Transcript – Episode 115

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 115 of Alohomora! for December 20, 2014.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Welcome back, listeners, to Alohomora!, MuggleNet’s global reread of Harry Potter. I’m Michael Harle.

Kristen Keys: I’m Kristen Keys.

Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller.

Michael: And our guest today is New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack. Cora, please say hello to everybody.

Cora Carmack: Hi! I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Michael: We’re…

Kat: Oh, we’re so…

Michael: Oh. Yes, we’re thrilled to have you, just like Kat was about to say! She’s so excited. [laughs]

Kat: I’m sorry, I am. I’m really excited for a million things in this episode.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: Super excited, sorry.

Michael: Well, Cora, tell us a little bit about the books that you’ve written.

Cora: Sure! I write what’s called new adult romance, which, if you’ve never heard of it, is basically a new-ish category that’s about college age characters, bridging that gap between young adult fiction and adult fiction.

Michael: Oh!

Cora: And I have three series currently out in various forms of completion. There’s the Losing It series, which is complete and the Rusk University series, which is ongoing. And I just had a brand new book release this week – that’s my first new adult paranormal romance – and it’s called Inspire. My other books before that have all been contemporary romances, so those are my books!

Michael: That’s fantastic. I think it’s really interesting that you’re participating in, what’s essentially, a new category or genre.

Cora: Yeah, it’s been really a roller coaster. I was one of the first group of authors who were hailed as the people who began the movement, so it’s a fledgling little genre right now, and we’re working on expanding it, which is why I wrote the new adult paranormal to help it expand past that new adult contemporary. It’s only been the most popular thing so far, so it’s definitely been exciting.

Michael: And backtracking from new adult closer to teen and young adult in the world of Harry Potter, what is your House? Because we always have to ask.

Cora: I’m Slytherin, for sure. [laughs] There’s probably a little bit of Ravenclaw in me – I used to say I was a Slytherclaw when I was younger – but I’ve always definitely been drawn to the characters in Slytherin, and Pottermore Sorted me into Slytherin, so it felt like fate. [laughs] But yeah, that’s me!

Kat: Wait, wait, Kristen?

Kristen: Yeah?

Kat: You’re Gryffindor?

Kristen: I’m a Ravenclaw, actually.

Kat: Okay, that’s what I thought.

Michael: We were close to a full set.

Kat: Yeah. Dang.

Kristen: Sorry.

Kat: I was going to say that’s twice because there was a full set…

Michael: … last week. Yeah, that’s right.

Kat: Full set.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: So close.

Kristen: I ruined it.

Kat: I knew you were a Ravenclaw, too, sorry.

Kristen: It’s okay.

Michael: Well, and it’s so great, too, that Cora is here. Because, like Kat, Cora, this is also one of your favorite chapters of this book, right?

[Kat claps]

Cora: It is. I was so beyond excited. I don’t… the noises I made when I got the email from you guys were inhuman.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Cora: I was so excited because I just love this chapter. [laughs]

Michael: Look what we do to New York Times best-selling authors, you guys. Alohomora! makes New York Times best-selling authors squeal.

Cora: No, seriously. I raved. I was so excited.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: I’m super excited for this chapter. It’s definitely my favorite in the entire series, and oh my God, we’ll get there. I’m sorry.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Speaking of this favorite chapter of mine, I want to remind everybody that we are discussing Chapter 37 of Order of the Pheonix, “The Lost Prophecy,” this week. Be sure to listen to it before you listen to this and just read the chapter.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: While you’re catching up on the “The Lost Prophecy,” we’re going to rewind a little bit to some comments left by you, the listeners, on last week’s episode, which was about Chapter 36, “The Only One He Ever Feared,” and the first comment we have is actually an audioBoom comment from Olivia Cantrall, who had a very interesting question about Fawkes and the Killing Curse.

[Audio]: Hi, this is Olivia Cantrall, and I just wanted to leave a comment really fast about how, if I understand it correctly, Fawkes just swallows – in this last chapter – a Killing Curse that’s cast from the wand, or one of the wands, that he wound up actually providing a feather for. And I found it really interesting that he… I know that he can… when he dies, he comes back, which is the mark of the phoenix… but the fact that he was able to swallow a Killing Curse from his own wand, I thought was just really interesting. And I just wanted to leave a little comment about that, and thanks for all you do! I love Alohomora!

Michael: So thinking about that idea that Fawkes, of course, has provided the core for Voldemort’s wand and is killed ostensibly by it and reborn, is there something to that? [Are] there some layers there?

Kat: [laughs] I think it’s really cool that in this instance Fawkes is bridging the gap between them, once again. I don’t know…it’s just… I don’t know if it was meant to be symbolism. Probably not. It was just meant to be an easy way to keep Harry from dying.

[Cora laughs]

Kat: But I like it. I like that Fawkes is here to eat the spell, swallow the spell, and save Harry once again because really, if it [were]n’t for Fawkes and that phoenix feather in the wand, Harry would’ve been in some trouble way before now.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah, that’s true.

Cora: It is crazy when you think about how huge a part Fawkes plays in the series, throughout all the books. All these little things that just add up to… the series wouldn’t actually be the same without him, which is fantastic.

Kat: That’s true.

Michael: Yeah, no, he’s a very… he’s a great non-speaking character.

[Kat caws like a phoenix]

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That was more of a seagull than a phoenix, sorry.

Michael: Was that an impression of Fawkes’s beautiful song?

Cora: What does a phoenix sound like, really?

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I’ve never been able to quite picture the song that Fawkes would sing because it’s described as being unearthly and unreal. I can’t even picture that. But it was a very interesting suggestion, especially considering that Harry and Voldemort’s wands, of course, can’t fight each other when put into direct battle with each other, as we have seen before. But I actually think there is something to that, Kat, like you said, that Fawkes is stepping between them again in that symbolic way. Just because we always like to go under the assumption that Rowling intended pretty much every single thing she did.

Cora: Of course.

Kat: Right, exactly.

Michael: [laughs] So our next comment comes from QuibbleQuaffle over on the main site, and it’s in regard to the discussion you guys had about Lupin and the possibility of whether he could have used an Unforgivable Curse on Bellatrix after Sirius’s death. And QuibbleQuaffle said,

“I found the idea that Lupin might have been able to torture Bellatrix really interesting. I don’t really know whether I agree or not, but it did make me think of the bit in Deathly Hallows where Lupin tells Harry to at least stun people if he’s not prepared to kill, which makes it clear that Lupin definitely is prepared to kill. But the thing that cuts me most about Lupin’s reaction to Sirius’s death is how he’s so committed to just dealing with the practicalities of the situation, making sure Harry and Neville are safe, then going on to help round up the Death Eaters. So running off after Bellatrix would be the complete opposite of this; that’s the part that makes me doubt whether Remus would do what Harry did, but successfully. If he did go running after Bellatrix, though, I can more easily imagine him casting [the Killing Curse] than [the Cruciatus Curse]. Maybe this is just because I can’t and don’t want to imagine Lupin being that cruel to anyone, but I think it’s also because whereas Harry wants Bellatrix to feel pain, but no matter what happens Harry is always resistant to killing people (hence [the Stunning Spell]), Lupin might have been less prepared to torture someone but more prepared to kill. Killing would, to me, seem like the mature, more cynical response than torturing.”

QuibbleQuaffle also noted that they were writing their thoughts as they spoke on this comment.

Kat: That is clear.

Michael: But I did think this was a really excellent continuation of you guys’s discussion, especially in light of the fact that I wasn’t there last week, and I was so glad that your guest last week pointed out that nobody is like, “Hey, Lupin, how are you doing?”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But I was thinking, interestingly, because QuibbleQuaffle referenced that moment in Deathly Hallows where Lupin tells Harry to at least stun people, I was remembering the part in that same chapter where Harry says that he can see the wolf for the first time on Lupin’s face when he loses his composure, and I was like, “Hmm.” So there is an element that the wolf side is there, and it can be brought out.

Kat: Yeah. I don’t have any problem picturing Lupin being ferocious. I think that he is that quiet killer, quite honestly.

Cora: See, I think he has a remarkable amount of control that’s born of battling the wolf inside him, so I think the idea that he would just go… I think he would go straight for the kill when it’s necessary, and he wouldn’t hesitate, and he wouldn’t worry over it because I think he’s so controlled and he’s so intellectual that he would just make the decision, and he would stick to it. At least, that’s how he seems in my head. He’s just… I love him.

Michael: [laughs] Well, and with the discussion about Lupin and his capacity to do that, I was also thinking about, too, and the fact that no one was really thinking of him in this moment. I was kind of disappointed when I realized, too, that Harry really never follows up with Lupin about everything that happened.

Kristen: No, that’s true.

Michael: As we’ll see in the next two chapters, Harry is pretty much running to everybody who can provide him… looking for some source of comfort. You would think Lupin would actually be a really good source for that, having had direct relationship contact with Sirius. So yeah, it seems a shame that Lupin is shunted to the side.

Cora: I wonder if there was a reason for that in that because Sirius was the closest thing Harry had to a father figure, and I think after that Lupin would be the next option. Again, it’s not in the text that we’re reading, but Harry Potter is much bigger than the text, in my head at least. So when I think of Harry, I think it would be painful for him to seek out someone who is even remotely a replacement. At least, that’s how… because… I don’t know. The way that I see Harry’s emotions and that volatile and tendency toward guilt. I think that would be where his head would go, is if he [were] seeking out comfort from Lupin, it was like he was trying to replace Sirius.

Kat: That’s actually a really good point.

Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: I hadn’t thought of it that way.

Michael: No.

Kat: I was thinking, too. I mean, Lupin is severely underused in the books.

Cora: Oh, yeah.

Kat: Severely underused. So I feel there'[re] a lot of missed opportunities just in general for Lupin, is all.

Michael: Yep. Testify. [laughs]

Cora: This isn’t about Lupin, but something in that comment made me think of it. When he’s talking about the fact that Harry tries to cast the Cruciatus Curse because he wants Bellatrix to feel pain, I just think that there’s something really interesting about that because it’s not as if Harry is a stranger to pain; when we think about his life and his journey so far, it is ridden with pain, but I think that there’s something really interesting that Sirius is the tipping point for him, where it becomes too much to take, and I think part of that is because maybe he got his hopes up. I mean, I think he definitely did with Sirius, that he started to see a light at the end of a tunnel, and then that’s just gone. So I think there’s something really powerful about him trying to cast [the Cruciatus Curse] when it’s so out of character for him, but it tells you exactly how much pain he’s in.

Kat: And there’s so much symbolism in the coming chapter with the sun and the light and everything. Ooh, I can’t wait.

