Transcript – Episode 148

[Show music begins]

Caleb Graves: This is Episode 148 of Alohomora! for August 1, 2015.

[Show music continues]

Caleb: Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Alohomora!, our last episode for the month of July and our last episode of Half-Blood Prince. I’m Caleb Graves.

Rosie Morris: I’m Rosie Morris.

Alison Siggard: And I’m Alison Siggard. And today our guest is Hannah. Welcome, Hannah!

Hannah Cavanaugh: Hi! I’m so excited to be on.

Alison: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hannah: I’m a middle school education major at Mizzou. I guess I’m a Ravenclaw as well, and I guess getting into Harry Potter, my older sister gave me the book around first grade and I thought it was awful, honestly.

[Everybody laughs]

Hannah: I struggled to get through it but then my sister was like… she got the second one. And she was like, “You have to read this.” So I read the second one before I finished the first one and then eventually, I caught on to it and it started a tradition in our family where we’d go to the midnight releases of the books and then we’d read the first chapter aloud that night together.

Rosie: Oh, wow!

Alison: Nice.

Rosie: That’s a really cool tradition.

Caleb: It’s a good thing you changed your mind on it.

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: We’re glad to have you here today.

Alison: Yes. We are. And this week, for the show, we will be discussing Chapter 30 of Half-Blood Prince, the last chapter, “The White Tomb.”

Caleb: But before we do that, we’re going to recap some of your comments from our previous episode’s discussion on Chapter 29 and we’re going to start it off with an audioBoom, which we’re going to play now.

[Audio]: Hi guys, this is Stephanie, or Your Rufus On Fire, and I have a question for you guys. We see Snape creates a number of spells as the Half-Blood Prince, but we also see James use them too, especially the Levicorpus spell. How do you think James knows how to use that spell? Do you think he saw Snape use it once and decided to copy it? If so, who do you think Snape would have used it on? Or, do you think maybe that James stole his potions book as a prank and got some spells from there? Just curious to what you guys think about it. Thanks! Love the show.

Caleb: All right. So a pretty good question, probably something I haven’t really thought about but maybe I should have. How do we think James may have learned Levicorpus from Snape or around?

Alison: Well, I think it’s either Remus or Sirius at one point says these spells kind of went in and out of fashion so I assume it had just passed around the school by that point.

Caleb: Yeah, so I guess that leads to the bigger question of how Snape’s spells… once he invented them, I guess you could say, did he start using them openly to where other people were picking up on them?

Rosie: I’m sure that he would have done. You wouldn’t really invent a spell that you weren’t planning to use. Perhaps things like Sectumsempra you wouldn’t use quite so often and quite so publicly, but things like Levicorpus, they were using it as pranks and probably Severus was using it as self defense in some cases as well. So I do think he would have used it fairly often, maybe, at school. Yeah, Remus says it the chapter after “Snape’s Worst Memory” so when Harry goes to check on why his father was doing all these horrible things, they say that these spells go in and out of fashion and it was a big craze to use that one during James and the Marauders’ fifth year. So if Snape invented it around that time, then it was probable that it was being used quite openly at the time and that everyone kind of learned it from other people and picked it up. It’s not exactly a difficult spell to learn either, is it? Harry does it very easily the first time.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: So I don’t imagine that people would struggle to learn it after just hearing it being used by others and yeah, they just get picked up.

Caleb: Do we think there’s anyone in particular Snape might have used it on? Perhaps the Marauders themselves?

Rosie: Yeah. I’m certain of that.

[Caleb laughs]

Alison: Yeah, probably.

Rosie: Especially if we’ve seen James use it on him…

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: … I think he wouldn’t blink and say no to using it on James in revenge, if not first.

Caleb: Yeah.

Alison: Exactly.

Hannah: Could he have used it on his friends, maybe to show them that he was capable of coming up with spells on his own and his intelligence?

Alison: Yeah.

Caleb: I guess it’s also possible…

Alison: Maybe, yeah.

Caleb: … to prove himself.

Rosie: Do you think it’s possible to use it on yourself? To levitate?

Alison: Umm…

Rosie: Maybe not upside down, but… [laughs]

Caleb: Maybe that’s what he was trying to go for.

Rosie: Yeah.

Caleb: It’s like a – what’s the word I’m looking for – serendipitous discovery.

Alison: Yeah. Maybe.

Caleb: Interesting. Well the next comment comes from RoseLumos and it’s on the topic of Remus Lupin in general but also his reaction in the previous chapter to Snape and Dumbledore and the comment says,

“I loved the discussions about Remus! I have to say, it’s through the ‘Alohomora!’ rereads (and the new Pottermore information) I have learned to appreciate him much more, and now he had risen to my list of top 10 favorite HP characters! As the hosts mentioned, Remus had no problem believing that Snape killed Dumbledore and has no problem automatically hating him again. I think the reason behind this is because this is the second time this has happened to Remus. Remember, there was one morning 15 years ago where he must have woken up to the news that his best friend (Sirius) was responsible for the deaths of his other best friends (Peter, James, and Lily). Ironically, in both cases there was more to the story than it initially appeared. Unfortunately for Remus, he dies before he finds out the whole story about Snape. Remus, like Harry, appears to value friendship highly. To them, the idea of trusting someone with your life and having that person betray that trust is just as horrendous as murder. Living through both situations of having a trusted one kill another trusted friend is a lot to deal with, which is why I think Remus had the breakdown. To him, it must have been too much to see history repeat itself.”

Alison: I think it’s interesting to compare those two. I definitely don’t think Remus would consider Snape a friend but he definitely I think trusted Dumbledore who trusted Snape, so interesting to compare those two situations in that way.

Rosie: And I think his breakdown has more to do with Dumbledore’s death than Snape’s betrayal as well. I think the trust in Snape was definitely hard-won and the Wolfsbane potion thing definitely helped towards him having to trust Snape, but it was ultimately the trust in Dumbledore that made that happen. Dumbledore is the first one really to accept his as a werewolf as well and to make it okay to be who he was in the world and that “Hogwarts will always be your home” thing, Remus definitely has that with Dumbledore and with the security that he provides in Hogwarts. So with Dumbledore gone, this great hope that Remus has for his own future and his own acceptance within the wizarding world has died as well and I think that’s a major part in why his reaction was so severe.

Caleb: That’s a good point. I guess we don’t know for sure so that’s why it’s open to discussion which Remus reacts to more intensely first, whether it’s just the fact that Dumbledore is dead or the fact that Snape did it. Obviously, those things are intertwined, but I feel like one of them probably is more real to him in the moment immediately and I think I agree with you, Rosie, I think it’s mostly Dumbledore’s death and I think that also says a lot about Remus’s character that makes him not necessarily better, but just different than Sirius and James. It’s an interesting scene in general, reading back, just how people react to the scene…

Alison: Yeah.

