Transcript – Episode 189

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 189 of Alohomora! for May 7, 2016.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Hello, listeners, and welcome to another episode of Alohomora!, MuggleNet.com’s global reread of the Harry Potter series. We’re going to have to come up with a new tag line at the beginning because we’re done rereading the books.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Anyway, I’m Michael Harle.

Kat Miller: I’m Kat Miller.

Alison Siggard: I’m Alison Siggard.

Eric Scull: And I’m Eric Scull. And this week our special guest host is a man who needs no introduction, but we’re going to give him one anyway.

[Kat laughs]

Eric: He is a student of fandom study. He is a staple of Harry Potter fan conventions and a pupil of Hogwarts school. Ladies and gentleman, Chris Rankin!

[Everyone cheers]

Eric and Kat: Woo!

Chris Rankin: [laughs] Hello.

Kat: Wow, that was quite the introduction, Eric.

Eric: Yeah, it was.

Alison and Michael: I’m impressed.

Chris: That was. No pressure, Eric.

Eric: [laughs] Chris, we’re all ready for you to wow us on this episode.

Chris: I’ll do my best, guys.

[Kat laughs]

Eric: Chris, we usually begin by introducing our guest host and then asking them a little bit of itty-bitty questions, like, “What is your Hogwarts House?” And actually, I’m interested because I don’t think I know yours.

Chris: Do you not?

Eric: I could guess.

Chris: Go on, have a guess.

Eric: I feel like we have… based on our Twitter interactions and your general demeanor, I would guess Hufflepuff, like me.

Chris: [laughs] Interesting. Nice.

Kat: Hmm. Wrong.

[Eric laughs]

Kat: But I’m not going to spoil it. I’m going to let them continue to guess.

Eric: You are very studious so maybe… is it Ravenclaw?

Chris: Yeah, I am Ravenclaw.

Kat: Ding, ding, ding.

Michael: Hey!

Eric: Got it on the second guess.

Chris: I think I’m one of those surprise Ravenclaws, though.

Eric: Oh.

Chris: Just because, as you say, I think possibly I show more Hufflepuff tendencies outwardly. But yeah, I think the Ravenclaw is in me. I’m one of those people you want on your pop quiz team.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Ahh, yes.

Eric: Not a Gryffindor, though.

Chris: No, I’m not a Gryffindor.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: That’s okay. Percy could be our Gryffindor.

Chris: Yeah, Percy was… This is an argument I’ve had quite a lot, actually. Percy, in my opinion, is fully Ravenclaw up until the point that he actually plucked up the courage to come back to that portrait at the end of the book and go, “I was wrong. Sorry.” That’s where his Gryffindor shows, and it’s not really until then that you get a Gryffindor out of him because the rest of the time he’s just a bit of a stuck-up pig.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Chris: Nothing particularly brave and courageous and…

Eric: Right.

Kat: Bit of a late bloomer, like Snape.

Chris: Yeah, something like that. [laughs]

Eric: And I guess, as a follow-up question: What’s your favorite Harry Potter book?

Chris: Chamber of Secrets.

Eric: Oh, really?

Chris: Yeah.

Michael: Oh. We never hear that.

Chris: No, I know. And I have no reason for it apart from the fact that it’s the one I enjoyed reading the most. That is, literally… [laughs] I don’t know. I like the characterization. It was the one that made me… I read the first book slightly half-heartedly to start with, mostly because I was forced into it, and then I read the second one and that was when I went, “Oh, I actually really quite like this.” This was three or four years before anything film-related ever happened, so [it was] way back, possibly even when the second book came out, I think, probably. Yeah, it was the one that made me go, “Oh, I actually… Yeah, I think I’d probably get quite into this.” And I like Tom Riddle. He’s a good character.

Michael: Yeah, he is.

Kat: Where do you stand on Snape? I’m super curious. I don’t think we’ve ever talked about Snape before.

Chris: In what sense?

Kat: Good guy? Bad guy? Did he love Lily? The short version because…

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Yeah, it’s shortly past 9:20 p.m. here. [laughs] I think good guy; stubborn guy; serious only-child syndrome, being an only child myself.

Kat: Okay.

Chris: He doesn’t like it when he doesn’t get what he wants and he wanted Lily and was pretty damn bitter about it forever after, I think.

[Chris and Eric laugh]

Chris: As well as heart-broken and everything else, but yeah.

Kat: Good summation. Very good.

Chris: Doesn’t like to admit that he went about it the wrong way, I guess.

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: That’s good.

Kat: There you go, listeners. Yep.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Somebody here was nice to Snape. [laughs]

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Michael: Well, I’m with Chris here. This is a great opportunity to remind you listeners that we will be doing our movie watch of Deathly Hallows – Part 2 on Saturday, May 14 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. We ask you to head online to a time converter to figure out what time that is for your time zone. But we definitely want you guys to join us for that. We love our live show because you guys, the listeners, actually get to call in during the show and talk with us about the movie and about the series. So if you haven’t had an opportunity… You do have to have your own copy of the Blu-ray or the DVD to watch. We cannot legally stream the film.

[Chris and Michael laugh]

Michael: That’s not right.

Chris: You will not illegally, either.

Michael: No.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: We don’t plan to illegally. [laughs] So both. For goodness’ sakes, if you don’t have a copy of Part 2, what are you doing with your life? Change your life right now.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: So yes, we welcome you to join us for that. And we also had to point out how… I can’t believe we didn’t mention this on the last episode, but the anniversary of the Battle of the Hogwarts was this past week.

Kat: The day we released the last episode, actually.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: [It] just coincided perfectly, so that was amazing how that ended that way.

Eric: Yep. Guys, did we plan that? [laughs]

Kat: We did it on purpose. For sure.

Eric: Yes. Okay. I was like, “We must’ve planned that,” but…

Michael: Of course we planned it. That’s why we didn’t mention it on…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: What a week to wrap up the final book, though. Very, very emotional.

Kat: God, it would’ve been perfect if it [were] next year, though. 19 years later.

Alison: Yes.

Chris, Eric, and Michael: Oh yeah.

Kat: But that’s okay. It’s okay.

Chris: We’ll come back next year [and] do it all over.

Kat: There you go.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Whole thing. Whole series in a year.

Kat: Oh, gosh.

Chris: I’ll put it on my calendar right now.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: Okay. But we’re going to jump back in time. We’re going to go back to that epilogue. We’re going to recap our comments from last week. And our first one is from SlytherinKnight, who said,

“I have never hidden the fact that I have hated the name Albus Severus, mostly because while Dumbledore and Snape helped ‘shape’ Harry through his childhood and did ‘guide’ him, I didn’t think they deserved to be honored like that (at a minimum not so obviously). J.K. Rowling easily could have still honored Dumbledore and Snape by having Harry name Albus something like Brian Tobias because, as the synopsis of Cursed Child tells us, we know that Albus is already having trouble trying to live up to Harry’s reputation. Now Harry has put the reputations of Dumbledore and Snape on top of his own onto his own son (who already looks just like Harry). I do hope that Albus does become a Slytherin or a Ravenclaw perhaps because then it would show that Albus is ‘attempting’ to step out of Harry’s and James Sirius’ shadows.”

Kat: Wait. Brian Tobias? Does anyone not get…?

Chris: That’s a terrible middle name.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Snape’s middle name. It’s a very bad name. It’s still a bad name. I think we’ve all given up on this kid ever having a good name, though, so… [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: Not even our hypothetical Harry’s children have good names.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: No, what did we come up with last time? Arthur…

Alison: Arthur Albus.

Kat: Which I think is great.

Michael: Arthur Albus.

Kat: Arthur Albus is good.

Kat: But yeah, I firmly believe – or hope, I suppose – that he’s Sorted into Slytherin. I think that would make a super interesting play, but I know that’s not what we’re talking about. But that’s what I believe.

Eric: No, I have to agree; if you’re talking about making your child nervous about piling reputation upon reputation on top of him, Albus Severus probably gets it the worst, even worse than James Sirius. So in that regard [it’s] something I didn’t even think about before.

Kat: Because I guess with a name like James Sirius, people wouldn’t understand what that is unless they know that those were Harry’s father’s friend and his father.

Eric: I guess I never really considered this, too, but Albus Severus is a first name and a middle name, right?

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Eric: Albus Severus is not a hyphenated first name.

Kat: No. It’s not like Albus Severus or Brian Wulfric.

Alison: Yes. [laughs]

Eric: So they can call him “Al,” which is actually okay.

[Chris laughs]

Eric: But [for] James Sirius, it’s just James. We know them as James Sirius [and] Albus Severus, but it’s not so bad. Their whole first name isn’t a series of other people. [laughs] Other famous wizards as your first name, so… Yeah, I don’t revisit the epilogue enough if I’m just having these realizations now, I know. But it’s quite special.

Alison: I wonder, though, do people know that Dumbledore and Snape’s first names were Albus and Severus? Would people make that connection? That’s what I’m wondering: Is this really going to be a reputation that’s put on him?

Kat: I think maybe with Dumbledore. I don’t know about Snape, honestly.

Michael: Well, we know that Rita Skeeter published a biography on Snape, so by now, probably.

Alison and Kat: That’s true.

Michael: But I was going to say, though, that really, the name doesn’t help things, but in the end, whatever name he gave his children, they’re still Harry Potter’s children.

Alison and Chris: Yeah.

Michael: And that saddles them with the burden that is implied through Cursed Child that’s going to be coming up, at least, for Albus Severus, I think, especially. I mean, there’s… I’m sure in the wizarding world it’s like if they sneeze, that causes a sensation.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: The names just didn’t help, but it would’ve happened and these issues would’ve come up anyway for them.

Kat: I guess. And since you brought up Cursed Child, we’ve been getting a lot of emails and tweets and stuff about people asking if we’re going to read that. What do you guys think? Should we read Cursed Child and release some episodes on it?

Michael: [in a mysterious whisper] Cursed Child.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: [in a mysterious whisper] Hand motion. [laughs]

Michael: [still in a mysterious whisper] Hand motion!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Chris: I think it would be a really good idea because from what I’ve read out there in the fan universe and on Twitter and all of that kind of thing, I think there’s a lot of…

Michael: Feelings?

Chris: Yeah, people are dubious. People are really dubious. And I think a lot of people actually think there’s… I think there [are] still a lot of people who think they’re getting a book. And they’re not getting a book. [laughs] They’re getting a screenplay.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Chris: They’re getting a script, which I think is going to throw up equally as many questions as it does answers to anything because obviously, we’re not going to get all of the backstory. We’re not going to get all of the long… we’re not going to get Order of the Phoenix again. It’s not going to be 700 pages of backstory and filling in the gaps. It’s going to be words and some stage directions.

Kat: Right.

Chris: You’re not going to find out everything you need to know, which is going to be exciting but [laughs] probably quite infuriating at the same time for a lot of people, I think.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: Indeed. Okay, well, I guess that solves it then, listeners. We will be doing Cursed Child at some point. Soon-ish.

Michael: [in a mysterious whisper] Cursed Child.

Kat: [We’ll] probably wait until the final one comes out, I would guess.

Alison: Yeah. I was going to say, wait until I’ve seen it [laughs] and then we can add that in there too.

Michael: Not the rehearsal script.

Kat: Cool. Okay. Off-topic. Sorry, Alison, back to it.

Alison: Anyway… it’s all good. Let’s go back to the epilogue. Actually, our next comment comes from IlvermornyAlumna, who says,

“I just want to say how much I absolutely love the last line. ‘All was well’ doesn’t mean things are squeaky clean. ‘Well’ to me means fine or okay. Not perfect, fantastic, or great. To me, this means that no one lived a perfectly happy life. There [were] so many dark things that happened in the past to these characters that I don’t think they will ever fully, 100% recover. But things are good enough. There are problems, but it is okay because they can deal with them now. I think this line has stuck to me so much is because this seems like the end to almost any life story. I don’t think anyone can say that they lived a perfectly happy life, but if you add up everything by the end, you can probably say it was well. I don’t know if I’m doing a good job explaining it, but to me this was the perfect ending because it shows that the characters lived life as well as they could with all things considered, but in the end they are fine. And that’s good enough for me. All was well.”

So this is, I think, addressing… we talked a little bit last week about how the epilogue feels a little sugar-coated. I think the phrase people used was “fan fiction-y.”

Michael: Yep.

Alison: But I agree with this comment. I think that’s good. [It’s] saying that… I mean, everything’s not perfect, and we talked about how Cursed Child is going to run into that, but I think saying, “All was well,” is like, “Yeah. We’ve got life right now.” [laughs]

Michael: Yeah, I think the fan fiction-y aspect comes more from… and we talked about this, why at least I said, personally – and I know a few of you guys agreed – that the epilogue, to me, actually works better in the movie than it does in the book because the movie takes out all the silly names and the silly dialogue and it just focuses on – really, truly focuses on – Harry and his son. And so I think that’s more where the fan fic-y piece comes from. But the “All was well”; I’ve never been dissatisfied with that line.

Kat: Me, neither.

Eric: I still get hung up. I still wish that it were “scar.” [I wish] that the book had ended with “scar,” which was foretold. I still am pretty hung up on that.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, if you remember, Eric, because…

Eric: I was expecting it, is all.

Michael: Well, we read the line last week about what it was supposed to be with “scar” as the end. Did you prefer that line?

Kat: Terrible.

Alison: It was awful.

Eric: What? No, no, no. Awful? Hang on, hang on…

[Kat laughs]

Eric: Wasn’t it, “Only those that loved Harry could still make out the scar”?

Michael: “Could see the lightning scar,” yeah.

Eric: See, I love that. I think that was great.

Kat: Yeah, but that doesn’t set the tone for… I feel like that doesn’t complete the book. I don’t know. That doesn’t feel the same to me.

Eric: Yeah. I don’t know.

Kat: This is [a] totally random question. So Percy is in the epilogue. Chris, did they ever ask you to do a voiceover or something? Because they should have.

Chris: Nope.

Michael: Boo.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Yeah, no.

Kat: That’s sad.

Chris: Nearly 16 years since I started working in this franchise. I’m very happy to leave the Percy stuff and all the decisions that come with how much Percy there should be…

[Kat laughs]

Chris: … stop it.

[Michael laughs]

Chris: … yeah, in the hands of David Heyman, David Barron, and David Yates. That’s the right thing to do. Percy is a good character to play. If he turns up too much, people are just going to get pissed with him.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Well, if it’s any consolation, Chris, every time when we would watch the… because we do the live viewings of the movies, and every time Percy crops up in the background, we’re like, “Oh, there he is.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And everybody gets excited because they’re like, “Oh, we get the…” You ended up being a little Easter egg for the movies where we’d be like, “Look! There’s his storyline.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: “It’s right there.”

Chris: Do you know I did a convention the weekend just gone with Miriam Margolyes? Which was interesting, at the best…

Michael: Oh yeah?

Chris: Oh yes! [laughs] And I tell you: You have not done a Q&A session until you’ve done a Q&A session with Miriam Margolyes. But we were talking about the fact that essentially in the last two films the majority of the principal cast – barring sort of the obvious main exceptions – were just essentially very well-paid extras.

[Alison laughs]

Chris: But could you imagine if they hadn’t have been there?

Alison and Michael: Oh yeah.

Chris: It’s quite nice that at the end we’re all facing off against Voldemort and Bella, and Hagrid with dead Harry in his arms, and all that’s happening. If you couldn’t look at the Battle of Hogwarts – the Hogwarts side – and see all these people that have been there for every… maybe even Oliver Wood is in there, somewhere. It’s the whole crowd back together for it. Yeah, it’s good.

Alison: I’m still mad they cut his redemption arc, though. Percy’s redemption arc is one of my favorite subtexts.

Michael: Yes, we had a nice long talk about Percy’s redemption arc.

Alison: We did. [laughs]

Michael: This episode is not book wrap, listeners. This is going to be a new Percy episode.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Just kidding. No, save one of us, we’re all Percy fans, so…

Michael: All was well for Percy.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: All was well indeed. [laughs]

Chris: Yes, all was well. He found someone called Audrey, whoever she is. That’s fine.

Michael and Kat: Yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: But speaking of potentially problematic Weasleys, our next comment comes from ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy, who says,

“I do have a problem with Ron’s wisecracking in the epilogue when he tells Rose[,] ‘Don’t get too friendly with him, though, Rosie. Granddad Weasley would never forgive you if you married a [pure-blood].’ I take [so] much issue with this. First off, she is 11, and I hate when adults project any kind of romantic future onto children’s boy/girl friendships… Also, what a horrible thing to imply about a child’s relationship with a grandparent. I’m sure he was only intending to refer to Arthur’s [M]uggle obsession and how excited he would be to have one in the family, but that he ‘would never forgive’ her, even as a joke, seems a bit much to tell a kid. Mostly though, I find it really odd that he would joke about blood identity, given everything they went through and everyone they lost, because of exactly that kind of sentiment. I find it hard to believe that Hermione would find any amusement in it whatsoever. Maybe I’m just taking it too seriously, after all, this is ‘emotional range of a teaspoon’ Ron we are talking about here, but I still cringe at that line.”

And this reminded me of that conversation we had. I don’t remember exactly what episode it was, but we had this conversation about why Ron says things like this and why Ron is a problematic character.

Michael: Yeah, Ron… I think the thing a lot of the listeners pointed out – that he really grows with and that he seems to have grown out of, especially in the epilogue – is that he’s not in Harry’s shadow anymore and he seems to be rather proud of himself finally as an individual. But yeah, he still says things like this and he… otherwise, in the very little we get of him in the epilogue, he doesn’t seem to have changed that much, which I suppose is what led to people… especially with what Rowling said about his and Hermione’s relationship, [which] I think led to why that controversy happened.

Kat: So here’s my thought on this line. There’s nobody else in the epilogue that can say this or can get across the message that being a pure-blood lover or fanatic is [not] okay anymore. And so I feel like Jo had to give this line to deliver this message to somebody and Ron was the only one that could even possibly have it come across as a joke. So I don’t hold this line against Ron because I think Jo is trying to shoehorn her message into this and he was literally the only voice that she could use to get that across. I’m sure there was a better way to do it, but in this iteration, it falls to Ron.

Eric: I like that. I think that makes sense.

Michael: Oh, Ron. [laughs]

Alison: Our last comment comes from Phoenix, who says,

“I’m glad you talked so much about Rita Skeeter’s Quidditch article (which I believe is the best writing Jo has done since the end of the books), but you didn’t mention my favorite part: During her reporting battle with Ginny, Rita Skeeter briefly mentions Rolf Scamander and observes that it can’t have been easy for him to marry into the DA. I like that statement a lot because I have always had issues with the concept of everyone being eternally happy with their Hogwarts sweethearts. Rita’s comment confirms that the habit of Harry’s friends all marrying each other is seen as peculiar inside the book universe as well. Rita seems to see the ex-DA members as an elitist group that tends to keep to themselves. I think Rita got that part wrong. They are not elitist, they share a common experience that may be hard to understand for everyone who wasn’t there with them, which may be why they find it easiest to relate to members of that group even as adults. Having understood this, I can now live with their strange marriage politics and ALMOST find it plausible. Thank you, Rita Skeeter!”

Which is something I thought none of us would ever say.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: This comment is great.

Kat: Yeah. It makes me think about doctors in the hospital, how they usually end up marrying other doctors because that’s who understands them the best.

Alison and Chris: Yeah.

Eric: Well, and the lifestyle matches.

Michael: Well, and I think we get hung up on “Everybody married their perfect match” because that’s what we see in the epilogue, but then of course we find out that really… if you look at all of the characters that Rowling paired off post-the book, really there were a lot of ones that people went, “Oh, really?” Because Neville ended up with Hannah Abbott, [and] we never had seen them necessarily interact. And as Chris said, Percy ended up with some lady named Audrey.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And there were a lot of characters who didn’t end up with their… Even Malfoy, who is one of the major characters, did not end up… he ended up with a sibling of a character we saw once. So I think that actually is fine that the main characters end up with who we expected them to. That makes sense. And with this comment, that makes sense too.

Kat: Who’s Astoria? Who is she related to?

Alison and Michael: Daphne Greengrass.

Alison: I think we just see her get Sorted.

Kat: Oh, okay. That’s weird. I don’t remember that at all.

Michael: Yep, just [once].

Kat: Whoops. My brain is failing me.

Michael: How could you not remember that? She’s such a super important character!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: It’s Daphne Greengrass! Come on!

Michael: The Daphne Greengrass! Her father will hear about this.

Eric: Kat, we need to talk. You can’t be on Alohomora! anymore.

Kat: Oh no, are you firing me?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: No.

Alison: Oh no. It’s okay; they already fired me. No, they broke up with me. Sorry.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: It was a little different.

Alison: [laughs] And that, then, wraps up our comments from last week. So thank you, everyone, for commenting. Also, thank you to all of you guys who gave us congratulations and shout-outs for getting through the books. They were so sweet.

Michael: Oh yeah. That was really sweet. Yeah, that was very nice.

Kat: Oh, thank you. Yeah.

Alison: You guys are awesome.

Chris: Aww. How long does it take to get through the entire series?

Kat: Almost exactly four years, reading one chapter a week.

Chris: Wow. Okay. Maybe we won’t come back until next year.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: No, we would have to release four episodes a week. Yeah. Okay, so I guess now it’s time to do our very last ever Podcast Question of the Week responses.

