[Show music begins]
Eric Scull: This is Episode 99 of Alohomora! for August 30, 2014.
[Show music continues]
Eric: Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of Alohomora! I’m Eric Scull.
Kat Miller: I’m Kat Miller.
Michael Harle: And I’m Michael Harle. And our very distinguished guest today is Lindsay Cummings, the author of The Murder Complex series, which has recently been published, and the upcoming release of The Balance Keepers, which will be in stores on September 23. Welcome, Lindsay!
Lindsay Cummings: Thanks for having me, you guys! I’m so excited to be here.
Michael: We’re so excited to have you. Now, I found out through your website you are quite the Harry Potter fan, it would seem, just for little tidbits that I saw.
Lindsay: Umm, yes.
Lindsay: Potterhead for life, always.
Michael: Did…? Is it…?
Eric: Always! I see what you did there! I see what you did there.
Lindsay: You got that? You got that? Uh-huh.
Eric: Well, I was just going to say, “Of course she’s a Harry Potter fan because she’s showing up on our show.”
Lindsay and Michael: Well, yes.
Eric: Our screening process isn’t that intense, but you kind of have to be a Harry Potter to be on.
[Eric, Lindsay, and Michael laugh]
Michael: And I hope this is still true. Do you still have a hedgehog named Hedwig?
Lindsay: I do, I do, yes!
Kat: Oh my God! I love you even more. Hedgehogs. They’re my favorite!
Michael: What’s its name?
Lindsay: Hedwig! His name is Hedwig!
Kat: It’s so cute!
Lindsay: And I have a cat named Crookshanks, so…
Kat: I think you just got 25,000 new fans.
Kat: So congratulations!
Michael: If there are images on social media, then…
Lindsay: Oh, 100%. They’re everywhere.
Eric: Oh, okay.
Eric: We got to connect. At the end of the show, we’ll ask where people can find you.
Eric: And please be sure to tell us where we can find the images of your adorable hedgehog and cat.
Kat: What house do you identify with?
Lindsay: Ooh. Y’all might not like me for this, but I think I’m a Slytherin.
Michael: That’s great!
Eric: Proud to admit it.
Kat: We love that!
Michael: We never get Slytherins on the show.
Kat: Yeah, it’s very rare, actually.
Lindsay: Well, I mean, I write pretty creepy stuff, so I was fit.
Kat: Perfect. I consider myself 49% Slytherin, so I get it.
Lindsay: Okay, so we get along. It’s all right. [laughs]
Kat: Absolutely, absolutely.
Michael: So we’re actually missing a Gryffindor today, but Eric, you always make a good stand-in Gryffindor.
Eric: Thank you. I am a mistanding Gryffindor. I try to be.
Michael: You have the robes, so…
Eric: I do have the robes, yes, and the tie.
Kat: That’s true.
Michael: Well, and Lindsay, I also saw [that] The Balance Keepers, your upcoming trilogy that you’re working on, has been favorably compared to Harry Potter. I saw one review said, “Like Harry Potter underground”?
Lindsay: Yes. I’m so excited about it. So when I first got the idea for this, I wanted to do… It’s kind of a steampunk type of Harry Potter, and it’s set in the core of the earth, where these kids get these magical tiles, and they have to be in the core for them to work, and there’s this whole school down there, and when they go to that school, they train in these pit practices, and it’s basically like this huge steampunk-like training center where there’s these big pipes they have to climb, and there’s steam shooting out everywhere, and there'[re] little aspects of magic, but overall, I wanted to give kids a little bit of a familiar feeling for Harry Potter as they were reading it, and I hope that’s what I’ve captured.
Michael: That’s fantastic.
Kat: Damn, that sounds really cool.
Eric: It sounds hot, actually. The center of the Earth is very hot.
Michael: It sounds really hot, yeah. [laughs]
Lindsay: It’s a little toasty.
Michael: Must be warm there.
Kat: And it’s funny because I knew what the book was about, but hearing you say it, it sounds even better.
Lindsay: Hmm. Super excited.
Kat: I’m really excited for it now. Me, too. Me, too.
Lindsay: [laughs] Yay.
Michael: So before we move on to today’s chapter discussion, we want to remind our listeners to make sure [to] read Chapter 21, “The Eye of the Snake,” from Order of the Phoenix.
Kat: But of course, as usual, before we go on to that chapter, we’re going to discuss some comments from our previous week’s chapter, which was Chapter 20. So there was a lot of really varied discussion this week and some hilarious comments, so if you’re not a regular checker-outer of the forums – That made no sense. You know what I meant. – then go the forums this week because there’s a lot of really, really, really funny stuff on there, but our first comment comes from the main site, from Elvis Gaunt. It says,
“Hagrid says [that] they had to pretend to travel like [M]uggles because he shouldn’t be using magic. But the trio had cleared his name. So why is he still banned from owning a wand or doing magic[?]”
And before we comment, there [were] follow-ups from Hufflepug and Snitch the Snatch. They both basically said that they think it’s because of his lack of magical education that’s why he’s not allowed to do magic. So then I had a follow-up: So if that’s the case, why did Hagrid not go back to school? And can magic maybe not be learned at a later age? So lots of compound questions there but…
Kat: … throw it at me. What do you think?
Michael: Hmm. I thought it was… The way I interpreted that they can’t use magic, or that Hagrid is not using magic, on the trip is because it’s not safe. It would give them away because he’s already extremely tall…
Eric: Right. Why is he bothering to travel like a Muggle because he’s so big? He’s clearly a giant.
Lindsay: Like a giant ball of walking hair.
[Eric, Kat, and Michael laugh]
Lindsay: It’s pretty obvious; there’s just something different.
Michael: So I’m assuming that if he [were]… I thought when he said that he wasn’t using magic [it] was more because it was just an extra precaution. I mean, there'[re] a lot of things about that whole trip that were just badly planned. [laughs]
Eric: Well, I would try and say, too, we’re not being size-ist here…
Lindsay: No, no.
Eric: … but just, Hagrid, in general being too big, and then being on a broom would be even worse. So it’s like him flying is… Because that’s why they don’t use magical means of, say, transportation and that. I think it’s all about keeping a low profile, less so that it’s illegal, although I do like the idea of Hagrid maybe going back to school even… I mean, the time has passed, but even in Harry’s third year or something…
Eric: … after his name is cleared in Chamber if Hagrid [were to show] up with the fourth years. Can you imagine with the fourth year class?
Lindsay: Oh my gosh. Would that not be the best spin-off ever?
Eric: There’s Hagrid with his desk; it’s like twice as big as everyone else’s desk.
Eric: Or trying to fit into the other desks, and he can’t.
Lindsay: They’re like, “We had to cut down a Redwood tree so that we could make a desk his size.”
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Kat: There has to be a fan fiction out there.
Lindsay: I know.
Eric: There’s a really unlucky pig that was transformed into Hagrid’s desk.
Kat: Oh, right. Desk!Pig. Oh, the Desk!Pig.
Michael: We miss you, Noah. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, yeah, but no, I think that’s what it is although it’s possible that it’s still illegal. We know that Hagrid only knows so little of magic, and even if Madam Maxime were with him, I think the idea is just to not… And seeing as they were followed by Death Eaters, I think it’s important not to give off too many signs of having been doing magic.
Michael: And correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t really the only example of any adult trying to learn magic is when Filch gets that Squib package for the Kwikspell thing?
Michael: And Rowling said it didn’t work for him anyway, and it was just a scam.
Michael: But it is something that’s out there for adults to learn magic. So I’m wondering if there is a way for over-age wizards to learn magic.
Eric: It’s a shame that the Kwikspell course was a scam. If J.K. Rowling really said that, that’s a shame.
Michael: Yeah, she did. She confirmed it.
Eric: I mean, it could just be the case that Squibs really just can’t do magic. That it was a lie… It was a scam not because they’re evil but because it’s actually not possible. Or if the possibility is there, it’s just that Kwikspell was corrupt and wrong.
Michael: Yeah. But as far as Hagrid goes, I mean, I don’t… It is kind of funny because after he is acquitted of his supposed crime and sent back to Hogwarts, nobody really talks about it ever again. [laughs] The thing is, too, he could be getting private lessons with his co-workers.
Kat: Oh, come on.
Eric: That would be… That’s a nice thought.
Michael: What do you mean “come on”? He lives in a school, for crying out loud.
Eric: Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Michael: “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” He’s in the staff room, right? And he wants to learn something, so he does.
Eric: Well, yes, but he’s not even supposed to have that wand in his umbrella. [laughs]
Michael: Yeah, yeah, yeah, well, look, I think, though, that if Hagrid were really serious about it, I’m sure that Dumbledore would make sure that the other teachers, grudgingly or not, got him some learning. Learned him some stuff.
Kat: “Learned him some stuff.” That…
Eric: “Got him some learning” and “learned him some stuff.” I am a little shocked that he would be put into a teaching position without any further…
Lindsay: I just feel so bad for him. The whole series I just want to hug him.
Michael: Lindsay will be Hagrid’s tutor.
Lindsay: I will.
Eric: You’re not a very good Slytherin, Lindsay.
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Lindsay: I know. That’s very true. [laughs]
Eric: That’s very uncharacteristic for any of the Slytherins.
Lindsay: [laughs] Danggit!
