Transcript – Episode 105

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 105 of Alohomora! for October 11, 2014.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Hello, listeners, and welcome back to’s global reread of Harry Potter. I’m Michael Harle.

Kristen Keys: I’m Kristen Keys.

Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller. And our very special guest today is author and fellow Potterhead, Veronica Roth.

Veronica Roth: Hello.

Kat: Hi. Thank you so very much for joining us today. We’re very excited to chat with you.

Veronica: Thanks for having me.

Kat: Absolutely. So just in case there’s anybody out there who’s been under a rock for the past couple [of] years…

[Michael and Veronica laugh]

Kat: … will you tell the listeners a little bit about yourself?

Veronica: Well, I wrote some books…

[Everyone laughs]

Veronica: They’re called Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, and Four. And I am a Hufflepuff.

Michael: Oh!

Veronica: Yes, that’s right.

Michael: Wonderful.

Veronica: A staunch badger.

[Kat laughs]

Veronica: And my Patronus is an albatross.

Kat: Oh.

Veronica: In case anyone was wondering.

Kat: That’s an interesting Patronus. What is it about the albatross?

Veronica: Well, it’s larger than average, which is also me…

[Kat and Veronica laugh]

Veronica: I’m very, very tall.

Kat: Oh, tall. Okay, I was like…

Veronica: Yeah, not like giant, just… yeah. And sort of ungainly, me and the bird. But they’re very loyal birds. They’re monogamous, which is odd for birds…

Kat: Aww.

Veronica: And they crash land…

[Kat laughs]

Veronica: … instead of landing with grace and elegance…

[Kat, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Veronica: … which seems about right to me. So those are just a few reasons.

Kat: Oh. Well, I like it. I’ve never heard someone say albatross before, so I like it when it’s unique. Like, mine is a cat. Not exciting. At all.

Veronica: You share that with Umbridge.

Kat: I know, which…

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: … is a little scary.

[Michael and Veronica laugh]

Kat: Maybe when, hopefully, Jo puts that Patronus test on Pottermore, hopefully I can take it, and it will be something different. Because I feel like it’s just by default since my name is Kat.

Veronica: Oh, maybe.

Kat: I don’t know. Whatever.

Michael: [laughs] Well, it’s fitting that you ladies were talking about Patronuses because this week, in Chapter 27, “The Centaur and the Sneak,” we will be talking a lot about Patronuses, and we want to remind our listeners to make sure [to] read that chapter of Order of the Phoenix before listening to the show to get the full experience out of our discussion.

Kat: Before we go on and talk about that, we just want to take a quick moment to thank our sponsor, Audible. Exclusively for fans of Alohomora!, they are offering a free audio download. They have over 150,000 titles to choose from, so head over to to get yours now.

Kristen: All right. Next we’re going to go into recapping the comments from last week. I have a few to share with you all. The first one is from Hufflepug from the main site,

“I love the social commentary that comes with Umbridge’s banning of the Quibbler. It makes me think of how banned books end up being some of the most popular books ever because people want to know what all of the hype is about. Hermione was one step ahead because she knew exactly how Umbridge would react and how the students would respond to that, which is an example of how she’s socially intelligent as well as academically intelligent. This, combined with Hermione’s manipulation of Rita Skeeter, brings out some Slytherin in her, in my opinion. And it’s the very best kind of Slytherin, [for example,] willingness to alter the environment and break the rules to work towards, for lack of a better term, the greater good.”

Kat: Oh, buh-duh-bum. “The greater good.”

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: Yeah. I do think that’s a little bit of Slytherin, and I totally love it because everyone knows I’m 51% Ravenclaw, 49% Slytherin.

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: So I dig it. I dig that side of Hermione. I like it.

Kristen: Yeah. I love how it’s both socially intelligent and academically intelligent because usually it’s one way or the other, but Hermione definitely has both sides, and that’s quick thinking on her part.

Michael: I really like the comparison, too, to the mentality around banned books. Especially because it’s… I think these days… it’s funny, because with banned books, the… how we portray that in libraries and book stores, and we do the Banned Books Week and everything, and people are just, I think at this point, so accustomed to seeing some of the books that land on the list that they’re like, “Oh, yeah, Harry Potter on banned books, whatever.” But back when the books first came out, it was a pretty big deal. Every time the books got challenged, there was a news report about it. And people are a little blasé, I think, as far as Harry Potter goes, when people attack Harry Potter now, because it climbed above it, but I like that Jo was so aware of it that at the time that she was writing the books that she put it in the books.

Kat: Yeah. Didn’t she say at one point that she was proud or something that it was on the banned book list?

Michael: Mhm.

Veronica: I feel like it is a badge of honor because… I mean, not that I’ve experienced this, but I just think it makes people so aware that there’s something provocative in the stories that… I don’t know, it’s just like, “Oh, well, now I have to know what it is.” Yeah.

Kristen: All right, this comment comes from Tweak 6 from the forums:

“Whoa whoa whoa. You guys discussed a theory of Dumbledore using [L]egilimency every once in a while on Harry just to check up on things. Does nobody else think this sounds incredibly creepy? Like a huge invasion of privacy? I get the feeling Dumbledore is able to gain plenty of information with breaking into people’s minds – he has lots of staff to ask about (Snape is giving him private lessons at this point!), and he can probably read body language – Harry seems to be functioning pretty normally, and anything Voldemort[-]related Dumbledore is hearing through Snape, so [L]egilimency is totally unnecessary. I always thought this scene was just to stress Harry’s feeling of being ignored and abandoned by Dumbledore and makes perfect sense in that of course all of the staff are currently discussing Harry and his interview; it[‘]s not out of place for Dumbledore to look over at him.”

Michael: So that was in reference to the moment when Harry notices that Dumbledore is looking at him from the staff table when the Quibbler article comes out. And Kat was wondering, actually, if it wasn’t something to do with Harry’s connection to Voldemort and the Horcrux and why Dumbledore turned away when Harry looked around at him and why Harry could sense Dumbledore was looking at him. I suggested that Dumbledore, perhaps, is using Legilimency at times like these to check up on Harry, and I never said that wasn’t creepy. That’s super creepy.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But Dumbledore is suss like that, so I wouldn’t put it past him to do that.

Veronica: It wouldn’t be the first time that they’ve… actually, I mean, in the seventh book, Harry is using the Imperius Curse on people to get into Gringotts, right? So I mean, they keep just running around, just using Unforgivable Curses; what’s so out of the ordinary about Dumbledore using Legilimency? [laughs] I hope it’s not the case, because that would…

Michael: Well, and narratively, the book has given us more obvious hints when Dumbledore uses Legilimency. I think it’s usually when Jo in the writing points out that he has his piercing stare locked in on Harry. That, I would think, is a definitive indication that Dumbledore is using Legilimency on Harry. Which in itself is not okay when you think about it. But it usually gets Harry out of scrapes. But I’ve just wondered if Dumbledore doesn’t use Legilimency more often than not, and that’s perhaps one of the ways why he’s so aware of all of the things that’s going on [at] Hogwarts.

Kat: I mean, if I could use Legilimency…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: I feel like that would be helpful in certain situations.

Kristen: I agree. I’m not always the best at reading body language, so I’m like, “If I could just hear what you’re saying…”

Kat: Sometime in the future, when I get to meet Benedict Cumberbatch, I could use Legilimency to see what he’s thinking.

Veronica: I like that you state that as an inevitability: “I will meet Benedict Cumberbatch.”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: Oh, it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. We’re only, like, two degrees separated, so it’s going to happen.

Veronica: Oh, really?

Kat: Yeah, so… it is; it’s inevitable.

Michael: Well, and to go back to the comment…

Kat: Oh, but it’s so fun to just talk about Benedict Cumberbatch all day.

Kristen: Yeah, I want to be there for that.

Michael: [laughs] The argument that Tweak 6 is making, too, is that Dumbledore gets all of his news through Snape, but I would think that Dumbledore would be smart enough to not take all of his news from Snape, seeing as Snape has a horrible bias when reporting. So I would think Dumbledore would look for other sources, including breaking people’s minds if he so felt the need.

Kat: Do you think Snape is 100% honest always with Dumbledore?

Kristen: No.

Michael: I think he’s honest, but I think you can be honest but still tell things in a way that doesn’t portray them as they are.

Kat: That’s true.

Michael: He’s essentially telling the facts, but he’s also lacing it with [as Snape] “Potter is an idiot. Potter is stupid. I hate Potter. Potter, Potter, Potter.” He’s not saying it nicely, but he’s telling the truth, I would think. We get that in Deathly Hallows, right? When we see how Snape and Dumbledore converse in the memories?

Kat and Kristen: That’s true.

Kristen: All right, and then this last comment is from MinervaLupin from the main site:

“To address the Trelawney scene from the book and movie that was brought up, I find that the fact that Professor Trelawney not being drunk in the movie made me feel sadder towards her than her being drunk as in the book. The emotions in the movie just feel more powerful and heart-wrenching to me since her pain is really raw, authentic and not inhibited by the sherry. Besides, this is [a] PG[-]13 movie, and I doubt they wanted to encourage drinking as a solution to get over pain and problems. Also, it does not really do anything to the plot in having Trelawney drunk in this scene or not.”

I would have to agree with this comment. I mean, it didn’t really matter to me that she wasn’t drinking the sherry in the movie like I know you guys talked about on the last episode. So I don’t know. What do you guys think?

Michael: It only struck me because prior to Order of the Phoenix, Emma Thompson was really excited to play the scene that way.

Kat: Yeah!

Michael: She actually reported that she was really looking forward to it, and I think, in the book, the way that it goes down is pretty iconic, and I remember seeing it in the movie, and I just felt that it was a waste of their Emma Thompson. This is all the time you got with her, and you just want to stand around and have her cry and say two lines and that’s all?

Kat: Michael loves [the] Order of the Phoenix movie.

Micheal: [laughs] No, I do not!

[Kat laughs]

Michael: Kat loves [the] Order of the Phoenix movie.

Kristen: I thought she did great. I mean, to me, I think of someone being drunk and sloppy, and you have those people who get drunk and are so overly emotional about nothing that I don’t know if it would be portrayed like that, and you’re like, “All right, she’s just drunk. Who cares what her emotions are?”

Veronica: She seemed far more vulnerable in the movie to me than she did in the book, which… it isn’t a problem that she’s not super vulnerable in the book, but when you only have two seconds of screen time with Emma Thompson, you want to cultivate as much sympathy toward her character as possible in that time.

