Transcript – Episode 155

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 155 of Alohomora! for September 12, 2015.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Welcome back, listeners, to yet another episode of Alohomora!,’s global reread of the Harry Potter series. And yet there’s not that many of them left. I’m Michael Harle.

Kat Miller: I’m Kat Miller.

Alison Siggard: And I’m Alison Siggard. And our guest this week is Stephanie, who is known on the main site as Yo Rufus On Fire. Welcome, Stephanie!

Kat: Woo!

Stephanie: Thanks, guys!

Michael: Have you put that fire out yet?

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Or is it eternally burning? Is it Fiendfyre?

Stephanie: I think it’s eternally burning.

Kat: It’s a branch of Gubraithian fire, right?

Alison, Michael, and Stephanie: Yes.

Michael: Fancy.

Kat: Yeah. Tell our listeners a little bit about yourself.

Stephanie: Okay. My name is Stephanie, I’m 25, I’m a graphics coordinator, and I live in Rhode Island.

Kat: And you like long walks on the beach?

[Alison laughs]

Kat: And I love long walks on the beach.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: What Hogwarts House are you?

Stephanie: I am a Hufflepuff.

Michael: Yay!

Alison: Ooh, it’s a very Hufflepuff episode.

Michael: Yes. We’re doing the secondary Houses again.

Kat: That happens a lot.

Michael: It does happen a lot.

Alison: Yeah. Hey, but it’s the Age of Hufflepuff now, remember?

[Michael laughs]

Alison: It has been officially inaugurated. All hail the Hufflepuffs.

Michael: To compensate for Pottermore basically shutting down for a little while again, we’re going to say it’s the Age of Hufflepuff.

Kat: Didn’t she say she thinks it’s the Age of the Hufflepuff?

Alison: Well…

Michael: Well, if Rowling thinks it’s the Age of the Hufflepuffs, then it’s the Age of the Hufflepuffs.

Alison: Yeah, she’s the one who tweeted it, so…

Kat: I suppose you’re right.

Alison: It is here. It has arrived.

Kat: But is it canon? No, I’m just kidding.

Alison: Oh, gosh. [laughs]

Michael: I don’t know. I was going to say…

Kat: No, don’t get me into that, okay?

Michael: Kat is lying in wait for the Age of the Ravenclaws, right?

Kat: No, it’s okay. Ravenclaws are the people behind the Hufflepuffs, so you know what they say: Behind every Hufflepuff, there’s a great Ravenclaw.

[Alison, Michael, and Stephanie laugh]

Michael: Stephanie, how did you get into Harry Potter? What’s your story with Harry?

Stephanie: So I started reading Harry Potter when I was about nine, and I think I just read them when I was too young because I didn’t really understand them too much. But I blew through the first three pretty quickly. And then I got the fourth one, and by the fourth one, I was pretty hooked. But as far [as] the fandom and all of that stuff, I got into it pretty late. The first time that I got to get a book at midnight was Half-Blood Prince, and I didn’t know anything about all the midnight releases and all that stuff. I just knew that it was getting released at midnight, so I had my mom take me to Stop & Shop, which is a local grocery store…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Stop & Shop, baby, yeah.

Stephanie: And they had a little display of it, so I got to get my book there and take it home and read it. But for the seventh one, what was really awesome was, I got to go into Boston and go see Harry and the Potters play before the release of the seventh book, and [it] was in this huge, massive area with thousands of other Harry Potter fans, and it was awesome.

Kat: I remember that event. I didn’t go, but I remember it.

Stephanie: It was really, really great.

Michael: So you made up for lost time.

Stephanie: Yeah, I tried to, and [I] just love it so much, and I just want to get into it as much as I can now, so…

Michael: You’re so on the good track record now that you’re on Alohomora! finally.

Stephanie: Yeah, it’s awesome.

Michael: Yeah, we’re glad to have you here.

Stephanie: Thank you so much.

Michael: And we have you here for Chapter 5 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which is “The Fallen Warrior,” so listeners, make sure to read that chapter before our discussion on today’s episode so you can get the most out of what we’re talking about today.

Kat: See, it’s funny. You said “the fallen warrior” too, and I always thought the “the” was in there, but…

Alison and Kat: It’s not.

Michael: I always say “The Fallen Warrior.” So don’t read “The Fallen Warrior” because that’s not a chapter. Read “Fallen Warrior,” which… it’s fine. Whatever.

Kat: It’s just… I don’t know why the “the” isn’t in there, but it’s fine.

Michael: Because it’s the fallen warrior, not just any fallen warrior.

Kat: Yeah, I guess.

Michael: But whatever.

Kat: Yeah, it’s true.

Michael: That’s something we’ll talk about.

Kat: Beef, Jo.

[Sound of cat fight]

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat:We’ll get there.

Alison: But before we get there, we’re going to recap our comments form Chapter 4. And our first one is an email sent to us by Chelsea, and she says,

“[T]here’s one thing that’s always bugged me about the “protection” Harry has against Voldemort. It was said that Voldemort couldn’t touch Harry at Privet Drive until he was 17 because of the blood magic, right? But he got some of Harry’s blood when he came back in Book 4, which would mean that he has the blood that is essentially protecting Harry from him. So couldn’t that mean that he [can] enter the area since he shares that blood now with Harry?”

Kat: I mean, you would think so. But hasn’t Jo…? I feel like Jo has addressed this. Am I wrong?

Alison: Yeah, it seemed familiar. But I don’t remember what she said.

Michael: Well, I’m not sure if this is actually canon or not, but it doesn’t seem like necessarily taking that blood protection in… because the other part is that Harry is actually a relative of the Dursleys. Voldemort is not a relative. [laughs] I mean, I guess if we go back in the timeline, they’re very, very, very distantly related, but not enough for that to enact because from the sense that we get, this only seems to work with close relatives.

Kat: Yeah, and I feel like it’s as much blood magic as it is love magic if that makes sense since the sacrifice was for Harry, and not for Voldemort.

Michael: Yeah, because part of the element of it is that Petunia… Dumbledore calls it love, and there’s a lot of discussion about deep, deep, deep, deep down in their hearts, but I think the thing we’ve talked about is that she took him in, which was the base stipulation.

Alison: Yeah. Yeah, that’s what I was going to say, was that she… not willingly, but she did accept him in.

Kat: Begrudgingly.

Alison: Which doesn’t translate to Voldemort, and so I think that would block that out.

Michael: Yeah, like Kat said, the blood isn’t the whole thing. The love magic works into that too. It’s not just the blood. And wouldn’t it make for a much less exciting story if Voldemort could just go knocking on all the doors he wants to knock on to get everything he wants from you?

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I would love to see Voldemort on Privet Drive.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Oh my gosh.

Kat: You feel like it’s weird seeing Dumbledore there, in your mind? Just picture Voldemort instead.

Stephanie: Can you imagine?

Kat: It’s comical. It’s comical.

Alison: Next to the company car and the hosepipe ban.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Petunia trying to serve him the floating cake thing.

Alison: [laughs] Ohh. Well, something happyish? Funnyish? We’ve got an audioBoom to listen to:

[Audio]: Hello, I’m Dora, a.k.a. DoraNympha on the website. In the “Fallen Warrior” chapter, Harry calls Hedwig his “companion, his one great link with the magical world whenever he had been forced to return to the Dursleys.” Now I wonder, had Hedwig survived, would they have taken her along on their journey after the wedding? Or else would she have appeared on a windowsill at Grimmauld Place or outside the tent, even if they decided not to take her along? Would that have meant that we would have got more news from the wizarding world, and more consistently when the trio was essentially cut off and completely isolated from everyone else in canon? And how would that have changed the story, if at all, do you think? Love the show, and thanks for a chance to contribute. You’re all amazing.

Alison: I think it’s an interesting thought that maybe they could have stayed connected more, had they brought owls along.

Kat: Yeah, I mean, I had never thought of it that way, but I… as sad as that death made me, I actually think that it is better that she’s not with them.

Alison: I agree, actually. I agree.

Kat: Because… and I’ve said this before, when I defended Harry in Book 5, about how he needed to go through that time in order to make the tough decisions that he makes later in the series. And I feel like they had to be alone, completely alone, to be desperate enough to try the crazy things they had to do. And that includes Hedwig, because anybody who is used to living with animals or having a pet, suddenly when you’re without one, it sucks. You get lonely really fast, and I feel like that was a very important part of Harry’s journey, as terrible as that was. Because you all know I cried a lot when she did what she did. So it was rough but – I think – very important.

Michael: “When she did what she did.”

[Alison laughs]

Michael: When she was like, “I’m going to go off and die now.”

[Alison and Stephanie laugh]

Kat: Oh! Don’t say the D word.

Michael: “Don’t say the D word.” Then I don’t think we can talk about Deathly Hallows.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Haha, shoot.

Alison: Well, that might not work.

Stephanie: Isn’t there a part in the series, though, where Hedwig… they can’t use her because she’s too noticeable?

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Stephanie: So don’t you think that that wouldn’t really work in Deathly Hallows if she was still alive because they wouldn’t be able to use her much because she would give away their place.

Michael: Rowling actually… this is interesting because it’s a combo… Hedwig’s death… most people tend to immediately cite, as Kat did, the reason she dies symbolically. But as you just said, Stephanie, she also dies for a very practical reason for the plot, which is that Rowling did note, snowy owls are not native to the UK, so she would be recognized in a heartbeat, and that is noted in some of the books. And the other issue is… ties into what you said, Kat, about the loneliness, but the plot would not work if Hedwig [were] able to relay messages and keep them up to date about what’s going on in the wizarding world, because like you said, Kat, the isolation and I think, too, the lack of awareness of what is going on in the wizarding world is very important. When we get to Godric’s Hollow, Harry and Hermione don’t even know that it’s Christmas. They’ve lost that much sense of time. Which I think is very important to the plot. So yeah, Hedwig has to be gone for practical reasons for the plot, as well as symbolic ones.

Kat: But we will mourn her forever!

Michael: Yes. Nobody wanted her to be gone.

Alison: All right. Our next comment comes from FlobberwormFangirl on the main site, who says,

“[T]he thing I was thinking about was the choice to let Harry go with Hagrid. Isn’t [that] a bit too obvious, in a way? I mean, they’re not letting Harry ride a broom because they’re assuming that Snape would’ve told Voldemort and the [D]eath [E]aters that Harry is good at flying. Snape would also be aware of the special relationship between Harry and Hagrid, and therefore, the [O]rder probably should’ve assumed that he’d told the [D]eath [E]aters about that as well, [shouldn’t they?] I get that Jo wrote it this way because it’s so symbolic that Hagrid is the one to take Harry away from Privet Drive since he was the one to get him there in the first book. But because of this, it should also be easier for the [D]eath [E]aters to figure out. This is not by far the most stupid part of the plan, and it doesn’t affect the story very much, but it still feels like a stupid decision from the [O]rder. Personally, I would’ve put Harry with either Tonks or Bill. It’s too obvious to have him be with Moody or Kingsley, since they’re [badass] [A]urors, and too obvious with Arthur, Lupin or Hagrid since he has too much of a personal connection to them. He knows Tonks and Bill the least, but they’re both adult, skilled wizards (and [A]urors in Tonks’ case). The [D]eath [E]aters probably wouldn’t even think too much about this, I guess. But still, since they were taking things like the trunk, bird cage and flying into account, they should’ve thought of this as well.”

Michael: When Alison says BA Auror, she means they have their Bachelor’s Associates.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: Ooh.

Kat: So the first thing I thought about when you were reading this comment and kind of thinking about it, is that we forget that Tom Riddle, a.k.a. Voldemort, knows Hagrid.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Thinks he’s a bumbling idiot and a fool.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: He fooled the entire world, pretty much, into thinking that Hagrid opened the Chamber of Secrets.

Alison: Yes.

