[Show music begins]
Eric Scull: This is Episode 33 of Alohomora! for June 1, 2013.
[Show music continues]
Kat Miller: Hey, guys. Welcome to another episode of Alohomora! I’m Kat Miller.
Laura Reilly: I’m Laura Reilly.
Eric: And I’m Eric Scull. Joining us today is a fellow Chicagoan and dear friend of mine from… she’s made some appearances recently on Hogwarts Radio, another podcast that some of us are on. Please welcome Jeanna Marie.
Jeanna Marie: Hi, guys!
Kat: Hi, Jeanna! Thanks for joining us.
Jeanna Marie: No problem. I’m excited.
Kat: You ready for some hard-hitting Potter action?
Kat: Always. Good.
Laura: Can I ask what house you are? We usually ask that of our guests.
Jeanna: I’m definitely a Slytherin.
Laura: Slytherin? Oh, that’s…
Kat: Oh, my God! Guys…
Laura: Slytherin representing. Oh, we have…
Kat: We have every house on the show this week!
Laura: That’s always exciting.
Kat: That nev… I mean, that rarely happens.
Laura: Wait, Eric, you’re a Hufflepuff?
Kat: He is.
Laura: I did not know that.
Eric: Well, I’m sort of a Grifflepuff.
Kat: [laughs] A Grifflepuff. Okay. Fair enough.
Laura: Yeah, so just a quick reminder to the fans that we are reading Chapter 21 – “Hermione’s Secret” – of Prisoner of Azkaban, so be sure to read the chapter ahead of time before we launch into the discussion because it will just make it better for you guys.
Kat: And before we start our recap this week we just want to take a quick moment to thank our sponsor, Audible. Exclusively for fans of Alohomora! they’re offering a free audio download. They have over a hundred thousand titles to choose from, so head over to audiblepodcast.com/open to get yours now.
Laura: Okay, so as always we’re going to launch into our comments on the discussion from last week’s, which was Chapter 20. A lot of good talk about that going on in the forums, and this first comment is about Harry living with Sirius, coming from Firebolt, [and] says,
“Living full-time with Sirius might have been problematic regarding the protection spell – but I think there could have been a huge amount of contact. This is why it’s so tragic. The scene with Sirius awkwardly asking Harry to live with him kills me in both book and movie. Harry could still call the Dursleys’ home but see Sirius every day, or at least every weekend, and go live with him for small periods. I don’t think that would invalidate the spell. And the Dursleys aren’t going to refuse a man they’ve seen portrayed on the TV as a murderer…”
I thought this was interesting also, just because Harry does spend a lot of summers not the full amount with the Dursleys. In Order of the Phoenix he goes to Grimmauld Place, he spends a fair amount of time at The Burrow, in Half-Blood Prince Dumbledore picks him up. So it almost seems that Harry needs to make an appearance at Privet Drive, and then he can leave.
Kat: Yeah, I think as long as it’s his permanent home… that’s the place he returns to first, maybe?
Eric: Isn’t the protection only always on Privet Drive, though?
Eric: I mean, places like The Burrow, places like Grimmauld Place, all have their own protection, so Harry’s… I guess what you’re saying is that the protection over Privet Drive won’t be lessened if he returns there at least for a little bit?
Laura: Yeah, and also… here, go ahead.
Jeanna: Oh, I was just going to say, “I think he has to… for… say, in his fourth year, instead of going straight to the Dursleys he went to Ron’s house instead, I think the charm may have broken.”
Kat: Right, that’s what I think, too. I agree.
Eric: Good point.
Jeanna: Sorry. [laughs]
Laura: So this next comment comes from Padfoot42 on the forums. [It] says,
“In response as to why the Dementors tried to Kiss Harry, I – looking back – thought it was more to do with him being the one who ‘banished’ the Dark Lord, who was their master before the Ministry employed them. I may be wrong, but I always assumed that that was why they went after Harry; I thought they saw it as a “two for one” deal: Kiss Sirius Black, who in a way humiliated them by escaping from Azkaban, and Kiss Harry for destroying the chance of the Dark Lord taking over the world.”
Is that true? That they worked for the Dark Lord?
Kat: I assume?
Eric: They don’t work for the Dark Lord, yet. They…
Kat: No, they’re saying back in the day.
Laura: First war era.
Jeanna: I don’t think so because if they had the Malfoys and Lestranges would not have stayed in Azkaban very long. They eventually do get out, but I don’t think…
Laura: Right, who would have been guarding Azkaban then?
Laura: Because Azkaban has been around for a while, right?
Eric: Yeah, I think the reason they went after Harry there, too – and maybe we said this on last week’s episode – [was] just because he was over… he was hanging over Sirius, trying to stop them from getting to Sirius. So I think that’s… it’s just pretty obvious. You have to… it’s like when he says, “Over my dead body.” And they’re like, “Okay.” So…
Kat: But regardless, I mean, even if the Dementors didn’t work for Voldemort, do we think that they know this information? Do they feel humiliation?
Laura: I think they… not so much humiliation, but I think… I feel like Caleb might have said on the last show that they are very duty driven. And I think they saw it, not so much like a shame but just “We had a mission of keeping all prisoners in Azkaban, and this man made us fail our mission, so now we have a new mission.” And we must do that to almost just… just to make it a complete mission, and then…
Kat: No matter what.
Laura: Yeah, so I don’t think that they are necessarily evil in the sense that they are rooting for Voldemort and everything like that. I think it’s just [that] they’re dark creatures that are given a job, and they’re going to follow that job no matter who gets in their way.
Jeanna: I agree with that. I completely agree with the job thing. I also think it’s partially a sustenance thing. They literally need to have a soul. And so when they were told they could have one and then deprived of that, I think that also upset them. Though I don’t think “upset” is even really the word because I don’t think they can be upset.
Eric: They’re just hungry.
Laura: Mhm. Yeah.
Kat: What type of soul do you think Sirius has? A nice beefy soul or a salad?
Eric: He’s more of a Cinnamon Toast Crunch kind of soul.
Kat: [laughs] What’s that mean?
Laura: No, I…
Eric: [laughs] It’s the taste you can see!
Kat: Oh, okay.
Eric: He’s brash. He’s exploratory.
Jeanna: Yeah, I think – because he’s so wild – he would have a big juicy soul.
Kat: Okay. That makes sense. That’s what I feel. That’s what I get from him, too.
Laura: So this next comment is a big discussion on the forums as to why Hermione has difficulty producing a Patronus. This comes from LumosNight3. It says:
“In regards to Hermione’s trouble with Patronuses, let’s remember that Harry remarks later on down the line when they break into the Ministry of Magic that it’s the one spell Hermione has trouble with. If we think about other areas of magic Hermione struggles with, one subject springs to mind: Divination. To me, both Divination and the Patronus Charm have something in common: you can’t learn these two things out of a book necessarily, and Hermione’s strength when it comes to magic is going by the book. I fully agree that Hermione is a very strong emotional character, but her best magical work usually comes from more direct forms of magic, like when she corrects Ron on proper pronunciation in Charms class in Book 1. Charms like that can be logically thought through and learned in book with little practical application, whereas the Patronus Charm is all about literally feeling and breathing life into the spell – not saying it correctly or having a brisk wand movement. So while it’s not that she can’t cast a Patronus, it’s simply that this Charm comes from a different branch of magic than what she is used to and best at, and I think that’s why she struggles with it.”
So yeah, I totally agree with this. This is very much what, Eric, you were saying in particular on the last episode.
Laura: That it’s not that she’s not… because I know Rosie was saying that she’s a very emotional character, and you were saying it’s not that she’s not emotional. It’s just that the thinking trumps that. And I think…
Laura: … that it is… she likes being able to learn something from a book and apply it, and anytime you have to do something in addition to that… it’s not that she can’t do it. We she that she is eventually able to do it. It just comes harder. And in that same vein, I think she’s getting frustrated at the idea that she can’t do it just by that. And I don’t know. It’s just like me with math. I can’t do math, so I get frustrated doing math, and then I…
Kat: It makes it harder.
Eric: Yeah. Well, plus, I mean, she…
Eric: Yeah, go ahead.
Jeanna: Oh, no, I was just thinking. All those practical spells are more mental, and you literally have to have an emotion – a certain emotion – to produce the spell. Not that Hermione doesn’t have a good thought – or a happy thought – but she can feel however she wants to when she does any other spell, but she has to hone in on one thought, so…
Eric: It’s a different process.
Eric: It’s a different muscle that you have to flex.
Laura: And Harry has been through a lot, where I think he can… he’s been through so much tragedy that I think he can hone into those happy moments a lot easier, whereas Hermione… not to say that her life’s been easier, but she’s had, in general, a pleasant life, whereas Harry has so much tragedy and then can hone in like, “All right, that was a happy moment. One of my ten happy moments.”
Eric: [laughs] He’s got a sample set. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, it’s nice that…
Laura: Yeah. He’s also obviously had the training from Lupin.
