Episode 117 – OotP, Book Wrap: The Jammin’ Pensieve

All of the secrets are out and the world knows that Lord Voldemort has returned. Hosts Kat, Michael, Eric, and Alison wrap up Order of the Phoenix with a reflection on the book’s release, tales of days past, and of course, the beloved international book cover discussion.

On Episode 117 we discuss…

→ Episode 116 recap:: Making Harry whole; Umbridge, centaurs, and mythology; Voldemort and the whole prophecy; Umbridge’s hand slap
→ PQOTW Responses
→Book Wrap!
→Puzzle-less dedication
→Thrilling summaries …or not so much
→Remembering the long wait
→International covers discussion
Global Movie Watch!
→ Check out the Alohomora! store

To listen to the show, simply click the player below or direct download the episode. You can also subscribe to us on iTunes. For more information about the podcast and to find out how to be on the show, check out our Be On The Show! page.

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  • Oh boy, it’s been a bit hasn’t it? Hello, all! And can I just say that whether or not you like OotP, wow, is it going to be good to get into a new fresh book!? I, for one, am completely PUMPED! Bring on HBP!

    So, I’ve got some thoughts on all the ghostly business the hosts got into this week. Firstly, on wizards deciding to become (or not become ghosts: ) I both agree and disagree with what Kat said. Yes, one person may have a ‘check the box’ kind of answer, (a yes or no, black or white, kind of thing,) but I think others may have a certain experience, (perhaps a close friend or loved one dying as was suggested on the show,) or maybe they have a near-death experience that shapes their world view and therefore their decision to be a ghost or not to be a ghost. I can also see people filp-flopping back and forth throughout their life with this (in my opinion,) rather large decision, or having moments of indecision based on what other people’s opinions/stories are or based on their own changing life experiences. I don’t really think there is a window of “if you haven’t decided by X date at X time that you would like to be a ghost (or not) then you can’t be,” or, “X minutes/hours/days/years prior to your death you must have decided to be a ghost (or not.)” I think that ‘window’ is always open until that person actually dies. Now, in book 7 we see Harry in the King’s Cross scene (as was mentioned on the episode,) and some people have equated that to a type of purgatory. So, it seems, that for Harry at least, he could have decided, post-killing curse, that he wanted to ‘go on,’ or as we see, choose not to. I do think Harry’s experience is unique to him, but what that does do is set precedence for that type of scenario to occur again for other people. I think perhaps it is a different situation for each person based on their beliefs and their life experiences. Maybe there are people who skip straight from the moment of death to ghostliness and are a bit shocked as they may have never considered the matter before. I can see others who skip straight to ‘going on’ and still others who need to have a little think about it all, like Harry. What I am trying to say is that, to me, it seems like a very un-scientific, to-each-their-own, kind of process and that each wizard or witch makes their decision (or maybe, non-decision,) in their own time and in their own way. I do not see there being any definitive parameters that restrict such a decision. Perhaps we will hear more on this subject by Jo, but until then, that’s my two-cents. What are your thoughts?

    • QuibbleQuaffle

      Because of the talk about ‘leaving an imprint’ I always thought that there was something you physically/magically had to do before you died to be able to come back as a ghost, (which would mean only witches and wizards could have the option). Maybe there is a chance to change your mind at the point of death, but maybe only one way. Like, maybe you have to leave an imprint in the physical world before you die to have the option of coming back as a ghost. This could also explain Harry’s King’s Cross scene. His imprint would have been Lily’s blood protection inside Voldemort. Maybe this is stronger than a regular ghost imprint and so he has the option of coming back to life for real. Maybe horcruxes tie in in some way too, maybe they’re more powerful than ghost imprints but still *Dumbledore voice* “not as strong as the power of love”.

