Transcript – Episode 130

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 130 of Alohomora! for March 28, 2015.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Hey there, listeners, and welcome back to MuggleNet’s global reread of the Harry Potter series here on Alohomora! I’m Michael Harle.

Rosie Morris: I’m Rosie Morris.

Kristen Keys: And I’m Kristen Keys. And today’s special guest is Jessica. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, Jessica?

Jessica Fearn: Hi! I am a Ravenclaw, and I came to Harry Potter a little bit later in life. I was in college by the time I read it, so I’m reliving my adolescence every time I reread it.

Michael: [laughs] That’s what we’re all trying to do, I think.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Is keep that forever, right? And, Jessica, you’re jessfudd on the forums and main site, right?

Jessica: Yes. And everywhere on the Internet.

Michael: Everywhere.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Everywhere on the Internet. Good! Because I know you’ve left a lot of great comments for us before on the show, so I wanted to make sure everybody knows who you are.

Jessica: That’s me!

Michael: Okay, so we have a Ravenclaw, two Hufflepuffs. Kristen, you’re a Ravenclaw, right?

Kristen: Correct.

Michael: Okay, so we have two Ravenclaws and two Hufflepuffs today!

Rosie: A very Ravenpuff episode.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I like this. I like this set-up. So these two Ravenclaws and two Hufflepuffs are going to journey into a chapter that pretty much has none of those.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: It’s very Slytherin focused, yeah.

Michael: And that is in Chapter 12 of Half-Blood Prince, “Silver and Opals,” which we would like to remind you listeners to read today before you listen to this episode so you can get the most out of our discussion on the show.

Kristen: And before we start that, we’re going to recap some comments y’all left from Chapter 11. This comment is from AccioPotassium!, from the main site, and they say,

“I feel it’s time to return to a classic Alohomora[!] discussion about the endeavors of owls in the Harry Potter book series. In this chapter, we acquire information from Hermione Granger that all the owls are being checked upon entering Hogwarts. It seems unclear exactly how the security of Hogwarts is planning on searching all [the] letters & packages. Are they simply blasting the owls from the sky with some kind of magic? Could Dobby be in charge of this operation? After all, in Chamber of Secrets, the house-elf did somehow prevent all the letters from Harry’s friends. Or could there be some kind of system like airport security? Maybe the owls have to travel through Secrecy Sensors and their letters & packages must go through an owl baggage check.”

I found this very interesting.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: I love the idea of blasting the owls from the sky, but I think that would be way too cruel.

Jessica: That seems aggressive.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: I think I’ve always imagined the airport security-style system, where the owls would fly through some kind of magical door that would be able to scan their packages somehow. Yeah, I’ve never thought before. How did Dobby manage to intercept those letters in Chamber of Secrets? Did he trap Hedwig and get the letters from her somehow? Because they would have been sent via her, presumably.

Michael: I always just assumed that that’s one of those things that will never be explained because house-elves just have way more awesome magic than wizards anyway. So I’m assuming that if Dobby just decided he wanted Harry’s letters, he could just snap his fingers, and the letter would just go poof.

Kristen: It would appear. That’s how I thought it was, just snapping fingers. But how would all the other house-elves know at Hogwarts which owls and stuff? That’s the only thing.

Michael: Yeah, I don’t think… they probably don’t employ the house-elves to do that. [laughs] I’m guessing it’s probably more something like Filch probably monitors them coming through. And he seems to take great joy in using his little Secrecy Sensor, so he’s probably doing that.

Rosie: It’s the only kind of magic he gets to use!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, and what’s interesting to me about this comment is, thinking back to the time period that Half-Blood Prince came out, Half-Blood Prince was released in 2005, and of course this was after the 9/11 in 2001, so there was a lot of security concerns that were still very focused upon, and I think Rowling was definitely commenting on that to some degree. She definitely incorporated that into her story. Half-Blood Prince, I think, is… the movie pushed this a lot more, but I think Half-Blood Prince is one of the books in the series where the gap is closed between the differences in the wizarding and Muggle world a lot more.

Rosie: There’s a lot more seriousness crossover that the worlds experienced at the time, yeah.

Michael: So Secrecy Sensors. I say Secrecy Sensors. Even if the image of blasting owls out of the sky is more amusing.

Rosie: It’s very mean! How is that funny?

[Michael laughs]

Jessica: I always thought of it as part of that protective magical bubble that keeps you from Apparating or keeps you from seeing it. The owls that don’t have any kind of contraband could fly through it, but then the ones that had something that was dangerous, maybe they’d hit against it like a window and just not be allowed to penetrate the protective bubble.

Rosie: So a bit like an Age Line for the Goblet of Fire? The same kind of barrier.

Jessica: Yeah, except an evilness line.

Michael: [laughs] Well, yeah, the movies did that, too. They visualized it more than the books do. Like you said, Jessie, that giant bubble that’s actually shown in the movies. The Death Eaters hit against it when they try to get in. So yeah, that would be unfortunate if your – I don’t know – package of glass jars was being delivered, and it would go smashing down into the mountainside because it can’t get through the barrier. [laughs]

Jessica: Or just slide all the way down the bubble.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: That poor, unfortunate somebody who is at the end of the bubble.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: But we do know that things get in disguised as other things, don’t we? Because is it Hermione [who] talks about the fact that Fred and George are shipping in love potions shaped as other items?

Michael: That’s right.

Rosie: It just picks up a liquid in a bottle; it doesn’t pick up that it is a dangerous liquid in a bottle. So it’s not infallible; there’s stuff that can get through.

Michael: Just like real security!

Rosie: Yeah!

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Points for realism. Well done.

Kristen: All right, this next comment comes from RoseLumos, and they said,

“I really liked the hosts[‘] analysis of Neville and Hannah’s relationship, and I think it could also be applied to Harry and Ginny’s relationship. I think Harry needs someone who would be able to listen and understand his situation, especially after the war. He hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to forming relationships with others, mostly because nearly everyone he gets close to dies. I could see him being hesitant to form a strong relationship with anyone. However, we know Ginny is a strong character. She doesn’t take no for an answer, even as Harry broke up with her. She, just like Harry, is haunted by how Voldemort manipulated her. As we know, at the end of the war Fred is killed. It’s hinted that Ginny was especially close to the twins, and I bet that his death tears her apart. I think, together, Harry and Ginny can grieve and have some good talks about what they feel in the moment. I don’t want to say that their relationship is based on death – it’s just that they actually have pretty similar personalities, and together, they can overcome what life gives them. I don’t know if I explained it properly, but in my fan-fiction mind I can see them having a deep and meaningful relationship based on their similar personalities and experiences, and together, they would be able to move on from their horrible experiences and find happiness in each other.”

Rosie: Well said.

Kristen: How sweet.

Jessica: It’s very sweet.

Michael: And that comes from our discussion last week about, once again, as has happened many times, Ginny gets very briefly mentioned, and it’s not really enough. And I think we were saying that Harry just observes her but doesn’t comment. The narration doesn’t comment on his feelings or anything. He’s literally just staring at her.

Rosie: “And Ginny was there.”

[Kristen and Rosie laugh]

Michael: What I like about this comment is that I think it goes into a lot of things that Rowling has established past the Harry Potter books about why Harry and Ginny are a good couple. But my frustration comes [from] the fact that barely any – if any – of this is in the books. I think that’s where my problem lies. I’ll say more when we get to the chapter discussion. I don’t know how all of you feel about it because we’ve been getting a lot of comments lately about the Harry-Ginny relationship. Jessie, as one of the listeners, who has been in the comments and read the differing views, what are your thoughts?

Jessica: You know, it’s a tricky thing because I want Jo to be able to present everything perfectly with no holes. But also, I’m a person who… I met my husband and knew by the end of the first date that I was going to marry him. So my experience tells me, you don’t need that much evidence for a life-long connection. But my Ravenclaw brain says, “Show me more evidence.”

[Michael laughs]

Jessica: This comment makes me wonder, with Neville and with Harry and Ginny, if there was some sort of wizarding baby boom after the war, the same way after World War II there was the baby boom in the United States. I wonder if there [were] a lot of people who were affected by the war, paired up in that way, like we’ve seen people do in the Muggle world.

Rosie: I think we’ve talked about the fact that Ron and Harry and Neville and all those people were born in, essentially, a baby boom during the first war. It seems that James and Lily rushed into having Harry when they were quite young. Obviously, unlike Molly and Arthur because they’ve got loads of kids before them.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: But I think it’s fairly true that once the second war is over, people felt happy enough to be pairing up a bit more than they have been during the current emotional turmoil of the books. And we’ll comment on that later on with the Podcast Question of the Week responses as well because there are some great comments on that exact issue in there. But I’ve always been a Harry and Ginny shipper. It’s been those two and Ron and Hermione since about, well, Book 1, probably, for me.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: Me, too.

Rosie: But I think there are enough clues in there, and I think there are enough moments where Harry believably gets closer to her and does realize that, “Something is changing. I’m not quite sure what,” in a very teenage boy way. So I do think that relationships can grow and change, and you don’t have to be in love with someone straight away. Being friends first is very nice and all of that. And I think that is why Harry and Ginny would last as well, because they have independent likes and interests, but they also have very good shared interest and shared experiences that, like this comment said, they can talk about together. So yeah, I think it’s a very solid foundation for a relationship, so… good for them.

