Transcript – Episode 116

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 116 of Alohomora! for December 27, 2014.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Hey there, listeners, and welcome back to Alohomora!, our post-holiday show. I’m Michael Harle.

Caleb Graves: I’m Caleb Graves.

Alison Siggard: And I’m Alison Siggard.

Michael: And that’s it. It’s all you get this week.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Because everybody else is on holiday and they’re too tired, so we’re here to close out Order of the Phoenix.

Caleb: Guys, this is a big moment, finishing out Order of the Phoenix.

Alison: Yeah. This is a big one.

Michael: It’s a big, big book.

[Alison laughs]

Caleb: We have officially hit the milestone that turned so many others back before us.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Not naming names or anything.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But yeah, this is very exciting. Did you guys have a good holiday?

Caleb: I did.

Alison: Yeah. It was good, it was good.

Michael: Anybody get any good Harry Potter gifts?

Alison: Actually, I got none this year.

Caleb: Yeah, I didn’t either.

Alison: I was shocked.

Michael: Oh my God. [laughs] I got the set of the new paperbacks that Kazu redesigned.

Alison: Ooh. That’s exciting.

Caleb: Oh. How are they in the flesh?

Michael: They’re pretty. I got them all in the box set, so yeah, they’re beautiful.

Alison: Ooh. How exciting.

Michael: It’s funny, though, because of course, having them now. They’re great to have, but at the same time, of course, you open them, and it’s like, “These are the same exact books that I’ve had before.”

[Alison laughs]

Michael: That I have 20 other copies of.

Alison: That’s what my dad says about my British editions.

Caleb: That’s the exact marketing ploy.

Michael: But they’re nice to have. Of course, they’re on my floor because I have no room in my collection for them on the shelf, so…

[Alison and Caleb laugh]

Michael: But what are you going to do? But yes, as we said before, we hope you all listeners had a great holiday. And we are here to close up Order of the Phoenix with Chapter 38: “The Second War Begins,” which we want to make sure [to] let you all note, please read before you listen to the episode to get the most out of our discussion today.

Alison: And before we get into our chapter discussion, we are, of course, going to recap our comments from our last episode, Chapter 37. Everything about the prophecy. [laughs] So our first comment comes from Mama_Slytherin on the forums, and she says,

“I remember as a reader the first time through this book being very underwhelmed by the prophe[c]y. I expected some big huge revelation, and it really felt like we already knew the information it contained. I think it was the one plot device that fell flat for me. And the insistence on calling it a ‘weapon’ irks me to no end. Yes, knowledge is power and all that. But had they not called it a ‘weapon’ I don’t think Harry would have been so tempted to save the world/save the weapon, and he wouldn’t have been such easy prey to Voldemort’s mind tricks.”

What do we think about that? I think that’s valid.

Michael: Oh, yeah.

Caleb: Yeah, the fact that it takes Dumbledore quite a while to explain it and get it out, I think, reinforces that idea.

Michael: Yeah. Mama_Slytherin posted this in the forum, and I responded to it there. We had a great discussion on the chapter last week, and I’ve said it before: Order of the Phoenix is not my favorite of the series, and I remember when I first read the chapter “The Lost Prophecy,” and when it was given out that the big reveal… Because I don’t know what it is in the British edition – I have it. I should look – but I know in the American edition, when we got the summary, it was like, “Dumbledore is going to tell Harry everything.” And of course, what we get is Dumbledore saying, “You have to kill Voldemort or Voldemort is going to kill you.” And everybody was like, “Yeah, and?”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And while I think it’s important, I think it’s a letdown because it’s something that is assumed by the reader and by the characters, to some degree. But at the same time, you have to have that definitive, literary reason that they have to kill each other. There’s nothing set in stone up to this point that they have to kill each other. I think the prophecy establishes that. But I think that’s personally why I like Half-Blood Prince better, is because I feel that the revelation of the Horcruxes and the pieces of Voldemort’s soul and how that works was way more unique, fascinating, unusual, and perhaps cemented better what the prophecy started. Do you know what I mean? I’d say that that’s even why I like Half-Blood Prince better, is that it feels to me what we were waiting for from Order of the Phoenix and that we didn’t quite get by the end.

Alison: Yeah. I think the most interesting thing here is this idea of “Is it a weapon or not?” I think that’s why I chose this one, because is this a weapon? Should this be considered weapon?

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Or did Dumbledore maybe not tell the Order exactly what it was and they were assuming it was something else?

Michael: It’s a weapon in the poetic sense. [laughs]

Caleb: Yeah, no, I think that’s a good point. I think it’s possible that Dumbledore didn’t tell the Order members all that much and maybe… so he’s also keeping a little bit from them by calling it a weapon.

Michael: And I think it’s… Like Mama_Slytherin said, that’s part of the fault of why Harry is more, perhaps, entranced by the whole concept is because it’s called a weapon. [laughs] Yeah. I mean, I get why they call it a weapon, but the suggestion here is that it’s in the more poetic sense of a weapon as knowledge is power kind of a thing.

Alison: We had a lot of comments on our last episode, and we had a lot of really deep comments on our main site. There was a whole discussion about whether this prophecy had to do with predestination, how free will fit into this whole thing, what would have happened if Neville had been chosen instead. And it was all kicked off by HufflePug’s comment, and they say,

“I agree with what Michael was saying about the prophecy working out because of people’s personality traits and predictable actions. J.K. Rowling based the prophecy on the one in Macbeth, where the question is whether Macbeth would have become king if he had chosen a different path upon hearing the prophecy. If he and Lady Macbeth had risen above their greed and desire for power then, no, he wouldn’t have become king or had such a tragic ending. But that’s like Voldemort hearing the prophecy and then saying, ‘You know what? I accept death. I’ll just let this baby vanquish me.’ Not gonna happen. It seems like a Seer will make a prediction if the circumstances line up so perfectly that it would be highly unlikely for another outcome to occur because the people involved would respond predictably . I feel like the magic behind Seers can’t be explained – it’s magic, after all – but it appears to take effect whenever the people involved in a prophecy are situated in certain ways that their actions are predictable, which leads to a predictable outcome.”

This is interesting.

Michael: Yeah, you guys chat a little bit about this because I said most of my views on…

[Alison laughs]

Michael: [Those’re] pretty much my views. [laughs] HufflePug seemed to agree with me, so what did you guys think about that thing about how the prophecy relates to how people end up carrying it out?

Alison: I think this is just an interesting predicament almost, where it’s like, “Okay, are people’s actions affected by the prophecy or is the prophecy in response to people’s actions?” And I don’t know if we ever really get a clear answer.

Michael: No, I don’t think… Because with… Prophecies come up in literature and film and entertainment a lot, and I think the… It is funny because there is that pondering of, if a prophecy didn’t exist, would people still do exactly what they did or does the knowledge of the prophecy make them carry out the prophecy even if they’re trying not to?

Alison: Would people have made the exact same decisions, regardless? For example, HufflePug was talking about… I cut out some of their comment, but [they were] talking about Snape and Snape’s actions. If, not because of the prophecy, Voldemort had targeted Lily, would Snape have done the same thing?

Michael: Hmm. Oh, yeah, would Snape have gone to Voldemort with the prophecy, the information that he got?

Alison: Uh-huh. Or would he have turned against Voldemort, if just say, Voldemort said, Well, we’re just going to get rid of the Potters. No prophecy. Would Snape have done the same thing? Would he have gone to Dumbledore?

Caleb: I don’t know if he would have gone to Dumbledore, but I definitely would have seen Snape defecting in some way. Maybe not as effectively. Maybe he wouldn’t… The Prophecy is the ultimate tool to help him defect in the best way, and without it, he wouldn’t have been as successful. He may have just been killed. Yeah, I still think it’s not the Prophecy that moves him; it’s Lily. And the prophecy just gives him the route to say, Okay, my next move is to Dumbledore. That’s my thought, anyway.

Michael: Well, yeah, because the… And our guest last week, Cora Carmack, pointed out that it all falls together so perfectly because Snape only hears the part of the prophecy that he hears. He only hears the first half, and then he gets thrown out from the Hog’s Head. So he’s not fully informed, and the assumption we went off, too, last week was that Snape has no idea that Lily is pregnant. Because it’s implied that they haven’t been in contact, for those years anyway. So it’s like the things that the prophecy does, they… The prophecy comes out at a time when we felt that things just so perfectly click into place, that it’s just inevitable. And we’ll get into this more in Half-Blood Prince because Dumbledore talks about this at length with Harry, but Dumbledore suggests that you can defy a prophecy but that people just wouldn’t do it because it would be unnatural because, as HufflePug mentioned, a prophecy tends to take into account how people generally behave and what their moral standards are. So if you defy it, then you’re not really being you anyway.

Alison: Interesting. Okay, well, our next comment is also on the main site from SpectacularlyHypothetical, and it goes off the discussion about Dumbledore and Snape, and it says,

“The whole Dumbledore having a blind spot for Snape discussion got me thinking. I agree that Dumbledore gives Snape too many free passes, but I don’t think the reason is the same as for Harry. Dumbledore both loves and pities Harry, and that’s why he behaves the way he does towards him; with Snape, I think the motivation is slightly different. I believe Dumbledore sees a lot of his own story in Snape and needs to believe that redemption is possible for him because that way he can believe that he can also be redeemed. Dumbledore needs to know that Snape can come back to the light so that he himself can also do so. I think he uses Snape as a sort of vicarious redemption; he forces him into extreme danger and emotional trauma in order that he might be redeemed, but the flip side [of it] is that he is much more forgiving of Snape’s more everyday unpleasantness.”