Michael: She has ambitions for Hagrid, and it’s kind of cunning because he’s not legally supposed to be doing that anyway.
Lindsay: That’s true.
Kat: There you go.
Lindsay: Yeah, see?
Michael: It works.
Eric: Okay, all right.
Lindsay: You can be a Slytherin and have a nice heart very deep down.
Kat: Okay, so our next comment comes from MinervaLupin on the forums. Nice. You think they’re married? Yeah, iIs that their married name or something? I don’t know.
Kat: Anyway, so it is again on the topic of Hagrid since of course the last chapter was basically all about him. It says,
“I know that Hagrid just got back, and maybe there was no time for long explanations, but why did Dumbledore not warm him about Umbridge? Surely there could have been an owl or letter or [P]atronus waiting for him at his hut explaining the situation at Hogwarts or at least a very quick warning to watch out for her. Dumbledore must have known that she would be on Hagrid the second he got back, seeing as she was questioning everyone about his whereabouts since term started, I am sure. A warning would have been in order, especially considering Hagrid’s past lessons.”
Eric: I completely agree, especially using the events of this coming chapter that we’re about to read or that we have read, but we’re about to discuss. Hagrid is basically thrown to the dogs. Hermione tries her best to warn him and – what’s the word? – prepare him for what’s coming. But knowing that Dumbledore seemingly did not take that opportunity, you do feel worse for him, and you do feel like Dumbledore, yet again, has missed an opportunity here to do something right by one of his charges.
Kat: I would actually say the opposite. I think it’s good that they didn’t warn Hagrid because I feel he would have reacted very negatively toward her, and it probably would have escalated faster and a lot worse if Hagrid had been warned about what an evil little thing Umbridge is.
Eric: So do you think that Dumbledore is basically playing the long game where he knows it’s going to go horribly, but he’s already working, he’s thinking a few steps ahead of how he’s going to combat the greater Umbridge problem, that he’s just letting these incidents with these teachers occur?
Kat: Yeah, I mean, he is the puppet master, so…
Lindsay: I mean, there was really nothing that you can do against that woman, other than kill her, which I would have done.
Kat: Now there’s the Slytherin.
[Kat and Lindsay laugh]
Eric: There it is, okay. I was waiting. How many minutes is that? Timestamp. Click. There it is.
Eric: Okay, what do you mean you’d kill her? What do you mean?
Lindsay: She’s… I would kill her.
Eric: Oh, okay.
Lindsay: [laughs] No, she’s just so…
Eric: Any particular method or…?
Lindsay: If you read my book, you might find several methods.
Eric: Oh, okay.
Lindsay: No, but it’s just she’s so evil deep down and so manipulative, and I just feel like warning him. I do agree with what you said that it would have made things worse.
Eric: Ugh, well, he would’ve been nervous about it, and know that Hagrid is completely useless – sorry, Hagrid lovers out there – when he’s frazzled.
Lindsay: Yeah. Very true.
Eric: So at least they got a somewhat decent lesson out of it eventually. But I just think… And to close up this comment if we could. I know we have got to move on, but knowing that Hagrid is a half-breed and that Umbridge has a very, very, very specific hatred and dislike and distrust for half-breeds – She’s passed legislation against them. – it just seems that Dumbledore is not looking out for his bro here by not…
Eric: … so I like this point because it really does seem like somebody in authority… I know he gets Hermione’s advice and discards it, but I think Dumbledore should’ve done something.
Kat: Wait, Michael, can you just say…? Use your voices, and say something in Dumbledore’s voice using the word “bro.”
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Kat: Like “‘sup bro.”
Michael: [as Dumbledore] Alas, earwax, bro!
Kat: Okay. Thank you for that. It just… The image of bros. Okay.
[Eric and Lindsay laugh]
Kat: Okay, so our last comment here comes from Hufflepug on the main site, and it says,
“I just wanted to explore an alternate timeline for Hagrid. What if he had graduated from Hogwarts and had never become the gamekeeper? Do you think it’s likely that he would have worked in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and lobbied for separate spaces for giants to live (if he still went on this journey in that timeline, of course)? Because it’s a pretty awful idea to keep warring groups in such close proximity, and Hagrid seems like one of the only people in the wizarding world to care about giants as we see later with Grawp. It seems likely because of his personality, but I don’t think it would be very successful because most people would oppose any of Hagrid’s ideas that involve dangerous creatures.”
Eric: I’m going to say this once, and I love Hagrid, and I’m glad that he didn’t die in the whole series, but just because he gets himself an “edumucation” does not mean that he, in this alternate timeline, is going to be this well-spoken activist for his kind. I think that his heart is his best quality, but I don’t think it’s likely that he will be composing theses that try [to] change the wizarding public’s opinion [on] any topic.
Lindsay: I totally agree with that.
Eric: Yeah, no, it’s a great comment, but I think there’s who he is, and I… He would do something… He might… I mean, he wouldn’t be gamekeeper, okay. I guess that’s considered a lowly profession. You don’t need seven years of education to do it, even though he’s good at it. But I think he would have a different occupation, but I don’t… It’s like what I see this alternate scenario as being is if he were a lawyer or some[one] more like a Hermione, who’s really bookish and stuff, and these… I’m not saying that Hagrid is dumb. I’m just saying [that] these are not the qualities that I think that he would even have had he graduated. I don’t think he would be that much into books or that much into community because he tends to be shunned from any group.
Eric: And I think he would learn to live with that. I think he would choose a profession that really suited his qualities. Hell, I think he might’ve ended up doing something with creatues anyway. Maybe just on the road somewhere. He could be the next Newt Scamander.
Michael: What if he had Hermione and/or Madam Maxime by his side? Because you… We know that Hermione later goes into law, and specifically with magical creatures and house-elves, and…
Eric: But the time lines aren’t the same because think about this. Hagrid would have graduated fifty years ago.
Michael: Oh, yeah, we’re saying if he had graduated…
Eric: Yeah, so he wouldn’t have had Hermione at his side until it was way too late to do something.
Michael: Well, there were different ministers. It was a different time. [laughs]
Eric: It was a different time. I don’t know. I like playing these what ifs, though. I think we should have more features for them on the forums, maybe, or something like that, because I think it’s cool.
Michael: It is definitely worth lauding Hagrid’s very deep knowledge of giant culture. He does speak about them very respectfully and very knowledgeably so he would definitely at least have the knowledge base for it. Just maybe not the eloquence…
Eric: But I think… Still, being here for the trio – I’m not one to point out a literary benefit to his character in the series – but I feel like Hogwarts… Doing what he’s doing, being where he is, is the best thing that could have ever happened to Harry, Ron, and Hermione or the best thing that could have happened to him…
Eric: … is for him to be exactly where he is. Which sounds sad. It’s like, “Oh, he never made it through school”, but he’s performing a really important function…
Kat: And he lives at Hogwarts.
Eric: … and he lives at Hogwarts. You’re not allowed to do that. They would never let anybody, normally, who graduated just come back and live there unless they were teaching so…
Michael: And it’s okay because Lindsay’s going to hop on a plane to Scotland after this episode and go be Hagrid’s tutor, so…
Kat: He’s definitely still alive right?
Michael: Yeah, he’s still alive.
Lindsay: Oh, yeah.
Kat: Okay. Cool. So I just wanted to point out two other small, little things here. Laura Albert.
Kat: And this is the OGM. The Obligatory Genius Moment, I think, of the comments from last week…
Kat: … because we kept mispronouncing “Gubraithian Fire” and saying “Galbriathian Fire” and she goes,
“Guys, ‘Galbraith’ (as a mispronunciation of ‘Gubraithian Fire’)…”
See I can’t even say it right now.
“… is JKR’s alter ego, Robert Galbraith.”
And I just was like…
Michael: Boom. Boom. Boom. Mind blown.
Kat: Boom. She must be a Ravenclaw.
[Lindsay and Michael laugh]
Kat: And then also there was a whole conversation about that exact fire – the Gubraithian Fire – in a vacuum and if it’s possible and there was physics and a lot of talk I didn’t understand, but it was really cool…
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Kat: So. Yes. [laughs]
Eric: When the Ravenclaw checks out, you know it’s…
Kat: Science was not my subject in…
Lindsay: That’s when I would have left immediately.
Kat: Exactly. But that’s over on the main site at alohomora.mugglenet.com so if you’re science minded or not, just want to read good stuff it’s there. Go find it. So there you go. That’s our recap.
Eric: I know we say this every week, but we just continue to have some of the coolest, some of the smartest people on our forums, on our main site, commenting every week and that brings us, of course, to our Podcast Question of the Week responses which, again, were brilliant. In fact, most usernames that I picked here, to read comments from, are usernames I don’t even recognize, they must be either new…
Eric: … or we haven’t featured them before. Really, just not familiar names, but still just equally brilliant comments, so shouting out to the new people. But hey, here is the question from last week. I’ll just re-capitulate it for you: “Since Fudge and Umbridge think that Hagrid of not going to see the giants in his absence from Hogwarts, and given we know that Fudge does not believe Voldemort is truly back, do you think Fudge believes Dumbledore sent Hagrid to the giants in a recruiting effort to build an army against Fudge?” Okay, so these comments…
Kat: And that… Sorry. And that came from an Audioboo from a listener last week, too, which is the cool part.
