Transcript – Episode 147

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 147 of Alohomora! for July 25, 2015.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Hello listeners, and welcome back to another episode of Alohomora!,’s global reread of the Harry Potter series. I’m Michael Harle.

Alison Siggard: I’m Alison Siggard.

Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller. And our special fan guest today is listener Siena. Welcome!

Siena Guerrazzi: Hi! Thank you for having me.

Kat: Absolutely. Thank you so much for joining us. Tell the listeners a little about yourself.

Siena: Okay, yeah. So my name is Siena. I am ChocolateFrogRavenclaw on the forums.

Kat: Yay!

Michael: Oh.

Alison: Oh, nice.

Siena: As the name suggests, I am a Ravenclaw.

Kat: Caw!

Siena: Yeah.

[Michael laughs]

Siena: I am also a student at UC Berkeley. I’m studying Political Science and History. My Harry Potter journey started in fourth grade. It was the summer that Half-Blood Prince actually came out, and everybody in my family was reading it. They wanted me to read it, and I convinced myself I didn’t like fantasy books. But to get them all off my back, I started the first book and I’ve been hooked ever since. So yeah, I actually started a Quidditch team at my high school. I was a camp counsellor for a couple of different Harry Potter themed camps. My cousin and I actually have this really fun reading competition to see who can read it the fastest. My current time is 46.5 hours for the whole series.

Alison: Wow!

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Wow, that’s impressive.

Alison: That’s really impressive.

Siena: Yeah. My cousin’s actually reading it right now. I think she’s on the fifth book, so we’ll see if she can beat that.

Kat: Do you have to read it consecutively or do you just time yourself?

Siena: Consecutively, so that includes sleeping and eating and stuff.

Kat: Oh my God.

Michael: No, that’s absurd. Oh my God.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Wait… 46.5, is that what you said?

Siena: Yeah.

Kat: My G-, that’s… wow!

[Alison, Michael, and Siena laugh]

Kat: Good Lord, are you a speed reader?

Alison: Oh my gosh. [laughs] I can’t keep focused that long.

[Kat laughs]

Alison: I think.

Kat: Wow, not even two days. That’s impressive.

Michael: I think Siena’s started a new trend. We’re going to have a lot of people now timing themselves on consecutive Harry Potter reads.

[Alison, Michael, and Siena laugh]

Michael: That’s awesome.

Siena: It’s fun, yeah.

Kat: Wow, thank you so much for joining us today. We hope you have a good time. And we want to remind everybody that today we are going to be discussing Chapter 29 of Half-Blood Prince and that is “The Phoenix Lament.” So definitely be assured to listen, read, whatever, that chapter before you listen to this episode for a maximum enjoyment.

Michael: Enjoyment Maxima!

[Michael and Siena laugh]

Kat: Nice. You don’t know Latin. I’m just kidding.

[Alison, Michael, and Siena laugh]

Kat: You know more than Harry does, so that’s fine.

Alison: But before we get into that new chapter, we’re going to go back and recap some of the comments from Chapter 28. And our first one this week comes from Snape’sManyButtons. A lot of them – okay, just preface – are about Snape this week, obviously.

Michael: [laughs] Surprise.

Kat: Fair.

Alison: So our first one comes from Snape’sManyButtons who says,

“I have a kind of obscure theory about why Snape being the Half-Blood Prince is actually important. Harry has been reading this book all year, at least until he had to hide it, and has been thinking of the Prince as someone who has helped and taught him. He likes this guy. He thinks the Prince is a genius. He even trusts him and is shocked when one of the spells goes horribly wrong and injures Draco. But still he defends him and the spell. I think having Snape be the Half-Blood Prince gives Harry a foundation from which he can come to understand and later forgive Snape beyond just Pensieve memories. The memories give Harry an understanding of Snape’s motivations and actions, but through the book Harry had come to think of the Prince as a person he knew and even liked. Some people wonder how Harry could come to forgive Snape from the Pensieve memories alone, but maybe he didn’t. Maybe the book played a part, too.”

Michael: Ooh.

Alison: He still gave his child a really bad name.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: That’s true. Actually, I like this and I find that believably plausible.

Michael: Siena, how do you feel about now? We talked about this at length last week and I’m curious to hear more opinions. How do you feel about the Half-Blood Prince reveal and how it factors into the story?

Siena: I think it was done really well actually, because I think it’s supposed to be anticlimactic. And so I think figuring out that it is Snape, it’s just… I think you all mentioned this on the episode last week, but it’s just sort of like, “Oh, whatever.” We don’t really care anymore. And so, yeah, I think this is really interesting and I definitely think it’s really believable. Maybe in the future when Harry’s looking back on it and reflects on what that book meant to him during his time at Hogwarts and then having to keep that in mind with who he thought Snape was and all that stuff… so yeah.

Michael: Yeah. I think by a stretch because I do think that most of Harry’s forgiveness does come from what he finds out more so in the final book. But I think the book is a step towards that because I think it’s the part that perhaps completes for Harry that Snape is relatable.

Kat: Mmm. Yeah.

Michael: That’s something he’s not going to get… and he admits it to himself in these last chapters that he did see the Prince as a friend – he saw Snape as a friend – but he’s not going to be able to truly see it that way again until after he finds out the stuff from Hallows. But I do think this is a step towards that. To me, mainly it still serves, more so for the readers than Harry, to continue to keep you guessing…

Siena: Yeah.

Michael: … on which side you should be on with Snape.

Alison: Well… going along with what you were talking about with whether this is believable or not, or the right place to have this revealed, we have an Audioboom from Daniel.

[Audio]: Hi, guys. I was listening to your last episode where you were talking about what the point of the Prince’s identity was and how you thought that the reveal was underwhelming. I always saw that as being a very important step in Harry’s growing up. In previous books, there’d be mysteries that he obsessed over, and the identity of the Prince is another one. He spends most of the year wondering who it could be and trying to find out, but when he actually does, he doesn’t care anymore. He’s moved on to much more important things. That’s why I feel like it was thrown out in a quite offhand manner right at the end of the book. By that point, Harry no longer cares about the childish obsessions that he did before. He’s accepting the fact of what he’s going to have to do with hunting and destroying the Horcruxes, and he’s just seen Dumbledore die. All of that weighs a little bit more heavily on his mind than the identity of the Half-Blood Prince. Anyway, keep up the good work.

Kat: First off, can I be on the show when he’s on it?

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That was a lovely voice.

Alison: Yes.

Kat: Yes, you have a good voice, young man. Very nice. I actually really like that Audioboom because I had never thought about the growing up aspect that Harry really goes through in this book actually, as far as what he does and doesn’t care about at the beginning of the book and the end of the book. That’s a great point.

Alison: Yeah. I definitely think that that helps to explain why this mystery is solved at this point then, because it’s such a moment that Harry has to choose what he’s more concerned about, and obviously he’s not concerned about that anymore.

Michael: That’s interesting because… my mind immediately jumped to Deathly Hallows. Because when they’re out in the forest and the main search is the Horcruxes, Harry becomes obsessed with the Hallows in a similar degree that he’s obsessed with the Prince or the Chamber or the Sorcerer’s Stone. And Hermione constantly redirects him, telling him that that’s not their focus right now. She gets pretty frustrated with him along the journey that he gets obsessed with the Hallows over the Horcruxes. And I suppose the odd thing with that, though… the funny thing about that is that Hermione is actually… Dumbledore seems to have in his will relegated the Hallows to her…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … but she doesn’t figure it out correctly. She needs Harry to figure it out. But that’s funny to think that… this is supposed to be Harry getting over those obsessions, or learning how to not function that way, because he still does in Hallows

Alison: Well…

Kat: Oh yeah, a lot.

Alison: But he gets over it faster, though, is the thing. It doesn’t take him the whole book to get over his one obsession. He gets about halfway through, and then he makes the decision to go find the Horcruxes like he thinks he’s supposed to and leave the Hallows behind.

Siena: Yeah, and the whole growing up, it doesn’t just happen overnight. So I think this was sort of showing that if it happens in steps – and this is a big step – but it’s just another step on the ladder of Harry moving from his childhood, very focused on one big thing, to recognizing that there are bigger things that are also happening at the same time.

Michael: Yeah. There’s definitely… I do think that Daniel’s comment is definitely relevant, because Dumbledore was – and we’ll get to that – I think with a lot of this chapter, we’ll see that – but Dumbledore was aware that Harry’s obsession led him in a very wrong direction the previous year in Order of the Phoenix.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: His endless need to get people to believe him about something that, in that case, turned out to be wrong and that Harry is still doing that. He was right this year.

Kat: Oh, we’ll get there, Michael.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: We will.

Kat: We’ll get there.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: All right. And then the next two [comments] have to do with something that was talked about a lot last week – Snape’s refusal… not refusal, but Harry calling Snape a coward and Snape’s reaction. And the first one comes from WhoDoYouKnowThat’sLostaButtock, which is a fabulous username, guys. We have really good ones this week. I noticed some really good new usernames.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Yeah, there are some new ones! There are some new ones out there. Hi, all the new listeners! Hello!

Alison: And this comment says,

“I understood that the one thing about Harry that drove Snape CRAZY was the thing that has, for Snape, been the greatest weakness – the fact that Harry feels so openly and wears his feelings in the open, that he has the freedom to react and emote and never think about the consequences. I don’t believe Snape has ever had that. His home background seems like it was abusive. It was never safe for him to just ‘feel’ and wear his heart on his sleeve. He tried it a few times as a young man, and it only caused more problems. And now, the only way he has survived this long is by CONTROL: hiding his feelings, hiding his hatred of Voldemort, his desire for revenge, his loathing for his role. Hiding his true motivations. Even hiding from Harry the full reasons he dislikes him – Snape constantly talks about James, and never about Lily, when he taunts Harry. To me, the scene in the movie version of OOTP was very effective here – when Snape is shouting at Harry to prove that he is not weak, to control his mind, that life isn’t fair, and that fools who wear their hearts on their sleeves fall victim to the Dark Lord. That is Snape’s reality at this point, and really, he is doing something extraordinary that is never really acknowledged.”

Michael: Wow.

Alison: Yeah. I had never, never even thought anything close to that.

Michael: That’s an interesting idea that Snape envies Harry’s ability to be so open about his feelings.

Kat: It’s plausible. A lot of these comments this week are plausible, yeah. I have a hard time believing that Snape… okay. So we know I’m not the biggest Snape fan…

[Alison laughs]

Kat: … and that he “loved Lily”…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: … but I have a hard time believing that he feels anything toward Harry other than obligation.

