Transcript – Episode 169

[Show music begins]

Eric Scull: This is Episode 169 of Alohomora! for December 19, 2015.

[Show music continues]

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

Kat Miller: I’m Kat Miller.

Alison Siggard: And I’m Alison Siggard. And our guest this week is a familiar voice and name to a lot of you. It’s Estee, a.k.a. Dolphin Patronus. Welcome back, Estee!

Estee: Hi!

Alison: We haven’t seen you since Episode 119.

Estee: Yes. I got to…

Eric: Wow.

Alison: 50 episodes exactly.

Kat: 50 episodes.

Eric: 50 episodes exactly.

Estee: Mhm.

Kat: Wow.

Estee: And within the same calendar year. [laughs]

Eric: Oh, wow. Really?

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Kat: That’s true.

Estee: Yeah. [laughs]

Eric: We’ve just been cranking them out, haven’t we, team?

Kat: Yeah, but don’t forget, there was a movie episode and a couple of live episodes in there, so yeah.

Alison: That’s true.

Eric: But that was the first chapter of Book 6, was it?

Estee: Yes.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: Wow. And so a lot has happened to our heroes since then.

Alison: We’re officially through to the last book.

Eric: We are. I was realizing that while reading. I was like, “Man, we’re nearly done with this book.”

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Kat: Are we halfway?

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: How many chapters are in this book?

Alison: Someone counted. If you exclude the epilogue… someone counted on the comments this week that we’re exactly halfway.

Kat: Really? At the beginning of this chapter or at the end of this chapter?

Alison: Oh, I think Chapter 18 is… in between 18 and 19, I think, is the midpoint.

Kat: So right now we are halfway? Oh, that’s scary. We’re almost done.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Well, it’s not too scary.

Kat: No, it’s not. That’s true. Not like this chapter this week – which I guess really isn’t scary at all – Chapter 19 of Deathly Hallows, which is “The Silver Doe.”

Eric: It’s kind of scary.

Estee: It’s very action-packed.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: It is very action-packed. But listeners, as always, make sure you read this chapter, listen to it, [or] whatever before this episode for your maximum listening enjoyment.

Eric: Yes.

Alison: And before we get into that, we’re going to recap some comments from last week, which was Chapter 18. And the first one comes from Casey L., who says,

“On Aberforth: Actually, I agree with Alison that he was neglected, at least by those in his family who could have helped him. His father was in Azkaban and eventually died there, his mother’s time was devoted to Ariana, and his brother seemed to keep to himself at home. The only one, from his own account, who seemed to pay attention to him was Ariana, and she wasn’t in a position to give him much guidance. I think it says a lot about his regard for her that after their mother’s death, he was more than willing to stay home and take care of her.

Also, what does everyone think about Aberforth’s abilities? Albus calls him “unlettered,” and Elphias Doge says he is not “bookish,” but he does seem to have at least reasonable magical ability – we know he can conjure a Patronus, in the Battle of Hogwarts, he defeats Augustus Rookwood and survives the battle, and he can be trusted to be a member of the Order, something that clearly isn’t for the faint of heart (or head). Is Aberforth a case of talent but not book learning? Someone who had interests outside a “conventional” magical education? Was he just determined not to be in his brother’s shadow? Or is there something else entirely going on with him?”

Eric: Huh.

Kat: Hmm. I have always… and I don’t know how accurate this is, but I’ve always thought of Aberforth as like an older male Luna, somebody who marches to the beat of his own drum. And Luna doesn’t necessarily come across as “bookish”, but she obviously has talent.

Alison and Estee: Yeah.

Estee: I can see that.

Eric: That’s an interesting comparison. He definitely is his own person. I keep going back to the very recent reading in The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore where he was referred to, I think, three times as wild: “Wild Aberforth, Dumbledore’s crazy brother, wild Aberforth,” and I’m just thinking, “Okay, that’s an interesting adjective.” I mean, she also called Elphias Doge “Dogbreath Doge” the whole time, but it’s just an interesting… it speaks to his personality. I mean, if he really does in fact fling dung at people…

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: … it’s like, “Okay, that’s a little not socially acceptable.” I think he is very much a Luna in that he is different from others, or the majority. But I think I would want to keep a lot of the Aberforth side of the discussion to that chapter at the end where he is talking about his relationship with Ariana. But I do think definitely that he has a lot of value, even for Albus, that Albus eventually reconciles with him and is able to have him in the Order. And it’s not just that he’s fortunately the bartender of this shady bar where bad people would go to swap secrets or whatever because he’s a great source of information for Dumbledore later.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: But I think in general, his heart is in the right place and he has skills.

Kat: Like Luna!

Alison: It’s interesting you compare him to Luna because I always pictured Aberforth as more of a John Wayne kind of character, where he’s…

Kat: Ahh.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: … Albus is book smart, and… [laughs]

Kat: Eric loves that.

Alison: Yeah, I always saw Albus as the more book smart one, but Aberforth is the more street smart one. He’s gritty, whereas Albus is more idealistic. I don’t know.

Eric: Okay, he is gritty. No, he’s gritty; that’s fair. I think Aberforth is quicker to use his fists than he would be his wand.

Kat: Mhm. I agree.

Eric: And that’s not unlike how I feel about Sirius Black, whom I love, so just throwing that out there.

Kat: Do you love Aberforth?

Eric: Not as much as I love Sirius Black.

Kat: Oh, okay, fine. Fair enough.

Alison: Wow. Our next comment then comes from a username I am going to butcher. [laughs] And that username is… Ef… thymia?

Kat and Eric: Efthymia?

Alison: Thank you. I can’t… yeah.

Kat: That’s what I would guess, anyway.

Alison: Okay. And they say,

“I’m often annoyed by Harry’s expectations of people. Dumbledore is a much older person and his headmaster, he doesn’t owe Harry friendship, and it’s not as if Harry ever wanted to grab a cup of tea and chat with him; he only thought of Dumbledore when he had a problem he wanted solved – and even then, half the times he has to be convinced by others to consider asking his help! And as I said in a past chapter, he hasn’t been a very good friend to Ron, but he expects him never to put a foot wrong. Reasons can be found for his attitude, but so can they be for everyone else’s.”

Estee: I love this.

Eric: I love this comment.

Alison: I thought it was a little harsh in some places.

Eric: It’s pretty harsh. I think it’s interesting to turn on its head the Harry and Dumbledore thing because that’s super relevant to these chapters in Deathly Hallows, where pointing out, as Efthymia does, that Harry never really sought out Dumbledore… it just makes it a little bit more bearable that Dumbledore… I mean, Harry in these chapters is in a state of, “He never told me anything useful and he kept so much from me, and everybody says that he loved me but he clearly effing didn’t and I hate him.”

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Eric: Efthymia is kind of right, but at the same time Harry is also a child and Dumbledore could have taken on a more fatherly role, I think. And I think it was a conscious decision for Dumbledore to shy away from a more fatherly role for Harry, and if that had… and I don’t know why necessarily, but if that had developed there would’ve been a lot more communication between them. Actually, I do know why and I think it’s because Dumbledore knew what must be done at the end and he knew that Harry was basically a dead man walking, but that’s getting into future stuff. But in the meantime, I just think it’s important that Efthymia points out that there’s no real one way to look at this.

Alison: Yeah, I think it’s interesting to think that. I feel like Harry felt like they were more like equals by the end there…

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: … especially because Dumbledore took him to get this Horcrux, and I think Harry forgot that they’re not. They’re just…

Eric: Yeah, they’re not at all, really. Dumbledore is still about a hundred years plus on Harry of experience.

Alison: They’re not really equals…

Kat: Yeah…

Alison: … but Harry seemed to have this… yeah, go ahead, Kat.

Kat: Yeah, he seemed to think that because Dumbledore told him all this stuff and everything, that he was… I mean, Harry is not a terrible wizard, but he’s not a really great one, either. Let’s be honest. So I do think that you’re right and I think that he probably thought that their relationship was slightly more equal than it actually was. So that’s a good point.

