[Show music begins]
Caleb Graves: This is Episode 12 of Alohomora! for September 23, 2012.
[Show music continues]
Caleb: Hey guys, welcome to another episode of Alohomora! We have a really special guest host today and a new lead host, so let’s just jump right into the introductions. I’m Caleb Graves.
Rosie Morris: I’m Rosie Morris.
Dan Bergstein: Hello. Thank you. I’m Dan Bergstein. You can pronounce my name any way you want, doesn’t matter, and I’m really happy to be here and kind of nervous. Very nervous, actually.
Rosie: [laughs] Don’t be nervous.
Caleb: Don’t be nervous. Thanks for joining us. I’m curious because you said pronounce it any way. What’s the craziest pronunciation of your name that you’ve gotten?
Dan: Well, the American version is “Bergsteen.” That’s what we go by.
Dan: But in German, it would be “Bergstein.”
Caleb: Oh, right. Right, right.
Dan: So usually when someone reads it, they’ll say “Bergstein,” and I don’t ever correct them because I don’t really care.
Laura: Which is the correct way?
Dan: It depends. [laughs] I say, “Bergsteen.”
Rosie: [laughs] They’re both correct.
Dan: So according to me, “Bergsteen” is correct.
Caleb: Okay, well, we’ll – just for the sake of that – go with “Dan” today…
Dan: Yeah, yeah.
Caleb: … and make it really simple, but thanks so much for joining us. We’re really excited to have you on board. And also, like I mentioned, Laura is joining us for the first time on the episode today. Laura is our executive producer, and she is joining us today as a lead host. So Laura, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about you since this is your first time on?
Laura: Okay. Well, like Caleb said, I’ve been the executive producer of this show. I’ve been working for MuggleNet for about a year now, and I’m a video editor for the site, and I was part of when Alohomora! started. I was part of the start-up, so I’m very excited to be here. Also very nervous, but it should be fun.
Caleb: Well, we promise that Rosie will not bite very hard during the episodes.
Caleb: So since we kind of have this thing every time we have a new host on – Laura, what is your Pottermore house?
Laura: I’m a Gryffindor. Proud Gryffindor.
Caleb: Awesome. Gryffindor. And do you remember your wand, if it describes you really well or not?
Laura: Oh, gosh. I can’t remember it exactly, but it’s… I know it’s unicorn hair, and I believe… I totally don’t remember. Thirteen inches. I totally… oh, English oak.
Caleb: Hmm. Okay, well, it sounds like it’s definitely really important to your life.
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: But… so… and I hear, Dan, that you are about Pottermore’s biggest fan. Is that right?
Dan: No, that’s not right.
Dan: I, perhaps infamously, rejected Pottermore after trying to sign up. I guess it was about a year ago, and I went through the whole process. This was back during the beta phase where it was sort of… you had to wait forever and ever just to gain access, and the whole thing just turned me off that I just never went back…
Dan: … and I offered up my username to anyone that wanted it. I wanted to send it back to them, but they wouldn’t take it.
Caleb: [laughs] Yeah, I definitely remember those early days of frustration, trying to get on because they would only let so many people, but the site crashed every other second, so…
Dan: Yeah, so I’m sure now, it’s probably great, but I’m not there.
Caleb: I mean, it’s better, but I think a lot of us hope for still more as it continues to roll out. But we’ll see, I guess.
Rosie: The actual information is interesting, though, but…
Caleb: That’s true. The information is great.
Rosie: So to start off our episode, we are going to go back, as we always do, to our comments from the last week’s episode, so on Chapters 3 and 4. This comment is from The Head Girl and it’s from our main site, and it’s regarding the difference between the US and UK versions of the book, and they say,
“One of my favorite ‘what, what?’ moments of British slang comes from Chapter 4 of CoS, British paperback: ‘[Percy] was already dressed, his Hogwarts prefect badge pinned to his knitted tank top.” Wait, he’s wearing a what? American paperback: “… pinned to his sweater vest.” Oh. I remember it threw me off quite a bit at the immediate mental image of Percy wearing what an American would call a knitted tank top; however, I think we can all appreciate that Percy rocks a sweater vest at age sixteen and to the breakfast table.”
Caleb: [laughs] I really like this. I think I agree that we can appreciate that Percy has already got that sweater vest game going strong.
Laura: Not many people can pull it off.
Caleb: That’s true, but I wonder if… I mean, I’m sure Fred and George made fun of him a lot because you can’t expect them to be rocking that sweater vest at…
Caleb: … where they are in life right now.
Rosie: But… however, it’s a knitted sweater vest or tank top, either way, so it’s probably something that Mrs. Weasley has made for them. So I’m sure Fred and George have got them, whether they wear them or not.
Caleb: Ah, that’s a good point. Yeah. I’m surprised that Percy… well, I guess that’s the only sweater vest he probably has because we know they don’t have as much money. So… but I wonder if, as he gets older, he sort of sets aside the homely sweater vest for what would be more appropriate to wear in the Ministry.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: But… I mean, in the movies and things, we do see Ron dressed in sweater vests and you’ve got that kind of homemade feel to all of their clothing.
Rosie: Which I think the movies do really well.
Rosie: And it’s just obviously in the books as well.
Dan: So do you really call a tank top “a sweater vest” in the UK? I’m so confused about that.
Rosie: No, we wouldn’t… other way around.
Dan: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Rosie: We wouldn’t call… we don’t really use the phrase “sweater vest” that much here.
Dan: Oh, you’re missing out.
Rosie: So a tank top to us is… [laughs]
Caleb: [laughs] So you call your sweater vests “tank tops”? Or…
Rosie: I guess. Or just a vest top.
Caleb: Okay. That makes sense.
Rosie: We don’t generally use the term “sweater” in any way. We use “jumper” and things like that instead, so…
Rosie: Yeah, we would call it a vest top, I guess.
Caleb: Yeah, because I cannot imagine Percy wearing a… what in America we refer to as a tank top.
Caleb: He’s not really the sporty, tank top kind of guy.
Rosie: No. [laughs] Okay. So our next comment is actually a voicemail.
[Audio]: Hi, my name is Lucinda, and I’m from Wellington, Washington. I was just listening to “Will Sing for Food” from September 9, and you were talking about the house-elves Apparating to a person instead of a place and how Voldemort should have figured that out, and I had an inspiration that that is how the Deluminator that Dumbledore gave to Ron in Deathly Hallows enabled Ron to get to Hermione, because Hermione thought… said Ron’s name and Ron was thinking about her and the Deluminator enabled him to use house-elf magic to Apparate to Hermione. Anyway, I thought I’d share that. Thanks. Bye.
Rosie: So this is in regards to a conversation we were having last week about the house-elf magic and their specific branch of transportation and the fact that they can Apparate to a person rather than a place, which is what we know of wizards. They have to kind of visualize an area that they have been to or know about before, and we’re linking this to the scene in Deathly Hallows where Ron uses the Deluminator to find Hermione. So rather than going to a specific place where he knows where she is, he’s just following that one specific person and manages to Apparate his way there or go through the Deluminator to find her. And I think that’s a really interesting connection, especially the fact that it links them to house-elves, which is obviously such an important part in their kind of romantic relationship in Deathly Hallows, if you’re following the book version rather than the movie version. What do you guys think?
Caleb: Yeah, I think it’s a really interesting point, and it makes me wonder if maybe that’s what Dumbledore was kind of going for whenever he created the Deluminator. Maybe he… I mean, he obviously probably understands how house-elf magic works, probably more than a lot of people in the magical world. So maybe he was trying to simulate that ability when he created it.
Laura: Yeah, and I think, maybe, not many people – I would imagine wizards – respect house-elf magic, that because Dumbledore does, that that’s… he was maybe able to study it and hone it into the Deluminator. I suppose because he cared enough to think about house-elf magic, whereas other wizards might just dismiss it as not as powerful or important.
Dan: House-elves confuse me a lot, so… [laughs] I mean, their magic… you guys know so much more about Harry Potter than I do, so please…
Dan: I’m going to say things that are completely wrong and get yelled at, but…
Caleb: No, that’s completely fine, because last week we were… I mean, we were trying to dig through the house-elf magic ourselves. I don’t think we, necessarily, are experts on it by any means, so…
Rosie: No, not at all. [laughs]
Dan: I mean, it seems fun and they can do a lot, so I just chalk it up to they can do whatever they want, and their magic is just completely different. I do wonder what they were called before there were houses.
Rosie: That’s a good point. [laughs]
Dan: I don’t know. But yeah, so whenever house-elf magic comes up, I just say, “Yup, they can do things,” and move on.
Caleb: Yeah. Convenient plot hole or something like that. [laughs]
Rosie: Yeah. But it’s an interesting point.
Caleb: It is.
Rosie: Okay, so we have a comment on our forums by ZeoRegrediens about Arthur driving, and it says,
“He does drive a car! In the very next chapter, we see Arthur drive everyone to King’s Cross in the Ford Anglia. So Arthur definitely has the ability to drive cars and has probably driven his family around like that before. So the twins could easily have learned enough about driving from watching their dad in the car. I could also see Arthur excitedly explaining all the new charms and knobs he’s added to the car to his kids. So it’s not farfetched to see the twins driving.”
And this is in regards to a conversation we were having about the fact that the twins are somehow able to drive or fly the Ford Anglia without any kind of access to Muggle lessons or anything like that.
Laura: I think there'[re] plenty of teenagers that are not of driving age that have driven their parents’ cars just in areas where they shouldn’t… where they could get away with it. I know my mom learned how to drive a car when she was 15 and that’s definitely not legal. [laughs] So I don’t think it’s that far fetched that the twins… especially how mischievous they are to begin with. They could have even just stolen the car out for the afternoon and figured it out themselves.
Rosie: I think it’s very different in England, though, than America. Our driving age… you don’t get your kind of provisional until you’re 17, and there’s a lot less kind of open space in England than America for them to learn to drive in.
Rosie: But they could have joy-rided around a field, I guess. Yeah.
Caleb: Yeah, I remember driving when I was 13 or something…
Caleb: … with my dad. So…
Laura: That’s safe.
Caleb: I was with my dad. Chill. But I learned how to drive pretty early. But I also… thinking back on this comment… I mean, sure they may have been able to see how Arthur drives when with him, but it’s kind of different when they’re driving a flying car. I don’t know how many times they’ve been out in the flying car…
Caleb: … with Arthur. So I figure it would be a little different because it’s almost like you’re driving an airplane.
Laura: Well, to be fair, I don’t think there are many flying car lessons that they can sign up for legally, so…
[Dan and Rosie laughs]
Caleb: That’s true. And Fred and George are very resourceful. They pick up things very well. I mean, they’re definitely bright guys, so don’t put it past them to just sort of catch on on their own.
Dan: Yeah, I mean, I’m from Pennsylvania and there’s a lot of Amish around, and Amish kids… when they reach a certain age, they’re allowed to break from their Amish way and they can pick up driving pretty easily and there is… they do joy-ride.
Dan: So I don’t think joy-riding is that difficult of a task to understand. Just hit the go pedal.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: You’ll figure it out some way or another. You might hit a few bumps and a few cars, but it’ll work out.
Rosie: Yeah, and especially as we said last week with it being flying, there'[re] less things for them to crash into up there, so…
Caleb: Yeah, definitely.
Rosie: Okay. So this next comment is from Efthymia on the main site, and it’s in regard to Harry suppressing his magic, and they say,
“I couldn’t help but see this as a metaphor to homosexuality and how homosexual people are often expected to suppress their nature while having to listen to idiots talking about it being their choice. Harry is even in some sort of a closet when we first meet him. I’m not saying that Jo Rowling wrote the entire series with ‘magic as a metaphor for homosexuality’ in mind; I’m just saying this particular part could be interpreted this way.”