Alison: I don’t think he likes him.

Kat: I don’t see a whole lot of evidence in that because everything he does is for selfish reasons.

Alison: Yeah. I think the idea of him almost being weary of having to be in control is an interesting one because the way we see Snape, he just seems… I mean, there’s that line where it says he can control a class with a word, right? So it’s very interesting to think that he may have to really be working at that and working at keeping control over himself.

Michael: I find that intriguing because last week, in the chapter discussion, I asked everybody, because Snape, actually… we see in the previous chapter when the Death Eaters escape, he takes control of them. And it’s the first time that we see Snape in control of the Death Eaters and really, I think in a control in that particular capacity. Like you said, Alison, we’ve seen him take control of a class before, but really, when you think about it, Snape is more frequently in a state of subservience, especially at Hogwarts and with Dumbledore, and Voldemort. And I asked everybody, do you think Snape enjoys this control, and everybody flat out was like, “No. No, he hates this.” But at the same time, to me, Snape seems to relish being in control when he has the upper hand in certain situations, especially when they’re in relation to Harry. So I can see where that control would come up against Harry’s emotional openness, and that’s something that Snape feels is… that’s funny that Snape would feel that’s a weakness, especially having been tutored by Dumbledore just like Harry has to believe that your emotions are valuable.

Alison: All right, and then our last comment for this week comes from Voldemort’s Lost Nose.

Michael: Finally, somebody found it!

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: I want to know, are they a Hufflepuff?

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Good question. Good question.

Alison: All right. The comment says,

“Obviously, it is painful to be called a coward when you’re brave, but I think that Snape’s immense pain comes from the fact that it is Harry who screams, not as James'[s] son but as Lily’s son. I think the word ‘coward’ reminds him of all the reasons Lily turned her back on him, all the reasons that lead him to the Dark [s]ide in the first place. Had Snape been braver in his school days, he could have turned his back on his Dark [s]ide and friends like Avery and Mulciber a lot sooner – then, perhaps, the friendship between Lily and Snape wouldn’t have fallen apart. The word ‘coward’ reminds him of the courage he didn’t have and the courage that could have brought him and Lily together, hence his strong reaction. The way I see it, the fact that Lily’s son is the one to call him a coward is the only explanation as to why the pain could be so intense.”

Michael: Can I just say that I read a lot of the comments this week as they were flooding in? This has to be one of the most stellar comments from this week. This comment was amazing, and I actually think this is totally… this is why we love you, listeners. Siena, you’re one of the listeners who comments all the time. We’re so glad that you’re actually here. But this comment was absolutely stand-out. Because I couldn’t believe… I almost felt embarrassed that my chapter discussion didn’t include this. Because the books build us up to focus that Snape sees James… for all the first six books, when he looks at Harry, he sees James, but of course, the seventh book reveals that when he looks in Harry’s eyes, he sees Lily. And what an interesting idea that it’s not just James taunting Snape through Harry. It’s Lily. That, I think, is one of the most striking suggestions I’ve ever heard about this particular moment.

Kat: And I do like that the comment is about the friendship between Lily and Snape because there’s no way they were getting together no matter what, so… make that clear.

Siena: This comment reminds me… there was a video I saw a while ago. I can’t remember what it was called, but somebody put together a lot of times where Alan Rickman in the movies was looking at Harry with really sad music, and you could see the change in his face from looking at him as James versus when his face would just change and you could obviously tell he was looking at him as Lily. And I think it’s interesting because, like you all are mentioning, we forget about that a lot. But when you’re paying attention to it, there'[re] definitely times when Snape is seeing Lily in Harry, and that just makes it so much sadder for him, and it’s also, for Harry, so frustrating because he doesn’t understand at this point.

Kat: Yeah, that’s the lovely nuance of Alan Rickman’s performance, right? Because he knew the fate of his character. Yeah. It’s brilliant. So good.

Alison: All right, well, thank you, everyone, for all of your comments this week. They were all fabulous. And you can go ahead and read them all on and keep the conversation going.

Michael: And yet again, we’re still looking at comments from last week, but specifically in relation to the Podcast Question of the Week. As a reminder, that question was, “The death of Dumbledore in this last chapter has obviously shaken the readers with its unexpected timing, as well as a lot of the characters in the novel who assumed Dumbledore was untouchable. We see a few reactions, including that of Harry (anger and denial) and Hagrid (denial and sadness), and even Fang howls to the night.” The part that makes Kat tear up every time she reads it.

Kat: I know. It’s so sad!

Michael: [laughs] “With this big of an emotional moment, whom do we believe feels it more? Whose course in life does it alter more dramatically?” And to clarify, listeners – and quite a few of you caught it on in the comments – we were not attempting to put a value on grief. Alohomora! does not recommend putting a value on grief. What we were trying to do was really discuss more about who feels the consequences of this as far as the narrative and character storylines. And I think a lot of the comments that I pulled understood that. But I just want to make that clear again: Alohomora! does not support putting a value on grief. Thank you. So [laughs] “CBS cares,” as Craig Ferguson would say.

Kat: That’s going to be our [unintelligible] at the bottom of the episode.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: So our first comment comes, once again, from SnapesManyButtons. We love your comments and your username, SnapesManyButtons. And surprise, surprise: SnapesManyButtons wants to talk about Snape. So…

[Alison, Michael, and Siena laugh]

Michael: But I think the reason I chose this comment is that this is an excellent, I think, breakdown, a good proper breakdown, of why this affects Snape the most. SnapesManyButtons says,

“I’d have to say Snape. Everyone else at least has someone to share the loss with. Most have their familiar surroundings and their job or classes and as hard as it is, can carry on with their lives as they were in some fashion. Snape loses everything. Not only Dumbledore, who was his only real confidant and the only person who [truly] trusted him, but [also] everyone and everything he had lived with at Hogwarts since becoming a teacher at age 21. Even when he returns as Headmaster, he is forced to occupy the office and rooms of the man he was forced to kill and work among colleagues who despise and distrust him. Not even Spinner’s End is safe for him because it is known to be his home. Despite ‘proving’ his loyalty to Voldemort, he is not safe among the Death Eaters either, where he [had] told Bellatrix that ‘people carry false tales of [his] treachery.’ He may have some ‘friends’ there, but he must play [h]is part and can’t share his grief or fears. Though he doesn’t realize the giant target that Dumbledore has painted on him by leading Voldemort to believe that Snape is now [the m]aster of the Elder Wand, he must know that as the killer of the great Albus Dumbledore and a high-ranking Death Eater working closely with an unstable maniac, his days are numbered. I can’t even imagine the grief, isolation and fear he must have lived with right up to the moment when he is finally killed.”

Well, Kat?

Kat: Wow.

Michael: Well, Kat, how do you feel now? [laughs]

Alison: Don’t make me feel bad for Snape.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Alison: Don’t do it.

Kat: I mean, okay, that is actually a totally valid point, because SnapesManyButtons is right. He doesn’t have anybody to share it with. There’s nobody that he can spill his feelings to about what just happened and the double-crossing that he’s doing and his double-agent life. He has nobody. All right, point. Point for you. Point.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: You get a point.

Alison: But, also to some extent he brought that on himself.

Michael: Oh. [laughs]

Kat: I mean, that’s true…

Alison: Not saying it’s not still as bad, but…

Michael: Siena, where do you stand on the Snape issues?

Siena: I’m not a Snape fan.

[Alison, Michael, and Siena laugh]

Siena: I enjoy him as a character. I think he’s really interesting. But yeah, I’m with Kat on this. It’s hard for me to feel bad for Snape, but this was one of the few comments that have done it.

Michael: Yeah. Well, and I think the… maybe for… because again, the reason I love this comment so much is I think it really broke it down very well just why Snape perhaps is at least sympathetic if not empathetic in this situation. But I think maybe, for me, that almost drew out what Snape’s true tragedy is, because a lot of people point to the fact that Snape… a lot of people feel the true tragedy is that he loved Lily and that that love was unrequited, but I perhaps wonder if Snape’s true tragedy is that he was completely alone…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … for the rest of his life. Especially by the point that Dumbledore died. He was in isolation, and like SnapesManyButtons pointed out, probably was very aware of his mortality and that his days were numbered.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Which is a very frightening thing. Of course, not all of us are perhaps as enlightened about death as Dumbledore and waiting to greet it with open arms.

Kat: You know what? If the entire fandom felt more this way towards Snape than the unrequited love, I probably would have less issues with him.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: It’s just it’s better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, and I firmly believe that, and I think that this is, as Michael said, a more sympathetic Snape. I appreciate this Snape much more.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: This one.

Michael: Absolutely.

Kat: The one who lives in this comment.

Alison: Yup. Agreed.

Michael: Well, commenter Yo Rufus On Fire, which…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Clever girl.

Kat: There needs to be a thread about where these usernames come from.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: I think I’ve already said that before.

Alison: There is. There is, there’s one on the forums.

Kat: Oh, how did I miss that? Where’s it live?

Alison: I don’t know. It’s…

Kat: Is it in the Great Hall? It’s in the Great Hall, isn’t it?

Alison: I don’t remember exactly. I think it’s called What’s In A Name?

Kat: All right. I’ll have to look that up.

Alison: And everyone lists how they came up with their name.

Kat: Nice. All right, discuss, users. Get over to the forums and put those down.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Explain yourselves.

Alison and Kat: Yes.

Kat: We’ll talk about them as a special feature sometime or another.

[Alison and Siena laugh]

Michael: And Yo Rufus On Fire actually… moving from Snape, we have a very different suggetion here.

“I believe that Dumbledore’s death directly affects the Muggle[-]borns the most. Without him around to defend them, [t]he Ministry hunts them down to persecute them. His death affects the ones closest to him as well, but I believe that if Dumbledore hadn’t died, then the Muggle[-]borns would still have some sort of protection. I don’t think the Ministry would have been in a full uprising with him still alive and kicking. This is just like when the Jews were rounded up and killed by the [Nazis] just for being who they were. Right before the war officially broke out, the Jews had to register their property, preventing them from earning a living. Dolores Umbridge had all of the Muggle[-]borns register themselves, and she prosecuted them for ‘stealing’ magic from ‘real’ witches and wizards. We see in Harry’s second year how just Dumbledore’s absence in the school puts the Muggle[-]borns in great danger. Once Dumbledore is dead, then the floodgates open, and they get hunted down.”

Alison and Kat: Ooh.

Kat: Nazis… I mean, it’s a rough comment when you’re bringing up Jewish people and Nazis.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: It’s a rough comment.

