Transcript – Episode 112

[Show music begins]

Eric Scull: This is Episode 112 of Alohomora! for November 29, 2014.

[Show music continues]

Eric: Well, welcome to another fantastic episode of Alohomora! I’m Eric Scull.

Kat Miller: I’m Kat Miller.

Michael Harle: I’m Michael Harle. And our guest today is none other than MuggleNet’s own Keith Hawk.

Keith Hawk: Hey! Hello, guys.

Eric: So, Keith, have you been on Alohomora! before?

Keith: I have not been on Alohomora! before.

Michael: Oh, I didn’t realize that.

Keith: First time, yeah.

Kat: Not for lack of trying.

Keith: No, we tried twice and the one thing I insisted was that Kat was the co-host on the show, so it had to be on one of her shows.

Eric: [laughs] This is your show, Kat, today.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Tada!

Eric: The show is yours.

Keith: No, it’s just because I’m a lengthy talker and she can shut me up quick.

Kat: It’s true.

Keith: She’s about the only one.

Eric: It is a learned art.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: That’s good, Kat, you’re on the episode. You’ve got a lot of lengthy talkers to control on this episode. [laughs]

Kat: I know. I was just thinking that myself, actually.

Eric: Well, Keith, since this is your first time on Alohomora! we have to ask you the same question we ask all of our guests. What Hogwarts House are you in?

Keith: I am pure Ravenclaw, Pottermore related, self-proclaimed. I am an eagle.

Eric: Nice.

Kat: Caw!

Eric: Cool.

Michael: We have…

[Someone makes a loud hawk sound]

Keith: Yeah, I’m a hawk. There you go. It’s close, it’s like a very closely related bird. I think she wanted to actually use a hawk. I don’t know why she used an eagle, but that’s…

Eric: But it’s not a raven. We all agree.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Not a raven.

Keith: We agree.

[Eric laughs]

Michael: Well, and that’s… There’s perfect balance representation of the secondary Houses today then.

Kat: [gasps] That’s true.

Michael: Two Ravenclaws. Two Hufflepuffs. Very nice, very nice. Which…

Kat: Ooh, it’s weird. We almost never have no Gryffindors.

Michael: I know. But that’s okay because it’s made up for in the chapter. [laughs] There’s a lot of Gryffindors there.

Kat: That’s true.

Michael: And speaking of that, this week’s chapter, we want to remind our listeners, is Chapter 34 of Order of the Phoenix, known as “The Department of Mysteries.”

Kat: Ooh.

Michael: Make sure to read the chapter before we head in there this week so you can get the most out of this week’s discussion.

Kat: I want to say a belated happy Thanksgiving to all of our US listeners. I hope your bellies are nice [and] full of turkey while you’re listening to this episode.

[Everyone laughs]

Keith: Gobble, gobble, gobble.

Eric: If you’re in bed or on a couch and you can’t move because you ate so much, we’re glad that you chose us to listen to.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yes, thank you very much for that. Thank you, thank you. Thank you, thank you.

Eric: And as an antidote to all of that food that you just had, here is some soul food, or food for your soul…

Kat: Aww.

Eric: … in the form of comments from last week’s episode. We just have to say that every week on this show we do get so many comments that are all worthwhile and all excellent. In the case of last week’s episode, many, many upset comments…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: … about some of the things that we said about Harry Potter, but regardless, the feedback is always 100% welcome and 100% appreciated. So I do want to say that before we get into the comments from last week’s episode, we did have quite a doozy of an episode and your comments in response did not disappoint. The first one we’re going to bring up comes from Elvis Gaunt. They say,

“The King’s Cross scene in Deathly Hallows has nothing to do with scarcrux.”

There was some discussion about what prompted that whole afterlife sequence in last week’s episode. Elvis Gaunt says,

“When Voldemort used Harry’s blood to resurrect himself, he took in Lily’s blood protection (which is meant for Harry) as well. It ensured that Harry cannot die as long as his blood flows through Voldemort. Thus the famous gleam of triumph in Dumbledore’s eyes.”

So I guess Elvis Gaunt is saying it’s the blood protection that caused King’s Cross to happen.

Michael: Yes. Yeah, we were just getting a little mixed up in the head with that. But to be fair – and perhaps to phrase it better – I would say it is ensured that Harry is given the option to live or die…

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: … because Dumbledore does give him the option to die.

Kat: You either board the train or go back, right?

Michael: Yep.

Eric: Yeah, one of the cool questions that Mindee – our guest last week, Mindee Arnett – raised was, “Does he really die or not at all? If he has the option to come back, does that mean he’s really dead?” So it was a really great discussion last week, and we do want to thank Elvis Gaunt for their comment. There was a lot of discussion on Umbridge, actually, in the comments. There is this huge thread – biggest thread I’ve ever seen on our main site – about Umbridge. But we’re actually not going to talk about that because that comes up in a future chapter, so perhaps we’ll save some of those comments for discussion the next time we see Umbridge. But mercifully, this chapter is Umbridge-less.

Kat: Yay!

Keith: Can I ask a question, Eric?

Eric: Yeah, go ahead.

Keith: As far as that “scarcrux” that they’re talking about from last week…

Eric: Yeah.

Keith: … that only applies if Voldemort… What Michael said about him choosing to go or stay, right? That only applies if Voldemort kills him. I mean, if Bellatrix were to kill him, he’d be dead. Am I right about that?

Eric: I think so because I think the only reason his… I think only his Horcrux could probably only be destroyed by Voldemort.

Kat: But wait, can…

Eric: I mean, this is not the time for this discussion.

Kat: I know, that’s true.

[Michael laughs]

Keith: That’s true. You can erase that.

Eric: I shouldn’t have even brought in this comment, because it’s such a Book 7 thing.

Keith: Right.

Kat: It is.

Michael: You just Dumbledore’d us.

Kat: Good job.

Michael: [laughs] [as Dumbledore] No time for that. Maybe later. Maybe next year.

Kat: [as Dumbledore] When you’re older.

Michael: [as Dumbledore] When you’re older.

Eric: I shouldn’t have brought that in, but let’s just… So yeah, Keith, I agree. There’s actually… I don’t know, I have so many thoughts about what actually… Because I feel like there [are] 15 different things that all cause Harry to have King’s Cross. Like if it wasn’t one, it’s going to be other… But let’s just skip past that.

Michael: [as Dumbledore] Fine, we’ll talk about that in two years.

Eric: Yeah, we’ll talk about that in two years.

Michael: [as Dumbledore] Yes.

Eric: This next comment comes from RoseLumos, who says,

“I know there is a lot of Hermione love and hate in this week’s discussion, but let’s be real – how much time did Hermione actually have to make this whole plan? Maybe 30 seconds before Umbridge was about to torture Harry? Yes, the plan wasn’t the best and had some major flaws[,] but for the amount of time and resources Hermione had I think it was pretty great. I like to think ahead to Deathly Hallows when the trio [was] in a bad situation. They were captured by the Snatchers and had to give them names. Ron said he was Stan Shunpike, which was a bad idea because we know he is already somehow involved with the Death Eaters. He th[e]n says he is a Weasley, which proves that he is associated with the other side. Harry gives a fake name, which almost works and would have given them some time until the Snatchers actually checked the name. Then brilliant Hermione says that she is Penelope Clearwater, who happens to be half-blood and actually looks a bit like Hermione. It’s amazing that she is able to come up with such a good and convicting lie. Even though it doesn’t work, this shows that Hermione definitely is better at lying and coming up with last[-]minute plans than Ron and Harry. So going back to Order, if Hermione did not make this plan to go into the forest, [it’s] clear tha[t] neither Harry [n]or Ron would have come up with anything nearly as clever. So please, don’t give Hermione so much hate. She at last tried, and it at least partially worked. Give her another minute, and she [not only would have solved] their current problem, but she would probably also solve world hunger and world peace.”

Kat: [laughs] Oh, God.

Eric: [continues]

“Give her another day, and she would have also figured out how to put a man on Mars.”

Michael: Whoa, whoa.

Kat: That…

Keith: Somebody loves Hermione. [laughs]

Michael: Whoa. [laughs]

Eric: Well, this is the funniest thing because there was a commenter last week who was criticizing the Hermione worship…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … and so we’ve gone full circle here.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: This is absolutely 360, all the way around the circle. So regardless of your feelings of Hermione, she did have that plan, which got a lot of people hurt in the last chapter. But they were all bad, so who cares.

[Kat laughs]

Michael: To use my metaphor from last week, saying that Hermione has ever done badly on anything is once agin like saying Pixar has made a bad movie, because they don’t make bad movies just like Hermione doesn’t make bad decisions. She’s pretty awesome about 99.9% of the time, and even when her plans aren’t the best. I do not think that plan from last chapter was her shining moment, especially because she had a fairly good plan until the end and then she totally screwed up the whole plan by the end of it. Otherwise, she’s great. And we’re not saying she’s not great. We still love Hermione very, very much, but we can still critique Hermione even though we love her. I think that’s what makes us love her more, is that she is critique-able.

Eric: Yes. We did get this very interesting comment from Matilda McMorrow, who says,

“My other thought…”

This was a continued… I abridged the comment.

“… was about Sirius. Harry would never have been able to live with him even if he’d survived! Harry needed to live with the Dursleys due to the magical protection passed on from Lily. The charm protects him as long as his home is with her blood relatives, and as Sirius is not related to them, moving in with him would break the charm.”

Kat: Right, but of course, we don’t learn that yet.

Eric: Right, however – for some reason, I don’t know, we’re on the same wavelength – I was thinking about this in this chapter because, of course, I’m dreading the moment where eventually Sirius kicks it.

Keith: What?

Kat: Spoilers!

Keith: Spoiler alert!

Eric: Sorry. So Keith, I want to ask you, did you think that Dumbledore…? Going back to Book 3 now, where…

Keith: Wow.

Eric: … they almost have this plan, right? Harry is almost ready to go and live with Sirius, but then Pettigrew escapes and all goes awry. Do you think that Dumbledore would have been kind of happy about Harry continuing to live at Privet Drive, specifically because the protection then is still on him?

Keith: Yeah, he…

Eric: Would Dumbledore have ever put his foot in…

Keith: Yes.

Eric: … and say, “You can’t live with your godfather, Harry”?

Keith: Yes, I would have. When I cosplayed Dumbledore, of course…

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Keith: … I definitely would have said, “No, that’s not happening. You’re going back home to Privet Drive.” I think he would have had to explain a little bit more, though, to Harry at that point in time or to Sirius to make sure that Sirius told Harry, “Listen, you can’t have him living with you at this point because he’ll be vulnerable to Voldemort when he comes back.” And Sirius would have listened to Dumbledore, I’m sure, and then convinced Harry to go back home.

Kat: Yeah, that’s what I think too. He probably would have said, “Listen, you have to stay there for at least two and a half weeks or whatever that timeline is…”

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: … and then be like, “Okay, now you can go hang out with Sirius all you want.”

Michael: Yeah, because we’ve talked about this before about the issue of how long does Harry have to stay at the Dursleys, because it seemed very inconsistent throughout the books because there [are] some days where, as we’ll see in a book about it a few chapters leading to another book, he doesn’t stay very long…

Kat: [laughs] Right.

Michael: … and then he’s off.

Keith: I think it’s just a week or so. You just have to be able to call that place home.

Michael: Call it home.

Kat, Keith, and Michael: Yeah.

Kat: It’s where he returns to, I would say.

Keith: Right.

Michael: But I think that is right, though, that if the potential of Harry living… Even if he did go to Sirius’s just to visit over the summer, if he was there for a fair amount of time, and of course he was treated well there, he would probably come to consider it home.

Eric: But it would no longer have the blood protection.

Michael: Yeah. Which would cause a problem.