Eric: But it’s almost like, again, going through this part in the books, realizing how still helpless Harry is does make you… even if you don’t agree with hating Dumbledore for the reasons Harry hates Dumbledore, you still hate Dumbledore because he did leave the trio at this sort of disadvantage here, where there’s just no information.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Kat: I remember Jo commenting at some point when she was writing this book about how Dumbledore was giving her trouble…

Eric: Oh, really?

Kat: … and I just remember laughing because I was like, “Oh, isn’t that just his job always?”

[Alison and Estee laugh]

Kat: Making trouble.

Eric: Yeah, maybe.

Alison: So our last comment comes from DisKid…

Eric: Not DatKid, DisKid.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Alison: … who says,

“Don’t blame Harry for feeling like all was lost after his wand broke. And that’s not just because of wizards dependency on wands… I think it also had to do with not only could Harry not get another wand so easily, that wand had an important connection to Voldemort. He knew the reason why Voldemort couldn’t kill him so easily in the graveyard fight was because his wand and Voldemort’s wand are brothers, Dumbledore revealed that to him. Harry probably feels like even if he could get another wand from somewhere, he had no shot against Voldemort because it’s highly unlikely he’ll find another wand that’s brother to Voldemort. After all, Harry won the fight against Voldemort at the end because the elder wand refused to kill it’s own owner. If Harry had not, by luck, became the master of the elder wand and he didn’t have his own brother core wand….well use your morbid/or another wizard saves the day imagination.”

Kat: First off, I want to say thank goodness Voldemort is dead because if not, he would so know where you live…

[Alison and Estee laugh]

Kat: … because you said Voldemort like seven times in that one little passage.

Eric: It’s taboo, guys.

Kat: And you said it correctly. Good job.

Alison: Thank you.

Kat: Yeah, I feel like we pointed that out, this important connection thing because doesn’t Harry…? I mean, he even mentions it in the book, right? He’s like, “Oh, this is the only thing I have to protect me against Voldemort.”

Eric: It is explicitly stated, yeah.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Eric: But that said, I think it always is good to have it be pointed out still because it…

Kat: Bears repeating.

Eric: Well, it bears repeating, but also, I started out at the beginning of of our discussion of this – I think it was during the “Seven Potters” chapter, or one of the nearest ones that I was on – where I said that Jo just continues to take things from Harry. And I know we all agree that Hedwig was maybe even unnecessary, but it’s been given a lot of real explanation by Jo about why she did it; that it was removing his first connection to the magical world. His wand is just another progression of that. She’s still taking things from him at this point. We’re halfway through the book, and he’s still losing a lot of important stuff. And his wand is just another one of those things.

Kat: Right.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Well, thank God he gets back his best friend soon enough.

Alison: Right? [laughs]

Kat: One of his best friends.

Eric and Kat: Yeah.

Estee: I think any wizard that lost their wand would feel that way because it’s an extension of themself.

Eric: It is.

Estee: You’re going to feel a big loss if you lose your wand, as a wizard. I would think, anyway.

Eric: But Harry’s, in particular, has always done unique things.

Estee: Yeah.

Eric: The book actually says that he was the only one who had seen his wand shoot golden sparks at Voldemort.

Kat: Right.

Eric: And wands aren’t supposed to do that, so yeah, it’s a big blow to him. But let us travel now to the responses for the Podcast Question of the Week last week, which were all amazing and wonderful, but I’ve sourced three of them which I think embody the whole of the discussion. So to recap, last week’s Podcast Question of the Week was as follows: “In his letter to Grindelwald, Dumbledore says that they should take over for ‘the greater good’, and Hermione goes on to say that Dumbledore abandoned his beliefs on this subject. But did he really abandon the idea of doing things for ‘the greater good’? Or did Dumbledore’s definition of ‘the greater good’ evolve?” That’s a great Question of the Week, by the way, from Michael. So the first comment comes from a first-time poster; this is the first comment this person has ever posted.

Alison: Woo-hoo!

Eric: And I wanted to say welcome to the community. There’s… never too late to be late. And this comes from Flying My Ford Anglia. I always love a Ford Anglia username, too. Can I just say that? Because it’s Book 2 thing, almost exclusively, but it’s such a cool magical part of the series as a whole.

Kat: And nobody likes Book 2, so that’s cool.

Alison: [laughs] That’s true.

Eric: Nobody likes Book 2, right? So welcome to Flying My Ford Anglia. And also, this is the first comment:

“As discussed in the podcast, Dumbledore seemed to be swept away with the idea of domination for the greater good during his infatuation for Grindelwald. However, the distinction that Dumbledore himself makes is that with power comes equal responsibility. I believe that this idea is what Dumbledore has held on to.

Dumbledore is often the most knowledgable, most magically talented, and most respected individual in the room. This means he holds a great deal of power, and as such he sees it as his responsibility to use this power for good. Where the ‘greater good’ comes in is a combination of Dumbledore’s issues of sharing responsibilities, and others idealization of Dumbledore and thinking that he has all answers. Though he has had more say in this than Harry, they both find themselves in situations where they are expected to just solve everything. When given that power, how can you morally justify not doing what is best for the most people?

In sum, I believe Dumbledore still holds on to the idea of doing things for the greater good, because he is put in a position of impossible power and is forced to acknowledge that not everyone is always going to be okay in the end.

P.S. Long time HP fan, first post!”

Alison: I would clap if I didn’t think it would sound weird over the microphone.

Estee: I agree.

Kat: I have clapped before; it’s just golf clap.

[Alison and Kat golf clap]

[Eric laughs]

Kat: There you go.

Eric: What a great first-time comment, from Flying My Ford Anglia!

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Kat: Bravo, bravo.

Alison: Hoorah.

Eric: Let’s actually comment on it.

[Everyone laughs]

Estee: It was so perfect; it’s hard to have anything to add.

Eric: [laughs] That’s a comment.

Kat: Flying My Ford Anglia, stop doing your job so nice because it leaves us nothing to talk about.

Eric: So I guess we’re ready to talk about the next chapter then because Flying My Ford Anglia solved it.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: We’ll throw in additional comments here, but we’ll get back to Flying My Ford Anglia’s. I agree, I think, that regarding this comment, it’s important to note – and I’m sure it was discussed last week, again – how Dumbledore’s particular infatuation with Grindelwald goes into and fuels the…

Alison: Yes.

Eric: … more particular details of what exactly he writes in the letter.

Kat: Mhm.

Alison: Yes.

Eric: And I know that our following commenters also kind of dealt with that. So here is a comment from Casey L., who says,

“We never find out for sure what the young Albus Dumbledore’s life plans were before his mother and sister died, but he does tell Harry later, ‘I wanted glory.’ I don’t think Albus ever envisioned himself as a teacher or headmaster at Hogwarts. At the very least, I bet he wanted to be Minister of Magic, and possibly the head of the International Confederation of Wizards, whatever that title is… and he had the ambition and self-confidence (maybe even hubris?) to believe he could do it.

Grindelwald’s influence, at least for that one summer, probably expanded the possibilities for Albus at first. Certainly, leading a wizard revolution and taking over the world would bring him glory, but he would probably feel at least somewhat uneasy about treating Muggles the way his colleague wanted to – remember, Albus is a half-blood, so we get what we see in that letter – a cocky young man willing to rule, but unwilling to exert any more force than is absolutely necessary to achieve that end.

I don’t think Albus ever truly believed in the greater good in the form we see in this chapter. In a way, he reminds me of Percy Weasley before he reconciles with his family. He wasn’t really a bad person – he just thought he knew what he wanted and was naive about how others might try to manipulate him. At first, he was willing to look the other way in exchange for the regard and attention of someone at his level, but he got a cruel wake-up call that ultimately set him straight.

Overall, though, I don’t think the idea of the greater good ever left Albus, as we see numerous times throughout the books. He was perfectly willing to let Harry die, after all, for a completely different greater good – the defeat of Voldemort. He asked Snape to kill him for the greater good of not tarnishing Draco Malfoy’s soul; he was willing to leave Hogwarts in ‘Order of the Phoenix’ for the greater good of searching for Horcruxes; and he let Harry and Hermione go back in time for the greater good of saving Sirius Black and Buckbeak. And those are just a few examples.”

