[Show music begins]
Caleb Graves: This is Episode 40 of Alohomora! for July 20, 2013.
[Show music continues]
Rosie Morris: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the show. I’m Rosie Morris.
Caleb: I’m Caleb Graves.
Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller. And this episode, our special fan guest is Kyle. So, Kyle, tell everyone a little bit about yourself.
Kyle Ashley: All right. My name is Kyle Ashley. I’m from Madison, Wisconsin. Maybe you’ve seen some of my stuff that I’ve posted on the Alohomora! website under the name SpiritAuror2. I just graduated from the University of Wisconsin Lacross with a degree in Computer Science.
Caleb: What are you hoping to do with that degree?
Kyle: Well, I’ve actually put in a job application at Bethesda Game Studios out in Maryland.
Caleb: Oh, sweet. I used to live just right by Bethesda in DC.
Kyle: All right. But the reason why I got a general computer science degree as opposed to a more specific game design degree is so I can keep my options open.
Kat: Good call. What’s your Hogwarts house?
Kyle: And ironically, my wand is made of ash wood. My last name is Ashley. What are the odds?
Kat: Nice coincidence. Everyone out there listening would probably say that that’s the reading of the wands. What’s that theory? The cold reading. There you go.
Kat: Nevermind. All right, so…
Kat: … we’re going to jump right into our comments from last week. It was Chapter 2. Our first comment here comes from the forums from Sapphire_Skies. It says,
“I also agree…”
So this comes from a conversation where they were all talking about Harry’s dreams/memories/Horcrux connection. It says,
“I also agree that Harry’s dream was probably a Horcrux connection. In regards to why Harry didn’t see it from Voldemort’s point of view, doesn’t Dumbledore say that the connection between their minds became much stronger once he had a proper body (and consequently some of Harry’s blood)? I think the blood is the key here. Once Voldemort had Harry’s blood, each had a bit of the other inside them, which only strengthened the connection between them. This stronger connection could have enabled Harry to see into Voldemort’s mind and experience Voldemort’s thoughts and feelings, rather than simply being a spectator.”
Caleb: Yeah, I think that’s a really good theory. I like this comment. Wraps up what we were talking about – why does Harry play a spectator instead of a point of view from Voldemort’s point of view that he does later? I mean, that’s a pretty simple but very valid possibility.
Kat: I feel like the conversation going on in the forums really all circles around this as well, and they’re starting to speculate as to why. And also nobody can agree, it seems, on which point of view Harry is actually seeing it from.
Kat: Some people say Frank, some people say Nagini, some people say a third party.
Caleb: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s pretty clear that he’s actually not seeing it from any of their point of views because he identifies… we mentioned this last week, he identifies [with] each of the individual parties that are there. So with that, I don’t think it can be said that he isn’t from any of their point of view.
Rosie: Yeah, it’s really hard to judge because we got that first chapter from the view of the narrator, but then Harry sees a lot of the same things. So it’s almost as if he’s kind of a floating body…
Rosie: … that we are confusing with the narrator. But I think the way his dreams seem to work, he needs to have been one of the characters there. I always kind of assumed that he was seeing it through Frank’s eyes because when the chair turns around and we get to see Voldemort for the first time, that’s when Harry gets to see him for the first time too, so he couldn’t have moved around or stood in front of that chair before that time. So I always assumed that we were seeing it, and Harry was seeing it, through Frank’s point of view but with a blurry narrator-y…
Rosie: … kind of overview. [laughs]
Kat: Well, it’s funny because we have an email from Emma T, and she brings up that quote that we’ve talked about several times, where J.K. Rowling mentions which Horcrux was made, when, and with which murder. And in the comment, it mentions that Nagini was made from Bertha Jorkins and that Voldemort could use a wand once he regained a rudimentary body. So she seems to think that this explains why Harry could see both Voldemort and Frank – it’s that he was seeing it through Nagini’s point of view.
Kat: I don’t know if I agree with that, though.
Caleb: I mean, yeah. I mean, he sees the snake, like as separated from the snake itself. So…
Kat: And Bertha Jorkins is definitely dead at this point, right?
Kyle: Yeah, because she got killed in Albania.
Kat: Right, okay.
Rosie: Do we know that he sees the snake? When does he actually name what he sees? Is it in the beginning of Chapter 2? I’m trying to remember.
Caleb: Yeah, I’ll have to go back and read it.
Kyle: I have the book here. I can check, see if it says…
Rosie: Because if we’re kind of remembering what’s in Chapter 1, then that’s not Harry; that’s the narrator. But if we’re talking about what he says…
Caleb: I mean, is it though?
Rosie: Yes. [laughs]
Kyle: I got it.
Caleb: I think there’s a grey blurred line there though, is the thing.
Kyle: I think I’ve got what we’re looking for.
Caleb: [singing] “Blurred lines.”
Kyle: “The dim picture of a darkened room came to him… There had been a snake on a hearth rug… a small man called Peter, nicknamed Wormtail… and a cold, high voice… the voice of Lord Voldemort. Harry felt as though an ice cube had slipped down into his stomach at the very thought…”
Rosie: Okay, so he’s seeing the snake.
Kat: Yeah, completely far away from him. Hmm, maybe he jumps between people, because at one point doesn’t he speak from Frank’s point of view? Like, there was a snake slithering past him as he walked down the hallway?
Rosie: That’s in the first chapter, which is the narrator.
Caleb: Yeah, I am just jumping two paragraphs down from where you just read. It says, “And who had the old man been? For there had definitely been an old man; Harry had watched him fall to the ground.” So it can’t be from Frank’s point of view. At least not in that… at least part of it, I guess, we could say.
Rosie: Maybe there’s a portrait on the wall.
[Kyle and Rosie laugh]
Kat: That’s a possibility, right? He’s traveling through the chalk world.
Kyle: Yeah, but remember, this is a Muggle house. So…
Rosie: It’s the Riddle House.
Kat: It’s the Riddle House.
Caleb: Yeah, but they’re Muggles.
Rosie: But it’s also where Voldemort lives. Maybe he’s got a painting that…
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: But would he want something there? He kind of hates that place.
