Transcript – Episode 156

[Show music begins]

Eric Scull: This is Episode 156 of Alohomora! for September 19, 2015.

[Show music continues]

Eric: Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Alohomora! It’s the age of Hufflepuff! I’m Eric Scull.

Alison Siggard: I’m Alison Siggard.

Michael Harle: I’m Michael Harle. And we have with us, I believe, another Hufflepuff to complete the set: our friend Amy Hogan! Amy, say hi to everybody.

Amy Hogan: Hi!

Michael: You did that well.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: You’re going to be a good guest.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Amy, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into Harry Potter.

Amy: All right, I’m Amy. I’m a Hufflepuff.

[Alison and Michael laughs]

Amy: I feel like I’m [laughs] at an AA meeting or something here.

[Alison and Amy laugh]

Michael: Hi, Amy.

Amy: Off to a great start. I got into Harry Potter… I guess I was relatively late during the book releases but early for me. I was nine years old, so it was right after the fifth book was released, so I went to the midnight releases for both [Book] 6 and [Book] 7. Yeah, I just remember, my aunt gave me the first movie on DVD for Christmas that year, and that started it all. So right after that, I started reading them and devoured them. I was only supposed to read the first two because I was, supposedly, too young, but I kept going.

Michael: So you saw the movies before you read the books, huh?

Amy: I saw the first movie before I read the books because I then read [Books] 1 and 2 and then watched the movies after the books after that, but…

Alison: Nice.

Eric: Good call. Everybody loves those generous aunts, right?

Amy: Oh, yeah.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Those family members who are reading Harry and are thinking it’s right up your alley…

[Amy laughs]

Eric: That’s a common story. Yours is great, of course, but it’s just, I… shoutout to nice aunts.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: This week, we’ll be reading about not aunts, but ghouls.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: For our chapter discussion, we’ll be covering Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Chapter 6, titled “The Ghoul in Pajamas.” But before we get over to that, we have some comments from our previous week’s chapter, right, Alison?

Alison: Yes, we do, and so we’re going to go over some of those. Obviously, there was a little bit of controversy last week.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: We’ll get there. Everyone hold on!

Amy: What?

Eric: [laughs] Oh, really?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: We’re going to go over a couple of smaller comments about those before we get into the controversy. So the first one comes from SnugglesWithNifflers who says,

“I thought that Kingsley was the leak because he wasn’t in the room when Harry gave his speech (he had left to go back to Downing Street). In his speech, Harry says, ‘I trust all of you, I don’t think anyone in this room would ever sell me to Voldemort.’ During my first read of the book, I thought, ‘Harry! Don’t forget about people who are in on the plan but aren’t in this room!’ I totally love Kingsley now, but at the time, we weren’t very familiar with him, and his absence during this speech seemed like the kind of tiny clue that Jo would leave.”

Michael: Oh, man, you think I started controversy?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Oh, no, no, no. It’s… she really… if I can comment on [the] events of the previous chapter, I think that Jo really cut the legs out of any potential theory by quashing the idea that it could have been Mundungus, right? I mean, isn’t it Bill who says that he’s the one who came up specifically with the seven Potters idea, and that’s the detail that they didn’t figure out prior?

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: So it can’t be Dung, although he very clearly is responsible for Mad-Eye’s death and is this horrible person [whom] nobody loves. But he, to me, was the huge, obvious leak, and then when it turned out that he, most likely, was not at all the person, I was so shocked. I was too busy being shocked to suspect anybody else in the room. But also, wasn’t it clearly just Snape?

Alison: But we don’t know that yet.

Eric: From the first chapter, though? From the first chapter of the book – which is also the last episode of Alohomora! I was on – he does tell Voldemort when exactly things are being moved. So I think it’s almost one of those mysteries that’s not a mystery to the readers, is it?

Alison: Well, who told Snape? That’s the question.

Eric: Oh, okay. Right.

Alison: Because… I mean, someone had to tell him. So I think it’s definitely would have been a plausible idea. I mean, it is the kind of thing she would do, [laughs] is to say, “Everyone in this room…”

[Eric laughs]

Alison: But I mean, it is technically someone who is not in the room, right?

Eric: Right.

Alison: But not Kingsley.

Michael: Yeah, at the time, I think, because we can look at that now, feeling, I think, as readers and fans that we know Kingsley more, but I think, yeah, for the first readthrough, we still didn’t really know him that well. So that could have definitely been something that might have gone… yeah, I mean, like you said, that would have fit Rowling’s style, but also, like Eric said, in a way, it’s not quite… it’s somewhat comparable, I guess, to the mystery of Half-Blood Prince of who the Half-Blood Prince is. Because the answer is right in front of you, but it’s not. It just doesn’t get revealed in, perhaps, the way the readers would expect.

Alison: All right, well, our next comment comes from IGotTransfiguredIntoarRhubarb, who says,

“My mum is an ENT sister. Part of her job is to care for ears. She told me [that] ears are made from cartilage, and when the ear is severed, the cartilage dies very quickly because there’s no blood supply in cartilage. No trick. It’s very difficult to reattach the severed ear. JK has done her research.”

Michael: [laughs] Aww.

Alison: So basically, I was right.

[Alison, Amy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: J.K. Rowling knows everything.

Eric: I love how we got an [otolaryngologist] family member to write in and be like, “Yeah, ears are tough.” That’s great.

[Amy laughs]

Eric: That’s good stuff. Specifically though, it was also severed by Sectumsempra, right?

Alison: Yes.

Eric: It was severed by Severus using that particular spell. And I love that that… I had forgotten that one little bit of detail until I was rereading. So that’s the master of that spell. The guy who created that spell did it on George. So yeah, it seems like his ear is pretty hard to reattach.

Michael: Yeah, we had talked last week because Kat brought up the fact that Snape manages to heal Malfoy’s wounds after he has Sectumsempra used on him by Harry. And we paused at the… Sectumsempra, while we don’t have confirmation, seems to be something that you can repair the damage of depending on the intent behind the spell casting itself because we’ve seen different degrees of Sectumsempra. Because the first time we see it is in Order of the Phoenix when Snape uses it on James in the memory, and it’s a very minor cut. So we think it might be dependent on that. And of course, as we all realized, Molly wouldn’t have the countercurse for Sectumsempra anyway, because it seems that Sectumsempra as a spell got out, but the countercurse Snape seems to have kept pretty private.

Alison: Yeah, all right, well, we’ll move [o]n to the main bulk of the comments [laughs] from last week, which were, of course, about the comment a couple of people made – I think it was Michael and Kat – about what…

Eric: Not to name names.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Alison is like, “Not guilty. Not guilty.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: “Take them! Take them!”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Anyway, [laughs] it wasn’t me. I promise. [laughs] I just wanted everyone to be happy last week.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: This is not the book for everyone to be happy.

Eric: You’re pretty happy, right? Aren’t we, listeners? Are we happy now? It’s been a week. We’re listening to a brand new episode of Alohomora! We’re happy.

Alison: All right, so if you had forgotten what it was all about, we ended up talking about why Lupin reacts the way he does to Tonks’s late return at the Burrow, and certain hosts – pointing fingers – suggested that perhaps Lupin’s fear for his passing on his condition caused him to want something to happen to Tonks that would have them lose the baby [who] would become Teddy. And so we got lots of responses about this. You guys were really upset.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: And [the] first one, though, comes from Lisa, who asked if Tonks would have even been pregnant at this point. And so the main comment I picked out was actually the response to that comment from Amanda [Mc]Knight, who said,

“Teddy was born a few days before the [B]attle of Hogwarts, which was on May 2, so probably around April 28-30. 40 weeks gestation backwards from April 30 is July 24, and since conception actually happens around [week 2] of gestation, then Tonks would have become pregnant around August [7], give or take a week. The earliest she would have suspected a pregnancy would have been 2 weeks after that, around August [21]. Which would correlate with her and Lupin finding out about the pregnancy around the time that Lupin meets the trio at Grimmauld Place. Also, it’s absurd to accuse Lupin of wanting Tonks hurt.”

Eric: Well, Amanda, your comment was the first one we could use because it didn’t contain swear[ word]s, so thank you very much for it.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Eric: Getting your point across in a very nice way. I love that somebody’s done the math on this. Of course, I’ll allow Michael to cover this further, but I like that you’ve done the math, and that’s all I’ll say about that. Michael?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Okay, now, from the tone of everybody’s comments, and from the tone on the show, I think everybody expects me to apologize. I’m not going to apologize.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Now, the thing I want to make clear is, I do not necessarily read the book that way, but I do find it fascinating that Lupin does seem to go to such a dark place in Book 7 very quickly after the sequences he’s been in. We really haven’t seen him much in Half-Blood, and really, we haven’t seen him substantially since Prisoner, and I think, as far as this discussion goes, that a lot of people were bringing up the Tonks and Lupin story on Pottermore. And for those of us who read the books right from the beginning of the release, Pottermore of course did not exist at that time, and a lot of people were bringing up some very interesting reasons for why Lupin behaves the way he does, and I’ve seen it run the gamut of why Lupin behaves the way he does.

Eric: Yeah, me too. Me too.

Michael: And I think this wasn’t necessarily… an argument that didn’t have some sort of validation. I do appreciate that the listeners really did go on the hunt to figure out if this would be true or not. We did find on the Harry Potter Lexicon that the Battle of the Seven Potters took place on July 27, and we think that Lupin came to visit Harry, Ron, and Hermione, at Grimmauld Place around August 5, which kind of fits with Amanda’s estimate. So it’s not entirely out of the realm – it’s probably not likely that Lupin knew – but it’s also not entirely out of the realm of possibility. The one thing I still remember after reading Book 7, I used to role play as Lupin on MySpace, you guys.

[Everybody laughs]

Eric: You were on MySpace role player?

[Everybody laughs]

Michael: I was a MySpace role player.

[Everybody laughs]

Eric: Oh, gosh! I feel old.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: MySpace role play was after my time. I did AOL chat room [unintelligible].

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: [unintelligible] I role played as Lupin.

Michael: I had an awesome Lupin profile, let me tell you.

Eric: I bet you had the best!

Michael: I did have a lot of people who wanted to role play with me, I will say. It was funny because after Book 7 came out, the Tonks who I role played with – she was great. I never found out her real name, but if you’re listening, hi! You were a great Tonks.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Eric: Hi, Tonks!

Michael: Hi, Tonks! She basically was Tonks, but what was funny was she actually she said in a message to me after Book 7 came out, “What on earth possessed them to have unprotected sex during the war?”

[Amy laughs]

Michael: And I think that there is… That could easily be a concern in itself for Lupin, about the consequences of [unintelligible].

Eric: Well, he’s got werewolf sperm. They’re kind of more vicious…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: [unintelligible]

Alison: [laughs] Oh my gosh!

