[Show music begins]
Noah Fried: This is Episode 18 of Alohomora! for December 16th, 2012.
[Show music continues]
Noah: Everybody, welcome to the show. I’m Noah Fried.
Kat Miller: I’m Kat Miller.
Caleb Graves: I’m Caleb Graves.
Rosie Morris: And I’m Rosie Morris.
Noah: And guys, how great is it to be together again? I think, Rosie, it was you who brought it up. We haven’t actually done this since the beginning of the book, all four of us, main MuggleNet hosts, being on the same episode.
Kat: I know, it’s great. It’s nice to talk to all three of you at the same time. [laughs]
Noah: We’ve had a wide range of really amazing guests on over the past few months, but man it’s good to be back. At the same time, thanks to everyone who has been listening to us since we started the show months and months ago, but ever since that point we have become a pretty major podcast. We have people chatting back to us, we are reading your comments on every episode, and everyone is engaged in this big reread, just started with an idea that we had. A couple of us just talking about it, but we actually made it happen and now everyone is engaged on Twitter, on Facebook, and on the Alohomora! site. So, I would just like to personally say to everybody, thank you for listening to our show so much because we really love the feedback and interacting with you guys in a new way. Just keep spreading the magic as much as you can. Tell everybody about this show because we think we are doing something important, bringing these books back to an intellectual discussion.
Caleb: Seconded. Yeah.
Noah: Has the show become bigger than you expected?
Kat: I think it’s just as big as I expected it to be. Quite honestly. [laughs] So…
Caleb: I guess I figured it would be big also, but I wasn’t really expecting so many people to get so actively involved like through the main site or the forums…
Caleb: …or just social media in general. I just expected a lot of people to listen and enjoy, but I have been overwhelmed at how many people just want to talk about stuff and that’s what’s been so great.
Kat: That’s why Potter fans rock!
Caleb: For sure.
Kat: We would like to take a quick moment to thank our sponsors, Audible. Exclusively for fans of Alohomora! they are offering a free audio download. They have over 100,000 titles to choose from, so head over to AudiblePodcast.com/Open to get yours now.
Caleb: So, we’re going to go ahead and jump into your comments from our previous episode, the stuff we talked about, what you had to say. So, our first comment comes from Hippogriff on the main site and talking about Mandrakes.
“I feel like Mandrakes are still autotrophic, and still have a cell wall, so they would still be plants, but like many other magical things, they have characteristics that similar, non-magical things would not have. And about the hopping into each other’s pots, the exact line is: ‘The moment they start trying to move into each other’s pots, we’ll know they’re fully mature,’ so they may not actually physically hop from pot to pot, but only try to.”
Caleb: So, I put this comment on there because I felt like Noah wants to talk all about the Mandrakes since he wasn’t here last time.
Noah: I absolutely do. Well if we haven’t plugged it enough, I just want to let everyone know that I actually started the Mandrake Liberation Front. It’s a pretty massive Twitter account, we have about 530 followers. Basically if you follow that account, you can get daily updates from the Mandrake Liberation Front and what’s going down right in the field where Pomona is…
Caleb: Right in the field. [laughs]
Noah: …raising hell on us. It’s just terrible. So, I actually… what I do is I embody the form of one of the Mandrakes there and we have various Mandrakes working with me in teams to support ourselves against Pomona and her outbreak.
Kat: I know. You’ve had double funerals and weddings.
Noah: Double funerals, we have support groups.
Caleb: Oh my God. I’m going to commit you, Noah.
[Kat and Noah laugh]
Noah: It was actually for Cyber Monday and Black Friday, Pomona was selling Mandrake Restoration Draught on the black market.
Noah: And we realized she was doing…
Noah: The Mandrakes realized she was doing that and they purchased all of her stock so that they could bury their dead.
Kat: Wow. Where did they get the money?
Noah: They used all of their Mandrake funds. It wasn’t a lot.
Kat: I didn’t know they had a currency.
Noah: Well they do, they do. And a language. But anyway, back to the comment at hand.
[Kat and Noah laugh]
Noah: I actually asked the Mandrakes. We had a poll on Twitter: Are we animals or are we plants? And it’s really up in the air. I think someone on the last show said likely maybe the plants have been spell-casted on or they have some essential magic, and they’re still plants because if they’re animals that’s a bit too crazy to ponder.
Caleb: I think that’s what this person is saying also.
Noah: Yeah. The thing is, though, is that they just possess this intelligence that I don’t think a plant can have and that I think necessitates an animal. And as far as the hopping into each other’s pots, I will say again it does seem that Pomona or Jo is kind of stopping them from breeding in a way, or getting in the way of their rights. So, right at maturity they’re cut off.
Kat: Well I mean, they don’t have legs, so I don’t think they can actually physically go from pot to pot.
Caleb: Unless their roots are strong enough as a springboard. They just bounce…
Kat: Yeah. Like Tigger.
Caleb: …and then they’re in the next pot. Yeah, there you go.
Kat: Bouncing Mandrakes.
Noah: I can tell you because I’ve firsthand witnessed this.
Caleb: Oh, right.
Noah: They do climb into each other’s pots with their roots.
Kat: Okay. That must have been fascinating, Noah.
Caleb: Very important groundwork you’re doing for us on the scene.
Noah: Thank you, thank you. [laughs]
Noah: But I mean, don’t you think so? Hopping from pot to pot isn’t probably metaphoric. I’m sure it happens at some point.
Caleb: Yeah, I would agree. I can see them actually doing that.
Noah: They are physically moving and repotting themselves.
Rosie: But I still think they are plants. They’re magical plants in the same way that the Whomping Willow is, or thinking about other things like Day of the Triffids or even Little Shop of Horrors. They’re that kind of plant that has some kind of active personality…
Rosie: …in the way that fantasy really brings out. They’re like Ents and things like that as well.
Kat: Well, we know the Whomping Willow was charmed, right? So, I don’t know if that counts.
Rosie: Okay. But there are other plants that have kind of creature… it’s like something in between. It’s not plant, not creature – it’s a new thing. Half and half.
Noah: Well, I wonder if Mandrakes have individual personalities or if… in science fiction/fantasy, plants are often shown as having one singular consciousness. I wonder if all the Mandrakes have the same mind and they connect with each other telepathically, or if they have individual personalities.
Kat: Why don’t you ask them?
Caleb: Yeah, get back to us on that.
Kat: You must speak Mandrake by now. Yeah.
Noah: As far as I know, they do have different names and personalities, and schools and taxes.
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Caleb: Okay. And on that note…
Caleb: So, the next comment… and we actually got a ton of comments because last time when Kat and I were on the show we talked… asked you guys to help us with the timeline of how the Horcruxes were made. And so, the next commenter, LumosNight3, actually has a really good set of thoughts on the timeline. As a lot of people do, but we don’t have time to go through all of them, so I encourage you guys all to go look at the forums because some really cool thoughts on the actual timeline of when Horcruxes are made. But this comment talks about the amount of soul that is put into the Horcruxes, and it says:
“Okay, I don’t think I agree that the Horcrux takes half of your soul each time. From what I’m reading and researching, nowhere does it say ‘half’. It always seems to say a ‘piece’ or ‘part’ and to me, that could be anything. I think there would be no point to making it half each time anyway. You want your soul to remain as intact as possible, needing only just enough to anchor yourself to Earth if you die, and it looks like there is no minimum amount required to make a Horcrux – any amount of soul will do. So, I just don’t think I’m convinced it’s half every time until Jo says otherwise.”
Rosie: I guess we need to think about what it means by “anchoring yourself to Earth.” Does it mean that you’re… the thing that you’ve left behind will be the only bit that lives on? Or does it mean that your current state will not fail and that you’ll come back?
Rosie: Because if it means that you’ll live on through your Horcruxes, then having half of it would be better than having…
Kat: A bit.
Rosie: …a small part…
Rosie: …because you need that whole other half of your soul to live on.
Caleb: Right, because we see him living so much more through his diary than any other Horcrux.
Rosie: So, if Voldemort died at that point, and there was only two – him and the diary – then he would want to live on through the Tom Riddle character.
Noah: But I’m thinking about the fact that the Diary Horcrux is so powerful is because it was that first one, right? And let’s say it is half the soul each time. That means the diary was so powerful because it had more proportion of Voldemort’s soul. Why else didn’t the other Horcruxes start possessing people? It could to an extent, but I feel like it was a much more reduced form than the diary.
Kat: Yeah, definitely. I agree, and I think that it has to be half because think about by the time it gets to the end, his soul is so broken that he unwillingly transfers part of it…
Kat: …to Harry, so it’s like it… I feel like it has to be half. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be so unstable.
Noah: Yeah, more of this…
Rosie: It’s kind of like a molecular level. Like, the atom is losing electrons and things at that.
Kat: Yeah. Mhm.
Caleb: Or if it’s not half, it’s at least… I don’t think it can be just like this infinitesimal small amount or else it wouldn’t work as well.
Caleb: I think it’s got to be a pretty sizeable amount.
Noah: And remember the word… it’s always “split” your soul, and…
Noah: …I always assumed “split”… “splitting” is always…
Caleb: Halving, yeah.
Noah: And I think that’s where the assumption came from, that it was half the soul.
Caleb: And I think that maybe the reason why “piece” or “part” is used so much later is because by that time – later Horcruxes – it’s no longer half of Riddle’s original soul. It is, I mean, comparatively a piece or part, but it’s half of what’s left, I guess.
Noah: Weird thought that we don’t have to necessarily entertain, but if it is half, then it’s kind of like making a child because you can only give half.
Caleb: You mean genetically?
Caleb: Is that what you’re talking about?
Kat: Yeah, I don’t think we’re going to entertain that.
Noah: No, but I just thought I’d bring it up.
Noah: Just go on our forums.
Kat: That’s right.
Caleb: All right. So, our next comment comes on the topic of Snape and the Chamber of Secrets, and it’s actually a voicemail, and this person is from New Jersey, so we will play that clip now.
[Audio]: Hello, Alohomora!. My name is [unintelligible] from New Jersey. I enjoy listening to your show. I had an overall thought on Chamber of Secrets that I think Snape knew the whole time about the Chamber of Secrets. For example, when they’re caught by the first attack – Mrs. Norris – he knows, and he knows that Harry cannot say anything, so he enjoys getting him in trouble. But I think he knew most of the time, he had some clue about the Chamber of Secrets and what is really inside. Thank you very much. Hope to be on the next show. Bye.
Kat: Okay, so basically I think what he’s trying to say is that Snape knows the whole time about where the Chamber of Secrets is and what’s inside of it, and he thinks that Snape has this insider info because of his past with Voldemort.
Caleb: Yeah, I mean, that would make sense, but I wonder why he wouldn’t tell Dumbledore about it, or is he just holding on to that Slytherin part that much more?
Rosie: But why would he know about the Chamber just because he’s close with Voldemort? I mean, he was close with Voldemort whilst not at Hogwarts. I mean, the Chamber doesn’t have anything to do with the First War while Voldemort is on the outside, so why would it… why would he ever bother telling Snape when it doesn’t really apply?
Kat: Yeah, and I don’t think Snape knew about the Horcruxes, right? So, I don’t know. I don’t think he knew about it.
Noah: I feel like he wouldn’t have gone anywhere near Moaning Myrtle anyway.
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Caleb: That’s true. Man, a scene between Snape and Moaning Myrtle.
Caleb: That would be entertaining.
Caleb: There’s probably a fan fiction about it.
Kat: Yeah, that never happens, does it? Bummer. So yeah, but good thought. Good voicemail. That was good.
Caleb: Totally. Okay, the next comment is back on the topic of Horcruxes, and this time on timing – as to when they’re made – and this comes from mrso822 on the forums.
“In regards to Diary Riddle, when Harry first enters the memory, it says: ‘A boy of about sixteen entered, taking off his pointed hat. A silver prefect’s badge was glinting on his chest.’ So, Hagrid was in his third year, but obviously Tom Riddle was older, and already in his fifth or sixth year. Seeing as Riddle has the ring on in Slughorn’s memory, I think that he’s already created the Diary Horcrux and considering turning the ring into another one.”
Kat: Okay, so she thinks the opposite of what we thought last week, where maybe the… wait, I’m confused. No, because we were saying that he made the ring first, and then went back and made the diary?
Caleb: Yeah, we talked about that.
Caleb: The possibility of that.
Rosie: Yeah, but she’s suggesting that he’s already made the diary and he’s talking to Slughorn not about the concept of Horcruxes in the first place, but the concept of making more than one Horcrux.
Rosie: So, if he’s already split his soul once for the diary, he’s now considering making more than one Horcrux in the form of the ring.
Caleb: Yeah, which is kind of what we also talked about, that he wasn’t going to Slughorn for the initial info on Horcruxes, but how to make more.
Noah: Right. And didn’t he make the Horcrux in his fifth year? And Slughorn happened in the sixth year?
Caleb: Well, that’s kind of what’s up for debate, I think.
Caleb: But that makes sense. Like I said, a lot of people are talking about the timeline on the forum, so some good discussion going on there.
Kat: Well, I think we’re assuming that he had Slughorn in his sixth year because Harry…
Noah: Harry was in his sixth year.
Kat: Right. So, it’s very possible that it was his fifth year.
Noah: I just have this strong sense that the diary was the first, though.
Rosie: I think that’s because it’s the first one that we come across…
Rosie: …so we’ve always assumed it was the first. But it doesn’t necessarily happen…
Noah: This is true, but it’s also the most powerful.
Rosie: But we don’t actually encounter the ring in its own form. I mean, Dumbledore is the one that destroys it. We never really see what happened when Dumbledore put on the ring.
Rosie: So, it could be stronger than the diary. We just never saw it.
Kat: And it did curse his hand.
Caleb: Yeah, it’s what eventually… yeah, that’s what I was going to say. It curses his hand to where it leads to his death, really.
Noah: Yeah, but I was under the impression that the curse on it was an enchantment put on it, and not an essential trait of the Horcrux itself.
