Transcript – Episode 162

[Show music begins]

Caleb Graves: This is Episode 162 of Alohomora! for October 31, 2015.

[Show music continues]

Caleb: Hey everyone, welcome to a Halloween – just by coincidence – episode of Alohomora! I’m Caleb Graves.

Alison Siggard: I’m Alison Siggard.

Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller. And our guest host today is none other than Dana. Hello, Dana. Thank you for joining us.

Dana: Hi! Thanks for having me.

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

Dana: Well, I have been a lifelong Harry Potter fan as I guess everybody else pretty much is as well. Grew up with the series. I currently go to med school, so a lot of work on my plate, but I use Harry Potter as an escape.

Kat: That’s great. Oh, med school. Good for you.

Dana: Yeah.

Kat: What do you want to do with it?

Dana: Pediatrics.

Caleb: What house are you?

Dana: I’m a Ravenclaw.

Caleb: Great.

Dana: A very proud Ravenclaw.

Kat: Perfect. So two lions, two eagles today. That works out.

Caleb: We want to remind our listeners that this week, we will be discussing Chapter 12 of Deathly Hallows, “Magic is Might.”

Kat: But of course, before we jump into the chapter, we’re going to recap some comments from last week’s episode which was on Chapter 11 of Deathly Hallows. We’re going to jump right in here. Our first comment is from Stephanie. It’s an audioBoom.

[Audio]: Hi, Alohomora! This is Stephanie. I have a crazy theory. I thought of it when I heard Michael talk about how Hermione told Harry to remember Dumbledore as he was and not spend all of this time trying to find out the truth about him. Do you think it is possible that by this time, Hermione has already caught onto Dumbledore’s plan, that Harry is a Horcrux and has to die and that she’s trying to keep him from finding out the truth just yet? I know it’s a crazy thought, but I would love to hear what you guys think. Thanks!

Caleb: Wow. I had not ever thought about this. Ooh. That’s pretty big, if true.

Kat: Yeah, I thought it was very interesting. We know Hermione is pretty perceptive, but I don’t know.

Caleb: I feel like she would… I don’t know. She couldn’t keep that from Harry if she knew the ultimate plan.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: It’s a pretty big secret.

Alison: I also don’t know if she would think of that. Obviously, it had never been done before. Dumbledore says it’s kind of crazy that it even happened at all, so I don’t know if Hermione would even think that far into Horcruxes to come to that conclusion.

Kat: I mean, she does have the books, though. And she has read the process, right?

Alison: Yes, but… I don’t know.

Caleb: I don’t think it’s beyond her perception to figure it out. I think she’s pretty clever, but I don’t see her keeping that from Harry.

Kat: Is it just movie canon where she says that she suspected for a while?

Alison: I think so.

Caleb: Mmm. Yeah, probably so.

Kat: I think so, too.

Caleb: Because I don’t remember and I haven’t seen this half of the movie in a long time.

Kat: Right.

Dana: I agree. I don’t think she would be able to keep this from him, and I think that’s also movie canon as well.

Caleb: But man, if she did keep it from him, that would be huge.

Alison: She would be real good if she could do that.

Kat: What are the implications of that? Would there be any fallout from her keeping that from Harry? Or would things have changed if she had told him?

Alison: I feel like she would have been more distant from him if she had known, just to almost separate herself from it if she knows that’s going to happen.

Kat: Hmm. I wonder, too, even if she did suspect it if she would truly believe that it’s possible, even if it’s something that she thought of and pondered, if she would even believe it was plausible, you know?

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Because she has a hard time with the unknown.

Alison: And that’s why I think she wouldn’t figure that out at all…

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: …because nothing in the book would even suggest that’s possible.

Kat: True. Luna maybe, then.

Alison: Oh, yeah. [laughs]

Kat: Well, our next comment here comes from DoraNympha. This is on the discussion of Lupin which was obviously the topic of the week last week here. There was two sides to the coin to the discussion here and this was the first side. DoraNympha says,

“Lupin’s not acting out of selfishness; he’s not trying to save his own skin or run from responsibility – I think he genuinely believes that Tonks and the child and basically everyone ever is better off and safer without him. He still thinks this, and how could he not, after all these years. How Lupin’s character pretty much embodies depression this way could be discussed in a twenty thousand-word essay, but the thing I want to point out right now is that the worst part of this is that he’s absolutely justified in this. I think it was touched upon in the episode too. His self-deprecation isn’t only delusion, sadly; apparently, everyone new he meets [who] learns about his lycanthropy can barely talk to him? That’s extreme and dangerous. Getting validated in your self-hate is something that you just never forget, and he apparently gets this every step he takes? Considering this, he’s holding up relatively well, actually.”

So again, just the one side of the coin. What do you guys think?

Caleb: Oh, man. I know it was discussed a lot last week, so I don’t want to go on a diatribe here. It’s just a really complex thing. For me, I see it as… he’s definitely validated and feeling this way in general, there’s enough to support it. There’s certainly an element of depression to me, if you just want a psychiatric effect on him, but at the same time, for me it’s just… When you become a parent, and obviously I can’t speak to this not being a parent, there’s just a different element for me. But that doesn’t remove the fact that it’s… I don’t want to say mental condition… That creates such an extreme negative connotation, but I feel like he has some emotional mental issues that don’t go away necessarily just because he’s a parent. But it is tough. I don’t know.

Alison: I definitely agree with you, Caleb, and I think this comment makes sense, but I don’t think, like you’re saying, it necessarily excuse him from what he’s trying to do. I definitely think this is what’s going on with his head right now, but I still don’t think that that almost gives him a pass to run away from that.

Kat: Well, okay, it’s funny you say that. So I’ll read the next comment now, which is the other side of the coin. And there were many, many, many to choose from. I think this one put it out there the best. It’s from Paigers. It says… it’s a long one.

“While I do truly love Lupin, I think I disagree with the hosts. Harry was correct to say what he did. I think Lupin was acting like a coward here and deserved to be told it. Remember, this is not the first instance we see of Lupin acting a little cowardly because of his insecurities and disgust with his own nature. Something I think a lot of HP fans (including me) often forget about because it is only briefly glossed over in one chapter and then never mentioned again is Lupin’s incredible cowardice during all of Prisoner of Azkaban. He knew for the entire book that Sirius was an [A]nimagus and completely believed that Sirius was a murderer determined to kill Harry. Yet, even when Sirius begins breaking into Hogwarts, he never says a word to Dumbledore. Later in the book, after he realizes Sirius is innocent, he says that he had tried to convince himself that Sirius was using [D]ark magic and not his [A]nimagus abilities, but he acknowledges that he really just didn’t want to tell Dumbledore because he didn’t want to admit to him that he had broken his trust during his Hogwarts days and let other students become [A]nimagi for him. What’s amazing about this is that he fully believed that his old friends’ son Harry was in mortal danger, and he had information to help prevent it, and he kept his mouth shut. In a way, this is almost worse than leaving his pregnant wife. While I love Lupin and sympathize with his concerns in this chapter, I think Harry was right to acknowledge out loud that his insecurities don’t get to excuse him from doing the right thing. It’s possible that calling Lupin a coward was the only way to shock him into […] changing his mind and going back to his wife and child.”

