Transcript – Episode 60

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 60 of Alohomora! for December 7, 2013.

[Show music continues]

Eric Scull: Hello everybody, and welcome to Episode 60. I’m Eric Scull.

Laura Reilly: I’m Laura Reilly.

Michael: And I’m Michael Harle. And our guest today is Katlyn Jarrett from the forums, also known as Broadway Cat. Welcome to the show.

Katlyn Jarrett: Good to be here. Thank you.

Michael: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Katlyn: All right. I am a theater and an English major in university, and I am a Hufflepuff.

Eric: Yay!

Laura: What school do you go to?

Katlyn: I go to Brock University…

Laura: Where is it?

Katlyn: In Canada. It’s Ontario, Canada.

Laura: Oh, Canada!

Katlyn: Yeah.

Laura: Aha. See, I always know because… I knew it wasn’t America probably because everyone who is not in America says “university…”

Katlyn: Yeah.

Laura: … rather than “college,” so I was like, “Wonder where she is…” Okay.

Katlyn: Well, Canada.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Very cool. [laughs]

Michael: That’s awesome. And you’re a Broadway girl?

Katlyn: Yeah, I’m a big musical person, so it fit.

Michael: Well, that’s fantastic.

Laura: Very nice.

Michael: Well, thank you for being on the show today, Kat. We’re really excited to have you here.

Katlyn: I’m really excited to be here.

Laura: Okay, and just a quick reminder to you guys: Please make sure you’ve read Chapter 22 of Goblet of Fire, “The Unexpected Task” – a favorite chapter of mine – so that you fully appreciate everything we’ve got to say about it.

Eric: Indeed. And we’d like to take a quick moment now to thank our sponsor for this episode, Audible. Exclusively for listeners of Alohomora!, they are offering a free audiobook download. They have over 150,000 titles to choose from across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals, so head over to to get your free audiobook now.

Michael: So before we jump into the discussion for this week, we are going to look back at some of the comments from last week’s episode, and we’re going to head it off with an anonymous comment that was left on our Audioboo.

[Audio]: A thought that occurred to me while I was listening to your last episode… I was wondering when you were discussing how Mad-Eye’s eye can see through Harry’s Invisibility Cloak, which is this supposedly un-see-through-able Deathly Hallow that trumps everything, and I was thinking about how the other day – well, not the other day but on another episode – you were talking about how the Cloak and the Elder Wand… would they cancel each other out? And I was thinking that if that [were] true, could Mad-Eye Moody’s eye have the Resurrection Stone in it? Because before Harry… all the time we see Moody, Harry doesn’t know about the Resurrection Stone, and it’s not until Mad-Eye is dead do we actually find it. And I’m not sure if this is just a movie-ism, but the eye is in Umbridge’s office, but she’s not using it in the same ways, so that could be different.

Eric: Well, I would actually say if Mad-Eye Moody started seeing dead people, I would say he has the Resurrection Stone in his eye.

Michael: [laughs] But then that would be an entirely different series altogether.

Eric: Yes.

Michael: Although he could… you can see dead people in the wizarding world.

Laura: I mean…

Eric: Hmm.

Michael: Everybody’s got a Resurrection Stone in their eye.

Laura: It’s one of those crazy things that because of what they’re saying of that it doesn’t… we only see it after Moody is dead but… and I don’t know. It just… it’s so impossible but…

Michael: Yeah, there’s a whole thing about accounting for where the eye was – or the ring was – but the thing is, Dumbledore… doesn’t he show Harry the ring in Half-Blood Prince?

Eric: Yeah, and it has a Deathly Hallows symbol in it, I think. A crest.

Laura: Oh.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah.

Laura: After that, yeah.

Michael: He’s had it that whole time, and he would’ve had to been wearing it, so he would’ve had to…

Laura: Oh, yeah. It’s in the ring, yeah. So…

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: … myth busted.

[Eric laughs]

Michael: But very cool idea! I mean, if… back in the day before Half-Blood Prince came out, and we actually might’ve known something about the Hallows, that might’ve actually been a pretty interesting theory.

Laura: Have you guys seen that article – I know it was in my Facebook feed last week – where it’s like, the new thing is eyeball jewelry?

Michael: Ugh.

Eric: No.

Laura: It’s almost like that.

Eric: I didn’t see jewelry, but I know I’ve seen weird pupils, like contact lenses that do weird things like Magic 8 Balls and stuff.

Laura: Yeah, no, this is straight-up embedding a jewel in your eyeball…

Eric: Wow. That sounds…

Laura: … which sounds like a terrible idea in every way.

Katlyn: There are people [who] have actually tattooed their eyeballs now, too. That’s the new thing.

[Eric gasps]

Michael: That’s horrible.

Katlyn: I don’t know why.

Eric: That’s the new thing?

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Katlyn: Yeah. Well, it’s one of the new things.

Laura: All the kids are doing it.

Katlyn: Yeah, there'[re] people [who] get blue put in there or get fluorescent colors in there. It’s really weird.

Eric: I just wouldn’t want to mess with my sight. It’s like, “Don’t touch my eye. Don’t do it.”

[Michael laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: But I’m sure Moody gets poked in the eye all the time.

Michael: [laughs] Moody seems like the kind of person who would actually tell people to try [to] poke his eye, so…

Eric: [laughs] Because he could see them coming from a mile away.

Michael: [laughs] So all right.

Eric: “Fifteen Galleons to anyone who can get close enough to poke my eye!” [laughs]

Michael: So there’s probably not a Resurrection Stone in Moody’s eye, but wonderfully… I love hearing theories like that actually just because it reminds me of the good old days before we knew all the answers.

Eric: Yes.

Michael: A lot of the discussion turned in the forums and on the main site to house-elves, of course, because last week’s chapter was “The House-Elf Liberation Front” chapter and we had a comment in the forums from Tweak6 that I thought was really interesting to note. Tweek said,

“I was wondering where Dobby’s wages are coming from. In my personal headcanon, Dumbledore pays Dobby out of his own funds, knowing he could never justify paying a house-elf with school funds to the school governors, and so he just happily indulges Dobby in support of equality for all.”

And I liked this because this recalls the fact that people like Lucius Malfoy are on the school board and would probably never allow for funds to be used this way. So it is actually a pretty big deal that Dumbledore is doing this.

Eric: Yeah. I mean, it’s certainly not going to break Dumbledore’s bank, considering we find out what he is paying Dobby, but that’s, per Dobby’s request, a Galleon a week or something like that. I think it is likely that Dumbledore is paying out of his own funds just because, as you say, the school funds are monitored by people like Lucius Malfoy and the other governors, who would be made to cause a stink if that sort of knowledge were to come out.

Michael: Yeah, and I know… I mean, from Chamber of Secrets, obviously, we know that Lucius nitpicks on any little thing, and it’s even extrapolated on in Tales of Beetle the Bard that Dumbledore says that Lucius tried to get the book banned from Hogwarts.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michaek: Because it has pro-Muggle teachings, so I can’t imagine he would’ve been okay with this, but… because Dumbledore actually offered… didn’t he offer Dobby ten Galleons a week?

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: And weekends off or something like that?

Eric: Well, Dumbledore has a lot of his money he doesn’t use. He doesn’t go on vacation. Imagine him with suntan lotion on his nose and…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … board shorts. I just think he stays because he’s a homebody.

Michael: [laughs] But we had a lot more discussion about house-elves… some more from… that was started on the forums by Tweak6 and continued by quite a few people, but the conversation here was about, specifically, house-elf clothing, and Tweak said,

“I was a little confused on the whole clothes discussion in this episode. Was it decided that only clothes that were made to be clothes are considered clothes and thus allow the elf to be free, or is it that the ‘master’ decides what is and isn’t clothes? Like, if the ‘master’ fashioned a towel into a dress or toga would it then be considered clothes, and then the elf would be free? Or because it’s not labeled an article of clothing it doesn’t count despite it looking like clothing, so the elf isn’t free and yet has something to wear?”

And this came from the discussion about how the Hogwarts house-elves wear tea towels with a stamp of the Hogwarts crest, so it’s like official clothing for them, but it’s not clothes.

Eric: Right, and it’s… okay, I get that they’re small elves. They could fit into a tea or pillow – “pillowcase,” I should say. But really, ultimately, if you want a working force, why wouldn’t they have uniforms that fit them, that are robes or maybe a lose-fitting apron or something that’s not a towel? But then somebody – one of the hosts last week – pointed out, “Well, wouldn’t that be like freeing them, then?”

Michael: Yeah, exactly, which is… and StoneHallows brought that up in the forum, too, which… and StoneHallows said,

“Would that mean that [these clothes] were purposed to cover the house-elves and therefore make them clothing? Are all those house-elves free, and they don’t know it? Is that an ethical issue?”

[Eric laughs]

Michael: So…

Eric: It’s such a tricky subject, right? Accidentally freeing house-elves? [laughs]

Michael: Mhm. There’s got to be a talk group with therapy for people who’ve accidentally freed their house-elves. [laughs] Centuries of servitude, just gone! Just gone. So the other issue that came up, along with the technicality of the clothes, is actually house-elf, enslavement elf, and exactly how it works to free a house-elf. We got a comment from Pigwidgeon on the forums that said,

“Is the clothes = freedom a spell/enchantment that releases them from the house, or is it just a moral tie of the elf that keeps them there until clothing is given? If that’s the case, what if an elf is given clothes (say, because the master wants their elf to have a free life), but the elf refuses the clothes or takes the clothes but refuses to leave? Do they HAVE to go because of a broken spell, or do they have to go because that’s ‘the rules’?”

So basically, the comment is boiling down to “Is this magic that is enslaving them, or is it something somewhat…” I guess the only equatable thing we could think of that we’ve seen as the Unbreakable Vow or the Goblet.

Laura: I don’t think it’s magic whatsoever.

Michael: You think it’s just…

Laura: Because of just how much Dobby, when he was still under the enslavement of the Malfoys, I feel like if it [were] a magical thing binding him, he wouldn’t even be able to leave the house and go to Harry in any capacity. So I think he was pretty much just toeing the line – sneaking out, essentially – and I think if there [were] something magical keeping him there, that would’ve physically been impossible.