Michael: Eric went there.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And that’s the thing. I think we’re going to get a lot more into this in the chapter of “The Bribe.” And what I was saying to you guys before we started recording, and what I think is important to remember is that, I think a lot of readers were shocked at how dark Lupin went in this book. Some of the statements he’ll make in this book and in that chapter in “The Bribe” are a bit shocking, compared to what we feel we know about Lupin. It was pointed out by listeners; Lupin does take a lot of the blame. He prefers to take the blame upon himself, rather than others, but he says some interesting things about Tonks, that I think will be open to interpretation.

Eric: Yeah, I look forward to reading “The Bribe” again…

Michael: Uh-huh.

Eric: It’s been several years perhaps, maybe even a year after it came out. I’ll try to keep an open mind regarding that.

Michael: I remember when I first read that. That was a rough chapter for me.

Alison: It is.

Michael: That’s a really tough chapter for any of the readers.

Eric: To me it’s… why is it the person that we love is not allowed to come with us?

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: That was my big thing.

Michael: Because baby. That’s why.

[Amy and Michael laugh]

Michael: But I do have to say though, that the listeners – as heated as the discussion got in the comments – I was appreciative that the listeners – for the most part – kept it respectful. I think my intelligence was insulted a few times, but overall!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But overall, I was impressed with the conversation, and you guys through the conversation really did come up with some great points that went along those lines, or went completely against those lines. I really was appreciating the thoughts that were coming out this week from the listeners.

Eric: You know ultimately in have to say as podcasters, as people who’ve been doing this for several books, several years. This is what we do, and if we have a misstep or say something that offends you it’s like we’re doing our job – not that this an insult show – we always want to make you step out of your comfort zone, but that is at times a good part of listening to other people’s thoughts, to occasionally get that one that is so wacky or so offensive that you are engaged to respond.

Michael: Amy, I have to ask you as the guest. I don’t know if you listened to last weeks show or not, but what are your thoughts on Lupin and Tonks in this situation, and what we discussed?

Amy: Oh, that was tough to listen to. I did listen to it today and I was like, “Oh man!” [laughs] “No, that’s Lupin! He loves Tonks.” [laughs] I don’t know. I couldn’t really see him wanting Tonks hurt.

Michael: Uh-huh.

Amy: Even though he does go to that dark place later on, I think it’s more… He does blame it on himself. He doesn’t want anyone else to be responsible for it other than him. So him wishing something on Tonks… to hurt the baby would completely go against that – I think – because he doesn’t want her to share in this responsibility. He thinks it was all on him.

Eric: I would probably agree with that but we do have another comment that you got here. Right, Alison?

Alison: Yes, this is – I was just going to wrap up with this last one – that is the consensus that our commenters have this week about this whole subject and it is from DumbledoresThroughAndThrough. And they say,

“The way I read his rude and completely annoying behavior towards her here, is that he was worried that something happened to her. He can’t stand knowing she’s in danger because he, like Harry, wants to protect his love ones from any harm. Even if that means disregarding their own choices and freedom. He’s so out of his mind that what he feels when he sees her is not relief, but anger. Anger that she put herself in danger. Anger that she didn’t come back to him immediately but decided to linger around at Murial’s place – for no reason at all leaving him all worried and helpless at the Burrow – and then she’s also talking about Bella wanting so badly to kill her, and how she wished she’d got her instead. And I think in his mind, he’s like, ‘Well, that’s settled then. I’m going to lock you up to be sure nothing bad can happen to you. Because it’s okay for me to put myself in danger. I don’t care if something happens to me. But no one I care about it allowed to get hurt.'”

Eric: Yes, I like this comment and I think, again keeping an open mind for what is to come in “The Bribe” I do believe that a lot of what Lupin is feeling and reacting to is just fear for her safety.

Alison: Definitely.

Eric: He is the one, after all, who does the Harry check. Mrs. Weasley does not do the Harry check. She just runs and embraces him and it has to be somebody and it is Lupin and I think that is part of his duty of protecting everybody, not just specifically Tonks because they are in love or whatever. But I also think that once he finally consented – this is me reading into events of previous chapters where Tonks and Lupin, where it is all brought up, I think at the end of the last book too – but it is like once he has finally consented to them being an item I think that that was that. It took him so long and I am sure the reasons are detailed on Pottermore in that whole thing that J.K. Rowling wrote later. But once he decided that they would be together I think there was probably that “I do not want to hurt you thing” still but it was never to the point of “I hope you get hurt so I no longer have to have committed to this.”

Michael: See, and I feel having read, because I did read ahead enough to have read “The Bribe” already and I will not get too far into it, but I really like the Tonks-Lupin stuff that Pottermore has that Rowling added, because I do think – I think we even said that on that show – but that adds a lot of context that did not exist before, when it was just the books. And again, I think in a way while I really, really like it, I think it is one of the few Pottermore things I also have a little bit of a problem with because of the way that Lupin will talk in “The Bribe” about Tonks specifically and about his relationship with her. Because what you are saying, Arkino, about his need to protect her comes from the fact that he has finally realized that this is a relationship he wants. That is not what he says in “The Bribe.”

Alison: No.

Eric: Yes, I will be interested… I think at that point – and I will let other people talk – but I think too he says a lot of things, if I am remembering and this is eight years ago when I last read this book, I seem to remember a lot of the stuff he says being very… he is saying things, he is throwing things out there and seeing what sticks because he wants to go along with the group. He feels like he could really help them out. A point that I do not disagree on at all. They should have taken Lupin. But I think that he is saying a lot of that stuff because he thinks it will be read a certain way by Harry and then when Harry reacts the way that we love Harry for reacting but also the way that is possibly not even in Harry’s own best interest, is the way that we are all then meant to read the Lupin character as being disappointed but I think a lot of what he says too is almost trying to appeal the wrong person, like maybe James or a different person would have responded a little bit more to the things that he says when he is being reckless trying to help them out. But we have almost talked too much about “The Bribe.” But Amy, you were saying something?

Amy: Oh no, I think that was Alison.

Alison: Oh yes, we can get to this later when we get to that chapter but I just have the thought that I think one of the reasons Lupin goes so dark in this book is partially he is acting so reckless because he is so conflicted within himself. I think he loves… I definitely think he loves Tonks and I think part of his love for her is not wanting to hurt her at all, but he feels like he is going to hurt her if he is with her and he is going to hurt her if he is not with her. So I think he’s trying to go with the hurt which is going to be less, which is obviously going to be with her. And so I think he’s conflicted in that he feels like he’s hurting her, though I don’t think she would see it that way at all. And so I think that could help describe some of the ways he talks about her in “The Bribe” ; he thinks the best way to protect her – because he loves her – is to stay away from her. And obviously that’s not right, [laughs] but we’ll get there! We’ll get there.

Michael: Yeah. This is so hard to discuss without just completely discussing “The Bribe” because…

Eric: Right, which is several chapters from now.

Michael: Yeah, these moments are so in tandem with each other. But again, I think it’s just worthwhile to remember that there are, I think, ways to read this in different ways with the Pottermore information and without it. I think that’s important going forward. And I subscribe to Pottermore as canon, but I think there are some instances that we wonder if that doesn’t take away… I know the big one we talked about in Book 5 was that the thing behind the locked door in the Ministry is just a fountain of Amortentia and that’s the love room, and everybody is like…

Alison: Wait, what?

Michael: Yeah, and she said that in an interview.

Alison: Where?

Michael: She said it in an interview. Somebody asked her what they think is behind the door and she was like, “Oh, it would be like a fountain of Amortentia and they just study it,” and I was like, “Boo!”

Alison: Oh, I have never heard that. What?

[Michael laughs]

Eric: JKR says some crazy stuff!

Alison: Yeah, that one’s not great.

Michael: [laughs] So again, it’s just… these are things… I don’t say these things because I don’t like Lupin. You all know I like Lupin.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Lupin love. But I think the element of Lupin love comes with actually being able to deeply examine his character, including his flaws.

Alison: We will continue to do that then, and listeners, if you have any other thoughts or feelings on anything we have talked about, make sure you head over to and take a look at the comments. There were a lot of… you guys are so good at discussions lately that it’s so hard to pick out comments because you’re all just talking to each other and feeding off of each other and it’s hard to pick one when I want to do ten.

Eric: It’s alive. It’s alive!

[Alison laughs]

Michael: A lot of you had these very enthusiastic response threads that have been going on.

Eric: I will say “The Bribe” – I looked it up – is five chapters away, ladies and gents, so if you do have really extensive points, just save it for that discussion. I’m sure we’ll bring that stuff up again.

Michael: So I think for now we’ll actually move on from Lupin and Tonks to a different set of characters entirely with the Podcast Question of the Week.

Eric: Ooh!

Michael: And as a reminder, that Podcast Question was: “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, [and] 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. 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 still seem like the best course of action? Does Occlumency still seem like a skill Harry should hone? If Dumbledore were alive, would he still advocate for it?” So we actually had… initially, there were a lot of people who were like, “Of course he shouldn’t learn Occlumency! Didn’t you read Book 7?” Yes, we did.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I have a confession, guys…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That’s how it started, but actually, the opinions started to become pretty split throughout the comments. And there were some interesting questions that came up from the question itself. And the first one was from WitchWolfsbane10, who said,

“Because of that [thing] with Snape in Dumbledore’s office about [H]orcruxes and “pig for slaughter” [in Deathly Hallows], it’s supremely interesting to me that Snape tells Harry to close his mind when he’s leaving at the end of Half-Blood Prince. Does this hint that maybe Snape didn’t agree with Dumbledore that Voldemort *wouldn’t* utilize that connection to manipulate Harry again? Makes you wonder how much Snape’s opinion of Dumbledore changed after that conversation.”

Eric: Ahh.

Alison: Hmm.

Michael: And that was a great recall because we did point out at the end of Half-Blood Prince that Snape is, as we felt, still teaching Harry by attempting to get him to close his mind.

Eric: Yes.

Michael: Do you think that Snape might have had an insight that Dumbledore didn’t about Voldemort in this case?

Amy: I like that comment because I think after that conversation with Dumbledore, it does completely change how Snape thinks of him. I mean, Snape thought he had this path he was supposed to be on, protecting Lily’s son, and then when he learns that all these years, all this work he’s done, and even coming over from the Dark side and risking his life and being [a] double agent and all that… he learns that really, that’s not the plan, and that in the end Dumbledore plans for Harry to die anyway. So I think it’s interesting that, yes, Snape did have a change of heart toward Dumbledore and what he thinks of him at the end, and I think it is his last chance to try and protect Harry in telling him that he really needs to do this to try to save himself from Voldemort.

Michael: Wouldn’t that be interesting then…? I like that suggestion that maybe this is also part of that evolution, that in a way… because Snape was so taken aback by the information that Dumbledore gave him about Harry’s fate, that maybe that is why he postulates perhaps a different way that Harry should be going about things that Dumbledore didn’t agree with.

Alison: Yeah, no, I think it’s very interesting that Snape might have almost tried to go back on what Dumbledore had told him to do… not [what] Dumbledore had told him to do, but the way in which Dumbledore had told him to protect Harry…

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: … that he may… yeah, that’s… oh, man, I had never thought of that.

