Transcript – Episode 7

[Show music begins]

Caleb Graves: This is Episode 7 of Alohomora!, for July 15th, 2012.

[Show music continues]

Caleb: Hey guys, welcome to another episode of Alohomora!. We have another guest on the show this week, but before we get to that, I’m Caleb Graves.

Rosie Morris: I’m Rosie Morris.

Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller.

Caleb: And our guest of this week is someone who comes to us from MuggleNet Interactive. Her name is AJ. AJ, do you want to give a quick introduction of yourself?

Jennifer Anderson (AJ): Hello everybody, I’m AJ. I am 33 years old, I live in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and I’m a stay-at-home mom to three wonderful children!

Kat: Great! Well, welcome to the show. We’re happy to have you on.

AJ: Thanks! I’m happy to be here.

Caleb: Yeah, thanks for joining us.

Kat: We would like to take a moment to thank our sponsors Audible. Exclusively for fans of Alohomora!, they are offering a free audio download! They have over 100,000 titles to choose from, so head over to to get yours now.

Caleb: All right, guys. For our last episode we talked about Chapters 13 and 14 of Philosopher’s Stone, so we want to, as usual, do a quick recap of what we discussed there. So, our first comment comes concerning Hagrid being motherly, and the comment comes from our main site – and I know I am going to butcher this name.

[Kat laughs]

Caleb: Efthymia? I apologize if I ruined that. But the comment says:

“I believe Hagrid’s fascination with dangerous creatures and his willingness to trust people stem from the same thing; being half-giant, people have been prejudiced against him all his life, expecting him to be violent etc., because this is the stereotype people have of giants. But since Hagrid is the complete opposite of the stereotype, I think he wants to give creatures with a bad reputation the chance he would like to be given himself. He doesn’t want to be mistrusting because he doesn’t want to be mistrusted [himself]. Also, his father was a man who was willing to have a relationship with a giant, therefore he clearly both went against stereotypes and showed a lot of trust, and I assume he raised Hagrid this way.”

Kat: Can I just comment on that very last bit about the relationship with a giant? Can we just talk briefly about how a man, Hagrid’s father, and a giantess, for lack of a better word, copulate?

[AJ and Caleb laugh]

Caleb: Yeah, that always definitely had me a little concerned, to put it mildly.

Kat: It seems like it would be kind of violent.

[AJ and Caleb laugh]

Caleb: Oh God, we better be careful on this one.

Kat: [laughs] Yeah.

Caleb: But it is a good comment, I definitely agree with you. He has faced a lot of stereotypes himself and I think that’s why later, especially when we see Grawp come into the picture, even Hagrid is fighting for their stereotype to be sort of broken of those around him.

Kat: Yeah. I mean, again, it just proves the point that you kind of grow up to either react to or become the environment that you grew up in, and this is another perfect example. So, good comment.

Caleb: Yeah, definitely. All right, and our next comment comes from LeslieLovegood on our forums, and she says:

“During the podcast we wondered what Hermione would have seen in the mirror.”

Speaking about the Mirror of Erised.

“In a 2006 interview Jo said, ‘As you know, Harry, Ron, and Hermione have just finished their penultimate year at Hogwarts, and Hermione and Ron have told Harry that they’re going to go with him wherever he goes next. So, at the moment I think that Hermione would see most likely the three of them alive and unscathed and Voldemort finished. But I think that Hermione would also see herself closely entwined… with… another… person. I think you can probably guess who.'”

Kat: Yeah. I mean, that’s a great quote, and a lot of people sent that in to us. But that’s after Half-Blood Prince. I mean, we’re talking Philosopher’s Stone. What would she have seen in her first year? I mean, like dancing “Outstanding”s on her O.W.L.s?

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: Little “O”s dancing across the paper?

Caleb: Probably so. I mean, maybe she’s even more nearsighted than that right now, just hoping to get through all of her exams this year.

AJ: I think that at this point, at the end of the first book, maybe she would see herself being accepted by her peers. Because at the beginning of the book nobody is her friend, and then she finally becomes friends with Harry and Ron. But then they mess up and they lose all those points for Gryffindor and suddenly nobody is talking to her again. So, maybe at the end of the first book she’d see herself as friends with everyone.

Rosie: Yeah, that was my thought too, that she would see herself with at least Harry and Ron as friends. I get the idea that Hermione is the kind of person that maybe didn’t necessarily have friends much during her primary school years as well. So, that’s almost why she’s kind of immersed herself so much into trying to learn about the wizarding world in all of her books. She wants to fit in.

Caleb: Mhm.

Rosie: And that’s what she wants in the Mirror.

Caleb: Yeah, I would agree. I think – that’s a good point, Rosie. I hadn’t really thought about much of Hermione’s life before she’s at Hogwarts, but I would also be willing to bet she probably didn’t have much friends then either. Her parents probably also kept her with a pretty sheltered lifestyle.

Rosie: Especially being dentists, she wasn’t even allowed sweets.

Caleb: [laughs] Yeah, exactly.

[AJ laughs]

Caleb: That’s so funny. All right, great comment. And our next one comes regarding gold and Gamp’s law, and this is from the main site from ZeoRegrediens. I apologize if I mispronounced that. The comment says:

“I think that gold is valuable to wizards because it is one of Gamp’s exceptions, rather than an exception because it is valuable. Gold wouldn’t be valuable anymore if just anybody could produce it at any time. And I think Galleons are made out of gold. You completely undermine their economic system if anybody can create gold. It’s a subtle difference but a difference nonetheless.”

Rosie: I think that’s a really interesting question when it comes to the last book. If you think about when the trio are in the vault in Gringotts and they’re trying to find Hufflepuff’s cup, they’re in amongst a lot of gold, which then replicates. So, how can it be one of Gamp’s exceptions when it’s obviously possible to replicate it? Unless they weren’t pure gold items, of course.

Kat: Yeah, I wonder if they stay. Kind of like Leprechaun gold. You know how it vanishes?

Rosie: Oh yeah, true. Yeah, maybe that’s what it is.

Kat: It’s probably just meant to suffocate. And you probably couldn’t take it out of there and spend it, is what I would imagine.

Rosie: Yeah. You couldn’t really hold it because it would just keep replicating.

Kat: Yeah.

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: But that makes sense. That comment makes sense.

Caleb: Yeah, I guess my only problem with it, potentially, is: if gold is valuable to wizards because it is one of Gamp’s exceptions, does that mean gold is valuable to Muggles also because of Gamp’s exceptions? Because even though we don’t – we’re not – Muggles – it’s still something that’s very valuable.

Kat: I wonder – yeah, if the wizarding world influenced the Muggle world in that way. That’s a good thought.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: I’ve never thought about that. That makes sense.

Caleb: Well, interesting point. Gamp’s law, I think – well, I would love it if we continue to talk about this throughout the series, because I still want – I hope J.K. Rowling tells us one day what they all are, because I really want to know them all.

Kat: Maybe she doesn’t know herself.

Caleb: I mean, yeah. So, if you’re listening, Queen Rowling, let us know what is next.

[AJ and Kat laugh]

Caleb: Figure it out.

Kat: Oh, that would be a dream come true.

AJ: No kidding.

Caleb: All right, and our next comment comes about how we discussed Snape and the Quidditch match. And from the main site, Remus_Lupin_12 says:

“Hermione and Ron had prepared the Leg Locker curse to use on Snape in the match. If they had used this on him, would his legs snap together with enough force to break the broomstick he’s on?”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I thought that was a pretty great comment. Really funny.

Caleb: That’s clever.

Kat: Yeah, very clever.

Rosie: Hopefully not. [laughs]

Caleb: Well, I mean – well, I guess from a bystander’s view, hopefully not. But it still would have been pretty amusing, I guess.

Kat: I would have loved to see it.

Caleb: Especially at this point because you think that Snape is such a terrible person. So…

Kat: Yeah. [laughs] It would have been good.

Caleb: [laughs] And continuing with the Snape comments, this time also regarding Filch and Madam Pomfrey, from our forums, Ali Wood says:

“Does Madam Pomfrey’s confidentiality extend to staff and/or Dumbledore? I would assume she would tell the headmaster if something odd happened, including someone (especially a teacher) coming in with a huge bite out of their leg on the night a troll got into the dungeon. Madam Pomfrey cares very deeply about the students and if someone came in with a suspicious injury from a night all the students were in extreme potential danger, she would say something. In fact, I’m sure she tells Dumbledore every time a student comes in with an odd injury.”

AJ: I think there has to be some sort of a code of ethics that she goes with. I mean, it’s one thing for someone to come in because they tripped on a moving staircase and hurt themselves. But something like that – at least I would hope if I was sending my children there – that word would get back to Dumbledore or whoever the headmaster was that something strange was going on, because I would want my children protected in that way.

Kat: But how many odd and weird things do we think happened before Harry Potter got to the school?

AJ: Well, with the Weasley twins there I’m sure quite a few things.

Kat: Yeah, but probably not a troll and three-headed dog bites, I would imagine.

Rosie: It is Hogwarts, I’m sure there’s plenty of interesting things that happen without Harry being there. I mean, the Marauders had their adventures. There was a werewolf at school for at least seven years.

[Caleb and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: Yeah, and I also just don’t see Dumbledore wanting to know. Unless – this comment sort of alludes to – if it’s something major on a particularly dangerous night, that’s one thing, but if it’s just hoodlums out there doing their stuff, I don’t think Dumbledore is really particularly interested in what shows up. He knows what happens.

Kat: Hoodlums, is that what you said?

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: Nice.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yeah, I’d agree with that. He probably doesn’t care about the trivial, charm exploration stuff, the dueling fights, whatever.

Caleb: Yeah. But I think Madam Pomfrey takes her role – and like AJ was talking about, sort of ethical code – her role very seriously. I mean, we even see times where Dumbledore is talking about how somewhat nagging Madam Pomfrey can be about what she wants done with regard to the healing process. So, I think she pretty much – she runs that show. I think she does what she need to, and Dumbledore respects that.

Kat: How long has she been at Hogwarts? Does anybody know?

Caleb: I don’t know. We don’t get really that much information on her. Let me look it up. I can’t remember if…

Kat: I mean, I bet it’s been years. She’s…

Caleb: I’m going to check out the Lexicon. Shout out to Steve for his…

Kat: Yeah, what up, Steve? Is she – in my head – maybe this is movie canon leaking into book canon, but in my head she looks very old fashioned, so I imagine she’s been there for a while.

Rosie: Yeah, I think she was meant to be quite old and quite strict, so I think she is kind of the idea of the…

Caleb: Oh, we know – okay, according to the Lexicon, she’s middle aged, but she’s older than Sirius and James because she was the nurse at that time.

Kat: Okay.

Caleb: So, she was around for the Marauders.

Kat: No age for sure. Not sure.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: Okay.

Rosie: Hopefully we’ll find out more about her as well. Come on, Jo!

[Caleb and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: Exactly.

Kat: I have a feeling we’re going to be left with a lot of unanswered questions.

Caleb: Probably.

AJ: Yeah, unfortunately.

Rosie: But even aside from Poppy Pomfrey at this stage, why didn’t Snape tell Dumbledore what was going on if he suspects Quirrell? If he’s going to risk his own legs trying to stop him, why doesn’t he just go and tell Dumbledore?

Caleb: Well, do we know that he doesn’t tell him?

Kat: I don’t know.

Rosie: If he does then they don’t seem to do anything.

Kat: But this feeds back into the theory that Dumbledore already knows without Snape telling him, right? Because Dumbledore is creating all these events anyway.

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: Although, I mean, he probably couldn’t have guessed that Voldemort was in the back of Quirrell’s head.

Rosie: No.

Caleb: Yeah, that’s fair. I don’t think he knew that either.

Kat: Yeah, I don’t think Snape even knew that. He probably thought he was getting messages from him.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: From elsewhere.

Rosie: Yeah.

AJ: Yeah.

Kat: Things to ponder.

Caleb: Definitely. And our next comment comes from our forums and it’s actually many of you guys who are on our forums talking about the Invisibility Cloak. So, there’s a large discussion going on on our forums regarding the Invisibility Clock and whether or not it changes its size, length, et cetera, to cover and protect the owner as they grow older and/or larger, et cetera.

Kat: Yeah, the discussion is really intriguing. Some people – because they comment – this stems from our discussion about the cloak when Harry and Hermione were carrying Norberta up to the tower, and a lot of people were commenting on how no matter how old they seem to be – with the exception of the very, very later books – the cloak seems to kind of stretch and change to accommodate them.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: I think to an extent it’s just artistic licence. I don’t think the cloak actually does change. It’s just…

Caleb: Yeah, because definitely when they get older they have trouble fitting, and I think even to some point in the end – I can’t remember when it happens, but they say something about how all three of them can’t fit under it anymore. Only two of them go or something like that. So, I don’t think – yeah, I would agree with Rosie. I don’t think it can really grow that much. [laughs] I think this Deathly Hallow – its ability to not ever waiver in its ability to provide invisibility is enough magic, and I don’t think that’s really something else that it can do.