Eric: Yes. Please continue to send your Audioboos. We’ll give you the information about that in the show close. But the first comment comes from AstroBlack, who says,
“I think it’s most likely that Fudge is interpreting Dumbledore’s actions as a continuation of Dumbledore’s plot to use the ruse of Voldemort’s return as a means to usurp him. In other words, (from Fudge’s perspective) OF COURSE Dumbledore would recruit the giants! They were used in the first wizarding war! Obviously Fudge isn’t the sharpest tool, so I have trouble giving him the credit to be creative enough to offer any explanation other than a simplistically cockamamie appeal to a red herring (a thing for which he seems in constant search).”
Kat: Good. Yeah.
Kat: And a good use of cockamamie. That was very good. I think that’s the first time we’ve heard that word on this show.
Eric: It’s possible. We’ve said many cockamamie things…
[Kat, Lindsay, and Michael laugh]
Eric: … but not the word cockamamie. So the next comment comes from Celestina Is My Homegirl. Hey, move over, Minerva.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: I love that screen name.
Kat: Yeah, you like Celestina.
Michael: Oh my God. I wanted my wizard card signed by her…
Michael: … and they wouldn’t let me. [laughs] It was so…
Eric: You actually had one with you for her to sign?
Michael: I had my wizard card from my collection that I made, and I was like, “Can I get it signed by her?” and the guy was like, “No.” [laughs] So I just went sadly back to my corner and listened to her sing.
Eric: Most depressing moment in Diagon Alley ever.
Michael: Oh, it was.
Kat: Just send them to me and I’ll get them to sign it.
Michael: That would be super cool. There are many pictures of… There’s actually video of my… I didn’t realize how disappointed my face looked.
Kat: Oh, you looked so disappointed when she didn’t pick you.
Eric: Watch the heart of a fan break…
Eric: … on film. Watch it just break. Well, okay.
Eric: Here is the comment in response to the Podcast Question of the Week from Celestina Is My Homegirl. They say,
“I definitely believe that Fudge thinks Hagrid and Maxime are recruiting giants for Dumbledore’s supposed army.
This is a Minister who won’t allow students at Hogwarts to practice defensive magic for fear that Dumbledore will recruit them [t]o fight against the Ministry. If he’s nervous about a group of teenagers I think it’s definitely reasonable to assume that the threat of giants being part of the uprising would be nothing short of terrifying to him. At the end of ‘Goblet of Fire’, when Dumbledore is trying to convince Fudge to act on Harry’s information that Voldemort is back, he tells Fudge that he should attempt to negotiate with the giants. I think that it’s highly likely that Fudge, with this advice in mind, would believe that Dumbledore would attempt to recruit the giants, and what’s more, with two half-giants doing the negotiating, I think Fudge would believe that Dumbledore could succeed in doing so.”
Kat: Oh, I had forgotten about that in Goblet.
Eric and Michael: Yeah.
Eric: Dumbledore specifically mentions. He’s like, “You got to send an envoy to the giants,” and Fudge freaks out about that. [laughs]
Kat: I forgot about that.
Michael: This is such a good podcast question, because… And I mentioned this before we started recording, but “Hagrid’s Tale” is my least favorite chapter of Order of the Phoenix, because this plot – surprisingly to me, and this is reflected in the movie, but it’s also in the book – the plot doesn’t really go anywhere with the giants. They show up at the end of the series and take part in the battle, but that’s kind of it. And it just doesn’t tie in quite as surprisingly as everything else that Rowling puts into her work does. And so I remember when I read the part where Umbridge started questioning Hagrid and knew where he had been, I was like, “How did she know that?” And I’ve never really further examined that. So bringing up the fact that Dumbledore told Fudge to talk to the giants really helps tie that all back together for me.
Kat: And I brought up last week that I’m pretty sure Macnair is a double agent.
Eric: There was a comment about that, which you should go see Kat. I didn’t include it because I wasn’t quite sure what it was about, but there was a least one good comment about Macnair.
Kat: I remember reading that.
Eric: Yeah. There is at least one. But we do have our final comment here. It’s a comment and then another comment that was a reply to it. WizardorWhat says…
Eric: Yeah. What?
Kat: Sorry. [laughs]
Eric: Or what? WizardorWhat says,
“I don’t think that the Ministry know where Hagrid and Madam Maxime have gone – Hagrid tells us that they ‘managed ter give the berk tailin’ us the slip round abou’ Dee-John.'”
Kat: That was such a good Hagrid.
Eric: I’ll be replacing Michael on AudioFictions, by the way.
“This also explains why Umbridge attempts to interrogate him on his return – why do that if you already know where he’s been? Had Fudge known about the trip, I’d have expected him to do the same thing that he did later when he found ‘evidence’ that Dumbledore was raising an army – attempt to arrest him/Hagrid and send them to Azkaban.
Instead, I think it more likely that Fudge is having Hagrid, who is known to be close to Dumbledore, watched just to see what he does.”
So maybe they don’t know where he went, because why ask him where he went if you knew where he went?
Michael: Well, asking him where he went being Umbridge’s little interrogation. Is that what that’s inferring?
Eric: Yeah, well, it specifically… Oh, go ahead.
Michael: Well, she’s asking because she already knows. She’s looking for accountability.
Lindsay: And he just freaks out under pressure, too, so you could just…
Lindsay: He’s the worst person to go into an interrogation.
Eric: Well, okay, so here’s the reply from HagridsDrinkingProblem.
Eric: HagridsDrinkingProblem often gets in the way of discussion.
“I agree, but think that while Fudge doesn’t know, Umbridge has been able to figure it out she pointedly asks if he’s been in the mountains.
Maybe she thinks Fudge would think the idea way too far-fetched, so she doesn’t run it by him. Instead, she asks/interrogates Hagrid on her own accord, hoping to get a confession out of him which would not only confirm her theory to Fudge, but also get Hagrid fired or even arrested.”
Kat: Or Macnair told her.
Eric: Let’s consider the possibility.
Kat: He’s a double agent. He has to be.
Lindsay: I could see that. I agree with you.
Eric: Why is he… He doesn’t have… I’ve never thought he had more than two brain cells in his head.
Kat: [laughs] Oh, come on.
Eric: Is there evidence for this is the last chapter? I’m sorry I missed that discussion.
Kat: Yes. Yes, because how much of a coincidence is it that it’s Macnair following them? The Ministry has sent somebody to follow them, right? And there [are] Death Eaters there? And it’s a coincidence? I think both the Death Eaters and the Ministry sent Macnair. He has to be a double agent.
Eric: Mmm. I just thought – here’s how I viewed it – Macnair is the one who chops the head off large animals or large creatures, so if they wanted to send somebody to kill Hagrid they would send Macnair, because Hagrid is huge.
Kat: That’s harsh.
Michael: I always thought that it was more… Because I think that’s actually a really great theory; that Macnair is a double agent, because I always just figured that he was sent in plot-wise because he is one of the few Death Eaters that Hagrid would recognize because Hagrid’s had a personal confrontation with him.
Eric: Oh because he’s been mean to him.
Kat: That too.
Michael: Yeah. They have a vendetta with each other. So it’s personal.
Lindsay: That’s so perfect. J.K. Rowling always puts these little seedlings of things to create these things in our minds, so even if he’s not a double agent, she knew that we’d be like, “He’s a double agent!”
Lindsay: She just wrote it like that to freak us out.
Eric: Yeah, I would agree with that.
Kat: We need to… And we know she’s listening. We’re convinced she’s listening to the show because we ask questions and then she answers them on Pottermore.
Eric: In that case, I take back what I said about the killing large animals thing. That was…
Eric: … while factual, it was probably too harsh.
Michael: [laughs] Well…
Kat: Jo, just confirm that on Pottermore, so everybody knows I’m right.
Michael: Yes, give us the epic Macnair backstory in the Order of the Phoenix release.
Eric: [as J.K. Rowling] There was a subplot where he was going to be a double agent.
[Lindsay and Michael laugh]
Kat: That would… Oh my God. I would die. That would be amazing!
Eric: That concludes our Podcast Question of the Week. There were, of course, many other comments, all very brilliant. Please visit, of course, on the main site when we ask the question in the comments and also on the forums as well.
Michael: But for now, it is time to look into the eye of the snake for Chapter 21.
[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 21 intro begins]
[Sounds of Thestrals]
Hagrid: Chapter 21.
[Sounds of Thestrals flying]
Hagrid: “The Eye of the Snake.”
[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 21 intro ends]
Michael: So as Hagrid resumes his post of Care of Magical Creatures teacher following his return, he fails to heed Hermione’s warnings to change his lesson plans and finds himself at the mercy of Umbridge’s latest examination. His lesson does prove useful, however, as Harry finally learns that the strange creatures pulling the Hogwarts carriages are Thestrals, and as Christmas approaches, Hermione and Ron find themselves knee deep in prefect responsibilities while, for the first time in his school career, Harry is not looking forward to the holidays at Hogwarts. However, his spirits are lifted by an invitation to the Burrow, as well as the excellent progress made by his peers in the final Dumbledore’s Army lesson of the semester despite the overzealous decorations laid out by Dobby in the Room of Requirement. Cho and Harry share their first kiss, which is thoroughly scrutinized by Hermione and Ron, but the high of this landmark doesn’t last long as Harry’s dreams quickly dissolve into nightmares, and he experiences one of his most troubling Horcrux visions yet. And before I go on I would like to remind the listeners that we do these chapter summaries because unfortunately with the chapters being so long, we cannot cover every single point, but that’s where we turn to you. Because we hope that after we have our discussion, you will dig up a few things we missed on the Alohomora! main site and in the forums and continue the conversation after we have said our points. And speaking of our listeners contributing, we had a great comment from – I believe it was Ashton – in Cape Town, South Africa, very far away, who had a very interesting question for us about Ron and Percy.