Eric: I’ll take this one step further: Do you think that’s why Snape is okay with the fact that he was such a shitty teacher and kicked Harry out of class?

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Because it’s cool because Harry should continue to gain insight through that connection?

Michael: Well, see, and that goes to the idea that was suggested by quite a few people; that Snape was actually making Harry more vulnerable with the lessons.

Eric: But so that it would happen more?

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: Ooh.

Michael: Because Harry describes after the end of a lot of his lessons with Snape that his defenses are worn down and he can’t possibly use Occlumency against Voldemort.

Eric: Well, knowing that that leads to Sirius’s death, I do not excuse Snape for any sort of consequence of being a bad teacher.

Michael: Bad Snape. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: That’s where, I think, Snape’s personal issues come in, which is a whole element in itself. But yeah, I thought that was an interesting idea that maybe Snape and Dumbledore didn’t always see eye-to-eye even up to the end.

Alison: Hmm.

Michael: But we had another comment from SeanLFCDF; not sure what that stands for, Sean. You’re going to have to let us know. I actually Googled that and I was like, “There’s nothing that comes up.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: It’s probably something obvious, but you tell us, Sean. But Sean said,

“We see throughout the books that some of the visions Harry receives from the connection are accidental, while others are deliberately placed there by Voldemort in order to plant false information (RIP Sirius). It is possible that there is a different “feel” between accidental visions and the active prying through the mind that is present in deliberate visions or the possession at the end of Order. If Harry were capable of learning the difference between these, the connection could become a powerful source of information for Harry and the Order while ensuring safety in its use. I know it would require a lot of training to defeat a wizard as powerful as Voldemort in this way, but I think it would have been an interesting course of action to take nonetheless.”

So basically the suggestion that not only could Harry learn to tell the difference between what’s true and what’s not, but also to actually manage to bounce it back on Voldemort.

Eric: Especially because as soon as Voldemort is done at the end of this book, Harry doesn’t have the opportunity to really hone his skills. He can, of course, prevent other people from accessing his mind if he studies real hard and is a good boy and does his homework, but this particular connection is almost gone too soon because as he grows, when he doesn’t have a million things to worry about, it could be a really interesting skill to develop, as Sean says.

Michael: Well, okay, the other thing I wanted to bring up in tandem with that is a lot of the listeners were saying whether it would… of course, there was lot of discussion of whether this would even work because people were positing that the Horcrux connection actually overrides Occlumency. We do know that Voldemort does manage to shut Harry out when he’s not at the height of his emotions…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … because that’s said at the beginning of Book 6. So Voldemort is able to successfully, for the most part, apply Occlumency. And I don’t even know if it’s… people have said that he loses that ability because of the Horcrux, but I’m assuming, too, that there’s an element of when you’re in a heightened emotion, your Occlumency probably isn’t as effective anyway.

Eric: Right. That’s probably how Occlumency works. You’ve got to be calm, you’ve got to be meditating… I mean, just thinking about what kind of person Snape is – very brooding, very mentally compartmentalizing his everything – that I totally think part of the ability to shield your mind is remaining calm.

Michael: Well, and with that, would you even be able… if that’s the case and the Horcrux is the overriding thing, would Harry even be able to bounce it back off on Voldemort?

Eric: Oh, yeah. I don’t know. I mean, the possession thing, which is brought up by, I think, Sean here, happened in close vicinity. And Harry and Voldemort, for obvious reasons, are not in close vicinity too often, and in fact, the whole first part of this book is about making sure they aren’t in close vicinity…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: … because it could be dangerous, and I think even though we’ve seen Voldemort fail to possess Harry, and the reasons why are given, gosh, in maybe [the] fifth book even, but if Harry tried to turn it around, even not physically possessing but intruding in Voldemort’s mind, I wonder if he wouldn’t overstep, because at this point, he is too clumsy in terms of understanding that stuff. And I think it would be clear to Voldemort that he had let Harry through. Harry is so graciously just the observer in these moments. He’s sitting in the garden when he gets the next image, and it’s just like, “Oh my gosh, so this happened.” If he had really tried to work that, I think Voldemort is a couple of steps ahead being just older and more experienced, that it would actually paint Harry as more of a target.

Amy: I also think… isn’t Legilimency more advanced magic?

Alison: Yeah.

Amy: I just got that impression. So if Harry can’t do Occlumency, I don’t think he stands a chance at being able to do something more difficult like Legilimency.

Michael: Yeah. And that was actually brought up by a few people too, because people pointed out that Harry manages to do the Patronus Charm as well as cast off one of the Unforgivable Curses.

Alison: The Imperius Curse.

Michael: Yeah. So he has shown that he is pretty powerful, and this is one of the first instances of learning something powerful that Harry just does not grasp at all.

Amy: Well, I think that has to do with who’s teaching him, too, because I mean, you see he accepts things from Lupin and Moody because he respects them, but he doesn’t necessarily respect what Snape is trying to teach him.

Michael: Well, and actually, going off of Amy’s point about who’s teaching, our last comment from suprememugwump – or my friend Rukmini from AudioFictions. Hello again, Rukmini. It’s always good to see you in the comments – is actually banking on that concept that maybe Dumbledore was even aware of that. Suprememugwump says,

“Conspiracy theory time. I’m not too big into the whole Dumbledore-as-puppet-master idea, but I think in this case, he might have been playing a chess match. Harry speculates, in Order of the Phoenix, that the lessons with Snape are actually making his connection with Voldemort stronger because he has more flashes of Voldemort’s mood. While we know that this wasn’t Snape’s intention, what if it was Dumbledore’s? What if he intended to open up the connection just a wee little bit to get more evidence for his Harry-is-a-Horcrux theory? And if Harry happened to find out any information that was useful to the Order, well, that would just be a bonus. The Occlumency is a safeguard in case Voldemort realizes that Harry is seeing into his mind. Most of this actually went according to plan. Harry saves Mr. Weasley’s life while practically proving that he is a Horcrux by seeing the whole thing from Nagini’s point of view. Further, he confirms that Nagini is a Horcrux too (Dumbledore’s ‘In essence divided’ question during the scene in his office). Obviously, Harry is disastrously bad at Occlumency and is drawn into the Department of Mysteries, but remember, Dumbledore had been forced out of the school by that point, McGonagall wasn’t there and he didn’t trust Snape enough to go to him first. If he’d told one of them, they could easily have confirmed that Sirius was at home, and Dumbledore’s plan would have worked out perfectly. Harry would have seen that Voldemort was entering his mind and either been given a new teacher, worked doubly hard at Occlumency or both.”

Alison: I can actually see this being true, which is… wow. Yeah.

Eric: Dumbledore deliberately weakening Harry? You can’t see that?

Alison: No, I said I can.

Eric: Oh! Okay.

Alison: I can see this being true. Totally. Completely. This makes so much sense, and yeah, I feel like if Dumbledore is a puppet master at all, he starts to lose control a bit in these later books, but I… oh, man, I can see this completely.

Eric: I love a good Dumbledore conspiracy theory.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Don’t we all? Well, and I think the great part of this comment is the citation of the “in essence divided” moment in Order of the Phoenix with the two snakes coming out of that weird device. Because that is never properly explained in the books. And the device is never explained, the moment is really never elaborated on by Dumbledore… so I think that this explains that, that Dumbledore had an alternative plan going on at the time. And I love, too, that this plan even accounts for fail-safes in the plan. I think in the end, what happened is just that it went a little too far, farther than Dumbledore had anticipated it to go. But before we wrap up all of these fantastic comments, I did want to do a shout-out – to those of you who[m] I couldn’t include but who participated in the conversation – to ChocolateFrogRavenclaw, Claire Marie, DisKid, Eileen_Prince/Jones, FizzTheWhizzbie, lifeanddragons, Mischief Managed, Ravenclawsome, Roonil Wazlib, SnugglesWithNifflers, SpinnersEnd, They’ve Taken My Wheezy!, and Yo Rufus On Fire. You all left great comments. I couldn’t include them all in the show, but if you, listeners, want to check out what those comments were, you can head over to the Alohomora! main site: And just because the episode is over does not mean you can’t participate in the conversation.

Eric: It is time to discuss the most serious chapter of them all, “The Ghoul in Pajamas.”

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 6 intro begins]

[Sound of ghoul moaning]

Ron: Chapter 6.

[Sound of ghoul moaning]

Ron: “The Ghoul in Pajamas.”

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 6 intro ends]

Eric: The trio has yet to fully get over Mad-Eye’s death. Harry is approached by Mrs. Weasley about not returning to Hogwarts, and when he fails to divulge more information, she makes it difficult for the trio to have secret meetings. They eventually find the time to chat, and Hermione divulges amazing details about their plans to stay safe, as well as details about Horcruxes. But Mrs. Weasley interrupts again, and soon Harry meets the Delacours as wedding preparation nears its end. So this was a jam-packed chapter, and it was less funny than the title may lead you to believe.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: But so much happens that I’ve sort of grouped events together to fit with our more-or-less five-point discussion, and forgive us, listeners; this is slightly out of chronology, but I will do my best to…

Michael: That’s what the summaries are for.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: They know the order it all goes in. They’ve read it before.

Eric: Yeah, exactly! And if you’re reading along with us, you’ll have no trouble whatsoever. So in this chapter, there’s a little bit more information about security, different things that are placed under protection because of these dark and mysterious times. First of all, we get a lot of information about the Fidelius Charm and how the Order of the Phoenix headquarters is no longer [number] twelve, Grimmauld Place. We actually, and I think this was a question going into Book 7, or maybe it wasn’t, but the way that it was handled by J.K. Rowling to explain that everybody is now a Secret-Keeper who knew the location of Grimmauld Place means that they had to find a different place to meet, so they chose the Burrow.

Michael: Yeah, that’s the problem with the… this is, again, an early example, because we’ve already been seeing a little bit of this… this is a great early example in Deathly Hallows that magic really is not the be-all-end-all of your problems because of course, the problem with the Fidelius Charm is, once the Secret-Keeper dies, suddenly, you have a huge security risk on your hands. Because that secret has just gone [makes dispersion noise]… That’s the sound it makes when it spreads out. That is…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Hey, all magic makes sounds in the books.

Michael: You can definitely hear that sound on Pottermore.

Eric: It’s probably canon.

Michael: Yes, it’s canon.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: It’s that shockwave you see in all the movies when a planet explodes or something.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Yes, or the Death Star…

Michael: Yes. Yes. It’s that. But yeah, it’s the issue of “Oh, wow, we have a lot of people here who contain this secret, and that is a huge security risk now. This isn’t really practical anymore.”

Eric: Yeah, and I mean, something else is, the protection that’s around the Burrow specifically, nobody can directly get in or out by using magic. That doesn’t stop people from showing up for dinner, which is great.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: But even the Delacours. They have a lot of interesting talks over dinner in this chapter, too. It’s sort of one of the only times these characters are together, because so often they’re doing wedding prep, but more on that later. In particular, I found it interesting that some of the charms had been placed there by the Ministry, and I have a feeling that that’s just due to Arthur’s own job, sort of the Ministry maybe protecting its own, or just that Arthur has these resources in the Ministry, that they can add additional protections that perhaps the Order, being members of the Order of the Phoenix, couldn’t alone, on their own, or without Ministry approval.

