Transcript – Episode 164

[Show music begins]

Eric Scull: This is Episode 164 of Alohomora! for November 14, 2015.

[Show music continues]

Eric: Hello everyone, and welcome to another excellent episode of everyone’s favorite global reread podcast, Alohomora! I’m Eric Scull.

Kat Miller: I’m Kat Miller.

Alison Siggard: And I’m Alison Siggard. And our guest this week is Allie. Welcome, Allie!

Allie Girouard: Hi! Thanks for having me.

Alison: You’re so welcome.

Eric: Thanks for coming on, Allie. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your house?

Allie: I’m a Hufflepuff.

Eric: Yes!

Alison: Yay! [laughs]

Allie: A very, very loyal Hufflepuff.

Eric: Ooh.

Kat: That’s great. I like ‘Puffs. I have lots of ‘Puffy friends.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: And Allie, that’s old Pottermore-approved, or verified?

Allie: Yes, it’s Pottermore-approved. I actually became a Hufflepuff as a child by accident because I couldn’t remember if Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw… which was which because I was nine years old.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Yeah, it’s true.

Allie: So I was like, “Oh yeah, I’m a Hufflepuff! The smart one!” And then I realized I’d been calling myself a Hufflepuff and I was like, “I’m more of a Hufflepuff anyway.”

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Only a Hufflepuff would make that error.

Allie: Exactly. And then Pottermore verified it, so I was like, “It was meant to be.”

Alison: Good.

Kat: Yay.

Eric: I will say, as a partial Hufflepuff who in the past has struggled with denial, the welcome letter for Hufflepuffs was amazing.

Alison: It’s beautiful.

Allie: Yes.

Eric: It was really beautiful. I’m sure that’s on the Wiki or something for anybody else who’s listening at home and didn’t have the pleasure of receiving it. But yeah, Hufflepuffs rock. So this week on Alohomora! we’ll be talking about Chapter 14 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, titled “The Thief.” So make sure, before continuing on to our main episode discussion, that you the listener at home have read that chapter of that book.

Kat: That was a very Michael-esque description. Good job.

Eric: It really was. I’m sounding more and more like Michael every… did I tell you guys how I was Michael for Halloween this year?

Alison: Were you really?

Eric: No.

Alison: Oh.

Eric: I’m joking.

Kat: Oh. That would’ve been fabulous.

Alison: That would have been awesome. But before we get to the next chapter, we’re going to recap our comments from the last chapter. So our first one comes from Jaye Dozier, who says,

“I think it’s actually really important that Umbridge wasn’t a Death Eater or a direct follower of Voldemort. Ever since she and Fudge have tried to circumvent Hogwarts out of their own ideas of power and dominance (although their motivations were different), it has been evident that the lines between good and evil are blurred. Having Umbridge be so downright evil, but on the apparent side of the ‘good’ (and even having her dress overwhelmingly ‘innocent’ and ‘girlish’), it shows that there can always be both good and bad on both sides of the battle – albeit with Voldemort followers, this is rather rare. I think our best equivalent to Umbridge is Regulus Black – in many ways, their situations are juxtaposed. Regulus chose to outright follow Voldemort, and yet realized his mistake and tried to correct it. Ultimately, he had some form of good in his heart, while Umbridge seems to have only evil in the disguise of her ‘rule-following, right-side of the battle’ mentality. You can never fully say that one group is completely evil and one completely just – there are always blurry lines in war, and life.”

Eric: Yeah, I find that interesting a little bit as well, about Umbridge in this book because the Horcrux is in some ways, we’re meant to believe, influencing Umbridge just like it later does the trio. And so even though she’s absolutely horrible – and the last chapter pretty much solidified her in my hate book, not redeemable, worst character ever, definitely evil category – you have to believe that some of that might be a little heightened as a result. The specific lengths to which she goes to and the enjoyment that she gets from seeing people like Mary Cattermole subjugated is… you have to leave it open to a little bit of interpretation and say maybe it’s the Horcrux that’s doing that, and maybe she is, in fact, as Jaye Dozier would say, a little bit more of a blurred line situation.

Kat: She hasn’t had it that long, though, if I’m right. Right?

Alison: I don’t think so. Well…

Eric: I think she’s probably had it long enough for it to start… I mean, some people are a little bit more susceptible to it, I’d like to say. But I mean, the Horcrux didn’t create this totalitarian evil society.

Alison: No.

Kat: Right.

Eric: That’s totally Voldemort taking control of the Ministry, and the Death Eaters. But I mean, they’ve been at Grimmauld Place at least a month, I think, at this point. I could be wrong. So she’s had some time… I think that it certainly isn’t hurting. Umbridge is propelled forward on this path and the Horcrux isn’t making her any nicer.

Kat: No, that’s definitely true. And the only thing that I was thinking of… and this is not me giving her the benefit of the doubt because I totally one thousand percent agree with this, but she probably only wears it at work.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Ooh.

Kat: So I am under the assumption that Umbridge is really just truly an evil witch.

Alison: Yup.

Kat: … with a “b.”

[Alison laughs]

Kat: And this only really makes her significantly worse.

Allie: Yeah. Well, and I think it’s also important she’s not a Death Eater because it shows the different kinds of evil; it’s not [that] all evil is always a Death Eater.

Alison: Yeah.

Allie: There are different ways to be evil and different things that you do. If the only evil characters in this story were all Death Eaters, that’s not really realistic.

Alison: Definitely.

Kat: Yeah, because there are great characters like Petunia and Draco who definitely have evil and mean streaks, but they’re not necessarily evil people at their core.

Eric: Well, and it’s interesting that… I mean, if you were to poll a group of Harry Potter readers and say, “Who do you hate more, Umbridge or Voldemort?” Not everybody is going to say Voldemort.

Kat: That’s true.

Eric: And that’s very interesting that she is not affiliated in any way with Voldemort. Except in Book 7, I guess she kind of works for him, but that’s like three levels removed.

Kat: Yeah, there’s definitely lots of memes going around that [are] like, “Who hates this woman more than Voldemort?” And it’s a picture of Umbridge.

Alison: Yeah. [laughs] Everyone?

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: All right. Well, our next comment comes from DoraNympha, who says,

“It says on p. 292 of the UK Bloomsbury, that ‘The stag’s light, more powerful and more warming than the cat’s protection, filled the whole dungeon as it cantered round and round the room’ so Umbridge’s Patronus wasn’t as powerful because it didn’t come from a good warm place in the first place, I just found it fascinating that this is another aspect of how flexible Patronuses are. They are prone to variation from the memory used to how powerful they are or what form they take and even that can change… While Umbridge could manage one, it was lousy compared to Harry’s.”

Eric: I will say that I think that there’s a little bit of a misunderstanding with this comment just in that, at least in terms of how I interpreted it, Umbridge’s Patronus goes away because she gets knocked unconscious.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: And so the fact that Harry’s is able to go around and get rid of all of these Dementors and the cat one is gone; I think that’s actually because Umbridge is Stupefy‘ed.

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: So yeah, I don’t know that it’s going up against Harry’s Patronus.

Alison: Yes, but I think… I don’t know if it’s necessarily saying they’re actually side-by-side. I think it’s comparing before with when it was just Umbridge’s Patronus with just Harry’s Patronus at the different times.

Eric: Perhaps Umbridge… I mean, Umbridge does not want to drive away the Dementors, either. She wants to shield herself from the effects.

Alison: Uh-huh.