Eric: It would still be under the Fidelius Charm, presumably, if it were also the headquarter of the Order of the Phoenix.

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: But anyway, very interesting to consider the what ifs. So next comment comes from AccioPotassium!, who corrects us on a previous…

Michael: I’m sorry, AccioPotassium! I read all these comments and then I went through the chapter and I was like, “Oh my God, they’re right. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, guys. I’m sorry.”

Eric: AccioPotassium!…

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Eric: … has issues with what we said last week, like every other listener.

Michael: I’m sorry. [laughs]

Kat: [laughs] But wait! There were so many compliments on Twitter about how it was the best episode ever, so…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Okay, so…

Kat: There was love and hate, love and hate.

Michael: There’s an episode of Will and Grace where Will says, “I left 30 ‘I’m sorrys’ on your answering machine and one ‘I’m sowwy.'”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yes, yes. Oh, I love that show.

Eric: Well, Michael, get that apology voice ready…

[Kat, Keith, and Michael laugh]

Eric: … because AccioPotassium! is taking us to the bank. Or the cleaner, or whatever that phrase is.

Michael: To the forest because…

Eric: Yes!

Eric: … literally.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: Again.

“There seems to be a false idea floating around that there was a broken promise between the trio and the keeper of keys. After doing some investigation of the last three chapters, it becomes quite apparent that the trio didn’t break their promise to take care of little Grawp.”

[laughs] Little.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: [continues]

“In [C]hapter 30, we get the major dialog over the finer details of Hagrid’s proposal of teaching the small giant. In this conversation, Hagrid seems to be implying that when he leaves his slightly questionable teaching position, he would appreciate the trio teaching English to his little brother.

Hagrid didn’t leave Hogwarts until the end of [C]hapter 31, thus leaving Grawp alone for les[s] th[a]n 24 hours before the giant vs centaur death battle the next day. Harry, Ron, and Hermione didn’t have any reasonable amount of time to meet with Grawp, especially after Harry’s fake dream fiasco. The only evidence that would imply that the trio broke their promise would be their reaction after given the slightly insane prospect of giant-sitting, but both Harry and Hermione seem committed [to] keep[ing] their promise regardless.”

Michael, do you want to field this one?

Michael: The things I will say about this quick are that 1) I did see other people who commented with my same sentiments, so apparently other people thought that there was more passage of time as I did. And 2) because of the way that the narration is written, especially from Harry’s perspective in those chapters during the test – and I suppose you could argue and forgive him because he’s thinking strictly about the testing and what happened to McGonagall the previous night – interestingly enough, when Hagrid is attacked, afterwards there is no discussion about, “Oh, I guess we have to go take care of Grawp now.” That is not on the table at all, and that is something… I think that is where my reasoning for that comes from, is because Grawp isn’t discussed until we see him again.

Kat: I get that. I’m with you on that one, actually, Michael.

Michael: Yeah, I still feel like they may not have actually fulfilled their promise or really been… And I’d say with… As AccioPotassium! said, the sentiment that they leave Grawp with the sense in my head that they really are considering not going to see Grawp.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: So we may never know, of course, obviously, but… unless… [laughs] we’ll ask Rowling. I’m sure that’s one of the most pressing questions she’s ever gotten.

Eric: I’m not… Yeah, it’s not always the answer. Okay.

Kat: This slightly questionable teaching position made me think of the slightly sexist staircase.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: It just made me think of it. [laughs]

Eric: Is that a thing?

Michael: Yes.

Kat: Yeah, you don’t remember that?

Michael: The sexist…

Kat: It was a whole discussion about the girls’ Gryffindor staircase and how they’re slightly sexist.

Eric: Oh yeah, I remember now.

[Michael laughs]

Keith: The other thing I was thinking is that Grawp would have been fine because Dumbledore already knows about Grawp. My belief, anyway, is that Firenze coming from the forest and how he was warning Harry that the project that Hagrid is undertaking will fail, he already knew about Grawp, so when Firenze took over as teacher, I’m sure he told Dumbledore what’s going on.

Michael: Hmm.

Eric: Do you think…? But Dumbledore is not at school. Would he really have been able to provide for Grawp?

Keith: What do you mean he’s not at school? Because he…

Eric: Dumbledore is not at school.

Keith: Yeah, he’s always there. He’s in and out. That room…

Eric: He’s always there.

Kieth: … is locked.

Eric: Maybe he could have prevented Umbridge from being…

Keith: The only time that he actually left is when they were in Dumbledore’s office and he escaped. But then it was sealed up. You don’t think he was in there?

Eric: Eh. That’s a really interesting…

Keith: I think he was.

Eric: I did not expect to think about that today.

Keith: Remember, he can Apparate in and out of Hogwarts. He’s the only one [who] can.

Michael: He’s the Headmaster, yep.

Keith: That’s right. So I mean, his roles are his roles and he can go anywhere he pleases.

Eric: Huh, all right. Well, anyway, that’s very interesting. The second-to-last comment here is from Elvis Gaunt, who says,

“I[‘d] forgotten how they showed the centaurs in the movies, and I just noticed the picture above.”

This is, of course, the picture that we chose for our episode posting on the Alohomora! main site. And continuing the comment,

“Why the *BLEEP* are they so dirty[?] I had the impression that they were well-kept while reading the books. Parvati calls Firenze gorgeous, and a snow-white centaur is mentioned in this chapter.”

Kat: They’re battle-ready and hearty, grr.

Eric: They are… [laughs]

Michael: Yeah, but so are the ones in Narnia and they look prettier [laughs] than those ones.

Eric: Oh, that’s true.

Kat: Well, those centaurs… Oh wait, no. James McAvoy, [which] character was he?

Michael: He was Tumnus, the fawn. But the centaurs are…

Kat: Okay, fawn.

Eric: I forgot that was James McAvoy.

Michael: The centaurs in Narnia [in] the film version of Narnia looked to me more like what I wanted the Potter centaurs to look like. I don’t know why they did the whole thing with the crazy CGI that made them so… And they were… I think in the fifth film, because they don’t actually have a line of dialogue, they felt even more distanced.

Kat: Yep.

Michael: Yeah, I don’t… We’ll get there, Elvis Gaunt, with the film. We will get there. [laughs]

Eric: Oh yeah, in the film. They have dialogue in the film.

Michael: Not in the fifth one. They have one…

Eric: They absolutely have dialogue in the fifth film.

Michael: What did they say?

Kat: Only in the deleted scene, not in the theatrical version.

Eric: No, no, in the movie they talk to Umbridge. They absolutely talk to Umbridge.

Michael: What do they say to her?

Kat: In the deleted scene, in the extended, deleted scene, they…

Eric: No, I’m talking about… I just watched the Blu-ray because I screencapped it for this image, and…

Kat: Hmm.

Eric … now I’m second guessing.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: I’m pretty sure…

Keith: I don’t think they talk in the original.

Kat: I don’t think they talk, mate.

Eric: All right. We’ll have to…

Michael: I’m almost sure they don’t talk in Order, but they do talk in Sorcerer’s and they’re just as weird looking.

Eric: That’s extremely annoying if they don’t talk in the movie. But luckily I won’t be on that episode.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: I think that the movie was going for something very… well, cheap but very direct. They are the beasts. They are the animal that exists to spirit the enemy away and to save the heroes, and so I feel like that is why they are more animalistic. They are just portrayed as these dirty animals, pretty much what Umbridge is calling them, which in the spirit of the books you just think, “No, they are actually majestic people, like unicorns, that should just be awesome and have all the dialogue in the scene.

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: But that’s just…

Keith: Does anybody feel that they look like American Indians almost? Almost like Sitting Bull was Bane? You know what I mean? It had the features, the high-arching cheeks and the long, black hair and…

Kat: James McAvoy? No, I’m just kidding.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: No, I think… No, I see what Keith is saying. I think there’s something to that.

Michael: Yeah, there is.

Eric: I think they look pretty rugged and very Native American-ish in their portrayal, which could be very offensive…

Michael: Well, because yeah, last week when Mindee brought up that there are no female centaurs seen in the book – and Eric, you pointed out that perhaps it’s kind of that idea that they’re a very hunter, gather, warrior class – that could potentially be where they took the imagery from for the films, which is of course very unfortunate. But Hollywood works that way, unfortunately, ladies and gents. It’s horrible, but it does work that way.

Kat: Speaking of Hollywood, I feel like this is kind of the perfect time to announce when our movie watch is going to be because people keep asking about it…

Eric: Yes!

Michael: Yes, please.

Kat: … so what do you think? Okay, so it is going to be a New Year gift to everybody. It is going to be the very first Saturday of 2015, January 3, at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. We are working on some very, very amazing special guests, so be sure to join us. We’ll start the movie at 10 o’clock, and there will be a live show to discuss the movie, a call-in show like usual immediately following.

Eric: Cool. By then we’ll be finished with all of the chapters in the book.

Kat: I know, it’s so… It perfectly lines up that we finish Order at the last week of the year. We do the book wrap and then we start Half-Blood. It’s awesome.

Eric: That’s exciting.

Kat: Holy crap. Guys, we’re almost done with Order of the Phoenix.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Holy crap.

Eric: So on a lighter note than where we went with that dark place we went to with the centaurs…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: The dark and dirty place?

Eric: Yeah. loony_lauren asked us a question on the comments. It was kind of thinking out loud. loony_lauren says,

“Would a bat-bogey hex…”

Which Ginny wields in the previous chapter.

“… work on Voldemort since he doesn’t have much of a nose?”

[Kat laughs]

Michael: That is the express reason he got rid of it. [laughs]

Eric: So I knew that the four of us… While the four of us are very smart, and we pride ourselves on knowing a lot about Harry Potter knowledge, I had to consult a higher authority.

Michael: [laughs] I just noticed the link that you have here.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Eric: Yeah, in order to properly answer this question, I had to consult a higher authority. That higher authority is So as soon as I sourced this comment, I went over to Google and I typed in four words, one question, “Do snakes have boogers?”

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Eric: And, low and behold, I came across has an answer published for the question, “Do snakes have boogers?” The answer is yes, they can. “They sometimes get colds and respiratory problems and have dried mucus blocking their nose holes. It is good to unblock them if you can with tweezers if it is your pet.” I love how that qualifier is like, “If it is your pet, you can…”

[Kat laughs]

Michael: So…

Eric: Otherwise, you probably shouldn’t approach a snake with tweezers. Let’s just…

Michael: So Voldemort would probably love a Bat-Bogey Hex to clear out his sinuses. [laughs]

Kat: [laughs] Oh, God.

Eric: We were grossing out author Mindee Arnett…

Michael: I know. Poor Mindee.

Eric: … last week. We were grossing her out because the Bat-Bogey Hex is actually terrifying. The more you think about it, the more terrifying it becomes.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: So loony_lauren, I do believe that even snakes, with their little slits, could still possibly have a terrifying experience. Plus, I mean if Ginny casts any spell on you, it’s Ginny so it’s probably going to be terrifying.

Michael: You’re welcome, Rowling. We took that one for you.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: On that note, I think we’re going to move into the Podcast Question of the Week responses from our last episode. Just to remind everybody of the question, here it is:

“We’ve presented a few options for how to revise this chapter in regard to the actions taken in the forest, citing uncharacteristic moves by main characters and potentially unnecessary events. Some of our suggested changes included Grawp’s involvement, Hermione’s choices, changing the actions of the centaurs, and even Umbridge. Even the Order of the Phoenix film has presented an alternative.”

You know it’s a feat if they came up with something.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: [continues]

“If you could present an alternative way to make these events play out, maintaining Rowling’s flair for twists and recalling plot elements, would you utilize any of the suggestions presented? In what other ways could you tie everything together to get Harry and Hermione out of the forest and reunite the ‘Dream Team’?”

