Transcript – Episode 235

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 235 of Alohomora! for December 23, 2017.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Welcome back, listeners, to another episode of Alohomora! – mugglenet.com’s global exploration of the Harry Potter series – where we open the Dumbledore on topics for Harry Potter, and our Dumbledore is covered in lots of beautiful tinsel and bells and maybe even some mistletoe. Ooooh. We’ll tell you a little bit more about that later, but for now I’m Michael Harle.

Kat Miller: I’m Kat Miller.

Alison Siggard: And I’m Alison Siggard, and our guest this week is Monet. Welcome, Monet.

Monet: Hi, everyone. It is so nice to be here with all of you.

Alison: It’s lovely to have you. Tell us a little bit about yourself: your House, your wand, your Patronus, how you got into Potter. What else do we ask?

Michael: All of those things.

Kat: Pretend we’re on a first date. Tell us everything.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Monet: Wow, so much pressure. [laughs] Hi, everyone. I am Monet, and I’m a Gryffindor, and I work at a children’s library. That’s a little nod to Michael there.

Michael: Aaaahh!

[Monet laughs]

Michael: That’s the sound I make like a Porg.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Let’s not start with the Porg talk.

Michael: Yes, it’s a whole other topic.

Kat: Sorry, Monet. Keep talking.

Monet: It’s fine. I’ll be going to college next year, and I was first introduced to Harry Potter as a kid. My mother gave me the Sorcerer’s Stone book because she wanted me to enjoy reading, because I hadn’t really started to like reading yet or anything like that. I read the first page and I remember saying, “Why did you give me this book? These Dursley people are horrible!” [laughs] I just read the first page and the Dursleys and I was like, “These people are horrible. Why are you giving me this book?” But yeah, so I finished the book and the rest is pretty much history. My obsession has continued on.

Michael: Wow, that’s so cool that you got into library services. As somebody who wasn’t perhaps reading as much before, what inspired that?

Monet: Well, I’ve been going to that library ever since I moved to the area, and I remember the first time I walked in, it was just like, “Wow.” Because beforehand, I had lived in Italy with my family and we didn’t… The extensive library system we have in the US isn’t like what they have in Europe quite. I mean, they have, but it’s different. And so when I came there it was just like, “Wow!” And I knew everybody there to the point where when I came and interviewed for the job, the librarians were like, “We remember when you were five years old and you came here to the programs, and you’re here now.” And yeah, I knew everybody there and I loved them all. So yeah, it’s just a great place to be.

Michael: That’s so cool that you’re working at the library that you used to attend as a child.

Monet: Yeah.

Michael: That’s so amazing.

Kat: Yeah, that’s really cute.

Alison: That’s super awesome.

Monet: Yeah. I open at the close. [laughs]

Michael: Hah! Ha ha.

Kat: Oh, that’s cute. I’m a big fan of libraries. Maybe this is blasphemy, [but] I don’t see the point in buying books. I would rather support the library than have a shelf full of books that I’m going to read once. I mean, obviously I have like 12 copies ofHarry Potter – don’t get me wrong – but I think the only other series that I own is The Hunger Games, and they were a gift. I do have Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Honestly, that’s it. Those are the only books I own.

Michael: Well, it’s so nice to have a fellow librarian on the show today.

Monet: Yeah, so that was one of the reasons I like this chapter so much, because it was in the library and I was just like… I could visualize my library when we shut off all the lights at night and how it’s like, “Whoa, no one’s going in there.”

[Michael and Monet laugh]

Michael: Yeah. In our children’s area now in the new library, the lights actually shut off at closing time so that people will leave.

Monet: Oh wow, I wish we had that. [laughs]

Kat: Like automatically shut off?

Michael: Yeah, they automatically shut off. The lights are controlled by a computer system at the library.

Kat: Whoa, fancy-smancy library.

Michael: So they will just shut off when… Yeah. Fancy schmancy.

Kat: Wow. My library has lots of mold because the building’s like 200 years old. So beat that.

[Alison, Michael, and Monet laugh]

Kat: Okay?

Michael: Our old building probably could have competed with that.

Kat: Probably.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: Before we jump into the chapter today, we want to take a really brief second and let you guys know that today’s show is brought to you by Zola. To sign up with Zola and receive a $50 credit towards a registry, go to zola.com/open.

Alison: And the chapter we are revisiting this week – because it is a Chapter Revisit episode – is Sorcerer’s Stone/Philosopher’s Stone – depending on where you are – Chapter 12, “The Mirror of Erised.” So make sure you read it before you listen. We also previously discussed this one on Episode 5.

Kat: Oh my God. [laughs]

Alison: Episode 5…

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Five! Like 230 episodes ago. That’s a lot.

Michael: [laughs] That’s crazy.

Monet: Five and a half years. That’s crazy.

Alison: Yeah. It’s called “Check the Gravy, Weasley” and it was released June 17, 2012, which feels like a different lifetime.

Michael: Yeah, Alison and I weren’t even hosts then. Kat was the only one from this group that was actually on that episode.

Kat: [gasps] I was on that episode? You know what, was that my birthday episode? Did you get to listen to it? Because I haven’t listened to it yet. I know, I fail.

Michael: I did, but if you mentioned that, it was probably at the beginning. And I skipped to the halfway point because that actually used to be the time when you guys did two chapters an episode.

Kat: Mhm.

Alison: Oh yeah.

Kat: That’s true.

Michael: So I only listened to the second half where you actually talk specifically about this chapter, because you talked about the previous chapter.

Kat: Right.

Kat: Actually, the first couple episodes we did three chapters, I think.

Michael: Yeah, I think there are [three].

Kat: Which is insane to think about doing three chapters on an episode. Pfft. Whatever.

Alison: Yeah. That’s a lot.

Michael: My, how times have changed.

Kat: Indeed.

Alison: We also want to let you guys know that this chapter was suggested by listener Sherri Gomes through our website.

Michael: Yeah. We had Sherri on as a guest actually a few episodes ago. So it was fantastic that, before she had been on, she actually suggested this chapter. And when we were going through and doing our planning, we were like, “Oh, hey, this is perfect because we can do that chapter around the holidays.” So it matched up perfectly. So thank you, Sherri, for the inspiration.

Kat: Sherri is actually also a patron over on our Patreon account, so thank you, Sherri. And as usual, you guys know that you can sponsor an episode, and this really cool episode is sponsored by Crystal Hoover. So thank you, Crystal, very much for sponsoring this amazing chapter revisit of Alohomora!. And all of you guys listening out there can become a sponsor of this show for as little as $1 per month. And there’s lots of really fun things that we do over on Patreon. We have an exclusive chat group and Michael does readings to people, and there are decals and all sorts of really cool archive T-shirts available and stuff. So head over to patreon.com/alohomora and sign up. There you go.

Michael: Thank you, Crystal, for helping out.

Alison: Thank you, Crystal!

Kat: You’re the best. [claps hands] Claps!

Alison: And we also have another great opportunity for you listeners. If you would like a free extra month of BarkBox, visit barkbox.com/open. And when you subscribe for a six or twelve-month plan, they’ll send you an extra box.

Kat: Yay! And you know, sorry, there’s going to be a few ads on the episodes today. Guys, we’re trying to squeeze them in by the end of the year. We’re sorry. This won’t happen again, I promise. [laughs]

Michael: But how well-endowed this episode is with sponsorship.

Kat: [laughs] Yes, very much.

Alison: It’s like you’re all getting presents that you weren’t expecting at the holidays.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: Exactly! Exactly.

[Chapter Revisit intro begins]

[Sound of ticking clock]

Dumbledore: Three turns should do it.

Harry: Chapter Revisit.

[Sound of Time-Turner ticking and bells ringing]

Ghostly voice: Sorcerer’s Stone.

Dumbledore: Chapter 12.

[Sound of book screaming]

Dumbledore: “The Mirror of Erised.”

[Sound of footsteps]

[Chapter Revisit intro ends]

Michael: As a hardy snowfall rings in the holiday season at Hogwarts, Harry, Ron, and Hermione scour the library for evidence of Nicholas Flamel, thanks to an accidental tip-off from Hagrid. Remaining at school for the Christmas festivities, Harry experiences a magical holiday full of presents, wizard crackers, and delicious food. A mysterious gift – a powerful Invisibility Cloak given to him anonymously – sends Harry on an afterhours trek through the Hogwarts library’s Restricted Section. Failing to find information on Flamel, Harry instead stumbles across the Mirror of Erised and meets his family in its reflection. After three visits to the mirror and at the insistence of both Ron and Dumbledore, Harry learns not to “dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

I forgot after rereading it… This is one of the many benefits of doing these chapter revisits with the chapter just solely on its own. I actually forgot how long this chapter is.

Kat: I know! I listen to the audiobook and it’s a 36-minute chapter, which is pretty long for Philosopher’s Stone, nonetheless.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: This is a pretty key chapter too. Again, seeing it on its own really speaks a lot about Harry’s personal development that we’re going to see from [Books] 1 to 7, and it made me think specifically… Listeners, if you haven’t listened to it recently, it’s worth going back to the life lessons and themes episode we did [Episode 214], because we actually noted how the mirror ends up fitting into ring theory with Deathly Hallows, which was really, really cool. And I definitely… again, seeing it on its own, I don’t know why that does that, but it just really stood out to me in this particular reread for this chapter.

Kat: Ah, it was so nice. I was putting up my Christmas tree while I was listening, and it was just kind of magical. I don’t know why.

Michael: Aww. This would be a perfect chapter to do that.

Kat: Yeah, it was. I don’t remember that. Oh gosh, we’ve done so many episodes. I can’t remember the circle theory thing. What’s it connect to?

Michael: Well, we were talking about how it connects to – and we can get in[to] this more when we get to the mirror – the idea of temptation with the Hallows. And of course, simultaneously in this chapter, the Mirror of Erised is not the only thing that’s introduced…

Alison: Yes.

Michael: … that’s important. We actually have our first encounter with a Deathly Hallow all the way here in Sorcerer’s Stone.

Kat: Hooray!

Monet: So cool. [laughs]

Michael: But before we get to all this super cool stuff that we get to play with, Malfoy has to ruin Christmas for us.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And I actually wanted to start with… Listeners, again, if you go back to Episode 5 and listen to the discussion, what was very funny was [that] Kat and, I believe, your co-hosts were… I know Noah was one of them; I think Rosie was the other host. And you guys got very hung up on the fact that owls were being abused by the mail, and you talked about throwing owls into the Floo Network.

Kat: Oh! I remember that episode!

