Transcript – Episode 127

[Show music begins]

Eric Scull: This is Episode 127 of Alohomora! for March 6, 2015.

[Show music continues]

Eric: Hello, and welcome to another exciting episode of Alohomora! I’m Eric Scull.

Rosie Morris: I’m Rosie Morris.

Michael Harle: I’m Michael Harle. And joining us today is somebody very familiar to you, listeners, and who we are very thankful was able to step in at the last minute for us: our good friend Laura Reilly. Everybody, say hello to Laura Reilly. Yay for Laura Reilly!

Eric: Laura!

Laura Reilly: Couldn’t keep me away too long.

Michael: [laughs] So… but thank you, Laura, for stepping in so last minute for us.

Laura: No problem.

Michael: We very much appreciate it.

Eric: So tell us your House.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Eric: Tell us all about yourself.

Laura: Yeah, right now, you guys, I have a snow day right now. So you actually pulled me out of the House of Cards hole. I’ve watched a season and a half in a span of 24 hours, so this is probably for the best.

Michael: Oh, good. This is like therapy.

[Eric, Laura, and Michael laugh]

Eric: Give your eyes a rest. You can record. The great thing about podcasts, I’ve found, is that you can record with your eyes closed.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Especially if you’re seasoned.

Laura: Is that what you do?

Eric: Yes. Yes, absolutely.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: Except when I have to open them to read the Docs.

Michael: I was about to say, “That’s why Eric never follows the Doc.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: The secret’s out. The secret’s out, guys.

Michael: Well, Laura is joining us today for the chapter, which is titled after the book. It’s very meta.

Rosie: Eponymous.

Michael: It’s perfect. It’s the eponymous chapter. It is Chapter 9 of Half-Blood Prince, “The Half-Blood Prince.” So please, listeners, make sure to read that chapter before listening in to the show so you can get the most out of our discussion today.

Eric: We’d like to take a quick moment to thank our sponsor, Audible. Exclusively for our fans of Alohomora!, they are offering a free audio download. They have over 150,000 titles of audiobooks to choose from, so head over to to get yours now.

Rosie: Before we start today’s chapter, we do need to recap our chapter comments from last week, and first off, woah.

[Eric laughs]

Rosie: Okay, 270 comments on one week’s episode by Wednesday?

Eric: In case you all were wondering, that was written in there too. [laughs]

Rosie: It was written in there. I am amazed, this is amazing. Thank you guys so much for so much good discussion on last week’s show and also the week before. You are amazing. Thank you very much. Here’s just a quick shout-out to all of the random off-topics as well. Hello to all the Jillians [who] were introducing in this…

[Lauran and Michael laugh]

Rosie: There were about six or seven Jillians who were saying, “I’m Jillian too.”

[Michael laugh]

Rosie: So welcome to all of you. And welcome to our new listeners as well, who are just joining us in this book, having missed our previous shows. Please do go back and listen to all the episodes because they are brilliant.

Laura: I’m on those ones.

Eric and Rosie: Yes. [laughs]

Laura: They have no idea who I am.

[Michael laughs]

Laura: Feel free to go back.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: That was an impressive show this week because that’s one of the shortest chapters in Half-Blood Prince too, so…

Rosie: Yeah. I think that’s probably why there was so much off-topic.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Interesting.

Eric: Well, Rosie braved it, and she let out her inner Gryffindor in combing through those comments to find the best of the best to discuss.

Rosie: I tried.

[Eric, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: I believe these ones are some great ones. There are also some brilliant ones left in there because there were just simply far too many to include within our very short show. But to start off, we have LittleMe15 who says,

“About the [P]atronus message from Tonks getting to Snape instead of Hagrid, this raises a serious security question. What if this [were] about something more sensitive[?] I mean, I understand that they wouldn’t be messaging sensitive information with [P]atronuses, but really? Harry Potter’s location is kinda serious! Shouldn’t there be some kind of security on the message that it gets so it definitely gets to the right person? Especially since they’re at war! Is it because both Hagrid and Snape [are] in the Order? So if, for example, Flitwick (I’m assuming he isn’t in the Order) received it, would he [be able] to hear it?”

What do you guys think? Is that security on Patronuses?

Laura: Probably not.

Eric: Yeah, I thought that the whole Patronus thing… there was an interview where Jo hinted that members of the Order have something cooler than the Internet that they used to communicate with each other, and I think – if I’m remembering correctly 10 years ago – that ended up being this method of communicating through Patronuses, and if it was introed the right way – and of course this was years before we even learned that Patronuses could be used this way – I think she said it was just for members of the Order to use so that only the members of the Order… maybe they popularize using the Patronuses in this way? But I wouldn’t be able to say specifically if it’s secure. Obviously, we see it goes to the wrong person in the previous chapter, but it’s not a common way of using a Patronus, so I wonder if it is like an Order thing, where only they would be able to receive it.

Laura: Well, maybe it’s not that it’s not a common way of using a Patronus, but that you being able to produce a Patronus is not common, so…

Michael: That’s true too. That is true.

Laura: [It’s] for the small minority of people, as we’ve been let on to believe because everyone flips out when Harry can do it.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Laura: From that context, for those people, it might just be something that they’ve worked this hard to be able to produce any Patronus, much less a corporeal Patronus, much less one that can talk, so these require these elite wizards. That might be what’s so special about it.

Rosie: But that makes it difficult to send the Patronus message, but it doesn’t make it difficult to receive it. So that’s the issue. If there were students in a crowd of people, would everyone then hear your secret message?

Laura: Well, we know from the wedding that…

Eric: Yeah, right, Kingsley’s message. Was that meant for everyone, or was it meant for a small amount of people? [laughs]

Rosie: That’s quite a major warning, so I think that one would definitely be trying to have as many people as possible.

Eric: For everybody. Security setting: low importance.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: Maybe Patronuses have embedded secondary go-tos. It wanders around for a while…

Rosie: If you’re in a crowd of people, don’t yell out.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah. It wanders around for a while and it can’t find Hagrid, it’s like, “All right, who’s next on the list?” And I mean…

Rosie: That’s actually an interesting thought. The silver doe in the last book only appears when Harry is on his own. But just before it appears, isn’t he talking to Hermione? So it’s as if it waited for her to leave before it showed itself to Harry.

Laura: Doesn’t Ron see it? Because he keeps…

Rosie: No, he sees Harry go into the lake, but I don’t think he sees the doe. And they have a whole conversation about the, “Did you send the doe?” “What doe?”

Eric: A deer, a female deer. I think you actually… just wrapping up this comment. Clearly, we don’t know the answer, but…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … I think you just… I’m going to make a joke here instead of answering it properly and say that you have to be able to spell the word “corporeal”…

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Eric: … in order to get messages from Patronus[es].

Rosie: The next comment is from SlytherinKnight, and it says,

“[A]fter reading the entire series and knowing what has happened’ to Snape, I think Snape is being a huge hypocrite by saying that Tonks'[s] Patronus look[s] weak. We actually don’t get a good look at her Patronus; only the comment made by Snape gives us any indication of its strength, and I will always take what Snape says with a grain of salt. But this comment coming from the man who claims to love a woman [whose murder] he had a hand in […] and then treats her son like dirt all because Harry looks like his father (James) is quite interesting. The Patronus is such a[n] emotion-based spell that the feelings required needed to produce it have to be strong, and Snape has quite a bit of control over his emotions; he has [to] in order to fool Voldemort, though you mention Harry Potter in his vicinity and Snape loses all control over his emotions (he only sees Harry as James'[s] s[o]n, not Lily’s son[, etc.]); for him to say that a Patronus is weak is pretty annoying and hypocritical. And for Snape to say anything about a person loving another in a disparaging manner is pretty hypocritical since, as we know, Snape loves’ Lily and always’ did.”

I want to add a little side comment to this because I think this is a really interesting comment that’s got an interesting direction, but Snape’s comment about Tonks’s Patronus looking weak when Tonks’s Patronus has changed because of her love for Lupin – or Sirius. We never really find out which is the truth there. But Snape’s Patronus is a doe, so Snape’s Patronus is the shape of, symbolically, Lily. So his has done exactly the same thing as Tonks’s, so it’s his comment on hers looking weak also self-critical because his is the same?

Eric: For me, I’ve always felt that he was making a comment of if it is a wolf, the wolf looking weak because Lupin looks weak all the time because Lupin is always shaggy and bedraggled, and so I’ve always felt it was a comment against Lupin after the fact, after we learn what her Patronus was.

Michael: I’m pretty sure that’s it because it’s… even though, at this point in the story, there’s ambiguity, and we’re meant to think, especially with our first read, that it’s a dog Patronus and not a wolf, but it is pretty much confirmed. I think Pottermore cemented it, but it was pretty much confirmed that her new Patronus is a wolf, and so yeah, Snape is commenting on that. I never thought of it as this hypocritical nature that Snape is commenting on something that he himself is guilty of with his Patronus.

Eric: Yeah, it’s interesting.

Michael: But I don’t… Rosie, while I think that’s a fair point that if you’re looking really deep into it that Snape is perhaps turning it on himself and actually criticizing Tonks for being as weak as he is in that respect.

Rosie: But it’s mainly just criticizing Lupin.

Eric: I think it’s a jab at the Marauders.

Michael: Yeah, yeah, I think it is, and it is horribly hypocritical in that way because it does reflect on Tonks as well because Tonks is obviously very attached to Lupin for her Patronus to have changed, so yeah, no, not cool, Snape. And there were quite a lot of debates in the comments section about this, and I did see people saying, “No, no, no, Snape didn’t mean it on Tonks” or whatever. But I’m like, “No, he meant it as a mean thing.”