[Audio]: Hey Alohomora!, this is Ashton from Cape Town, South Africa, and I have a question about Chapter 21, “The Eye of the Snake.” The scene at the beginning of this chapter where Ron sticks his head out of the window to yell at Fred and George who are charming snowballs to fly at it, is so reminiscent of Percy and his telling off of Bill and Charlie for making noises while he tries to work on his cauldron bottom report in the previous book that I feel that Jo may have done this intentionally. Given how many links there are between Percy and Ron in this book, Ron being a prefect, Percy’s letter to him, etc., and given that this is the book where Percy walks out on his family, do you think that Jo was foreshadowing Ron walking out on Harry and Hermione in Deathly Hallows? Should we have seen it coming? I’m interested to hear what you think. Thanks so much. Bye.
Michael: So thoughts on this, guys? Is this the comparison that Rowling intended, or is it just a bit of happenstance going on here?
Eric: I like it. It’s a stretch, I think personally, to think that that that would be specific foreshadowing, but I think it is fun to see the comparison drawn between Ron and Percy because they are both in positions of wanted or assumed authority where they have to deal with their jokester twin brothers, Fred and George. So this scene was perfect for that, and you’re right, I mean, I didn’t particularly draw that when I was reading, so having Ashton do that really made me happy because it’s like, “Oh yeah, this is just like what Percy had to deal with when he was at school.” So I like that comparison. But to think that it’s a specific foreshadowing for him leaving them, no, I just don’t think all the pieces are there quite yet.
Kat: I concur, Eric Scull.
Eric: [laughs] Thank you, Kat Miller.
Michael: I always thought that… Because the book goes – this particular book goes to great lengths to show why Ron is not like Percy, in this instance. I think the peak of that comes when Percy sends that horrible letter.
Lindsay: Oh, that makes me so mad.
Eric: Oh no.
Michael: Lindsay is not a Percy fan, is that…
[Lindsay and Michael laugh]
Michael: That letter had merit, though. That letter was good. [laughs]
Eric: You thought it was…
Michael: Yeah, it showed how completely oblivious to everything he is…
Eric: Oh, yeah.
Michael: … and from that comes a certain equality of innocence that I like to prescribe to people – characters – that everyone else hates but then I choose to like so…
Lindsay: No, it just showed what a twat he was. Can I say that on here?
Kat: Caleb, is that you?
Eric: Oh, gosh.
Michael: Or to put it in another way…
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: Well – and I’ve always kind of considered the foreshadowing for this more to come from Goblet of Fire and Ron’s behavior during that sequence because I always felt that Deathly Hallows, his behavior in Deathly Hallows in that moment, was almost an exact repeat of what he does in Goblet of Fire to Harry.
Eric: Oh, because he does abandon Harry for that month or two.
Michael: Yes. And they go pretty… They cut pretty deep with their remarks to each other in both situations so…
Michael: … but a very interesting way to kind of tie the two together, especially because this chapter does really push that Ron – and kind of remind us because we haven’t seen it for a while – that Ron and Hermione are actually prefects his year and have a lot of things to do outside of school work. But moving on from that, we get to some of the things that came up during Hagrid’s lesson on Thestrals. I don’t want to focus too much on Thestrals because I think we’ve talked out Thestrals as much as we can with all of the information we have on them but I do want to talk about Umbridge’s evaluation of Hagrid and specifically, the trio’s reaction to it because what I thought was interesting, about how this situation is written, is that – and I’ve read it over a few times to make sure – Harry doesn’t really have a reaction or an opinion about how this all goes down.
Michael: At least it’s not really shown. We get our reaction instead, from Hermione. A very particularly passionate one and I just was wondering why… Because this seems like a perfect opportunity for Harry to get in trouble again with Umbridge.
Michael: Why doesn’t he say anything?
Eric: It is weird, because he is in passive mode though. She writes in this scene – I was reading this really stuck out to me – was how he, it says what the students in the left of the forest are doing and that it immediately… He jerks his head right and it says what the people on the right are doing and thinking and I’m thinking, “Harry’s just standing there quickly turning his head left, right, left, right…”
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Eric: … writing down because it’s written down how the whole class reacts to Thestrals, what’s going on… So you know Ron is looking off into the distance… Who can see them and who can’t. Harry just has no room to be this character at this moment because he’s just writing down everything, everything is happening so that he’s just observing it so, I think that’s kind of why he’s not speaking out loud at this moment is because I think Jo writing this scene was very focused spatially on where everyone else was and that’s just the part that soars through, I guess.
Lindsay: I can totally see why Hermione’s reaction, though, is so extreme because with all the Mudblood stuff, I think she totally feels for Hagrid in this moment.
Eric: Yeah. And she prepped him. She tried to…
Eric: … do what Dumbledore didn’t do, going back to what we were talking about before.
Michael: I really like that idea, Lindsay, that why Harry falls back narratively is because Hermione’s taken the spotlight because she relates…
Michael: … better perhaps? Because… And it just… The reason I found it interesting is because more often than not, Harry and Ron are the ones jumping to Hagrid’s defense…
Michael: … because they know that Hagrid’s lessons are pretty dangerous and not practical, and Hermione knows that too, but she’s pretty open about it. In fact, she frequently is the first one to say that.
Michael: So I just thought it was interesting. But of course, like you said Lindsay, Umbridge is digging a little deeper than Hagrid’s lesson. She’s going for the throat here. I’m also surprised because it’s so especially aggravating that not only does she treat Hagrid so horribly by basically pretending that he speaks another language, which is just so demeaning, but also that she goes and questions Pansy and Malfoy loudly. [laughs] So…
Kat: Yeah, she’s so childish…
Kat: … right?
Lindsay: I hate her.
Eric: Oh, very, very much so.
Michael: Other interesting thing to note about Umbridge, because I think we forget this a lot thanks to the movie, but she’s not wearing pink, she’s wearing green. This was not confirmed that she was a Slytherin at the time. We do now have confirmation that she is a Slytherin. I think these might just been Jo’s little hints, but she doesn’t wear pink all the time. But she still looks horrible.
[Eric, Lindsay, and Michael laugh]
Kat: I mean, the green makes her look more like a frog, right?
Lindsay and Michael: Yes.
Michael: I like that.
Michael: [laughs] And speaking of green, the other interesting thing to note in this scene, in relation to the Thestrals, is not so much the Thestrals themselves, but who can see them.
Michael: Out of this class, we know that Harry can see them. We expect from the hints we’ve been getting up to this point that Neville could. And lo and behold there is a stringy Slytherin boy in the background who’s the only other person who can see them. That stringy Slytherin boy turned out to be Theodore Knott, who was intended to be a much larger character by Rowling, but that didn’t happen. And I found her little snippet about him from her old website, thank you Wayback Machine…
Michael: [laughs] But this was a deleted scene…
Eric: That’s a good use of the Wayback Machine.
Eric: I feel the Wayback Machine should do Wayback awards where people find the coolest stuff…
[Michael and Kat laugh]
Eric: … that used to exist and doesn’t anymore because one, all of the shade to J.K. Rowling for not still having that stuff…
Eric: … around, but two, I mean, Michael, this really is amazing…
Eric: … that I’m reading it right now.
Michael: I was going through last night, and I was just looking for this, but then I started looking through all the other stuff and I was like, “Oh my God, we got to do a whole show just on this. This is good stuff.”
Kat: We totally could.
Michael: We could.
Eric: But why not? Well, you could tie it in.
Michael: Make it happen.
Eric: Into the chapter.
Michael: But for this particular moment, this was a moment that Rowling tried to include in both Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire between Malfoy and Nott. And Rowling said, “I liked this scene so much I tried to use it twice; unfortunately, it didn’t work in either place so I finally laid it to rest in one of the cardboard boxes where I keep all my old drafts, notes, electricity bills…”
Michael: “… and chewing gum wrappers.”
Lindsay: I need that box.
Eric: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, infiltrate the J.K. Rowling compound, retrieve box.
Kat: You should use Hagrid, teach him how to break into her house…
Eric: Are you kidding? She’s spot him a mile away.
Michael: I thought all authors were sent that complimentary by their publicists.
Michael: Yeah, no.
Michael: As in the case of Dean Thomas, which we will probably get to in Deathly Hallows, I know much more about Theodore Knott than has ever appeared in the books. Raised by a very elderly widower and Death Eater father, Theodore is a clever loner who does not feel the need to join gangs, including Malfoy’s. However, in this scene, Theodore’s father, the same Knott who was badly injured in the closing chapters of Order of the Phoenix as we will see later, goes to visit Lucius Malfoy to discuss Voldemort related business and we see Draco and Theodore alone in the garden having a talk of their own. I really liked this scene, firstly because it showed the Malfoys’ home, and the difference between the place where Draco has grown up and Privet Drive. Then because we rarely see Draco talking to anybody he considers a real equal, and he is forced to see Theodore as such because Theodore is just as pureblooded as he is, and somewhat cleverer. Together these two Death Eater sons discuss Dumbledore’s regime at Hogwarts and Harry Potter, with all sorts of stories about the Death Eaters tell about how this baby boy survived the Dark Lord’s attack.
