? None of that even matters?” Anyway. [laughs]

Eric: Well, I mean, look at Fleur, the example of Fleur in the second task, right? She could not get through the task; it was unnecessarily stressful on her specifically to begin with because they had her sister there. So these champions only get three opportunities all year to prove themselves, so I would hate for a bad performance or a poor performance in an earlier task to prevent me or have me completely out of the running for the final task? I don’t know.

Andrew: I actually think this is kind of backwards. I feel like Krum and Fleur should get to go in first because they are behind. It just seems like a nice courtesy advantage.

Micah: And do they get a participation trophy too?

Nicole: I’d be so pissed if that was the case and I was in first place.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: No, but why? You’re already really talented! You don’t need the advantage.

Lexi: So I will say that the person who first touches the Triwizard cup, they get full marks, and so by hearing that, we can also assume that the other three get zero marks, right? Because nothing else is said about them getting any marks.

Eric: Or it might be like 100 marks, 75, 50, and 25?

Micah: But what’s the…? Yeah, that’s the question, is what does full marks mean? Is it enough just to propel you to the win?

Lexi: Yeah, it’s like, is the math mathing there? I don’t know.

Eric: We never find out because something happens.

Lexi: What?

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Micah: A vacation to Little Hangleton.

Laura: And honestly, the math never maths in Harry Potter.

Lexi: No, it doesn’t. [laughs]

Eric: The math never maths.

Laura: [laughs] It never does.

Eric: Basically, they’re just getting graded on charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent; let’s be honest. Like, “Who do we like the most? We’ll give them a couple minutes head start.”

Andrew: Right, favoritism.

Eric: That’s fine.

Laura: Well, we also find out that Hagrid is going to be supplying some of the creatures and some of the obstacles that they will encounter in the maze, so there’s been a reason that the Skrewts have been getting named-dropped all year. It’s going to be pretty important.

Nicole: This is another reason…

Micah: I was going to say, I hope they’re locally sourced, because he clearly doesn’t like anything from outside the country.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Laura: Ohhh, yep. Man. Yeah, Hagrid, he goes full xenophobe. [laughs]

Eric: He is flying so high for the Care of Magical Creatures lesson; I was so happy for Hagrid. And then at the end of this chapter, he’s so toxic and angry and xenophobic, and I’m like, “Hagrid, how the mighty fall so quickly.”

Micah: Yeah, great job.

Nicole: I will say, yet another reason why I would go six inches in and send up red sparks is because Hagrid is supplying the creatures, and that’s just bad news bears.

Andrew: [laughs] “I deal with those in class; I’m not dealing with them here. I’m out.”

Eric: That’s true. You know what? I bet if you pleaded to the Goblet of Fire, it would let you out of the whole contract just because Hagrid is involved in procuring these beasts.

Nicole: [laughs] Bring a Powerpoint.

Eric: It’d be like, “Yeah, we didn’t account for Hagrid over the last thousand years; this is fair.”

Nicole: Exactly.

Laura: So let’s get to the point where Harry is basically setting himself up to be murdered. He is drawn away by Krum once Bagman is finished explaining the task, and it ends up being a pretty funny moment because Krum isn’t trying to do anything nefarious to Harry. He’s not trying to get information about how he’s going to approach the task; he just wants to confront him about the truth of his relationship with Hermione, and it turns into this really lovely moment where Harry and Krum kind of fanboy each other.

Micah: Bromance.

Laura: Once it’s established that Harry and Hermione really aren’t a thing and Krum believes him, he’s telling him, “Oh, you flew really well,” and Harry is like, “Oh, man, when I saw you do the Wronski Feint, that was incredible.”

Micah: “Made me faint.”

Laura: And I was just like… do what?

Micah: I’m just providing commentary, sorry.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: He said when he saw him do the Wronski Feint, it made him faint.

Laura: Oh. [laughs] Those were the Dementors, right?

Eric: And Micah, did you call it a “Kromance” earlier too?

Micah: No, no, that’s even better.

Andrew: I heard “Kromance” too.

Micah: I said “bromance,” but “Kromance” works too.

Eric: Oh, there you go.

Laura: Yeah, “Kromance” is the name of this episode.

[Laura and Lexi laugh]

Eric: Yeah. This is a beautiful moment between boys because it actually shows that Krum, who’s substantially older – every time Harry looks at him, he’s like, “There’s this older boy; I’m terrified for my life” – sees him as an equal enough to be a romantic rival for Hermione’s affection, and seeing that dissipate allows Harry to just first of all feel pretty good about himself; second of all, he’s so relieved that it’s about this because then he can assure him, “No, there’s nothing going on with Hermione.” Harry hasn’t had a single thought in Hermione’s direction canonically the entire series, and so he’s happy to help Krum out in this way. And then when they get to compliment each other afterwards, this is good feeling. What could possibly go wrong? This is a great night.

Lexi: So cute. Also, shouts to Hermione for being such a hotshot that there are two celebrities that are in a supposed love triangle with her.

Laura: Right?

Andrew: Jealous.

Lexi: Like, good job, girl. [laughs]

Eric: She’s not like the other girls.

Andrew: No.

Nicole: One of the things that I absolutely adore about Goblet of Fire is it’s really where Hogwarts goes from the middle school vibes – and it really aligns with their ages as well – it goes from middle school vibes to straight up high school. This is the hormone book, and it’s all over the pages. It’s the relationship drama, the jealousy, the rumors, and it makes me so happy I never have to do high school ever again.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Laura: Yep. Plus one. [laughs]

Lexi: So I have a question for this group that came up with our Fantasy Fangirls community: Do you consider Viktor morally gray?

Eric: What is the evidence that he’s anything but a stand-up guy?

Lexi: That’s what I’m saying here because for instance, we recently did a “Who was your first morally gray crush?” and quite a few people were like, “Viktor Krum.” And for me it’s like, no, out of Harry Potter it would be Draco Malfoy; he’s the morally gray crush, right?

Nicole: Yes.

Lexi: Nicole, “Yes.” [laughs]

Nicole: I’ve read a lot of Dramione fanfic, though, so…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Vindicated! That’s a morally gray pairing.

Lexi: Yeah, this is a perfect opportunity to ask this group to see if you can settle the surprising debate, because I do not consider him morally gray whatsoever.