Eric: There’s a brilliant line in the chapter – last week’s chapter – something that’s like, “The horror and the bad feeling was for them to feel, not the people up on the dais,” and it’s just like, “Oh, that’s cool.” So maybe there’s a degree of intent there with Umbridge’s, where it’s just creating a barrier for a little bit and it’s not… Patronuses can be used to completely repel Dementors, as Harry’s always is.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: And I think, too, that… you know how it says, “The stag’s light, more powerful and more warming than the cat’s protection”? I feel like Harry’s Patronus is always going to feel warmer to him.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Kat: Because we have to remember we’re getting this from Harry’s point of view.

Eric: That’s a good point.

Alison: Yeah, that’s true.

Kat: So I mean, what if it were Ron’s Patronus? Would it feel equal or less to Umbridge? It’s hard to say.

Eric: Harry doesn’t feel anything for Hermione’s Patronus when she conjures it. He’s just like, “Oh, there’s an otter.” [laughs]

Kat: It’s like an… wait, she doesn’t even get it out, does she?

Eric: She tries at first and fails, but then I think she gets it.

Kat: Right.

Alison: Yeah, she does, but it fades at one point.

Eric: But he doesn’t have any kind of reaction to it like, “Oh, the warmth!”

Kat: Right, exactly. [laughs]

Alison: That’s true.

Eric: Yeah, so I think you’re right in that it’s probably a head thing for him.

Kat: I think it’s just a personal warmth since the Patronus is pretty much a part of him.

Alison: Yeah.

Allie: It’s also just… I feel like his Patronus would just be stronger because it’s more of a life/death thing, like, “I have to do this; I’m on a mission,” as opposed to Umbridge’s. She more casually just has cast the Patronus to hold them back. So it might be in his head, but it’s also… I feel like his would be stronger and warmer anyway because he does it in a moment of action.

Eric: Plus, he learned from Lupin and Hermione learned from him…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: … so it’s not as good of a teacher for a Patronus… but yeah, with Umbridge, too, I think it has to do… there’s something to be said for, “Harry has more happy thoughts because he’s just a more hearty individual.” There is something to be said for that, but I think the bottom line [is] Umbridge was not aiming to repel any Dementors from the entire world.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: They shrink back into the walls or something; it’s crazy, with the reaction to Harry’s Patronus.

Kat: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I’ve always assumed that most spells were like the Unforgivable Curses…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: That’s interesting.

Kat: … where the intent behind them is equal to the type of magic and the power of the wizard and the wand and the core and all of that. It’s just all…

Eric: It almost has to be because if you can use a Patronus as a messenger the way that Jo has developed for the Order to do, it’s still the same incantation, but somehow it turns into this. Or Lupin, who as a character… and it’s later revealed or confirmed on Pottermore that he mentally makes his Patronus not be able to fully form when he sends it out. It sends it out obviously enough to be effective against Dementors, but it doesn’t take the form of the wolf, which would give him away.

Alison: And our last comment for today comes from Roonil Wazlib, who says,

“I kind of love the word choice here: ‘Undesirable,’ rather than a stronger word like ‘Traitor.’ ‘Undesirable No. 1’ feels so Umbridge – it’s a softer, more feminine word being used in place of something much harsher and more sinister, just as she uses bows and kittens and a high voice to counter her evil actions. I think the term also works well in conjunction with the quick over-throw of the Ministry, changes in policy, and lack of resistance from the larger magical community. Labeling Harry as ‘undesirable’ could be interpreted as ‘ehh we just don’t really like him that much anymore’ rather than ‘we need to hunt him down and kill him!’ It allows people to sort of ignore what’s going on, or at least deny how bad things are getting.”

Eric: That’s a really good point.

Alison: I never thought of that.

Eric: And also, I wanted to say; her little note on that poster as well: “To be punished”…

Alison: Ugh.

Kat: Mmm.

Eric: … that is also the same way. It’s like, “Okay, they’re totally ignoring what’s actually going to be happening to him: ‘To be hunted down and killed.'”

Kat: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Umbridge is all about that and I think there is a lot of that at the Ministry of covering up… again, even the people, the staffers, are just like, “Oh, how many are being questioned today?” when they really mean, “How many are being tied up and tortured today?”

Allie: If they label him as traitor then that’s like they’ve put something on him so people can say, “No, he’s not a traitor,” but “Undesirable” is more like, “Why are they mad at him?” They haven’t actually charged him with anything yet.

Eric: Again, it’s kind of like being Most Wanted, right?

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: “Wanted?” Like, “Oh okay, wanted for suspicion, wanted for… what exactly is that?”

Alison: Okay, well, thank you all for all of your comments this week. There were lots of good comments on the site and the conversation is still going. So make sure you head on over to to read all the rest of them and add your own thoughts.

Kat: So now we are going to move onto our Podcast Question of the Week responses from last week. Just to remind all of you of the question, it was the following:

“The transition from this Scrimgeour-run Ministry to the Imperiused-Thicknesse-run Ministry is a very quick one. Historically, even dictators such as Adolf Hitler had a gradual rise to power compared to the rapid shift in the wizarding Britain’s government. How might the average workers inside the Ministry have handled the stark change, such as those creating the Mudblood-focused pamphlets? How would the citizens have reacted to this change? On the flip side, how might some employees capitalize on the opportunity presented in this very different government?”

Eric: Hmm. That’s a good question.

Kat: So I think for the first time in a long time, the responses were all very one-sided…

Eric: Huh.

Kat: … which I’m surprised about because I didn’t expect that. I really didn’t expect that so I’m hoping that by reading a couple of comments here, we will have some varying viewpoints and we can discuss it a little bit more.

Eric: Sure.

Kat: But our first comment here is a nice short one. This is going to punch you right in the gut, I think.

Eric: Oh, no.

Kat: It’s from Felix Scamander. It says,

“Well, we do see several people reacting very well to the change. In the previous chapter, somebody speak to Yaxley saying something like ‘maybe you can get me his job, eh?’ I think a lot of people just got promotions and decided not to say anything. Again, all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”

I read that and I was like… [groans] society today. There it is in four sentences.

Alison: It’s actually almost a very clever tactic to get people on your side if you’re outing these people that are supposedly not desirable people and then basically promoting other people. That’s a good way to get people to at least not fight against you.

Eric: Yeah. I will say that there’s a lot of mystery surrounding these different appointments and different promotions and things. I don’t know – in response directly to this question – that a lot of people saw Scrimgeour around. My vision of Scrimgeour as Minister for Magic is that he was actually trying to solve a lot of the problems and hunt dark wizards and stuff still, so he might not have always been around. Meanwhile, while Voldemort was infiltrating the Ministry, people in these high-level positions that just the common Ministry worker reported to would have already begun sort of swaying things in that direction.

Alison: Mmm, that’s true.

Eric: So maybe it’s more gradual in the sense that some of the bosses – some of the higher-ups – were already affected, and then slowly this… it’s not as quick as it seems, maybe. So maybe it’s not even that there’s just a lot of ambitious people at the Ministry, although I wouldn’t rule it out. I think Felix Scamander’s comment here about people reacting very well to the change… I think it’s the wrong use of word to say they’re reacting very “well” to the change because I don’t think there is a single person who’s sitting at those desks with those pamphlets and going, “This is the best thing ever! These pamphlets are so colorful! I want to just keep creating more of these.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That’s true.