Michael: Crazy-ish.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: So if you want more discussion on that, listeners, go back to Episode 5. But we’re going to fast forward a little bit to Malfoy.

Kat: Wait, wait, wait, wait… The best part was that we were [on] and I still am, to some degree, convinced that Jo listens to this show. [Because] she answered all of those questions later on former Pottermore…

Alison: [laughs] That’s true.

Michael: She did.

Kat: … and I just remember feeling so vindicated. It was amazing. That’s all.

Michael: But we go over to Malfoy, who is taking this opportunity before the holidays to loudly proclaim how great his life is compared to everybody else’s. Especially Harry’s because, you know, Malfoy has a family and Harry’s family is dead – which he says in no uncertain terms. And actually, Alison, you kind of touched on something here in the discussion that was similar to some stuff I was thinking about. But why don’t you lead us into this?

Alison: Yeah. Rereading it, I realized the narrative, just the tone of it and Harry: they’re very undisturbed by this, by the fact that Malfoy is poking fun at his family. And later on in this chapter when Harry looks at his Christmas presents, he doesn’t really have any kind of emotional reaction to the Dursleys’ gift. And it made me wonder, do you think Harry may have in some ways forgiven and maybe even forgotten about the Dursleys as he’s immersed himself in the wizarding world in Hogwarts?

Michael: I feel like Harry’s had so many successes by this point in the book that I could see why he would not really worry about that. I think the thing to note too with this point is that Harry has proven himself already in multiple ways at Hogwarts, including, I believe, the Quidditch match. That’s already happened – the Snitch in the mouth – right?

Alison: It’s the best. It’s in this chapter where Malfoy compares him to a wide-mouthed tree frog, which is a great image.

[Monet laughs]

Michael: So I feel like Harry’s really gained a lot of self-confidence at this point. The Dursleys, much like Malfoy, were all about destroying Harry’s confidence, and I think he’s gotten to a place for now in the book where that’s not bothering him. He has the sense of self-worth. Yay!

[Alison laughs]

Monet: Yeah. I think once you open Mrs. Weasley’s Christmas sweater and you eat her food, the Dursleys’ present suddenly… You can’t even think of it anymore. Why do you care? [laughs]

Michael: Yeah, that’s true.

Monet: Yeah, I think he just sees them as they’re so far away at this point. But I’m not sure if he’ll ever forgive them.

Michael: Yeah. Well, that’s something that we kind of found out a bit later. Cursed Child kind of gives us some hints about that, but as far as we know with Harry’s relationship with Dudley, that’s kind of evolved over the years.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So that at least has changed.

Kat: They tolerate each other because of their kids. Which is canon, just for the record. It wasn’t in Cursed Child.

Michael: Well, the way Rowling made it sound was actually that Harry is more the one that pushes to go visit Dudley and that his kids are the ones who are like, “Ugh! I don’t want to!”

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So Harry, I think, kind of turned over a new leaf on that.

Alison: Well, Harry’s always struck me as a pretty forgiving person. There are things he doesn’t want to forgive, understandably, like Bellatrix killed his godfather and Voldemort killed his parents. But I think [for] some other things, Harry’s a pretty forgiving person. He kind of just lets go, you know? He just gets over it and lets go.

Michael: Well, if he could forgive Voldemort, that’s pretty big. [laughs]

Alison: Just a little bit. Just a little, little bit.

Michael: But the other thing I thought was just worthwhile to note with this is that… I think the other important thing that’s happening here is that… We don’t know this until Chamber of Secrets and even more so as the series goes on, but really as far as Malfoy’s family life and home life, he doesn’t really have that much to brag about…

Alison He doesn’t.

Michael: [laughs] … as far as, perhaps, the perfect happy family that he is portraying that he has. Because as we see in Chamber of Secrets

Alison: He’s just a punk.

Michael: Yes. Yes, very much so. And the funny thing is in Chamber of Secrets, when we are introduced to Lucius in Borgin and Burkes’, it is very much kind of shown that Malfoy’s father is somewhat aware that Malfoy is a punk and treats him as such.

[Michael and Monet laugh]

Michael: So there’s also that perfect set-up of the classic bully who is bullying about something and acting as if they have it when they, in fact, do not. So there’s also just a great hint here about Malfoy’s character that we’re going to see later, which is just kind of tucked away here in his teasing. But of course, too, it also sets up the theme of the family that Harry is going to be thinking about a lot in this chapter. But somebody barges in to stop our thoughts for that for a while with a giant 12-foot Christmas tree. Hagrid’s here.

Kat: Yay!

Michael: And he was in a good mood until Harry, Ron, and Hermione are just like, “Hey, we know about Nicholas Flamel!” And he’s just like, “Oh God!” [laughs]

Kat: [as Hagrid] “Yeh stupid kids, stay out of it!”

Michael: But Monet had a point about Hagrid here.

Monet: Yeah, I just think everyone focuses on Ron and Malfoy’s exchange here, and I just think Hagrid, when he’s described in the series, is such a large presence physically and he’s very unusual compared to everyone else. But yet, he’s still often quiet and always in the background with everything that’s going on. And I get the sense that he really watches the students and teachers, and whenever he sees something unjust or whenever he thinks he needs to speak up, he will do it for the right reasons. And this is an early case in the series of seeing him protecting Ron by choosing to speak up when Snape wants to discipline Ron, and I just feel like there aren’t a lot of teachers out there that really speak up for the students. And so I think that’s what’s a great thing about Hagrid and makes him great being a teacher several books later. I think that’s what makes him a great teacher.

Michael: Funny thing is, Hagrid has more confidence here than he will once he is a teacher. That’s the point where he kind of falls apart, when he’s officially made a teacher, and then that confidence kind of slips away. That’s why I’ve always thought this scene is weird, actually, in terms of the Nicholas Flamel thing. Because the narration kind of implies that Harry, Ron, and Hermione are needling Hagrid because they want to see if he’ll drop any more information.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: But it feels like they’re being a little malicious about the fact that they got that information from him.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Alison, you seem to agree with me on this. You picked up on this too?

Alison: No, not necessarily. I mean, maybe subconsciously. I’ve never thought about it exactly before, but now that you’re saying it, it’s like, yeah. It’s what kids do when they want information.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: But they don’t want to just ask for the information because they know if they just straight out ask, you won’t tell them. My students have been doing this to me because they wanted to know what the musical we were doing this year was, and we wouldn’t tell them.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: So they kept trying to come up with ways to get around it, like, “What are you not considering then?” or, “What are your top three picks then?” And it’s like, we’re not telling you anything.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: It’s just kids trying to find some way to wheedle some information out of somebody. Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: I just felt… I always feel bad for Hagrid in this scene because he’s doing such a horrible job of keeping the secrets – #keepthesecrets.

[Alison and Monet laugh]

Michael: That’s not Hagrid’s specialty. [laughs] But yeah, no, it doesn’t yield anything anyway. They are being a little too upfront, and Hagrid won’t give them the information they’re looking for. I always did think that was kind of odd, in tandem with the fact that Hagrid does speak up for them and try to help them out in this case. So despite that, they all part good friends as they head off to the Great Hall.

Kat: Hagrid’s really good friend, that dog that he owns, Fang, I think that with the trees and everything – you know, it’s about Christmas time – I really think he deserves a really awesome present. So we’re going to throw it over to Kristen, who I know is not here, but, you know, she’s here because she’s going to be on the episode. And she’s going to tell you a little bit about one of our sponsors for this episode, BarkBox.

[Advertisement begins]

Kristen: I would like to talk about Sirius and BarkBox, because I think that would be the best ship ever. Each month – especially when he was the dog all those years, or all those months – each month he would be able to get a box with amazing toys and all-natural treats, which are made in the US and Canada. Each box also comes with a pretty sweet theme. So with Sirius being lonely all the time, I think he would like to have this themed box to keep him entertained. Since I know Sirius would love it, I decided to also utilize that free continental US shipping and order a box for my dog, Sherlock, and man, did he love it. I didn’t even have to open the box, and his head was already in there trying to get to all the toys and treats. He literally tried to rip open the treats. It was so, so cute. I was trying to write up the doc for the episode and he kept putting the toys into my lap, so I would throw them to him. He just loved to play with all the toys. And even if your dog doesn’t like any of the toys or treats, this company, BarkBox, will replace any items that they don’t like and ship new ones to you, scout’s honor. So if you would like to show your dog some love, then you should head over to BarkBox and get a free extra month of BarkBox. Visit barkbox.com/open when you subscribe to a six or twelve-month plan. Honestly, it’ll be the best decision you make for you and your beloved pup because it will keep them entertained for hours. Literally, the other night Sherlock was playing with all three of his toys. It was probably a good two and a half hours, and I was able to get some work done, and it was a-mazing. So I highly recommend this, and I got the cool university theme. So I got beer pong, which I never knew they had beer pong for dogs, but it was toys. It was just a toy, but it was really cute. And then he got a beer can, and the string for a six pack was actually like a tug-of-war toy. So it was hilarious-looking in that factor. And then he got a little backpack, and he loved that little backpack. And it was so cute because he’s prancing around and has a little backpack in his mouth and is just playing hardcore with it. And then all the treats, obviously he loved. As I said, he already tried to open it up. So, amazing, amazing! Go over, get that free extra month when you subscribe to the six to twelve-month plan. Again, barkbox.com/open. You won’t regret it. It’ll make your pup super happy, and you’ll be super happy that your dog is occupied for a little while, especially if you have an attention-loving dog like myself. So head on over there and get your free extra month.

[Advertisement ends]

Kat: Thank you so much, Kristen. I hope you guys head over to barkbox.com/open and hook up your animal… well, your dog because it’s really not for cats, right?

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Hook up your dog with a free extra month of BarkBox. So, cool. Thank you, Kristen!

Michael: And as we go on for the festivities, we are spending the holiday break at Hogwarts. And one of the interesting things we get introduced to in this part of the book, this is the first time, I think, we see wizard chess. Right, guys?

Alison and Monet: Yeah.

Alison: Or do they play before? Do Harry and Ron play before?

Michael: It’s expanded upon at such length in this section that I don’t feel like it is played before.

Alison: Maybe not.

