Transcript – Episode 154

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 154 of Alohomora! for September 5, 2015.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Welcome back, listeners, to another episode of Alohomora!,’s global reread of the Harry Potter series. I’m Michael Harle.

Kristen Keys: I’m Kristen Keys.

Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller. And our very special fan guest today… you guys might remember him. He’s the guy with the great voice. His name is David. Hello.

Michael: Oh my God.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Thank you so much for joining us today.

David Spragg: Thank you for having me on.

Kat: Absolutely. Tell our listeners a little bit about yourself.

David: I live in London and I’m a video editor.

Kat: Mhm.

David: And I got into the Potter books… ooh, a long time ago. Not long after Chamber of Secrets had been released in the UK so late ’98, that would have been?

Kat: Mmm.

David: And I’ve loved them ever since.

Kat: Wow. That’s a long time. Very early on. A lot of people don’t have that story of getting it right when it started to be a thing.

David: Well, I’d heard of them. It started to get fairly big, but I hadn’t really been that bothered and then I saw Philosopher’s Stone cheap in a bookshop one day so I thought, “Why not give it a go?” I enjoyed Philosopher’s Stone but it was when I got Chamber of Secrets that Christmas and devoured it in two days, and that was it then. I was gone.

Kat: You were hooked.

David: Yeah.

What house are you in?

David: I’m a Hufflepuff.

Kat: Oh, yay!

Michael: Yay!

[David laughs]

Kat: Hey, we have the lesser houses today, represented!

Kristen: Mhm!

Kat: That’s nice.

Michael: The lesser houses…

David: I was going to say, hang on, the lesser?

Kat: You know what I mean… the quote-quote…

Kristen: The better houses, honestly.

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: Let’s get this right.

Kat: So, as everybody knows, this week we are going to discus Deathly Hallows, Chapter 4. One of the lesser chapters… no, I’m just kidding…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: … entitled “The Seven Potters.” So for your listening enjoyment, we suggest that you read that chapter before listening to this episode.

Michael: But before we get to the chapter, we’re going to look at some of the comments you, the listeners, left on last week’s episode, which was Chapter 3, “The Dursleys Departing,” the first time we were saying goodbye to some pretty well-known characters in this series. There were… oh, you guys, there were so many thoughts on this from all you listeners. There were over 180 comments at the time that I was looking at them. The first time in a long time I didn’t get to read them all because I’m working more hours at work now. So I apologize, listeners. But I did get through as many as I could and there were just so many excellent thoughts. I picked a few out here from you. The first one comes from Toasted The Phoenix, who says,

“I have always wondered what […] Petunia [would’ve] been like if, like [L]ily, she [were] a [M]uggle-born and [went] to Hogwarts to [study] magic. Would she still be like Petunia in the books and marry Vermon because I really think in a strange way she does love him very much and would marry him no matter what, or would she be a completely different person?”

Now the interesting thing is this started a very long conversation with the listeners. There were a lot of comments that tailed off of this. People were starting to get into the choices that Petunia made throughout this series and how that would affect her. A lot of people started sorting Petunia, wondering what allegiance she would have in the Wizarding World during the war, so thoughts, guys?

Kristen: Umm…

Kat: I think that, knowing what we know about Petunia, and how badly she wanted to attend Hogwarts even though somewhere down, I think she did feel a little weird about it but I think she wanted to be there with Lily. I think that she probably would have fallen into it pretty hard. When you meet somebody and you think, “Oh, you’re kind of cool,” and then you hang out with them once or twice and you’re like, “Oh my God, I’m in love with you.”

Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: I feel like that would be Petunia and magic. She probably would have forgotten about her Muggle life. That’s the path that I see Petunia taking. Maybe I’m totally wrong. I don’t know. That would be a good question to ask Jo.

David: I certainly can’t really see her still marrying Vernon. If they hadn’t met, she may well still have fallen in love with him, but being a witch isn’t the sort of thing she’d be able to keep from him forever and I think as soon as that came out, he probably would have run for the hills.

Michael: Yeah, that was a big thing, a discussion, too on the site was, a lot of people were saying, is Vernon somebody that she could still fall in love with at that point or was he just the right person in the timeline that we have? Was he the one to fill that void, and there was also a big discussion on who took the lead in that relationship in being against magic? Did Petunia take the lead or did Vernon take the lead? I was inclined to think that Vernon took the lead based on what Pottermore told us. So I don’t think that she would ever get together with Vernon in this…

Kat: No.

Michael: … imaginary alternate universe.

Kat: I agree completely.

Kristen: Yeah. I don’t think so, either. Magical being or Vernon Dursley? Come on.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yes, as we said last week on the show, and as Rowling revealed, the reason that… because she did consider having Dudley have one of his children be magical but she decided that Vernon’s genetics would stamp all magic…

[David laughs]

Michael: … out of the Dursley line. So there will never be another magic individual in the Dursley family. But what… now that was… and I did think that was a really good question. What house do you guys think Petunia would’ve been in, had she been sorted?

Kat: Oh, Lord.

[David and Michael laugh]

Kat: That’s so tough. It’s tough because Petunia, as we know her as an adult, is such a different person than she was as a child.

Michael: See, now that was another… okay, gosh. There were, again, so many interesting questions that were brought up.

[Kat laughs]

Michael: Because somebody sided… I thought this was really interesting. Somebody sided, in the comments, that despite how different Petunia appears to be as a young girl, she does automatically dislike Snape because of his social standing and his physical appearance, which is something that she carried onto her adulthood.

Kat: That’s true.

Michael: So there’s that element that was seemingly always there in her.

Kat: But where does that put you? Everybody has prejudice. There’s nobody in the world who’s without prejudice.

Michael: That’s true, but I…

Kat: I just don’t want people to be like, “Oh, Slytherin, because she didn’t like Snape.”

[Michael laughs]

Kat: “She’s mean, so she goes in Slytherin.” No.

David: And going to Hogwarts might even have exposed her to a wider group of people. The students who go there are from all over the country, so she might well have met all sorts of people that she might not have done otherwise, which could well have opened her mind up a bit.

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: That’s so hard.

Michael: Yeah, because I guess there’s various things you could argue about the Houses. As far as her relationship… her relationship with Lily initially seemed very compassionate, and she seemed very loyal to her for a time.

Kristen: Absolutely.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: Which would give that a Hufflepuff twist, but she also seems pretty smart in a Ravenclaw way from time to time.

Kat: Yeah. I’ve been thinking about it as you’ve been talking, and I think she might… I mean, maybe she was a stall. She could have been a hatstall. But I think almost Ravenclaw is where I’m leaning towards putting her, because even Ravenclaws are very judgemental and I feel like maybe she would lean towards the know-it-all side of the Ravenclaws…

Michael: That’s true.

Kat: … as opposed to the whimsical side.

David: Yeah, I can see that.

Michael: Well, yeah, I was thinking that in terms of what we got from the welcome letter of Ravenclaws on Pottermore, which did reveal that they’re all oddballs in their own way, but then we had that discussion about how Luna is an oddball, like the Ravenclaw letter describes it, but even the other Ravenclaws judge her.

Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: So yeah, I thought that was a very facinating question. To be fair, there is a fair argument that she could be put in Slytherin…

Kristen: Oh, definitely.

Michael: … as far as the stereotypical attributes.

Kat: But also, too, she’s Lily’s sister, so isn’t there also a strong case for her to go in Gryffindor?

Michael: According to Sorcerer’s Stone, no because the Patil twins are held up as the case.

Kat: Right, I suppose. But usually families are in the same house.

Kristen: I don’t see her as a Gryffindor, though.

Kat: Yeah, I don’t either. I’m just saying.

Kristen: Mhm. Yeah.

Michael: She’s not chivalrous. [laughs]

Kat: Or brave, seemingly.

Michael: Well, to… I can’t really think of an instance where she shows grandiose bravery. Kamikaze bravery.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: Gryffindor style. Since we are on the subject of sortings, congratulations to James Sirius Potter. New Gryffindor.

Kristen: Oh, yeah.

Kat: That’s exciting.

Michael: And nice to, also, hear the confirmation about Mr. Teddy Lupin, who is trending on Twitter, you guys. Lupin. The Lupin family was trending on Twitter.

[Kat and Kristen laugh]

Kat: That was very cool.

Michael: Lupin love finally happened.

Kat: Yay.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Yeah, it was really cool.

Michael: That was really, really cool.

Kat: I’m not surprised he was in Hufflepuff. Teddy.

Michael: Neither am I.

Kat: Not at all.

Michael: I was so happy to hear that.

Kat: Yeah.

[Kristen laughs]

David: I think the best comment I saw about it was someone saying, “I’d like to congratulate McGonagall on her retirement.”

Michael: Retirement.

David: After looking down at the list and seeing James Sirius Potter, just going, “No, I’m out. Forget it.”

[Kat and Kristen laugh]

Kat: “I’m done.”

Michael: Calling it an effing day.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: But for now, on to the next comment, which sticks a little closer to the Muggle world. And this one comes from DoraNympha, who asked one of those questions that, really, we all should’ve been pondering, which is,

“Am I the only one worried about Mrs. Figg? What was she up to during this year?”

[Kat laughs]

Michael: This comment was also responded to by quite a few people, but WitchWolfsbane10 said,

“I, personally, would have loved to see the Dursleys’ reactions upon discovering the truth about Mrs. Figg from down the street!”

Kat: Oh, boy.

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: I wonder if they ever find out about her.

Michael: I was wondering that myself. Well, because the thing, too, is…

Kristen: Is she still alive?

Michael: As far as we know.

Kat: I think so, yeah.

Kristen: Just curious.

Michael: I don’t know, though, because since she’s a Squib and she was already quite…

Kristen and Michael: Old.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: Does that apply? I wonder if that age issue applies to Squibs; if they can actually age like wizards and live longer.

Kat: Hmm.

Michael: But the other thing I wondered, too, as far as – like you asked, Kat – would they ever find out… I always just went off of the assumption, but I don’t know if that’s correct, that the Dursleys eventually moved back to number 4, Privet Drive after the war.

Kat: I was just thinking about that. I had never thought about that, too, but that makes sense to me. Why would they… they wouldn’t need to be in hiding anymore. They could go back to their old house. They already technically own it, right?

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: So… and if somebody else had bought it, that would be really shit luck for them.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Too bad.

Kristen: That could’ve happened.

Kat: I mean, Voldemort may not know what the Dursleys look like, so they go into this house and there’s a man, and a woman, and a kid, and…

Michael: Oh, dear. That is a piece of fan fic right there.

David: Just imagine three or four years after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry going, “I’ve forgotten something. What was it? Ooh! I didn’t tell them it was safe.” They’ve just been living in hotels for years.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That hut on the rock, yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But I mean, that really… in a way, I thought… because then we’ll get to this with the Question of the Week with things we wish were dropped in the chapter. Wouldn’t that have been fun if Dedalus and Hestia had just dropped that information on them as they were leaving, like, “Oh, by the way, Mrs. Figg…”

Kristen: She’s waving out the window, saying goodbye with all her cats.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Yeah, a little cameo would’ve been cute.

Michael: Yeah, because she is a member of the Order of the Phoenix.

David: When is the last time we see her? Is it Harry’s trial?