      • The only issue I see with having a ‘required’ spell or action in order to possibly be a ghost one day is, at what time do you have to do the required thing? What if you die before you do it? What if you die as a child? (Think Moaning Myrtle,) or even before you get to Hogwarts to learn about how to do spells and control your magic? If there is a required aspect then there must be an age at which you can become a ghost, (perhaps 11? when you first are considered a wizard/witch and part of the world?) and an age of which you simply can’t, (going along with my hypothetical situation, say 10 years old,) Is the time period the same for each wizard/witch or are they each different depending on the person? It seems too perfect for me if there is a spell or something. Too exact and tied up with a bow. I think a lot of the ghosts we meet may have decided to be ghosts in a split-second decision either right before or just after they died. I’m not sure it was something that was a long drawn out discussion that involved spells or enchantments.

        • QuibbleQuaffle

          Honestly, these are questions I’ve been asking myself since Chamber of Secrets and I really don’t know. I’ve always wondered about how young Myrtle was when she left her imprint and why she feared death so much at such a young age. Practically, as I’ve gotten older and re-read the books I’ve come to see that how I read it is probably wrong. And when I say ‘spell’ I am thinking more along the lines of Lily’s blood protection, so something subtle, but still definite if you know what I mean? So, if I had to put an age on it I would say that you can make your imprint as soon as you become old enough to have a fear of death, which would vary between people. Personally, until hearing other people’s theories that there is a last minute choice to be made (theories which the King’s Cross scene seems to back up more than mine I’ll be the first to admit) I’d thought that if you made your imprint you were stuck as a ghost forever, if not you had to go on. To me that would make being trapped between the worlds forever even crueller, because you’ve been trapped by a decision you made about your death before you’ve even come close to death. However I’m definitely ready to be persuaded. 🙂

    • Casey L.

      I’m going to be repeating a lot of an earlier post I made, but here goes:
      I think witches and wizards make the choice on whether or not to become a ghost after death, as you described. This idea comes from the same King’s Cross scene in Deathly Hallows you wrote about. My guess is that witches and wizards come across their own version of “King’s Cross” and while there, they decide to go back or “catch the train” and move on, as Harry does. If they go on, they do not become ghosts, but in most cases, if they went back, they would. In Harry’s case, he could go back without becoming a ghost because he had more than one soul in his body, so he could shed the Voldie-soul and go back, whole and alive. Ordinary witches and wizards would become ghosts if they did not choose to move on, though.

    • Hufflepug

      Welcome back! 😀
      I almost wonder if there is a certain purgatory-like experience for everyone, like you mentioned. What strikes me is that, for every witch or wizard who dies, very few return as ghosts. This makes me think that the person can not be sure about it for their entire life but when they die someone comes to them in this world and tells them their options along with the consequences, which would lead to only a rare few deciding that becoming a ghost is better than moving on. It could be more abstract than this, but either way it would involve making that final decision after death.

  • Also, to answer Kat’s question, it is unknown exactly when Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington was born and so we apparently do not know how old he was at the time of his death, (31 Oct. 1492.) He was a knighted wizard in the royal court as an adult so we can assume he was, at the very least, 21 years old. (Twenty-one is the age when a squire can first become a knight…according to my very brief internet search.) As an interesting fact, he will be 523 years dead this Halloween.

    • Kat

      Thanks for the 411! Very good to know 🙂

  • QuibbleQuaffle

    In terms of the UK/US descriptions. I’m from the UK, but I don’t really have any strong opinions on the description, because I never read blurbs. The main reason for this is I hate anything vaguely spoilery, so if I’d read that detailed American description I would have been kicking myself for reading it before I’d read the book. If I want to know what a books like I read the first few pages and judge it on that, or ask someone who I think has good taste in books but who won’t spoil anything for me.
    Generally though, from the few Americans I’ve met and what I know about American media, I think we’re just generally less outwardly enthusiastic than you guys. (Although I’m actually seriously enthusiastic about this book). It doesn’t surprise me that the American blurb had to be jazzed up a bit to match with the general higher-energy-language of American society and media. Maybe the UK blurb would have just been ignored over there. I can’t speak for other people over here, but my personal preference is for blurbs to set the scene and give a jist of the genre and direction of the book. Since we already know the background and genre of Harry Potter, (although they’re always put in for good measure it seems) One or two vague sentences about secrets would be good enough for me.