Kat: Yeah, I’d agree with that. I agree.

AJ: Me too.

Caleb: It’s still an interesting thing you have to consider.

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: Maybe that’s something other invisibility cloaks that – obviously we know that they are not strong as this Deathly Hallow. Maybe that’s a feature that they’re able to do, and there’s some sort of trade off between being able to do that and how long it can last or something like that.

Kat: Huh. Yeah, maybe. Like a weird spell on the fabric or something.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: Well, if you want to join the discussion, you can go over to the forums at and put in your input.

Caleb: Definitely. And our final comment about the chapters from last week comes about Hogwarts security, and this is on our forums from hydrosistalon. And the comment says:

“At this point Voldemort is not in power. Also, they have the man who is considered to be the world’s greatest wizard as their headmaster. I cannot see anyone trying to break into Hogwarts unless they were crazy or had a very good reason. Also, they would have a hard time getting into the common rooms if they were trying to kill or kidnap a child.”


Kat: It is so not true because Sirius Black got into the castle and into the common room.

Caleb: That’s true.

Kat: So, I feel like they definitely need some kind of security, and the fact that there was none is either very lacking or – again, feeds into this theory, again, that Steve presented to us last week, that Dumbledore is orchestrating everything and that he knew they were going to be there.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: But Kat, look at that comment. It says that they wouldn’t break into the castle unless they were crazy or had a very good reason. Sirius was thought to be crazy and he definitely [laughs] had a very good reason to try and break in.

Kat: That’s true, but the comment – I mean, I guess I was commenting on where they said they’d have a hard time getting into…

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: …the common rooms. Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah.

AJ: Well, Sirius got into the common rooms because he found Neville’s list, because he left the list of all the passwords laying around, so Sirius got a hold of that.

Rosie: And he got into the castle using a secret passage that no one else knew about…

AJ: Right.

Rosie: …because it’s the one into – under the Whomping Willow, and only the Marauders knew about it.

Caleb: Yeah. Well, I think Sirius in general is this special exception to a lot of those things.

Kat: That’s true.

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: Good old Sirius!

Kat: But I mean, do we really think that there was no security?

Rosie: No, there must be some security. I mean, you’ve got the castle walls that no one is supposed to be able to get through and even the doors that we see – I think it’s Flitwick – talking to, but that’s later on in Prisoner of Azkaban again. There is definitely security but just possibly not enough because they don’t think that Voldemort is a threat at this point.

Kat: How do you think – if you remember back to when – or in the later books, when Voldemort comes back to ask for the post of D.A.D.A. teacher. How do you think he got to the school? Did he walk from Hogsmeade?

Rosie: Well, we see Lucius Malfoy come and kind of stalk around quite often, so it must be possible to get into the school without necessary going to it. I mean, yeah, you must just be able to walk from Hogsmeade or there must be some kind of point at which you can – an entrance point somwhere.

Caleb: Hmm, yeah.

Kat: But what about if – at this point, everyone had escaped from Azkaban. It seems to me as though all those Death Eaters would just be able to walk up to the school and go right in.

Rosie: Hopefully we would know if they escaped. [laughs]

AJ: Yeah, if there was a mass breakout I’m sure that steps would be taken to ensure the safety of the students.

Caleb: Yeah, and we know that that does happen.

Rosie: With the Dementors.

Caleb: Arguably in inefficient means, but yeah.

Kat: All right. I concede.

[Caleb laughs]

Rosie: Cool. Okay, so that was our chapter discussion from last week but we also had our special feature which was the Beast Inquisition, which was all about dragons, [laughs] which I was really annoyed that I missed because anyone out there who knows me knows that I am completely obsessed with dragons. So, I’m really happy that I get to feedback on this one. So, we had some really great comments, and this one is from Cypress on our forums. It says:

“I agree with the statement that Charlie would be something akin to a ranger for the U.S. parks services. He would be charged with the health and well-being of dragons, much the way of a ranger in Yellowstone. If that is the case, what would happen to the dragons that wandered off the reserve or the poachers who went onto the land to kill them?”

What do you guys think?

Kat: That makes me sad! I guess I never thought about the fact that there were poachers.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: But there must be.

Rosie: I mean, to get things like the wand cores, dragon heartstring, you have to kill a dragon.

Kat: Yeah, but do you think that they are taken from dragons that are already kind of dead or dying?

AJ: I would hope that they would wait.

Kat: I mean, I can’t see Ollivander going to this reserve and killing a dragon to make wands.

Rosie: No, you’d hope not. [laughs] But that’s the thing, isn’t it? I mean, if you think about wand cores – I mean, phoenix tail feather and unicorn hair – they’re not particularly living aspects of these creatures. They are things that fall off that you can collect. With dragon heartstring, it’s very different.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: Does that maybe show a bit of the violent nature of the animal that it’s coming from?

Caleb: Yeah, I would think so. And sort of thinking about Ollivander, I agree that he would not be seeking out live dragons. I think, almost, that he would want a dragon that has gone through its life, died because probably there was some – at least to him, there is some value in the aging aspect of it.

Kat: Oh, that makes sense. Like, it’s stronger…

Caleb: Mhm.

Kat: …because it’s coming from an older dragon who has kind of lived?

Caleb: Right.

Kat: Is that what you mean?

Caleb: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rosie: I’m sure dragons battle each other as well, if they’re that kind of protective of their eggs.

Caleb: Definitely.

Rosie: They probably do die of natural causes or of other dragon fights fairly often.

Kat: Do you think they are able to roam freely in the reserve? Or are they kind of caged up like we see them in Goblet of Fire?

Caleb: I would think somewhat freely.

Rosie: I would hope they were free range dragons. [laughs]

Caleb: Yeah, I would think somewhat freely. I don’t see Charlie and the gang boxing them up in cages.

Rosie: I think they’re quite like giants. They know what’s good for them, they know where it’s safe and where they can hide. I mean, we hear Ron talking about dragons living in – is it Scotland or Wales? Just in the mountains. I think it’s Wales, Welsh Green.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: So, there are safe places for dragons outside of the reserve as well, but they know what’s good for them, they know their habitat, and they know where they’re safe.

Kat: Good. Okay, I’m with that.

Rosie: So, our next comment is from Kridell on the main site, and it says:

“Going off of why Draco has his name, I think it is truly based off of the constellation. The Black family is known for naming their children after stars, with Narcissa being the exception, and I can see Narcissa wanting to continue the tradition. The constellation Draconis is circumpolar, which means that it never sets. It is, in essence an immortal constellation. Assuming that both Lucius and Narcissa paid enough attention in Astronomy, I can see them enjoying that fact. Draconis also used to contain the North Star in about 5000 B.C. which could symbolize a leader to many. With all that powerful symbolism, who wouldn’t want to name their kid that?”

Caleb: That’s an awesome comment. I love it.

Rosie: Definitely.

AJ: I totally agree with it. There are so many instances on the Black family tree where the witches and wizards are named after stars. I mean, you have Bellatrix, Sirius – they’re both stars. You have Orion, Cygnus, Andromeda, Draco – they’re all names of constellations. So, it could very well be a continuation of that tradition.

Kat: But are they all Blacks by marriage or by birth?

Caleb: I think most of the ones she just mentioned are by birth.

Kat: Okay. Well, then that makes sense.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: Good catch!

Rosie: Especially with Draco being a dragon and being a powerful name, there’s definitely a lot of good points about having that name.

Kat: But is he powerful?

Rosie: Not necessarily in life, but the hope for his birth. If you want to name your child to set him up to be something great, you would want a great name to go with that.

Kat: Right.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: But I mean, did they achieve that, I guess is what I’m saying. Is Draco – is he living up to his name?

Caleb: I don’t particularly think so, at least in the respect we’re thinking. I see Draco just like his parents. Like, they will do what it takes to survive. And I think there is certainly a strength in that. It’s why the Malfoys are some of my favorite characters in the series. But as far as sheer strength and being a dominating force, like perhaps a dragon, I don’t see that as much.

Rosie: But living up to a name is a really interesting idea when it comes to Draco because he’s constantly trying to live up to the Malfoy name, if not his own first.

Caleb: Yeah, that’s true.

Rosie: He’s always constantly trying to be the Death Eater in waiting.

Kat: See, I was never really convinced that that’s who he truly wanted to be. I feel like…

Caleb: But think about it. Whenever Lucius gets put into Azkaban, he feels – whether – I mean, there’s definitely some pressure there, but he does go through with it. He gets his Dark Mark and he takes his father’s place.

Kat: But he does that for his father, right? I don’t think it’s necessarily because he believes in all the philosophies. I mean, sure he grew up with that and it’s kind of part of who he is, but I also think that if he hadn’t grown up with that he wouldn’t have necessarily agreed with those values.

Rosie: Yeah, I definitely think it’s a nurture thing. He’s definitely living up to his name because that’s what he’s expected to do. I think Draco is a really interesting character in so far as how he changes throughout the books as well. I mean, the idea that he’s living up to this kind of expectation of his father kind of carries on throughout the books as he sees Harry going from strength to strength on his own rights, and I think Draco – I don’t know if jealous is the right word, but he almost learns a better way of doing things through watching and being an enemy to Harry throughout the books.

Kat: Yeah, they definitely give and take a lot to each other…

Rosie: Yeah…

Kat: …personality-wise and experience-wise, for sure.

Rosie: Cool! Okay, great comment! Our last comment is from KyKid92 on the forums, and it says:

“Regarding the international prescription against the breeding of dragons: umm, do you really need any reasons other than the obvious ones?”

[Caleb laughs]

Kat: Nice. Thanks, Chris, for that. Yes, actually, we do. Otherwise there would be no reason to have this podcast. So…

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: There are plenty of reasons, including obvious ones. And who wouldn’t want a world with dragons in it?

Caleb: Yeah. I mean, I agree. And I am with you, Rosie. I absolutely love dragons because it ties so much to so much other literature and myth, and it just – I just love dragons!

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: I mean, they’re everywhere. I mean, I think about how many stories would be totally different if there wasn’t a dragon in them.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: And they’re so interesting as well as a kind of folk memory. You can tie them to dinosaurs, you can tie them to ancient stories of crocodiles and things like that. And they’re like unicorns. They’re something that pretty much every single culture has knowledge of, whether they’ve got access to our modern stories of them or not.

Kat: Yeah.

Rosie: And they’re just ever present, even if they never existed. So, let’s hope that one day they did! [laughs]

Caleb: Absolutely.

Kat: Yes, let’s hope. [laughs]

Caleb: Absolutely. And all this talk about dragons being in so many other stories reminds me that everyone – all you listeners out there – should check out our sponsors, Audible. They have what you want – what you really, really want – to listen to.

[Kat laughs]

Caleb: Over 100,000 titles to choose from in just about every genre.

Kat: Yeah, I love the huge selection that they have. I mean, I get my daily newspaper, my monthly magazines, and of course my fulfil of audiobooks, all in one place.

Caleb: Exactly. And Audible is the best place for all your downloading needs. Plus, Audible has a really great special offer for all of our U.S. and Canadian listeners. They can visit our unique link created specifically for them and get a free audio download today. Right now. You just have to go to

Rosie: I’ve been really into The Hunger Games series lately, obviously with the big movie that just came out. And I actually just purchased the Catching Fire audiobook, and I love it! It’s really crisp, it’s really clear, and it was super easy to download.

Caleb: Yeah, and every one of our listeners should take a minute to visit the site and start downloading directly to their computer right now. For easy listening on burned CDs, mp3 players, and even your iPad, iPhones or Androids. So, again, the website made just for you is Audible – A-U-D-I-B-L-E – podcast – P-O-D-C-A-S-T – dot com slash open – O-P-E-N. So, visit for your free download today!

Kat: So, let’s jump right into the podcast question of the week. This is the recap from last week. Since Noah is not here, I’m taking this over for him for the week. And the question last week is in response to Steve Vander Ark’s theory about Dumbledore kind of being the creator of all of the events that happen to Harry, not only in the first book but kind of overall. So, the question is: there are two possible answers to the incredible narrative that happens throughout Book 1. First, the magical universe has a way of working for a purpose – objects in the world work with each other due to a kind of innate magical quality. Or, is Dumbledore truly making things happen behind the scenes? And we got a lot of comments about this question. People are very, very passionate about it. So, I just chose a few of the best ones here. Let’s see, this first comment is from Bludger-Hugger on the main site. Nice username, I really like that. Here, she says:

“If Dumbledore is in fact making things happen, why is it that he allowed himself to be drawn away from the castle the night Quirrell/Voldemort went after the Stone? Would he really have wanted Harry to face Voldemort face-to-face at such a young age?”

What do you guys think about that?

