[Show music begins]
Caleb Graves: This is Episode 90 of Alohomora! for June 28, 2014.
[Show music continues]
Caleb: Hey guys, welcome to another episode of Alohomora! I’m Caleb Graves.
Laura Reilly: I’m Laura Reilly.
Kat Miller: I’m Kat Miller.
Michael Harle: And I’m Michael Harle. And the guest is us today.
Michael: [laughs] Does that mean the ghost host is here?
Kat: [gasps] Yes!
Michael: Ooh. It’s been a while.
Kat: It has been a while.
Kat: It’s about time.
Michael: But this is our 90th.
Kat: I know. God.
Caleb: Ten episodes from 100.
Michael: We’re old.
Caleb: It’s crazy.
Kat: We’re already… we would already be over 100 if we hadn’t been doing double chapters.
Michael: Oh, that’s right.
Laura: That’s true. We used to do that.
Michael: Well, and then there’s some special episodes crammed in there, too.
Laura: So we also used to do it every other week.
Michael: Oh how times have changed.
Kat: Oh, oh, oh. That’s true.
Kat: For the better, I hope. I guess the listeners will tell us, won’t they?
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Laura: So, Kat and Caleb, you guys were in the Wizarding World this week, so… or past week. So I’m sure you’ll be telling us bits and pieces about that. But did you guys have a good time?
Kat: Let’s say this: I tweeted about it when I got back, and I said that if I had a Time-Turner and could relive the last seven days of my life forever, I would. So what does that tell you?
Kat: Yeah, it was awful. No, it was incredible. I mean, I can’t speak for Caleb, although I think I can. It was pretty amazing. It was above and beyond anything I had expected. So…
Laura: Is Caleb here?
Kat: Caleb is not there.
Laura: [laughs] All right, well, Caleb, I’m sure you loved it.
Kat: [laughs] Let’s wait for him to come back and comment on it.
Michael: [as Caleb] I had a great time, you guys.
[Kat, Laura, and Michael laugh]
Laura: Let’s all do a Caleb impression.
Laura: So, Caleb, back to business.
Kat: Oh, right.
Laura: How did you enjoy your time at the Wizarding World? [laughs]
Kat: Right. Did you hear her ask us that?
Caleb: I did not because, listeners, Caleb is having internet problems. He’s bouncing in and picking up the conversation whenever it happens.
Caleb: It’s just so…
Laura: Just deal…
Caleb: I had a fantastic time at the Wizarding World. First off, just seeing Hogsmeade, because it was my first time seeing that.
Laura: Oh, that’s true.
Caleb: And then… and fortunately, I got to see that before I saw Diagon Alley. I think that’s very important.
Michael: Oh, really?
Caleb: That is the correct order. Yes. So…
Michael: Oh, because I want to go the other way. I want to see Diagon Alley first.
Caleb: You’ve got to see Hogsmeade first. Trust me.
Michael: Oh, okay.
Kat: Yeah. No, he’s definitely right. Go to Hogsmeade first.
Caleb: Because Diagon Alley is on another level.
Caleb: If for the true, genuine, want to be immersed in Harry Potter world, Harry Potter fan…
Caleb: It was magical. I mean, I can’t… I wrote this on a tweet, I think, but there was definitely a moment where I think when Kat and I and Megan walked in that night that they opened it, I just kind of circled around, looking at the shops and everything. And I just felt like it was all real. It was crazy.
Kat: Yeah. There was definitely a moment. I remember standing there, and I was just like – oh, you can’t see me – but mouth open, staring like “Wha?”
Michael: [laughs] Were you just doing the face?
Kat: I was just making the face, [laughs] and I realized you couldn’t see me. Caleb has a great picture that he took looking down Diagon Alley at the dragon. There’s a guy in the forefront making that exact face.
[Caleb and Laura laugh]
Kat: Caleb, you should tweet that photo out or something because…
Caleb: I will.
Kat: So people can find it because it’s hilarious.
Caleb: It is pretty awesome. It perfectly captures the awe of seeing the place for the first time.
Laura: Oh, I’m so excited.
Michael: And that video you guys did for those special features for the app was amazing, so, listeners, make sure and check that out, the video they did.
Kat: We had a lot of fun making it.
Michael: It was cute.
Caleb: Super cheesy, but it was a lot of fun.
Kat: It was.
Laura: Well, Michael and I can’t wait for LeakyCon. I’m sure I can speak for Michael. [laughs]
Kat: Five weeks.
Laura: Five weeks!
Michael: Well, and the Gringotts ride is still going to be a surprise for all of us, right? Because that wasn’t open yet?
Caleb: Yes, it is. Well, it was kind of open.
Kat: It was open. We got to walk through the queue up to the ride platform.
Kat: And then they had to evacuate the ride because it wasn’t working properly.
Michael: Oh, how exciting.
Kat: So the queue is really fun and pretty.
Kat: And I might actually ride it. We’ll see.
Laura: Yes, you will.
Michael: Got to take care of those dragons in there first.
Laura: We can hold hands.
Kat: I mean, Caleb and Megan and Lauren got me on Forbidden Journey for the first time.
Laura: Oh, you did?
Laura: How’d you like it?
Kat: I yelled a lot.
Laura: Did you like it?
Kat: And closed my eyes for the video parts, but it was fun. It was good. I conquered my fear, so I was proud of myself.
Caleb: So before we get started on this week’s discussion, we do want to remind you to read the topic of discussion, which is Chapter 13 out of Order of the Phoenix: “Detention with Dolores.”
Kat: You mean we’re not going to talk about Diagon Alley for the whole episode?
Caleb: I mean, we could.
Kat: Oh, bummer.
Michael: Diagon Alley is so much more fun than detention.
Caleb: That is very accurate. [laughs]
Kat: That is very accurate, yeah.
Michael: But before we get into Chapter 13, we’re going to look back at your comments from Chapter 12, “Professor Umbridge,” her namesake chapter. And from last week’s discussion, the first comment comes from Hufflepug over on the main site, and it is in regards to careers in the wizarding world. Hufflepug says,
“On the topic of careers, do you think a wizard or witch (perhaps a Muggle-born?) has ever decided to further their education at a Muggle university to learn about business or government or something else that would still be useful in the wizarding world? Or would that have too many implications for the Statute of Secrecy?”
So that’s a great question.
Laura: So we actually talked about this a little bit on my first episode ever back in Chamber of Secrets.
Caleb: Oh, wow.
Laura: [laughs] I don’t know why I remember this. Well, I remember because the guest from my first episode was the blogger Dan Bernstein and this was something that he brought up, where so many of the wizards, especially like Professor Sprout and she’s a Herbologist, and it’s like all their names have to do with it.
Laura: But he had a joke where some wizard boy was like, “I want to be a doctor. I want to help people, children, and stuff live and fight disease in the world.” And they’re like, “Nope. You may be a shopowner. Period.”
[Caleb and Michael laugh]
Laura: So this is something I thought about. I feel like there isn’t a Muggle higher learning on the basis that if there was, I feel like we would have known if Hermione went there.
Michael: Well, the only thing we get a hint of is actually through Hermione’s Muggle Studies, because she gives a little insight into how that works in the Wizarding World and I did recall that there was a witch named Daisy Hookum, in the extended canon by Rowling, who wrote a book called My Life as a Muggle, where she gave up magic for a year and lived amongst the non-magic folk. So apparently it’s done in an experimental way.
Michael: But it’s never really been defined as something you continue your studies at Muggle universities or anything. Like I said, I would assume that that would be helpful for wizards who have pursued Muggle Studies, but I can’t see with some other professions, like why they would feel they need that.
Kat: Yeah, I don’t see it being useful. Really, because even the government is run differently.
Laura: Mhm. Yeah, it would only be useful if you were wanting to pursue a Muggle career for the passion of it, but, as far as there being wizarding higher universities, I don’t necessarily think there is.
Caleb: She definitely needs to answer that question.
Michael: Well, I think the interesting thing we talked about a lot last week too, and the listeners really latched on to this, is there seems to be… we noticed in the last chapter, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione start talking about jobs is that Harry and Ron seem to choose Auror just because they haven’t been exposed to anything else at their time at Hogwarts and Hermione seems to be thinking along the lines of, “What other jobs are out there?” but those two are not, and the listeners are saying, “They’re actually are a lot of jobs if you sit back and look at the extended canon,” but at the same time, I think we were thinking more along the lines of, “You don’t really see at Hogwarts, other than perhaps the career advice chapter,” which we’ll get to farther down the line, “where there’s a lot of career advisement, considering that they go into jobs straight out of school.”
Michael: Which, to me, has always been confusing because it would seem that there would need to be something in the interim.
Laura: Seventeen. I know there’s some people who were like, “I’m sure I know what I want to do for the rest of my life,” but I don’t necessary feel like I was ready to go out and start doing it.
Michael: Yeah, when I left high school, I thought I was going to go into English as my major, and then, later in my freshman year, I changed it to film. [laughs] So I really went in not being sure of the English degree anyway. So it seems odd to me that there is no next level to this, going straight to a new job. And people did mention, too, that perhaps there is the encouragement to do internships in the Wizarding World.