Alison: First of all, any time someone compares Percy to a different character, it makes me so happy because I feel like we’re just redeeming Percy more. And I am in the business of redeeming Percy Weasley…

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: … and loving Percy Weasley’s redemption story.

Eric: Are you in the business of redeeming Percy Weasley? Okay, all right.

Kat: He gets a lot of slack. He gets a lot of slack, or flack.

Alison: It’s just one of the most beautiful redemption stories, and I feel like everyone’s just, “I hate Percy, Percy sucks. Percy left his family.” It’s just like… anyway, that was my thought on that.

Eric: Yeah.

Estee: I had a similar thought though, because it’s not a correlation I would have probably initially made.

Eric: Right.

Estee: But they did a really good job making the comparison, and it makes sense and I like that.

Kat: I do like all the different mentions of the “greater good” in Albus’s life.

Estee: Mhm.

Eric: It serves to illustrate that the concept didn’t leave him.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Right.

Eric: But it’s used so differently. That’s what shocks me too because again, this letter in the previous chapter is shocking. And you’re just like, “Oh, he’s talking about the subjugation of an entire species of people.” [laughs]

Kat: Well, we have to remember too, did he write that letter before or after… it was after his father had been convicted, right?

Alison, Eric, and Estee: Yeah.

Kat: So I feel like he probably has an unjust prejudice – I mean, most prejudices are unjust, I suppose – towards Muggles because of that situation.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Eric: That’s possible.

Kat: Although, you would think it would be against wizards for convicting him. But still…

Eric: Well, maybe… no.

Alison: Well, he knows the truth of what happened to Arianna though. And so…

Eric: Which none of us do.

Alison: At this point, yeah. I mean, we kind of get hints of what happened. We’re never explicitly told, but we do know they did something to her. So I can see that coming from that.

Kat: That’s what I mean; it wouldn’t be shocking if Albus had turned against wizards because they ultimately convicted… wait…

Alison: No, because he knew his father was guilty.

Eric: Yeah. But he believed…

Alison: But he kind of feels like he did it for the right reasons, if that makes sense.

Eric: Right.

Kat: That’s what I’m saying. Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.

Eric: Yeah, it’s hard not to defend your father in his… I mean, he probably took it too far… well, he did take it too far.

Alison: Well, yeah.

Kat: Yeah, he definitely did.

Eric: But I think that Albus understood where he was coming from on that. But I think it does make it a little bit easier for Albus to be like, “Oh yeah, we can just control these Muggles. They don’t know anything, we have more power, so we’re supposed to take control.”

Kat: Yep. I agree. Yeah, and I definitely think it’s a combination of things over his life. But I do feel like Grindelwald had a pretty heavy influence as to where Albus was headed.

Alison: Oh, definitely.

Kat: Because maybe the ideas were there and he had thought about it and whatever. But then Grindelwald came along and he fell in love with him, and as you do when you’re young, you probably, hopefully, grow out of it, but you tend to blindly follow somebody when you first love them. And for all we know, this was Dumbledore’s first love. We have to remember that.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: No, and I completely agree, too. Viewing this previous chapter through the lens of “Dumbledore was madly in love with Grindelwald,” or that it was this infatuation, this perhaps first love, that colors the nuance of the writing of the letter. I think it changes your perception of the letter in a way because you’re thinking, well, it’s possible that Dumbledore… I mean, basically, I try and imagine what Grindelwald would be reacting to in this letter when receiving this letter, and I’m pretty sure the points where Dumbledore says, “Oh, it’s super important that this is only to the minimum that we can possibly do. The greater good, but only what is necessary to punish those, or to achieve this end.” Grindelwald, who I imagine as being much more bloodthirsty…

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Eric: … or just much more wild, is probably like, “Ah, yeah, sure, Albus, you’re a kick.”

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: But Albus is possibly underscoring that sincerely. Again, Dumbledore is not as committed to the subjugation. This is where what Rita has to add comes in and is just kind of skewed even further than what it was. Dumbledore did write those words, but I think it’s really… it’s possible that he still wasn’t quite as close to being like Grindelwald as Rita would have you believe.

Kat: Right. And you know what I love, too – and I don’t want to touch on this a lot because I feel like it’s a giant debate that could be saved for twenty different shows – but this is where I really loved the fact that Jo has told us about Dumbledore’s sexuality because it adds an entire new level to his character and this moment in particular. And the whole canon thing, if you consider it canon or not, it just… I do, personally, and I would be sad if people don’t because then there’s this whole other layer of the series and of Albus and this relationship and his relationship with Harry and with everybody that you just don’t quite understand if you don’t really truly believe and cling to that.

Eric: Well, and the idea that Albus after this blow with Grindelwald… whatever happened with Ariana’s death that drove Grindelwald away, that put this wrench in the family that was already there but made it even worse, and made Dumbledore then go on to just ignore what Grindelwald was doing for five years before he was practically, the book says, “begged by the Wizarding world to go and stop him…”

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: This lens that we’re seeing it through now really adds to this notion of the self-sacrificial Dumbledore, because Dumbledore essentially sealed himself off from love entirely. He, as far as we know, never dated again, never even pursued that section of his life, of his self, and devoted himself instead to almost the opposite of his former views as a result of some of the things that he regretted from this very brief… two months when you’re seventeen is [an] almost nonexistent period of time.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: But it was such a formative, such an important two months where these two characters met, that I think it’s essential. It’s essential reading to the Harry Potter books, and going through Book 7 and sort of not acknowledging where Dumbledore is at this point in his life misses some of the great characterization that is out there.

Kat: Right. I agree, and I always think of… I was listening to you talk about it, and it reminded me of McGonagall and her husband…

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: … and how after they split, she just kind of… I don’t want to say “stopped loving,” but [she] never pursued anybody else, and he was the only one for her. And I feel like that’s kind of it for Albus, too.

Eric: Yeah. But I wanted to talk…

Kat: Which is a little sad but sweet at the same time.

Eric: It’s a little sad, but I do want to talk about this third and final comment for the Podcast Question of the Week response from last week from SlytherinKnight, who says,

“I do think that Dumbledore’s idea for ‘The Greater Good’ did change/evolve from his teen years to the ‘present’, mainly due to his experiences after Ariana’s death and seeing/reading about what Grindelwald was doing in mainland Europe. He didn’t want to rule the world, or lead wizards to rule over Muggles as stated in his letter to Gellert, but I do think that Dumbledore retained some of his wizards-first mentality as evident by his meeting with the Dursleys in HBP (the floating drinks) and his ‘forcing’ the Dursleys to take Harry in by playing on their fears (stating that they will be protected if they take Harry into their home, leaving the thought open that they could be attacked if they didn’t take Harry in).

In the end Dumbledore grew up, much like the hosts talked about in the episode – how he was a teenager and how as a teenager, people will have wild and grandiose dreams that have no real chance of coming true. Dumbledore saw the consequences of his wild dreams with Ariana’s death and revised his ‘For the Greater Good’ thinking from taking direct control of the world to keeping to the background (being the puppet master), always offering advice and being the ‘guiding light of the Wizarding world’ (Fudge constantly sending owls to Dumbledore for advice, how the Ministry fell apart after his death). Dumbledore’s one ‘redeeming’ feature is that he was willing to sacrifice his own life to further his plan… and showed that Dumbledore didn’t completely abandon his ‘Greater Good’ thinking but changed it to a more moderate way of thinking.”

Alison: Oooo! Good, the connection to the Dursleys.

Eric: Yeah. Well, that’s a really hard chapter, and I know it’s just after we last had Estee on the show that we got to it, but Dumbledore arriving and treating… I mean, it’s the Dursleys, so of course you let him have a pass. But I know we talked about this on that episode – I know I was on that episode – and he still does kind of mistreat them… [laughs]

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: … more than a person should mistreat another person in general, no matter who they are.

Estee: But to be fair, they deserved it. [laughs] To an extent.

Eric: No, they really… because he’s still…

Alison: Well…

Eric: It was too much. The glasses were causing scars on their forehead, like grating into their skin. [laughs] Because they were rubbing…

Estee: I didn’t think it was that bad. [laughs]

Eric: Because they would… I’m pretty sure it was breaking the skin because they’re…

Estee: Well, if that is the case, then yeah.