Eric: Hmm, that’s interesting. That’s a good point.

Laura: So I think it’s just like regular old slavery of the only thing that’s actually keeping him there [being] just because one man said that he’s superior.

Eric: So it’s the will of the house-elves. They can overcome their own teachings.

Michael: Yeah, that’s what I think.

Katlyn: It’s like a traditional thing. I know with house-elves… they always reminded me of brownies, which are little fairies that would clean your house in British mythology, and the way to get rid of them would be you give them milk or you give them certain things, and it was following these steps, and in a story like “[The] Elves and the Shoemaker,” when they’re presented with clothes, it’s “Okay, you gave us something? Now we’re obligated to leave.” So that’s the way I always thought of it, but if it was an enchantment then it makes sense that “Why would Dobby not be able to leave, then?” when he’s having issues if that made any sense whatsoever.

Michael: No, yeah, it did. Definitely.

Eric: Yeah, there doesn’t seem to exist a sense of urgency to treat your house-elves right. There’s no fear of losing them. In fact, Kreacher, in Book 5… this is brought up a little later on, but Sirius essentially commands him to leave, and that’s the only reason he’s actually able to leave the physical presence of the house even though he still remains in the employ of the Blacks in one way or another, so I would side with the fact that it’s magic, only because it seems like in these extreme circumstnaces, Dobby still wasn’t able to completely free himself. He was afforded a lot of freedom, though. So it’s one of those things where it’s probably somewhere in between or it’s both.

Michael: There were some other really interesting comments that… because actually, like Kat said about looking back at “The Elves and the Shoemaker” thing and what that in more of a fairy tale context, some of our listeners were looking at it from a historical context, and this is why I’m inclined to think that it’s actually not magical and more with what Laura was saying because StoneHallows in the forum said,

“Regarding freed elves not wanting to leave, I would think it would be similar to the concept of a freed slave before the Civil War. If a master freed the slave, and both agreed, the slave could stay on as an employee for the master. But it would have to be mutual. Crouch didn’t agree and would have forcibly not let Winky work for him anymore, so she was forced to find somewhere else to go. If he had agreed to let her stay until she wanted to leave, I would think that it would have been allowed.”

Eric: Hmm. So because society isn’t really prepared for an elf without a master, a free elf, they would stay on as a convenience. They would be paid and treated… they’d still be free, but they would resume most of their previous tasks.

Laura: Right.

Eric: From when they weren’t free.

Michael: Yeah. Interesting, interesting. Becuase I do think… this was, again… also, there was a big discussion in the forum between some of our moderators – Ali Wood and KyKid – as well as DolphinPatronus about what exactly… if there were any specific historical accounts of slavery that Rowling was referencing. It was brought up that “Could it have been America’s slavery, the British colonialism, child slavery in British workhouses…” there were a lot of different things that people were pointing out of examples of slavery in the past. And I’m that’s why I’m inclined to agree that it’s not magic because Rowling was making a comment on slavery, and to say that the house-elves are bound by magic and that there’s… they… I think that diminishes the… it gets confusing with Dobby and him being a unique case and whether he was doing it of his own free will or if there [were] magic pulling him back, so that’s just why I agree that it’s not magic.

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: But cat magic in the forums also pointed out that,

“The house-elf wearing clothes is wearing an outward sign of his or her particular personality as an individual. Of course we know that enslaved house-elves have personalities as well, but they are not supposed to be recognized as individuals in their enslavement and thus are made to wear not-clothes as a sign of their interchangeability as slaves. This is part of the inhumane nature of slavery in general.”

Laura: Yeah. It’s really taking away their identity.

Michael: Yeah.

Katlyn: Or not letting thme have one to begin with.

Michael: Yeah. So there were some really great questions and explorations of how house-elves hark back to our history of slavery and humanity, and so there was some really great discussion on that point. The other interesting thing, too, on the main site was there was a conversation between Elvis Gaunt, Aradan, froggyhpmb3, and DolphinPatronus on exactly how the rules work with freeing a house-elf because a few of them mentioned, “If you were to hand a house-elf your laundry to do, would that free them?”

[Eric and Katlyn laugh]

Eric: House-elves do everything except your laundry.

Michael: Except your laundry. And they also reference the act that Hermione tries to get the house-elves to pick up clothes…

[Eric laughs]

Michael: … and versus Lucius Malfoy handing Dobby a sock in Chamber of Secrets and that he did not intend to free Dobby by handing it to him, but it worked anyway. So if there’s a part – if we are thinking there might be a magical element in here – is it… does the owner of the house-elf have to physically give them the clothes, and does there or does there not have to be an intention to free the elf? Because we know none of the house-elves pick up Hermione’s clothes because Dobby takes them all. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: So if they did, Hermione is not their master anyway, so would that have even freed them?

Laura: Yeah, I think the important thing is that it has to come from the master. I think the master’s the only one [who] can free them. It’s the fact that Lucius handed Dobby the sock. So I think just picking it up isn’t going to work. The only loophole I find specifically in this case is that Hogwarts is technically their master, so it’s almost like if they’re finding it at Hogwarts or something… it’s not like someone just gave them clothes on the street. That might be a slight loophole, but I think even without intention it works because we see that with Malfoy.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah, no, that was… I think that’s probably… because that was also discussed on the main site about whether at Hogwarts if Dumbledore is the master of the house-elves or if it’s everybody in general, including the students, since the elves do work for the students.

Laura: Right.

Michael: But to break up the discussion about house-elves a little bit, Katlyn actually had a really interesting observation about Seamus Finnegan that has a brief moment in the previous chapter. Katlyn, did you want to talk about that a little bit since you’re here?

Katlyn: Yeah, sure. I just basically saw that when Seamus and Neville were talking about the Golden Egg at the congratulations party for Harry, that they both came up with two different ideas of what the screaming of the mermaids could mean. And when Neville came up, saying, “Well, it’s somebody being tortured under the Cruciatus Curse,” Seamus came up with the idea of “No, it’s a banshee. Maybe you have to take care of one of them.” And remembering from Prisoner of Azkaban, a banshee is actually Seamus’s Boggart, so it was neat to see that both Seamus and Neville, in facing this, thinking of this challenge, immediately think of two things that frighten them the most and that Seamus’s has stayed the same through third year – and it’s a banshee – and that Neville’s has since evolved probably because he’s been faced with Moody and because he’s actually seen the Cruciatus Curse and is realizing [that] maybe there’s a little bit more scary things in the world than Professor Snape.

[Eric, Katlyn, and Michael laugh]

Eric: Only a few, though!

Katlyn: Only a few.

Eric: Snape is pretty terrifying.

Michael: I’ve really liked that you pointed this out, Katlyn, though, just because I do think that we have two examples of Seamus mentioning banshees and because I don’t think Rowling goes for stereotyping her characters just to say, “Well, banshees are Irish, so Seamus is going to always talk about banshees.” I like the idea that maybe there’s some experience that he had with a banshee in the past that perhaps… I’m hoping, again, this is… and there’s been a lot of… we’ve been talking about this a lot lately, but we’re hoping that Pottermore is listening because it would be great to get a backstory on Seamus because he’s probably… we have somewhat of a backstory on Dean Thomas – more than what’s in the books – but we don’t really know that much about Seamus.

Eric: [as Lockhart] “But I didn’t get rid of the Bandon Banshee by smiling at her!”

Michael: Oh, Gilderoy.

Eric: Yes.

Michael: I did want to give a shout-out to a few of our other commenters on the forum here. Jessfudd had a very humorous comment about Scabbers being turned into a goblet, and on the main site, Claire Marie and froggyhpmb3 had some great comments about the meanings behind each tournament challenge in Goblet, and you can visit the forum and our main site to check out more of the discussion that was going on because there were a lot of great topics brought up this week.

Laura: Okay, and we just want to take a quick moment to tell you about something exciting in case you haven’t heard about it, yet, but MuggleNet is – right in time for the holidays – selling fandom calendars. So the calendars are really cool. We sold them last year, but these ones are brand new and improved, and it’s the only calendar out there that includes all the dates from the Harry Potter series. All the big milestones, character birthdays, actor birthdays, and also real-life fandom events, like when the Quidditch World Cup is and when LeakyCon is, so it’s pretty much the ultimate calendar book for the Harry Potter fan, and the theme is really cool because the pictures are all from Kat and Caleb’s trip that they went through [the UK], which were all Harry Potter filming locations, so it’s really, really pretty, all the stuff there. You’ve obviously seen the movies, you know how it’s done and [how] the cinematography is, and they pretty much saw all of those sites. So it’s really cool. You should check it out. It’s awesome. All right, so that’s $15.95, which includes US shipping, if you are in the US, and $14.00 plus shipping and handling to Canada, and $17.00 plus shipping and handling if you live in any other part of the world. So order before December 8 and you get a free digital copy without the photos, so if you wanted to load that up on your smartphone or make that your desktop backgrounds so that you can always know what is going on in the fandom, mark when the new episodes of Alohomora! are coming out so you never forget.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yes, I do not want to overlook Martin Bayfield’s birthday. Martin Bayfield is the stand-in for Hagrid and his birthday is coming up in the next couple of weeks. So if you get the fandom calendar in time, you can observe his birthday with me! Because I will be baking a cake.

[Laura and Michael laugh]

Eric: And now we’d like to get into our Podcast Question of the Week from last week responses, also about house-elves. Here is the question that we asked:

“In this chapter, the trio visits the kitchens for the first time. They find Dobby and Winky, who are both still powerfully restricted from being truly ‘free’ of their former masters, either by conditioning or by magic. Ron ‘loves the service’ in the kitchens – but is Hermione right in reacting so strongly to this situation? The Hogwarts elves don’t side with either Winky or Dobby; they keep to their work. How are we meant to take the elf situation in the HP books? Is it more disgraceful that Dobby and Winky are in this situation, or that the house-elves look down on them for acting out?”

