Transcript – Episode 209

[Show music begins]

Alison Siggard: This is Episode 209 of Alohomora! for December 24, 2016.

[Show music continues]

Alison: Hello, listeners! Welcome to yet another episode of Alohomora! It is our last episode of the year for 2016.

Eric Scull: Woo!

Grace Candido: Yay!

Alison: Next time you hear us, it’ll be a new year [with] lots of exciting things happening. I am Alison Siggard.

Michael Harle: I’m Michael Harle.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull. And you may have noticed and or possibly recognized, if you are a particularly astute listener, a voice that you heard saying “Yay!” a moment ago. It was none other than recurring listener/guest, Grace Candido. Welcome, Grace!

Grace: Hello! Hey, everybody.

Eric: Welcome back.

Grace: It’s good to be back.

Eric: Welcome back, Grace!

Grace: Thank you.

Eric: And Grace, you were telling us just before we started recording, how excited you are to come on and talk about today’s topic. But also. you’re on our last episode before Voldemort’s birthday.

Grace: I know! I’m so excited! And you guys remembered it without me having to say anything. I was so proud of you.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: Got a big Voldemort fan here. Big, big Voldemort fan in the house, y’all.

Grace: Yup, just thought I’d let you guys know. Favorite character we’re talking about today.

Eric: Wow.

Grace: Aww, yeah.

Michael: And something about Grace has changed a little bit since she was last on the show. Grace, you’re a part of the MuggleNet family officially now, right?

Grace: I am! I’m one of the news reporters.

Alison: Yay!

Grace: Though I’ve been taking a little bit of a break because I literally just got married. [laughs]

Eric: Whoa!

Michael: Congratulations!

Alison and Eric: Yay!

Grace: Thank you!

Eric: We should have your husband on this episode. It could be a honeymoon. Like co-guest hosting.

Grace: Sweetie, say hi. Say hi.

Grace’s husband: Hey, guys!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: That’s awesome.

Grace: Thank you so much!

Michael: And Grace, we thought of you immediately for this particular episode because, listeners, we thought we’d pick something perfect for the season and the holiday, and we’re going to talk about Horcruxes this week.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Yay!

[Michael laughs]

Grace: Because what brings people together better than tearing yourself apart? [laughs]

Michael: Truly. Truly beautiful. But before we get to some soul splitting here, we want to make sure [to] give a shout-out to our Patreon sponsor for this week. This week’s episode, rather, is sponsored by Rebecca Eckley on Patreon. Thank you so much, Rebecca, for sponsoring…

Alison and Eric: Thank you.

Grace: Yay!

Michael: … Episode 209 of Alohomora! It’s because of you that we get to talk about Horcruxes on Christmas Eve.

Grace: I’m certain that’s what you wanted, Rebecca.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: You’re welcome. You’re welcome, Rebecca.

Michael: And you, listeners, can also become a sponsor of Alohomora! for as little as $1 a month. We will continue to release exclusive tidbits and special perks for our sponsors. We just released a new… I believe it’s a $15 level on our Patreon, where if you donate that much, I will read you a chapter of Harry Potter live on Skype, a chapter of your choosing.

Grace: That’s incredible.

Michael: So a pretty good deal right there. And we’ve also got plenty of other perks coming up that we’re working on. So yes, make sure [to] visit our Patreon page, which you can find through our website, alohomora.mugglenet.com.

Eric: Please do.

Michael: But with that said, we’re moving into our topic today: Horcruxes. And just like Horcruxes split the soul, we have split our focus on Horcruxes a little bit. There’s going to be a lot of that, folks. [laughs] Just be ready. There’s going to be a lot.

Alison: [laughs] Lots and lots of jokes.

Eric: It’s going to be a soul-splitting good time.

Alison and Michael: Woohoo!

Grace: You know it!

[Eric and Grace laugh]

Michael: And what we like to do on these new topic-based episodes is, even though we’re all taking the lead in the conversation, we try to divvy up the focus for what we want to hone in on on the topic. And actually, I was all over the place because there were multiple things about Horcruxes that I wanted to talk about, so I threw it to you, the listeners, over on my Twitter account. And you guys responded beautifully, and some of you submitted some great ideas and questions, which I would like to explore. So that’s where I will be sourcing my thoughts from.

Alison: And I’m going to look at how Harry is a Horcrux/not a Horcrux. Where does Harry fit into this whole situation with his whole dealio with Voldemort and souls and dying and not dying and all that? So that’s what I’m looking at.

Michael: The boy’s a mess.

Eric: Indeed, indeed. And I’ll be looking at whether or not the specific process of creating a Horcrux indicates that there is actually definitively a good or an evil in the world.

Michael: Whoa. Whoa! That is some heavy stuff right there!

Grace: That actually is pretty heavy.

Michael: What are you going to do? [laughs]

Grace: And I will be looking at the different creation methods, the physical effects, and also a comparison with the seven deadly sins.

Eric: Oh!

Grace: I just had to look that up. It was too perfect.

Michael: Oh my goodness. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so we will get started by going into the basics here, for those of you who may not remember anything about Half-Blood Prince.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: I just skipped that one.

Grace: It’s been a while, guys.

Michael: We will do a little review for you here. Let’s just quickly define a Horcrux. Rowling actually went ahead and succinctly tried to define a Horcrux during her Pottercast interview in 2007. And as she put it, a Horcrux is a “receptacle [that] is prepared by Dark magic to become the receptacle of a fragmented piece of soul and that that piece of soul deliberately detached from the Master Soul to act as a future safeguard or anchor to life and to safeguard against death.”

Alison: That sounds so academic.

Grace: Super clinical.

Michael: Yes, if you wanted to write a paper, yes, this is your…

Alison: [in a British accent] That’s how you define it.

Michael: And one of the key terms that I thought was really interesting in her definition, because you don’t see this floating around too much in discussion about Horcruxes. But one of those most important things [is] “Master Soul.” I think that’s really important. We haven’t really seen that term a lot before, and Rowling hasn’t said it a lot. So that’s important to keep in mind for when we go through our discussion. But the other piece is if you break down a “Horcrux,” pretty much if you break down any major word that Rowling has constructed for Harry Potter, “Horcrux” essentially translates to “container of evil.”

Alison, Eric, and Grace: Ooh!

Alison: We all sound like Barty Crouch, Sr.: “Ooh!”

Alison, Eric, and Michael: [as Barty Crouch, Sr.] “Ooh!”

[Eric, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Grace: We all have to do the finger waving as well.

Eric: [as Barty Crouch, Sr.] “Chinese Fireball.”

Eric, Grace, and Michael: [as Barty Crouch, Sr.] “Ooh!”

[Alison, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Michael: And we’re going to see this as we go through each of the sections about Horcruxes here. The fun thing about this episode is going to be that, really, when you put it all together, Rowling has kept quite mum on Horcruxes. Despite what we know, she really hasn’t divulged much more information past what the books give and really hasn’t given us much on Pottermore or even on her Twitter. Most of the stuff that I sourced from her is from her PotterCast interview in 2007. That’s probably where she said the most about it in a fixed span of time, so…

Eric: I mean, that was when it was fresh, that was when it was new, and she really hasn’t had a reason to dive back into it. So far as we are aware, Voldemort was the one who went further than anybody else in making them. And of course, we read, through the course of the series, his defeat. So I don’t know. Open book, closed book sort of thing. We’ll get into this in just a moment, but she’s hesitant to explain more about the making of Horcruxes and that sort of thing just in case. Because somebody will clearly try it and kill in her name. It’s only a matter of time if she were to ever divulge it. So I think it’s best where it is. She created this mean for the series’ villain to survive, but as far as getting into too much detail, she’s had to remain in a position of great caution, I think. And it only makes sense because of how many eyes are on these books.

Grace: Well, I’ll be honest. I feel like whenever she talks about it, she’s like, “Umm, I really don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

Eric: Yes! “So can we please just not.”

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: She’s thought of something that has scared even herself.

Grace: She’s like, “Nope!”

Eric: That’s terrifying.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah. No, well, and I think that’s why… because I mentioned as we went through that reread that Half-Blood Prince is my second-favorite book, and one of the things I love about it is that, so late into the series, she developed these Horcruxes as something that really tied everything together so excellently, but it was just something unusual…

Grace: .. and undefined. Very vague.

Michael: Yeah. Which made it interesting, yeah.

Grace: It’s almost like someone started waving their fingers and being like, “The ultimate evil!”

[Michael laughs]

Grace: “The darkness!”

Alison: Well, and it’s become a thing too. I don’t remember ever hearing before this in pop culture — I mean, TV, movies, whatever — and maybe there is and I just didn’t know because I was so young, but nothing like this, I feel, had ever been mentioned, but then the other day, I was watching Supernatural and they straight-up were just like, “Yeah, this thing is like a Horcrux.”

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Alison: It’s become a thing, almost. I don’t know. It’s very interesting to me.

Grace: One of my favorite comedian’s albums is named This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux.

Eric: What?

[Eric, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Grace: A reference to Jackie Kashian.

Grace: Because her soul’s in it, get it? Ahh.

Eric: Yeah, because her soul’s in it. Ahhh.

Eric and Michael: Ahh, haha. [laughs]

Eric: It seems to be a unique, unprecedented way to have a character attain immortality. Right? The whole reasoning behind it, why it works, etc. is rooted firmly in Harry Potter.

Michael: Well, and that’s something, actually, that was one of the questions that I got. And I think it would be a great way – before we go into the details about Horcruxes – to think about or examine [them]. But I got a question from Howl Stevens, or @TheBareboneBoy, [on] my Twitter, who said, “what are some examples of similar magical items in literature? I’m thinking of the portrait of Dorian Gray.”

Eric: Nice, nice.

Michael: Which is an excellent example, Dorian Gray. There’s definitely a relation to it because there is the idea of immortality, but in this case, Dorian Gray bears the brunt of immortality that Voldemort does not really deal with, that idea of losing…

Grace: … humanity.

Michael: … living beyond people, yes, but losing your humanity in that way. Because Voldemort wasn’t really interested in keeping his humanity.

Grace: No, he was trying to get away from it.

Michael: Get away from it, yes, versus Dorian, who… And often is the case, I suppose, when the literary idea of messing with the soul is brought up, is that those characters tend to discover pretty quickly that that’s to their detriment. Almost immediately.

Grace: That’s not what they were looking for.

Michael: Yeah, yeah. It has lots of consequences to it. The only one that came to mind… and this is a hard one to pat down, and of course, you guys, before the show, we were talking a little Lord of the Rings, and I was like, “Well, kind of the One Ring, kind of. There’s a little bit, not really…”

Eric: For its tie to Sauron, for its tie to bringing Sauron back to power, I think there’s something in that.

Michael: Well, somebody with more Lord of the Rings experience, please jump in, but weren’t there multiple rings? At one point?

Grace: There were. Maybe I’m crazy. I’m remembering 11. It’s been a while since I’ve read those books. There'[re] a lot of rings out there.

Eric: Yeah, there were so many more because there were ones that went to the dwarves, ones that went to the men, ones that went to the elves, right? But the One Ring is unique in that it controls every other ring. And the One Ring is what Sauron seeks; the One Ring has special properties. But in terms of a magical object that’s imbued with a purpose and a nature and can think for itself and behave in its own way, it’s certainly related to a Horcrux or similar to a Horcrux.

Grace: And what’s interesting about the Horcruxes versus the rings is that each Horcrux, I feel, has its own personality and its own way of trying to take over its host.

Eric: Sort of. I’ll argue that it’s the same thing except what makes it different is what it’s cased in. Right? A cup is not going to all of the sudden start telling you where it was in 1942 when Voldemort was 12. It does that because it’s a diary. And a locket is only going to try [to] choke you. This, that, and the other…

Grace: I’ll disagree with you, but I might disagree with you later. [laughs] Because I know we’ve got a lot to discuss.

Eric: Yeah, lets… I’m interested in talking through that.

Michael: Yeah, we’ll get to that, when we get to the objects.

Alison: Other things in pop culture, I’m thinking there’s that episode of Dr. Who in new Who, where [the] Tenth Doctor put his Time Lord self into the pocket watch.

Eric: I love that episode!

Alison: Yeah, yeah, it’s a good one. So it’s almost a more benign thing.

Eric: Well, it’s sort of more like a Pensieve. I mean, he does give up his power. He’s actually mortal. So it is more than just a Pensieve in that it gives up more than his memory, but… yeah. I would argue it’s halfway between a Pensieve and a Horcrux. Because he forgets who he is and he gives up his alien species nature but is still completely alive. Yeah, I don’t know. I like that comparison, though. I like that episode.

Michael: If we’re stretching it to pop culture, and I always bring it up when Grace is here because she nerds out with me about it, but it’s easy, if you’ve played it, to bring up Kingdom Hearts.

Grace: Oh yes. Oh yeah, you said the right thing, man.

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Michael: Kingdom Hearts, if you haven’t ever played it before, is an insane mashup of Disney and Square Enix, specifically mostly their Final Fantasy stuff, but it brings in a lot of things about… The funny thing is, Kingdom Hearts makes a very clear distinction between the mind, the heart, the soul, and the body. But at the same time, it still uses the heart and the soul in the poetic sense.

Grace: Yeah, it’s almost interchangeable how they do that.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah. But there is still very much the idea that, in that world, if you lose your heart, you can actually create another version of you that is a Heartless, or if you are a strong individual who loses your heart, you create a Nobody, which is a more physically reminiscent version of the original you.

Grace: Yeah, one without the ability to differentiate between what is good and what is evil, more so. Because you slowly begin to lose yourself as you continue in a form that doesn’t have a moral compass. It’s insane watching these people.

Michael: Yes, and Kingdom Hearts was riding along around the same timeline as Potter. It got to this concept before Potter because Kingdom Hearts came out in the early 2000s before Half-Blood if I’m recalling correctly, but yeah, this idea of messing with the soul has definitely been something that’s been played with before. But I think you guys are right that there’s… And listeners, if you think of some ideas in particular that you recall from classic literature, please let us know over at alohomora.mugglenet.com. By the way, probably should have said this earlier in the episode, should remind you, listeners, that, yes, alohomora.mugglenet.com is back!

Alison and Michael: Yay!

Alison: Yes, it is!

Grace: Hooray!

Michael: So you can actually go to the website and leave your comments with us. But yes, I think those were some excellent recalls of a few things that have definitely popped up in history. But going deeper into Rowling’s specific version, I think it’s perfect to start with creation methods, and Grace, I know you wanted to focus in on that.

Grace: Yeah, I know that there’s been speculation on different creation methods, and it has to be something repulsive enough to literally almost cause you to gag. And I know that she revealed in her 2007 interview that it was so repulsive that she didn’t want to reveal it [to] audiences because it caused her editor to freak out or something of that nature. So it’s understandable that it might actually represent something as crazy as cannibalism or necromancy. And I know that cannibalism was something that I had seen online, someone had focused in on, and they had suggested that maybe it’s the drinking of blood or eating of a bit of the flesh of the person killed. And I know that Patrick – who’s our editor for this week – actually brought up that maybe it’s taking away from the killer’s body, like desecration or consumption of the killer’s body in some way, which would explain somewhat of the disfigurement that happens to him later on.

Eric: Why he doesn’t have a nose! [laughs]

Grace: I know. He chopped it off!

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I wonder [which] Horcrux that became.

Michael: [laughs] That’s crazy!

Grace: And these are some pretty grim topics, so I’m sorry, guys. We’re delving into the heavy stuff first! [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, I guess it’s grim. It’s super grim. But then I’m like, “What if it’s even worse that we can’t even possibly guess?”

Grace: Yeah, well, there'[re] a lot of guesses out there, guys! There'[re] a lot of ways to desecrate a body.

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, like you said before, Grace, I think that’s what makes Horcruxes so great as the way she’s done it, and with her reluctance to ever define it, is because that’s what makes it truly scary, because all of us can imagine something different.

Grace: Yeah. And I hope that she never does define it. I’ll be honest with you: I feel like this is something that should stay in the gray area.

Michael: Me too.

Eric: I agree, but we have enough about it that Horcruxes are scary, terrifying. The books work the way they’re supposed to. Because we understand enough about them to figure out not only how to destroy them, why Voldemort did them, and all of that stuff… And I wanted to talk about when we talk about creation methods, sort of Step 1 to creating a Horcrux is splitting your soul. The soul is already split by the time you make a Horcrux. Horcruxes simply… You have to…

Michael: I thought Step 1 was the murder.

Grace: Wait, wait, wait. I thought Step 1 was preparing the vessel.

Alison: Yeah, the object.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: I would argue it’s killing.

Michael: [laughs] So we’re all on different pages of what Step 1 is.

Alison: We don’t even know!

Grace: [in a British accent] I would argue it’s the vessel!

[Alison, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Eric: Well, hang on! Because I guess it doesn’t even matter if it’s Step 1 or Step 2.

Grace: It really doesn’t.

Eric: What I’m trying to get at is, you got to kill someone in order to be able to do this.

Grace: You do.