Rosie: I don’t know, I find it really hard to discuss Dumbledore because he changes so much when we get to his sort of final story in Half-Blood Prince. I think he would have wanted Harry to face Voldemort when he knew Voldemort wasn’t at his strongest. At this stage, even if he is playing things behind the scenes, Dumbledore knows that Voldemort is still this kind of ghost figure. He isn’t at full strength, so if there was any time for Harry to kind of face him and come to terms with what happened in his early childhood, it would be while Voldemort is still at this stage. So, an eleven-year-old, twelve-year-old facing a ghost is a lot easier than a fifteen-year-old facing a fully-fledged Dark Lord, as he later does.

Kat: Yes, I suppose that’s true.

Caleb: Yeah, this question definitely – I always thought about this, too. Like, why is Dumbledore gone this night? And maybe it is just because – I mean, if we want to go with this theory that Dumbledore is making things happen, maybe he knew he needed to be away so that Harry would sort of take it into his own hands.

Kat: Or maybe Dumbledore really was just duped.

Caleb: It’s possible, yeah.

Kat: Isn’t it possible? I mean…

Caleb: Well, yeah, and I guess we’ll talk about this when we finish up. But I think there’s something in the chapter – unless I’m forgetting or I’m wrong – that it says that he rushed as soon as he heard or something, back to the castle. So, I think it’s possible that he – it just happened.

Kat: He does make mistakes.

Caleb: Absolutely.

Kat: He proves it time and time again. [laughs]

Caleb: Yes, definitely.

Kat: So, our next comment is from SarahSlytherin, again on the main site. She says:

“The way I see it, Dumbledore knew with a high degree of certainty (because of the prophecy and the actions Voldemort took because of it) that one day Harry and Voldemort would be warring against each other. I feel as though many things Harry experienced were orchestrated by Dumbledore as a way of preparing Harry (and ensuring his success) in this eventual battle for the greater good of the wizarding world. If Harry hadn’t gone through the experiences he had in the first six books, it is obvious that he wouldn’t have been able to hunt down the Horcruxes and defeat Voldemort.”

Caleb: Yeah. This is sort of what I was kind of just alluding to, I guess.

AJ: Well, I think – I mean, obviously Dumbledore did hear the prophecy. Well, at least kind of, because Snape went and told it to him. But yeah, I mean, eventually we all know that – well, at least Dumbledore knows – that Harry and Voldemort would have to face off one by one because neither could live while the other survives. So – I mean, I’m a big believer in the Dumbledore being the master manipulator, and I totally agree with that wholeheartedly.

Rosie: I think it is clearly shown in this book as well. If we look at the final chapters, which we’ll be discussing a little bit later, pretty much everything he has to face at the end of this book is stuff that he’s already just experienced in this first year. I think we’ve discussed before how strange it is for the professors to be setting tasks that a first year could handle. So, if there isn’t some kind of influence of Dumbledore kind of setting that up, especially with the Mirror of Erised in Chapter 17, I think there’s definitely some kind of tweaking going on to make sure that Harry is ready to do this final challenge.

Kat: Well, actually Killey2011, again on the main site, kind of has a comment on that idea, Rosie. The comment is:

“I think that magic will find a way to work, but Dumbledore has the ability to bend it even farther, up to the point where everything in the whole series is caused by something that he’s done. I also think that when he sets things into motion, the people involved have the ability to change the outcome, but really, Dumbledore is always the one behind the curtain, whispering the instructions.”

Rosie: Definitely.

Caleb: Yeah, I like that.

Rosie: I love the Wizard of Oz allusion as well.

Caleb: Oh, too true. Yeah.

Kat: Yes. [laughs] NightStrike91 points out that things working out in favor of the plot isn’t exclusive to Harry Potter. The comment says:

“There are many stories out there that wouldn’t have been working if it wasn’t for some curious circumstances occurring to move the plot forward. I tend to answer similar questions that pop up while I read all kinds of books with: ‘Well, if it wasn’t a little bit extraordinary, it wouldn’t make a good story.'”

Caleb: [laughs] Yeah. That’s also – I mean, clearly that’s a literary device that’s used quite often.

Kat: And our last comment on this topic is from Alnwickist. The comment is:

“As J.K.R. has said, Dumbledore is her/she is Dumbledore. J.K.R. controls and manipulates all that happens in the ‘Harry Potter’ universe.”

Caleb: Hmm.

Kat: So, I guess it’s true that if you think of it that way, Dumbledore really is controlling everything because J.K.R. is controlling everything. There would be no universe without her.

Caleb: That’s true. It’s a good way to wrap up that question, I think. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah, I would agree. With that, let’s jump right into the chapters that are going to be discussed this week, and they are Chapters 15 and 16 of Philosopher’s Stone.

Caleb: Great. So, we start out with Chapter 15 entitled “The Forbidden Forest”, and we get to finally jump into this dark, mysterious place. And it starts off with Harry – if you remember, we finished off our last episode with Harry and Hermione getting caught being up on the tower, and Harry is in trouble and he’s thinking a mile a minute for an excuse. And I want to point this out because it was written so well that it took me back to so many times [laughs] where I had been in these sticky situations, and I feel like a lot of us have experiences where you’re trying to think of the best excuse to put out there for whatever it is that you’re in trouble for. Have you guys experienced this? I’m sure.

Kat: Well yeah, I was the goody two shoes growing up…

Caleb: Okay, okay.

Kat: …so I never really got in trouble. I mean, I didn’t even go to the principal’s office once, so – I can’t say that this has ever happened to me, but I’m sure it’s happened to many of my friends.

AJ: It’s definitely happened to me when I was younger, and now having kids, when my older kids get in trouble you can definitely see it…

Caleb: I hope they pull it out on you, that’s so funny.

AJ: Oh, you can totally see it on their faces. Their eyes are going back and forth really quick. It’s actually kind of cute.

Caleb: [laughs] That’s so funny, I love it. All right, so Neville is, we find out, also in trouble. It’s not just Harry, Hermione, and Draco but also Neville because he has shown some more of his Gryffindor-ness – breaking rules to try to keep his friends out of trouble. And we see a lot of that in this chapter, so we can come back to that in a bit. So, Harry brings up – well, excuse me – Harry is in this situation with McGonagall ready to discipline them and it made me wonder: has nothing this crazy ever happened at Hogwarts – meaning dragons being involved somehow – to where McGonagall is so unwilling to believe it actually happened? She immediately rules out that dragons have been there and she thinks they have made up this story to get Draco in trouble. That made me wonder for a bit.

Kat: Well, we touched on this briefly before, but this got me wondering: wasn’t McGonagall around when Tom Riddle was in school?

Caleb: Yeah, I think she would be. Yeah.

Kat: I think so, too. So, do you think he really didn’t tell anyone about Aragog? Because if he caught Hagrid with Aragog and he turned Hagrid in, someone must know about her existence. So obviously, maybe if McGonagall knows then this shouldn’t be so far-fetched for her is my point.

Rosie: I think it’s more the fact that they are first years running around with a dragon. I mean, dragons are rare anyway. You wouldn’t expect one to be at Hogwarts necessarily…

Caleb: That’s true.

Rosie: …even though McGonagall would know about Hagrid’s love of them.

Caleb: Yeah, so maybe…

Rosie: I just – I don’t think…

Caleb: …if they knew that Hagrid – if she knew Hagrid was involved somehow, she might be more willing to accept it. But the fact that it’s just a couple of kids…

Kat: All right, I suppose I could see that.

Caleb: I buy that, yeah.

Kat: Yeah. Okay.

Rosie: And it is more likely that they are trying to do – trying to get Draco in trouble, because she knows about their rivalry. So…

Caleb: Yes, definitely.

AJ: That’s house rivalry that’s been going on forever though, so that too.

Caleb: Yeah. Also I just have to take a moment because reading this as a Gryffindor, I am hurt at the many house points she takes away.

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: It’s like, “Girl, that’s our house! You are trippin’ by taking so much!” Punish them please, but man I was hurt as a Gryffindor.

Kat: I mean, that’s a lot of points and I wonder if it’s – obviously part of it is a plot device because then Dumbledore gives them back to them in the end, but fifty points each?

Caleb: Geez!

Kat: I agree, that seems like a lot.

Rosie: And just for a simple lie, as well – a simple lie in being out of bed. That’s overkill, definitely.

Caleb: Yeah. Yeah! That’s the thing. It’s a lie in being out of bed, so it’s almost like maybe Rowling makes it so much to sort of keep the dramatic plot going as they are shunned by their house and ignored by everyone so it gives them room to get out and go to the third-floor corridors. Maybe it’s just all part of that.

Kat: But I have to wonder how many students are caught out of bed. I mean, does she take fifty points away from all of them?

Caleb: Yeah, because I mean, I know I would have gotten caught out of bed. That’s a common thing to be, I feel like.

Rosie: Yeah, that was my biggest shock in that chapter. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe them running around with a dragon, it’s that, “Four students out of bed, I’ve never heard of such a thing!” I mean, really?

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: Four students out of bed at one night and that’s rare? This is a school with how many hundreds of kids?

Caleb: [laughs] Yeah.

Rosie: It’s a boarding school, they’re going to be out of bed fairly often.

Caleb: Exactly.

Kat: Yeah, that’s probably the one rule I would have broken over and over again myself.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: If only to go down to the kitchens to get some food.

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: [laughs] Yes, exactly.

AJ: Definitely. Well, it also makes you wonder if there’s some sort of a point scale they go by, like this infraction merits this amount of points lost, or if it’s just one of those things that the professor is like, “Well, I feel like docking fifteen points,” just for no reason whatsoever. I mean, there has to be some sort of accountability there. Otherwise, people could just go around docking points in obscene amounts for seemingly no reason.

Kat: Well, here is this, too: if you remember, Harry gets caught out of bed in Prisoner of Azkaban when he sees Peter Pettigrew on the map. Snape catches him and he doesn’t take away any points.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: He doesn’t even – I mean, for Snape that’s usually the first thing he says, is “Ten points – five points from Gryffindor.”

Rosie: So, is McGonagall just in a bad mood, or has something else happened?

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: Or is it literally just a plot point?

Kat: Both, maybe.

Caleb: You tell us, fans. You tell us.

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: Yes, tell us what you think.

Caleb: And so they lose all these points. I’m still broken and hurt, and so are the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws because they are upset that Gryffindor has lost this opportunity to beat Slytherin. So, clearly my thought is they are not doing well enough to make a run for it, which makes me say: they need a better work ethic. They need to motivate themselves to get up there.

Kat: Ooh, them’s fightin’ words!

[AJ laughs]

Caleb: I’m sorry, you can’t expect us to do all the work. Come on, get out there and do it!

Rosie: But it’s all to do with Quidditch, isn’t it? I mean, Ravenclaw would have been up there if Gryffindor hadn’t just won all those points in Quidditch. Is that – am I misremembering that?

Kat: No, that’s true.

Caleb: No, that’s right. Yeah.

Rosie: So, they are trying. It’s just hard when you’ve got kind of this sporting thing that gets in the way.

Caleb: Yeah, I guess it’s just when someone wins something for so long, everyone is rooting for anyone to topple them.

Kat: Well, yeah. And Gryffindor, as we’ve all said, they kind of feel like the jock house. So, I’m not surprised that…

Caleb: Yeah. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah, you’re proud of that, huh?

[Caleb laughs]

Kat: That they – and this is going to sound rude. Sorry, Gryffindors – but that’s kind of how they usually jump ahead, is by winning the Quidditch matches. At least that’s what we see in the books.

Caleb: Well, they don’t win the Quidditch Cup for a while, even though they win this House Cup, so…

Kat: Right. Well, that’s what I mean.

Caleb: Yeah, yeah.

Kat: Because they get the points from the Quidditch match. So…

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: We Ravenclaws prefer books to brooms.

AJ: That’s right.

[AJ and Caleb laugh]

Rosie: And we Hufflepuffs just don’t care about the points so much as just living it up. It’s fine.

Kat: That’s right, it’s all about life with the badgers, isn’t it?

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: So, Harry leaves the library at some point and he starts to hear voices. And as he investigates, he hears Quirrell sobbing in response to someone. Later we realize it must be Voldemort. Is this the first time we really hear Quirrell conversing with Voldemort? And also, even though the room is empty, Harry of course still finds a way to fit Snape into the picture, saying that Snape must have just left.

Kat: Yeah, I think it’s the first time that we see him talking to himself.

Rosie: But isn’t that interesting, the fact that the first time we actually see him, he is this kind of broken figure?

Caleb: Mhm.

Rosie: He’s not wanting to do what Voldemort is telling him, which is unlike what we see later on.

Caleb: Exactly.

Kat: This is the point where he gives in, right? He just says, “All right, all right!” and he’s sobbing. And then, just a couple of days later – boom – Chapter 16 happens.

Caleb: Yup.

Rosie: What do you think that Voldemort was asking him to do at this point? I’ve always assumed it was hunting down the unicorn and trying to get him to drink its blood, because of what Hagrid says. But I guess we’ll discuss that a bit later on.

Kat: I mean, it must be. It must be, “We need more blood. Go kill another one.”

AJ: Yeah, that was my thought, too.