Caleb: That’s interesting because I haven’t really thought about this.

Alison: I hadn’t either.

Caleb: That Dubmbledore is still seeking the fact that he can be redeemed and forgiven for his own mistakes. You almost assume he’s moved past that, but those kind of things probably never really go away, so I buy it.

Alison: I would almost say that he’s… I don’t know if I would say he’s living vicariously through Snape. I would almost feel like he’s living vicariously through Harry.

Michael: Why Harry and not Snape?

Alison: Just because of how much time and attention he puts into making sure Harry is happy, Harry is getting the job done, he’s learning the skills he needs. Then… I don’t know.

Michael: Because I see Harry and Dumbledore’s relationship – especially as we’ll get into in Half-Blood Prince – I see that more… Half-Blood Prince is my second favorite book, and my favorite book with Harry and Dumbledore’s relationship, because it’s really the one where they work as a team. They bounce ideas off of each other, and it’s really neat to see those two characters working together the way they do. And until Deathly Hallows, when things fall apart, I see them as on an even playing field, an even level of how they work together. Versus I do think SpectacularlyHypothetical has a really good… I read this comment on the main site when it was posted, and I think it’s an excellent comment because I do think that’s an element of that. Because we posited that perhaps it was more that Dumbledore pities Snape in a pathetic way. But I like this too, that there’s that idea of redemption, because Dumbledore definitely is all about redemption. That’s a big theme for him. Caleb, like you were saying, even though you would think Dumbledore would be over that after all this time, or come to terms with it to some degree, I think we see in Deathly Hallows that he never really did. So yeah, I would totally… Because I think that’s an even better reason for why Dumbledore excuses Snape’s absolutely atrocious behavior.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Because a lot of people were saying in the comments… Even though Snape eventually figured out Harry’s message and he alerted the Order, everybody was like, “Why did he take so much time to do that?” [laughs] Because…

[Alison laughs]

Michael: … there’s a long gap of time between when Harry goes into the forest and when the Order shows up at the Ministry. And Dumbledore says that Snape saw them go into the forest, and then he was waiting for them to come out, and then he was going to go in himself [to] get them. But then he kind of lollygagged, I guess, on his way to informing people. So yeah, there is still an element that Snape is still a bit of a problem, no matter who[m] he’s working for.

Alison: Yeah. That’s true. All right, then our last comment today is from one of our fabulous forum moderators, HPAlison, and she says,

“One approach I don’t hear much in regard to Dumbledore’s confession to Harry in this chapter is that it was very calculating – whether on purpose or not, I’m not sure. But Dumbledore told Harry exactly what Harry needed to hear to keep him as his pawn.

“Up until this year, Dumbledore has been a flawless hero in Harry’s eyes. In fact, he remains that way throughout the year despite Harry’s increasing frustration. When challenged, Dumbledore has Harry’s unquestioning loyalty. But here, with Sirius’s death, all that is in flux. Harry is furious and grieving and rightly or wrongly is pinning the blame on Dumbledore. It could be the end of all [of] Dumbledore’s plans if Harry permanently breaks with him.

“Dumbledore doesn’t seem defensive or upset. Instead, he accepts Harry’s blame and uses it to rebuild Harry’s trust in him. … Dumbledore appears to make himself completely vulnerable and entirely open with Harry (when the truth is much more complicated). By doing so, Harry rebuilds his trust in Dumbledore because Dumbledore has never until this point revealed himself to be flawed. …

“It even resembles Voldemort’s leadership style in a small way. One of the ways that Voldemort reintroduces himself to the Death Eaters at the graveyard at the end of GoF is by admitting his faults. He garners sympathy and rejuvenated loyalty amongst his members…

“I’m not equating Dumbledore with Voldemort. In fact, I’m very much a Dumbledore apologist. I think Dumbledore speaks the truth when he says he cares about Harry, and that impacted his actions… But given Dumbledore’s ultimate long[-]term plan, I think this office confessional with Harry is one step along the path of ensuring that Dumbledore’s plan works.

“It is the brilliant work of a strategic genius.”

Caleb: Well, I am not a Dumbledore apologist.

[Everyone laughs]

Caleb: I fully think this is probably very likely.

Michael: Hmm. I think it’s likely. I do think… because this is something that I think we’ll continue to debate all the way through Deathly Hallows, but I do think Dumbledore – like HPAlison said – is very sincere that he cares about Harry. But there’s still an element of even though Dumbledore says that was an old, outdated mentality that [he] and Grindelwald came up with, he’s still definitely a practitioner of the greater good. And he sees Harry as a part of that. There’s definitely a very clever set-up here because this is… I had said in the last episode that Dumbledore is so perfectly taken apart in Harry’s eyes at the end of this book, and then, in my opinion, he’s rebuilt back up to his original status, or close to, in Half-Blood Prince for Harry. And then he’s deconstructed again in Deathly Hallows. But the way that that reconstruction-deconstruction goes for Harry does fit and flows so perfectly with Harry’s journey in Deathly Hallows of where he doubts Dumbledore and where he trusts him. So it is perfect, the things that Dumbledore does and does not choose to tell Harry. At this point, really, the big thing that he’s not telling him, of course, is the stuff about Snape and that he… and the Horcrux suspicions. But he’s getting close to the Horcruxes, because he doesn’t even know all that himself at this point. So really, the only thing he’s keeping is the Snape thing, which of course is major. But at the same time, it’s very important that he doesn’t say it right now.

Alison: All right, well, thank you for all of our fabulous comments this week. We had a lot. So head on over to the forums and the main site to go read through those. We had some really great ones about all sorts of different subjects related to…

Michael: Yeah, we had over 120 comments on the main site. It was vey impressive.

Alison: There [were] a lot.

Caleb: Holiday break, people [unintelligible].

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, and they love… I can tell which chapters the listeners really love, right? [laughs]

Caleb: All right, so we’re going to next turn to responses to last episode’s Question of the Week, and to remind you of that question: In this chapter, we find out that Dumbledore has known about the prophecy since before Harry Potter’s birth but has yet to share it with him until now. What would’ve happened if Dumbledore had told Harry about the prophecy at an earlier age? How would it have affected Harry’s personality? Which pivotal moments of Harry’s life would’ve changed and how? So some really great and interesting responses this week on this, and the first one we have comes from SaiyanGirl, and it says,

“Age 11, [Philosopher’s Stone], Hospital wing: I think Harry would’ve grown into a very different person and matured much faster, but at the same time, I think Dumbledore would’ve been a very different person had he told Harry earlier. Although I do believe Dumbledore cared about Harry, I believe him telling Harry about the prophecy so late was more a strategic choice to make Harry more likely to do exactly as Dumbledore wanted and fulfill the prophecy. After all, Harry had seen so much and was in such turmoil that he’d do anything to get at the one responsible at that time. Dumbledore chose not to give Harry the chance to reflect on everything rationally without all this baggage dragging him down by telling him so late.”

This ties in with our most recent comment pretty well.

Michael: Wow. See, I think part of that comment by SaiyanGirl goes under the assumption [of] the Steve Vander Ark theory that Dumbledore knows literally everything, not just that is but [also] will be. And I don’t really subscribe to that theory. I subscribe to the theory that Dumbledore knows more than he says, and he’s more powerful than he implies, but this, to me, implies that Dumbledore even knows who’s going to die in the next four books.

Caleb: Yeah, because that early on, he didn’t suspect even that much about the Horcruxes and all of that either, did he?

Michael: No, yeah, he… because I think that the Horcrux suspicions… Dumbledore’s pursuing of the Horcruxes is implied to be happening in this book behind the scenes.

Alison: Yeah, I think they say he says later that he started thinking about that at the end of Chamber of Secrets when Harry shows him the diary.

Caleb: Right, the diary.

Michael: With the diary, yeah. Well, and yeah, and then you’ve got the fact that Sirius isn’t introduced and revealed for who he really is until Book 3. Dumbledore is even under the assumption that Sirius is still a criminal by that point.

Alison: Exactly.

Michael: So… and not knowing that Cedric is going to die, and Harry is going to witness him die and that Sirius is going to die the way he’s going to die. Because those are partly also what shape Harry’s worldview and how he decides to take on Voldemort, so… I don’t know, because I still think that Dumbledore was sincere in that he didn’t tell Harry when he didn’t tell him, not because he didn’t think he could handle it – because I think Harry has shown that he can handle it – but that he really did just not feel like telling him because he felt bad. [laughs] So Harry did go through a lot in those early years after all, so…

Alison: Yeah. I was going to say, “At this point, I agree with what… Dumbledore’s reason for not telling him at this point is that he had just had this great triumph. He’s still a kid. Why was he going to ruin that moment? So I pretty much… I think Dumbledore did the right thing there. By not telling him.

Michael: Well, yeah, and he even posits that in the last chapter. He frames not telling Harry not as a failure to Harry but as a failure in himself that he… he’s like, “I cared about you, I love you as a student and as somebody who should… I follow through your life. And that was my mistake. That’s the flaw in the plan.” So yeah, no, I think that’s sincere, because Dumbledore is pretty much implying, “My plan was to tell you this at an early age and have you be my little weapon. But it didn’t work out the way I had planned.” So I think he’s being honest in that respect.