So I thought that that made a very good point because I think we do tend to forget about Lupin’s… all the information he held back in Prisoner, which is important, I think.

Alison: But I don’t know if you can necessarily call that cowardly. I think that was almost more self-doubt than cowardice in that situation.

Caleb: Also, Harry was 13 then versus 17.

Alison: Exactly. I still think Harry was a little harsh. Unnecessarily harsh.

Caleb: Yeah, I agree. I think Alison and I probably agree on this whole issue. It’s a complicated issue, but…

Alison: Yeah.

Caleb: … it doesn’t justify the way Harry is dealing with it. And that also, despite me feeling that Harry acted out from a very emotional place, not in a logical, thought-first place, that doesn’t take away…

Alison: Definitely.

Caleb: … the fact that yes, it probably did have a good effect on Lupin going back to his wife and child, but that certainly wasn’t Harry’s first intent. I think we all agree on that.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah, I’m actually the opposite, and I agree with Paigers’ comment. I think that Harry was completely justified in saying to Lupin what he did. Harry is one of the only people, probably, in Lupin’s life that knows what it’s like to have his parents not around. To be, not left behind on purpose, but orphaned. And yes, Harry reacted emotionally, but that’s who Harry is and it would be a different story if he thought before he spoke. But it was a big discussion last week, and we won’t go into it too much today, but I thought those were a lot of really great comments. There were over 350 comments on the main site this week, so it was very hard to choose the three that I did, so definitely go over to and keep the conversation going, because I don’t think this Lupin topic is going away any time soon.

Alison: And speaking of Lupin, we’re going to move on to our Podcast Question of the Week responses. And just a reminder of what that question was,

“What if three became four? What if Lupin had joined the trio in their quest? Would the trio have been forced to reveal Dumbledore’s plans to Lupin? How would this have changed their course of action? And how would this have affected Tonks’s relationship to Lupin, as well as how we, as readers, see him?”

So there were a lot of really great comments this week, a lot of really great discussions, too, going on. People going back and forth. So it was really hard to pick these as well. But our first one comes from WhoDoYouKnowWho’sLostAButtock?, who says,

“Having Lupin there would have been a disaster. Lupin was their teacher – all of them. So far, the trio has operated on a somewhat even footing, trying to solve things as they come along, with all of their combined ingenuity. They’re equals tackling a problem together as a team. Not always efficiently, but together. I am a teacher, and I know that that power balance never really goes away, even when your students become adults. You can be friends with your students, but those patterns are there, and as Lupin was there, his voice would have carried just a little too much weight, a little too much authority, even if he didn’t mean it to. … They cannot have an adult around treating them, consciously or unconsciously, like children. They aren’t children any more, and they have to step up. Lupin would throw off the dynamic, influence their decisions, and probably try to advise them on so many things. Harry has to grapple with the Horcruxes/Hallows decision and make that decision himself.”

Caleb: So I don’t know if Lupin would have been that… I don’t know if that authority problem would’ve carried so much. I mean, he tries to make it clear in the beginning that he wouldn’t be in that role, that he would be their protector. But maybe it would gradually shift and he would sort of ease into that authority role. But I don’t know, I see Harry as so dominant in carrying out this task. I’m… that’s not really what I would be concerned about, I don’t think.

Kat: Yeah, I think even when Lupin was their teacher back in third year, I never really saw him as a dominating personality. And the fact that his status in the Marauders as not necessarily a leader, but as someone who was just… I don’t want to say just kind of there, but he was just kind of there and hung out with his friends and followed them. And he even lamented a few times that he should’ve stopped a couple things that they were doing, and so I feel like that would be the exact role he would play in this situation, odd that it would be four – same as the Marauders – but yeah.

Alison: What do you think, Dana?

Dana: Having had these relationships… my mom is an elementary school principal and so I’m in close contact with a lot of teachers I had growing up. And being an adult now, you still have that power dynamic there even if you don’t intend to have it. So I’m curious as well if that would play a role even if he didn’t intend to, even if Harry is very dominant in what he wants to do and what his plan is, if Lupin would still have that power dynamic as a protector thing. Maybe we shouldn’t do this, maybe taking on that logical role, and maybe how that would conflict with Hermione’s logical role throughout the progress of the book.

Kat: I do think that Lupin wouldn’t act as rationally as the trio does at some points…

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: … and when Harry’s like, “We should just do it tomorrow,” I’m not sure Lupin would’ve been just rolling with it. He probably would’ve tried to input his opinion significantly more than he lets on, but I do still think that ultimately that Harry would have the final word. I mean, he would have to. He’s the only one who knows everything. I know Ron and Hermione know a lot, but Harry’s the only one who knows everything.

Alison: Well, our next comment comes from HowAmIGoingtoTranslateThis, who offers what Lupin could’ve done to split both ways. And the comment says,

“What about a DADA crash course before the trio sets out to find the [H]orcruxes? Teach them the [P]atronus message thing. Help them figure out what they can do when they get into tight spots and practise [A]pparating with Ron. Some basic healing spells would come in handy, too.Lupin stays with them for some time but returns to the Tonks’s home for days or weeks, depending on what the trio is up to. He can keep quiet about their mission, as he did with the [M]arauders being [A]nimagi, so telling him about the [H]orcruxes would not do any harm. He could be the one who gets them more information from places that they cannot go to, but he can. He has done undercover missions. Let him come to help them when they get stuck with their search; he can inform them about what the Order is doing, so they feel less isolated. Maybe he can find out about protective charms that keep the influence of the [H]orcrux-locket from driving them crazy. He can bring them homemade food! Hiding for months is not necessary for Lupin; he can take part in some things.”

Do we think this would’ve worked at all, or…

Kat: I mean, they go in and out of hiding so frequently that it would be really hard for Lupin to pop in and out, I think. And also, much like when Sirius tells Harry not to use Hedwig because she’s very visible when they’re sending letters back and forth, I feel like somebody would notice if Lupin was popping in and out of places, and I don’t know… it doesn’t seem entirely plausible to me anyway.

Dana: And I think with all the change in plans that they have that everything just goes haywire from time to time. Trying to plan that and say, “hey, we’ll meet back here.” It just seems implausible.

