Transcript – Episode 220

[Show music begins]

Eric Scull: This is Episode 220 of Alohomora! for May 13, 2017.

[Show music continues]

Eric: Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Alohomora!, the original Harry Potter book club. I am Eric Scull.

Haley Lewis: I’m Haley Lewis.

Kat Miller: I’m Kat Miller, and our guest today is our friend, the lovely Bella. Hello, good morning.

Bella Chadwell: Hello, good morning.

Kat: Tell our listeners a little bit about yourself.

Bella: I’ve been listening to Harry Potter podcasts since I was, like, 14, back in the old days, and I am 23, I’m a Gryffindor with some Ravenclaw tendencies, and yeah, I like to write. That’s me in a nutshell.

Kat: And it’s also, like, 6:30 in the morning for you, so gosh, you’re a trooper.

[Haley laughs]

Bella: Yeah, it’s very early. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah, listeners, we’re all recording this, I mean, not super early in the morning, not for the East Coast people, but in the morning, so if we all sound a little groggy, yeah, that’s why.

Eric: But it fits, I think, with our discussion this week.

[Eric and Haley laugh]

Kat: I believe that it does too. So our topic is a really fun one, I think, and this should be a really interesting discussion. We’re going to discuss the theory that Harry is imagining everything. So he’s still stuck in the cupboard and this entire magical adventure that he goes on is all in his head.

Eric: All a dream, maybe? [laughs]

Kat: All a dream, a delusional fantasy. It’s really sad. It’s not exactly a fun theory…

[Eric, Haley, and Kat laugh]

Kat: … but it’s going to be an interesting discussion.

Eric: [laughs] Wonderful. Well, this episode of Alohomora!, of course, is sponsored by Megan Blum on Patreon. And you can become a sponsor for as little as $1 a month. We’ll continue to release exclusive tidbits for our sponsors and you can find out more by going to patreon.com/alohomora.

Kat: Thank you, Megan. Woo-hoo!

Eric: Thank you, Megan.

Kat: Claps, claps. She’s been a sponsor for well over a year, so she’s the best. Yeah, Megan! High five!

Eric: Nice. Wow, yeah. Very much appreciated. High five.

Kat: So before jumping into our topic for this week, we want to talk a little bit about our overall impressions or anything we want to get out of this discussion, something to focus on. And I was trying to think about this theory and why I was so intrigued by it and I think it’s probably because… I’m not even sure I have the right words for it. I’m so intrigued by how someone could, I guess, tear the canon apart so much, is why I’m interested in this and how it came to be in the first place.

Eric: By proposing this theory to begin with?

Kat: Yeah, I’m always super interested [in] how theories come to be, personally, because I don’t get it. Like, what? This is a fun one.

Eric: I mean, on that thread of thought, I always used to say, when I was very young and reading the books for the first time, that if Harry were to have died in the end, that it would have tremendously affected the rereadability of Harry Potter for me. Because you’re going through these books, seven long novels, reading into how he feels in a particular moment, right? And what’s the point? What’s this value of “Harry was sad for three months straight in Year 4”? Who cares? He’s dead.

[Haley and Kat laugh]

Eric: It would be torturous to reread. Or even if Ron had died, one of the main three, going through the books and looking at their emotional growth and emotional state and relationship with others under a microscope for such a long duration of time only to have them die. So the reason I think that’s connected is, what would have been the point of all of this growth? For seven entire years, we’re talking, even if it was a dream the whole time, Harry has dreams within this dream and dreams mean things and there’s weather and there'[re] so many other characters that live and die and breathe. But all of that greatness, does this theory diminish the opportunity for us to enjoy what’s been going on?

Kat: Yeah. I didn’t think about the dreams within the dreams. Man, that is so Inception. It’s crazy.

[Bella and Eric laugh]

Kat: Maybe Harry wrote that movie in his dream.

Haley: He did. He did. He gets bored in the cupboard.

[Eric laughs]

Kat: Yeah, I’m sure he does. Oh man, there are stories about… Oh, I can’t wait. This is going to be good.

Haley: Yeah, I mean, personally, I, obviously, don’t really subscribe to the fact that this theory is what J.K. Rowling intended, but I think it’s cool, knowing this isn’t real, to reread the books with this in mind. It’s a cool way to look at them if you’re doing a reread and you want to think about them in a different way. And also, Jo has so many connections in the book that do represent mental health and stuff, so why not take it one step further? She’s already trying to drive that message home.

Kat: This would make a really cool dissertation paper or something, right?

Haley: Yeah.

Kat: Cool. So as far as I could see, there were four facets on how this theory came to be, and we’ll discuss those in a second, but I also wanted to touch on, really briefly, other shows or experiences that do actually use this theory. It’s not just a theory – it’s an actual thing that legitimately happens.

Eric: [as Dorothy] “It was all a dream.”

Kat: Yeah, it was all a dream.

Eric: “And you were there.”

Kat: [laughs] [as Dorothy] “You were there and you were there.” Yeah, the biggest one, obviously… Probably most of our listeners have never seen this, but The Bob Newhart Show. So [in] the very last episode, he wakes up and the whole thing was a dream.

Bella: They also, as a joke, do that on 30 Rock too.

Kat: Oh, do they? I’ve never seen 30 Rock.

Bella: Well, the joke at the end – it’s just parodying it. – [is,] one of the characters picks up a snow globe and he’s like, “And everything was in the snow globe the whole time.” It wasn’t really, but it’s just a joke at the end of the series.

Kat: Okay, just mocking it, sure. Obviously, another big one is – Potter fans are going to love this one – Twilight, of course. [laughs] If you’ve seen Breaking Dawn – Part 2, I suppose, there’s a whole sequence in the fight scene that ends up being one of Alice’s visions. It doesn’t actually happen. So they kill off all these characters and all that stuff. I did see it on $5 Tuesday – don’t judge me. And everybody in the theater – there were, like, four people – [was] like, “What the hell is going on? What?”

Bella: [laughs] Four people!

Eric: well, because that’s not in the book at all.

Haley: Yeah, it’s not.

Eric: I’ve only read the book.

Kat: It is not in the book.

Eric: Oh, God. Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is the one Twilight movie I haven’t seen.

Kat: Probably okay.

Haley: I’ve only seen the first one, but all of my friends – I never read them – read and watched them so much that I literally just know everything that happens.

Eric: Everything in it.

Haley: Secondhand.

Eric: Yeah, I would approve of that being in the film because it would have been much more satisfying for a film than talking about it, which is what they actually do at the end. So yeah, I support that. I’m thinking even more popular in the zeitgeist would be Wizard of Oz, for sure. Many more people our age have seen Wizard of Oz than The Bob Newhart Show or even Breaking Dawn – Part 2. Wizard of Oz is the classic way to incorporate reality in the dream. You have characters that, Dorothy’s uncles and all the farm hands and her family, are all worked into. And even that angry neighbor.

Haley: Yeah, but then also, it’s like, is it a dream? Since there'[re] a bunch more books.

Eric: That she goes back to Oz in.

Kat: I was just thinking, what about Winnie the Pooh?