Eric: It’s a jerk thing to say.

Michael: Yes, it was a jerk thing to say.

Rosie: Yeah, whatever happens, it is.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: However, Snape’s Many Buttons have now come together…

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Rosie: … to give us this next comment, the brilliantly named.

Eric: I love our username[s].

Rosie: So, SnapesManyButtons says,

“I have a theory about why Draco was given the Dark Mark. His father is not only rich but [also] has many contacts, so if he knew Draco would fail at his task and be killed by Voldemort surely he would have tried to find a way to send Draco away and hide him. Even if he knew he would be killed for doing it, I think Draco’s father would do anything to save him. With the Mark, perhaps Voldemort would be able to not only summon Draco but track him and even punish him [as well]. It binds him in a way that prevents him from escaping his fate. It could also have been a way for Voldemort to convince Draco that he believed he could complete his task, even though he fully believed Draco would fail and be killed.”

Michael: I think that last part is definitely something that the book pretty much implies.

Eric: Yeah, that he’s trackable.

Michael: Well, that he’s convinced Malfoy that…

Rosie: Yeah, it’s a fool’s errand. He’s sending him to die to punish Lucius.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah, because Malfoy starts out this book thinking that this is like a task that he can actually complete, so…

Eric: Well, it was probably sold to him as such that, I mean, forget the fact that Voldemort knows that Draco can’t do this. He probably gave him the Dark Mark and sold it to him as, “You’re going to be great.” He’s like, “Your dad served me faithfully. You’re pretty cool.”

Laura: Oh, I disagree.

Eric: “You should go […] do this.”

Rosie: Yeah, I don’t think it was that positive. I think it was more “Your dad failed me completely. Now you have to do it and prove that you’re better than him.”

Eric: But Draco is proud of his Dark Mark, though.

Laura: I fully see it somewhere differently. I feel like it was almost him giving him this impossible mission and even just presenting it almost passive aggressively, being like, “Yep. This is the mission,” knowing that he’ll fail, and I like Draco realizes that. I don’t think Draco thinks he can do it from Minute 1. I don’t think he’s ever really confident, and I think if all this other stuff is really just him trying to tell himself that he can because he has no other choice, but I think it’s the position he’s in. He’s like, “Yep, you’re punishing me for my father, and because it’s a punishment, this is not going to work out for me.”

Rosie: He is definitely scared already. His character has changed enough already at the start of this book and will only get steadily weaker or more afraid and more destroyed as the book goes on.

Eric: I think he wants to make his father proud. He feels it’s the family name, carrying it on.

Michael: See, it actually was explained a little bit on Pottermore. I was wondering that, just listening to you guys debate Malfoy’s feelings at this point, but it actually says here,

“Furious at the world that seemed suddenly to have turned on his father, Draco accepted full membership of the Death Eaters and agreed to perform the murder Voldemort ordered. At this early stage, full of the desire for revenge and to return his father to Voldemort’s favor, Draco barely comprehended what he was being asked to do. All he knew was that Dumbledore represented everything his imprisoned father disliked; Draco managed, quite easily, to convince himself that he, too, thought the world would be a better place without the Hogwarts Headmaster, around whom opposition to Voldemort had always rallied.”

Eric: Ah, that’s fascinating.

Michael: So it goes on to detail that Malfoy really did think he was going to be able to do this, but he was purely looking for revenge for his dad.

Rosie: Yeah, he’s blinded by it.

Michael: Yeah, so.. I think we see that. I think we see that in a gradual…

Eric: But it is a great character arc for him to gradually realize that he can’t or that he no longer believes, as he did at the beginning of the year, that Dumbledore deserves to get it.

Rosie: And as I will say in every single episode that I’m on [for] this book, Tom Felton does an amazing job in showing it in the movie.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Yep, he’s pretty good.

Rosie: Why did he not have more awards? I don’t understand. All the awards to Tom Felton.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: Anyway. Hufflepug is back and has a brilliant comment for us:

“As witches and wizards it would be possible to [A]pparate from London to Hogsmeade every day to teach at Hogwarts it would be a quicker commute than most Muggles have to make. I don’t remember hearing anything about Neville becoming [H]ead of Gryffindor, but it might eventually happen. Does the [H]ead of [H]ouse have to live in the castle? Assuming that Hannah still ran the Leaky Cauldron, it would be hard to live away from his wife for the entire school year.”

I think this is talking about why professors are taking trips on the train.

Michael: Oh, that’s right. Yeah. Because everybody was wondering why Slughorn was on the train.

Rosie: So yeah, does Neville take the train to Hogwarts and live there the entire year in the future that we hear about, or does he live at the Leaky Cauldron with his wife, Hannah, and then Apparate in and out of the school?

Eric: Hannah actually becomes a matron at school.

Rosie: Does she?

Eric: Yeah, I think so. She ends up working in the same place.

Rosie: Well, that solves that problem, then. [laughs]

Laura: Wait, but I don’t remember that at all.

Eric: They were living together [at] the Leaky Cauldron, but I think as recently as the Rita Skeeter article at the Quidditch World Cup thing…

Laura: Oh, I didn’t read that. [laughs]

Eric: … I think she might be a matron at the…

Rosie: Let’s do a quick Google.

Michael: Yes, that is correct.

Eric: That is correct? Okay.

Michael: She retrained as a Healer in 2014. She is currently applying for the job of matron at Hogwarts School. So she will get it.

Rosie: So can’t we just talk about how that is that it’s actually happening now?

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Yeah, that’s happening right now. She’s hoping to get a job at Hogwarts right now.

Rosie: Go Hannah!

Eric: Maybe to be closer to Neville, right? Well, I think that it was clear to me anyway, when we read the chapter with the Slug Club that Slughorn wanted that lead time with those children, and that was why he rode the train. Lupin also rode the train [a] couple [of] years before that. He was tired. He probably didn’t have the energy to Apparate. That’s what I would say.

Rosie: I think it was very close to a full moon as well, so…

Eric: Yeah, so pretty dangerous for him, but actually, that’s really dangerous for him to be on the train when it’s that close to the full moon.

Rosie: [laughs] That’s true.

Michael: I get the sense that the teachers ride the train just because it’s nostalgic, and it’s also a tradition for them because they were students once.

Rosie: And it was their carriage! Aww.

Michael: From what we found out on Pottermore about the train, I don’t think anybody really reflected on this until Pottermore brought it up, but the train is pretty unusual because it’s almost purely Muggle technology that they’re using. So I think they find it somewhat of a novelty.

Rosie: They like it. It’s quaint. Just like we all do when we go […] travel.

Michael: Yeah, no, trains are just as entertaining, I think, for witches and wizards, if not more so, than for Muggles, so yeah, and like I said, there’s a traditional aspect for some of the teachers, I imagine, too. And also, I mean, you can Apparate that distance, but I’m pretty sure it’s not recommended. There’s a higher risk.

[Rosie laughs]

Eric: Well, there are also Floo Network options for…

Rosie: Yeah. [You can] easily go from pub to pub.

Laura: And doesn’t it say… I’m trying to remember what book it is. I want to say Deathly Hallows, possibly the end of Half-Blood Prince. I’m not sure. Where they say, “Voldemort is within Apparating distance” or something? I remember that being a thing. He was traveling from Albania or something, and then… this is totally a vague memory – I’m not sure – but then I remember it saying that he was within Apparating distance and is now going to be here. Am I totally making that up?

Rosie: I don’t remember it, but it’s possible.

Michael: No, yeah, there’s something to that, I think, because I do know there'[re] conversations in the book and also in extracanonical material that discusses that it’s not wise to Apparate at certain distances.

Rosie: Yeah. You’re more likely to lose a finger or something.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: I mean, besides, the choice of commuting or staying at Hogwarts all the time, [laughs] come on. Really?

Michael and Rosie: You’d stay at Hogwarts.

Eric: Yeah, stay at Hogwarts. But no, for…

Rosie: But guys, Neville is currently teaching at Hogwarts. That’s amazing!

Eric: [laughs] It’s happening right now! For Hannah, his wife, I’m sure they must communicate through Floo or do something to bridge the gap of distance, at least until she gets that job.

Rosie: When she gets the job as the Healer, then they’ll be together, and it’ll be glorious.

Michael: Rosie, I don’t know why you’re so overexcited about this because as a witch…

Rosie: That’s true. I work with him every day.

Michael: Well, yeah, exactly, you’re privy to all of this, so…

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: … why are you freaking out? [laughs]

Rosie: It’s just my little shipper heart. It’s like, “Oh, they should be together.”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: She’s got to keep her cover, you guys.

Rosie: I do, I do, although I broke out of it today. I went to school full Hufflepuff. Never mind.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Nice. But let’s move on to our wonderful Podcast Question of the Week responses, which also were numerous and amazing this week, as always. Once again, as a reminder, our Podcast Question of the Week last week was “In this chapter, Tonks comes to Harry’s rescue. But what if she hadn’t? Does Hogwarts take attendance, and would anyone notice he wasn’t there and come looking for him? Would Harry have really gone back to London dripping blood?” So our Puff pride has to set aside for PuffNProud. Their response says,

“Assuming that Draco’s spell would last [all] the way back to London… I would think that from a practical standpoint, the train would have to be cleaned after carting a few hundred kids around for several hours.”

[Michael laughs]

“So whenever it got back to its storage site, if the witch or wizard who is supposed to […] come through with the Scourgify doesn’t first try a Homenum Revelio before they board, then he/she is likely to stumble (literally) upon Harry when entering the compartment.”

