Transcript – Episode 217

[Show music begins]

Eric Scull: This is Episode 217 of Alohomora! for April 15, 2017.

[Show music continues]

Eric: Hello, everybody! And welcome to another exciting episode of Alohomora! I’m Eric Scull.

Elayna Darcy: I’m Elayna Darcy.

Haley Lewis: I’m Haley Lewis, and do you want to introduce yourself [as] our guest today?

David Spragg: Yeah. Hi, I’m David. I live in London, I’m a video editor, and I’m a Hufflepuff.

Elayna: Woo, Hufflepuffs!

David: Yay!

Eric: Hello, David! Welcome back.

David: Thank you.

Eric: And actually, we’re saying welcome back to all of our hosts today…

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Eric: … because Haley – listeners will be most familiar with – was on our previous episode of Alohomora! on magical education. Elayna has joined us before and is a current cohost of [the] SpeakBeasty podcast, which you all should check out. And David, you were with us on Alohomora! [Episode] 154, almost 70 episodes ago.

Elayna: Goodness.

Haley: Oh my goodness.

David: About 18 months? That was a while.

Eric: Yeah. Talking about “The Seven Potters” from Deathly Hallows, which was a really good chapter. But [we’re] thrilled to have you back, David.

David: Thank you. Happy to be back on.

Eric: And yeah! We’re going to have a lot of fun today if the banter before recording was anything like what the episode will be.

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: We’re going to have a really great show in store for you, guys.

Elayna: Prepare for feels, everyone.

Eric: [sighs] My body’s ready.

Elayna: Me too.

[David and Eric laugh]

Elayna: So this week, we are actually going to be discussing old theories from the fandom, so we’re going to be going back and taking a look at just all of the crazy theories that we came up with before. Some of these theories predate even Order of the Phoenix, so we’re going way, way, way back today to discuss all of these crazy, crazy theories and fun ideas that people had before all the books were out.

Eric: This episode is sponsored by Susan S. on Patreon. She’s been a patron since the beginning of 2016. You can become a patron for as little as $1 a month, and on that, you will sponsor an episode, get your name read, [and] get to receive exclusive tidbits from us for being our patron. So check us out [at] patreon.com/alohomora. We want to thank all of our patrons, and especially Susan S., for their support. So [on] today’s episode on old-school Harry Potter fan theories – as we have been doing with the specific subject Alohomora! episodes – we’re going to start off by just talking about our overall thoughts, what we think about when we think about this topic, because it’s a great one. And I think that we’ve probably all been in the fandom long enough to have heard some of these theories before, but today’s the day where we’re going to be discussing them in-depth. So I wanted to get everyone’s thoughts, and we’ll just go around starting with Elayna. What do you think when you think about old theories?

Elayna: Ohh! I think about my childhood and AOL. I mean, I’ve been…

[David, Elayna, and Eric laugh]

Elayna: So I’ve been in this fandom since forever. I think I read the first book when I was about 8 or 9, and then as early as age 10 or 11 – when they started releasing information that movies were going to be made – that’s when I started getting into the online part of the community. That’s when I found MuggleNet and Veritaserum and all of those other websites, many of which sadly are no longer around. But these different websites, I would peruse them for theories. I would look into all kinds of crazy corners of the Internet that you could just never possibly find anymore, just desperate for theories. Because the books were so great, and as I’m sure a lot of kids can relate who were into Harry Potter at that time, not all of your friends were necessarily into it. And so you had to get your wanting to discuss it out somewhere, and so the Internet was, in its dawn, a really good place for that. So [for] these theories, some of them, I’m like, “Oh my gosh! We were such sweet summer children who knew nothing, and it was so cute!”

[Eric laughs]

Elayna: And just some of the theories we came up with [were] so bizarre, but they just make my heart feel joyous.

Eric: Yeah, definitely. For me, when we start talking about this stuff, we did not know how the Harry Potter series would end. And now that all seven books are out, I’m not sure the experience can quite be recreated of just not knowing and of the answer not being out there on a bookshelf somewhere. So really, these old theories, though they did not, in the end, turn out to be true, some of them were quite captivating. Some of the ones we’ll be going through today, even to a certain extent, could not be… They were so well researched and they were so well thought out that they weren’t… There was a period of time where they weren’t wrong. They were Schrödinger’s theories.

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Eric: They were simultaneously unproven but not disproven, and it exists in the ethers. These theories that I still remember from when they were making the rounds across the webs were really just as possible as what really happened, and I love them for that, because of the mystery that Harry Potter clearly is, the ideas (plural) that inspired our imagination in these theories. So that’s really for me just loving who we were as a fan base that thought critically and read critically, and the Harry Potter books were the books that taught me to love reading and also to read critically. And it was because J.K. Rowling was such a master author at hiding mysteries and clues and all this other stuff. So really, the books are so rich and the theories that they inspired, though disproven eventually, still resonate today.

Elayna: I would treat snaps to that.

[David and Eric laugh]

Haley: Well, when I start hearing about all the old fan theories, it just makes me sad that I was too young to be part of that, be in the fandom at that time. I started reading Harry Potter in 2008, the year after Deathly Hallows came out, so I got all the books back-to-back and I got to read them. So I didn’t really have much…

Eric: How boring for you.

[Everyone laughs]

David: Not having to wait three years between [Book] 4 and [Book] 5…

Elayna: So you gave the books the Netflix treatment where you just got to read them all at once.

[David and Elayna laugh]

Haley: Yeah, but I was 11 when I started reading them…

Elayna: Aww!

Haley: … and it took me a little while to read them. It took me a year to read all seven because they were the first big books that I really got into. But I also didn’t really have anyone to talk to about them, so I was in my own little world with no theories about what was happening. [laughs] Just reading and reading and reading them. So in 2015 at GeekyCon, I remember I went to a panel where they talked about all of these old theories, and I just thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. Because I wasn’t a part of it and I’d never heard about this. So I have since then learned a lot about them and Googled them, and while most are ridiculous to me, not having been in that mindset, I do love them. They’re great.

Eric: Yeah. So your panel was probably the one run by Olivia and Hannah and [Brad]?

Haley: Yeah. Yeah, it was.

Eric: They do that almost every year at Geeky and Leaky, and it’s always a great panel. Because through the passage of time, some do seem even weirder.

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: I guess it’s like a fine wine. Some age like fine wine. Some age like very cheap wine.

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: But it is indicative of the time period that it was going on in, and we’re going to go through [not only] a lot of crazy ones but also ones that I think everyone can agree sound darn true!

[David, Elayna, and Haley laugh]

Elayna: Indeed. And Haley, I love that you mention that you were 11 when you started reading the books because I was 11 when the first movie came out.

[Haley laughs]

Eric: There you go.

Elayna: It was beautiful.

David: Well, I was 11 when the first book came out.

[Everyone laughs]

Elayna: There you go!

Haley: How perfect.

Elayna: We’re representing every generation here.

David: [laughs] Well, I didn’t start reading them straightaway. I think I started reading the first two not long after Chamber of Secrets came out, and then after that I was reading them as they came. And for the first four, or certainly when [Book] 3 and [Book] 4 came out, I was the same age as the characters. So the third one came out at the end of my third year at school and fourth year… which was quite nice to have. I don’t know why, I’d never even thought about looking them up online or anything until after I’d read Goblet of Fire. And then I just went to the computer one day [and] typed “Harry Potter” into Google. I don’t even think it was Google; it might have been Yahoo!

[Everyone laughs]

Elayna: It was probably Ask Jeeves.

Eric: Did you ask Jeeves?

David: Wow.

[Elayna and Eric laugh]

David: I don’t think I quite asked Jeeves, but it was probably a close run thing.

Elayna: Oh, goodness.

David: So I just typed “Harry Potter” into Yahoo!, and this whole world that I didn’t even know existed just erupted in front of me.

[Elayna laughs]

David: I think I probably ended up going to bed about 4:00 that morning.

[David and Eric laugh]

Eric: Wow.

Elayna: Sounds about right.

David: Yep. But then I started looking up theories: “Oh, when is the fifth book going to come out? What’s going to happen next?” That’s when I started coming across the rumors and the deeper readings people had done and the clues that had been left that you miss when you’re 13 or 14 and reading through them for the first time. And it’s a strange thing, like Eric said… There'[re] kids who read them now. They’re not going to get any of that, and it’s interesting to think how much enters general pop culture. So for kids reading them now, is it like us watching Star Wars and knowing well in advance about Darth Vader? And do you read it to get the story, but you don’t get any of the surprises? And obviously, you’re not necessarily thinking about any of the theories because you’re just carry[ing] on with the next book and see[ing] where it goes.

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: The one heartening thing I have to say to that is, I know a few parents who are reading Harry [Potter] to their children, but they have told me that they will wait when they get to Book 5. Because Book 5 for many is the book that’s going to be too dark for their 12- or 13-year-old to read, and so they are going to wait a year or two. And I hope that that child, who’s being either read to or reading the books, and their parents are not permitting them right away to go through… I hope that that is remaining stimulating and percolating in their imaginations of what will happen. And maybe they’re just going on their smartphones – because every ten-year-old has one…

[David and Elayna laugh]

Eric: … and finding out how the series ends or reading it or getting the Kindle outside of their parents’ wishes. Hey, it’s nice to be a rebel if it’s…

Elayna: I feel like Dumbledore is a pretty hard spoiler to avoid.

Eric: Yeah. Dumbledore especially.

Haley: I actually didn’t know about that when I read them.

Elayna: Really?

Haley: I did not know.

Elayna: Oh, you lucky, lucky darling.

Haley: I really wasn’t spoiled that much before I was because…

Eric: Wow.

Haley: And I’d only seen the first two movies because I was afraid. The Basilisk scared me and I wouldn’t watch it.

[David and Eric laugh]

Haley: So what I did up to… Order of the Phoenix was out movie-wise then, and so I would read a book and watch the movie, then read a book and watch the [next] movie. So I wasn’t spoiled, thankfully.

David: But they’re a strange series, really, in that you could start reading them as kids as young as 6, 7, 8, but I think they’re really designed to be read as you’re growing up. Because if you think of the stuff that’s in Deathly Hallows – even stuff down to the language she uses – there'[re] some words in Deathly Hallows that parents probably wouldn’t be too keen on reading to their seven-year-olds.

Eric: That’s very true.

David: But because the characters are, by that point, 17-18 and in a war situation, you don’t necessarily think of it. So yeah, I don’t even know if parents would want to necessarily read straight through.

Elayna: Yeah. Because I think I was about a month away from turning 17 when the last book came out – because that was 2007, so I was still 16. And it just really did… This phrase gets said so often because it’s so true for so many of us, but I grew up with these books. Who I was as an adolescent was… I followed along on this journey with these characters at the time that I should have because, like I said, I think I was nine when I started reading them. I read through the first couple, but then the rest of them, [Books] 5, 6, and 7, I was around that age when each of those came out. So what was happening to them in the story was something I reflected [on] and related [to] in my real life. And there’s this group that calls ourselves the Potter generation; I feel like that’s the group that they’re speaking to. We lived this with them at the ages we were supposed to.

Eric: Yeah, and I was 15 when Harry was 15, which might be the reason that Book 5 was partially saved for me. Because I still thought Harry was a little too angry, but at least it was tempered by the fact that I, too, was a teenager and could be like, “Oh yeah, I’ve had bad days.”

[Elayna laughs]

David: That’s something else that when you read back when you’re older… At the time you’re reading, you just go with it because you’re that age and your friends are that age. When you look back at it – you don’t even have to be that much older – you think back and remember how young even 17 is.

Elayna and Eric: Yeah!

David: These are teenagers doing this kind of thing. It does give it an extra perspective that you just wouldn’t get when you’re that age and reading them.

Eric: And furthermore, adults were reading the books when they were adults and when these books were first coming out. And that’s really the greatest thing, is these books from even Book 1 appealed to older generations, to all generations of people through to the conclusion.

Elayna: Well, to that statement, I actually have a really cute short story. The day that I went to go to platform nine and three-quarters in King’s Cross when I was visiting for MuggleNet’s expo that [we] did there.

Eric: Oh, 2015! I was there.

Elayna: Yep. That was the best week of my life – no contest – but anyway, so the morning I went to platform nine and three-quarters, they have this thing set up where you can take your picture with your House scarf, which is cute.

[Eric and Haley laugh]

Elayna: But I was waiting in line, and so I was standing there feeling giddy as heck because holy crap, I’m finally here.

[David laughs]

Elayna: And then in front of me there is this six- or seven-year-old kid who is just as excited as I am, holding their mom’s hand; they cannot wait. And then she gets up to him, and I guess because it’s a little kid, the person just assumed, “Oh, are you a Gryffindor?” And she’s like, “I’m a Ravenclaw!” And she got so upset; she was like, “Don’t even play with me.”

[David, Eric, and Haley laugh]

Elayna: And then right behind me I see this little girl go up, and then I go up and I’m standing there just having this moment with myself. And I look at the person [who]’s next in line, and it was this 70-year-old man who just looked so thrilled to be there.

Eric: Love it.

Haley: That’s amazing.

Elayna: And it was this moment where I was like, “This is Harry Potter; I’m witnessing it in front of me.” It is something that transcends age, gender, identities, everything, because it’s a story that just resonates with so many people and… I don’t know. That was one of my favorite moments as a fan person.

David: I’ve never gone past platform nine and three-quarters.

Eric: Of course not! You live too close.

[Everyone laughs]

David: No, I’ve never gone past it without there being a queue, and that’s including…

Elayna: Oh, I thought you were going to say you had never walked by it ever, and I was like, “How?”

Eric: Oh. Redeemed, redeemed. Okay.

David: No, no. Every time I have been past it – and that includes going on midnight – there has been a queue with people there taking photos.

Eric: Love it.

David: And this is ten years later. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. Oh! Well, it’s getting close to 19 years later.

Elayna: Oh my gosh!

David: I do think I might pop down on the first of September. [laughs]

Eric: I think you should. If you’re not going to be in Orlando, you should be in London at King’s Cross. That’s the way to do it. But actually, that story is a perfect prelude into the introduction to our discussion because Harry Potter – in addition to being relevant for all ages, as we’ve expressed – was also just a really thrilling mystery series. We did not know how it was going to end. So I’ve written a note here on this note, which is that Harry Potter is an epic mystery wrapped up in some of the most lovingly detailed yet approachable writing the world has ever seen. You need only to turn on the light to see how Rowling’s writing buried leads and foreshadowing in earlier texts not only within a single book’s plot but [also] with all seven of them. Fans were quick to realize (shout-out to Sirius Black in Chapter 1 of Book 1)…

Elayna: Oh, that’s my favorite!

Eric: … that Jo was in it for the long game. Her meticulous planning meant that more clues to the future of HP books could be hidden anywhere and everywhere (and were). With the release of Goblet of Fire, which opened up the world and its potential (and gave us Voldemort in full flesh), and the three-year hiatus to follow, as well as the subsequent rise of Internet discussion boards and fansites, fan theories were born!

[Haley laughs]

[Elayna makes trumpet sound]

Eric: We also talked about AOL a little bit, and we talked about early websites, and we’ll be talking a lot more about early websites when we go through…

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Elayna: Oh, the websites.

Eric: … some of these theories and where the theories and fan forums and all sorts of stuff… But this really was a confluence of many things: [not only] Harry Potter in general as a phenomenon but also fan theories. Because as a result of the Internet and as a result of these websites, you could really get a collective group mind hunting down evidence, posting theories that not only would get read and reviewed and revised in a relatively short amount of time, but it was [also] with a global community, so Harry Potter‘s entire audience. And the fact that these books, between [Books] 4 and 5, was a three-year hiatus, and then between [Books] 5 and 6 was a two-year [hiatus] and then another two years, that was a lot of time for these really impassioned fans to be discussing this. And it was all because the Internet just made it instant, and I think it owes a lot to the Internet – Harry Potter does – as a result for how large the phenomenon became. But also for us fans who were wrapped up in it, it was just the best place to be for this reason. And to celebrate Harry Potter, it happened every day. I mean, there was not a day that went by [where] I didn’t think about Harry Potter, and that’s because you could have these types of discussions.

Elayna: Yeah, I think that three-year gap is something that really fueled a lot of the energy. People always joke about how crazy the Sherlock fandom is.

[Everyone laughs]

Elayna: Well, yeah, because they have two years to wait between every single [season]. They lose it! But it’s really funny. I feel like a lot of the explosion of Harry Potter really happened in that time period, because I know that was when I really got into it. I started reading them when only Prisoner of Azkaban was out. And I remember Book 4 came out while I was still finishing [Book] 3, and that was at the time when I remember starting to hear about Harry Potter everywhere. And it was then in that three-year wait that we really just went in and came up with all these theories. I have such a nostalgic feel for that period in my life.