Eric: Nobody is doing that so far as we see. And so I have a feeling everybody knows what’s going on. I would not say that… or not “knows what’s going on,” but knows something doesn’t quite feel right about everything. So I wouldn’t say they’re reacting very well. That’s my only thing about the comment.

Allie: Yeah, and I think a lot of people probably reacted very badly, but I feel like wizarding society is so non-cohesive. Everybody lives either in Muggle areas or like in the Burrow out in the middle of nowhere [so] that even if you have a feeling like, “Oh, this is terrible. Oh, I want to do something,” it’s a lot harder to make the connections because the only places you really come together with other wizards outside of your family that might feel this way would be I guess Diagon Alley – but no one wants to go there anymore because they’re scared – and work. But you’re not going to be making those Mudblood pamphlets being like, “We should probably start a revolution.”

Alison [laughs] That’s true.

Eric: Yeah…

Kat: I was trying to think of something that I could equate this to… kind of a gradual takeover. And I think that it’s kind of like… let’s just all pretend we have a desk job and they’re transitioning to new software, okay? So you spend months and months. You know the new software is coming. Sometimes you want to be like, “Nope, we’re not getting new software because that new software is going to be terrible.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: You’re always working toward that new software and you’re making changes to your daily routine…

Eric: Is this such a stretch?

Kat: … and the way you implement things to work toward that new software, and then you have the new software and boom, it’s done. And you realize that you hate it just as much as you thought you did, but you really don’t have a choice because it’s your job.

Eric: How is this relating to what’s going on?

Kat: Because… how does that not relate to the… wait, that doesn’t make sense?

Alison: It makes sense. No, it makes sense.

Kat: New software is Thicknesse.

Allie: It’s just a drastically different scale.

Kat: I feel like my theory is scalable.

Alison: No, I think it is. I mean…

Eric: [laughs] I was just giving you trouble on purpose.

Kat: Oh, okay. I was like, “What?” I was like, “How is this not making sense?”

Eric It was such a forced attempt at giving you trouble. No, I think that’s fine. I honestly think that’s fine. I think that… I mean, although I will say that nobody at the Ministry would’ve been way upfront about, “Hey, we’re going to separate people from their children and send them to Azkaban, and take people’s wands and break them up.” There are certain things that the Ministry is doing now that you would never advertise. And because the Ministry is operating through this veil of secrecy, and one person who works at the Ministry doesn’t really know what the other person is doing, and that’s exactly how they want it. There’s people… a dozen people have shown up today for work and are going to be questioned and probably imprisoned, and that doesn’t stop the other thousand people who work there from coming in for whatever reason, whether they have to just get a paycheck or what. I honestly think that it’s not that every government worker in the Ministry is just okay with it. I think there’s a lot of people who really don’t know, and the fear and oppression that everybody feels is really spread out. And I like what we’re talking about here in terms of there not being many places after work for people to go and socialize outside of work. It really does seem that people are really on their own in this world.

Kat: Well, I think it was Allie who said it seems like everything was a little compartmentalized.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: And so the way you’re describing it, Eric, I think that is probably most definitely what’s going on. A minute ago I was going to be like, “Yeah, it’s just like how our government works!” But then I didn’t want to get into that topic, so…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: We’ll pretend that I didn’t say that because I didn’t, and move on to our next comment here from Rose Lumos.

Eric: Okay.

Kat: It’s a little bit of a long one, but here we go. Let’s dive in. It says,

“It’s interesting how much the Ministry changed on the last few years: In OotP they are against Harry and deny anything related to Voldemort’s return. Then the next year they accept Voldemort is back and are back on Harry’s side to the point where they try to recruit him as a sort of mascot. The the year after that they are against Harry again. My question is how the Ministry and the general public react to the fact that Voldemort is no longer anyone’s priority. Seriously, on 31 July the Ministry hadn’t fallen and I assume they were still looking for Voldemort with pamphlets being made about perfection and security. Then on 1 August the Ministry fell and all of a sudden everything is fine and there is no war? I’m guessing there is a portion of the Ministry that is secretly happy that they don’t have to think about the war. People hate war and some of the workers are probably relieved that they don’t have to think about it anymore. We see everything for Harry’s point of view, where everyone he knows is involved in the war somehow. The average wizard probably isn’t that involved and only hears things here and there from the newspaper and friends. Honestly, life for the average wizard family isn’t that affected by the war on a daily basis. So if they go into work one day and instead of doing a job involving hunting dark wizards or objects they are told they can go back to ‘normal,’ they might be relieved. Even if we know that ‘normal’ is just a ruse, to a family who had no Muggle connections this year might seem like an improvement over last year.”

Eric: I like this comment a lot. It does raise the question… it does make it seem to me that there actually was too little time to go from this Scrimgeour-led hunting Voldemort – even though they weren’t doing the best job at it [and] actually acknowledging him – to all of a sudden hunting Mudbloods instead. It’s like, “Wait a minute. What’s more important here?” It does seem like a stretch that you could even hold trials on blood status without several people kicking up very large objections in a short amount of time, if it was done within the time frame that it is in the seventh book.

Kat: Yeah, why aren’t there picketers outside the Ministry?

Alison: Well…

Eric: Because they’d be taken away.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Alison: This comment made me wonder how much the normal, average wizard is even paying attention to all of this anymore. If everything keeps going back and forth, are they even paying attention? I know there are people in real life who just stop [and] zone out news stories because they’re like, “Oh, they’re still talking about that, whatever.” And so they just don’t care anymore because it’s just been thrown in their face so much that they just can’t bother.

Eric: I mean, maybe, because I think an example we have of this is… again, it’s Arthur Weasley, but on the lifts he brings up Dirk Cresswell’s blood status and how that’s being looked into by Runcorn or something, and he gets angry about it. And Arthur Weasley knows… obviously, Arthur Weasley is the center of all our attention at the time, but it is something that’s casually discussed in a public setting. It’s in an elevator where other people are around.

Kat: Yeah, I do think – Alison, I’ll have to agree with you on that – I do think that people have varying levels of interest in any topic, really. And I personally know that I’m not a giant fan of politics. When do I pay attention to it? When there’s an election coming up, when I have to. So if people aren’t really interested in what’s going on… you’re right, they probably just check out and don’t care to follow it. If it doesn’t affect their daily lives, I feel like most people, for the most part, are probably going to just ignore it.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Sad truth.

Eric: It’s just like software.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: I don’t actually upgrade any of my software… this is true, this is true! It’s because I like the old stuff that I’m used to. [laughs] And I use it as often as possible, still today.

Kat: So you would quit the Ministry then [during] the Thicknesse run?

Eric: I don’t know what I would do. I would probably just get caught trying to take Mad-Eye Moody’s eye off of Umbridge’s door…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: … and be imprisoned for life. That would probably be me.

Kat: God, she’s terrible.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Kat: Okay, so that wraps up…

Eric: Well, we’re free of her. We’re free!

Kat: Yeah, thank goodness. So that wraps up our Podcast Question of the Week responses from last week. There were still quite a lot of comments over on the main site at, so definitely go check those out, and maybe you’ll have a varying point of view. Hopefully, maybe, possibly.

Eric: Hope so. But now it’s time to talk about Chapter 14 of Deathly Hallows.

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 14 intro begins]

[Sound of clock ticking]

Ron: Chapter 14.

[Sound of heart beating; clock ticking continues]

Ron: “The Thief.”

