[Show music begins]
Caleb Graves: This is Episode 163 of Alohomora! for November 7, 2015.
[Show music continues]
Caleb: Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Alohomora! I’m Caleb Graves.
Kristen Keys: I’m Kristen Keys.
Rosie Morris: And I’m Rosie Morris. And it is my pleasure to introduce our guest for today: Tracy. Tracy, do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself?
Tracy Dunstan: Sure. I’m a Ravenclaw, and I’m a librarian from New York. I started reading Harry Potter in high school. A friend gave me all the books, and she decided that I had to read it. And so I started reading them, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Rosie: Brilliant. Always love a good librarian.
Kristen: And a Ravenclaw.
Rosie: Treasure troves of all the different worlds that you could escape to.
[Rosie and Tracy laugh]
Caleb: Tracy, are you by chance a fan of the TNT drama, The Librarians?
Tracy: I am.
Caleb: Have you watched that?
Tracy: I’m behind but I watched the first season and I’m a big fan of it, and Noah Wylie as well.
Caleb: Okay, that’s great. I asked that because at New York Comic Con, they had a panel recently and I was there. And there were just so many librarians who came up to the mic to ask questions and talk about the show.
Caleb: It was just a really cool dynamic, so I’m just wondering if that’s common that so many librarians are fans of the show?
Tracy: Yeah, basically all the librarians I know also watch the show.
Caleb: [laughs] I love it, too.
Tracy: Yay! [laughs]
Rosie: But would Irma Pince? That’s the real question.
Caleb: [laughs] I’m not so sure about that!
Rosie: I just want to put a quick disclaimer out there that we are actually recording this episode on November 5th, which is Fireworks Night here in the UK. So if you hear the occasional firework going off outside on my track, I do apologize. It’s just all of those wizards celebrating the birth of another magical child, apparently.
Rosie: Anyway, this week you guys need to read Deathly Hallows, Chapter 13 – that is “The Muggle-born Registration Commision.” So if you haven’t read that chapter yet, I recommend pausing the podcast right now and going to read that before you listen on.
Kristen: But before we go into this week’s chapter, let’s recap some comments from last week. Our first comment comes from DolphinPatronus (aka Estee) and they say,
“On the subject of why Snape was selected to be the new [H]eadmaster, I always felt he made sure he was placed in the post. Not that I feel it took much effort, I think Voldemort would’ve felt it was a natural choice not only because Snape already had a well[-]established place on the staff, but for many of the reasons the hosts mentioned [as well]. I think Snape and Dumbledore likely had this planned as a contingency in the event that the Death Eaters took over the school so that Snape, in his own twisted way, could protect the students (particularly any Muggle[-b]orn and [h]alf[-b]loods [who] returned.) Dumbledore knew Snape wasn’t exactly a kind teacher, but he also knew Snape would never knowingly let a student be murdered, and I have no doubt that all of the students we end up seeing in the Room of Requirement later would’ve been dead had a regular Death Eater been put in charge.”
Caleb: Yes, we talked about this last week. I tend to agree with this. I think that this was something that Dumbledore probably thought of in the event that Voldemort would have gained so much power after his death.
Caleb: I think that he would have laid the groundwork for Snape to take the reins.
Kristen: I agree as well.
Rosie: I agree. I also think that Voldemort would have been quite happy with it as well, not knowing obviously that Snape was on the weird being-on-both-sides thing. Voldemort trusts Snape and he has got a Horcrux hidden in that school. He still needs some connection, he still needs some kind of control, and he does trust Snape to be in control of the school in his guise as Voldemort’s most trusted servant.
Rosie: So, Snape’s in a really good position to be on the most-trusted list of both sides of the story.
Kristen: Very much so. All right, our next comment comes from ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy, and they said,
“You know, I get why Harry wanted to hurry up and get on with going into the [M]inistry, and I agree that there probably wasn’t much more information that [he] could have obtained, but WHY didn’t they at least learn a bit more about the people they would be impersonating? I mean, they picked three people [who] didn’t really have much reason to be seen running around together, and Mafalda and Runcorn don’t exactly seem to be in positions where they fly under the radar. Hermione/Mafalda quickly gets pulled away for an ‘important’ job, [and] Runcorn clearly isn’t the type to be pal-ing around with those he considers his inferiors. Maybe I’m expecting too much out of seventeen[-]year[-]olds[‘] espionage skills, but it seems they might have thought that through a bit more. Knowing exactly who they are impersonating and what they do seems pretty important if they want to avoid getting caught. Add that to the fact that they didn’t even consider what to do if they got separated, they are incredibly lucky they actually accomplished this mission, and just barely.”
Caleb: Yeah, and I think some of this comes up in this chapter. I’m sure Rosie talks about it some, but Harry has this moment where he realizes, “It was pretty dumb of us to not consider what would happen if we got split up.” And I think that also implies not really thinking about how these people would interact with one another inside the Ministry.
Rosie: I always find this really frustrating because it’s the first time that we’ve really seen them sit down and plan out what they’re going to do.
Rosie: And they seem to have done it so badly! [laughs]
Rosie: They’ve had these adventures for seven years now. This is the first time that they’re actually going into it with some kind of preparation. And they seem worse off then they normally are, which is just going into it on the fly. It’s ridiculous!
[Kristen and Rosie laugh]
Tracy: I’m surprised Hermione didn’t put a little bit more into it. Even Ron usually tends to be worst-case scenario, and he didn’t even really… that much. I’m surprised.
Kristen: Mhm. Especially if they’re following around these people, you know. Take it a little more closely to the people you’re actually going to impersonate and really see how they, like this commenter said, interact with other co-workers.
Caleb: And I thought about this last week. I really appreciated that they have taken all this time. Some of the stuff we talked about last week where maybe they were rushing it, but the previous chapter says they spent four weeks doing it. It would’ve been really nice to see some of that. Obviously, it would be hard for Rowling to fit that in. The book needs to move along and there’s already a lot of stuff to take care of, but it would’ve been nice to see what the thought process was to see these gaps, and how they got left out.
Rosie: And it’s not like they have Netflix. They’re not procrastinating that much.
Tracy: I think Ron would get some tidbits from his dad too since he works there. Or even Percy or something.
Tracy: Or before Percy goes weird.
Rosie: But they can’t be in contact, I guess, but…
Rosie: So they’re trying to use as much of Ron’s knowledge as possible, but Ron doesn’t listen too well.
[Kristen and Tracy laugh]
Tracy: That’s true.
Caleb: Biggest truth.
Tracy: Oh, I love you, Ron.