And let me just say, we got a lot of responses, and similar to the responses that we just read from last week’s episode, all of these are visible, viewable on our forums and on the Alohomora! main site at So this is just a small clipping of the interesting, fascinating discussions you will find just a click away on the site. And we do encourage you to go and read and participate, comment, in that discussion, weekly on our show. So much more there than we can possibly fit into an episode of this podcast. But regardless, the first podcast response we are going to read from last week comes from Claire Marie. She says,

“While I do think Hermione is wrong to push such ideals on a group of creatures who truly are not ready to accept such a life, I don’t think this argument is as much about how the house-elves react to their current situation as it is about the people over them. A family like the Malfoy family obviously feels entitled to a house-elf and believes that because of their lineage that they are owed this luxury, but someone like Hepzibah Smith treated Hokey as a beloved part of her household. The interactions we see of Hokey and Hepzibah Smith are very nice and warm from both parties. More than anything, I think Rowling is trying to alert the reader to question how they treat those who are beneath them. We see this highlighted when Sirius is speaking about Barty Crouch Sr’s character and tells the trio to watch how he treats his inferiors and not his equals if they want to see who he truly is.”

I appreciated this comment because it brings up this quote, which is probably one of my favorite quotes in the Harry Potter series, but it has to do with Sirius and it has to do with this book, so perhaps it’s not specifically as much about slavery as we would make it and more about just character development watching these people mistreat these elves, whereas Dumbledore offers to pay them.

Michael: Yeah, I like this because it kind of explains how Hermione’s argument for this evolves over the series, because I think that is part of the reason why she’s not listened to in Goblet of Fire sadly, is because she is arguing that everybody has got to go down to the kitchens and rally the house-elves, and everybody is like, “That’s not going to work,” because the house-elves are resigned to this way of life. Most of them are happy with this way of life, whereas by Order of the Phoenix when she watches how Sirius treats Kreacher, she suddenly starts realizing that maybe she should be targeting the people who take care of these house-elves…

Eric: Hmm.

Michael: … and changing those people’s perspectives or indicting those people who mistreat their house-elves.

Eric: Hmm.

Michael: Because…

Laura: Umm…

Michael: Oh, go ahead. Go ahead, Laura.

Laura: No. Sorry, I cut you off.

Michael: No, please. Please.

Laura: All right. Well, I’m an anthropology major, so one of the few things you can do with anthropology is…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Wait, wait! Quiet, everybody, Laura is using her degree!

Laura: Right, this is one of the only moments it’ll come up.

Eric: Shh! Shh! [laughs]

Laura: But anyway, I took a class last year that was contemporary forms of slavery, and that consists of a whole range of things throughout the world of what can and cannot be considered slavery. To some length this is outright slavery, but it’s a really complicated argument that comes up throughout all of that, is the whole idea of “Oh, but they like it that way” or “They’re used to it” or something, and it’s really not a healthy train of thought because it comes down to structural violence of… they’re willingly participating in this lifestyle because the alternative of not having a place or not having a job is not a good one.

Michael: Mhm.

Laura: Like how Dobby was having so much trouble finding work because no one would pay him. Obviously it’s very different comparing all these things, but at the same time I wholeheartedly disagree with the idea that, “Oh, the house-elves like being enslaved,” which is what Ron always says, and what Fred and George say. Because while that may be true, it’s certainly not something that is a good thing. [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] Yeah.

Laura: So you have to consider what the alternatives are, and it’s important to change the alternatives. So make sure… like creating jobs or whatever or conditions for house-elves if they’re not enslaved. The whole point is that Dobby doesn’t have anywhere to go, and he finds Hogwarts, so he serves Hogwarts, but I imagine there [are] house-elves all over the world, and Hogwarts shouldn’t be the only place that you can go, especially only under Dumbledore’s reign.

Michael: Mhm.

Laura: And if what we said before that he might be paying them out of his own pocket is true, it’s even more of a problem.

Eric: Yeah, and I agree with what Michael was saying as well. Hermione is going kind of quick, and people… some of the listener responses we got, including from Elvis Gaunt, said, “Go slow, Hermione!” And I think that she should be targeting a little bit more effectively, for sure. But another comment comes from Knight GryffinPuff, and this one really expanded my mind, so I’ll share it with you guys. Knight GryffinPuff says,

“The problem with this question is that there are multiple possibilities. First, Hermione could absolutely be correct. A valid interpretation of the relationship is slavery where the slaves have been brainwashed to accept their lot. If you accept that interpretation, then it is very hard to argue that the brainwashed slaves should be allowed to determine their place/future in the relationship. They are brainwashed! Also, anyone using the satisfaction of the brainwashed slaves as justification has a similarly flawed argument. In that context, the satisfaction of the slaves is completely immaterial.

Second, Hermione could be wrong. H-elves…”

Abbreviated here, “h-elves.” That confuses me.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: [continues]

“H-elves could be a creature that establishes a symbiotic relationship with a host. In that case, the h-elves would nurture their host and through the well-being of the host gain some resulting sustenance ju-jus (edit: or a concrete benefit such as protection as mentioned by Dan below) that we can’t see or understand (since we do not know the particulars of h-elves). Symbiotic relationships are not unknown in the real world plant kingdom where two species coexist. There may even be examples where one effectively takes care of the other and receives less in return. I don’t know enough about it, but with magic, certainly, anything is possible.

So, the question becomes which is it? With the information provided, I think the answer is that we do not know. H-elves would have to be studied to determine the truth. If human beings are not giving off magical ju-jus that are somehow feeding the h-elves, then I would side with the former and Hermione. That, actually, is my interpretation of the situation in the book. However, Hermione and I could be wrong.”

Michael: Hermione is never wrong. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah, I still hold to what I’m saying, which is that the first interpretation is the correct one.

Michael: I would hold to that, too.

Laura: The second, it’s… and I know we’re going to get to this probably in the next comment, but by that whole symbiotic relationship thing, it says… the example they used was plants or something…

Eric: Mhm.

Laura: … but a plant isn’t a thinking…

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: … speaking thing. The thing that makes the house-elves… it’s complicated because magical creatures don’t exist in the real world to rationalize that, but at the same time… and it’s the same thing with the centaurs too, which we’ll get on. They have thought and they speak and they feel and they [have] opposable thumbs, everything…

[Eric laughs]

Laura: They’re as close to human as they can get, so that makes it…

Eric: Well, let’s see if this comment from Dan Sharp does anything. So according to Dan Sharp,

“So, in the second interpretation…”

This is a direct response to the previous comment.

“… wizards and h-elves are like Muggles and dogs. The pairing of man and dog very early in human history was an extremely successful symbiotic relationship, and many credit this with man’s ability to reach the top of the food chain. H-elves, though having their own magic, were too timid or whatever to be able to effectively protect themselves from other magical creatures and so happily paired with wizards who used them to improve their own lives. Both races survive and prosper compared with being on their own.”

Michael: Ooh. I have problems with that. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: Well, I…

Laura: Because that’s saying house-elves are dogs.

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: No, no, it’s comparing the fruitfulness of the man-dog relationship to the fruitfulness… because here in this part of history, we see house-elves as servants who are being mistreated. Ninety percent of the house-elves in the Harry Potter books are mistreated, so it’s easy to say, “Oh yeah, they’re animals,” or whatever, but…

Michael: This is going off of the assumption that… basically the problem here, I think, and… I think my problem with this is that it contradicts to me what Rowling was trying to say with the house-elves, because…

Laura: I agree.

Michael: … to say that house-elves… one, we don’t know the history of house-elves, and to assume… I almost feel that that is something that wizards who enforce house-elf slavery… this is probably the history that they would probably love written down in the history books, is that “Oh, they needed us because they had powerful magic but they were too weak to use it.”

Laura: Right, that’s…

Eric: Yeah. Okay, I see that.

Michael: Because again, if we’re relating this to the history of slavery, that is one of many excuses that was used to excuse slavery…

Laura: Right.

Michael: … was “Oh, well, they’re weak and they need us. We’re providing…”

Laura: It’s not just that, it’s “Oh, they’re giving them a place to live. They’re giving them food or whatever.” The same thing can be said for slavery: They weren’t just leaving them to totally fend for themselves. Yeah, they were giving them a place to live technically, and feeding them technically, but that doesn’t mean…

Eric: But wouldn’t it be interesting…

Laura: That’s assuming that they wouldn’t be able to fend for themselves. I’m almost comparing it to the goblins, and we know just from side things that goblins rebelled or whatnot. The goblins aren’t humans either, but they have jobs – I imagine well-paid jobs – in the banks and stuff, and I imagine they live normally.

Michael: Yeah…

Laura: So it’s kind of the same thing: You’re assuming the house-elves can’t take care of themselves when in fact they probably very much can because they’re taking care of the wizards.

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: But on a fundamental, magical level, what if they need humans?

Michael: I don’t think… they don’t. I mean, that’s already been… Dobby kind of proves that, and Kreacher proves that.

Eric: Well, Dobby is seen again, meaning he does, in a way, prefer human company.

Laura: Kreacher lives on his own, for that matter.

Michael: Well, yeah, but that’s Dobby just having… Dobby, as far as the way he is with Harry or Hermione or Ron, he considers them friends.

Eric: Mhm.

Michael: That’s not a symbiotic relationship – that’s just a normal relationship.

Eric: But, at the same time, he doesn’t go off and really… he travels, but it’s looking for work serving humans.

Laura: Well, he is the pioneer…

Eric: He doesn’t stray too far from what he already knows.

Laura: He’s the pioneer in this. He’s the only one.

Eric: Mhm.

Michael: Mhm.

Laura: So he can’t just go to his other…

Eric: But I’m saying, he could similarly build a cabin and hunt and fish and provide for himself and maybe start a family if he could find a female elf.

Laura: But where does he get that money?

Eric: Well, completely away… there’s no… he doesn’t need money if you could build… magic… if you could build a cabin by arranging some logs, you don’t need money.

Michael: But Dobby is looking for a good quality of life.