Kat: So I actually think it was the perfect choice to put Harry with Hagrid because Voldemort, as we learn, underestimates people who he thinks are weak or stupid or, you know, kind of “useless.” He knows that Hagrid got kicked out of school and wouldn’t be able to really protect Harry, even though obviously not the case.

Alison: Yeah. I agree. I also think the point that this commentor made that Snape would have told him about it, I don’t think Snape cares. I don’t think Snape cares about Harry’s personal life at all and would not even think about the fact that Harry and Hagrid are friends. So why would that be information he would pass on?

Kat: Snape lovers, cherish this moment because I actually think that Snape does care a little bit, and I think that that’s a piece of information that…

Michael: He chose to keep to himself.

Kat: Yeah, that he doesn’t have to tell Voldemort.

Alison: That’s true.

Kat: It’s not imperative to anything. And he’s like, “Don’t ask, don’t tell…”

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: … pretty much.

Michael: I’d agree with that actually because I think Snape is… while he doesn’t care about Harry’s personal life, Snape is observant.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: And I’m sure he… it’s kind of hard not to notice how many times Harry goes to visit Hagrid, whether under the Invisibility Cloak or not. So I know Snape probably knew that they had a good relationship and I think, Kat you’re right, that he actually chose to keep that one to himself. That was probably his way of keeping Harry safe in this instance. Probably the best he could do was not give Voldemort a hint of who… because Snape ostensibly knew obviously about the Seven Potters plan because he put the idea in Mundungus’s head.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: But he didn’t tell Voldemort the seven part.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So, that’s kind of important because they didn’t seem to quite expect it the way that it happened.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: And why seven? Because seven.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Right, right. Most magical number.

Michael: Seven for reasons. But I think… you know, wouldn’t it have been interesting if that bit with Hagrid and Voldemort had actually come up in the narrative? Like as their reasoning.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Because that is… I think, Kat you’re right. That has to be one of the most glossed over, forgotten about [laughs] things in the Harry Potter series – that Hagrid knew Voldemort to some degree at school.

Kat: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: It is kind of funny that that just pretty much gets dropped.

Kat: You forget about it, and honestly I didn’t think about it until Alison was halfway through reading that comment and I went, “Wait a minute.” So…

Alison: Well…

Kat: … even then…

Alison: … it’s such a brief…

Michael: Probably had lunch together and everything.

Alison: Yeah, it’s such a brief… well, not brief, but it’s such a… you don’t think about that in that moment in Chamber of Secrets that this is Voldemort and the Hagrid that we know in this memory. Because at that point you don’t know that Tom Riddle is Voldemort, and we picture Hagrid as the Hagrid that Harry knows, that kicks down the door. So, yeah, it’s one of those interesting things where it’s like, we don’t put the two together. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah, you definitely forget about it because by the time the movies… I mean, by the time Harry’s timeline rolls around, Hagrid’s like sixty, right?

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: So, you don’t even think about that time back in school.

Michael: Well, yeah. And like Alison was saying, there isn’t that bridge between the two ages for Voldemort, at least.

Kat: Right.

Michael: I think there is for Hagrid because Hagrid’s personality as a kid is almost exactly the same.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: But…

Kat: Pretty much.

Michael: But we don’t get that connection of young Tom Riddle to Voldemort until Book 6.

Kat: Right. That’s true.

Alison: Yeah.

Stephanie: Do we know how Hagrid was picked to be with Harry? I know that Jo wanted Harry to leave with Hagrid because of all the symbolism and stuff but why? How did the Order pick him? Or did he volunteer?

Michael: Wouldn’t that be funny if they picked him for the symbolism?

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Oh, yeah.

Alison: “You brought him; you take him.”

Kat: Yeah, and I’m sure it would be Mad-Eye that said it too, right?

Alison: Wooo…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: I don’t know if we know, honestly.

Michael: I don’t think it is properly explained from my reflection.

Alison: Yeah, I don’t think they ever do.

Kat: Yeah, because Hagrid just says, “You’ll be riding with me. Is that okay?” Basically.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah, and he pretty much reasons it as like, [in Hagrid’s voice] “I brought you here.”

Kat: Right.

Michael: So, the narration and Hagrid’s little speech about it suggests that Hagrid actually came up with the idea…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … and put it forth. So… who’s going to say no to Hagrid? [laughs]

Alison: Yeah.

Stephanie: Do you think he has senority?

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I think – because we’ve talked about this a lot last week – a lot of this plan, because it was cobbled together last minute, seems very much out of desperation.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: And Hagrid was… I’m sure they were having quite a debate about who the real Harry should go with, and Hagrid probably gave them that reason and they were like, “Okay, good enough.”

[Alison laughs]

Kat: “Fine, you win.”

Michael: It’s like planning out a staff schedule: “This one will go with this one, and this one will go with this one.” And somebody just got frustrated and said, “Just give him to Hagrid.”

[Alison laughs]

Michael: “He’s done this before.”

Alison: Well, speaking of Hagrid, our next comment talks about him as well. It’s from AnthonyGoldsteinandtheMagicofHanukkah…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: … and it says,

“In the show someone described this as an instance of magical slapstick in the face of chaos, but I read it as anything but. This is Harry’s single most emotionally desperate moment in the chapter, maybe even the book – but who cares to check? Everyone is in mortal peril purely to get him to a safe house, his Firebolt is gone, and Hedwig is dead, and it’s all his fault because he kept her locked up in the cage. Hagrid before Hedwig was Harry’s first connection to the Wizarding world, the Keeper of the Keys to this new life. And here Hagrid has catapulted himself onto a Death Eater to save Harry and is falling Merlin knows how far, surely to smash on the ground below. “Accio Hagrid” is Harry screaming, “I can’t lose anyone else!” It’s not Hagrid; it’s “don’t give your life for me.” It’s “people are dying and it’s my fault,” and “please, oh please, let me save him.” Harry had to know that Accio could never work on Hagrid, as much as he had to know that Wingardium Leviosa pages earlier could never have helped, knew all this as much as he knew, he’d never forgive himself had he done nothing as his biggest friend plummeted into the blackness.”

Stephanie: Aww!

Michael: Wow, Ben, you made me feel bad about when I laughed when I first read this.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Come on, it’s a really funny moment: ““Accio Hagrid!”

Michael: By the way, hi Ben. That’s Ben from the “Confundledore” episode.

Alison: Yes.

Kat: Oh, hey Ben.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But… yeah, my friends and I cracked up [laughs] at this part when we read it after midnight. I mean, we were tired, but I think a lot of people… the idea that you can just Accio pretty much anything, including a Hagrid…

[Alison, Michael, and Stephanie laugh]

Michael: I mean, come on, it’s…

Alison: I never found it funny, though. I saw this desperation in this moment where he’s like, “What do I do? First spell to my mind is ‘bring back to me,’ Accio.” So…

Michael: Maybe it’s because – we’ve talked about this a little bit, too – I think the thing that we find throughout the series is that all readers tend to get pretty frustrated with Harry’s kind of limited catalog of spells.

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: And I almost think that’s where the humor comes from. Because almost everyone when they read it are like, “Yeah, that’s not going to work.” And it’s like there should probably be a spell for that. There probably is one for that, but it’s because Harry’s spell knowledge is so limited, he is still banking on things that are very basic, like Accio and Wingardium Leviosa and Expelliarmus, things that he learned very early on. I think to me that’s where the humor comes from, because you stand Harry next to Hermione, who’s using a plethora of spells that we don’t hear anybody else use… and if we do, they’re adult wizards…

Alison: That makes sense. I just always felt like it was Harry in moments of crisis goes back to the things that have been ingrained in him enough. Which, let’s be honest… I mean, he’s paid attention in class, but I feel like a lot of things…

Kat: Hmm, that’s debatable.

Alison: Well, some more than others. And I feel like a lot of things not went over his head but aren’t as ingrained because he was focused on other things when he was supposed to be learning them, like the fact that there was a giant snake killing people, or someone was supposed to be coming to kill him, or there were dragons, you know. So, I feel like Wingardium Leviosa is ingrained in his mind because that’s first year. That’s the troll, and Accio is the Triwizard Tournament where he spent so long with Hermione really drilling spells.

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: So, I think it’s just Harry panicking and just going to the first thing he can think of and taking what he can get.

Michael: We were talking about it in terms of being kind of slapsticky because we had just come off of the moment where Hagrid presses a button on the motorcycle and a brick wall erupts.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Of all things. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: Out of the exhaust pipe and a Death Eater slams into it. Which is pretty dang funny. I think it is in terms of that – I guess, in terms of Ben’s comment – it is how you phrase it. Because you could turn that into a Death Eater who had a wife and kids smashed into a brick wall breaking all of the bones in his body before falling hundreds and thousands of feet to the earth.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: So [laughs] if you want to put it in context, it depends on, I think, the context you put it in. I mean, I think it wasn’t unexpected. I imagine Jo wouldn’t have been surprised if people laughed a little bit at the Accio moment.

Kat: I agree. I mean, I totally understand where this comment’s coming from, and yes, that’s exactly why Harry said it, but that doesn’t make it not funny.

[Michael and Stephanie laugh]

Kat: For me anyway.

Michael: Harry’s desperation in times of need is hilarious sometimes.

Kat: It’s hilarious.

Michael: So many times. So much desparation.

Alison: All right! Well, that wraps up our comments for this week. There were a lot of actually really good discussions going on. It was really hard to pick comments this week, guys. So if you want to go and read all those discussions, head on over to the site at

Kat: And speaking of discussions on our main site, let’s move on to our Podcast Question of the Week responses from last episode. There were a lot, as usual, but I picked four, I think, pretty good ones, so just…

Michael: I was glad to see there were a lot on this one.

Kat: There were a lot, yeah.

Michael: Because there were a lot of people initially who were like, “The plan sucks, but there’s no better one.” [laughs] So I’m glad to see that it actually opened up a lot of discussion later on.

Kat: Yeah, I mean, there did end up being a little bit of a consensus. About 50% of the people thought one thing, but well, let me just remind you all of the question first. So it says, “As we discussed in this chapter, the Order’s plan to smuggle Harry from Privet Drive has many flaws, not least of which [is] that it comes from Mundungus Fletcher, quite possibly the least trustworthy Order member. What was the alternative plan for Harry’s escape prior to this one? What would have been a better alternative? And why, exactly, were the members of the Order so willing to go along with this idea, seemingly without question? So our first comment here comes from MyPatronusIsADoberman, which… awesome. Dobermans are really nice and fluffy animals, so that’s good. It says,

“Why were the Order so willing to go along with this idea despite a thousand possible things that could go wrong? Because clearly, despite the best of intentions, the Order of the Phoenix sucks at their job.”

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Ooh!


“They couldn’t stop Voldemort the first time around, and between the fifth and sixth book[s], they are highly ineffectual at doing much of anything except ‘standing guard’ for Dumbledore and putting up a good fight before losing against the Death Eaters every time.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]


“In the seventh book, once Dumbledore is gone, they are basically impotent. It’s sad, really.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Wow! Ow!

Kat: So I really wanted to start with this one since it’s so dramatically out of what any of the comments said. So what do you all think?

Alison: Ow! That is harsh.

Michael: Woof.

Kat: Is that not true, though? I mean…

Stephanie: I don’t think it’s completely true. I mean, they are not the best, but I mean, they do put up a big fight in the final battle.

Alison: Well, okay, let’s think about it: There'[re] tons of Death Eaters, right? Plus Dark creatures. They’ve got no moral qualms about doing bad things, and then we’ve got – what? – 15 members of the Order of the Phoenix?

Kat: Well, that we meet. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t more.

Alison: True, but I feel like this is a little [u]njustly harsh. They couldn’t stop Voldemort the first time around. Well… yeah. [laughs]

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Alison: I mean, there was a lot of other stuff riding on the [unintelligible] too, and standing guard for Dumbledore… I think that’s because Dumbledore told them to do that. I think Dumbledore was playing his chess match and was trying to keep people out of the way of the bigger picture involving Harry and the Horcruxes that he was trying to figure out. I think this is a little unnecessarily harsh, but that’s me.