Kat: And I mean, there’s the little matter that Dumbledore specifically told Harry not to tell anybody about the Horcruxes.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: I mean, McGonagall directly asks him about it, and he’s significantly closer to McGonagall than he is Lupin, and when I say that it’s not… I mean, he’s not really close to either of them, but if he’s going to trust somebody, I feel like it would be McGonagall, and he doesn’t even tell her, so I’m not sure Harry would ever even consider telling Lupin, no matter what happened.

Alison: Yeah.

Dana: I agree.

Alison: All right. Our next comments from Felix Scamander, who asks, answers and asks,

“If Lupin had come, how would the locket have affected him? We know that Horcrux-brain … thrives on people who have or are in a state of high emotions. Lupin would have just abandoned his wife and her unborn child and be constantly worrying about his/her specie, and how long him/her and his/her mother would survive Bellatrix, feeling betrayed about the trio not telling him about the mission. Maybe Ron’s walking out would have been replaced by Lupin walking out. Then, would the trio have been more careful with the locket? Ron wouldn’t have left, [and] there [would] have been no Ron-grieving, […] hence more efficiency in looking for and destroying the Horcruxes, all leading to the accelerated fall of Lord Voldemort.”

Thoughts on that one?

Caleb and Dana: Hmm.

Kat: I don’t know how the locket would have affected Lupin. Again, that would depend on Harry telling Lupin what it is and what is in it. And would Lupin even be willing to touch it or go anywhere near it?

Dana: Exactly, yeah.

Kat: I don’t think so. And yeah, the whole “Lupin going with them” thing just throws me off. I don’t think it is a plausible solution ever. In any situation.

Caleb: It is hard for me to consider that being the thing that would change Ron not leaving. I still feel that would have happened, because there still would have been this Harry/Hermione dynamic that Ron would have read too much into, and that was the big motivation.

Alison: That is true.

Kat: Yeah, Lupin might have tried to talk sense into Ron if he sensed that something was going on, but I’m still positive that it would have happened regardless.

Dana: Would Lupin have jumped more into a protective role if he did wear the locket and see its effects? Would he have been more intrigued by what kind of dark magic are we dealing with here. This is way beyond the scope of a bunch of seventeen year olds. How would that have affected him in that, without knowing that it was a Horcrux and what was in it?

Kat: That is a good question, because I’ve always wondered where Lupin got his insane knowledge of the dark arts. If it is just stuff from school and from reading, or whatever? Because I’m not saying he is not qualified to be the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, because obviously he was one of their best, but where did that all come from, and would he even know about Horcruxes? And you’re right, what would he think about that? I’m not sure.

Alison: I think it would have been, actually, beneficial, because I think he would have seen that whatever this was was affecting them sooner than the trio sees it. Because I don’t think they really think about it, because they’re all wearing it and passing it around, and they don’t really understand it, so I think it could have been beneficial if Lupin had been there and seen that they’re all being affected by it, and then they could have, I mean, stopped wearing it sooner.

Dana: Mhm.

Kat: Yeah, that is true. I suppose the signs were there early on, but they were preoccupied.

Alison: Exactly.

Kat: Maybe if Lupin was there and a little less preoccupied, he would have noticed.

Alison: All right. Our last comment comes from DoraNympha, who says,

“Umm, I know what would have happened: maybe he wouldn’t have gotten so out of practice on his duelling skills and wouldn’t have died in the Battle of Hogwarts? Which is an awful prospect if Tonks still dies because he would have to raise Teddy knowing he wasted all that time he wasn’t with Tonks that he’s never going to get back, he wasn’t there when Teddy was born, and Teddy is a Metamorphmagus like his mum. Wow, as if that wouldn’t have been painful. He would live with unbearable guilt for this wasted time and a constant living reminder in the form of their child. On the one hand, it kinda fits into Lupin’s storylines, doesn’t it, since this is what always happens to him? He loses those few people who do want to be around him. On the other hand, umm… well.. how do I say, ‘I’m glad they both died’ without sounding cruel? But if we think about it, it’s probably for the better; it could have been worse – I can deal with both of them dead as opposed to the alternative if it entails what I wrote above.”

Caleb: Would he have really stayed alive, though? I mean, I guess maybe his path at Hogwarts would have been different, but I don’t know if he died because his dueling skills were out of practice.

Alison: Well, that is what it said on Pottermore. That is where that is coming from.

Caleb: Oh, it does? Oh.

Alison: Yeah, as part of the reason.

Caleb: Oh, snap. That is not in the book, though, is it? That is new from Pottermore.

Alison: No, yeah.

Caleb: Okay. Yeah, I didn’t remember that.

Kat: Yeah, I think it was part of his story, right?

Alison: Uh-huh.

Caleb: Okay. I haven’t read that in a long time, when we recorded that, whenever we were in London. That is a long time ago.

Kat: Yeah, years ago.

Caleb: Yeah, okay, well so then I’ll let someone else while I think about this more.

Kat: It is the trope of mom dying, dad regretting not being there, being reminded of mom by the kid, is something that comes up often in literature, and usually the father flies off the handle, and runs away, abandons the kid, kills himself, whatever. Or he sticks around and is super awesome, mega dad to the kid, and I would like to believe that Lupin would be the former, I mean the latter, but I’m not sure. He is a dark soul, and he is a pretty depressed guy. So I do feel like he probably… Teddy would have ended up an orphan no matter what happened. Whether Lupin ran off… turned, and then ran off, or what, I don’t know.

Alison: Interesting. It would be really interesting to see what would have happened. It’s interesting that this commenter says that it would fit into Lupin’s storyline, [laughs] which is very sad. But everyone who wants to be with him are the ones that die.

Kat: That is sad. Oh. Sad but true.

Alison: Yeah. Poor Lupin.

Caleb: I mean, not to take away from the fact that people have died, but let’s think about who he has lost: James and Sirius, obviously, right. But he didn’t lose everyone around him, right?

Alison: Well…

Caleb: We don’t know what his… do we know from his story… I can’t remember about his parents. I’m sure that’s in the Pottermore story, too.

Alison: I think his mother died, and now I’m trying to remember what happened to his dad. I think his dad either died, or he just elected to distance himself a little bit.

Caleb: Mhm.

Kat: Hold on. We have to look it up now. [types] Okay, so according to the Pottermore bio that we get on Lupin, it says, “The downfall of Voldemort” – the first time – “marked the beginning of a long stretch of loneliness and unhappiness for Remus. He had lost his three close friends and, with the Order disbanded, his previous comrades returned to busy lives with families. His mother was now dead” – so we assume that she died sometime before that – “and while Lyall, his father, was always delighted to see his son, Remus refused to endanger his father’s peaceful existence by returning to live with him.” So I’m not exactly sure that we know what happens to his dad, but I don’t think Lupin ever sees him again.