Eric: I think it’s a movie-ism with how dark Durmstrang is portrayed. The only thing I can think of against Krum is who his Headmaster is, which is not Krum’s fault at all, and the closeness that this shady former Death Eater has with Krum is because he’s there to mentor him and that’s the only reason Krum can enter this competition. So I think it’s because he’s often portrayed in these dark corners wearing long furs, but he’s just a broody boy who never asked for the fame that he got. He likes being good at a sport, and he’s here – despite not loving the attention at all – to grasp just whatever tiny bit of glory he can possibly get out of life, dammit. And I don’t know; I think that he’s adorable.

Andrew: And he invites you into the forest to have a conversation from time to time.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Andrew: So what? Who hasn’t been there?

Eric: Yeah, definitely not to shank you and steal your wallet, none of that.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Eric: It would never occur to Viktor.

Andrew: Just talk, yeah.

Lexi: I love that. I love that, Eric. I wholeheartedly agree with you, yes. [laughs]

Nicole: I also will say, we’re reading a book in a language that he does not speak, so we also don’t know a whole lot about Krum, and maybe if it was in his spoken language, of all of the conversations and everything, we would have a broader pool to pull from.

Eric: Nicole, that is such an important point as well.

Nicole: Thank you. [laughs]

Eric: Because it also seems like we… you can find it endearing that he’s like, “Hermy-oh-ninny” and still can’t get it, but it does make him seem less intelligent because of that obstacle, and so he’s even… if he were allowed to converse in his native language, and if Harry or literally anybody else would take a second language for crying out loud, they’d be able to have more prolonged conversations. I wonder if Hermione is learning to speak Viktor’s language?

Nicole: No.

Eric: Well, she definitely is, but also, I wonder if she’s learning to speak his spoken language.

Nicole: She’s learning the language of his body, that’s for sure.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: The international language… of love.

Andrew: Don’t tell Ron.

Lexi: In the movie version he’s more physical, and it’s like, I did not get that vibes in the book, but okay. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah, seriously. Well, don’t let him see Deathly Hallows – Part 1. There’s a scene in that that I think he would get very jealous of.

Eric: Go on, Micah.

Micah: Eric, I agree with you. I do think that there’s nothing to counteract him being a stand-up guy. Speaking of Deathly Hallows, his reaction to the Deathly Hallows, to the symbol of Grindelwald…

Eric: Oh, yeah!

Nicole: That’s true.

Micah: … is proof enough that he’s a good guy.

Eric: Not all Durmstrangs are bad.

Lexi: Exactly.

Micah: I think it’s just… and unfortunately, we see this come through Hagrid in this chapter. But I think it’s just a lot to do with the way he’s particularly written in this book but then softens up as we move our way through Goblet of Fire and into some of the future books where he’s referenced, and then, of course, he makes an appearance at the wedding in Deathly Hallows.

Andrew: And to that point, I was going to say maybe while you’re in the middle of reading this you might have questions about him and his motives, but by the end, there’s nothing there to consider him morally gray or a bad guy.

Lexi: Right. For instance, when he does Crucio on Cedric in the maze, and it’s just like, “Oh my God, he is bad!” And then of course he ended up being under the Imperius Curse, and it’s like, “Oh, okay, so he is just…” Poor guy is a victim. Viktor is just a victim.

Nicole: I think he’s just a shy guy who likes a girl a lot. And honestly, I kind of feel for him, because Ron by no means stole Krum out from under… wait. Let me try that again.

[Lexi laughs]

Laura: I would read that fanfic.

[Everyone laughs]

Nicole: Ron by no means stole Hermione out from under Krum; Hermione made her own choice and all that kind of stuff, but he also was… she was like, “I’ll go visit you.” Like, the signs were green to Krum.

Lexi: I would’ve stuck with Krum, personally, but…

Nicole: I would as well.

Lexi: I love my Ron, but I mean, come on. It’s Viktor Krum. [laughs]

Eric: Wow.

Andrew: Yeah, but Ron has been there since the beginning. School sweethearts.

Eric: Maybe if Hermione had stuck with Krum there wouldn’t be an article years later about how she regrets that decision.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Eric: If you guys remember Wonderland‘s article.

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Laura: All right. Well, Nicole has inspired us and we’re going to take a quick break to go read some Dramione fanfiction. We’ll be right back.

Nicole: Might I make some recommendations?

[Everyone laughs]

[Ad break]

Laura: Well, I hope nobody got too hot and bothered while they were reading that Dramione fanfiction, because now…

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Andrew: Nicole did, but we’re not going to talk about it.

Eric: It was probably an ad for toothpaste or razors or something.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Laura: Well, we’re about to talk about Crouch Senior, so that’s, I think, going to simmer everybody a little bit.

Micah: Speak for yourself.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Sorry.

Laura: Hey, Micah, to each their own. So they see movement in the forest, and they find Barty Crouch, Sr. rambling to a nearby tree, clearly thinking that it’s Percy and giving it work instructions. And his timing is clearly totally off because he’s talking about things that happened six to eight months ago, so this man does not know where he is. He’s talking about the number of students that Karkaroff and Maxime will be bringing to Hogwarts for the tournament, and he’s talking about going to a concert with his wife and son and the Fudges.

Eric: So that’s years ago. That’s actually many years ago.

Laura: Yeah, so it’s like he’s going from, “Oh, the beginning of the Triwizard Tournament, but then I’m going to go back 15-20 years to talk about this.” He just doesn’t know what’s going on right now. [laughs]

Andrew: Percy should be flattered that he’s talking about him even in his disoriented state. Yeah, he’s still calling him Weatherby, but still, I would be touched.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: Well, here’s a crazy theory: What if Crouch had an assistant named Weatherby 15 years ago?

Andrew: Ohh.

Lexi: Oh, and that’s just his name for his assistant?

Laura: Honestly…

Eric: And that the reason that he calls Percy “Weatherby” is not because he doesn’t care, but because already he’s so stressed out and under the Imperius and other stuff that he can’t…

Andrew: That’s an interesting theory.

Eric: Because here’s the other thing: Apart from the Weatherby not really being there, everything else Crouch says I take as 100% true. So it’s such a lazy thing in writing to have a crazy person actually be crazy; this is not the kind of book this is. Everything Crouch says probably happened at a point in time. Those were memorandums he had to dictate; I bet they actually went to the concert with Mr. and Mrs. Fudge.

Laura: Right.

Eric: And his getting 12 OWLs, which is two more than Hermione, by the way. Barty Crouch, Jr. is brilliant. I think that each of those events happened, so the question is, why not Weatherby? I think he used to have an assistant named that.