That’s a lot of thought for that whole thing.

Rosie: They completely logicked out… that is exactly what would happen. Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, that’s pretty much…

Michael: Except, would they have to step in? You can just Scourgify that thing from the door and keep going.

Rosie: That’s true.

Michael: You could just Scourgify the whole carriage and just be done with it.

Rosie: But then there’d still be a body on the floor that needs to be cleaned up, so… [laughs]

Michael: Yeah, but they can’t see it if they don’t use Homenum Revelio. Why would they assume that there are charms being put on the train that they wouldn’t be able to see?

Rosie: Would Scourgify make the Invisibility Cloak fold itself up and put itself away?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I think the beginning of this comment is probably the best, in terms of insight that Draco’s spell will one day wear off.

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: Oh, yeah, it’ll wear off. It’ll probably wear off after less than an hour.

Rosie: As RebeccatheRavenclaw says in her next comment.

Eric: Ooh! RebeccatheRavenclaw adds,

“I don’t think that particular spell would have lasted that long.”

There you go.

“I don’t know what decides each spell’s length, maybe the intention of the spell matters? The power of the wizard matters too, I know, but surely thats more of the force of the spell not the length…? Considering the journey back to London is a full day, I doubt Draco’s spell would last that long, so it is entirely possible it would wear off and Harry could just stand up and walk to the front compartment. Thinking of another thing, why would the Express go straight back to London that night? Surely the Conductor is tired? Wouldn’t he/she want to spend the night in Hogsmeade and then start the journey the next day? Or, does the train go all on [its] own like cruise control or auto-pilot and the Conductor is just there to tap his/her wand to start it up?”

So this comment has Harry rendezvousing with the conductor, either mid-transit or prior to transit. But once again, when Draco’s spell wears off.

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: Hmm.

Laura: Yeah, I mean, I don’t think it would necessarily last all the way to London. I think that’s more just that it wouldn’t have sounded as good to be like, “Enjoy your ride back to the Hogsmeade parking deck,” or whatever.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: It’s got a zing to it.

Eric: You’re right, it is like an, “I’ve got you, Harry,” thing, versus, “This will probably wear off…”

Laura: Yeah. It’s a Bond villain thing to say rather than a factual statement.

Eric: Yeah! Okay, that’s a good point. So does the conductor like to spend his time in Hogsmeade? Or does he like London better?

Rosie: I don’t know. There’s been a lot of conversation about whether the Hogwarts Express is just for Hogwarts; does it only get used a couple of times a year or does it do other things as well? In which case, the conductor would have other jobs to do.

Eric: Maybe it’s like Brigadoon and only appears on the first of September.

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: Well, as far as Pottermore goes, it’s implied that there are other trains that…

Rosie: Yeah, but that’s other trains, not necessarily using this one for…

Eric: The train, repurposed.

Michael: I wonder if… well, because I can’t imagine… despite what we were saying before about Apparating, I don’t know if too many wizards would… if the Hogwarts Express is used regularly to transport people from London to Hogsmeade and vice versa or not.

Eric: Daily routes.

Michael: Yeah. Because we only know the train is used whenever they go back for holidays; [that] is the only other time. So I don’t know. We don’t know anything. I’m sure somebody has written a really elaborate fan fiction about the conductor. [laughs]

Eric: But even then, it’s not canon.

Michael: No. But that’s the most we’d ever know.

Eric: Yeah. Our next comment comes from SpinnersEnd, and this is in all caps; at least the first word is.

“EVERYONE would have noticed the Chosen One’s absence. Honestly, I’m not sure anyone would have thought to check the train.”

Huh, that is interesting.

“I think most people would have assumed that Harry had been taken from the train. This does make me ask a question though: How long would […] Malfoy’s jinx have lasted? Is there a time limit on these things? Or would Harry have been stuck like that forever? Or at least until the end of term when students once again filled the train?”

[laughs] Okay, well…

Laura: Well, he’d be dead by then.

Eric: Yeah, from starvation.

Michael: No. Malfoy’s spells are not that good, you guys.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Eric: But yes, the question… so SpinnersEnd feels that people would have noticed Harry’s absence; that it would have been fairly conspicuous.

Michael: Which is funny because I always liked that line when Harry is imagining people on the platform being like, “Where’s Harry Potter?”

Laura: “Where’s Harry?”

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Yeah, right, like, “I waited for him!” It’s like waiting for him to come out the stage door at one of his Broadway performances.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Colin Creevey is there with his camera, waiting for an exclusive photo.

Eric: So very possibly, someone would have noticed, or just assumed that he had gone out a different way. That’s what happened when I was waiting for Rupert Grint. He was the only one to come out, actually, but you’d always just assume that they go out another door. So maybe that wouldn’t have raised an alarm, but I think eventually Ron and Hermione would be like, “Wait, where’d he go?”

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: And then they would whip out their owls and send him a letter…

Rosie: Follow them!

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Follow the owl! And our last Podcast Question of the Week comment that we’re going to read… of course, there are many more on our website; go check them out. The last one is from RoseLumos, who says,

“I was thinking back a few chapters (and books) and thought that this reminds me of the end of OotP when Harry and some of the DA members turn Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle into slug-like things. The DA stuffs them into an overhead compartment and say something about what their mothers will think when they see them. Don t parents usually meet their children on the Muggle side of Kings Cross? Did Malfoy transform back and leave the train or did someone have to rescue them? Was it his mother, another Slytherin, or someone on the train? It was never discussed but I do wonder how long Malfoy and his friends were left sitting in one position, waiting for someone to rescue them. If I [were] Malfoy, I would find what he did to Harry as equal revenge.”

Guys, I don’t remember this from Order of the Phoenix.

Rosie: It’s right at the end.

Michael: Yeah, I remember it.

Eric: What happened? What is this?

Michael: [laughs] Malfoy came in like he always does, and he was a jerk, and so they jinxed him.

Rosie: There was some fight… yeah.

Eric: They turn him into a slug?

Rosie: Because they’ve all had all of their DA training, and Malfoy insults them in front of a massive group of DA members, so they all cast spells at once and they interact in weird ways and there are various things that happen to them if I’m remembering that correctly.

Eric: Oh my God. Wow.

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: I didn’t remember this, either.

Michael: The thing about spells that I’m seeing more and more of… in preparation for this chapter, I actually bothered to play, last night, the Wonderbook of Potions, which is not the best game in the world, you guys.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Oh, dear.

Michael: But there is a character in it… there’s a story about a guy who gets in a duel, and at the end of the duel, he’s left with an elephant trunk and six ears on his face, so…

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Laura: Wow.

Eric: Six elephant ears, or…?

Michael: No, no, no. Six regular ears and an elephant trunk.

Eric: Oh, six ears. Ahh. That’s less exciting.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: But yeah, spells have pretty… I think, too, because of… the game really talks about this a lot, but the way that potions and spells interact when they’re put through the paces willy-nilly; you’re not being really controlled with your magic. The effects of how long they will last don’t seem to be known. It’s implied the guy with the elephant trunk and the six ears stayed that way for the rest of his life.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michael: So versus this…

Rosie: Does it get…? Is it Marietta with the “SNEAK” still scarred across her head?

Michael: Yeah.

Rosie: We know that some spells do last for a long time.

Michael: For a long time, yes.

Eric: And other spells have counter-spells.

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: Other spells have counter-curses. If you get a Jelly-Legs Jinx or even Petrificus Totalus – let’s be real – there is a counter charm that will immediately…

Michael: Yes.

Eric: … so eventually it’ll wear off, but also…

Rosie: Finite Incantatem!

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Yeah, exactly. It’s like the Expelliarmus of stoppers. And that’s the end of our recap from last week. Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful, insightful comments as always. Please keep them coming.

Rosie: So this week was World Book Day, at least in the UK, which is confusing because it’s World Book Day but the UK is the one that celebrates it.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Rosie: Not quite sure what that’s about, but I had great fun dressed up as a Hufflepuff Seeker for the day, teaching in my school. The kids were all very interested in why I was waving a wand around with an owl in my hand.

Eric: Aww.

Rosie: And wands make great whiteboard pointers; just putting it out there for other teachers.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: But as I was handing out World Book Day tokens – where the kids can get a pound off a book, or one of the free World Day Books like Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that Jo wrote all that time ago – I was thinking, “Why should they all have all the fun?” So I went and bought my own book, which was Holly Black’s Darkest Part of the Forest, which I can’t wait to read. But I don’t have enough time, so I’m thinking I might want to get the audiobook as well to listen to on my way to work.

Eric: I do that sometimes, for sure. I’m always in my car, and I find that audiobooks… I’m just more likely to get through books in that way than setting aside the time at home to sit down and read. Well, if you are like either me or Rosie, Audible is the best place for all of your audiobook and audio downloading needs. Right now, Audible has a really special offer for our US and Canadian listeners; you can visit our unique link created specifically for you and get a free audiobook download today, right now. You just have to go to

Michael: Well, and for those of you who aren’t celebrating World Book Day over here in the US, it’s currently Read Across America month in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday so it does tie in.

Laura: Oh, perfect.

Eric: Ah, there you go.

Michael: [laughs] So that is going on. You can also download using Audible’s listener program. Basically, you purchase book credits at a super low monthly rate and can use them at any time for any product that Audible offers.

Eric: With over 150,000 downloadable titles, you’ll have a lot of options. Head over to and start downloading directly to your computer for easy listening on burned CDS, MP3 players, and even your iPad, iPhones, or Androids. Again, the website made just for you So visit for your free download today.