Eric: It’s nice that LumosNight pointed out that as of Book 5, Hermione still can’t really… that she sometimes struggles with it. Even in the DA, when Harry’s essentially trained 30 kids to go do it, that she still has trouble with it. I think that helps us to basically characterize… because I mean, in this book, in this previous chapter that we read on last week’s show, she’s still young, and Harry is the one who’s been getting training from Remus. Nobody else has. So that’s why he can necessarily do it in a pinch. But it’s interesting that she should continue to struggle. I think that has to do with the kind of things we were talking about.
Jeanna: Yeah. And I think that’s why Harry succeeds at it so much when it’s supposedly so difficult that everyone’s so shocked that he’s able to do it. I think just because he is so emotional versus book smart that he’s… here’s this spell that he’s able to not really have to worry about book smart stuff and is able to put all emotion behind it in addition to needing a practical reason for it. He was being so affected by the Dementors that he needed to – even just in the beginning of the book – fix it. And he was really determined in fixing that.
Kat: I’m not even sure it comes down to being full of emotions or whatever. I think it’s more about impulsivity, how impulsive you are. And Harry is incredibly impulsive, and he can conjure up an emotion like that, and Hermione has to sit down and think about it and decide what she wants to do, and that’s why she has such a hard time, I think.
Laura: Okay, well this last comment… it’s not on the books, but there’s a lot of discussion on it in the forums that it warrants mentioning. On the last episode, our guest… John?
Laura: Yeah. John pulled out Page to Screen when we were criticizing the depiction of the werewolves in Prisoner of Azkaban – in the movie – and said what the director’s justification was, and this comment comes from mrso822. It says…
“Cuarón can justify it however he wants, but doesn’t the book say that it’s hairy? I mean, ‘furry little problem’ does not imply a hairless werewolf. *insert eye roll here*”
Laura: I just thought that was funny because I agree. [laughs]
Kat: Well, nobody ever criticizes that movie, so it’s about time.
Jeanna: I always criticize that movie.
Laura: No, when we go to the movie discussion soon… I don’t know where all the other hosts stand on this movie, but…
Eric: Yeah, but that’s not saying that he didn’t have hair at one point, right? When he was young? [laughs]
Kat: Right? [laughs]
Laura: I guess that’s true.
Eric: Now, when he’s old, of course, and he’s been through a lot, and all of his friends are dead… now, he lost all of his hair due to stress.
Jeanna: [laughs] I suppose.
Eric: So there you go.
Jeanna: Kind of came off looking like a chihuahua but whatever.
Kat: [laughs] A chihuahua. Oh, God. That’s an insult to chihuahuas.
Eric: Well, okay. In addition to those comments, which were from last week’s chapter, we also had a Podcast Question of the Week. And we asked – it was the scene where we reviewed Harry fainting and the Dementors hovering over him, his near-death moment – “Is this Harry’s most helpless moment? In other books, Harry has always saved himself or been saved at the last moment, but here it appears that there was no last-minute reprieve within the original timeline. If it weren’t for the Time-Turner and the actions of the next chapter, Harry would have fallen to the Dementors at this point, along with Hermione and Sirius. If there had been no Time-Turner involved, was there any hope for our heroes? Would the Dementors have kissed him and Hermione, despite their lack of crime? So our first comment comes from Eli. Eli says,
“As to whether or not this is Harry’s move vulnerable, I’d say that this is the most vulnerable Harry has been up to this point. Due to the presence of the Dementors, he is not at full strength, and I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to even attempt a Patronus in that situation, let alone how impossible it would have been to produce a full corporeal one with the ability to repel the (insert number here) Dementors bearing down on him and Sirius.
“However, I think his most valuable point in the series is in Deathly Hallows when he walks into the forst. He does so having chosen not to fight and with the knowledge that he is going to die. While the situations are similar — Harry is in a situation where we think he’s going to die, and there is no foreseeable way out, we find out that it is the fact that he chooses to be vulnerable that ultimately makes all the difference (choosing to be vulnerable means he can choose to die or choose to continue fighting).”
Interesting thoughts there at the end of that one. What do you guys think?
Laura: Okay, well, I think that this is a pretty desperate moment of his – meaning in the Prisoner of Azkaban versus Deathly Hallows – because Deathly Hallows, even then he kind of has a choice. It’s a desperate, horrible choice, but here it’s… he’s just… there’s nothing he can even do to save himself in this moment before the whole timeline thing happens. Right now he’s just so helpless that nothing… he can’t fight off the Dementors, he can’t save Sirius, his friends are there, everything is just awful, and it’s just completely helpless, whereas in the Deathly Hallows obviously it’s an awful, horrible situation, but it does come down to the fact that he does sort of have a choice.
Eric: Mhm. So you’re saying not having a choice is actually worse?
Laura: It makes it totally hopeless…
Laura: … helpless, I guess, whereas he could have… it was a hopeless situation, but at the same time, if he wasn’t as great a guy as he was, he could be like, “Well, I’m not going to give myself up, and I’m going to see if there’s a loophole to this. I don’t know. It’s… obviously they’re both really difficult things to compare them – which one’s worse than the other – but I think right now he’s just totally helpless. There’s nothing he can even help himself with. He can’t have any help at all…
Laura: … except from himself, from the future.
Eric: Right. So Saiyangirl also weighs in on this point. Saiyangirl says,
“I’d definitely say there was no hope for any of them without the existence of the Time-Turner. While I agree with [Eli] about the parallel between Harry’s walk into the Forbidden Forest in Deathly Hallows, I disagree that this connotes that to be the most vulnerable moment in the series, previsely because Harry does make a choice. Even if he had died there, it still wouldn’t have been hopeless; he’d passed the knowledge of it being necessary to kill Nagini on to Neville. There were three who still knew what had to be done, whereas in PoA if there had been no Time-Turner, what hope would there be? Sirius, Harry and Hermione would’ve become empty shells, Peter would be on the loose, and Ron and Remus would be the only ones able to try and tell the world anything. Even though I don’t doubt that Dumbledore would’ve believed them, his whole plan would’ve fallen to pieces.”
Laura: So yeah, that’s exactly what I was trying to say, put much more eloquently.
Eric: [laughs] Well, our listeners… they surprise us all and make us all look…
Laura: Smarter than us.
Eric: Yeah. Yeah. Totally. [laughs]
Kat: And they’re far more eloquent, always. [laughs]
Jeanna: At the same time, I don’t think it was just the Time-Turner that saved them. I think it was also partially Dumbledore being like, “Hey, Hermione, you have a Time-Turner…”
Jeanna: “… use it.” Because they… I don’t think they would have thought of that. I mean, yes, maybe they would have, but there was so little time before the Kiss was being administered that Dumbledore got talk to them privately, that without his intervening, I don’t know if they would have thought to use it in time.
Laura: I think Hermione might have thought about it, but I think she would have been far too afraid about the consequences…
Jeanna: Yeah, that, too.
Laura: … to do it. And I don’t think she would let Harry know because Harry would’ve reacted like, “Of course we’re going to do this!”
Laura: But I think with Dumbledore’s blessing…
Laura: … and pushing, really…
Laura: … then Hermione was like, “Okay.” she kept saying, “I swore I would never use this for anything but class.” I think she is bothered to a degree that she does have to go back on her word with this.
Eric: Yeah, he definitely does push them over that hump, but we are getting ahead of ourselves, so in response to the Podcast Question [of the Week] last week, Indigo said,
“If we assume the Dementors would have Kissed Harry, Hermione and Sirius, then I’d say this is most definitely his most helpless moment. He is alone (unless Dumbledore was disguised as an owl hooting in a tree or something similar)…”
“… and most importantly I think, love could not protect him. His mother’s protection would not be able to protect him from Dementors sucking out his soul. And secondly, the rest of the time, people are only trying to kill him. As far as Harry is concerned, this is a much worse fate than death”
Laura: Also very true.
Kat: Good comment, Indigo. I agree completely.
Eric: And one final comment from PhoenixSparks. PhoenixSparks says,
“I think that this is actually the most vulnerable we’ve seen Harry so far in the series. When you think about what the Dementors are and what the feed on (depression, sadness, a person’s worst memories), the Dementors in my opinion represent Harry’s Achilles heel. In PS and CoS, Harry acted out of bravery and (somehow reckless) determination to either prevent Voldemort from taking the Philosopher’s Stone or to save Ginny Weasley’s live, but when he comes into contact with Dementors, they take away these qualities in him. In other words: they take away everything that makes Harry the brave hero that we know and love and leave him with all his weaknesses, thus making him extremely vulnerable. This (and the entire Dementor storyline) is a way of showing us that Harry is in fact an extremely vulnerable person because of the ‘horrors of his past’. Also, I think this scene with the Dementors really reflects the despair of Harry’s situation: he has just found out that he has a family – the one thing he has been craving more than anything his entire life – and in the blink of an eye this is taken away from him. The massive effect of this horrible experience is represented by the Dementors, literally sucking the will to live out of him.”