Caleb: All right, the next response comes from ISeeThestrals:

“Considering the next two times that Harry encounters Voldemort, learning about the prophecy early might have compelled him to try [to] kill Voldemort in those moments at a time when he was still maturing [in] his magical abilities. I kind of feel he might have a little resentment for the magical world, feeling that was why he was brought into the magical world in the first place [-] to fulfill a prophecy. At the beginning of Chamber of Secrets he wrongfully thought Hermione and Ron [had] stopped caring about him, so he might get the wrong impression of the prophecy early, as kids can easily misunderstand things. Even in the fifth book he was under the impression that Dumbledore had turned his back on him.”

How crazy to think Harry would misunderstand something?

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: What?

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yeah, I think there’s an element of that that’s… I think the big thing there is there would potentially be a resentment toward the wizarding world, that he’s just brought into it as a tool and not to actually be a part of it. But I mean, in a way, he already feels that way and gets there because he’s like, [as Harry] “I’m famous, and I don’t even know why.” So there is already kind of that element. I mean, for all of the ragging we do on Harry, kind of half jokingly half seriously, I think he is pretty smart. He does act impulsively from time to time, but he’s recognized in most situations when he’s with Voldemort that he’s not equipped to fight him.

Caleb: I agree.

Michael: So I mean, we do see in Prisoner that he does act irrational and is like, “I’m going to chase Sirius Black even though it’s implied that he might have killed a bunch of people.”

[Alison laughs]

Caleb: It’s just his Gryffindor coming out.

Alison: Yeah, whatever.

Michael: Yes. I think that Gryffindor nature can be tempered by the people around him. So I don’t…

Alison: I agree with that.

Michael: And I think if Dumbledore had been able to give him that guidance early on… I don’t know, I think there’s still a potential that it would have been okay and that Harry would have managed to handle it, but…

Caleb: Still would have been better than going back to the Dursleys, so…

Michael: Well, yeah. Anything…

Alison: Exactly!

[Caleb and Michael laugh]

Caleb: So he’s still got that working for him.

Michael: Anything’s an improvement over that.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Caleb: All right. The next response comes from DisKid:

“I wonder if a reason Dumbledore did not want to tell Harry the prophecy too early was a fear that, before he had strong allegiance to the good side, […] he would be tempted to learn [D]ark magic, as it could easily seem like this is the only way to kill a [D]ark, powerful wizard like Voldemort once the [H]orcruxes are gone even if that’s not true. I wonder if Dumbledore thought Harry needed to learn he was not dark like Voldemort before knowing this prophecy.”

Caleb: It’s possible. It’s like a little Star Wars dark side of the Force element in there.

Michael: Yeah, the temptation of the dark side. They have cookies.

[Caleb laughs]

Michael: No, I… because I think that’s what Chamber of Secrets is all about. Because Harry has that emotional conflict of “Am I a bad person because I can speak to snakes?” And then the whole school turns on him, and he does have that real… he does come through that. So yeah, there’s an element to that. I think… because the series continually points that Harry and Voldemort could potentially be the same person if they so desired or took the same path. And I know that’s more the implication of the Horcruxes, but I think there’s still an element of, yeah, Harry could be a very powerful Dark wizard if he… we’ve debated that before, but the Sorting Hat, of course, now we always say that the Sorting Hat was just detecting the Horcrux in Harry and the piece of Voldemort within him, but I think the Sorting Hat was also detecting a potential in Harry’s own self, that he could probably have made a really great Dark wizard.

Caleb: All right, and the last response comes from PuffNProud.

“I have a bit of a different take on this. I think that Harry’s selflessness or ‘saving people thing’ always existed as part of his personality and that if Dumbledore told Harry that ‘neither can live while the other survives,’ Harry would consider sacrificing himself earlier to save his friends and people in the wizarding world. Using some convoluted logic, Harry may conclude that Voldemort would be able to be killed if Harry [were] no longer alive. So Harry sacrifices himself and trusts that another wizard could then get rid of Voldemort.”

I think he could have considered this, but I don’t know if he would have acted on it without really making sure. Because interpreting it and not being sure that your interpretation is right is pretty risky.

Alison: Well, he doesn’t know that Voldemort could only… at this point… until next year, he doesn’t know that Voldemort could only die if Harry is killed. He doesn’t know about the Horcrux part.

Caleb: Right, but right now, he thinks – well, correctly, though he doesn’t know that twist, like you mentioned – that the prophecy means that one must kill the other.

Alison: Exactly.

Michael: Well, and…

Alison: But I don’t know if he would have necessarily sacrificed himself because I think at this point in his mind. that means Voldemort wins.

Michael: Well, because the other issue, too… and again, stuff we’ve kind of talked about with the prophecies and how they perfectly fall into place, but if we’re thinking as early as Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone that this is being revealed to Harry, then Voldemort doesn’t have a physical body and hasn’t taken Harry’s blood, so… which screws up what would happen if Voldemort killed Harry.

Alison: That’s true.

Michael: So [laughs] that would… I think that loses the tether to life if you don’t have that. So yeah, if Harry sacrifices himself… [sighs] there’s still the element of if he willingly sacrificed himself, that would provide a protection from Voldemort to the people [whom] he’s dying for in the same way as Lily, I guess. But Harry would just die then. [laughs] So yeah, that would present a lot of problems. And then Dumbledore doesn’t know this by that point anyway, right? Like we said before. So… see this is why when you pull threads like this, it just falls apart.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, and there'[re] so many… Harry’s journey to Book 7… there’s an element of it where he needs to learn what sacrificing himself even means. I think you’re right, Caleb, that he may not do that because he doesn’t understand it yet. So I don’t think he would really consider that an option. Even with his Gryffindor side, I think. I think back then, Harry was more inclined to charge in rather than think of it as [as Harry] “I’m going to die for everybody.” Because he’s not at that point, so…

[Alison laughs]

Caleb: Right. Yeah. Well, these are a lot of good responses. If anything, it gives us the idea that there was probably a lot going through Dumbledore’s mind when he was considering when to tell Harry and what exactly to tell him. You can check out a lot of the other great responses on our website.

Alison: All right, and before we jump into our chapter, which is the last chapter, of course, we just want to remind you that our movie episode is coming up.

Michael: Yay.

Alison: It’s going to be on January 3 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. Remember, you have to have your own copy of the film to join us, and we will have a live show immediately after. So for all the details, just make sure you check out our website in the next little while – – and all the little details of where we’re going to be [laughs] and how to join.

Michael: Yes, that is super important to remember, listeners. We can’t show the film legally.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: You have to have your own copy, so go to a library and check it out if you don’t have it. You should have it if you don’t, but [laughs] yes, we’re really excited about that. I’m always excited about the film.

Alison: I’m excited for this one. There’s a lot to talk about.

Michael: Oh yes, Order of the Phoenix is definitely a big one to discuss and debate, so everybody get all of your gripes about the adaptation issues together so we can discuss it at length.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But for now we will wrap up Order of the Phoenix with the discussion on Chapter 38.

[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 38 intro begins]

[Sounds of Hogwarts students enjoying the Black Lake]

Harry: Chapter 38.

[Sounds of the Black Lake]

Harry: “The Second War Begins.”

[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 38 intro ends]

Michael: So before I say the summary of this chapter, I do have to note that I have no idea how I ended up on this chapter because I feel I’m the wrong person to close out Order of the Phoenix because I hate this book. [laughs]

Caleb: It’s okay. I love this book, so it’ll be fine.

Michael: Good, good. There’s a balance.

Alison: Well, it’s not my favorite, so we may be unbalanced.

Michael: [laughs] It’s a little low on my list. It’s a little low. Yeah, Caleb, you’re just going to have to bring love.

Alison: I agree with you.

Caleb: It’s okay. I can do that.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But to summarize what occurs in this chapter, the Ministry publicly concedes that Voldemort has returned, beginning a short period of calm before the storm. Hogwarts returns to normal. Umbridge is rescued from the centaurs before being chased off the grounds by Peeves. Firenze has opted to stay on as Divination teacher alongside Trelawney. McGonagall makes a triumphant return. Grawp is finally comfortable under Hagrid’s improved care, and Snape and Malfoy are, if anything, more unpleasant than ever. Ron and Hermione are slowly recovering in the hospital wing while Harry aimlessly wanders the halls and grounds in a deep depression over the loss of Sirius. Attempting to assuage his grief, Harry desperately seeks out ways to bring Sirius back in one form or another. However, following a short but striking conversation with Luna Lovegood, Harry finally begins to accept the reality of his loss. Stepping off the Hogwarts Express, the group is welcomed back to London by members of the Order of the Phoenix who have some parting words for the Dursleys before they take Harry back for the summer. So the first point here… and I really debated whether we should talk about it or not, but it’s been discussed at length both on the main site and on the forums already by listeners, by you guys, so I did want to bring the conversation up – and it’s been debated in the fandom at length as well – and I preface it by saying that we will treat this with as much delicacy as possible. But of course, Umbridge was taken and kidnapped by the centaurs and taken deep into the forest, and there has been the suggestion that she was raped by the centaurs. And the reason this comes up is 1) in centaur mythology, that’s what they do, and 2) in the implications by the text, some people have taken it to mean that. The specific quote is from page 848 of the American hardback edition, which says,

“Since she had returned to the castle she had not, as far as any of them knew, uttered a single word. Nobody really knew what was wrong with her either. Her usually neat mousy hair was very untidy and there were bits of twig and leaves in it, but otherwise she seemed to be quite unscathed.”

