[Show music begins]
Caleb Graves: This is Episode 39 of Alohomora! for July 13, 2013.
[Show music continues]
Caleb: Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Alohomora! I’m Caleb Graves.
Eric Scull: I’m Eric Scull.
Laura Reilly: I’m Laura Reilly. And here today we have special fan guest Frederik Thorning.
Frederik Thorning: Hello.
Laura: Why don’t you tell everyone where you’re from?
Frederik: I’m from Denmark. It’s a small country in Northern Europe. Big Harry Potter fan.
Laura: What’s your house?
Frederik: I think Pottermore sorted me into Slytherin, but I see myself as a Ravenclaw.
Frederik: I was kind of angry when Pottermore sorted me.
Caleb: Yeah? You don’t think you fit [into] Slytherin really well?
Frederik: Well, I think the part of pursuing your goals, one of the Slytherin characteristics, that’s cool. But the part of being so arrogant is not really me.
Frederik: Well, not that that’s [unintelligible]. Most Slytherins are, but it’s what Salazar said it would be like. In the beginning, at least.
Caleb: Well, you can hold the banner for everything that’s good for Slytherin.
[Caleb and Laura laugh]
Frederik: I can try to.
Frederik: It’s hard. Back in 2010, I met J.K. Rowling at this show.
Caleb: Oh, sweet.
Frederik: Yeah. And we were all sorted into these houses, and I was in Ravenclaw. And then the question section came up and all the Slytherins answered and she said, “Why is it all the Slytherins who asked the questions? Because they’re the evil guys.”
[Caleb and Eric laugh]
Eric: Yeah, J.K. Rowling has been known, if I can say this, to just [laughs] crap all over certain houses at certain times and push them into the sections that she later says, “Oh, but they’re not all bad.”
Caleb: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: So it’s a bit funny to watch her do that.
Laura: All right, so I think we’re going to jump right into it. We’re going to read some of the comments from our previous week where we just started the first chapter of Goblet of Fire, which I am so super excited about because I love Goblet. So last chapter was Chapter 1, “The Riddle House,” which is different in the sense that it is our first… well, not the first chapter, but first chapter in a while that we’ve seen told from a different perspective and starting on a very different ominous note. So this first comment comes from LumosNight3 and it says,
“I think the bit with Frank calling Voldemort out on facing him like a man was a really interesting bit of foreshadowing to the graveyard scene, because Voldemort basically does the same thing with Harry and Harry specifically thinks to himself (paraphrasing) ‘I’m going to face him like a man, like my dad.’ It’s a nice foil there and I think it nicely shows that for Harry, the idea of standing up and facing the challenge before him with honor is natural and one he wants and chooses to take on, but for Voldemort his is more cowardly than he likes to acknowledge.”
I thought this was a good point because I know you guys talked a lot about Frank being a part of the war – or at least they were on the forums – that it is kind of a nice foil of how these two men are willing to face Voldemort face to face, whereas Voldemort doesn’t really have a lot of honor.
Eric: Yeah, and he doesn’t also have much of a face right now either, so that was pretty important.
Laura: This is true.
Eric: [laughs] Yeah, totally.
Laura: So speaking of him not having a face, Silverdoe25 said,
“So Voldemort needs Pettigrew to turn his chair around for him, but the minute he’s got something more than vapor for a body he’s making Nagini into a Horcrux? I’ve always had some trouble with the timing of this Horcrux here.”
Eric: That is an excellent point, and I completely agree with Silverdoe here. We know from a later interview with J.K. Rowling that certain Horcruxes were created and in fact that Voldemort continued to create them after his downfall, particularly with the murder of Frank Bryce. So it does raise the question about his strength, especially when Pettigrew has to turn his own chair around, so it kind of brings that whole thing into question again.
Laura: We don’t get a lot of details as to what actually goes into making a Horcrux besides killing people. I doubt [that] it’s you kill someone and then they float into an object or whatever, their soul. [laughs] I imagine there’s got to be something to it and I doubt… Voldemort can’t really do magic at this point, I would think. But… that much.
Frederik: I think that raises another question too. How long can you use a murder after you killed a man? I mean, can you use someone you killed twenty years ago to create a Horcrux?
Eric: I really wonder if there needs to be some sort of preparation, like you must begin the ritual almost prior to the killing, it seems. It really raises the question too because we know that Harry was an intended victim of creating a Horcrux, which ends up being extremely important to the plot of the books. But I mean, that alone questions how quickly the spell rebounded on Voldemort.
Laura: That’s true.
Eric: At what point did it really rob him with a body if he was going to go in there and hold this huge ritual that we imagine is taking a long time?
Laura: That’s true. The Horcruxes kind of instantaneously created with Harry, so… yeah, it’s complicated stuff.
Eric: Mhm. But if he had done it in front of Pettigrew too, wouldn’t you [have] had to kill Pettigrew because Pettigrew would know his major secret? That’s my real question with Pettigrew and Voldemort in Voldemort making a Horcrux right here and now.
Frederik: Probably send him out to milk Nagini.
Eric: [laughs] “While you were away, I’ve created a…” That’s a good point.
Laura: Okay, so this next comment comes from LadyGimbal, also on our forums. It says,
“One thing I noticed while reading was the fact that Voldemort is so calm and unrushed. He states, ‘I have waited 13 years. A few more months will make no difference.’ This shows how opposite he is from Sirius, who in PoA stated that he had waited for 12 years to kill Peter and he didn’t want to wait much longer. Voldemort shows a strong sense of planning instead of being rash like Sirius. I love Sirius as much as the next person, but it is no wonder he got himself killed.”