So there were a ton of amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing comments. Someone even wrote an entire thing of dialogue, and we’re going to read it out for the app. So if you don’t have the app or if you do have the app, go listen to it or buy it if you don’t have it because that’s the only place you’ll be able to hear it, and it’s pretty great. But our first comment here comes from SaiyanGirl – oh, it just made me think of Noah. Hi, Noah! – and the comment says,

“If I had to pick an alternative, I’d have Hermione lead Umbridge to Snape, claiming that Dumbledore hid ‘the weapon’ right under the potion master’s nose. However Snape would have responded, this would have drastically changed the story – it might even have prevented Sirius'[s] death if Snape had reali[z]ed the urgency and knocked Umbridge out for Harry and Hermione and actually listened to them. But this alternative, I feel, would be utterly out of character, as no matter how smart Hermione is, she too can lose her head. In addition to that, none of the trio are wired to trust Snape – Hermione often does defend Snape, but when it comes down to her having to use her guts rather than her intellect, I don’t believe she genuinely trusts him.”

Eric: Can I just say, I love how this hypothetical alternative solution has Snape developing a mean right hook.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Eric: Like…

Kat: Boom.

Eric: … knocking out Umbridge. [makes a punching sound] and she’s down and out.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Eric: That’s cool.

Kat: I mean, I think they were probably implying…

Michael: A punch.

Kat: … with a bell.

Michael: Yeah, that’s…

Kat: But I agree that badass Snape is cool. That might make me like him more.

Eric: Yeah, you know what? That’s true.

Kat: Not that I condone violence, just to make that very clear.

Eric: Well, I think we all kind of look the other way when it happens to Umbridge, right?

Kat: Uh yes, I believe we do.

Eric: At this point in the book.

Kat: So I just like the fact that obviously Snape could have played a much bigger part…

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: … in this whole scenario, and I really liked this option.

Eric: It’s interesting because if Snape gets too involved he risks blowing his cover for Voldemort in later books.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: So that’s something to consider as well when talking about how much can Snape help Harry in this situation.

Michael: No, I like the idea but… And SaiyanGirl even says in the end that kind of I think the biggest reason this wouldn’t happen is because the trio isn’t wired to trust Snape, because Harry even realizes it when Snape walks in the room that he’s like, “Oh yeah, there is another Order member who is still at school.”

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: And I guess the thing that still surprises me is that even knowing how vindictive Snape can be, when Harry gives him the message, it’s pretty obvious to me that Snape got the message because Snape couldn’t actually visually show Harry any clue that he got the message.

Kat: Mhm. Well, I mean he obviously does because he alters the Order when they get there.

Michael: Yeah, exactly, which is why I was surprised that Harry didn’t actually… in that respect that there was no follow-up because it’s not like Snape was inaccessible after the fact. He’s still there, but again it is…

Eric: Oh, you mean like why don’t they check back in with him…

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: … before they get on the Thestrals and leave.

Michael: Yeah, they could have. [laughs] But again, it’s the being wired not to trust him. And like you’re saying, Eric, plot-wise if Harry puts too much trust in Snape, so do we as the reader, which is a mistake.

Eric: At that point, they’ve just been delayed so much that Harry needs to get on to London.

Keith: Yeah.

Kat: And I think if anybody out of the trio was eventually, or even a portion, a small amount was going to trust Snape it would be Hermione.

Michael: Oh, absolutely, yeah. She’s been defending him for the past four books.

Eric: Yeah, yeah.

Kat: Keith, you haven’t jumped in at all. Are you…?

Keith: No, I just can’t see the advantage of going down to Snape in the dungeons. I mean, that’s not going to get rid of the Umbridge toad unless Snape turns her into a toad and uses her for some kind of potion.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Keith: But no, I can’t see…

Kat: That would be awesome.

Keith: … how he could get rid of Umbridge that way, so I don’t really see how that would work.

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: Hmm.

Kat: Well, our next comment…

Keith: I see the next one very well, though, and I was actually thinking that and I was going to suggest it and then I started reading it and I’m like, “Whoa, okay, there it is.”

Kat: Oh, well so RoseLumos took the words right out of your mouth, so…

Keith: Exactly.

Kat: … let me read them for you. This one actually I really love too. It goes back to one of our favorite things to discuss – which is circle theory, of course. The comment says,

“I love circle theory, so I think it would be interesting if Hermione led us out the castle and to the Shrieking Shack. There are a few ways this would work. First, the Whomping Willow could get Umbridge, especially since Harry and Hermione know how to make the branches freeze. They could get close enough to it to either scare her away or hurt Umbridge enough to get her out of the picture while Harry and Hermione escape. If this doesn’t work, they could take Umbridge to the Shrieking Shack. There is really nothing in there to get Umbridge away, but they could always blast a hole in the wall and run into Hogsmeade, where they could find a fire to either try contacting Sirius again or to go directly to the Ministry. Ron also knows about the Shrieking Shack. Maybe he could have seen them walking to the Whomping Willow and figured out the plan. Who knows, maybe Snape would even see them and come to their rescue? I am sure there are more possibilities with the Shrieking Shack but I would love to see another connection between Order and Prisoner. In fact, wouldn’t it be sad if we first met Sirius and then experience the beginning of his death in the same location?”

Eric: Yeah, that would be very sad.

Michael: Love, love, love, love, love.

Eric: I think… Michael, you can speak or I can speak for you. If you can agree with me here that I think this kind of response is exactly what we were looking for in devising the Podcast Question of the Week last week because I think… Did you…? You made it, right?

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: You made it. Then… There was that… Wow, I’m stuttering a lot.

[Kat laughs]

Eric: You made that phrase about her penchant for bringing things back, tying things in.

Michael: Yes.

Eric: I feel like the Shrieking Shack and specifically the Whomping Willow is exactly that over-to-the-side kind of thing that we thought would be really cool if somebody thought of it and brought it back in.

Michael: Yeah, I really… The only thing that would even potentially be a hitch – but in a way I can think of a way around it – is the fact that it takes about an hour to get to the Shrieking Shack through that tunnel. But Hermione takes Harry and Umbridge into the forest for… we are not sure how long, but it is a prolonged amount of time because they go pretty deep in. So that’s…

Kat: Wait, how do we know it takes an hour?

Michael: Because Harry takes about an hour to walk there, so that’s… I think he says that in Prisoner.

Kat: Really?

Eric: I think that sounds familiar.

Michael: Yeah, because…

Kat: Really?

Michael: … he’s going footing it from the castle to Hogsmeade. Hogsmeade is not right next…

Keith: Yeah, but no, that’s to get to Hogsmeade itself. And yes, the Shrieking Shack is in Hogsmeade, but that’s a roundabout way to get there through the gates and all that stuff. You have to go down the hill, past Hagrid’s Hut, out the boars’ gates into Hogsmeade, which is a loop-de-loop. I think it’s more of a direct route. However, you have to be on all fours crawling through most of the…

Michael: Yeah.

Keith: … tunnel…

Kat: Oh.

Keith: … so there is a delay there.

Michael: Hmm.

Eric: And how much of that would Umbridge really have put up with?

Keith: It doesn’t matter. [laughs]

Michael: I think she would have put up with it because she puts up with the forest unquestioning…

Keith: You tell her there’s a secret passage underneath the Whomping Willow and…

Michael: Yeah.

Keith: You have to be secretive about how to stop the trees from moving, so I think they would have to do some kind of charm to get a branch to hit the knot without her seeing it. And then the tree is not moving, they climb in, they make sure that she goes in first, and then they leave, and she has no clue how to operate the tree, so the tree would keep her in there. That’s just how I saw it. And then Ginny and Neville and Luna would join them, and they would go to the Quidditch pitch, get on some brooms, and fly to the Ministry.

Eric: Gosh, you know what?

Kat: But not Ron. Not Ron.

Eric: Well, Umbridge knows the Ministry better than anybody else, so if she were still conscious and not in the captivity of centaurs or in a hospital wing somewhere…

Kat: Hmm.

Eric: … it’s possible that she could come back to London.

Kat: Or she could have seen them or heard them. If she was just inside the entrance to the Whomping Willow and they’re nearby, she could have seen or heard. Our very last comment here is from MinervaLupin. The comment says,

“Of course, we would not know it yet (to be revealed in DH), but Snape would have followed Harry, Hermione and Umbridge as they left the castle and entered into the Forest. He would have let Umbridge deal with the centaurs her way, knowing she would dig her own grave and be taken out of the picture by them, yet he would only have interfered when he saw that the centaurs would attack the children. Snape would then keep an eye on them as Ron and the others arrived and waiting out to see what they planned on doing.”

So it’s a little disjointed, but basically she’s saying – MinervaLupin, I assume, is a female; apologies, if you’re not – that Snape would have followed them out and saw everything that was going on as well as kind of taking key to Harry’s warning, his cryptic warning. Kind of putting more investigative into the situation.

Eric: I think it’s a very real possibility too that if Snape were more involved in the events of the last two chapters that he probably also would have suggested that Voldemort’s vision was a ruse.

Kat: Mhm. Oh, so true.

Michael: Yeah, but I… See, in a way I think that would cause more problems because Harry… It’s one thing to hear it from Hermione, who will… As insistent as she will be and as correct as she is, she will yield to Harry as long as she has enough proof, and she gets enough proof. Snape will taunt Harry… He will… Even if he’s right about it, he will form it in the phrase of a taunt, and he will kind of jive Harry with that and Harry…

Eric: He will handle it wrong.

Michael: Yeah, he would handle it very badly. The idea of Snape watching over, as MinervaLupin put it, while they arrive so that they can confer on the plan, Snape wouldn’t let them do anything. He wouldn’t be interested in hearing a plan. He would say, “Go back up to your dormitory and I will take care of it,” if even that. Snape is too cryptic to be of much help, I think, in this situation, is the problem. And purposefully. He’s given his word to Dumbledore that he’s really not allowed to say very much to Harry.

Eric: So through these answers or through these responses to the Podcast Question of the Week, Michael, did you and I come to this agreement that what happened is probably what was best [laughs] in the previous chapter. Because we just said that Snape probably wouldn’t have been a good fit to help him out.

Michael: No, I want RoseLumos’s version. [laughs]

Eric: Oh, where they go…

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: … all the way to the Shrieking Shack…

Michael: Yes.

Eric: … to find another fire?

Michael: Yes.

Eric: That’s ridiculous.

Michael: I like that one much better.

Eric: Okay.

Michael: Sorry.

Kat: I do.

Michael: I’m sorry, Grawp.

Kat: I’m very intrigued by the concept of Snape partaking more, but there [are] too many complications.

Michael: Yeah, he makes it too complicated, so… [laughs]

Kat: But that’s it. That wraps up our Podcast Question of the Week comments from last episode. Tada!

Eric: Woo!

Michael: And with that, we take flight into Chapter 34.

[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 34 intro begins]

[Sound of a door closing]

Luna: Chapter 34.

[Sound of more doors closing]

Luna: The Department of Mysteries.

[Sound of the room spinning]

[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 34 intro ends]

Michael: The “Dream Team” manages to commandeer a herd of Thestrals, which flies them to the Ministry of Magic in London. Despite the eerie silence that greets them upon entry to the Ministry’s Atrium, Harry and company journey deeper into the Department of Mysteries. There, they come up against the department’s enchanted defenses, which lead them on many false paths, revealing unnerving glimpses into the Ministry’s sinister secrets. After finally discovering the room from Harry’s visions, Sirius is nowhere to be found, but in his place the group finds a strange object that seems meant for Harry, along with a trap they’ve walked right into.

Keith: I seriously have goosebumps right now. Goosebumps, I’m telling you.

Eric: Goosebumps.