Eric: Winnie the Pooh is a good… because that’s an imaginary fantasy of Christopher Robin, right? He’s playing with his toys.

Haley: Yeah, you don’t really think of it as being crazy, more of just of being a kid, though.

Kat: No, that’s true. That is very true.

Haley: Because he’s supposed to be four. There is that theory that all of the animals in Winnie the Pooh represent different disorders, though.

Kat: Oh, what is it? Do you know them?

Haley: I know some of them. Piglet is anxiety, and Eeyore is depression, and Rabbit is OCD and stuff. I forget what all the other ones are, but it’s that they all have those personality traits.

Kat: Wow. That’s so cool.

Eric: I think it speaks to this idea that the reality that we find in dreams is helping us through different parts of ourselves. As it applies to Harry, [it] would be, as he grows, characters like Hagrid who come to him and give him this profound sense of worth. And the wonder and awe of it all is really an escapist fantasy, and his mind is desperately wanting to assign a happy purpose and optimism to reasons for feeling optimistic and reasons for being happy to [himself], to save [himself], which is interesting.

Kat: Yeah, and that’s definitely one of the four things that I discovered when I was trying to break this down. And – it’s funny because this theory and all of the research that I did and I found from this – it usually stems from people being upset with something in the plot and they wanted to change it.

[Eric and Haley laugh]

Kat: Or on the other hand, [it’s] the author’s desire to start fresh. Wherever that comes from depends on the story, but obviously, we’re dangerously close to some Cursed Child stuff.

Haley: [laughs] Saying it was all a dream, Cursed Child?

Kat: Well, it wasn’t per se a dream, but it was as pointless as one.

Eric: Well, because it picks up where it left off, doesn’t it? Or it leaves off where it picked up?

Haley: In the epilogue, you’re saying?

Eric: I’m trying to remember Cursed Child. Although I am simultaneously trying to repress it, so…

Haley: [laughs] Yeah, it starts nineteen years later, and then it jumps forward four years.

Eric: But then at the end of it…

Haley: And there'[re] dreams inside that dream too. So lots of dreams in Cursed Child.

Kat: Dreams in alternate timelines.

Eric: But the timelines are all reset, right? So does Cursed Child end 19 years in the future or 22 years in the future?

Kat: 22.

Eric: So some time has passed.

Kat: It’s still weird and terrible, though.

[Eric and Haley laugh]

Kat: Sorry. Somewhere Alison is screaming at us right now.

Haley: Alison, I’m here for you. I love Cursed Child even though it’s ridiculous.

Kat: It’s okay. You’re allowed to believe what you want. Kind of like Harry.

[Eric and Kat laugh]

Eric: In this theory.

Kat: Yeah, exactly. Again, there’s probably more, and they can probably be split up a little differently, but the four things that I came up with that really helped to support this theory… So the first one is that Harry is ridiculously abused – physically, mentally, emotionally – throughout his entire life. It’s not just when he’s with the Dursleys, and it’s… Yes, it’s funny because I think a lot of people see Harry leave the Dursleys and are [like], “Oh great, he’s in Hogwarts, he’s happy, and things are going to be wonderful.” No, not really. He has more injuries than most people, but none of them is magical.

Haley: Yes, he’s always in the hospital wing.

Kat: Yeah, none of them is magical; if you notice, they all are mundane and pretty normal: broken bones, concussions, things like that, which [are] suspicious.

Haley: So would it be sustained in the theory that he, in his normal life, is getting these broken bones and stuff, and he’s just imagining, “Ooh, I fell off a broom. That’s what happened. My life isn’t horrible.”

Kat: Yeah, coping mechanism.

Eric: So it would be in this view of the theory that this is a recurring fantasy that Harry has. So evenings pass, maybe. In fact, entire years go by while he’s in his head at Hogwarts, but in real life, he’s still just in the Muggle world.

Kat: Yeah, so the base of the theory is basically that because Harry… Well, I guess there'[re] two theories to subscribe to here. One of them is because Harry was so abused by the Dursleys that he’s still living in the cupboard and that his life is just terrible and he’s made this whole thing up in order to cope up with his terrible life. There’s another theory that Harry’s parents never actually existed, that Petunia and Vernon are his parents, Dudley is his brother, and that he’s basically just “crazy” and that, eventually, he hurts Dudley so bad that they put him into a mental hospital and that all of the characters and everything that happens to him is actually something that happens in the mental hospital. So Sirius is just another patient, Bellatrix is just another patient, and things like that. When the Dementors break out of Azkaban, that’s people leaving or whatever. Things like that.

Eric: Yeah, I think what’s so fascinating is the connective threads our analytical minds are already drawing toward the stranger of the two theories, which is that latter. Because the way that the books are so tied to Harry’s relationship with each of these people, it could very much be that same relationship but in a different place. I think we’re used to seeing the idea of The Wizard of Oz-style “this is my relationship with this person” but transposed it onto another circumstance or series of events. You could see it in a different light.

Haley: Yeah, that was definitely more of The Wizard of Oz because the other one also does make sense because of the fact that his parents died in a car crash, but he’s like, “No, they were wizards, and they saved the world,” trying to cope with that.

Bella: I don’t think the latter one would make sense unless you think that Vernon and Petunia want him to think that they’re not his parents, because Harry asks about his scar or something, and Petunia says, “It’s from when your parents died in that car crash.”

Haley: Oh yeah, maybe like, “Where did I get this scar, then?” “In the car crash.” Yeah. That’s what it would have to be. Right.

Eric: But as for the first theory, though, Harry is very physically… When you read Book 1, you forget that some of the stuff is in here if it’s been a while. But Petunia absolutely swats a frying pan at Harry, and it’s only by the grace of God that he’s fast enough to duck, because, actually, a frying pan would have hit him pretty darn hard in that moment.

Kat: I’m pretty sure it’s even a cast-iron pan. I think it says “cast-iron skillet.”

Eric: Yeah. She is not messing around. [laughs]

Haley: No, and this probably isn’t the first time she’s done it either.

Eric: Yeah. That’s why he’s so quick, because it’s a learned thing to be so quick.

Haley: Also, the fact, too, that… I’ve always felt so sad that Harry had zero friends at school when he was at a Muggle school; he didn’t have any friends at all because Dudley scared everyone away, too, so it’s not like he had anyone else to project this to.

Kat: Which fits the theory. Maybe he just never went to school. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t know how to do math.

[Eric laughs]

Kat: Just saying.

Eric: J.K. Rowling doesn’t know how to do math either, and she totally went to school.

Kat: Yes, well, I suppose.

Haley: So you’ve been told.

Eric: So I’ve been told. It could’ve all been a dream of J.K. Rowling.

[Haley and Kat laugh]

Eric: What if we’re all in a J.K. Rowling dream where…

Haley: We’re all in a J.K. Rowling dream!

Eric: … we’re on her bookshelf? You remember also from Book 1, there’s this moment where Harry Apparated on the roof of his school? It’s not said that he Apparated, but boys were chasing him, and all of a sudden, he found himself on the roof of the school buildings. And I think it is even said that a janitor has to come and get him down. We assume that it’s Harry not realizing he was a wizard, so he Apparated. But what if he actually repressed the memory of being so scared for his life that he climbs a drain pipe or something?