David: Was the first one that was released at the same time in the UK and the States?

Haley: Simultaneously.

David: Yeah. That seemed to be where things really kicked off because that’s the first time I can remember seeing launch events on the news. And isn’t that when Jo went to the States and did the train tour around the country, signing books as well?

Eric: It was. It was, yeah.

Haley: Oh, actually, I didn’t even know that.

David: It just seemed to suddenly… Yeah, she didn’t go to the States again for years, I don’t think. I can remember it suddenly being this huge, big deal. It was just strange to go from this little thing I was reading by myself to suddenly, “Oh, wow. This is actually quite a lot bigger.” [laughs]

Elenya: Well, yeah, because I remember hearing about the movie, in 1999 when [Warner Bros.] announced [they] were going to make the movie. And so 2000 was when all the speculation began. So not only did you have Goblet of Fire coming out, but you [also] had the pre-production and the announcements of the casting and everything. And I still vividly, to this day… I will never forget the day that my sister was like, “Oh my God, they cast Harry, Ron, and Hermione.” And we sat there on our freaking dial-up, waiting for the picture to load…

[Everyone laughs]

Elayna: … and I was shaking. And then I saw them and started crying, and I was like, “It’s them.” And it was just so great.

Haley: It was the most…

Elayna: I’m not crying; you’re crying. Anyway, move on.

[David and Haley laugh]

Haley: Again, so jealous. Yeah, I saw the first movie in theaters also. I was four.

[Elayna laughs]

Haley: I had fun.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Oh, God!

David: Please don’t.

Eric: I’m cringing. I’m on the floor now.

[David and Elayna laugh]

Haley: I remember the Quidditch. I thought it was cool.

Eric: Hey, Quidditch is great.

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: That movie is great. Well, that movie got me into… Even though I was alive when the books came out and about five years old…

[Everyone laughs]

Haley: Hey, I was alive, Eric. I was just one when it came out. I was alive!

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: Okay, okay. Even though… Okay, all right.

Elayna: She wasn’t a thinking human being yet. [laughs]

Eric: The film got me.

David: Is it too late for me to go?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah, just head out, David. It’s cool. I got you, bro.

[David laughs]

Eric: Yeah, I was 13 when the first movie came out, but that was what got me into the series. I had tried reading the books before, but I started with Book 4, Chapter 1, and I got confused about who Wormtail was and why he wasn’t using his real name.

[David laughs]

Eric: So I got confused and I left. But actually, this is relevant to the next point for discussion on old theories because Harry Potter… After I saw the movie, I picked up the second book because I wanted to pick up from where this… I’d already seen the first story, so I was like, “Okay, got to start with [Book] 2.” But Harry Potter and the world that you fall in love with really made reading palatable to me. So in addition to the Harry Potter books, which really got me into reading, there was one book [that] I would describe as being formative for me as well, which was actually given to me when I started working on MuggleNet – Emerson, the webmaster who founded MuggleNet, sent me a copy of this book – and it really taught me to think critically [and] read critically about Harry Potter. And this book is very old – it came out in about 2002, I want to say – and it’s called Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter. It’s by authors Galadriel Waters and Astre Mithrandir, who are self-published under the name Wizarding World Press. They were actually the first people to call Harry Potter’s world “the wizarding world.”

Elayna: Really?

Haley: Get that copyright. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

[David laughs]

Elayna: Woah! I didn’t know that!

Eric: They are. And now, only recently, it’s become the brand thing where J.K. Rowling herself… Fantastic Beasts, on the spine of the [book], says, “This is part of [J.K. Rowling’s] seal of approval Wizarding World.” But they were the first ones to do it, and they were doing it as early as 2002. I guess it’s kind of a weird noun[/verb] thing – wizard-ing world. Why would you do that?

Elayna: Yeah. Google constantly tries to tell me it’s not a real word, and I’m just like…

[Everyone laughs]

Elayna: “Stop being a No-Maj/Muggle/whatever, Google.”

[David laughs]

Eric: The deal was, these authors [from] Wizarding World Press wrote this book called Ultimate Unofficial Guide. It was Years 1 through 4 and they went chapter by chapter – like Alohomora! did, but first – through all of the books that were available, and they pulled out from the text little curiosities and little quirks. And essentially, through doing so, they also built a gradual step-by-step of how to start thinking critically. If you’ve never done any kind of deep, intense reading, thought about the words you were using, or dealt with a series that was [as] intensely plotted as Harry Potter clearly was, then this was a book that really could spark your imagination and excite you like no other way. I remember getting this book and just being floored because, ultimately, your hand is being held through what is essentially a gentile unraveling of some of the techniques J.K. Rowling uses to foreshadow. And we’re not even talking about the crazy theories now at this point; we’re just talking about noticing things like Sirius Black being mentioned in Book 1 when he’s a huge part [of] Book 3, or Polyjuice [Potion], mentioned in Book 2, becoming the central aspect of the bad guy in Book 4 – huge things like that, that J.K. Rowling is just putting in there. I don’t even think we could be on this podcast and argue against J.K. Rowling hiding clues in Harry Potter. There’s just too much intertextual evidence to show that she did do that for the mysteries that did get resolved.

Elayna: Yeah, Harry Potter is the reason I’m a writer. The phrase you said is a phrase I’ve used before. It sparked my imagination and made me go “Oh my goodness. This is what you can do with words?” [laughs]

Eric: Who knew?

[David and Haley laugh]

Elayna: “You can make people feel stuff like this and think critically about the world?” I mean, this is one of those things where this isn’t a fan theory; this is a confirmed thing: She used Remus Lupin as a character to symbolize the stigma against people with HIV and AIDS. And on the surface level, as a kid, you’re absorbing this as “Oh, I shouldn’t be mean to people who are different. I should realize that everyone is different and that they should all be loved, regardless of who they are.”

Eric: And it’s not over your head. [You’re] not beaten over the head with it.

Elayna: No. But at the same time, it’s a beautiful, subtle commentary that feeds into making you a person with a more open heart. And she just does it with words and it blows my mind.

Eric: Then again, Remus Lupin is a great example, because if you know Latin, though, and if you know the Roman story of Remus and Romulus, they were raised by wolves. [laughs] And Lupin means “moon, to be of the moon, lupine.” He’s of the moon.

Elayna: He’s moon-moon.

Haley: Moon-moon. He’s moon-moon.

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: He’s moon-moon. But that’s just knowing his name – “Hi, I’m Remus Lupin” – or Hermione reads it off his trunk: “Remus J. Lupin.”

Haley: [laughs] You’re a werewolf.

David: Yeah, I felt pretty stupid for not realizing he was a werewolf. [laughs] It was a long time before [unintelligible].

Eric: That’s exactly it. So it’s 100%. But I mean, I didn’t know Latin when I was 15 and reading this book, and so having an adult to be able to say, “If you want to look at name origins, Remus Lupin, who[m] we later find out actually is a werewolf, actually, that’s rooted in the root word of his name.” And things like that I wouldn’t have even thought could be possible to do with writing, like you were saying Elayna. And that was why this book was just so… I’ll sing its praises until the end of time.

Haley: Same.

Eric: Because [it] really, really just absolutely was so great, and I’ll be talking more about it as the discussion goes on, but of course, we have so many fan theories that came from other areas to say. But this book is still available, FYI, on Amazon.com. There’s one copy that’s new at the time of recording this…

[David laughs]

Eric: … and the rest are marketplace buys. It’s also available on Kindle, but if you want to check this out, I cannot recommend this book high enough because again, it’s top-down, it doesn’t beat you over the head with anything. It just says, “Look, this is one way to interpret this stuff,” and it will blow your mind. It will absolutely blow your mind. So what they did was, these authors, while reading through the first four books, which were the only ones that were out at the time, came up with a set of rules. And these rules were just there so that as they were going through the discussion, they could very easily reference a concept, right? And so they’re more like concepts that just time and time again reinforce techniques that J.K. Rowling is using to hide the mystery, to subvert the ordinary piece of thought. For instance, this is Rule 2, so it’s not the first one, but I’ll start with it because…

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: … you know how many times in Harry Potter somebody’s speaking a line of dialogue and it gets caught up in what somebody else says or there’s a hyphen and an end quotation [mark] because somebody else interrupts? You know how often it is that that actually is really crucial information they were about to reveal…

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Eric: … when they were talking? If you just pick up a Harry [Potter]… It’s done in the later books too. It happens all the time.

Elayna: Well, good thing I have three of them sitting on my desk right now.

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: There you go. I mean, it just happens all of the time. Tonks, Lupin, whenever they’re talking about Voldemort, what he’s really up to in the later books, it’s all about that. You don’t know what the weapon is that they talk about in Order of the Phoenix because there’s all this interrupting going on.

[David laughs]

Eric: But so it was prominent enough that it became one of the rules of the first four books for the Ultimate Unofficial Guide. Here are the actual other rules:

“If she [meaning Jo] reinforces it, she means it.”

So there'[re] plenty of things that are repeated time and time again in Harry Potter, and we’re meant to pick up on it. We’re meant to remember it. And so having that idea going on as you’re reading through the book really helps, I think, to pay attention, to just be of an upper level when you’re reading, to just read with a little bit more brain work going on.

David: It got to the point there where I wondered if she was starting to almost anticipate people thinking along those lines.

[Eric laughs]

David: By the later books, one of the best examples is the locket.

Haley: RAB?

David: Yeah. Well, no, the locket they find when they are cleaning Grimmauld Place. Because it’s just one line: “There was a locket no one could open.” And people still figured it out. I can remember reading theories…

Elayna: Genius.

David: … the real locket. Bet that’s this thing from Order of the Phoenix. And they were right. [laughs] And so yeah, it didn’t even need being [unintelligible].

Elayna: They came up with who RAB was so fast.

[David and Haley laugh]

Elayna: I remember putting the book down and being like, “Oh my God, who is RAB? Oh my gosh!” And I flew to my computer and was just like, “MuggleNet!” keysmashing it in…

[Eric laughs]

Elayna: … and I swear, it was within a day or two, somebody was like, “Oh my God. It’s Regulus.”

Eric: Regulus Black.

Elayna: And I was like, “Aww, darn. I kind of wanted to ponder on it a little more…”

[David and Eric laugh]

Elayna: “… but that’s a really good theory.”

[David, Eric, and Haley laugh]

Eric: Well, we still don’t know until the book actually comes out, right?

Elayna: Well, but I mean, people were presenting such compelling arguments. And I mean, it’s funny because I knew that this book existed, but I somehow never managed to get my hands on a copy. But that was my default thing when I was looking for discussions, was I would go to MuggleNet. I constantly tell people that MuggleNet was doing social media before social media existed.

[Eric laughs]

Elayna: It was just a very nerdy social media for a specific subset of people, but we were Facebooking before Facebook.

Eric: Yeah, no, MuggleNet had a partnership with these authors for a long period of time. In fact, they’re responsible for the fact that we had book release parties in Chicago for Books 5 and 6. The Oak Park event that I first went to, where all of the booksellers and restaurants turned themselves into Diagon Alley for the first time for Book 5, happened in 2003, and that was a joint Wizarding World Press/MuggleNet event. And it was phenomenal, and we would have forums. They were WWP forums that we hosted on MuggleNet that these authors would interact. And just like they did with me, just like they did with the world in general, they would talk about it. No answer was definitive. It was just “Let’s look at what we think we can find for evidence, and let’s support it.” And it was absolutely perfect as somebody who just wants to be a fan of Harry Potter and just love Harry Potter, to think about it for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours on end. It was truly a celebration of the work. And then also, WWP organized the Spellbound event, which was in a mall for Book 6 in 2005.

Elayna: I remember hearing about that too.

Eric: Harry Potter fans, MuggleNet fans in general, really owe these guys a debt. And I’m just going to say that because I really feel it. Wizarding World Press, and any of these authors out there with companion books that are making you think deeper and making you question, are crème de la crème. Because they were older than us and they knew more than we did, and having that perspective really enriched our experience, really enriched my experience, being able to think about things in this way. So getting through the rules here again, these are just the ones they developed, but [Rules] 3 and 4… We have two left. There'[re] four rules:

“1. If she reinforces it, she means it.

2. If she suddenly interrupts something, she’s hiding a key clue.

3. There’s no such thing as a coincidence.”

Elayna: None at all.

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: What a great rule, right? What a great… “Hmmm. Sirius Black was in Godric’s Hollow the night James and Lily died. Hmm.” No coincidence.

Elayna: Well, unless you’re Mark Evans.

[David, Eric, and Haley laugh]

Elayna: Sorry.

Eric: Again, eagle-eye readers, right?

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: The first chapter of Book 5, [we]’re going, “Ooh, Mark Evans.” We’ll talk about him in a moment. He’s got a special place on the old theories…

Elayna: Yeah. See, I was trying to be like J.K. Rowling and give foreshadowing, so…

Eric: Yeah, what’s the bane of J.K. Rowling’s existence?

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Eric: The very fact that we have him on here is probably going to mean she never listens to this episode.

[David, Elayna, and Haley laugh]

Eric: But so no such thing…

Elayna: I love that that statement implies that she listens to all of the other ones. It makes me very happy.

Eric: I’m sure. And then Rule 4 – this is the perhaps the most important one – “Don’t take a character’s word for it.”

[Haley laughs]

Eric: And so again, these were just little things throughout the text you could go back to and be like, “Well, if we follow this chain of advice, what can we glean from it?” And it’s really cool. So I guess the other thing to do, to talk about wrapping up, the just mentioning of this great, fantastic book, is that as they went on in their reading, two corollaries were added to Rule 4. For your money, these rules can still be followed today with a surprising level of accuracy.

Haley: I didn’t know that this is where that came from, because I’ve heard of this before. I’ve heard of these rules. I wrote [them] later in the Doc, actually.

Eric: Yeah. And if you read this book, the first two books that they go through, it’s not there, and then when they reach Book 3, they’re like, “Wait a minute, there’s something going on. We’re going to add this.” So the corollaries to “don’t take a character’s word for it” are (a) “Hermione is usually right (except when she gets emotional)” and (b) “Ron is usually wrong (except when he makes a joke about it).” So yeah, you’ve heard about this, and it’s been borrowed and plenty of other people have said it. There'[re] a lot of Ron’s jokes that come alarmingly true, whether he…

Elayna: Which relates to one of the theories I’m bringing up later.

Eric: Yeah, the crystal ball one, right? Where he’s…

Elayna: Yeah, where Ron is a Seer. That’s my favorite fan theory ever.

Eric: I mean, fooling around in Divination is just one of the examples where Ron jokes and stuff comes really, accurately true.

Elayna: “You’re gonna suffer, but you’re gonna be happy about it.”

[David laughs]

Eric: “You’re gonna be happy about it.”

[Haley laughs]

Elayna: Classic.

Eric: Yeah, so at the end of this book – and this is why this is being brought up [in] the old theories discussion – this exhaustive 250-[page] lovingly written, detailed book, they have a [section] called “The Restricted [Section],” and for the first time… I mentioned as they’re going throughout, they’re not beating anybody over [the] head with any personal theories. But the masters themselves, then, in “The Restricted [Section]” are like, “Okay, we’ve done all this work, we’ve gone through all [these] books, we’ve said what we think the rules are of this universe. Here’s what we think could be going on.” And they proceed to lay out a couple [of] theories of their own. And it’s only at the end of the book – it’s 20 pages out of 300 – but some of these theories I think today, even though some have been proven wrong, later transpired not to be true, are perfectly valid in the way that they analyze and use the text to justify a theory. And it really is again getting back to the basis of how you form any literary argument or to be critical[ly] thinking, because the evidence is there. It doesn’t end up transpiring to be the way that J.K. Rowling goes. It doesn’t mean that she ever even thought that this was the way that it was going to go, but the possibility is there, and I think it’s well researched enough that it counts as some of the most interesting old theories that have ever existed come from this book. And I love them, and reading your guys’ comments in the Doc before, we all love them, and it’s a good source to start, at the very least, for some of what these old theories were. Again, this book was published before Book 5 came out. So it looks at the first four books, “Now that the series is halfway done, what do we think is going to happen?”

Elayna: Tell us how you really feel, Eric.

[Eric and Elayna laugh]

Elayna: I love how excited you are about this book. It’s great.