Michael: That’s right.

Kat: This is it, the very last one ever. I feel very honored to be able to do this, by the way. To remind everybody of our question from last week, it is this: ”We see in this chapter that Harry has not shared his experience with the Sorting Hat with any of his children. How much of their days at Hogwarts and the fight with Lord Voldemort did Harry, Ron, and Hermione share with their children? And are there any details that they specifically kept from them? Is Harry a secret-keeping Dumbledore for the next generation?” And overall, I want to say that everybody basically said that yes, Harry is a secret-keeping Dumbledore for the next generation…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: … but that’s okay because he is doing it for a noble reason, just like Dumbledore was. So you can go argue with them over on the main site alohomora.mugglenet.com.

[Chris and Michael laugh]

Kat: We’re going to read these couple of comments here, though. The first one is from PotteringOn. It says,

“One of the biggest things that angers me is when I’ve come across fan fiction where the Potter and Weasley children from Victoire down to Lily go to Hogwarts and literally know NOTHING about what happened in the war. It’s frustrating because I believe that if you are the parents of young children, who see your name in the Daily Prophet, or other [w]izards and [w]itches turn to look at you when walking through the streets, you would HAVE to provide some reason as to why the Potter and Weasley names were so famed. I firmly believe that given Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s positions on the Chocolate Frog Cards and the captions that would probably explain their reasoning for such appearances, the trio would have had to explain to their children, as well as their nieces and nephews what exactly they did in the Second Wizarding War that has led up to this point. However[,] the dating of their Chocolate Frog Cards is currently unclear, but if it’s earlier than 19 years later, then this would be a great way of introducing their children to what happened. Of course there are subjects that would not be shared with the children at young ages, but perhaps they would be told everything in its most innocent form. As the children matured, the stories would mature as well. There would be stories that would never be repeated, but there would be many others that maybe by the time James, Albus, Rose, Hugo, and Lily were adults, they would have knowledge of in their full forms.”

Michael: Yep. All of that.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Yeah. No, I mean, I like this. I think it makes a lot of sense that Harry, Ron, and Hermione… There are some things you can’t trust to young children. You don’t want to scare them. But ultimately… and you also don’t want them to have this big head like, “You’re my child and I’m awesome and here’s why.” But just in general, give a little bit of understanding. I think it makes sense that they would know a little bit about it because there are those questions that come up, and when you’re talking about sending your kid off to school, that’s obviously going to be a big deal. And Harry went through that firsthand, not knowing why he was famous, and I don’t think he’d like to recreate that sort of problem for his own kids. I think he and Ginny probably answer all the questions that are asked of them by the kids.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: It’s funny. I was going to wait for everybody to respond, but Eric, what you just said leads perfectly into the next comment here from ISeeThestrals, who says,

“I think Harry and company believed it was safe enough to talk about the fun times they shared at Hogwarts, excluding the more detailed events that had to do with Voldemort. In Harry’s case, I got the sense he would want his kids to experience the wizarding world in a more normal fashion, unlike himself where he was regarded as a celebrity. I don’t believe Harry would want his children boasting about who their father is and gaining big heads for it. Though I feel he would have to share a less detailed version of what he’s done to keep them from being completely ignorant about their own parents. I don’t see him sharing some of the dark truths about magic such as Horcruxes, Inferi, Unforgivable curses, and Voldemort’s past. If the trio want their children to have a positive experience, they would keep the darker tales out of it for the time being. The only dark part of their lives I see them revealing is in concerns to the friends and family they lost. Being that Rowling is not afraid to discuss the truth about death with children, I think Harry would feel the same way.”

Alison: Yeah. I was going to say, it’s almost implausible to think that their kids would know nothing, especially – like you said, Eric – when they went to school. I mean, other kids are going to talk [and] other kids are going to have heard about this, so I feel like…

Eric: Well, and other kids’ parents have died during the war.

Alison: Oh yeah.

Chris: Yeah, Teddy for a start.

Eric: Teddy, right. And they’ll see Teddy, and it’s like, “Oh, well, there’s the explanation.”

Kat: Oh, Teddy is with them all the time. Those kids have to know something.

Alison: Oh yeah. So I feel like what they would know, though, would be closer to what the general public would know maybe, until they started asking maybe specific questions to Harry. So the general story that the public knows about what went down with Voldemort would be what his kids know until… like they said, the Horcruxes [and] things like that aren’t going to be things that the kids are going to know about generally.

Kat: Man, you guys are just lobbing me the transitions today…

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Kat: … because Alison, what you just said goes specifically into the next comment by FailedAurorNowRunsAQuiznos…

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Alison: I love that name.

Kat: It’s a great username. It says,

“I actually think the more interesting question is what did Harry reveal to everyone else after the Battle. Obviously he must’ve told them Dumbledore’s plan since Snape would have to be redeemed. But what of the Horcruxes? How much would he divulge? More importantly, did he tell Ginny everything? Or did Harry continue to confide certain things only with Ron and Hermione?”

Michael: Ooh.

Kat: And we didn’t even talk about that last week. I think that’s such an interesting thought.

Alison: He definitely told Ginny everything. They’re married.

Kat: I think so too.

Chris: You can’t get anything past Ginny.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah.

Alison: Oh yeah. That too.

Chris: You just can’t. [laughs]

Eric: Agreed.

Chris: And if he told Ron and Hermione… Ron has got the loudest mouth this side of the Atlantic.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: This is really weird, hearing you talk about the Weasley family, Chris.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Yeah, sorry. It feels slightly like I’m giving you the gossip on my little siblings right now.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: So I know you can’t… Ginny knows everything, man. But I think it’s true. Ginny, even back in Chamber of Secrets when she knew stuff that nobody else knew because she was the one going into the Chamber of Secrets… Everyone knew she knew something. There was no way she could keep secrets and there’s no way she’d let anyone else keep secrets from her. And Ron just is a massive gossip.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: For sure.

Chris: And also, I don’t think Harry would. I don’t think he’d keep secrets.

Michael: I think Harry would take great joy, actually, in being able to tell Ginny everything finally.

Alison and Chris: Yeah.

Alison: I do too.

Michael: It’d be a burden off of his shoulders. I don’t think Harry would… I mean, I think Harry would obviously… The experiences they went through make Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s bond stronger, but the only reason he was confiding in only Ron and Hermione is because Dumbledore told him to for that time. But that’s over now so he doesn’t have to do that.

Eric: Yeah, once the mission ended…

[Car horn honks]

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Somebody outside is honking their horn.

Chris: Domino’s?

Eric: Quiznos. It’s that failed Auror.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Whenever I think about this – and this has only been in the last 24 hours since I put this in here – I wonder about the history books and how much… I mean, we’ve been talking about how much Harry has divulged. I wonder how much the public knows, and maybe how much – as a cautionary tale, almost – he put out there. Maybe he didn’t say about the seven Horcruxes, but he said that Voldemort had a Horcrux. I’m really curious about all this.

Alison: I highly, highly doubt he said anything about Horcruxes or Hallows.

Kat: Hallows, definitely not. Yeah, that one I know he kept to himself.

Alison: Yeah. I just feel like, though, that’s almost something that Harry would feel is too dark, and for the same reasons Jo won’t say how you actually make one, where it’s probably disgusting to think about, he doesn’t want to encourage copycats.

Eric: Well, I think on one hand you run the risk of mainstreaming a concept like a Horcrux, and people are going to go out and try it. But he becomes an Auror and I fully believe that the Ministry at least, or the Dark wizard catchers, were briefed on what just happened. It becomes super relevant to the wizarding world how Voldemort stayed alive, or stayed around, and I don’t think Harry would like to keep any of that to himself. Maybe the public at large doesn’t know about it, but surely the people who are going to try and prevent the same thing from happening again should know about it. [They] should know that magic was used in this way, and Voldemort surviving for so long really only made him more dangerous and caused the deaths of more and more people, so I think that they would seek to… Harry would tell important people about the Horcruxes.

Michael: I would hope that under Kingsley’s rule as Minister… because what you’re saying, Eric, makes me think of how that would’ve never perhaps been able to go down in the previous Ministry because then I’m sure the Department of Mysteries would have set up a death room, a Hallows room, or a Horcrux room, and probably…

Eric: Well, they already have a death room.

Michael: So they have a death room, but they would have set up, I don’t know, a Horcrux table and started trying to figure out how to do it in the death room.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: And the Ministry – specifically down in the Department of Mysteries – was toying with things they shouldn’t have toyed with and it was a very dangerous place, and I’m curious if Harry felt comforted by whatever assurances Kingsley gave him that he could share that information with the Ministry and know that they wouldn’t try and experiment with what he was talking about.

Kat: That’s true. It is kind of opportune to have somebody like Kingsley, someone you trust that much.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Chris: What I’ve just been thinking about, since we’ve been discussing this, is how the media in our world currently reports on ongoing or recent situations in a similar way. And even if you go back about 100 years or so… Think about what we know about, say, the First World War or the Second World War. We know everything we need to know in order to know about it, but you go and talk to people who fought in the war, and you get so much more from them.

Alison: Yeah.

Chris: There’s only so much that, as a general population, you ever really need to know in order to know enough to go, “Oh, right. Okay. Cool. That’s why this is like this, and that’s why people think that or say that or behave like that.” And I imagine there’s a certain amount of that in the wizarding world as well, especially directly after it. So many people [in] Harry’s parents’ generation were involved in… I mean, you could almost compare it like that to the First and Second World Wars; people of Harry’s parents’ generation would have fought in the First War, [and] Harry’s generation [is] fighting in the Second War. We all know what happened, but we don’t necessarily need to know all the details in order to grasp the situation at hand. And going on to the Horcruxes, you think about when the SEALs stormed and killed Osama Bin Laden; we know nothing more than that.

Eric: Right.

Chris: And I’m sure the wizarding world line on it will be that Harry Potter killed Lord Voldemort. Full stop. That’s all you need to know.

Eric and Kat: Yep.

Michael: Yeah, that makes sense.

Eric: But there are those in the government who are in the know of how that went down specifically.

Chris: Exactly. There are people who know and there are people who need to know because they’re the ones that will stop it happening again.

Eric: Yes. I like that reference. That’s very nice.

Chris: Thank you very much.

Michael: I do think Harry would be selective about whom he shares things with because I think that’s implied by the continued existence of characters like Rita Skeeter, who as we know are still…

Eric: She’s writing biographies about Harry, Snape, and Dumbledore’s Army, and according to Rowling, they’re only maybe even at least one quarter truth. So the fact that… And she’s probably not the only one writing about Harry because as we know from Sorcerer’s Stone, thanks to Hermione, Harry was already in a bunch of books before he even became a part of the wizarding world. So it is probably true that he doesn’t share everything with everyone.

Kat: Well, I guess the history part of the Ravenclaw in me is very curious to see what’s in the books; what’s written down.

Eric: Yeah, for sure.

Kat: Maybe someday she’ll write a history. Probably not, but one can hope.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Jo, we know you’re listening, so it can be your next project in another seven years from now or something. So I think the time has come, team, where we must wave fondly goodbye to the Podcast Question of the Week and all of its responses.

Eric: Aww. Bye.

Alison: I’m waving.

Michael: As it boards the Hogwarts Express, and rides off into the sunset…

Alison: Aww!

Eric: Choo-choo!

[Everyone laughs]

Kat and Michael: Bye!

Chris: Sorry, on a completely different note, but on the subject of the Hogwarts Express: When they get to Hogsmeade Station, it’s not the end of the line.

Michael: No, it’s not. But wouldn’t there be…?

Chris: Where does that train go?

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Wait, it’s not?

Michael: Maybe there’s a turntable just past it so that it can turn around and go back.

Eric: Yeah, it’s in the lake, actually.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That makes sense.

Eric: Very scenic.

Michael: It’s not like that track is sharing multiple trains or anything…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: That’s true.

Eric: All the squid children get to squid school that way.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: No, you know what it does? It just backs up [in] the opposite direction like the stupid one at the Wizarding World.

Michael: It just goes all the way backward.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Oh my gosh, yeah. Terrible.

Michael: Chris, that’s like asking where the red brick road goes in The Wizard of Oz. Nobody knows.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Nobody knows and nobody is ever going to ask.

Kat: Yeah, that’s true.

Eric: You mean to tell me L. Frank Baum and all of the Oz books never answer where the red brick road goes?

Michael: There is no red brick road in the books. [laughs] It’s just the yellow.

[Kat laughs]

Alison: It’s just in the movie.

Chris: Yeah, but on that subject, what happens if you go the wrong way down the yellow brick road?

Michael: You end up… Well, let’s see…

Kat: Oh.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: She went toward Emerald City… Yeah, if she went the other way she would have gone to the Deadly Desert, so…

Chris: Yeah, if she’d gone the other way she’d [have] gone straight up to the castle!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Nice.

Kat: I would be the one in the desert because I have a terrible sense of direction.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Well, okay. Bye, Podcast Question of the Week! See you later. Never again. Au revoir.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Wow.

Michael: Don’t pull a Rowling. Never say never on that.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Oh, right. Knock on wood. That was the wrong expression.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Anyway, it’s gone. It’s over. Goodbye. Take it away, Eric.

Eric: Before we get off to our book wrap segments, we want to announce that this episode was sponsored by Sierra Harbaugh on Patreon. You can become a sponsor of Alohomora! for as little as $1 month, and we will continue to release exclusive tidbits for our sponsors on our Patreon. Go check it out and see if it fits for you [and] if that’s something that you want to do. patreon.com/alohomora.

Michael: Yay, Sierra!

Everyone: Yay, thank you! [applauds]

Michael: And with that, it’s time to wrap up Deathly Hallows. So we always like to start our book wrap by reexamining the dedication of the book, and as a reminder, the dedication for Deathly Hallows – and it is terribly straightforward – is,

“The dedication of this book is split seven ways: To Neil, to Jessica, to David, to Kenzie, to Di, to Anne, and to you, if you have stuck with Harry until the very end.”

Now, I don’t know if any of you guys can confirm; the fun thing about the American edition… and I don’t know if this is in the British edition, but this dedication is actually typed out in the shape of Harry’s scar.

Chris: It is UK as well.

Michael: It is in the UK. Okay, good. I wasn’t sure because I know the UK uses a different font and they have it all in the Abel font in the US edition. Just to break it down, it’s actually… If you don’t know who these people are by now I’d be surprised, but to break it down: Neil is J.K. Rowling’s husband, Neil Michael Murray. Jessica, David, and Kenzie are Jessica Arantes, David Murray, and Mackenzie Murray, who are her children. Di is Dianne Rowling, her younger sister, and Anne is Anne Rowling, her mother. And of course, you are you! If you’ve read all seven Harry Potter books.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Good, I was really confused about that.

Kat: Yeah, I was going to say.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Who, me?

Kat: I like how she specifically says if you’ve stuck with Harry until the end, so if you’re picking up this book for the first time…

Michael: Not you! [laughs]

Kat: … not dedicated to you.

Chris: Yeah, not you.

Alison and Kat: Not you!

Alison: You are excluded. You are out of this club.

Eric: Noob.

Kat: Go back to the first book, read them all again, and then it will be dedicated to you.

Michael: Yes, no, not those of you who just hopped on the train because it was popular right at the end there.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I wonder how many there were. I bet there were a few.

Michael: Oh, I’m sure there were; I think because the movies inspired a lot of people to get into the books a little late.

Kat: Sure.

Michael: But perhaps the more interesting thing to examine on those first two pages wasn’t so much the dedication as there were two little excerpts of poetry that Rowling quoted from to start off Hallows. And I wanted to read them to you guys and just pick them apart a little bit at the end here because I remember when I first opened the book and read these aloud to my friends – because we were all reading together – [and] we were like, “Oh, that was interesting,” but we were so just ready to jump in that we blazed over these. But I think it’s really important to take a look at these again. The first one goes,

“Oh, the torment bred in the race, the grinding scream of death and the stroke that hits the vein, the hemorrhage none can staunch, the grief, the curse no man can bear. But there is a cure in the house, and not outside it, no, not from others but from them, their bloody strife. We sing to you, dark gods beneath the earth. Now hear, you blissful powers underground – answer the call, send help. Bless the children, give them triumph now.”

And that comes from Aeschylus, who wrote that in The Libation Bearers, which is part of a larger Greek theatrical production. But I wanted to… even taking [it] out [and] not looking at perhaps how that’s relevant to the play it comes from… I’m curious as [to] how you guys read that in relation to Deathly Hallows.

Alison: Oh, this is my jam, guys.

Michael: [laughs] Alison says, “Step aside, everyone.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: This is your jam? You found your jam?

Alison: [laughs] Yes, poetry analysis. Actually, all literary analysis. Because I was like you; I didn’t… I mean, you don’t get it when you read it at the beginning, necessarily.

Michael: No, no.

Alison: But you get it by the end. You get how these same ideas are being tracked through this book in particular, but [also] the whole series. I mean, you get the death that’s going to happen. We get the first indications that that will happen. “The curse no man can bear.” So many connections to Harry and his whole situation. But then the fact that there’s “a cure in the house, and not outside it… from them, their bloody strife.” So Harry and his journey; Harry is the reason that this grief, this death, is going to end. And then that last line, “Bless the children, give them triumph now.” Harry is still 17 at this point.

Michael: Right.

Alison: He’s still a kid. They’re all still kids, technically. So to have this be… ugh. Yeah, I could go on for hours about this but I’ll let everybody else step in.

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Michael: Alison, that’s really interesting that you said the “cure in the house, and not outside it” referring perhaps to Harry and what he has inside of him that can save everyone because I thought of that section in tandem with the sections after “them, their bloody strife.” I think of that line as in reference to the Resurrection Stone and calling upon the love of the departed as strength.

Alison: Oh.

Michael: That’s what I got from that section; the, “We sing to you, dark gods beneath the earth… blissful powers underground.”

Eric: Right. For me, the “cure in the house” could mean Hogwarts. Hogwarts is the house and the cure, meaning the Horcrux that’s there or the fact that actually a majority of the action takes place at Hogwarts. I was going to say, though, “the grinding scream of death,” “the stroke that hits the vein,” and “the hemorrhage none can staunch” reminded me of the beginning of Casual Vacancy.

Michael: Poor Barry Fairweather.

Kat: This poem actually… listening to you read it this time, I was realizing that the “O Children” song they use in the movie is kind of perfectly representative of this poem in a lot of ways.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Oh, such a good song. Yes.

Kat: If you’ve ever read the lyrics to that song, and I highly recommend everybody look that up specifically… oh, no. We already saw that part. Never mind.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: But yes, specifically before you read this poem. And the first time I opened Deathly Hallows, I was like, “What are these? Okay, skipping.” I definitely did not read them. [laughs]

Chris: Yeah.

Michael: I think most people did [not]. I mean, most of us were…

Kat: I was like, “I don’t care.”

Chris: Unfortunately, I’m very guilty of that myself.

Michael: Oh yeah. Well, we were all enthralled by the moment of getting your book at midnight.

Eric: “You guys, it’s a new Harry Potter book.”

Michael: [laughs] “Poetry? Get on with it!”

Chris: “We don’t care about some Greek stuff.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Exactly.

Michael: What was interesting, too, is… Listeners, you may remember that I read both of the poems as Harry, Ron, and Hermione for the first and last episodes.

Alison: Oh, it’s so beautiful. Go listen to them.

Michael: Yes, please do, if you haven’t already. But I did that for the first and last episode of Hallows, and what was really neat for me reading this first poem here… and I ended up reversing the order so I read the poem that she put first in the book at the end of our Deathly Hallows read and the last one first. And what was interesting, reading it as Harry, Ron, and Hermione, is I decided consciously to read it as them as adults and I read it as perhaps them summarizing what happened to them and giving their wish to their children, and that the, “Bless the children, give them triumph now,” is actually their hope and wish for their children, not for them. So it’s really kind of a fun exploration to see. I even had considered, actually, having Dumbledore read this poem, too, because I think it would have been appropriate coming from him. I think if you apply it to each character within the series you can come out with wildly different interpretations with what these mean in terms of the story.

Kat: Oh, man. That sounds like a topic episode waiting to happen.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And the second poem that was included was from William Penn from his More Fruits of Solitude and it goes,

“Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent. In this divine glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure. This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.”

Thoughts on that one?

Alison: The Resurrection Stone. That’s always what I think of.

Michael: Oh, really?

Alison: The Resurrection Stone, and not just that, but – if we’re going through the rest of the series – all the other times Harry has seen his parents [or] Harry has seen the people who have died that have been with him. So we’ve got the Mirror of Erised, we have Priori Incantatem in the graveyard, [and] even in some ways the memories. It’s very reflective that that’s going to happen again and that Harry is going to come to understand and accept what that means, as he himself becomes the Master of Death.

Kat: I think of something very different when I read this, and that is Frodo Baggins in the Grey Havens…

Michael: [laughs] Why?

Kat: Well, because he goes at the end and I just for some reason can never… I have a hard time connecting this poem to Harry Potter. I always think of Lord of the Rings when I read this one.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: I don’t know. I just can’t…

Eric: I think the theme of friendship and living on in each other’s hearts is, I’d say, the spine of the Harry Potter series. So it comes from… We get it back in Book 1 with the Mirror of Erised showing your heart’s desire, to the Resurrection Stone at the end where they are apparitions that come from Harry’s heart, as one of them – I think it’s Sirius – says. So I do think it’s relevant to the story and relevant to Harry Potter.