Michael: Yeah. Well, and Kristen, I’m glad you chose this one, too, because I think the difference… because last week we did talk in length about Hannah because it’s revealed, I believe in the last chapter, that her mom is killed. And we were positing that’s the possibility of why Neville and Hannah hook up since they are never shown to interact at all in the books. And we thought, maybe that was just a point of commonality for them. And I think the reason that theorizing about that with Neville and Hannah is fine for me is because Neville and Hannah’s relationship is not at the forefront of the books and does not matter narratively, versus Harry and Ginny, which is given focus and which does end up playing roles in Harry’s actions in the plot, especially in Deathly Hallows. So I guess, still, my continued annoyance with the Harry-Ginny thing is because it is important narratively, but it’s treated with some derision. And we’ll get more into that as we get into the chapter because there’s plenty of Harry-Ginny going on in Chapter 12, so…

Kristen: That’s true. I do think there’s an element where it reads like, “Oh, and then I guess he fell in love because that’s important, too.”

[Jessica and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yep. That summarizes it very well. [laughs]

Kristen: All right, and then our last comment is from HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis. They said,

“Could Buckbeak just have ventured away on his own after Sirius’s death? Or does he need someone to look after him?”


“What do you think Buckbeak would have ‘said’ to Harry when he asks him about Sirius? Hagrid interrupted them, but I’m sure Buckbeak understood Harry and would have shown sympathy.”

Michael: Aww.

Kristen: I know; I loved that.

Michael: That was a really good question, though, actually. [laughs] Because we… Buckbeak obviously doesn’t talk, but that’s… Buckbeak probably had the best bond with Sirius before he died, when you think about it, since he was with him almost every day.

Kristen: I feel like he would have just bowed his head in respect.

Michael: [laughs] Well, and it’s interesting, too, the question of whether Buckbeak could have left, which would have definitely been very… if he had, it could have been almost like a mirror. That could have been the first version of when Fawkes leaves when Dumbledore dies.

Rosie: Yeah. But I don’t think… Fawkes, as a mythical creature, is more easily hideable, really. [laughs] He can live on his own in a very small environment and not really get into much trouble. Buckbeak is quite a big creature, and if he [were] left on it to his own devices… in London as well, my goodness.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Well, and he has been domesticated.

Jessica: That’s what I was thinking. He’s been living in a bedroom.

Michael: Yeah, right? That’s like letting a zoo animal out into the world; you’re really not supposed to do that [laughs] because they’re not equipped…

Rosie: They don’t know how to survive.

Michael: Yeah, in the wild. So I do think Buckbeak is definitely tuned into human company at this point, and he does need some. I think that’s very nice. I actually was really surprised that Rowling managed to work that out, that he could go back to Hagrid. Because she didn’t have to do that, so that was very kind of her. Somebody, one character, got some kindness. [laughs]

Rosie: [laughs] Got its good end.

Michael: And a good ending, yes. [laughs]

Jessica: Well, and Hagrid needed a buddy because the trio basically abandoned him by not taking his class, so…

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: That’s true; he has somebody to lean on now. [laughs]

Rosie: Do we ever see Buckbeak again after this point?

Michael: He’ll be involved in both the battles that will come up. He’ll be involved briefly in the end of Half-Blood. And I do believe he also makes a cameo in the Battle of Hogwarts, too. So yeah. Everybody is in the Battle of Hogwarts, though. [laughs]

Kristen: Well, thanks, everybody, for sharing your comments with them. I greatly appreciated reading them all. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah. There were, gosh, how many were there?

Kristen: Over 280, so it was a lot of reading.

Michael: Gosh.

Kristen: But I loved it.

Michael: [laughs] They’ve just been commenting like fiends these last few episodes.

Kristen: Oh yeah, it’s great. Keep them coming.

Rosie: Yeah. We’ve also got our Podcast Question of the Week responses from last week; there were fewer, but they were just amazing comments, so yeah, keep those up as well. The question last week was, “This chapter fluctuates between the extreme tones of humor and darkness. The focus on the teenage dynamic gives us insight into Harry’s life at the moment, yet the events outside of Hogwarts remind us that the wizarding world is becoming increasingly perilous. Does this bouncing back and forth offer a much-needed balance, or does it downplay some of the more serious issues raised? How do we see this light and darkness fluctuating throughout the remainder of this series, and how does it impact how we see the rest of Harry’s journey?” Overall, there were some just brilliant, lengthy comments that I would encourage you all to go […] read. But the overall resounding response was that we need this light and shade because otherwise, it would be very dark and depressing, and no one would want to read it.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: But we’ve got some lovely new answers in those comments, so I will read some of those now. So Jay Dozier says,

“I think this chapter sets up the remainder of the books beautifully. To have such juxtaposition between humor and darkness seems incredibly realistic because in the midst of any sorrow, pain, or outright warfare, every human being craves the stability of joy or humor (if even for a moment) to prevent them from being consumed by the darkness [altogether]. If these kids are indeed shut up in a school all together in the middle of their adolescence, it makes total sense that they would be consumed with relationships and awkwardness and self-image in the midst of tragedy. I mean, war or not, hormones will be hormones, and when war is not directly in front of you (as it is for the trio in Deathly Hallows), it’s easier to forget there is much else happening in the world besides the enormity of your crush flirting with you (or someone else). It is a much[-]needed balance, not only for the reader but [also] for the reality of anyone in the midst of turmoil.”

What do you guys think?

Michael: Yes. [laughs]

Kristen: Yeah, I think it’s right. And I remember as a teenager, I’d probably – in my crazy emotional state – whether my crush was flirting with me or not felt the same as a war to me.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: I didn’t have the emotional maturity to differentiate what was important in my heart to what was important in the world.

Michael: Yeah. When you’re a teenager, it’s the… you are the sun…

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: … and everything revolves around you. And now we’ve got a whole school full of them that are pretty, when you think about it, free to do as they please, really. And they have magic at their disposal.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kristen: Absolutely.

Michael: Yeah, no. I agree with this because we’ve had a lot of comments coming through lately on all of the Half-Blood Prince chapters that this book is too fun, it’s too happy, it’s not the right tone to follow up Order. And I agree with Jay here that this is the perfect tone to follow up Order because I think, Rosie, that overall comment you said that everybody was generally saying… absolutely! Nobody would want to read Half-Blood Prince if it was the same tone as Order of the Phoenix. That would be way too much.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: And I think the writing style of Half-Blood Prince is… I think Rowling was very aware of that because Order got a lot of backlash for its tone, especially with the age of its readers. So I think it would be hard to keep your readers intact for this series if there [were]n’t this happier interlude, but also in terms of what Jay is saying, I think the interlude makes sense from an emotional standpoint for these characters. This is the calm before the storm, as they call it, right?

Rosie: [laughs] Definitely. I think most of these comments are along a similar vein, so I’m going to keep peppering these comments through, and we’ll just continue our discussion as we go. But Hufflepuffskein says,

“I think it is most starkly apparent when we get Ron’s adorable ‘I’m tall’ comment, and then soon after he asks, ‘Anyone we know dead?’ as Hermione is looking at the Prophet. It’s a bit funny, and I personally didn’t think much of it, but then we see that Stan is sitting in a cell in Azkaban being mentally tortured by [the] Dementors, and then on the next page, ‘Yeah, actually, Hannah Abbott’s mother is dead.’ WHOA! And then we immediately go down to the pitch for tryouts to very soon hear of McLaggen’s amusing [D]oxy eggs issue last year and then onto [sic] the hilarity that Caleb detailed about the flying groups. The tryouts are hilarious and fun, but immediately before that, we found out that Hannah, who[m] we’ve known and many of us ([H]ufflepuffs) have identified with, [has] lost her mother tragically. [Man,] it is such a stark contrast, but it just seems to work. That is what gets me about the light/dark oscillations in the book. It doesn’t seem odd or jarring. As you guys say, it seems balanced, and personally, I like the book more for it. It’s [truer] to life, I think.”

Jessica: And plus, it has to remind us what we’re fighting for. It has to give us something worth saving for Harry to go and eventually – spoiler alert – choose to die. Not to knock any other books, but as I’m reading The Hunger Games, I’m like, “Why bother? This place is awful.”

[Michael laughs]

Jessica: But when I read… Even though there’s so much dark stuff, I’m reading it, and I’m like, “This is a world worth saving. We have to fix it.” And I think that’s what those happy moments do.

Rosie: I think that’s the major difference between something like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games as well. I mean, The Hunger Games is very much the dystopia, where you’re not saving the world; you want to change the world. You want to create a better place. Whereas Harry Potter is very much a world that everyone fell in love with; the magical world itself is something worth preserving. And yeah, like you said, it’s something worth fighting for. The whole darkness is the enemy. It’s not just Voldemort; it’s everything that’s bad. And it’s the fighting that to preserve the greatness of the magical world that the readers really want, as well as the characters within the book[s]. And I think that’s part of the reason why it’s such a hard-hitting novel, because everyone has something that they think is worth preserving and some enemy that could be destroying it. So that is a very universal thing, to protect the ones you love against anything that might harm it. And yeah, like you said, the juxtaposition here really does emphasize that thing that the laughter and the good moments are really worth all the bad.

Michael: Thank you for saying what you said, Jessie, about comparing Hunger Games and Harry Potter because you finally figured out for me where that wall is between the two.

[Jessica and Rosie laugh]

Michael: You and Rosie just totally strategized that out, because I’ve always… Harry Potter and Hunger Games are very much meshed together in the fandom world by how many people are attracted to them, and I’ve always… while I definitely enjoyed The Hunger Games for a brief period of time, I always hit a wall when I tried to compare it to Harry Potter because they don’t match up very well in a lot of ways. So I think that’s probably the most major point, is that Harry – like you said – is fighting to save something that still exists, whereas Katniss is fighting to create something that has been completely overrun. It’s like if Voldemort had already taken over the wizarding world, I guess. Yeah. That would be The Hunger Games.