Michael: This is the goosebumps chapter, I think. Actually, I have to say, this is probably one of my favorite chapters of Order of the Phoenix, the book that I’m not too crazy about. But this, to me, is a stellar chapter and I think for me it’s because it’s a really great showing of… letting the audience imagine the horrors within. There’s a…

Eric: So it’s thought-provoking.

Michael: Yes, there’s a lot that is unexplained and unseen here, which I think makes it even more fun. And speaking of things that are unexplained and unseen, Thestrals. [laughs] Let’s get back on those…

Kat: Oh, God.

Michael: … for both figuratively and literally for a moment here because Thestrals show up to take the group to the Ministry of Magic. And I wanted to read just a snippet of what Rowling added to Pottermore recently about Thestrals. I didn’t include the whole thing, but if you haven’t read it yet, you should definitely head to Pottermore and check it out, because she did answer Eric’s pressing question about when people can see Thestrals. But in this…

Eric: Didn’t she answer it with another question?

Michael: No, she actually answered it fairly definitively.

Eric: Huh.

Michael: It’s like she heard you or something.

Eric: I’ll go read it.

Michael: [laughs] But this particular segment on Thestrals says,

“While somewhat intimidating in appearance, these carnivorous horses are emblematic of a journey to another dimension, and reward all who trust them with faithfulness and obedience. Thestrals are native to the British Isles and Ireland, though they have been spotted in parts of France and the Iberian Peninsula; they seem to have an association with wizards who descend from the horse-loving Celtic peoples. Other parts of the world have their own equivalent to Thestrals.”

Kat: I have a very ignorant question.

Michael: Oh, please.

Kat: The Iberian Peninsula. Where’s that?

[Prolonged silence]

Michael: Let’s find out.

Kat: Oh, good. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t know.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: It is the third largest European peninsula. It is…

Michael: It’s south of Spain.

Keith: Yeah.

Eric: Commonly called Iberia, it is the third largest European…

Keith: It’s near Gibraltar, right?

Eric: It is located in the extreme southwest of the continent of Europe. So there are three countries in it. It’s Spain, Portugal, and Andorra, and it also… it’s France.

Kat: All right, cool. All right. That’s where I was guessing it was, so…

Keith: So I was close to that when I was on a submarine because I went through the Strait of Gibraltar.

Eric: Did you see any Thestrals?

Michael: Yeah, I was going to say.

Keith: I didn’t. I didn’t see death, though, so no.

Eric: Oh. Well…

Keith: They might have been there.

Kat: Would you see the Thestrals now, Keith?

Keith: Yes.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: I think we all would, right? Didn’t we all confirm that we’d all see Thestrals?

Kat: Mhm. Yep.

Michael: Yeah, so… And I read that passage just to kind of keep in mind some things about the Thestrals with some other questions that I have about them. But I think that’s a very good informative little paragraph there. So the big thing about the Thestrals for me, actually – and with kind of a realization I’ve had with this reread – Luna is actually not in this book as much as you think she is.

Eric: She’s in the movie a lot more.

Michael: Yeah, she is. Which I think is actually a really major positive, considering who they got to play her.

Eric: Yeah, that’s true.

Michael: But it is funny to realize she’s actually not there that much, and I kind of feel like she starts to take her starring role in the book here…

Eric: Mhm.

Michael: … in this moment. Because not only is she instructing everybody on how to get on a Thestral, she herself is riding her Thestral sidesaddle. [laughs]

Kat: Well, the thing is she is the only one who can really equate to anything Harry has gone through…

Michael: Mmm.

Kat: … and I think that’s why she becomes…

Eric: Well, besides Ginny.

Michael: Well, Ginny, on the level of her experiences with Voldemort.

Kat: With Voldemort, yeah, but I think Luna has much more personal…

Michael: Yes.

Kat: … experience with everything that Harry has gone through with his parents and everything.

Michael: But it’s interesting to see that Luna takes so long to take charge when she does. And when she does, like kind of why she’s taking charge where she does. But I really like that, Kat, that it’s perhaps because… The funny thing is Harry is refusing to ask anybody for help at this point. And it’s so important that… They’re all showing right now that it’s so important that he asks them for help. Definitely couldn’t have… I don’t think he could have even managed to leave on his own.

Eric: Yeah, Luna is the one who gets them on to their Thestrals. Like, they can’t see them, so… [laughs]

Michael: Yes, which yet another point. First of all, along with the practicality of riding something you can’t see for miles and miles all the way from Scotland to London…

Kat: Oh my God. I would go…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Oh my God. I… Oh my God.

Eric: So I just have to beat Keith to this reference, but believe it or not, it’s not the first invisible thing that Ron has flown in.

Michael: No, it’s… You’re correct.

Kat: Ba-da-bum. That’s true.

Michael: I know exactly… Yes, please say it, though.

Eric: The flying car.

Michael: Mhm. Yeah.

Eric: Which has an invisibility booster…

Keith: Yeah, but they were invisible too in that. This one here, they’re not invisible like…

Eric: Oh, were they?

Keith and Michael: Yeah.

Keith: So I mean, you can see like… If you were Ron or Hermione or Ginny flying on this Thestral, and you’re looking ahead of you, and you see Harry just floating in the air ahead of you, and Luna just sitting like she’s on a magical carpet. Like, wee!

[Everyone laughs]

Keith: Flying through the air with nothing underneath them. I think I’d be freaking out.

Michael: Yeah.

Keith: Like, “How the hell are you doing that?”

Eric: The Thestrals are not… I mean, they touch down pretty gently, but there are times when they jerk and they go through like the trees and…

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: Harry at one point… When they first… when they’re getting to London and they jerk downwards, Harry looks back to see if anybody has fallen off.

Keith: Well, one of them screams.

Eric: Yeah, one of them screams, and he’s like…

Keith: Either Ginny or Hermione screamed.

Eric: I mean, what would he have done if they were falling? He would have sent the Thestral after them and then tried to catch them in midair, right?

Michael: I’m pretty sure it was Ron who screamed.

[Everyone laughs]

Keith: I would say…

Kat: Valid assessment.

Keith: …one of the girls.

Eric: So Rowling wrote that it was a girl, but it was probably just Ron.

[Kat screams]

Michael: I would scream. [laughs] I do think it’s funny that… And I’m glad we discussed that just because I think it’s kind of almost lightly brushed off once they hit the ground, and Ron is like, “Never again,” and Hermione and Ginny just get off and don’t say anything.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: I’m like, that’s kind of amazing what you three just did. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. No, it’s impressive. But I mean, rightly so. Like Ron wants to see them just because he’s going to have to rely on grabbing hold of them…

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: … for this long journey, but Harry has a line where he’s like, “You should be glad that you can’t see them.”

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: And one of them… I mean, when Harry first gets on his Thestral, it reaches back with its head and continues to lick the blood off of him…

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: … which is still Grawp’s blood, and its fangs are showing…

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: … and just like, this Thestral has fangs! Like, this is terrifying.

Michael: Well, and along with the idea that Hermione and Ron and Ginny can’t see the Thestrals, I did want to ask a big question here. And I’m asking here because I feel like there aren’t really appropriate areas further on in Order to ask it. Although – spoiler alert [laughs] – these individuals – Ron, Hermione, and Ginny – don’t see Sirius die… In the movie, they potentially could have, but in the book they do not. Does his loss no less impress the meaning and weight of death upon these individuals, or will this understanding not hit them until post-Deathly Hallows and…?

Eric: You’re asking if…

Michael: If they could see the Thestrals after…

Eric: …they could see, like if they had to take Thestrals on their way back.

Michael: Yeah. Could they have seen them?

Kat: Umm…

Michael: Will they see them at Hogwarts once they leave?

Keith: They didn’t see death. They didn’t see Sirius die, so no.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: I think it’s just interesting to me because there is still the weight of loss from…

Eric: Right.

Michael: Even if you haven’t actually seen it, because I think…

Keith: That’s not the weight of loss. It’s actually seeing death. I mean, to me a Thestral is one of death’s creatures, you know? It’s…

Kat: Messengers, yeah, in a way.

Keith: Yeah, like a dark angel-type thing.

Michael: Mhm.

Keith: Like when somebody dies, these dark angels come down and swoop the soul out of the person and take it beyond. I mean, that’s kind of how I picture these Thestrals to be part of those type of creatures. So the only way that you can see it is if you actually saw other of-death messengers.

Eric: But see, there’s a reason that that is a little incomplete, is that when Harry sees death, he still goes home at the end of Goblet of Fire and doesn’t see or doesn’t notice the horses. He’s actually…

Keith: Yeah, no, that’s because he didn’t understand it. I mean, he was just a baby.

Eric: Yeah, but that’s the thing. So the weight of loss does play a role. It’s just you have to…

Kat: It does.

Keith: I think it has to be an understanding of what death is.

Eric: But I mean, you can understand death having not…

Kat: Not…

Eric: … directly witnessed it.

Kat: Right.

Eric: So it seems to be both. Maybe it’s not – Michael, to answer your question – just the weight of loss. You also have to see someone die, but…

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: I think you physically have to experience it and you emotionally have to feel it. I think it has to be an all-around understanding emotionally, physically, metaphysically, all of the “-lies.” You have to understand it in order for you to see Thestrals.

Michael: I guess I’m just surprised because even though Ron, Hermione, and Ginny don’t witness this, they are very affected by Sirius’s death and his loss. They’ve been in Grimmauld Place all summer, they saw him that whole time and interacted with him, and he came to obviously mean a lot to them. I mean, Hermione helped him escape, for goodness sake. They’ve been through a lot with Sirius. So to just know that they can’t…

Eric: It’s funny you mentioned that because Neville is with them too, and I don’t feel like they’ve ever squared Sirius with Neville…

Kat: Or Luna.

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: Or Luna, but Luna is kind of like, “Oh, Stubby Boardman?”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah, I have to think that Neville, at some point when they’re all talking about rescuing Sirius, is probably like, “Wait a minute, what’s going on here?”

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: But you know what? He is just so aching to do something important that I don’t think he… I mean, yes, he would think about it, but I think he would still go along blindly.

Eric: I mean, there’s an opportunity in this. They’re like in the 12-door room and they mention Sirius right in front of him, and he doesn’t have dialogue, but it’s like that would be the perfect opportunity for him to be like, “Wait, what?” Because I don’t think they ever quite said that, “Okay, Neville, we are going to actually rescue Sirius…”

Kat: Sirius Black, right.

Eric: “… who, by the way, isn’t bad and isn’t evil and all this stuff, and is my godfather and I love him.”

Michael: And I did notice too that there were some points added. Kat, were these yours?

Kat: Yeah, they are.

Michael: I thought so. [laughs]

Kat: There [were] just a couple of things I was thinking about as I was reading. We all know this is my favorite book, so…

Michael: Yes.

Kat: … I’m anxious to discuss everything that I think of…

Michael: Please.

Kat: … and the one that I’d never thought about before is when they enter the atrium, Harry mentions the Fountain of Magical Brethren and he talks about the witch and the wizard, the centaur, the goblin, and the house-elf.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: Why those races? Why those creatures?

Eric: Well, I think… Hang on, what are the five? It’s a…

Kat: A witch and a wizard, centaur, goblin, and a house-elf.

Eric: Oh, the centaur. The centaur is interesting…

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: … because I think of them as being kind of reclusive, whereas the goblins run the bank, so every wizard interacts with them, and house-elves are in the old magical families as servants. So I think it makes… everybody but the centaur makes a lot of sense.

Keith: Well, house-elves and centaurs have no representation at the Ministry. The centaurs think it beneath them to have a representative in the Beast and Being Division.

Kat: Mhm.

Keith: That was a big controversy in the Ministry, if I remember correctly.

Michael: Yeah, you’re correct.

Eric: Huh.

Keith: Goblins do have a place there and so do wizards and witches, so it’s two against three, I guess. Three there, two not there.