Caleb: Whoops. [laughs]
Laura: Harsh. [laughs]
Eric: I think that’s a little…
Laura: I kind of have to disagree a little bit. I mean, not that Voldemort doesn’t have a strong sense of planning, but the difference is that Sirius was waiting to prove his innocence and that’s kind of… he waited twelve years to… it’s like, “Oh, I can wait a little longer.” Well, he unfairly was waiting twelve years, whereas Voldemort is waiting to kill somebody.
Caleb: Yeah, but Sirius is a rash person regardless.
Laura: That’s a good point.
Eric: But I do think it is…
Frederik: Yeah, but Voldemort is immortal.
Eric: [laughs] Yeah, that’s true. Right? If time is no matter to you because you’re immortal, can you wait longer?
Laura: Yeah. I mean, Voldemort doesn’t really have an incredible sense of patience, which I know there was always a meme floating around the Internet where it was like, “Oh, isn’t it nice that Voldemort waits until the end of the school calendar year to attack?”
[Eric and Frederik laugh]
Laura: Let’s Harry do his studies and everything. [laughs] But yeah.
Frederik: He’s a good guy.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Laura: He cares about education.
Laura: This comment comes from The head girl on the forums. It says,
“The discussion of the ‘rich benefactor’ in regards to the Riddle house made me think about ‘Skyfall’, when the caretaker tells Bond that the old house has been sold to foreign investors. It’s possible that a rich foreign investor bought the Riddle house to establish residency in England because taxes are lower there than in their home country, or that someone bought the place as a historical landmark and is getting a tax break on keeping Frank on for the upkeep. I doubt it’s one of the Death Eaters, since the only one we know of who has the means to just buy a house and not live in it is Lucius Malfoy – and we also know that he’s not very careful with Voldemort’s things.”
Eric: Yeah, so I’m just surprised by this discussion that more and more people are thinking it’s not actually Voldemort who is the, quote, “rich benefactor.”
Laura: Yeah. I mean, it kind of was fairly unanimous on the forums, that people just thinking that Voldemort would not want to associate himself with Muggle money and everything, and they were making it seem like they had broken into it. Okay, and this last comment was an email we received from David Lister. So it says,
“I’ve just listened to the podcast for Chapter 1 of ‘Goblet of Fire’ and when you were talking about how Voldemort gained his corporeal body, it set off alarm bells ringing. A bit of hunting around on the net turned up what I was looking for. When J.K. Rowling was interviewed on ‘PotterCast’ in 2007, she was asked whether she would ever provide the spell used to create a Horcrux and gave the following answer.”
So that’s related to what we were saying before. Anyway,
“There are two things that I think are too horrible, actually, to go into detail about. One of them is how Pettigrew brought Voldemort back into a rudimentary body. ‘Cause I told my editor what I thought happened there, and she looked as though she was going to vomit.”
So the person goes on to say,
“I’ve always thought and think that this was an idea also put forward on ‘PotterCast’ by John Noe before being told it was horrible that Voldemort in his spirit form posessed a pregnant woman and managed to take over the fetus before it was born. I just don’t think that Voldemort could create a body out of nothing, not even one that weak. The potion of Nagini’s venom and unicorn blood may be needed to maintain the hold over the body. Given time, then maybe the body would have grown, but I doubt that Voldemort would have had the patience for that and suspect the potion would always be needed. We may never find the truth, but this theory has always felt the most plausible to me, even if it is horrible.”
Eric: I wish I could unthink that. I wish I could unlisten to that email. [laughs]
Eric: And not because it was poorly written.
Laura: No, I wanted to include it because it’s a very well-written email, but…
Eric: Yeah, it is. It is.
Laura: Yeah. I think that it’s interesting that J.K. Rowling had said that those are the two things we were just talking about: the spell to create a Horcrux – that process – and this.
Eric: Definitely. Dark Magic at its darkest.
Frederik: Well, we’ll probably know in thirty-seven years when the seventh book is released on Pottermore.
[Caleb, Eric, and Laura laugh]
Eric: Yeah, maybe then Jo will have softened and decided to reveal it to everyone so that they can get on with their killing and trying to make Horcruxes of their own.
Frederik: Oh, yeah.
Eric: That was a joke. So, with no further ado, we’ll get into some responses to last week’s Podcast Question of the Week. Our question, just to reiterate, was, “Why is Peter Pettigrew so set on Voldemort not choosing Harry for the spell? Or why suggest that he take another person? Why is Peter questioning Lord Voldemort on the death of Bertha Jorkins? Has his life debt to Harry somehow begun to change his heart to make him look out for Harry in some way? Has Peter just suddenly developed a conscience? Or has Peter always been this way?” So we got a few responses here. First one is from ElderDeb. They say,
“I do not think the life debt entered into this one tiny bit. Peter was grossed out by the care and feeding of Voldemort. He wanted this routine over and done with ASAP. Dragging out the whole business all year through the tournament was the last thing Pettigrew wanted. His arguments were purely selfish.”
Caleb: I happen to agree with this.
Caleb: It’s pretty clear that Peter is like, “Hands off. Don’t want to deal with this filth.”
Frederik: Hands off.