Yeah, I would agree with that. There'[re] definitely a lot of parallels, but I also agree that Jo probably didn’t have that necessarily in mind.
Caleb: Yeah, I would agree. I’ve seen this… something along these lines brought up a few other times, especially with the whole closet aspect. But I agree that she definitely wouldn’t have written it… the whole series as a metaphor, but this definitely can be interpreted that way.
Laura: I agree.
Dan: Yeah, I think one of the great things about these stories is that you can read into anything in any way you want. So I don’t think it was intended, but if you see it, you see it.
Caleb: Yeah, agreed.
Rosie: And it is very easy to see it, I think, in the fact that it’s suppressing something that is naturally just a part of Harry, which is the same for our modern society today, unfortunately.
Caleb: Yeah, and I think that’s something that Jo does very well at, just taking a character and showing their internal struggle to kind of be who they really are. So I think that’s definitely what she’s doing here.
Rosie: Yeah. Okay, and our next comment is from Saiyangirl on the main site, and it’s about household spells. It says,
“Personally, I don’t think Harry would have paid much attention to Molly’s household and healing spells back at the Burrow. I always had the impression that he and Ron always had this ‘ask Hermione’ mentality and developed a certain laziness regarding the ‘less exciting’ aspects of magic.”
I would agree with that.
[Caleb and Dan laugh]
Caleb: Yeah, definitely.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Laura: Yeah, I think anything that’s practical just goes in one ear, out the other. When it comes to… especially 12-year-old boys, they are not going to… when there’s all the fun, crazy things you can do with magic, I think that’s the last thing they are going to be paying attention to.
Rosie: But at the same time… I mean, these 12-year-old boys who have to do chores, surely they would want a quick fix to get out of those chores. So learning the magical version rather than doing it the long way would be kind of the way through.
Caleb: In a logical world, Rosie.
Caleb: But here you have two 12-year-old boys who are anything but logical and have one of their best friends to just call up on to do… to answer any of their problems.
Caleb: As Hermione often does.
Rosie: [laughs] But at the same time, I think…
Laura: I think these…
Rosie: Sorry. Go ahead, Laura.
Laura: I was saying, I think these two have a problem with logic a lot…
Laura: … in the series. I mean, they’re going to go fly a car in a few… in a chapter or two. So…
Rosie: [laughs] This is true.
Rosie: I think Hermione may agree to doing their homework, but I doubt she’d agree to doing their washing up.
Caleb: That’s true.
Caleb: It makes you wonder how things turn out when Ron and Hermione eventually get married.
Caleb: Because it almost… it doesn’t… I mean, it seems like that’s kind of the relationship Arthur and Molly have. But I don’t think Hermione is going to put up with it. I mean, if she wrote more books we would know. But…
[Caleb and Dan laugh]
Rosie: This is true. [laughs]
Laura: There’s going to be a whole Pottermore section just to… how Ron does chores.
Rosie: There should be! There should be a Pottermore section about future. That would be good. [laughs]
Rosie: Past the 19 years later.
Rosie: Anyway, that’s my fan-fiction side coming in. So… [unintelligible]
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: Okay, so that’s all the comments we have from last week. So over to you, Laura.
Laura: Okay, so now we’re going to discuss our special Pottermore, In Depth feature, and these are comments we received on the forums regarding the new, special information from Pottermore. So LumosNight3 said,
“I have to say, that for as awesome as wizard communication and transportation is, I still think a good old-fashioned telephone is sometimes best or easiest. I would Apparate to see friends, but usually when you go to see someone, you don’t just pop in on them. You call first and set something up, and I feel like using owls to do this takes too long waiting for a reply. I would still want to be able to just pick the phone up and call or shoot a quick text and then Apparate, but maybe that is just me, personally.”
Dan: I so agree.
Laura: Yeah, I have to…
Dan: Sorry. [laughs] Whoever wrote that is completely right!
Dan: And had these wizards ever used a telephone, so much could have been avoided. But hey, it wouldn’t have made for a better book. But yeah, yeah, telephones. Maybe they should look into it.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Laura: Yeah, there’s… I mean, I can’t understand why they haven’t. Even if they don’t want to use the telephone, just come up with some other magical way of… besides the owls. Can’t they…
Dan: Yeah, like a little…
Laura: The paper to Apparate, I don’t know. I think that they can work something out. But the owls are just a slow method…
Dan: Like a magic piece of notebook paper that could use like a smartphone text messaging service. And you just write down, “Hey, what’s up?” and then someone could write down, “Hey,” and no owls need to get involved.
Laura: Yeah, sort of like Tom Riddle’s diary.
Dan: Yeah, exactly. Nothing wrong happened with that.
Rosie: Or even more like the gold coins that the DA used later on.
Laura: Yeah, I just… I think there is an infinite world of possibilities, of ways they can communicate with each other, besides popping up in a fireplace unwelcome…
Caleb: Yeah. I mean…
Laura: … and using an owl. [laughs]
Caleb: The magical world is just so behind the times with that. I mean, we just… when we learn more about the Ministry, we find out they’re just now switching from owls for communicating between the departments to using those paper airplanes.
Dan: Oh yeah, they have those things. Why can’t everyone use them? I guess they would get caught in places.
Dan: Jammed up and…
Caleb: So for some reason, they’re just… because of their dependency on magical means or their unwillingness to look into Muggle means, they’re so behind the times, almost.
Dan: So when I brought this up in the SparkNotes blogs, people would yell at me, saying that wizards can’t use electronics…
Dan: … so that would eliminate phones. But surely there has to be a better way. But again, wizards, they like to hold on to the past, perhaps too strongly. So…
Caleb: They do.
Dan: … there probably won’t be…
Rosie: This whole discussion happened before, I think, Half-Blood Prince came out as well, and Jo Rowling said constantly that wizards have other methods of communication that we don’t know about yet, especially the Order of the Phoenix. And we are supposedly able to see this in the books in the form of the Patronuses…
Rosie: … and the fact that a Patronus can send a message without ever having to have their person be there. So when the Ministry falls, we see… I think it’s Kingsley’s Patronus…
Rosie: … and that sends the message. So in that way, you have got that instant messaging service in the same way as a phone. Your voice gets there, but it’s in the form of your ghostly animal.
Caleb: The only problem with that, though, is not everyone can make or…
Rosie: Conjure, yeah.
Caleb: … conjure up a full Patronus, especially someone who is younger and probably some wizards who are older because they aren’t as skilled.
Caleb: So that… I mean, it definitely has its limits also.
Dan: It’s like you don’t want to give your grandpa or four-year-old an iPhone. So…
Caleb: Yeah. [laughs] Exactly.
Rosie: Another thing to think about, though, is if we’re only discussing Chamber of Secrets, iPhones had never been invented. Text messaging was kind of, I guess, at its height, but it was still a new thing. Not everyone had a phone.
Dan: Yeah, people were still on Friendster and Myspace back then. Maybe not even that.
Caleb: Oh my gosh, I totally… I don’t think I was ever on Friendster. I remember some people I knew had it, but I definitely remember the Myspace phase.
Dan: I’m so old I had to use it.
Laura: I remember Friendster.
Caleb: Gosh, I’m terrified to go back and look at my Myspace…
Caleb: … to see what it still says on it and everything. Geez.
Laura: What do you think Harry or any of the characters, if they had a Myspace page, [said] when they were angsty 12-year-olds?
Laura: And especially all the stuff that Harry has been going through. I can’t imagine his status updates.
Caleb: Oh my gosh.
Caleb: Yeah, I mean, Harry’s would definitely be the crown emo Myspace of the wizarding world. So…
Dan: I think Ron would put up a lot of a funny meme pictures and just…
Dan: … usual Internet hilarity. Hermione wouldn’t use it.
Rosie: Hermione’s would just be covered in quotes.
Caleb: Quotes, and she’d be the very politically-aware person posting things about what’s going on in the world.
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Dan: And everyone would stop following her.
Caleb: [laughs] She would not be in many people’s top faves. [laughs]
Laura: Okay, so another comment we have is from Ali Wood. It says,
“Interesting that Draco, who is very contradictory himself, has a hawthorne wand, and Draco is in a state where he doesn’t know what side he is on. Very conflicted, very unsure whether he wants to heal or destroy. Could the unicorn hair and the connection between Malfoy disarming Dumbledore and then Harry disarming Draco and therefore getting the Elder Wand be important? I can see Harry giving it back to Draco in kind of a peace offering after he mends the holly wand, as Harry understands the connection between a wizard and a wand.”
Laura: So does that work like that, where you can just hand… because if Malfoy’s wand changed allegiance to Harry, does that work, just turning it back, like handing it? Will the allegiance re-change? Does that work like that?
Caleb: It’s a really good question.
Dan: I understand wands about as much as I understand house-elf magic, so I’m not the best person to ask.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Dan: I don’t even really understand the question, but I’m sure something makes sense there.
Rosie: There’s a kind of psychology behind it, isn’t it? So to change your wand’s allegiance, you have to win it.
Rosie: So I guess relinquishing it in that way would be the same. So yeah, if Harry handed it back to Draco – kind of psychologically relinquishing it and giving it back – then technically, the allegiance should change as well.
Caleb: I agree. Yeah. I could definitely see Harry doing that.
Rosie: Yeah. It’s a very kind thing, and it would… yeah.
Rosie: It would make sense.
Laura: Okay, so our last comment is from ZeoRegrediens, and they say:
“Wizarding television would be awesome. You could have a quiz show hosted by a sphinx. There’s some motivation to get the questions right.”
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: I really like this. Man, I would love to go on a quiz show, but not if a sphinx is hosting it because that’s really deadly.
Laura: I think that’s true, though, that there’s so much that could be used in wizarding television. I mean, you think of special effects that are used in TV. Could you imagine… are there wizarding films? I don’t think there are, but I imagine there’s a really big world of possibility creatively.
Dan: I think because wizards have such amazing adventures – well, some have amazing, adventurous lives – and they can do so much that their TV would be really mundane and boring because they just want a break from all the powers and lightning and whatnot, so they’d just want to watch documentaries about trees and things like that.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Dan: So I don’t think it’d be that compelling to us, but to wizards, they’d probably want an escape to boredom.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s a good point, and Dan, that makes me kind of want to throw it to Rosie because obviously, television in America is very different from television over in the UK. So what do you think it would be like, Rosie?
Rosie: Is television really that different? I don’t know if it is.
Caleb: Well, I feel… I don’t know, I feel it is. Every time I see a UK-specific show, there’s definitely a lot of elements that are pretty different.
Caleb: The way you go about comedy, things like that.
Rosie: Yeah. Yeah, we’ve definitely got a different sense of humor than you guys, but we enjoy American shows, and there’s enough of those on our TV as well.
Caleb: What’s your favorite American show, out of curiosity?
Rosie: Ooh, that’s a hard question. I don’t know. I’m a Gleek, I’m afraid, so I’ll have to say Glee.
Caleb: That’s fair.
Rosie: But I watch loads of stuff. I watch Bones, I watch Big Bang Theory, I like a lot of American comedy.
Laura: How do you think the… would there be the same different type of wizarding dramas and comedies? Like all different…
Rosie: Yeah, I think drama and comedy…
Laura: Do you think they’d have an awards show?
Rosie: All of these things are kind of just genres. I mean, they’ve got different genres of books and things, same as they do for other entertainment channels, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t have that kind of variety. But yeah, wizarding television would definitely be something interesting, whether they [would be] escapes to boredom or if they would [be] just something to do.