Michael: Yes, I believe so.

Kat: I think so.

David: Nothing after that.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: Yeah, because we don’t see her at all in Half-Blood because Harry only spends about two weeks or so with the Dursleys. He’s not with them for very long, and he stays in his room the whole time, so there’s nothing in Half-Blood and there’s definitely no mention of her in Hallows. Well, I hope she’s okay, too.

Kat: Oh, no. I feel like I’m going to Google her now and she’s going to have died two years ago and I’m going to be so sad.

Kristen: I’m just assuming she’s dead. Sorry, everybody.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Nice.

Michael: Assuming the worst.

Kristen: But the cats are still alive because they’re more important.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Okay, so the Wiki says that it is most likely she survived the Second Wizarding World War and maintained her involvement in the roaring trade of crossbred Kneazles and cats.

Michael: Oh.

Kat: So as far as we know, sure, she’s alive.

Michael: I hope so.

Kristen: They’re assuming she’s alive.

Kat: Assuming, yes.

[David and Michael laugh]

Michael: Because yes, that’s right, she does breed Kneazles. So we’ll have to just leave that up to chance. Hopefully she didn’t pull a Florean Fortescue.

Kat: Oh, ugh.

Michael: Yup. Poor Florean Fortescue.

Kat: Thank goodness he passed his recipes onto somebody else before he died because…

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: Oh, yes.

Kat: Sorry, that’s insensitive.

Michael: But if you have gone to the Wizarding World and tried the ice cream, it’s pretty fantastic.

Kristen: Oh my gosh.

Kat: It is.

Michael: And our last comment this week comes from LaurelTree, who said,

“I think a lot of the dissatisfaction with this chapter comes from the way Harry never really gets to respond to the Dursleys. We see them react to Harry, but since Harry has already mentally moved on, he isn’t engaged enough to make these interactions as meaningful as they should be. The Dursleys are one of the four ‘villains’ (taking into account all the shades of grey in the term) who affect Harry’s life throughout the series, the others being Draco, Snape, and of course, Voldemort.”

And as another commenter added below, they felt Umbridge should also be included on that list.

“That means that in the final book, we as readers would expect Harry to confront and overcome the villains who have been persecuting him for the past seven years. I don’t mean that he has to defeat them or fight them – but he has to have an encounter with them that lets him take on everything they did in his past. We see this happen when he responds to Snape’s memories by changing his opinion about Snape, and we see it with Draco when Harry chooses not to kill him. Harry never gets a moment like this with the Dursleys, where he gets to decide how he’ll interpret their past antagonism towards him. We only see the Dursleys reacting to him. This chapter is about how they’ve changed, not how Harry has changed – any emotional changes Harry has are much more subtle and only happen in response to how the Dursleys changed. That leaves the power in the relationship with the Dursleys, exactly where it’s always been.”

A big conversation last week. I actually suggested that Harry is now in control of this relationship, based on what he says to the Dursleys and how they take orders from him a lot more willingly, mostly because he has a whole contingency of the Order of the Phoenix standing behind him as the threat against the Dursleys. But there was also a lot of discussion about how people felt about this chapter initially versus how they feel about it on rereads. A lot of people were saying that they were dissatisfied with this chapter initially; some people in the comments were saying that they are still dissatisfied with this chapter.

Kat: Hmm. I think it’s pretty – I mean, Chapter 3, obviously – I think it’s a great chapter, and as much as I want to know what happens to the Dursleys, I find myself being curious and being like, “Eh, whatever, I don’t really care,” because they’ve been so terrible to him for so long that this is the ending in my mind that they deserve. They don’t need anything more. I don’t need anything extra. And I am glad that Harry is fighting back to Vernon in that last chapter, with the eyebrow raise, and he’s like, “Excuse me? You don’t talk to me like that, son.”

Kristen: Yeah, I agree. We only see them a little bit, anyway, in each book, so I think it’s a fair enough goodbye. It’s not drawn out or anything like that.

David: It’s not like it really needs a great deal of time devoted to it because everyone reading is going to be waiting to jump into the actual meat of the story. So address it, move past it. Harry has obviously moved past it because, as you said, the power is residing a bit more with him now. So yeah, deal with it and move on almost as quickly as possible.

Kat: Yeah, Harry is beyond over it. He is like, “I’m sick of having this conversation. Just shut up. Leave the house so that I can move on with my life.”

Michael: [laughs] Well, I suppose we’ll dig deeper into that with the Podcast Question of the Week and see how people really feel about what was and wasn’t put in. But I just want to make sure and shout out to all the listeners, since I didn’t get to point you out individually, but there were so many great comments this week. Listeners, if you haven’t taken a look at them yet, make sure to go to, and you can still participate in that conversation. And also, though, specific shout-out to SupremeMugwump, my friend Rukmini from AudioFictions who actually left a comment this week. It was nice to see you in the comments, Rukmini, and it’s good to know you’re still listening to the show.

Kat: What up, SupremeMugwump?

[David, Michael, and Kristen laugh]

Kristen: All right. Well, let’s jump into the Podcast Question of the Week responses. But before I do that, let me remind you all of what the question was from last week. “This chapter is our final glimpse of the Dursley family unit. As we examined in this chapter, these characters have (to varying degrees) evolved from their initial incarnations, leading us to crave as much information about them as we can get in their last appearance. But in true Rowling fashion, not all is revealed, something that we meet with disappointment on many fans’ initial reads. What scraps of information about the Dursleys could Rowling have added to satisfy our curiosity? What would have been the consequences to the story if more information had been revealed?” Our first comment is actually an audioBoom from WitchWolfsbane10.

[Audio]: Hey, Alohomora!, this is Shannon, or WitchWolfsbane10 on the main site. I’ve been more intrigued about Dudley more so than his parents because I think one of the biggest unexplained mysteries post-Potter is what the Dementors made Dudley relive in Order of the Phoenix. Remember that in Half-Blood Prince Dumbledore insinuates that Vernon and Petunia have mistreated their son even more so than Harry, and I’d imagine that ties in to what the Dementors brought to Dudley’s thoughts when they got close. Because of his response to Harry in this final book, with the cup of tea and his dialog with Harry, wondering why Harry is not going with them, I can’t imagine it was just about Hagrid giving him that tail in the first book, or only that memory. I would actually be severely disappointed if it had to do only with his poor experiences with magic because for all intents and purposes, this new Dudley no longer has that debilitating fear of magic. He’s the one who essentially decides for the family that he is going to go with these wizards. He seems to recognize that Harry saved his life, and from Order of the Phoenix to this moment in Deathly Hallows, he has clearly had some time to reflect on how he feels about Harry. So I’m still so ravenous for that information about Dudley and the Dementors because it’s obviously the reason he had this turnaround, and it can’t be a coincidence that Dumbledore addressed his treatment in Half-Blood Prince. Anyway, love the show, thank you so much for creating it; can’t wait for next week. Have a good one.

Michael: I know that Rowling kind of answered what Dudley saw.

Kat: Wait, what?

Kristen: Now what was it?

Michael: She basically said that he essentially… Dumbledore said it almost explicitly in Half Blood, which is that Dudley… Dumbledore says, [as Dumbledore] “Thank goodness Harry escaped the mistreatment of your son,” [back to normal voice] and he points at Dudley and Dudley is like, [as Dudley] “What? Me?” [back to normal voice] and I think what she said was, essentially, that he sees moments of his behavior, not just toward Harry but toward everyone in general.

David: He gets a glimpse of himself as others see him.

Michael: Yes, yes. That’s essentially how she puts it.

David: So yeah, pretty much his behavior and just how that affects other people.

Michael: Yeah. I mean, because I think it’s still open [to] interpretation because I’m sure you could determine how much of that is actually directly related to Harry versus other people [whom] he might have mistreated, even how much he saw of how he treats his mom and dad and how they treat him. I mean, that’s the thing that makes the most sense to me in terms of why Dudley has his turnaround.

Kat: I mean, it makes sense to me. It just feels a little weak. [laughs] Everybody has these… I guess, the people [whom] we see, which I guess is really only Harry…

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: But Harry has this big real moment in his life… I don’t know. It feels a little weak, but I guess it makes sense.

Kristen: Not everybody has those huge moments, yeah.

Kat: And also, Dudley is not this big, strong character either. He hasn’t had many defining life moments. So I guess that’s the quote “worst his life has ever been in his eyes,” I suppose.

David: Doesn’t Harry even wonder at the time what Dudley could have seen? Doesn’t he think, “What hardship or pain has Dudley had in his life that the Dementors could make him revisit?”

Kat: Right.

Kristen: Yeah, that’s true. All right, our next comment comes from SnugglesWithNifflers:

“One thing I always craved to know was the contents of Dumbledore’s letter that he left on the doorstep with Harry. What do you say in a letter that can justify leaving an infant alone on a doorstep? Why could he not have just r[u]ng the doorbell and told them verbally?”

[Everyone laughs]

Kristen: [continues]

“This always seemed to me like the weirdest thing Dumbledore ever did. I can imagine it put Harry on the wrong foot with the Dursleys from the beginning. In some ways, it makes Vernon’s distaste for the magical world more justified, if in his eyes they are the kind of people [who] would just leave an infant on the doorstep of a family who has never met the little boy, with only the explanation of a letter. I would have liked to see Petunia give Harry that letter, to shed some more light on both the beginning of Harry’s life and the Dursley[s’] reaction to finding a baby on their [front porch].”

I enjoyed that.

Kat: That was a really great comment.

David: That’s very good.

Kat: Okay, so SnugglesWithNifflers, you’re assuming that Dumbledore… okay, I won’t go there, because he obviously cares about Harry, but I mean, people leave babies on doorsteps. That just happens in fiction. And wasn’t it three in the morning or something?

David: Something like that.

Kristen: The baby’s out there for, like, five hours.

[Kristen and Michael laughs]

Kat: Well, maybe Petunia get ups at 5. You don’t know.

Kristen: Maybe Harry is out for two hours. [laughs]

Michael: Early riser, but…

Kat: Yeah, I mean, it is the UK, so it’s probably wet and a little cold. Yeah, poor Harry.

David: That’s fair.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: I think of… because I see… this has gone around so much in the last month or so, it’s… and I’m so sorry to who[m]ever’s Tumblr this is. I apologize I can’t pronounce your Tumblr because it is so absurdly long, but it comes through MuggleNet all the time on our feed, these comics. They’re from somebody, an artist on Tumblr, and they’ve done a few different interpretations of Dumbledore. [laughs]

Kat: Oh, the Dumbleburn ones?

Michael: Yes, the Dumbleburn ones.

[David and Kristen laughs]

Michael: My favorite one is where McGonagall actually says, [as McGonagall] “We could ring the doorbell and explain the situation.”

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: And Dumbledore just says, [as Dumbledore] “It’s dropped.” He just drops him.

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Michael: “It’s already dropped.” But there’s another version where it pans in on the letter. It’s [as McGonagall] “Dumbledore, are the Dursleys informed about the tragedy from last night?” [as Dumbledore] “It’s okay. I wrote a letter.” [back to normal voice] The letter says, [as Dumbledore] “To Mrs. Dursley, Knock, knock. Who’s there? Not your sister. She’s dead.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So if you want to know what the contents of the letter are, there you go. I think…

Kristen: She shares that [with] Harry.