David: But just looking at the rules, going through and saying how if you were a kid when the books were first coming out, and you might have become a fan [of] this book and suddenly been exposed to this wider world of literary criticism or analysis, even those rules, it’s presented quite simply. But that’s how you analyze any text, pretty much. And there'[re] ideas of foreshadowing, unreliable narrator, Chekhov’s Gun… It’s all good stuff to have in mind, and if you were quite young and didn’t really know about a lot of this stuff in literature, then that’s a really good place to start with it. [laughs]

Haley: Yeah. Like Elayna said before, I feel like Harry Potter definitely led a lot of people to careers in English or just wanting to pursue it. I’m an English minor because I love this kind of stuff, and Harry Potter is the reason I became obsessed with it.

Elayna: It did that for a lot of people. I mean, I remember reading articles, even when Books 4 and 5 and 6 were coming out, where people were… It was at a time when everybody was saying that kids were just rotting their brains, and they’re like, “Oh, they’re just watching TV, and now there’s an Internet…”

Haley: Oh my gosh.

Eric: The exact antithesis to this.

David: Suddenly there'[re] nine-year-olds with 800-page books.

[Eric laughs]

Elayna: Yeah, and that was a thing. It was right at the time when they thought that kids were never going to read books again and that they’re going to be like, “What’s paper?” And here we are, running around with all these huge books, and… and what they misunderestimate about the Internet… They’re like, “Oh, they’re just on the Internet.” And we’re like, “Yes, researching the complex theories about a book that we read.”

[David, Elayna, and Haley laugh]

Elayna: So it was just such a crazy time.

Eric: Yeah. So with all of that prelude and precursor, it’s time we start talking about the theories themselves. Thank you all for humoring me. It’s definitely…

[David laughs]

Elayna: No, your enthusiasm is so spectacular. Fantastic, even.

Eric: Well, we need to talk about Neville.

[Elayna laughs]

Haley: Oh, goodness.

Eric: We need to talk about Neville because… And the first ones aren’t like, “Neville was a goat in disguise!” Crazy-level…

Haley: What?

David: That was always my favorite theory.

[Eric laughs]

Haley: How did I miss that one?

Eric: There might be a fanfic where that happens, but I don’t think it actually…

Haley: Neville is a goat?

David: There will be within a week of this episode coming out.

Haley: Oh, goodness.

Eric: Yeah, Rule 13 or whichever…

David: No, don’t. Please don’t.

[Everyone laughs]

Haley: There’s another corollary. It’s [Rule] 4, Point C. Neville is a goat.

David: This is going in bad directions.

Eric: Yeah, yeah. You mentioned this, David. This is what happens during the broad recordings of when you’re a guest. Okay, so the one thing about Neville that I found in the restricted [section] of this book was, they believed that Neville’s memory issues were a result of a Memory [Charm] gone wrong from the night that his parents were tortured.

[Haley whines]

Elayna: Don’t you dare.

[David laughs]

Eric: And Neville, as the books go on, seems to outgrow this memory issue, right? He comes into his own. It’s a very good character arc for him, and I guess it turns out that maybe that remains either unconfirmed or not toward the end, that he had ever been directly hit by his parents’ attackers and spells?

David: It’s never mentioned, but looking back with hindsight on the whole series, I think it almost cheapens his character arc if that is the case. Because having him as just being perfectly capable but unconfident and browbeaten to a certain extent by his gran, and then overcoming that and growing when he has to, is a far more powerful arc than just “Oh, he was just hit by a Memory [Charm].”

Elayna: Neville has one of my favorite character arcs of anybody in the series because he just… Yeah. He’s so great.

Eric: Okay, but as of Book 5 readings, something very interesting… This is why I brought up Neville.

Elayna: I remember this one.

Eric: The theory that Wizarding World Press had as of [its] fifth book was that Neville’s parents are being held against their will at St. Mungo’s and are communicating to Neville that… Frank and Alice, when we meet them in Book 5, appear to be catatonic or not really able to communicate, but Neville’s mom is giving him these gum wrappers, is passing him these gum wrappers. And Wizarding World Press suggested that perhaps there were messages in these, perhaps that would be a covert way of Neville’s mom actually communicating with him. And this stems from a reading of the text that is actually very extensive – I didn’t write it in the Doc, but in general, the distrust of St. Mungo’s. So St. Mungo’s, in general, we learned before Book 5. Lucius Malfoy is one of the lead contributors, which should make you suspicious. If Lucius Malfoy, former Death Eater, is giving money to Mungo’s, why? Right? Would it be the situation of keeping somebody like Frank and Alice Longbottom quiet? And just the idea that there is something going on with these gum wrappers, it might be partial wish fulfillment. We want to believe Alice is still in there, that Alice is still able to fight a war that may be coming [on] the horizon very soon, but I think it’s one of those innocent theories – which is why I’m starting with it – that doesn’t end up coming true, but it doesn’t hurt or bother me that it existed at one point.

Elayna: Yeah. Actually, it doesn’t bother me. It does make me feel sad because – I think like you said with the wish fulfillment – that was the thing that always made me the [saddest], was that people always talk about the similarities between Harry and […] Neville. And this is this one thing that I feel doesn’t get talked about enough is that, in a way, they are both orphans. And it’s almost – when you think about it – more painful for Neville to have his parents alive and there and he could hug them and be with them, but they aren’t there. And it’s heartbreaking.

Eric: Yeah. Frank and Alice, having been such competent Aurors as well, members of the Order of the Phoenix, you really want them to come back too. But it might have cheapened Neville’s story, as David was saying too. If he had not come into his own, and his parents come back and are cured somehow or anything like that, it might have, in fact, diminished Neville’s strength in the final battle.

Elayna: Yeah. I think it’s just proof that the fact that he does become someone who is super capable and does his parents proud, but he does it on his own, is really beautiful.

Haley: Yeah, I always love the thing, too, where Neville is using his father’s wand, and then when he buys his own wand, then he becomes his own character too. He… not leaves that part of him behind but he…

David: … steps out of the shadow of his father.

Elayna: I never thought of it like that.

Haley: Oh, have you never…?

[Eric laughs]

Haley: There’s another theory for you. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. So here, real quick on the Peter Pettigrew front, it is predicted in the first Ultimate Unofficial Guide that Wormtail may not have full control of his new hand.

Eric: His shiny new Voldemort hand.

David: See, I’d never even heard of this to the extent where, when I actually read his death in Deathly Hallows, it took me a while to figure out what had actually happened. Because it’s all based on just one line in Goblet of Fire where Voldemort says something like, “May your loyalty never waver again.”

Eric: Yeah. And well, then there’s the other line, though, that says something about life debts. It might be, actually, in Prisoner of Azkaban where Harry says that you showed Pettigrew a mercy, and that kind of magic leaves a mark or something like that where it may come back around. There’s something like that where it may come back around, and Harry doesn’t really know why, and we don’t really know why. And Pettigrew’s death is a part of Deathly Hallows that I think could’ve maybe have been made a little clearer in the text.

Haley: It definitely gets overshadowed by Dobby right after.

Eric: Yeah, yeah. So that’s probably a plotting issue, but Harry just…

Elayna: And in the movie forget it happening at all.

[Elayna and Eric laugh]

Eric: Forget it happened at all.

Haley: [laughs] Is he dead? I don’t know!

David: [laughs] And Pettigrew is still running around in the film universe.

Elayna: Ugh.

Eric: Still alive.

[David laughs]

Elayna: I love the films. I promise I do. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. Harry is just like, “Hey, you! You owe me a life debt!” And Pettigrew is like, “Huh?” And then his hand kills him.

David: Again, I think in the book there’s just a little line of something like, “Wormtail hesitates for a second.” And that’s the only connection you get to the life debt and Voldemort’s loyalty.

Elayna: That chapter is “Malfor Manor,” yeah?

David: Yes, or around there, anyway.

Eric: But yeah, eagle-eye readers, you catch these lines, and you can read them and put them together. And I think the ability [of] people to put this together [that] this is what happened, had certainly been heightened as a result of the Internet discussions surrounding it. But it is a confusing moment, especially at first. Right now, you’ll read it and be like, “Oh, that makes sense,” but at the time, it’s not clear.

David: But then again, I suppose there could have been intention behind it. Because I remember reading somewhere where Jo said her editor wanted to make a bigger deal of Harry disarming Draco. And she was…

Haley: I’d like was a bigger deal of that. [laughs]

Elayna: Uhh, yeah. Little bit.

Eric: She was like, “Absolutely not.”

David: Yeah, exactly. She was adamant, like, “No. I want all these grand plans of the two most powerful wizards of the century [to] just come undone during a fistfight between two teenage boys.” Because it’s that idea of unpredictability and free will and you can’t control everything. And yeah, you have to go back and maybe read it a second time to fully understand what just happened.

[David and Eric laugh]

Elayna: I found the line, if we want to hear the Pettigrew line.

Eric: Oh, go on.

Elayna: Because I did a video the other day about Harry Potter, so I have half [of] the books sitting on my desk still. Where did it just go? I just had it, I swear. Oh no. Okay, yeah.

“The silver tool that Voldemort had given his most cowardly servant had turned upon its disarmed and useless owner; Pettigrew was reaping his reward for his…”

Eric: [laughs] “Disarmed.”

[David and Elayna laugh]

Elayna: I just got that.

“Pettigrew was reaping his reward for his hesitation, his moment of pity; he was being strangled before their eyes.”

That’s pretty much it. Pettigrew drops to his knees, like, a paragraph later, and that’s it.

Eric: When he first gets the hand, doesn’t it crush some rocks or something into dust immediately?

Haley: I think so.

Eric: It could have broken his neck, right? He doesn’t even need to be strangled by it. It could have just killed him. Yeah.

Elayna: It could have just punched him in the face.

[Everyone laughs]

Elayna: There’s a great visual for the day.

Haley: Like Hermione does to Draco.

Elayna: Yeah. “Stop hitting yourself, Peter.”

Eric: Yeah, yeah. Okay, so I have some fun ones. These are also from the Restricted Section of UUG, but here’s one that I know some of our hosts wanted to talk about: Is Harry a direct descendant of Godric Gryffindor/Salazar Slytherin? David, you were interested in this one.

David: Yeah. Because I was absolutely, 100% certain. I think this is a rare instance of something I came to by myself even before I read about it online. And then, coming across it online, more stuff started to slosh into place. So yeah, there just seems to be so much evidence for it, and I think even after it had been debunked, there was still stuff that made me think, “Well, maybe it could be true, and it’s just never even mentioned.” Because the big thing that I found is, I really liked the idea that, by the battle at the end, there'[re] descendants of all four founders at Hogwarts at the same time. So we know there’s Voldemort. I did hear a theory at one point that Zacharias Smith was in some way related to Hepzibah. And I know Smith is a very common name, but…

Elayna: It sounds familiar. I feel like I’ve heard of that too.

David: Yeah, I think the idea was because… I don’t know this for certain, so I might be wrong. I think the idea was, Zacharias and Hepzibah are both biblical names, with the idea being the family… Like the Blacks name after stars, the Smiths would name after biblical characters. And then tied into the idea that some people…

Elayna: Yeah, I mean, Jo definitely has a lot of Christian symbology laced in and throughout it.

David: Exactly. But then tied in as well to the theory that Luna is somehow related to Ravenclaw. I know. I like the symmetry of just – even if some of them don’t realize it – in some way or other, descendants of all four founders are there at the same time.

Eric: Yeah. And it’s quite a big deal to the plot that Voldemort is a descendant of Slytherin. And Gryffindor and Slytherin butted heads, so the idea that Harry would be a descendant of Gryffindor made a lot of sense. I mean, Godric’s Hollow was teased, if not earlier than Book 3, then in Book 3, and we only knew it by name: Godric, Godric Gryffindor, Godric’s Hollow. You could make that connection. I mean, even mostly through Book 7, I still don’t think it’s introduced or described in the full detail that I want it to be. Just as a part-Muggle, part-wizarding village [that] has something to do with Godric Gryffindor, right?

Elayna: Well, yeah. Am I wrong? I thought that the Peverells were descendants of Gryffindor, which would make Harry that.

Haley: Are they?

David: No.

Elayna: They’re not? Okay.

Haley: They’re before him, aren’t they?

David: The Peverells were older.

Haley: They were older. Yeah.

David: The idea is that Harry is a descendant of… I can never remember the first names, but Harry is descendent [of] one brother…

Elayna: It’s Ignotus and several others.

David: Yeah. And then Voldemort is a descendant of the other branch. Which means that somewhere…

Haley: That branch has Slytherin. Yeah.

David: Yeah. That branch has Slytherin in it. So of course, the descendants idea did come into it, just not in the way…

Haley: Yeah. So Harry and Salazar Slytherin are, like, five cousins removed or something.

[David, Eric, and Haley laugh]

Eric: Okay, so here’s some evidence that gets pointed out for Harry being a Gryffindor descendant, okay? We’re going to go through this. He is a Leo. That is his astrological sign, born at the end of July.

Elayna: I actually never realized that particular one. Some of the other ones on here I knew, but I didn’t know that one, and I was like, “Oh!”

Eric: Makes him the lion.

Elayna: Oh snap!

Eric: Here’s something interesting: In Ollivanders in Book 1 when he gets his wand, it sends out a shower of red and gold sparks. Now, the reason that I find this interesting is because we don’t have the experience of another student getting their wand, so we don’t know if it’s always red and gold sparks for everybody.

Haley: He wasn’t even Sorted yet, too, so it even makes… It’s like, “Oh, he’s a Gryffindor, so that’s why it did that,” [but] he wasn’t even Sorted into a House yet.

Eric: He wasn’t Sorted when that happens. So it’s like, “Hey! Hey.” Okay.

Elayna: The magic knows.

David: [laughs] I think that was the big one that really made me think, “Yeah, there’s something to this.”

Eric: It happens again. Yeah.

David: Yeah. That’s too much of a coincidence.

Eric: Red sparks and Harry happen all the time in the books. And so here’s another one: His parents lived in Godric’s Hollow. Hey-oh!

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: It’s probably an exclusive apartment complex, Godric’s Hollow.

[Elayna laughs]

Haley: Not to discredit the theory, but didn’t they move into there? Are the Potters from Godric’s Hollow? I forget.

Eric: They’re not from there because Lily lived near Snape. I don’t know where James was born. It’s Book 7 stuff anyway, so this mystery was still…

Haley: Doesn’t matter.

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: Well, I want to discredit all of Book 7, but…

[David, Elayna, Haley laugh]

Eric: It’s mostly because these theories didn’t happen.

David: Wow. [laughs]

Eric: No, you’ve heard Alohomora! before. You know how I feel about Book 7. And it’s not all because these theories didn’t come true, but what I’m saying is that the majority of these theories that we’re going to be discussing weren’t ruled out until the very end. And I think that’s the sign of a really well-guessed theory, that until the final book, where it’s like, “Okay, it either will happen or it won’t, Harry will die or Harry will survive, the trio will all survive or die,” it doesn’t happen until the last book, then that’s a darn good ride, a darn good roller coaster ride of theorizing, in my opinion. Okay, everybody comments about his bravery, [laughs] is one I love. “Harry, you’re so brave. Harry, you’re so brave” a hundred times means he’s a Gryffindor.

[David laughs]

Haley: Yeah, solid theory.

Elayna: The way you said that, I just pictured those three girls who bat their eyes at Gaston in Beauty and the Beast.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric and Haley: “You’re so brave!”

Haley: “Oh, Harry!” Gaston is for sure Gryffindor.

Eric: But it’s true. Lots of people, especially in the early Harry Potter books, talk about how brave he is.

Elayna: Not as much as they talk about his freaking eyes, which we’ll get to in a second.

Eric: Well, that’s another theory. We’re going to talk about that next. And in Book 2, Dumbledore said “only a true Gryffindor” could have conjured Godric’s own sword. And I’m going to call BS because that whole “only a true Gryffindor” thing, I don’t think that was ever satisfactorily described by J.K. Rowling. Because Neville pulls it out of the hat – we get it, both Neville and Harry are good Gryffindors – but I think there’s still something more to it than that. Why would Dumbledore use the phrase “only a true Gryffindor”? Are there some people who are placed in Gryffindor [who] aren’t true Gryffindors? What does that mean?

Haley: I think so. I mean, I feel like maybe that could even tie through his “we Sort too soon” thing, and I’ve seen this as a theory, because they’re like, “Why did Snape touch it?” And then he’s like, “I think Snape could have been a Gryffindor if he [were] Sorted later.” So it could have something to do with that whole thing.

Elayna: There’s a sliding scale of what kind of House you are. So you’re either a Harry Potter Gryffindor or you’re a Peter Pettigrew Gryffindor. [laughs]

Eric: You’re a [Slytherdor] or a [Gryfferin].