Eric: Because killing is…

Grace: [as Bellatrix Lestrange] You’ve got to mean it!

Eric: … what splits the soul to begin with. There’s only one thing that actually splits the soul, that will allow you to even create a Horcrux in the first place, whether it’s Step 1 or Step 2. Fine, I’ll grant you… Maybe there’s some argument there.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: But you have to kill someone. Otherwise, your soul is whole, is together! And killing someone will split the soul. You then, of course, make a Horcrux, which, it separates the soul from your physical body, the first time you do it, and encases it in an object. But you have to split the soul first with murder, which my whole point – what I’m trying to get at here – is that, then, innately evil? This is clearly why people say Horcruxes are dark. But why is it necessarily that killing splits the soul? The way that Slughorn very aptly describes it to Harry is like, “Well, you’ve committed such an unnatural act, etc., etc., etc., and that’s why it splits the soul.” And I know it’s all guesswork and I know it’s all theory work, but it would seem that that was a pretty reliable method for Voldemort to continue. Because he killed so many people, it was just like, “Oh, he’s enabled himself to create all these Horcruxes.” So with killing people, I also view it as an evolutionary… I don’t know. Murder used to accomplish a survival thing. It was not held [on] such a moral high ground as it is now, to where it’s bad to murder another person. Actually, a long time ago, that used to be normal, right? I mean, we would have to kill each other and fight for lands and survive, long before we were…

Grace: Are you talking about when we were in the ages of evolving into humankind?

Eric: I guess.

Grace: Are you talking about killing in order to eat? Is that what you’re talking about?

Eric: Even in the Wild West [if] you’d get somebody trespassing on your farm, you[‘d] have to shoot them! Does it split your soul?

Alison: Well, you don’t have to.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Grace: There'[re] certain ways to subdue individuals without shooting them.

[Eric, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Alison: That’s a thing. [laughs]

Eric: Especially in the Wild West.

Michael: I think that the way that you quoted Slughorn, and the implication that I’ve always got from that and from Rowling, is that Voldemort is killing in a way that almost brings him satisfaction.

Alison: He enjoys it.

Grace: No, no, no, he’s killing with a deadly sense of purpose. There’s got to be meaning behind the kill.

Michael: That’s an interesting way to put it.

Grace: You can’t just go around killing someone to defend yourself. You have to kill someone because you mean for them to be dead, for you to be able to use that to move forward. That’s the way that I see it.

Eric: Okay, where does it say that?

Alison: That’s yeah, I guess that’s the difference between murder and self-defense.

Eric: I like that.

Michael: Yeah, that’s a good way to put it. Yeah, no, I was even thinking of that this morning in terms of, perhaps, if you were to do a mercy killing. I wouldn’t consider a mercy killing to be qualifications for being able to split your soul because…

Grace: Yeah, or else Snape killing Dumbledore would have been a murder rather than killing out of mercy.

Eric: It is a question whether or not Snape’s soul was cracked. It never comes into play.

Grace: I just don’t like Snape. [laughs] I’m sorry! [laughs]

Eric: He’s not worthy of having a cracked soul!

Alison: [in a singsong voice] Welcome to the party!

Eric: Only the Dark Lord is capable…

Grace: [in a British accent] Only the Dark Lord can have it! He cannot! [harrumphs]

Michael: [laughs] Yeah. Well, I think, Alison, you were just going to quote Dumbledore – weren’t you? – about that.

Alison: Yeah, because they have that whole conversation that we see in “The Prince’s Tale,” where Dumbledore is talking about Draco and he says, “The boy’s soul is not yet [so] damaged.” And Snape says, “[And my soul, Dumbledore?] Mine?” and we never get an answer to that question! [laughs] So…

Eric: I think it’s reasonable that people who have killed have split souls. The problem with this is the same that’s in all of Harry Potter, which is that, in so many ways, we’re introduced to all of the exceptions to the rules, right? Because Voldemort is trying to take possession of Harry and he can’t, we figure out what causes somebody with a fractured soul to cause pain or not succeed in their endeavors when they come up with someone who’s got a pure soul. But even making more than one Horcrux is something we’re led to believe only Voldemort has ever done, and even making Horcruxes is something we’re led to believe a handful of people have ever done. And so all of this is messed [up] a little bit because I think Snape could very well have a split soul. It will never harm him. It will never affect him. He’d never encounter it.

Alison: Well, yeah, because making a Horcrux, I think, is different than… I don’t know.

Eric: It’s taking that soul out of your body!

Alison: Yeah! And that’s the unnatural part and that’s the part that becomes the problem.

Eric: Exactly!

Grace: Well, I feel like it’s killing with deadly intent. I feel like Snape killed because Dumbledore asked him to do so. It was assisted suicide, if you will, so he didn’t have any ill intent to murder. He didn’t even really want to. I think the case with Tom Riddle is just that he’s murdering people actively because he wants to use them or he hates them enough to want them dead or he wants to use their death to his…

Eric: But I think with Snape it’s questionable because there’s certainly no… I mean, there’s not hatred that I would say… I mean, we know Snape doesn’t, at times, care for Dumbledore, but I think it is the point where you’re intellectually aware of what you’re doing. It’s not quite self-defense. You’re still killing somebody. You’re still… And even if it was to protect Draco or a protecting thing, you’re two grown adult men who respect each other as equals [and] you have full knowledge of what you’re doing. You kill someone, I think that leaves a mark. I think Snape’s soul was split because you’re talking about causing someone who[m] you know and love and respect to be no longer living anymore. It’s almost like the moral “killing is always wrong no matter what” ground to take on this whole thing, but I think it absolutely tarnishes or fractures your soul, just taking another human life, no matter what the cost. You talk about soldiers in war too, who go in and have taken lives, and it was something that they absolutely understood they needed to do, but you’re never quite right afterward. You caused somebody else to stop breathing. And I think it’s an allegory to that, of taking another life leaves a mark. Of course, it’s one we can’t ever see, but in Harry Potter, there’s a tangible way to figure that out or to do something with it.

Michael: Yeah. No, I think and that’s what is so hard to discuss with this because we are putting something completely and utterly intangible into a tangible sense. Because when you look back at our conversations in Half-Blood about the question that came up of “Well, when Voldemort is splitting his soul, did he split it into seven pieces evenly and take out an equal chunk each time or did he take more and more so there was less and less left?” And it’s like, “Well, you can’t really think of it that way because a soul is not a pie.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Uhh, Voldemort’s soul is a pie, actually.

Grace: I actually think of it more like a chocolate bar, ladies and gentlemen.

[Alison, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Eric: Why a chocolate bar? No, I’m going to follow this madness…

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Eric: … to a follow-up question, Grace: Why a chocolate bar?

Grace: Well, actually, I have actually gotten this question before – “How do you think Horcruxes really work?” – and I compared it somewhat to a chocolate bar. You’re born with a complete chocolate bar, and if you choose to make a Horcrux, you break off a piece of it, break off a corner, and then you put that in the holder of the piece of chocolate, [laughs] basically.

[Michael laughs]

Grace: So you still have the main bit of chocolate. There'[re] just little pieces of it in little areas, basically.

Michael: Well, yeah, I think that, in a way, makes a little more of a better comparison than, say, a pie because a people think of so evenly splitting a pie.

Grace: And the Horcruxes only seem to have one function in that “Oh, I just want to survive.” It’s almost as though this tiny bit of soul only has one purpose, is “I want to survive away from my actual self.”

Eric: Well, yeah, having one Horcrux, the way normal wizards do it… the normal, dark, evil, your standard run-of-the-mill evil wizards…

Grace: Yeah, not the cool kind.

Eric: … who have had Horcruxes before…

Alison: [laughs] “Standard, run-of-the-mill…”

Eric: … all do it, you just need one and that tethers your soul to the living plane.

Grace: Just one and done. Lame. [laughs]

Michael: Well, and as Rowling said, Voldemort pursued seven because seven has magical properties.

Grace: But there is no guarantee that he stopped there either.

Alison: Which is so extra, though.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: It is a little overkill. That’s a good point: overkill.

Michael: Ahaha!

Grace: [laughs] Sorry.

Eric: At any given time, though, if you actually… I seem to remember reading [that] Voldemort never had seven. He went [from] having six [to] having eight.

Michael: Well, and we’ll get to that. We’ll get to that.

Eric: And if you count Harry… So it’s an unattainable number. But if you’re using the candy bar comparison, at one point, would Voldemort have just found out that he couldn’t make any more Horcruxes because he ran out of chocolate?

[Grace laughs]

Eric: Because if you keep breaking off pieces, and if it’s not doing it evenly I think… The way I like to think of it is, you continue to split your soul in half, and so the very first time you make a Horcrux – this is why one Horcrux is good enough for Dark wizards to survive being killed, and it’s because if your soul is split and you remove it once, you make one Horcrux – that Horcrux has exactly half of your soul. If you then make another Horcrux, that has exactly half of whatever part of your soul is within your body, still, at the time of making it. So now your current body has one quarter what it used to have as far as soul. But of course, you can’t really think of it – as Michael was saying – in a physical way, so maybe it actually reduces the amount of soul that’s in any one particular Horcrux when you make a second and when you make a third, and so maybe it is even parts.

Michael: Well, and the closest thing we have to quantify that from Rowling is, again, from the PotterCast interview, where she said that “wizards would have been looking for ways to do exactly what Voldemort did for years, and some of the ways they would’ve tried would’ve killed them.” And this is the analogy she came up with:

“Splitting the atom would be a very good parallel in our world. Something that people imagined might be able to be done, but couldn’t quite bring it off, and then people started doing it with sometimes catastrophic effects.”

Now, Rowling is trying to equate more the possibility of Horcruxes rather than the actual, quantifiable splitting of the soul. But I think what she’s getting at with the atom is great because the atom is something that’s really hard for us to visualize, especially for those of us who are not scientists.

Eric: That’s actually a really good point.

Michael: Yeah, to get down to such a miniscule, molecular level that you’re splitting something…

Eric: “Submolecular,” yes.

Michael: “Submolecular,” yes, that you just can’t even really imagine that. I like that parallel just because it goes into realms that we as humans still can’t quite wrap our heads around completely.

Grace: Yeah. That is a little hard to imagine in that way.

Michael: But I mean, with that said, as Grace was going through that list of… Because the thing is, while killing an individual may definitely have effects on your soul – fragment, damage, dent, whatever that may do – the process…

Eric: Just a ding, like a fender.

Michael: Yeah, you flip the soul.

Eric: A little bit of a murder, like “Ding! Oop!”

Michael: Yeah, yeah. But then, of course…

Eric: I’m going to buff that out.

Michael: … as Rowling has clarified, making a Horcrux does have a process to it, and I think that gets more into some of the things that Grace was bringing up because we don’t know what it is that you do to continue the act.

Grace: What I feel like is most interesting is that, while we already have the act of splitting your soul, which would keep you here in this realm, or at least, it’s supposed to once you can put it in a physical aspect of something else…

Eric: Yeah, it’s removing the soul, which has been fractured.

Grace: Yeah, it’s the removal and also the preparation of the object that you’re going to put it in. But it’s strange because you have to think of what are you going to do? How are you going to tether yourself to the physical world? Because you’ve spiritually split yourself. Now how do you tether yourself to being alive, now, to being immortal? And so it may or may not have something to do with the body that you had before you, which is why I think cannibalism and necromancy and Transfiguration of the body, or any other sort of desecration of the body, may have come up in conversation because now you have this physical entity to which you’ve already done evil to, so what do you have to do now in order to make sure that you can stay here in this physical plane permanently?

Eric: Gosh, I mean, just for my own comfort, I’d like to prefer that you would just leave the dead body alone.

Grace: Me too!

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Eric: Because killing that person was enough to split your soul, and now you need to do…

Grace: But you have to tie yourself to the physical, in some way.

Eric: Well, but you’re talking about yourself. You’re not talking about… The killing of the other person was something that you did to split your soul, great. I see the Horcrux process – whatever it [is] – is having to do solely then with you from that point forward because you’ve used the others in the way you need to, and now, I mean, I imagine it’s a bunch of maybe spells, maybe some potions here and there…

Grace: But does that repulse you? Do spells and potions repulse you?

Eric: No.

Grace: Or the act of some sort of cannibalism? Does that repulse you?

Eric: Well, yeah, but I mean, here’s the other thing, is that they had the corpses of the people he murdered. And they didn’t notice that chunks were missing from these dead people. Remember, in fact – there may be a clue of this in Goblet of Fire – the Riddles were perfectly normal, perfectly healthy except for the fact that they were dead.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: So it’s not like they were missing. They didn’t have any parts of them gouged out or anything. So maybe that should be a safe indicator that you leave the body alone, but you’re right. I mean…

Grace: Well, maybe you didn’t have to drink all of the blood. Maybe it was just some of it.

Eric: “All of the blood”?

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michael: That made me think, too, there’s… Of course, many of us wonder, as part of the human experience, what happens to you when you die, when your body shuts down. And as we somewhat know, your body gradually shuts down as you die, and there are certain parts of you that shut off first. And what I’m wondering is… because Rowling has referenced that there is an incantation that is part of this larger process. In my head, there'[re] probably many incantations and many difficult things you have to do to do this. But the thing I’m wondering is, with the idea that the body gradually shuts down, and wouldn’t this be a horrible act but to take some kind of essence from the body as it’s dying, something of that person’s soul as it’s leaving the body or something equally as intangible as it departs from the body.

Grace: I mean, that sounds almost poetic – I’ll be honest – but that doesn’t repulse me.

Michael: See, that repulses me. Because I think a lot of people are comforted by the idea that there’s something after death. There’ve been plenty of people who aren’t, who are just, “Yup, the lights switch off and you die! The end.”

Grace: “You’re done for!”

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yes. But the way I prefer to think of it – because of course, everybody has such individual ideas of what happens after death – because in my view is that the energy within you goes out into the universe, where it can contribute to the universe somehow, the idea that my energy would somehow be harnessed in another way and not let go…

Grace: Oh, that is pretty terrifying.

Michael: … that’s scary to me.

Eric: Oh yeah, it’d be like trapped souls. If you guys have ever seen The Conjuring 2, it’s exactly like that.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Souls who are not allowed to leave a haunted house because a darker presence is keeping them there. But I will say that at no point in Harry Potter during the destruction of a Horcrux did we ever get to sense that any other soul was in there, was in any of these other things. It’s not like Voldemort the Horcrux ever argued with himself or with whoever else. It’s not Priori Incantantem. We have to separate ourselves from this concept, which is very unique and weird, that Lily and James or their essence or their shadows were still retained in the wand that Voldemort is using. Because that’s weird. That’s very weird.

Grace: Very strange.

Alison: Well, and then we get the problem, too, in this idea, too, of… I mean, this is where it gets complicated: Is Harry a Horcrux or not? Because if nothing was done, I almost wonder if this whole thing happens before or after the murder. Do you have to get stuff prepped, and then when you commit the murder, that’s the thing that slices the bit of soul off? Or is that…? I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s…

Eric: Why am I visualizing the buttering of bread with a butter knife right now?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Why am I…? Why is that in my head right now?

Alison: I don’t know! [laughs]

Grace: Voldemort making toast before he goes over to kill the Potters!

[Alison, Eric, and Michael laugh]

Grace: [as Voldemort] “I need to wait for the toaster, Wormtail!”

[Alison, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well Alison, what you’re referencing – and we’ll see this further down – Rowling kind of answers that, but she also – and I think she did this, as she does most things, intentionally in a way that she wasn’t really answering the question – gave us actually more to ponder than she really answered.

Grace: And thank God. I love doing that.

Michael: She does address that question. Because that’s the other thing that we’ll get into when we go through specifically the Horcruxes themselves that we have seen and the timeline of that because the timeline gets foggy because we can’t really define exactly when Voldemort turned some of the objects into Horcruxes. Because while he did commit the act of murder, that does not necessarily mean he made the object a Horcrux then and there. Because we’re not clarified on this process.

Grace: Yeah, that’s actually one of the big points of confusion with the ring, strangely enough. Once we get into that.

Eric: Yeah, when did that happen and did he wait? Because the other thing about Voldemort, though, and this is maybe a detriment to him and leads to his timely death… sorry.

[Grace laughs]

Eric: He needed to go.

Grace: Yeah, he really did, actually.

Eric: He’s so sentimental! He’s so sentimental! He [not only] wants to make specific Horcruxes that we know that they’re trophies, but he also wants to do it on specific deaths. Voldemort killed hundreds of people. He could have made seven Horcruxes the first seven times he killed somebody. But he didn’t.

Grace: Well, and also, we have to assume that the process isn’t that easy to do. He can’t just go ahead and kill everybody and make Horcruxes out of them.

Eric: Well, yeah, killing people is, I think, far simpler than making a Horcrux. But it can’t have been that easy because Voldemort didn’t do more than seven. And Voldemort never really had seven. But I wonder if that’s because he did want to make specific murders. He was going to finalize… Dumbledore says, “He was going to make a Horcrux the night you were going to be killed because Lily and James were such a big deal. He wanted to prove that the prophecy was wrong, and he had every intention of making his seventh and final Horcrux with your death.” And so did Voldemort bring in a little knapsack, whatever item to…

[Michael laughs]

Grace: That’s another thing that people have speculated on, and I’m not really certain he would have.