Caleb: … because Harry thinks he’s right. We know he’s wrong, still, because we don’t have the whole story yet but how everyone reacts to it. Harry’s hesitant to look to Ron and Hermione like, “I told you so.” I mean, he’s like that with everyone pretty much. He still thinks. All right. Our last comment comes from Hufflepug on the topic of Fawkes’s departure and it says,

“I’ve always wondered about how Fawkes came into Dumbledore’s life. Like the hosts said, he is a part of Dumbledore, and it seems like you can’t separate one from the other. If we’re going with the spiritual significance that Michael brought up, then it could be said that Fawkes, as a representation of Dumbledore’s soul, may have come into his life when his soul was reborn, and he realized that he was seeking the wrong things in life. That’s of course just speculation, but I think it would fit nicely with Dumbledore’s storyline and his parallels with the idea of a phoenix in general. Continuing with this idea of Fawkes as his soul, I think he would never truly die but would go ‘on.’ The way it seems to the spectators in this chapter, it’s like he will never be seen again – like he’s vanished or something. And that brings to my mind the line from Book 7: ‘Where do vanished objects go?’ ‘Into non-being, which is to say, everything.’ It’s an abstract idea, but I wonder if something like that happened to Fawkes, where he appeared to no longer exist but actually existed in a more spiritual way. It’s kind of what happened to Dumbledore. That was a very abstract, Luna-esque thought lol.”

Alison: I feel like I just need to stare off into space and think for…

[Caleb laughs]

Alison: … three hours about that.

Rosie: I’ve always loved the comparisons between Fawkes and Dumbledore and the idea that Dumbledore has had many lives throughout his great lifespan, you know? The one that Voldemort feared managed to outlive him by however many years, even if he was killed early. Just this idea that Fawkes was Dumbledore’s spirit animal and all of that kind of thing. I have no idea where Fawkes would have come from. How do you begin the life of a phoenix? Have they always been around? Do they get born at some point and then just get continually reborn? Can a phoenix have an egg and a chick, which isn’t part of their own life? Interesting thoughts. Not sure.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: But the idea that Fawkes disappears into nothing, I’m not sure about. I think he’s more likely to fly off and find someone else who needs him and his guidence and his support than to just abandon life just because Dumbledore’s gone.

Caleb: Right, yeah. And that makes me wonder… if that’s true, then it would almost certainly be true that Fawkes was either… I guess there'[re] two options. Was either totally free and in the wild or was with someone else similarly before Dumbledore, right? Because he would have a life before…

Rosie: Yeah.

Caleb: … just as he has after. That’s interesting…

Alison: Yeah.

Caleb: … to consider as well. It’s hard to imagine Dumbledore not the center of the universe, but…

[Alison and Caleb laugh]

Rosie: I like the idea of… phoenix tears are there to fix pain and they will be attracted to people that need help and people who need support and people who have a pain that needs to be fixed.

Hannah: Yeah.

Rosie: So in my fan fiction brain, I’ve always imagined that if phoenixes are drawn to anguish and are there to heal people, then maybe Fawkes found Dumbledore at the moment of his greatest pain – so when Ariana dies – and…

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: … has been with him ever since. And now that Dumbledore has died, perhaps Fawkes has gone off and will find the next person who needs him in a similar pain state. I’d like to read that story.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: Who was the next wizarding…

Hannah: Yeah.

Rosie: … child who finds the phoenix?

Caleb: There you go. There’s a fan fiction prompt.

Alison: I like that a lot.

Caleb: All right, and there were a lot of other great discussions on last week’s episode on topics such as Snape, of course, the Tonks and Lupin romance, Voldemort’s reaction with Draco and much more. So you can read a lot more of those comments over on our main site.

Rosie: Before you go off and do that, though, we need to discuss our Podcast Question of the Week responses from last week, and it was a bit of a lengthy question. A bit of a thought provoker. But looking back on what we’ve already read and also looking forward to what we’ll be reading, starting in a few weeks time, and our question was, “In this chapter, we see multiple characters admitting to Harry that he was right throughout the year and that everyone is now facing the consequences for not having listened to him. At the end of Order of the Phoenix, Harry suspicions are catastrophically incorrect, and that seems to have affected how seriously the other characters take Harry in Half-Blood Prince. With this newfound vindication, how does this affect the other character’s belief in Harry in Deathly Hallows? Will their trust in Harry prove worthwhile?” And there was lots of really good discussions on the site about why people were not trusting Harry and whether they were, but they weren’t devoting full trust, and I’ve got three or four quite detailed comments from a few people. And that will be hopefully good discussion points for us to launch from. I do encourage you to go and read the rest of them over on the main site. So the first one is from They’ve Taken My Weezy, and it says,

“I do not believe that Harry was catastrophically wrong. There were plenty of factors working against Harry finding any help with his situation, and though he was wrong about his vision of Sirius, he was right that Voldemort was after something in the Department of Mysteries. Nobody wanted to include Harry, however, so he had to take drastic action. I cannot blame Harry for anything; he was just trying to do the right thing when nobody else would let him. Continuing into ‘Deathly Hallows,’ we see Ron lose faith in Harry, and we even see Hermione waiver a bit, unless that is a movie-ism… However, both Ron and Hermione will not let Harry go alone and are there to back him from the start. We see significantly less doubt in Harry. Harry was also the one who[m] Dumbledore spent his final hours with. Nobody ever would have doubted Dumbledore, so perhaps that faith has [been] transfer[r]ed [to] Harry.”

So there’s two points in there. The first one being that Harry wasn’t wrong in Order of the Phoenix, he was just not given all of the information, and the second one being that by Deathly Hallows, Ron and Hermione have got this complete and utter trust in Harry. Even if they have a little bit of doubt, they’re going to follow him no matter what. What do you guys think?

Caleb: So I think it’s interesting that the point was perhaps that faith has transferred towards Harry, because that’s true. The faith has transferred at the expense of Dumbledore being wrong…

Rosie: Mhm.

Caleb: … about Snape. So it’s interesting because they were working as a team, but for that to be true, which I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. It’s just an interesting dynamic that it has to be at the expense of one being right and the other being wrong.

Alison: I find it interesting that they think that Ron and Hermione are only really trusting Harry in Book 7, because I feel like that almost blind… not blind. But that faith and that trust in him to follow him when he’s going to go somewhere starts in Book 1.

Caleb: Yeah.

Alison: And I think they’ve been doing that this whole time. They’ve just been like, “Well, we’re just going to follow you, Harry.” Even if Hermione has doubts, like she does in Order, she still is willing to go along with it, because at least Ron and Hermione have trust in Harry, I think, the whole time.

Rosie: I’m not sure if they trusted him the whole time, but they’ve backed him up the whole time. And they’ve been there just in case he’s wrong, but they can help out, that kind of thing as well.

Alison: Yes.

Rosie: So it doesn’t have to necessarily be blind trust and blind faith that he will always be correct, but it’s that loyalty and support instead that whether you’re right or wrong, we’ll be there to support you. And I think that’s a mark of true friendship rather than blind trust. Which I think is part of Wormtail’s problem, as well, that he doesn’t show this support no matter what. He will go to the strength and the power and trust in the power rather than in the friendship or loyalty. Just an interesting little… I don’t know. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: How about the idea that Harry was not actually wrong for Order of the Phoenix? That he was just not given all the information?

Hannah: I think that’s a common theme in these books; that Harry is never given all of the information, and then he just makes all these mistakes and people don’t trust him. I don’t really feel like it’s his fault so much just because he is missing so much.