Caleb: And so, since Harry is able to work Snape into the picture and still blame him, he and Hermione and Ron think that Snape finally has enough information to make a move on the Stone. So, that sort of sets up – we’re finally getting into this point where we are going after Snape to stop him. And then we get – but Harry, even though this suspicion is coming, he’s like, “Nah, I ain’t gonna mess with it. I already just lost so many house points. I’ma sit here and study my Astronomy.” And this is sort of a trivial point, but he mentions how he’s studying Jupiter’s moons. And I’m just thinking, man, I’m really glad that I didn’t need to name Jupiter’s moons in school, because I don’t even think I could name one right now.

[AJ laughs]

Kat: Isn’t that why you’re in Gryffindor?

Caleb: Probably.

Kat: And not Ravenclaw?

Caleb: Yeah, exactly. Why don’t you throw that in there, all right?

[AJ laughs]

Rosie: Just ask Hermione. [laughs]

Kat: You got it. I know them.

Caleb: All of them?

Kat: Uh-huh.

Caleb: Wow. Of course you do. That is so funny. [laughs]

Kat: Eagle. Right here.

Caleb: Uh-huh.

Kat: All right, sorry. Continue. [laughs]

Caleb: So, we get to detention – and we’ve talked about this on the show before, but I’m not over it – 11:00 PM detention in the Forbidden Forest. Let me just say, if I had kids I would be – AJ, you can talk about this since you have kids – I would be pissed if my kid got this sort of punishment. I mean, hello, dangerous!

AJ: But you know what, though? I have to agree with Hagrid on this one because Draco Malfoy brings up thinking about instead of going into the forest just writing lines. I mean, that really serves no purpose. Having a detention at this hour, doing something the kids absolutely hate is going to teach them a lesson that they are not only going to lose their study time, they are going to lose their sleep, and yet they are still going to have to be able to function the next day in their classes or whatever. So, this is something that is definitely going to drive the point home that, yo, you did something wrong. It’s time to pay the piper. Stand up to it, serve your time, and don’t do it again.

Kat: But it obviously doesn’t work.

AJ: Well, no it doesn’t.

Caleb: Yeah.

[Kat laughs]

AJ: But still, the point is there.

Caleb: Yeah.

AJ: Because seriously, you sit a kid down and you say, “Okay, write lines.” What’s going to happen is they are going to get bored with it, they are going to find creative ways to do it, and their hands are going to hurt, and that’s going to be the end of it. It’s something simple, it’s something easy. Whereas this going into the forest, actually having to do something not only that they don’t want to do, but at a time where they would much rather be doing something else – it’s an actual punishment. And I’m all for it.

Rosie: And it’s not like they are sending them in there without Hagrid. It’s not like sending them to fend for themselves in the Forbidden Forest. They are setting up an actual task, they are doing a specific thing, they are doing something very useful for the school and for Hagrid, and they have got protection there.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: But my thought is, as much as I love Hagrid…

[Caleb laughs]

Kat: …he’s not exactly – how can I put this gently? Not that I don’t trust him, but he’s pretty careless.

[AJ laughs]

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: I’m not sure I would want my children in the Forbidden Forest with him.

Caleb: Yeah, and we’ll get to that because I have so many issues with this set-up.

Kat: [laughs] Yeah.

Caleb: And I also wonder about this punishment. Coming back to what Steve brought up last episode, do we think that Dumbledore somehow manipulated the forest as the punishment so that Hagrid could be in charge to make sure Harry was safe? Or is that just because that’s the most likely punishment and Hagrid is of course the only person that can really lead kids into the forest?

Kat: Well, what other options were there?

Caleb: Sometimes they had to clean trophy cases, didn’t they?

Kat: Yeah, and burp slugs all over them.

Caleb: Yeah.

[AJ laughs]

Kat: Yeah, but I mean – I don’t know, I feel like it’s a pretty extreme punishment regardless of the situation. And I don’t see it as being a routine either because there’s probably not slain unicorns in the forest all that often.

Caleb: Yeah, that’s true.

Kat: Or if ever.

AJ: Yeah, never because…

Rosie: I think if anyone was going to have manipulated this it would be Hagrid rather than Dumbledore.

Caleb: That’s right.

Rosie: Hagrid wouldn’t even kind of notice that it’s a dangerous task for them to do.

Caleb: [laughs] Of course not.

Rosie: I think he would just consider that he is kind of helping Harry out by being nice and being their guardian during this detention.

Kat: Right, instead of being stuck with someone like Snape.

Rosie: Yeah.

Caleb: Mhm.

AJ: And even Hagrid says that there’s nothing in the forest that’s going to hurt them if either Hagrid or Fang are with them.

Rosie: Yeah.

AJ: So, maybe he really does think that it’s safe for them.

Rosie: If there’s one person you want to be in the Forbidden Forest with, it is actually Hagrid because he is friends with all of the horrible creatures.

[AJ and Caleb laugh]

Kat: That’s true.

Caleb: He’s got the street cred.

[AJ, Kat, and Rosie laugh]

Kat: Yes, he does. Card-carrying member, I think.

[Caleb and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: And as they’re about to get into the nick of things, Filch is mentioning how – [laughs] he says something about coming back the next morning for what’s left of them, and he’s almost hoping for this outcome. Do we think that Filch really would be pleased to see something like that happen? How would he have reacted if something really bad had happened to one of them, maybe if one of them would have died?

Kat: I mean, I think he is so bitter and so angry over the fact that all these kids have magical powers and he doesn’t that – I’m not sure he’d be happy about it, but I don’t think he would lament over it at all.

Caleb: At least not publicly.

Kat: Yeah.

AJ: Well, it’s definitely a jealousy thing because he is completely jealous that they have magic and he doesn’t.

Kat: Yeah. I don’t think he’d be sad, unfortunately. [laughs]

Caleb: Terrible.

Kat: Maybe he would try and suck their magical powers out or something.

Caleb: [laughs] Oh God. All right, and they’re getting into the forest and they’re splitting up and – the topic of it being dangerous comes up, and I’m just wondering can Hagrid – because Hagrid mentions that as long as they’re with he or Fang and on the path that they’ll be fine. Can Hagrid really be sure that nothing will hurt them if they are with he or Fang? I mean, if a swarm of Acromantulas come out of nowhere I don’t know if Fang can fight them all off. Which also makes me think, why does he have so much confidence in Fang? Is it just, again, carelessness or is there – for some reason, Fang can defend himself or others against magical creatures?

Kat: I mean, he – Fang is a coward to the tenth degree.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: So, I think Hagrid just loves Fang and it’s his companion so he feels like a part of himself is probably in his dog. But I have no confidence in Fang whatsoever.

[Caleb and Kat laugh]

Rosie: I don’t think…

Kat: I would not go in the forest with him.

Rosie: Yeah. I don’t think it’s Hagrid having confidence with Fang. I think it’s Hagrid having confidence in the creatures of the forest, that they respect him. If the swarm of Acromantulas came out then just the presence of Fang – which kind of represent the presence of Hagrid…

Caleb: Oh okay.

Rosie: …and that would mean that – obviously because Hagrid saved Aragog and kind of cared for him…

Kat: But that’s…

Rosie: …then they have that kind of respect and that kind of family – almost like a blood oath. They wouldn’t hurt things.

Kat: But that’s not true because isn’t Fang with Harry and Ron in the forest in the second book?

Caleb: I don’t remember off the top of my head.

AJ: I don’t think so.

Kat: What happens to him? Oh, does he get scared and run off or something? No, he’s there.

Rosie: But Hagrid isn’t. When they’re in the forest in the second book, Hagrid has been sent to Azkaban, hasn’t he?

Kat: Well, right…

Rosie: So, the protection of the forest has been lifted almost.

Kat: Right – well, that’s what I mean.

Caleb: Yeah, you’re right. And they go get Fang to go with them. Yeah, I think you’re right.

Kat: Right, right. But even at this point they would be split up. So I mean, if an Acromantula came along they wouldn’t necessarily know Hagrid was somewhere else in the forest, so wouldn’t they attack?

Rosie: But I think in the second book the Acromantula know that Hagrid is in Azkaban. They know that their gamekeeper hasn’t been in the forest for a long time. So, I think the kind of – the threat of Hagrid’s reaction isn’t there. If anything were to happen to Fang and the boys and Hermione while they were all there in the first book, Hagrid would definitely do something about it. Even if it wasn’t straight away.

Kat: Okay. I see what you mean. Okay.

AJ: And they did definitely have Fang with them in the second book when they went in because – and I actually have it in front of me. So, they definitely had Fang and the spiders were definitely fighting Fang at that point.

Kat: Good.

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: Yeah. So, Hagrid mentions he’s never known a unicorn to be hurt before after he introduces to Harry, Hermione, Neville, and Draco that that’s what they’re going to be doing. And I thought this was really – a really good move on Jo’s part because I think it sets up this idea that something so pure and so good, the unicorn, can only be hurt by something so evil and awful. And – which we know is now Voldemort. So, I thought that was just really clever of her.

Rosie: One thing I’ve always picked out at this point is that they were talking about werewolves and werewolves not being fast enough to actually catch and kill a unicorn.

Caleb: Mhm.

Rosie: And I just thought it was strange that – I mean, in Prisoner of Azkaban we see that unicorns – sorry, we see that werewolves are actually incredibly fast. So, if unicorns are even faster, how does Quirrell manage to catch one?

Caleb: Yeah.

AJ: Magic.

Kat: Right.

[AJ laughs]

Rosie: Is magic really that much more powerful than a werewolf, and if so then how come wizards can’t protect themselves from werewolves more often?

Caleb: Yeah, that’s – huh. I mean…

Kat: Hmm, this seems like a boo boo. Uh-oh.

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: On Jo’s part, I mean.

Rosie: Yeah. It’s an interesting kind of slight paradox.

Caleb: Well, I guess there’s also the fact that if a werewolf is attacking you, you’re caught in that moment – especially if you’re – you don’t – when you’re being attacked by something you don’t always have your wits about you to be able to defend yourself as well as you maybe could.

Kat: Yeah, I guess we’re not all Bear Grylls, right?

Caleb: Yeah.

[Kat and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: So, we finally get to meet some centaurs, which I was really excited about when I read the first time. And the first thing that Ronan, the first centaur we meet – the first thing he says is that Mars is bright. So, I thought this was really also a clever pull because Mars is the Roman god of war and it’s like boom boom battle coming.

[Kat laughs]

Caleb: So, just a little aside. And…

Kat: A little foreshadowing.

Caleb: Right. And the centaurs are oh so frustrating.

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: They just keep repeating over and over about the stars – Mars being bright, stars being in line, whatever. Again, not up with the Astronomy. But I just want to scream at them. Just tell us what’s going on, okay?!

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: But clearly they have little concern about the day to day events of wizardkind comparatively to our human friends.

Kat: Yeah, well I mean, they live a lot longer than we do.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: So, to them a day doesn’t really matter.

Rosie: Yeah, wizards are just insignificant beings to centaurs. They are just things that are kind of in the way.

Caleb: Yeah. And so we see some red sparks and Hagrid, good God, leaves Harry and Hermione.

[AJ, Kat, and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: I’m just like, “WTF, dude. You know that there is something going on that is killing unicorns and you leave my kids alone! Shame on you. Shame on you.”

Kat: Again, the bad judgment. I mean, I love Hagrid but he has bad judgment.

Caleb: Man. And so they – well, I guess – so there is some time that passes, because they split up. They – thankfully, nothing happens to Harry and Hermione while they are alone, and they all get back together, figure out that Draco is just messing with Neville. Poor Neville. And they split up again, so now it’s Draco, Harry, and Fang. And they see this shifty, shady figure. Malfoy bolts, and so does Fang. [laughs] I mean, so much for the defense.

[AJ and Kat laugh]

Caleb: So much for this defense that Hagrid builds up, because Fang – he’s like, “Huh-uh, I’m out there. I’m chasing the blonde boy. I’m getting out of here now.”

Kat: Tail between his legs. Yup.

Caleb: [laughs] Exactly.

[Kat laughs]

Caleb: So, like you pulled out earlier, Kat…

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: …Fang is not worth anything right at that – at least not at this point.

Kat: No.

Caleb: He is a coward. Love the dog, but…

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: …not going to defend anyone.

[Kat laughs]

Rosie: But so is Malfoy, interestingly. And not only does Malfoy bolt, but he screams.

[Caleb laughs]

Rosie: He draws attention to himself before he runs.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: If there’s the worst thing you could possibly do if you’re afraid is to draw attention to yourself in that way.

Caleb: Yup.

Kat: Well, Malfoy is not one of those people who thinks about his actions before he does them. He’s very instinctual. He just does it and deals with the consequences later.

Caleb: Yup.

Rosie: Or leaves Harry to deal with them.

Kat: Exactly.