Michael: And now we move on to our chapter discussion for Chapter 9 of Half-Blood Prince.

[Half-Blood Prince Chapter 9 intro begins]

[Sound of dripping]

Snape: Chapter 9: “The Half-Blood Prince.”

[Sound of book pages turning]

[Half-Blood Prince Chapter 9 intro ends]

Michael: The trio begins their first day of sixth year with high anxiety, fretting over how Hagrid will react once he knows they are not continuing on with Care of Magical Creatures. But their worries are soon subsided; they are literally pretty much just like, “Oh, well, too bad,” as Professor McGonagall begins handing out course schedules. Thrilled to discover that Professor Slughorn accepts Exceeds Expectations students into his NEWT classes, Harry’s Auror career plans are revived. He and Ron head off for one of many break periods while Hermione continues her hectic course schedule. But the workload catches up to them with a morbid Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson from Snape and an unexpectedly spirited Potions lesson from Slughorn. But Slughorn isn’t the only one Harry is learning from; putting his faith in some wise scribbled notes contained in his temporary Potions book, Harry finds himself under the tutelage of the mysterious Half-Blood Prince. Ooh.

Rosie: Who could it possibly be?

Michael: Who could it be? Oh my God! We’ll get to that in a minute.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michael: But we start off with a little bit of what I like to call Career Advice Part 2.

Eric: Yeah.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: This is pretty much the spiritual sequel section to that chapter in Order of the Phoenix.

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: But interestingly, we get a little insight into, perhaps, what Neville and McGonagall might have been talking about rather than Harry and McGonagall. And I was hoping that Caleb would actually be on this chapter because I was going to be like, “Caleb! McGonagall! Go!”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It’d be a three-hour episode.

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] It is…

Eric: She’s awesome in this chapter, though.

Michael: Yes.

Eric: To your point, she really cares about these students. At least… we see that she’s in the Gryffindor common room giving out… she’s making sure, right? She’s making sure that everybody who got the required amount of NEWTs – or sorry, OWLs – is taking the correct classes for them, et cetera. And she goes all out enough to ask Harry why he isn’t proceeding with Potions.

Michael: Mhm.

Rosie: Mhm.

Eric: Because she knows from their last…

Rosie: Because no one told him he could!

Michael: Yes.

Eric: Because no one told him he could!

[Rosie laughs]

Eric: Yeah. Thanks, failure of education, to notify him that… I mean, the rules changed. So this is what the Head of House is for.

Rosie: I mean… yeah.

Laura: Actually… yes, but at the same time I feel like that information probably was provided in a letter – on the bottom of it – just a schedule.

[Eric and Rosie laugh]

Laura: But because it’s Harry…

Rosie: Yeah, yeah. [laughs]

Laura: I’m sure there was a note in the Hogwarts letter like, “By the way, you have the option to take this.”

Rosie: Yeah.

Laura: And Harry was like, “Uh-huh.” To the trash.

[Eric and Rosie laugh]

Eric: It’s possible… it is, as you see – or as McGonagall says – specifically each teacher gets to choose what grades are good enough to get the next level of placement. So it’s not state-mandated the way that AP classes in schools across America would be – you know, where you have to take a test that is more than just the preference of the teacher – so there’s that. There’s the fact that Snape… it was a surprise that he was not, in fact, going to be Potions teacher this year.

Rosie: Yeah. And thinking about it, they only hired Slughorn on exactly the same night as the letters were sent out, so there probably wasn’t enough time to put that note into the letters.

Michael: Yes. And with that too, that goes along with the plot having… this particular section has to be so carefully constructed.

Rosie: Mhm.

Michael: Not only so that it’s a surprise that Slughorn and Snape have pretty much switched their expected positions, but also so that Harry can get the Half-Blood Prince’s book in his hands in this chapter. Because obviously if he knew he was going on with Potions, he would have just bought his own book.

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: Right.

Michael: So…

Eric: So it has to be a surprise.

Michael: It has to be this way. But I think that is part of it. I think that… if somebody were to tweet Rowling about it, as so many do these days…

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: … and say, “How did Harry not know?” she’d be like, “Well, they hired Slughorn that same night, so they couldn’t put it in the letter.”

Laura: “So sit back down.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: #PleaseDon’tAskMeThisAgain.

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: [laughs] But…

Eric: She’s used that a few times, right?

Rosie: Guys, don’t bug Queen Rowling.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: Just leave it alone. Ask us instead… [unintelligible]

Eric: She’s so approachable. [whispering] She’s so approachable.

Michael: [laughs] It’s okay, she’ll come on the show someday, I’m sure. [laughs]

Eric: Back to McGonagall though, she does… I thought it was a very tender moment between her and Neville…

Michael: Yes.

Eric: … when she asked why he wants to proceed with Transfiguration…

Rosie: We’ve talked quite a lot about her being Harry’s replacement mother figure, but she is for Neville as well. Neville’s lost his parents, and it’s really nice to see her stepping into that role and getting between him and his grandmother and…

Eric: Well, yeah…

Rosie: … properly sorting out that relationship.

Eric: She does insert herself there, which is really… I wouldn’t say it’s uncharacteristic, but it’s uncommon to see.

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: I mean, I wouldn’t know as much as Caleb or you, Rosie about her mother replacement figure, because for me I just think she’s being a good teacher. She’s saying to him…

Rosie: Yeah, yeah, definitely.

Eric: … “I’ve never noticed you seeming to take a particular joy in my class…”

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: “… in Transfiguration,” to which Neville obviously then mutters about his grandmother. But she has watched him and she’s watched him struggle, and he only received an Acceptable in Transfiguration in the end, so…

Rosie: And that would be an amazing achievement for him as well, so she’ll be proud of him for getting that Acceptable.

Eric: Yeah.

Rosie: She doesn’t mind that he doesn’t get higher than that because he’s achieved something good, so that’s great.

Eric: Yeah, but definitely a tender moment here.

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: Yes, I just thought it’s very nice to see McGonagall actually being as attentive as she is to her students. And it’s also exciting of course to know that Harry’s aspirations as an Auror are not completely dead.

Rosie: Trashed.

Eric: Good, because I don’t know what else he’d be.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, you know, and…

Rosie: We don’t know many other jobs.

Michael: Well, and I was thinking about that… I’ve been thinking about this more with these last two books than with any other reread, but Harry… when this comes back up and it’s like, “Okay, you can be an Auror again,” and then of course, as we know, Harry’s going to excel at Potions, not through his own merits whatsoever…

Eric: Ouch. [laughs]

Michael: I’m really worried for Harry as an Auror.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: Because he really… and we see too in this chapter, and we’ll see in continuing chapters, that Hermione is still helping them loads with their homework.

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: I’m just a little concerned that Harry doesn’t quite have what it takes.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: And I know people say that Harry’s seventh year and so on kind of proves that he does, but I’m not sure about that.

Eric: Maybe against Voldemort, maybe specifically against Voldemort…

Michael: Yes! Specifically against Voldemort, yes.

Eric: Yeah, and then he had the Unbeatable Wand, didn’t he?

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: [unintelligible] … being an Auror.

Michael: Yes. I just…

Eric: But didn’t he get rid of it?

Rosie: Not in movie canon… [laughs]

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, in movie canon he got rid of that.

Michael: I’m just a little concerned.

Rosie: I think… yeah. I think maybe because he is the Chosen One and stuff, they might leave him in the office… [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. “You’re the poster Auror.”

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: Yeah. Exactly.

Eric: “You don’t actually get to go out.”

Michael: “You’re what every Auror wants.”

Rosie: “You’re the Captain America before he leaves the Army.”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Eric: Yeah, “as long as you’re still alive, there’s this impression that we’re doing good.”

Michael: Going from such a positive interaction with McGonagall, we’ll just flip that around completely.

[Rosie laugh]

Michael: Because we have a Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson, which we normally look forward to, but not today.

Eric: Aww.

Michael: Because our new professor is Snape. And there’s a few interesting things about this lesson, one, the first thing I want to talk about actually, is Snape’s method. Because what Snape is teaching them today is nonverbal spells, which are going to be super important through the rest of the books. Snape’s lead into that is pretty much, “Okay, nonverbal spells, go.” I guess… again, really looking at McGonagall and then to Snape, this has always bothered me about Snape’s teaching. He really doesn’t explain what he’s talking about. He’s just kind of like, “All right, now do it.” This is very similar to the Occlumency lessons from last year.

Rosie: [as Snape] But he’s going to “teach you how to ensnare the senses,” and all of those things.

Eric: [laughs] “Bewitch the mind.”

[Rosie laughs]

Laura: Well, I think it’s also… he does it almost to prove a point that you should know this by now. He’s doing this almost to mock the incompetency of previous professors…

Rosie: Yeah.

Laura: … particularly Lupin and stuff because you see what he did in his class.

Michael: There was that jab.

Laura: Yeah, but it’s like you’ve been complaining about not getting this job for your entire life and now you have it. Do a good job!

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: Put everything aside because they can take it away from you just as quickly as they gave it to you.

Eric: Well, you get somebody like Hermione who is very unique in that she’s probably read the whole textbook before setting foot in his class and she manages to block one of Neville’s attacks – non-verbally, successfully – within about ten minutes. But for everyone else… again like you’re saying, he expects them to be at this level that they’re just not at, and the class amounts to watching people attack each other and be attacked and have no real means of defense. And so his class is really falling as flat as the people who are getting knocked over – I tried to make a joke there…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … about, you know, just attacking each other. But then I question, isn’t that kind of like what his Potions lessons were all about anyway? It’s like, “Here’s the potion that you need to make today. Go and do it, and then I just get to go around insulting everybody.”