Alison: Yeah, you’d think after a couple of times of this happening, people would say, “Oh, maybe we should tell this kid everything that’s going on so he doesn’t go do anything stupid.”ù [laughs] But yeah, no, I think it’s a good point that really, he makes these decisions based off of incomplete information, and I mean, if he doesn’t have all the knowledge he needs to have, then he’s going to mess up.

Rosie: And there’s still a lot of information that Dumbledore could’ve told him that he hasn’t, going into the seventh book…

Alison: Yes.

Rosie: … that would’ve helped out quite a lot if anyone had just… if he had trusted him again. Why does it always have to come down to trust? Sorry, guys. Anyway, DisKid says,

“I think a big reason why many characters trusted Harry in the seventh book doesn’t have as much to do with him being correct about his suspicions in the sixth book as it has to do with Dumbledore’s trust in Harry. It was not secret, even to people not in the order, that Dumbledore had a more special relationship with Harry, and many people assume that Dumbledore has told Harry top secret information. Since Dumbledore is not here anymore, Harry would be the next one to trust, believing he knows what Dumbledore wanted. For example: When McGonagall sees Harry at Hogwarts in the seventh book, all he has to do is tell her he is acting on Dumbledore’s orders then POOF! she instantly wants to do whatever she can to help Harry, trusting not only him but Dumbledore as well. Then after this battle is over and the whole truth comes out it turns out both Dumbledore and Harry were correct, so they were not wrong to trust Dumbledore in the sixth book but should have also trusted Harry.”

Alison: I definitely think this is the case with a lot of the adult characters – they mentioned McGonagall – especially those that aren’t as close to Harry, so probably Kingsley and other members of the Order because they trusted Dumbledore and Dumbledore told them to trust Harry. I think that’s where that starts for those characters.

Caleb: Do we think, though, that part of this problem is that Dumbledore didn’t tell at least a couple of more people more information?

Alison: Well, yeah. [laughs] I think a lot of problems happened because of that.

Caleb: Being the ultimate McGonagall defender here, I get increasingly frustrated rereading that she doesn’t know at least a little bit more.

Rosie: Yeah.

Caleb: Dumbledore had to know… well, he knew he was dying, and he knew that McGonagall was going to take over the school. She should’ve known more, I think.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: Do you think it’s because McGonagall has quite a maternal kind of relationship toward Harry that she would’ve tried to protect him if Dumbledore had known or had told her a bit more? Especially the… I mean, even Snape takes a step back and says, “You’ve been raising him just to slaughter him.”ù

Caleb: Yeah. No, I think that’s a good point, and so stepping into Dumbledore’s shoes – because I think what Dumbledore did was pretty horrible – I get that it maybe had to happen this way. But I definitely agree that, from his perspective, it made sense to not tell her that much, but I still think he could’ve told her more.

Alison: Yeah.

Hannah: He should’ve told at least some members of the Order – like McGonagall, maybe Mr. or Mrs. Weasley – just maybe how crucial it was that the trio go on this journey to destroy the Horcruxes; not really tell them they’re Horcruxes… but think of how much more support they could’ve gotten from people that were doubting them, and think of… I was thinking defensive magic training. Lupin could’ve kept teaching them stuff, and they might even have had a safe place to stay after they got kicked out after Grimmauld Place.

Alison: Yeah, that’s a good point.

Rosie: Mhm. There has been no provision left for them.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: Yeah, it’s really not good. DoraNympha has an interesting point of view looking at maybe less important characters than some of the ones we’ve already discussed. So they say,

“I think it definitely boosts trust and belief in Harry, in a sort of ‘he knew all along, and we were fools not to believe him’ way, which will allow for Lupin not asking about the trio’s mission too much at Grimmauld Place or the same with Bill at Shell Cottage, and without this perhaps Ron and Hermione’s trust in Harry wouldn’t have lasted so long when they were camping; maybe Ron would have left sooner, too. Hermione still doesn’t believe in the Hallows, though, with or without Harry having proven himself trustworthy in his theories and instincts. I still think it was a major mistake in Dumbledore’s plan, not to have the trio trust in some more members of the Order, if not about every fact about their mission but about some parts of it. We get only snippets of other[s’] stance on Harry while he’s in hiding, e.g. overhearing Dean, Ted Tonks and others at the riverbank or ‘Potterwatch,’ but what we do hear is firm belief and trust that Harry is out there working on defeating Voldemort. But what if we turn the question around and imagine Harry hadn’t been wrong about his theories and vision in Order: would he have been more believed now in HBP about Malfoy if he hadn’t made that mistake a year before?”

All of these comments say so many things.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: Hmm. I guess my instinct is to say no because then that would still mean people would have to disagree with Dumbledore beforehand, and I still don’t think they would have.

Hannah: Yeah, I would have to say no as well just because Malfoy and Snape are really connected, with Snape always asking him what was going on. And I mean, we always see Hermione defending Snape throughout the books and I just don’t think she was ready to not believe that Snape was good.

Rosie: Even if Harry had been correct in Order, I still don’t think they would’ve been able to save Sirius. If Voldemort had caught him and was actually torturing him and all that kind of stuff, what are five teenagers going to do against the darkest wizard of the age who has set out to torture information out of this wizard? There’s nothing they could’ve done, really, to prevent Sirius’s death. It would’ve been probably more immediate; as soon as Harry turned up in the Hall of Prophecies and saw Voldemort and Sirius in front of him, I’m fairly sure that Voldemort would’ve done Avada Kedavra and Harry would’ve seen Sirius die in the same way that he saw Cedric.

Hannah: Yeah.

Rosie: There would be no reason to keep him alive once Harry was there. So I don’t think we can blame Harry for the events of the Department of Mysteries, and I don’t think that the other characters would either.

Hannah: Me too.

Caleb: Yeah, I’d agree.

Rosie: In terms of the other characters such as Dean and Ted Tonks and all of those people having this firm belief and trust that Harry is out there working, I think that’s just a depiction of his character. They’ve always trusted him. Perhaps not Seamus, but Dean always did, I think. And Ted Tonks has got this inside information from his daughter. But the idea that Harry would actually be out there fighting and has not just hidden away is just from people’s idea of Harry. They know what he’s like. They know he’s not afraid of going into these situations, so they all always have that trust in him because it’s just who Harry is.

Hannah: Well, if I’m remembering right, it’s someone else who’s with that group who’s questioning what Harry is doing, but I think…

Rosie: Yeah, is it Griphook?

Hannah: It’s either Griphook or… what’s that guy’s name? He’s a Ministry worker who… the name just gets thrown around a couple of times. Cresswell, or something? Yeah, something like that.

Caleb: Dirk Cresswell.

Alison: That’s it. Thank you. But Dean, obviously, I mean, he’s spent six years living with Harry. He knows Harry.

Rosie: Yes.

Alison: So it makes sense that Dean would be the first one to come to his defense in that situation. So yeah, I think the trust is really mostly coming from the inner circle of the Order and the people who know Harry.

Hannah: Mhm.

Alison: And then they’re probably just trying to spread it out to the rest of everyone else, and that’s where that’s coming from in the greater wizarding world.