So the argument here from a lot of people who believe she was raped was that people have said that Rowling, of course, knows her mythology very thoroughly and would know that centaurs are traditionally a symbol of that. Of course, as many people know, the Potter musical took that to an extreme when they did their adaptation. But what are your guys’ thoughts on what happened?

Caleb: So I think the mythology is an excellent point to bring up; certainly a part of centaur mythology, and so I think it is definitely possible that it could have happened.

Michael: Mhm.

Caleb: I think there’s no… yeah, I think it definitely could have happened, and I would almost assume it did happen, especially with the passage you mentioned. It seems like there’s a very deep or traumatic experience, and I think there are a couple of other possibilities; that maybe she was just so traumatized by being carried around by centaurs who she thought she would never be around in any way…

Michael: Mhm.

Caleb: … maybe that’s it. But it seems very much more than that. However, my reasoning for thinking she was not raped is because I think that Jo wrote this, in a way, for us to be completely satisfied and for us to feel fulfilled by the punishment that Umbridge receives.

Michael: Mhm.

Caleb: And I don’t think there’s any caveat or any hesitancy about that, and I don’t think she would have written it that way had Umbridge been raped.

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah, I would agree with that. It may just be… the first time I read this book I was in third grade, obviously, so I was little. I didn’t understand. So I’ve never read it that way. I’ve more just read it as the fact that she got carried off by these creatures she hates; she despises. Half humans. It was a terrifying experience.

Michael: Mhm. Yeah, that’s generally my take on it, too, because I was…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: I think I was about 14 or 15 when I read it, and I didn’t make that connection because I didn’t really know that much about centaur mythology anyway.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: I was thinking of the very pleasant centaurs that you get in Narnia…

[Everyone laughs]

Caleb: Yeah.

Michael: … which I personally think Rowling’s centaurs are more akin to because she’s… even though she does call from mythology, we’ve even seen recently on Pottermore that she has stated that there are certain things she took from mythology that she changed into her own version because she didn’t want that to be her…

Alison: Exactly.

Michael: … she recently said on Pottermore that she was very clear about how she treated zombies and vampires in mythology…

Alison: Uh-huh.

Michael: … because she didn’t want them to be the same thing as what has already been seen out there, so I’m generally… I think the reason that people get offended at the thought of this is because… notwithstanding the fact that really this isn’t very satisfying punishment, like you were saying, Caleb, because there’s a really dark element to it.

Caleb: Mhm.

Michael: A really disturbing element to it. But also the fact that the students make light of it…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … with Ron doing the [clicks tongue] noise…

Caleb: Yeah.

Michael: … which, if it is this, then that really takes the humor away from it.

Caleb: Right. And I think this would’ve been the time where, had that been the case, or even something like it, Rowling would’ve used Hermione to stop Ron instead of respond by laughing at it.

Alison: Yeah. I agree with that.

Michael: Mhm. Well, yeah, that was actually a thing that was brought up in a lot of conversations on the forums and main site about this, too, is that Hermione, for all of her faults with what she did with the centaur encounter, she probably knows enough about centaur culture to know what would’ve happened with them carrying Umbridge off.

Caleb: Mhm.

Michael: So I don’t think Hermione, like you said, would make light of this situation if she knew that was what happened.

Caleb: Right.

Alison: But I think if… sorry…

Michael: No, you’re fine.

Alison: … I think if that had been part of the centaur mythology she was using, or how she had set up her centaurs, then earlier when we had met them – centaurs – there would have been more… the first time they meet them in the first book, I think there would’ve been more tendency of maybe protection of Hermione.

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: Some indication that she could potentially be in danger.

Michael: Ah, you mean when they go into the… by Hagrid, to… yeah.

Alsion: Yeah, yeah, there would’ve been some kind of indication earlier that that was a possibility rather than just…

Michael: Yeah, I think that’s more along the lines of what’s going on here because, again, I’m thinking that these centaurs are more akin to a C.S. Lewis type of centaur where it’s more of a benign magical beast.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: I think we’re more correct in thinking that Umbridge was just shaken up a bit by the experience because she hates “half-breeds” so much.

Caleb: Yeah.

Alison: Mhm.

Michael: So I think that was more the thing that…. okay, so I had to bring it up, too, because I just know if someday if Noah ever listens to this episode he’d be so disappointed if we didn’t talk about it.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Michael: I’m sure Noah would argue that she was, but I’m thinking just with the context because Rowling is also very sensitive about various issues. And I don’t think she would be so insensitive as to laugh, or make her characters laugh at that.

Caleb: Yeah. Mhm. Definitely.

Alison: Exactly.

Michael: I think that’s what it really comes down to in the end. So Harry spends that time, of course, in the Hospital Wing, and they do have the brief witnessing of Umbridge and her behavior in the Hospital Wing, and of course the news has gone around that pretty much everything has been fixed very quickly within a few days. The calm before the storm. Fudge has admitted everything and the papers are once again praising Harry as “The Boy Who Lived.” But Harry is not really in the mood to talk to anybody, and he heads out from the Hospital Wing, much to everybody’s disappointment, and of course, despite how large Hogwarts is and that there are supposedly a thousand students there…

[Alison and Caleb laugh]

Michael: … Harry somehow manages to run into Draco Malfoy on the way downstairs. And I thought this would actually be a great opportunity to read a segment from the newly released Pottermore information because it covers exactly what Draco is going through in this exact moment. There was a great whole story about Malfoy that was given out on Pottermore, but this is just a small sampling of it, and it says that, “At this moment, Draco’s world now fell apart. From having been, as he and his father had believed, on the cusp of authority and prestige such as they had never known before, his father was taken from the family home and imprisoned, far away, in the fearsome wizard prison guarded by Dementors.” Which, by the way, is not correct, because the Dementors have left.

Alison: [laughs] Whoops.

Michael: So it’s just a fierce prison. [laughs] “Lucius had been Draco’s role model and hero since birth. Now he and his mother were pariahs among the Death Eaters. Lucius was a failure and discredited in the eyes of the furious Lord Voldemort. Draco’s existence had been cloistered and protected until this point. He had been a privileged boy with little to trouble him, assured of his status in the world, and with his head full of petty concerns. Now, with his father gone and his mother distraught and afraid, he had to assume a man’s responsibilities.” So that’s the mindset that Malfoy is in during this encounter with Harry, which is especially unpleasant. And Malfoy shoots a few jibes at Harry, and Harry sarcastically says, “I suppose Lord Voldemort’s just a warmup act compared to you three.” [laughs] But – and while it’s a funny line – is Harry underestimating Malfoy in that moment?

Alison: Yes.

Caleb: I don’t think any more than he usually does.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I was just wondering that because of what we see in the next book with how Malfoy carries out his mission…

Caleb: Right.

Michael: … because even though he halfheartedly does it, he almost kills a few people.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: So I don’t know. I just thought that…

Alison: I think he…

Michael: Go ahead, Alison.

Alison: Oh, I was just going to say I think he definitely is. I don’t think Harry understands. I really liked this new information on Pottermore. I liked… sorry. [laughs] I feel like I’m not making any sense today. This perspective that… that fact that Draco’s whole world has been rocked, and now I think Harry doesn’t quite understand to what level that has happened and to what extent Draco is going to go to to try and bring back that honor and his father’s reputation and the family’s reputation.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: And I think that’s partially why, when Harry thinks something’s going on with Malfoy next year, it doesn’t really get off the ground with anyone else because Harry can’t back it up with anything. He’s really just saying, “I think he is.” But he doesn’t understand to what extent things are going to and how serious the situation has gotten.

Michael: Mhm. Well, yeah, because what I always think is so… as much as I love Half-Blood Prince, the part I think is so ridiculous is when Harry says, “He’s a Death Eater now,” and [laughs] Hermione is just like, “Oh, Harry…”

[Alison and Caleb laugh]

Michael: “… Voldemort would never make a child a Death Eater.” [laughs] And I’m like, “Yeah, because Voldemort has morals. He would never do such a thing like that.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: That’s just ridiculous. That I always find so silly. But I think it’s almost like Harry has shot himself in the foot with how much he has worked up Malfoy to be this piteous, all talk and no action kind of guy…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … because it seeps into Hermione and Ron and how they view Malfoy, too, as kind of incompetent. So it’s an interesting preface to what we’re going to see in Half-Blood Prince with the behavior between… with their relationship and how that goes down. But of course, again, coincidentally with how many people you’ve got in Hogwarts, not only does he run into Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: … but it’s like Snape has Harry detectors on…

[Alison laughs]

Michael: … and he comes out of the dungeons, too, and the line that I just always find so striking in this moment – especially now knowing what happens in the last two books – is on page 851 of the American hardback edition. The narration says, “At the sight of him, Harry felt a great rush of hatred beyond anything he felt toward Malfoy. Whatever Dumbledore said, he would never forgive Snape. Never.”

Caleb: Never say never, friend.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: One hundred percent agree with Harry, though, so…

Michael: [laughs] Well, that’s why I’m so, I guess, surprised at… despite what… to me, what Harry finds out in Deathly Hallows about Snape does not merit how Harry retcons Snape in his mind after that.