Eric: You’d get more quality of life living off the land than you would in some civilized…

Michael: But Dobby has never been exposed to that. This is going back to an argument of what a freed slave was supposed to… and again, I can only use my knowledge of American slavery because I don’t… I know quite a bit about colonialism, but I’m not confident to use that since it’s not America’s history and I don’t know that as well. But for a freed slave to just go out into the world if they were raised in slavery, they had to go get… they actively went to go get a job. They actively went to go find work so that they could be happy, feed themselves, have a satisfying, fulfilling way of life. I don’t think Dobby… Dobby could probably get things for himself to live, but he wouldn’t have a satisfying, full, good quality life because he’s kind of a social pariah. He would be an outcast, socially.

Eric: But do you see what I’m saying, that that shouldn’t necessarily matter to them unless magically they were somehow needing it?

Katlyn: Can I mention something as well?

Michael: Yes. Yes, please.

Katlyn: The reason I’ve always had issues combining house-elves to slavery, which… there’s a definite connection there, but I’ve always looked at it as a symbiotic… the need for them to be with humans or to have a place to go because of the Statute of Secrecy. Because in Muggle slavery, let’s say, there’s not much of a difference between another human being having someone in servitude, but with the house-elves we’re talking about two-foot-tall things with bat ears. They can’t exactly go out into the world, because if they run into a Muggle, it’s like, “Oh God, what are you?” So their relationship may be… there’s the need for the symbiotic relationship because of the Statute of Secrecy because there [are] not many places a house-elf can go because they’re too noticeable by the way that they look. And because of their stature and what they look like, it’s not like they can go off on their own because they’re noticeably other and they’re noticeably an alien kind of creature, whereas in human slavery it was just a matter of “I have another human being in servitude to me.” So that’s where the difference is. What I would put up is just because they look differently… So you can’t let a house… There’s no… You would have to figure out a way to hide a free house-elf farm. You know what I mean? If they were to go off on their own like Dobby did, and that’s maybe why even Dobby had to return to Hogwarts is because…

Eric: Well, if you can make something unplottable… I mean, if humans can make something so it can’t be found, surely house-elves, who have stronger magic, can make it like that as well. I was just interested in the connection not because of American slavery but because house-elves… I like the implication that perhaps they need humans on some fundamental magical level where the fates are intertwined and that sort of thing. I was entertaining the fantasy of it. I don’t really so much care about how these comments I’m making would be taken into account with American slavery because I don’t think you’ll find anyone to disagree that that was a horrible time and shouldn’t have happened and that it was a tremendous growth that we’d moved on from that in our culture.

Michael: Oh, yeah. No, of course, but I think…

Eric: But a fantastic and I believe our final comment in response to last week’s Podcast Question of the Week comes from Spectacularly Hypothetical – we love your names, people…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … on the main site and they say,

“The situation with the house-elves in HP reminds me of an episode in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur Dent comes across a cow that has been genetically engineered such that not only does it have sentience and the power of speech, but also WANTS to be eaten. Arthur is horrified by this and thinks it’s morally objectionable to eat the creature even though it is inviting him to and is actually advising which parts of his body are most choice.

The question here is is it morally acceptable to treat something in a way you would not want to be treated if that person/thing actively wants to be treated that way? The golden rule in all major bodies of morality is ‘treat others as you would be treated’ and the house-elves offer a serious threat to this basic rule of thumb morally speaking.

So I think the question here is, would you eat a Desk!Pig that wants to be eaten?”

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Nice tie-in to the Desk!Pig. But really, I think this is just a very interesting comment on the part of commenting on the morality of the whole thing.

Michael: Well, and I think that goes back to Hermione and who she changed her target to because I guess in this situation, Hermione would think… Hermione would react like Arthur Dent, but she would find out the person who made the cow.

Eric: Mmm.

Michael: So… and lecture them on what’s morally right.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Michael: So I guess that’s… I mean, that’s the closest thing I could say in response to that is that it’s finding who’s responsible for the brainwashing, essentially.

Eric: Mhm.

Michael: So…

Eric: Okay. Well, that concludes our Podcast Questions – or Podcast responses – to our Podcast Question of last Week. Well, guys, we’d like to remind you that this episode is brought to you by Audible. I love audiobooks. I know you love audiobooks. I think the next audiobook I will probably get is Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – [coughs] J.K. Rowling [coughs]. It was recently nominated for Audible’s UK Audiobook of the Year.

Michael: Yeah, I’m probably going to try and pick it up too. I was actually reading The Cuckoo’s Calling this morning while I was waiting for my car to get fixed and I wish I had had an audiobook for it because I was falling asleep while I was reading, not because the book wasn’t good, but because it probably would – I was just really tired. It would have been nice to have an audiobook and Audible is the best place for all downloading needs for books and right now, Audible has a really great special offer for US and Canadian listeners. They can visit our unique link at Alohomora! created specifically for our listeners and get a free audio download today, right now, and they just have to go to

Laura: You can also download it using Audible’s listener program. So basically, you purchase book credit at a super low monthly rate and then, you can use it at anytime for any product that Audible offers.

Michael: With over 150,000 titles, you have a lot of options. Head over to and start downloading directly to your computer for easy listening on burned CDs, MP3 players, and even your iPad, iPhones, or Androids. Again, the website made just for you is So visit for your free download today!

Laura: All right, so then, we’re going to move in to our chapter discussion for this week.

[Goblet of Fire Chapter 22 intro begins]

Harry: Oh, um, Cho, hey! Yeah, I was wondering…

Cho: Chapter 22.

Harry: … wangoballwime?

Michael: “The Unexpected Task.”

Harry: Ugh.

[Goblet of Fire Chapter 22 intro ends]

Laura: So, first off, this is one of my favorite chapters ever. I just love it so much!

[Michael laughs]

Laura: I just think it’s such a nice comic relief for the whole series. It’s the most Disney Channel sitcom episode we’re ever going to get out of Harry Potter.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: This was, literally, the plot of a Lizzie McGuire episode if you just switched some details around. So all right. So it begins with the Gryffindors in Transfiguration class and Harry and Ron are sword fighting in the back of the class with Fred and George’s fake wands. There’s really a lot of details to this battle. It sounds like… Ron has a tin parrot and Harry’s has a rubber haddock and it’s not really a fair fight because Ron’s parrot severs the haddock’s head, but McGonagall tells him to shut up and grow up because she has an announcement and she pretty nonchalantly tells them that there’s going to be the Yule Ball. She’s just like, “Yeah, this is tradition, this is happening.” But it’s basically prom time. So everyone, at least the girls primarily, are freaking out about it. So…

Eric: Can I just say, I love the fact that this chapter is called…

Michael: “The Unexpected Task.” [laughs]

Eric: “… The Unexpected Task.”

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: Because it’s like it’s putting it up there with fighting dragons and rescuing your loved ones from underwater for an hour. I just… I love that it’s put up there as being a Task and a Task means something different in this book. So…

Laura: And Harry really does put it exactly at that because he’s like, “I would rather battle the dragon again than what I have to do right now.”

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: And I feel him, but it’s…

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: McGonagall explains that the Yule Ball, it’s a dance that’s only open to fourth years and up, which to me is really unfair because there’s not going to be another one within this group of students’s Hogwarts career and this is the only social event I’ve ever seen at Hogwarts that isn’t Quidditch.

Eric: Maybe that’s a flaw of the writing because the school system, we have dances, right? Occasionally here, in America?

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: It doesn’t take a century’s old tournament to come by. So…

Laura: Well, I have…

Eric: Yeah?

Laura: … a question of whether or not just not even dances, but do any type of after school events occur at Hogwarts that maybe just Harry doesn’t participate in because he doesn’t care, but is there any type of social events? Like how high school has a movie night or something like that? Obviously, they’re not having a movie, but something! That’s my problem with wizards is their incredible lack of creativity. [laughs] There’s magic. You can do something! But what do you think?

Eric: Yeah. For sure.

Michael: Well, and this is… I guess, my ideas for this come from the extra stuff in the Potterverse, like the movies or the video games, but I really like when you wander around in – I think it’s in the fifth video game – there’s a Hogwarts Chess Club, there’s a Hogwarts Gobstones Club.

Laura: Mhm. Yeah.

Michael: And in the movie, of course, there’s the choir…

Eric: Mhm.

Laura: That’s true.

Michael: … from the third movie onwards and there’s more extra – so the extra stuff that we don’t get from Rowling, but we get that’s studio mandated, I guess, is that implies that there are clubs out there and there’s…

Laura: Well, the Gobstones Club is brought up.

Michael: Yeah. There… yeah.

Laura: That’s Pottermore canon now, but…

Michael: Yeah.

Katlyn: And it was brought up in Beedle the Bard that they used to have a drama club…

Michael Yeah!

Katlyn: … because you had the whole staging of The Fountain of Fair Fortune and the second video game for Gameboy, I know, they had a music room where you could walk in and there was just a bunch of instruments on the wall…

Laura: That’s cool.

Katlyn: … and it was just really random places to go, but there was, obviously, trying to put in like, “Oh yeah, this is a school. There’s other clubs other than Quidditch.”

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: I think the funny thing too about, that we do see of clubs, because that’s great that you do mention Beedle the Bard, Kat, because the sad thing about the drama club is that the play of Fountain of Fair Fortune goes so horribly awry, that it catches the Great Hall on fire and Dumbledore bans drama from Hogwarts entirely [laughs] and he’s really proud of that. And the thing is too, in the second book, we see the extracurricular activity of the Dueling Club. That also goes so completely awry…

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: … that we don’t see any further dueling clubs after that.

Laura: I wasn’t even talking just clubs, though. Just some social events, like some ice breakers.

Eric: Yeah, well, I mean…

Michael: Like the I Love Flobberworms Club or something like that? [laughs]

Laura: Not clubs, but just when… I mean, I’m in college so it’s different, but even in high school, there would be… they’d have multicultural night and popcorn night and game night, social events.