Michael: Because it’s really thoroughly introduced as a concept here. And what this got me thinking about was actually… because of course wizard chess was being introduced, not only because wizard chess is awesome and we all wish we had wizard chess, but also because it is going to play a part in the finale, in the climax. What it got me thinking about, this kind of goes in tandem with the conversation you guys had on Episode 5, of course. I think this might have been – I don’t know if it was before or after – [when] Noah started on the “Is it alive?” trend.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: He didn’t use that phrase when talking about the chess set specifically, I don’t believe, but you guys did talk about whether the chess set was alive or not. And in tandem with that, what I recall about the chess set that we will later see in the third-floor corridor, we know it’s a Transfigured chess set that McGonagall Transfigured to make it larger. But what’s interesting is that this chess set talks and seems quite a bit more lively. Why doesn’t the other chess set talk? Because Rowling goes to great lengths to describe how the giant chess set feels very hollow and creepy compared to that one.

Alison: Maybe that would have been too much magic. Maybe it would’ve been too big of a thing. Or maybe whatever McGonagall Transfigured into these chess pieces doesn’t have the ability to talk. But that doesn’t make sense then, why the small one would. [laughs]

Michael: That’s what I thought was funny too, because I feel like this didn’t need to be Transfigured. It just needed an Engorgement Charm, which is Flitwick.

Kat: Yeah. I think the difference is this chess set is interactive. It’s like talking back to them and saying, “No, don’t do that; do this! Move here instead; go there,” whatever. And I feel like that’s a part of the game and also a distraction of the game, if the larger pieces talked, because that was meant to be an obstacle. So I feel like if those larger pieces talked, you could potentially help or hinder the person trying to cross that room, and I think that’s the big difference.

Michael: Oh, that’s true. Although wouldn’t it be…? Because Harry notes that by listening to the chess pieces, it’s actually ruining his game. So in a way, if the chess pieces talked, they could really screw you up.

Kat: True. But that’s because it’s a new set that he won that evening, right?

Alison: Yeah. And he’s also using Seamus’s.

Kat: Oh, that’s right. These aren’t the Christmas ones, right. He’s using Seamus’s.

Alison [laughs]: Yeah. [With] the Christmas ones, he listens to Percy and loses spectacularly.

[Monet laughs]

Kat: Right, exactly.

Michael: Yes. I mean, to be fair, he’s playing against Ron.

Alison: Yeah. But it’s funny to me that Percy tries to help him and he loses so badly, because Percy and Ron are so similar. It’s interesting to me that Percy’s advice does nothing.

Kat: But Percy is not a logical person, and chess requires a lot of logic.

Alison: [gasps] You don’t think Percy is logical?

Kat: No, I think he’s analytical. Big difference.

Alison: Okay.

Michael: He’s studious.

Alison: Okay. Huh.

Michael: This also brings up that thing about Ron being a strategist that everybody was like, “Ooh, he’s going to be a war strategist at the end, right?” No, no.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Kat: Not quite.

Michael: He just plays chess. [laughs] He’s just really, really good at chess. That’s all. I just thought that was interesting because Rowling specifically said that that was McGonagall’s challenge, and the magic behind that one just always seemed a little fishy to me. I just don’t understand how that works.

Alison: I guess I could see if she took something really large, like huge logs of wood or big stones, and then Transfigured them into it. So she changed something basic into these huge…

Michael: Into the chess pieces?

Alison: Yeah, yeah.

Michael: See, I would have thought that, except for that the chess pieces at the end move on their own, which I figured was part of the use of using a wizard chess set.

Alison: Okay. Yeah.

Michael: I don’t get it. I’m determined to have a problem with this until somebody explains it to me.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: I want Rowling to do a piece on Pottermore that explains how the teachers set up the challenges in the third-floor corridor, because that’s all just a bunch of crazy to me anyway. So I want an explanation on this, Rowling. That seems ridiculous that McGonagall is just like, [as McGonagall] “Chess! That’ll do it.” [laughs]

Kat: I mean, could any of us get across that room? I know I couldn’t.

Alison: Nope.

Michael: If I tried really, really hard. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: I don’t remember the basic rules for chess half the time, so nope.

Kat: Monet, are you any good at chess?

Monet: No, no.

[Michael and Monet laugh]

Monet: I’m probably worse than Percy. I probably am.

Kat: Right. So I get why McGonagall thinks it’s a challenge. Yeah, I couldn’t do it.

Michael: It does go with that whole thing that Hermione says at the end, that wizards don’t have an ounce of logic, right?

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So it fits. But there are plenty of other fun trinkets and gifts and things that are being spread around this holiday. We get, of course, the lovely Weasley gifts which are fantastic in themselves, and as I think you mentioned, Monet, really help Harry feel that family feel that he doesn’t have to worry about the Dursleys anymore. But he also gets a Deathly Hallow! What the heck?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: He is touching an ancient artifact and he’s playing with it like a toy. But at least he’s not ripping it. It’s not like breaking the Elder Wand in half.

Alison: We don’t talk about that. That didn’t happen.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: It didn’t happen, technically. Of course, the other thing is he gets a note. And Monet, you had a few notes yourself about the Invisibility Cloak and the note that came with it.

Monet: Yeah. I remember thinking – especially the first time I read this around when I was a little kid – I had all these questions. One of my big questions was, I always wondered why Dumbledore didn’t sign his name. And then, of course, I got used to the whole idea that, okay, Dumbledore is mysterious as the series goes on; he doesn’t always explain everything he does. But I always still thought that was a little weird that he didn’t sign his name. And I would theorize who did send the cloak, because I immediately didn’t think Dumbledore. As the book went on, it made sense that it would be him. But I just didn’t know if there were any wild theories out there or if somebody else was like, “Oh, it’s Dumbledore,” immediately.

Kat: No. I thought that he never… In hindsight, I’m just thinking about it. He probably didn’t sign his name because he didn’t want Harry to ask him 1,000 questions. And also we learn later in Hallows that Dumbledore was ashamed about the fact that he had it. And so I think he was just trying to give it back to Harry with the least path of resistance possible.

Monet: Right, right.

Michael: That’s a great point. Because it was very weird to me, too, reading this this time, that Dumbledore doesn’t sign the note. And I flipped over to the final chapter to see if Dumbledore actually explains to Harry why he doesn’t sign it, and he doesn’t. He’s just like, [as Dumbledore] “I sent you the cloak. Wasn’t that nice?”

[Alison, Kat, and Monet laugh]

Michael: He does not say why. So yeah, I think that’s a great theory. Because I forgot, too, that he feels bad that he had the cloak. Because, of course, that cloak might have been a point of protection.

Kat: Right. Yeah, because he’s like, “Well, I didn’t need the cloak.” He says, “I just wanted it to examine it because it was a Hallow. Neither of us wanted it.” But he had to have it. He had to look at it. So yeah.

Alison: I also think it says a lot about Harry and Dumbledore’s relationship at this point. And I’ll bring this up again at the end too, but this is Harry’s first interaction with Dumbledore at all.

Kat: That’s true. That’s true.

Monet: Yeah.

Alison: And so I think it’s one of those things where Dumbledore maybe didn’t want to freak him out.

[Monet laughs]

Alison: Like, “Hey, I know everything about you, and I knew your parents. But I haven’t said anything.”

[Michael laughs]

Kat: “I’m literally the puppet master of your whole life!”

Alison: Yeah, seriously. And he didn’t want Harry to be like, “You are a weird old man.”

[Alison, Michael, and Monet laugh]

Alison: So I think that could’ve been part of it. I do have to say, though, I read this chapter on my British edition this time, and I forgot how sad it is. They don’t have the nice fancy handwriting for notes that’s different that the American editions have. Because I always liked reading the notes written in different handwriting, depending on who was writing them. But it’s just normal print.

Michael: Yeah, that is always a nice touch, because they don’t do that either with Hagrid’s notes and things like that. They don’t change the font. Because in the US edition, like the notes in Prisoner when he’s sad that Buckbeak is going to be executed, there’s actually tear stains.

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: Well, and also in this book, it ties the note he gets with the cloak. And then when he gets it back after they leave it at the top of the tower, it says, “Just in case,” and it’s in the same handwriting. It’s like, “Ooh, the same person is there.”

Kat: Right, yeah. But remember, this is the ongoing thing: Americans are stupid, so we need hints like that, like handwriting.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yes.

Kat: But I also just think it’s more fun, personally. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah. I think it, in a way, brings the story to life a little bit more as a reader to see that differentiation between the handwriting. That’s a really great point about why Dumbledore didn’t sign his name. Because I realized how fascinating it is that Dumbledore doesn’t. Normally, you would want an explanation for that, and I don’t even think when I first read it that I was looking for an explanation for it. When Dumbledore revealed he sent it, I think I was just thinking, Monet, what you and Kat were saying. It’s like, “Oh, Dumbledore is so eccentric and mysterious. That’s why he didn’t sign it, because he just does that.” [laughs] I had accepted that so quickly from this man that we really don’t hear a lot from in this book. But I guess that lends to his enigma, the fact that we really don’t talk to Dumbledore that much in this book. But you also had another great point about the Invisibility Cloak, Monet.

Monet: Yeah. I know it’s not for a while that Harry does this, but when he does – when he’s planning to finally use the cloak – the first place he thinks to go is the library. I think that’s hysterical, because Hermione is not really in this chapter at all, and yet she still has a presence. He’s still starting to think like her.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Monet: It’s such a Hermione thing for Harry to do. The first time I read this I’m like, “Oh Harry, I’m so proud of you for the first time.” [laughs] I was like, “Now I like you as a character.” I liked how he went and did that, because I just thought that was hysterical.

Alison: It’s funny too; I think it connects to how Harry builds a relationship with Hogwarts itself over these books, where at this point it’s still new. He hasn’t really explored much of it; it’s just school. So the first thing he thinks of is, “Oh, I can go find the information I want.” Whereas later, he starts exploring – especially once we get to Prisoner and he gets the map – and he starts finding out about secret passageways and hidden things in the castle… Well, I guess that happens in Chamber too. But he starts discovering the secrets of Hogwarts because of the cloak, whereas before he didn’t even really think about Hogwarts having secrets, because why would he? He was just there to go to school and walk around during the day.

Michael: Yeah, it opens up a lot. It’s funny too, what you said, Monet, about it being a Hermione thing to do. Because it’s almost a perfect combo of Harry and Hermione, because Harry’s rule-breaking but he’s doing it to go to the library, which… yay!

[Monet laughs]

Michael: It kind of reminds me of when… We have a lot of parents now who, when they bring their teens into the teen area at our new library, the teens want to stay all day. And the parents come up to me and they’re like, “They don’t want to leave.” And I’m like, “Well, isn’t that the best thing, though? Isn’t that a good thing?” If there’s somewhere you wouldn’t want your teen to leave from, it’s the library. [laughs]

Alison: Right. Break the rules to go to the library, kids.