Kristen: And our last comment comes from ScarletGhost, and they said,
“What I want to know is why did the trio have to go to the [M]inistry itself? Perhaps there was too much protection or something, but do you think it would’ve been possible to get Umbridge at her home? Maybe I forgot if they said it, but maybe Umbridge’s house had a [F]idelius [C]harm on it or something. If not, they could’ve found where she lived and [S]tunned her and got the locket without going into the most dangerous, heavily guarded place in all of Britain. I’m not sure if anyone expected them to go after Umbridge to try to protect her; she wasn’t even a target until they found out she had the locket, and no one else knows about that.”
Caleb: That’s interesting…
Caleb: I guess they wouldn’t have an easy way of figuring out where Umbridge lives, is my guess with this. They know she’s going to be at the Ministry.
Rosie: It’s probably one of those things where… you know how students never imagine that teachers have a life outside of school?
Rosie: They think that they live at the school, so maybe it’s something like that. So they’re used to Umbridge actually living where she works. Maybe they’ve forgotten that she has her own house as well.
Caleb: And let’s be real, it’s not unlikely that Umbridge lives somewhere inside the Ministry…
Rosie: Wherever she lives, it’s going to be bright pink.
[Caleb and Kristen laugh]
Kristen: That would be easy to look up.
Rosie: And full of cats.
[Kristen and Rosie laugh]
Kristen: Search who has the most cats.
Rosie: I wonder if they do put Fidelius Charms and protection charms on all Ministry houses though, just in case.
Rosie: I mean, Arthur sure gets a lot of protection on his house whenever Harry is there, but that’s only because Harry’s there…
Rosie: He’s not high up enough to be getting general protection all the time. Umbridge is a bit more paranoid, perhaps, so she might want to put her own spells and things on it. But yeah, like they said, she’s not a target and no one knows if she’s got the locket. So, I don’t see why anyone would think that she needs protecting above others in the Ministry.
Caleb: Yeah, I would think that only [the] Minister for Magic and maybe one or two other people would get that protection. But I kind of always assumed the Fidelius Charm is super complex magic.
Kristen and Rosie: Mhm.
Caleb: It also makes it very inconvenient for the person who lives there obviously, unless it is some secret organization or someone’s life is being threatened. So I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s really not used that often.
Rosie: Harry’s just not that smart. [laughs]
Kristen: True, unfortunately. [laughs] Well, thanks everybody for commenting over on our page. There’s still plenty of discussion going on, so make a comment yourself over on our main site at alohomora.mugglenet.com.
Caleb: We’re going to jump into some of your responses from last week’s Question of the Week, and to remind you of that question,
“At the beginning of this chapter (or last chapter), 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.’ (UK paperback, page 186). Harry, however, thinks that the other Heads of House would accept the decision and stay at the school in order to protect the students. 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 there were a lot of great responses. Some people took some really interesting perspectives, challenging some of the basic things we talked about last week. So the first one comes from Casey L, who says,
“Most of the teacher[s] probably would have been returning from break in the week or two before the school year started, so the new regime would have had to be in place before they came back to Hogwarts. The notable exception to this is McGonagall, who should have been at Hogwarts prior to the Ministry’s fall, sending first-years their supply [list] and prefect letters and planning visits to those students raised by [M]uggles. If she was there, I can’t imagine her putting up too much of a fight. First of all, it probably would have been suicidal to take them on if she was alone. Secondly, she’s needed at the school, by the Order, the other staff members, and even Snape to some extent. Sure, he was a former Head of House, but now he’s jumping up to Headmaster and facing an at least mostly hostile staff, some of whom believe he killed Dumbledore. He needs someone who, 1.) knows the inner workings at the highest level of the school and, 2.) will provide some semblance of normalcy and legitimacy to the leadership at Hogwarts.”
So I thought this was interesting because particularly… I think some of it makes a lot of sense with McGonagall already being there. But this idea that Snape would almost be relying on McGonagall in some ways… because by the end of the book at Hogwarts, it seems pretty clear that there’s no lost love between the two of them. So do we think that there’s any possibility for Snape to be relying on McGonagall, for there to be any sort of working relationship between the two in the beginning?
Rosie: Hmm… not sure. McGonagall knows that Snape killed Dumbledore; she doesn’t necessarily know that Dumbledore asked him to. I think she would have a different view of him if she did know that bit of information, but Dumbledore didn’t trust her with that for some reason, despite the close relationship that we all imagine that they had. It seems odd that McGonagall would be willing to share some information with Snape on how to run the school. She’d much rather be running it herself and get the Death Eaters out there, I think. So I think Snape probably has quite a learning curve to go on himself in order of running the school and trying to get the staff to respect him in some way. But I think a lot of it is going to be down to his limitation. He really is there to try and put a buffer between the nastiness that’s going to happen in the next year and stop there being fights, really. I could imagine the teachers kind of duelling themselves and ignoring the troubles of the kids if the Carrows are really kicking it off. McGonagall would definitely try to protect the kids as much as possible, unless there is some kind of threat to them themselves. So yeah, it’s a difficult situation, but I can’t see McGonagall helping Snape too much in leadership terms.
Caleb: Yeah, I think that’s right. Obviously, everyone who listens to this show knows that McGonagall’s my favorite.
Caleb: But I tend to think that people sort of assume that she’s more involved and knows more than she really does.
Caleb: She’s a part of the Order, sure, but like Rosie mentioned, the Order and certainly McGonagall don’t know this deal between Snape and Dumbledore. No one knows about what their overall scheme was, and I think McGonagall is even more removed from the inner working of the Order than the other core characters in the Order. So I feel she’s more associated with the school than the Order in situations like this. And so I think that’s right that there wouldn’t be as much of a working relationship between them, and she’s really focused on trying to counteract and balance out the Death Eaters more than dealing with Snape. Because I just sort of see Snape behind closed doors, not really out there as much.
Rosie: I guess at the same time, though, Snape has worked at the school for how many years now? Fifteen, sixteen?
Rosie: And McGonagall must have worked there pretty much all that time. I believe she started before Snape.
Rosie: So they do have a working relationship that is fifteen years strong. They do know each other; they respect each other as Heads of Houses. They definitely have different ideas; they are definitely very much a Gryffindor and a Slytherin Head of House, so they know that they will never fully see eye-to-eye. They have that rivalry with the Quidditch Cup and all of that kind of thing and the House Cup, but it’s always been a professional rivalry up to this point. She’s now got the bad feeling about Dumbledore and that lack of trust, but there is still some basis of a… not really friendly, but at least a general respect as teachers. So yeah, there’s two sides. I don’t know. [laughs]
Tracy: I’m surprised Voldemort didn’t… oh, sorry.
Caleb: No, go ahead.
Kristen: You’re fine.
Tracy: I’m surprised Voldemort didn’t have him get rid of her since she’s such a Dumbledore… you know, they were friends and close.
Rosie: Sure, and very Gryffindor.