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: “I saved this for you, Harry. It’s the last thing,” yeah.

Michael: [as Petunia] “You always wondered why I hated wizards.”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: I think… because this is interesting: Another commenter in the Podcast Question of the Week responses also brought up another letter, which was… I think it was more things about stuff surrounding the Howler in [Book] 5 and more of the background of that, which again leads back to that first letter. Because I think that’s why that curiosity is brought up, because we don’t really get closure on that moment in Book 5 with the Howler.

Kristen: That’s true.

Kat: Really, on the relationship with Petunia and Dumbledore at all.

Michael: Yeah, we get just a scrap of it, which is in “The Prince’s Tale” with the “Well, he sent you a very nice letter,” which I guess is what all this leads up to, but yeah, there is definitely, I think, a lot of…

Kristen: Yeah, they love exchanging letters.

Kat: They’re pen pals.

Kristen: Aww.

Michael: In a way, I’m actually surprised that Dumbledore… and maybe he did, and maybe we just don’t know about it, but I’m surprised that Dumbledore didn’t maintain a correspondence with Petunia, considering that McGonagall pointed out to Dumbledore that they were probably going to mistreat Harry from watching them all day.

Kat: He may have tried to, and maybe as she got deeper and deeper in with Vernon, she just stopped.

David: Or he could have just taken a step back and wanted Harry to have as normal an upbringing as possible.

Kat: That’s true.

Michael: Dumblefail.

David: I know that Petunia may have decided to share with him some of the letters, or he might even have just found one lying around the house. Which might have confused him a bit.

[David and Kristen laugh]

Michael: I was just thinking in terms of, I guess, how effective the Order’s threat is at the end of Order of the Phoenix to the Dursleys. That really turns around how they treat Harry officially. And I remember when we talked about that, we were saying like, “Wow, finally, somebody did a thing with the Dursleys.”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Somebody took charge of that. And it’s almost, to me, like if those letters had been written, that that might have been that security for Harry instead, a little earlier down the line. But I mean, that’s true, David, because Dumbledore does say that he’s like, [as Dumbledore] “Oh, I wanted you to live a normal life. That didn’t work out at all.”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

David: Yeah, normal life of abuse and mistreatment.

Michael: [as Dumbledore] “Remember that one time I was wrong?”

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kristen: Oh, good one, good one. All right, our last comment comes from ITickleSleepingDragons:

“With Dudley’s moment of redemption and Petunia’s…almost moment of redemption, I’m curious as to what is going through Vernon’s head this whole time. Granted, it’s rather obvious that he has absolutely NO desire to be kind to Harry, but I love the minor moment he and Harry share where, perhaps for the first time in the series, they are thinking the same thing: Would Harry go rescue them if they were captured by Voldemort? I bring this up because Vernon has many [months] to contemplate this very question. I wonder if he begins to feel any kind of remorse, even if it is selfish in nature, for how he treated Harry. He’s a stubborn man through and through, but perhaps deep, deep down he feels as though if he had treated Harry better, he would still be on the phone selling drills instead of looking at Dedalus Diggle’s ridiculous hat.”

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: I feel like this had to be deep, deep, deep, way deep down there.

Michael: Bottom of the barrel.

Kat: I do think that he’s definitely wondering if Harry would save them, and I do think that Harry would. I know this was talked about last week. I do think that Harry would save them, no matter how crappy they treated him. I mean, look at what he did for Draco. He saved Draco. Draco is a D-bag. Great character, but a D-bag. He saved him, and so I think he would save them because they cannot help themselves. Even if they wanted to, they cannot help themselves. They are as helpless as they come, so…

Kristen: So do you think he feels remorse?

Kat: No.

Kristen: For how he treated Harry?

Kat: No, because Harry doesn’t… Harry never has to save them. They’re never put into that moment of peril. I feel like if that moment had come, if Voldemort had shown up at Privet Drive and Harry did have to save them, that yes, he might feel something maybe vaguely resembling remorse. But I don’t know if it would ever be remorse.

David: From his point of view, it’s probably just even more confirmation as to what wizards are, or what he thinks wizards are like. Because as far as he knows, they’re just being forced out of his own house.

Michael: Yeah, and I totally think Vernon’s tone in the chapter suggests that. That’s what was funny to me, because, personally, I don’t agree, but so many of the listeners were giving Vernon a lot of slack in the comments this week.

[David, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Michael: I could not believe you guys! Obviously Noah got to you.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Oh, gosh.

Michael: Because everybody was saying… because we all agreed last week that Vernon… we actually kind of put forth that the Dursleys each represent a different level of how much they’ve changed and how much they’ve accepted Harry.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: Vernon is kind of at a zero…

[David laughs]

Michael: … Petunia’s at a five, and Dudley’s at a ten. He’s made a complete 180, Petunia is kind of going back and forth and having an internal debate, and Vernon hasn’t really changed at all. And almost everybody in the comments said, “But he tried to shake Harry’s hand,” and I was like, “NO!”

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: No!

Kristen: That doesn’t help.

Michael: I would argue – and I did see some listeners say this in the comments – that Vernon was not shaking Harry’s hand because he had changed. He was trying to shake Harry’s hand because that’s an automatic response from Vernon, because he didn’t know what to do in the situation.

[David and Michael laugh]

Michael: So he just kind of…

Kristen: That’s true.

Michael: To me that is a good representation of the Dursleys representing that very stereotypical British politeness.

Kat: Mmm.

Kristen: Yeah, him polite.

Michael: David’s just like, “No.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: “Michael, stop talking. You’re not British. You don’t know about that.”

David: There’s probably something to that.

Michael: [laughs] I know Rosie has mentioned that before. But yeah, I kind of feel like that’s more in his confusion and he was like, “Shake hands? Oh, okay.”

David: Just going on autopilot.

Michael: Yeah. Because he puts his hand down almost immediately like, “That was wrong.”

Kat: Yeah. I think that Vernon was just trying to look for a way to conclude everything.

Michael: Yes.

Kristen: Mhm.

Kat: You know, to just kind of wrap it up, get on the way, and leave that black mark in the past.

Michael: Mmm.

Kat: That black mark being Harry.

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: He just wants to forget about the last seventeen years and move on.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Well, sixteen and 363 days.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Not even, because Harry was like a year old, right? So, like fifteen [years] and 363 days.

Kristen: There you go. Someone would have commented on that.

Kat: So, should we move on with our magical chapter for the week?

Kristen: Yes. Yes, we shall. Thank you everybody for leaving all the comments. I, unlike Michael, read them all…

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: … and thoroughly enjoyed them.

[Kat laughs]

Michael: That’s because you only had a little over forty.

Kristen: It was about… yeah. But I read the other ones below. It was good. They were all good, I read them all. I “worked” from home today. Air quotes.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: I (air quote) “work” from home all the time, so…

Kristen: Yeah. [laughs] But they’re all fantastic and I encourage everybody else to go comment over there as well. And don’t forget, that’s at

Kat: Okay, so let’s jump into our chapter for the week.

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 4 intro begins]

Moody: Chapter 4.

[Sounds of a battle]

Moody: “The Seven Potters.”

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 4 intro begins]

Kat: I guess, let’s get into this chapter, which is so good and terrible and… okay. So the Dursleys are gone, as we just talked about, and Harry is left to his own devices in 4 Privet Drive. He reminisces with [cries] Hedwig about his days under the stairs. And then the troops arrive, and pretty much the entire Order of the Phoenix arrives to whisk Harry away – but not in the conventional method that you might think. So, after not much of a fight – not really at all – fourteen people become eight and they take to the skies. The Death Eaters join the fray after not very long and we lose… I can’t even say it.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Harry’s need not to harm anyone gives him away and Lord Voldemort pursues and well, as they say, the ish hits the fan.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: Indeed.

Kat: So we’re not going to talk about the bad thing until much later, because I’m not ready for it. I’m never ready for it.

Michael: [laughs] Oh, God.

Kat: So we’re going to reminisce a little bit and start with some memories. So I really liked the first couple of pages of this chapter where Harry is walking around and talking about leaving the house for the last time, thinking about all the times when the Dursleys would leave before, and how he would run around eating the food, watching television, and playing video games. And it had never struck me before, but this line where he says, “It was like remembering a younger brother whom he had lost.”

David: I love that line.

Kat: It’s so great, because I feel like Harry who he is to be and who he is now are so completely different people. It’s almost as if he were reborn in a way, a completely different person.

David: There’s a whole life he did not even know about at that point.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: Yeah, rebirth is a big theme in this book.

Kat: It is, that’s true.

Michael: Yeah. We’ll get pretty deep into that. That’s where a lot of the biblical discussion actually about Deathly Hallows comes from. It is really neat that Rowling so quickly is so poetically detaching Harry from his previous life and showing just how much he’s grown up. I say kudos to the movie because the movie did this, but it did it in its own way. I think the thing that… one of the scenes that not a lot of people talk about that’s really great to me, that was just a nice moment, was when Harry opens the cupboard and he actually sees all the little toys that he used to play with.

Kat: Oh, yeah.

Kristen: Ooh.

Michael: And there in the scene in Sorcerer’s Stone when Vernon is closing up the mailbox, it was nice because the movies couldn’t really necessarily do it this way. So they did it their own way, which I thought was really [nice]. But it evokes the same exact feeling of just how much Harry has matured and grown over the years.

Kat: And how his life has changed just by circumstance and “fate” and “destiny” and all of that.

Michael: What’s fascinating to me, especially with these early chapters, is that I think it also reflects – it’s great that you pulled that line, Kat – because I think it really reflects in Rowling’s take on her writing. I remember when I was reading this… the first time I read it, I was reading aloud to my friends post-midnight, and the thing that really struck us was we were noticing that Rowling wasn’t doing what she does in almost every other book where she summarizes the important information that the long-time readers know but maybe first-time readers don’t.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: She does that in almost every other book, but she does not do that in Deathly Hallows.

Kat: That’s because if anybody is fool enough to start with this book, they don’t deserve to read the rest.

[David laughs]

Michael: There are people who were crazy enough to do it, believe it or not. There are people in the world.

Kat: Well, they’re a fool.

Michael: [laughs] But it’s…

David: Imagine diving in and trying to just comprehend what was going on.

Kat: Figure it out.

[David, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Kat: I feel like that would be a really good social experiment actually. I feel like this is a video that somebody’s going to make at some point – grab somebody who’s never read Harry Potter, and make them read the seventh book. It would be so mean.

Michael: Yes, it would.

[David and Michael laugh]

Kat: So mean.

Michael: But it is interesting that Rowling’s writing has matured just as much as Harry the character has changed and matured.

Kat and Kristen: Mhm.

Michael: Because I do remember distinctly – and I still see it to some degree, not as much as before – but Hallows is the one that I’ve read the least just because it was the last one.

Kristen: Same.

Kat: That’s probably true, I would think, for most people. Unless it’s their favorite book.

Michael: Yes, exactly. So I still see that, I still always set it apart from the other six in terms of its writing style. There is something very distinctly different about how Rowling is writing, and of course we were lucky enough that she went on to continue to evolve that writing past Potter, which a lot of people didn’t think she was even going to do.