Michael: Yeah. But yes, I’m sure that Ignotus [Peverell] would be very proud of how this cloak is being used, how it has been passed down and used by the generations. It’s still being used so responsibly. Is Harry literally hiding from death right now? Is there anything that equates to how the cloak is used symbolically yet?

Alison: Well, he could have died if Filch caught him.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Or Snape.

Michael: “Died” in that kind of teen hyperbole.

Alison: Hey, man, you never know with Filch, or Snape.

Michael: That’s true. Filch likes to hang the students by their thumbs, so that’s pretty crazy.

Kat: Yes, it is.

Michael: But, you know, the one thing I always thought, though, was the downside of this cloak… It’s great because it’s basically infallible, but this magical, amazing, rule-defying Invisibility Cloak can’t grow a few feet and recognize when two people are using it? Inevitably more than one person is going to want to use this cloak at a time.

Kat: Well, actually, doesn’t Harry comment about that later, about how it seems to magically fit all three of them?

Alison: No. He talks about their feet sticking out if they move too fast and how they have to arrange themselves if all three of them are together.

Kat: Right. No, I’m not saying in this book; I’m saying later at some other point. I am 99% sure he says something about how even though they’ve grown, somehow the cloak still magically fits all three of them under it. I am…

Alison: Uh-uh.

Kat: Don’t say “uh-uh”! You don’t know for sure.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: I’m pretty sure, though, because I remember him talking… It’s in Half-Blood and Hallows, a couple of times he said stuff about…

Kat: Right, I’m saying like Book 3, not 7.

Alison: Ah… I still don’t think it says anything.

Michael: I can’t remember. We might have to throw that one on the listeners.

Kat: Yeah. I’m going to look while we keep talking…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: … because I am fairly positive that’s a thing that happens.

Michael: Well, don’t get too distracted while you’re doing that, because it’s time for the Hogwarts holiday feast.

Kat: Yay!

Michael: There’s so much fun to be had.

Alison: Yes.

Michael: And one of the things that I thought was worth pointing out – because we had quite a discussion about this before – [laughs] listeners, if you haven’t seen this cover yet, Google the Italian cover of Sorcerer’s Stone and what you will see is a picture… and you guys can actually click the link in the document, my fellow hosts. You will see a picture of Harry sitting looking at a chessboard with the wizard chess pieces, and there is a giant mouse next to him wearing a napkin.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: It’s so cute.

Michael: There is also a giant mouse head on his head, and that’s a little confusing.

[Alison and Monet laugh]

Michael: What I am wondering… I mean, first of all, there’s obviously a little bit of exaggeration going on on this cover. But I was wondering… and maybe any of you listeners who have experienced the Italian translation of Harry Potter, I would love to hear if you know more about this. But I’m wondering, because the book says that Harry, when he cracks open the Cribbage’s Wizarding Crackers, he gets a rear admiral’s hat and a bunch of white mice come out of one. I’m wondering if the translator combined the two by accident and got a mouse hat.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Aw, that’s cute.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: That’s funny.

Michael: I’m just wondering if this has anything to do with this mysterious interpretation of the giant mouse hat. [laughs]

Alison: I’ve also never noticed this trippy chessboard. The pieces have human torsos and heads, but they’re wearing hats to distinguish what piece they are.

Kat: Yeah, they’re funny.

Michael: And they match up with the wizarding chessboard at the end where they don’t have any faces.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: That’s terribly creepy. But I always felt like she left enough room with the chess pieces so that people could interpret them how they wanted in their heads.

Alison: Yeah. That large mouse, though…

[Michael laughs]

Alison: He’s just chilling.

Michael: I still can’t get over, too… I think in Book 3 it’s revealed that they’re called Cribbage’s Wizarding Crackers and I was like, “Oh my God, she had a name for everything.” She doesn’t name them here, but apparently she had a name for them. So that’s the brand we’re playing with. I guess that’s Hogwarts’ preferred brand of wizarding crackers.

[Kat laughs]

Michael: Apparently, Monet, you have had some recent experience with crackers like these.

Monet: Yes. So this is pretty crazy. So at the library I mentioned, we’re major Harry Potter fans there, so I’m just giving them a little shout-out. But they had a Yule Ball a few weeks ago, and if you haven’t gotten to the Yule Ball part in Goblet of Fire, please read it because it is amazing. And when we did the Yule Ball, we did it just like how they did it in Goblet of Fire. And then there was a Christmas feast, and it started off and they had the wizarding crackers that you pull apart and everyone was so into it. And I was a little frightened to open mine, [laughs] because I had no idea what was going to pop out of there. But yeah, nothing frightening or anything like that, but it was hysterical because everyone at the table was having trouble opening theirs. And I’m like, “In the book this is so much easier!” But yeah, it was quite hysterical and a lot of fun.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: Harry even notes in the book that Muggle versions are pretty dinky.

[Monet laughs]

Kat: Yeah. [There are] places in the States like Christmas tree shops and Target and stuff [where] you can find these crackers, and they’re actually really hard to pull apart. But when I was in the UK last winter, we had some and they were just like, “Pop!” So I don’t know. I guess the UK have perfected these Christmas poppers and we just can’t get them right in the States, like everything else. We’re just so dumb.

Michael: That makes sense too, because this isn’t really a thing for us in the US. I remember when I read about it when I was a kid, I was like, “I don’t know what that is.” I couldn’t quite get a picture of what this was in my head. But Monet, what was in your cracker when you finally got it apart?

Monet: Okay, I’m trying to remember now… There was a little paper crown – I think it was a Slytherin one. [laughs] Let me see… and random little party favors and stuff. Some people got wands… The table was cluttered full of stuff. But yeah, it was pretty crazy. The younger kids especially loved it. And so by the end of the day everyone was walking out wearing all these strange things from the crackers.

[Michael and Monet laugh]

Michael: Well, hey, Kat?

Kat: Yes, dear.

Michael: I’ve got a cracker right here with something in it. Let’s pull on it and see what’s inside.

Kat: Okay.

Michael: You ready?

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: Okay. I got it. I got my end.

Kat: I’ve got my end too.

Michael: All right, here we go. Pull, pull, pull…

[Soft ‘pop’ sound]

Michael: And… whoa! Whoa! Kat, what is this?

Kat: Oh my gosh! It’s an advertisement for one of our sponsors, Zola. Isn’t that amazing?

Michael: [laughs] Tell us more about it!

Kat: Sure.

[Advertisement begins]

Kat: So Zola is this really cool website which is totally reinventing the wedding registry process. So if any of you out there are engaged and you’re planning, definitely check it out. Oh man, it just makes the happiest moment in couples’ lives even happier. It’s really fun and super easy to use, and besides that, it is totally free. They have over 500 of the top brands and 50,000 gift experiences, and you can even register for a cash fund. It’s really easy for couples and for your guests, and there are over 300,000 couples who have used Zola so far in the past. And you guys can get a $50 credit toward your registry when you sign up for Zola, so go over to zola.com/open and check it out. It’s really quite cool. I am not engaged, but I definitely spent some time on the site. I’ve worked in the wedding industry for the last 12 years or so as a photographer, so I’m very familiar with the services and how crappy some websites can be, and Zola is definitely really cool. So head over to zola.com/open and get your $50 credit today.

[Advertisement ends]

Michael: I don’t know if the Hogwarts students would be so enthused to get that particular item. Harry might be freaking out if he got his own…

Alison: Eleven-year-old Harry would be freaking out.

Kat: Right. But all of those listeners out there that are going to get engaged next week at Christmas, keep that in mind, y’all. Just saying. Keep it in mind.

Alison: If there’s a small box under your Christmas tree…

Kat: Or a big box, because your partner is a funny person.

Michael: I think Hagrid and McGonagall might have gotten a Zola gift.

Kat: Sweet.

Michael: Kisses. Drunk kisses.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: But as we move on from all of that fun, as promised, we are sneaking around the corridors at night, and we have come upon this very beautiful, ornate, large mirror.

Alison: Get ready to cry! Sorry.

Michael: [laughs] It is the Mirror of Erised. And listeners, we highly recommend if you haven’t yet, head on over to Pottermore and check out the piece that Rowling wrote on the Mirror of Erised…

Kat: Ooh, wait! Asterisk! Asterisk on that the Mirror of Erised inexplicably is not in the Room of Requirement like Pottermore says it is. Do not believe them. They are liars.

Alison: What?

Kat: It’s literally not possible.

Michael: So, okay…

Kat: Their piece… Okay. Go ahead, Michael.

Michael: So here’s what happened with that, I think. Yes, there is a theory that what Harry did was he wandered into the Room of Requirement, and a bunch of people were like, “Ooh! Because yeah, there’s a stack of chairs and stuff like that.” No. The proof that he’s not there is actually on the page, on page 206 of the US edition of Sorcerer’s Stone, where the narration says, “There was a small suit of armor near the kitchens, he knew, but he must be five floors above that.” So he’s on floor five…

Alison: And Pottermore doesn’t say it’s still in there. It just says it had been in there for a century or so, and then Dumbledore brought it out.

Michael: Yes. And that is something, I think, that people have misunderstood.

Kat: Right.

Michael: Because Dumbledore moved it out of the Room of Requirement to work on it, and he put it in an out-of-the-way classroom to do that. I’m sure it would have been more work to have left it in the Room of Requirement because you would have had to go find it every time he wanted to work on it. [laughs] So it makes sense to me that he took it out of there and put it somewhere where he thought nobody was going to pay attention to it. Although, if you go by some theories, he might have put it there intentionally.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: That’s the funny thing about this chapter, with the mirror and with Dumbledore. And the mirror, I think, is one of those things that really pushes forward that idea that maybe Dumbledore is pulling some strings a little bit. Maybe? How do we feel about that theory? Who of us subscribes that Dumbledore is pulling that many strings, to the point of almost being omniscient?

Alison: I think, to some extent in these early books, he’s pulling enough [strings]. He’s not controlling absolutely everything, but he’s putting things into place and reacting so well to what else happens that he’s kind of in control of the situation. The point where I think he loses control starts near the end of Prisoner, and then things just happen and he can’t keep ahead of them the way he could before. And that especially explodes at the end of Goblet.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: Makes sense.

Michael: Yeah, I like that breakdown of it. Because I never really thought of it that way, that Prisoner is where things kind of go beyond his personal control.

Kat: Yeah, because Peter Pettigrew totally flip-flops everything for him.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: That’s true.

Alison: And learning the truth about Sirius changes a lot of what he had been functioning on before – information he had been working with before.

Michael: But how do we…? Now looking at this mirror, first of all, did anybody right off the bat figure out what Erised was?