Laura: I was… I mean, I agree with everything that they said, but do you think the memory he uses – or the happy thought that he uses – in this whole scene is “I’m going to go live with Sirius. I’m going to go live with Sirius”? Do you think that in any way it wasn’t strong enough because Harry almost in himself didn’t believe that that was that possible given everything that’s happening? Rather than something concrete that happened, and that was a happy moment, it’s almost this idea of “I’m going to go live with Sirius.” Meanwhile, he sees the state Sirius is in, and he’s almost telling himself that “yeah, that’s what’s going to happen. We’re all going to be okay.” But is that strong enough to fight off Dementors?
Kat: I mean, that’s exactly what he’s thinking. It says it in the book…
Eric: Oh, yeah, but yeah, no. I agree but too, like you’re saying, Laura, it’s hypothetical. It’s like…
Laura: Right, with the hypothetical…
Eric: … “Oh, yeah, one day I may if we play our cards right,” but he’s seeing the world collapse. He’s seeing that likelihood be less and less likely. So yeah, rather than it being a remembered happy memory…
Laura: Yeah, it’s hypothetical happy thoughts and very hard… hardly… that’s not the right word but difficult hypothetical thoughts that aren’t going to happen are not strong enough to fight off Dementors.
Kat: Yeah, especially because toward the end, he starts saying, “Oh, he’s innocent. He’s innocent,” and he’s trying to use that to conjure the Patronus, which is working even less so than…
Kat: He’s thinking about going back with the Dursleys.
Eric: He’s innocent, but nobody… it’s not going to matter in five seconds.
Kat: Right. Exactly.
Eric: Yeah. Thank you, everybody who commented. That concludes our review or recap of last week’s Podcast Question of the Week.
Kat: Guys, I just had a thought, and I know this is totally random, but have you seen The Great Gatsby, yet? I’m super excited to see it.
Laura: Yes, I actually did. It was fantastic. At MISTI-Con, some of the MuggleNet staff snuck out for a bit and went to go see it. It was fantastic. Have you guys read the book?
Eric: Yeah, I read it back in high school, but… anyway, I did want to reread it before I saw the movie, but since I drive a lot for my job, I’m probably going to do an audiobook of it this time. Well, when I do get my audiobook, I will be getting it from Audible. After all, Audible is the best place for all your audio downloading needs. Right now, Audible has a really great special for our US and Canadian listeners. They can visit our unique link created specifically for them and get a free audio download. Today. Right now. Just push pause after the instructions…
Eric: … and go do it. You just have to go to Audible. You just have to go to this web address, okay? Ready for it? Audiblepodcast.com/open as in “Open the Dumbledore,” but it’s just “open,” “/open.”
Laura: [laughs] You could also download it using Audible’s listener program, so basically, you purchase a book credit at a super low monthly rate, and you can use it at any time for any product that Audible offers.
Kat: And while you’re deciding, you should head over to audiblepodcast.com/open and start downloading directly to your computer for easy listening on burned CDs, MP3 players, and even your iPad, iPhones, or Androids. So visit audiblepodcast.com/open for your free download today.
Laura: Okay, so now we’re going to launch into our chapter discussion for this week.
[Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 21 intro begins]
[Sound of a ticking clock]
Dumbledore: Chapter 21.
[Continued sounds of clock ticking and then chiming]
Dumbledore: “Hermione’s Secret.”
[Continued sound of clock chiming]
[Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 21 intro ends]
Kat: So the beginning of this chapter is several hours after the whole scene at the lake with the Dementors and everything. Harry is in the hospital wing, and he’s listening to the Minister, who’s thanking Snape, who’s telling the Minister that Black had c=Confunded the Trio and Lupin, perhaps. No, I think just the Trio. Potter, Weasley, Granger, whatever, and the Minister is all for Snape, which, I mean, no surprise there, until he mentions that Harry has always been allowed an extra ordinary amount of license by the Headmaster. And I know that Snape hates Harry, but he’s clearly using this moment to his full advantage, and I’m wondering, “Do we think that he really wants Harry to be expelled?” Or is he just looking to get back at James from beyond the grave?
Kat: What’s his motivation here?
Jeanna: I really think… oh, sorry, go ahead.
Laura: Well, I was just going to say [that] I think that he was given this task of protecting Harry, and Harry is making it super difficult on him. He can’t just… I think he’s very frustrated on top of the arrogance of just… that Harry can’t just sit still and be a normal student. He’s continually causing all these issues that Snape has to deal with. And I think if he [were] expelled from Hogwarts and then just sitting at the Dursleys, it would significantly… I guess Snape couldn’t then keep a watchful eye on him, but I think he hates him enough that he would want him expelled. We see he tries to expel him, or wishes he could, in Chamber of Secrets. I don’t know if that was an empty threat, but…
Jeanna: I agree. I think he’s still always after Harry and not in the way he should be. But also, I think, this year… normally Snape is still like, “No matter what, I’ll watch this kid,” but I think that this year, being surrounded by the other Marauders… Sirius is always in the news, and Lupin is at the school, and he just re-finds out about Pettigrew… I think he’s just in the mindset to go on a rampage on all the Marauders still that he is just like… he just sees mini James in front of him and is like, “No. I want to ruin this kid’s life.”
Kat: Right. I mean, that’s what I think, too. I definitely think he’s trying to get back at him for… he’s taking it out on Harry, basically, for all the stuff that the Marauders did to him.
Eric: Yeah. The beginning of this chapter is grueling to read…
Laura: Oh, I know.
Eric: … because Snape is just eating up all of the congratulatory… and all of the compliments and all… he’s made himself… because everybody has passed out due to the Dementors, Snape was able to… it was like a blank slate, a blank check for him to just make up whatever happened. And sure enough, when Harry comes to, Fudge is saying, “Oh, yeah, Order of Merlin, Second Class for you, Snape. First Class if I can finagle it.” It’s just like, “Wow,” and Snape is lapping it up. “Oh, thank you very much, Minister.” And then he overplays his hand and suggests what we just said, that he’s suggesting that Harry gets expelled. I think he would have Harry expelled because he is just that… he has that much in it, and I agree with Jeanna. I think it’s because of his rivalry, and this is the logical end to that. He’s just… unfortunately, people can’t support him. [laughs]
Kat: He’s a jerk. [laughs]
Laura: I also… I think it’s interesting how he just says, “Oh, well, don’t believe anything they say because Black Confunded them.” Is there no way of corroborating that? Because that can be used in so many instances with witnesses, anything in any trial be like, “Well, they were Confunded. So there you go.”
Kat: I mean, yeah. That’s actually my next point. So after Pomfrey gives Harry some chocolate or whatever, and Hermione starts screaming at the Minister, basically, and Snape cuts her off, and I was wondering – like you said – is that always an excuse? Is the memory altered? If they tried to do Legilimency or use Veritaserum, are the memories altered if you’re Confunded? What do you remember?
Eric: Do you see things differently? Yeah, I think saying they’re Confunded speaks to their mental state now. The thing is [that] they don’t have the time to get Veritaserum in there, even though I just – for the moment – had a flash forward to next year this time, when Snape is the one who goes and gets the Veritaserum for Moody. But I think that “they don’t have any time” is the problem. Snape knows that the Dementors are moments away from sucking out Sirius’s soul, and so he has to…
Laura: But only because they were ordered to.
Eric: Well, yeah, because he… but he has to discredit – and quickly – everything they’re trying to say.
Eric: He’s made it so unbelievable by saying things like, “Yes, they’re Confunded,” clearly, the results of which are you’re still confused when you wake up from having been Confunded. You’re still confused, and Fudge basically treats them like that, too. “Oh, yes, well, you see, the thing about that,” and he just pats them on the head essentially when they’re saying, “No, look, we saw the rat. We saw Peter Pettigrew.” And they’re making all these outrageous claims, and Snape is able, with one word – “Confunded” – to discredit them.
Laura: To a degree.
Jeanna: Also, wouldn’t…? If they had decided to take the time – because this really won’t take too much time – wouldn’t they be able to see the last spell that Black had cast?
Kat: Oh, that’s true.
Eric: What do you mean?
Jeanna: I don’t know.
Eric: How would that exonerate him?
Jeanna: Well, if the last spell [were]n’t [the] Confundus [Charm] or [were]n’t some type of defensive spell…
Jeanna: I don’t know if you can see more than one back.
Kat: No, I think [unintelligible]
Laura: Well, it doesn’t necessarily have to be even the last spell he did. He could have, theoretically, Confunded them and then done a million other spells, but my issue is “Why didn’t Snape, then, just Confund them?” If he…
Kat: Just make it true.
Laura: Yeah. No one’s there. He only has to worry about these three. If he truly did wake up with everyone passed out and had all this time to make up this story, why couldn’t he have just Confunded everyone and made it so that Harry did wake up and be like…? I mean, obviously, I know why.
Eric: Yeah. That’s a huge hole.
Laura: Because it would ruin the plot of the thing.
Eric: That’s a huge hole! I never saw that before, Laura.