Eric: Yeah, for sure. I think we should see… because Harry’s so focused on beating Voldemort or that he has to be, that’s his life story, but you’d still think in this chapter, one of the girls that Harry turns down is a foot taller than him and he’s like, “Think about how weird it would be for us, how weird we look dancing together,” and Harry actually has that legitimate thought, but how would he know? He’s never been taught to dance. He’s never been at a dance before. How do any of these students know how to dance or…

Laura: Oh, we’ll get there.

[Laura and Michael laugh]

Eric: How do they know how to dance? How do they know how to observe the niceties of dancing? Because they haven’t been taught it. This is their first dance. This is Harry’s first dance…

Laura: Uh-huh.

Eric: … unless he learned before he was 11.

Laura: Yeah. Well, also something that’s a bit of poor planning – or not poor planning, but obnoxious – on Hogwarts’s part is that it occurs on Christmas. So maybe the people who maybe want to see their families at some point during their childhood can’t even go home for Christmas because it’s the only fun thing to ever happen at Hogwarts ever. So they’re not going to miss it.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Laura: But continue to grow up without their parents. So it would be like… it’s even all of Christmas break. I would just want to be there for the Yule Ball and then be like, “All right, now can I go home?” I don’t know how much of an actual break there is if it’s really that long. I don’t think there actually is.

Eric: Mhm.

Laura: I’m thinking like me where I have a month, but I don’t know. But Lavender and [pronounces as “Par-vuh-tee”] Parvati – I always pronounce her name wrong.

Michael: Parvati?

Laura: Is it [pronouces as “Par-vah-tee”] Parvati?

Michael: It’s [pronouces as “Par-vah-tee”] Parvati.

Laura: Okay. Lavender and Parvati, losing their minds, but I don’t blame them for the aforementioned reasons that this is the only fun thing to ever happen ever. So dress robes are to be worn, which is different as far as the movie goes for the girls because they made them all wear dresses, which I’m totally a fan of because everyone looks so pretty.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: One of the most…

Michael: They do…

Laura: … memorable lines… oh, sorry.

Michael: Oh no, I was just going to say, don’t they wear dresses? Because Hermione wears a periwinkle blue dress, doesn’t she?

Laura: No, she wears periwinkle blue robes.

Michael: Oh, she wears robes. Okay.

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: Wow.

Eric: That’s decidedly un-sexy.

[Laura and Michael laugh]

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: I can’t speak to that.

[Laura and Michael laugh]

Katlyn: Do you want to admit to something? [laughs]

Michael: But…

Laura: Yeah, I don’t know. But I love… this is one of the most memorable lines in the series for me, is when McGonagall – from McGonagall – “The Yule Ball is, of course, a chance for us to all… er… let our hair down.”

[Michael laughs]

Laura: So I just remember reading this and I just thought at this point I was, as a nine-year-old girl, I was reading this and was just so excited at this point, reading it and being like, “This is great!” [laughs] I was not expecting this, but I love it. So then McGonagall pulls Harry aside after class and the true nightmare for him really begins because Harry has to find a dance partner. Not just for the evening, but to open up the whole evening…

[Eric laughs]

Laura: … with the other champions with a dance, which is worst nightmare alert. Absolute… even if… he’s fourteen on top of it. He’s getting… oh God, can’t even imagine.

Michael: No, that’s… it’s funny with this because we’re hosting… this is all perfect timing because we’re actually hosting a Yule Ball at my bookstore in about a week and my boss suggested…

Laura: Your bookstore sounds sounds so fun.

Michael: [laughs] Well, my boss suggested that since we can’t really give out a monetary prize for anything at the party, she thought maybe the prize for best costume – or whatever we’re going to do at the party – could be that the winner gets to lead the last dance. And I was like, “I think that would be more of a punishment.” [laughs]

Laura: A deterrent, yeah.

Michael: [laughs] Because…

Laura: I certainly would.

Michael: It certainly seemed that way here. I can’t imagine most people this age want to go out in front of everybody and dance formally.

Laura: Especially when – Eric, as you said – they’ve never…

Michael: Had dancing lessons.

Laura: … even seen what a dance is.

[Laura and Michael laugh]

Laura: So yeah. So Harry very adamantly is like, “Nope, nah, not happening.” But McGonagall is just like, “Nope, it’s happening. Can’t do anything about it.” And in the film, there’s that perfection of a scene where McGonagall teaches them how to dance and that is the second best, non-canon addition to ever happen to the series. I love it so much. It’s hilarious. It should have been in the book. J.K. Rowling, why weren’t you thinking of that?

[Eric laughs]

Michael: It was pretty… any reason to have more Maggie Smith, right? [laughs]

Laura: Right, and more Weasley twins. It was just everything I loved in one scene.

Michael: Yeah, and it came out like… what was nice about is that came out like Rowling wrote it. She could have written that. So…

Laura: Right. And the girls, how they’re are excited and stuff. And the guys just like, “Nah, not having it.”

Michael: Yeah. That was pretty funny. Wallflowering it up.

Laura: Right. So, but it’s not even just the dancing he has to worry about. He has to ask out a girl. And granted, this is the most nerve-racking thing ever. I would have… during prom when you’re seventeen. Like I said, Harry’s fourteen. He just realized he likes a girl for the first time and now he has to ask her out.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Laura: It’s a lot to handle.

Eric: For sure.

Laura: So a quote I really like, it says, “It was amazing how many girls Hogwarts suddenly seemed to hold. He had never quite noticed that before. Girls giggling and whispering in the corridors. Girls shrieking with laughter as boys passed. Girls excitedly comparing notes on what they were going to wear on Christmas night.” So I thought this was interesting because really as a reader, we feel this way too since it’s coming from… since the books come from Harry’s perspective. Up to this point, all of his acquaintances are male. Obviously, there’s Ron and Hermione and Ginny exists, but as far as his age, we hear Neville, Dean, Seamus, the Weasley twins, Malfoy, all those people. It’s all guys. So this is really the first time… this is really the point in the series where other female characters his age start getting introduced and developed.

Eric: Yeah. Hermione isn’t… Hermione’s different from the pack because she doesn’t… she hangs with the boys a little bit more.

Laura: Right.

Eric: And that’s why Harry and Ron know her, but like what you’re saying, with the guys, they’re together more often and the girls are with other girls, but they’re elsewhere. They’re just not where Harry is.

Michael: Well, and I like that because Hermione blatantly points this out a few times in the chapter…

Laura: Mhm.

Michael: … that it’s like, [as Hermione] “Oh, you finally figured out I’m a girl!” [back to normal voice] And it’s… it is… that’s a really great observation that as the reader, we end up feeling the same way.

Laura: Mhm.

Michael: Rowling uses this chapter to be like, “Hey! There are girls at Hogwarts!”

Laura: And they’re all stereotypically giggly.

Michael: [laughs] They’re all stereotypical, except for Hermione.

Laura: Everyone except Ginny and Hermione.

[Michael laughs]

Laura: Buckets of giggles.

Katlyn: Well, and the very tall girl, who’s very forceful and, “You’re going to dance with me.”

Laura: Oh, yeah.

[Michael laughs]

Katlyn: “It’s going to happen.”

Laura: Yeah.

Katlyn: There'[re] a few others.

Laura: I desperately want to make a That’s So Raven reference, but literally no one will get it, so I’m going to move on.

Michael: Aww. [laughs]

Eric: Thank you for not making a That’s So Raven reference.

Laura: [laughs]

All right. Anyway… and I love that this quote was translated to the movie word for word. “Why do they have to move in packs?”

[Michael laughs]

Eric: They do, don’t they?

Michael: They do. At least from what I… this is another one of those chapters, I think, why it’s so genius is because it is… I think it’s always fun to see an author, an older author, who just gets the age group he or she is writing for so well.

Laura: Mhm. That’s…

Michael: Because this is so on point…

Laura: Right. And it…

Michael: … for her to be that distance from high school and middle school.

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: This is exactly… I went to a charter school for high school, and there were 20 of us in senior year, so it was a lot more compact and everybody knew everybody’s business. But something like a dance did get this kind of… this was almost a daily thing at our school.

Laura: Mhm.

Michael: This kind of drama. So it is really… it is so perfect.

Laura: Yeah. And of course Harry isn’t even making it easy on himself because he wants to ask Cho, who – my personal opinions of Cho aside – is popular and pretty and older, and it’s like, “Aim lower, man. You’re fourteen. If you’re that nervous, go for safe. Don’t reach.”

Eric: Aww.

Michael: Well, yeah, because he gets quite a few offers, so…

Laura: Yeah, and as Ron rather accurately predicts, that people will be lining up to go with Harry. “In tribute to their recently repaired friendship, Ron had kept the bitterness in his voice to a bare minimum.”

Eric: Aww.

Michael: That’s sad.

Laura: But three girls ask Harry to the ball, and he turns them all down! Mr. Big Shot, all of a sudden.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: Lady crusher! Harry “Ladykiller” Potter.

Laura: Yeah. But I really give these girls credit because first of all, they’re strangers. [unintelligible] Intimidating as it is, I asked my date to my senior prom. It’s scary. But he’s not just anyone. He’s Harry Potter, and he’s famous, and he’s also going to be opening the dance and stuff. So this third year girl asks him. Good for you, girl!

Eric: Yeah.

Katlyn: Asking the savior of the wizarding world to go out to a dance with you. Your first and probably only dance, which is weird.

Laura: Yeah. Yeah, if you’re going to do it, do it up.

Michael: Well, yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: The third year girl, she wouldn’t even be allowed to go if she doesn’t get a date, and she went for Harry Potter. [laughs]

Laura: Right. There’s some randos throughout the school. Just go for one of them.

Michael: And Harry somewhat fairly does point out that a lot of these girls are really just asking him because he’s famous.

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: Not because they actually know him. Whereas with Cho, while he is setting the bar high, he has encountered her before because he plays against her in Quidditch.

Laura: Yeah. No, that’s true.

Michael: But, no, I did still feel bad for these poor girls, especially poor third year Hufflepuff girl.

