Transcript – Episode 106

[Show music begins]

Caleb Graves: This is Episode 106 of Alohomora! for October 18, 2014.

[Show music continues]

Caleb: Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Alohomora! I’m Caleb Graves.

Rosie Morris: I’m Rosie Morris.

Eric Scull: And I’m Eric Scull. And this week, we have a very special guest: one of the editors of Alohomora! One of the illustrious editors. Everybody, please give a warm welcome to Kara Kennedy.

Kara Kennedy: Hey, guys! I’m so happy to be back.

Eric: Welcome back!

Caleb: We are happy to have you. Especially just as a huge thank you for all the hard work you do. Guys, this show would not happen if it was not for our editors, and Kara is one of those very important people.

Kara: Thank you.

Eric: So Kara, you’ve been on the show before?

Kara: I have, yeah. It was a while ago. It was at the beginning of Order of the Phoenix, so it was probably back in May or June. But I was thinking about it and I don’t think any of you guys were on the last time I was on. I think it was Michael, Laura, and Noah, actually.

Caleb: Yeah, I wasn’t.

Eric: That’s funny, actually.

Rosie: Now you’ve met the whole team.

Kara: Yeah, exactly. I’ve learned the voices through editing, but I’ve never done an episode with you.

Rosie: It’s such a strange job, isn’t it? We talk to each other every week, yet you have no idea who we are.

Kara: Yeah, it is really weird. [laughs]

Rosie: Okay, well as always, we should start off this episode by saying this week, you should all have read Order of the Phoenix Chapter 28, which is “Snape’s Worst Enemy.”

Eric: Ah, such a chapter it is. But first, we have recap comments from the previous week’s chapter discussion, which was Chapter 27. We had a lot of good comments here, so I’m going to get right into them, the first one coming from Hufflepug. And they say,

“The magic behind the ‘sneak’ jinx is interesting because it’s very specific. The caster has to specify which word the pimples should spell, where they should show up on the face, and under what conditions they should appear. I wonder what the incantation or wand motion would be like for a spell with so many aspects. It might be like combining together several existing spells and dictating ‘sneak’ at some point in it. Either way it sounds super complex! I’m surprised there’s no class in spell writing at Hogwarts because it sounds like a hard but useful skill.”

What do you guys think?

Rosie: I think it’s a very interesting jinx, and I’ve always pictured it kind of like a voodoo doll. Maybe like you draw a face, and you draw the word “sneak” on it, and then you cast a jinx on a piece of paper, that then transforms itself onto a person.

Eric: That spell just got a lot creepier in my mind. That just got a lot creepier in my mind. I didn’t know how Hermione was doing this, but now that you say that… I mean, that makes sense, but that’s terrifying.

Kara: It is a really creepy spell though, just to think of that occurring to Hermione and that it’s so specific and that she really took the time to figure out how to do that. It’s like, oh my gosh.

Caleb: Yeah, and also it’s relatively harmless compared to what someone could do.

Kara: That’s true.

Caleb: If they took it like a couple of steps further, like if it wasn’t sneak written across, but something very much worse. Or not just pimples, but something very horrible.

Rosie: And we know this thing scars as well. Marietta still has this word on her forehead several books later.

Caleb, Eric, and Kara: Yeah. [laughs]

Caleb: Serves her right. She deserves that.

Eric: Surely there’s something Hermione could do, right? To get it off, right? I mean, if she knew exactly what she did to put it on, she could probably, if asked… well, you know and it’s not… we don’t really quite know what Madam Pomfrey’s skill or prowess is. There [are] very few times in the books where we learn how good or bad she is at what she does but she is unable to get or even make a dent in this spell being the school nurse.

Caleb: The only thing we ever see that’s similar to it having such a lasting effect is in Deathly Hallows when George’s ear gets cursed off.

Eric: Right.

Caleb: Obviously that’s…

Kara: Yeah…

Caleb: … worse because it’s a curse and there’s no way to repair it. But this, what Hermione does, is the closest thing we come to something like that.

Kara: Mhm.

Eric: That’s a good point.

Rosie: And considering she’s so down on the Half-Blood Prince spells and things next book, for her to…

Kara: That’s true.

Rosie: … come up with this a year younger, then…

[Eric laughs]

Rosie: Honestly, Hermione, you can’t talk.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Yeah… Okay, so next comment comes from spellephant.

“Since Caleb wasn’t on this episode, I feel like I need to step up and give McGonagall the shout-out she deserves. She boldly calls out the Ministry for their shady dealings with criminals, is hilariously sarcastic with Umbridge, and declares that she will fight Fudge and his team of Aurors alongside Dumbledore. Her Gryffindor is just roaring away here. You cannot deny – McGonagall’s got style!”

[Kara and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: spellephant, we should be best friends because this is the best thing I’ve read all week. I could’t agree more. Perfectly said.

Eric: This is a good chapter for McGonagall. The next comment comes from angsty_Sirius, who says,

“I always felt that Dumbledore was just pretending to be able to get out of Azkaban. I mean, sure, he is the greatest wizard of his time, and at this point in the series there were so many breakouts that it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal anymore, but it kind of still is:

Sirius was only able to escape 12 years later, although he could have escaped so much earlier; he only managed to escape because he was getting obsessed with the desire for revenge after he found out that revenge was still possible. otherwise, he’d never [have] managed.

As for Barty Jr., he had to be dragged out of there half dead with his mother being willing to die in his stead.

And the mass breakout in January also was only possible because Voldemort was behind it, and he is the second most powerful wizard (probably… anyway, he’s somewhere up there), and he most likely had some sort of deal with the Dementors going.

As for Dumbledore in Azkaban, I think Mr. Weasley is right by saying that that is the last thing they’d want to happen because there is a lot of guilt he is still feeling, about Ariana, Grindelwald all of that, that he never was able to leave behind. As Harry puts it in DH ‘he was never free,’ and that would have kept him in Azkaban. You are not able to just leave because you are unable to escape the cage you create out of your own despair and guilt. Not even Dumbledore is above the Dementors and the depression they represent. I always imagine him in the mindset he’s in when he is drinking the potion in HBP, and such a weakened Dumbledore would not be able to escape.

I also don’t think that the order would be able to help him escape; like they say, half of them would risk losing their job, and what really could they do? I don’t see how they could do it the way the Death [E]aters did it, and also the way Barty Jr. did it is not really working in this s[c]enario.”

So Dumbledore, could he get out of Azkaban?

Caleb: Well, interesting this person is very firmly against this because this is the exact question we used for our battle tweet earlier in the week and overwhelmingly, people said they fully expected Dumbledore to be able to get himself out of Azkaban.

Eric: Hmm.

Caleb: But this definitely brings up some interesting points.

Eric and Rosie: Mhm.

Eric: Well, would he be crippled by the Dementor, we know he doesn’t like the Dementors and I feel like as of Book 7, we know why, right. But I mean, even in Book 3, it was like, oh yeah, Dumbledore really doesn’t like those guys.

Kara and Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: So does that…

Rosie: I do think…

Eric: Yeah.

Rosie: Yeah, the guilt… he would feel a lot of guilt and would be effected badly by the Dementors and I have a theory, if not two, of how he might be able to escape. Obviously you can’t apparate or disapparate from inside of Hogwarts.

[Eric laughs]

Rosie: But we see him disappear with Fawkes the phoenix.

Caleb and Kara: Hmm.

Rosie: So perhaps, well or is that just a movie thing?

Eric: Uh, no…

Rosie: I’m fairly sure he does it in the books.

Caleb: No, I think you’re right.

Kara: I think that’s it, yeah.

Caleb and Rosie: Yeah.

Caleb: Maybe it is.

Rosie: So maybe, Fawkes could be used to get him out?

Caleb: Yeah, that’s a good point.

Rosie: And if not, maybe house-elves?

[Everyone laughs]

Caleb: Yeah.

Eric: Dobby rescues him from Azkaban.

Rosie: Exactly. [laughs]

Eric: That’s a good point.

Caleb: Yeah, well…

Rosie: They seem to have apparating powers beyond the ones that wizards do.