Caleb: It’s a good point. I think that maybe the reason would be is… we know that Voldemort and the Ministry have made attendance at Hogwarts mandatory. So, maybe leaving in some of that structure that was there before helps legitimize that.
Tracy: And familiarity to the kids and stuff…
Rosie: Yeah. There seems to be a general lack of respect for women in Voldemort’s viewpoint as well, so he may not even consider her.
Caleb: Mmm. Underestimate her, you mean.
Rosie and Tracy: Yeah.
Tracy: Maybe because she’s a lot older as well.
Caleb: That’s true. Good point.
Rosie: He’s had very few dealings with her. She would have joined the staff after Tom was at Hogwarts.
Rosie: He would just know her as an ally of Dumbledore.
Tracy: But still, he could just be like: “Eh, she’s just a regular professor like the rest of them. No threat to me.”
Rosie: Yeah. Mhm.
Caleb: Good point. All right, the next response comes from Flitteriefee… Flitteriefie? – I’m not sure, but something like that – and it says:
“When Harry informs the teachers Snape killed Dumbledore, they are pretty surprised, especially Slughorn. So maybe not every teacher accepted the truth they heard from a second-hand account. Also, we see Snape through the eyes of a student (Harry), and he probably had a different relationship with other teachers, simply because teachers usually have very similar problems with the students. We see Snape interact with other teachers only a few times: he had a rivalry going on with McGonagall over the Quidditch Cup, Hagrid always stood up for him, and he probably had to work with Sprout in ‘Chamber of Secrets’ to make the antidote for the victims of the Basilisk. And surprisingly, Lockhart was under the impression he had a good relationship with Snape.”
[Kristen, Rosie, and Tracy laugh]
Caleb: “All through the series, I thought the Hogwarts staff was okay with Snape; maybe they didn’t have a secret Severus Fan Club, but at least they co-existed [quite] peacefully.”
Kristen: Whoa, there definitely was a fan club.
Rosie: I always forget that there is a staff room at Hogwarts, and that we have seen Snape within that staff room interacting with other staff.
Rosie: We saw that – when was it? – in one of the early books… Chamber of Secrets?
Kristen: The third one.
Caleb: Book 1.
Rosie: The third one, because it would’ve been connected to Lupin and the potion, wouldn’t it?
Caleb: Right. That’s right.
Rosie: So we’ve seen that he does have a good relationship with the other members of staff, and I think we’ve seen him talking to Flitwick and [others] on occasion as well.
Rosie: So yeah, we are totally clouded by our first-person viewpoint from Harry and his constant saying that Snape is bad.
Caleb: Right, and I like that this comment…
Rosie: He’s just a normal man.
Caleb: I like that this comment brought up – and we talked about this on last week – that we can’t assume, as this commenter suggests, that everyone believes Harry, at least not fully, that Snape killed Dumbledore. Especially now that the Prophet is putting out articles questioning Harry’s involvement. I mean, most people aren’t going to believe that flat-out like McGonagall and Hagrid, but others that we don’t know about so much, they just may think there’s overall more to the story than we’re hearing. And things are too shaky right now for us to really be acting out otherwise.
Kristen: It gives them that little bit of doubt.
Rosie: And we already know that Slughorn had doubts before he joined the staff as well. The amount of convincing it took for him to actually come to Hogwarts in the first place shows that not all the teachers believe in Harry and Dumbledore and their ability to solve all the issues. So yeah, we can’t believe that all of these teachers would go straight with Harry’s side. It’s the same assumption we always have that all the teachers are in the Order when we really don’t see any of them involved other than Snape, and occasionally McGonagall and Lupin. So yeah, we’re not very good at distancing Hogwarts and the outside world and the magical world in general, but they are kind of distinct places. The school is a little microcosm of the world outside.
Caleb: All right, and the last response comes from MischiefManaged. And this is an excerpt from a longer comment, but it sets it up by contrasting how it was having a teacher like Umbridge, who was pretty horrible for the students, and the Carrows who are there now:
“Umbridge was terrible and had her quill of death, but the Carrows are actually worse – they will use the Cruciatus [C]urse on students. I think, once teachers realized this, they would do everything in their power to stop this without getting fired. And alternatively, I think even Snape would be trying to protect students however he can, even though he must keep up appearances for Voldemort. I can see teachers making sure students didn’t ever get in trouble trying to keep students from the Carrows at every moment possible. I can imagine lots of little ’emergencies’ popping up when a Carrow does get hold of a student in order to somehow try to save students from these punishments. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of inexplicable things tended to happen to the Carrows. Peeves especially, I think, would have given them a lot of trouble. I think he really honestly does like the students in his own weird way; plus, he essentially feeds off of the students’ spirits of playfulness and mischief that the Carrows would have been stifling. And this could have been a way for [the] teachers to plausibly create these ’emergencies’ that I referenced earlier… ‘Alecto, Peeves set fire to your office!’ or ‘Amycus, Peeves threw all of your belongings into the lake!'”
[Kristen and Tracy laugh]
Caleb: That’s a good way to throw Peeves back into the mess.
Kristen: Yeah, I love that idea. [laughs]
Rosie: Peeves is that kind of instrument of chaos, but it’s always playful chaos rather than evil chaos. He never does anything particularly harmful to the students.
Rosie: So yeah, I would definitely agree that he likes them in some way, and he wants to breed anarchy and destruction, but not in a permanent sense. And the Carrows are definitely into permanent punishment, so he would be against them.
Caleb: Agreed. I just like the idea that the professors could be sticking their necks out to come up with these emergencies or reasons to pull students away from the Carrows. I definitely see that happening with some of the professors at least.
Tracy: Yeah, I definitely get a World War II resistance or Underground Railroad vibe. The teachers would be trying to sabotage and find ways to lessen punishments and stuff like that.
Caleb: It’s a good analogy, yeah. All right, well, those are just a couple of the responses from this past episode’s Question of the Week. You can read a lot more great responses over on the main site, alohomora.mugglenet.com.
Rosie: And now it’s time for this week’s chapter discussion.
[Deathly Hallows Chapter 13 intro begins]
Yaxley: Seal the exit! Seal it!
Umbridge: Chapter 13.
[Sound of Death Eaters firing spells]
Umbridge: “The Muggle-born Registration Commission.”
[Sound of Floo Network fireplace]
[Deathly Hallows Chapter 13 intro ends]
Rosie: And we’re in Chapter 13, which is definitely unlucky for some, so we’ll have to see what happens.
