[Show music begins]
Michael Harle: This is Episode 102 of Alohomora! for September 20, 2014.
[Show music continues]
Michael: Hello, listeners, and welcome back to MuggleNet.com’s global reread of the Harry Potter series. I’m Michael Harle.
Caleb Graves: I’m Caleb Graves.
Eric Scull: And I’m Eric Scull. And today we have a special guest with us I’d like to introduce right now: Kayla Van Horn.
Kayla Van Horn: Hello.
Eric: Hi, Kayla.
Caleb: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Kayla: I am from Washington state, I am a very proud Ravenclaw, and my wand is made of elder, so you guys don’t want to start a duel with me.
Caleb: Uh oh.
Eric and Michael: Ooh.
Eric: Is that Pottermore official?
Kayla: It is.
Michael: Yeah, that’s not something you just make up.
Kayla: No, I would never…
Eric: I am surprised that they have that as an option on Pottermore.
Michael: It just doesn’t seem fair, does it?
Eric: No, it doesn’t…
Kayla: It said it was the most rare kind, so…
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Eric: What question did I have to answer correct to get an unbeatable wand? Come on.
Michael: [laughs] Well, we’re very glad to have you on the show, Kayla. We will try not to get Kayla and Caleb confused throughout this whole episode.
[Kayla and Michael laugh]
Michael: We are going to the greatest efforts to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Caleb: It will be a struggle.
Michael: It will be. [laughs] See, and usually we… we can almost complete the Hogwarts set. Somebody is going to have to pretend to be a Slytherin today. That’s unusual. We don’t usually do that. Do you have some Slytherin robes, Eric?
Eric: No, I don’t, but the girlfriend does.
Michael: Oh, okay.
Eric: Yeah, actually, they would be kind of tight on me.
[Kayla and Michael laugh]
Eric: We’ll give it a go.
Caleb: Don’t give the fans too much to work with there.
Michael: Yeah. [laughs]
Eric: No, but I think that the presence of the Dark Lord in the back of all of our minds, or Harry’s mind in this chapter, is enough of a Slytherin presence.
Michael: That’s… there you go.
Caleb: Very well done.
Michael: That’s perfect. Which, speaking of, we want to remind you listeners to make sure and listen, or read, rather, Chapter 24 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, “Occlumency,” before listening to this episode so that you can get the full experience out of this episode.
Eric: But before we do that, part of the full experience of any Alohomora! episode is where we talk about the previous discussion that happened on the previous week’s Alohomora!
Eric: So without further ado, here are some comments that we received. These are all sourced from our main site; we received just a ton of comments on both the forums and the main site, so we do want to thank everybody every week. But these are some interesting things that I thought would really liven up the discussion here. So first comment today comes from thegiantsquid, who says,
“I agree with the hosts that how Harry is feeling at the beginning of this chapter is incredibly awful, and it bothers me that no adult figure sought him out to talk to him about this. Just get some sleep, Harry, then you’ll forget what it was like to become an enormous beast and maul someone you care about! Why on earth does no adult sit down with him and comfort him? He is fifteen years old and has no mother to run her fingers through his hair and tell him he’s okay, no one blames him, and everything will be all right. Instead all of the adults in the house just focus on business and let the damaged boy stay in his room and out of the way. The adults need to step it up and reach out to this poor kid. Other kids shouldn’t have to shoulder that responsibility for them.
[Caleb and Michael laugh]
Michael: I do agree with this. It’s funny; I wish Kat had been here just for this comment in particular because I know she would have been like, “This is the book where Harry has to do it on his own! If he didn’t have this book, then he wouldn’t be able to do everything he needs to do!” So there you go, Kat. I’m standing in for you on that comment. [laughs] But at the same time, I did bring up last week that I am very frustrated that there’s very little communication between Harry and Lupin in the last chapter because Lupin is around; he actually doesn’t… he’s around and he has no lines in the previous chapter, which is very frustrating. You would think that of all the people, Lupin would be the one to talk to him.
Eric: I know, because he shares… we mentioned this last week, right? He shares being a monster.
Michael: Yes! “The beast within” and all that business.
Eric: Speaking of comments, though, HagridsDrinkingProblem is a username on our main site, and they said, quite similarly to what Michael was just saying,
“I propose a renaming of this book: Harry Potter and WHAT ABOUT LUPIN?!”
Michael: Truth. Testify.
Eric: That’s the truth bomb. We drop truth bombs sometimes on Alohomora!
[Caleb makes a bomb noise]
Eric: But the next comment that we do want to bring up, or I want to bring up, is from DisKid. Not DatKid. DisKid.
Eric: DisKid. This is in regards to our discussion about Harry’s conversation with Phineas Nigellus’s portrait. They say,
“Phineas making that line to Harry set a nerve in me. While I understand it, as it is true that Harry has traits of Slytherin and you can’t escape house stereotypes, it’s probably because of my own situation. I’ve always felt like a Hufflepuff and was beyond excited when I was sorted into Hufflepuff, but I am one of the very lucky few that got to choose whatever house I wanted. I was a hat stall between every. single. house!”
Caleb: Oh my goodness.
“The sorting hat did not know what to do with me so it went with my choice. If I was in Hogwarts in real life, I feel like I would constantly have people telling me ‘Oh Hufflepuffs don’t do this’ ‘Oh you really belong in Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor’ as I am a whole mix of all the houses. But at the end of the day my choice was Hufflepuff. That’s kind of like Harry. While he was not a hatstall, he chose Gryffindor which is who he is. I just don’t like how even after people are sorted other people think they can decide better what house you belong in. Trust the sorting hat! Even in the case of Snape, he was one of the bravest characters in the series but his choice was Slytherin. Choices have a lot to do with where you belong.”
Again, guys, I feel like I’m doing Pottermore wrong.
Eric: How do you get a four-way Hatstall?
Eric: What questions did I have to answer to get it?
Caleb: There was actually a secret menu and if you found it you could… “all the above.”
Michael: Sorting Hat hacking.
Eric: Because they don’t let you change houses! You have to delete your account and get another account if you don’t like your house.
Eric: Not that I’ve done that.
Kayla: Is he Harry Potter divergent?
Caleb: That’s what I thought of.
[Caleb and Michael laugh]
Caleb: But what this person… I see their point. But also I don’t think it’s so much of Phineas Nigellus trying to assert so hardcore that Harry should have been in Slytherin as much as it’s just a place of pride for him. Just like it is for everyone with their house, right? Just like McGonagall is very happy that Harry chose Gryffindor and is in her house. I don’t think it’s so much as Phineas… he has a very abrasive personality, obviously… I don’t know if that’s the best word… a certain type of personality; I don’t know what the right word is right now. But it comes from its core, I believe, of a place just having a lot of pride in Slytherin.
Eric: Mhm. Yeah, I would…
Michael: Well, it’s funny to say he has pride when he’s saying that Slytherins are the first ones to hightail it out of a bad situation.
Caleb: But he’s asserting it in his own mind.
Michael: Oh, yeah. No, for sure. It’s just funny that that’s the best compliment he can give Slytherin in the moment.
Eric: Well, we know that Slytherins become headmasters, too, so that’s cool.
Michael: I think this instance is interesting, too, because it’s not a case of… the last time we got somebody assertively telling Harry he would have done well in Slytherin, it was the Sorting Hat, which is a little bit more definitive… and the Sorting Hat, as we know from Pottermore, is pretty… it holds true to what it says. It will argue its choices to people. Whereas Phineus is not a Sorting Hat. He’s not as definitive as that…
Michael: … he’s just idly commenting. But again, it’s… we’re hearing that again. But not from something that can detect the Horcrux in Harry’s body, so…
Eric: Right. Yeah. Well, our next comment comes from AccioPotassium! and they say,
“One of the more questionable Christmas presents of this chapter, would have to be Harry’s gift to the great Ronald Weasley. Why would our favorite red headed King need a broom compass? The only conceivable use for a broom compass would be for long broomstick journeys, and yet Ronald Weasley has never had a need for this kind of travel. The broom compass could be easily considered as a cheeky insult. It’s almost like saying, you’re so lost on a quidditch field, that you need a compass to find the ball!”
Eric: So Harry unwittingly just insulted Ron.
Michael: Well, it was… maybe he was just thinking of ways to help just gently improve his skills.
Eric: A compass?
Caleb: Hint, hint, nudge, nudge.
Michael: Ron gets turned upside down on his broom sometimes. It’s all good.
Kayla: Are you allowed to have a compass during Quidditch matches?
Kayla: I would think that would be against some kind of regulation.
Michael: [laughs] Yeah, it’s just telling you where north is.