Dan: Do they have books? Like fiction books? I know there'[re] textbooks.
Rosie: They have their fairy tales and things, don’t they?
Dan: Oh, that’s true.
Rosie: So I don’t see why they wouldn’t.
Caleb: Yeah, did we bring this up on an episode before? I feel like we did.
Dan: Sorry if I’m bringing up old questions.
Dan: I just wasn’t sure because…
Caleb: No, I think we were unsettled on… like we didn’t come to a good response on it, so…
Laura: Well, I think…
Caleb: Go ahead.
Laura: But in the same way that we read… obviously, we’re reading books about wizards. I think wizards… like, they don’t only have to read about magical things. I feel like everything that they talk about is fairy tales and this fantasy aspect. There’s certainly a world of fiction that’s just interesting to read, that is Muggle based. I don’t see why they wouldn’t be necessarily interested in just a really good plot.
Laura: Just in the same way that we’re interested in a world that doesn’t… that’s different from ours.
Rosie: Maybe it’s all about the blood divide, still. It’s obviously such a big issue in the culture of the wizarding world, as Harry is growing up, that maybe they’re just kind of rejecting Muggle culture as something that is below them, and that’s why things like television things haven’t made it over.
Rosie: Whereas radio, which has been around for so long, is kind of more acceptable.
Laura: So do you think that in the way radio was… became acceptable in the wizarding world, that is years past, that they will eventually get wizarding websites or wizarding television?
Rosie: Yeah, I don’t see why not. [laughs]
Caleb: Well, that’s a good thing to ponder, so toss that out to the fans too so we can keep seeing what… or listening, reading, whatever, you guys think about that.
Rosie: Yeah. What kind of wizarding television shows would you like to see?
Caleb: [laughs] Yeah, definitely. Okay, so we’re going to move on to some of the responses you guys gave us from Noah’s Question of the Week from last episode, and to remind you of the question, it asked,
“Thinking about the Malfoys, they seem to have power and be greatly respected in the wizarding community because they have money. But how important is gold, truly, in the wizarding world as compared to magical ability or family lineage?”
So all of these comments come from the main site. And the first one is from NLEI11, and the comment says,
“As in the Muggle world, the value of gold for influential families is that it helps them to maintain their position in society. Throughout the series, Malfoy’s ‘donations’ are mentioned. I believed that wizarding institutions, for example, St. Mungo’s, depend on these ‘donations’ in order to continue operating. Therefore, the Malfoys’ social status is tied proportionately to their wealth. We see the Gaunts, a pure-blood family and direct descendants of Slytherin, living in squalor because ‘a great liking for grandeur meant that the family gold was squandered several generations before Marvolo was born’ (DH). On the other hand, the Weasleys understand that being at the bottom of the social pyramid instills a drive to constantly move upwards. Ultimately, gold may aid the individuals to remain at the top of the social pyramid, but it will not keep them there. Gold is like gravity: As long as it exists, people will stay where they are; as soon as it’s gone, people just float away.”
Caleb: What a profound thought.
Dan: [laughs] That was profound. Lengthy, too. I liked it.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Yeah. So I definitely like the last line, gold as being something like gravity: As long as it exists, people will stay where they are. But I like that they also point out that it’s not necessarily everything, particularly with the Weasleys’ drive to move upwards.
Laura: Right, and I think that’s the same mentality that many poor families have. They tend to focus on the good that they do have, like the Weasleys have such a strong family dynamic and they really are fortunate and all the things that they have, whereas the Malfoys, they clearly don’t have a strong family dynamic, just of how much trouble they have between each other, that they focus on what they do have, which is their wealth.
Rosie: Which is kind of interesting in terms of that final line in that comment. So if gold is like gravity and people stay where they are if they have gold, then it’s kind of the opposite of the Malfoys and the Weasleys because the Weasleys have very little gold but they all stay very close together and they all kind of connect really well as like a gravitational pull with the family rather than the gold, which would send them off into the world a bit more.
Caleb: Hmm. Yeah, I guess that’s true.
Rosie: Or is that just reading too much into it?
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: No, I see what you’re saying. And this is also sort of what Laura was talking about. I mean, if anyone follows politics, especially the election coming up, I mean that’s the rhetoric that politicians try to cling to so often, that they came from these humble beginnings and were able to rise up, and it, for some reason, creates so much rhetorical power in the message that they’re trying to communicate. So it definitely is seen in a lot of places.
Dan: It’s hard for a wizard to rise up in their economy just because, what, you can either be a teacher, own a shop, or be another teacher. They don’t have as many opportunities, unless they take Muggle jobs but I don’t know if they do. So if you’re rich and a wizard, there’s a good chance you might stay rich because you have it. And if you’re poor, I don’t know, it kind of sucks. Unless you somehow find some great job or make your own business like the Weasley twins, you’re kind of screwed.
Laura: Yeah, I do think the wizarding job market, as far as what we’ve been shown at least, I’m sure there are a ton of more possibilities that weren’t brought up in the books, but it is a pretty limited job market. Teacher, shop owner, Quidditch player, Ministry worker.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Yeah, the house-elves have all the help positions, so there’s not even that. Geez.
Dan: It’s rough out there, man.
Caleb: [laughs] Times is hard.
Rosie: And we thought our economy was bad. [laughs]
Caleb: [laughs] Yeah, exactly.
Laura: And you don’t see many wizards taking on Muggle jobs that… even if they necessarily loved it. Like, what if someone wanted to be a doctor? It’s like nope, not allowed. You have to take on a magic job.
Dan: Yeah, that sucks.
Laura: You don’t see many…
Dan: I wrote about that a lot.
Rosie: That is another job, though. We’ve got Healers in St. Mungo’s.
Dan: That’s true.
Laura: What were you saying?
Dan: I wrote about… I can’t remember… on SparkNotes, I bring this up a lot that you’re… in terms of a wizard, you’re stuck. If you want to be a biologist or a physicist, you have to learn that either on your own or steal… just sneak into a Muggle college somehow because you’re not going to learn it.
Caleb: Yeah. So the Muggles still are important because they’re the ones that are driving innovative thought because the wizards have no real way to get into that.
Rosie: Well, that we know of. I mean, they may not need biology or physics or anything because they have other views of the world.
Caleb: Well, yeah.
Rosie: So they don’t need physics if they believe in magic because there'[re] magical rules rather than physics ones.
Caleb: I mean that’s fine because I don’t believe in physics either, so…
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Laura: Even like how I said about being a doctor, even St. Mungo’s, they deal with magical maladies and just… what about if you just want to help normal sick people? [laughs]
Dan: Nope, you can’t.
Caleb: Yeah. [laughs]
Dan: Don’t even think about it. Do you think the doctors in the wizarding world make a lot of money? Or do you think… because most wizards can do minimal healing themselves.
Caleb: Yeah, probably… I would say not, and I wonder if it’s socialized care or not.
Dan: Now it’s getting real deep.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: A conversation for another day, but I would definitely love to dig into that. All right, well, that obviously brought up a lot of good remarks, so thanks for that comment. And our next one comes from JessFudd, and it says,
“Perhaps it’s like the dukes and duchesses and people with that kind of title in Europe. Maybe Rosie can shed some light on that for us because I don’t fully understand it as an American, but aren’t some people walking around England with titles simply because somewhere back in their family tree, there was a person with stature? And although that system seems to be less important now, some things stick.”
Rosie: Yeah, there’s definitely an element of bloodlines in the duchy still, as it’s called.
Rosie: People still have land and money tied into family names and family inheritance, so there’s definitely a certain sense of power invested in that, but that’s generally on a smaller scale these days. I mean, in the past, dukes and duchesses and things would have been much more involved with politics, much more involved with the general running of the country and especially the areas where they live. Now it’s more of a private thing where they just kind of… I don’t want to say indulge themselves because that’s mean to anyone who is a duke or a duchess who doesn’t do that, but I think it’s more of a personal thing that… within their family more. But at the same time, you do still get dukes and duchesses and things being made by the Queen, and you definitely get a lot of ladies and dames and all that kind of thing being created and knights of the realm and things, which is just a title rather than any real… again, power or… it’s kind of status but not really that important these days, I think.
Dan: Like a Kardashian.
Rosie: Does that make sense? [laughs]
Caleb: Yeah, there we go.
Rosie: Definitely not like the Kardashians.
Dan: It’s exactly like the Kardashians.
Laura: That’s true, though, that we… it’s kind of the same mentality of people being born into celebrity families that haven’t exactly achieved anything on their own merit but get to maintain that status because of where they’re from.
Rosie: Yeah, I guess celebrity would be the modern status of that. Yeah.
Dan: Can I ask you a question? The Malfoys… what is his job?
Caleb: Well, he’s on the board of governors for Hogwarts, we know, but I’m sure he just… I imagine him having his hand in so many things…
Dan: Just like a business person.
Caleb: … like investment. He just has so much influence on different things so he gets a lot of returns.
Dan: Yeah. I was just curious.
Caleb: Yeah. Definitely not… yeah, we definitely don’t know enough. I wish we knew more about his actual business endeavors and things like that. All right…
Laura: I’m sure a lot of it is shady.
Caleb: Yeah, of course.
Caleb: Well, thanks for that insight, Rosie, as our British expert. [laughs]
Rosie: That’s all right. [laughs]
Caleb: And our next comment comes from MarauderRiver14231, and it says,
“I am reminded of a line from the Disney movie ‘Aladdin’…”
Man, I love Aladdin. My favorite Disney movie.
Rosie: [laughs] Me too.
“‘Whoever has the gold makes the rules.’ We can look at our own societies right now and know that the rich people are the ones who influence politicians to their way of thinking. With any business venture, you need capital, and who has capital? Rich people. I’m pretty sure this concept is no different in the wizarding world.”
Kind of like what we were just talking about with Malfoy having his hand in so many things.
Rosie: Yeah. So whether they are kind of… whether they have the job in politics themselves or not.
Rosie: If they have the gold, they can influence things. Yeah, that’s exactly what we were saying about Malfoy a second ago.
Laura: Do you think after all the events transpired after Deathly Hallows with the whole war that the Malfoys will lose all of their wealth and stature? Because he won’t be able to have his hand in these businesses now everyone is aware of the type of person he is. Are they going to lose their wealth and be at a level…
Rosie: I don’t think they’d necessarily lose it because that’s the whole point in the… what we were just saying about the dukes and duchesses and that kind of family money. They already have this money, so if they are kind of clever about it they don’t lose it. Only if they are kind of using it all the time would they lose it.
Rosie: They’re just not making more necessarily.
Caleb: Mhm. And I still imagine Draco growing up and being somewhat successful still.
Caleb: Okay. Well, our next comment comes from LumosNight3, and it says,
“I would like to make the argument that money is not what matters most in the HP series. I think at the end of the day, blood status or magical ability wins out as being most important to the characters.”
I would say that’s true for the status quo of when the books are taking place, yeah, but I think we learn from Pottermore that wasn’t always as important because families like the Malfoys would do business with Muggles and such. But I would say for that time period, yeah, that’s probably true.
Laura: Well, I think blood status not necessarily as important even moving forward because there'[re] plenty of people that don’t necessarily care if they’re pure-blood or half-blood, and it keeps getting more muddled. But I think magical ability, even the most noble of characters like Harry and Ron, they still talk about Muggles as so separate and I just can’t imagine… even if they respect them, I can’t imagine them ever really seeing themselves as equal because they’re so much more powerful that I think that’s something that’s not going to change as easily as just…
Laura: … blood pureness.