Laura: Getting rejected by anything is awful in a date kind of capacity.

Michael: But to tell your children years down the line that you were rejected by Harry Potter. [laughs]

Eric: Aww. No, no, that’s the part where you play up “I went to school with Harry Potter.”

Michael: “I asked him out and he considered it.”

Eric: “All of this stuff kept happening.” Maybe you don’t even mention that because then people say, “What happened?” “Oh, he turned me down.” But “Yeah, I went to school with Harry Potter, and every year we had a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and all sorts of stuff was crazy and happening.”

Michael: No, no, you say, “He asked me, and I turned him down.” [laughs]

[Eric laughs]

Laura: “And I said no.”

[Michael laughs]

Laura: Better answer.

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: But, sort of as a tangent, Harry’s life is said to be improving. He and Ron are BFFs again, Cedric’s got the Hufflepuffs under control from mocking him, and Draco keeps quoting the stories still, but people are over it and not laughing. And we find out – as, like I said, sort of a tangent to the meat of the chapter – that Rita’s interview with Hagrid, that she only wanted to honor juicy stories about Harry being this troubled kid because, Harry says, “She can’t keep writing about what a tragic little hero I am. It’ll get boring.”

Eric: Yeah, I was relieved upon reading this because Hagrid seems to not have had that bad of a time with her, as opposed to…

Laura: Well, do you know what… remember what happens to him?

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, but on the actual date, he thinks it’s a little weird that she kept asking him about Harry, but right now there’s this lull where it’s just like, “Oh, that wasn’t so bad, that Skeeter woman.”

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah, it is. It’s that calm before the storm because Hagrid really…

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: Right. I would not trust her as far as I could throw her. I’m surprised Harry and all are still like, “Yeah, I guess you escaped the bullet.” I’d be waiting eagerly.

[Michael laughs]

Laura: But it’s rumored that… all of the crazy rumors and gossip are flying… and it’s said that Dumbledore ordered 800 barrels of mulled mead, which Harry’s like, “Obviously that’s not true,” but is it really obvious? Because the wizarding world’s got a pretty lax attitude towards alcohol.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: They’re pulling the stops.

Katlyn: I actually tried to look up and see if mead was an alcoholic drink, and it is, but it actually is a traditional Christmas drink. So that’s another… I can see it being true to that.

Laura: Mhm.

Katlyn: And also the fact that it’s fourth-years and up, and technically it’s going to be mostly fifteen- and sixteen- and seventeen-year-old wizards that are dancing there. Isn’t the drinking age in Britain sixteen or somewhere there? It’s more of…

Laura: No.

Katlyn: Oh.

Laura: It’s eighteen.

Katlyn: Eighteen. Okay, never mind.

Michael: Well, Harry… in the wizarding world, though, it’s seventeen, isn’t it?

Laura: I mean, I guess, yeah.

Michael: Because Harry has his first Firewhisky… they all have Firewhisky, and I know it’s because of the Mad-Eye Moody thing later, but it’s implied that he’s legal because in the wizarding world, you’re legal at seventeen.

Katlyn: True.

Laura: It is implied seventeen.

Katlyn: And Harry does drink mead when he’s sixteen because Dumbledore brings it with him before they go… yeah.

Laura: Right, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that was a legal goings-on but… “Let’s have a drink because we’re real lax about this.”

Michael: [laughs] That comes from school funds, and Lucius Malfoy would have had to know about the mead so, no.

Eric: Well, I think… aren’t all the champions from the other schools at least seventeen?

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. So it’s… I don’t know about 800 barrels, but the fact that all the champions from the other schools can drink…

Laura: Wait, what does that even work out to, number-wise? How many barrels does each person get?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Based on how many people are in school who are legal, it’s ridiculous. Sure, there'[re] other people like Ludo Bagman and stuff who come to see the Yule Ball for its spectacle, but…

Laura: That’s the gift bag, you get a whole barrel of mulled mead.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah, several barrels of mead have been delivered to your quarters. Yeah, it’s a heck of a party favor.

Laura: But Dumbledore did book the Weird Sisters, which thankfully, in the movie, spawned three actually legitimately good songs. I listen to one of them on a daily basis.

Eric: Are they good? Are they really good?

Laura: I think the slow song is a beautiful song.

Eric: Okay.

Laura: I listen to it all the time.

Eric: Okay.

Laura: And “Do the Hippogriff” is great. The other one’s whatever.

Eric: I don’t know. [laughs] I just don’t know. The Weird Sisters always weirded me out in the books. I was glad there weren’t more of them. But it is a missed part of the culture, where you’re like, “Okay, the Weird Sisters are huge.” But who else is there? There’s Celestina Warbeck we know of, she’s a…

Laura: Yeah. I was actually going to ask that to you guys, of… this is the only band we hear of for the youth. Do you think there’s a lot else out there? Or is booking the Weird Sisters the equivalent of booking someone like Lady Gaga? That’s as high up as it goes, or something, as far as youth pop culture goes.

Michael: I think the Weird Sisters are pretty high up. I mean, Tonks is sporting one of their shirts, right? She loves them.

Eric: Mhm. Yeah.

Michael: And so I think they’re pretty…

Laura: Yeah, Ginny has a poster in her room.

Michael: Yeah, and I mean Tonks is frequently referred to by Rowling as more of a punk wizard, so I think that definitely for that crowd, yeah. The Weird Sisters are partly top of the charts. But I always thought it was funny that the Weird Sisters are guys. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: Because I didn’t realize that for the longest time.

Eric: I don’t know where it says… does it say that in this chapter? Because I’m trying to think where.

Michael: I think it might briefly mention it when they get onstage at the ball that they’re guys?

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: But I didn’t know until the video games were released because in the video games, all of the Weird Sisters have Wizarding Cards. [laughs]

[Eric laughs]

Katlyn: Yeah, they’re…

Michael: And there are so many of them, too.

Katlyn: They’re all guys, and there are some really weird instruments with them because I looked it up when it happened…

Michael: Yeah.

Katlyn: And there’s a rhythm guitar and lead guitar and drums and bass and a lead singer like you’d normally see, but then they have a bagpipe player, a cello player, and a lute player. So…

Laura: Sounds like an Irish band.

[Michael laughs]

Eric and Katlyn: Yeah.

Katlyn: It’s very…

Laura: That’s what the Irish do. A little bit.

Katlyn: Well, I didn’t think of that, I guess.

Laura: Yeah. Bagpipes all around. But…

Michael: Lady Gaga would probably love them. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: So yeah, I’d say that’s a fair equivalent.

Laura: So some of the teachers, on the day of the ball, give up on teaching, or leading up to it. But most others power through. And that reminds me on my senior prom day, my last class of the day was calculus.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: No one else taught except my calculus teacher.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Laura: She kept us the whole time to do a calc lesson. I wanted to kill her. Shoutout to my least favorite teacher I’ve ever had.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Wow. Wow. Was that why, Laura? Was that…

Laura: It was many reasons. I am not… I am the worstest at calc you could ever be.

Michael: Can I just point out, too, that once again we have Snape threatening to poison everybody? [laughs]

Eric: Ugh.

Laura: It happens a bit too often for anyone to ever say “Snape’s the best.”

Michael: Yeah. I really like that every time everyone’s happy and jolly, Snape says, [as Snape] “I’m going to test you on antidotes for poison. Muahaha!” [back to normal voice] That’s come up a lot.

Katyln: You have to admit that would be an effective way of teaching, though.

Michael: Yeah, I suppose so.

Katyln: If you were threatened with that, you’d want to learn and you’d want to get it right pretty quick.

Laura: If we start using attempted murder as justification for teaching…

[Michael laughs]

Laura: … I feel like we’re merging into a dangerous territory.

[Michael laughs]

Laura: One of my favorite scenes in the book, and in the movie for that matter – they’re done in slightly different ways – is Fred asking Angelina to the Yule Ball to prove how no-pressure the situation can be if you just don’t make it.

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: It’s what you make of it. He’s just like, “Oh, yeah, I’m going with Angelina. Oh, I should probably ask her. Oh, you wanna go? Sweet. Okay, bye.”

[Laura and Michael laugh]

Laura: That’s it. It’s totally fine. I love it, and I think it’s great in the movie, it’s great in the books. Love the Weasley twins, in case you guys haven’t noticed.

Michael: Yeah.

[Eric laughs]

Michael: We know who you’ll be asking to the Yule Ball.

Laura: Yes. I liked… do you notice it never says who George goes with?

Michael:I know!

Laura: It was me. It was me all along.

Michael: There you go. Oh, I like that. Good. We have a date for George.

Eric: Yes, 1994 Laura.

Laura: That’s my personal head canon.

Michael: She used a Time-Turner. [laughs]

Eric: Oh, okay.

Laura: So Ron’s a jerk and a typical boy because he only wants to take a hot girl…

Michael: [laughs]


Laura: … and doesn’t care if her personality sucks, won’t take a girl like Eloise whose nose is off-center, and understandably Hermione’s quite hurt by these statements.

Eric and Michael: Yeah.

Eric: She’s got to stand up for her race here. [laughs]

Michael: Her race? [laughs]

Eric: Her identity. She feels… it’s hurtful. Ron is hurtful. Ron’s a jerk. We know this.

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: It’s not cool to be as shallow as he’s being.

Michael: Yeah. No, that’s… it’s especially rough here because I think – at least for those of us who were on the Ron/Hermione ship for the whole series – I think a lot of people starting detecting that around Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, so to see him say this… this is a new level of hurtful to Hermione, I believe.

Laura: Honestly, this is why… and me not being a Ron/Hermione shipper doesn’t mean I’m a Harry/Hermione, that’s not what I’m getting at,

Michael: No.

Laura: But I just… Ron’s such a jerk!

[Michael laughs]

Laura: Consistently throughout the whole series. Hermione deserves better.

[Michael laughs]

Laura: There’s no point in the series where I can understand Hermione liking him. He just is a bully for Book 1 and then making fun of… not making fun of her, but doing this in Goblet of Fire, and then doing what he does in Half-Blood Prince. [laughs] It’s consistently bad. So I don’t know. I’m not… I never necessarily understood… it’s not that I don’t understand… whatever.