Michael: I think the reason that a reader might think this… this goes back to – this is one of the core reasons – my frustrations with Order of the Phoenix the book. And now, the books are frequently titled after the McGuffin – as I’ve mentioned before on the show – and the Order of the Phoenix has to be probably the biggest one of those, because they really are not the focus of their book at all, and I think that’s where this frustration comes, because Pottermore has slowly revealed to us that the Order of the Phoenix are doing quite a bit behind the scenes, but they are very rarely on the page, and when they are, they do seem ineffective. They frequently lose. They’re almost always outnumbered, and really, when we do hear about them, it’s like, “Oh, they were standing watch at a door at the Ministry,” and “Oh, they were standing watch at a door at Hogwarts.”

[Alison, Michael, and Stephanie laugh]

Michael: They keep those doors so safe.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And I mean, that’s all we hear, because we’re supposed to be kept as out of the loop about the Order as Harry is, versus being very in on the Death Eaters’ plans, not only because Rowling does choose to cut to their meetings more frequently, because they are integral to the plot, but also because Harry also has a TV link through Voldemort’s head. So we do get a lot of insight into what’s going on with the Death Eaters way more than we do with the Order of the Phoenix in a way. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a fair criticism, but it rings true in certain ways.

Kat: I think using exactly the evidence that’s in the books makes sense, but knowing full well that there’s probably other things going on behind the curtain that we’re not aware of. That’s a good point that you make.

Michael: I think that is one of the things that people find surprising about the series later on, is that we really don’t ever get a reveal of what the Order was doing, even later in the books. And we don’t even really have a sense at all of what the original Order did.

Kat: Right. Except stand around and take pictures.

Michael: [laughs] The only evidence of anything they ever did was one group photo, and I bet that was hell to plan.

[Stephanie laughs]

Kat: Probably. I’ve tried to plan many group photos in my day, and it’s never easy.

Michael: Yeah, I have been there for some of those.

Kat: I know you have.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: So since we talked a little bit about Dumbledore, we’ll go on to this next comment from Lovelle, and it’s quite an interesting one. There’s a follow-up to it as well, so [the] comment says,

“I think that everything is still Dumbledore’s plan. He made sure that Fletcher [meaning Mundungus] would suggest this plan, so if something goes wrong (which something did go wrong) the blame would go to him and not to Snape. So the untrustworthiness would turn to [Mundungus], making everybody think that Snape is still someone the Order would trust even though he ‘tipped’ You-Know-Who. Since this, I think, is Dumbledore’s plan, the Order did this willingly.”

And there was a really great follow-up from user Griff. It says,

“I like the idea that Dumbledore designed the plan to fail, in a way – he planned for it to be discovered. He knew he wanted Snape to tell Voldemort the basics but withhold the essentials, to keep his cover (as discussed in ‘The Prince’s Tale’). I feel like any of the plans discussed in the comments, while better for Harry’s safety, would have been harder to partially yet safely disclose to Voldemort. Snape’s cover is very important to the ultimate fulfillment of Dumbledore’s plan for Harry’s sacrifice and has to be protected.”

Michael: Stephanie, what is your view on Dumbledore’s omnipotent qualities? Do you think he sees it all, or do you think he has a limited view?

Stephanie: I’m a Dumbledore fan, so I really think that he does see it all.

Michael: So you would probably agree with this?

Stephanie: But not entirely because as much as I do like him, I think if he designed for it to fail so that people would play on Mundungus, I think that’s kind of mean.

[Michael laughs]

Stephanie: I mean, the thing that I would reference it against is that if Dumbledore had planned it so that Mundungus would take the fall for the issues, it’s like how the Death Eaters use Stan Shunpike to take the falls and everything because they sent him to Azkaban, and they use him in the “Seven Potters” chapter.

Michael: Do you think that’s something Dumbledore would be against, though?

Kat: I think the word you are searching for is “no.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Stephanie: Probably not. I mean, the thing is that I love Dumbledore, and in my brain, I just hope that he wouldn’t do that, but part of me is like, “He probably could because he kind of had Harry grow up just to die, so…”

Michael: Yeah, in a way, I almost think that this is a reasonable explanation because we know that Dumbledore’s portrait – right? – is the one who plants this to Snape, who in turn plants it to Mundungus, correct?

Kat: I believe so, yes.

Michael: And if it was the portrait, then Dumbledore trained the portrait to say that because we know that the portraits can’t think of things that elaborate on their own. So that was pre-planned on Dumbledore’s part if Rowling’s canon post-Potter doesn’t contradict itself.

Kat: Well, if it contradicts itself, it’s not canon. In my opinion.

Michael: See, and that’s the hard thing to deal with, because she does have that a few times. She’s had it a few times. And it could happen here.

Kat: Yeah, like the whole thousand students at Hogwarts thing. This is not canon in my opinion.

Michael: No, I think it’s funny, Stephanie, because I think when you were saying about… we’ll get into that issue, actually, I think, a bit in the next chapter about what action should be taken as far as sacrificing an individual for the good of the group and whether that is the best thing to do because that does come up. Not even with Dumbledore in the room.

Alison: I’ve been trying to process this comment. I agree that it almost seems too cold that he would plan to have Mundungus just thrown out because of this failing, so…

Michael: I’m so surprised you guys see that it is too cold for Dumbledore. I don’t think that’s cold.

Kat: I don’t.

Alison: I don’t know.

Michael: For him.

Alison: Maybe I just want to believe. I just want to believe that he appreciates people. I don’t know.

Kat: I think that Dumbledore looks at things like – and I’m not saying this word specifically – karma. If you do bad things in your life – guess what? – I might have to use you for something bad and oh well…

Stephanie: That’s a good point.

Kat: And I feel like that might possibly be where he is with Mundungus, and I really liked this comment, and it’s why I put it in there, because I do think that Snape’s mission is ultimately one of the most important things that Dumbledore has had on his mind for years. And if he has to use Mundungus as a pawn in this chess game, which we know he is the master of, I don’t think he thought twice about it.

Alison: I can see that. I can see that, definitely.

Michael: Nobody likes Mundungus anyway.

Kat: That’s true. I mean, his nickname is Dung, for goodness’ sake.

Michael: What a butt.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: All right, so our last comment comes from What the Hell is a Hippogriff and it says,

“I completely agree with the audioBoom from this episode on the topic of the Seven Potters plan. Wizards, especially the “Pure-blood wizards” who make up the Death Eaters, have no idea how Muggle transport works. Imagine Voldemort trying to Apparate onto a crowded, moving Muggle train … especially with Harry disguised as a random Muggle. What on earth was stopping them from taking Harry in the car with the Dursleys? Dropping him off at the station as if he was just a random Muggle, taking him as far away from Little Winging as possible. And then Apparating to the Burrow…”

[Kat mispronounces “bureau”]

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: The “bureau.”

Michael: That’s a different place.

“… If they can’t trace him on a broom, then they can’t trace him in a car or a train. They had Death Eaters patrolling the skies, but I can’t see Voldy positioning people on the ground. He didn’t even know the exact location of the house.”

So this comment was one of the ones that was pretty much a consensus, “like duh stupid wizards use Muggle transport.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Like, duh. So.

Alison: But I think that oversight is on both sides. I mean, it’s going to go for the Death Eaters but it’s also going to go for the Order. I mean…

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: … Mad-Eye, how much does Mad-Eye know about Muggle transportation? Is he going to think about Muggle transportation? I just feel like Mad-Eye would be thinking that there’s too many people on this train. [laughs}

Kat: Although in Order, correct me, is it just the movie where they’re taken to the train by the Order?

Michael: No, that’s the books. That’s the books. That doesn’t happen in the movie.

Kat: No, it happens because Sirius gets naked in that train station remember?

[Alison laughs]

Kat: In the movie?

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Michael: They don’t talk about how they got there. They just get there.

Kat: Right.

Michael: They pass it off like they walked, so…

Kat: Right, but what I’m saying is that I don’t personally think it would be out of Mad-Eye’s range of things to think of. I just think that this plan was presented to him and it seemed clever and he got to use Polyjuice and all of that.

Alison: Yeah, so it goes back to that wizard fallacy, “If we can use magic then we’re going to use magic above anything else.” It’s that mistake that they all seem to make that has cost them quite a bit.

Kat: Mhm.

Stephanie: Again, I’m not sure if this is in the movie or just the book too, but does Arthur and Harry go to the Ministry using Muggle transportation?

Kat: They do.

Michael: Yeah, they do.

Stephanie: So couldn’t Arthur…

Michael: Yeah, see…

Stephanie: … suggest that?

Michael: I was going to put that for…

Stephanie: Teach them about it?

Kat: Arthur was probably like,” Ooh, ooh, guys. Let’s take a car,” and they were like, “No.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: “You don’t get to go near Muggles, sir.” [laughs]

Michael: That was something I thought of when you read this comment, Kat – that’s very true, Stephanie, that there is somebody on the team who would think of using Muggle transport very eagerly and in a way that would work so well with the plot, tie Arthur into the plot really well. Yeah, that does seem… maybe it’s like the way you said, Alison, Rowling does try to pepper that through the series that we are showing that magic has its mistakes and doesn’t solve all problems.

Kat: I think honestly the biggest reason they didn’t use Muggle transport is because what if what happened in the sky, happened on a train?

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Kat: I mean it would have been a…

Alison: Bloodbath.

Kat: … slaughterhouse. And I think that they were trying to avoid that. I do think that align, one simple line like, “Oh, why didn’t we just take the train? Oh, we don’t want to kill a bunch of Muggles.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Obviously it’s not in there, but maybe it was in there and the editor was like, “You don’t need that, cut it out.”

Michael: As far as him going with the Dursleys, I don’t think even if it were safe, I don’t think they wanted to risk Harry being in their company and the danger that that could pose even for a little bit.

Kat: Well, the question about the Dursleys is, would the protection have broken if you went with the Dursleys and I think not.

Alison: Well, I think if they were going because they say they’re going their separate ways with the intention of this being the end and so I think…

Kat: Right, and if they went with the Dursleys that wouldn’t of happened.

Alison: But it would have.

Michael: Isn’t there still an element of that protection? There’s a part of calling a place home?

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: And if you physically left the spot would that…

Kat: Well, I mean…

Michael: So they shouldn’t have said goodbye so quickly.

Kat: Well, no. I don’t think it’s the word of it, I think it’s the act of going separate ways.

Michael: Mmm. Okay.

Kat: So even if Harry had ridden in the car with them, that’s going in the same direction.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: Sure, their ultimate intention is to split, but they haven’t. So I think it’s a matter of actually physically making that a thing.

Stephanie: I have a question now. So if he was still… because I agree with you, Kat. If he was still in the car with them, driving and the protection is still on them, shouldn’t they have just dropped him off at the Burrow?

[Alison, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Alison: Well…

Kat: Possibly, but The Burrow is really far from London, as we learn in Book 2.

Stephanie: Yeah. That’s true. Or dropped him at the closest safe house.

Kat: Yeah, I suppose that’s a possibility. Yeah. But there we go. Those are our responses from last week’s Question of the Week. There were a lot more, like 140-something. So head over to Keep the discussion going because it’s so good. And I still go back and read them. I don’t know about you guys, but…

Alison: Yep.

Michael: I do.

Kat: … I like to follow up. So keep it going.

Michael: And we’re going to keep the discussion going with Chapter 5 of Deathly Hallows.

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 5 intro begins]

Hagrid: Chapter 5.

Bill: To Mad-Eye.

Hagrid: “Fallen Warrior.”

Order of the Phoenix: To Mad-Eye.