Michael: That’s true since the rest of her time in the movie isn’t even… she’s not there. But at the same… I almost feel like the comment from MinervaLupin actually contradicts itself because it’s saying, “Well, it actually does change how Trelawney is portrayed, but it doesn’t actually change anything about Trelawney’s plot,” and I think that’s… I’m mixed on that, actually, because it does change how we see Trelawney. I was really… I know Emma Thompson had her vision for how she wanted to act it, and that’s one of those lost moments for me. I don’t know if you guys have ever seen – on the deleted scenes of Order of the Phoenix – Umbridge’s whole speech. They actually filmed the whole thing from Trelawney’s…

Kat: Eating?

Michael: The camera was, yeah, on her the whole time, and she’s doing all these weird things where she starts washing her hands in her wineglass…

Kat: Yeah, it’s great.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: It goes on for the whole speech.

Veronica: I have to see it. Oh my God.

Kristen: I want to see that.

Kat: You know what I was thinking of is, we already know what drunk Trelawney would look like if you watched the Oscars.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: That’s true.

Kat: And come on, that would have been amazing, so…

Michael: [laughs] I don’t know…

Kristen: But I don’t sympathize with that.

Michael: [laughs] I just feel like Emma Thompson is just one of those people who, when she has something in her mind, you just say, “Go do what you want to do because you’re Emma Thompson.” So… [laughs]

Kat: Sure. Right. I would concur.

Michael: I’m just upset, Emma Thompson. Give me a call.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: We’ll remake the movies. You can still play Trelawney.

Kat: I’m sure she’d love that.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: All right, now we’re going to move on to the Podcast Question of the Week responses from last week, and just to remind everybody of the question – it was mine, for the record – it says, “In this chapter, we see Umbridge try to sack Professor Trelawney. Now both she and Hagrid are on probation, the result of Umbridge’s evaluations. So why Trelawney? Was it based purely on performance or was Umbridge working on the orders of someone else – Lord Voldemort, perhaps? Trelawney is, as we later learn, important to his current mission of trying to recover the prophecy. We have suspected Umbridge was working with or for Lord Voldemort before. Is this just another coincidence or is she indeed working for the Dark Lord?” So sadly, nobody agreed with me…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: At all. Or even indulged me even a little bit.

Michael: We’ve just got to get a time machine and go back to the early 2000s when these theories would have been plastered all over the Internet. [laughs]

Kat: That’s true. That’s true. And a lot of people were like, “Kat, she’s not a Death Eater.” Let me make it clear: I never said she was a Death Eater. All right? Obviously, she’s not because she’s too short. No, sorry, that has nothing to do with it.

Michael: I feel like that was a really good stretch of a stormtrooper Star Wars reference right there.

Kat: Oh! That was definitely what I meant by that.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: That was good.

Michael: Aren’t you a little short to be a Death Eater?

Kat: Yeah. Oh! I get it now.

[Kat, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: Definitely what I meant. Pun totally intended. Totally. But our first comment here comes from Dolphin Patronus. It says,

“I’ve never felt like Umbridge was working directly with Voldemort. I do, however, believe that they have the same thought process. Tho[ugh] in this case I don’t think her choice of Trelawn[e]y has anything to do with the prophecy. In fact, I doubt Umbridge has a clue about any of that. I believe her choice of Trelawn[e]y over Hagrid is because she doesn’t think Dumbledore will be able to find a suitable replacement & is trying to make him look worse than he does in the public eye right now.”

So. Thoughts?

Kristen: I like your question. I actually agree with you.

Kat: Yes! Thank you!

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: I’ve always thought it, like she was somehow connected with him or in that group because definitely in Deathly Hallows, just on the Ministry side when it gets converted and everything, she’s so happy about it and just down with any half-blood, Muggle, anything like that. She just wants pure-bloods, even though of course Voldemort isn’t.

Kat: She’s like a little too into it, right?

Kristen: Exactly!

Veronica: Strongly disagree!

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: Oh! Well, let’s hear it. What do you think?

Veronica: Well, what I love about Umbridge is that she is, in Dungeons & Dragons terminology, as far as alignment, lawful evil, which means that she works within the system but has bad intentions and doesn’t value life or freedom, stuff like that. So I think she’s the Harry Potter equivalent of a horrible racist. But she also…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: But wait, she is a horrible racist.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kristen: She is.

Veronica: Yeah, it’s totally true. But not as we would think of it, obviously. Magically. Magically.

Michael: Magical racism!

Kristen: Yeah, magical racist!

Veronica: I think that makes her so different from Voldemort because he’s… what would it be? It’s chaotic evil, I guess, because he wants to work outside the system and doesn’t want to be bound any of its limitations, but she values order and control. So I think of them as being at two different ends of the evil spectrum, which sometimes leads their actions to align but doesn’t mean it’s motivated by the same desires.

Kat: I think that’s the best analysis of the two of them as far as using D&D terms that I’ve heard. I really like that, actually.

Veronica: How many D&D analyses have you heard?

[Kristen and Veronica laugh]

Kat: Very few in my life, to be completely honest. [laughs]

Michael: Well, I think that’s actually more along my line of thinking because, as we see in Deathly Hallows… the weirdest part to me about how Umbridge operates within the Ministry in Deathly Hallows is I feel if you asked her at that point if she was working for Voldemort, she would say no, even though she knows… I’m pretty sure she knows whats going on, but I think she would say no. Because as you’re saying, Veronica, Voldemort is working outside of the law, which she doesn’t approve of. And she never gets branded with a Dark Mark. She never seems to pursue that. She’s just happy excuse she’s at the top of the food chain, or at least she thinks she is. So she’s not looking for that ultimate control like Voldemort is over everything. She’s looking for it in the controlled law system. She still, in her bizarre way, thinks she’s following the law.

Kat: Weird short little person.

[Everyone laughs]

Veronica: Creepy toad faced woman.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: And that’s nothing against you, Kristen, because you are loveably short. So…

Kristen: Yeah, thanks guys.

Kat: [laughs] Sure.

Michael: [laughs] Nice save, there.

Kristen: I won’t be a storm trooper either.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: There goes my life ambition of working at Disney.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: Well, you could be a dwarf or something.

Kristen: I guess…

Veronica: That’s awesome.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: I’ll be an Ewok, I guess.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Ewoks are loveable and adorable, okay?

Kristen: Yeah. [laughs]

Kat: Speaking of loveable and adorable, our next comment is from Chocolate Frog Ravenclaw. That’s a good segue right, yeah?

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: So smooth.

Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: It says,

“I don’t think Umbridge was working directly for Voldemort.”

Big surprise.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: [continues]

“She likes the rules to be followed and she likes to be in charge – when that overlaps with Voldemort’s message, she probably doesn’t have a problem working indirectly for him. But in this case, I don’t think so. If she was, it would put her, Fudge, and the Ministry in a really bad position (which does end up happening at the end of the book). That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if she worked indirectly for Voldemort. As Kat pointed out…”

Thank you.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: [continues]

“… there are a few too many coincidences regarding the Ministry and Voldemort (such as Macnair). I think that someone at the Ministry (not Fudge – but another important Ministry person) suggested that she fire Trelawney over Hagrid because it could help Voldemort’s cause. Maybe even Lucious…”

I like that that is spelled “luscious,” by the way.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: [continues]

“… made the suggestion (we know his name still holds power in the wizarding world). I also think that Umbridge is more scared. If he were fired, he could easy overtake her (physically). She probably suspects that he is a half breed. Firing Trelawney is probably a mixture of advice from a trusted Ministry peer and a fear of firing Hagrid.”

Michael: On a side note, Jason Isaacs is very luscious as Lucius.

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: I…

Michael: And as himself. [laughs]

Kat: See, I… yeah I was going to say, or as himself, personally. But yes, I would agree.

Veronica: I really like this point at the end about maybe Lucius being involved, because it wouldn’t be the first time that he has involved himself in school affairs. Although, was he sacked from the school council at the end of the last… I don’t remember. But he gets Buckbeak executed, right?

Michael: Yeah, he’s been sacked from the school board but he’s still working at the Ministry, because he donates to charitable causes, so…

Kristen: Yeah. I think…

Veronica: He seems like the kind of person she would be friends with.

Kristen: Yeah.

Veronica: Couldn’t you see them going bowling together?

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Sure. [laughs]

Kristen: Of course. Wizard bowling.

Michael: Wizard bowling. [laughs]. Well, and I don’t remember where I read it… I feel like that was possibly stated by Rowling somewhere, I’m not sure. Listeners, if you can find it or if ladies, if you can remember this, I kind of feel like there was something stated that Umbridge has something – in line with her prejudice against werewolves and halfbreeds, et cetera, et cetera – I feel like she also had something against seers. Because that’s a rare gift that’s kind of unusual and something that the wizarding world seems to kind of look at both with awe and fear, depending on how good the seer is, anyway. So I don’t know if that had something to do with it, too. If there’s a prejudice there on Umbridge’s part because most of these comments are suggesting that she just did it for tactical reasons, which I can totally see because Trelawney is kind of a weak link to fire. She’s not going to… I feel like going to Hagrid and firing him first is a big… would cause a big hullabaloo compared to Trelawney.

Kat: Hullabaloo.

Michael: Hullabaloo.

Kristen: Do you think she’s really fearful of Hagrid?

Michael: Because he could step on her? Possibly.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: I don’t think so.

Michael: Yeah, I don’t think so because when she encounters Hagrid she certainly dominates those conversations.

Kristen: Exactly, yeah. So I kind of disagree with that part of the comment.

Veronica: She thinks of him as like an oaf. Like subhuman.

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: Aww.

Veronica: Sad, I know.

Kat: Sad for Hagrid, yeah.

Kristen: He’ll get over it.

Kat: [laughs] Hopefully. Our last comment here comes from FeatherSickle7662. It says,

“I think that Trelawney was targeted by Professor Umbridge solely based on the fact that she believe her to be a fraud and therefore not qualified to teach. Now some may argue that this is indeed true, but she was the one who made the prophecy regarding Harry and Voldemort and she also predicted Pettigrew’s return. She may not have known it but she did indeed give two very true prophecies. I don’t believe for a minute that Umbridge was involved with Voldemort in any way unless she had indeed been Imperiused.”

Michael: [correctly pronounces “Imperiused”] Imperiused, I think. Was that what they were going for?

Kat: Imperiused, yes.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: [continues]

“Her ego is far too big to have ‘Master.’ She would try [to] overstep her bounds and Voldemort would kill her on the spot. She obviously targeted Hagrid because 1) he is a ‘half-breed’ and 2) because she knows that [he] and Dumbledore trust each other and are close.”

So pretty much everything you said a minute ago.

Veronica: Can I backtrack a second?

Kat: Of course.

Veronica: I found proof that Dolores and Lucius are in cahoots, kind of.