Rosie: The final comment, then, comes from Hufflepug, and it’s quite an interesting look at one of those people who is really close to Harry, and the struggle with this idea of trust. So they say,

“ùI feel like focusing on Molly because her reaction is interesting. On one hand, she needs to trust Harry, and she recognizes that. He’s an adult, he has never lied to her about anything serious before, and Dumbledore has told the Order to trust him, so she knows she needs to listen to that. But on the other hand, she’s a mother, and Harry is like her son. She is almost unable to trust him because she doesn’t want him to have to go out on such a dangerous mission. It is incredibly unfair that he has been tasked with this, and he has trouble convincing her that that’s just the way it is because she is certain that there should be another way to do this. Although her reaction to the newfound trust in Harry can be kind of annoying to the trio and to the readers who know the truth about his mission, I love reading it because it’s REAL. Like the hosts said today, J.K. Rowling is a very honest writer, and I wonder if when she was writing this she thought of how she would feel if one of her children had to go out on a dangerous mission and couldn’t tell her anything about it. Molly’s reaction is interesting because we usually see her supporting Harry, but now we see her struggling to let him go even though she knows she has to. I think that’s a feeling that is natural for mothers when their children grow up – this is just amplified by 100 because of the situation. I think it makes it even more powerful and satisfying when we see her and her entire family fighting in the Battle of Hogwarts.”ù

Caleb: That’s a nice little lead-in to Deathly Hallows. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah.

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: But it’s true. Jo is certainly… probably from most of the writers I’ve read, writes her characters so honestly. And you have to take a step back to really appreciate that. That’s very, very accurate.

Hannah: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah. As a 21-year-old who can testify that sometimes her mother treats her like she’s 12, still…

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: Yeah, it’s very real. And I think it’s difficult – I mean, I’ve seen this in my own life – for parents to let their children go a little bit, and let them grow up and go off on their own.

Rosie: Mhm. Especially letting them make mistakes and letting them go into dangerous situations because that’s how they grow; that’s how they learn. And if they are a hero, you’ve got to let them go and be a hero. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Rosie: Cool. Well, that’s the end of our Question of the Week responses, but there are many, many more points and really interesting comments to go and read on the Podcast Question of the Week thread from last week. So please go and do that at the end of this episode.

Alison: And with that, we’ll move on to our chapter discussion.

[Half-Blood Prince Chapter 30 intro begins]

Harry: Chapter 30.

[Sounds of water babbling, birds chirping, and phoenix song]

Harry: “The White Tomb.”

[Half-Blood Prince Chapter 30 intro ends]

Alison: All right, so we are at the last chapter of this book, which is insane. I can’t believe we’re already here. I think Michael was saying this last week: This book just flew by.

Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: But this chapter and this year is going to end on a sadder note than we usually do, as Hogwarts prepares for Dumbledore’s funeral. There is one last reflection on the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, and then it’s time to say goodbye to the wise headmaster. Harry clearly goes through the grieving process, but this does not deter him from focusing on what is to come. There are still Horcruxes out there to destroy, but there is still the promise of a few last golden moments before the final battle. So there’s a lot going on in this chapter. I forgot how much. There’s a lot to talk about. So I thought we’d start with just some of the little details that are wrapping up this book, and the first thing we find out about in this chapter is that a lot of students are being taken out of school, including the Patil twins, [and] Zacharias Smith, which no one is sad to see go.

Rosie: [laughs] Poor Hufflepuff.

Caleb: And his haughty father, or however he is described.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah. No one is sad to see the end of him.

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: But we also learn that Seamus gets into a shouting match with his mother and refuses to leave. So my first thought was that this almost seems like a sign that Seamus is completely over the animosity from Order of the Phoenix, and it’s almost redeeming him in the reader’s eyes for his disbelief in Harry in the last book.

Caleb: Yeah, I think in Order Seamus’s deal is both Dumbledore and Harry, but I think here Harry isn’t really in the picture, right? It’s more about paying homage to Dumbledore who has apparently been redeemed in his eyes in some ways.

Rosie: Well, the whole animosity was about the fact that Seamus and his mother didn’t believe that Voldemort was back, wasn’t it?

Caleb: Right.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: So I mean, we had proof that he was back in the Ministry, but for Dumbledore to actually die within the school proves that this war is hotting up and that it’s about to get bad again. So it’s the ultimate test for Seamus, as to whether he can be a denier like Percy was, or whether he can say, “No, I’m going to stick by my friends, I’m going to be the brave Gryffindor, and I’m going to do what’s needed to be done to protect the school and to protect the people I love.” And here, Seamus is proving that he can actually be that Gryffindor wizard that he was destined to be, according to the Sorting Hat.

Alison: All right. The next one is kind of random, but this is for Rosie.

[Caleb and Rosie laugh]

Alison: So Fleur mentions that it’s lucky that Bill is marrying her now that he has a taste for more rare steaks. So Rosie, do the British really overcook steaks, according to the French?

Rosie: I have no idea.

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: Can’t really say. But then again, the French eat snails, so who cares?

[Alison laughs]

Caleb: In which case puts me on the British side immediately.

Alison: Yup.

Rosie: Much rather have overcooked steak. Can’t really deal with food that bleeds.

Alison: Oh, gosh.

Rosie: So any food that is overcooked is fine by me. [laughs]

Alison: [laughs] All right then. Maybe there are listeners out there who would know. And the last little thing is… it’s mentioned really briefly, but Harry has this – not strange – but this thought process where he starts thinking about Malfoy, and it’s his first time thinking about him since the Astronomy Tower, and he has pity on him. Is this the beginning of the end of that rivalry between them?

Hannah: I think so. I mean, I think it sets it up in the seventh book, where Harry saves his life in the Room of Requirement.

Alison: Oh, that’s a good point. I didn’t even think about that.

Rosie: I think this is the moment where Harry realizes that he has got bigger fish to fry; that there is so much more to do that Malfoy’s small problems are just not necessary to think about anymore. He’s had his ultimate test, and he ultimately failed Voldemort; he didn’t fail Harry. So Harry doesn’t need to worry about him being a danger anymore because he’s already attempted the worst thing possible and failed at it. So Harry knows that it’s not going to end well for him out in the real world once he gets back to the Death Eaters, back to Voldemort. He knows that he plays second fiddle to Snape now. So the importance of Snape is much more important than the importance of Malfoy. And he did see that moment where Malfoy lowered the wand as well, so he has seen an element of goodness within Malfoy that is, perhaps, showing that he has some redeeming quality that Harry can now see. But ultimately, I just think he’s given up caring because there are so many more things to worry about, and we’ll see that in the next book.

Alison: Yeah. And I think this is really one of the signs that… this chapter especially has a lot of signs that Harry is really growing up. He’s really starting to shoulder his responsibility and being an adult and what he has to do in this world and leaving Malfoy aside. And later we’ll talk about sacrificing Ginny and the comfort he gets from Ginny to do what he needs to do and understanding that all his mentors are gone, and it’s time for him to step up. That’s a really big part of this chapter.

Caleb: Yeah, and something else I noticed on this reread, and I don’t know if it really shows Harry’s maturity or what, but when he’s talking about basically seeing a goodness in Malfoy like we mentioned or almost there at least, he mentions that he still dislikes him. But it’s interesting why he explains to himself that he dislikes him, and he says [that] it’s because of Malfoy’s liking of the Dark Arts, not because of their turmoil at school. They’d always been in battles with one another or that Malfoy has done horrible things to people that aren’t necessarily Dark Arts related. It’s a very… I can’t think of a better way than “mature” to describe it, but [it’]s definitely an evolved way of looking at Malfoy’s negative aspects, compared to what he would have thought not too long ago.