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 5 intro ends]

Michael: Harry wakes to find himself in the home of two new characters: Ted and Andromeda Tonks. But before he can take in more than their appearance, he is Portkeyed to the Burrow. Shocked to find that he and Hagrid are the first arrivals, Harry internally begins to question the danger he has put his friends’ lives in. Slowly, the missing members of the Order trickle in, not all in one piece or in the highest of spirits, culminating in the reveal that Mad-Eye Moody has not survived the ordeal, Mundungus Fletcher has scarpered, and, perhaps worse of all, the seeds of doubt have been sowed amongst the Order. For how else would Voldemort have known about the plan but for a mole in the group? In his attempt to unite the group, Harry, to his bemusement, is mistaken to hold unique powers that would seem to be his wand’s doing. And a vision of Voldemort torturing the long-unseen and long-suffering Mr. Olivander only confirms to Harry that things are not as they appear. So interestingly, while there is not a lot of action in this chapter, there are a lot of reveals and a lot of character moments in this chapter that are pretty important. The first one, in fact, is two new characters that we’ve heard mention of before but we’ve never seen them on screen, and that is Ted and Andromeda Tonks. To start it off, I believe Stephanie had an interesting observation about something in the Tonks family household.

Stephanie: Yeah. I found an interesting thing on the… oh, I can never say it.

Michael: Is it aspidistra?

Stephanie: Aspidistra. Okay.

Alison: That sounds right.

Stephanie: First of all, I had no idea what that was because it just says that…

Kat: Me too.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Stephanie: “… knocking over two delicate tables and an aspididra…” aspidistra… man, I should start drinking.

[Alison, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Michael: This is the right chapter to say that, Stephanie. There are a lot of people that start drinking here.

Kat: I’ve been reading the books on my iPad and I had to highlight that word and go, “What?” And it had a capital A, so I knew it was a thing and not a description of you know… I just… yeah. I’m glad I’m not the only one who had no idea.

Stephanie: Oh God, I had no idea.

Alison: Oh, that’s what it is!

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Stephanie: So [laughs] just to give a brief overview of it, it’s a common, very common household plant. They grow in shade under trees and shrubs. Their leaves arise more or less directly from groundlevel, where the flowers also appear. The number of species known to increase considerably from the 1980s onward, with around a hundred accepted as July 2013, this aspidistra is the most common worldwide foliage household plant because it is very tolerant of neglect.

Alison and Michael: Huh.

Stephanie: So what I found is really interesting. In pop culture, as a popular foliage household plant, it became the most popular plant in late Victorian Britain, and it was so common that it became a symbol of middle class values.

Alison: Hmm.

Michael: Oh.

Stephanie: So I thought that was cool. And the aspidistra was a code name of a very powerful British radiotransmitter used for propaganda and deception purposes against Nazi Germany during World War II.

Alison: Ah.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Oh, so just as you were talking, I looked up the origin of the word, and the origin is aspis, which is Greek, and it means shield.

Stephanie: Awesome.

Alison: Nice.

Michael: Aww. Okay, see, and this… I’m glad you looked that up, Stephanie, because we’ve noticed plants in certain locations before that just get a brushed-off mention, but they do seem to be relevant to being included in the moment.

Kat: OGM.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Yeah. Well, and…

Stephanie: I thought that was pretty great.

Michael: Well, that leads really well into my question because I think that that actually does combine a little bit with what I’m asking here, which is what can we surmise about the Tonks family from what I’d forgotten is an extremely brief appearance? What are we supposed to take away from them? Because this time over when I read it, I was like, “Oh, they’re just there to get Harry from one place to another and they don’t do anything else.” And of course, we also will have the set-up later, sadly, for Ted Tonks’s demise. But it’s so funny that these very new characters who have been briefly mentioned get introduced at this moment, and really, unlike Rowling’s other characters who get a late introduction and get a pretty good amount of screen time, these two don’t. The only thing we really know is that like Harry, we’re very struck by Andromeda’s physical appearance because she’s noted to look almost exactly like Bellatrix. And the only other thing is that… and we have had very small hints about Andromeda and Ted’s relationship with – and I call her Nymphadora only to differentiate her from her parents here – but her relationship with her parents, which has been briefly touched on in the terms of Tonks kind of shunning her actual name.

Alison: I like them a lot. I’ve always liked them. They just seem so down to earth and so normal, which is nice knowing who they’re connected to, like Bellatrix and the Malfoys and the whole crazy Black family. And I mean, her dad’s name is Ted, which is pretty common…

Michael: Unusually so.

Alison: Yeah. It’s just so normal. It’s just nice to know that there is this nice normal family unit; they’re there supporting their daughter as she’s out fighting evil. And I just… I like them.

Kat: I see where you’re saying normal, but I see it as more out of touch.

Michael: Really?

Kat: They seem like that family who’s a little bit reclusive and maybe they read about and hear about politics secondhand. They might not know all the latest and newest information about what’s happening in the world, and they just take other people’s recap of things as Bible, as truth. That’s kind of what I get from them. And it’s funny because in my head I hear Ted Tonks and I thought about this tall, gangly, awkward-looking guy for some reason…

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Kat: … and then this time I was so surprised that it said, “A fair-haired, big belly man.” And I was like, “Oh.”

Michael: Yeah, Ted’s description doesn’t match what… I thought the same thing, too, Kat. Ted’s description is actually very close to Ludo Bagman.

Kat: Yeah, that’s right. It is.

Alison: Oh!

Michael: Yeah. It’s very funny because again, I think that’s another reason why these two don’t strike me very much, is that they both have physical descriptions that fit other characters. They’re not even really quite that unique in appearance, and we don’t really get enough detail about their physical appearance like we do with most characters.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Andromeda, we get more, but only to differentiate her from Bellatrix and… because really, in my head when I read it, I just picture a smiling Bellatrix walking into the room…

[Michael and Stephanie laugh]

Michael: … who’s just like, “Hi! You want some cookies?”

Kat: So like Hermione as Bellatrix, you mean.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Yes, Hermione’s Bellatrix. That is Andromeda to me.

[Michael and Stephanie laugh]

Michael: “Good morning!”

Alison: I guess the most striking physical thing of Andromeda is I’ve always pictured her… Bellatrix is described as having black hair, and then Narcissa has blonde hair, and so I’ve always imagined her just being… sandy hair; the perfect shade in between blonde and black. Just perfectly in between the two, so that it’s…

Kat: Well, it says, “Light, soft brown,” so you’re not wrong.

Alison: Yeah. I don’t know; it just always struck me as a little funny that it was like, “Here’s the two polar opposites, and right straight in the middle is the third.”

Michael: It’s fascinating, that idea of Andromeda being in the middle because I think… again, it’s hard to judge her based on what little we see of her, but her reaction to Harry is fascinating to me because she takes great offense that he seems to think she’s Bellatrix. And she’s kind of cold toward him and derogatory. She doesn’t really talk to him and she’s not interested in him. She’s only interested in what happened to Tonks, which seems… we’ve talked about Slytherins and Hufflepuffs before and the odd similarities that they might have, being that they both have a very loyal protective streak, and are very interested perhaps in their inner circle, which goes again, Kat, with what you were saying about the potential for them to be reclusive.

Kat: Yeah, it’s not to say that I don’t like them; I think that they seem like perfectly nice people. I’m just not surprised about the fact that they’re a little bit clueless about what happened and what is going on. They just seem really chill about the fact that they’ve just arrived and Death Eaters are flying around the house and…

Alison: Well, but then nobody expected what happened when they were flying to happen. I mean, I think pretty much everyone expected this to go off without a hitch because…

Kat: That would be stupid if that’s what they thought because…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: … I mean, that is ignorance at its best. And I guess that just proves my point further.

Michael: Well, and interestingly, Harry and Hagrid’s escape is probably the one that does go closest to the expected plan…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … because they meet the rendezvous point and they manage to get their Portkey on time. And I think, Kat, what you were saying, too, about maybe their perhaps disinterest or ignorance with the outside world, I think that’s a really great way to put it because that was… I realized when you said that that probably one of the interesting things that’s not remarked on in the narrative, but I think is probably something that’s worthwhile about these two, is that they don’t find Harry any more special than anybody else, it would seem.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: They don’t treat Harry the way that everybody else does upon seeing him. They don’t look at the scar. They don’t ask him probing questions. They’re just asking about Tonks and have absolutely no interest in Harry, which is something I guess we’re not used to encountering as much as Harry is.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: But as mentioned before, their appearance is brief and we’re back at the Burrow. And it’s not quite the arrival at the Burrow like we usually get. There’s a few characters who arrive that I wanted to highlight because some of the characters don’t act terribly unexpectedly in their appearances. So the big one, obviously, is not just George. It’s George’s ear.

[Alison, Kat, and Stephanie laugh]

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: Which is still one of the funniest parts of the books, I think. The “saint-like” line is just… oh my gosh. I laugh at it every time because it’s just… it’s hilarious. [laughs]

Kat: It’s very Fred and George is what it is.

Alison: And I just… oh. It’s just lovely. I love that line. I love it so much.

Michael: What do you guys think in terms…? Now, of course, a lot of parallels have been drawn to the connection with the Extendable Ears, which is a thing that they invented, and to the later death of Fred. What does this mean in terms of that?

Alison: That it makes Fred’s death worse because we thought that the worst thing that could happen to the twins had already happened? [laughs]

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: The worst thing we could’ve imagined happening to either of the twins… because I don’t think anyone expected either of them to die.

Michael: No.

Alison: So this seemed to be the worst thing that could possibly happen and then it’s not.

Kat: I mean, I’m not sure how to answer that question. I was thinking about how Molly says that, “We can’t grow it back because it’s been cursed off with a Dark spell.” But we know that it was Sectumsempra.

Michael: Yes.

Kat: And that it was Snape.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: And Harry used that on Draco.

Michael: And healed him.

Kat: So if they had his ear, could they mend it back?

Alison: I don’t know.

Kat: Because I mean, if it’s unfixable, then technically Draco should be unfixable.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: I’m just saying.

Alison: There’s a difference, I think, between… okay, I’m not a medical expert, but I feel like there’s a difference between just a cut and having some part of your body severed off.

Kat: Yeah, but it’s just your ear. And I don’t want that to sound like, “Oh, it’s just your ear,” but there are no major arteries in your ear. It’s not like it’s your arm or your…

Alison: Well, but there’s… yeah. But aren’t there really…? Like I said, not a medical expert.

[Kat laughs]

Alison: I think there’s really delicate parts of your ear… [laughs] This is so messed up.

Kat: Not on the outside, right?

Michael: Your inner ear is more delicate.

Alison: Well, I guess it would depend on how deep it cut.

Michael: The implication is that it just cut the surface of the ear off.

Kat: Right. I don’t know. It’s just something that I thought about. It seemed a little… I mean, I get it; you can’t regrow an ear. That’s comical and dumb if you could.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I was just thinking about… because they can reattach your finger if you cut it off.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Well, you can regrow a tooth in the wizarding world, ostensibly because that’s bone.

Alison: Yes.

Stephanie: You can regrow bones.

Kat: Right. That’s true.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Michael: And we’ve just had Harry regrow a tooth back, and it would seem he was administered Skele-Gro while he was sleeping because his bones… his rib and his arm are aching.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So you can regrow some things. See, this goes along with… and listeners, if you haven’t looked at it, make sure and do it now because Pottermore will be closing down and changing in a few weeks. [laughs] Actually, in a few days from when this airs. But Rowling did post a piece on Pottermore about medical issues in the wizarding world and how she determined what you can fix and what you can’t.

Kat: What’d she say?

Michael: She essentially said that things like the common cold, or Muggle illnesses as she termed them, were things that could probably be cured, but for severe physical and mental disorders there’s nothing you can do, even by magic. They can treat it, I guess, in the magical world, just as we do, but they don’t have a solution for it. And I’m assuming in this case, as you mentioned, we’re also factoring in Dark magic.

Kat: So then… all right. Then what about Draco? Why is he just fixed and sewed right up and better?

Alison: It could be Harry didn’t do it right. It could be one of those spells like the Unforgiveables where you have to have a certain mindset behind it and if you don’t quite have that mindset, then it’s not quite as powerful. So it could be one of those kinds of things.