Kat: Ooh, let’s hear it.

Michael: Oh, I thought you were going to say you were found proof that they were bowling.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: There are pictures on the Internet.

Kat: The paparazzi.

Michael: Pics or it didn’t happen.

Veronica: First of all, let me note that there is a lot more fan fiction about Dolores and Lucius than I anticipated when I first googled this.

[Everyone laughs]

Veronica: But leaving that aside, in Order of the Phoenix she is yelling at Snape and telling him he’s on probation, and says, “You are being deliberately unhelpful. I expected better of Lucius Malfoy, who always speaks most highly of you. Now get out of my office.

Kat: Ooh, that’s right. I forgot about that moment.

Veronica: Yeah. Anyway, sorry. It’s just adding more to that theory about Lucius.

Kat: That’s good. I like.

Michael: That makes sense since he’s around the Ministry all the time.

Kat: And they do have egos to match. So that makes sense, as FeatherSickle says with the egos.

Michael: Yeah, I think as far as the question goes, well, I do think there… I do think there is still something there, Kat, especially with the stuff with MacNair like we had discussed a few episodes ago, because while narratively I think MacNair is there so that Hagrid recognizes him, I think that it is too much of a coincidence with the role MacNair plays between the Ministry and the Death Eaters, and… but I think in general the Order of the Phoenix really pushes the idea that in her attempts, in her joint attempt with Fudge to ignore Voldemort, she helps Voldemort’s cause more. She doesn’t mean to, but that’s what makes her so foolish and why we hate her so much.

Kat: Right. Yeah, we do hate Umbridge. That’s true. I know that had nothing to do with what you just said, so…

Michael: [laughs] The understatement of the year: We hate Umbridge.

Kat: We do. So… but that’s that. That is the recap for this week.

Kristen: Speaking of fan fiction, have you all ever read the book Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell?

Kat: Totally. Yep.

Michael: I started it when I was working at the bookstore, but I never got a chance to finish it, actually.

Kat: Oh, bummer.

Michael: I really enjoyed what I read.

Kat: It’s a cute book.

Kristen: Yeah. I mean, it’s a great book, especially if you’re a fangirl like myself and I’m sure everybody on this podcast, then…

Kat: Even Michael!

Michael: I am a fangirl. No questions.

Kristen: Yes, yes, you are. No doubt about it.

Michael: [laughs] You saw me at LeakyCon. You saw me dressing up every day.

Kristen: [laughs] Oh, yes.

Michael: [laughs] I’m a fangirl.

Kat: That’s true.

Kristen: Well, then you guys should really check out this book because it’s about a fangirl who’s just starting her first year in college, and I don’t know [about] you guys, but it really related to me being a fangirl and also starting college with fresh new people and new experiences and not always fitting in. I don’t know if you guys were the same way or not.

Kat: I related to it from a fangirl point-of-view. Obviously not so much from the college part. But if everybody out there wants to download this for free, you can do that because, after all, Audible is the absolute best place for all your audio downloading needs, and right now Audible has a really great special offer for our US and Canadian listeners. You can visit our unique link created specifically just for you – that’s right, everyone listening right now – and you’ll get a free audio download today, right now. Just go to

Michael: You can also download Fangirl using Audible’s listener program. Basically how that works is you purchase book credit at a very low monthly rate, and you can use those book credits at anytime for any product that Audible offers.

Kat: And with over 150,000 titles to choose from, you have a lot of options. Head over to and start downloading directly to your computer for easy listening on burned CDs, MP3 players, even your iPad, iPhones, or Androids. So again, the website made just for you is So visit for your free download today.

Michael: As we move forward with the episode, we go into Chapter 27 of Order of the Phoenix.

[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 27 intro begins]

Umbridge: Chapter 27.

Harry: Run.

[Sound of people running]

Umbridge: “The Centaur and the Sneak.”

[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 27 intro ends]

Michael: The school is buzzing with the appointment of the new Divination professor, Firenze the centaur, who’s classes take a notably different approach to the subject than Professor Trelawney’s lessons. Firenze also bears a warning for Hagrid, which only falls on deaf ears. Meanwhile, the DA regroups with new member Seamus Finnigan joining the ranks, but no sooner do the lessons on patronuses begin than Umbridge and her Inquisitorial Squad crash the party. Thanks to a warning from Dobby, most of the DA make a hasty retreat, but Harry is caught and taken to Dumbledore’s office, where an assortment of Ministry members are prepared to prosecute him based on testimony by the quote “sneak,” Marietta Edgecombe, who’s treachery is literally written all over her face thanks to Hermione. After a set of calculated moves by present members of the Order, Dumbledore takes the blame and takes flight, leaving Harry bewildered and Hogwarts at the mercy of Delores Umbridge. So this chapter’s basically split into two parts. It’s the Divination section with Firenze and the disaster of the DA being broken up by Umbridge. And we start with Firenze and his lesson, which has quite a few interesting points to it. But actually, before we even get to his lesson, two characters I just want to point out who make quite a substantial appearance in these first few pages are Lavender Brown and Pavarti Patil. And I point them out because these two characters up to this point have been sideline characters. Even in the Yule Ball sequence, which I just recently re-read, Pavarti is outed from that chapter pretty quickly when she’s not necessary anymore. So I just wanted to just throw out there, since we know that Rowling is listening to the show, if you ever feel the desire to tell us the full story of Lavender Brown and Pavarti Patil, please feel free to record that for Pottermore, because I’m sure we would love to read it. I don’t know, I personally have been very curious about these two characters.

Kat: Both of them, together?

Michael: Yeah, because they both have the same level of… all they like is Divination and one of them likes Ron, and that’s all we… [laughs]

Kat: Oh. Okay.

Michael: I don’t know. I think it’s also because… I don’t about you guys, but I was particularly struck in the Deathly Hallows film when Lavender Brown died.

Kat: Aww.

Michael: [laughs] That was such a shock for me because she…

Kat: That was sad.

Michael: Yeah, it was sad because it’s… she’s a character that we only meet once in the films…

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: … and then she’s dead. And knowing a little more about her in the book, it does make you kind of sad, especially because she’s… her death is not confirmed in Deathly Hallows whether she is alive or not. But I just thought I’d throw that out there because again, these two characters finally appear. Unfortunately, they don’t really have much to contribute aside from their views on Divination, but it does make…

Kat: The shade.

Michael: Yes, they do… there is a lot of shade thrown by these two. But it does contribute to a lot of humor in this lesson, which takes place in Classroom Eleven, a whole new section of Hogwarts that we haven’t really spent time in. And not only is Classroom Eleven kind of new to us, it’s also… Dumbledore has managed to mimic the outdoors in this classroom almost perfectly.

Veronica: Wait, you think it’s Dumbledore? I thought it was Firenze.

Michael: Oh, you know that’s funny because I thought that too, but actually Firenze does say Professor Dumbledore…

Kristen: Dumbledore.

Michael: … has kindly arranged this classroom for us.

Kat: No, but, but, but… oh, wait.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: I was going to say maybe he just like gave him the classroom, but then…

Michael: Got him the room?

Kristen: No.

Kat: … but no. Hmm, never mind. Okay.

Michael: But even so…

Kristen: How cool of a room!

Michael: Right? I want this room.

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: What is…

Michael: What magic is this? What magic is this?

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: You can’t just make the outdoors inside. I swear that has to defy Gamp’s Law. [laughs]

Veronica: The Great Hall. The ceiling…

Kat: Mhm.

Veronica: … is always mimicking the outdoors.

Kat: And the swamp…

Kristen: True, yeah…

Kat: … Fred and George…

Kat and Kristen: … the swamp.

Michael: That’s true, but there are like…

Kristen: It’s pretty common.

Michael: But there are trees, and not only… unlike the Great Hall where the sky is a reflection of the sky outside, this guy, Firenze, can do whatever he wants with it. It’s kind of like a planetarium except better.

Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: Oh, that…

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: Way better.

Kat: … would be the coolest planetarium ever.

Michael: It’s just pretty astonishing magic going on here. I’m really impressed. I wish… I’d like to know more about how that works. It’s always good that you can… that Rowling can brush off any complicated magic by saying, “Dumbledore did it. Don’t…”

Kat: Right, right.

[Everyone laughs]

Veronica: You doubt the incredible power of Dumbledore?!

Kat: That’s right.

Veronica: Get out!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Put the book down right now. Go read something else.

Kat: That’s like when Hermione tells us a fact about Hogwarts. We’re like, “Oh yeah, that’s true and legit.”

Michael: It must be… yes, it must be true.

Kat: Right.

Michael: As, of course, as Firenze beings his lesson, the students are pretty astonishingly ill-learned on centaurs and their culture because Dean…

Kristen: Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: … Thomas says…

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: Breeds them!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: … says the most offensive thing you could possibly ask. He says… well, first of all it doesn’t even start with that. It starts with Lavender, who when Firenze says that he’s been banished from his herd, Lavender says,

“‘Herd?’ said Lavender in a confused voice, and Harry knew she
was thinking of cows.”

[Everyone laughs]

Veronica: Somehow… the magic, he knew. Cows.

Michael: Cows. She’s definitely…

Kat: He was using Legilimency to read her mind.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And then, of course, Dean follows it up by asking,

“‘Did Hagrid breed you, like the Thestrals?’ asked Dean eagerly.

Firenze turned his head very slowly to face Dean, who seemed to
realize at once that he had said something very offensive.

‘I didn’t – I meant – sorry,’ he finished in a hushed voice.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So I thought it would be a good opportunity to just flip open my copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Kat: And can I comment just for a moment that… and I don’t want this to come out racist, but that came from like one of the only black characters in this book. I’m just saying.

Michael: Interesting point. Interesting. I want to mull over that, actually. [laughs]

Kat: Okay, you mull over that.

Kristen: Mull over it.

Michael: I’m going to mull. Let’s come back to that.

Kat: Okay.

Michael: But the history of centaurs, as recorded by Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, says that they are classified by the Ministry of Magic by their system with four Xs, and in a note, Scamander says,

“The centaur is given an XXXX classification not because it is unduly aggressive, but because it should be treated with great respect. The same applies to merpeople and unicorns.”

And he writes,

“The centaur has a human head, torso, and arms joined to a horse’s body, which may be any of several colors. Being intelligent and capable of speech, it should not strictly speaking be termed a beast, but by its own request it has been classified as such, by the Ministry of Magic. The centaur is forest-dwelling. Centaurs are believed to have originated in Greece, though there are now centaur communities in many parts of Europe. Wizarding authorities in each of the countries where centaurs are found have allocated areas where the centaurs will not be troubled by Muggles; however, centaurs stand in little need of wizard protection, having their own means of hiding from humans. The ways of the centaur are shrouded in mystery. They are generally speaking as mistrustful of wizards as they are of Muggles and indeed seem to make little differentiation between us. They live in herds ranging in size from ten to fifteen members. They are reputed to be well-versed in magical healing, divination, archery, and astronomy.”