Rosie: I want to read that book.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I’m sure there'[re] many version of that over at MuggleNet Fan Fiction, right?

[Kristen laughs]

Rosie: I’m sure there [are].

Jessica: I’m sure, yeah.

Rosie: I’ll go read one right now.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Before I go […] do that, I should read the next comment, which is from SnapCracklePop. This is a brilliant, lengthy response, almost editorial standard, so please do go […] read this comment.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: But this is just the last paragraph from there, and it says,

“I do think some of the stereotypical teenage dynamic was a little bit overdone at times, though. Some of it I feel would have fit better with 15[-]year[-]olds in the fifth book rather than 16[-]year[-]olds. I would have expected the traumatic experience with the [D]eath [E]aters at the Ministry of Magic to have caused the ‘dream team’ to grow up a little bit more than the rest of [H]ogwarts and be a little bit more serious, but they seemed to shake it off pretty quickly and easily. I know I would not have. Maybe they felt like they had to make up for lost time [under] Umbridge, and that’s why everyone was acting like hormonal teenagers more in their 6th year than in their 5th (no more [U]mbridge keeping everyone 5 inches apart or whatever [the] measurement was).”

Michael: [laughs] That’s great, because I’m currently rereading Order of the Phoenix with my brother, and it’s been really helpful to immediately be able to compare Half-Blood and Order, and that is definitely something that I’d noticed, is that every time something normal tries to happen in Order of the Phoenix, Umbridge comes in and just goes, [as Umbridge] “Nope.”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: And there’s no time for that stuff in Order.

Kristen: Yeah. I think it was more anger when they were 15 and that hormonal side, while this is more the romance relationship, 16-year-old side. So I think it’s…

Rosie: Emo-Harry couldn’t have dealt with Ginny at all. [laughs]

Michael: No.

Kristen: Exactly, yeah. So now he’s past the emo part. He fought it out, and now he’s like, “Ooh, feelings are stirring.”

Rosie: “What is this strange monster inside of me?” [laughs]

Michael: Ugh. That stupid, stupid monster. I hate that thing.

[Jessica, Kristen, and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Well, and teenagers have a rebellious phase, and I think that in Order, they had somebody who[m] they could channel that rebellion toward, who actually was legitimately awful. Most teenagers will target that at perfectly innocent people. [laughs]

Kristen: Yeah, mom and dad.

Michael: Yes, yes. But they actually had a legitimate individual to target for their rebellion.

Rosie: I think it is really interesting also, the fact that Jo has so obviously had her girls mature before the boys in the book and things as well. That’s a well-known, recorded fact about teenagers, that girls do tend to emotionally mature before the boys. So we see Hermione with Krum in Book 4, and then Harry gets there eventually with Cho in Book 5, and then, obviously, Ron is finally catching up in this book.

Michael: And yet he’s still so far behind.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Rosie: He is so far behind. And Hermione is sitting there patiently waiting and praying and creating little birds of emotion and… yeah. But it is interesting to see those stages, and I think they are so true to life that this book really does show all of the teenage stages. So you’ve got the very beginning of that hormonal revolution where Ron is finally waking up and really realizing that girls exist. And the others are further along that journey and working out “Yes, I should go […] date this person and what means, “Actually, I really, really like this person and could see myself having an actual, proper future with them.” And I think Harry is just that one step closer toward having that family view to fight for now, with Ginny and with the Weasleys to fight for rather than his first steps into having a girlfriend with Cho. And it’s really nice to see that progression and to see him relax into that role a bit more, perhaps, in this book.

Kristen: Well said.

Rosie: Thank you. [laughs] Okay. These two comments go together, so I’ll try [to] read them together, so Olivia Underwood says,

Harry Potter in general has never been easy to define (people still argue over what [it’s] actually about even though Rowling [has actually] stated it’s about death) because it’s wonderful, scary, beautiful, eerie, magical, terrifying, etc. all rolled into one – very much like fantasy, the genre itself. That’s part of [its] appeal, I think. It’s also, as Hufflepug[g] said, a way to stay sane! During WWII, civilians suffered from city bombings, the first time in history for armies to target civilians, apart from Guernica, of course, but they carried on, trying to keep things as normal as possible.”

And then Hufflepugg replied to that comment, saying,

“This idea of ‘living in a bubble’ is something a lot of people can relate to, which is part of the beauty of Harry Potter. For Americans, September [11] is probably the most relevant modern example.

It’s quite odd that we’ve already mentioned that today.

Michael: Twice, yeah.

Rosie: Yeah, so it’s obviously very relevant in this chapter.

“I didn’t know anyone in the attacks, but I know people who did know people (such as my neighbor, who works at the Pentagon, and lost friends and coworkers that day). As an eight[-]year[-]old who was detached from it, I could understand how horrible it was, but at the end of the day, I went along and played like a kid. Contrast that [to] my neighbor, who had to deal with the grief of losing her coworkers and the shock that if she had gone into work that day, then she would have died. There’s that sudden grief and shock that’s horrible, and your life changes forever because you are more aware of the effects of war in the world, but life continues to move on at the same speed, and eventually, you start to live again despite the aftermath still affecting other people.”

“Sometimes I’m so in awe of how J.K. Rowling manages to capture all of these complex ideas and feelings in the Harry Potter series.”

And Michael, I think it’s really interesting that you actually brought it up earlier on. And it really does apply here, where we grew up with this book series, and we also grew up with things like the September 11 attacks and this general knowledge of these Wars Against Terror and all of those buzzwords that the governments were using throughout the [p]ast decade. And I do think that having this parable war in Harry Potter has allowed this generation of kids to understand a bit more about the world around them and about what is going on. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing, whether that’s had positive or negative effects on the way that these kids are actually viewing the world, I’m not entirely sure of because I don’t think the real world is quite as black and white as the Harry Potter world. Like Sirius says, the world is not split into good people and Death Eaters. But I think it does give a viewpoint into these terrible events that have happened and how people have dealt with it and how we, as readers and as people living through these events, should deal with the bad things going on in the world. And to remember that there are good moments in life too that are worth fighting for.

Michael: Yeah, it’s amazing to me to think that we’re more than ten years away from September 11 now, and looking at how this book parallels the issues that were going on socially at the time as the aftermath of it, it makes me think of how my parents talk about, for example, the Kennedy assassination and how horrific that was and what that meant to not just the US but [also] the world for that to happen. And I’m thinking too in terms of how Harry Potter affects its new generation of readers because, as I’ve mentioned before on the show, I get a lot of kids coming into the library looking for something else because they’ve – and these are, like, seven- and eight-year-olds coming in – read the whole Harry Potter series twice over.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: And I’ve had them tell me before… Some of them who reread it come in asking for the first book again, and I ask them why they’re starting it again, and they say, “Because I didn’t understand it, and I want to try it again.” And they say [that] they liked it, but they didn’t get it.

Rosie: Yeah. They can like the characters and the simple plots, but they don’t understand the detail and the context and some of the emotions behind it. And yeah, reading it a second or a third time really does have that more emotional effect as you grow older.

Kristen: Yeah, and especially with the later books.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it’s going to be interesting to see… I think Harry Potter has enough universal themes in it that it will be… it’s already hailed as a children’s classic, and I think it will be able to maintain that status. I think it’s… Luckily, the critical eye toward juvenile and teen fiction has evolved a lot over the last ten years or so. So I think there'[re] going to be good opportunities for Harry Potter to stay in the public eye really prominently for a long time. But we discussed the same thing in film studies about why films are made at the time they’re made. It may be silly to look at something like Transformers and say, “Why was this made when it was made?” but Transformers reflects a lot about the time period it was made in, even if it’s a horrible, inane, stupid film.

[Rosie laughs]

Jessica: It’s amazing.

Michael: [laughs] But no matter what the material, there’s always a reason that things come out when they do. And even with how delicately planned the Harry Potter series… We are to understand it has been planned by Rowling. I think she’s… Her other writing shows evidence that she’s very mindful, if not ahead of the game, of what’s going on politically and socially in the world. And she definitely infused a lot of the social and political climate into Half-Blood Prince and Order of the Phoenix, I would say.

Jessica: She also did it in a way that’s timeless by removing it from the Muggle world. Because of our context, we say, “Oh yeah, she was reading into this climate,” but 20 years from now, when the next war happens or whatever it is, it’ll still make sense in that climate as well because it’s not tied to… I mean, yes we put dates to it, but it’s not tied to a specific time.

Michael: Yeah, yeah. For the longest time, until people picked apart Nearly Headless Nick’s deathday and started applying states to the Harry Potter series, I think that’s why she was so reluctant to set a time period for Harry Potter. And like you said, Jessica, I think that’s why it was wise of her to do that, is because even with the…

Rosie: It’s timeless.

Michael: Yeah, it is timeless, even with the dates that we have. I think somebody who is a casual reader or a first-time reader or somebody who maybe doesn’t explore Pottermore as much to get that extra information definitely could see the series as very timeless in that respect.

Rosie: Although one day, they are going to turn around and say, “Where are the mobile phones?” [laughs]

Michael: [laughs] It was a bit of a problem when – I think it’s in Sorcerer’s Stone – she mentions that Dudley chucks his PlayStation out a window, and I was like, “Oh…”

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: “Why didn’t you just say ‘gaming console’? Don’t say ‘PlayStation.'” [laughs]

Jessica: Yeah, but some day it’s going to be like, “Why didn’t he just take the chip out of his arm and throw that out the window?” [laughs]

Michael: [laughs] That’s true. The technology will…

Rosie: At least she didn’t mention cassette tapes or something. [laughs]

Michael: [laughs] That would have been bad, yeah.