Eric: Was he going to use Harry’s teddy bear?

Grace: He might have. He might have.

Alison: Oh yeah, we had that conversation of “what was he going to use?” Was it his wand, was it something else, was it something of Harry’s? Was he going to wait? Because I remember we had that conversation of was he going to wait until he found something of Gryffindor’s and that’s what he was going to use because that was so significant.

Michael: Well, and that brings up that process and that wondering again.

Eric: Yeah, I think you can wait. Do you guys think you can wait?

Grace: I do.

Alison: I don’t know!

Michael: I think there’s a possibility that you can. Yeah, I think, because of this vagueness, and because of this elaborate process… Because okay, the only other thing that exists recently in the Potter extended canon that I can even tie into this at all is if any of you bothered to buy the extra Pottermore little mini-books that you could get as e-books from Pottermore…

Eric: No, but please tell us all about them!

[Alison, Eric, and Grace laugh]

Eric: They knew that you would buy them, Michael.

Michael: Yes, Rowling wrote them just for me, just like she wrote the Wonderbooks just for me. The only other thing I can even compare it to is in one of those three e-books, she did give the absurd, full details on how to become an Animagus.

Eric: What!

Grace: Really?

Alison: She did that before, though, didn’t she? That was on Pottermore.

Michael: No, that detail wasn’t on Pottermore. She’s talked about Animag[i]. She’s touched on the process a little bit. This gives the step-by-step process of how to do it. And it is insane. There’s something about a certain kind of herb or leaf that you have to hold…

Alison: You hold in your mouth for, like, a month, right?

Michael: Yes.

Grace: What!

Alison: Isn’t it a mandrake leaf or something?

Michael: It’s something like that, yeah. You have to put it in your mouth for a month.

Grace: That’s insane.

[Eric laughs]

Michael: Yeah. And if you swallow it or anything like that or spit it out, you have to start again.

Grace: Oh my God.

Alison: I could not do that.

Michael: It’s insane.

Eric: I would die in my sleep choking on a leaf.

[Alison and Grace laugh]

Michael: And that’s one of the many steps to alter the physicality of your body, so I’m wondering if there is a more elaborate process for… Because I think the thing that we have to get out of our head when we’re thinking about the proper process is, we can’t think about Harry being a Horcrux because that’s different.

Eric: Right. Sort of.

Michael: Yes, sort of. So with that said, when we look at the objects, I do think there’s the possibility that maybe after the initial act of murder, there may be a grace period of…

Eric: [laughs] A statue of limitations on…

Grace: Was that a call-out to me?

[Alison and Grace laugh]

Michael: No, but I thought it was perfect that you were here for that.

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Mihael: There is literally a period of grace where you may put something in this horrible object.

Grace: Decide where you’re going to put your Horcrux.

[Michael laughs]

Grace: Can you imagine that as a ’50s video of just like, “and you decide where you’re going to put your new Horcrux.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Grace: “Whether it be an old, enchanted object or a desecrated body.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Well, I think we just have to keep reminding ourselves – right? – splitting the soul is different than separating the soul from the body. So you can commit the murder and that’s what splits the soul, but the soul is intact or fractured or whatever still in your one person. Because there’s nowhere else, rightly, to go and the soul living anywhere that’s not inside your body is just unnatural. So I think that’s another reason why there’s a time period, because first you have to split the soul that’s in your body and it doesn’t go anywhere, it’s still there, but it’s fractured or it’s in pieces. And then the process of encapsulating it… Michael, the Animagus stuff is insane because if it’s that complicated for becoming an Animagus… and we understand, there'[re] only, like, a dozen registered Animag[i] – probably another three dozen unregistered the way J.K. Rowling goes with her writing – so like, 48 people have done this Animagus thing in history, and so far fewer have done the Horcrux thing and so few people know how to do it – they haven’t read the book on how to do it – and so you imagine it might even take longer than a month of having a leaf in your mouth. And it could be far more disgusting and terrifying and time-consuming.

Grace: Well, I would imagine so, especially if it’s something as horrifying as this. I mean, you’ve already committed the crime. Now you’re just sort of cementing it on your soul. [laughs]

Michael: With the ideas that you listed, Grace – especially because we potentially ruled out the possibility that at least noticeable desecration of the body of the murdered individual because of some of the evidence that we’ve got from the text – the ones that I’m thinking are highlighted are (1) the possession of the body in some way, because we know that Voldemort can possess bodies – and we don’t necessarily have clarification that they have to be alive. It’s implied but it’s not necessarily true – and then [(2)] the desecration of the killer’s body, only because we do have that obvious proof that Voldemort has really screwed up his physical self.

Grace: Though I’ll argue against that because the first.

Michael: Yeah, yeah, that got into a very interesting point we’re bringing up.

Eric: Removing his nose was just an aesthetic choice, you guys.

[Alison laughs]

Grace: It really was.

Eric: He just thinks he looks more…

Alison: It was, though! He wanted to look like a snake!

Grace: He’s more streamlined that way. It’s very Art Nouveau. It’s very…

Michael: Does anybody else have a missing nose and do you remember them? No. [laughs]

Grace: Exactly!

Michael: Do you remember Voldemort? Yes.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric and Michael: Very memorable.

Grace: Yes, you do.

[Michael laughs]

Grace: The red eyes, no nose look is very in this season.

Eric: It just sounds so odd to be like, “Oh, I don’t think he does anything with either his body or the other body” because then I just don’t know what he would do. But the question, too – again, trying to use the text to solve this problem – the part with Harry, and I know Harry is an exception and there’s a great quote where, Michael, you cited, about… She actually says Harry isn’t a Horcrux or it’s wrong for Dumbledore to say, flippantly, that he was the eighth Horcrux, but just the idea that, when Voldemort died, part of his soul that had been fractured or whatever or mangled was attached to the nearest living thing, I wonder if he wasn’t mid-incantation or already had muttered some pre-Horcrux-making ceremony stuff…

Alison: That’s what I’m saying.

Michael: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Eric: Because whether he intended to or not, a Horcrux was created in that it was a vessel for his own soul to live in that was not his own body, and so was there some prep work, spell-wise? I mean, the only spell he could’ve been doing when he killed Harry was [the Killing Curse], but were there spells leading up to it, a couple of seconds, a couple of minutes, maybe, before he showed up at the Potters’ house that night? Did he do some of that prep work, which then enabled his soul, more accurately, to fly off and attach to something else, as opposed to just passing on?

Alison: Well, there’s got to be, because otherwise, then, if we’re taking the Snape example, why didn’t Snape’s soul break? I mean, I guess he didn’t die, but why doesn’t that happen with other people, then?

Eric: Oh, well, because again, splitting the soul isn’t the same as separating it from your body. Removing it from your physical…

Alison: Yeah, exactly, so that’s why I think he had to have done something before. Voldemort had to have done something before.

Grace: Well, it does make sense that he would’ve done some sort of prep work, but I think it’s also interesting to question why is it that that piece of soul that did break off latched onto Harry and not just some random inanimate object?

Eric: Harry was the closest.

Grace: It said that he was the closest, but he’s also a being of love. He’s created of love. He had love for the first year of his life.

Eric: The protection.

Grace: Yeah, and he has protection magic. Why did his bit of soul cling to something that could potentially harm it?

Michael: See, to me, the only thing that might be able to reason that out is that (1) possibly, that if it had attached to an inanimate object but Voldemort had not completed the process, the soul would’ve expired immediately. (2) And somewhat in tandem with that, I don’t think (1) the soul didn’t really have time to be like, “Are there any souls here that are better than this guy’s that I can attach to?”

[Alison, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Michael: And (2) I think it really was just immediate preservation of just “there’s a living thing here, there’s room, I’m going to just stick myself on it.” Especially because the soul is something that’s very complicated and in this case is working independently of Voldemort, it is also, in Voldemort’s case, extremely unstable already, I don’t think it really had the convenience to judge a better container for itself at that point. It was just in purely a desperate mode.

Grace: Yeah. If we’re going to look at this as an almost symbolic killing, this is also almost the envious act of a child cutting down a family that he never had. So maybe it’s the last envious act of this soul latching onto something that it never could achieve.

Michael: Yeah, there'[re] lots of things, I imagine, about Harry’s soul that…

Grace: Voldemort is very childish and he’s throwing a fit in killing off this entire family and just showing off that he has the power to. He never needed this to begin with, and he had that envy growing up as a child not having that family to begin with. So maybe it’s that last bit of soul that really saw love, thought he might have wanted it at one point, but completely threw it off of himself, thinking that it was weak, that it was unnecessary. And it’s that last bit of his soul recognizing that this is a being of pure love.

Eric: So here'[re] two quotes I’m going to read from a little bit further down in the Doc, but they’re just too appropriate now as we’re talking about this. It’s from the PotterCast interview on [the Leaky Cauldron] – the quote I mentioned earlier from J.K. Rowling. There’s plenty more where that topic is, so we can just talk about the other stuff later. But here’s the quote from Jo:

“For convenience, I had Dumbledore say to Harry, ‘You were the Horcrux he never meant to make.’ But I think, by definition, a Horcrux has to be made intentionally. So because Voldemort never went through the grotesque process that I imagined creates a Horcrux with Harry, it was just that he had destabilized his soul so much that it split when he was hit by the backfiring curse. And so this part of it flies off and attaches to the only living thing in the room. A part of it flees in the very-close-to-death limbo state that Voldemort then goes on and exists in. I suppose it’s very close to being a Horcrux.”

So that first part of that quote there indicates that maybe there wasn’t pre-prep work that Voldemort intended to do. Maybe it only takes place afterward when you intend to separate the soul that you’ve split, I’m guessing, and also that his soul choosing to split off on its own was just very weird and not even something that you could ascribe a particular intent to.

Michael: Well, yeah. Again, nobody’s done this before. Voldemort is the first person to do that.

Grace: It was an accident. It was fate.

Eric: He’s so messed up to begin with. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah, the only thing worth noting – because people have asked that, and I actually did get a question from… Let’s see, who was that on Twitter who asked? Oh yes, @redneckbiker109.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Oh, Red Neck Biker. Of course.

Michael: Excellent, excellent question.

Grace: Legendary Red Neck Biker.

Michael: Red Neck [Biker] asked me if anybody else has ever attempted a Horcrux before and if Rowling has officially said that. And the only person she’s officially said… Now, she’s implied through these interviews that other people have tried it and failed. The only other person [whom] we have from her on record who did it successfully was Herpo the Foul; he was the one who created Horcruxes. He was also the person who created the basilisk. So he was fun.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: He was a real great guy.

Michael: His name wasn’t a misnomer. He was an ancient Greek, and [as Rowling] later clarified, all we had on him initially was that he was the creator of the basilisk. He first appeared [on] both a Wizard Card as well as [in] Fantastic Beasts, [where] he was mentioned [in the basilisk entry]. He was later clarified by Rowling to have created Horcruxes as well, but like many others after him, he only attempted and – in his case – successfully did one; he did not do seven. Voldemort is the first person who achieved splitting his soul that many times, and I think part of it is that because his soul [and] the magic he is doing is so deep, dark, and extremely unstable, nobody could have predicted what happened. It really does highlight that, yes, the way people put it in the books, the way the characters say how Harry is special in that way is true; he really is. This doesn’t happen every day.

Grace: See what you can do when you put your mind to it, guys?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: You can accomplish anything.

Grace: You can do seven instead of one!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, Grace, because this is a perfect place with this [for] what we talked about with the creation, I was hoping you’d go more now into the physical effects because, on that front, we do only have Riddle as our example.

Grace: Yeah. That’s it.

Michael: And I think you actually had a very interesting argument about Riddle’s physicality and turning into Voldemort.

Grace: Yeah, we seem to make this very distinctive differentiation between Tom Riddle and Voldemort, and we seem to do that between how he looks. But he actually chose the looks he has, and I’m going to argue that by saying that in making the diary, the ring, the locket, and the cup, he never changes. He is still the same impeccably handsome young man that he is throughout all the creation of those Horcruxes – all four of them. He seems to choose to change his form because… I feel like he used his good looks to an end of gaining followers to a certain extent, but it didn’t serve him in that most people were desiring him; they weren’t fearing him. And he much more values someone fearing him than desiring him. He can use fear to his benefit far longer than he could, and he never wanted to be seen as human. I see Tom Riddle essentially as being an asexual individual just because of that. He didn’t want to be seen as someone who’s human enough to be a sexual object. And it goes to the point where if you think of it right now – Lord Voldemort in any sexual way – you’re going to freak out. You’re going to be revolted. And I think he intended…

Eric: You’re going to wind up with Delphi Diggory.

Michael: Thanks, Cursed Child.

Grace: You will. Yep.

Michael: Thank you, Cursed Child.

Alison: Hey, we already got to what could have happened [with that].

Michael: And to clarify that, just because a person does have sex, does not mean that they are a sexual being. So just being clear…

Grace: True. True enough!

Michael: Even if that is the way that this occurred – we’re depending on how you take Cursed Child – that does not necessarily negate the possibility that Voldemort could have been asexual.

Eric: No, I like Grace’s thought here, and I have to say the only thing that I can say that might contradict it is, Harry notices changes in Tom’s appearance just underneath the face.

Alison: Yeah, that he looks hazy. He looks fuzzy.

Eric: His eyes are a little bit more [red], and his face is a little bit more sallow. Or there’s just much less mirth behind them, little things like that.

Grace: But he was also at the peak of his handsomeness after creating the locket. That was the third [Horcrux].

Alison: Was he?

Grace: He’s still very handsome at that point.

Michael: Well, remember, too, Harry is noticing that because he knows things about Voldemort. Would he have necessarily noticed that? Because nobody did. Dumbledore, I think, is the only person who saw it even from the beginning. And what I think potentially supports Grace’s theory is that Voldemort seems to have quite obviously reformed his image to actually look like a snake. And why would a Horcrux turn you specifically into a snake if you’re using…?

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Alison: Well, I think I can take the middle ground here where it’s almost like his features were being destroyed by this and so he decided to remake them. And the way he decided to remake them, because they were messed up anyway, was with this snake-like image.

Grace: Then why wouldn’t it have started from the beginning, then?

Alison: But it does because Harry says he notices… I don’t know. He looks…

Grace: It didn’t, though. He made the ring and the diary in school and no one batted an eye at him. He was fine. He looked fine.

Michael: Except for Dumbledore. And the most…

Grace: Well, Dumbledore sensed that because Tom was a sociopath from the second he met him.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Not enough to do anything about it, though.

[Alison and Grace laugh]

Michael: Well, as Harry and Dumbledore both know, the most they can tell – like you guys said before – is that there’s something wrong behind the eyes.

Alison: Something just felt wrong. Maybe it was almost like he… [sighs]

Eric: But that’s to Harry, who’s sharing part of his soul, so he notices more. And Dumbledore, who’s the most powerful…

Grace: He is a psychopath. He’s a sociopath in the way that he can act like he has emotions in a really well and convincing way, but that can only extend to a certain effect. He can’t have genuine emotions. That’s not just him using evil magic; that’s a chemical imbalance in his brain.

Eric: Yeah, he can only pretend to have certain emotions.

Grace: Yeah, I don’t think it’s Dark magic that’s causing people – people like Harry or Dumbledore – to be unnerved about him. I think it’s literally the fact that he was born that way and he wasn’t nurtured in the same way. I don’t mean to make this a sob story here…

[Michael laughs]

Grace: … but he didn’t have the background, which is…

Eric: You should totally pity Voldemort, you guys.

Grace: Well, I mean, there are certain ways to pity Tom Riddle, but…

Eric: I agree, I agree.

Grace: Oh, where was I? I’m sorry, I just totally got off topic here.

Eric: Dark magic not causing his… yeah.

Grace: Oh yeah. I don’t think it was Dark magic that caused people to be unnerved around him. I really do think that it was his brain and how he developed as a child into an adult.

Eric: I would actually agree. I just feel that there are no physical repercussions of the making of a Horcrux. I wouldn’t just say killing people because it’s all about the effects of the soul and the soul is not something you could see or feel or touch at all. You can encase it if you have a Horcrux, but the soul is not of this plane of existence, or it is but it’s invisible, so you wouldn’t necessarily see physically represented anything that you do to your soul because it’s different. So you can mangle it, play with it, make a little balloon animal out of your soul, [but] you wouldn’t be able to see any physical…

[Alison, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Eric: I don’t even know where I’m coming up with this.

[Alison, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Eric: But it wouldn’t show up on your face, your nose wouldn’t fall off, [and] you wouldn’t start going gray or bald because your soul is still in as many pieces as it was before or whatever, but it’s just in a different form.