Michael: I’d almost say because the way that Harry notices when he leaves the Ministry and kind of remarks about how the statue actually seems kind of silly, and that a lot of the portrayals are inaccurate to what the creatures would be… Everybody including the witch in the fountain all are subservient to the wizard, Harry notices.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: And I almost wonder if… It’s symbolic of the fact that the Ministry is completely clueless. [laughs]

Keith: Well, what would you have on the fountain? If you made the fountain, what would be your representation of the magical world?

Kat: Oh.

Michael: I was thinking if I did it, I don’t know if I would… I don’t know…

Kat: I don’t think I would put races on there. I think, personally, it would probably be more… something more interpretive.

Eric: I mean, if you look at what kinds of fountains and things are actually in government buildings or what kind of statues and things… I mean, they’re historical figures. I think it does make sense that they would have these creatures if these creatures were, as you say, represented in the government. With the fact that centaurs and house-elves aren’t, that’s kind of what makes it more questionable.

Kat: Yeah, well, if this… Okay, if these were famous witches, wizard, centaur, goblin… if it was like Centaur the Brave, the one who conquered the Niffler…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: You know what I mean. If they were – what’s the word I’m looking for? – pillars of their race, that makes sense to me.

Eric: Yeah, but…

Kat: I don’t know.

Eric: … these aren’t historical, and in fact, it’s actually… So the statue… This may have even been addressed in a future chapter or a previous chapter, but… I mean, it’s meant to signify international magical cooperation, but it isn’t that at all. I mean, the house-elf looks ridiculous with water coming out of both its ears, you know?

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: The witch and wizard have their wands extended or whatever, but… and for the house-elf, the water is coming out of its ears. It’s not… It’s clearly not an equal… They’re not all equals.

Kat: I guess I shouldn’t worry about it because it gets blown to bits in the next chapter anyway, so it’s fine.

Eric: Yep.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And then, Kat, you had another point about entering the Ministry.

Kat: I did, yeah. So… And this has probably been resolved, or it’s mentioned later or something, but when they get down to the Department of Mysteries, the door just opens.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: So all the people that have been sitting outside the door, those were for the Order, right? But weren’t there at some point also people, like Death Eaters, trying to get into it, yes? Yes? Right?

Michael: Yes.

Eric: At one point, they succeed.

Kat: Right, okay, so he’s finally figured out how to open that door. Like someone has told him how to open it, and this isn’t just like…

Keith: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Death Eaters weren’t trying to open that door and get in. When was that?

Michael: Not Death Eaters, a staff. A Ministry staff who wasn’t supposed to be down there, right?

Kat: Right. What I’m saying is that Voldemort and his peeps finally figured out how to get in that door.

Eric: It was his BFFs.

Michael: It was Podmore who was trying to get in, right? Sturgis Podmore?

Kat: Right. I’m just wondering who or why or how all of a sudden this door just opened. Like who, why? Who figured out how to get that door open?

Michael: Hmm.

Kat: That is never said, right?

Eric: There’s a few Unspeakables who work for Voldemort.

Keith: Rookwood.

Kat: Rookwood. If that were the case, though, they would have known that they couldn’t get the prophecy.

Eric: Well, they do.

Keith: They do know that.

Eric: They do know that because Lucius…

Kat: They know that now.

Eric: Well, at the end of the chapter, Lucius waits… Oh, because somebody is injured, right?

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: Wasn’t somebody injured who tried to get the prophecy off the shelf?

Michael: Yeah, that’s…

Kat: Yeah.

Keith: Yeah, Bode.

Michael: … Bode.

Keith: Bode was. Broderick Bode was.

Kat: Okay, but he was [pronounces “Im-pe-rused”] Imperiused, so he’s not… he wasn’t with Voldemort.

Eric: You mean, [pronounces “Im-pe-ri-used”] Imperiused?

Keith: He was [pronounces “Im-pe-rused”] Imperiused. She’s right.

Eric: Huh.

Kat: Dum bum.

Michael: I’ve never heard it said that way.

Kat: Sorry.

Eric: Huh.

Keith: Yeah, he was Imperiused, and by…

Eric: Huh.

Keith: … Pius Thicknesse…

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: Okay.

Keith: No, Pius was also Imperiused. He was Imperiused by Lucius.

Eric: So you guys are really not going to say [pronounces “Im-pe-ri-used”] Imperiused. It’s [pronounces “Im-pe-rused”] Imperiused?

[Michael laughs]

Keith: Yeah, when…

Kat: It’s [pronounces “Im-pe-rused”] Imperiused.

Keith: It’s an Imperius Curse, but once you are… once the curse is upon you, you’re Imperiused.

Eric: That’s fascinating.

Michael: I’m trying to figure out if that is actually a mistake or not, or if there is an explanation for that.

Kat: Okay, well, we don’t have to linger on it. It’s just something that I thought about and was unclear on.

Michael: We’ll just throw that one to the listeners. [laughs]

Eric: Do you think that…? I mean, we’re talking about the front door, right?

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: The front door to the Department of Mysteries.

Kat: Yes.

Michael: Because the door that leads to the spinning…

Eric: Because at this point…

Michael: … room.

Eric: I mean, we assume that Lucius is already there just waiting, or the Death Eaters are there waiting, for them to show up at the right area, at the right place…

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: … and do that thing.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: That comes into place in this chapter. But since they’re already in there, they could have just left the door open. Like, I assume it doesn’t… They did whatever they had to do to keep that door unlocked, and when it’s not… when the protections aren’t on it, it does just swing open at your presence.

Michael: Hmm.

Eric: Like if you work at the supermarket, the automatic door opens for you to get to work.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, and with all of these questions about doors, we take a walk into the…

Eric: Nice transition.

Michael: … spinning corridor room thing, and my first question actually about this room is… Now this seems… This is a whole bizarre thing to me. Why didn’t Voldemort include the fact that the room spins and changes direction in his visions to Harry?

Kat: I don’t…

Michael: This is kind of in the same line with your question, Kat.

Kat: I don’t think he knew.

Eric: Yeah, I agree with that.

Michael: But considering what he learns later on about the rest of the Ministry, you would… And since he does learn about the thing with the prophecy…

Keith: Yeah, but if you’re Rookwood working for Voldemort, all you say is once you go in, you turn left. It’s the third door on the left and that takes you into the Time Room, and then you go through… I mean that’s… Rookwood knows that this thing is going to spin, but in my opinion, these doors stay the same in their location; it’s just a matter of which door you’re going to go through.

Kat: Ooh. See, that’s…

Keith: I don’t see it as revolving rooms, I see it as revolving doors to get you dizzy so that you don’t know which one is which and then… But if you stay still, close your eyes, and let the cycle finish, the same doors are in the same locations.

Kat: Ooh.

Eric: But wait, that’s flawed because Harry does that. Harry…

Kat: Right, that’s incorrect.

Michael: Yeah, that’s wrong.

Eric: Yeah, because Harry knows from his dream… Like in his dream, the door is straight ahead from the door they just walked in to, like walked in through…

Michael: And he goes straight…

Eric: He goes straight when he opens it, and it’s the brain room or whatever.

Keith: Yeah, but there [are] 13 doors in this thing, right?

Eric: Yeah.

Keith: Or 12 doors, or whatever there is.

Michael: Yeah, but the way it’s arranged, there is a door that’s straight ahead of him.

Eric: Well, do we think… I mean, either Voldemort Imperiusing somebody or Voldemort himself would have had to see these rooms in order to supplant these images into Harry’s head, right?

Keith: Right.

Eric: So he or somebody that he got the images from their mind have been through these doors and seen these rooms first-hand, including the Prophecy Room.

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: So I guess the question is just, who was that?

Kat: Well, I definitely don’t think it was Voldemort.

Eric: Right.

Kat: It was probably Rookwood or Bode.

Michael: Hmm.

Eric: In that case, they just… I mean, if it was somebody who already works there, maybe they just didn’t think of the spinning room.

Kat: Yeah, or maybe…

Keith: Well, I think Voldemort told Rookwood, and then Voldemort Imperiused Bode, and Bode just did his commands and ended up getting shocked when he tried to pick up the prophecy.

Eric: Yeah, because this circular room is the one bit of the puzzle that’s left out of the dream.

Kat: Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh. Call on me, teacher? Ooh, ooh…

Michael: [laughs] Yes, Kat? Yes, Miss Miller?

Kat: Actually, I’m thinking that maybe if you’re an employee…

Michael: It doesn’t do that?

Kat: … the room doesn’t spin.

[Eric gasps]

Michael: Ooh.

Eric: If you have your little fob, your little key fob, your little official…

Kat: Yeah! Or it recognizes your… I mean, it’s a smart room, right? So maybe it recognizes your aura or something. I don’t know, some BS like that, but you know what I mean?

Michael: That’s an interesting suggestion because in the next chapter when Harry tries… When Harry is chasing Bellatrix and tries to exit the room, he just says, “Where’s the exit?” and the room gives him the exit. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: Huh.

Michael: So maybe the… Perhaps it is like Keith is suggesting, that the room actually isn’t as complicated as it appears to be. Or it is…

Kat: Yeah, maybe Harry could have just said, “Show me the diamond, sparkly room…”

Eric: Maybe it’s voice activated just like the lift.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Yes! Yeah.

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: Hmm.

Kat: Why not?

Michael: Just without a response voice, because that makes it creepier. Continuing the creepy aura of this room, we noticed that there are… There’s something I’ve noticed that litters the chapter constantly in Rowling’s description are the cold, blue candles that are everywhere in the Ministry. And Kat, it looks like you came up with perhaps [an] explanation or suggestion about the candles?

Kat: I just did a little research on the color blue.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: Because I… The book is blue.

Michael: Yes.

Kat: The cover of the American…

Michael: Yes, if you’re in the US it’s very blue. [laughs]

Kat: It’s very, very, very blue. And I just came up with some words, everything that I read from the articles, that blue is a very rare color in nature, obviously. It’s deemed as expensive. It’s usually…

Michael: Associated?

Kat: Associated, thank you – with royalty and divinity. And most often, it is seen accompanied with the Virgin Mary.

Eric: Oh yeah, kind of like a pale blue.

Kat: Mhm, yep. And there’s no natural dyes of the color blue absolutely anywhere. It’s made from all sorts of other combinations of other elements.

Michael: Ooh.

Eric: That’s weird because it is a primary color, right?

Kat: It is. Mhm.

Eric: Huh. But it doesn’t occur all that often in nature.

Kat: Never in nature, actually.

Michael In a way that adds to why perhaps the blue is used because it’s so unnatural and this whole area is unnatural.

Kat: Mhm.

[Eric gasps]

Kat: That’s what I was thinking. Mhm.

Michael: I thought it was worth noting because we keep seeing these blue candles and Harry keeps noting them kind of uncomfortably. He doesn’t really… The sight of them makes him uncomfortable. But as we open a few of these doors from the spinning chamber, I wanted to just kind of briefly go through the additional chambers that we don’t see too much of but are definitely worth mentioning because Rowling has… Again, my point that the chapter is so great because a lot is not explained about these rooms – Rowling went and explained them. Which kind of ruined it. For me. But [laughs] one of the ones that she only touched briefly on and really didn’t have that much to say on was the memory chamber, or the brain chamber as people have referred to it as. The first chamber that Harry and the company enter, and it is full of… It has a giant tank full of brains. And all that Rowling has commented on this is that the room is for studying memories.

Keith: I thought it was for studying thought.

Michael: Thought and memories, probably.

Keith Okay.

Michael: They kind of tie in. But how do you choose whose brains are in there? What is the process of this room?

Kat: The people who dedicate their bodies to science.

Eric: Yeah.

Keith: I bet you it’s a combination of witches and wizards and Muggles, and they’re probably trying to study why witches and wizards can cast magic and Muggles can’t. They’re probably… There’s some difference in the chemistry of the brain.