[David and Elayna laugh]

Eric: To their credit, they did compile a brief bit of evidence that Harry could be Slytherin’s descendant, which is unexpected. This ends up funneling into the fact that he’s actually just a Horcrux, so the fact that he can speak Parseltongue is big and the fact that the Sorting Hat wanted to put Harry in Slytherin at first. These are really important things to remember, though, as you’re reading the books, that, yes, that did happen, and I know it’s brought attention to again in Chamber of Secrets when Harry feels like maybe he should be a Slytherin or maybe he is secretly the Heir of Slytherin. It’s kind of a big deal to keep remembering that it’s all possible. Until it’s not.

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: But this is one of my favorites: Snape is a vampire theory.

Haley: I love it!

[David, Elayna, and Haley laugh]

Elayna: This was one of the ones I had forgotten, and as soon as I saw it, I just gasped really loud.

Eric: I think, off the top of our heads, we could come up with what some of these bullet points are because there are some very memorable moments where Snape is compared to either a vampire or a bat. Even as late as Book 7, when McGonagall attacks him, there is a bat-shaped hole in the wall. And you’re like…

Eric and Haley: “He’s a bat!”

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Eric: He’s an Animagus!

Elayna: He’s definitely a bat.

Haley: But that was a con. His Patronus is a bat. I know it.

Eric: This turned out to be one of the greatest red herrings, I think, of the series, of misdirection. Jo will use imagery to tease us, but it does not end up… I mean, by the end of it, it just seems like he was a normal human. Maybe his Animagus form was a bat, if he had one – a secret Animagus form – which would bring him even closer to the Marauders, so I like that. That hypocrisy there. I really like that.

Elayna: He wanted to be a Marauder, but they weren’t cool and nice to him.

Haley: [laughs] As he tries to fly after them, flies over them when they went to the woods.

Eric: Oh, God. Overgrown bat.

[Haley laughs]

Eric: So here are the parts of evidence…

Elayna: Oh, oh, this is terrible. I’m such a terrible person. For a second I thought, “Well, he would fit in nicely because they still died.” [laughs] I’m a horrible person. I don’t know why my brain did that.

[David laughs]

Elayna: Sorry, that was a very Slytherin moment from a very Hufflepuff person.

Eric: Here’s the evidence Snape is a vampire. We’re going to read through this. He lives in a dungeon.

Elayna: [laughs] Confirmed.

Eric: Presumably that means [he’s] shielded by sunlight. Right, confirmed, thank you Elayna.

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: He lives in a dungeon, he is always up at night. That one I haven’t thought about for a while, but anytime Harry is wandering the corridor when he shouldn’t be, Snape is totally awake and around.

Elayna: Well, does that mean Harry is also a bat because he’s up at night?

[Elayna, Eric, Haley laugh]

Haley: Everyone’s a vampire!

Eric: Yeah, Harry is a vampire. Ron’s little joke. Remember Rule 4b: “Ron is [usually wrong (except when he makes a joke about it)].” Ron makes a joke about Snape turning himself into a bat or something at some point.

Elayna: That’s my boy. [laughs]

Eric: Snape is described as having sallow skin, which is very vampire imagery. Quirrell, who mentioned at the Leaky Cauldron that he was going to buy a book on vampires, described Snape – this is in the Mirror of Erised scene – “[swoop]ing around like an overgrown bat.” So that’s on the nose, what he says to Harry when Harry is like, “It was you, not Snape.” He mentions that Snape was flitting around like a bat. And here’s a good one: I like the idea of Lupin getting revenge, but right after Snape assigned the essay on werewolves, which later exposed Lupin, Lupin when he comes back from the full moon assigns the students who had just had Snape as a substitute an essay on vampires.

Haley: That’s so great.

Elayna: It’s beautiful.

David: It does seem a bit difficult to be a Defense [Against the Dark Arts] teacher who’s secretly a vampire because as soon as the kids get to third or fourth year and start to get to that part in the book, they all surely just twick?

[Eric laughs]

Haley: I wonder, though, because there are vampires in Harry Potter. There’s that guy in Half-Blood Prince at Slughorn’s party. He’s underwhelming. He’s just like, “Yeah, I’m a vampire, whatever.” I wonder if there’s the same…

Eric: Sanguini?

Haley: Yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Which, again, “sanguine”: of the blood. Very good Latin work on Jo’s part.

Haley: I’m sure [he] and Snape are related.

[David, Elayna, and Eric laugh]

Eric: And then there is actually a question here, because there is Wolfsbane Potion for werewolves, so could there be one for vampires that allows Snape to hide his more unpleasant features? It’s a possibility. [With] Snape, being the Potions Master, [you] wouldn’t want to rule anything out, right?

Haley: I wonder how vampires would even work in her world, though. Do they have to drink blood? Can they just drink animals’ [blood]? Are they not stigmatized as much as werewolves are? Lots of questions.

David: That’s one thing that always did annoy me a bit. Because you mention that they exist in the world, and then we hardly… We get Sanguini for all of a chapter.

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Eric: And blood[-flavored lolli]pops at Honeydukes.

David: Yeah. But we get nothing else about…

Elayna: [laughs] Nothing for vampires.

Haley: So after she’s done with Fantastic Beasts, we need a Sanguini spin-off. Is [that] what you’re saying?

Elayna: [laughs] [I] would watch! Maybe that would come up in Fantastic Beasts, though. I think that could happen. They might mention vampires.

David: It would be nice to get an insight into how vampires work in this world. Mostly just because as I was reading these, it was in the middle of my Buffy phase, so I just wanted more vampires.

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Eric: Yeah. Are vampires in Buffy over hundreds of years old? Can they be?

David: Some of them are, yeah.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, so that’s cool. We know wizards have an extended lifespan just because they’re wizards. I wonder how that would flirt with that same concept but for vampires. Definitely very interesting.

Haley: Well, too bad that Snape died. We could have figured it out with him, how long he would have lasted. [laughs]

Eric: See how long he lived. I think he comes back in Cursed Child, though.

[Haley laughs]

Eric: That’s kind of like living and being immortal – and living forever.

Elayna: He comes back in what?

Haley: He dies again in Cursed Child, though. Spoiler!

[David and Haley laugh]

David: So good they killed him twice.

Elayna: Your audio just ceased to exist when you said that thing that he comes back in.

Eric: Guess he wasn’t a vampire, then.

[David and Eric laugh]

David: No, Dracula always comes back.

Eric: Oh yeah. Well, cool. I’m giddy right now because we’re about to talk about my favorite of all the theories.

Haley: Oh my gosh, this is ridiculous! I love it, though.

Elayna: This theory is so…

Eric: No, Haley, you don’t know! You don’t know!

Elayna: Yeah, this was a theory. This was a theory.

Eric: All I’ll say… Look, I support this. This should’ve happened.

[David, Elayna, and Haley laugh]

Haley: This is torturous, though!

Eric: All I’ll say to Haley is “Try [to] imagine having finished the fourth book and not having any other books after that and not knowing.”

Elayna: Imagine our three-year pain, okay?

Eric: Imagine the three-year pain that bore this.

David: Especially if you have a copy of the fourth book with quite an important typ[ographical] error.

Eric: Yes! That is where this really comes in at the very end. There was a typ[ographical] error in the graveyard scene in Goblet of Fire, which was later corrected, but it cannot in and of itself be ruled out as being a death stroke.

Elayna: It’s the “Han shot first” of the Harry Potter books.

[David laughs]

Eric: Yeah. That definitely is.

Haley: Convince me.

Eric: So the theory, of course, that I am so excited to talk about – old theories, had to do this one – is Remus is James.

Elayna: Mic drop.

Eric: So Remus Lupin is James Potter in disguise. Not necessarily intentionally, not necessarily as a gimmick, maybe it’s an accident, but Remus is James Potter. Now, we all love Lupin. One of the things that comes to mind now, having finished the series, Lupin does have his own arc and he’s a great character. He’s the best character; he’s the best teacher Harry ever has. I think we can all agree. We actually just talked about this on the education episode. Lupin has this way about him. He’s able to see what each student needs and cater his classes to each individual student. And he listens and he cares, and he also is extremely competent. He gives Harry chocolate when he needs it and everybody chocolate when they need it. He’s the best. The idea that he could also, however, be Harry’s dead father…

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Eric: … really adds to the excitement for me. So I’m just going to read a little bit here. We can pause anytime you guys have comments, but there’s a lot to get to. This is so well documented here as to why this could be possible.

Elayna: This theory was so intense.

Eric: Let’s just enjoy the wild ride, okay?

Haley: I’m ready.

Eric: Okay. My body’s ready.

Elayna: It’s about to be a Forbidden Journey ride here.

Eric: Yeah. This is from Ultimate Unofficial Guide:

“Remus Lupin is probably dead. The Remus J. Lupin we know…”

What’s the J stand for?

“… is probably James Potter…”

Haley: It’s not John; it’s James.

Eric: It’s James!

[Elayna laughs]

Haley: Oh my God.

Eric: [continues]

“… switched into Lupin’s body with a Switching Spell.”

David: She hid it in plain sight.

Eric: I want to talk about Switching Spells real quick. We don’t know what they do. We still, I don’t think, know what they do. They’re mentioned early on. I think the students cover them in Year 3. We don’t know exactly what Switching Spells do to this day. So this is just an example of… It’s never answered, and if it does what we think it does, then this theory works. If not, they just used something differently. But the idea is that Remus J. Lupin is actually James Potter. So here we go: JKR is dropping hints all over the place about Lupin’s overall mystery. She has made it clear there is something very special about Lupin. When asked who her favorite characters are, JKR always specifically mentions that she loves Lupin. In interviews, such as with the BBC, she says it was Lupin who made Book 3 so important for her to write.” Okay. Whetting our appetite. Here we go: Book 1 evidence, which is really just a query:

“How did Dumbledore get James’s Invisibility Cloak, and how did Hagrid get the key to the Potters’ vault?”

The second question is really important to me! How did Hagrid get the key to Harry’s vault? That would be something that… I mean, did he pickpocket James and Lily’s bod[ies]?

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Haley: Oh my gosh!

David: That’s what he was doing in the 24 hours.

Eric: [laughs] The lost day! [On] the missing day, is Hagrid looking for a key to the vault?

David: Picking through the rubble. [laughs]

Haley: “Found it!”

Eric: You could probably get one made. You can probably get another one made.

Haley: Oh my goodness.

Elayna: Couldn’t he just say, “Accio vault key”? Are we wizards or not?

Haley: Apparently, he can’t do that.

Eric: If it works with the Horcrux books, surely not. The Dumbledore/Invisibility Cloak […] is answered later, but that’s a good question, right? Dumbledore had it. In the beginning of Book 1, you get that note – right? – at Christmas?

“Your father left this in my possession before he died.”

Why would they do that if they were in hiding? It raises all sorts of questions. So as of Book 4, that had not been answered, but here we go. All the Book 3 evidence that is brought forth is really what makes this theory cook for me. Okay, here we go. No. 1:

“Unlike everyone else, Lupin never stared at Harry or Harry’s scar or mentioned his eyes or resemblance to James.”

Haley: Because he was James.

Eric: He was James. [laughs] Let’s just end every one of these bullet points with “Because he was James.”

Haley: [laughs] “You look like me. I mean, your mom. I’m Remus Lupin. Nice to meet you.”

[David laughs]

Eric: [continues]

“Lupin simply addresses Harry by name as if he [were] already very familiar with him.”

[whispers] Lupin is James.

[Everyone laughs]

Haley: Please whisper that after every fact you read.

Eric: Here’s No. 2:

“Lupin seems to be able to read Harry’s mind.”

That [also] happens with Dumbledore and [Snape]. It says, “We have found that characters appear to do that when they have ‘inside’ information, or a close relationship with each other.”

[whispers] Lupin is James.

[David, Elayna, and Haley laugh]

Eric: No. 3:

“Harry tells Lupin that when a Dementor gets near him, he hears his mum being murdered by Voldemort. On hearing this, Lupin had made ‘a sudden motion with his arm, as though to grip Harry’s shoulder, but thought better of it.'”

Do you guys remember this?

David: Yeah.

Eric: It’s in Book 3. He kind of jerks away and is like, “I want to reach you, but I can’t.”

Haley: “I’m your dad and I can’t.”

[David laughs]

Eric: Here’s some insight:

“Lupin may be relating to Harry’s emotions or his own, but he is trying to distance himself from Harry. There is no reason why he should stop himself from just gripping Harry’s arm if he were Lupin. Something here is affecting him, too.”

And if you follow the Cuarón film, you know that Lupin was also in love with Lily, and that is why that happened.

Haley: Oh my gosh.

Elayna Add that to the list of reasons why Movie 3 is my least favorite. Continue.

Eric: Thank you, Elayna.

Haley: Really? I love Movie 3!

Elayna: Movie 3 makes me want to punch kittens. It’s bad.

Haley: Are you serious? Oh, I love it.

Elayna: I’m serious.

Eric: Punch kittens? [laughs]

Elayna: I’m so aware how not… Yeah.

Eric: What did the kittens ever do to you, Elayna?

Elayna: They didn’t include the Marauders subplot.

Haley: Yeah, I’m mad about that.

David: It would have taken two lines of dialogue as well.

Haley: That’s true.

Elayna: Oh my gosh. I mean, I don’t want to drag this [out], but I recognize that Alfonso Cuarón is an amazing director and I love his work, but I hate that movie. Go on.

Eric: Fair.

[David and Elayna laugh]

Elayna: Lupin is James.

Eric: We’re all on the same page.

Haley: Lupin is James. Continue.

Eric: Yeah, and Lupin is James.

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: So okay, I love this one: Trelawney said that Lupin “positively fled when I offered to crystal gaze for him.” Now, this is in Chapter 11 of Prisoner of Azkaban, so he’s obviously afraid of Trelawney exposing something.

“We might have thought he was just afraid that she might discover he’s a werewolf; however, we learned that the whole staff already knew that.”

So Dumbledore checked with everyone before bringing Remus in, if it was okay to bring [in] a werewolf. So what else is Remus hiding that he doesn’t want Trelawney crystal gazing that he ran away?

Haley: That he is James, obviously.

Eric: He’s James. He’s James. He’s James.

Elayna: [whispers] He’s James.

[David and Elayna laugh]

Eric: Here’s another one (this is in the Dementor training/practice sessions):

“When Harry tells Lupin he is hearing his mom’s voice louder, Lupin looks ‘paler than usual.’ Harry then tells Lupin how he hears his dad’s voice for the first time trying to hold off Voldemort so his mother could escape. ‘”You heard James?” said Lupin in a strange voice.'”

[David laughs]

Haley: “You heard me? I… James?”

[David laughs]

Eric: “You heard Lupin as James? You heard…?” So hearing about…

Elayna: See, I heard that in my head in a totally different way than you said it. I heard it as this sad “you heard James?”

Eric: [in a sad voice] “You heard James?”

Haley: “You heard me, your dad?”

[David and Haley laugh]

Haley: “Harry, I’m talking to you right now!”

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: Yeah, well, and it could be right either way. I mean, it just says, “in a strange voice.”

“Hearing about Lily didn’t make him sad; it made him ‘pale.’ Why would Lupin react oddly to Harry hearing James? Because of the odd circumstances – he realized it wasn’t James saying it.”

How cool is that? How cool is that, guys?

[David laughs]

Eric: If what Harry had actually heard was Lupin in the body of James, saying, “Lily, take him! I’ll fend him off!”?

[Elayna whimpers]

Haley: I can’t.

Eric: Isn’t that creepy? That would have been a cool switcheroo. That’d be a real cool switcheroo. And I think that would explain why it evoked a[n] odd reaction from James in the body of Lupin in Book 3.

Elayna: This is giving me feels.

[Haley laughs]

Eric: Some people just… I can’t.

David: It does tie into a lot of other clues that did lead to stuff, the kind of stuff that when you read it back later, if that had been a reveal, you’d think, “Ah! Yeah!” and it changes your opinion of it. So I can certainly see how this started to gain traction.

Elayna: Well, this podcast is certainly doing its job because I feel as soon as I’m done, I want to just go reread all of them right now.

[David, Elayna, and Eric laugh]

Eric: And there are so many other theories, but we’re not even halfway through, so here we go.

“Professor Lupin, who was ‘both shaken and pleased,’ comes over to congratulate Harry on his spectacular Patronus.”

And this is in Chapter 13. I think this is after the Quidditch in the rain.