Michael: And it’s an excellent comment because it’s…

Kat: It is.

Michael: And then, oh boy, the movie really slaps you over the head with a frying pan with the World War II…

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Michael: Nazi Germany imagery…

Kat: Yeah, it does.

Michael: But it is obviously a parallel in the books. Rowling has pointed that out, and I think it’s just obvious on its own, especially when you think about the fact that Grindelwald came to power, or fell from power, in 1945. So it’s obviously supposed to be a parallel to that, so think it’s an excellent comparison. I really liked that this comment, rather than focusing on one character really took it to a broader…

Alison and Siena: Yeah.

Michael: … range of how it’s affected. And I love the reference to Chamber of Secrets and…

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Siena: Yeah.

Michael: … and the fact that the Muggle-borns were the first to be threatened and everyone was so concerned about them. Do you guys agree that if Dumbledore was still alive – because of course the reason that the Ministry does take so much control is because Voldemort takes control of the Ministry. Do you think with…

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: … Dumbledore alive that’s still, that might not have happened?

Alison: Yes, I think or it would’ve happened slower, because especially after the whole thing at the end of Order of the Phoenix I think he would’ve had a little bit more influence and a little bit more say on people’s minds to be able to say…

Michael: Hmm.

Alison: … keep watch for this, or people… he would’ve been able to see some of the signs of the Ministry being infiltrated, and he would’ve been able to shut down some of the things like the Muggle-born registration stuff before they did any damage, I think.

Kat: Yeah, I’m not sure Voldemort would’ve had the balls to do it while Dumbledore was alive…

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: … and I don’t think he would’ve had the means…

Michael: Hmm.

Kat: … or the influence to do it with Dumbledore alive because Dumbledore is just too big. He’s just too powerful and too insightful and puppet-mastery.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: He knows all. He’s like the Wizard of Oz.

Siena: Especially with the students. I feel specifically the Muggle-born students would’ve definitely been protected as long as Dumbledore’s alive.

Kat: Yeah.

Siena: I feel like the Ministry maybe over a certain period of time, Muggle-borns who were not in Hogwarts may have still had to be rounded up depending on how powerful Voldemort was, but I think the students at Hogwarts would’ve been definitely safe.

Kat: Yeah, I agree with that.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: I just imagine this is the kind of thing I can imagine Hermione going back to her dorm after that night and this is the kind of thing she would start thinking about…

Michael: Hmm.

Alison: … just because it would affect her directly.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely.

Kat: It’s true.

Alison: Someone write me that fan fic.

Michael: [laughs] That would be a good fan fic, actually.

Kat: Very angsty.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So we’ve got another comment from – great username – SocksAreImportant. They are indeed.

Kat: They are so important to the Harry Potter series.

Michael: Rowling may have flat-out said that they are not important, but we believe otherwise here on Alohomora!

Kat: Mhm. We do.

Michael: But SocksAreImportant says,

“Another set of people greatly [affected] by Dumbledore’s death [is] the members of the Order. Dumbledore was the leader of the Order, and it makes me wonder how much they knew about his impending death. In Book 7, we learn that the last words Dumbledore spoke to Lupin and Kingsley were ‘Harry is the best hope we have. Trust him.’ This seems an odd sort of thing for Dumbledore to talk to Lupin and Kingsley about if they don’t know that he is close to dying. The way the members of the Order act in the next chapter tells me that his death came out of nowhere. The order goes from trusting Dumbledore, a remarkable, ‘only one You-Know-Who ever feared,’ veteran adult wizard, to trusting Harry, a still relatively young wizard. This is a big change to make, and I think without Dumbledore’s last words to Lupin and Kingsley, the Order’s faith in Harry wouldn’t be as strong.”

Kat: I have often wondered about that conversation…

Michael: Mhm.

Alison and Siena: Yeah.

Alison: What was he saying?

Kat: … when he’s said those things to Lupin and Kingsley. Yeah, I doubt that he told them anything.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Kat: But oh to be a fly or Nargle in that room.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But to be considering how smart Kingsley and Lupin are, you would think those words would at least imply…

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Kat: Set off some bells or something, yeah.

Michael: Yes, but it definitely… I love this comment because I think… we don’t really… it’s funny, the Order of the Phoenix is so built up and they really don’t do that much as a cohesive group.

Kat: They don’t. It’s true.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: At least not perhaps on screen and on the page. We’ve found out a lot more… well, rephrase, a little more about that on Pottermore.

[Siena laughs]

Michael: So we never really get the sense of what the Order is truly up to and the work that’s involved in what they do. We just see snatches of it. But knowing that this very organized group has lost its leader – has had the head cut off – and their orders have been completely redirected to an individual who is not telling them to do anything other than leave him alone because he can’t tell them anything. [laughs]

Alison and Kat: Mhm.

Michael: It is a pretty big shift that’s maybe something we don’t really get to reflect on because we don’t really get to know the Order as a cohesive group very well, unfortunately.

Siena: Yeah.

Michael: Probably the book that’s named after the thing that it has the least to do with, Order of the Phoenix. And speaking of the Order, I had to use this comment because this one talked about one Order member in particular. Guess who?

Kat: Gee, is it Lupin?

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Gee, it may just be. This comment comes from Dumbledore’s through & through. Great username.

“I want to throw in Lupin. He’s maybe similar to Hagrid; without Dumbledore he wouldn’t have ever been able to go to Hogwarts, but because Dumbledore saw him as a person instead of a monster, he made it possible for Lupin to go to school, have a childhood like every other kid and make great friends. Lupin at this point has lost his two (or three, if you count Peter) closest friends, he’s already depressed, heart-broken and shunned from society because of his furry little problem, and now Dumbledore, who is probably a father figure to him, too, a man who protected him and believed in him and trusted him, is dead. Also, it’s Snape who killed him, and Lupin has always defended Dumbledore’s trust in him. In the next chapter we see his violent reaction to this. But also, Dumbledore’s death finally makes Lupin see a possibility for him and Tonks being together, to finally find the courage for this decision. So he loses someone, but finds love at the same time.

Kat: Yeah, we’re going to talk about that love in a little while.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That was dripping with some strong feelings under there.

Alison: Oh, now I’m worried.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But I really liked, actually, that this comment pointed out especially Lupin’s defense of Snape. I guess the comment is a good lead-up to the chapter discussion, so before I close out, I’ll just end with a few shout-outs. You all had such great comments; I wish I could have included them all. They were excellent. I wanted to shout out to TheAmazingBouncingFerret; Casey L.; you, ChocolateFrogRavenclaw, who could that be?

[Michael and Siena laugh]

Michael: … DisKid; as Eric would say, not DatKid, DisKid…

[Kat laughs]

Michael: … DolphinPatronus, Eileen_Prince/Jones, ISeeThestrals, MoodyHorcrux, RoseLumos, Sian Zoe Dawson, SilverDoe25, and SpinnersEnd. And I wanted to do a shout-out maxima to a few of you: Hufflepuff & Mrs SlrKls, [pronounces as “slerkles”] who I was told that that is the correct pronunciation of her Twitter. Thank you, Katie.

Kat: Oh, that’s who that was!

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Fabulous. I saw those tweets and I was like, “I’m not sure I know who this user is.” Very good job. Very good.

[Michael and Siena laugh]

Michael: And they had a great discussion about how Aberforth was the one who was most affected.

Alison: Ooh.

Michael: Excellent job on quoting the books there in that discussion. RavenPaw, for questioning how much Dumbledore’s death actually affects Harry; very interesting comment that came in near the end of close to recording time. And SpinnersEnd, who actually suggested that Hogwarts was the character who was affected most by Dumbledore’s death. Absolutely fascinating ideas from you guys. If you haven’t read the comments since we didn’t get to use them in the show, make sure and go to to read the comments as well as participate in the conversation.

Kat: And speaking of participating in conversation, let’s jump into this week’s chapter.

[Half-Blood Prince Chapter 29 intro begins]

[Sound of phoenix song]

Narrator: Chapter 29, “The Phoenix Lament.”

[Sound of phoenix song continues]

[Half-Blood Prince Chapter 29 intro ends]

Kat: Okay, so here we are at the penultimate chapter of Half-Blood Prince. First off, before I even read the summary, oh my God.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: How… this book flew by.

Michael: I know.

Kat: I don’t know. I feel like this was the fastest one for me.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Isn’t that… I don’t know if you guys feel that way, but I love… Half-Blood Prince is my second favorite book, and I feel that way every single time I read it. Not just this time, but this is one of the fly-by reads for me when I read the series as a whole. Who knows?

Kat: Why do you think that is? Do you think it’s because the story is the tightest? I think the story is…

Alison: Yeah. Well…

Michael: I don’t know. Because it is tight; I know a lot of our listeners would disagree with that, [laughs] but maybe that’s it for me. The reason I compare it… because my favorite is Prisoner, and I frequently compare them because they’re the two books where Harry doesn’t confront… the end goal isn’t Voldemort.

Alison and Kat: Mhm.

Michael: And the year is actually pretty normal, by Harry’s standards of living.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Michael: I think that’s what I attribute it to because the funny thing…

Alison: I think…

Michael: Go ahead, Alison.

Alison: Oh, I was just going to say I think it’s because something is always happening. Normally we get these slow periods where it’s like, “It’s Christmas and everyone is getting ready.” But in this one, at all points something is happening that’s going to contribute to the end.

Kat: Is there Quidditch in this book? Am I already forgetting there’s Quidditch in this book?

Michael and Siena: Yes!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: See, that’s the other thing, too! Because I find this all the time; this book has this weird reputation where you ask people about Half-Blood Prince and they’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, I love Half-Blood Prince. I have no idea what happens in that book but I love that book.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: It is amazing how quickly people forget the content of Half-Blood Prince, especially considering, in my opinion, it’s one of the most important books in the series. I don’t know what it is.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Kat: Well, let me remind everybody what happens in Chapter 29 today.

Michael: Since nobody remembers! [laughs]

Kat: Right, since nobody remembers. So the shocking death of our puppet master has left not only Hogwarts, but also the wizarding world in shock. Harry finds his foundation and strength in Ginny, Fleur reaffirms her love for Bill through his bravery, and Molly finally extends an olive branch.

Michael: Mmm.

Kat: Dumbledore’s body is moved and arrangements are made for his funeral, while plans of the future for Tonks and Lupin are pushed to the wayside… or are they? Harry confesses to Ron that they got a fake Horcrux and all, once again, seems lost. So not an overall very happy chapter.

Alison: Aww.