Rosie: It is interesting when you look at the major YA series is in books over the [p]ast decade. So thinking Harry Potter, which was about growing up, it was about discovering who you are as a person, about family and love and yeah, ultimately death and all of those things. And then you’ve got Twilight, obviously, which is very much about passion and about those definitely teenage emotions and whether or not you should make lifelong choices or not when you are a teenager and experiencing those passions. And for such a passionate series, I think that craze has died so quickly. I don’t hear any kids talking about the Twilight series anymore, teaching at secondary schools.

Michael: No, they’re already… I think from what I’ve seen from the teen scene right now is, Twilight has become a joke to that crowd.

Rosie: Yeah, it’s dead and gone.

Michael: Yeah, it’s, it’s too… For a generation that is embracing of something like The Hunger Games, of course Twilight would be absurd.

Rosie: And that’s interesting.

Michael: What does that say about the new generation that we have and our world, that we’ve gone – like what we’ve talked about – from a series that had something great to fight for to embracing a series that is completely trying to build a world from the ground up?

Rosie: Yeah. And if you look at what happened politically and socioeconomically at the time, you went from a very good stand point when Harry Potter ended, and everything was very good. You had the passionate moments with Twilight, and then the crashes happened, and the political world went into turmoil. And it’s interesting, then, that we have got The Hunger Games as the resurging and the other dystopias as the main focus of literature at the moment, where kids are growing up thinking politically and realizing that they can actually make a difference in the future. And I think it will be really interesting to see what this generation of kids goes on and does in the world. And hopefully, it will make it a better place than it is now.

Michael: Absolutely. Let’s see what comes next. Watch your media, kids! It’s important.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: It says a lot about the world around you.

Rosie: Sorry for the very heavy discussion, everyone out there.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Didn’t mean to get serious today.

[Michael laughs]

Jessica: We didn’t write all the deaths in this book. That’s on J.K.

Rosie: Unexpected at the beginning of this episode. [laughs]

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Jessica: That is true.

Michael: I’d like to say, “We’re going to lighten things up,” but actually…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: … maybe not so much with…

Rosie: It’s one of those episodes. [laughs]

Michael:[laughs] as we venture into Chapter 12 of Half-Blood Prince.

[Half-Blood Prince Chapter 12 intro begins]

[Sound of whirling wind]

Leanne: Katie, no! You don’t know where it’s from.

Katie: I told you, Leanne, it’s fine. I just need to bring it up to Hogwarts.

Harry: Chapter 12.

Leanne: Give it to me!

Katie: No! Leanne, let go!

Leanne: No, Katie! Let go of it!

[Sound of a package ripping open]

Harry: “Silver and Opals.”

[Katie screams]

[Half-Blood Prince Chapter 12 intro ends]

Michael: As Hogwarts enters a particularly frosty fall season, Harry finds himself more and more entranced by the words of the Half-Blood Prince, discovering that his new tutor is also as much a dab hand at spellwork as Potions. But any questions about the Prince’s identity are put on hold for what turns out to be the least enjoyable Hogsmeade trip Harry and his friends have ever been on, with fierce weather, boarded-up businesses, Slughorn’s pestering, all culminating in a familiar cursed opal necklace nearly claiming Gryffindor Quidditch team member Katie Bell as its victim. Harry is quick to share his suspicions that Malfoy is the culprit, but (not for the first time) he finds himself completely alone in his opinion on the matter. And that is our summary for “Silver and Opals.” So to our points! Let’s start with the Half-Blood Prince since Harry, we find at the beginning of the chapter, is sitting in bed, doing what is apparently an abominable act, which is that he is reading in bed, something that should only be reserved for Hermione because she’s weird like that, according to Ron. And there’s a lot of this interesting discussion I was already thinking about in terms of Harry’s relationship to the Half-Blood Prince’s book, and to start it off, we actually have an excellent audioBoom from Christy-Lou about Harry and his relationship, perhaps as a bully, with the Half-Blood Prince. So let’s listen to that.

[Audio]: Hey there, Alohomora!. Christy-Lou here. In this chapter we see Harry use spells from the Potions book on other characters like Crabbe and Goyle and Filch, much to the delight of other students. But even though he uses these spells against characters we dislike, isn’t this a form of bullying? Harry is often compared to Lily more than he is to James, as Lily is always this beacon of nice and pure everything, and James is a bully. And I think in this moment, Harry’s James is really showing, if you will. I just wanted to know what your thoughts on these actions that Harry is taking [are] and if he seems like he really is a bully. Thanks.

Jessica: I agree a million percent with Christy-Lou. I reread it and was like, “Well, that’s a big bag of James Potter.”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Jessica: Especially the part with Filch. I don’t know why I found that especially offensive this time. I guess… I don’t know if it’s because Filch is a Squib or because he’s supposed to be an authority figure, but the fact that he was doing it just to make people laugh really bothered me. I was like, “What a little jerk. Why are you being this way?”

Kristen: I definitely agree. I mean, he definitely is being a bully to these unfortunate characters.

Jessica: And to Ron, his best friend. I mean, I know he didn’t know what the spell was going to do, but all the more reason not to try it on your best friend, while he’s asleep nonetheless. Yeah, I think he’s maybe drunk on the power of the Half-Blood Prince and not fully… he’s so obsessed with figuring out what all he can get his hands on that he’s not really thinking about consequences.

Rosie: Yeah. I think from a teacher standpoint, it’s interesting how very few times bullying is actually intentional. There is definitely intentional bullying in the world – don’t get me wrong – and that’s often the worst bullying, of course. But there is a lot of bullying where the victim will see it as bullying, but the bully definitely doesn’t. They think of it as being the joker, as being silly, as just being a teenager, whatever. And I think it’s important to realize how your actions can affect other people and to always evaluate what you are doing and to take ownership of what you’re doing. And Harry, at this moment, is definitely not taking ownership of what he’s doing. He’s definitely blinded by the power and the success that he’s had from the Half-Blood Prince, and he just doesn’t quite understand what is going on. And the whole Sectumsempra thing later on is a perfect example of where he realizes finally that “Oh, okay, I definitely shouldn’t have done this. Let’s stop.”

Michael: See… okay, I’m going to be the voice of dissent here. I feel like a horrible person for doing this, but I’m actually… I’m a little more… I’m not saying that he’s not a bully, but I feel like it’s a little more of a gray area for me. I think that probably the biggest one for me is Crabbe because Crabbe does do a lot of horrible things in the book, and it’s also suggested that he does a lot of horrible things that we don’t see, that occur off-screen to much less defensive students, so it’s… and I don’t advocate the eye for an eye method, but we’re also dealing with a situation where we have a very unique setting of individuals who have – again – magic at their disposal, which generally they’re not supposed to use. I believe the rule is that in the corridors between classrooms, they’re not supposed to use that, but nobody ever seems to remember that rule or enforce it ever.

[Rosie laughs]

Jessica: Filch does, but his tongue is stuck to the top of his mouth. He can’t say anything.

Michael: [laughs] Well, and I think in that respect… and we’ve pondered this before, but putting Filch in charge of that, I don’t why Dumbledore would do that unless it’s for Dumbledore’s own amusement because Filch can’t do anything. He’s completely useless as a rule enforcer because he has no magic to combat the magic. So it’s like you’re kind of inviting Filch to be a victim to this stuff anyway. And also, to be honest, Filch is also horrible and looks for any reason to get people in trouble that are not valid. So I mean, if Harry [were] picking on completely defen… and I see the argument for Filch because he doesn’t have magic. But if he [were] picking on innocent first years who[m] he had no beef with, that might be…

Rosie: That would be a lot worse.

Michael: Yeah, that would be worse, but Harry is going after people who have done horrible things to him in the past. Again, I don’t advocate an eye for an eye, and I’m not saying I would do this if I had magic at my disposal, because I wouldn’t. I would be way too much of a wuss to take it out on somebody. But I don’t know. I do think this is, though, definitely, a connection with Harry’s father because what I think is interesting about this chapter is Harry does posit to Hermione and Ron the possibility that the Half-Blood Prince is James.

Rosie: Yeah, he is convincing himself by this point even though he knows it’s not true.

Michael: Yeah, I found that fascinating because it’s interesting to map out the progression of Harry’s relationship [with] his deceased parents throughout the books. Because he really has an epiphany, I think, about his relationship with James in Book 3 with his Patronus. So it’s interesting that Harry is still grasping for any semblance of his parents being alive still in some way. Still [in] Book 6, there’s this hope that Lily and James might be alive in the canon, that Deathly Hallows will reveal that they’re able to be revived somehow. That lingering hope is apparently still here, and I think it’s also worth noting that… I think from what you ladies were summarizing about Harry’s behavior, I would say that perhaps maybe it’s fair to say that Ginny wasn’t wrong about her opinion on the book earlier if you guys remember what she said. Which of course is that she’s also been under the influence of a book before, obviously one that was a Horcrux and therefore contained a soul, but things don’t seem to be much different here, do they?

Jessica: Except for Harry is making choices to do the things he’s doing, whereas Ginny didn’t have a choice. But I think there has to have a balance there. You can’t be all Ginny/Hermione and be like, “Well, just doesn’t even read it because it’s not even worth it.” But maybe there’s a way to take a more scientific or academic or safe approach to it and say, “Okay, I wonder what this spell does. Let me think. Since everything ever is in Latin, let me think what Levicorpus probably means before I try it on somebody sleeping.”