Haley: Aww. That’s so sad.

Eric: Yeah. Even within his dream or within his abuse, he goes into a state where it is fight or flight, and he does not recall getting up there because it is literally the worst moment of his life.

Haley: And he’s just like, “Oh, it’s magic,” to try to explain it to himself.

Kat: Oh my gosh. And you think about other people in this world, like Neville. His uncle dropped him out [of] a window. Isn’t it something like that?

Eric: But he bounced. It’s okay. [laughs]

Kat: He did bounce, but maybe he didn’t bounce.

Eric: No, I’m pretty sure he bounced. Leave Neville out of this. [laughs]

Kat: I know, but I’m saying in this theory…

Haley: [laughs] “Leave Neville out of this.”

Kat: Well, Neville ties in quite a bit.

Haley: He does.

Kat: He’s the Boy Who Could Have Been.

Haley: Yeah. Harry’s life was pretty terrible at the Dursleys’. The thing in the book [is,] it’s played for laughs a lot, like, “Oh, the Dursleys. They’re so evil and mean. It’s funny.” But no, these people need to be put in jail for what they are doing to him. Child Protective Services needs to come to this house and save Harry.

Eric: [as Mr. Dursley] “Fetch my coffee, boy!”

Kat: Yeah. Okay, so obviously, Harry’s life with the Dursleys sucks. But what about his life at Hogwarts? Sure, he has Ron and Hermione there, his fellow mental patients.

[Everyone laughs]

Haley: Wait. Sorry. I want to know what Ron and Hermione are in for, though.

Eric: [laughs] Ron has a food addiction.

Kat: Hermione, she’s a savant, maybe. But no, think about some of the people who are at Hogwarts. I’m going to get hate for this, but what about Snape?

Eric: How do you mean?

Kat: Snape. The way that he treats Harry throughout the entire series. It’s an easy person for Harry to hate and to make out to be the bad guy.

Haley: I feel like when you are saying that it works even more when he is trying to put all of his problems and feelings on him to be the bad guy. And then in a weird way in the end it turns out, “I was trying to help you the whole time.” [laughs] Even though he was being horrible to him.

Kat: When you put it in that light, I don’t hate Snape so much.

Eric: Yeah. “Well, here’s a character who has this unbridled hatred for me. I can’t control it, so I am going to just simply get by. I’m going to be like, ‘Well, he hates me. He hates my father. I absolve myself from responsibility for how he feels about me, and that makes me able to cope.'”

Haley: So in either scenario – again, a patient or in his real life – he could possibly be an actual teacher [who] is bullying him at school, which is affecting his life. He’s brought him into his fantasy.

Kat: To villanize him.

Eric: Maybe Snape as Potions Master is…

Haley: Chemistry teacher.

Eric: Well, I wasn’t even going to say “chemistry teacher.” I was going to say “the doctor who always makes Harry take his medicine,” right?

Kat: The school psychologist.

Eric: It’s a gross pill to swallow to put up with Snape. Maybe he’s actually the guy who comes around to make sure Harry gets his meds.

Haley: And that works again with the “I’m hurting you, but I’m trying to help you.”

Eric: Yeah. None of the particular type of tricks that Harry tries to pull he really gets away with in front of Snape. He can woo the other teachers, because they are impressed by his celebrity, his skill, his prowess, but Snape just doesn’t buy it. So maybe that could be a metaphor. I think we are actually helping this theory in discussion.

Haley: We’re trying to prove it here, actually.

Kat: Where do we think Dumbledore then fits into Harry’s life in this alternate Hogwarts?

Haley: I was reading up on this. They were saying that he is the father figure to him; it’s not a very good one. He’s also insane in this theory, but he is this father figure that he created for himself. “Okay, Dumbledore is going to fix everything. I always have him there in case something goes wrong.”

Bella: I hate to concede anything to this theory, because it is not a theory I subscribe to at all.

[Everyone laughs]

Bella: And I have so many issues with it, but I think Dumbledore could be more of the psychologist-type figure, just because any time Harry is throwing a fit or asking questions, Dumbledore is always like, “Okay, Harry. Why do you feel like that?” and has these sit-down moments with him in several of the books where he is like, “Okay, but this…” So I think, if anything, Dumbledore would be more of the psychologist character.

Eric: He has all of the answers. Even some he is not telling Harry. The real clues to Harry’s past or his mental state or whatever you would say. And psychologists are – I think by profession – a degree removed. They are kind to their patients, but sometimes you really can’t tell a patient exactly what they need to hear, exactly what’s wrong with them, right? So there is that responsibility to handle things one day at a time. And that is very much a Dumbledore sort of thing, where he is not revealing…

Bella: What you are saying is that, if this theory were true, I wouldn’t have reason to dislike Dumbledore.

Eric: I don’t think that any of us, as Harry Potter fans, have no reason to dislike Dumbledore. Wait, what? Sorry. I may have added a double negative.

[Everyone laughs]

Haley: Do you like Dumbledore?

Kat: She does not like Dumbledore.

Eric: Oh. I don’t like Dumbledore either. It’s a very Machiavellian thing, like, “Raising you to be a pig for slaughter.” Very methodical. And there are the psychologists who genuinely don’t care about their patients. I am going to assume they are in the minority for mental health’s sake, but you get psychologists sometimes out there – based [on] nothing [in] particular, of course – who are either poor psychologists or probably just in it for the money. I think you’ll find, in any profession, you get people who are just in it for the money.

Haley: Yeah. And also, with him being a psychologist, sometimes if someone is having a delusion, it’s the “Let’s let this play out and see what we find out.” So it would be like he is talking to this guy Dumbledore, and he’s like, “Yeah, Harry. Tell me what else happens.” And he’s asking him questions like, “Oh. Maybe this is why this is happening in your fantasy.” And Harry is like, “Oh. Okay, that makes sense” and just will keep going with it.

Kat: And then they dive into the memories. Think about when Dumbledore dies, so maybe this therapist gets a new job and leaves.

Eric: And he writes in his very extensive notes, “This patient is incurable.”

[Eric and Haley laugh]

Eric: “I’ve done everything I can to examine, and this is exactly the mental disorder he is suffering from. But I am at my limit. I must depart.” God. And then to think of King’s Cross as being the moment where Harry has done something truly terrible, and the psychologist comes back as an epilogue.

Haley: That’s so sad.

Kat: Yeah. Let’s touch on that for a moment, and I think maybe we should take a second and just tell everybody that we are going to be getting into maybe a bit of a hairy – no pun intended – territory. So just putting a warning out there for anybody who might want to pause or fast-forward a little bit. We will try to pop in a timestamp after the show is edited, just so you guys can maybe skip this little part in case you want to.

Announcer: If you’d like to avoid a discussion dealing with depression and suicide, please skip to around the 47-minute mark.