Alison: Well, those are our comments this week. Thank you all for answering. There are some really great other ones; it was really hard to pick, so everyone go check those out on the main site at

Caleb: All right. We’re going to now move into this week’s chapter discussion.

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 12 intro begins]

Harry: Chapter 12.

[Sound of an elevator “ding”]

Automatic voice: Level 1: Minister of Magic and Support Staff.

Harry: “Magic is Might.”

Umbridge: Hem-hem!

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 12 intro ends]

Caleb: All right, so quick summary of this chapter, “Magic is Might”: More visitors are appearing outside 12 Grimmauld Place while Kreacher has turned over a new leaf within the house, serving all kinds of delightful food and good manners and everything you could ever hope for. Hogwarts has a staff shakeup. The trio plans to get into the Ministry, but not before Harry gets another Voldemort vision. Finally, the three use Polyjuice Potion to disguise themselves and toilet their way into the Ministry of Magic. And once inside, it doesn’t take long for them to run into the very person for whom they are searching. So the first big thing in this chapter is they get a copy of the Daily Prophet and the headline that Harry brings in: “Severus Snape Confirmed as Hogwarts Headmaster.”

Kat: And the reaction is so appropriate; they’re both like, “No! No!”

Alison: Yes.

Kat: [laughs] It’s great. I didn’t expect that, but in a way almost did. I remember thinking, “Oh okay, yeah, sure. This makes sense.”

Caleb: Yeah. I mean, it was really surprising for me. I don’t know if I would have expected it. I guess Hogwarts had already left my brain for now because Harry, Hermione, and Ron had… we know they’re not going, and then it’s just a reminder that there are still problems going on at Hogwarts.

Kat: Mhm. Which is also cute, that they actually talk about missing the Hogwarts Express in that moment.

Caleb: Mhm.

Kat: They’re like, “Oh, it’s so weird not to be on it.”

Caleb: Yeah.

Alison: I think I just wasn’t expecting Snape to stay at Hogwarts. I guess I always had a hard time accepting that Snape really liked Hogwarts all that much; that he was connected to it.

Kat: Yeah. [laughs]

Alison: It almost felt like he was just there because it was convenient. So I guess I, personally, was surprised by this the first time I read it because I was expecting Snape to be out and about doing Death Eater-y things and not hanging out at school.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Kat: Yeah, yeah.

Dana: I think I had the same reaction as Alison. I didn’t expect Snape to return to Hogwarts, but then again, who else would take over that position? It’s a familiar enough name that people might be okay with him being Headmaster and sending their kids back in this time, but I don’t know. If you put a Death Eater in that position, how would that have affected more people not going back to Hogwarts?

Caleb: Yeah, and obviously we know this is juxtaposed with… I can’t remember if it’s in the previous chapter or in this chapter when we find out that it’s mandatory. I guess it would be in the same article. It’s mandatory for the students to go to Hogwarts now. We also get the staff announcements that Alecto and Amycus Carrow will be teaching Muggle Studies and Defense Against the Dark Arts, respectively, although it’s more Dark Arts rather than Defense Against the Dark Arts now. But this discussion about Snape is worth digging into a little more. I don’t know if I’ve really thought about it enough myself before. But how did this plan come along? Because when you think about when we see Snape at Hogwarts last time, he’s running away as the murderer of Dumbledore, and that’s what wizarding Britain… maybe not everyone because this is not a widespread story, but the Order knows, and people are going to talk; it’s going to get out that Snape was on that tower. But obviously, there’s now suspicions that they’re fabricating that Harry may be involved. But Snape comes back all of a sudden. What was the plan? Was this something that Voldemort planned after Dumbledore was out of the picture, to install Snape there? Or was this something that Snape and Dumbledore planned all along and Snape has been orchestrating this whole time?

Kat: I would tend to believe the latter.

Alison: Same.

Kat: And I think that if Voldemort had his choice, he would probably put somebody in who was a little more vicious than Snape. And I think that he probably had to convince him to allow him to stay there.

Alison: I would agree with you up to the point that I don’t think he would need to convince him. I think Snape is in Voldemort’s good enough graces at this point that he can ask for pretty much anything.

Kat: Well, that’s what I mean. I think he would have to go to him and say, “Let me stay there. I’m more beneficial than putting in Amycus or Alecto,” or whatever, so…

Alison: Oh, okay. Yeah. And I think Voldemort would be okay with that so quickly because Snape is acting so much like his closest follower, so to have him in charge of Hogwarts – which we know Voldemort really, really wants pretty much extreme control over for several reasons – I think he’d be perfectly happy to put him in there as quickly as possible.

Kat: Well, and he probably thinks that Snape knows a few of Dumbledore’s old secrets, too.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: So it’s probably… what’s the… opportune, I suppose, to have somebody like Snape in that position.

Alison: Mhm.

Caleb: Why do you think that he picks Snape as someone who’s close to him to run Hogwarts rather than use the Imperius Curse on McGonagall or Flitwick, like he does with the Ministry? And you notice in the Ministry, he doesn’t put Yaxley in charge. He doesn’t orchestrate Yaxley to be Minister for Magic; he uses the Imperius on Pius Thicknesse.

Alison: I think because Voldemort has such a connection and respect for Hogwarts as an institution itself. He almost has this reverence for the school, for the castle, for its secrets, for its history, that he wants to put someone there that he knows will still follow him and do what he says, but also that he doesn’t have to really puppet around; that he can say, “This school is important,” and Snape will say, “Yes.” So he’ll act in that manner.

Kat: And I also think, too, that the fact Snape is in Slytherin house is important to Voldemort as well.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Am I making this up or is there… has it been a really long time since there’s been a Slytherin headmaster? I feel like I’ve read that or I remember that from something.

Caleb: Probably no one since Phineas Nigellus.

Kat: Right.

Alison: Yeah, that’s what I… I feel like that was on Pottermore at one point.

Kat: I think so, too. Okay, so I feel like that’s another connection for Voldemort, that Snape is a Slytherin and that’s important to him.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Because does Voldemort think… does he know that Snape isn’t a pure-blood?

Alison: Oh, that could be another factor, though, as well.

Kat: Right.

Caleb: I feel like he’s got to know.

Alison: Yeah, I think he has to. But I think that may be a reason he trusts him so much: Because he’s like him.

Kat: Yeah, although he won’t admit it to himself or anybody else.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Fair point.

Caleb: We mentioned it briefly earlier but I think it was funny that it’s not Harry, Ron, and Hermione that talk about missing the Hogwarts Express; it’s just Harry and Ron because they obviously together had a moment in Book 2 where they almost… well, they did miss the Hogwarts Express together. So I think that was an interesting choice by Jo to sort of bring that full circle.

