Transcript – Episode 192

[Show music begins]

Eric Scull: This is Episode 192 of Alohomora! for May 28, 2016.

[Show music continues]

Eric: Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of Alohomora! We hope you’ve brought your cackling stumps and hopping pots because it’s week two of Beedle, actually, which we’ll be talking about; one of those stories. I’m Eric Scull.

Alison Siggard: I’m Alison Siggard.

Michael Harle: I’m Michael Harle. And our guest today is the absolutely lovely Colleen Daw. Colleen, can you say hello to all of our listeners out there?

Colleen Daw: Hi, Alohomora! listeners. I’m Colleen. Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: Tell them all about yourself and how you got into Harry Potter and… you had told us a great little piece about what you do on your audition, and I would love it if you shared that with our listeners.

Colleen: Yeah. Well, as far as Harry Potter, I got into it… wow. I remember bringing it for personal reading time in second grade.

Michael: Oh, goodness.

Colleen: So that was probably 2000. Yeah.

Michael Nice! [laughs]

Colleen: So that’s a while ago. I am a Hufflepuff, at least the first time I took the Pottermore test. I took the new one and I was a Slytherin, which is very weird to me.

Eric and Michael: Ooh.

Alison: Interesting.

Colleen: And so I think… I’ve talked it over with people, and I can fall into the Slytherpuff identity. But I’m definitely Hufflepuff with Slytherin tendencies. I’m nice to everybody, but if you insult me, I’m going to get mad.

[Michael laughs]

Colleen: And I’m going to come after you.

Eric: Get even.

[Colleen and Michael laugh]

Colleen: And as far as what I do, two weeks ago I graduated from my master’s program. I have a Master’s in Library Science.

[Michael applauds]

Colleen and Michael: Yay!

Michael: That warms my heart as a fellow librarian. So that’s very exciting to hear.

Colleen: Woot-woot! [My friends and I] joke that we’re part of a cardigan army.

Michael: Yes, you are.

[Everyone laughs]

Colleen: So yeah, but then my master’s paper focused on fan materials. I’m an archivist and so I was making an argument as to why fan materials should be included as… I’m losing my words… as part of an archival collection to give context to their source materials, and I looked at fan podcasts. Now, I looked at Star Wars, not Harry Potter, but a lot of fan websites and stuff like that. So it was a lot of fun.

Eric: Huh.

Michael: Super cool. I think that’s so neat to think that… I think that’s a really neat idea that I’ve never really seen presented in academia, that fan contributions to all of these different fandoms should be something that we should be archiving and keeping safe too. I think that’s a wonderful idea.

Colleen: There’s a whole group that’s advocating for it. So that’s a lot of fun.

Michael: That’s fantastic. I mean, we would love to know that Alohomora! is safe in the archives of history. That would be very comforting to us.

Colleen: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: That would be really cool. Next to getting shot in space, that would be pretty cool.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: What?

Colleen: Well, with Star Wars, the reason I picked them is because Lucasfilm has an active archive and they are coordinating with fan communities.

Michael: Mmm.

Eric: That’s right.

Colleen: And so if Harry Potter has an equivalent archive – like if J.K. all of a sudden or the Studio Tours, if they had an attached archive – that would be a really cool area to start gathering fan material. You need that home base and that cooperation between the fans or between a university in order to make that work.

Michael: You heard that, Studio Tour and J.K. Rowling.

Colleen: [laughs] Get on it.

Eric: Make it happen.

Michael: Colleen Daw is ready and willing to leap into your archivist position for fandom.

Colleen: Yeah, looking for one. Please hire me! I’m really good!

Michael: [laughs] But we’re very glad to have you on this episode, Colleen.

Colleen: Aww, thank you.

Eric: We mentioned at the top of the show, but we are continuing our discussion of Beedle the Bard this week. We hope everybody enjoyed last week’s two stories that we delved into. And this week, we will be doing “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart” and “Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump.”

Michael: The perfect opposites of stories.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Really, though.

Eric: They are… yeah, in a way. I like these two paired together.

Colleen and Michael: Yes.

Eric: But please be sure, listeners, to read those two stories – they’re short and sweet – before continuing because that’s just to get more out of it that way.

Michael: But before we move on to our discussion, we want to make sure and mention that this episode is sponsored by Charles Kelliher on Patreon. Yay, Charles Kelliher!

Alison: Yay!

Michael: Thank you so much for helping us out with this episode.

[Everyone applauds]

Eric: Thank you, Charles.

Michael: We always love to give a shout-out to our sponsors on Patreon. And you – yes, you, listener – can become a sponsor for as little as $1/month on Patreon. And if you do, we will continue to release exclusive tidbits for sponsors on our Patreon. We’ve already released things like [an] exclusive reading by me of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. And Rosie has just recently released her own reading of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” which you can have access to on Patreon, since we talked about that last week in relation to Beedle the Bard. So check us out. And you can find us at patreon.com/Alohomora. And again, you can donate just as little as $1/month to help us out, keep the show going, and doing some special new perks for the show.

Eric: Well, without further ado, let’s get into [in a spooky voice] “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart.”

Michael: Ooh.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Terrifying.

Eric: Guys, this is… cards on the table time; this is my favorite of Beedle the Bard tales. Is this anybody else’s favorite of the tales?

Colleen: I really like “Babbity Rabbity.” I’m excited to talk about it later.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Oh, okay.

Colleen: But this is a close second. And also, Michael, did you read this to children?

Michael: Yes, I did. [laughs]

Colleen: Oh my God.

Eric: You monster!

Colleen: I’m just imagining horrified four-year-olds.

Michael: Well, there was a video that I did that actually was a previous perk for Alohomora! – we might have to put that up again somewhere – where I actually… I sang for… we had a special late night at the library after hours event at the library I used to work at back in Rio Rancho in Albuquerque, and [my co-librarian and I] put together all of what we did for the evening and in the video that I released for Alohomora!, I sang one of Celestina Warbeck’s songs for the kids. So that’s on video.

Alison: I remember that.

Michael: Yes, but I also thought it would be fun to read them “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart” because… and my co-librarian at the time, Vonda, she was all for it. She was just like, “Yeah, that’s terrifying. Totally read it to them.” And I did, and the funny thing was I think the language was just a tad above them, so…

Colleen: So it didn’t really sink in?

Michael: No, it didn’t. The one thing that caught their attention was when it got to the end and I revealed the fate of the poor princess. The little girls’ eyes kind of widened and they were all like, [in a high-pitched voice] “She’s dead?” [back to normal voice] And I was like, “Yep, she’s dead.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And then I just snapped the book shut and I said, “And no one lived happily ever after.”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Oh my gosh!

Michael: Because what fun is Halloween without just a little bit of a scare?

Eric: Oh, it was Halloween. Okay.

Michael: Oh, it was just before Halloween.

Alison: [laughs] Eric just thought it was normal story time.

Eric: I thought it was just a normal Tuesday at the library, Michael is scaring children.

Michael: No, no, it was for the scary times. But yeah, I think it’s probably better suited for maybe a middlse school audience as far as giving them a spook.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: I know we’re going to get into the story before we get into Dumbledore’s notes on the story, which are included in this wonderful edition of Beedle the Bard. Thanks, Hermione and Dumbledore. But I know in that it is stated that this story is for sort of an older age to begin with. And some children in the wizarding world aren’t even told this story because it is scary. And I’m not sure if this is my favorite story of them all because it is dark, but I do kind of just like, in general, the themes and the actions and the way the story unfurls.

Michael: Yeah, I’d say this… because my favorite story – as I mentioned last week – is actually “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” because I think the twists in it are very clever, and the moral I really like. But I think “Warlock’s Hairy Heart” would be a second for me because it’s… what’s interesting is, with Beedle… to me, I feel like, with these five stories – even though Beedle is one person – these five stories all strike very different tones, and they almost all feel like they could have been done by very different writers in the wizarding world. And definitely, “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart” I’d say is one of the more… it definitely fits that kind of gothic, horror, poem-like feel. It has more of a lyrical/musical quality to it than the other ones do. I think that sets it apart too.

Eric: I’m glad you mentioned earlier scaring children…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … with the princess’ death, because she’s actually… She is not a princess and the gentleman at the center of this story is not a prince…

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: … but in the traditional way that we think of fairytales, they might as well be.

Michael: They kind of are.

Alison: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: The story begins not with a “Once upon a time” and it does not end with a “They lived happily ever after” because, as you pointed out, nobody lives.

Michael: [laughs] Nobody lives!

Eric: But it does begin, “There was once…” – using that word – “… a handsome, rich, and talented young warlock.”

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: So this warlock – who may as well be a prince – because he does have many servants attending his every need, and a castle [that] he lives in. It’s very easy to see the fairytale aspects of the premise.

Michael: I know. I was going to say, as you were reading that, I’m already hearing in my head the [imitates the music].

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And David Ogden Stiers’ voice just being like, “Once there was a prince in a castle.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah, there is totally a Beauty and the Beast vibe…

Alison: Yes, yes.

Colleen: Oh my gosh, so much!

Michael: So much Beauty and the Beast.

Eric: Now, I actually, in researching this discussion and prepping, I looked up the original Beauty and the Beast stories. It turns out there [are] actually two of them: one was drastically changed, but that one was more popular.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: But both of them… I have to say the Disney movie probably has the most in common with what I’m thinking of when I’m reading this…

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: … just in terms of the premise of this prince who’s dark and living alone…

Colleen: Freaking emos.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … and has servants. The emos.

Alison: Yes, and the emos. [laughs] Oh, gosh.

[Alison, Colleen, and Michael laugh]

Eric: But yeah, so this not-a-prince and this not-a-princess are about to meet, and they have a fate ahead of them, so let’s talk more about it. But this warlock decides early on – and this is in the first paragraph of the story – that he does not want to be weakened by love. The story says, “The young warlock resolved never to fall prey to such weakness and employed dark arts to ensure his immunity to his friends, who he observed growing foolish when they fell in love.” So this is an interesting beginning to the story, I think.

Colleen: Mhm.

Eric: And it reminds me a lot of just different stories here and there, but those who see love as a weakness trying to stamp it out, or, for instance, one of the shows I watch often is Game of Thrones

Michael: [sarcastically] Oh, really?

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: What?

Eric: Yes. Yes.

Michael: Never would have guessed.

Eric: And there’s the eunuch character, Lord Varys, is very, very high in power, but he attributes that to his not pursuing a romantic relationship…

Michael: Mmm.

Eric: … from an early age. So being distracted by love can be a weakness, and it’s not too different from, I think, what this warlock is trying to accomplish.

Michael: Yeah, yeah.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: It’s interesting that we… I think because we were talking even before the show, that we all saw the parallel to Beauty and the Beast, but this is the part where – and I think in a way this whole story does this – but this is like a warped version of Beauty and the Beast, because, of course…

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: … the goal in Beauty and the Beast for the prince is that he needs to learn to love, but this prince… it’s almost like the goal would be the same, that he does need to learn to love, but he has so adamantly pushed love away… There’s no evil fairy to curse him because he is the prince and the evil fairy in one.

Colleen: That’s like if the Beast wanted to stay the Beast. Like he was like, “Yeah, no, I’m not going to fall in love. I’m just going to keep this really scary physique and stay super powerful.”

Eric: “You guys, I am ripped right now.”

[Everyone laughs]

Colleen: “Why would I want to change this?”

Michael: “Yes, why would I ruin that with a wife and children?”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: He has an eight-pack. He’s shredded.

Michael: [laughs] He’s a warlock, man. He’s powerful.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Reading through, there [are] a lot of connections to other stories that we make. I know we’ve gone heavy on the Beauty and the Beast stuff, but another one I thought of was… the warlock… so he resolves never to love, and years pass. His parents die, so he gets the castle all to himself, and things are going really well; he’s congratulating himself on the wisdom of his early choices, until he encounters these two serving-persons.

Michael: “These serving-persons,” yes.

Eric: These serving-persons. That was a generous term, because the book calls them “lackeys.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: The book doesn’t mention that, but one of them is totally a candelabra, and the other one is a clock.

Alison: He’s a clock.

Eric: One of them is totally… yeah.

Colleen: If we’re going along with the Disney theme, the little goblins from Sleeping Beauty.

Michael: Yes! There we go.

Alison: Yep.

Michael: Those are definitely lackeys.

Alison: Or that… no, it’s the demons from Hercules.

[Michael laughs]

Colleen: Yes!

Eric: Yes! Thank you, Alison, for that. I was just thinking of that. Yes.

Michael: Pain and Panic, yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Regardless, these two servants… the first one pities him because he was loved by no one. And this actually… this part does not really fall on the warlock at all; he doesn’t really care about the first guy. It’s the second guy who holds his interest. But the first guy pitying him because he’s not loved at all really reminded me of A Christmas Carol and Scrooge, both at, is it his cousin’s?, Christmas party overseeing with the Ghost of Christmas Present?

[Everyone agrees]

Eric: They play that game, and it’s like, “I’m an unloved creature,” and it’s like, “Oh, I’m Ebenezer Scrooge!” and they all have a good laugh because nobody loves him. And Scrooge, unlike the warlock, is touched and hurt. And also in the future… of course, my biggest knowledge of A Christmas Carol comes from the Muppet version, I’m afraid.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: It’s a good version!

Alison: Actually, it’s one of the closest versions.

Eric: But, in general, when they’re giving away all of his stuff after he’s passed, and the whole death sequence: there’s nobody there to love him, and nobody there to stand for him, because he’s hated. So that really… I feel really… I loved this first servant in this story who’s just, “I pity him because he’s loved by no one.” That really touches me.

Colleen: Mhm!

Michael: Isn’t that the same…

Alison: That’s also… that goes along with Dumbledore.

Michael: I was just going to say that. That’s almost a direct quote from Dumbledore.

Alison: “Pity those who live without love.”