Alison: Definitely.

Rosie: It’s interesting to compare him to the Marauders as well, and the fact that Sirius and James had these issues with Snape, and Sirius and Snape had these issues constantly. They never grew out of them. But the impression that we’ve been given is that James was able to grow up and became a mature person, and that’s why Lily ultimately fell in love with him. But to see that happen with Harry in this almost instantaneous growing up, it takes this very short period of time between the death and the funeral for Harry to realize that he needs to be the adult now. It does make you wonder what happened to James that kickstarted that same process, or whether it’s just something about that age, that it happened to both of them, and it’s a father-son growing up period. I don’t know. But yeah, it’s that moment where Harry lets go of childish things and becomes the adult, whereas Sirius never managed to do that.

Alison: Well, it’s interesting you bring up the reason he thinks about why he doesn’t like Malfoy is because of the Dark Arts. I don’t remember where, but JKR said somewhere that Lily and Snape probably would have still been friends had Snape not followed his interests in the Dark Arts. So that’s an interesting parallel between… I mean, people draw parallels between Malfoy and Snape and Harry and Lily all the time, so it’s interesting that that’s also reflected in this moment. All right, and speaking of Snape, we’re going to beat in to who the Half-Blood Prince is again in this chapter. [laughs] So Hermione tells us that Snape’s mother’s name was Prince and that she was right, basically. And that leads us to an audioBoom we got about why the title “the Half-Blood Prince.”

[Audio]: Hey, guys. This is Hufflepug from the main site, and I have a comment about Chapter 30. In this chapter, Hermione discovers that Eileen Prince was Snape’s mother, and the trio realizes that his nickname means he’s happy to be a member of the Prince family, implying that he’s ashamed of his Muggle father. Of course, we later learn that his father was abusive, and that was likely the reason he identified more with his mom’s family. Do you think that’s the only reason he called himself the Half-Blood Prince, or does it also suggest that even in the years when he started getting involved with the Death Eaters, he had some secret pride in not being a pure-blood? We see him years before telling Lily that it does not matter that she’s a Muggle-born. Does that feeling ever truly go away completely? It seems like sometimes Snape himself doesn’t even know where he stands. I think it’s interesting how his name can be taken so many ways because it reflects how good of a double agent he is. Thanks for listening. I love the show so much. Keep up the awesome episodes. You guys are fantastic.

Alison: All right. Thoughts on that, on these different interpretations of why “the Half-Blood Prince”?

Caleb: [sighs] I don’t know. It’s an interesting point to raise, this audioBoom. But for the sake of who he would be trying to show off to with this title, I mean, I guess it’s possible that there’s the dual aspect going on. The showiness of it is to show off that… well, no, I guess he wouldn’t necessarily show off the half-blood title of it, right?

Rosie: Maybe it depends on who[m] he is showing off to, like you just said.

Caleb: Right.

Rosie: So he wouldn’t show off to Death Eater friends and to the Dark Arts side of things because he wouldn’t want to be half-blood; he would want to be pure-blood in that sense.

Caleb: So would he even share the name with anyone?

Rosie: Well, that’s what I’m wondering. Because if he had written it in his Potions book, and we know someone who is very good at Potions [whom] he would have liked to have been closer to. Maybe he was showing off a connection to Lily, that she is Muggle-born, that she has all of this Mudblood status, and maybe a Half-Blood Prince thing is a way of getting closer to her; they’re not so different.

Caleb and Hannah: Interesting.

Rosie: Maybe. [laughs]

Caleb: I think that’s a good point, yeah. So I think… I guess my thoughts are either, it’s just for himself, to gloat to himself, which I think maybe we can realistically see him doing or like you said, some way to, maybe poorly, try to show something to Lily.

Rosie: Well, maybe it is a way of raising his status again. So the idea that even though he’s half-blood, he is a prince, and he is as good at Potions as he is, and he’s written all of these amazing spells that people are using around the school and all of that kind of thing. And maybe it’s a way of showing that he’s best of the half-bloods.

Alison: Interesting, yeah.

Rosie: We need to know more.

[Caleb and Hannah laugh]

Hannah: I wanted to make a comment about Hermione finding Eileen Prince in the library, because you guys have talked about on previous episodes how you don’t understand why it’s there, and I have felt very strongly that I think Hermione finds it 1) because it’s a library, so Hermione has to find it, of course.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Hannah: And secondly that during this book, Hermione loses a lot of credit for not believing Harry at the end, and I think this is a way for Jo to give that credit back to Hermione and show that she is good at researching, and she is intelligent and smart. And it sets it up for the next book; we can still trust Hermione.

Alison: That’s a good point.

Rosie: Yeah. It’s all about interpreting the clues. She had all the information she needed, but she didn’t put two and two together to work out that Eileen was Snape’s mother. So it’s just about carrying on that research a little bit further, and we see her do that with the mark of the three brothers and all of that stuff and the mark of the Deathly Hallows. So it’s proof that the clues are there and that you need to just follow them through.

Caleb: Good point.

Alison: Well, speaking of Hermione and Snape, we get this very interesting… this chapter, I think, is really setting up the question of “Is Snape good or bad?” We’ve gotten so heavily that Snape is bad, Snape killed Dumbledore, but then we get this quote in the UK paperback edition, on page 594, where Harry is talking about how much the Prince helped him and how much he learned from him. So obviously, in the next book, we find out that Snape has been helping Harry all along. He saves him in the first book, [and] he alerts the Order in the fifth book. We know Hermione has called the Half-Blood Prince dangerous before, and Harry brings that point up, but when Harry calls him evil, Hermione says, “‘Evil’ is a strong word.” Is this a hint toward Snape’s true loyalties? Are we getting that at the end of this book, or..?

Caleb: Yeah, I think it definitely can be. I mean, the proximity of it just happening and telling everyone how horrible Snape is certainly isn’t [a] coincidence that they’re walking back how they’re characterizing Snape. So I definitely didn’t pick up on it the first time I read it. But I think it definitely is a clue.

Alison: Is Hermione standing in for Dumbledore as Jo speaking then? In this case?

Rosie: [laughs] Possibly. I think there is a definite need to differentiate between bad and evil. And “evil” is a very strong word, and it’s overused in our modern context. I think we lessen the idea of evil by the fact that we use it so much. So the idea of Voldemort being evil is very… well, even though we know a bit about his growing up and we can kind of say, “Well, is he born evil? Does he become evil as he goes on?” All that kind of stuff. Snape is a different thing. We definitely see a lot of redeeming qualities and a lot of goodness in Snape that you wouldn’t necessarily find in an evil person. And it’s true that Hermione can say this because she always wants to see both sides of the story and not jump to conclusions and not take the strongest word. She’s always going to take a step back and try [to] assess what’s going on a bit more. And I think, at this moment in time as well, thinking about the fandom, Jo was feeling a bit awkward about the people [who] were in love with Draco and in love with Snape and all of these things when they had not been given many redeeming qualities. And people were taking things to the extremes as to why they’re extremely evil or extremely good, and there was no real gray area in between. So perhaps it is, yeah, like you said, Jo speaking through Hermione and saying, “‘Evil’ is a very strong word. There'[re] more complexities to the human condition than there is just good and evil. Not everyone is split into good people and Death Eaters.”