Alison: No.

Kat: No. Come on.

Monet: I wish I had.

Alison: It took me 11 years.

[Michael and Monet laugh]

Michael: We would all be so proud of ourselves if we had done it. Yes, I did not… I was also really shocked when I had found, not only the Erised… So, listeners, if you don’t know… I feel like I shouldn’t tell you. Go hold your book up to a mirror.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: I definitely had to literally do that when someone first mentioned it to me. I was like, “Say what?” And then I had to run to a mirror and actually hold the book up to it.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, and it’s not just the name of the mirror, but the mirror has an inscription at the top which you should also go take that page and put it in a mirror. And then you’re going to have to do a little bit of moving around of some of the letters – just shifting them a little bit – because Rowling didn’t want to make it too easy. But yeah, there’s a trick there. It really does feel like it’s a hilarious spoiler. There’s got to be one of you listeners out there who’s like, “What are they talking about?”

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Go try it now and then listen to the rest, and then we’ll spoil it if you haven’t seen what happens already. But another question to ask with this mirror, really, is how does this work? And Monet has a great question that leads us into that question.

Kat: [whispers] It’s magic.

Monet: [laughs] Yeah, I was waiting for someone to say that. Point out the obvious.

Michael: [laughs] I think we know that.

Kat: [laughs] Oh. Well, then continue, Monet, please.

[Michael and Monet laugh]

Monet: When I was reading this and everyone I knew was into this Mirror of Erised, now that J. K. Rowling has especially put on Pottermore backstories and explaining how things came to be, I think one of the things I’d love for her to explain is… I’m just really curious who created the mirror. I was wondering if it was one of the Hogwarts founders or… the first time I read it when I was younger, I thought maybe Dumbledore created it. Then I realized, no, Dumbledore is way older than we think he is. But yeah, I just thought that would be another interesting short story or something like that.

Kat: Mmm. I have never, ever once thought about who made the mirror. Intriguing.

Michael: It’s funny that you say that you thought it might have been Dumbledore because I didn’t think of that. But I bet you when I was younger, I thought Dumbledore actually made it. Because it’s not… I think he might say… He says in this chapter that it wasn’t him – he implies as much – but it’s funny because I think for a while I probably thought it was him. But the only hint we get of that is on Pottermore, and Pottermore tells us that nobody knows who made the mirror, actually. Which is kind of how I like to deal with that problem, to just not even… But in that way it’s funny that we get introduced to a Hallow in this same chapter because in some ways, the mirror has the same mystique around it as the Invisibility Cloak does. But Alison, you had another question that really delves into the mirror’s inner workings.

Alison: Yeah. How does it change? I guess I don’t get what it means by “heart’s desire.” Is it just the greatest desire you have that you know about when you look at the mirror, or is it something you don’t even necessarily know?

Kat: Both.

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: Because then how does Harry’s [desire] change? Has Harry really changed that much by the end of this book that his greatest heart’s desire is the Sorcerer’s Stone? Because I just don’t think it is.

Kat: No, you’re right; it’s definitely not. But I think, more than anything at the end of this book, Harry wants to save his friends. And he wants to help the school and he wants to vindicate Snape. So I do think that it is very much more of a what’s-happening-at-that-exact-moment type of situation, as opposed to the thing that your soul is going to cling onto for the rest of your life, basically. And the reason Harry sees his family at the beginning is because that’s what his life up to that point has been. He’s been at this crappy place with the Dursleys and he’s finally in this school where he has friends, and he’s exploring what it means to be a wizard and his legacy and all of that stuff. But I really think that towards the end, as Harry begins to realize that he’s the one who has to go on and fix this, and by getting the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone he can stop it, I think that in that moment that is what he wants more than anything, and that’s why it changes for him. Like I said, I don’t think it’s one thing over the course of your life, because that changes for some people by the hour.

Michael: Well, yeah. It’s not like when Harry went into the room in this scene that he was thinking about his parents right at the moment, right? Because this takes him completely by surprise. And the other piece – kind of along the lines of what you were saying, Kat, too – is that in that moment at the end of the book, I would say it would be his greatest desire because he’s in a life-or-death situation.

Kat: Exactly.

Michael: If he doesn’t get the Stone he will die. And he also knows, in tandem with that, that Voldemort will win, and Harry is… I think we see from the speech that Harry gives Ron and Hermione, before they go into the third-floor corridor, that that really is how determined Harry is to stop Voldemort. He thinks it’s Snape, of course, but that’s a whole entire…

Kat: Right. One and the same. Whatever.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: I do think you’re right, though, Alison. Especially when Dumbledore explains it later, it is a bit of a stretch in some ways. I think it’s even more of a stretch too with, like, [as Dumbledore] “also this mirror can hide things that are actually real.”

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Michael: [laughs] What? I’m surprised that Dumbledore meddled with the mirror enough to make it do that because I’m assuming that that was not the mirror’s original [intent]. I never thought that that’s something the mirror could actually do originally. I think that’s something Dumbledore made the mirror do.

Kat: Well, yeah. I think he says that, doesn’t he?

Michael: Does he explicitly say that the mirror was not meant to hide something and that he did it? Because we know that he put special enchantments on it.

Alison: That’s what Dumbledore does, right? That’s the work he does on it. He makes it able to hold the Stone.

Kat: Right.

Michael: In a way, the mirror is a clever symbol of a safe. Theoretically, you put something that means a lot to you in a safe, and then you alone would be able to access it. So it makes sense in that respect, if you look at it that way. But it does seem like a bit of a stretch, because I don’t know how anybody would assume that the Stone is hiding in that mirror. Maybe that’s what makes it so great of a hiding place.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: I suppose. Yeah, probably.

Michael: But another question to ask about the mirror is how it affects the viewer. Because what’s interesting is Rowling says on Pottermore that, “The Mirror of Erised is one of those magical artifacts that seems to have been created in the spirit of fun (whether innocent or malevolent is a matter of opinion).” And I thought that was interesting because Harry noticeably changes his demeanor and behavior after encountering the mirror. And it’s not a subtle change; it’s a quick change. The next day Ron is just like, [as Ron] “Why aren’t you eating?” And the narration through Harry’s thoughts is basically like, [as Harry] “Nah, who cares about the Sorcerer’s Stone? I just want to go see my parents.” And it seems like such a quick turn… Really, this reading more than any other reading made me feel like that was such a quick flip of the switch for Harry that I wondered if the mirror is enchanting its viewer or if its effect is solely on the viewer of the mirror. And Monet, you had a great point that leads into that.

Monet: Yeah, thanks, Michael. How I see it is the mirror only affects wizards who are weak-minded at things and can’t let go of their desires. And I want to quickly say that I’m not saying that about Harry. [laughs] He’s definitely not weak in any way, and it does affect him at first because he’s a young kid, but eventually he’s able to pull himself away with Dumbledore’s help. And one of the things I got out of this chapter, especially near the end, is it showed me how strong Harry was just in Book 1 and how much of a strong wizard he is because he was able to pull himself away from this really powerful mirror.

Michael: Yeah, no, absolutely. Like I said, this mirror is, I think, an excellent example of what we’re going to see with Harry’s character arc as we move forward with the series. This is a great first example of Harry learning how to pull away from temptation. Again, it’s so perfect that he is given the Invisibility Cloak in this moment in this series and that the Invisibility Cloak is so tied to the mirror, because he will have to learn how to disconnect from temptation to resist temptation with the other Hallows as he moves forward in that journey. So it’s really… Gosh, that’s another one of those moments where you just get amazed at how far ahead she planned this kind of stuff. But yeah… Kat or Alison, do you guys think that any of this might be on the mirror? Or is it just the viewer? And do you think, too, that the mirror is actually meant to be good or bad?

Kat: I don’t think the mirror is meant to be good or bad. I think it is meant to be a tool, which I think could be good or bad. I think it depends on the wizard.

Michael: Hmm. The mirror is chaotic neutral.

Kat: Yes.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah, that is the perfect way to describe it, actually. That’s the perfect way to describe it. I don’t even have to say anything else. It’s perfect.

Alison: I feel like, though…

Michael: Alison, I was wondering…

Alison: Oh, no, go for it.

Michael: Well, I was going to ask you specifically… I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head and I know they’re out there, but can you think of other literary [or] film examples that equate to the mirror? Because I know there are. This idea of the mirror is not unique.

Alison: Yeah. I feel like there’s stuff in fairy tales. There’s several fairy tales…

Kat: Well, it depends on what aspect you want to discuss, because obviously – and I never say it right – but the Palantir, or whatever, in Lord of the Rings is definitely similar in certain aspects.

Michael: Well, it’s perfect – Alison, you said fairy tales – because I guess the evil queen’s mirror in Snow White portrays some of it.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Same thing, yeah.

Alison: Yeah. I feel like there’s something in Narnia too, isn’t there? Oh geez, it’s been so long.

Michael: There is.

Monet: There is… I don’t want to interrupt any of you guys, but I read it a while back.

Michael: No, no, no. Interrupt, please.

Kat: We want you to interrupt us.

Alison: Yes.

Monet: I read it a while back, so I’m not even sure if I’m remembering this right, but there are a lot of magical objects in Narnia. And one thing I do remember [is] at one point in the series, there was a huge mirror of sorts, and I remember one of the evil villains was trying to tempt one of the kings to come and help…

Michael: Yes. You are right.

Alison: Oh! Yeah.

Monet: Yeah, I kind of remember that.

Michael: It’s [in] Prince Caspian.

Alison: Is it [in] [The] Magician’s Nephew too? The whole pool thing in Magician’s Nephew, right?

Monet: Yes, yes, yes. Okay, now it’s coming back. [laughs]

Michael: Yes. There are pools in [The] Magician’s Nephew, and the mirror is in Prince Caspian. And in the movie they show it; in the book it’s unseen, but it’s the spirit of the White Witch. She’s in the mirror trying to tempt Caspian.

Alison: [gasps] Oh, snap!

Michael: Oh. Oh.

[Michael and Monet laugh]

Alison: There’s also a similar thing in The Last Jedi. Kind of.

Michael: Ohh!

Alison: Kat, do you know what I’m talking about?

Kat: No.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Aahh! Where someone wants to see something specifically, and they are tempted to go to a certain place to find that thing.

Kat: Oh, sure. Okay, fine, I guess. That’s a bit of a stretch, but I get what you’re saying.

Michael: Look at us. Look at us staying spoiler-free on Alohomora!.

[Alison and Monet laugh]

Kat: Honestly, Michael, if you had seen the movie, we would not be. Let’s be real.