Michael: Because I really like this theory, I’m leaning a little more toward what Alison was saying, in that maybe there’s a middle ground, because I imagine damaging your soul doesn’t do your physicality any favors… But I think you’re right, Grace, in that because I imagine – as Dumbledore suggests – splitting the soul isn’t going to do you favors mentally or physically. So I think, in Voldemort’s case, though, he’s not just splitting his soul; he’s doing multitudes of Dark magic.

Grace: He’s splitting his humanity. That’s actually the argument that I’m making in the comparison with the seven deadly sins in that in splitting his soul, he’s losing a bit of his humanity every single time.

Eric: Well, I have one more thing to say on that front with Voldemort. When his soul is being destroyed – which isn’t the process of separating them; it’s actually when there’s less of his soul on this earth – he’s described as being more dangerous. And it’s a combination between the fact that he knows he’s about to die and is freaking the hell out but also that he is less and less human in the traditional sense of the word – a traditional human has a full soul – so he becomes this creature. He becomes less and less of a person, even though Harry insists on calling him Tom when he’s never been further away from Tom Riddle.

Grace: He should have called him Tim Tim.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: But yeah, there’s so little left of Voldemort at the end, and we’re meant to see how inhuman he is because of what’s been done, because of how little of him is left or how little of his soul is left.

Alison: But then that’s what makes the ending so powerful: Harry looks down at the shell of his enemy, at this man who has completely destroyed himself enough that he’s so much less than human. He thought he was becoming more than human, but he’s become less than human.

Grace: Well then, I find that poetic, but I also find it unsatisfying, because Voldemort never knew why he died. He never realized what he was doing was wrong.

Eric: We should pity Voldemort, everybody. We should…

Grace: I’m not saying you should pity him.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Grace: That would be like the ending that Disney would want you to do: [in a British accent] “Oh, but everyone is good on the inside!” [laughs] I really do think…

Michael: [laughs] I like your generalized Disney voice.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: The voice of Disney. [groans]

Grace: Well, thank you.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, in a way, though, isn’t that what Dumbledore’s parting advice to Harry is, which is [to] pity [the living]?

Grace: I don’t know. I don’t think that included Tom. [laughs]

Michael: Really? Because I thought it did.

Grace: I don’t think his parting advice really did.

Alison: I think it was exactly about Tom.

Eric: What did he say? Somebody remind me.

Alison: I think it was more about Tom.

Michael: “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living and […] those who live without love.” And Tom is that, isn’t he?

Eric: Well, that’s just a way to brush over the fact that there’s a tiny, little fetus baby that’s stuck for eternity in this…

Michael: Oh, I don’t think it’s the…

Grace: Some eternity for a reason it doesn’t understand too.

Michael: Yeah. And I think that’s what pity is, and what Dumbledore is saying there isn’t really to make what Riddle/Voldemort did right or to justify that. That’s more to boost Harry. It’s to say, “And that, Harry, is why you are who you are, because you have the capacity to do that.”

Grace: “Because you were not born a psychopath.” [laughs]

Michael: Yes. “Because you’re not crazy.” [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, “and you get this afterlife scene because you’re very special, separate from everything else. You’re just very special.”

Michael: Which is so cool.

Eric: “And you get to choose where you’re going to go.”

Grace: And I love Harry. Harry is my second favorite character. I think that…

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Grace: He is! He’s my second favorite.

Eric: Oh, that’s so kind of you.

Grace: I know, right?

[Michael laughs]

Eric: I will say, “I prefer the movie ending to the book ending.”

Alison: I don’t.

Grace: Where he explodes into Voldy-bits? [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, Voldy-bits.

Alison: No!

Eric: Voldy-bits. First of all…

Michael: I hate Voldy-bits.

Eric: Because “Voldy-bits” is the best word ever that I had never heard before.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Oh man, we totally have the title of our episode. [laughs]

[Alison and Grace laugh]

Eric: This is the best thing ever, you guys: Voldy-bits…

Michael: … covers it.

Eric: … the Horcrux discussion.

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Eric: “Voldy-bits, get your Voldy-bits!” I’m imagining a radio jingle or a cereal jingle.

Michael: More of that old-timey…

Eric: [sings] “Voldy-bits… Voldy-bits…”

Grace: I know what I’m asking for [for] Christmas, guys. [laughs]

Eric: [sings]“Marshmallow Voldy-bits.” Okay.

[Alison and Grace laugh]

Eric: What I’m saying is – or trying to say – I love that in the book you understand conceptually why he’s a corpse, is because after all of that grandstanding, Lord Voldemort is just a human like the rest of us. He leaves behind a body. What an undignified way of just like, “oh.”

Alison: But he doesn’t just leave behind a body; he leaves behind a shell! He is not faking…

Eric: How is a shell not a body?

Alison: … and I love it. Okay, it is, but the way she describes it as a shell is amazing because it’s so empty. It’s so devoid of anything.

Eric: No, it’s flowery language. Let me assure you, it’s exactly like every other dead body that’s ever been.

Alison: Yeah! But for a purpose, it is empty. There is no one to love it. There is no one to cry over it the way everyone has been crying over Fred and Tonks and Lupin up to that moment.

Grace: Well, then he came into this world the same way he went out of it. He literally came into this world murdering his mother.

Eric: Genetically, it’s the same as every other dead body there is.

Michael: Well, yeah. You guys are talking about it on a literal [level].

Eric: On two different levels.

Alison: Yeah, we are. We are. Okay. [laughs]

Michael: You’re talking about it on a literal level versus a poetic level.

Alison: And I’m talking on a more poetic level, yes.

Eric: My issue with Voldemort leaving behind a corpse is, somebody’s going to dig that up and defile it and use it to Polyjuice themselves or do something crazy in the future. It’s dangerous for Voldemort to leave a corpse behind because that was Voldemort. Just the fact that he went further in Dark magic than any other Dark wizard before him means the Dark wizards of the future are going to be begging to dig up his remains and use them in some potion. It’s terrifying, actually. The case is not closed now that he’s left behind a body for what the future will hold because those are bits of him that still tie him to this earth, whereas if he just disintegrates, there’s no more of him left. Bye.

Alison: But I think that gets rid of the distinction between body and soul, which is a big distinction Rowling makes in this world, that the soul is more of who you are as a person whereas the body is just a vessel.

Michael: She makes that distinction in Prisoner of Azkaban, so with the Dementors, that’s definitely true.

Alison: Well, even just in the whole fact of Polyjuice Potion, who are you when you’re under Polyjuice? You’re still yourself. You’re just in a different vessel.

Eric: But I still think that the corpse of Voldemort would have magical properties that exceed other corpses.

Alison: I don’t know. I don’t think so. I think he would just be dead.

Grace: I mean, it’s possible. He had a lot of wars on and he was a very good fighter, so…

[Eric laughs]

Michael: Maybe they took a cue from the movie and they cremated his body or something like that just to get rid of it. So maybe there was a solution there somewhere. [laughs]

Eric: I just think… because otherwise… Oh, no, they buried his body at the safest place in the world: Hogwarts, right? You can never…

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Eric: Nobody can ever break into Hogwarts and take his body.

Grace: No!

[Michael laughs]

Eric: No one can ever do that.

Grace: [sarcastically] That would never happen, guys!

Michael: I thought, when I first read Half-Blood Prince – of course, until it was later confirmed – even though they had put Dumbledore’s body in a tomb, there is a moment when it lights on fire.

[Grace laughs]

Michael: And I was like, “Oh, they cremated him,” which they didn’t.

[Eric and Grace laugh]

Michael: [laughs] I don’t know. They just were doing some symbolic thing…

Eric: It’s the sealing of the [tomb].

Grace: Symbolic fire thing. That should do. Yeah.

Michael: And probably some stuff with the phoenix and all that. Yadda, yadda. But I had wondered if they had been cremating him, and of course – I guess I was thinking back to what they do with the Jedi Knights – it’s very Phantom Menace.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: That’s very cool, very cool. But yeah, so we were talking, though, about the physical effects of the Horcrux being created, and I thought that’s why I had to bring up the death. The difference is in his death because on the one hand, if he leaves behind a corpse like he does in the books – and we’re supposed to take those to be definitive, which of course I’m not arguing – it also means that if he leaves behind a corpse, there were no physical implications of splitting your soul however many times he did because he still leaves behind a body. He doesn’t just…

Grace: Yeah. He still has a physical form.

Eric: His body is 100% intact. His body is exactly the same as it was seconds before he left it.

Alison: But doesn’t she say there’s a difference between a piece of soul that’s been taken out and made into a Horcrux and a piece of soul that’s still inside a body? There’s some distinction between the two.

Eric: We’re not talking about the souls, though; we’re talking about the body.

Michael: Well, that gets into…

Alison: I know, but there’s some distinction in the soul.

Michael: That’s what we brought up with at the beginning with the term “master soul.” So I do think…

Grace: Yeah. You’ve got the full chocolate chunk. [laughs]

Michael: Because yes, that goes back to that because… I do not think the chunk of soul is a Horcrux until it’s put in an object it’s not meant to be in. That piece of soul that’s still in Voldemort is not a Horcrux. It’s his master soul. So no, there is a difference, I think.

Grace: It’s the whole Hershey’s bar.

Eric: No, I don’t like the term “master soul” because it implies that the other souls are slave souls or under the direction of [a master]. I don’t think that’s accurate. It’s just meant to, in my understanding, indicate which part of the soul his body is in. Because you don’t switch your body, although Voldemort did, but he regained a body. But it’s just meant to indicate what the soul that is in control of the physical presence of Voldemort. Because the souls don’t talk to each other. We have to remember that they… Except for Harry. Except for Harry, they really don’t talk to each other.

Michael: Well, yes, and Harry is a special case.

Alison: There is no Horcrux sense.

Grace: Well, did they even really have a chance to talk to each other? There isn’t a scene where they just put…

Michael: Yes. Yes, they did.

Grace: They did? Wait, where? Did I forget?

Michael: Well, the movie suggests that there was that chance by putting forth that both Voldemort and Harry have a Horcrux sense of some kind. But the books…

Alison: Well, that’s because they forgot to put in the whole thing about Horcruxes in the movies, so they had to do something.

Michael: Well, yes, yes, yes. But while I hate that and it’s awful and the worst and lazy…

[Eric and Grace laugh]

Michael: … at the same time, simultaneously, it works just barely with the plot because it does cover it. And I think many people had wondered whether the souls – the pieces of souls – could communicate, and the Deathly Hallows book confirmed that they do not because when Harry destroys each Horcrux, Voldemort doesn’t feel it. He has to go physically check on them to confirm it.

Eric: To confirm that they’re gone.

Grace: Well, the diary did call to Harry, though. I think the diary would call to any living individual, but…

Michael: The diary… I think Eric defined that.

Alison: But that goes into the weirdness of Harry’s -ness, Horcrux… whatever the heck he is.

Eric: The diary? What do we mean? When did the diary call to Harry?

Michael: When he found it in the bathroom.

Grace: When he picked it up at first, when he found it in the bathroom.

Eric: Oh! Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I totally see that as being a Horcrux connection thing.

Grace: Yeah. Because he describes it as having… He hears the name T.M. Riddle and he’s like, “Oh, it sounds like an old friend of mine.”

Eric: Well, that’s not the diary acting; that’s him sharing Voldemort’s soul and the soul…

Grace: Yeah, so those are two Horcruxes interacting. It could be essentially two separate entities that are actually interacting.

Eric: If you’re talking about him just recognizing the name, I think that’s because Tom Riddle is his body’s other identity.

Grace: Well, and also, Tom Riddle is something that he innately… Yeah, I guess I’m just confirming what you said. He’s recognizing it because he knows it.

Eric: But it has nothing to do with the diary. It has to do with him recognizing the name Tom Riddle because he shares part of a soul of Tom Riddle’s.

Grace: But isn’t that two Horcruxes interacting?

Eric: No, it’s Harry interacting with the part of Tom Riddle’s soul that’s in him. Even though he’s touching the diary, the diary’s not doing anything at that time. Right?

Michael: Well, remember, too… Okay, the diary…

Grace: No, no, no, but he’s tempted by the diary. He’s the one that’s flipping through the diary. He’s the one who’s tempted to write in it.

Eric: But is it just because he recognizes the name and doesn’t know why?

Grace: Or that he feels that he knows it? Sorry.

Michael: No, I was going to say… The thing I’m going to throw in, which may shake this up or may not, the difficult thing with the diary is that it does tempt other people because Ginny has been tempted by the diary.

Alison: Yeah. But that’s the purpose of the diary. The diary is another tricky one because the diary was meant to be thrown away, right? The diary was meant to open the Chamber of Secrets.

Michael: So it outwardly possesses…

Alison: It’s a Horcrux plus it’s more.

Grace: I think all of them had a certain purpose and personality. I think that’s…

Michael: Okay, okay, perfect segue. So we’re going to go through them now. And actually, what we’re going to do here to condense this is, Grace, I’m going to start it off by going through the timeline, but as I go through that, you could go through your comparisons to the [seven] deadly sins as we go through the timeline. Because you lined it up with my timeline. So we’ll just match it up here. Yeah. It worked out perfectly.

Grace: And also, keep in mind with this comparison [that] this is all speculation. I’m only confirming based on what I’m seeing in the books and the reactions that I’ve seen in the books. So if you guys have any other beliefs in it, just let me know. Because I think it’s all interesting. It’s all super cool.

Eric: Your pick for Harry. I know it comes last, but it’s perfect. [laughs]

Grace: Is it really? [laughs]

Michael: That’s funny. Well, let’s not reveal it. Let’s go through it.

Eric: No, I love all of these.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: We’ve got to go through these.

Michael: So we’ll go through the timeline of the objects, and as we go through that, we can talk about Grace’s excellent theory here. As we noted before, this timeline is difficult because of that issue of we don’t know how long it takes to make a Horcrux and how much – again – of a grace period you have with that. So there may be variances in this timeline. This timeline I culled from the Harry Potter Wiki as well as the Lexicon to confirm a few things. What we’re going to do is go through the timeline, the general date, the object itself, and who was killed to make it. So we start circa June 1943. This was Tom Riddle’s diary. Likely the first only because we know that this was made during the school year of ’43. The diary was made by the death of Myrtle Warren or – as she’s better known – Moaning Myrtle.

Grace: Poor Myrtle.

Michael: Now, the interesting thing that people have brought up about this and that Grace has brought up here is that of course Riddle doesn’t kill her directly. The Basilisk does. I’m going to go ahead and say that that still counts because the Basilisk is under Riddle’s control.

Eric: You know what else is weird? We questioned whether a Horcrux creation meant you took part of the killed person’s soul or trapped it somehow. But she’s a ghost who’s fully functional, so it probably didn’t touch her soul at all.

Grace: Most likely not.

Eric: Even though it’s weird – right? – that the victim whose death you made a Horcrux of is walking and talking?

Grace: Just chillin’. Just chillin’ there.

Eric: [She’s] just chillin’. In the U-bend.

Michael: Yeah, there’s nothing that Myrtle notes about herself that would suggest she in any way was part of that process beyond just being killed.

Eric: Not even aware of it.

Grace: Yeah. She just died. And also, there’s the question of [if] he even meant to kill her. Because I feel like this has none of the normal Riddle panache and flair of the planning, the symbolism.

Eric: What are you expecting? What do you want out of this, Gracie? Come on.

[Michael laughs]

Grace: It just doesn’t seem like he meant to kill her at all.

Eric: He needed to do a song and dance routine when he killed her? Come on.

Grace: Yes, that’s precisely it.

Alison: I feel like Myrtle’s [death] was an experiment. He wanted to see if he could use the Basilisk to kill someone. He found the opportunity of this girl who’d been in the bathroom, who he knew was a Mudblood, who he knew was Muggle-born.

Michael: Excuse you, Alison.

Alison: I know. I made a terrible mistake.

Grace: Goodness gracious.

Alison: Well, I am speaking as if I [were] him.

Michael: There you go.

Alison: And he said, “Well, let’s try it. Let this be the first experiment and see if it works.” And that is why she’s a Horcrux, then, especially because…

Eric: First kill.

Alison: … her death was the first one. The first experiment of this letting loose of his Slytherin heritage. This mission that he believed that Slytherin was on to kill Muggle-borns.

Grace: I think he thinks too highly of himself to just go experimenting like that. I really do. I think he’s too boastful.

Alison: I think that’s why he would think it was perfectly fine. He’s experimenting. He has the right to experiment. Myrtle is not a person to him.

Eric: Oh yeah, it’s canon that Voldemort experiments because otherwise, you can’t get to where he went. He did things nobody could do. You have to try things out in order to be able to do that. He didn’t just all of a sudden know how to [make] a Horcrux. He tried. It just didn’t kill him.

Michael: Yeah. The brilliant part of this, if you want to look at it as Voldemort’s planning, is that he killed a student [whom] nobody looked twice at and he set up a student [who] was easy to set up. It is actually pretty darn well planned because Hagrid was perfectly framed for the murder. And everybody believed it was Hagrid.

Grace: And I would agree with you on this. I really would. Go ahead. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt.

Michael: Oh no, I was just going to say, “Hagrid was believed to be the murderer until the ’90s.” So I think he did it pretty well. Nobody questioned it.