Kat: Woudn’t you think that… this book always feels to me a little – and I don’t want to say sad – but a little… yeah, sadder than the rest, a little more melancholy in tone.

Kristen: Mhm.

Kat: Just even in the “happier parts,” if you can find one of those.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Do you know what I’m saying?

Michael: Yes.

Kat: And not just by what’s happening, but just the overall tone and the words she uses and how she phrases everything. It feels a little…

Michael: You know what’s great about Rowling too with her writing as far as that goes, Kat – interesting mentioning the words – I don’t know if a lot of people realize this or think about this, but not only was she growing her characters and growing her writing, she seems to have been very conscious about extending her readers’ vocabulary. There are words in Hallows that do not appear in the previous books. She ups her vocabulary quite a bit, I believe, for the benefit of her readers.

Kat: Hmm.

Michael: Yeah. And that’s something I think… listeners, look out for it, because you probably didn’t even realize it while you were reading it the first time, especially those of you who read in the original Potter generation, but there is notable advancement in the vocabulary. Again, I think this is another reason why teachers, librarians, and parents were so happy to recommend Harry Potter, because it advances your reading level as well. I know that my vocabulary grew tenfold because of the Harry Potter series.

Kat: Well, she has three kids at this point by the time she’s writing this book, right?

Michael: Yes.

Kat: So that’s probably something… she’s in the mindset of children and being a mom far more often then she way before. Here, Harry is remembering how he used to lay there and look up under the stairs and see the little spiders, which I thought first, “Gross,” but at least he’s not arachnophobic, which is very important in the future, isn’t it?

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: It’s been important for a while, actually. [laughs]

Kat: It is, yeah. He remembers a dream he used to have about flashes of green light and how one time he was talking about it in the car, and Uncle Vernon had nearly crashed when he talked about a flying motorbike, which I thought was really cute. And I was wondering, back when Harry used to have those dreams, was that just because that was the most “exciting” thing that had happened in his life? Was he reliving it because his subconscious was trying to get him to remember it and figure out why? Because you dream things for a reason. Why do we think Harry used to have those dreams, and does he still have those dreams, you think?

Kristen: I don’t think he would still have them. I don’t know, I feel like in a dream state, you’re finding something more magical and something that doesn’t really happen. So when he was younger, it’s like, “Oh, I can dream about this because that’s never real. That’s never going to happen,” or something like that. So I don’t think he would still have those dreams.

David: Yeah, because before, he didn’t have the context for them, whereas when as soon as he finds out about the wizarding world, he does, so his mind doesn’t have anything to try [to] figure out anymore.

Michael: Yeah, he’s doing the thing that we all wish we could do: He’s living his dream.

Kristen: Yeah, I know, right?

[David and Michael laugh]

Michael: He doesn’t have those dreams anymore because he doesn’t need them. He’s living in them now. That’s why he has such crazy, messed up dreams now.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: Because the wizarding world is a trip.

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Michael: But I mean, yeah, I think yet again another example of Harry’s growth and maturity. And his evolution through this series. We all get these nostalgic moments, right? Where we think back to our younger years and how different they were, how simple sometimes they were. I think even Harry is noticing that things have become awfully complicated in his life. [laughs]

Kat: Well, so just as Harry is thinking about that flying motorbike, of course there’s this “sudden, deafening roar,” as the book says, from somewhere nearby, and guess what: It’s the Order. Yay.

Michael: But really, though? Really?

Kat: “But really, though”?

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, so Harry is noticing who all is there, and everybody gets this great description, and then you get to Kingsley, and this is so badass. It says, “bald, black, and broad shouldered,” and I just read it this time, and I was like, “He is so badass.”

[David and Michael laugh]

Kat: I love Kingsley because that’s really… I mean, everyone else’s description is more like, Ron: “long and lanky,” Hermione: “bushy hair,” Fred and George: “grinning”…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: … Bill: “badly scarred,” and then it’s like Kingsley: “Respect me. I am badass.” I don’t know. It just stood out to me. I thought it was great.

Michael: Well, he is going to be the Minister of Magic someday. And he?s protecting the Prime Minister right now.

[David and Michael laugh]

Michael: Which is super awesome.

Kat: It was just definitely the best description out of those 13 people. It was amazing.

Michael: Oh, yeah, as much as I enjoyed his portrayal in the movies by Mr. George Harris, George Harris is not at all what I pictured for Kingsley based on Rowling’s description.

Kat: Oh my God, he’s like exactly what I picture for Kingsley.

David: Yeah, he’s pretty spot on for mine.

Michael: He’s not mine at all. My Kingsley is younger than him, [and] he?s much more angular in his features. Somebody actually – and I mentioned this in a previous episode – drew a picture of Kingsley, some fan art, and it’s like him in a suit, and I remember seeing that picture and being like, “That Kingsley! That’s my Kingsley!” Somebody’s got it spot on. Because Kingsley never wears a suit. He always wears that same fabulous set of robes in the movies.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: He does, that’s true.

Michael: But yeah, Rowling’s description doesn’t quite match the movie for me. But I mean, I still like George Harris, but I definitely… what you just read, Kat? That is my Kingsley.

Kat: That is your Kingsley? What about your Dung?

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: Are you looking for somebody who’s small, dirty, and dumb? With his droopy basset…

Michael: Well, I mean, I don’t know if we want to talk about that. How graphic do you want to get?

Kat: But really, really. Why is Dung there? But really. I know Moody tells us, but really.

Kristen: Yeah, it’s so odd.

Kat: He serves zero purpose.

David: If you have to pick a 14th person, he’d be pretty far down the list.

Kat: Yes! I mean…

Kristen: Yeah, that wouldn’t be my first go-to.

[David and Kristen laugh]

Kat: For goodness’ sake, I know she’s not of age, [but] put Ginny in there. Put Neville in there. Anybody would’ve been better than Dung.

Michael: I think we’ve been wondering this since Order of the Phoenix. [laughs] I’m pretty sure the only reason we could really come up with is that it’s useful to have a thief on your side, although, asterisk point, a thief who is no longer a thief is usually the preference, and Dung is not that. [laughs] So he’s still too much of a liability, I’d say. I really am surprised that the… especially considering somebody like Moody, who really seems to be in charge, is okay with this.

Kat: Yeah. I mean, I know Dung plays a big part in this whole… we find out later that this was his idea technically, right?

Michael: Yup.

Kat: Am I wrong? So I have a feeling that that’s probably the only reason he’s here.

Michael: Well, and that’s complicated, too, because it’s his idea, but it’s not. So there'[re] layers to that. It’s very Inception-y.

Kat: It’s very Inception-y. Just like Tonks and Lupin, who…

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: I think you’re stretching a little too hard on these connections, but okay.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: Well, how do you know? But fine. So Tonks drops the bomb that they got married, just by waggling her left hand. Like, “Oh my God, yay!” And it made me laugh because I was like, “Is this your honeymoon? Because that’s a really bad honeymoon if this is your honeymoon.”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kristen: They love adventure.

[Kat and Kristen laugh]

Michael: They live life on the edge.

Kat: I suppose they do. So Moody goes on, and he’s talking about the plan. And he says…

Michael: An awful, awful idea. [laughs]

Kat: Yes. And we will get there in just a moment, believe it or not. So he’s saying that Pius “has gone over.” My point about this was… so Pius makes it that it’s an imprisonable offense to connect the house to the Floo Network, to place a Portkey, or to Apparate in or out. Why does he do that if he’s “gone over”? He already knows the protections, so is he, I mean, clearly just trying to limit them? But aren’t there other choices?

Michael: Correct me if I’m wrong: Pius is under the Imperius Curse at this point by the Death Eaters.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: And so he is essentially taking orders from Voldemort. Not directly, but he is taking orders from Voldemort. And at this point… we’ve mentioned this a little bit last week, how desperate Voldemort is to get at Harry. I’m pretty sure that it is that he’s just trying to limit any mode of escape, right?

Kat: Yeah, because I was trying to think about what other methods there are besides the ones that they use, and I can’t think of any.

Michael: Can’t Apparate, can’t go through the Floo Network…

David: These could be all the magical methods.

Kat: Right. We actually have a really great audioBoom, which I think we should take a listen to, because it’s funny, and it points out, ironically, the flaw in the plan. So we’ll have a listen.

[Audio]: Hey, guys. This is SlytherinKnight. [It’s] been a while since I’ve dropped one of these audioBooms, but I needed to get into the “Seven Potters” discussion. Why is the seven Potters scene even necessary, at least from a tactical perspective? Why couldn’t Mad-Eye just have Harry slip out under his Invisibility Cloak, walk to a subway station or catch the bus or something like that, meet an Order member, and then have them Side-along him to the Burrow or somewhere else? Why go through the convoluted risk of risking all these people when the Order is already so depleted on manpower? And also, why is Mad-Eye trusting Dung? I mean, we know later on in the books that it turns out Snape is the one who Imperiused or Confunded Dung to give this plan, so… but Dung has been exceedingly unreliable in his history, so why is Mad-Eye, the best Auror of his generation, even trusting a guy like Dung to make this type of plan? Just wanted to get that out there, and let me know what you think. Later.

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] This is… I think the biggest thing here, for me, that’s always been a hang-up for me, is Moody trusting Mundungus. That almost purely, to me, is Rowling being like, [as J.K. Rowling] “Well, this had to happen.” [laughs] “So this is how it happened.”

Kat: But I mean… and we don’t find this out till the next chapter, but Moody gets it. [laughs] It’s almost… I don’t want to say karma, but he’s asking for something bad to happen by trusting Dung and using this plan.

Michael: Oh yeah, absolutely. I’m surprised that, really, this wasn’t foreseen. As far as the Invisibility Cloak, I think the thing we forget is that nobody currently has knowledge that this Invisibility Cloak is the Invisibility Cloak. And there has been discussion in previous books that invisibility cloaks are fallible and that they can wear out after a time and they may not always work correctly.

Kat: Mhm. That’s true.

Michael: So everybody is going under the assumption that that’s a normal invisibility cloak, not cut from Death’s cloth.

Kat: But how… I mean, he’s had it however many years now; six years. Wouldn’t it have already started to deteriorate?

David: That’s one thing that’s always annoyed me a little bit. All it would have needed is… because I think… is it Moody who’s mentioned as having one in Order of the Phoenix?

Michael: Yes.

Kat: Mhm.

David: All it would’ve needed is a line saying, “He needs to renew the enchantment,” or, “It’s wearing out,” or something like that, and then that would’ve started to plant the seeds for the readers that, “Hang on, Harry has never had to do this. Maybe his is a bit different.” Maybe she didn’t want to get us thinking along those lines too soon, but given how well she’s foreshadowed so many things…

Kat: At pretty much everything else, yeah. [laughs]

David: Yeah. That always seemed a bit strange to me.

Michael: Oh, yeah. I think that gets into the larger issue that we’re going to, I think, be harping on quite a bit in this book – for me, at least – that the Deathly Hallows are not as foreshadowed as I wanted them to be.

David: No.

Michael: Considering what a great job she does with everything else as far as foreshadowing goes, the Deathly Hallows fell a little flat for me, personally. But yeah, this plan just sucks. I think the joy of this plan for the reader comes from just seeing so many recalls to the previous books. Here’s an instance where foreshadowing and material that’s been used before is being recalled in a way that I think is meant to be somewhat satisfying to the reader. Here she’s not introducing new concepts as far as the plot.