Rosie: I think the idea of magical ability is really interesting when it comes to someone like Neville because Neville comes from a family [that] was well respected. Alice and Frank were very popular when they were kind of at the height of their powers when they were Aurors before they were attacked, and the fact that Neville has little magical ability when he’s at school… he obviously develops more as he goes on, but it’s that confidence and that lack of power that he displays at the beginning that makes him… he’s the joke character. He’s bullied, and people look down on him despite who he is. So blood status, he’s a pure-blood… no, he’s a half-blood, isn’t he? No, he is pure-blood because…
Caleb: Yeah, he’s pure-blood.
Rosie: So he’s got the blood status. He’s got the wealth of family, but his magical ability is what is defining him as a character.
Laura: Right, because I think magical ability ends up being the most important. The kids themselves might not be able to judge people’s wealth or their blood status necessarily, unless you’re someone like Malfoy [who] has always had it ingrained in them. But they can make their own judgments as to who is the best at magic and who can’t do magic and see themselves superior or inferior, depending.
Caleb: Yeah. Okay, well, our last comment on the Question of the Week comes from WinkySMH and it says,
“I believe that money does not entirely get you power in the magical world. Voldemort himself was an orphan that relied on scholarships to pay for school supplies. In this instance, his magical abilities got him his respect from his peers. Also, throughout Voldemort’s life, he took pride in his family lineage – especially since he had a connection with Hogwarts, a place that he was infatuated with, through Salazar Slytherin.”
And I think that just reinforces what you were just pointing out, Laura.
Laura: Yeah. It’s even despite the fact that he doesn’t have money that he’s not a pure-blood because he’s got such incredible magical ability he still rises as being popular, so I think that’s the most important thing as far as determining someone’s popularity or status. At least to the kids.
Rosie: Yeah. That’s really interesting. If you think about the fact that he collects his followers… so he’s got Malfoy and the Lestranges and all of those people working for him. So if we were saying earlier that if you have gold you can influence the politicians, he’s the influence behind the gold behind the influencing. It’s like a step even further back that is just purely magical ability.
Rosie: There’s an interesting power structure going on here. [laughs]
Caleb: It is. Well, thanks for all those comments, guys. They were really great.
Laura: Okay, so now we’re going to get into our chapter discussions [for] this week. We are going to be discussing Chapters 5 and 6, which are “The Whomping Willow” and “Gilderoy Lockhart.”
Rosie: Great, so we start off Chapter 5 with the end of summer and it being time to finally leave the Burrow behind and head off back to school. And the first thing we really see is Mrs. Weasley cooking up a feast of all of Harry’s favorite foods and the twins setting up a fireworks display in the kitchen, which is a bit over the top. They’re going back to school here, and I mean, why is this all for Harry’s benefit when Mrs. Weasley’s own children are leaving as well? What do you guys think?
Caleb: Well, I think it’s for all of them, but she does something special for Harry with the food. I don’t know if it’s over the top because they don’t get to see the kids again until Christmas, really, so it’s kind of their last night together as a family.
Rosie: But that’s my point, really. I mean, why would you not cook food that everyone would enjoy? Why is it necessarily Harry’s favorites? It’s kind of favoritism over your actual family. [laughs]
Caleb: Maybe because Molly likes Harry better than her children.
Rosie: It doesn’t really do much for Ron’s kind of inferiority complex.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s definitely true.
Rosie: Okay, we then see the next day, and Mr. Weasley is moving all of their luggage and all of the things that they’ve packed into the Ford Angelia. And there’s a moment where we see Mr. Weasley almost breaking his neck tripping over a chicken because he’s carrying Ginny’s trunk and he can’t see.
Rosie: But this is Mr. Weasley carrying it! Why doesn’t he just use magic and levitate it? It seems like it would be much easier. If he’s going to use magic in Muggle things, why doesn’t he use magic in his own life?
Dan: Because he doesn’t want his muscles to atrophy. He has to work out a little bit.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Dan: It’s like the astronauts have to ride the exercise bike or else they will turn to jelly.
Caleb: That’s true. Because we know Arthur is out there with his prime physique going, so…
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: I also thought about this when I was rereading for the show. It seems a little… [laughs] I don’t know why Jo chose that, really.
Rosie: Maybe it’s just meant to be something a little bit funny.
Rosie: Showing that Mr. Weasley is not the best kind of physical character. But I don’t know.
Caleb: And also just kind of to extend the effect of everything’s going kind of crazy…
Caleb: … and they’re all over the place and running late and everything.
Laura: Yeah, and in the chaos of it, you don’t think of the most logical decision. It’s… any way to make it more difficult on yourself.
Rosie: [laughs] Maybe it’s just me being lazy and I’d just use magic for everything.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: Okay, so everything gets moved into the Ford Anglia, and we suddenly see that this has become a Tardis car – it’s bigger on the inside. And we see Molly climb in and say that Muggles can do a lot more than we give them credit for. Does Molly really not know that this car has been enlarged? Has she never been inside it before? How new in this Ford Anglia that Arthur has managed to get?
Caleb: Maybe it is the first time that she’s getting to experience the magic of it.
Laura: I think she doesn’t seem to be a fan of the car anyway, that she probably just didn’t want to indulge Arthur.
Laura: Anytime he brought up wanting to show her things, she’d just shut him down.
Rosie: [laughs] Okay. They drive off and have to come back to the Burrow several times, including one where they had almost reached the motorway when Ginny shrieked that she’d left her diary behind. She almost went to Hogwarts without Riddle. How much of a different book would that have been if that one sentence hadn’t been included?
Caleb: Yeah, that would have been…
Rosie: Nothing would have happened.
Dan: It would have been shorter.
Caleb: There really would be no plot.
Caleb: That’s kind of the whole basis of the whole conflict of the book.
Laura: I’m surprised that they actually did turn around and get it because I know if that had been me with my dad, if I had left something like that, it’d be, “Well, you’re going to have to deal without it.” Especially if it’s something so trivial as a diary.
Laura: I know my dad would say, “Go use some scrap paper.”
Rosie: Why didn’t they just send it on by owl or something? They had to actually go back and get it.
Caleb: Well, they don’t have many owl options because if we think about…
Rosie: This is true.
Caleb: … [laughs] Errol is not really going to make it…
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: … with the Riddle diary.
Dan: This is one of those things that happens a lot in these books where she’ll leave hints as to what’s important.
Dan: So yeah, it’s stupid, but we’re going to have to know this for later.
Rosie: [laughs] So yeah, in the future, if there’s anything that could be solved really easily by just sending it by owl, and they have to actually go back and get it, we know that that’s something to look out for.
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: So they reach King’s Cross at quarter to eleven, and there are no other wizards trying to get through the barrier. It always surprises me that every single time they go to 9 3/4, the only ones there are Harry and the Weasleys on that side of the barrier. Why do they never see anyone else going through? Surely there must be so many children, like a constant stream of kids trying to get to the train before 11 o’clock.
Dan: Maybe they’re always late. Everyone else is there.
Caleb: Yeah, everyone else is on top of their stuff…
Caleb: … except the Weasleys.
Caleb: Yeah, I would also expect…
Rosie: Maybe there’s some kind of magical organization? Like they all get given different times to arrive, but the train is actually going to leave at 11?
Caleb: Oh, that’s a good point. Yeah.
Laura: So similar to the way that the Portkeys worked, where they were arranging it…
Rosie: Yeah, for the World Cup.
Laura: … instead of just everyone coming to one place. They’re coming in at different times. But I really think it is just a matter of the Weasleys not respecting punctuality.
Rosie: I guess they do have a lot of kids to organize, so they’re going to be a little late.
Caleb: Yeah, it’s a little tough.
Laura: Got to set the alarm early.
Rosie: Okay. So the Weasleys all go through the barrier, and Mrs. Weasley says that Ron and Harry should follow after her and Ginny. But as soon as they try, the barrier has been closed and they go flying. Hedwig is making a load of noise, and they cannot get through to Platform 9 3/4. Ron immediately starts worrying that his parents can’t get back through either, and they’ve missed the train. But what about the rest of the parents? Again, there should be more of a fuss about this. Surely if this happened and the parents couldn’t get back through, it should have caused more of a stir in the wizarding world.
Laura: The thing that doesn’t make sense to me is that about three seconds after this, when Harry questions, “Oh, what are your parents going to do to get home?” Ron is like, “Oh, they’ll just Apparate.” So in Ron’s mind, they will get through the wall…
Rosie: [laughs] Yeah.
Laura: … and Apparate home. So if that’s happening, [laugh] then why can’t they just wait?
Rosie: Which asks the question… if you can Apparate maybe from 9 3/4, is there maybe a Floo Network connection on 9 3/4? And if that’s the case, why didn’t they just go from the Burrow straight to the platform?
Caleb: Yeah, maybe there’s a fireplace in there, and that’s how some families get in.
Dan: You have to think… again, correct me if I’m wrong. If there is only the one way to get there, surely there’s going to be people running into each other as they leave while someone is coming…
Dan: … or vice versa. So there has to be…
Dan: … a fire exit, at least, or some other way to get out.
Caleb: Assuming they were logical in this process.
Rosie: [laughs] It seems like a very complicated way of getting kids to school when they could make it a lot easier.
Caleb: Yeah. So Ms. Rowling, let us know. How do they get out? How do they all get out?
Rosie: [laughs] But only a school as magical as Hogwarts could convince kids to break laws in order to get to school rather than to get away.
Laura: It’s true.
Rosie: It’s encouraging Muggle readers to go to school and enjoy it more, even if it’s not quite as magical as Hogwarts.
Laura: If I missed my bus in the morning, I’m like, “Well, I tried.”
Caleb: Back to bed.
Rosie: [laughs] I’d be the same.
Rosie: [laughs] So Ron and Harry climb into the car. Unfortunately, the invisibility spell that’s been put upon it isn’t working – again, another of Mr. Weasley’s failings – but they fly off, and they’re spotted by a few people. But they can see the train once it leaves the station, and that just makes me think, “If 9 3/4 is hidden within King’s Cross, at what point does the train suddenly become visible in central London? Does it appear from nowhere, or is it just on a track that… “How do the Muggles not spot this train appearing?” is what I’m asking. [laughs]
Caleb: Well, I can’t… I don’t know, I feel like it just goes out of the station normally. I don’t think many of them would pay attention to it as something weird.
Rosie: But King’s Cross is such a crowded station. There are trains going from it constantly. I mean, anyone from outside of King’s Cross, sure, they wouldn’t notice a train that’s just leaving, but I mean, this is a steam train as well, and they’re not very much used in England anymore. Surely people in King’s Cross would notice a train suddenly appearing.
Caleb: I’ve never been, so I guess you know more about it than I do, but I’m just thinking it’s one of those things that Muggles just kind of would rather convince themselves that it’s normal than…
Caleb: … believe it to be something abnormal.
Laura: It’s a pretty conspicuous train. Like you said, a steam engine, which isn’t exactly as prevalent, and it’s bright red.
Laura: They’re not attempting to disguise it very much.
Rosie: Yeah. I would have believed it a bit more if there had been a Disillusionment Charm or something on the train that, I don’t know, maybe wore off as soon as it got to the countryside. But the fact that they can see it while still in London is what really bugs me. [laughs]
Dan: I never thought of that until you just said it, and now this book is horrible.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: Sorry. [laughs]
Caleb: Burn it.
Dan: Yeah. [laughs]
Caleb: Throw it out.
Rosie: But anyway, they drive the car up into the clouds, which must be quite cold, and there’s thin oxygen up there as well. They never really think about that when they’re driving this car. And this journey is from London to Scotland, and that is a very long journey, and suddenly, we get that road trip moment of “Are we nearly there, yet?”
Rosie: Even flying a magical car can be boring.