Michael: That could be argued, because we do see Snape use Sectumsempra on James in Order of the Phoenix, and he only slashes his cheek a little bit.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So that is possible. I feel like, Kat, if you asked Rowling that, she would give you the answer that Alison did, where cutting somebody open is different than cutting something completely off.

Kat: Fine.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I just think that’s a cheat.

Michael: Rowling’s about as much a medical expert as Alison.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Yeah. No, I suppose that’s true.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Although she has been learning a lot about amputations and the like with her Strike novels.

Michael: That’s true. Maybe she’d revise what Sectumsempra does in that case.

Kat: Maybe, but then it wouldn’t be canon.

Alison: Gosh.

Michael: No. Well, I’m sure you guys have heard the idea of the Extendable Ear and Fred in heaven and the ear is in heaven with Fred, so it’s like a…

Alison: Aww!

Michael: Have you heard that one?

Kat: That’s cute.

Alison: Now I’m so sad!

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: So much fan fiction exists because of that idea.

Kat: That’s pretty gosh darn cute, to be honest.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: That’s pretty cute.

Alison: Yeah.

Stephanie: Doesn’t Snape have the countercurse to fix Sectumsempra because he fixes up Draco?

Kat: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Stephanie: So Molly doesn’t have the countercurse, right, to fix Sectumsempra because it’s Snape’s own creation.

Kat: Right.

Alison: Oh yeah, that’s a good point.

Michael: That could be true.

Stephanie: So maybe…

Kat: Maybe, but I mean, they don’t have the ear. So no matter what, even if you could stitch it back on, they don’t have the ear.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Kat: It’s gone, it’s with Mad-Eye. Whoops, spoiler.

Alison: [laughs] Oh, gosh!

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Wow.

Michael: Well… and before we get to Mad-Eye, there are a few other characters I wanted to touch on: Lupin and Tonks. We’ll get to Lupin and Harry a little bit later, because there’s a lot more with them actually. Happy to see each other?

Alison: Yes!

Michael: Really?

Alison: Sorry.

Kat: I think relieved, more than anything.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: More than happy.

Michael: Yeah?

Kat: Yeah. Why? You don’t think so, by your tone.

Michael: Well, I’ve never really liked how that passage comes off. I think this is the reason why a lot of Lupin and Tonks… why a lot of people who weren’t fans of the relationship find them problematic. And of course, we find out the reasons why Lupin is a little cold later. But I guess it’s interesting even just in this dynamic of life and death and how Lupin and Tonks react to seeing each other, because Tonks does act in a very jubilant, loud way. She’s very… she declares her happiness to see Lupin; she’s very happy to see him. Lupin doesn’t say a thing. An interesting mix of how you can take it, I guess.

Alison: That’s kind of just their characters, though. I’ve always seen Lupin and Tonks’s relationship as a very mature relationship, which seems to contrast a lot of the other married couples in the series that we see. Because they all seem to get together when they’re very young and they’re very crazy. But I’ve always thought… you could make the argument that Tonks isn’t quite as mature, but I’ve always thought her jubilant nature, her joking nature, was purposefully done. It’s not out of immaturity, it’s that she has just made the decision for herself to be this kind of person. So I’ve always seen them as a very mature relationship that would just be relieved to see each other again, especially, as we know, they just got married. They’re probably… I think they’re expecting Teddy at this point…

Michael: Yes. Probably.

Alison: … if I have the timeline right. So yeah, I just don’t know. I’ve always just seen it as a very relieved moment.

Kat: You and I are disagreeing a lot on this episode, Alison.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: And I think that – and this is so bad – I think in some way, obviously Lupin is happy to see her because he loves Tonks – “loves” Tonks.

[Michael laughs and clears throat]

Kat: But I think in some way… obviously we know that he’s dealing with the whole “Holy crap, I got her pregnant!” junk.

Michael: Yep.

Kat: And like anybody who doesn’t want that to happen in their life, maybe he’s a little sad that something didn’t happen, and that has stopped being a thing.

Michael: I actually… that’s how I read this passage.

Alison: Oh!

Kat: Yeah. I think that he doesn’t want her to die…

Michael: No.

Kat: But I definitely think that… you know how in television shows, a character is pregnant and the guy is so mad, he hates it or whatever. And then two days later she gets in a car accident and loses the baby and he’s like, “Whew, I’m so relieved!” That’s Lupin, in my opinion.

Michael: Yes, the Gone with the Wind moment. Down the stairs.

Alison: Ohh. See, I would have never thought that. Because I think deep down, Lupin as a person would love to be a dad, but he’s just worried about this… his condition.

Kat: Right, and I think that’s his main motivator for not wanting her to be pregnant. Yes, maybe he wants to be a dad, but he doesn’t want to put somebody he loves like Tonks through that.

Alison: Yeah. That’s a fair point.

Michael: I think that idea is even strengthened by Tonk’s “Devil may care” mention: [in Tonks’s voice] “Oh, Bellatrix tried to kill me, she really wants to kill me. I wish I could have killed her.” That’s basically kind of how she says it.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: And Lupin does not take that… Lupin kind of twitches at that. I think that’s the connection to what you’re saying, Kat.

Kat: Yeah, he doesn’t want her to be in harm, but he doesn’t want to be in that situation.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Even if that means her getting injured or not being around or whatever it may be. Because it’s going to be better for her, in Lupin’s opinion, to be dead or injured or without child than to be with him and with child.

Michael: Yes.

Alison: I can see that. I just want everyone to be happy, though.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Dumbledore has all good intentions and Lupin and Tonks are perfectly happy…

[Alison laughs]

Michael: It’s just so happy, guys. This is a happy book.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Well, and I’ll just throw it out there because I’m sure there are other listeners who are thinking about it. This is something that I read into Harry Potter but I don’t take seriously, but I do think is worth examining. I was at a panel at GeekyCon this year, and it was put forth by Mark Koshiro. He said, “I read a Tumblr post once where somebody said, ‘Does J.K. Rowling know Lupin’s gay? Because somebody should tell her. Because he’s super gay.'”

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: And I feel like – listeners, take it as you will, tear it apart, build it up, do whatever you will with it – I’m not going to, because even though I think it’s fascinating to read it that way, I don’t. But I think it’s worth examining, and I’ll leave it to you listeners to examine it. But I think it’s a legitimate way to read the series if you choose to. There’s enough there, and especially… we also have the discussion before about Lupin’s lycanthropy being an allegory for HIV and AIDS, which should not exclusively be associated with the gay community, but often in social discussion it is. So, I don’t think that it’s completely out of the blue to read that. But like I said, I’ll throw that bone to the listeners. Have fun with that one. [laughs] I’m sure you can discuss that in the comments quite a bit, and I look forward to that.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: The other person that I wanted to touch on quick who arrives is Ron. Because when Ron and Tonks get back, Tonks points out that Ron did a great job. And even I have the exact same tone of surprise as Hermione does!

Alison: [laughs] I… go on.

Michael: Oh, I just wanted… I think the only thing I wanted to say about that is that this almost seems yet again like a great set-up for the Ron that we knew in Sorceror’s/Philosopher’s Stone.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: And I feel like Ron still doesn’t quite come to his full potential, but we get a hint of it again. And I think the interesting difference between Ron and Hermione that’s really highlighted here is that Hermione is an amazing witch, and she’s extremely accomplished, and she’s got a great backlog of spells behind her. But as we still know, she can still crack under pressure. And interestingly, Ron does not. Ron does not have the catalog of spells she has, he does not have the arsenal, but he doesn’t crack under pressure, at least in this particular situation. And I’m wondering if you guys feel that Ron does or does not live up to that potential in this book.

Alison: I think there needs to be more Ron love, because I think his moments like this are very small and very glossed over. For example, rereading Prisoner of Azkaban, the first thing Ron says to the Minister for Magic, probably the most powerful man in Britain, is basically that Cornelius Fudge is wrong and that his judicial system is completely messed up. Like that is the first thing he says to this man. [laughs] He just throws that out there. So I just… Ron love. Ron love in this moment and so many other moments.

Kat: I definitely think that overall, he is incredibly overlooked and underutilized and cast aside a lot. And he has quite literally always been there for Harry, except in this book when he’s not there, but he comes back.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: And I think that there’s something to say for the friend who isn’t afraid to be wrong and come back and say, “Man, I’m really sorry. I screwed up. I’m a jerk,” because I think that’s humble, and that’s something that Ron has always been and will continue to be. And I think that’s something that Harry values, and that’s why he just takes him back, unapologetically like, “Don’t even worry about it, man. It’s no big deal”. And I think that in this moment, it’s nice that Ron finally gets to be like, “Yeah, I’m good. Just because you never noticed it before doesn’t mean I didn’t know it.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: He’s a confident guy when… unless it’s Quidditch.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: I just thought of this while you were talking: Ron is not very confrontational. He’s not much of a fighter. He’s more of the kind who’s going to sit back and… I mean, he’s got almost youngest child syndrome [laughs] where he’s like, “I’m going to be back here until someone needs me. You all carry on with your business.” [laughs]

Kat: Yeah, but his mind’s always working and always thinking and always processing and yeah.

Alison: Oh, yeah! Maybe we shouldn’t be as surprised that he’s this good, but he just doesn’t show it on a normal basis.

Kat: He’s a fighter and a lover.

Alison: Aww. [laughs]

Kat: Oh, yeah.

Alison: Aww, Ron.

Michael: Stephanie, do you love Ron as much as you love Dumbledore?

Stephanie: I do, actally. I really do love Ron. Especially in this last reread, Ron has really, really grown on me, and I’m really sad that we don’t get to see his combat skills on [the] page. I really wish that we actually got to see it, because we’ve seen him do a couple of good things, and then we hear him do a couple of go do things, especially in the Qudditch match where Harry and Hermione are off with Grawp, and…

[Alison, Michael, and Stephanie laughs]

Michael: Who cares? Nobody likes Grawp anyway.

[Alison, Michael, and Stephanie laugh]

Stephanie: I hate him. [laughs] But when they come back and Ron is like, “Yeah, did you see me take that on? Yeah, I got that thing. I took it down!” He’s so excited, and I just feel like Rowling is not showing him in the book. We don’t actually get to see him. Everything is off the page. I feel like we would see much more growth of his character if we could actually really see it, because I think he’s pushed off to the side a lot because everything is off-page.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. I think that my big one that I still cite is Ron’s apparently amazing Quidditch skills at the end of Book 5. And Harry and Hermione are like, “Yeah, we were busy looking at Grawp.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And sadly, speaking of characters who have been pushed off the page…

Alison: Oh my gosh!

[Stephanie cries]

Michael: [laughs] I couldn’t leave that one be. It was a perfect lead in, tragically. Ah, how he has been pushed off the page quite literally because we didn’t even see him get pushed off the page. Mad-Eye is dead, to put it bluntly, as this book does. And we have, actually, a[n] audioBoom from Ann, also known as the head girl, who[m] we see a lot on our site, has a question about Moody.

[Audio]: Hello, this is Ann, a.k.a. the head girl, and I’ve ready something that I had to share. In Vampire Forensics by Marc Jenkins, he touches on creatures in ancient Greek mythology called alastors. He says that alastors are, “avengers, like male furies.” And he adds that “Alastors are generally avenging things like neglected burial rites.” Do you think that Jo was letting us know Moody’s fate as soon as we met him? Looking forward to hear what you guys think.

Stephanie: I would totally agree with that. [laughs]

Michael: I… yeah. I mean, poor Moody. He’s been through so much already. I think… and that… hmm, I can’t say for sure because we’ve touched upon some characters already who may not… and we do know of some sharacters who weren’t meant to die who died. Because actually, the thing I think of is [that] a lot of people thought, for example, that Peter Pettigrew’s hand was going to be the thing that killed Lupin because, traditionally, silver kills werewolves. But that did not end up coming to fruitition, and Rowling even confirmed on Pottermore that silver does not kill werewolves in her universe. So I don’t know if that was necessarily planned that far ahead. Ann’s question, though, does lead into another big thing with Moody’s death, which is… I do have to ask: What were your reactions to Moody’s death? Because I do think that this gets a different response from a lot of other deaths in the series.