Kat: Right.

David: Yeah.

Michael: She’s just saying, “Okay, this is stuff you’re familiar with, so no explanations. It’s an awful plan, but just don’t question it because it’s more exciting that way.” [laughs]

Kat: Like the Polyjuice. I love that we get Polyjuice here again, which is fun.

David: Sorry. It occurred to me earlier, for the first time, when I was listening to the chapter: You can still do the seven Potters. Have a nice noisy distraction going on, and then just give Harry some Polyjuice of just some random Muggle and have him just walk out the back door, get a taxi or something, and…

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: That almost might have been better.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: Hedwig would’ve lived.

Kat: Oh! No!

Michael: Not yet.

Kristen: Sorry.

Kat: We’re not allowed to talk about that. We’re not there.

[David and Michael laugh]

Kat: We’re still in the house. We’re going to talk about Polyjuice Potion.

David: Putting it off as long as possible.

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: Yes. Absolutely. Polyjuice Potion.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: So we actually have another really great audioBoom. This is the audioBoom episode this week, but we like that. So keep sending them in because we want to keep using them because you guys are brilliant. And since we are in the last book we want to get as many of you in the show as possible. So let’s have a listen to this really awesome audioBoom about Polyjuice Potion:

[Audio]: Hello! Marjie here. Socks & Slugs. In reading Chapter 4, “The Seven Potters,” I noticed that the Harry Potter Polyjuice Potion was a clear, bright gold, much like Felix Felicis. The root meaning of “Felix” is lucky, fortunate, a good omen, and of the noble fruit offered to the deities. So I wonder: With 30 Death Eaters after the 14 of them, were the seven Potters fortunate that all they lost was part of an ear? The two deaths in the battle were of Moody and Hedwig, that did not drink of Harry’s golden Polyjuice. Is Harry a good omen for the wizarding world? He is the Chosen One. And was his willingness to die a noble fruit offered to the deities to save the wizarding world? Is this another Obligatory Genius Moment from J.K.? Thanks for listening.

Michael: I really like that idea. It’s funny to me because what it recalls to me… I didn’t even think of this. I have never thought of that with my read-throughs. I have noticed the gold tinge, but subtly through the books gold is frequently associated with Harry. I mean, not so much even with things like the gold in Gringotts and whatnot, but the one that I frequently think to is when he first gets his wand. And whenever he’s angry and he’s holding his wand, or when he’s stressed, his wand will emit red and gold sparks.

Kat: Yeah, we’ll talk about that. Don’t get into the sparks. Or the gold.

Michael: [laughs] Well… but I think that Harry has always been associated with gold, even before Polyjuice Potion. But I like that idea that Harry… I mean, gosh. Again, maybe this isn’t the time to touch on, but that also… I can even see biblical parallels in that. And of course, as we know, Harry has his Jesus moment later in the book. It has been interpreted that way, and I do believe you can choose to see it that way or not. Rowling has left it open-ended for everybody. But there’s the idea there of this individual as a savior, and the people who come into contact with him and how their lives are affected. I could definitely see that tying into this. So I think it’s almost certainly on purpose on Jo’s part as far as that goes.

Kat: I think it’s really clever, and I, too, had never thought of it before, and I think it’s just very eloquent and I really like it. So props to our audioBoom author there. It’s good.

Michael: Well, and as we know, just because you take Liquid Luck does not always mean that it’s going to give you the best outcome possible…

Kat: Right.

Kristen: Mhm.

Michael: … because as we know from Half-Blood, those curses were shooting just past them, and of course, as the audioBoom mentioned, we still lose an ear in the process, so… [laughs]

Kat: We do. So speaking of that lost ear, we have 14 people standing in this kitchen talking about how Harry is going to leave Privet Drive. And I’m wondering how… I know we already talked about Dung, but how do you think they decided who was going to be there? Was it like they had a meeting and people volunteered? Or was it like a secret voting system? Did they do it by age, skill, experience… how… for so long, Molly wouldn’t let her children join the Order, and I understand that it was because they weren’t of age and they’re of age now. How did Fred and George and Ron and Hermione get stuck… not “stuck,” but how did they get in this?

David: Certainly Ron and Hermione would’ve been there straight away.

Kat: Yeah, but don’t they seem a little too fresh, still? I mean, I get it that they’re his best friends and all of that. It just… I don’t know. It never sat well with me that they were there, as much as I adore them and get it.

Kristen: Mhm. I don’t think they would’ve relented. They would’ve gone no matter what, even if they said, “No, you can’t.” They’d be like, “Well, we’re here. We’re doing this.”

David: Yeah. They’re of age at this point.

Kristen: Yeah. And I think it made Harry feel better, too, having them there even though he didn’t want them there. But I think all in all, he’s with people that he loved and knew. I think they all loved him and know him so well that that’s why they were the ones who volunteered and said, “We want to be a part of this.”

Michael: I agree with David and Kristen on this as far as Ron and Hermione being there. I think it’s funny you said, Kat, that they’re a little too green for this because I think Molly would’ve probably had quite a bit to say despite the fact that they turned 17. And I think while the 17 is good ammunition in their favor, I think the thing that puts it over the top is all the things that they have already gone through with Harry. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah, but not Fred and George.

Michael: Eh, Fred and George… I think they’ve already become independent from that issue because they’re off living on their own.

Kat: Yeah. I suppose.

Michael: I don’t think they really need to even confront their mother about this, and I don’t think Molly would feel able to…

Kristen: Yeah, same with Bill.

Michael: Molly’s relationship with Fred and George is something that quietly evolves over the seven books.

Kristen: Mhm.

Michael: I don’t think that’s something we talk about a lot, but I think that’s something that’s really important as far as their involvement with the storyline. But I don’t think she would feel that she could approach them about that.

Kat: So then what about Phlegm? Why is she there? Fleur.

Kristen: To look pretty.

[David and Kat laugh]

Kristen: Just kidding.

Kat: To fill the female quota? Okay.

Michael: I think Fleur is there because we’ve already seen the first inklings of her character change…

Kristen: Mhm.

Michael: … and it’s time to see that… the lucky thing we were just talking about; how some people sometimes perhaps feel disappointed with how that goes with the Dursleys. I think [with] Fleur, at least, we get to see it happen pretty much on screen.

Kat: That’s true.

Michael: That’s not left too much to the background, and there’s a reward for it. She doesn’t just have her moment in Half-Blood Prince and then go away.

Kristen: Yeah. She’s not a princess.

Michael: No.

Kristen: She can fight her own battles.

Michael: Yes. And she proves what she said at the end of Half-Blood Prince is actually the truth, and that she wasn’t just talking the talk.

Kristen: Right. I agree.

Kat: Mhm. Before we move onto the next thing, there’s this really wonderful moment…

Michael: Bow chicka bow wow.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: … after they take the Polyjuice Potion and they’re all morphing into Harry, and the quote says, “He felt like asking them to show a little more respect for his privacy, as they all began stripping off with impunity, clearly much more at ease with displaying his body than they would have been with their own.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: And it made me laugh this time way more than it ever did before. And I was thinking about it; I’m not sure I’ve read this book – and it’s so bad – since the movie came out. And now I picture that moment with all of the “Oh, I knew Ginny was lying about that tattoo.”

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: And all those little lines that they throw into the movie.

Michael: No, I just want to say that this is the line that actually makes me stop reading for a minute and just go, “What?”

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: There should be so much more discussion going on! I mean, a few of these people just changed genders! [laughs] There are things that have changed dramatically, and nobody is saying anything. They’re just like, “Well, this is fun.” And not only genders, but genders of a person that they are intimately familiar with, and now even more so.

Kristen: Yeah, ugh. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah. No, I mean, obviously, I know why she can’t go there. This is still a juvenile, young adult book.

Kat: But we can go there.

[David laughs]

Michael: We can! And for God’s sake. You just think, if you were Hermione, you’d be…

Kristen: She only comments on his eyesight.

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: Okay, if I were Hermione, the last thing I would do is be going into that bathroom to check myself out. That’d be the last thing I would do.

Michael: No, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying, “It’s there, and you’d feel it there…”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: It’s something you can’t really ignore, Hermione. [laughs] Just trying to put some reality on this situation, you guys.

Kat: That’s why I brought it up, because I wanted to talk about it. I feel like it’s this little tiny moment that actually is a big deal, like you’re saying. And you know what else I think about too, is that… so Ron is like, “I knew Ginny was lying about that tattoo,” looking down at his bare chest, and then, obviously, you think about… why does Ginny know that?

[Michael laughs]

Kat: And then you think about that.

Michael: And so many things. See, I mean, that ties back to the issue we talked about in the previous book – and that we will continue to talk about – about Ginny and Harry’s relationship and how much of it we see onscreen and offscreen and why I said in the last book that, ostensibly, they just go off and have a mad make-out session, because she won’t show it on the page. Which was something that always bothered me a little bit about the evolution of Harry and Ginny, because they jump from being in that very stereotypical, almost platonic lovey-dovey kiss relationship to being married. And we don’t see any of the in-between. So I mean, that gets into that. This touches on that. This touches on so many things that Rowling just won’t touch on, so fine, whatever.

Kat: No touching!

Michael: No touching! Safe touch only.

[David laughs]

Kristen: Got to leave it up to fan fiction.

[Michael laughs]

David: I wonder if that might be why she drops in little things like that. So when you’re a kid and you read it for the first time, you don’t really think about it. Come back and read it when you’re a little bit older, and you stop and think, “Ooh, hang on.”

Kristen: Like, “Oh, yeah.”

Kat: Okay, so after everybody puts their clothes back on…

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: … and they sort it all out, which, I was going to bring up a point before that wouldn’t the rucksack and the owl cages give it away? But then I just read a line that I apparently skipped right over where everybody takes a rucksack and an owl.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, they all get little…

David: Little stuffed owls.

Kristen: Right there. Everybody takes a fake owl except the real Harry Potter. What the eff.

Kat: Right, which still is a little “Hmm,” but…

Michael: Yeah, I thought that was… did they go buy those at the Wizarding World?

Kristen: But still, they could have saved Hedwig.

Kat: They could have.

Kristen: If he’d grabbed one.

Kat: Nope. We’re not going there yet.

[David and Michael laugh]

Kat: We’re almost there. Not quite. Not quite. So they go outside, and they’re getting ready to go, and of course, there is that lovely motorbike with “Arthur’s adjustments,” his tinkering, as they say. And you know that something bad is going to happen when Arthur Weasley has touched it.

[David and Michael laugh]

Kat: Bad, but fabulous. But still really bad.

Michael: That’s not set up at all.

Kat: Nope. Not at all.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: So Ron is paired with Tonks, and I love this little moment where Tonks is like, “Hold tight now, Ron.” And he’s like, “I don’t want to touch you.”

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: Yeah, he looks over at Lupin. “Is this okay?”

Kat: And I wondered… I know it says that he puts a guilty look toward Lupin, but is it also because Hermione is there?

Michael: Oh, it’s all of that.

Kristen: It could be, yeah. I think it’s both.

Michael: It’s all of that.