Micah: The other thing that could be possible is that his mind has been addled so much that that’s what he calls him. He at one point referred to him… because it always strikes me as strange. “Weasley,” right? It’s a known name; he knows Arthur, presumably. Why would he refer to Percy as “Weatherby”? So I actually really like that idea, Eric, but I also think it’s possible maybe the Imperius Curse messed him up so much that he doesn’t know what he’s calling Percy.

Eric: The names have to be the… yeah, there’s that disconnect there. Clearly, his emotional and mental degradation is vast. Look at what a trip he just took.

Andrew: #WheresWeatherby?

[Laura and Lexi laugh]

Lexi: I will say, he does also talk about Karkaroff and Madame Maxime, so it is still muddling those present day occurrences there too. And then when he started calling Percy Weatherby, it was before his son had left and… no, actually, it was before Voldemort… yeah.

Eric: It was before Voldemort Imperiused him, yeah. But so you’re right, so because Percy is present day, it could just be that he’s present-daying things that happened long ago.

Andrew: He also could have been in a stable state and still confused him with his old assistant.

Eric: That too.

Lexi: I love that idea so much that he just calls all of his assistants Weatherby.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Laura: Honestly, that’s his Miranda Priestly moment. Everyone is Emily.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: The other theory is that Percy didn’t want to be known in any relation to the Weasleys, so he actually gave Crouch a false name when he started working for him.

Lexi: That’s another idea there too.

Nicole: But doesn’t he get all embarrassed and red-cheeked when he calls him Weatherby for the first time in front of…? I think it’s only when he calls him in front of Fred and George, because Fred and George are going to mock him mercilessly. So actually, I’m still on board with this theory because maybe he did want to do that, and then when Crouch called him that in front of his family, he was like, “Oh no, they figured out that I gave him a fake name.”

Lexi: It’s interesting – as we’re talking about the Imperius Curse – how later on we’ll learn that Mr. Crouch learned how to fight the Imperius Curse after only a few months of being under it, while it took his son years and years to successfully fight it when Crouch had it placed under him, despite being a very smart cookie, like you said, Eric, there with his 12 OWLs. And then Harry is like, “Okay, hold my beer,” and then he figures out how to fight the curse within just minutes during his lesson, so I thought that was very interesting where it’s… [laughs]

Eric: Drastically uneven. The only thing I can think of that would give Crouch Senior the edge is wasn’t Crouch Senior the one that placed it on Crouch Junior all these years? To keep Crouch Junior from breaking out, going back to reunite with his Death Eater friends, all that stuff. So I have a feeling that if you know how the curse works, or if you’re familiar with wielding it, maybe it gives you some kind of edge to break it off. But he’s under the Imperius Curse from none other than Voldemort himself, or Wormtail, and so it’s still extremely impressive that Crouch can even be here in any form.

Lexi: Well, and then we get so many just – again, calling back to what we were saying earlier about with Winky – so many clues into the full story here where on a reread it’s just so satisfying. He’s struggling to say how he escaped, and he has to warn Dumbledore and how all these things are his fault, Bertha dead, his son, and then how the Dark Lord is getting stronger. And then he even drops “Harry Potter,” and excuse me, but that would keep me up at night. Harry instead is like, “I’m just going to go find Dumbledore,” and I would have been like, “Tell me more! Tell me more!” kind of thing. Anyway, I just am always like, “How does he…?” He tells Dumbledore about that, and of course he tells his friends that, but then it’s kind of like, “Okay,” and then he just keeps on living his life. I guess just Harry Potter, but anyway…

Laura: Yeah, it is funny that he presses Winky, but that in this moment, he’s like, “Eh…”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: “Is he sober enough yet?”

Lexi: That is such a good point.

Andrew: You mentioned how he says the Dark Lord is getting stronger, and when Harry relays this to Dumbledore, he’s like, “Indeed,” or something like that. He’s not surprised to hear this information at all, and I guess it has to do with the Dark Mark, but it was very surprising to me to see Dumbledore be so passé about this little revelation.

Lexi: And then same with Bertha being dead too. It’s like, that’s been a huge mystery, and now it’s just dropped right there, like, “Oh yeah, by the way, she’s dead.” And again, you’d think that him being so nosy, would have a few more questions.

Laura: Yeah, for sure. I think he’s still just stuck on the idea that who he saw on the Marauder’s Map was Crouch Senior, and now that he’s run into Crouch Senior on the Hogwarts grounds, he’s focusing too much on that connection and he’s not thinking about the rest of it.

Lexi: Good point. Tunnel vision.

Laura: And I think that it’s a big part of the reason that he’s so quick to say, “Okay, Krum, you stay here with this man who is in some kind of state; I’m going to go get Dumbledore, and hopefully nothing happens to y’all in this forest while I’m gone.”

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Like, why the heck…? Isn’t Levicorpus a thing? Don’t we see that used in Prisoner of Azkaban?

Nicole:Accio Crouch!”

Laura: Right!

Andrew: He could’ve picked him up. He hasn’t been eating, he’s been crawling, he’s probably been losing weight.

Nicole: Krum is a pretty strong, raw dude.

Lexi: Isn’t Krum a beefy dude?

Andrew: He’s described as brutish, isn’t he, at some point? Yeah, he definitely could have picked him up.

Micah: He could’ve used the Imperius Curse to get him up there.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Too soon?

Lexi: But absolutely, they could’ve… I think, yes, there was a better solution than Harry leaving Krum with him to go and get Dumbledore. Now, also, it was a little bit frantic, where everyone’s like, “Oh my God, you just came out of the woods” kind of thing, so nobody’s thinking straight, but yeah.

Micah: Or Hagrid. He’s not that far away.

Andrew: Hagrid is good at carrying bodies, as we later learn, so he can…

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Not if they’re foreigners!

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Micah: Luckily, Crouch is local, so it’d be fine.

Laura: Yeah, he’s very English, so I think you’d be okay. So I have to ask, though, I mean, do we think that Dumbledore has any kind of moment of suspicion here about Krum? Because Harry, he runs to Dumbledore’s office; of course Snape is there, and Snape just does what Snape does…

Eric: It’s a whole thing.

Laura … and he just totally blocks the situation, doesn’t understand the urgency of what’s going on, and is just like, “Oh, Harry Potter, I’m going to make your life hell.” And when Harry mentions to Dumbledore as they’re going back down to the forest that he left Crouch with Krum, Dumbledore says, “You did?” and he says it sharply.

Andrew: [imitating Dumbledore] “What the heck, Harry?”

Laura: And then he increases his speed. He puts the pedal to the metal.

Andrew: “Double time; let’s go.”