[Cara and Michael laugh]

Kat: Ooh, so close. Sorry.

Michael: But no, you’re definitely right, Cora. There’s a future that Harry has imagined with Sirius that he’s never been really able to have imagined before.

Cora: That’s why it hurts so bad.

Michael: That’s why it hurts so bad. Because while Hogwarts is a great safe haven, it’s not a permanent one, and I think Harry knows that. But moving forward from that point, we have two comments – one from skgai and one from Claire Marie – about Harry’s possession by Voldemort and the discussion you guys had last week about exactly how Voldemort was possessing him and what it meant. Skgai started by quoting the book:

“Harry did not know where his body ended and the creature’s began: They were fused together, bound by pain, and there was no escape.”

Skgai says,

“This is such a powerful line and is as illuminating as the ‘gleam of triumph’ line. Firstly, this, to me, describes what a [H]orcrux physically looks like in some sixth or seventh dimension. Undestroyed, Voldemort’s has the appearance of a snake, while Harry’s soul seems to be just Harry, no more no less. These two opposites become fused together yet are bound by pain. Like what is right and [what is] easy, both come with pain [-] one unforeseen and undefeatable and the other chosen and therefore winnable. Or maybe love and hate; again, both have pain, but hate’s pain festers and grows, while love’s pain, when accepted, can become worthwhile and enriching. Until Harry finally eradicates Voldemort’s influence of hate and egoism, he can never escape this. Likewise, as Voldemort has unknowingly chosen to tether himself to Harry, he can never escape Harry’s love and altruism. This is the epitomical line of the whole series, snuck right into Book 5, where, to my knowledge, readers never picked it out [for] its truth worth. Once one discovers what a Horcrux is and [goes] back and read[s] this line, it proves what the real connection is between Harry and Voldemort. I love this line!”

So I thought that was a great…

Kat: Oh!

[Michael laughs]

Kat: No, that’s… wow.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: That’s good, that’s good.

[Cora laughs]

Michael: Yeah. It’s interesting to think that this… because that definitely… because, Kat, I know, last week you really latched onto this line as far as the interpretation of the word “creature” in that line and what that means, but that great way of saying that the creature’s literally the embodiment… that’s what the Horcrux is: It’s a creature; it’s a parasite.

Kat: Right, and I even brought up… I said, I wonder if it’s that little dead… the Volde-baby, and that… it could be. Oh, that’s… oh…

Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: This is good, skgai. Props. Good job.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: Yeah, I thought that was a really great deconstruction, and Claire Marie, on the main site, also added… put forth the suggestion,

“Is the whole ‘Harry could not tell where his body ended and the creature’s body began…’ thing an allusion […] to the ‘In essence divided’ comment from Dumbledore? Through the language in the book, I was brought back to Dumbledore’s office, where the snake has a single tail but two distinct heads. Harry was still able to maintain his own mind and have his own thoughts, but he felt himself being used by Voldemort because of the connection/possession/nonsense that was happening. I had never caught that this could perhaps be a real event using the same illustration we were shown in Dumbledore’s office.”

Kat: Hmm.

Michael: So once again recalling the previous imagery we’ve gotten from Rowling in this book with the two snakes, of course, in Dumbledore’s office.

Kat: Wow.

Michael: Which I also thought was great because I’ve noticed with this reread more than any other that Order of the Phoenix is kind of the first of the series where Rowling puts in a lot of imagery that she does not bother to explain, in this book or in future, with one of those being the two-headed snakes.

Kat: Yeah, it’s definitely one of the most mystical.

Michael: Yeah, yeah, it just goes by without really… none of the characters… Harry doesn’t ask at any point, “What was that thing with the two-headed snakes that you showed me?”

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: It’s never explicitly stated. So I really liked that idea, that perhaps the symbolism is just getting a little more… it’s moving away from explanation.

Cora: Right, yeah.

Kristen: I like that. I never thought about that.

Cora: Yeah, that’s one of the things that made this book, back when I was reading it in real time when I had to wait [laughs] between the books, that made this book so fun to hypothesize after because there was just so much possibility in reading into all that symbolism that wasn’t answered. Like you said, there was just so much to dig into, and that was, for me at least, the moment when I went from being a Harry Potter fan to Harry Potter obsessed was when I got to dig in, and I just needed the answers so badly.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, no, well, and what’s neat to see, too, is that here we have two different suggestions here about the same moment, so we’re still coming upon that with these books.

Cora: And they both feel plausible within the world, too.

Michael: Yes. Yeah, they’re textually supported, which is always good. So thank you both, Claire Marie and skgai, for those excellent interpretations on that very fascinating line, which I’m sure the listeners can come up with even more interpretations. And I did have to pull another main site comment from skgai just because I thought it was worth mentioning. It was kind of glossed over but lightly mentioned last week, but skgai said,

“Nice one, Voldy! No monologue; just a simple insult to Harry and then, Bam!, you dead. This part [-] where Voldemort, after realizing the prophecy is smashed and wastes hardly a word before deciding ‘screw this; I’ll just end it now’ [-] always gave me a ton of respect to him. Finally, a super-villain who knows how to win.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That’s true, yeah.

Michael: I did really… every time I read that part, it is funny because it’s like, “You have done this to me for how many years now? I’ve learned that I’m not going to tell any stories. We’re just going to kill…”

[Cora laughs]

Michael: And the one time he finally does that, Dumbledore is like, “No, I have really good timing on this one.”

[Cora, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Michael: And that’s why Voldemort never tried to directly kill Harry ever again. We have our answer, why he just decided to just go back to long, drawn-out monologues after…

Kat: The monologuing.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Have we learned nothing from The Incredibles, right?

[Cora and Kristen laugh]

Michael: But I did want to throw a few shout-outs out there to our listeners for some of the great comments that were left that I couldn’t include: daveybjones999, DolphinPatronus, Efthymia, Ellen Dawn, GobblingFire, The Half-Blood Princess, Hufflepug, JILLIAN MURPHY, NimbusSword92, PixieDragon137, Saiyangirl, SpinnersEnd, They’ve Taken My Wheezy!, which is a fantastic…

Kat: Oh, that’s a new one!

Kristen: [laughs] I like that.

Michael: By the way, They’ve Taken My Wheezy!, I read your profile, and we’re compatible; let’s make that happen.

[Cora, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Michael: And UmbridgeRage. You all left excellent comments, and I wanted to do what I’m calling a Shout-out Maxima to some of you whose points very closely made it into the discussion.

[Kat laughs]

Michael: I just didn’t have the time for them, but there were some excellent discussions that I wanted to highlight. Claire Marie had a great comment about Dumbledore’s puppeteering of the Fountain of Magical Brethren. DisKid did a great comment on Fudge as a conspiracy theorist. ISeeThestrals pointed out that there’s no funeral for Sirius in the books and what that means for things. Machiavellian Dumbledore – which, again, another great username…

[Kat laughs]

Michael: … discussed how Voldemort and Dumbledore paradoxically employ their values to manipulate others, RoseLumos about Voldemort’s rival at the ministry, Snatch the Snitch initiating a great discussion comparing Voldemort and Grindelwald, which I’m sure we’ll get to [laughs] in a few years, and Subjective Unicorn for identifying the passage that answers if someone physically revises the prophecy labels in the Ministry. We appreciate all of you for leaving such great comments, and if you want to join in or continue the discussion from previous chapters or in future chapters, make sure to visit the Alohomora! website.

Kristen: All right, next we’re going to go into the Podcast Question of the Week and go over your responses. But just to keep you up and remind you of what the question was,

“In this chapter, Voldemort possesses or takes control of Harry in some way, and Harry subsequently tells Dumbledore to kill him. Dumbledore, of course, does not kill Harry. But might have Dumbledore actually killed Harry here if it had not been for Horcruxes, if he had the chance to kill them both in one stroke of the wand when they were joined? Dumbledore is willing to send Harry to his doom later in the series, but would he end it directly with his own hand here if he knew he could kill Voldemort as well?”

That was a mouthful, sorry.

Michael: It’s a really good question, though.

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: Yeah, it’s hard when it’s written [in] someone else’s vernacular.

Kristen: Yes, yes. Sorry. [laughs] The first comment comes from PixieDragon137 from the main site, and they said,

“Would Dumbledore sacrifice Harry for the sake of killing Voldemort? No, absolutely not. Because it would mean that all the things he said to Harry, about caring for him more than he should have, about being afraid of Voldemort using that knowledge against him, just like he used Sirius to get to Harry, was all a lie. And Dumbledore might have been a lot of things, but he was not a liar. So even without the Horcruxes, there was already a ‘flaw’ in Dumbledore’s plans, which he admits in the next chapter – that he cared more about Harry’s happiness than his plans of defeating Voldemort. Yes, he sends Harry off to his doom in the end, but everything Dumbledore did, every step that he took, was to make sure that Harry could go on living.”

Kat: Okay, major issue with this comment, where it says…

Cora and Kat: … “He’s not a liar.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Dumbledore is…

Cora and Kat: … such a liar.

Kat: It’s not even funny.

Michael: Dumbledore is a liar by omission.

Kat: I was just thinking that. He is. But I mean, he’s also a flat… he’s a liar.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: He’s liar, liar, pants on fire.

[Cora and Kristen laugh]

Michael: I mean, because I’m trying… Is there a point where he flat out lies to Harry? Harry will ask him questions, and if he doesn’t feel he can answer truthfully, he’ll say no. So I still argue that Dumbledore is a liar by omission, but I mean, that’s still lying to a degree, as Dumbledore will talk about in the next chapter. But this is… see, the hard part about this question is, of course, it’s considering that Horcruxes aren’t really an issue. Because that throws in a wrench into the whole question, but at the same time, taking the Horcruxes out throws in a wrench because the suggestion here is that, yes, Dumbledore cared too much about Harry and let him go on living, but there’s an element that Dumbledore had to let Harry go on living because Dumbledore had to make sure that Harry knew what he needed to know and reached a mature emotional state so that he could die in Deathly Hallows, so…

Kat: But I mean, the way I thought about this question is that… Let’s pretend that Harry was some… [sighs] I don’t know if you could take him so far removed that you could say that he’s just a random person at the Ministry [whom] Voldemort possesses. He just happens to be there randomly. It’s, like, the security guy, and Voldemort possesses him. Would Dumbledore have killed him in that point if he thought or knew it would kill Voldemort? Honestly, yes, I think he would.

Cora: I think he would too except that I don’t think he believes he could kill Voldemort. Because he…

Kat: Yeah, because of everything he knows, the Horcruxes… He suspects all of that, right.