Kayla: Okay, I guess not. But, okay, it would be embarrassing, though. Everyone would be like, “You’re so lost.”
Eric: Well, it’s just that this is the first step. Next Harry goes and bribes all the other teams to always attack from the north.
Eric: I feel like that’s what it is. [laughs] And we also have another comment about Christmas presents here from Luna LoveDuck. [laughs] Funny username.
“Okay, so let’s talk about the best gift that was given in this chapter: RON GAVE HERMIONE PERFUME! When I first read through the series, I thought it was strange that there was so much Romione drama in books 4 and 6, but not much going on in 5. But moments like the perfume remind us that there’s still a lot there. Since we see everything through Harry’s POV (and Harry is particularly wrapped up in his own angst this year), it makes perfect sense that he would simply not notice certain details, meaning that then we don’t get to explicitly hear about them. But if Harry had been paying attention, he might have thought it strange that all Hermione could think of to say about the perfume was that it was ‘unusual,’ and he might have noticed that Ron changed the subject right away (most likely while blushing). This is also a great moment to remind us that these two lovebirds are developing a connection that is separate and apart from Harry (lots of great fan fic about all the time they must spend together doing prefect duties). Sigh… I just love Romione!”
Eric: That was Luna LoveDuck. So the perfume that was unusual… I don’t know if I should feel sorry for Ron about this. [laughs] Because I still think a girl who likes your gift wouldn’t quite call it “unusual.”
Kayla: Right when I read that I knew that it had to be smelling terrible.
Kayla: I mean, as a woman, if a guy that I had feelings for bought me a present, I would fake it, even if it was terrible. So the fact that all that she can come up with is “unusual”; it must smell like dead skunk.
Michael: Well, and Hermione talks a lot about her time in Paris, in France, and she seems to be a connoisseur on all things in French culture, so she probably knows a thing or two about…
Caleb: At the same time, though, I actually would think she probably doesn’t wear perfume a lot. It’s not until Goblet of Fire that she really comes out of her… I don’t want to say shell, but she really embraces her more girly, for lack of a better word, side. So I don’t know if she’s really into perfume a lot.
Eric: But you can still tell what you like, right?
Caleb: Well, totally, sure.
Eric: I mean, I think that perhaps it was a joke that Fred and George advised Ron on what perfume to get…
Eric: … and they’re going to have the last laugh about this whole situation. I don’t know. I’m sure there’s more to the story there. I want to know what kind of perfume it was and things like that.
Michael: Well, but I think Hermione’s response shows that she definitely appreciates the gesture, kind of like what Luna LoveDuck is saying here; that this is a sign of that budding relationship that’s going on in the background in this book. Because we’ll see, actually, again more instances where Hermione pulls Ron away to the side while Harry is having his moments with Cho Chang, which are not going particularly well…
Caleb: But typical for a boy his age.
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Eric: And two more comments here. Well, first is from PuffNProud… oh, by the way, that reminds me, the four-way Hatstall… was it DisKid? Yes, DisKid. Props for choosing Hufflepuff, by the way.
Eric: Michael and I both thank you.
Michael: It’s… yeah.
Caleb: I mean…
Kayla: That’s a questionable decision.
Caleb: I would agree.
Michael: That is never a questionable decision.
Michael: It is ‘Puff pride day on Pottermore, as we are recording this.
Eric: Oh, gosh.
Michael: I put my little signs out on my desk at the library today, that it was Hufflepuff pride day.
Caleb: Every day is Gryffindor pride day.
Michael: Don’t we know it.
Eric: Because Gryffindor has that much to be proud about. Okay. So PuffNProud, then, the username on our main site, said,
“Still a huge fan of the muggle remedy scene. Props to Arthur for looking at alternative medicine.”
Eric: And yes, even though it doesn’t quite work out for him, let’s just give it up for Arthur Weasley. [claps]
Caleb: Yeah. Shouts to trying it out.
Michael: It’s funny to call stitches “alternative medicine.”
[Caleb, Eric, and Michael laugh]
Eric: Alternative to them.
Michael: Yes, yes. [laughs]
Eric: And just finally, we do have a shout-out to skgai and loony lauren and thegiantsquid who were all embroiled in a very large discussion on the merits and pitfalls of the entire last chapter, so basically, when we finish up our discussion of a chapter on Alohomora!, the discussion is only just beginning on the forums and on the main site, so we do want to just say we appreciate even the people we can’t mention and read their comments on the site. You all very much, very often impress us greatly.
Caleb: And now we are going to turn to some more great responses for last episode’s Question of the Week, and to remind you of what that question was, “Not for the first time, Hermione offhandedly mentions in this chapter that she has left her family vacation early, claiming to her parents that she needs to study for her exams. As has been noted in the past by the Potter fandom, Hermione often monopolizes her time with her parents in order to prioritize her life in the magical world. How is this a reflection of Hermione’s relationship with her parents? Is there an additional layer that we do not see?” So this was a really great set of responses from people, in that usually I feel like a lot of people agree in some major opinions, but there were a lot of differing opinions on this, so I tried to pick a couple that are different from one another, but definitely head back to the main site to check them all out. The first response comes from UmbridgeRage, which…
Caleb: … I love that username.
“While I’m sure they love each other Hermione mentions earlier in this book that becoming a prefect is something that her parents can understand, implying that most of the time they have no idea what she’s talking about. This, I guess, is is a problem for many Muggle-borns as they delve deeper into the magical world. Hermione’s parents are probably a little relieved when she tells them that she is going back to the magical world early as talking and relating to their daughter must be becoming more difficult every year.”
Michael: That’s sad. [laughs]
Eric: That’s really… I don’t think I agree with that. You’re never going to stop wanting to see your daughter and stop being comfortable around your daughter.
Caleb: I don’t know, I think that happens for some people. It’s obviously not ideal and certainly not good, but it certainly happens.
Eric: It’s not like, “She’s finally out of our hair again. We were having trouble coming up with things to say.” These parents raised Hermione well. They made sure that she was well-read from an early age, they supported her endeavors, they gave her access to books and things, and I just don’t see that…
Caleb: Can we be for sure though? That it was her own initiation that did that and not her parents?
Michael: Seeing as they named her after a Shakespeare character…
Michael: … she’s the only Muggle-born in the magical world with a weird name. [laughs]
Michael: Usually that’s a wizard…
Eric: Well, there’s that, but also I would just argue that it ultimately comes down to the parents supporting her reading. If they would have thought reading is for losers and given her a sports team or something, she would have turned out totally different.
Kayla: Can I make one little point here?
Eric: Mhm. Yeah.
Kayla: Her parents, if they were like, “What the heck is going on? I don’t get all this stuff,” I don’t see them going to Diagon Alley with her to do all her stuff, meeting the Weasleys, all of that. They put themselves out there in this world that makes no sense to them and they know nothing about, so I don’t really see them as being, “Oh, who is this chick now? I don’t know what to say to her.” I just don’t really see that. Obviously we don’t know much about them, but…
Caleb: Yeah, on the merits I would definitely agree with that. They do make an effort, but I think there is a valid idea here because that’s earlier in Hermione’s Hogwarts years, while we’re starting to get into those later ones. So I do think Umbridge Rage brings up a good point, that I wouldn’t necessarily think that they would want to get rid of her. But it is an interesting point to think that she and other Muggle-born’s parents may have more and more difficulty relating to them, or even having completely solid relationships with them, as they delve more into a world to which the parents can’t be a part.
Eric: That’s true. And even talking about boarding school – just being away from home – your kid’s growing up without you around, just off at boarding school – that’s any boarding school… yeah. So that’s an interesting comment.
Caleb: So taking a different look is Luna LoveDuck, and the comment says,
“I think Hermione is making a mistake that a lot of young people make. Putting family second in order to spend as much time as possible with her friends. It’s easy for us to get the impression that she doesn’t really have any Muggle friends, since she was a bossy know-it-all as a child and now all her peers don’t get to see her all year. No matter how good her relationship with her parents might me, I’m sure Hermione feels lonely and out of place in the Muggle world. Each vacation, she is probably eager for any excuse to get back to the environment where she has friends and is known as the brightest which of her age. I wouldn’t be surprised if her parents can see through all of her flimsy excuses each time she leaves, but they probably see this as the one tiny bit of teenage rebellion in their daughter. Lots of young people go through a phase where they put their friends before their family, though I think Hermione probably comes to regret it when she has to send her parents to Australia and realizes she may never see them again.”
Michael: I really like this just because it points out… Hermione doesn’t have many faults when we look through the book from what we see of her. I mean, her faults are things like sometimes she can lose her head in crazy situations.
Eric: She gets a little too attached to house-elves.