Michael: Yeah, I get the sense that both of these pieces simultaneously remind us that the most important force in the world is love and that it comes from both those who are living and dead. And I get the sense more that the Libation Bearers one is more about the love that comes from the dead and that the More Fruits of Solitude is the love of the living. That’s how I read it. But again, so many possible ways to take these. How did you guys feel and how do you feel now about Rowling including these excerpts in the book? Because up until now, we had never gotten a piece of poetry like this to preface a story for Harry Potter.

Chris: I think it’s interesting for me at the moment because, if I’m honest, I’d never really noticed them before. And as we were saying, I kind of just skipped them because, quite frankly, I was after Harry Potter. I wasn’t after William Penn.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Chris: But I’m currently reading the Robert Galbraith books, and she does that a lot in those. And the one I’m reading [is] the third one at the moment, and every single chapter starts with a quote from something, or a song lyric or a poem or something. And it seems to be something she’s clocking into a little bit, almost sort of referencing other people’s work in order. It’s a bit Greek chorus-esque and slightly Shakespearean in a way. I mean, if you look at something like Romeo and Juliet, where you have the chorus come on at the beginning and basically tell you what’s going to happen, there’s an element of that in it [that]… I don’t know. Maybe it makes it a slightly more mature way of writing, perhaps.

Eric: I agree.

Chris: If I’m honest, it doesn’t do an awful lot for me. But yeah, I think it’s just a change in tone. [It] makes you go, “Oh, this is serious. This is a serious book. This is not a children’s book. I’m quoting Greek poetry.”

[Chris and Michael laugh]

Eric and Kat: Yeah.

Eric: It really elevates the writing. It elevates the profile of what she’s accomplishing, I think, just putting poetry before…

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: It’s just fitting in terms of how the books themselves matured as pieces of literature with each book. But moving on from these fantastic dedications and excerpts of poetry, we also like to look at the summaries for the books. This one is so easy because Scholastic… Every book rep that I’ve been on, I have praised Scholastic for their approach. And actually, I’m still totally into it because nothing got my heart racing like this when I opened up that jacket. And rather than a nice long column of words…

Eric and Michael: Like the UK

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Michael: All we got here in the US [when] we opened the book was, “We now present the seventh and final installment in the epic tale of Harry Potter.” And that was it. [laughs]

Alison: Oh, I love it.

Chris: Nothing more to say, is there, really?

[Chris and Michael laugh]

Kat: Right.

Michael: Well, according to you folks over [in] the UK, there was…

Kat: Right, I’m not sure British… yeah.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Chris: Yeah, we think more is definitely always more over there.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That is quite the conclusion you have all come to over in the UK.

Michael: And the more over in the UK started off with the back cover. We haven’t even gotten into the jacket yet.

Chris: Oh, geez.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Wait, this is all the same…?

Michael: This is all the UK hardcovers. And you know what? Okay.

Eric: All right, all right.

Michael: Chris, why don’t you read it? Because you’re British and you’re here.

Chris: Oh, sure.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: So you go ahead and read these for us, please.

Chris: Do I have to do a Stephen Fry impression while I’m at it?

Michael: No, you just be you.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Okay. “Harry is waiting in Privet Drive. The Order of the Phoenix is coming to escort him safely away without Voldemort and his supporters knowing – if they can. But what will Harry do then? How can he fulfill the momentous and seemingly impossible task that Professor Dumbledore has left him with?”

Michael: Ooh.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: That’s pretty vague, just like the other UK back covers.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: I think [what] we noticed with the UK covers is – and I think one of you had even suspected – that the person who wrote the summaries for the UK books only read the first and second chapter and then was like, “Summary!”

Alison and Kat: Yes.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Exactly, because it only focuses on very inconsequential events in the series.

Alison: Exactly. [laughs]

Eric: Well, I like that it’s just a small taste of how the story begins.

Kat: Sure.

Eric: It’s still something more than any of the others.

Michael: It’s funny that the Order of the Phoenix gets mentioned because they’re pretty inconsequential to the story as a whole…

Kat: Yeah. Exactly.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: That’s what I was going to say, [that] it gives me a lot of hope. Reading that would’ve given me a lot of hope that Harry is going to rely on the Order throughout the book.

Michael: Yeah. Wouldn’t that have been cool, Harry?

Kat: Which doesn’t happen at all.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison and Eric: No.

Eric: But that’s what the back [cover] thinks he did.

Alison: I’ll write it.

Michael: But Chris, please continue with the jacket’s summary.

Chris: How long have you got?

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Okay.

Eric: Well, let’s see…

Kat: I’m going to time you.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: [reading from book jacket]

“Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone, or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety[,] and companionship of the Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid out for him… In this final, seventh installment of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling unveils in spectacular fashion the answers to the many questions that have been so eagerly awaited. The spellbinding, richly woven narrative, which plunges, twists and turns at a breathtaking pace, confirms the author as a mistress of storytelling, whose books will be read, reread[,] and read again.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat and Michael: Wow.

Kat: That was…

Eric: Guys, have you read this book? This sounds awesome.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Have you done any voiceover? Because you need to.

Chris: Wow. Yeah, I don’t know. No, very little, actually. Very little. But I should be talking to my agent immediately.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yes, do more because you’ve got that in the bag.

[Chris laughs]

Kat: That was in 52 seconds, by the way. Just saying.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Chris: Oh, thank you. Thank you.

Eric: That was not bad at all.

Michael: No, not at all. Thank you for that.

Eric: So which one’s better? The US or the UK?

Alison and Michael: US.

Eric: Really?

Kat: Well, yeah. I prefer the US.

Chris: I think the US sums it up exactly how you want it to be. It’s like, you know what’s coming.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Alison: The UK one sounds like a book review, like [something] someone would write in a newspaper or something.

Chris and Kat: Yeah.

Michael: That second half that lays…

Chris: That summary jacket sounds to me like – if I had written Harry Potter – my mum would’ve written it.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That section that praises Rowling, which I think is very traditional in most books to praise the author… but it does definitely, Alison, feel like something out of Kirkus Reviews, where it’s just like, “Oh, the twists!”

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Michael: And Chris, you reading it made it even funnier.

[Chris laughs]

Michael: But that last bit, “Read, reread, and read again…”

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: I laughed when I read it last night because I was like, “Reread, and read again. Huh. Interesting choice of words there, summary writer.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Chris: [in a robotic voice] “Read, read, read, read a bit more, read…”

Michael: [laughs] And maybe you’ll stop for a cup of tea and we’ll read it again.

Chris: “Where’s my thesaurus?”

Eric: Quick, what’s a synonym for “read”?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Oh, there isn’t one? All right, we’ll just use it again, and again, and again…

Michael: Eric, do you prefer the UK summaries, though?

Eric: I don’t know. There’s something to be said for the UK version, but I think just like the poems that we went over, if you’re flipping or opening the book for the first time it would take a lot of effort to not go to page 1 and skip the inside cover.

Michael: It’s almost like the US cover was acknowledging that. Like Chris said, you know what you have.

Eric: When I first read Book 7, it was the British hardcover because we were in London for the book release, and I’m just really trying to remember if I stopped to read the book jacket.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yeah, right, no one read the jacket until afterward.

Alison: Probably not, nope!

Eric: What [happened] was we were waiting for a bus or something to go from Waterstones to our hotel, and I think that was when we read the cover, but it was just under the light of a street lamp; it was not anything formal. Then when we got to the hotel, we read the book for 12 hours and finished.

Michael: So the summaries are strictly written to keep the children in line happy while they’re waiting to get back home.

[Kat laughs]

Eric: Maybe waiting to check out or waiting for the bus afterward; I think that’s probably right.

[Michael laughs]

Chris: It would be really interesting to know if you compared [the] US hardcover… Do all books…? If you look at another series of books like Potter, and look at the summary from the US version compared to the summary of the UK version, [I wonder] whether you’d find it’s a similar thing? Whether you get that on the final Hunger Games book in comparison or… do they even print Twilight anymore? I don’t know, but…

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Seriously!

Michael: Good question.

Chris: But do you know what I mean, though?

Michael: Yeah.

Chris: Would Scholastic write something similar like that on the end of a very successful book franchise if it wasn’t Potter?

Michael: No, yeah, I think you’re…

Chris: Are we just so emblazoned in tradition in the UK that that’s how you do it? Full stop, end of story; it is a book jacket cover. We have to do this.

Kat: Where is your Career of Evil? See what it says.

Chris: It’s on my Kindle.

Kat: Oh.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: That doesn’t help.

Chris: That does not help.

Michael: What does the jacket say on the case?

Chris: “Do not leave in direct sunlight.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: That’s good advice. That’s really good advice.

Michael: I think Chris is totally right. Is that what was…? I think that’s why I’ve praised Arthur Levine and the marketing team for Scholastic with Harry Potter in the US; [it’s] because they really did know how to market it just right over here because Harry Potter… I think Harry Potter was very special, but you do have to consider that it did get a big boost from how Scholastic treated it over the years.

Alison: Oh yeah.

Michael: It had a mammoth boost. And we’ve had great books that have come out since that have been big, but I don’t think quite at the level of Harry. With these, the way the midnight releases were, and the embargoes on the books – that was… And speaking of, we’ll get into that because to start with the history of Hallows, the title was officially announced on December 21 of 2006, and that was via bloomsbury.com, and that was when Rowling and Bloomsbury together revealed that the title was Deathly Hallows and everybody went, “What are those?”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Yep.

Michael: Rowling would later… Rowling did reveal that there were three titles she considered. She would not reveal until after the book was published that the other two titles, which I think we can all agree we’re glad she went with what she did… The other two potential titles were Harry Potter and the Elder Wand, which would have been quite straightforward, and Harry Potter and the Peverell Quest.

Alison: Which sounds like a bad arcade game.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Or a Famous Five book. They both sound a little bit Enid Blyton-y to me. They have got… yeah, no.

Michael: Not quite… yeah, Rowling even said when she revealed those, she was like, “‘Quest,’ you know, it’s very… kind of a cheesy word, isn’t it? ‘Quest.’” So luckily she went with Hallows. Bloomsbury invested 10 million pounds to keep the story contents secure, but too bad: All the pages were leaked online and transcribed one week prior to release. So at least the investment paid off for a while, just until a week before.

Eric: They could have given me the 10 million pounds; I would have kept [the book].

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I wouldn’t have blabbed.

Kat: I feel like I knew somebody who had a pirated copy, and I remember yelling at them and telling them not to talk to me, but I don’t remember who it was.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: It did represent one of the biggest breaches in the history of the Potter books, unfortunately. But I think most people did end up waiting to find out what would happen. Scholastic and Bloomsbury even put embargoes on reviews that were written and would not let them be released until a certain time. The book caused quite a price war in the UK because a bunch of supermarkets and retailers decided to undersell the book at five pounds…

Alison: What?

Michael: … and utilized it as what’s called a “loss leader,” which means they were trying to get people to get in their store to buy other things.

Chris: Yep.

Michael: It hugely damaged sales potential for a bunch of independent bookstores and even larger retailers because, of course, they could not lower their price to compete with a book like Deathly Hallows for five pounds.

Chris: It’s true.

Michael: So that was quite a naughty thing to do. Naughty, naughty.

Chris: It wasn’t cool. I remember it well. It really wasn’t cool. You had people, traditionalists like me, who were queuing outside Waterstones at midnight to get our book from a bookseller surrounded by books with people who loved books. But equally, on my way to the midnight release, I drove past a Tesco, which is… I don’t know. Tesco, guys: equivalent of Walmart? Target?

Alison: [laughs] It’s Tesco.

Michael: Sure, yeah!

Chris: Awful place.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: We know what commercials you won’t be doing anytime soon.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Every little helps, right? Yeah, no… Just, really? Outside a supermarket in your Harry Potter garb?

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Queuing up for a book that’s right next to the green fruit and veg aisle? It’s just not right.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: What about the Harry Potter fans who had to work that night?

Kat: Mm, that sucks. Were you in Wales when it came out, Chris?

Chris: Oh God, no. I was living in Norfolk back then.

Kat: Okay.

Chris: Yeah, back in the homeland.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Now, Chris, it’s worth asking because the other big thing that happened was the book ended up being released on July 21, 2007, and interestingly, it was released almost immediately after Order of the Phoenix, the film, which was released on July 11, which you were in. How did that feel for you? Because for us, as fans, actually it was termed the “Summer of Potter“ because we got so much Harry Potter stuff in one July, and it was unlike anything we’d had before. But for you guys, what was that like on the set?

Chris: Do you know what? On the set, I’m not entirely sure. The film was released, what, two, three days…? Within the week, and I’d finished working… I must have finished working on Order of the Phoenix a good few months before that. In fact, I’m not even entirely sure we knew that was going to happen when we were shooting.

Michael: Oh, wow.

Chris: Yeah, we finished shooting normally… I’m trying to think. I can’t remember because [with] Order of the Phoenix, I wasn’t there full-time; I was only there for a few bits here and there. But on the first one, we’d finish… we’d wrap up on the first few films July time/end of June/early July time, and then the film would come out in November. There’s quite a gap between the end of photography and the release of the film. And I’d imagine at that point we didn’t know that that was going to be the release date. Or we didn’t know that was when the premiere was going to be, either way.

Michael: Uh-huh.

Chris: I don’t think it really ever impacted. I seem to remember getting asked a lot of questions about how much we knew about the book on the red carpet and stuff, and obviously [we] knew nothing, which always makes for a great interview.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Yeah, no. It just didn’t really impact particularly at that point.

Michael: Was there buzz among all of you once you found out what all of your characters’ fates were, knowing that you still had a few movies to go?

Chris: There’s always a little bit of buzz like that, but it’s… I remember reading about Fred’s death and thinking, “Oh God, how are we going to do this?”

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Ohh.

Chris: But then at the same time you have to remember that you can’t know what’s going to happen when it gets translated into a screenplay, and Fred’s death never actually made it to the screenplay, let alone to the film, so it’s unwise to assume that because Percy is there two seconds before one of the most loved characters in the franchise gets obliterated by a Death Eater, doesn’t mean it’s going to be in the film. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah, yeah.

[Alison laughs]

Chris: Yeah, there’s always that… and certainly from my point of view because I’ve always been as, if not more, interested in what happens making a film than being in one, you look at it and go, “Okay, how much of this really actually matters in terms of Harry’s story?” Because at the end of the day if you’re making a film called Harry Potter it’s going to be about Harry Potter. It’s not really going to be about Fred and George Weasley or Percy or anyone else. So there is a certain amount of it where you go, “Hmm… that is what it is.” But does what happens to the Weasley twins really affect Harry’s long-term story plot? Not in the slightest, actually. It’s always a little bit of an interesting one because half of you is going, “This is going to be freaking awesome when we get there,” but the other half is going, “They’re going to totally cut me out.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So really, in the end, Chris is in the same exact place that we all were; he just happened to be in the movie.

Chris: Yeah.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And since we were talking, too, earlier about the promotional aspect, Scholastic on their end came out with a multimillion dollar campaign which was titled as the “There Will Soon Be 7” campaign, which I remember fondly…

Eric: I remember that.

Michael: … because I made a giant clock with a little clock face for my party and I wrote “There Will Soon Be 7” on it. I still have that clock.

Kat: Aww.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: But the big questions… Scholastic came out with seven big questions along with little bookmarks that you could print out. I actually used these at my party. I had my friends pair off and discuss one of these seven questions to start the party as an ice-breaker.

Eric: Best friend ever.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: These were great ice-breakers.

Kat: I’m raising my hand – you can’t see – but you have eight questions written down.

[Chris laughs]

Michael: Really? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Seven.

Alison: No?

Kat: Technically, there are eight questions under seven bullet points.

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

Kat: Scholastic cannot count.

Chris: And it is being highlighted as we speak.

Kat: Are we sure that Jo didn’t write these? Because we know she’s bad at math.

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Alison: It was a clue! It was a clue!

Kat: It was a clue.

Michael: Oh yes, yes, I see. Yes, so question number one is two questions. I guess if you smushed it all into one really quick sentence it’s, [says quickly] “Who will live and who will die?”

Kat: Yeah.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Who lives, who dies.

Michael: Who lives, who dies. There you go.

Alison: [singing] “Who lives? Who dies? Who tells your story?”

Michael: There we go.

Eric: I just added a slash to it. Who will live/Who will die?

Kat: You should work for Scholastic, Eric.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: They’re actually the same question, so…

Kat: Kind of, yeah.

Michael: But the questions were, “Who will live/Who will die? Is Snape good or evil? Will Hogwarts reopen? Who ends up with whom? Where are the Horcruxes? Will Voldemort be defeated? What are the Deathly Hallows?”

Chris: [as a TV narrator] Tune in next year to…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: [as TV narrator] Next week to Harry Potter[back to normal voice] The book was officially completed by Rowling on January 11, 2007. We know this because that is according to an inscribed bust which Rowling defaced at the Balmoral Hotel.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Don’t laugh at the word bust.

Michael: No, I was laughing at defaced.

Alison: No, I just think it’s…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: It was just so weird getting this piece of news and reading it on MuggleNet and just being like, “She did what?”

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Alison: I just think it’s funny that she was just like, “All right, here we go.”

Kat: I feel like if I were the owner of that hotel I would be mad for half a second and then be like, “Holy [censored], J.K. Rowling finished Deathly Hallows in my hotel? This is awesome!”

Eric: She actually just gave you the best gift ever because your hotel is going to be a travel destination.

Chris:

Michael: No, I’m sure if the concierge had known he would’ve been like, “Go back up there and write on everything in that room.”

Kat: Right?

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: And every other room in the hotel, yeah.

Kat: When Caleb and I did our road trip around the UK in 2013 we tried to get a reservation at the hotel in that room. It’s booked for like, four years. So plan far in advance, yeah.

Alison: Oh my gosh.

Chris: I stayed at that hotel a couple of times a long time ago, way, way, way before Jo ever wrote the final chapter in there.

Michael: Nice hotel?

Chris: Oh, gorgeous hotel, yeah. But I wouldn’t want to try and get a room there again now. I think it’s…

Kat: Yeah, and [for] that room, of course, rightfully so, they charge 20 times more than the other rooms, so…

Alison and Chris: Yeah.

Chris: It’s basically the J.K. Rowling Suite now.

Kat: For sure, yes.

Chris: And I have to say, the number of times on Twitter I’ve seen people who’ve managed to essentially sneak into the hotel, get up to the sixth floor and have their photo taken outside the room…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Really?

Chris: Oh yeah, yeah.

Kat: Wow, people tweet weird things at you.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Yeah.

Michael: And I believe even Rowling said back on her old website that she was like, “I did inscribe that bust. It was very naughty. Don’t ever do that.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah, stay in school, kids. Don’t do graffiti. Don’t deface busts.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Kids, next time you’re in a 500 pound a night hotel room, don’t write on it in Sharpie.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Only world-renowned bestselling authors can do that. And you are not one of them.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But again, the book was released on July 21, 2007. It had an initial print run of 12 million copies. Over one million of those were already preordered via Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Kat: Which is why those books are worth nothing.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And you can get Deathly Hallows anywhere you want. There were 8.3 million copies sold on opening day in the US and 2.65 million copies sold on opening day in the UK. Deathly Hallows still holds the Guinness World Record for fastest-selling book of fiction in 24 hours. Rowling attended a book release with a read-aloud and an all-night signing at London’s Natural History Museum that night. And on October 15-19 of the same year she conducted her open book tour, which was her first American tour in seven years. She attended free book signings in LA at the Kodak Theater, in New Orleans at the New Orleans Convention Center, and in New York City at Carnegie Hall, where she famously answered many questions about the series. She signed approximately 2,000 books per stop and answered many, many questions at each one.

Alison: That’s so much.

Michael: Yep, insane. But according to her, that was one of her favorite parts because, as she said, it had been a long time since she’d gotten to interact with her American fans [closely] like that. The book, of course – as expected – won multiple awards. I’ll list of a few of them here for you: The “New York Times” 100 Notable Books of 2007 – all of these that I’ll read are from 2007 – a New York Times Notable Children’s Book, a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book, the Kansas City Star Top 100 Books, the Columbus Dispatch Best Book of 2007, Booklist Editors’ Choice, Los Angeles Times Favorite Children’s Book, a Washington Post Best Book for Young People, and in 2008 it won the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Book as well as their Best Book for Young Adults, the 2008 Colorado Blue Spruce Book Award, and the CCBC Choices.

Kat: Wait, can I just say, Kansas City Top 100 Books of 2007. You couldn’t, like, Top 5?

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That just seems a little…

Eric: I only get my books from the Kansas City Star.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Those are the only books that I read.

Kat: Fine. But I don’t know; it just seems a little snobbish…

Eric: No.

Kat: I’m kidding, Eric.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: There were a few lists that said, “Well, I put it on my best books of 2007 at maybe, say, number four,” so that did happen with quite a few reviews, but they were all trounced by Mr. Stephen King, who basically obliterated all reviews and said, “You’re all crazy; this book was amazing.” But most of the reviews were positive. Most of the criticism was lobbied at the Elder Wand itself as a deus ex machina, and the epilogue. But we’ve already had our say about that. But there were plenty of things worth noting that did pay off in Deathly Hallows.