[Caleb laughs]

Hannah: That’s exactly what I was thinking of. Just because… I mean, I’ve never liked Snape, and I never forgave him because I think he’s just a mean person. So I don’t really see him as good, but I guess he’s not really a Death Eater anymore, so that just reminded me of that quote from Book 5.

Rosie: Yeah. [laughs] So yeah, “evil” is a strong word. And it’s also got religious connotations. Evil is the opposite of good in a religious context rather than in a more natural thing. You don’t really get evil animals.

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: You get angry animals, [laughs] and you get aggressive animals, but you don’t ever get evil ones. So it’s a very, again, yeah, human condition kind of word, that we need to think about these characters more complexly. And we definitely do that in the next book. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah, for sure. Well, then we get to what the majority of the chapter focuses on, which is Dumbledore’s funeral. And it’s our first, and I mean, correct me if I am wrong, but it’s our only funeral that we see in the books.

Rosie: Except for the one on the beach, but we’ll cry at that one another time. [laughs]

Alison: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I forgot about that. [laughs] How did I forget about that? [laughs] It’s like the most emotional moment…

Caleb: This is the only formal funeral we get, for sure.

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: Well, yeah, exactly.

Rosie: It’s the only actual funeral, yeah.

Alison: And the first thing is, there'[re] a lot of characters returning for this funeral. Madame Maxime shows up. Even Grawp shows up, which is interesting because we haven’t seen him out in public before, but that’s not really touched upon.

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: Umbridge comes back, and everyone hates as they should. Even some really random no-names she throws in: one of the singers from the Weird Sisters.

Rosie: Stubby Boardman!

Alison: Oh! [laughs] Yeah.

Rosie: It’s got to be Stubby Boardman, surely. [laughs]

Alison: And of course, hidden in there, we’ve got the barman [of] the Hog’s Head, who[m] we will find out in the next book is Aberforth.

Caleb: It’s always interesting to me that Harry doesn’t pick up on physical similarities.

Rosie: Especially in the next book. He’s described as so similar. You can mistake his eye for Dumbledore, but you’re not going to realize that he looks like Dumbledore at Dumbledore’s funeral? [laughs] What?

Alison: I wonder if Aberforth grew his beard out the next year as a grieving for Albus.

Rosie: [laughs] Aww.

Caleb: Maybe.

Alison: He decided to look like him. So yeah, we get an interesting assortment of people, and we get this, obviously, interesting funeral. And 1) we have another audioBoom, and this one is about wands and burials.

[Audio]: Hello, this is Sandy, one of your older listeners, Outspoken1 on the forums. I have been waiting for the end of this book to ask this question. Dumbledore is buried with his wand, the Elder Wand, intact, whole, unbroken. However, earlier in the book, Hagrid and Slughorn are singing the ode to Odo; the verse reads, “And Odo the Hero, they bore him back home to the place that he’d known as a lad, they laid him to rest with his hat inside out and his wand, snapped in two, which was sad.” When I first read this, I thought it was wizarding tradition to break a wizard’s or witch’s wand when they died and bury it with them since the wand bonds with the user, so the wand never would really work well for anyone else. Or was Odo’s wand broken before he died? Perhaps that was a factor in his death. Thank you so much for all the work you folks do on this show. I have enjoyed listening to it since you started. Take care, buh-bye.

Caleb: Oh, such a nice, nice audioBoom. First, it was a wonderful, wonderful reading of the ode to Odo but also such a lovely comment. Thanks for listening.

Alison: So what do we think, then? Do we think that Odo is a different… is it pronounced Odo? I’ve always said Odd-o.

Rosie: I said Odo because of the “ode”. Ode to Odo kind of works.

Caleb: Yeah. Right.

Alison: That’s true.

Rosie: But I think it’s up to interpretation. [laughs] I think that the wand would have been broken during his death or before his death. I don’t think it’s part of the funeral rites.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: Or it may be to do with a particular society or tradition that his people perhaps broke wands before burials in the same way that Pharaohs are buried in tombs in the Valley of the Kings with all of their gold and all their possessions… and boat burials and burning pyres and all that kind of thing. Lots of different cultures have different traditions, so it could be that wand breaking is part of a particular culture. But I don’t think it’s normal for general wizarding funerals in Harry’s world as it exists in the books. Otherwise, we would have seen many more wands being broken. I think we’ve seen Weasley wands being passed down from generation to generation. We’ve heard of wands being passed down father to son and all that kind of thing in just a general context of the world. So it doesn’t sound like there’s a tradition of breaking wands. In fact, the only one that we do know of that has been forcibly broken was Hagrid’s, I believe.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: And even Sirius somehow manages to keep his own wand, which is a bit odd. But yeah, I don’t think there’s a tradition in deaths and wands being broken. Otherwise, the Elder Wand would never have survived throughout the years.

Caleb: Yeah, and then the movie screws that up.

Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: Well… yeah.

Rosie: That was the Elder Wand! [laughs]

Alison: Let’s not go there. [laughs] Yeah, I’ve always thought that, just because in the song it says… they specifically mention “his wand snapped in two, which was sad.”

Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: So it seems like that wasn’t a normal thing.

Rosie: Yeah, they wouldn’t do it if it was going to be sad.

Alison: Yeah.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Alison: Very nice question though.

Rosie: I was just thinking that if the wand chooses the wizard and the wand has got this kind of inner consciousness that can do that, then burying a snapped wand with its own wizard is kind of like… some cultures buried pets, husbands and wives are buried together, that kind of thing – it’s a sign of respect. They’re treating the wand with as much respect as they have done the wizard in its burial, and that’s quite nice.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: [laughs] Sorry.

Alison: Another thing that happens at this funeral is at the end there’s a burst of flames that turns into the tomb. Do we think this is the norm for wizard funerals, or is this something special just because it’s Dumbledore?

Caleb: I think it must be pretty special because we see and hear a lot of people scream. I guess… although that could be maybe students who have not been to a funeral before, I feel like that would have been more specific if that was the case. So my impression has always been, since a couple of people are screaming and are very shocked by the moment and not expecting it, that it’s pretty unique for this situation.

Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: I agree.

Alison: Okay.

Rosie: I like it as a kind of expression of the power of Dumbledore as well. You get this idea of fire and explosion and all of that kind of thing being a giving out of power.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: If it represents his magical ability, then of course it’s going to be a massive explosion into flame because Dumbledore was the most powerful wizard. And for him to die you need this transfer of energy, which this fire represents for me. It’s just showing how amazing he was. You can’t have a funeral for Dumbledore where he just quietly goes into the ground. It needs to be something a bit more than that to show off his power.

Hannah: Yeah.

Alison: It’s almost a Gandalf moment.

Rosie: Yeah. [laughs] It’s fireworks.

Alison: He has to be burned and then he can come back in the next book as Dumbledore the White. [laughs]

Rosie: Which he does at King’s Cross.