Michael: [laughs] Yeah, she can be a little gung-ho about causes a little ahead of the game, but really those are… her flaws are pretty good things most of the time even then. So to say that for once Hermione actually acts like a typical teenager in some situations is kind of… it’s an interesting thought to think that that’s actually what’s going on here. That’s part of the reason why I asked this question last week, because I’ve always found it fascinating how Hermione really brushes these things off. She comes back early and Harry’s like, “What are you doing here?” And she’s like, “Oh, we were just skiing in the alps, and then I got tired of it, so I came here.”
[Caleb and Eric laugh]
Michael: Wow, you just brushed that off really easily. And she does that multiple times in the series.
Michael: So… I do think there is that element of she’s just being a teenager.
Kayla: When I heard the question on last episode, that was the first thing I thought. I’m like, yes, she’s Hermione, she’s a super genius or whatever, but she’s also a fifteen-year-old girl. And between hanging out with your parents or the place where all your friends and the guy you like are and all these exciting Order things happening, any news she’s going to get there as opposed to being cut off, of course that’s what she’s going to pick.
Eric: And if she wants an excuse, it’s “Oh, I’m saving the world.”
Eric: “I’m best friends with the Chosen One,” so…
Michael: I like that that’s not her excuse, though. Her excuse is, “I have homework.” [laughs]
Eric: Well, yeah. That tends to work better, I guess, for her parents. Whatever.
Caleb: So, the last response takes off similar to what Kayla was just saying, and it’s from loony_lauren. It says,
“I think that Hermione is just seeing the bigger picture in this instance. She learns that Ron’s dad got attacked and nearly killed, and Harry is being moody and depressed again. I believe that Hermione has a good relationship with her parents and loves them very much, we see the extent she goes to save them from danger in Deathly Hallows, she just may not be extremely close to them. I think she weighed her options and wanted to be there for both of her friends who were going through very difficult times. I think she understands that her family is fairly safe, so she does not have to worry about them at the moment, while she would be fretting over all of the Weasleys and Harry as well the entire time she was with her parents. I do not agree with the theory that others have brought up that she is blowing off her parents simply to spend time with her friends because she would just rather be with them, I believe that she went to them because they needed her more.”
Eric: That’s an interesting aspect of it. So she’s going to them but for them, not for her.
Michael: Yeah. Even in this instance she pulled a Spock and she weighed all the options and this one was the most logical, therefore ditch your skiing vacation. She couldn’t ski very well anyway…
Kayla: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
Eric: You know [why] she couldn’t ski? Her teeth got in the way.
Caleb: Oh no.
Michael: No, they didn’t.
Caleb: That’s awful.
Michael: She shrunk them already.
Kayla: You’re definitely the Slytherin for today.
Caleb: Yeah, go to the corner.
Eric: And wear that hat. [laughs]
Caleb: But like I said, those are all three very different responses and there are even more different ones going on on the main site. So make sure you go and check some of those.
Michael: But now it’s time to practice some mind reading skills because this is Chapter 24.
Eric: Twenty-four! I knew you were going to say that. I read your mind.
[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 24 intro begins]
[Sound of tires screeching]
Snape: Chapter 24.
[Sound of the Knight Bus honking]
[Sound of the Knight Bus braking]
[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 24 intro ends]
Michael: As the final days of Christmas break loom near, Sirius suffers from, as Mrs. Weasley puts it, the “fits of the sullens” and a notably pacified Kreacher is found skulking in Grimmauld Place’s attic, though Harry is doubtful he’s been there all this time. Mr. Weasley is discharged from St. Mungo’s, proving for now that stitches are not particularly effective in the wizarding world. Professor Snape arrives at headquarters with plenty of snark for Sirius as well as a message from Dumbledore that Harry is to begin lessons in Occlumency to shield his mind from Voldemort’s Legilimency powers. Before seeing them off to Hogwarts, Sirius gives Harry a gift that Harry swears to himself he will never use, assuming it’s another product to encourage mischief. Upon returning to school, following a particularly horrible daytime trip on the Knight Bus, Harry barely manages to ask Cho Chang on a date. This achievement is overshadowed by a taxing lesson in memory defense with Snape, as well as perhaps the most ominous glimpse into Voldemort’s mind Harry has yet experienced. Whew, there’s a lot going on in this chapter.
Eric: That’s a good summary.
Michael: Yeah, that is the most I could compact it to. [laughs] There’s a lot going on in here. And as I’ve reminded the listeners before, this summary really is for the benefit of you guys because we can only hit on so many points as these chapters get bigger and bigger. [laughs] So we want to make sure that you guys catch everything that we miss and talk about it more on the main site and the forums. But for now, let’s go into the first point here. The chapter starts off with a face-off with Snape and Sirius. Something that has been boiling up to this series finally breaks loose here. And first of all, we actually had an Audioboo from Skgai regarding who Snape is actually directing his anger towards here.
[Audio]: Hello, Alohomora!, this is S-K-G-A-I from the forums, Skgai. In the chapter titled “Occlumency” we get a ton of hostility between Snape and well, I guess, everybody – Sirius and Harry most of all. But I wanted to ask you, who was Snape feeling the most animosity towards right now? Let me suggest it’s actually Dumbledore. In this chapter response to Sirius’s question on why Dumbledore can’t teach Harry, Snape responds, “I suppose because it is a headmaster’s privilege to deligate less enjoyable tasks. I assure you, I did not beg for the job.” Additionally, although no scenes from Order of the Phoenix appear in “The Prince’s Tale” in Deathly Hallows, Snape is frequently incredulous towards Dumbledore, almost the same as Harry is incredulous towards Snape in this chapter. Snape says to Dumbledore, “You trust him?” – referring to Harry – “You do not trust me. And why may I not have the same information?” Snape, I think, is furious at Dumbledore for not telling him the whole truth. Your thoughts?
Eric: You know, I like this idea, but I would have to say that it’s probably going back to the old school rivalry. I would say he’s probably the most angry at Sirius and he’s the most dislikeful, hateful of Sirius right now. I mean, Sirius is the one who he has his wand pointed towards and you know what? At least the way that Jim Dale reads it – which I was going over before we recorded the episode – the way that he reads it, it just seems like Snape is very collectedly telling Sirius just why things are the way that they are. I don’t think he… I didn’t really detect the same level of resentment when he said that about Dumbledore.
Kayla: I thought the comment about Dumbledore was just supposed to be a dig at Harry. Like… he gives the horrible jobs no one would ever want to do…
Kayla: … to other people.
Eric: Yeah. Well, there’s that and then there’s the part where he just said it’s the headmaster’s privilege to do that. So that’s where the theory is… because he’s saying it’s his privilege that he’s all kind of against the mighty Dumbledore. But I think you’re right, Kayla, that it’s just about how unteachable Harry is.
Caleb: So reading this scene, I had a reaction to it that I’ve never had before.
Eric and Michael: Ooh.
Kayla: You cried?
Michael: That’s what this is all about.
Caleb: It’s nothing very novel. It’s just… I was extremely frustrated just in general and with both of them because… I don’t know what the perspective I had reading it this time, but I was just very angry that they were at such odds at this point despite their past. I just felt like from Harry’s side, given what has happened to him and with Mr. Weasley, he should be refocused on trying to get this done and not focus too much on his hatred of Snape. And similarly with Snape, he knows this is too important, given that what he’s probably talked to Dumbledore about, that Harry cannot fail with this. And I feel both of them do horrible jobs, and it’s just so extremely frustrating that they can’t see the importance of this to get by a little bit better.
Eric: You know, that’s true. I mean, it’s basically you want to shout at them, “Grow up, you two!”
Eric: They get to the point where they’re drawing wands and pointing it at each other. And Snape mentions Lucius and Sirius’s recent outing as the dog – not recent outing but at the beginning of the year – and it’s just like they’re throwing mud at each other’s faces. They just keep doing it.
Michael: Which is why I think Skgai’s comment is interesting in that it’s potentially suggesting that for once, Snape is actually not harboring stuff from the past and that he’s actually misdirecting his anger. But I’m kind of agreeing with all of you and with my personal views of Snape and with how the scene is written. The fact that this scene… we have had a lot of buildup to this blowup. I think Rowling did mean for Snape to be directing his anger at Sirius and it is for Sirius. Because like you guys were saying, it’s like they’re both being children. I mean, Harry actually has to push them apart, of all things. Harry’s playing mediator here.
Eric: It’s a good thing Mr. Weasley walked in.
Michael: Yes, that too. In regards to that, I had two questions that actually go off of that pretty well. One… this one’s a little less large, so I’ll ask this one first. Why were these interactions with Snape and Sirius – because we know the two have seen each other previously, with Snape coming over to Grimmauld Place – why post-Goblet of Fire – since Dumbledore did make them shake hands and make nice in that last scene – why hasn’t this been curbed since? Why has nobody addressed this? Why has Dumbledore been kind of aloof to this issue? Because as I’m about to suggest there might even be a fatal result from this interaction.