Eric: Okay! Next comment comes from JessFudd. They say,
“I think Peter’s main concern is his own safety. I think he’s more concerned with getting the most protection in the quickest way. I don’t think he cares about Harry one way or the other at this point. I think he’s afraid that Sirius and Lupin, who are both smarter and stronger than he is, are after him. I also think Peter probably has about as much faith in himself as we do… he doesn’t trust himself not to screw up and accidentally fail at taking care of Voldemort. I think Peter’s desire to just grab the nearest wizard off the street is about his desire for immediate protection and relief from responsibility, and not at all about Harry. As for the questions about Bertha Jorkins, again, I think he’s just trying to stay as far under the radar as possible and hoping he can convince Voldemort to keep a low profile as well. He is a fear-based rat/man, and he acts as such.”
Caleb: Yeah. I mean, it definitely makes sense that he wants to stay under the radar. He knows now that he’s pretty deep in the thick of things, so…
Eric: Definitely. Third comment comes from Claire Whitehead (now Claire Marie). This is an abridged comment, seeing as how we received many, many responses, and they were all very in-depth.
“Sirius says that Peter was most concerned about being protected by the biggest kids on the playground. At Hogwarts, these protectors were most clearly James and Sirius who carried influence, charm, and a fair bit of knowledge; all of which was helpful to Peter during school. However, once the Marauders have left Hogwarts, they are no longer the biggest fish in the pond and Peter turns to someone else who has more influence: Voldemort. Now as to Peter’s current situation in ‘Goblet of Fire’, he has now returned to be under the protection of the wizard who despite his absence is still intensely feared by the magical community. However, from Peter’s standpoint things are looking grim. There is an extremely elaborate plan to lay hands on and kill Harry Potter that would require massive amounts of luck to carry out. Peter is seeing all of the ways that this plan can be thwarted and along with the loss of the plan, the loss of his protection. Peter then thinks about how to still get to the end without using Harry as the chosen means to that end – this is obviously much less risky and would probably guarantee that Peter had protection.
Compassion for others has never been higher on his priority list than saving his own skin. At first opportunity to join a bigger and badder group, he does. All of these doubts that Peter is voicing are to ensure Peter’s protection… not Harry’s.”
Caleb: This is really… yeah. I mean, this is a really well-thought-out possibility. My only stipulation is, is Peter this smart to think that far ahead?
Laura: We’ve discussed this a lot, particularly, I think, back in Prisoner of Azkaban – overestimating or underestimating Peter and his own abilities – and I’ve always been leaning on the side of what Caleb just said, of not thinking he’s actually that smart about things.
Eric: Well, this comment doesn’t really say he’s smart at all; he’s just reacting to protect himself. He’s basically…
Laura: This would require a fair bit of foresight.
Eric: Well, it just seems like a complicated plan that Voldemort is hatching, and that could mean that Voldemort is going to go get himself killed because he’s not being smart and just choosing somebody off the street.
Caleb: Yeah. That’s… yeah, I guess – just thinking through the comment – it almost seems like Peter is considering all the chess moves in a game, but maybe it is a little more simple than I’m making it out to be.
Laura: Yeah. About the comments, the point I agree with most is that he could make this whole thing much simpler by just killing anybody, [laughs] any enemy. But he’s purposefully making it difficult almost for a poetic reason of it, and it’s… yeah.
Laura: He could… I think that’s what… Peter is just like, “Come on, let’s take the easy way out here.” And really, it’s by Voldemort using Harry that leads to his downfall, so…
Laura: “Should have listened to Pettigrew.”
Eric: Yeah. For sure.
Laura: Said nobody. [laughs]
Eric: Said nobody ever.
[Caleb and Eric laugh]
Eric: These comments have been sourced from our website, and they do not even make up 25% of all the comments that we got on the website, so I want to point everybody who’s looking for a good discussion or to continue this discussion to the Alohomora! website, where we have a special topic post for [the] Podcast Question of the Week every week, and further discussion can be had on the forums.
Caleb: All right. So guys, if you head over to the Alohomora! website, which has just been redesigned, make sure you check out the wonderful new design of the site. You can now purchase the Harry Potter ebooks and audiobooks directly on that website. And now you can get 10% off if you purchase the entire series, which of course you would want to do. Both are available in a variety of languages: German, Italian, Great Britain, and US English for audiobooks, and Castellano, German, Great Britain and US English, French, Italian, Japanese for the ebooks. You can also buy ebook-only versions of Beetle the Bard, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages, all of the proceeds of which go to charity: Lumos and Comic Relief. So again, head over to the Alohomora! website, alohomora.mugglenet.com, and check out this great deal from Pottermore where you can get 10% off when you buy the entire series of Harry Potter. All right, so we’re going to move into the chapter discussion for this week.
[Goblet of Fire Chapter 2 intro begins]
Harry: Chapter 2.
[Scratchy sounds of writing]
Harry: “The Scar.”
[Goblet of Fire Chapter 2 intro ends]
Caleb: Okay, so in Chapter 2, we are finally fully back with Harry’s point of view after he wakes up at the end of Chapter 1. He is reacting and slowly remembering this dream that takes place in the Riddle house. So the fact that he is there – there [are] a lot of interesting things about this dream that he has. Whether he… is this a Horcrux connection – the reason why he is experiencing it – and if so, why isn’t he seeing it from Voldemort’s point of view?
Laura: That’s a really interesting thing. I think it is a Horcrux connection. I think this is really the first time we’re introduced to it, and Harry thinks it’s a dream because obviously he’s sleeping, but it’s something that’s happening so it can’t be a dream. I think that that is a good point, that it’s not from Voldemort’s point of view. I think maybe Rowling hadn’t decided yet that that’s where she… how she wanted to do those things in the future.
Eric: Right, because in the fifth book we show him disciplining his people, but they’re all from his perspective. Or when Harry goes into the snake, it’s from the snake’s perspective. So that’s interesting that this would not be.