Chris: The thing that always annoys me when especially Potter books are reviewed – and it annoyed me at the time – was [that] essentially Deathly Hallows was a book for what we probably now call young adults. I don’t think we necessarily would have at the time because I don’t think YA was quite such a thing back then, was it?

Kat: No.

Alison: It was getting there.

Chris: Yeah.

Michael: It was just starting, yeah.

Chris: But it was reviewed like a real… like a real book? It is a real book.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Like a serious grown-up work of fiction, when essentially it is the last in a long series of a children’s book series. And I know it doesn’t read like that and that the subject matter certainly isn’t child related, but essentially Harry Potter is a book for younger readers; it’s a book for 11+. And although Deathly Hallows was written for the series, it feels it was written sort of from the assumption [that] you’re taking an 11-year-old from the first book and you’re finishing with a 17/18-year-old at the end. People get very hung up on, “Oh, well, the epilogue was a bit crap.” And I go, “Well, yeah, but it is still really – deep down – a kid’s story.” It’s a fable. It’s good versus evil. It’s C.S. Lewis. It’s everything that you want in a morality story. It’s not Stephen King. It’s not… why can I not think of another author off the top of my head?

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: But do you know what I mean?

Alison: No one else is important.

Kat: Robert Galbraith!

Michael: Yeah, Robert Galbraith.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: I’m trying desperately not to say Ian Rankin because it sounds like nepotism.

Kat: Oh, right.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But yeah, no, I think that’s true. There was a lot of confusion, perhaps, of how to review this book because like you said, Chris, I think while YA was definitely acknowledged as a genre, I think by that point… because I will say as a librarian that many libraries are still struggling with how to work with a YA audience, even now, and how to appeal to a YA audience. And I think at that point in 2007 it was just blossoming. It was just starting.

Kat: And it’s funny, too, because even [at] my local library now if I go in to borrow Harry Potter, the first three books are in Children and the other four books are in Young Adult.

Michael: Yeah, a lot of libraries do that.

Kat: I mean, I get it, but why don’t we just petition [to] have a Harry Potter section of the library and that’s where Harry Potter lives? It’s not in…

Eric: It gets its own Dewey Decimal code.

Michael: Really, what it should be is that – because most libraries have multiple copies of each book in the series – there should be at least one set in Juvenile Fiction and one set in Young Adult Fiction because they fit in both. But I think in terms of the storylines that did pay off, I think that goes back to the questions that Scholastic asked. Those were pretty much… sans maybe the “Will Hogwarts reopen?” because that’s probably the least interesting question to work with…

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Michael: … but otherwise, I think those questions were the core questions that we wanted answered. Do you guys feel that you got the answers you wanted overall?

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Kat: And do you know what’s funny about that “Will Hogwarts reopen?” Okay, so at the end of Book 6, Hogwarts is not closed.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: [There’s] talk from the teachers, but the teachers do say, “We’re going to stay open,” so…

Kat: Yeah, that question never made sense to me, to be honest.

Michael: They just needed seven. They should have just split the “Who will live and who will die?”

Alison: Yes! They should have!

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Okay, okay, separate question: Who will die?

Kat: Wait, what other questions could we add to that? Hmm…

Eric: Oh, there [are] so many. Although, they did cover “What are the Deathly Hallows?” Right?

Alison: “What’s the missing Horcrux?” Did they ask that?

Kat: “Where are the Horcruxes?”

Michael: They asked, “What are the Horcruxes?”

Alison: “What’s the Horcrux we don’t know about?”

Eric: “Where are the Horcruxes?” is the question.

Alison: But that doesn’t say… we didn’t know the diadem.

Kat: “What does Dumbledore really see in the Mirror of Erised?”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, it’s interesting that none of these questions address Dumbledore because I think perhaps Dumbledore wasn’t a question yet.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Michael: By Half-Blood Prince we were in Harry’s shoes where we thought we knew everything we had to know about him, so he wasn’t really a question. But we did get plenty of answers on him. I think overall the most important loose threads got tied off satisfactorily, I felt.

Alison: Yes.

Michael: I think all of the things that weren’t answered were those little tidbit questions that she answered at Carnegie Hall and her PotterCast chat and on Bloomsbury.com. I think those are the things that [show] to what an astonishing level Harry Potter got to, that we wanted to know all the ridiculously intimate details about these characters like they were real people. But that is – as Newt Scamander would say – a brief history of Deathly Hallows and its release.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Lovely. I’m really excited because now we get to move on…

[Michael claps excitedly]

Kat: Yay!

Eric: … to my favorite part of any book wrap episode of Alohomora!: the book covers.

Michael: Oh my God, yay.

Alison: Yes!

Eric: The international, around the world, covers of Deathly Hallows. So if you were there with us all, with all of humanity, on July 21, 2007 in most countries – and otherwise, a week or two later everywhere else – this was the book that you were queuing up to get. This was the book that you were anticipating for nearly a year at that point, and more if you were reading along. So it’s just always fascinating to see the attention to different plot points that manifest themselves on these covers. And if you’re unfamiliar with this, what we do is we have a slideshow of these that are put together for the Alohomora! main page afterward. You can scroll through as we are now – or about to now – in our discussion. So in alphabetical order… by the way, Michael, you did an excellent job putting these all together in alphabetical order by country.

Michael: Oh, thank you very much. I also wanted to study the pronunciations because the listeners were very kind and were like, “Your guesses were pretty good last time but you were wrong on a lot of them and it was super offensive.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So I’m going to try and fix that as best I can here.

Chris: Please, please, please don’t make me read any of these aloud.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: No, I’ll take this one on for you, Chris. I know you need to be practicing your voiceover work, but I’ll do this one for you.

Chris: Yeah, I’m already looking at the Chinese one and thinking I’m not going to do that without getting it awfully, awfully wrong and offending most of China.

Michael: [laughs] Eric, you talk about the covers first and then I’ll pronounce them after we talk about them.

Eric: Deal! Deal. I get out of having to butcher the names.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Fantastic! This day is getting better and better. So let us begin with letter C, China! The Chinese cover is predominately red as a color and features Voldemort – a very, very large Voldemort – and a very, very tiny trio in the woods with Hogwarts in the background. So it would appear from this that Voldemort is about to have a confrontation with all three. Actually, now that I think about it, that’s not the trio. You might think it’s the trio, but that’s actually Harry and his mother.

Chris: Oh, it’s not!

Michael: Is that his mom…? Is that James and…?

Kat: Oh, and his dad! James and Lily!

Alison: Aww!

Eric: Those are the apparitions who are there until the very end.

Kat: The Voldemort on this cover looks incredibly sullen. He is the saddest looking Voldemort I’ve ever seen.

Michael: He’s tired.

Eric: He’s not very happy. He’s lost everything at this point.

Kat: I guess.

Michael: He needs a nap.

Kat: And there is a dragon on the cover, too, by the way.

Chris: There is?

Eric: I missed the dragon… oh yeah. Or phoenix.

Chris and Michael: Dragon.

Kat: I think it’s the dragon.

Eric: Oh yeah, the wings. The wings are very dragon-like.

Michael: They’re in piles of stuff. Is that in Bellatrix’s vault or the Room of Requirement?

Chris: It looks like it’s a bit of everything, doesn’t it?

Michael: It does!

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: It’s very ambitious because, like you said, at first glance it looks like they’re in the forest, and then you look closer and there [are] goblets and vases and urns and it looks very much like it could be Bellatrix’s vault at Gringotts. It could also be the Room of Requirement because there’s a flaming gold [that] could be the fire.

Michael: Oh yeah, the Fiendfyre.

Chris: Sorry for that scratching noise; the dog is trying to eat the back of my laptop.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: He just really wants to discuss Deathly Hallows with us. It’s fine.

Eric: That is on this book cover as well.

Chris: He does understand. [talking to dog] What do you think?

Kat: [talking to Chris’s dog] What do you think? Woof!

[Michael laughs]

Chris: He thinks nothing. He thinks his rope toy is much more interesting.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I think that that picture of Hogwarts in the background – I’m pretty sure – is swiped from the old pre-movie 90s art that they…

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Really?

Eric: No. I like it far better than that.

Michael: I’m almost sure that’s what it is. There’s a style guide for how everything had to look for Harry Potter before the movies, and that castle fits the style guide from before the movies.

Eric: Fascinating. Do you guys love it as much as I do that Voldemort is actually coming out of the page?

Alison: Yeah! I’ve been just staring at that because I’m trying to figure out…

Eric: It’s like the page is folded back and he’s emanating out.

Kat: If you scroll back up to the top there’s actually an actual parchment scroll, so I think he’s meant to be popping out of that parchment scroll.

Alison and Eric: Oh!

Eric: Yeah. This is super cool, by the way. This is one of my favorite covers, having just seen this now, for the first time.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Yeah, I didn’t look at these beforehand because I wanted to be surprised.

Alison and Chris: Me, neither.

Eric: There’s just a lot to take in and I actually like it. It’s not necessarily a hot mess.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: So they don’t have symbols for “J” and “K”? Because everything else is symbols except “J” and “K.” I mean, there’s a symbol for “Rowling”?

Michael: I think that might be a stylistic thing, not necessarily…

Kat: Really? Okay.

Chris: But the symbol prior to that is in brackets, isn’t it?

Michael: Yeah, look at that. It might also… Because the Chinese, as far as I know… and don’t quote me on this. But from what I do know, the Chinese alphabet is not so much letters, as the characters represent certain concepts and ideas and you pair them together to make more concepts and ideas that form words.

Kat: Okay.

Michael: So I don’t know if “J” and “K” would necessarily work with the… It depends, too, on what Asian language it’s written in because there [are] different forms of Chinese.

Kat: Sure.

Michael: But speaking of, I’ll go ahead and try and pronounce… I’ve got to hear it on Google first.

Eric: Oh, here you go!

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Let’s see here. [listens] Oh God. [pronounces Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows in Chinese]

Kat: That was actually… that sounds awesome to me, Michael. Kudos.

Eric: Okay.

Chris: Sounded convincing.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That’s awesome. Wow.

Michael: I have no idea what it means. I don’t know if it means “Deathly Hallows.”

Chris: It means Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, in some way, shape, or form.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Definitely.

Kat: I know a 5-year-old that can speak and read Mandarin. I’ll ask him. [laughs]

Michael: Nice.

Kat: Yeah, he goes to an immersion school. He’s pretty smart.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: That’s pretty cool.

Kat: I feel inferior constantly. [laughs]

Eric: All right, that was our first book cover that we looked at. Now let’s move on from China to Denmark!

Chris: Oh, my.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Oh, come on, scroll! I can’t see them yet.

Eric: Denmark has a history… Denmark and Finland are my two favorite countries for Harry Potter books because they just have some very unique art.

Chris: That’s one word for it.

Eric: So it’s the one on the left of our document. The first edition of the Denmark cover sees Harry leading an army, or presuming to lead a charge of, let’s see, a knight on horseback, a cat, a house-elf, a werewolf, and a statue of an angel…

Chris: A very naked angel.

Kat: Very naked.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: … very naked angel… into battle. So the case could be made that this is a little misleading for what happens in the book, but actually, it looks cool.

[Chris laughs]

Michael: Just replace Harry with McGonagall and it’s more correct.

Kat: Yeah, because there [are] what look like chess pieces in the background there.

Michael: Oh yeah, look at that!

Chris: And the giant… but the…

Kat: What?

Chris: I just don’t get it!

Michael: I mean, obviously this would seem to be inspired by McGonagall leading the statues into battle.

Eric: It actually [would] make a lot more sense if it were McGonagall there; you’re right.

Kat: Is that Dobby in the front? Because that’s going to make me really sad.

Alison: I feel like it might be Kreacher.

Michael: I thought that was Kreacher.

Kat: Okay, Kreacher, that’s fine.

Chris: It looks like it should be Dobby, but if that’s Dobby then whoever’s drawing this has not read a single Harry Potter book.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Holy crap! Wait. What is that weapon behind the creature thing? What are those called?

Chris: That’s a mace.

Kat: A mace. They have those in the wizarding world? That is terrifying.

Alison: Yeah. It wouldn’t surprise me.

Chris: They may have done in the 16th century. I don’t think they use them in the early 90s.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: 1998.

Eric: It’s the weapon of choice in the 1990s.

Michael: The statures might have held them, so I thought that was…

Kat: Sure, okay.

Alison: Yeah, it looks very… I don’t know. When I saw it the first thing I thought of was Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V. It looks like [it’s] from one of those movies.

Kat: For sure.

Alison: And why is Harry, like, hunchbacked here?

Michael: Yeah, Harry looks weird.

Kat: He looks like epilogue Harry.

Michael: His left arm is at a weird angel.

Kat: Looks like he’s 90 years old.

Alison: [laughs] Oh my gosh.

Eric: 19 years later. Oh gosh.

Chris: It’s just not good, is it, guys?

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: It’s somewhere between that and, I don’t know, some kind of weird… It just looks really 80s. I’m sure I had books when I was a kid that looked like this, with that style of…

Eric: Yeah, that’s fair.

Chris: I don’t even know. I can’t even begin to describe it, and really, why there’s a naked, slightly weird angel thing… [sighs] No, no. I don’t get it.

Michael: [laughs] Don’t blink.

Chris: Yeah.

Alison: [laughs] Don’t blink!

Eric: It’s just [that] these covers are more interesting when you consider what alternative things they could have shown. Putting these books up against each other you’re just like, “Oh, that’s interesting; the artist chose to represent this from the book.”

Michael: Yeah, Deathly Hallows ends up being the most… People were very interpretive with Hallows compared to the other ones.

Eric: I mean, this scene from Denmark doesn’t even happen.

Michael: No, no.

Kat: I wonder if they were not allowed to read the book and they were just given a few broad concepts.

Alison: Yeah, we’ve talked about that before.

Eric: Yeah, that actually happened… I’m pretty sure that’s a thing. [In] certain countries you couldn’t read the book before designing the cover. I think the only exceptions were the UK [and] US.

Kat: Yeah, because nobody is going to tell Mary GrandPré, “You can’t read this book.”

Alison: Yeah. Really, though.

Eric: Not if she’s doing chapter art for it, no.

Kat: That too! Oh yeah, chapter art! Oh, thank you, American editions.

[Chris and Michael laugh]

Kat: So what’s this other one here?

Eric: Apparently, in Denmark they realized their mistake early on.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: The second edition, which came out one month later… No, I’m making that up. But it is a little bit more reliant on iconography, so you have a dragon/phoenix and Hogwarts in the background. Really just battlements in this moment.

Alison: It almost looks like Stonehenge.

Kat: Those battlements actually look like Alnwick Castle.

Chris: I’m going to pull you up on the pronunciation right there. Alnwick, like A-N-N-I-C-K.

Kat: Okay. Well, stupid American in me. I say all the letters.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: No, stupid, stupid British spelling! We like to throw silent “L”s and “W”s into words.

Michael: Don’t worry, Kat. I’ll take the brunt of it with all of these name pronunciations for today.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Oh yeah! Are we at that point? Michael, go ahead! Try it!

Michael: Well, before I say it, I have to say just as a fun little tidbit: That clipart that they used of the dragon is the same exact clipart that we used for our dragon on AudioFictions until John redesigned it.

Kat: Wait, really?

Alison:

Chris and Kat: Amazing.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I will confirm it! That was the exact same dragon that we used.

Chris: I was actually about to say that the battlements look like they have come straight off iStock Photo.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Apparently that entire cover has come from stock footage.

Alison: Just throwing stuff together!

Michael: I just noticed in the background it’s raining scars. That’s cool.

Alison: Yeah, it is. Oh yeah!

Kat: Toward the bottom there’s lightning… Oh yeah, everywhere, lightning bolts.

Alison: Interesting.

Michael: Okay, I’ve got to listen to this one again. Let’s see. Harry Potter og Dodsregalierne. It means “Harry Potter and the Death Regalia.”

Chris: That works.

Kat: Oh, that makes more sense now. A death party! I mean, at the end there.

Michael: Items of death, basically. I don’t think any of the covers we have translate to this but there were a few where the translation I liked was “Harry Potter and the Gifts of Death.”

Kat: Ooh, I like that.

Chris: That is nice.

Michael: Yeah, that was a cool one.

Kat: Oh boy, I just peeked ahead and this next one is a gem, kids.

Michael: Oh, this next cover? [laughs]

Eric: Don’t peek ahead! Nobody scroll down!

Chris: Oh man!

Kat: It’s a gem.

Eric: Okay, we are ready to move on. This is…

Alison: Oh no, I went too far. [laughs]

Kat: Oh, Alison!

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: There’s no turning back now.

Chris: Wow.

Eric: Yeah, okay. So we need to talk about Finland.

Michael: [singing] “Finland, Finland, Finland, that country…”

Chris: [singing] “That country where I want to…” Yes, sorry.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: I’m just glad I’m really not the only one who does that every time they hear the word “Finland.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Oh yeah. Of course.

Eric: So ladies and gents, the Finnish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows cover features, prominently, Harry, Ron, Hermione, their noses…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: … also the broken mirror…

Kat: And someone named Tammi. No, I’m kidding.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Tammi is back!

Chris: Tammi with a barcode as well.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: Oh yeah. Ron bought that sword at the dollar store.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: I think he’s stolen that sword from Mary Poppins. It looks more like a…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: It does look like an umbrella.

Kat: It does.

Eric: I’ll give you that.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: And the mirror, though; the broken mirror fragment is in Harry’s hand with the piercing blue eye showing out from it. And the silver doe, which looks more like a…

Chris: Looks like a sheep to me.

Alison: [laughs] It looks like a… What are those things called?

Kat: [laughs] Oh yeah.

Eric: Yeah, kind of sheepy, kind of like a cow in a way…

Alison: It’s like those enu things. What are they called?

Eric: Emus?

Alison: Is that what I’m thinking of? No, no, no, like…

Chris: Gnu?

Alison: Yeah!

Kat: Really? I don’t know.

Alison: I think so.

Michael: It looks like a moose without antlers.

Chris: Are we sure it’s just not a goat? And it’s actually quite sort of deep…

Alison: [laughs] It’s Aberforth’s Patronus.

Michael: Yeah, it’s not the silver doe.

Kat: At first glance, I thought that Ron’s shirt had cookies on it.

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Kat: It’s the buttons; they look like cookies.

Michael: Oh, they’re buttons.

Eric: The buttons… they look like little smiley faces.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Eric: And Harry, for this book… So for those of you who don’t know: In Finland, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are actually… they go back to Hogwarts in Book 7 and are Sorted into Ravenclaw.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yeah, they have had those robes since the first Finnish books. They have those silly robe things.

Chris: Is Harry getting a bit of a cuddle [from] the giant squid who’s just off camera?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: He is, isn’t he? Those are totally tentacles now that you say that.

Chris: That’s just weird.

Michael: Behind Ron’s head, is that an egg in a nest?

Alison: That’s what it looks like.

Michael: What is that? What is that meant to represent? [laughs]

Eric: It’s the first task. Do you have to ask?

Michael: Oh yeah, totally. It’s Book 4.

Alison: Harry is going to start a band, though. Harry is the drummer for the new band because that looks like a drumstick.

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Michael: So last night when I saw this cover, I was trying to think – because I love that Hermione has this pretty blossom in her hair – and I went back and looked at the Sorcerer’s Stone cover, and Finland really went to town with Hermione on Sorcerer’s Stone. They gave her huge buck teeth and made her look kind of derpy. And I was like, “Maybe the flower is meant to represent that she has finally blossomed into a beautiful young lady.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That’s the Finnish way of explaining that.

Chris: I think you’re looking far too deeply into this.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I don’t know. There is some crazy symbolism going on here, I feel.

Kat: I mean, Sauron is even on the cover here. He’s in the top right hand corner.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It’s a crescent moon! It’s just a very crescent moon.

Kat: No, that is the mouth of Sauron. I mean, look at that. It’s him.

Michael: No, that’s the Cheshire Cat smile.

[Kat laughs]

Eric: Okay, you know what? You’re right.

Michael: Is that snow or is that…? Are those stars? Both. They’re both.

Chris: Was this drawn by a competition winner?

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Called Tammi?

Alison: Oh my God.

Kat: Oh, God. People in Finland hate us so much.

Eric: So that is just… The strangest part that doesn’t immediately make sense is the barcode, and it’s like a tag hanging off of the hilt.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: No, we looked that up. We looked that up before. What was it, Michael? You would remember.

Michael: Yeah, I think the listeners told us that Tammi is actually the publisher.

Kat: Publisher, that’s it.

Alison: I was going to say publisher because on the Danish one it has the Gyldendal one that we also talked about.

Kat: Oh, right. Yes.

Michael: Well, yeah, we’ll see that one. But I’m pretty sure what that is; it’s the publisher.

Kat: I just can’t figure out what this egg… I mean, it kind of looks like a nipple to me, but obviously it’s not.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: I’m pretty sure that’s it. Oh, you’ve got to milk Nagini and it’s the snake nipple.

Kat: No! That can’t be it. That makes no sense.

Alison What?

Kat: What could that be?

Michael: Oh! Maybe it’s a gravestone on a hill.

Alison: I was going to say.

Kat: Oh, it’s Dobby! Aww.

Alison: Is it the locket?

Michael: Oh, it’s Dobby’s gravestone.

Eric: Oh, it’s Dobby?

Alison: Oh, okay.

Michael: Aww.