Eric: Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of a weakness; it’s a weak link. It’s when they’re not cooperating when they’re so obviously at odds with each other. It’s like if Dumbledore decides just not to get involved with their personal affairs, I think there’s a certain extent to which he has to let people be people. He has to let them hold grudges because he can’t just be like… they’ll maybe – what’s the word? – just go up against him if he pushes too hard for them to start liking each other. It’s enough to say that Sirius and Severus need to work together, but he’s not going to… he can’t make them like it, you know?
Michael: Mhm. True. Well, to Snape’s credit he actually tries to make Sirius go away during this particular meeting, but Sirius refuses.
Michael: But in respect to Sirius on that end, Sirius is Harry’s godfather, which… he’s the last one, other than Dumbledore, who’s taken upon himself. Sirius does have an obligation to Harry.
Eric: Yeah. Not to trash Sirius, but he does say, “I’m his godfather, I should stay.” Because he’s playing the card of, “I have his concerns at my best heart.” But when I’m reading this scene… I don’t know what was going through my head, but when I was reading this now I’m just thinking, “No, it’s what Snape said is right.” He’s so desperate to find out what’s going on that he’s using the excuse of Harry as his godson to sit and spy on Snape and learn what’s going on. It’s like he’s not content. Sirius is not content to leave the room and ask Harry about it afterward. In fact, Harry can’t even get the words out to Sirius for the rest of the day, what he wants to tell him. So Sirius is just barging in and expecting to be told what’s going on with Harry, and that’s just… it rubs me the wrong way.
Kayla: I think he’s also trying to protect Harry. I mean, he knows how much Snape doesn’t like him, and I mean, if you had this parental feelings toward this still-a-child, are you going to leave him alone in a room with someone you know torments him?
Eric: Well, I think that the mistake with Snape is that he’ll do his duty. So many people… they may not forgive him for his character flaws, but he’s been appointed this task by the headmaster, and I’m sure, as we see later at least – even the first Occlumency lesson – he’s really trying to educate Harry in the way that he knows, and I think he does a good show, and I think that he really cares about getting this job done for Dumbledore.
Michael: Well, and to go off what you’ve been saying, Eric, my big question here – because I have felt this since the first reread, this inkling since my first read of Order of the Phoenix – could we potentially argue here… and there’s going to be a lot of instances of this in this chapter of Snape actually being perhaps indirectly responsible for a few things. Snape makes sure in this interaction to target Sirius’s weakest feelings right now by constantly goading him that he can’t do anything for the Order. Anything useful, according to the way Snape phrases it. And of course, as we know, Sirius will meet his downfall by finally leaving Grimmauld Place, not only to save Harry but [also] in tandem doing something useful. Just a suggestion, could we potentially say that Snape has an indirect hand in Sirius’s death or contributes in some way to that?
Caleb: I mean, I think it definitely feeds the fire, right? Because this is… a lot of Sirius’s personality combined with being cooped up, combined with Harry going through all of this, and then Snape is more adding to the fire of it.
Eric: Yeah. I mean, there’s even a line in this chapter where Snape says something about “living in your mom’s house,” and it’s just like, “What?”
Eric: Where did it come from? He’s like, “living in your mom’s basement” or something, he says.
[Caleb and Eric laugh]
Eric: There’s something really intended from Snape to Sirius to make him feel like trash for living where he does, never mind it’s the whole headquarters of the whole anti-Voldemort league, but he still says it. The way that he says it – “you live with your parents, you live in your parent’s house” – is meant to be demeaning, and I think it absolutely, 100% fuels the fire of Sirius…
Michael: Yeah, it’s…
Eric: … wanting to leave or being okay with leaving when he does.
Michael: Like you guys were saying about the tooth and being like children, it kind of makes me think of… it’s almost like Snape is being like, [as Snape] “I dare you. I dare you to go do something. Go do something useful, and see what happens.” I just feel like there’s something to that. And again, we’re going to see Snape causing a lot of trouble in this chapter as we go on, which, Kayla, I would love to hear your thoughts on because you actually sent us a wonderful discussion on your part about the flaws in Dumbledore’s plan by Deathly Hallows, and I feel like…
Kayla: I’m trying to remember what I said.
Michael: … oh, it was all about the chance that Snape died right when he did…
Kayla: Okay, yeah. I totally, I remember now. That was pretty good.
Kayla: Go me.
Michael: [laughs] And so I think… even the beginnings of these potential plans falling apart or being shaken…
Kayla: Well, I actually disagree with you guys, just on this particular point, on Snape being responsible for Sirius going out and getting killed. I am always willing to blame Snape for everything. I really can’t stand the guy. I want to punch him in the face. But knowing what we do about Sirius’s character, can you imagine any scenario in which he thinks Harry is in trouble, in danger, and he doesn’t go cowboying up to go rescue him? I don’t care…
Kayla: … if he’s like never met Snape. He was going no matter what. That’s just not…
Caleb: True. Right, so I buy that, and I think that’s the thing – right? – is that he… the motivation and the external factors are there enough, but Snape, I think, could have accelerated it by his taunting.
Michael: I guess Snape didn’t help. He many not have…
Kayla: Snape never helps.
Caleb: Right, but when it comes down to it, the incident in which Sirius leaves with the rest of the Order, he was going to go under those circumstances probably regardless.
Eric: And now I don’t remember what happens, so we have to wait until we read there.
[Caleb and Michael laughs]
Michael: Well, and speaking of Sirius being rash, Sirius gives Harry a present before he leaves for Hogwarts. We’re not going to discuss the function and the present itself too much because we’ll get there. We’ll definitely get there. [laughs]
Eric: It’s not really… I mean, it’s here, but it’s not… he doesn’t open it.
Michael: It’s left in its wrapping, which is part of the whole undoing. Quite possibly one of the most frustrating parts of the series as a whole. The thing I wanted to bring up here is this poor present that is dismissed, neglected, and forgotten by Harry. And perhaps how it is… I have noticed this reread more than any… and maybe it’s because the movie has dulled my kind of understanding of this relationship over time because Order of the Phoenix the movie does not take this tack at all with how it presents Sirius and Harry’s relationship. I didn’t realize until this reread just how damaged […] this relationship is by this point. There is just… Harry and Sirius don’t talk; they’ve been avoiding each other almost all Christmas. Sirius, [whom] previously I think who we did look to as a father figure for comfort, is not playing that role anymore. He is neglecting that role.
Eric: And Harry is internalizing all of Sirius’s feelings. He’s noticing that Sirius is faking laughter, and he’s basically letting Sirius’s mood dictate his own and his own responses to things. He basically spends, I think, all of this morning in this chapter, watching Sirius grow slowly sadder as, once Christmas is over… now that people are one step closer to leaving him and being alone. And Harry is feeling this and internalizing all of these thoughts without once having a conversation with Sirius about them.
Kayla: They’re trying to out-emo each other.
Eric: It’s an emo war.
Michael: Well… oh, go ahead, Kayla.
Kayla: I was just going to say, I was really frustrated with Sirius in this part because I can understand he’s lonely most of the time. He has to sit around this gross house with all of these terrible memories, but so he’s like, “Oh, everyone’s going to leave, so instead of spending time with everyone, I’m going to go hang out in Buckbeak’s room…”
Kayla: “…and start the being alone process even sooner.” Like what? And also, why does Buckbeak have a room? Does he have to stay inside all [of] the time? That is animal cruelty, and as a supporter of Noah, I am against this.
Caleb: Well, I think one of the important things is in the midst of his pouting and being all angsty as an adult, he fails to notice the absence of Kreacher, which obviously has some giant repercussions later, and he just kind of passes it off whenever they bring it up. So by being so distant emotionally, he’s not carrying out his… at least a really important duty of the order is making sure Kreacher doesn’t get out with information.
Michael: Well, and another point with Sirius’s absence here that I wanted to bring up is I know a lot of people in the fandom over the years have complained… again, this is one of the… the mirror in particular is one of the most frustrating elements of the story as a whole, and a lot of people have suggested that perhaps this is a little flimsy on Rowling’s part because the mirror just completely disappears; it’s never thought of again. Even though it’s around, it somehow ends up in the bottom of Harry’s trunk, even though he puts it in his jacket pocket at this point, and people have said that this is just a weak excuse for a way to rub salt in the wound.
Eric: I do feel like that is the literary purpose of the existence of this mirror, is to rub salt in the wound, that “Hey, Harry you could have had a form of communication to your godfather all this time while he was still alive” and… etc., etc., etc. So I do think of that as the literary purpose of this mirror. Just to do that.