So there you go, Dean Thomas. All you had to do was pick up your copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and you wouldn’t have asked such stupid questions.

Kat: Nobody reads in these books except Hermione. Come on. We know that.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But keeping in mind some of what we have just learned about centaurs, Firenze goes on to talk about his version of divination – centaurs’ version of divination – and what’s interesting in how he discusses divination is that unlike Trelawney, who talks about what you’ll be having for breakfast tomorrow and whether or not it will kill you…

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: … Firenze says that the future essentially is very malleable and full of different paths, and is not interested in pinpointing very specific people unless they are of great importance to a greater cause. So I just wanted to discuss that for a little bit and how those ideas that Firenze is throwing out perhaps reflect on not only this book, but perhaps Rowling’s ideas of fate and destiny because there’s a lot of big questions that she poses about that.

Veronica: Especially in this book with the ending.

Michael: Mhm. The prophecy.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: Yeah, because what has always been interesting to me with Dumbledore’s explanation of the prophecy is that Harry has a very long conversation with him about why he can’t defy the prophecy and Dumbledore says that he actually does have the option to not do what the prophecy says and Dumbledore suggests that prophecies are actually malleable. So what are our feelings on fate and destiny, perhaps? Maybe we can get a little personal with it. Go wild, ladies.

[Kristen and Veronica laugh]

Veronica: I don’t have specific thoughts on my own beliefs about fate and destiny just yet, but I do think it’s also interesting that the prophecy itself… by acting on it, Voldemort determines it because it could’ve been Neville Longbottom who was the marked one.

Kat: It could’ve been.

Michael: Mhm.

Veronica: Yeah, so I think… I love this quote from this chapter which is: “His priority did not seem to be to teach them what he knew, but rather to impress upon them that nothing – not even centaurs’ knowledge – was foolproof,” which is such an interesting view of divination given what we’ve seen of it so far.

Michael: Yeah, this is so drastically different from… and in a way, I guess, personally, I’ve actually been to somebody who told me my future to some degree, what I was asking her about, and my parents warned me beforehand; they were like, “You know, we know what good fortune tellers are like… you’ll know when she’s BS-ing you.” And there were things she was telling me about myself that she could not have gleaned from me from the things I was saying to her. And personally, I choose to believe what she was saying had some weight to it. But at the same time, she did tell me at the beginning, “There are various paths that people’s lives can take and just because I tell you these things… these are possibilities, but there are other possibilities depending on the choices you make.” Which I think is very in line with what Firenze is saying, which is more of what I prescribe to.

Kat: And really the whole overall message of the entire series, as a whole: It’s your choices.

Michael: Mhm. Choice over destiny.

Kat: Yeah, I suppose.

Michael: Mhm. This is just an interesting thing to put in, when you do have objects like prophecies that supposedly do definitively tell you things.

Kat: Yeah, and I mean, he’s right, though. The future is… malleable?

Michael: Malleable.

Kat: Yeah, malleable. [laughs]

[Michael laughs]

Kat: I can normally say that word. I don’t know. There’s something about today.

Michael: Not today.

Kat: Yeah, not today. I mean, but he’s right because in the end Harry has that choice. There are several different paths that he could take, so…

Veronica: And I love this idea in fiction, generally; I find it really maddening but in a good way that without knowing about the prophecy, the prophecy wouldn’t come true. And I think that they confirm at the end that there are a lot of unfulfilled prophecies in the Hall of Mysteries. I think that’s really interesting. This happens in Macbeth. Would Macbeth have killed the king if he knew that he was supposed to kill the king? Who knows? It drives me insane!

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Veronica: Anyway.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Does “The tree falling in the forest; does it make a noise?” also drive you insane?

Veronica: No, that one I’m good with.

Kat: Oh, okay.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Veronica: Because of physics.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Oh, right, physics. Right. Good answer. That makes sense.

Michael: And in addition to these very lofty ideas about fate and destiny, Firenze also off-handedly throws out some more stuff about Mars.

Veronica: Mars!

[Kat and Kristen laugh]

Michael: Mars comes back. The return of Mars from Sorcerer’s Stone. And as Firenze puts it, “In the past decade, the indications have been that wizardkind is living through nothing more than a brief calm between two wars. Mars, bringer of battle, shines brightly above us suggesting that the fight must break out soon.” So what’s interesting to me about that as far as Sorcerer’s Stone goes is that we actually didn’t hear that from Firenze. We heard it from the other two centaurs that Harry encountered. And they didn’t say why they were saying Mars is bright tonight. They just kept saying it.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: But I thought it was interesting because they did pointedly say it around Harry…

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: … and Hermione and Ron. Even though centaurs claim that they have no interest in pitiful humans, is that true?

Kat: No, I mean… I think the quote that Veronica read proves that. It’s the fact that his priority is not to teach them but to impress them. So clearly he cares at least what they think about him a little bit, so…

Michael: Well, and what we’ve heard from Firenze is that he’s like a Dobby in this situation, where he’s an odd one out in his community for being willing to share…

Kat: But Dobby is amazing.

Michael: Oh yeah, and Firenze is amazing, too. But what I’m wondering is if the other centaurs actually do have an interest in humans to some degree.

Kat: Hmm. Well, definitely not Bane.

Michael: No. [laughs] But isn’t Bane one of the ones who said Mars is bright tonight in Sorcerer’s Stone? I don’t have my copy.

Veronica: Yes.

Kat: Potentially.

Kristen: I believe so.

Veronica: Well, they keep saying it. Everybody that they run into says it, I think.

Michael: Mhm. Yeah.

Veronica: It’s like the official centaur greeting of that night. “Mars is bright!”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Which of course is no coincidence considering that Voldemort is drinking unicorn blood that same evening.

Kat: Ugh.

Veronica: Mars also appears in the fourth book, which I obsessively researched today because I was like, “I swear I have seen this in another place.”

Kat: Really? What’s it say?

Veronica: Yeah, it’s during a Divination lesson and Trelawney says, “Today, however, will be an excellent opportunity to examine the effects of Mars, for he is placed most interestingly at the present time.” And I’m trying to find what she says. Oh, it’s like, “There’s a fascinating angle Mars is making to Neptune.” And it never says what exactly the lesson is about. But given what happens at the end of that book, I feel like there’s this very intentional hint.

Kat: Huh. I wonder if Mars actually has some sort of war… death… what’s the word I’m looking for? Connotation.

Kristen: Mhm.

Kat: If that’s a real thing.

Michael: It is.

Kat: Oh, okay, great. I mean, I figured it was because it’s Jo.

Michael: Yeah, I think it’s the idea that because it’s red like blood.

Kristen: Mhm.

Kat: Oh, is that it?

Michael: Yeah, that’s part of it. There’s other elements, too.

Kat: Very subtle, very subtle.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Hey.

Veronica: The Roman name for the god of war or something.

Michael: Yeah, it is.

Kristen: Yeah, I believe so.

Kat: Oh. I know very little about Roman things.

Veronica: That’s the extent of my knowledge.

[Everyone laughs]

Veronica: We’re at the bottom of the well.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: So as we’ve seen, it’s nice to have things like that come back. As we always marvel at, Rowling is quite impressive at how she brings things that we really didn’t think had much bearing or maybe were things that were one-off mentions, and we get those things back far down in the series.

Veronica: Yeah, she’s all right.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, yes. Veronica Roth would know.

Veronica: Oh, gosh.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: Full name.

Michael: [laughs] But actually, Veronica, before we go on I do always like to ask the authors that we have on the show about their writing style versus Rowling’s writing style and how you plan out your own books or how you approach larger plots like these when you know you’re doing a multi-book series.

Veronica: Well, I think the answer to that is that she plans things meticulously and I do not plan things barely at all, or am just starting to learn how to do that. And it gets me into really deep trouble…

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Veronica: … so I admire her a lot and I think part of the reason I’ve reread the books so many times is, first of all, because I love them, but second because they’re so intricate and complex and, like you said, things that you didn’t think would come back always do. And every detail is so carefully selected; it’s amazing.

Michael: Mhm.

Veronica: So basically what I’m saying is I’m still learning from her and a lot of authors, obviously. But yeah, I’m a “hurl spaghetti at the wall and hope that something sticks” kind of person…

[Kat and Kristen laugh]

Veronica: … which sometimes works, and often makes me just swear into my computer screen. “Why did I do that? That’s terrible!”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: Well, to your credit, I think you’re doing okay.

Kat: [laughs] Yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Veronica: I think every writer has this incredible drive to improve and not to think about if they’ve done well. Most of the people I know are super self-deprecating and just like, “I fail! All the time!” And that’s definitely how I feel.

Michael: [laughs] Well, even in that respect, Rowling often gets down on herself about the Potter series and things that she would like to go back and change. And I know she is especially critical of Order of the Phoenix, for various reasons.

Kat: But it’s the best book! It’s the best! Sorry.

Kristen: It’s up there.

Michael: Sure it is. [laughs]

Kat: Veronica, what’s your favorite Potter book?

Veronica: Mine is The Half-Blood Prince.

Kat: Oh, all right.

Michael: Ooh, yay, a Half-Blood Prince lover!

Kat: Good choice.

Veronica: Yeah, I love the exploration of the villain. I think that’s kind of…

Kat: Ahh. The villain, right.

Michael: Half-Blood Princes are so rare. Ah, that’s lovely.

Kat: I think that is probably my second favorite book.

Michael: It’s my second favorite, yeah. Prisoner is my favorite.

Kat: Well, duh. We knew that.

[Kristen laughs]

Veronica: You and everybody else! [laughs]

Michael: [laughs] Hey, I’m not going to sacrifice it just because everybody else likes it. I’m no hipster.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But as we move on to the second portion of this chapter, we have another Dumbledore’s Army lesson. Probably – even though it’s cut short – it is a fantastic lesson because it does reveal a lot of things about particular characters because this is the Patronus lesson!

Kat: Well, and you know what I noticed, too? This is only one of two that we see in the whole book, right?

Michael: Yeah, I think there’s a third. There’s another one that’s mentioned.

Veronica: Yeah, they’re all in montage.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Right, and so I was thinking about it. This is one part of the film that they do super well…

Kristen: Oh, I love this part.

Kat: … is the Dumbledore’s Army meetings. They actually do them the justice that they deserve.