Kat: Because somewhere deep down he’s a nice guy?
Kat: I mean, I’m just kidding, obviously, but…
Laura: Okay, well, I just broke Prisoner of Azkaban, so…
Kat: I mean, that’s okay. It was already broken for me. So it’s fine. Okay, so then, Dumbledore comes back in the room, and he kicks everybody out, says he wants a private moment to speak with Harry and Hermione. And as Snape is leaving, he asks if his evidence counts for nothing, and this I feel like… for some reason in my mind when I was reading, I got a flashback of the conversation that they had when Snape switched sides. And it just made me think about [how] maybe this is a throwback or a flash forward or some form of foreshadowing. Am I stretching?
Laura: I never see the connection.
Eric: Yeah, when I was reading this, I didn’t think that he… she used the word evidence, but he actually doesn’t have evidence. His evidence is that he wasn’t able to see…
Laura: His word.
Eric: Yeah. His evidence is that he wasn’t able to see Pettigrew. Oh, okay, clearly. But as Hermione points out, you were knocked out at that point. So what’s he going to do? It’s not really his evidence. It’s his testimony. I think what he’s asking Dumbledore is “Does my testimony mean nothing? Do you really trust me so little and them so much? Will you…?” Because he’s looking to be enraged with Dumbledore right now.
Laura: This is actually… this is interesting in a… linguistically, by phrasing his own thing as evidence rather than testimony, he’s putting that idea subconsciously of that evidence as fact, and he’s saying… he’s referring to his own word as evidence when it truly isn’t, but it’s putting that idea like, “Oh, yeah, well, Snape has this evidence,” even though it’s not really what it is. It’s just… I mean, I’m sure Dumbledore isn’t fooled, but perhaps Fudge. It’s a linguistic choice.
Kat: I think that’s part of the reason Fudge just trusts Snape so much because Fudge doesn’t come across as the most powerful wizard, and Snape is, obviously, very learned and powerful and influential. So he is for me. But I like this next line. It’s on page 391. It says, “‘You surely don’t believe a word of Black’s story?’ Snape whispered, his eyes fixed on Dumbledore’s face.” Was he trying to read his mind? What do you think was going on? Because we know that Snape uses…
Kat: … covert Legilimency all the time.
Eric: But if he’d have tried to read Dumbledore’s mind, Dumbledore would have slapped him with a giant staff or something.
Jeanna: Yeah, I don’t think Snape would ever be so…
Jeanna: … forward as to try and read Dumbledore’s mind. I mean, Snape takes a lot of liberties in this series, but I don’t think he would ever do that to Dumbledore.
Laura: I think…
Jeanna: Everyone else in the world? Yes.
Laura: I think what the narrowing his eyes and stuff… I think that’s Snape truly trying to speak to Dumbledore as the Snape that Dumbledore knows versus almost this persona he’s built up where he’s clearly fudging things to Fudge. That pun was literally not intended.
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Laura: Okay. [laughs] But he’s… I think even though Snape does know that something’s up, that the… he still doesn’t know the full story of the Pettigrew thing. I think he knows that something is up, and he’s not… what he believes to be true isn’t true. But at the same time, he does still not believe that Sirius is totally innocent and everything. I don’t think he’s one hundred percent lying. I think he still believes that Lupin and Sirius have been in cohorts, and there’s something going on, and he’s asking Dumbledore right now, “Seriously, you’re not going to trust me? And you’re really going to believe that Sirius, after all that, is innocent based on what Harry says?” I think he’s just trying to speak earnestly to Dumbledore right there in a frustrated way.
Kat: Trying to get across his secret personality. I get it. I know what you mean. That makes sense. And a paragraph on the next page made me laugh really hard. [laughs] They’re trying to give evidence, and Dumbledore is saying, “I’m orry, it’s too late,” and Harry starts to say “Lupin”, and Dumbledore says, “I’m sorry, but Lupin is currently deep in the forest, unable to tell anyone anything.'” And I just got this picture in my head of him running around chasing squirrels.
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Kat: It just made me laugh really hard. But then I wondered, “How long does he stay transformed?” Is this…? Right, is it not an option for them to wait three hours? Or…?
Laura: That’s the thing. They all keep saying, “There’s not enough time, there’s not enough time.” I know, but are the Dementors literally being held back?
Laura: But… well, the only thing that’s making not enough time is that Fudge is saying, “Oh, the Dementors will be arriving any time soon because I told them to.” Right.
Laura: And they’re saying, “Oh, there’s not enough time to corroborate anything.” They’re doing something very serious. They’re sucking out a man’s soul. I know that they’ve been trying… the Ministry has been embarrassed. They just want him behind bars, dead, whatever. But at the same time, the only reason why there’s a rush is because Fudge is making there be a rush. So like…
Jeanna: This is my one… this is really random but sort of ties in. My one confusing thought that I’d just come up [with] when I was reading this was “Why are they doing this at the school?” They’re pretty much administering the death penalty at a school. And I realize there’s some…
Laura: In Flitwick’s office.
Jeanna: In Flitwick’s office!
[Eric and Jeanna laugh]
Eric: Of all places, the cheeriest, charmiest place.
Laura: Were there no open rooms in all of Hogwarts? Get out of here.
Jeanna: You’re doing this in a school. At the feast tomorrow, you can be like, “Well, we caught Sirius Black. We killed him in Flitwick’s classroom, so if it seems a little weird in there, that might be why.”
Laura: Sirius is haunting you now.
Jeanna: Why couldn’t they have said, “Dementors, meet up with us at the Ministry of Magic. We will meet you in an hour even.”
Laura: I guess they’re so afraid that Sirius has managed to escape Azkaban of all places that they don’t want him going anywhere.
Jeanna: That’s the only thing that I could think of, that he’s a liability to…
Eric: Keep around.
Jeanna: … somehow.
Laura: In the same way of moving Pettigrew where they were trying to… rather than just…
Laura: … killing him in the Shrieking Shack. By trying to get him to move toward Hogwarts…
Jeanna: But see, that… then you just knock Sirius out and…
Jeanna: You knock him out, you take him with you – you have him Side-[Along] Apparate with you – and your prisoner is there. Wait for him to wake up…
Laura: Aww, poor Sirius.
Kat: You can’t [Dis]apparate inside Hogwarts, Jeanna.
Jeanna: Good call. But you know what? Dementors aren’t supposed to be in Hogwarts, and they were like, “All right, guys! Come on in!”
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Kat: I mean, that’s so true.
Eric: Yeah. No, I think transporting prisoners is a risky business. I mean, I think… yeah. What wouldn’t I or Harry or Hermione give to just throw an extra Petrificus Totalus Pettigrew’s way when they were traveling him along? And of course, if they had done that, he wouldn’t be able to get away.
Laura: Yeah, they really… now I’m thinking about… why didn’t they…? They just were like, “Don’t you transform, Pettigrew!”
[Eric, Kat, and Laura laugh]
Laura: “Look at me. Don’t do it!”
Kat: And they’re trusting of him.
Laura: And then oh, wait! He does it. Oh, crap. I never saw that coming.
Eric: We’re cutting some serious holes in this book right now.
Eric: It is not even the third movie. It is the third book, and we are unraveling it, I fear.
Laura: I always think that all the time Petrificus Totalus is really one of the most underutilized curses.
Laura: Because everyone [unintelligible] is like, “Oh, there’s Stupefy,” whatever, “Expelliarmus.” Petrificus Totalus… they literally can’t do anything. [laughs] And then you could kill them or do whatever you like. They can’t dodge it. Ugh.
Kat: I mean, it would be my vote to use the spell.
Laura: People need to get more creative.
Kat: Yeah. So then Dumbledore goes on. He keeps saying, “It’s too late. Don’t you understand?” and Hermione’s just like, “Well, Snape is trying to do it because he hates Sirius,” and Dumbledore says, “Well, Sirius hasn’t been innocent.” I mean, he attacked the Fat Lady. He nearly knifed Ron.
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Kat: So without Peter, there’s no chance. Dumbledore is basically saying, “Sirius sucks.” But then I believe it’s Hermione who says, “But you believe us.” and Dumbledore says, “Yes, I do.” And my question is “Why?”
Kat: What happened in his chat with Sirius that made him believe two thirteen-year-old wizards when nobody else would?
Laura: I think the fact, honestly – and I believe I’ve said this before – that Dumbledore knowing Sirius in his youth and how truly faithful he was to the Potters that… I think he always had this issue of not believing that Sirius could’ve gone that bad and betrayed James that bad[ly]. That hearing it from Sirius, who probably would’ve been very passioned in the same way he convinced Harry, to convince Dumbledore. I think once they had this chat, it’d be like, “Listen, you know me. You know how much I love the Potters. Here is this whole explanation. This is Pettigrew, and you know Pettigrew was never a particularly strong person.” I think Sirius could have been very convincing because I don’t think Dumbledore would’ve been like, “Oh, Sirius? Yeah, he was clearly always evil and out to get the Potters.” I think it would’ve come [as] a shock to everyone. So…
Kat: Did Dumbledore read his mind?