Chris: If you tilt your screen, there is actually… it looks like there’s something on the nipple.

Alison: Yeah, there’s writing.

Chris: Yeah. Just can’t quite see what it is.

Alison: Oh, gosh.

Michael: Wow, Finland. You never fail to disappoint, man.

Kat: Never.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I’m really sad there aren’t anymore Harry Potter books, but also for Finland because I’d love to see what they’d come up with. [laughs]

Kat: No, I mean, maybe with the script and the Fantastic Beasts screenplay coming out, maybe we’ll get new ones.

Eric: We have to keep our eye on the Finnish adaptation of the Cursed Child.

Kat: For sure. For sure.

Eric: So Michael, do you care to give this the old college try?

Michael: Let me try this. Let me listen to it again. This one’s a mouthful. Oh my goodness. Harry Potter Ja Kuoleman Varjelukset.

Eric: Okay.

Michael: Yeah. Wow.

Kat: I believe you. Yep, I believe you.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: That was flawless, I think.

Michael: No Finns here to confirm or deny.

Eric: But okay. Well, now we go from Finland onto France. Français.

Kat: These are some of my favorites.

Chris: Ahh.

Alison: Ooh!

Kat: I love it. Okay, so I randomly found this a few months ago and I’ve kept the link because we never get the full covers of the international editions. And I was so excited to find this that I had to save it.

Michael: Yes. And by the way, for you guys, if you want to examine anything closer, the linked words will get you… some of them have higher resolutions that you can look at if you want.

Kat: Oh, sure, now you tell me.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: I got that link for you. I got your back.

Eric: Yes. So on this cover in the front portion is just Harry standing by some cliffs, looking at the ocean, looking at the water. And it’s very… to my mind, he’s very introspective at the moment. He’s totally in his own head right now. It looks great. The full picture, though… once you incorporate the back, you get Harry, Ron, and Hermione, presumably by the grave of Dobby, having just buried their friend.

Alison: Ahh, this is gorgeous.

Chris: It looks like concept art from the film, almost. It’s just stunning.

Kat: It’s really pretty.

Eric: It’s on another level.

Alison: It reminds me of… which chapter is it? Mary Grandpré’s chapter art. Is it “Shell Cottage”?

Kat: Mhm.

Alison: She has a very similar scene to the beginning of this where Harry is just looking out over the waves.

Michael: Yeah, sitting on the cliff.

Kat: Right. Yeah.

Alison: Man, I like this.

Michael: I really like that the artist went with these greys and blues instead of what you usually see for Hallows, which is the bold oranges and reds. I think this was a really… everything is completely [and] correctly evoked in this picture.

Kat: It also speaks to the French attitude, right?

Michael: It does. This would make a great silent French film [with] people staring off sadly into the distance.

Alison: Yeah, ooh.

Kat: Oh, I want that. I want a silent French Harry Potter film. It would be amazing.

Michael: [laughs] Even though… the way that it’s done with these watercolor pastels, with the way you can see the wind; the way the wind is blowing with everything.

Alison and Chris: Yeah.

Chris and Michael: It’s gorgeous.

Eric: That hasn’t changed from… going back to Book 1, the sky in the first book; I shared it in the Skype document – or the Skype chat – the first book cover in France.

Michael: Oh yeah. [laughs]

Kat: Aww.

Eric: Some of this reminds me a little bit of Madeline

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Eric: … but also, the part that doesn’t remind me of Madeline is [that] equally the sky is its own character. This style that… all of the French books have just been really impressive.

Michael: I think…

Kat: I think on the first one – sorry, Michael – that Harry looks like McGonagall.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: There is a Maggie Smith-esque quality.

Kat: And Hedwig’s eyes are huge. I love it. I’m sorry.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: See, I think we’ve got to give a shout-out – and we’ll see this with some of them and not with others – to the artists who actually notably matured Harry in his design.

Kat: Yes. Indeed.

Eric and Michael: Yes, because there are those that did not.

Kat: We will get there.

Michael: And this is one of those that was successful. The French artist matured them fantastically.

Alison: Also, I’m digging Harry’s hoodie. I like it.

Kat: It looks very soft and comfortable, right?

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: And it’s red because he’s Gryffindor. So there’s no color confusion here.

Kat: Indeed.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: But also, there’s another version in France – I presume similar to the UK adult – where it’s more focused on an icon. And you’ve got the sword – presumably, the sword of Gryffindor – and a hooded figure in the distance in the back of the image.

Kat: The sword of Gryffindor, it is silver, right? The sword of Gryffindor is silver?

Alison: I don’t know.

Eric: I mean, for the book cover, I don’t know.

Kat: No, I mean, is it described as silver in the book?

Alison: I think so. It’s silver with rubies?

Eric: I think she only ever talks about the hilt, right? It’s ruby encrusted.

Kat: Wait, when Neville swings it, don’t they…? Hold on, I have to look in my book. Because it’s gold on this cover and I’m pretty sure…

Chris: I would imagine that… I mean, I don’t know. Unlike you guys, I’m not that hot on actually managing to quote the books.

Kat: Ooh, ooh – sorry. Page 733 of the US edition: “the slash of the silver blade.” Just saying.

Alison: Yeah, that’s right.

Chris: Yeah, that’s what I was going to say, that the blade is going to have to be silver.

Alison: The hilt could be gold.

Eric: Chris, that’s okay that you can’t quote the books word for word. I think we’ll forgive you. You have made up for it more than enough. So it’s just artistic license here. We do think that’s the sword of Gryffindor, right?

Kat: For sure. What else could it be?

Alison: Yeah. It’s got to be.

Eric: It does have a role to play in this book, so I like that. Sometimes you get book covers [where] you’re just like, “Really, was that in there at all?” So it’s pretty good. Michael, I think we’re ready…

Kat: And while Michael practices, you can’t see, but I am brandishing an imaginary sword over here. And it is a lot of fun.

Eric: Ooh, nice. Very gold. It’s blinding.

Alison: I’m staring at this beautiful typography.

Michael: Yeah, it’s fun how they wrote Harry Potter. It’s nice to see a distinctive way of writing out Harry Potter because some of the countries didn’t do that.

Eric: No, a lot of them reused the “T” as a lightning bolt, which works!

Kat: It looks like it could be a wrought iron gate; the way it’s swirly, and the lines. It’s pretty.

Michael: I’m pretty sure I know how to pronounce this one because it sounds so pretty and I was saying it over and over again today. But I want to make sure I do it right because I think the French will get very upset.

Kat: Yeah, we generally piss off the French on this show.

Alison: Yeah.

[Chris laughs]

Kat: It happens a lot.

Michael: Harry Potter et les Reliques de la Mort.

Kat: Ohh.

Alison: De la Voldemort.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Nice.

Michael: “Harry Potter and the Relics of Death.”

Kat: Very good job with the silent “T.”

Michael: Thank you.

Alison: Uh oh, I just saw what the next one is.

Eric: Wow.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Good old worm hair is back.

Alison: [laughs] Oh man.

Kat: Emo Harry.

Eric: Okay, all right. So ladies and gents, Germany is upon us.

Michael: Yes, they are.

Eric: And do you know what? Actually, I have to say that this is a very clear scene depicted…

Michael: Yeah, by the standards of the previous German covers.

Kat: Yes!

Eric: It is a scene between… it’s the confrontation of Harry and Voldemort in the woods.

Chris: Apparently through their medium of contemporary dance, judging by Voldemort.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Those leggings; they are just killing it.

Eric: Those legs!

Kat: That is my favorite depiction of Voldemort ever! By far, it is the best one.

Alison: His head is so small!

Eric: It’s like the perspective is off. His head looks a little smushed because he’s leaning forward.

Kat: No, Eric, it’s snake-like. Look at the shape of it.

Michael: Yeah, I think they were going with the head with the snake shape.

Alison: But he looks like a spider.

Chris: Which is why they put the snake in above it, just so you get the reference.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It’s like, “This is an actual snake. This is Voldemort.”

Kat: What stands out a lot to me is right above the “Joanne K. Rowling.” Okay, you see the right hand of whatever’s coming down and the two little arms? It looks like one of the broomsticks from Fantasia.

Eric: Yes!

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: There is something very talon-like about the woods here.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: All the branches are like claws.

Kat: Oh yeah, those are definitely…

Michael: It’s got a Venus fly trap on it.

Chris: There is, yeah. And also that Nagini that’s there looks… has that been copied and pasted on later?

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: It looks like a sticker!

Kat: I think she’s in a protective bubble.

Michael: Yeah, she’s in the bubble. But rather than the bubble being a round bubble, it’s conformed to her shape.

Kat: Right.

Michael: So it’s weird. It does look really out of place.

Eric: It is surprisingly canon, yeah. It’s [a] sort of ghostly Nagini. So we’ve neglected to mention the second Harry up until this point…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: It’s creeper Harry. It’s creepy.

Eric: … which really takes the focus off of everything else that’s going on this chapter. Harry is down at the bottom, and if I didn’t know better I would think that it was somebody else, like Madam Hooch.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: There is something very Zoë Wanamaker about Harry.

Michael: Look at that Harry. He’s always so “Up to no good” on these German covers.

Kat: He is.

Michael: He’s just like, “Yeah, I’m trouble.”

Alison: He always looks like he’s sneaking around.

Kat and Michael: Yeah.

Chris: He also has a massive “B” carved onto his forehead.

Kat: Yeah, it does kind of look like a “B.”

Michael: Oh, the shading of his hair made it look like a “B”!

Eric: Well, one of it is a shadow of his hair follicle.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: A little too crazy with the hair, Germany. Good try. Good try, Germany.

Eric: Yeah. At least his hair isn’t claws.

Alison: It still looks green, though.

Kat: Definitely. At least… okay, this is funny. All the people standing around, I guess I thought they were in the Great Hall, but this is clearly the Forbidden Forest now. I’m stupid and I didn’t get that before. Because there’s a fire, and all these other people are the Death Eaters, I guess. Those green people.

Alison: Also, Voldemort is a lefty!

Kat: Oh! Dope!

Eric: How dare they change canon!

Kat: No, I think that has to be canon now. Voldemort is a lefty!

Eric: No, he was originally… you know what it is? [He’s] a righty, but they originally presented… the artist drew this and they decided it looked better if it [were] flipped, so they inverted it.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Because you have to do what looks best for booksellers.

Alison: No, they’re reenacting The Princess Bride.

[Chris laughs]

Kat: There you go.

Alison: They’re reenacting the, “I’m not left-handed!” He’s just going to toss it to the other hand.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: And Harry is actually wearing robes.

Chris: “My name is Harry Potter. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Is that what’s happening?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Pretty straightforward. “He’s just mostly dead.”

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Kat: Harry even has a belt on if you look closely.

Alison: He does.

Kat: I know that means nothing to anything, but he has a belt on.

Michael: Voldemort is definitely wearing a one-piece ballet.

Chris: He is.

Kat: For sure. And it looks like there’s orange and red and yellow.

Alison: It’s a leotard.

Kat: It does. With these killer loafers, it looks like.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I really want Voldemort’s legs.

Kat: I would too.

Michael: Those are some fabulous legs, Voldemort.

Kat: It looks like there would be a nice butt under there. I’m just saying.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Well done coming back from the dead, sir.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: What is the one phrase we did not expect to encounter on this Harry Potter book cover discussion? “Oh, I think there would be a nice butt under there.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: You’re welcome.

Eric: I’m with you.

Chris: Well, that’s my cosplay sorted for Leviosa, anyway.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Please! Oh my gosh. Do it.

Alison: That would be so great.

Michael: German Voldemort.

Kat: I’ll find a wig and I’ll go as Harry.

Alison: I would come down for that alone.

Eric: There you go. So Michael, care to read us the title?

Michael: Harry Potter und die Heiligtumer des Todes.

Eric: Which means?

Michael: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I believe. Let me check. I’ve got my list up here with the Harry Potter Wiki Germany. Oh no, I’m sorry; that does mean “Harry Potter and the Relics of Death.”

Kat: Oh, okay.

Michael: So that title was, interestingly, listeners, chosen specifically by Rowling because a bunch of translators were like, “Deathly Hallows? What?” So she specifically chose the “Relics of Death” title for other countries.

Eric: I mean, she essentially is using, what is it, an adjective as a noun, right? Hallowed ground. She invented the word [Hallows]. People forget, but she invented that word and used it in a unique way. Okay, let’s go to Italy.

Kat: I love these covers so much!

Michael: What the heck?

Chris: Ooh.

Kat: I love the Italian covers. I really want a set of these desperately. They’re so pretty.

Michael: So weird.

Eric: What do you love about it, Kat?

Kat: I like… so there [are] no dancing mice on this one.

Chris: Is that a sheep?

Kat: Yeah, it is the sheep.

Alison: [laughs] Dancing mice.

Michael: That’s definitely it.

Kat: The first one has dancing mice on it, which I think is adorable. No, I just like the softness of them. This one I like the least out of all of them, ironically. It does need a dancing mouse. It really needs one.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Just as the sheep… the sheep and the mice are going to dance together.

Kat: Yeah. That is funny that that is definitely a sheep, isn’t it?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison and Chris: Yeah.

Chris: There is nothing doe-like about any of these.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: I was going to say, are there deer in some of these countries? Or are they going off of their just natural deer?

Eric: It might not be… Maybe the sheep…

Chris: I’ve eaten venison in Italy. They definitely have it. They probably just never have seen it alive.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Eric: Oh, yeah. Oh, man.

Michael: This cover compared to all the other Italian covers, though… it’s just so surreal.

Alison: Yeah, it’s very…

Kat: It’s a little monotone, right?

Michael: Yeah, it is. Well, I think… Aren’t they the only ones that went white, like full-on white? Whites and greys, and…

Kat: I believe so.

Eric: I like that.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: It very much evokes the “King’s Cross” scene, but I think…

Alison: Well, and it’s Harry and Hermione at Godric’s Hollow, isn’t it?

Michael: Oh, is it? Oh!

Kat: Oh my gosh, it is!

Alison: That’s what I think it is.

Eric: They’re in the graveyard.

Alison: Because they’ve got the flowers on the gravestone and I think the words in the back are supposed to be a weird thing of the…

Michael: Oh, and that’s the kissing gate over in the back.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Oh, I thought this…

Alison: And those two shadows at the beginning, it’s them walking away from James and Lily’s grave.

Kat: Oh, Alison.

Michael: I thought it was the Death Eaters walking to Malfoy’s Manor. I was so confused by this.

Kat: Ten points to Gryffindor, Alison.

Alison: Thank you.

Eric: Alison has unlocked the cover.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Oh yeah, because that’s the church in the background, on the spine.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Alison: And then are these names that are sketched across? They could be James and Lily?

Eric: At first I thought that was just a watermark but now I’m thinking it’s… I’m looking for other alternative pictures of it.

Michael: Yeah, these Italian covers are hard to find.

Chris: At the bottom it looks like it’s going to say, “e la mort,” or something…

Alison: Yeah.

Chris: … which is going to be…

Eric: Yeah, the words are real.

Kat: Oh, so you’ve found other covers and those are real?

Eric: Yeah, there’s one more. I’ll link… Here you can actually see the gate a lot better in the upper… but this is just a little bit clearer about the emphasis on Harry and Hermione, where the placement is and you can see the gate of the cemetery up in the upper right.

Michael: I really love the blurred effect on Harry and Hermione. That’s beautiful.

Kat: Yes, it is.

Alison: I love the flowers on the grave. I think that’s a nice touch.

Eric: Yeah, that’s cool. It’s such a touching moment too. So this is an example of the artist taking one specific emotional scene from the entire book that wasn’t the end, which… I always admire when artists do that for this. This is the book where…

Michael: Yeah. Italy picked a good scene because none of the others picked this scene.

Eric: Right, everybody else is in the courtyard or the forest.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Just throw in a dancing mouse and I’m all set.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Kat is still really pulling hard for that dancing mouse.

Kat: Bottom left hand corner right by the bar code. I mean, that’s a perfect spot.

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Alison: Just one little dancing mouse.

Kat: I wonder if I can find these on eBay? I’m going to look.

Eric: I’m sure you can.

Kat: I mean, you can keep going.

Eric: Michael, care to grace us with your reading of the title?

Michael: Let’s see… Harry Potter E I Doni Della Morte.

Eric: Very nice.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Ooh, they are on Amazon. I’m sorry.

[Chris laughs]

Eric: There you go.

Alison: [laughs] Kat just wants them.

Kat: Oh no, it’s not. This is bull. So it is the Kazu Kibuishi covers but they’re just in Italian.

Michael: Lies. Lies and slander.

Alison: Dang it.

Eric: So we go on to Japan now…

Chris: Huh.

Eric: … and let me tell you a cool little story about how the Japanese books from 4 to 7 are split into two books, and each of them, the first half and the second half of Book 7, has different cover art.

Kat: Really?

Michael: Crazy.

Alison: Interesting.

Chris: Both of them are quite interesting.

Eric: Yeah, you’ve got a little recreation of E.T. in the left…

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Eric: … Harry on his bicycle, the moon…

Alison: I was going to say it almost looks like cave art. I swear that Thestral came right off a cave.

Chris and Eric: Yeah.

Eric: [laughs] But the moon is very prominent.

Kat: Looks like Mars.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Mars is bright.

Alison: Mars is bright tonight.

Chris: Also, again, slightly channeling Fantasia.

Kat: A little bit, yeah.

Chris: There’s something “Night on Bald Mountain” about that.

Alison, Eric, and Michael: Yeah.

Chris: With the sort of deathly things floating through it.

Eric: Yeah. And beneath the Thestral, I believe, a dragon as well? Or another Thestral in the background. And I’m quite sure that’s probably not Harry at all on a bicycle, at all. It’s probably…

Alison: No, I think it’s Hagrid.

Chris: It’s totally Hagrid.

Kat: No, this is “The Seven Potters” for sure.

Eric: Oh.

Alison: Yeah, because there are people on those Thestrals too.

Eric: Oh, come on!

Michael: Yeah, there [are] people on brooms in the back.

Eric: I did not zoom in fast enough.

Michael: That’s fascinating.

Eric: Okay, so this is the “Seven Potters” scene, also an interesting choice for adaptation; it’s cool. The book starts off with a big bang, so the first half of the book would probably definitely have to have something like this.

Kat: Probably, definitely. That’s true.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Sorry, I was trying to speed up my words for the train.

Kat: I know. I heard.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I’m going to see if I can find a better second portion too.

Michael: Oh, it’s impossible to find the second covers. I don’t know why. People apparently didn’t feel the need to take pictures of the second covers.

Kat: That Book 2 link that Michael put in there is… you can blow that up pretty good.

Eric: Okay.

Kat: But it is… these international covers… it’s hard to find good high-quality editions, which is odd these days, being that the Internet is a thing.

[Chris laughs]

Michael: Well, I didn’t even know until last night that the Japanese books are split into two from 4 on.

Kat: I know; we’ve never talked about half of these covers.

Alison: Yeah, I’ve never heard of that.

Eric: Yeah, I remember looking at Book 5 but only the first half.

Kat: Same, same.

Michael: I found a stock photo from a release party, and it was two kids holding the package and you get it in a plastic-wrapped package with a little bit of cardboard holding them together underneath. And so they look like the way that some manga are bound.

Kat: That’s cool.

Michael: They’re very loosely bound.

Eric: This is better, thank you, this zoom-in. But this second part appears to be the escape from Gringotts, actually; the green creatures, the goblins, they may or may not….

Alison: Oh, those look like house-elves.

Kat: I think they’re goblins.

Michael: I think they’re goblins, though, because look, the one in the middle is holding up the sword of Gryffindor.

Alison: Oh, it almost looked like a wand to me.

Kat: And also, that looks like a giant scary red face under the sword of Gryffindor. Does anyone else see a face?

Chris: Oh.

Eric: I do see a face on the right hand side also.

Alison: Yeah, a little bit.

Eric: I see what you’re saying, though, Kat.

Chris: Oh yeah. There’s a big one down the right hand side. You’re absolutely right, isn’t it? Down the right hand side of the sun/moon/Mars thing…

Kat: Oh yeah.

Chris: … which is actually quite horrible now I’ve zoomed in on it.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: I thought it was a location of some sort because it looks like the trio is walking on that section. There [are] three little bodies, it looks like, walking.

Alison: Hmm.

Kat: They go to the sun in the Japanese version. It’s cool.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: They visit Mars to see why it is bright tonight.

Eric: The surface of the sun?

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: But actually, pretty cool shot of the dragon, I think; the way that the light reflects off of it.

Kat: Those wings, they’re awesome.

Alison: I was going to say, I love those wings.

Chris and Eric: Yeah.

Eric: And how do we pronounce?

Michael: It’s actually pretty much how it looks: Hari Potta To Shi No Hiho.

Eric: There you go. Parts one and two.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: I wonder where it splits.

Kat: Oh, good question.

Alison: I wonder where they split… which part…

Eric: Oh yeah. That’s a really good question.

Kat: Let’s Google it.

Alison: Someone who knows.

Eric: Yeah. Just help us, Japan.

Kat: Where do the Japanese Deathly Hallows books split?

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Eric: We may not even find the answer, really, because they are viewed as one volume.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: It’s just happenstance that they’re bound together, so you never get…

Kat: It’s just all the stupid movie news. Someone from Japan tell us, please.

Michael: Right.

Kat: Thank you.