Rosie: [laughs] True.
Kat: I think he secretly loves it there. Are you kidding?
Rosie: It’s a mystery.
Kat: Hmm, I’m not sure. I wonder if it’s Harry’s bit of soul that lives in Voldemort, like floating over the room. Since Voldemort doesn’t have a body, it can’t contain all the bits of soul.
Rosie: He has a rudimentary body at this point.
Kat: I know, that scary baby-looking thing.
Caleb: Well, maybe when I have tea with Jo in a couple of weeks…
[Kyle and Rosie laugh]
Kat: Yeah, that’s going to happen.
Caleb: … that I’ll ask her this. After a lot of other questions.
Kat: You have better luck of having tea with Robert Galbraith, okay?
[Kyle and Rosie laugh]
Kat: So our next comment comes from MrsO822 on the forums on pretty much the same topic. It’s an interesting “what if?” question. It says,
“What if Harry had remembered the name Bertha Jorkins and had told someone that Voldemort murdered her? Would it have changed anything? Or would everyone just think he was crazy or not take him seriously because it was just a dream?”
Kyle: Dumbledore would have taken him seriously.
Rosie: That was my first thought as well. If he told Dumbledore, he would have taken it seriously.
Kat: But nobody else probably.
Rosie: Definitely not much.
Kyle: Lupin if he was around. [laughs]
Rosie: [unintelligible] care. Mr. Weasley might, I guess, but he’d probably take it with a pinch of salt. Hermione would look in books. [laughs] And Ron would say, “Ask Dumbledore.” So we know those answers. But yeah, it’s interesting that he doesn’t remember the name. Like, he tends to remember a lot of details from other kind of dream things that he sees, so why is this one in particular not a detail that he remembers?
Kyle: Maybe Harry is just…
Kat: And doesn’t it ring a bell for him later?
Kyle: … bad at remembering names.
Kat: I’m sorry, Kyle?
Kyle: Maybe Harry is just bad at remembering names.
Rosie: [laughs] Maybe.
Kat: He could be. It rings a bell for him later though, does it not? When somebody mentions it.
Rosie: Yeah, but he can’t place it.
Rosie: So yeah.
Kat: Okay. And I found this comment on the forums. We didn’t so much talk about it last week, but I thought it was really interesting so I had to read it. It’s from Mischief Managed. It says,
“I like the way Jo chose to write the deaths of the Riddles (especially the humor in the police report). As SorcierViolet9636 said, sometimes it’s more effective to let the reader imagine themselves how something took place than to give every detail. There is a certain amount of narrative mystery you need as a writer; you have to let your readers fill in the gaps. To be given literally every minute detail, every small scene, as a reader is almost degrading and actually tends to make the reading experience LESS enjoyable. Reading is about an author creating a world which you yourself must fill in the blanks and imagine.”
Rosie: Yeah, this is…
Kat: I just like that it pretty much describes exactly what we’re doing.
Rosie: Yeah. It’s a major part of creative writing through a stylistics viewpoint, where you’ve got the idea of showing and telling and you don’t want to be told too much. You want to be showing the scene and letting people decide for themselves, and I think this is the book where Jo really gets that balance really right. And in terms of the whole narrative mystery idea, it’s so apt just days after we find out that she’s writing detective novels…
Rosie: … that, yeah, this is the kind of thing that she really likes.
Kat: It’s true.
Rosie: She likes giving the clues and letting the readers decide for themselves.
Kat: Do any of you… I remember reading in response to this comment – again on the forums – that somebody was wishing that she had showed us the death of the Riddles. Do you think there would be any significance in that detail?
Caleb: No, I don’t think so.
Kyle: Really… [unintelligible]
Caleb: And I agree with Rosie here. I think there’s really something to be said for the way she created that scene, but left so much to the imagination of what actually took place.
Kyle: Really, what would there to be seen? Just a flash of green light.
Kat: I wonder… the only thing that I wonder about is if he said anything to them. Some killers in movies or TV shows…
Kat: … or whatever, books even, have diatribes, especially with…
Rosie: Yeah, we do know that Voldemort likes to monologue. [laughs]
Kat: We do, especially because it’s his parents and grandparents, and I really want to know what he said to them. I’m sure there was something.
Kat: I mean we’ll never find out, but…
Kyle: Maybe they gave him a Snickers bar. We all know how much Voldemort hates Snickers, thanks to A Very Potter Senior Year.
Kat: Right. I have actually no idea what you’re talking about, but Rosie does.
Rosie: Well, then you should watch it, Kat, because it was amazing, just very, very long.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Kyle: Evanna Lynch is even in it.
Caleb: It was very long.
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Rosie: It was a brilliant, brilliant scene. Just‚ yeah, their portrayal of young Voldemort is very different from the books’ portrayal of young Voldemort, I think, but it is brilliant. But yeah, I think in terms of this question, Jo… there is nothing more, really, to be shown from that scene that is vital to the plot. And yeah, she could have fleshed it out and had a bit of a conversation between the Riddles, but it really wouldn’t have added anything in terms of the actual story and in terms of Harry’s point of view. It might have made it clearer who the Riddles were, but obviously Harry doesn’t actually find out any of that information. That’s all the narrator telling us. So yeah, it would just… it just fleshes it out slightly, but it wouldn’t have been integral to the plot and it possibly would have given away some of those riddles that we were talking about in the first episode – or first episode of this book even – and ruined some of the surprises later on if we had actually heard more about this conversation now.
Caleb: All right, well, I guess that wraps up discussion from last week’s episode. We’re going to take a look at some of your responses for the Question of the Week, which actually Eric came up with. I thought it was a really excellent question.
Kat: The fans loved it.