Eric: Any time you hit someone in the head with a… I know all they needed to do was reach up and take it, but they didn’t and he still did it that way. So it’s like… I have problems with it. But that was obviously a book-and-a-half ago, so… getting into this comment from SlytherinKnight though, I do like again the idea of the self-sacrificial Dumbledore, how even though he once wrote something about the greater good meaning taking over Muggles entirely, how this experience that he had eventually taught him and caused him to reform and almost completely 180 his entire thought process on this. Or at least in his actions.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: I mean, we can call into question – and we have and will continue to do so – the righteousness of putting Harry out like a pig for slaughter. But at the end of it, we don’t know that anything… that it could have been any other way with Harry and Voldemort facing off due to the specific magical crap that was entwining them.

[Kat laughs]

Eric: And so Dumbledore’s actions in the end remain sort of in that balance of, well, could he have been better at what he did? Or did he do what absolutely needed to be done? Do the ends justify the means because it all worked out? It’s kind of questionable, but I like that actually in the end that there’s no right answer. It’s kind of like Snape – Snape gets more publicity, but Dumbledore’s also right there up with him…

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: … in terms of, is he a bad man? And the fact that this book – I was about to say something nice about Book 7; I hope the recording devices are still working – the fact that this book calls into question constantly Harry’s mentor in Dumbledore and whether or not he was a good man or even whether he adequately prepared… whether he was decent at accomplishing his own goals is pretty fascinating because before this, we all loved Dumbledore. And now we’re in a position in the book where speaking his name brings about a lot of disgust, and reading about him brings a lot of disgust. So I kind of like that this whole question is up in the air and that we were able to even talk about this on this podcast.

Alison and Estee: Yeah.

Eric: And that concludes our Podcast Question of the Week for the previous chapter, Chapter 18, but as always, the discussion rages on. Please visit our Alohomora! forums or Alohomora! main webpage, or website – – to continue talking about this, as I’m sure our listeners will.

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 19 intro begins]

Ron: Chapter 19.

[Sound of ice breaking]

Ron: “The Silver Doe.”

[Sound of water splashes]

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 19 intro ends]

Kat: So let’s jump into our chapter, shall we? Or rather splash into our chapter.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: So Harry’s dreams seem to seep into reality that turns into an evening that’s a dark as a void. A strange and beautiful light, which we come to find as a Patronus, appears before his eyes, and knowing instinctively, as Harry usually does, that it’s safe, he follows. And of course what should he find other than the Sword of Gryffindor, and he takes that polar plunge into that little pool of freezing cold water. But apparently Horcruxes cannot swim, and it nearly drowns Harry as it tries to break free – the Horcrux, not Harry. The strong arms of Ronald Weasley save Harry from his certain death and then from himself. The Horcrux destroyed, Ron tells his tale of comeuppance and the bright blue light that brought him back to his best friends.

Estee: Kat, before…

Alison: [laughs] “The strong arms of Ronald Weasley” sounds like a fan fiction… [laughs] sounds like a fan fiction title, sorry.

Eric: He is stronger in the movie than I think he is in the books.

Kat: I don’t know, it says “strong arms”, didn’t it? I’m pretty sure.

Eric: I’m not sure, I kind of blank…

Estee: Well, Harry thought it was Hermione.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: He did think it was Hermione, yeah.

[Kat laughs]

Estee: He did think it was Hermione, so…

Eric: “The slightly feminine arms of Ronald Weasley…”

[Alison and Estee laugh]

Kat: Hold on, hold on…

Eric: Well, to be fair, he passes out, right?

Estee: Or Hermione has got very masculine arms.

Eric: Oh, God. Neither is flattering for either of them.

[Alison and Estee laugh]

Kat: Okay, it says, “The arms that closed around his chest were surely Death’s.” I mean, Death has to have strong arms, right? I can’t imagine he’s like…

Eric: No, Death could have either.

Estee: Keep going.

Eric: It could be either. It could be [a] sensual touch that’s like caressing to invite you into Death.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Estee: Like frail and skeletal?

Kat: Okay. So we’re going to stay on that track and we’re going to talk about things that dreams are made of.

Eric: But Harry passes out and wakes up on the ground outside of the pond, so I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily one or the other [laughs] on strong arms vs. not strong arms.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Alison: It just sounds like the title of a bad fan fiction.

Kat: Right.

Eric: I don’t know.

Kat: Okay, okay. So these dreams that Harry is having, he’s hearing people in the woods, which I thought was a really good Easter egg here because obviously it’s Ron.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: But I love that he’s also hearing them in his sleep.

Alison: Mhm.

Kat: I think that that just shows how restlessly they’re sleeping and how alert they are.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Because he’s probably not 100 percent sleeping, which is why he’s in this weird kind of dream place where he’s going in and out of sleep.

Eric: It is interesting that Harry has lost coherence. I mean, it’s coming out of this catastrophic event we’re in – the run-in with Nagini where this Horcrux contacted its part-soul owner and Harry was somehow involved. Like all that weirdness with the Horcrux and the connection between Harry, Voldemort, and Nagini being too close to each other and the near miss to these sleepless dreams where during the day Harry’s like, “Oh, I wondering if the protection’s failing. Because I swear I’m starting to hear things.” And you’re not sure if it’s his mental breakdown or if it’s really Ron.

Kat: Right. Which it could be either, right? Or both.

Eric: Yeah, but it’s like…

Estee: It’s probably both…

Eric: It’s totally Ron.

Estee: I would think.

Kat: Well, I don’t know… it could be him.

Eric: He stops sleeping well because of the near miss that he’s just had and all of the losses he’s suffered recently.

Kat: Right.

Eric: But there is something actually kind of… not wrong with the protection, but Ron is outside. Ron is, as we find out at the end of the chapter, close by and even though he can’t necessarily find or see them, he is… it’s some sort of connection that allows him… they can hear him somehow.

Kat: Right. And too, Hermione even says that she thought she saw somebody once or twice.

Alison: Oh, no…

Kat: And I’m thinking, maybe unless it’s pitch black – the kind of black Harry’s talking about where you can’t see your hand – wouldn’t you recognize the boy you’re in love with? I don’t know. What kind of guy would?

Eric: I’m pretty sure she saw Snape. I’m just going to throw that out there.

Kat: Oh! Well, we’ll get there. Because I have some Snape-y questions.

Estee: Not at this point.

Eric: No, you’re right. Not at this point.

Kat: Yeah.

Estee: This is before they are in the Forest of Dean.

Kat: Right. Yes, it is.

Estee: They haven’t got there yet.

Kat: Correct. So the blue flames that Hermione makes – her little blue bottle flames – are brought up again. And I’m not sure, have we ever really talked about those?

Eric: It would have to have been in Sorceror’s Stone, right?

Kat: Right. So I’m pretty sure this is a circle theory moment we’re having right now.

Eric: Oh, yeah, first book tied with the last book.

Kat: Yep.

Eric: The blue flames make a big comeback, and it’s funny because I seem to remember it being the blue flames that set Snape’s cloak on fire at the Quidditch match.

Kat: Mhm.

Estee: It is.

Eric: Because that may even be the first chapter where Jo’s like, “Oh yeah, Hermione’s good at these flames.” Because…

Kat: Don’t call it a comeback; they were always there.

[Estee laughs]

Eric: It’s kind of a comeback.

Estee: They’ve been burning for years.

Eric: Yeah. We didn’t start the fire.

[Estee laughs]

Eric: It’s always been burning since the world’s been turning. But having this callback to her blue flames, but actually having them serve such a realistic, necessary purpose of keeping Harry and Hermione warm… because ultimately they’re in a tent in the woods and it’s winter.

Kat: Right. Well, and there’s another throwback moment too, because Harry mentions that while he’s hearing those things in the woods – animals and ultimately Ron – he is reminded of that Slytherin cloak from Philosopher’s Stone when Voldemort was going through feeding on the unicorn. I thought that was such a good throwback moment. There’s so many in this chapter.