Lupin was ‘shaken’ from seeing what we later learn is James’ own Patronus.

So I guess the theory is that he’s moved because Harry’s Patronus is the Animagus form of his father. Of course, it works the same if Lupin is just Lupin there, but it’s got special significance if you read it the other way, so it’s cool. Also, [in] Chapter 17, Professor Lupin enters the room in a “shower of red sparks.”

[David laughs]

Elayna: [as Dumbledore] “A true Gryffindor!”

Haley: He’s a Gryffindor.

Eric: Who is more Gryffindor than James and Harry Potter? Let me tell you.

Elayna: Maybe Godric Gryffindor, but he’s about it.

Eric: I think… Well, some of these go hand in hand too, where if Harry is the Heir of Gryffindor, then James also was, then James could enter the room in a shower of red [sparks]. It follows. So it’s picking and snowballing in a really cool way. So [in] Chapter 17, something happens:

“I certainly don’t want Harry dead…’ An odd shiver passed over his face.”

The analysis here is “That’s not just a teacher or friend saying that.”

So “I certainly don’t want Harry dead.” I don’t know. Again, if he is James, then that’s James coming out. And if it’s Lupin, then great, Lupin is a great guy.

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Haley: Because everyone else would want Harry dead.

Elayna and Eric: [laugh] Everyone else.

Elayna: Ron, Mrs. Weasley, everybody.

Haley: Yeah, don’t want him.

[David and Eric laugh]

Eric: Yeah. This holds more weight if you are familiar with the chapter. It’s a very specific word choice. Lupin says, “now that we could all transform” when he’s talking about how the Marauders all learned to become Animagi. And he goes through the story, and he’s like, “Okay, so now that we all could transform, we were going down regularly to the Whomping Willow,” etc. But he said “we” and not “they.” Lupin’s method of transformation is not Animagus. We know this; he’s a werewolf. So I guess technically if you’re thinking about it, if he’s telling the story, it should be “now that they all could transform” to match animals.

Elayna: Ohh, true. I think this is the point that has convinced me, surprisingly.

Eric: Yeah?

Elayna: I think this might be the one. Yeah.

Eric: I love that. I love that you’re so open-minded. Way to go being open-minded. I thought there’d be zero…

[David laughs]

Elayna: Like I said, I vaguely heard this theory in the past. I didn’t know the super-detailed things about it, but I always rejected it because Lupin is just, like, my son. I love him.

Eric: He’s a great guy.

[David laughs]

Elayna: He’s [one of my] top three favorite characters of the entire series.

Haley: Lupin is great.

Elayna: Lupin is one of them for me. But that’s a really interesting… I don’t know why that’s the one that’s a deal-breaker for me right now, but…

David: Because it’s the minor… It’s not we’re joking about him saying, “Oh, that’s what I… I mean, that’s what your father would think.” But it’s the kind of the really simple slip that she would actually leave in as a clue because it’s not obvious, and it could still be read either way.

Elayna: It’s classic, subtle Jo.

Eric: It’s super subtle. We know she’s done this with other theories, and the fact that this ended up not being true, fine. But it warrants talking about.

Elayna: [laughs] You’re not bitter or anything.

Haley: “Fine! I’m over it!”

Eric: I’m not angry about it or anything, but…

David: [laughs] It still hurts.

Eric: Yeah, but again, just reread Chapter 18 of Prisoner of Azkaban with this theory. There’s actually… You mentioned this, David…

Elayna: Oh, I’m going to. That is definitely happening tonight.

Eric: [reads]

“Lupin has ‘no hesitation’ about what Harry’s father would think. Why is he so sure about what Harry’s father would think?”

[Elayna laughs]

Haley: Lupin is James.

Eric: Lupin is James! Lupin is James! This is it because we’ve seen this with Sirius Black. He too often speaks for James, right? He too often is “Oh, well, I know what’s best for him.” That was my most offensive Sirius Black voice ever.

[David and Elayna laugh]

Eric: I love Sirius. Sirius is my favorite character. My AOL screen name…

Elayna: Sirius is, yeah, in my top three.

Eric: … was Sirius Black, but…

Elayna: My Xanga name used to be lunnylupingrl. [laughs]

Eric: I love it.

[David laughs]

Eric: I’m adding you to my buddy list. I’m going to go back… I recently downloaded AOL again.

[David and Elayna laugh]

Eric: But yeah, so Remus should also not be too quick to be “Oh, James wouldn’t think this” unless he’s James, and then he can say very darn well what James would think. So there’s that. And also, apparently, in the legend of Remus and Romulus, the legendary wolf-child was murdered by his brother or his brother’s followers. So Pettigrew, who murdered, presumably, the real Lupin, would be fitting because of Remus’s name origin being furthered. So it’s just interesting.

Elayna: That’s crazy.

Haley: That reminds me of the one theory apart from this that Remus had either a brother or a twin brother or something [who] was going to come into play.

Elayna: I do remember that.

Eric: So here is just some talk. I’m going to read this pretty quickly, but this [is] the theory summed up. This isn’t just the evidence, this is the overall “here'[re] words that explain what we’re thinking.”

“Harry’s father, James, is now stuck inside the body of one of his closest (but dead) friends. He has had to live like this for 12 years, hiding from Voldemort and his followers. James is now, for all intents, Remus Lupin (complete with the werewolf transformations). He is unable to reveal his identity (especially now that Voldemort has been seen again), and is paranoid that his own emotions will make him work and he will let the truth slip. He so badly wants to touch his son, but he doesn’t dare (sob!).”

Elayna: Why would you say that?

Eric: As evidenced by the jerking reaction when he pulls his hand back. So Prongs lives. It would be so awesome if James is still alive; here’s why:

“All four map makers did appear (in some form) on the Hogwart grounds that night.”

Remember that line in Prisoner of Azkaban where Harry is sure that it’s his dad who’s sitting at the end, and he’s just like, “Oh man, for a moment it seemed like all four map makers were going to be on the grounds that night”? What if they were?

Haley: Oh! Lupin is James.

[David and Eric laugh]

Eric: [continues]

“We are convinced that Harry’s father was there and here’s what we think happened.”

So here’s the hypothesis of how this sort of theory would have gotten started to begin with:

“Thinking they had doubts about the reliability of Sirius Black, their Secret-Keeper, James and Lupin must have taken one extra precaution. Using a Switching Spell, they managed to switch identities. This was done without the knowledge of anyone else (with the possible exception of Lily, who might have done it). We doubt that even Dumbledore (who never knew that they were Animagi) had been told. After the switch, Lupin (looking like James) stayed at their house, while James (looking like Lupin) left. Voldemort attacked, and Lupin (looking like James) was killed. Having no body to switch back to, James was now stuck inside the body of werewolf Remus Lupin. With everyone thinking he is Lupin, James is (at least for the moment) safe from Voldemort, who is convinced he is dead. Even though James has to live the painful life of a werewolf, at least he is not being hunted by Voldemort or his followers. Therefore, Sirius (who he now knows is innocent of betraying him) may be the only one he will trust with the information.”

This also speaks to why Lupin trusts Sirius immediately in Book 3 and helps him break into the castle.

“The reason that James and Lupin had to go to that extreme is, of course, still unknown and is at the heart of this entire septology mystery. We have been told that, for some reason, Voldemort wants to annihilate all of the Potters. There is something important about keeping James and Harry alive.”

So guys, this is the prophecy that we don’t yet know about because Book 5 is not out, why Voldemort had to kill all the Potters. It just didn’t exist yet. It wasn’t written.

Elayna: Yeah, that’s really creepy.

Eric: So that’s funneled into this theory of “we’ve got to keep James alive.”

Haley: I will say, though. I don’t think that, if this is a theory, he should have told Sirius because I love Sirius, but he would not have kept this from Harry. He would have told him. He would have just blown it up. Like, “James is back! Holy crap!” He would have ruined it.

Elayna: I mean, well, even still, though, I feel like the type of person that we’re lead to believe that [James] was, I don’t even know that he would have been able to keep it from Harry.

Haley: Oh yeah. I don’t think he would either.

Elayna: I feel like, by the end of Book 3, he would have just been like, “I’m your dad!”

[Elayna and Eric laugh]

Elayna: He would have just lost his chance.

Haley: Oh yeah, he’d be like, “I don’t work here anymore, so I feel fine telling you that here’s the Marauder’s Map, and I’m your dad, by the way.”

Eric: “And I’m your father.”

[Haley laughs]

Elayna: [as Darth Vader] “Harry, I am your father.”

Eric: But there’s a reason it’s being hidden so far, and that’s because a mystery is still unfurling. But once it reaches a certain point, I think it’s very reasonable that Lupin would come clean if he were James.

Elayna: Yeah, and the other thing that also… This isn’t a point that could even possibly be [in] this theory because it’s something that comes from a later book, but this could speak to why he was hesitant about being in love with Tonks.

Haley: Yeah. Ooh, that’s a good point.

David: Ooh, that’s good, yeah.

Elayna: Because he wasn’t over Lily. He met this person, and she’s great, and he loves her, and he’s trying to pass it off as “Meh, I’m old.”

[Eric and Haley laugh]

Elayna: But really, it’s just “I love my wife, and she’s dead.”

Eric: Well, there is something that’s going on with Lupin, and I think that’s why the ship Wolfstar also has a lot of weight in the realm of theories because Lupin maybe wasn’t interested in Tonks because he was interested in Sirius. And I think, again, if you watch the Cuarón film, “You live in this heart, this body.”

[Haley laughs]

Eric: It’s very much shippy in that way. But separate from this “Lupin is James” theory, I think Wolfstar is probably the ship that I think is most plausible.

Elayna: I will ride or die for that ship for the rest of my days.

[David laughs]

Eric: And it’s completely separate from this theory, but just in general, the idea that Lupin, as a character, is malleable. It’s weird that he disappears. He’s not in Book 4; he’s barely in Books 6 and 7. He’s gone and why? He was the best teacher there ever was. He was the best guide for Harry. And sure, the Sirius Black feels are running real[ly] high, but Lupin was almost too good a character to hide in the way that he ended up being. So the fact that there'[re] all these different theories and speculations and that they all seem to be pretty well thought out or possible to a certain extent, I think, is great. But I think it also speaks to just how good of a character Lupin was and the fact that it inspired all these different theories.

Elayna: Well, because I always… I mean, I mentioned this earlier, but this was always my biggest thing. I’m like, “Why didn’t she just make him gay or bisexual?” Because you have him as a stand-in for HIV and AIDS. The predominant group of people [that] were stigmatized for that were people who were gay, and so I’m like, “It would have been so perfect to just have that be that character’s identity.” And that’s why it’s the one fan theory where I’m just like, “I just don’t even bother to listen to dissenting opinions” because I’m like, “Sure, you have them, but I don’t care about them because they’re not accurate to me.”

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: Well, my dissenting opinion is that Wolfstar couldn’t happen because Lupin was secretly James…

[David, Elayna, and Haley laugh]

Eric: … was into Lily and had Harry. So there’s that.

Haley: [laughs] Oh, I’m just seeing Sirius like, “Remus, I love you.” “I’m James.” And just falling apart.

[David and Elayna laugh]

Eric: “I’m James.” Yeah. “Sirius, sorry, I’m James.”

Haley: Well, I mean, there’s been those fix as well.

Eric: “We live in this heart.” “Actually, I’m in somebody else’s.” All right.

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: Okay, so here’s the fun part, though. David, you mentioned the typo at the end. Well, it was later corrected. The first-edition Goblet of Fire books had a different order for the shadows coming out of the wand in the graveyard scene. Remember Priori Incantatem? So the whole thing was… I’m going to try [to] remember this properly, but the people [whom] Voldemort has killed with his wand are coming out. They’re not memories. Dumbledore describes them as shadows. They’re coming out in reverse order of when they were killed. So you see Cedric first, and he says, “Harry, take my body back.” You then see Frank Bryce going, “Huh, that guy’s a wizard. He has magic. Isn’t that quaint?”

[David laughs]

Elayna: [in a singsongy voice] Guess who has a first edition on her bookshelf. I’m looking it up.

Eric: In the original, James comes first and says, “Harry, your mother’s coming.” And Lily comes [next]. What should happen, if events are as clear as we thought they should be, is that Lily dies last, so she should come out first. Because she was the one who was literally over Harry’s body about the whole thing. So it’s weird. J.K. Rowling doesn’t do math, right? We get it.

David: It’s an unfortunate place to have that kind of error.

Eric: Precisely. Because there’s so much mystery surrounding the deaths of Lily and James that start this book series.

David: Especially after three years of being conditioned to look for exactly this kind of thing.

Eric: That’s exactly it! So it’s like we were trained to find everything. Just like Mark Evans.

[David and Elayna laugh]

Eric: And we found too much. So they fixed it in later editions, but here’s what Wizarding World Press has to say about it:

“If James is not really dead, and it was actually Lupin who came out of Voldemort’s wand, then that could explain the reason why the shadows would have switched places in the original editions of Book 4, Chapter 34 (did we say ‘Switched’?). First of all, given that nothing is as it appears, we don’t know for sure that Lily was the last to die. Even if she was, Lupin (who looks like James) can come out and say, ‘Your mother wants to see you.’ However…”

Because there’s the other thing, is the wording, what they tell Harry.

“… if she knew that James was still alive, Lily would never say, ‘Your father wants to see you.’ So that really should have never been switched.”

So again, we have to go through the dialogue of what specifically she says. But when he says, “Your mother wants to see you,” and she says something that’s a little bit different, it raises questions.

Elayna: I actually found it.

Eric: You found it?

Elayna: Yeah. So it says, “‘Your mother’s coming. . . .’ he said quietly. ‘She wants to see you. . . . It will be all right. . . . Hold on. . . .'” And then it goes into the paragraph about her coming out.

Eric: And what does she say?

Elayna: [reads]

“When the connection is broken, we will linger for only moments . . . but we will give you time . . . you must get to the Portkey, it will return you to Hogwarts . . . do you understand, Harry?”

Eric: Oh my God. So what happens is, when they fixed it in Goblet of Fire, Lily comes out and says, “[Hold on for your father].” But if that’s just a fix to fix that mystery, it actually doesn’t make sense that she would say, “[Hold on for your father]” because if this theory is true, she knows that it’s not his father.

Haley: Or you can still say, “Is it Lily who did the Switching?”

Eric: And it could be somebody else still. God, that’s amazing.

Elayna: Could it have been Sirius?

Haley: Yeah, I was about to say that. It could be Sirius.

David: Then we get to a situation where none of the five of them [is] the [person] they should be.

Eric: Oh my gosh.

Haley: There’s a thing where James kind of doesn’t trust Sirius, then, because he ends up giving Peter the… He’s the one who knows that they’re living there, and he takes it from Sirius instead because he’s worried that there’s a snitch among the group.

Eric: Right. Too bad it was Peter. So that’s the “James is Remus” theory.

[Haley laughs]

David: Yep. I’m convinced. Deathly Hallows is wrong.

Eric: [laughs] David, you kid.

Haley: My favorite thing about that, just thinking about what that entails, is the fact that if Snape ever found out that James was still alive, so it’s like, “Are you telling me Lily and Remus died, and the one guy I wanted to actually be dead is alive still?”

Eric: [laughs] Well, who was it [who] was bumping Snape’s head against the cave? Was that Sirius? I think it was, though.

Haley: Yeah.

Elayna: It would also make every moment of the book in which Lupin sasses Severus just so much better.

Haley: Ten times better.

[David laughs]

Elayna: The whole “thinks that he’s a slimy git” or whatever, what the map is telling him. Just glorious.

[David laughs]

Eric: Yeah. We have at least ten more to talk about, but that was seriously…

Haley: Siriusly?

Eric: So far as I’m concerned, this was Wizarding World Press’s crowning achievement just because as of Book 4 it was still possible, and that’s all you need to do, is to say, “Hey, look, using techniques that we know exist, that J.K. Rowling herself uses to hide clues before, here’s a crazy theory.” Again, they’re not shoving it down your throat. It’s in “The Restricted [Section].” They’re like, “Just take this with a grain of salt until it becomes true. But we think this is what could be,” and as far as I knew as a reader, it could’ve been. And actually, I wanted it to be, but that’s separate. But now that we’ve gone through it, David said he was convinced.

[David laughs]

Eric: What do you guys think? Haley, are you convinced?

Haley: I like it a lot more now that we went through it.

Eric: Thank you!

Haley: I do.

Eric: Okay. That’s all I was hoping for.

[Haley laughs]

Eric: It’s cool. It’s cool.