Michael: But you were saying, Laura, there’s also this mix of people who have natural abilities and things – if you look at Ollivander, who apparently has this mind for memorizing people’s wands [laughs] since he’s been…
Laura: Well, isn’t it his family?
Caleb: It’s a family thing.
Laura: Yeah, it’s a family thing.
Michael: Yeah, it’s in his family, so that’s perhaps something to look at, too, as passing down jobs. It just seems like a shame for certain Muggle-born witches and wizards who maybe grew up with television and want to become film actors [laughs] because there’s no career path for that.
Kat: Well, there must be.
Michael: Well, there’s the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts, but Hogwarts doesn’t…
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: … strictly doesn’t teach Dramatic Arts.
Caleb: And speaking of that, that is one of the performances in Diagon Alley.
Michael: It is, isn’t it?
Kat: It’s true, it is.
Michael: Did you get to see it?
Kat: We did.
Caleb: “Tale of the Three Brothers.” Pretty awesome.
Laura: Oh, yeah. That thing. I’m really excited for that.
Michael: The puppets look just like the animation in the film, right?
Kat: They do.
Caleb: You can also see a Celestine Warbeck concert.
Michael: Did you go to that, too?
Caleb: We did.
Kat: We did. It was amazing.
Caleb: All the right attitude.
Michael: See? There you go. Another job in the Wizarding World. You can become a singer, a celebrity singer [laughs] in the Wizarding World.
Caleb: There you go.
Kat: Is she the only one? She must be.
Caleb: Well, I think so. There’s bands.
Michael: Yeah, there’s bands. I don’t think we know any single acts other than her, right?
Michael: Anyway, moving on from jobs in the Wizarding World, we get a little more focus into last week’s chapter. This comment comes from Cassandra1447 from the forums, and it is in regards to Hermione and how she deals with Umbridge. There were also additional contributions to this conversation by Dustcharm, but I chose Cassandra1447’s comment. It says,
“In my opinion, Hermione doesn’t get enough credit for taking the initiative in combating wrongs. When it comes right down to it, Hermione is the one most likely to step forward and come up with a plan to deal with some injustice or problem. We see it with SPEW, here with Umbridge, and shortly with the DA (her idea, not Harry’s). Harry is much more of a heat-of-the-moment person; he can think quickly under fire, but he’s not a great planner. And, sometimes, I feel that he and Ron waste time griping about a problem while Hermione skips that and goes straight to trying to find a solution.”
Caleb Very true!
Eric: I feel…
Caleb: I was thinking about this a lot as I was catching up on reading today and reading today’s chapter, she just really asserts herself as the… like “I’m going to take care of this.”
Eric: Mhm. Well, it’s… I used to have a joke with my friends that you could just easily go through and retitle the whole series “Hermione Granger and the Philosopher’s Stone,” “Hermione Granger and the Chamber of Secrets,” [laughs] because Hermione… and I guess this is a moment that instead of championing Lupin love we’re going to champion some Hermione love. Because I felt too that Hermione, while she’s very much beloved by the fandom, she’s never… she’s not as frequently perhaps cited for her specific contributions to what Harry ends up doing in the series. People tend to go immediately to Harry, and not really think of how Hermione is the one who initiates things. Because I was even wondering would this scene have gone down the same way with Umbridge if Hermione hadn’t raised her hand sand said what she said first?
Eric: Because she kind of points out, before Harry can even internalize it what exactly is wrong with the whole thing. And she listened to Umbridge’s speech first.
Caleb: Yeah, I was about to say that. Yeah.
Eric: [laughs] So she just seems to be a little more on point than some of her classmates, but especially Harry. So…
Kat: Well, Harry is a dense mofo, so…
Eric: How did… well, and then the thing that’s there is, as far as their relationship… especially, you know, because a lot of people really like the idea of Hermione and Harry together, I’m interested to hear your guys’ thoughts perhaps on what does Harry contribute to his relationship with Hermione? What is his role to Hermione’s knowledge, what is…
Kat: He helps her be more… I don’t want to say more impulsive, but more… what’s the word? Care a little less? Take more risks, maybe?
Caleb: Yeah, so I think that’s…
Kat: You know.
Caleb: Yeah, without Harry putting her in a lot of these high stake situations through the years, I don’t know if Hermione would have ever been, for lack of a better word, nurtured in a way that would have allowed her to act out on these impulses and these desires to stand up, and fight back, things like that.
Kat: Yeah. That’s what I meant. That’s better. You said that better, that’s what I meant. Yeah.
Eric: That’s a good way to put it. That is a…
Kat: Yeah, and you know because you mentioned the whole shipping thing, I think that if they happened to get together in some alternate universe or whatever…
Eric: Which you can find on MuggleNet fan fiction. Sidenote.
Kat: I’m sure. Yes, many of those. I just think that eventually they would get so sick and tired of each other that they would break up, or get in a huge fight, or divorce, or whatever, I think that…
Kat: … they would…
Kat: … wear on each other’s nerves.
Eric: Mhm. That’s…
Kat: Like two stones grinding together constantly.
Eric: That’s an interesting thought because it’s funny because… and I won’t go too much into it, but I… when I first read the series and I… there were the Harry-Hermione shippers, I completely thought they were crazy. I was like, “No. Not even a thought. It’s quite obvious that it’s Ron and Hermione. Why would that even be a thought for people?” And I get… the funny thing is, rereading it over all these years, while I don’t see Harry and Hermione having a relationship, especially because Rowling details that they are more like brother and sister, I can see why people thought it, based on how Harry responds to Hermione’s logic versus how Ron responds. Because Harry… well, Harry does have negative responses, on occasion, to Hermione. More often than not, he will piggyback off of what she’s doing, rather than shut her down.
Eric: And we really don’t see until the end that Ron starts piggybacking off of Hermione and her ideas. So I can see why that ship exists. Obviously still not… we’ve gone… we’ve come a long way since that taken out of context quotation from Rowling.
Laura: Oh, God.
Caleb: Try not going there.
Laura: Let’s not go back there please.
Eric: [laughs] And our last comment this week comes from StoneHallows on the forums, in regards to what we discussed as the dual message of Harry Potter, that being the idea that Harry has to go in alone in a lot of situations versus his friends and his teachers saying that he has to be willing to work together with people. And this conversation had additional contributions by Ali Wood, dustcharm, quibblequaffle, and Snatch the Snitch, you all had a lot of great things to say. But StoneHallows I felt said the most pertinent thing, which was,
“Everyone must do things alone in life. That’s just a part of being human. But just because you are the perpetrator of the acts doesn’t mean that there aren’t people there beside you, helping you, encouraging you, advising you, and so on. This was a hard lesson for Harry to learn, but a very important one. One could argue that he truly learned this lesson when he asked his dead parents, friends, etc. to go with him all the way to Voldemort. Even though there was no one corporeal there, he wasn’t alone. I think learning the lesson earlier with Hermione and Ron, then with the others going to the Department of Mysteries, made this moment that much easier for him.”
Kat: I mean, this entire book is about Harry learning to do things by himself.
Michael: Yeah, and that’s what I’ve discussed. Because Rosie was bringing up last week that especially in the last two chapters we kind of got a lot drilled from Hermione, from Dumbledore, from McGonagall, and even in a reverse way from Umbridge, that everybody’s got to stick together, do things in a group, versus Harry who is always told that he has to go it alone. I kind of brought up the issue of is Rowling presenting two conflicting messages here? And this is something that this StoneHallows comment as well as all of the other ones that were mentioned, really enlightened me to perhaps that Rowling was trying to mix the two. Maybe there is not a separation but actually a blend of what has to be done. I kind of just want to keep track of that concept as we keep reading because I think it is going to come up a lot about Harry being told to go it alone versus with the group. So I just want be mindful of that topic as we keep going.
Before we finish up with last week’s comments, I just wanted to give a few shout-outs to some major contributors: AccioPotassium!, Dan Sharp, Elvis Gaunt, Erin White, thegiantsquid, the head girl, RavenLawyer, RebeccaTheRavenclaw, oh, I already said Snatch the Snitch, SpectacularlyHypothetical, and surprisinglyswishy. You were talking…
Kat: When did you say Snatch the Snitch?
Michael: In the StoneHallows comment, how Snatch the Snitch was one of the contributors for that.
Kat: Oh yeah, it was.
Michael: But additional topics the events were discussion that the listeners may want to check out included: real-life sortings, Professor Binns, Umbridge’s speech, Umbridge’s looks, house sizes, teaching styles, and magical careers. They were a lot of very well thought out discussions this week on the main site and the forums so make sure and check them out.
Kat: Did you guys see the hilarious video of Dan Rad doing sorting celebrities into houses?
Caleb and Michael: Yes.
Kat: He was on some talk show or whatever. It was amazing.
Michael: Gryffindor! Gryffindor! Gryffindor! Sure. Gryffindor! Everybody Gryffindor!
Kat: Yeah, it was really funny.
Michael: Apparently he doesn’t think that highly of Hufflepuffs, does he?
Kat: I think, yeah, it’s sad.