Laura: I mean… but yeah, because we’re seeing it from Frank Bryce’s perspective.
Eric: Or it’s not actually, though. It’s…
Caleb: Yeah, it’s not from anyone’s perspective. It’s just like he’s in the scene observing.
Eric: It’s weird because…
Eric: Yeah, it is said that Harry sees what’s in the chair, but also that there was an old man there and somebody, like two people…
Caleb: Yeah, he identifies all the parties, even Nagini.
Frederik: If you look at Chapter 13, I think it is, and in this book, the dream he has in the Divination class… he sees this from the perspective of an owl…
Frederik: … which I think is… it’s the owl that delivers the message of Barty Crouch being dead.
Laura: Oh, you’re talking about… yeah, in this book. I forgot about that.
Frederik: Yeah, in Goblet of Fire. In Chapter 13, I think it is. And he flies through the window and delivers the letter to Voldemort.
Eric: That owl is like the lost Horcrux.
Laura: So maybe before Rowling had decided from Order of the Phoenix on that it would be from Voldemort’s point of view, maybe she was just playing with the idea of having this third person kind of omniscient guy in the same way… almost like how they drop into the Pensieve and look at everything. Maybe it was something like that, whereas this is kind of an unnamed source that’s seeing everything and then this owl.
Eric: Yeah. Darn, Frederik, that’s a good point with the owl because otherwise I was going to suggest that perhaps Voldemort’s soul isn’t completely rooted in this body yet and so it’s kind of got like an out-of-body kind of vibe to it that would allow Harry to see things from a position other than inside Voldemort’s body, because his body isn’t completely developed yet. But I don’t know how to answer about the owl.
Frederik: I also think in Deathly Hallows, he does not only see the things from Voldemort’s perspective, but he also sees what he’s thinking about, especially when Voldemort constantly thinks about Grindelwald. He constantly sees Grindelwald’s face when he tries to slip into Voldemort’s mind.
Laura: Yeah, I think that – Eric, you sort of said this – the reason perhaps why this is the first time we’re seeing Harry have these connections mentally is because Voldemort has got a sort of body-ish thing going on but then it becomes… once Voldemort comes into a full body being, then we get the insight to his mind and everything like that.
Eric: Yeah. I found it interesting that the dreams or the scar hurting, which is also tied into Harry’s dream that he’s just had… he’s not sure if the pain of his scar is in fact what woke him. But why is his scar hurting again, why is Harry having this dream that’s actually a real time connection to Voldemort for the first time, instead of why hasn’t that always been a thing, why hasn’t Harry always seen visions the first thirteen years of his life? If Voldemort is going around, why is there this sudden maturation? Is it because this is the first time Voldemort has had a body, or what’s the relationship to that?
Laura: Yeah. I think that’s what it is because… well, didn’t know what his deal was in Prisoner of Azkaban, but in Chamber of Secrets he was only a presence as this memory, and in Sorcerer’s Stone he didn’t have a body of his own.
Caleb: All right, so also just on a more broad note, this is definitely the darkest start for Harry’s story yet. We’re to that point in the series where it really starts to pick up with each book. But it’s definitely… I mean, Prisoner sort of separates the first two books from the way they start, but this is definitely a completely different start, especially since it starts with this murderous act that doesn’t even take place with Harry’s point of view.
Eric: Yeah, right.
Laura: Yeah, that’s a good point.
Caleb: It’s also… she still spends… Rowling still spends some time introducing the basics of Harry’s story, but you really start to notice here it’s less and less, and you’re really starting to jump in a little bit more, but I almost…
Laura: Eh, it’s a pretty fair amount of recap. These are my least favourite chapters, the ones that just recap like, “And he goes to a school of Hogwarts and his best friend is Hermione.”
Caleb: Back then, though, I feel like when the books were coming out, it didn’t bother me at all because we waited for… well, maybe not Goblet for me, but maybe for other people. But it really started with Order. Order was the first book I had to wait on to come out.
Laura: Yeah, same.
Caleb: So getting to catch back up with the story was always really good, so I think that was actually a really good move by the publisher.
Laura: Yeah, I think reading them in succession like the way that we do without waiting makes these chapters seem more annoying than they were reading them the first time around, which could have been exciting like, “Ooh, look, Hermione mentioned back to…”
Laura: “… with these characters.” Whereas now it’s like, “Yes, I know who these people are. Let’s move forward.”
[Eric and Frederik laugh]
Eric: Very interesting mention of Quidditch, though, because he’s got that book, Flying with the Cannons.
Caleb: Yeah. [laughs]
Eric: So yeah, I agree, though. There… she did condense it into maybe three or four pretty long paragraphs about his surroundings…
Eric: … but fortunately, it comes into play for when Harry has to decide who to write his letter to, which comes later.
Eric: But she worked it into the plot now, just like she had before with him doing homework or whatever, but this time it catches you up on current events and explains that things this summer are a little bit better than they have been.
Caleb: Yeah, and just as you mentioned, this is what Harry starts to do next. How does he… because he can’t really hold in everything that he just experienced with this journey, and he’s got to talk to someone about it. And the first people he thinks about – well, he doesn’t really consider, he just thinks about – are the Dursleys. And it’s… the quote from the text is, “Harry had never been able to confide in them or tell them anything about his life in the wizarding world,” talking there about the Dursleys. It makes me almost wonder what it would have been like had there been through these years some change with the Dursleys, had they start to… the relationship improve over the years, what it would have been like had Harry been able to talk to them about all of this going on in the wizarding world.