Kat: As you would expect, I suppose, after a major death. But before we talk about that, I want to talk about somebody who actually isn’t present but is all over this chapter, and that’s Draco. He has now fled the grounds, after his plan has gone off pretty much without a hitch. And I don’t know; personally I’m a little impressed by that…

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: … not by what he did, but by the fact that he pulled it off. I know it took him a couple tries, but he finally pulled it off. And how much of this plan – it really had me thinking about it this time – was he responsible for? Because I know that Voldemort told him to kill Dumbledore; that’s what he tasked him to do. But was he completely left to his own devices on this one? It seems a little big for Draco.

Alison: Dumbledore has definitely turned a blind eye, and that is a major step to letting Draco get away with this because Dumbledore was turning such a blind eye to what he was doing.

Michael: Yeah, I’m actually amazed that Dumbledore let it go as much as he did, considering how close to danger so many people got. So many people almost died! And he confesses in the previous chapter; he’s like, “Well, I tried to get Snape to figure out what you were doing, but you were just such a little poop…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: “… and you wouldn’t tell him anything, so I just…”

Kat: That’s a direct quote, page 602.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yes, direct quote. Said verbatim in the book. “So I just basically gave up, and reworked my plans around you.” Which is impressive in itself when you think about that, considering how carefully laid out Dumbledore’s plan was. But as far as how much Draco did on his own… he claims in the last chapter that the Vanishing Cabinet was his idea.

Kat: That’s true. That’s true.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: And the narration certainly doesn’t lead us to believe otherwise. I think this is… asking the question reveals, perhaps, that we are as much as Harry almost dumbstruck that Malfoy managed this.

Kat: I know that Draco gets crap from Voldemort because he wasn’t the one to kill Dumbledore, but do you think Voldemort is impressed at all? Because personally, if I were the Dark Lord, I would be like, “I mean, you didn’t do what I told you to do, but you facilitated it, so thank you.”

Alison: No, because I don’t think Voldemort gives a crap.

Michael: Yeah, you’re a very generous Dark Lord, Kat.

[Kat laughs]

Alison: I don’t think he gives a crap about… he does not care about Draco one little bit.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: I mean, I would never be a Dark Lord, so I guess that’s why I wouldn’t make a good one.

[Michael and Siena laugh]

Michael: I think if Voldemort is ever impressed with anybody, he would never ever show it.

Kat: Well, obviously, he wouldn’t say “thank you” and shake his hand.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I mean, he hugs the guy in the movie.

[Alison, Kat, and Siena laugh]

Alison: Oh my gosh!

Kat: I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding. But I mean, he must have a little bit, even, of inner appreciation for Draco.

Michael: Perhaps.

Kat: Because who else would have thought of that? No one else could have pulled that off except a student.

Alison: I don’t think he cares, though. Honestly, Draco is an ant to Voldemort, and he does not care. And he’s just going to use him and throw him aside, and that’s it.

Siena: All Voldemort cares about is the end game, and so who gets him there isn’t really that important to him. I think if Draco had really messed up, then he would have cared about, Draco but the fact that Draco doesn’t mess up, it’s just… it’s all about Dumbledore dying in the end. That’s all Voldemort’s looking at.

Michael: Yeah, I think… because I’d say if you’re looking at anybody who[m] Voldemort even feigns appreciation for, it’s Bellatrix. And he does it because she’s…

Kat: Crazy.

Michael: … the best-working cog in the machine.

[Kat laughs]

Michael: She not only does everything he asks and does it exceedingly well, but she also adores him unquestioningly. Malfoy doesn’t have all of the… a lot of Voldemort’s Death Eaters don’t have those traits. So I think Siena is exactly right that he notices when things go wrong, and when things go right, it’s all thanks to him because it was his plan all along.

Kat: Yeah, okay. Well, you’re right, then. I would make a crappy Death Eater.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: I would at least be like, “Thanks for facilitating that, Draco.”

[Michael laughs]

Kat: “Thanks for making sure Snape could at least do it. You couldn’t pull the trigger. Thanks, man.”

[Michael laughs]

Kat: And I guess, speaking of triggers and charms and the like, I was reading this time about the charm that they talk about. I think it’s Gibbons who puts [it] at the bottom of the staircase, where Harry, I guess, pontificates – if that’s the correct word. I think so – about the fact that you would need a Dark Mark to get through it. That’s cool.

Michael: Yeah, it’s super cool.

Kat: I mean, that’s a pretty badass charm.

Michael: Yeah, finally those Dark Marks did something other than call Voldemort over. [laughs] They actually do something else. [laughs]

Kat: Right. I don’t know. I just thought it was an impressive piece of magic. Even though it thwarted the Order, I thought it was impressive. And also, other impressive feats were the Felix Felicis, which makes a yet another appearance here. There’s a good quote by Ginny on page 612 of the US edition. It says, “And a Death Eater’s dead, he got hit by a Killing Curse that huge blond one was firing off everywhere – Harry, if we hadn’t had your Felix potion, I think we’d all have been killed, but everything seemed to just miss us -” And we’ve talked a lot about Felix on this show, and I really liked that this reaffirmed again that you have to have the ability inside of yourself, and Felix amplifies it. I really liked that.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah, and I think, yet again, this is another cementing. Rowling is just like, “Wasn’t that great? You’re never going to see this again.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Again, I mentioned this before, but it’s just mind-boggling to me that she came up with Felix Felicis following the difficulty she had with the Time-Turners. But she’s so cleverly set it up with stipulations and was just like, “No, this takes months to brew. It’s really troublesome.” And it doesn’t always work perfectly, and you can overdose on it. There are so many things that can go wrong with this, and it doesn’t even… in a way, it’s weird how they talk about it because it’s almost like it’s… the narration… and Ginny here also mentions it, but the narration also mentions it in the previous chapter that the curses are just missing them. Just. So it’s not foolproof.

Kat: Yeah. They might not have taken enough because they did share the vial.

Michael: They did; that’s true.

Kat: So it might be that fact they didn’t have a full dose.

Michael: That’s true.

Kat: Or whatever. Oh, that would be interesting.

Michael: Bye-bye, Felix Felicis.

[Siena laughs]

Kat: Yeah, bye-bye.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: See you later. And just in case anybody out there doesn’t go on Pottermore as often, I think, as Michael and myself do…

[Michael laugh]

Kat: … there is a great moment in Chapter 27 of this book, Moment 1, and it’s an entire backstory about Draco. We don’t learn a whole lot of new stuff that we didn’t know about his previously, but there’s some great information in there about what his last name was before. Obviously, his first name comes from the constellation for the dragon. And other things like that. So definitely log yourself in to Pottermore – or google it if you don’t want to go to Pottermore – and you can read the information somewhere, because it’s pretty interesting. And I guess speaking of that, before we move on to the next topic, I was wondering where… do we have any information? Because I was looking for this on Pottermore, specifically, about what is happening between when the Death Eaters and Snape leave Hogwarts till when we see them again? Do we have information about what’s happening? Where are they?

Alison: I don’t think so. I think… because the next time we see them, we’ll be at that meeting at Malfoy Manor at the very beginning. And I mean, I guess we can assume they’ve run off and they’re working on the things that will lead up to that meeting.

Kat: Yeah, because wait, what’s the date of Dumbledore’s death? What month are we in right now? Are we in May? June?

Alison: June? I think it’s June.

Michael: Right, I think we’re in June.

Kat: Yeah, he died June 30. Okay, so that’s late. That’s much later than I expected, so really, there'[re] only about three weeks or so between here and when we see them at Malfoy Manor.

Michael: Well, yeah, as we discussed, the head of the Order, the head of that main organization fighting them, is gone. The Ministry is completely useless. Voldemort and the Death Eaters have no reason to hide. I mean, as much as you can even ask that question about where did they go? Where have they been all this time? Where have they been hanging out? Because there weren’t in Azkaban – at least not all of them – because they broke out last year, so…

Kat: Chilling at Malfoy Manor, probably.

Michael: Apparently.

Kat: Speaking of sketchy people and sketchy places, I wanted to move on and talk a little bit about Greyback and werewolves and Bill and Lupin and that whole situation. So I read a lot into werewolf lore this week – just to educate myself a little bit more – and I couldn’t find a whole lot about what actually would happen to Bill. It’s because he was bitten by Greyback when he was not transformed. It was not the full moon, although in the book, Lupin says he will probably talk on some wolfish features. So Greyback bit him with human teeth?

Alison: Oh my gosh. That’s disgusting.

Kat: I mean, how does that work? Do werewolves…? In some legend, in others not, they have a venom, and that’s what goes into the system when they get bitten. So… and again, in some lore and not in others, the venom is only there on the full moon, so the whole situation, I guess, just makes little sense to me, and I’m confused about how Jo is building this world, I guess.

Michael: I think this, to me, is what makes Greyback an interesting character. Rowling, I think, had to work pretty hard to make the characters introduced in Half-Blood and Deathly Hallows. Maybe that’s something we don’t appreciate, we don’t enough kudos to her for. She had to work extra hard, I think, to make the characters in Half-Blood and Hallows interesting because some of these people are only introduced in these books. And I think what sets Greyback apart: He’s not a werewolf who just does his thing when he’s a werewolf. He willingly does the werewolf thing, and he doesn’t it when he’s not a werewolf. I think is what makes Greyback and again, Rowling’s world all the more interesting and sets it all the more apart, is because she takes… and she does this with things before, and she’ll continue to do that with things. She takes traditional lore, and she explores it even further or makes her own things of it. I think that’s why people… when people get up in arms that Harry Potter just copies things from older fantasy and adventures, that… no, she doesn’t copy. She is inspired by. And she clearly takes it into her own set-up.

Siena: Do we know when the nearest full moon was to this event?

[Michael laughs]

Siena: Was it the next night?

Kat: Haha, I’m going to look it up.

[Sienna laughs]

Michael: See, that’s interesting, because when you get into that kind of detail, it throws off, actually, the whole chronology because technically, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone went… the Tuesday morning would not have been a Tuesday. It would have been…

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Right.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: So June 30, the actual day Dumbledore died, the moon was a waning crescent, so it was the exact opposite pretty much of a full moon.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: It was only 20 percent visible, so…

Michael: We can only expect so much of Rowling.

Kat: Yeah.

Siena: So then I guess we can also move in from that like assume that it is something that is always present.

Michael: Yeah.

Siena: There’s always some venom that a werewolf has…

Alison: Yeah.

Siena: … no matter what time it is.