Alison: That makes sense. I also feel like the Ministry would have set up some protections, but the Order would have set up more after because they don’t trust the Ministry at this point.

Eric: Right, and it would give too much away.

Alison: Yeah. And so just in order to say, “Okay, so if someone from the Ministry can break through these, we’ve got another layer to keep everyone safe in this situation.” Because the Ministry probably doesn’t know that this is the new headquarters of the Order, so…

Eric: Right.

Michael: Well, and it’s…

Alison: … they’re just putting their own on there.

Michael: Like you mentioned, Eric, as far as Arthur goes, I think a lot of us forget this because it’s very briefly mentioned in Half-Blood Prince, but Arthur’s been promoted. He’s no longer in his dinky little closet at the Ministry. He has some sway now within the Ministry, and I think Scrimgeour… Molly says that Scrimgeour seems to have recognized Arthur as an asset. So for whatever Scrimgeour’s feelings are towards Harry, which I think is our main impression of Scrimgeour, we do have to remember too that he probably feels differently about Arthur Weasley to some degree.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: You know, it made me think… I wonder to what extent the Ministry’s aware of spells on Hogwarts. Certainly ones that promote the concealment from Muggles would be authorized and known by the Ministry, probably mandated by the Ministry if we’re being honest. But then of course with Dumbledore as Headmaster, there were all these other flourish spells that he would have added which may have died with him. It’s kind of interesting… magical protection obviously is something that we’ll be getting a lot more of in this book, so I thought it was important to bring up. And then of course there’s just a passing mention – I think it’s over dinner – that Harry himself will have to be disguised for the wedding.

Michael: Boo!

Eric: Not a movie-ism.

Alison: [laughs] No.

Eric: Not something that transported to the movie, although I remember not hating this part of the book. Honestly it makes a little bit of sense because again you have this issue – it’s Grimmauld Place all over again – there’s all these people that are going to be exposed to something that’s highly sensitive information, and you just can’t trust that large group of people. Not because you didn’t prune your guest list, but because…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Just by facts, it’s too many people that could potentially be tortured. We all know how Bertha Jorkins gave up the entire series…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: … by accident because Voldemort found her and tortured her enough to get that information. So it’s pretty important, I think, that they go through with this. But it’s a passing mention and obviously we get more information later, but people are still trying to work… this kind of flows off of our Occlumency discussion from the Podcast Question of the Week. People are still trying to work to keep this place a safe place, even if Harry is only going to be there what ends up being another four or five days at the time of this chapter.

Alison: Well, it’s not like he makes a difference though. I mean, Harry just goes shouting about who he is anyway, so it’s not like…

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yeah. It’s like, [as Harry] “Hey, by the way, it’s me.”

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: [as Harry] “I’m Harry, Harry Potter.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Yeah. You know what, let’s criticize that when we get to it.

Michael: Well, you know, Alison, I was going to say… do you remember last week when we got that comment from one of the listeners who was like, “lazy Order of the Phoenix, they don’t do anything”?

Alison: Yeah.

[Alison and Michael laugh]


Michael: And while I think we did posit that there is a little truth to that as far as what we see on the page, I think it’s nice at the beginning here that we are finally getting to see a little bit of that. I’m glad you brought up the security measures, Eric, just because there’s a glimpse here into just what the Order is doing, perhaps a little bit.

Eric: Well, I’m glad you’re glad. And also…

[Alison laughs]

Michael: It’s nice to…

Eric: … there are eleven other places that we just won’t see, that are…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … that were given the same protections as The Burrow, and you really want… I mean, there are clearly people keeping a lookout at each of those locations. That’s a lot of manpower.

Michael: They’re watching those doors again, you guys.

[Amy laughs]

Michael: They’re so good at that.

Eric: Watching those doors, you know.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: And some of them are homes of Ted and Andromeda, but good old Dedalus Diggle and Hestia Jones for having the worst babysitting job in the history of the world.

[Alison, Amy, and Michael laugh]

Eric: These are all people who are actively involved in the protection, so I think it’s important to note that there actually are a ton of people on Harry’s side. And yet, we find in this chapter he is still unwilling to share the most secret details of his mission with anyone that isn’t Ron or Hermione. So the beginning of the chapter, Ron and Harry are at breakfast and Ron is able to warn Harry that Mrs. Weasley’s been asking them, probing them, for details about the mission. And he actually says that Lupin and Arthur also asked, but they gave up asking very quickly when Ron said it was a Dumbledore thing. And Mrs. Weasley, however, sure enough, corners Harry in the scullery – just a small, I guess, laundry room off of the kitchen. And the way she asked this, Mrs. Weasley is a character that… I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve always liked Mrs. Weasley…

Michael: Oh, boy.

Eric: She’s great… but let’s talk through some of the events in this chapter which are… it’s almost like Molly’s character is pushed to extremes here, and she is in fact about to lose one of her kids off to some mysterious mission, but I really can’t help but feel certain parts of it are overreacting, so let’s talk. She asks Harry first. She sort of leads into the story by saying, “I hear that you three do not think that you’ll be continuing your education this year.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: And I wonder how in a perfect world what Molly expects Hogwarts to be like. We finally get to Hogwarts at the end of this book, and we find that it’s really been the year of hell. And I know it hasn’t been announced that Snape has been Headmaster yet – that may be something that they, for good reason, are waiting for later – and Molly cannot possibly know that the man who killed Dumbledore is going to be Headmaster at this point. But what does she really expect if the government has fallen and the government has a history of interfering at Hogwarts – hello, last three books – what does she expect of Hogwarts that she thinks that they’re going to go back? Is it reasonable for her to still even have a problem with that?

Alison: I think that her biggest concern is she would know where they were. And I think that’s what she’s most concerned about is that she’s not going to know where they are. And I mean, obviously Ron is her son, Harry’s basically her child, I feel like she’s kind of adopted Hermione – she’s understanding the inevitable that Hermione will one day be part of her family – and I think she’s just worried about… it’s a classic mom thing. I’m almost 22 years old and my mother still asks me where I’m going, because I live 700 miles away from home. But I think she just wants to know where they are so she has some semblance that they’re safe. And if they’re not at Hogwarts, then she can’t picture them being okay. Her mind’s going to go to the worst-case scenario.

Eric: Right, and we know what her boggart is.

Alison: Yeah.

Amy: I think it’s funny because she’s more worried about Harry, Ron, and Hermione going off on this mission than she is about sending Ginny to Hogwarts. When, like you said, do they really think it’s going to be the Hogwarts that it has been? I always kind of wondered why parents didn’t pull their kids out of school ahead of time. I would think you’d kind of foresee something like this happening at this point. And families, I would think they’d want to all be home together to know that they’re all safe too when you’ve got a war going on.

Eric: I mean, we hear about other parents pulling their kids out of school…

Amy: Yeah.

Eric: … definitely Muggle-borns.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: And I think it’s even mentioned in this chapter that Muggle-borns are talking about not going back…

Amy: Right.

Alison: Well…

Eric: … but Molly being remarkably closer to this situation maybe should’ve been more lenient on Hogwarts in general, maybe pulled Ginny back. Ginny just gets the short end of the stick this year.

[Amy laughs]

Michael: Ginny gets the short end of the stick this whole dang series.

Amy: Just like the forgotten child.

Alison: It’s kind of true.

[Alison, Amy, and Michael laugh]

Eric: Oh, no, no…

Michael: I think… well, the interesting thing about Ginny as far as that goes is we’ve had information from Rowling – and I think it was safe to assume anyway – that Ginny in a way is actually kind of doted on by the Weasleys because she’s the only girl.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Eric: Right.

Michael: And that’s something that the family wanted for a long time obviously since they went through how many boys to get a girl.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But I think you’re right, Amy, that it is kind of funny that Ginny is overlooked in this situation. I think – because I initially read this line from Molly – this is that tactic where she’s super passive-aggressive.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: This is why I think everybody finds Molly frustrating in this situation no matter how much you like her, because this is a thing that parents can do very well. She’s not… she’s giving Harry the floor to see if he will put out the information before she has to go hunt for it.

Eric: Hmm…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: Because in a way, she’s not really asking about school.

Alison: No.

Michael: That’s not even really it. But at the same time, it almost seems like she is because, like you guys are saying, she does seem to be bizarrely putting her trust in Hogwarts to be this safe place. Maybe that comes from that old saying back from Book 1 of Hagrid’s “Hogwarts is the safest place.”

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Michael: I think a lot of wizards still bizarrely stick to that no matter how dark the times are getting because, like you said, Eric, there is still an unawareness that Snape is Headmaster. And of course while the Ministry has been infiltrated, it hasn’t fallen yet.

Eric: Oh, yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So I can’t imagine though that Molly wouldn’t think that was going to happen, knowing what she knows as an insider.

Alison: Even if they do, there’s nothing they could do about it. I mean, they make going to Hogwarts compulsory for everyone.

Michael: Yeah. That’s true.

Alison: So there’s no way they could have kept Ginny back anyway.

Eric: Oh, good call.

Michael: Well, yeah. I mean, the only other thing is that… and of course the Weasleys can’t because they have too much invested interest in staying…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … but there are families that we hear about that leave the country. They go to such lengths to get away from Voldemort.

Eric: So part of what I’m getting at here – and this will be sort of an overarching thing – we’ll get back to Molly. This is just maybe even the preamble of the Molly stuff that I want to talk about, but I think that you’re right, Michael, about her being passive-aggressive. I think that she knows how to manipulate Harry, [and] Harry feels bad. He feels worse every time he talks to her in this chapter. In the end she comes and just asks him what he wants to do for his birthday. It’s like the most innocent thing ever. But there’s a lot of it that I feel is questionable, so we’ll talk about it more. But she does have a really good point… or actually a good reasoning kind of way of saying that maybe Harry misunderstood the mission from Dumbledore. When he says that “I’ve got something that Dumbledore wants me to do,” she suggests… and this is a quote: “Probably you misunderstood. Dumbledore mentioned something he wanted doing, and you took that to mean he wanted you. Dumbledore had this whole Order at his disposal.” But something that Harry doesn’t say – and it gets kind of frustrating – is something he only says to Ginny when he’s working it out is that these are things that only he can do. And I think though… I really feel that we know that Mrs. Weasley reads the paper enough to know that that Chosen One stuff is probably pretty close to the mark, and [imitating sullen teenager] there’s just some stuff that only Harry and his closest friends can know about. Okay, mom?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Really? Okay? It just has to be something. I foresee in my mind’s eye… I want her to be over this, but as a mom fulfilling her role, you could argue all too well that she doesn’t get it.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: And look, it’s cute at first. It’s cute at first. So when he doesn’t give up the information immediately, she says – again it’s the ultimate passive-aggression – “Okay, I understand there are things you won’t tell me, but you wouldn’t mind helping us all out while you’re still here, helping us out with wedding stuff, right? Because there’s just so much to be done, and what’s a mother to do?” And Harry is like, “Yeah, yeah, sure. Absolutely! I feel so bad about letting you down that I’m going to work my butt off for the next three days prepping for the wedding.” So she really manipulates him quite well into doing housework, and same with Ron and Hermione all doing housework.