Eric: There are a lot of Book 1 moments or moments reminiscent of things that make you think of Book 1. Again, that Slytherin cloak in the dream too is definitely one of them.

Kat: Yeah. I agree. So since we are talking about cloaks and the Snape has already come up, let’s move on to…

Eric: [laughs] The Snape?

Alison: The Snape? [laughs]

Kat: The Snape. The Snape has already come up.

Estee: [laughs] The Snape.

Kat: We’re going to move on to the doe, because Eric, you said that you thought Hermione had seen Snape. Do we think that Snape saw Ron?

Eric: Uh…

Kat: Because where is Snape? Is Snape just lurking in the woods somewhere watching this all happen?

Estee: Probably.

Eric: Yeah, do we think that? Because Harry goes to this point between two trees where he said it’s perfect to have been able to see everything happen but without being seen yourself. I really feel like Harry has found the exact spot [where] Snape [was] moments ago. Because we know it was Snape.

Kat: But then how did he silently get away?

Eric: Oh, any number of ways, right? Like Apparation…

Alison: He can fly…

Kat: No, Apparation makes a [popping sound].

Estee: Ron said he saw something over by those trees too when he was running to the pond. So I feel like it probably was Snape.

Alison: And Snape can do that weird flying without…

Estee: Yeah.

Alison: [unintelligible]

Kat: Transfiguring into a bat, you mean?

[Alison and Estee laugh]

Kat: Hmm…

Eric: Yeah. I really think like… did Snape see Ron for that question? I mean, I think he would have had to because there’s a point where Snape has to verify that he succeeded in his mission of dropping the sword off to Harry. That’s the entire purpose of… what he’s doing is making contact with Harry and getting him the sword. He has to verify that his mission is complete, otherwise what’s the point?

Alison: Exactly.

Eric: And so he’s absolutely going to watch as Harry disrobes and dives in…

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Oh, gosh!

Kat: I didn’t even think about the naked part.

Estee: Do you know what’s even weirder?

Eric: What?

Kat: I didn’t even think about that.

Estee: Ron is standing there this whole time watching Harry strip down. Because he says, he sees him jump in and not come back up. So you’re standing there watching your best friend basically get naked in the woods…

Eric: In the cold and you’re like…

Estee: … and you’re not going to say anything before?

Eric: The first thing Ron says to him is, “Are – you – mental?”

[Estee laughs]

Eric: But it would have kind of made sense for him to do… but you know what? He saw the doe, too. And so honestly, Ron being a little out of touch with maybe all of the latest information is kind of trusting that Harry knows what he’s doing when… I know it’s a crazy thing to see, but for all he knows Harry could have known hidden significance that the doe has and like… I don’t know.

Alison: Oh, see, because I always assumed that Ron got there right as Harry went into the water.

Eric: I mean, maybe that’s true, too.

Kat: Yeah, probably.

Eric: But he said he saw the doe.

Estee: No, because he says…

Kat: Right.

Estee: Ron says he followed them there.

Kat: Right. Well…

Estee: That’s how he found Harry.

Kat: Since we keep bringing up this moment where Harry finds the doe, I wanted to read it because I thought it was very striking. It had never really struck me, the relationship between them at this moment, and it’s really beautiful. Let me read it to you. It’s on page 366, I believe, of the American edition:

“Harry stared at the creature, filled with wonder, not at her strangeness, but at her inexplicable familiarity. He felt that he had been waiting for her to come, but that he had forgotten, until this moment, that they had arranged to meet.”

Eric: This is the best…

Kat: I just think that is so beautiful.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: I mean, it had never struck me before. The familiarity – I can’t say that word ever correctly; I apologize. Is he feeling Snape? Is he feeling his mom? What’s he feeling? Who’s he feeling?

Alison: It reminds me of when he first sees Lily in the Mirror of Erised, and he doesn’t know what she looks like but he just knows. He sees both of them and he’s never seen them before, but at that moment he just knows. He knows that’s his family.

Kat: Okay, so if that is the case, then how did he not make the connection between his Patronus, a stag, and this one if he knows that his father’s Patronus was a stag and the doe…

Eric: Well, who is to say he doesn’t?

Kat: … and it feels familiar…

Eric: Well, no, hang on. Who is to say he doesn’t make that connection? I think he does. Ron is the one to point it out in this chapter by saying, “Oh, I thought it was your Patronus,” and he’s like, “No, mine is the male version,” “Oh yeah, antlers.” That joke. But Harry knows that it is for him and Harry immediately connects with his mom on this level.

Kat: I feel like if Harry had made that connection he would have said it or thought it to himself, because he doesn’t make the connection until much later until the end, until “Prince’s Tale.”

Alison: But then also Lily and James’s Patronuses are the only ones we know of that match that way. And so Harry has never seen anyone who has these kind of matching Patronuses before. So I don’t know if that is necessarily a connection he would have made.

Eric: Even if it is not his mother that he… I think it is… essentially what he is connecting with is Snape’s strong love of his mother as a person. He is connecting with his mom, I believe, in the same way, like you mentioned, the Mirror of Erised, like mom-ness of it all. But he also could be connecting with it because it is sort of the female version of his own Patronus, if you want to think about it that way, so it is like a companion, a partner, an assistant, a helper to him, a guide through these tumultuous times. A guide through the woods. He sees this Patronus… I think what is delayed is that he realizes it is a Patronus and that somebody must be casting it and that somebody is probably close by. But he totally immediately follows and is, as you wrote, Kat, from the book, instinctively he knows that it is not a dangerous thing to follow. It is because it resonates with him this connection to his mother that both Snape and he share.

Kat: But I still firmly believe that Harry doesn’t realize yet that is his mother that he is connecting to.

Eric: Maybe that is possible. I would have to reread the “Prince’s Tale,” which I haven’t yet.

Kat: Right. Exactly.

Eric: If you say that that happens later.

Kat: Well, I’m remembering it from movie canon.

Eric: But he absolutely, I think, feels very strong connection to this doe and it has almost everything to do with what form it is and the connection is there between… it is either that his mother would be the female form of his father, or that it is a majestic version of the offset of his own Patronus. Either way this doe is a peaceful creature which is clearly leading him to a solution to what he needs. I do think it strongly resonates with him.

Kat: Hmm. Okay, it is funny that you say that you think it is purely because of the form that it is in. I would think the opposite. I would think that it is not so much the form but the feeling behind it. And I think that this is Snape’s truest moment when he is casting this Patronus to help Harry. I feel like this is one of his truest moments in life, not necessarily in…

Alison: Yeah, I would agree with that.

Kat: Not including the moments when he is dying, because he’s being pretty honest there, but…

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Kat: No, he is. He is being pretty honest. But I truly feel like this is Snape and he is fully committed and connected to Lily in that moment. And I’m not saying that that is good or that he loves her or any of that crap, because I still don’t believe that. But I do feel like this is a true part of who he is and I think that is what Harry’s connecting to. Not necessarily… obviously his mother as well.

Eric: I think they’re the same thing. The emotions that are evoked here, the feeling behind the Patronus, has everything to do with the form that it has taken because it is… he doesn’t know it yet, but it is a symbol of his mom. I will agree with what you said about Snape. Because ultimately, just like Lupin… here, I’m going to make a crazy comparison. Just like Lupin who can’t show his Patronus without being revealed as a werewolf, or has some sort of secret to keep that his Patronus partially reveals, Snape also revealing his Patronus reveals his true nature in a way that might not always be advantageous. And him revealing that innermost part of himself for the greater good…

[Eric and Kat laugh]

Eric: … to Harry here to guide him, to lead him to this pond without doing anything himself because if Snape were to step out of the trees… and there’s this perfect moment in the pros where I’m just like, “It would be really funny…” because there’s like a rustling, and I’m like, “It would be really funny if Snape just came out and was like, ‘Hey Harry, how’s it going?'”

Kat: “Sup.”

Eric: “Sup!”