Laura: I don’t think the magical car is equipped with an iPod dock, so…
Caleb: Which is such a shame because what would be better than cruising up in the clouds with your iPod going?
Laura: Yeah, I think we need a playlist of… the “Flying to Hogwarts” playlist.
Caleb: Fans, give us your playlist for flying to Hogwarts.
Caleb: What would it be?
Rosie: We’ll try [to] release them as extra features on the app, maybe.
Rosie: That would be good.
Caleb: We’ll make a Spotify playlist.
Rosie: [laughs] Yeah, definitely. So the closer they get to Hogwarts, the car starts to become tired. And as we were saying earlier about wizards not being able to use Muggle electrics at Hogwarts… I think Hermione says it at some point, doesn’t she? Maybe that’s why the car kind of starts not working properly, because the closer they get to Hogwarts, this kind of magical barrier kicks in.
Caleb: Oh, that’s a good point. I didn’t really think about it that way, but that totally makes sense.
Dan: I never thought of that either. I just thought the poor car was tired.
Rosie: Yeah. It has been flying a long way. [laughs]
Caleb: Yeah, maybe it’s a little bit of both, but I definitely think it makes sense that it wouldn’t be able to function completely properly once it gets there.
Laura: And I like how Ron pleads with it. He’s trying to tap the steering wheel like he’s soothing it. Like, “Come on, just a little bit further.”
Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]
Laura: I do that. I do the same thing with my car if it’s on the empty tank.
Caleb: Oh no.
Laura: I’m just like, “Oh, my house is a block away. You can make it.” But it seems like the car actually listens. My car doesn’t, though.
Rosie: Yeah. The car seems to really kind of develop independent thought. It listens when Harry says reverse and things like that in a second. And obviously when we see it again later on, it’s kind of gone feral. So that’s kind of a theme for this book, isn’t it? Magical objects that have some kind of personality within themselves.
Caleb: Yeah. That’s something I think we’re going to get to in the special feature a little later.
Rosie: Okay, so Ron shouts stop and hits the car with his wand when it’s almost about to crash into Hogwarts. Is some magic really straightforward as just kind of hitting something and saying stop, or is that just desperation?
Caleb: Yeah, I think this is…
Rosie: Would Finite Incantatem have worked to stop the car?
Laura: I mean, I think that’s the same way that if your computer is freezing or buffering, you slam it and hit it…
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Laura: Clearly that’s not going to do anything, but when you’re that desperate it helps a bit.
Caleb: Yeah, this is Ron having one of his more special moments.
Dan: What if Ron can just talk to cars? It’s an unmentioned power.
Caleb: I would like him a lot more.
Rosie: Maybe in the future he’ll become a magical mechanic.
Dan: Yeah. His dad would like that.
Rosie: That would be a cool job. Anyway, they accidentally crash into the Whomping Willow. And little do we know how important this will be in the next book. But unfortunately, Ron’s wand is broken. And I was just wondering, if the wand chooses the wizard… and we’ve talked a lot about wandlore before, but if it’s broken, can another wand choose that wizard? If you’ve only got one wand in you, how do you then have two?
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: What do you guys think?
Dan: Yeah, like I said, I don’t understand the wand thing very much, so I don’t know.
Caleb: I mean, I think it’s that… I mean, obviously you can win the allegiance of wands to get another wand, as Harry has to do later, but I don’t know about ever getting that “perfect wand” again that you do the first time you go to a wand shop. But I would almost have to say that there is not necessarily the one, for lack of a better term, soulmate for every wizard. Because think about it, you have different options of where you can buy your wand. Obviously Ollivander’s is one of the more popular, but I can’t imagine him having the only wand that will fit a person if they went somewhere else.
Rosie: That’s true.
Laura: They really need a wand dating site…
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Laura: … just to get a broader… to find their true wand soulmate from all over the world.
Dan: Like OkCupid?
Caleb: There we go. There’d be an app for it.
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: So yes, the boys have been in a car crash and a fight with a tree and yet they’re both still able to carry their trunks and don’t seem to need to go to the hospital wing. It’s quite impressive if the tree is meant to be as violent as we’re led to believe.
Dan: Yeah, but this is still the first three books when things were a little more lighthearted and it wasn’t that serious yet. So stuff like this tends to happen.
Laura: I think the Whomping Willow is just so drastic. [laughs] I feel like there are so many different ways – I know it was meant for Lupin – that they could have gone about it. The Whomping Willow just seems so dangerous. [laughs]
Laura: They could have just brainstormed for an extra hour.
Dan: Like a door?
Laura: Yeah, like a secret door or something.
Dan: With a nice lock on it? No, let’s put a killer tree on a campus with young kids. That’ll work.
Caleb: Yeah, exactly.
Dan: But wizards, they are not logical.
Laura: Well, I just think it’s funny that when we were kids in school that we weren’t even allowed to have grown up scissors and…
Rosie: And yet there is a Whomping Willow on campus. Yeah.
Laura: Among all the other horrors at Hogwarts that could kill you.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Dan: But they don’t have scissors. As far as I know.
Caleb: Just think about if you crashed into a tree – as you do – [laughs] and all of a sudden, a tree just attacks you.
Caleb: I’m just thinking of this actually happening and being [like], “What in the world?”
Dan: What if the tree just wants to be friends and it has no way to express itself other than with violence.
Rosie: Maybe it’s just trying to hug.
Laura: It’s like… what was that? Of Mice and Men? Where…
Dan: He kills the rabbit? Or he kills the puppy?
Laura: [laughs] Yeah, every single time the tree just wants to hug someone, he ends up murdering a little…
Dan: Poor tree.
Laura: [laughs] Poor tree.
Rosie: So the boys head up to Hogwarts, and they peer into the Great Hall. They don’t go in yet; they are just watching because the Sorting is happening and they don’t want to interrupt. But they scan across the head table, and Snape is not sat there. So they kind of do that moment where they are wondering, “Has he quit? Has he been fired? Is he ill?” But no, he is standing behind them. Why would they leave Snape to wait for the boys rather than Hagrid or someone else? Why not a different teacher, do you think?
Dan: Snape probably wanted to.
Laura: Yeah, it kind of seems like Snape is acting on his own accord.
Laura: Jumped on the opportunity to try [to] get them in trouble. Noticed that they weren’t there.
Rosie: Fair enough. How do you think he knows? Do they do a role call while they are on the train?
Caleb: I feel like he is spotting Potter – trying to spot him immeadiately when he comes in so [that] he can just scowl at him, and then he doesn’t see he and Ron, so he has to know something is up.
Dan: That’s another thing…
Laura: Yeah, I think…
Dan: No, go ahead.
Laura: Sorry. I was just going to agree that I think had it been any other student, they might not have even noticed at all that they were missing. But because someone as prominent as Harry Potter and especially Snape’s connection with him, he would have noticed in two seconds if Harry wasn’t there.
Dan: I’m surprised they didn’t do a role call on the train. I remember going on field trips in elementary school and even middle school, and you were counting off every five minutes to make sure everyone was with each other. But not at Hogwarts. You can not go, I guess.
Rosie: They really seem very lax on security, don’t they? [laughs]
Caleb: This is just like me pointing out that I think it’s ridiculous they are sending these children into the forest for detention.
Caleb: They do not care. They don’t.
Dan: It builds character.
Rosie: And yet they are so worried when they’re out of bed.
Caleb: Yeah, exactly.
Dan: Well, that’s a serious thing. They should be worried.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Dan: Go play with the killer tree.
Rosie: [laughs] So eventually, Dumbledore comes in and he just gives Harry this disappointed look and says, “Please explain why you did this. There are newspaper articles showing this flying car, and it has been spotted by Muggles.” And I think at this moment, Dumbledore is just very disappointed and fearful that he might have misjudged Harry and that he doesn’t want to believe Snape’s assessment of this boy who is just a show off and just like his father. What do you guys think? Is that what that tone of voice is about?
Dan: I’m so glad [that] he got a little bit angry because the guy gives out points if you light a teacher on fire. I think it’s…
Dan: We needed to see him be a real headmaster and say, “Hey, what’s up, guys?”
Rosie: This is one of the few moments that we see him do that.
Caleb: Yeah, and it’s a really gripping moment because… I mean, I’m sure most of you have felt this before. When someone like this is disappointed in you and clearly shows that…
Caleb: … it’s so much worse than them yelling at you, which is why Harry sort of says, “He wished he would have shouted or something.” There’s just hardly anything worse than someone who you look up to showing so much disappointment in you.
Laura: Yeah, and I think there’s something to be said about… since Snape was originally giving the talk with this that… because he doesn’t think highly of Snape, even though he does maybe agree that their decision was wrong and that was really bad for them to have done that, there’s still that degree of “Oh, well, it’s Snape.” So he’s being unfair or whatever, but as soon as the news is broken by Dumbledore and someone he really cares about, then he truly feels like, “Wow…”
Laura: “… that was really dumb.” Because it was very dumb. [laughs]
Rosie: And Dumbledore’s main punishment is that he’s writing to both of their families. So for Ron, this is a real punishment. I mean, kind of dobbing him to Mrs. Weasley is one of the worst things you could possibly do. But does Dumbledore write to the Dursleys? And why would they care about Harry flying a car? As long as no one points out that Harry is their nephew, they’ll be fine about it.
Caleb: Yeah, I don’t honestly think he does. Because I think he knows that… I mean, if they took it the wrong way and tried to pull him out of Hogwarts or something just as a way to shut him up, then that would be catastrophic for Harry. So I don’t even think he writes to the Dursleys.
Rosie: It’s just a very odd thing to say at that point, I think.
Rosie: It’s kind of rubbing it in that Harry has no family. [laughs]
Dan: [laughs] Yeah, I think he had to be careful [not to] say, “I’m writing to the Weasleys, but Harry, you don’t have parents, so don’t worry about it.”
Caleb: Right. [laughs]
Rosie: But then Harry becomes incredibly clever, and in the face of further punishment – McGonagall is about to take points – he says, “When we stole the car, term hadn’t started yet, so you can’t take points from Gryffindor.” And McGonagall has got that kind of half smile on her face. [laughs] She really approves of his logical cheek, and she doesn’t take any points, luckily.
Caleb: I love this moment.
Rosie: So do I.
Caleb: This is why McGonagall is one of my favorite characters. Ah, I just love her.
Laura: I’m surprised Harry had the nerve to even… [laughs] just like, “Hold on, you can’t punish me even further.” Because had it been me, I would have just been like, “I will take all of the detentions, all the points…” so I’m not expelled. But good for Harry. [laughs]
Dan: Yeah, he’s like a little lawyer.
Rosie: And what quick thinking as well. I would never have thought of that at that moment.
Caleb: Yeah. True little Gryffindor moment.
Rosie: Yeah. So McGonagall conjures up some food for the boys, which we’ve endlessly talked about how we can conjure food and transfigure it and things like that. But I’m thinking here she probably just summons it from the Great Hall or has some house-elves bring it up.
Caleb: Yeah, I would say summon because of Gamp’s Law.
Rosie: Yeah. [laughs] And it’s an endlessly-refilling plate of sandwiches as well, which solves world hunger.
Caleb: Can I please have one of those? Because that would be great.
Laura: That would be the real tragedy for me in this situation, that the whole feast is going on and… I wouldn’t even care about writing to my parents. The fact that I’m missing out on that whole big feast and just stuck with the sandwiches, that would be my true punishment.
Laura: I won’t give up that easily.
Rosie: Yeah, but feasts at Hogwarts are a dime a dozen. You see them all the time. [laughs]
Dan: Yeah, every morning is a feast.
Laura: That’s true.