Michael: Well, like Veronica said, the book almost portrays them in montage form.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: And that’s a very easy thing to do in film.

Kat: Yeah, but still. I mean, it would have been very easy to just make it a short little thing, but they actually…

Kristen: They show all the animals going around and stuff. It looks so cool.

Kat: Right, I think they do… yeah, they do them really well. I know you hate the movie but…

Veronica You want to give no credit to the movie at all, is what I’m hearing.

Michael: No, I don’t like Order of the Phoenix. It’s not my least favorite. Goblet is my least favorite.

Kat: High five, brother.

Michael: [laughs] But I will say that the DA lessons are actually the strongest points of the Order film because they actually take the time to develop relationships between the characters, especially the new characters, or the characters who don’t get a lot of screen time.

Kat: Agreed.

Michael: So… but we’ll get to that. I have so many opinions on the movie. We’ll get to the movie.

Kat: Soon! A few more months.

Michael: Very soon! Very soon. And actually, the movie is a little helpful in this situation because there’s a few Patronuses that actually get revealed in this chapter, including Cho Chang’s, which actually, when I was thinking about it, is so perfectly fitting and in a way kind of hilarious. Her Patronus is a swan, which… I looked up all of the general symbolism for these particular animals that are brought up. And the main ones that came up for a swan were: graceful, moody, committed, very related to love, and unity. I was just thinking it was hilarious because swans are jerks.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: Yeah, I totally agree.

Michael: [laughs] They’re pretty, but if you provoke them, they will come after you.

Kristen: They’re moody.

Michael: Perfect match-up. We also… we don’t get Seamus Finnegan’s Patronus because he can’t quite do it yet, and his is mentioned in Deathly Hallows. His is a fox, which is often associated with cunning, adaptability, and wisdom, which I thought was… does that fit?

Kristen: Hmm.

Kat and Michael: Sure.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: Seamus?

Kat: I mean, the one who keeps blowing things up. He is super wise.

Kristen: Yeah.

[Michael laughs]

Veronica: They do that in the films.

Kristen: So wise in the art of magic.

Kat: Yeah, he… I mean, not as often as in the movies, but I think he definitely still blows stuff up.

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: No, he has one instance where he blows things up in the book. It’s once. It’s a running…

Kat: I bet there are more. Somebody count.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: Somebody count. Not us. I mean a listener. Somebody count.

Michael: I don’t know. I think Veronica went after that Mars reference; I think she could find the other places that Seamus… [laughs]

Kat: She probably could. That’s true.

Veronica: I’ll google it right now.

Kat: I was going to say: She is a super googler.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Ernie Macmillan, whose Patronus is also not shown, but he obviously learns it in this class, which we will see in Deathly Hallows… his is a boar, which is reflective of a solitary, protective, strong, and stubborn nature.

Kat: Which makes sense for Ernie.

Michael: That one fit pretty good. Luna Lovegood’s: a hare, which she so famously recreated, actually. That is her corsage that she wears in the Half-Blood Prince film. It’s a hare jumping through loops. She made it, too, herself.

Kristen: I didn’t know that.

Kat: God, I love Evanna.

Kristen: That is cool.

Michael: The effort, the sheer effort. And fittingly, a hare is representative of creativity, artistic ability, swiftness… but hares are also reflective of being unreliable. And they are also interestingly connected, in a more literal sense, to the population of snowy owls because snowy owls eat hares.

Kat: Aww.

Kristen: That’s awful.

Kat: That’s a fun little connection between her and Harry, huh?

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: I thought that was interesting because actually, snowy owl populations decrease when there are not as many hares, which… I can’t imagine that happens often because I’m sure hares procreate like rabbits, but… ha, ha, ha. That’s hilarious.

Kat: Yeah, pun was intended.

Michael: Yes, it was. But I thought that was an… it doesn’t really seem to fit… I don’t know if that fits their relationship. Can somebody stretch that to fit Harry and Luna’s relationship?

Kat: No. It’s just a fun little silly thing.

Michael: It just ties in well?

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: Ginny Weasley’s Patronus – which we never, I don’t believe, actually see in the books? But it is confirmed – is a horse, which is reflective of majesty, majesticness, freedom, and a very nomadic nature, moving from place to place, which I thought was funny in tandem with our conversation last week about how many people Ginny has dated.

Kat: Oh. Whoops.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: She is definitely free.

Michael: Just wondering if the connection was meant to be made…

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: I’m sure that is exactly what Jo meant.

Michael: I’m sure it is. If Noah was here I figured that’s how he would interpret it.

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: Aww. He would; that’s true. He would.

Michael: Ron Weasley’s is a Jack Russell terrier, which I thought was interesting to be so specific about the breed, compared to everybody else’s Patronuses. Jack Russell terriers are of course energetic, but also very stubborn, and very easily bored unless you keep them occupied. [laughs] Which I thought was pretty fitting for Ron.

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: And then this is the interesting one: Hermione Granger. Her’s is an otter, which is reflective of a sense of curiosity which definitely fits Hermione. But otters are primarily associated with playfulness.

Veronica: Oh!

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Psych!

Kat: Psych!

Michael: Wrong! Incorrect, try again.

Kat: No, come on. We don’t know Hermione after school.

Michael: Sure we do.

Kat: How?

Michael: She goes on vacation to places like Paris and goes to the historical sites, and all she wants to do is research, research, research.

Kat: No, I’m saying after she graduates Hogwarts. We don’t know what she is like hanging out with Ron in the evenings.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: You know what I mean? Maybe she’s fun and playful.

Kristen: [laughs] I can’t.

Kat: I mean… I don’t know.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Sorry, I’m trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, okay.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: It’s what us Ravenclaws do.

Veronica: Yeah, she does have kind of dork humor…

Kat: Yeah!

Veronica: Jokes that other people find aren’t funny, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not playful.

Kat: Right.

Veronica: This is a stretch.

[Michael laughs]

Veronica: She’s always like, “Stop joking around! Let’s get serious!”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: And speaking of that – I’m just going to cut in on you here – remember when J.K. Rowling talked about her Patronus last month?

Michael: Which is?

Kat: A pine marten.

Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: Yep. Well, I’m going to read some facts because we wrote an article about it on MuggleNet. It says that, “Some fun and interesting facts about this revelation: Pine martens belong to the something [Mustelidae] family, which also includes otters,” which is Hermione’s…

Michael: Ah, the something family…

Kat: Badgers, which is the symbol of Hufflepuff House, and weasels from the name Weasley, of course. In His Dark Materials, Lyra’s dæmon – demon, however you say it…

Michael: Demon.

Kat: … is a pine marten. So there you go. And pine martens also have a fondness for jam and peanut butter sandwiches.

Michael: Aww. [laughs]

Veronica: They’re so cute. You should Google them.

Kat: Yeah, they’re really adorable.

Michael: [laughs] Well, and Rowling has stated that she gave Hermione the otter mainly because otters are actually her favorite animal. And she always says that she associates strongest with Hermione.

Kat: Oh my God, it had been a while since I looked at a picture of a pine marten. They really are adorable.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: They’re so cute. When I heard about it I was like, got to Google it right now. I fell in love.

Kat: It’s like a fluffy, weasel/fox-looking thing. It’s so cute; I want one. They’re probably illegal, but I want one.

Michael: [laughs] You can’t have one.

Kristen: Hagrid will get you one.

Michael: Maybe it will be your Patronus because…

Kat: Maybe.

Michael: … as we mentioned earlier, everybody is looking forward to… there will be a Patronus test…

Kristen: Yes.

Michael: … coming up in the new chapters of Order of the Phoenix.

Kat: She hinted about it, right?

Michael: Yes, she did.

Kristen: Yeah. I can’t wait for that.

Michael: She dropped that on Twitter because somebody was like, “What’s mine? I really wish you had a quiz for that.” And she was like, “Oh, you just wait.”

Kristen: Oh yeah, that’s right.

Michael: She’s cheeky like that.

Kat: Are you on Pottermore, Veronica?

Veronica: I have an account buried deep, deep in my inbox, like the account info.

Kat: Oh.

Veronica: Because I just really needed to know my official House, which I already knew but then, you know…

Kat: But it confirmed it? You got Hufflepuff?

Veronica: Yeah. So I created it for that but then I lost the info.

Kat: Oh, whoops.

Veronica: So yeah, I’ll find it someday. Because now I need my Patronus!

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: Right, right.

Michael: Veronica, is there an official written-by-you test to sort people into the different factions from your stories? Is that a thing?

Veronica: No. I mean, there are a couple around. One was created by the movie people and one was by the publisher, but none were written by me. The reason is because it’s supposed to be a decision.

Kat: Right.

Michael: Mhm.

Kristen: That’s true.

Veronica: But yeah, I don’t know.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: No, that’s a valid point, that it’s a decision…

Kristen: Yeah, I agree.

Kat: … not a Sorting, so to say. Right.

Michael: Have you been asked by… because I actually had the pleasure of hanging out with your friend Marie Lu for a day when I was working on…

Veronica: Yay, Marie! Oh my God, I love her.

Michael: Yes, and she and I talked about how authors these days are asked to put in so much – based on what Rowling has done with Harry Potter – to put in so much extra effort and time and extra work into the world that they created and making things that perhaps they’re coming out with works that they didn’t even perhaps intend to put out after their main series is over. Has that been something that you get asked by fans and your publishers all the time, to just make more of this world that you have?

Veronica: Yeah, I think it’s become fairly standard, and it’s all right except that some people over-write. They write too much and they end up cutting a lot, and then for them it’s just a matter of extracting a deleted scene or expanding on something that they put in but then had to take out. But I under-write so every draft is really short and then I have to expand it, so I have no extra material.

[Michael laughs]

Veronica: So I have to create it all. And I just don’t do a whole lot of planning as noted before, so I always have to dig into the books and research to make sure that what I’m creating isn’t contradicting something I already said. And I don’t have any documents to help me, so…

[Michael and Kat laugh]

Veronica: … next time I write a series, I’m going to create some organized documents.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I bet you could probably call Jo. I’m sure she’d help you.

Veronica: I wonder how she does that, I really do. I want to know what the folders look like.

Kat: The notebooks, right? Yeah.

Michael: I was going to say, if she is to be believed there’s just scattered college-lined paper all over the place with coffee stains everywhere, I don’t know if Rowling’s going to be much help for you. [laughs]

[Kat laughs]

Michael: She was working in the days before Excel spreadsheets, so…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Oh man… still, I don’t care. I would sit there for twenty years if that’s how long it took me to go through that stuff.

Michael: [laughs] Well, and…

Kristen: Same.