Laura: Yeah, it’s sad because I think the fact that Harry doesn’t have these people in his life… well, I mean, he realizes he does at the end of the chapter, but it would have been really nice for Harry to be like, “Hi Aunt and Uncle, I’ve had this scary dream,” but he can’t.
Eric: Yeah, it is a bit disconcerting that he’s never been able to reach out to them for any situation like this, but I wonder if he couldn’t. I really wonder if, based on Petunia’s actions, where she basically, in Deathly Hallows, says to him that she knew the danger, she knew – she understands what it is that he’s going up against and there’s that tender moment between them. I wonder if he really couldn’t have told Petunia at this point in year four that he had had a dream that involved a murder and to see what she would have said. I really wonder if she would have warmed to him at the very least a little bit during that situation, but the fact that she hadn’t already states that no, he probably… well, that’s why he didn’t reach out to her, is because he didn’t know that she knew anything about the situation.
Frederik: Well, I think that she wouldn’t have taken him seriously at this point, not before Dudley is attacked in the next book.
Frederik: I think that changes her.
Caleb: Ah, that’s a good point.
Laura: Yeah, I think she wouldn’t have believed that it would have been possible for him to come back. I don’t think she would have understood that magic. It would have just been like, “No, he’s gone. He killed my sister and now he’s gone as a result.”
Frederik: Not until it hurts her little Diddykins.
Caleb: Yeah, because she knows that we know later she knows what Dementors are and that’s what gets Dudley. So that’s when it becomes much more real for her, like you said.
Eric: Good point.
Caleb: Yeah. So after he quickly shoves off the possibility of talking to the Dursleys about it, Harry slightly considers what would happen if he told Hermione and Ron about… now more it’s about his scar hurting and not just the dream because… kind of glanced over that, but he wakes up and his scar is obviously hurting, which hasn’t happened since he was very much near Voldemort, but he writes off even the possibility of telling Hermione and Ron. He talks about Hermione would tell him to write Dumbledore, and, of course, consult the book. Ron would tell the other Weasley members of the Weasley family who would just worry. And it’s almost like Harry is trying to think of an excuse not to tell all these people. I mean, I know we’re about to get to who he actually tells, but is he maybe being a little bit too stubborn here? Especially with not talking to Ron and Hermione about it.
Frederik: Well, no because that is their reaction when he tells them a couple of days later.
Caleb: This is true.
[Caleb and Eric laugh]
Frederik: That’s exactly what they say.
Laura: I think not telling Dumbledore was a mistake, but I think… yeah, Ron and Hermione, they’re still 14. They have absolutely no knowledge of these curse scars and everything or the importance of it. Yeah, they would have these reactions, like Frederik said they do. I think it’s interesting that his quotes in his head that he makes up are almost like caricatures of their personalities, but it’s…
Caleb: Yeah. [laughs]
Eric: But seeing them… yeah, get paid off. I think, unfortunately, again, this is Harry without the relationships he’s going to have in two, three years where he can tell Dumbledore anything. He’s got that secret where Dumbledore tells him he can confide with Hermione and Ron if he wants to, but Harry could just reach out to Dumbledore and be like, “Hey this happened,” and Dumbledore would be more the better for it and he’d be able to plan better. But basically, Book 5 is a crash course in that Harry… Dumbledore basically making a decision that the connection between them is too strong to just completely ignore Harry the entire year. It’s really tough and really rough, but Harry at this point can’t reach out to Dumbledore because he doesn’t yet quite… Dumbledore has never been that warm to him. He’s always been warm, but never been like, “Okay, if you ever have a problem with Lord Voldemort, you can talk to me.”
Laura: It’s true.
Eric: So it’s just one of the other ways Voldemort has failed young Harry, I think, right now at this point. If… that may be too harsh…
Eric: … but I think in general it should be known that it’s in everybody’s best interest in the whole wizarding world if Dumbledore knows exactly what’s going on with Harry. So I think Dumbledore should have been a little closer, a little bit more approachable even in the summer months for this sort of an issue.
Eric: But seeing how it’s a one-time occurrence, of course Harry is able to write it off, make it like it’s not as important as it is.
Caleb: Yup. And a funny scene comes up as Harry sort of thinks more about the possibility of Dumbledore finding out if he was to write Dumbledore. Harry pictures Dumbledore stretched out on a beach, quote, “rubbing suntan lotion onto his long, crooked nose.”
Laura: Got to get that sun.
[Caleb and Eric laugh]
Caleb: Which is just really funny.
Laura: What do you guys think Dumbledore is actually doing in his summer right now? Is he already working on his Horcrux hunt, or is that totally not in his mind yet?
Caleb: If he’s not on the hunt, I would say he’s more than likely researching or trying to follow up on leads.
Frederik: Well, I don’t think he’s on the hunt because he’s not convinced that Voldemort made Horcruxes until the end of this year where Harry tells him what Voldemort said at the graveyard.
Laura: That’s true.
Frederik: But I think it’s an interesting question. Where does Dumbledore live?
Laura: I always assumed Hogwarts.
Caleb: Yeah, I feel like he lives there.
Frederik: That would be pretty lonely during the summer.
Caleb: Yeah, but, I mean, so do a lot of the teachers. McGonagall does. My homegirl.
Laura: Now, doesn’t… wasn’t that on Pottermore that she doesn’t?
Caleb: Yeah. Wait, no, she does! I’m pretty confident she does.
Laura: I remember her having… I don’t know.
Caleb: I’ll look it up.
Laura: McGonagall and Dumbledore have movie nights.
Eric: They have to undo a lot of magic to get the projectors to work.