    • Healer In Training

      Although I have yet to look it up, I am curious as to whether there are any other YA novels outside of Harry Potter That have different publishers in the US and the UK that also have drastically different approaches to book jacket summaries. I am from the US and typically read the backs of books before reading the book itself. I don’t remember reading the summary for OotP as I had just started reading the series the winter prior to its release and I was also young (OotP came out on my 10th birthday) but I also don’t remember the later summaries impacting my reading experience. Maybe I was quick to forget them or just didn’t read them, but that’s my personal experience.

  • QuibbleQuaffle

    Are the book cover pictures just the 4 up at the top? Or are there more somewhere else that I’m missing?

    • I looked them up on my own via google search…it was tough to find some of them. (Albania is virtually non-existent but apparently the same/similar to Italy.)

    • flighty_temptress

      I also could not find a slide menu for the covers so I, like Rebecca, did a google search for each one. Tedious but effective.

  • Hufflepug

    Commenting as I listen – on the Finnish cover, Umbridge looks just like Roz from Monsters Inc. I’m cracking up! Great episode so far.

  • Am I the only one who doesn’t think Harry is all that angsty in this book? I have always found Harry way more angry, upset, and unreasonable in Goblet of Fire and down right annoying in Half Blood Prince. In Order of the Phoenix, Harry is very logical. He plays his cards right and I’m behind him 100%. He is never silly, never annoying. His attitude is completely understandable. He is the most important player being left out of the game! He is not angsty, he is left out without good reason. Harry has reason to be angry and rebellious. He isn’t just doing things because he is in his teen years.


      I completely agree. He doesn’t have a reason in Half-Blood prince to be down right annoying! His actions in this book all make sense.

    • ISeeThestrals

      You’re not the only one. I didn’t think he was too angsty here. I thought his anger and frustration was called for. Not sure about in Goblet, but I did start becoming annoyed with Harry in Half-blood.

    • Glad to hear I’m not alone! You guys make for a good chat!

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      I remember reading this book before I was 15 and seeing how people were so annoyed by Harry. But then reading it when I was 15 and when i was older than 15, I, too, didn’t see Harry as unreasonably or uncharacteristically angsty. In my opinion, Jo has always totally captured how teenagers act. So maybe Harry was a little bit obnoxiously, but it is totally realistic. He is a fourteen-fifteen-sixteen year old boy who has about a thousand things to worry about that most teenage boys don’t. For this reason, I never saw Harry in Order as annoying. But I totally agree about Harry getting on peoples’ nerves in Half-Blood. Every time I read it, I’m frustrated at his obsession with Malfoy. By that time, I think he takes the teenage-ness to an extreme.

    • RoseLumos

      I agree with you and everyone else here. Harry was going through some real serious stuff and in my opinion he had every right to be upset and confused throughout the book. In fact, one reason I don’t like HBP is that right in the beginning of the book Harry is just fine. Sure, he gets upset sometimes when other people mention Sirius but to me it seems like he gets over it way to quickly. I’m sure JKR didn’t want to make Harry permanently depressed but compared to the last book he gets over everything pretty fast.

  • FeatherSickle7662

    So disappointed I got sick this morning (I’m Preggers!) and didn’t get to participate in the Movie Watch or the Live cast after :((( Maybe next book!

  • Miniskidi

    That was a really good pronunciation of the Finnish title and it says Tammi on the pensieve which is the publisher.

  • Elvis Gaunt

    Hey, guys look at all the Chinese covers together. Almoet all of them depict a creature and it is coming out of what looks like a hole in the page.

    • Kat

      NO WAY. Really? This needs to happen, now. Thanks for the tip!

  • angsty_Sirius

    Your discusion about someone chosing to become a ghost got me thinking, and it’s probably quite a stupid question to ask, but: Can ghosts see thestrals if they did not see someone die in life? I mean they never died, Nick said himself that he had no idea about the secrets of death but on the other hand they are the ones that have been the closest to actually having seen death in the whole world.
    What do you guys think?

    • ISeeThestrals

      That’s a good question. I never thought of that. I would imagine they could being they’re actually dead, regardless of whether or not they’ve seen death. And regardless of how much they know about dying. But if it only applies to witnessing death, I think the thestrals would be too much of a mystery for them to see.