Michael: Well, part of that – and it is such a mom thing – the cogs in her head are working so well.

Alison: Yep. [laughs]

Michael: Because she’s already started her plan right from that moment – right from that line you just said, Eric – to keep Ron, Hermione, and Harry in different rooms…

Alison: Yep.

Michael: … so that they can’t talk to each other.

Eric: Look, at first it’s cute. At first it’s cute.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: I agree there’s a bit of it that I find adorable.

Michael: Oh, yeah.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Her plan worked so well that for two days, two whole days of laboriousness, Harry was like, “All right, this is good. I’m helping with the wedding. There’s stuff, I’m doing great.” And like two days later, the book says, he’s like, “Wait a minute…”

[Alison laughs]

Eric: “Wait a minute now.” He began to suspect that something was awry. I’m going to… I need a break from Molly.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Let’s talk about Mad-Eye real quickly. [laughs]

Michael: Aww, why bother? He’s dead.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Everybody is so over it. [laughs]

Alison: Aww!

Eric: You know, the last chapter, “Fallen Warrior” was all about Mad-Eye and there’s more information to be divulged. Basically at the beginning of the chapter – again I said this would be a little out of chronology – but the beginning of the chapter it’s said that nobody’s quite over the death, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione kind of expect to see him walk through the door any day. I mean, this death is very recent, and I have a feeling that honestly mimics real-life circumstances when you have a departed friend or loved one that it’s so regular to see them, that you probably haven’t quite processed the fact that that won’t happen. It’s later brought up that they couldn’t find his body.

Michael: Oof! Somebody found his body.

Amy: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: I bet it landed on a house and crashed.

Alison: Oh, gosh!

Michael: But we find out that somebody found his body.

Amy: At least the eye. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah

Alison: Oh, yeah.

[Amy, Eric, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Icky, icky, icky.

Eric: It’s terrible. They couldn’t find Mad-Eye’s body, though. But that also further works towards the idea that… the big deal in the previous chapter was that he was such a bad-ass wizard. “I always imagined him living forever,” I think, says Hermione.

Michael: Sorry, I just pictured… you said he crashed through somebody’s roof, and I was like, he just landed right in Umbridge’s living room.

[Everybody laughs]

Alison: Oh my gosh!

[Alison, Amy, and Michael laugh]

Eric: “Hello, Dolores.”

[Michael laughs]

Michael: Oh God, that’s awful, but also hilarious.

Eric: “I’ve been waiting for you, Alastor.”

Alison: [laughs] Oh, my gosh!

[Michael laughs]

Eric: So all right… we had to have a funny moment, and that was that.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: I feel like… the fact that they haven’t located his body lends more to the credibility of “He could still be alive.” Maybe he’s such a bad-ass wizard that Voldemort went straight for him, thinking he’d be the one protecting Harry. Maybe he’s so bad-ass that he too survived a Killing Curse, or there’s some doubt about whether it was a Killing Curse because everyone was being attacked and all that stuff. So it’s nice to entertain the notion that Moody’s still alive. But the conversation in the bedroom later gets pretty dark when Harry says that even if there had been a body to find it was potentially disguised, and the Ministry is working to cover up the death because they’re covering up the entire event. Harry’s got this great line, something about telling people the truth… [laughs] I didn’t write it down because it’s such a movie-ism. You expect it to be like an “I love magic” moment where he’s like, “Why would the government tell the truth to the people?” And there will be a trailer moment…

[Alison, Amy, and Michael laugh]

Eric: … as he’s looking at the scar on his hand, and then it’s like: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One: Government Hate.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: But honestly it’s a good conversation regarding why he hasn’t been punished for all of the magic that was used, not only by him but by everybody that was still within range of Privet Drive and the Trace while he still had the Trace. So kind of an interesting development. I know we were talking about security earlier, but in general the Ministry’s not pressing charges, and it’s mostly to cover up all the details.

Michael: You know, Eric, listing all of those things about how Moody is brought up in this chapter, it’s fascinating to me how Moody’s death is used in the plot as compared to Sirius or Cedric. In a way it’s a little closer to Cedric’s. Moody’s death is very much used to move the plot forward, versus Sirius’s death which is used for deeper characterization. Because Moody…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … I think Rowling was aware that nobody was really going to be so terribly upset that they burst into tears…

[Amy laughs]

Michael: … when Moody died. [laughs]

Eric: Ooh.

Michael: Because… I don’t know. Eric and Amy, you weren’t on the show last week.

Michael: Did you burst into tears when Moody died? [laughs]

Eric: I actually unexpectedly… God, I can’t believe I’m admitting this.

[Amy laughs]

Eric: I did that sniffle thing [makes sniffing noise] where you first start to feel that you may be beginning to cry. When I was listening to Jim Dale this morning in the car, at the moment when Bill said, “Mad-Eye’s dead,” it took me by such surprise that it was like, [makes sniffing noise] “Oh my God, that moment.”

[Amy and Michael laugh]

Eric: And it was quickly stopped. There was not a tear shed, but it felt like I could really get there. Yes, it’s sad! It’s really sad.

Michael: That’s so sweet. Although I have to say, Eric, your [sniffing] noise kind of sounds like Hannibal Lector.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Oh, gosh.

Eric: Yeah, I was like, “fresh meat”…

[Alison and Amy laugh]

Alison: Oh, my gosh!

Eric: … after I thought about that.

Michael: “Don’t stand too close to the glass, Clarice.” Amy, how did you feel about Moody’s death?

Amy: I think I was still crying from Hedwig, so I don’t really know.

[Everybody laughs]

Alison: Like everyone else.

Amy: The two just kind of blended together. [laughs]

Michael: Yes, we take Moody’s death with Hedwig’s, but we talk about Hedwig way more, right?

Eric: Yeah, I was going to make the comment that Moody’s death is really overshadowing Hedwig’s. Harry is processing and ruminating all this stuff about Mad-Eye, not so much about the bird that he had to explode to get away.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: I mean, it’s cool that he took another Death Eater with him when he exploded his bird, but there’s really no additional talk. And I would hesitate to suggest, but I think it’s probably due to delicacy. I think J.K. Rowling knew that people would be really torn up about the bird… and later Dobby, so it’s given less – I don’t want to say screen time – but book time because it was something that was meant to be the shock of the battle all of a sudden. There may be only one sentence written about it, which is what she later said in interviews too that Hedwig was his first connection to the magical world, but after he says that it’s just all about Mad-Eye for the next three chapters. “Fallen Warrior” is not a chapter that’s dedicated to Hedwig; it’s dedicated to Moody.

Michael: Well, depending on who you ask, anyway.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I guess so.

Alison: Yeah, it’s Hedwig’s chapter.

Eric: But Moody really does rate a lot more references in the chapter as well.

Michael: But it’s interesting too because Moody’s death… even though it definitely gets its moment of reverence from the previous chapter, I never really… I feel so bad saying this. I’m going to say more things that the listeners are going to think I’m crazy for.

[Amy laughs]

Michael: But I don’t really get emotionally invested in that moment as much as I think Rowling wants me to.

Eric: Which moment?

Michael: With Moody, with their toast to Moody.

Eric: Oh.

Michael: We did talk last week that because we don’t actually know Moody… we know [fake] Moody, but we don’t know [real] Moody.

Eric: Oh, yeah. Doesn’t somebody attribute the phrase “Constant vigilance” to him, but it wasn’t actually him that said it? It was Barty Crouch Jr.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Michael Yeah, as far as we know.

Amy: Awkward.

Alison: It’s in this chapter; it’s Hermione.

Eric: Yeah, Hermione says that was him and it totally wasn’t. He may have said it before and that’s where Barty Crouch Jr. picked it up, but I don’t think that’s necessarily likely. It was probably Barty Crouch.

Michael: Yes, as far as the trio knows, because they have never heard him, I don’t think, say it. But it’s funny because Moody’s death is also treated… you know, Eric, you were saying that this chapter is pretty heavy, but there’s weird moments where Moody’s death is treated a little comically. I liked that line because it’s so bizarre when Harry is actually picturing Moody’s eye whizzing around and he’s like…

Eric: He suppresses laughter.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: He’s like, “I feel sick, but I also want to laugh.” [laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: I think that’s indicative of this whole book, though. Things just keep happening and Harry never really has a lot of time to sit down and think about everything that’s happening. People are dying, left, right and center, and he’s still just got to keep going ahead and he really never has time to sit down and think about it. But when he does, in these kinds of moments, he thinks about it. He’s kind of repressing, but it keeps coming back up to his head. We see this a little bit later when they’re at Shell Cottage, and he thinks about Dobby constantly. It’s whatever happened last is going to be the thing that he’s going to be thinking about most as he’s on this roller coaster of a year.

Michael: You know what’s good about him in this situation as far as how he thinks about it? He doesn’t make the mistake that he made previously with the deaths in his life. He talks about…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: He maybe doesn’t talk about Hedwig, like you said, Eric, for reasons of delicacy even for the reader, but he does talk with Hermione and Ron about this death, and it seems to be somewhat cathartic.

Alison: I brought up before that Mad-Eye’s death isn’t surprising to us because he’s described so much as a warrior, and you expect a warrior to die.

Eric: Yeah, that’s true, don’t you?

Alison: And so it’s not as shocking as say Hedwig or Dobby or Fred, these people that we weren’t expecting to die because they’re just in this situation and then they do.

Michael: He dies protecting Harry and he dies doing his duty as a member of the Order and as an Auror.

Amy: Exactly.

Alison: Mhm.

Eric: So when Harry finally does get alone with Hermione and Ron it’s after several days, and essentially it’s a mix-up because Mrs. Weasley accidently gives them easy jobs. [laughs] One of them was already done, one of them was never going to happen – Ron’s never cleaning his room…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … and what was the other one? Oh yeah, Harry and the chickens which doesn’t take much time. So they all have this moment where they convene in Ron’s room and one of the first things Harry says… of course he’s been building up, his saving people thing has been ebbing at him for days, and finally he asks them if they’re sure that they want to go through this. And just like discussions we’ve had previously about the security and stuff that’s happening, we actually learn that Ron and Hermione are 100 percent, fully committed. Harry finally is like, “I have to shut up about this.” Committed to going along with him because they have separate but equally terrifying, horrifying, saddening, really well thought-out strategies for leaving…

Michael: You know…

Eric: I will let you guys talk about… who do you want to talk about first, or do you have something general to say, Michael?

Michael: I was just going to say generally that we had talked in the previous episodes about whether… we’re still talking about what the point is when Harry starts to get it. And I think if there’s an argument that he still doesn’t get it, this scene is a good argument for that.