Elayna: I feel like it stands on super solid ground, and it would’ve been so… I mean, again, I love Lupin just as a character. He’s one of my favorites. But this is just such a crazy compelling theory.

Haley: Yeah, it’s just very different for me, where once I finished the books, I was like, “I know everything that happens.”

Elayna: It’s not backed up by nonsense.

Eric: There’s no wiggle room.

David: I think that’s the thing. When you first hear it’s an idea, especially because I’ve never heard it before, you think, “That’s nonsense. Where does that come from?”

[Eric and Haley laugh]

David: But then you actually go through it, point by point, and you start to think…

Haley: “You’ve got a point.”

David: Yeah. Okay. It’s not just one or two little things.

Haley: I’m sure in 11 years our Fantastic Beasts theories are going to sound ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

Elayna: Oh my gosh. I cannot wait until all those movies are out. I’m going to do a complete relisten of the show and just laugh and sob at everything we ever said.

[Eric laughs]

Elayna: Because we’re only a year out, and [with] some of them, I’m like, “Really? How did we think that could possibly occur?”

[Elayna, Eric, and Haley laugh]

Elayna: It gets crazy.

Eric: What are you going to do? We have another one that is equally long.

[David, Elayna, and Eric laugh]

Haley: Longest one.

Elayna: Oh, this one.

Eric: But I have no hurt feelings for my own self if I laugh at this one openly, the way that you guys laughed at Lupin and James. The next theory, and somebody else please take the lead on this…

Haley: I will do it. I got you.

Eric: Thank you. Thank you.

Elayna: As long as I get to read the last point, where I have a note.

Eric: Yes, you will. You will. You will. You will.

Elayna: Because that’s my favorite point. I think it’s… oh, God.

Eric: It’s so good. It’s so good.

Elayna: It’s ridiculous.

David: [laughs] Oh, God. I’ve just read it.

Eric: The theory that Ron is actually Dumbledore.

Elayna: [laughs] I can’t.

Eric: Or that Dumbledore is Ron from the future… At some point, Ron travels back in time and takes on the life of Dumbledore.

Haley: Yeah, it’s pretty great. It’s one of the first theories I ever heard of, too, so it holds a special place in my heart. [laughs] So okay, I’ll read the little blurb of explaining what this theory is.

“Ron, our loyal Knight, will become a time traveler. He will be sent back in time to some point in the 19th century to live out the rest of his days [as] Albus Dumbledore, our venerable King. The exact mechanics of his journey in time are unclear, though we do believe it is unavoidable, and that it will in fact be the very move that enables Harry’s eventual defeat of Voldemort (the checkmate) and that it will also have something to do with the White Queen (Bellatrix).”

Elayna: First of all, what is this White Queen nonsense?

Eric: Okay, so this goes on. There’s another sort of tangential theory to this, which is actually described on Harry Potter’s Page, which is where this long theory – God, it’s got to be 4,000 or 5,000 words – explains.

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: But the theory, because it’s quick, is that the chess game at the end of Book 1 is a metaphor for the series’ plot progression as a whole. So it ends with Ron sacrificing himself, right? So that Harry can win, in the way that Dumbledore, in Book 6, sacrifices himself so that Harry can win.

Elayna: What? Whoa.

Eric: So the theory is made stronger by this other theory, just like we were talking about before. This is what happens when you give us three years and nothing to do.

Elayna: Theories on theories on theories, and then someone just has to cue the Inception noise.

[Haley laughs]

Elayna: “We [need] to go deeper!”

Haley: So obviously, because Ron and Dumbledore look so very similar, this explains that it’s true. Because they both are tall [and] thin and possess long noses, even though Dumbledore’s has been broken multiple times.

[Eric laughs]

Haley: Both of them are gingers, which, obviously, Weasley. Confirmed. Ron’s eye color is actually never mentioned, but Arthur’s eyes are blue, so therefore, they could be blue.

[Elayna gasps]

Eric: Oh, genetically, that works!

David: No, I think it has been confirmed. Or Jo has mentioned they’re blue at some point. Because I think she wanted him, Harry, and Hermione to be brown, blue, and green.

Eric: Different-colored eyes.

Haley: And I mean, Rupert Grint has blue eyes. So there you go.

Eric: I like that.

Haley: Also, Dumbledore has a scar above his left knee, and in Prisoner of Azkaban, when Sirius bites Ron’s leg…

[Elayna gasps]

Haley: That could possibly be that scar right there.

David: I didn’t know that part.

Eric: I love that!

Elayna: Gasp! If there [were] a point that was legitimate, it would be that one, but no.

Eric: This gets better.

Haley: Yeah. In Sorcerer’s Stone, he knows precisely what Ron saw in the Mirror of Erised and exactly why Ron said what he did. He tells Harry that there are other ways of being invisible. Are we to believe that Dumbledore went around, waiting every night, for Harry to show up in front of the Mirror? Or he knew because of his first go-around as Ron.

Elayna: Wibbly-wobbly, tiny-winy stuff.

Haley: There’s a whole section of this theory that is like, “Why does he know everything? It’s because he’s Harry’s best friend and he learned it all the first time.”

Eric: I love this. First go-around. I love it. I love it, love it, love it, love it. Here’s one that we didn’t have in the Doc, but it’s from this main page that I want to add.

“2. How sweet it is…

Though on the surface Ron and Dumbledore seem to have little in common, they both have a great love for sweets.”

[David and Elayna laugh]

Haley: Confirmed.

Eric: Hear me out! Hear me out!

“When we first meet Dumbledore he offers a lemon sherbet to Professor McGonagall. When we first meet Ron he introduces Harry to the wonderful world of wizarding candy. In PoA, he goes into a blissful trance describing to Harry and Hermione the wondrous confections to be found at Honeydukes, the magical sweets shop in Hogsmeade. In CoS we learn that Dumbledore likes to use the names of sweets as his office password. In PoA, Ron suggests to Hermione that they bring Harry back some Cockroach Clusters from Honeydukes. In GoF, when Harry returns to the castle to alert Dumbledore of Crouch Sr.’s strange appearance on the grounds of Hogwarts, he must guess the password.”

And he guesses “Cockroach Clusters”!

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: [continues]

“But that is not all… In the last chapter of PS/SS, Dumbledore tells Harry that he lost his taste for Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans after eating a vomit[-]flavored bean in his youth. There is one problem with this… Bertie Bott was born in 1935.”

[David laughs]

Haley: Got it!

Eric: [continues]

“While Dumbledore is over 150 years old, and for him, ‘youth’ is a relative term, he could not have possibly eaten a Bertie Bott Every Flavor Bean until the 1950’s [sic], most likely even later, making him well over a hundred years old. Even in Dumbledore terms this is hardly his ‘youth’. Before anyone makes the brilliant observation that the Bertie Bott card isn’t canon, be sure to read the statement from Wizards of the Coast concerning their collaboration with JK Rowling on the making of the cards.”

So Bertie Bott’s birthdate is 1935. There’s no way Dumbledore actually tried a Bertie Bott vomit-flavored one in his youth because he was over 100 when Bertie Bott was born, let alone when he rose to fame. So the only way he could have done that is if he [were] Ron and Ron tried a vomit-flavored bean in his youth, and then that makes all of the sense in the world to me.

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: I don’t care. It does.

Haley: It’s confirmed. It’s true.

[David laughs]

Elayna: Confirmed. [laughs] So crazy!

Haley: Elayna, do you want to give the best part of this theory?

Elayna: Oh, this is the most solid evidence.

[David laughs]

Elayna: Such sources. Much accurate. Wow. Are we ready? Okay.

“Ron makes it very clear on several occasions that he hates the color maroon. Could it be because he will eventually be ‘marooned’ in time?”

[David and Haley laugh]

[Eric sighs]

Haley: There you go.

Elayna: I’m sorry, that is just the dumbest statement I have ever heard in my life. It’s so funny.

Haley: And then, I will say that this theory did get big enough that Jo did comment on this and was like, “No, guys!”

Elayna: Yep. And she was like, “Ron is not…”

Eric: Did she? Do we have the quote? Can we find…?

Haley: I’ll look it up right now. But she did. I remember she did.

Elayna: It was in one of her Twitter things, where she was just debunking and commenting on things that should have probably been in the encyclopedia, but no one’s bitter here.

Haley: She just tweeted. It was on October 2, 2015. Someone said, “Dear @jk_rowling: Ron is a time-traveling Dumbledore — fact or theory?” with a little link, and then she just put “False theory.”

Eric: Oh, she just said, “False theory”?

Haley: Yeah, the tweet is just “False theory.”

Elayna and Haley: Fake news.

[David laughs]

Elayna: Alternative Potter facts.

[Haley laughs]

Eric: That’s such a shame. It’s such a good theory. Seriously, we’ll link in the show notes to this Harry Potter’s Page because to read it in that writing – and they list their evidence later – it gives you all the feels. It’s just like reading Ultimate Unofficial Guide. It’s great. So we’ll link to the whole thing, but yeah, I think this warrants more than a two-word response from J.K. Rowling. I don’t know. To my knowledge, she’s never been like, “Oh! Good one!” to any of these theories that just… They bother her somehow. I don’t know.

Haley: One she did. We’ll get to it later.

Eric: She did? Oh, okay.

[Haley laughs]

Elayna: Oh, is that a later one?

Haley: Yeah.

Elayna: Oh, I was going to say, “I don’t know which one that is.”

Eric: I can’t wait. This is going to be great.

Elayna: Ooh, yay.

[David laughs]

Elayna: So speaking of Mr. Weasley, we have another theory about Ron. This one was my personal favorite just because I remember reading about this one specifically at that time, and I was like, “Oh my God! That’s so legit! It’s going to happen!” And then I was really sad when it didn’t.

Haley: I really like this theory too. I’m on board with it, actually.

[David and Eric laugh]

Elayna: Yeah! This one is a totally solid, viable, no one has to…

Eric: I’m going to play the skeptic. I’m going to be like, “Eh, I don’t know.”

Elayna: You know what, Mr. Scull?

[Haley laughs]

Eric: I’m listening. My body’s ready.

Elayna: The theory is that Ron is a Seer. So [one] of the points that back[s] up this theory was, in Chamber of Secrets Ron jokes that Tom Riddle won the trophy by killing Moaning Myrtle.

Eric: [laughs] Wait a minute. 4b, 4b: “Ron is usually wrong (except when he makes a joke about it).”

Haley: Yeah. I put that in here. I was like, “Yep. I heard that before.” For this theory.

Elayna: Yep. That is completely… yep. #confirmed.

Eric: Confirmed.

Elayna: In Prisoner of Azkaban, he buys a willow wand, which is often used in Divination. And we know that the wand chooses the wizard. So a wand that is good for Divination chose Ron because it knew he was a Seer.

Eric: That’s cool.

Elayna: Yeah. I mean, this is what I’m saying. This is so founded in actual stuff. Okay, in Goblet of Fire, Ron says that Dumbledore is bright, but that doesn’t mean a Dark wizard can’t fool him, ([i.e.,] Barty Crouch, Jr.). So he’s basically just like, “He could totally be fooled by these people,” and then he totally is. So again, when Ron is just calling it as it is.

Eric: Good prognostication by Ron there.

Elayna: Indeed. And [laughs] oh yeah, and then the same theory that we talked about earlier, so another claim to support this theory was that Hermione is always right except when she’s emotional. Ron is wrong except when he’s joking. I have left this with Eric, so this will also be in your show notes. But it’s just a super, super old page that makes me feel like I’m 12…

[David laughs]

Eric: Oh my gosh.

Elayna: … and the fonts are great, and it just… yeah. It has a whole a section talking about evidence for this possible theory.

Eric: Somebody is still making ad revenue off of this page. There'[re] still some ads that pop in on the right-hand side.

David: Wow.

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: I cannot believe this. oocities.org.

Elayna: I remember that. Wasn’t that a branch off of GeoCities or something?

Eric: Probably.

Haley: I think that this is very, “Why not?” Because I feel this is a thing where you don’t have… He’s just more in tuned to Divination than other people are. I mean, I don’t mean that he’s spouting prophecies or anything, but I think that if he tried a little harder, he would be very good in Divination.

Eric: Yeah, well, and let’s look at Trelawney. I mean, the only time she tells any true prophecies is when she’s in a trance and later doesn’t remember them. She is a true Seer because she is capable of making true prophecies that come true, but most of the time, she’s a quack.

[David and Elayna laugh]

Eric: And Ron… Actually, I’m surprised there aren’t more examples. These are from OoCities, Linsey’s theory. but actually a lot of what Ron jokes about, this is why that rule comes into play in Book 3 of Ultimate Unofficial Guide when they go through that is a lot of that stuff that he’s joking about, like “You’re gonna suffer, but [you’re gonna] be happy about it,” are all Divination moments where… And everything that all of them see in their teacups when they’re not sure about it or if they lie about what they see in the stars, it all comes true. All of it. [whispers] All of it.

Haley: And it’s Ron and Harry [who] work together for those all the time.

David: Yeah, we don’t really see many Seers in the books, so maybe they all See in their own different way. So Trelawney goes into a crazy trance; with Ron, it just comes out when he’s not thinking about it.

Elayna: Yeah, makes joking…

Eric: And Firenze wears a suit and prognosticates.

[David and Haley laugh]

Eric: That’s what I’m thinking.

Haley: And he’s in an old wizarding family. That’s how it… She’s like, “Oh, my great-grandmother was a Seer.” So I mean, if it is a genetic thing, it would make sense for Ron, if anyone.

Eric: Yeah, because he’s pure-blood.

Elayna: And she’s another one, Trelawney. Her name has… I’m trying to look it up right now.

Eric: Sybill.

Elayna: Yeah, Sybill was a Greek figure who had to do with prophecies and such.

David: And wasn’t her grandmother Cassandra as well?

Elayna: Yeah.

Eric: So we’ve mentioned this, the bane of J.K. Rowling’s existence, the epitome of fans becoming, perhaps, too smart, [which] J.K. Rowling later regretted, but essentially, in Book 5, Chapter 1, there’s a moment where Harry tells Dudley, “You did Mark Evans a few nights ago,” talking about beating him up, talking about Dudley being a bully, and J.K. Rowling had just recently, prior to the release of Book 5, revealed that Lily’s surname was, in fact, Evans. So Lily Potter used to be Lily Evans, and now Harry name-dropped some Evans kid who lives in the area.

Elayna: I don’t understand how she made that mistake. I’ve never understood it.

Haley: It’s not that common of a name either.

Eric: [sighs] Yeah, and especially, look, if you think about it this way, not only is “Evans” backward “snave” and sounds like “Snape”…

[David and Elayna laugh]

Eric: … but [also] Lily and Snape grew up next door to each other. I mean, come on!

Haley: Yeah, they’re all Muggles, so…

Eric: So what if this other Evans kid was somehow a Snape and Lily kid…?

[Haley laughs]

Eric: … was actually Harry’s half brother? The possibilities are endless. J.K. Rowling, on her official website, debunked this, and she was real[ly] quick to do it, too, because she got a lot of pressure. This is before Twitter. She got a lot of pressure and put this on, I think it was, one of the first FAQs or Rubbish Bin sort of things, and she… Like I said, it was an exasperated reply, but she says that when a question about Mark Evans… Oh, it won the FAQ poll! So it won the FAQ poll on her site, so she actually made us work for it still. She wasn’t so annoyed that she just had to give it to us; we got to choose between getting the answer, finally, to this or getting the answer to other really cool stuff. So this one won. Many were disappointed by the answer, according to the HP Lexicon.

“For despite his familiar last name, Mark Evans was unrelated to Harry, or to anyone in Lily’s family, and he was NOT the Half-Blood Prince, or a long-lost cousin.”

[David and Eric laugh]

Eric: Rowling claimed to be amused by all the fan theories, but his name was just a throwaway. She says, “Then why – WHY (I hear you cry) – did I give him the surname “Evans”? Well, believe me, you can’t regret it more than I do right now.”

[David laughs]

Haley: [To] J.K. Rowling’s credit, I honestly really do like how in her books she uses names over, like Tom Riddle, Tom the barkeep, because that happens in real life. My name’s Haley; I know so many Haleys. Oh my gosh.

Eric: Really?

Haley: Everywhere. Okay, [if you were] born in 1997, [it] was one of the most popular names of all time. Everyone at my school is named Haley. It’s horrible.

[Elayna, Eric, and Haley laugh]

Haley: It’s the worst.

Eric: Are you sure you’re not secretly a wizard? There’s a society of Haleys somewhere…

Elayna: Secret wizard Haleys.

Haley: Oh yeah. So I just appreciate when I hear that multiple names pop up. That happens. Trust me, I know.