Eric: Wouldn’t it be blood, though?

Keith: I guess so. I don’t know.

Eric: Yeah.

Keith: I don’t know, it’s maybe a combination?

Eric: I think… I want to read ahead to the next time when… Because they’re in this room on their way out, right?

Michael: Yes.

Keith: Yeah.

Eric: When the brains attack Ron. Which is terrifying to think that the brain alone has agency and tentacles that go out. That part of it makes it a little bit more terrifying or a little bit less clear to me that this is just a room where they study memory, because I feel like a lot… These brains are not just static; they’re in motion.

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: They’re floating…

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: … to and from, like they’re swimming. These brains are swimming.

Michael: Yeah.

Keith: Maybe Luna is not wrong. Maybe it is Aquavirius Maggots.

Michael: Aquavirius Maggots, yes.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: No, I just like the description how they look like slimy cauliflowers, and I… Yeah, I giggled to myself. I was like, “There’s Jo getting kids to eat their veggies!”

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michael: Anything but.

Eric: I will say, Hermione… I rely on Hermione when we’re in each of these rooms… She even makes this great assessment about the veil in the next room, but in this one, she just says, “They’re brains,” and then somebody asks, “Brains?” And she says, “Yes, I wonder what they’re doing with them.” And it’s just like, yeah, Hermione, you wonder because I wonder what they’re doing with them. What are they doing with people’s brains?

Michael: Yeah, no, that’s exactly why I’m so… Again, this is all show and don’t tell in this chapter, and right off the bat we get this horrifying image of brains in a pot, have no idea what’s going on with them…

Eric: Because I mean, if you’re studying memory, you would probably use your own memories because you can’t just point at a brain and extract a… You can’t target a specific memory from somebody else’s brain…

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: … that you want to study, right?

Michael: Yeah. Which is why I thought it was… Because I was thinking why aren’t there Pensieves in this room for something like that if that’s what they were studying.

Eric: Right.

Michael: But like Keith said, there’s more to study with the brain to wizards than just memories.

Eric: Memories. Mhm.

Michael: And as a side note, Matthew Lewis somewhat confirmed in a 2009 PotterCast interview that the brain scene was at least considered for filming, or was possibly filmed but cut.

Eric: Which is it?

Kat: Huh.

Michael: The way he phrases it doesn’t make it clear, but it suggested that they actually filmed it…

Eric: Huh.

Michael: … and cut it. So there [are] more things to be angry about with Order of the Phoenix, the movie. [laughs]

Eric: I don’t know.

Michael: You could have had a brain.

Eric: Brains kind of creep me out.

Michael: But a room that we don’t get into in this chapter, but is mentioned briefly, is the Space Chamber, where there is just outer space. It would seem to be our solar system because Luna mentions blowing up Pluto.

Kat: Which is so valid.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michael: Sad, sad, but true.

Kat: Didn’t it…? Because, wait, I remember this being super ironic. Wasn’t this book released around the time that Pluto was demoted from being a planet?

Michael: On August 24, 2006, Pluto…

Eric: No, it didn’t happen yet.

Keith: This was 2003.

Michael: … was demoted. Oh my God, she foretold it.

[Eric and Keith laugh]

Kat: She did. So there you go. I remember there was some connection between the two.

Eric: J.K. Rowling, obliterating Pluto.

Michael: What if Neil deGrasse Tyson read Order of the Phoenix and was like, “That’s a good idea”? [laughs]

Kat: [laughs] That’s awesome. [in a sing-song voice] Awesome!

Michael: But not much to say about the Space Chamber. As we know, space is actually a limit for wizards because they can’t go out there, and they don’t know much about it, and they dabble more in astrology than astronomy in some points.

Kat: Wait, why can’t they go into space?

Michael: Because they still will die, ostensibly. [laughs]

Kat: Oh, okay. Well, I thought you meant…

Michael: And they don’t have faster than light travel.

Kat: No, I thought you meant they couldn’t go there at all…

Michael: Oh, no.

Kat: … and I was like, “Whoa! Mind blown.” [laughs]

Michael: [laughs] So that’s the Space Chamber. Then, of course, the Time Chamber. And, of course, the Time Room actually serves another purpose for Rowling. As she says on Pottermore,

“I went far too light-heartedly into the subject of time travel in Prisoner of Azkaban. While I do not regret it (Prisoner of Azkaban is one of my favorite books in the series), it opened up a vast number of problems for me, because after all, if wizards could go back and undo problems, where were my future plots?

I solved the problem to my own satisfaction in stages. Firstly, I had Dumbledore and Hermione emphasize how dangerous it would be to be seen in the past, to remind the reader that there might be unforeseen and dangerous consequences as well as solutions in time travel. Secondly, I had Hermione give back the only Time-Turner ever to enter Hogwarts. Thirdly, I smashed all remaining Time-Turners during the battle in the Department of Mysteries, removing the possibility of reliving even short periods in the future.

This is just one example of the ways in which, when writing fantasy novels, one must be careful what one invents. For every benefit, there is usually a drawback.”

Eric: Huh.

Michael: So the Time Room isn’t here just to be pretty or to blow your mind. It is also to get rid of a very problematic plot point. [laughs]

Eric: Surely there is a wizard or two who is still out in the field, like a Domhnall Gleeson character who is going through time…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … and didn’t bother returning his at the moment to…

Michael: [laughs] There’s one left?

Eric: There’s clearly a few left.

Kat: That’s a spin-off waiting to happen.

Michael: Fan fiction.

Kat: I’m just saying. Yeah.

Eric: It’s like, “Sorry I couldn’t deliver the Time-Turner to you at the end of June in…” 1995, is it? “I was in the Middle Ages.”

Michael: Well, and interestingly enough, actually, Rowling, through Pottermore, explained a little bit about what goes on in the Time Room at the Ministry. She first explained that Time-Turners themselves are actually encased Hour-Reversal Charms. It is a charm to get you back in time, and somehow they can actually physically put that in a thing. And that going back more than five hours wih a Time-Turner according to the Ministry’s studies can cause significant risk to the time traveler.

Kat: Okay, so that basically blows that YouTube video of what should have happened.

Michael: Yes, completely out of the water.

Kat: Out of the water. Which I mean, makes sense because if you could travel back in time 20 years…

Michael: Yeah, you can’t. And the reason you can’t do that, all study of extreme time travel has been barred indefinitely since 1899 when Ministry employee Eloise Mintumble became trapped in 1402 for five days. Her return caused catastrophic alterations to time resulting in her death, as the nearly five centuries she was gone physically aged her as much as well as erasing at least 25 descendants of the people she’d encountered in the past and affecting the passage of time in the week following her return. Tuesday lasted two and a half days, while Thursday lasted four hours.

Eric: What?

Kat: What? Wait a second. She was trapped in 1402 for five days, but then in the parenthesis it says “as the nearly five centuries she was gone”?

Michael: She was gone between 1402 and 1899. They brought her back, but she aged for the entire period.

Keith: Yes, she went five centuries back in time for five days.

Michael: Yeah, so when she was brought back, rather than being five days older like you normally would, she aged all five centuries and died.

Kat: Got it. Thank you.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Time.

Eric: Which is a horrific thought.

Michael: Think the end of Tangled when mother Gothel meets her demise. That’s what they said.

Kat: Oh, God.

Eric: So that’s why the Ministry doesn’t play too far with time anymore. Really, this department has become aesthetic more than anything.

Michael: Yeah, it exists to be destroyed by the kids.

Eric: Yes.

Keith: It’s a shame there wasn’t a DeLorean in 1402. She could have…

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michael: This is cool. This is really cool information.

Eric: That’s the Time Room. And then of course, one of the most mysterious rooms that we don’t actually get to go in: the Love Chamber, also known as the Ever-Locked Room. Actually, Rowling explained exactly what’s in there. This is the room that they cannot get into. They try. Harry even tries to use his knife that Sirius gave him, and it melts in the lock.

Kat: But why? Why does it melt?

Michael: Because it’s such an awesome, world-changing power.

Keith: There’s a lot of power being generated.

Eric: [singing] That’s the power of love.

Kat: But but but but but…

Eric: It’s the power of love, Kat. Love can melt knives.

Michael: [laughs] Haven’t you heard that saying?

Eric: Specifically, love melts knives.

Michael: That’s on every Valentine’s Day card. [laughs]

Kat: I love you so much that all my knives have melted.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Kat: This is why I don’t write for Hallmark.

Michael: I think that is to just speak to the power of the room. As Rowling says, though, she said in her 2008 PotterCast interview, and I believe it’s on Pottermore, but I couldn’t find where it is. She does say, “I think that what’s in the Love Room… It’s the place where they study what loves means. So that room I believe would have at its center a kind of fountain or well containing a love potion, a very powerful love potion.” Which she did confirm in the discussion was Amortentia. So you would see wizards and witches taking it, they would study the effects. [laughs] So that room is locked all the time just to hide the massive orgy that’s right behind the door.

[Kat laughs]

Keith: That’s what I’m saying. There was so much heat being generated, it melted the knife.

Eric: It melted the… [laughs]

Kat: Yes!

Michael: That makes perfect sense. I think we have to go with that, then.

Kat: Oh.

Eric: That’s the Love Chamber. It has also been theorized by the fandom that that is also where they study the protective powers of love, such as the one that was caused by Lily dying for Harry.

Michael: Oh, that’s so cool.

Kat: Aww, that’s cute, okay.

Keith: I don’t…

Eric: See, yeah, to me the Amortentia, no… Apologies to Jo, but that’s just unsatisfactory.

Kat: Weak sauce.

Michael: Yeah, I didn’t like that answer, actually.

Eric: I expect it to be a source of power, much like the veil, we will learn in a moment, was there for centuries. I feel like it would also be the hub, like there’s this force, there’s this door beyond which is just this huge bright light that you almost can’t study. Except for maybe poking and prodding occasionally. But I think of it as the heart of a TARDIS type thing. Where it’s just this crazy powerful force.

Kat: Oh, good Doctor Who reference!

[Keith laughs]

Eric: Or like the island on Lost. Underneath the island, there’s this force, and it encapsulates all the emotion and being and existence. And that force is love. Which you possess in such small quantities that Lord Voldemort can’t [unintelligible] whatever Dumbledore says to him.

Kat: We are so deep…

Keith: I just think that that room is just a simple empty chamber, and it’s the Ever-Locked Room because it’s just a metaphor that you can’t possibly understand love. There’s no possible way of understanding it or comprehending what love is and how it affects you.

Eric: So that’s the room for it.

Keith: So it’s just an empty room. It’s just a symbolic metaphor.

Eric: I love that.

Eric: I really love that.

Michael: Listeners, it is also worthwhile to note that Keith does not subscribe to the theory that everything Rowling writes is canon. And I’m actually not saying that sarcastically or to make fun of him. I actually… It is worthy because his opinions are not informed by what is written on Pottermore; it is strictly the books for Keith.

Eric: And actually, I’m agreeing with you, Keith, on this point. I think that is brilliant. And well, partially, it’s because I don’t like her real answer, right? But…

Keith: I hate her real answer.

Michael: I don’t like it either.

Eric: Well, I think, though, there is something to be said for this is the room where that is being studied. And it’s just like if you create this world, and you create this government that is magical, it’s one step above us in all – they know more about the world than Muggles do – then you have to have a room that deals with this sort of thing. So it’s just the natural “Okay, here’s the room where they do this, here’s the room where they do that. This is love, and I’ve given love some magical powers in this series, so here’s the room where that gets studied. You never have to go in, and it’s always locked; you never have to address it, but it has to be there. Because they’re at the heart of where everything magical is being studied, so that room has to exist. Because that’s just accountability. That’s just accounting.

Keith: Right.