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 14 intro ends]

Eric: All right. So this chapter grants a reprieve to almost nobody, except for the readers.

[Kat laughs]

Eric: It is a shorter chapter than the previous one and the ones after it, so it’s a little bit shorter. But it’s still an important chapter in this stage of this book. Here’s your summary for Chapter 14: Harry, Ron and Hermione find themselves somewhere unexpected, and as they begin to develop a plan for moving forward, it appears that their progress has hit a standstill. So like I said, lots of stuff in a short amount of time to get to. Essentially, Harry has passed out at the end of [the] last chapter – at least I think he has, sort of like that – and he comes to and finds himself on the floor of what appears to be a forest. And quite quickly, he realizes that something’s wrong. Ron is bleeding, Ron has been Splinched. So in their travels from the Ministry, escaping from Yaxley, they’ve made it to… not Grimmauld Place as they were expecting, but someplace in the forest. It turns out to be the forest where the Quidditch World Cup was held. And Ron is bleeding, and actually it appears to be very serious. So we’ve finally seen what Splinching looks like. It’s described as… basically flesh – Ron’s flesh of his upper arm – was scooped out. It’s terrifying!

Alison: Yeah. So gross.

Kat: So disgusting.

Eric: Terrifying, and it’s an interesting sort of insight into Harry’s mind: it actually says he always thought of it as being sort of a comical thing. And I think that’s pretty close to what the readers [thought], too, right? She always talked about losing an eyebrow…

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Right.

Eric: It’s like, “Oh, that’s so funny! Half of your eyebrow’s over here!” But with Ron…

Kat: Yeah, which is really just as bad as waxing.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Exactly!

Kat: Really.

Eric: It’s just as bad as waxing, and that’s not scary! So do you guys remember – we always ask this question now going through – especially Book 7, the heavy Book 7 stuff – were you guys worried for Ron here?

Alison: Umm…

Allie: I don’t think I was crazy worried for Ron because I sort of trust Hermione and her Dittany and everything, but it’s such a step back. They’re actually in harm’s way.

Alison: Yeah.

Allie: They’re in immediate threat of danger and everything. And this is no longer the comical Book 1 wizarding world; this is legit. Splinching hurts.

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: Well, as I was rereading this part again, this line about “he always thought it was comical,” it just hit me that this is so indicative of the rest of the book. All these things that we thought were just whimsical, happy…

Eric: Funny… [laughs]

Alison: … funny, magic things… they can be extremely dangerous and extremely scary. And so it’s… man, this is just such a turning point in this book, where it’s like everything is kind of…

Kat: It gets real, real fast.

Allie: Yeah. They no longer have a safe place, they’re not at Hogwarts…

Alison: Yeah.

Allie: What are they going to do? No more Dumbledore.

Eric: And as if it’s not scary enough – Ron missing part of the skin of his arm – he’s also halfway in transformation between Reg and Ron.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Kat: [laughs] Yes.

Eric: So it’s like a weird half-Reg, half-Ron hybrid is bleeding to death on a forest floor. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: I have to say – and I’m sure we talk about this a lot too on the show – but the adaptation into the movie – I thought this entire chapter, actually – there are a lot of good moments in this chapter that I feel are faithfully recreated in the film.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: But just Hermione’s bloody hands…

Kat: That was just what I was going to mention, because when I read this part, that’s the only thing that I think about now.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Do you remember when they first released images…

Alison: That first trailer, when that was all they had.

Kat: … and her hands were really bloody?

Alison: Oh my gosh, it was terrifying.

Kat: They were really, really bloody. And then they edited it and took some of the blood out, do you remember that?

Eric: Yeah, it was bad.

Kat: I always think of that now when I read this moment. I think of Emma Watson’s hands up like that… I don’t know.

Eric: Yeah, me too.

Kat: I don’t remember being terrified for Ron, but I remember that. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. [laughs] Okay.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Well, that works too. And of course, in terms of being faithfully recreated like the Dittany – the “Accio Dittany” when he gets it from the bag…

[Alison laughs]

Kat: It’s fabulous. It’s one of those fun, comical moments. I don’t know, I think it’s absolutely great.

Eric: Yeah, that’s comical, Splinching not so [comical].

Alison: I think it’s so nice. It’s just such a reminder that because Hermione and Harry grew up in the Muggle world, going to magic is still not their first thought in a crisis. In a crisis, their first thought is to do something by hand. And so it’s just funny that we kind of get this…

Eric: “But we don’t have any wood!”

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Kat: Right. I’m sure that there are people who can argue this, but I truly, truly feel like Part 1 of Deathly Hallows is the truest adaptation.

Alison: Oh, I would agree with that. Yeah.

Allie: Yeah, I agree with that.

Kat: And whether it’s your favorite movie or not, it is the truest adaptation. If you just compare, scene-by-scene, chapter-by-chapter…

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: … it’s the truest.

Eric: It’s shockingly good… [unintelligible]

Kat: It is.

Alison: I really enjoyed Part 1, actually.

Kat: It is my favorite of the films. Because it is such a great adaptation.

Allie: And the camping stuff is just so nice and pretty but eerie. It works.

Kat: It is!

Allie: The cinematography of it all just works really well.

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. So before we move on to more of the circumstance that brings them there, I wanted to mention of course Dittany, which saves the day here. I actually really like the idea that… Hermione says there’s a spell that could put Ron right, but she just doesn’t trust herself to be able to perform it.

Kat: Because she’s in looove.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: Yup!

Eric: Well, I mean, she also just escaped from the ministry, too. It wasn’t any one person’s fault that they got caught. I mean, it was mostly Harry’s, but everyone’s at fault and nobody’s blaming each other, and that’s a really nice thing. But Hermione failed to produce a Patronus at first, so I don’t blame her for doubting herself – her magical ability here – when you have something like Dittany, which has this incredible restorative property to it that grows skin back and makes the wound seem, from the book, like it was a couple of days old. So it’s a nice temporary measure.

Kat: And it works so fast.

Eric: It really… three drops, too.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Three drops cover in inches of skin what you would assume to be… inches of skin.

Kat: Well, a giant scoop, right?

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Oh, guuh!

Kat: I’m retching over here, that’s so disgusting.

Eric: Actually, yeah, that’s so… the word choice is really on point. But Dittany, of course, like many herbs and/or spells and/or names of people, places, and things in the Harry Potter books can have historical or mythical references and significance. I looked up dittany just for fun prior to recording, and here’s a couple things about dittany. In particular, there’s a plant called Origanum dictamnus – I did take Latin but only two years, so don’t hate me, people.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Eric: It’s known as dittany of Crete. And in Ancient Greece, Hippocrates prescribed plant cures to aide all manner of ailments and considered dittany of Crete useful for stomachaches and complaints of the digestive system, and as a poultice for healing wounds. So there’s some historical use of something called dittany of Crete for healing. Also, the Greek philosopher Aristotle in his work The History of Animals wrote: “Wild goats in Crete are said, when wounded by arrow, to go in search of dittany, which is supposed to have the property of ejecting arrows in the body.”

Kat: Hmm.

Eric: So the wild animals know that Dittany can eject… if you’ve been impaled by an arrow, it will shoot it out…

[Kat laughs]

Eric: … and I thought that was amazing.

Kat: Yeah, that’s pretty amazing.