[Amy laughs]

Eric: That he still doesn’t get it?

Michael: That he still doesn’t get that he doesn’t have to go it alone.

Eric: Oh. But…

Michael: He’s still not really… Hermione and Ron actually shout him down in this instance.

Eric: Well, yeah, but he gets it later after he meets the ghoul in pajamas. The ghoul… I understand why this chapter is called that, not just because we meet a ghoul who’s in pajamas…

Michael laughs]

Eric: … but because… and he was like: [imitating ghoul] “Oh, hey guys…”

[Alison laughs]

Michael: That’s also canon, by the way.

Eric: But it’s also an awkward dripping ghouling thing, yeah, and he drools a lot. But the ghoul in pajamas represents… it’s almost a metaphor for Ron and Hermione’s conviction to come with him. It’s insanely crucial that Harry understands this before they set out on their mission. The chapter could have easily been called “Wendell and Monica.”

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Fun times with Wendell and Monica.

Alison: Oh, gosh.

Eric: Or “Wendell and Monica’s Australian Vacation.”

[Alison laughs]

Eric: But it wasn’t, it was called “The Ghoul in Pajamas.” And I think it’s sort of jarring when you’re first opening the chapter, but you begin to understand that it’s actually really serious stuff.

Michael: See, I don’t know about you guys, but I still don’t… I think Harry still doesn’t quite get it. He gets it enough to let it be…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: I think this was a particularly shocking argument for him that he wasn’t expecting, but he still doesn’t get it.

Alison: Well, I think he doesn’t get it on his own at this point.

Michael: No.

Alison: If someone shoves something like this in his face, then he’s like “Oh yeah, that makes sense.”

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: But he’s not going to think about it on his own because he’s so singularly focused on “I have to do this. I have to destroy Voldemort, I have to go find all the Horcruxes and get rid of them.” Oh, man. Harry, I love him to pieces, but because he’s in this hero’s position, he’s become so egocentric almost.

[Amy laughs]

Alison: It takes Hermione and Ron smacking him around with reality for him to open his eyes a little bit.

Michael: What do you think, Amy? Do you think Harry gets it?

Amy: I think he still struggles with it later honestly. Even when they’re off on their journey alone there are a few moments where he still feels like he needs to do everything on his own. Like the Horcrux, isn’t it Hermione who suggests they take turns wearing it?

Alison, Eric, and Michael: Yeah.

Amy: Yeah, because Harry tries to take that on by himself to begin with. I think even though he lets them come with him, he’s still struggling with it. He’s got the same issues as Lupin. [laughs] He thinks he has to go it alone on everything. Yeah.

Alison: That’s a great point.

Michael: That’s a really good point. Isn’t it? Because we talked about that, last week. About how Harry and Lupin actually put each other on a pedestal.

Alison: Mhm.

Eric: Oh, interesting.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Michael: Maybe that’s because they are so alike in a lot of ways.

Eric: They both want to be bear…

Michael: Oh yes, bear the brunt.

Alison: They just want to spare everyone else too.

Amy: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah. Well, the intention is good but it ends up having consequences.

Alison: Oh yeah, definitely.

Eric: So a complex question – which I’d love to hear your thoughts on – is, does Harry’s conviction that it has to be him, his continuing conviction, I should say, does that affect your reading or enjoyment of the climax of this book when pretty much everybody takes a turn destroying Horcruxes? Takes a turn, I mean eventually at the end of the book Harry let’s others in because he just can’t do it with this page count in time to really actually complete the mission on his own. Is it some sort of a grander realization in the end that he just should have let other people in from the start or that everything is best when accomplished by friends like what’s the message? Because Harry is dead wrong about it having to be him and he’s going off of what Dumbledore told him but there is a lot that can be and is accomplished by others as the books progresses.

Alison: I think it’s a wonderful truth that the archetypal hero’s journey, which these books follow very closely, ignores, is that: in reality, people who do great things have great support systems and Harry has to have a support system helping him along or I mean obviously he’s never make it and I think… I love that we see all the heroes all these other characters and they all get their chance and it’s not just Harry. I mean, this is Harry’s story but Harry isn’t the singular hero in the story.

Michael: Yeah, I was going to say, first of all, kudos Eric, this question is possibly the core question of the Harry Potter series.

Eric: Oh, geez.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Darn, I wanted my question about Mrs. Weasley to be the question.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Oh no!

Eric: The one that hasn’t be asked yet.

Michael: It’s an excellent question because it’s something that I’ve personally found my answer to has evolved with time because it depends on how literally or metaphorically you read the text. I didn’t really like that ending because in a way it seems contradictory to the message that Harry needed other people to help him. But looking back on it now Harry, as much as I’m not crazy about how Rowling wrote the speech between Voldemort and Harry, I do think what’s great about it is that it shows that Harry has fully realized that this whole thing was not him… just him.

Eric: Mhm.

Michael: This was a lot of people who are part of a very bigger thing and whether knowingly or unknowingly they played their part in taking Voldemort down and he basically says that this was a group effort and it was done by a lot of people that you didn’t even expect were players in this game. I have to bring up here, listeners if you haven’t seen – Eric and I love this film – and if you haven’t seen it you need to watch it right now. It’s call Contact, it was made in 1997.

Eric: Oh!

Michael: Nobody remembers the film because it came out the same year as Titanic and I think Titanic took everything by storm.

[Alison and Amy laugh]

Michael: But Contact, I would highly suggest it just in terms of what we’re talking about now because the moral lesson is about the meaning of what’s the true meaning of Humanity on the earth, which is something that Harry Potter touches on it is very important also go see it. Also, if you haven’t seen Cloud Atlas. Also, the same movie.

[Eric and Michael laugh}

Alison: I just had someone suggest that to me two days ago.

Michael: Nobody watched Cloud Atlas and it bombed at the box office and it’s one of the greatest movies ever made. So Cloud Atlas and Contact if you guys are looking for…

Eric: Coming from a film expert, it means a lot.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: … more stuff about the connections between humans and what our meaning is, because I don’t think people initially see Harry Potter as being about that…

Eric: And it wasn’t even something that I envisioned even asking on, especially in this chapter, because there’s so much else in this chapter, but in terms of Harry’s conviction that it has to be him, it is something that will eventually come into play, and I think there’s probably no better… why not mention what this chapter’s got…

Michael: Well, I see that you ask in this chapter because Hermione and Ron, especially Hermione, sacrifices are heartbreaking.

Eric: Yes.

Alison and Amy: Yeah.

Eric: So let’s go from talking about amazing ideas to ideas I am less than fond of, shall we?

Michael: What are you not fond of, Eric?

Eric: Accio Horcrux books!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Why?

Eric: I feel like the simplicity, which some would argue was intentional on Dumbledore’s part, by the way that Hermione – first of all – acquired the sum of all human knowledge in that one book in particular, that this one book gives almost all of it away, that it is also probably the same book that Voldemort himself read, that Voldemort himself, it turns out, found about about Horcruxes just by visiting the Hogwarts library, which is something that’s ridiculous…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … and they speculate that Dumbledore didn’t remove the book in time and all that. I don’t think the book had any… I hate how it’s a book, just a regular book, and not somebody’s centuries old knowledge that’s been passed down by oral tradition. I hate that it’s a book, I hate that the book was in the library, I hate that Hermione just had to do a Summoning Charm to get it, and that she did it off screen at the end of the last book. This is a retcon. This is ridiculous.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: If it wasn’t explicitly mentioned in Book 6, I don’t want to hear that it happened in the sixth year. And Hermione just suppressed it all this time and I understand that they had plenty of other things going on, but I’m really just not okay with how this information plays out. Do you want me to keep going? There’s plenty more I could say.

Michael: Let’s…

Alison: I think that’s the genius of it, is how simple it is.

Eric: No. Sorry, you’re wrong.

Alison: I think it’s the absolute genius of it.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: No, no, no! Because…

Michael: Yeah, go, Alison.

Alison: You would expect…

Michael: Eric can be easily persuaded, Alison, with a good argument.

Alison: You would expect this to be locked up tight, right? You would expect it to be hard to get. But it’s not.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Because anyone who’s expecting it to be hard to get is going to be planning far too much in advance, is going to be doing crazy stuff, and all you had to do was ask for it. It’s “help will be given at Hogwarts.” It’s fabulous. And it’s something that no one wants to talk about that’s written down in a book because the simplicity of it is what’s genius about it.

Michael: Okay. Amy?

Amy: I think it has to be a book. Just to address that. Because if it was passed down orally, who’s going to want to pass that down? Who’s going to want to talk about this awful thing?

Alison: Exactly.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yeah. No one wants to say that.

Eric: I’ll tell you exactly…

Amy: It would just get forgotten. So the only way that’s still going to be around is in a book.

Eric: No, no, no.

Alison: Because how often does a super evil wizard that’s going to do that come around?

Amy: Right.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Well, honestly, wouldn’t you love to read the story, continuing off of all that Book 6 Voldemort backstory stuff, where he tracks down somebody that knows how to do it and then kills them? His leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. We’ve talked about how ridiculously powerful Dumbledore is and how there’s magic that Dumbledore has, and Voldemort, but Dumbledore we see in the cave scene. Magic that you can’t even begin to fathom how it’s created. It’s so beyond anything that’s ever going to be taught at Hogwarts. And then you have the absolute worst thing you can do to a human being is murder, and you have the actual specific instructions on how to make a Horcrux, how to best protect it against people, and it’s all in one book that was in the library at Hogwarts School.

Alison: How do we know it’s just a regular book, though? How do we know it’s not some dark wizard’s journal, research journal, experimentation journal, that…

Eric: Well, it’s described as being a tome in black leather. Hermione gives it the right amount of distance. She thumbs though it. There’s very good imagery surrounding the looks that she gives it…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: … how she pages through it. But she’s basically… it is the sum of the knowledge and it’s sort of just written down and too easily accessible, and I don’t think the simplicity makes it brilliant. I think the simplicity means that a lot of hard questions were given off, traded off, in favor of more plot developments. Essentially, I have an alternate theory here. In Elphias Doge’s obituary for Dumbledore, he mentions that at an early age, Dumbledore was in contact with magical theoreticians. It’s a passing mention, but it’s in this book and there are pillars of the magical community that are outside the typical structure that we see reading the Harry Potter books, like somebody who’s either in government or teaching at the school. There are theoreticians out there who are doing some of the things that Dumbledore later did, like discovering uses of dragon’s blood and stuff, stuff that benefits or otherwise affects the greater magical world, but we’re not talking about those types of people, those hermits who have dedicated their life to expanding the understanding of the magical world. I strongly feel that, because Dumbledore is not who he is by just the seven years of magical education provided to him at Hogwarts in Britain. He had extensive studying and if he never even got to travel the world, he certainly was talking with people who were doing that. I feel like Voldemort would be the same way. Voldemort, who as of Book 6, modified his body in ways that were completely unnatural, and he was doing a lot of traveling. Traveling seems to be the key. Traveling seems to be Jo’s phrase for “learned a lot of stuff that’s secret and not openly known.” So to have the answers be in a Horcrux book that’s just at the library, they just checked out, even if it was in the restriction section, we know he was a Prefect, we know he was a flatterer, so of course he was able to get a hold of this book… It seems way too easy. So my alternate whole theory thing is… I can see somebody like Bathilda Bagshot having some of Dumbledore’s old notes on Horcruxes or something and if the scene in Godrick’s Hollow played out differently, we know in this chapter that Harry still wants to go to Godrick’s Hollow. If a lot of things played out differently, I can see the information about Horcruxes being delivered to Harry in a different way. Maybe by Bathilda Bagshot who had Dumbledore’s old notes, maybe… a million other ways, but not in a book that gets summoned in a previous book, which we didn’t even know about, and not so easy so as to contain all of the information that is dumped in this chapter. I just think it’s underwhelming. I think it’s criminally underwhelming. I just am not okay with it.