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Instead he bares his soul. He bares this portion of himself, which is the doe. Which is so strongly connected with Harry’s mother. And there’s a reason it’s a mystery. There’s a reason why we don’t know it’s Snape until the very end. Which is that it’s a very vulnerable moment for Snape. Showing – casting his Patronus and doing it on front of somebody who would actually understand what that means in a way.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: So it’s a very… it is very, probably the most vulnerable moment for Snape because he’s sacrificing his… everything that he’s held dear to himself, like Harry not knowing all of his weaknesses and all of that bs, and Occlumency and Legilimency all that other stuff from previous books, he’s now using that to connect with Harry and to guide Harry. He’s like, “This is what we have in common. I’m going to help you kiddo. And here’s the sword.”

Kat: Yeah, but okay. “Here’s the sword, underwater.”

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah, because Snape’s a jerk still.

Kat: I mean, why?

Alison: Well… okay.

Kat: Is this just Snape being a vindictive jerk?

Alison: It does say… yeah, it would be. It does say that Harry has that thought where he’s talking about… he’s like, “Well, I guess you kind of do have to do something to be worthy of the sword,” you know? It’s your typical archetypal magic sword that you have to prove yourself worthy of the sword, right?

Eric: Thank you. Thank you, Alison.

Alison: And it does kind of connect to Excalibur though because… right? Excalibur comes up the lake at one point. So there’s that connection, too. So I mean, yeah, it would have been nicer if it had been the stone, you know, because then he wouldn’t have to be freezing cold and almost die, but…

Estee: Well, it makes contact with the stone…

Kat: Yeah.

Estee: … a little later.

Alison: It does.

Kat: Let me throw out a little Noah, here. And say like… is maybe the significance of the water some sort of rebirth or something for the sword? Since it’s kind of lived through all these other things in the past and it’s coming from a different person to different place, maybe it’s like a new start type of thing? And that’s what the water is for.

Eric: Yeah, maybe. Because it’s gone through – the sword has its own subplot in this book, the questions of ownership and the goblin stuff and all of the attempted thievery by Ginny Weasley and the fact that it’s got a replicate, that it’s got a copy somewhere that’s out in the world. All of this unexpected stuff about the sword – the fact that it’s in water and then it emerges from water to be a true weapon against – the only weapon they have at this point – against the pure evil.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Right, because water is supposed to purify, right? So if things had happened to it when it was…

Eric: Yeah, and it’s just like wherever this was before, now you have it. And Snape was kind of holding on to it and even though he kept the decoy in the office he must’ve kept it somewhere else but it’s just like hey, here’s… yeah, I do think it’s significant and it has something to do with rebirth; that this is now Harry’s to control.

Kat: Nice.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: This is now Harry’s to wield. Even though it’s Ron’s to wield. But yeah.

Kat: Right. I really want to add this list of like “Ask Jo later on” questions.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Sure.

Alison: It does, though. I…

Eric: Is somebody keeping track of that list?

Alison: We should.

Kat: No, but we should task that to somebody who is listening.

Alison: The entire show is that list. Jo could listen to all of these episodes and answer all of our questions. The end!

Kat: Right. Exactly.

Kat: So as I mentioned before, Harry – he takes the polar plunge, the Patronus plunge…

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Kat: … as you could say, into the water – basically stark naked. You know, I’ve done that before. I’ve done the polar plunge.

Alison: It’s so cold.

Kat: It’s pretty effing cold. So props to Harry.

Eric: I just thought going to swim practice at like 6 a.m. before the sun is out was the polar plunge, but that’s at least like 60 or 70 degree water…

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: … during swim team, but this was probably much colder.

Kat: Yeah, well it was frozen on top, so…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Oh, there you go.

Kat: That’s pretty effing cold. But I was thinking… so we get to the moment Harry’s under the water and he’s reaching for the sword and all of a sudden the Horcrux starts to choke him. Can souls drown?

Eric: No.

Alison: Yeah, I would say no.

Estee: Yeah, that’s a body thing.

Alison: I would say it more has to do with the proximity of the sword.

Eric: Well, and if… I wasn’t clear on this until I re-read it, but it’s exactly when his hands grasp the sword that the necklace chokes him. He’s actually got a grip on the sword and so it is very clearly the proximity, and I think it’s actually even speculated by Harry in this chapter that the locket sense[s] the proximity to that which can destroy it.

Kat: Yeah, it says that Harry knew that the Horcrux was agitated and that he thought it was probably the sword.

Eric: Right. I love how the locket has just sort of come to re-back – come back to life – in the last couple of chapters: the ticking, the beating, to remind us that it is this own… it is of its own sentience.

Kat: Right.

Eric: But I think it’s definitely because of the sword.

Kat: Hey this is the one time we can ask, “Is it alive?” and pretty much say yes.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: That’s kind of exciting.

Eric: Yeah, well, it’s his soul. So yeah, it’s alive because his soul is alive even if it’s just a portion of his soul.

Kat: Right.

Eric: I think it’s terrifying that the necklace can contract its own chain. It’s kind of like something you’d find in Borgin and Burkes. It’s just… I don’t even think Voldemort necessarily would have intended for that to be a thing that the locket could do. It’s just that that’s what the locket does because the locket is an evil piece of magic.

Kat: Well, and it has taken so much form the three of them.

Alison and Eric: Yeah.

Kat: It has learned so much, and it’s learned to be a bit more human.

Eric: That’s something I was thinking about a lot in this chapter particularly, which is that… again we’re dealing with Horcruxes, [of] which the most evil Dark Wizard prior to Voldemort probably only made one. Voldemort has made seven. Finding out because […] these different objects have different lives and different experiences of their own… that seeing what comes out of the locket – not to get ahead – but… and how it’s different, and how this locket again constricts or constraints and tightens up against Harry… oh man, this magic is so far beyond anything we could’ve prepared for. I think you’re meant to feel that a little bit in how unprepared Harry is to deal with it. I know he’s got now the Power Sword of Lightness, which is great…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: … but ultimately, it’s amazingly fascinating… everything from the snake in two chapters prior with Bathilda Bagshot, and Hermione is just like, “Oh that’s disgusting.” It’s probably in that book that she read, you know, The Evil Most Foul

Kat: Right.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: … the spell for that. Ultimately, these Horcruxes that he’s going up against are far more… they’re going to be able to do things that are just completely different and unexpected. I’ll talk about this a little bit more in a moment because there’s more I want to add, but just in general Harry’s up against great odds and I really think that the locket I think it’s really clear from the book that it can sense what can destroy it. Now when Ron asks him, “Why didn’t you take it off before going in?” That’s not really fair because of course Harry wouldn’t take it off.

Kat: Right.

Eric: Because first of all, who expects that? And second of all, why would he leave it on a forest floor especially if he thinks there might be other people around?

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: There’s no way he’s going to leave it alone.

Kat: Yeah, Harry’s dense but not that dense, right?

Eric: Right.

Kat: I guess let’s talk about that moment then – just before it’s destroyed – since you…

Eric: Okay.

Kat: … since we’re moving in that direction anyway. There is a great quote that I wanted to bring up with a very specific word that I want to talk about, and that quote is, “Harry looked around, holding Hermione’s wand high, and saw the place: a flattish rock lying in the shadow of a sycamore tree.” So first off, flat rocks in history are generally used for sacrifice.

Eric: Wow.

Kat: They come up everywhere.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: I mean, they’re even in Narnia.

Alison: I was going to say I’m going to start singing Narnia.

Eric: The stone table?

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah, the stone table. Even if you go to Stonehenge, the flat ones on the top is where they sacrificed people and all of that. So the flat rock: very, very symbolic. But [I] also wanted to talk about the sycamore tree. You know, Jo has a thing about trees and wood which makes sense because wands are incredibly important. I figure this instance of the sycamore tree was also very significant, and we looked up a little bit of information – thank you, Alison, by the way.

Alison: You’re welcome.

Kat: And what we came up with was a couple of quotes. I’m just going to read them out. It says, “According to the Book of [the] Dead, twin sycamores stood at the eastern gate of heaven from which the sun god remerged each morning. The sycamore was also regarded as a manifestation of the goddess[es] Nut, Isis, and especially of Hathor who was given the epithet “Lady of the Sycamore”. Sycamores were often planted near tombs, and burial[s] and coffins made of sycamore wood returned […] the dead person to the womb of the mother tree goddess. So lots of things there about rebirth and death and heaven, which…

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: … very telling, right?