Caleb: Yeah. It was… at its start, it’s a somewhat basic question, but if you really dig deep, I think Eric really got a… brought up a really good point. The question, as a reminder, was, why doesn’t Harry write Lupin? To give a little bit of background, talking about why he didn’t write Lupin about seeing this scene in the Riddle House. So, why doesn’t Harry write Lupin? Lupin was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Clearly, he cares for Harry and has just as much claim to care about Harry as Sirius, really, since they were both his father’s friends. Would writing Lupin have produced a better result? Wouldn’t writing both of them have helped the most? So quite a few of the responses drew upon the fact that Harry sees Sirius more as family than Lupin, which I think we can all agree with, but some of the responses that we’re going to go through now actually tried to dig a little bit deeper at the core of what’s happening here. So the first one is from Cassandra1442 and it says,
“Harry and Lupin had a teacher-student relationship, albeit a stronger one than Harry has had to this point with any teacher including Dumbledore. However, Harry avoids writing Dumbledore because he does not want to sound stupid. I believe Harry might have also refrained from writing Lupin, who he sees as a teacher, for the same reason. Additionally, in Harry’s experience, adults in authority are prone to not taking him seriously.
Sirius demonstrates that he wants to be involved in Harry’s life outside of Hogwarts; Lupin doesn’t. I think Harry also values Sirius stepping up and wanting to be his parental figure. James named Sirius godfather, giving Harry a sort of claim on Sirius which he doesn’t have on Lupin.”
So what’s really cool about this response, and I really like, was particularly how pulling out the bit about Harry’s experience with authority already. I mean, we know that’s going to be amplified through the series, but already to this point that is already such a big deal.
Kat: That’s so true. I had never thought about it that way, that he might not think Lupin would take him seriously, but I think the relationship he did have with Lupin, I feel like Harry could have given him the benefit of the doubt.
Kat: Lupin probably would have taken him seriously.
Caleb: Which is why I think… and I alluded to this last week. I think this question reflects more on Harry’s character in who he is as a person, at least to this point, probably more than anything.
Rosie: How much… [coughs] sorry. How much trust do you think Harry actually has for Lupin at the moment? Because if you think about it, he’s spent an entire year thinking he was a safe teacher-type person, and then you have the big revelation that he’s the werewolf, and then he leaves the very next day or the very next time he sees him. They haven’t actually interacted a lot more since Harry found out that Lupin was a werewolf and since he actually accidentally attacked them.
Kat: On the other hand, how much trust should he really have for Sirius? They were together for, what? Two seconds?
Rosie: That’s true.
Kyle: Fair point.
Kat: Harry, I think, just wants so bad for a father or somebody like that in his life that that’s why he instantly clings to Sirius and trusts him even though he probably shouldn’t.
Rosie: And I think Sirius treats Harry more like an adult. He let him make his own decisions in the Shrieking Shack, whereas Lupin still does teach… have that teacher-student relationship with him in that he has that control aspect. So maybe…
Kat: Yeah, Lupin at that point had more of a responsibility, I think…
Kat: … to keep Harry safe. If he wasn’t a teacher at that point, I’m not sure he would have reacted the same.
Caleb: Okay, well, the next comment comes from Beth and it says,
“One answer to this question could be that Harry has no clue where Lupin is or what he’s doing. Harry knows that Sirius is on the run and so likely not doing much of importance (sorry Siri!), Harry can even give a guess as to where exactly he is. But Lupin left at the end of the school year without leaving a trace of where he may go from there. For all Harry knows he could be doing important work somewhere and it’s that unknown which would stop Harry from writing to him. We know that Harry often doesn’t wish to be a burden and worry people over what he sees as trivial things, especially when they could be busy with other things.”
Kyle: Anything about Voldemort isn’t trivial.
Caleb: [laughs] That’s true, but I think this point draws upon a logical side to it and definitely true that Harry, he’s definitely a character who doesn’t want to bother people with things.
Rosie: I don’t know if not knowing where he is would be a problem. I think if he wanted to contact him, that wouldn’t come in to an issue because, obviously, Hedwig is magical and knows exactly where everyone is.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s a power that Jo fiats through the books.
Rosie: [laughs] In terms of bothering him, he knows that Lupin quit because he was worried about what people would think. So I think he would have some idea that getting another job would be quite difficult for him. I don’t know. I’m not so sure about this one.
Caleb: Okay. The next comment comes from VoldiPhil and it says,
“Another point is that Sirius is a completely different character compared to Remus. Harry is in fact more like Sirius. Both are very active, very curious. Whereas Remus is really calm and thoughtful.”
This was a subsection of a larger comment, but I thought this was so nail on the head… head on… hit the nail… man, I cannot talk at all.
Caleb: Hit the head of the nail… with regard to Harry being so similar to Sirius.
Rosie: Yeah, this one. I agree.
Kat: But only the Sirius that we see in the Shrieking Shack. I mean, I don’t think they’re…
Rosie: I think we see Harry trusting Sirius less over the next book and the one after that…
Rosie: … because he realizes the differences between them slightly more. But at this moment, he looks up to Sirius. He’s an idol. And I think even just down to the fact that Sirius said, “Keep in contact,” or whatever. He said, “We’ll meet again, blah, blah, blah.” Whereas Lupin said goodbye and said… you do have that kind of teacher relationship where you’re not necessarily going to contact them again. I think he’d probably want to stay in contact but probably not about small emotional details like a bad dream. Whereas Sirius, who he does feel more of a connection with even if he only met him briefly, you would kind of talk about these things a bit more with.
Caleb: All right, and our last comment comes… well, I didn’t even realize this until just now.
Caleb: From, in fact, our guest host, Kyle Ashley. So, Kyle, actually, why don’t you read the comment since it is yours?
Kyle: All right. Basically what I was saying is that Harry still views Lupin as a teacher. And remember this is only two months after the events of the end of the last book, so he hasn’t had much time to make that adjustment that Lupin isn’t his teacher anymore. And he seems to stay in this mindset until Deathly Hallows when the trio starts referring to him as Remus.
Kyle: And as to the part of the question that said producing a better result by asking Lupin, I don’t know if it would necessarily be better but it wouldn’t hurt to have two differing opinions from people who deeply care about Harry’s well-being.
Caleb: Yeah. Yeah, that’s why I pulled this comment, because I think you were one of the few people that really addressed that point of having two… how valuable those two viewpoints would be.
Kat: Do you think…
Rosie: I’ve never quite twigged the whole Remus thing either, that that’s the only time that they really start calling him by his first name.