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Michael: Well, and that is actually a perfect segue, ladies – and cheap for you, listeners. I have to depart early from this episode because my roommates and I have tickets to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. [laughs] So this is a pretty great point in the discussion for me to depart from the show. But I trust you ladies to take care of the rest of this – what has been excellent conversation.

Alison: Yes. Go find out what I’m talking about.

Michael: Yeah, I’ll go see what you’re talking about. But yes, come up with more before you move on because the next thing that we will be talking about is the Potter family. But before you ladies move on, if you think of any other things, I will look forward to hearing about them. And listeners, until next time, you’ll probably hear my voice at the very end when I say my name because our editors can work some magic for you.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: So you’ll think I’m here, but I’m gone. Disapparate! Puff!

Alison: All right. Let’s jump to our next point then because obviously, we know that the thing Harry sees in the mirror is… ultra tearjerker, everyone…

Kat: Actually, isn’t that funny? Because Michael literally told us, “Don’t jump to the next point yet. Keep talking about this one.”

[Monet laughs]

Alison: Oh, I’m sorry. Awkward.

Kat: It doesn’t matter. Michael is gone. That Michael… whatever. Move on to the next. Love you, Michael.

[Alison and Monet laugh]

Alison: I just almost made another Star Wars reference. It’s fine. [laughs]

Kat: Well, guess what? By the time the episode is out, he will have seen it, so we can make all the references we want now.

Alison: That’s true. I will say it right now: “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.”

[Alison and Monet laugh]

Alison: Bye, Michael. Anyway…

Kat: We’re going to have to warn our listeners about this episode. Hopefully, we haven’t spoiled it for our editor.

Alison: That was in the trailer! It’s fine.

Kat: Oh, it was? Okay. Well, I didn’t watch any of the trailers, so it would be a spoiler for me.

Alison: Yeah, it was in the trailer; it’s fine. Anyway, so we know that Harry looks into the mirror and freaks out a little bit because there’s a whole bunch of people in the mirror, and then he discovers it’s his family.

Kat: Aww.

Alison: Which brings us to the Potter family, who are these people he’s looking at.

Kat: That would freak me out so much.

Alison: Seriously though, it’s a little terrifying.

Kat: It’s kind of overwhelming. I feel like Harry reacts the most un-Harry-like that he has ever reacted in this moment. Every other time, he would’ve been like, “Who are all these people? Ahh!” But he’s just like, “Oh, they look like me? Cool.”

Alison: I love the comment he makes about his knobbly knees and how there is a grandfather with the knobbly knees.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Kat: Yeah, it’s really cute. Yeah.

Alison: Because who thinks about that, you know? Who knows their knees that well? Anyway…

Kat: Apparently, Harry Potter.

Alison: Harry. I guess he was…

Kat: What else did he ever do growing up besides probably sit in the dirt and look at his knees?

Alison: I was going to say, he was probably so cramped up in the cupboard under the stairs.

Kat: Ohh! I didn’t go that far, Alison. [laughs]

Alison: Sorry.

Kat: Way to bring an episode down, woman.

Alison: Let’s talk about these people though. No, we’ve got happier things to talk about, AKA, Harry’s awesome family. So if you haven’t read the information on Pottermore, it’s actually really fascinating to me, I think. Basically, Harry’s family, the Potters, were not super out there until Harry was born and everything happened to him. They just lived their life. They were very industrious and ingenious in creating… Well, one ancestor created a whole bunch of things that would become potions that would solve medical illnesses, so it basically led to Skele-Gro and Pepperup Potion. So all things Harry has had experience with and didn’t even know was connected to his family history. Also, we get that the cloak came into his family actually through a female ancestor, Iolanthe Peverell, who married Hardwin Potter, and she was from Godric’s Hollow. She was the granddaughter of Ignotus, and because there weren’t any male heirs in the family, she got the cloak and it was passed down then to the oldest in every new generation – which, I think, it doesn’t specify male. So I guess that means there must have been some females that had it. Though maybe not if they still had the same surname.

Kat: Yeah. I mean, they can’t always just give it to the male side.

Alison: Yeah. It just says eldest though. That’s all it says.

Kat: I suppose.

Alison: Yeah. Anyway, we know that members of Harry’s family have been on the Wizengamot twice: Ralston Potter from 1612 to 1652 who supported the Statute of Secrecy, and a Henry Potter who was known as Harry to his friends. So Harry was named after him; I believe we know that for sure. From 1913 to 1921 Henry Potter kind of made himself a big deal, because he went after the Minister of Magic at the time who was trying to keep wizards from helping Muggles in World War I. So this is my thought: Does this connect to Fantastic Beasts at all?

Kat: No, because it’s before Fantastic Beasts.

Alison: But we do know that Theseus and Newt were both involved in the war.

Kat: Yeah. No, it won’t. And if it does, I’ll be really angry because I’m sick and tired of the two series connecting so much.

[Alison laughs]

Alison: Well…

Kat: In my opinion, of course. Just had to throw that in there.

Alison: Yeah. I mean, it would be a nice name drop. I wouldn’t mind a name drop.

Kat: Sure, I could deal with a name drop.

Alison: Yeah. Anyway, Henry son’s name was Fleamont Potter. Poor dude.

[Monet laughs]

Kat: Better than Elvendork.

Alison: That’s true. [laughs] And Fleamont Potter actually invented Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion. So Hermione also benefited from Harry’s family history.

Kat: Yeah, Hermione is literally helping Harry continue his fortune.

[Monet laughs]

Alison: Seriously, though.

Monet: I never thought about it that way.

Kat: Do you think…? Okay, so the Potter family must still have some sort of stock in the Sleekeazy’s, right? Is Harry getting royalties from that?

Alison: He might be, actually. No, no, sorry. Because Fleamont sold the company.

Kat: Oh. Pottermore says that?

Alison: Yes. It says, “He sold the company at a vast profit when he retired, but no amount of riches could compensate him or his wife Euphemia for their childlessness.”

Kat: Aww!

Alison: So they were pretty old when James was born. Because it seems that it was after he retired that they found out – surprise! – they’re having a kid, and that kid was James.

Kat: Right. And I do think J.K. Rowling did that on purpose because she said she didn’t want the grandparents to be a factor.

Alison: Yes. So actually, it seems like this timeline was really short because it says that “Fleamont and Euphemia lived long enough to see James marry a Muggle-born girl called Lily Evans, but not to meet their grandson, Harry.” And isn’t Harry born within a year of them getting married?

Kat: Yup.

Alison: So it was soon after [James and Lily] got married that [James’s parents] both died from Dragon Pox within days of each other. So this also means… because the end of this says, “and James Potter then inherited Ignotus Peverell’s Invisibility Cloak.” But that can’t be right, can it?

Kat: Why not?

Alison: Because he had it at school.

Kat: It just means that he inherited it. I mean, Harry has things at school that… I don’t know. Ron has things in school that aren’t his. Right? I don’t know. I think maybe he was just borrowing it – or stole it, seems more accurate. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah. I guess then it would make sense… I guess that leads into maybe how Dumbledore knew about the cloak then, if wizard wills were made public.

Kat: Mhm. And also, officially, the term inheritance means literally you’ve been given it by somebody who has died, and so he could have been given the cloak years ago. Like Harry inherited the cloak [but] he never possessed the cloak. It was always an inheritance for Harry, essentially. But James possessed it while his parents were alive, and then he inherited it when they died.

Alison: Okay. That makes sense.

Kat: I’m sure some lawyer out there listening is like, “No, no, no, no, no… That’s not how it works.”

[Alison laughs]

Kat: But in my little brain, that’s how it works. Okay? [laughs]

Alison: I do think that’s an interesting tie though to this chapter that if that’s how Dumbledore found out that James had this cloak and then maybe that’s when James is like, “Yeah, and it’s also a pretty powerful one.” And that’s kind of what got that conversation started. Then that leads to Harry having the cloak at all.

Kat: Don’t we find out? I feel like there’s a conversation where Dumbledore says how he came to it. I feel like it’s in King’s Cross when he’s talking to Harry.

Alison: Doesn’t he just say…? He just says that, like, “Your father sheepishly told me about the cloak and how it had caused trouble when they were at school and I asked to look at it.”

Kat: Yeah, something like that.

Alison: I don’t remember the exact words. Anyway…

Kat: You know what will have the exact words? The book.

[Kat and Monet laugh]

Alison: Yes, it will indeed. Mine is across the room, however.

Kat: Oh, all seven of mine are directly on my phone, so…

Alison: There you go.

Kat: … I’ll look it up. Feel free to continue.

Alison: So these are the people who Harry is seeing for the first time. Obviously, he probably doesn’t know these stories yet, but Monet, you had a point about Harry’s family and what we learned about them.

Monet: Yeah. When you were talking, I hadn’t read the Potter family article on Pottermore for a while either, and when I went back on, I just found it so interesting reading about Henry Potter in particular and how it kind of came full circle with how… or where history repeating itself, you could say where Henry challenged the current Minister for Magic at the time. And so many times later in the series do we see Harry constantly challenging all the Ministers of Magic that have been in power. Of course, they’ve been awful ministers, but I just love how it kind of… I felt like that was a great parallel to Harry and what he ends up doing. Yeah, the Potters are just troublemakers. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah, not-Harry definitely included in that. So the quote – the exact quote – says… because Dumbledore explains how it was handed down. And it says,

“Dumbledore smiled at Harry. ‘Me?’ ‘You. You have guessed, I know, why the cloak was in my possession on the night your parents died. James had showed it to me just a few days previously. It explained so much of his undetected wrong-doing at school! I could hardly believe what I was seeing. I asked to borrow it, to examine it.'”

So there you go. He goes on to talk about how it’s a Hallow… blah, blah…

Alison: Okay.

Kat: So, yeah. He only saw it just a few days before they died. But still, Dumbledore immediately connected it with all those years past. So you’re not totally wrong, just like 80 percent. [laughs]

Alison: Okay, okay, okay. Fine!

Kat: I have a backlog of sass, okay? I haven’t been on since the Sirius Black episode, in like three months.

Alison: I know, I know. It’s fine. [laughs] Our next question actually comes from Twitter from Patrick Crosen… Crossen?

Kat: Probably “Crossen.”

Alison: Crossen (@Patrickcrossen_) who says,

“Would current-day Harry see something different now that he has a family to call his own? Would Hermione see good grades?”

Kat: Well, that depends on what version of current-day Harry you want to go with, whether you want to go with the canon or the non-canon version. I only say these words to upset Alison and to light her head on fire.

Alison: There is only canon.