Rosie: As we have seen at the very end of [the] last chapter, Hermione is now faced – Hermione and Harry even – are now faced with Umbridge, and Hermione is forced to follow Umbridge down to the courtroom where she must act as a notary for the trial of Mrs. Cattermole, the wife of Ron’s disguise, Reg. Harry, lost without his friends and finally realizing that their plans only really stretch as far as the front door, heads off in search of Umbridge’s office. This is set outside the Muggle-born Registration Committee, which is revealed creating tons of anti-Muggle propaganda under the regime, all with the horrible pink signature of Umbridge herself. Mad-Eye Moody’s eye is staring sadly from Dolores’s doors, sending Harry into pretty much an emotionally charged rage-search as he becomes determined once again to take Umbridge down. He has a search of her office and proves that the Order is in grave danger as so many of their members are being watched. But with no Horcrux in sight within the office, it’s time to try and find his friends and work out some kind of new plan. Moving down into the courtrooms, Harry’s saving-people thing kicks in once again. But can they make it out of the Ministry unscathed?
Rosie: Dun-dun-duh! Leave it on a cliffhanger if you haven’t read the books.
Rosie: Leave it on a cliffhanger in case they haven’t read the books. [laughs] Anyway, Umbridge seems to have a lot of new powers. You guys probably talked about this a bit last week, but I’m just wondering, how did she manage to climb to such great heights after her, pretty much, failure as a teacher at Hogwarts? She returned to the Ministry a broken woman after the centaurs attacked, and spent a lot of time in St. Mungo’s, but here she is now in charge of this whole Muggleborn Registration Committee, this major scheme of work that the Ministry has undertaken. How did she manage to regain so much control?
Caleb: That is a good question. My initial thought is, as someone who obviously had Ministry connections, and was pretty high up before she headed to Hogwarts, as someone who had that inside experience and was sympathetic to the cause that Voldemort’s Death Eaters that are now controlling it are working toward, it made her useful to the new regime. She is obviously very different then. She would go along with them, whereas Scrimgeour would not.
Rosie: I agree. I wonder how long it took her to get out of St. Mungo’s, though, because she was… well, she was in the hospital wing, wasn’t she, not St. Mungo’s itself.
Rosie: But I think she was significantly disturbed by what happened to her, and I wonder if that then sort of spurred her on even further, rather than fixing her, and made her really hate any non-purebloods.
Kristen: Oh, I’m sure she just turned it up, way up, and the Death Eaters and all them welcome that, so I think that it was easy for her to climb that ladder with this new regime in office.
Rosie: She has done it in a very different way, as well. The first time she had some power, it was with Filch who was very easy… not Filch, Fudge… who was very easy to control and to manipulate. Whereas here, she doesn’t need to do the manipulating. It is already done for her, they are already…
Rosie: … yeah, manipulating and welcoming her to do whatever she wants because it is finally in line with their viewpoint.
Caleb: Right, yeah.
Tracy: She reminds me a lot of Bellatrix. I feel like she is just undeniably for the cause, so it is easy to mold her to what they want, as opposed to some other people are a little… see different sides to it.
Caleb: Yeah, I mean, we see the workers – we’ll see this in a little bit – who are complaining about her. So not everyone still in the Ministry is sympathetic to the new movement, but she clearly is right there with it.
Rosie: It is interesting to see the hierarchy as well. Because she is obviously above Runcorn, Harry’s alias. And she is definitely above Mafalda, who has previously been such a respected figure in the Ministry. We’ve seen her a couple of times sending out letters and presiding over some of the courtroom activities. So for Mafalda to have fallen from grace so much. It would have been interesting to see Mafalda in action, rather than just Hermione’s hesitant version of her.
Caleb and Kristen: Mhm.
Rosie: Dolores obviously respects her in some way, but can still control her. It is an interesting power struggle that seems to be going on within the Ministry as well, even if they’re all working toward the same cause now. Speaking of the Muggleborn Registration Committee itself, we’ve seen these rows and rows of desks of people working together because Umbridge has told them to. There is a lot of discontent within the ranks, but they are all making this propaganda and it really… you mentioned earlier the World War II parallels, and this really struck me as one of the major parallels between this war and the Nazi regime in Germany, where they are just spreading horrible lies, and spreading all of this material to every household, convincing them, brainwashing the populace to believe and to follow their orders.
Rosie: Even though so many people won’t believe it, the information is there and it is insidious. It will sink in eventually until there is only fear and belief left, I guess.
Kristen: And this is propaganda, right?
Kristen: Which was used all of World War II, all those propaganda tactics and everything. So I totally see the parallels between them both.
Caleb: It is just really amazing to see the product of the takeover, comparing it to what was there before the Death Eaters took over. We don’t see what happens in the middle. We don’t see the takeover. It is just so immediate, and it is such a stark shift. And the fact that society really has no choice but to go along with it, and really we just have a couple of these people in the Order of the Phoenix, and maybe a couple people inside the Ministry itself trying to undermine it, but really there is no effort. Maybe it is because there is no way to make it happen, or because people are too afraid, or it is interesting we’re talking about this on Bonfire Night, when you think about what is going on in V for Vendetta.
Caleb: Great movie, but it is so… J.K. Rowling does a good job of making us see how far things have gone. And we have to sit and think, “Wow, how did we get here?” And it was so fast.
Rosie: It has been so quickly, I mean, the Ministry fell on the night of the wedding and that was only a month, a month and a half ago. For it to have changed this much, and for this much kind of bureaucracy even to have been created in that amount of time.
Caleb: Right because you think of history and people like Hitler. I mean, even that was insignificantly more gradual than what we have here, and it’s just so fast, and so much.
Kristen: Do you think the wizarding population is just very naïve to let it happen so quickly? I’m just curious.
Rosie: I think it’s because the population is so small. There’s less opportunity for resistance because there’s less amount of people to resist. The amount of secrets and lies that have happened over the last couple of years since Voldemort regained his body, and the fact that no one would believe Harry, no one would believe Dumbledore, there’s already been so much slander and the world has only just realized what’s happened. That slow, gradual build up, the Hitler’s slow rise to power kind of thing has happened completely in the background. And has happened through manipulation and through puppets really. It’s the whole Voldemort not wanting to be the minister himself thing. It’s putting other people in control. Whereas Hitler put himself in control, Voldemort is very much taking the back step and doing everything that Hitler did but from a hidden viewpoint.
Rosie: So he’s been in control of the ministry officially for a month and a half, but really for two years he’s had that kind of insidious takeover happening through the media, through the kind of qualities that are being introduced, and through people like Umbridge being in control. But it is interesting how much was kind of able to be set up in the actual, official amount of time.
Rosie: It shows that these people have plans and they’ve been forming those plans for a long time.
Kristen: Mhm. That’s true I guess, you know, once they have the plan they just implemented it so quickly, so efficiently.