Michael: [laughs] He doesn’t know.
Kat: He doesn’t know. That’s true. He doesn’t know.
Kat: Ignorant little man.
Caleb: I mean…
Laura: Much like Harry himself.
Caleb: In true Gryffindor fashion.
Laura: So we are having another Umbridge chapter this week, so we will be talking a lot about Umbridge.
Michael: She comes up a lot.
Laura: But first, we’re going to talk about some of the Podcast Question of the Week responses, which also had to do a little bit with Umbridge. So to remind you guys, in his first Defense of the Dark Arts class of the year, Harry cannot stop himself from addressing Umbridge’s lies head on despite warnings from both Hermione and McGonagall to be tactful and keep his head down. So, as we’ll see throughout the book, Harry continues this course of action mainly to his detriment and in disregard of constant advice to the contrary. What, if anything, does Harry and the Hogwarts community gain by his continued goading of Umbridge? Do the benefits of Harry’s outbursts outweigh the consequences or is he simply shouting in vain? That was very well written.
Michael: Thank you, that was mine.
Laura: Good job.
[Laura and Michael laugh]
Laura: So our first comment comes from SurprisinglySwishy, and this is a little abridged but,
“I think that Harry’s outburst is perfectly in character. He’s had a pretty rough morning, as DADA was preceded by both Potions and Divination. He’s not in the best mood. I think it’s also important to remember who else [is] in the room. When the chapter begins, Harry learns that not only does Seamus not believe him, but Lavender’s been talking about him too. Both of these characters are in his DADA class. When Umbridge calls him a liar, she isn’t saying anything new; the entire school’s been saying it. Harry’s not angry at just Umbridge, he’s angry at his housemates. In fact, I would say he’s probably angrier at the people he’s known for years and expected to believe him. It’s not like he thought the woman who was spying on the school for Fudge would be totally on board with the whole ‘Voldemort is back’ thing, or that he could convince her on the matter. Harry’s speaking to everyone in the room here. Rowling takes effort to note the reactions of Lavender and Seamus especially during his outburst… It doesn’t really matter what Umbridge thinks. He needs to show everybody that he’s sticking with his story. That he’s not lying. That Voldemort really is back.”
Michael: I liked the observation actually that Harry perhaps might be angrier at his classmates and the people that he knows more than Umbridge.
Kat: I think that’s completely valid, actually.
Laura: This user in the full comment went into the reactions, actual text citations of Harry says something and then it was “Lavender gasped” and then “Seamus looked excited” or “confused.” I don’t know, it doesn’t matter, but the point being that those are the two skeptic people and those are people whose reactions Harry is paying attention to and he has their attention, which may be the point.
Michael: Yeah, it’s funny; for me, more in this reread really than any before, I’m being more attentive actually to the secondary characters perhaps than I ever have been. I don’t really know why, but it’s interesting…
Laura: Well, they’re starting to do stuff.
Michael: Yeah, and it’s just interesting to me that in this reread I’m picking up really on the stress that they’re just so terribly curious about Harry’s encounter with Voldemort. And that’s what I think is so interesting about Harry’s outburst is because Rowling notes in the text… the way that she writes it, the class actually wants to hear him say the story. In a way it’s like they need that to believe him…
Michael: … and unfortunately, of course, Harry doesn’t want to give that. Understandably so, but it’s just interesting to note that the Hogwarts mentality is, “We want to hear the full account or we won’t believe you.”
Kat: I think that’s kind of a wizarding world thing, isn’t it? They’re very judge-y, wizards.
Kat: No, they are. They’re very quick to believe whatever information is put in front of them.
Laura and Michael: Mhm.
Kat: And I think in this book and the later books, Jo has a lot of commentary on that.
Kat: Like, “Learn to formulate your own opinions,” and I think this is the start of that.
Caleb: I think it’s an overall motif that actually Rowling writes extremely well no matter what she’s writing because she does it in Harry Potter, she does it in The Casual Vacancy, and she does it to a really higher level in both The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. It’s just a topic she is so… she crafts everything around the idea so well.
Kat: She does. That’s true.
Laura: Yeah, definitely.
Michael: Well, I guess specifically in the wizarding world it’s not easy to form much of your own opinion when the only news you have comes from literally one news source. [laughs]
Laura: Exactly, yeah. And this next comment comes from Diskid:
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all for Harry to constantly be trying to expose Umbridge. She is calling him a liar and by doing that [it] not only would that ruffle Harry’s feathers [but] […] also [put] fellow wizards in danger. If other witches and wizards believe her, they will not be prepared when Voldemort starts knocking on their doors with his army. Now I do think Harry went about this the wrong way several times in the book. I think the smartest way he exposed her and the Ministry was to have ‘The Quibbler’ interview him.”
Caleb: Which is of course orchestrated by Hermione.
Michael: [laughs] Hermione love.
Laura: And also, as great as that exposure was, it still… not many people take that publication seriously. And I know it’s a last resort thing, but it’s sad that that was the smartest way he went about it.
Michael: Well, I’m sure we’ll get into more of that later, but I have always found it fascinating that the majority of the students actually believe The Quibbler over the Prophet, not having any knowledge of the deeper workings of either as it’s implied.
Laura: Yeah, we’ll get to this, but I think it could potentially have been a misstep…
Laura: … it worked out for him, but I would liken it to someone in the US who can’t get their story published by major news outlets so they go to the National Enquirer, and it’s like, “Oh, yes, the story is out there now, but surrounded by what?”
Laura: It could almost discredit it even further, but we’ll get there.
Michael: Well, and it’s funny in that way because Harry or Hermione specifically says… when later we’ll see Luna vehemently supports Harry, and Hermione says that her support isn’t worth that much because she’s crazy. [laughs]
Michael: So to have the proof coming from her dad’s magazine doesn’t seem like the logical next step.
Kat: Yeah, Hermione is pretty cruel…
Michael: To Luna.
Kat Yeah! For somebody who is all about equal rights and who says she’s…
Laura: Well, Luna is the antithesis of Hermione.
Kat and Michael: In a lot of ways.
Michael: I think they’ll find common ground later in the book.
Kat: Yes, obviously.
Michael: Well, and the other thing that I think is great about this particular comment… because I only saw, interestingly… I was surprised; there were really only a few comments that didn’t agree with Harry’s approach…
Michael: … because I saw that PuffNProud mentioned that they felt like the only reason that… because a lot of people were saying that the students listened to Harry and they start turning because of his shouting to Umbridge, but PuffNProud argued that actually they only go to the DA because they want to hear the story, not because… and that’s really where the turning point is, and perhaps not earlier when Harry is just shouting at Umbridge and getting detentions over and over again.
Laura: I think it’s both, but we’ll definitely get there.
Michael: Yeah, and we’ll have evidence for both, but I just wondered if Harry’s approach wasn’t… especially when you’ve got people like Hermione and McGonagall advising you to do otherwise. I’ve always just thought Harry’s approach seemed a little, well, Gryffindor.
Kat: He’s… yeah. Yes, that is the best word for it, isn’t it?
Laura: Well, all right…
Caleb: Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
Michael: Not that there is anything wrong with that! [laughs] Not at all.
Laura: Well, speaking of exactly this…
Laura: … our final comment comes from Mollywobbles and it says,
“Is it that simple?… Harry can’t help himself… come on… He’s a GRYFFINDOR…”
Laura: Gryffindor in all caps. [laughs]
Caleb: Gryffindor roar! [laughs]
“Brave, Daring, Nerve – jump in and fight battles. This battle’s with Umbridge and the Ministry…. Voldy consumes him. He must tell everyone Voldemort is BACK! As soon as everyone (Fudge) knows the truth, the wizarding world can rally!…. Not in vain… this is the first time most students are hearing about what happened in the graveyard. It starts Hogwarts talking and thinking.”
Michael: I’m still iffy on whether this starts Hogwarts talking and thinking. These early shouting sessions, anyway.
Laura: Well, it could put the seed there, I guess, a little more…
Laura: … and then as soon as stuff takes hold with the DA and whatnot, then I would say that starts doing stuff. But I can understand this might be a seed, at least in a few minds, not everyone.
Caleb: Because you’ve got to think about the Sorting Hat that came before this and they’re also coming off of Harry coming back with Cedric’s body so there’s been these small pieces that are building up to it all.
Michael: I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I favor Hermione’s particular brand of logic and her approach to Umbridge, which is to have a sparring of words with her, which I guess I just find more trustworthy and engaging than Harry yelling. [laughs] But maybe that’s just me.
Caleb: Sometimes you’ve just got to yell, though.
Michael: [laughs] I don’t know.
Laura: Gryffindors can’t help it.
Michael: This perspective is coming from a Hufflepuff, so…
Kat: I mean, I like to yell, too.
Kat: Just for the record.
Laura: Nope, not allowed. You’re not a Gryffindor. [laughs]
Michael: Whenever the Ravenclaw common room is quiet, you just yell?
Caleb: Well, I think we’re done with the recap so now we’re going to move into this week’s chapter discussion.
[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 13 intro begins]
[Sound of pen scratching]
Harry: Chapter – ow – 13.