Kat: We touched on this briefly before about how Lupin is shocked by Dumbledore’s death, and it struck me this time how very, very quickly he believes that Snape is guilty. He just takes Harry’s word for it, lets that old prejudice flood in, and after years of trusting Dumbledore it’s just like boom, done. That shocked me for Lupin. That surprised me, how quickly he flipped. Really.

Alison: I don’t know. I always had the impression that as much as Lupin said he trusted Snape, and he trusted Dumbledore’s judgement of Snape, I think deep down Lupin never trusted Snape.

Siena: Yeah, I agree.

Alison: I think I couldn’t get over it, and seeing Snape’s treatment of Harry and his treatment of Sirius and who he was as an adult and who they were as kids, I think deep down inside, Lupin never really trusted him.

Michael: I see it as Lupin being very… Lupin just takes the facts at face value. He’s very similar to Hermione, I think, in a lot of regards.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Michael: And he has no proof to the contrary. I think… again, we were saying how the Half-Blood Prince reveal is so important, not only to Harry and the characters, but to the reader about how much they believe or don’t believe Snape. And I think this is a continuation of that. To see characters who had that other characters like Dumbledore, who did believe in Snape because Dumbledore believed in him, lose that belief so quickly is for the reader’s benefit as well to keep you guessing. Lupin, I think, is somebody the readers inherently trust the judgement of, much like we trust the judgement of Dumbledore – or at least, many of us used to. Or Hermione.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: Kind of without question. They just see the facts, and they go with it. And like I said, Lupin has nothing to the contrary, and as we mentioned earlier with the Podcast Question of the Week comments, I think Lupin is very heavily affected by… there’s a lot weighing on him from Dumbledore’s death, so maybe this is his kind of similar true reaction to how Harry reacts with that kind of pure anger.

Kat: And it’s funny because when Harry is recounting to them on page 616 of the US edition the information that he knows because Tonks says, “I’d love to know what Snape told him to convince him -” speaking about Dumbledore and Snape – and Harry says, “I know. Snape passed Voldemort the information,” and all blah blah blah blah blah, and he says, “… he was really sorry he’d done it, sorry that they were dead.”

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: So I was trying to recall… Dumbledore didn’t specify Lily, so Harry assumes that Snape was sorry they were both dead when the real case is that he’s only sorry Lily was dead.

Siena: Yeah.

Kat: Or being targeted or anything of that nature. So again, this is just Dumbledore misleading everybody, screwing it all up… oh, God.

Michael: And as much as I… and I do agree with that, but Dumbledore has made a commitment to Snape not to give away what he is.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: He’s keeping his commitment without… that is probably one of the… for all of the things Dumbledore says on how much he plays chess with these people’s lives, he doesn’t really lie. He lies by omission a lot of the time, but that’s a lie.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Like that’s, I think, one of the big… and it’s funny that you point it out, Kat, because I think it is kind of subtle in the narration.

Kat: It is, and that’s the moment where I think… where Lupin just flips it because he’s like, “Dumbledore believed that?”

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: “Dumbledore believed Snape was sorry [that] James was dead? Snape hated James,” and I think that’s when Lupin is like, “Oh, well, I no longer believe Dumbledore.”

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: I do have to say, though, the line right after Harry tells Lupin what happened, and he says he had to look away because he felt like he was seeing something indecent. That just… ooh. That line just…

Kat: Well, Lupin just shattered. Shattered.

Alison: Oh, yeah. It struck me that Harry, who knows Lupin so well, has never seen him break down this far, that Harry has to look away.

Kat: But that’s a misconception. Because Harry doesn’t really know Lupin very well at all.

Alison: Well, that’s… okay, yeah.

[Siena laughs]

Michael: I think that’s the thing about… I think a lot of us have this experience as kids: when you see your teacher outside of school for the first time…

[Michael and Siena laugh]

Michael: … and you’re like, “Oh my gosh. They don’t live in the school building?” That’s a weird realization that every child has. I mean, the kids do that with me when they see me outside of the library. They look at me funny because I’m supposed to live there. I come from a book. I live in a book in their world.

Kat: That sounds amazing, for the record.

Michael: [laughs] Believe me. Believe me. It is. But yeah, I think that’s what it is. I mean, it does… that’s something that’s always sad to me about the Harry Potter series, is that post Prisoner, Harry and Lupin’s relationship breaks down pretty badly. And Harry never really… because we talked about this in Order that we were shocked that Harry doesn’t look to Lupin for consolation after Sirius dies. Because that seemed like a very logical route to go, and Harry doesn’t even think about that or reflect on how it affects Lupin. And the narration clearly reflects on how Lupin is feeling, but Harry doesn’t. And yeah, it always kills me when Harry… Harry is not very good with comforting people, as is shown frequently in the book. And he’s very sympathetic to other people, but he never knows how to give you a hug. [laughs] He’s not very good at that. [whispers] That’s why I like the scene in the movie where he dances with Hermione.

Kat: Oh, me too! It’s my favorite!

Michael: It gives him a little bit of that. But he doesn’t have that in books. He’s very bad at that. And that’s something that’s not his fault; it’s just how he is.

Siena: I also think this is interesting because in a way, by just flipping his opinion, because of what Harry said, Lupin is listening to Dumbledore because of that line: the last thing that Dumbledore tells Lupin and Kingsley is “Trust Harry.” And so Lupin in this moment is completely trusting Harry. And he is paying attention to Dumbledore. Whether he’s going that consciously or unconsciously, I don’t know, but he really is following Dumbledore’s last wish.

Alison: That’s a great point, yeah.

Michael: See? And again, I think that strengthens the idea that, like Hermione, Lupin takes things from the facts that he has. And that’s all he’s got. Because I mean, Hermione, too, shockingly, in a way that we haven’t seen before… she’s admitted things to Harry before about being wrong, but [with] this one, she full-on is just like, [as Hermione] “I am so sorry.” She is in tears. I think in a way she… a lot of the people in this room are taking on the responsibility for Dumbledore’s death.

Kat: In so many ways. So many ways.

Michael: Yeah, it’s pretty catastrophic. So I think that’s a great point, Siena, that this is the proof in front of him: He had Dumbledore’s word to trust Harry. Harry says Snape did it. The end.

Kat: Speaking of everybody taking responsibility for Dumbledore’s death, I think that McGonagall’s reaction was an interesting one.

Michael: Oh, that she does the stiff upper lip bit?

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah. I think that’s a very British school marm quality. That’s a very traditional thing for her type of character. I think, as we find out from Pottermore, she’ll go have her moments of grief quietly to herself later.

Kat: Let’s move on to the slightly happier points of this chapter: the love that is in the air. So it really struck me a lot in this chapter the dynamic of Ginny and Harry and how Harry very much allows Ginny to just shoulder his emotions, and really, she’s his rock in this moment. She’s the only one [who]’s allowed to take him away from Dumbledore. Ginny is the one who announces to the room that Dumbledore is dead. And Harry just confirms it. It’s very telling of Ginny that she just takes this on for him and lets him brew in himself like Harry does so well.

Michael: Another! Another, another, another!

[Alison, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Alison: The two things about is, a) this is why I say “Oh, Harry and Ginny all the way. All the way, forever love, OTP, always”…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: And the other thing is, this is why movie Ginny is so bad. Because I’m sure there are multiple people to blame, and I will try to cut this out within my three-hour monologue when we watch the movie of the issues I have with it, but there’s none of this in movie Ginny. There’s none of her reaching out to Harry and saying, “Here, Harry. I’m going to take this pain and some of this emotion from you whether you like it or not, because that’s what you need.” There’s no… she’s not a rock.

Kat: Yeah, people give Bonnie Wright too much crap for that, and it’s totally not her fault.

Alison: No, it’s not. But this is why I think also… yeah. This is the moment where I think I knew Harry and Ginny were going to go the whole way, and it was going to be beautiful, and it was going to be perfect.

Kat: I just read this whole article about why men should pick the women who waited for them, and I mean, this is a perfect example why.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Siena, I know you’ve discussed it before on the main site and in the comments, but now’s your chance to vocalize it on the show. What are your feelings on Harry and Ginny?

Siena: I totally ship it. I think it’s a really great relationship. I think part of the reason that I think it’s really great, and this comes definitely into more play in Deathly Hallows, but is how it’s a physical representation of Harry joining the Weasley family, and I think that there was always a disconnect with that throughout all the books, and so dating Ginny and being actually a part of the family, I think, is just really symbolic and really important for him. But also who Ginny is. I think she’s the perfect person for Harry. I remember when Harry was dating Cho, it just frustrated me so much because there'[re] just so many other people.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Siena: But yeah, I think this is a good moment for their relationship, especially because of how it’s perceived by the other people in the room. The people in the room accept what Ginny said on behalf on Harry. It’s showing how they approve of the relationship, in a way, and it’s accepted that Ginny can speak on behalf of Harry, and I think that’s really important, and it’s a really serious step for their relationship.

Michael: Wouldn’t it have been great if Ron had stayed home and Hermione and Ginny had gone with Harry in Deathly Hallows?

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Alison: No! They had to have Ron!

Michael: [laughs] I love you, Ron. I love you so much. But I did just watch Deathly Hallows – Part 1, and I’m a little mad at you. [laughs]

Alison: Man, then Hermione would just be straight up third-wheeling the whole time and that would just be awkward.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: You know that would happen. Harry would not pay attention.

[Alison and Siena laugh]

Michael: True.

Kat: It’s true. No, she’s right. It’s totally true.

Michael: Probably true. I just love when Ginny gets to play, and she plays… like you said, Kat, she just proves herself so well here that she’s a worthy part of the narrative, and she’s a worthy part of this group dynamic, and she has something to bring that maybe some of the others don’t and it just… I know all the reasons why she can’t be in it, but it just drives me crazy because I just want to see more of her.

Kat: I know. Well, and she has this really awesome moment on page 622, which I had never caught before, and it made me laugh incredibly hard. I had to go back and read the paragraphs again because it made me laugh so hard. It’s after Molly and Arthur show up in the hospital wing, and [Arthur] says, “Minerva, is it true…Is he really…?” and the paragraph says, “As Professor McGonagall nodded, Harry felt Ginny move beside him and looked at her. Her slightly narrowed eyes were fixed upon Fleur, who was gazing down at Bill with a frozen expression on her face.” And I don’t know why, but I just pictured it, and I laughed because I love that this… we’ve always known that Ginny is fiery, and she feels her emotions, and she’s a strong person, and this just shows it a thousand times over for me, how fiercely she feels for her brother…

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: … in this situation and is protecting him without even saying a word.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: It’s just such a great moment. It’s so great. And then obviously, we get the whole “Oh, he was going to be married. What do you mean ‘was going to be married’?”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That’s a lovely exchange between Molly and Fleur, which is just funny and amazing and finally, Molly gets it! She’s like, “Oh, you actually love my kid. Okay. I guess we can hug now and be friends.”