Caleb: Yeah, so I would be more privy to agree with the phoenix, because I think that the people who do the protections on Azkaban would be more likely to consider the possibility of a house-elf being able to do that. But phoenixes are rare enough that I don’t think that they are either… well, they probably know about it but don’t understand the magic and certainly don’t have the access to it to guard against it.

Rosie: [unintelligble]

Kara: It’s probably something so specific, yeah, would be so specific to Dumbledore…

Rosie: Yeah.

Kara: … who else would just have a phoenix hanging around to come rescue them?

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: Right.

Eric: And they’re quite pure creatures. Aren’t they hard to tame, I think, I read somewhere where only…

Kara and Rosie: Yeah.

Kara: I think so…

Eric: … only a pure person…

Rosie: You’d have to be….

Eric: … so the kind of person who wouldn’t normally be in Azkaban, anyway.

Kara: That’s true.

Eric: … has a kind of…

Kara: It could contradict the effect of the Dementors.

Eric: Well, do you think… here’s a side that I was thinking of while I was reading this chapter, but do you think that Occlumency could potentially protect against Dementors?

Caleb: Hmm.

Eric: Just in the form of…

Rosie: It depends if you…

Eric: … in the form of guarding your mind and they kind of…

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: … bring out the worst… because it’s not a psychic invasion, kind of, but it kind of is.

Kara: Mhm.

Rosie: It depends if you think guilt is conscious or subconscious.

Eric: Oh, there you go.

Kara: That’s true.

Eric: It’s a good point.

Rosie: I’m deep today.

Kara: Yeah.

Eric: Okay, well the final comment from last week’s chapter discussion comes from RoseLumos, who says,

“When discussing what kind of spell Kingsley performed on Marietta, on this reread I assumed that it was the [Imperius] Curse. Harry sees that Marietta’s eyes ‘looked oddly blank,’ and she seems to nod and shake her head without much emotion. After being attacked by Umbridge, she was ‘neither perturbed by Umbridge’s sudden attack, nor relieved by her release. She was still clutching her robe up to her oddly blank eyes, staring straight ahead of her.’ We know that when Harry has the [Imperius] Curse put on him previously, he too describes how his mind feels blank. Moody/[Crouch] Jr. also describes his time under his father’s [Imperius] Curse as something similar, as being in a trance. This makes Marietta’s symptoms seem less like a memory curse, in which the outer symptoms are just confusion or eagerly believing a fake memory (depending on the memory charm), and instead like the Imperius Curse, in which the cursed are in some form of a foggy trance. I know that any of the Unforgivable Curses are illegal, so I wonder if this was the Imperius Curse and if it was, what the ethics are in this case. Is it right to curse a student if, I hate to say it, it is for ‘the greater good?’ I also love Jo’s subtle foreshadowing, as the name Marietta reminds me of a marionette, a type of puppet controlled by wires and strings.”

Also, love for Kristen, who was the special guest on last week’s episode, RoseLumos says,

“All around it was a great episode. Kristen, don’t give up on being a [stormtrooper] at Disney! There are plenty of great parts for smaller people (like me!). You can still be ‘friends’ with Mickey Mouse! Also, I have been a little hesitant to read ‘Divergent,’ but upon discovering that Veronica is a serious ‘Harry Potter’ fan I will definitely need to check it out now! Fans support each other for life!”

Okay… but guys, what do you think? Was it the… was it the Imperius Curse? Was it something similar that was legal, or what’s going on?

Kara: Well, I thought that was so interesting because every time I’ve reread this book and got to that part, I always forget and I think it is the Imperius Curse because…

Caleb: Same.

Kara: Yeah, I think it’s described so much like it, and I remember Harry even said… or he thinks that… it’s something like he feels something rush past him, some kind of feeling, and that I feel like would lend itself more to like a really strong curse like an Unforgivable Curse rather than just a Memory Charm. I mean I don’t know why you would feel the presence of it kind of rush by you.

Rosie: And if it was just a Memory Charm, then you would get some kind of reaction when he’s attacked by Umbridge, surely.

Eric: Right.

Kara: Right.

Rosie: If he’s not remembering that one thing.

Kara: Right.

Caleb: Yeah.

Eric: Wasn’t there… I mean, this is the end of Book 6, but isn’t there a gust of like a gust of wind when Dumbledore is… by Snape?

Kara: Oh…

Eric: Sorry, I’m being shady.

Kara: I think you’re right.

Eric: Isn’t there like a flash of green light and there’s like a gust of wind that I always took to be like his soul…

Kara: Yeah.

Eric: … leaving his body or something ridiculous, but…

Kara: Mhm.

Eric: But yeah, like I feel like the Unforgivable Curses all have like a whoosh…

Rosie: Like it’s kind of…

Kara: Yeah, like I…

Rosie: … like a rush or something, yeah.

Kara: Yeah, like a rush. And I know they always explain it with Avada Kedavra, that there is a rushing sensation or rushing noise or something.

Rosie: Powerful curses.

Eric: Fascinating.

Kara: Yeah.

Eric: So that concludes the comments from last week’s chapter discussion.

Caleb: And we’re going to jump into your responses to our question of the week, and to remind you of that question,

“In the final scene of the chapter, we see the confrontation between the Ministry and Dumbledore. Once Fudge orders Dawlish and Shacklebolt to seize Dumbledore, a flash of silver light flitters around the room, and they are knocked out cold. As Harry, McGonagall, and Marietta wake up, the text notes that ‘Fawkes the phoenix soared in wide circles above them, singing softly.’ The four converse, Dumbledore takes hold of Fawkes’s tail feather, and they are off. The second they are gone – the rest awake. What kept them asleep? Was it the jinx? The presence of Dumbledore, as the spellcaster? Or even perhaps Fawkes’s song? Or all of them combined?”

So there were very interesting responses to this. A lot of people had a very similar overall thought, but then people took it in some unique directions. And the first response is from Snatch the Snitch and says,

“I t[h]ink the jinx simply knocked out Dawlish, Fudge, Sha[c]klebolt, and Umbridge. McGonagall, Harry and Marietta were never knocked out; McGonagall had pulled them to the ground and out of harm[‘]s way. I don’t think Dumbledore as the spellcaster had anything to do with it because he says, “Now they will awake very soon” and tells them some info quickly. And as far as Fawkes singing I’m not really sure. Can a phoenix’s song make one tired? I only remember that it strikes fear in the hearts of evil and gives courage to the good.”

And really quickly, Jake Potter responded to this and said,

“I agree with Snatch the Snitch about the jinx knocking them out, but I think that Fawkes is a bit more magical than is let on. I think it was his song that kept them asleep and his flying and singing was part of a rhythmic pattern making sure they stay knocked out. I also think that Dumbledore and Fawkes are linked in some way. I think they have some weird connection with each other, and perhaps the presence of Dumbledore aided Fawkes in his song, giving him somewhat of a boost, and when they left, Fudge and crew woke up, kind of like when Harry was released from the freezing spell after Dumbledore was *spoiler* killed by Snape because he has left the world, but in this case he had simply left Hogwarts. By Dumbledore and Fawkes leaving, the spell was lifted, and they woke up. So in a way, I believe it was a combination of all three.”

Eric: No, I like the idea of Fawkes having even more magical pro… his song, it’s in the realm of Pokemon now. He’s kind of like a Jigglypuff…

Kara: Yeah.

[Kara and Rosie laugh]

Eric: … vanquishes enemies. I mean, just don’t give Fawkes a Sharpie and…

[Kara and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: Yeah.

Eric: … and I think we’ll be all right.

Rosie: Ah, cartoon references. Awesome.

Eric: Thank you.

Rosie: I love that idea that Dumbledore and Fawkes are linked. I’ve always thought that, and I would love to know more about the backstory between how Fawkes came to be with Dumbledore.

Kara: Yeah.

Rosie: In fact, wouldn’t that make such a good way of linking Fantastic Beasts into the main story?

Kara: Oh, that would.

Caleb: Yes.

Rosie: … if Fawkes is found in Fantastic Beasts and that gets him… yeah, please do that, Jo.

[Kara and Rosie laugh]

Caleb: Yes.

Rosie: But yeah, I would just love to know how Fawkes and Dumbledore came to find each other. It would be awesome.

Kara: Mhm.