Michael: See, we had suggested last week that with… I believe it was with “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” that there was the idea in “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” that you use… that there are more painful things than blood, because as the three women in that story have to pay their dues to the creatures in the garden with memories, sweat, and tears, and we tied that into how Voldemort asked for payment in blood in Half-Blood Prince to enter the cave and how Dumbledore said, “Oh, there are worse things to sacrifice than blood.” And we thought, “Did Dumbledore…?” We were wondering if there weren’t things in The Tales of Beedle the Bard that Rowling put in there retroactively that were meant to inform some of the things Dumbledore says in the series?

Colleen: Oh, I totally believe that. This story in particular, I was reading it in addition to Beauty and the Beast, it was like, “VOLDEMORT,” in all caps, bolded.

[Michael laughs]

[Everyone agrees]

Colleen: This guy is basically… He is Voldemort, and I can just… I have this picture in my head of Dumbledore going back through these stories. I can almost see him dropping the book like, “Oh my God, this is exactly his psyche and how he thinks and how unaffected he is by love.” I think of that last scene in Deathly Hallows [in which] he doesn’t even believe Harry that love is the answer; he’s mocking him just because he doesn’t believe that it’s that powerful.

Eric: Well, clearly… I know Merope died giving birth to him.

Colleen: Mhm.

Eric: But I was going to say, nobody ever read him this story. [laughs]

Michael: No.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: It’s a pretty good cautionary tale all the same.

Colleen: Yeah!

Eric: Just like the other tales.

Michael: Well, I think that’s just exciting to think about, especially… we were talking about this too before we began recording proper, but a lot of the fandom… and we’ve realized this by looking at the comments – by the way, listeners, we really do appreciate – thank you for leaving comments last week. We’ll be getting back to recap comments once we go back into topic discussions. But we really appreciate seeing the thoughts you guys left behind and many of those were related to, “Oh, wow! I’ve never read Beedle before,” or “I only read it once and didn’t think much of it.” And I think what’s been really cool already with these two episodes is we’ve discovered that these stories really compliment… I think out of all three of the school books, this one might compliment the series the best.

Colleen: Oh, yeah.

Alison: Oh, definitely. It runs along with the themes of the series. The other two are more just like world expansion…

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: But this one more is running on themes and beliefs and almost those sociological ideas that are running through that.

Eric: This one… this book has the benefit of being written after.

Michael: Yes. Yes, it does.

Alison and Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: So there is that. The other ones were written after Book 4.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Mhm.

Eric: So, when the series was only half over.

Michael: Half over.

Colleen: It was [something] to tide fans over.

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: The filler.

Eric: But I would definitely agree with what everyone’s saying about this book in general, and I know… I think it’s very intentional to have this book in part inform the previous works because she has… again getting back to Dumbledore commentary, but we’ll talk about that later.

Michael: Mhm.

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: He specifically says things that are meant to influence what he said before.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: Well…

Eric: And there’s even, I think… JKR even annotates something like, “Yeah, this is why he felt that way in the books.”

Michael: Mhm. It’s cool because we got a comment actually last week from our regular listener, SnapesManyButtons, who actually had a really neat thought, which was,

“It occurs to me that there will be kids who grow up listening to The Tales of Beedle the Bard and when they get old enough to read Deathly Hallows they will relate to Ron when he is surprised that Harry and Hermione haven’t heard of Beedle and these other stories. So there is the possibility that future generations could read Beedle first or read Beedle in the middle of the series and before Deathly Hallows.”

Alison: That’s so awesome.

Eric: You know what? I’m going to experiment with my friends who have a newborn.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: How quickly do we read Harry Potter to our kid? I’m going to say don’t – just read Beedle.

[Michael laughs]

Colleen: Yeah, up until like eleven.

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: And then give them the book.

Eric: Once a month per couple of years…

Colleen: Mhm.

Alison: Yes.

Michael: These function just as well as reading fairy tales to a child.

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: Make it one of their bedtime stories!

[Michael laughs]

Michael: Make it happen.

Eric: So let’s get back to it. These lackies – these servants – the first one who pities the warlock because nobody loves him is brushed aside because the second warlock really gets to him. The second warlock suggests – or the second servant suggests – that the warlock is unable to attract a wife. And so it’s almost on a bet that the warlock could if he wanted to have a companion. So after all these years and it’s been the talk of the town – he’s not interested; he pushes away all these women – decides and resolves that he’s going to get one, not to love…

Michael: But to have.

Eric: … but to essentially still have and to have what everyone else has. And also so that everyone with a heart who’s busy ogling and getting weak about each other then begin to envy him even further. And he’s going to get the best wife that there is. He’s going to get one who far surpasses all the other wives.

Alison: Oh, look, another woman in a story killed by a fragile male ego.

[Alison and Colleen laugh]

Michael: And that’s…

Eric: Spoiler alert! Geez, Alison!

Alison: Sorry!

Michael: Well, isn’t it… I thought it was funny that the warlock is like, “Not only will she have great magical power, but even though I’m filthy rich she’s also going to be filthy rich. But I don’t even need her to be filthy rich. I just want it because.”

[Eric laughs]

Colleen: Does anybody else think of Bellatrix?

Michael: Yeah!

Alison: Oh, yeah. There you go.

Eric: He’s like, “I don’t want a single discomfort in this whole pairing…”

Michael: Yes.

Eric: “… at all whatsoever,” so that his lifestyle of being pampered essentially all day can remain the same.

Michael: I mean, to be fair, his idea of love isn’t really totally out there for the time that he was living in.

Colleen: Mhm.

Alison: Oh, not at all.

Michael: I think what makes it surprising is because what we got from the introduction is that Dumbledore discusses in his notes – and Rowling discusses in her intro – that Beedle was kind of ahead of his time and that the stories he wrote gave women very strong roles.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: And the wizarding world isn’t very fussed about gender roles.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Because they’re more fussed about blood status then they are about gender and sexuality. So, it’s kind of funny that in that way, while this tale has a very non-traditional ending for a fairy tale like this in our sense, at the same time there’s some very traditional ideas about marriage…

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: … and how a relationship should be in this world of this particular fairy tale. I think that’s what also really sets it apart from the other ones in Beedle’s book too. It’s a little… I saw you mentioned too, Eric, kind of some references to the Greeks…

Eric: Yes!

Michael: Because the Greeks had a very… I watched… and I’m going to reference her again like I frequently do on this show. Listeners, my favorite Internet reviewer – the Nostalgia Chick, as she was once named – her real name is Linsday Ellis and she currently does a series of videos called Loose Canon where she takes a character and analyzes how they’ve been interpreted over the years. And she recently did a video about Aphrodite – [singing] “the goddess of love.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And she broke down how the Greeks actually had three different ideas of love – like categories of love.

Alison and Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: And the idea of love that… they just didn’t understand love the way we do today.

Alison: Uh-huh.

Michael: So the way that Aphrodite is interpreted frequently is incorrect because she doesn’t… she matches with our current idea of love. But back in the times, that’s not what… she was meant to represent what we consider to be a passionate love but the Greeks considered borderline madness.

Alison and Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: And so this warlock in this story is very much reflecting an idea of the Greeks, that passionate love is madness…

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: … and it’s not desirable to have passionate love. The best kind of love – Eros, I believe, is the passionate love. I can’t remember the name of the love that’s like the love between equals or friends or something like that.

Alison: Isn’t Eros physical love? It’s like sexual love, isn’t it?

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: There’s like familial and romantic and…

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: And then there’s Agape, which is just unconditional.

Michael: Which one is unconditional?

Colleen: Agape.

Michael: Agape. Yeah, okay.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: But you know all this talk about love, it’s time to enter the princess.

Michael: The not-princess princess.

Alison and Colleen: Yaay!

[Michael laughs]

Eric: She is the maiden.

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: She is described as a witch of prodigious skill and possessed of much gold.

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: So she’s rich and powerful but apparently pure. So, much in the realm of a loveless pairing or marriage – Michael, like you were saying – her family kind of agrees and puts her with the warlock. She’s kind of intrigued by him, but also one could make the argument – although I don’t think it’s directly stated – it is her purity that allows her to see that there’s just something a little off with this guy.

Michael: Mhm. Unfortunately, she does not pay attention to her excellent women’s intuition. That is her downfall. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. The intuition is… I think the curiosity rules out… He’s well-versed in poetry, rather stealing the words that others have written. I love that, the way it’s written in this book.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah. He’s pulling a Cyrano de Bergerac. He’s just stealing other people’s words cleverly.

[Colleen and Michael laugh]

Eric: Without a real sense of… Because he’s never loved, he doesn’t know how they feel. But actually, what this stood out to me as, with the maiden here, is when the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. That’s an evolved defense mechanism. The hairs that stand up on the back of your neck, that’s a natural, as basic as it gets, fear thing from when we were being hunted in some previous…

Michael: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: That sounded completely ridiculous.

[Alison laughs]

Colleen: No.

Eric: It’s a defense mechanism.

Michael: But that’s right. She’s being hunted in a way in this story.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: This, again, brings up Beauty and the Beast because actually it’s interesting you said, Eric, that you feel that you see more connections with the Disney version because I think this right here, she functions in this story almost exactly as Belle, or as Beauty, rather, functions in the original tale.

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: Mmm.

Colleen: Because isn’t the story she doesn’t even look at the Beast…

Michael: Yeah, she…

Colleen: … for most of her time staying with him because she’s so scared of him?

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah. She’s very put off by him. And she has, in the original version, in the version that Disney based their version off of, she has dreams about the Beast as a prince begging her…

Colleen: Right!

Michael: … to get together with the Beast.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: And she doesn’t make the connection. I think the big distinction to make is that Beauty in the original story does eventually succumb to Stockholm syndrome.

Colleen: Yeah. Yep.

Michael: Belle in Beauty and the Beast the Disney version, does not succumb to Stockholm syndrome because she does not sympathize with the Beast until he does something nice for her. Until he saves her life, and there’s a reciprocation.

Colleen: Until he starts to change, yeah.

Michael: Yes, until he starts to change. I think that’s why the Disney version tends to be more popular than the original version of the tale.

Colleen: Because it almost puts them on equal footing.

Michael: Yes.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: There’s an update to that idea of love again.

Eric: And it’s interesting that you mention the dreams because that’s an unconscious thing just like the hairs on the back of your neck.

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: That’s like her mind is trying to figure something out.

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: She doesn’t consciously know something. Just like until the warlock takes the maiden down to the dungeon.

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: She doesn’t know what it is that’s off about him.

Michael: I’m excited to get to that part because that’s where the Beauty and the Beast allegory hits its strongest peak and then completely falls apart.

Eric: They have a party, and everyone’s invited.

Michael: [singing] “Be our guest! Be our guest!”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: And they start singing.

Eric: From the text, “The table was laden with silver and gold, bearing the finest wines and most sumptuous foods. Minstrels strummed on silk-stringed lutes and sang of a love their master had never felt.”

Michael: Ugh. Ugh

Colleen: Ugh.

Eric: That’s so deep.

Alison: That’s so good!

Colleen: I’m sorry it just gives me the willies.

Alison: It’s written so well.

Eric: If that’s not foreboding, I don’t know what is.

[Michael laughs]

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: So he’s flattering her, from the book, “…employing words of tenderness he had stolen from the poets without any idea of their true meaning. The maiden listened, puzzled, and finally replied, ‘You speak well, warlock, and I would be delighted by your attentions if only I thought you had a heart.'”

Michael: Mmm.

Colleen: She identified the sociopath.

Alison: Burn!

[Michael and Colleen laugh]

Eric: He’s like, “Well, by the way, about that, let me just whisk you away here.” They leave the party. No one really immediately takes notice. It’s just like, oh, they’re off snogging or something. I’m sure it’s not too big of a deal that they’re gone at first.

Alison: I love that they just don’t care. Everyone’s just like, “Ooh!”

Michael: This is before the…

Alison: Not going to do anything!

Michael: Far before the age of having a chaperone accompanying you.

Eric: I’m just thinking of Maid Marion’s…

Alison: Lady Cluck! That’s the Disney one, sorry. The Disney version.

[Colleen and Michael laugh]

Colleen: So much Disney!

Eric: But anyway, they get down to the dungeons. This is where the story really heats up, or chills down. I don’t know what you prefer to say.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: But there is, in fact, a crystal casket, which is housing, as it turns out, his heart.

Michael: Ugh!

Colleen: Ahh!

Eric: The warlock has managed to remove his heart and place it away in this crystal cask. The maiden, of course is horrified. This heart, in its many – I assume – years of solitude, it has grown strange and hairy.

Michael: Ugh.

[Alison shudders]

Eric: Hence the title of this story, “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart.” And the maiden is just completely stunned and shocked and terrified, horrified, actually. And she urges him. She says, “Oh, what have you done? Put it back where it belongs. I beseech you.”

[Colleen groans]

Michael: Uh-oh.

Eric: That is the last mistake she will ever make.

Alison: I don’t understand why. Just, run!

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Who is like, “Creepy heart! Put it back in!”

Eric: Alison, do you ever shout at horror movies? Like for the victims to get out of the way.

Alison: I don’t watch a lot of horror movies, but yes, I do.

Eric: That’s fair. That’s fair.

Alison: I’m just like, “No, what are you doing? You’re so stupid!

Colleen: Alison, I’m this way with action movies. I yell at the screen for action movies. Like, “Why the hell are you doing this?”

Michael: Yeah. This is where, as I said, the Beauty and the Beast allegory hits its peak and then falls apart. Because again, she’s still functioning as Beauty. She’s saying, “All you need to do is put your heart back and you’ll be fixed.” And in a traditional fairytale, that’s totally what would happen.

Colleen: Yep!