Alison: And I don’t think he should.

Caleb: Name his child after him.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Oh, well, there’s that.

Michael: Name his child after him, advocate to get his portrait hung in the Headmaster’s office…

Caleb: Yeah.

Alison: Ugh.

Michael: He goes to a lot of effort. And it’s moments like these where…

Alison: Harry, what’s wrong with you?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And Dumbledore tries, and feels justified, in dusting off these moments of Snape’s bad behavior. But I really think, like you guys are saying, that it’s justified. This hatred is justified. [laughs]

Caleb: Yeah.

Michael: I don’t know if Sirius wouldn’t have survived if Snape had acted differently, but I do think there’s still an element of that that Snape is to be held accountable for that he’s not being.

Caleb: And maybe Dumbledore does in some ways agree with Harry and feel that Snape messed up, but he knows that nothing’s going to change that Sirius is dead, Snape is still alive, and Harry is going to have to work with Snape, so he’s trying to rectify that relationship as much as he can.

Michael: Yeah, there’s just some things that aren’t going to happen, though. [laughs]

Caleb: Oh, yeah. It’s totally pointless. It’s not going to work.

Michael: And then, I didn’t have anything much to say on it, but I see you put it in here and I mean, Caleb, I figured you would just go for it, so go for it. [laughs]

Caleb: It’s just such the perfect moment when McGonagall comes in because at this point we all still hate Snape and it’s almost a Snape versus McGonagall moment, which is foreshadowing, in a way, for the moment they will have much later in the series. But it’s just that she’s back, you’ve been worried… you’ve almost forgotten about her; the fact that she’s been in Mungo’s all this time and didn’t really know what her status was. And then all of a sudden she just shows up, perfectly, flawlessly, drops her coat off… it’s a Beyoncé moment. Let’s be real here.

[Everyone laughs]

Caleb: She’s just like, “Take my coat.” I don’t remember if it’s Crabbe or Goyle she sends to take the coat up to her office. I also thought maybe we should not let the Slytherin boys into our office, but…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Caleb: And then she just handles it. She gives Gryffindor all their points back by awarding Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, and Neville… I also found it amusing… it’s like she hesitated to give Luna points because she’s a Ravenclaw.

Michael: To give Luna points, yeah.

[Alison laughs]

Caleb: She’s like, “I guess we’ll give her some.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Caleb: Gryffindor to the end. I love it. She’s perfect.

Michael: Yeah, that is a great moment. And it is fun because we actually don’t see much interaction between Snape and McGonagall firsthand. We hear about it; secondhand stories… but we never actually see it most of the time.

Caleb: Right.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So it is fun to see him, especially to see her get the best of him in moments like these. And she did walk in at just the right time because who knows what Snape was going to do since Gryffindor was in negative points? [laughs] But then, of course, Harry doesn’t need telling twice to go outside and enjoy the day. So he heads outside not with the intention of going to Hagrid’s but he decides he’ll go there anyway because he doesn’t really know what to do with himself. And the thing I just thought was worth noting about this discussion is that I was thinking back to Goblet of Fire when Harry goes to Hagrid’s and it ends up being a really good thing for him. Hagrid is very blunt and says, “Yep, what’s coming is coming and we’ll have to face it when it does,” and it perks Harry up, actually, that someone is actually being forward with him about Cedric’s death and what happened and what’s to come. But that doesn’t really work quite the same way this time. Harry goes to Hagrid’s, Hagrid holds back on mentioning Sirius after mistakenly letting it slip, and from that point, he tries to console Harry, but it doesn’t work at all and Harry leaves. And the part, too, that I really wanted to read – because I think the section is just a really striking bit of writing on Rowling’s part – is after Harry leaves Hagrid’s. And it says – this is on page 855 of the American hardback edition – “Perhaps the reason he wanted to be alone was because he felt isolated from everybody since his talk with Dumbledore. An invisible barrier separated him from the rest of the world. He was – he had always been – a marked man. It was just that he had never really understood what that meant. And yet, sitting here on the edge of the lake with the terrible weight of grief dragging at him, with the loss of Sirius so raw and fresh inside, he could not muster any great sense of fear. It was sunny and the grounds around him were full of laughing people, and even though he felt as distant from them as though he belonged to a different race, it was still very hard to believe, as he sat here, that his life must include, or end in, murder. He sat there for a long time, gazing out at the water, trying not think about his godfather, or to remember that it was directly across from here on the opposite bank that Sirius had collapsed trying to fend off a hundred Dementors. The sun had fallen before he realized that he was cold. He got up and returned to the castle, wiping his face on his sleeve as he went.” And I just had to read that section because we talked a lot about this last week, about how Rowling is so good at expressing things that really are hard. I think other writers have a big challenge with trying to get through. And in those about three or four paragraphs there’s so much said about Harry’s emotional state and I just… I wanted to get your guys’ opinion on the writing with this because I’ve just always… as much as I don’t much care for Order of the Phoenix, Rowling is so good in my opinion at writing how a teenager thinks and ingests things.

Caleb: Yeah, I think that’s well said. It’s just so… you’re right there with him. I don’t know if there’s a better way I can say it.

Michael: Mhm.

Caleb: Up to this point he’s just going through the motions and denying it in certain ways – well, I guess that comes actually a little later – but every scene shifts so quickly and then here it just feels so real, like you’re just… in there with him.

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: It’s the perfect place to use stream-of-consciousness writing…

Michael: Yes.

Alison: … as his thoughts just shift and you see how he’s connecting everything. And I love how she just ends all these paragraphs with ellipses. Harry’s thoughts just kind of trail off until he hits the next thing, and then we get that last line where he’s crying…

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: … because of everything he’s thinking about, and it’s beautiful. I love that moment, too.

Michael: That’s what I was trying to get at. Thank you, Alison. The stream-of-consciousness writing…

Caleb: Yeah.

Michael: … was the phrase I was looking for. I think she just does that… she’s like the – as people proverbially call her – the queen of that.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: She does seem to just get that. When I read her stream-of-consciousness writing, it seems to be more on point than any I’ve ever read, especially from the perspective of a teenager. Because there are such large, weighty concepts that she’s dealing with in this last chapter, and I think despite how large Order of the Phoenix is, I never really realized she has to wrap it up pretty quickly.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: The action has taken up so much of these last chapters that she’s really only got these last two chapters to start winding it down, and there’s… I think it’s almost like she’s introduced a lot of concepts in very little time, so that form of writing really does, like Caleb said, get you right into that moment for Harry really quickly but still really effectively. It just always impresses me, Rowling’s writing. But of course, after all of his solitude, Harry moves into his bargaining phase of his grief stages, and he finds the two-way mirror in his suitcase that he disregarded.

Alison: Oh! This part still gets me. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah, we’ll get to that part in a minute. The thing I want to talk about with the mirror… first of all, if Sirius… now based on the narration, because we have nothing else of proof to go on until we find out in Deathly Hallows of course, Sirius didn’t have the mirror on him. But if he did have it on him, would it have worked?

Alison: I don’t think so.

Caleb: Yeah, I want to say no. I mean, my heart wants to say yes…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Caleb: … but my answer is no.

Alison: Exactly!

Caleb: My head says no.

Michael: I’m assuming the mirror can’t transcend, since we get objects later in the series that can transcend death… I mean, if the mirror was a Deathly Hallow…

Caleb: Yeah.

Michael: [laughs] … made from Death’s personal mirror, maybe then, but…

Alison: I think…

Michael: Go ahead, Alison.

Alison: Oh, I was just going to say, I think it’s been established enough that it takes… in these books, these two realms – the one of the living and the one of the dead – they’re very separate, and it takes something very powerful to cross between those two things, like the Resurrection Stone or the Veil.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: It takes something extremely powerful to be able to mix the two, so I don’t think you could have had something from one work in the other. They just wouldn’t make that connection.

Michael: See, it’s so funny for me that the three of us can sit here and assuredly say that it wouldn’t have worked, because when I first read the book I had an inkling that it could work.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: I thought that legitimately could happen because of the way that the mirror was introduced. I was like, “Oh my God, it could actually work!” So, maybe that’s just a testament to Rowling’s writing that she gets you so far into Harry’s mindset that you actually think it could work.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Because of course now when I read it I’m like, “Oh, poor Harry. It’s not going to work.” The other thing I wanted to discuss with the mirrors, because we get a mention of the recollection of the Mirror of Erised – Harry briefly remembers it through the narration – and I was thinking of other mirrors that we see in fiction and trying to tie them in with the mirrors. Because it’s interesting the way mirrors play a role in Harry Potter. I was thinking of other notable works of fiction that include major mirrors: of course, the mythology of Narcissus who looked at his reflection so long that he drowned, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and The Snow Queen – which if you consider yourself a Frozen fan and you haven’t read The Snow Queen yet, change your life right now.

[Alison and Caleb laugh]

Michael: But all of these include reflections or mirrors that have a kind of malevolent force to them – even, I would say, Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Caleb: Sure, yeah.

Michael: It’s just so interesting to me that mirrors are portrayed that way traditionally throughout literature and what that means in terms of Harry Potter. I’m not really sure what to think about that.

Caleb: It’s a lesson to be told to children, or to teenagers perhaps, to not spend too much time in front of the mirror.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Caleb: I never learned that properly.

Michael: In modern terms, does that transcend to taking a selfie?