Cora: Well, and then if you also think, if the Horcruxes aren’t real, they wouldn’t have been in the Ministry of Magic in the first place because Voldemort wouldn’t have been able to draw Harry there. He wouldn’t… [laughs] None of these things would’ve happened without the Horcruxes. So it’s hard to hypothesize about that.

Michael: Yeah, when you pull one thread, everything comes apart, especially in Harry Potter more than any series, I’d say.

Cora: Seriously.

Kat: Poor Jo.

[Everyone laughs]

Cora: Seriously.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Cora: That would be so stressful.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Cora: I can only imagine.

Kristen: All right, next we’re going to go into our second comment from WizardorWhat. This also comes from the main site:

“For some unknown reason, it seems that the Harry-Horcrux can only be destroyed by Voldemort himself. At the very least, Dumbledore seems to think that this is the case. As we hear in the ‘Prince’s Tale’ chapter of Deathly Hallows, ‘”So the boy… the boy must die?” asked Snape quite calmly. “And Voldemort himself must do it, Severus. That is essential.”‘ I have two conjoined theories for why this might be:

“[The first one is,] Hermione tells us that a Horcrux can only be destroyed by putting its encasing ‘beyond magical repair’, but as Dumbledore put it [at] King’s Cross station, ‘Your blood in his veins, Harry, Lily’s protection inside both of you! He tethered you to life while he lives!’ Due to Lily’s protection, and due to Voldemort’s use of his blood, attempting to kill Harry with [D]ark magic is futile. Under normal circumstances, it is therefore impossible to kill Harry and thus impossible to destroy the Harry-Horcrux.

“[The second theory:] The act of killing is destabilising to the soul (hence Horcruxes requiring murder). Perhaps the Harry-Horcrux can be destroyed without having to kill Harry when Voldemort’s soul is made more vulnerable by (attempted) murder. If this is correct, perhaps it is easier to destroy any Horcrux shortly after [its] creator has committed a murder. From a strategic point of view, therefore, it would seem that having created Horcruxes, a [D]ark wizard should refrain from killing at all costs.”

That’s a long one.

Michael: I mean, yeah, that goes to the… Of course, that’s, once again, accounting for something that the question tries to take out, which is the problem of the Horcrux. Because I think that seals what we’re going to find out in the next chapter, that it has to be Voldemort. The knowledge [of] the Horcrux finalizes that, almost in a way that completes it, I think, even better than the prophecy. It does what the prophecy starts. So it’s… But I do think that… I mean, yeah, if you take the Horcrux out, then you lose all of these beautiful reasoning layers of why this has to happen the way it does. And then you’ve just got the situation of would Dumbledore kill somebody? Which, as Kat said, is the core of the question. Is Dumbledore still in the mindset of the greater good concept? So it’s…

Kat: The greater good, honey. We’re going to get to the greater good.

[Kat and Kristen laugh]

Michael: Well, yeah, we’ll get there. But yeah, this is a great deconstruction of why Horcruxes become a problem in this theory, so for sure.

Kristen: All right, and our last comment comes from RoseLumos, and this is also from the main site:

“I am sure that Dumbledore would have never even considered killing Harry in this moment. Even if Voldemort possessed a random Muggle, Dumbledore still wouldn’t have done it. There is some argument that, yes, Dumbledore sets up Harry to die later, but let’s remember that it’s not like Dumbledore takes any joy in this. I think it causes him a lot of pain to think that Harry will die, but he knows that it is physically the only way to do it, and there is no getting around it. While we do find out that Dumbledore is not as ‘white’ and innocent as we think he is, he is not evil. I think his goal is to end this war with as little death and pain as possible. He knows that Harry will have to die, but he knows that in the end, it is Harry’s choice.”

Kat: Disagree. Because I truly do think that if Voldemort possessed a random Muggle, Dumbledore definitely would’ve… boom, boom, AK, you’re done.

Kristen: Quick and easy.

Cora: Yeah, I think he would’ve been really torn up over it, but I think he would’ve done it, and then he would’ve lived with the guilt.

Kristen: Because then the war would’ve been ended with as little death and pain as possible. [laughs] Just one Muggle.

Cora: Totally what he’s going for.

Michael: I think Dumbledore would, at the very least, try to save the individual’s life who’s being possessed by Voldemort, as much as he could. But I think you guys are right.

Cora: Like maybe don’t kill him with the Killing Curse. Kill him with something else and then….

Michael: Set him on fire. [laughs]

Cora: Yeah, right before death, right quick heal him.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, no, I…

Cora: Yeah, Dumbledore is creative. He could work out something.

[Michael laughs]

Michael: Yeah, that’s a tough one. I mean, yeah, this is tough because, again, it is thinking… Because we do have to take into account how Dumbledore has grown and matured over the years, which we’ll of course discover in Deathly Hallows and what has changed about his character since he was a young person. And Dumbledore does greatly value life, whether it’s one person or a lot of people. But at the same time, if there [were] a way to stop them… I mean, even if… Because there’s a question, too, of perhaps if Voldemort possessing another individual makes Voldemort himself more vulnerable, which I’m assuming it does since Voldemort genuinely thinks that Dumbledore would kill him if he possessed somebody else.

Kat: Very serious question: Where does the body go?

Michael: His body? Voldemort’s?

Kat: When Voldemort is possessing Harry, where is the body?

Cora: You mean is it…? I’ve always just assumed it was just a piece of Voldemort, not his entirety. Maybe that’s wrong, but…

Kat: No, no, you’re right, but that’s what I mean.

Cora: I didn’t really picture his body just flopping lifeless. It’s just hanging out…

[Everyone laughs]

Cora: … until he came back to it.

Kat: Got it.

Michael: I always figured that since Voldemort is currently incomplete anyway that there’s not really that much of him to… His whole self isn’t even going into somebody, which is probably why… To have somebody invading your body and mind that is actually an incomplete self and is so severely damaged… I mean, no wonder it’s so painful, the description. But yeah, I don’t… Because we don’t see other wizards possess each other, do we? In the series?

Cora: Yeah, I mean, I don’t even know that it would be something that would be possible to do unless you’ve already begun the process of dividing your soul in the way that he has. I mean, I think you’d have to divide your soul to do it. So it wouldn’t be possible for someone like Harry to possess someone else. I don’t think he could do it.

Kat: I like that. I like that theory, actually. Your soul has to be divided already. I like that. I dig it.

Michael: As the Gray Lady would say in the movie, “It’s Dark magic!”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: So bad.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: We just wanted to thank the listeners for writing all these wonderful responses, and if you would like to contribute and continue the discussion, head on over to the Alohomora! main site and put in your opinions.

Kat: And with that, let’s jump into the best chapter in the series.

[Michael laughs]

[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 37 intro begins]

[Sound of Harry breaking magical objects]

Dumbledore: Chapter 37.

[Sound of Harry breaking magical objects]

Dumbledore: “The Lost Prophecy.”

[Sound of Harry breaking magical objects]

[Sound of Harry crying]

[Order of the Phoenix Chatper 37 intro ends]

Kat: Okay, so to summarize, this chapter 1) is my favorite. 2) What happens is, Dumbledore finally reveals all. That’s all I have to say about it.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: Because if I try to summarize it, I’m going to talk about it for an hour, and I’m already going to talk about it for an hour, so I figured we’d just jump to it. Sound good? Okay.

Cora: Sounds great.

Michael: It’s basically the tantalizing thing that they slapped on the summary for the American cover, is they were like, “Dumbledore is going to tell you everything, but you’re going to have to read a lot to get to it.” [laughs]

Cora: Seriously, a lot.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That’s okay. I’m good with a lot.

[Michael laughs]

Cora: Me too. Everyone who complained about this book being too long, I was like, “You are crazy! Give me more!”

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Yeah. And now that they’re over, people are like, “More books!”

Cora: Yeah, well…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Where were you when you were complaining about Order of the Phoenix, huh?

Cora: Yeah, exactly. Crazy people.

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: Come on. All right, so [the] first thing I want to talk about here is grief and Sirius because obviously, this is a very big theme that’s happening right now. And I noticed more so… I guess now that I’m older and I’ve gone through this more of this myself, but Harry goes through at least four stages of the stages of grief in this chapter within a matter of however many pages it is, 25 [pages]. He goes through denial and isolation, anger, depression, and bargaining. Pretty much the only one he doesn’t do – at all – is acceptance. And that actually, I think, takes quite a while for him.

Michael: Well, and he’ll do a little bit of bargaining in the next chapter too…

Kat: Yeah, he does a lot.

Michael: … with Nearly-Headless-Nick, so yeah, he’s got a while for acceptance.

Kat: Aww, poor Harry. [cries] So Harry is in the office, and Dumbledore finally arrives back, and they start, of course, to talk about Sirius. And Harry is already feeling incredibly guilty because he’s like, “It’s my fault. Oh my God, I killed Sirius. Oh my God, I’m such a dummy. Oh my God.” And Dumbledore is finally like, “Listen, this is my fault.” I mean, at least partially, okay? And Harry, then, is like, “Oh my God, but if I had only done this. If I had listened to Hermione…” Hello, we could have told you that you need to listen to Hermione more. But…

Michael: I think the worthwhile thing to say with that point with Dumbledore is… and I felt this the same way this read, and I think I’ve felt this every single time, even though I know it’s coming – sans the first time I read it – but that’s… Dumbledore knows exactly the right thing to say with that.

Kat: [sighs] I know.

Cora: He so does.

Michael: Because most adults… I think even many adults out there would not admit what Dumbledore just admitted so near after the fact.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: That’s an astonishing thing to lay off of his shoulders.

Cora: It’s part of what makes this chapter so impressive because, as a writer, I can say that these kinds of chapters, the reveal-all-the-secrets chapters, are the hardest thing to write because it’s just dialogue and it can feel so flat and static, but it is those moments where Dumbledore just says exactly the right thing and it just punches you right in the heart. That’s what keeps it from being just dialogue because it’s something that not only Harry needs to hear, but I think that we as readers needed to hear too. And I think we… or at least I do when I read this chapter. I go back and forth between being in Harry’s shoes and being in Dumbledore’s shoes. [laughs]

Michael: Mhm.

Cora: And I wrote down a quote that I thought, for me, was what the whole chapter was about, and it says, “Harry could not stand this. He could not stand being Harry anymore.” And I feel like that is the definition of this whole chapter, but when I read it I go back and forth between that and just wanting Harry to have a break so badly, but then also flipping to Dumbledore’s POV and understanding completely not wanting Harry to hurt anymore and doing whatever he can to keep that from happening.