Lindsay: Oh my God…
Kat: That sounds so good!
Eric: I think the biggest thing really the biggest thing about this chapter is that it would’ve been one of only five or four… The chapters that take place without Harry…
Eric: … where his perspective… This would have been maybe third person omniscient just like “The Other Minister” and “The Boy Who Lived” because Harry is barely born, barely one. That’s the biggest thing I think to me, the biggest news about this chapter. Yeah, it’s cool, yeah it involves Draco and Theodore, but the fact that it would’ve taken place outside of Harry’s knowledge…
Michael: Mhm. Well, and to think it would’ve been so early as Chamber of Secrets when…
Michael: … after the first chapter of Sorcerer’s Stone we didn’t get a chapter outside of Harry’s perspective until the first chapter of Goblet of Fire…
Eric: And “Spinner’s End.”
Eric: So there’s four, isn’t there? The one at the beginning of [Book] 4, then “The Other Minister” and “Spinner’s End” are both…
Michael: And the first one.
Eric: … and “The Boy Who Lived.”
Michael: Yeah, Lindsay, I always have to ask the authors when they come on. We always marvel at Rowling’s very detailed, basically over ten year long plan…
Michael: … that she mapped out. How does that compare to perhaps your writing style?
Michael: … do you go in with plans? Do you map it out? Do you just go for it? And I’ve met a lot of authors through the bookstore I used to work at and it’s always a joy to hear what their process is and how they all love to compare to what Rowling managed to do.
Lindsay: It’s like if you were to take my writing brain and compare it next to hers, you’d be comparing the average size woman’s boobs with Pam Anderson’s boobs.
Lindsay: There’s no comparison.
Kat: That was the best analogy I’ve ever heard in my life.
Eric: Yeah, this episode is going in the Hall of Fame.
[Lindsay and Michael laugh]
Kat: Yeah, I think so.
Michael: Episode title: Pam Anderson’s boobs…
Eric: We’re going to create a Hall of Fame for this episode.
Lindsay: She’s just so above and beyond the reality I think of what most authors are like.
Lindsay: I can’t even… I’ve sat there before and just been like, I don’t… There are no words…
Lindsay: … like there are literally no words.
Eric: Okay, but character development is… Periphery characters, characters who you always want to show more of than what you end up showing in the books, does that happen?
Lindsay: There are… I think every author has lots of scenes and little subplots and things that they do have to get rid of. We call that killing your darlings in the book world… These things that are…
Lindsay: … so dear to us but your editors say, “They might… They’re not as important to the readers as they might be to you.”
Lindsay: But in terms of her having these – she could have books and books and books full of all these things that she has.
Kat: Don’t tease me like that.
Lindsay: I know.
Lindsay: But no, something… That’s why I believe that she completely deserves to have more money than the queen of England, or whatever it is. Because this woman is not human.
Kat: Is it particularly harder especially when in this case, it’s not from your main characters point of view?
Lindsay: Right. You know, I think sometimes it can be totally freeing to do that because you don’t have… It’s just fun. It’s like going to a playground. You get to do things that you don’t normally get to do in all eight hundred pages of your book. So…
Lindsay: … it is kind of exciting to branch out.
Eric: There’s a few comments I want to make right here. First, didn’t JKR also say that Book 2 was possibly going to be the Snape book instead of the Half-Blood Prince?
Michael: Yeah, Half-Blood and…
Michael: Half-Blood and Chamber have a lot of ties – she had to move a lot of stuff out of Chamber to Half-Blood.
Eric: She said a lot of stuff about Snape’s – a lot of the stuff we find out about him in Half-Blood was originally going to be in Chamber.
Kat: Oh my gosh.
Eric: Given that and then also this scene between Malfoy and Knott, could have also been and she first tried to put it in and wrote it during, for – whatever, Chamber, means that Chamber just would have been a completely different book. If you could turn a book inside out that would have been..
Kat: That would have been too early for that Snape stuff.
Eric: Oh, I agree, but I mean that’s kind of where it was going, though. That was her initial thoughts, because she knew it. That just proves that she knew it first.
Lindsay: And that’s where editing comes in. I would love to see the very original draft of each book in this entire series. Before the editors came in and gave their input on everything, because I promise you it would be different. There’s…
Michael: I’ll get you a good link on the Wayback Machine, Lindsay, because there is actually something on her website about how the Potters used to live on an island and Hermione’s family lived on the mainland.
Michael: And Mr. Granger saw the explosion when his parents were killed and he rows over to the house.
Michael: Hermione’s surname is Puckle. [laughs]
Eric: I don’t remember that at all.
Kat: No, she…
Eric: You’ve gone from Wayback Machine to way crock machine.
Michael: I have not.
Michael: You can’t make stuff up this good.
Kat: The cockamamie.
Eric: Yeah, that’s… [laughs] Stop, that’s cockamamie. The other thing I wanted to bring up about what we were talking about too between Theodore. I guess from this little excerpt, we can guess that its Theodore’s mother who…
Eric: … he… Maybe the reason why he’s seeing the Thestral. But this kind… I know it’s not flushed out; it’s not cool to poke fun, or to poke holes in things that aren’t fully flushed out. But it seems like his father was a widower at a young age so Theodore probably wouldn’t have seen death like all that. If it’s his mom, he wouldn’t have seen…
Kat: Ah, okay. So we’re getting in that discussion?
Eric: No, no, no, we’re not.
Eric: On the surface…
Michael: Don’t want to talk about the Thestrals.
Eric: … I especially don’t want to talk about that.
Eric: I’m just saying, Theodore and then Neville who – My whole point is Neville too… Neville didn’t see his parents killed, they were tortured and he didn’t see it, but then he does say in this chapter – it is answered that it is in fact, it’s his grandfather who apparently died… or was apparently the catalyst for why he can see them.
Michael: Yes, his grandfather who dropped him out of the window, right?
Kat: Wasn’t that his uncle?
Michael: Was that his uncle or his grandfather? Somebody grab their copy of Sorcerer’s Stone, quick.
Eric: I just feel so bad for Neville. I’m like, man, his parents are tortured and in the infirm, and his grandmother he lives with, and his grandfather died at some point in his life where it was memorable enough for him to now see Thestrals.
Michael: Boy can’t catch a break.
Lindsay: And yet he becomes one of the hottest characters toward the end, so don’t feel bad!
Eric: That’s a movie-ism! That’s a movie-ism!
[Lindsay and Michael laugh]
Eric: Yeah, Matt Lewis’s genes, you can thank those.
Kat: Great Auntie Enid.
Michael: Oh, so it wasn’t an uncle?
Kat: Wait, no… “Great Uncle Algie came around for dinner and he was…”
Michael: Oh, it was Algie.
Kat: “… hanging me out of the window upstairs by the ankles…”
Michael: So we don’t know that much about his grandfather other than he was married to Augusta Longbottom, I suppose, huh?
Eric: God, he’d have to be a character to be married to her.
Eric: But yeah, point number one started off a little far from this chapter and now it’s just gone way far.
[Kat and Lindsay laugh]
Michael: And now so gone, so let’s bring it back. So let’s leave Care of Magical Creatures because it’s just getting a little crazy over there, and why don’t we go to a Dumbledore’s Army meeting? Because those are always fun. First we have to start off with the not fun part, which… I just had to say Angelina Johnson is just getting me all worked up. I just can’t…
Michael: I’m just so mad at her, you guys, because she comes waltzing into that room and the first thing she says is, “Oh, Harry, we replaced you.” And she goes on and on like this has all been Harry’s fault. And she even gives him quite a few dirty looks throughout the rest…
Eric: Oh, come on!
Eric: She is not worse than Oliver Wood was to anybody at any time when they did something stupid.
Michael: I don’t know why. I don’t know. And you’re probably right; Oliver would probably behave the same way. I’m just so surprised that Angelina has basically morphed into Oliver Wood. I don’t know if she was like this before, but dang, I just…
Lindsay: I’m with you on that. I hated her always.
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Eric: Come on. You did not! There is not enough of a character in this book to hate. Come on.
Michael: Well, if Harry is upset with her, we can be upset with her, so…
Michael: Okay, Lindsay, you and me are throwing shade back at Angelina.
Lindsay: I got you, I got you.
Eric: Quidditch must go on, okay? And who better but Ginny Weasley to be the Seeker for the Gryffindor Quidditch team in Harry’s stead? Come on.
Michael: That is at least a nice little drop in there because, as we know, later on Ginny will become a professional Quidditch player. The other thing to note about this DA meeting was that there are two spells that we get a little more detail on and I just wanted to once again open up our copies of The Wonderbook of Spells, since I am the only one here who plays that silly game.
Eric: Oh, please do. Please keep bringing that up.