Caleb: Maybe.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yes. Probably.

Caleb: There you go.

Alison: So I just took a mythology class last semester…

Michael: Perfect!

Alison: … and we talked about these kind of motifs that are throughout literature, especially mythology and folk tales and fairy tales, and we had a discussion on things like mirrors and how they’re kind of symbols of… they’re usually used in seeing truth through the reflection of a mirror. Mirrors show true forms in mythology a lot, so… I don’t know what that means.

Michael: Well, it’s interesting because… is it the mirrors themselves that show the true form or is it the…? Because what I’m thinking about with these ones that I reference – like for example, The Snow Queen – the mirror that’s in The Snow Queen is created by trolls to perpetuate evilness in the world that people will look in the mirror and see.

Alison: Uh-huh.

Michael: Evil will be accentuated by the mirror. And then you have something like Snow White, where the mirror is almost similar to the idea of the reflection in Narcissus where it’s a vanity thing.

Alison: Uh-huh.

Michael: The mirror is telling the truth but in a way that’s kind of self-serving to the owner.

Alison: Exactly. Yeah.

Michael: So, the truth has to be almost culled from realizing the mirror isn’t a tool that you should be using. You know what I mean?

Alison: Mhm.

Michael: That the mirror itself is actually dangerous, that there’s truth beyond the mirror perhaps.

Alison: Yeah. Yeah.

Michael: Because what I’ve found interesting about the passage in Order of the Phoenix when Harry thinks that the two-way mirror is going to let him talk to Sirius is that he recalls the Mirror of Erised and that it let him see his parents.

Alison: Mhm.

Michael: And I thought, but you’re forgetting the most important point about the mirror that Dumbledore taught you, which is that it’s not something that you should be dabbling with or spending time with.

Alison: Exactly.

Michael: It was funny to me that Harry used the Mirror of Erised as assurance that this would work rather than as a deterrent, because I took the extract from Pottermore about the Mirror of Erised. There is also a really great section about the Mirror of Erised on Pottermore if you have yet to read it, listeners. But it says: “Albus Dumbledore’s words of caution to Harry when discussing the Mirror of Erised express my own” – or Rowling’s – “views. The advice to ‘hold on to your dreams’ is all well and good, but there comes a point when holding on to your dreams becomes unhelpful and even unhealthy. Dumbledore knows that life can pass you by while you are clinging onto a wish that can never be – or ought never to be – fulfilled. Harry’s deepest yearning is for something impossible: the return of his parents. Desperately sad though it is that he has been deprived of his family, Dumbledore knows that to sit gazing on a vision of what he can never have will only damage Harry. The mirror is bewitching and tantalizing, but it does not necessarily bring happiness.” Which to me was also suggesting that even if Harry could communicate with Sirius through the mirror, the two-way mirror, that wouldn’t be a good thing. Perhaps?

Alison: I agree with that.

Caleb: Yeah, and maybe that’s why Rowling made the choice to not give Harry – or excuse me – to [not] give Sirius the mirror as he went through the veil, because Harry has already faced this battle and gotten this advice from Dumbledore, so it probably would have just been a repeat lesson to be had if he could have possibly communicated with Sirius.

Michael: Mhm. If it had been on him at the time.

Caleb: Yeah. Right.

Michael: But of course, the other big issue that comes up here – and interestingly, I forgot this is not addressed in the text, but it has been discussed at length by the fandom – could Harry have saved Sirius if he had used the mirror earlier?

Caleb: Meaning because he would have gotten Sirius’s attention, known he was safe in the Ministry – from the Ministry, rather?

Michael: Yeah. [laughs]

Caleb: That’s such an easy way out.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Ugh!

Caleb: I felt it was coming one way or another.

Michael: Uh-huh. Yeah.

Alison: I think it would have worked, though. [laughs] Maybe that’s just me holding on, but…

Michael: Because of course, going by the timeline, Sirius at least didn’t have the mirror on him when he went to the Ministry.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So it seemed possible that he didn’t have it on him when he was up taking care of Buckbeak at the headquarters. So even then… because people have often posited that Harry, if he had the mirror or if he’d opened the present, he could have done that instead of going to the trouble to use Umbridge’s fireplace and then having to talk to Kreacher.

Alison: But maybe the mirror would have had some way to call Sirius or leave an answering machine… I don’t know.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Leave a Skype…

Alison: Some way of letting him know if it was… yeah.

Michael: Like a Skype voicemail or something. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah. I don’t know. Some way of…

Caleb: Yeah, because only… sorry.

Alison: No, I was just going to say some way of letting him know that if the mirror wasn’t on him, that…

Michael: That Harry had tried to contact him? Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah, and that’s the thing: we don’t know how that works. The only piece of evidence we get on it is Sirius talking about how he and James would use it when they were in separate detentions. And that always made me think that they had to have the mirror close by because they knew the other was going to communicate. So, I tend to think that if Sirius had not had the mirror close to him – which I would figure he would not have the mirror close to him while he was tending to Buckbeak – he may have not heard it anyway.

Michael: Mhm.

Caleb: Whatever the alert is.

Michael: Well… the interesting thing too, is from Deathly Hallows we know that – I’m pretty sure this isn’t just a movie-ism – that individuals can use the mirror to check up on the other side.

Alison: Mhm.

Caleb: Yeah.

Michael: Because Aberforth uses it to check in with Harry even though Harry is unaware that it’s happening; he just kind of sees the glint of his eye but he doesn’t understand it.

Caleb: Right.

Michael: Which is sad because, who knows, Sirius might have been checking in from time to time only to see the inside of Harry’s trunk, which was probably disappointing.

Alison: [laughs] Which is why my question is, why didn’t he tell him to open it?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Why didn’t he just send him a letter, “Dear Harry, open the thing I gave you at Christmas”?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: “Love, Snuggles.”

Michael: Because plot device, that’s why.

Caleb: Yeah.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: That’s pretty much the only reason at that point. But after Harry realizes that he can’t bargain with the mirror, he smashes it into pieces, which of course will become important in a year. [laughs] And apparently he will leave those shattered pieces at the bottom of his trunk – that’s super unsafe – but he instead decides that there’s another way to access death, and he runs down the hall to find Nearly­Headless Nick who he does run into. And the first thing I thought was interesting is that in this discussion early on, Nick already seems to know what’s going to happen, what Harry’s going to ask him. I was just curious how Nick even knows this, because it’s implied that the information that Sirius is Harry’s godfather is not actually spreading quite as much. Some people still don’t seem to know that. Some people don’t even seem to be quite fully aware of what happened to Sirius.

Caleb: Yeah, I always found this very odd, too. I could imagine him figuring out just by gossip that maybe Sirius is dead. But the close relationship that would create the idea that Nick would consider Harry coming to him about this always did throw me off a little.

Michael: Yeah, I did…

Alison: Well…

Michael: Go ahead, Alison.

Alison: Oh, I was going to say, don’t Harry and Dumbledore talk about that in the office? So, I feel like some of the portraits could have been spreading…

Michael: Mmm!

Alison: … not rumors, but portraits could have been talking…

Caleb: Maybe so.

Alison: I feel like everything that decorates Hogwarts has conversations…

Michael: You see, I always got the sense thus far that the portraits in the Headmaster’s office don’t really wander off to other portraits like the other ones do, unless they’re told to by Dumbledore. Especially because I always assume that was kind of more… like those portraits are more under an unspoken confidential clause since they’re in the Headmaster’s office.

Alison: Yeah, yeah.

Michael: Because that could be a really bad way to throw out really important information… [laughs]

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: … if they were allowed to wander around. But yeah, I did think it was just odd that Nick seems already prepped for this without really knowing how he got that knowledge in the first place. I didn’t know if that was just something that ghosts are more in tune with…

Caleb: Maybe so.

Alison: Maybe.

Michael: … because of their status of being in between. But the interesting thing to note in this conversation is what Rowling posted about ghosts on Pottermore. She said,

“In the world of Harry Potter, a ghost is the transparent, three­dimensional imprint of a deceased witch or wizard which continues to exist in the mortal world. Muggles can not come back as ghosts, and the wisest witches and wizards choose not to. It is those with ‘unfinished business’, whether in the form of fear, guilt, regrets, or overt attachment to the material world, who refuse to move on to the next dimension.

Having chosen a feeble simulacrum of mortal life, ghosts are limited in what they can experience. No physical pleasure remains to them, and their knowledge and outlook remains at the level it had attained during life, so that old resentments (for instance, at having an incompletely severed neck) continue to rankle after several centuries. For this reason, ghosts tend to be poor company on the whole. They are especially disappointing on the one subject that fascinates most people: ghosts cannot return a very sensible answer on what it is like to die, because they have chosen an impoverished version of life instead.”

So there [are] a lot of interesting points in there, of course the main one for Harry being that Nearly-Headless Nick can give him no information whatsoever on death. Because even though Nick has died, he hasn’t… “died,” I guess.

Caleb: He hasn’t had the full experience.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: Which I guess implies that if you’re a wizard and you die and you choose to come back as a ghost, there really is no… you don’t even get a tantalizing preview of the light down the hall, or anything of that sense. You just come right back as a ghost, so… I guess something worth pondering, because it’s confirmed here that Sirius did not come back of course and would not… and Nick is very strong in believing. Again, having never really interacted or met Sirius…

[Everyone laughs]

Caleb: They are suddenly best friends who know everything about each other.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yeah, Nick seems to be very assured that Sirius won’t come back and he seems to know what his motivations for that would be.