Kat: Right, I guess because it…
Rosie: Yeah, we never actually see what happened to the actual Horcrux.
Kat: Right, because it did happen when he tried to wear the ring because of the Resurrection Stone. That’s true.
Noah: Yeah. So, because of that, almost, I want to say that the ring is a lesser Horcrux because it doesn’t have this… or at least it’s not important enough to be brought up by Dumbledore as having this insane magical property of its own, as opposed to the diary which has its own consciousness. I think all the Horcruxes, to some degree, have some minute form of consciousness, but the diary can actually expand out of that.
Caleb: But is that just because it’s a diary, in the inherent nature of what a diary is?
Noah: That’s a good point. That could be it.
Rosie: Yeah, I think the idea of the traits of the Horcruxes reflecting their…
Rosie: Yeah, the powers, would be a really interesting one. The diary is essentially a whole person because he’s put all of his thoughts and feelings and character into the words that he’s written in the diary. The locket affects your emotions and the way you feel about things because you wear it close to your heart.
Rosie: It holds things that are important to you inside.
Rosie: Yeah, the traits of the objects do seem to leech into what becomes of the Horcruxes.
Kat: So, that kind of goes with our theory. We were saying that he put his whole Muggle self into that diary and forgot about it, doesn’t care about it, it’s gone.
Kat: Okay, cool.
Noah: That’s what I was saying, and that’s why I think, also, that Horcrux is so damn powerful, because he put not only…
Rosie: The whole of a life.
Noah: He put his own personal memories in there.
Caleb: So, the next comes from Hufflepuffskein from the forums, and I really like this comment because it talks about Lev and his being in Hufflepuff, so Lev hopefully you’re listening and I think you’ll enjoy this comment. It says:
“Lev’s discussion about being sorted into Hufflepuff (while so wanting to be in Ravenclaw) really made me think about the sorting process. Lev was like Harry, he went into it intentionally wanting a certain house (or not wanting a certain other house). Yet, the Pottermore setup does not really take your choice into consideration (as the Hat seems to) unless you are a Hatstall. But I imagine that if Lev had really sat on the stool and had the Sorting Hat on his head, his immense desire to be in Ravenclaw would have at least meant something and might have persuaded the Hat to consider Ravenclaw. I guess this made me wonder about whether Lev could have influenced the Sorting Hat with his intense desire to be in Ravenclaw, even if perhaps he is better suited for Hufflepuff?”
Kat: Didn’t he say that he sat down to do the test like, “All right we’re going to get Ravenclaw, let’s do this,” and then he didn’t?
Caleb: Yup. Totally did. So, I think…
Rosie: He deliberately tried to trick it.
Caleb: Yeah, this is a brilliant point that really says unless you’re a Hatstall, you don’t really get that choice element that Harry encounters in the series.
Noah: But I feel like…
Rosie: But I think that’s true to the books anyway because not everyone is a Hatstall. Not all of the characters that we meet…
Rosie: …necessarily wanted to be in the house that they are, but they didn’t all get the choice as to which one they would end up in. So, I think…
Kat: Right, like Neville for instance. Yeah.
Rosie: Yeah. So for Neville, he probably would have wanted to be in Hufflepuff and would have wanted to hide away from everyone, but he ended up in Gryffindor because the Hat saw something greater in him.
Rosie: Not greater necessarily, but something else in him.
Rosie: So, maybe Lev needs to just discover his inner Hufflepuff and accept it and find out that there are some really brilliant things about being in Hufflepuff that can lead him to even more greatness than Ravenclaw.
Kat: No, I think he said that he was proud to be a ‘Puff, so it’s okay.
Rosie: Good. [laughs]
Kat: He wasn’t hating on it, for sure.
Caleb: Yeah. Okay, so the next comment comes on the topic of the Tom Riddle trophy and Ron. So, it’s another voicemail from Miles, a.k.a. WandMaker14, and we’ll go ahead and play that now.
[Audio]: Hi, Alohomora!. This is Miles, known as username WandMaker14 on your forums, and I have a comment. I wanted to point out that in your last episode, you didn’t really… you mentioned that Ron made the connection, but you didn’t really touch on the fact that Filch made Ron polish Tom Riddle’s trophy over fifty times. And I was wondering, could this mean that Filch could in some way support the Dark Arts or maybe Lord Voldemort? Maybe he knew Voldemort as he went to school at Hogwarts, if Squibs are even allowed to go to school at Hogwarts. And does Filch even know who Tom Riddle is? I’d like to hear your thoughts, so if you like my comment then [laughs] hope I’ll hear it on your show. All right, thanks. Bye.
Rosie: I don’t agree. I think it’s… well, he had to polish the trophy so many times because he kept throwing up slugs onto it.
Kat: Eww. [laughs]
Rosie: So, he just had to make it clean. And if you threw up fifty slugs on it, then he had to do it fifty times. It’s more about the fact that there is a trophy that needs to be clean and polished and shiny rather than whose trophy it was. It’s just a coincidence.
Noah: That’s true, but…
Caleb: And I…
Noah: …is it reasonable to assume that he would have realized whose trophy that was?
Caleb: No, because in the chapters we’re talking about today, Dumbledore points out that once Riddle left school, he went through so much to become Voldemort that few made the connection – except really Dumbledore – were able to make the connection between Riddle and Voldemort.
Noah: Oh, okay. That kind of information is in the public domain.
Kat: No, I don’t think so. Not until after Harry defeats him, I don’t think.
Rosie: Especially not to people like Filch, who just wouldn’t really care about the wizarding community.
Kat: But I definitely think somewhere deep down he supports him in some way, shape, or form. Definitely.
Noah: I completely disagree. I think he’s…
Caleb: Why do you think he supports him, Kat?
Kat: I think that…
Noah: Just because he’s dirty?
Kat: Yeah, I think Filch… I feel like… well, because Filch likes torturing people. He definitely has a dark side. I don’t think that he would…
Caleb: But Voldemort wouldn’t like Filch because he doesn’t have any magical ability.
Kat: That’s true. I don’t think he would go and fight for him, but I definitely think that somewhere Filch thinks that he’s got a couple of right ideas.
Noah: I disagree. I think deep down Filch is really a softy. I mean, why else is he spending all that time at Hogwarts, surrounded by magic, even knowing he’s not magical? Because Dumbledore let him stay on…
Noah: …when he realized that… when he opened himself up and said, “My life is so tough, but I really love Hogwarts and I want to be a part of it.” So I think, at the end, that he wants what’s best for the kids.
Kat: No, I think he wants what’s best for the castle. I don’t think he cares about the kids.
Noah: All right, all right.
Caleb: I think he only cares about Irma Pince. That’s why he’s at the castle.
Kat: And Mrs. Norris, yeah.
Rosie: Filch isn’t about punishment and torture, he’s about rules. And if you don’t stick to the rules, then you have to be punished for it. So, Voldemort never sticks to the rules. Tom Riddle is all about himself and he’ll do whatever possible to get his own ends. Like, it doesn’t matter about the rules. So, I don’t think that Filch would necessarily support Riddle or Voldemort.
Kat: But he…
Rosie: He would just be supporting the violence involved in correcting people.
Noah: Yeah, and I’m sure he knows that…
Noah: …in a world where Voldemort was powerful, he would have no rights.
Noah: Because he knows about Voldemort.
Caleb: All right. Well, the last comment comes from MissouriMuggle7 on the forums, on the topic of Myrtle and the site of the Chamber of Secrets. So, it says:
“During the podcast (which was great)…”
Thank you, MissouriMuggle7.
“…this week it was mentioned how ‘willingly’ Moaning Myrtle discussed the memories of her murder. If this was the case, then it’s difficult for me to understand how Dumbledore had not discovered the Chamber of Secrets. I assume he (and anyone else investigating her death) would have done the same thing Harry did and investigate the area of the sinks Myrtle referred to and found the snake on the pipe. Dumbledore has a pretty good eye for spotting magical entrances. Using Parseltongue to gain entry would have been a different challenge, but surely at the least this spot should have been easily identified as significant and suspect.”
Kat: Agreed. Completely. I often wonder how nobody figured it out up until this point.
Caleb: I guess, for me, the big problem is the Parseltongue. Dumbledore knows a lot of languages, but he doesn’t know that one, and…
Caleb: I think that is the barrier and that’s why it is so significant that it is Salazar Slytherin’s secret place that even Dumbledore couldn’t really get into it.
Kat: Right, but Ron got into it, so Dumbledore can’t? I don’t know.
Noah: But Ron…
Rosie: But Ron has listened to Harry. Ron replicated what Harry does all the time.
Rosie: So, he had a basis.
Kat: That’s true.
Caleb: And Dumbledore would have never really been around anyone who spoke Parseltongue to know what it sounds like.
Kat: That’s true. All right, I’ll give you that.
Rosie: Also, as to the spotting the snake on the sink – I mean, this castle is covered in lions, badgers, eagles, and snakes.
Rosie: They’re everywhere. So, maybe they just assumed that this was a sink specifically for Slytherins, not necessarily an entrance to anything.
Kat: This is yet another bit of insider info because Rosie is yet again telling us that she’s really a witch.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: Well, I did spend the day in Hogwarts yesterday.
Kat: That’s true. No, she’s telling us that badgers and lions and everything are all over the castle, and only a witch would know that.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Oh yeah, up on the fourth floor in the second corridor there’s this really big display of eagles, so…
Kat: Yeah, yeah.
Caleb: All right. Well, yeah, I think that’s a really… a thing we talked about, I think, on the last show and it’s really a big frustration as we reread it, but I think it is – at least for me – the Parseltongue is sort of the barrier that stops Dumbledore.
Noah: And as we’re saying, there are so many instances where talking to a ghost is the answer and you… Harry learns so much, but it’s sort of… it’s usually towards the end of the book we talk to a ghost. I mean, it happens in Book 5, this book, and also Book 7. Ghosts give critical answers, but otherwise we don’t talk to them at all.
Rosie: They are there to serve a purpose, and that is to reveal historical information. Harry just needs to think about the fact that he needs to know a bit of history before he goes and asks them.
Kat: [laughs] Right.
Rosie: [laughs] Okay, well, I wasn’t in the last episode, unfortunately, because I have been a little bit under the weather, but thank you very much to Michael who stepped in and took over for me. And our special feature last week was the Beast Inquisition, and I wanted to kind of raise the awareness of basilisks and giant spiders and find out what you guys thought about these mythological but real creatures, and we’ve got a few comments. So, from our forums, the first one is from knowitallgranger and it says:
“During the Beast Inquisition, you mentioned how in mythology the basilisk has a weakness from the weasel, and how that doesn’t seem to translate to the books because the basilisk controls Ginny, but that’s not true. Ginny is possessed by Tom Riddle so that she can control the basilisk. It needs to have a master to command it, and that master is Ginny. So, although she is not aware that she is in control, the basilisk is controlled by a Weasley, and therefore the weasel is its weakness.”
Kat: Right, I think I said that last week, right? I think I was trying to say that yeah, Ginny is in some way controlling the basilisk and was kind of its downfall. Yeah.
Rosie: …but I think you guys, within your discussion, you kind of concluded that Ginny and Ron were both kind of out of it by the end of this battle. So, the weakness in the basilisk was not how it was destroyed…
Rosie: …so the weasels weren’t involved in its downfall but they were involved in its control.
Rosie: This is what this comment is saying, yeah.
Noah: I mean, I can see that but we know that it’s Tom Riddle through the vehicle of Ginny. She actually has no conscious control. She’s just kind of like a puppet.
Noah: But I see the point.
Rosie: Okay. The next comment is from Walpurgis and it’s also from the forums, and it says:
“I agree with Kat about the large scary beasties in this book being an indication of this book still being children’s fare. A big scary creature is just that, big and scary. They’re not evil, they’re not particularly conniving or manipulative, they’re not preying on human foibles and prejudices the way every other villain in the series does. They can be vanquished with a feat of bravery and strength, and a ‘grown-up’ could protect or save a child from injury or death. There aren’t a lot of complex questions associated with killing a threatening beast, whereas human villains, with dark magic and powers of deceit and manipulation, carry much, much weightier issues.”
Kat: That’s good. I’m glad I’ve got someone on my side, but…
Kat: But yeah, I mean, I don’t know. She’s saying… or he or she is saying that they’re not evil, and I don’t know. I feel like the basilisk is pretty evil.
Kat: I mean, it can kill you with its eyes.
Rosie: And the spiders as well.
Rosie: I mean, the comment says that a grown-up could protect or save a child, but if the grown-ups are useless in the face of the basilisk they would equally be petrified or killed if they came face to face with it.
Rosie: And when we see the spiders again in the final battle, they aren’t something that the adults can easily stop. They are just the same as the children. They’re helpless against the force of these mighty beasts.
Noah: And I would just say with the basilisk’s ability to kill with its eyes, it seems to have an essential evil nature to it. I mean, it just has its desire to kill and it doesn’t even seem to be getting any sustenance out of it. So, why is it doing it? Does it just hate people or is it being really controlled?
Rosie: Maybe it just can’t help it.
Rosie: It doesn’t necessarily want to kill people, it just wants people to look at it. [laughs]
Noah: [whining] “Everybody who looks at me dies!”
[Noah and Rosie laugh]
Noah: That would be terrible.
Rosie: There is a really great story. I can’t remember where I’ve read it, but it was a Medusa story where Medusa is lonely. She just wants someone who can look after her or just have a conversation with her, but the whole time anyone who looks at her turns into stone.
Rosie: It’s very sad.
Noah: I mean, the two stories are completely intertwined.
Rosie: Okay, and our final comment from the forums is again from mrso822 and it says:
“I think what’s brilliant about the two giant animals is that first, Harry and Ron meet the giant spiders who are ready to eat them. And yet, these terrifying giant spiders are afraid of the giant snake, which Harry must face in order to save Ginny. It’s kind of crazy to think about that.”
So, the spiders who are so ready to kill Harry and Ron are afraid of the thing that Harry eventually defeats. So, it’s an interesting kind of circular power struggle there.