Michael: Yeah, if we have a listener from Japan, help us out with that one, please.

Alison: Because wouldn’t that be crazy if…? What part did it end on and you were like, “Oh no, I have to have the other one.” What if you left the other part at home and you were somewhere else and you need to start it?

Eric: That doesn’t happen if you’re a real Harry Potter fan.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: You carry both books with you.

Alison: You carry all of them.

Michael: Do you know if the screenplay writers referenced the Japanese books when they were deciding where to make the split?

Chris: Oh, I think it is highly likely.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Well, wait a minute. The escape from Gringotts is in [Part 2], right? And “The Seven Potters” in [Part 1], so I think we’re onto something.

Kat: We can thank Japan.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Moving on from Japan to the Netherlands.

Chris: Oh, I like this.

Eric: This is good. So we have here… there are two editions that we’re talking about. The first edition featuring, I guess, the dragon, and is it…?

Alison: It looks like an iguana. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah. It really does.

Michael: Yeah, it does.

Eric: Are they plummeting into a lake? Are they just…?

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Kat: The trio are jumping off.

Michael: It’s exactly the moment when they jump off into the lake.

Chris: Hmm. Which is not a moment to reference, really.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Well, and the way they’ve drawn this, they made a mistake the way they jumped: They all jumped on top of each other!

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Whoops.

Alison: Spread out a little bit.

Eric: There will be head injuries in this book.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And they chose the doe for the crest at the top because there’s always a crest.

Chris: Which actually looked… first time it’s actually looked like a doe as well.

Alison: It looks like a doe!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yay!

Chris: Well done, Holland.

Kat: And that is definitely… that’s an actual clip art or photography that they put a nice little effect around there.

[Alison laughs]

Alison, Chris, and Michael: Yes.

Kat: That is a creepy dragon.

Eric: Yeah, mad props to the Netherlands.

Alison: Yeah, it looks like it’s looking at me. I don’t like it.

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Eric: It is a creepy dragon. But it is blind, after all, so it can’t see you.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: If that’s comfort.

Alison: Thank you.

Eric: You can sleep now that it can’t see you.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: So now, the pocket edition is a shot of the woods.

Chris: I love that cover.

Kat: It’s really pretty.

Alison: That’s beautiful.

Eric: It’s actually the color that’s striking; it’s a blue and a pink with grey in the background. This is quite nice.

Kat: It’s sunrise.

Michael: Yeah, it’s this really bold digital ink art.

Alison: It almost looks like wood carving.

Kat: Yeah, it does.

Alison: Oh, what’s that called? I can’t think of what it’s called.

Kat: Wood carving.

Alison: No, no, no. There’s a certain…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: There is a name. Yeah, I like it.

Michael: That’s cool.

Chris: Yeah, relief. Is it relief or something?

Kat: Bas-relief? No, I don’t think so.

Alison: I don’t think that was what I was thinking of.

Eric: That’s a good word.

Michael: That’s really neat, how they did capture that sunrise effect really well.

Eric: It is dawn.

Kat: Yeah, definitely. It’s gorgeous. I want that one. Forget Italy. No, I’m just kidding. I still want that one.

Alison: Yeah, I like that one.

Eric: I want it, but I couldn’t ever read it.

Alison: Also, pocket edition? Is it smaller? I want to know what the size of that book is.

Michael: I think so.

Kat: We all need those.

Eric: It’s just highlights from the book.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: It’s the Cliffs Notes edition.

Chris: Death, death, and more death.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It’s everyone who dies.

Michael: Apparently, the Netherlands did the pocket editions to increase sales, so rather than paperback, this was their version of that.

Kat: How big is it? Did you find any information?

Alison: I was going to say, yeah, would it actually fit in my pocket? Because then I would have one.

Michael: I couldn’t find that information out. Hey, Netherlands, help us out. If we have any listeners from over there too, [we] need your help on that one.

Eric: Yeah. It’s pronunciation time.

Michael: Oh, hold on. I’ve got to listen to it one more time. [pauses] Harry Potter en de Relieken van de Dood.

Chris: That’s very good.

Kat: Yeah, that was very good.

Michael: Thank you.

Eric: I think there’s a real career in international Harry Potter book title reading for you.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yep, that’s all I can read, Harry Potter book titles.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Okay, without further ado, let’s talk about Spain.

Michael: Español!

Eric: Or the Spanish language edition.

Michael: Sí, sí.

Alison: [in a sing-song voice] Español.

Kat: I still love that it’s Salamandra on the front.

Chris: Actually, can we clarify: Is this the Spanish edition or the Spanish language? Is there a difference?

Kat: Well, we aren’t really sure because in the past it has said that it was the Spanish edition, and then some said it was Mexico or Spain…

Michael: From what I could tell, this is the edition that is released for Spanish speakers in the US.

Kat: Okay.

Michael: The other countries that speak different versions of Spanish, like Portuguese and whatnot, they usually just do the American or the British covers, just altered.

Alison and Chris: Oh, okay.

Eric: Oh, so I misspoke for sure. This is not Spain. But this is the US Spanish language edition, or… now I’m trying to figure out…

Michael: Yeah, you would find this in the US. They do sell this at bookstores and you’ll find it at libraries.

Alison: Cool.

Eric: Yeah, so this is actually really interesting. They’ve chosen to do a close-up of Voldemort facing Harry with, presumably, the Deathstick, the unbeatable wand.

Kat: My favorite thing… sorry.

Eric: Go on.

Kat: No, you go.

Eric: It’s just these two. It’s not Death Eaters, it’s not any kind of mice around the corner…

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: No mice!

Eric: … no doe, no attempt at a doe…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: … no disappointing sad attempt at a silver doe. Yeah, I like it. It’s just Voldemort, Harry, the woods, and a fire.

Kat: And the pouch, Hagrid’s pouch! Which is my favorite part of this cover, the little pouch.

Chris: Yeah.

Alison: Oh, okay.

Michael: Oh, nice.

Alison: I really like the way they’ve done Harry here. I don’t know. I just love that texturing.

Kat: Yeah. Love it.

Chris: He looks really pissed off that he’s been set on fire.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: He has good highlights, though, so…

Alison: Yes, he does.

Eric: He looks almost older than his years. Not that he looks old, but that the fire in his face shows his wear.

Kat: His haggard…

Chris: I also really like that they’ve properly got the green eyes through…

Alison, Eric, and Kat Yeah.

Chris: … which is a touch that gets missed quite a lot.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Looking at you, three Davids.

Michael: It’s interesting that… I think all of the Spanish language covers do this, where there’s… with this art style there’s a lack of depth so it all feels very flat. It’s very interesting because it feels like there really isn’t much of a plane of depth here. It’s just Harry and fire and Voldemort. It all feels very…

Kat: Yeah, there [are] not a lot of shadows, either.

Michael: No.

Alison: But there’s so much nice texturing that I don’t know if you could call it flat.

Michael: Yeah, no; it’s not quite flat, but it has that effect.

Kat: The flames look almost digital to me and the rest looks hand-drawn. I know that’s weird, but…

Michael: Yeah, the flames do look like a different style compared to the rest of it.

Alison: It all looks like it was cut out from construction paper to me.
Nice paper, like they cut it out.

Kat: That would be an awesome style for a cover.

Alison: That would be.

Eric: I do like the flames licking the air. I like that.

Michael: It’s nice, too, because the Spanish editions… because what they were trying to do, I think, early on was copy Mary GrandPré, but they’ve gone off on their own a little bit, finally, and they’re doing their own thing, which is nice to see.

Kat: For sure.

Eric: Can we trouble you for pronunciation?

Michael: Harry Potter y las reliquias de la Muerte. Español!

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Ay, caramba.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: This is one of my favorites coming up. This is one of my favorites!

Kat: Ooh. Wow, that’s pretty!

Chris: Wow.

Alison: Ooh!

Chris: That doesn’t even look like book cover art; that looks like fan art.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Kat: It does, doesn’t it? Is it fan art?

Chris: It’s stunning.

Michael: No, it’s a book cover.

Kat: It doesn’t have a title on it.

Michael: Oh, but it’s a print of the book cover. If you click the… yeah, the link takes you to the book cover.

Alison: Man, this is… ooh.

Kat: Ahh, wow. Man.

Chris: That is cool.

Alison: They even included the little Deathly Hallows symbol at the bottom.

Kat: I love all the animals, and there’s definitely what looks like Inferi in there. Or maybe those are Dementors.

Alison: And Harry looks like he’s floating into this other dimension.

Michael: And he’s asleep too.

Eric: Harry is totally Katie Bell-ing right now.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: For real!

Michael: It’s like the Pensieve too.

Eric: The swirls.

Chris: They’re winning. They’re totally winning for me right now.

Michael: This is one of my favorites.

Kat: Harry is so 21st century. He’s super stylish.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah!

Chris: Well, that’s the Swedish for you.

Kat: I mean, it looks like he borrowed [the Tenth Doctor’s] coat.

Michael: [laughs] That’s true.

Alison: And I love these ones that are reaching for his head, like… what?

Eric: Yeah, it reminds me of seductive death, pulling him in and welcoming him and being like, “Hey.”

Michael: That is a really… I think that is a really cool idea with this one because a lot of these creatures are not necessarily Harry Potter creatures; they are representations of death, some of these things, so that’s really cool.

Kat: Oh, there is a dragon in there.

Michael: Yeah, there’s a few… definitely some of these are Harry Potter creatures, but some of them aren’t.

Kat: That looks like Jack Skellington in the lake there.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: [singing] “What’s this? I’m on a Harry Potter cover!”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Disney is just trying to buy everything these days.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Yeah, they are. I like the contrast between the black and the blues into the orange/red in the middle. I really like that.

Kat: It’s Harry ascending to death.

Alison: Yeah!

Chris: Ooh.

[Kat sings in an angelic voice]

Michael: There you go.

Eric: Yeah, I’m getting a poster made of this cover for sure.

Michael: Awesome job, Sweden.

Alison: That one’s beautiful.

Kat: It’s gorgeous.

Michael: Well, yeah, there is a place to buy the prints for Sweden’s covers.

Kat: Really?

Michael: I believe so. I think the artist, you can buy the covers from.

Alison: I want one of those.

Chris: Literally, we’re all going to have this.

Kat: I think we’re going to put that in the show notes.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Chris: That’s going up on my wall right now.

Alison: Beautiful.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: That’s going to be a new Patreon perk there, everybody.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Sign up!

Eric: Yeah, I really like the non-color corrected version because the other version has it more of a green than a black, and I prefer the black. So that’s cool. Michael, how do we say this?

Michael: Harry Potter och Dödsrelikerna.

Eric: There we go. Short and sweet.

Kat: Hermione is really good at Swedish.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: It sounded like Hermione.

Michael: Not quite Hermione. For some reason my voice does go up when I get into these pronunciations.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Okay, so now the Ukraine…

Chris: Wow.

Alison: So interesting.

Michael: My favorite!

Kat: These are always the best.

Alison: The band is back.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: The band is back! These have to be viewed at the highest resolution possible to get the full effect.

Michael: Click the links.

Kat: Yeah, definitely click that link. Holy crap, these are amazing! Wow.

Eric: There are so many more things in these covers than…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Let’s start with the front, Eric.

Eric: Oh, I was going to start with the back. We’re going to go left to right.

[Michael and Alison laugh]

Kat: Okay, start with the back.

Eric: Left to right, the escape from Privet Drive [and] Hagrid really getting his motorcycle on.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Just gunning it, flooring it. And Harry, off the back, shooting spells… hello.

Kat: God, that is awesome. That is my favorite depiction of Hagrid ever.

Alison: Hagrid looks like… Did you guys ever do this when you were kids? You would ride your bike and you would get fast enough so that you didn’t have to pedal, and then you would lift your feet off?

Chris and Kat: Yeah.

Alison: That’s what he looks like he’s doing. He’s just like, “Woo!” [laughs]

Kat: Whee! [laughs]

Eric: Oh, like jumping off a swing. That would be the Death Eaters, the wizards who are just plummeting toward the ground [that] may or may not be on fire.

Michael: Like fireballs.

Eric: They may or may not be on fire, burning to death.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: I love Shell Cottage.

Chris: That’s not Shell Cottage, that’s Fossil Palace is what that is.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah, Fleur and Bill moved there afterward.

Michael: They upgraded.

Chris: And apparently, Old Deuteronomy from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats is standing outside it.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Oh, man.

Michael: Crazy.

Kat: And Groot is there.

Eric: Yeah, Groot.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: So that’s good.

Eric: Prominent. Special guest appearance by Groot.

Alison: The theme has changed so quickly. [laughs]

Michael: I love… well, yeah. That’s so cool because the tree on that side is just a tree on the shore, but on the other side it’s the tree overlooking the sword and the pool.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: [gasps] Wait, look! It’s Snape sneaking out behind a tree.

Chris: It is.

Alison: What?

Kat: Look, it’s Snape.

Alison: Oh my gosh!

Chris: That’s pretty cool.

Michael: Oh, yeah! Look, it is!

Eric: Oh God, that’s awesome.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: That’s crazy!

Kat: That is so cool.

Chris: I have to say, though – spoiler alert – on the back cover, there’s a dead baby under it.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: That’s creepy. Unless you’ve read the book – which obviously you probably haven’t if you’re just picking up – if you’re looking at the cover art, chances are you’re still in the bookshop. That’s quite disturbing.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: It is.

Alison: It really is.

Kat: Especially since there’s a knife right there.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Harry has just killed a baby!

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Oh, boy!

Eric: “What have I done? What have I done?”

Chris: And who is in the background above Harry’s head?

Michael: Oh, I think that’s Ron carrying Hermione, and is that Luna who’s coming towards Harry?

Kat: Must be. But it looks like she’s in Hogwarts robes.

Chris: Yeah, blue Hogwarts robes, naturally.

Eric: Of course. There is somebody carrying another body, isn’t it? That’s not Dobby.

Kat: Yeah, it does look like Ron, maybe with Hermione.

Eric: Maybe that’s Fleur? In blue?

Michael: Oh look, there’s the Deathly Hallows symbol sitting on a marijuana leaf at the bottom of the spine.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: What? Where?

Alison: I thought that too!

Eric: Okay, we’ve moved onto the spine.

Kat: Oh.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: The Deathly Hallows symbol, yeah.

Kat: But wait, wait! The sword of Gryffindor is with Snape on the back part.

Eric and Michael: Yeah, in the pond.

Eric: And then you’ve got…

Kat: And it’s silver.

[Michael laughs]

Chris: With a gold hilt.

Eric: Let’s rate the doe on this book cover now on the back.

Alison: [laughs] It’s pretty good.

Michael: It looks good.

Kat: It’s very happy.

Eric: Chris, do you like this doe? Is this cool?

Chris: Yeah, it looks like it needs a bit of food. I won’t lie. I can see its ribs.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It’s a little emaciated.

Michael: It’s quite a slim waist.

Kat: It’s a little skinny.

Eric: But actually, the spine is, for me, the highlight. There’s so much going on, but the spine presents sort of an older version of…

Chris: Of Daniel Radcliffe.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah!

Michael: That’s the thing, that the Ukraine covers seem to end up modeling them pretty much after the movies as far as their… except Ron on the cover looks like Goblet of Fire Ron.

Alison: Yeah, I was going to get to that.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Yeah, it does, you’re right, with that hair.

Alison: And his hair is yellow. They look like a ’70s…

Chris: He looks strangely like a mix between Fleur and Bill, actually.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Oh, gosh. The rumor mill’s going to start.

Alison: No! The cover looks like a ’70s hair metal band. [laughs]

Kat: Totally.

Eric: The cover is something unto itself. It’s really, truly…

[Chris laughs]

Michael: It is.

Chris: Has anyone seen the head of the snake, just out of interest?

Michael: Yeah, I think that’s supposed to be Bathilda Bagshot.

Alison: What?

Eric: Oh my God.

Kat: Oh, boy!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Look at her hair!

Michael: Oh my God, look at her…

Kat: That is the most epic mullet or mohawk.

Michael: Have you guys seen…?

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Look at Hermione’s designer bag.

Alison and Chris: Yeah.

Kat: I know. So fetch.

Michael: [laughs] Fabulous.

Alison: Ukraine just gave away the whole plot of the book on the cover.

Eric: Well, actually, if you’re looking to do that, this really covers it…

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Kat: It does.

Eric: You’ve got the Gringotts stuff, [with] the treasure at the bottom of the front cover. Also, again, a Greek bust on a pillar just like in the… was it the Finland [cover]?

Alison: It’s in the Room of Requirement. It’s the thing that Harry put the diadem on.

Eric: There’s just something Roman…

Kat: Well, and this is the one where Harry meets the Queen of England because you see he’s holding her crown.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That’s some diadem.

Eric: That is some diadem.

Kat: Yeah, that is an epic diadem.

Michael: Are you guys looking at the…? I did put in a high-res one of just the front, and if you look on the bottom right just below that bust that’s falling off of the pillar, that’s Neville with the Sorting Hat on his head.

Alison: What?

Kat: Sorting Hat!

Alison: Oh my gosh!

Chris: Literally the entire story.

Kat: I love these covers so much.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Also, I just want to appreciate the fact that the trio… all of their hair is being blown in different directions, but they’re all standing… [laughs]

Eric: It’s a very special wind.

Michael: Dumbledore is in that little orb on the left.

Alison: Oh my gosh!

Chris: I’m guessing that’s the mirror.

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: Oh. So maybe it’s Aberforth.

Eric: It looks more like an orb, yeah.

Chris: Oh yeah.

Michael: Oh, and the Fiendfyre monsters are ordering the title.

Chris: There is nothing that they haven’t managed to crowbar onto this, is there?

Michael: Yep. Voldemort is even standing up on the top tower going, “Nyaaah!”

Chris: Like what he does in the trailer.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: And there’s a centaur… oh my God, it’s all happening.

Kat: Yeah, it looks like people are being thrown off of Hogwarts.

Alison: Oh my gosh!

Eric: That probably happened.

Kat: On the left side of the front cover.

Michael: So many bodies.

Alison: That’s where the movie got inspiration. They changed Fred’s death to be like this cover instead.

Chris: Yeah, the only thing that’s not there, basically.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: Many people don’t know this, but Hedwig on the spine is carrying a letter that says, “I die in this book.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: And I want to talk about spine Harry. He looks at peace. He’s holding the Snitch.

Kat: It’s because he’s about to die.

Alison: I think he’s at King’s Cross because the color of the robes…

Kat: No, it’s “The Forest Again,” right before he’s going to die.

Eric: He’s naked [at King’s Cross].

Alison: Are you sure? Because the color of the robes are blue in King’s Cross and he’s wearing blue there.

Michael: Oh, he always… Harry always wears blue robes on the Ukraine [covers]. The Hogwarts uniform is blue. It’s right before he’s going to kiss the Snitch and say he’s going to die, I think.

Alison: Oh, okay.

Kat: For sure. And is that the Snitch falling from his hand on the front cover? What is that?

Michael: No, that’s the locket!

Alison: What?

Kat: Oh, the locket!

Michael: You see the eye inside?

Eric: The Voldemort eyes.

Kat: Oh, yeah, yeah! That makes sense.

Alison: Oh my gosh!

[Michael laughs]

Kat: They’re blue. They should be red. Whatever.

Michael: God, Ukraine, did you read the book?

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: We wouldn’t be able to tell from the cover! And my favorite publisher, A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: A listener very kindly explained to me that apparently the publisher is named after basically the Ukraine’s phonetic spelling of a baby when they’re going, “Ga-ga, goo-goo!”

Eric: Oh, wow.

Michael: And that’s what that is.

Kat: Really?

Eric: So it’s intentional?

Michael: Yes.

Kat: So Michael, read the back for us.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: No, thank you.

Kat: Wait, can Google read it for us?

Michael: No.

Alison: I was going to say, what does Ukraine say on their hardcover?

Michael: I tried to get this title translated, but for some reason, Google will not read aloud the Ukraine translation.

Chris: Oh.

Kat: Aww, that’s sad.

Chris: It basically says, “In this book Fred dies, Harry beats Voldemort, Dobby gets killed…“

[Kat and Michael laughs]

Alison: For the rest, look at the art. [laughs]

Kat: I do see where it says, “Mister H. Potter.” I do see that in the back because it matches what is on the letter that Hedwig… oh, wait, never mind, that’s Hedwig saying, “I die in this book.” Never mind.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: It’s also worth noting – because I know Kat wanted to see this at the end – the spines for the Ukraine edition.

Kat: Ooh, ooh! Yeah, yeah!

Michael: Look what they do.

Alison: Ooh! That’s sweet.

Kat: That’s weird.

Chris: I do quite like Richard Harris’s wing.

Michael: Yeah, his robes turning into a wing. Yeah, that’s cool.

Kat: Right, those are weird. They match up but don’t match up.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Well, yeah, and it’s like Sorcerer’s Stone has nothing to do with the rest of…

Alison: It’s just there.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: They started planning this by Chamber literally.

Eric: [laughs] They were like, “Hey, this is going to make one big thing.”

Michael: It’s cool.

Kat: But Dumbledore turns into a phoenix?

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Chris: He rises again.

Michael: Yes, I’m all for that. It’s cool. It’s symbolic!

Alison: He goes to a dragon, and then to a hippogriff, and then to a phoenix.

Kat: But on the fourth one there [are] leaves at the top that don’t go to anything.