Eric: That’s just weird.

Grace: I know. That’s ridiculous.

Eric: 40 years of parents saying to their kids, “Stay away from that big guy.”

Alison: 50 years, actually.

Eric: Yeah, 50 years. I was going to give it the benefit of the doubt. 50 years of parents saying to their kids, “Stay away from that half-giant. He’s a murderer.”

Grace: [laughs] Just in case you didn’t know, he murdered someone.

Eric: How many 11-year-olds are just terrified of the Hogwarts gamekeeper completely unreasonably because their parents told them he killed a girl?

Alison: But how many of them knew?

Grace: I would definitely agree with you in thinking that he had preplanned this and planned to experiment out if we didn’t know that one of the other Horcruxes is the ring and it’s made with his father. We all know exactly how symbolic Tom gets. He’s super, super into symbolism and cutting himself off from what he would consider to be humane or any sort of humanity. He’s above it. He’s god-like.

Alison: But some of his symbolism is not just in the people. I mean, he kills a Muggle tramp for one of them.

Grace: He does. He does.

Alison: He kills Frank Bryce. So I feel like he doesn’t always go symbolic in who he’s murdering, but he’s always symbolic in what he’s creating.

Michael: In the item.

Grace: But I feel like, as he loses that humanity, that’s when he develops that lack of caring for who he’s killing. His first few are still definitely…

Eric: Your first kill is still your first kill. The reason we know who[m] he killed to make each Horcrux is [that] Jo told us exactly who[m] he killed for each Horcrux.

Grace: But she didn’t say in what order.

Eric: Well, she said [which] kill made which Horcrux.

Grace: She did.

Eric: But she did not say which, chronologically, was first. But if the murder of Myrtle happened before the murder of Tom Riddle, Sr., it’s likely that the diary was created before.

Grace: But that was never confirmed in the book, though…

Eric: No, it wasn’t.

Grace: … that the murder of Myrtle was before the murder of Tom Riddle, Sr. You’ve got to murder Myrtle to get to murder Tom Riddle.

Eric: Myrtle had to have been his first kill. I think that’s why he picked her for the Horcrux. She’s his first kill and he executed this grand strategy.

Grace: But wouldn’t he have wanted his first kill to be symbolically his father to cut himself off from his heritage?

Eric: No, that’s dumb because…

Grace: That feels much more Tom Riddle to me.

Eric: It’s not that your idea is dumb. It’s that it’s stupid for Tom to be like, “I am so confident that I can just kill my dad, that he’s going to be my first kill – my own father.” Because he doesn’t regard human life, he could have killed a bunch of people before going after his dad.

Grace: Well, no. I feel like after he learned who his father really was, the first implication, the first thing he would’ve wanted to do, is go […] kill him, to make sure that no one ever found out, and he was cut off from that side of his humanity immediately.

Eric: Isn’t there also the question of when he found out where his dad was?

Alison: Yeah, I think there’s that.

Eric: Maybe he killed Myrtle before he found that out.

Michael: So from the timeline, all we have here is that these two events did happen pretty close together because…

Grace: Yeah, one was in the summer and one was in the school year.

Michael: Yeah. One was in the school year around that time.

Grace: And these were all made by Dumbledore. These are all assumptions that Dumbledore made from having been in school with Tom but not generally in his vicinity.

Eric: This also is sort of terrifying because I mean, you could come up with an answer pretty quickly in canon, but if Voldemort actually, physically made the Horcrux while at Hogwarts and there were no traces or signs of vestigial or leftover dark spirits or forces that Dumbledore noticed…

Grace: If he wasn’t chopping off bits of body parts to eat and whatnot.

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Eric: Well, yeah, yeah, yeah, because any one of the teachers, even whoever’s head of Slytherin house, probably… Well, Slughorn, right?

Grace: Slughorn, yeah.

Eric: Nobody really noticed that something dark had occurred in this one room where he was. Maybe that means he did it in the Chamber. Tom had endless access to the Chamber of Secrets. Maybe he just went down there to do it.

Michael: That’s possible.

Grace: That’s very possible.

Eric: Where did he make this Horcrux if he did it while he was at school? And why did nobody feel it? Or…

Michael: The other thing, since we bled into it a little bit, is that the second one – as far as we know from the timeline, possibly the first or second one – was circa summer 1943. That was Marvolo Gaunt’s ring and that one was in tandem with the murder of Tom Riddle, Sr. So yeah, wasn’t that…?

Grace: And his grandparents, but they weren’t the Horcrux.

Michael: Yeah, they weren’t the murder that was used to create the…

Eric: I wonder how you can tell. If you’re just viewing a slideshow of all the people you killed and you’re like, “I want this one.”

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Grace: “This one looks good! This one. Promising.”

Eric: It’s not so precise. It’s really not so precise as that, right? It’s just, murder splits your soul. You need a split soul and a non-whole soul to be able to create a Horcrux because you’re pulling your soul from your body. I don’t think you really can pick the murder, necessarily.

Grace: Well, maybe you can. I mean, he was very particular about the first one, at least. Or maybe the second one.

Eric: Or concerned that may be the only one, maybe. Right?

Michael: And can more than one murder contribute to one Horcrux, possibly? There might be further magical properties that go with that if we go with the theory, too, farther down the line, that that night Voldemort not only attempted to kill and targeted Harry, but he was equally as much targeting Harry’s parents. So were the three of them meant to be contributors to this next Horcrux or was it…?

Grace: It’s just a Horcrux party in there.

Eric: What if he kills seven people at once? If he kills seven people at once and turns them into Horcruxes, isn’t that his seventh Horcrux?

Grace: [laughs] Oh my God.

Michael: Yeah, I know.

Eric: ”49 Ways to Be Immortal”, by Tom Riddle.

Grace: Oh my goodness.

Michael: Ways you could’ve done it better, Voldemort. [laughs] Well, and since we’ve already…

Grace: Put them all in dollar bills and let it go.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michael: Since we’ve gone through two already, Grace, please bring up some of your excellent theory here.

Grace: Oh yeah. The seven deadly sins. I completely forgot to do it when we were talking about this, but…

Michael: What are our first two sins?

Grace: Our first two sins… I would pair the diary up with pride because the way [that] Tom acts in the Chamber of Secrets when you meet him in the second book is that he’s so prideful of himself and he’s boasting literally the entire time about how he fooled everyone and how he opened the Chamber all by himself, managed to frame Rubeus, and also fooled the headmaster of the time, even achieving an award while doing it, and he still hid the beast within the Chamber of Secrets and was able to leave the diary of himself. So he’s basically just bragging the entire time, and he’s really, really good at monologuing. [laughs]

Alison: What an absolute jerk.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Grace: He’s the best. He’s the best bad guy ever.

Alison: You put that all together and he’s also just that kind of person who can get away with anything. And I hate those people!

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Alison: Everything just comes to them and they just get away with it. What a jerk!

[Michael laughs]

Grace: He really is! And I would say that there’s a piece of humanity that he’s losing, which is humility. And that’s one part of him that he can never get back and arguably may never have had, on instinct, within his mind.

Eric: So you’re pairing them with the virtues?

Grace: Well, the virtue that might have been lost in creating this Horcrux. So if you’re cutting away that part of your self, that virtue…

Eric: Oh, right, right, right!

Grace: … essentially would be cut away as well.

Eric: Oh yeah, because that’s your premise. I like that a lot.

Grace: Yeah. Thanks!

Eric: I think also, one thing that might go back to what we were talking about, about if you’re splitting off an even part of your soul like pie, it’s important…

Grace: Going back to the pie. [laughs]

Eric: Going back to the pie. Because it’s important that… To me, the diary was his first Horcrux but that it captured the age that he was then. It’s impossible for you to make a Horcrux that’s going to represent your older self or a part of you that’s older than you currently are. That’s impossible.

Grace: Yeah, it’s your current self.

Eric: It’s your current self. And as he grew, the other Horcruxes are older versions of him because he was older when he made them.

Grace: Which is interesting.

Eric: So maybe it does… I’m failing to completely explain how I think that that means that when you first create a Horcrux, it’s exactly half of who you are, and then the next time, it’s exactly half of who you are then and exactly half… Because the diary is very much an imprint of exactly who he was when he first made it, and so the other Horcruxes would be as well.

Grace: Yeah, what I’m supposing is that, in encasing his 16-year-old self within this diary, once it’s created into a human, it’s always a reflection of that douchey 16-year-old that Tom Riddle was.

[Eric and Grace laugh]

Grace: And I think that as you go on, the ring will be the pretentious, probably 17- to 18-year-old. The locket’s going to be the 23-year-old. The cup is going to be the 27-year-old. And you get the diadem, which is, like, the 32[-year-old]. It’s going to keep going. And each bit of this is going to be more ruthless and more cold and more, just, warmongering and genocidal. They’re just going to keep going.

Alison: So what does that make Harry, then?

Grace: That makes Harry, well…

Eric: We’re going to get to that.

Michael: We’ll get to that.

Grace: We’ll get to him. We’ll get to him.

Michael: Well, because and as Alison brought up before – and it’s worth highlighting – the diary is probably one of the most unusual of these Horcruxes because, as you said, Alison, it serves an alternate purpose. It’s also meant to lure the reader into opening the Chamber of Secrets. And I wonder how much power the diary would or wouldn’t have that’s similar to how it acts in Chamber of Secrets, if it didn’t have the Horcrux in it, if these enchantments could still work the way they did. And then, of course, the really confusing thing is, if you think about what happened at the end of Chamber of Secrets, which was that the Horcrux was feeding off of Ginny’s life force to bring itself to life. So what the heck is going on there?

Grace: What would have happened if it had happened?

Eric: But all Horcruxes do that. All Horcruxes do that, though. Not all Horcruxes can write back to you…

Michael: All Horcruxes do that, but Voldemort…

Grace: They all long to gain power.

Michael: But that particular Voldemort was embodied as 16-year-old Voldemort, and as Harry noted, he was becoming less transparent as he was talking and as Ginny was dying. Would…?

Eric: So it’s almost as if any Horcrux can possess… Well, but I mean, [it’s] like the locket, right?

Grace: And they can. To a certain extent.

Eric: The more energy you put into it, the more energy it takes. And that’s why Harry and Hermione and Ron were all feeling drained in Deathly Hallows.

Grace: Do you want me to jump to the locket symbolism? If we want to do that one? I haven’t done the ring yet.

Michael: Well, the locket comes next on the timeline, but yeah, let’s hear the ring, and then we’ll move to the locket.

Eric: Yeah, let’s hear the ring.

Grace: The ring I paired up with envy because I’m actually associating it more with the fact that Tom Riddle, Sr. and the grandparents were killed in order to make it, and more so Tom Riddle, Sr. And it speaks to the fact that the feelings contained within the ring are ones of an orphan who thought of his father as someone who might potentially be that magical parent [who] might come and save him someday. And this is the thoughts of an orphan living in blitzkrieg London during 1943. These are the hopeful thoughts of an orphan that were potentially just torn down. And seeing his world sort of fall apart around him and the envy of seeing other families together, happy and full of love, is tearing himself away from humanity and from the other piece of humanity, which is kindness. So he loses his ability to be kind.

Michael: Envy, to me… I’m also thinking in terms of the ring itself because the bigger the ring, the more the envy.

[Eric laughs]

Grace: Oho! [laughs]

Michael: Yeah! And Marvolo Gaunt, as we know, makes quite a point of showing off this family ring.

Grace: Oh yeah! That’s true, that’s true. I didn’t think of it that way.

Eric: Vanity.

Michael: Yeah, there’s definitely a sense of both pride and envy.

Grace: That could also be pride, yeah.

Michael: Yeah, with the Gaunt family line.

Grace: Those two are very interlinked. They all are, though.

Eric: Yeah. And the fact that they were created so close in proximity to each other, too, that also is really cool for this pairing.

Grace: Within the same year. It had to be within the same year. The same 12-month span, at least.

Michael: Well, yes, because with that, we leap to one of the more problematic items on the timeline, because somewhere between 1943 and 1979…

Eric: What?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: We’ve got to tweet J.K. Rowling. Everybody, get a year out of her! Come on!

Michael: [laughs] Well, and that was actually one of our listeners and a previous guest on our show, David, who recently got Twitter just to talk with us to start… Thank you, David! And his Twitter handle is at @Insincere_Dave, which is great.

[Grace laughs]

Michael: He actually said, “If we all tweet Jo at the exact same time, do you think she’ll finally tell us the procedure to make a Horcrux?” Probably not, but if you tweet her all at the same time about getting a date for Slytherin’s locket as a Horcrux, maybe we might manage that. [laughs] We might be able to get that one out of her.

[Eric and Grace laugh]

Grace: I don’t really want to know how to make a Horcrux. Let’s be honest.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yeah, I don’t either.

Michael: We have the range of ’43-’79 for Slytherin’s Locket, which was created from the murder of an unknown Muggle tramp.

Grace: “Tramp”?

Michael: “Tramp.”

Eric: What was so special about this tramp?

Grace: That’s a very harsh word.

Michael: It is, and it is in J.K. Rowling’s own words.

Grace: I know. It’s harsh, yeah.

Eric: I’m sure she doesn’t mean it the way that… I mean, what does it mean…?

Grace: A vagabond.

Michael: I think she means a transient, yeah.

Eric: Like a hobo?

Michael: Yes, a hobo.

Grace: But literally, my first thought when I read that was, “Ooh, it was a woman of the night!”

[Alison, Eric, and Grace laugh]

Michael: I mean, Voldemort would do that because he’s crazy like that.

Eric: Voldemort is totally the most sexual creature you could ever think of.

Grace: Of course, of course.

Eric: Especially between 1943 and 1979.

Alison That’s really where Delphi came from.

[Grace laughs]

Michael: Well, yeah, as Grace said, he was still sexy at this time.

Grace: He was! He was young Hotdemort.

Eric: He’s still sexy Voldy.

Michael: [laughs] Did you just call him “young Hotdemort”?

Grace: Yes, I did.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Voldy-bits! Get your Voldy-bits.

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Grace: Oh my God, stop!

Michael: I mean, yeah, Christian Coulson. That’s a fine fella right there.

[Alison laughs]

Grace: Oh my God, stop. Don’t even.

Michael: Just saying.

Grace: He’s perfect at that role.

Michael: A little Christian Coulson love right there.

Eric: Yeah, I do like his casting too.

Grace: Yeah, he was incredible! I don’t know why they didn’t bring him back for the sixth [movie].

Michael: Yeah, that killed me./p>

Grace: Yeah, he was fantastic.

Michael: As great as [Frank Dillane] was, the continuity would have been fine, and if you haven’t looked, listeners, Christian Coulson still looks pretty much exactly the same.

Grace: He doesn’t age.

Michael: He may have made a Horcrux.

[Eric, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Eric: No, he made a portrait of Dorian.

Michael: Yeah, he might have made a Dorian Gray portrait.

Grace: He is the portrait of Christian Coulson.

Michael: What is the deadly sin for the locket?

Grace: Three guesses, guys. It’s definitely lust. Lust for the locket. I would argue that because well, the way that it draws energy out of you, it’s in contact with your skin at all times. And it sort of plays the role of being a very unhealthy relationship because it drains from you and it causes you to turn inward and see what’s wrong with yourself rather than looking outward, something might be wrong with what’s with you or what is on you. So the locket is pointing out all of your inadequacies and making you see a horrifying reality where things really aren’t that bad and not look for comfort outside of you. It’s almost like a significant other cutting you off from those [whom] you love and telling you that it is your own inadequacies that are putting you this way, but I’m the only one that can bring you comfort. So it’s turning you continually back to the locket. And the thing is, they only realize how depressed they are when they take it back off again, just like it seems like an all-new world opens up to them.

Eric: When you’re no longer in lust with somebody. Yeah, oh my God.

Grace: And then in the final confrontation with Ron, his feelings of inadequacy literally come out in feelings of thinking that his two best friends are lusting after each other. Because Tom Riddle doesn’t understand love. He just sees it [as] “Oh, he thinks that they really want to be with each other, so of course I’m going to show him this and it’ll make him panic and then he’ll kill his friend and put the locket on instead. So I’ll be able to get all of his vitality.” And the virtue that he’s losing within this is chastity. And I don’t think that really connects back, but it serves as a nice flip of the coin, basically. It’s the other side of what he would be losing. But yeah, that’s what I think of the locket. The locket’s evil, man.

Michael: That’s interesting as well, in that it’s… because we don’t get much in the way of actually, through Slytherin, how this locket came to be or why he prized it so much or what was originally in the locket before Tom Riddle took it over. But that is a great idea of twisting… Because a locket in the traditional sense is meant to usually hold an item, frequently a picture, of somebody [who]’s special to you or something that’s special to you and you keep it symbolically close to your heart. So it’s supposed to be a symbol of true love. So really to subvert it into this idea of lust…

Grace: Or pervert it into lust, yeah.

Michael: Yes, I think that’s an excellent connection. It’s funny, because we all just take it for granted: “Oh, it’s Slytherin’s locket.” Why does Slytherin have a locket? Who[m] did he love? What was so special to him that…?