Kat: Oh, it’s kind of like Unicorn, Wizard, Werewolf.
Rosie: It is!
Noah: Yeah, I was just thinking that.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: So, what is it? Basilisk, Wizard, Spider? [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] Oh, gosh. I can see the hand movement for the spider.
Noah: Oh, yeah?
Caleb: I don’t want any part of it.
Kat: All your fingers wiggly.
Noah: Show it to us.
Noah: I don’t know.
Kat: Just wiggle…
Rosie: Maybe it’s an app feature we could do.
Kat: Yeah. Wiggle your fingers.
Noah: I’m doing it now.
Kat: Okay, cool. Me too.
Noah: I’m a spider.
Caleb: I’m not.
Caleb: I’m not wiggling my fingers.
Noah: I’m not really scared of spiders.
Rosie: And then the snake would be, like, a hand movement that’s like a wave. And a wizard would be holding a wand. It works.
Kat: Or we could put fangs for the basilisk.
[Kat makes a snake noise]
Kat: That was my snake noise.
Noah: [laughs] Nice.
Kat: Okay, anyway… [laughs]
Rosie: Well, great. Thank you guys so much for your… for the comments on the Beast Inquisition. If you think you want to know more about these two beasts, there are some fantastic discussion threads in our forums in the Chamber of Secrets forum – including one on Aragog, one on basilisk venom, and another on who controls the Basilisk. So, make sure you get involved.
Noah: So all right, guys. Now I’d like to move onto the Posed Question of the Week section. I did not bring this question to our audience last week, or two weeks ago. Somebody did.
Caleb: I did.
Noah: It was you, Caleb. All right, well, let’s take a look at this question and some answers:
“In these two chapters, Harry and Ron talk to Myrtle about how she died to hopefully get more information on the Basilisk. In this story from Myrtle, we find a bit more out about why she came back as a ghost. Myrtle recalls floating away after she died, then returning, determined to haunt Olive Hornby for teasing her. On the episode, we discussed how this somewhat differs from what Rowling has often discussed about why some witches and wizards become ghosts, on how they are afraid or unwilling to accept death. Our question for all you listeners out there is this: Does the description of Myrtle’s returning as a ghost, instead of passing on, go against Rowling’s explanation for why most other witches and wizards become ghosts (an unwillingness or fear of moving on)? Is this a rare exception, or is this perhaps something very common with younger witches and wizards who die unexpectedly? Or does Myrtle’s story fit with Rowling’s explanation after all?”
All right, that’s a pretty interesting question. That’s true, because what if Myrtle is just this anomaly in the series that maybe was created before Jo had fully flushed out what it meant to be a ghost? So here is our first answer, from cloverlover:
“Myrtle was an exception because her death took her completely by surprise. Naturally a girl of that age would not want such an early death, so she chose not to move on unconsciously. Also, she was still upset about Olive Hornby teasing her, so she would want to get revenge while she could.”
Kat: Yeah, I feel like at that age that’s probably pretty true.
Rosie: But does that make her an exception to Jo’s discussion? Because, I mean, it’s still… like you guys said last week, it’s still unfinished business which is part of what Jo said.
Noah: Right, so she, cloverlover, seems to say that it makes sense and then… or she starts her comment saying that it’s an exception but then also saying that it makes total sense.
Caleb: Well, I think she’s still saying it’s… because Jo’s explanation has to do with a fear or unwillingness to move on. So…
Rosie: Well, yeah. The unwillingness to move on would include having unfinished business. So, you don’t want to move on until you’ve done what you…
Kat: I don’t know if revenge counts as unfinished business.
Noah: And it just seems like a pretty lame thing to remain on Earth for. Just to annoy one person.
Kat: Well, she is a teenage girl. I mean…
Noah: Well, not all teenage girls…
Rosie: She’s had a pretty miserable life, so maybe she wants to make other people’s lives miserable.
Kat: Yeah. I don’t know. Well, Walpurgis – also from the main site – says:
“I think it fits perfectly. We often get so bogged down in the little details that we forget JKR’s overarching messages. We have to remember the importance of choices. Regardless of her motivations, Myrtle chose to stay. I don’t believe that the reasons mattered. She died and was presented with two choices and she picked one, and that decision was honored.”
Noah: I would agree. I mean, of the ghosts she seems like the most happy ghost, in a way. Even though she’s crying all the time, it sounds ridiculous to say, but I also… there are all of these scenes where she’s just enjoying her time in the U-bend or she’s…
Caleb: Or especially when she’s with Harry in the prefects bathroom.
Noah: Yeah, totally hitting on him. Which she does in this book.
Caleb: She’s definitely in that moment.
Rosie: I think it’s because… we see her that way because she is still a child ghost. She is still school-age…
Rosie: …she died when she was still immature, so in her afterlife she is also immature. She enjoys…
Kat: She was a first year, right?
Rosie: I think so, yeah. When she died, is what they say.
Caleb: Yeah, that sounds right.
Kat: So she was eleven or twelve, at the most.
Caleb and Rosie: Yeah.
Noah: All right, so…
Rosie: A bit different from Shirley Henderson, but still. [laughs]
Kat: Well, yes, very much. Wasn’t she like the oldest person portraying somebody so young?
Noah: Yeah, she was like thirty something.
Rosie: I think so. She was like thirty-plus, yeah.
Caleb: Oh my goodness, I did not realize that.
Noah: Oh, yes.
Caleb: That’s awkward.
Kat: Yeah. It’s because of her voice, I’m sure.
Noah: It’s so funny.
Rosie: And she’s an amazing actress, so it’s fine.
Kat: Yeah, she’s good. Yeah.
Noah: So, this got me thinking. So, Caleb, to your earlier question of the week, do we think this happens to kids and immature witches and wizards more often, that they just become ghosts almost unconsciously?
Caleb: So, I don’t think so in general. I think that if they have this situation like Myrtle does, sort of something anchoring them that’s so substantial, like her problems with Olive Hornby, I think that’s what makes it happen, but I don’t think it happens in general more often to kids than not.
Noah: I don’t know. Because…
Rosie: A part of me asks, how many other wizarding children would die in this way? Or in any way, even? I mean, sure, during kind of a war idea, then these children may be at more risk, but Hogwarts is in general a fairly safe place, like people only die when something really bad is happening.
Rosie: So, there wouldn’t be much of a case for young witches and wizards dying because they would be protected.
Noah: This might be a stretch, but what if the… just the power of her death, just all that energy from the basilisk, just the magical power, that maybe that prompted her death to kind of spark a ghost or non-ghost thing to happen, as opposed to just kind of dying in a sort of normal way. This was a very… this was a huge event for the wizarding world, a huge event in the Harry Potter timeline. So, maybe it just had all this power that it just created the ghost, the ability for her to become a ghost, just because it had all this spectral energy left on that interaction.
Rosie: There would always be the ability for her to become a ghost just because she’s a wizard or a witch that’s died and has been presented the choice. I don’t think that her death is necessarily such a key moment as you’re making it out to be. Essentially, it’s just the girl ran into a snake that just happened to be deadly.
Kat: What a coincidence.
Rosie: It has a lot of things attached to it, but it’s not any more magical than if she had found a wild basilisk in a forest somewhere.
Noah: Which wouldn’t be cool.
Kat: Not at all.
Noah: Yeah, so next comment from lovelle. Would you say that’s the name?
Kat: Sounds right. lovelle.
Noah: lovelle. It’s nice.
“Myrtle’s story fits in JKR’s explanation. As said, ‘fear of moving on,’ I think she’s not the type that moves on. I mean, she is easily hurt by what she hears about herself from other people and she’s the type of person that would want acceptance, and since she’s not getting that acceptance yet, she is still holed up in misery. I thought that Myrtle would die in peace if she got that acceptance, but since there is no acceptance, she is unwilling to move on with her life. I think her reason of not passing on is deeper than the explanations she gave Ron and Harry.”
I mean, that makes sense. She’s always crying, so possibly larger in scope than Olive Hornby. She just has a general lack of acceptance from the rest of the world. She was so bullied. So, maybe her…
Rosie: Yeah, she’s the kind of person that would dwell on things and hold a grudge and things. No matter how… yeah.
Noah: She does that in her ghost life.
Rosie: Yeah. Poor Myrtle.
Noah: Poor Myrtle. All right, so that’s all our comments from the Question of the Week. We’ll have a new question at the end of the show.
Caleb: Okay guys, so I’m really excited about this week because by the time this episode that we’re recording releases, I’ll have seen The Hobbit and I am so pumped to see this movie.
Kat: Oh yeah, I know. I literally cannot wait to see it. It’s one of my favorite books of all time. I mean, have you guys read it? It’s the precursor to The Lord of the Rings series and tells the story of how Bilbo got the ring.
Caleb: Yup, I have and I also love it. But it’s been forever since I read it, so I think I need a reread before it comes out. But I am starting to think, it’s going to be so much more convenient to get the audiobook from Audible. Besides, Audible is the best place for all your audio downloading needs. Plus Audible has a really great special offer for our US and Canadian listeners. They can visit our unique link created specifically for them and get a free audio download today, right now. They just have to go to AudiblePodcast.com/Open.
Kat: Oh yeah, and you should download it using Audible’s Listener Program. So, basically you purchase book credit at the super low monthly rate and you can use it any time for any product that Audible offers.
Caleb: Yup. So, every one of our listeners should take a minute to visit the site and start downloading directly to their computer. For easy listening on burned CDs, MP3 players, and even your iPad, iPhones or Androids. Again, the website made just for you is Audible – A-U-D-I-B-L-E – Podcast – P-O-D-C-A-S-T – dot com slash Open – O-P-E-N. So, visit AudiblePodcast.com/Open for your free download today.
Rosie: Well, great. It’s time to move straight into our discussion of this week’s chapters and we’ve got the last two chapters of the book, which is Chapters 17 and 18: “The Heir of Slytherin” and “Dobby’s Reward.”
Kat: Can you guys believe we’re here already, the end of the book? I just wanted to say.
Caleb: So insane.
Rosie: It’s gone really quickly.
Noah: Much faster than I expected.
Kat: It’s been eight months and we’ve read two books. I mean, that seems slow, but it’s flying by.
Noah: It is.
Kat: It’s crazy. Crazy.
Noah: Yeah, and it is kind of another epic finale that we’re getting here because Harry is facing Voldemort once again, descends into the Chamber of Secrets with Ron and a disgruntled Gilderoy Lockhart. So, as soon as we get through the door, he’s already gotten through the last snake chamber at the end of the last chapter. He walks forward and as he goes forward, he notices that the snakes lining the hall that he’s in seem to have these hollow eye sockets and they seem to be following him, these stone snakes. And just looking on that line on page 306, I thought, hey, are these snakes just enchanted to watch Harry or watch people and intimidate them? Or are they like actual… no, they’re probably not actual snakes, but do they possess some sort of snakey spirit? Where do they come from? Who are these snakes?
Kat: I think it’s like any picture where the person or subject is looking directly at the viewer, like the Mona Lisa. No matter where you walk, she follows you. I think it’s just one of those situations.
Rosie: Yeah, these are stone snakes, so they’re just statues. It’s just that their eyes… they are staring eyes and they will appear to look at you no matter where you stand.
Kat: Do they follow you, Rosie, when you walk by them?
Rosie: They don’t turn their heads but they… yeah. [laughs]
Kat: Okay. I was asking for the insider info.
Rosie: Of course, yeah. [laughs]
Noah: All right, so I guess their purpose is really just to intimidate.
Noah: But, I mean…
Rosie: Or just to show Slytherin pride. It’s just there are snakes everywhere.
Noah: Yeah. Okay, and then Harry comes upon a lifeless form of Ginny and doesn’t know what to do until he runs into Tom Riddle just standing there whose outline is a little shaky. But they start discussing, and Riddle slowly gives Harry more and more information, as all villains do at the end of the books before they know they’re going to defeat the hero. So, Tom Riddle-Voldemort-Horcrux goes into great detail about how he’s sucking the soul out of Ginny to form his new body, and I just thought that was weird. But the very first interaction or description we have of that is the fact that Voldemort has this diary and he’s explaining how Ginny got so engrossed in the diary and started writing to him and he wrote back and he had to put up with it, but it was just so that he could suck out her soul. And I think – maybe it was Caleb – you brought this up on one of the other podcasts. I’m not sure who it was, but does this weird relationship between them kind of mirror in the early 1990s, chat rooms? Just the idea that kids were at risk if they just go on the Internet and start talking randomly to strangers. Because it definitely seems that their relationship parallels a child and an offender in a way, of someone who is just bad and your kids should not talk to at all.
Caleb: Hmm. Yeah, I didn’t bring that up. I don’t know who did, but I definitely see the parallel. That’s really disturbing.
Rosie: Yeah, it was… I suggested it a few episodes ago…
Rosie: …when we were looking at the actual memory scene, but it was the idea of… yeah, chat rooms and talking to anyone who is anonymous is very dangerous not just in the ’90s, but still right now. So, do be aware of using pen names and things and not knowing who you’re actually talking to when you’re online. But yeah, the idea of Voldemort being manipulative and using his anonymity to gain something from Ginny is… yeah, it’s that worrying idea of the child and the offender, but not necessarily saying that everyone online is an offender. That’s not good. [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] No, that’s true.
Noah: And just his line that, “I’ve always been able to charm the people I needed,” in reference to getting Ginny to just pour her soul out. Kind of creepy.
Rosie: Well yeah, but we see that in other cases in the book as well. He charms Slughorn to get the information about the Horcruxes. The only person he’s not able to charm is Dumbledore and that’s why he’s so worried about him.