[Sound of cats meowing]
Harry: “Detention With Dolores.” Ow!
[Sound of pen scratching]
[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 13 intro ends]
Caleb: So this chapter is filled with lots of things that has some also bad things, but…
Caleb: That was a really weird way to bring it up. But I’m going to be more specific so it’s really going to be okay.
Laura: [laughs] Perfect, nailed it, keep going.
Caleb: Don’t worry. It’s been a day, guys.
Caleb: All right. Also, there’s something moving in my room and I’m alone so this will be really interesting.
Kat: Oh, boy.
Caleb: Maybe it’s a ghost. I don’ t know. Okay.
Kat: It’s the ghost host!
Caleb: There you go.
Michael: There was a cockroach in my locker at work today.
Michael: Mhm. Good times.
Caleb: So in this chapter Harry is coming off of that shouting match with Umbridge. It was a one-way shouting match, pretty much. But his fellow students are reacting to that and still don’t seem to believe him about the whole thing with Voldemort for the most part. The twins and Lee Jordan are still trying to test their products on first year students, Hermione is trying to free house-elves, there’s a lot of lecturing going on about how difficult the OWLs will be, and a lot of homework. Quidditch tryouts are coming up and of course with the title of the chapter, there is detention. So one thing that I found really interesting that I thought about more this time than I have on previous reads was Hermione pointing out that not everyone necessarily believes Dumbledore. It’s a discussion she and Harry have at the beginning of the chapter and she points out to Harry, who hasn’t really thought about it either, that she’s not so sure everyone does believe Dumbledore because it was all a blur there at the end of their fourth year. Harry comes back with Cedric, there’s a hasty explanation by Dumbledore, but then everyone goes home for the summer, and what are they left to in the summer but the reporting of the good old Daily Prophet.
Caleb: So that’s interesting and it made me think about what if that event would have happened in the middle of the year. Obviously it’s important for it to be at the end of the year because of the Triwizard Tournament, but if Cedric would have died somehow by Voldemort’s hand in the middle of the year and the students would have been more secluded at school for a longer time with Dumbledore able to explain, do you think there would have been more room for his story to be sold better?
Kat: Do you think they would have stayed at the school is the other question.
Caleb: Well, I thought about that, too. Yeah.
Michael: Well, Hogwarts doesn’t seem against keeping the kids there when people are in peril. We’ve seen that a lot.
Kat: Yeah, but not dying. Nobody has died yet.
Caleb: Right. This is the first student that’s really died since Myrtle, yeah?
Kat: As far as we know, yeah.
Kat: Because they were just petrified in Chamber. That’s whatever.
Caleb: Yeah, no big deal
Michael: You can wake up from that!
Kat: Yeah, eventually they’ll wake up, right. Hmm.
Laura: I think… did the Myrtle thing happen midyear? Or was that at the end of the year, too?
Michael: No… I want to say it happened closer to the end because Tom was pretty concerned about the school just shutting down after that, right? And he had already…
Laura: Well, also, Tom Riddle doesn’t do any of his evil plans unless it’s at the end of the year.
Michael: At the end of the year. [laughs] He has to let everyone finish their homework first.
Caleb: There you go.
Michael: That’s an interesting question just because there’s more direct exposure to Harry for all the students and to the teachers to continue to preach their beliefs on what happened to the students before anybody else can. Especially Dumbledore.
Michael: I’d like to maybe entertain that there could have been more of the student population who would have believed Harry before the press got it, but of course… and I still don’t really quite know just how the reporters at the Daily Prophet work. We see a little bit of it with Rita but we don’t ever meet any really other reporters, so I don’t know really how quickly they got the information of everything that happened anyway.
Kat: Just FYI, Myrtle died on June 13, 1946.
Caleb: So right at the end there…
Michael: Right at the end! [laughs]
Laura: There you go.
Kat: Almost two weeks ago today. Well, plus however many years.
Caleb and Laura: Just two weeks ago.
Laura: Well, I also think that if it had happened middle of the year, I think the parents… the only parents in the wizarding world we see are the Weasleys, and the Weasleys are on Harry’s side… I mean, besides the Malfoys, but just the average parent… we see that Seamus’s mom was the one that led Seamus to believe that this didn’t happen and that Harry is lying, and kids are, at this age, going to listen to their parents at least for the majority of it…
Laura: … and these parents who might have lived through the first war don’t want to believe it themselves and they trust the paper and stuff, and it’s this whole chain of everything. So I think if it happened midyear, just even the press… because I don’t think the kids really read the press as much as maybe Harry does or whatever.
Caleb: Yeah, and it’s actually really only Hermione that reads the paper.
Laura and Michael: That’s true.
Laura: Yeah, so I think if they maybe didn’t have that… I don’t know. I think more people would’ve believed him without the parents getting in there.
Michael: Well, of course you’ve got to consider there might have been just a surplus of letters from home telling children to not place themselves around Harry. [laughs]
Kat: Right. Isn’t there another point when people are getting pulled out of school?
Michael: That’s in sixth year, right?
Kat: Sixth, yeah.
Michael: Yeah. That’ll happen again.
Caleb: But I think the big overall point is that this is a really obvious… I shouldn’t say obvious, but it’s definitely a more widespread showing of people starting to distrust and not assume truth when it comes out of Dumbledore’s mouth all the time. We haven’t seen a lot of widespread cases of that…
Caleb: … other than maybe disgruntled Ministry employees; people that are connected to Fudge. But we’re seeing, like you said, parents, and we’ve got kids now who are starting to show a lot of hesitancy when it comes to taking Dumbledore at his word, which I think is really important.
Caleb: So even though at the beginning of this chapter we get a lot of instances of people not on Harry’s side, there are a couple of instances later in the chapter where people come to his side even though they may not be the most ideal candidates in Harry’s eyes at this point. As Harry is heading into the Herbology greenhouse, Ginny comes out first, and then Luna shortly follows her, and she out of the blue bluntly declares that she believes Harry about You-Know-Who. And this is also interesting because it’s the second time that Luna has affirmed something that Harry believes that no one else is really siding with him on. The first, obviously, being seeing the Thestrals earlier in the book. So Harry is not too crazy about it being Luna, the one that’s validating him, but it is really cool to see how Luna is, without any reciprocation, showing how much she supports Harry.
Kat: That’s because she’s the best. I don’t know. She just, I think… I was just reading a quote because somebody put out some article because today, the day we’re recording, is the seventeenth anniversary of Philosopher’s Stone being released…
Kat: … in the UK, obviously, because “Philosopher’s Stone…”
Kat: … right. And so someone had put out this whole article of quotes, and I remember I just read the one about Luna, where it was like, “The rare and unique thing about Luna is that she truly doesn’t give a damn what anybody else thinks about her.” And I think that that just… I don’t know. I think it’s great. And the world needs more people like that. That’s all.
Laura: Well said.
Kat: I don’t know what that has to do anything with what we were just talking about… [laughs]
Michael: No, no. Well, in this case it’s relevant because Luna is somebody who champions a belief that really nobody else in the school is right now, except maybe Harry’s closest friends.
Michael: So even though, again, Hermione notes that Luna’s support is maybe not the best for publicity reasons, but at the same time, it’s… Harry counters back with, “I really wish you wouldn’t offend the people who do support me since there’s not that many anyway.”
Kat: Hermione just doesn’t like to believe her because Luna believes in things that Hermione doesn’t believe in or is too closed-minded to believe in.
Caleb: Right. Speaking of which, one of the things… Luna makes an aside that she believes Harry about You-Know-Who just like she believes in the existence of the Crumple-Horned Snorkack, which, interestingly enough, the Crumple-Horned Snorkack is something that is actually in the Magical Menagerie in the new Diagon Alley Park…
Caleb: … and I got to talk to Evanna on the red carpet as we were getting ready to go into the park opening, and to see how excited she was…
Caleb: … because I asked her what she thought Luna would enjoy the most about Diagon Alley, and this was her obvious answer, and she just spoke about it with such animation, and it was just a really cool “She is actually Luna” moment.
Kat: Yeah, it was. The video is over on MuggleNet if everyone listening wants to watch it. So it was a very good moment.
Caleb: And then later in the chapter, Ernie Macmillan from Hufflepuff – actually it’s not too much later; it’s in the Herbology lesson also – shows his support for Harry. Harry’s not as… he doesn’t shy away from it too much here, because I think he’s starting to realize he’s just got to take the support wherever he can get it.
Kat: But yeah, what up for Ernie? Good for you, man.
Laura: Yeah, I was really happy. I remember reading this… I distinctly remember reading this for the first time and being like, “Go Ernie!” It was so nice for a random character to come out in Harry’s support rather than the Weasleys or Neville or someone like that. It was just nice to hear, especially since the last time we really paid attention to the Hufflepuffs was in Goblet of Fire where they were all hating him because of the fact he was going against Cedric and then before in Chamber of Secrets when they all thought that he attacked Justin. So I was like, “Aww.”
Michael: Well, and it’s great to hear particularly from Ernie too, because he’s an authority figure now amongst the students… because he’s a prefect, isn’t he?