Michael: Speaking of that – and I won’t go too far into it because I believe we’ve discussed it a lot on the show already – but listeners, make sure and check out… if you haven’t checked into your Pottermore account lately, head over there and read the amazing little section about Patronuses. There’s a lot of hidden information in there.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: Including the fact that Rowling contradicted herself about how Patronuses work in the Wonderbook of Spells game, and she proceeded to fix it on Pottermore. There is a lot going on with Patronuses that’s absolutely fascinating. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about that spell. It is personally one of my favorite spells, and I’m very upset that Harry didn’t use it to kill Voldemort at the very end of the book [series]. But we’ll get to that later.

Kat: Oh.

Michael: Yeah.

Veronica: Oh man, I love that so much! I wish we could debate this.

[Michael, Kat, and Kristen laugh]

Michael: Did you want that, too? Is that what you wanted?

Veronica: No, no, hence the reason it’s a debate. I think it’s awesome that he uses Expelliarmus. It’s a gesture of mercy that becomes a gesture of strength, which I just think is awesome.

Kat: Aww, that’s sweet. That’s good wording.

Kristen: Mhm.

Kat: You must write books for a living.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But unfortunately this Patronus lesson does have to come to an end, and a bit early because Dobby runs in and warns the group – in a very difficult manner because he’s been told he’s not supposed to – that Umbridge is on her way. And the one interesting thing I wanted to point out about this is that as they’re escaping, Harry scoops Dobby up and gives Dobby an order, and Dobby seems to follow what Harry says, which is, “Don’t tell Umbridge that you told us, and don’t hurt yourself.” This kind of goes back into our discussion about house-elf magic and how it works, because am I right in saying this is the first time that Dobby takes a direct order from Harry and follows it?

Kat: Mmm…

Michael: Is this the first time that happens?

Kat: I think… no, I don’t think so… I can’t remember. Isn’t there something in Goblet?

Kristen I feel like there is.

Kat: I feel like there’s something around the whole… that thing…

Kristen: When they’re in the kitchen…

Kat: The gillyweed… yeah, something…

Kristen: Mhm.

Michael: Well, the gillyweed, Dobby just shows up and does it for him.

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: And he takes that order from Moody.

Kat: Right, but I feel like Dobby… no, there’s definitely something.

Kristen: What about when they’re in the kitchens with Winky?

Kat: Maybe. Something…

Kristen: Don’t they talk about something?

Kat: Yeah, but I don’t think that Dobby is obeying Harry.

Kristen: No.

Kat: I think that Dobby is choosing to listen to Harry.

Kristen: To listen… mhm.

Kat: Because he respects him.

Michael: Ooh.

Kristen: I agree.

Kat: It’s what it comes down to.

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: [as Hermione] “Because he’s a free elf.”

Kristen: Because he admires Harry Potter so much.

Kat: Right. Mhm.

Michael: I just think that’s… as far as we’ve discussed with house-elf magic before, that’s pretty amazing that it overrides Umbridge’s command… for Dobby.

Kat: I mean, Dobby’s a weird one since he’s a free elf, so he can chose to listen to whoever he wants. However, I think that because Umbridge is the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, she’s technically Dobby’s boss. However, since Dobby is “free” he can listen to whoever he wants, and he respects Harry more than he does Umbridge. So I think that’s why he chooses to listen to him and not her.

Kristen: And he has just learned to hurt himself after saying something, so I think…

Kat: Right.

Kristen: He didn’t have to exactly listen to Umbridge so he went and told them, and then he just had to hurt himself because that’s what he’s been trained to do.

Veronica: I think that the saddest part of the whole house-elf thing is watching Dobby, even though he craves freedom and gets it, being unable to break the behavioral patterns that were set by his…

Kristen: Yep.

Veronica: … long time of servitude. It’s so sad.

Kat: It’s so sad.

Kristen: One second to learn it, years to unlearn.

Michael: Which goes back to a discussion we had before about again how house-elf magic works and whether Hermione is right in her platform about that it’s actually… because most wizards seem to believe that that’s just inherently their magic and what they do, whereas Hermione believes that it’s brainwashing. So it sounds like we’re on the side that it is in fact brainwashing at this point.

Kat: Yeah, I think that there is some sort of a generational thing…

Michael: Yes. Yeah.

Kat: … where it’s… Kreacher’s family, they’ve been doing it for so many generations or whatever. It’s ten percent your family and ninety percent environment brainwashing, is what I would say.

Michael: I’d go with that. Yeah. Because that’s been something that’s been hotly debated, including how Hermione approaches her house-elf rights campaign.

Kat: Right.

Michael: Because it’s actually come under more criticism than I’ve ever heard it come under on our time on Alohomora! But think about it listeners, Hermione might actually be on the right track. As we get taken to Dumbledore’s office, a nice little… again, mentioning things that haven’t been mentioned in a while, Willy Widdershins is brought up.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: And this I guess just went completely over my head back in the day, but Willy Widdershins is the individual covered in bandages at the Hog’s Head who was also Muggle-baiting and blowing up toilets as Arthur Weasley mentions. But he is actually – there you go, Kat – here’s somebody who is a confirmed person who is working for the Ministry undercover who should not be.

Kat: No, but he was okay… but no, he’s just a snitch.

Michael: Yeah. But that’s still…

Kat: He’s an Igor Karkaroff, yeah, but he’s not a MacNair.

Michael: No, but it’s still bad. He’s not an official Ministry employee. [laughs]

Kat: Sure. I mean, hasn’t everybody snitched on somebody in their life?

Michael: Well…

Veronica: No! [laughs]

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Funny you should mention that, because speaking of snitches, Marietta Edgecombe…

[Kat and Kristen laugh]

Kat: I did not do that on purpose. [laughs]

Veronica: That was great!

Kristen: Great segue.

Kat: That was great.

Michael: [laughs] Who wrote the “galloping gargoyles” here in…

Kristen: I did because I love that when Fudge sees her forehead, he’s like, “Oh…” Then he goes, “Galloping gargoyles!”

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen And I was laughing so hard that I was like, I have to say that at least once.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael Galloping gargoyles! Why isn’t that on a T-shirt?

Kristen It’s just so funny. Yeah, exactly.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Oh my God, he… oh, God! I just got the best picture of him wearing that shirt.

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: His giant belly, I don’t know…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: It’s just really funny.

Kristen: Ah.

Michael: We do love wizard sayings on this show.

Kristen: Yes!

Kat: We do. That’s not my favorite wizard swear, though. Just for the record.

Michael No.

Kristen: No, but…

Kat: I think “unicorn turd” is my favorite one.

[Everyone laughs]

Veronica Where was that one?

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: So that’s… have you seen the Potter Puppet Pals “Wizard Swears” YouTube video?

[Michael laughs]

Veronica: No, I haven’t seen that one, although I have seen some of those.

Kat: Okay, you should watch that one because it’s pretty epic. I also like “Voldemort’s nipple”.

[Michael and Veronica laugh]

Kat: That’s a good one, too.

Michael I used to be able to…

Veronica: We’re all spent.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: I used to remember the whole long bleeped-out swear, the big swear that Dumbledore does at the end. [laughs]

Kat: Wow!

Michael: I used to remember all the beeps and the “Mickey Mouse soup”.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But my personal favorite from the book though is the unfinished one by Ron in Deathly Hollows with “Merlin’s saggy left…”

Kat: Oh, right.

[Kristen and Michael laughs]

Kat: Right.

Michael: But…

Kristen: Beep!

Michael: Marietta Edgecomb, she’s…

Kat: Right, the snitch.

Michael: Yep. She’s the new… oh, who’s the other girl who has acne? The terrible acne at school?

Veronica: Oh…

Kristen: Oh yes.

Veronica: Eleanor…

Michael: Eloise… Eloise Midgen!

Kat: Eloise Midgen! That’s it.

Veronica: Yeah.

Kristen: Yes.

Kat: Wow, we are bad fans.

Michael: They are going to have to form a club [laughs] of people who just cannot get rid of their acne and are the talk of the town. Because I…

[Kristen laughs]

Veronica: They’ll resort to Bubotuber Pus or however you say that word.

Michael: That is how everybody says…

Kristen: Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: No, I don’t think anybody can say that word the way it’s…

[Kat laughs]

Michael: Boobo… the way it’s supposed to be said.

Kat: Boobatuba… yeah.

Michael: Boob… booba… yeah…

[Kat laughs]

Michael: Nope.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And the other character that gets mentioned in here who we’ll be seeing a lot of is John Dawlish, one of the Aurors who works for the Ministry and is siding currently with the administration. He will become a running joke in that he – poor guy – he is very learned, very smart, very strong, and he will come at the bad end of every single duel that he gets into by the end of the series.

Kat: So there should be a joke about that like, “Oh, you just done a Dawlish.”

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: I’m sure that’s what people say now in the wizarding world.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I’m sure… it’s probably far cleverer than that, but…

Michael: Listeners…

Veronica: I just think he’s like Kenny from South Park.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: Yes! Yes!

Michael: “Oh my God! You’ve just Avada Kedavra-ed Dawlish!”

[Everyone laughs]

Veronica: “You’ve just stunned Dawlish again!”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Oh man, that’s perfect.

Kat: Wow!

Kristen: That’s good.

Michael: Side note: John…

Kristen: I’m so using that.

Michael: John Dawlish – his first name – actually he’s named after John Noe from PotterCast. I believe that he called him and stuff.

Kat: Wait! What?

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] That’s where his first name comes from…

Kat: No! That’s fake.

Michael: Yes! He’s confirmed. Yes.

Kat: Where?

Michael: In one of their podcasts Jo confirms it, I believe, to them.

Kat: Are you sure she wasn’t joking?

Michael: Nope. [laughs] She wasn’t. She gave that to him because apparently he was super obsessed with Dawlish because he felt bad for him. So pick a character, you guys, that you feel really bad for in whatever Rowling books come out and maybe you’ll get them named after you. Just make a connection with one of them. You never know.

Kat: Wow! Props to John.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Go Noe! Nice.

Michael: And I see, Kat, you had a few points actually about this confrontation in here as well.

Kat: Oh, yeah. They’re really silly points, but…

Michael: I like silly.

Kat: Oh, good.

Kristen: I don’t think it was.

Kat: Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know that I’m taking sign language class, and I noticed here that McGonagall mentions (obviously jokingly) sign language. And I was just thinking… because obviously different countries have different versions of sign language. Do you think wizards have their own? Are there deaf wizards? is my other question I guess that’s implied.

Michael: Well, I always… I’ve wondered about this ever since… this was another problematic post that came up on Pottermore, and again Rowling, you’re listening so fix it.