Michael: If we weren’t so, by this point, depending on what you’ve read of Harry Potter, if we hadn’t already been so well-informed as to how this works in the wizarding world, I think one would be taken in by the maiden’s beseeching, and be like, “Yeah, she’s right. He just has to put his heart back, that fixes it.”

Eric: For me, the maiden has enough compassion…

Michael: Yes.

Eric: … to beseech him….

Michael: To save him.

Eric: … and be like, “Oh, you shouldn’t have done that! You silly goose.” Essentially, what the phrase is, “Put it back where it belongs,” that’s the part I want to harp on. Because the whole thing, where it belongs, really speaks to what is natural? And the warlock has gone and done something which is not natural.

Michael: Very unnatural.

Eric: And that, obviously, is very reminiscent of Horcruxes. Slughorn, I think, was the first person in the Harry Potter books to call it unnatural to split the soul. So this is exactly along the same lines.

Colleen: Horcrux! Horcrux!

Eric: The warlock used dark magic. Yeah! The warlock used dark magic and got his heart out without it killing him.

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: So he puts it back.

Michael: Ugh! Gross!

Eric: But his body’s not used to it. His heart is not used to it. And having this pure, innocent victim next to him is the worst thing for it. I’m going to quote again from the story, “The touch of her soft white arms, the sound of her breath in his ear, the scent of her heavy gold hair: All pierced the newly awakened heart like spears.”

Michael: Mmm.

Eric: He is recognizing how beautiful or pure her heart is and he immediately wants to possess it.

Michael: This I think is what would have happened… what’s interesting about this summary is this is what Dumbledore supposed would happen if Voldemort had shown remorse…

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: … that it would have been so strong that it actually would have killed him.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Ohh.

Michael: Because unlike the warlock, who at the very least, his Horcrux… because I think we can safely say that the heart is essentially the idea of a Horcrux. He only has…

Eric: Would he just call it a Heart-crux?

Michael: A Heart-crux! Yes.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And he only has one, as opposed to Voldemort’s seven, and he manages to put it back but it’s already been damaged, versus Voldemort who had lost all of his pieces by that point and only had his original piece left and there wasn’t enough of that initial soul left that if he felt that way that he could live. But I think the warlock manages to live because he only has one and he put it back. But it drives him mad. And of course, too, the wonderful thing about this particular part of the story… I love that she cuts it here just as he puts it back and the narration is like, “And then he went crazy.” But at the same time the maiden is hugging him.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: Like, “And now you shall be returned! You’ll be fine; I’m so happy!” And then it cuts and it’s like, “And everybody else upstairs suddenly noticed that they were gone.”

Alison: Yeah.

[Michael laughs]

Colleen: Like any good horror movie.

Michael: Yep. Perfect, perfect cut.

Eric: That is true. This is… the teleplay on this is fascinating.

Colleen: Yeah.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: And all beautifully assisted by Rowling’s horrific drawing of the hairy heart.

Colleen: Oh my God!

Alison: Really, though. Gosh.

Michael: [laughs] Just right in your face taking up half the page if you’ve got the American edition.

Eric: The heart which we’re all looking at and will haunt our dreams “had grown strange during its long exile, blind and savage in the darkness to which it had been condemned, and its appetites had grown powerful and perverse.”

Michael: Perverse. Lovely word for that.

Eric: So we were recently talking about – just maybe five episodes ago on Alohomora! at this point – the love that Snape has for Lily and how certain people felt that Snape wanted to possess Lily more than to actually love her.

Colleen: Mhm.

Eric: Do we see a connection there between this story and Snape’s love?

Colleen: I totally see a Lily connection. When I was reading this and I was reading the description of the maiden, Lily was what automatically popped into my head.

Eric: I like that.

Colleen: I want to give Snape a little bit more credit.

[Michael laughs]

Colleen: I am not a huge Snape fan, but… I do think that he definitely loved the idea of her more than he loved the actual her.

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: But I don’t know. This dude gives off such a sociopathic vibe. No, I think Snape actually had feelings and I don’t think this one does.

Eric: Yeah. You know what? You’re right. He didn’t want to harm Lily at all.

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: That’s the whole point. Whereas this guy immediately wants to harm her.

Colleen: And this was actually also the point… and again, just the wording of it, perverse combined with possessive and purity.

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: To me, it read as an allegory for rape.

Michael: Really. Interesting.

Colleen: And it disturbed me. I was reading that and that…

Alison: I see it.

Colleen: When it cuts away, that was automatically what came into my head. Just by his behavior and how he was so obsessed with power. It read as the profile of an offender of that way.

Eric: Well, when it cuts away, I mean, he violates her.

Colleen: Yes!

Eric: He penetrates her with a dagger…

Colleen and Michael: Yeah.

Eric: … and rips out… and takes something that’s not his. So it definitely works that way.

Alison, Colleen, and Michael: Yeah.

Colleen: And so to me that was just so horrifying. I’m like, “Snape would never do that.” He has strong lines and I don’t think Snape would ever even go near that territory.

Eric: Yeah, that’s very fair. I now regret mentioning Snape.

Colleen: No, that’s…

Michael: No! I don’t think that’s… I think that’s good to bring it up because I think there… I think notwithstanding…

Eric: Unhealthy love.

Colleen and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: I think rather than regret it, I think that helps to really clarify how we understand Snape and Lily’s relationship.

Alison and Colleen: Yes.

Michael: Like how far… how extreme we can take that analytical approach to Snape as far as breaking his love for Lily down and how we categorize it. because I think…

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: And for the record, that was a failure.

Michael: No, well… but for this story, I think this helps put it in context that we can see. While there is a… I think there is a possessive quality at some point in Snape’s love for Lily.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: I think it becomes something… I think because we see how the warlock fails so miserably, we can understand that Snape does… his love does mature in at least a different way than this. He doesn’t become like this.

Colleen: I would say it would mature after Lily dies.

Michael: Mhm.

Colleen: And there’s no longer anything to posses. And he more is… he will always love her but then he has to deal with Harry in a new way. So I feel like that, seeing Harry and how he grows up, [is] how that love develops and how it matures.

Michael: Well, and while Snape is not directly responsible for Lily’s death like the warlock is, he is at least indirectly involved in her death.

Colleen: Yeah, he definitely played a hand in it.

Michael: Yeah, so there is a relation there, I think. But I think we’re just seeing more of an extreme…

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: This is the contrast that Dumbledore talks about between Voldemort and Snape.

Eric: And it is Voldemort who wants things for his… he immediately… like when he takes trophies and when he…

Colleen and Michael: Yes.

Eric: Oh! It’s the gleam in his eyes, in Voldemort when he sees the cup…

Alison, Colleen, and Michael: Yeah.

Eric: … for the first time, and he knows what must be done to secure it for himself. That’s what it is. So let’s get back to the story. We have a little bit to get to and then that will be the ending and then Dumbledore’s comments.

Michael: Yes, go downstairs to see the horrific scene. Oh, God.

Eric: The party guests find the warlock licking and stroking the maiden’s heart.

Michael: Ugh!

[Colleen retches]

Michael: Awful.

Alison: It’s the worst. It’s the worst!

Eric: The heart which has been excised from her chest.

Colleen: Sounds like the ending of a Criminal Minds episode.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Oh, God!

[Eric laughs]

Alison: There’s good reason I don’t watch that show. Man.

Michael: But it’s not even… this isn’t even the worst part…

Colleen: No!

Michael: … because it still keeps going. He just keeps going. [laughs]

Eric: Yes, yes. But wait, children that Michael read to, that’s not all!

[Michael and Alison laugh]

Eric: Whatever magic he performed to coax his own heart out of him the first time isn’t working because this new savage heart will not let go, and essentially he takes the – probably – presumably the same dagger he cut her heart out with, cuts his own heart out with, and then because he’s done that and it hasn’t used magic he dies holding one heart in each hand.

Michael: Ugh. Disgusting.

Eric: I really love what Dumbledore has to say on the matter, real quick. “He is finally reduced to a violent animal who takes what he wants by force, and he dies in a futile attempt to regain what is now forever beyond his reach.” Now, I have a final question regarding the story, which is… this is more just for our conversation. It doesn’t really have any big implications. Even though the maiden is a witch of prodigious skill – the maiden in this story – she falls. She dies.

Colleen: Mhm.

Eric: Why? Now, is it because the warlock had an extra advantage by sinning against nature? So she wasn’t expecting it to be this scary? Or basically why does she die do we think? Is it just the surprise – the shock of it all? She doesn’t have time?

Michael: I think Rowling actually answers this in her introduction to the book, where she says,

“Another notable difference between these fables and their Muggle counterparts is that Beedle’s witches are much more active in seeking their fortunes than our fairytale heroines. Asha, Altheda, Amata and Babbity Rabbity are all witches who take their fates into their own hands, rather than taking a prolonged nap or waiting for someone to return a lost shoe. The exception to this rule, the unnamed maiden of ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’ acts more like our idea of a storybook princess, but there is no happily ever after at the end of her tale.”

And I think that goes back to what you said, Colleen, that idea that she… I think her failure is that she does think, and she says as much, that she thinks she can save the warlock, that she thinks she can fix the warlock and…

Colleen: The other fairy tale that this reminded me a lot of was “Bluebeard.” Does anybody know that fairy tale?

Alison: Oh, yeah!

Eric: I don’t know about this and I would like to hear about it.

Alison: Oh, yeah, that one’s creepy.

Colleen: Yeah, I don’t remember the full one but there’s the general premise: basically, there’s a guy with a blue beard. Every single…

Michael: Really? [laughs]

Colleen: Yeah, I know! Every month or so he goes down into the village and he asks for a new bride. He takes her up into his mansion and she’s gone for long periods of time but then he comes back and he says, “My bride has gone missing. I need a new bride.” And so all these women keep going back to the castle and what he ends up doing is he leaves his bride alone in the mansion for three days. He says, “You can go anywhere in the castle except this one room. You cannot go in this one room.”

Michael: Is the room in the west wing?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Colleen: Again, this is the twisted Beauty and the Beast. So Bluebeard leaves, he goes for three days, and of course the woman’s curiosity gets the better of her – very Pandora’s boxey – she opens the door and it’s the skeletons of all his old wives.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Ah.

Colleen: And to punish her, he kills her and skins her and… yeah. And he keeps going along the process. Now, eventually in the story, he gets defeated by a girl and her brothers and I don’t exactly remember how that happens. But it was definitely the fable of the woman getting punished for her curiosity, which is a constant theme in fairy tales and the number one feminist critique against fairy tales is the fact that a woman is punished for exploring her world a little bit and I could see threads of that in this story. It’s very traditional in the way it’s told.

Eric: The failure of the maiden here is not immediately running but I don’t think it makes her a weak character.

Colleen: No, I don’t think it does either.

Eric: Ultimately, just saying, “Put that back where it belongs,” I don’t think she really has a high degree of confidence that it’s going to work either way but she sticks around to see it. She sticks around because it’s the decent, human thing to do.

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: Yeah, and that is the thing with the “Bluebeard” story is they’re locked in. They can’t leave. The second they open that door the door swings behind them and they’re stuck.

Michael: Yeah, I think the maiden isn’t so much a negative character because the other thing to think of, too, if we’re thinking in terms of the canon of Harry Potter, is that the magic of Horcruxes is not widely known anyway.

Colleen: Yeah!

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: No matter how prodigious and wise she may have been in magic, she may not have been aware of what a Horcrux was so she probably thought that it could be…

Colleen: That’s very true.

Michael: She had a very romanticized idea of what putting one’s heart back could do, but Rowling was also making a point that by damaging your soul in an unspeakable way means you can’t fix it.

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: If you do, you end up going crazy so that’s why you shouldn’t even play with that stuff in the first place.

Colleen: Yeah, and I think it’s definitely like the two parts of the girl wanting to save this man that she’s committed to as part of her marriage, but also the guy, his heart is pure evil. That’s been established and that can’t change. So I feel like those are two halves that are the only way this story works, whereas in a lot of fairy tales, it’s the purity that saves them or the all-encompassing evil that wins.

Eric: That’s something I like about this story, too, with the maiden because I like to think of her as this pure character, as this pure heart.

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: In the end it’s just that she has a whole heart and his is not.

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: He wants to possess… It’s probably just pretty normal as hearts go…

Colleen: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: When we think of fairy tales, it’s all about the purity of love and the pure heart, and she’s the most innocent creature to ever walk the face of this earth. And his half heart cannot possibly stand its beauty so he hacks it out.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: She’s more, in that sense, more of a literal and metaphorical victim of the plot more than anything…

Colleen: Oh, yeah.

Michael: … than being necessarily… I don’t think she’s wholly and completely foolish, just ignorant.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: And that’s not her fault, poor thing.

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: Yeah, I would say that she’s definitely 100% a victimized character.

Michael: Yes.

Eric: Yeah. And it probably just exists to further the moral…

Michael: Yeah.

Colleen: Oh, absolutely!

Eric: … of the story. It is, after all, a cautionary tale that you would go crazy if you try and take your heart out or you will die, or both. So, kids, don’t do that.

Colleen: [laughs] Voldy really should have listened to this.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And in the end of Beauty and the Beast, Belle, all she has to do is cry over the beast as he’s dying and reveal her love to him, and he…

Colleen: Profess her undying love!

Eric: Don’t hide your love away, children.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Colleen: Is anybody else excited to see Emma Watson do that scene? I am so excited.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Not really.

Colleen: I know we had this discussion already but I am so excited.

Michael: Yes. Yes, I am! I cry when Emma cries and if she cries as much as Paige O’Hara cried, I will cry.

[Alison and Colleen laugh]

Michael: We would be remiss not to shout out to Disney and their Beauty and the Beast trailer because it was quite coincidental that that dropped earlier, just a few days before this episode.

Colleen: I know!

Michael: Very, very fitting. It’s like we plan it or something.

Eric: Let’s talk about what Dumbledore talked about about this.