Michael: [laughs] Well, and actually speaking of that, because that’s a great point to jump to because we get two new spells here for the series: Muffliato and Levicorpus. And it’s funny you say that, Jessica, about “Well, obviously, all these spells are Latin-based.” I have to wonder: Are wizards canonically aware of that? Because nowhere in the series is it described how spells are created, and we find out that these spells were created by Snape. Having played the Book of Spells video game, there are mentions of other spells that were created, and there’s no mention of how wizards stumbled across creating these spells. How does this even work?

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: Especially if you get one letter wrong, a buffalo might end up on your chest, apparently, as a consequence.

[Rosie laughs]

Jessica: I just imagine Snape sitting down with a set of those flash cards of root words that you use when studying for the SATs or something.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Jessica: And just picking two that go together and thinking real hard about it and seeing what happens. And if it doesn’t work, then he scratches it out and writes the next combo.

[Kristen, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: I think there is a large amount of intention involved when you’re actually creating a spell. And maybe once you’ve assigned a word and an intention and a movement – for wand casting, of course, and not for non-verbal spells – but you have to create the actual verbal spell before the non-verbal spell. Then it becomes a canon of magic. So once you’ve invented it, it’s for everyone, but someone has to come up with it first. And there’s always been this idea of powerful words and Latin being a particular powerful language connected to that. Probably some Christian history in there. Don’t want to read too much into that. But there’s a lot of logic in those words being used to create these spells. It does literally mean “levitate this body,” so… [laughs] Yeah, it makes sense, and it sounds magical to our modern ears, so why not? It sounds good.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Jessica: We should just go ask Beyoncé how she created the word “bootylicious.”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Jessica: It was basicall the same thing.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: What an interesting spell! What would it mean?

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, what would that do exactly? Do we want to know?

Jessica: I don’t know, but you have to be ready for the jelly…

[Michael laughs]

Jessica: … before somebody casts it at you.

Michael: Yeah, no, I just find it fascinating that it’s never acknowledged in canon how a wizard… like you were mapping out Rosie, what comes first? The intention, the word, or the movement. How does all this piece itself together? And apparently Snape went through a lot of iterations, according to this chapter, of how he came to Levicorpus. And so that was just fascinating to me, to reflect more that that, because wizards don’t have to acknowledge that it is just as easy as combining Latin roots for words.

Jessica: I think of it like programming a computer. You have to think about what you want it to do. And then somehow tell it what you want it to do. So you think… like Rosie was saying, you figure out, “What am I trying to do? Am I trying to clean my house? Well, what does that look like? Now let me find the words,” and then you just have to keep until they fit together, until they speak the right thing to the magical universe, I guess, to make the action happen.

Michael: Yeah, I guess that… I mean, that makes the most sense with anecdotes we’ve heard how badly it can go when messing with spells. You just have to tamper with it until you get it right, so…

Rosie: I think it that it’s quite interesting that we’ve got both interesting words for spells but also interesting names. So I know we’re about to talk about Mundungus Fletcher, but the name Mundungus also sounds like it should be some kind of spell. So which…? Some Latin word forms become names even as well. So what would you do if your name [were] accidentally a spell? That would be amazing.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: Like Aberforth Dumbledore. That could easily become some kind of spell. But what would that do?

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Absolutely, where’s the discussion between the two in the wizarding world? Before we get Mundungus, I did also have to mention, briefly, the non-canonical destruction of Levicorpus. Because I think a lot of people forget that Snape actually invented Muffliato and Levicorpus because the movies and video games liberally use those spells like everybody knows them. So just a reminder that Snape did in fact invent these. I did think it was fascinating to hear about the concept that spells go in and out like fads. And we’ll eventually hear about this from Lupin: “Oh, Levicorpus was such a fad.”

Rosie: “That was around in my day.”

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Yeah. Just like Pogs…

[Jessica and Rosie laugh]

Michael: … or Skip-Its. Levicorpus was the thing.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: I just thought that was so funny to think that spells go in and out of style like that.

Rosie: Michael, none of our younger audience [members] are going to know what Pog and Skip-Its are. That’s really bad.

Kristen: Google it because they’re amazing. [laughs]

Michael: Yes, google it and have yourself a little ’90s history lesson.

Kristen: You’re welcome.

[Everyone laughs]

Jessica: Young people, someday you’re going to look back on this time and say, “Remember when we used to call each other ‘bae’?”

[Michael laughs]

Jessica: This is what [unintelligible].

Michael: God. The other thing worth noting, too, about the Half-Blood Prince’s book, is that they’re…a gain, as we’ve mentioned before with Half-Blood Prince, the mystery is completely laid out for you. There really is no mystery here. It’s a wonder that all of us didn’t solve it right away. Because I have four quotes here that pretty much directly show that it’s Snape.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: And I don’t want to be the one to read everything, so ladies, do you want to each pick a quote and read one, and I’ll read whatever one you don’t?

Rosie: “Harry was still having difficulty with nonverbal spells, something Snape had been quick to comment on in every DADA class. On the other hand, the Prince had proved a much more effective teacher than Snape so far.”

Jessica: “Harry had seen his father use this spell on Snape, but he had never told Ron and Hermione about that particular excursion into the Pensieve.” And I want to comment: It’s a little bit off this point, but I want to take this moment where we’re thinking of Harry looking back at his dad and being so mad that he was the jerk that Snape always said he was, and then Harry behaving like that, this is one of the times when we can say Snape was right. He might not be a good person, but he was accurate. And sometimes I forget that, and I know there’s not a lot of Snape love on this podcast, and I’m certainly not going to add to it…

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Jessica: … but just because we don’t like him, doesn’t mean he wasn’t honest about the behavior. And there’s not a lot of times I can think of when we can point out that Snape was speaking somewhat fairly about James Potter and Harry, and this is one of those cases.

Michael: Well, and actually, that bleeds perfectly into the next quotation because Hermione so kindly reminds us that, really, this spell has been taken to an extreme and really should not be used the way that Harry is using it, as she says, “‘We’ve seen a whole bunch of people use Levicorpus, in case you’ve forgotten. Dangling people in the air, making them float along asleep, helpless.’ With a sinking feeling, Harry too remembered the behavior of the Death Eaters at the Quidditch World Cup.” And Kristen, could you read the last quotation for us?

Kristen: Oh, of course. “If the Prince had been a budding Death Eater, he wouldn’t have beeb boasting about being half-blood, would he?”

Michael and Rosie: Or would he?

[Kristen, Michael, and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Just some noteworthy quotes that really just put that answer flat out in front of us.

Rosie: But interesting about that final point, the fact that we know that the Half-Blood Prince can’t be James because he’s pure-blood. So is the reason that Snape is boasting about being half-blood because it separates him from James in Lily’s eyes? He is closer to Lily in blood status than James is, and Lily hates James at this point. Could it be that he is trying to say that “I’m better he is. I’m half-blood. I’m more like you,” using this title? Interesting theory.

Jessica: That’s a great thought, yeah. I never thought about that.

Michael: Yeah, I think I’ll have to keep in mind how where we see the… the further the discussion and the revelation gets about the Half-Blood Prince. Because there’s a lot of weight to that name, as we will eventually discover.

Rosie: And we have never really had the explanation as to why Snape called himself that.

Michael: We get a little bit of it.

Rosie: Only a little bit. Not too much. He was trying to be a Death Eater and all that stuff, and you would imagine that they wouldn’t want to boast about it, and then Snape does, so…

Michael: Well, and I think a lot of that will come up with the history of his parents. That’s where we touch on it a little bit.

Rosie: But we’ll get to that at the end of the book, so… [laughs]

Jessica: I’m curious about what Snape’s ambitions were before Lily was in danger. Was he trying to be a Death Eater in an effort to become the most powerful Dark wizard? Was he trying to establish himself as the successor to Voldemort? Maybe he was trying to establish his super awesome villain persona…

[Michael laughs]

Jessica: … and then once Lily got killed and that derailed his plans for his life… because I have this Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

[Rosie laughs]

Jessica: … vibe where he was going to be the greatest villain and then get the girl and then dominate the world or whatever his plans were.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: I think I’m more sympathetic toward Snape than many people on this podcast, and I don’t think he was ever as bad as Voldemort. I think he really was just that broken little boy [who] was bullied too much as a kid and just wanted to avenge himself and went too far, and I think, like Regulus, he probably would’ve eventually maybe turned on them whether Lily was killed or not. I don’t know. It’s hard to say, but…

Michael: I definitely have more sympathy, I think, for younger Snape.

Rosie: Yeah. I think it’s a fan fiction thing. I think we’ve explored him as a character in more detail than perhaps some others have, and therefore, we can empathize with him a bit more.

Michael: Well, and I think even without the fan fiction, there was enough weight given to hit that point in his life, especially by Deathly Hallows. I think if we go along with what we were discussing before about the teenager mindset of the characters that we do get to follow in Half-Blood Prince, I’m sure that mindset was no different for the era of the Marauders. And everybody… I think when you asked, Jessie, what were Snape’s overall goals and plans for himself when he was fifteen, sixteen… I imagine he probably, like you were saying, had very lofty goals and plans but didn’t have really a good idea of how he was going to carry them out and he didn’t have realistic goals for himself, probably. And as we know, he was very easily influenced by people who had power and influence. So I think that’s definitely… taking into account the way that we see the characters that we’re following behave, I think that could safely be applied to the characters from the past as well and their teenage years.

Jessica: And my other question, too, is was he using the Half-Blood Prince name publicly or was that just something that he doodled in his own books? I don’t remember if that was something he wanted other people to know him by or if it was just like his screen name essentially.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Jessica: If they would have had screens. No one would call him that but that was just his personal persona for himself.