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Nicole: I think it’s more of the distrust. I don’t know how much Dumbledore knows about Krum. Maybe it’s also because he’s associated with Karkaroff, and by associated, I mean he’s literally just a student at his school. I don’t know if he’s just in the dark and so he’s kind of a question mark, and that’s why he picks up his pace?

Lexi: I was under the impression that it was more about something’s wrong with Mr. Crouch, and there was more of that concern for Krum versus against Krum.

Eric: Yeah, I think it’s like, “You let him unsupervised alone?” Literally what happens is a third party that’s interested in them comes over and knocks Krum out, could have killed Krum if it weren’t for the unique circumstances of Barty Crouch, Jr. a.k.a. Mad-Eye Fakey’s double agency here. He would have killed to get his dad out of the picture.

Nicole: That’s true.

Lexi: Yeah. I guess… when I was first reading this – I remember it so vividly – I assumed Krum was safe only because Ron was so adamantly against Krum, and Ron is always wrong. Harry is 99% of the time wrong, but Ron is 110% of the time wrong, and so as soon as he said that Krum was a bad guy, I was like, “Oh, well, obviously he’s fine.”

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Unless he’s joking.

Andrew: He has some gems from time to time.

Micah: No, yeah, when Ron jokes, that’s when Ron is correct.

[Nicole laughs]

Lexi: Yes, exactly.

Andrew: Like he jokes in the last chapter about Dumbledore being able to… an evil wizard could possibly hoodwink Dumbledore, yeah. He has his moments. I call it Smart!Ron.

Lexi: There you go. I really do love Ron; I realize I’m being a little mean to him this episode.

[Nicole laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, sure doesn’t sound like it, Lexi! [laughs]

Lexi: Saying I’d choose Krum versus Ron, and all that stuff.

Laura: So Harry and Dumbledore arrive back to the forest to find Crouch gone and Krum Stunned, so obviously, this plan did not work out very well. And as they’re there kind of just trying to get their bearings on the moment of what’s happened and where Crouch Senior has gone, we get another clever Fakey moment. So he limps up saying he’d have been here sooner if it weren’t for the damn leg, and he also remarks that Snape said something about Crouch, which we know didn’t happen because it’s revealed later on that he’s been here in the forest the whole time looking for Dad because he has the freakin’ Marauder’s Map so he can see on it that his dad is in the forest. He sees Harry and Krum, he can clearly see Harry on the map run to Dumbledore’s office, run into Snape, and so he’s taking a little bit of a gamble here [laughs] by assuming that everyone would just believe that he had heard it from Snape and that no one would cross reference.

Nicole: That’s my big thing. Why was no one like, “Um, your appearance right now is pretty convenient!”?

Laura: Right.

Nicole: I know that Dumbledore trusts him, but there’s literally a student on the ground unconscious and Moody steps out of the shadows. Sus.

Eric: But he hides it…

Laura: And it’s not the first time.

[Nicole laughs]

Micah: Nope.

Laura: He does this multiple times.

Eric: It’s all about the charisma. It’s all about the opening line. “I would have been here sooner; it’s this damn leg.”

Andrew: That’s the suspicious part.

Eric: That’s what it is! You cast all suspicions off and just deflect.

Nicole: Dumbledore is smarter than that.

Lexi: I think about them being in the teachers’ lounge and talking, gossiping about this dramatic event that happened, and you would think that by each of the people telling their side of the story, specifically Snape and whatnot, like you were saying, Laura, that it would come out where it’s like, “Wait a second, that’s not what I heard” sort of thing, and… yeah. [laughs]

Micah: Are we to assume that the Patronus was sent to all members of the Order that were at Hogwarts, or just to Hagrid? Because then Mad-Eye could get out of it by saying, “Oh, well, Albus, I got your message.”

Laura: I have a question, and I don’t think we ever get an answer to this: Would he have gotten the Patronus? Because he’s not actually Mad-Eye Moody. Would it have still worked?

Andrew: See, that magical eye still works; I’m still inclined to believe the Patronus would go to him.

Micah: It would just be banging on the chest in Moody’s office.

Andrew: [laughs] Like a robot vacuum trying to get through a door.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: If Fakey were in his office, he’d be able to see the Patronus come in and start to deliver news to the trunk, and he’d be like, “Okay, here we go.”

Lexi: Oh my gosh. Sorry, all I can think about is from the recent book we read, When the Moon Hatched, where they have something called parchment larks, which is essentially paper planes that are considered how you send messages and they know who it’s to go to by their blood and that’s all I can think about right now.

Andrew: Ohh.

Nicole: Absolutely what I thought about too.

Lexi: It’s very convenient.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Laura: That’s why I just have to think that there has to be some kind of way for Patronus instant messaging to determine who is actually the right recipient.

Nicole: Especially considering it’s such high-level magic. You’d think… I’m team it knows what’s up. [laughs] That’s my hard stance right there.

Lexi: Yeah, I would go with that too. I’d never thought about that before. I love it.

Laura: So we have a little connecting the threads moment here; we don’t find this out at this point in this chapter, but we do learn that this is where Crouch Junior murders his dad…

Lexi: Womp-womp.

Laura: … and it’s an interesting threads moment to connect because much like Voldemort, Barty Crouch, Jr. takes out the father that he levied so much resentment against.

Nicole: And I also just have to point out that this murder is nothing short of Shakespearean because his son literally kills him, covers him with a Invisibility Cloak, like, “Night-night,” tucks him in, and then later comes back to turn his dead body into a bone and then buries it. I know you hate your dad, but wow, that’s a hard stance right there.

[Andrew laughs]

Lexi: Makes me wonder what else is in that forest, my goodness.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Nicole: Well, there’s the Resurrection Stone, actually.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Eric: Listen, Barty Crouch… I’m not justifying anything that he does in this chapter, but he worked real hard for those 12 OWLs, and did his father ever say, “Congrats, buddy”? Did his father ever say, “Nice job”? No.

Andrew: “Where was validation from my dad?”

Nicole: He was bragging to a tree about it.

Andrew: [laughs] And that tree is now so proud too.

[Everyone laughs]

Lexi: The tree will be his final resting place, yeah.

Laura: But seriously, this should be a cautionary tale for the potential for true crime and murder at Hogwarts because if it’s that easy to hide a body in the Forbidden Forest, why is anyone going anywhere near it?

Lexi: Right.

Nicole: Krum?

[Andrew laughs]

Lexi: Well, nobody else is; it’s just Harry who finds his way over there every year, it seems.