Eric: Yeah, what memories was he keeping in there?

Grace: And we won’t know. I want that backstory, guys.

Alison: Not the baby Basilisk.

Eric: It was probably his mother’s finger or something creepy like that.

Michael: Oh, God. [laughs]

Grace: Just to be different, I think it might have been something pretty innocent. It was probably maybe something from his sister or something. She got burned as a witch.

Eric: Mother’s finger!

Michael: Well, and the farther back we go into Potter history, many a person who may have seemed black-and-white evil may have done things for confused reasons. I think the most fascinating older example we get is the Bloody Baron and the Gray Lady and their interaction and the story behind that. I’m sure there’s a story to this locket that I would probably think to read. There might be something a little more innocent to it that implies a softer side of Slytherin.

Eric: Maybe it was Slytherin’s loved one’s locket and then that relationship went sour, though. He stole it.

Grace: Well, I’ve got literally no support for this theory, but I thought that it might be a family member [who] was burned as a witch or wizard.

Michael: Fan fic.

Grace: That would definitely explain the idea as to why he was so terrified of Mugglekind and why he hated and feared them.

Eric: I like that a lot.

Michael: We have so many good ideas for fan fiction.

Grace: We do. Oh-ho-ho!

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Did most witch burnings take place in the 1500s and not the 1000s? Because if Hogwarts was founded in 1000 AD, were there witch burnings back then?

Alison: I feel like they were happening for a long time.

[Michael laughs]

Grace: I think the 1500s is when they got popular because of the printing press and the Witches Hammer.

Eric: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s a good point.

Grace: They were still happening. It was just when it caught on in pop culture, guys.

Eric: Well, I love this. Yeah.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Grace: The newest thing: burning the old ladies.

Eric: Now it’s going to be Horcruxes.

Alison: Well, I think it even goes back… I don’t remember. I feel like in Arthurian legend there’s some stuff with “Burn the witch!”

Eric: Infidels.

Grace: Burn ’em!

Alison: I don’t know.

Michael: We’re getting very Monty Python here.

Alison: Maybe I’m just thinking [of] BBC’s Merlin.

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, maybe we can come up with some backstory for the next item. This one we have a little more definitive information on. This was circa 1946, and this was probably one of my favorite Horcruxes, possibly because it gets the shaft. It gets a little passed over. But it comes from one of my favorite memories that’s in Half-Blood Prince.

Eric: It’s a great memory.

Grace: The Hepzibah Smith one?

Michael: Yes. This is Hufflepuff’s cup, and poor Hepzibah Smith was the murder victim for this one. What is our sin?

Grace: I picked out greed, actually, for Hufflepuff’s cup.

Alison: Ooh.

Michael: This is an interesting one.

Grace: I picked out greed because I feel like…

Alison: I have other ideas.

Michael: Yeah, this is an interesting one.

Grace: Oh yeah. I said the way that it’s actually protected and their method of extraction [shows] that the cup is very significant because it multiplies, the more that you have of something, the [richer] you are. But this method of replication isn’t enriching you at all. It’s burning you alive.

Eric: Wasn’t that a Gringotts protection? Not a Voldemort protection?

Grace: It is, but it’s more symbolism than anything.

Eric: Oh, sure, sure, sure.

Grace: Yeah. It’s more so the symbolism of extraction and also the greed in that he just wants one more thing to his name. What are your ideas behind it? Because I’m open to this one. This one I had the least ideas on.

Alison: I’m actually going to switch it, and I think the cup is gluttony.

Grace: Really?

Alison: Because it’s a cup, and gluttony is usually – a lot of times – associated with eating and drinking too much. And then, especially considering that it’s with Hepzibah…

Eric: … who is very gluttonous. She has servants who get her her food.

Alison: Well, in all sorts of ways. I mean, she’s described as being large, and she overdoes the makeup. She has too much stuff in her house. Hokey has to weave around all these little things. She talks about how she collects these things and she keeps them.

Eric: She’s a hoarder.

Alison: Yeah, and her family wants to get hold of these things when she dies, but she keeps them all locked up specially. She dies from drinking. She has poison.

Eric: Oh God, yeah. I actually would also…

Grace: That’s interesting. That’s interesting.

Alison: So I think that’s more of what it is.

Grace: Because those had been interchangeable when I was listing these out, those two. I’d gone between the two.

Eric: Yeah, and I like the diadem for greed better anyway.

Alison: Because the diadem has to do more with the mind, which I think then cancels out the idea [that] charity comes from your heart. So the diadem is influencing the brain, which is more about greed.

Grace: Actually, I thought temperance was more toward the mind. If you can keep yourself tempered and equal, that’s more of a mental situation.

Eric: Yeah, charity’s more heart.

Michael: The reason I was thinking [greed and charity] fit for the cup is [that] I was thinking of Hufflepuff herself, and she’s the picture of good charity.

Grace: Oh my God. You’re right.

Michael: She shares with all. And like you said before, Alison, because again, like Slytherin’s locket, we don’t really know what the story of Hufflepuff’s cup is. Unlike, say, Gryffindor’s sword or Ravenclaw’s diadem, we don’t really know what the locket or cup bestow on the owner.

Eric: If they bestow anything.

Michael: If anything, yes.

Eric: I thought the joke with Hufflepuff’s cup was that she loved to drink and she just had a lot of drinks out of it. I really thought that that was just it. It’s a relic of hers, and it’s very clearly earthy. This is what she leaves behind. She doesn’t leave behind this talking hat, which can think for itself. She doesn’t leave behind this special tiara, which increases the wisdom. None of that. She just really liked to drink, and this is one of her favorite items.

Grace: Maybe she made really good pumpkin juice, okay?

Eric: Maybe it mixes your cocktails for you.

Grace: Perfectly.

Michael: If I’m remembering correctly, on a previous episode when we first talked about the cup, I think it might have been Alison who actually suggested that the cup might actually fill with food or drink.

Eric: Breaking Gamp’s Law?

Alison: Oh yeah, where it’s like the cornucopia.

Michael: Yes, breaking Gamp’s Law.

Grace: The cornucopia of love, maybe?

Alison: The cornucopia idea. Maybe it is ever-filling. I forgot about that.

Michael: I’m connecting the charity not so much necessarily with what the cup can do as perhaps [with] what it symbolizes as coming from Hufflepuff because she’s the picture of charity, or at least she’s built up to be.

Eric: But Michael, don’t shortchange what you wrote for the cup here, though. I know we went straight into the seven deadly sin[s] thing, but I really want to…

Michael: Oh, no. Grace wrote this.

Eric: Oh, Grace, please.

Grace: Did I now? What did I write?

[Michael laughs]

Eric: I’ll just read it because I have it.

Grace: Oh, yeah. Okay.

Eric: At the point in Voldemort’s life when he made the cup, it’s one of the examples of him traveling among high society as a charming employee.

Grace: Ooh. Dazzle, dazzle.

Eric: He may have solidified many of his connections to high-ranking families and convinced a good many people to back his ideals before disappearing after finding the cup and the locket. So on assignment from Messrs. Borgin and Burke, Voldemort may have gained some followers.

Grace: Oh, definitely. I believe that beyond anything. Because he would be going among high society. And also, this is a good time to point out the fact that this is another example of him hating the fact that he’s good-looking but still using it to his advantage because she looks at him like he’s a piece of meat. She wants on that like a hobo on a ham sandwich. And I’m certain that there were a lot of old ladies [who] were definitely looking at him that way.

Eric: Wealthy dowagers. Yes.

Grace: With conveniently dead husbands.

[Eric and Grace laugh]

Grace: But anyway, he’s traveling among high society and he’s definitely making those connections in doing so. I like your ideas behind making the cup gluttony, and I definitely had been thinking of that myself, but I think they’re interchangeable. I really do think you could use it for greed or gluttony.

Michael: Well, and with that, let’s examine the next item that seems to be somewhat in tandem with this. And how perfect that Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw are once again tied into each other.

Eric: And they were made around the same time again.

Grace: Huzzah.

Michael: Yep, we are still in circa 1946.

Grace: Very busy year for Voldemort.

Michael: [laughs] A good year for Horcruxes.

Grace: [laughs] Oh my God.

Michael: This one was Ravenclaw’s diadem, which was created with the murder of an unknown Albanian peasant. What’s our deadly sin?

Grace: I mean, I’d paired it up with gluttony, personally. And this is more so opinion-related because there aren’t too many facts about how the diadem reacts to a person. And I really wish we would have gotten more about it as a Horcrux rather than just an object. But the hunt for the diadem by Voldemort pretty much seemed more of a trophy quest in a video game than an actual desire to gain more wisdom, which is why I think that his need to get this extra object isn’t just greedy. It’s almost gluttonous. It’s too much. It’s above what he really needed. So he went ahead on this superfluous task to be better, unnecessarily, than everyone else.

Eric: That’s sort of greedy, though.

Grace: Yeah, it is greedy. That’s why they’re so interchangeable. I was so stuck on this. It’s both greedy and gluttonous. I have no idea. If we’re thinking of gluttony in more so of almost a sidequest, if you will…

Michael: There'[re] so many ways to interpret your theory, Grace, which I think is what makes it so good.

Grace: Thanks!

Michael: Because I’m tempted to switch them as Alison did, and I’m thinking in terms of that there is a sense of, I think, untempered greed surrounding the diadem. Because I think, like you said, Voldemort is searching for it for his own purposes, but I think people are going after this amazing historical object, this idea of this object that holds all knowledge, but they’re doing it in a way where they don’t understand, perhaps, the weight of that.

Eric: Well, they’re being greedy! They want to know all the things and they want to know them now. It’s greed. I also think Rowena Ravenclaw’s daughter stealing the diadem from her… I go back to the history of the diadem itself as an artifact, and isn’t it greedy to want your mother’s possession?

Grace: That might be more envy than anything.

Michael: Yeah, she does it out of envy.

Eric: Envy, okay. And then I was thinking the Baron wants it too because he [mumbles], but that’s not even accurate.

Grace: I think the Baron wanted her. The baron just wanted…

Michael: Yeah, the Baron wanted Helena.

Eric: Well, that’s very greedy, right? He wants to possess her.

Grace: True! True.

Eric: For himself.

Grace: It’s all tying back, guys.

Michael: Well no, and again, that’s perfect because greed is the antithesis to what Ravenclaw, I think, would have wished to represent. She doesn’t seek knowledge in a way for such personal gain. I think she perhaps seeks it to better humanity, not to keep to herself, in that way. And Helena, her daughter, learned that the hard way, I suppose. She even says as much in Deathly Hallows. So yeah, I could definitely see switching the two in that case.

Grace: Yeah, it would make sense. Hey, I’m open to all changes. I’m really just spitballing ideas here, guys.

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Michael: And we fast-forward quite a bit. We have jumped out of the ’40s entirely and we are now in the summer of 1994, and our next Horcrux is Nagini, created with the murder of Bertha Jorkins.

Eric: So wait, so wait, these were all the Horcruxes that Voldemort made before encountering Lily and James, prior to Nagini. Except Harry.

Michael: Yes, we’re not counting Harry in this particular timeline I’ve provided because he’s different.

Eric: Unintentional.

Grace: He’s special. He’s going to be the finisher here.

Michael: Yes. He’s a little unstable when it comes to this particular analysis. We can’t look at him that way yet. So yes. But as Grace brought up, there is still the issue of Nagini as a living thing. She’s not an inanimate object. [laughs]

Eric: Well spotted.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But I mean, I guess the argument that Rowling has put forth and that Dumbledore puts forth in Half-Blood is that Nagini is almost akin to…

Eric: … a familiar?

Michael: A familiar, yes. I was thinking “daemon” because I was thinking of His Dark Materials.

[Eric and Grace laugh]

Michael: But same idea, just like Dumbledore’s phoenix, which we’ve theorized Fawkes is an extension of Dumbledore.

Eric: God, I really want to know more about Dumbledore and Fawkes now. And I think that’s something Fantastic Beasts will clearly get into.

Michael: Oho!

Eric: No, but talking about Voldemort and his snake! How they’re so close, you might as well put your soul in this thing. You guys are practically the same creature anyway. And the Slytherin connection with snakes and it’s all tied into this mega-thing. You might as well just put… It was the safest creature. If you have to put your soul in a living creature, might as well have it be this snake. You look like a snake, your family bloodline has always been associated with snakes, you’re a Parselmouth. If you were an Animagus, if you had a leaf under your mouth for a month…

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Eric: If you could make yourself an Animagus, it would probably be a snake.

Eric and Grace: Probably be a snake.

Grace: If you could do a Patronus, probably a snake. Just saying.

Eric: Probably a snake! You can’t do a Patronus, because your soul is all mangled.

Grace: Because you’re all messed up and dark. [laughs]

Michael: And as we know, not only do we have of course the confirmation that during his time as a non-corporeal being wandering through the forests of Albania, Voldemort was using animals to host himself temporarily. And in addition to that, he does, as we see in Order of the Phoenix, possess Nagini, and she willingly lets him do that. And they work in tandem together.

Grace: Aww, how sweet.

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Michael: I guess that’s what we have to take as our understanding of why, as a living thing, she’s acceptable to use as a Horcrux in this way in a different sense than Harry. Because she’s transcended beyond a regular old snake. But what is Nagini’s sin?

Grace: I paired Nagini up with wrath. Because I feel like her animalistic and violent nature definitely serves to be wrathful.

Eric: I would agree with that.

Grace: Oh, thanks. The point [at] which Nagini is made into a Horcrux, Tom is beginning to feel as though he needs to rise to power again and take the world back by storm. And he was so close in his previous goals before he was struck down and he was nearly to the point where he could have been almost godlike, so he’s almost impatient to get back to that, and that makes him wrathful and almost reckless. So I believe that his impatience is also what caused him to make Nagini into a Horcrux.

Eric: Wait, who does he make a Horcrux with Frank Bryce’s murder?

Michael: He doesn’t.

Grace: I think it’s…

Eric: Oh, he doesn’t.

Alison: He doesn’t. I was slightly confused too.

Eric: Oh, why did I think that he was on this list somewhere? Why did I think that Frank Bryce’s death was…?

Michael: Well, there'[ve] been a lot of deaths on Voldemort’s hands.

Grace: Because he was a chapter dude.

Eric: So it’s specifically Bertha Jorkins?

Michael: According to Rowling, yes, Bertha Jorkins.

Alison: Yeah, but Frank Bryce is the one who comes back in Priori Incantatem.

Eric: Yeah, maybe that’s it.

Alison: So it gets confusing.

Michael: Well, and Bertha comes back in Priori Incantatem in the book. Not in the movie, because she’s not in the movie. But she is in the book.

Eric: She’s not important enough in the movie.

Michael: No, sadly. She should have been. But yeah, I think, too, that there’s an element of that in that Rowling seems to have purposefully made these Horcrux events to be offscreen. While some of these moments we see before they happen, we never actually see any of these murders. The only one is Harry’s that we actually get a description of. We get a description of aftermath or before. Myrtle gets the closest to describing, but even she says, “I saw some big eyes and then I died.” [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, it was a Basilisk that she saw too.

Grace: “I was out like a light, guys.”

Eric: This raises more questions about the Horcrux process. Because if Voldemort made a Horcrux out of Bertha Jorkins’s death, it means he made a Horcrux during the time in which his body was comparable to a baby’s body. You can’t hold a wand. You’re not very coordinated. Unless Peter…

Grace: Wait, he held a wand, didn’t he? He held a wand when he killed Frank Bryce. Or am I crazy and remembering that?

Eric: You’re actually completely right and I’m completely wrong.

Grace: [laughs] Sorry. It’s a Voldy-fact. I know these things. They just come to me.

Eric: Yeah, yeah. Okay, but still. Voldemort was pretty impaired in that state, and he still managed to create a Horcrux.

Grace: Yeah, he did. And he also might have done the pre-production work, if you will. He might have actually been prepared to create another one.

Eric: So wait, I have a good line: Horcrux-making, so easy a baby could do it!

[Alison, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Eric and Grace: Voldy-Bits!

[Everyone laughs]

Grace: Yes! Anyway, I also wanted to bring up the fact that regularly at this point – this is just a fun fact – baby Voldemort is drinking snake venom. He’s drinking it. Like you do. Like a baby does. That could literally be a lyric from a death metal band.

Eric: Well, it’s described too: “Wormtail, milk Nagini for me.” And I’m like, “What? Does this snake have nipples?”

Grace: I know. That sounds weird.

Eric: Yeah, but actually, it is the venom that he’s drinking.

Michael: Yeah, and if you have a copy of Harry Potter: Page to Screen, you can see some concept art for it.

Eric: Oh, I remember that. That’s terrifying.

Michael: The most terrifying thing you’ve ever seen. Yeah.

Grace: That’s messed up.

Eric: Well, it is weird. It is like eating your own by-product too. Because if his soul is shared with this snake and he’s eating the venom of the snake, it’s just like, “Oh.”

Grace: It’s all just a very natural process.