Michael: I’m fairly sure… and I’m not going to say this with assurance. Listeners, I’m sure you will research the heck out of this and tell it to us in the comments, so please do.

Jessica: Yeah, please do.

Michael: But I’m fairly sure he doesn’t publicize it and that he just does it for himself.

Jessica: That’s what I thought. That’s what I always assumed.

Rosie: But he does take the care to write it on the back of his Potions book.

Michael: But for now, we’re going to stop wondering about Snape and the Half-Blood Prince because we have bigger issues on our hands, like going for a trip to Hogsmeade. But that’s going to be spoiled almost immediately because there’s nowhere to go because all the fun places have been closed. And as we head into a store, we see that Mundungus Fletcher is there being accosted by some tall guy who looks familiar but not familiar for us to apparently recognize that he’s Dumbledore’s brother, something that has always bothered me narratively, I would say…

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: … because by Book 7, when they see Aberforth and talk to him properly for the first time, they’re like, “Oh my God! He looks exactly like Dumbledore!”

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: “Aberforth, in the last few years, you’ve really changed and look like your brother!”

Michael: [laughs] I just… and if I am correct, this is the transaction where Aberforth gets the piece of the mirror, correct? Is this where he’s picking up the mirror shard?

Rosie: Oh! Possibly.

Kristen: I don’t know.

Rosie: I’ve never thought about that because Sirius would’ve had it and… yeah, Mundungus has stolen it from Grimmauld Place. That is amazing. Amazing deduction, Michael, thank you very much.

Michael: [laughs] I’m pretty sure that is… I know Aberforth mentions in Deathly Hallows that he gets it off Mundungus but I think this is the exact moment where it actually happened.

Rosie: Yeah, it must be.

Jessica: Yeah, it’s gotta be. Great job.

Michael: Which, again, is funny that Harry doesn’t recognize Aberforth if Rowling did in fact know that this was Aberforth.

Kristen: But it does say his cloak was around his neck.

Michael: Okay, so he’s not… he doesn’t have his beard full out then, right?

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Jessica: Yeah, because it says he draws his cloak even more tightly around his neck, so he was probably partially covered, which… I mean, still, Dumbledore partially covered still looks like Dumbledore.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, and again, we have seen him in full at the bar in Order of the Phoenix, so…

Rosie: True.

Michael: Something I still haven’t gotten over and we’ll talk about it a little…

Jessica: Bad lighting?

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: But it’s just like the movie. I mean, they’re two different actors in the movie, so maybe it does change that much.

Kristen: I didn’t recognize him either.

Michael: [laughs] And Harry does state… because this, of course, is the segment where we discover Mundungus has swiped lots and lots of the Blacks’ silver and so there is the silver of the “Silver and Opals” of the chapter. And Harry very furiously says, “‘Can’t the Order control Mundungus?’ Harry demanded of the other two in a furious whisper. ‘Can’t they at least stop him stealing everything that’s not fixed down when he’s at headquarters?'” Which did… something I’ve already brought up and we don’t have to linger on it long, but just putting it out there again: Why the hell is Mundungus in the Order, anyway?

[Rosie laughs]

Jessica: Yeah.

Rosie: Sometimes it’s useful to have a thief and a spy, I think is the idea.

Michael: It is. I just feel like…

Rosie: But yeah, they should be able to control him a bit more.

Jessica: But it’s more useful to have a former thief.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: Yeah.

Kristen: Yes! Former. Key word.

Michael: That is exactly what I was going to say. He’s not reformed to the point that… I feel like Mundungus… when he does what he does in Deathly Hallows, I always read that as, “Are any of you really surprised that he flew the coop?”

Kristen: Right.

Michael: He’s behaved like that all along.

Rosie: Mhm.

Jessica: I always look at him like the magical equivalent of a crackhead. He just can’t help himself.

[Michael laughs]

Jessica: Yeah, there’s something so broken in him or whatever.

Rosie: I don’t know, I think there’s a very… maybe it’s a traditional English type of character, which is the kind of wheeler, dealer, artful dodger… Fagin from Oliver

Michael: Yeah, I was going to say, he’s a dodger. Very much, yeah.

Rosie:[unintelligible] … yeah, there is definitely that character throughout English literature and English TV culture that… yeah, this is something that happens, unfortunately. Not drug related, but yeah.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: Yeah. To put the call out to Pottermore, it is mentioned that Mundungus apparently does something to help the Order and Dumbledore personally. Pottermore, please tell us what that was. [laughs] It would be nice to validate whatever that was.

Jessica: We’re pretty sure he did something.

Michael: Yeah, everybody says he did something but nobody actually knows what he did.

Jessica: Nobody knows what it is. He probably spread that rumor himself.

Michael: Yeah, there you go. It’s all just tall tales, right? But while we’re in Hogsmeade, nothing particularly remarkable happens until we leave, sans Harry and his observations of Ginny. And actually, the Ginny thing bookends the Hogsmeade stuff, and it’s worth discussing here, I think, because there has been so much discussion about the Harry/Ginny relationship. We’ve even talked about it a little bit already on this episode, and there was a lot of discussion in the comments about how well this is portrayed. And I have been through almost every episode where they get a mention. I have been smashing my Thor cup and yelling, “Another!”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Because there is not enough! But for once I’m actually feeling like this chapter is starting to show the inkling that it gets it.

Rosie: I think it’s interesting in comparison to the Hogsmeade chapter with Cho from Valentine’s Day in the last book.

Michael: Yes, yes.

Jessica: Mhm.

Rosie: And with that mentioned as well, the whole Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop that we’ll come to in a second. The fact that Harry has made this connection subconsciously in his mind, that he’s thinking about Ginny as he goes through Hogsmeade, and thinking, “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually go on a date together here?” That’s the undercurrent that’s going on through here.

Michael: I’ll read a few of these quotes. And the interesting thing, actually, to note is where the quotes are placed in the book. All the way back before the Hogsmeade trip starts on page 242, the narration says, “Harry felt suddenly light and happy. ‘Want to join us in Hogsmeade, Ginny?’ he asked. ‘Uh, I’m going with Dean. Might see you there,’ she replied, waving at them as she left.”

Rosie: Harry no longer feels slightly light and happy.

[Jessica and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Yeah, that’s immediately deflated. And then on page 248 as they’re leaving Hogsmeade, the narration says, “Harry’s thoughts strayed to Ginny as they trudged up the road to Hogwarts through the frozen slush. They had not met up with her, undoubtedly, thought Harry, because she and Dean were cozily closeted in Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop, that haunt of happy couples. Scowling, he bowed his head against the swirling sleet and trudged on.”

Kristen: Aww.

Michael: And I have to say, this is… I liked this because not only can I speak from personal experience that I have felt this, but also this feels… unless… I think the only other part that I can think of that gets close to this in Half-Blood Prince is the bit with the Amortentia, and Harry doesn’t even recognize what the smell is until later.

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: This narration, finally, is one of the few points where Harry actually does really… the narration really does well at expressing Harry’s dismay.

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: And it’s that sudden realization that you’re disappointed. I feel like Harry has been looking for Ginny the whole time they were in Hogsmeade.

Rosie: [laughs] Aww.

Kristen: Just hoping to get a glimpse.

Michael: And again, I wish… the interesting thing about this chapter is I forgot how short it is.

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: And it’s only 20 pages, and I feel like there would have been room to just…

Rosie: Have a run-in with them, yeah.

Michael: Yeah, have a run-in. Even have the narration say that Harry was looking for her in the back of his mind; was just eyeing the shops for her. I just feel like there could have been more, but this feels like one of the more substantial ones. And the other mention that Ginny gets… and something that I wanted to touch on a little bit, and we’ll even get more into this farther on; there’s a bigger paragraph a few chapters down that really riles me up. But this one gets close. It’s from page 244 of the American edition. Narration here says, “Harry had indeed been scheduling practices every time Slughorn had sent him a little, violet ribbon-adorned invitation. This strategy meant that Ron was not left out, and they usually had a laugh with Ginny, imagining Hermione shut up with McLaggen and Zabini.”

Rosie: That’s just mean.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Well, and interestingly for me here, the association that we get a lot with Ginny is with Quidditch. What is the thing that Rowling hated to write about?

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: [laughs] And I’m even going a little back here, too, if you remember, listeners, many episodes ago when Noah associated all of the Quidditch balls with genders, which was very creative in his attempts. But I do feel like there’s a little bit of validation to that here because we will continue to see Ginny associated with Quidditch, and what seem to be some very meaningful moments with Harry during Quidditch that happen offscreen. They sound like nice moments, but we don’t get to explore them.

Rosie: Yeah, and I do think that does have a lot to do with Jo having an issue with writing Quidditch. But it’s also interesting because, I mean, over the summer when Harry was with the Weasley family, and when he actually got close to Ginny and was falling in love with her or whatever, that was connected with Quidditch as well. It was when they were playing Quidditch every day, and they just having fun and being normal kids doing normal kid things, and it’s quite nice to see that continue throughout the school year so he has still got that connection with her and he is still growing their friendship, even if she is currently taken. It does let them have that kind of interaction, and yeah, like you said, the fact that she is still connected to Quidditch – the other of Harry’s great loves – is definitely interesting.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: But it’s also really interesting in the fact that it shows that Ginny is a very strong Quidditch player and that it’s not just men that can be playing Quidditch, and it’s very good for the feminism idea that Quidditch is not a gender divided sport. Everyone can play as long as you’ve got a broom. It’s good. Yay. [laughs]

Michael: Yes, I’ve always liked that the Gryffindor team is fairly balanced in its gender on Quidditch…

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: … unlike the Slytherins apparently. But as we’re leaving Hogsmeade and mulling over Ginny, we get to the opals of the “Silver and Opals” with poor Katie Bell, speaking of Gryffindor Quidditch team members. Just a note because I always like to think that Rowling has a plan in mind, and so I analyzed Katie Bell’s name. Her name comes from, of course, Katherine, which is derived from…

Rosie: Speaking of unpronounceable names, Hekate [pronounces “heka-tay”] or Hecate [pronounces “he-cate”] or there’s been lots of different pronunciations throughout history, but…

Michael: I like Hekate. That sounds fabulous. We’re going to do that one.