David: And probably just general awkwardness. Ron is 17, Tonks is – what? – 23, 24?

Kat: She’s seven years older than Harry, so 24.

David: Yeah, so not much older.

Kat: [cries] They take off.

[David and Michael laugh]

Michael: Oh, well, we had to get there eventually.

Kat: And everybody lives happily ever after. The book’s over.

[David and Michael laugh]

Kat and Kristen: The end.

Kristen: Oh, how about in the movie when [she] flies away, and I was like, “Oh, yes, they saved [her]!” And then you’re like, “Aww, [censored].”

Michael: Yeah!

Kristen: I thought, for real, though, “Oh, good, they’re not killing Hedwig. This is the best.”

Michael: Okay, so since we’re there, I mean, between the two, I’m really disappointed that Rowling didn’t give Hedwig the movie sendoff instead.

Kat: Me too! Ugh.

Michael: That was way better, in my opinon.

Kat: This is so terrible. It is so terrible.

Kristen: Yeah, and then he blows [her] up.

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: No, I mean, here’s the thing.

Michael: He kills her too, and he blows her up.

David: Takes out a Death Eater with [her], though.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: He does, and I think…

Kristen: So?

[Michael laughs]

Kat: I think that that’s appropriate because how else… Hedwig would have just fallen otherwise. And here she at least helps and takes somebody out, and she has a purpose. But legit, I bawled when Hedwig died.

Kristen: Oh yeah, me too.

Kat: Bawled.

Kristen: I was about to cry again today when I reread it.

[David laughs]

Kat: I never did for any other character. Sirius? Pfft! Whatever. Hedwig, I’m done. Forget about it.

Michael: We absolutely lost our minds, my group of friends and me, because when I read that, there was just this long pause of silence. Everybody’s jaws were dropped, and then my friend Mary screamed, “She killed the bird?”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And when we realized… I think what was so good about that moment – as hard as it is – is I think this is truly the realization for every reader, at this moment, that no one in this book is safe. Because nobody was expecting this! Nobody saw this coming.

Kristen: I had to reread it, like, three times, and I’m like, “No, she didn’t. No, no,” and I was like, “Holy shit, she did.”

[David and Michael laugh]

David: And it’s another link to Harry’s…

David and Michael: … past…

David: … and growing up and his growing up at Hogwarts and just… poof, gone, and Hedwig has been with him since before he started Hogwarts.

Kristen: Poof. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah. Jo has said before that that’s the reason she felt like she had to kill Hedwig, is because of that connection to his past and his childhood, and he needed this separation from that in order to move on.

Michael: Well, and…

Kat: Just send her off to live with Hermione’s parents in Australia, okay?

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: Exactly. Send her away to a farm; that’s what your parents tell you when stuff happens.

Michael: And it’s, again, the way that the movie found ways to do things in their own way, you don’t really hear “Hedwig’s Theme” after that scene in the movie and…

[Kat and Kristen cry]

Kristen: Oh, God.

Michael: Yeah. But I mean, it’s the thing… when you hear that, I think… when most of us hear that theme, it hearkens back to the first two movies and those child-like visuals. So it’s the same effect. I mean, I really do like how the… because the movie not only gave Hedwig the moment that I think everybody wished she could have had, but it also found a way to integrate it in the plot and replace something from the book and still make it work.

Kat: But it takes out the all-important Expelliarmus moment.

Michael: It does, but Expelliarmus… forget about it. [laughs] No, I mean, the movies didn’t care about Expelliarmus at all.

[Kristen laughs]

David: They never make it as big a thing of that in the films.

Kat: Right. Exactly.

Michael: But I mean, that is true. That’s the part that’s an issue. Just as a note for those of you who are not US readers, an extra punch for us is that there is a lovely little picture of Hedwig in the front of the book, moping in her cage…

David: Aww.

Kristen: Aww, geez.

Michael: … that Mary GrandPr√© drew. So we also had that to look at in addition, so…

Kristen: Terrible.

Kat: Could we have a moment of silence?

Kristen: Yeah, can I go sob in a corner real quick?

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Let’s just have a moment of silence for Hedwig.

[Prolonged silence]

[Michael hoots]

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Oh, that’s so mean!

Kristen: She’s back! She’s back!

Kat: She’s alive.

Kristen: The ghost of Hedwig.

Kat: Okay, so let’s move on to maybe more ridiculous and slightly happier things.

[Kristen and Michael laughs]

Kat: So after poor Hedwig… [cries]

[Kristen and Michael laughs]

Kat: Oh, the side car.

Kristen: Oh, geez.

Kat: They start having issues with it. Hagrid pushes the crazy button that Arthur made…

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: That purple one.

Kat: And the sidecar gets loose. Hagrid repairs it, but doesn’t repair it because he really just breaks it off. So Hagrid did have two some odd years of magical education, and isn’t Reparo – however you say it – a bit like a first-year kind of spell? So, why didn’t that work? Is it one of those spells like Episky where you have to do it more often to be better at it?

David: I always just thought it was because his wand’s been snapped and sort of shoved in an umbrella. It was a bit unreliable, especially if he’s not concentrating fully. Then he can’t always guarantee the outcome.

Kat: But this is the exact opposite reaction.

Kristen: He’s used it before. Mhm. Does it have to be Oculus Reparo? Does it have to have something else connected with it, for something with that?

Michael: No.

Kat: I don’t think so.

Kristen: Not with everything.

Michael: No. I don’t think we really see that happen in the books.

Kristen: Okay.

Michael: I always assumed it was, like you said, Kat, kind of a lack of Hagrid’s expertise, and David, what you said about lack of concentration. Because the thing we learn about spells pretty early on – I think it’s mentioned in Harry’s first week of classes in the first book – that Harry quickly finds out that it’s not just all about bangs and magical words. There’s actually theory behind it.

David: Yeah.

Michael: And I don’t think Hagrid really ever got that theory. I mean, he really doesn’t use magic that often. So I…

David: I know it’s a later spell, but you think of something like Accio, Harry spends days practicing that…

Michael: Yes.

David: … before he finally gets to wits with it. By the time he does, he’s fine with it.

Michael: Mhm. By the way, I know we’re sad about Hedwig…

[Kat fakes crying]

[David laughs]

Michael: … but Firebolt! Firebolt is gone!

Kat: It is gone.

Michael: Sirius’s big gift to Harry.

Kat: Which also is something else I want to point out that the other six Harrys were not carrying. So, how did they not know that that was the real Harry? I don’t know.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Maybe they’re just dumb. But a stuffed owl and a real owl… although granted, after she’s dead [laughs] she’s probably pretty much a stuffed owl.

Kristen: Aww.

Michael: Well, not really because she’s an exploded owl now.

Kristen: Yeah, geez.

Michael: She go boom.

Kristen: Cremated.

David: She’s all stuffed.

Michael: She’s like a pillow.

David: Sorry.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Terrible.

Michael: I always think… it’s not enough of a punch that Hedwig dies, but Harry’s last connection, one of his major connections to Sirius goes tumbling down, too.

Kat: Bye-bye.

Michael: So I know he’s got the shard of the mirror, but the Firebolt was such a big gift in Prisoner, especially when he…

Kat: So damn expensive. That sucks.

Michael: Yeah, it’s sad. I think it crushed all of us when the Nimbus got destroyed in Prisoner. So this hurts a little to me too, just because this is an even more personal piece of Harry’s history that he’s losing so much so quickly. [laughs]

Kat: Yes, right in this exact moment.

Michael: Yes.

Kat: And also, just kind of hearkening back to another spell we learned really early on… so, Wingardium Leviosa… apparently you can float yourself.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Like if you’re falling in an object.

Michael: But not very well.

Kat: Okay, so that’s what got me. So Hagrid is flying along, the sidecar breaks away, and Harry keeps moving a little bit, obviously because he has momentum.

Michael: Science.

Kat: But then he’s like, “Wingardium Leviosa!” Wouldn’t that just mean that he would float there and Hagrid would keep going?

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: I mean, really… isn’t that what would happen?

Michael: I think the only thing that is keeping him going – like you said, Kat – is momentum because they were going pretty fast. And it detached during a huge burst of speed, so “scientifically speaking”…

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: Right, but it says, “The sidecar rose like a cork unsteerable but at least still airborne.” Okay, so Harry goes up [and] Hagrid goes forward.

Michael: Hmm… so…

Kat: Right? Am I wrong?

Michael: No, I think you’re right.

Kristen: Yeah, I think…

Kat: So… what?

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: So then the rest of this doesn’t make any sense.

Michael: Okay, so wait… remind me…

Kristen: He needs to turn around, make a big circle, and then connect back.

[Michael laughs]

David: All the Death Eaters chasing just watch him shoot past wondering where he’s gone.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: [laughs] Maybe.

Kristen: Hagrid’s rounding the side, coming around the corner.

Kat: I guess Hagrid does say, “I’m coming, Harry. I’m coming.” But it doesn’t say that he turned around.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: It just doesn’t.

Kristen: “I’m only being chased, but let me come around the corner and come get you again.”

Michael: So yes, Hagrid, I think, did keep going forward. And because the narration says his voice was out of the darkness, Harry doesn’t know where he is.

Kat: Got it.

Michael: So I think he must have gone forward. And I think, Kristen, you were right; he backtracked.

Kristen: Boom.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Well, it just always caught me a little like, what?!

Michael: No, I think that’s reasonable. Because again with what we were talking about before with the evolution of Rowling’s writing, she doesn’t really take the time to explain a lot of things. I always felt personally that because the movies had been out after a time – and there were a lot of things obviously she already knew the movies had messed up for set-up – I always felt that Deathly Hallows was written far more action-packed and cinematically than the others. She almost was writing it like a movie scene. And I feel personally that there’s a few moments of Rowling giving the middle finger to the movie scripts because she’s like, “How are you going to deal with this one?”

[Michael and Kat laugh]

Michael: She really does just screw over a lot of the movies’ set-up, but sometimes I do feel like she’s writing it like, “This is perfectly tailored to a movie. Just adapt it.”

David: A lot of the action certainly feels a lot more cinematic…

Michael: Yeah.

David: … after the films start coming out. I remember reading Order of the Phoenix for the first time and all the battle at the end and looking down the Astronomy Tower and seeing McGonagall getting stunned…

Michael: Mhm.

David: I could just see that…

Michael: Yes.

David: … as if it were on screen.

Kat: [sighs] Which we didn’t get to [see].

David: Mhm. Yeah.

Michael: Yeah.

David: Yeah, from that point on, the films had started coming out by then, so… yeah, it did seem to get a bit more… the action was going to increase anyway, but yeah, it just felt a bit more cinematic.

Michael: Mhm. That’s what the change is. I think that’s why that explanation is lacking in the writing a lot. Because she doesn’t really let you pause to breathe, which makes you feel the chaos of the scene, right?

Kat and Kristen: Mhm.

Michael: As a reader.

David and Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: Well, speaking of chaos…

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Michael: More of that.

Kat: We touched on this really briefly before about the Expelliarmus moment. So Harry… you think about it – and I feel like maybe on an initial read-through you don’t remember that Harry was casting other spells – but he’s casting other spells at people, and then all of the sudden he’s like, “Expelliarmus!” when he sees Stan Shunpike. Was he just trying not to hurt him? Is that why he was using Expelliarmus? Because he doesn’t give an eff about the other guys, and he’s using…

Kristen: Yeah.