Caleb: Let’s see, “Packed her things after Elphinstone’s funeral and returned to her sparse stone-floored bedroom in Hogwarts Castle, accessible through…” Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. “Always a very brave and private person, she poured all her energies into her work, and few people – excepting perhaps Albus Dumbledore – ever realized how much she suffered.” So yeah, it doesn’t say anything otherwise, so I’m pretty confident she stays at Hogwarts.
Laura: Hmm. All right. Bummer.
Caleb: She’s good, though. She’s all right.
Laura: She’s got it.
Caleb: So Harry finally realizes that the perfect person he needs to talk to about his newly discovered godfather who is roaming the world, wherever he might be. And he talks about how he is still using the hollow threat of a dangerous murderer for a godfather on the Dursleys so that they leave him alone, and that’s also the reason why he still has all of his magical stuff in his room instead of locked away. Do we think – stepping away for a little bit – that our protagonist abuses this too much? Is this lie a little bit too cruel on the Dursleys?
Caleb: Even for the Dursleys, is this too much?
Fredrik: Well, imagine what they did to Harry the last fourteen years.
Caleb: True, but man, what does that say about Harry if he’s using it just as a way to get back? He needs to get back? I don’t know.
Fredrik: I think he sees this as a necessity to be able to do his homework, so…
Laura: Well, I see it like… I mean, to my knowledge he didn’t outright say, “I’m going to have my murderer godfather come and murder you.” He’s kind of just letting them draw their own conclusions from what I’ve gathered of being like, “Oh, yeah…” whatever his quote is at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban where he’s like, “Yeah, we like to keep in touch. He’s a mass murderer. It’s fine.”
Laura: So they’re… and they had already known about Sirius Black from the Muggle news, so I think they can draw their own conclusions and Harry is just refraining from saying more details.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Eric: I guess you just have to see it as a means to an end because now he’s able to have his school stuff with him and to do these things. Unfortunately, is it a little cruel? Maybe. You could argue, though, as Fredrik did, that the Dursleys were way crueler to him throughout the years, but it is a live omission. I mean, he is kind of feeding off their fear. But ultimately, it’s not for some great mal-intent. It’s just so he can have his books in his room. Yeah.
Laura: A little bit of mal-intent, but it’s fine.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Fredrik: I also think in this section there’s a wonderful mistake with time. Because… exact quote, “He had only found out that Sirius was his godfather two months ago.” Well, that’s wrong because he knew that since Christmas at the Three Broomsticks, and that’s eight months before this.
Caleb and Eric: Ooh.
Frederik: Two months ago is when he found out that Sirius didn’t want to – as Stocky puts it – “dragon kill him but hug and kiss him.”
Caleb: Well, yeah. That’s a good point. I did not catch that going back through.
Laura: Very interesting.
Eric: So it’s like she became too general in her summary. [laughs]
Eric: Of past events.
Frederik: But I do think that Rowling stated that she was terrible with math. Deal with it.
Laura: I feel you, girl.
Caleb: Which she is free to do.
Eric: That’s fair. That’s absolutely fair. And I mean, I guess one could argue too that when Sirius sits Harry down and tells him, [as Sirius] “I am your godfather,” [back to normal voice] that it…
Eric: … really reiterates the fact, and that happened two… that event. And I assume that’s what this whole summary even means, though, is that the event at the Shrieking Shack happened two months ago.
Laura: Us math impaired got to stick together. I’m not going to go after you.
Caleb: So Harry brings up that he has received some post from Sirius lately, and we find out – I completely forgot about this until I reread this chapter – that he got one from a tropical bird.
Caleb: Which is so great, which… first question that brings me to is where in the world is Sirius? And question two, if these tropical birds can send owls, what other flying animals can? Really, we’ve got to know.
[Eric and Laura laugh]
Caleb: Penguins can’t fly.
Eric: Oh, but it can carry letters like nobody’s business.
Caleb: Yeah. Penguins are my favorite animal.
Laura: Have you ever seen the Santa Clause is Coming to Town? He’s going to carry it in a little satchel.
Caleb: Hmm. [unintelligible]
Frederik: Well, could every magical animal carry a letter, like a leprechaun? Of course they could, but not just owls. Also the cats and the rats. Could they carry the letters for wizards? If all birds can.
Caleb: Yeah, I guess it just makes… we just sort of instinctually go to flying animals since they have to go great distances.
Frederik: Yeah. Could you send it with a fish?
Caleb: Ha! That may be problematic to protect the letter. I guess you could put a charm around the letter to keep it dry.
Eric: P. Sherman. Wallaby Way. Sydney.
Caleb: Nice. Good call.
Laura: What was the first question? Oh, where Sirius is? He seems to be kind of living the life. He’s probably in somewhere like Brazil or the Caribbean or whatever. And Harry has got to ruin it and bring him back to rainy England and get him killed.
Eric: [sighs] Harry ruins everything. Can we just go on a tirade here about how Harry ruins everybody’s fun? But no, I do think it is also interesting that when Harry is thinking about Sirius in a tropical place, he thinks that it’s smart because Dementors mustn’t like the sun and heat, considering a lot of people are just happy on vacation.
Laura: Whatever. I get that Sirius wants to go back to Harry and stuff, but he was perfectly safe over there. Could have started a whole new life. It’s like Shawshank.
Eric: I think he could be in Fiji, could be in Hawaii, could be anywhere that’s tropical.
Eric: But considering he does get back to England with a fair haste, I assume he’s just in the Mediterranean somewhere.
Caleb: Regardless, life as an exile must not be too bad for Sirius right now.