Kat: [laughs] She knows I love her. What would Harry see? I think if you disregard Cursed Child, which even now… because technically we’re only three months after “19 Years Later.” So yes, he has… you know, even if you take [the] current timeline Harry into account, I think that he might see… I don’t know. I feel like he’s probably decently happy. Other than the fact that he doesn’t necessarily get on super well with his son, even though I don’t believe that that would actually be the case… I don’t know. That’s really hard because I always saw Harry as a pretty happy adult, honestly.

Alison: I think he is decently happy, and he would see his family. But I think he would see the people they lost too. I think he would see everybody: Remus, Sirius, Fred…

Kat: Not just his blood family, the family you make for yourself. Yeah.

Alison: Yeah, yeah, the family and the people who he cared about, who he lost that he still feels guilty for. Because I think that’s still a lifelong guilt he carries with him, even maybe to some extent Cedric [and] Colin – people who he feels like, in some regard, it’s his fault. And he would see them all alive and happy and together and living the lives they should’ve had. Because I think that’s really the only thing that could make Harry happier than he is, despite his and Albus’s misunderstanding.

[Kat laughs]

Alison: I wouldn’t say they’re not happy. They’re just having a misunderstanding and miscommunication. And his kid is going to make some mistakes.

Kat: Yeah. I don’t know. What do you think, Monet?

Monet: I haven’t really thought about this before. I really like what you guys were saying, the idea of Harry seeing the people he’s all lost. I definitely don’t think it would be just his parents anymore. I think it would probably be him and his immediate family now – Ginny and his kids. I think one of the things he’d notice is all of his kids were happy. Because especially in Cursed Child – not to do any spoilers – Albus is so unhappy throughout the book that I think one of the things that would generally make Harry happy would [be] to see Albus really generally happy, not upset, not feeling like he’s the weird kid or something like that, feeling like he belongs and he really likes his family.

Alison: Yeah!

[Monet laughs]

Alison: Yeah! I like it. [laughs]

Kat: Sympathizer! I’m just kidding.

[Kat and Monet laugh]

Alison: What?

[Alison and Monet laugh]

Alison: What do you guys think about Hermione, though? Do you think Hermione would see just herself getting good grades?

Monet: No, no…

Kat: No, because Hermione as an adult… I mean, even by Book 4, Book 3, Book 2, heck, she grows and rounds out as a human being remarkably fast. And I think even in her Hogwarts days, I’m not sure that’s ever what she would actually see. Maybe in the beginning, maybe as a… Because I always… Maybe this is the wrong impression, but given her upbringing… Her parents are dentists. They make a decent amount of money. Hermione had no hardships growing up. I saw her going to some sort of fancy British prep school, and maybe she was a little bit of a snooty person when she got to Hogwarts. And I think that she probably very quickly grew out of that and hopefully, like I said, became a more well-rounded person and less involved in just her own self and her own wants and desires and needs. I don’t know what she would see, but I don’t think it’s just good grades.

Alison: I think Hermione would probably see everyone safe and well, I think, to some extent. As an adult, maybe just seeing things like… I don’t know. Everyone is just good. Does that make sense? Because I think that’s always been a thing with Hermione. Hermione wants to feel included, and I always thought that was part of the grades thing. She felt like she had to be the top [student] to feel like she was a part of this world.

Kat: She felt like that was her niche, right?

Alison: Yeah, and she felt like, “I have to be the top one for people to accept me because I’m not from this world.” And I think part of the reason why she starts loosening up is because Harry and Ron and the Weasleys and people start to accept her more, and she starts to find other ways of being accepted into this community that she so much wants to be a part of. So I guess, as an adult in the Mirror of Erised, she would find… I don’t know. Because I feel like she’s achieved that by the time we get to Cursed Child. I mean, obviously, she’s a part of this. She’s the Minister for Magic. I don’t know. What do you think, Monet?

Monet: I’m agreeing with a lot of what you’re saying. I really do think having her family and her friends all safe, thriving, [and] happy is a big deal to her, because she always seems to be comfortable when she’s with Harry and Ron. But I think another big image that has always been in my head as what she would see… She’s always been very focused on where she wants to end up – a career, things she wants to accomplish – so I’d be very surprised if she didn’t see a thriving career, see her doing really well, making a difference. Maybe not with S.P.E.W. or house-elves, but a really good job, something that she enjoys doing and feels happy from that accomplishment, something like that.

Alison: That’s so interesting because I think that ties into what Ron sees in the mirror in this chapter where Ron sees himself achieving things. And that’s interesting that Hermione might see the same thing. Ooh!

[Monet laughs]

Alison: Someone try and tell me they’re not soulmates.

[Monet laughs]

Alison: Yeah, right. [laughs] Yeah, there’s a lot of… Man, that’s interesting to think about. So many different ones. Speaking of people and what they would see in the mirror, the one person that we didn’t quite know what they saw in the mirror is Dumbledore, who we meet in person for the first time in this chapter face-to-face. And it’s interesting because a lot of the information we know about Dumbledore in this scene actually came from Deathly Hallows and right after Deathly Hallows. In the bloomsbury.com webchat in 2007, right after Deathly Hallows came out, first of all, the big question: “How does Dumbledore know Harry is there under this infallible Invisibility Cloak?” Which Rowling said, “Dumbledore, who can perform magic without needing to say the incantation aloud, was using Homenum Revlelio, the Human-Presence-Revealing Spell Hermione makes use of in Deathly Hallows.” So my question is, why don’t more people do that if they think Harry is around under the cloak? Is that a difficult spell to do? What’s happening there?

Monet: I feel like, especially at the beginning of the series, Harry so didn’t tell… I mean, he wouldn’t even tell the Weasley twins, who he liked very much, about the cloak. So I feel like a lot of people at school, when Harry was using the cloak, didn’t know he had it, where Dumbledore definitely did and Hagrid did. So I feel like they probably wouldn’t have used that spell. Yeah, that’s just what I can say for the beginning of the books. I don’t know. [laughs]

Alison: But what about in Goblet when Snape is convinced that Harry is standing there? There’s that scene with the stairs and Snape is like, “Potter is here in his cloak.” That is Goblet, right?

Monet: There is some time…

Alison: Am I thinking of something else?

Monet: There were some times where Harry was in his cloak and Snape was there that I honestly thought… going to later in the series, we find out that Snape can read minds. There were some times I was thinking Snape wasn’t even using a spell. I just felt like he was reading Harry’s mind. I don’t know.

Kat: I also think we have to remember that Dumbledore is the only person who knows truly what this cloak is, and that perhaps that… I don’t know. Maybe the qualities of Harry’s cloak are very different from the ones who just have a Disillusionment Charm on them. Who knows? Maybe the things that work on it won’t work on other cloaks. We know that there are some things it’s immune to. I never really agreed with Jo’s comment on that, because that just seems a little bit… It’s made out that the cloak is so impervious, and yet this simple spell can get through it? I never really believed that explanation. It doesn’t really fit with everything else we know about the cloak.

Alison: Yeah, and I guess it just brings up so many questions of, why weren’t other people using it? Why wouldn’t other people..?

Kat: The Death Eaters, you know?

Alison: Yeah. So we’re not quite sure if that fits or not. But the one thing that I think everybody figured after reading Deathly Hallows and rereading this chapter: What did Dumbledore truly see in the Mirror of Erised? And Rowling’s response to that was, “He saw his family alive, whole and happy, Ariana, Percival, and Kendra all returned to him, and Aberforth reconciled to him.” So basically, the same thing Harry sees.

Kat: Mhm. Which is why it ticks Harry off so much.

Alison: Yeah. Do you think Dumbledore should’ve shared that information with Harry to help him maybe not feel so drawn to the mirror?

Kat: Not in this moment, but I feel like Dumbledore tells Harry as little as possible. Even in the end there’s still so many things that, I feel like, Harry doesn’t know. Harry laments over the fact that Dumbledore didn’t even tell him that he grew up in Godric’s Hollow and all that stuff. I definitely think there are things that Dumbledore could have done to help Harry along on his journey to make him not feel so alone and isolated, and that’s probably one of them. Because that is a very personal question.

Alison: Yeah. Do you think he ever would have told Harry?

Kat: Hmm… Hard to say. I don’t know. I think so many things would’ve been different if Dumbledore were alive. Who knows what kind of relationship they would’ve had if things had turned out differently in the end?

Alison: Yeah. Speaking of their relationship, it hit me rereading this chapter how much room that relationship grows over these books, because in this chapter… their interaction is pretty short and kind of distant. That’s the tone Dumbledore takes as he explains. He just gives Harry the information about it and then sends him off to bed, and that’s the end of it. There’s not as much emotional attachment [that] they develop as their relationship continues to grow throughout the next five books. And that’s such a subtle growth that I forgot that at this point they haven’t reached that yet, that it’s very much just… This is Harry’s headmaster and this is the headmaster talking to him and sending him off to bed.

Kat: These books are from Harry’s point of view, and while perhaps, yes, that is the indication that we get in the actual canonical text, I guarantee you it’s totally different for Dumbledore.

Alison: Oh, yeah, definitely. But for Harry at this point, it’s very much just… I think Dumbledore is a little bit afraid to overstep anything as well at this point. He’s still trying to figure out who Harry is and, in some ways, what he can make Harry.

Kat: Yes, he’s incredibly overcautious. Very much.

Monet: Which is a really unusual quality for a Gryffindor too.

Alison: Yeah. But I think we’ve talked about before [that] in a lot of ways, Dumbledore doesn’t really fit into one House at this point. He’s developed so many other characteristics from his life experience, which is an interesting thought. So maybe in Fantastic Beasts, in the new one, we’re going to get more of it and more definitively Gryffindor Dumbledore.

Kat: Yeah, he definitely was a Gryffindor, right? Yeah.

Alison: Yeah. But speaking of life experience from Dumbledore, in Episode 5 we talked about what Dumbledore might have seen before Ariana’s death. So what do you guys think?

Monet: I’ve never…

Kat: Well, it…

Monet: Oh, sorry. [laughs] Sorry.

Kat: No, you go. Monet, you go.

Monet: Well, the first thing that popped into my head was somebody he really cared for was Grindelwald when he was younger, and they had such a strong relationship, especially on Dumbledore’s side. And I really think if he had looked in the Mirror somehow at that time, he would’ve seen him and Grindelwald. And I also see something with Dumbledore [being] very power-hungry at that time. He wanted some form of power, some form of control, so I see that fitting in. Then everything changed, of course, after Ariana died, but yeah.