    • Healer In Training

      What do you think would happen if they saw death as a ghost? I forget if ghosts are like portraits and are limited in their capabilities in learning new things. If they are I would assume that they would not be able to process death like a living individual. I also wonder what would happen if they saw the death of a loved one that they knew while alive and if they would be able to grieve, especially if this individual chose to go on rather than remain behind. If this was the first death they saw in both their normal human and ghostly lives and were able to process it would they then be able to see thestrals? It’s an interesting point you bring up and I am interested to see if anyone else has thoughts on it.

  • Hufflepug

    Which character do you guys think is the MVP of this book? Looking back, I would say McGonagall – mostly for all of the sass she gave Umbridge which was just so satisfying to read.

    • Elvis Gaunt

      Hermione. She is responsible for all the good things this year; initiates and sees to the running of the DA, quibbler interview, checks Harry when he is becoming unreasonable, questions Umbridge’s teaching method, helps Harry and Co escape from Umbridge’s office towards the end.

    • Casey L.

      Hermione through most of the book, but Luna has an extremely powerful moment in the last chapter, when she successfully consoles Harry after Sirius’ death, after Hagrid and Nearly Headless Nick are unable to do so.
      I love McGonagall in this book – I think it was the first time I truly thought, “Wow – this character is awesome!” but I don’t think Harry really appreciates her, not even after he goes looking for her after he sees the planted vision of Sirius being tortured, and he is shocked to find out she isn’t there to help him. He takes her for granted in a way.

    • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

      I’d say McGongall wins MVP for this book, but Hermione gets MVP for the entire series. I think Harry underestimates how important McGonagall is and I honestly don’t think he would be where he is (was?) without her. He sort of just accepts that she is there to help him and I think the fact that she continues to help him despite being under-appreciated also contributes to her receiving my MVP award

  • loony_lauren

    Maybe the bearded figure in the corner of the Albanian cover is Dumbledore trying to shield his eyes from Harry. He has a ribbon covering his eyes, and in the books, Dumbledore tries to avoid eye contact with Harry.

  • Subjective Unicorn

    Nice accents Michael 🙂 The Ukrainian publisher is called Ababa-Galamaga, that’s a kind of onomatopoeia to the sounds children make before they learn to speak.

  • MsCheeta1987

    I really enjoyed the show today. You were all remembering your moments when Order of the Phoenix came out en I went back in time with you. I got my English copy at midnight in the local bookstore/office suplies shop in my village in Holland and finished it 2,5 days later.

    About the summary on the back cover of the Uk child edition, When I first got my copy of Order of the Phoenix I was happy that it didn’t contain much information because I did not want to spoil it for myself. The little text above it with Dumbledore’s quote was very exciting though.

    Michael you did a perfect Dutch accent when you read the Dutch title!

  • Snatch The Snitch

    Is the recording of the Movie Watch Live Show going to be posted?

  • Silverdoe25

    I listened to this on my commute to work. Where is the slideshow of all the covers?

  • Snatch The Snitch

    I have a link showing the Swedish, Dutch, Danish, Italian. Finnish, French, Japanese, and German covers of all seven books. You can’t zoom in extremely close but it gives you a good idea. If anyone would link the link I could probably send it to you somehow. I have to say the Japanese ones are easily my favorite. I found some on google of the backs too, which are very cool.

  • Snatch The Snitch

    The burning paper on the ground on the cover of The Order of the Phoenix Deluxe Edition (American) is the the note Dumbledore wrote Harry revealing the address of the Order’s headquarters (Dumbledore was secret-keeper). Moody burnt it with his wand after Harry memorized it

  • Harrison

    Excellent book rap. Thank you for having me on one of the eppisodes of the show this book. Love michael’s (half-right, half-fail) attempt to do most of the languages.
    As a side note, the russian title “Гарри Поттер и Орден Феникса” has the first letter of “Г” which is actually pronounced as a hard G in English. Therefore, his name is actually “Garry Potter” as it is throughout the entire series in Russian. And you were surprisingly close on the Chinese (Hā lì·bō tè yǔ fènghuáng shè). I was completely, utterly shocked you came so close. Great work! I hope you will all entertain me for another 2 books.