Michael: Yeah. I just know a lot of people have had problems with that being the only purpose. And of course then we get the mirror back in Deathly Hallows to serve as one of the many Deus Ex Machinas that shows up in that book. [laughs] But I don’t know. I just know that a lot of people have had a problem with the mirror.
Eric: Well, this is the first time I’m hearing about people having a problem with Buckbeak getting locked up in the room.
[Kayla and Michael laugh]
Eric: I mean, I think that is… I’m…
Caleb: It’s kind of necessary to keep him safe. So…
Kayla: I know, he’s a giant wild animal, and you’re going to put him in a bedroom in a creepy old dirty house?
Eric: It’s probably the master bedroom.
Kayla: Where does he poop?
Eric: He probably poops right on Sirius’s parent’s bed. And that’s exactly how…
Kayla: Who is Scourgifying Buckbeak’s poop?
Kayla: These are the things we need to know.
Eric: That’s what’s taking Sirius so long when he’s in there.
Eric: I think that Buckbeak poops right on Sirius’s parents’ bed, and that’s exactly where Sirius wants Buckbeak to go, okay?
Caleb: I mean, this is better than Buckbeak not being alive, so…
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Caleb: … which was a very likely outcome at one point.
Michael: Yeah. Random Easter Egg for those of you who have never noticed it… because this conversation is pertinent to it. If you watch Prisoner of Azkaban during the scene where Buckbeak is introduced, he does poop on screen. It is the first instance of a [CGI] animal pooping on screen.
Michael: You’re welcome.
Kayla: I didn’t know that.
Michael: Yes, yes, take a look.
Caleb: I know what I’m doing tonight.
[Eric, Kayla, and Michael laugh]
Eric: Getting out the Blu-ray.
Michael: And speaking, actually, of… I was not planning on that segue. But speaking, actually, of Prisoner of Azkaban, we have the return of the Knight Bus in this chapter. [laughs]
Eric: There you go. Connection.
Michael: Oh, how perfect.
Michael: Thank you, Rowling. It even goes beyond even what you intended. So the Knight Bus comes back. And I just wanted to read a little bit about the Knight Bus because I wasn’t sure if we’d reviewed this before on the show. But a few important points about the Knight Bus: It is,
“… a relatively modern invention in wizarding society, which sometimes (though it will rarely admit it) takes ideas from the Muggle world. The need for some form of transportation that could be used safely and discreetly by the underage or the infirm had been felt for a while, and many suggestions had been made ([including] sidecars on taxi-style broomsticks, carrying baskets slung under Thestrals), all of them vetoed by the Ministry. Finally, Minister [of] Magic Dugald McPhail hit upon the idea of imitating the Muggles’ relatively new bus service’, and in 1865, the Knight Bus hit the streets. [However,] some wizards, mainly pure-blood fanatics, announced their intention of boycotting what was dubbed this ‘Muggle-esque outrage.’ In the letters page of the Daily Prophet, the Knight Bus proved hugely popular with most of the community and remains busy to this day.”
And Rowling actually put her personal thoughts on the Knight Bus on Pottermore as well. And this is interesting in how it informs the Knight Bus’s appearance in this chapter. And Rowling says,
“The Knight Bus was so-named because, firstly, ‘knight’ is a homonym of ‘night,’ and there are night buses running all over Britain after normal transport stops. Secondly, knight’ has the connotation of coming to the rescue, of protection, and this seemed appropriate for a vehicle that is often the conveyance of last resort. The driver and conductor of the Knight Bus in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban are named after my two grandfathers, Ernest and Stanley,”
as Rowling said on Pottermore.
Michael: Now the interesting thing here, taking all of what Rowling just said into account, the Knight Bus appears in the daytime, not as a last resort…
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Michael: … still called the Knight Bus, and it’s just a bus. I don’t know, even on my first read I had problems with this. Just because it would seem that the whole pun, the whole humor of the Knight Bus, is taken away by showing up in the daytime. Just…
Eric: Oh, come on. It’s not just a nighttime thing. This is like… you know how much trouble J.K. Rowling got into when she made that one article, that one edition of the Evening Prophet…?
Michael: Yes! [laughs]
Eric: … and never mentioned it, ever again? So from then on everything Rowling invented runs 24 hours, okay?
[Kayla and Michael laugh]
Eric: There’s only a Daily Prophet. There’s a Knight Bus that runs during the day. It just happens.
Michael: I don’t approve of this.
Eric: Well, it’s the preferred method of transit. I’m trying to remember why. Tonks and Lupin choose to take this to Hogwarts no less.
Michael: Mhm. Yeah, they actually don’t… I’m assuming that students go back on the train normally, right?
Caleb and Eric: Yeah.
Eric: I guess.
Michael: I think they would have to, and that would…
Kayla: Well, two random Aurors couldn’t just be like, “Hey, what’s up? We’re catching this train with you guys”?
Michael: Well, they…
Kayla: “Don’t pay attention to us.”
Michael: [laughs] I guess. Well, yeah, I guess for…
Caleb: Considering the circumstances, yeah.
Kayla: And they wanted protection after everything that’s happened.
Eric: That is a point I do want to bring up. It’s in the bio, which Michael just read, and it’s in what Kayla just said but… protection. I just see this bus as the absolute opposite of safety.
[Kayla and Michael laugh]
Eric: Let’s say “safety.” I mean, when Harry and his entourage get onto the bus, people are… the passengers who were already on the bus are picking themselves up from the floor or the wall. Somebody… their baggage is at the opposite end of the bus than where they are, and it’s just not… look, how does it protect? Really? That’s like using the flimsiest description definition ever of “protection.” You’re getting jostled around, thrown up against the walls, I mean pretty much much like Harry is in Prisoner of Azkaban the movie.
Kayla: Don’t you know wizards don’t care about safety, particularly of children?
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Kayla: A few broken bones, some lacerations, whatever. Give them a potion; they’re fine.
Eric: Yeah, if you can heal it with a wave of a wand, I guess that really does redefine “serious injury” and that sort of thing.
Kayla: They don’t fear car wrecks like we do.
Michael: I like that the chairs aren’t even attached to the floor. They’re just chairs.
[Eric, Kayla, and Michael laugh]
Michael: They’re just put in there.
Kayla: Well, you have to be able to remove them to put in the beds.
Michael: The beds! Which are also not attached. [laughs] It is impractical in a lot of ways. And actually, speaking of protection, I was thinking a little, too, of the Order in this instance because, of course, Tonks and Lupin accompany us on this journey on the Knight Bus – not saying very much, once again, about one or two lines between the two of them – and thinking about the Order… naming this book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Because the Order isn’t really in it that much. They don’t really… and we don’t get to see them doing anything of particular excitement, really, until the last chapter. And I just thought that was interesting because up to now, most of the things that the books have been titled after, while could be considered MacGuffins, are still important to the plot, especially Chamber of Secrets, which… that runs through the entire book.
Kayla: What’s a “MacGuffin”? Sorry, I don’t know what that means.
Michael: A “MacGuffin” is a plot device that… it’s there, and everybody talks about it, but it’s not actually the crux of the plot. It’s something that everybody is after or everybody is paying attention to but is actually not the main focus of the story. If you’ve watched any Alfred Hitchcock films, pretty much everything that anybody goes after in those movies is a MacGuffin.
Eric: Because it’s about the journey?
Michael: It’s about the journey.
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Michael: Harry Potter and the Journey. [laughs]
Eric: Well, I think that Order of the Phoenix is so titled because it’s looking forward, right? It’s the beginning of the second half of the series and is looking forward to… the group is going to defeat the main villain. And I feel the exact opposite about Half-Blood Prince because that is titled quite… I don’t want to say… well, the identity of the Half-Blood Prince is not important. It’s not important that so-and-so was the Half-Blood Prince; in fact, that feels like anything like misdirection or a MacGuffin or something that’s not crucial to the overall plot structure of the entire series, the fact that this one person had a nickname. Wait, why am I pretending that we’re not spoiling?
Eric: It doesn’t matter.
Kayla: Snape kills Dumbledore!
Eric: It doesn’t matter that Snape is the Half-Blood Prince, right? I mean, the Order of the Phoenix is the group that was foremost against… is the only group against Voldemort. The only organized group that we know of that’s against Voldemort. So it has a place being a title of a Harry Potter book more than Book 6 does. So that would just be my argument, is that it fits the book series more than [Book] 6.
Kayla: I think it makes a little bit more sense when you think about that Harry is almost forming his own… this generation’s Order of the Phoenix at the same time in the DA.