Eric: That’s true.
Caleb: He’s just chillin’ on a beach with his feet kicked up.
Caleb: So this chapter is pretty much wrapping up, but one thing Harry talks about toward the end of the chapter is how they have to be very vague in their correspondence because of the possibility of the owls being confiscated by the Ministry or whoever else. And it made me wonder, surely by now, can’t the Ministry develop a method to track the owl, once they do apprehend it? Assuming they do actually catch these owls, which would maybe then lead them to the suspect.
Laura: Yeah, I think we’ve talked about this before in the “Armada of Owls” episode.
Caleb: Have we?
Laura: Yeah, because was it Noah who said, “Just send the letter and a whole armada of owls, and just see where all the owls go”?
Frederik: It would be easy for Voldemort to find Harry. Just send him a postcard.
Eric: Hey, what’s up? Still going to kill you.
[Eric and Frederik laugh]
Laura: Still, yeah, it’s still a valid discussion still because we see this come up a lot.
Laura: And can I say real quickly, in Harry’s letter, it makes me… it always weirded me out when Rowling wrote about very specific Muggle things where she’s like, “Dudley threw out his PlayStation.” It just makes me think of how, after he’s just been describing Quidditch and all of his fun stuff that he has and then he just throws in the PlayStation. I’m just like, God, my life is so boring because I have PlayStation and not Quidditch and everything like that.
Frederik: I’ll tell you the wonderful thing that about this is that in 1994, the PlayStation did not exist. [laughs] That is, it was just introduced in Japan – I did some research on this – but not in Britain. And no matter what, I doubt that Mega-Mutilation, the game he plays, would have got a part three during the months it had been released.
Eric: Oh, I’m sure that game has to be just a generic, made-up game that shows Dudley’s character.
Laura: Well, he’s saying the fact that it’s on its third sequel.
Eric and Frederik: Yeah.
Eric: No, that makes sense too. Look, I never subscribed to the whole time thing that Book 4 is ’94, something something’s ’93. So I don’t know that J.K. Rowling really ever wrote with those years in mind, but…
Laura: Well, wouldn’t she have… well, Harry was born in a specific year. It would have to be.
Caleb: Yeah, I know but I think… I get what he’s saying. I’ve always felt at least somewhat similarly to that too, Eric.
Eric: So I think even though there are straight facts, like it’s Nicholas… Nearly Headless Nick’s 500th Deathday party and 1492 is when he died, I’ve never really felt that them… again, with J.K. Rowling and math…
Eric: … I never felt that we should ever hold her to specifically those years, but…
Frederik: Well, I think she said in an interview that the years were ’91 to ’98 in the series.
Eric: Yeah, so this is a mistake. You’re right. But she was writing it at a time when there was PlayStation and just didn’t think about it, you know?
Eric: That when the story was set there wasn’t a PlayStation. So it is one of those little mistakes.
Caleb: Yeah. And that pretty much brings the chapter to an end because after he sends off the letter he heads down to breakfast.
Caleb: Taste the day.
Laura: Then stuff starts to get good.
Eric: Short chapter, guys.
Caleb: It was, yeah.
Eric: It was only ten pages?
Caleb: Yeah, it was. Yup.
Eric: Wow. Well…
Laura: What if the first chapter, “The Riddle House,” didn’t really exist and this had been the first chapter, and it just kind of was vaguely… well, obviously the whole chapter is surrounding the dream that he has, so that would have been impossible, but you get what I’m trying to say.
Caleb: I think it would have been just similar to the first three books where it starts with Harry at the Dursleys’, so I think that was an intentional twist by Jo to make it change, that darker approach.
Frederik: Well, the first time I read the books it was without the first chapter, actually.
Caleb: Wow, really?
Frederik: Because I was so young, I wasn’t allowed to read the first chapter. It was too scary.
Frederik: I was four years old, so my father read them aloud for me and my brother. So I never really understood the whole thing about what he refers to throughout the chapter.
Laura: That’s interesting. The first “Riddle House” chapter was the only chapter I ever listened to on the audiobooks. I remember renting it from my library on cassette. I got through that… I mentioned on the show before that I was disappointed because I thought I was going to hear all the actors speaking. So…
Eric: Ooh. [laughs]
Laura: … [laughs] I was just young and stupid, so it was not the actors. But I was like, “This is dumb.” And I stopped.
Eric: Yeah, I think this chapter is tied to the previous chapter. They are like two parts of a whole.
Eric: For sure. I can’t see the book starting with just this chapter, you’re right.
Frederick: Also an interesting thing is that Harry actually knows about that it is Voldemort who killed Bertha Jorkins. The name is mentioned, but he does not remember…
Frederick: … even though she’s referred to throughout the book.
Eric: Yeah. It’s weird how J.K. Rowling does that, where the name… it’s like got slight amnesia…
Eric: … in all the most important places, where it’s like when… I think it’s the Ministry officials who bring it up first…
Eric: … in front of him – Bertha Jorkins this, Bertha Jorkins that. And he’s like, “Oh! That name sounds familiar.” But he can’t be like, “I know that Voldemort murdered her. You should look into your security.” He doesn’t ever say that because it’s in the back of his mind. It’s really fun… and upsetting. Well, even though we had a short chapter, I did manage to come up with a Podcast Question of the Week. I know you were all worried that there wouldn’t be one.
Caleb: I’m very glad that you pulled through on it.