Eric: Right. I get what you’re saying.

Laura: But anyway. I digress.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Hogwarts is pulling out all the stops for Christmas. There’s permanent icicles on the banisters, the Christmas trees are bedecked, and the suits of armor are singing Christmas carols to anyone that passes them, which I imagine gets really annoying, but it’s probably essentially the same as omnipresent Christmas music on the radio.

Michael: [laughs] I hope they’re a little… I know she said everyone who passes by. I hope the statues are a little more discerning because, yeah.

Laura: Right. Does it become like a “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” scenario…

[Michael laughs]

Laura: … where one person sings and then another and then the next joins in? [laughs]

Michael: What would be great is if you had… if you were like, “Everybody, come watch this,” and you go down to an empty corridor and then they’re lined with statues and just run, run down the row and see what happens. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Katyln: I’d even wonder if they would be triggered by ghosts going by because would they be considered personalities of the things? So even just Nearly Headless Nick going down a hallway, all of a sudden it erupts into song?

Michael: [laughs] That would be sad.

Laura: I actually have a few legitimate hard-pressing questions about these suits of armor.

[Michael laughs]

Laura: This pressing question, I’m going to delve deep. Okay. It says that they’re singing “O Come All Ye Faithful,” which is a Christmas song that’s rooted in actual religious meaning of the holiday. I always got the impression that the wizards celebrate Christmas more on, not commercial, but not for its religious reasons. I don’t think they’re just all Christians that celebrate Christmas. They just celebrate Christmas for the trees and the presents and whatnot, but because “O Come All Ye Faithful” is straight-up religious, do they consider the religious aspects of the holiday then? Are the Christmas carols they’re all singing Muggle? Do the suits of armor know the dance routine to “Jingle Bell Rock”?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I have… you know, Laura, I like this question so much that I would love to turn it into the Podcast Question of the Week, but that’s just my thoughts on it.

Michael: How seasonal.

Laura: I think there might… I’m not sure.

Michael: Well, the only response I can think for it is that in the fifth book, Harry hears Sirius singing “God Rest Ye Merry Hippogriffs.” [laughs]

Laura: [laughs] I didn’t remember that.

Michael: So there are songs, I guess… they’ve taken some traditional Christmas songs and put wizarding spins on them. So I wonder if they do actually sing “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful” with the right lyrics…

Laura: Yeah, that’s true.

Michael: … or if they’ve repurposed…

Laura: If it’s a parody…

[Laura and Michael laugh]

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: Because I think you’re probably more on the mark that they… I don’t think wizards celebrate Christmas for the religious aspects.

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: And that’s a tough thing because I think Rowling didn’t put religion in because there was really no reason to.

Laura: Right. Yeah.

Michael: So… but yeah, that does raise a good question about whether there are…

Laura: And there’s the same thing – correct me if I’m wrong – but don’t they go home for… isn’t Easter also celebrated?

Michael: Yeah. Yeah, they do.

Laura: Yeah, that’s another thing.

Michael: What about the wizards at Hogwarts who celebrate Hanukkah? I’m just asking as the resident Jew.

[Laura and Michael laugh]

Michael: What’s going on with Hanukkah? Do they play dreidel? Do they play dreidel at that point?

Eric: [laughs] There’s a dreidel club.

Michael: There’s a dreidel club.

Laura: Yeah. When you’re walking down the hall, there’s a dreidel that follows you…

[Michael laughs]

Laura: … and it’s just running down the hall one after…

Michael: Enchanted dreidels. I like that. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah. Well, Harry finally asks Cho to the ball in the most awkward way possible. He’s really got annunciation problems…

[Michael laughs]

Laura: He’s like, “wannagoballwime?” Which is the same thing as “diagonalley.”

[Michael laughs]

Eric: He should have done the… well, that’s a movie-ism, but still…

Laura: I know.

Eric: He should have done the… what? Red leather, yellow leather, the diction…

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: All the way…

Eric: … building exercise with your mouth before speaking to Cho.

Michael: … as he was walking up to Cho. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: But Cho says she’s already going with someone – Cedric, Cedric Diggory. And suddenly Cedric is the very worst person to ever live.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: So I really honestly did though enjoy reading… not enjoy, but it was very good writing on the feelings Harry was having as far as describing his insides. They were all mushy and then there were none at all and then they were lead. I was feeling that with him and I was associating similar experiences…

Eric: Mhm.

Laura: It was just really good writing.

Michael: Oh, yeah.

Eric: It’s handled well. It’s handled tenderly. Harry isn’t completely like “can’t go on living,” but it is a character moment…

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: … and he grows from this experience.

Laura: Right. But…

Michael: I do love that – like you said, Laura – that he completely turns on Cedric. Because he was kind of being okay with Cedric. He was like, “Oh, he probably told everybody…”

Laura: “Cedric’s a good guy.” Yeah.

Michael: Yeah. He’s a good guy. He helped with the people wearing the badges. And then suddenly, “He’s a pretty boy. Doesn’t have enough brains to fill an egg cup.” [laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: That’s pretty harsh.

Laura: Right. Exactly. But it’s all not nearly as bad as Ron storming up to Fleur Delacour and asking her to the ball…

[Michael laughs]

Laura: … because that’s just as absurd as it gets. But the thing that I want to know is – this is fine, all embarrassing and funny in this moment – but Fleur becomes his sister-in-law…

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Laura: … and I want to know if every Christmas from now on, if it’s still a running joke. Like, “Hey, remember that time you asked me to the ball?”

Michael: And then ran away.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: Oof!

Laura: Or if it’s like… because Fleur never brings up necessarily the fact that Ron had a crush on her or something, which is just like… I just wonder as they matured and got like thirty…

[Eric laughs]

Laura: … if it was just a joke still.

Michael: I’d like to think it was.

Laura: Kind of awkward.

Michael: But in a way, too… the funny thing about that moment is that Harry at least tries to dampen it by being like, “Oh, she was doing that for Cedric. She was turning on her Veela aspects for a moment.”

Laura: Yeah. Turning on the old charm for Diggory.

Michael: The old charm. So, yeah…

[Laura and Michael laugh]

Michael: So it wasn’t you; it was her. It was a spell.

Laura: Uh-huh.

Michael: And I was like… oh, that was nice of Harry to say that. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah. But we find out Hermione turned down Neville and that Neville is now going with Ginny and Ginny’s all embarrassed about it.

Michael: I love that hint drop there, though, because Ginny gets really upset about it when Harry… Ginny… there’s just these two lines in that moment. The one is where Harry says that he tried to ask out Cho and Ginny stops smiling.

Eric: Mmm.

Michael: And then the other one is when he says that Ron tries to hawk Ginny off on Harry… [laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: … and she’s like…

Laura: Basically just being like, “Oh yeah, she’s there. She’ll go with you.”

Michael: Yeah, and then she’s like, [as Ginny] “Oh, I’m going with Neville.” [back to normal voice] And then it’s so sad because this is the first hint since Chamber of Secrets that we really get that Ginny still has feelings for Harry.

Eric: Mmm.

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: Because she was like, “Dang it! I could have gone to the ball with Harry!” [laughs] So close.

Laura: Right. And I actually wanted to ask that. How would you think the night… what would have happened – let’s say Ron did ask Hermione and Harry did go with Ginny – would anything have – with Hermione looking all pretty and the whole romance of all of it, since they’re not going to be all angry that they’re with the Patil twins – do you think their relationships would have progressed faster had they been each other’s Yule Ball dates, even if both of them had gone as friends?

Eric: I think… I definitely think so, because you’re experiencing that stuff together. These dances as we learn don’t come around too often, and I think just the physical act of being that intimate and dancing with somebody would absolutely increase it. Whereas with the Patil twins, you’re right, they all end up with these partners that they don’t necessarily want or expect to go with.

Laura: And they get bitter at…

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: … everything that’s happening. I wonder if Harry would have still been a jerk, because Harry – I cannot understand, it’s not justified – but Ron’s being a jerk to Padma because he’s having all these feelings about Hermione and Krum. Harry’s all mad about Cho and I wonder if he would have been that way if he had taken Ginny, if he would have been still openly like, “This sucks.”

Michael: What do you think, Kat?

Katlyn: I think he would have, because at this moment he’s really and truly in love with Cho, and Cho is the older woman of the crush. And he would still be thinking, “Okay, Ginny is Ron’s little sister,” and that kind of thing, especially if it was set up in the way that Ron did it. Like, “Okay, I’m just going to pass my little sister off on you so that you can have a date to dance with.” If it’s that way and it wasn’t like he actually went and found her himself, he would still be like, “Oh, I wonder what Cho’s doing right now.”

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: Mhm.

Katlyn: I think they’re still at that immature age where it can be like, “Yeah, you’re a nice girl, but I’m still only with you right now because your brother said I could go with you.”

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: Friend zone.

Michael: I think that’s what would have happened, because we get a sense throughout these chapters that while Harry is starting to be interested in girls, he doesn’t have any sense of romance. [laughs] At all.

Laura: No. [laughs]

Michael: And I think Ginny probably… if she had gotten to go with Harry, she probably would have envisioned a very romantic evening full of perfect dancing and just… oh, they would have kissed at midnight and it just would have been so perfect. And Harry would not deliver on that at all.

Laura: Right. So it’s probably for…

Michael: The better.

Laura: … most definitely for the better that this didn’t happen.

Katlyn: I think Harry kind of had to experience the downside of dating Cho, get that first dream girl out of his head…

Laura: Yeah, get it out of his system.

Michael: Mhm.

Katlyn: … and is shown to be a weepy kind of girl and go like, “Oh, this isn’t really what I thought it would be,” before he can look at other girls and realize, “Hey, there’s other women here. I could maybe give them a chance.”