Jessica: I always heard Hekate.

Rosie: Yeah, Hekate.

Michael: I like that. Which is the Greek goddess of magic. It also could be derived from “ikea,” not as in the store.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But in fact the Greek word for torture. And Bell, of course, could either mean literally a bell, the sound of a bell, or beauty. So a tortured beauty is what Katie Bell could be. And here she is, a poor, tortured beauty. [laughs] Katie Bell has apparently procured this opal necklace, which we have seen before. We find out later that she got it from Madame Rosmerta who has apparently been Imperiused by Malfoy. Quick question: When did that happen?

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: Because Malfoy, we find out, has not been to Hogsmeade, so… plot hole? I’m not sure. If anybody can remember where that was cleared up, please let us know in the comments because I was reading… I made sure to read the passage at the end with Malfoy explaining everything and I was like, “When did you go to Hogsmeade? You’ve been doing detention.” So…

Rosie: But he could have used one of the secret passages at some other point. So not just during this trip, but he could’ve…

Michael: I was wondering that. Yeah, I was wondering if he utilized those or not.

Kristen: Can he get someone else to do it, too?

Michael: See, I figured you can’t do that…

Jessica: Well, he says he did it, I think, in the book.

Michael: Yeah.

Jessica: But could it have been before? Because he had to Imperius her and then give her the coin, so could it have happened before school even started?

Rosie: Possibly.

Michael: Oh, wow.

Rosie: But then how long could the curse last?

Michael: Yeah. [laughs]

Rosie: Is it like a sleeper unit where you can trigger it for a certain moment or…?

Kristen: I think he could’ve waited, like, “You have to wait in the bathroom for a certain amount of time and then go out.”

Rosie: But then he would have to do it that day.

Michael: Well, and remember… probably the most extreme example we’ve seen before of an Imperius Curse is Barty Crouch, and he got quite a bit aways away from his captor and he was still under the influence of it. So…

Rosie: Maybe it’s just that strong. But then Harry could fight it.

Michael: I think…

Jessica: Although Malfoy… I don’t think Malfoy is that… I mean, not that he’s not a powerful kid, but come on.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: And I don’t think he has a lot of practice with it, so I don’t think there’s enough behind him to make it work.

Michael: To make it work that well. Yeah, no, there seems to be a little just bit of a plot failing here.

Jessica: But at that point, he was taking a lot of plays out of the trio’s playbook, so… and Harry was able to get in and out of Hogsmeade undetected on a day that he was supposed to have been in the castle all day, so it’s not impossible.

Rosie: But we know for a fact that he was in detention… or was that with Snape? Is his detention with Snape?

Jessica: It’s with McGonagall, but we don’t…

Michael: It’s with McGonagall, yeah.

Jessica: But I can’t imagine it was all day.

Kristen: I was going to say, it can’t be an all-day detention.

Michael: So yeah. Maybe Malfoy is just using the passages every now and then, early in the morning, to bewitch Madame…

Jessica: He’s doing plenty of sneaking around. Because he’s probably exploring the passages, too, to see if that’s how he can get the Death Eaters in later.

Rosie: But that would be so much easier than the Vanishing Cabinet. If he’s found the thing to Honeydukes, then just tell them to break into Honeydukes. So much easier. [laughs]

Jessica: But since when has Malfoy been the world’s greatest thinker?

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: Well, and I imagine the thing behind that is that they don’t want the Death Eaters just waltzing into Hogsmeade because I think definitely, as we see from the book’s version, they’re mostly just trying to make a statement at Hogwarts and then leave. So not too much…

Rosie: And security in Hogsmeade is quite tight as well.

Michael: Is tight, yes. But yeah. So unfortunately Katie touches this opal necklace. I was curious to see what opals represent, and actually when I did my initial research, a lot of the stuff that came up was just like, “Opals are really pleasant and very nice and everybody loves opals.” And I was like, “Well, that’s not correct.”

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: So I did a little more digging and apparently… I got this information from, so thank you, Australia. [laughs] Apparently, according to them, the opal’s nasty reputation has troubled folklorists for centuries. “Fantastic legends have grown up around this harmless stone. Cautionary tales designed to discourage those who might otherwise find themselves mortally attracted by its fiery brilliance. To this day, the odd prejudice against opals remains alive and well in some corners of the world, especially in the backwaters of southern Europe and the Middle East, where jewelers won’t carry opals and customers won’t buy them. Throughout history, while many stones were prized for their positive, magical qualities, others were denounced as vessels of evil. No gem was more vilified than the poor opal. Witches and sorcerers supposedly used black opals to increase their own magical power or to focus them like laser beams on people they wanted to harm. Medieval Europeans dreaded the opal because of its resemblance to the evil eye and its superficial likeness to the optical organs of cats, toads, snakes, and other common creatures with hellish affiliations. An opal completely contaminated with evil was believed capable of maiming or even killing a person foolish enough to wear or own it.” So there’s your explanation of why the opal necklace does what it does to Katie Bell. And yet, ever…

Jessica: Because it looks like a frog’s eye.

Michael: [laughs] Because it looks like a frog’s eye. And ever so foolishly, despite knowing that this necklace does horrible things, as we see on these pages, “Harry hesitated for a moment, then pulled his scarf from around his face and, ignoring Ron’s gasp, carefully covered the necklace in it and picked it up.” And Hermione later states, “No one could have opened that package without touching the necklace.” Where did the Levitation Spell go? Don’t…? [laughs]

Jessica: Right? You have magic! Or even, you have a wand; it’s a big, long stick! Put it on the…

Michael: [laughs] You don’t have to touch it! Yet again, just another little failing in the plot for me.

Rosie: And it’s just such an important spell in that kind of circumstance. Wingardium Leviosa!

Michael: [laughs] Yes, yes.

Rosie: We know this one. [laughs]

Michael: You don’t even have to touch it. I just thought it was so funny because Hermione, too, saying, “Nobody could have opened the package,” and I’m like, “No Diffindo to rip it open? You think Dumbledore is just going to tear open a package like a 5-year-old child?”

Rosie: It’s like, “There’s just no fire,” all over again.

Michael: [laughs] Yes, exactly. I was just kind of astonished that everybody felt the need to actually interact with this necklace so closely. Think, wizards, think. Brief mention to both Tonks and Hagrid in this scene. Tonks literally pops up out of nowhere and leaves.

Kristen: She does.

Rosie: She keeps doing that.

Michael: Yes. And interestingly, Hagrid is the one who comes and helps Katie Bell and carries her back. Personally, I kind of felt like it could have been Tonks… just to use her.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: The idea is – I believe, right – that she’s following Harry. So you would think after this horrible…

Kristen: Oh yeah, that she would hop in…

Michael: … thing that just happened, she…

Kristen: … maybe help save the day.

Michael: [laughs] … as an Auror might know a thing or two about…

Rosie: Maybe she’s gone to report on Mundungus or something at this point.

Michael: Or she’s having at sad Firewhisky at the…

Kristen: She’s sitting in the corner.

Rosie: Yeah.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: She figured that he’s gone back to Hogwarts, so her duty is done. Also, don’t we know that it’s kind of happened further up the path? And I think… you say that you think Tonks is following Harry, but I think she’s protecting… she’s on duty within Hogsmeade.

Michael: Just like general Auror duty not specific to Harry?

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: That’s probably correct, yeah.

Rosie: Which might be why she then doesn’t follow him back up the path towards Hogwarts because she’s protecting the town.

Michael: Well done, Aurors. [laughs] Nobody…

Rosie: [laughs] Fooled again by…

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: … tiny little blonde boy.

Jessica: Crime doesn’t happen between places.

Michael: [laughs] Yes, crime doesn’t happen on the path in between. That’s probably where Dawlish was patrolling, and he’s knocked out cold somewhere in the snow.

Rosie: [laughs] As always happens.

Michael: As usual, Harry is quick to point the finger at Malfoy without proof as McGonagall points out. But as we the readers know, Harry is perfectly correct in his assumptions. Interestingly, the narration points says here:

“Professor McGonagall did not invite confidences; Dumbledore, though in many ways more intimidating, still seemed less likely to scorn a theory, however wild.”

Which of course we will see that that is not the case at all, and Dumbledore is going to completely step all over Harry’s attempts to get his attention on this. I think this quote is an excellent kind of more subtle way of pointing to the fact that Harry is actually correct.

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: Because Harry in his mind doesn’t think that Dumbledore would ever scorn this. And yet he does, so there is definitely something amiss. So, again as we go into this last point before we wrap up our discussion, I wanted to bring this up, and we’ve kind of been touching on it throughout the discussion. Because we actually had a long discussion in the comments from a lot of our listeners who believe that Rowling did not plan some of the series out that well, and that some of this might have just kind of been happenstance.

[Jessica gasps]

Michael: [laughs] So I wanted to do a little research for that, so I pulled out two quotes in particular – quotes that tragically do not exist in their original form anymore because Rowling’s original website is gone. Sad face. Rowling, please bring that back. I’d like it.

Rosie: Internet Wayback Machine.

Michael: Yeah, that…

Rosie: Always good.