Laura: No. I personally hate that cop-out of using Legilimency and Veritaserum. Just because I think their introduction of those two things into the series… it makes it the answer to everything of like, “Why didn’t they just read their mind or use the truth potion?”
Kat: Well, I mean, it’s true. Why didn’t they? They should have.
Laura: No, it’s very, very true. That’s why I’m saying I don’t like their…
Laura: Them existing in the series…
Kat: Mhm. Yeah.
Laura: … because then that could be an answer to anything, and then it just becomes judgments of like, “Oh, well, morally…” But then you see them do it for Moody in Goblet of Fire and Legilimency in a million other times. So yeah, I’m not a fan of those two things.
Kat: Clearly. [laughs]
Laura: It’s a cop-out. [laughs]
Kat: Okay, so the chapter goes on, and Dumbledore is saying that he has no power to make other people see the truth, which… I mean, he really does, but whatever.
Eric: [laughs] You’re so modest, Dumbledore. Seriously.
Kat: [laughs] So modest. But then there’s a paragraph that says, “Harry stared up into the grey face and felt as though the ground beneath him were falling sharply away. He had grown used to the idea that Dumbledore could solve anything. He had expected Dumbledore to pull some amazing solution out of the air. But no, their last hope was gone.” And… but really, why would Harry feel that way? What has Dumbledore actually done for Harry in his two years at Hogwarts?
Kat: Harry has done everything himself.
Laura: That’s kind of true, actually.
Kat: I mean, if…
Jeanna: Dumbledore made it so that Fawkes and the Hat would come to him.
Kat: Okay. Okay, I’ll give him that.
Jeanna: I mean, Harry still had to call for him, but…
Kat: But I think that’s in phoenixes’ nature. I feel like no matter whose phoenix that was… if it [were] Lupin’s phoenix, it would have come because Harry would have shown loyalty.
Eric: I think it’s a good question. It’s interesting, though, that after Harry remarks, “Oh, man, I always thought he could solve everything and come up with a solution,” a second later he does come up with a solution and tells Hermione what to do.
Jeanna: True that.
Kat: Yeah, that’s… okay. Touché.
Eric: So there’s that, okay? And then also, though, I just think it’s a presence thing. Dumbledore is the only one he ever feared. It’s basically… Dumbledore has always had… and even now when he says, “Three turns should do it.” He tells them exactly what to do. He always has a plan. He’s five steps ahead of everybody.
Kat: Puppet master.
Jeanna: I don’t think it’s a Seer thing. I think it’s really just a parent thing. He’s never had a parent or someone to give him… not necessarily just direction – or good direction – but direction in general. The Dursleys were just nothing, and this man… he knows he can trust him, and he just looks for the wise words from Dumbledore in every situation. “Oh, I know I’m in a tough spot. Yes, there are people like Hagrid who will always be there for me, but Dumbledore has always got the right answer, and he always knows how to get from point A to point B. He just always knows.”
Jeanna: It’s like that one… this is like… this could’ve been… or I’m sorry. Right when Harry is doing the [Patronus] Charm at the lake, that’s the one time where he realizes, “Dumbledore isn’t here. There’s no one to save me. What do I do?” It’s the one time he has to do something for himself, and then his back-up is not there.
Kat: That’s true.
Laura: I completely agree. I think it’s… because I had the same reaction my first reading, and I ended up just like, “oh” because at first I was getting frustrated in the same way that Harry and Hermione [were] of not thinking that Dumbledore believed them, and then once he was like, “Oh, I believe you,” I’m like, “Phew! We’re great! We’re good!”
Laura: And then it’s like, “No, he’s…” This is really the first time we’ve seen him where he isn’t the final word on something because the Minister… he’s been a presence. And I guess even when he was brought away… well, not in Chamber of Secrets but even in Order of the Phoenix when he’s brought away to Azkaban, he doesn’t go. Even that’s not the final say on it.
Eric: [laughs] Nope, nope. Sorry.
Laura: So this is really the only time, I think thus far, we see Dumbledore really not being the final say on something with the possible exception being the Chamber of Secrets when he got kicked out.
Kat: And Eric, I love the line that you’re talking about, the “three turns should do it.” And this time when I was reading it, I was thinking about [how] – so many times – Dumbledore seems to be the puppetmaster in the universe and sets things up and gives impossible goals to young wizards. But does it speak…? I was just thinking: Is it Dumbledore’s failures as a wizard or is it Hermione’s brilliance that [means] he just expects her to fix everything? That they’re going to be able to actually achieve this?
Laura: And also, just the danger of it. To not… I understand he can’t really offer much help because he can’t really affect the timelines that much, but the way I thought of it was that if Harry and Hermione are going to these great lengths to not be seen, if Dumbledore [were] tagging along, like helping or whatever, he wouldn’t be seen either. I don’t know. It’s very complicated, the whole time thing…
Laura: … but I do think Dumbledore could have allowed two more minutes to just be a bit more clear in his directions rather than just putting all that pressure on Hermione.
Eric: Well, here’s the thing. There’s something else, though. There’s another dimension, which is that the Dumbledore who’s speaking to them has already seen Buckbeak freed.
Jeanna: This is where it starts getting confusing to me.
Eric: Right? Potentially.
Eric: Potentially. He’s already seen him freed.
Kat: If we believe in circular time.
Eric: Well, the closed-loop theory, that doing them… that sending them on their way allows the events to happen that have already, for Dumbledore, happened but have yet to happen for Harry and Hermione, who[m] he’s talking to.
Eric: So this means that no matter what Dumbledore says to them, he knows it’s going to work, right? And so he doesn’t need to be that specific. He still gives them every bit of the puzzle piece. Within five minutes in the broom closet, they’ve figured out what they need to do, which is great. It says that Dumbledore is very succinct. Yes, I think he could have given them a little bit more, but he gave them exactly what they needed to know, and ultimately, it didn’t take them long to figure it out.
Kat: Right. And speaking of that broom closet, after they go back in time [makes beeping noise].
Kat: That’s one of my favorite parts of the movie. I happen… I like how the mummy is spinning in the background. Boo! Anyway.
Eric: What was that sound you do?
[Kat makes beeping noise again]
Kat: I don’t know. I’m not good at sound effects. Yeah, that’s pretty awesome, right? I just laughed really hard when Harry pinches his own leg. It’s just comic genius. Thank you, Jo.
Eric: Yeah, he just looks down and pinches himself.
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Laura: He’s like, “Yup, damn, that hurt.”
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Laura: And it didn’t just hurt. It hurt really bad[ly].
Kat: He’s an idiot. Yeah, it hurt a lot, which seemed to rule out the possibility he was having a very bizarre dream. I don’t know, whatever. So Hermione quickly explains how and when she got the Time-Turner and how she’d never use it for anything besides her studies. Whoops.
Kat: That’s a big, “Oh, sorry, I went back on my word there.”
Eric: But this is… it’s so funny because these kids are thirteen, and Jo has created this huge world, but she’s asking us to take on a lot here, I think, as readers. Because we have to say, “Oh, what if time travel’s possible?” If you can’t get behind that time travel is possible, you’re going to hate this chapter.
Eric: But this chapter is the best – one of the… arguably one of the best written chapters in the entire series – and it has to do with this journey that they’re on, and it’s just… I don’t mind the exposition so much when Hermione says, “Yes, but there are rules. You can’t be seen. You can’t ever do this. Think of what happened to the people who killed their future selves or past selves,” which happens later. But it shows that this has been well thought out and that Hermione… ultimately, that everything’s… it seems probable, doesn’t it? That she would be able to have this.
Laura: Yeah, I agree. I think… I mean, I’ve been very vocal about my hatred of time travel, but – in the same way where I accept Veritaserum and legilimancy – I’m glad that Rowling wrote out time travel from the series as being – in Order of the Phoenix – like, “Yup. They broke all of it. It’s gone forever.”
Kat: Yeah, exactly.
Laura: It gave me closure because then it turned into everything of just “Whoa, why didn’t someone do a Time-Turner to do this and this and this.” And obviously there'[re] rules, but people break the rules, clearly.
Kat: There’s that YouTube channel that is How…
Eric: How It Should Have Ended.
Kat: … It Should Have Ended.
Kat: And Snape – I think it’s Snape – just goes back and is… isn’t it Snape that says…?
Eric: Yeah, he turns the Time-Turner 17,000 times and goes back a couple years…[laughs]
Kat: That’s right. And kills Tom Riddle.
Eric: Yeah. Yeah, it’s pretty…
Laura: I mean, that’s the whole plot of the second StarKid show. [laughs]
Kat: Oh, is it?
Laura: Yeah. [laughs]
Kat: Not a StarKid fan. Fans, don’t hate me. Sorry.
Eric: The second one was good. But yeah.
Kat: Okay. So of course, after we get all that backstory, like you said, they very quickly put it together per the ushe because Harry is so clever.
Eric: The ushe. Yeah, they’re all Ravenclaws here.