Kat: So the theory that basically backs this entire theory. There’s an actual medical term for this, and it’s called “fantasy coping mechanism.” And I found a lot of stuff about it, but there'[re] a couple [of] sentences here that I just wanted to summarize the whole thing. I’m sure we’re all pretty familiar with it, but just in case. So it says, “When we cannot achieve [or] do something that we want, we channel the energy created by the desire into fantastic imaginings. Fantasy also provides temporary relief from the general stresses of everyday living. Many of the activities in which we indulge help us to get away from our lives or our characters with which we are not happy. These can be relatively harmless, such as sports or hobbies. They can also be hazardous and even fatal, including taking drugs and indulging in extreme sports. At the most extreme, some commit suicide to escape an unhappy life.” So you brought up King’s Cross, and when I was reading all about this, that was the first thing that came to mind. Maybe Harry tries to hurt himself and that’s the experience he gets out of it.

Haley: Yeah. Well, he’s going off to die in the book.

Eric: He’s sacrificing himself for the wizarding world. And King’s Cross is the most sterile environment ever, so there’s that.

Kat: It’s funny because, Eric, you said before, we’re helping this theory along. I still don’t really believe it, but I’m so fascinated by it.

Eric: I don’t believe it at all.

Haley: Yeah, I don’t either.

Eric: But there’s something there, right? But what are these relations that you have here in the Document of the different characters right beneath this theory?

Kat: Yeah. So some of them we already touched on. That Sirius is described even in the novels as having gone insane in Azkaban. I’m not quite sure where Azkaban fits into the whole thing. Is that maybe…?

Haley: Maybe a ward off…

Eric: Solitary confinement, maybe. Or something worse.

Haley: Yeah. And then they break out, and Sirius meets him coming into his ward or whatever. He hears about him from the other patients.

Kat: Right. And it’s funny. I was reading a whole thing last night about Sirius. Everybody knows how I feel about Sirius. But there was a big discussion, a big theory, about how Sirius befriends Harry and they both start to get better, but then Sirius has a relapse and Harry just loses it from there because they were both helping each other become healthy again.

Eric: Yeah. In novels where you’re dealing with… I’m thinking of a book called Smack by Melvin Burgess. I think it’s published in England as Junk. It’s a book about heroin addiction and it’s amazing. It’s about teenagers who sort of squat in London in the early ’90s, I think it is. But through their interactions with each other, there’s this sense of getting better. And then circumstances happen where it’s not really a happy ending. But the interdependency of similarly afflicted people is chronicled, and it’s really, I think, done in a very well, very heartful way. Just as an example.

Kat: What was it called?

Eric: Smack by Melvin Burgess. I read it when I was in ninth grade, and it was one of the better… We were given a lot of options for teen angst novels, and I want to say it was before young adult fiction was so popular. And it was one of the original books that was out there to talk about this stuff, but it does it [really well]. So I can recommend that.

Kat: Sounds heavy for ninth grade. But then, I suppose Harry Potter gets pretty heavy too.

Eric: We also read Catcher in the Rye, which I didn’t care for. But yeah, just different teens struggling with different addictions and things like that.

Haley: You’ll be surprised what they read for school assignments when you’re younger. I look back, and I’m like, “Wow, I can’t believe they let me read that.”

Eric: Sort of like Harry’s world too, where all of these teachers are treating him like an adult from Day 1, which is just good writing on Jo’s part. That’s how you should talk to children, as if they’re adults. But then you also have characters like Dumbledore who are hiding things from Harry, and there’s also a place for that too. There’s an argument to be made that Harry is too young to deal with the realities of the world around him, and adults… It is their responsibility to make that sort of call. So I think I can see both sides of that.

Kat: Especially since Dumbledore is clearly Harry’s child psychologist.

Haley: Clearly. Obviously.

Kat: Obviously. Yeah. This one is pretty obvious, and Jo has spoken about this one a lot, but the Dementors. They probably fit the easiest into this whole theory as an allegory for depression.

Eric: Yeah. Maybe they don’t really exist, but Harry is coping with having bad feelings.

Haley: Yeah. And maybe he notices that people around him are all starting to get really depressed, and he imagines, “Oh, the Dementors are doing this to us.”

Eric: And it could also speak toward seasonal affective disorder as well. When it’s cloudier more often. Or on a rainy day, Harry could be perceiving from the seat of his rocking chair. I’m just imagining a rocking chair in a facility now.

Kat: Rocking chair.

Eric: That on cloudy days people are less happy.

Bella: Taking the Dementors a step further, they could also represent PTSD. I know that’s not what Jo has said, but my best friend suffers from PTSD from an old relationship, so she’s been seeing counseling for it. And one of the things that is a side effect of PTSD is flashbacks. And so I think Harry having had really bad things in his life, it could technically be PTSD, where the Dementors would be his really bad flashbacks. And if you’re subscribing to this theory, that is his explanation for it.

Eric: Right, because he relives the moment of his parents’ death.

Haley: Yeah, with Lily.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I like that a lot.

Kat: Wow. Wow.

[Eric and Kat laugh]

Kat: This is so depressing. Oh my gosh.

Haley: It really is.

Kat: So maybe let’s lighten it up for a second and talk about a character that a lot of people really love and relate to, and that’s Luna. In all of the research that I read and how I’m thinking about it, she’s the only other person in this world who understands him. So she comes to… I don’t know. Maybe she’s another patient at the office, or she lives on Harry’s ward, and they become friends because she buys into this whole world that Harry has built. And it’s easier for her to escape with him than to make her own. Although obviously, she has her own world too.

Eric: Do you guys remember – of course, this is dating myself – the film Good Burger? With Kenan and Kel? There’s that woman, I think it’s in a mental institution, where she relates to Kel, though. I forget why they’re there. She comes up to him and says, “Have small space aliens ever landed in your brain and told you to break into the zoo and free the kangaroos?” And Ed says, “Not that I recall.” I just looked up the quote. But then he’s like, “What are you in here for?” And she’s like, “I broke into the zoo and freed kangaroos.” That’s Luna to me. She absolutely relates to him but is a slightly different brand of crazy.

Bella: And it also would be the fact that he met her later on in his life, while he was there.

Eric: Yeah, almost too late, right? She’s a breath of fresh air when he meets her, but she’s younger than him. Yeah, I can see that.

Kat: Okay, so you didn’t want to talk about him before. We’re going to talk about him now. What about Neville?

Eric: I’m confused how he fits into all of this.

Haley: Well, I just thought of something: His parents are in a hospital. They’re mentally [insane]. What if Neville wasn’t in the ward? What if he was visiting his parents who live there with Harry?

Eric: What if? Yeah, what if Neville is not in the ward at all, like you just said? What if Neville reminds Harry of himself or a normal version of himself, like a nondepressed, noncommitted person who might even look like Harry? Or maybe it’s revealed in conversation that they have the same birthday; let’s even play that card. And Harry is just like, “This is what my life could have been if I [weren’t] in here.” So he sees Neville as a real equal.

Bella: I have a lot of issues with that one because in the books I’m pretty sure Neville is blond. Also, along [with] that, you don’t find out that his parents are in the hospital until the fifth book.

Haley: Book 5, yeah.

Eric: Yeah, much later.