Kat: Yeah, and Dumbledore even empathizes with him and says so many times. He’s like, “I understand what you’re going through,” but Harry is an emo-child…

Cora: “No! Bleep that behavior.”

Kat: … at this point and is like, “Oh my God, you don’t get it, you don’t get it, you don’t get it.” But Dumbledore, as we learn later, he gets it. He understands what Harry is going through right now, and I think something that, again, I had never thought about, so… knowing what we know about Dumbledore, in this moment Dumbledore is saying, “Oh my God, I understand how you’re feeling.” What if Harry had just inquired with him and said, “What do you mean? How do you know what I’m feeling?” instead of screaming at him? If he had asked him…

Michael: Hmm.

Kat: … what would we have gotten from Dumbledore? Anything?

Michael: Ooh.

Kat: Would it be an actual story about his family? Would we have gotten that now or would it be another sock/Erised lie?

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: I would think a lie.

Kat: You think so?

Cora: Just from an authorial standpoint, I don’t think that we would get it because that would add, again, more dialogue to a chapter that is already [a lot] of dialogue. [laughs]

Kat and Michael: Mhm.

Cora: And I’m not sure that you could sustain… at this point after coming off of a huge climax, you couldn’t sustain that much telling without being able to show anything for that long.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: Okay.

Michael: I think that’s exactly it because the really great way that this is structured and this is… as much as I don’t much care for Order of the Phoenix, this is an excellently written chapter. This is actually the first time I’ve really loved this chapter with a reread.

Kat: You’re welcome.

Michael: Thank you.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yes, it was all you. [laughs] I was thinking of Kat the whole time. But it was… the thing that is so excellent about it is that… and many people have said this about Rowling, but I think she writes teenagers like nobody has ever written teenagers before.

Kat: Mhm.

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: That’s so why Harry doesn’t, or won’t, get an answer from Dumbledore on that, is because Harry would never think to ask. Because a person his age who just went through what he went through… and even a person who is Harry’s age who is having a rough day, just a lightly rough day, would not…

Cora: Yep.

Michael: … think to empathize with others.

Kat: That’s true.

Cora: Mhm.

Michael: Even the best of us, I think, had rough teenage years, now and then rough days. It’s so perfect that Harry doesn’t ask, “How would you know?” He asks… he just states, “You can’t possibly know,” which is so something you say when you’re that age. So yeah, it’s important in that respect.

Kristen: But don’t you think other people would too? I mean, not just necessarily that age but just right after someone you loved so much died right in front of you, [whom] you saw get murdered? You think you would yell? I don’t know.

Michael: I think… because I’ve been around people who have watched people die in that moment, and the real question that weighs, I think, on any individual’s mind at that time is, “Why is this even happening?” That is the primary question above all else. And interestingly enough, in this chapter, Harry is privy to an answer to that, more of an answer than I think most people ever get in this situation. Because I’ve actually utilized some of Dumbledore’s advice on death in many of the Harry Potter books. I’ve used that in situations where people are dying because it’s actually very applicable, potent, very well explained information. So yeah, it’s almost like Harry would never ever get an answer to that question at this time.

Kat: Well, I mean, to your point about how valid this advice is, this is Jo on a page. This is her earlier life. This is the pain that she went through, losing her mother and everything, on these pages. It’s really powerful. It’s part of the reason I love this chapter so much, is that it’s so transparently Jo.

Michael: It’s powerful to be able to know that she, like all of us, asked why, and then she went and made a piece of work that actually is her personal answer to why. It’s not something a lot of people can do.

Kat: I was just thinking about while we were talking. I was looking at page 824, and there’s a quote right at the top of it. It says, “Harry, suffering like this proves you are still a man. This pain is part of being human.”

Kristen: “Then I don’t want to be human!” Sorry.

[Cora, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Kat: And I was just thinking about, I wonder if Dumbledore is thinking about Voldemort in that moment because I feel it’s a subtle comparison to Harry’s mortality and Voldemort’s – at the moment – immortality.

Michael: Oh, exactly. Because Dumbledore will keep implying and eventually explicitly say in this chapter that love is actually Harry’s greatest weapon, and I think it’s great that we’re talking about this specifically to this chapter because I think that has almost become an inside joke in the fandom: “Love will conquer all, teeheehee.”

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: But it is. It’s very important here how that works. Dumbledore is explaining it at a very deep level, that idea that your humanity, your mortality and your ability to care for others is not just Harry’s most important trait but [also] the most important trait of a human being.

Cora: And it’s coming on the heels, too, of that attempted possession from Voldemort to Harry too, which I think there is something… not just the fact that Harry is human but [also] that the piece of Voldemort in him is smaller than the bigger part of Harry… that is what makes him ache, and Harry can’t see it at that moment, but in a way, it’s comforting because he has so much in the future where he worries about how alike he is to Voldemort. And he’s been worrying about that through this book too, but it’s a reassuring moment that, even though this is awful, this is how you know that you’re not like him.

Michael: Well, and again, the excellent writing of being in a teenager’s mind… I think Dumbledore realizes this early on in the discussion – why he curbs it in a different way because he realizes he’s trying to approach this the wrong way. He’s giving Harry really large, heavy ideas too early in the conversation because again, Harry does not want to listen to that. That’s not making him feel better.

Kat: Which funnily enough reminds me of one of my other favorite little passages in this book. It’s on page 834 of the American edition. It’s after Harry has been screaming at Dumbledore about keeping him locked up. It says, “Dumbledore closed his eyes and buried his face in his long-fingered hands. Harry watched him, but this uncharacteristic sign of exhaustion or sadness or whatever it was from Dumbledore did not soften him. On the contrary, he felt even angrier that Dumbledore was showing signs of weakness. He had no business being weak when Harry wanted to rage and storm at him.”

Michael: As if we haven’t had enough parental figures deconstructed for us in this book, lets tear Dumbledore down too. That’s exactly what’s… that line… I mean, it’s just as frustrating, I think, for the reader to see Dumbledore crack because we’ve never seen him do that.

Kat: Well, and he admits why it is, that it’s the faults of being an old man. You forget what it’s like to be young, you forget all of those things, and ugh… And too, also, I think that moment’s really important because… okay, we love Dumbledore; he’s a great character in a lot of ways. I feel like this breakdown has to happen in order for the, I guess… I don’t want to say “the sympathy” or “the rebuilding of,” but the revelations of him in the seventh book. This part here shows how human he is because right now he feels like a supergod, right? I mean he feels untouchable and this, I think, really humanizes him and helps us empathize on where his character goes in the end of Book 6 and Book 7.

Michael: That’s interesting to me because I almost feel like the way I’ve… and maybe this reread will change things, but the way I felt previously… and I think perhaps why people to this day are still so angry at Dumbledore is because we do see him get deconstructed a little bit here, but in Half-Blood Prince, I think we see him get built back up almost to where he was before, in our eyes and in Harry’s eyes, which, to me, makes his deconstruction once again in Deathly Hallows all the more shocking, almost perhaps because Dumbledore is again lying by omission in here and saying, “I’m going to tell you everything,” but he’s not.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: So there’s still so much to tell that he’s choosing not to at this point.

Kat: Yeah, I mean, I see what you mean, but I still feel like this is the only time we get to see him be human in life.

Michael: Not beyond…

Cora: That’s part of why I think Harry is so angry with him too, is because this is… in many ways, even though Harry has just lost Sirius, who’s his father figure, he lost Dumbledore in this book too because he spent so long in the book with Dumbledore ignoring him. And then here he feels like Dumbledore has failed him when he was this god-like mythic person in his life who was the only one sort of holding things together. And so it’s like Harry has had two losses, back to back, to have lost Sirius and then to have lost this ideal of Dumbledore that he had. It’s like Harry is woken up from that.

Michael: Yeah. It’s a harsh realization to have that right after Sirius dying, yeah.

Kat: Umm…

Michael: I know, Kat, we’re just jumping all over your points.

Cora: [laughs] Sorry.

Kat: No, no, it’s good. I like it.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: But no, It’s good. I’m doing that on purpose. Just a little something before we move on to the next topic I really wanted to touch on here. We got this really great audioBoom from RoseLumos.

[Audio]: Hey, guys. This is Alyssa, or RoseLumos from the main site. I had a question I think would be interesting to discuss. I want to know what you think would have happened if Dumbledore did not lock his office door when Harry arrived back from the Ministry. On page 823, the American e-book, Harry says, “I don’t care. I’ve had enough. I’ve seen enough. I want out. I want it to end. I don’t care anymore.” Based on this, I personally think that Harry would have done something drastic if he was allowed to leave. He may have possibly harmed himself. I know it’s a dark topic, but it’s a dark book. So what do you guys think? What do you think would have happened if that door wasn’t locked? Thanks, and keep up the great work.

Kristen: I mean, what he already did in the later chapters: trying to find Nearly Headless Nick and ask him questions. I don’t know.

Cora: I think he needs the sort of destructive moment that he has in Dumbledore’s office. One of the things that I love about this chapter and the way JK has written it is, she doesn’t just throw around emotional tags like “sadness” or things like that. She doesn’t just throw out words that are too big and have too big of a meaning to really do justice to what Harry is feeling. Instead, she makes the description of his grief; it’s very physical. It’s talking about the hollow in his chest. It talks about rage, that it’s like a fire and that it’s burning in him. And it allows us to connect to his emotions in a way that’s better than just saying “anger” because anger feels different to everyone. And so I think because that is so physical, the way that she has described it, there is such this need in him to do something because the way he feels is just too big for him to think about he can just do. And so I think even if the door [were] open, I think he woudl have run or he would have found some way else to vent that pain in a physical way.

Kat: Man, too bad he hadn’t yet discovered the room of missing things [in] Room of Requirement, because that’d be the perfect place for him to go.

Cora: Or go in there and just ask for – I don’t know – a bunch of glass things to smash or archery or things to set on fire. Oh my gosh. That would be so fun.

[Kat laughs]

Kristen: Geez, that would be crazy. [laughs]

Michael: If Harry [were] level-minded enough to think of that, I think that is exactly what he would have done, although, Cora, I think you’re right, since we’re going to a place that’s so… because for all the magic that’s in Harry Potter, when I think Rowling gets to these raw emotional points, magic really does take a back seat, as it should, and so I think your first suggestion that he would just run, I think, is exactly what he would do, because there’s…

Cora: I can see him going to the Shrieking Shack or…

Kat: Finding a broomstick is what a picture. Finding a broomstick and just riding off into the night.

Cora: Yeah, or going to the Quidditch pitch. That was the other thing I was going to say. Somewhere that he connects with Sirius but also somewhere that doesn’t involve thinking.