Eric: And there’s two less concrete for healing but still very cool things about dittany here that I pulled. This is all from generic Wikipedia – I do apologize for not having better sources, but it’s still very interesting – “Even in recent times,” says the Wiki, “the collection of dittany” – so the actual act of collecting dittany of Crete – “was a very dangerous occupation for the men who risked life and limb to climb precarious rock faces where the plant grows wild on the mountains of Crete. They were named erondades (which are love seekers) and were considered very passionate men to go to such dangerous lengths to collect the herb.”

Allie: Ooh, that kind of works with the Hermione love.

Eric: There’s some romance involved in this plant’s history, and there’s a little romance going on in this chapter between Hermione and Ron.

Allie: Ooh!

Kat: I find it kind of funny that it’s on the side of mountains, because you mention goats and now all I can think about is goats.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: And of course, then I go to Aberforth and…

Eric: Oh, I said the G-word, damn. We’re never going to be able to get back on track.

Kat: I’m sorry.

Eric: Ah, Aberforth and his goats.

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: And then… final point about dittany here: “Dittany of Crete has always been highly prized; it is gathered while in bloom in the summer months, and is exported for use in pharmaceuticals, perfumery, and to flavor drinks such as vermouth and absinthe.” Both of which I’m sure Ron wouldn’t turn down in this moment if he had them. So yeah, good on Jo for giving that already cool plant even cooler magical properties.

Kat: Well, we know that she likes goats.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: That’s true. Not as much as Aberforth.

Kat: So I guess it makes sense. Not as much as Aberforth, you’re right.

Eric: Yeah. [laughs] So moving on, we find out why… one of the first questions Harry asks once Ron is sort of sorted is just what happened: “Where are we? I thought we were going to Grimmauld Place.” And apparently there’s trouble. Yaxley grabbed hold of the trio as they were Apparating – again, perfectly recreated in the movie. But sticking to the books here for one blessed moment, we learn a lot more about… at least they theorize that in doing so, in Apparating with Yaxley holding on, they brought him into the… what we should say, the circle of confidence, circle of protection of the Fidelius Charm on Grimmauld Place. And as a result… in fact, Hermione has a great line: she’s pretty sure that he saw the door, and that was what made him loosen his grip so that she could basically pry him off. I think she does it with a spell, but still… they cross through the threshold of protection with Yaxley on them, and then that means that they can never go back to Grimmauld Place because now Yaxley, also now a Secret-Keeper presumably, or somebody who’s in on the secret, can now bring everybody – the Death Eaters [and] Voldemort himself can now go to Grimmauld Place.

Kat: Which always made me so sad. But also I was so intrigued by the fact that he can probably only bring them in by Apparition.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: And he doesn’t know the address.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: He doesn’t know where they actually are.

Eric: Hmm, that’s a good point.

Kat: He just knows that’s where they were hiding.

Alison: Oh, interesting. Yeah. So I wonder if he could mess up and not make it back?

Eric: Well, you can exit… he doesn’t need to Apparate to go back. What he can do is he can… if he’s on the front porch or whatever – and there are already so many other protections on Grimmauld Place…

Kat: Hmm.

Eric: You can walk down the front stairs and be on a regular street…

Kat: No, that’s true.

Eric: … and then locate yourself from there. I think the real trouble here though is what clues have they left behind as to their mission? For me, this fact that they can’t go back to Grimmauld Place and they didn’t even bring food or… they can’t even get Kreacher. This is a huge thing in this chapter, where they want to but they can’t.

Kat: Yeah, I was thinking about that today, what they might have left behind. And I feel like… [sighs] they probably wouldn’t have left a whole lot…

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: … other than probably some provisions. Clothes, some sleeping bags maybe, or whatever they were using… kind of overnight stuff. Because I feel like Hermione, even though she didn’t have the foresight to bring food, she probably would have brought all their maps and plans and all of that stuff with them in case they needed it.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: True.

Kat: But probably not a whole lot else. I’m sure that they sacrificed quite a bit, unfortunately.

Alison: They did leave Kreacher, though, which is the saddest part.

Eric: It is actually extremely sad. And I know that we will probably get an answer later this book as to whether or not Kreacher was tortured at all by [Death Eaters]. Is that something… does that ring any bells in anybody’s head?

Kat: I was going to ask that, too. I don’t know.

Alison: I don’t think it’s implied at all, because he kind of shows back up at the Hogwarts kitchens and seems fine. And I think Kreacher is pretty smart, and when he heard someone that wasn’t them coming back, he probably just Disapparated and went back to Hogwarts or somewhere safe.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! Did Snape help him?

Alison: [gasps] Ooh! Well…

Eric: That might be… I certainly don’t remember. Well, I mean… oh, because of Hogwarts… I don’t know. I would think that if he goes off to anybody, it would be Harry first.

Kat: But he doesn’t know where they are.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: That power of the magic of the house-elf means you could always find your master, I am sure.

Alison: I would assume so.

Eric: Right? Wouldn’t that be a thing? But maybe it’s that you do have to be summoned. I mean, maybe it’s one of those things, because Harry and Hermione have an offscreen conversation that is specifically related to whether or not they should summon Kreacher.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: But their thought is, if somebody is holding onto him, [laughs] then it would do the same thing that they just did with Yaxley, which is bring them to where they are and into the protection. So it’s a sticky situation, but I also think – and this is something I was trying to work out in my head too with Kreacher and whether or not he’s tortured – he would know about Horcruxes or that they’re going after the locket. If Voldemort, for instance, ever were to interview Kreacher…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: … torture Kreacher, he would know that the game is up with the Horcruxes. So I don’t think anything really important can come of it because the plot of the book would be different.

Kat: Right.

Allie: Hopefully they just sort of overlook. They do their classic ignorance thing, like house-elves aren’t important…

Alison: Yeah.

Allie: … and they just sort of overlook him. Because yeah, he could tell them everything.

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: Well, maybe it’s…

Kat: And that’s why I’m giving Snape the benefit of the doubt.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Look, this is two times in this book that he potentially gets Kreacher out of there and brings him to Hogwarts.

Eric: Maybe. I mean, the thing about the Black House though, historically so many dark things have been done behind those walls…

Kat: Mmm.

Eric: And I’m not just talking about the massive sex everyone had.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Eric: But I’m talking about… they’re Dark wizards. It’s kind of an interesting home. It was an interesting home for Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but it was home for, now temporarily, that they have now lost. And just the idea that the Death Eaters can now enter it whenever they want, I would think that they would find it to be an interesting place. I mean, it was the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix – and they may or may not be able to tell that – but it is sort of inhabiting the enemies’ stronghold.

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: And that just doesn’t… it just really, really sucks.

Kat: Yup.

Eric: And I wrote something in my notes that J.K. Rowling kills everything.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: And in this book, it’s no less. She just killed their only sense of home that they had left. [laughs]

Kat: Their happiness, their warm meals…

Eric: Their happiness, their warm meals are dead. And I just imagine this relationship with Kreacher – which Harry notes has been improving over the last month – I imagine him wearing an apron [and] cooking them a meal, a meal that never gets eaten. [laughs]

Alison: It’s so sad.

Kat: And I mean, he even says that, “the steak-and-kidney pie”…

Eric: The steak-and-kidney pie that he never ate. I mean, she actually goes there. And I’m just like…

Kat: That sucks.

Eric: Come on! This is so sad.

Kat: It is. Yeah, I picture Kreacher in this moment with his tufts of hair coming out of his ears and the [fake] locket bouncing off his chest. I’m like, oooh! It makes me sad.