Rosie: But as for the actual question…

[Kara and Rosie laugh]

Eric: Well, yeah, no. But isn’t Dumbledore’s Patronus a phoenix?

Caleb and Rosie: Yes.

Kara: Yeah.

Eric: I don’t know. He seems to share a lot of qualities with the true nature of what phoenixes are.

Kara: Yeah.

Rosie: It’s interesting with the idea of Fawkes as a constantly resurrecting animal links with the Deathly Hallows and eternal life and all of that kind of thing… you’ve got that heavily linked in with the whole of the Dumbledore and Voldemort storyline, and I’ve always thought that… yeah.

Kara: Yeah. Mhm.

Eric: Oh, right. As well as rebirth because Dumbledore has that rebirth moment where he no longer seeks the power and all that for himself.

Rosie: Yeah.

Kara: Mhm.

Caleb: And he has two actual rebirths. Well, I shouldn’t say actual, but two rebirths: One is the portrait, obviously, as a former headmaster…

Eric: Oh.

Caleb: … and also that final scene with Harry in King’s Cross.

Kara: Oh yeah, that’s true.

Rosie: Yeah, of course.

Eric: It’s beautiful.

Rosie: I’ve always thought that Dumbledore might be related to one of the other Peverell brothers as well…

Caleb: Mhm.

Kara: Yeah.

Rosie: … so maybe Fawkes gets passed down through that family line.

Kara: Oh, that’d be cool.

Caleb: Possible. The next response comes from SpinnersEnd and says,

“I think it’s great timing on Dumbledore’s part. The jinx knocked out the people Dumbledore intended it to (and he is a competent enough wizard to make sure it only hits who[m] he wants it to hit). I think he knew they wouldn’t be out for [very] long. Dumbledore passed on the information he needed to very quickly and makes his escape. I think the jinx was like a magical punch. It knocked them out for a short, unspecified amount of time, and they all come to dazed and confused. Dumbledore is a master of making things happen the way he wants. And when he can’t make them happen that way, he makes it look like they happened that way. I don’t think Fawkes needed to be singing, I think it made a dramatic scene that would ensure people were talking about his escape.”

Rosie: So flamboyant.

[Everyone laughs]

Caleb: That’s true. It does allude to describing Dumbledore’s need for the flair.

Kara: Yeah, he’s got style.

Eric: “Let’s put on some music. Fawkes, ‘Fly Me to the Moon’.”

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: Yeah, but the idea that Dumbledore was being very rushed in giving over the information… yeah, he wasn’t sure when they would wake up, so he needs to get it done as quickly as possible…

Eric: That’s true. That does speak to it.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rosie: … and he’ll leave as soon as they do.

Eric: Yeah, that’s true. That does speak to the degree of control that he had over their unconsciousness. That’s a very good point, SpinnersEnd.

Caleb: I’m not sure that he was able to be careful enough to fully target everyone he wanted because otherwise I don’t think Jo would’ve made the point of having McGonagall push Harry and Marietta down to avoid it, so…

Kara: Right. He probably trusted that she would make sure that they were safe. Yeah.

Caleb: Right. Yeah, exactly.

Rosie: I’m fairly sure there’s a shared look. She knows what he’s planning.

Kara: Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah, right. And the final response comes from nikigryff. It says,

“I feel that it was Fawkes'[s] song that knocked Harry and co out. We’ve obviously seen that phoenixes are very powerful creatures; the only remedy to […] basilisk [venom], capable of rebirth, […] are extremely hard to domesticate, etc. Therefore, I don’t think it’s completely implausible that they are capable of making wizards insensate. In Book 6 we see the true power of their song when Fawkes produces the lament; producing the effect that the song is inside the listener[‘]s head is very powerful magic, very similar to Voldemort’s methods – as [F]awkes is highly devout to Dumbledore, it would not surprise me that he (Fawkes) would go to any lengths to help out his master. Alternatively, a phoenix song is meant to increase the courage of the good – Dumbledore, who is arguably the paradigm for ‘the greater good,’ could have been so [a]ffected by this ‘increase in courage’ that when coupled with his already cogent powers, would have become so powerful for a fleeting moment that it knocked those around him out? Just a thought!”

Eric: Wow.

Kara: That’s really interesting.

Rosie: Amazing that we can have so many different theories.

Kara: Yeah. [laughs]

Caleb: Yeah. And that’s the thing; it was really challenging to pick responses, and definitely our listeners should go read some of the other responses because some people had some really unique perspectives. Even though they’re hovering around similar ideas, they sort of elaborated on it in different ways.

Rosie: Our fans are so clever.

[Kara laughs]

Caleb: Indeed.

Rosie: Well, brilliant. We should move on, then, to this week’s chapter.

[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 28 intro begins]

[Sound of fireworks]

Harry: Chapter 28: “Snape’s Worst Memory.”

[Sound of crowd gasping]

[Order of the Phoenix Chapter 28 intro ends]

Rosie: This is possibly one of the best known chapters in the book. Everyone loves this chapter or doesn’t love it for specific reasons but still think it a good chapter. We’ll start off with a quick summary, as usual. So as we have just discussed, Dumbledore has gone and the whole school seems to know what happened in the headmaster’s office. Said office has now sealed itself against Umbridge.

[Eric laughs]

Rosie: Quite right, too. And in response, she has managed to fix it that Slytherin will definitely win the House Cup by creating the Inquisitorial Squad. Her first day as head teacher, however, definitely doesn’t go to plan. The Weasley twins have something to say about it and even Hermione is feeling rebellious. The equivalent scene in the movie is the bit where they’re walking across the bridge, but it’s even in the books, so it’s even better.

[Kara laughs]

Rosie: Revision is progressing in earnest toward the exams, even with the disruption by the twins. And although Cho is feeling very apologetic about Marietta, she is still defending her. Harry will always side with Hermione, even when she’s jinxing other students. And his dreams are continuing, as are his Occlumency lessons, but this time he gets more than just his own troubled backstory in his little flashbacks.

Eric: Boom.

Rosie: We should start off, though, by talking about the Inquisitorial Squad because it’s just completely not fair.

Caleb: The outrage!

Kara: Awful. [laughs]

Rosie: There are no Slytherins on the panel today, are there?

Kara: Yes, I am.

Rosie: Oh.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Darn, we were so close.

Kara: Yeah.

Caleb: But no, that’s good. I want to hear a Slytherin talk about this.

Rosie: Definitely.

Kara: Oh my gosh, yeah. I have strong feelings…

[Kara and Rosie laugh]

Kara: … because as a Slytherin… I don’t know. It seems weird to say I’d take offense, but I take offense at seeing my house portrayed this way…

[Rosie laughs]

Kara: … because it’s operating under the illusion that all Slytherins are bad. And I totally get that for the purpose of the series at this point in time, Slytherin is the house that is against what Harry and his friends stand for. And I totally get that. But I feel like we never meet one good Slytherin. The closest one I could think of is Slughorn.

[Rosie laughs]

Caleb: Yeah.

Kara: So I like Slughorn, but he’s not a heroic character necessarily. So I just think… I don’t know. Seeing the Inquisitorial Squad; that they’re all Slytherins and the evil Umbridge is giving them equal power to prefects just because they’re in this house and it just… I don’t know.

Eric: Even more power because they can dock house points.

Rosie: Yeah, special powers beyond the prefects.

Kara: Can’t prefects do that as well?

Rosie: No, prefects are not in control of house points.

Kara: Really. Oh, wow, that’s even worse.

Eric: Yeah.

Caleb: So my biggest question over this is why does Umbridge… and to branch off of what Kara is saying because I agree; I think that as someone who if anything borders toward Slytherin more than any other secondary house, to Gryffindor, I have a really big problem with the continuous stereotyping of them. And why does Umbridge pick Slytherin? Because there are people in other houses who would be just as likely to back the Ministry and what Fudge is doing as some of these characters in Slytherin.

Eric: I think it’s less about backing the Ministry and more about backing Umbridge specifically. By now, it’s an all-out war with Harry.

Kara: Mhm.

Eric: I mean, we see that in this chapter when she presumably poisons him or attempts to. This is her against Harry, and her against Dumbledore, to a bigger extent.