Kyle: Yeah, even in…
Rosie: I thought he was actually just Lupin the whole time.
Kyle: Yeah, even in Order of the Phoenix when the advance guard comes to get him from Privet Drive, he calls him, “Professor Lupin.”
Rosie: Huh. Yeah, definitely an authority figure rather than a friend at this point. Interesting.
Caleb: Very astute observation.
Kat: Yeah, I’d never noticed that before.
Rosie: That’s what we’re all about. We’re finding things that we never noticed before. [laughs]
Caleb: Yup. So that covers our responses – or your responses – for the Question of the Week. Thanks, you guys. Those were really great to read.
Kat: And we just want to remind you guys. I know we’re doing a whole reread here, and everybody probably has the books ten times over, twenty times over, whatever. But we did want to remind you that, as fans of Alohomora! you can now purchase the Harry Potter ebooks and audiobooks directly on our website, and if you buy the whole series, you get ten percent off. So both the ebooks and the audiobooks are available in a variety of languages from German, Italian, UK, US English, French, Italian, Japanese, Castellano, all of it. Anything you could possibly imagine. Not anything but pretty close. [laughs] And you can also…
Caleb: I think I can think of a couple that probably aren’t on there.
Caleb: Klingon. Elvish.
Kat: Klingon would be amazing.
Kat: I know nothing about Klingon, but Elvish, that’s a good one too.
Kyle: Maybe the language that Jabba the Hutt speaks in Star Wars.
Kat: [laughs] We should get Jar Jar to do an audiobook.
Kyle: Oh God, no. Please no.
Kat: People would totally buy that. [laughs] Okay. Well, if you don’t want to listen to Jar Jar, then you can buy the ebooks. And, in ebook form only, you can also get Beedle the Bard, Fantastic Beaks…
Kat: Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch Through the Ages. Of course the proceeds for those all go to charity. So head over to our website, which is alohomora.mugglenet.com and buy the books. That way you can read along with us.
Rosie: Great. So I think it’s probably time to start our discussion for Chapter 3.
[Goblet of Fire Chapter 3 intro begins]
Vernon: Chapter 3.
[Sound of a doorbell ringing]
Vernon: “The Invitation.”
[Goblet of Fire Chapter 3 intro ends]
Rosie: So yes, Chapter 3 is “The Invitation” and it’s breakfast time at the Dursley household, and things are a little different than we’re actually used to. So Dudley has just received a bad report card, and it’s got a few things that his parents just can’t ignore this time. Do you really think that this is Dudley’s first bad report card, or is it just the worst so far?
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: It’s the first one where they have something they can’t actually overlook or…
Rosie: So yeah, there [are] a couple of details that we get given such as the excuses that Dudley is just a boisterous boy who wouldn’t hurt a fly…
Rosie: … and he’s a gifted boy whose teachers just don’t understand him.
Kyle: He’s a little slow.
Rosie: Do you think the Dursleys actually believe that, or are they just making excuses?
Kat: Oh, they’re beyond delusional.
Kyle: They’re making excuses.
Caleb: Yeah, I think they actually believe it. I really do.
Rosie: But for people who are all about keeping up appearances, you’d think they’d sit Dudley down and make him do homework once in a while to help that image.
Kyle: That is true.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s a little conflicted. Hmm.
Rosie: Oh well. On the report card, we have discovered that Dudley has grown out of all of the outfitter’s knickerbockers.
Rosie: So he has now reached the size and weight of a young killer whale.
Rosie: And Jo is back to the animal descriptions again that we have seen in earlier books, and a killer whale definitely sounds worse than a pig. [laughs]
Kat: Imagine if he still had the tail.
Rosie: That would be weird. [laughs]
Kat: What I was thinking about… what exactly are knickerbockers? I feel like I know what they are, but…
Rosie: They’re kind of like…
Kat: Are they like bloomers?
Rosie: Yeah, they’re kind of like pantaloons almost, I think. I don’t know, let’s have a look. What are knickerbockers?
Caleb: Yeah, I just did an image search.
Kat: I’m not sure I know what pantaloons are, so…
Rosie: Well, pantaloons would be an old version. [laughs] They’re like… if you think about Shakespearian actors and that kind of long trouser with a tight lower leg.
Rosie: That’s the kind of thing that they would wear.
Kat: All right.
Rosie: But they’re not at all common in England. Don’t think that we all go around wearing knickerbockers.
Kat: No, I know that. Okay, that’s… wow. That picture you just sent is scary. Okay.
Caleb: Very fashion faux.
Rosie: Yeah, if you want to know what knickerbockers are…
Rosie: … Google is your friend. [laughs]
Kyle: Yeah, something…
Kat: I can’t believe those are a part of anybody’s school uniform.
Caleb: But you know what? Maybe…
Rosie: You have to remember what school that Dudley has been sent to. They have the beating sticks and everything as well.
Kat: But this is still the ’90s.
Kat: This takes place in the ’90s. Just…
Caleb: But at the same time, I could totally see these showing up on the runway next season.
Kat: Oh my God.
Caleb: Someone could totally pull this off.
Kat: I wish… wait, did he… did Harry Melling ever actually wear these in the movie? I think just in one scene, right?
Kyle: It was a deleted…
Rosie: I’m not sure.
Kyle: … scene that we mostly saw in the first movie.
Kat: Right. We had that…
Rosie: They decided that he wasn’t threatening enough, so they kind of cut that image and went down a darker route instead.
Kat: Right. It was when he had that stupid hat on, right?
Kyle and Rosie: Yeah.
Kat: That orange hat or whatever?
Rosie: I think it’s meant to be a very traditional, old school boarding school type thing, which makes you really rather want to go to Hogwarts instead.
Kat: [laughs] I mean, pretty much.
Kyle: Something that I noticed when reading is that Petunia makes the claim that Dudley is big boned. And that’s not the first time we hear this excuse in this book. I mean, in Chapter 23 when Hagrid is asking Madame Maxime about which of her parents were a giant, she claims that she had big bones. [laughs]
Caleb: That’s true.
Kat: I forgot about that.