Noah: Yeah. That’s true. That’s very true. Voldemort has this power to himself and Dumbledore never reacts to that. Never thought about that. So, just more about this Ginny-Voldemort and how it’s being explained – I’ve also been working on a Voldemort vampire theory because just in terms of Horcruxes, he’s literally sucking the soul out of Ginny to kind of build a new body. And if you want think about vampires in a cultural context, they kind of just leech off of humanity, just people they find, and then they kind of restore themselves. So, I’m just trying to think of Voldemort in this vampire context, and reading the top of page 310, it really gets me there, so let me just read the quote: “If I say it myself, Harry, I’ve always been able to charm the people I needed. So Ginny poured out her soul to me, and her soul happened to be exactly what I wanted…” Dot, dot, dot. “I grew stronger and stronger on a diet of her deepest fears, her darkest secrets. I grew powerful, far more powerful than little Miss Weasley. Powerful enough to start feeding Miss Weasley a few of my own secrets.” I put a note, “my secrets.”
Noah: “Start pouring a little of my soul back into her…” So, I don’t know if you guys have read Dracula at all, but there’s a lot of transfusions of blood going back and forth and I see it here. I mean, look at all these references to feeding and hunger. It’s like he’s consuming her. So, this is kind of vampiric to me and it also is a really gritty way that Jo is presenting what the Horcrux process is because it is ugly and it is this grotesque thing. So, I think eating is the perfect way to symbolize that. And then on page 313 and some other places, there’s reference to Riddle’s hungry eyes.
Noah: And I’m just thinking, we’ve got to get that guy a snack…
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Noah: …because he is just…
Kat: Well, it’s funny to think about it that way when you think about how much Tom values blood and being…
Kat: …a fake pureblood. But still, I mean, hmm.
Rosie: In that sense, I mean, as someone who has studied a lot of vampire lore within my literature degree, I would shy away from using the idea of the vampiric theory, but I would definitely call him a parasite. He’s leeching off of something. It’s not actually blood so I wouldn’t ever suggest it’s a vampire, but it’s her soul. So, the feeding and the hungriness definitely works. But the idea of the pureblood, we were saying before why would they take Ginny into the Chamber? Obviously it’s because Ginny has been talking to this diary, but the fact that she is a pureblood, if you wanted to use that whole vampire idea…
Noah: That’s true.
Rosie: …he’s making himself stronger by using pureblood rather than half-blood.
Noah: That’s incredible. I never even thought about that. Another scene is also when he actually takes Harry’s blood in Goblet of Fire. That’s what I always like to go back to.
Rosie: Yeah, definitely. Yeah.
Noah: So, there I’m seeing vampire too. Again, this is just my cultural connection thing going on, but…
Rosie: No, yeah, it’s interesting.
Noah: …it seems to continue. So, moving on from that point. Voldemort very famously takes Harry’s wand and then writes out his name in air and then rearranges it. “Tom Marvolo Riddle” becomes “I am Lord Voldemort.” And then it clicks in the reader’s head and Harry’s head and we realize, oh my God! But I was thinking, why didn’t he come up with a cooler name? “I am Lord Voldemort.” It was all for this purpose of just writing it there, but couldn’t he have said “I am the best wizard in the world”? Or…
Kat: Did you know that in the French version – I just learned this yesterday – that Tom’s middle name is Elvis, to make the…
Kat: …rearrangement work.
Caleb: Oh my God.
Rosie: It’s really fun to look at all of those.
Rosie: There are so many different translations and just the subsequent meanings of all of the words. It’s really hilarious.
Rosie: But in terms of…
Kat: So, I don’t know. I think it’s great, but it is cheesy. Sorry.
Caleb: I don’t know. This is one of my favorite parts. I think it’s pretty badass, so…
Kat: Yeah, I enjoy it.
Rosie: In terms of the name, I mean picking Voldemort is actually important. “Mort” means “death” in French.
Rosie: So, it’s the Lord Volde…
Caleb: Lord of death.
Rosie: …maybe over something. Lord Death. It’s a scary name.
Caleb: I agree.
Rosie: It’s better than Marvolo Riddle.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Noah: And Lord itself has all this connotation with being a…
Rosie: Supremacist, yeah.
Noah: Yeah, and also being part of the royalty, the royal family.
Rosie: Being a Lord doesn’t make you royal. It’s a different thing.
Noah: Family blood.
Rosie: Yeah, it’s involved with being… I’ve forgotten the word. [laughs] It’s definitely involved in being a leader, being involved in the high society, but it’s not necessarily royalty.
Kat: It’s more like being knighted, right? In a way?
Noah: All I know is from Game of Thrones where they actually just make Lords, you will get this piece of land but you’re not necessarily part of the royal core.
Rosie: Yeah, that’s exactly it. Yeah.
Noah: So, it’s interesting that he is… someone made him Elvis, so he’s the king, but he’s also a Lord, which is…
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Oh God.
Noah: …somewhat less. [laughs] So, I thought this rearranging of the words was cool. I wonder if he was planning this big reveal, who he was going to do it to. Maybe he showed it to all his friends, his Slytherin friends who were in his inner circle.
Caleb: [laughs] Guys, what do you think of this?
Noah: Guys, what do you think of this? Look at me do this.
Kat: How does this look? Yeah. No, I don’t think he had friends so I don’t think that happened.
Noah: No, he did because we know that he revealed his true name to a few people.
Caleb: Mhm. Right.
Kat: But Dumbledore says he…
Rosie: I think it’s more of a personal joke.
Kat: Yeah, and Dumbledore…
Rosie: In the same way that Snape chooses Half-Blood Prince.
Rosie: It’s a personal thing.
Noah: “Hey Tom, remember that time when you rearranged your name? Back in…”
Caleb: “Cool, yeah. That was really cool, guys. That was good.”
Noah: “So cool!”
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: “Those were the days.”
Rosie: But that’s actually fun, the idea that if Snape chooses Half-Blood Prince, he’s actually putting himself in a higher status than the Lord.
Noah: Nice. I approve. Good connection.
Noah: Okay. So, then once Harry realizes, oh my gosh this is Voldemort again, he just says that Albus Dumbledore defeated you and you can’t stand up to him and he is never gone as long as people are loyal to him. And then Fawkes just flies into the picture. So, now we can talk real quick about how exactly does this loyalty work? Was Fawkes listening at the door at the Chamber of Secrets and just heard this? Or did Dumbledore send him? Or is Dumbledore somehow working through Fawkes? What do you guys think?
Rosie: Maybe there’s some kind of magical connection that Fawkes knows when someone has said something that is truly aligned with Dumbledore.
Caleb: [laughs] But what if Fawkes is just chilling at the door and then if Harry never says this line, he’s like, “Well, peace. I’m out.”
Caleb: “You’re on your own, dude.”
Noah: Is Fawkes just always waiting outside the door? Just waiting for his shot? Just like…
Rosie: I feel like Fawkes has got this connection with Harry anyway, because of his wand.
Rosie: Maybe he felt drawn to his tail feathers if…
Rosie: …Harry and Voldemort…
Caleb: He got that tingling feeling.
[Caleb and Kat laughs]
Caleb: It’s like, “Uh-oh! Voldemort’s got hold of my tail feathers. I’ve got to go.”
Noah: Well, I mean, it’s both.
Kat: Oh my gosh.
Noah: He’s got a spidey-sense except it’s a phoenix-sense. Spider-Man?
Caleb: Yeah, I got you.
Noah: Cool. But yeah, Fawkes just completely saves the day.
Rosie: That’s actually something I wanted to mention, is the fact that Riddle picks up Harry’s wand and we know that Voldemort and Harry’s wands are linked. Would Harry’s wand work quite well if Riddle used it because it’s so similar to his own?
Kat: Do we think he could have used it? Because he wasn’t human yet.
Rosie: He still picked up the wand, he still looked like he was about to use it, and he was about to become human if Ginny died.
Noah: And he was able to write stuff, but that does seem like a…
Noah: …lesser spell than doing a full killing curse.
Kat: Right. Oh, man! What a good What If question. What if Diary Riddle had just…
Noah: Killed Harry?
Kat: …AK-ed Harry right there? Boom! Booyah! Dead.
Noah: A way different book. A way darker book.
Kat: Well, it would have ended.
[Kat, Noah, and Rosie laugh]
Noah: What a sad series of books.
Kat: Harry Potter and the Very Short Series.
Noah: So, Fawkes was either listening at the door or just knew to come at the right time because of its feather sense, what have you. But Fawkes actually brings the Sorting Hat, and I just thought how funny would it be if the Basilisk is coming and Harry is reaching in there and puts it on his head and then the Hat just tries to give him sorting advice again.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Kat: Yeah, that feels so random to me, the Hat. I know because it’s about choices and Dumbledore was probably reminding him that you chose this, but I don’t know.
Noah: Well, as we…
Kat: It’s just so random.
Noah: Well, the Hat is just really significant in this book in general because…
Noah: …he keeps going back to it. But from a magical perspective, how does the sword come out of the Hat? Is it stored in the Hat, or does it act as this teleporter for someone to put the sword inside and then for Harry to grab it? And does it only transport slash store swords, or can it store other stuff too?
Rosie: I don’t believe that anyone ever put the sword inside the Hat. I think the sword… it’s the idea of pulling a rabbit out of the hat. The rabbit didn’t exist inside the hat originally, or supposedly, but it’s conjured. It’s transfigured from something. It appears from inside the hat…
Noah: Yeah, well it’s definitely…
Rosie: …because someone needs it.
Noah: …kind of transportation.
Rosie: In the same way as a kind of Room of Requirement idea.
Kat: Right. I was just thinking, think about what if the Hat could conjure only relics from the founders? Think about how much easier that Horcrux hunt would have been.
Kat: Put it on and be like…
Rosie: Just put it on your head…
Kat: …”I want the locket”…
Rosie: …and you get the cup.
Kat: …and boom! It’s there.
Noah: Just set the Hat up on the stool in the Great Hall and just get the sword out like a baseball bat and just get ready for stuff to pop out.
Noah: It ends up being all of…
Rosie: But only a true Gryffindor could have pulled the sword out of the hat, so maybe they needed a true Hufflepuff to get the cup and a true Ravenclaw to get the…
Kat: It’s Ernie’s day in the sun.
Rosie: Definitely, and Luna for the tiara.
Kat: There you go, yup.
Noah: But don’t we think that it’s only the sword because it was Godric Gryffindor’s hat and in this case the hat is kind of just Gryffindor?
Kat: Hmm. That’s possible.
Noah: That’s what I always thought.
Rosie: Probably, but that makes the idea of… we were talking before about maybe the founders having other secret rooms. So, if this is Slytherin’s chamber… if Gryffindor’s hat has the ability to give you what you require, then maybe the Room of Requirement is Gryffindor’s secret room.
Kat: Hmm. It’s possible.
Rosie: Interesting idea.
Caleb: Yeah, I always sort of related the Room of Requirement to Gryffindor, so…
Noah: The fact that the Hat is Gryffindor, but also the Hat that sorts everyone, aren’t the founders giving a certain precedence to Gryffindor? Isn’t it… aren’t they kind of making it the superior house just by virtue of it being the main source of where everything else comes from?
Kat: Yeah, I mean a lot of people have talked about this, that Gryffindor is sensationalized in the books. I go back and forth on the issue, quite frequently actually.
Rosie: The Hat is just a hat. It’s just… Gryffindor took it off his head and all four of them cast spells on it so that it would be able to sort. There’s not just like… it wasn’t just Gryffindor who decided…
Rosie: …that this would become the Sorting Hat.
Caleb: I bring this up in the next chapter because I think there’s an interesting question with that.
Noah: All right, then I’ll table that discussion for a bit. So, Harry whips out the sword and he has this fight with the Basilisk that is epic and intense, and as we know, he goes right for it. I’m really kind of channeling the movie, but also the description in the book is great too. Harry stabs the Basilisk, but then he also gets stabbed back with the basilisk fang. So then he is on the floor, Tom Riddle is having his day, realizing that Harry Potter is finally gone. But then Fawkes just comes over and conveniently once again completely saves Harry’s life with phoenix tears. Do we think that these phoenix tears can possibly be sold? Because that seems to be the most powerful magic in the entire series.
Kat: No, love is the most powerful magic, Noah.
Kat: Come on.
Noah: Yeah, but Fawkes is crying out of love is what I meant, but…
Caleb: I wouldn’t be surprised…
Rosie: …I don’t think it’s that easy to…
Caleb: Yeah, it would be really hard, kind of like dragon blood. It’s really, really expensive, and maybe phoenix tears would be even more so because they would be more rare. So, it would be really hard and it’s probably something that’s not legal to be sold so it’s probably something sold illegally, behind closed doors.
Noah: Yeah. It reminds me of unicorn blood, which can save you…
Noah: …in your most desperate situation. But here’s a question, that might just be more creative than logical, but what if the phoenix tears are some embodied form of Lily’s love protection?
Noah: What if they’re somehow connected?
Kat: Yeah, how?
Noah: I don’t know, but it’s just so beautiful to think about. [laughs]
Caleb: I think you made that up just because you want it to be true.
Kat: [laughs] Yeah.
Noah: I do want it to be true. But isn’t Fawkes crying out of love?
Noah: Or just necessity? I know my tears can heal you.
Caleb: He’s just crying to give his powers.
Caleb: He ain’t sad.
Kat: He’s showing off, man.
Caleb: Yeah. This is his moment.
Kat: Yeah. [laughs]
Caleb: This is his moment to shine. He becomes the hero.
Noah: I don’t know, I think it’s actually Dumbledore acting through Fawkes crying, that Dumbledore is actually Fawkes and that these tears are Dumbledore’s, and Harry is being healed by the same love.
Kat: Well, there was a theory for a long time that Dumbledore was an Animagus.
Caleb: Animagus, yeah.
Kat: Yeah. So, I guess this perpetuated that myth.
Noah: Yeah. Well, he’s definitely tied to Fawkes.
Rosie: I don’t think it’s that easy to make phoenixes cry.
Noah: I agree. I don’t think Fawkes can truly cry unless he was feeling it.
Noah: That’s just my personal opinion.
Kat: So, he has to be in the mood.