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: So it has gone beyond the normal, “Do you agree with the Ministry or not?” And she has found the natural enemy of Harry Potter in Draco Malfoy and his goons…

Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]

Eric: … and I think that’s what the Inquisitorial Squad is more about. I mean, to be fair, you don’t see an Inquisitorial Squad member going and giving points back to the other houses…

[Eric and Rosie laugh]

Eric: … which is true, but at the same time, I think it’s more about Harry. It’s more about trying to get back at Dumbledore and Harry.

Kara: Mhm.

Rosie: I’m sure there’s some influence from Malfoy, Sr. in there as well, though. With his constant presence at the Ministry this year, there will be some connection between him and Umbridge, and him and the Minister, and getting his son up into her pocket during the year as well.

Kara: Definitely.

Eric: Do you think that Fudge has something to do with that, though? Or do you think he’s just aloof to this as with many other plots?

Kara: I feel like at this point, this is all Umbridge because…

Rosie: Yeah.

Kara: … well, and I also think that there’s a bit of house loyalty going on here because I believe we know Umbridge was a Slytherin, and I feel like at this point in the canon of the stories, all Slytherins will stick together and not commingle with anyone from any other houses and it would make sense if there was going to be an exclusive society like this, it would be all from Slytherin.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kara: In comparison to Dumbledore’s Army, which is Gryffindors, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff…

Caleb: So then, do we think that maybe Malfoy is the launching pad for this and that it may…? I mean, obviously Malfoy and Slytherin are untangleable. They go hand in hand. But is he the launching pad both…? Well, mainly because of Lucius’s connection to everything and that these friends of Malfoy; it’s a natural following and obviously they’re in Slytherin, that they would also be Inquisitorial Squad members?

Kara: Probably. I think it’s a little bit of the mob mentality…

Caleb: Yeah.

Kara: … that if Malfoy is going to do it, obviously Crabbe and Goyle are going to follow and Pansy Parkinson and… they’re all going to do what he does; he’s the ringleader.

Rosie: And Umbridge has been around the school for a while now, as well, so she has seen friendship groups and she has seen who is talking to each other and who is fighting with each other, so she can deliberately pick the most antagonistic people to Harry from the group…

Kara: Mhm.

Rosie: … and the ones that will work well together as a team, whether that team is for good or for evil…

[Eric laughs]

Rosie: So yeah, she can handpick the students that she thinks will follow her path.

Eric: And the reason that she is able to even do this is because she is now instated as the headmistress…

Rosie: Yeah.

Kara: Right.

Eric: … but it’s because Dumbledore left, and we know he had to leave, but at the same time this is all because Dumbledore left and Umbridge is given this…

Rosie: Maybe she has been trying to get this done for a while then, yeah. And it’s only because Dumbledore is now gone that she is able to put it in place.

Eric: Right.

Kara: Mhm.

Rosie: During this scene we also see Ernie MacMillan is there, so we’ve got our friendly Hufflepuff there representing for a change…

Eric: Gossiping, yeah. Gossiping like crazy.

[Kara and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: He is so indignant about this. It’s just… ah, poor Ernie. We also run into Fred and George who say that Montague has tried to take points from them and they have forced him into a Vanishing Cabinet on the first floor. Of course, this is completely insignificant and requires no comment whatsoever.

Eric: A Vanishing Cabinet! [laughs]

Rosie: A Vanishing Cabinet; who knows when that could come in useful?

[Caleb and Kara laugh]

Rosie: We also know that Montague then turns up the next day during Harry’s Occlumency lesson that we’ll come onto later on. But yeah, it’s interesting that we’ve got an insignificant mention here.

Eric: It’s so funny that Fred and George have this run-in with him and are just so defiant. And Fred and George in general in this chapter are just the best that they ever are.

[Eric and Kara laugh]

Rosie: They’re just totally done with everything. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah! But they’re such a force for good. What they do manages throughout this chapter to just amuse everybody. And it’s really strong magic to boot. I mean, we’ll get to that later, but yeah, in general the Slytherins… I mean, you’ve got people like Malfoy who are: “Weasley, I don’t like the way… I don’t like that shirt you’re wearing. Five points from Gryffindor.”

[Kara laughs]

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: The interesting thing is that – like you said, Rosie, in your chapter summary, though – it pretty much guarantees the house victory for Slytherin in the House Cup. I mean, Gryffindor used to be neck-and-neck, and it was high up, but by the end of the chapter, I think, even, there are barely any coins left in Gryffindor. And that’s all the points they accumulated all year, and so you can really just assume, though, getting back to the Slytherins, that they really were abusing the Gryffindors in that way.

Kara: Mhm. Yeah, and one other point about Montague, if I can just make another pro-Slytherin… or a defensive Slytherin point.

Eric: You can try.

Kara: I think seeing Fred and George push Montague into the Vanishing Cabinet… that’s something that… we cheer for them like, “Oh, yeah, the bad guy!” But it is really a ruthless thing to do, and especially when you look at what Hermione just did to Marietta, cursing her so she is permanently disfigured… these are really ruthless things to do…

Eric: Oh, man.

Kara: … and I think eventually Malfoy says something about Montague when he is finally found. He was stuck in limbo for days or weeks and it really is… I think when we read the book we obviously are on the Gryffindor side here and we’re looking at it like, “Oh, they deserved what they got,” but it’s interesting to see Gryffindors aren’t exactly perfect either. They’re not. Some of the things they do are really ruthless. I just think that’s interesting because I feel like you so read from the Gryffindor point of view.

Caleb: How dare you suggest such a thing?

[Everyone laughs]

Kara: I’ve got to speak up for my house here.

Caleb: I’m kidding.

Eric: No, I completely… I’m blown away by that because the Vanishing Cabinet… you never know when that’s going to reappear. You could be… why am I thinking of Egypt? You’re somewhere where you don’t know. You’re in between places for months on end, or you can be.

Rosie: Or one day, in this case.

Eric: Because it’s broken, too, isn’t it? That’s the whole… the Vanishing Cabinet is…

Kara: Right. You can’t get out, yeah.

Rosie: Yeah, this thing takes Malfoy a whole year to fix.

Eric and Kara: Yeah.

Eric: It’s super broken, and there is probably a jagged edge or two inside there, and they just threw…

Kara: [laughs] Yeah.

Rosie: Just think of those little birds in the movie. They died!

[Kara and Rosie laugh]

Eric: Yeah, that could be Montague!

[Eric and Kara laugh]

Eric: I think they died because Bellatrix went in and broke their neck. But anyway… that’s what I got from it. But yeah, I guess it is cruel. I mean, he would miss his whole academic year potentially. Isn’t there a lesser offense they could have gotten back at him through? Yeah, they aren’t thinking. They’re just being bold and brash and Gryffindors.

Kara: Right. Yeah.

Caleb: And they talk about… at this point they have reached the point of no return. They’re ready to go…

Kara: Yeah, they don’t care. [laughs]

Caleb: Yeah, all out.

Kara: Yeah.

Eric: And yet they talk about a line. They talk about a line that they…

Caleb: They used to recognize that line but not anymore.

Eric: Oh, okay.

Rosie: Now Dumbledore is gone, that line is far, far away.

Caleb: Yeah.

Eric: Okay.

[Kara laughs]

Rosie: And phase one begins at lunchtime.

Caleb: Yep.

[Kara laughs]

Rosie: Before we get to lunch though, Umbridge actually summons Harry to see her and illegally doctors his tea with a Truth Potion. Later on, Snape tells us that he used up her Veritaserum, which is what she’s putting in his tea basically.

Eric: Would she have put it in his milk? Because she asks for… she conjures a variety of drinks – pumpkin juice, butterbeer, tea. I guess he chooses tea and then she pours the milk. Do you think the milk is what had the Veritaserum in it? I know it’s a small concern.

Rosie: Well, she wouldn’t put Veritaserum in… she wouldn’t have put milk in pumpkin juice.

Eric: Well, that’s what I’m saying.

Caleb: Right, and therein lies the possible problem.

Rosie: I always though it was in the bottom of the glass.

Eric: Oh, so the Veritaserum is in the bottom of each of the glasses.

Kara: I figured it was just in everything.

Eric: So that’s why she used it all up or whatever.