Michael: I love how Rowling… we’ve talked lightly about this before, but I love how she writes these kind of funny gender-based moments.

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: It’s so great. She writes it so well through Harry’s eyes because to him, it’s just like, they hate each other and suddenly they’re in each others’ arms crying. The narration is like, “What? I didn’t even blink, what happened?”

Alison: [laughs] Yeah!

Michael: And that same humor comes on both sides. We get Hermione kind of being… I love Hermione’s moment in… this is a comparable moment to me in Goblet of Fire when Harry and Ron really awkwardly with very few words make up for their feud, Hermione bursts into tears, hugs them, and runs away.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yeah! Right, exactly!

Michael: And it’s great. It’s not meant, I don’t think to be… because we’ve discussed this before too, we’ve discussed gender politics in Harry Potter. I don’t think this is a criticism of the genders.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: Rowling just writes so honestly. I’ve seen these moments, you know?

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Oh yeah, I think everybody’s experienced one in their life.

Michael: Yeah. These are very human moments where whether you’re the observer or the person experiencing the emotion, these are the kinds of things that you can’t really explain, like kind of give reasoning behind. I’m sure if you asked Molly and Fleur to explain it they wouldn’t have any clue how to…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … put it in words. It’s just these beautiful moments that Rowling writes so well where things just kind of happen and you just take in the wave of emotions rather than trying to explain why it’s even happening. And it works so well. It works so well.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: And there’s this awesome moment too where she tosses in that tiara…

Alison: Yes!

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Where everybody was like, “Oh baby, that’s a Horcrux!”

[Michael laughs]

Alison: No, no, no, that one’s not the Horcrux!

Kat: Later on…

Alison: That one’s not the Horcrux!

Kat: I know that…

Alison: Oh.

Kat: … but Jo’s putting that in and I don’t remember there being a single person in my life who didn’t go, “Oh my god… it’s the one that the Weasleys own.”

Michael: Oh, people thought…

Alison: Oh. I never thought that!

Kat: Yeah, they thought it was the Horcrux.

Michael: Well, it’s a nice foreshadowing of Auntie Muriel. She’ll be important.

Alison: Yes.

Kat: Mhm. She will.

Michael: She’ll lead us on a trail of clues, so that’s… and I love, again, gender politics, Fleur is fabulous at defying not only the characters’ expectations but the readers’.

Alison and Kat: Yes.

Michael: This is her moment where you see why she got picked for the Triwizard Tournament. There’s a depth to her. Because it’s fantastic that she first assumes… she’s like, “You think he’s not good enough for me anymore?” And then she’s like, “Oh! You think that I think that he’s ugly now. Or that I’m not good enough, you thought I wasn’t good enough for him…” And so she flips it and really realizes what’s going on.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: She’s very perceptive.

Alison: That’s my favorite Fleur line, I think, is the, “I think I am beautiful enough for both of us!”

Michael: “For both of us…”

Kat: Yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And I love that she pulls the cloth from Molly’s hands. She’s like…

Kat: “Give it to me!”

Michael: … “I will take care of my husband!” [laughs] It’s fabulous. It’s absolutely fabulous. It’s a good growing moment for Molly, too. I think it’s very important for Molly, as well.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Mhm. Well then Molly gets to brag a little bit about… and we see all these secret talks that she’s been having with Tonks because I think there’s hints about that…

Alison and Michael: Yeah…

Kat: … before about how Tonks had been coming over for dinner an awful lot and we find out it’s because she’s been pining over Lupin for all this time, and there’s this wonderful exchange about Lupin saying she deserves somebody young and whole, and Mr. Weasley’s like, “But she wants you, man!”

Michael: Who wouldn’t be?

Kat: You know, young and whole men do not remain so.

Alison: Yeah. I love how that comes from Arthur, too.

Siena: Yeah.

Kat: I know.

Alison: Of all people.

Kat: It’s funny because when I was reading it, I forgot that he was the one who carries most of that conversation.

Alison and Siena: Yeah.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: Just because you think about that, and you think Molly.

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: But it’s nice to get a nice, tender moment from Arthur. And it shows that, once again, you know, war brings people together.

Michael: I think… yeah, I think Arthur’s another one of those characters that’s affected pretty severely by the movies, because while Mark Williams is wonderful, he’s not book Arthur…

Kat and Siena: No.

Michael: … almost in any capacity. He’s a very different Arthur Weasley, and he doesn’t… it’s very interesting how he chooses to play Arthur’s more emotional moments, because he plays them pretty cold.

Alison and Kat: Yes.

Michael: But Mr. Weasley in the books, he’s pretty emotionally vulnerable. So I think that is funny that you… one usually forgets that Arthur sometimes has a lot more to say in these conversations.

Kat: And this moment where Lupin’s like, “This is not the time to talk about it,” but it made me think about when Ron and Hermione kiss in Deathly Hallows

Alison: Yeah.

[Siena laughs]

Kat: … and I was like, “Oh, this is so the time to talk about it, Lupin.”

Alison and Siena: Yes.

Kat: It’s war. We need more love in the world. And then McGonagall comes out with that line, and it’s just done. I was done. It was so beautiful.

Michael: This has to be… I have to touch on this because, of course, it’s Lupin. This is such a… this really caused me to examine a lot of things when I was reading this chapter, and I remember when I first read this. I was just, “No, no, no, this is not what I want!” I was so…

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: … upset.

Alison: What?

Michael: I was so upset at this. And this goes into so many things that when I was reflecting on it I think I have to admit… because I wasn’t out when I read this, but I think I was in love with Lupin. And I was crushed that my fictional love was getting together with Tonks. And I loved Tonks as a character, but I was like, “No, no, no. He’s supposed to be single forever.” [laughs] “Or with somebody else. I don’t want him to be with Tonks.” And the reason it didn’t work for me, too, is that Tonks… this works so much better for me thanks to Pottermore, now.

Alison: Mhm.

Michael: I…

Kat: Knowing the backstory?

Alison and Michael: Yes.

Michael: I so believe it now, because I think the thing that’s missing from the book that Pottermore gives us is that the book has this really weird approach where Lupin really never fully admits that he likes Tonks or that he even has any affections for her. He’s like, “Well, yeah, I married her because…”

[Alison, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Kat: That’s true.

Michael: “We’re all going to die soon, so might as well get married and have unprotected sex during the war.” That makes sense.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Just seems like a bad idea. But Pottermore is the thing that confirms from Lupin’s eye that he had affections for Tonks and that it was mutual and that it was actually a really beautiful relationship that blossomed. The thing I’m always sad about this too, as far as… I mean, the movies, of course, just slash this to pieces.

Alison: Oh, gosh.

Michael: And…

Alison: Let’s not even mention that.

Michael: … I always thought it would have been a good change, because this builds up so nicely and then you don’t get much… you get more from it in the books, but I would have loved if they had changed Bill and Fleur’s wedding in the movies to Tonks and Lupin’s. I think…

Alison and Kat: Aww.

Siena: Yeah.

Kat: That would have been really sweet.

Siena: That would’ve been really cool.

Michael: I think that would have made so much sense. They could have still had it at the Burrow, too. It would have made so much sense.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Lupin’s a character that you’ve been attached to in the films, or that you recognize way more than Bill or Fleur.

Siena: Yeah.

Michael: I just think that would’ve worked better, narratively, and I…

Alison: Oh, I want it.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: I want it now.

Michael: I want it so bad, but it is a lovely… I think it’s a nice closure on the moralities of love in this chapter. That love is unexpected and hits you in ways that you don’t plan for and how important it is to acknowledge it or perish.

Kat: So I guess we’ll close out the chapter here by talking about the discussion that happens in the Headmaster’s office. Well, Headmistress’s office…

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: … now that it’s McGonagall.

Siena: Yeah.

Kat: Oh, oh. Some McGonagall love going on.

Alison: Woo.

Michael: I’ve got to represent Caleb. He’s not here. [laughs]

Kat: That’s true, he’s not. So, first off, can we just talk about the moment with McGonagall and Hagrid because… tear. This is her showing her soft side a smidgen; a very little bit.

Alison and Siena: Yeah.

Kat: “Dumbledore always valued your views and so do I.”

Alison: Oh, I know.

Kat: It’s just touching.

Alison: Especially if you compare that to the first book where she’s talking to Dumbledore and says, “Are you sure it’s a good idea to trust Hagrid with this?”

Kat and Siena: Yeah.

Alison: And now she says, “I’m going to trust you the same way.”

Kat: Well, I mean, she has had 16 years to get used to him from that point.

Alison: Well, that’s true.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Alison: But still, it’s a nice little parallel for the reader.

Kat: It is. I think, besides this nice tender moment, the thing that struck me the most is that McGonagall immediately jumps to thinking that Hogwarts should close. And maybe I’m misreading her – I know she’s a practical person – but it did seem a little off for her, for me, just knowing how much the school means to her. But I guess she was considering the students more than the school.

Alison: Yeah. I think this is McGonagall’s panic and shock at Dumbledore’s death coming through. This is how she shows it; she’s so in shock, she’s so panicked, that she… I think it’s almost a reflection of she doesn’t feel like she can go on and so she almost feels like, “Well, nobody can probably go on…”

Siena: Yeah.

Alison: … so she just thinks, “Shut it down.”

Michael: I think that’s true. That’s a great reflection, I think, on the enormity of Dumbledore’s death. McGonagall is already thinking about it in a much bigger, forward thinking picture. Once this news gets beyond the walls of Hogwarts, this is going to affect a lot of people very strongly.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: She does that a lot. She looks at the broader picture of things.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Siena: McGonagall is one of my favorite characters, and I think this scene is really important to her character because she does immediately think the school should close. But I think after talking to the other teachers – and they keep the school open – I think it’s a really important lesson that Jo is teaching us because McGonagall is suddenly in this position of power, and I think that’s overwhelming for her, on top of the fact that one of her colleagues and friends just died at the hands of somebody she trusted. But then realizing that even though she’s in this position of power, she still listens to her peers and she still listens to her colleagues, and it’s a joint decision to keep the school open, where she easily could’ve put her foot down and said, “We’re closing the school. I’m the headmistress. This is what we’re doing.” And I think that’s a really good lesson on Jo’s part: Just because you’re suddenly in this position of power doesn’t mean you can abuse it.

Michael: Yes.