Rosie: So the person in charge of all this brain washing is Umbridge, and Harry has made his way up to this floor so that he could investigate Umbridge’s office, and see if she has for some reason decided to leave this really important item tucked away in her desk. Before he manages to get to her desk, however, he is faced with her door. And in this door, and we’ve faced Umbridge’s office door many times before in previous books, we already know that it’s a trial in itself to get through, there’s always been a challenge to face and some kind of trap associated with Umbridge’s office door. And this time, it is Mad-Eye’s eye that is stuck there. And Mad-Eye, whose body we previously searched for after his death trying to protect Harry, and we were unable to find it, obviously it has been found by the ministry and hidden and sadly, Mad-Eye’s eye is there as almost like a trophy on Umbridge’s wall. And she is very proud of this idea of being able to oversee everything that’s going on. Even if she has to kind of put a telescope on the other side of it in order to use the door and use the eye as a peephole. But it’s just the idea of the trophy, it seems so much like Voldemort’s horcruxes and picking up those trophies of key achievements, and Umbridge is learning. And how disgusting and creepy is that? Why isn’t Umbridge a Death Eater? [laughs]
Caleb: Yeah, I mean, this is one of those moments, maybe one of the most prominent moments where that question really does come to light.
Kristen: You think she likes power too much that she doesn’t, I mean I know she is controlled by the others, but in a way she still has her owm… mindset? I don’t know, she’s not exactly tied down to Voldemort. Like she would be if she was a Death Eater. I don’t know if that makes sense.
Caleb: Yeah, no, I think that makes sense. I mean, she wants that bureaucratic official, formal power. Not the raw, domination of like, she likes the structure.
Tracy: I feel like she thinks it would be too messy to actually be a Death Eater. She’s okay with ordering someone to kill someone, but not actually doing it.
Caleb: Yeah, because she totally like, man did she, what was the process like without, this is really grotesque and really sad to think about but how, what happened to get the eye from Moody? Did she just order someone to get it?
Kristen: Oh, okay, I thought you meant the actual process to get it out.
Caleb: Oh, no. I don’t want to think about that.
Kristen: I was like, I just thought it’d be very easy. Sorry.
Caleb: Well, that’s fair.
Rosie: The ministry wasn’t even technically involved with the attack as far as they were supposed to be. It was the Death Eaters who attacked the people in flight and there were ministry officials involved in that flight trying to protect Harry. Mad-Eye was still technically a ministry person during that time. So for a ministry official to have some aspect…
Rosie: Mad-Eye was still technically a Ministry person during that time, so for a Ministry official to have some aspect of that person’s body proves that something was already wrong.
Caleb and Kristen: Yeah.
Tracy: Yeah. She’s like…
Tracy: If you find his body, I really just want his eye. That’s all, thanks.
Tracy: How gross. [laughs]
Caleb: Yeah, and because so many things are happening here…Harry does have his moment when he sees the eye, but…[sighs] I just almost want more time that paid attention to this because you have a lifelong Ministry Auror who is just being defamed.
Caleb: His reputation is not just ruined, but humiliated. So many words I can’t even think of right now because I’m so upset over thinking about what’s happening. It’s just that you want more attention paid to the atrocity of this.
Rosie: There’s an interesting contrast in these characters as well. They’re the two characters that we’ve never really seen interact; they were both…Well, they were supposedly both Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers on different years. Obviously, Mad-Eye never actually managed to teach. But there must have been some backstory that we’re not aware of that would lead Umbridge to want a trophy of Mad-Eye’s death. So whether Umbridge is a failed Auror – maybe she wanted to be involved and get that power that way and Mad-Eye wouldn’t let her because he was in control of that department – or maybe he came down harshly on her after finding out what happened at Hogwarts, there must be some kind of element of wanting to show that she’s got power over this powerful figure in order to use that eye. Unless, of course…Well, she must have known who he was because Mad-Eye’s name is “Mad-Eye.” I was going to say, unless she just thought it was an interesting magical item, but that’s not going to win the case. She knows whose it is, and she knows what it is, and she’s using it as an element of fear.
Caleb: Right, because when you think about the usefulness of it – the magic, the spying – yeah, it’s useful for her to spy on the workers out there, but there are other ways she could have done that, right?
Caleb: There are plenty of ways in the magical universe. She’s a skilled witch; she can make a Patronus, we learn, so I think it is this trophy aspect and this intimidation on the others. So I agree; I think it would be interesting to know if there was some backstory there.
Kristen: You do have some Order members within the Ministry, so it’s another letting them know, like you said, Caleb, of intimidation so they know.
Kristen: She’s like, “Well, look what I have on my door. Don’t come messing around here.”
Caleb: Yeah. Imagine if Tonks ever walked by her office.
Kristen: Mhm. Yeah.
Tracy: Oh, no.
Tracy: Too sad.
Rosie: I don’t like that book. [laughs]
Caleb: Or Kinglsey, for that matter.
Rosie: Yeah. Which makes me wonder how many of the Order are actually still in the Ministry. We know that Arthur definitely is.
Rosie: We know that Kingsley probably is.
Rosie: Or at least, he goes back to it later on. I don’t imagine that Tonks would be a Ministry worker at the moment.
Caleb: Yeah, I agree.
Tracy: She’s pregnant, right?
Rosie: She’s off with Lupin.
Rosie: Do we know that she’s pregnant already? Yes.
Caleb: Yeah, we do.
Rosie: Yeah. So she’s hidden away at her parents’ house.
Rosie: She’s already married to a werewolf, and that has been publically announced.
Rosie: So I don’t think that new regime Ministry would be interested in firing her.
Tracy: Yeah. She’s got enough.
Rosie: Yeah. Poor Tonks.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: Anyway, Harry has entered the office. We find out a little bit later on that he has actually removed the eye from the door and taken it with him to protect Mad-Eye and to give him the respect that he deserves. And speaking of protection, he is searching through this room to try and find the Horcrux. He doesn’t manage to find it, but what he does find is all of those kind of classic crime TV show files of all of these people that are being watched.
Rosie: In the movies they even do it with the lovely big red…
Kristen: Red X. Yeah.
Rosie: … to say this person has been killed. It’s just one of those kind of cliché moments, isn’t it, though? Everyone keeps files on these people.
Tracy: Just in case we don’t know, let’s make sure it’s huge and in this file.
[Rosie and Tracy laugh]
Rosie: So just in case we hadn’t already guessed, you know what? Arthur Weasley is probably being watched by the Ministry.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: It’s really nice, though, that we learn that Ron’s disguise has actually succeeded, that the suggestion of the ghoul in pajamas has convinced – that’s the word I’m looking for – the Ministry that he is actually at home and ill rather than off on his journey with Harry. Which…Is the Ministry a bit naive? Surely you should be able to tell that a ghoul in pajamas is not actually the living red-haired son of a Ministry official.
Caleb: This always blows my mind because they know that Ron is…
Caleb: I assume… I think it’s fair that they know that Ron is pretty good friends with Harry.
Kristen and Rosie: Yeah.