Alison: It’s also… the first time they met was on the Hogwarts Express, and I think it’s in Book 5 where Harry reflects on [how] he has always ridden the Hogwarts Express with Ron.

Kat and Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: I’m looking something up. This is Chapter 12, right?

Dana: Yes.

Kat: Oh, okay. Never mind. Chapter 12 in the first book is “The Mirror Of Erised.” So never mind. Okay.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I thought maybe there was some cool circle theory going on.

Caleb: Things move much quicker in that book. [laughs]

Kat: Yes, they do. [laughs]

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Caleb: But Hermione returns to the two of them. She had gone to fetch Phineas Nigellus’s portrait and she stuffs it in her ever useful handbag…

Alison: [laughs] Love that bag.

Caleb: … remarking that she’s worried now that Snape may be using that two-way portrait to spy on them or to figure out that Harry is there. But this is interesting because what if she had not hidden the portrait away? And I’m kind of taking it an extra step, that Snape would’ve actually tried to communicate with them rather than sort of observe them because I think if he would have observed them, he would not have alerted Voldemort. He wouldn’t have told him. But would Snape have tried to communicate with them and to try to explain himself [about] what he was doing to Harry and the others?

Alison: No, no. I think he has so much loathing for Harry still and knows that Harry will not listen to a word he says. He doesn’t want to do it, and even if he did want to do it it wouldn’t make any difference.

Kat: Yeah, Harry’s blood is boiling for Snape right now.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: He wants to… he said a few chapters ago, “Let me see Snape. Put me in front of that guy.” And I think that if Snape had tried to reach out to them in any way other than the way that he does, it would have been a bad situation. There was another line in this little moment that I really like as well. It’s on page 228 and it’s Harry thinking about Snape sitting up in Dumbledore’s office, and it says, “The circular tower-top room where Snape was no doubt sitting right now, in triumphant possession of Dumbledore’s collection of delicate, silver magical instruments, the stone Pensieve, the Sorting Hat and, unless it had been moved elsewhere, the Sword of Gryffindor.” And that really stood out to me this time because Harry knows that it’s missing because he was told that a few chapters ago. So is that a clue? I feel like that is a very blatant clue to us that Snape has the sword.

Alison: It definitely draws attention to the sword; it reminds us how important it is and it is a hint, yeah, that it’s going to be important later.

Kat: I think so. I mean, because there’s no… he would think about it because he associates the sword with that office, but Scrimgeour told him that it’s missing, so I don’t know. It’s just funny. It really stuck out at me this time.

Caleb: So then we get to learn more about their plan to get into the Ministry of Magic. Harry comes back from reporting more on his Ministry-watching, and it becomes clear… we got pretty clear clues at the end of the last chapter but now it’s explicit that they are looking for Umbridge, but they have not seen her yet. They’re also planning to… well, as they’ve been planning to get into the Ministry, Harry suddenly out of the blue springs it on Ron and Hermione that he thinks that they should go the next day, which… they aren’t quite sure that they’re that ready. But the plan is to find Umbridge and to get to the locket. And there is a funny little exchange between Ron and Harry: “‘Unless,’ said Ron, ‘she’s found a way of opening it and she’s now possessed,'” speaking about the locket. And Harry responds, “Wouldn’t make any difference to her, she was so evil in the first place.”

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Kat: Which is great. It’s brilliant.

Alison: Yeah.

Caleb: Which is funny that Harry can always put Umbridge in that box of evil, almost in the same sense as he does Voldemort. She is no doubt a horrible person, but there is a distinction, and Harry just is always… not unjustifiably because of what she’s done to him, but there’s a difference. But the trio has been prepping for four weeks, which is interesting; I think it’s really impressive because Harry is not always the most patient person. Obviously, he has Hermione there probably keeping him in check. But this is pretty good investigative work that they’re doing, and careful planning when they know the stakes are high to get this Horcrux. Anyone else have thoughts on that?

Dana: Yeah, I mean, they all have that mentality that they need to prep for it, and I agree that since it’s such a big deal; this is the Horcrux… because of where it is, it’s a once or done kind of thing. If they don’t get it now, how else are they going to get it in the future? But I agree that they’re just waiting around. They have to be careful with what they’re doing while they’re observing things, and so they’re not really getting anywhere. So how much more are you going to learn by a few more days of just watching everybody?

Kat: Yeah, without actually being in the Ministry and able to get into the Ministry to see what’s going on, all the prep in the world isn’t going to prepare them for actually getting the locket.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Basically, the prep is just getting into the Ministry and then flying by the seat of their pants. [laughs] Which is the best that they could possibly do.

Caleb: I also think it’s funny that when they consider going, each of them has a reason for not wanting one of the others to go. I think Ron brings up Hermione’s Muggle-born status, and then they bring up Ron; it would blow his cover of being sick back at home. And then they bring up the idea that Harry is the most wanted person so he shouldn’t be there. Just kind of funny. There’s a risk for all of them, blowing their cover; just safety for what they are. They’ve all got something at stake here that they’re all willing to sacrifice. I think it’s important that Jo showed that for all three of them, not just Harry.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: I agree, and I like that moment where they’re all going through that and they’re like, “Well, you shouldn’t go, and you shouldn’t go.” I like it. It’s a good moment.

Alison: Yeah. I think it shows the Gryffindor in all of them, where they’re like, “No.” They all have a moment where they say, “I’ll go and I’ll take care of this because it’s too dangerous for you guys.” And I don’t know. I just like that they’re all very willing to sacrifice themselves for the others and try and keep the others to stay back.

Caleb: But in this moment when they’re getting ready to go and they’re coming around that they’re down to go the next day, Harry gets another Voldemort vision and Hermione notices that Harry is bringing his hand to his forehead. But Harry gets out of the room and heads to the bathroom, and this time he sees Voldemort looking for Gregorovitch, the other wandmaker. And Voldemort knocks on the door, and a woman who seems to be enjoying her life… the line is “She’s smiling” or “She’s laughing.” She’s somehow enjoying whatever moment she was taken away from, and Voldemort asks about Gregorovitch, but she says that Gregorovitch does not live there and she doesn’t know where he is, but Voldemort kills her anyway. And the line that really strikes me every time – because it’s clear that this moment has never left Harry and probably never will – is when Hermione and Ron confront him about it and they know what’s going on. He says, “It was Cedric all over again, they were just there.” This fact that Cedric died just because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Harry will always feel a sense of blame about that. And that guilt and just the sheer dumb luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time is something that will always strike Harry.

Alison: Yeah. I think that moment – because it was the first death Harry had seen – it was someone that he had come to respect, even probably be friends with. It was a new friendship. It just cuts him so deep that he thinks Cedric was his fault.