Michael: It’s an audit. That’s one of the things she adresses in her books. It has to be studied there.

Keith: Right, that’s how I feel about it.

Michael: Well, and with that in mind, actually, on page 770 in the US hardback edition, Harry does note, in the spinning room, that “there were around a dozen doors here.” There are at least six other chambers. There are even other doors within the other rooms.

Eric: That’s true.

Michael: There is an implication that some of the doors actually lead to the rooms we’ve already been in and that they’re all connected. But I know Keith wanted to theorize a little bit about what those other rooms in the Ministry in the Department of Mysteries might actually contain because, like you’re saying, Eric, love – such a huge theme, such a mystery to humanity – almost seems like you have to have a room for whatever might be in there.

Kat: Well, yeah, so far we have love, time, thoughts/memories, death, earth, space.

Keith: And what I call gravity. I call it gravity. Just studying the effects of gravity and centripetal force. I mean, I think that’s what that room is studying is that mystery. It’s an unseen force.

Michael: Well, and then there’s the future, the Prophecy Room, which is connected to the Time Room.

Kat: The Prophecy Room.

Eric: Maybe it’s not a room yet, but definitely after the defeat of Voldemort, they need to create a room at the Department of Mysteries for studying [the Disarming Charm].

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: And how awesome it is and how it actually saved Harry’s life every single time he cast it.

Michael: What are the other great mysteries of life that wizards would find interesting to look at?

Kat: What about Gamp’s Laws? Something of that nature, something in that realm.

Keith: Gamp’s Elemental Laws of Transfiguration?

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, like transfiguration and conjuring.

Keith: Well, the five that were given are what? Money is the fifth one, and there was love. Love was the fourth one. Food was one.

Michael: Oh my God, is there a Money Room and a Food Room?

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: “Oh my God,” says the Hufflepuff.

Eric: The principles surrounding a Food Room, Michael, really?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: The Hufflepuff had to suggest that?

Michael: I’m sorry.

Eric: You have enough food across from your common room.

Michael: We love food so much.

Eric: We do.

Michael: It’s just a kitchen. The thing about these rooms that we’ve gone through and the ones that we will see in just a moment are that they aren’t inherently magical rooms. These rooms aren’t magic focused. They are focused on things about humanity.

Kat: Birth.

Keith: I don’t know if that’s magical. I think that’s pretty easy what happens there.

Kat: Did you hear what Michael just said?

Keith: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah, that’s what I mean. I’m looking for…

Kat: Inherently.

Keith: But they’re humanity’s secrets, like studying something that you just. I see it’s something that you can’t see.

Kat: So maybe they’re studying babies. Right. You can’t see babies when they’re on the inside.

Eric: You can with science.

Keith: Sure you can.

Michael: With science.

Kat: Okay, yes, but not… Maybe they’re studying the inside babies.

Eric: Oh, that reminds me. Souls. The mind-body problem.

Kat: Oh, souls.

Michael: Ooh.

Eric: Yeah. The mind-body problem.

Keith: Yep, souls. Yep.

Kat: Ghosts?

Eric: It’s like at what point… Because there’s the biology of the fetus and the baby, but at some point it becomes an individual, if you believe that sort of thing, that we are not just our body, that our mind is a separate entity connected to our soul, or whatever you want to call it. They would definitely be studying souls somewhere.

Kat: Right, so birth and babies and that. That’s what I meant.

Eric: Does your soul come from another plane of existence?

Michael: But do you think that there are ways where they create new forms of life with DNA splicing in some kind of way? Is there a place for it?

Kat: Oh, God. Well, I mean, I was just thinking about the Desk!Pig.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: No, but…

Eric: He has a room.

Kat: That is fundamentally what you’re asking.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely.

Kat: Sure, yeah, why not?

Michael: There is a room where they taste test the Desk!Pig to make sure.

[Eric, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Five star.

[Eric, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Michael: So listeners, I definitely want to make sure to throw that out to you. Think of some rooms that you would think would be in the Department of Mysteries, but one of the major rooms that we walk into is the Death Chamber.

Eric: I think just reading this chapter for the first time in awhile, and Harry is really bizarrely affected by the veil. He takes a really big interest in it, and Hermione basically has to pry him away from it. He forgets about the fact that they are just trying to get Sirius. He thinks Sirius may be in the veil for some reason. But it’s wiggling and moving on it’s own as if there’s a breeze, but there’s not, and it’s just the creepest, weirdest thing that is in this entire book…

Keith: Well, and if you notice the only people who hear things [are] the peoples who actually can see the Thestrals: Luna, Neville, and Harry are the only three [who] actually hear voices.

Kat: No, Ginny says she hears it, too.

Michael: Yeah, Ginny hears them.

Keith: Ginny heard it, too?

Kat: Yep.

Eric: Ginny… I thought it was just Luna and Harry, but Ginny and Neville are seen staring at it. I think Luna…

Keith: Yeah, I don’t know if they heard… I don’t think she actually stated that they heard it.

Eric I think there is…

Kat: Yes! Oh, hold up. It says, “On the other side, Ginny and Neville were staring, apparently entranced at the veil too.”

Eric: Yeah, they’re entranced. But that’s because it’s wiggling. They don’t really hear anything.

Keith: Yeah.

Kat: Oh, no! I don’t think so. I think that they definitely hear something…

Keith: Well, again, you’re assuming. I didn’t read anything in there that said that she heard something. I saw that they were entranced. I mea,n that could be the sculpture of the arch itself for how it’s the dais in the middle of the room that’s just amazing…

Eric: To me, it’s clearly got power. It’s got old power like ancient magic – the kind of stuff Dumbledore does in the cave in the next book. It’s got that kind of magic.

Michael: Well, and I read it the same way that Kat did, where I assumed that the thing that pulls you into the veil and makes you want to look at it or go towards it is the whispers. But Rowling, her particular view on that was, again, in ’08 with her PotterCast interview, she said, “When they surround that veil, I was trying to show that depending on their degree of skepticism or belief about what lay beyond – because Luna, of course, is a very spiritual character. Luna believes firmly in an afterlife. She’s very clear on that. And she feels them speaking or hears them speaking much more clearly than Harry does. This is the idea of faith. Harry thinks he can hear them; he’s drawn on. But Harry has had a life that has been so imbued with death that he now has an uncharacteristically strong curiosity about the afterlife, especially for a boy of 15, as he is in Phoenix. Ron is just scared, as I think Ron would be – he just knows this is something he doesn’t want to dabble with. Hermione – hyper-rational Hermione: ‘Can’t hear anything; get away from the Veil.’ So if you walk through the veil, you’re dead. You’re dead. What you find on the other side, well, that’s the question.” And in regard to Ginny, Rowling said, “I think women are more likely to hear the voices than men. Ginny and Harry really are soulmates. I think she’s like Harry. She’s got an intellectual curiosity, and she’s got something of belief. Hermione is totally rational. [as Hermione] “Let’s all back away from the Veil, and let’s pretend we heard nothing.” See, Hermione isn’t like that, though, in this chapter at all, and I don’t know about this “women are more likely” just because Ginny hears it, but Hermione doesn’t. Hermione is the foil to that immediately. Hermione pulls Harry away, and Ron gets Ginny, but at the same time when they’re walking back up the stairs, Harry asks Hermione what she thinks is in the veil – or what she thinks the veil is – and she just says, “I don’t know, but it’s dangerous.” And I’m thinking, there’s a higher level of study that maybe Hermione has read about older magic. Let’s entertain that possibility. She knows enough to know that that veil is dangerous.

Kat: I actually am with Rowling on this one. If anybody was not going to hear it… It’s hard to articulate into words but…

Michael: No, I think further proof of that comes in Deathly Hallows when we see Hermione’s reaction to the Deathly Hallows and the idea of them.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: I think that, because the veil ties so importantly into the concept of the Hallows. Because throughout all my rereads I’ve wondered where the heck did this veil come from, what was it was made of, did the Ministry make it, did somebody else make it before the Ministry?

Eric: Right.

Michael: And Rowling did confirm in her 2005 podcast interview that “The veil has been in existence as long as the Ministry of Magic has been in existence, and the Ministry of Magic has been around, not as long as Hogwarts, but a long time. We’re talking hundreds of years. It’s not particularly important to know exactly when, but centuries definitely.” But of course via Pottermore, she did confirm that the Ministry of Magic was formally established in 1707.

Eric: Well, I think too, since we mentioned the Hallows a moment ago…

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: … I want to know what the Resurrection Stone…

Michael: Absolutely.

Eric: … if that has anything to do with what’s beyond the veil, if you can pull from beyond the veil.

Michael: No, I think that’s… I did want to mention that because the interesting thing about the Resurrection Stone is it is one of the Hallows. Because thanks to both Deathly Hallows the book, as well as Tales of Beetle the Bard and Pottermore, we at least know that the Elder Wand has properties that are familiar to wizards that it’s made out of. It’s made out of an elder tree or a yew tree or something – elder tree, yew tree – and it’s got a core of a Thestral hair in it. That’s its core.

Eric: Hmm…

Michael: So it’s not necessarily… Hermione believes and Dumbledore also believes that they were not made by Death, that these were made actually by the brothers and that they were very powerful magicians. But we have no confirmation of what the Resurrection Stone is made out of or what magic it is envibed with.

Eric: Okay, so Sirius falls through this veil eventually. If you pay careful attention, you realize he was hit with a green light spell before he falls into the veil, presumably the Death Curse by Bellatrix. So he’s dead, but he went through the veil, and yet he does show up in the forest again when Harry turns the Stone.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: He shows up, but there that might not be… that I feel like is the Sirius from Harry’s heart or whatever, like they are all from inside him – I think they say something like that. They’re like the shadow representations of those characters, those people that he loves, coming directly from his heart and not from beyond this veil where we see as being Sirius’s corpse physically located on the other side of this veil, wherever that is. You know what I’m saying?

Kat: Yes.

Eric: They’re like two different Siriuses.

Kat: I would concur with that completely actually.

Eric: Okay.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: I hope that’s not too “heady” because I feel like the Sirius that’s in Harry’s heart… The Resurrection Stone pulls things out of your own memory of these people because you recall loved ones from death, but that’s the key. It’s all loved ones, so it’s like your memory of them because it comes from the heart.

Kat: Although, that contradicts what happens in “The Tale of the Three Brothers.”

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: Oh, because she didn’t naturally belong in this world or whatever?

Kat: Right.

Michael: Yeah, and actually, Rowling – and I didn’t cite that one, but I did read that Rowling did say that – she actually chose her wording very carefully for that story and said that the wife of that Peverell brother appeared as if through a veil, and she was meaning to connect it to the veil.

Kat: Okay.

Eric: So you could actually… If on the other side of the veil is just the afterlife, then could you bring people through the veil using the Resurrection Stone?

Kat: That’s what I would think.

Eric: You don’t need to be in proximity to the veil to do that?

Michael: No.

Kat: I think the veil is just a gateway.

Michael: If there was the idea that you actually wanted to access Death, I guess you could walk through the veil…

Kat: Oh my God.

Michael: … because it’s implied that you could.

Kat: Right.

Eric: “When you’re dead, you’re dead,” is this quote from J.K. Rowling…

Kat: Right.

Eric: … saying that if you do that, you’re dead.

Michael: Yeah, but if the afterlife is death, if that’s what’s on the other side, then yeah, you’re dead, but you’re also in the afterlife.

Keith: To me this room is the death chamber that you would see in a Texas prison. You’re condemned for life in the level ten dungeons, and instead of going to Azkaban, if you’re committed to a death sentence they escort you into the death room and throw you into the veil and you’re done.

Michael: And I used to think that, especially based on how the room is set up, because it has benches for people to observe and watch.

Keith: To make sure the execution is done properly.

Eric: Wow.