[Laura and Lexi laugh]

Lexi: And Fred and George, too, I should say.

Andrew: It is funny the Hogwarts students get that announcement… is it just a movie-ism? No, it can’t be. “The Forbidden Forest is strictly forbidden.”

Lexi: No, it’s in the first book.

Laura: It’s in the books.

Eric: Everyone knows the forest is… yeah.

Andrew: So that sort of speech should have been handed over to these kids who were visiting for most of the year too.

Lexi: Cautionary tale?

Andrew: Yeah. Of course, that was foreshadowing what happens in Book 1, but still.

Lexi: Forest-shadowing.

Andrew: Ohhh!

[Laura and Nicole laugh]

Laura: It’s not like Harry hasn’t already had several traumatic experiences in the Forbidden Forest. Like, what are you doing?

Andrew: No big at this point to go in there.

Laura: Yeah, it was for the plot. They had to go in there for the plot. That’s it.

Lexi: Good ol’ plot convenience. [laughs]

Eric: I also like that Crouch making his way to Hogwarts here gives extra evidence to the fact… because we still think it was Crouch that made his way into Snape’s office, so this is sort of the evidence that that at least is still plausible, because he made it here once before secretly, so we’re like, “Oh, he’s just doing it again. He’s familiar with it.”

Micah: But who showed up conveniently right after that? Moody.

Laura: That’s the thing; every time there’s… our spidey senses should be going off every time Moody just appears around the corner when something crazy is happening.

Nicole: And yet… oh, sorry. Go for it.

Laura: Oh, no, you go ahead.

Nicole: I was going to say, and then at the end, we’re all like, “It was him the whole time?!”

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Micah: And you’d think four books into it we would know something is up with the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor by now.

[Everyone laughs]

Lexi: And then I love how in Book 5 it’s just like, “Here you go. She’s the bad guy, everybody.” [laughs]

Laura: “We’re not going to make you guess.” It looks like we have a game segment.

Eric: I’m very excited about this segment. It was kind of last minute, because at the end of this chapter, Hagrid turns into a real piece of work. He’s mad about Maxime. Getting some real incel vibes, actually, from him. But Karkaroff makes a move and Hagrid picks him up, throws him against the… I think even Dumbledore is shocked; Dumbledore has never seen Hagrid as wild and feral as he is. So I was talking about this chapter to Meg, and she was like, “You know, these things that Hagrid is saying sound a lot like things that Uncle Vernon would say about about ‘those darn foreigners.'” And so I have a game segment: Who said it, Racist!Hagrid or Uncle Vernon?

[Andrew imitates game show music]

Eric: Okay. [imitates game show music] Here’s three rounds. We’ll pick one person for each one, or we each go through it. Who wants to be the first contestant?

Andrew: Ooh, me, me. I want to go.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Oh, okay, okay. Andrew, here’s the quote, and you have to tell me whether it was Hagrid or Uncle Vernon. And I’ve removed the accent from this dialogue so as to make it harder to detect Hagrid. Okay, the quote is: “What were you doing wandering off with Krum? He could’ve jinxed you right there, couldn’t he, Harry? He’s from Durmstrang.”

Andrew: See, I feel like Vernon said something similar to him about Krum, but that was in a later book, so I think this one’s Hagrid.

Eric: Ding ding ding! This is Hagrid shade on Durmstrang students; they can’t be trusted. Hmm.

Micah: Also, Vernon can’t pronounce “Durmstrang.”

Eric: Who’s the next contestant?

Lexi: I’ll be the next contestant.

Eric: Okay, let’s see. Here you go. Here’s the quote: “The less you lot have to do with these foreigners, the happier you’ll be. You can’t trust any of them.”

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Geez.

Lexi: I’m going to go with Hagrid because Vernon doesn’t want Harry to be happy no matter what.

Eric: Oh my gosh, that’s good. That slipped past me in picking these quotes. Lexi, you’re right.

[Lexi laughs]

Laura: Full marks.

Eric: It’s Hagrid again, Hagrid saying, “You can’t trust any of these foreigners, and the less you have to do with them, the happier you’ll be.” Okay, who’s the next contestant?

Nicole: I’ll volunteer as tribute.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: All right, Nicole, here we go. Okay, third and final quote, similar to the ones before it. It’s a reiteration of “Can’t trust any of them!”

Nicole: You know, considering that we’ve heard something similar previously, I’m going to go… Hagrid.

Eric: That’s right!

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Eric: Hagrid was the correct answer. Special guest racist Hagrid is the correct answer on all three of these quotes, and there’s a lot worse in this chapter about Maxime only wanting… trying to nice up to him and all this other stuff. Hagrid is awful. And I wanted to give him my MVP because the Care of Magical Creatures class with the Nifflers is above and beyond the coolest thing I think I’ve ever seen at Hogwarts…

Micah: Oh, you mean the one where Ron felt horrible for himself afterwards? That was great.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Well, even though there was… maybe he gets a little points off for that.

Laura and Micah: That wasn’t his fault.

Andrew: Hagrid is like a moderate Democrat, okay?

[Nicole laughs]

Andrew: He’s down with the times, but sometimes he leans a little to the right.

Eric: You know what’s leaning to the right? That tree that Karkaroff was slammed into; it’s kind of half uprooted because of that power. Could have broken his… but Dumbledore was shocked. Dumbledore was absolutely like, “You have to get out of here. Take Harry up to the Gryffindor common room. Make sure he doesn’t go anywhere else.” But you think he was doing that for Harry? No, he was doing that for Hagrid. He’s like, “You need to leave my sight; you are dangerous right now.”

Lexi: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Karkaroff had a point that they were… what was the exact quote? But it was something about how “You’re all doing this against us; it’s all a big setup against us.” And we obviously know that Dumbledore wouldn’t do that and all that, but he has a good point.

Andrew: Yes!

Lexi: Now, he shouldn’t spit at him; he went a little too far there, but…

Eric: Voldemort is a British wizard. Wormtail is a British wizard. The Crouches are British wizards. All these British wizards are responsible for all the bad things that happen in this book. Is there a conspiracy from Britain?

Lexi: Wow.

Micah: I’m with Lexi here, though, because imagine if you’re the headmaster of Durmstrang and you happen upon the scene, Eric. What would your reaction be? Your champion lying on the ground, Stunned with a bunch of Hogwarts professors around him, and Harry, no less, who we all know you don’t really like, assuming you’re Karkaroff. Yeah, how would you react?