Kristen: I mean…
Tracy: Harry is always there.
Rosie: Harry could have told them. Any of the Slytherin kids could have told them.
Caleb: I mean, not just know it, but they know to the degree, and the fact that they don’t check this out… [sighs] I don’t know. Maybe… I mean, I can think of a couple of rational explanations, but then it’s blown away. Oh, maybe they didn’t want to intrude too much in the Weasleys’ house to cause a mass publicity, so on and so forth. At this point, I don’t think they care.
Caleb: They think Harry is Undesirable Number One. So I am always surprised that they aren’t looking into this more, or at least trying to question Ron as to where Harry might be.
Caleb: Like, sure, Ron’s contagious…
Caleb: … but, like again…
Tracy: I’m sure there’s some way, yeah, you can talk to him up there. [laughs]
Rosie: Especially with Umbridge and her history with Harry. She wants to catch Harry.
Rosie: If… and she knows about Ron and Hermione. She…
Rosie: … she’ll only go after them to try to get to him.
Kristen: That’s true.
Rosie: And, obviously, Ron needs to learn that he must not tell lies.
[Kristen and Rosie laughs]
Rosie: Not going to be carved in his hand though…
Tracy: Does Rowling…
Rosie: … but still. Oh, go ahead.
Tracy: Sorry. Was Rowling going to kill Arthur in this book too? I know she was going to kill him in another book but I feel there’s a lot of hints that keep mentioning him a lot in this chapter…
Tracy: … and he has that file…
Rosie: Maybe that’s what this is. Maybe this is the ghost in the system saying this is the clue that doesn’t come true.
Rosie: But I think it’s also a little bit of foreshadowing to what we see later on. So, as soon as Harry leaves the office, after seeing these things and discovering that Harry, himself, is Undesireable Number One, he heads back to the elevator and he, actually, finds Arthur walking in. He has a little bit of… a quick chat with Ron, who has tried to fix the raining office and failed and as gone to seek someone else to help out like a good little Ministry official. [laughs] Maybe it’s a glimpse into Ron’s future career.
Rosie: But, and he has a quick chat with his own dad in disguise. He immediately averts his eyes in order to not give away who he is…
Rosie: … which I found really interesting the fact that they’re nervous that the Polyjuice Potion won’t be enough and that Arthur would be able to recognize his son no matter who he looks like.
Rosie: That’s not something they’ve worried about in the past.
Rosie: But Arthur is in the lift and, considering he is being attached and, surely, he must know himself, is he risking too much? Because he confronts Harry’s alias really bluntly. He waits until both Reg Cattermuld and Percy Weasley, himself, have left the lift before he can actually talk to him. But he has no fear. He doesn’t feel any reason why he shouldn’t confront Runcorn, who he seems to be quite powerful in terms of his discussions with other characters we’ve seen.
Rosie: Is Arthur being foolhardy here?
Caleb: I always thought so. Rereading it this time, it just seems so reckless for him to be so… he made me wonder if something happened that day. I mean, he is obviously upset about… is it Dirk Cresswell? Is that who he talks about here?
Caleb: You know, what’s happening. So, maybe, he’s set off by that, that he just can’t control his emotions.
Kristen: Mhm. Yeah, that’s what I see as well.
Kristen: It makes sense.
Rosie: It’s just that Runcorn seems to be such an intimidating figure…
Rosie: … and Arthur’s just… he’s the little man with the rubber duck and the plugs.
Caleb: And usually…
Rosie: … against Runcorn.
Tracy: I’m sure he’s getting tired of being pushed around with what’s happening.
Tracy: People… obviously, the Ministry is changing, of course, so he’s changing as well. He’s like, “WTF man?”
Caleb: Yeah, because he usually does keep his cool in these situations, right?
Caleb: We’ve haven’t really seen him act out like this before. Not…
Rosie: Not that we know of.
Caleb: … at least, that I’m remembering. Yeah.
Rosie: Heading back down to the courtroom, Harry is on the hunt for Hermione, hoping that Ron will join them later and that he will be able to solve [laughs] the problem after the raining roof has been [laughs] fixed. He goes down to the courtroom, he walks passed the Department of Mysteries very much trying to ignore his history with that black door. And we he walks down into the courtroom and immediately feels the coldness of the Dementors. And, going back to our discussion of Minerva and her history with other teachers, we discover that Umbridge’s Patronus is a cat. And Umbridge is totally a cat person. She is the person with all of the cats on plates on her walls. She’s completely obsessed with cats. And I was just wondering how we thought Minerva might feel about this? Considering she turns into a cat. I’m pretty sure…
Rosie: ….her Patronus is a cat as well. They are so different from each other and yet they have the same similar Patronus.
Kristen: That’s crazy.
Rosie: What does that say about them?
Caleb: Yeah, they really show, as far as cat personalities go…
Caleb: … two sides of… two very different…
Caleb: … sides of a coin.
Kristen: Oh, yeah.
Rosie: We put so much meaning into what our Patronus’s shape tells about a person.
Rosie: Harry’s is his connection to his dad. We see that Tonks’s changes either to some form of a relation to Sirius, although we later, obviously, find out that it’s actually a wolf and it’s her love of Remus here. So, for Minerva, I’ve always seen her as this very stately cat in the same way that the ancient Egyptians used to worship cats as Gods. She’s got that kind of elegance to her that cats give off. Whereas, Umbridge is more of the fluffly, scatty cat.
[Kristen and Rosie laughs]
Rosie: But is… her cat seems… it’s still proud, but it seems more of that kind of pedigree cat that is a bit up itself and horrible…
Kristen: Oh, yes.
Rosie: … and it’s not the kind of cat that you actually want to have.
Kristen: Mhm, the snooty little cat. Only wants to be with itself. Doesn’t care about anybody else or anybody else’s feelings.
Rosie: Totally going to steal all of the food; it’s going to hide mice around the house so you can find their dead bodies.
Kristen: Yes! It’s going to be the cat that waits under your bed until you walk by and slashes your ankles.
Caleb: Oh dear, what kind of cats have you been dealing with?
Kristen: [laughs] My cat used to do it; he used to do it in a playful way and I loved it. But she’d be the mean cat and wouldn’t do it in the nice way.
Rosie: We do, though, find out that she is capable of creating a Patronus, and this Patronus is creating a barrier for herself but also for the others on her side within the courtroom. So is there some element of goodness in her? Is there some kind of misguidedness that has created this horrible character?
Kristen: No. [laughs]
Caleb: You mean as evidence because she can cast the Patronus?
Rosie: Yeah, because we know that it’s the… didn’t Jo say something about evil people can’t cast them?
Caleb and Kristen: Yeah.
Caleb: But doesn’t she comment specifically about Umbridge…?
Kristen: Yeah, on Umbridge, that she feels she’s in the right or something.