Bella: You see them but… [Harry] finds out in Book 4, at the end? So you don’t see them until then. So you just see Neville walking occasionally, and I don’t see that, if that were a reason, Harry would have any reason to include him in this delusion, just because he doesn’t really have a tie to him, and Neville shows up quite a lot. He loses his frog and then he tells [the trio], “No, you can’t sneak out.” And so he’s pretty prevalent in the first book as a plot device. So I just don’t see Harry including him if Neville is not a constant figure that Harry is aware of.

Kat: Well, okay. Maybe Neville is a little boy who’s visiting his parents all the time and…

Haley: Yeah, he just sees him.

Kat: Maybe Harry in his room – his locked room with the windows or something – gets to see Neville playing across the hallway while Augusta is visiting Frank and Alice. And so Harry is seeing and watching Neville and thinking that he wants to be that person.

Haley: Or Neville actually does lose something like – I don’t know – your frog into a hospital, but…

Kat: Stuffed animal.

Haley: Yeah. He’s like, “Oh, I lost it.” He goes in there and that’s how he meets him.

Eric: Stuffed animal. I love it.

Kat: So on the flip side of that coin – and this one really intrigues me – is all the similarities between Harry and Tom Riddle, how they’re basically the same person. Harry is his own villain. How crazy is that?

Eric: Harry is his own villain. So here’s an example of a boy who was institutionalized from a young age but went about it all in the wrong ways, right? [He] tortured the other students, all the things that Harry didn’t do. And he tells them this story to feel better about who he is, that he’s the hero in his story. Yeah, sold.

Haley: And it could be Dumbledore, psychiatrist Dumbledore…

Eric: Telling him the story.

Haley: … telling this too.

Kat: Wait, telling the story of Harry and Tom Riddle?

Eric: Telling the story of how not to be moved.

Haley: Yeah. It is making me think of Half-Blood Prince. This might just be in the movie where [Dumbledore says], “There was a boy who did all the wrong things” and stuff like that.

[Eric laughs]

Haley: Like that little speech. Which was supposed to be for Draco, but it’s for Harry.

Kat: Which makes me think of Slughorn. Was he an old therapist of Harry’s? Or a specialist that Dumbledore brought in to try [to] help with something? Like a hypnotist or something?

Eric: Slughorn was a very comfortable armchair that Harry got really close to.

[Everyone laughs]

Haley: [I like] that one, yes.

Eric: Or an older friend who always sat in an armchair.

Haley: Oh, yeah. I like the armchair combined with him.

Bella: Or even going with the first one, have you ever had an inanimate object that just looks like it has a face?

Haley: Yes! [laughs]

Bella: So I don’t know. Maybe it’s got a swirling pattern on the back and the seat cushion looks like the mouth. And Harry is just really losing it after Sirius at that point.

Haley: Yeah, and then the psychiatrist [asks], “Who’s that, Harry?” “Oh, that’s Slughorn.” [laughs] Points at a chair and they’re like, “Oh, gosh.”

Bella: Maybe that’s the brand.

Kat: Oh, wow.

Bella: It’s got a tag on the back.

[Bella and Kat laugh]

Bella: I love that.

Kat: Wow! The brand of Slughorn. Wow. Okay. Wow, we’re going deep.

Eric: This discussion is going places I did not expect it to go.

Haley: I love it.

Eric: Yeah, this is great.

Bella: I’m having more fun with this than I expected, just because I do not like this theory.

[Haley laughs]

Bella: But I think I’d enjoy it as a really good fan fiction.

Haley: Yeah, that’s how I view it too.

Bella: It gives me vibes of that episode of The Magicians, and so [laughs] I just keep thinking of that episode. It’s so good.

Kat: Yeah, too real. I agree [with] that. I think it would be really interesting to, as Haley said before, read the stories and focus on this theory and really think about… Even if you don’t believe it or buy into it in any way, there’s a lot of evidence there.

Haley: Yeah. You can make something up.

Kat: Yeah. What about the Mirror of Erised?

Haley: Yeah, I saw this one, and Harry sees it and it’s ironic, where Dumbledore tells him the story that people look at it and they go crazy envisioning what they really want and the quote about “It’s not good to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” Which is exactly what Harry is doing here.

Eric: So it would be in actual words that the therapist Dumbledore spoke to Harry. Maybe it was a technique. Maybe it was a legitimate therapeutic technique for Dumbledore to bring in a mirror. I can actually believe that 100%. If you bring in a mirror as an object to a therapy session and ask your patients what they see in the mirror…

Bella: Or even… What are those called? The test, the blot test?

Eric: Rorschach test, yeah. But any one of those analytical devices where if you show them a mirror, they have to confront who they are.

Bella: Who they are, yeah.

Eric: Even as [dissociative identity disorder], trying to diagnose that. Who are you? Who do you see in the mirror? I can see the mirror being a therapeutic technique but then Harry becoming obsessed with it for a little bit and Dumbledore having to put an end to that.

Bella: Yeah, that works.

Kat: Where would the obsession come from? Just that… I mean…

Haley: Maybe it’s just perpetuating his “My parents are wizards and I need to spend as much time with them as possible.”

Eric: Yeah, it makes Harry’s mental state worse when he sees the mirror because he’s imagining – and remember, in the books, it’s not just his parents – his entire family.

Haley: Yeah, [his] family, yeah.

Eric: His entire lineage. So Harry is starting to see…

Haley: [laughs] Ask Dumbledore, “What do you see in it?” “I see socks.” [laughs]

Eric: “I see socks. It’s a nice pair of socks.” Dumbledore is the therapist with all the crazy socks with hats on them.

Kat: I was just going to say that. It totally works.

[Eric and Kat laugh]

Eric: The fun therapist who always wears crazy socks. He’s the doctor who wears crazy socks to relate, like the pediatric doctor who’s really quirky for the kids.

Kat: Or the Canadian Prime Minister.

Eric: Or if you’re just Trudeau. Yeah.

Kat: Wow. So Cedric.

Haley: Yeah. I also saw this one where it was saying that Cedric Diggory is this image that Harry has of this perfect boy, this golden boy. And then, even in his fantasy, Voldemort kills him. Voldemort ruins this perfect image of this… He’s great; he’s Cho’s [boy]friend; he gets picked for the tournament; he’s a Hufflepuff. How can you not love him? And it’s just, this good thing is killed off by this old Voldemort, the evil in Harry’s fantasy.

Kat: So then if we think about Harry as Tom Riddle and that Harry is his own enemy (basically his own villain) and Neville is that perfect person or that other life that he could be, how does Cedric serve this delusion?

Eric: So remember that the Goblet of Fire chooses Cedric, right? And it’s this completely arbitrary sentience that chooses Cedric (and Harry) as the most valuable champions from the school to go forth. And so Harry, in this scenario, clearly admires Cedric’s character and sees Cedric as the ideal. So I’m trying to place him, but then I’m also falling short. But then I’m also remembering how Cedric helps Harry into the prefects’ bathroom. So maybe Cedric has access to a really swanky part of the hospital. [laughs]

Haley: Maybe he works there.

Eric: Maybe he’s an orderly or a student nurse.

Haley: He’s older too.

Kat: Aww, someone who’s just super nice to him?

Eric: Yeah, but who’s clearly…

Kat: A volunteer.

Haley: He’s the cute nurse. [laughs]

Eric: … young enough that Harry sees him like an older brother.