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: Okay.

Caleb: Pick a drink, any drink.

Rosie laughs]

Eric: Yeah, right. They’re all poisoned.

Rosie: [unintelligible] … which of course he doesn’t. She focuses on both Dumbledore and Sirius’s whereabouts. That’s her key focus on what she’s trying to question him about. Why does she think that Harry in particular would know? He is just a schoolboy.

Eric: He’s Dumbledore’s man, through and through!

[Kara laughs]

Rosie: Yeah, but Dumbledore is the brains and Harry is just the kid that does stuff. [laughs]

Eric: Look, if anybody knows where Dumbledore is, it’s going to be Harry. I’m sorry, it just is. And Sirius Black, she knows that they conversed together in the fire. She says, “I know this for a fact it was him and he was talking to you.” So that’s why she asked specific questions about them. What I’m surprised about is how easily she lets him off. She just lets him leave as soon as he says, “I have no idea,” twice.

Rosie: Yeah, mhm. Well, she thinks that he’s actually had the Veritaserum because he doesn’t know not to trust the drink.

Eric: Right, but could he have really put on a little bit better of a show? Because don’t we know from Barty Crouch, Jr.’s Veritaserum experience that you go slack a little bit?

Kara: Yeah.

Rosie: Maybe she’s never seen it before.

Eric: Yeah, maybe she had never seen the effects of Veritaserum before, you’re right. Bless Barty Crouch again, being a good teacher, right?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Or even Moody. I guess Moody’s really the emulated one here where he doesn’t trust an outside stranger’s drink.

Rosie: Yeah…

Kara: Right, carrying his own drink around. [laughs]

Caleb: So my big question was though, if Harry would have drank the potion, would he still not have been able to give enough information to Umbridge? He wouldn’t have been able to say where Dumbledore went because he legitimately doesn’t know.

Eric: Right.

Rosie: Mhm.

Caleb: And he can’t give the whereabouts of Grimmauld Place…

Kara: Oh, that’s true.

Caleb: … because he’s not the Secret Keeper.

Rosie: Yeah.

Caleb: So I don’t think it matters.

Rosie: So that scene would have played out exactly the same way. [laughs]

Kara: Yeah. [laughs]

Caleb: Yeah.

Eric: Well…

Kara: He could have just drank it.

Caleb: He would have been able to say that Sirius is in hiding and he knows where, but he can’t say where or something like that.

Kara: Mhm.

Caleb: And that may have given Umbridge more reason to detain him or something like that and further try to get information out of him.

Eric: Isn’t that flawed a little bit? Once the Secret Keeper reveals the location of say, number 12 Grimmauld Place for instance, don’t each of those people become individual Secret Keepers?

Caleb: No, that only happens when he dies.

Eric: Oh. Okay, so Harry just would have… some magical force would have prevented him from being able to divulge…

Caleb: Right.

Eric: … about Grimmauld Place. Interesting.

Kara: Mhm.

Rosie: During this scene though, we do have a large explosion from downstairs. Which of course Harry had nothing to do with and has proof because he sat in there with Umbridge.

[Eric and Kara laugh]

Rosie: This is the magical fireworks which are seriously impressive magic. We were talking about Hermione earlier, but this is just another level. Hermione even praises them, and they’re so clever that they even respond differently to different counterjinxes, like they multiply if you try to vanish them.

Eric: Yep, that’s amazing.

Rosie: How much work has gone into these fireworks? It’s ridiculous.

Eric: And they use their whole supply, too.

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: Which is great. Everything about the school’s reaction and the teacher’s reaction… there’s this great scene with Flitwick by the end of the day…

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: Umbridge is just covered in soot and Flitwick is like, [as Flitwick] “I didn’t know if I had the authority to banish them myself.”

[Kara laughs]

Rosie: It’s brilliant.

Eric: It’s just so passive-aggressive, so tongue-in-cheek …

Kara: Mhm.

Eric: … so everything perfect ever, and the Weasley twins really just… they could have won back all the points for Gryffindor in that one action. [laughs]

Rosie: Yeah, they could have done it.

[Kara laughs]

Eric: If any of the teachers would have dared to award them, but yeah, that’s…

Rosie: Fred, George, you’re awake! Here, have some points.

[Kara and Rosie laugh]

Eric: It really is just perfect. And as you said, Rosie, the different spells having the different effect… the explosions, multiplying… oh, and at one point they just run into each other and…

Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]

Eric: There’s a phrase that’s…

Rosie: Breed.

Eric: It looks like they have a new breed of fireworks!

[Eric and Rosie laugh]

Eric: I don’t know what’s going on with those fireworks, but it’s the coolest thing ever.

Rosie: We have to borrow Noah’s old quote and say, “Is it alive?”

Caleb: Oh, God.

[Rosie laughs]

Eric: Well, they just had babies. [laughs]

Rosie: They did have babies.

Eric: If they’re alive.

[Kara laughs]

Caleb: It would be interesting to have Fred and George have a fireworks duel with Gandalf.

[Kara laughs]

Eric: That… you know what? Thank you for mentioning that! That is the only other instance of magic wizard fireworks thing that I can think of, and that’s Gandalf’s set that he brings to the Shire.

Rosie: Although there is a big, giant dragon firework in Mulan.

Kara: Oh, yeah.

Caleb: That’s true.

Rosie: That’s a whole different… [laughs]

Eric: Cartoon references, nice.

[Kara laughs]

Rosie: It’s a good episode today.

[Eric, Kara, and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Later on that evening when we do see these fireworks – “mating” I think is the actual quote in the book…

[Kara laughs]

Rosie: Harry has actually been woken up from a dream, and that dream is one more of his prophetic dreams about the Department of Mysteries. He is progressing further and further into the Department, but he gets interrupted before he sees what he actually needs to do in the actual Hall of Prophecy. And I was wondering if this is the first dream that is properly controlled by Voldemort. It shows Harry exactly what he would need to do when he actually goes to the Ministry. We see every door that he has to go through, what the rooms look like, and he finds the shelf that the prophecy would be on. And it’s just as he’s reaching out to touch a prophecy that he wakes up, his scar is prickling, and there just seems to be shades of Voldemort all over this. What do you guys think?

Eric: Yeah, I… no, I absolutely think that this could very well be the first, as you say, properly controlled dream by Voldemort.

Kara: Mhm. I think so, too. Because I think he’s been learning how to manipulate that connection that they share, and I think this is the point where he’s kind of getting a handle on it.

Rosie: Yeah. So it’s from this point onwards that Harry really, really needs his Occlumency…

[Eric and Kara laugh]

Kara: Yeah.

Rosie: … and of course we see it doesn’t go quite to plan. And we actually see that Harry has forgotten to practice so far…

Eric: Ugh.

Rosie: … and now worries that Snape will find out about this particular dream. So it’s quite interesting that Voldemort, if he did control this dream, is properly getting into his head now. Harry really does have this saving people thing; he knows that this is important somehow but he doesn’t know how. But he wants to follow it through even if that will be bad.

Kara: Mhm.

Rosie: He knows he’s connected to Voldemort.

Caleb: It’s interesting how circumstances keep popping up to hinder Harry’s ability to really go through with Occlumency. I mean, it’s just left and right, things keep popping up. It’s like the perfect storm for him to not be able to fully master it and allowing Voldemort to keep prying.

Kara: Yeah. And I think, just especially in this book, his emotions in general are just not very well-controlled. And that’s understandable but it just doesn’t lend itself very well to someone who needs to master Occlumency, because he’s just… He really wears his heart on his sleeve in this book, I think, and so it’s no wonder that he has trouble controlling… I don’t know where his mind goes.

Rosie: But if Dumbledore is so worried about these dreams and he knows exactly what’s going on and he knows that Occlumency is so important, why does he rely on Snape to teach Harry? Because he knows about Harry and Snape’s story…

Eric: Well…

Rosie: He knows that it’s never going to work. Why does he do it?

Eric: We’ve had this discussion ongoing for episodes now, and all I can say that really has been figured out is that this happened. I mean, with Dumbledore having to leave the castle, that’s something that now Harry would be done. Say he was getting lessons from Dumbledore, they’d be done now… because Dumbledore had to leave. He wasn’t going to be there…

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: … to see the whole year through. And it’s possible that… let’s be honest, if he did have classes with Dumbledore he could already be a master in the subject.