  • RoseLumos

    I’m going to miss OotP. It is still tied with DH as my favorite book. Oddly enough though, HBP is one of my least favorite in the series. To me it just seemed like the transition between the two. I can’t say exactly why I don’t like HBP (maybe it’s because I actually enjoy the characters just sitting and talking about their feelings) but hopefully once HBP is discussed and analyzed more I will be able to articulate my feelings about it better.

    • Snatch The Snitch

      HBP is my favorite and I feel like that is rare among HP fans. Hopefully through the upcoming analysis you will come to like it more. I’m looking forward to some good discussions.

      • RoseLumos

        I would be interested to see what, in general, is considered the best and worst if the series. I would love to see a poll put up. Even if it’s just on this site I would say that the regular listeners represent a good sample of other HP fans around the world. Like I said, DH and OotP tie as my favorite. I would say that SS/PS is probably my least favorite just because as an adult it feels too simple to read. It would be interesting if JKR ever decided to rewrite it re-edit it to make it match the rest of the books. It’s clear that she was just beginning her writing journey and was still getting used to the HP world, if you know what I mean.

        • Snatch The Snitch

          Yes, this poll needs to happen! For some reason I love hearing people’s ranking of the books. When a find out a person is a HP fan the first thing I ask is which book is your favorite? I also find people’s stories about getting into HP and their experiences with getting and reading the books fascinating. A lot of funny and amazing stories believe it or not. My order is 6, 3 ,4 ,7 ,5 ,2, 1. 6 has been my favorite since I first read it. 3 and 4 are interchangeable for me, as are 7 and 5 then 2 and 1. It would be awesome if Rowling went back and edited the first 2. She did say at one point she’d like to do a director’s cut of some of the books.

          • RoseLumos

            My order is 7+5 (tie), 4, 3, 6, 2, 1. I agree with what you said about the interchangeable books, as you can see from my list. I thing for me 4 is better than 3 simply because it’s longer (I seriously don’t understand when people complain the books are too long – it’s just more to enjoy!). I also think 2 is better than 1 just because things started to get smoother and more stable, if that makes sense. I think JKR was more comfortable with the world by 2 and it shows. When it comes to 5 and 7, well I would finish 5 and say it’s my favorite, than read 7 and say it’s my favorite. This would happen after every re-read so I just decided to tie them.

          • Snatch The Snitch

            Yeah I see absolutley no problem with the books being longer despite the two longest being a little lower on my list (that’s not the reason). I still love those books as I do all of them. Everytime I re-read Deathly Hallows I like it more.

  • RowenasRiddle

    Regarding the different summaries on the Bloomsbury and Scholastic, I’m not British, but here in Norway the English versions are all from Bloomsbury, and personally I find the Bloomsbury summary much more intriguing than the Scholastic one (both prior to and after reading the book). You talked about how you found the British summary lacking, I think that’s what makes it so great. In the scholastic version you’re basically served all the exciting points of the book, and I think that leaves little to the imagination, even though it doesn’t specifically discuss the one main mystery. Also, the scholastic summary just doesn’t have the sound of a Harry Potter book to me, it’s too.. Well, American… The summary doesn’t need to be “thrilling” all it needs to do is make you interested in the book and make you ask the question “what will happen next?” Remember that at the surface the HP books are British school boy novels (with many twists) and I think the Bloomsbury summary perfectly captures that sound.

  • pennysoakystation

    Before finally leaving Order of the Phoenix, there is one thing I have been wondering about since I first read it: did JK Rowling work with a new or different editor for this book? Or did her relationship with her editors change? Alohomora discussed how the book might have been shortened, regarding Grawp for example. I found it distracting how often characters said things “darkly” in this book.