Alison: I think it’s shocking but not unexpected.

Kat: Yeah, my thoughts exactly. I wasn’t like, “Aww, Mad-Eye is dead. Boo-hoo.” I was just like, “Ohh, that sucks. He was a good ally.”

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Not like, “Oh, I’m crying because Mad-Eye is dead.”

Michael: Well, and I’ve heard some people who have said that they are sad Mad-Eye is dead; I was not one of them. My friends and I were like, “Oh,” [laughs] collectively. Why do you think the reason for that is?

Kat: We just don’t get to know him.

Stephanie: We only get to know Little Crouch as Moody. So we don’t ever really get to know the real Moody.

Kat: We really do get to know Junior better than we get to know Moody. And then we find out that it’s Junior, and we’re like, “Oh, okay, we don’t really know you at all,” and then the Moody we do meet is like, “rawr rawr rawr rawr” crabby old man.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: So we never… I mean, we know that he’s a big deal, and he’s a good ally for us, but we don’t get emotionally attached.

Stephanie: And he’s always been described as a warrior, and I think you almost expect the warrior to die. It’s expected.

Kat: Yep, that’s true.

Stephanie: So I mean, the fact that it happened so suddenly is shocking, but yeah, not unexpected.

Michael: Yeah, I think that’s probably… well, and I think the big thing is actually, as you guys mentioned before, that I think a lot of readers at this point have that realization that they’re like, “Oh, we didn’t really know real Moody. We had fake Moody, and we have a pretty good impression of who that Moody was.”

Kat: Which is why I’m always so surprised when people are, like, dying over Lupin’s death, because it’s the same thing. Yes, we know Lupin a little bit better, but we still really don’t know him.

Michael: I find that offensive.

[Alison, Michael, and Stephanie laugh]

Kat: We don’t, though. I’m sorry, we don’t. We don’t know Lupin. We’ve talked about that before. But people are always so surprised that they don’t have such a close relationship, but we don’t know him.

Stephanie: It just hurts more.

Kat: I mean, obviously, by the end of this book, we know him better, and I’m not comparing him to Moody. I’m just saying [that] it’s the same type of situation.

Michael: Well, and we’re going to get into that, actually. That will come up with Lupin in just a moment. But before we get to Lupin, we’re going to ponder about all the characters in terms of what happened with Moody, because Eileen_PrinceJones was wondering a few questions about who the leak is, so we’ve got an audioBoom from her about that.

[Audio]: Hi, this is Eileen Prince/Jones. I had a question about the “Fallen Warrior” chapter. While [at] the Burrow, Harry thinks back to when Hagrid accidentally gave away important information about Fluffy in […] Sorcerer’s Stone. So my question is, are we supposed to think that Hagrid was the one who potentially gave Snape the actual date of Harry’s departure? We know that Snape got the date from Dumbledore, but at this point in the book, we don’t know that yet, so are we supposed to think it’s Hagrid? What were anybody else’s theories on who[m] the leak was at this point in the book? I can’t remember myself what I thought, so I was interested to see what anybody else’s theory was at this point. Thanks.

Michael: So why I thought this audioBoom was really interesting is because I forgot that this was even a mystery that got set up in the book, quite honestly. Probably because it’s not actually really dwelled on, but I also forgot that the narration pins it on Hagrid pretty clearly.

Kat: Yeah, that happens a lot in these books. Poor Hagrid.

Stephanie: Hagrid gets blamed a lot.

Alison: But more than setting this up as a mystery, I feel like this is almost leading into Harry’s little statement later where he says he trusts everyone.

Michael: Hmm, that’s the more important element.

Alison: Yeah, I don’t think it was supposed to set up necessarily a mystery. I mean, obviously, we don’t know, and we’ll find out, but I think the more important aspect of it is that Harry is going to look around and critically think about all the people in this room and remember that, yes, once Hagrid did do that, but he still doesn’t think he would give away this kind of information.

Michael: And that if he did, he wouldn’t do it on purpose. Actually, I think, Alison, you’re right in terms of that, and it also does serve, because what’s interesting is that the characters immediately eliminate Mundungus as a possibility for the mole and say, “No, that’s not possible. He couldn’t have possibly given that away.” Well, Mundungus isn’t the mole; he’s connected to the mole. So it almost drops that connection. That’s what I was going to say, is that I feel like you were saying, Alison, that it doesn’t necessarily set up a mystery that we really engage in. To me, it’s almost… I guess the most equatable one from a previous book would be “Who sent the Dementors to Little Whinging?” in Book 5. Because it’s not really the overarching mystery of Order of the Phoenix, but it’s one of those things that you kind of forget about after the beginning, and then you get the answer later. Purely for closure purposes. I don’t think I was even intensely suspecting anybody in the room as the mole when I first read it anyway. Anybody else?

Stephanie: Yeah, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t either.

Alison: I wasn’t either.

Kat: I don’t remember. It all feels like it was so long ago.

Michael: Guess that speaks to the effectiveness of Harry’s speechmaking.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: The other interesting thing to note about Mad-Eye’s death is that Harry does reflect near the end of the chapter that, as the narration says, “Mad-Eye had always been scathing about Dumbledore’s willingness to trust people.” I think [it’s] a nice little nugget to keep in mind, because I’m not too taken with this chapter. This is not one of my favorite chapters of Deathly Hallows. It’s not one I really remember a lot about, but what I realize this reread that Rowling does so excellently is, she does do a good job of sowing the seeds of doubt in your mind. She’s doing a lot of work here that I didn’t realize before. Did anyone else see that?

Kat: Yeah, definitely. I’m curious, though: [In] that line, is that Mad-Eye Mad-Eye that Harry is talking about or Junior?

Stephanie: Oh!

Michael: Huh. Hmm.

Kat: Which Mad-Eye? I’m trying to recall when Harry has been around the real Mad-Eye and had conversations with Dumbledore or heard him talk about that, and I can’t.

Michael: I feel like there might have been in Order. I can’t remember it, but I feel like there is.

Alison: There’s a chunk of time that it’s assumed that Mad-Eye comes in and out when they’re cleaning the house, but the narrative just skips over that and just tells us it happens but not exactly what was happening. But interesting that it could be Barty Crouch, Jr. It’s almost reaffirming just how good of a charade he was pulling that year, that he copied Mad-Eye so effectively that people still seem to think he is like that.

Michael: Well, yeah, that we the reader still associate it that way too.

Kat: Since we’ve talked about it so much, every time Harry mentions something Mad-Eye did or thought or said, I have to think, “But was that Crouch or was it Mad-Eye?” Because that changes the meaning of whatever Harry is thinking about.

Michael: Absolutely. Yeah, that’s very true in relation to how much Dumbledore can be trusted in Dumbledore’s actions. Very true. Listeners, if you’re interested in going back and examining Harry’s interactions with Mad-Eye, both Crouch, Jr. version and Mad-Eye Mad-Eye, true Mad-Eye, we’d be fascinated to hear that and see what you find in the comments. And the next point – because it seems to be pretty important to this chapter. It’s underlying this chapter a lot – is magic itself, because magic is taking an interesting turn in this chapter. Now, we get a few fun little fact drops, one of them being that Polyjuice Potion is designed for human use only. Fun little confirmation. We kind of got it in Chamber of Secrets with the whole “don’t use cat hair.”

[Alison and Stephanie laugh]

Kat: Poor Hermione.

Michael: But we also get confirmation that it really is purely for humans in this case, thanks to Lupin and Hagrid. The other interesting point – and Alison, you touched on this earlier – is a quote that struck me. On page 68, when Harry and Hagrid first arrive [at] the Burrow. the narration talks about Molly, and Hagrid asks for a drink, and she says she’ll go and him one. And the narration says, “She could have summoned it by magic, but as she hurried back toward the crooked house, Harry knew that she wanted to hide her face.” And – like you were saying earlier, Alison – the interesting idea that magic is starting to show that it doesn’t solve all problems anymore, perhaps a moment where a character like Molly Weasley, who uses magic in her everyday life very casually doesn’t use magic because she’s overcome with emotion. I just thought it was worth noting because I think we’re going to see that a lot more in Deathly Hallows, that magic doesn’t solve our problems anymore. But before we go onto our last point I know that, actually, we had an audioBoom from somebody in this room. Who could it be? Who’s the audioBoom? Who’s the leak?

[Stephanie laughs]

Michael: It’s Stephanie, guys! Stephanie sent us an audioBoom, but she’s here, so she can just bring up her point. What a treat!

Stephanie: Oh, yay!

Michael: audioBoom live! Unplugged!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But not really. Please don’t unplug anything. We need…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Stephanie: Okay, so what I found [that] was really interesting in this chapter was how Harry tries to tell everybody how his wand acted on its own accord, that we see it emits the golden spell that comes out of his wand to fend off Voldemort, but no one is believing him. Hermione thinks that he does magic without meaning too, and then Arthur thinks that Harry was under so much stress that he was able to produce magic that he[‘s] never dreamed of. But I am just curious as to why no one is still not believing Harry. After he has been through everything and people have seen that he has been right but they are still not believing him.

Michael: Isn’t it amazing that practitioners of magic find this unbelievable?

Alison: Yes.

Kat: Yes, it is unbelievable that they find it unbelievable.

Michael: Yes. This is crazy. I cannot think of a justification for your question.

Alison: I think because it is so outside the realm of normal magic and after everything that has just happened to all of them no one is going to go off speculating right now. Everyone is exhausted and it seems so outside the… It is told to us that it is so outside of what normally happens with magic that everyone is just like, “Harry, you just do not know what you are talking about. You just panicked. Everyone panics. We are all panicking.”

[Michael laughs]

Alison: And they just say, “We are not even going to think about it right now. We do not even have mental capacity right now to think about this problem.”

Kat: I just remember thinking: Where is Dumbledore when you need him?

Michael: Yes, Harry thought the same thing.

Kat: Because maybe Dumbledore would not have had the answers but he would have indulged Harry and maybe talked to him about it, got a little more information and came up with some crazy theory about some weird witch five million years ago that this happened to or something. I remember thinking and feeling that for Harry, that he just needs an alley. Somebody to believe him.

Michael: And of course we know that, since we do not have Dumbledore, the only remaining vestige of Dumbledore is his portrait and the portrait has an inkling based on Dumbledore’s thoughts of why this happened. So somebody out there does have kind of an answer. So in a sense Dumbledore does already have the answer and we cannot have it yet. It is interesting, Kat, that you suggested that Dumbledore would at least come up with some example or even make something up just to placate everybody because I think he would have to because this is the mystery. This is it, right? It leads too closely to the answer of what is going on here.

Kat: And I think it is great too, I was looking at this, the opposite chapter for circle theory in this book is “The Elder Wand.” So I thought that was just funny that the discussion about magnificent wands and the way that they do magic happens in those two chapters.

Michael: Yes, yes, and as we see at the end with Ollivander really it is, I guess, to answer the question, Stephanie, it is just so far out of the realm of possibility even for wizards because even Voldemort and Ollivander do not think this is something that could happen and Ollivander probably the biggest expert on wands we have. But the other interesting thing with this and that ties into this, this belief towards Harry, the quote I pulled is in this moment and Harry thinks to himself, he hated the idea that they were all imagining him to have “power to match Voldemort’s.” And I think there is some stuff that mixes in with the discussion, this leads really well, I think, into the last major point, which is about Harry. So always seems to be left to the last minute is poor Harry himself. Nobody wants to talk about that. There is a lot here going on with Harry and we talked a little bit about last week. There were a lot of references we could find to Harry as a parallel for Jesus. First of all, before I even go there, thoughts on that. Just general thoughts.