Noah: Certain mood to cry. All right, so then Fawkes once again just sort of knows, intrinsically, what to do because he grabs the Horcrux diary and just gives it to Harry after he heals him, and then Harry just takes the basilisk fang, and the line is: “as though he had meant to do it all along,” grabs the fang and just stabs it. And I thought, on one part, does Fawkes know about these Horcruxes? Or is Dumbledore, acting through Fawkes, just allowing him to grab the book? Or does Fawkes just sense that that’s the right thing to do? And what about Harry? Because that part of the line, “as though he had meant to do it all along,” seems to suggest this almost knowledge of the Horcruxes without knowing about them, knowing that he had to stab it. It just seems so significant.
Kat: Well, don’t forget the sword, right now, cannot destroy a Horcrux.
Kat: Because it doesn’t have the basilisk venom in it yet.
Noah: I mean, it does. It just stabbed the Basilisk, right?
Kat: Right, but Fawkes didn’t send it down there saying, “Oh, this can destroy a Horcrux.”
Kat: So, no.
Caleb: So I think on both of your questions, I don’t think that Dumbledore really knows the full extent of the Horcruxes yet. Because when he explains it later in Book 6, it’s not until after this that he starts to really suspect things. And I also think that it’s just Harry’s intuition. I don’t think it’s necessarily like he has this knowledge that he’s just now surfacing, about Horcruxes. I think it’s just intuition. For some reason it just triggers in his mind like, “Yeah, I’ve got to stab this to end it.”
Rosie: Well no, it’s just the fact that the villain in this scene is Tom Riddle, who has come out of the diary, so to get rid of Tom Riddle you destroy the diary, it’s easier than destroying…
Caleb: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.
Rosie: Yeah. It’s not necessarily anything to do with Horcruxes. It’s just the idea of…
Rosie: …he came out of this, therefore this must be destroyed.
Noah: I mean, that makes sense. It just seemed to me that Fawkes actually carrying it and bringing it over to Harry, it seems to me yet another point in which Fawkes just kind of furthers the plot. You know, blinds the Basilisk, comes down with the sword, heals Harry, gets the diary to him. I mean, is this Fawkes defeating Voldemort, or is it Harry? Because it seems like Fawkes is just kind of using Harry. Or helping to some major degree, but…
Rosie: Yeah, he’s definitely helping. I mean, maybe… to finish Voldemort or Tom Riddle at this point, Harry has to destroy the diary. And if he’s kind of on the point of death because he’s just been stabbed by the basilisk fang, Fawkes is helping Harry, giving him any chance of survival, and that includes bringing the diary to Harry as Harry wouldn’t be able to make his way over to the diary himself.
Noah: I guess I just hadn’t realized how significant an impact Fawkes actually had there.
Noah: It was huge.
Noah: So, then after that bit, Voldemort – or Tom Riddle Jr. – kind of explodes. Really cool scene in the movie. They were made a long time ago, but I always thought that scene where he’s actually coming apart like the pieces of the book explodes was really cool.
Noah: So, that’s my image of it when I was reading the book. So yeah, that happens, he collects Ginny and they go back to Ron, and we find Gilderoy Lockhart sitting in the corner because we know he’s been completely Obliviated due to his own backfired spell. I was just thinking about Ron’s wand again. I think it was Kat bringing up, ages and ages ago, that we thought maybe the wand had some sort of intelligence because it produced some spell on somebody, I don’t remember what the context was. But specifically here, harkening back to a Steve Vander Ark idea of magical fate, maybe the wand was kind of being… maybe there was some magical intelligence in the wand so that when Gilderoy used it, he was Obliviated because morally the magical universe knew that he had to be punished so it just had to work out that way, is what I’m saying.
Kat: Well, wait. What is Ron’s wand made of, at this point? Is it something that would remain super loyal to him so if someone else tried to use it, it would backfire?
Noah: Well, I mean, it backfires on him too.
Noah: It’s just his normal wand with Spellotape, right?
Rosie: I think it’s just like feedback. It literally just works backwards rather than works in the way that it’s intended, so it’s not necessarily on purpose that Lockhart uses the Oblivate spell so that’s what backfires on him. It’s not some kind of magical destiny thing that’s saying this will happen to you because it’s appropriate. Does that make sense?
Noah: Yeah. I was just thinking abstractly in my head that because the wand was damaged, it was somehow more in touch with just random magic and that random magic took control of Ron’s wand and then forced the backfire on Gilderoy Lockhart knowing that he was a bad dude.
Rosie: But there’s nothing random about it. It’s just a faulty wand and the appropriate spell.
Noah: Yeah, I mean that… I was just making a kind of creative explanation for why that might have been happening, but…
Rosie: There’s a simple one, too. [laughs]
Noah: Yeah. It’s one of those.
Noah: But then they finally grab onto Fawkes, once again saving the day. “Just hang on to my feathers, Harry,” Fawkes says.
Noah: And they all grab on and they fly…
Kat: Actually, doesn’t he wiggle his tail feathers?
Caleb: Yeah, he’s like, “Here you go.”
Noah: I forgot that part. Yeah, Fawkes wiggles his tail feathers and says, “Grab me! You’ll go up!”
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Noah: And then they fly up there and Gilderoy Lockhart says: “Oh wow, this is just like magic!” Very famously, which is also in the movie, kind of…
Caleb: I love this scene in the movie.
Noah: It’s an extraordinarily magical scene, and then they rise up, and you know what? Myrtle is just really sad that Harry didn’t die because she was going to offer to have him share her toilet.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Noah: So, what was she suggesting there?
Caleb: Ginny almost ruined her chances with Harry forever. He could have been with Myrtle in ghost land forever.
Noah: He was almost with Myrtle. I mean, I think we pretty much know that he wouldn’t be a ghost anyway.
Kat: Right. Yeah.
Noah: But this is the first odd moment where Myrtle is hitting on Harry, which as we know continues throughout the books, for whatever reason.
Caleb: She’s just lonely.
Rosie: She’s just lonely and Harry is the first person who has treated her like a real person. He asked why she died.
Caleb: Yeah, we know Ron never does.
Rosie: It’s so nice.
Noah: That’s true.
Kat: And I know the listeners out there are going to ask us why we didn’t touch on the fact that the basilisk fang didn’t kill the Horcrux in Harry, but I think we’re going to try and save that discussion for the Horcrux discussion in the later books, so don’t yell at us, y’all.
Noah: We could make it the Question of the Week.
Caleb: No, we’re going to save it.
Kat: Yeah, we’re going to save it.
Rosie: I can answer it quickly, though. [laughs]
Noah: We’re saving that gem.
Kat: Well, I mean, yeah.
Noah: I think it’s because he wasn’t stabbed in the head.
Rosie: I think it’s because he didn’t die. It didn’t destroy him.
Noah: But if he had died, the Horcrux would have also died.
Noah: All right. So, that’s the answer.
Noah: I don’t think we have to talk about it anymore. [laughs] We’ve just solved it! All right, now there ends my chapter discussion.
Caleb: Right-o. Okay, so we get to the last chapter of Chamber of Secrets, the resolution of the story now that the big battle has been fought. So, it opens up with everyone – Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Lockhart going to McGonagall’s office, and as soon as they walk in, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley are there. Mrs. Weasley has been bawling her eyes out, and they see that Ginny is actually alive, and they fly straight to her. [laughs] And my homegirl Minerva is having a seizure, almost, because…
Caleb: …she’s clearly been having an emotional episode, too. But now that they’ve… it’s like this huge moment where they realize that everyone has made it out alive, and Dumbledore is there, and it’s great. But I also thought it was funny because as they’re trying to get the story out of Harry, McGonagall points out that he’s broken at least a hundred school rules…
Caleb: …so she’s reverting back to her…
Kat: [laughs] Right.
Caleb: …strict enforcement policy. So as Harry is talking about the story, he’s explaining to them everything that happened, he gets to the point where he has to pretty much talk about Ginny’s role, and he sort of stops because he doesn’t want Ginny to get in trouble, he doesn’t want her to fall victim to any sort of punishment, and it’s a really cool… it shows the connection between Harry and Dumbledore so well because Dumbledore pretty much picks up on it and changes the subject to Voldemort’s current whereabouts. So I was just kind of wondering, I wonder how much Ginny ever really talks about that to anyone, like if she ever talks to her mom about it again, because it seems like… if it was me, I would need to talk about it. I cannot hold that in.
Kat: I feel like Dumbledore must have a discussion with her at some point, that we don’t see because Harry is not there.
Caleb: Hmm. Yeah, I guess that’s fair.
Rosie: We see her later on kind of reminding him that she was possessed at some point and this is what happens. So even if she doesn’t talk about it much, she does seem to come to terms with it, so…
Kat: Right, she comes out remarkably okay with it.
Kat: In a way, yeah.
Caleb: Yeah. So then they talk a little bit more about the diary itself and sort of Tom Riddle, and I caught this moment where Dumbledore remarks on the diary as brilliant and it almost has a ring of fascination to it when he says it. It sort of made me think about how Dumbledore would have been in his younger days and it’s kind of like that fascination with powerful magic surfacing.
Kat: Yeah, definitely. I mean, we know that in some way he always wanted to kind of preserve himself and be a master of death.
Kat: So, I think that he would definitely see this as brilliant, for sure.
Rosie: He also knows really impressive magic and…
Rosie: …that is what Voldemort has done to create this kind of separate…
Rosie: …character within the diaries. So, yeah.
Caleb: I think it’s just funny because we definitely don’t pick up on that the first time you read this because…
Caleb: …you have no idea about Dumbledore’s past. But going back, this is the first time I really thought about that.
Kat: Yeah. Absolutely.
Caleb: Also, Dumbledore… so, as we kind of talked about earlier, Dumbledore was really the only one who had made the connection between Tom Riddle and Voldemort because he talks about Voldemort went through so many magical transformations that made him hardly recognizable to those who knew him as Tom Riddle in order to become this full Voldemort character. And this was before Harry defeated him at one year old where he got the ugly nose and everything. So, it just made me think about how Voldemort looked even before Harry defeated him. Brother ain’t getting no ladies looking like that.
Caleb: I mean, I guess he doesn’t want any, but it makes me kind of wonder what kind of ugly he was sporting…
Kat: I don’t know. Bellatrix…
Rosie: Well, he got his…
Rosie: …snake eyes and things. And the red eyes.
Rosie: And I thought he lost his nose as well during his time in the forest of Albania.
Caleb: Oh, did he?
Rosie: Not after Harry was defeated, but the first time he went to Albania.
Noah: Death Eater girls be into that, Caleb.
Kat: Oh, gosh.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Clearly I’m doing it wrong, then.
Kat: Well, you have a nose. So…
Caleb: That’s true.
Caleb: Also, as Ginny explains the diary, Mr. Weasley gets really mad. And then there’s this line, this famous line, “Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”
Kat: Yeah. [laughs]
Caleb: Which is kind of funny because he obviously dabbles with things he shouldn’t be doing. But he’s kind of imparting that same knowledge on his daughter.
Noah: Yeah. And we get that with the Sorting Hat, too.
Noah: It’s this object we trust inherently, but it’s also… we can’t… we don’t know exactly where that brain is coming from.
Rosie: But it’s an interesting idea as well. I mean, how can you see where something keeps its brain? Brains are on the inside, no matter… well mostly, anyway. Ancient humans didn’t know necessarily where we kept our own brains. So, it’s in our skull – we know that now.
Kat: Right, I…
Rosie: But should we not trust it because we don’t know where it is? We don’t have see-through skulls.
Kat: I think…
Caleb: But we know it’s there. I mean, we at least can assume it’s there.
Kat: Right. Yeah, I think she’s talking about… don’t trust something that you’re not sure how it works, basically.
Kat: Like we can’t see the brain of the computer, but we know it’s there. You know, the motherboard is there, it’s working.
Kat: Whatever. So, we trust it. And I think it’s in that sense. Where would the book put its brain? So…
Noah: It also suggests that once you know where something keeps its brain, that’s kind of its most vulnerable place.
Noah: So, when you know the vulnerable place of something, you in a way master it or you kind of understand it. And if you can’t get that with some other thing that has some sort of consciousness then you’re kind of at a loss because you don’t know if it’s being possessed by something outside or…
Rosie: So, that’s another interesting link to Horcruxes. It’s the idea that it’s not his brain that’s been placed in this item, it’s his soul.
Caleb: Well, once they get through the whole story of what everything… how everything happened, Dumbledore declares, “Well, we should celebrate. We should eat some food and have a feast because food makes everyone happy.”
Noah: Yeah, Dumbledore.
Caleb: So, McGonagall leaves to plan the feast, and she leaves Dumbledore, and she says, “To deal with Potter and Weasley.” And they’re fearing a punishment because they remember that, at the beginning of the book, when Dumbledore got… when they got in trouble for crashing the Ford Anglia into the Whomping Willow, that Dumbledore said if they got into more trouble then he would have to pretty much expel them. So, they’re pretty afraid they’re going to get expelled. But just kidding. He says he has to eat his words because they’re going to get special awards. So, they’re super special now.
Noah: I feel like he always does this.
Kat: Yeah, he does. Yeah.
Caleb: Yeah, of course. And… so, yeah. They both get two hundred house points a piece and that pretty much sets up Gryffindor to win the House Cup again. So, that’s really cool.
Noah: Do you think Dumbledore does this for other students at Hogwarts? “I’m just going to give you two hundred points.”
Caleb: Heck no. No way.
Noah: “Because you’re awesome.”
Rosie: It’s a remarkable increase. Point inflation has really gone up because they got fifty points each for the first time they beat Voldemort.
Rosie: This time it’s two hundred. [laughs] And Ron wasn’t even there.
Kat: I think that the snake was the bonus and saving Ginny’s life…
Caleb: Saving Ginny’s life. Yeah, that’s a bonus.
Kat: Okay, so it’s like, defeat giant animal: fifty points.
Kat: Because they… well, I guess if you’re like Quirrell-mort or whatever, I guess he’s kind of an animal. Save a life: a hundred points. So, there you go.
Caleb: I think he gives Ron two hundred points just because he got rid of Lockhart in a way.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Because Dumbledore was over him. Because the next…
Kat: He’s thanking him, yeah.