  • RoseLumos

    Ok, so last night I couldn’t sleep, which meant I just pondered about stuff until my alarm went off. I was thinking about why so many people seem to be so polar opposite on 5. It seems (and I could be wrong) that people either hate it or love it (although “hate” is a strong word to use against a HP book). Then it dawned on me – the difference between 5 and all the other books is that there isn’t really a mystery that needs to be solved at the end of OotP. Think about it – in PS/SS we spend the whole book wondering if Snape is bad and what Fluffy is hiding. In CoS we are wondering who the heir of Slytherin is and what keeps attacking the students. In PoA we are wondering what the grim is, what Sirius is after, and why Hermione keeps disappearing. In GoF we are wondering who put Harry’s name in the goblet, what the next task is going to be like, and what is happening with Crouch. In HBP we are wondering what Draco is up to and what the importance of all the Voldemort memories are. In DH we are literally wondering EVERYTHING since we have been waiting ten years to the answers to all the questions the other books never answered.

    So what are we wondering about in OotP? Well, there is Harry’s weird door dreams, which honestly don’t happen as much as I remembered on this re-read. And the “weapon.” But really, nothing else really happens. When Harry “see’s” Sirius being tortured it kind of comes as a weird shock. He only had one full vision before and it really comes right out of the blue. So… is this a bad thing? In my opinion, no. Sure, it is a bit of a departure from the previous books. But maybe it was the break that we needed. This is a slow book. In many ways, it’s a transition book. It’s really us (the reader) and Harry slowly experiencing this new strange world where a war has started but not many people know about it, where Harry has gone through a great traumatic event and people deny it even happened. GoF, although shorter, is a huge book with all the plot devices, red herrings, and foreshadowing clues scattered through each chapter. It’s almost exhausting to read. HBP in many ways is also a “transition” book between battles. The difference is the atmosphere, the idea that a war is happening right now and that people are starting to disappear and die. So, in many ways, OotP is the eye of the hurricane, the calm between two huge battles (the graveyard vs. the two Hogwarts battles). I don’t know if was intentional on JKR’s part, but personally I love it. We needed to see Harry slowly lose control and break down, and then to get back up. If Harry stayed static, as in he never had the chance to look around and realize that yeah, his life does kind of suck at the moment, than I don’t think his victory at the end would have been as triumphant.

    Wow…. I wrote more than I expected. That explains why I didn’t fall asleep at all.

    • Snatch The Snitch

      Good points. Even with everything you said, I still find Order of the Phoenix to be an extremely intiguing book. Mystery or no mystery, slow or not, it’s a book I do enjoy immensely. I think there are a lot of similarities between Order and DH, as we know from our other discussion, we both find them interchangeable despite our rankings of them. Part of is likely because the pace does slow down a bit in both books. However, I love the books being longer and the “slowing down” provides for a richer experience of the Potter world which I can’t get enough of. The main reason I’d place them lower than 6, 3 and 4 is because I feel like they don’t flow as smoothly. Also, eventhough the Umbridge and Ministry vs Harry storylines are brilliant plot ideas, It still frustrated me throughout the read. It just wasn’t the happy, enjoyable Hogwarts we came to know. Aside from its other pros, I think part of the reason HBP is great is because it feels like a return to “normal” coming off of Order. The only flaw I find with HBP is that it isn’t as strong on re-reads, IMO of course.

      When I look at any of the books I don’t really view them as transition books; I think each stands strong on its own. Order is between the graveyard and the two Hogwarts battles, but it also features a big battle in the Ministry, Sirius’s death, and Voldemort vs Dumbledore. I also don’t think the battle at Hogwarts in HBP is really significant. It’s actually one of the lesser things I remember about the book. I consider it more like an escape after the murder of Dumbledore. Those things being said, there is obviously many transitioning elements to a few of the books but I don’t know if I’d refer to any book as a whole as a transition book.

    • OotP, is the longest, slowest paced book that Jo herself admits she would like to go back and re-edit. It has a lot going on and is going in several different directions at once. I agree, it’s a slow burner and definitely a style departure from what we have come to expect up to this point.

  • PurpleHex2154

    Firstly, I do have to say that listening to you guys discuss OotP over the last number of months has definitely increased my appreciation for this book. While it is still definitely NOT my favorite, I stuck with you guys and have found a special place in my heart for it.

    Next, I just have a quick question… where can I find the link for the book covers that you guys were looking at as you discussed them? Apparently there was supposed to be a slider or something for them, but I can’t seem to find anything…

    Thanks! Love the show!