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: So, we get this shifty figure who is sucking on some unicorn blood and Harry suddenly feels this immense pain on his forehead. He relates it to like his scar being on fire. And – so clearly this is a big heads up for the reader, because I can’t think – after all we’ve talked about in Philosopher’s Stone, of a time where the scar is hurting this much. And especially – you’re getting near the end of the book – at least when I read this, I was like, okay, so something is – this is big. Something is going on.

Kat: I mean, yeah. The most pain we’ve gotten is a twinge.

Caleb: Mhm.

Kat: Like, at the head table in the beginning of the book, when Quirrell is facing away from him and Harry thinks it’s Snape.

Caleb: Right.

Kat: I mean, that’s the most we’ve gotten.

Caleb: Mhm.

Kat: So yeah, I mean, at this point I definitely was like, “Oh my goodness, what’s going on? Is something killing him?” I had no idea.

Caleb: Right. All right, so we find out from Firenze what the unicorn blood actually does to someone who drinks it. So, basically that they – for someone who is so close to death that they’re so desperate, they don’t have any other options, but they lived a – they’re basically cursed, where they can only live a half-life. And I’m just thinking, back to when I read it the first time, this is some intense stuff. I mean, it is dark, twisted, and at the same time intrigued me so much when I read it that first time.

Kat: I mean, would you guys drink unicorn blood if you were dying?

AJ: No.

Caleb: No, no. No way.

Rosie: I think the fact that we all say no so quickly there just shows how desperate Voldemort must have been.

Caleb: Yeah. I mean, clearly. Absolutely. Yeah.

Kat: But what if you were nineteen, or twenty-one, and you hadn’t lived? You wouldn’t do it?

Caleb: I don’t think so.

Kat: Hmm.

Rosie: I am 21, and no. [laughs]

Kat: I might. I think it would depend on how I was close to dying.

Caleb: Hmm.

Rosie: I guess that’s the difference. Voldemort has already kind of half-died.

Kat: Yeah.

Rosie: He’s in a non-existence.

Caleb: Yeah. That’s actually something I think we should toss to the fans. What would you guys do? I think that we could get a lot of really interesting opinions there.

Kat: I mean, I feel like to – it says when you slay something so pure and defenseless to save yourself, you have but a half-life. But what if your intentions are good? What if you’re not doing it for evil?

Caleb: I still think you’re…

Kat: And what if the unicorn is already dead, but you drink the blood? Because then you didn’t kill it.

Caleb: I don’t think it’s selective like that.

Rosie: Will it still have the same…

Kat: But…

Rosie: I think there’s a lot of technicalities involved. If you are doing it for good, how could you ever kill something for good?

Kat: Yeah, but if it’s already dead then you haven’t killed it.

Caleb: Yeah, but it’s still – I think it’s still going to have the same effect.

Rosie: Maybe its blood wouldn’t have the same power.

Kat: Perhaps, because it says that the curse comes from killing – from slaying the beast. From…

Caleb: That’s true. That’s a good point. Hmm.

Kat: I mean, if I was dying and I wandered across an already dead unicorn, I’d be all over it.

[AJ and Rosie laugh]

Kat: I’m just saying. Especially if I was murdered or it was something that I didn’t do. Not that I would ever do anything on purpose. This is getting really dark, sorry.

[AJ and Kat laugh]

Kat: I just mean – I would probably do it. Not in all situations but in that one at least, if the unicorn was already dead.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: But in a sense it’s the same as creating Horcruxes. If you’re living a half-life, you are kind of ruining your own life by killing another thing in exactly the same way as creating Horcruxes.

Kat: Yeah. I’m interested to see…

Rosie: So, would you create Horcruxes?

Kat: No.

AJ: No.

Kat: Because I couldn’t murder somebody.

Rosie: I think that is the definition, though. If that’s what the curse is, you are murdering the unicorn.

Kat: But not if it’s already dead.

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah, I…

Rosie: I don’t think that…

Kat: What?

Rosie: Hagrid says that he has never heard of a unicorn being hurt before, so maybe they…

Kat: Don’t die?

Rosie: Maybe they don’t die. [laughs]

Kat: It’s possible. That’s true, maybe the opportunity has never presented itself.

Caleb: Yeah. It’s probably not that at all frequent that you would happen upon a dead unicorn with its blood…

Kat: I wonder if they kind of fade into the mist, like the earth reabsorbs them. That’s why they’re never found dead.

Caleb: Perhaps.

Kat: I mean, maybe they live forever? I don’t know. I don’t know much about unicorns. So again, throw it to the fans. Tell us what you think. What would you do? What do you think? Teach us about unicorns, listeners.

Caleb: So, Firenze alludes to Voldemort’s return and Harry realizes this. He thinks back to what Hagrid said about not believing Voldemort is really gone. He goes back to that quotation where Hagrid is like, [imitating Hagrid] “It’s codswallop, if you ask me.” [back to normal voice] But…

Kat: Good Hagrid. Good one.

Caleb: I can’t really match Noah’s voices. So… [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: But I thought this was really interesting as we get to the end. Hermione is not really buying the centaurs’ fortune-telling. And we’ll talk more about that aspect in our special feature, but I think it’s sort of interesting because it sort of previews to how she won’t do well with Divination because she much prefers the logical aspect of things.

Kat: Yeah, she’s a very – she needs to touch and see things happening to believe them. She’s not much to believe in the iffy things in the wizarding world.

Caleb: Definitely.

Kat: Fortune telling, Divination – the mythical things, so to say.

Caleb: So, we wrap up this chapter with the detention finally being over, they get back to the common room and Ron is up there, and Harry discovers that the cloak is back. He has his invisibility cloak back. So…

Kat: “Just in case.”

Caleb: “Just in case.” Mischief can continue.

Kat: That’s right.

Rosie: Okay. So, moving right along into Chapter 16: “Through the Trapdoor”. So, we start off with a bit of time passing and we see Harry is worrying his way through his first-year exams. We actually learn quite a lot about the practicalities of the Hogwarts exams at this point, with clues about the school’s anti-cheating quills and also how the school does both theory and practical exams. We get another brilliant example of Jo’s humor here, with the kids having Snape breathing down their necks as they try to remember how to make a Forgetfulness Potion.

Kat: [laughs] Yeah, I love that part.

[Caleb laughs]

Kat: I always laugh when I read that line. It’s a good line.

AJ: I always find it amusing that the one test is they have to make a pineapple tap-dance.

[Caleb and Kat laugh]

AJ: Seriously, that’s one of the silliest things. Is some wizard going to hold a wand to your throat and threaten Unforgivables unless you can make a piece of fruit tap-dance? That’s just…

Kat: I hope so.

[Everyone laughs]

Caleb: Yes. This is real life, guys.

Kat: She’s just showing the lighter side, the whimsical side. Who would ever think that?

Rosie: But isn’t it brilliant that she does it during exams as well? These are supposed to be a stressful time and she does these really quite fun tasks.

Kat: Yeah. And they are kids’ books, we have to remember. At least at this point, they are classified as children’s literature. So…

Caleb: And they’re first years.

Kat: Right.

Rosie: So yeah, we learn that Harry’s scar has been hurting ever since his trip into the Forest, so as Caleb was saying, the really painful moment has lead to several more stabbing pains since that one task. And his old nightmare is back but now worse, with the image of the hooded figure dripping blood that we saw in the last chapter. We haven’t really discussed the significance of Harry’s scar hurting all that much, really. As we said a second ago, we talked about it with the Welcome Feast. So, what do you think that pain is actually created by? Is it the Horcrux attempting to rejoin the whole, that’s why it happens with the proximity to Quirrell and Voldemort? What do you guys think?

Kat: Yeah, I think it definitely has to do with the connection between the two of them. Obviously we’re not even remotely aware of it at this point and neither is Harry. I’m not sure Dumbledore, even at this point, is aware of it, but maybe this type of thing is what starts Dumbledore along the Horcrux path, with the scar hurting.

AJ: Plus, at the beginning of the year it was just a slight twinge. Now Voldemort has had all that unicorn blood, so he is definitely stronger, and that could account for one of the reasons why it’s hurting more now.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: Why do you guys think that Harry refuses to go and talk to anyone about it? He says that he thinks it’s a warning that danger is coming, but he still refuses to go and talk to either Madam Pomfrey or any of the professors about the fact that this magical scar is becoming more and more painful.

Caleb: Exactly, it’s him showing his Gryffindor. It’s – he’s taking it into his own hands, he really doesn’t have a professor other than maybe Dumbledore that he would trust with that information. In his mind, they are the only ones that believe that Snape is doing this – obviously they are wrong – and he is like, “You know what? I’m just going to do it myself. Here we go, balls to the wall.”

[AJ and Caleb laugh]

Kat: Yeah, he is so stubborn. Do we think he’s – Dumbledore, even at this point, isn’t close with Harry. They haven’t even shared more than, what, ten or twenty words?

Caleb: Right.

Kat: So, why would Harry naturally think to go to Dumbledore? They’re not enemies, but they’re not confidantes at this point either.

Caleb: Yeah. I think Ron and Hermione are still the only people he’ll talk to about anything.

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: That deep anyway, unless he’s trying to get info out of Hagrid.

Kat: Yeah, he hasn’t learned to trust anybody yet, really.

Caleb: Right.

Kat: In that sense, with his scar at least.

Rosie: I find that interesting with Hermione as well. If you were a character like Hermione and you saw that your friend was in pain, would you not go to a teacher about it? Would you not try and help or research about it yourself?

Caleb: Research maybe. I don’t think she would tell a teacher because of how it might affect their friendship which is so crucial to her.

Kat: Yeah, how many kids don’t speak up when something is happening to one of their friends? Like how many children out there who have been bullied, and their friends see it happening and they don’t say anything?

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: Which is a lesson! Everybody should speak up when their friends are in pain!

AJ: That’s right.

Kat: Just having a moral moment there. Sorry.

[AJ and Caleb laugh]

Rosie: Just think of how many years of hurting scars they could have saved if Dumbledore had maybe [laughs] been clued up to it earlier.

Kat: But do you think he really could have?

Rosie: He might have found out things quicker. He might have been hunting down Horcruxes for longer before he was injured himself.

Kat: That’s true. Okay.

Rosie: That’s an interesting What If? question.

Kat: Yes, it is.

Caleb: Mhm.

Rosie: [laughs] Discuss it more on the forums, listeners!

Kat: Right. Please!

Rosie: So yeah. [laughs] Anyway, we see Harry watching an owl flutter towards the school with a note clamped into its mouth, which I’ve always assumed is the note to Dumbledore summoning him to the Ministry. Did you guys think the same?

Kat: After the fact.

AJ: Yeah, definitely after the fact.

Rosie: So, if this note is flying towards the castle, do we think it’s sent from, I don’t know, a hidden place in the forest? It appears to be coming from the right direction at least.

Kat: Yeah, probably. I mean, Quirrell is out in the – well, we don’t know where he is at the moment, do we?

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah, it’s possible.

Rosie: It just seems like a lot of work to do just to get Dumbledore out of the castle.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: When you could have just sent a message from within the castle itself.

Caleb: Yeah, I guess it just makes it that much more legitimate. Appearing, anyway.

Kat: Hmm. Although we know it’s not Dumbledore transfigured as an owl.

[Caleb and Rosie laugh]

Kat: Just throwing that out there…

Caleb: Oh my gosh.

Kat: …because you know Noah would say it if he was here.

Caleb: Yes.

Kat: So, I’m just saying. Sorry, buddy.

[Caleb laughs]

Rosie: So yeah, suddenly Harry realizes – who exactly carries around an illegal dragon egg? And he starts to piece together the fact that this person was obviously targeting Hagrid. He was obviously there for one exact reason. So, the trio run down to Hagrid’s house and ask him the all-important question. And surprise surprise, Hagrid the giant has a big mouth.

[AJ and Kat laugh]

Rosie: Interestingly though, when he actually tells his story and he explains that he told this mysterious figure that wouldn’t take down his hood about Fluffy’s weakness, he worries about telling Harry this secret but he doesn’t seem to care about telling the mysterious stranger. Why would Hagrid not put two and two together that you can’t tell people within the castle or outside of it either?

Caleb: It all comes with the drinking.

[AJ laughs]

Kat: I was just going to say, he likes the drink, Hagrid.

[Caleb laughs]

Kat: And he doesn’t do it around the kids.

Caleb: But funnily enough, when they show up, the first thing – he talks about something about exams being over, and he’s like, “Would you…”

AJ: “Let’s have a drink!” [laughs]

Caleb: Yes! He says something about, “Up for a drink?” or something like that. [laughs]

Kat: Oh yeah, he says, “Finished yer exams? Got time fer a drink?”

Caleb: For a drink. And I’m just like, “Supplying minors, Hagrid?”

[Everyone laughs]

Caleb: Obviously he’s probably not, but still, that’s the first thing on his mind. [imitating Hagrid] “Yeah, let’s get a drink!”

[AJ laughs]

Rosie: I’m absolutely certain he is talking about tea there. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah, probably.

AJ: Or pumpkin juice.

Caleb: Well yeah, that was just funny. He is just down for drink, always.