Haley: And then he leaves.

Eric: Or drowns.

Haley: He ends up leaving.

Kat: Or Harry actually kills this person.

Haley: Oh my gosh!

Bella: Cedric.

Eric: “Kill the spare.”

Kat: It’s plausible, isn’t it? It’s possible if, again, we’re discussing this as real life. Shoot, I just had thought of somebody when you were talking about… Oh shoot, who was it? Oh! Lockhart.

[Eric, Haley, and Kat laugh]

Haley: He’s some guy who comes in who’s like, “I have the solution. I can fix everyone,” and then it turns out he’s crazy too.

Bella: Lockhart is a pathological liar who suffers a serious brain injury, has an accident in the hospital, and then he is put in a separate ward because he’s lost all of his memories suffering from amnesia. Which is fine because he’s just a pathological liar.

Eric: Yeah. Who[m] Harry encounters early on.

Haley: Like he used to work there, but then he ends up becoming one of the patients.

Kat: Wow. This is so layered.

Haley: [laughs] We’ve gotten really deep.

Eric: We actually have to, for the purposes of the rest of the discussion, vow to no longer talk about who people are in the facility, right? We need to actively make a choice to stop ourselves from drawing parallels here. Moving forward.

Kat: Yes. This third part here is that plot holes are merely dream-/fantasy-induced inconsistencies. So we all know that as we dream, from night to night, things don’t necessarily line up. They aren’t continuous, usually almost never, unless you are very good at training your subconscious to continue a dream.

[Eric laughs]

Kat: Which I’ve never been able to do. I’m sure everybody’s had that.

Eric: I’d love to try.

Kat: Where they wake up from a really fun dream and they go to bed the next night and they’re like, “Oh, I just want to dream about that again,” and that doesn’t really work. So there’s a couple here, and I’m sure that we’ll come up with more as we discuss them. So the fact that Harry never fixed his eyesight…

[Eric laughs]

Kat: … is the biggest one that I had found.

Bella: This one bothers me because I’m so blind – I’ve had to wear glasses most of my life – and to fix eyes, you literally have to use a laser. And I just don’t see [how] magic would be able to fix that.

Eric: Yeah, for sure. There are Healers. You can heal a severed wound or bone being gutted from your arm.

Bella: But eyes get to a point where you can’t fix them. My boss at one of my jobs, her eyes are so bad that she can’t even get LASIK because they would have to cut out too much.

Haley: Oh my gosh. Well, I feel like it falls under… When she was making up the rules of how far can you get sick or how much can you heal, she said it’s normal things like bones or just normal colds. I feel like eyesight would fall into that jurisdiction of just Muggle things since Muggles wear glasses. Wizards can fix that.

Kat: It’s more a human thing than a magical thing, basically.

Haley: It’s more like you only can’t stop curses. Like with George’s ear, you could fix an ear if someone cut it off, but [it was] cursed off, so he can’t fix it. It’s like that.

Eric: Right. This was on Pottermore, wasn’t it? Where Jo was like, “Here'[re] the limitations of [magic].” Yes, so wizards can fix Muggle ailments but not wizard ailments, basically.

Kat: Yeah. So things like cancer or bad eyesight can’t be cured by magic.

Eric: So Harry doesn’t fix his eyesight because when it comes down to it, he knows that it’s all fake and he can’t fix it because it’s not a real magical world.

Kat: Right. Although he does get new glasses over the years.

Haley: [laughs] I mean, he thinks they look stylish.

[Eric laughs]

Kat: Right. Well, think about it. That first person who[m] he meets in this new magical world – well, almost the first person – gives him that new pair of glasses that don’t have the tape holding them together in the middle.

Eric: Wait, who is this?

Kat: Hermione. She fixes his glasses.

Bella: That’s a movie-ism, though.

Kat: I know! But still, it’s all right.

[Haley laughs]

Kat: It still fits.

Haley: We don’t need canon for this!

Eric: No canon for this, where the first person that Harry sees is a giant, this huge guy who’s out of proportion.

Kat: Well, I guess I meant in the magical world because Hagrid comes into the [Muggle] world, not the other way around, but yeah. And I also thought a really good dream allegory here would be Quidditch, obviously. I’m not quite sure what purpose it serves for Harry to be dreaming about this, but I guess he does need some entertainment in his life, right?

Haley: It’s the stereotypical “I’m a sports star.” Because I always think it’s funny that Harry is technically a jock, but it’s like, “Pfft! That’s not what I think of when I think of Harry.”

[Eric and Haley laugh]

Haley: “Oh, Harry, the jock.” No, but it’s like, “Oh, he’s Quidditch star [on] the team.” It’s the ideal that he wants to be.

Kat: Right, which fits in with the whole Cedric and the purpose that Cedric could serve in Harry’s delusions.

Haley: And Cedric is a Seeker too, so it’s the cool thing to be. And so is Cho, who[m] he likes. She’s a Seeker.

Eric: Ooh! All the cool people are.

Kat: And Ginny.

Haley: And so is Ginny, who becomes one too. [laughs]

Eric: And Ginny, yeah.

Kat: Wow. So then the Seeker position seems to be, obviously, the most important thing to Harry. Because we don’t know that much about the rest of the positions. I mean, we do, obviously, but we also don’t.

Haley: The Seeker is always the most important character on each Quidditch team.

Kat: Yeah, I suppose you could say that. So then the big one, which I was hoping… I’m sure we’ll talk about this for a bit here, but you know that 24 hours, that missing 24 hours? All of the research I did, everybody brought that up. You know that 24 hours that happen after James and Lily’s deaths?

Eric: In connection with the mental[ly] incapacitated theory?

Kat: Yes, yes.

Eric: Why? I’m not seeing the connection.

Kat: Well, because what happens during that time? Where is Harry? What’s he going through? What is happening in this proposed alternate timeline in that 24 hours?

Haley: Yeah, it could be that he’s repressed what happened that day to him so much that he’s like, “I can’t even try to phantom something in my mind. I just want it gone. I don’t even want to make up a magical excuse for it. I don’t want to think about that day.”

Kat: Right. And that’s potentially, I think, where this delusion started in the alternate timeline.

Eric: Yeah, what if Voldemort – or whoever Voldemort really was – didn’t try to kill Harry and immediately his spell backfired? What if he arrived, killed Harry’s parents and kidnapped Harry, and was on the run for 24 hours until the cops caught up to him and killed him in front of Harry? So that’s your missing 24 hours. But during that period of time, when Harry was a hostage, is what was repressed.

Kat: Wow.

Haley: Will we be going with the car? Is this still with the car accident, though, that could be happening to Lily and James if they’re his parents and not the Dursleys?

Kat: [laughs] I’m going to go real dark here for a minute, guys.

Haley: Do it.

Kat: Sticking with the “Harry is Tom Riddle” theory, what if Harry hurts James and Lily?

Haley: Killed his parents? Oh my goodness.

Eric: Yeah, I don’t know.

Haley: Well, is he also one [year old]?

Eric: He’s also one [year old] in this scene.

Haley: [laughs] Is he also one [year old]?