Alison: That is so sad.

Eric: I mean, it’s all you can do. So unfortunately, they can never go back. And I do hope that there is more in the text that we’re simply forgetting about Kreacher, whether he was tortured or not in the end. Because at this moment – and I think this is another good thing about what J.K. Rowling has done – he’s a character that we care about. And it’s not just that we miss Grimmauld Place because it was Sirius’s old place; we’re missing Grimmauld Place now because it’s a sign of safety, basically a stronghold. It basically represents a degree of safety that they no longer have. And it’s like, oh really, how much of this can they lose?

Allie: Yeah, and their connection to the Order too. Even though they can’t talk to the Order, they at least feel like they’re a part of it.

Alison: Yeah.

Allie: They’re in the headquarters, they have at least some part of the resistance.

Eric: Yeah. Exactly.

Allie: But now they’re just totally alone.

Eric: Right. Plus now even if Remus were to come back, or if anybody were to try and locate them, they couldn’t.

Allie: Mhm.

Eric: Because they’re now going to be forever on the run.

Kat: Truants. [laughs]

Eric: So now they really are beyond the help of the rest of the Order, until they get to a location that they can broadcast. So there’s something else that’s going on underneath this chapter. Of course, the thief has yet to be identified and we’re about halfway through. The thief is very important, but before we get to that, I wanted to mention that there’s all these references to previous Harry Potter books in this one chapter. Now we’ve talked about circle theory, we’ve talked a little bit about literary alchemy, like what books are supposed to correspond to others. And I really found… I was pulling out references from everywhere. For instance, Nicholas Flamel gets a reference in this chapter.

Alison and Kat: Mhm.

Eric: Harry is lamenting over how little information Dumbledore told him because he’s got the Horcrux and doesn’t know what to do with it. But that’s mentioned. They’re in a tent, actually, and this tent that they reside in is the tent that they used during the Quidditch World Cup…

Alison: Yup.

Eric: … which is ironically exactly where they are now, in those same woods in that same geographical area. So that’s a Book 4 mention. Hermione by the end of the chapter – skipping ahead a little bit – talks again about Occlumency, that Harry should be practicing it. Which for me goes into…

Alison: Book 5.

Eric: … Book 5…

Kat: [Book] 5.

Alison: They mention the diary.

Eric: Talking about the Horcruxes… the diary, which is…

Kat: Book 2.

Eric: Yup.

Alison: And the ring, the ring was [Book] 6.

Eric: So we have all of them.

Alison: And this is why I think I love this book so much. She does this all the time in this book where she just pulls out these random things – not random – but all these different things that you’d almost forgotten about from the past books. And it really feels so nice and complete and ended because all of these details have led to this book and they’re all here again, and it’s just this reminder that everything is here. And I love it so much; it’s my favorite.

Eric: And there was something else in that, too, which comes off of… I wouldn’t say recent episodes of Alohomora!, but probably the last one that I was on, if it was “Interrupting Weasley” or not, with Molly. We learn that Arthur has given them express permission to use this tent. And I just thought that was a real solid of Mr. Weasley, who of course maybe didn’t necessarily completely approve of them going it alone or roughing it, but was certainly willing to have a conversation with Hermione that, “Hey, Perkins didn’t want his tent back because he’s got”… what was it?

Alison: Lumbago.

Eric: Lum-BAY-go?

Kat: Lum-BAH-go.

Eric: Lumbago. “But you can use this.” I mean, Mrs. Weasley was never as forthcoming or willing to see them off or actually give them any useful supplies that they might use, and here they’re using it. So good on Mr. Weasley. But yeah, to be in the woods of the Quidditch World Cup with the tent they last used in the woods of the Quidditch World Cup is actually really exciting, like a really cool first place to go to.

Kat: And this almost perfectly… this is so funny because I was just looking in Sorceror’s Stone, just for the heck of it.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: So we’re talking about Chapter 14. Chapter 13 of Sorceror’s Stone is “Nicholas Flamel.”

Alison: Aah!

Kat: It’s so close.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: So close, one chapter off.

Eric: I will say for that people who are a little more critical of Book 7 and even if you aren’t and love this book, we can all admit that the camping goes on for a little while.

Alison: Ah! Okay.

Kat: Just a little while.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: So I wanted to mark this moment, in case anyone was wondering where and when the camping of this book starts… it’s now! [laughs] There is…

Kat: Sorry, but you know what’s funny? Because we were just talking about circle theory, I looked at the chapter opposite this within this Book, and ironically it’s “Malfoy Manor” where the camping stops.

Alison: Ah!

Eric: That’s super [unintelligible]

Alison: That’s awesome!

Eric: How can you tell that it’s the in verses? Because it’s fourteen from the end?

Kat: Yes. Yeah, not counting the epilogue.

Eric: Oh, fourteen from the end [unintelligible] Okay, interesting. That’s funny.

Alison: That’s awesome.

Kat: I thought so.

Eric: So the camping mathematically lasts exactly as long as it should.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Right? [laughs]

Eric: So here’s a line from this chapter which I thought was perfect about the camping. It’s when Harry – we’re going to get to the locket in a moment – but it’s when Harry has the locket, doesn’t know what to do with it. It says: “It was as though he had been hurtling toward this point for weeks, months, maybe even years, but now he had come to an abrupt halt…”

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: Which … that’s just [laughs] [unintelligible]… okay camping time. It’s a halt. “… run out of road. There were other Horcruxes out there somewhere, but he did not have the faintest idea where they could be. He didn’t even know what all of them were.” So it is sort of… these words should prepare us for an abrupt halt of plot. Not plot. The camping starts here. That’s all. That’s my only point about that.

Kat: It paints a very hopeless picture.

Alison: Yeah, it does a little bit.

Eric: Yeah, let’s talk about the locket…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: … a little bit.

Alison: Which is also hopeless.

Eric and Kat: Yeah.

Eric: They’re on the right track, right? They know from what Kreacher said, that they need to open it. They already know that it’s not… that it has a compartment that needs to be opened. Harry – I guess – only realizes that at the very last moment, actually comes time to destroy it, and most of the camping is spent not knowing how to destroy it. But I feel like they’re on the right track. They do decide to… take it in turns while they are basically watching guard, standing guard, and they’re on the right track a little bit… but certain things are holding them back.

Kat: Yeah, like no way to destroy it.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Even if they could figure out how to open it, what are they going to do? The inside Voldy thing is just going to take them over.

Eric: But the decide too… regardless, they do feel something already, and I think that’s important. In fact, it’s Ron who is nearly dead this entire Chapter. Except when he has to save the world.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Whenever Hermione starts to say Voldemort’s name he shouts, “Stop! Don’t say the name! Show Voldemort some respect?”… question mark? And so he stops both of them from saying Voldemort’s name, which at this point we know would be fatal. It would definitely get Death Eaters right to their location. And also he’s the first one who says to Harry, “Can you feel it? It feels like something, doesn’t it?” And Harry takes the locket to himself, and imagines there is somehow a tiny metallic heart beating inside… brilliant words. “Was this the rush of his own blood through his fingers, or was there in fact a tiny metallic heart beating inside this locket?”

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: It’s very scary…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: … in description of what might be in this locket.

Kat: It’s terrifying and… I hadn’t realized how many times they almost say Voldemort in this chapter.

Alison and Eric: It’s so many!