Alison: Yeah, yeah.

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: Also during this ceremony, Harry mentions this little man in black who’s giving a eulogy. And it made me wonder… we haven’t heard a lot about this except where there’s a little bit of info from [J.K. Rowling’s] Twitter about Anthony Goldstein being Jewish. But this leads to the idea of religion in the Wizarding world. Do we think that’s kind of what this is or is this just… something different? [laughs]

Hannah: Rereading this my first thought was Elphias Doge, but I guess I could be wrong.

Alison: Oh!

Caleb: I thought about that too, yeah. And I don’t know if it’s ever confirmed or not. I meant to look it up and I forgot.

Rosie: Another person could be Dedalus Diggle. He was always described as being very small, wasn’t he?

Alison: Oh, that’s true. Yeah.

Rosie: We’ve seen the odd wizard who seems to be quite close to Dumbledore in the past. And I think black is a mark of respect as well. It could be religion – I’m not sure – but it seems to be the case that quite a few cultures use black as a sign of grieving. Obviously there are other cultures who use white and there are other colors for different cultures, but considering it’s a funeral taking place in Scotland, if they were going with a parallel with Muggle tradition, then it would make sense to wear black as a mark of sobriety. Especially when we’ve seen wizard dress robes being quite colorful and outlandish, the black would be the mark of respect. But yeah, don’t know. It’s interesting that it’s just described as a little man in black and not really giving much more detail than that.

Caleb: Yeah, I looked it up and I can’t find anything on Elphias Doge being the one that gives the eulogy. I feel like it would have been confirmed to us in Deathly Hallows when we meet him.

Alison: Yeah. He writes an obituary that we know of. But yeah, I don’t know.

Rosie: Maybe there’s some kind of wizard priest that we don’t know of.

Hannah: Interesting.

Alison: I would like that information on Pottermore. I don’t know if anyone else does, but I think that’s an interesting question.

Rosie: [laughs] I think there’s a difficulty with the world’s attitudes towards religion that I think Jo would want to steer away from. And I do not blame her for that at all.

Alison: That’s true.

Rosie: So having a little hint towards the possibility of religion here is quite a nice thing, but I don’t think she will ever want to go into much more detail than that.

Alison: Good points.

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: And then throughout the rest of this funeral, we see lots of different displays of grief – I mean, it’s a funeral – and Harry though seems to be going through the grieving process rather quickly and skipping several steps.

[Hannah and Rosie laugh]

Alison: On page 595, he kind of talks about… he just has these blank stretches of numbness and he’s really in denial before the funeral. We get a lot of people crying, including… I thought it was interesting that she specifically mentions several people we never see cry – Ron, Harry starts crying. There’s several people mentioned that are really specifically mentioned, and I thought it was interesting that she would specifically mention these certain people – Ginny even, who… a few paragraphs later, it says that she’s rarely weepy. And I just thought that was really a kind of testament to how much Dumbledore meant to these people and to this world and just how much this loss is going to mean, coming up in this final book that we’re going to get to.

Rosie: I think it’s interesting some of the characters that we have seen cry throughout the books as well – like Hagrid we’ve seen cry quite a few times – and we often see male masculine characters crying, which is in a lot of mainstream media never shown, never really seen. So for young adults to be reading this and for it to be a popular book for both genders as well, I think it’s really important that Jo writes the grieving process as a universal thing and that it’s okay to feel whatever emotions you’re feeling. And I think that’s a very important message to young people who may be going through grief and may not know how to deal with the emotions that they’re feeling, and to see it in this situation is really nice.

Hannah: That’s a good point. Yeah.

Alison: And then we get a little bit of humor as well during this funeral, both in Harry’s thoughts as he reflects on the six years he’s… I don’t want to say known, because he obviously doesn’t really know Dumbledore, but he’s interacted with Dumbledore. We get flashbacks to his first opening school year feast and his few words…

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: … and a couple of other little mentions. And then we get kind of a nice moment where Ron at the end asks if he can go and hit Percy.

[Caleb laughs]

Alison: Which we haven’t heard about Percy for a while, and so it’s nice to remind the reader that the Weasleys are in a bit of a feud that will be fixed in the next book, and that Ron really will come back around to Percy in that moment. And then finally we get Harry accepting that Dumbledore’s gone, that it’s time for him to take the responsibility of finding the Horcruxes, and he just has to go out on his own now. And that starts setting us up for Deathly Hallows, which is coming up so soon. [laughs]

Caleb: I can’t believe it’s already here.

Alison: I know. We get a lot of set-up actually for the next book. We know what all the Horcruxes are. They’re all listed out for us: the locket; the cup; the snake; something of Ravenclaw’s, which we’ll later find out is the diadem; and something of Gryffindor’s, which while not a Horcrux will also be important in the sword; and Harry himself, in this interesting dream he has about falling off of a ladder. Why a ladder of snakes?

Rosie: [laughs] Because of Snakes and Ladders, surely.

[Hannah laughs]

Rosie: Or you guys call it Chutes and Ladders, don’t you?

Caleb: Yeah. Right.

Alison: [laughs] Oh! I didn’t even think of that.

Rosie: [laughs] Could be, I don’t know. In terms of “the locket, the cup, the snake, something of Ravenclaw’s and Gryffindor’s,” it’s interesting to me that when we actually get to know what all of them are and recite it in our own kind of fandom mantra, we kind of do “the locket, the cup, the diadem, the snake, Harry,” and of course the diary as well. He doesn’t mention the diary, does he?

Alison: No, because…

Caleb: No.

Rosie: It shouldn’t be the diary… because that’s already been destroyed.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: And the ring as well, yeah. [laughs] In terms of the “something of Gryffindor’s,” it was obviously meant to be the sword if we were going for an enigmatic item, but it could also refer to Harry.

Alison: Oh.

Rosie: So if you wanted to assign the houses to each of these items, you could easily do that, with Harry being the “something of Gryffindor’s.” And it’s interesting that if these items are the things that the founders are most proud of or their most prized possession, the idea that Harry becomes kind of the Heir of Gryffindor and the one that can wield the sword in a very Arthurian way would make Harry the thing that Gryffindor is most proud of. And I think that’s very true of how the house sees him. So Harry to me is the something of Gryffindor’s that becomes a Horcrux.

Caleb: That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I buy it.

Alison: Yeah. I like it.

Rosie: Just something I was thinking about earlier on.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: Yeah.

Alison: Well, speaking of people who can wield the Sword of Gryffindor, there’s a lot of particular attention paid in this chapter to what’s been termed “The silver trio.”

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: Ginny, Neville, and Luna. There’s a really nice line where Harry thinks about how Luna and Neville were the ones who were always paying attention to their DA coins because they were hoping for one more meeting. And of course we know that in the next book they’ll re-establish the DA with Ginny, and they’ll be leading the Hogwarts front while Harry, Ron and Hermione are gone. We also get the beginning of the Luna/Neville shipping in this chapter. Did any of you guys ship them?

Caleb: No.

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: Really?

[Caleb laughs]

Alison: Hannah?

Hannah: I never… when they added that at the end of the seventh movie, I was just like, “What?!” Because to me, it never even occurred. It wasn’t a thing. I always thought Neville was just being too uncomfortable around Luna to really ever want to have anything to do with her romantically.