Kat: He sees Thestrals afterwards.

Alison: Yes! [laughs] But I think Harry has always thought to some extent that was his fault, and he thinks this might to some extent be his fault because of the wand connection and because of what happened when he met Voldemort.

Kat: Hmm. I never thought of that. The whole blame game that Harry likes to play.

Caleb: So as mentioned, Hermione and Ron hear Harry scream out during the vision, and Hermione goes in on Harry for not trying to block it out [and] not using Occlumency. Harry says that it was no good; he was never going to get Occlumency down, and even suggests that it’s helpful that he’s having these visions because he knows what Voldemort is doing. And before we get to how Hermione deals with that – in a very poor way – is this something that Dumbledore ever considered? He obviously tried to get Harry to do Occlumency, but was there a point that he thought maybe it is useful that Harry is having this connection and can see it? Obviously, there’s some history that was not reliable because of what happened with Sirius. And was that enough to make him think that there was just never going to be a way that it was useful for him?

Kat: Hmm. That’s tough because I think that if Dumbledore were around now and alive, that he would definitely still push Harry to learn, but he would also take the information that Harry is learning when he is not employing Occlumency and he would use it to his advantage. I always think of Gandalf and Pippin with the Palantir, when Gandalf is really, really, really mad at Pippin for touching it and using it, but then that useful information comes in significantly handy, and I feel like Dumbledore would react the same way.

Alison: Yeah. I also think Dumbledore is a little bit more worried because at the point where this was happening before, Voldemort was using this against Harry; he would purposefully do this to Harry. But I think in this case… we find out later that this is more when Voldemort is absolutely losing control and is having such an emotional reaction to something that he can’t block Harry out. So I think things have changed, and so yeah, I think Dumbledore might be a little bit more on Harry’s side at this point than he would have been in the past.

Kat: He would at least take the information and do something with it.

Alison: Oh, yeah. Definitely.

Kat: Yeah. Still encourage Harry to not act on it or encourage the connection, but definitely take advantage of it when it did seep through. Yeah, I agree.

Alison and Caleb: Yeah.

Caleb: That’s what I tend to think; that it would have been different in this situation had he been alive. But as I alluded to, Hermione – continuing off this semi-argument when Harry suggested it might be helpful – she blurts out that Harry might like having this special connection or relationship. It was an interesting thing that she used the word “relationship” instead of just stopping with “connection.” And Harry does not obviously take this well, and then she immediately tries to backpedal on saying that, but Harry says, “I’m going to use it,” and… I should have written this down. I can’t remember if it was Ron or Hermione that starts with, “Dumbledore…” which is interesting…

Kat: I think it’s Hermione.

Alison: Hermione, yeah.

Caleb: Yeah, Hermione, because of what we just discussed, how Dumbledore may have thought about this, but Harry interrupts her and says, “Forget Dumbledore. This is my choice, nobody else’s.” Which is really striking. First, how Hermione sets it up as a relationship and then how Harry deals with it by saying, “Forget Dumbledore,” he really has stepped away. Maybe not completely, maybe this is just reactionary, but I think it’s pretty significant.

Alison: Yeah, I think this is the first time that Harry makes a decision that goes against what Dumbledore told him. And I think that’s a huge step in the decisions and what he’ll end up doing for the rest of the book. And I think in some ways it’s ultimately why he’s able to do what he does, because he starts making his own decisions about this rather than just following.

Kat: And I think the word relationship is really important and I think it’s good that you pointed that out, because I think Harry and Voldemort are definitely in some sort of screwed-up relationship. It’s more than just a connection because relationships… one person’s actions affects the other person, and they are continually affecting each other and changing the course of each other’s path and lives. And I think that that word relationship is the perfect description for the two of them. Because a relationship doesn’t have to be romantic or a friendship; it can be anything, really.

Caleb: So they briefly consider that once they have all calmed down a little bit. They think about the vision a little bit more, and they consider that Voldemort is seeking out Gregorovitch for an explanation about what happened between Harry and Voldemort’s wands way back early in the book when they try to take off from Privet Drive. And they consider maybe that’s because Ollivander was of no help. There’s a small exchange between Harry and Hermione, [and] Hermione thinks that it’s not the wands that did it, that Harry is the one who did it. Then Harry says, “There’s no way I could have done it because it just sort of happened.” But the conversation doesn’t really get anywhere. Then they finally head off to the Ministry the next day, and we see the three people that they do different things to to get them away from the Ministry. They first Stun Mafalda Hopkirk, who Hermione uses to get a hair from and take the Polyjuice Potion. And I thought it was interesting that we don’t see – I’m sure this happened, but we don’t get the text on this – the trio deliberating about what they’re going to do to get into the Ministry. And then once they decide they’re going to disguise themselves, how to get the people away from the Ministry and how they justify attacking Ministry workers – seemingly innocent people – to get into the Ministry. I might want to jump ahead just a little bit because the second person is Reg Cattermole, who they use for Ron, and they don’t Stun him. They use a Puking Pastille to get him sent home because he’s sick. And then there’s an exchange between Hermione and Ron. Hermione says that she would have rather Stunned him – which I thought was interesting – and Ron says that multiple bodies would have looked suspicious. So Ron’s concern isn’t that they would have had to Stun another person, but of how suspicious it would’ve looked to have multiple bodies.

Kat: Personally, I would have never used a Puking Pastille because that is disgusting.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: He Apparates out of there and it says there is flying chunks of vomit.

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Kat: Those are pretty much the most disgusting things that the twins invented. So I am totally with Hermione here: just Stun them, it’s easier. But I do understand the whole pile of bodies thing, I guess.

Alison: Yeah, I think Ron’s right, and I think part of what Hermione’s worried about is if someone’s not knocked out, there’s the chance they could show back up. Especially because Cattermole was so insistent about going to work. I think some of this might be coming from Hermione’s worry that they’ll be in the Ministry and he’ll show back up and ruin the whole plan. Which she’s already unsure about because she didn’t feel prepared for it and… yeah.

Kat: Mhm. Which is valid. This is totally a valid fear. How long does Stunning last?

Caleb: I don’t know if we ever see an instance where someone just recovers from it naturally, right?

Kat: I don’t think so.

Alison: They might, but I feel like it can take a while, depending on probably how well the spell was cast.

Kat: Yeah, probably, like everything else, right, the intent… because Luna Stuns people in Book 5 in the Department of Mysteries.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: But I don’t think we know who it is, and we don’t know when they show back up…

Caleb: Yeah.

Alison: And in Book 4, Crouch Jr. Stuns Krum, but then… oh man, now I don’t remember if someone wakes him up or if he wakes up by himself.