Rosie: It’s a very common set phrase, really, isn’t it?
Rosie: Or is it not as common for you guys over there? I don’t know.
Caleb: No, I think it’s used relatively commonly.
Kyle: No, here…
Rosie: It’s just one of those niceties that’s not actually…
Rosie: … going to mean anything really.
Kat: [laughs] Right. Pretty much.
Rosie: [laughs] So Dudley attempted to argue against the diet plan that he’s been put on, but for once he didn’t actually win. Gone are the days of, “Last year, last year I got 37!”
Kat: Oh wait, say that again. That was really cute, the way you just said that.
Rosie: “Last year, last year I got 37!”
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Kat: That’s one of my favorite lines in the movie, just for pure ridiculousness.
Rosie: Yeah, it was brilliant. But the whole…
Kyle: I would have gotten the snot beat out of me if I had said something like that.
Kat: I think we all would.
Caleb: Yeah, exactly.
Kat: Yeah, exactly.
Rosie: Just highlights the differences between how the Dursleys treat Dudley and how they treat Harry.
Rosie: But he did not win this argument, and he has now got to be on the diet plan along with the whole house, which is probably actually a good thing for Vernon as well because, although he’s not described in this chapter, I’m sure he’s as large as Dudley. So, Jo’s not doing a great job of promoting the diet itself if there’s not a lot of food to eat and it’s only a quarter of grapefruit.
Kat: Which, if anybody knows, to lose weight you actually have to eat more food not less food, but oh well.
Caleb: Exercise plan.
Kat: Nobody could survive on a quarter of grapefruit for breakfast.
Kat: But anyway…
Rosie: I’m sure that people could survive on a quarter of grapefruit for breakfast. They shouldn’t, but they can.
Kyle: For a supermodel, that’d be a feast. [laughs]
Kat: That’s stereotyping!
Caleb: Have you guys read The Cuckoo’s Calling yet?
Kyle: I actually went out yesterday to try [to] find it. I didn’t.
Kat: I don’t plan on buying it.
Rosie: It was sold out everywhere.
Caleb: I finished it last night, so I was thinking about this would be her diet.
Kat: Oh, I have no idea who you’re talking about.
Caleb: The main character… well, I can’t say she’s the main character, but the character that the novel surrounds is a supermodel, so…
Kat: Wow, how nice for her.
Caleb: She probably gets by on grapefruit. [laughs]
Rosie: Grapefruit is actually very healthy for you, and it should be eaten if you like to.
Rosie: It’s not a bad breakfast thing at all, but you’d probably want a half rather than a quarter.
Rosie: But as we know, chocolate solves every problem, and where there is a will, there is cake.[laughs] And it’s a good thing Dobby didn’t intercept these letters, but they’re not the most practical foods that Mrs. Weasley, Hagrid, and Hermione have sent him. Hermione sends him sugar-free sweets, because obviously, everything that runs through a dentist’s family has to be sugar-free. Hagrid sends his rock cakes, which you’d think he’d have twigged by now that no one actually eats.
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Rosie: And Mrs. Weasley actually sent a fruitcake – which would last ages, which is fine – but also meat pies. These aren’t the most practical foods to send a fourteen-year-old boy who’s keeping them in his bedroom. How is he supposed to keep meat pies fresh and then maybe cook them again afterwords? I don’t know. Shouldn’t there be crackers or something savory that he can just keep in a cupboard?
Kat: Well… and then also the cakes that he gets sent. I think he gets four cakes, right? And then…
Kat: He basically eats these snacks and cake for two weeks?
Caleb: Yeah. I don’t even know if they’re healthy.
Kat: How is this boy surviving? Gross.
Rosie: And keeping them under the floorboard? Surely that’s got to be really dusty and…
Kyle: Full of cockroaches?
Kat: Plus, how much space is under the floorboard? I mean…
Caleb: Yeah, it sounds like he’s got this vault of food under one floorboard!
Caleb: This is like a mini Room of Requirement space going on here.
Kyle: Just like Hermione’s bag.
Rosie: Maybe he has a mini fridge that we don’t know about.
Rosie: That would be far too kind of the Dursleys.
Kat: It would.
Kyle: Maybe the meat pies don’t spoil because Molly enchanted them before she sent them.
Kyle: To keep them fresh.
Rosie: That’s true.
Caleb: Magical preservative.
Kat: That’s possible.
Rosie: Magical meat pies.
Kat: Magical meat pies. Yum.
Rosie: But as we find out, Harry is perfectly happy to eat his grapefruit just to annoy Dudley. And it really does seem like his living situation has improved, even if he is still eating less than the others, it’s probably more than he had originally. And as we see, you would think that Harry would learn not to give out Privet Drive’s contact information, considering he had the bad experience with Ron and the phone call previously. But as Vernon finds out, none of the Weasleys are particularly good at Muggle communication. And I just thought, I love this moment – and I know a load of people on Twitter have told us that they love this as well; it’s one of their favorite moments – and it’s such a mum thing to do, isn’t it? Just send a letter to their guardians first, even if you’re really only going to be talking to Harry. Mrs. Weasley had written to the Dursleys asking permission for Harry to go to the Quidditch World Cup with them. And is an envelope covered in stamps really enough to give the postman something to knock on the door and chat about? Mind your own business, Mr. Postman.
Kyle: Maybe he just has a boring route and nothing exciting ever happens to him as a postman.
Rosie: I could see that with the Dursleys…
Kyle: Just gives him something amusing, out of the norm.
Kat: I’m just wondering where Mrs. Weasley dropped it off?
Rosie: That’s what I was thinking. Props to her for knowing how to use a postbox.
Kat: And from now on, if it wasn’t so expensive, I was going to send every letter like this.
[Kyle and Rosie laugh]
Kat: Not that I send that many letters, but when I sent my rent check to my landlord, I’m going to cover it. He won’t get it because he’s a Muggle, but…
Rosie: Well, that’s what I was thinking. What would happen if you used too may stamps? Would you actually… that counts as an over-payment, surely. Would the post office refund you?
Kyle: Well, with no return address, how would they find out who to give the money back to?
Rosie: That’s true.