Michael: We are definitely treading that territory of how to make a Horcrux, I feel. We’re getting more and more disgusting as we go.

Grace: Oh, God. Who feels repulsed?

Michael: So of course, as we know, there is somebody missing from this timeline. Before we reveal – if you haven’t already narrowed it down, listeners – the deadly sin for our last Horcrux.

Eric: [laughs] It’s the best thing ever.

Michael: I’m going to let Alison ride this one a little bit because this is where we get into that murky territory because our seventh Horcrux may be, maybe not, Harry Potter? Question mark?

Alison: Yeah. Is he a Horcrux? Is he not a Horcrux?

Grace: He’s symbolically a Horcrux.

Alison: Is he something else entirely? I do think the easiest way to describe him is a Horcrux. That is what happened, but because he’s a living creature, it becomes complicated, obviously.

Eric: Obviously.

Alison: And so I don’t know. I don’t know.

Eric: What’s the problem, though?

Alison: It’s my biggest question.

Grace: I would definitely say yes. I would say yes. He’s a Horcrux.

Eric: The first half of the quote from J.K. Rowling I read before, I’m going to go to the second part:

“Harry did not become an evil object. He didn’t have the curses upon him that the other Horcruxes had. He himself was not contaminated by carrying this bit of parasitic soul. The only time he ever felt it stirring and moving was in Order of the Phoenix, when he himself goes through a very dark time. And there’s a moment where he’s looking at Dumbledore and he feels something rear like a snake inside him. And of course at those times, it’s because the piece of soul inside him is feeding off his emotions. He’s going through a dark time and that piece of soul is enjoying it and making its presence felt.”

Which seems like it’s a choice of the soul itself, which is weird.

Grace: How dark would that have gotten if he turned into that?

Eric: Oh, God.

“But he doesn’t know what he’s feeling, of course. Also, I always imagined the Sorting Hat detected the presence of that piece of soul when Harry first tried it on. Because it was strongly tempted to put him in Slytherin. […] The pain he feels whenever Voldemort is particularly active is this piece of soul seeking to rejoin the master soul. When his scar is hurting him so much, that’s not scar tissue hurting him. That’s this piece of soul really wanting to get back out the way it entered.”

Ugh!

“It entered this boy’s body through a wound, and it wants to rejoin the master soul when Voldemort’s near him, when he’s particularly active. This connection, it was always there. That’s what I always imagined that pain was.”

Grace: Guys, it just wants to be whole again.

Eric: It just wants to hold and hug the master soul.

Grace: Big old soul family.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: The weird comparison that comes to my head… and I can’t say too much for fear of spoiling the series for people who haven’t seen it. And I haven’t finished the series, but I got quite a bit of a ways in. This makes me think for some reason of Battlestar Galactica and the Cylons. Because what’s happening here…

Eric: Don’t spoil this.

Michael: And I’m not spoiling it because I’m not going to name names. Of course, the conceit, though, which you get in the first episode, is that there are a certain number of Cylons or robotic individuals among these humans. And the way that the show plays it out is that there is a switch that activates at a certain point, but until that point, that individual does not know they are a Cylon.

Eric: Oh, wow.

Michael: They believe they are a human.

Grace: Wow. That’s cray.

Alison: That’s scary.

Michael: And this seems to be the same thing because this piece of soul in Harry doesn’t actually activate until a certain point. And when it does, it goes into full throttle. But it does have to be in Voldemort’s proximity and also be ticked by strong emotions.

Grace: [It] senses it’s party time.

Eric: So in this quote we just quoted, J.K. Rowling pretty much says, “Harry is not a Horcrux in the traditional sense.” She admits that, right? He is not an evil object, and he doesn’t have the same curses that the other Horcruxes [have]. Okay, okay, fine. But she also seems to reduce the scar to the Horcrux. The scar that hurt Harry was only ever the Horcrux inside him feeling excited, feeling whatever, when Voldemort was near. So whenever Harry’s scar hurt him, it’s the piece of Voldemort’s soul wanting to rejoin its master, which is an interesting thing to take into account when you’re rereading the books and [are] like, “Harry’s scar is hurting again. It’s the part of his soul that wants to rejoin…”

Michael: I didn’t understand that quote to mean that the scar is necessarily [the Horcrux]. The best way, and it’s a disturbing way to envision it, to me is that, like she said, it’s trying to get back through the wound that it came in. To me, it’s like that piece of the soul is pushing against the scar. It’s causing pain. The scar is not the Horcrux, and she has clarified that. The scar is not the Horcrux, but she’s saying that that’s where it went in.

Eric: Yeah, but then why did she just say it’s not scar tissue that’s hurting him? When his scar is hurting him so much, that’s not scar tissue hurting him.

Michael: Because it’s not. It’s…

Eric: Pushing on the scar?

Michael: Well, it’s pushing on the scar because it wants to get out from that.

Eric: But the scar is not hurting him. The Horcrux or the soul piece is hurting him. This is getting confusing.

Grace: Wait, wait, if we think…

Alison: But the pressure applied from the soul piece on the scar hurts him. That’s where the pain comes from, the pressure.

Eric: But I think what J.K. Rowling is saying is, “It’s not physical.”

Michael: Yeah, I know./p>

Grace: What’s interesting is that we’re thinking of this soul piece as something that is only active when Voldemort is around. But if Voldemort is not around and it’s dormant, it also might mean that this part of his soul has found its home within Harry, and the only time when it’s panicking is when it’s thinking that it wants to lose its humanity once again. I feel like Harry is almost symbolically humanity. He’s love. He’s everything that Tom Riddle has never known. And him being dormant and being completely accepting of where he is at that point or the Horcrux being accepting of where it is at that point is accepting that this is something that he won’t know. But then seeing that, he can lose that humanity and become whole, complete, and also a mortal. It’s him fighting against that to get out again.

Eric: I love that. I love this idea that the piece of Voldemort’s soul inside Harry is the one that is closest to [being] capable of love and…

Grace: I know. How crazy is that!

Eric: It’s crazy! It’s like Harry was just…

Grace: It’s nuts.

Alison: And that could be why it was the most unstable piece.

Eric: Well, and it exists just to be ruthlessly murdered. The only way to excise it is for Voldemort himself to kill Harry.

Eric and Grace: To kill himself.

Eric: It just really exists more symbolically than anything else.

Michael: So let’s add another layer onto this: What is Harry’s deadly sin?

[Everyone laughs]

Grace: I’d pair Harry with sloth.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michael: Hermione agrees.

Grace: Yeah, she would. She definitely would.

[Michael laughs]

Grace: I think that Harry was created due to an oversight. I believe that Harry symbolizes this particular sin, not because he acts in a lazy way but rather because the creation of him is due to Tom’s lack of diligence. In overlooking his followers’ needs and the wants and losing so much of his humanity, he no longer has the ability to relate to those around him. And he cannot clue into the obvious giveaways that Snape loved Lily and that the prophecy was not a death sentence but more of a symbolic message. Or that he also needed to be patient, study the situation further, and get a grasp on how to progress further rather than blundering [in] with only half of the facts that he needed and trusting his power to back him up. So I feel like the attack on the Potter family really just presents how tearing away his humanity has only harmed his sanity irreparably. And I think that in Harry being symbolic of sloth, in his creation, Voldemort loses his diligence.

Eric: So I know you just said it, but Harry for sloth has more to do with…

Grace: … a lack of diligence than actual laziness.

Eric: Okay, diligence on Voldemort’s part?

Grace: Yeah, diligence on Voldemort’s part.

Michael: Yeah. I think that makes sense to apply it to Voldemort, not Harry, in this case. Because like you said, Harry is an accident.

Eric: It’s an easy joke to make that Harry is lazy. We get it. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah!

Grace: Harry is frickin’ lazy! He’s just frickin’ lazy! [laughs]

Eric: He’s totally lazy. He’s very lazy.

Michael: Well, in that way, though, it is opposite because of course, we’re thinking of Harry traditionally as “Oh, you lazy, teenage boy.”

[Grace laughs]

Michael: But in the sense of a hero, Harry is not lazy. He’s very active and he jumps to do what he needs to do. He jumps to go after the Sorcerer’s Stone. He jumps to save Sirius’s life and find who the prisoner of Azkaban is to avenge his parents. Even though he is not supposed to be, he jumps at the opportunity to be in the Triwizard Tournament once he realizes what it could mean for him. He’s not sloth in that way.

Grace: He’s more action than he is preparation.

Eric: Yeah. So Voldemort very much was distracted by the prophecy or whatever and just didn’t know…

Grace: He didn’t do his due diligence.

Eric: Didn’t do his due diligence, which he now loses forever.

Grace: You’ve got to study.

Eric: I like it.

Grace: If you’re going to make a Horcrux, you’ve got to study.

Eric: He got too cocky.

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Michael: By saying that [Harry’s] soul contains so much love, it’s almost interesting not to have him be lust in that way, which is very… I don’t really know how that matches up.

Grace: And then that gives it a whole new set of meanings if you do something like that.

Michael: Yeah. This is what makes, I think, this series so fun, is because you can scramble these around and still make it work. I think these are probably the best pair-ups. This one makes sense to me because… especially pairing it up with what we were talking about earlier, that these sections of the soul represent Voldemort [and] certain stages in his life. If we’re thinking of it in that way, this piece of soul that has gone into Harry represents Voldemort around the 1980s, and by this time, Voldemort is being careless because he thought he’d got what he wanted.

Grace: And he thought he was powerful enough to back it up and he lost it.

Michael: Yeah, well, like you said, not only was he doing half the job… I mean, he only got half the prophecy, which is why he did this in the first place.

Grace: He thought he could do the job on his own. He didn’t tell anyone to back him up. There'[re] so many oversights.

Michael: So with all of those timelines and breaking down those Horcruxes that we have seen, we did have a few questions that came in through Twitter about Horcruxes that were some excellent questions by the listeners that build on some of these things we’ve already addressed here, and a few of them actually came from Timmy Layton, or @Mrtl13, and one of them was, “Can an object containing a Horcrux have another Horcrux in it?”

[Eric laughs]

Michael: [continues]

“And how many Horcruxes can one object hold?”

[Grace laughs]

Michael: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?

[Eric and Grace laugh]

Michael: We’ve seen here that Voldemort pushed the limit by splitting the soul into multiple pieces. Can you put multiple pieces into one object? Because we know that Voldemort was doing…

Grace: That was the next experiment, Michael. [laughs]

Alison: I’m going to say yes.

Eric: [exasperated] No! You can’t, because a Horcrux is the complete opposite of a human being! [back to normal voice] Sorry, it worked for Hermione. I just figured it’d work for me.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: I’m going to say yes because of Nagini and Harry.

Eric: Well, you can have more than one soul in a living object. Oh, so that’s creepy, so there you go. That’s actually probably…

Grace: It’s like a soul party, just right in a person.

[Everyone laughs]

Grace: Of many soul bits.

Eric: [sings] “People all over the world join hands…”

Grace: How many Voldy-bits can you fit in one person? [laughs]

Eric: [sings] Voldy-bits, Voldy-bits, Voldy-bits…

Alison: How many licks does it take to get to the Voldy-bit?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Eric: [sings] Voldy-bits with marshmallows…

Grace: Tom Riddle would not appreciate that sentiment.

Michael: Build on top of it a little bit. An extension question by Timmy Layton:

“Can one object house multiple individuals’ Horcruxes?”

[Alison and Grace laugh]

Michael: Will the souls duke it out for dominance or can they share the space?

Eric: My guess is, you’d never want to because the whole point is protecting yourself, right? It’s the most selfish act you could possibly do. You would never put your soul in with another soul and they’re both there for protection.

Grace: I know.

Eric: But if it’s a living object, you can have two souls in one object, so that’s weird.

Grace: Yeah, and then that living object decides to get another soul to put inside of it.

Eric: There'[re] also the two things that we didn’t talk about – which I really want to mention real quickly – [are], first of all, the idea that Voldemort could’ve repaired his soul if he experienced remorse, right? We could talk for another three hours about…

Grace: We really could.

Eric: … how Tom may or may not even be capable of remorse because of his brain or whatever. But the idea that that was proposed… I mean, it wasn’t even just a Pottermore thing. It said in the book that Dumbledore is like, “Yeah, he could feel remorse.” And then the idea that it would kill him… It was either also said in the book or it was on Pottermore where J.K. Rowling was like, “Yeah, that process would probably kill somebody like Tom” because what he had done was just too egregious, was too great. But the idea that the soul can actually be repaired if you grieve might offer more clues to how the soul works. But it’s also just a nice, flowery happy ending to what is an otherwise terrifying concept.

Grace: What’s interesting is that I feel like a more poetic ending for Tom Riddle would have been him achieving immortality but also feeling remorse, so he is fated to feel remorse for eternity.

Michael: Whoa.

Eric: Maybe that’s what the Voldy thingy is.

Grace: Yeah, that’s what I feel like would’ve been way better than just him dying because I feel like he dies, he doesn’t even realize what he did, he’s blaming Harry, he’s blaming Dumbledore, he’s under that chair for-freaking-ever. It doesn’t even… It’s not satisfying, even slightly – to me, anyway. I feel like he should feel remorse, he should know what he did wrong, and he should have to live with it.

Eric: Yeah. Just with the “more than one object” thing, if at one point… When he’s hating on Dumbledore and he’s becoming the snake, Rowling does say that it’s because “Harry was going through a dark time” that he could actually feel the Horcrux. If Harry had decided to embrace the darkness, he could have become more…

Grace: Oooh. There’s many a fan fiction written about this. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, he could have really begun to interact, begun to give the other soul more control over his body. He could have subjugated his own soul and sort of molded it and merged it with the other one.

Grace: He could have been really powerful.

Eric: I really think that if you do house two objects together [in] the way that Timmy is asking, you run the risk of them combining or joining willingly. I bet there’s even crazier stuff that can happen if you do that.

Grace: That’s terrifying. That’s incredible. I like that idea.

Michael: And speaking of crazy stuff you can do with the soul, Margie Camille, @wisemar, asked… We know that Voldemort wasn’t really the first as far as Horcruxes, and of course, we have the confirmation of Herpo the Foul. But Margie asks, “Do you think Grindelwald made any possible attempts at a Horcrux?”

Alison and Grace: I don’t know.

Michael: Now, the reason I bring it up is because… and this ties back – Grace, you’ll get this reference with Kingdom Hearts – [to] the idea of…

[Grace laughs]

Michael: Grindelwald is mentioned to have been doing some really dark experimentation at school that got him kicked out. I immediately, Grace, think of Organization XIII and what they were up to.

Grace: Oh my God! The basement trio.

Michael: [laughs] Yes, and messing with the soul and things of that nature.

Grace: I will always think of Vexen. He’s my favorite mad scientist.

Michael: But we never get a definition of what those experiements were. Maybe if he didn’t make one, maybe he looked into it? [laughs]

Alison: I’m going to say no. Because he was so intent on getting the Deathly Hallows, and so I think that was the thing he was focused on, on how he was going to live forever was, he was going to overcome death by becoming its master.

Eric: I like that a lot.

Grace: Well, wait, did he really want to overcome death?

Alison: I think he did.

Grace: I think he wanted power.

Eric: Well, first of all, the bottom line is, you don’t make Horcruxes unless you want to overcome death. There’s no point in making Horcruxes unless you want to do that.

Alison: Yeah. But I think Grindelwald’s way of overcoming death was, he didn’t just want to overcome it. He wanted to subdue it. He wanted to use it. And that’s why he wanted the Hallows.

Michael: Oh, that’s interesting.

Alison: And so he’s not the kind to just say, “I have become above you” like Voldemort. He’s more like, “I have taken ownership of death and I will use it.” And so Horcruxes don’t really do that.

Eric: No, and the other thing that I was… because I’ve been thinking about this ever since the Fantastic Beasts movie came out a month ago, and I never once reached the conclusion like, “Oh yeah, he had the Hallows” because we already know that, I mean, he adopted it as his own symbol. He knew the mythology. It’s not like Harry, where you wait until Book 7 to know about it. He knew about it in Book 1 of Grindelwald’s tales.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: He knew about the Hallows, so that was his method at immortality. Because in Fantastic Beasts when he’s trying to get this Obscurus, it’s so he can take over Europe and take control of the world, but he’s in such a position – clearly – of comfort with his own mortality that he can focus on getting a weapon to destroy the world because he’s essentially done whatever it is he’s going to do to stay alive, and now he’s focused his efforts on becoming a stronger Dark wizard.

Grace: Well, I mean, this is supposing that he fancies himself a god rather than just a revolutionary.

Alison: I think he does.

Grace: Well, I mean, that’s possible, but from what we get from the text, I feel like he’s more a man who wants to control the people because he thinks he knows what’s best for them, and I think that puts him more on the level of being a revolutionary than a god figure.