Michael: Oh, I like that.
Kayla: I mean, because the Order of the Phoenix is the original one, and now this time he’s cultivating the people who are going to be fighting against him again. I mean, obviously, the older people are still fighting, but it’s like his own baby Order of the Phoenix.
Michael: Hmm. I like that. I actually like that because I think the reason it’s been bothering me lately with these particular chapters is that we’ve had so many appearances by some important Order members that are becoming very ancillary. It’s funny about how much we love Lupin and Tonks and all these other side characters and how little they get to do in this book.
Eric: Well, even in this chapter, Moody and Mundungus show up just to congratulate Mr. Weasley on dinner. No, at dinner.
[Kayla and Michael laugh]
Kayla: On dinner? “That was a great dinner, Mr. Weasley!”
Eric: “You made a great meal.”
Eric: “We cooked that snake that got you.” No, they congratulate him on his recovery. But again, they’re right in front of Harry, but nothing happens. Harry doesn’t even get to talk to Sirius at all, really, much.
Michael: So yeah. We’ve got the Order around, but we just don’t… I guess a lot of things that are going to inform future books don’t really come from the Order itself. But I like your suggestion, Kayla, that it’s perhaps also a reference to Harry’s own Order that he is forming. I like that idea.
Kayla: He doesn’t name it anything near as cool, but…
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Eric: I think they tried to step away from direct pronouns or direct character names in the title besides Harry, right? Harry Potter and Dumbledore’s Army? I mean, even the Half-Blood Prince is vague.
Kayla: You said you didn’t like that it’s just a nickname. Harry Potter and Snape would be a much worse title.
Michael: [laughs] Well, and speaking of Snape, we have returned to Hogwarts by this point. We’re not even going to talk at length about Harry and Cho because that just happens.
Eric: It’s something that happens
Michael: We’ll get there.
Kayla: Well, can I make one tiny, tiny point about that?
Kayla: Because I just had a big female thought when reading that.
Kayla: I just want to give a shoutout to Cho. She gets so much hate, and for good reason. I mean, she whinges a lot and everything. But as a 15-year-old girl, she goes up to this very popular guy [whom] she likes and asks him out. That is so hard to do, and then he completely blows it and is like, “What?” And she gets embarrassed and pretty much runs away. But I just want to give her props for having the cajones to do that.
Michael: Absolutely, and I’m hopeful that… because you guys will be getting to “The Beetle at Bay” soon, where the big blow-up happens with that relationship.
Michael: And I’m hoping that somebody is holding up Cho’s end of the argument just a little bit. Because as I have mentioned before on the show, I was a big supporter of the Harry/Cho relationship. I really liked it when I first read the books. And then of course, that happens. But yes, I do think that, to her credit, Cho is definitely making some effort here that is going horribly unnoticed by Harry, as is so humorously depicted in this chapter. She couldn’t really do anything more blunt. The next best thing would have actually been to grab him and drag him to Hogsmeade.
[Kayla and Michael laugh]
Eric: Yeah, well, I think it’s funny. It shows where he’s at, that she comes up to him, and he thinks she’s just going to ask when the next meeting is.
Kayla: [laughs] She’s like, “So Valentine’s Day, hint hint.”
Michael: [laughs] [as Harry] “What? Love? Hearts? Things like that? Dating? Gross.”
Eric: Yeah, he’s like, “Girl, I’m dreaming about snakes.”
[Kayla and Michael laugh]
Eric: “You don’t want to know me. You don’t want to know me.”
Caleb: He blows it, but he also does fix it, at least before she gets away.
Eric: Oh yeah, which is great. I mean, he’s just …
Kayla: I love that it describes the wheels in his head turning…
Kayla: … until he finally is like, “Oh, crap! Wait!”
Michael: And I love how he concludes it by saying, “Well, that’s done, then.”
[Eric and Kayla laugh]
Michael: Settled. Done.
Eric: Take that off the list.
Michael: Yep. Check. And of course, then Harry has to head down to the dungeons for a little Occlumency lesson with Snape. And as he walks in, interestingly, he notices that Snape is actually putting some of his memories into the Pensieve, which Snape will continue to do throughout this chapter, just off-handedly, definitely before [he] and Harry start doing their weird memory dueling. Interestingly, I wanted to confirm – because I never really noticed this until now – is Snape purposefully extracting the memories that he doesn’t want Harry to see?
Michael: Is that what he’s putting away?
Michael: Because of course, then we find out that those memories are on top of the Pensieve, just waiting for Harry to look at them later. Little thing that I just was like, “Whoop, that went over my head.” But the most interesting thing here, which goes back to a previous discussion we’d had on the Pensieve, is that, as Harry is leaving later, he notices that Snape is actually putting the memories… he’s taking the memories from the Pensieve and putting them back in his head. And I was wondering, does this debunk our earlier theory that Pensieve memories are copies and perhaps suggests that the memory is being literally removed from the individual’s mind?
Eric: It’s weird because, for me, I mean, one memory is linked to other memories. Memories and emotions are two separate things. So say Snape wanted to hide from Harry the fact that he loved his mother, it’s a fairly big deal, so would he remove every single one of his memories that he had of Lily? I mean, that would be exhausting. You couldn’t possibly… he would remove probably the biggest ones that would trigger that, so him maybe finding out that Lily had died or something like that, the handful of major memories that would trigger that emotional path, but I mean, when you remove them and put them in the Pensieve, does that mean he doesn’t… if he were to somehow extract all of his memories of dealing with Lily or having to do with Lily, would he really not remember Lily if all those memories are in the Pensieve until he puts them back in, and he’s heartbroken all over again?
Kayla: That was my first thought, and wouldn’t he be like, “Wait, why am I helping this kid?”
Kayla: It removes his entire motivation.
Eric: That’s the thing. Because you just forget… if he were to remove the memory of Dumbledore asking him to teach this class, would he kick Harry out of the classroom?
[Caleb and Kayla laugh]
Eric: “What are you doing down here, Potter?”
Kayla: My thought is that it has to work both ways. I would think you would have to be able to… Obviously, he wouldn’t be removing the memories for no purpose whatsoever, so I would think that it would have to be actually removing them or maybe removing them from his – I don’t know – the higher brain function level where it’s easier to pull out. I’m sure there’s some actual term for that that I can’t think of. But with Dumbledore using the Pensieve, I cannot see him just straight-up removing his memories. He says he wants to examine them better, but I would think he would just still want them so he can ruminate on them later. So I would think he’d just be making copies there.
Eric: Well, having a Pensieve is the exact same thing as having your memory stored somewhere safe, like your head but not in your head. Dumbledore’s Pensieve is usually in his office, and that is meant to have a high level of security around it.
Kayla: I can’t see him literally being like, “I’m just going to leave these here, and there’s any chance I’m going to not get my memories back.”
Eric: He absolutely can. We have evidence of that. We have evidence of that in Goblet of Fire; he’s removing memories of Karkaroff being a Death Eater so that he can work with him as a fellow Headmaster of a school. I mean, we absolutely… there is total evidence.
Kayla: What? You think he wanted to not know he was a Death Eater? No way. He’s going to want to know there was someone who was a Death Eater on campus.
Eric: Okay, so citation needed, but I think he’s doing that on purpose to practice more tolerance with people. I really honestly think that that’s why Dumbledore removes memories from his head, and I think they do stay away until he puts them in again.
Caleb: So I don’t know. I agree with Kayla that I can’t imagine Dumbledore allowing the only copy version of his memory to be secured, or lack thereof, in a basin that is exterior from his body. I think that’s just a lot at the same time.
Eric: Caleb, when you’re 150 years old, you… He says to Harry in one of the books, “I just have too many thoughts.”
Caleb: That’s what I was getting to. At the same time, it’s almost… The understood purpose of the Pensieve is to remove these memories out of your head because of the lack of space of holding them all. So I don’t know where I sit on the issue. I see the merits of both arguments, so I’m honestly not sure.
Eric: Well, if…
Kayla: I don’t think he would take out a super important one like, “Hey, there’s a Death Eater walking around with my students.” But…
Caleb: You can’t explain away that.
Michael: Well, what’s fascinating…
Caleb: The purpose of the Pensieve is to clear up the space of memories in one’s head.
Kayla: Then wouldn’t he get rid of the memories of what he had for lunch last week, not the really important ones?
[Caleb, Eric, and Michael laugh]
Eric: Well, Dumbledore is very proud of his lunch schedule, I’ll have you know.