Colleen: [claps] Yay!

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Yeah, interestingly… so this is what I loved about Dumbledore’s comments after, because the other two stories he talks about how they’re challenged and changed, how they represent problems, particularly for pureblood families. They hate the first two stories. This story is not challenged for the same reasons that the other ones are but it’s also just not told to most children because it is scary, of course.

[Michael laughs]

Colleen: Yeah!

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Makes sense. I think it’s yet another… Rowling is doing so many clever jabs at her naysayers in Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Colleen: I was about to say there’s definitely a banned books vibe.

Alison: Yeah, definitely.

Michael: Yes, and what’s funny about this one is that she’s saying, “Here were all these perfectly much more pleasant stories before this one that have been challenged to the bank and back, but this one, with all its horrible imagery, is not challenged by the public. They’re fine with this one.”

Colleen: Yeah!

Michael: I think that there’s definitely a calling out of, “Hypocrisy!” It’s interesting what we will and will not expose our children to. And even if we talk in terms of Disney… I love the way again, I’ll reference her again, how Lindsay Ellis, the Nostalgia Chick, puts it but she says that, “The Disney company is based on a platform of dreams, wishes and fear.”

Colleen: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: [laughs] And while Disney definitely changes the content of the original stories that they pull from, they still have plenty of violent and graphic imagery in their films.

Colleen: How many parents make it past the first act?

Michael: Right? [laughs] Right?

Alison: If we’re talking about even Beauty and the Beast, the end, what happens to Gaston, he just gets thrown off the building and no one says anything. No one cares.

[Colleen and Michael laugh]

Eric: You talked about being scared of it as a kid. I was actually when the servants revolt…

Colleen: Oh, yeah.

Eric: … and they storm the castle.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Actually I can remember being scared of that.

Michael: It’s a pretty crazy scene.

Eric: I always thought my wardrobe was going to eat me.

Michael: Right?

Eric: Oh yeah, it’s totally awesome.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: As I’ve gotten older, that whole scene actually amuses me because my brother played Gaston in the musical version…

[Alison laughs]

Colleen: … of Beauty and the Beast, so I got to watch him be killed every night and thrown off.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Colleen: It was really funny.

Eric: If you have a sibling who meets that fake fate, it’s pretty enjoyable.

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: [laughs] Yeah.

Alison: See, it amuses me because I, in high school, was in that play, and I was the wardrobe so I got [unintelligible].

[Eric laughs]

Colleen: I’m trying to imagine the wardrobe in the fighting scene.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Oh, it was fun!

[Colleen laughs]

Alison: It was crazy because you were running around with a box on top of you. But… [laughs]

Michael: It’s a very interesting idea… or interesting criticism of what do we think is acceptable to expose children to, and what do we think is unacceptable.

Eric: So moving on here, the part that Dumbledore spends the most time on is the invulnerability and the whole dark section. So Dumbledore says that one of the greatest and least acknowledged temptations of magic is covered in this story, which is, of course, the quest for invulnerability. So I’m wondering… because for me, the warlock in this story didn’t really want to be invulnerable; he wasn’t looking for immortality, rather what he was looking for was to be impervious to the weaknesses… what he saw as the weaknesses of the heart. So it’s not really immortality. He’s not like, “I want to live forever.” What he’s saying is, “I want to live and not be dragged down by this emotion.”

Colleen: Well, he wants ultimate power, and to him, that weakness/vulnerability to ultimate power is love. So in a way, I can see where Dumbledore… Voldemort, Dumbledore, either one…

[Michael laughs]

Colleen: … avoids love.

Eric: Yeah.

Colleen: Because to them, it’s seen as a weakness and could drag somebody down.

Eric: Yeah, and if you talk about love or a broken heart as being an emotional injury…

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: … I guess it… you can be like, “Oh, if you don’t want injury, then you want to be invulnerable,” so I can kind of see that.

Michael: Maybe that it is also a Freudian slip on Dumbledore’s part, revealing what he’s really talking about.

Colleen: Yeah. Again, Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort!

Michael: Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort!

Colleen: I just see him reading this book and just being like, “Oh, God.”

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: It’s being vulnerable in different ways. It’s being vulnerable to two different things: it’s being vulnerable to death or to love…

Colleen: Mhm.

Alison: … which I guess they go together, but…

Colleen: Especially in the Harry Potter universe.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. But Dumbledore says that “Many writers…” this was the interesting part. “Many writers compare the “Warlock’s Hairy Heart” to Horcruxes.”

Michael: Hey-oh!

Eric: He did give a complete shout-out. I guess Horcruxes are probably known as things in academic circles…

Michael: Probably, yeah.

Eric: … in which Dumbledore’s notes… like the capacity for Dumbledore’s notes to be transcribed and then put into a book.

Colleen: Well yes, and also at the time of this publishing – again, if we’re going on timeline – it was said in the introduction about the seven volumes of Harry Potter’s life. So at this point…

Eric: Yeah, so the readers know.

Colleen: … I feel like Horcruxes would be larger knowledge, and so it would be…

Alison: But that’s still… that goes back to the discussion we had if they are or if they’re not. I know we talked about that at the end of the book. Are they or are they not? So this throws a wrench in that whole conversation of… or it could answer the question, even.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: I’m more inclined to…

Colleen: Maybe Cursed Child will answer the question!

Michael: [laughs] Cursed Child!

Alison: Cursed Child! [laughs]

Michael: I think… Eric, I’m more inclined to go with your train of thought, that it’s more of an academic knowledge at this point in the wizarding world and that… because we all seem to be in agreement that Harry probably shared the experience of the Horcruxes and his knowledge of them with the Ministry.

Colleen: Oh, absolutely.

Michael: And Dumbledore, when you think about it, with these notes, is writing in an academic capacity. That’s his intention, and he’s…

Eric: Yeah, when he’s talking about the symbolism, he says, “The heart he has locked away” – meaning the warlock’s – “slowly shrivels and grows hair symbolizing his own descent into beasthood.” That’s totally academic talk.

Alison: Yeah.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: But it’s very astute. [laughs] It’s as good as it gets.

Michael: Because we know, too, that… we’ll see in next week’s episode that Dumbledore is much more coded in his analysis of “The Tale of the Three Brothers.”

Alison: Oh, yes.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: Because he’s… ostensibly, these notes are occurring 18 months before he died. So that’s somewhere in the middle of Order of the Phoenix. So even Dumbledore is not quite completely finished with his knowledge on Horcruxes.

Eric: So wait, this is what Dumbledore was doing when he was avoiding Harry.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Pretty much.

Eric: Huh.

Michael: This is also possibly what Dumbledore was doing when he disappeared from the school.

Eric: Here’s a quote from Dumbledore’s notes:

“The resemblance of this action to the creation of a Horcrux has been noted by many writers. Although Beedle’s hero is not seeking to avoid death, he is dividing what was clearly not meant to be divided: body and heart rather than soul.”

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: I also like that he very much clarifies here that this version of a Horcrux is not possible in the canon of the reality of Harry Potter.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah! He says, “He performs a piece of dark magic that would not be possible outside a storybook”…

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: … is what Dumbledore says, and I’m like, “Wait, why wouldn’t it be possible outside a storybook?” I don’t know, I just think… we mentioned…

Alison: You can’t live without a heart.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: But the heart is intact.

Alison: Unless you go all Tony Stark and…

Colleen: Yeah!

Alison: But you have to have a heart pumping blood.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: You have to have something pumping blood through you.

Colleen: Yeah, physical injuries are physical injuries. Just look at George with the missing ear.

Michael: Yeah. There’s…

Eric: I mean, I just think of… gosh, what am I… I just think a severed but still-beating heart is… I’m thinking of Indiana Jones.

Michael: Yes!

Colleen: Ah!

Michael: Temple of Doom!

Eric: Temple of Doom.

Alison: Oh, man. Oh, no! No!

Eric: I am thinking of everybody’s second least-favorite Indiana Jones movie.

Michael: Aww.

Alison: Yeah, that’s real. [laughs]

Michael: I think that’s a great connection because there’s… that absurd imagery happens where you can take somebody’s heart out and they can still be alive.

Colleen: Mhm.

Eric: For quite a considerable period of time.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: But Rowling… I think that’s some fun world-building that she does here and clever world-building, is she’s saying that there [are] even things that wizards are like, “Oh, that’s ridiculous! You can’t do that!”

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Michael: Because she’s been… I think she’s always been very careful about that through the Harry Potter series of establishing rules, and she continues to do that here and say, “No, there [are] even limits to what the idea of a Horcrux and that Beedle is taking poetic license to make more symbolic… to push his point.”

Eric: But that’s having her cake and eating it too, in the best way possible, because the severed heart that’s still beating and this wizard or this warlock is still able to live is so reminiscent of these 150 other things we’ve talked about this whole podcast so far…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: … while at the same time not actually being possible in the wizarding world.

Michael: In the wizarding world, yeah.

Eric: So she’s like, “This is what he does in the story, and it’s going to make you think of all these other cool stories and things where a heart was separate and all this other stuff. But it’s not actually possible; you don’t need to worry about any of Harry’s enemies doing this in the future.” One final bit in Dumbledore’s notes here real quick is that… it’s funny because this story inspired a phrase.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: There’s a turn of phrase, which is “to have a hairy heart.” And that is… it’s caught on, and it’s… maybe even people who have never heard this story don’t understand its true origins, but “to have a hairy heart” is a thing. And Dumbledore has an aunt; Dumbledore’s mother has a sister – hello, everybody – whose name is Honoria, and she supposedly was betrothed to a man who turned out [to have] a hairy heart. Although, in a little bit of whimsy, Dumbledore discredits this by saying it was actually that his aunt discovered her fiancé “fondling some Horklumps.”

Colleen: [laughs] Oh my God!

Alison: That’s the weirdest thing – the weirdest thing – she could have written, I think.

Colleen: Ugh!

Michael: That’s so Rowling’s sense of humor. To put…

Colleen: It’s so wrong!

Eric: These mushroom-like creatures…

Michael: This is so… what is it with people who are connected to the Dumbledore family?

[Colleen laughs]

Michael: Aberforth has his goats and apparently…

Alison: Oh, no…

[Colleen laughs]

Michael: … Honoria’s potential husband had his…

Eric: His aunt’s fiancé is like…

Michael: … had a thing for Horklumps.

Colleen: Ooh.

Alison: Oh, no!

Michael: To be clear, listeners, you can find out more about Horklumps in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. They look like mushrooms. They are animals but, as Dumbledore says, it would be very odd to enjoy fondling a Horklump because they have bristles.

Colleen: Ahh!

Michael: [laughs] So, they’re not exactly pleasant to touch. So yeah, that’s another one of Rowling’s weird little random bits that we just love her for – that crazy humor she puts in there.

Colleen: Oh my God.

Michael: I also love, too… I really enjoyed the bit about… because we talked a little about her last week…

Alison: [laughs] Yes.

Michael: Little Beatrix Bloxam and her horrifying account of being terrified by the story.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: Yes. Another weird thing with the Bouncing Bulbs…

Michael: Yep!

Alison: I was like, “What?!”

Michael: Another weird, bizarre sexual thing that she overheard apparently…

Colleen: Oh my God.

Alison: [laughs] So weird!

Michael: … like Alison said, with Bouncing Bulbs. But yeah, she attributes that to being the reason that she would sleepwalk every night, and her dad had to put a Sticking Charm on her door. And apparently, she never found a way to translate “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart” into her Toadstool Tales because it was just too grizzly.

Alison: Well, obviously she didn’t know Beauty and the Beast then…

Michael: Yeah, apparently not!

Alison: … because she could’ve just done that. [laughs]

Michael: All she had to do was change the ending.

Colleen: Just change the ending!

Michael: Yeah. [laughs]

Eric: I believe – correct me if I’m wrong – but I think that concludes our discussion of “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart.”

Colleen: Yeah!

Michael: And now, Alison, take us into some much lighter fare.

Alison: Yes!

Colleen: Please!

Alison: Yes, much lighter [and] probably also one of my favorites. I love this story. I think it’s so charming and it’s fun: “Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump.”

[Colleen, Eric, and Michael laugh]

Alison: Which, first of all, is just a glorious title of anything ever.

Colleen: It just sounds like so much fun, and now I have Ron in my head: [as Ron] “Come on, Babbity Rabbity!”

Alison: [as Ron] “Babbity Rabbity!”

Eric: This is my least favorite story.

[Alison and Colleen laugh]

Alison: Really?

Michael: Wow.

Eric: Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Colleen: Well… it’s a trickster story.

Eric: I’ll get into it later, but I think it sounds fun. It promises a lot of fun and for me… I don’t think it lives up to it.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: But I will enjoy thoroughly discussing it with you guys.

Alison: Anyway, let’s dive into the story then. As Colleen mentioned, it starts with a foolish king [who] decides he should be the only one to have magic. So he sends out a proclamation saying he’s going to round up all the witches, and he sends out a brigade of witch hunters. Which – side note – I read this and all I can think of is… it’s my least favorite song from the musical Wicked.

Colleen: “Good fortune, witch hunters!”

Alison: Yeah, I could still sing you every word of it…

Colleen: Yeah.

Alison: … but it’s my least favorite one because it’s creepy.

Michael: [sings] “Wickedness must be punished!”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Colleen: Yeah, it’s the moment [when] everybody turns on Elphaba.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yes. And you’ve got the Tin Man… oh!

[Michael laughs]

Alison: [singing] “For once I’m glad I’m heartless. I’ll be heartless killing her!” Anyway… the end. So that’s all I can think of reading those lines. I was going to bring this up later because it also connects later, and this kind of reminds me of – if any of you guys have seen BBC’s Merlin

Colleen: Yes!

[Michael laughs]

Alison: This very much reminds me of Uther. Very much.

Colleen: Oh, yeah.