Eric: Thank you. So my question for this week… and this is a quote from the book, so I’m going to read the quote first. This is when he is deciding on who to write to. “Harry kneaded his forehead with his knuckles. What he really wanted (and it felt almost shameful to admit it to himself) was someone like – someone like a parent: an adult wizard whose advice he could easily ask without feeling stupid, someone who cared about him, who had experience with Dark Magic… And then the solution came to him. It was so simple, so obvious, that he couldn’t believe it had taken so long – Sirius.” My question is, why not Lupin? Why does Harry not write Lupin? Lupin was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher the previous year and he clearly cares for Harry – just like Sirius does, but so does Lupin. And he has just as much claim to care about Harry as Sirius because they were all friends of James. So I guess I just don’t know why Lupin isn’t even considered here. And also my follow-up question, would writing Lupin have produced a better result or wouldn’t writing both of them have helped the most?
Caleb: That is such an excellent question. I am so excited to hear these responses.
Laura: Yeah, definitely. I have so many things I want to say…
Frederik: Really interesting.
Laura: … but I shall keep them to myself.
Caleb: Yeah, I have a good idea. I have an opinion that’s sparked, but of course I’ll wait.
Eric: I mean, do you guys just feel like… I do want to probe you guys a little bit. Do you feel like it was just because it was family? That he’s keeping it with… like when he thinks of “parent” he thinks of “godfather” instead of a random guy?
Caleb: You know…
Caleb: In a way, but I think it exposes something more about Harry’s personality and character.
Frederik: I think it says something about writing techniques. Because if he had considered Lupin, he would have written to Lupin straightaway and not Sirius.
Frederik: And he had to come up with Lupin after Sirius, or he had to come up with Sirius and write to him, because that’s obviously what Rowling wanted. He wanted that it was written to Sirius, and had he come up with Lupin first he would – a natural reaction – have written to him first. I don’t think she would be able to come up with a reason for him not to write to him.
Eric: Hmm, so that’s interesting. So you think that Lupin is the clear choice here.
Eric: For which I would agree, in a way, because he’s the actual Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher from the previous year, and he would probably know more about scars hurting than even that book that Hermione suggested in Harry’s mind. So yeah, very interesting that Lupin was left out. Do send us your thoughts. We’ll be posting the Podcast Question of the Week up on the main page of the Alohomora! website. We look forward to hearing your responses.
Caleb: Yeah, totally. We want to thank Frederik for joining us this week. It was really great to have you. Thanks for coming on board.
Frederik: It was an honor.
Laura: Thank you so much.
Caleb: Yeah, and to find out how you can be on the show, head over to our website, alohomora.mugglenet.com, or email us at alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. In the meantime, make sure you subscribe to us on iTunes and leave us a review so we can read your thoughts.
Laura: And if you’d like to contact us in different ways, you can always follow us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN or Facebook at facebook.com/openthedumbledore. And we didn’t have any voicemails this week but we always check them, so you can call 206-GO-ALBUS, which is 206-462-5287, if you want to hear your voice played on the show.
Eric: The Alohomora! store is a thing. We have tote bags, we have T-shirts – they are designed by us based on moments of the show and meant for you. Please check out the Alohomora! store. You will find one that you really, really, really like. I am sure of it.
Laura: We have new designs too, so…
Eric: And now with new…
Laura: They’re great.
Eric: And now with new Dumbledore-hatin’ designs. [laughs]
Caleb: Oh my God, I cannot… I really need to buy mine so I can wear it to Leaky in London because I want to show off my team. [laughs] Frederik, if you… which Dumbledore would you choose?
Frederik: Well, I think that as the series got darker, I would say that it is a good thing that Dumbledore became a darker person. Because the [Richard] Harris Dumbledore is indeed the one described in Books 1 to 2 and the [Michael] Gambon Dumbledore in Books 3 to 7. So even though it has a sad background story, I actually think that the portrayal of Dumbledore in the different movies were as they were described in the books. Except that scene in Goblet of Fire.
[Caleb and Eric laugh]
Caleb: I would agree one hundred percent.
Eric: I would say that I really felt when watching the films that Gambon got it right in Movie 6. Not sooner.
Eric: Not a single second sooner.
Eric: But in Movie 6, I thought he was excellent.
Laura: And then not after that. [laughs]
Laura: Like just [Movie] 6. Nothing surrounding it.
Caleb: I mean, he was dead, so…
Eric: Yeah. Ooh, ooh. Tough, tough.
Caleb: [laughs] Oops.
Eric: No, but anyway those shirts are over and available, and you can also get them in tote bags over at the Alohomora! store. So check that out via our website.
Caleb: Yes. And also make sure you snag our smartphone app. It is available in the US and UK for both the iPhone – the iPhone and iPad – and also the Android and Kindle. It’s $1.99 in the US and £1.29 in the UK. And also – just now hot off the press – it is now available for Windows 8 phone users, so you guys can join in the fun and get our app. Same price for the US because it is currently only available in the US, so that’s $1.99. And you can get things on our app such as transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and much more.
Laura: You should check out our LeakyCon recap. Me, Kat, [and] Caleb recorded a video of us doing a spell off.
Caleb: Oh my God.
Laura: If we can name all the spells. It takes a frightening turn, so… [laughs]
Caleb: [laughs] I can’t imagine why. I can’t imagine who caused that.
Laura: So be sure to check that out, the hilarity.
[Show music begins]
Caleb: All right, guys. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode. I’m Caleb Graves.
Laura: I’m Laura Reilly.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull. Thank you for listening to Episode 39 of Alohomora!
Caleb: Open the Dumbledore.
[Show music continues]
Eric: God, you’re good at that.
Laura: Beautifully done.
[Everyone laughs; someone applauds]