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, that passage about life… if you’re going to die, do it in front of… beneath the sycamore tree.

Kat: Exactly. Then we have this tiny other little quote, “The sycamore is often called ‘The Ghost Tree’, and it is also a sign that gifts are on [the] horizon. These gifts may come in the form of assistance,” which…

Alison: [sings] Ahh!

Eric: Hey.

Kat: This woman does nothing without research, I swear.

Eric: Oh, it is just over by that sycamore tree.

Kat: We do have a little tiny bit from Pottermore. “The sycamore makes a questing wand, eager for new experience and losing brilliance if engaged in mundane activities. It is a quirk of these handsome wands that they may combust if allowed to become ‘bored,’ and many witches and wizards, settling down into middle age, are disconcerted to find their trusty wand bursting into flame in their hand as they ask it, one more time, to fetch their slippers. As may be deduced, the sycamore’s ideal owner is curious, vital and adventurous, and when paired with such an owner, it demonstrates a capacity to learn and adapt that earns it a rightful place among the world’s most highly-prized wand woods.” So obviously, that last bit from Pottermore is about sycamore as used in a wand.

Eric: I love that.

Kat: Which, I still think is very applicable to this moment. It talks about curious, and vital, and adventurous, and that is pretty much what is happening in this moment.

Alison: It is definitely not a mundane activity.

Kat: No.

Eric: This is no ordinary passage from life to death. [laughs] This is a Horcrux being destroyed.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Mhm. It is.

Estee: And a lot of the symbolism that Jo uses, I’ve always found it odd that she said on Twitter that Wicca and her brand of magic weren’t compatible, because a lot of the symbolism she uses is similar to what Wicca and different pagan religions call on. The different correspondences, things like that. So I always thought that comment was odd. Because this is an example, especially the first part about the goddesses Isis and all that. I mean, that is a pagan type of thing.

Kat: I feel like that is a pretty broad statement for her to make, because I feel like nature and elements is essential in magic, no matter what kind of magic it is, no matter what world it is living in. I feel like that is something that you need, and you need to understand and learn to really become a masterful user of magic. No matter what universe it is in.

Eric: The fact that she has researched these woods and come up with this sort of wand personality for all wands made from this wood shows that she is, I think, in tune with common – just like she is with anything in the Harry Potter books – she is familiar with where it has been used before, and what it has been used for. We talked about dittany, which came up again recently. All of the history, all of the myth surrounding this stuff. Basically, if you knew all about sycamore, all the stuff we just read, and you were reading Deathly Hallows for the first time, you would be like, “Oh, she is shining a spotlight on this rock where this amazing thing is just about to take place.” Based on the comment of, “Oh yeah, Harry spotted a flat rock, it was just underneath a sycamore tree,” you are like, “Sycamore? Woo! Spotlight on! This is totally where it is going to happen.” Whereas really, she is just saying it is a flat rock because Harry doesn’t want the locket to bounce off of it if you miss.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: That is the significance of the flat rock. But again, we talked about sacrificial flat rocks, and then it becomes something else entirely.

Kat: So Harry goes over and he puts that locket on the rock. And he opens it. He goes, “Oh, I just know.” It just came to him and he knew that he had to speak Parseltongue.

Eric: [laughs] I guess he is like, “Oh yes, this is probably because I recently encountered Nagini and realized that everything Bathilda was saying was actually in Parseltongue after the fact.” Okay.

Alison: I can speak Parseltongue, that is right!

Eric: Yeah, right, I can do that! Sure.

Kat: So it opens, and things start to happen. It starts to talk to Ron. And I picture this moment in the movie, of course, whatever. But I want to read the little lines from the locket here to Ron. It says, “I have seen your heart, and it is mine.” It is pretty much verbatim in the movie, I’m realizing.

Alison: Yeah, it is pretty close.

Kat: “I have seen your dreams, Ronald Weasley, and I have seen your fears. All you desire is possible, but all that you dread is also possible. Least loved, always, by the mother who craved a daughter. Least loved, now, by the girl who prefers your friend. Second best, always, eternally overshadowed.” And then it morphs into Riddle “Harry-and-Riddle-Hermione,” but I’m wondering, does Ron really truly feel this way about himself? Because I feel like he has grown up so much, and I feel like probably his only weak spot is Hermione. He must know at this point that he is valued by people.

Eric: Ehh…

Estee: I think in his darker moments he probably does feel like this; in his deepest, darkest moments.

Alison: Yeah, I would agree with that.

Estee: It’s very sad, but…

Eric: Yeah, I mean, he’s the sixth boy.

Alison and Estee: Yeah.

Eric: It’s like, “What the hell?” [laughs] And his mom got a girl eventually, which is great. I do think that this is a low blow, but I don’t think it’s off the mark. I think these are probably very realistically Ron’s innermost feelings, and what I would use as evidence for that is going back to… we talked about Book 1 a lot earlier having something to say. But the Mirror of Erised scene, with Ron; and he sees himself as being sort of more respected than his brothers. He’s, what is it, Head Boy? Quidditch captain [and] all this other junk, which is a key.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: And that’s the innermost desire of his heart. And I think even at a young age, even at 11, he felt overshadowed and unwanted, and I don’t think that those sorts of feelings ever… [those feelings] relating to your birth order and your siblings are so deep in your psyche that I don’t think they ever go away.

Alison: Oh, yeah. Speaking as the youngest child, I know this feeling of… you want to try and set yourself apart from everyone else. And it sometimes just feels like no matter what you do, it doesn’t matter. Everyone else has done it to some extent. Seriously, though, I’m almost 22 and all my siblings are grown and still sometimes there [are] things… and we’re also different people, but still it’s just like, “Well, what I do doesn’t matter, does it? Because they’ve all done this, and this, and this.” Yeah, you just want to set yourself apart from always just being the baby. But yeah, I understand why he’s so insecure about it still.

Kat: Mhm. So then what was that trace of scarlet that Harry thinks he sees in Ron’s eyes? Is that actually there?

Eric: Ahh, I love that you…

Kat: Because it reminded me so much of the gleam of triumph.

Eric: Oh, gleam…? Oh, why does it remind you of the gleam of triumph?

Alison: Ohh.

Kat: Because just the way that it’s phrased, I think.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: It just made me think of that moment. I don’t necessarily think they’re related, but I do think that…

Eric: The trace of scarlet makes me think of possession. It makes me think of…

Alison, Estee, and Kat: Yeah.

Estee: Me, too.

Eric: Voldemort has scarlet eyes. They’re snake pupil slits or whatever, but they’re red eyes, pretty much. They aren’t in the movies because that just would have been unrealistic, but they are in the books. And I think it really feels like for a moment… and I think you’re meant to believe that Ron might come after Harry; the real Harry before he does…

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Hmm.

Estee: I always thought that.

Eric: Almost in saying these terrible, below the belt things to Ron… I mean, Voldemort – this Horcrux – is grasping for control over Ron and I honestly think if we can infer what happened with the diary somehow possessing Ginny in the end, it might have something to do with… and that had something to do with finding its way into her soul or her inner thoughts or something like that. I feel for a moment that Ron… this might not ever be addressed in the book, but I feel for a moment that he may have been sort of possessed or may have been fighting a demon that told him for a moment to go after the real Harry and not the Horcrux Harry. And he fights it for whatever reason. I’d love to talk about what we think it is; there’s a specific phrase that’s too far and Ron is just like, “Oh, yeah, I just have to kill this representation because it’s somehow not telling me the truth.” Or maybe it’s the sheer will of him not wanting it to be true, what the Horcrux is saying, or having Harry and Hermione be intimate and entwined with each other. Whatever it is, I think for a moment there, with this trace of scarlet, Ron is probably possessed and he’s probably going to kill Harry for a second. Split second.

Alison and Estee: Yeah.

Estee: I totally agree.

Kat: Really. All right, I dig that.

Eric: Yeah. Because again, scarlet; it’s odd for Harry to notice Ron’s eyes. It’s pitch black, it’s the dark, and Harry notices Ron’s red eyes; it’s just…

Estee: That’s true. And he even notes later that they’re back to their normal blue.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Right. That’s true. It’s true. So we talked about this briefly before: Is Snape standing there this whole time watching them? Did he stick around this long?