[Caleb and Kayla laugh]
Eric: But I think that there is a difference. There’s a flaw in talking about Dumbledore versus talking about Snape, which is in this chapter, Snape is preparing to be attacked by Harry. He doesn’t know how good Harry is going to be at Occlumency or Legilimency, whichever it is, and that’s evidence by… I mean, he did his research. He knows that Harry was unusually good at [resisting] the Imperius Curse. Harry fought it off charmingly. So I think that he really is… and for the purposes of this chapter, he is removing memories. He’s not just copying them away because the idea is that they’re not in Snape’s head. They’re not ammunition for the spell to rebound.
Michael: I guess what’s interesting with what Kayla was saying about do you remove these memories that are important to the moment, and then you’re like, “Wait, why am I doing what I’m doing right now?” And we’ve seen that when people remove memories and put them in a Pensieve, there’s also that idea of clearing out space in your head, like a Pensieve is like an extra drive for more stuff. But at the same time, these Pensieves are meant to actually… You can go in and examine these memories and live in them. So there has to be this conscious awareness left in your head of the memory because why would you want to examine it if you’ve taken it out of your head and you don’t remember anything about it?
Eric: It’s like you can put a memory into the Pensieve, but you can’t put the memory of you putting something into a Pensieve into the Pensieve.
Michael: Oh, we’re getting very Inception-y here.
Eric: Yeah, it’s very turtles all the way down.
Michael: Yeah, it… Well, and I was going to suggest that perhaps there is this intrinsic link that maybe there’s a deeper connection between the Pensieve and the individual it belongs to. But that would of course be debunked here because this – as Harry identifies it – is Dumbledore’s Pensive. This is not Snape’s personal Pensieve. This is a… They’re sharing this one, apparently, or…
Eric: We have to assume they’re rare, but…
Kayla: It’s not even Dumbledore’s. It’s Hogwarts’. On Pottermore, it states that explicitly, that it goes from Headmaster to Headmaster and that there’s a rumor that it was found on the spot where they built Hogwarts.
Kayla: True story.
Michael: [laughs] Well, and so that begs the question, do Headmasters leave their memories in there? Do they take them back before they die? There'[re] a lot of issues with the Pensieve – I’m hoping – [that] will be further cleared up by Pottermore. Especially because we are soon getting into Order of the Phoenix there.
Eric: I just got chills.
Kayla: They put a bunch of stuff on the Pensieve on Pottermore, or I wouldn’t have known that.
Michael: Yeah. We need more. [laughs] Clearly.
Eric: That’s crazy.
Kayla: But that’s another reason to say [that] I can’t imagine Dumbledore leaving his memories in there because he thinks Snape is going to be the next Headmaster, but what if something else happens and the Carrows are now accessing his memories?
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Michael: Lack of… yeah. Maybe he was just hoping that all of the Death Eaters were stupid because Dumbledore always assumes that he’s smarter than everybody. But yeah, there are a lot of issues with the Pensieve, and continuing on with things from the mind, we get into Occlumency and Legilimency themselves. This is a big part of the series that’s going to carry with us for the rest of the books. The introduction of Occlumency and Legilimency does confirm Harry’s previous suspicions that some individuals, namely Dumbledore and Snape, were in fact reading his mind.
Eric: Yes and no.
Michael: Well, and we’ll get to that in a minute. Because the question I want to ask here is because Snape goes through a very lengthy explanation. Harry asks, [as Harry] “So it’s like mind reading?” and Snape says, “No, you’re an idiot” and then goes into a very long explanation and then says, “But yes, basically it’s mind reading.”
Michael: Now, as the series humorously has shown before, Snape does attempt to either explain things wrong or overexplain things just to make people look stupid even though they are actually right. The instance that is always is fun to cite is that Snape claims in a previous book that kappas originate in Mongolia and are commonly found there. And then in Fantastic Beasts, it’s mentioned that they originated in Japan, and Ron writes a very big note in the book that, obviously, Snape has not read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Eric: Oh, gosh.
Michael: So Snape isn’t always right, and Snape does say things to make people look stupid, but what is the difference between Legilimency and mind reading?
Kayla: I always thought that Legilimency could only see what you’re thinking at the time, and now that I’m saying this, probably that’s what people think mind reading is too.
Eric: Well, Legilimency… I mean, Harry wasn’t thinking about his…
Caleb Memories with Dudley or Marge or etc.
Eric: Yeah, Dudley… Yeah, that must…
Kayla: I guess there’s an extra element to it. It brings up certain memories, whereas mind reading would just be… So I’m exactly saying the opposite of what I originally said.
Kayla: Mind reading would just be literally tuning in to what you’re broadcasting at the time, and Legilimency obviously has the ability to bring certain memories to the surface.
Eric: Think of Legilimency like casting a net into an ocean and then pulling up, and then whatever gets snagged in the net is what you see. There’s also some example here in this classroom and forthcoming in the book about falling witness to what’s being viewed. So both parties view basically the same thing. Snape said he had flashes of what Harry was seeing. Maybe he sees a little less than what Harry was actually seeing. But there’s this idea of you’re getting Legilimens cast on you, and you’re forced to relive what that person is extracting, or is seeing. It’s like you’re both parties. And this is why I think it’s right for Snape to say to Harry that he’s wrong because there'[ve] been moments in previous books… We know this. Dumbledore’s piercing stare. It’s like, “Oh, Harry feels like Dumbledore can read his mind.” But because Harry isn’t forced to relive or see any visions at that moment, I feel it’s something different from Legilimency that Dumbledore was doing or that Voldemort would be doing.
Michael: Oh! You…
Kayla: Maybe there’s like a light version of it?
Michael: So you’re…
Michael: So you’re suggesting that when Dumbledore gives Harry that piercing look in previous books, that’s not necessarily Legilimency?
Eric: It’s not Legilimency, no. Although…
Michael: Hmm, that’s provocative.
Eric: … what Snape says… what Snape says in this chapter is… Because they’re not casting spells right? I mean there’s not… it’s just a look and Harry isn’t force to relive a memory of him lying to Dumbledore. In this chapter, however, Sirius, wow, Severus does say that Voldemort can tell when you’re lying.
Eric: And… So…
Michael: See? That’s why I think what Dumbledore was doing in previous books and Snape was Legilimency because he does mention that the other part of that can be pulling out truths.
Eric: Well, look. It doesn’t… [clears throat] Excuse me, it doesn’t have to be Legilimency but it can be something that Occlumency can protect against.
Eric: You know the difference? So when Snape casts Legilimens and Harry forced to see everything that Snape is seeing, that’s Legilimency. But Occulmency, the closing of your mind, could prevent other forms of mental invasion as well.
Michael: Mhm. Well, as far as casting spells, we know you don’t have to do that with Legilimency. Snape makes that clear here, even though there is a spell apparently. It’s Legilimens. [laughs] But, the other thing to note about this, and for future that isn’t really brought up much, of all the things that Snape tries to teach Harry in these Legilimency lessons, he actually doesn’t tell him. I don’t believe and correct me if there are future instances where he does say this, but is it ever actually confirmed that Legilimency can actually show false imagery? Because that happens.
Eric: … Yeah that’s the entire crux around why Harry goes to the Ministry at the end of the book. I don’t think it was ever satisfactorily explained.
Michael: Yeah, that’s kind of the…
Michael: … big failure here, I feel.
Eric: Well, here’s… here’s the other failure too is that in this chapter too. Harry is trying to decipher what Snape is telling him and apply it to his memory, apply to his dream that he had.
Michael: Mhm, yeah.
Eric: And he, in fact, uses his memory that’s been resurfaced to learn where it is that the door is located that he’s been dreaming about all year. so, Harry is using it. [laughs] He’s using… He’s getting all the wrong lessons from… from Snape here. But I think that the difference… Or the problem is he is, in fact, able to see through Voldemort’s mind, but there’s that third party of the snake where Voldemort would have had to have been possessing the snake at the time for Harry to have been in the snake. And so it’s like…
Eric: Yeah, already it’s more convoluted. That’s said in this chapter that…
Kayla: He doesn’t have to be possessing him because Harry saw from the snake in Goblet as well.
Eric: That was in a dream.
Kayla: Isn’t that the same thing?
Michael: Did he see from Nagini’s view in Goblet?
Kayla: Or… I thought it was when… at the very beginning with the old caretaker?
Caleb and Michael: No.
Caleb: He’s an aside. He’s off to the side watching it.
Kayla: Oh, okay. Well, that makes even less sense.
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Michael: And we’ve discussed that. That that…
Eric: Yeah, he’s disembodied. We did say that, that Voldemort doesn’t have a proper body.
Kayla: Okay. Never mind. I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Michael: Neither do we.
Kayla: I’ve never read Harry Potter. I’m just making this up.
Eric: Yes, it’s like we have this issue where Legilimency and Occlumency are kind of introduced, but we don’t understand the parameters yet, and Harry has his own agenda, and Snape has his own agenda, and we’re not… the answers aren’t clear.