Eric: I love that, actually. And I think it would be more interesting for the story if you have a different type of baddie, one who’s not subverting nature because he thinks he’s a god. I actually like that distinction a lot, between the way Voldemort is and the way Grindelwald could be. Because there is something about Grindelwald where… The other part of it, too, that I want to bring up is, Grindelwald can’t have Horcruxes because that takes away from what Voldemort did, right? This is the problem with writing any prequel, is that nothing Grindelwald does should overshadow or be better than Voldemort. Which is a real problem J.K. Rowling has. [I] don’t want to be her right now.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: We know she can overcome it because she’s brilliant.

Alison: Yeah, she knows what it is already. [laughs]

Eric: But, but, but, but Grindelwald can’t do anything that’s ultimately so much cooler than what Voldemort did. It has to be different. He can’t…

Grace: Well, I think Voldemort and Grindelwald walk that really fine line between who is a sociopath and who’s a psychopath because I feel like Voldemort was born a psychopath in that he doesn’t have human empathy and acts like he does and that part of his brain just doesn’t work. He was born that way. The chemical imbalance is there throughout his life. Whereas you have Grindelwald, who may or may not have been able to feel, but his moral compass is just off. It’s completely off. That can be corrected and he could somehow try to immerse himself with society because he does have a moral compass and he can know what is right and wrong, but there’s just a very distinct difference between these two individuals in that sense.

Eric: Yeah, I’m going to be wanting two or three films just about that alone.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Grace: I want them to meet so badly.

Eric: Well, they’re definitely going to meet. I mean, based on this timeline, too, of when the Horcruxes were created, J.K. Rowling has said on Twitter the final Beasts film will end in 1945 with the defeat of Grindelwald by Dumbledore. By 1945, Voldemort will have already made three Horcruxes. So…

Alison: Yeah. Here’s what I want: Someone brought up orphaned Voldemort – Tom Riddle – in Blitz-destroyed London. I want Grindelwald to just be walking the streets because it’s somehow his fault and for there to just be a cameo of young Tom Riddle just staring at him. [laughs] That’s all I want.

Grace: Watching. And waiting.

Eric: Would young Tom Riddle have taken notes from Grindelwald? Would he have even liked the guy? Would he have even…?

Grace: Oh, no. He died. He died ignominious. He died.

Eric: What?

Alison: Voldemort kills him.

Eric: No, Voldemort kills Gridelwald.

Grace: No, no, no, no. Dumbledore killed Grindelwald.

Michael: No, he didn’t. So that’s a misconception and it’s actually cleared up in Deathly Hallows.

Grace: Oh, wait, no, he didn’t kill him. I’m sorry. He subdued him.

Michael: He defeated him.

Eric: Before the final battle… And look, at the beginning of [the] Fantastic Beasts film, Grindelwald is already terrorizing Europe. Why does it take Dumbledore another 19 years – until 1945 – to stop him is beyond all of us. Love or whatever.

Michael: Yeah. There'[re] reasons.

Grace: It’s seriously possible.

[Alison laughs]

Grace: And he’s clever. He’s clever and powerful.

Eric: It gives a lot of opportunity for young Voldemort – for Tom Riddle – to interact or… I don’t know. I just wonder what young Tom Riddle would have thought of Grindelwald, knowing that young Tom Riddle would have grown up with other wizards being in fear of Grindelwald and would have experienced, and sort of taken lessons from, how that affects people and how it changes the way that they act.

Grace: And also, yeah, keep in mind that in the interactions between Credence and Grindelwald, there is an element of very uncomfortable desire and dependence. And I think Tom Riddle might have seen something like that and seen that there are limitations to someone desiring you and wanting fear instead.

Michael: Yeah. I suppose an answer to the question of whether he successfully made one, as far as how these two inspired each other, no, he didn’t because, ostensibly, textually, Voldemort killed him and he died. [laughs] So he didn’t succeed. I still think he may have at least researched, if not experimented, because what I was thinking of while you guys were talking about this is that – especially in terms of how the two inspired each other or got ideas from each other – Voldemort’s regime and his ideas are built off of Grindelwald, but in that way, Grindelwald is more of a direct callback to Hitler than Voldemort is. And the thing that Hitler did, as we know – as you guys were talking about in terms of Grindelwald – is that after securing his place and securing his regime, he sent people out searching for objects and things that might help him and his crusade. And had an idea in the mystical, which very much ties into what Grindelwald is doing in Fantastic Beasts. I would not put it past Grindelwald to have maybe experimented with this as some kind of viable option for what he was doing, but as far as we know textually, if he did it, he didn’t do it correctly. He did not succeed.

Eric: It’s just so interesting.

Grace: It’s super interesting. Oh my God.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Yeah, if you’re talking about this film series coming to a head in 1945, you not only have the possibility of young Voldemort, who’s created Horcuxes, interacting with Grindelwald before Grindelwald is put in prison, but then you also have everything that’s actually going on in Muggle Europe with Hitler, with Nazis, with World War II, and there’s presumably going to be some kind of bleedover/cross over where, if you go into the Muggle world, there’s going to be the Blitz. There'[re] going to be these crazy things.

Grace: And the Blitz tore London apart. And especially for children who did not have any means to take care of themselves, they are in the worst possible position. They are considered basically like a leech on society. So…

Eric: It’s just so surprising that we didn’t see this coming before for Jo, that ’45 was one of the biggest eras of the wizarding world.

Grace: Yeah. And it’s a huge reflection on today.

Eric: It was getting way under our noses.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So these are some excellent questions. I want to point out that there were [laughs] quite a few more that I got from you guys. Thank you so much for responding so en masse to this tweet. I want to shout out to a few of you who[m] we didn’t get to address purely on time constraints, but @brandonbrewtal, at @How2Ravenclaw or Karin Abele, and at @NearIntelligent. I know a lot of you are longtime listeners and commenters on the site. So please make sure [to] bring your questions, your thoughts, these really amazing ideas – and those of you whose tweets we did use – bring those thoughts over to alohomora.mugglenet.com for this episode. Share them with the listeners so that you guys can commune on that. I will make sure [to] retweet all of these tweets so that they are seen and that you, the listeners, can also discuss them over on Twitter as well. But we appreciate you guys just responding so enthusiastically to this. I mean, we really could do another episode on Horcruxes. [laughs]

Grace: We really could. And we could do another episode on Tom Riddle. Just saying.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: I want a Quirrell episode.

Grace: Oh man, oh man. Yes.

Michael: Yes. The funny thing to end the episode with… There are two questions that have often been asked of Rowling. One is about Quirrell. There is an answer for it. Go to Pottermore and you can look at Quirrell’s bio. It’s a pretty simple answer. The other one that [laughs] Rowling has been asked – so much that she has asked us to stop asking her – is, “Well, wasn’t Harry supposed to die when the Basilisk got him?”

Eric: [laughs] “Jo, Jo.”

Eric and Michael: “Jo.”

Michael: “This is a plot hole. Why did you do that?”

Grace: “I just found this plot hole, Jo.”

Eric and Grace: “Jo.”

[Michael laughs]

Grace: “You wrote this, but you did not realize it, though. He’s supposed to die.”

Michael: [laughs] “How could you be so stupid about your own main character?”

Eric: Look, I get exactly why everybody thinks this is a plot hole, and I don’t think the answer is wholly satisfying. Because she’s relying on her having formerly been vague.

Michael: Actually, no. She is relying on a very definitive line from Dumbledore in Half-Blood Prince.

Eric: It has to have been destroyed beyond all possible saving.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: And because Harry conveniently… It’s still so convenient that Fawkes’ tears…

Michael: Fawkes is convenient in many ways beyond just that.

Grace: Which Tom Riddle literally turns to the bird and says, “That’s a phoenix.”

[Grace and Michael laughs]

Grace: He’s just so pedantic and boastful, he’s literally explaining everything in the freaking scene.

[Michael laughs]

Grace: I love this guy.

Eric: Wouldn’t he have recognized the phoenix because wouldn’t Dumbledore have been associated with the phoenix?

Grace: He did. He said, “That’s Dumbledore’s bird,” I think.

Eric: Oh, “that’s Dumbledore’s bird.” Okay. Which means Newt gave Dumbledore Fawkes way before Tom Riddle made that diary. [laughs]

Michael: Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Eric: Yup, yup, yup, yup.

Grace: Hey-oh.

Eric: How do you think Hagrid got Aragog? How do you think Dumbledore got Fawkes? Newt Scamander! Thank you very much.

Michael: Holla on those theories. If you want more of that, listeners, make sure and head on over to our sister podcast for MuggleNet, SpeakBeasty.

Eric: Which is one year old.

Grace: Hooray!

Michael: Happy one-year-old birthday, SpeakBeasty.

Alison: Yay!

Michael: You’ve done a wonderful job. They also have a new main site you can check out. Oh, God, what’s the address? I want to get it right. Here we go.

Alison: SpeakBeasty.com. I just looked it up last night.

Michael: It’s nice and simple. Woo! SpeakBeasty.com. That site is up. You’ll see a familiar face there. It’s me. Because I’m also on that podcast. Oh-ho. But yes, happy birthday, SpeakBeasty. And if you listeners are looking for more information on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, you can find them over on SpeakBeasty. But please, once again – I think this is a perfect way to end this episode – stop asking Rowling about Harry dying in Chamber of Secrets.

[Alison, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Eric: About why that didn’t destroy his Horcrux.

Grace: Dang it, it’s all Fawkes’s fault! This all could have been over five years earlier, but it’s all Fawkes’s fault.

[Alison, Eric, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Voldemort had him, dammit! He had him! It’s not fair.

Eric: We want to remind everybody that this episode of Alohomora! was sponsored by Voldy-Bits cereal with marshmallows.

[Alison and Grace laugh]

Grace: With Horcrux marshmallows.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Alison: “Seven unique shapes!” [laughs]

Eric: Do we say it twice at the end? It’s not on here. Rebecca Eckley on Patreon has actually sponsored this episode, not Voldy-Bits cereal.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Please go visit our Alohomora! Patreon for that. We thank Rebecca and all of our patrons for their support. And we want to thank Grace…

Grace: Thank you!

Eric: … for gracing us with your presence yet again.

Grace: Thanks for having me! I had a ton of fun. I really did. I had so much fun tonight.

Eric: I think this was all a very fun one for all of us.

[Grace laughs]

Michael: She was my first pick, you guys…

Grace: Yeah!

Michael: … when we were looking for what to say about this. Because I was like, “Grace is our local Voldemort authority.”

Grace: Thank you. I appreciate that title.

Michael: Because he is your favorite character.

Grace: He’s my super faves.

Michael: And remind listeners, when you were frequenting the site a little more back in the day, what was your username?

Grace: My username was Lord Trolldemort.

[Everyone laughs]

Grace: Because I was just trollin’.

Michael: Just perfect. So thank you so much, Grace, because I think especially that seven deadly sins theory… To me, that is up there with the Rowling-approved “Dumbledore is Death” theory as being excellently parsed out and one of the examples of how we really want to be looking at Harry Potter with these new topic-based episodes on Alohomora!

Grace: Thank you.

Michael: Thank you so much.

Grace: And you guys were perfect. You made me think in all new ways about this stuff. It was fantastic.

Michael: You did the same for us. And I’m sure this one’s going to be talked about a lot.

Grace: Yay!

Michael: So thank you, Grace, for making this episode all the much better.

Eric: I bet at Christmas dinner.

[Grace laughs]

Eric: They can have their Christmas ham.

Michael: Yes, all the Christmas…

Grace: And all the way into New Year’s and we can say happy birthday to Tom!

[Michael laughs]

Grace: Yay!

Eric: Yeah. Can we call him Tom or does he not like that?

Alison: He’s dead.

Grace: No, no, no, you can call him Tim Tam and then he’ll get really angry.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: And hopefully, our next topic is going to be just as great as this one. And that next topic is going to be on religion and fate in Harry Potter, which I think is going to be really excellent and awesome.

Michael: So if you thought Horcruxes [were] great Christmas Eve dinner table discussion…

[Alison, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Michael: … you just wait, because you don’t know the half of it.

[Alison, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Grace: So you get the bad side, [and] then you get the good side with religion. There you go. It’s all balanced.

Eric: Exactly. We certainly hope you’re enjoying our topic-based episodes, such as “Horcruxes” or “Religion and Fate.” If you have a topic that you want to suggest, you can actually do that on our main site: alohomora.mugglenet.com. You can not only submit your idea for a topic, but you can also volunteer or request to be on that episode yourself, as well as the traditional way to ask to be on our show, which there’s no fancy equipment needed – if you have a set of Apple headphones you’re all set – and yeah, all of that you can find over on our website.

Michael: Alohomora.mugglenet.com. Which is now in existence again!

Alison, Eric, and Michael: Yay!

Grace: I’m not going to lie. I think I’ve submitted Tom Riddle, like, four times now.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Keep doing it. Maybe one day we’ll pick him. Maybe not.

[Grace laughs]

Michael: Well, and I think it is important to say that, listeners, we are still looking through all of your auditions, but the important thing to say is, you probably are going to have a little bit of a leg up in the audition process if you specify the topic you want to be on because we do have people who want to be on a specific topic and they’re going to get first pick on that if they’ve already submitted for it. So you don’t have to when you submit your audition, but if you know something you really want to talk about, it’s going to give you a bit of an edge because that means, well, hey, you’re going to be a good guest and you’re going to talk about this thing at length. So just keep that in mind during your auditions.

Alison: And if you just want to chat with us for whatever reason…

Michael: Like to give us inspiration?

Alison: Exactly. I seem to be doing that a lot.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: I was trying to come up with… I am so tired right now. This is not even funny.

[Grace and Michael laugh]

Alison: It is 8:30 and I am dead on the floor.

Michael: She’s already dead.

Alison: [laughs] It’s okay. You can contact us through our Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, on Facebook at facebook.com/openthedumbledore, at our newly working website again…

Michael: Yeah!

Eric and Grace: Yay!

Alison: … alohomora.mugglenet.com. And make sure, while you’re [on] our website, you send an owl to us through audioBoom. But if you want to [get] them on the show, just keep them under 60 seconds, please, and then we can play them and we can hear your wonderful tones. [makes hooting noises] Yeah, okay.

[Alison, Eric, and Michael laugh]

Michael: And once again, we want to thank Rebecca Eckley for sponsoring us on Patreon and making this – what we feel is one of our favorite episodes to do – possible.

Grace: Yay!

Michael: Thank you so much, Rebecca, for making our discussion on Horcruxes happen. And you, the listeners, can be a part of that as well by going to patreon.com/alohomora to sponsor us for as low as $1 a month. Not only do you get extra perks on the site – as we mentioned at the top of the show – but you do also get your name dropped in both the main episodes, [and] we drop names in the recap as well because you guys are what makes it possible to host Alohomora! on a server so that you can listen to us and we can talk with you on our main site. So we appreciate that. And we’re going to split…

Eric: Ahh!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: … from this episode.

Eric: I’m in pain, you guys. My scar hurts from that crappy joke.

[Alison laughs]

Grace: Man, this locket is just killing me guys. It’s just killing me.

[Eric laughs]

Michael: I think I’m going to get a slice of pie. I’m pretty sure Grace is going to break off a piece of chocolate.

Eric: And I’m going to have some Voldy-Bits cereal with marshmallows.

[Alison and Grace laugh]

Michael: Mm, Voldy-Bits. [laughs]

Eric: Mm, Voldy-Bits.

Alison: It has to be Hufflepuff’s cup. It’s time.

Eric: They’re bad for you and they’re deadly!

[Alison, Grace, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Thank you for listening to this episode of Alohomora! I’m Michael Harle.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Alison: And I’m Alison Siggard. Thank you for listening to Episode 209 of Alohomora!

[Show music begins]

Eric: Open the Dumbledore! Or a box of Voldy-Bits cereal, coming to stores in 2017.

[Everyone laughs]

[Show music continues]

Michael: So this airs the 24th? Okay, there we go.

Eric and Grace: Christmas Eve!

Alison: I’ll be 23!

Eric: A week before Voldemort’s birthday!

Grace: Oh my God, you so young!

Alison: I know. I’m a baby.

Grace: You a baby!

[Michael laughs]

Alison: It’s fine. I’m spending my birthday [at] the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so life is good.

Grace: Oh my God, that is so cute.

Michael: Yay!

Alison: Life is good.

Grace: That is so cute, stop. Oh my God.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: And I started the year [at] the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, and I’m going to end it in [Universal Studios] Hollywood. And right in the middle, I went to the Studio Tour. [gasps] I’ll have been to all three this year!

Michael: That’s so nice.

Grace: I’m going to die of jealousy right now.

Michael: And look here, once upon a time you had never been.

Alison: I know!

Michael: And now you’re just going all the time.

Alison: Look at me.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: This is also the last Alohomora! of the year…

Alison: It is.

Eric: … and also the last Alohomora! before Voldemort’s birthday.

Grace: Oh my God! Oh my God, you guys timed it right. I am so happy. I am so proud of you for remembering.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Grace: I’m now applauding you. [claps] Fantastic.

Michael: We did this on purpose, I’m sure.

Alison: We’re going to have to bring up all these things when we actually get into the show. [laughs]

Michael: When we actually get started, yes.

Grace: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

Alison: Because we haven’t actually started.

[Michael laughs]