Michael: I think it would almost be detrimental to him because he would obviously go somewhere where he could seek out solitude and be away from people, which is, as we’ve seen before, very dangerous for Harry, especially in this book, so…

Kat: This really reminds me of the moment when Dobby dies, and he just wants to do something physical by burying him.

Kristen: Oh, that’s true.

Kat: And I think, clearly, that’s how Harry deals with his emotions, is the physical realm.

Cora: But it’s also what makes Rowling’s writing so brilliant, is that she doesn’t tell you how to feel; she shows you action, and then she lets you lay your own emotions over the top of that, and that’s what makes this scene so very powerful and so lasting that we can read it all these years later, and it still has the same emotional impact on us, and it’s because you can feel something different every time you read it because JK doesn’t tell you how to feel. She lets you put that in for yourself.

Kat: Especially because, as you get older, things change, and experiences change, and you go through things, and yeah, that’s all I’m going to say on that or I’m going to start getting emotional. It’s great. Speaking of other things that are great – or not great – let’s talk about Snape.

Cora: [laughs] Good segue.

Kat: Oh, thanks. I try. So here we are. What is this? No. 57 discussion about Snape?

[Cora and Kristen laugh]

Kat: I don’t know. The great Snape debate. It’s always there, isn’t it? So obviously, we talked about this a little bit in past episodes: How much was Snape involved, and what if he had been more involved? But we find out here that he was actually pretty instrumental on anything even happening at all at the Ministry. He alerts the Order. He does pick up on Harry’s, “Padfoot! They have Padfoot in the place where it’s hidden!” And he sends everybody there, and actually, it even says that Snape was going to go looking in the forest for them, which… I never picked up on that line before. Crazy. But I think the thing I really started to think about this time around was “How did Snape not know of the plan to get Sirius Black to the Department of Mysteries?” Isn’t he Voldemort’s most trusted advisor?

Michael: I think… the implication I always got was that Snape made, if not one, maybe two or three appearances to Voldemort. He can’t… I think, from Voldemort’s end, he wants Snape to be at Hogwarts more than around him.

Kat: At this moment, you’re saying.

Michael: At this year. Yeah. I think, in that way… because no matter… I don’t know if Voldemort would involve Death Eaters who aren’t… because Snape is not directly involved in the plan to get the prophecy anyway. So I don’t know if Voldemort would relay all the information.

Kat: But that’s what I mean! Snape could be. He’s really close to Harry, and I feel like there’s a hole here somewhere. Did Snape…? I mean, hmm…

Cora: I’ve always wondered about the Occlumency lessons and how…

Kat: That’s what I was just thinking about. Yeah.

Cora: … if Voldemort even caught snatches of those moments when Harry was trying to learn how to block, I mean, he had to be aware of that. He had to, that Harry was trying to learn it, and so surely he had to know that it was Snape [who] was teaching him. So I’ve always wondered how that worked, and not just how it worked in the physical sense but also why Dumbledore would’ve ever thought that Snape would be the best person to do that. Because couldn’t it have broken his cover, if at some point when Harry was weakened by the practicing that they were doing, if Voldemort had broken through into his mind, it’s all the fact that Snape was trying to help Harry block his mind? I’ve always thought that there was a flaw in that logic on Dumbledore’s part.

Kat: Yeah, there'[re] a whole lot of holes here.

Kristen: But I know Kreacher was giving all that information about Harry anyway, so maybe that’s why Snape wasn’t included as much, like Michael said that he wasn’t there as many times?

Kat: That’s possible.

Michael: I… yeah, I mean, as close as…

Kristen: I don’t know. I don’t like Snape, so it doesn’t matter.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Join the club, honey. Join the club.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: Yeah. I could see the potential plot holes there with that, but the book seems to make it clear through implication that Snape is very good at covering up his tracks to Voldemort.

Cora: Right. But he couldn’t… Harry is not, is the thing. That’s why the Occlumency is a bigger hole to me. Because Harry is not good at covering up his tracks, and it’s his mind that Voldemort would get that information from. [laughs]

Michael: Well, this plan sucks anyway to begin with. [laughs]

Cora: Yeah, seriously.

Michael: I mean, because I always thought it was… and Dumbledore touches upon it. I’m almost angry, actually, about how… this is where I get angry with Dumbledore, is actually the Snape section. Because he’s just like, [as Dumbledore] “Sirius should’ve known better. He’s a grown man.” And I’m like, “Uhh…”

Cora: Yeah. That always made me mad.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Cora: Yeah. Rereading it again, I was like, “Oh, you son of a gun.” [laughs]

Michael: Yeah, he’s… no matter what Dumbledore…

Cora: He has feelings, too.

Michael: Yeah! No, no matter how much Dumbledore… because Dumbledore… his continuous line when it comes to Snape is “I trust Severus Snape,” and Harry is like, [as Harry] “But he’s a jerk! Here are 20 pin-point examples of why he’s a jerk,” and Dumbledore is like…

Cora: “Here’s a PowerPoint presentation.”

[Kat and Kristen laugh]

Michael: Yes, [as Harry] “I made a PowerPoint while I was waiting for you.”

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: “I made a PowerPoint.” And Dumbledore’s answer to everything is, “I trust Severus Snape,” and Harry… and his reasoning behind that is so bad compared to everything else. He’s so good at his responses to Harry throughout this chapter, and the Snape part is where he just, in my opinion, completely fails.

Cora: I think Dumbledore has a blindspot for Snape in the same way that he has a blindspot for Harry. This whole chapter is about how his humanity is what got him into these issues of not wanting to tell Harry because he wanted to protect him, and I think he has that same blindspot for Snape in that I think that there’s love there, but then I also think that there is pity, which I think is something he also feels for Harry too. I think it’s so much of his love is tied up in that he’s sorry to put Harry in a hole where he suffered, he’s sorry that he has to go through all of these things. And I think he feels that same kind of pity for Snape, and so, just like with Harry, Dumbledore is always going to give him the benefit of the doubt whenever Fudge and all the other important figures think that Harry is just this whiny or attention-seeking person. Dumbledore is always going to be on his side, and I think he’s the same way with Snape, that no matter… even though Snape has failings, I think he’s always going to look the other way.

Michael: Well, yeah, because it’s… once Harry finally catches Dumbledore after his list of bad Snape examples, he has to duck Snape and go to the effect that Snape had on Sirius and being locked up to get to Dumbledore, to hit him with that. Dumbledore doesn’t break down until that point, but he really just does stand his ground with Snape, and it just frustrates me, because even though Dumbledore posits it as, “Oh, these are little things that Snape and Sirius should’ve known better; they’re grown men. Don’t be ridiculous,” and I’m like, “Have you ever watched these two interact before, Dumbledore?”

[Kristen laughs]

Cora: Seriously.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: But I think you’re right, that there is that blindspot for Snape, with the added level of pity, so that’s a little different, but absolutely.

Kat: Pity that I don’t think is deserved because… okay, jumping ahead just a little bit, but not a whole lot…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: … we learn that Snape is the one who hears the first two lines of the prophecy, right?

Kristen and Michael: Mhm.

Kat: And I’m trying to figure out the timeline. I don’t think it’s ever exactly told to us, but he fears that it’s about James and Lily – or Lily specifically – and yet he still tells Voldemort? Or do you think he doesn’t know at this point, and only after he tells Voldemort that he figures out it’s about Lily? I’m just a little confused here as to why Snape even tells Voldemort in the first place about this if he was that concerned for Lily.

Kristen: I don’t think he does know it’s about Lily.

Michael: No, he doesn’t.

Kat: Well, he does at some point because that’s the whole reason that he goes to Dumbledore; is to protect them.

Michael: Oh, yeah.

Cora: Yeah, but I think he tells Voldemort before. He didn’t know it was about Lily yet, but then once he figures it out he already told Voldemort, and then he realizes it is about Lily. That’s when he goes back.

Kat: So he doesn’t know that Lily is pregnant and having a baby probably, is what you’re saying.

Cora: Yeah.

Michael: Well, because there’s also the potential that… since the prophecy is vague enough… I mean, we at least know that the prophecy was vague enough that it could have implicated two people for Voldemort to go after, and I’m sure Snape was probably just like, “Oh, that could mean lots of people.”

Cora: Yeah, he could be like, “Oh, Lily may be pregnant,” but how is he supposed to know that her baby is due at the end of July? Or something.

Michael: Yes, despite the plethora of fan fiction where Snape goes to Lily right before she has her baby…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: … there is no confirmation that they have been in touch all these years. It’s implied that they haven’t. So I think that’s correct. Well, and I think, too…

Cora: And assuming we’re in the middle of a war here, too, he might not even really know she’s pregnant. It depends on how secretive the Order is and how hidden they are.

Kat: That’s true.

Kristen: But I mean, if she’s been out battling, you’ll eventually see it.

Kat: Still, you know what? Pity not deserved.

Kristen: Oh, yeah. I totally agree.

[Everyone laughs]

Cora: But again, that’s Dumbledore’s failings, and this is the first book that we really see that in him. And I think we’re supposed to be frustrated with him because I think the book is better for that. If he were just this white knight thing, and it were this flat, two-dimensional thing, it would be like in the old Greek plays – they called it Deus ex Machina – where they would just fly a god in on a machine to fix things. And Dumbledore’s flaws are what keep him from being that magic fix every single time.

Michael: Yeah, well, we’ll get our Deus ex Machina later.

[Cora and Kristen laugh]

Michael: The Elder Wand! Oh my God.

Kat: Right. Speaking of Dumbledore’s failings, what do you guys think about the – I don’t know – two or three pages where he’s talking about all the times he didn’t tell Harry about the prophecy? Do you guys have thoughts on that? Because I have lots of thoughts.

Cora: I buy it for two books. [laughs] When I was reading back through it, yeah, I bought it for the first two. When I got to the third book I was like, “Really?” When I got to the fourth, I was like, “No. Nuh-uh.” If he walks out of a cemetery with a dead student, and Voldemort is alive, you don’t keep the secrets anymore. And it’s not as if… even the excuse that he uses… I mean, he doesn’t really quite in the fourth one. Let me look back at it. But I’m pretty sure he doesn’t exactly give an excuse for the scenario from the fourth book.

Michael: He doesn’t.

Cora: He implies it that it was the pain; he didn’t want to cause Harry more pain because of what he had just gone through. I buy that for a week after those events.

[Everyone laughs]

Cora: I don’t buy that for the entirety of the time that he has been ignoring Harry in an attempt to keep Voldemort from using him. I don’t buy it through any of that.