Michael: [laughs] Just a little backstory on both the Impediment Jinx and the Stunning Spell. So everybody, make sure to open your copies of The Wonderbook of Spells, pick up your wands…
Michael: … and we’re going to do a little wandwork here. So the Impediment Jinx, first of all, is: “A swift use of this jinx can freeze an attacker for a few moments or stop a magical beast in its tracks. The jinx is a vital part of any duelist’s arsenal. Being frozen with the jinx does no permanent harm, though if you are caught in an awkward position it can become quite uncomfortable. To freeze your enemies, perform a straight slash to the left, handy in the heat of battle.” So everybody, take a slash to the left with your wand and say…
Kat: My wand is in the other room.
Lindsay: So is mine.
Michael: Well, luckily we are in the Room of Requirement which provides for all needs, so wands for all. Anyway, that’s the Impediment Jinx. There’s no backstory on it, no elaborate history. The other one, the Stunning Spell, known as Stupefy: “The Stunning Spell is invaluable in dueling, knocking out anyone it strikes. The spell is commonly used by dragon handlers and other magizoologists to handle dangerous creatures, and by the Aurors, dark wizard hunters for the Ministry of Magic.” And the Stunning Spell is a direct slash downwards with the wand. So very easy spells to do, which is pretty sad, considering that Cho has never managed to do a successful Stupefy charm in her life.
Lindsay: That’s because she’s stupid.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Eric: Whoa, whoa, whoa. No, I think that that whole backstory was just written so that Cho can say that line, “I haven’t ever stunned anyone before, Harry…”
Lindsay “You’re such a good teacher.”
Eric: … as she looks at him with those eyes.
Michael: All she has to do is slash the wand downwards.
Eric: Downwards! It’s a straight thing downwards! Come on!
Lindsay: I just want to throw up in my own purse. Ugh.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: Oh, this… [laughs]
Eric: Michael, I have to ask because you are the Wonderbook aficionado here.
Eric: Let’s just say that you’ve mastered it.
Michael: I have. I’ve finished it.
Eric: Well, I figured.
Eric: That’s a good thing. All of the luck, all of the happiness for you, and warm congrats.
Michael: Five points.
Eric: There’s a spell in this chapter that is not named, but Hermione uses it several times. It’s described as having a particularly complicated wand motion…
Michael: The one with the…
Eric: … and Harry observes Hermione doing this. This is the Hot-Air Spell.
Michael: Yeah, that one is…
Eric: Hermione uses it on her robes to… It’s like a steamer, for crying out loud…
Lindsay: Mhm. And on the snow.
Eric: … the air blows and she dries. She comes in from the snow and she uses it on her clothes. And then when they’re walking back from Care of Magical Creatures, she’s blowing hot air and melting the snow in front of them. So what is that? Is that in Wonderbook?
Michael: Tragically, there is no confirmation on what the Hot-Air Charm actually is.
Michael: We do not know it yet.
Eric: See, that’s a missed opportunity…
Eric: … seeing as how Hermione uses it twice in the book…
Lindsay: [laughs] I am crushed.
Eric: I mean…
Michael: [laughs] Most of the spells in Wonderbook are combative or defensive. So yeah.
Eric: Well, I would blow hot air at my person if I were dueling somebody.
Kat: So that’s a charm then, not a spell, technically.
Michael: Yes. Probably.
Eric: Ugh. Killing me.
Michael: By the way, that is also something that is classified on Rowling’s “Extras” section on her old website: What a charm, a jinx, and a curse and all that stuff is. She defines…
Eric: How do we know this is a charm?
Kat: Because it’s…
Michael: Well, a charm… Charms are kind of innocent and they’re just benign.
Kat: You can’t use it in dueling.
Michael: Yeah. They don’t really…
Michael: They’re for practical…
Lindsay: You can. You’d look like an idiot, but I mean, you can use them.
Eric: I would probably be the first person to perfect the weaponized form of the Hot-Air Charm.
Lindsay: “I’m going to dry you off! Come here! I’m going to dry you off!”
Eric: I’m going to melt… No, if I were facing, say, Olaf from Frozen in the…
Lindsay: There you go.
Eric: Yeah. There you go.
Kat: Okay, fine.
Michael: You are a horrible human being for even suggesting that.
Eric: I know, I know. I have gone too far.
Michael: And speaking of horrible human beings, in Lindsay’s opinion for sure…
Eric: [laughs] Thank you for that…
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: We have a moment…
Michael: … a very big, wet moment [laughs] with Harry and Cho…
Eric: They put a Slip ‘N Slide in the Room of Requirement.
Michael: There’s a swimming pool in the Room of Requirement, actually. So yes, Harry and Cho… Cho hangs back. Harry hangs back. They both have a little, very awkward conversation about Cedric Diggory in the Room of Requirement, which leads to a kiss. Now, let’s just talk for a minute about this hot mess that we call Harry and Cho.
Eric: Oh, I thought you were just going to say Cho. Because that’s unfair to call her a hot mess.
Michael: Well, I think they’re both equally a hot mess in this whole setup. Let’s just talk about both the good and the bad here because I will freely admit… Lindsay, you can feel free to send a Hot-Air Curse my way for this…
Eric: No, I do that.
Michael: [laughs] I was a fan of the Harry/Cho relationship…
Lindsay: No, nope. Don’t you say it.
Michael: I loved it. I loved it.
Eric: He said it. What are you going to do now?
Michael: Goblet of Fire, I was like, “Yes, canon. I love this. Make it happen.” And then Order of the Phoenix happened and I was like, “Oh, everybody went crazy. Never mind.” Can we just talk a little bit about what went sour, perhaps, on both ends of this?
Michael: Anybody have thoughts?
Michael: Go for it.
Eric: Well, the thing is, she is not letting Harry get the kiss he really deserves out of all this. It was built up. I really loved seeing the payoff. But wait, we didn’t see the payoff; it happens offscreen.
Lindsay: Thank God.
Eric: What? No! Don’t be thankful for that because that was crap. That was complete crap.
Kat: Even in the movie they pan up really fast.
Michael: Yeah, right.
Eric: She wanted… That is because the actors were awkward.
Michael: If you want a good kiss, check out Lego Harry Potter. That kiss is something else.
Michael: You wouldn’t expect it, but oh my God.
Eric: Okay. Basically, Jo is denying Harry what he as the hero deserves. And I don’t think she is shy; I just think she chose to look at it from the aspect of, “Oh, he goes back to the common room and is then telling them.” And this chapter – in fact, this next scene – what happens in the common room is probably one of the most famous and/or most well-liked scenes of the book.
Eric: Hermione gets her teaspoon comment in.
Lindsay: My gosh, yes.
Eric: And needless to say, it’s amazingly brilliant. But at the same time, if you’re somebody who supports Harry and Cho, or somebody who supports your hero getting action, or somebody who just saw this coming and really wanted to actually see it come, it’s difficult because she does cut it off. And it really isn’t the kiss that he deserves or was expecting. He says this later, too. He just wasn’t expecting it. It was wet for the wrong reasons.
Lindsay: Oh, God. [laughs]
Eric: It was wet because she was crying!
Lindsay: I’m dying.
Michael: I love Ron. He is like, “I don’t know how to react to that statement. Somewhere between disgust and happiness for you.”
Eric: She is sobbing and kissing and we know what is going on in her head, so she gave Harry sort of the damaged girl that he can help, but he is being more supportive of her. It’s not Harry’s…
Kat: It’s not sexy, is what you’re saying. There is nothing.
Lindsay and Michael: No.
Eric: It’s not sexy, no. Well, I mean, some people would question if it could be sexy because the first kiss is always usually a little bit awkward for everybody, I think. But this was a little extra awkward, and for that I was like, “Oh, that’s a shame.”
Michael: Yeah. Well, and what I find interesting about this isn’t so much the moment… As you said, Eric, the analysis by Hermione and Ron. And Hermione… What I just find interesting about how this relationship pans out is that Hermione and Ron are pretty supportive of it, actually. Hermione especially. She ends up coaching Harry on what he needs to do to do this properly. And he fails to listen to all of her advice…
Michael: … because he finds it… He seems to think she is speaking another language when she starts talking about this stuff. And I do love her epic paragraph on page 459…
Lindsay: Oh, it’s brilliant. I love it.
Michael: … where she summarizes basically everything about how…
Eric: I was hoping you would read that. I was actually going into this episode thinking, “Man, Michael really needs to read that.”
Michael: Do you want me to?
Eric: Yeah, it’s amazing!
Eric: It’s a great paragraph. And I really think that it would benefit from your bringing it to life.
Kat: I agree.
Michael: All right. All right. Well, since we have an audience. “Well, obviously, she’s feeling very sad because of Cedric dying. Then I expect she’s feeling confused because she liked Cedric and now she likes Harry, and she can’t work out who she likes best. Then she’ll be feeling guilty, thinking it’s an insult to Cedric’s memory to be kissing Harry at all, and she’ll be worrying about what everyone else might say about her if she starts going out with Harry. And she probably can’t work out what her feelings toward Harry are anyway because he was the one who was with Cedric when Cedric died, so that’s all very mixed up and painful. Oh, and she’s afraid she’s going to be thrown off the Ravenclaw Quidditch team because she’s been flying so badly.”
Lindsay: Ah, I’m dying! That was so awesome!
Eric: So we have two girls on this show…
Eric: … is it possible for one human being to feel and think all of those things?
Kat and Lindsay: Yes.
Michael: Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon, Eric.