Kat: Oh, so you mean she’s showing us the exact opposite of what Dumbledore would do.

Siena: Exactly, yeah.

[Kat and Siena laugh]

Michael: I think that’s an excellent lesson for all of you managers out there; people in business… it’s very valuable. Listening to the people who are your staff is not a sign of weakness, and it’s not also communicating that you’re going to let them overrun your decisions. It’s a very good way to further inform your final decision, which McGonagall, like you said, Siena, is doing here. And I think it’s really fun for us, the readers, because we never get to see the Heads of Houses talking to each other like this.

Siena: Yeah, yeah.

Michael: This is juicy. Professor Sprout and Flitwick get some really big, interesting lines to say here.

Kat: I know, they finally get to talk!

Michael: Yes.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Real dialogue. It’s exciting.

Michael: Yeah, they’re not set pieces anymore. And what they have to say in contribution to the decision… it’s really great to see the range that each of the teachers has and all of the things they do bring to the table, and Slughorn, too. It’s fun also to see Slughorn acting as Head of Slytherin because that will be his permanent role from now on.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: But he’s really just feeling incredulous at this moment. And then at the end, he’s like, “Yeah, okay…”

Michael: Which I think is great because it’s a good foreshadowing of how the Slytherins will behave in Deathly Hallows.

Kat: Hmm, that’s true.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: That’s a hard thing, I think, especially for all you Slytherins out there, that this is a thing that Rowling is still apologizing for, is what the Slytherins do in the Battle of Hogwarts. [laughs] But I think, at the same time, Slughorn puts it in a better lens than perhaps a Slytherin student that we see does. Slughorn is being mindful of individual needs. Just like, “This isn’t my war! I want to go home!” [laughs] “Close the school; everybody get somewhere safe.” He’s thinking in a fight or flight mode, which isn’t an illogical way to think in this situation.

Siena: Yeah.

Michael: So I mean, unfortunate to say, but not everybody from the other houses behaves as well. Zacharias Smith pushing little first years out of the way… [laughs]

Alison: Yeah… we don’t talk about him.

Kat: Yeah.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: He got banned from my house.

Michael: But it is fun to be, finally – like you said, Kat – being a Nargle on the wall. We finally get to be one with the Heads of Houses. It’s good. It’s good stuff.

Kat and Siena: Yeah.

Kat: And Dumbledore’s portrait is there already, which I like. McGonagall has that moment where she’s like, “Oh. Oh, okay, it’s actually real.”

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: See, if I were… my initial reaction would have been to run up to that portrait and be like, “You wake up and you tell me everything right now!”

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Right, poke it or something. Poke, poke, poke…

Michael: [laughs] “I will paint over you unless you tell me everything right now.”

Alison: [laughs] “This is a bottle of paint thinner. Tell me everything or I start dripping.”

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Oh, lord.

Michael: “Talk.”

Kat: So the first thing you erase is his foot.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Paint over his foot. And then his dead hand.

Michael: He’d probably be like, “Oh, thank you, I didn’t want that anymore.”

Kat: Right. Okay, and since we’ve arrived at Dumbledore, they have a big discussion here. Not a big discussion; it comes to a conclusion fairly quickly about Dumbledore’s funeral, and that he should definitely be buried on the grounds because no other professor or headmaster has ever given as much to Hogwarts as Dumbledore has.

Michael: Well. All right. [laughs]

Kat: I mean, that’s true. It just strikes me that they’re making this decision.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: We know Dumbledore doesn’t have any close family, but he does have Aberforth. Does nobody know that that’s his brother?

Michael: Well, McGonagall has to because she’s in the Order.

Alison: Yeah.

Siena: I think McGonagall knows.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: I don’t think Aberforth would care, though. I mean, the grounds are close enough to Hogsmeade and where he lives. It’s not like…

Kat: Right. But doesn’t he still have a right to know that his brother is dead and to have some sort of decision?

Alison: Yes. [laughs]

Kat: I mean, maybe not. Maybe their relationship… we know it was bad. Maybe it was just so bad that Aberforth would have just been like, “Pfft. Chuck him in the lake for all I care.” I don’t know if that’s how he would have reacted.

Michael: Narratively… this is a tough one because narratively we can’t introduce Aberforth here.

Siena: Yeah.

Kat: Right, right, right. No, I agree.

Michael: I mean, I still think it’s absolutely absurd because he’s at the funeral in the next chapter and Harry is like, “Who’s that guy?” And I’m like, how do you not…? In the next book you’re just like, “He looks like he could be Dumbledore’s twin!”

Kat: Right, right.

Michael: [laughs] That’s absolutely absurd to me. That’s a plot hole to me.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: But yeah, that’s the only assumption you can go on, is that the members of the Order who know Aberforth are assuming that he doesn’t care?

Alison: I’m sure McGonagall went and told him, though. I’m sure she did.

Kat: I hope so.

Siena: Is there anything about Aberforth in Dumbledore’s will? Do we know about that?

Alison: Oh.

Michael: Not that we know of.

Kat: I don’t think so. Because we only… yeah, not that we know of. Oh man, I should have read it. When I went to London, and I visited MinaLima’s offices, I held the original will.

Alison: [gasps] What?

Michael: Oh!

Siena: Oh my God.

Kat: Yeah, I did, and it was beautiful. I was terrified that I was going to drop it or get finger oil or anything on it.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Oh my gosh.

Siena: Wow.

Kat: But it was fully fleshed out. It was – I don’t know – 27 inches long or something.

Siena: Wow.

Michael: So did it have the text from the book and then some, do you know?

Kat: Yeah, I should have read it.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I was just in that moment where I was like, “Holy crap. I’m holding Dumbledore’s will.”

Michael: Well, and who knows? I guess that’s the most canon we could get until Rowling says otherwise because MinaLima, as we know, made things up.

Kat: Right, they did.

Alison: Yeah. They made fabulous things up!

Michael: They did! They made wonderful things up. I mean, if you opened up some of those textbooks, they’re phonebooks, so… [laughs]

Kat: Except for the Half-Blood Prince’s book, which had actual pages in it made.

Michael: Which is, yeah, legit.

Kat: Yeah, Miraphora made those pages, and she did Snape’s handwriting, so…

Michael: Yeah. But it… I don’t… yeah, it’s tough because it’s… unless we just take, like you said, Kat, at face value that Aberforth… and I guess we do have to… then that’s what we have to do. He is pretty deregatory toward Dumbledore in Deathly Hallows. [laughs] He doesn’t have nice things to say. But in the end, at his core, I mean, he still kept in touch with Dumbledore, and I think in the end, as much as Harry has to confront his beliefs in Dumbledore, I think Aberforth does, too, in that same moment.

Kat: Yeah, definitely.

Michael: So who knows? But I mean, it’s a good decision anyway. Dumbledore should totally be buried on the grounds.

Kat: Yeah, absolutely.

Siena: Oh, defnitely.

Kat: Yeah. I don’t think anybody is challenging that whatsoever. But I mean, that’s all the major stuff that happens. At this point, Harry goes up to the dormitories, and everybody stares at him, as usual, when he walks into the room. And he’s like, “Peace, I’m going to bed.”

[Michael and Siena laugh]

Kat: Goes right upstairs, and Ron is like, “Oh my God, it’s fake? Wait, you didn’t get a Horcrux? It’s fake? What?” Reads the note from RAB; he’s like, “Who’s RAB?” Harry is like, “I don’t care; I’m going to lay down and be angsty.”

[Alison laughs]

Kat: And rightfully so. I mean, he has every right to be angsty. And I mean, that’s where we end it. He says that he can still hear Fawkes singing, and then it abruptly stops.

Michael: Oh.

Alison: That hurts me.

Michael: That is… okay, Kat, yours was Fang howling into the night? Mine is Fawkes no longer singing.

Kat: When he stops singing? Yeah.

Michael: That is just absolutely horrendous to read, and…

Kat: What do you think caused him to stop?

Michael: He’s done.

Siena: He’s gone.

Michael: It’s interesting that he leaves before the funeral.

Kat: He does.

Siena: He’s a phoenix, though. I mean, does he know about wizard funerals?

Kat: I mean, so that’s what I was wondering about. Whose… obviously, it’s his own grief because he and Dumbledore were such a big part of each other, but everybody says, and there’s a moment when they’re all standing in the hospital wing, where Harry describes it being of himself, not outside of himself. So what is it that makes Fawkes stop? People must still be feeling the grief, no?

Alison: Well, but Fawkes isn’t necessarily singing for everyone else’s grief. I think he’s singing his own, and everyone else understands it because music is an extraordinarily powerful thing. So I think he just knew it was time to go, and it’s time for him to leave, so he just leaves.

Michael: It makes me think… some people believe… this is a big idea, perhaps, but when people talk about their belief in God, people believe that God is actually within each individual. And there is a reflection of that idea here, that Dumbledore is actually a part of each of them. That’s what I get out of this moment. I don’t necessarily agree that Fawkes is singing his own grief because I think Fawkes, in a way, is an embodiment of Dumbledore. He is Dumblefore, in a way. And I do think in that respect he is singing everybody’s grief, and I don’t know if… I do think it’s important that he leaves at that point. Maybe it’s because he… we know Fawkes’s big moment, of course, is Chamber of Secrets when he cries the tears onto Harry and revitalizes him. Fawkes can fix those immediate wounds, but he can’t fix lasting wounds. That’s not his job, and I think Fawkes has done his part to fix the immediate wound, and that’s the most he can do. And I even wonder… who knows? I like that she actually leaves it open and that we never get an answer. I wonder if he goes away and he permanently dies.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Kat: Oh, that would be so sad! [laughs] Oh my… I don’t want to think about Fawkes dying, too. Oh my Lord.

Michael: It’s a horrible connection, but I mean, the biggest comparison is Hedwig, and it’s the same idea. I know it’s horrible to talk about, but it is the idea of an animal that is attached to you. I know Rowling has specifically said that she doesn’t use, specifically, the concept of a spirit animal in her world. But I think of it has a keen to the daemons in His Dark Matierals: Golden Compass, Subtle Knife.

Kat: Yeah, yeah. I agree completely. They’re one and the same for me, at least Fawkes and Dumbledore.

Michael: Yeah, yeah. I think that connection runs that deep. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Fawkes… I don’t know how a phoenix ends its life cycle or… I think Fantastic Beasts does say that a phoenix’s life cycle does eventually end. I could be wrong.

Kat: Yeah, I’m actually reading up on it right now while you’re all talking, so…

Michael: Yeah. I’m not sure about that. Siena, what do you think?

Siena: I don’t remember.