[Kat laughs]

Michael: But there’s a section that she actually put up about “Illness and Disability” in the wizarding world. And she basically said that the easily fixable things like a cough or bad allergies or even more extreme illnesses that we face can be fixed by wizards. And there’s a lot of parallels for disability in the wizarding world; as I mentioned before, Neville’s parents are a reflection of that, as is Dumbledore’s sister. But as far as how… as far as that goes, those are magical-induced disabilities on both of those cases. And we’ve never seen an individual who is… I don’t believe we have seen a wizard who is either blind or deaf, have we?

Kat: No. I mean, obviously Harry has glasses.

Kristen: Mhm.

Michael: In which…

Kat: Not blind, but yeah.

Michael: You would think it would be something to fix, but apparently not.

Veronica: Like wizard laser surgery.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Right.

Michael: Just point the wand right at your eye, and surely nothing will go wrong.

Kat: Oh, boy.

Michael: [laughs] That won’t end badly.

Kristen: I would assume there would have to be deaf wizards because some people are born…

Kat: Yeah, I mean, that’s a human thing, not a Muggle thing.

Kristen: Yeah. Exactly.

Michael: Well – and I am sure you know about this, Kat – if you get into the social aspect of the deaf community there are members of the deaf community who, if given the opportunity to have hearing implants… they don’t want them.

Kat: Right, that’s true.

Kristen: Yes.

Michael: So if you have a wizard who cannot hear who’s going to Hogwarts, and they do not want a hearing aid… yeah, that’s a perfectly valid question.

Kat: They couldn’t have a hearing aid because it’s electronic.

Michael: So it would not even work. [laughs]

Veronica: Or a magical one, though, you know.

Kat: Right. Maybe like that little…

Veronica: Who knows? Dumbledore could do it.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: Dumbledore could do it. That’s a good answer. I was thinking maybe one of those little horns that that dwarf uses in The Hobbit.

Kristen: Yes, in The Hobbit. That’s exactly what I was thinking. I was just about to say that.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: Well, I said it first.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kristen: Damnit.

[Kat, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: And my other point was right here is where Kingsley modifies her memory, and Harry hears him whisper. Okay, Kingsley is totally badass. Why didn’t he use non-verbal magic?

Veronica: Am I alone in feeling like non-verbal magic kind of existed but then randomly appeared a little bit in subsequent installments? I remember being like, “Oh, why didn’t they start learning this sooner?”

Michael: Yes. Non-verbal magic is…

Kristen: Can you use it on harder spells?

Kat: But is that a hard spell?

Michael: No. [laughs] No. He’s not erasing her memory; he’s just modifying it.

Kat: Right. So is it…?

Kristen: Well, are other people going around doing that?

Michael: Well, no, because as to Veronica’s point, in the first book, which has the least continuity as far as spellwork, Quirrell is snapping his fingers and making ropes appear out of the air, which is not okay. That doesn’t work at all.

Kat: That is because Cheryl Klein wasn’t on the case.

Michael: That’s right. She wasn’t there yet. But yeah, no, I think there are issues with the continuity of… especially yes, when it does come to the non-verbal magic, and Rowling… she tries to fix it in Half-Blood Prince. It’s brought up a lot there, but it does not quite cover all the damage.

Kat: Yeah, I guess that was… it kind of felt like Half-Blood Prince she was like… she was like, “Oh, wait, they should be able to do magic without talking. Let’s introduce this right now.” Way too late in the series.

Michael: Could it be perhaps that Kingsley actually did speak it so that a few people in the room would know what he did?

Veronica: Ooh.

Kristen: That’s true.

Michael: I’m amazed, especially with this reread, they got away with this.

Kat: Right, right.

Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: Because I mean, if Harry hears it…

Kat and Michael: Somebody else had to hear it.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, the way this whole plan goes down obviously was not made ahead of time. It just goes so amazingly well, all things considered. Thank God.

Kristen: It’s Dumbledore.

Michael: Thank God Kingsley wasn’t alone. Kingsley is yet another person who[m] I would love to know a lot more about.

Kristen: Oh, yeah.

Kat: I completely agree with that.

Michael: Like Lupin, he seems to be a lot more powerful than he’s given credit for.

Lat: Let’s hope we get as much backstory on Kingsley as we did on Lupin.

Michael: But going back to the main characters we are focused on in this chapter, we get a little more interesting interactions between Dumbledore and Harry, and let’s see, the first point – I just looked at my first point. I’m like, “Voldemort, Harry, and love? What?”

Kristen: Yeah.

[Kat and Kristen laugh]

Kristen: That’s what I was thinking.

Michael: There is a point there somewhere. Oh.

Kat: Michael wants to talk about the entire series all at once.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: That’s the problem with these chapters. We’re getting in to things that end up tying in to the entire series.

Kat: Yeah. It’s true.

Michael: But this particular point I wanted to make is about the issue of when Dumbledore touches Harry physically, and Harry again feels the need to strike at him thanks to Voldemort. If Dumbledore… because what we… and I reread that part to make sure… Harry, of course, is able to keep Voldemort out of his head by having strong positive emotions of love and friendship, etc., etc. If Dumbledore had just shown Harry some kindness and attention this year, do you think it actually could have helped Harry keep Voldemort out rather than the Occlumency? Was it just as simple as Dumbledore paying attention to Harry?

Kat: Oh. Why not?

Michael: And I just wondered because we’re also dealing, of course, with a 15-year-old boy who has a lot of issues going on in his life that are not going to keep him happy regardless. But I just had to wonder, if Dumbledore had shown Harry the affection he needed in this book, would that have just worked without the Occlumency?

Kat: Yeah, hmm.

Veronica: Well, no. Because he is still deep in the pit of his grief, I think, throughout this whole book. So love conquers all or whatever, but it doesn’t magically fix everything, I think. Harry’s dark place would still have been a dark place.

Michael: Hmm. Okay, I’m… I don’t know. I’m still mixed on that one, just because when Dumbledore finally does talk to Harry about how he’s been feeling the whole year and Harry is able to vent, it seems good for Harry, and of course Harry will not have such drastic posessions by Voldemort in future. So I was just… I’m throwing that out there. Something to mull over. Maybe if Dumbledore had played things a little differently.

Kristen: Well, I think he does admit fault at the end. I mean, I really love that because Harry is blaming himself, and he’s just a kid, basically. And Dumbledore is saying, “Hey, if I had trusted you, if I had shared with you, if I had not kept Sirius in this house, if I had… then things would be different.” And it’s just such a great moment for Dumbledore.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: That’s my favorite chapter in the entire series.

Veronica: Yeah.

Kat: I can’t wait…

Michael: That was [unintelligible] Dumbledore.

Kat: The last prophecy, yeah.

Michael: Yeah. It’s one… keeping on track with Dumbledore, where did he go? What was he doing? What happened? He just disappeared. Where’d he go?

Kat: I don’t know. I just like that he mentions… he’s like, “Oh. I could go to Azkaban and break out but what a waste of time.”

Michael: [laughs] Psh, Azkaban.

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: And I’m like, yeah, “Pfft.”

[Michael laughs]

Kat: But how would he break out?

Veronica: With magic.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I mean…

Kristen: He’s Dumbledore.

Michael: [laughs] We’ve already established this, Kat. He’s Dumbledore.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Veronica: Sirius broke out, too. Maybe…

Kat: Right, but that’s…

Veronica: … Dumbledore is a Patro-… or what is that thing called?

Michael: Animagus.

Veronica: Animagus, yes.

Michael: Yeah, maybe.

Kat: But that’s…

Kristen: Well, he knows he did nothing wrong.

Kat: That’s true.

Michael: Yeah, that’s true, so the Dementors don’t have any power over him, yeah.

Kristen: It’s easier, yeah.

Kat: But then why did it stump… if Dumbledore can break out of Azkaban and has a theory on how to do it, why did it stump him so much when Sirius did it, like, “Huh. how did Sirius Black break out of Azkaban?”

Veronica: Yeah.

Kat: “But I could do it in a heartbeat.”

Michael: I’m always still suspicious that Dumbledore knew a little more about what was going on there than he was telling in Prisoner of Azkaban. I always think Dumbledore knows more than he’s saying.

Kat: Yeah, puppet master, right?

Kat and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: As Steve said, yeah.

Kat: Okay, fine. Okay, I concede.

Veronica: But what he was doing… I thought about this all day, actually.

[Kristen and Veronica laugh]

Michael: Good. Because this has been bothering me since this book came out, and it has never been explained.

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: He just leaves for months and months and months, and then he comes back, and he’s like, “Okay, that was fun. I went to Aruba.”

Veronica: What occured to me earlier is that in Book 6 he appears with a lot of information about the Horcruxes that I assume took a lot of investigation to get to. I mean, how do you find the Gaunt shack. That’s so difficult. So I think… my theory is that in these months he was scoping out the situation beause his main goal behind the scenes of the series seems to be figuring out how many Horcruxes there are and how to destroy them and where they are.

Michael: Hmm.

Kristen: That’s what I always thought as well.

Kat: Yeah. And Michael, it wasn’t months and months because we’re in April right now, so really, he was only gone for five weeks.

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: I don’t like when Dumbledore leaves, you guys. It makes me upset.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: It happens in almost every book, though.

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: I know, and I get upset every time. [laughs]

Kat: Oh, okay.

Michael: It’s very upsetting. I just thought that…

Veronica: Really upset in Book 6.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yes. Oh, boy.

Michael: Actually, no. Because when I saw the chapter title “The White Tomb,” I was like “Gee, who would get a white tomb?” [laughs] Little bit of a giveaway. But I just had wondered because Dumbledore… he states specifically in the chapter, [as Dumbledore] “I am not leaving to go into hiding. Fudge will soon wish he’d never dislodged me from Hogwarts, I promise you.” So I thought maybe he was doing something more not so related to the Horcruxes but perhaps more to the immediate need of the current climate.

Kat: I think it’s probably both, honestly. I mean, and that sounds more like a promise than a threat. I mean, I know he says the word “promise,” but you know what I mean, so…

Michael: Yes.

Veronica: Mhm.

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: [laughs] So. And the last point that I wanted to bring up is that we get a few of the portraits doing some pretty interesting things in this chapter…

Kristen: Oh, yeah.

Michael: The first interesting portrait to note is the one who calls the Ministry out for their horribleness, and Dumbledore chides the portrait, and the portrait’s name is Fortescue.

Veronica: Like the ice cream guy!

Michael: Yep. [laughs]

Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: Yep. Yum. Mmm.

Veronica: I didn’t make that connection until I read it again this time.

Michael: Me, too.

Kristen and Michael: Same thing.