Kat: Right.

Caleb: Yeah, I don’t remember. So the final person that they use is Runcorn for Harry, and they use a Nosebleed Nougat on him. Which is another disgusting thing…

Alison: Yeah.

Caleb: … not as gross as vomit, but ugh! Blood streaming, bloody noses, I just can’t… ugh!

Kat: It’s gross.

[Alison laughs]

Caleb: But anyway, they get rid of these people and they get into the Ministry via toilet. This scene is in the movie, right? I’m not imagining this?

Alison: [laughs] Yeah, yeah!

Kat: It is, it is.

Caleb: This is one of the better scenes in the movie, I think.

Alison: It’s great. [laughs]

Caleb: Because in the book they actually deal with this awkward situation pretty quickly. They just go in and they’re like, “Oh, do we flush ourselves?” “Yup, seems like it.” They step in, they flush, and they’re in. But in the movie there’s this awkward thing where they don’t want to do it, and the people behind them are like, “Why are you taking so long? Let’s go!” I thought they did a really good job of it.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah, they just get on with it really quickly. They’re like, “Oh, okay, we’ll just go in the toilet.” They go in… wizards are just gross.

Alison: Yeah, who came up with this?

Kat: It’s what it comes down to.

Alison: [laughs] I don’t understand, who was like, “This sounds like a great idea”? Not some door that seems locked that will pop you somewhere, but they were like, “Let’s take these toilets and let’s use that to get all of our employees in.” [laughs] Who thought that was a good idea?

Caleb: I guess the options are limited if you need channels or a way to get large amounts of people. I don’t know.

Kat: Yeah. Weird.

Caleb: I wonder also, do we know… I’m taking the toilet thing a little too far, but I’m now more interested by it as we talk about it.

[Caleb and Kat laugh]

Caleb: Does it say in the book – I can’t remember – what kind of building the toilet is in? Or do we just see them go into a general thing that says Gentlemen and Ladies?

Kat: Let’s see, I’m on that page right now. It says, “They stepped out of the alleyway together. Fifty yards along the crowded pavement, there were spiked black railings flanking two flights of steps, one labelled GENTLEMEN, the other, LADIES.”

Alison: So it’s like underground?

Kat: Yeah, it says, “Harry and Ron joined a number of oddly dressed men descending into what appeared to be an ordinary underground public toilet, tiled in grimy black and white.”

Caleb: Okay, that’s what I thought. Because my first time in the UK – or in England actually, I should specifically say – I was surprised that almost – and I don’t know if this is the case – all of the public toilets that I encountered cost money, which is just not a thing in the United States. So I wonder if that’s the case for this one? Are they having to pay every time just to go to work?

Alison: I think they have a special coin…

Kat: Yeah, that’s what the coins are for.

Alison: Yeah, I think that it’s implied that there’s special coins that will get them there…

Caleb: Oh! You’re right!

Alison: So someone like…

Caleb: I was thinking… right…

Alison: So normal people don’t just walk in there. [laughs]

Caleb: I was thinking that the special coins worked for something else, but that’s totally what they are for. You’re right.

Kat: But the other question that that begs is if this is a normal public toilet, are Muggles using it or is it hidden…

Caleb: Yeah, must be.

Kat: … like St. Mungo’s?

Alison: Yeah, it doesn’t say.

Kat: Still, kind of gross.

Dana: I imagine it would have to be hidden or something, whether it’s the coins that get you in. Because if not, you’re disappearing into a toilet. Nobody’s ever going to come out… if you have Muggles in there, it causes problems…

Kat: That’s true, that’s true. Plus it’s gross.

[Alison and Dana laugh]

Dana: Just nasty.

Caleb: Love it.

Alison: It is. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: But they finally get through the pipes and into the Atrium, which is very different from the last time Harry was there. And I want to read the description because I think it’s just really captivating the way this horrible thing is written. It says, “Now a gigantic statue of black stone dominated the scene. It was rather frightening, this vast sculpture of a witch and a wizard sitting on ornately carved thrones, looking down at the Ministry workers toppling out of fireplaces below them. Engraved in foot-high letters at the base of the statue were the words MAGIC IS MIGHT.” And a little further down it says, “Harry looked more closely and realized that what he had thought were decoratively carved thrones were actually mounds of carved humans: hundreds and hundreds of naked bodies, men, women, and children, all with rather stupid, ugly faces, twisted and pressed together to support the weight of the handsomely robed wizards.” And then Hermione whispers, “Muggles, in their rightful place.” Just awful.

Kat: I just got goosebumps.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: That’s so… it’s pretty terrible.

Alison: It’s… it’s awful.

Caleb: Because it’s one thing for the Death Eaters to have taken over the Ministry in maybe this subtle not-everyone-really-knows-what’s-going-on sort of way…

Alison: Yeah.

Caleb: But this is a pretty quick change for the Death Eaters to take over and to put in this very clear statue that has a very clear message.

Kat: We know that Arthur doesn’t want to leave his job because it’s important for the Order to have people at the Ministry, but how are people just not quitting?

Alison: They might not have any other option, or maybe they feel like it’s safer to be there. I think we talked about this a little bit last week with the Muggle-Born Registration, just people being afraid to speak out because they don’t know who they can trust. And so maybe they think that if they stay here, keep their head down and just keep going along, they’ll be safer than doing anything else.

Kat: Yeah, real movers and shakers.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Kat: Yeah, I get it.

Alison: I forgot actually rereading this that in the book it’s these thrones that are made out of people. And I can’t decide which I… not like better, but think is more striking: this or the one they have in the films. Because that’s at the Studio Tour and I just remembered that was one of the most striking set pieces.

Kat: It’s huge.

Caleb: Yeah, it’s huge and the fact that it’s crushing all the people is just chilling. It’s absolutely chilling when you get up close to it.

Kat: Mhm. It is.

Caleb: So then they move a little bit more into the Ministry, and Ron, who is Reg Cattermole at the moment, gets yelled at by Yaxley to fix his office. I think it’s something like, “It’s raining, the weather is bad.” What a struggle.

[Alison and Caleb laugh]

Caleb: But we find out that Yaxley is about to question the real Cattermole’s wife about her blood status. So this puts Ron in a pretty tough situation. He thought he was just being disguised as someone, being able to frolic around the Ministry and find out information. But all of a sudden he’s in a really tough situation because Yaxley pretty much implies that, “If you don’t fix my office, then the chances of your wife getting a good verdict are going to be even slimmer.” So sucks for Ron.

Kat: I feel like that is probably something they didn’t consider.

Alison: Yup.

Kat: The families of the people that they were potentially going to take over. And… I mean, do they wear wedding rings in the wizarding world?

Alison: I think so.

Caleb: I honestly don’t know.