Kat: I think that he would… maybe not… I don’t disagree with what you said, Monet, by any means, but I do think that Dumbledore was more at his core… I believe that he was swept up by Grindelwald and that maybe his frustrations were rooted in the things that Grindelwald was looking for and whatever, and that’s where they started and where they grew from, but I don’t think that those were his true ambitions. I think that Dumbledore at his core is a knowledge seeker, and I think that he would prefer to find himself in a situation more genie-like in a way, where he is all-knowing and is revered and looked up to as somebody who has all the answers. Whether or not that includes power, I’m not sure, but I definitely think knowledge is there.

Monet: Yeah, I could see that.

Alison: I actually think before Ariana’s death, he definitely probably saw himself in some position of authority and power. He talks about how specifically he has learned… He says in – what is it – is it in Order where he says he has learned he should not be trusted with power necessarily? But I definitely think that that was an ambition of his and…

Kat: But I think not for the reasons that Grindelwald was looking for power. That’s what I mean. That’s what I’m saying. I think that Dumbledore was looking to be an influential person through the fact that he would be revered as knowledgeable and smart and almost, like I said, genie-like. More of like a god where it’s like, “This person is too good and too smart and too pure for this world,” so to say, and not so much as a “Hey, ol’ Dumbledore” type of person.

Alison: Yeah. Where his word becomes law and people… Yeah, definitely.

Kat: Right. Because I think Grindelwald is what made that change, and like I said, I think that that relationship influenced him to do things that he wouldn’t have pursued on his own. Maybe he could’ve still gone to look for the Hallows, but I think – and Dumbledore even points this out – that there were things that Grindelwald wanted to do that Dumbledore didn’t agree with. I think that’s the big difference between the two. Power for power’s sake, and power for knowledge’s sake, or power for influence’s sake is different.

Monet: Yeah, that doesn’t…

Kat: Not very different, but different.

Alison: Were you going to say something, Monet?

Monet: No, that was interesting. I had never thought about it that way before, and it really does make sense. It always comes back to knowledge, and Dumbledore always wants to discover things, and he is a person who… I definitely don’t see him going as far with power and things that he wants as Grindelwald. He’s not as extreme like that. So yeah, I can definitely see that as well, what you were saying.

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: Well, should we round it out then with a question from the lovely Renae McBrian, our social media staff member, @youreawizardrenae? I love your username. So Renae asked us,

“What would the hosts see in the Mirror? And if you were on the previous episode” – so Kat – “has your reflection changed?”

Kat: Oh. Well, I don’t remember what I said on Episode 5… so I don’t know if it’s changed. You guys are going to have to tell me if it has changed, listeners out there when you listen. What would I see in the Mirror of Erised? If you had asked me this six months ago, I would be very willing and very open about giving you my answer. But I have gone through some really, really, really rough stuff since September… and I don’t honestly know if I have a black-and-white answer for this question at this time… because I’m still sorting it out, mind, body, and soul. So I’m going to pull a Dumbledore here and tell you a giant pile of chocolate.

[Alison and Monet laugh]

Kat: Is that acceptable?

Alison: It is, after all, a very personal question, so yes, it’s acceptable.

Kat: Honestly, like I said, if I felt like I could put it into words, I would say I have no problem being share-y.

Alison: What about you, Monet?

Monet: That is something to think about. I feel like I could probably talk about that with a few people, but I’m going to say it’s something similar that a lot of the other characters in the series have seen in the mirror. I would like to see family members who maybe I have lost contact with or who are not here anymore and have passed, just to know that they’re happy and doing well and stuff like that, I guess.

Kat: Very noble.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Big Al?

Alison: I honestly…

Monet: Thanks for bringing the mood down. [laughs]

Alison: No, it’s okay!

Kat: You didn’t. You didn’t bring the mood down.

Alison: I honestly don’t know. I feel like I’m at a weird point in my life right now where I don’t quite know what direction I want my life to go in…

Kat: The mirror would know.

Alison: Exactly, that’s the thing. The mirror would know, but I don’t think I know, if that makes sense.

Kat: So you would see the direction that you subconsciously would prefer your life to go.

Alison: Yeah, yeah.

Kat: Even if you don’t know what that is, that’s what it would show you. Not putting words in your mouth, but I’m just going to put them in your mouth. [laughs]

Alison: No, no, no. You’re right. So I think to some regret, I would almost want to see the mirror. I would want to know what it is I actually want.

Kat: But then does it become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Alison: That’s true. That is true. Yeah. I don’t know. My Dumbledore-y answer would be, I’d see myself in London probably, just there because I love it there.

Kat: I mean, that fits with my pile of chocolate because it’s obviously British chocolate that I’m eating, so…

Alison: There you go. Exactly. Always. Every time. Probably specifically my Dumbledore answer would be in Borough Market in London. They have these really good milkshakes. So I’d probably be drinking a Bath soft cheese milkshake in Borough market and probably planning on going to a show on the West End or something.

Kat: You listeners have no idea how often we hear about these milkshakes…

Alison: They are so good!

Kat: So I am not surprised at all by your Dumbledore-y answer. At all.

Alison: Oh man, they’re so good.

Kat: Yeah. I know. Alison and I are planning a trip to the UK for this summer, and obviously I’ve never had one, so you have to take me.

Alison: Yes. They’re amazing. [laughs]

Kat: I don’t doubt it.

Alison: Yeah, that would be my Dumbledore answer. But I don’t quite know what my real answer would be.

Kat: Well, like we said, the mirror would know.

Alison: Yes.

Kat: Monet, what’s your Dumbledore answer?

Monet: Probably just the biggest stack of books in the world or the biggest stack of dogs in the world. Just them everywhere. [laughs]

Alison: Both great answers. Yes.

Kat: Oh! I want in on your answer. But it doesn’t really go well with my answer because dogs and chocolate…

Alison: Yeah, bad idea. It’s like those videos where people have puppies and they just come climb all over them.

Monet: Yeah, that’s my house. [laughs]

Kat: That sounds fan-freaking-tastic. Sounds great. Cool. Well, I guess that’s it for this chapter revisit of “The Mirror of Erised,” Chapter 12 in Philosopher’s Stone. It’s kind of crazy that… Oh gosh.

Alison: Two hundred thirty episodes later, and all of the things we can still pull out.

Kat: Five-and-a-half years. Holy crap. Wow. Good thing I like podcasting.

[Alison and Monet laughs]

Kat: Could you imagine? Is there anything else in your life that you could talk about for five-and-a-half years? Granted, I’ve been with MuggleNet [for] 11 years now, but is there anything else in your life you could talk about for that long?

Alison: I don’t know, honestly. I guess I did in college. I talked about literature and writing for five-and-a-half years… Well, not five-and-a-half, just five. [laughs]

Kat: Well, the half makes a big difference, okay? Just kidding.

Alison: Well, it kind of does. [laughs] To some extent.

Kat: Just crazy. Whatever. Harry Potter rocks. Yeah!

[Monet laughs]

Alison: Yes, it does.

Kat: Okay, so this week our Podcast Question of the Week comes from a Twitter user – Yay! – Jennifer Rapp at @JenRRapp and she says,

“I’d like to hear the hosts speculate on what other characters would see in the mirror – Hermione, Luna, Teddy, Draco, Sirius, Ginny – and maybe if what they see changes as they grow up.”

Ooh! This is a fun question.

Alison: Ooh, yeah. That’s a lot.

Kat: It is. So we’re going to take a minute and discuss this. And if anyone out there listening wants to hear it, y’all know what to do, right? patreon.com/alohomora Sponsor us for literally one dollar, and you can hear our entire discussion about this Podcast Question of the Week.

Alison: And listeners, if you want to tell us what you think about this Question of the Week, go ahead and make sure you leave a comment on your favorite character and what you think they would see in the Mirror of Erised. Or maybe it’s not your favorite character – any character.

Kat: And we are very aware that the site has been really craptastic lately, and we’re trying incredibly hard to get it back up and running. We’re super sorry, but comment on our social media channels. Send us emails; send us messages on Facebook; tweet at us; literally anything to send in your thoughts, and we will definitely get them. We promise.

Alison: We will.

Michael: Monet, we want to give you a big thank you for being on the episode this week. You were a fabulous guest with some excellent points for this chapter. Thank you so much for joining us.

Monet: Thank you, guys. This has been magical and my idea of a way to spend a Sunday night. [laughs]

Kat: Yay! We’re so glad.

Alison: Yay!

Kat: Cool.

Michael: I can tell you’re a librarian.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Because I agree entirely.

Kat: Perfect. Cool.

Alison: And if you are looking to be on a future episode, just to let you know, our next topic will be languages and translations of the series.

Kat: Ooh! That’ll be our first episode of 2018. Hi-ya!

Alison: Yay!

Michael: Hey! And, listeners, if you would like to join us on the show sometime in 2018, we would love to have you. Head over to the Topic Submit page on the main site, alohomora.mugglenet.com, where you can not only suggest topics for us for future episodes – which we do tally so that we can decide what to go up next – but you can also audition for the show. We must have an audio audition in addition to your written audition. That would really help us out so we know the quality of your recording. If you have a set of Apple headphones, you’re all set. No fancy schmancy equipment needed. If you have a microphone, headphones, that’s pretty much all you need. And we will guide you through the rest as far as getting recording equipment to join us.

Kat: And in the meantime, you guys can always keep in touch with us over on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN [or] facebook.com/openthedumbledore Our main web site is alohomora.mugglenet.com. Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel which – when did we add this in here? – is youtube.com/alohomoramn.

Alison: [laughs] That’s what I said last time!

[Michael laughs]

Kat: And our email is alohomorapodcast@gmail.com.

Alison: And we just want to remind you to go on and check out our Patreon at patreon.com/alohomora. You can sponsor us starting out as low as a dollar a month, and you just want make sure you check out all the tiers, though, to see what special perks… There are different special perks for each tier. So go find something awesome that you want from us and we will provide it, and thanks. Yeah, that’s it.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Alison: Sorry.

Michael: Well, listeners, we’d like to stick around because, as we see in the mirror, our desire is to have more conversations with you. But for now we need to go live as Dumbledore would tell us to do, because it’s the holidays. So we wish you a happy holidays from Alohomora!.

[Show music begins]

Michael: I’m Michael Harle.

Kat: I’m Kat Miller.

Alison: And I’m Alison Siggard. Thank you for listening to Episode 235 of Alohomora!.

Kat: Erodelbmud eht nepo.

[Everyone laughs]

[Show music stops]

Michael: Put it in a mirror and you’ll get it.

Alison: Yeah, exactly.

[Show music continues]