Kat: Harry being Jesus?

Michael: Harry is an allegory for Jesus.

Kat: How long do you have got?

[Alison, Michael, and Stephanie laugh]

Michael: I guess the quick question is, can you read it that way? Do you guys think that is a valid interpretation?

Kat: I think most things are a valid interpretation.

Michael: I do too, but I know some people do not.

Kat: And that is the beauty of Harry Potter. So I feel like I could argue either side of that argument.

Alison: Yes. I would say I definitely see it just because it is such an archetype throughout everything and these are very… The series very much follows archetypal patterns and that is the ultimate of this archetype. So definitely see those parallels there, yes.

Michael: Because we are getting such interesting quotes about Harry. The one that I just read, again, about Harry hating the idea that he is some kind of savior. Which not only, I think, would go with Jesus, but there is a lot of biblical tales about individuals who were told that they have power and reject that power or told that they have the potential to have power and they do not want it. Moses is probably the one that comes to my head, first and foremost, because I love that story. But there is a lot of biblical… I even see that you could extend this beyond the Jesus story to many biblical stories.

Michael: I even see how you could extend beyond the Jesus story too many biblical stories. We also get the fantastic drop that nobody comments on but it’s a fantastic line that kind of everybody… I think a lot of readers take to heart is when Lupin and Kingsley see each other and point their wands to test each other – that they are the true individuals and Kingsley asks what Dumbledore’s… what was the last thing that Dumbledore said to them and Lupin says, “Harry is the best hope we have, trust him.” So yet again… not only are we built… you can’t… in a way you can’t blame the characters for thinking that Harry might have this secret power lying within in. ” Which he does.” So they are not wrong, in that respect. And the other thing… listeners, I feel you can go wild with that one because we’re going to be talking about that I think a lot more as the chapters go on and Harry of course will have his Jesus moment, as I call it, but I think we’re seeing that already because the other thing that I thought was interesting, we don’t have to go too far into, but on page 74 in response to I believe hearing that somebody’s okay, might be something about Fred or George, but or one of the other individuals, Harry says, “Thank God,” and that’s not something we hear very often in the Harry Potter series, is it?

Kat: No, where is it? What page is that?

Michael: 74.

Alison: Isn’t that Molly?

Kat: I just need to read the context.

Alison: I think it’s Molly…

Michael: It’s Harry.

Alison: … when someone gets…

Michael: It’s about the ear. She says, “‘I can’t make it grow back, not when it’s been removed by black magic, but it could have been so much worse. He’s alive.’ ‘Yeah,’ said Harry. ‘Thank God.'” Capitalized “G.”

Alison: Mhm.

Michael: Just thinking about these biblical parallels and then that…. because we’ve discussed before about whether wizards have religion or not…

Kat: Right.

Michael: … and then of course the reveal… and a friendly reminder from Ben’s username that there are Jewish kids at Hogwarts we definitely know that…

Kat: Right.

Michael: So I think… I don’t really know where to take that discussion, but I kind of feel like listeners, go wild, because that’s going to be a big deal as we go on throughout the series. And I think… I feel like I’m personally spotting more of those as I read because of Rowling’s discussions about this, post Deathly Hallows she’s talked a lot since then about how her views on religion and how religion affected the Harry Potter series, in some ways whether she wanted to or not. So keep an eye out listeners. The other probably important things about Harry to touch on… we touched a little bit already on Harry’s self-doubt and I think, Alison, as you mentioned this because it’s a great moment for Harry. I do wonder whether that’s something… do you guys feel like Harry is starting to learn that this this is bigger than just him or is he still grappling with that issue?

Alison: I think he’s starting to expand it out.

Michael: Finally after seven years.

Alison: Right. I still think he sees himself and Voldemort at the center of this whole thing and sometimes he gets to focus on that center to see everything circling around him because of it.

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: But I think in moments like this in moments like when he says he trusts his friends he understands that the only reason he’s still alive in the center of this whole conflict is because he’s had people backing him up and it’s because he has these people surrounding him and lifting him up and supporting him and I think he’s definitely starting to recognize that even more than he ever has.

Michael: Do you think we see evidence of him copping with that a little better through the rest of Deathly Hallows or no?

Alison: Yeah, because I think we see his guilt more. It’s some of the most emotional writing I think to some extent I think that we get of Harry’s inner feelings. When all of a sudden he’s just so afraid and he’s guilty and he says any of these people could die and it would be my fault and it would be because they’re here supporting me and they’re doing these things for me and they could be dead and everyone who loves them we would be in grief because of Harry.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: Can you repeat your original question?

Michael: Just that is Harry… does Harry… is Harry growing in terms of understanding that the conflict bigger than him as an individual? Because that’s what the characters confront him with at the end for this chapter, I see it as. Because he wants to leave, he wants to leave the Burrow for fear of endangering all of them and they say well that’s not really just about that.

Kat:I tend to think that Harry doesn’t get it until it’s done.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: Or very near close to that, because he does still try to do things like run away and not involve other people in what’s happening, and I think that it doesn’t hit him really until very near the end when he realizes that all of these other people unbeknownst to him… because outside of the Order there are still people rebelling and fighting, I assume.

Michael: Yes.

Kat: There must be. And Harry doesn’t see any of that because he’s in his little Harry bubble. And that doesn’t get any better once they’re out camping, and as much as he, I think, subconsciously knows that it’s not about just himself in all of this, I don’t think that that hits him until much later when they’re actually back in the world and they… until, I think, maybe when they get back to Hogwarts later and he sees how much that life has changed and that it had nothing to do with him.

Michael: I was going to say – and maybe I’ll have to confirm this when we get there – but I almost feel in a weird way like his final, final confirmation of that and his final true understanding of that is not only what drives him to go into the forest but also what he realizes in the forest…

Kat: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … because he even realizes that these people who died didn’t die just for him.

Kat: Right.

Michael: They died for a larger cause. So I want to make sure… listeners, remind me to reassess that when we get to the later chapters. [laughs]

Stephanie: I think that goes back to the part of – I think you guys discussed it a couple episodes ago – Harry being on a team or being by himself, the lone hero.

Michael: Yes.

Stephanie: I think this totally fits well with it because he goes this whole time either… he’s having a hard time being on a team with other people, and then finally at the end he knows what he has to do and he accepts everything. So I think he’s having a hard time grasping it here but I think at the end, I agree with all of you guys that he understands it.

Michael: Well, yeah, with you and Kat saying that he gets it closer to the end, the moment that comes to my head is when Ron pulls him out of the pool after he gets the sword and he’s like, “What were you doing?” And [Harry] is like, “I had to take my clothes off and be chivalrous to go get the sword! It was required.” [laughs] And Ron is like, “That’s crazy. You did not have to do that.” So even that far down the line Harry is still having that issue.

Kat’s iPad: Voldemort.

Kat: Sorry.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: What?

Michael: Voldemort? Where? That word is taboo.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: No, my iPad sometimes if it doesn’t scroll properly because it’s so old…

Michael: Oh, you hit a word.

Kat: … so it thinks I’m highlighting something and then it talks. Sorry, that happens to me a lot.

Stephanie: I thought your iPad got angry and just said, “Voldemort!”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: It’s trying to out your location to the Death Eaters, Kat.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I know. Whoops.

Michael: [laughs] The other thing I just have to touch on because [of] Lupin love… but maybe not so much here. I’m sure this is going to open the listeners up to a lot of different hashtags for Lupin coming up in these next chapters. But Lupin has two major discussions with Harry, the first one being, “Why did you use ‘Expelliarmus’? That was dumb. You need to be prepared to kill.” And Harry brings up the counterargument of, “Do you want me to become a killer or do you want me to become equitable to Voldemort?” which puts Lupin at ease on that one. And the second one, which is about Lupin actually comparing Harry to James and for the first time doing it so in a derogatory way where he is actually saying, “James had a invaluable trust in his friends. Look where that got him.”

Alison: Oh, I never read it that way.

Kat: Ooh.

Michael: The narration pretty much suggests that that’s what he meant, correct?

Alison: Well, I never saw it that way. I always saw him as saying… this is one of the first… I feel like Lupin usually sees Lily in Harry more than he sees James and so I think this is a moment that Lupin says, “Oh, yeah. You belong to James, too. You’ve got James’s personality in you as well as Lily’s.” And I don’t think Lupin sees that in Harry very often, and so… yeah.

Michael: That is interesting – and I think that does feed into this – because Harry, when compared to James, is used to being favorably compared except when it’s from Snape. That’s probably the only comparison to James where he doesn’t come off well. But Harry doesn’t take that with a grain of salt. But it says here, “‘No, I think you’re like James,’ said Lupin, ‘who would have regarded it as the height of dishonor to mistrust his friends.’ Harry knew what Lupin was getting at, that his father had been betrayed by his friend Peter Pettigrew. He felt irrationally angry. He wanted to argue, but Lupin turned away from him.” So that’s why I picked that up in the narrative as this is not meant to be a compliment.

Alison: Yeah, no, I can definitely see it. I definitely see it. I just guess I’ve always read it as Harry almost overreacting to what Lupin was saying and Lupin not necessarily meaning it that way. But I can definitely see what you’re saying, though.

Michael: Ladies? Stephanie, Kat… because I think he meant it that way.

Kat: Oh, one gajillion trillion percent he meant it that way.

[Michael laughs]

Stephanie: Yeah. I would totally agree with that.

Kat: Yep. I think that Lupin, above anybody else living…

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: … knows James inside and out, obviously; they were the closest of friends. But Lupin was always the observer.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: And I feel like… so while maybe James and Sirius were the closest of friends, and the best friends in that group, I think Lupin knows their intricacies more and how they think and how they act and how they would have reacted to situations. Because usually the observer – the person who observes – will learn a little bit more about the people than necessarily interacting with them, and I think that’s very much Lupin.

Michael: Mhm. Yeah.

Kat: I love that moment, and I like that Lupin is like, “I’m saying this to you,” and the conversation is done. Like, ” Not arguing; we’re not discussing it. Done.”

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: This is a teaching moment. Professor Lupin right there.

Michael: Yes.

Alison: Ah.

Stephanie: I completely agree with that. I think Lupin is very disappointed with Harry and how he acted and I think he’s showing him that.

Kat: He is shocked. Like, “After all the crap you went through that one year that I was in that school, never mind all the other years…” he’s telling him to grow up. Man up. Stop being… and I hate that term, “Man up,” just for the record.

Michael: Woman up!

Kat: Yeah, woman up!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: And just stop being ignorant because you know what is at risk here. And I think that that plays into the question you asked us five minutes ago or whatever, that Harry just doesn’t get it. He’s not there yet. He doesn’t get it.

Michael: Yeah. Because I think the thing that I’m interested to examine with the whole show, the listeners, and the hosts, is… because I think a lot of the fandom was pretty taken aback by Lupin’s behavior in this book, but I actually don’t feel it’s unjustified.

Kat: Me, neither. Nope.

Alison: I don’t, either.

Michael: I think that Lupin is almost a hundred percent justified in the things that he does. There’s a little bit of grey in some of the things, but especially with his views on Harry’s actions, I think even if Harry’s way turned out right in the end, I don’t think that necessarily invalidates Lupin’s statements. But I do think it’s interesting – and again, that ties into the Jesus stuff – because Harry very, very strongly advocates for nonviolence against Lupin, which is something we haven’t really seen before, especially because Harry considers Lupin somebody who taught him defensive magic rather than offensive. But it’s almost like Lupin is like, “So I left Hogwarts and what happened to your education after that?”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Pretty much.

Michael: But I think there’s a lot to explore. We’re going to see a lot more of Harry and Lupin’s relationship, and a lot of people cite “The Bribe” as the chapter where that begins to fall apart, but I believe it is actually right here that that relationship deconstructs.

Kat: Yeah. I would agree with that, actually.

Stephanie: Yeah, I think that… so to go with Harry and Lupin’s relationship, I just feel like they don’t know each other that well…

Kat: Mhm.