Michael: No, I agree with that because that, I think, is… like you said, Cora, it’s given away in the fact that Dumbledore doesn’t give an excuse for the fourth year and I think it’s because he knows that that was unacceptable by that point and so he pretties it up with implied, fancy words as Dumbledore is wont to do. But he doesn’t actually say… I guess Dumbledore is finished with his admitting that he’s done things wrong because he has run his course with that because he doesn’t say anything there. And yeah, I do think that is implied that that is a big, big failing on his part.

Cora: Right. And I mean, you’re right, that could be part of the reason why he continued to not tell him is that he has trouble admitting his own failings and it took Sirius’s death to make him willing to admit that he was wrong.

Michael: Mhm.

Cora: And so all that extra time in Book 5 when he wasn’t telling Harry was just pride.

Kat: I think, too, admitting that Dumbledore was wrong is almost admitting to himself once again, over and over again, that the things that he wanted to do originally in his life were wrong…

Michael: Hmm.

Kat: … because there’s this great quote, and we talked very briefly about Magic is Might earlier and this quote always reminds me of it. It is on page 839 of the US edition. It says, “What did I care if numbers of nameless and faceless people and creatures were slaughtered in the vague future if in the here and now you were alive and well and happy? I never dreamed I would have such a person on my hands.” It’s just so telling of… I don’t know. It’s a great quote.

Michael: Yeah, that’s very informative of what, of course, we will learn later with the idea of “the greater good” and that idea that… it’s interesting because it at once supports it and contradicts it.

Kat: Yeah. Mhm. Which I think is so big. That’s Dumbledore…

Michael: In a nutshell?

Kat: In a nutshell. Yeah.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Absolutely. For sure. Like Cora said, it’s…

Cora: It’s the blind spot.

Kristen and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: And it’s a great thing that Rowling has chosen to do this by this book and take Dumbledore apart so that we don’t have… because by the end of Harry Potter, there are no perfect characters left.

Cora: Mhm.

Michael: So they all have their faults and that makes them even more… and I do think that is the honest thing because it comes from a series that starts off… a lot of people compare the…

Cora: It’s about good and evil?

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah! Yeah, exactly!

Cora: That there is no one that’s good left?

Michael: Yeah. There’s a lot of comparisons to the early books to Roald Dahl’s work and Roald Dahl is very black and white about his good and evil in his books.

Kristen: Mhm.

Michael: And Rowling definitely does that to start. So it’s interesting that she takes a progression of that child’s view of good and evil and just completely throws in a gray area in the middle.

Cora: I mean, it’s part of the fact that the series grew up as Harry grew up.

Michael: Yeah.

Cora: And so when you are a child, things are more black and white, but as you get older, you see the gray spaces between.

Michael: Mhm.

Cora: And I think that’s why it’s… I mean, Harry Potter is one of those rare series that bridge the gap between marketing lines and that’s one of the reasons, is that it sort of defied normal publishing categorization.

Michael: Yes, absolutely, because there are many – more than I think anybody would assume – books out there where the characters don’t grow in this way as they age.

Cora and Kristen: Uh-huh.

Michael: They do stay essentially the same because it serves a very different kind of plot, and so yeah, I think that is perhaps why Harry Potter was such a shock when it came out, definitely, is that it grew with its audience and with Harry.

Cora: And we’re so glad for that.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: We are so… that’s incredibly true.

Kristen: Yes.

Kat: I like that Petunia is brought back up in this chapter.

Kristen: Oh, yeah.

Michael: Yes, yes. It’s great.

Kat: It’s just… you kind of forget about her. And she’s such a great character, and I know that at one point – correct me if I’m wrong – Jo had thought about making somebody a Squib.

Michael: Hmm.

Kat: Right? And we all thought it would be Petunia, right?

Cora and Kristen: Mhm.

Kat: Isn’t that what happened? Isn’t that what the thing…? I still hope that that comes out as being true.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: Yes.

Kat: I think we know at this point that it’s not, but I hope that that was a nugget at one point because I really love all the comparisons to the different kinds of love that happen in this chapter, specifically with Lily and Petunia. And then when they’re talking about it, Harry is like, “She didn’t want me. She didn’t love me.” But…

Kristen: But she took you.

Kat: … but she took you!

Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: Which is the exact opposite, I think, of what Lily would have done if it had been reversed. I mean, of course, Lily has been lifted up to saint status.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: She is the goddess of the Potter series. But I still feel like she had a kind heart, no matter what her flaws and everything would be. It’s just great. I’m glad that we’re reminded of Petunia, especially in this moment; kind of the turning point.

Michael: Got to love the little throwaway thing with, “Oh, that was your voice with the Howler.”

[Kristen laughs]

Cora: Oh, the Howler, yeah.

Michael: Because I still remember that back when we discussed that and we were like, “How would Harry not have recognized Dumbledore’s voice?”

[Cora and Kat laugh]

Michael: Now that’s a plot hole to me that I will… and also that Dumbledore is just like, “I just assumed – correctly – that she would go crazy.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yeah, yeah.

Michael: This is the point when you assume that after all these years when she’s thrown him out? This is the day when you thought that would happen? [laughs] That seems a little odd. But it is a great throwback, bringing Petunia back into the story, and it’s a great setup for what we’re going to find out about her in Deathly Hallows.

Kristen: Mhm.

Kat: Absolutely. Ugh! Yeah.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: It’s great. It’s just great. Bravo, Jo.

Michael: It’s all just going so perfectly!

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: I know. And we’re not even at the meat of the chapter yet, which is great.

Michael: The big one, yeah. Right.

Kat: Which is “The Prophecy.” Ooh. I was hoping, Michael, that you could read it for us?

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: “A figure rose out of the Pensieve, draped in shawls, her eyes magnified to enormous size behind her glasses, and she revolved slowly, her feet in the basin. But when Sybill Trelawney spoke, it was not in her usual ethereal mystic voice, but in the harsh, hoarse tones Harry had heard her use once before. ‘The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches. Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies, and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not. And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives. The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…'” Ooh.

Kristen: Hmm!

Kat: It’s so good. So good.

Cora: Yeah, that was great. You need to read audiobooks, man.

Michael: That’s my life’s goal, Cora. Thank you.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: He does our podcast called AudioFictions.

Kristen: Mhm.

Cora: Nice.

Kat: So I would really like to break this down, maybe line by line or theory by theory, overall arcing theme by overall arcing theme. But I guess the first thing I really want to discuss about was the, “Born to those who have thrice defied him.” Okay. So what three things did they do?

Kristen: I want to know.

Michael: What does that mean? [laughs] That’s an interesting piece that I…

Kristen: If only J.K. were actually writing twelve short stories.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Well, okay, listen. That was nice. That was a good dig. That was good.

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: I mean, she listens to the show, we’re pretty sure, so maybe she’ll tell us. Maybe.

Michael: Going along with what we talked about earlier about how this book, more than the others, is excellent at presenting imagery that none of the books definitively explain or answer. I think this chapter in so many ways is also very disturbing, I think. And there’s an almost eery disturbing element to the prophecy having an element of it that we don’t ever understand; like the “thrice defied.” And I’ve referenced this before on the show – and it’s a great theory in film and it applies to books really well, too, especially Harry Potter – but that idea that what the audience can imagine is way more interesting, horrifying, exciting than what the writer can perhaps put down sometimes.

Kristen: Mhm.

Kat: Sure.

Michael: I think that’s one of those lines that I… in a way, even though it would be great to know because you know she knows what those three things are exactly… [laughs]

Kat: Oh, yeah. She knows. Oh, she knows.

Michael: At the same time it’s like, “What was that?” Because not only is this saying thrice defied that Lily and James defied him three times, but so did Neville’s parents.

Kat and Kristen: Right.

Cora: You have to think, too, from the point of view of Lord Voldemort, too. How did he decide what constituted “defying” him in order to narrow down the options?

Kat and Michael: Mhm.

Kat: True.

Cora: Because I mean, anyone who wasn’t a Death Eater, I think, was in defiance of him as far as he was concerned. And so it’s interesting to think about how he would have narrowed that down to just two.

Michael: Yeah.

Kristen: That’s true. I didn’t think about that.

Kat: Hmm.

Michael: Yeah, the more you think about it, the more it…

Cora: It had to be big moments. That’s the only way he could really truthfully be able to narrow it down. If it was just “participating in blank battle” then there would’ve been too may options to choose from.

Kat: That’s true because, I mean, think about the Battle of Hogwarts at the end. Anybody born at the end of July who was like, “I’m not joining you,” has defied him.

[Michael laughs]

Cora: To me, it means it would have to be direct interaction. They would have had to have fought Voldemort directly in some way.

Kat: If that’s true then they are badass.

Cora: Seriously, right?

Michael: Mhm. I was… well, yeah, because that wouldn’t count. I was thinking of the going into hiding but that doesn’t count because that happened after the prophecy. Unless the prophecy is accounting for things that… they will thrice defy him later. But that can’t be right.

Kat: I don’t think so.

Michael: I think, yeah, it’s thrice already, so…

Cora: And it had to be something that separated them, that pinpointed them, as individuals instead of the Order. I was thinking if they discovered some safe house and destroyed it but that is an Order mission. So it would have to be something that was individualized in some way to set them apart from the rest of the people who were in the Order.

Michael: “That time that Lily Potter stole my sandwich!”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: “Such a good sandwich!”

Kat: Wait, wait, wait. I have a real one. Is this my head canon or is it true that somewhere they said that Lily was wanted by the Death Eaters because of her abilities?

Michael: I don’t remember that.

Kat: Is that head canon or am I…? Did I make that up or did I hear it somewhere?

Cora: See, that feels familiar to me but I read so much fan fiction I just don’t know.

Kat: See, I haven’t read that much so I can’t tell if it’s real or not.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Because if that were true, there could be plenty of opportunities for her to defy him in saying, “No, I’m not going to come to the dark side,” so to say.

Cora: See, it would have made more sense with Sirius; someone who would be expected to be on that side.

Kat: I feel like this is coming somewhere out of Slughorn in Half-Blood Prince. I feel like something in there is reminding me of this. A listener will know. Shout it at me; tell me I’m wrong. Make me into a fool. It’s okay. I don’t mind; I’m a happy fool. [laughs] And then the next line of the prophecy says, “And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not.” And I like that in this moment, it is referring to an actual, physical mark. And not just a “Ha ha, I hate you” kind of mark, but an actual physical trait that he gives to Harry.

Cora: And it’s important that the power he knows not comes after, structurally, the marking him as equal because it shows that that power comes from the marking, instead of just something that was inherently in Harry from the beginning.