Alison: Yes. Anyway… so, all the witches and wizards of course don’t really want to die – the real ones.

Colleen and Michael: Mhm.

Alison: So, they ignore the proclamation for a king’s magic instructor and instead a charlatan – wonderful word, charlatan…

[Colleen and Michael laugh]

Eric: I love that word.

Alison: … answers the call, claiming he is a grand sorcerer with a lot of power. And he is immediately named the king’s grand sorcerer and magic teacher. So of course, being a charlatan, he asks for gold and large rubies for casting of curative charms, and a silver chalice or two for the storing and maturing of potions. Which, very interestingly, is steeped very much in historical ideas of magic but not in the magic of Harry Potter.

Colleen and Michael: Hmm…

Alison: We don’t really hear about any of those things, which…

Eric: Apart from I guess the crystal cask, right, is somehow… oh, that’s not Harry Potter, but I was just thinking, oh yeah, the crystal… why crystal? Why is that what encases the heart? What’s magical about crystal?

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Eric: And I can’t think of anything in Harry Potter that does that, so maybe that’s similar that way. This guy needs diamonds – or rubies rather – to do it.

Colleen: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Well, yeah, the only other finery that we see that might have magical properties are the things that belonged to the founders.

Colleen: Yeah, the goblin-made stuff.

Eric: And that’s because they belonged to the founders. Oh, yeah, goblin-made…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah, goblin-made things – the magic that may or may not lie within the tiara and Hufflepuff’s Cup.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: But you’re right, though, that’s not really… I think that is more to point out how much of a charlatan he is like, “No, you don’t need that stuff for making magic.”

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: Yeah. See, I read that as just, “I want money.”

Michael: Yep. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah, definitely. Interesting too, rubies – which is a connection to Gryffindor’s sword…

Colleen, Eric, and Michael: Oh!

Alison: Which I don’t think we’d really say is curative. Ah, I guess kind of.

Michael: In a way, yeah.

Alison: It destroys Horcruxes. [laughs] And the silver chalice, which isn’t quite Hufflepuff’s Cup, but maybe…

Colleen: Yeah, there are definitely connections to be made and drawn between them.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: I wonder…

Eric: If the three brothers really existed, then so too did this charlatan and these items eventually became the founders’ items.

[Alison laughs]

Colleen: Well, this could be around the era that the founders were making Hogsmeade – or, Hogsmeade, Jesus! – Hogwarts.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yeah!

Michael: We talked a little bit about this last week with “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot” where the magic that we see in that story is… there’s a lot of medicinal magic in “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot.”

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: And that’s a branch of magic that we don’t really see in Harry Potter very much. And here… this is kind of alluding to Nicholas Flamel and more of the chemical… what is the word that I’m looking for, Alison?

Alison and Eric: Alchemy.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: Alchemy, thank you. Yes, fabulous. This is alchemy, which as we found out from Rowling, is offered as an extra-curricular NEWT class if there’s enough students who want to take it at Hogwarts. But alchemy is not really widely apparently practiced in the Harry Potter world anymore. It’s more of a specialized branch of magic. So, I think that’s another reason why there’s that disconnect with alchemy here, is we just don’t see a lot of that in Harry Potter either.

Alison: Well, from the charlatan, we get our first mention of Babbity. What a name!

Colleen: I love it!

Alison: I love this name. It’s so Rowling. [laughs] This is one of those things where she just probably sat down again and just said, “Why? Why did I do this to myself?”

[Colleen and Michael laugh]

Alison: Very much like Time Turners, I’m sure.

Michael: Yes.

Alison: In her appearance on PotterCast she said:

“‘Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump’ is the stupidest title ever written by man or beast, and of course when I wrote it, I never… I had not, at the point when I gave Ron that title, I didn’t imagine for a second that I was actually going to write the story. But I did get there and it’s a story about revenge – one witch’s sort of cunning way of revenging herself for persecution, for Muggle persecution.”

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Which I wanted to discuss near the end, the end of that quote, so we can come back to that.

Michael: Yeah, but that definitely I think explains her grievances with the name. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: Why did they name her that?

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: What I found interesting too, reading this story… I don’t know why it just hit me, but after we meet Babbity – we meet her because she is cackling in the bushes at the king looking stupid, as you do when they look stupid.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: But there’s very much this idea of the very powerful effect of shame.

Colleen: Yeah.

Alison: As the king… it says he feels so ashamed and feels so foolish that he declares he will be having a demonstration for his entire court the next day and that if he can’t do magic he will kill his grand sorcerer.

Michael: [laughs] Reasonable.

Alison: Yes.

Colleen: Anybody else get a Malfoy vibe?

Alison: A what?

Colleen: A Malfoy vibe of the fact that he mostly acts rashly in shame and then he’s threatened by Voldemort of, “Hey if you don’t kill Dumbledore, you’re going to die.”

Eric: Well, for me it’s that this charlatan…

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: … this unsavory gentleman, has been taking his money for weeks and weeks and weeks…

Colleen: No, I feel like it’s completely justified. I just… I don’t know. I just imagine Lucius and Narcissa reading this story to Draco every night.

[Alison, Colleen, and Michael laugh]

Colleen: Because this seems like the type of story…

Alison: And Draco’s like, “Don’t look stupid. Don’t look stupid.” [laughs]

Colleen: I don’t know, I feel like this would be the type of story that pure-bloods would like because it casts Muggles in such a horrible light.

Michael: Yeah, I mean if you… and I’m sure if they… that’s very true, that the Muggles come out for the worst in this story.

Colleen: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Colleen: We were talking about challenged stories. I highly doubt this is one of the challenged stories.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Yeah. Yeah. Well, the charlatan, in his panic, goes to find Babbity to yell at her because… whatever.

Michael: Got to yell at somebody.

Alison: And…

Colleen: “You screwed me over!”

Alison: Exactly. And he sees her through the window polishing her wand, and the king’s sheets are washing themselves, which I thought was very funny and really connects to this idea of this being almost a Merlin story.

Colleen: Yeah.

Alison: That’s a very common theme in Merlin adaptations. The ones I was thinking of was both the Disney and the BBC ones…

Colleen: Mhm.

Alison: … where you have the scene of something is washing itself, whether it be clothes, sheets, dishes.

Michael: I…

Alison: There’s something magically washing itself while their controller just sits to the side and does whatever the heck he wants to do. [laughs]

Colleen: Also very Molly Weasley-ish.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Eric: Yeah, I love that it’s something we’ve seen before in the wizarding world.

Alison: Mhm.

Eric: It really ties it back together for me.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: I think that’s like the common man’s dream of what magic would really be used for if we had it.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: Do all your laundry, though.

Michael: The simple things in life. So that… and you’re right, that’s… I think that a big piece with the Arthur story, because it’s the idea of… that piece with Merlin and Arthur is that Arthur is able to escape his chores and servitude…

Colleen: Mhm.

Alison: Uh-huh.

Michael: … and responsibilities because he has Merlin to help him do chores and do that for him. So yeah, I think that’s a perfect way to directly tie that to that…

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: … story. There’s a lot of, I think, stories out there where magic is used to get people out of responsibilities and chores.

Alison: Yes.

Colleen: Mary Poppins?

Alison: That’s what we all want. [laughs]

Michael: That’s what we all want, yep.

Alison: Yes. Well, then we get to the next day where the king is giving his demonstration. And Babbity herself is hiding in the bushes…

[Eric laughs]

Alison: … actually performing the magic.

Eric: It’s so Babbity.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Colleen: Rabbit in bushes.

Alison: Yes.

Michael: Well, I had mentioned it before with “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart” and how he borrows the poetry, but this is also another reference to the story structure of Cyrano de Bergerac with…

Colleen: Great play.

Michael: … the idea of an individual…

Alison: Uh-huh.

Michael: … who is having somebody else pull the strings behind the scenes to make it look like he or she is…

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: … doing the thing.

Alison: Yes.

Eric: I do like the physical setup of the way your imagination puts these characters in proximity.

Michael: Yes.

Eric: I like that about this.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: That trickery is definitely a common troupe in…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … classic literature and fairy tales.

Alison: Yes. So we get some very familiar spells from reading Harry Potter. We get a vanishing spell as we’ve seen them practice in Transfiguration, actually.

Colleen: From McGonagall.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yes. And then we get Windgardium Leviosa! Nice little…

Eric: Hey!

Colleen: Woo!

Alison: … reference there. Floating animals. Which, by the way, is a beautiful drawing…

Colleen: I loved that!

Alison: … by JKR of the flying horse.

Eric: This drawing is great. This is the second time… I read all the stories last night to prepare, and it was the second time I was reminded of the Chronicles of Narnia

Colleen: Yeah.

Alison: Oh, yeah!

Eric: … by C.S. Lewis because… the first time was the “Fountain of Fair Fortune” the knight being tugged through the maze reminded me for some reason of… gosh, is it the postman [who] gets tugged into Narnia the first time?

Alison: It’s the cabbie. It’s the cabbie…

Colleen: Yeah.

Alison: … that gets… the first king, yeah.

Eric: The cabbie…

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: … gets tugged… yes, yes, yes. I love The Magician’s Nephew. It’s my favorite.

Colleen: I don’t really like that one.

Eric: It’s the horse flying also – the horse that he’s on goes with him or there’s some horse…

Alison: Yeah, the horse…

Colleen: There’s a Pegasus.

Alison: … becomes the Pegasus. Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: The horse becomes the Pegasus. Yeah.

Michael: Well, I think the interesting thing about this particular drawing… it’s really fascinating that Rowling’s own drawings are included and she… what’s so…

Alison: She’s good.

Colleen: She is!

Michael: Well, what’s so perfect about it is that she has an almost medieval style to her drawing because she seems to intentionally have a lack of depth in her drawings.

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: Her drawings are very flat. And…

Alison: They’re very sketch-like.

Michael: Yes. Very sketched out.

Colleen: Or doodle-ish.

Michael: Yes, exactly. And she does a lot of crosshatching for shading.

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: So she… so it’s a perfect fit because her drawings have a medieval feel to them.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: But if you’ve ever had the fortune, listeners, of seeing her other drawings she… back when her old website was cool, [laughs] she posted actually a drawing of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville from Sorcerer’s Stone

Colleen: Aww!

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … that’s very much in that style, and you can see how she pictures the characters.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: I need to look this up. I have not seen this.

Alison: Somewhere on the Internet there’s a sketching she did of… I think Snape is there…

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: … she’s got one of Harry, she’s got one of Hagrid. There’s a couple floating out there…

Michael: Yeah.

Colleen: That’s so cool.

Michael: But it is…

Alison: … of what she’s drawn.

Michael: … interesting that she… because we know that Beedle the Bard was originally intended for her friends only…

Eric: Right.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … and that’s why she did the drawings. And luckily she was very kind enough to maintain the drawings rather than, say, have Mary GrandPré redo them.

Colleen: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: I think it was a very good stylist choice.

Alison: Yeah, she’s incredible as an artist, which is just like, “Dang it, do you have to be perfect at everything?”

Colleen: Mhm.

Eric: Right?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Colleen: It’s kind of like with actors. You could either be super talented or you can be attractive; you can’t be both.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Somehow she’s got it all.

Alison: Yeah. Well…

Michael: But yes, beautiful drawing.

Alison: … but who doesn’t have it all is this king because his best…

Michael: Mhm.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: … dog just dies, as we find out during this demonstration. A dog named – I am not going to say this right because I don’t speak French – [pronounces as “Sa-bray”] Sabre.

Michael: Is it like…

Colleen: “Saber,” I think.

Michael: “Saber,” “Sabel,” “Saybre.”

Alison: Okay.

[Michael laughs]

Michael: I don’t know.

Alison: I don’t speak French.

Michael: Sorry, France.

Alison: I was reading it more Spanish. Anyway, which means curved blade or calvary sword in French. Which leads me to think this is a very French fairy tale.

Eric: Hmm.

Alison: Which leads me to think she’s taking a bit of a dig at the French by making their king a bit of an idiot.

[Everyone laughs]

Colleen: She is British.

Alison: Yes, exactly. And I mean we can get into… I was going to bring that up a little bit later, in Dumbledore’s notes, of some historical reasons why you might have a crazy French king.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: That’s true.

Alison: But we’ll get there.

Michael: I like the humor. There’s an odd bit of humor with the dog because the way that Beedle writes it, you don’t know it’s a dog at first. You think it’s a person.

Colleen: Yeah!

Michael: [laughs] And then you’re just like, “It’s a dog.” And then you are like, “Oh, okay, it was a little gorier and now it’s a little less gory, it’s a dog.”

Alison: Yes. It’s still sad, though.

Michael: It’s still very sad.

Alison: When dogs die it’s always sad.

Colleen: Still sad.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Anyway, they decide they want the king to raise the dead dog as his next trick. And I love the way this is written, where it basically just says Babbity just sits back, because she knows it’s not going to happen, and so she just doesn’t care!

Eric: [as the Genie from Aladdin] I can’t bring people back from the dead! It’s not a pretty picture! I don’t like doing it!

[Everyone laughs]

Colleen: So much Disney!

Michael: And that’s a perfect reference too, with the Genie and the way that he functions in Aladdin.

Alison: Yes.

Michael: Because the Genie functions very much in the same way as Cyrano de Bergerac, where there’s a limit to how much the charlatan’s trick can go on. They always go overboard with how much they think they can get away with.

Eric: Yeah, can I just say the king here got lucky!