Michael: So it’s nice to know that perhaps somebody with a little more authority, but who also spends a lot of time with his fellow students, champions that belief. Because the Hufflepuffs, as Rowling has mentioned outside of the books, tend to have a little more unity amongst them even in their house. So there’s… and of course we will see Hufflepuffs who adamantly don’t believe Harry – one in particular. But it’s nice to know that not only does it come from another student from another house who we don’t talk to that often, but a student who has a little bit of influence as well.
Caleb: Yep. So another big thing in this chapter is getting Care of Magical Creatures lessons with Professor Grubbly-Plank. We know that Hagrid has been gone ever since they got off the train and Grubbly-Plank was there to lead the first years across the lake instead of Hagrid. Hagrid hasn’t been at the feast, he hasn’t been anywhere, and he’s still not here by the lesson. But here we are at the Care of Magical Creatures lesson with the Slytherins as usual, and her lesson is over Bowtruckles which seem like such interesting creatures. Which is an idea or a sentiment that is shared by Parvati and Lavender because they get really impressed whenever they see the “funny, flat, barklike face in which a pair of beetle-brown eyes glittered.” So Harry, though, is irritated by their reaction because he takes it as an implication that Hagrid never showed them as impressive creatures in his lessons. And then he too himself recalls the Salamanders, Hippogriffs, and Blast-Ended Skrewts, though he does admit that maybe the Blast-Ended Skrewts were a little too over the top. Even so – and Harry realizes this at the end of the lesson – there’s no denying how structured and put-together Grubbly-Plank is with her lessons and this one in particular. Which is a hard pill to swallow for Harry, even though he and Ron are ardently supporting Hagrid through the book to this point being a good professor. So I got to thinking, is there anything that Hagrid does a better job of teaching the class than Grubbly-Plank does?
Kat: Well, first I wanted to say that I think my favorite thing out of everything you just said is that you called it a “bough-truckle.”
Caleb: Oh, is it a Bowtruckle?
Michael: I say Bowtruckle.
Caleb: Oh, whatever.
Kat: It’s just because of where you’re from, that’s all. That happens a lot.
Laura: Silly Texas!
Caleb: I don’t know if it’s a Texas thing because I would actually be interested to see how someone in England says it.
Michael: In the games they say Bowtruckle.
Kat: It’s true.
Laura: Caleb thinks he’s British now. It’s okay.
Caleb: No, no, I’m not saying that my saying is British, but I don’t know if it’s a Texas thing. I don’t have a Texas accent.
Kat: Well… okay.
Caleb: Clearly you guys have never been to Texas if you think that I have a Texas accent. [laughs]
Laura: But what were we even talking about?
Caleb: Anyway, back to the question.
Kat: Hagrid. Is there anything Hagrid is better at?
Kat: Preparing them for the worst.
Laura: Well… yeah. I think he gives them a better idea of what the creatures are like in a less controlled setting.
Kat: There you go.
Michael: Whether that’s on purpose or not is debatable.
Laura: Yeah, I think it’s supposed to be a controlled setting.
Kat: That is a good PR spin you just put on that. Good job.
Laura: Well, thank you.
Michael: I’d say that Hagrid’s best lessons are comparable to Grubbly-Plank’s best lessons. Aside from the Hippogriff incident with Malfoy, which was entirely Malfoy’s fault…
Caleb: Yeah, he was being bad.
Michael: The Hippogriff lesson, that is an excellent lesson. Hagrid also gives an excellent follow-up lesson from Grubbly-Plank on unicorns.
Michael: I think Hagrid has the ability to… and we’ve discussed this before. I think it’s often because such huge disasters occur in his class that are not always within his control and are caused by certain students, that he doesn’t get the chance to finish his lesson plans.
Kat: That’s true.
Laura: I think there’s… my high school was a very good example of this because I went to a themed high school that was career themed to communications, and so many of the teachers that taught there did not study how to become a teacher. They just had field experience and then they were hired on that basis. And you could tell when that was the case because I had… my journalism teacher, she… I was on the newspaper with her and it was fantastic. I learned so much when I was doing it, and as soon as she tried to make a lesson plan it was the worst class I’d ever been in.
Laura: It’s just… they’re different animals. Knowing how to do something in practice does not necessarily translate to being able to communicate to students in a safe, controlled, structured way that makes sense and is still engaging.
Caleb: And also by this point Hagrid has only been a teacher for two years, so there’s obviously having experience being like a brand new teacher. There is certainly a learning curve that comes with more time and Grubbly-Plank has had that time.
Laura: Exactly. And Hagrid is Hagrid on top of it. It’s not like someone like Lupin who didn’t really have the teaching experience, but he’s Lupin…
Laura: … who can grasp what’s appropriate and what isn’t.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s true. He’s just pretty much a natural.
Michael: Well, I think that was a great point, Laura. I guess the biggest difference that I would see between the two, aside from how much control they have over their lessons, is that Hagrid certainly communicates to… he’s best at communicating to a smaller group of the student population, whereas Grubbly-Plank is better at making her lessons fully accessible to almost everybody who attends.
Laura: She kind of does even get the Slytherins’ attention…
Laura: … a little bit.
Caleb: At least nobody’s trying to upend her authority.
Laura: And honestly, I think the Slytherins are probably even being on extra best behavior just to kind of… I can’t think of the word… [laughs] make it more obvious like how much more of a competent teacher Grubbly-Plank is to Hagrid…
Laura: … just to kind of spite Hagrid. If they had just showed up to Grubbly-Plank, I don’t necessarily think they would have been as complacent.
Caleb: So one interesting thing I picked up on toward the end of the lesson – I don’t know if it was at the end, but it was toward the end – Harry asks Grubbly-Plank where Hagrid is and she responds, “Never you mind.” Which I thought was a really interesting response because it almost implies that she knows at least something about where Hagrid is. Which is interesting because I would have thought at face value that Dumbledore would have just said, “He’s away for personal reasons,” or something. But I feel like she knows more than that because otherwise she would just say, “He’s away right now.”
Laura: I kind of disagree just because… at least what I got from that was that she doesn’t feel it’s… not that she necessarily knows what his deal is, but I think she doesn’t think it’s appropriate that these kids have that sort of relationship with a teacher in the sense that they deserve to know what he’s doing. He’s like, “What’s Hagrid doing?” And she’s like, “That’s none of your business.” What a teacher does on his free time is not children’s business. So I think she’s kind of just writing it off like, “You don’t need to know that information,” not necessarily that she does or that it’s something secretive to be hidden.
Michael: She’s certainly very no nonsense in that respect from what we get from her. But I actually got the same feeling as Caleb whenever I’ve read the book and I always was under the assumption that even though all of the staff at Hogwarts are not in the Order of the Phoenix, I always assumed that Dumbledore at least gave them a working basic knowledge of what’s going on because they are his staff and he wants to keep them very close and informed. So, even though we never really see that until perhaps Deathly Hallows when the teachers finally get to rally actively against Voldemort, I always got the sense that the teachers are at least somewhat informed on what’s going on.
Laura: I’m not sure about that.
Kat: Yeah, I’m not sure how much… yeah, I’m sure Dumbledore has… hmm… I can’t form an opinion right now. I’m not sure.
Laura: Honestly, I just… I can’t picture them really knowing stuff about the Order because I don’t think… even though they’re his staff, he can’t necessarily trust that. McGonagall is in the Order because you can trust her and she’s all for that. I think if Flitwick knew what was happening, Flitwick would join the Order. I’m not sure…
Michael: Hmm, maybe it’s just that Dumbledore says something akin to what Grubbly-Plank said which was, “Never you mind where he is. Get on with your lesson planning.”
Kat: Do you think that other professors aren’t in the Order?
Michael: Well, as far as we know, they aren’t, are they?
Caleb: Yeah, I think most of them are not.
Laura: I think it’s really just Snape and McGonagall. I can’t think of anyone else…
Laura: … that is.
Caleb: Yeah, they’re the only ones that are confirmed.
Kat: Right, but I’m saying beyond confirmation.
Laura: I don’t think so.
Caleb: Yeah, I don’t think anyone else…
Laura: I think it’s a much smaller… I think it’s as big of an organization as we see it.
Laura: I don’t think there’s many additional members than the ones that we see because we repeatedly see the same people.
Michael: That would be interesting to know just because I’ve still gotten the sense, maybe in the whole series, that the teachers have, if not a grandiose detailed knowledge of what’s going on… I just thought that they would be at least more informed than perhaps the students on what’s going on with some of the staff that are in the Order. I could be wrong, that’s just…
Caleb: I think they know more than the students, but I think they know just enough to… when they need to defend Hogwarts, they know what’s going on that Dumbledore knows. But I think he definitely doesn’t share everything with them obviously that he shares with Snape and McGonagall.
Laura and Michael: Yeah.