[Kat and Lindsay laughs]
Eric: No, I felt… Honestly, when… I loved this scene, too, and because I felt… I mean, Hermione has just got her finger on the pulse of what’s up. Hermione knows what’s up. And when this was pointed out when I was first reading this when I was 15, I looked at each of those points and I said, “Oh, yep. Okay, I see that. Oh, yep, I see that. Okay, I can see it.” So I was with it, FYI. I was not like Ron who is like, “That’s impossible, oh my God.”
Eric: I thought it all made sense. It was really a great moment of showing how complex kids can be.
Michael: Yeah, no, actually, reading it this time around and being out of my teenage years, I was like, “Wow, Hermione just summed up what it is like to be a teenager.”
Lindsay: But you know what? I think it’s just what it’s like to be a woman in general. Regardless of the age.
Michael: [laughs] It just continues.
Lindsay: We are insane. It’s just true.
Kat: It’s true. She’s not wrong.
Michael: God bless you ladies.
Eric: Are you saying guys cannot be this complex? Is that what we are getting at here?
Lindsay: Oh, no! You can! I just got married. I’ve learned that real hard.
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Michael: But just a minor mention, speaking of how wonderful Hermione is in her analysis, Hermione just briefly drops that she is still corresponding with one Viktor Krum, much to Ron’s bemusement. Nice little…
Michael: Krum. So… [laughs] I love that. “How many other Viktors do we know?”
Michael: But it’s a nice little way to tie that back… And I do like this implication that Hermione actually does in fact have a life outside of Hogwarts; and not just a life, a romantic life.
Lindsay: Mmm. I ship them. Mmm, I love it!
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Kat: I ship Hermione and Krum, too, actually. I think they’re awesome.
Michael: It was a pretty good matchup, actually. And what’s nice to know is as far as we know, they seem to have still continued on very excellent terms since then. Moving on from this wonderful little powwow about Harry’s first kiss, Harry goes to bed…
[Eric makes kissing noises]
Michael: … and has a dream, which starts out quite amusing, actually. [laughs] I do love that Cho says in the dream that he promised her 150 Wizard Cards and then throws them all in the air at him.
Kat: Can I say something about this? Because somebody posted… As we know, we’ve recently… I don’t want to say lost Laura and Noah but they’ve left the show, and Noah was always the one to bring up the sexual theories, right?
Michael: Oh, please. Please.
Kat: So… Right. Yes. So somebody on the main site… I’m forgetting the name now. [gasps] It was AstroBlack who used cockamamie!
Kat: So props to you! But anyway… So he or she defends his phallus theory about the broomstick because of part of Harry’s dream…
Kat: … where it says, “You did promise her, you know, Harry. I think you’d better give her something else instead. How about your Firebolt?” Wink, wink.
Eric: Yeah, give her the Firebolt, Harry!
Kat: Wait, and then I laughed because I had read that theory before I read the chapter and then the next sentence says, “And Harry was protesting that he could not give it to Cho…” “He could not give Cho his Firebolt because Umbridge had it.”
Kat: And it’s like Umbridge has Harry by the balls!
Kat: So there it is.
Eric: She doesn’t though. Harry does what he wants.
Michael: [laughs] I want to follow that up but I have nothing. I’ve got nothing, you guys. [laughs] That was kind of just perfect in itself… But I love that. I actually… That’s one of my favorite dreams just because I love the image of Cho just chucking Wizard Cards at Harry by the hundreds.
Michael: But of course, this little insane dream morphs into something quite a bit more sinister as Harry witnesses through – interestingly, this is where things get interesting – through Nagini’s eyes. He sees an attack on Arthur Weasley, not really knowing at the moment that it’s him, and it’s in a mysterious hallway. Now of course we now know that this is right at the front door into the Department of Mysteries, and we of course now also know that the Order of the Phoenix members have been guarding that door on shifts under an invisibility cloak. But at the same time – and I just want to ask your opinions on this just quick – I can’t get over the fact that somehow every Order member has been able to just sit there every night, nobody questioning that, nobody even noticing that there is somebody there. The Ministry’s security really bothers me, you guys. I’m just getting mad.
Kat: I think that this is a rare occasion because it seems like Arthur fell asleep…
Eric: Yeah, he did.
Kat: … and was kind of sprawled about on the floor. I don’t think that that’s a normal occurrence.
Michael: I hope not. [laughs]
Kat: Yeah. Well, I mean, if it is, then… Yeah.
Michael: It just… As much as I love the Order and how they do plan things out, this just seems a little ill-devised on their part because, lo and behold, Arthur gets bitten quite a few times by Nagini. And Harry wakes up and immediately vomits.
Michael: And then Neville runs for help and Ron tries to calm Harry down. But Harry is screaming that this is not a dream; this is actually a vision. And what of course is interesting about this particular dream is that he sees it all through Nagini. And we’ve discussed the inconsistencies of the Horcrux stuff before.
Michael: This, Rowling eventually clarified, happened because Harry… Because Voldemort was apparently possessing Nagini at the time. I feel that was just a bit of an afterthought.
Eric: This seems like Nagini just doing what Nagini does.
Kat: No, no, because Nagini’s a Horcrux already at this point, so that makes total sense.
Eric: But Voldemort never uses… He’s not able to use that connection. The only thing he… The absolute only thing the Horcruxes are used for is that one day when he loses his body he can stay survived… He can still survive.
Kat: That’s not true. Because he can… He knows that Harry is at… What’s-her-face’s house in Deathly Hallows because Nagini is there.
Michael: But that’s what’s interesting is that Voldemort, as far as we know…
Eric: Let’s not talk about Book 7 because she ruined everything.
Michael: [laughs] Well, up until now… And correct me if I’m wrong canon-wise, but I thought Voldemort wasn’t aware of his connection. He’s not aware of his connection to Harry.
Michael: And is he aware of his… I know he knows that the Horcruxes are in the things he put them in. Is he aware that he can connect to those things? Because he never does that or feels it when the Horcruxes are destroyed in [Book] 7.
Kat: I think he can only connect to Nagini because she’s alive, because she’s a living thing.
Kat: I don’t think he can do it with all of his Horcruxes, and I think that he probably knew fairly soon after making Nagini a Horcrux.
Michael: The interesting part with that to me then is because the Horcrux… We’ve seen one instance where – no, that’s a lie – two instances where Horcruxes that are inanimate objects manage to take on a life and…
Michael: … those would be the locket and the diary.
Eric: So each of the…
Kat: The diary was different, though; that was a different type of Horcrux. That was an imprint… That had intent.
Michael: There’s some other magic mixed in there with that.
Eric: Well, but the Horcrux…
Kat: Yeah, I think that had an intelligence.
Eric: Yeah, but the Horcrux too, the locket Horcrux, travels with Harry, Ron and Hermione. And [it] learns who they are, especially Ron, and learns his fears and then is smart enough and there’s enough of a presence there that it uses it against him. So I think each of these Horcruxes as bits of soul are sentient, even if they’re unable to do anything about it because they’re an inanimate object. Then if you go to Nagini and Harry, which are both consciousnesses – they have their own consciousness – there’s also the soul somewhere within them. Then you can say, okay, so that is how they are linked because this vessel of your soul is walking around and is out and about doing things.
Michael: Mhm. Well, and I guess I can’t say that she didn’t plan this because by this point… We talked a lot in Goblet of Fire how the Horcrux stuff was very bizarre because the highlight one, which I actually used for our throwback Thursday, was the chapter “The Dream” where Harry rides into the situation on an owl.
Michael: And I think the reasoning that we came up with was because Voldemort doesn’t have a proper physical body at the time, the possession and the visions through that perspective don’t quite perhaps work correctly.
Michael But this still… I guess it just throws me off because there’s nothing… And I don’t remember if it’s mentioned later in the text or if it was out of the book, where it’s mentioned that Voldemort was actually possessing Nagini in this moment, because in the text it’s not suggested – right here.
Eric: Right, right. Because there’s no… When he’s through the snake’s eyes, he might be reading Nagini’s thoughts. He’s not also reading the thoughts of Voldemort who’s in the snake going, “Yeah, get him, get him!”
Eric: There’s no other presence noted; it’s just Harry is the snake.
Michael: Yeah, yeah. That’s why… And maybe since that connection with Harry and Voldemort is the way it is, maybe it is supposed to be assumed that as Harry sees things directly as Voldemort, therefore he is Voldemort in the snake. There is so much going on… [laughs]
Eric: Well, it’s important that Harry’s asleep when this happens, I think.
Eric: Because it’s his soul… or his consciousness essentially traveled through the Horcrux link.
Kat: Right, right.
Michael: It’s one of those…
Kat: He would have to be relaxed. Yeah.
Lindsay: I just want to say… This has nothing to do with our point, but I just clocked out for five minutes and was listening to you. I was like, this is so fascinating…
Lindsay: … that a woman created this world that people do 99 podcasts about…
Lindsay: … so intensely. It is blowing my mind right now.
Lindsay: And also making me incredibly furious that I was not born J.K. Rowling.
Kat: Yeah. We feel that all the time, the not born part. Yeah, we get that.
Michael: Well, the wonderful thing, Lindsay, is that… I think what’s so cool about the books that you write and some of the… I’ve talked to Lisa McMann, I’ve talked to Marie Lu and Ally Condie about Harry Potter, and what’s neat is that all of you seem to have taken some very rich inspiration from what Rowling did, even from the sources that she culled from where she got her inspiration. So, to see authors like you from our generation making more stuff and being inspired by people like Rowling, I think is a pretty cool thing itself.