Kat: Sure. But I’m just…

Haley: [laughs] It’s not funny, but it is!

Kat: [laughs] Obviously, it doesn’t work because he’s only a year old.

Haley: [laughs] I want it to work, though, because he’s one [year old]. That makes me want it to work more.

Bella: Yeah. I’m sitting here trying to figure out what he could have done at the age of one that would kill his parents.

[Bella and Haley laugh]

Bella: What did he do to their car? Did he grab something he wasn’t supposed to? Were they actually at home?

Haley: He was just distracting them while they were driving. He blames himself.

Bella: Maybe he grabbed the emergency brake?

Kat: I don’t want to sit here and theorize about what a little evil one-year-old could do.

[Haley laughs]

Bella: Real story: I was in the car with my grandma one time when I was little, and I grabbed the e-brake.

Eric: What?

Haley: Oh my goodness.

Bella: She was like, “Don’t do that! My nerves can’t handle it!” [laughs] It was there and I wanted to know what it did.

Eric: Yeah, well, the e-brake is a little bit more – what’s the word? – obvious and out there than it should be at all times. [laughs] Oh, it’s a stick. It’s fun as hell to pull back, but when you do, it just stops the car.

Bella: Well, imagine you’re on the freeway and you pull that e-brake.

Eric: You’re like, “I just want to pull this…” I’ve seen these TV shows, right? These cartoons where you pull a lever and the car accelerates and it’s all real fun. Yeah.

Bella: The only thing is, you can drive with the e-brake on. It’s really bad, but you can drive with it on.

Eric: Yeah, you can drive with it.

Kat: You can. And what about those old cars where it was on the floor and not in the middle? That must have been fun. You actually get to stomp on something when you want to stop.

[Eric laughs]

Kat: Nobody remembers that other than me, do they?

Eric: I think my Oldsmobile was that way, but my new Subaru has it also where it’s more of a thing you pull than a lever. And it’s hidden on the left-hand side next to the driver’s wheel. They’re becoming low profile again.

Kat: Okay, so last thing I want to bring up… Well, listeners, I’m sure you can come up with 1,000 other plot holes that could be just dream-induced inconsistencies. I read so many. Some of them were super ridiculous, like “Why didn’t Hermione just have food in Book 7?”

Eric: What? [laughs]

Kat: Yeah, because people were like, “You can multiply food. You can make more of it if you have some.” So when they went to the store and bought spaghetti bolognese and tinned pears, why didn’t she just duplicate it so they would have forever spaghetti and pears?

Haley: Forever pears. [laughs]

Eric: Forever pears?

Kat: Why would you want to eat that for the next three months? I mean, I get it, but…

Bella: Or also the changing floors of different rooms.

Eric: What do you mean?

Bella: Because there are certain rooms that end up on different floors. I think Jo addressed it on her old website back in the day, and it was just that she was bad at keeping track of things and sometimes forgot.

[Haley laughs]

Kat: Jo is the worst.

Eric: So it’s a dream because… Yeah.

Haley: Basically all of the things that Jo is bad at math with is just Harry dreaming.

Eric: It’s just Harry dreaming. So it’s the inconsistency of the mental… Yeah.

Haley: He claims there are 1,000 students, but there'[re] really just a few.

[Eric and Kat laugh]

Haley: There'[re] really just a few hundred.

Kat: Oh, I like that one, Haley. That is now headcanon for me. [laughs]

Eric: That also fits into the ward theory. I know I said I wouldn’t talk about it, but it’s like if certain areas are closed off to Harry. And so there'[re] actually 1,000 patients, but he’ll only ever meet 80 of them.

Eric and Haley: There you go.

Haley: Fixed.

Eric: Had to bring that up.

Kat: Different wards are the different Houses.

Haley: There you go, Jo. We fixed it for you.

[Eric laughs]

Kat: We fixed it for you. So speaking of Jo – and I thought this one was really, really fun – this is the fourth aspect, I suppose, of how this theory really grew a lot of legs and got a really big following. So there was an interview in 2012 that they did for – I think it was – the Wizard’s Collection, that big box…

Eric: That makes sense.

Kat: And it was J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves. And we will include the YouTube link so you guys can watch the little clip. Steve Kloves here is talking about something that he wrote into the script… Let me just read the quote; it will make a lot of sense.

“It was a spider in the closet, in the cupboard in the beginning, who[m] he [Harry] had befriended and talked to. My vision of the first movie was quite different in terms of how you first perceived him. There was a spider in there and all these broken soldiers that he had filched from the rubbish bin of Dudley’s [bedroom]. And he had this broken army and he would talk to Alastair.”

So basically, Steve Kloves read the first book and basically thought Harry was insane and wrote that Harry went “mad” – as he said, to quote him – in the cupboard and wrote this little spider character in that Harry befriends and talks to and tells the story, basically. And J.K. Rowling doesn’t say no. All she says is, “That is so interesting.”

[Eric laughs]

Kat: So when she didn’t say no…

Haley: Yeah, they said they had to chuck it out of the movie because when Hagrid comes and everyone is like, “Oh, Hagrid,” it’s like, “This kid is crazy. This kid is insane. This isn’t real.”

Eric: [laughs] So they couldn’t make it too obvious.

Bella: I’m really glad that the spider is not in there, because the second movie is enough for me. [laughs]

Eric: Oh yeah, in terms of spiders?

Bella: Yeah, I can’t.

Haley: The spider is Aragog. Boom! That’s another connection.

Kat: Right. So it is funny to think about the fact, though, that even somebody like Steve Kloves was trying, not necessarily to make the movies like this, but definitely to give it a spin of other-worldly… so to say.

Eric: Yeah, basically that Steve Kloves, who just happened to read this and have that insight, is amazing. The film could have been, in this way, just another element of something that was added in. But also, that’s such a touching moment in the first movie that makes it in there when Harry is just bouncing the knight, the toy…

Haley: Aww, and then in Deathly Hallows, it comes back.

Eric: Oh, I forgot about that. But yeah, even when he is playing with his little knight in there – I think it’s after the zoo – there’s something really touching about that. Harry has very little material possessions, but he’s still able to play make-believe.

Haley: Yeah, in the films it is kind of his coping mechanism. It’s like he has his little toys that he plays with. It’s so sad.

Kat: It is, kind of like this entire theory.

[Eric laughs]

Bella: Yeah. I mean, Harry does have that moment, though, where he’s wondering, “Did I imagine all of it?” Because Dobby was keeping his letters, and he’s like, “Maybe I am crazy. Maybe I didn’t even go. Maybe none of this happened, because they promised to write to me and they’re not.”

Eric: Yeah, you’re right.

Haley: Like Eric was saying at the very beginning, what would you have done if the epilogue of the book was “Harry is crazy”? You read this whole seven-[book] series, and guess what. It’s all fake. Harry is in a mental institution.

Kat: I would have been so pissed.

Haley: What would you have done?

Kat: I would have been that person in the Twilight theater [who] was like, “This is beep!” Yeah.