Laura: Honestly, I think that the staff, just in being adult wizards and competent in what they do and being alive for the first war, can probably tell. And whether or not they want to admit it or not, we don’t really know where they stand on that. But they can tell something’s up in at least some regard, and I think Dumbledore doesn’t really necessarily need… honestly, I think they’re smart enough to work it out themselves. It’s like, Dumbledore is having sneaky business and Hagrid’s helping out with that. If they really sat and thought about it, they might think that maybe… they probably know what the Order of the Phoenix is just from the first time. It could be something like that that’s happening again and people like Grubbly-Plank who it doesn’t concern are taking that “never you mind” attitude like, “Let’s do what I do, I got a job back,” type of thing. That’s at least how I see it. I think people like Flitwick and Sprout who are a bit higher up maybe have a bit more knowledge than others.
Caleb: All right. Well, a lot of the meat of this chapter comes with Harry sitting in Umbridge’s detention and he has to sit in it all week, all through Friday, every afternoon. So Harry heads to Umbridge’s office for the first time for his first detention, and obviously he’s been here several times through the years but it is much different this year. He notices most things are covered in lacy covers and cloths. There are dried flowers and of course the ornamental plates with a lot of…
[Cat meows in the background]
Caleb: … kittens with bows on their necks. Choices and choices.
Kat: Come on, if I was a witch I would probably have one of those stupid plates. They’re so cute. I like cats. I wouldn’t have fifty of them and I probably wouldn’t put it somewhere people could see it, but I don’t know, it’s cute. I can’t be the only person out there who would have one of these.
Kat: Besides Umbridge. Shush.
Laura: Only person on the show, but… [laughs]
Kat: That’s okay. I’ve got listeners out there that… I hope. Anyway…
Michael: Well, at least you’re not hanging… you wouldn’t have these plates hanging up to give off a personality type that you are not.
Michael: That’s different.
Kat: That is true. Thank you, Michael.
Kat: That was so Hufflepuff.
Kat: Thank you, I appreciate it.
Laura: Just Caleb and I sitting here judgemental. [laughs]
Kat: That’s all right. I’m the judgiest person on the planet, so it’s okay.
Michael: We know what Kat’s getting for Christmas. [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] Please. Yes, get me one.
[Cat meows in the background]
Caleb: Are there cats playing? I don’t…
Michael: [laughs] What… what is happening?
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Caleb: Very worried. Okay, well… so before he actually starts his detention, Harry follows up on a request from Angelina Johnson previously, where she was really mad at him for getting detention and wants him to ask to get out of detention on Friday so he can be there for Quidditch tryouts for the Keeper position. But of course Umbridge is not about it, and honestly Harry should have known better. He should have just told Angelina that he asked and she said no, because it just gives Umbridge more satisfaction for what she’s doing to him and the chance to say that what Harry did in her class was full of evil, nasty, afternoon… afternoon?
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Caleb: Evil, nasty, attention-seeking stories. Harry was really dense there.
Kat: Isn’t he always?
Michael: Well, when you are standing…
Caleb: Not always.
Michael: Well, I have to give Harry credit at least for thinking about accountability issues, because I think he was thinking that if Angelina went to Umbridge and tried to ask her herself, that he would have to…
Caleb: Well… that’s a good point.
Michael: … make sure, because…
Laura: She would have been on her list then.
Michael: Yeah. [laughs] So I think he was just doing an accountability thing. But at the same time, Angelina… yes, she’s being super unfair. This is…
Caleb: Yeah. She realizes it later, but…
Kat: Yeah, legit. Umbridge is right. Which is probably the only time she is in the whole series.
Michael: Unfortunately, yeah. She is as far as the definition of a punishment is.
Caleb: Yeah, Harry, you don’t get special treatment.
Michael: Yeah. Tough.
Caleb: But anyway…
Michael: And this is the first time Harry hasn’t gotten special treatment.
Caleb: Yeah, exactly.
Kat: About damn time.
Laura: So now that we’ve justified it, let’s go into what the punishment is.
Kat: Right, right.
Caleb: So as Harry sits down for his punishment, he learns that he’s going to be writing lines and he says he doesn’t have… she gives him a quill and he remarks that there is no ink, but she tells him he will not need any.
Caleb: And so we meet the famous Dolores Umbridge quill, which happens, Harry realizes, to use the writer’s blood for ink. And we actually have an Audioboom from one of our listeners who has a couple of great questions, so we’re going to play that now.
[Audio]: Hey Alohomora!, this is Ellen Dawn. I have a topic of conversation that I would be interested to hear you guys discuss on this week’s podcast. In Chapter 13, “Detention With Dolores,” we see Umbridge’s infamous torture quill for the first time in the series, and I have a lot of questions about it. Where do you think she obtained this quill? Did she perhaps buy it in a dark magic store like Borgin and Burkes, or did she create it herself by putting a spell on a normal quill? Did she get it just for the occasion of becoming a teacher at Hogwarts, or did she have previous uses for it before she became a DADA professor? Was it perhaps used on her at one point? I’d love to hear what you guys think. Please keep up the fantastic work. I look forward to the podcast every week. And please, please, please, please make a “Lupin love” shirt.
Caleb: So these are a lot of great questions and some that I actually also have thought of. What is going on with this quill? What is the magic involved? Where did she get it?
Kat: I like your note: “Who makes this kind of crap?”
Caleb: Who makes this kind of crap?
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Caleb: Because I don’t think it’s necessarily a Knockturn Alley thing, but I don’t know.
Laura: Well, I mean, if you’re going to buy it somewhere, probably going to buy it at Knockturn Alley.
Caleb: Unless you make it.
Laura: Yeah, either… that’s what I’m saying. If you’re going to buy it somewhere, that’s where you buy it. Otherwise, I think this has to be your own invention.
Kat: Here’s a question, though: Do we think Knockturn Alley is really all evil and bad?
Caleb: Yes, I’ve been there.
Kat: No, but… I don’t know. There’s flesh-eating slug repellent there. I don’t know. That doesn’t seem like…
Laura: Oh, I’m sorry. Did you just say, “flesh-eating slug repellent doesn’t sound that bad”?
[Caleb, Kat, and Michael laugh]
Kat: No, what I mean is…
Caleb: Let’s think about the intention of this particular… it’s obviously…
Kat: I guess what I’m saying is that I think this is maybe a little too major for someplace like Knockturn Alley. Knockturn Alley seems like the bad street in a town that you don’t go down because there'[re] scary people who try to sell you toenails. But it’s not a seriously evil place is what I think.
Laura: Yeah, I actually kind of agree with you. I think the only… I think Borgin and Burkes is kind of a special exception to that. I do think on the whole Knockturn Alley is just this… it’s… “sketchy” is the word rather than “evil.” Because if it [were] just pure evil, it wouldn’t really be allowed to exist there, I think, openly.
Kat: Yeah. And I think Borgin and Burkes is just kind of an eccentric… I mean, even kind of cool place. It sells random…
Michael: Things that could kill you!
Kat: … amazing objects. Right, but…
Kat: Yes, but do you think that Borgin or Burke knew about the curse on that necklace? Doubtful.
Laura and Michael: Yes.
Kat: No. I don’t know.
Michael: Oh my God, yes.
Laura: Otherwise it’s just a necklace!
Kat: Not necessarily.
Michael: I think they’re very knowledgeable of what they sell.
Kat: I don’t know.
Michael: The books to me suggest that they know everything about what they’re selling, especially because they actively encourage black market deals in their store. I would agree, though, that perhaps Borgin and Burkes is an extreme example of what you find in Knockturn Alley.
Caleb: But back to one of these really interesting questions that this person asked, do you think that this pen is something that was used on Umbridge before?
Michael: This is this…
Laura: I don’t think… I can’t see a situation. Umbridge seems like the type of person who always played her cards right to who’s in charge.
Kat: A kiss ass.
Laura: And I don’t… yeah, pretty much. And obviously, such a stickler for the rules – except when she’s [setting] Dementors on children. It’s… I don’t know. I can’t see a situation in her… I mean, we don’t know, really, much about her previous life, but I don’t see a situation in which someone would need to use this on her. I think maybe she might have viewed someone else maybe using it. Was like, “I need to get me one of those.”
Kat: What if she inherited it? What if her parents were cruel?
Caleb: Yeah, because we know she comes from the Selwyn family, so…
Laura: Oh, maybe… actually, those are the only people I can maybe think of using it on her would be her own parents.
Kat: Wait, does she legit come from that family, or is she making that up?
Caleb: Oh, I always assumed she did.
Michael: Oh, I thought she was lying.
Kat: I did, too. I always thought she made it up.
Michael: See, this is what… and I am so hoping, once Pottermore does reach Order of the Phoenix, that we are going to get some extensive backstory on Umbridge.
Kat: I don’t see how we can’t. She’s such a major player.
Michael: And there are… the interesting thing in terms… and people have already mentioned this in the comments already, but the interesting thing as far as Voldemort goes is [that] we really do dive deep into seeing why he is the way he is, and really, the only portrayal we get of Umbridge is [that] she’s just crazy because she’s crazy. And even…
Kat: Which is scarier, in a way.