David: But it’s a writing rule, isn’t it? To not have repeated names, just because you might confuse readers. But it’s not realistic.

Elayna: I mean, she can mention a locket in Book 5 that becomes the most important thing two books later, but she can’t remember to keep people’s names straight?

[David laughs]

Elayna: That just sounds really bizarre to me.

Eric: Yeah. Well, one of them was an interview. So she’s probably doing ten of those a day and just giving… I don’t think she… Now, I know she didn’t make it up on the spot that Lily’s surname was Evans, but maybe she forgot she said that, and then it wasn’t a big deal in the editing process of the book? But anyway, she goes on to say, “‘Evans’ is a common name.” We said that it wasn’t. But she says it is.

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Eric: She says, “I didn’t give it much thought…”

Elayna: Not confirmed.

Eric: [continues]

“I wasn’t even trying to set up another red herring.”

So she admits to doing red herrings.

“I could just as easily have called him ‘Smith’ or ‘Jones’ (or ‘Black’ or ‘Thomas’ or ‘Brown’, all of which would have gotten me into trouble too).”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: But not as much as Mark Evans. You placed him on the same street that Harry grew up [on].

Elayna: Yeah, that just sounds… I don’t know. That’s the one thing where I’m like, “I want to be understanding, but it just seems like a really big oversight.” If it [were] two minor characters who both got the name Evans, I could understand. But that would be like casually being like, “Oh, whoops! There’s another kid named Potter who lives on the street!” What? It’s important.

David: Do you know if it’s ever been rectified in later editions, like with the mistake in Goblet of Fire?

Elayna: No.

Eric: Oh, which part, sorry?

David: If they’ve ever actually, in later editions, changed the name, just to avoid any of the confusion.

Eric: Oh. Yeah, I don’t think so.

Elayna: Does he become Mark Smith in a later book?

[Eric laughs]

Haley: But then again, it’s like Zacharias Smith. Are they related? Yeah, so you can’t win.

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: That’s why she’s like, “Yeah, I can’t do it either way.” No, I think it’s still Mark Evans.

Elayna: I think in future editions it’s going to be Mark Sanguini.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Or Mark Scamander, just to really confuse people.

Elayna: Don’t play games with me.

David: Who says we still can’t have theories now the series is over?

Eric: Exactly. Aww, I love it. Love it, love it, love it.

Haley: It never ends.

Elayna: That’s what we’re here for.

Eric: Mark Evans is a secret Scamander. I’m just going to tweet that at J.K. Rowling.

[Everyone laughs]

Elayna: Oh, oh, oh, do it, do it!

Haley: She’d just block you. Just gets blocked.

Eric: That’s why I don’t. Some people bait her. I do not bait her. I never will, because I can’t… The day I get blocked by her, I’ll just cry. This was a huge one immediately following Book 6. We covered it on one of the earliest episodes of MuggleCast ever. And so we’re talking about speculation, the first 100 episodes of [the] MuggleCast podcast were all speculation between the release of Book 6 and the release of Book 7. So there’s just endless… That’s a good example of… Alohomora! came after. It was an intentional reread with further information to influence our reading, but MuggleCast, the first 100 episodes, [is] all about not knowing what occurs and what was going to occur, and so it’s really good sampling of just not knowing what the hell was going on and what that was like to several teenagers with a podcast. So shout-out to MuggleCast. But this was covered in one of the earliest episodes, I remember, because there was a website [that] sprung up right after Book 6 came out: dumbledoreisnotdead.com.

[Haley laughs]

Eric: Can you guess what theory they’re pushing?

Elayna: Let me guess.

Haley: Lupin is Sirius.

Elayna: Lupin is Sirius! [laughs]

Eric: Lupin is Sirius.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It’s actually… Surprise! I started the website. It was actually “Lupin is James.”

Haley: If this episode is not called “Lupin is James,” I just don’t know what I’m going to do.

[David and Haley laugh]

Elayna: I’d quit.

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Eric: I’d quit. So actually, I’ve included the link. You guys should click on it. You can actually relive the excitement that is dumbledoreisnotdead.com, where this guy named Dave Haber has compiled this and made the domain name and owned this website, Dumbledore Is Not Dead. And it lays out, in theory, why Dumbledore either is not really dead or if Snape is actually a good guy. So a lot of what we’ll read, a lot of what it comes down to, is the evidence that was very apparent after reading Book 6, that even though Dumbledore was killed and was killed by Snape, […] there’s a lot of evidence of it being planned. Right? It wasn’t a surprise “I’m going to murder you”-type situation. I think that much is clear just through reading it. There’s so much planning that goes into Snape being the one to kill him once the Unbreakable Vow is made in Chapter 2 or 3, “Spinner’s End.” So this theory is extensive, and you should definitely read it. We’ll read some excerpts. But it’s highly questionable. The circumstances on the tallest tower, the “lightning-struck tower,” are very questionable. For instance, Dumbledore’s freezing of Harry, why he’s so quick to lose his wand, and what it all means, and people really felt as though Dumbledore [were] smart enough to fake his own death and have it be part of the mystery that, come Book 7, it’d be like, “Wait a minute. We thought we lost him, but no. He’s still around.” And it’s cool.

Haley: Even in Book 7 they’re pushing the theory onto you with the mirror.

Eric: Yeah. Oh, the mirror! Exactly.

David: They even reference it, don’t they?

Eric: Yeah.

David: Yeah, [unintelligible] fate, is there?

Eric: Yeah. So this is something that’s big. Obviously, Dumbledore’s connection with the phoenix and the phoenix being all about rebirth, there’s one.

Haley: Ooh, that’s a good one.

Eric: Yeah, right? His close connection with Fawkes. I’ll just read through the theory. So “Dumbledore’s Big Chill” is Step 1.

“Harry and Dumbledore are up on the top of the tower underneath the Dark Mark. Harry is wearing his invisibility cloak, Dumbledore ordered him to put it on before they mounted their brooms to ride to the top of the tower. Harry hears footsteps and looks around, but Dumbledore orders him with a gesture to retreat. Harry draws his wand and backs away.

“Why did Dumbledore freeze Harry? Harry was already invisible to their attackers and in no danger.

“The only explanation could be that Dumbledore already knew, had already planned, that he would die this night (or appear to die).”

That checks out. That checks out. We know Dumbledore planned his own death. But this was, again, cutting edge. This was probably written July 23, 2005, two days after the book came out.

Elayna: [laughs] Yeah, because I see the date for the website says August 14, 2005, which is weeks after. And that’s crazy to me that this kind of theory was already right there.

David: Yeah. Well, the first capture is the 25th.

Eric: Oh yeah, the first capture is the 25th. So I mean, this website was up and running within four days, which is extremely awesome.

[Elayna and David laugh]

Elayna: I love the things on the side. One says, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Sizzles on IMAX.”

[Everyone laughs]

Elayna: It’s great. Oh my God, the emotions.

Eric: So a lot of this theory is, again, just supporting the idea that Dumbledore planned his death, which in coordination supports the idea that he’s still alive because he would have to plan to not be dead. So a lot of this is that, which is why I’m sort of skipping around here.

Haley: Well, we got that part right.

Eric: Yeah, we got that part, and that part is 100% right, which is why I think as far as you get with these theories, even Dave, who wrote this, is talking about either Dumbledore is still alive or it was all planned and Snape is good. There’s no either-or. So he’s gotten to the point of analysis where, and sure enough, it becomes true. So here:

“3. Fawkes [D]oesn’t [T]ry to [S]ave Dumbledore

“We’ve seen Fawkes come in at the last moment and save Harry’s life in Chamber of Secrets.

“And he also saved Dumbledore in Order of the Phoenix.

“We know Fawkes was nearby the tower […]. So why didn’t Fawkes come to save Dumbledore this time?

“I think the fact that he didn’t makes it possible to believe that Dumbledore didn’t want his life to be saved, and this supports the theory that it was Dumbledore’s plan all along to die up on that tower that night.”

Also – this is my reading – it means he maybe didn’t need saving.

Haley: Wasn’t there another thing, too, where it’s that he was Fawkes after that?

[Elayna laughs]

Haley: That he was an Animagus secretly and that he is a phoenix and Fawkes is him and he’s alive and he’s there?

Eric: Yeah. This was the biggest thing to me next, though. We’ll get back to Fawkes in a minute. This next one was the fact that Avada Kedavra, the Killing Curse, is not supposed to do anything to you physically. If you remember Chapter 1 from Goblet of Fire, Little Hangleton and Big Hangleton, the Riddles are described as looking perfectly normal, except for the fact that they were dead. And they had looks of horror on their faces. The coroner didn’t know what was going on. So from that textual evidence, it is wholly concerning that when Snape kills Dumbledore, he’s hit by the curse and he’s propelled, his body is thrown over the side of it, and he’s thrown off the balcony. Was that really a Killing Curse if it doesn’t behave the way a Killing Curse should behave? So I like it. Now, we know the Killing Curse is actually in secret one of the most misbehaving curses of all time.

[David laughs]

Eric: It never does what it’s supposed to do. Harry is the prime indicator of “there’s so much more going on there.” But just this idea, right? And we know this. It even goes back to the color of the spell. Because it’s like, “A green light flashed and Dumbledore went limp and flew over the side.” The Killing Curse does have a green light, but it’s not typically supposed to move you, and this time, it moves Dumbledore. You could explain this away in one of many ways. Maybe it’s just the sheer exhaustion of power, that Dumbledore was such a powerful wizard that when he dies, it does make [it] physical, like the life leaving his body is literally what propels his body over the side. You could explain it 100 ways because we know it was the Killing Curse.

Elayna: It could also be just not so much Dumbledore’s fault, but just the fact that Snape doesn’t want to do this, and so it’s taking a lot of force and energy for him to have to commit this act. And so that on top of the curse sends him propelling backward because there’s just such a force behind it.

Eric: And also, Snape is so good at nonverbal spells – he practically invented them – that he could have just as easily killed Dumbledore and then, not want[ing] to look at his body, thrown him over the edge with a levitation/”Get away from me” kind of thing. So yeah. Now, I love this also: the theory that we never actually see Dumbledore’s body in the books. So here we go: “No Body, No Crime.” Here’s No. 8 of the theory:

“The last time we really saw Dumbledore’s body was when Harry is kneeling over it.”

Oh, so okay. We do see a body. It’s when it’s landed on the ground. Okay.

“Now, we see Hagrid carry the body of Dumbledore into his funeral, but it’s covered.”

And the text is “Hagrid was walking slowly up the aisle between the chairs. He was crying quite silently, his face gleaming with tears, and in his arms, wrapped in purple velvet spangled with golden stars, was what Harry knew to be Dumbledore’s body.”

“We never really see Dumbledore’s body at the funeral. How do we know it was there at all?

“As part of the funeral service, a fire ignites around the body of Dumbledore, and when it subsides, his body is encased in a white marble tomb.

“Again, we don’t see the body, either before or after the fire.

“But more importantly, no one lights the fire; it just happens on its own. A body bursting into flame on its own. That sound like anyone we know?

“We’ve seen Fawkes do that several times now in the course of the Harry Potter books, and you know what happens to Fawkes after every time it does.”

[whispers] He’s reborn. James is Sirius.

[Haley laughs]

Eric: Or James is Remus.

David: Doesn’t this mean Dumbledore is really Teddy Lupin?

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: Dumbledore is really Lupin. So I think it’s a compelling… This is great.

Haley: Yeah. It’s a fun theory. I like that it’s such a big theory that it’s even dealt with in the books.

Eric: Yeah. Certain aspects of it are. You can’t separate them from what the plot has to be. You have to…

Haley: And I hear people saying, “It’s almost…” Because I think it’s Harry, Hermione, or Ron [who] is like, “Do you think Dumbledore is alive?” in the book. It’s almost like in Goblet of Fire where Hermione is telling Krum how to spell her name, where it’s Jo talking directly to us: “No! He’s not alive!”

[David and Elayna laugh]

Eric: Yeah, but I mean, again until… I know this is a Book 6 theory, predominantly, because it only came out after Dumbledore’s death, but it’s something that, as you say, is toyed with throughout Book 7. And it’s not untrue until it is. So I love it. Yeah, so that’s Dumbledore Is Not Dead. And again, check out the whole page. I summarized it, but I did not do a good job.

[David and Elayna laugh]

Eric: So everybody go read that. It’s pretty cool. We have some other theories to get to. Who wants to take this next one?

Haley: I’ll jump in. I wrote that. So one of the theories that happened was that Draco is a werewolf because we want more magical creatures, [laughs] and one of the theories behind this is that they say that Voldemort ordered Greyback to bite him as punishment either at the end of Order of the Phoenix or at the beginning of Half-Blood Prince to punish Lucius for his failure at [the] Department of Mysteries.

Elayna: I remember this theory.

David: I’ve never heard this one before.

Haley: Yeah, and also that it explains Draco’s weirdness in Half-Blood Prince. I mean, it’s obviously the Dark Mark.

Eric: Just the pressure of…

Haley: Yeah, the pressure! Or he’s a werewolf!

Elayna: Mostly werewolf.

Haley: [laughs] Mostly werewolf.

Elayna: Werewolf confirmed.

[Eric laughs]

Haley: I mean, I think it would be interesting in the fact [that] Draco, this person who has so much prejudice and hate against these people, has to deal with that prejudice now. That’d be quite a turn for him.

Eric: Yeah, Dramatic irony.

Elayna: [laughs] LOL.

Eric: Well, and it’s not out of the realm from what we later learn. I assume it was later that we learned about Greyback, how Voldemort operated with… Yeah, it’s in Pottermore, the Remus Lupin story. Greyback himself was going after certain people for certain reasons. Lupin’s father insulted werewolves in general, made some kind of blanket statement [that] was prejudicial, and Greyback took offense and went and bit his kid and turned his kid.

Haley: If he keeps hearing the Malfoys probably, and also Bellatrix would probably just talk crap about him all the time whenever he’s around, he’d probably be really happy to do this to Draco. He’s like, “Finally!”

Eric: Yeah, and I think if Voldemort led him, he’d be glad to turn another kid. That’s the sick thing about Greyback, is he likes it.

Elayna: Yeah, he’s twisted.

Eric: He’s not like your Lupin character, who’s plagued by the thought that he’s a monster. Greyback is relishing the fact that he can ruin these young lives by giving them this crippling illness.

Elayna and Eric: The worst.

Haley: I mean, I feel like he’s not. I don’t believe it, but it could have happened.

Elayna: As far as I’m concerned, all of these theories are still valid.

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Elayna, Eric, and Haley: Lupin is James.

Eric: The next one is a post-Book 7 theory?

Elayna: Yeah! Can I actually do this one? I actually love this one. I didn’t put it in there.

Eric: These exist. The post-Book 7 theories are great. Jo has mentioned this one, I think.

Elayna: Yeah. Actually, this is one that she said is actually one of her favorites.

Eric: Oh, so she does say good things about people sometimes.

Haley: She does!

Elayna: Okay, yeah, she tweeted [something] out a little while [ago] that says “Dumbledore as death. It’s a beautiful theory and it fits.”

Eric: That’s the nicest thing she’s ever… Why can’t she say that about “Remus is James”?

Elayna and Haley: Lupin is James. [laugh]

Haley: I love it.

Elayna: But this theory… I saw this for the first time in a Tumblr post, actually, and it literally made me tear up when I saw it because I thought it was so beautiful. So the theory is that Dumbledore is Death and Harry, Snape, and Voldemort are the three brothers. So Voldemort, the oldest brother, wants the power that the wand can give him, and he went after the Elder Wand. Snape would be the middle brother because he would value bringing back the one he loves from the dead, Lily. And Harry would be the youngest brother, who owns the Invisibility Cloak and greets Death as an old friend in Deathly Hallows, essentially becoming the master of Death. And then Dumbledore, as the catalyzing thing for all three of these, is Death, and he comes to Harry from the afterlife and also manipulates all three characters throughout the series. Mic drop. I just think it’s the best. It’s such good symbolism. It’s symbolism that works on levels that… I mean, because this is one of those things. “It’s a beautiful theory and it fits,” which means, she’s acknowledging, “I didn’t do this on purpose,” but it’s one of those things that I love about writing, and when you’re writing a good story, you can plan as much as you want, but there are certain truths that are just going to come out in the story that you’re not intending but they’re still there. And I think this is just a [makes kissing noise] example of one of those.

Haley: It reminds me of what John Green says about books a lot, where they belong to the readers after you’re done with them. This is one of those times.

Elayna: Yes. Exactly. 100%.