[Kara and Rosie laugh]

Eric: Because we just assume that Dumbledore is so much better of a teacher.

Rosie: I’m sure there’s a different method of teaching it than the one that Snape is using.

Eric: Yeah.

Kara: Yeah.

[Caleb laughs]

Eric: The aggressive method.

Kara: Yeah.

Rosie: Mhm.

Eric: But this dream that Harry has is on his mind, and it actually influences his decision to peek in the Pensieve later.

Kara: Mhm. It does.

Eric: Because he recognizes the silver stuff from being inside the prophecies in his dream. And he feels initially… there’s this tug of, “I want to find out more.”

Kara: Some kind of memory.

Eric: Yeah, “I want to find out more of…”

Kara: Mhm.

Eric: “… basically about my dream.” He does not expect at all what he actually finds.

Kara: Yeah. [laughs]

Rosie: No. And what he does actually find – nice link there…

Kara: Yeah.

[Kara and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: … is Snape’s memory. It’s his memory of the OWL Defense Against the Dark Arts exam. So it’s Snape’s favorite subject.

[Kara laughs]

Rosie: And Harry’s favorite subject as well. We go into the exam, we look around, Harry immediately recognizes Snape just behind him. He looks around and spots his dad a few rows ahead, and he kind of glides forward through the desks, tracking the little tuft of hair on the back of his head that stands up in just the same way.

[Eric, Kara, and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: The detail in this is just brilliant…

Kara: Mhm.

Rosie: Like what fifteen-year-old would think of these things? You probably would if you were seeing your dad at that age for the first time.

Kara: Mhm

Rosie: James is actually writing the initials “L.E.” on his exam paper. He’s finished early, as many fifteen-year-old boys will do in their exams.

Eric: He’s doodled.

[Kara laughs]

Rosie: He is doodling on his exam paper.

[Eric and Kara laugh]

Rosie: And Harry doesn’t recognize his own mother’s initials.

[Kara laughs]

Rosie: And it’s really, really sad.

Caleb: Yeah, I always find that so strange that he doesn’t.

Kara: Yeah.

Eric: No, it’s not strange.

Kara: Especially just the “L”. I mean…

Rosie: Who could “L.E.” possibly be? [laughs]

Eric: “L.E.” could be anybody, okay? It really could… Well, I don’t know if it could be anybody, but “L.E.”, I understand why he doesn’t know his mom’s initials. She was… well, Mudblood… Muggle-born, and…

[Kara laughs]

Eric: … her parents are nobody. They’re just… they’re Petunia’s parents too, but Harry just… you know how Petunia barely talks about her sister, and maybe they’re dead at the time when Harry was raised up, so you don’t hear about her surname. You don’t hear about her family or Harry’s extended family through his mother’s or Petunia’s side.

Rosie: It’s just the Potters and the Dursleys. There'[re] no Evanses involved.

Caleb: Yeah, that’s weird now that you think about it.

Kara: Yeah, I could see him not knowing his mother’s maiden name, especially since she’s never ever discussed. But I just feel like if it’s his father, and he knows that they met at Hogwarts, and he’s like, it starts with an “L”…

Rosie: It couldn’t be Lily.

Kara: … he would make the connection, but maybe not.

Eric: I think it’s funny because …

Rosie: He kind of forgets that his mum might be there at all.

Eric: Well, yeah, but they …

Kara: Yeah.

Rosie: He’s so interested in his dad.

Kara: Yeah, that’s true.

Eric: You know, and also there’s just this wrestling in this memory of… this is Snape’s memory, and there’s this idea that if Snape walks too far away from the… in proximity from James and Sirius and Remus, Harry is not going to get to see them anymore. And Harry is wrestling with clearly wanting to realize why is this memory important? I’s Snape’s. But also, for the first time he’s looking… everything from these little boys, idiosynchrocies, their relationship to each other, is so well immediately just fleshed out. It’s thrust upon Harry, and he is… he can’t do anything but just eat it up. And he is staring them down and making note of everything that he sees.

Rosie: He is properly speechless throughout this whole thing.

Eric: Yeah.

Rosie: He’s just their shadow throughout the whole memory, yeah. But they really do seem like different people. We’ve met Sirius and Remus and Peter obviously only briefly. We’ve heard James through the kind of prism of Hagrid and Sirius and everyone else. But they, the four [whom] we meet, have only the thinnest grasp on the four [whom] we think we know. They seem like different people. I love all of the jokes about the werewolf question on the exam paper. That seems like the proper…

[Eric and Kara laugh]

Kara: Yeah.

Rosie:[unintelligible] that we were waiting for. But it’s just hard to match them up with the actions that they go into.

Kara: Right. With knowing what will happen later, yeah.

Rosie: Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah, and if… I think it’s kind of unfortunate you don’t because when Sirius points out to James that the reason Lily was acting partially the way she did because she doesn’t like that he’s so conceited. I wish we could’ve seen how, off-scene, James dealt with that and how he reacted and responded.

Eric: Well, we know he internalizes it, right? He doesn’t say anything outwardly, but I think there’s a failed attempt at… when he says, “What’s up with her?” Harry says he tried and failed to make it look like that question wasn’t a big deal to him, and I think that’s how James… I feel like the indicators are all here as to how he would…

Kara: It’s a lot of bravado.

Eric: Yeah, a lot of bravado, a lot of tussling of the hair. The interesting thing I want to bring up, too, is that Peter is, I believe, exclusively referred to as Wormtail by Harry, which is, actually, I think, weirder. And of course, the Mauraders all call each other by their names later, so when Sirius tells James to stop catching the Snitch he says, “Put that away, will you, before Wormtail wets himself from excitement.” But the issue is that, with Harry, when he first sees him, he’s like, “Oh, yep. It means Wormtail has to be around here somewhere. Oh, yep, there he is.” It’s this villianization of Wormtail because of what Wormtail is to Harry in present day. And it’s… that’s why they use… because that name, to me, always means evil, whereas if you were to talk about Peter Pettigrew, I’d be like, “Oh, yeah, little boy, kind of troubled.”

Kara: Right.

Eric: But because he’s introduced as Wormtail and Wormtail all throughout, you can really just… there’s this overbearing sense of “he’s going to, one day, betray them,” and it’s almost paratextually she can’t… we aren’t supposed to forgive him for that.

Rosie: Yeah. We’re… yeah, we see a happy scene between them, and we’re still supposed to be very suspicious of it.

Eric: Yeah.

Rosie: We see the happy scene in contrast to the tragedy in its end.

Eric: Oh, and when they do the joke about the werewolf, too, Wormtail is the only one who doesn’t laugh.

Kara: Yeah. [laughs]

Eric: Harry picks that up. It’s just so weird. It’s such a weird… it’s weird to be in… think about this: You’re confronted with your own father who[m] you’ve never known, bascially looks almost exactly like you, and Harry has to come to terms with the fact that this boy… at first, it’s mildly amusing, but by the end of it, all this messing of his hair and all of the way he reacts to people actually grates Harry so intensely because he is arrogant.

Kara: It’s kind of like…

Rosie: I’m wondering how much… sorry, go ahead.

Kara: Okay. I was just going to say, “It’s kind of like James is the epitome of the exact opposite of the person Harry would want to hang out with.” And I can’t imagine what it would be like to realize that about a father you’ve never known and [whom] you’ve probably always kind of idolized.

Rosie: Yeah. I was wondering how much this was a true relfection of the actual scene or whether memories are influenced by the emotions of the person remembering? We see, obviously, Slughorn doctor a memory later on, but can the actual memory itself be clouded by someone’s opinions? If that’s the case, then perhaps James wasn’t quite so bad, but because we are seeing it from Snape’s point of view, he’s remembering all of the bad things. So we see the details of him [tousling] his hair and that kind of stuff because of it? Or is it just a complete faithful representation of what actually happened?

Eric: I want to believe it’s faithful. I want to believe that it’s unbiased even though it’s coming from Snape because part of the magic of the pensieve – right? – is to extrapolate from your memory and be able…

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: It’s kind of the weird thing is because I don’t think Snape could really hear everything that they’re talking about in this scene.