Kat: I mean they’re not, though, so let’s just point that out. [laughs] And I know we already talked on this briefly, but Hermione is talking about how they’re breaking the most important wizarding law. Nobody is ever supposed to change time. So why is she so willing to break the rules? I mean, it’s just Buckbeak, and I don’t want to say, “it’s just Buckbeak”…
Kat: … but it’s Buckbeak, and it’s Sirius Black, somebody that she just met.
Eric: I think that’s…
Kat: Is she that easily convinced?
Eric: Yeah, it’s…
Jeanna: I think she knows how much he means to Harry, and she knows that even if he is a bad man he still deserves a trial. I think she is still into fairness. So the fact that she could save two lives – even let’s say Sirius was a bad dude, and he gets killed anyway – she still is helping to save him for a little bit.
Eric: You know what? I think it is, too. It’s not only the right thing to do, but she’s [also] gotten Dumbledore’s permission.
Eric: Dumbledore was like, “Hermione, take the Time-Turner. Go back three hours, and fix this.”
Kat: That’s true, I mean…
Jeanna: Dumbledore’s [unintelligible] means a lot to these two. Exactly. [If] a professor is telling you to do something, you do it, which is why earlier, when she attacked a teacher, it was not good.
Laura: Also, Hermione has displayed that she does truly believe in Black’s innocence in the same way she’s trying to convince… and yelling at the same time as Harry to Fudge and to Dumbledore. I don’t think she doubts anything anymore, especially after seeing Pettigrew and seeing Sirius and all that. I don’t think she doubts it anymore at all.
Eric: That’s a good point.
Kat: That’s true. So of course, they hide in that broom closet until they have left, and Hermione says all these words, and Harry gets confused as hell because let’s… he’s not logical at all, and he can’t follow it. So they go around the greenhouses, and they get down to Hagrid’s hut, and the committee is in there, and they’re talking about executing Buckbeak. So they’re going behead this poor hippogriff, and first off, my first thought is “Shouldn’t something like Avada Kedavra be used because it’s a little more humane?” And I know that they don’t care about this, but think about the mess.
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Kat: I don’t know. I feel like it’s a particularly cruel way, especially in Hagrid’s pumpkin patch…
Kat: Bastards! That’s not okay.
Laura: Yeah, that’s a good point.
Eric: Well, they…
Jeanna: Yeah, wouldn’t it be very easy for a student to see?
Jeanna: Wouldn’t there have been some students in the castle…?
Eric: No, there’s a curfew!
Jeanna: … who would just be…
Jeanna: … looking out [of] the window?
Laura: Just looking at the sun[set]?
Jeanna: Come on! Who’s just like, “Oh, man, that sunset is so beautiful.”
Jeanna: “Look at that majestic Buckbeak, just sitting out on Hagrid’s… oh, my God!” What? How did that not happen?
Laura: I think that’s the kind of thing… I don’t know if wizarding… I don’t get the impression that they do the death penalty in that every… all the top bad people have been sent to Azkaban. But if they did, would it just be an Avada Kedavra business? Because that would require a wizard to personally commit that. It’s not like… to make the analogy to the electric chair, where it’s turning on a machine, and there is, I guess, someone doing that. I’m not going to get into that, but so Avada Kedavra would require a person to be standing in front of it and cause that person’s death and mean it and all that business.
Kat: I bet I know who they could find to do that.
Eric: Well, look, I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. This is the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures. They only… they don’t typically work with innocent creatures, I don’t think. They’re just not up to speed. They’re not in the same realm as those [who] deal with people, as you point out. And I believe this but never thought of it before: They’re probably above the death penalty at this point. But Macnair the executioner wants some blood. He’s got a little bit of bloodlust. He’s got a big blade. That’s just how they do it for beasts.
Kat: But how does that work if you have a Chimaera or a dragon? You’re not going to behead it. That’s not going to happen.
Eric: I guess that’s a fair point.
Jeanna: I bet they have different sanctioned ways.
Laura:: They have blades of various sizes.
Eric: They just have a bigger axe.
Jeanna: Crossbow, set it on fire, decapitate it…
Eric: Maybe that’s Grawp’s future position.
Jeanna: Wait, we’re getting creative here.
Kat: Oh, my God.
Eric: Grawp’s future position is that he will be the guy with the big axe [who] goes after dragons.
Kat: Ohh, I don’t want that for Grawpy.
Jeanna: Or Grawp could just step on them.
Kat: I mean, that could work. That could work. All right, all right, back to maybe slightly happier things. Okay. So I liked this little hint here that… so throughout this whole conversation with the committee members and Dumbledore inside Hagrid’s hut, Dumbledore keeps stalling, and you don’t realize it until afterward that he’s stalling because he knows that Harry and Hermione need more time. So that whole “search the skies, they would never take a stolen hippogriff on foot” is because he knows that’s exactly what they did. Genius.
Eric: Yeah. This was…
Laura: It’s made pretty clear in the movie even. Where he’s just like, “Let’s take a gander at the gardens” or whatever.
Kat: Oh, yes. “Wait, let’s look at this hillside. It was planted by Armando Dippet.” Something like that, right? That’s what happens. But so then they leave, and they move over, and they’re watching the Whomping Willow, and they were saying that Dumbledore, Macnair, and Fudge walk by right after, and they were like, “Oh, man. If only they had gone down.” And then Harry points out that Macnair and Fudge would have come, too, and the quote is “I bet you anything Fudge would’ve had Macnair murder Sirius on the spot.” So here we are again, an execution in front of three teenagers by beheading.
Kat: That’s rough. I’m not… does Fudge have the power to do that?
Eric: He’s the Minister [of] Magic. If anybody has the power, it’s him.
Jeanna: He shouldn’t have the power, but yeah, he does.
Laura: We see him… like what I was saying before, he’s the only reason why they’re all in a rush because he himself has set the Dementors on Black. So I guess he does have that power.
Laura: There’s no trial being happening.
Kat: I don’t like Fudge.
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Laura: Who does?
Eric: No, I think it’s interesting because the seeds have been there since last book when he got rid of Hagrid. We all understand, right?
Eric: People were afraid, they were writing letters to the governors. But it gets to the point. We’re on a gradual increase. Next book – Goblet of Fire – she shows him I believe taking some money from Lucius at the Quidditch World Cup for campaign funds or something. So gradually he just gets in the way. By Book 5, by Book 6, he is so in the way – in your face – about his ignorance and all of this that it starts to become… it’s the slow build that he’s just becoming this huge obstacle for Harry.
Laura: I think also what makes Fudge so detestable is that he’s so just awful but in such a realistic way. Voldemort is so… we can’t really imagine Voldemort existing in our own lives without going into deep metaphors just because it’s so magical and everything. And the same could be said for Death Eaters, where they’re all evil, but they’re really interesting, dynamic characters that they still have big fan bases, sick people [who] love Bellatrix and whatever. But Fudge is just a politician who’s just stubborn and is this ignorant idiot. And there’s nothing redeeming about him, and he’s just so real, and then he just acts very Muggle-ish. There’s nothing that crazy about him that it’s just…
Kat: Noah, that was such a… “Noah.” I’m so sorry I just called you Noah.
Eric: How does that happen? How does something like that actually happen?
Kat: I don’t know.
Laura: I’m going to not read into that.
Kat: I’m sorry. I was going to say, “Laura, that was such a derogatory comment.” You said “Muggle-ish.”
Kat: That’s awful.
Laura: Well, I didn’t say… he doesn’t portray himself… I didn’t mean like that. I think he just doesn’t portray himself as being particularly magical in the same way that Voldemort is where all of his evil comes from being this magical being. We just see Fudge doing more political talking stuff, not ever displaying this great magical power that warrants his position.
Kat: Sure. No, it’s okay. I was really just picking on you. So it’s fine.
Eric: That’s an interesting comment.
Kat: So at the bottom of page 404, Lupin is finally coming down to the Whomping Willow, and there’s a comment that says “the clouds were obscuring the Moon completely.” And so is that how it works? If you can’t see the moon, and it’s not shining on him directly, he’s not transformed?
Laura: No, because if he’s in the Shrieking Shack and still being transformed, the Moon isn’t necessarily shining through that.
Eric: That’s another hole! God, if you point out one more hole in this chapter… seriously! [laughs]
Laura: Eric is quitting.
Jeanna: Seriously it’s just if that [were] the case, I would just…
Kat: Move to the forest?
Jeanna: … be like, “Snape, listen, I have got to stay in the dungeon so I don’t literally see the moon tonight.”
Kat: Right, exactly.
Jeanna: “Can we just switch rooms or something?” Why…? Yeah, that makes no sense. And I didn’t like that in the movie how the clouds just come apart, and he sees the Moon and is like, “Oh, oopsie, forgot to change! Changing now.”
Laura: Right, because that would have to assume that any time there’s a full moon it’s a perfectly spotless, clear night, and yeah.
Eric: Yeah. No, the power of the Moon I think goes beyond direct contact. This is more of a sunburn. I want to make the comparison. Out in the Sun, like, “Oh, no, my skin!”