David: Well, it mentions Stan’s blank-eyed expression, so I think Harry just figures he’s being Imperiused.

Michael: Yeah, he does.

David: Certainly not in control of his own actions…

Kristen: Yeah.

David: … and maybe not under his own will.

Kristen: Mhm. And he personally knows him to be a good person.

Michael: Yeah.

David: Yeah. Is it in Half-Blood Prince where he keeps asking whether they’ve released him yet? The Ministry takes him in for questioning.

Kat: Hmm, I think so.

Michael: Yes, it is.

Kat: I think so.

Michael: We talked about this in Order of the Pheonix, but Harry proselytizes defensive magic over offensive magic. He’s not about… yet again more Jesus parallels.

[David laughs]

Michael: He really doesn’t advocate for violence. I think that it’s not just a giveaway that he uses Expelliarmus, it’s a giveaway that he uses Expelliarmus the way he does… on Stan specifically. That was a trap on the Death Eaters’ part.

Kat: Yeah, it was. So Harry uses Expelliarmus and everybody’s like, “It’s the real one! It’s him, it’s him, it’s him!” And they just fall back, and I feel like they probably Apparated somewhere to tell Voldemort they found the real one. Is that what we’re assuming happened?

Michael: I assume they either…

David: I always just thought they were falling back to allow Voldemort space.

Kristen: Mhm. Yeah.

Kat: But they’re flying off in all different directions, so I assume Voldemort was waiting somewhere, and he wasn’t there yet, right?

Michael: He must have been…

Kat: That’s what I always assumed.

Michael: He must have been nearby, yeah.

David: Yeah, he’d have been around.

Michael: They could have summoned him by touching their Marks, too.

Kristen: Yeah.

Kat: Oh, that’s true.

Kristen: I think it’s just more powerful to have him come in.

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Well, yeah, obviously.

Michael: Well, yeah, it’s done really well in the movie. The effect in the movie is great.

Kristen: Oh yeah, definitely. It’s great. It’s really cool.

Michael: But yeah, I always assumed that he was just in the general area waiting for whichever set of Death Eaters found him to touch their marks, and then he’d know exactly where to go.

Kat: So, speaking of this moment… like you said, it’s really great in the movie; it’s also really great in the book. The quote says,

“And then Harry saw him. Voldemort was flying like smoke on the wind, without broomstick or Thestral to hold him, his snake-like face gleaming out of the blackness, his white fingers raising his wand again.”

And I love that. It’s a great description. Immediately, when you think about smoke on the wind. I don’t know, it’s beautiful in its terrible way. I sound like Ollivander, don’t I?

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

David: Especially because we haven’t got any hint, up until this point, there’s any way to do this, any way to fly without brooms or Thestrals, so to suddenly have it at this moment…

Kat: Which is great because then literally moments later Hagrid flies without broomstick or Thestral.

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: When he quite literally leaps on somebody to save Harry.

David: It’s more falling with style.

[Kat, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: “It’s more falling with style.” The part where Voldemort is, is really only the last two and a half pages – not even – of this chapter, and there’s another quote here that says, “As the pain from Harry’s scar forced his eyes shut his wand acted of its own accord. He felt it drag his hand around like some great magnet, saw a spurt of golden fire through his half-closed eyelids, heard a crack and a scream of fury. The remaining Death Eater yelled. Voldemort screamed.” Aaaaah.

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: So I figured now was a good time to listen to another great audioBoom from a listener about that golden spell, which we talked about very briefly. Have a listen:

[Audio]: What’s good, Alohomora! team and podcast listeners? This is Kevin, going by ProtegoMyEggo in the comments and the forums. In re-reading this chapter, I can’t help but be curious about the mysterious spell of golden flames that comes from Harry’s wand against Voldemort’s attack. Now, I haven’t found any information from Rowling on Pottermore or interviews or any other open forums. Now, I recognize this encounter is significant because it gets Harry and the reader to begin wondering about and questioning the nature of wands and if they have a level of consciousness, but to me this spell is a bit of a loose end and leaves readers – especially myself – with an unanswered question as to what it is. So for you guys, do you think this spell is just Rowling getting us curious about wands as a setup for the Elder Wand to come later in the book and should remain a mystery, or is there more to be revealed? I’d love to hear your opinions, and while we’re at it, how about coming up with some names for the spell and what it would do if it would actually hit a target. Thanks for the podcast. I’m a huge fan. Love you guys. Peace!

Michael: Okay, because the interesting thing about this is that we never actually really get an explanation on this spell, do we? We get the reason why it happened, but we don’t actually get an explanation of the spell itself. I’m assuming – because there’s really not that much to go on – that this is some… because nobody recognizes this; everybody even thinks Harry is lying. They’ve never heard of this before. I’m assuming this is some demented, warped version of Priori Incantatem because the wands don’t share the core, so it cannot actually do that, but it’s still detecting similar things about Priori Incantatem, that being that Voldemort and Harry have a connection.

Kristen: I’m trying to think of a cool name.

Michael: For the spell? [laughs]

Kristen: Yeah, I like that challenge.

Michael: Because even though I’m saying it seems to have some weird relation to Priori Incantatem, it’s not at all Priori Incantatem.

Kat: Right, because he has Lucius’s wand.

Michael: Yeah, and it’s not recollecting previous spells, which is essentially what that means. But it’s still drawing on that same protective aspect of Priori Incantatem, right?

Kristen: I mean, it can feel his pain, maybe.

Kat: It is a bit of a mysterious moment.

David: I always wish we had gotten a bit more of an explanation about this.

Kat: Yeah, about the actual spell itself and not just why it was caused.

David: Just passing it off as – what do they say? – the wand recognized Voldemort as Harry’s enemy and acted to protect itself. Just… it always seem a bit vague.

Michael: What David just said made me think that… reminding me that we do discover that wands… they also learn and grow and evolve, and so I guess the implication is that… because this is the big “Is it alive?” question, I think, of the series, really, because what I would say happened is, the wand learned from the Priori Incantatem incident.

Kat: But that would mean that wands can read people and not just other wands.

Michael: Well, and in this case, ostensibly, it is, right? Because it’s reading that there is a Horcrux connection between the two of them, right?

Kat: But then, really, the wand is just reading Voldemort trying to “kill himself.”

Michael: But there’s also the element that the wand is bonded to Harry, and I think maybe that’s why this spell happens – this unexplained, never-before-witnessed spell – because there is, as we just listed, so much conflict going on between this wand. Just in this wand alone, there’s an internal conflict going on because it recognizes that Harry is trying to protect himself, and it’s also realizing that there’s a piece of Voldemort in Harry, almost like the wand doesn’t know whether it is going up against an enemy or a friend.

David: I think the explanation we get seems to suggest that it recognized Voldemort, but only because of the connection they’d already had because of…

David and Michael: Priori Incantatem.

Kat: But is it recognizing Voldemort as himself or the piece of Voldemort in Harry?

Michael: Oh, like the… again, it’s almost like you could say again, wondering if it’s alive. That the wand knew that Harry was a Horcrux before Harry knew it.

Kat: Well, I feel like everybody knew before Harry.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: To be fair.

Michael: That’s… again, the wand is suggested to be something that bonds that closely with you. I mean, it almost sees things inside you and about you that you may not even realize in yourself. That’s something that Pottermore frequently suggests in its wand discussion from Ollivander that if you act upon it, wands have the ability to unlock potential that you don’t know about yet.

Kat: So just thinking about the feather just briefly here… and this is the most ridiculous thing I think I’m probably ever going to say on this show.

Michael: Awesome, yay ridiculous theories! We haven’t had those in a long time.

Kat: So you know it came from Fawkes, right? And we know that Dumbledore is close with Fawkes, and Dumbledore has taught his portrait to learn and things like that. Do you think that maybe in some weird way that Dumbledore has talked to Fawkes about things and that wisdom is imparted magically in the feather? Somehow? Maybe? Because we’re talking about how it’s connected to Dumbledore and Fawkes and Harry and all that. I feel like there has to be some kind of even magical knowledge or presence or something there.

Michael: That is dependent on whether – and Rowling of course hasn’t given these facts – you as the reader believe at what point in history the feather was put in the wand because there’s… we’ve discussed before about whether it was put in the wand when Fawkes was owned by Dumbledore or not.

Kat: Okay, fair enough.

Michael: And I mean, I think that’s the big thing that that’s predicated on and also on how much knowledge Harry… even if Dumbledore did own Fawkes… and of course then that also ties into knowing when the wand was made, how much did Dumbledore know about Harry and his life and situation if he was in ownership of Fawkes when the feather was put in the wand? Or to go even crazier, does that feather even still have a connection with Fawkes even now?

Kat: Because Dumbledore is dead or because it’s removed or what? Or all of the above?

Michael: Perhaps that feather – just because it’s detached – might still yet have an eternal connection with Fawkes. I mean, phoenixes are reborn… they die and are reborn. Perhaps a feather, even if it is detached, has magical properties in some similar way.

Kat: Like it dies and then is reborn?

Michael: Well, not necessarily reborn, but it outlives its owner, perhaps. And still retains a connection in some way. Because I mean, it is definitely symbolic that there’s the connection of the phoenix and Dumbledore and Harry. So I mean, I don’t see why not. That gets into the whole theory of Dumbledore’s death, which Rowling has happily embraced on Twitter.

Kat: Right. Yeah, she said she loved it or that was very nice or something, yeah.

Michael: Yeah, I think that’s one that’s just as open to interpretation as that.

Kat: Well, then let’s just wrap up on a moment [that] is brilliant and funny and not at all plausible to work after Hagrid quite literally leaps to save Harry…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: … Harry says, “Accio Hagrid.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: And…

Michael: My friends were talking about that one for days.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I just…

Michael: That would be a funny joke.

Kat: It’s brilliant.

David: It’s quite a strange thing about this chapter, this death and terror, and it?s a horrible situation for these characters, but there’s some weirdly slapstick farcical elements…

[Everyone laughs]

David: … what with the “Accio Hagrid” or the “Wingardium Leviosa” or the brick wall erupting out of the bike and all the Death Eaters splatting on it. [laughs] It’s a strange juxtaposition.

Kat: Yeah, magic, I find, comes across as slapstick-y sometimes. Quite often, actually.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yeah, I’d say, notably, the movies take away almost all of that.

Kat: Yeah, they do.

Michael: Because I think that would be jarring in tone.

David: Yeah. It would look a bit funny on screen to have.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

David: Which, when I first read it, I did look forward to seeing the brick wall erupting out of the exhaust…

[Michael laughs]

David: … and seeing a Death Eater spread-eagle behind it.

Kat: If they ever do the animated series, that would be perfection.

[David, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: Which I think we all want that. A little coyote-roadrunner type stuff going on. It would be perfect.

Michael: Since you put that out there, listeners, if you have never watched Avatar: The Last Airbender or Legend of Korra, watch them now and then you will realize why I want those creators to be the people who animate Harry Potter if it is ever done as a series.

David: That would be amazing.

Kat: That would be really good.

Kristen: That would be so good.

Michael: Because they do such a good job with that…

Kristen: Mhm.