Eric: It’s so many. There’s one point when Harry wakes up from his dream – again, getting ahead – but Harry gets up from the vision, and he’s talking hushed voices to Hermione about what he just saw, and she almost says Voldemort, and Ron from…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: … inside the tent, which is enlarged. It’s probably a hundred feet of the other side of the tent is shouting from his bunk bed…

Kat: Right.

Eric: … like super human Ron hearing shouting, “Don’t say the name!”

Kat: Right. Mhm.

Eric: Unbelievable.

Kat: It’s just… we talk about Ron a lot on this show, and how sometimes he’s short changed, and he could be used for more things, and I think that this … showing that Ron’s fear of the name eventually has an actual purpose…

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: … I think it’s truly showing that it’s okay to be afraid of things.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: And that fear can be used as a motivator to do bigger and better things, and I feel like that’s a big part of Ron’s overall story is that…

Eric: That’s…

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: … fear has its place in life.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: That’s profound. I like that a lot.

Kat: You have to use that to propel yourself into the future, because if you’re not scared of something, then it’s not worth doing…

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: … usually. And that’s something that only struck me this time on the read through, with how many times they almost say Voldemort. It’s ridiculous…

[Alison laughs]

Kat: … it’s like four times!

Eric: Yeah, it’s easily that. And even the line that’s thrown at… I think it’s Harry that like… well, Dumbledore said fear of a thing only increase… and then Ron!

Alison: [laughs] Yeah!

Eric: Super star, MVP Ron says, “Look at where that got Dumbledore! Didn’t do him any favors!”

Kat: Right.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: And he called Voldemort by his name. It’s the perfect line. Ron is supposed to be nearly… he’s on the mend! He can’t even sit up properly and these witticisms are great.

Alison: Yes.

Eric: His defense is crazy.

Alison: I think it is a wonderful show of just how intuitive Ron is. The fact that he can feel the Horcrux, that ticking, first and that he is the one who is like, “This seems like a bad idea to save the [unintelligible].” Just how much intuition he has and how much, he might not even know why but he is just like, “Yes, let’s not do that because I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Eric: Yes.

Allie: It’s great. I love Ron.

Eric: I don’t think he know why and that’s that. But I do think, could it be… and I don’t want to steal the thunder of any of our listeners who were going to write in with this thought, but could it be because he is so close to death that he is experiencing the Horcrux differently?

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Eric: If you look at it like it was just his arm that was cut off but I just think that because he is having some down-time maybe he is more sensitive to the world around him or something. Maybe that is a magical property of… could it be? Because where else is there a Ron that is this awesome?

Alison: All the time. I think he is there all the time.

Kat: Yes.

Allie: He is showing that he has something to offer to the trio. He is not just the one that they carry around. He has the knowledge of the magical world and he has some instinct. He is not all bad. He really does help.

Kat: He really does, guys, he really, really does.

Alison: I think this is very much a Ron situation. It is not super adrenaline charged which is Harry’s situation but it is not academic which is Hermione’s situation. It is very much common sense, street smart intuition fueled which is Ron’s niche in this trio.

Eric: Yes, in this trio. Yeah, you’re right. That’s true enough. I find it interesting that they’re struggling over opening this locket here. They know that lockets are supposed to open and that this one should open but they have already been here, back in Book 5 they are trying to open the locket. It is the same locket now that they have recovered that was at Grimmauld Place when they were cleaning it. It’s the same locket and no one then could open it and I think they had even Lupin’s help at that point and nobody knew that it was a Horcrux then but nobody could open it and now, I just find it funny years later they’re still trying to open the same locket.

Kat: What chapter? Oh, that was Chapter 9, boo. Never mind.

Eric: Oh, I am sorry, your math is not lining up or something?

Kat: It’s okay, I just wanted to see.

Eric: But wait, if you add Chapter 9 to Book 5 you get fourteen, which is this chapter.

Kat: Boom, circle theory confirmed.

Alison: Ooh.

Eric: Boom, wow. Now let us journey to the realm of partial consciousness.

[Kat laughs]

Eric: Let us journey somewhere else because we need to talk about the thief of this chapter’s title. Harry is on guard duty, not doing a very good job.

Kat: Per the usual.

Eric: And he slips into a trance of sorts and is basically able to see Voldemort/Harry – at this point it says that “Harry’s own mouth was issuing a high-pitched, cold voice” – that is torturing Gregorovitch the wandmaker and asking him where it is. We do not know what he is talking about. And after a little bit of torture we can presume that he does Legilimency and delves into… so this is Harry in Voldemort’s mind going into Gregorovitch’s mind…

Kat: Wow.

Alison: Legiliception.

Eric: … and seeing this golden-haired angel perched on a window sill, not unlike a bird and grinning, shooting a spell at Gregorovitch and basically doing a double backflip triple-helix axle out of sight, which is what I imagine in my mind’s eye that he just does this magnificent quadruple, like I said.

Kat: Salchow, yes and then the French judge gives him a 4.8.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Exactly, because those French are such hard judges. Exactly. Anyway, this dude got away, it was the weirdest thing and let us talk about that. Let us talk about all of that.

Alison: I just have the funniest mental image of that, can I just say that? Of him jumping out the window. It is just the weirdest… he is just perched there, he is like: “Haha!” and he just jumps out of the… [laughs].

Eric: He has almost a Fred and George like mischievous – what was it in the book? – triumph.

Alison: Yes.

Eric: This gleam of triumph.

Kat: Oh, God.

Eric: But he is a good-looking, young man. That much is said. He has golden hair. Harry has actually seen him. He does not know it. He has actually seen him today. This was the day that Harry last saw who this guy is, when he was in Umbridge’s office.

Kat: Right. He says, “Hmm, he seems familiar.” Yeah.

Eric: Yes and he seemed familiar and he cannot place him and basically coming out of this dream, coming out of this experience – of course, it’s not really a dream, it actually happened – but coming out of this experience and then talking about it he doesn’t necessarily take away everything he should. He is trying to remember it, to be fair, it was like a dream within a vision within a vision in somebody else’s mind. So even later at night when he’s having to answer questions to Ron, he can’t quite picture it but like it is kind of a massive of oversight. I’ve talked about how this book is like… well, I’ve talked about how J.K. kills everything but there is added pitfalls at every step within this book which makes the journey harder and brings about a proper level of conflict to it all. But just the idea that they can’t go back to Grindelwald Place in this chapter. Now Harry sees Gregorovich being tortured. Voldemort is not asking Gregorovich about Harry’s wand, he’s not asking him to build he a wand and this is something that Harry and Ron talk about later. He’s asking him about where it is. And then you go into this memory where, of course, Grindelwald or this guy in the window shoots a spell using the wand which we know that’s exactly what we’re meant to see is the wand now that we’re in it we can’t unsee it. But to Harry it’s just natural for a thief who stole anything to have a wand to be able to defend themselves…

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: … in case he gets caught. So Harry when asked says, “Oh, I don’t know what he was stealing but it was probably small because I didn’t see it.”

Kat: I read this passage about four times today because I wanted to be sure that there wasn’t a hidden like, “Whoops, it’s the wand,” and there isn’t.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: There’s not even a even a single clue. The only time wand is used is when it says, “Then the Intruder shot a stunning spell from his wand.”

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: That’s it.

Eric: His wand is now his wand but it wasn’t his wand a moment ago because the wand is what he stole. Is it a stretch to infer that Grindelwald the wandmaker is being asking about where a wand is. It might be too far because you don’t really have enough information but again it’s just another one of those layers of setback that Harry’s not immediately able to… but then again, the dialogue could have been different. He could have been like, “Where the wand?”