Eric: But the point that I wanted to make happens right about now. They really want to warn somebody. Harry and Hermione have had this dialogue this whole chapter about “well, can’t we just…?” and she’s like, “No!” And he’s like, “Well, what if we just…?” and she’s like, “No!” Things like if they were to put some Wolfsbane Potion just out on the lawn for Lupin to find before he goes into the Whomping Willow. Something like that. But they can’t do it, and just what I love most about this chapter is how much power they have. They’re essentially affecting change. They’re freeing – basically saving – two whole lives, and they can’t wrap their brain[s] around it. Harry screws up his face five or six times thinking, “Well, what if we just do this or do that?” And it’s interesting because on one hand they’re so empowered – they’re in the past, for crying out loud – and on the other hand, they’re not really… they’re forbidden to do anything that would change the original timeline and can only update or change the way it all plays out.
Kat: Which brings me to the point that I was just coming to where I was thinking – I want to ponder. I want everyone to ponder for a moment – “What would have changed if Harry had indeed run into Hagrid when he was like, ‘I’m going to get the cloak’?” And Hagrid goes… what would have changed? How would that have affected anything?
Laura: Hagrid pulls out the crossbow.
Kat: Yeah, but Hagrid hasn’t seen Harry in half an hour. He’s not going to think it’s something weird.
Laura: Oh, you’re saying not when Harry and Ron and Hermione are all in there?
Kat: Yeah, while they’re in the Whomping Willow, there’s – on… where is that? – on page 405 they’re hiding in the woods with Buckbeak, everyone is already in the Whomping Willow, and Harry says, “I’m going to take the Invisibility Cloak so that Snape can’t get it.” And then Harry starts to walk out, Hermione pulls him back, and Hagrid walks by.
Eric: Well, I had the same question for when they go into the Shack. They take Buckbeak into Hagrid’s hut moments later after… actually it’s been a little while. They’ve been sitting in the [Shrieking Shack]. What if Hagrid were back then?
Eric: In the hut when they arrived? I don’t think it would have caused… because Hagrid is not really a player in what happens later.
Eric: It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal. He would have been like, “Oh, you two shouldn’t be out.” And they’d be like, “Sorry, Hagrid, we’ll go back now. We promise.”
Laura: It probably would have incriminated Harry to some degree with Buckbeak getting free? No?
Eric: Yeah. But Hagrid would thank him and kiss him and…
Jeanna: I just don’t think they wanted to get distracted by Hagrid or thrown off course because of him. Because inevitably he’d be like, “Oh, why don’t you…?”
Kat: “Have a rock cake.”
Jeanna: Yeah, and either he would send them back to the castle, or he would say, “Oh, can you guys come and have a cup of tea and a rock cake with me?” And they’d be like, “Ahh, can’t. Got to save our lives.”
Jeanna and Kat: Peace.
Kat: Okay, so after Hermione saves the day once again, they’re sitting down by the Whomping Willow, and Harry starts thinking about who[m] he saw by the lake. And it’s because Hermione asks, “Well, why didn’t the Dementors get them?” And Harry explains what he saw happen, and all the while he’s thinking to himself who[m] he thought it might have been. But it obviously couldn’t be his father. He doesn’t say his father but regardless… and when Harry finally does tell Hermione, she looks at him “in a mixture of alarm and pity.” And I feel like that doesn’t seem like Hermione to me. After all the amazing things that she knows can happen in the wizarding world.
Eric: Yeah, especially given light of the most recent situation.
Kat: Right. Like it’s so easy – seemingly easy – to see your loved ones that have passed on in this world. I don’t understand why this is so alarming.
Jeanna: But I think that’s not true really because we know that they aren’t ghosts. Also, the one thing that’s been made clear is that death is irreversible. And they’re buried in the ground, dead. And the only thing… we know we learn about the Resurrection Stone later, but that’s a children’s fairy tale. They don’t learn about that until five years down the line or however long. I truly don’t think Hermione thinks in any way ever would it ever be possible for him to have seen his father. And I think the pity comes from not wanting to be like, “No, Harry, your dad’s dead.” But also just being alarmed at why… I don’t think she thinks Harry is going crazy. I think she’s concerned at what it could have possibly been but doesn’t want to shoot down Harry when it’s a delicate situation.
Eric: I think the alarm and pity is just the natural response. He’s saying to her, “This is going to sound crazy.” She’s beating it out of him, and then he’s like, “It’s my father.” And then she’s like, “Oh, that’s sad. He’s dead.” I think it is just sort of the normal friend response because she has a family, and he doesn’t. That’s all it is. That’s a normal human response. But as to whether or not she thinks he’s losing it, I think it’s pretty clear that he’s not. He just… because he was hesitant the whole time. And he’s like, “This is not… I don’t know what it was, this, that, or the other thing. It was probably my dad.” And she was like, “What?” So…
Kat: Okay. I mean, sure. It just seemed like an un-Hermione reaction to me, that’s all. But I guess she does have kind of a closed mind, so…
Kat: Couple of pages later on page 408, this is where everybody is emerging from the Willow finally after they’ve been sitting there for about an hour. And Hermione is once again reminding Harry that they have to stay put. They absolutely cannot interfere. And Harry says, “But we’re just going to let Pettigrew escape all over again?” And Hermione says, “Well, how do you expect to find a rat in the dark?”
Kat: And I chuckled to myself, and I was like, “Well, you should have brought Crookshanks…”
Kat: … back in time, and then there would have been two Crookshanks to catch Peter.
Eric: Well, I think it would be difficult to… what was I going to say?
Jeanna: Or you could cast Lumos. Geez.
Kat: I mean… well, that would work, but…
Eric: Yeah, here’s the thing: This is where the not interfering falls on its ear. Because from this point forward, they can change the future as long as their past selves don’t witness their future selves doing it. Which is what allows Harry to form the Patronus and all that stuff, but in general if they were to catch Peter right now as soon as he runs off into the woods, it would explain why they weren’t able to find him the first time. And also, they would just need to keep him still – petrify him – and save his corpse or whatever – save his body – until after you free Sirius or…
Kat: Oh, so true!
Kat: So true.
Eric: They should just keep him out of the way. The big thing is he just can’t be in the way, so as long as he’s out of the way, they can still take him and put him somewhere They could put him back in Hagrid’s Hut. So…
Laura: Put him in a box.
Eric: He could probably tranform out of the box and then break the box and then run away possibly, but this whole hour that they’re sitting in the Whomping Willow, I was thinking, “Well, okay, great. He has to excape, but where he goes from there is not… nobody else from Hogwarts grounds sees him that night, so it’s not changing anything if you catch him.” They probably could have been devising a plot.
Kat: That’s so true. Damn them!
Kat: For being not clever.
Eric: But I mean, the thing of it is, though, they have enough to worry aobut. They have gotten a strict mission from Dumbledore.
Laura: But that’s the reason why the whole mission exists is because they don’t have Pettigrew’s evidence.
Eric: Yeah, I agree. It’s like the trump is catching Pettigrew and having him.
Laura:I mean, obviously, then they might have been sucked up by the Dementors because then Harry would have been busy doing something else versus casting a Patronus.
Eric: That’s a good argument.
Laura:But the thing is that Harry himself doesn’t know that he has to do the Patronus right now, so…
Laura: … why wouldn’t he just not do that?
Kat: I just think that Hermione would enjoy having two Crookshanks around because then it would be like having two Rons around.
Jeanna: Oh, no.
Kat: Never going to let it go, never going to let it go. Okay, so I like this line. Okay. So there’s a line at the top of page 410 that says “I’m not gonna try and interfere.” This is when Harry is leaving Hagrid’s Hut. He says, “But we don’t see what’s going on. How are we gonna know when it’s time to rescue Sirius?” And I just thought it was so clever that he’s like, “Well, I’m not gonna know when to rescue him if I don’t go watch myself rescue him.” It’s just…
Eric: [laughs] Yeah.
Kat: She’s amazing. This is my obligatory genius moment for the eposode. I think I already had one, but this is the real one.
Eric: We’ve had so many more. This is a hole… moments in this chapter.
Kat: It is. It’s true. So then I was thinking – I think we touched on this earlier as well – “Was Harry so elated and so nervous and anxious about the fact that he might see his dad that the Patronus just came to him without thinking?” This was such a natural reaction for him. It… he was sitting there, and he was anxious, and then all of a suddnen, he flung himself out from the bush, pulled out his wand, and screamed those famous words. That’s my favorite moment in that whole movie.
Laura: I don’t necessarily agree because I think it would have been more of a crushing disappointment of “Where’s my dad? Where’s my dad? Ohh, crap. I’m my dad.” Where how I thought that would have been more of a crushing disappointment, but I think it’s just he’s so powered right now, and that.. I think… I don’t remember if this is in the book. I know that’s what he explains in the movie: “I knew I could do it becuse I’ve already done it.”