Caleb: Yeah.

Michael: Do you think…? I mean, going here with the idea that ghosts come back if they have regrets or unfinished business, could it be argued that Sirius does have any of that that might have tethered him to life? Perhaps even in like his need to care for Harry or… anything?

Caleb: Yeah, I always think about this and I think in the end, he would know that there are still plenty of people to care for Harry. And maybe even at this point in death, he realizes they would do a much better job of it than he would, something that he would not have realized in life.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Hmm…

Caleb: And he realizes maybe there isn’t enough for him to come back in such a half state when he gets to… and it’s so sad to say, but move on and go see his friends again.

Michael: I like that idea that perhaps there is, when you die, at least in this narrative, that there’s perhaps an epiphany of what you could have if you die versus what you could have if you stay as a ghost and what really is the best choice for you personally because that idea that Sirius could realize that, “Oh, yeah, I’ve actually been a crappy guardian. Maybe I wouldn’t really be of much use if I stayed anyway.” Because as we’ve seen, and as I’ve seen the listeners discussing at length in the comments on the main site, a lot of people are reassessing their affections for Sirius. See what we’ve done?

[Caleb and Michael laugh]

Michael: We’ve done something quite large with our reread here with examining further how Sirius behaved in life and whether he was, in fact, a fit guardian for Harry.

Caleb: Yeah.

Michael: So yeah, that’s an interesting thing to perhaps wonder if Sirius was faced with that when he died. But by this point Harry has been fed up with his bargaining because nothing is getting him what he wants. Nick, after being just… again, what a bizarre thing. Nick just seems to know everything, and then he ditches, and Harry is left alone, and eventually, on this last evening, he decides not to go to the closing feast because he’s worried that Dumbledore is going to bring him up, which probably did happen. First time Harry does not attend the closing feast, I believe, but he ends up wandering the halls and runs into Luna, quite by accident, and he even attempts to not talk to her, but there’s nowhere for him to hide. And thank goodness because he comes up to Luna and her… now interestingly, as we’ll see in the film next week, this section of Luna is split into two different moments in the film. I forgot that it was all one moment here, and I really had the realization in this reread more than any that Luna is not really in this book very much. She’s important. She’s definitely important, but she’s really not much of a presence in Order of the Phoenix. And maybe it is because this moment is so striking, but Luna tells Harry, first of all, that she… because Harry remembers that she can see Thestrals and realizes that somebody in her life must have died, and she reveals that it is her mother when she was nine years old. Pottermore did give us a confirmation on her mother’s name, which was Pandora Lovegood, fittingly.

Caleb: What a perfect name.

Michael: Yeah, very. She’s mentioned in the illness and disability section on Pottermore if any of you get a chance to check that out, but that’s all we get on Pandora. We just know that she liked to experiment with spells and potions and that one day it went wrong, and that’s how she died, but the interesting thing about Luna’s speech, and I really didn’t know… this is accentuated in the movie, but I think it’s really well imbedded in Luna’s dialogue here in the book. On page 863 and 864 of the hardback American edition, she says a very similar phrase twice, at face value in reference to her things that she has lost because we find out that, presumably, the other Ravenclaw students, but also possibly the other House members, have been stealing her things and just hiding them for her to find later, but she says in reference twice to them that

“They’ll come back; they always do in the end,”

… and she says again on 864,

“I’ll wait for it all to turn up. It always does in the end.”

And of course in the middle of these two repetitions of this phrase, she tells Harry that she believes that there are individuals behind the veil at the Ministry and that she’ll see her mother again someday. But I just thought those two particular phrases… I mean, do you think she’s…? The thing I wonder is, because Luna is so wise, is she doing this consciously or is this just here? Is she just saying what’s popping into her head, or is she actually trying to make a point to Harry?

Caleb: I tend to think it’s the latter. Because I assume you’re questioning whether she somehow knows that Sirius is going to pop up again with the Resurrection Stone and all that?

Michael: Well, maybe not so specifically that, but just the idea that Harry will see Sirius again someday, that he will be reunited with people.

Caleb: Well, then if that’s the case, then yeah, then I would switch my answer. I mean, I think she definitely believes that, so…

Michael: I just think it’s interesting that she reinforces that phrase of “it always comes back in the end.”

Caleb: And it is in the end that Sirius does come back, so…

Michael: Yeah. That’s very true.

Alison: Yeah. I think it might be a little bit of both. Bbecause she’s… that’s one of the great things about Luna is I feel like she talks very literally, but she also talks very metaphorically at the same time. And so she’s saying, “Well, yeah, just like all my stuff will come back. I’ll find it eventually. People, too, we’ll see them again.” I don’t know. It’s one of my favorite things about Luna.

Michael: Yeah, I think this passage, more than any other potentially… I mean, I suppose a close runner-up would be her commentary at the Quidditch game next book.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Because that’s pretty classic. But I think this section more than any other… and again, it really struck me how short it us, but Luna really makes such a grandiose impression, just by saying so very little. I think that’s what makes her such a specially written character because I remember, it didn’t even take till Half-Blood Prince. Right after Order of the Phoenix, people were immediately embracing Luna as a really great new addition to the cast. So I think that is truly a testament to how well she’s written in how little she says. So good job, Rowling. You wrote a good character. [laughs] Not that you don’t always do that. But the last point, of course, here is… now, of course there'[re] some nice little moments on the train: Harry gets some really sweet revenge on Malfoy by turning him pretty much into a giant slug with the help of Dumbledore’s Army. And he’s also apparently completely over Cho Chang, but at this point, really, with what happened to…

Caleb: Can we just briefly talk about how Cho immediately goes back to being BFFs with Marietta?

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Really now. What?

Caleb: If you want to get upset with me or whoever for not liking Cho, remember this moment, when she gets right back to the girl. All right, I’m done.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, there’s some… I think that’s certainly the visual confirmation that Harry has made the right choice, right?

Alison: Yes.

Michael: Bad life choices, Cho Chang. Bad life choices.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: So… and she’s also dating Michael Corner now, right?

Caleb: She is.

Alison: So yeah.

Michael: Yeah. So there you go.

Alison: Go Ginny. Ginny is making the right choices, too. [laughs]

Michael: By dating Dean Thomas.

Alison: Well, okay. We’re getting closer.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, and I do love that line. It is mentioned, just in passing, just a throwaway narrative line, but Ron gives Harry a furtive look, an odd look that Harry notices, but he doesn’t interpret it further when Ron says that Ginny should make better choices with who[m] she dates. [laughs]

Caleb: Yeah, totally.

Michael: And he’s just like, “Maybe like you!”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: [as Harry] “I’d love that!”

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Which is funny just because in the next book, Harry is so concerned about what Ron would think if he dates Ginny, but Ron is kind of giving him the go-ahead in this moment, but it’s passed over, and they get to London, and they step off the train, and the Order members are there, waiting for the Dursleys, and they rattle off a long list of threats to the Dursleys, and that’s how they send Harry off. And Harry is lighthearted, goes off feeling much better, because the Order has pretty much done what they were supposed to be doing this whole year, in my opinion, which perhaps is why… the funny thing is, I think that the way these last pages are written is supposed to be extremely satisfying to the reader, but I didn’t feel extremely satisfied when I finished Order of the Phoenix. And I still don’t, even with this reread. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t particularly care for this ending, and I was wondering what you guys think of how it wraps up.

Caleb: Yeah, I mean, as much as I do love the book, I’m never crazy about the ending. I mean, I’m definitely glad the Order finally steps up, but it’s also missing here. What bothered me this time, which I haven’t thought about in a while is, I expected more of a moment between Harry and Lupin here.

Michael: Thank you. [laughs]

Caleb: Yeah, I mean, I think maybe that is the big missing point. I don’t know what else could have happened with others. I wanted a little more between Harry and Hagrid, maybe when he’s leaving, maybe a small conversation, but I think, yeah, it’s the big thing here, right? There’s no… if you read this scene out of context, you would never imagine that Lupin’s final best friend is dead…

[Michael laughs]

Caleb: … and Harry’s godfather is dead, and they’re the same person, and they meet each other. Maybe that’s the idea. Just a little bit.

Alison: It’s almost like no one is going to talk to Harry or try to comfort Harry at all in this whole chapter.

Caleb: Yeah, the only comfort you get is Moody clasping Harry’s shoulder or whatever it is. But yeah, there’s got to be more between Harry and Lupin there.

Alison: Well, yeah, Lupin says one thing. He’s just like, “Oh, okay. Take care, Harry. Talk to you later. Bye.” What?

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, okay. Maybe that’s exactly what it was, because I guess… and maybe it’s thinking back to… there’s a few things that I think go into it in addition to that for me. Part of it is thinking back, perhaps, to the ending of Goblet of Fire, which for some reason, despite the heaviness that happens in Goblet of Fire, I feel like the books leaves on an appropriately heavy note compared to this one. And we’re going to go through such a process of recovering from grief in Order of the Phoenix. And really, we don’t get much of that in Half-Blood Prince. Half-Blood Prince is a great book, but as far as Sirius dying, the end of that isn’t really until Deathly Hallows, is Luna’s parting words for Harry. And then it’s really not reflected on much from that point on. And as some of our listeners have pointed out, there is no funeral for Sirius, at least not in the books.