Michael: Do you think phoenixes…

Siena: Well, I… yeah, the only reason I think that Fawkes died is because I always expected Fawkes to come back during the Battle of Hogwarts or somewhere in Hallows, and he didn’t. And I think that just… there’s obviously Fawkes representing Dumbledore and everything. And Fawkes being Dumbledore and Dumbledore being Fawkes. But just the fact he never came back, Dumbledore was such a big part of Hogwarts that I feel like if Fawkes and Dumbledore were so intertwined, Fawkes would have come back at some point in time, and he didn’t, so that’s… yeah.

Michael: I think that’s good proof. Especially when you can connect it to Dumbledore coming to Harry in limbo, and Dumbledore leaves it as [as Dumbledore] “I might not actually be talking to you. I might just be a representation of your subconscious. But I’ll leave it for you to decide.” Because I think to bring Fawkes back, perhaps, would have been too much of a suggestion that Dumbledore could, potentially, be out there somewhere.

Alison: Well, if you’re talking about Fawkes being an embodiment of Dumbledore, it almost reminds me of how, in a lot of cultures, there’s the belief that after someone died, their spirit hung around them for a while. And that’s why there'[re] certain funeral rites in certain cultures. So I wonder if there’s any drawing on that, that once Fawkes had left, that’s the finality of Dumbledore is really gone, and he’s permanently gone.

Michael: Yeah, it’s amazing to think that… because I don’t think that was something that people cited a lot when the argument was made that Dumbledore was still alive. Nobody talked about Fawkes’s departure in that respect. And we mentioned this last week, but I do think it would be a betrayal of Rowling’s ideas if she were to have brought Dumbledore back in that capacity. I don’t think that’s something she would ever have done. So it’s, I guess, funny to think that people were so sure that Dumbledore could, maybe, come back after this scene.

Kat: I’ve read seven websites…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: … about the phoenix and the history. And all of them say that it’s completely unknown as to how and if a phoenix ever dies.

Michael: Oh, fabulous.

Alison: Wow!

Michael: I like that even more. [laughs] The things…

Kat: Yup. It just says that as far as they know, a phoenix can live up to 1,400 years and that if they die, nobody has ever seen it happen because it happens… they go to ash.

Alison: Interesting.

Kat: There’s nothing left behind like poor Barty Crouch.

Michael: [laughs] Ohh!

Alison: We need a T-shirt: #Fawkeslives.

[Alison, Michael, and Siena laugh]

Michael: And that makes me think, if any of you have ever or if our listeners have ever read the Wicked series by Gregory Maguire – spoiler – the wicked witch gets melted at the end of the book, not in the play. In the book, she melts. But through the rest of the remaining books, there'[re] messages all over Oz that suggest that she’s still alive. I haven’t read the last few books. I don’t know if that ever comes to light; I don’t believe it does. But it’s that same idea that even though on individual dies, their lingering spirit, presence, or… makes them immortal in that way. So and of course, Dumbledore is immortal in his own way, the character, because you can just pick up Sorcerer’s Stone, and he’s alive again.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Aww, right. Or go talk to his portrait in McGonagall’s office, soon to be Snape’s office.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: But that’s it, guys. That wraps up Chapter 29 of Half-Blood Prince.

Michael: So many questions to ponder on this chapter, and we still have more for you listeners.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: We’re not done yet. The Podcast Question of the Week – I actually thought of this one while driving home. [laughs] So… I don’t know where the inspiration came from, but I’m rather proud of this one. I’m terribly interested to see what you listeners come up with for this one:

“In this chapter we see multiple characters admitting to Harry that he was right about nearly all of his theories throughout the year, and that they are now facing the dire consequences of not believing him. While Harry has been correct about his suspicions in previous years, he is particularly vindicated in this chapter.”

I’ve always been struck by the writing of this chapter. I don’t think we’ve ever had character after character of all different ages and backgrounds admitting to Harry that they were completely wrong. This is kind of a first time with this one.

Alison, Kat, and Siena: Yeah.

Michael: [continues]

“At the end of ‘Order’ though, Harry’s suspicions are catastrophically incorrect. And as we’ve discussed throughout ‘Half-Blood Prince’, that seems to have had an affect on how seriously the characters took Harry in Half-Blood Prince. So with this new-found vindication, how does this affect the characters’ belief in Harry in ‘Deathly Hallows’? And will their trust in Harry prove worthwhile?”

I’m leaving this open to pretty much any characters that you guys can think of – you listeners can come up with. Make sure and dig around… we give you permission. Go ahead and dig around a little bit in Deathly Hallows, find some quotes even if you’d like, too. But I’d just love to see where you think this belief in Harry – this newfound belief – how this track in believing Harry has gone, and how this will affect the characters in future, in our last adventure, the end.

Kat: Yeah, it’s such a great question.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: I’m super excited about this one because… as you said, the trust is brought up so much in this chapter, and I’m interested in this one.

Michael: Yeah, it’s fascinating.

Kat: Kudos.

Michael: Thank you. [laughs]

Alison: Well, all that remains then is to thank Siena for joining us today. Thank you so much, you were such a great guest.

Siena: Yeah, thank you all for having me. I really enjoyed it.

Michael: We’re so glad you were on the show, Siena. You’ve been a longtime listener to the show, and you’ve left us some absolutely fabulous comments on the main site.

Siena: [laughs] Thank you.

Michael: And you did a great job leaving us comments live here on the show today.

[Kat, Michael, and Siena laugh]

Michael: How does it feel?

Kat: Claps to you!

Michael: Yes, claps. Are you still going to leave us amazing comments on the site, too?

Siena: Oh, yeah. Definitely, definitely.

Kat: Great.

Michael: She’s already planning her comments for this week. She was on the show and she’s already going to have things to say.

[Everyone laughs]

Siena: Oh, yeah.

Kat: Yeah. Right, right.

Michael: That’s how Ravenclaws work, right?

Siena: It is! It’s true.

Kat: Yup.

Michael: [laughs] And if any of you listeners out there would like to be on the show just like Siena, our good friend ChocolateFrogRavenclaw – all you people with lovely user names out there – now’s the time! It’s almost over, you guys. [laughs] We’re almost done with Half-Blood Prince. So listeners, you…

Kats: Shh.

Michael: [whispers] It’ll go on forever and ever. [back to normal voice] So listeners, you’ve got to submit your stuff to us to be on the show. We want to make sure you get on the show – the options are getting limited – and to do that, head to the “Be on the Show” page at If you have a set of headphones and a microphone or some headphones with a built-in mic, as well as a recording program on your computer, you’re all set. We don’t really require any fancy equipment. And while you’re on our main page – – submitting for our show, make sure to download a ringtone for free so you can jam out to our theme song while you’re getting ready to be on the show.

Kat: And in the meantime if you just want to keep in touch with us, you can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN,, on Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast, our phone number is 206-GO-ALBUS (206-462-5287), and as usual you can send us an AudioBoom. It’s free; all you need is an Internet connection and a microphone. Head over to, click the little green button in the right-hand menu, and keep your message under sixty seconds, and you just might hear yourself on the next episode.

Michael: It may seem insensitive to plug our store after Dumbledore has died, but you know what? Screw convention, we’ll do it anyway.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: Go buy things. Be materialistic for Dumbledore’s sake… and for ours. Check out the Alohomora! store. We have lots of different products themed after various things, including house shirts, as well as inside jokes from the show like Desk!Pig, Mandrake Liberation Front, Minerva Is My Homegirl, and so many more. You can look at the store by going to our main site,

Alison: And while you’re there, make sure you check out our smartphone app. It’s… who wrote this?

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I did.

Michael: [as Alison] Who wrote this?!

Alison: Do you want me to sing it?

Kat: No, I just thought it was funny.

Alison: It’s available around the world! [singing] “Around the world…”

Michael: [singing] “Around the world…

Kat: It’s the Daft Punk song, “Around the World.” [singing]

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Sorry.

Alison: It’s okay. Prices vary and it includes lots of fabulous things like transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and so much more.

Kat: And we’re going to have lots of stuff coming up from our trip to GeekyCon and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because Michael will be there, I will be there, Kristen will be there, Eric will be there, and Micah will be there. I know most of you don’t like Micah…

[Alison, Michael, and Siena laugh]

Kat: … but he’s going to be there.

Alison: Sorry.

Kat: So we’re going to have lots of really awesome content coming up.

Michael: And also, by the way, if you see us at GeekyCon, come say hi… because we like being said hi to. And also we have a panel at GeekyCon on Sunday morning… nice and early. Come see us because we’re not in competition with anything. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: So when you’re tired and you’re just waking up and having breakfast, come over and see us. We’ll talk Harry Potter with you. Let’s talk shop.

Kat: [gasps] We’ll bring doughnuts!

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Ooh.

Michael: Okay, it’s on.

Kat: That’s how we got everybody last year. We offered free pizza.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: Verbal commitment. We got doughnuts, kids, we got doughnuts. And there is also another chance for those of you who aren’t going to GeekyCon. There’s another chance for you to hang out and chat with us. We’re going to do our movie watch. I am actually going to take off of work for this. It’s a big deal, you guys. Alison and I are going to get our fisticuffs on and duke it out about Half-Blood Prince, right?

Alison: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: I have so many problems.

Michael: And I love it so much, so it’s going to be an exciting discussion. That’s going to take place August 8, which is a Saturday, at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. As a friendly reminder, you need to have your own copy of Half-Blood Prince on Blu-ray or DVD to watch because if we stream it, it is illegal and we will get in trouble, and we won’t be able to read Deathly Hallows for you. So get your own film. Sorry about that.

[Kat laughs]

Michael: But afterwards we will be chatting about the movie, and we will have a live show that immediately will follow, and we will be including you in the discussion. You will have an opportunity to discuss things in our chat box, on Ustream, as well as to call into the show and give your opinions on the Half-Blood Prince movie as we close out Half-Blood Prince, just like we’re closing out this episode. I am Michael Harle.

[Show music begins]

Alison: I am Alison Siggard.

Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 147 of Alohomora!

Michael: [as Harry] Open the Dumbledore.

[Show music continues]

Alison: Well… in kind of going along with what you were talking about whether this is believable or not, or the right place to have this reveal, we have an AudioBoom from Daniel.

Michael: Radcliffe?

[Alison laughs]

Kat: No, but that would be fabulous.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Oh, gosh!

Michael: I guess I should…

Kat: So that’s what he does on his birthday. He’s like, “I’m going to send an AudioBoom to that podcast. That’s what I am going to do.”

Alison: Oh, man. [laughs]