Alison: Huh.

Rosie: Yeah. I think I can see movie Neville and movie Luna together, and I think that influenced Jo’s later conversations about it as well. I think she reconsidered them as a pairing, having seen the movies…

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: … and actually having seen those characters rather than the characters in her books. But the characters in the books are too awkward and too… they have a friendship, but I don’t see it being beyond friendship, whereas I think there are more romantic meanings with Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione…

Hannah Mhm.

Rosie: … which even other people may deny as well. But yeah, they were never quite a true ship for me. Although there are some very good fanfictions out there, which are very much Luna and Neville, and they’re very sweet. So go and read those if you want to read more about Luna and Neville. But again, they’re not quite the same as the characters from the books.

[Caleb laughs]

Alison: Interesting.

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: Huh. Okay. Well, speaking of shipping and couples, we get this moment where Harry breaks up with Ginny. And I definitely think this is one of the greatest moments that shows just how well they work together, because Ginny doesn’t try and convince him otherwise; she knows he won’t listen. She just lets him go off and he is appreciative of how she tries to make it easier for him, and this was… I actually typed in the document Michael’s Thor quote: “Another!”

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: We need another!

[Alison and Caleb laugh]

Alison: So yeah, I think this is definitely another one of those moments where I think this is where we knew Harry and Ginny were going to work.

Rosie: As long as they can both survive it, yeah. [laughs] And I think it shows that Ginny may have only been a very much main character in these last couple of chapters, even. We really haven’t seen that much of her compared to Ron and Hermione, but it shows that she really understands Harry, and she knows exactly what he’s going to do even before he does it, and she doesn’t fight it; she knows what’s going on. I don’t think she ever really considers them broken up. We never hear of her seeing anyone else during the year that he’s away, and we get hints that she’s trying to find out information about him and trying to know what’s going on and all that kind of thing, so in her mind, I think, she’s let him go, but they’re still together, and I think Harry is vaguely aware of that, too. He always thinks of her, and he’s still in love with her throughout Deathly Hallows so that their breakup is more of a time apart than it is actual wanting to be apart, which is a very romantic idea as well, that they’ll let each other go even if it’s not truly letting each other go.

Caleb: Yeah, I mean, that’s fair. I’d agree; I don’t think she ever really sees herself as them broken up. She definitely doesn’t look elsewhere for someone. It’s got to be a really tough spot for her to be, and we don’t really get to see much into it other than a few scenes at the Burrow in Deathly Hallows, but it’s got to be a pretty rough thing for her, worrying about Harry on the outside but also being so at the forefront of the rebellion at Hogwarts. We’ll get into that, though.

Alison: And then, just wrapping it up, we have two mentions of two very pivotal moments in Deathly Hallows: Harry mentions that he wants to go to Godric’s Hollow, which we know will be a very important moment, and Bill and Fleur’s wedding is mentioned as well, which will kickstart the journey in Deathly Hallows. So we are already setting up and anticipating those two moments as we’re getting ready to move into the next book. And then I just threw this at the end because some of my absolute favorite writing in these books is at the end of this one. One of my all-time favorite Hermione quotes is when she says, “You said to once before that there was time to turn back if we wanted to. We’ve had time, haven’t we?” referring to what Harry told them before they went down the trap door in the first book, and I thought that was nice, that Hermione would bring that full circle.

Rosie: Also that she’s remembered those words throughout the years. Very sweet.

Alison: And with that, we have finished Half-Blood Prince.

[Celebratory music plays]

Caleb: Wow. One more book. Crazy.


Rosie: So we may have finished the book, but we need to finish this episode, as always, with our Podcast Question of the Week, and this is a very think-y chapter. It’s full of emotion and reflection, and I think hopefully, our discussion has led you through some of these very difficult times without being too heart wrenching or serious, but Harry has matured into the true Hero character in this chapter, and he is ready to face the challenge he has been destined to face since before his birth. But he is no longer truly alone in this destiny, and he is surrounded by those [who] both inspire and are inspired by him. He’s got Hermione and Ron, he’s got the silver trio – Ginny, Neville, and Luna – and he’s got a whole cast of surrounding characters that will do whatever they can to support him in this ultimate battle. Despite this, Harry never seems to realize that he is actually part of a team. Does Harry ever manage to overcome this reckless Hero complex that he has and that he will explore in the next book? Is he ever able to really see past his need to protect others, like Ginny in this scene that we’ve just read, or must he ultimately be the lone hero, facing the big bad evil alone in the woods? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please do go to the Podcast Question of the Week thread on our main site and let us know what you think.

Caleb: That’s a great question to close out the sixth book in the series, and as we do so, we want to take a moment to thank Hannah for joining us today on the episode. We hope you had a great time. We really appreciate your input on the discussion.

Hannah: Thank you for having me. It was an awesome experience.

Rosie: I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. And if you guys out there would like to be on the show just like Hannah, go to our “Be on the Show” page at If you have a set of Apple headphones, then you’re all set. You don’t need any other more fancy equipment – just a microphone and a computer. And while you’re there, you can download a ringtone for free.

Alison: And if you just want to keep in contact with us, we are on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, on Facebook at, on Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast, or you can call our number at 206-GO-ALBUS (206-462-5287), or head on over to, and send us an audioBoom like the several you heard today. It’s free. All you need is a microphone, but keep them under 60 seconds so that we can play them on the show.

Caleb: Also make sure to check out our store that has a lot of great products such as House shirts with themes like the Desk!Pig, Mandrake Liberation Front, Minerva is my homegirl, and so much more.

Rosie: And of course, we’ve got our smartphone app as well. It’s available all around the world. Prices do vary, but there are transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and much more, so go […] check it out.

Alison: And don’t forget that our movie watch is coming up now that we’ve finished this book, and it’s going to be on August 8 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. Just remember, you have to have your own copy of the film. We can’t stream it. That’s not allowed. And we’ll be chatting. We’ll have a little chat box, which is always really fun, and a live show will immediately follow in which I will be airing all of my grievances against this movie.

[Alison, Caleb, and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: All right. Well, that’s going to do it for this discussion of the last chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I’m Caleb Graves.

Rosie: I’m Rosie Morris.

Alison: And I’m Alison Siggard. Thank you for listening to Episode 148 of Alohomora!

Rosie: It’s time to close the Dumbledore.

[Show music plays]

Rosie: Oh! I forgot to say the thing that I love about this chapter. [laughs] So one of the things that I love about this chapter is the discussion that Harry has with Hermione right at the very beginning when she talks about the fact that she was right about Eileen Prince. And he says, “RAB?” And she goes, “Oh, no, sorry, my mistake. I shouldn’t have said that,” but that she had been looking and that she’d found a few wizards, and one of the things that J.K. Rowling includes is Rosalind Antigone Bungs, and I was like, “Oh my God, that is my name.”

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Rosalind is my name, and it’s actually appeared in Harry Potter in that very last chapter.

Caleb: Oh!

Rosie: And I was like, “Oh my God! That’s crazy.”

[Everyone laughs]

Caleb: Well done, Jo.

Rosie: So she validated my name in that chapter. I was very, very happy to see it there.