Kara: Right.

Rosie: Yeah.

Rosie: It’s very convenient. [laughs]

Kara: Yeah, that’s why I was inclined to think it’s a faithful representation, too, because I don’t think Snape was really even there. He was sitting pretty far away, I think, so…

Eric: … and concentrating on his exam, for some reason.

Kara: Right.

Eric: And let me just say this about Snape: He’s writing… he has tiny handwriting. We find out in the next book, too, how cramped and ugly it is, but…

Rosie: Feminine. [laughs]

Eric and Kara: [laugh] Feminine, yeah.

Eric: He’s writing a foot longer than anybody around him, and Harry does pick that up, and I just think, “He was really into what he did.”

Rosie: And it doesn’t seem like Snape has many friends; he’s got Lily, and he’s got some older students in other years, but maybe once… Lucius might have already graduated by now…

Eric: Possibly.

Rosie: So maybe he’s alone, and maybe that’s why he’s so focused on work. He’s got no one to talk to.

Eric: There’s another… I got the sense of that a little later on, when he insults, Lily and she responds by saying, “Fine, Snivellus.” She calls him that… I don’t think it’s even because James calls him that. I think that’s just a school-known nickname for him.

Kara: Yeah.

Caleb: Oh, yeah, definitely.

Eric: Clearly proported by…

Rosie: That’s the final straw. That’s her… the last thing… her giving up on him and yeah… and he’s on his own.

Eric: Yeah, but she just succumbs to that nickname, and it’s probably one of her worst moments. I wanted to talk about Lily because there’s this progression… Harry instantly recognizes her by her eyes when she comes over, and there really is in this chapter this progression of Harry realizing that his father is arrogant. I mean, first, he realizes that James’s hair is messed up, just like his is, right? Sticks up in exactly the same place in the back. Then he sees James fiddle with it, and then Lily comes up and accuses him of messing with his hair specifically so that it looks like he just got off a broom.

[Kara laughs]

Eric: It sets this evolution of James into this character, in addition to his actions berating Snape and attacking Snape. I just can’t help but feel that Lupin is a little bit responsible, too, for all of what happens because he was just kind of in a book and not… he looks the other way.

Rosie: He could have stopped it.

Kara: Yeah.

Eric: And I just… yeah, nobody gets off 100% scot-free in this incident, which I feel is so accurate to school fights and school issues at all.

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: It’s kind of like everyone is to blame.

Rosie: They’re all very complicated situations.

Kara: Yeah, and I feel like… I can’t remember if this is on Pottermore or if Lupin says this at some point, but didn’t he say something like he was so grateful to finally have friends because he never was around other kids growing up…?

Eric and Rosie: Yeah.

Kara: … and because he was so thankful to have those friends, he really let them get away with a lot? And I think he says something…

Rosie: I’m fairly sure he says that in the fire conversation later on.

Kara: Yeah, yeah. Something about letting James get away with a lot more.

Eric: Yeah, but he’s had two years to get over the fact that he has friends.

Kara: That’s true. [laughs]

Eric: Stand up. Do the right thing. You’re a Gryffindor.

Rosie: I would like to bring up a parallel between Harry and Voldemort again here.

Eric: Ooh, go ahead, try. I can’t wait.

Rosie: So think about Slughorn’s memory in the next book and the age at which Voldemort goes in search of his father and makes his first kill.

Kara: Ooh.

Rosie: He is in fifth year when that happens, so he is doing his OWLs at that year. This is Harry’s OWL year, and it’s the time where he discovers his father.

Eric: Wow.

Kara: Oh, that’s interesting.

Rosie: Both of them discover how much of a disappointment their fathers are and side with their mother instead at this point. Voldemort obviously then finds out that his mother died very early. Harry knows already that his mother died very early. They both forgive their mothers and have no real suspicion of her. Voldemort obviously thinks that she was weak. Harry doesn’t, but both of them struggle to understand why their mother would like their father.

Eric: Interesting.

Kara: That’s really interesting.

Rosie: So many parallels.

Kara: Yeah, I’d never thought about that. That’s really interesting.

Rosie: They are the same person.

[Caleb and Kara laugh]

Caleb: But choices are what define them.

Rosie: Choices.

Kara: Right.

Rosie: They are.

Caleb: And maybe it is the difference in the mother that has a lot of effect.

Rosie: Both of them died to save their son, just in very different ways.

Kara: Yeah, in different circumstances.

Rosie: And it is Harry’s choice that has caused him a lot of trouble in this scene…

[Eric and Kara laugh]

Rosie: … to bring it back. Snape is beyond angry when he discovers Harry in the Pensieve, and he completely loses control. He yells, he pushes Harry aside, Harry later has a bruise on his arm because of the violence of this encounter, and Snape throws some of his potion ingredients onto the wall above Harry’s head as he makes a hasty retreat. This is the worst that we have ever seen Snape, and it’s just… yeah, if you have any kind of remorse for Snape at all over this scene it’s just gut-wrenching to see how badly he reacts.

Eric: I think…

Rosie: But of course, we know it ‘s got terrible consequences for Harry as well.

Eric: I feel like the empathy for Snape is built up in this chapter. There'[re] phrases. I circled one. Okay, so James says, “Go out with me, and I’ll never lay a wand on old Snivelly again.” And then the direction is “Behind him the Impediment Jinx was wearing off. Snape was beginning to inch toward his fallen wand, spitting out soapsuds as he crawled.” He’s crawling on the ground. Soap is billowing out of his mouth, and he’s so weakened by the force that he’s only able to inch his way to his defense. I feel like Snape takes it pretty well that Harry figured this out. I mean, he aims poorly at his face, or something, with the cockroach jar, but I… yeah, this is really the chapter where you go, “Huh. Snape. Hmm…”

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: “… okay, now I understand.”

Rosie: But not only is Snape completely incapacitated and only able to crawl and has got soap suds and all of that, but the way out of that situation is Lily agreeing to go out with James.

Kara: Yeah.

Rosie: Then James will never curse Snape again.

Eric and Kara: Ugh.

Rosie: Snape is in love with Lily.

Kara: Twist the knife.

Rosie: It’s a double torture. It’s horrible.

Eric: Well, I feel like that’s exactly why he calls her Mudblood to begin with. He’s putting on this false bravado of his own because he’s so humiliated that he lets that word slip, but as we know from later books, the ongoing issue between them is the fact that she’s not comfortable with his level of immersion in the Dark Arts and Dark folks and… would use that kind of word. And so it’s just really the worst combination of… it’s the perfect storm, as we were saying before. It takes Harry… we’re talking of Harry running away from Snape’s office. It takes him, I guess, three floors before he stops.

Rosie: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: He puts three floors’ distance between him and Snape, and…

Rosie: It’s that much anger.

[Kara and Rosie laugh]

Eric: Yeah. I will just read the final sentence because it’s really good:

“What was making Harry feel so horrified and unhappy was not being shouted at or having jars thrown at him; it was that he knew how it felt to be humiliated in the middle of a circle of onlookers, knew exactly how Snape had felt as his father had taunted him, and that judging from what he had just seen, his father had been every bit as arrogant as Snape had always told him.”

Kara: I love that.

Caleb: It’s rough.

Kara: So sad. And I love that because throughout the whole scene we’re not really getting Harry’s opinion on it. We’re just with him watching it unfold, and this is when we realize like, “Oh my gosh, he probably was bullied and teased like this… no, he was bullied and teased like that when he was growing up.”

Rosie: By Dudley, yeah.

Kara: Yeah, and I feel like… I remember reading this for the first time. I didn’t even make that connection until I got to that sentence, and it was like, “Oh my gosh.”

Rosie: His horror is our horror. It’s written so well, that whole scene that you’re with him every single step of the way.

Kara: Definitely.

Eric: Oh yeah, absolutely, and this book is really good at introducing… I mean, this is a big deal. This is kind of what I remember this book for. And it’s late in the game. We’re more than halfway through the book. We’re at page 646 already, and then this is this huge issue that Harry deals with. It’s the identity of his father.

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: And by the time he takes it to Remus and Sirius, even… it’s still unacceptable how Snape is treated, how they remember Snape being. And Harry is just not… he’s rubbed way the wrong way about this. About this whole issue.