Alison: Yeah, I think so, because I think that’s how he figures out that Lupin and Tonks got married [when] she shows him a ring.

Kat: Oh, right… that’s right, I remember. So she waggles the diamond or something.

Alison: Yeah.

Caleb: Oh, yeah.

Kat: Right. Okay. Well, maybe a little better research would have stopped this situation from being, but I guess it does put pressure on Ron to not screw it up.

Alison: I think this too is one of the consequences of Harry’s almost rash decision to go today. They don’t know anything about these people, so they don’t know that this would have been happening today and this could be a problem. Whereas maybe if they had planned a little bit more, they could have figured out who they were and found out that Cattermole’s wife was a Muggle-born.

Kat: But how would they have found that out? They don’t have any real connection to the outside world.

Alison: That’s true.

Caleb: And they were planning for four weeks.

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: So I think that’s just maybe an element that did slip their minds, and I don’t know if they would have had a good way of solving it. But they are endangering these people’s families in this type of Ministry.

Alison: Definitely.

Kat: Mhm.

Caleb: But Hermione gives Ron a couple of suggestions of what he can do to fix the weather issue. I think she suggests Impervius, or a couple of other things, but Ron doesn’t… the suggestions she gives him don’t sound very complicated, but Ron does not sound confident. It’s like he’s… I don’t remember what the text says, but something like he’s trying to make notes of all of them, asking her to repeat it…

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Caleb: Yeah, searching his pockets desperately for a quill.

Caleb: Yeah. Ron is always put in these situations where he can’t deal with the magic in an effective way. And here he’s having to go off on his own to solve someone’s problem that could effect this person’s wife’s life, and he’s not ready.

Caleb: Which is funny because Ron in general, when it comes down to it, is pretty good under pressure. But I think when something springs up that surprises him, it completely throws off all of his confidence.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: And he just kind of becomes useless.

Alison: He’s a planner.

Kat: I guess so, in a way. Yeah.

Caleb: But when he’s duelling, he seems able to handle it pretty well.

Kat: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Caleb: Like in a real duel. Hermione nudges Ron off the floor to go take care of Yaxley’s office and then the doors close. As the lift starts to move, Hermione tells Harry she should have gone with Ron to help, but they’re obviously still on the move and then they hit level one – Ron’s gotten off at level two, I believe. Level one is Minister of Magic and Support Staff, and she’s probably not going anywhere because the chapter ends with this text: “Four people stood before them, two of them in deep conversation: a long-haired wizard wearing magnificent robes of black and gold, and a squat, toad-like witch wearing a velvet bow in her short hair, clutching her clipboard to her chest.” Didn’t take long for them to find Umbridge.

Kat: No, that’s quite the coincidence.

Dana: Yeah.<.p>

Kat: Quite the coincidence.

Alison: I think it’s interesting because this is the second time that Umbridge has been referred to… she’s notorious enough that they don’t even have to say who she is. Jo just describes her and we’re all like, “There she is,” and everyone freaks out.

Kat: It’s the “toad-like” thing.

Alison: Yeah, exactly. Yes.

Caleb: Because the previous chapter ended with similar language.

Alison: Yeah.

Caleb: Describing her but not naming her.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Yup. Exactly.

Caleb: And that’s how the chapter ends. Harry and Hermione are staring at this group of people, and I’m very sure we find out that the other person is Pius Thicknesse that she’s taking to. I could be wrong, but I think that’s right.

Kat: I believe so.

Alison: Yeah. All right, now it’s time for our Podcast Question of the Week for this week. And for this, we’re talking about what happened at the beginning of this chapter and the news that Harry brings back with him. So at the beginning, we learn that Snape has been made Hogwarts Headmaster. Ron comments on this, saying, “The other teachers won’t stand for this. McGonagall and Flitwick and Sprout all know the truth, they know how Dumbledore died. They won’t accept Snape as Headmaster.” And that’s on page 186 of the UK paperback. Harry, however, thinks that the other heads of house would accept the decision and stay at the school in order to protect the students. So how did McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout, and the rest of the teachers react to this decision, and what exactly are they doing to protect their students? What was the transition to Snape’s appointment like, considering the last time he was at Hogwarts, he was running away? So head on over to and let us know what you think in the comments.

Kat: And just as we wrap up here, we want to thank you, Dana, again, so much for joining us. We hope you had a wonderful time.

Dana: I did, I did, it was great. Thanks for having me.

Kat: Absolutely. Thank you for joining us.

Alison: And if you want to be on the show like Dana, go to our “Be on the Show” page at If you’ve got a basic set of headphones with a microphone, you are all set. You don’t need any fancy equipment. And while you’re there, make sure you download a ringtone for free.

Kat: And in the meantime, if you just want to keep in touch with us, you can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN,, on Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast, our Instagram is @alohomoramn. Our phone number is 206-GO-ALBUS – that’s 206-462-5287 – or you can send us an audioBoom, like you heard on the show earlier today. It’s free, all you need is an Internet connection and a microphone. Head over to, click the little green button in the right-hand menu, record a message, keep it under sixty seconds, and you just might hear yourself on the show. And also, we will be coming soon to Google Play. They just introduced podcasts in their set of audio, I suppose, so look for that. We’ll alert you and let you know when that is available.

Caleb: Also make sure to check out our store that has a lot of great products that includes: House shirts and other products with things like Desk!Pig, Mandrake Liberation Front, Minerva Is My Homegirl, and so much more.

Kat: And our smartphone app… so big change coming to this, guys. Our hosting service… our app is now free. So the hosting service changed how things worked, and we are now under an app called the Podcast Source. So you can go and download that, and you can get some pretty cool things. We’re working on some other solutions for those of you who purchased and paid for the app in general, but the app, as usual, includes things like transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and more. So definitely go check it out and you can download it for free. So, yay!

[Show music begins]

Caleb: All right. That’s going to do it for this week’s episode of Alohomora!. I’m Caleb Graves.

Alison: I’m Alison Siggard.

Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 162 of Alohomora!

Alison: Open the Dumbledore.

[Toilet flushes]

[Sounds of ghosts wailing]

[Show music continues]

[Sound of fingers drumming]

Kat: … why the stupid Death Eaters thought they were actually going to get on the Hogwarts Express?

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Kat: [laughs] I mean, for real.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I just love that, and they’re like, “More people than normal were outside 12 Grimmauld Place.”

Caleb: Oh, yeah.

Alison: The line…

Kat: Dumb.

Alison: This is a side note, but the line that I laughed at there was the Londoners looking back, “wondering why people would be dressed in cloaks in this heat.” Which is probably like eighty degrees. [laughs]

Kat: That’s a lot for London.

Alison: I know, I know. It just made me laugh.