Alison: Here’s why a book works instead of a person: Voldemort doesn’t trust anyone. Voldemort will not rely on anyone…

Eric: Right.

Alison: … but a book has more authority. Why would Voldemort go talk to someone if this had been passed down orally? He wouldn’t trust that judgement, but a book has more authority than a person to him and he doesn’t want to rely on anyone, but he will rely on written, tested word that’s print.

Eric: Why didn’t he destroy the book after he was done using it? Why didn’t he keep the book? He returned it to the library? “Excuse me, Tom, you’ve got this book, it’s overdue…” And teachers would know, as well. “What book did Mr. Riddle check out?” “Oh, ‘Secrets of the Darkest Art’…”

Alison: Maybe he didn’t check it out. Maybe he didn’t officially check it out. He just read it in the library and took notes.

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah, and…

Eric: It seems to contain a lot of nuanced, detailed information about exactly what you should do, not only before, but during and after. It just seems like it’s way too convenient a plot device. It doesn’t sit right with me.

Michael: I agree with you to some degree, Eric, because I can totally see your frustration with it, especially given the alternative that you’ve presented, that Harry would go seek somebody out. But at the same time, the reason I’m okay with it being the way Rowling did it is because she has shown throughout the series that she has a grandiose respect for books. And there’s some interesting issues that just come up with how the books are even obtained and because I’m fascinated that Dumbledore actually kept the book off the shelf because if you were to talk to any librarian – and I speak only for the librarians of America because I only know the ALA, which is the American Librarian Association, policy, which is… we have what’s called the Freedom to Read Act, which essentially means we have no right to take books off the shelves.

Eric: It’s censorship, right?

Michael: Yes. It’s considered censorship. I find it interesting that Dumbledore would censor this information because I don’t think that really aligns with Dumbledore’s view of how information should be given to people. I think…

Eric: On the other hand, it could be, [as Dumbledore] “Oh, this is the book that caused the whole situation that we’ve been in the last 20 odd years.”

Michael: Well, and that… see, that’s equitable to censoring Mein Kampf, which most libraries would not do because there’s also value in knowing why history happens and I think Dumbledore knows that. In that way, with the idea that perhaps Dumbledore doesn’t believe in this level of censorship, that would explain why he actually lets the books be as accessible as they are with the Accio spell.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Michael: Because…

Alison: Oh, that’s a great point.

Michael: Because Hermione even basically says that.

Eric: Well, I tend to believe that not even Dumbledore’s so reckless that just anyone could’ve summoned…

Michael: But we… you also have to think in terms, too, of how… I think we assume that there’s more knowledge in the wizarding world about Horcruxes than there is, because we all know about it as readers, now.

Alison and Amy: Yeah.

Michael: But it’s very heavily implied in the books that really Dumbledore and Harry are, and Ron and Hermione by extension, and Voldemort are the only people…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … who really know even what the word Horcrux… that that exists as a word.

Amy: There was a case where there’s a book that tells you exactly how to make a bomb on your own, and it was perfectly legal for this book to be published and distributed because it was compiled from existing information that was already out there. So technically, even if this book is telling people how to do this awful thing, if it was compiled by bits of information that already existed outside of that book, then someone could have put those together on their own without the book’s help.

Michael: Yep.

Amy: So it’s comes back to the whole…

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Amy: … censoring thing. You can’t really censor that. It’s legal. I mean in the Muggle world, anyway.

Eric: I guess it is said in Book 6, Dumbledore’s banned discussion of Horcruxes by Hogwarts staff.

Amy: Mhm.

Eric: And there’s a question of, if he intended to make the books so easy to get, why remove them from the library anyway? Because at least in the library, if it’s in the Restricted Section, you need a signature from a teacher.

Amy: Right.

Eric: And there’s some paper trail versus just Summoning Charm and if Dumbledore’s not in his office at the moment they go flying out the door. It’s like, “Oh, who did that?”

Michael: I thought they were easy because I think Hermione’s right that he wanted her to have them.

Alison: I definitely…

Amy: Yeah.

Alison: I was going to say that. I think just like he was leaving Harry the ring in the Snitch, he was leaving Hermione this opportunity to get these books without… he knew the Ministry would go through his will.

Michael: Yes.

Alison: So he’s leaving the books more accessible to Hermione, but in a way that won’t get her in trouble or raise suspicion about what’s going on for them.

Michael: I think it’s logical that Hermione would take that step to think, “There’s probably a book about it and it’s probably in Dumbledore’s office,” and that’s what Dumbledore was gambling on because he had no other way to get the book to her.

Eric: Getting back to specifically in this chapter, the way that it’s presented as well: This isn’t a, “Let’s just shoot bullets and see what sticks…” actually, it is.

[Amy and Michael laugh]

Eric: Hermione hides the fact… it’s done very well in the form of misdirection. The information is there; it’s dumped in such a way that Hermione basically… as she’s telling all of the important information, she’s saying, “Oh, but it’s not stealing and I’m sure he would’ve wanted me to have them and he’s dead, so it’s not stealing.” She’s so self-conscious about the… she’s raising the question about the questionable nature of how she received these books so that we don’t have to. It’s like, “Oh, because Hermione is nervous about how she got them, we’re supposed to think it’s funny and not really seriously question this.”

Alison: I always read it a little bit more as she doesn’t want Harry to fly off the handle by thinking she somehow disrespected Dumbledore’s memory to do it that closely. I feel like it’s her trying to mollify herself and also assure Harry that she wasn’t trying to do anything disrespectful.

Eric: This info dump happens fast, but it’s still – no matter how glorious it is – cut short by Molly Weasley running in, bursting in, and saying, “I thought you were all helping with the wedding!” Can I just say – listeners, I’m going to get so much hate for this – to use Molly’s own words, “Bitch, leave us alone!”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: “Leave us alone. We are planning to kill Voldemort here. This is the point. It’s been three days of doing your housework, okay? We’ve grinned. We’ve beared it. You started assigning us tasks we’ve already done. Listen.” This is the point where all three of them should’ve said, “Listen: Get out. This is the end of the world we’re talking about. Get the hell out so we can hear more about all of this amazing stuff.” For the first time in Harry’s life, he has clarity, finally. What must be done? Let’s hear more about what Hermione knows. Let’s hear more about this book. I want to sit by a campfire and read the book aloud so I know every detail of this…

[Alison laughs]

Michael: I’m really enjoying this alternative look at the Harry Potter series where Harry Potter is actually Eric Scull.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I want to read… if I were Harry, I would steal that book and spend nights reading it. You know how obsessed he was with the Half-Blood Prince book? That’s how obsessed I would be about Secrets of the Darkest Art. Since when is Harry content with the SparkNotes? Oh, wait, that’s Harry. You would just think that there would be more time to talk about the most interesting things in the Harry Potter books, and the fact that he’s questioning about the Hallows later on and all this other stuff… Horcruxes are where it’s at. I feel like Book 6 was such a set-up for Horcruxes and we’re finally getting some information, and Molly Weasley bursts in again. It’s too much. It’s just too much, Jo. It’s too much.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Here’s the thing, here’s the thing: Molly has no idea what’s going on. Molly hasn’t a single clue what they’re trying to do; that they’re even trying to go do something important. All she knows is that her youngest son, his best friend who she’s basically adopted, and their other best friend who is going to become her second daughter soon – or not second daughter, I guess, okay, basically a daughter soon – are just going off. She has no idea they’re going to do anything important, and she’s worried. She’s a mom. She just wants them to be okay, and she thinks the only way to do that is to stop them from going to do something. She has no idea that they’re so close to getting rid of Voldemort. She has no clue, and…

Eric: Look, at this point, it’s their duty to tell her.

Alison: No, I agree with you.

Eric: I said it was cute at first. Now she is just interfering with the mission to kill Voldemort, which is all that this book should be about.

Michael: Well, and telling her, I don’t think would do any good, actually.

Alison: Oh, no. She’d freak out.

Michael: I think that would actually… she’d ramp up her efforts to keep them.

Amy: It would make it worse.

Eric: It would be part of coming clean, wouldn’t it? I mean, Harry, in this chapter, fails to come clean even with Ginny. He gives a hint and she’s like, “So it is about that.”

Michael: Yeah, that’s dumb. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah, that’s not the smartest move on his part because I think Ginny could have calmed Molly down.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Ginny could have gotten a handle on that and things would have been better. But it’s Harry being Harry. He doesn’t want anyone to have the potential to get hurt at all because of him, and that means keeping information. Harry is copying Dumbledore at this point.

Amy: Mhm.

Eric: But at what point…? To a detriment of: They are not being given all the information that they could be because Molly is bursting in.

Michael: Oh, no, I think that’s totally true because that’s something I always have a problem with in Deathly Hallows, as good as it does serve for the plot. It is frustrating that Harry will continually keep throwing in multiple people’s faces, “Dumbledore told me not to tell anybody about this, so I’m not going to.” And I do think sometimes… rereading it now, I don’t feel Harry interpreted what Dumbledore said incorrectly, but I have before. There are some instances where I still feel as a reader – whether Harry took it correctly or not – that Harry does take it too far in the result of how his relationships break down with certain people over that.

Alison: He’s making Dumbledore’s mistakes.

Michael: Yeah, he is.

Alison: But at this point he doesn’t realize that they’re mistakes. He doesn’t know how much Dumbledore was keeping from him and why that was a mistake, so Harry is making the exact same mistakes.

Michael: I think the reason that the book doesn’t end up getting read is for reasons that Rowling explained later, which is that she did not want to reveal the stuff about how a Horcrux works.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Eric: Yes.

Michael: And I think in that respect she was right because – and I have mentioned this multiple times on the show before – she’s doing a great job of keeping the mystique of a Horcrux, still. Because if she revealed everything, it wouldn’t really be much fun anymore.

Eric: Well, I think it would still be fun, but the problem is people would try it, and that’s the worst thing you could ever imagine.

Alison: Yeah, I don’t want to know.

Michael: Well, she said there’s a spell involved, so people would try it and fail.

Amy: I feel like if we know it, it wouldn’t seem as evil and unreachable, though.

Michael: Yes, yes.