Michael: Yeah.

Eric: But that is kind of a thing for him. That’s kind of his teaching style – he likes going around class and insulting people.

Michael: Yeah. Which, you know… I guess… we still have a lot of Snape defenders in the comments lately, and of course our show is full of people who don’t really much care for Snape as far as the hosts go. And I just always like to point that out as a reminder that Snape is a horrible teacher. Sorry, Snape.

Eric: Who has lots of fans.

Michael: Who has lots of fans, yes. I think it’s fair to call out Snape because I think with this reread a lot of… I’ve noticed a lot of people’s perceptions kind of not necessarily being completely changed, but they’re starting to see the other sides. Hey, I’ve even seen a lot of the other sides of arguments that I thought were kind of indestructible previously.

Eric: You want to believe in a love story, you want to rally behind a love story, because Snape’s big reveal at the end is that it was kind of a love story. But it’s really like the most messed up, backwards, weird love story…

[Michael laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: … that’s ever been put down into seven volumes because you get to these scenes where he’s just cruel to everybody, and he’s just the worst person to ever have fallen in love with someone.

Rosie: Yeah. In seven volumes, yeah. Then there’s always Twilight.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Rosie: Moving on… [laughs]

Eric: That’s why I said seven volumes.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: As was pointed out, with not much success other than Hermione… the class starts to wrap up but then Snape of course has to attack Harry one more time. And of course, I just had to point out the classic line, where Harry snaps back.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: Harry has clearly decided that he’s not going to take anything from Snape this year…

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: … which is very clear as he says to Snape that there is no need for Snape to call him “sir” when Snape is trying to remind Harry to call him “sir.”

Eric: Yeah.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: It’s brilliant, but it’s almost too brilliant for Harry, you know what I’m saying? It feels like…

Rosie: It’s sassy Harry!

Laura: No, Harry’s sass master.

Michael: I think this is… I think if there is an impression that this is too brilliant for Harry, it’s because he’s not like this in the movies.

Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: Oh.

Michael: This is purely book Harry. Book Harry is very sassy.

Eric: For me I’m just like, J.K. Rowling is just writing the best lines and for once she’s giving them to Harry.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Laura: I remember the first time I read that so vividly, and I was like, ah, yeah, loved it.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: I love that there’s this intake of breath. The whole class is watching, gasping.

Michael: Yes. Thinking about all the things we just said about Snape, interestingly enough, they leave the room with Harry having perceived Snape’s opening monologue – because he always has to give one – about the Dark Arts as very negative and as very much embracing the Dark Arts. The narration says that it’s like a loving caress, the way that Snape speaks about the Dark Arts. But Hermione, interestingly, thinks that Snape’s speech sounds a lot like what Harry’s been saying. So, there we go at least shattering a few things we may have said about Snape just now and his teaching methods.

[Rosie laughs]

Eric: Eh.

Michael: And also, of course, this is a very subtle tying of Snape and Harry together by Hermione that’s going to be very important as we move along with this book. But there will be more of those, so keep an eye on that. And before we get to the Potions lessons too, there is an important potion in that lesson called Amortentia…

Rosie: But what does it smell like, Michael?

Michael: [laughs] We should go around, say what our Amortentia smells like.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Eric: It smells like the Burrow, doesn’t it, guys? Does it smell like The Burrow? I’m sure I smelled something at The Burrow that smelled just like it does in this room.

Michael: Hmm.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: Yeah…

Eric: If you’re talking about Snape’s monologue – I wanted to talk about this – he describes the Dark Arts as being like a multi-headed creature that when you kill one head, it sprouts another more clever than the first.

Michael: Yes.

Eric: I did find that to be really intense and also very practical. It is like a stroking of the Dark Arts from Snape. It’s interesting that Hermione turns it around on Harry, but I think Harry just lacks the verbiage to be able to say something as particularly well-crafted as Snape’s speech.

Rosie: And he’s never had the chance to study Greek mythology.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Well, yeah, that too. And the other thing… yeah, except somehow Snape has. I wonder.

Rosie: Yeah, true.

Eric: Yeah.

Michael: Maybe Snape just paid attention in History of Magic.

Rosie: Also, the Greek myths are probably based on actual…

Michael: Yeah, to them that’s actual history.

Eric: Yeah. I did want to ask regarding Snape and Harry… he talks about it as if the light arts are not the same way, that really the malleable mutating form of magic is Dark. So I wanted to ask you guys what you thought about that. Because this is his intro to this course. It’s like you can’t get this type of stuff with the light arts. This is the Dark Arts…

[Michael laughs]

Eric: … where more heads cleverer than the first one sprout out, and this is the art of it.

Michael: Well… which also kind of matches what we heard earlier from Neville via his grandmother that Charms is a soft option. So Defense Against the Dark Arts is not a soft option, and don’t you dare say that!

Eric: So the Dark Arts are the only ones that are special in this method of the way that they…?

Rosie: No, I think we’ve heard it from Harry as well, what Hermione says about Harry’s previous speech and Snape’s speech being similar. I definitely agree with the fact that in the Dark Arts they don’t follow the rules. In Light Arts you do follow rules. There is a certain code of practice or chivalry or whatever to the Light Arts, so to speak. So when Harry says, “They’re not going to stand by because you’re children.” If you face the Dark Arts you have to really face it and know what’s coming and adapt your attacks and your defense to [those] Dark Arts. Because in a proper duel, you have to wait for them to do the weird hand gestures and the bows and all that before you get a snake thrown at you.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Rosie: But in the Dark Arts that snake would just come at you straightaway.

Eric: It’s just you and him and guts.

Rosie: Exactly.

Eric: Okay, so I want to bring up the beginning of this chapter. They’re at the table, and they’re going over what they think Dumbledore might teach Harry in his private lessons, and I think it’s Ron [who] says, “Maybe they’ll teach you really intense jinxes and hexes that Death Eaters simply won’t know.” And Hermione has a line where she tells them that those spells are actually illegal, and that opened the world for me because it shows that more than just the Unforgivable Curses are illegal, that there are in fact maybe Light Magic hexes and jinxes that are so bad…

Laura: It’s probably the equivalent of… even just in regular crime, a crime is a crime, a murder is a more serious crime; a robbery is less, but it’s still warranting punishment, and it’s still illegal. I’m sure an Unforgivable Curse is thus unforgivable, and that gets you thrown in Azkaban whereas something else you might get a fine.

Michael: Yeah, that makes sense because I think the expectation when they’re taught these defensive or dueling-type spells is that they’re not going to be using them out on the street. As they’re walking down Diagon Alley, that’s something they’re not supposed to do. There'[re] respected institutions and areas and venues where you’re supposed to use spells like that.

Eric: So for me, I was just like, “There’s Light Magic that is so intense it’s illegal.”

Rosie: But is it actually Light Magic? That’s still Dark Arts; it’s just not the three particular Dark Arts spells that fake Moody decided to teach.

Eric: But the way it’s worded where it’s like, “spells that Death Eaters won’t know,” I was just thinking, “Oh, it’s clearly some white Dumbledore magic that they think he’s going to teach him.” It’s very vague. It’s only a passing reference, but because you get this monologue from Snape talking about how cool the Dark Arts are, I just wonder if there’s any Light Magic love to be found.

Michael: Well, speaking of that, since you brought it up, Eric, and I was actually going to bring that up, what did everybody think that Dumbledore was going to teach Harry? Harry gets this lovely letter from Dumbledore in the hallway that’s the start of this weird running joke where people just keep delivering Harry letters manually, which I also found weird because Dumbledore could easily just send an owl, but for some reason he catches students in the halls and is like, “Bring this to Harry.”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Eric: Those students are all secretly in cahoots with Dumbledore. He has a lemon drop factory or something.

Michael: [laughs] Oh really, what more enticement do you need than to be like, “You can go talk to Harry Potter.”

Rosie: It’s always kids [who] have previously had an awkward interaction with Harry.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: Well, exactly.

Rosie: It’s no one [whom] he would actually like to have a letter from; it’s just always awkward people: Colin Creevey, Cho Chang.

Eric: Rosie, you had suggested, I think, in a previous episode that it was possibly that Dumbledore takes into account what Harry says about missing Sirius’s letters, so this is Dumbledore’s way of… this is his potential sentimental side.

Michael: Fill that void.

Laura: He also probably picks people [whom] Harry doesn’t want to talk to so that he doesn’t really ask that many questions. He doesn’t really want to engage Colin Creevey in a long line of questioning: “Did Dumbledore say anything?” Because he just wants Colin Creevey gone, and he doesn’t want to talk to Cho Chang.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Eric: I feel like Dumbledore is paying particularly close attention to Harry, though, this year. There’s that, that he only gives letters to people [who] have had awkward interactions with Harry – great analysis. There’s also this idea of when the lesson is, which interferes with Snape’s detention, which he just received, just received, and I think – if I’m remembering correctly – Dumbledore just makes Harry still do that detention, just on a later date.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, he goes and talks to Snape and has it rescheduled.

Eric: Yeah, but still, it’s funny because Harry thinks he’s got this reprieve, but it also points to Dumbledore… either it’s a coincidence, or Dumbledore is paying real close attention to Harry this year.

Rosie: I think it’s a coincidence. He was always going to have to meeting on that very first day. It’s just that Harry wasn’t supposed to get a detention on the first day.

Michael: [laughs] Depending on whether you subscribe to the theory or not that Dumbledore is in fact in control of everything. But what did you guys think?