Michael: And it’s suggested that… The imagery to me tied into the imagery from Goblet of Fire with the courtroom.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: But Rowling did say – and Keith, of course you can take this with a grain of salt – but in 2005, she said that the room is just for studying: “The Department of Mysteries is all about studying.” And she did confirm that they do not use it as an execution: “Currently, the Ministry does not use it as an execution chamber.”

Keith: Yeah, currently. That’s the thing.

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: But I would say that there is perhaps the possibility that it was used that way before the Ministry got their hands on it. And then of course, we’ll quickly just romp through this area because we’ll get… This area will stay in here for a little bit next chapter, but there is of course also the Prophecy Chamber, or the Hall of Prophecy. I was going to ask why it’s connected to the Time Chamber, but I guess we all answered it by saying that it’s the future. So, another question I wanted to ask about the Prophecy Room, because there are a multitude of prophecies – at least up to ninety-some rows, probably most likely more – filled with prophecies. And we’ve gotten the sense from the series with individuals like Trelawney that the gift of a true Seer is very rare.

Eric: Mhm.

Michael: But there’s millions of prophecies in this room!

Kat: Well, it doesn’t say millions.

Michael: There’s a lot of prophecies…

[Keith laughs]

Michael: … in this room.

Kat: It says it’s the size of a church.

Eric: Well, it says…

Kat: The ceiling is the size of a church.

Eric: It says it’s as high as a church.

Michael: Yeah, it’s as high as a church.

Kat: Right.

Michael: But we don’t know how large, width-wise, depth-wise…

Eric: If we’re thinking ninety-seven rows – entire rows that take you a while to walk down – I imagine they got the size probably pretty accurate in the movie.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: The way as large as each shelf would be, et cetera… When you think about how small a prophecy is, it does equate in the end to hundreds of thousands, if not a million prophecies.

Kat: But also at this point, if the Ministry of Magic was formally established in 1707…

Eric: In 1707.

Kat: So this is 289 years…

Eric: Maybe they were created and stored somewhere before the Ministry of Magic was established?

Michael: Mmm!

Kat: Maybe.

Keith: I bet…

Eric: And they were just brought to the Ministry.

Keith: I bet you over fifty percent of them are Nostradamus’s.

Eric: [laughs] And the other forty percent are Confucius’s, right?

[Keith laughs]

Michael: What’s the…? That did bring up another question for me. What’s the use of a prophecy after the individual or the individuals involved in the prophecy are dead?

Eric: Well, that’s the interesting thing, because in this chapter some of them are greyed out.

Michael: Yeah. They’re almost dead.

Eric: Some of them have an inner light but others are greyed out. I feel like once the prophecy is no longer relevant to living people, it goes out.

Michael: Mhm.

Keith: Remember, the Department of Mysteries is all about studying, so these things are permanent so that they can study things.

Eric: Well, there’s a limit to how much studying you can do if you can’t take the prophecy off the shelf, though. Theoretically, only Harry and Voldemort and Question Mark could ever take this prophecy down.

Michael: Well, it is…

Keith: Until the prophecy is fulfilled. Once it’s fulfilled I don’t see why you couldn’t.

Michael: Well, it is confirmed that…

Keith: So all the ones that are greyed out could be taken.

Eric: Are they ones that they can study?

Michael: The staff can study them at any time. That’s confirmed, actually; the staff are permitted to study. They are the ones who enchant the orbs to be who they can be touched by.

Eric: That doesn’t really make sense.

Michael: It doesn’t, but that’s the rule apparently.

[Eric laughs]

Keith: Oh, was that a Pottermore thing or a J.K. Rowling thing after the series was already produced?

Michael: I think it might be somewhere in the series actually.

[Keith laughs]

Eric: But if the staff can touch them, then Voldemort doesn’t need Harry there at all because he has a number of the staff members.

Keith: Right, yeah. That’s why they said, “Hey Rookwood, why don’t you go in there since you’re a Department of Mysteries Unspeakable? Go in there and remove that curse and bring me that damn prophecy!”

Kat: Well, maybe…

Michael: Because I found a source that said the staff could study it, but that must be wrong.

Kat: Maybe the staff can touch the grey ones.

Eric: Well, that’s what Keith just said and I agree with that.

Michael: The dead ones.

Eric: The greyed ones are open for study.

Kat: Yeah, I would agree with that.

Michael: But the last point that I wanted to look at is of course the spidery writing itself on the label under the prophecy. The quote exactly is: “In spidery writing was written a date of some sixteen years previously, and below that: S.P.T. to A.P.W.B.D. – Dark Lord and (?) Harry Potter.” And that’s all we get on that. I’m kind of looking at this retroactively because of course we all know what this means, correct?

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: Well, I knew A.P.W.B.D. instantly. It’s a little obnoxiously obvious.

Michael: I didn’t get it. [laughs]

Eric: They go though establishing his name in the courts earlier.

Michael: Yeah, which I thought was clever. Apparently Eric thought it was obnoxious and stupid. [laughs] Because I didn’t get it when I first read it. I had no idea what that meant. The whole…

Eric: It is mighty observant of Ron, of the millions of prophecies…

Michael: Yes! [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: … to just look at one and be like, “Your name’s on this.”

Michael: [laughs] Maybe it’s in the same font as it is on the books with the lightning bolt on the “P” or something like that.

[Kat laughs]

Michael: [as Ron] “Somebody made a font for you, Harry.”

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Eric: Well, the interesting thing I want to bring up is that Ron mentions… Apparently he did some deductive reasoning and he was like, “None of our names are on these.”

Michael: Yeah. Mhm.

Eric: Really, Ron? Did you check all the shelves?

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Eric: But then also, wouldn’t it be creepy if the five of them were all on one prophecy?

Michael: It would be…

Eric: Like…

Kat: Weird!

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: It would be super weird…

Eric: What if all of them, just the six of them, their name was on a ball? That would be pretty cool.

Keith: I wonder how close the other Trelawney prediction is in relativity to this one. Like if they look down the shelf further, would they see “Wormtail will return to the Dark Lord”?

Eric: Yeah. What’s the…?

Michael: Did that one get lost?

Kat: Move to filing system.

Keith: Yeah, it’s a filing system and I’m sure it’s by time of…

Kat: It might not have gotten logged, Michael.

Michael: Because Harry… Yeah.

Kat: That’s valid, because Harry’s the only one who heard it.

Michael: Mhm. And the Ministry doesn’t…

Keith: Oh, come on now, I think that’s a magical thing.

Eric: Yeah.

Keith: I really do. It’s like when you go to the wizarding world and you see the pen writing in that book. Every time a magical child is born, the Hogwarts file is automatically updated. That’s just something that happens. I kind of see it as the same way…

Kat: Yeah…

Eric: I think it’s the same thing with the prophecies, I would agree.

Kat: So how does one encapsulate a prophecy then?

Keith: I think it’s a function of the room. I just think it’s…

Kat: No, no, no, no, no. Like any prophecy out in the world.

Keith: Yes. That’s what I’m saying. I think any prophecy that’s actually made is encapsulated in the room automatically. It’s like, “Oh, there’s a prediction,” and it magically turns into this thing and is labeled.

Kat: In my head canon, it’s a spell like a Horcrux where you have to take the prophecy that was just made and put it into something. Because when it smashes, it’s actually Trelawney’s body that [makes creepy noise] comes out of it and says the thing. It’s like putting a memory in the Pensieve.

Michael: And unlike all the other rooms we visited today at the Ministry in the Department of Mysteries, Rowling has given almost no explanation on this one. The chapter concludes with the group realizing, of course as we saw coming, that they are in a trap. And that is the end of Chapter 34.

Kat: So we’re going to talk about that little question mark on that prophecy.

Eric: Teeny tiny question mark.

Kat: Teeny tiny. So in this chapter, they go into this Hall of Prophecies and Ron coincidentally finds the prophecy that has Harry’s name on it. It’s labeled, “S.P.T. to A.P.W.B.D. – Dark Lord and [?] Harry Potter.”

Eric: Right.

Kat: We know that that question mark at one point related to both Harry and Neville, or seemingly any other child born as the seventh month dies who thrice defied the Dark Lord. Okay?

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: But Neville and Harry, whatever. It was later changed to Harry’s name. Given the enchantments – which I’m going to ask about in a second – surrounding the prophecy and who can or cannot take it off the shelf, and knowing what we do from Dumbledore’s conversation at the end of this book – my favorite chapter, so excited – is there any chance at all, any slight percentage that Neville could still take that prophecy off the shelf? Also, what exactly is enchanted? Is it the ball? Is it the shelf? Is it the piece of paper? Like if somebody changed the piece of paper, would that differ who could pick up that prophecy? So, I guess all of the enchantments, the protective enchantments around the prophecy and what they mean and how they affect who can touch it and all of that. Curious as to what everybody out there thinks. So, you know what to do. Leave your comments over at or send us an audioBoom or voicemail and you just might hear yourself on the show.

Michael: That’s a great question. Well, we’d like to thank our guest, Keith Hawk, for being on the show.

Keith: Hey, thank you very much for having me. I’m glad to finally make it. Book 5, at the end, it’s good. It’s my favorite book, so I really wanted to be on Order of the Phoenix. And I just want to say, thanks for allowing me to be on it.

Eric: We should do this again sometime.

Keith: Great. Hey, if you don’t mind, I do want to throw out two quick plugs. One is that for the fans downloading this show, we will be having MuggleNet’s 2014 advent calendar giveaway event, and I certainly want every listener to be aware of that so that they can jump on board and win some fabulous prizes that we’ve accomplished this year.

Kat: [whispers] Yes!

Keith: We put a lot of work into it and we have some amazing gifts to give away. And then also, if you don’t mind, I’d just like to say please listen to MuggleNet Academia, my show.

Eric: Yes.

Michael: And it is a fantastic show. If you’re kind of looking for more academic exploration of the Harry Potter series, that is definitely the place to go. It’s definitely a really great complement to some of the things we talk about here on Alohomora!, too. Speaking of, if you would like to be on Alohomora! here with us, there is a way to do that. Check out the “Be on the Show!” page at If you have a set of headphones and a microphone and program to record your voice on, you’re all set. Nothing too fancy, but we just want to be able to talk to you when we record with you on the show.

Kat: And in the meantime, if you just want to stay in touch with us, you can find us on Twitter @AlohomoraMN,, [and] on Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast. Of course our phone number is 206-GO-ALBUS – that’s 206-462-5287. And don’t forget our audioBoom, which you can record free over on All you need is a microphone and an Internet connection and please do keep it under 60 seconds. Thank you.

Michael: And the Ministry of course has a gift shop while you’re here, [laughs] for Alohomora! – the Alohomora! store. We have sweatshirts, long-sleeved tees, tote bags, flip-flops if you’re in the Southern hemisphere, and so much more. So make sure [to] check out all the products on our store. We also have ringtones that are free and available on our main website,

Eric: And of course, there is the smartphone app – application, app – which is available on this side of the pond and the other – I love how we say that now. Prices do vary. It’s available for iOS and Android. On this app you can find episode transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and more. I think that does it for this week, I am Eric Scull.

[Show music begins]

Michael: I’m Michael Harle.

Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 112 of Alohomora!

Michael: [whispers] Open the Dumbledore. [quoting from Return of the Jedi] “It’s a trap!”

[Show music continues]

Eric: Oh wait, who dropped?

Michael: Did somebody drop?

Keith: Nobody dropped.

Eric and Michael: Kat dropped. [laughs]

Keith: All right, so much for her controlling me. All right, now…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Get it all out. Get it all out, Keith. What do you want to say?

Keith: Let’s talk about this chapter. [laughs]

Michael: Three unbridled voices.

Eric: Oh no.

[Michael laughs]

Keith: This would be a fun podcast right here.