Eric: The shame of it is that it does look suspicious, and that Harry and Viktor… if Viktor had been able to speak for himself in this moment… Viktor and Harry were getting on as best as they ever had when this actually occurred, and that’s the shame. So when he faults Dumbledore and is like, “You’re always talking about international magical cooperation,” Harry and Viktor were just embodying perfect international cooperation. Like, “Hey, are you with Hermione?” “No, I’ve never been with Hermione.” “Awesome. I like being with Hermione.” “Great.” That’s fantastic! That’s cooperation!

[Micah laughs]

Lexi: I agree with you. And then he did get attacked by who seems Mr. Crouch.

Andrew: It has been totally unfair since Harry’s name came out of the Goblet of Fire and Dumbledore was just like, “Eh, rules are rules. I’m sorry, can’t do anything else about it.”

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Lexi, you bring out a great point. Karkaroff has reason to be very frustrated right now. I don’t blame him.

Lexi: And he should not have spit on Dumbledore, but yeah, I read that first and I was like, “Okay, but can we give him a little bit of credit?” Somebody should really be looking into Hogwarts right now. I mean, they should have been way earlier, too…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Welcome to Book 4.

Laura: Yup. It doesn’t get any better. Spoilers.

Eric: Only gotten worse…

Micah: One of the things that I think is really interesting about this chapter, both with Hagrid and actually with Molly – we didn’t talk about it – but you get to see different sides of these characters. We always think about it as Hagrid is a good character, Molly is a good character. Well, they have both good and not-so-good qualities about them. Molly’s really does come through. I don’t think she was just being mindful of the fact that Hermione’s parents are dentists, so she sent her a smaller chocolate egg for Easter.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Micah: And Hagrid, yeah, I mean, he’s going through some feelings right now, I think, and he doesn’t really know how to quite express them.

Laura: He’s having big feelings. He really is.

Andrew: Big feelings about his little guy.

Nicole: I will say, I’ve been on this podcast before and gave a Hagrid high horse “I do not like him” speech. I will not do that again. But I will say that this stretch of Hagrid – Nifflers aside – but this stretch of Hagrid, this side of Hagrid, I should say, is really one of the reasons I am not a fan of that dude.

Lexi: I’m going to have to defend him in my MVP for the Niffler thing. [laughs]

Eric: Oh, because you still… you don’t want to think of a better MVP? You just want to stick by your man Hagrid? Listen, I will say easily these actions are inexcusable of Hagrid. However, the part that we didn’t talk about in this chapter with all the hate mail that Hermione is getting, Hagrid not only reveals that when Rita Skeeter did a hit piece on him that Rita’s same posse of people, probably, were mailing Hagrid, the things that they told him to do, like, “Go jump in the lake if you have any decency,” “Your mother was dangerous,” horrible, horrible things. I feel nothing but sadness. Yikes on Hagrid here, but sadness for him. He’s in a bad place. He doesn’t feel he can trust Madame Maxime even making good, his heart is broken, etc., etc. Nothing he does is excusable, but it is understandable to a certain extent.

Lexi: Yes.

Laura: Yeah. Well, he doesn’t have the tools to be able to process things like this…

Lexi: That’s a good point.

Laura: … in a productive way.

Eric: In a healthy…

Micah: Very rarely has a filter too.

Laura: Right.

Nicole: You mean all the secrets?

Micah: And he could be drunk. I mean, he’s drinking most of the time.

Nicole: All the secrets he gives away that he just… [makes gibberish sounds]

Andrew: Just imagine Winky and Hagrid going to the bar together and then trying to go toe-to-toe.

Laura: I know. [laughs]

Andrew: I mean, Winky would obviously die; there would be no doubt about it.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: I mean, Winky is way better at keeping herself in check when she’s wasted.

Andrew: That is true. That is true.

Laura: She’s way better at that than Hagrid.

Andrew: I’ll circle back on that in a couple minutes.

Odds & Ends

Laura: Well, let’s get into some odds and ends. First of all, again, we didn’t spend too much time on the Rita Skeeter angle in this chapter, but Harry does suggest to Hermione that perhaps Rita had her bugged and that’s how she overheard her summer plans with Viktor and it got reported in Witch Weekly.

Nicole: And I love that Hermione then mentions that in Hogwarts: A History all tech goes absolutely haywire in the magical air, which I do have to ask, what on earth does that look like in Hogwarts 2024 version?

Laura: Right?

Nicole: Because our phones are attached to us. They’re here all the time, so it’s like…

Eric: If my phone doesn’t work at Hogwarts, I’m not going. I don’t care.

[Everyone laughs]

Nicole: If I can’t TikTok, there’s no reason!

Eric: Take a whole year off of TikTok? Absolutely not.

Andrew: That’s sad; don’t admit that. I’m gladly going to Hogwarts because there’s no tech working there.

Nicole: Well, I wonder if their phone has been embedded into their wand, if they are able to search the…

Lexi: Like a magic hotspot, so to speak?

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Lexi: So the author did a long time ago make a comment about how technology nowadays and Google and things like that, and wizards as a whole would not participate in these Muggle online activities because they think that they are better than it, but they would have fun just going and typing into Google and essentially looking at it as a fun experiment, as a fun hobby, so to speak. So I don’t know how the children would be with that, but…

Eric: Maybe the future Muggle Studies room is like a computer lab that’s lead-lined on the walls.

Andrew: Oh, that could be cool.

Nicole: I like that.

Lexi: I love that.

Andrew: So Ron also says that he hates being poor, and Hermione suggests that they’ll get him a Niffler next Christmas, but that makes you wonder, could this be a viable way to earn some extra money in the wizarding world? It’s like the equivalent of having a metal detector here in the Muggle world.

Nicole: Passive income.

Andrew: You’d take your Niffler down to the beach behind Hogwarts and you send it looking for some coins.

Eric: Or just some of these common room couches, honestly. The little coins just in the corner of the couches.

[Lexi laughs]

Eric: See, Nifflers are a morally gray character I can get behind, right? Because they are cute as hell, but also, they steal from other people, their property, their money out of their pockets, their hard-earned cash, so I would say that the Nifflers are morally gray, not Krum.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Lexi: I love that. I can’t tell you the platypus hole that I went down when I was doing my prep for this outline.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Lexi: I have so many fun facts about platypuses now, everybody.

Nicole: I saw that in the outline and I texted Lexi. I was like, “What is this?” [laughs]

Andrew: “Stop, you’re embarrassing me.”

Eric: Coming up on bonus MuggleCast, facts about the platypus.