Eric: I think he’s an old Ron. An old Ron Weasley.

[Eric and Michael laugh]

Michael: But just quickly, what did you guys think Dumbledore was going to be teaching Harry since that was brought up?

Rosie: Oh, I have no idea. I honestly cannot remember. It had to be something interesting and something to do with the actual blurb.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: I don’t think it was Horcruxes because we had no idea what Horcruxes were but I think definitely something vital to killing Voldemort.

Michael: Right, but we do get some pretty cool stuff in Slughorn’s classroom.

Eric: Potions has never been more interesting.

Michael: No, it hasn’t. Well, and first of all, we walk into the room, and we smell some lovely scents. Again, if anybody wants to raise their hand and tell me what they would smell in their Amortentia… [laughs]

Eric: Oh no. Is that okay?

Laura: Actually, I do want to hear. Everyone say one thing.

Michael: Hershey[‘s] chocolate.

Rosie: I would have to do old book smell. It has to be just that lovely paper smell.

Michael: That’s a good one.

Rosie: It’s a good smell. Which I think is one of Hermione’s as well.

Laura: It’s really specific, but there’s this smell of the resin that’s on the inside of my guitar. I just love that smell in my guitar, and it’s my dad’s guitar and everything that’s [been] passed down. He’s still alive, but [it] sounds like he’s dead. [laughs] He just gave it to me anyway.

Rosie: Yeah. Good memories that are associated to smells are good.

Michael: Gosh.

Laura: What about you, Michael?

Michael: Ugh. See, now Laura came up with such a cool one. I was like, “What’s a really specific…?” Because there are certain… I know there'[re] certain… this is a weird one. This is really weird, but I remember when I first went to Disneyland when I was six. I don’t know if it’s Disneyland itself or the people who go to it, but I think…

[Eric laughs]

Rosie: They smell? [laughs]

Michael: Well, there’s a combo of Disneyland and…

Laura: Sweat?

Michael: … all the perfumes and colognes that people wear that combines to make this really nice smell. But an easy one would be probably the scent of rain. I love the smell of rain after a rainstorm.

Laura: Now the easy one’s garlic.

[Eric, Laura, and Michael laugh]

Laura: Anything with garlic I want in my belly.

Michael: [laughs] But of course, there are a lot of little hints going on in this section of romance.

Rosie: I love these scenes. They’re so gorgeous. [laughs]

Michael: And Harry and Hermione shippers, I think I found your chapter.

Eric: Oh no! No! Why?

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: Don’t tell them!

Michael: Don’t tell them where to cite sources.

Eric: I read the same thing. I didn’t get this. What are you talking about?

Michael: Because on page 181, Harry notes that he was very disarmed that Hermione had thought his words as well worth memorizing as the Standard Book of Spells that he did not argue with her after she points that out. And also, on page 186, after Slughorn praises Hermione and remembers Harry’s complimenting words about her, “Hermione turned to Harry with a radiant expression and whispered, ‘Did you really tell him I’m the best in the year? Oh, Harry!'” And then Ron responds with, “‘Well, what’s so impressive about that?’ whispered Ron, who for some reason, looked annoyed. ‘You are the best in the year – I’d’ve told him so if he’d asked me!’ Hermione smiled but made a ‘shhing’ gesture so that they could hear what Slughorn was saying. Ron looked slightly disgruntled.” [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. He’s been put in his place.

Rosie: “I’m tall!” My favorite line in the book. “I’m tall!” Aww, poor Ron.

Michael: Poor Ron. There’s also a little bit of Harry/Ginny in the Amortentia itself because when Harry smells the Amortentia on page 183, “a gold-colored cauldron was emitting one of the most seductive scents Harry had ever inhaled: Somehow it reminded him simultaneously of treacle tart, the woody smell of a broomstick handle, and something flowery he thought he might have smelled at the Burrow.”

Rosie: So Mrs. Weasley’s cooking, the broomstick that Ginny steals from the cupboard, and the flowery perfume she wears.

Michael: [laughs] And Ginny.

Rosie: So cute. [laughs]

Michael: And on page 192, of course, because Harry is not quite up to speed to figure out what that scent is, on 192, “Harry caught a sudden waft of that flowery smell he had picked up in Slughorn’s dungeon.” And of course, he turns around and Ginny is standing right there.

Eric: Ginny has sat down.

Michael: And then, of course, Hermione and Ron, the more obvious one. Notwithstanding, Ron’s rather negative reaction to Harry’s praise of Hermione, on page 185, Hermione summarizes Amortentia and says, “‘It’s supposed to smell differently to each of us, according to what attracts us, and I can smell freshly mown grass and new parchment and -‘ But she turned slightly pink and did not complete the sentence.”

Rosie: She totally realized what that smell was!

Michael: Oh yeah.

Rosie: It’s brilliant.

Laura: Well, that’s… what I think is interesting, both about this and what Harry said, is while I’m sure Hermione is more open to herself about her feelings toward Ron, but it doesn’t seem like Harry has not necessarily fully realized his feelings that he has for Ginny.

Rosie: He’s not aware.

Laura: Yeah, so it’s almost as if the potion’s figured it out before him because even when he smells the smell, he can’t place it, and then it’s almost like playing detective of what the smell is until he sees Ginny, rather than it automatically being like, “Oh, wow. That’s Ginny, and I’m smelling it, so I like her scent.”

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Yeah. That’s interesting.

Laura: It’s weird.

Eric: You’re right. You’re completely right, Laura, that that potion should be able to root that out in him.

Michael: Yeah, that kind of intuitive nature of magic that it even knows things about you that you don’t realize by yourself.

Rosie: It suggests soul mates, doesn’t it? That you’ve got someone who’s perfect for you, and these are the things that they’ll smell like.

Eric: Which is ironic because it’s not a potion that creates love; it just creates infatuation.

Rosie: Yeah. It creates…

Michael: Yeah. Well, and that pairs up along, too, with perhaps the evolving natures of Patronuses as well because I imagine Amortentia can change its smell over time. You might smell different things at a different period in your life.

Eric: You might go to Disneyland.

[Eric, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Michael: This is not a commercial for Disneyland! I’m not crazy about Disneyland!

Eric: It’s a good smell. Michael was right!

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: I did feel, too… and again, even though I obviously don’t sympathize, I can see, in a way, why the Harry/Hermione shippers feel they had a strong case with this particular chapter, and especially with Ron being like, “I would’ve told Slughorn if he’d asked!” Because…

Rosie: I guess if Hermione had made… she cuts herself off at that point, and if she had stated what that thing was and it was linked to Ron, then it would be more of a no, it’s not Harry/Hermione. It’s definitely Hermione/Ron.

Laura: But guys, it’s spearmint toothpaste.

Michael: Yes, as we all know.

Rosie: Is it spearmint toothpaste? Yeah.

Michael: It’s spearmint toothpaste. Thank you.

Eric: Oh.

Rosie: But that’s… didn’t she wipe toothpaste off his face?

Laura: Well, that’s just a movie-ism.

Michael: Yeah. He wipes it off her face in the movie.

Rosie: It’s just a movie thing. Then yeah.

Michael: “You’ve got toothpaste there.” “It’s spearmint toothpaste.”

Rosie: Make it obvious.

Michael: Now, actually, I like that in the movie just because it works a little better for the scene as a film than…

Rosie: It just makes it a little bit more…

Michael: Yeah. It makes it a little more clear. But there’s a lot of fun shipping going on in this chapter, a lot of fun hints of what’s coming up as far as couples.

Eric: It’s funny because it’s subtle.

Rosie: There’s so much comfort.

Michael: Yeah, it is.

Eric: It’s really subtle.

Michael: It is very subtly, very well done. I didn’t really even pay much attention when I first read it. I remember that I didn’t pay much attention to Harry catching Ginny’s scent. Probably because the book is so whatever about Harry and Ginny anyway. But the Ron/Hermione things I generally picked up. And really looking back – because when I first read it, I was a pretty strict Hermione/Ron – this is so obvious, and I caught the jealousy there with Ron. But at the same time, the more I reread the books, the more I’m like, “Well, Ron, it’s not like you haven’t been given opportunities to… you suck at this.”

Rosie: But he has realized by now as well. He is putting those little “I’m tall” moments in there. There are hints that something is happening behind the scenes.

Michael: Yeah. So some nice little hint drops. But Slughorn gets on with the lesson, once again contrasting some teaching methods here. Slughorn is pretty great.

Eric: Slughorn is great.

Michael: He’s got a good balance, I’d say, of instruction but also letting the students take charge, to some degree. He does an excellent job of that by laying out potions for them to look at and getting them engaged in the class right off the bat. And to start off, though, he says that he’s going to have them brew a very difficult potion to win a vial of Felix Felicis. I actually know all the secrets about Felix Felicis, but I’m not going to share them on this episode because we can talk about that on another one. There’s a chapter titled “Felix Felicis.” So we’ll get to that potion later. Or you can slog through Book of Potions, listeners, if you so dare. But in this class, we are going to brew the Draught of Living Death, which is no easy feat.

Eric: Okay, I’m going to interrupt your quick one thing…

Michael: Oh, please.

Eric: This says more about Snape than ever. They’re finally brewing in a NEWT class this potion that Snape teased Harry with [on] Day 1 of Year 1, by the way, by giving him that question. Tell me, Mr. Potter, what would happen if you added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?”

Michael: “And then stirred twice clockwise and add sloth brain.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: “And did a lot of other things.”

Eric: “And stirred once counterclockwise and crushed a bean with a blade.” It’s just weird for me that that… I mean, it’s come full circle, but it took long enough. I mean, the point I want to make is that Snape was obviously asking a question that was way beyond Harry.