Michael: Yeah, I would love a proper recreation of that, but…

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: Rowling had two statements that kind of tie into this, and in relation to Chamber of Secrets. And she said – these were both from her original website around the time that she revealed the Half-Blood Prince title – and she says… actually, you know what? No. I’m not going to read this. Rosie, you’re female and British. You read it.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: “In what way is ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ related to ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’? I have been engulfed by an avalance of questions on the subject of ‘Prince’ having once been a title of ‘Chamber’. The Half-Blood Prince might be described as a strand of the overall plot. That strand could be used in a whole variety of ways, and back in 1997, I considered weaving it into the story of ‘Chamber’. The link I mentioned between Books 2 and 6 does not in fact relate to the Half-Blood Prince, because there is no trace left of ‘Half-Blood Prince’ storyline in ‘Chamber’. Rather, it relates to a discovery Harry made in ‘Chamber’ that foreshadows something that he finds out in ‘Prince’.”

Michael: And the next quote, which was also from around the same time…

Rosie: “I was delighted to see that the hardcore super-bright fans knew that the real title was once in the long-distant past a possibility for ‘Chamber of Secrets’, and from that deduced that it was genuine. Certain crucial pieces of information in Book 6 were originally planned for ‘Chamber of Secrets’, but very early on (first draft of ‘Chamber’), I realized that this information’s proper home was Book 6. I have said before now that ‘Chamber’ holds some very important clues to the ultimate end of the series, not as many as ‘6’ obviously, but there is a link.”

Michael: And in this chapter alone – and perhaps, ladies, you can see even more – and listeners, if you do, I would love for them to be pointed out – but in this chapter alone, the connections between Chamber and Half-Blood are – the ones I found: the opal necklace, Borgin and Burkes, the Prince’s book, and Ginny and Harry’s relationship. It got me thinking just how much of Half-Blood Prince was recycled from Chamber of Secrets and how much of that was there before. Jessie, I feel like you have something to say about this because your reaction was excellent when I mentioned that there was some doubt being cast on Rowling for how well she had this planned out.

[Jessica and Rosie laugh]

Jessica: Well, the thing that jumps out at me – and it’s not specific to Snape – but the Parseltongue being important in both books was the thing that was screaming at me as Rosie read these quotes. And just that Slytherin connection, that’s what jumped out to me.

Rosie: See, the thing that’s really… the major thing that we learn in Half-Blood Prince is Horcruxes obviously. And the major thing that we find in Chamber and destroy at the end of Chamber is a Horcrux. And I think that the main plot line that she is discussing in both of these things is the fact that the memory that we see in Chamber is a part of Voldemort’s soul. And I think that is the detail that she has taken out of Chamber that we don’t actually discover until Book 6.

Michael: Mhm.

Rosie: We just think, okay, this is an odd occasion that’s happened and something has come out of the book and that’s very odd. But we don’t really question it too much, being young and naive as we were…

[Michael laughs]

Jessica: Yeah.

Rosie: And I think that is the main connection between these two books. But it is interesting to see how much of that kind of circle theory and how much of that connection does come out between these two books.

Michael: Yeah, because…

Rosie: Yeah, Parseltongue is…

Michael: I was thinking when both of you mentioned… the thing that came to my mind was the very in-depth exploration of how the past affects Hogwarts in its current state.

Rosie: Yeah.

Jessica: Yes!

Michael: There’s definitely a rich amount of past that’s affecting the present in both of these books. And… so that…

Rosie: The similarities between Tom Riddle and young Snape are definitely interesting.

Michael: Well yeah, even the possibility that perhaps some of these explorations of the past in Half-Blood Prince could have been touched on in Chamber originally in earlier drafts. I don’t even see why not.

Jessica: Well, and seeing how someone’s interpretation of the past can influence what you think about what’s happening. So, like Tom Riddle’s interpretation of what he saw that sort of pointed at Hagrid in Chamber and then Slughorn’s modified memory in this one.

Michael: Mhm.

Jessica: So looking at what’s true versus what’s remembered.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah, and those kinds of mirrors and parallels are… Rowling has never – and we discussed this on the last episode, too – Rowling has never definitively said that she used the circle/ring theory, that she never actually consciously used that. She’s never set out one way or the other.

Jessica: Yeah.

Michael: I really feel like it’s too much to be coincidence, like the things that have been found…

Rosie: Yeah.

Michael: Now there’s certainly minor things that have been stretched, but I feel like there’s so many major plot points that seem to intentionally mirror things from their properly linked book that it just can’t be.

Jessica: And if you’re going to move something out of Book 2, why skip it to Book 6? Why not push it to Book 3…

Michael: Yes!

Jessica: … if you didn’t have a plan?

Michael: Mhm. Yeah, exactly. I think there is an astonishing amount of planning going on here, actually. And Rowling has said before that there was a lot that she put in advance, and I think a lot of people have even questioned how much she says was really put in advance and wasn’t. But I think back specifically to the article on Pottermore where she talked about her choice of names for Hagrid and Dumbledore and how in-depth she went on that. She doesn’t choose a name just because she necessarily thinks it sounds good; she chooses it because it means something for the future of the plot. So I don’t know, I think while those doubts were expressed… because we did have some specific comments last week saying, “Oh, Rowling didn’t have the romance between Harry and Hermione and Ron planned out as well.” You guys were implying that she didn’t have these particular plots about the Horcruxes planned out as well. I don’t think these were things that she just stumbled upon.

Jessica: Yeah. Suck it, naysayers!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So if you disagree, please voice why on the comments this week, because we are at the end of our discussion. Poor Katie Bell is in the hospital, Harry is pretty sure that Malfoy is an idiot, and Hogsmeade is lame now.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: And that ends Chapter 12 of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Rosie: So of course, we need to round off today’s episode with our new Podcast Question of the Week. And I think this discussion that we had is just so interesting and can foster so many different opinions. I’m sure you’re all screaming at the podcast at the moment saying, “No, it’s not Horcruxes at all! It’s something else! It’s this, it’s this!” So that is what we would like you to discuss for this week’s Podcast Question of the Week: What do you think J.K. Rowling has removed from Book 2 and placed in Book 6? What is the major plotline that she has moved? And do you actually agree that circle theory was a planned plot point, or was it just something that is a massive coincidence?

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: That just seems ridiculous to me.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: But let us know your theories and whatever reasons she might have had for moving those plot points into Book 6 on the Podcast Question of the Week thread on the main site.

Kristen: And we want to thank you, Jessica, for being on the show today. We loved having you here.

Jessica: Thank you, I had a blast.

Michael: Oh, good. We were glad we were able to get you on the show, Jessica. You’ve been trying for a while.

Jessica: Absolutely.

Michael: And you had some great contributions to the show today. So thank you very much for joining us.

Jessica: Thank you so much.

Rosie: And if you guys would like to be on the show just like Jessica, you can join us by checking out the “Be on the Show” page at All you have to have is maybe a pair of Apple headphones, just something with a decent quality microphone. No other fancy equipment is needed. And while you’re there, you can also download a ringtone for free.

Kristen: And you can also find us on the Interwebs. We are on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN,, Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast. You can also call us on our Skype, which is 206-GO-ALBUS (206-462-5287). You can also leave us an audioBoom on the website at It is free – you just need to use a microphone – but please try to keep it under 60 seconds.

Michael: And I know we haven’t mentioned this for a while, but I was just thinking, listeners, if you ever feel so inclined, please also leave us a review on iTunes. We love iTunes reviews, too.

Kristen: Oh yes, definitely.

Michael: [laughs] I realized we never put that in our script, but yes, you should leave us a review. We love to hear what you think about the show. That’s a great place for you to do that, too. We love to hear your thoughts. But that’s not my part of the script, so I’m just infringing on things.

[Rosie laughs]

Michael: What I’m supposed to say is that you guys should check out the Alohomora! store. Unlike all the other shops in Hogsmeade, we’re open. So there’s another “suck it” for you – suck it, Hogsmeade!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: We have lots of different products to choose from: House shirts, different things themed after inside jokes from the show, like the Desk!Pig, Mandrake Liberation Front, Minerva Is My Homegirl, so many more, so many things we’re still working on trying to get to you. I swear that “Lupin Love” shirt will happen someday, you guys. But please check out the Alohomora! store for all of our great products.

Rosie: We also have our Smartphone app, which is available all over the Muggle world. And obviously if you can’t get it you must be magical, because Muggle devices don’t work in the magical world. Prices do vary, and there are transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and more on there. So please do check it out.

Kristen: Well, it’s the end of the show. We’re leaving Hogsmeade and suck it, naysayers. I’m Kristen Keys.

Michael: [laughs] I’m Michael Harle.

Rosie: And I am Rosie Morris. Thank you so much for listening to Episode 130 of Alohomora!

Kristen: [in a raspy voice] Open the Dumbledore!

[Show music begins]

Rosie: See, Michael, you made us all read quotes, and then you go and do voices. Come on. [laughs]

Kristen: I was going to say, I’m not doing the last one now after that! [laughs]

Michael: As if you didn’t know I was going to do that.

[Michael and Rosie laugh]

Michael: And Kristen, could you read the last quotation for us?

Kristen: Oh, of course. [in a gruff voice] “If [the Prince] had been…”

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: That’s the best I’ve got.

[Prolonged silence]

Michael: As per usual in this book, Harry immediately pinpoints Malfoy and…

[Phone rings in the background]

Rosie: Oops, sorry.

Michael: Ooh. Hello? Hello? Who is it?

Jessica: Who’s there?

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: [in a gruff voice] It’s me, Harry.

[Michael laughs]

Rosie: Sorry. [laughs]