Lindsay: Yeah, it is pretty cool. I mean, she’s incredible. I never would have started writing if it wasn’t for these books, and I think a lot of kids became readers because of these books. Like no one… Oh, you don’t like reading? Read Harry Potter, then you will love it.
Michael: Mhm, yeah.
Kat: I triple-dog dare you.
[Lindsay and Michael laugh]
Michael: It is astonishing that it is a completely fail-safe way to just put a book in a kid’s hand. There aren’t many books that can… That’s practically something that all librarians just do.
Kat: I love it.
Michael: If the parent says “reluctant reader”… Okay, Harry Potter.
Michael: Come back next week.
Kat: Welcome to the fandom.
Michael: And before we wrap up this discussion, the last point, which is a bit on the sad end but it has a happy ending actually: Arthur Weasley of course is the one who was attacked by Nagini in this moment and very… Theodore Nott was a tiny thing; this is something else. Rowling admitted in an interview with The Today Show on [July] 29, 2007, almost exactly to the date here…
Kat: Oh, wow!
Michael: … that, “If there’s one character I couldn’t bear to part with, it’s Arthur Weasley… I think part of the reason for that is there were very few good fathers in the book. In fact, you could make a very good case for Arthur Weasley being the only good father in the whole series. But I wanted to kill parents. That sounds terrible, but I wanted there to be an echo of what happened to Harry just to show the absolute evil of what Voldemort’s doing.” And of course, she was speaking in reference to the fact that she had originally intended to kill Arthur Weasley in this scenario. This would have been Arthur’s last live appearence in the book.
Kat: And this interview was just after Deathly Hallows, so of course she’s referring to the fact that she killed Tonks…
Eric: She would have given Harry a guilt complex that he would never have gotten over…
Kat: Oh, right.
Eric: … considering he has to admit to Ron, “I did it.” [That’s] what he says when he wakes up.
Eric: “I did it, I saw it, I did it.” If Arthur does not completely 100 percent pull out of this, Harry is never going to be able to…
Kat Right, he’s done.
Michael: And that’s why I wanted to bring it up. I even considered maybe that we should make it a Podcast Question of the Week just because this is… What’s interesting to me about actually how little Rowling has talked about this particular change is that I can’t see the series going forward in remotely the same way if this had happened.
Eric: Right. The Weasley family has lost their leader.
Kat: Everything would have been different.
Michael: So different. This makes a huge… I mean, Arthur surely would have been one of the people who appeared during the ring scene in the forest…
Michael: He would have replaced Lupin in that sense. And with that tragic note of Arthur Weasley we end the chapter, but we segue perfectly into our Podcast Question of the Week. Take it away, Eric.
Eric: Quite perfectly. That was a beautiful, lengthy, thought-provoking discussion and we want more of it. Podcast Question of the Week: “In this chapter, J.K. Rowling has confessed that she originally intended to kill Arthur Weasley. Keeping in mind that Sirius Black probably still would have gotten it at the end of the book, and considering how important Arthur Weasley is to everyone who knows him, let’s ponder how the books would have been different should this death have happened at this particular time and place in the series.”
Kat: So the snowball effect of this change.
Eric: It’s open-ended… Read into it everything you guys want. What would have happened if Arthur Weasley had died now?
Michael: Yeah. Tell us about how characters would have reacted, stuff like [that]. I just… I feel this is quite possibly one of the most series-shattering “what ifs” that we’ve had up to this point.
Eric: Right. I think [of] all the things we talked about, too just amongst ourselves, like is he a character that you simply can’t kill?
Eric: Or then you can take it many other ways like use future events to inform… Well, he couldn’t have died then because this happened, things like that. So, definitely have a lot of fun with it. We’ll look forward to reading all of the responses and including the best ones on our show next week.
Kat: And I think we can all agree this has been a pretty epic episode, and we really want to thank you Lindsay for coming here and chatting Potter with us for two hours now. I know the podcast won’t be two hours, but it’s been fun.
Eric: I was going to say… So when people get their episode on their podcast…
Eric: … they’re going to know exactly how much content they’re missing.
Kat: Yep, pretty much.
Lindsay: Oh my gosh.
Eric: They’re looking at their time stamp going, “It’s only 45 minutes of usable content.”
[Kat and Michael laughs]
Eric: “Where’s the other 75 minutes…”
Michael: “Where’s part two?”
Eric: “… and what did they say?”
Kat: Kids, it’s on the app.
Lindsay: No, this has been amazing. Thanks for having me. I literally told my husband… I just have to tell you guys, he has never read Harry Potter…
Lindsay: … which is just annulment stuff going on there.
Eric: You know… annulment? No, you should have made Harry Potter your vows, so that when you had to read your vows…
Lindsay: Gosh, I know.
Eric: … you were actually reading him missed opportunities.
Michael: You know…
Lindsay: I literally told him… I was like, “If you would just read Harry Potter, our marriage would be so much deeper.”
Michael: I consider, Lindsay, that a blessing in disguise. Because for me someday when I find my perfect guy, we’re… If he hasn’t read Harry Potter, I am going to read it aloud to him.
Lindsay: Okay, I like that, I do!
Michael: There you go.
Kat: You’re so romantic.
Eric: And I’m going to be a fly on the wall just so I can hear that.
Michael: But Lindsay, before you go, please just quick once again remind our listeners about both of your series and what’s going on with those two series that you’ve got in the works.
Kat: And where they can find you out…
Michael: Yes, please.
Kat: … in the inter-webs.
Lindsay: So The Murder Complex is a YA series. It’s a dualogy and it is set in the future sick Florida Everglades where the world is really dark and bloody because the murder rate is higher than the birth rate. And there are assassins and a lot of death. [laughs] Hence, my Slytherin-ness. And that’s already out; the first book is out. And The Death Code is Book 2 and that will be out next June. Then I also have a middle grade trilogy – possibly more, we’ll see – and that’s called Balanced Keepers, and the first book comes out September 23, which is super soon. And it’s about kids with magical powers that go to school in the core of the Earth… And I’m so excited.
Michael: And just to remind our listeners, this series has been favorably compared to the likes of Lisa McMann, Brandon Mull and J.K. Rowling. So, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to like it.
Michael: So, go pick it up on September 23. And also, Lindsay, where would they be able to find your main Horcrux on the World Wide Web? Where are you located?
[Kat and Lindsay laugh]
Lindsay: I am on Instagram @AuthorLindsayCummings. I’m on Twitter @AuthorLindsayC. I am on Youtube; I do book tubing @AuthorLindsayCummings.
Michael: Book tubing.
Kat: And that’s Lindsay with an “A” for everybody out there.
Lindsay: Yes. A-Y.
Michael: And your main website?
Lindsay: Is lindsaycummingsbooks.com.
Michael: So if you listeners would like to be on the show, not maybe just like Lindsay because you probably haven’t written a book, but if you have or if you haven’t please come join us on the show. We want to hear your thoughts on Harry Potter. And to find out how you can be on the show, head over to our website and check out the “Be on the Show” page at alohomora.mugglenet.com. We do ask that you at least have a microphone and some headphones and some recording equipment to actually record your voice on so that we can hear all of your wonderful thoughts.
Eric: Every little bit helps.
Michael: Yep. Check it out.
Kat: In the meantime, if you just want to keep in touch with us, you can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, facebook.com/openthedumbledore, [and] Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast. Of course our phone number is 206-GO-ALBUS (206-462-5287). Keep those voicemails coming. We do listen to them all; there’s just a lot of them. I know a lot of you are kind of leaving stuff from older chapters and we’re still listening and all that, so just keep sending them. Sorry, tangent.
Kat: Subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes – we do love reading those. Don’t forget to follow us on Snapchat at mn_alohomora. And of course, our Audioboo, much like you heard on the show today. You can leave us one for free directly on alohomora.mugglenet.com – all you need is an Internet connection and a microphone to do it. And keep it under 60 seconds, please.
Eric: Well, of course there is the Alohomora! store. We have brand new house shirts to flaunt at you. Get 15% off with the code SHIRTS15 through September 2.
Lindsay: Oh my gosh, I’m going there now.
Eric: You better!
Lindsay: Shopping spree!
Kat: And don’t forget the ringtones that are free and available at our website. There’s a little link right at the top.
Michael: And as always, our app, which is available seemingly worldwide as we always say. Prices vary depending on your location. On that app, you will find transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and more. For now, we are done. Unlike Harry, our dreams will hopefully be untroubled as we depart this episode of Alohomora!
[Show music begins]
Michael: I’m Michael Harle.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 99. Woo-hoo! Our last double digit of Alohomora!
Michael: [as Ron] One person can’t open the Dumbledore, they’d explode. [as Hermione] Just because you’ve got the strength of a teaspoon, Ronald.
[Show music continues]
Kat: Because it’s a pretty awful idea to keep… Is that “wearing”?
Kat: “Warring.” Oh right, because they’re at war.
Michael: Yeah. [laughs]
Eric: That’s what warring means.
Kat: [laughs] Got it. Thank you.
Eric: We’re learning words. Welcome to Episode 99 of Alohomora!