Kyle: And no in the US. We’re poor. [laughs] Let’s be honest.
Rosie: Probably wouldn’t do it in the UK either. It’s okay. [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] Probably not.
Rosie: So yeah, Mr. Weasley has managed to get prime tickets to the Quidditch World Cup. Ding, ding, ding! Remember, it was mentioned at the end of the last book, and it’s almost as if something important might happen here. It seems to be mentioned quite a lot.
Kat: Does that happen. Repeat appearances tend to lead to important events.
Rosie: Yeah. As the StarKids say, they’ve got the whole foreshadowing quote from the second musical, I think it is.
Rosie: Is it the first one?
Rosie: It is, okay. Fair enough. But yeah, that’s a brilliant Hermione quote, and it’s very obvious in this scene. So yeah, we’ll keep an eye out for the Quidditch World Cup in the next couple of chapters because, obviously, we’re reading this for the first time. We don’t know what’s going to happen.
Kyle: We don’t?
Rosie: [laughs] So Vernon is faced with a very difficult decision. Does he get rid of Harry and not have to bother with him for the next couple of weeks? Or does he allow him to be happy for once? It’s a very tough decision for Vernon to make. Is anyone else kind of impressed that Vernon remembers Mrs. Weasley? I wouldn’t have thought that he cared enough to note details of that very first trip when he saw her and the bunch of red-haired children.
Kat: I actually think this speaks a lot to Vernon’s character, and I was thinking about this.
Caleb: Yeah, the way he remembers her.
Kat: Yeah, that he’s not going to remember somebody who is impressive, because think about… there’s probably some rich-looking wizards – I mean, the Malfoys were there picking up Draco? What if he saw them? I doubt he’s going to remember them. He’s going to remember Mrs Weasley because she is the “bad” kind of wizard. Quote-unquote, “bad kind.” The kind that doesn’t look as great and isn’t taking care of herself. This is not what I truly believe, for the record.
Kat: But I think that that’s why Vernon is going to remember her because he thinks he is better than her.
Rosie: Yeah, I can see that.
Kyle: Maybe he remembers her because that she interacted with Harry, and Vernon saw that.
Rosie: That’s true.
Kat: Perhaps. Mhm.
Rosie: But I think he wouldn’t stand in that station deliberately looking at the people who are odd. I think he would be trying to avoid that kind of attention and avoid looking at them as much as possible to stop that connection between them being made.
Kyle: Maybe he views them as how people will stop and stare at a car wreck. [laughs]
Rosie: Oh dear. [laughs]
Kyle: It’s so mesmerizingly bad, that you just can’t look away.
Kat: Oh, poor Molly.
[Kyle and Rosie laugh]
Kyle: I’m just trying to understand his thought process.
Kat: You’re probably right. I mean, he’s kind of jerk, so…
Rosie: Yeah, he is noting things that he doesn’t like. Oh well. So yeah, Jo is recapping still in this chapter. It’s quite similar to the one before, and we are getting a lot of information that we already know. But she’s doing it in a very new way. She’s using the conversation between Vernon and Harry to explain details. And it’s a much more interesting method I think than the “blah, blah, blah, Harry and Hermione, blah, blah, blah,” the kind of details that she’s given out in the last couple of books. It’s a much more sophisticated style and allows a lot more interest in the information that we already know.
Kat: Yeah, I think… I feel like for me… I remember thinking this after I read this book, thinking about how much better the writing was in this book. Not to say that the first ones were not good or anything, but I just remember feeling like Jo finally had gotten her stride. She was finally comfortable and confident with who she was, not only as a person and an author but as a storyteller. And I think that that really shows in the fact that it wasn’t just a list of, “This happened, and this happened, and these are his best friends, and he goes to school here” – all of that. Because even over the next couple of chapters, there’s still some exhibition going on – I never say that right. I think this is a big improvement… I would agree.
Rosie: Definitely. I think… sorry to bring it back to The Cuckoo’s Calling again, but one of the main things that everyone was saying was that that book was too well-written to have been from a debut author. Which I think is slightly mean to debut authors.
Rosie: But in this scene and in this book, I think you can really tell that this is not a debut author anymore. This is Jo being a proper author and being… and knowing what she’s doing a lot more. And this is the beginning of the sophisticated style that was the big clue in The Cuckoo’s Calling.
Kat: Right. Agreed.
Rosie: So Harry is finally standing up for himself and being very Sassy Harry and acting like a real teenager for a change. And I was wondering if it’s… is it Sirius who’s given him this new badge of confidence or has something happened that is just allowing Harry to feel a lot more comfortable in Privet Drive this year?
Kat: I think it is partly Sirius, and I also think it’s partly Harry – the whole deal with his father the year before and coming to know himself a little bit better. I think that he’s growing into what people are expecting him to be, if that makes sense. Everybody last year kept saying, “Oh, you’re so much like you’re father. You’re so much like your father. This is how your father was.”
Kat: That’s what he’s growing into.
Rosie: This time he gets to know… yeah. But do you think that James would have stood up to Vernon in the same way? Probably.
Caleb: Yeah, I think…
Kyle: Well, there’s a confrontation with Vernon at the… I think it was either Vernon and Petunia’s wedding or the Potters’ wedding, we’ve heard about on Pottermore.
Kat: Ah Pottermore, our long forgotten friend.
Rosie: [laughs] Apparently there’s new information about Lupin coming soon.
Kat: There better be. Because at this rate we’ll be on Order of the Phoenix before it comes out.
Rosie: So speaking of Sirius, in which we were in the question before… [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] I was like, really? I think we were just talking about Lupin.
Rosie: Before that we were talking about Sirius.
Rosie: [laughs] And he’s very handy when it comes to blackmail and Harry is using this to full advantage. Vernon knows who Sirius is. He knows that he’s an escaped criminal and he knows that he is now Harry’s – or he was Harry’s godfather. So Harry is feeling it’s fine to drop his name in there and say, “Oh, I was just writing a letter to him, you know. If he doesn’t hear from me, he might get a bit suspicious. He might knock on your door and be much worse than a postman.” [laughs]
Kat: What just caught me is that blackmail… it has come up many times in this book, now that I’m thinking about this.