Eric: But they would be a remarkable testament to the capacity for a human being to imagine. I still would like the books just as well. It’s different than what I propose, which is if one of them dies, then it’s punishment to read characters that you know are not going to be there. It’s such a self-punishing thing to do to read about their emotional state progression for seven years and then have them die. Versus if it’s all made up, you’re still getting where Harry’s imagination went to on Day 1, where it went to on Day 2, for months and months and months and years and years and years. I think it would still warrant more rereads than if he had just died.

Haley: Goes to the parks: “I’m in Harry’s head!”

[Eric and Haley laugh]

Bella: For it to work, I feel like you would have to know from start to finish that he’s crazy. Because otherwise, you get to the end, and you’ve been immersed in this magical world and it’s just so deep and detailed, and you get there and you’re like, “It was all fake?”

Eric: Oh, there was never a prophecy; there [were] never Death Eaters.

Bella: Well, why did I even care?

Haley: And then you feel crazy for starting to buy into it. [laughs]

Kat: Right. If you extend that out, think about all the things that we’ve all done since then – theme parks and studio tour and all of that stuff.

Eric: Yeah. All celebrating things that don’t exist. Which, by the way, they don’t actually exist. [laughs] Hogwarts is a fiction and we shouldn’t think too hard about this right now.

Haley: Eric, don’t lie to me. Don’t tell me these things. Don’t you dare.

Eric: We’re in a depleted emotional state where we think about Hogwarts as being real, as opposed to it having all been a dream. But Hogwarts isn’t real, even though it wasn’t a dream.

[Haley laughs]

Kat: Reminder that Eric is a Muggle, everybody.

Eric: Oh, man.

Kat: Don’t let him in on the secret.

[Eric and Haley laugh]

Kat: But really, in the end, what all of this comes down to and has been made very clear in Jo’s charitable work is basically why she funded and created Lumos. And for those of you who don’t know, who have been living under a rock, the official description from [its] website is that “Lumos works in partnership with governments, professionals and carers, communities, families, and children, to transform outdated systems that drive families apart. Together with our partners Lumos replaces institutions with community[-]based services that provide children with access to health, education and social care tailored to their individual needs. This supports families to provide the loving care their children need to develop to their full potential and build a positive future for themselves.” Which Harry obviously could have used that over the years and…

Eric: Lumos… Isn’t it by 2020-2030 they want to end the institutionalization of children, period?

Kat: They do.

Eric: Worldwide.

Kat: Which is fantastic.

Haley: Yeah, it’s very clear, even just reading the books, that this is very important to Jo, the idea of having children be protected and not having them… I remember she was telling this story about how when she was writing the books, psychologists would come up to her and tell her that it works if Harry is sort of sane, due to the fact that he had James and Lily in his life for that first year. Because his brain developed for that, and that’s why she learned all about this and why she started the charity.

Eric: She also told the story in New York recently, how she saw it on a headline on the paper and didn’t want to read it [or] something like that. She just thought it would be so heartbreaking, and then [she] read the story and was equally heartbroken. But [she] had reached a point of success in her career where she said, “Wait a minute, I can help this. I can fix this.” It was a really touching story when she told how she decided to found Lumos.

Haley: Yeah, Eric, I actually remember we sat next to each other there.

Eric: Hey, that’s right. We did!

[Eric and Haley laugh]

Kat: What?

Haley: It’s insane. There were thousands of seats there and we just got sat next to each other in the theater.

Eric: We didn’t know each other before then. Just through Facebook, obviously.

Kat: Wait, what was this at?

Haley: It was the prescreening for Fantastic Beasts, the Lumos charity thing.

Eric: At Carnegie Hall.

Kat: Oh, oh. Huh, small world. Just like Harry’s little imaginary world thing. It’s a small world.

Eric: We’re actually all in the same institution together.

Kat: Oh, gosh. Okay. Well, I feel like there'[re] 1,000 other things that we could talk about, but I want to leave it up to the listeners to elaborate, because we’ve unpacked a lot here. There’s a lot to this theory, and I think that there’s quite a bit more still to discuss. But I think for now we’re going to leave it here and let you guys theorize a bit with us. Because we have been supporting this, it seems like, quite a bit for just over an hour here, and we want to hear some other theories. So shoot them our way. You know where to do that – alohomora.mugglenet.com.

Eric: We want to thank our guest, Bella. Thank you so much for coming on!

Bella: Thanks for having me.

Kat: Yeah, for getting up at literally six in the morning.

Bella: This has been my dream since I was 14. I used to walk to school, listening to Eric talk forever, so…

[Bella and Haley laugh]

Eric: Oh, this was a nice flashback for you, then.

Bella: It truly is.

[Haley and Kat laugh]

Eric: But coming on and talking about a theory that you don’t even particularly like, that’s very bold.

Bella: It’s interesting; I will give it that. It’s fun to discuss, but I just don’t… I can’t.

Haley: I feel like we’re all in that boat, though. We’re like, “No, we don’t really think this is real, but it’s fun to make connections with.”

Kat: It is. It was a good time. It’s a fun one. Cool.

Haley: So our next topic will be another one of the chapter revisits. But we’re not going to tell you which ones they are…

[Kat gasps]

Eric: Gasp!

[Haley and Kat laugh]

Haley: So you’re going to have to watch out on our social media so you can listen to the old episode covering the chapter and then read up for a second reread/go-round of the chapter, which is super exciting.

Kat: And we are also collecting suggestions and the like on our social media. We have a fantastic new social media team and they want to hear everything that you guys want to hear us discuss. So tweet at us or email us or post on our Facebook page, and definitely let us know what chapter you want us to revisit. Because Alohomora! is all about you guys. It’s all about our listeners.

Eric: It is. If you would like to be on our show – speaking of being about the listeners – check out the “Be on the Show!” page, which is on our main site, alohomora.mugglenet.com. There’s a topic submit page as well for you to submit your topics. And you don’t need too much fancy equipment to be on our show. If you have just a set of the old Apple headphones, you’re all set. So go check that out.

Kat: And in the meantime, as I mentioned, you guys can keep in contact with us over on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN [or Facebook at] facebook.com/openthedumbledore. Our website is alohomora.mugglenet.com.

Eric: And just one more reminder here to check out our Patreon (P-A-T-R-E-O-N) at patreon.com/alohomora. You can sponsor us for as low as $1 a month.

Kat: 100 pennies. It’s not very much.

Eric: 100 pennies!

[Haley laughs]

Eric: And thanks again to Megan Blum, who is the sponsor of this episode.

Kat: Yes. Thank you, Megan! Claps and claps.

Eric: Yay!

Kat: She’s not crazy!

[Eric and Haley laugh]

Eric: No. Not crazy at all.

[Show music begins]

Eric: And neither are we. This has been lots of fun. I am Eric Scull.

Haley: I’m Haley Lewis.

Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 220 of Alohomora!

Haley: Open the Dumbledore!

[Show music continues]

Kat: They can very easily, in fact. As we see over and over and over again.

[Eric laughs]

[Ringtone plays in background]

Eric: Oops. One moment.

Kat: Phone.

[Ringtone continues]

Eric: I keep getting crank calls from Vegas.

Kat: “Crank calls”?

Eric: It’s stupid. Like the same time every day. I was sure I put my phone on silent. I do apologize.

Kat: It’s okay.