Michael: Yeah, which is… which I think for the particular story she plays the biggest part in, yeah, that is perfect to not explain her because that does make her scarier. But as fans, I think, especially with pondering just how she became the way she is and why she uses this horrible awful tool, yeah, it would be interesting to know more of her history. I guess the only thing I could think of in terms of whether it was used on her or not is I would assume that she would have a scar on her hand. I know Dumdbledore has mentioned that scars can be covered up in the wizarding world – not necessarily gotten rid of but at least covered up – so she might be cosmetically getting rid of it, but at the same time, Harry doesn’t notice any gross deformations on her hands. Just that they’re stubby.
Kat: See, I like how you specify “on her hands.”
Michael: Well, yeah. [laughs]
Laura: I just had a very Noah thought. I don’t necessarily want to get into it, but… [laughs]
Michael: Oh, you must. He’s not going to be here for a while. You have to make up for that.
Laura: Oh, that’s true. I mean, it’s just when you… I only just thought of it because of the way you juxtaposed her with Voldemort in saying, “Oh, Voldemort. We get this long extensive backstory as to the way… why he is the way he is,” and that Umbridge is just crazy. I could see Noah [laughs] – let’s just say – making an argument of some kind of subtext with – I’m trying to say – feminism…
Michael: Yep. [laughs]
Laura: … type things. That there’s maybe something there that I don’t necessary like, and that Umbridge is just evil and crazy and we don’t really get much of a backstory.
Michael: She’s crazy because she’s a lady. [laughs]
Laura: Kind of. Whereas Voldemort, it’s more explained.
Caleb: With Umbridge’s method of punishing Harry… obviously the chapter serves to really demonize it as this really awful thing, but by comparison, do you think that it’s really that bad? I mean we have, obviously, kids going in to the Forbidden Forest to take care of really dangerous things. Filch obviously wants to bring back some really archaic methods of punishment. So is it really that bad?
Laura and Michael: Yes. [laughs]
Michael: I think so.
Laura: It’s permanent physical damage. It’s torture.
Caleb: It heals.
Laura: I get upset when I get a paper cut. If I had a knife digging into my skin, and giving me a scar I would probably friggin’ hurt. [laughs] But…
Michael: Yeah, no, kudos to Harry for not even making a sound during this whole ordeal. [laughs]
Kat: I wonder if this just comes from – I’m going to say this a British way – the medieval times, if this is something that is kind of antiquated. And…
Kat: … because Umbridge is old-fashioned…
Michael: That’s true.
Kat: … and maybe it’s something old, something that’s been outlawed or something.
Laura: I think that’s very possible.
Michael: I think by comparison, yeah – like Laura said – it’s because it’s a physical disfigurement. I mean…
Laura: It’s permanent.
Michael: … the thing that we’ve kind of gotten clarification to as far as the Forbidden Forest goes, is that when they were talking about things like, “Oh there’s werewolves in there,” and then we found out in Pottermore that the werewolves are completely harmless. And the thing is, I don’t think Hagrid had intended to take them that far into the forest anyway. Not as far as Harry went in Chamber of Secrets. And commonly the more average punishments we see are things like go clean the bed pans without magic, or go shine all the trophies in the trophy room. Yeah, this is not okay. [laughs] So…
Caleb: One thing that’s also interesting is that Harry chooses not to tell Hermione and Ron at first. At first he says he’s not sure why, but then he says that he doesn’t want to see their looks of horror. And then he goes a little bit further and says that it’s a private battle of wills between he and Umbridge. Which I thought was really interesting that he’s resolved it that way.
[Laura and Michael laugh]
Caleb: Almost melodramatic in a way. But super…
Kat: That’s Harry.
Kat: That’s this book.
Michael: Well, and I wonder with that, do you think if Harry had approached Dumbledore or if somebody else had… because I’m surprised, actually, because other students start getting the same punishment and nobody else approaches a higher authority figure, either. Although I think that’s by the time that Umbridge is High Inquisitor so maybe it can’t be dealt with. But I was wondering, could Dumbledore have actually done something about it at this point, could he have outlawed this or…
Laura: Well, I just wanted to clarify something, because I can’t remember if it’s a movie-ism or not, or if it’s actually in the book.
Laura: That scene with McGonagall saying, “You must follow the prescribed methods of discipline that we follow,” kind of eluding that she found out about this. And she says, “Don’t use your medieval methods.” That’s actually – I’m pretty sure – a quote in the movie. So I wanted to know… I can’t remember if that’s a movie-ism or not.
Michael: I want to say it is. I can’t…
Kat: Yeah, I think it’s a… yeah…
Michael: Because I don’t think McGonagall… if she does find out about what’s going on, she doesn’t find out in time, in the book, to do anything. So yeah, I don’t think that’s from the book.
Michael: Well, and that’s interesting to bring up, too, because in the previous chapter, when Umbridge sends Harry to – when she gives him detention – she sends him to McGonagall because she considers McGonagall a higher up authority at the time. So it would seem like McGonagall does seem to have some say.
Michael: I just always get mad when Harry says that he’s not going to tell anybody. It’s just ridiculous.
Laura: Because he makes the same mistake every book, except – I should say – except all throughout Order Of The Phoenix, where he’s trying to get Dumbledore’s attention for once. And Dumbledore…
Laura: … is refusing to listen to him.
Kat: Yeah, but he’s trying to do that for completely separate reasons.
Kat: It has nothing to do with any of this.
Caleb: Speaking of trying to getting Dumbledore’s attention, though. After a couple of more detentions, the “I must not tell lies” starts to actually remain on Harry’s hand. And eventually Ron finds out when he and Harry cross paths. And he tells Harry that… first he tells him he should tell McGonagall, then he says he should tell Dumbledore. But Harry refuses to tell Dumbledore, because – and this is from the book – he was not going to go to Dumbledore for help, when Dumbledore had not spoken to him once since last June. Later when Hermione finds out, she also suggests he tell Dumbledore and Harry says, “Yeah, that’s the only bit of me Dumbledore cares about, isn’t it? My scar.” That’s when she’s finding out about how Harry’s scar hurts, which we’ll talk about in just a minute. But, the important point is that both of them suggest Harry talk to Dumbledore about this, which is obviously the most logical thing up to this point. But Harry is, here, showing his bitterness that Dumbledore has really ignored him and left him to the dogs through everything he’s been though so far.
Kat: Is that not true?
Caleb: Oh, it’s absolutely true. Oh no, I’m totally with Harry on this. I would feel the exact same way.
Kat: No, but I mean, not even just how Harry is feeling. Isn’t it true that a majority of what Dumbledore cares about is what’s on Harry’s forehead?
Michael: It used to be.
Caleb and Kat: Yeah.
Michael: It’s not quite that way any more but it did use to be.
Kat: Well, of course it is not any more, because he is dead.
Michael: Well, no, no, I mean even by…
Laura: Aww, too soon.
Michael: No, I’m talking by this point in the book, because – as Dumbledore will later admit – that, in a way, is what he almost sees as his… because he’s Dumbledore, that’s what he sees as his downfall.
Kat: Right, because he cared about him.
Michael: Yeah, because he cared.
Kat: Blah, blah, blah. It doesn’t matter. I mean, sure, but…
Michael: Yes, it matters. [laughs] It matters a lot.
Kat: Eighty percent of Dumbledore’s motivation, with anything regarding Harry, has to do with that lightning bolt.
Michael: I think Harry is more on point than even he realizes, in that respect.
Kat: Mhm. Yeah, absolutely.
Michael: But I still think he should have gone to Dumbledore. [laughs]
Caleb: Okay, so we’re at the final night of the detention and Harry goes up to Umbridge’s desk. And so she reaches to see his hand, like she does every detention, and when she touches him, two things happen. First off, his scar starts hurting really badly and it’s a really sudden thing that happens and it takes him by surprise. And then also, it says, “And at the same time, he had a most peculiar sensation somewhere around his midriff.”
Caleb: I am very perplexed about this second feeling. I need someone to please walk me through it.
Kat: I think we should just leave that one right where it is.
Laura: No, wait.
Kat: Walk away slowly.
Caleb: Is there ever an explanation for that?
Laura: I mean…
Caleb: But that’s… let’s… this can’t be that.
[Kat imitates Caleb stuttering in confusion]
Laura: I think it just means that it’s like…
Caleb: Is he feeling nauseous or something, maybe? Is that what she is meaning?
Laura: I think he means… okay. Not that… because nausea is… you know it is nausea, but more a peculiar sensation, I would say, would be that pit in your stomach. That’s not necessarily nausea, but just [groans]. I don’t know. I mean, I get it when I have anxiety.
Laura: Let’s say that. [laughs]
Caleb: Okay. That sounds good. But back to the scar, as we mentioned earlier, he goes and tells Hermione because it is, obviously, very similar to his experience with Quirrell, when Voldemort was possessing Quirrell, and he thinks it is similar here. But Hermione downplays it and she gives pretty good reasons why that can’t be it, and Harry just wants – I guess he almost – wants to believe it because he is, at this point, so convinced that Umbridge is evil.
Kat: Yeah, she is so much more evil because she is more real than Voldemort. She’s just…
Laura: Yeah. She is not comically villainous, if that makes sense. Cartoonishly, is, I guess, the better word.