Rosie: Order of the Phoenix was the height of pottermania as well. It’s… everything exploded at this point, and the biggest wish from this point until the very end of the series was more Marauders. The biggest wish for a spinoff series is more Marauders. The biggest category of fan fiction, after this, is Marauder era. And we have still not had the information on how James and Lily came to find each other and how the Marauders became the Marauders we actually fall in love with pretty much when they’re adults.

Eric: I don’t think they’re that different.

Rosie: We need more information.

Eric: I don’t think they’re that different as kids.

Caleb: It should be a TV series.

Eric: Well, as to that, I feel like it’s… I mean, there’s a very good reason J.K. Rowling will never explain how to make a Horcrux. I mean, I think she does shy away, though, from even the James and Lily thing because do you even really need to know the specifics? I know we want to because we’re obsessed, but do we really need to know? I mean, eventually, James… I mean, what we learn from Remus and Sirius, eventually, he came around majorly. He had some growing up to do, and then she came around just a little bit to meet him. Do you think it’s overkill, though? Do you think that this chapter, then, was overkill because it makes it so harsh that we think less of Lily for ever even liking him, even if he changed? Coming together with this James character as portrayed in this chapter is too much of a stretch?

Rosie: I don’t think we ever think less of Lily because of it. I think we only think less of James. Personally, I’ve never thought less of Lily.

Caleb: Same.

Kara: Yeah. I would agree with that.

Eric: I mean, you don’t think she could have done better?

Caleb: I don’t think she had any duty to. She had just been called a “Mudblood.” And she had defended him for a while even though she… against what other people may have pressured her to do, and this breaks any desire to keep doing that.

Rosie: I would be really interested on Pottermore to find out the story behind James’s big character change.

Caleb: Yep, same.

Rosie: Yeah, my personal headcanon is that the war is happening at this moment, the second war is building up, and we know that James’s parents are alive at this stage because Sirius is staying with them. What if James’s parents are killed in the next two years after this scene, and it is their death and the subsequent war itself building up that makes James become a lot more serious and take the world more seriously?

Kara: I definitely think that’s… but I’m thinking that weren’t James’s parents significantly older? I always assumed they died of old age or something.

Rosie: Possibly.

Eric: I think that… I mean, it could just be that Lily just makes him a better person. I mean, being with Lily, too. I mean, he had to realize at some point, look, if he keeps this up, he’s not going to have her in his life. But just the idea of war – because I’ll go off of what you said, Rosie – war heating up, war is not… You can’t be selfish in a war. It’s time to be selfless and fight [for] your side, and I think the bigger issues of the world start calling. Everybody in the world, every student who is about to graduate Hogwarts, starts feeling this pull of duty to defend what’s really important, and I feel like that just takes anybody who’s not severely, severely arrogant out of their head and onto the streets of justice and fighting and stuff. I feel like he had a higher calling thing that helped take him away from his behavior a little bit.

Kara: Yeah, I would agree. I think it would just make him grow up really quickly, and at this point, he’s 15, and he’s immature, but when the realities of war start sinking in, that’ll make you grow up overnight, and I just always figured that that was what would happen with him.

Eric: And furthermore, I mean, after this, he’s pretty much got the girl or he’s on track to getting Lily, who[m] he’s really interested in, and I feel like that could help him ease off of Snape and just not be as much of an ass to anybody else because he’s actually happy.

Kara: Yeah. And especially… I think you’re right, Rosie, that this is such a turning point because this is also around when Snape… He starts becoming really drawn toward the Dark Arts, so they’re just on completely divergent paths, and I think that this is such a significant memory for so many reasons, but also because it’s such a turning point, and maybe Snape realizes that now.

Eric: I wanted to ask you all a question, a self-reflective question for you guys. So at LeakyCon over the summer, I monitored the panel for the HP actors, and Robbie Jarvis, who plays young James… I started the question with “So James is kind of a controversial character in the Harry Potter series,” and he says, “No, stop. No, no, he’s not controversial. He was 15, and I’m tired of people saying, ‘Oh, James Potter is this controversial character.’ He was 15, and weren’t we all like that, really?” And because of what Robbie Jarvis said, his weighing in, I have to ask you guys, was there…? Did you bully or where you ever…? Can you see where this is just kids being kids, in a way?

Caleb: Nope, I disagree.

Kara: I would agree with that, I think. Just because I think that’s such a tough age, I guess. I feel like there are things I did at 15 that I wasn’t proud of, and then I look [back] now and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I would never do that now.”

Eric: Were you a mean girl?

Kara: [laughs] No, no, just gossipy.

Rosie: There’s definitely… 15 is a difficult age, and teenagers go through a lot of things when they are 15, and yeah, it’s definitely a difficult time. But James was 15. Sirius and Remus and Peter were all 15. Snape is 15. But also, Harry is 15. Ron is 15. Neville is 15. Ernie Macmillan is 15.

Eric: Everybody’s 15!

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: In this book, they are all 15. And they are all very different from James. The closest Harry gets to being like James is using Sectumsempra in this scene. And he immediately feels horrible about it. He knows that it’s the worst thing he could possibly have done, and he regrets pretty much everything from that point. We never see any regret in James. And that is our issue. That is why he’s controversial. Even if he was 15, we need to see the repentance to be able to feel better about him, I think.

Eric: And not just have the weak assurances from Remus that he was repentant later, or reformed.

Kara: Right, right, I think a lot of it just speaks to their upbringing. James’s upbringing vs. Harry’s upbringing. Obviously very different, and that’s why Harry has so many insecurity issues or a lack of confidence in himself, whereas James has maybe overconfidence. [laughs]

Eric: No, that makes sense to me.

Caleb: So for this Question of the Week, we were focusing on this big important part of the chapter, Snape’s memory. So the question is “This is Snape’s worst memory as the title of the chapter states but what makes it the ‘worst’? Is it the interaction with Lily and guilt of calling her a Mudblood? Is it the humiliation by James or the full scene of everyone laughing at him and labeling him as an outcast, or is it something more or perhaps just a combination of everything? So what exactly makes it and labels it as his worst memory?”

Rosie: Maybe he failed the OWLs.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: And that’s why he’s never been hired for the Defense Against the Dark Arts.

Eric: He put so much effort! He wrote a foot longer than everybody else.

Rosie: He really did. [laughs]

Eric: Still failed.

Rosie: Just to end on a lighter note there.

[Kara laughs]

Eric: That’s so funny. Well, please remember that you can respond to the Podcast Question of the Week and add your comments to our discussion every week on the Alohomora! main site. Before we get to what that is, we want to thank our guest, Kara. Thank you so much, Kara, for coming on.

Kara: Thank you for having me. This is my favorite chapter in my favorite Harry Potter book, so I was thrilled to be able to be on.

Rosie: Glad to have you on this one, then. And if you guys out there have a favorite chapter of, well, the final few chapters of Order of the Phoenix or one of the future books, do let us know. We want you guys to be on the show with us. Click on the “Be on the Show” page at All you need is a set of Apple headphones or something – something with a microphone – and you’re all set. No fancy equipment needed. Just an Internet connection, microphone, and Skype.

Caleb: And as a brief reminder, for the many ways you can contact us, you can get us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, at, on Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast, [or] on Snapchat at mn_alohomora. You can give us a call and leave us a voicemail at 206-GO-ALBUS – that’s 206-462-5287 – or you can leave us a comment through Audioboom, which is right on our home page, It’s totally free. You just need a microphone.

Rosie: But do please keep it under 60 seconds so that we can use it on the show. We do also have our store, of course, with sweatshirts, long sleeve T-shirts – perfect for the winter… We’ve got tote bags, flip-flops – not so good in the winter…

[Caleb laughs]

Rosie: … and much, much more. We also have our free ringtones that are available on the website.

Eric: And there is the smartphone app, which is available seemingly worldwide. Prices do vary. On the app, you can find transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and more.

[Show music begins]

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Caleb: I’m Caleb Graves.

Rosie: And I’m Rosie Morris. Thank you for listening to Episode 106 of Alohomora!

Eric: Open the Dumbledore!

[Show music continues]