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Kat: This is poorly executed, Ukraine.

Alison: Oh, gosh!

Kat: I am very disappointed.

Michael: Well tried, Ukraine.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Hey, don’t judge a book by its spine, okay?

[Chris laughs]

Michael: I love it. I think it’s actually… because the only other series that we know of that does this is Kazu’s, and he had the benefit of having all seven books already done by the time he did his spines.

Kat: Right.

Michael: But I think it’s pretty cool, actually. I want this one.

Eric: So we’re at that point where we’re getting onto the US and the UK books, the ones where…

Michael: Ooh, before you go, I’ll try and butcher the Ukraine pronunciation.

Eric: Oh, please do!

Michael: [laughs] Google wouldn’t give me the sounds, so I…

Eric: I left you an out, I really did.

Michael: Oh no, this is… you should have because, really, this is a total guess. I’m sorry, Ukraine. Harry Potter i Cmeptealhi Peaikbii. That’s a guess. That’s just a guess. [laughs]

Eric: I’m pretty sure that translates to “Harry Potter and Hedwig Dies in This Book.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: “Harry Potter and the Everyone’s Dead.”

Kat: No, it’s probably trying to pronounce the name of the castle. What did you say it was? Unik?

Chris: Unik, yeah.

Kat: Yeah, it’s probably like Shermol… I don’t know.

Michael: Shmertolnia.

Alison: Shmerl…

Kat: I can’t pronounce things.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Shmertol. [laughs]

Kat: Shmertol, there you go. Perfect.

Michael: English editions, the ones we’re all familiar with. [laughs]

Kat: Can you pronounce the name of this one, please?

Michael: [in a British accent] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Eric: Ahh!

Alison: You went from American to… [laughs]

Kat: You didn’t say it LA enough.

Michael: Oh, you want the American version?

Alison: No, no, I just thought it was…

Michael: [in a Valley girl accent] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Whatever.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: There you go.

Eric: Very regional speech. So this is…

Michael: [in a Valley girl accent] Oh my God! Harry Potter!

Eric: This is an e-book cover. So it probably doesn’t exist in ink anywhere, but it looks like it’s a photograph of a book. It’s kind of textured the way paint on canvas…

Alison: I like it.

Kat: Yeah, these are brand new.

Eric: Oh yeah. And the artist here is Olly Moss.

[Alison and Kat gasp]

Chris: I really like this.

Alison: I just noticed something!

Kat: Ooh, cool!

Michael: You all just saw the scar.

Alison: Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Kat: The lightning bolt is Voldemort’s face!

Michael: Yep.

Kat: That is so dope!

Alison: That’s awesome!

Michael: It was so funny because when I first saw this cover, I was like, “Oh, this cover is boring.” And then I looked closer and I was like, [gasps] “That’s so clever!”

Kat: It’s so beautiful.

Eric: I’ve actually never seen this… oh my God, the scar is Voldemort, hey!

Michael: What a twist!

Kat: You’re a few minutes late, Eric.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I was just kidding.

Eric: No, no, I was listening. I was just repeating. It was for effect.

Kat: I know. [laughs]

Eric: Also, the predominate color is green.

Michael: Green. Interesting choice.

Alison: It’s just monochrome.

Michael: Slytherin!

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Yeah, it’s beautiful.

Eric: What do we think?

Kat: It’s very simple but very pretty.

Eric: Why do we think Harry’s eyes are closed?

Kat: Because he’s dead.

Alison: Because it’s the moment before he dies, when he closes his eyes and he just thinks of Ginny.

Kat: And Voldemort shows up on his head, yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Zing!

Michael: Bing!

Kat: No, I do think that this is “The Forest Again,” the moment just after that when he is…

Eric: Yeah, choosing to accept his fate.

Kat: Yeah, because he’s in the forest and he says that he can smell the forest and everything. I would imagine at that moment, you feel kind of green.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Is the planet interconnected to the universe?

Michael: I can’t believe that this is actually the first time that somebody has put Voldemort in Harry’s scar.

Kat: I know. That’s so brilliant.

Michael: It seems so obvious now of a piece of imagery that it took this long for somebody to do that.

Eric: It’s kind of a spoiler.

Alison: Also, the scar looks more like a scar. They look very distinctively like a lightning bolt. This looks like a scar that just happens to look like a lightning bolt, not like someone drew a lightning bolt on his head.

[Chris and Michael laugh]

Eric: It’s very well done.

Chris and Eric: Yeah.

Kat: It’s beautiful indeed.

Eric: But speaking of staying in touch with contemporary covers, we’re getting now to the US paperback with art by Kazu Kibuishi.

Michael: Our friend Kazu.

Alison: This is pretty!

Kat: Where’s the full version? Don’t we have a full version of Kazu’s front? Oh wait, no, his don’t wrap.

Alison and Michael: No.

Kat: Never mind. I forgot they don’t wrap.

Michael: Right, that’s that whole spine thing.

Kat: Right. The back covers of his have always been my favorite for most of them. And I love this because this is the only time we actually get to see… what moment is this? Is this the final battle?

Alison: I think it’s right before… wait, no, it’s got to be the final battle. That looks like…

Kat: Yeah, because that’s all wood and stuff around them, right?

Alison: Well, and that goes with the quote too.

Michael: Yeah, it’s the Great Hall.

Kat: Yeah. And this is the only cover that shows that.

Eric: No, that’s not true; the original US…

Alison: Yeah, Mary GrandPré does.

Michael: Yeah, Mary’s does too.

Kat: Well, I know, but I guess I meant… you get to see all the people and the actual destruction. The original Mary GrandPré version…

Eric: Yeah, which we’ll talk about.

Alison: I really like his quote choice. That’s crazy good.

Kat: Which he picked himself, which makes me so proud.

Michael: Yes!

Kat: I’m so proud of Kazu. He picked really good ones.

Michael: Yes, we got confirmation on that when Kazu guested on our episode after Goblet of Fire, where he helped us with the book wrap.

Kat: Right.

Eric: But then the first cover is, of course, the trio escaping on the dragon. And actually, it’s good use of color here. I did get to watch… it was at one of the Celebrations of Harry Potter down in Florida. He did a demonstration of how he digitally draws, and it’s actually just fascinating to watch how everything is layered. But you get the spikes of the tail with the light reflecting off of them, and it really just looks cool as well as the scales. So I actually like this a lot.

Alison: I love the light through the wings.

Michael: It’s cool.

Kat: It’s beautiful.

Alison: That’s awesome.

Michael: I like that the dragon’s eyes are just a glowing eye. That’s pretty cool.

Kat: Blind dragon. Yeah, it’s really pretty.

Chris: I also quite like that the dragon is kind of smiling.

Michael and Alison: Yeah.

Chris: You can see that it’s glad it’s got that freedom. I quite like that.

Kat: It’s sniffing the air.

Eric: It’s just been freed. I like that a lot.

Michael: Well, and Kazu, I think, was pretty intent on being close to details because Ron and Hermione are in their Death Eater robes like they should be, and Hermione is wearing Bellatrix’s boots.

Chris: Yeah.

Alison: And they’re ragged. Their clothes are ragged.

Michael: Yeah. The interesting thing is that this is one of the few covers where Kazu fully exposes all three of their faces.

Kat: Right.

Michael: Because he was very intent on going the route that Pottermore went originally, where he hid the faces to let the audience imagine their faces. But he ended up doing a face reveal for this last cover.

Eric: Well, it’s time for my favorite of the Deathly Hallows covers, which is actually the US deluxe edition by Mary GrandPré. So this was available in bookstores, I think, pretty much at the same time, but it was obviously a lot more money. It has a wraparound cover featuring the escape from Gringotts, but more importantly the dragon roaming over the English countryside as it makes its way toward their eventual destination. And this is more amazing when you have it on the book, when you have a book that has this…

Michael: Yeah, it’s pretty cool.

Eric: It’s really just cool.

Kat: Because it has no words, right? The hard case has the words on it.

Eric: Right, exactly. And the underneath as well. But the book itself, the colors and the way that this is painted – actually painted – is just really cool.

Alison: Yeah, this is another one I want as a poster because it’s so pretty.

Michael: Yeah, really nice. I think it’s interesting that we didn’t know the breed of the dragon was a Ukrainian Ironbelly because it was never specified. So she ended up drawing it how I imagined a Chinese Fireball would look.

Eric: Well, do you know what’s funny? We speculated for an hour and a half on MuggleCast.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Based on this book cover, we thought it was an Antipodean Opaleye, which is from Australia.

Michael: Ooh.

Eric: In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, of the six dragons or so that are listed, the Antipodean Opaleye has an opal eye. It [has] white eyes. And I was convinced and thrilled to be so… I was living in New Zealand at the time and I was just like, “Oh my God! J.K. Rowling made a dragon from the South Pacific for this book cover. I’m freaking out. I’m freaking out.” Turns out it’s just a blind dragon.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It could be any other breed; it’s just blinded from being mistreated and at the bottom of Gringotts all this time. So it ended up not being the Antipodean Opaleye.

Michael: No, but it’s still a pretty cool dragon design.

Eric: It’s a cool dragon.

Michael: And she’s still… just like Kazu, she was up on the details. She has Hermione and Ron in different robes than Harry, so she was paying attention.

Kat: Yep.

Eric: That’s really cool. Gosh, I want to go on a dragon ride along the English countryside.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Although, wait a second. Now, I always confuse this. Dragons have four legs or two? Because there’s a…

Alison and Michael: Four.

Kat: Okay.

Michael: Four because if you have two, you have a Wyvern.

Kat: Wyverns. Okay, that’s it.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Okay, I always forget which is which. Okay, cool. Because the dragon on Gringotts in Florida only has two legs, I think.

Michael: Sometimes they put the front…

Alison: Well, because you can’t see the back end, can you?

Kat: You can. I forget. Never mind. I always mix it up.

Alison: Oh. I don’t remember.

Michael: Some dragon designs, they put the front claws on the wings. They make that a part of the wings, so that might be the case.

Chris: Or they end up with those little tiny T-rex hands as well, don’t they?

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Alison: Yeah. I do think that’s what the one in Florida will be because I think that’s how they do it in the movie.

Kat: Right, yeah. She has two big back legs and then no front legs.

Alison: Well, I think they’re just attached to the wings.

Michael: Yeah, they’re tiny.

Alison: Because she claws her way out and the wings are attached to that.

Eric: Oh, right!

Kat: Right, but she doesn’t have any actual arms. She just has claws on the wings.

Alison: Yeah, because the wings are then like a continuation of that.

Eric: They function that way.

Kat: Right, so that’s why people are saying that, technically, the one at Universal is a Wyvern. Because she doesn’t have four legs.

Michael: What we’re basically saying is, “Mr. Scamander, why wasn’t the Ukrainian Ironbelly in your book if you know so much about dragons?”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: That’s right.

Michael: “Get on that, sir.”

Kat: He’ll put out a 75th edition for…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: So moving on from that to the regular US edition [by] Mary GrandPré… this is not the Department of Mysteries.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: The columns… see, there’s something Roman about this, right? I mean, am I wrong?

Chris: No, it’s the Colosseum. Yeah.

Eric: It just [really] struck me as being the Ministry of Magic with the ceiling blown off, facing the sky, but it’s the courtyard at Hogwarts. There is broken wood snapped in half. Some pieces… I like the idea of the curtains as being like, “This is a dramatic play coming to a close,” the curtains on both sides of the book.

Chris and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: The curtains are a recall to Sorcerer’s Stone because she has curtains on that cover as well.

Kat: Wait, has it been confirmed this is a courtyard? Because isn’t that just the Hogwarts magic sky? I mean, ceiling?

Michael: Yeah, that’s the Great Hall.

Kat: That’s the Great Hall.

Alison: Yeah, no, I think it’s the Great Hall.

Eric: Oh, all this time I thought it was where they’re facing off in the courtyard, but they’re actually facing off in the Great Hall in the book.

Kat and Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Courtyard is the movie.

Eric: Yeah. Damn.

Michael: I think the thing that was a mislead with all of this is that the way Mary GrandPré depicted the Great Hall, it does… like you’re saying, Eric, and like you said, Chris, it’s like a courtyard or a Colosseum because she made it curved and she made the sky very flat on the top.

Alison, Chris, and Kat: Yeah.

Michael: So it doesn’t look like the description of the Great Hall.

Chris: I love Mary’s drawings, but to me they’re very… they’ve got a very American eye to them, to me.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Chris: I think they’re absolutely beautiful. They never seem to represent anything particular. There never appears to be any sort of proper British… what’s the word I’m after? Yeah, they don’t seem to…

Eric: Nuance?

Chris: Yeah, I mean, the architecture of the Great Hall there; that is just… there’s nothing British about it, which I think is what throws everyone. And obviously, because like it or not, we are very much sort of… we have our image of the Great Hall ingrained in us, thanks to celluloid film and everything else as well.

Michael: Yeah.

[Alison laughs]

Chris: It’s such a different concept for it, that it is… yeah, it’s quite ambiguous.

Michael: And this cover generated so much talk because we got this before the release and everybody was like, “What are they reaching toward? Where are they?”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Well, I love this cover for one reason and one reason only, which is that we were able to place a little iPod on Harry’s hand…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: … for the album art cover of MuggleCast for the last seven years, so that was pretty cool. But otherwise, compared to the UK Deathly Hallows – which is the book I first got, as I said earlier – it pales in comparison. There is nothing like… although, I guess we can’t actually… did we skip that? Is that not…?

Chris: It’s right at the bottom.

Alison: Is that the last one?

Michael: It’s at the bottom, yeah.

Eric: We have to segue to the children’s edition because I really want to talk about the children’s edition.

Michael: Oh, I thought we’d save it for last just because it’s the iconic one.

Eric: There’s so much between here and there! Okay. We don’t need to skip to there, but I’ll just say the UK edition is much cooler.

[Kat laughs]

Alison: Oh, I really like the US one, but I think it might be a sentimental thing.

Kat: For sure it is.

Michael: I like the US one but it’s not my favorite of Mary’s artwork.

Alison: I think I like Harry’s depiction in this US one.

Kat: For sure, yeah.

Alison: A lot.

Michael: Mary for me is the champion of maturing Harry through the art.

Eric: She did do that well.

Kat: France did pretty good too. Don’t discount France.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Oh, no, I’m not. But I think on a personal level, Mary… I was interested to see how she would do that because she does really… she did it through every single book.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: And Kat…

Kat: What?

Michael: Your little pouch. Harry’s pouch is on his neck.

Kat: Oh yeah. It is. You’re right.

Michael: [laughs] The details.

Kat: I was going to say that on a personal level, since we’re moving on to the UK one here, I want this locket.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Why did we go to the crappy, crappy, crappy locket from the movies instead of this gorgeous Slytherin locket?

Michael: That’s very pretty.

Kat: I want that. That is stunning.

Eric: That is a pretty cool locket. I wouldn’t want it for real unless you could actually speak Parseltongue to it and have it open.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: No, okay, I guess I meant I wanted this one in the movie. I didn’t want the crappy, crappy one that they made for the movie.

Alison: Oh yeah.

Eric: I think it was fine in the movie.

Kat: Sorry, MinaLima. I love you very much, but I prefer this locket. [laughs]

Eric: But this is a very nice jewel-encrusted locket. It’s the UK adult edition, which I had at one point on paperback, and it’s cool. It just features the locket, which, as we know, is the locket Horcrux, which was very prominent from the end of Half-Blood Prince. It’s kind of a big deal, so the fact that it’s actually – what’s the word? – a prop or relic from Book 6 makes the cover of Book 7 because…

Michael: Yeah, this was an interesting choice compared to any other object you could have picked for it.

Kat: What else could they have put on there? They can’t put what a Deathly Hallow is on there.

Eric: The doe.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Actually, they choose inanimate objects, foremost, for the UK Adult.

Alison: Could they have put the Elder wand?

Kat: No, that’s a Hallow. Totally would’ve given it away.

Michael: I just feel like the locket really is more integral to [Book 6] than [Book 7].

Kat: Sure, sure.

Eric: Well, considering they do spend a majority of Deathly Hallows wearing the locket…

Michael: Looking for it, yeah, for sure.

Kat: Could’ve been the sword of Gryffindor.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Eric: Maybe.

Michael: These are the editions that when somebody comes over to your house, and they’re like, [in a British accent] “Is that Harry Potter on your shelf?” You can be like, “No.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: “I’m an adult.”

Chris: That’s the one the people read on the tube; [that’s] what happened there.

Eric, Kat, and Michael: Yeah.

Eric: And moving on, briefly, to the UK, the new adult edition with art by Andrew Davidson.

Chris: I really like this one.

Alison: Ooh.

Eric: This is the art where if you walk into Waterstones now in Piccadilly, they’ve only got these book covers.

Chris: They’re really nice.

Eric: They really pop, actually.

Michael: Hey, they chose green, too, for this one.

Eric: It’s green and orange, which work really well against each other. And you have, essentially, Nagini coming at you in the courtyard.

Alison: It’s terrifying.

Eric: This is from Neville’s POV right now. This is the last thing Neville sees before he claims his badass status.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: I’ve said this before with these covers; I like the Saul Bass-like font where they’ve just done all the weird cutouts and angles all funny. It’s cool.

Kat: Although, I disagree with Eric; the orange on the green is terrible. But that’s the graphic designer. It’s terrible.

Alison: Really?

Chris: Aww.

Kat: It’s pretty terrible.

Michael: The graphic designer’s nightmare.

Kat: Yeah, you would never ever do that.

Eric: It’s purple, isn’t it, that’s complimentary to green? It’s purple and green; it’s not orange.

Michael: That would have been pretty since those are wizard colors anyway; those are colors that wizards use.

Kat: Actually, it’s red and green, orange and blue, [and] yellow and purple, for the record.

Eric: Oh yeah. Huh. I’m just wrong. Really wrong.

[Chris and Eric laugh]

Eric: I like the look of purple and green, so there’s that.

Michael: Chris can get this fixed. Call somebody, Chris. Get this taken care of. Change this.

[Kat laughs]

Chris: I’ll do what I can, guys.

[Michael laughs]

Chris: No promises.

Eric: But yeah. But no, it’s really good art. That level of detail.

Kat: Very detailed. I like how it looks like it’s hash marks, how it’s all just… etched. [makes whooshing sounds]

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: It’s really pretty.

Eric: I’ve got to look at all the rest of the books in this cover. I tell myself I’m not going to buy anymore Harry Potter book covers, but …

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But it’s so hard!

Kat: I’ve been really inspired [by] our discussions to start an international Harry Potter library, but I don’t have the money or the space.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: It’s terribly tempting.

Eric: It’s really a matter of space for me. I’ll buy it whether I can afford it or not.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: But moving on, the signature edition of the UK Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows… I’m not sure… Chris, do you have any knowledge as to the signature edition? Is it just a nicer version of the books?

Chris: I have seen these, but I can’t for the life of me remember what is particularly special about them.

Kat: I think I remember Rosie saying it was for some anniversary, Eric.

Alison: Yeah, 15 or something?

Chris: There was once a really beautiful, almost fabric-y hardback set that they did that [was] gold-edged around… The leaves of each page were all gold-leafed. And I don’t know that this is the same set as those, but they disappeared, sadly, which they did before I ever had a chance to buy them because they were about £180 for the full set, which I wasn’t going to spend.

Alison: Oof.

Chris: So yeah. I’m not blown away by these ones, personally.

Michael: [On] the Bloomsbury website, the only thing they have to say about it is, “These books will have stylish marker ribbons and decorated endpapers.” Ooh.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: So these are the ones with the gold on the edge, yeah.

Chris: Ahh, okay. Yeah.

Eric: So it’s the scene of the graveyard and the Peverell crest is on one of the tombstones.

Alison: That says Ignotus. Yeah, you can clearly read that.

Chris: Yeah.

Kat: Good thing she didn’t name it the Peverell Quest because, hello, spoiler.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: We found it. [laughs]

Eric and Kat: Yeah.

Michael: I hope that’s not how Harry actually signs his name because that would be very obnoxious.

[Eric and Kat laugh]

Michael: Put a little lightning bolt with stars under it.

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: [laughs] “Wait, wait, hold on. I have to get this just right.”

[Chris laughs]

Michael: Way to be modest, Harry.

Kat: He learned from Lockhart, guys. Come on. Be real.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: That’s true. The UK actually revamped their children’s edition since the first time Deathly Hallows came out; we haven’t talked about that cover yet. They were saving it for last. It is the best for last. But this is the new UK children’s edition, featuring art by Jonny Duddle, featuring on the back cover Hagrid and Harry escaping, which I think is pretty cool. And on the front cover, the forest scene.

Kat: And Hedwig is very much alive on that back cover, happy to report.

Alison and Eric: Yes.

Michael: Oh my God, Harry is wearing the same hoodie he was wearing in the French edition.

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Kat: Oh yeah.

Alison: He is.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: There is some kind of conspiracy going on with product placement.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Red hoodies.

Eric: Red.

Michael: Definitely don’t remember a red hoodie being described in the book.

Alison: I think he wears one in the movie, too, so there you go. [laughs]

Eric: He does distinctly look younger than 17.

Chris and Kat: Yeah.

Eric: I’m looking on the back cover as well and zooming in, and he looks very, very, very young.

Michael: I really like Duddle’s covers, and his design of Harry is the only thing I don’t like because he does not mature him.