Michael: … especially Legend of Korra, I think, has a similar kind of thing with tone issues where it will bounce between slapstick-y and drama but it does it really well.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: Just like Harry Potter the book does.

Kat: Right.

Michael: I would love to see that adaptation in animation.

Kat: So we’ll wrap up with just a tiny little bit of universe talk. We’ve touched on circle theory quite often here, and so I was just doing some investigating. The chapter in the book for this, if you go back to Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone, would be “The Keeper of the Keys,” which is pretty great because there’s a moment in this chapter where Hagrid says, “the last time you were on this bike, you were a baby” and then in that chapter, he says, “last time I saw you, you was only a baby.” I thought that was cute. The pink umbrella makes an appearance in both chapters. [laughs] And this line has nothing to do with any circle theory whatsoever, but I laughed so hard…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: … Harry is talking about how he doesn’t know about Hogwarts but he “‘I know some things,’ he said. ‘I can, you know, do math and stuff.'”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: So that’s good to know that Harry knows how to do math.

Michael: Something we’ve been wondering. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Kristen: I know. He does know math.

Kat: Also in the “Keeper of the Keys” chapter, that’s where we first learn about Lord Voldemort from Aunt Petunia and Hagrid, and then this is a bit of a reach, but there is fire in both chapters, so…

Kristen and Michael: Hmm.

Kat: … something to think about.

Michael: I was going to say as far as those connections that you made, that’s really intriguing to touch on because unlike all the throwbacks that we’ve seen end up being one-offs or just moments that we won’t see again but are just fun recalls, Hagrid’s symbolism ends up lasting pretty much throughout every appearance he has in the book.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: The major one, of course, will be at the end. But it is interesting that she sets all of these recalls up and Hagrid’s is pretty extensive, leading up to his big moment with Harry during mid-battle, I guess you would say.

Kat: Mhm.

Michael: Battle part two.

Kat: I was really hoping that it was going to be the chapter where Harry gets Hedwig…

Michael: Yeah. [laughs]

Kristen: Oh God, that would be awful. [laughs]

Kat:… that would be very beautiful, but it wasn’t.

Michael: If circle theory had been more prominent in the fandom back then, I bet this would have really fueled the fire for the idea that Hagrid was going to die.

Kat: Probably.

Michael: Because he was top of a lot of people’s list. People were really sure he was going to die.

Kat: I remember that.

Michael: And then Hedwig died and nobody knew what to think anymore. [laughs]

Kristen: Yeah, right? [laughs]

Kat: Yeah. So then I looked at… we’ve also talked about within the chapters within the books, and the opposite chapter for this one is would be “The Prince’s Tale,” if you don’t count the epilogue, and I didn’t want to read ahead and spoil myself, so I did not look at those circle theory options. I have a feeling there are not very many, if any at all, but I would be curious to think and to read about what you listeners might come up with.

Michael: It’s funny because you would assume that the last chapter would be the circle theory for “Prince’s Tale.”

Kat: Yeah. It’s not, though.

Michael: It’s not. Odd.

Kat: As long as you don’t count the epilogue. If you do count the epilogue, then it would be whatever is after “The Prince’s Tale.” I don’t know.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: But I always went off the assumption that the epilogue isn’t… it’s not part of the story.

Kristen: Mhm.

Kat: It’s part of the story, but it’s not part of the story.

Kristen: Yeah. I agree.

Michael: Yeah, the epilogue is pretty self-contained.

Kat: Right. Exactly. So that’s it. That’s our Chapter 4 discussion. It’s pretty great, I think. It’s a good chapter.

Michael: Who’s going to die? Nobody knows because she killed the owl! [laughs]

Kristen: Ugh.

Kat: I’m still not over that.

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: No.

Michael: We never will be.

Kat: No.

Kristen: Fresh tears coming back. All right. Now it’s time to go in to this week’s Podcast Question of the Week. “As we discuss in this chapter, the Order’s plan to smuggle Harry from Privet Drive has many flaws. Not least of which that it comes from Mundungus Fletcher, quite possibly the least trustworthy Order member. What was the alternative plan for Harry’s escape prior to this one? What would have been a better alternative? And why exactly were the members of the Order so willing to go along with this idea – seemingly without question?” So go on over to our main site, at and respond to this question. I look forward to seeing what you all think about it.

Kat: I have like four million ideas.

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: Maybe only two million, but I have a lot of ideas.

David: All of them probably better than the one they actually went with.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: Probably.

Michael: All of the comments next week will just be from Kat.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yeah. I don’t think I’m on next week, so that makes sense. As we’re wrapping up here, we just want to take a moment here, David: Thank you so much for joining us. We hope you had a magnificent time.

David: I did. It was very fun, thank you for having me on.

Kat: Oh, thank you for staying up incredibly late to talk to us.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: David has seen behind the curtain, and there are things that can not be unseen.

[David and Kristen laugh]

Kat: That is true. That is the privilege of being a guest host, right? So…

Michael: And oh my God, he’s British. [laughs]

Kat: And he’s British, and has a good voice.

Michael: And his voice is beautiful.

Kat: Yup. I bet everybody out there, everybody listening has a picture of what you look like in their head, so…

Michael: I do.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Oh, boy. David.

Michael: I’m sorry, was that too forward?

[Everyone laughs]

David: I’m a little bit intrigued now. It’s probably horrendously wrong.

Michael: [laughs] Who knows? We’ll never know. If you listeners would like to come on the show just like David – and maybe or maybe not I will shamelessly flirt with you – let’s see what happens.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: What do you sound like?

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: But come on the show. Be on the show. I won’t hit on you, I swear. [laughs]

Kat: Unless you want him to, then just ask.

Michael: Yeah. Yes. Even if you’re a girl, I will hit on you, sure. Why not.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: You can go to the “Be on the Show” page – nobody is going to do it now – you can go to the “Be on the Show” page…

[Kat and Kristen laugh]

Michael: … at If you have a set of headphones… like David’s Apple headphones – as you’ve heard on the show are great quality. They don’t necessarily have to be those, though. If you have a microphone that works just as well, as well as a recording…

Kat: They just fined us 500 dollars, Michael. Thanks.

Michael:[laughs] as well as a recording program on your computer, you’re all set. You really don’t need any fancy equipment. And while you’re on our main site, you can download a ringtone for Alohomora! It’s free!

Kat: Yay for free!

Michael: Dobby is free!

Kat: Aww. Okay.

Kristen: Hedwig is dead.

Michael: Hedwig is exploded.

Kat: If you want to cry along with us on Twitter…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: … you can find us at @AlohomoraMN. On, and Tumblr – mnalohomorapodcast. Of course our phone number is 206-GO-ALBUS. That’s 206-462-5287. And as you heard a plethora of times on this evening’s show, you can always send us an audioBoom. It’s free – all you need is an Internet connection and a microphone. Head over to Click the little green button in the right-hand menu, and keep your message under sixty seconds if possible and you just might hear yourself on the show.

Kristen: And while you’re over on the main page, don’t forget to check out our store where you can find house shirts, like Desk!Pig, Mandrake Liberation Front, Minerva is my homegirl, and much, much more.

Michael: Also check out our smartphone app, which… it’s available lots of places.

Kat: Say it!

Michael: [singing] Around the world, around the world, around the world.

[Kat laughs]

Kristen: That’s the best.

Michael: [laughs] I like Daft Punk, I mean I’m all for it. It’s not on the drinking game, though.

Kat: It’s not, that’s true. Oh man, I forgot about the drinking game!

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Somebody’s probably so drunk after this episode.

Michael: Yes, we’ll add that one to the drinking game. Feel free, listeners. Prices vary depending on your location. The app includes transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and more. And as Kat said this week, it will include something magical. Either hilarious or magical or maybe a little bit of both.

Kat: It might not be the thing I talked about before, because there'[re] so many good bloopers on this episode.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: Yes. Well, there will be something.

Kristen: There are a ton. There will be. And for those of you who haven’t heard about the drinking game, you can find it over on the website. There’s a little tab. We recommend that you don’t drink alcohol… actually we can’t recommend that you drink alcohol, but what you do is up to you.

Michael: I feel before we go, I should hit on all the listeners. So… you know, listeners. I may not be Luna, but I know how to love good.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I’m Michael Harle.

Kat: I’m Kat Miller.

Kristen: And I’m Kristen Keys. Thank you for listening to Episode 154 of Alohomora!

Kat: Open…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: … the Dumble… Hedwig. [cries]

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Open the Dumbledore.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

[Show music begins]

Michael: Oh, that’s so sad. [laughs]

[Show music continues]

Kat: Was that okay? Well, you two didn’t help!

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: That was probably the worst “Open the Dumbledore” ever.

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: I am stopping my recording.

Michael: Okay, everybody stop.

Kat: We can all stop.

Kristen: [continues]

“If he had treated Harry better, he would still be on the phone, selling drills, instead of looking at…”

Aww, [censored]. I forgot his name again.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Dedalus Diggle.

Kristen: All right.

Kat: I hope Kara puts that “Oh, [censored]” in the bloopers, by the way.

[David and Kristen laugh]

Michael: Fricking wizard names, man.

Kat: They’re the worst.

[Kristen laughs]

Michael: I think we all said that when we came up to Xenophilius Lovegood’s name for the first time. Like, “What the eff?!”

Kat: Yeah. Oh, shoot.

Kristen: Who’s it from?

Michael: Who is that?

Kristen: Who[m] is the audioBoo[m] from? I forgot.

Michael: Ooh. Let’s see. Let’s see.

Kat: [We should] write those down, shouldn’t we?

Michael: Yeah, we probably should.

Kristen: It’s from a ghost!

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Michael: It’s a ghost!

Kat: She was so mad, because when we went to Florida, they took her thing of Nutella away out of her bag because for some reason, it’s a liquid.

Kristen: Yeah, I just bought a new thing.

Kat: It’s food.

Kristen: It’s totally unfair. She was like, “Uhm, you can grab a spoon and try to eat it real quick.”

[Michael laughs]

Kristen: I’m like, “I gotta go catch my plane! I can’t carry around spoonfuls of Nutella.”

[Kat, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

Kat: Oh, so funny.

Michael: Yeah, I…

[R2-D2 noise]

[Kristen laughs]

Kat: What is that?

Kristen: I’m sorry. It’s my iPad, and it’s all the way over there, so let me go turn it off real quick.

[David and Michael laugh]

Kat: Do I keep hearing C-3PO or R2-D2? What is it?

Kristen: It is R2-D2. It’s happy R2-D2.

[David and Michael laugh]

Kat: Is that what you were randomly laughing at before, Michael?

Michael: Yes. [laughs]

Kristen: Yes, I think he was.

Kat: I was like, “What?”

Kristen: But it’s all the way across the room. Hold on.

Michael: [as Kat] “Michael, this isn’t funny!”

[Kristen and Michael laugh]

Kat: Yeah, I was like, “What are you laughing at? I’m sorry, am I being stupid or something?”

[Michael laughs]

David: All I can think is that for every single episode you’ve done, how much would this random crap there must have been that got cut out?

Kat: You have no idea.

[Kat, Kristen, and Michael laugh]

David: It must have been absolutely hilarious, but you just couldn’t put it in.