Caleb: Maybe on Pottermore. I can’t remember.
Kristen: She knows wholeheartedly that she is right in her beliefs, so she doesn’t think it’s evil or anything like that. So she knows that it’s in her way good, so she’s able to do it. I feel like there was something along those lines… ish. [laughs]
Caleb: Yeah, that sounds about right.
Rosie: There’s this strange affinity between Umbridge and the Dementors. Whenever we see a Dementor, they seem to have some kind of connection to Umbridge, other than the first year when they’re all connected to Sirius and they’re all being used to hunt him down. When we see Harry attacked by Dementors in Privet Drive, it’s because Umbridge sent them. She has this weird power over fear that is both symbolized and realized by this relationship with Dementors. So why doesn’t she fear them herself? Why does she not seem to have any issue using them? Yeah, just seems odd that someone so obsessed with rules and so obsessed with succeeding and gaining power should trust some kind of creature that is so built up on something so unstable and something so treacherous.
Caleb: Yeah, she has to know there’s a risk that she’ll lose control of them, you would think. Or is it just because she’s just so naive about her own power? I don’t know.
Rosie: I do really think that she’s blinded by it; she doesn’t think that the Dementors ever would turn on her. It’s like when she faces the centaurs and she shouts, “I’m a Ministry official. You can’t do this.”
Rosie: She doesn’t think that the Dementors will ever do anything that she can’t control.
Caleb: Right. It is interesting, though, that once she gets knocked out, that’s when the Dementors… well, I guess they really are reacting to the absence of the Patronus, not so much that she is losing them herself, so never mind.
Rosie: Which shows how powerful her Patronus is, I guess.
Caleb: Just surprising.
Rosie: Just think about what those good thoughts must be that create it.
Caleb: Oh my gosh.
Rosie: It’s going to be things like torturing children. It’s going to be horrible.
Kristen: Yeah. Ugh.
Kristen: That’s a scary thought. [laughs]
Rosie: She’s a really horrible character.
Kristen: Oh, yeah.
Rosie: The more you think about her, the worse it gets. [laughs]
Kristen: Oh gosh, yeah.
Rosie: These Dementors, however, do trigger Harry’s fight and flight complex. And it is really that “saving people thing” over and over again. He will not let this poor innocent woman, who they do actually have some kind of unexpected connection with, in terms of the fact that it is Ron’s alias that she is married to… Ron has that thing, “How am I going to save my wife?” “You don’t have a wife.”
[Caleb and Kristen laugh]
Rosie: And Harry really just goes for the underdog. He wants to protect this woman who is being so victimized by Umbridge. He won’t back down from his worst nightmare anymore. He’s actually overcome his fear of the Dementors; he knows how to take them on and he knows what to do. And it’s actually Hermione that we see struggling, and she has never been able to create this Patronus and she still can’t. Is it partly to do with the Horcrux at this point? Or is it partly to do with her exposure? She’s been down there a while with these Dementors, even behind Umbridge’s Patronus. Why is it that Hermione still can’t seem to fight off the effect of Dementors when Harry has now succeeded?
Kristen: Because Harry can only be good at one thing and that’s it.
Caleb: For me, it’s always been – and I can’t remember if this is movie canon, book canon, or just something I made up in my head – that when Lupin is first teaching Harry about the Patronus and he says that it seems that Harry is apt at the Patronus Charm because of how much he has been through in his life, and so those good moments that he built on to cast the Patronus; there’s such a… they mean so much to him, and there’s such a contrast between the horrible things he’s gone through versus the really joyful moments. I feel like there’s some… maybe it’s in the movie or I’m just building it in my head. It’s just because that Harry, for him, it’s really easy to think of those good memories, those good thoughts, those joyful things to counteract the cold despair of the Dementors. And there’s not as much calculated logic[al] wand movement things that Hermione is so precise and strong at. This is a charm that doesn’t fit into that category as much.
Tracy: I agree, I have a feeling that she has gone through the least. I feel like maybe she has so many happy memories that it’s not strong enough to really fight it, while Harry has very specific, very few and far between happy memories. It’s easy for him to find one and just use that.
Caleb: Perhaps until this book when she has to send her parents away. I think that was probably one of the most devastating things – probably the most – that she’s ever gone through.
Rosie: I think also, as she’s got older her insecurities have grown and developed. And fear is a really interesting thing because we have big fears and phobias but we also have little fears, and it’s often the little fears that are more powerful because they’re the things that we would never really admit to; the things that we think about daily but never really imagine to be very big. And I imagine that with the world darkening and Hermione growing up emotionally, her insecurities have started growing with her. And it’s the idea of maybe she’s not good enough, and maybe she won’t survive, and maybe her loved ones won’t survive, and maybe all of these little things are going to build up and that actually creates the atmosphere where you can’t fight a Dementor in the same way that Harry’s major fears prevented him from fighting them previously. Hermione has got all of these little things that are overshadowing her ability to think of the one good thing that will help her cast a Patronus. Or maybe that’s just me. [laughs]
Caleb: I think it’s reasonable.
Tracy: I really like that theory, Rosie, actually. That’s really good.
Rosie: It always struck me as… girls have this thing – boys do as well – but girls are considered to be more vulnerable in terms of insecurities and these secret mental fears that aren’t always obvious to the world around them. And that’s one of the reasons why we love Luna so much, is that she doesn’t give into these insecurities. She’s not trying to hide them. She knows that Ron is being unkind and she’ll say it, whereas Hermione will internalize that and attack him with birds.
Rosie: Those kind of things. When we did have the original Patronus teaching thing, Hermione’s worst fear was jokingly that she was going to fail a test and that all of these kind of things are going to happen. And I think that really builds up and Hermione’s emotional fears are going to be stronger than actual fears. And I’m talking myself around in circles now. So Hermione grabs the Horcrux. [laughs] We see that Umbridge has been… have I just said movie canon? Is it Harry that catches the Horcrux in the books, not Hermione?
Caleb: In the book he Stupifys Umbridge and… is it Yaxley there? And she grabs… I can’t remember which one grabs it from around her neck.