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: But yeah, I think that is where his big mouth comes from, is that when he drinks or when he is drunk all his inhibitions are gone, he doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut. And he’s not like that at the school, therefore when he’s at the school he has his wits about him. As much wits as Hagrid could ever have, I suppose.

[Caleb laughs]

Rosie: But does he, though? Because he hasn’t been drinking when he’s actually talking to Harry, and he says exactly the same thing.

Caleb: Yeah. [laughs]

Kat: Loose lips.

[Kat and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: So anyway, Hagrid tells Harry and Hermione and Ron that the way to get past Fluffy is to play some music and they will fall straight to sleep. So, the trio go running off back up to the castle, trying to find Dumbledore, to tell him and to warn him that Snape is going to go after the Stone, but no one seems to know where the headmaster’s office is. Do you guys not think it’s strange that [laughs] the children of the school, the students, wouldn’t know where the headmaster’s office was?

Caleb: Yeah, that is a little weird.

Rosie: Is it really that much of a secret?

Caleb: Yeah, I guess that just means – because, I guess the only reason they would really need to know would be for disciplinary purposes, and that’s usually more immediately handled by their heads of house. So…

Kat: Yeah, and Dumbledore is pretty mysterious. I would think that most students wouldn’t know where his office is.

Caleb: And maybe it’s just because, again, they’re first years and haven’t been exposed to it as much. Probably by your seventh year, you have a pretty good idea of where most things are.

Kat: Yeah, but also we don’t see any instances of Dumbledore kind of roaming the castle. I feel like he kind of stays in his office and deals with the political beings and political people of the wizarding world. As much as he has to do with Hogwarts, he has other things going on.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: Yeah, what exactly does Dumbledore do, as a headmaster? We see him make appointments for professors and all that kind of thing, but we never see him teaching, we never see him doing any of the school activities, other than talking to staff, and other than in Riddle’s memory in Book 2.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: What does the headmaster of Hogwarts actually need to do?

Kat: Be badass.

[Everyone laughs]

Caleb: I think that’s why, logistically, pretty much – I think McGonagall runs the school.

Kat: Yeah, yeah. She’s definitely the go-to person, I would say, for a lot of people.

Caleb: Mhm.

Rosie: Definitely, and luckily our ever-present McGonagall is there to tell the trio that they should be heading back outside, that they shouldn’t be in the castle after their exams have finished. After all, it’s a sunny day in the U.K., which is very rare, and they should go outside and enjoy it.

[Caleb laughs]

Kat: You know, it’s funny you say that, because when I was over there for the studio tour opening, we had an entire week of sun. It was like eighty-five degrees and sunny the whole time.

Rosie: That is so rare, you don’t understand. [laughs]

Kat: I know, and I feel like the luckiest person in the world because I didn’t have to wear a raincoat or an umbrella or anything.

Rosie: Meanwhile, this week, our entire country has been flooding, whilst you guys have been having a heat wave over there in America.

Kat: Yes, we have.

Caleb: Yes.

Kat: [sarcastically] Yay.

AJ: Definitely.

[Caleb laughs]

Rosie: I think we’ve stolen all your water. I’m so sorry.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yeah, give it back.

AJ: Send some back.

Kat: Yeah. Oh well. But I agree, they should be outside, enjoying the day.

Rosie: Yeah, McGonagall sends them all outside, but of course they don’t listen and they head up to the third-floor corridor, where she once again catches them. Is this proof that she actually did take them seriously, that she did listen to them worrying about the Stone and she went to try and check on the door herself to make sure nothing was happening?

AJ: Probably.

Rosie: Or was she just checking up on the boys and making sure they’re outside?

AJ: I think she’s checking it out. She seems so shocked when they said, “Well, it’s about the Sorcerer’s Stone,” or the Philosopher’s Stone, depending on what book you’re reading, but – so, she sends them outside and figures, since she’s older and has more experience, she’d go up and check on it herself. But something else that caught me about this is that when she catches them up there, she just tells them to go away and she doesn’t dock any points or anything, even though that corridor is supposed to be forbidden and off-limits.

Kat: Right, she does threaten to take away.

Caleb: That’s a really good point, yeah.

Kat: Yeah, she threatens it but doesn’t do it, yeah.

Rosie: Are they actually within the third-floor corridor at that point, though? I don’t think they are.

AJ: No, this…

Rosie: They’re not technically breaking any rules, they’re just hanging around.

Kat: Right, it says, “No sooner had they reached the door separating Fluffy from the rest of the school than Professor McGonagall turned up again.”

AJ: Right, which means that they’re in the corridor at the door.

Kat: Right, they’re lurking nearby.

Rosie: Interesting.

Kat: I would hope that she would take them seriously. I mean, I feel like McGonagall checks all of those things out.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: She kind of has an innate sense of – I don’t know, of trust, of – at least of Harry, to the point where she trusts his instincts. So…

Rosie: In the same way that Snape later does in Order of the Phoenix, where he – Harry cries out, “They’ve got Snuffles in the place” – is it? Yeah. “They’ve got Padfoot in the place where it’s hidden.”

Kat: Right.

Rosie: And he immediately goes and checks up and finds out that it’s not true. But they never seem to let Harry know that they’re going to do this.

Kat: Well, how else would the plot move along if they told him? “Okay, Harry. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it. You sit here and play chess.”

[AJ and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: But I would just think – if you know that Harry is the kind of person that would go to investigate this yourself, you would tell him, “Don’t go and investigate it yourself.” [laughs]

Kat: Right, I got it. Well, she did.

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: And he never listens because he’s a stubborn Gryffindor.

Rosie: This is true.

[Kat laughs]

Rosie: And we see this straightaway when Ron and Hermione don’t seem to care so much that Voldemort is coming back, and don’t really seem to be understanding Harry’s real plight. And we see his first real outburst of the books where he really is angry that Voldemort tried to kill him. And he may not know the first – the extent of the first war, but he knows exactly what would happen if Voldemort returned, and he knows that it would be the end of the happy wizarding world that he’s kind of only just found, and he doesn’t want that to end.

Kat: Well – and you notice in this paragraph, he says a lot of things that happen in the last book. He says that, “Haven’t you heard what it’s like when he was trying to take over? There won’t be any Hogwarts to get expelled from! He’ll flatten it, or turn it into a school for the Dark Arts! Losing points won’t matter anymore, don’t you see?” And it’s just – that’s exactly what happens.

Caleb: Yeah, I thought the exact same thing re-reading it, how prophetic this little speech is.

Kat: Mhm. He’s a smart kid.

AJ: Yup.

Caleb: He is.

Kat: Has good instincts.

Rosie: And Jo is a smart writer.

AJ: [laughs] Yeah.

Caleb: Absolutely.

Kat: Genius!

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: This is the obligatory genius comment of the show.

[Caleb and Rosie laugh]

Kat: Brought to you by Chapter 16, “The Philosopher’s Stone.”

[AJ laughs]

Rosie: So yeah, then it’s invisibility cloak time. And as we were discussing earlier, we see all three of them fitting under the cloak. Is it the first time that they’ve done that? Or is it – because earlier it was just two of them and the dragon, wasn’t it?

Caleb: Yup.

Kat: Yeah, it’s always been just two, yup.

Rosie: And we get a really nice little exchange, which really sums up their friendship, where Harry says, “All three of us?” “Oh, come off it. You don’t think we’re going to let you go alone, do you?” And Hermione says, “Of course not. How do you think you’d get to the Stone without us?”

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: BFFs.

AJ: Aww.

Kat: Aww.

[AJ laughs]

Rosie: BFFs forever.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: No, it’s pretty great. I mean, it just – they all – this shows that they all truly do belong in Gryffindor, because they don’t care how scary or dangerous it’s going to be. They’re going to be there with their best friend no matter what.

Caleb: Yup.

Rosie: I think it’s interesting at this point that Harry thinks that he’s about to set off and do this all on his own as well. He doesn’t really click that his friends are going to come with him, but later on all of his speeches are about how he’s always had help. He’s never done it alone. So, I think it’s a mark of their friendship that this is the moment that solidifies that – the moment that he knows for the first time in his life, he is not facing this alone.

Kat: Right. He finally has someone to depend on.

Caleb: Definitely.

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah.

Rosie: But even with those people to depend on, they wait until after dinner, [laughs] which I’ve always found strange.

[Caleb laughs]

Rosie: They’ve staked out this corridor without being caught, but then they go and eat.

Kat: Well, they’ve got to have full bellies.

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: Yeah, this may be the last night they ever eat.

Kat: [laughs] That’s true.

Caleb: Gotta get your food.

Rosie: Maybe Hogwarts food is just that good.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I would hope so. It sounds yummy.

Rosie: Everyone is always talking about sneaking down to the kitchens and everything, so maybe the house-elves are just that good cooks.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: Must be. [laughs]

Rosie: And once again, poor Neville. Neville Longbottom stands up and tries to stop them breaking any more rules. I think that’s the fourth “poor Neville” that we’ve had…

[AJ and Caleb laugh]

Kat: Yeah.

Rosie: …during this short podcast.

Kat: And I mean, we touched on it briefly before, and I never realized this before, but Neville is one tough dude. He stands up for a lot of things that he believes in, albeit sometimes it’s very timid – timidly. But I never realized just how Gryffindor he was before, until doing this re-read. I never noticed it until the last couple of books.

Rosie: I’ve always been fascinated by Neville, by the fact that he’s almost the other Harry. He’s everything that Harry is as well. He was the other option, the one that Voldemort didn’t take. So, he’s – we were talking earlier about Malfoy living up to a name, but Neville has got all of that history to live up to, and if that’s not a mark of bravery that he does try so hard when he is, perhaps, not quite as capable. He’s always trying to do the best for everyone around him.

Kat: He’s very caring, Neville. Very much.

AJ: Definitely.

Rosie: Yeah, definitely.

Kat: Especially towards his friends, and I mean, Harry, Hermione, and Ron have given him so much – they’ve instilled so much in him. Given him self worth, almost, in a way.

Rosie: Definitely. And I can’t wait for [laughs] all those years down the line when we finally get to discuss that last book when we can really see Neville shine.

Kat: I know. I just remember my favorite moment from Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in the movie theatre was when he shows up in – at the midnight showing, everybody is screaming. It was just…

Caleb: Oh my gosh. Yeah, they go crazy for him.

Kat: It was the best. It was the best. Well, he’s…

Rosie: See, that’s another interesting thing with the idea of the movies. You guys – American audiences always sort of cheer and respond to these movies. England doesn’t do that.

Kat: Really?

Caleb: Huh.

Rosie: England just sits silently and watches the movie.

Kat: Oh, that’s a bummer!

AJ: I know!

Caleb: That’s so intriguing.

Rosie: But it’s quite interesting because for one of the first times, I’ve actually experienced – people cheered as soon as they saw Neville. When he was with that sword, they really responded to that movie in a very kind of American way. It’s really interesting to see how the English movie experience changed because of that moment.

Kat: Nice. Well – and it probably doesn’t help that – or doesn’t hurt that Matt Lewis is pretty much gorgeous.

[AJ and Rosie laugh]

Kat: Anyway, continue. Sorry. Tangent!

Rosie: Anyway…

[Kat laughs]

Rosie: So yeah, Neville stands up to his friends, and unfortunately, it’s Hermione that really does turn against him and she puts the Leg-Locker Curse on him, Full Body-Bind. He falls over to the floor and they just leave him there.

[Caleb laughs]

Rosie: Poor Neville.

AJ: They don’t even check on him. He falls on his face.

Caleb: [laughs] On his face.

AJ: He could have broken his nose or something.

[Caleb laughs]

Rosie: They could have at least lifted him up and put him on a sofa.

[AJ and Rosie laugh]

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: “No time. Got to go. Got to go.”

Rosie: But that’s the interesting thing, because as they do leave, they come across Mrs. Norris and Peeves. They both get in the way on their approach to the third floor. So, we’ve had Neville, Mrs. Norris, and Peeves. How many delays can you get in one page? You’ve got all of these kind of mini bad guys, almost, getting in your way before you get to your final destination.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: It’s kind of like mini bosses in a game.

Kat: Yeah, it totally reminds me of Super Mario Brothers where you had to kill the mini bosses before you got to the big boss at the end of the level.

Rosie: Definitely.

Caleb: Which is so frustrating.

Rosie: And they’re all things that we’ve experienced in the past as well. We’ve had a big showdown between Mrs. Norris and Filch. We’ve had a big showdown with Peeves. We’ve had all those moments where Neville has been there and kind of getting in the way. And finally, we get to the door. The trio overcomes all of these obstacles, but the door is ajar. The door is open. They are too late. And we get task one, Hagrid’s three-headed dog. Do you guys find interesting that in the movie they had the music already happening whereas in the book, the music is finished and they were facing the three-headed dog straight on?

Kat: Well, he didn’t have the flute in the movie…

AJ: Right.