Laura: I’m pretty sure I… the novelty wouldn’t wear off on me.
[Caleb and Dan laugh]
Rosie: Fair enough. So the boys eventually have their fill of the never-ending sandwiches, and they head off up to the Gryffindor common room only to find that they don’t know the password. But luckily, Hermione is at hand to give them a lecture and let them in. Once the portrait hole finally opens, they get that welcome that they wanted all along when they imagined flying the car into Hogwarts and being so victorious about being clever and getting there finally, and everyone in Gryffindor cheers for them except for Percy, who almost gives them a lecture but they go to bed instead.
Caleb: Yeah. Celebrities again.
Rosie: Yeah. Speaking of…
Laura: I’m surprised Fred and George are actually happy about it because I would imagine they’d just feel very cheated that they missed out and they got overshadowed.
Caleb: Yeah, they could be, but I think they’re also kind of proud of their little brother for…
Caleb: … so to speak, following in their footsteps.
Rosie: Yeah, definitely. I’m surprised Ginny doesn’t have more to say. I mean, her brother missed her Sorting. Surely that’s an important moment that he’s missed.
Caleb: Yeah. Poor Ginny.
Rosie: Oh, well. [laughs]
Caleb: Just the start of the rough things that will go for her this book.
Rosie: Yeah, imagine the diary entry about that.
Caleb: Oh, no.
Rosie: Poor Tom having to listen to it all. [laughs]
Caleb: Man. All right, well, that takes us into Chapter 6, which is titled “Gilderoy Lockhart.” So we’re finally going to get to see Professor Lockhart in the classroom. But the chapter starts off with Harry still reeling from the situation with the Whomping Willow and everything, and even though he had a night of celebration things aren’t as good when he starts the next day because it says, I think, that when he’s in the Great Hall that the sky is a dull, cloudy grey and it’s already starting the chapter on this depressing start or this depressing mood as he starts his first day of classes. And that is only the beginning of things going bad for… well, I guess more for he and Ron because the owl post comes, and we have a moment where Errol almost dies again…
[Dan and Laura laugh]
Caleb: … because he can barely manage anything. But Errol does finish the job, and oh, look, we have this new object in the wizarding world. Lo and behold, it is a Howler. So before we get to talk about the Howler itself and what it says, what do we think does happen when you ignore a Howler? Because Neville says that he’s obviously had one before, which should come as no surprise, given the way that Neville lives. But he says that it was horrible whenever he failed to open it, so that’s why he’s trying to get Ron to open it really quickly. What do we think it does whenever you don’t open it?
Dan: Gives you gingivitis.
[Caleb, Laura, and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: That would be pretty horrible.
Laura: I think it still screams the message but does it while shooting fire. It just explodes, and it’s flames, and it’s just much angrier message.
Rosie: I always just imagined it would just get louder or something. It would just be what the Howler normally is but just even worse in some way.
Laura: Because it’s on fire.
Rosie: [laughs] Yes, because it’s on fire.
Dan: Is the purpose of the Howler to be opened in public, during the morning breakfast? Or can it happen at any time?
Caleb: Yeah, I think it can happen anytime, really.
Dan: All right.
Laura: Because Petunia gets a Howler, doesn’t she?
Laura: In Order of the Phoenix.
Dan: I wasn’t sure if public mockery was part of the punishment, the humiliation, the “Hey, look, this kid is getting yelled at.”
Dan: Which would be totally horrible for a parent or guardian to do to someone, but… I don’t know what happens.
Laura: I can’t imagine.
Rosie: I think it’s about the tone of voice. It’s so hard for any written message to accurately portray any kind of emotive voice. So when Dumbledore sends his Howler later on, it’s not necessarily about yelling; it’s just about that importance of the voice. But obviously for Mrs. Weasley, it’s just a chance to scream at her son. [laughs]
Laura: Just how we were talking about the different… more logical ways of communicating with people, [laughs] now if we have this magic of the Howler that’s used in circumstances like this, where they want to scream… but if you wanted to just… how you send a voicemail to someone, like wishing them happy birthday just to be a bit more personal. Can’t they do that?
Dan: [laughs] Oh, I so want to send a Howler happy birthday.
Laura: Just have a friendly Howler.
Dan: [in a loud voice] Happy Birthday!
Caleb: Just shout.
Dan: Like those annoying cards that play music when you open them up.
Laura: [laughs] Exactly.
Dan: Like a friendly Howler.
Rosie: Maybe there is. Maybe we just don’t know.
Caleb: That would be great.
Laura: I think there should be.
Caleb: I’m just thinking, if this Howler did come to me, I don’t know if there would be anything more humiliating. I would probably just die on the spot or something.
Dan: I would embrace it and use all the attention and just say, “Yup, that’s for me.”
Dan: But that’s me.
Laura: Because I flew that car here. What did you do?
Dan: Yeah, exactly. It’s a little bit punk rock to accept your Howler with pride.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: There you go. Use it. I like it. Well… and Hermione this whole time that they’ve been back has been very short and hardly talking to them at all because she feels they just really haven’t gotten the punishment that they deserve. But on the way to the Herbology class, she becomes normal and starts talking to them again because she feels that at least Ron got his due punishment. I’m just thinking, what a little prude!
Caleb: She doesn’t want to talk to them really fully until she feels they have been punished justly.
Dan: Yeah, I don’t think that’s the first or the last time that she’s going to do something like that.
Caleb: Well, yeah, that’s true.
Dan: Not to jump ahead. But yeah, that’s just her personality.
Laura: I think we’re all that way in that if our siblings get away with something then it’s like, “Well, I wouldn’t have gotten away with that,” that she’s thinking her friends got away with this. It was not a fun experience, necessarily, but at least exciting, that she needs to see that they didn’t get away with it.
Rosie: I think her reaction is kind of weird, though. Surely she would believe Ron and Harry that they couldn’t get through the barrier. So she would look down on them and think they were stupid for stealing the car, thinking it’s their only way to get there, but I don’t think… why is she so angry at them because they haven’t been punished for it? Just call them stupid and get on with it. [laughs]
Caleb: Yeah, that’s fair.
Dan: What would she have done?
Laura: I don’t know…
Dan: She missed… I guess she would never be in that position.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s true.
Laura: She would have waited five minutes.
Rosie: She was probably there from 9 o’clock in the morning.
Caleb: Well, the three finally get to the Herbology lesson. But before Herbology even starts, we find Professor Sprout coming out with none other than Professor Lockhart, and I had to notice that Lockhart is wearing turquoise robes and I think it even mentions a hat. And sure, he’s ridiculous, but you’ve got to admit, the man has style.
Caleb: Who else would be so bold to rock some turquoise robes?
Dan: Yeah, he…
Rosie: He likes to stand out.
Dan: He is, I think, one of my favorite teachers, not in terms of people that I like, but his character is so interesting, charming, and funny, more so than any of the others…
Dan: … that you just kind of have to laugh every time he’s on the page.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s a good point because now when I read it, since I’m much more mature, I find it so amusing and ridiculous that I love it, that I’m thinking back to when I read this book when I was… what, 12 years old? I hated him so much…
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: … as this young kid who’s this awful professor and this awful person. So I think it’s really interesting to think of how I viewed him at different points of my life.
Laura: Because I think you can, when you’re older, associate… everyone knows people like that, that just think they’re the most beautiful people to walk the planet and you just always have to roll your eyes when they act that way. But now that you can, I guess, associate with something… I don’t know, it’s more relatable or I think it’s funnier. I think even J.K. Rowling said that she clearly based this off of someone in her life.
Laura: And I think she wrote that right now he’s probably claiming that Harry Potter was his idea or [something like that].
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Laura: And I thought that was really funny…
Laura: … because everyone has these people in their [lives].
Caleb: Well, Lockhart wastes no opportunity to pull Harry aside, as he often does, and thinks that he has all the answers about why Harry decided to fly the car and get all of this hoopla going on. And it’s clearly because Harry has got this publicity bug, which he blames himself for and that Harry is just itching for more fame. So I really love this moment because Lockhart has all the answers as usual.
Dan: Yeah, this is really, really funny, and I think it’s something that doesn’t really translate as well to the movies, is that… especially the first couple of chapters of almost every book is really funny. There'[re] a lot of times where you find yourself laughing at what’s going on, and this is one of those great examples of a pompous person trying to take credit where it’s not due and… I don’t know…
Dan: … I love this chapter very much just because it’s funny.
Rosie: Yeah, I’d forgotten how much Lockhart does point out how much he’s better than Harry in the books because obviously you don’t see that in the movie. I think the portrayal in the movie is brilliant, and Kenneth Branagh is just perfect as Lockhart, but that kind of relationship where he’s… I mean, he’s lying the whole time. Nothing he’s ever claimed to have done has actually been done by him and to then downplay Harry, who has actually managed to survive this terrible attack when he was young, is just so excruciatingly annoying and brilliant at the same time. It’s just really cleverly written.
Dan: Yeah, and I don’t think it comes from a place of… he’s not trying to be mean to Harry…
Rosie: No. It’s just him.
Dan: I think there are some characters like Draco that want to put Harry down, and Lockhart, this is just how he thinks. He’s not trying to hurt Harry or anything.
Caleb: Yeah, I absolutely agree. There’s not anything really malicious on his end, especially when he’s talking about Harry trying to get a start, saying that surviving Voldemort and getting a scar, “It’s not much, but it’s a start. It’s a good start.”
Caleb: Clearly he has some good intentions for Harry. He’s just not coming from the best place about it. But Lockhart finally gets out of the picture and they get to their Herbology lesson, and I thought it was really funny when they’re reaching for their earmuffs to get ready for the Mandrakes that it says that everyone is trying to rush to the earmuffs before they have to get the pink, fluffy earmuffs, which seem to be a favorite of Professor Sprout, so… which is a little surprising because it always depicts her as very earthy and always with the plants and the trees, and I don’t see her as someone [who’s] a big fan of things that are pink and fluffy.
Dan: She needs a splash of color.
Caleb: That’s true.
Dan: It’s just a little splash.
Laura: I think it’s funny…
Rosie: You get pink flowers.
Laura: I was saying, I think that’s funny just how everyone is avoiding the pink earmuffs because that’s just something that every boy did in elementary school…
Laura: … where if something was pink, you couldn’t touch it, like a pink pencil.
Laura: So I think that’s a good detail.
Caleb: But the Herbology lesson finally starts, and all of the sudden we have plant babies.
Caleb: And I am just so excited about them. And then Pomona just buries her baby alive like it’s nothing. So…
Caleb: I don’t know how I feel about her just throwing… it’s a plant, but it’s a baby.
Caleb: She puts the baby in the pot, and she buries it.
Caleb: What is Rowling trying to do with creating this plant?
Laura: I find… even in the movie, especially, just so frightening, [laughs] these Mandrake things.
Laura: Oh, I’m not one of those people that find them cute. I’m terrified by them.
Laura: They’re just… how wrinkly they look and everything. You’re right, it is like a plant baby but upping the terrifying of it. I’m not a fan.
Rosie: You guys know that mandrakes actually exist, right?
Caleb: Yeah, yeah, I know they exist, but…
Dan: They’re not alive. [laughs]
Caleb: … obviously exaggerated.
Rosie: But not as little human people. [laughs]
Dan: I don’t think… it’s not like she’s planting it alive… that’s a good thing for it. She’s trying to help the plant babies.
Rosie: The idea of them as plant people…
Rosie: … isn’t actually her own. That image of a planted person has been around since medieval times.
Rosie: So I don’t think it’s anything that she’s necessarily doing. She’s just playing on historical, magical…
Rosie: … elements.