Eric: Yeah, it’s pretty much like, “I’m still alive!”
Kat: Yeah, I but I feel like, at least for me, the anxiety and the lead-up to the moment is always twenty times bigger than the moment. And for me personally that’s where my anxiety and happiness and wonderment and all of that would come from.
Jeanna: I think also maybe that he didn’t realize almost until the last second that his dad wan’t going to show up and that it was in fact him. Yeah, he almost didn’t have time to panic. He only had time to act.
Kat: Right. Exactly. So he wouldn’t kill himself.
Laura: I have just one point to bring up: Has… up to this point, has there been any evidence of Patronuses turning into animal forms? Has Lupin ever said that that was a thing? Because I was thinking “Lupin never demonstrated… “This is a Patronus. Expecto Patronum” because I was thinking his Patronus would likely turn into a wolf, and did he not demonstrate it because he didn’t want to cue “Yeah, I’m werewolf. Don’t worry about it”? Because even when we see Dumbledore make a Patronus with the whole Quidditch thing, it doesn’t mention that it was a phoenix. So up until now with seeing the whole stag thing, do we even know that that’s what happens with Patronuses?
Kat: I don’t think so. Although, I know, doesn’t Lupin mention that it won’t be fully formed… it will never… he wouldn’t expect him to produce a fully-formed Patronus?
Kat: I think that’s the only hint that we get.
Laura: Perhaps. Yeah. Oh, well.
Eric: I took this to be more of a symbolic experience, though, for Harry. The fact that he’s essentially meeting his father after all, but it’s the father inside him. It’s the…
Kat: Oh, I know.
Eric: … father inside himself. He says – I guess it’s in the movie, right? – “You were great tonight, Prongs.” But that’s what it is in the end. He found he still connected with his father because his Patronus… he doesn’t control what his Patronus is. His Patronus is his father. It represents his father and his father’s strength in battle and in combat and in survival and everything like that. So the fact that that’s his Patronus is extremely special.
Kat: It’s a really, really touching moment, and I feel like it’s super underrated.
Laura: Yeah, I love this…
Kat: But I mean…
Laura: I agree.
Kat: … it’s pretty great. And moving on from that, that nice touching moment. So of course, they save the day, they grab Sirius – or no, Sirius is gone – so they hop on Buckbeak, and they go up to the tower, and, I will admit, I was kind of disappointed reading our namesake’s spell because in the movie she says “Bombarda,” which is the coolest thing. Everything explodes. And this is so anti-climatic. She just says, “Alohomora,” and the window opens.
Eric: I think it’s awesome. Come on!
Kat: I mean, okay, great, it’s awesome. But this is where I feel like this one particular super tiny part, the movie’s better than the book.
Eric: Well, I think it begs the question, though. If you can open a barred window by saying “Alohomora” because it’s kind of like being locked, can’t you just get out of Azkaban by saying “Alohomora“?
Kat: Well, they don’t have wands.
Eric: Okay, make a nonverbal version of Alohomora then. Seriously.
Kat: Sure. So then it ends, they rescue Sirius, they take him away, and it just ends with this really nice line that says, “You are truly your father’s son, Harry.” And I think that that wraps up the chapter really nicely.
Laura: This part, I will say, as much as I hate this movie – and this is not Cuarón’s fault. This is totally Gary Oldman – is one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. The way the speech he gives of everything. The way that’s acted, that’s one of my favorite parts of the entire film series. He does such a good job with that. I am obsessed with Gary Oldman’s depiction of Sirius, but…
Kat: Well, he’s pretty amazing.
Laura: He’s my fave.
Kat: Yeah, totally. And I was just looking at the calendar, and today is June 1st – well, not the day we’re recording but the day the fans are listening to this is June 1st – and Prisoner of Azkaban came out on May 31st in 2004, so this book is nine years old.
Eric: Can’t be.
Kat: That’s the UK date, anyway.
Eric: No, the book… that’s incorrect. The book is…
Kat: Oh, that’s the movie. Oops, I fail.
Eric: Yeah, the movie came out because I remembering being in London on June 4th, which was the Tuesday when the film came out, but yeah, it’s exciting. The film is nine years old. It’s nine years since my dreams were crushed.
Kat: I fail. Okay, well, this was going to be a super good lead-in for this next part that I’m going to talk about because the fans of Alohomora! can now purchase the Harry Potter eBooks and audio books directly on our website, and they get 10% off if they purchase the entire series. And both the eBooks and the audio books are available in a variety of languages. So we’ve got German, Italian, UK [English], and US English for the audio books, and there’s castellano [Spanish], German, UK [English], US English, French, Italian, and Japanese for the eBooks. And they can also purchase the eBook only of Beedle the Bard, Fantastic Beasts, and Quidditch Through the Ages. All proceeds for those three, obviously, go to charities: Lumos and Comic Relief. So go to Alohomora! You can get the 10% discount if you order the whole series, and the links are on our website. So check it out.
Eric: Well, guys, it’s about that time where we have a new podcast question for this week’s episode. This one came to me just before we started recording, but I think it was enforced when Laura flipped out about time-turning, so…
Eric: … this week’s question is [laughs], “So the Time-Turner was only used once by the main characters in the Harry Potter series. But if it could have been used at another time, say one other time, by any of the characters that we follow in the series, when should have it been used? When would the use of the Time-Turner have been the most advantageous, or when do you feel that it would have been best if they had used it?” And Laura says that’s a cop out sometimes. Why didn’t they use it here and there? But I want to find out. What do people think really would have been the biggest moment where they had the greatest opportunity to make some change?
Kat: That’s a really good question, Eric. I love that.
Laura: Ooh, yeah.
Jeanna: I have a good answer, but I’ll save it.
Kat: Yeah, you should go over to the forums and write it down.
Jeanna: I will.
Eric: Don’t forget it.
Jeanna: I won’t!
Eric: Well, yeah, like we said, Jeanna, definitely put in your thoughts on the podcast question of the week, and I just want to, on behalf of all of us, thank you for being on this episode of Alohomora!
Jeanna: You’re welcome. I had a lot of fun.
Kat: Yeah, you’re going to LeakyCon, right?
Jeanna: Yes, I am! In fact, I know that Hogwarts Radio will be there podcasting.
Kat: Yeah! I’m going to be on that show!
Laura: What if I am, too?
Eric: And me.
Kat: Oh, my gosh!
Eric: [laughs] It’s pretty much an Alohomora! Radio.
Jeanna: Well, I knew Eric was. I didn’t know we had Alohomora! as well. I mean…
Kat: You do. I think Caleb is going on, too. [laughs]
Eric: It’s basically like one big podcast. Let’s just… let’s not pretend that we’re a different show. [laughs]
Kat: I mean, no. It’s totally true.
Kat: So true. And, as usual, if any of you listening out there want to be on the show, like Jeanna, you can head over to our website, alohomora.mugglenet.com – it has all the information on how to get on the show – or, as usual, send us an email to alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. But while you’re trying to decide what clip to send in, subscribe to us on iTunes, and leave us some love – some good reviews because we love reading those.
Eric: And don’t forget that you can contact us at any time in several ways. Several methods to contact us. We’re on Twitter at twitter.com/AlohomoraMN, we’re on Facebook at facebook.com/openthedumbledore, and there’s the hotline. We did not play any voicemails this week, but we will continue to play voicemails as they come to us. And that number is 206-GO-ALBUS. That’s (206) 462-5287.
Laura: And also, be sure to check out our Alohomora! store. There you could find T-shirts and a bunch of other nice stuff of our Alohomora! logo and the host shirts. Eric and I are trying to come up with ours. Perhaps mine will be about my time travel rage.
[Eric, Kat, and Laura laugh]
Laura: But yeah, so be sure… definitely check that out. And if you’re coming to LeakyCon, be sure to be sporting your T-shirts and stuff when you go to this year’s show.
Kat: And we’ll have lots of merch there, too, for purchasing, so…
Laura: Yeah. New stuff.
Kat: And as always, just one more quick mention. We want to remind you about our app. It’s available in the US and the UK for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle, pretty much anything except Blackberry. Sorry, guys.
Kat: [laughs] It’s a $1.99 in the US or £1.29 in the UK. And, of course, as usual, there’s transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, vlogs, a whole bunch more, so check it out.
Laura: Okay, well, that does it for this episode. Thank you, everyone, for listening. So I’m Laura Reilly.
[Show music begins]
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 33 of Alohomora!
Eric: Open the Dumbledore.
[Show music continues]
Kat: Another twelve pages? This is the longest chapter ever.
Jeanna: I know. I was like, “Crap. I’m on the longest one.”
Laura: I haven’t even finished it because that’s what broke my computer was me trying to finish it. [laughs]
Kat: It’s twenty-something pages.
Laura: Yeah. I don’t have…
Eric: Relax, guys. It’s the best twenty-something pages ever written.
Kat: Oh, it totally is.
Jeanna: No, I like how we’re like, “Oh, my God. It’s soo long. It’s twenty pages!”
Kat: 29 pages, actually.