Caleb: Yeah. Because Dumbledore… I think it’s really funny because he kind of subtly makes fun of Lockhart who has been quiet this whole time, because he says, “You’ve been pretty quiet,” or something like that. I can’t remember the exact quote.
Caleb: It makes me wonder, [laughs] what has Lockhart been doing in the corner this whole time that…
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: …they’ve been telling what happened? Is he twiddling his thumbs? Is he asking himself questions?
Rosie: He’s probably staring at his own reflection in one of the glass cabinets.
Kat: Twirling his hair around his finger.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: That’s what I would do. So…
Noah: Maybe he’s less vain. Is it possible that this made him a little less vain?
Caleb: Oh, no. No, no, no.
Caleb: That did not change.
Noah: He’s just rotten to the core, huh? [laughs] Even without memories.
Rosie: Well, he keeps writing autographs later on, doesn’t he? Even though he doesn’t know why.
Kat: Yeah, yeah.
Noah: That’s beautiful. And terrible.
[Kat and Noah laugh]
Caleb: Yeah. And so Dumbledore then thanks Harry for being loyal to him as he explains why Fawkes was able to find him because of the great loyalty Harry shows to Dumbledore. And we all get emotional…
Caleb: …as Dumbledore sort of has his moment with Harry. Is it… okay, so this also makes me think of the parallel. Isn’t it in Book 6 when Harry says that he’s Dumbledore’s man through and through?
Caleb: And that’s…
Caleb: So yeah, that’s another parallel. And when Harry says that and Dumbledore means that’s very touching.
Rosie: So clever.
Kat: Well, he says that the first time. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. No, because he says it to Scrimgeour in Book 7, and…
Caleb: Yeah, but the first time he says it…
Caleb: …it’s in Book 6, right?
Kat: I think it’s Book 5.
Noah: Yeah, I’m thinking “5”.
Caleb: Oh, is it? Okay.
Noah: Doesn’t Scrimgeour come to the Weasley house in “5”?
Caleb: No, because he’s not Minister then.
Noah: Oh, right. “6”.
Caleb: It’s the beginning of “6” when Scrimgeour is Minister. But anyway, just made me think about that. I lost my place. Oh, so Harry… he’s still talking with Dumbledore and he finally lets out this fear of being like Riddle, and he starts talking about how the Sorting Hat wanted to put him in Slytherin and then this Parseltongue ability. Because when he’s down in the Chamber, Riddle even remarks on how similar they are, and Riddle says something like, “We even look something alike.” And so Harry is really… this is not sitting well with him. And… but Dumbledore explains that, first off, the reason why Harry is a Parseltongue is because he’s passed on this ability whenever Voldemort tried to kill him. So, that’s really interesting because that’s the first time we really find out of this passing of power from Voldemort to Harry.
Kat: First hint of a Horcrux, yeah.
Caleb: Exactly, yeah. So, it sort of is a foreshadowing for the Horcrux.
Noah: I’m kind of surprised, given all of that, that the idea that Harry was a Horcrux was such a crazy theory at the time.
Noah: Even though towards the end we all kind of felt that, that that was going to happen.
Noah: But it was really…
Rosie: We just didn’t want it to be true. [laughs]
Noah: But reading all of these hints, I mean it’s pretty clear.
Noah: Poor guy.
caleb: And then he addresses Harry’s fear of belonging in Slytherin and we get one of the best quotes of the book. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Such a good line.
Noah: I think that…
Caleb: It kind of defines the whole series.
Noah: …line is actually kind of tied to the Bible and the idea of original sin and choice because God gave Adam and Eve the choice to sin so that they could be more loyal versus just if they were by nature. He created them and if by nature they couldn’t sin, then that would be cool but then where would the real faith be unless they were given the ability to fall? So, that’s…
Noah: …if you wanted to make the biblical connection, I think it’s… there’s in that line pretty close ties.
Kat: And isn’t that the quote that just got Jo into the Bartlett’s Book of Best Literary Quotes of All Time or something?
Caleb: Yeah, I think so.
Kat: I think it is. Yeah.
Caleb: And Dumbledore also further explains how Harry belongs in Gryffindor because he tells Harry to look at the sword and look at the name on it and of course it says Godric Gryffindor. So, it’s kind of like Harry’s defining moment that yes, you are a Gryffindor, and I have decided that I really want this sword because how baller would that be?
Kat: I mean, you can buy it for like 500 dollars…
Caleb: Yeah, totally.
Kat: …or something ridiculous.
Noah: What? They’re selling it?
Kat: Yeah, the Noble Collection sells it.
Rosie: You can get it at the Studio Tour as well.
Caleb: How much is it there, Rosie?
Noah: I only get my swords from goblins.
Caleb: How much does it cost at the Studio Tour, Rosie?
Rosie: I don’t know. Some incredible amount that I didn’t even want to go and look at. [laughs]
Kat: I think it’s like 500 pounds.
Rosie: Probably, yeah.
Kat: So, like a thousand American dollars. [laughs]
Caleb: I’m just going to do a Kickstarter campaign so people can donate.
Noah: Get Caleb that sword.
Kat: Yeah, try and take that home on the plane with you.
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Caleb: Okay, so this is what I was talking about earlier about… so, you mentioned, Noah, how the Sorting Hat… or no, maybe it was Rosie. I don’t remember. We were talking about how the Sorting Hat isn’t just Gryffindor. Everyone sort of put their magic into it. So, we know Harry pulls out the sword and he pulls it out because he is a true Gryffindor. So, it makes you wonder if other people from other houses were put in this situation and they have the Sorting Hat, what would they pull out of it to signify their house? What would their founder be…
Noah: I think Hufflepuffs would pull out a rubber duck.
Kat: A cupcake.
Noah: A cupcake? [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] That’s what I was thinking.
Noah: “Take that, Voldemort!” Throws it at his face.
Kat: [laughs] Hey, it has Sleeping Draught in it, okay?
Noah: Just as long as no Mandrakes were used to make that Sleeping Draught.
Kat: Oh, gosh.
Noah: But what is the actual item of a Hufflepuff? What sort of… let’s think specifically of tools of war, you know?
Caleb: Yeah, the only Hufflepuff item that we really know of its significance is Hepzibah Smith’s cup.
Kat: [laughs] Right.
Kat: That’s so tough.
Noah: Which again is more about drinking and eating.
Rosie: Doesn’t she talk about other relics as well, though? I’m trying to remember the scene that we actually see him – see Riddle – talking.
Caleb: I would have to go back and look because I think you’re right. I remember that vaguely, but I don’t remember specifically what it was.
Rosie: We’ll have to think about that when we get to that book. But badgers have claws. I’m sure that we’ve got something that’s dangerous. [laughs]
Kat: Like a mace or something.
Noah: I could use a mace.
Rosie: Or like a bow and arrow.
Kat: Mine would be a beautiful piece of jewelry.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Kat: So, there you go.
Noah: No, but you need something to fight Voldemort with.
Kat: I know. It would be my mind.
Noah: Wow. So, what do you pull out of the hat? A brain?
Kat: I pull out the Force. There you go.
Noah: The Force.
Rosie: Like the…
Kat: I become a Jedi.
Kat: Ravenclaws, that’s right.
Noah: Ravenclaws are Jedi?
Kat: You betcha.
Rosie: The diadem is supposed to increase your intelligence, isn’t it? So, that would be a dangerous object.
Kat: Right. That’s what I’m saying.
Rosie: You would wear it and then suddenly you would be able to think your way into defeating him.
Caleb: What does Slytherin pull out?
Caleb: A snake?
Kat: A cocky attitude.
Caleb: I think they’ve already got that. So…
Kat: [laughs] Yeah, they do.
Noah: I think they pull out some poison.
Rosie: Slytherin wouldn’t need to pull anything out in that situation because they’d be fine.
Caleb: Yeah, but I just mean in general. If they had another situation.
Kat: A basilisk.
Noah: A basilisk.
[Kat, Noah, and Rosie laugh]
Noah: They pull out a basilisk out of the Sorting Hat.
Kat: A little baby basilisk.
Kat: Here you go.
Caleb: Something we can throw to the fans. Think about what you would… if you belong to one of these houses, what you would pull out.
Noah: And for Hufflepuff, hopefully more than a frying pan or a Hufflepuff cup because they only seem to be eating and drinking.
Rosie: But frying pans are awesome!
Rosie: It should be a frying pan. That’s what Hufflepuff should…
Kat: I mean…
Caleb: Yeah, because that’s what…
Noah: Petunia uses on Harry and nearly makes him bloody.
Kat: [laughs] Petunia beats… right.
Caleb: [laughs] Oh my God, we’re going to move on.
[Kat and Noah laugh]
Caleb: So, Dumbledore… they’re still in… I guess… yeah, he’s still with Dumbledore, and Dumbledore mentions bringing Hagrid back and he also talks about how, once again, they’re going to need a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Then all of a sudden in comes Lucius Malfoy with Dobby. So, we finally get this moment of knowing that Dobby belongs to the Malfoys, which I can’t… I’m trying to remember the first time I read it. I can’t remember how surprised I was. I definitely didn’t predict it, but I think from reading…
Rosie: I was so shocked.
Rosie: I was like, “Dobby!” [laughs]
Kat: I don’t recall.
Caleb: But of course, it makes total sense.
Noah: Oh, yeah.
Caleb: And then they start talking about this diary because Dumbledore sort of tells Lucius what has happened, why he was reinstated. The other governors wanted him back once they believed Ginny might be killed. And the whole while Dumbledore is talking to Lucius about the diary, Dobby is pointing to Lucius to draw the connection between Lucius and the diary. And of course all the while he’s punishing himself by hitting himself on the head with his fists, so the punishing never ends. And I almost thought when I was reading it the first time that it would remain unsaid and just Harry would know what happened, but Harry is like, “No, I’m calling you out. You did this.” So, I think that was a pretty bold move for Harry, right there in front of Lucius Malfoy to call him out on giving the diary to Ginny.
Kat: Yeah, he has to be pretty positive that Dobby is not lying to him, you know? So…
Kat: Despite everything Dobby has done to him, he still trusts him.
Rosie: But Dobby has always been trying to save him.
Rosie: Even if he didn’t do it in the right way.
Caleb: In all the wrong ways. [laughs]
Kat: Yeah, right.
Noah: You know, it’s interesting. Apparently Daniel Radcliffe and Lucius Malfoy…
Kat: Jason Isaacs.
Caleb: Jason Isaacs.
Noah: Jason Isaacs, yes. They were ad-libbing that part, and he was apparently very impressed in Daniel’s ability to just kind of ad-lib on the spot. So, not only was Harry kind of showing his inner character but so was Daniel Radcliffe.
Rosie: Yeah. That is the sassiest line in the entire movie, and it’s completely Dan rather than Harry. I can’t remember what the actual line is. Oh, no!
Caleb: Yeah, we’ll have to pick that out.
Noah: [as Lucius] “We can only hope that you will be there to save the day.”
Kat: “Oh, I will be.”
Noah: [as Harry] “Don’t worry. I will be.”
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: So, then Harry… after Lucius kicks Dobby out and they’re on their way, Harry asks Dumbledore if he can return the diary. And I was trying to read it, but I can’t really tell if Dumbledore knows what Harry is up to or not.
Rosie: He’s got a kind of glinting smile, doesn’t he? I think he does know.
Caleb: Yeah, so I think he kind of knows what he is up to. So, Harry pulls off his filthy, slimy sock, which, eww, that’s gross.
Caleb: And he gives it to Malfoy… I guess it makes it in the book seem like the sock is on top of the diary because he sort of tosses the sock. But in the movie the sock is in the middle of the book, right?
Rosie: Yeah, because it’s…
Kat: I think it says that Harry puts the book into the sock.
Rosie: Yeah. But that’s less impressive.
Rosie: In the movie they can have Dobby open it and then big reveal of what he’s done.
Rosie: It’s more heroic.
Caleb: So, Lucius kind of carelessly tosses it, and of course Dobby catches it, and he’s free.
Caleb: And he’s like, “I’m going to get you back for everything!” and he kicks Lucius with some magic. And he’s like, “Nah, you ain’t going to mess with Harry Potter. I kick you out of here.”
Noah: But not before Lucius Malfoy almost kills him.
Caleb: Yeah. Well…
Kat: That’s only in the movie.
Noah: That’s only in the movie?
Caleb: I don’t like that they do that in the movie, but…
Rosie: No, it’s… yeah, it’s not good.
Kat: What would have happened – let’s just talk movie canon for a second – if he had actually tried to AK Harry?
Rosie: Well, he would have gone to Azkaban for sure. [laughs]
Kat: Well, I mean Harry probably wouldn’t have died.
Noah and Rosie: Or would he? [laugh]
Caleb: I think he would have.
Kat: But the Horcrux is… I don’t know.
Noah: No, because Voldemort hasn’t made his body yet to tether Harry to life.
Kat: True, true.
Caleb: Yeah, so he would have died.
Rosie: Harry could have died.
Kat: So, that was a really crappy thing they did in the movie.
Caleb: Yeah. Also, Jason Isaacs sounds really gross when he tries to start saying Avada Kedavra. It sounds like he’s going to croak.
Noah: [as Jason Isaacs] Avada Kedavra!
Kat: [laughs] Yeah. He has the Leaky Flu.
Caleb: And it’s like ugh.
Noah: [as Jason Isaacs] Avada…
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: But I do love Dobby in that scene: [as Dobby] “Master has given Dobby a sock! Dobby is…”
Kat, Noah, and Rosie: [as Dobby] “Free!”
Caleb: Oh, I know. It’s so perfect.
Kat: It’s so cute, yeah.