Rosie: Yeah, he just wanted to embarrass him.

Eric: Hermione knew it somehow, which I won’t get into.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Eric: I guess it’s a famous potion, or wait, wolfsbane, which is one of the ingredients, is supposed to be super hard to acquire, right? Or at least not discovered until very recently. Maybe it’s not that hard to make once you make it, but Snape is the only one on site who can make it. Okay, we’re getting sidetracked. Anyway, my point was, Snape asked Harry this tough question about this potion, and yeah, they’re making it in Year 6 in a NEWT class.

Rosie: But is that actually a key clue that we’ve now got a return to asphodel and wormwood, and that is something that Snape has talked about, therefore this is perhaps a link to Snape because obviously, we get that extra bit of information that the Half-Blood Prince is taught.

Eric: That is interesting. And in this chapter, there’s also… I mean, there are clues, and there is a line that says “in this dungeon.” I don’t know if Harry is leaving, and it’s like, This was the most enjoyable lesson in this dungeon.” It is the same, the very same dungeon. And that also is a hint to the fact that the book that was in the cupboard was left behind by…

Michael: Yeah, there’s actually a pretty large amount of obvious hints that it’s Snape who is writing in this book. And what I find fascinating about that, once again, with what we were talking about with Snape and his teaching methods, Snape is an excellent teacher to Harry in this class right now.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And what it is, is that through this book, Snape is giving Harry hints and cheats and also making potions-making enjoyable for him, something you would’ve never [thought] would’ve happened. So just pointing that out.

Eric: Well, he enjoys it because he’s winning. He enjoys it because he’s beating Malfoy – right? – who’s super interested in getting his hands on that liquid luck scary thought, by the way but Harry, throughout this book from what I’m recalling, always sees this as some means to and end; he loves these instructions, but he’s not actually, as far as I can tell, learning about the nature of potion-making. Like “you can crush this instead of cutting it.” That’s a useful tip that everyone in the whole world should know. How is Snape keeping that kind of thing quiet? How is Snape not telling people to do things that are different [from what] the currently in-print books are telling them to do is beyond me. There are these tips that Snape himself found out when he was a kid.

Michael: See… and again gosh, even though it was so terrible to play, I’m glad I played it – Book of Potions really does speak to that because Zygmunt Budge was also a Slytherin, and there’s definitely this sense, especially from Slytherin academics, that they want credit for their work, and unless they get a lot of fame and fortune for it, they want to keep it to themselves. Some of them even decide to keep it to themselves just for their own personal use just because they don’t want it spread. It’s very akin to and Rosie, I’m sure you know a lot about this with your history studies for example, the Italian glassmakers in the 1400s who… that’s where the Italian mafia was birthed because they would kill glassmakers who left certain areas of Italy so that they wouldn’t spread their knowledge to other people.

Eric: Whoa.

Rosie: People like to hide their secrets.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: This is fascinating. First of all, I’m blown away that this Book of Potions game would have something that could be extrapolated into such a cool discussion that we’re having now, where it’s like, Oh, this is why this is well known.”

Rosie: Michael, do you get to follow the Half-Blood Prince’s little tweaks in that potion?

Michael: No, because you don’t make the Draught of Living Death. You actually make Sleeping [Draught], which is the lower version of this because there’s a whole conversation from Zygmunt about what a forest bean is, and you have to look at the leaves and the stem, and it’s like taking an Herbology class and a Potions class mixed together. And while it’s fun in some respects, it’s a little dry, I guess. The game’s content is a little dry, but what you learn about…

Rosie: It’s just geeky.

Michael: I guess you can see why Harry sometimes sits in his lessons and is like, “I’m bored.” [laughs]

Eric: But with this book, with these tweaks Snape is making… or the Half-Blood Prince – sorry – is suggesting…

Michael: Oh no! You spoiled it!

Eric: Oh!

Michael: Oh no! [laughs]

Eric: I feel like if you read enough of these, you would gain a higher understanding of the art, though, the subtle science that’s potion making. I mean, when I stir things, can I just say, “I do add a counter stir.”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Eric: Maybe I…

Rosie: Just in case.

Eric: You can’t just always stir in one direction, right? Seriously…

Michael: No, and both the game and Pottermore really make clear that one little slip and everything goes wrong with potion making, so…

Eric: Oh, okay. I feel like you would gain… I mean, with that book, Harry has got real gold because almost in spite of himself, as you’re saying, Snape is a great teacher through this book. The potential is there to really have a higher understanding of magic in general, but also especially potions in these tweaks. I mean, better than the person who wrote the book are these comments that would give you further insight.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah, and before, actually, I go on further with the conversation on Snape, I did just want to point out for the listeners [a] fun little fact: the Draught of Living Death, which is being brewed by Harry and his classmates in this chapter, is actually what Rowling used in her canon explanation [of] the fairy tale of “Sleeping Beauty,” which is canon to Harry Potter and that a hag named Leticia Somnolens used it on Aurora to put her to sleep by smothering the needle of the spinning wheel with the Draught of Living Death and that the prince woke her up by smothering his lips with Wiggenweld Potion when he kissed her.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Eric: Wow. I love it.

Michael: [laughs] So now you know the antidote to the Draught of Living Death. It’s Wiggenweld Potion. But this goes in, of course, to the significance – as we’ve touched upon a little bit here – of the Half-Blood Prince. Now, of course, when this book came out everybody was asking, “Who is the Half-Blood Prince?” I still have my box from Amazon that has that printed on the side.

[Eric laughs]

Michael: It was a very ingenious marketing gimmick. Probably one of the strongest marketing points for the Harry Potter series. There'[re] two things here. One is – because I know a lot of people talk about this, especially in terms of the movie – why does the solution to this question matter? And in tandem with it, how does the foreknowledge that we have now going through the book affect your guys’ current read of Half-Blood Prince when you know that Snape is the one who is giving Harry these notes?

Rosie: Hmm.

Michael: A deep philosophical question.

Eric: I think it’s…

Rosie: That should be the Question of the Week.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Oh, no, I have a different Question of the Week. But I think, for me, it’s just cool. I mean, I really think that this is the best evidenced that Snape is – I don’t know – good at what he does. Besides the off-screen evidence of him hoodwinking Voldemort for all these years, this book is a concrete example that Snape knows his junk.

Rosie: Yeah, he’s got elements of genius in this.

Eric: He really does have true elements of genius in… thank you, Rosie, for that phrase… as evidence by this book, so that’s what it does for me, is it still doesn’t make him any nicer of a guy, but it shows that all that brooding in the dark corners as a child really was… he focused it into something that he became really good at. And he really excelled as a Potions Master and as we see, became an innovator, somebody who really stepped up the game in this one area of magic.

Rosie: I think the reason why it’s important is because this entire book is about trying to put clues together and to work out a way of defeating the bad guy. The whole Horcrux hunt is looking at the history, putting the pieces together. And here Harry has a parallel riddle that he needs to solve and that eventually, obviously, we find out isn’t necessarily beneficial to the story, but is still interesting and still furthers Harry’s learning in a way that we’ve seen successes and failures. I mean, essentially Snape saves Ron’s life twice because of the bezoar mentioned back in the first book and also through this book again, which again, same as wormwood and asphodel is a link back to between the book and Snape. But it’s interesting that we have two “Who is this person?” riddles within this series. We’ve got “Who is the Half-Blood Prince?” and then “Who is RAB?” almost as if we’re expecting the Half-Blood Prince reveal to be a little bit disappointing, and therefore, we’ve got someone else that we can then go, “Ooh, okay, so we now know that it’s Snape, so who is this guy? This is more interesting.”

Eric: [lauhgs] Who’s this guy? Yeah.

Michael: Which, of course, didn’t…

Rosie: It’s swept under the rug a bit even though this whole book is named after him.

Eric: Speaking ahead, I mean, I know Harry goes off on Snape, and that’s when it’s revealed, right? When Snape is shouting it at him?

Michael and Rosie: Yeah.

Rosie: “I’m the Half-Blood Prince!”

Eric: Yeah, [as Snape] “How dare you call me a coward!” In that famous scene, but for me, I know it was like, “The book is wrapping up,” but from what I remember, Hermione just goes off and finds some family tree, right?

Michael and Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: It’s like, “Oh yeah, his mom’s surname is Prince. Wow.”

Rosie: It’s like, “Really? That was it?”

Eric: Isn’t that awesome?

Michael and Rosie: Yeah.

Eric: Because for me it would have [had more of an impact] – and I’m sure we can talk about this when the chapter comes – but [it has more of an impact] whenever Harry opens a book and doesn’t have that information just dumped on him by Hermione, who’s read a million books.

Rosie: Yeah. Elements of genius in terms of potions but not naming. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, so I have an issue with the climax of how this mystery was played out in terms of that because I think it could have been… I don’t know how different it would have been if it had happened sooner, if Harry realized that the book he was reading… Okay, it doesn’t exactly have a mind of its own the way that Ginny objects at the end of this chapter the way that she so rightly, and Hermione so rightly, has…

Michael: Suspicions about.

Eric: Caution. Yeah, caution, suspicions about. But if he had learned that it was Snape’s book, would he have gained an appreciation for Snape? Would he…? At a certain point in his year…?