Michael: Well, and speaking of that – and Kayla, I definitely want you to weigh in on this – Snape as Harry’s Occlumency instructor… was this perhaps the worst idea ever? Because this goes down horribly. Not only does this just… this could have been foreseen by anybody, how these interactions go between Snape and Harry, but… and personally, in my opinion: Snape is not at all taking the right approach because he doesn’t instruct Harry in anything. And while Snape makes the argument that “Oh, well, nobody’s going to give you advance notice in the real world, this is a lesson, and Harry does need to know the technique before he can put it into practice.
Kayla: That’s like just Stupefying him trying to teach him Potego but not teaching it and being like, “They’re not going to teach you when they’re attacking you.”
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Eric: Kind of. I don’t know. Kind of. Snape…
Kayla: I think it’s a terrible idea in general.
Eric: No. I disagree. Snape has a terrible teaching lesson plan here in that he’s not getting real with Harry and saying, “Look, this is how you’re going to feel. This is how you’re going to need to combat…” All he’s saying is “Empty your mind.” That doesn’t really help.
Kayla: Well, I just think he has to… I mean, obviously, other people have to have been taught this, and it has to be common knowledge that when you use
Caleb: I think it speaks to Snape not being a good teacher in general. I mean, we never see him, certainly, [as] an exemplary teacher actually improving students’ knowledge and skills in the Potions classroom, and he’s doing the same here. He’s just saying, “Do better,” basically, to Harry rather than taking him down the steps to get there.
Eric: But as for whether or not it’s a bad idea for Snape to be teaching Harry, absolutely not.
Caleb: No, yeah, I would agree.
Kayla: Dumbledore has to know how Snape teaches. There has… okay, maybe not. Maybe I’m thinking too common sense. But in a Muggle school, the Headmaster would observe a lesson here and there…
Kayla: … from each professor and, unless Snape just completely changes his personality, Dumbledore should know this is exactly what’s going to happen.
Eric: But Snape…yeah, but the reason I think it’s a good idea is because there’s nobody better at Occlumency than Snape, we know…
Caleb: And he is the one that’s been up against Voldemort.
Eric: Yeah, we know that Snape has successfully, and continues to successfully hoodwink Voldemort the entire time, throughout the next several years, so…
Kayla: Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you can teach it very well.
Eric: That’s true. That’s exactly true and let that be a lesson to dear, dead Dumbledore.
Michael: Well, yeah, no, that’s kind of the track I’m going on is that I feel like this is an end not justifying the means at all here. This doesn’t benefit Harry, really.
Kayla: If Dumbledore hadn’t been doing his stupid I’m not talking to Harry thing, he could have done the lessons himself and I think with much better results.
Michael: Oh, yeah. Oh yeah.
Eric: Do you think it would have been… I don’t know, do you think Dumbledore [sighs] is protective of his own memories, like of his own…
Michael: Well, he could do what Snape’s doing and…
Michael: … put them in the Pensieve.
Eric: That’s true. Although also there is the very real possibility that Voldemort could break through Harry at any minute, so you either get Dumbledore facing Harry who is Voldemort like you get at the end of the book or maybe Snape who is… I just wonder what would have happened if Voldemort… would this give anything away if Voldemort came into Harry as Snape was teaching him to protect himself in this way?
Kayla: I think that would be even worse, actually, because it might make Snape look a little bit sketchy…
Eric: It might ruin… yeah.
Michael: Well, and…
Kayla: So that theory was terrible, Eric. Good job.
Michael: [laughs] Well, and speaking of theory, I did want to throw in the suggestion – because we haven’t talked about it in a while and I just wanted to throw it out there – ring composition. We haven’t mentioned it in a while, but I just thought, this is kind of the opposite of the Harry and Lupin learning the Patronuses in Book 3. And Book 3…
Eric: There you have it.
Michael: … is the connection, so to kind of…
Eric: Bad teacher. Bad teacher.
Michael: Yeah, exactly. To kind of hammer in that this is a bad idea. This is a bad teacher. This is a bad lesson. This is all bad. It’s all bad. The last thing I wanted to note is there are some worthy known practitioners of Legilimency that Rowling has mentioned. Bellatrix is very likely a practitioner of Legilimency because she teaches Malfoy Occlumency as we later find out. Salazar Slytherin was a Legilimens as confirmed on Rowling’s old website…
Caleb: And everything else.
Michael: And everything else.
Michael: Salazar Slytherin really…
Michael: [laughs] Yeah, everything a troublemaker needs. But most fascinatingly, as it’s been detailed on Pottermore, the Sorting Hat is a Legilimens. So apparently through some very ancient magic, there is a way to make inanimate objects have the ability to read people’s minds, and that is how the Sorting Hat sorts people. Apparently somebody just good enough in Legilimency can’t do it. It’s got to be a sorting hat.
Eric: Gosh, that’s like side…I don’t want to say it’s side canon, but that’s weird because people aren’t reliving the memories… the Sorting Hat is like browsing their mind without them reliving it. So,I would say that either I am wrong about Legilimency being restricted to the person witnessing what the other person is witnessing…
Eric: … or it’s not Legilimency that the Sorting Hat is doing. But if it said that the Sorting Hat is a Legilimens, then…
Michael: Yeah, it did.
Eric: … I don’t know what else there is to be said.
Michael: Legilimency must just be a blanket term for a lot of things with the mind.
Eric: Right, okay.
Michael: But that is… we end the chapter with Harry returning with his mind very weak and he sees Voldemort having some… a good time. Very maniacal laughter… which he’s felt better than he has in years and Harry has no idea why. But, we will find out almost immediately in the next chapter, so we’ll leave it at that for this week.
Caleb: And as always, we are going to leave you guys with a Question of the Week. All right, so our Question of the Week is one of the topics we just covered, which is Snape and Harry’s Occlumency lessons. So at the end of his lessons, because Snape has worn Harry down so much, he is very vulnerable, as happens when he gets to the Gryffindor Common Room at the end of the chapter. So, our question surrounds that problem and it is,
“Snape leaves Harry more vulnerable to Voldemort after the Occlumency lessons. Is this because of his neglect – meaning Snape just being a really bad teacher – a desire to immerse Harry and force him to work harder – basically Harry, this is what’s going to happen if you don’t start working harder – or is something else? Maybe out of malice or whatever else you may think of?
So that’s our Question of the Week. This will be up on the main site and we can’t wait to read your responses, so tell us what you think.
Eric: We do want to thank our guest, Kayla. Thank you, Kayla, for coming on this episode.
Kayla: It was my pleasure. I love arguing with people about Harry Potter.
Michael: That was excellent.
Michael: You brought out the fisty cuffs. We haven’t had a fisty cuffs fight in a while. That was good.
[Kayla and Michael laugh]
Michael: And, if you listeners would like to be on the show, just like Kayla was on this episode, to find out how to do that – how you can be on the show – head over to our website and check out the “Be on the Show!” page on alohomora.mugglenet.com. If you have a set of headphones and a microphone, that’s really all you need. I mean, if you would like though, feel free to bring your fisty cuffs.
Caleb: You can check us out on many social media and other channels: Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, facebook.com/openthedumbledore, on Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast, on Snapchat [at] mn_alohomora. You can leave us a voicemail at 206-GO-ALBUS, which is 206-463-5287. You can also leave us an Audioboo for free on our main site, alohomora.mugglenet.com. You just need a microphone, and keep it under 60 seconds.
Eric: And there is the Alohomora! store where we are proud to announce – well, re-announce – our new House shirts: “Your Hufflepuff is showing,” “Your Ravenclaw is showing,” “Your Slytherin is showing,” “Your Gryffindor is doing something.”
Eric: And also ringtones that are free and available on our website. You can find both those things over at alohomora.mugglenet.com.
Michael: And of course our app, the Alohomora! app, which is available seemingly worldwide as we always say. Price is very depending on location. The app includes transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and more. So be sure to check it out for more Alohomora! content.
Eric: With that said, I am Eric Scull.
Michael: I’m Michael Harle.
[Show music begins]
Caleb: And I’m Caleb Graves. Thank you for listening to Episode 102 of Alohomora!
Michael: Open the Dumbledore, and clear your mind of all things.
[Show music continues]
Kayla: I’m sorry, guys. I’m sorry. What are you doing? Okay. Close the door please. Thank you.
Kayla: Okay, I’m so sorry.
Michael: That’s fine. I thought for a second you were asking us what we were doing and I was like we’re reading Harry Potter.
Eric: We’re doing the same thing we do every week.
Kayla: I get moments of amnesia.
[Eric and Michael laugh]