Caleb: So then after this scene, they’re having the feast, and everyone is in their pajamas. Umm, well, that’s a choice…
Caleb: …to go to the feast in your pajamas.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Probably not what I would do. But everyone that was petrified is back. Harry gets to see Hermione again. And so is Hagrid. Hagrid is back from Azkaban. And Dumbledore, we find out, has canceled exams and Hermione, of course, is upset. She just got out of being petrified, and she’s upset that there are no exams. Girl, again: Get your priorities together.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Then the end of the book kind of moves really fast, and they get on the train, and they’re almost at King’s Cross Station, and Harry finds out from Ginny why Percy was being all intense and not wanting her to say anything, and it was that Percy has a girlfriend, Penelope, and that Ginny caught them making out, and Fred and George have got an early Christmas because they have something to make fun of Percy about, which is really funny. But then it’s pretty much the end of the book. Harry gives Ron his telephone number, and he has to explain what that is. He wants Ron to call him over the holiday. And Hermione is sure that the Dursleys are going to be proud of Harry because of all that he did, but Harry is like, “No, they’re just going to be sad I didn’t die. Had all these chances to die.”
Caleb: “Didn’t go through.” And then the book closes up with them going back through the gateway to the Muggle world.
[Kat and Noah sigh]
Caleb: Chamber of Secrets is done!
[Triumphant music plays]
Kat: Okay, so our special feature this week isn’t really a special feature, but it is. We’re just going to kind of talk about Chamber of Secrets overall, its success, and we’re going to go through the international book covers like we did for the first book. So first off, just wanted to throw some stats at you: Chamber of Secrets sold 77 million copies worldwide, which I just think is crazy, since it was released in June of 1999. It won 40 different awards, including things like the British Book Awards in 1998 for Children’s Book of the Year. It won…
Rosie: Smarties Book Award.
Kat: Yeah. Publishers Weekly [said] it was one of the best books in 1999, and of course it was all over the New York Times Bestsellers list and all of that. So, on to the book covers. We’re going to end with the US and UK editions. So, the first one we’re going to look at is Finland, [laughs] and this is the best cover. I absolutely love it.
Kat: It’s got this crazy photo. It’s obviously Lockhart, [laughs] but it looks like some crazy woman with this giant hat with pink on top and long, long, long curly blonde hair.
Kat: And who is that in the background? Is that supposed to be Lucius?
Caleb: That’s what I was thinking. Obviously, they have his hair color different, but I think that is supposed to be Lucius.
Kat: And is that his crazy wife?
Kat: Oh. Oh! It kind of looks like a chick – yikes – standing behind him.
Caleb: Yeah, I don’t know if that’s…
Noah: Or it could be Draco.
Caleb: I think it’s Draco, actually.
Kat: Yeah, probably.
Rosie: He’s wearing green, isn’t he, I think?
Noah: For whatever reason it’s dark hair.
Caleb: Because he’s holding… Lucius is holding the diary.
Kat: The diary, yeah.
Kat: Well, what is Lockhart holding then?
Noah: His own book.
Caleb: Yeah, but…
Rosie: It says “Harry Potter.”
Caleb: …it says “Harry Potter.”
Noah: He’s holding a Harry Potter book.
Caleb: How meta of that to be…
Noah: Oh, man.
Kat: Wow, that’s crazy. But I’m wondering, where is Hermione on this cover? I mean, I know she has a very minor part in the book – this book – but she also has kind of a major part, so…
Rosie: Well, Ron and the rest of the Weasleys aren’t there either. The main people are Harry and Ginny and Lockhart and the Malfoys. So yeah, that works.
Kat: That’s true, I suppose. Cool. It’s just that grin on Lockhart’s face…
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Kat: …is so freaky. It’s terrifying. So, the next book cover we’re going to look at is France, and this one is really muted. It’s really dark. I mean, it looks like we’re looking at part of the Chamber, I think, because we kind of get some grates.
Kat: And it looks like an inset of Harry and Ron and their little pilgrim hats. That’s what it looks…
Caleb: It looks like a bad photoshop job. [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] It does look [like] a bad photoshop job.
Kat: But there is no information in this cover at all.
Kat: There’s no snake, there’s no Lucius, there’s no nothing. It’s very muted.
Noah: I like it, though.
Rosie: Typical French minimalism.
Noah: For its bare qualities, it’s kind of nice as well.
Kat: You think so.
Noah: I do.
Caleb: I don’t like it.
Kat: It’s not my favorite ever. So, the next one we’re going to look…
Rosie: [mumbles] It’s so brown.
Rosie: It’s so brown. [laughs]
Kat: Yeah, it’s very monotone.
Caleb: It doesn’t seem French to me. It doesn’t have a French quality to it.
Noah: Can anyone pronounce the French title?
Caleb: No. I don’t read French, so…
Noah: [with bad pronunciation] Et la Chambre des Secrets.
Rosie: [pronounces correctly] Chambre.
Caleb: Chambre, yeah.
Rosie: Et la Chambre des Secrets.
Noah: That’s what I wanted. Okay.
Kat: Nice try, Noah. Nice try.
Kat: All right, so the next one we’re going to look at is Germany, and this one is weird because it kind of looks like Harry is going through his emo phase.
Kat: He’s got dreads and crazy colors in his hair.
Caleb: His hair looks like snakes.
Rosie: All of the German covers are like that. They’re brilliant.
Kat: Oh, it does look like snakes. That’s true.
Caleb: It’s like a Medusa thing almost, geez.
Kat: Yeah. And then the Chamber in the background is very modern. The snakes are all angular, and is that supposed to be Tom Riddle, we think?
Rosie: In the middle?
Kat: In the middle. Or is that… oh, that’s the big statue with the long beard.
Rosie: I think that’s Slytherin. That’s the big statue.
Caleb: Yeah, it’s…
Kat: Yeah. And then the only other thing you see on the cover is Fawkes.
Caleb: I really like this title, though: [in a dramatic voice] Harry Potter und die Kammer des Schreckens.
Rosie: Und die Kammer des Schreckens.
Noah: I’m sorry, guys. I need to read the description on this website.
Kat: Okay, sure.
Noah: Because you know what? It’s another interpretation.
Kat: Okay. Wait, wait, wait. Say where it’s from. That way we can put that in the show so they know we’re not stealing it.
Noah: Yeah. This is from TheLastMuggle.com, so these are personalized descriptions of the cover from people if you have not read the Harry Potter books, but…
Noah: …this person is just going off the cover, the German cover. So, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets tells the story of Harry, an evil origami artist.”
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Noah: “Cursed with horrific green highlights and remarkably feminine features, Harry creates towering origami snakes and flying paper cranes in his Chamber of Secrets. What’s his secret? Look at his face. Do you really want to know his secret? You can’t handle his secret.”
[Caleb, Kat, and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: This site is brilliant. I am in love with it. We need to use it for every book cover recap. This is great.
Kat: Yeah, it’s pretty great. It’s pretty great. Yeah, but this cover gives away no information whatsoever.
Kat: Really. [laughs] This is amazing.
Rosie: It describes the Chamber.
Kat: Yeah, it does. No, a little bit. Okay, so the next one is Italy, and, if you remember, the first time we looked at Italy for Philosopher’s Stone, it had the little mice.
Rosie: [laughs] That’s so strange.
Kat: It had the little mice all over it. In this one, Harry is on a flying book, and I believe that his hat is a snake mouth. It looks like…
Caleb: Oh, yeah. I didn’t notice that.
Kat: Yeah, like a decapitated snake. And he’s flying over…
Noah: So, that’s what he did with the head.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Kat: And they’re flying over the forest on a full moon.
Rosie: Why? [laughs]
Kat: Yet again, has nothing to do with the story.
Noah: “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets tells the story of Harry, the hyena-killing bandit and ex-court jester. Trapped in a world full of flying works of literature, Harry soars high above the forest, wearing his conquests on his head as a warning to others. Don’t mess with the Hyena Killer.”
[Caleb, Kat, and Noah laugh]
Kat: Noah, you should talk to your Italian friend and find out the significance of the flying book.
Noah: I will.
Kat: Like you did with the mice in the first…
Rosie: Maybe it’s meant to be the diary.
Kat: I’m sure it is, but why is he flying?
Noah: Why is he flying?
Kat: Ooh, maybe instead of going into the book like he does, maybe he flies away on the book in the Italian version.
Kat: You know, with the translation.
Noah: That’s a grossly terrible translation then because that definitely doesn’t happen.
Kat: [laughs] No, it definitely doesn’t happen.
Kat: Okay. So, the next one we’re going to look at was our favorite from The Philosopher’s Stone, and that is the Ukraine cover. If you remember…
Rosie: I really like this one, too.
Kat: Yeah, The Philosopher’s Stone was… it was so crazy. Everything…
Caleb: Everything was there.
Kat: …was on that book, and it’s kind of the same thing again. The Ukraine cover depicts Fawkes pulling everybody out of the Chamber, and Hogwarts in the background, and it’s very colorful, it’s bright… it’s beautiful.
Caleb: Yeah, and it’s got minor things all littered around the Chamber, so…
Caleb: This is my favorite again. I love it.
Kat: What is that little thing in the background? It looks like something walking. Next to…
Caleb: Oh, yeah.
Kat: Between Ron’s head and…
Noah: It’s a person.
Caleb: Yeah, it’s definitely a person. So, maybe Riddle?
Kat: Oh yeah, that’s a cape behind him, right?
Rosie: Yeah, maybe it’s meant to be Riddle.
Noah: The bio on the site just kind of mentions how Harry’s face just looks kind of weird in comparison to everything else.
Caleb: [laughs] Yeah.
Kat: I think that’s the one that looks most like Dan so far.
Caleb: Mhm, I agree.
Kat: Yeah. And it did on the first cover, too, I remember.
Kat: Hmm, I wonder…
Noah: Maybe a bit.
Kat: I think it looks like Dan. It looks the least like the Harry that I pictured in my head, anyway. Personally.
Noah: The German Harry really was different from anything I’ve ever imagined, but…
Rosie: What’s really creepy, though, is that the pit that they’re coming out of is made up of faces.
Caleb: Eww, I didn’t notice that. That’s creepy.
Rosie: [sneezes] Sorry, I’m sneezing all the time.
Kat: Bless you.
Rosie: [laughs] Look at that.
Kat: Yeah, what?
Caleb: Yeah, the description is really awesome. It’s like, “A boy who rescues a super happy red-headed boy, an f’ing creeping blonde, and a dead girl from a well full of comedy dell’arte masks… but he’s not very excited about it. Even his wild bird and kick ass sword don’t thrill him in the least.”
Caleb: “Look, Harry! There’s a castle! Nope, nothing? Really? Nothing at all?”
[Kat, Noah, and Rosie laugh]
Noah: I guess he’s just looking really dazed and weird. It’s just weird. He should be happy. He’s flying [on] a bird.
Kat: That’s true. He did…
Rosie: Well, he has almost died. [laughs] Maybe he’s still not recovered fully.
Noah: That’s true.
Kat: But Ron is ecstatic!
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Noah: But Ron is like angelically ecstatic. Almost creepily so.
Kat: Wait, wait, wait. Lockhart looks like Gene Wilder’s…
Kat: …version of…
Rosie: Willy Wonka.
Caleb and Kat: Of Willy Wonka.
Caleb: Oh, God.
Rosie: I was thinking exactly the same thing.
Kat: That’s hilarious.
Noah: What a movie.
Kat: Yeah, exactly.
Noah: What a powerful movie.
Kat: [laughs] All right, so the next version we’re going to look at is Mexico, and this one is actually great. I really like this one.
Caleb: Me too.
Kat: It shows Harry with the sword and a red cape – I don’t know, they stole that from Superman or something – but it shows Fawkes down in the bottom, kind of swooping to the rescue, and Harry fighting the Basilisk in the Chamber. I think this is a great cover.
Kat: But it kind of gives it away, right?
Noah: Completely. [laughs]
Kat: Yeah, [laughs] I mean it’s like, “Oh, guess what’s in the Chamber? Oh, just look at the book cover.”
Kat: A giant snake.
Noah: Who wants to read the description? [laughs]
Caleb: I mean, this one isn’t as…
Rosie: We don’t have to go through it.
Kat: Yeah, that one is not as funny.
Caleb: Well, I do like that they call Fawkes an anorexic bird.
[Caleb, Kat, and Noah laugh]
Kat: Yeah, this site is great. We’re going to have to find to see if they’re on Twitter or something and…
Caleb: Yeah, give them a shoutout.
Noah: One Harry Potter website to another.
Kat: Right, exactly.
Noah: Make some magic together.
Kat: Ba-dum-bum. Okay.
[Kat and Noah laugh]
Kat: So, the next cover we’re going to look at is Sweden.
Caleb: [laughs] I’m just looking at this cover and Fawkes… oh, it’s a mess.
Kat: [laughs] It’s pretty all over the place. It depicts Fawkes on the right, Harry in the middle looking a little… he’s giving someone the stink eye, is kind of what it looks like.
Kat: And we’ve got the Slytherin statue on the left, and Fawkes…
Caleb: This is Sweden, by the way. I think I interrupted you with my laugh, saying Sweden.
Kat: No, it’s okay. I think I got it out.
Caleb: Oh, okay.
Kat: But yeah, Fawkes looks…
Rosie: It’s really interesting, though, that they include the pixies. The little blue pixies.
Kat: Yeah, why?
Caleb: I think the Ukraine one does that, too, right? Isn’t that what those are between… right by Harry and Fawkes? Pixies flying around?
Kat: Oh, yeah.
Rosie: No, they’re like little white cards. I think they’re letters.
Caleb: Oh, okay.
Rosie: I don’t know. But Sweden… their literary history is very earthy and very folkloric, so the fact that they would include pixies is right up their street. And their Slytherin statue, which makes up most of the cover of the book, is…
Rosie: …very much their kind of thing.
Kat: You know what I like about it is the whole left side is green.
Kat: And the whole right side is Gryffindor colors…
Kat: …with the red and the gold.
Kat: And I just think that that speaks a lot to Harry’s struggle in this book like, “Is he a Slytherin, or is he a Gryffindor?”
Caleb and Rosie: Yeah.
Kat: I think it’s a great cover. It’s a great cover. Go ahead, read the description. I know you want to. [laughs]
Caleb: Yeah, our friends at The Last Muggle described it as, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets tells the story of Harry, a young boy who is attacked by a rabid chicken…”
Caleb: “…while climbing a gigantic statue of Santa Claus.”