Eric: Right, the imagination is key.

Michael: Yeah, that’s what I was meaning to say, Amy. That’s exactly it. Because I think… and it’s a rule in film, just as much as it is in books. It’s funny you mentioned, Eric, Nightmare on Elm Street because good horror films do this particularly well, but they do let the audience imagine the horror. Those horror films tend to be more effective, if you leave just enough to the imagination of the audience…

Amy: Oh, yeah.

Michael: … because what we say in film is that whatever the audience can imagine in their heads…

Eric: Is infinitely worse?

Michael: … is infinitely more terrifying or incredible or wonderful than what somebody can actually portray onscreen or on the page.

Amy: Right.

Eric: It goes back to, I think, Greek tragedy. All the terrible things…

Michael: Happen offstage.

Eric: Oedipus happens, yeah, offscreen. I’d love to know more, but our time is cut short. The same can be said with this discussion. Listeners, I apologize for the surprise unload on Molly and/or JK Rowling.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: But it was unbelievable because during this reread for me, I was thinking, “Oh, these books are…” I thought that Book 7 always felt written differently to me, but rereading now I’m like, “Oh, it’s still up to par; it’s still the same foreshadowing for later events.” I was really enjoying reading the previous chapters. And it was only upon coming to this one that I said, “You know what, there are things that I’m not okay with.” And it’s cool that I’m not okay with them. I have to get over that because it’s a published work and has been for eight years, and in eight years JKR hasn’t reneged, and in fact she said it was her favorite book she ever wrote at the time.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: I know that I have to get over it, but because we have this medium and I hope to find maybe one other person who… and I’m glad that you guys, at least, listened and were like, “Okay, okay, so this makes sense.” And it’s okay to have contrary opinions! But I do think…

Michael: Yep, I learned that last week.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: At the end of the day these are our opinions, though, and you have your own opinions and this is all the wonderful reason why we’re still talking about this book series.

Michael: Eric, I know you’re being very apologetic which is very nice about your…

Eric: I’m just preparing.

[Amy laughs]

Michael: Well, no, I think you shouldn’t because there’s still a large section of the Harry Potter community and readers as a whole who aren’t satisfied with Deathly Hallows. Deathly Hallows, personally, for me is not my favorite. I think it’s good and I actually learned to see more of it over time because Deathly Hallows is the one I reread the least.

Alison: And see, I feel completely opposite. I think this is tied for my favorite book. I absolutely adore this book and the way she wrapped things up while still surprising us. And just beyond that, I think just her actual writing, her actual language itself, is probably her most beautiful in this book. And I will gladly debate these things with you because I love it so much. [laughs]

Eric: You said it was paired; what’s your other favorite?

Alison: Prisoner.

Michael: Yeah!

Eric: Oh, that’s my favorite. I don’t know why we don’t get along.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: I know. [Books] 3 and 7 are my favorites. There’s something about them.

Michael: So for our Podcast Question of the Week, listeners, I actually want to piggyback off of Eric’s very strong feelings about Mrs. Weasley…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Ah!

Michael: … because I think they are worth examining further and I think that’s a conflict that a lot of listeners have in this chapter. And not only the listeners, but also the characters. The question is as follows: “We as readers are positioned to support Harry in most of his feelings and choices. In this instance, via Harry, we are initially pitted against Mrs. Weasley. But as the chapter continues, Harry begins to see the moral grayness in Molly’s attempts to glean information from him and keep him separated from Ron and Hermione. As we discussed, while Molly is holding up her responsibility as a mother, she can also not possibly be as ignorant as she lets on about Harry and Voldemort’s conflict. Yet, this is not the first time in the series Molly has been overbearing toward the trio. What were your initial feelings toward Molly in this chapter and is her behavior completely justifiable or only to a point?” And I have to say, listeners, that the part of the chapter that I hope to leave you with with this question, as you head to to answer this, is the end here, which I do want to read. It’s just a very short snippet and it’s where Harry actually is asked by Mrs. Weasley about what he wants to do for his birthday, and Harry says, “‘I don’t want a fuss,’ said Harry quickly, envisaging the additional strain this would put on them all. ‘Really, Mrs. Weasley, just a normal dinner would be fine. It’s the day before the wedding.’ ‘Oh, well, if you’re sure, dear. I’ll invite Remus and Tonks, shall I? And how about Hagrid?’ ‘That’d be great,’ said Harry, ‘but please, don’t go to loads of trouble.’ ‘Not at all, not at all. It’s no trouble.’ She looked at him, a long searching look, and smiled a little sadly, straightened up, and walked away.”

Eric: She walked away to…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Sorry.

Michael: “Harry watched as she waved her wand near the washing line and the damp clothes rose into the air to hang themselves up, and suddenly he felt a great wave of remorse for the inconvenience and the pain he was giving her.” That has to be one of the most striking ends to a chapter in the Harry Potter series, I think, in a very subtle way that we don’t as a fandom talk about a lot. And I think that moment is very much worth keeping in mind for this Question of the Week, which, once again, to answer you can head over to and we will read some of your responses on next week’s show.

Eric: Molly Weasley, master manipulator. Don’t believe it!

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Don’t believe it for a second, listeners. Also, okay, she walked away only to figure out when the next time [is] she can interrupt super secret spoiler-reveal meetings from Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Thank you, Eric. Point, counterpoint.

[Alison and Michael laughs]

Alison: We just want to thank Amy then, to wrap-up, for being our guest host on the show today. So thank you so much for being with us, Amy.

Amy: Thanks for having me on.

Michael: Super secret reveal: Amy is a MuggleNet staff member. Ooh! I gave it away.

Amy: Ah, yes. [laughs]

Eric: Aha! Oh no!

[Michael laughs]

Michael: But Amy was very, very kind to step in for us because we had a guest who cancelled…

Eric: Yes.

Michael: … and so Amy was very gracious to come in, like a good Hufflepuff.

Amy: Gladly.

Alison: Hufflepuff!

Eric: We’re so loyal. Ah, Hufflepuff. You guys, J.K. Rowling says that this is the age of Hufflepuff and I hope that I’m not the reason she takes that back.

[Everyone laughs]

Amy: You ruined it for all of us.

Alison: All your fault, Eric.

Eric: But I love being in the age of Hufflepuff.

Michael: You’re the reason they’re closing down Pottermore, Eric.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Don’t even start that rumor, Michael.

Alison: All your fault!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: No.

Eric: If you would like to be on the show like Amy was, visit the “Be on the Show” page at No fancy equipment is needed. As a matter of fact, Amy confessed to us that she is recording on Apple headphones as we speak.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Amy: That’s a big confession, I know.

Eric: Ooh, big confession. Happened before the show. We almost didn’t have her on. But you do not need any special equipment; Apple headphones will do. Although, part of the “Be on the Show” process is to send us a test sample so we can just make sure [of] general stuff like background noise. Anyway, while you’re on our website looking up how to do that and what to say and what to do and what to think, you should download a ringtone. They are free and they come in all shapes and sizes.

Michael: Side note, listeners: Eric is not the reason that Pottermore is closing down. I am the reason Pottermore is closing down, I’m pretty sure.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Oh no!

Alison: Hey, they responded to you, so…

Michael: They did! Yeah, they talked to me on Twitter. They did give me some information.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: That was nice to designate to the public. They just confirmed to me, and to everybody who saw the tweet, that yes, all of the new information on Pottermore will still be accessible in the new version once they revise. So as that was a great example, listeners, of how I got… you know how I got in touch with Pottermore, listeners, was by Twitter! And you can actually stay in touch with us on Twitter as well.

Eric: Yay!

Michael: All you have to do with that is find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN; that is our Twitter handle. You can also find us in lots of other places including Facebook at; our Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast… we have a phone number that nobody calls anymore, but hey!

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Maybe you could be that person.

Eric: That’s so 1999.

Michael: I sit by the phone and I wait for it to ring. [laughs] And that number for that is 206-GO-ALBUS, or 206-462-5287. Or as most people prefer to do, you can send us an owl to audioBoom! That’s audioBoom. Boom! At you’ll actually see the audioBoom app over on the sidebar where you can submit us some thoughts, questions… Kat is waiting for somebody to sing her a song or do some poetry.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: So you can pretty much do anything sound-based on audioBoom. It’s free; all you need is a microphone. Just please make sure and keep your messages under sixty seconds so that we can actually fit them on the show.

Eric: And we would be remiss if we did not mention the Alohomora! store where you can get wonderful, wonderful, delightful items. Or is it delightful, delightful, wonderful items? I’m still deciding. Including House shirts, Desk!Pig, Mandrake Liberation Front, Minerva is my Homegirl, and so many more. And also, you can probably get a new one based on this episode discussion, which is going to be… I think it’s just going to be words and it’s just going to say, “Accio Horcrux, but nope!”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: I’m pretty sure that after last week, it’s been in the works and I’ve never… I haven’t, unfortunately, found the time to do it. But I think after last week, I definitely owe the listeners that Lupin Love shirt. [laughs]

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

[Eric laughs]

Michael: I will sit down at my artist table, my canvas, and I will make you that shirt, listeners.

Eric: Yes!

Michael: It’ll…

Eric: So suffice to say that this…

Michael: We’ve got some work to do. [laughs]

Eric: Yes. The Alohomora! store [has] new items to be released soon, just as soon as we can design them. And the store is thriving. Go check it out. It’s actually Antipodean flip-flop season. You guys call them jandals down there.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: So go check that out and get your jandals on us.

Alison: And while you’re waiting for those new T-shirts to be designed, make sure you check out our smartphone app, which is… Well, I’ve already sung once into this microphone today so I’m not going to sing, but it’s available around the world.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: [singing] “Around the world.”

Alison: And prices vary, and it includes awesome things like transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and more. There will probably be something from this episode because we got very excited.

Eric: If this episode seems long to you, we promise the recording was longer.

Alison: Yeah, yeah.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: And I guess that’s all from us. I’m Alison Siggard.

[Show music begins]

Michael: I’m Michael Harle.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull. Thank you for listening. Really, thank you for listening to Episode 156 of Alohomora!

Michael: [as Harry Potter] Open the Dumbledore!

Eric: [as Molly Weasley] Are you guys plotting again?

[Show music continues]

Eric: Actually, it’s funny because getting back into the book to prepare for this chapter, I was like, “Ooh good, we’ve passed ‘The Seven Potters.’ That was intense. We’ve passed…” What was the previous one? “The Fallen Warrior”?

Alison: “The Fallen Warrior.”

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: “The Fallen Warrior.” I was like, “That’s great. Okay, what chapter do I have the discussion on? ‘The Ghoul in Pyjamas.’ Okay, all right, what?”

[Alison, Amy, and Michael laugh]

Eric: Suffice to say we have a summary here, which we always give at the beginning of these chapters.

[Prolonged silence]

Eric: I should have written more…

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Lies! Lies and slander!

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: “We don’t have the chapter summary. Just kidding!”

Eric: Give me one second. I’m going to type one out. Now is a good time to get water. Give me a second.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Okay.