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Eric: He’s just guessing! He’s making it up off the top of his head! Thank goodness Babbity is accomplished enough to know the Vanishing and the Levitation, and to be able to do it that quickly without any kind of hesitation. Because I mean, sure, eventually it was bound to happen, you’re going to think of something off the top of your head that can’t be done, or requires, say, a potion rather than a spell, which would take time to brew. You’re going to run into the same problem.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: But he had a good run of guessing things that she could actually do.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Colleen: And this line of talking about how nothing can be risen from the dead with magic. I also had that memory of Dumbledore talking to Harry when he was very young, of that’s the one thing that magic can’t do, especially after – oh God, I’m going to butcher how you pronounce it – Priori Incantatem, with the melding of the wands, where he’s like, “You do realize that magic can’t bring people back from the dead, even though you saw that.”

Eric: Yeah, when he said that I still believed it could, though.

Colleen: I know! Because we all want Harry to have a family.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: We all still expressed our doubts about Priori Incantatem, but…

Alison: That also makes an interesting connection, then, to the Resurrection Stone.

Colleen: Yeah!

Michael: Right.

Alison: Which is going to be a very prominent thing in our next story. And for Harry himself.

Eric: Yeah. Yeah, but that’s… and I know this is in Dumbledore’s notes later, but he talks about wizarding children at large learning that rule through this story.

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: Which makes sense.

Eric: And just because it’s presented so matter-of-factly, as you said, in this story as being a rule, and Babbity just sits back.

Alison: Of course, her sitting back makes this king very, very angry, and the charlatan points out Babbity in the bushes, and so they all go on a chase, basically, a hunt. Of a rabbit! It’s a rabbit hunt.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: And Babbity seemingly turns herself into a tree! Which, there you go, there’s another Merlin parallel for some original Arthurian legend, where Merlin gets trapped in a tree.

Colleen: Yep.

Alison: Very interesting setup of these connections here. And they decide to cut her down, cut the tree down that they think she’s turned herself into, in order to get rid of her. But the stump starts to cackle and talk, and tells them that you can’t kill a real witch or wizard by cutting them in half, and to prove it they should try to cut the Grand Sorcerer in half.

[Michael laughs]

Colleen: She’s so smart!

Michael: Sweet revenge!

Alison: Which of course, yes.

Colleen: I think that’s why I love this story so much, is Babbity is so smart.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Michael: That’s, I think, the fun thing about Babbity. She continues Rowling’s trend of the underdog such as the… especially individuals in servitude like the house-elves, who are overlooked but are more powerful than they may initially seem.

Eric: That’s a good point, actually, the house-elf comparison.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Which is also a fairy tale.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: So definitely, yeah, I think that’s a strong theme in Harry Potter. It’s funny how “Babbity,” as a story, while it is less serious than, say, “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” is still covering a lot of the same ideas.

Colleen: Mhm.

Aliso: Oh, yeah! Definitely.

Michael: About death, and how she manages to sneak that one in there.

Colleen: Two ways to tell a moral.

Eric: Mhm.

Alison: Yep.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: One thing I was thinking of, though… maybe it was just witches and wood. Did anyone else think Monty Python here?

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I do now!

Alison: It feels very Monty Python! Also, she’s a rabbit!

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: To be fair, Rowling has a love for Monty Python.

Alison: Yes.

Eric: That’s well known.

Michael: She wanted Terry Gilliam to direct Harry Potter, so… He was her first choice!

Eric: One of Dumbledore’s many names is Brian.

Alison: Yep.

Michael: Mhm. And… go ahead, Alison.

Alison: And John Cleese is Nearly-Headless Nick, yeah.

Michael: Yes, John Cleese. Which she was thrilled about, from what I recall. So yes, I mean, come on. I would love to think that’s the reference, because that is a fantastic scene.

Colleen: It’s so good!

Michael: Because they’re made of wood? Good!

Alison: I got better! [laughs]

Michael: She turned me into a newt! I think that’s definitely perfect too, because, I think, that mirrors this story, and the accusations against Babbity…

Alison: Definitely.

Michael: … mirror the absurdity of that scene, where the peasants are just saying the craziest things.

[Everyone laughs]

Colleen: Witch!

Michael: And the logic is very misplaced in their way that they deduce that she’s a witch. It’s very ridiculous.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: Listeners, really, if you are listening to Alohomora! and you haven’t watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Colleen: Go watch it.

Alison: It’s very much her kind of humor too. [laughs]

Michael: Yes.

Alison: Very British humor.

Michael: Very.

Alison: And so they decide to make amends, and the king promises to erect a golden statue of Babbity on the stump, and then we see the story ends with a white rabbit with a wand between her teeth hopping out from behind the stump, which, by the way, putting a piece of wood in a rabbit’s mouth is a very bad idea, having owned rabbits. If it’s wood they’re going to chew on it and it’s going to be gone.

[Everyone laughs]

Colleen: Also, I didn’t even put this together until now, but a lot of Native American folk tales [have] the rabbit playing the trickster, and playing the one that gets the…

Alison: Oh, you’re right!

Colleen: Yeah, getting the butter, yeah.

Alison: Native American is more coyote, but African-American…

Colleen: Yeah! Yes, yes, yes.

Alison: You’ve got Br’er Rabbit.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: That’s very…

Colleen: Yeah, I was getting my folk traditions mixed up. But I know that the rabbit normally plays the part of the trickster in a lot of the folktales.

Michael: Yeah, and the African-American idea of Br’er Rabbit transferred over from a lot of African tales where a rabbit was a trickster as well.

Colleen: Yeah.

Alison: Definitely.

Michael: And that even plays into, that rewinds or fast-forwards, rather into the references from Europe and the reference to Beatrix Bloxam, stretch that to the reference of Beatrix Potter, you’ve got Peter Rabbit, who is a very naughty little rabbit.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: If you’ve ever read the tales, the point of Peter Rabbit is often to teach a lesson through how misbehaved he is. So yeah, there’s definitely a tradition of trickster rabbits.

Alison: And from there we get on to Dumbledore’s notes, which the first thing he says is that this is, in terms of magic, the most real of the tales. Magic aligns most to the magical principles that happen in the wizarding world. Fun tidbit.

Eric: I like that take on it. He’s not just like, “Oh, you just saw Wingardium Leviosa.” He’s like, “Knowing the magical laws of the world like we do, [switches to a pompous British accent] I can tell you that it’s the most conforming.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Colleen: Having just left university I can hear professors making those arguments.

Alison: [laughs] And we do get something very interesting. We find out there are magical philosophers who are looking into theory which is fun. And they seem to be French like a lot of our philosophers, which makes me wonder then, are there a lot of Scottish magical philosophers as well?

Colleen: [gasps] McGonagall!

[Alison laughs]

Michael: He’s a British one, but I believe he’s mentioned here as Adalbert Waffling, right? Is he mentioned in the footnotes of this one?

Alison: No…

Michael: He’s in one of them.

Alison: … I don’t think so.

Eric: I remember…

Michael: Oh, he might have been mentioned… oh, no…

Alison: I think he’s in Tale of the Three Brothers because that one touches on a lot of Muggle stuff.

Michael: Okay. I remember him being mentioned; I’m going to have to find where he is.

Eric: You’re definitely right. I remember reading about…

Michael: Because I only thought of mentioning him because this isn’t his first appearance. He first showed up on a wizard card.

Alison: Oh!

Michael: So he came up before, but, yeah, I guess the one we’ve got is Bertrand de Pansy Profonde.

Colleen: Oh.

Alison: And thank you for pronouncing that because I never could have.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Nice work!

Michael: Again, France, I’m so sorry. [Laughs]

Alison: And that Frenchman also proves that if you give something a really long fancy name with a lot of big words, it’s going to seem really impressive!

[Michael laughs]

Alison: His landmark study is a study into the possibility of reversing the actual and metaphysical effects of natural death with particular regard to the reintegration of essence and matter. And it’s sounds to me…

Colleen: University article title!

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yep! It sounds to me like the whole article is two sentences: Give it up. It’s never going to happen.

[Alison, Colleen, and Michael laugh]

Colleen: Oh, it’s so great!

Michael: I love that.

Colleen: Do you have any idea how many times I wish I could say stuff like that in my master’s paper? Because…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yeah, that’s hilarious.

Alison: Yeah. I think I would both as a teacher, laugh and probably give it an A just for cleverness.

Colleen: It’s also…

Alison: Don’t do that future students. Write.

[Michael laughs]

Colleen: Yeah, no, let it out, and especially people looking for jobs. Don’t just write on your cover letter, “Please, dear God, hire me. I promise I know what I’m doing.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: That’s a nice little bit of Rowling’s humor there.

Alison: But then we do get to, another, kind of touching on… It’s getting very close to the resurrection stone where Dumbledore mentions wizards coming up with illusions of our loved one’s continuing presence. He talks specifically about paintings and photos where they move… actually this is JKR. Sorry.

Michael: Yeah, which is interesting because this predates Pottermore with her thoughts on…

Alison: Yeah, exactly.

Michael: … portraits. So…

Alison: And it tells us that paintings, though they move, and they can talk the way their subjects do, there’s really no connection between them and the actual person. In that same footnote, I laughed very, very hard because she uses Harry’s “ghosts are transparent” line from Half-Blood Prince

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: … which I forgot about, and found absolutely, hysterically, funny, because it’s sassy Harry mouthing off to Snape in their DADA lesson.

Colleen: Yes!

Michael: Yes, with Ron’s… Isn’t that the one where Ron has the follow-up like, [as Ron] “If we’re going to have a chufty with a ghost in a dark alley, do you think we’re going to be like, ‘Are you the imprint of a departed soul?'”

Alison: Yes.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: [as Ron] “Harry’s is more practical! Ghosts are transparent…”

Colleen: Sassy Harry is the best Harry.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison and Michael: Yes!

Alison: So I laughed a lot that she resurrected that line, or it was somehow lodged in her brain.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Sassy Harry. We’ve been getting mention of Animagi. But interestingly, we don’t really get anything new about them. Dumbledore just explains what they are, and that it’s difficult to become one, and that the Ministry keeps a record. And then we get a footnote that McGonagall wants everyone to know she has not done anything illegal.

Michael: [laughs] We got a little bit of seeing how she used that at the beginning of Sorcerer’s Stone. As far as…

Colleen: Yeah, a cat reading a map. I’m still not over that.

Michael: Yes. Yes! Being like a sentinel, like a lookout, was definitely, I think, part of what she was doing. I think at the time the big new piece of information about Animagi from this footnote that, to me, kind of contradicted with one example that we’ve seen, and we talked about this during Goblet of Fire, but as she says, “If you’re an Animagi and you transform into an animal, you retain yourself.” You know who you are, you’re self-aware of who you are and who you’ve been before. But if you transfigure into an animal, you lose that and you’re just basically an animal, and you have to have somebody transfigure you out.

Colleen: Oh my God.

Michael: Obviously, the major problem with that is that Krum transfigured himself into a shark and it’s specific in the book that he transfigured, not Animagi-ed. So, how did he do that in a way… [laughs]

Alison: See, it’s…

Colleen: So okay, I was also thinking of Malfoy and ferret.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Oh, that’s a movie… oh… maybe that’s not a movie-ism.

Michael: Yeah, because they do note during that event that the ferret seems to be semi… kind of aware that it’s in a compromising position. So I think the narration suggests that Malfoy is still somewhere in that ferret.

Alison and Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: And, of course, the ferret, at least, Moody is the one who transfigures him back.

Colleen: Moody…

Michael: Moody or McGonagall changes him back so at least that narratively makes sense with this, but Krum is the one that’s always been problematic to me because, I mean, notwithstanding the fact that he would need all his facilities to get through the task…

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: … how did he get himself transitioned back, or did somebody transform him back? It just… especially if the rules…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … were, too, that they all had to perform their own magic, technically somebody shouldn’t be transfiguring Krum back to himself, but how did he…

Colleen: Eh, Karkaroff seemed like a cheater so maybe he transformed him back.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Tt’s interesting too, because if any of you have read Fantastic Beasts there’s an entry of the Quintaped, I think it’s called?

Michael: Oh, yeah! The Quintaped. Yeah.

Alison: What is it? Harry McGuffin, I think is its other name?

Michael: It’s a horrifying story!

Alison: Yes! [laughs] She talks about these clans that turned… one of the other clans turned the other clan into these creatures, but no one’s been able to catch one to turn it back, to ask it questions, to ask them if the story is true.

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: Which makes me think that if you get turned back, you’ll return back to yourself, which makes me wonder too, then, if they’re degrees of how far you can go? So Krum, we know it’s just his head. Does that mean there’s still enough of him that he could turn himself back, but if you get fully turned into an animal there’s not enough of you – or maybe you’re not magical enough then – to turn yourself back into a human.

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: That’s very interesting.

Michael: I imagine the excuse… you’re riding along the lines of what Rowling’s excuse would be, Alison, because what’s specified in that situation with Krum is that it’s a botched transfiguration; he doesn’t do it right.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: But I mean, in my opinion, I would think that would be more damaging? [laughs]

Eric: Right.

Alison: Eh, Krum was a little thick anyway.

Eric: Have shark brains forever.

Michael: I think that’s wise that she tried to make a distinction, because I think that originally raised the question of why would you have an ability to transfigure into an animal if there’s also an Animagus and those are different branches, like, why do you have that. So she’s definitely trying to explain that away but I think she just made a tiny little whoopsies on this one.

Alison: An interesting note Dumbledore makes, though, is he doesn’t think Beedle ever actually met an Animagus because he has Babbity talk while in animal form…

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: … which obviously they can’t do, though I’m now imagining the possibilities of Sirius Black and James Potter talking…

[Colleen gasps]

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: … as a stag and a dog.

Colleen: Oh my God, how much…?

Eric: Yeah, that’s very, very All Dogs Go to Heaven style…

[Michael laughs]

Colleen: Yes!

Alison: Yes! [laughs]

Eric: … or even Homeward Bound style to me.

Alison: Aww!

Eric: The mouth doesn’t move, but you can hear their voices.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Yes. Yep.

Michael: We know, too, that Sirius was able to communicate with Crookshanks in some form.

Eric: Right?