[Kat, Noah, and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: So, that’s pretty great.
Kat: Wow. Yeah, they’re creative. Okay, and this next one – our last non US or UK book cover – is from Japan, and it is very odd. It’s very Picasso-esque. It’s very… what’s the period I’m trying to think of? My art history is failing me at the moment.
Caleb: That’s not my thing, so yeah.
Kat: Oh! It’s very Cubist.
Kat: Everything is very straight and very blocky, in a way.
Rosie: But it includes everything that you need.
Kat: It does, yeah. It has the weird Slytherin statue with the giant hole for a mouth, and it’s got Fawkes. Although Harry… if that’s Harry with the sword, he’s very, very, very tiny.
Rosie: Well, it is meant to be a giant snake that he’s sat on, so…
Kat: That’s true, but if this were the case – if everything was to scale on this cover – then Fawkes would be this giant, pterodactyl bird.
Rosie: [laughs] Maybe he’s just a lot closer to us.
Kat: [laughs] It could be, it could be.
Rosie: Really big or really close up.
Kat: But yeah, the cover is very… it’s very odd. And it looks like that’s tiny, little Riddle and Ginny down in the very, very bottom left-hand corner.
Kat: And that’s about it. It does have a lot of color, though.
Kat: But it is a little freaky. It’s a little…
Kat: It feels a little military-esque to me, very cold. There’s no real emotion in this cover, like there is in some of the others.
Kat: Okay, so the next cover we’re going to talk about briefly here – the one that I think most of us are most familiar with – is the US cover. And this one takes place, again, right at the end, where Fawkes is pulling everybody out of the Chamber of Secrets. But at least in this one, it doesn’t really give anything away. We just see Fawkes pulling Harry, Ron, and Ginny… actually, Lockhart is missing from this cover, I just realized.
Kat: And then it looks like there’s a black cat in the window?
Kat: Is that supposed to be Mrs. Norris?
Caleb: I think so, yeah.
Kat: Yeah, and then there’s just a few snakes floating about, and that’s really it.
Caleb: And we have a snake eye in the bottom-right corner, it looks like.
Kat: Oh, yeah.
Noah: Oh, wow. Look at that. And the pillars themselves have snakes…
Kat: Have snakes on them.
Noah: …all over them.
Kat: Yeah. There you go.
Kat: Yeah, but I like it because it doesn’t give anything away, yet it kind of looks magical because they’re flying and you’re not quite sure what kind of bird it is because you can’t really tell. She’s not on fire… or he’s not on fire, like he is in some of the other books.
Rosie: It is still using that last scene, though. I’m amazed by how many of these actually choose Fawkes or battles…
Rosie: …or the actual chamber itself as its basis.
Rosie: Because it is giving away a lot of the ending.
Kat: Yeah, no, it’s true.
Rosie: The UK edition is completely different. [laughs]
Caleb: Yeah, but I don’t think this one gives too much away. Like Kat said, it sort of teases it, but it doesn’t really give you… it leaves out Lockhart, you don’t really know that eye is a snake’s eye in the beginning.
Kat: Right. You do show snakes, but that just speaks to Slytherin. It doesn’t necessarily tell you that there’s a big, giant snake down there. So…
Kat: You want to take over for the UK editions, Rosie?
Rosie: Sure. As usual, there are a few different ones for the UK. But the original one is the blue cover with Ron and Harry and Hedwig in the Ford Anglia car, right at the beginning, flying above England and above the tiny, little Hogwarts Express in the bottom corner.
Kat: Yeah, totally random scene, speaks nothing to the overall, arching theme of the book. That’s about right. [laughs]
Rosie: Yeah, but it’s interesting. It makes you think, “Why are Harry and Ron driving this car? Why is it a flying car?” All that kind of thing.
Caleb: Well, it’s sim…
Rosie: The English covers tend to like earlier scenes. If you think about Philosopher’s Stone, it was Harry seeing the Hogwarts Express for the first time.
Caleb: Yeah, I was thinking both scenes are Harry going to Hogwarts.
Kat: Right. Mhm.
Rosie: So, the front cover is you embarking your journey with Harry to this magical world.
Rosie: [laughs] And then we’ve got the adult edition cover, which is the door to the chamber and it’s two intertwined snakes on a very… it’s a photograph, so it’s a real image, which makes it that much cooler, I think.
Noah: I like it, too.
Rosie: And then… yeah, it’s a really cool… I really like the adult covers.
Kat: Yeah, the adult covers are some of my favorites. I love those. They’re beautiful.
Rosie: They’re really gritty and realistic and… yeah, they’re nice.
Kat: I know we’re not on it, but the one for Deathly Hallows is my favorite. I love that.
Kat: But we’ll talk about that when we get there. [laughs]
Rosie: Yeah. And then recently they have released this whole anniversary edition series, which is the white covers with the Harry Potter signature across the top. And it shows the generic scene that everyone has shown, with the Basilisk, Fawkes, and actually the Sorting Hat on the front cover. All three are very, very different, but they are all clearly Chamber of Secrets stories.
Kat: Yeah, Harry is not even on that cover.
Kat: It’s just the animals and the Sorting Hat.
Kat: Huh, very minimalistic.
Rosie: So, we would like to hear your views on all of these covers. And if you’ve seen any that we haven’t included today, definitely send us a message and let us know what you think of them.
Kat: Yeah, absolutely. We’re excited to talk about them, so it’ll be good.
Noah: We’re going to put them all on a page so that people can follow along with us.
Noah: All right, everyone, so now it’s time for the Podcast Question of the Week. We’ve just finished Chamber of Secrets, and as you all know, Harry is going back and forth with the Sorting Hat over being either in Slytherin or Gryffindor. It was one of the biggest moral and… huge question for Harry in the book, especially Chamber of Secrets, and just recurs. The Sorting Hat even comes back at the end of the book, and Harry talks to Dumbledore about this because it’s a problem dear to his heart. So, our question to all the listeners out there is: What is the significance of Harry having this question so early in the series, just in Chamber of Secrets? What does it mean, and how it is related to Dumbledore’s idea about choice versus your nature? This such important theme of choice that runs throughout the series. So again, what is the rhetorical impact of having… of Jo specifically putting this question of choice between the two houses for Harry in this book, right now? Whatever comments or answers you have for this question, just leave them on the Alohomora! site and we’ll be reading them on our next show, and that will be the live show.
Rosie: So, that is the end of this episode. If you would like to be on the show yourself – not our next episode because it is our live show and we will have all of you guys hopefully watching the movie along with us in the same way that we did with Philosopher’s Stone – but if you would like to be on our first Prisoner of Azkaban or any of the subsequent shows, you need to email a clip of yourself to alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com and you need to make sure you have the appropriate audio and recording equipment that goes alongside recording your clip and recording a whole episode. You can also submit content on the Alohomora! website, which is Alohomora.MuggleNet.com, and contact us on our forums and things as well.
Caleb: Definitely. And if you just want to get in contact with us in general: first off, on Twitter, our Twitter handle is @AlohomoraMN.
Noah: And as I said before, we also started the Mandrake Liberation Front, or I really did. It’s just a fun account. I am really pulling the stings behind it, so just follow @MandrakeForever and just get daily updates from Mandrakes’ attempts to liberate themselves from the garden. Of course, it’s a constant struggle, but it’s been a fun time. So, make sure to follow us there if you’re in for some laughs and also for some interesting thoughts about Mandrakes. Basically the role of animals and creatures in the Harry Potter series, which, I have pointed to, often seem to be abused…
Noah: …to some degree. To what degree that’s true, I’m not really sure, but it’s an interesting thought I like to pursue.
Caleb: Right. Otherwise, we’re on Facebook at Facebook.com/OpenTheDumbldore, Tumblr at MNAlohomora.Tumblr.com, or you can give us a call and you can send us a voicemail at 206-GO-ALBUS. That’s 206-462-5287. Our main site is Alohomora.MuggleNet.com and our email alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. And also don’t forget to subscribe to us on iTunes and also leave us some great comments. We always love reading those.
Kat: And just to remind you guys, just one more time, about our app. It’s available in the US for iPhone and Android, and in the UK only currently on the iPhone. It’s $1.99 in the US or 99p in the UK, and it has great things like transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and so much more. So, be sure to check it out.
Noah: Yeah. And this is actually a great opportunity to tell you guys about the new MuggleNet calendar we released just a little while ago. And it’s so great. It has different fandom dates from the book series, it has the dates of events that are going on in our Muggle world – basically, wizard conventions – and it is really just a really awesome calendar. We thank Kat at MuggleNet, who actually put that together. Props to you for doing that. But it’s also just a great thing for any Harry Potter fan to have. We also have this great intro that Michael Harle and Audiofictions put together. It’s a great little ad for the calendar, and actually it takes place in Gryffindor Common Room. So, take a listen.
[2013 MuggleNet Fandom Calendar promo begins]
Ron: Hey, Harry. Working on that Potions essay for Monday?
Harry: Uhh, it’s due Friday, Ron.
Ron: What? No, you’re pulling my leg.
Seamus: Hey, Harry. Doing that essay quite early, aren’t you?
Ron: See? It’s not due until next Monday. Right, Seamus?
Seamus: Erm, I thought it wasn’t due until the Monday after next.
Parvati: Well, I already did mine because it’s due Thursday.
Ron: What are you talking about, Parvati?
[Harry, Parvati, Ron, and Seamus argue]
Hermione: What is going on here? I’m trying to do my Charms homework.
Ron: Hermione, when’s that Potions essay due?
[Harry, Parvati, Ron, and Seamus argue]
Hermione: Hold on! Let me check my calendar from MuggleNet. It has all kinds of important dates, such as future conventions, birthdays, and important events in the wizarding world.
Ron: Yeah, but what about homework?
Hermione: Ahh, here we are. Yes, I thought so. That essay is due… tomorrow.
[Harry, Parvati, Ron, and Seamus groan]
Michael: Start 2013 off right with the new MuggleNet Fandom calendar. Each month features photos and drawings from various corners of the Harry Potter fan base, as well as historical dates from all seven Harry Potter novels and Harry Potter birthdays for characters, actors, and your favorite MuggleNet staff members. Visit MuggleNet.com to preview the calendar and get your own copy today.
[2013 MuggleNet Fandom Calendar promo ends]
Caleb: All right. Well, that will do it for this week on Alohomora!. Make sure you tune in next time when we’re going to do the book wrap, the movie watching, and a live show.
[Show music begins]
Caleb: But as for this week, I’m Caleb Graves.
Noah: I’m Noah Fried.
Rosie: I’m Rosie Morris.
Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 18 of Alohomora!.
Noah: Open the Dumbledore!
[Show music continues]
Noah: All right before we start, my friend Joel just called me. I just have to talk to him real quick. It’ll be five seconds, I’ve just got to tell him what we’re doing.
Noah: Hey, Joel. I love you, man. You need to tell me all about it later, but I’ve got to record Alohomora! right now.
Noah: I will call you later. Peace. Okay, bye.
Rosie: And there’s the outtake for the end of the episode.
Noah: He actually… he came up with “Open the Dumbledore.”
Rosie: Ah, so it’s his fault.
Noah: Wow, all right.
Noah: That’s my roommate sneezing. Oh my, he’s a loud one. Can you guys hear that?
Caleb: Bless you!
Caleb: I didn’t hear anything, though.
Noah: Oh, then…
Kat: Give that man a tissue.
Noah: But in any case, are we getting… oh my God. Sorry, it’s not on my end.
Kat: Oh, I heard it that time.
Noah: Let me just wait for it to pass. He’s a snotty boy.
[Kat and Noah laugh]
Kat: That’s disgusting.
Noah: Okay, I think it’s stopped now. So…
Caleb: I’ve been watching Lord of the Rings this weekend, a marathon of the extended editions to get ready for The Hobbit, and I’m pretty sure I’ve perfected the noise the Nazgûls make.
Kat: [laughs] Let’s hear it. Wait, let’s hear it. Let’s hear it.
Caleb: Okay, it’s going to take me a second to get ready for this. [clears throat and lets out a blood-curdling scream]
Caleb: So, I’ve been running around my apartment doing that.
Noah: Oh my God.
Kat: Oh my God. That’s amazing.
Noah: If I wasn’t awake before, I’m awake now.
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Kat: Is that how you woke whoever you live with this morning?
Kat: Did you wake them up with that noise?
Caleb: Probably just now, just now.
Kat: [laughs] That’s lovely. Oh, that’s awesome.
Noah: Yeah, my roommate Sean loves Lord of the Rings and he does that, too. He’ll just watch marathons and he’ll want to talk endless hours to me about how these characters work in The Silmarillion and stuff, and I’m like…
Caleb: Oh my God, I’m obsessed. I read The Silmarillion when I was, like, in ninth grade. I’m so obsessed.
Noah: He’s super obsessed. I don’t know much about it because I’ve only read The Hobbit and the first two Lord of the Rings books.
Caleb: Hmm. I also can do an amazing Gollum voice, but I’m not going to do that right now.
Noah: I mean, the fans are going to want it.
Caleb: They’re not going to get this part, so…
Kat: Well, maybe they will.
Caleb: [laughs] God, Jon. Please do not put that on the outtakes. Please don’t.
[Kat and Noah laugh]
Kat: No, wait, I vote yes.
Caleb: I will not… no one will ever be a fan of me ever again.
Noah: I vote yes, too.
Kat: Yes, they will! That was brilliant! It was good.
Caleb: [laughs] Wait, hold on. Can we pause for just a second?
Caleb: Because this Tumblr site that we looked at – or not Tumblr, but whatever this is – the caption between these two covers…
Kat: I know.
“‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ tells the story of some psychotic [censored] (seriously, look at her!) who stalks local bookstores.”
Caleb: That’s so funny! Okay, obviously that should not go on the show, but…
Kat: I think that’s hilarious. That… I know, I didn’t want to read that because I was like, “Ooh.”
Kat: This is at TheLastMuggle.com, just in case they use that for the special feature.
[Caleb and Kat laugh]