Stephanie: … so I feel like they have this ideal image of each other and I think Lupin is disappointed with the ideal of Harry’s image right now, and Harry is so shocked that Lupin would do it because his ideal Lupin would be all forgiving and happy that he’s still just alive.

Kat: Another! Yes.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: You hit it on the nose.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: That’s it. How interesting that… because I don’t think that’s something we consider a lot, that Lupin idolizes Harry as much as Harry idolizes Lupin.

Alison: Well, it’s a continuation of his idolization of James, I think.

Michael: Mm. Do you think it’s in a different way than Sirius?

Alison: Oh, yeah. They had different… All four of the Marauders, I feel like, had different relationships with each other. And so I definitely see Lupin as very admiring toward James, and I think James was very admiring of Lupin. And so I feel like this is a continuation, and Remus is wanting that same relationship, like Sirius. He wants that same relationship back because it ended too soon and too suddenly. And I think, like Sirius, he continues that relationship through Harry, which isn’t necessarily fair.

Kat: See, I agree that I think they all have different relationships, but I never thought of Lupin as somebody who admired James. I always saw the Lupin-James relationship more of an “I like this person, and they’re friendly, and they’re kind behind closed doors, but who they are is not who I want to be.” More of, again, a learning moment for Lupin. Through James’s actions toward Snape and the other people in his life, Lupin learned who not to be, I think, personally.

Michael: Well, and I think the thing we often forget, too, that might have appealed as well to Lupin as far as James and Sirius goes is that… and it’s mentioned in the books, and it’s never really elaborated on – and I think has been affected severely by fan fiction – but James and Sirius were very smart, and Lupin does appreciate intellectual individuals, at least from what we see. And in a way, he does seem to value that Harry… he idealizes Harry’s intellectual qualities, perhaps. Because he’s seen a lot of that in Prisoner. I think the favorite scene to cite, perhaps, is “The thing you fear is fear itself.” And Lupin thinks that’s very profound, but I think, just like you guys are saying, Lupin is finding that Harry maybe doesn’t see the world that way all the time, or they don’t see eye to eye in that way all the time, perhaps, so… and just as a fun little side note, Harry drinks for the first time. It’s firewhisky. They have it at the Wizarding World, apparently. It tastes like a Fireball. Give it a shot if you’re there and you can drink, I guess. [laughs] The book seems to really like drinking, and this particular book really likes drinking.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Stephanie: I know that I do.

[Michael and Stephanie laugh]

Kat: They’re finally of wizarding legal age, so…

Michael: Yeah!

Kat: Oddly enough, not legal age in the UK, but…

Michael: Legal age in the wizarding world.

Kat: Eh. What the hell.

Michael: I always did find that funny, maybe as a younger reader. I don’t really know what to think of it now. I do think it’s fascinating that she does go so deeply into the effects of alcohol on an individual, because some people do consider alcohol to be a stimulant. So it’s funny to read it that way, especially considering that I have little seven- and eight-year-olds who come into the library and have read the whole series.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: And they’re like, “Firewhisky! What’s that?” So… you’ll learn some day, kids. And we end the chapter with a big question that Hermione raises, which we will be pondering throughout this book, I believe, but whether Harry should be taking advantage of his connection with Voldemort or if he should cut the cord and be trying harder. Because Hermione presents that this shouldn’t be happening, but Harry does say that the information is valuable. And so ends “Fallen Warrior.” Not “The Fallen Warrior.” Because that’s somebody else, apparently.

[Alison laughs]


Somebody else, that’s right. So I guess we’ll move on to this week’s Podcast Question of the week since Michael left the chapter so lovely open-ended, which is perfect because our question goes right along that river. We’re on the same train, right on the track. Right on the road.

Michael: Well, we were in a river, and then we got on a train…

[Alison, Michael, and Stephanie laugh]

Stephanie: Now we’re on a road…

Michael: This is quite a journey we’re taking.

Kat: Yep. It is, yes.

Stephanie: It’s wuite a road movie.

Kat: Yes. It is. Haha! Badum-bum. Okay. We are going to talk about that little moment right at the end, the connect or disconnect, as Michael just said. So our question this week to you, our listeners, is this: Back in Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore tried – and failed – to get Harry to learn Occlumency from Snape. His failings are brought up again here, at the end up the chapter, via Hermione. She reminds Harry that Dumbledore wanted him to close his mind and shut Voldemort out. Hermione, in this moment, is following what she believes is Dumbledore’s plan – to shut out Voldemort, find the Horcruxes, destroy Voldemort. Harry is also in this moment following what he believes is Dumbledore’s plan – by any means possible, destroy Lord Voldemort by learning about Tom Riddle [and] finding and destroying the Horcruxes. So while we know that these “Horcrux visions” do help in the end, we also know that Voldemort has taken advantage of this connection in the past (RIP Sirius). Do Hermione’s intentions in this moment still seem like the best course of action? Does Occlumency still seem like a skill Harry should be honing and practicing and trying to learn? And if Dumbledore were alive, would he still advocate for it? I’m really excited to hear what you guys think about this because I have lots of feelings, and when we were formulating this question, we all had different opinions on it.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: So I have a feeling it’s going to be a wide sample of reactions this week. So head over to, leave your reaction, send us an audioBoom if you’d like as well, and we might read them on next week’s episode.

Michael: I’m sending Stephanie in specifically to shake up this Question of the Week, you guys.

[Stephanie laughs]

Michael: She’s got her eye on you this week.

Kat: That’s right.

[Michael laughs]

Stephanie: Oh, yeah.

Kat: Yeah, none of this “Yes, obviously. He should keep using it.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: None of that.

Kat: “No. He shouldn’t keep using it.” We know that. Dig a little deeper. You got this.

Alison: All right. Well, then I guess all that’s left is for us to thank Stephanie for joining us. Thank you so much for contributing.

Stephanie: Thank you, guys. I really appreciate being on the show.

Michael: Go put that fire out.

Kat: Hope you had fun. Yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Stephanie: It’s ever-burning, ever-burning.

Kat: You’re lucky. The giants would really like you, then.

[Stephanie laughs]

Michael: Yes, that’s very true. So maybe she can get the giants to come to our side.

Kat: That would be nice.

Michael: I’m assuming she works for the good side since she’s a Hufflepuff.

Stephanie: Oh, definitely for the good side.

Michael: Yay.

[Michael and Stephanie laugh]

Michael: Well, listeners, if you are on the good side, or the bad – because we seem to get a lot of good and not too much bad, but we’d like to have more of both – come on to the show with us and talk about Harry Potter. You can check out how to do that with the “Be on the Show” page: If you have a set of headphones with a built-in mic, or if you have a mic built into your computer or laptop, as well as a recording program on your computer, you’re pretty much all set. We don’t require anything super fancy. And while you’re on the Alohomora! main site, figuring out how to get on the show, download a ringtone from us because they’re free. And again, as we always stress in Deathly Hallows, please make sure to send in your auditions if you want to audition because we’re getting down to your last chance. I know that Stephanie took the leap, and she got on the show, so…

Kat: We might have a few things up our sleeves for after Hallows, but we’re not going to tell you about those.

Michael: Yeah, we’re just going to… go off of the assumption [laughs] that you can’t get on the show, because we want you on the show – so you can’t get on the show after Deathly Hallows – because we want to hear your thoughts.

Kat: That’s right. Absolutely.

Michael: So please submit your auditions now at

Kat: And in the meantime, of course, you can keep in touch with us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN. We’re on Facebook at, on Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast… wait, guys! Actually, we have an Instagram now that I’m going to look up while I’m right here on the phone because, sadly, I can’t remember if it’s alohomora or alohomoramn. It’s alohomoramn, so find us on Instagram. We have a really awesome person managing that for us, and we’re all on there too. Except [for] Michael because he doesn’t have smartphone.

Michael: Yeah. Come December. [laughs]

Kat: Oh, soon. You’re getting there. Good. And when Michael gets a smartphone, he can call our phone number, which is 206-GO ALBUS (206-462-5287). But he can always just log right on to the website and leave us an audioBoom because he has Internet and a microphone, and that’s all you need to leave one. Head over to, click the little record button in the right-hand menu, and keep your message under 60 seconds. It can be anything: a song, a reaction… I just really want to hear a song, so another limerick or a haiku would be really cool.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: But anything you want to send us, send it in. We’ll listen to it, and if we love it, we’ll play it on the show.

Michael: That’s what Michael would have trouble with, is keeping his audioBooms under 60 seconds.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Yeah, you and Eric.

Michael: Yep, me and Eric. [laughs]

Kat: You guys could just do one together, and then people would be like, “Is it Eric? Is it Michael? Is it Eric? Is it Michael?”

Michael: Except Kat. She’d be like, “I know which one is which.”

Kat: I do. I can tell you guys apart no problem.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: And I also pronounce Voldemort without the T, so I’m fancy.

Michael: You do. Like J.K. Rowling. You and her could be in a club.

Kat: Yeah. This has nothing to do with anything: I got so many tweets from you people…

Michael: About that. [laughs]

Kat: … that were tagging J.K. Rowling like, “Kat [from] Alohomora! says it right.” I felt so valid.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: I can’t even tell you. It was a very validating moment, so thank you, everybody.

Michael: How do you say “Accio,” J.K. Rowling? Because am I the only one who says it like an X? Please and thank you.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: She listens, so she’s totally going to answer us.

Michael: Thank you!

Alison: Next Twitter response, and the whole Internet world will go insane.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Yep, pretty much.

Alison: Even though that information probably came out a long time ago. [laughs] And while you are being fabulous and saying Voldemort’s name right…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: … visit our store. That was really lame, I’m so sorry. Visit our store, where we’ve got all sorts of things, including House shirts, Desk!Pig, Mandrake Liberation Front, Minerva is my homegirl, and so much more. It’s starting to be fall, and we have long-sleeve shirts, so go get some so you can be cozy when it gets cold.

Michael: And all of you people out there with your smartphones – unlike me – can download out smartphone app, which is available “around the world, around the world…”

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Kat: I love it when you guys actually sing that.

Michael: It’s not my favorite Daft Punk song, [laughs] but it’s not bad. Prices vary depending on your location [singing] around the world, around the world. [back to normal voice] And if you look up the app [singing] around the world, [back to normal voice] you’ll find the same content, which is transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and so much more on the Alohomora! smartphone app.

Kat: We had a super good discussion this week about Marvel.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: So I have a feeling that’s going to end up on the app.

Alison: Yeah, that’s a good one.

Michael: Yes, thank you to Head Girl for letting us totally destroy your audioBoom.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: I’m sorry, it’s my fault.

Michael: We interpreted it just a tad differently than you did. [laughs] Just a tad.

Kat: All right. Well, we’re going to fly out of here on our motorcycle. Vroom-vroom!

Michael: Vroom!

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I’m Kat Miller.

Michael: I’m Michael Harle.

Alison: I’m Alison Siggard. Thank you for listening to Episode 155 of Alohomora!

[Show music begins]

Kat: [as Hagrid] Harry, give me a hand! I’m stuck! Open the Dumbledore!

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: That was awesome!

[Show music continues]

Stephanie: Ah!

Alison: Oh no!

Stephanie: Hello? Hello?

Alison: Oh.

Kat: She’s here.

Alison: Okay.

Stephanie: I’m here. Hold on. Am I here?

Kat: Yeah.

Stephanie: I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I hit my mute button for a second, and I didn’t turn it back on.

Kat: Oh.

Michael: [laughs] Oh, God! Stephanie!

Stephanie: [laughs] I’m sorry!

Kat: It’s okay, it’s par for the course on this show. It’s fine.

Stephanie: It’s okay, I wasn’t really doing too much. I was just hanging out.

Michael: [We get to] talking about death and stuff, and then Stephanie is just like disappear.

[Everyone laughs]

Stephanie: Oh, so sorry.

[Edited clip of Kat making a purring sound plays]