Kat: …so I think that’s where the difference comes in. And I think they wanted that harp playing to show kind of the magic of the moment, you know?

Caleb: Mhm, yeah.

AJ: Well, I like the classical reference of the harp being there in both the movie and the book, because Orpheus went down to get his wife from Hades and he played his harp with such grace that it lulled Cerberus to sleep. So, it’s another classical reference being brought into the Harry Potter books by Jo.

Rosie: Definitely.

Kat: Man, what if Fluffy really is Cerberus?

[AJ laughs]

Kat: We’ve talked about this before, but how cool is that?

Rosie I really think he is. He is a Greek dog.

AJ: Definitely.

Rosie: We’ve heard that.

Kat: That is so cool.

[AJ and Rosie laugh]

Kat: Genius.

Rosie: However, whereas Cerberus needed that musical grace, Fluffy really doesn’t seem to need to. He’ll fall asleep at the first note of that flute.

Kat: Right. [laughs]

Caleb: Straight up snoozing.

Rosie: I doubt that Harry has ever had any kind of music lesson. He doesn’t know how to play a flute, so musical talent is not necessary in the music that makes Fluffy fall asleep.

[Caleb and Kat laugh]

Rosie: But this task is solved by both Harry and Hermione playing that flute and they jump down through the trapdoor, as the title suggests, and land in the Devil’s Snare, task two by Professor Sprout, where once again we get a really lovely moment of Hermione’s character, where she completely understands straight away what they’ve landed in. She sees the danger, but she struggles to remember exactly how to fight them. And when she does, she has a real Muggle moment and says, “There’s no wood for a fire!”

[Kat laughs]

Caleb: Love it.

Kat: I know, I love that moment. It’s so great and it just shows, again, that magic is not yet instinctual for them. It’s not the first thing that they think about.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: Definitely. I think it’s really easy for us to forget that she’s as new to this world as Harry. She’s researched it so much that she seems to know so much about magic, but she really doesn’t. She’s in the same situation as Harry.

AJ: Well, at least Ron is on the ball, asking if she’s gone mad. “Are you a witch or not?”

Kat: Yeah.

[Caleb laughs]

Kat: It’s great. They’re a good team. They’d be stuck there if it was up to Hermione, I guess, right?

Rosie: Yeah, definitely. So eventually, Hermione does draw out her wand. She creates one of her fires that she seems to be really skilled at. She uses fire quite a lot within her problem solving. And they escape from the Devil’s Snare and they pull themselves together and move on for task three, which is the Quidditch kind of task, but we later find out that it’s probably Professor Flitwick that has enchanted these magical keys, so perhaps Hooch and Flitwick had been working together on this one, where all three of the trio climb onto the broomsticks and have to fly through the rooms, searching for the one key that will fit the door.

Kat: And she tried Alohomora, but it didn’t work. Poor girl.

Caleb: Mhm.

Rosie: She did try Alohomora. That didn’t work.

Caleb: [whispers] Alohomora!

Kat: Oh, that was nice.

[Kat and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Perhaps here, this is an example of when magic fails. Earlier we had when Hermione forgot about magic and her Muggle skills failed. Now her magic is failing also and it all comes down to athletic skill on a broom, which I find really interesting because we see Hermione on a broom and she actually doesn’t fail. Everyone always talks about how Hermione can’t fly, but she really does manage to here. Harry kind of explains the tactics and says we need to close in on this thing and they all manage to approach it from different directions, Hermione shooting straight up and Harry eventually pins it against the wall.

Caleb: Yeah, she’s definitely in the moment. She does what she needs to on the broom to get it done.

Kat: Yeah, she’ll definitely never be on the team, though, I don’t think.

Caleb: [laughs] No.

Rosie: No.

Kat: I think she says later that she just doesn’t like flying. She doesn’t get it.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: See the appeal.

AJ: Well, again, that’s something that she can’t learn from a book.

Kat: Right.

Rosie: Yeah. But even though she can’t learn it from a book, she still does have some skill on a broom even if she doesn’t want to use it.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: So, that’s a lesson to all of the kids out there who – they can play sports but they just choose not to, like me.

Kat: Right.

[Caleb and Kat laugh]

Rosie: So yeah, then they move on to task four, which is Professor McGonagall’s, our fabulous game of wizard’s chess – giant wizard chess. And this one is the first time that we really see Ron excelling in solving the issue. It’s all about tactics, it’s all about gaming. And Ron is this hero. He is the knight on the horse and he saves the day, but in the end he has to sacrifice himself to do this. What do you guys think this says about Ron’s character?

Caleb: Well, I just remember reading this and re-reading it before the last book came out, and I always came back to this passage because I always thought Ron was going to die at the end of the series. And so I always thought this was Jo setting up the preview of him setting himself up as the sacrifice to ultimately die so that they could succeed.

Kat: That’s exactly what I was going to say. There were so many theories flying around. Again, later, when the last book was about to come out and everybody said, “Ron is going to die. He’s the one. He’s the Weasley.” But thank goodness he didn’t. I would have been pretty sad.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: But it is what she planned, isn’t it? So, maybe this was written as an example of Ron’s self sacrifice later on.

Kat: Right, because she did think about killing him, yeah.

Rosie: Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: Thank you, Jo, for not killing off the Weasley.

Rosie: [laughs] Definitely.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: We’re sorry for Fred, but…

Caleb: Aww.

Kat: …we’re glad Ron is alive. [laughs]

Rosie: I think the romance of him and Hermione kind of won out over the tragedy of an early death for him.

Kat: Love triumphing over evil. There it is again.

Rosie: But at this stage, unfortunately Ron does have to sacrifice himself in order to move on. Why doesn’t he just jump off the horse before it gets destroyed? [laughs] Surely that would be an easier way of continuing.

Caleb: But that’s the role he took. He knows it’s a real wizard’s chess match and he wouldn’t – he probably would have worried that would have screwed up Harry and Hermione being able to get through.

Kat: But he’s not actually on the knight because the three pieces in the beginning of the game walk off the board – or slide off the board, I guess.

Caleb: Yeah, yeah, that’s true.

Kat: So, that’s the movie where he’s on the knight.

Rosie: True. But he still does get hurt.

Kat: He does.

Rosie: He could have moved out the way. [laughs]

Kat: That’s true. Well, he probably needed to be knocked out. Plot device.

Rosie: True.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: Okay, so unfortunately Ron falls and without even really being able to go and check on him, they have to move forward. So, Harry and Hermione leave the room and enter task five, which is Professor Quirrell’s himself. It is the mountain troll. But luckily, that’s already been taken care of. They don’t have to do any more troll fighting, especially without Ron there with his brilliant skills at Wingardium Leviosa.

[Caleb laughs]

Kat: Well, you know what I was just thinking of that I never realized before is that doesn’t this kind of say that Quirrell is the one who let the troll in in the first place?

Caleb: Yeah, I was thinking about that also as I re-read.

Kat: I mean, otherwise why would he think to use a troll? I mean, he’s obviously very good at getting them into the castle and then knocking them out, so…

Rosie: Definitely.

Kat: …I guess this should be – I mean, this is probably a clue as to who is there at the end of the chapter.

Rosie: Yeah, definitely, definitely. At this point, it’s kind of giving you that little glimpse that maybe it’s not Snape that is there. But at the same time, is a mountain troll really Defense Against the Dark Arts? I’m always surprised by how much Defense Against the Dark Arts seems to be creature focused.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: Is that not Care of Magical Creatures more?

Caleb: Yeah, because even Lupin does a lot with creatures when he teaches, so that’s…

Rosie: I would have thought that Dark Arts would be how to protect yourselves from dark spells rather than anything else.

Kat: Yeah, that’s true. But some of those – some of the creatures that they’re focusing on are all tempting creatures that try and lure you to the wrong situation or in the wrong direction. Maybe that’s just one portion. I mean, we don’t really hear about – they never have a proper Defense Against the Dark Arts class.

AJ: Right.

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: So, we don’t really know what a proper class looks like. So, I don’t know.

AJ: Back to the troll, I wonder if this is the same troll that Quirrell let in at Halloween. Because I remember on that episode, you guys were wondering what happened to the troll afterwards. Maybe Quirrell took it and used it as his part of the protection on the Stone.

Kat: Well in the book, it says that it’s even larger than the one they had tackled before.

AJ: Oh, that’s true.

AJ and Rosie: Maybe it grew.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: It might have, it might have, that’s true.

Rosie: [laughs] But luckily, even if it is larger, they don’t have to fight it. So, thanks a lot, Quirrell. You made their task easier at that point. [laughs] So, they move on and this is my favorite task. It’s task six, Professor Snape’s, and it’s the potions logic puzzle, which of course is solved by Hermione with her cool logic and cool thinking.

Kat: Yeah, I mean, I would have never made it past this part. Hermione is right. There are so many wizards and Muggles alike that don’t have an ounce of logic, myself included. Not to say that I don’t have logic, but I would never have been able to solve this puzzle. I’m awful at things like this, awful. I would have been stuck in that room forever. [laughs]

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: See, I love logic puzzles and I remember being a very young kid and literally putting my book down and writing out that riddle and trying to solve it. [laughs] I don’t know what that really says about me, but…

[AJ laughs]

Rosie: …I literally sat there for a good half an hour trying to solve this riddle and, happily, I did.

[Caleb laughs]

Rosie: So, I’m quite proud of myself.

AJ: Yay!

Kat: See, even if I tried to do that right now, [laughs] I wouldn’t be able to figure it out.

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: I mean, maybe. But definitely not as a younger child.

Rosie: Yeah, we want to hear your responses out there as well. Did you guys – our listeners – ever kind of worked this out before Hermione? Do you follow her logic as to which potion send them forward and back?

Kat: Yeah, let us know.

Rosie: I think that J.K. Rowling had the potions puzzle as one of her tasks at one point, didn’t she? Or is that in Pottermore that you have to go and click the right potions yourself?

AJ: Pottermore.

Kat: Yes.

Caleb: Pottermore, yeah.

Kat: Yup.

Rosie: I always love that I have to – I love that we do get these little moments in Pottermore where we get to properly immerse ourselves in the books, and do that task just as they were doing them.

Kat: Yeah, I totally cheated on that one.

[AJ and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: Fail.

Kat: I mean, I stared at it forever and I couldn’t figure it out. [laughs] So, I’m sorry to say – I know – five points from Ravenclaw, sorry.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Sorry, eagles.

Rosie: But it’s okay because Hermione did solve the puzzle. She knows exactly which potions will go forward and back. But unfortunately there is only enough left for one person to go forward, so Hermione gets sent back to go and get help. Did they not think of sending an owl to Dumbledore before? I mean, if they had all of this time to plan they could have gone and got Hedwig and told Dumbledore.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah that’s true, right?

Caleb: They’re not thinking straight, clearly.

Kat: Yeah.

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: One of those situations where the moment takes over.

Caleb: Mhm.

Rosie: Yup. So, Harry is the only that can move forward but before he does we get that brilliant line that is so famous. “Books and cleverness. There are more important things – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry, be careful!” And here we have Hermione really proving that she is a Gryffindor over a Ravenclaw. Books and cleverness are all very well, but the important things are friendship and bravery that really matter.

Kat: Mhm.

Caleb: Yes.

Kat: It’s true.

Rosie: At this point we start to realize that they have had six tasks, they have had six professors have their own little – well, five professors and Hagrid – have their own little tasks for them to get through. So, we’ve got that one final room that we’re about to head into in Chapter 17 and you get that lovely symbolism of the seven there again. You get all of that magical power coming so that the last task is the most important, the seventh is the most magical. But as Harry steps through the fire we get that line, “There was already someone there but it wasn’t Snape, it wasn’t even Voldemort,” and we get left on a cliffhanger. So, who out of our readers guessed from the first read that it wasn’t going to be Snape in that room and who did you guess? That it wasn’t Snape and it wasn’t Voldemort, who was it? Let us know.

Kat: I had no idea myself.

Caleb: I was totally duped.

Kat: Yup.

AJ: I knew. But of course I didn’t read the first book – yeah, here is my confession to everyone listening. I did not pick up the first book until two and a half weeks before the last one came out. So yeah, I knew but I had seen the movies.

Rosie: Shock! Horror! [laughs]

Caleb: Wait, you didn’t start reading until after – almost right before the movies were done? Is that what you said?

AJ: I started…

Kat: No, the last book.

AJ: The last book. I started reading…

Caleb: Oh. I was like, “That doesn’t make sense.” [laughs]

AJ: I started reading the books because Order of the Phoenix was coming out and my bestest friend in the whole wide world told me, “Well, you need to read the book because this movie is only like two hours long and the book is like 900 pages.”

Caleb: Yeah.

AJ: So, I was like, “Fine, I’ll read the books.” And I read all seven books in less than three weeks.

Caleb: Wow!

AJ: It was amazing.

Kat: Well, good. Yeah, I wonder how many other fans had figured it out. Like I said, I definitely did not figure it out.

Caleb: Nope.