Nicole: And I asked and she was like, “I went down such a rabbit hole… or should I say platypus hole.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Platy-hole.

Micah: Though the Niffler would get bored living at the Burrow.

Laura and Nicole: Oh.

Lexi: Drag them.

Andrew: You know what, Micah? Stop it!

[Everyone laughs]

Nicole: It would just have all the watches.

Laura: Man, poor Ron. He’s already sad enough as it is because he realized the leprechaun gold disappears, and then he gets his pet Niffler finally and it runs away because it’s like, “There’s nothing for me to do here.”

[Lexi laughs]

Andrew: Ron does really seem sad, because Harry is like, “Oh, I forgot about the leprechaun gold,” and Ron is like, “I wish I could forget about money.” It’s a bummer of a note.

Eric: It’s uncomfortable.

Micah: Yeah, it’s a bad moment for Harry.

Lexi: I still think that was not cool of Harry from the get-go, when he’s like, “Oh, I have all this money. Sure, I’ll buy this for you, but you know what? You’re not getting a Christmas gift for the next ten years.” It’s like, dude.

Eric: I took that as a joke, though; I really didn’t think he was serious because in the books, it’s often said that Harry in an instant would share all of his gold with all of the Weasleys if he could.

Lexi: I agree with you, and Ron didn’t take it as a joke, and so that’s why it’s like, “Aww.”

Eric: Yeah, that’s crucial. Yeah, so now he feels like he owes Harry one. Yeah, that’s a really good point. One thing I want to point out for an odd and an end: To all the listeners out there who were wondering, “Is there a Mrs. Fudge?” We now know. According to Barty Crouch in his little delusional state, there is a mention of Mrs. Fudge. There is a mention of Mr. and Mrs. Fudge going out for a social event with the Crouches, presumably when both men were vying for the role of future Minister of Magic. So send in your theories about who Mrs. Fudge is. I looked it up on online; there is nothing. There’s absolutely nothing about it. It was never an interview topic, never anything. So I’ve named her Maude in my head, and she calls her husband Cornelius, and they divorced shortly after he became Minister because she never thought he was really going to make it over Crouch, and then when he did, she was like, “I actually can’t stand you. I’m sorry, bye.” It’s a very sad, tragic sort of thing.

Lexi: Well, and then he didn’t have that level-headedness when he went off the deep end, after all through Order of the Phoenix, so yeah, I agree with that.

Nicole: He just needed support at home.

Eric: But she’s alive. It’s crucial that she’s alive in my head. Poor woman.

Lexi: So also, Mr. Crouch mentions that there is a memo from the Andorran Minister of Magic, and me not knowing much about my geography because I focus way more on fantasy geography, I know, I was like, “Huh, let’s Google it.” So I looked it up, and Andorra is a tiny independent principality situated between France and Spain in the mountains, and it’s known for its ski resorts. So boom, there’s a new bucket list place for me. I’m just full of random facts.

Andrew: [laughs] I could see the Grangers going there for a winter holiday, skiing in Andorra, and Hermione will go and check out the Ministry of Magic there.

Laura: Don’t they actually mention that they do that at Christmas one year?

Andrew: Ski?

Micah: French Alps?

Andrew: Oh, maybe that’s what I’m thinking of, then. That must be… they’re dentists; they’re definitely skiing. No doubt about it.

Micah: Andorra is a good Jeopardy country to remember.

Lexi: It is. So anyway, that was a good fun fact from me.

Eric: It’s less than 200 miles wide, but Crouch is talking about speaking with the Andorran Minister for Magic, which means this tiny country has its own Ministry. So something crazy magical is going on in that country; that is a huge red flag.

Andrew: Micah, you want to mention the 12 OWLs?

Micah: Yeah, this got brought up earlier, but the 12 OWLs. We always try and call out when the number 7 or the number 12 gets mentioned in these chapters. And also, another mention of 12 was when Crouch was going through the students that were coming from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons, so we’ve often wondered how many students came for this and I believe Crouch said round dozen, so he was going to go back to Maxime to let her know that she could have more to equal that of what Karkaroff was bringing.

Eric: And Maxime was like, “Great, I have an 8-year-old who’s been wanting to come along with us.”

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: And she loves to swim underwater.

Andrew: She loves to be traumatized.

Eric: In February!

Laura: She loves to play hostage. Yeah, I mean, it’s another example of how if you’re wondering what the number is going to be in Harry Potter, it’s either 7 or 12. Unless I’m trying to give you that hint when we’re playing Quizzitch Live and I mislead 80% of you into getting the question wrong.

Eric: In that case, it’s never.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: One day we should have an episode of MuggleCast with 12 people on it. We’ve definitely done a seven-person panel.

Eric: Well, we’ve done a 12-hour live MuggleCast.

Andrew: Oh, that’s true.

Laura: We did.

Micah: And we used to have seven hosts.

Andrew: Right. Okay, so we’ve already done all that. Never mind.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: No more work, please.

Lexi: That’s what happens when you’ve been doing this for so long, right? [laughs]

MVP of the Week

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

[MVP of the Week music plays]

Andrew: I’m going to give it to Winky for being able to hold in those secrets even under extreme alcohol abuse. Look, as adults, we have all been there when we’ve maybe had a little too much to drink and we’ve been very, very tempted to say things, and Winky held it together, even though she probably had to, but still, I’m impressed.

Eric: I’m going to give my MVP to Crouch Senior just for escaping Voldemort’s Imperius Curse and making it all the way to Hogwarts. Wow. That actually alone makes me think a lot more of him as an adult wizard than anything else in this series.

Micah: I’m going to give it to the birds. I mean, they were really busy in this particular chapter.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Pigwidgeon getting sent to Sirius, Hedwig going to Percy, all the owls that had to bring Hermione her hate mail, the phoenix Patronus that Dumbledore sends, the eagle owl arriving for Barty Crouch – or sorry, Moody. Yeah, I mean, they’re working overtime in this chapter, harder than the house-elves.

Laura: Ooh.

Nicole: Drag ’em.

Eric: Well, the house-elves are working hard at covering Winky up.

Nicole: They’re preoccupied.

[Andrew and Lexi laugh]

Laura: I’m going to give mine to good guy Krum. I think if you had any reservations about him, they should be gone by the time you read this chapter. He’s just a really, really solid dude at the end of the day.

Micah: Would you ever call him Krum-bun?

Nicole: Yes.

Eric: You will now.

Laura: Krum-bun?

[Lexi laughs]

Laura: Okay, now I’m imagining Viktor Krum but with one of those man buns that were really popular in the 2010s. [laughs]

Lexi: Oh, yeah.