Caleb: Right, which doesn’t surprise me in some ways because certain public figures can’t be associated with him too because he’s still publicly believed to be this criminal. But you’d think there would be something privately.

Michael: Yeah, like something that the Order would do. And I’m assuming they probably did off-screen, but of course it’s not textually provided.

Caleb: But maybe they didn’t, right? Maybe it’s because this war is now really picking up, and everyone is just busying themselves. And we know shortly after this, Lupin is in a very depressed and very defeated state. And maybe they didn’t. And maybe that’s a mistake on their part for not taking the time to really grieve him.

Michael: Properly. Yeah, and I guess the other element that perhaps bothers me about this encounter is… and why I say it feels like this all comes too late, and almost all of the books are titled after MacGuffins of their plots. (The thing in the plot that everybody talks about but isn’t actually the most important thing in the story.) I feel like Order of the Phoenix is the king of that of the series.

[Alison and Caleb laugh]

Michael: The Order themselves [laughs] don’t really have much of an effect on the storyline. They definitely swoop in when they’re necessary, and they’re there as a general set-up to the prophecy, but I guess it’s just… when you see them all gathered together, and maybe… I’ve always gotten the sense from the series, but I’m like, “Oh, yay, the Order of the Phoenix is here.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: The Order itself seems like a great prop, but they never really seem… I don’t know. Their role in the plot seems just meh to me. So when I seem them all gathered together to threaten the Dursleys, which also in itself seems somewhat immature of an approach…

[Alison laughs]

Michael: … for adults to be doing what they do. [laughs] I don’t know. It just doesn’t really give me quite the satisfaction. In a way, this one feel most akin to almost all of the endings from the movies, where it’s really trying to wrap up something in a lighthearted way when perhaps it shouldn’t be doing that.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Personally for me it seems like a mistaken approach, just considering the year we’ve come off of. But that is how we end Order of the Phoenix. [laughs] At least it ends happily. If you like happy endings, you get one. [laughs]

Caleb: As much as it can be.

Michael: As much as it can be. And that concludes 38 chapters of… hope you liked that giant book.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Caleb: Well, I do like it. I love it. I will admit, there are a few problems with the end. And I also think, just as a finishing note, I always extrapolated a little bit more in my imagination of the Order. I always have this very big affinity for it. And I think that just comes from identifying as a Gryffindor and that sort of vigilante “Got to save the world because the government sucks” sort of thing.

[Alison laughs]

Caleb: And I just always imagined it so much more in my mind.

Michael: See, I guess that… of course we’ll get into this, but I feel like that really active version of that is going to come in Half-Blood Prince.

Caleb: Yeah, that’s true.

Michael: Again, I feel that Half-Blood Prince gave me what I had anticipated from Order. But as people have posited it very cleverly in our comments, there’s been a suggestion that Dumbledore and the prophecy was actually [a] completely pointless distraction that he put out there in order to work on the Horcrux stuff.

Alison: Exactly.

Michael: Which if that is the case, that’s… I mean, out of all of them, as much as I can see the merits of Order, it feels like the most plotting of the books to me. It moves a lot slower than, I think, most of the series, and that could be accounted by the fact that it’s the largest, but it definitely has a lot more subtle, slow moments that are a slow burn compared to the rest of the series, but get ready to kick it into high-gear because we’re about to head into Half-Blood Prince soon.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: As we finish this book, I will say that this re-read has me appreciate this book more. It’s low on my list, this book, in the series.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: But I think I can appreciate some of its better moments. Now, I still am so frustrated by angsty Harry…

[Caleb laughs]

Alison: … but I think, yeah, I’ve found better things.

Michael: Caleb, being a lover of Order of the Phoenix, has this increased your love for it, has it pointed out some, perhaps, flaws in the plan, so to speak? Or has it…? How has it affected your read of Order?

Caleb: Well, I still love it. It’s not my favorite. Deathly Hallows is my favorite. But this is my second favorite. And I still really love it. I think that I recognize some things, especially thinking about the end. I don’t know if I’ve ever really considered the big gap of no Lupin-Harry interaction there much before toward the end. And it is a slow burn, and I think that’s why I love it. Maybe my writer mentality loves the whole process of getting to that end so much. Yeah, I still love it a lot.

Michael: Well, for my part, I’m closer to Alison. I have… my appreciation for its subtleties have definitely grown, and I think it’s really been beneficial that we ended up coincidentally being side by side with Pottermore on a lot of our read. And there were some…

Caleb: I mean, we joke about that being a coincidence, but let’s be real.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But come on. That was…

Caleb: We know what’s going on here.

Alison: People are paying attention. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah. That was a little too… we hit on those perfect points a little too often.

[Caleb laughs]

Michael: But yeah, I think even that… to speak to Pottermore for a minute, while on occasion we do rag about it, there are definitely merits to a reread experience while utilizing Pottermore. I think we’ve gained a lot of great information. The stuff about Umbridge was really great. I think we had a lot of stuff from this episode that was really boosted by knowing the information that we knew from Pottermore. So I do appreciate that. I still do have frustrations with Order of the Phoenix, and perhaps maybe it does all boil down to the fact that there’s not enough Lupin in this book for me when I feel there should be more.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But I don’t know. It’s still not… it still leaves me… and I think it’s supposed to, but it definitely leaves me cold. And it’s not quite the same reading experience as I feel the other Potter books are for me, but again, I think it is in that way an excellent testament to Rowling’s ability to change up her writing. I think a lot of people were feeling that she was falling into a pattern by Goblet of Fire, and Order of the Phoenix at the very least proves that she could get out of a pattern and still write a pretty great book. So just like the book, I’m tying it up all pretty and leaving it on a positive note even though I’m still mad.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And that’s the end of Order of the Phoenix, everybody.

[Triumphant music plays]

Caleb: All right, everyone, so of course we now have our Question of the Week. And taking it to a little bit earlier in our discussion, the question focuses around moving on in death or staying behind as a ghost. We learn from Nearly Headless Nick that he stayed behind as a ghost because he was too afraid to move on. But was there more to it? Was there a more specific reason that might have kept him behind? A love, a purpose in life, or something else? Take it a step further: If Sirius had stayed behind, what might have been the single biggest motivating factor to keep him behind? Being a godfather to Harry and still watching over him, his growing friendship with Harry, or something else? So let us know what you think about the whole moving on process for ghosts, specifically with Nearly Headless Nick and with Sirius. And we’ll read some of your responses next week.

Alison: All right, and if you want to be on the show, like many of our fantastic guests – but we didn’t have one today [laughs] – go to our “Be on the Show!” page at If you have a set of Apple headphones, you’re all set. You don’t need any fancy equipment. And we look forward to hearing from you.

Caleb: Or if you just want to keep up with us on social media and elsewhere, you can follow us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, on Facebook at, on Tumblr [at] mnalohomorapodcast, you can leave us a voicemail at 206-GO-ALBUS – that’s 206-462-5287 – and you can leave us an audioBoom on our main homepage ( – which is totally free – you just need a microphone and just to keep it under 60 seconds so we can use it on the show.

Michael: And of course our Alohomora! store. Don’t forget about that. We’ve got tons of great items, including sweatshirts, long sleeve tees, tote bags – we always put flip-flops here…

[Alison and Caleb laugh]

Michael: … so if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoy – and so much more. And we also have ringtones that are free and available on the Alohomora! website – – so make sure [to] check those out.

Caleb: Also make sure to check out our smartphone app that is available all around the world. It’s everywhere. Just like Santa Claus.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Caleb: Prices will vary upon location. It has really great things like transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and much more.

Michael: And before we go, I want to let you, the Alohomora! listeners, know that the other MuggleNet podcast that I do, MuggleNet Fan Fiction’s AudioFictions program, where we read Harry Potter fan fictions, is ending after a five-year run. We will be closing up the show the 28th of December of this month. We’re going to do a live show at 8 a.m. Pacific, 11 a.m. Eastern Time, and that will be live on our YouTube channel through Google Hangout[s]. And of course, that will be available to watch after the show is over, but if you do get a chance to stop by during the live show, we’d love to have you there because this podcast has meant a lot to me. I am, of course, the project manager over at AudioFictions now, and it’s been a really great five-year run with lots of amazing Harry Potter stories. Fan fiction is actually a great place to cull theories for Harry Potter from. Sometimes I mix up my canon with my fan fiction headcanon.

[Caleb and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yes, I’m sure the listeners have known. So yes, if you do get a chance, come by the live show, and you can check more information on that at the AudioFictions Facebook or Twitter.

Caleb: All right, well, thanks for joining us for this episode of Alohomora! We hope you guys all had a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year.

[Show music begins]

Caleb: I’m Caleb Graves.

Michael: I’m Michael Harle.

Alison: And I’m Alison Siggard. Thank you for listening to Episode 116 of Alohomora!

Michael: [as Harry] Open the Dumbledore.

[Show music continues]

Alison: Aesthetically, it looks beautiful, but I’m just worried about the vocal performance because that’s hard music, and I’m just like, “Can Chris Pine sing?” [laughs]

Michael: The reviews claim he can, which… they were like, “This is not a case of a Pierce Brosnan or a Russell Crowe,” and I was like, “Well, thank God.”

Alison: Oh, gosh.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Please, never have Russell Crowe sing ever again. Ever.

Michael: The end.