Rosie: In movie canon it’s definitely Hermione because she’s closest; I can’t remember if it’s Harry in the book. Either way, we see that Umbridge is wearing the Horcrux around her neck and that she has lied and she is claiming it to be part of her own family history and giving herself some pure-blood credence due to this locket being some symbol of her own family tree, which is interesting in itself that Umbridge has, again, one of these little insecurities that means that she has to lie. After the whole “I must not tell lies” thing with Harry, she is lying herself to embolden herself and to make herself higher status within the Ministry. But we all know, and Harry knows, that this is actually the Horcrux and that this is the one thing that they have come here to collect. And with his “saving people thing” kicking in, and with all of the situation arising that he can finally act and with Ron walking in and the real Reg Cattermole walking in and all of these things happening all at once, he takes advantage of the chaos and from underneath the Invisibility Cloak he casts Stupefy on the guards and he starts this fight, which is a really cinematic fight, to the Ministry. By this point we’ve had the movies; we’re into the last book. Jo, I believe, has started thinking in these fight scenes that we see in the films because the way she describes this fight through the book in this chapter is very visual. It’s very action-packed; it’s very much made for the sequence that it would become in the film, while it also has all of the things that we would need from this kind of fight. So they grab the Horcrux, they find all three of them, they save the people that needed saving, they manage to chase off the Dementors, they manage to avoid all of the Death Eaters that are chasing them, and they fight their way right up from that bottom floor of the Ministry right up to the Atrium again. What do you guys think of this fight? Because it just seems… there are so many people in this Ministry; how come Harry is fighting one person and is able to get all the way up to the Atrium without ever being stopped?
Caleb: Yeah, I wish… because we don’t see the full scope of the fight in the movie, do we?
Rosie: Not really. It does that whole slow motion thing.
Caleb: Right. Yeah, I definitely think he is good on his feet with the quick instincts when they get to the fireplaces to try to trick whoever it is that comes out. But yeah, I didn’t think about it that way. She just described it. But she really has upped the way she describes these fights and given us credit to be able to follow it, which allows her to really make it more rich.
Tracy: I was going to say this is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. I just think it’s… I think the actors really got – Dan and Emma and all of them – their acting ability really well. They did a good job of imitating them.
Kristen: But how in the book there are so many more people that they are saving; I wish that was in the movie as well. I do love this scene as well in the movie, but I like how they were able to get more people out.
Rosie: Yeah. In the movie it’s very much just this one woman because she has this connection to Ron…
Rosie: … whereas in the book, Harry is saving all of the Muggle-borns that are being tried that day…
Rosie: … and he managed to get every single one out before they turn around and have to fight for their own lives.
Kristen: Yeah, he’s like, “Leave the country, get out of here.” I like that.
Rosie: Yeah. Meanwhile, Mrs. Cattermole is just completely bemused by the situation.
Rosie: She really doesn’t get what’s going on despite having two versions of her husband stood in front of her. She still clings to Ron rather than the person who is obviously her actual husband.
Rosie: It’s ridiculous, but it makes such a good scene, and Rupert… yeah, they all did a really great job in the film.
Caleb: Because they kiss in this movie, right? Where they don’t in the book.
Rosie: Yeah, they do. [laughs]
Caleb: I thought that was a nice touch.
Rosie: Yeah. Whereas Reg is standing there, going, “Who is that with my wife?”
Rosie: “What’s going on?” Very strange. Ultimately, we see that they do manage to escape and that Ron, Hermione, and Harry all jump into the fireplace, trying to get back to Grimmauld Place. But unfortunately, Yaxley is holding onto Hermione at this point. And that is where we leave it. We feel something slipping and we know that we briefly glance Grimmauld Place, but then something else happens and we’re not entirely sure what. So you’ll have to tune in next week to find out!
[Kristen and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: The way that she writes this Apparating/Disapparating scene; it almost suffocates you, just the way that Harry is struggling to get a breath…
Kristen: Oh, yeah.
Caleb: … and being pulled in every direction.
Rosie: The tension in this scene is ridiculous, and having that as a cliffhanger, even though it’s just a chapter and we’re literally going to find out what happened in the next couple of seconds…
[Caleb and Kristen laugh]
Rosie: … it’s such an amazing thing that you can end a chapter with that much tension and that much effect on your reader…
Rosie: … that it almost feels like the end of an episode [or] the end of a book.
Rosie: You have to wait longer than it feels like to find out what’s going on. And that’s a really skillful thing to do within writing.
Kristen: She does it perfectly. Mhm.
Rosie: It’s amazing. There you go. Obligatory Genius Moment. Good job, Jo.
[Caleb and Kristen laugh]
Caleb: All right, so now it is time for our Question of the Week. And we are going to focus on something we briefly discussed on the episode about this really dramatic and quick shift in wizarding Britain’s government, from Scrimgeour’s murder to the installation of Thicknesse, who is under the Imperius Curse as Minister of Magic. “The transition of the Scrimgeour-led Ministry to the Imperiused Thicknesse-run Ministry is a very quick one. Historically, even dictators such as Adolf Hitler had a gradual rise to power compared to the rapid shift here in wizarding Britain’s government. How might the average workers inside the Ministry have handled this stark change, such as those creating the Mudblood-focused pamphlets in this chapter? How would the citizens have reacted to this change? On the flip side, how might some employees capitalize on the opportunity presented in this very government?” So there are a lot of possibilities you can consider there. Let us know what you think. Head over to alohomora.mugglenet.com, and some of your responses may get read on next week’s episode.
Kristen: And we also want to thank our guest Tracy for being on. So thank you, Tracy. Hope you had a good time.
Tracy: I did. Thank you for having me.
Kristen: Of course.
Rosie: And if you guys would like to be on the show just like Tracy, all you need to do is go to our “Be On the Show” page at alohomora.mugglenet.com. If you have a set of Apple headphones, or just any headphones with a microphone, you’re all set. There’s no other fancy equipment needed. And while you’re there on that page, why not download a ringtone for free?
Kristen: And don’t forget, you can contact us on our many social media outlets. We’re on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, Facebook at facebook.com/openthedumbledore, Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast, Instagram at @alohomoramn, or you could always call us on Skype at 206-GO-ALBUS; that’s 206-462-5287. Or you could also leave us an owl on the audioBoom at alohomora.mugglenet.com, and that’s free. We just ask that you try and keep it under 60 seconds. And coming soon, we’ll be on Google Play.
Caleb: Also make sure to check out our store that has a lot of great products, including House shirts and other things themed around the Desk!Pig, Mandrake Liberation Front, Minerva Is My Homegirl, and so much more.
Rosie: We also have our smartphone app. It has changed a little bit recently, so make sure you are finding us on our hosting service. We are listed on an app called Podcast Source. This app is now free and includes transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and much, much more. So please do check it out.
[Show music begins]
Caleb: All right, that’s going to do it for this week’s episode of Alohomora!. I’m Caleb Graves.
Rosie: I’m Rosie Morris.
Kristen: I’m Kristen Keys. Thank you for listening to Episode 163 of Alohomora!
Rosie: Open the Dumbledore.
[Show music continues]
Rosie: I realized I said “elevator” earlier, and I was like, “I just said ‘elevator.’ I never say ‘elevator.'”
[Kristen and Tracy laugh]
Rosie: “Why have I said ‘elevator’?” [laughs] Talking to too many of you Americans.
Rosie: Open the Scamander door! [laughs]