Caleb: Which she often does a lot, so…
Laura: Well, I just think how the Mandrakes… they said these ones are the baby ones, so they’re not going to actually kill you. But even then, [laughs] they’re second years, and what if one of the Mandrake roots was just a little bit older, matured faster, and killed them…
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Laura: … with their cry. I think it’s just a risky first day of lesson, jumping right into the life-threatening plants.
Dan: Yeah, the insurance policy at Hogwarts has got to be like 15 phone books thick about how they are covered…
Caleb: Or they just don’t have one.
Dan: Yeah, that’s true.
Dan: Come at your own risk.
Caleb: Yup. It’s also worth noting that this is the first time we meet Justin Finch-Fletchley as he joins Ron, Hermione, and Harry with their little baby group. Obviously, he becomes a little important later, but I didn’t really notice this the first time I read it through. I just kind of passed over it, but this time, obviously, I catch it. But they leave Herbology and head off to Transfiguration, and Harry has forgotten how to do anything because he just really can’t do any of the magic going on but is not nearly as bad off as Ron, who is dealing with a pretty broken wand. So I thought this was pretty funny.
Dan: Yeah, it’s really funny.
Laura: Yeah. With how Harry can’t just do anything, is it a matter of just concentration? I have always found it hard to understand how if you’re being taught how to do a spell exactly and the incantation, and what way you’re supposed to move your hand, how you could be that bad at it? It seems like you could pick it up easily. [laughs]
Caleb: Yeah, especially [because] he’s so gifted with other things. Hmm. But they get through the Transfiguration lesson, and of course Hermione has done a great job and not really anyone else. They move onto their Defense Against the Dark Arts class, and on the way they noticed that Hermione has outlined the class with hearts on her schedule. So clearly, Hermione is already infatuated with Professor Lockhart, which I find really interesting because… I don’t know, I guess this is the first time we really see Hermione attracted… or not attracted but becoming fond of someone in the series.
Laura: I mean, Gilderoy Lockhart just doesn’t seem like Hermione’s type, and I just don’t really get where she’s coming from with this. It just seems so…
Rosie: Yeah, it seems really out of character.
Caleb: Yeah. I guess it’s just because of all his publications. It seems how knowledgeable he comes across as.
Rosie: Yeah. That’s what I was going to say. He’s done all of these amazing things and then he writes books about them. That’s just perfect, obviously. [laughs]
Laura: All while looking beautiful.
Dan: I just don’t think it’s fair that there’s no hot teachers for the guys. You’ve got Trelawney, maybe?
Caleb: Yeah, man. Who are they going to go for?
Dan: Yeah, it’s not fair.
Caleb: It’s not.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Maybe in the future, they’ll get a better stock.
Caleb: But as they’re getting ready to go to… before they even get to the lesson, Harry realizes that someone is watching him, observing him, and we meet this boy named Colin Creevey, who we find out is clearly obsessed with Harry and is new to the magical world, just as Harry was when he started a year ago but is going about it all another way. He wants a photo with Harry that’s autographed. Before he even gets a chance to really get that, Draco comes up and blows it out of porportion like usual, which, how conveniently, Lockhart shows up to play the fame game some more. So…
Laura: I think this is really Harry’s first interaction with how fan boys… well, fan boy…
Laura: … because every other person, they’ve just… it’s been more of an adult that’s just like marveled at him, but he hasn’t really been accosted for autographs yet.
Caleb: And he has no idea how to deal with it.
Dan: Do you think this is…
Laura: Do you think he’d embrace it differently if it was a fan girl?
Caleb: Maybe. I don’t know…
Dan: I don’t know if he’s there yet.
Caleb: Yeah. I don’t think he is aware enough.
Dan: He’s a lot going on to think about girls. I just think… I wonder if any part of Colin Creevey is in any way J.K. Rowling talking about obsessive Harry Potter fans in the real world and how…
Rosie: But again, this is Chamber of Secrets, so that hadn’t really happened yet.
Dan: Well, that’s true. But…
Laura: So any obsessive fan of anything, not just Harry Potter.
Caleb: Yeah. That’s a good point. Just in general, a reflection of that. I definitely would see that.
Laura: Because it is sort of ridiculous how much stock people put in normal people that have maybe done one extraordinary thing and want to get their pictures and their autographs. I think it’s funny.
Caleb: Yeah. And through this, Harry is clearly super over everything that Lockhart has to offer him, and as soon as he gets into the classroom he goes immediately to the back, piles his books up so that he doesn’t even have to look at him. [laughs] I was just thinking this is a very childish way of dealing with something like this. “Don’t want to see him. Want to block him out. Get him out of my face.”
Laura: Lockhart is certainly not making it easy on him. [laughs]
Laura: But it’s funny to see… like I mentioned, if this was a totally different character that had been famous for some reason and had Lockhart egging him on like this, how they would have handled it and how horrible that would have been to have Lockhart emanating Lockhart.
Caleb: Yeah. Oh man, I can’t imagine how I would deal with something like Harry had to. It’s easy to say what I would say now, but as a 12-year-old, I can’t imagine.
Caleb: But we do get to see the inside of Gilderoy Lockhart’s class, and I think… doesn’t it mention that he has portraits all over of him and things like that? Definitely shows that in the movie. But he starts class off with a 54-question quiz, and it is solely about himself.
Caleb: So I thought this was really awesome because it shows you how exactly this class is going to go. And we know it’s 54 questions because it names the first three questions, starting off with what’s his favorite color, and then it finishes up with question 54. So I thought it would be really awesome if our fans were able to take the time to make up this quiz. What kind of questions could Gilderoy Lockhart possibly ask about himself?
[Dan and Rosie laugh]
Laura: Caleb gives the same quiz to his students on their first day of school.
Caleb: I do. Actually, the first day of my teaching, I just give them a huge test about me.
Caleb: I don’t know, what kind of questions do you guys think he might ask? Because… let me see. I’ll flip back at what the actual questions were.
Dan: It’d be great if, besides the few questions we do get, the rest were really hard questions about the Dark Arts that they just…
Caleb: [laughs] Yeah.
Caleb: Just throw them in there.
Caleb: Because he asks about his favorite color, his secret ambition, your opinion of his greatest achievement to date, and when’s his birthday and the ideal birthday gift.
Laura: His hair care regimen.
Caleb: His hair care regimen, right. So maybe he asked about who the most inspirational person was in his life, and I would imagine it’s him.
Laura: A mirror.
Caleb: But aside from this long and ridiculous quiz that he gives, there is actually some sort of teaching [that’s] going to happen the first day. And at the end of class, he builds them up and he opens this… or he unveils this cage of Cornish pixies. And a couple of them are laughing about it, and he makes it into a pretty serious deal. So he lets the pixies out but has no way of dealing with them because his little Peskipiksi Pesternomi or whatever he uses has no effect. And they start shooting out the window and going all over the place, picking up Neville, and he has no idea how to deal with it. So at this point, I think it’s pretty safe to say we know that Lockhart is a joke.
Laura: Yeah, do those spells in the books, have they ever worked? The spells that spelled things out? Obviously, this wasn’t a real one, but how Ron was trying to turn the rat yellow. Any spell that spelled things out like that as opposed to just a word? Has any of them ever worked in the books? [laughs] I don’t think they ever have.
Caleb: No, I don’t think so.
Laura: Yeah. So I think he could have at least said something that was less clearly ridiculous. [laughs]
Caleb: But maybe he thought it was a legit spell, so…
Laura: Well, that’d be sad. [laughs]
Caleb: But as he heads out of…
Rosie: Yeah, if he’s stealing all of his works from other people, maybe he’s stealing them off people that don’t do their research too.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s very true.
Laura: He just uses Wikipedia, probably, then.
Caleb: He does. Well… and he peaces out of the classroom because he clearly can’t deal with it. And as he’s leaving, he shuts the door with the trio left in and asks them to handle it. And of course, Hermione does. She just uses a Freezing Charm to stop the pixies. And Hermione just thinks that Lockhart is giving them a hands-on approach, but Ron is already pretty skeptical about his accomplishments because I think the chapter finishes up with him saying something like… let’s see, what is it? She says, “You’ve read his books – look at all those amazing things he’s done.” And Ron just says, “He says he’s done.” So we get this first idea that maybe Lockhart isn’t as truthful about all of his accomplishments as he puts himself out to be. I mean, imagine if you were in a class, not necessarily a magical class but any class where the professor or teacher was like that the first day, just showed no idea what they were doing.
Laura: I have been in several classes where that’s been true.
Rosie: Again, it kind of shows Dumbledore’s lack of judgement. I mean, why do they not… why have they hired Lockhart? Why do they not kind of keep tabs on him and fire him halfway through the year?
Caleb: Maybe they just can’t get anyone else, especially this position, it seems like.
Dan: I just think it’s great that their first class is exciting. When I was in school, the first class of the year was kind of boring, and here they are doing amazing things. So I’m just kind of jealous.
Caleb: That’s true. For my first day of teaching with my kids this year, I lit up a dollar bill on fire, so I had to make sure I did something exciting.
Laura: What was the reason behind it?
Caleb: There’s science involved. I mean, the dollar bill didn’t actually burn up. There’s a way to put something on it where it will catch on fire, but the dollar bill is fine.
Laura: I’m happy for it.
Caleb: Yeah. That’s just part of my life going up there, but anyway…
[Dan and Laura laugh]
Caleb: So this is one of those chapters that doesn’t really end on any sort of cliffhanger, so we just have to assume that the daily life at Hogwarts will continue.
Laura: Okay, so now we’re going to talk about our special feature, the Artifact Inspector, where we’re going to pick an object or artifact from the series and discuss it in depth. And we started this already in “The Whomping Willow” chapter, but we’re going to talk about the Ford Anglia. So there'[re] a few things about this car that’s interesting, and I think the main thing about it is with the invisibility aspect of it. Now, it’s one thing to make the car invisible, but it makes the rider invisible, too. And I want to know how this is possible and how it’s different from the Invisibility Cloak because everyone keeps saying that the only way to be truly invisible is with the Invisibility Cloak. So how is fake invisibility different?
Dan: [laughs] It just bends the light. That’s my understanding.
Dan: Because they make jackets now that can kind of, using cameras and reflective surfaces, make it seem as though it’s almost an invisibility cloak. So I look at it like that – they’re just bending light around the car, so obviously anything inside, you wouldn’t see.
Laura: But… well, I don’t understand why there’s several things where they kept saying with the Invisibility Cloak that… or different things can achieve the illusion of invisibility. Well, if it does and it gets the job done, [laughs] what’s so special about the Invisibility Cloak even though it’s true invisibility? If they still can’t see you, it works fine for me.
Rosie: I mean, we’ve seen in the scene where Harry is taken by his guard, the Advanced Guard, and we have that disillusionment spell where he just becomes what is around him. I mean, he’s literally see-through, but you can still see kind of an outline of him, I guess, when he moves. I think it’s more like that.
Laura: Right. And I also like that Harry said, as far as he knew, he was a pair of floating eyeballs.
Laura: I don’t know if that was actually true, but as a Muggle I would be far more frightened by a pair of floating eyeballs than by seeing a flicker of a car.
Laura: I’d be like, “Oh, maybe that was a plane or maybe technology has gotten really cool.” But a pair of flying eyeballs, absolutely terrifying.
Caleb: Well, I guess you wouldn’t see the eyeballs if they were that far up and you were on the ground.
Dan: It’d mess with the birds.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s true.
Laura: So another thing we talked about earlier was that the car kind of took on its own personality when it kicked them out of the car and drove into the forest and became like a wild creature. So does every magically-altered car have separate personalities?
Laura: And how would that affect driving? Because you have to worry about your own driving abilities in addition to the mood of your car that day.