Eric: Yeah. David, you have added some really interesting theories here too and ones that I forgot… I love this. Would you like to take the lead on going through some of these?

David: Well, yeah, when I was going to come on, I was trying to think of what I remember reading of theories years and years ago and trying to hunt around online. And just a few of them came to me. One of the first ones was – and I genuinely have no idea where this came from, because some of the others you can see it in the text or see it in something that Jo said – the idea that the sixth book was going to be Harry Potter and the Green Flame Torch.

[Eric laughs]

Elayna: I remember that.

David: Yeah, as far as I can tell, there was nothing that could spark that up. So I suspect it might have just been someone with a blog or a Harry Potter website who just thought, “Let’s see how far I can get this to go.” [laughs]

Haley: Well, the book’s green!

Elayna: Yeah, I mean, that was one thing… I feel like it came out of the book cover once we saw what the cover was going to look like, although I don’t remember if the cover art had the title on it. Did it?

David: I think this came even before Order of the Phoenix came out.

Elayna: Well, no, I’m talking about the cover of Half-Blood Prince, which has green, and if you don’t know what you’re looking at, if you don’t know that that’s a bowl of water, it could very well be a torch in a dish. I don’t know.

[David, Elayna, and Haley laugh]

David: When did we actually get the title? It probably wasn’t until quite later on, wasn’t it?

Eric: Yeah, I’m trying to find… Rowling… I remember this and these different theories, these different title names too. At one point, it supposedly…

David: Well, some of them were names that Warner Bros. trademarked.

Eric: Yes!

David: There was Pyramids of Furmat.

Eric: Yeah, oh, God, Pyramids of Furmat. How could I forget?

Elayna: Wait, wait. Say that one more time?

David: Pyramids of Furmat? There were three. I can’t remember the others.

Haley: But why would that even be trademarked? What does it have to do with anything?

Eric: Well, that’s the whole… Because anything you trademark is public knowledge.

Haley: Yeah, but why would they do that? It doesn’t even have anything to do with the book.

Eric: Well, because it was to throw you off the scent.

David: Yeah, because sometimes you’ll get companies who will do half a dozen or twenty or so names all at once and the real one will be hidden in the middle.

Haley: Oh, okay, okay. That makes sense.

David: So yeah, it’s just to throw people off the scent.

Elayna: Yeah, and they do that a lot. They’ll have code words for film productions.

Haley: Yeah, because in Atlanta there’s so much film here now, there’ll always be audition casting calls out for really weirdly titled films, but [they’re] cover names for bigger ones.

Elayna: Well, Fantastic Beasts had one of those too, originally.

Eric: Oh my God, you guys, I found Nackledirk!

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: It’s actually… talk about retread ground, J.K Rowling actually talks about… I think she made up Mystic Kettle… Well, we knew this.

David: Yeah, yeah, she went over the top with one of them, just so it would stick out.

Eric: But it’s in the Mark Evans debunk!

David: Is it?

Elayna: Where?

Eric: It’s in that same post. Here’s the full… So going back to Mark Evans real quick, you’ll hear Mystic Kettle get a shout-out. All we read at the end was “Then why – WHY (I hear you cry) – did I give him the surname ‘Evans’?” Okay, here’s the full posting about Mark Evans, but it ties into the thing:

“Mark Evans is… nobody. He’s nobody in the sense that Mr. Prentice, Madam Marsh and Gordon-Dudley’s-gang-member are nobodies, just background people who need names but who have no role other than the walk-on parts assigned to them.

“The fact is that once you drew my attention to it, I realised that Mark Evans did indeed look like one of those ‘here he is, just a casual passer-by, nothing to worry about, bet you barely noticed him’ characters who would suddenly become, halfway through book seven, ‘Ha ha! Yes, Mark Evans is back, suckers, and he’s the key to everything! He’s the Half-Blood Prince, he’s Harry’s great aunt, he’s the Heir of Gryffindor, he lives up the Pillar of Storgé and he owns the Mystic Kettle of Nackledirk!’ (Possible title of book seven there, must make a note of it).”

Eric and Haley: Oh my God.

Eric: She is relishing this. She is absolutely just loving it. So that’s Nackledirk.

Elayna: Sometimes I forget that she is, like, the goddess of sass. And then she says stuff like that and I remember.

[David and Elayna laugh]

Haley: And then I go on Twitter and I remember.

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Elayna: Yeah. Her Twitter game is fierce.

Eric: Yeah, but so she invented it at that particular moment. Now I’m trying to remember where Green Flame Torch comes in.

Elayna: Mystic Kettle of Nackledirk, oh my God.

Eric: Yeah, it’s exactly like we’ve been talking about, though. Warner Bros. copyrights a bunch of titles because one of them’s the real one, but they need to be able to create deniability.

David: But I think that must’ve been the second time she mentioned that, because I’m sure someone once asked her about Green Flame Torch or Pyramids of Furmat or whatever the others were and she came out with those two titles. It may as well be Mystic Kettle of Nackledirk, for all the truth to it.

Eric: I think that, too, somebody either analyzed all the words in Harry Potter and decided what scientifically must the next title be.

[David, Elayna, and Haley laugh]

Eric: Really, really, really weird. There’s so much information here.

David: That’s amazing! [laughs]

Eric: Harry Potter and the…

Haley: Could someone do that for the new Fantastic Beasts movie? Because I need to know the answer.

Eric: Here we go. It won’t even be Fantastic Beasts and…. It will be something else. Oh, here we go.

Elayna: It’ll be Newt Scamander and the Green Flame Torch. Duh.

Haley: Perfect!

David: Yep. Done. Sorted.

Elayna: Wait, wait, okay. I’m about to get real crazy fan theory on you guys for a second. Hold up. Because in the introduction of Fantastic Beasts, Newt mentions he has a teakettle. Mystic Kettle of Nackledirk mentioned in Fantastic Beasts. Confirmed.

David: She’s been planning it for 15 years.

Haley: And people said she just made this up later. Come on.

Elayna: Shannen from SpeakBeasty will be so thrilled at this theory. I plan to tell her. I’m excited.

Eric: Okay, according to [the] DarkLordPotter.net forums, you were right! The Green Flame Torch started as a joke when people saw the concept art for Half-Blood Prince and tried to guess what the title [was]. So the concept art had the Pensieve, I guess.

Elayna: It didn’t have the title on it.

Eric: No. It didn’t have the title, but it had the Pensieve.

Elayna: Okay. That’s what I thought. I remembered it having something to do with the cover art.

David: So there’s actually some provenance.

Haley: Yeah, because you’re from the UK, so you would have had a different cover than we did.

Elayna: Yeah. Our cover looks like a green torch.

Haley: The US covers…

David: Yeah. I can see the American cover. If you only have that with no title on it, yeah, it does look like a torch.

Elayna: The Green Flame Torch is totes legit.

Eric: No, yeah, yeah, Mary GrandPré. Okay! Here'[re] some other ones that were registered. Oh my God. They’re in bold if the patent is still registered. Some of them were withdrawn. I think, if this is to be believed, these were all in the running for actual titles of Harry Potter books that were patente: Harry Potter and the Chariots of Light, Harry Potter and the Final Revelation, The Great Revelation, The Green Flame Torch, The Hallows of Hogwarts, The Hogsmeade Tombs, The Hogwarts Hallows, The Mudblood Revolt.

[Elayna and Haley laugh]

Elayna: I’m here for that one!

David: I don’t remember that one, though.

Eric: I no longer believe any of these.

[David and Eric laugh]

Eric: The Parseltongue Trophy, The Pyramids of Furmat, there you go. That one is listed as still active. I wonder who owns that.

Elayna: Spoiler: It’s me.

David: They need to be renewed every so often, don’t they? If they’re not used?

Eric: Yeah, somebody’s paying money to keep that going so that nobody creates a Pyramids of Furmat book.

Haley: That’s so funny.

Eric: The Quest of the Centaur. That, I sort of remember.

Elayna: Yeah, that one sounds familiar.

Eric: The Realm of the Lion, The Serpent’s Revenge, and The Shadow of the Serpent.

Elayna: The Circle of Life.”No.

Eric: [sings] “The circle of life…”

Elayna: I’m sorry. You said “the lion,” and it just. I don’t know. It just came to me.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So really, really wonderful talk to remember some of these “would it be?” title theories.

Elayna: Well, like Haley said, we’re going to be getting deep into that for the next four movies with Fantastic Beasts, so [I] can’t wait for that.

Eric: Yeah. All right, I think we only have two more.

David: Yep, well, and the second one, we’ve sort of covered it earlier with the idea of Harry possibly being Slytherin’s…

Eric: Oh, true heir. Yeah. It ends up being a red herring because in some ways, Harry is Voldemort.

Haley: Wait, but people thought that he was his grandson? Voldemort’s grandson?

David: Yeah, or in some way related. I think it’s just because of the way the ages worked out, he’d be his grandson.

Elayna: They just wanted a Star Wars.

David: Well, again, 15 years later and we kind of got there anyway. But let’s not talk about that.

Eric: Yeah, yeah. But again, everything was possible still, back then.

David: Yeah. But yeah, I think it was just people misreading the clues about him being a Horcrux.

Haley: And he killed his son? Man, that’s horrible. Well, he killed Remus. My bad. He didn’t kill his son.

Eric: There’s always Delphi.

Elayna: I’m sorry, there’s who? Your audio cut out.

[David, Eric, Haley laugh]

Eric: Delphi?

Elayna: I heard nothing.

[David, Elayna, and Eric laugh]

Elayna: Still you’re just… I don’t know. There’s that one word. I don’t know. I just hear silence.

Eric: Yeah, it’s… David, take us away!

David: Okay. This is a weird one because I think, again, it was buried in a chat from about ’99 or 2000. And I think people forgot about it, so it became a bit of a rumor that there was going to be this Weasley cousin turning up in one of the later books who was going to be mentally a match for Hermione but be really quite obnoxious, and she was going to be in Slytherin.

Elayna: I remember that one.

Eric: Why do I remember this?

Elayna: That’s what I’m saying! I’m having the same reaction right now.

David: It seemed to be rediscovered recently, or Jo mentioned it in an interview recently. And it’as one of the reasons she had to rewrite a third of Goblet of Fire. Because she created this character, Mafalda Weasley, to put in Slytherin and to then get information about the Death Eaters because she’d hear their kids talking and she’d pass it on to the others. And then she got part of the way through the book and she realized there’s only so much an 11-year-old kid stuck at school can actually know so then gave a lot of that information to Rita, [for whom] it makes far more sense to come from. So it’s just this weird thing that it floated around rumors for a while, and then Jo has actually addressed it and said, “Well, no, this is where the rumor would have come from, and this is why it didn’t go anywhere.”

Haley: Yeah, like she could’ve [come] back for the Weasley wedding in Deathly Hallows.

[Elayna laughs]

David: That would’ve been an interesting little shout-out, actually. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, oh my gosh. No, this is great.

“Mafalda was the daughter of the ‘second cousin who’s a stockbroker’ mentioned in Philosopher’s Stone. This stockbroker had been very rude to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley in the past, but now he and his (Muggle) wife had inconveniently produced a witch, they came back to the Weasleys asking for their help in introducing her to wizarding society before she starts at Hogwarts. The Weasleys agreed to taking her for part of the summer, including the Quidditch World Cup, but regretted this almost immediately. Mrs. Weasley suspected that Mafalda’s parents simply wanted to get rid of her for a while, because she turns out to be the most unpleasant child Mrs. Weasley has ever met.”

Haley: So she would be a first year. Oh, so she’s a first year and then she’s in Slytherin. That’s hilarious.

Eric: This is like the Eustace Scrubb of Harry Potter, for those of you who are…

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: Cousin Eustace is just a singularly unpleasant character who comes to visit the Pevensies, but it’s just Edmund and Lucy in Narnia in the later books. But sort of like that. I love this idea, and I love that sometimes things don’t work. J.K. Rowling is not flawless. For somebody who meticulously plans, there’s a character that, look, was at one point going to be a big part of Book 4, but now [she] not only did not but [also] never appeared again. Very clearly a character that completely did not need to exist at all, whatsoever.

David: And presumably would’ve had some role to play in the later books as well.

Eric: I guess, yeah, because you can’t just have somebody and then not address them later, even though… Krum doesn’t come to the final battle, does he?

Haley: He comes to the wedding, though.

Eric: He comes to the wedding. Okay, yeah.

Elayna: But yeah, I don’t think he’s there for the last battle.

Haley: But he doesn’t go to Hogwarts, so it makes sense.

Eric: Well, but it’s a battle for the world. It’s not just a battle for…

Haley: True. Well, I’d assume he’d probably have gone back to Bulgaria or something after that, so he probably wasn’t around.

David: He was probably on his way on a broom.

Haley: [laughs] And was like, “Ahh, they fixed it before I got there! I was coming.”

Eric: He’ll be there in three ticks.

[David laughs]

Eric: No, this article on Teen Vogue that you’ve linked to, David, is extremely fascinating. Wow.

David: Yeah, it’s interesting, right? [laughs]

Eric: I love this. I mean, and the Weasleys, who have a big family… I don’t think it would have broken the story for them to have one more relation.

Elayna: [laughs] All of the Weasleys.

Eric: All the Weasleys. I really honestly think that wraps up our Alohomora! discussion on old theories.

[David laughs]

Elayna: [sighs] Oh, gosh.

Eric: Now, of course, I want to hear if there were others that you, the listener, have heard and used to subscribe to. And if they’re even half as well thought out as some of these, we want to hear about them, so definitely leave a comment on the Alohomora! thread on the main page, alohomora.mugglenet.com. But yeah, for now, that will do it for this discussion.

Elayna: Woo-hoo!

Haley: Yeah, and thank you, David, for guest hosting today. You had a bunch of great theories. [laughs]

Eric: Lots of good stuff, David. Lots of good stuff.

David: Thank you for having me on.

Elayna: Excellent, excellent theories. So the next topic is going to be a live episode that’s going to be about Sorcerer’s Stone. Which is going to be coming up in a couple of weeks, so just stay tuned for more details about that.

Eric: It’s going to be cool. Another live episode of Alohomora! You can listen in and participate. It’s going to be really, really, really, really, really, really great.

Elayna: Live episodes are the best.

Eric: Well, if you would like to be on the show, like David was, there is a topic submit page. So there’s actually a “Be on the Show!” section of our website where you can submit to claim a topic that you think is real[ly] cool – something that you’re interested in – and actually apply that way. So we not only have like we used to do where it’s like, “Oh, I want to be on the show,” but you can choose which episode you want to talk about. Because a lot of these – as you’ve understood from listening – can get quite involved, and we wouldn’t want to have you on for a topic that doesn’t interest you.

[Elayna laughs]

Eric: So if you have a set of Apple headphones, that should do it. You don’t need too intense equipment for it, but we will get a sample audio recording in this sort of thing. But that’s all explained on the website, so go check out the website, alohomora.mugglenet.com.

Haley: And if you want to contact us, you can always check us out on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN. Capital “MN.” You can go on Facebook to facebook.com/openthedumbledore or visit our website, alohomora.mugglenet.com. And sadly, there are no more audioBooms. It seems that they have done away with the record-and-send-it-in feature, and we are sad!

Eric: We are very sad.

Elayna: Hmm. That’s a bummer.

Eric: We want to remind our listeners to, once again, check out Patreon. There’s actually a recent bonus discussion on the trolley witch from our Cursed Child “Is it Canon?” episode. Which Elayna thankfully was missing from, and so was I. Thank you for…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: We would have just torn it all down.

Elayna: You’re all welcome, anyone who likes it.

[Eric and Haley laugh]

Eric: And you can sponsor our episodes by becoming a patron [at] patreon.com/Alohomora. You can sponsor for as low as $1 a month. And once again, this episode was sponsored by Susan S. on Patreon. Thanks, Susan! Well, that about does it. I am Eric Scull.

Haley: I’m Haley Lewis.

Elayna: I’m Elayna Darcy, and thank you for listening to Episode 216 of Alohomora!

[Show music begins]

Eric: Open the Dumbledore! James is Lupin.

[Everyone laughs]

Elayna: Wait, isn’t it “Lupin is James”?

Haley: Lupin is James.

Eric: Lupin is James.

Elayna: Lupin is James!

[Show music continues]

Elayna: Voldemort would be the oldemest… “The oldemest”? The oldemest.

[Haley laughs]

Eric: “Oldemest”?

Elayna: [laughs] Voldemest the oldemest.

[Everyone laughs]

Elayna: I think that’s why I got confused. There were two O-L-Ds too close together. Anyway…