Nicole: I’m going to go with the Krumance, or should I say the almost Krumance, because I think that Harry and Krum would have been sports bros like nobody’s business, and it actually really hurts my heart that they never got a chance to explore that relationship. So the little flame that flickered, that’s my MVP.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I love that.

Lexi: Well, mine was going to be Hagrid, but then everybody dragged him this episode for very understandable good reasons. I am not defending… [laughs]

Eric: Well, after hearing all the racist things he said, you’re like, “I can’t possibly stand by Hagrid.”

Lexi: Because I admit that when I was doing this part of the outline, I was kind of reading the chapter in bits and I hadn’t read the last few pages yet. But I was really so proud of him for the lesson that he did for Care of Magical Creatures and how he was there for Hermione, and how he really is… besides that last little part there where he was going through some big feelings. He worked so hard to prepare for that class, digging, really, really preparing for that class. Everybody had such a good time. And then he was so sympathetic and knew the right words to say for Hermione and was very… he doesn’t have a lot of productive successful moments, and so I wanted to give that to him there.

Andrew: But he cares and he loves his friends and he’s a great father figure to Harry, and Ron and Hermione. I’m with you. I’m a very big fan of Hagrid.

Lexi: And he did defend Dumbledore; he is very loyal. And even if his methods were questionable, he did defend Dumbledore big time there. Don’t say bad things about his friends.

Andrew: But that’s all the characters. All the characters are rough around the edges. All the professors have some flaws.

Lexi: Although… yeah, it’s still an L for him in the sense of being a little bit racist there, but everything else, he was the MVP for. [laughs]

Andrew: Well, listeners, if you have any feedback about today’s discussion, you can contact us by emailing or sending a voice memo recorded on your phone to, or you can use our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE; that’s 1-920-368-4453. And next week we will discuss Goblet of Fire Chapter 29, “The Dream.”


Andrew: And now it’s time for Quizzitch!

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s question was: What food does Harry send to Sirius in his cave that Pigwidgeon alone is not suitable for? The answer is an entire ham. Last week’s winners include LC; Buff Daddy; Cave Rat; Come on, Barty, let’s go party…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: … Definitely a Hufflepuff; Dumbledore lets Sirius live off rats; Hey, Harry, why so Sirius?; Matt; Merlin’s saggy left earlobe; My seventh birthday party was Harry Potter-themed and my dog was dressed as Rita Skeeter in beetle form…

Laura: Wow.

Andrew: Nice.

Eric: … The donut fried in Snape’s hair oil…

Laura: Eugh.

Eric: Oh man. The indignant house-elf; Tipsy on hiccup butterbeer; Too addicted to powerwash simulator to come up with a clever name…

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: … Tula does a hula in Hawaii; and Water wizard.

Andrew: Nicole and Lexi, the Quizzitch names are just a vehicle for the listeners to speak to us. They offer…

[Laura laughs]

Nicole: They spoke? That is a dissertation. [laughs]

Lexi: I remember last time we were on after y’all did this, I was like, “I’m sorry, what?”

Andrew: I have that same reaction each week. I don’t know what’s happening anymore.

Lexi: It is so much fun. Oh my gosh.

Micah: Can we get proof of the Rita Skeeter dog?

Andrew: Yeah, send a pic.

Laura: Yeah, pics or it didn’t happen.

Nicole: Will you share with us? Because I want to see that.

[Andrew laughs]

Lexi: Fun fact: Nicole also had a Harry Potter-themed birthday party once, and my best friend and I, we had a voice-changing microphone and we hid in a closet and we Sorted everybody, and all the girls that Nicole wasn’t crazy about who had to be invited to the birthday party, of course, were Sorted into Slytherin.

Andrew: [laughs] Brutal.

Lexi: And there was a Potions-making class, which was personal pizza-making. There was wand-making. It was so much fun. I remember that birthday party of yours more than most of mine.

Nicole: I was going to say, you remember that birthday party of mine more than I do.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Andrew: I’m just imagining Nicole coming up with her list of people she wants Sorted into Slytherin and quietly passing it to Lexi.

Nicole: Like, “Here’s my Burn Book.”

Andrew: Yeah, your Burn Book, exactly.

[Laura and Lexi laugh]

Andrew: Slyth-book.

Eric and Nicole: Oh my God.

Eric: So here is next week’s Quizzitch question: Who is the second person that Fakey – which is Barty Crouch, Jr. – says should try for a career as an Auror? He’s actually handing out that specific compliment to multiple people, as it turns out. [laughs] Submit your answer to us on the Quizzitch form on the website,, or go to the MuggleCast website, check out transcripts and other stuff, but then click on “Quizzitch” on the main nav.

Andrew: Nicole and Lexi, thank you so much for coming on today. It was a thrill to have you on again. We just love you two.

Nicole: Thank you for having us!

Lexi: Thank you.

Andrew: We’re so proud of everything you’ve accomplished. And can you tell our listeners where they can find you online?

Nicole: We are everywhere on social media at @FantasyFangirlsPod. If you are a fan of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, or the Empyrean series, which includes Fourth Wing and Iron Flame, we have many, many, many hours of content just like these fine folk here deep diving those books. So you can find us anywhere you listen to podcasts at @FantasyFangirls.

Lexi: And like we said at the top of the episode, we are going to be at LeakyCon as well. We’re so excited to see you. And yeah, we’ll be on doing our live show on Saturday as well as our meetup too.

Nicole: I will run into y’all’s arms, Eric and Micah. Get ready. Prepare yourselves.

Andrew: [laughs] Aww.

Lexi: Nicole is a really intense hugger, too, so be prepared.

Nicole: I have bruised people before.

[Lexi and Nicole laugh]

Lexi: We are so excited, yes. And thank you so much for having us on today.

Eric: Maybe we’ll attach a bell to her so we know when she’s coming. “Who’s that? Oh God, ah!”

Andrew: Listeners, we’ll have links to the Fantasy Fangirls in our show notes. And of course, you can go to for our transcripts, our social media links, our full episode archive, our favorite episodes, and much more. And like the Fantasy Fangirls… this is part of the reason why we love you two; we’re both independent podcasts. So check out and see how you can support us. And 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. So that does it for this week’s episode. Thanks, everybody, for listening. Thank you again to the Fantasy Fangirls. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Nicole: I’m Nicole.

Lexi: And I’m Lexi.

Andrew: Bye, everybody.

Laura: Bye, y’all.

Lexi: Bye!