Alison: Yeah.

Chris: But if it’s the kids’ edition, I guess there’s a certain amount of almost emphasis on the protagonist being a child to some extent, isn’t it?

Michael: Being a kid.

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: But he’s just… The expression on the front cover is like, “Come here, you mean old man. Standing my ground because I am Harry.”

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Wait a minute, wait a minute. The back cover of this edition has a totally different synopsis.

Alison: Yeah, I was going to say, I was just looking at that.

Michael: That synopsis has the benefit of being way after the release.

Eric: Yeah, it’s like 12 years.

Michael: So you don’t have to maybe worry about…

Kat: But still. I mean, look at the quote at the top: “‘Give me Harry Potter,’ said Voldemort’s voice, ‘And none shall be harmed. Give me Harry Potter, and I shall leave this school untouched. Give me Harry Potter, and you will be rewarded.'”

Alison: Wow. Spoilers.

Kat: That is major. I mean, for a kid…

Michael: Oh no, they spoiled the biggest question: Will Hogwarts reopen?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Oh, darn.

Michael: Dang it.

Eric: Scholastic was very upset about this.

[Chris laughs]

Michael: I like that they just bolded [and] capitalized random words.

Alison: Yeah, there’s caps lock. [laughs]

Kat: Wait, let’s just read those.

Alison: “Leaving,” “Lord Voldemort,” “charm.”

Eric: Okay, okay.

Kat: “Broken.”

Alison: “Fear,” “loves,” “Horcruxes,” “battle.”

Kat: [Those are] the major themes right there.

Michael: Yep. That does not make a sentence.

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Kat: No.

Eric: Is that seven or eight?

Michael: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Alison: There [are] eight.

Kat: One for all the pieces of Voldemort’s soul.

Alison: There you go.

Eric: I’m honestly wondering if any other Harry Potter book covers to date have shown Bellatrix because I’m inclined to believe that is her.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Kat: That is her, definitely. With Lucius, right?

Michael: That’s definitely her.

Chris and Michael: Yeah.

Eric: She looks terrified.

Michael: Yeah, I think that is the first time.

Kat: Actually, that’s Narcissa; look at the white streak.

Chris: Oh, yeah, that is, isn’t it? That’s totally Narcissa.

Alison: Is it?

Kat: That’s Narcissa.

Eric: Meh. Well, Narcissa is more relevant to this scene, I guess.

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: She looks concerned about what’s happening. Oh, she almost looks like the guy in Mean Girls [laughs] when [Cady] snaps the crown. That’s what she looks like.

Kat: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Alison: Looks like she’s making a face.

Michael: I like Nagini in the orb. That’s pretty cool.

Kat: Same.

Michael: I like Voldemort’s design here too.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Michael: He’s pretty terrifying.

Kat: It’s really cool.

Alison: I’m not really a huge fan of these, though.

Chris: This appears to be the Voldemort that they were trying to go for on the Swedish one.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: That’s actually a really good point. He is in almost the exact same pose.

Chris: Yeah, with the fire between them; only that’s possibly… Is that a phoenix in the…? No, it’s almost, but no. Or is that just coincidence?

Michael: It’s very lava-like fire.

Alison and Chris: Yeah.

Kat: It is, yeah.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Harry has no feet anymore.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That’s got to hurt, yeah.

Michael: I like the cobwebs and everything in the trees too. For me, it captures properly… it reminds me of how the Forbidden Forest looked in the first movie. Very forbidding.

[Chris and Michael laugh]

Kat: It’s pretty. I like these covers, and I like that they reimagined the Potter font there, the iconic title.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: They put the lightning bolts in the “o” now.

Kat: I just like it. I think it’s whimsical and very childlike, in a good way. In a good way.

Eric: Yeah. I mentioned before [that] we saved the best for last: The UK children’s edition front and back of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Kat: Ahh.

Eric: To speak of this… For me, what works immediately is the colors. There are all of them.

Alison and Chris: Yeah.

Michael: I can’t see anything; there [are] just so many columns and words everywhere. So much sunlight.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: This is the spread that we’re looking at. The front is the scene in Gringotts in the vault where they’re touching treasure but it’s becoming too hot and duplicated.

Alison: Ron looks so panicked. [laughs]

Eric: Ron is terrified.

Michael: Are they falling out of that, or are they falling into it? I’ve never been able to tell.

Kat: Out. Maybe.

Michael: Out of it.

Alison: I think so.

Kat: I don’t know. Ron is falling backward, and Harry and Hermione are floating forward.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: I’m not really sure.

Michael: Ambiguous.

Eric: If you look close enough, Harry has burn marks on his arms. Actually, they all do.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Eric: The burn marks on Hermione. Also, the goblin with the sword.

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

Michael: He looks barely… teaser.

Eric: You just see the head; he’s riding Harry’s back and you see his head poking out and his arm holding the sword. Also, I guess it’s the… it’s like a breastplate of armor.

Kat: Yep.

Michael: Treasure.

Eric: And just some other things in Bellatrix’s vault. I don’t know. It’s just a really colorful depiction of one scene from the book that isn’t the final battle. I like it for that.

Kat: Harry is super buff. He’s clearly been doing some push-ups on the road.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Look at him! He’s kind of hot, right? I’m not the first girl who’s ever said that, for the record.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: He’s not unattractive. It’s a cute Harry. His hair is long because his hair is supposed to be long. Sorry.

Chris: These covers remind me so much – and this one especially – of the front covers of Terry Pratchett books.

Kat: Hmm, yeah.

Chris: I don’t know whether that’s intentional or not, but it always has. Ever since it first came out, this looks like a Discworld novel right here. I like it. I’m a big fan of the originals.

Eric: Yeah, and there is not a doe, but a stag on the inside jacket, or the inside jacket cover, I should say. And I’m trying to think if there’s any…

Michael: That’s one of my favorite designs of the stag, though. It looks really nice.

Alison: Yeah, I really like that one.

Kat: It’s pretty.

Eric: It’s got a lot of detail to it. So on the back cover we have sort of… ooh, geez… cloud…

Michael: Hogwarts in space!

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Eric: Hogwarts in space.

Kat: I think that’s Agrabah, guys.

Alison: Hey, clouds!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Okay? Very Agrabah.

Alison: Definitely, very, very…

Michael: I think that’s a fascinating take on Hogwarts. It’s not really my Hogwarts but it is a fascinating approach to designing it.

Kat: All we need is Aladdin and Jasmine to come out from behind the castle on their…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: [singing] “I can show you the world…”

Kat: Exactly.

Michael: I’m pretty sure Elsa is in that top tower. This castle has clearly been built out of ice and snow.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: It’s an ice palace. It’s clearly an ice palace. [laughs]

Chris: I quite like the little Bloomsbury dog taking a little leap across the Hogwarts grounds.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Aww, it’s Sirius.

Eric: They did the whole back cover just so the little Bloomsbury dog could run in and get his daily exercise.

[Everyone laugh]

Kat: Exactly. He’s chasing a dancing mouse; it’s fine.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Oh yeah! So it’s interesting because we’ve been a little critical of the back cover; about how in the UK, which is the home of Harry Potter, there’s not a more standard representation of Hogwarts.

Michael: Yeah, because there’s been… I think there were three or four different artists for the children’s editions of Harry Potter in the UK. Jason Cockcroft only took over, I think, for the last three or four.

Eric: So we’ve got Hogwarts on one side and the forest on the other, and the forest is actually… I like this choice. The forest is colorless. So for a cover spread that’s so colorful, you get to the forest and it’s black and white. It’s life and death, which is actually really symbolic. And the moon is full.

Alison: I like that they have Nagini on the back flap and then they have Prongs on the front flap. I like that.

Chris and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: I love the reflection on Nagini’s orb. It feels like one of the most realistic depictions of that.

Kat: Is that a window? I mean, what is that shape reflecting?

Eric: The Shrieking Shack window, maybe? Like a… yeah!

Kat: Oh, oh, oh. You’re probably right.

Michael: Super cool.

Chris: I’m also quite enjoying the back turn in the little J.K. Rowling biography that they’ve got going on there as well. It’s quite nice.

Kat: Oh yeah, it talks about the train.

Chris: I like that it says J.K. [Joanne Kathleen]. I quite like that they’ve…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I called them and I said, “Will you put my name on a book cover?” and they said, “Sure, we’ll just spell it out.”

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: It’s funny, though, because I worked on a TV series called Atlantis for a couple of years, which we filmed in Chepstow. I’m just seeing that it says that she loved reading and their house in Chepstow was full of books. And although I knew that she grew up there, it never even occurred to me to even think about looking for the house. And I found out, not long before I finished working there, that I’d been driving past it every single day.

Alison: Oh, gosh!

Kat: Wow!

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: And it’s really weird because you go up there… I think it’s called Tutshill, the place where it actually is. It was just on the edge of Chepstow. And there’s a church right next to it, so it really does feel like there’s something very Godric’s Hollow-esque about it. There’s a graveyard right next door to the house and the house is not dilapidated by any stretch, but the gardens are a bit overgrown and slightly foreboding. And there’s something… you see it and you go, “Yeah, okay. I can see where Godric’s Hollow came from all of a sudden.” It’s cool, yeah. Fun fact for you there.

Kat: Hmm, that is cool.

Eric: Yeah, that’s amazing.

Michael: Based on the things you’ve done, Chris, following the series, it never has struck me that you’ve tried to outrun or escape Harry Potter. But it’s a good thing you’re not trying because obviously it doesn’t work.

Chris: Yeah, no, it doesn’t work at all. Not at all.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: And I believe that concludes our cover discussion, at least for the time being. I really want to see what Denmark and Finland and the Ukraine have done with Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Kat: Oh, are there different covers for those?

Alison: That will be fun.

Eric: And Beedle the Bard.

Michael: There are a few.

Eric: So maybe this won’t be the last ever book cover discussion, but it was a heck of a lot of fun, and it certainly wraps our Deathly Hallows.

Kat: Aww.

Michael: And before we end the show proper, we’ll just open it up to final thoughts and reflections; actually, not just on Deathly Hallows, but perhaps on this reread experience as a whole. Who would like to go first?

Eric: I’ll go. There will always be parts of this book that don’t get along with me or that never could get along with me.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: But I respect wholeheartedly the decision to make this book what it is, and the fact that it touched so many people and successfully closed a seven book epic for the world leaves me, ultimately, speechless.

Kat: I’m going to reflect on the reread because I feel like there’s nothing I could say about Deathly Hallows that would be appropriate to how I feel about the series as a whole. So as a reread, I guess I really want to thank the listeners who, personally, for me… and I’m sure that the other hosts feel this way too; that I have personally grown because of all of your thoughts and your opinions. And the way that you look at the world has helped me look at the world in a different way. And that never would have happened without all of you and I am so thankful for this reread, and all of the beautiful voices and people that we have met and talked to over the last four years. And I’m really excited that we’re not stopping and that we’re continuing to move forward and… thank you. I guess, just… thank you.

Alison: You’re going to make me cry and I can’t do that right now.

Kat: Aww, that was my purpose. I did that on purpose.

Alison: Yeah, thank you, because I feel the same. I was thinking about that today. I actually, today at work, listened to the first ever episode I was on – not as a host – as a guest.

Kat: Oh, what episode?

Alison: Episode… oh, shoot. I tweeted about it. It’s Episode 36…? 34…?

Kat: Prisoner, then, right?

Alison: Yeah, we were in Prisoner. It was Prisoner Chapters 9 and 10. Yep, Episode 24.

Kat: Oh, my lucky number! That’s perfect!

Alison: Yeah! And I was listening and I was thinking back of how much, like Kat said, I’ve grown and I’ve changed. I don’t know. It’s lovely and it’s been wonderful. And every time I’ve reread these books, I’ve learned something new. I’ve changed in some way every single time I’ve read this series, and especially with Deathly Hallows. I love Deathly Hallows. You guys know that. Just to end it again, when we ended the epilogue again it was that same feeling [that] the adventures are still there but it’s all going to end okay. And it’s just so important to me, and so thank you, everyone, for letting us be able to talk into your ears for hours at a time every week about this book series. It really is magical. There is no other word. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s magical.

Eric: We have the best listeners. We have the most intelligent… this whole thing was a huge learning experience, every day.

Michael: Unlike these three, I didn’t change at all. I am the exact same person I was when I started.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That’s not true. I will say the really special thing for me with this reread, that I just realized in this moment… I moved to a new city during this reread and something that was really important about Harry Potter to me was [that] I got to share it with my brother, Charlie. And it’s sad to me that I realize I don’t get to do that every night anymore. But what a joy that in Charlie’s place… and I’m sure if he would be able to understand it, he would appreciate that I get to share this reread this time with the whole world, which has been just amazing. It’s really been neat to interact with all of you listeners and hear ideas and thoughts from you that I never would have thought of when I was reading Harry that extended this series for me. And I was so glad when I was asked to join this show because part of my goal was that I hope… It’s very important to me that not only the books, but also the films, are looked at… Now that time has passed, it’s important for the Harry Potter fandom to… we can still gripe and moan about the things that didn’t work out, but it is really important to look at this series with a critical eye [and] to ensure that Harry Potter gets the respect it deserves in academic statuses. It deserves it.

Kat: Hear, hear.

Michael: I remember very distinctly in a film class where a classmate referenced a Harry Potter film, and the teacher, who was British – he was this very tall, imposing British man – said, “Oh, I’ve never seen the Harry Potter films.” And he very much said it in a way that was derogatory, and that was very much how the film community took the Harry Potter films at the time. But they are works of art, just as the books are, and they deserve critical discussion. And I’m so glad that, with the listeners, we have been able to show the world that Harry Potter is deserving of that, and it’s on par with lots of other classic material out there. So thank you, listeners, for helping us do that.

Kat: I am very much looking forward to reading this book and not analyzing it at all.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Just a joy read.

Kat: I’m just going to sit down and read it and not take notes or anything.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Time for a very casual reread.

Kat: I’m so excited about it. So excited.

Alison: Yes. Next year I get to teach Sorcerer’s Stone to my seventh graders and I cannot wait. I’m so excited.

Kat: That’ll be great. Wow.

[Prolonged silence]

Kat: Well, it’s over.

Michael: The end.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: All was well.

Kat: Aww.

Michael: Chris, has Harry Potter done anything important for you in your life?

Chris: Nah. Just a good book, isn’t it?

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I’d say so.

Chris: No, it’s a funny old thing. It is a funny old thing. Wow. 20 years ago, I never thought when I first picked up a Harry Potter book that 20 years later I’d still be here doing this. And I’d say 16 years ago when I started working in the crazy franchise that it is, that 16 years later I’d still be talking about it at half past midnight on a Friday morning…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Chris: It
’s a very special thing, and I don’t think there will ever be anything quite like it again in any way, shape, or form. I think we’re very lucky to have lived through this from start to finish, and that it’s still here, it’s still going, [and] it’s still coming back. And over the years that I go and meet people and talk to people, it’s great that now I’m meeting people who are my age, in their early 30s, who are bringing their children along to events and introducing their children to the books and the films from the start. And it’s really special to see that it is as relevant to them as it was to us.

Kat: Oh, they’re just forcing them. “You are going to like Harry Potter, whether you like it or not!”

[Alison and Chris laugh]

Kat: Yeah, I agree.

Michael: I think after this episode we’re going to hear a lot of people who have suddenly changed their tune about Percy. We’re going to get a lot more Percy lovers after this episode.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: For sure, for sure.

Eric: And speaking of, we’d really just… Chris, thank you so much for taking the time and joining us for this Deathly Hallows book wrap episode.

Chris: It is always a pleasure.

Kat: And staying up until 12:30 in the morning.

Alison: Yeah!

Chris: Oh, it’s fine, it’s fine. I only have work tomorrow; it’s okay.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: No, no, it’s good. It’s always a pleasure to hang out with you guys, even if it is virtually down a Skype line. Yeah, it’s always fun.

Michael: Well, I think for a lot of the fans it’s really neat to hear that somebody who was such an integral part of the Harry Potter series talks about it the same way that we the audience do. I think that’s actually really important for the fandom, to hear that. So thank you, Chris. We really appreciate you being on the show.

Eric: I would agree with that.

Chris: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Kat: Your paper, is that online anywhere?

Chris: Oh, it is, somewhere. I’ll dig it out for you.

Kat: Okay.

Chris: It’s also massively out of date now, I’m going to have to rewrite it before I go to Leviosa and present it again.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Great.

Eric: Such a Ravenclaw!

Chris: [laughs] I wrote it just before [the] Deathly Hallows film came out, I think – or just after – about how Harry Potter will survive as a franchise now that there’s no more anything. And now there’s a lot more everything.

Kat: Whoops.

[Everyone laughs]

Chris: Yeah, I need to work on that. But yeah, it’s out there somewhere.

Michael: Chris, where can the listeners find you online?

Chris: Online, mostly at Twitter at @chrisrankin. I’m there.

Michael: Go follow him; he’s very entertaining, listeners.

Kat: He tweets pictures of his dog! It’s adorable.

Chris: Yeah, mostly my dog, mostly food, and mostly sunsets on my way from work. That’s pretty much…

Kat: You’re kind of Hufflepuff-y.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Chris: Yeah. I’ve also started live-tweeting my way through the first series of Game of Thrones, which is possibly not the best idea I’ve ever had.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: It is. You’ll like it.

Michael: And he always retweets pictures when people find his wand box at Leavesden.

Chris: Oh yeah.

Eric: Was that a dare? Was that a dare once, Chris, to say to people, “You should go do that,” or…?

Chris: No, do you know what? It started, I think… somebody sent me a picture going, “Oh, look, I found your wand box!” and I was like, “Oh, that’s really cool,” and then retweeted it, and then another person did it…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Chris: … and then I just went, “Oh, hang on a minute. We can make this into a thing. This is definitely a thing.” And yeah, it’s really quite sweet, actually. It’s always quite touching. It happens much less now, but yeah, it’s still really touching that people actually go to the effort to do that.

Alison: Aww, I’ll have to make sure I look for it.

Chris: Although, the proper Percy in me does sometimes have to go through every one. If somebody tweeted me a picture of my wand box, I do have to go through their Twitter feed to make sure they’ve actually been to the studios and haven’t just stolen somebody else’s wand box picture because they want me to tweet it.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Quality!

Chris: So if you ever do that, just know that I am looking through your Twitter feed.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Because odds are, there’s more than one tweet about it, right? Like, “Just got here!”

[Kat laughs]

Chris: Yeah, that’s what I figure. If you’ve been there, you’re not just taking one picture and putting a picture of my wand box on Twitter.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: From what I recall, it’s right about eye level, too, so it’s super convenient.

Kat: It is, yes. It’s very easy to find.

Chris: About shoulder height. Yeah.

Alison: Okay. Yeah, I have to look through my pictures because I took a picture of every name I recognized on the wand boxes, so I’m sure I’ve got one somewhere.

Michael: And if you, the listeners, would like to be on the show here on Alohomora! just like Chris, well, get cast in a Harry Potter movie.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: No, it’s much easier than that because our details for the post-Hallows plans have been released. We’re done with Deathly Hallows, sans the movie. So some other great stuff is coming up. We are planning to reread, or to read through, the extra schoolbooks, and then we’re going to be moving on to some topic-based discussions. And you guys, the listeners, can help with that! We have a topic submit page on the main site, so please go suggest your ideas. Maybe something other than Snape because we definitely know you want to talk about that. So anything other than that because we’ve got that one in the bag. If you have a set of headphones and a microphone and recording equipment on your computer, you’re all set. We really don’t require any fancy-schmancy equipment.

Kat: In the meantime, if you want to keep in touch with us you can find us on Twitter at @chrisrankin. I mean, at @AlohomoraMN.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: [At] facebook.com/openthedumbledore; on Instagram at @alohomoramn; our website alohomora.mugglenet.com. Don’t forget to download a ringtone for free! Those might go away soon, hint hint.

[Michael gasps]

Kat: You can always send us an audioBoom. That is free; all you need is an Internet connection and a microphone. Leave a message that is under 60 seconds and you could hear yourself on the show!

Alison: And while you’re over there on our website, make sure you check out, on the top navigation bar, our Patreon page! You can sponsor us for as low as $1 a month; that’s all it takes. And you guys are amazing for helping us be able to keep it running. That’s why we’re still going.

Kat: Thank you! Thank you, thank you.

Alison: And before we leave, we’re going to leave you guys with something very special that our editors actually made for us, which we were all super excited about. We got to listen to it the other day; they made us a very special clip. So none of us [is] going to say, “Open the Dumbledore,” but, kind of, we’re all going to say, “Open the Dumbledore.”

[Michael laughs]

Alison: And here we are. We’re going to head out, then, and let you listen to that fun thing.

Eric: And cry.

Alison: I’m Alison Siggard.

Michael: I’m Michael Harle.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 189 of Alohomora!

Kara Kennedy: Hi, I’m Kara Kennedy.

Andrea Lopiccolo: I’m Andrea Lopiccolo.

Jon Daigle: I’m Jon Daigle.

Patrick Musilek: And I’m Patrick Musilek. We are the editors of Alohomora!, and in celebration of finishing the seventh Harry Potter book, we wanted to do something special for you. So join us in saying, “Open the Dumbledore!”

[A sequence of “Open the Dumbledore!” clips from all of the past episodes plays]