Caleb: Yeah, I think this is really interesting. I don’t know why it all of a sudden has a personality. Maybe that’s something Arthur decided would be really funny to tinker with. So maybe it’s just solely his Ford Anglia.
Rosie: But it only seems to happen when it actually gets to Hogwarts… or closer to Hogwarts, when it’s starting to get tired. Before that, it’s just been a normal car that Arthur [has been] driving. So maybe it has something to do with… if it is that magical influence versus the electronics that don’t work at Hogwarts, maybe it’s that kind of haywire thing. It’s kind of just developed a personality as a side effect. But it’s always reminded me of the flying carpet in Aladdin. It’s got that personality where it’s going to do what it wants whether you want it to or not.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s great.
Laura: Not that there are many other flying cars that are invisible up in the sky, but I feel like this whole invisibility feature is pretty dangerous in that I feel like it lends itself to crashing into things a lot more easily. So what if there were two invisible cars in the sky?
Dan: Oh, yeah! I never thought about… how could you tell if you were going to parallel park your car or anywhere?
[Caleb, Laura, and Rosie laugh]
Dan: You’re going to hit something unless you can see the front end of your car. I never thought of that. Yeah, this book sucks.
[Caleb, Laura, and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Yeah, and also if they are invisible, if you think about the planes up there, it’s solely up to the car to sort of avoid the plane. The plane certainly can’t see it.
Laura: Yeah, and…
Rosie: I really don’t think they thought it through that much.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s true. Arthur certainly hasn’t, so…
Rosie: No. [laughs]
Laura: Oh, and speaking of Arthur, how can magically altering the car be such a big deal that it would get Mr. Weasley in trouble? Because I know there is the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts where they do something that would be harmful, but they have magically altered things before like the tents just for their own benefit, where they just made them bigger. And that’s essentially what he did – he just made the car bigger and added these fancier, magical features to it. So I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal that Mr. Weasley would get in trouble for altering a car.
Caleb: I think it has to do with the Muggles seeing it and that’s what is reported in the paper, that a couple of Muggles spot the flying car.
Dan: And it’s dangerous…
Rosie: Yeah, because the tents just look like tents from the outside. They’re not doing anything that’s very conspicuous until you actually look inside.
Caleb: Yeah. And the spot of the Quidditch World Cup is probably… well, it obviously has wards all around it so the Muggles don’t really know it’s there.
Rosie: But at the same time, does he actually get punished? We know that he’s facing an inquiry at work, but we don’t ever find out what actually happens at the end. So maybe they decided it wasn’t actually a punishable offense.
Rosie: That was all I was saying. [laughs]
Laura: Another thing I thought about was… it’s a Muggle car, but it’s bewitched with magic. So how does this car run? Does it run on gas or… it seems to not run on gas; it seems to run on some magical ability. So I just feel like the wizards are being really selfish here to the overall planet.
Laura: If they can eliminate the gas for the world…
Dan: Yeah, this isn’t the only thing that they’re doing that could really benefit the rest of the world, but…
Laura: Human race. [laughs]
Dan: … as Dumbledore said, or someone said in the first or second book, they can’t help because then we would keep asking them for more stuff.
Caleb: Yeah. But I would think it has to run on gas somewhat because they’re still hitting the gas and the accelerator in the car. I guess that could still be magicked, but it seems to me like it would still need some gas.
Laura: I feel like that can’t be true, though, because… could you imagine Mr. Weasley at the gas pump trying to work that out? I mean, I’m from New Jersey and it’s illegal to pump your own gas in New Jersey, and it’s hard enough for us Jersey folks to go out there…
Laura: … and pump our gas.
Caleb: That is such a… can I just say, that is so strange, the fact that you do not pump your own gas.
Laura: I’ve never pumped my own gas, and I don’t know how.
Caleb: Because I’m pretty sure that’s the only state in the country where that is true.
Laura: [laughs] Yeah, I think so.
Caleb: I guess it’s because there are so many dangerous places in Jersey, I don’t know if that was their motivation.
Dan: [laughs] I don’t think that was it.
Laura: [laughs] It’s definitely not true.
Caleb: But I just want to know who came up with this. I mean, obviously we’re getting off topic here, but this is a problem.
[Caleb and Laura laugh]
Caleb: I do not understand.
Dan: I actually liked it when I was in Jersey.
Laura: But the point is if I can’t do it…
Dan: You don’t…
Laura: Oh yeah, no, they do it for you.
Dan: Yeah, it’s nice.
Caleb: I mean, that’s great, but no. It gets people lazy, then you go to another state, you don’t even know how to work your gas, and you start expecting people to do things for you, and I’m not here for it.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Laura: Well, yeah, so this is my problem where I think if I can’t do it, I think Mr. Weasley would be even more confused.
Caleb: So by default, it must run only on magic.
Laura: Yup, that’s the reason.
Caleb: Or maybe that’s why the car dies, is because they didn’t think about the whole gasoline aspect and it just runs out.
Caleb: Maybe that’s why it stalls.
Laura: Well, their kids aren’t going to see a polar bear because they refuse to help the world out with their magic.
Caleb: Yeah. And also, the car shows up in later books and it’s obviously rolling around in the Forbidden Forest, so there must…
Dan: It becomes savage.
Caleb: It must not need any gas, really, because it’s not like there’s a pump next to Aragog’s home.
Laura: Yeah. [laughs] Okay, and the last thing I have to say about this is on Pottermore, J.K. Rowling said that wizards kind of have an affection toward Muggle cars over other Muggle technology because of how efficient they are. How is driving a car more efficient than Apparating or Floo powder? Have they never been in rush hour traffic?
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Laura: I don’t see anything… how cars could be any more efficient in transportation. I hate driving. I would love to be able to poof from one place to another.
Laura: So I don’t get their logic here.
Rosie: I guess with Floo powder, you need to actually have the network.
Caleb: Yeah, you would need the network for Floo powder. You can’t Apparate your kids around, so… especially for families, I can understand how it could be seen as more efficient.
Dan: What if the Floo powder has a bigger carbon footprint than regular gas?
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: There we go.
Rosie: Yeah, we don’t know how rare it is.
Caleb: And it’s really… Floo powder is actually the leading cause of global warming, guys.
Rosie: Think of all the fires they have to start.
Caleb: Yeah, exactly. And who knows what kind of pollutants that stuff puts out. It’s green, come on.
Rosie: [laughs] Okay, so once again Noah is unfortunately not here, so it’s fallen to me to ask the Posed Question of the Week. And to kind of go on from the Floo powder and talking about the mail that we did earlier on, we’ve talked a lot about owl post in past episodes, and we’ve been presented with yet another piece of the magical mail system here today. Luckily, there’s nothing like a Howler in the Muggle world; even our electronic communications generally respect our privacy in public. So how is a Howler allowed in a magical community? And what would happen if a wizard received a Howler in a Muggle setting? Is the letter powerful enough to know about its surroundings, and what other kind of acceptable magical humiliations might exist that we don’t know about?
Caleb: Yeah, I really like this question, especially what would happen in a Muggle setting. Especially if they didn’t open it.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
[Caleb and Laura laugh]
Caleb: Clearly, that is what’s going to happen. Dan has the answer on this one.
Caleb: Well, let us know what you think on that question because I’m sure we can get some good responses.
Laura: Okay. Well, we want to thank our very special guest, Dan. It was really great to have you on the show, and good luck as you continue blogging through Harry Potter. You’re on Order of the Phoenix right now, right?
Dan: Yeah, I’ve been slacking off. Things got kind of crazy here. But yeah, the new blog will be up real soon. I’m finishing that book and then I have two more books. And then I’m done!
Caleb: Well, awesome. Where’s the best place for fans to follow your blog and anything else you do so we can sort of share that out?
Dan: The very best place is to go to SparkNotes proper – sparknotes.com. That’s where all the blogs live. If you want to, I send out links whenever I do the Harry Potter blogs on Twitter. My Twitter handle is @dantuty – that’s D-A-N-T-U-T-Y. That’s probably the easiest and best place to follow me and find out when the new blog is coming out.
Laura: Your tweets are hilarious.
Dan: Oh, thank you!
Laura: Definitely worth a follow.
Dan: [laughs] Gets me through the work day.
Rosie: Great. And if you want to be on the show, like Dan or any of our other special guests, all you have to do is submit content to our Alohomora! website or email a clip of you talking about anything, really, to do with Potter to our email, which is alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. And you really need to have appropriate audio equipment and recording equipment. So you need to have a good quality microphone and a good recording system so that you sound as good as us on our podcast.
Laura: And just to remind you about our contact information, our Twitter handle is @AlohomoraMN. You can find us at Facebook at facebook.com/openthedumbledore. Our Tumblr is mnalohomora.tumblr.com. If you want to call to leave us a voicemail, it’s 206-GO-ALBUS or 206-462-5287. Remember to check us out on our main site, alohomora.mugglenet.com, and as Rosie said, our email is alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. And just a reminder, if you’ve seen our T-shirts that we’ve been talking about, we have only four T-shirts left, so now we’re very exclusive. So we have small and larges left, and email us for details on purchasing. They’re lovely shirts.
Caleb: Yeah, and if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our new smartphone app. It’s available in the US on the iPhone or the Android and in the UK for, as far as we know right now, only the iPhone. It’s $1.99 if you’re in the US or £0.99 over in the UK. But apparently, there is news that the Android marketplace has finally been launched in the UK, but no word as to whether or not our app is available or not. So if any of our fans over in the UK know, please let us know so that we can push that out also. But as far as the app goes, there’s a lot of great things going on there. You can get interviews from people like Mark Oshiro, Hank Green, Lev Grossman, and the wonderful MinaLima. Also, transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, vlogs, and so much more. You can even check out our promotional video, which will be in the show notes for this episode and also found on our main… on the Alohomora! page, under the app page. So definitely check that out.
Rosie: And don’t forget, you can also subscribe to us on our iTunes feed.
Caleb: All right, well, that about does it this episode for us over at Alohomora!
[Show music begins]
Caleb: So I’m Caleb Graves.
Laura: I’m Laura Reilly.
Rosie: And I’m Rosie Morris. Thank you for listening to Episode 12 of Alohomora!
Caleb: Open the Dumbledore!
[Show music continues]
Rosie: But at the same time, does he actually gets punished? We know that he’s facing an inquiry at work, but we don’t ever find out what actually happens at the end.
Caleb: Did we lose…
Rosie: Maybe they decided that it wasn’t…
Caleb: Rosie, are you still here?
Rosie: Yeah. Hello?
Dan: A flying car hit her.
Caleb: You guys can still hear me, right?
Caleb: Okay. Well, we’ll just hold on a second.
Caleb: See if Rosie comes back. Let’s see…
Rosie: Sorry, editors, my internet has dropped out. [laughs] Trying to get it back.
Laura: Oh God, I hear that elevator moving. They’re coming for me.
Laura: [laughs] The police are going to kick me out of the room. I broke it.
Dan: It’s going to be worth it.
Laura: [laughs] To record this show.
Dan: Think of the story you’ll have to tell the judge.
Laura: Oh, God.
Laura: Oh yeah, I’ve committed two crimes today for the purpose of this podcast. I’ve stolen… theft for the ethernet cable…
Laura: … and breaking and entering.
Dan: And you murdered five people.
Laura: Yeah, that was on the walk to…
Laura: That was before breakfast, though.
Caleb: Hmm. Okay, she’s offline.
Caleb: Well, let’s… we’ll keep recording and hopefully she’ll jump back on. Sometimes her internet is a bit spotty, so…
Dan: Because it’s Britain?