Colleen: In like animal language, though.

Michael: Yeah, yeah, they didn’t talk.

Colleen: But not, like, talking.

Michael: But despite being cross-species, they were able to communicate with each other.

Eric: Not only cross-species, but if the Animagus form does indeed retain your human mind and your human faculties the way that Dumbledore says here, then it’s even weirder that Sirius was able to communicate with Crookshanks.

Michael: Who is not…

Colleen: Maybe because he was a dog for so long, he was able to figure it out? I don’t know. Maybe because he was in Animagus form so long.

Alison: Yeah. Maybe he just played Charades.

Colleen: Yeah, maybe!

Alison: He’s playing Charades with Crookshanks out in the back.

Colleen: Pictionary.

Eric: It helps that Crookshanks is a smart cat.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: Right?

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Because we also know that Wormtail communicated with other rats to find his way back to Voldemort.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Oh, that’s a good point. Yeah.

Michael: So we definitely know that as an Animagus you can definitely communicate with other animals that are your species. But there must also be at least a rudimentary way to communicate with animals who aren’t your species. So…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: No talking animals in Harry Potter, though.

[Alison and Colleen laugh]

Michael: Except the Sphinx, but that’s an exception.

Colleen: I was about to say, there’s a limit to the magic.

Michael: Yes. [laughs]

Alison: And then we get into the story of a very famous Animagi. Animagus, actually I guess. It’s singular. That, I was slightly disappointed, is not a real person. Because I had accepted that it was a real person, but I went looking, and there’s nobody by the name of Lisette de Lapin, who Rowling writes was a French sorceress convicted of witchcraft in Paris in 1422. However, maybe I should have figured this out, because “lapin” is a derivative of the Latin for…

Michael: Rabbit!

[Colleen and Michael laugh]

Eric: Aww!

Alison: So yes.

Michael: It’s a fun little story, though.

Alison: It is! And it sounds real.

Michael: Yes.

Alison: And I had just gotten so used to JKR pulling off of real history and putting spins on it that I just accepted it as real. [laughs]

Michael: And as far as I am aware of Lisette, this is her first introduction in Harry Potter. She does not come from a wizard card. I don’t recall her being on one. So she’s new. The only thing that ties in that came prior to this, and it’s questionable as far as its canon goes because I don’t think it’s appeared, no, it hasn’t appeared in anything official canon. But there’s a spell that showed up, I believe first in the Harry Potter trading card game and transferred into some of the video games. Its most prominent appearance was the Prisoner of Azkaban video game. There’s a Lapifors spell. It’s just Lapifors, and it can either, depending on which version of the game you’re playing, it will conjure up a rabbit for you or it will bring a rabbit statue to life.

Eric: Oh.

Alison: Cool.

Michael: And you can guide the little rabbit around. Hermione specializes in the Lapifors spell in the video games.

Colleen: What doesn’t she specialize in?

Michael: Fun little spell. So obviously the Lapifors thing was something that the video game crew caught onto as well and were like, “Whee! Rabbit spells! Latin!”

Alison: “Rabbits!”

Michael: “Latin rabbits! Wee!” [laughs]

Alison: [laughs] All you need in life. Who is the historical figure that she mentions…

[Michael laughs]

Alison: She mentions King Henry VI, and the story of Lisette de Lapin is that she was caught, accused of witchcraft, and escaped. And the story is she may have turned into a rabbit, a white rabbit, that attached a sail to a cauldron and sailed across the English channel to escape and then became a trusted advisor of King Henry VI.

Colleen: Oh my God!

Alison: Who, funnily enough… Funnily is not a word, I’m sorry.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Henry VI, the son of Henry V, very famous Shakespeare, “We few, we happy few, we happy few, we band of brothers,” St. Crispin’s Day. That Henry V, Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Eric: You mean Gilderoy Lockhart? Sorry.

Alison: Yes! Yes! Not my favorite version of that movie, but it’s fine. So King Henry VI is the son of Henry V, who won a lot of territory in France for England. And Henry VI lost all of that territory in France. I think he had a mental breakdown. Interestingly enough, a lot of scholars think he was suffering from schizophrenia and that he inherited that from his maternal grandfather, Charles VI of France.

Michael: Whoops!

Alison: Who also suffered from a lot of mental insecurities, historians think. So an interesting tie to a fairytale of a French king who is a little deluded in some things.

Michael: Your suspicion, Alison, that there’s maybe just a little jab at the French… The English, as far as I’m aware, have always had a bit of a frenemy relationship with the French. [laughs]

Alison: [laughs] Definitely.

Michael: It kind of trickled down. And again, excellent reason to bring it up again, but the way the French are depicted in Monty Python.

Alison: Yep!

Michael: It’s pretty funny. But the funny thing too is the French get the last laugh in that movie.

Alison: Yes.

Michael: So they don’t always lose in their parody.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: I think that’s also a great connection because a lot of these fairytales that we’re seeing have not only been inspired by… I think the authors we all immediately think of are the Brothers Grimm, who were German. And their stories tend to be more associated with traditional English, European storytelling. But the other fairytale individual who we don’t look to as much but who is just as involved in the history here is Charles Perrault…

Alison: Yes.Michael: … who took… He also did versions of a lot of the fairytales that the Grimms did. And the funny thing is, his version of Cinderella is very sanitized compared to theirs.

Colleen: Mhm.

Alison: Mhm.

Michael: But his version of Sleeping Beauty is horrific compared to the Grimms’ version.

Alison: Oh, yeah. It’s bad.

Michael: Simultaneously, he’ll very much clean up and censor things that the Grimms did, and then on the opposite end he does very gory, violent, bizarre… And he’s also responsible for Bluebeard, for the most popularized version of it.

[Eric laughs]

Colleen: Yeah.

Alison: Yep.

Michael: So it’s odd how Perrault approached the stories. And actually, listeners, while we think of Disney being mainly inspired by Grimm, Walt often credited Perrault. Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are credited to Perrault’s version, not the Grimms’ versions.

Alison: There is even some, if we are tying this back to… I’m seeing a lot of Arthurian…

Eric: Yeah.

Colleen: Mhm.

Alison: … connections in this story. A lot of that is very French-influenced as well. A lot of Arthurian myth comes from different French ideas and things like that.

Eric: I want to just go on the record and change my mind about this story…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … in general, from this discussion.

Alison: Yay!

Eric: I actually really like, I love the Arthurian connections that I’m learning about for the first time here.

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: Alison, we convinced someone!

Alison: This ties into Monty Python too. [laughs]

Michael: I think, Eric, I think what maybe the hesitancy to really fall in love with this story comes from is that other than “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” which we get straight-up in Deathly Hallows, this is the only fairy tale in Beedle that we had an expectation for.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Maybe. No. What it is for me and my criticism [is] it’s almost too meta to be allowed because… she shot herself in the foot and this story exists because it has to.

Michael: Mhm.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: You can’t release Beedle the Bard… all the other ones she could start from scratch…

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: … and really be inventive and creative about. This, she pigeon-holed herself and was like, “Okay, now I’ve written a story titled ‘Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump.’ Now I’ve got to live through it,” so it felt like that. But actually, I think the… some people work best under pressure, and now I’m convinced that Jo’s actually taken this unfortunate hand of cards that she dealt herself and turned a brilliant master work out of it.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Eric: So I’ve changed my mind.

Colleen: Yay!

Michael: Eric, I think… and Alison, you wrote it, too, but I think it’s a perfect moment since we were talking about comparisons to bring up the particular story you guys saw a comparison to.

Colleen: Mhm.

Alison: I very much see “Emperor’s New Clothes” in the first half of this.

Eric: Yes. [He] was the king! He’s aloof! [laughs]

Alison: Yes!

Michael: He looks like a fool.

Eric: And this guy comes along and is like, “I have this perfect silk for you.”

Michael: Yeah, yeah. And the charlatan works in the same way too.

Colleen: I was about to say that is one of the few fairy tales where they play a charlatan really well and it’s one of the central characters.

Alison: Yes, yes.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Michael, you had another one, too, that you were seeing.

Michael: Yeah. The one that came to mind is “Puss in Boots,” which… I’m trying to… let’s see. “Puss in Boots” has Italian roots, actually.

Colleen: Huh!

Eric: Mamma mia!

Michael: And he’s kind of fallen into the Mother Goose stories and he’s also had a Perrault version as well. But the idea of “Puss in Boots” is that he essentially fools a king into thinking… because a young man inherits the cat thinking that he’s useless, and then, of course, the revelation is that this cat can get him everything he desires; the cat basically works… has the same function as the genie in “Aladdin.” But what he does to get the young man everything is that he tricks a king into making the king think that this young man is actually very, very wealthy and in high standing so that he can get him what he wants. And in the end… the funny thing is that the moral of the story is actually about having a sense of charm and savior faire and that’ll get you places in life.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: That charming cat!

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Michael: Yeah, it’s very much the idea that if you’re… if you have a very likable personality, you can get things that you want, [laughs] which is a very odd little moral.

Alison: Yes.

Colleen: Ehh…

Michael: But yeah, it’s definitely, again, the idea… the imagery of a foolish king being tricked by a commoner.

Alison: Yeah. [A] couple of more points I pulled out of Dumbledore’s notes: He mentions, or I guess it’s a footnote that mentions that Muggles are able to maybe use the residual magic in a wizard’s wand, and the first thing I thought of was Harry’s wand in Deathly Hallows the moment it spins in his hand. And does Hermione mention this or does Harry mention this? Someone talks about regurgitating old magic?

Michael: Mmm.

Eric: Yeah.

Colleen: I think that was Hermione.

Alison: Or maybe it’s Dumbledore at the end.

Michael: No, this is… I think this is a fun idea because this, again, is another thing that predates Pottermore and our extensive knowledge of wands now…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … but this is a first taste of that where it explains a little bit more properly how a wand functions and the idea that… this is also very much [an] explanation of how the Deathly Hallows… the Elder Wand works.

Alison: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: Well, what she’s illustrating here is that Muggles could never…

Michael: Do magic.

Eric: … use a wand. The only way a Muggle waving a wand could do anything is if the wand is very rarely still storing some power somehow…

Michael: Mhm.

Eric: … because the wand has a function; it channels the existing power from the wizard’s magical body, essentially.

Alison: It suggests that wands are almost sentient…

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: … which is very interesting to me, and that they can hold onto magic, in a way. That they’re not just conduits, but they’re also receptacles for magic.

Michael: Yeah, it’s definitely an extrapolation on what we saw in Hallows. The idea that… and that’s why I brought up the Elder Wand, which I think… I guess when we go along with that – the Elder Wand, the idea behind it – I guess, is that more than perhaps the average wand, it retains magic. And I would imagine that in the hands of a Muggle, the Elder Wand would be extremely volatile and dangerous…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: … because it has a lot of magic stored in it. But yeah, it’s like… it is like if a wizard holds a wand long enough and becomes familiar with the wand long enough, the wand retains a little bit of them and their power inside it.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: It’s a cool idea.

Alison: The last little bit… it’s actually the last sentence Dumbledore writes for his notes for this story.

Eric: Oh!

Alison: He says that… he’s talking about the idea raised in the story, that Babbity threatens the king that if he should hurt any other witches or wizards, it will feel like an axe in his side. And he says this could be playing off of the Unforgivable Curses, which weren’t made illegal until 1717. Does this seem really, really late to anyone else? I looked it up and torture was outlawed in England in 1640. So why were the wizards almost [80] years late on this uptake?

Eric: They still use steam-powered locomotives to get around.

[Everyone laughs]

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: I don’t know. But that was explained in Pottermore, that particularly. But anyway, no, I see an old date and I’m like, “Okay, that’s an old date…”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: … but actually looking at it… and I love people who know history enough to be like, “That was late!” For me, I wonder just if there was maybe something happening and the wizards had a reason to continue using those spells, or perhaps something bad happened that essentially acted as the catalyst to making those. And why those three and not…? Why were there three and not four? What about those three happened or somebody was like, “Okay, it’s time to outlaw these”? And it happened in the way that it did where they were grouped together as the Unforgivable Curses. How we learned them is the three of them, but realistically it could have happened more organically where they were outlawed at different times, but that didn’t happen so it actually…

Colleen: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: … this one line from Dumbledore really does raise a lot of interesting questions.

Colleen: Well, I feel like you can also say in this story… well, in Dumbledore’s annotations for this story, he does point out how Unforgivable Curses were used against Muggles specifically.

Alison: Ah, yeah.

Colleen: And I feel like… again, we don’t really have an accurate history timeline as to when Muggle-borns started being more acceptable, and when Muggles and wizards stopped being so at odds with each other, but I could see it taking a long time just for the sheer animosity between the two groups, or the way wizards felt about Muggles for a very long time.

Eric: That’s a good point.

Colleen: I could see that taking a long time.

Michael: I think you’re right, Colleen, because what we got, actually, from the very first story, “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot”; Dumbledore does mention that the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy was put in place in 1689, so…

Colleen: Mhm. Yeah.

Michael: … I mean, that’s still quite a few years out, but we are talking end of the 1600s to early 1700s, so if the International Statute of Secrecy goes into place, it would follow that Unforgivable Curses, if they are being used on Muggles, would…

Colleen: And in my head, the timeline makes sense if the Statute of Secrecy went into effect in 1689 because then they had that… almost a couple decades of messing with this Statute and seeing where the limits are…

Michael: Yeah.

Colleen: And people are using Unforgivable Curses on Muggles to protect the Statute. That could cause the Ministry to pull back and be like, “Okay, wait a minute. We might have to regulate this a little more.”

Eric: Oh! Interesting.

Alison: But I also feel like that almost doesn’t make sense, because if – I was way off, I can’t do math. This is eighty years apart almost.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: If the Statute of Secrecy was 1689, that means there were 49 years between when torture was outlawed in England and Muggle and wizarding societies split.