Michael: Well, and interestingly enough – and something we’ve never gotten an explanation on – Florean Fortescue disappears in Book 7 because he’s been kidnapped by Death Eaters, and he’s presumed dead. Actually, at this point, most people… there’s no confirmation what happened to him. Is that what the connection…. is that the connection… did we find a connection, you guys? Is Florean Fortescue related to the Fortescue who was a Headmaster of Hogwarts and knows all the secrets of the castle?

[Kristen gasps]

Kat: Maybe.

Kristen: Ooh! That’s cool. I didn’t think of that.

Kat: Yeah. I think that’s a good theory.

Kristen: Sold.

Michael: Write that fan fiction, Veronica, please.

[Everyone laughs]

Veronica: Okay, I’m on it.

Michael: In your spare time.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Right.

Veronica: Yep!

Kat: You know what this makes me think of?

Michael: Mmm! Mhm.

Kat: Butterbeer ice cream…

Michael: Eww.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: … and how hungry I am and how badly I want some right now.

Kristen: Ugh, so gross, everybody.

Kat: Kristen, it is not gross. You are in the majority… I mean, the minority!

Kristen: Yeah, the majority. We all hate… “Down with butterbeer!”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Veronica, have you…?

Veronica: Oh, so good! I had the frozen kind.

Kristen: Oh, okay.

Michael: Oh, you had the…?

Kristen: The only thing that’s good is the white stuff on top. That’s it.

Michael: Veronica, you’ve been to the park?

Veronica: I have, yeah.

Kat: Diagon Alley?

Veronica: I attended Ascendio… no, not Diagon Alley. Isn’t that the new one?

Kat and Michael: Yeah.

Kristen: Yes.

Veronica: Yeah, no. I was at… what is it?

Kat and Michael: Hogsmeade.

Veronica: Hogsmeade. Right? Yeah. Whatever the older one…

Kat and Michael: Yeah.

Veronica: But I went to Ascendio a couple of years ago…

Michael: Oh, okay!

Veronica Yeah, and we got to enter the park and get butterbeer…

Kat: Wait, this is a stupid question, but did you go as “Veronica Roth,” or did you go as yourself?

[Michael and Veronica laugh]

Kat: No, I think she knows what I mean.

Veronica: Interesting question. No, I know what you mean. No, I went as an author, yeah.

Kat: Oh, okay. Fair enough.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: Well, you should go to Diagon Alley. It’s really cool.

Veronica: Yeah, I know. I’m so excited.

Kat: The ice cream is really good. Don’t listen to Kristen.

Michael: Kristen, which ice cream did you have?

Kristen: Mm, [in a Southern accent] clotted cream. So [unintelligible].

Kat: Ugh, see, I didn’t like that one.

Veronica: [in a Southern accent] Clotted!

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: [in a Southern accent] Clotted Cream.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I had the lavender…

Kat and Michael: … and Earl Grey.

Michael: That was delicious.

Kristen: Yeah, that was pretty good, too.

Michael: Oh my God. Florean Fortescue, we love you, and we’re sad that you’re dead.

[Kat blows a kiss]

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Rest in peace, my friend. Thank you for passing on your recipes…

[Michael laughs]

Kristen and Veronica: Yes.

Kat: … to other people.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But yes, Pottermore, Jo, you elaborated on a whole backstory for Celestina Warbeck, [laughs] so I expect a backstory for Florean Fortescue.

Kat: Oh, that’s a good tie-in. That’s true.

Michael: It could happen. And of course, I just have to quote it because it is a fantastic…

Kristen: Oh, yes.

Michael: … probably one of the most remembered lines from the series as a whole – given to Kingsley in the movies because…

Kat: Appropriately so.

Kristen: Exactly, I agree.

Michael: And it works. And it works. But as it happens in the book, Phineas Nigellus says to the Minister of Magic, [as Phineas Nigellus] “You know, Minister, I disagree with Dumbledore on many counts, but you cannot deny, he’s got style.”

Kat: Yes.

Kristen: Sure does.

Michael: And so ends Chapter 27: “The Centaur and the Sneak.”

Kat: I just want to talk about that quote forever. I’m sorry. But we’ll move into the Podcast Question of the Week for next week. Well, it’s this week, but you’ll answer it for next week. Anyway.

Michael: Derp, derp, derp.

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: Derp, derp. Okay.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: So actually, this one came to me pretty easily, surprisingly. They don’t always. But my question to everybody, listeners out there is this: In the final scene of the chapter – the one that we were just talking about – we see the confrontation between the Ministry and Dumbledore. Once Fudge orders Dawlish and Kingsley Shacklebolt to seize Dumbledore, a flash of silver light flitters around the room, and they’re all knocked out cold. So everyone in the room. As Harry, McGonagall, and Marietta wake up, the text notes that “Fawkes the phoenix soared in wide circles above them, singing softly.” The four of them converse – so Harry, McGonagall, Marietta, and Dumbledore – and then Dumbledore takes hold of Fawkes’s tail feather, and they leave. The second they are gone, everyone else in the room wakes up. So my question is “What kept them asleep? Was it the jinx – the silver light flitter thing? The presence of Dumbledore, as the spellcaster? Or was it -which is what I think – Fawkes’s song?” How it said he was singing softly. Or was it all of them together? So you guys know what to do. Listeners, come up with an answer first and then go to, and tell us your answer, and we might read it on the show next week.

Michael: That’s a really good question.

Kat: Thanks.

Michael: Every time I’ve read this – that point where Fawkes is just flying around the room singing – I’m like, “What is he doing?” [laughs]

Kat: I mean, he has to be there for a reason. And she only mentions the… I’m not going to put ideas in your head. Just answer the question, please.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Please and thank you.

Michael: And of course, we must thank our guest, Veronica Roth, for joining us on the show today. Veronica…

Veronica: Thanks for having me. It was so fun.

Michael: It was an absolute pleasure to have you. We hope you enjoyed your time here.

Kat: Yeah, and you are welcome back anytime, so…

Veronica: Aww, thanks.

Kat: You’re very welcome.

Veronica: Maybe I’ll write in a answer to that question now that I’m googling “phoenix.” [laughs]

Michael: [laughs] You wouldn’t have to put your name as Veronica Roth. [laughs]

Kat: Right, is what I was going to say. Right, right. Anyway…

Michael: [laughs] Everybody will just be looking for that one person who’s not all of our regular commenters.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That’s true, and they’d be like, “That’s her! That’s her, I know it.”

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Veronica, why don’t you tell our listeners where they can find you on the web?

Veronica: Oh, I am around at and also on Twitter at @VeronicaRoth.

Kat: Oh. Are you an avid tweeter?

Veronica: Yes.

Kat: Oh, good.

Michael: You got any new stuff coming up?

Veronica: Ah, I am always writing, but for now it’s just for fun.

Kat: Oh, good.

Michael: Oh!

Kat: For fun is good.

Michael: That’s good.

Veronica: Yeah.

Michael: You looking forward to the next movie in your series?

Veronica: Yeah, I haven’t… I was on set a little less this time because they were shooting in Atlanta instead of in Chicago, which is obviously where I live, but I saw a lot of cool things, and so I’m really excited to see how they put it together, but…

Kat: So are we!

Veronica: … it’s pretty early, so…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Right, of course. Well, thank you again, very much.

Veronica: Yeah, thanks guys, so much. This is really great.

Kat: And if anyone out there listening wants to be on the show, much like Veronica Roth today, you know how to do that.

Michael: Write a book!

Kat: Yah, you can write a book.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: No, so you know how to do this. Go over to Visit the “Be on the Show” page. You don’t need any fancy equipment to be on the show. Just even a set of Apple headphones with a little microphone on it will do. That’s it. You’re all set.

Kristen: You can also contact us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN or Facebook at or Tumblr (mnalohomorapodcast) as well as Snapchat at mn_alohomora. Goodness gracious.

Kat: Yeah, we have a lot feeds, I know.

Kristen: You can also Skype us at 206-GO-ALBUS (206-462-5287) as well as audioBoom at…

Kat: Oh, so…

Kristen: I don’t know audioBoom. I always thought you said “Audioboo.”

Michael: We used to, and now it’s audioBoom.

Kristen: Okay. You can also go to audioBoom. It’s free – you just need a microphone – and keep your audioBoom under 60 seconds. That is at

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: Sorry.

Kat: No, that was fine. That was fine to me.

Michael: No, you’re doing so well.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: And of course, we also have our Alohomora! store for you to check out. Plenty of merchandise – we’ve got sweatshirts, long-sleeve tees, tote bags, flip-flops… you may not want those for this time of the year, but those sweatshirts are fantastic for this time. And so many more things, including some fantastic new T-shirts that we have out now. Your Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Slytherin, they are all showing and they are all on that shirt.

Kat: Caw!

Michael: Make sure [to] check those out.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Every time. I really should learn to pause when I say “Ravenclaw.”

Kat: Caw!

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: We also have ringtones that are free and available on the Alohomora! website. Make sure [to] check those out.

Kat: And don’t forget about our smartphone app. It is available seemingly worldwide, as Eric likes to point out. I think I actually wrote that in there, but anyway…

Michael: You did.

Kat: I did.

Michael: And Eric always says, “As we’ve written in the docs.”

Kat: Yes.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Anyway, prices vary depending on your location, of course, and it has things on there like transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and so much more. Like today – there’s going to be a lot of stuff cut out of this show, so if you want to hear it, you should download the app. It’s like two dollars, honestly, and what it does, the proceeds help us keep the show on the air. So thank you [to] everybody who has and will download it.

Michael: And with that, just like Dumbledore, we shall make our quick escape. I’m Michael Harle.

[Show music begins]

Kristen: I’m Kristen Keys.

Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 105 of Alohomora!

Michael: [as Kingsley] Open the Dumbledore, with style.

[Show music continues and abruptly stops]

Kristen: I wanted to say that.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: [as Professor Tofty] Galloping gargoyles! Open the Dumbledore!

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That’s a good one! I like it!

Michael: I like that one, too.

[Kristen laughs]

[Show music continues]

Michael: That’s cool.

Kat: Wait. Okay, finish the episode before we geek out.

Kristen: Okay.

Michael: Okay. [pretends to hyperventilate]

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: Okay, here we go. [laughs] Hold the geekiness in. All right, here we go.

Kristen: [singing] “Are you working? Are you working? I don’t know the rest of the song.” [back to normal voice] I hate it. I work with kids and so we have to now sing… everything I do is some kind of song, and I was singing one song, playing with one of the kids and picking him up and dropping him but safely, and I was like, [singing] “I don’t know the rest of the words to this song, but it’s so great!” [back to normal voice] And I was like, “Man, I really need to catch up on my little kids songs.”