Alison: Mhm.

Eric: It would have helped out a little bit. This is yet another pitfall in Harry’s journey of solving the puzzle and it’s just like, “Okay Jo, keep piling them on.”

Kat: Right.

Eric: It’s like when are we ever going to get out of this?

Alison: It’s funny how close they get to figuring it out there. I realize at the end when they’re talking about what he just saw, they’re literally just missing the one piece of the “Tale of the Three Brothers” – that’s the Elder Wand. They basically have everything else figured out and had they that one piece they would have known it right then but because they don’t have that one piece, they start going way off in a different direction.

Kat: Well, and isn’t that Dumbledore’s fault?

Alison: Yes.

Kat: He was suppressing the tale and teaching Harry about the Hallows for a long time and it’s just another one of Dumbledore’s mistakes because if he had told Harry about the Hallows, he would know what’s going on.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: And it’s not even a matter of telling Harry about the Hallows. It’s like, “Here Harry, let me show you my wand.”

Alison: Yeah, I was surprised Harry didn’t recognize it.

Eric: Maybe this is an indicator that in the books, the wands aren’t as distinctive visually as they are in the movies.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Could be.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Maybe it’s the best indicator ever. [laughs] Because I’ve never seen another wand that looks like Dumbledore’s in the movie.

Kat: I like that Ron here asks if Harry thinks that You-Know-Who is looking to turn anyone else into a Horcrux.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Because again he’s like, “Oh my God, if he’s still making Horcruxes, this is never going to be over.”

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: That’s true.

Kat: It’s never going to be over and I just like that that was even a thought I mean again it’s Ron’s fear and looking into the future, coming into the present moment.

Eric: Voldemort has killed so many people and it’s only… the only thing that Harry really has to say is, “No, he’s probably not making more.” Dumbledore warned Harry tha it would be dangerous.

Kat: Right and Harry doesn’t even know he just says maybe.

Alison: Yeah!

Kat: He’s just like, “I don’t know, maybe.”

Eric: If Voldemort tried, he could potentially die? Or lose his existing… let’s take this to its next logical conclusion. If Voldemort has fewer pieces of soul to himself like in his body or whatever like what happens when you create too many Horcruxes?

Alison: He crumbles into Voldy confetti. [laughs]

Eric: Voldefetti.

Kat: “Voldefetti,” gross.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Does he become the baby?

Alison: Oh, eww! No!

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: I don’t know he came from that state if you think about it. He came from that state when Wormtail put him in the cauldron.

Kat: That’s true.

Eric: And I think that’s going to do it for this chapter titled, “The Thief.”

Kat: So now we’re going to hop into our Podcast Question of the Week for this episode and it’s something that we didn’t touch on, purposely. I mean, we almost got there, we got close… circled around it, kind of like Harry almost saying “Vold…” Anyway, so this week’s…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Don’t say it.

Kat: But I have to. The listeners won’t know otherwise.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Don’t say “Vold…”

Kat: Okay, I won’t. Okay, got it. So the trio finally gets their hands on the Locket Horcrux yet, as per the last time they held it, still cannot open it. Looking forward, when they do finally get the locket open, we see what the portion of VoldySoul has become; growing, learning, and reacting to the innermost thoughts and fears of the three. If the locket were to open now, so soon after their retrieving it from Umbridge, what would appear? Would they see visions of Umbridge, and what the soul has “learned” from her? Would the soul manifest itself in the same way, with figures made of smoke? Or would there be a tiny, metallic “beating heart” like Harry guesses? So you know what to do. Go over to and leave your comment or send us an audioBoom, and you just might hear yourself on next week’s episode.

Eric: I think that there would be a locket within a locket within a locket within a locket. Legilimenception!

[Alison laughs]

Kat: That’s like lockinception. That doesn’t work as well. Those two words don’t go together.

Alison: No.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Alison: I’m sorry.

Eric: I’m so glad we got this chapter and not the one about the lock.

Kat: Yeah. That’s true. Guys! We have a lock as our little…

Eric: Oh!

Kat: … the lockinception…

Alison: Oh.

Kat: … is what’s on the Dumbledore!

Alison: Well, I guess all that’s left for us really to do is to thank Allie for joining us today. Thank you so much for being on, Allie.

Allie: Thanks for having me! It was awesome. It was nice to actually talk to you guys…

Kat: Yay.

Allie: … and not have you be disembodied voices in my head for once.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: It was nice not to be a disembodied voice.

Alison and Eric: Yes.

Eric: It was good for us as well.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: If you would like to be on the show, just like Allie, please visit the “Be on the Show” page at Not to interrupt our usual shtick here, but Kat, are there any spaces left in the Alohomora! guest list?

Kat: There are, in fact. Yes there are. I will not say anything more than that.

Eric: Okay. So there may or may not be a limited number of chapters… okay, you guys can count.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: There are twenty or nineteen chapters left to discuss in this book and then it’s done. It’s all done. Go home, everybody. So…

Kat: Or is it? Wink, wink.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Ooh. Or is it? Legilimenception.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: If you would like to be on the show just like Allie, please visit – and time is running out – the webpage. And if you have a set of Apple headphones you’re all set. No fancy equipment is needed. Although, if you do have fancy equipment, that’s pretty nice. And while you’re there on the webpage, download a ringtone for free.

Kat: And in the meantime, you can keep in touch with us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN;; on Tumblr at; Instagram is @alohomoramn; our phone number is 206-GO-ALBUS – that’s 206-462-5287. Man, I could say that number backwards in my sleep.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I’ve said it so many times.

Eric: 7825-264-602. And I could not have ever done that if I weren’t reading from the document right now.

Kat: Good job. I applaud you. [claps hands]

Eric: But it would be like SUBLA-OG-602…

[Alison, Eric, and Kat laugh]

Kat: Yeah, you’re right! Almost spells sub load.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: It doesn’t.

Eric: What’s…

Kat: Anyway, you guys can 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 that is in the right-hand column, and keep your message under sixty seconds, and you could hear yourself on the show. And also, we don’t know when this is happening, but some time soon we are going to be on Google Play, so keep an eye out for that.

Eric: And do not forget there is the Alohomora! store where we have House shirts and recurring jokes from our podcast made real in the form of actual material that you can wear and parade around like an inside joke you get that none of your friends will. Go check that out over on our website. Just click on “Store” at the top.

Kat: And if none of your friends listen to the show and you have a shirt, make them listen to it, okay?

Eric: Oh yeah, definitely.

Alison: Wear your shirt then make them listen.

Kat: Because then they’ll get it.

Eric: There’s no better time to start listening to Alohomora! than nineteen episodes before the end.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Eric: Forever.

Alison: We also have our smartphone app. As part of our hosting service, we are on the Podcast Source. The app is free. It includes transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and so much more. And I think I actually have that this week, so good stuff coming.

Eric: Well, everyone, just as we thought at the top of the show, this episode was a blast and it was lovely talking with you all.

[Show music begins]

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Alison: I’m Alison Siggard.

Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 164 of Alohomora!

Alison: Open the Dumbledore. We’re going camping!

[Show music continues]

[Eric laughs]

Kat: That was brilliant, Alison!

[Alison laughs]

Eric: “We’re going camping!”

Kat: That was good.

Eric: Got to bring the cooler.

[Alison laughs]