Kat: Right. If it was reversed; if it said, “He will have power the Dark Lord knows not and he marks him as his equal,” I know it doesn’t sound as nice, but definitely the distinction is very important there. You’re right.

Michael: The more and more that we take this apart, thinking that Voldemort only had half of this, he still had a pretty good informative half because he had the first half. And I’m like, “Damn, he was stupid. Why did he act so quickly?” Because Harry even says, “He could have waited until Neville showed potential and then attacked us.” And I’m like, “Yeah, and this first half is implying that that’s what he should have done.”

Kat: But you know what? Another moment this makes me think about is Harry should have waited before he went to go to Sirius. They’re rash people who are passionate about what they believe in and what they want to accomplish. And I feel like in that moment they are very similar.

Michael: That’s very true because there’s an element of how Voldemort is very clever – I can’t deny him that – but at the same time he is also very impulsive; as we will see in Deathly Hallows, his impulsiveness to get what he wants overrides him actually learning properly what he needs to know about what he wants, which is his undoing. But my favorite thing about that line is actually that there… and perhaps it’s something that we should have seen coming from this because we get it hinted at in this book in other moments but it is also stated right here: Neville has potential. Neville has great potential to be an amazing person, and a really great, talented, powerful person. It’s interesting that despite the prophecy is no longer about him, that is still true.

Kat: Yeah, I agree, but it makes me think about… [sighs] Let’s just pretend that we know everything about Neville that we know and put him in Harry’s shoes. Is he in the right emotional state of mind, if this were him, to be able to handle this? I’m not sure he is, not yet. I think that he definitely has the potential and he’s strong enough. I’m not sure he’s emotionally strong enough right now.

Michael: No, but neither is Harry.

Cora: I think part of the reason that Harry is able to do all that he’s able to do is that he was put through the fire at a young age because he lived with the Dursleys. But when you think about Neville, he would have still been with his grandmother and he still would have been coddled to a certain extent, so he just wouldn’t have had the same toughness that Harry has gained over the years. Because in essence he still lost his parents, and so he’s in a very similar situation to what he would’ve been if Voldemort had chosen him. So, I guess the only different outcome would be that he would have grown up in the wizarding world. Would he have been respected and feared because of what he did? I don’t know, maybe he would be a very different character after all.

Kat: It’s hard to say.

Michael: Well yeah, because Neville grows up… even though he’s with his guardians, he grows up basically being told that he’s squandering whatever potential his family believes he has, and he takes the tact of becoming very shy and meek.

Kat: Yeah, but if he had been in Harry’s situation though, his family wouldn’t have treated him like that. I feel like they would have treated him like the special, special boy.

Cora: Mhm.

Michael: I think they still do! It’s said that they do. They’re just upset that Neville’s not showing them…

Kristen: Reaching his potential.

Michael: Yeah, exactly. He’s not reaching what they know he’s capable of, because his grandmother even says that by the end. She’s so proud of him…

Kristen: Yeah.

Michael: … because he’s hit a point that she always knew he could. I still think he would be treated that way if not more so by his family if he was definitively the prophesized individual.

Cora: I’m more interested to see how he would’ve been treated at school, too.

Michael: Hmm… mhm.

Cora: Because right now he’s like that reject kid even within the Gryffindor house…

Kristen Yeah.

… whereas you imagine him in place being the famed person that Harry is. How would he have…?

Michael: Well…

Cora: I think he would have… I don’t know. He’s so much less hotheaded than Harry. This series would have folded out very differently.

Michael: Well… it seems awful to say, but come on, you guys. Ron totally sat with Harry because he was Harry Potter and he knew he was Harry Potter!

[Cora, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: I mean, of course he did.

Michael: So Neville…

Cora I’m just picturing Neville as the cool kid, and it’s great. It’s fantastic.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Oh, yeah. Ron would have been like, “Can I sit here?” And Neville, “Yeah.” That would totally… and Harry…

Cora: Draco would have wanted to be friends.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yeah. No, I think that totally could have changed… yeah, there would be differences. I think there would be differences in how Neville would have developed his individual…

Kristen: And he’s a pure-blood.

Michael: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that definitely takes a different stance, which of course is the interesting thing about how, as Dumbledore says, why…

Kristen Yeah.

Michael: … who he chooses.

Cora Yeah. Since Neville did grow up in the wizarding world, he grew up around magic and he still struggles with magic. What would that have been like if he were the Chosen One who wasn’t that good at magic? [laughs]

Michael: Hmm.

Kristen That’s true. [laughs]

Michael: But you know what would be interesting, too to stretch that? If Lily and James hadn’t been marked for death, Snape wouldn’t have this resentment towards Neville. So Harry…

Kristen Right.

Kat: That’s true.

Michael: So Snape and Harry would probably get along quite famously…

Cora Chummy.

Michael: … or at least tolerable.

[Cora laughs]

Michael: And so would Neville and Snape. [laughs]

Kat: Really?

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: You think Neville and Snape…

Michael: Well, at least he wouldn’t be…

Cora Chummy.

Michael: Snape wouldn’t go after Neville because he…

Kristen: Yeah, I suppose.

Michael: … doesn’t really have a reason to. That doesn’t mean Neville would be better at Potions, but he doesn’t…

[Kat laughs]

Michael: He does attribute his bad skills at Potions to being afraid of Snape. [laughs]

Kat: His fear, right.

Kristen: Yeah. [laughs]

Kat: His fear of the non-vampire, we have now learned. Come on, we saw that.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yes, thank you, Pottermore. As if we didn’t know already. [laughs]

Kat: Right, exactly. I guess the last point I wanted to touch on, since I’m not sure we’ve ever really talked about this, is how in fact… and we probably… I know we can’t answer it…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: … because it’s a thing we can’t answer, but I want to talk about it. How does Seeing work and how does it come about to be a person? Like why was it Trelawney? Why was it in this moment? Is there a certain set of circumstances that have to be all in a row, click-click-click-click-click, to make things happen? I’m just really curious about this. I know it’s for a plot device, but…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: … it’s just seemingly very coincidental that it happened to be Dumbledore in this place at this time to hear Trelawney when he even says that she clearly didn’t have the sight.

Kristen: Mhm.

Kat: I don’t know.

Cora: Well, I have to say, from a technical standpoint the Seer is probably through the bloodline. But what I think is interesting is the idea that everything happens as it’s supposed to. Because when you think about the prophecy and the fact that Snape was pulled away from the door after hearing only the first two lines, it is because Snape was pulled away after hearing only two lines that the rest of the prophecy unfolds how it does.

Michael: Mhm.

Cora: Because the only reason Voldemort marked Harry as his equal is because he only heard the two lines, and so from the moment that the prophecy starts it is sort of predestined that Snape would have only heard the first two lines. And I just find that super interesting, and it all sort of goes to the idea that things happen how they’re supposed to happen, so she said the prophecy at that moment because it was when it was supposed to happen. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah.

Kristen: Wow.Kat: So, in the Harry Potter world things are predetermined, is what you’re saying.

Cora: It feels that way to me because the only way the prophecy would unfold exactly how it is, is if Snape had just heard the first two lines. If no one had heard the prophecy besides Dumbledore period, then Voldemort would have never known. If Snape had heard more of it then he never would’ve marked someone as equal, but that line would’ve never been said if Snape had heard more than the first two lines. Does that make sense?

Michael: Mhm.

Kristen: Yeah.

Cora: So… I don’t know. It’s like a real time moment where you can see exactly how… the fact that time is not linear… because that is the third line, right?

Kat: Yes.

Cora: Yeah, so it’s…

Kat: Or the fourth. Third or fourth, yeah.

Cora: Let’s see, it doesn’t work… yeah, “mark him as equal” is the third phrase, third line. So… he literally stopped hearing right before that moment, and so it’s got to be important. It’s got to be… predestined in a way, I think.

Michael: Well, I completely forgot that this conversation about prophecy actually happens in Half-Blood and not Order, but there’s a point when Harry starts questioning, “Is this just how it’s all going to happen, like there’s nothing I can do?” And Dumbledore’s like, “Oh yes, there’s things you can do. You can make choices and change things, but you won’t.”

Cora: Because the choice of whether or not he would change things was already considered when the prophecy was made?

Michael: Mhm. Yeah, there’s a level of the prophecy… there’s almost the suggestion that if Harry were to defy the prophecy, that wouldn’t be Harry – that is kind of what Dumbledore implies. The prophecy seems to generally indicate that people will behave as they are prone to behave. So, Rowling revealed that if Voldemort had relented at the very end of Deathly Hallows he would’ve probably still died, but he would’ve died because if he ever experienced any feeling of remorse or anything of that sort, that would have killed him because he was so damaged. But at the same time, that would never ever happen. That’s a thing that we can theorize and even Rowling can theorize about her world, but she’s saying that would never happen. So yeah, there is a predetermination, but there’s a malleable… like you said, time isn’t linear.

Cora: It’s the idea that the big actions are set in place, but how you come to them is changeable.

Michael: Yes.

Cora: It’s sort of… this may not be the best reference in the world, but I think of that movie Final Destination

[Everyone laughs]

Cora: … and how Death keeps coming for people. That’s how I always thought when I think about prophecies and stuff too, because there’s actually a prophecy in my newest book that just came out, Inspire. I’ve always sort of thought about it as Final Destination [where] you can run from something, but eventually what’s supposed to happen is supposed to happen.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: It’s funny because as you were saying that, I was just looking up… I just wanted to read more about… I mean, obviously I know what prophecy means, but I kind of wanted to look it up and see what the definitions of it were, and the one that’s really sticking out to me says: “the inspired declaration of defined will and purpose.”

Michael: Ooh!

Kat: And that definitely speaks to the fact that… this is what’s going to happen to you, and any choice that you make, guess what, that’s still going to happen to you.

Cora: Right. The defined will is cool because it’s not like a commandment that is being said. It is merely an observation of what someone else’s own actions will come to pass.

Michael: Yeah, I think that’s perfectly where we got to because that will and purpose is characteristic of who you are as an individual. So, you as an individual have options of the choices you will make, but there are certain perameters that you as an individual will behave because of your own set guidelines, your own set morals.

Cora: Mhm.

Kat: So this still begs the question of why Trelawney?

Michael: I think you’re right, Kat, that there’s an element to prophecies where if all the right things are in the right place, they click. Because it just happened that Dumbledore was interviewing for a Seer for somebody who could teach Divination. You could ask the same question about why Trelawney gives the prediction she does in Book 3 to Harry. Like why that moment? Why didn’t she say it earlier?

Cora: Right. It’s not like she hadn’t seen him before.