Colleen: Yep.

Alison: Because she has talked on Pottermore how the introduction of the Statute of Secrecy was where they split and wizards started lagging behind Muggles.

Michael I think the only other argument that can be made for it is that – and I don’t know too much of the historical context about this particular piece – but I know all of you fans of Hamilton will know this.

Colleen: Woo!

[Alison laughs]

Michael: By the time that our Founding Fathers were doing their thing over here in the States, the idea of pistol dueling was still acceptable.

Colleen: Oh, yeah.

Alison: Everything is legal in New Jersey.

[Colleen and Michael laugh]

Colleen: Best line.

Michael: So I think that the thing that maybe ties into wizards for me, and the suggestion that comes from “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” as well as other things we’ve heard from the Wizarding World, is that dueling to kill was not considered unacceptable at that time.

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: I like that a lot about the dueling pistols.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: I really like that reference because, actually, it’s like, “We’re a civilized world, we’ve just founded this new country on freedom. And you have the freedom…”

Michael: To kill each other! [laughs]

Eric: “… to kill each other if there is a dispute.” So even using the Killing Curse, then, would be potentially acceptable in a duel.

Colleen: Yeah. And if I want to kill the mood here, look at American politics and how vehement people are over gun control now.

Eric: Yes!

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: There’s still definitely that fight over regulations when it comes to… If we’re thinking of the wand as a weapon, this level of regulation and stuff like that. Granted, they seem like logical laws. Don’t kill people. Don’t torture people.

Eric: Right.

Colleen: But still, I could see the wizards feeling the separation between killing by magic and killing with your own bare hands, with a gun, with a weapon.

Michael: But there’s definitely…

Eric: Yeah, it just seems like a very progressive idea.

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: Mhm. Mhm.

Michael: And there’s still this, I think, idea throughout, even into the 1700s of honorable deaths.

Colleen: Yeah.

.

Michael: Honor being a big piece of etiquette. And that ties into the pistol duels. And so I think with wizards, that’s the thing we see even all the way into Harry’s time in Chamber of Secrets that there’s still a formality in duels.

Colleen: Yes.

Michael: With the bowing and the eye contact.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Which is a very traditional way of carrying out a duel. So I imagine, that is the only other thing that I could think would be somewhat logical reasoning for why that took so long for those to be banned.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: Because they were probably still considered fair play at the time.

Eric: I have something else about this Cruciatus thing. When Dumbledore suggests that that’s actually similar to that spell, I thought it was interesting that the Cruciatus Curse potentially can be localized. When she says it would feel like an axe is in your side…

Michael: Mmm.

Eric: The Cruciatus Curse in the books is like, it’s pain all over, right?

Alison: That might just be poetic license, I think.

Eric: But I’d love it if there were a spell to localize the pain.

Colleen: Yeah.

Eric: Like, imaginary pain refined.

Michael: I think we get the idea from the story that Babbity is a pretty powerful witch.

Colleen: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: And the other thing that links with that, because it’s fascinating, the idea that she could place, like Dumbledore does posit that it’s possible that she could have placed this curse on them if she wanted to. And the only thing that I can think of that’s equatable to that is Voldemort’s curse on the Defense Against the Dark Arts position.

Colleen: True!

Alison: Oh!

Michael: A more traditional idea of a long-lasting curse that continues even after you’ve left that location. More of a traditional witch’s curse.

Eric: That’s really cool.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Whether or not Babbity actually did it or not, or if she was just saying it because she thought it was funny, who knows?

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: Yeah. I like, too, that there is that touch here that we do have one story here, and we’ll get that with “Tales of the Three Brothers,” but that, I think, is a different matter altogether. But we do get another story here with the idea that, oh, maybe this was based on something.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Because you think, legends say… My favorite one to think of in terms of this would be like, Mulan, which there’s no confirmation that Mulan was actually a real person, but there are analysts who have examined her story and found that it potentially complies with actual historical events as far as the war that is summarized in her ballad and that she maybe was a real person.

Eric: That’s cool.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: It’s a fun thing to have Rowling so meta. It’s like, “Oh, in my fictional world these fictional people are real!” [laughs]

Alison, Eric, and Colleen: Yeah.

Alison: I love it.

Michael: Just layers and layers and layers of that. I did find, by the way, because I just had to justify this for myself. Adalbert Waffling is mentioned. He’s mentioned in “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart.” So he came up a while ago. We missed him.

Eric: Ah!

Alison: How’d I miss that?

Michael: But yeah, Adalbert Waffling. He had a wizard card, so just had to…

[Colleen and Michael laugh]

Eric: Shout out to him!

Michael: Shout out to Adalbert Waffling.

Alison: Before we wrap this up, I actually have one little thing we kind of touched on earlier. As I was looking for this quote that I read earlier about how JKR said “Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump” is the stupidest title. The end of this quote where she’s talking about it’s a story about revenge kind of surprised me.

Eric: Mmm.

Alison: Reading this, I wouldn’t have said it’s a story of revenge. Because usually if we’re talking about trickery myths…

Eric: Mhm.

Alison: … it’s more about the trick then about why they do the trick.

Colleen: Mhm.

Eric: Hmm.

Alison: So, what do you think? Do you guys see this as a revenge story, or…?

Colleen: I feel like it depends. Again, it’s with any interpretation. It depends on the reader and where they come from. Like me, no. I saw this as a general trickster story. But putting it in the sense of earlier where I said the Malfoys probably read the story to Draco all the time. I could see pureblood families reading this as kind of a warning tale for Muggle persecution and as a justification as to how they treat Muggle-borns. And how they have that thinking of witches and wizards being superior. Look at how stupid this Muggle is and look at how stupid they were when they did this. I could see this as being one of those stories that’s twisted into different meanings.

Michael: It’s funny you phrase it that way, Colleen, too, and look at it through that lens. And what’s funny is that Dumbledore doesn’t.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: He doesn’t extrapolate on the moral of “Babbity Rabbity” and how it applies to the modern wizarding world. He goes more into the technical aspects of “Babbity Rabbity.”

Colleen: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Colleen: I think it’s more because he didn’t come up in that kind of environment. At least, the impression I got when reading Deathly Hallows was his family didn’t have that type of pureblood mindset. But in a family where it’s so entrenched like the Malfoys, I could totally see them reading it that way.

Michael: And we also know that Ron has an affection for the story.

Colleen: Mhm.

Michael: And seems to find it humorous if we by Ron’s sense of humor.

Colleen: Yeah.

Michael: I suppose this would be a story that wizards read as… Because what we know from Pottermore as far as the general feeling now of wizards towards Muggles is they say, “Oh, aren’t they adorable?”

Colleen: Yeah, and I feel like Ron is the main character that struggles so much with that. He doesn’t have necessarily what I would equate as racist tendencies toward Muggles.

Michael: No.

Colleen: But he definitely has, occasionally, a superiority complex where he would definitely put himself slightly above or just be like, “Well, why don’t you do it that…?” He just doesn’t have a lens and a way of thinking about Muggles, and he can slip into that mentality every now and again.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Michael: I don’t know if I would… I think the only aspect of this that’s a revenge story is… I mean, Babbity does get her revenge on the charlatan because he gets his in the end.

Colleen: Mhm.

Eric: Well, yeah…

Michael: And she does…

Colleen: But at the same time, she does get some revenge on the king when you think about it…

Michael: Yeah.

Colleen: … because he’s sending out all these witch-hunters to kill people that we can assume she’s related to or she knows, and so her revenge is making him feel pain so that her family doesn’t get hurt.

Alison: But she doesn’t really make him feel pain. We’re going to go to another Merlin example. All throughout – if you’ve see BCC’s Merlin – Merlin’s big thing is, “If I can do things for Arthur and Arthur can learn that it’s me, and accept me as having magic, then he’ll accept magic and he won’t hurt other people who have magic.” And that’s more what I was seeing here through what Babbity is saying. I mean, there [are] also the really funny parts where Merlin is being the old man Emrys and trying to make deals where he’ll do something if Arthur won’t hurt other people who have magic. That’s more what I’m seeing, which doesn’t feel like revenge to me, necessarily.

Eric: Yeah, it’s just [that] she’s sorting it out; she’s ensuring that her people can be saved.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: And putting the charlatan in his place; he’s revealed to be a fraud. And just threatening the king; I mean, she has to threaten him, but she does. She’s essentially making the judgement of, “I need to instill fear in him.” It’s like what Harry does with the Dursleys in not telling [them] that he can’t use magic outside of school. It’s like things will just be easier if they think they’re going to be turned into a toad.

[Colleen laughs]

Eric: It’s a short term solution, but it works. And I think that there’s… but it is ultimately a story about outsmarting…

Colleen: … Muggles.

Eric: I agree with that… I would not call this a revenge tale. But Babbity is of the right intelligence and she’s just such a cool, sassy character who is a great heroine of a story, but ultimately she just succeeds. She survives. That’s the moral of the story. She’s like, “Hey, you’re smart. You can survive.”

Colleen: She’s the Emma Thompson of the series of heroines.

Eric: Yes, exactly.

Alison: Yes. [laughs] There you go.

Michael: Yeah, and I think the idea that it’s… yeah, I wouldn’t necessarily call it revenge, either. I think it is, like you guys were saying, more of a trickster tale. I suppose in the moment when Rowling was being interviewed I think she was just perhaps trying to quickly summarize the basic idea of the story, and maybe just misspoke because… and that was just before the stories had been published too, and I don’t think a revenge tale really fits with the themes of Harry Potter so much as a trickster tale would.

Eric: Yes.

Michael: I totally just remembered the thing that I wanted to say! Back in…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: What did you want to say?

Michael: I wanted to say that the horrific nature of what happens at the end of “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart” is the closest thing we will see to the creation of a Horcrux.

Alison: Oh! Oh gosh, why?

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Alison: I didn’t think it could get worse, and it got worse! Oh my God!

Eric and Michael: [singing] Cannibal, cannibal!

Michael: Oh, I’m so glad I got to sneak that in.

Alison: Ugh. Well, I’m going to sneak in one thing too, to make it happier: Universal, call me when you start doing “Babbity Rabbity” as a show and I want to be your white rabbit wrangler.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: I want to be your white rabbit wrangler, okay? Okay. The end.

Michael: We want to thank you, Colleen, for being on this episode of Alohomora!

Colleen: Oh, thank you! Oh, this is so much fun.

Michael: Well, you were a fabulous guest; I had high hopes from your audition and you definitely proved all of them. You contributed excellently to the show today.

Colleen: Aww, thank you.

Eric: And we also have to ask because we’re trying to make sure that the listeners know for future with the change in the format: Was this just as good as ostensibly being on a book episode, on a main book episode, do you feel?

Colleen: Oh, yeah. And I especially enjoy these types of comparisons to fairy tales [that] we were able to draw; I love short stories and the amount of information you can get out of them. So to me, yeah, I thought it was just as good as a book chapter episode.

Eric: Well, if you the listener would like to be on the show, you can simply visit the “Be on the Show” page on the Alohomora! main site. But also, there’s a new way that you can contribute which is to suggest a topic and this is super mega-foxy important…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: … because after we finish up Beedle the Bard and Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch through the Ages, Alohomora!, as we stated in our videos, is going to be a general Harry Potter topic podcast. So not only should you audition like Colleen did to be part of the discussion, but you can actually pick [a] topic for us to discuss and submit those using the Alohomora! website and all the contact methods which we’ll get into very shortly. But if you do want to be on the show, no fancy equipment is needed. Apple headphones work, headsets, that kind of thing… and all of that information is over at the Alohomora! site.

Alison: And if you want to contact us, contact us. We’re pretty cool.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Do it!

Alison: You can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, on Facebook at facebook.com/openthedumbledore, Instagram at @alohomoramn, or our website, alohomora.mugglenet.com, where you can download a lovely ringtone of our theme song for free. And there you can also send us an owl on our audioBoom. It’s free; just keep them under 60 seconds so we can play them on the show.

Michael: And we should point out too, before I get to our last bit here, that while we’re not specifically including a place for recap comments during the school book discussions in these episodes, we do still want to see you guys commenting on the main site.

Alison: Yes.

Michael: We have been paying attention to your comments. And you never know; those comments… we did see a few show up in the show today just in general discussion, and we are just so glad to hear that you guys are enjoying this new format and rediscovering the joys of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. And hopefully we’ll also be able to open your eyes with Fantastic Beasts as well as Quidditch Through the Ages too. But it definitely helps us to know that’s happening if you guys head to the main site and leave us comments. So please keep doing that because we are watching.

Eric: Definitely.

Michael: And once again, as a reminder, please also keep helping us out on Patreon. You guys have been doing such a fantastic job with that. Rosie and I do have a goal to reach $400 – we’re very close to that – in donations so that we can maybe put together a Harry Potter Let’s Play because we do have a secret passion for the video games and we would love to share that with you guys. So that’s definitely one of the potential perks of donating on Patreon. You can sponsor that for as low as $1/month and again, as we mentioned before, there are some special perks that you can get with that. You can check that out at patreon.com/Alohomora. But for now we are keeping our non-hairy hearts very close to us and we are cackling away to the bank at the end of this episode of The Tales of Beedle the Bard and examining that one. I am Michael Harle.

Eric: Nice. I’m Eric Scull.

Alison: And I’m Alison Siggard. Thank you for listening to Episode 192 of Alohomora!

[Show music begins]

Eric: Open the crystal casket!

[Show music continues]

Michael: In the French version the translation comes out to “C’est la fete,” which means, “It’s a party, it’s a party!”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: That’s a little literal! Obvious, obvious, obvious!

Colleen: That’s going to be in my head every time I hear that song!

Michael: Obvious, obvious, obvious. Lyrics, lyrics, lyrics. Yes.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So we’re having a party. So everybody’s dancing and all is well.