Michael: Yeah. I think that’s very on-point. I don’t know what would have… I don’t know what to say about… I think that it’d probably be similar with Ron and Hermione… well, I think Hermione would probably be more resigned to the fact that she’s not going to get an uber-romantic evening out of Ron, but I think her expectations would still be higher than the result.

Laura: Yeah. I think the fact that Hermione is all pretty is one thing, but I think the thing that honestly makes Ron realize that he has some sort of feelings is the fact that he sees her with Krum. That’s the…

Michael: Yes.

Laura: … moment of jealousy. Because obviously Ron’s… one of his many fatal flaws is that he is a super jealous person.

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: That had a lot to do with it. But Hermione kind of mocks Harry and Ron for being turned down by the people they ask. And I love when they’re all cracking up laughing and Hermione’s like, “Oh, what are they laughing about?” and Ginny’s like, “Oh, they just got turned down by their dates,” and then they just stop laughing.

[Michael laughs]

Laura: But Ron quickly spirals into saying all of the wrong things he could possibly ever say. He’s like, “Oh, Hermione, you’re a girl…”

[Michael laughs]

Laura: “… and you obviously wouldn’t be asked by anyone because who would ever do that? So you might as well go to the ball with me as my last resort.” And Hermione says, obviously, that she’s going with someone else. And then Ron doesn’t believe her and everything, so then Harry very – as you said, Michael – unromantically just asks Parvati to go with him. Very business-like…

[Michael laughs]

Laura: … transaction type thing of like, “You don’t have a date. Great. Cool. We’re going, and who can Ron bring? Great. Cool. We’re going.”

Michael: [laughs] “And then put your sister in this bargain. Hey, what can we do here?”

Laura: Yeah.

[Laura and Michael laugh]:

Laura: And, you know, I find it… one of the Gryffindor guys – it’s either Dean or Seamus – says later that the Patil twins are two of the best-looking girls in the year, so I find it kind of hard to believe that no one asked them already.

Michael: Yeah. What the heck?

Laura: Or that they wouldn’t ask someone. I don’t know.

Michael: Yeah. I agree with that entirely. The Patil twins are implied to be very, very good-looking young ladies, so I am very surprised that they were not approached. And the funny thing, too, is they both – Parvati and Lavender – kind of were eyeing Harry anyway. So maybe Parvati was just waiting to see if Harry would ask her.

Laura: Yeah. I would have assumed that Dean would have taken Parvati because Seamus is taking Lavender.

{Michael laughs]

Laura: But whatevs. So then it says, “Harry went back over to Ron feeling that this ball was a lot more trouble than it was worth, and hoping very much that Padma Patil’s nose was dead center.”

[Michael laughs]

Eric: It’s the little things in life.

Laura: The end of one of my favorite chapters. [laughs]

Eric: Well, I said it’s really the little things that you have to worry about, right?

Michael: Oh, yeah. Dating in the magical world is not easier with magic.

Eric: I forgot how kind of funny this chapter was in relation to boy/girl stuff because a lot of people peg Book 6 as being the romance book.

Laura: Yeah. If this is like a Disney Channel sitcom, Half-Blood Prince is like the Disney Channel original movie as far as it goes… aspects of it…

[Eric laughs]

Michael: I don’t know. Can we bump this up to the level of a Disney theatrical release comedy? [laughs]

Eric: Oh, gosh. Probably.

Laura: Maybe.

Michael: I think this is more on that level. This is really well-written stuff, and the thing is it’s… I always thought it was funny that this ended up getting the most probably full transfer to the movie…

Laura: Yeah. That is a good point.

Michael: … as opposed to everything else in the book. Because while this is fun in the book and it really is a great break from the intensity, it doesn’t… it segues really nicely in the book, whereas in the movie it’s pretty jarring. Especially because they don’t really know how to get out of it once it’s over.

Laura: Yeah, it does. It’s kind of weird, but…

Michael: So… [laughs]

Laura: Also… and this is more pertinent, I guess, to the next chapter, but I remember watching the bonus features on the Goblet of Fire DVD and they do this dance thing. Someone’s teaching them… not the ballroom dance, but everyone’s doing the same choreographed dance that was cut out of the movie. But it’s never seen anywhere and I’ve spent many times looking for it.

[Eric laughs]

Michael: Yeah. The choreographed stuff was cut pretty short in the film. I liked though that Dan had no idea how to dance and he had less training than the rest of them because he was filming the underwater scenes.

Eric: Hmm.

Michael: And so then in all of his interviews he’s like, [as Dan Radcliffe] “Oh, no, I was just being in character.”

Laura: Mhm.

Michael: “No, that was… I was just being Harry. It’s not that I didn’t know. I can dance… I can cut a rug.”

Eric: I can vouch for Dan’s dancing because if you saw him on Broadway, man, he clearly…

Michael: Yeah, that changed! [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. That picked up. I’ve seen that man do things that I didn’t think was possible to do with the human body, so…

Michael: Yeah, that was insane what he was doing in How to Succeed in Business.

Eric: All the power to Dan for that. Of course, we do have a Podcast Question of the Week for everybody. And this is a bit lighter coming off the huge house-elf discussion, which occupied the first part of this podcast and all of last week’s episode. This is a very light one. Our Podcast Question of the Week is as follows: “In this chapter, the characters scramble to find partners for the upcoming surprise Yule Ball. This event is the only dance to occur as a scheduled event at Hogwarts and, consequently, none of the characters are particularly in practice. Apart from the void in school dances in the Harry Potter books, what additional school activities that you have experienced would you like to see transferred to Hogwarts?” Now, we’ve talked a little about this before. There’s the Chess Club, the Gobstones Club…

Laura: Not just clubs, social events…

Eric: … but I’d like to see what more people can think of with a magical turn, what you can come up with.

Laura: Yeah. Be more creative using magic to interpret these school events… and not just the clubs, like social events.

Eric: Yes, social events. Pep rallies, homecomings, maybe a float. Can you imagine if they had a float parade or something?

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Well, we’re done giving you ideas. The interest, the intelligence, creativity of our listeners always surprises us, so please do not let this Podcast Question of the Week be any different.

Michael: And as a secondary question, will… if any of you come to the bookstore, any of you listeners come into the bookstore to my Yule Ball, will you dance with me?

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michael: Wannagoballwime?

Katlyn: Where is your bookstore?

Michael: [laughs] It’s in Albuquerque. It’s Alamosa Books. Everybody should check it… you can check it out online and…

Laura: Everyone buy a flight to Albuquerque.

Michael: Yeah. You do not want to miss this. This is going to be big. We’ve already got eighty people signed up, so…

Laura: Wow.

Eric: Will they fit in your bookstore? Because you should probably not invite people if it’s going to violate fire hazards.

Michael: [laughs] We’re good, we’re good. I don’t think… unfortunately, like LeakyCon, we don’t give everybody enough advance notice, so I think we’ll get that one person who comes from Kansas or something. That has happened before for author events.

Eric: Hmm.

Michael: But we also wanted to thank our guest tonight. Thank you, Katlyn, so much, for being on the show today.

Katlyn: Thank you, thank you.

Michael: That was a lot of fun. And it was so cool to actually be able to hear you discuss the comment that you wrote on the forum.

Katlyn: Yeah, it was a lot of fun to discuss it. Thank you for having me.

Laura: So if you would like to be on the show like Katlyn, you can find out how by heading over to our website and checking out the “Be on the Show” page at the top of Please make sure you have appropriate audio equipment so you can record yourself. And in the meantime, subscribe and leave us your review on iTunes.

Eric: And there are multiple ways that you can contact us if you have a thought or a theory or anything else at all that would be relevant to the show. You can find us on Twitter; we are at, or @AlohomoraMN on Twitter. We are on Facebook at And we have a hotline – you can leave us a voicemail. Call us anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 206-GO-ALBUS – that’s 206-462-5287. And you’ve heard on this episode a comment that was left to us via Audioboo. Audioboo is a great, easy way for you to leave a voice comment to us, and you can find that Audioboo right on the main page – – of the podcast, and you can leave us your thoughts. All you need is a microphone. It is completely free and not subject to tolls or any of the other things you may find on a phone, so…

Michael: And of course, if you are heading to any Yule Balls this season, you’re going to want a gift for your date, and we have a store just for you. We have T-shirts, short- and long-sleeved because it’s getting cold out there. It’s actually snowing here in New Mexico, yeah. Tote bags, sweatshirts, flip-flops – for later, obviously – water bottles, travel mugs…

Laura: For right now.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Flip-flops are right now.

Michael: Wear those flip-flops right now. Water bottles, travel mugs, and more coming soon. We also have the Mandrake Liberation Front and Desk!Pig shirts now available. We have over 80 products to choose from to romance your Yule Ball date, and we also have ringtones so you can have something to dance to at the Yule Ball. So you can dance to our theme song. So yes, check it out.

Eric: There is, of course, the Alohomora! app for your phone available seemingly worldwide. Prices do vary, but this app is really fun. You can get transcripts to the episodes, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, sometimes we add a little video, and it is accessible via downloading this app, which information for you can find on our website, which once again is

[Show music begins]

Eric: Well, I believe that concludes this episode of Alohomora! Thank you all for listening. I’m Eric Scull.

Michael: I’m Michael Harle.

Laura: I’m Laura Reilly. Thank you for listening to Episode 60 of Alohomora!

Eric: Open the Dumbledore!

[Show music continues]

Eric: One moment while a train goes by.

[Sound of a train in the background]

Laura: Is that Michael Gambon?

Eric: [as Goblet of Fire movie Dumbledore] Go to ball with me!

Michael: [as Goblet of Fire movie Dumbledore] Wangoballwime?! Wangoballwime?!

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Laura: Oh God.

Michael: [as Goblet of Fire movie Dumbledore] Professor McGonagall, wangoballwime?

Eric: [as Goblet of Fire movie Dumbledore]
Go to ball with me!

Michael: [laughs] That sounds more like Hagrid, doesn’t it?

Eric: [as Hagrid] Ah, yes. Madame Maxime, wangoballwime? Madame Maxime?

[Michael laughs]

Laura: All right.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michael: How could you say no to that, Laura?