Kat: That’s the end of Chapter 17, and we’re going to find out who was beyond that door on the next…

Caleb: Dun dun dun!

Kat: Yeah, that’s right. On the next episode.

Rosie: That was Chapter 16. Chapter 17 is next, sorry.

Kat: Oh sorry, did I say 17?

[Rosie laughs]

AJ and Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: Everyone knew what I meant!

[AJ and Rosie laugh]

Kat: Anyway – all right, we’re going to move into our special feature for the week, and this is one we haven’t done before. It is called The Unspeakables, and this is where we talk about the invisible visible powers that are present in the series and the canon. And this week, we are going to talk about destiny/fate and the centaurs. So, just a small little background on the centaurs. You know how I love my history lessons. In Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them they are described as “very mysterious creatures” and “they avoid Muggles and wizards alike.” We know that they are readers of the stars and the planets, and they tend to stay in a neutral position – even though, of course, in the end they do fight for Harry. They do believe in the good even if they won’t kind of intervene.

So, going back to Caleb’s chapter, Chapter 15 where the centaurs are really introduced to us, we see that they don’t want to intervene at all. They even get into an argument with Firenze about it. So, they clearly have the information, but they aren’t willing to kind of talk about it or give it to the wizards in any way. So, does that put them at fault in any way or is it acceptable that they are willing to just go along and accept the fate? I mean, it seems that Firenze is willing to take a stand even if that might mean going against the inevitable events that are going to happen. Fate.

Caleb: Yeah, I can understand that they are much more broad-seeing and as to why they are not one to intervene. But I still think that given the situation and that they know that Voldemort is abound – I’m assuming they know Voldemort because of what we hear from them – it’s time to take a stand and I think that’s why Firenze does. It’s really frustrating for me that they aren’t willing to do the same along with him. And also not just take a stand him with him, but berate Firenze for doing so.

Kat: Yeah, I mean they call him a common mule because he helps Harry. I feel like as creatures of all-knowing in a way it’s their responsibility to – even if they don’t want to tell them what’s going on – just to protect – I’m not sure – I mean, does that make sense? I’m not quite sure how to say it.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: Do you think that they really don’t try to help? I know that a lot of people find this phrase annoying, but they do keep saying, “Mars is bright tonight.” That means something to them. They are saying that “Mars is bright” is a symbol. As Caleb was saying earlier, it might symbolize the onset of war.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: It does mean that something is about to happen, so maybe that is their clue. It’s them trying to interfere without interfering. They are trying to offer that help without actually doing anything themselves.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: It’s just that Harry and the others don’t understand what that means.

Caleb: Right. And yeah, Hagrid isn’t able to pick up on it which – shocking.

Kat: [laughs] Right.

Caleb: But yeah, I think that’s a good point. I think they certainly – they are so very adamant that they do not want to take a direct role, which is again understandable but – I think that’s why it’s such an interesting thing that Jo decides to pull them in right at – almost near the end of the book, and sort of introduce this element of destiny, which we really had not been introduced to, and sort of is – even though it doesn’t come up until a couple of books it’s almost this big lead-in to prophecy and all of that.

Kat: I mean, do we think that Harry would – anything would have actually happened to Harry if he hadn’t been rescued?

Caleb: Yeah, I think so. I mean…

Rosie: That moment in the forest where Quirrell/Voldemort kind of creature does kind of lunge at Harry after Malfoy has run away. If the centaur hadn’t intervened at that one moment then definitely Harry would have been attacked. Whether that would have stopped the events of Chapter 16 and 17 happening because it would have meant that Quirrell would have touched him at that point and they would have had that kind of pain link then.

Caleb: Mhm.

Rosie: Who knows? That would be an interesting discussion about does fate necessarily mean the actions that happen have to be the exact ones that do, or does it mean that the final outcome will always be the same no matter what path takes you there?

Kat: Right. I mean, who was in control at that point? Was it Quirrell or was it Voldemort?

Caleb: Voldemort, I would say.

Rosie: I would say Quirrell because I think the conversation that they were having in that room when Quirrell was crying, that was Voldemort telling Quirrell to go and…

Caleb: Oh.

Rosie: …kill the unicorn and drink the blood. So, it was Quirrell that was doing those actions.

Caleb: Yeah, I agree. You’re right, that’s a good point.

Kat: So – but do you think Quirrell would have actually harmed Harry? I mean, I feel like Voldemort would have had to have some influence over him in order for Quirrell to actually harm Harry, because he’s so subdued and kind of nervous and I feel like he doesn’t do well in confrontation, as we’ve seen several times.

Rosie: But is he? Or is that just the figure that we see throughout most of the book? Isn’t that the hidden figure? I mean, he doesn’t stutter in Chapter 17.

Kat: That’s true, but is that because of Voldemort – hmm.

Rosie: I always see it that Voldemort is this figure in the back of his head and he’s kind of influencing him, and he can control him through threatening. But I don’t think he has full control of the body.

Kat: Right, he can’t really put the thoughts into the mind or force him to say something.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: No.

Kat: Hmm, okay.

Rosie: But this is an entirely different discussion. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Rosie: We were talking about fate.

Kat: Right. Well, there’s a quote in the book that says, “The planets have been read wrongly before now, even by centaurs. I hope this is one of those times.” So, this kind of sets up a destiny and fate versus choices. Here we are, back again at choices. Is he really saying that it appears that Harry is going to die but he’s hoping it isn’t true? Is this our first real hint that Harry is going to die? And in a way, is Firenze getting his wish when Harry does die – but even though he doesn’t die?

Caleb: Yeah, I think looking back this is a really interesting preview, and the centaurs – their own way of fortune telling that – it’s clear from what Firenze is saying that he must see that Harry is going to die, or at least some sort of catastrophic end and he’s hoping that something of that sort does not happen. And maybe that’s why Ronan and Bane were a little more hesitant to intervene because they know that this end needs to happen for Voldemort to be defeated, just as Dumbledore does as we see back in old conversations between Dumbledore and Snape in his memory. We know that Dumbledore recognizes at some point that Harry needs to die. So, maybe that’s why Ronan and Bane are a little hesitant to intervene too much.

Rosie: Do you really think the planets are being that specific though, that it’s saying that Harry will die, or do you think it’s just saying that maybe Voldemort will rise again or that the war is coming, as we were discussing earlier?

Caleb: It’s hard to say.

Rosie: Because any of those things would be bad things that are about to happen…

Caleb: Yeah, that’s true.

Rosie: …that they’d be hoping isn’t true.

Caleb: That’s true. I mean, I think it’s a lot of interpretation on their part, so that may be a stretch for them to see that much into it.

Kat: I mean, I wonder if Dumbledore has discussions about – with the centaurs, because Dumbledore seems to be – he’s obviously enlightened, so he would probably catch up on that “Mars is bright tonight.”

Caleb: Mhm.

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: And he would be able to interpret that into something that’s helpful. But, thinking of Dumbledore, I’m wondering – we’ve talked a lot about in the past couple of shows how Dumbledore is controlling all the events of the first book, and – I mean, Dumbledore compared to fate or destiny, who is controlling who? Is destiny forcing Dumbledore in a way to do all these things, or is Dumbledore influencing fate and destiny by his actions? What is influencing what? Or are they working together?

Caleb: Hmm. That’s tough!

Rosie: Interesting idea. Yeah.

Kat: Because – I mean, we talked about it – we touched on it briefly before, but is fate all the events that lead up to the main event or is it the outcome? Is that what you’re fated to do no matter how you get there?

AJ: I would think the outcome. I mean, your choices and everything can take you so far, but if eventually you are supposed to, in Harry’s case, meet Voldemort and die, it doesn’t matter what he does to get there. He’s still going to get there.

Rosie: So yeah, I think this is a good time to come into our posed question of the week. As we’ve just discussed, Chapter 15 has that strong focus on fate, whereas Chapter 16 really is kind of the opposite of that. It’s all about Harry and the trio having all of the action and preventing events from coming to pass. So, our question this week is all about Harry. And if Harry listened to his teachers and to the centaurs, and he trusted the teachers’ skills in setting up the tasks to prevent the theft of the Stone, would Voldemort have ever been able to capture it? Was Voldemort always destined to succeed in finding the Stone? Was Harry destined to intervene and stop it happening, or was it all thanks to Dumbledore’s interference, unlike the centaurs, that – was it Dumbledore’s interference that inspired Harry to act and face Voldemort in Chapter 17? Obviously, we’ll discuss this more in the next episode when we finally get to our Chapter 17 discussion, but it would be great to have your ideas to really influence that discussion in our show in two weeks time.

Kat: Yeah, I’m so excited to hear what the listeners think, because it’s so intriguing to me. Who is influencing what, and how much is Dumbledore’s hand making a difference in this?

Rosie: Yeah, where does the real power lie?

Kat: Right.

Caleb: Yeah, and I think that’s what’s so unique as we do this re-read. We’re able to really go in-depth like this to really process all of this thought behind something that we may have not gone as much in-depth the first or even maybe the second time we read the series. At least that’s true for me, I know.

Kat: And I feel like this is the first time I’ve had a chance to think about it since all the books have been out. I mean, having all of the information obviously – well, we don’t have all the information, but all the published information, is really helpful.

Caleb: Well, that pretty much wraps up the show for this week, so I guess first off I just want to thank AJ for joining us. It’s been really great having you on and providing some really cool insight into the chapters we discussed this week.

AJ: Well, thanks for having me. It was a lot of fun to be here with you guys.

Kat: Great, and if any of you listeners want to be on the show, much like AJ, there are several ways you can go about doing that. The first is to submit content on our website, which is You can comment on many of the posts right there on the front page or you can click the “Forums” tab and go over there. There’s over – there’s a lot of discussions going on there all the time, and us hosts, we see them. We notice you. So, if you’re commenting, we will e-mail you and we will invite you to be on the show. The other way to get on the show is to send us a recording of yourself analyzing a portion of the books. Please note that you do need to have proper audio equipment because obviously we need to be able to hear you, as do the fans when they’re listening to the show later. And you can send that to alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com.

Caleb: Yeah, and just to give you guys all of our contact information: remember that you can follow us on Twitter. Our handle is @AlohomoraMN.

Rosie: And really, make sure you do follow us there because we are doing something very special at LeakyCon. If you aren’t following us on Twitter, you won’t be able to know what’s going on and you won’t be able to join in. So, make sure you follow us for updates.

Caleb: Yeah, we’re really excited about LeakyCon and hope to see a lot of you guys out there. Also, make sure you have us on Facebook,, and you can listen to us right on our Facebook page. Just click on the “Podcast” tab, choose an episode, and it’s all yours. And we are on Tumblr at And we also have this really new and exciting feature for you guys to keep in touch with us, that we really are hoping you guys will take advantage of, and that is a phone number. So, we have a phone number, it is 206-GO-ALBUS, or the actual numbers are 206-462-5287. And you can use this phone number for the Alohomora! show to leave us voicemails, just like you would to post comments or answer questions or give your feedback on the main site or the forums. And we will be able to use this new feature during the recap of the previous week’s show, just like we are when we’re reading people’s comments. A couple of things we just want to mention: this is a toll call, so it’s not like an 0800 number, so just keep that in mind if you’re calling long distance. Also, if you’re younger just make sure you have your parent’s permission. We want to make sure that they’re aware of what you’re doing. But we definitely would love to hear some of you call in to the show so we can use that as early as our next show.

Kat: Yeah, we can’t wait. Make some calls, we want to hear them.

Caleb: Yeah. And also, make sure you have bookmarked our main website, which is And as we’ve mentioned before, our main e-mail is alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com.

Rosie: Don’t forget, you can also subscribe to us on our iTunes feed and make sure you get all of the episodes as they are released. I think you can also subscribe to us or favorite the page on our Libsyn and other accounts as well. So, that really sums up our show for today, so thank you very much for listening.

[Show music begins]

Rosie: I’m Rosie.

Caleb: I’m Caleb.

Kat: And I’m Kat. Thank you for listening for Episode 7 of Alohomora!.

Caleb: [in a silly voice] Open the Dumbledore!

[Show music continues]

Caleb: Just a second, my nephew just came into my room.

Kat: Okay.

Caleb: [laughs] I’m sorry.

[AJ laughs]

Caleb: [in the background] [laughs] Jackson! Jackson, I can’t play right now. Mom!

[AJ, Kat, and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: [in the background] Mom, you need to catch him. Josh, you’ve got to be quiet too, dang it!

[Sound of door closing]

Caleb: [sighs] Sorry guys. Dang it.

Rosie: That’s fine.

Kat: It’s okay. How old is he?

Caleb: He’s almost two. I’m not annoyed at him, I’m annoyed at my brother.

Kat: Okay.

Caleb: Because he knows what I’m doing and he’s trying to mess with me.

Kat: Okay. You can drink when you’re not talking, by the way, because the editors will edit that out. Right, guys? [makes slurping noises]

AJ: Woo for editors! [laughs]

Kat: Yeah, they’re pretty amazing. Cut!