Kat: Yeah, absolutely. Mhm.
Michael: No, I think it goes back to what you said, Kat, about not knowing what makes her the way she is makes her scarier.
Kat: Right, absolutely.
Michael: And I think Rowling really… that’s one thing I always think Rowling does excellently in her writing – because I take that as a rule from film – that really what you don’t see on screen is much more, perhaps, frightening or interesting or bizarre or unreal than whatever you can see in front of you because whatever your mind makes up is even more extreme than what somebody could put down in words.
Caleb: So the last big piece of this chapter that is really important is, as we briefly mentioned, there are tryouts for the Gryffindor Keeper for the Quidditch team. Harry doesn’t get to attend the tryouts.
Kat: [sings] Wop-wah.
Caleb: And we get a few hints along the way that Ron is going to try out because he makes a comment about the weather being foul outside and Hermione picks up on it, and then he responds to Harry asking why he didn’t do his homework while Harry was in detention and Ron says he was, quote, “doing other stuff.”
Laura: [as Harry] What were you doing? [as Ron] Stuff.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Caleb: So it is an interesting thing that Harry chooses not to tell Ron and Hermione about the punishment with Umbridge and Ron chooses not to tell Harry about trying out for Keeper. Obviously for very different reasons, but it is a cool juxtaposition by Jo in this chapter.
Kat: It is the chapter of lies.
Laura: I think Ron is probably more embarrassed… not embarrassed. Harry is being a melodramatic brat, that is his reasoning. But I think Ron is like, “if it doesn’t work out…” I think he is nervous that Harry might give the reaction like, “Wait, seriously? You’re trying to go out for Quidditch? Are you serious?”
Kat: Yes, but why does he think that?
Michael: Because Ron has super low self-esteem, and it is very…
Kat: Yeah, but it is his best friend.
Laura: But it is also Harry’s turf, if you will.
Kat: Eh. Hmm.
Michael: Well, yeah, the prefect thing was already an ordeal in itself, so…
Kat: That’s because Harry is a prat.
Kat: I don’t think he would give a crap about Quidditch.
Michael: Well, and he doesn’t. We end up seeing that he doesn’t. He thinks it is great.
Laura: But I think that explains more Ron’s anxieties toward telling him.
Michael: Well, it is so sad, because he is… when Harry catches him and he finally tells him, he is hiding behind a statue because Fred and George just went by and he is terrified that they’re going to tease him. And I imagine… it doesn’t seem like Ron has confided to anyone about this…
Michael: … which is a shame because if he had told Harry, he probably could have gotten in much more adequate practice, anyway.
Kat: Right. Wasn’t he enchanting Quaffles to fly at him? [laughs]
Michael: Yes. [laughs]
Kat: Oh, poor Ron.
Michael: It’s pretty sad, because…
Kat: Poor Won-Won.
Michael: … I always just go back to that Sorcerer’s Stone when he’s looking in the Mirror of Erised and he sees himself as Head Boy, as Quidditch Captain, and the fact that he just so incredibly does not believe in his own skill. It’s very sad.
Caleb: But fortunately, Ron does get the Keeper position. Harry finds out shortly after getting out of detention and Angelina comes up to him. First, she apologizes for berating him about his detention, and then she admits that Ron is not fabulous at his position but he could be good with training, so she wants Harry to make sure to work with him and help him out. And then the last really interesting thing is that Hermione keeps on showing up really tired because the hats that she is making for the owls… the owls. Why am I saying wrong words all the time in this chapter? [laughs]
Caleb: Hats are missing. Hermione is tired because she is working for SPEW. But the the question is, where are the hats going? And she is always tired because she’s got to make more hats. [laughs]
Kat: Work, work, work. [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] Sorry. I don’t know where that came from.
Caleb: That’s a chapter fan.
[Caleb and Michael laugh]
Kat: So staying on that realm, that idea of Hermione and her little hats. As Caleb was just saying, in this chapter… oh, and this is the Podcast Question of the Week, by the way.
Kat: In this chapter, Hermione has started knitting and leaving these little wooly hats all around the Gryffindor common room for the house-elves to find and eventually pick up, and basically trick them into freeing themselves because she is tricky, tricky, tricky. I want to know… and I figure we’ll do this question, get a break from Umbridge because I think she is going to be around for a while. I want to know what you guys think exactly would happen if the house-elves actually did pick them up? Surely it wouldn’t free them, for many reasons, since they were just left there and not presented to them, and because Hermione is not their master. I’m just curious. I know that we find out later what happens to them…
Kat: … and all of that. Not what happens to the hats, not what happens to the house-elves, but just what do you think? Just answer the question, okay?
Laura: Just answer the question already.
Kat: All right?
Caleb: [laughs] You sounded really desperate there at the end.
Kat: It’s alohomora.mugglenet.com, okay? Just answer the question.
Caleb: It’s been a day, guys.
Kat: It’s been an episode.
Laura: So this week, our guest was the ghost host and our lovely selves. But if you would like to be on the show with us in the future, you can find out how to do that by heading over to our website and checking out the “Be on the Show” page at alohomora.mugglenet.com. You don’t need any fancy equipment to try out, so head on over and do that.
Kat: And in the meantime, if you just want to keep in touch with us, send us an owl or a fancy Hippogriff picture, or anything fun like that. You’ll find us on…
Laura: I still have the fancy Hippogriff picture hanged in my room… hung in my room behind me.
Kat: It has been an episode. You can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, facebook.com/openthedumbledore, on Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast. Of course, our phone number is 206-GO-ALBUS – 206-462-5287. Don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. Follow us on Snapchat at mn_alohomora. And of course the Audioboo, much like the one you heard on the show today. You can record that directly at alohomora.mugglenet.com. All you need is an Internet connection and a microphone. We just want to remind you guys, we’re getting a lot of really, really, really, really good Audioboos, but if they’re seven minutes long we can’t play them on the show. Keep them under 60 seconds and you’re more likely to get on. That’s it. But we want to keep hearing them so leave your comments, your questions for future episodes, sing us a song, tell us a story, just send them in.
Michael: And we also want to let you know, as always, we have the Alohomora! store. We want to thank you all for your feedback on what you want in the store. I have heard quite a few people… there’s been quite a few tweets to me about a Lupin love shirt so we’ll see if we can’t make that happen. There are new items that will be coming soon. We also have ringtones that are available and free and you can get those right from our website.
Caleb: And it says to also mention the app, so I’m going to also mention the app, which is available seemingly worldwide. Prices vary, depending on where in the world you live. I don’t know where I was going to go with that.
Kat: A Carmen Santiago reference?
Michael: A Carmen Santiago… yeah.
Caleb: I was going to make a Carmen Santiago reference. I just didn’t know how to do it.
Michael: [singing] Where in the world is…
Caleb: We’re on the same wavelength there.
Kat: [singing] Carmen Santiago.
Caleb: The app has things like transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and more.
Kat: Like Caleb and I trying to find the Knight Bus driver.
Caleb: And talking to the shrunken head.
Kat: That’s true. That did happen.
Laura: Oh gosh, I’m excited for that.
Kat: Yeah, you need to watch it.
Caleb: He actually responded to my question. The shrunken head.
Kat: He did.
Michael: He did. He was actually talking to you.
Caleb: I was a little weirded out by that. I’m not going to lie.
Kat: Yeah, a little weird but it was fun. We never did find him.
Michael: Yeah, that’s right, you never found him.
Laura: He’s still out there, looking for you.
Kat: There might be a second part coming, so…
Kat: … you should get the app and wait for it.
Laura: All right, I think that wraps up this week’s episode, so thank you guys for listening. I’m Laura Reilly.
[Show music begins]
Michael: I’m Michael Harle.
Caleb: I’m Caleb Graves.
Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thanks for listening to Episode 90 of Alohomora!
Michael: [as Umbridge] Did you open the Dumbledore? You must not tell lies.
[Show music continues]
Kat’s ebook: Moonstones.
Kat: Whoops, sorry. [laughs]
Caleb: What just happened?
Kat: I was flipping through my ebook, and I accidentally highlighted a word and hit “Speak.”
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Kat: It said “moonstones.” Sorry!
Caleb: Well, that’s a good word for it to say, though.
Michael: Yeah, that works.
Laura: It could be worse. [laughs]
Caleb: That’s a fun word.
Kat: [laughs] It could be worse. That’s true.
Kat: Sweet, Caleb is not here.
Kat: This keeps happening…
Laura: All right, let’s…
Kat: This keeps happening immediately when it’s his turn to actually talk.
Michael: Well, at least it’s not happening in the middle of when he talks. It could be worse.
Kat: That’s true. That’s true.
Michael: Yet… knock on wood. [knocks on wood] There we go.
Kat: [knocks on wood] Your turn, Laura.
Michael: Knock on wood.
Laura: Wait, what’s happening? Oh. I don’t know if I have wood. Okay. [knocks on wood]
Kat: There you go.
Laura: I don’t have wood! No, I found it.
Michael: [as Hermione] “There’s no wood!”
Michael: [as Ron] “Are you a witch or aren’t you?” [laughs]
Kat: This is a good one.