Rosie: He would have given it to Ron.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: After Snape wins enough battles for Harry in the Potions classroom, makes everybody jealous about what he does…

Michael: Well, and that’s what I’ve been thinking about with this read is, because I guess the thing that’s perhaps lacking for me, or that’s just interesting to me that it never comes up, is that once that discovery is made, and of course, maybe it is because Harry doesn’t understand that by killing Dumbledore, Snape has actually been part of the plan and not done something as catastrophic as he thinks. So that counteracts it, but there is never really that reflection from Harry, so while it serves, I guess, for the reader to possibly be like, “Oh… Maybe there'[re] more layers to Snape than we thought,” Harry never internalizes that, really, from this knowledge.

Eric: Eventually, he names a kid after him, but I wonder if, during those years, he thought, “Oh, and he also was really good at potions!”

Michael: [laughs] I just had to wonder. I just thought that was interesting because it’s never really narratively brought up again after Half-Blood Prince. So it does sometimes seem like more of an “Oh, that was fun to know,” like Rosie said.

Eric: Like a ruse.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: Yeah. It seems like it has a purpose in the plot that’s just never actually acknowledged narratively.

Eric: Well, wrapping up the Potions thing real quick, I just wanted to mention that Slughorn… Another example of how cool he was as a teacher is that he made it a challenge. He showed them these… He made it a contest! I always loved…

Rosie: It’s pulling out all the teacher tricks.

Eric: Yeah! It really is, but it works. I always loved in school [how] they would do Jeopardy!

[Rosie laughs]

Eric: Or test review days or quiz reviews days. They would do Jeopardy! You make a game of it. You make it fun!

Michael: Yeah!

Eric: And that’s something that I feel… Even when reading this, I was like, this would be a pretty cool day of class to be in!

Michael: Yeah, absolutely.

Eric: When you have such high stakes of playing for a flask of liquid luck, which you’ve never heard of before but which seems awesome!

Michael: Yeah, and I think…

Rosie: It’s so shiny. I want it!

Michael: … it’s just another reason why Half-Blood Prince, by many in the fandom, is held in a very high regard, is because we get a lot more of those light, enjoyable moments that we haven’t had in the series for a while. And especially, Rowling is so kind as to give us an actually very pleasant Potions class before we leave Hogwarts.

Laura: We haven’t really seen a class being taught in an experimental way since Lupin doing the Boggart stuff.

Michael: Well, and speaking of that, just the last question I have for you guys – and you can just quickly go around and say if you had a thought on this – who[m] did you think the Half-Blood Prince was? Even if it’s just somebody who you wanted it to be.

Eric: I think we said this at the beginning of the book, answered this question, but I had no idea, and I assumed it would be a new character. I assumed that some foreign prince from Germany or Bulgaria or somebody was going to be knocking on Harry’s door. I didn’t assume it was going to be somebody we knew already.

Rosie: Yeah. I think because the precedent of Prisoner of Azkaban had been set of that as well. I think, yeah, I thought it was a new character as well.

Michael: Literally, out of nothing but pure bias and love, I wanted it to be Lupin. [laugh] I had no logic whatsoever, and it was like the book knew what I wanted because Harry is like, “Was it you?” And he’s like, “No…? That’s stupid.”

Eric: He actually asked Lupin id that was him?

Michael: Yeah, he asks him in the Christmas chapter.

Eric: That’s super funny. That’s super funny.

Michael: Yeah. Sadly. But yes, we leave this chapter wondering, who is the Half-Blood Prince? And listeners, please, with this show and your thoughts on who the Half-Blood Prince was at the time, you can visit and join in the discussion and contribute your thoughts about who[m] you thought the Half-Blood Prince was.

Eric: Follow-up question: Who writes their name on the back of the book cover?

[Rosie laughs]

Eric: The back… Aren’t you supposed to write in the beginning?

Rosie: It has to be the top corner of the left! Top corner of the left of the front.

Eric: Well, who doesn’t do it on the first page? Come on, you’ve got to write it on the first page so then when they open the book, they’re like, “Oh, this belongs to someone else. I shouldn’t read this.”

Michael: I know. They don’t get those course books that you open it up and it has that little box that’s like, “This book belongs to…” [laughs]

Laura: “Returned in what condition?”

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: “Average.”

Eric: I have a different question for the Question of the Week, and I think it’s a good one, and I hope you guys do too. In this chapter, Harry notices that Malfoy is feverishly working toward completing his potion because he, too, wants liquid luck. My question is, what do our listeners think would have happened if Malfoy had in fact won the contest and received liquid luck? What exactly, at this point in the book, would Malfoy’s lucky day entail? Or reward him with?

Michael: Ooh. That’s a good one. Listeners, go play Book of Potions and learn more about Felix Felicis because it does have its limitations. So that’s a very good question.

Rosie: And such a brilliant alternate universe. Someone write that fan fic for me, please. I want to read it.

Eric: And call it “Malfoy’s Lucky…”

Michael: And then it is a coincidental…

Eric: Call it “Malfoy Gets Lucky.”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: “Malfoy Gets Lucky.” There’s a coincidental shipment of brooms to Azkaban the same day that the walls crumble, and all the Death Eaters just leave. [laughs]

Eric: Exactly. And it’s all because Malfoy won that potion. So we do like to do the what ifs from time to time, but I think this one really struck me.

Michael: That’s a good one.

Rosie: So thank you, Laura, very much for stepping in last minute to be on the show with us all again.

Laura: Oh, you’re welcome. It was nice.

Rosie: It was lovely to have you.

Laura: Definitely!

Michael: Laura saves the day! [makes trumpet noise]

Laura: Yay.

Eric: She really, really did. I want everybody at home to know that Laura saved the day. We’re both on our cleaning days off, and we got roped into the show, and I had fun. I’m sure you did too.

Laura: Oh, I’m glad because I got to, [on] the last episode, host with Michael, Kat, and Alison, so now, adding more hosts to… yeah… Return episodes for me. So yeah! No, it was definitely really fun!

Michael: It’s good. We needed a Gryffindor. We had three Hufflepuffs sitting here going, “What do we do? What do we do?”

Laura: Three Hufflepuffs? Oh, God, no. We can’t have that.

Rosie: We would just end up partying and eating too much food, and it would just end horribly.

Michael: Well, we were good finders because we found a replacement host.

Eric: We found a host!

Laura: You’re not allowed to have more than three Hufflepuffs in a group together at the same time.

Michael: Who was brave enough to come on as the Gryffindor that she is.

Eric: Well, and I will say, “We are sure it was just a miscommunication with our fan guest host who was supposed to be on this episode.” We will reconnect with them and be sure that they are on, but the normal channels to be on our show are all listed on our website, which is No fancy equipment is needed – there are some pieces of equipment like Apple headphones that’ll take care of the whole thing right away – but all of the instructions, all of the sets of advice and the email address to send your audition to and all this other stuff are all located on our website, so definitely check that out. And while you’re there, download a ringtone for free.

Michael: And if you just want to get in touch with us, just to say hi or send us a thought, there [are] a lot of ways to do that. We are on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN,, [and] our Tumblr account mnalohomorapodcast. We have a phone number, 206-GO-ALBUS – that’s 206-462-5287. Our audioBoom – that’s audioBoom account now – you can actually find that at There’s a little bar there where you can record a message for us, and it’s free – all you need is a microphone. Just make sure [to] keep those messages under 60 seconds if you can because that way we can play them on the show and share them with our other listeners.

Rosie: Don’t forget [that] we’ve also got our Alohomora! store where you can find house shirts, Desk!Pig shirts, Mandrake Liberation Front shirts, and Minerva Is My Homegirl shirts, as we’ve had so much Minerva love today, and so many more. I am working very hard to try [to] get a Detrimental To My Stealth T-shirt because I want one.

[Eric and Rosie laugh]

Michael: I know, I really like that idea.

Eric: Yeah…

Michael: I still need to figure out how to get a Lupin Love shirt [laughs] because I know a lot of people have been asking me for that.

[Eric laughs]

Rosie: Definitely. We are going to work on some new designs, and hopefully they will be out very soon.

Michael: Yes.

Eric: There is also the Alohomora! smartphone app, which is available on this side of the pond and the other. I think we finally ran out of bonus content from Florida, from our trip.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: I believe this week’s bonus content will be provided by Caleb, but we have transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings for episodes, host vlogs, and more all on this Alohomora! app. Find out more on our website,

[Show music begins]

Eric: Phew! That was a fun one. I’m Eric Scull.

Michael: I’m Michael Harle.

Rosie: And I’m Rosie Morris. Thank you for listening to Episode 127 of Alohomora!

Michael: [as Snape] Open the Dumbledore.

[Show music continues]

Eric: I found my Hufflepuff tie, guys!

Rosie: Yay!

Michael: Yay!

Rosie: I’m currently wearing mine. [laughs]

Eric: Today I was cleaning my closet, and I couldn’t find it when I went to Florida a couple of months ago, and I searched the whole place, except it was behind the toolbox in the closet.

[Rosie laughs]

Eric: Can I just say…

Rosie: Eric, you’re a Hufflepuff! You’re meant to be a really good finder.

[Michael laughs]

Eric: Well, I found it today…

Rosie: Good.

Eric: … and that was because I took the time to clean the whole thing.

Michael: I’m sad you lost your wand, Eric.

Eric: I’m not wearing it now, but I found…

Rosie: You should get a house-elf.

Eric: Oh, the wand is a different story.

Michael: So sad.

Eric: I do need a house-elf.

[Prolonged silence]

[Michael makes slurring sounds]

Eric: Called the Half-Blood Prince. [laughs]

Michael: [mimics Eric with slurred pronunciation] Called the Half-Blood Prince.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: [clears throat] All right. [clears throat] Sorry.

Eric: Excess of phlegm, there?