Kat: It happens again at the end of the book with Rita Skeeter.
Rosie: That’s true.
Rosie: So what you’re trying to tell us…
Caleb: So a lot of it is going around.
Rosie: And it’s the good characters as well as the bad that are using it.
Rosie: Don’t blackmail people, kids. It’s not a good thing. [laughs]
Kat: Is there any…
Kyle: Sirius Black. Black-mail. [laughs]
Kat: Ba dum bum! Is there any sort of blackmail that goes on surrounding Hagrid? She doesn’t say anything like, “Give me this interview or I’ll expose you,” or anything. Right? Or does she?
Rosie: I don’t think so.
Kat: I don’t think so either.
Kyle: Not that we hear of at least.
Rosie: She just goes ahead and ruins his life anyway.
Caleb: Ah, she does!
Kat: Ah, she does, right.
Rosie: I guess Draco almost blackmails Hagrid in the first book with Norbert.
Rosie: But he just goes straight to McGonagall, so that’s not really blackmail either.
Rosie: Draco is very unsophisticated for a villain.
Kat: I mean, that’s beyond true.
Rosie: [laughs] But yes, we have success and Harry’s off to the Quidditch World Cup. He just needs to send a message to Ron quickly, but he can’t resist stopping to have a dig at Dudley first, and that just shows how much more confidence he has now than ever before. He’s got his ticket out of there, but “It was a really delicious grapefruit, wasn’t it?”
Caleb: Payback, y’all!
Kyle: Something from this scene that I thought would have been funny to see in the movie would be the description of Harry’s outfit – the sweatshirt that drops down to the knees of his baggy jeans. That would have been so hilarious to see on film.
Kat: I know. As much as character descriptions really don’t bother me – the fact that Hermione didn’t have buck teeth and the eyes weren’t the right color, that stuff doesn’t bother me. But wardrobe…
Caleb: Which is such an easy thing.
Kat: It’s so easy! I completely agree, I wish that… you know, Harry was just too attractive…
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Kat: … when he lived with the Dursleys. I just wanted him to look more unkempt.
Rosie: I think he did wear… I’m trying to think what we actually saw of him in the Dursleys’ house at this point in the movie, because I don’t think we saw a lot of…
Kyle: We don’t see the Dursleys at all in Goblet of Fire.
Rosie: No, yeah.
Rosie: But this is the movie where they all got bad hair.
Kat: Oh, God! Yeah. That’s a discussion for later.
Kyle: Attack of the enchanted razors.
Kat: Yeah. [laughs]
Rosie: We do see him wearing relatively baggy clothing, though. And he’s not wearing any… he doesn’t wear labels or anything. He wears Bog standard blue T-shirts a lot. But it would probably be too hard for continuity to get him wearing excessively large clothes all the time. It would have been hard for him to move around.
Kat: Especially because they didn’t have Dudley as exactly as large…
Kat: … as he is described in the books.
Rosie: He is not as large as a killer whale.
Kat: [laughs] Right, no. Thank God for Harry Melling. Imagine trying to carry around the suit that they would have to put on him for that.
Rosie: Maybe that’s why they’re not in the movie as much as well, because they could never be as caricaturish as the book described them – at least Dudley couldn’t…
Rosie: Yeah. I don’t know.
Kat: Or are they just cheap?
Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]
Caleb: I’m going to bet on that one.
Kat: Isn’t that why they cut… isn’t somebody cut out of… I think it’s Half-Blood Prince because they wouldn’t pay for him. Robert Hardy, right?
Caleb: Oh, really?
Kat: Because they couldn’t afford to pay him.
Kat: So anyway…
Rosie: So I’m not sure who is more excited, Pig or Ron in his letter, when he tells Harry about actually getting tickets for the Quidditch World Cup. But Hedwig is of course much too dignified for all of that.
Rosie: Hedwig is a bit of a snob really, isn’t she?
Kat: She definitely is.
Rosie: How she treats Pig is horrible.
Kyle: She has an attitude.
Caleb: Yeah, I think it’s more attitude than a snob and I love it. I think it’s great.
Kat: She’s a sassy owl.
Rosie: I think it’s really nice that we get to see our human characters interact in this kind of way a lot. Especially Harry and Colin Creevey have a very similar relationship to Hedwig…
Caleb: Oh, that is so true! That is such a good parallel.
[Kat and Kyle laugh]
Kat: That is so true.
Rosie: And Pig just wants to… is really excited to try…
Caleb: “Look at me, look at me, look at me!”
Rosie: Pretty much.
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Rosie: I always love an owl like Pig, but he would probably get annoying.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Kat: The part that I really liked about this is in Ron’s letter where he is like, “If the Muggles say yes, send Pig back and we’ll pick you up Sunday at five. And if they say no, go ahead and send him back and we’re going to pick you up at five anyway!”
Kat: Would they have forced… how would they have done that? If the Dursleys said no…
Kyle: Full Body Bind curse.
Kat: But they never use that when they should.
Rosie: Well, last year they pulled bars off the window…
Rosie: … not last year, the year before – and literally just took him out of the room, so I don’t think they’d have much problem just taking him.
Kat: Right. But I think Molly and Arthur are probably slightly more dignified than the twins. I’m just curious.
Rosie: You say that, but next chapter or the chapter after, you see what happens to the living room.
Kat: But Arthur is just trying to help. Although I can’t wait to get to that chapter. [laughs]
Rosie: [laughs] So we’re at the end of this chapter now, and I really love the summary that we get of Harry living the good life. And, of course, cake is the first thing that gets mentioned. So it’s not… hang on, I’m trying to find the quote again. There it is. It’s not the Quidditch World Cup first, but it’s he had cake, Dudley had nothing but grapefruit, bright summer’s day, leaving Privet Drive, scar feeling normal, and then the Quidditch World Cup. And we get that final little reminder that “it was hard, just now, to feel worried about anything – even Lord Voldemort.” Dun dun dun.
Kat: Mhm. Cake is always my first priority, so I’m with Harry on this one.
Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]
Kyle: I actually still have one question coming out of this chapter.
Kyle: Mostly directed to you, Rosie.
Kyle: How fast is the post in the UK…
Kyle: … if it can beat an owl? Assuming that these letters were sent simultaneously.
Rosie: First Class post should arrive the next day. So depending on…
Kat: Anywhere in the country?
Rosie: Yeah, pretty much. It’s a relatively good system, but it’s being privatized at the moment, so that might change.
Rosie: Yeah, the post office has got a really interesting history in a very boring way. [laughs] But yeah, it should be relatively quickly. I’m guessing that Ron sent his owl slightly later than Molly sent her letter.
Kat: That’s interesting because the UK is approximately the size of New England, which is obviously where I live, and if I were to send a letter say, to just Pennsylvania, it would take probably three days.
Kat: So that’s amazing that it would get anywhere in approximately a day.
Rosie: Well, I think that’s true. I don’t know…
Kyle: Even within the same city it could take a day or two.
Rosie: I’ve never tried sending a letter to Scotland or anything, so I wouldn’t know.
Kat: Hmm. Interesting.
Rosie: Yeah. First Class post is meant to be very speedy. It’s not always true. Sometimes it takes months, and the occasional news story of a letter that’s being delivered after 63 years… but yeah, it’s meant to be quite speedy if you’re doing First Class. Second Class is normally three to five days, I think.
Kat: Is First Class a lot more expensive?
Rosie: Not too bad.
Kat: What’s the normal? Is normal First Class?
Rosie: I would think so. I own First Class stamps. I don’t own Second Class. I don’t know. [laughs]
Kat: Okay. Got it.
Rosie: But yeah, if you covered your letter in stamps, then maybe that gets there even quicker.
[Kat and Kyle laugh]
Kat: I mean, that’s probably true.
Kyle: The postmaster gets it, and then he takes it himself to the address.
Kat: [laughs] Right?
Rosie: It’s probably the equivalent of a special delivery price.
Kat: It’s possible.
Rosie: Okay, that’s the end of this chapter. [laughs]
Kat: It’s funny because that chapter is longer than Chapter 2, but it feels shorter because absolutely nothing happens.
Rosie: No, it’s literally just grapefruit and a letter.
[Kat and Kyle laugh]
Caleb: Chapter 2 wasn’t very substantive either, though, so…
Kat: Yeah, but at least there were moments.
Kyle: Stuff relevant to the overall plot.
Kat: Yeah. Yeah.
Rosie: But the action really starts in the next chapter, so we’re getting there. It’s okay.
Kat: That’s true.
Kat: Bear with us, listeners. Bear with us.
Caleb: All right, so it is now time for the Question of the Week, and I decided on a question based on something you brought up, Rosie – which I didn’t really think about until you brought it up – but it has to do with, as you said, Harry is finally standing up for himself. He even exhibits a bit of sassiness and this confidence that we really haven’t seen, yet, with the Dursleys. So the question is, “Harry really starts to stand up for himself here with the Dursleys, with the ability to ‘threaten’ them in a way with the idea of Sirius. Would this have been possible…” – meaning this level of confidence – “… without that crux of a threat? Would Harry have found that confidence without something with which to push back at the Dursleys?”
Kat: Hmm. That’s a good question.
Caleb: Because I think it’s really important that he does finally get this confidence, and I’m not sure… I’ll just leave it up to the listeners to tell us what they think.
Kat: Yeah, I have some opinions on that.
Rosie: Yeah, I have a few theories.
Rosie: But I don’t really want to discuss them. I want to see what they say first.
Caleb: All right.
Kat: Ditto, ditto. Cool.
Rosie: So yeah, next week we’ll chat away. [laughs] Although I’m not on next week, aww.
Kat: Well, the week after you can talk about it. [laughs]
Rosie: I’ll send you my notes. [laughs]
Caleb: Guys, by this time next week I’ll be getting ready to go to Europe, so that is so exciting.
Rosie: So excited for you guys to come over here. It’s going to be good.
Kat: Yes, it’s coming up very soon, as is LeakyCon.
Rosie: So yeah, thank you, Kyle, so much for being on the show. I hope you did have a brilliant time.
Kyle: It was good.
Rosie: Great. Okay. [laughs] If you would like to be on the show – just like Kyle was this week – you can head over to our website, which is alohomora.mugglenet.com. We hope you guys like the new layout. I think we’ve had a lot more responses on that, so hopefully it’s a bit more user-friendly than the one before. And remember, you can email us at alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com as well. And in the meantime remember to subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes because we love reading them.
Kat: And in the meantime, if you want to just keep in contact with us, you can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, facebook.com/openthedumbledore, or leave us a voicemail at 206-GO-ALBUS. That’s 206-462-5287.
Caleb: And make sure to check out our store, which you can find from the main Alohomora! page. We’ve got some really great things like host shirts, regular Alohomora! logo shirts, and also our brand new Team Gambon and Team Harris shirts. So definitely check all of those out.
Kat: And we are really, really, really close to some designs that you guys have been begging us for, so…
Kat: … stay tuned.
Caleb: Can’t imagine what it is.
Kat: I mean, stay tuned. Before LeakyCon London. That’s the goal, so stay tuned.
Rosie: We also have tote bags as well, so it’s not just shirts anymore if you wanted something…
Caleb: That’s true, we do; I forgot.
Rosie: … to carry your stuff around with as well.
Kat: And they’re great bags. I actually ordered one, and they’re really cool, so anyway… but while you’re in the store – well, this isn’t in the store; it’s on the website, but anyway – check out the app. It’s actually now available for Windows 8 users, which is, I think, really cool. Nothing, yet, for the Blackberry, but we’re working on it. But it’s available – in addition to the Windows 8 – in the US and the UK for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle. It’s $1.99, or one pound, twenty-nine P for you in the UK, and, as you know, it has transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, all that jazz, so check it out.
[Show music begins]
Rosie: Well, great, that’s the end of the show. I’m Rosie Morris.
Caleb: I’m Caleb Graves.
Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 40 of Alohomora!
Caleb: Open the Dumbledore.
[Show music continues]