Michael: Yeah, exactly. There’s other times where those things could come out, and despite the fact that these individuals… you know, I think there’s a mistake in belief that if you have a prophecy, if you’ve heard it, then you’re more informed and therefore you can be prepared or change time. But I think that’s the mistake that people make when they hear a prophecy.

Cora: It makes you wonder if the moments when prophecies happen are more of a cause and effect scenerio, because if the prophecy didn’t happen in that moment, if it had happened earlier or if it happened later, perhaps time wouldn’t have unfolded in the way that it did. And so it happens there because something else that was supposed to happen had to happen as a result of it maybe.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah, I think the way we’re talking about it almost reminds me of the discussions we’ve had before on Time-Turners…

Kat: Oh, God.

Michael: … and especially what happens in Book 3.

[Cora and Kristen laugh]

Kat: Let’s not go back there, please!

[Cora and Kristen laugh]

Michael: There is that cyclical nature, like…

Cora: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah, there is.

Michael: … the prophecy begets the action begets the prophecy.

Kat: Which came first, the…

Michael: … chicken or the egg?

Kat: The prophecy or the…

Michael: Yeah. Or the actions.

Kat: … prophecy.

[Cora and Kristen laugh]

Michael: The prophecy or the actions that it foretold.

Kat: Yeah.

Cora: So in thinking about the defined will, I keep thinking about the way Voldemort responded to the part of the prophecy that he heard. We talked about how both he and Harry are rash and just throw themselves into action. But I find it interesting in the fact that not only did he seek out this child quickly and didn’t wait to see what happened, but he also sought him out himself in person alone, just him versus the child, as opposed to sending a Death Eater to do his bidding.

Michael: Mmm.

Cora: I think there’s something interesting in that. Obviously that was part of the prophecy that whatever it is in Voldemort that makes him act the way he does, that that was always going to happen. He was always going to face whoever could have claimed to be more powerful than him. He was always going to face that person head on.

Michael: Mhm.

Cora: I don’t know…

Michael: Voldemort’s hubris and foolishness in thinking that he could get rid of the prophecy altogether by killing…

Cora: Yes, but there’s also something in the fact that he went alone.

Michael: Yeah.

Cora: Why did he go alone? Was it a proving himself thing, or was it actually a little bit of fear?

Kat: You know what’s nice – and I’m really sorry to interrupt you – just thinking about how alone he was, totally parallels – in opposite way parallels…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: … how not alone Harry is…

Cora: At the end.

Kat: … in the end.

Michael: Mmm.

Kat: It’s the two of them, but everybody is there. And it just… I don’t know, it’s…

Michael: Yeah, it’s the difference…

Kristen: Yeah.

Cora: That Harry’s brave enough to face his downfall with people watching on, but Voldemort’s not even willing to face a child with anyone there to witness what could happen.

Michael: Yep. It’s once again the difference between attempting to defy your mortality versus embracing it. So… yeah.

Kat: Damn.

Michael: Dang this chapter, you guys!

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I know. I’m sad to say that that is our discussion on my favorite chapter of the entire… seven… novels.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: It’s a bittersweet moment – I’m sad. You see how I drew that out as long as possible.

Michael: Yeah.

[Cora and Kristen laugh]

Michael: No, no, that was…

[Cora laughs]

Kat: I never wanted it to end.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: Well yeah, there’s still tons of stuff you could potentially talk about…

Cora: Mhm.

Kristen: For sure…

Kat: Oh my God, I could go on talking about it…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: … for like forever and a half.

Michael: Should have planned this for two episodes. [laughs]

Cora: Seriously, it’s a long chapter!

Kat: Okay, what are we pulling, a Deathly Hallows here?

[Cora laughs]

Michael: Yes, we are.

[Cora, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Michael: It’s time to start doing some Part 1 and Part 2.

[Cora laughs]

Kat: Okay, you know what, I think by the last book…

Michael: We might have to.

Kristen: Yeah, I’m sure.

[Cora and Michael laugh]

Kat: We might need to do that.

Kristen: Now we are going to go into this week’s Podcast Question of the Week. We’ve been talking about Dumbledore not telling Harry about the prophecy, all about Snape and love and everything like that. So my question is, in this chapter we do find out that Dumbledore has known about the prophecy since before Harry’s birth but has yet to share it with him until now. What would have happened if Dumbledore told Harry about the prophecy at an earlier age? How would it have affected Harry’s personality and what pivotal moments of Harry’s life would have changed and how?

Michael: That’s a good question.

Kristen: And to answer this Podcast Question of the Week, you can go to the main site at and share with us your responses.

Kat: Yay, that’s a good question. I’m really excited to hear what the listeners think.

Cora: Mhm.

Michael: A good question from Kristen, who is now… [drumroll] an official host!

[Audio of a cheering crowd]

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: Welcome to the team. Your dry humor is much needed.

Kristen: Thank you, thank you.

Kat: Well, not that we don’t have dry humor.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: This show isn’t built on dry humor. But still…

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: … we always need more. [laughs]

Kristen: Yes.

Kat: But welcome, welcome to the fold.

Kristen: Thank you, I’m very excited to be a part of it.

Michael: We’re so glad to have you, Kristen.

Kristen: Thank you.

Michael: And of course, we were all so very glad on this episode to have Cora with us. Cora, you were an excellent guest, a very insightful Slytherin…

Cora: Oh, thank you.

Michael: There are wonderful Slyterins out there, as Cora is proving.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: And Cora, how can our listeners find out more about you and your work?

Cora: Sure. Well, I’m on social media. You can find me on Twitter; my handle is @CoraCarmack. You can also find me on Twitter; I have a fan page for Cora Carmack; I’ve got a blog; I’ve got Pinterest and Instagram. Pretty much just Cora Carmack across the board.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: Nice.

Cora: Or you can checkout my books. They’re available across all retailers online and e-book, and then also in bookstores in the US and the UK.

Michael: And Cora, I always find it important to ask when an author is on – and you’ve kind of touched on it a little bit – but before you go I did want to ask, how has Rowling has affected your writing and the work you do and inspired you?

Cora: Oh my goodness.

[Cora and Michael laugh]

Cora: Well, I started reading Harry Potter at the age of 11. And so I grew up with Harry Potter, and it shaped me as a person – it shaped my friendships. I sort of remember my life through events in Harry Potter, like what midnight movie came out and what midnight book release. And it was the moment that brought me sort of into reading for the first time, and I became obsessive about it. I mentioned to you guys earlier that I reread Order of the Phoenix because it’s my favorite book. One summer I just reread it again and again and again, because I couldn’t deal with there not being more. And I read it 37 times in one summer.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Cora: Like seriously obsessive – I was not exaggerating. So that was the moment that I started reading, and then I just read insatiably from that point on. After that, I became a book blogger, and then from that, I gradually shifted into writing books of my own and sort of never looked back. But yeah, my life would be… I don’t even know who I would be without Harry Potter.

Kat: I think we all mirror that sentiment.

Kristen: Mhm.

Michael: And I think it was especially clear in Cora’s excellent discussion with us today.

Cora: Oh, thank you.

Kat: Absolutely. Thank you so much.

Cora: Thank you, guys. This was so exciting.

Kat: It was awesome.

Cora: I’m so glad to be a part of it… and for this book and this chapter, oh my gosh!

Kat: I know, you better comment and share your thoughts on the Podcast Question of the Week because I know you have some.

Cora: I do.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kristen: I want to read it.

Kat: [laughs] That’s right.

Kristen: All right, if you would like to be on this show, you can check out our page at All you have to have is an Apple headphone set and you’ll be ready to go. There is no fancy equipment needed.

Kat: And in the meantime, if you just want to keep in touch with us, you can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN,, [and] on Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast. Of course our phone number is 206-GO-ALBUS – that’s 206-462-5287. And of course, like you heard too in this lovely episode, you can always leave us an audioBoom. It is free – all you need is an Internet connection and a microphone. You can record that directly on There’s a little green button on the right-hand sidebar. Just click it, send us a message under 60 seconds, and you might just hear yourself on the show.

Kristen: And don’t forget to check out our Alohomora! store to get all your awesome swag.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kristen: We have sweatshirts, long-sleeved tees, tote bags, flip-flops, and so much more. And we also have ringtones that are free and available on the website so you can be very cool.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: I mean, I dance to our theme song all the time. Let’s be honest.

Kristen: Oh, I love it. I love it. It’s great.

Kat: It’s pretty awesome.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: And you don’t have to be a witch or wizard to experience some magic in your everyday life. All you need for that…

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: … is the Alohomora! smartphone app, which is available – as Eric likes to say – on this side of the pond…

[Kat laughs]

Michael: … and the other. He’s trying to change something that just can’t be changed.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: I know, he is. I know.

Michael: And yet it’s still working. But prices vary, depending on your location. The app includes special features such as transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and so much more. Sometimes things that we just think of off the top of our heads for that week. You’ll never know what’s going on in the app unless you download it and check it out. And with that, we’ve analyzed this beloved chapter to death.

Kat: Or not.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: Or not. Still so much more to say, but we bring this episode to a close. I’m Michael Harle.

[Show music begins]

Kristen: I’m Kristen Keys.

Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 115 of Alohomora!

Michael: [as Dumbledore] Open the Dumbledore. [back to normal voice] And happy birthday, Noah.

[Show music continues]

Kat: Ah, this has been so fun, guys.

[Cora laughs]

Michael: Yeah…

Kat: So exciting.

Michael: … this was an excellent episode. Like I said, it could have gone on for another hour.

Kat: Easily.

Michael: Easily, yeah. Yeah, because I noticed we didn’t even get to talk about… and you had it in there, but we didn’t even get to talk about Kreacher and his behavior.

Cora: Oh, I know. Man.

Kristen: Ugh, Kreacher.

Kat: Hmm.

Michael: Deplorable behavior. [laughs] Yeah, you’re right. It’s tough because… since this is off record, [laughs] he’s a little…

Kristen: Bleep!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: … in this book.

Kristen: Yes.

Kat: He is. He’s awful.

Cora: Seriously.

Michael: [laughs] If that isn’t a reason to download the app, I don’t know what is.

[Cora and Michael laugh]

Kat: Oh wait, I lied. Kristen has it this week.

Kristen: I know.

Kat: Never mind!

Michael: There we go. Kristen…

Kat: Whoops!

Michael: … just take the discussion…

Kristen: Now it’s going to be “Bleep!”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Oh, man.

Kat: Lovely.

Michael: Oh, God. Okay, here we go.

Kat: Okay, yep.

Kristen: [laughs] Sorry. I mean bleep!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Whew. Okay.