Alison: I don’t think so.

Eric: Well, no, because Harry has already gone to the clearing, right? Where he saw… where he guesses Snape would have been.

Estee: Yeah.

Kat: Oh, right.

Eric: In my head canon I’m just like, “Okay, he definitely stayed to watch Harry maybe emerge from the lake with the sword,” because again, that’s his whole mission. If he doesn’t stay at least that long, what the heck is he even doing there? He needs to hand off the sword to Harry. He does it in this roundabout way of putting it in the bottom of a lake; you’re very right in pointing that out. But I think he sticks around long enough to figure out that they’re going to be okay.

Kat: Right. And to see that Ron is back, which I think is some odd sense of…

Eric: But that’s weird, right?

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: An entirely other mission happens at the same time as Snape decides to finally find Harry.

Kat: Which, oddly, I think might make Snape feel a little bit better.

Eric: Maybe.

Kat: If he had feelings, which he doesn’t.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Eric: No, he’s a total sociopath.

Alison: No feelings.

Eric: But does Snape know that Ron has even been away for a long time?

Alison: I don’t think so.

Eric: I don’t think he… he doesn’t have any reason to.

Kat: I do.

Alison: Oh, wait.

Kat: I do actually think so because they’ve been talking with Phineas.

Estee: Yeah, because they’ve been propping up Phineas’s photo in his place.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Oh, because they’ve been keeping him… huh.

Estee: Obviously, we know that’s how he knows where they are. And I always found that odd that… I shouldn’t say always. I just happened to notice… she was opening her bag and pulling out tent poles when she said where they were.

Eric: Yeah.

Estee: Because they had talked about previously going to Godric’s Hollow; why didn’t he go there? I don’t think Phineas heard that.

Kat: Right.

Eric: Well, that’s a trap. But also… I mean, maybe Snape knows it’s a trap?

Estee: But if he had gone, do you think it could have ended differently? If he would have been there…

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: I don’t think Snape would have ever risked showing up there because then Voldemort would have found out he somehow had moles or something.

Eric: Yeah.

Estee: But do we think that Snape knew…? I mean, would Voldemort have told him, “Yeah, I’ve got Nagini pretending to be Bathilda right now”? Bathildagini or whatever.

[Eric laughs]

Estee: Do you think he…?

Kat: No, and I think that’s exactly why it’s good that Snape didn’t go.

Alison: Yeah. Well, he does trust Snape a lot, so maybe Snape noticed Nagini wasn’t there. He was like, “Oh, she’s on a secret mission.”

Alison: I don’t know.

Kat: Maybe. Maybe that’s true.

Estee: “She’s dressed up like an old woman right now.”

Kat: She’s cosplaying.

[Eric and Estee laugh]

Kat: Uh-huh. So of course, in that moment Ron doesn’t in fact kill Harry; he kills the locket. And afterwards they’re crying and they’re sobbing and they’re hugging and they’re like, “Oh my God, I love you and I missed you so much.” And Harry takes this moment to reassure Ron that no, he does not in fact have the hots for Hermione, that he just loves her like a sister and he thought that he understood that. And it’s just a very sweet, very nice moment because clearly Ron needed to hear that.

Eric: If one-sided.

Kat: What?

Eric: I said if one-sided. It’s totally one-sided. Ron is not responsive in this moment.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Estee: Well, he’s too busy crying! [laughs]

Eric: It’s unclear if he really believes Harry when he says this.

Kat: Well, he does apologize and say, “I’m sorry that I left.” I think he’s a little bit ashamed of himself for ever thinking that.

Alison: Yeah, I definitely think he is.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: And then he also goes on to say… they’re talking about finishing the Horcrux, saving the life, getting the sword; Ron is like, “That makes me sound a lot cooler than I was,” and Harry is like, “Well, stuff like that has always sounded cooler than it really was; I’ve been trying to tell you that for years.”

[Eric laughs]

Kat: And it just made me laugh as usual because it’s a good, cute little moment between the two of them.

Alison: I also think it’s so important for their friendship that Ron finally understands what Harry has been trying to say whenever they got into these little spats. He’s not trying to; it just keeps happening to him, and it looks from a distance that it seems so much more exciting than it does when you’re, I don’t know, gripping some dude’s face and he’s dissolving into ash around you.

Kat: Oh, boy.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah, and I think this is the moment where they come back and really cement that friendship.

Kat: “No reason to be jealous of me, man. It sucks, I promise.”

Alison: Yeah, and it gives me hope that in the future they never got into those kinds of spats again because Ron was like, “Oh, yeah, no, I don’t want that. No way.” [laughs]

Kat: Yeah. No, definitely not. So they eventually make their way back to the tent, and Hermione takes a while to wake up. But she finally does, and of course she just flips a lid, loses her crap, yells at Ron, hits him…

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Kat: … which is great. It’s a really good moment because Hermione rarely loses control.

Estee: I love the way this is written.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: And I think it’s important in this moment that it’s Ron that forces her to lose control.

Alison: Because he’s the source of her passion and emotion a lot of the time.

Kat: Mhm.

Estee: I love the way it’s written because she just so calmly and almost in a shocked kind of daze is like, “Is he really there?” and then she just starts pummeling the crap out of him.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Estee: And it’s just… it’s such… the juxtaposition between her being so calm and then just beating him is hilarious to me.

Kat: Especially after just waking up.

Alison: Yeah.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Kat: That’s like the equivalent of being in bed and somebody knocks on your door. [knocks] And you’re like, “Oh, oh, oh, God!”

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Yeah. Well, I think, too, it’s possible that Hermione envisioned what she would do if Ron ever were to return.

Kat: Oh, definitely.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Eric: And she’s simply acting out the script of doing that. But she seems to be very animated about it. She does pull energy that you didn’t think she had a moment ago because she sort of… it’s the dark and she’s sort of walking to him a little slowly, but then she all of a sudden jumps on him. I think, too, though, that the humor is very important for this scene. The humor [in] reading it but also, in general there are parts that… immediately they’re shocked but there are parts later that they find a little bit funny in different expressions that either Ron says or Hermione says or Harry says to joke. It’s very important but it’s a literary device for this to be all resolved very quickly…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: … that they are all friends again very quickly. And it’s because Hermione got to actually physically beat up Ron…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: … which is so unexpected that you’re just like, “Oh, yeah, as a reader, I buy into this. They’re going to be friends again.”

Alison: Meh, she holds out for a little bit. In the next chapter it talks about how she’s not really talking to him normally and she’s kind of avoiding him but…

Eric: Well, I think the importance here – why I say it happened quickly, too – is because there’s a lot of exposition that offers a lot of insight into… basically, the story behind how Ron got back is actually super important to the overall plot of the book in my opinion because, again, it’s about Dumbledore and what he did or didn’t do to ensure the outcome of the series. So to me, it’s super important. It’s just like, “We have to get over this terrible feeling, this terrible situation, so we’re going to have Ron come back but he’s going to immediately be the only person who can save Harry because Hermione slept through this shouting, screaming Horcrux destruction outside. She could not have helped. Ron was the only person who can help so we’re going to have him save Harry’s life, and then we’re going to have Hermione beat him seriously, physically up, and then it’s going to be okay because I also want to continue telling this story about how he got back and it’s super important.”

Kat: Which starts off with the Snatchers, which I think is our first glimpse of them. Am I right?

Alison and Eric: Yeah.

Eric: I mean, maybe. It’s just kind of like, “Hey, these were the first… this is what happened first.” I don’t know. I almost wanted a “Hagrid’s Tale” type chapter but of Ron. But instead, it’s at the end of this chapter where so much else happened.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Kat: I mean, does Ron really do anything all that interesting while he’s gone? I don’t think so.

Eric: He could.

Alison: Ehh…

Estee: He loses a couple of fingernails. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, “Oh, well, isn’t that rich? Isn’t that…? Look at the trauma that you’ve encountered, Ron.”

Kat: Yeah. He’s had a rough time. But eventually, he tells the story and he gets to the Deluminator, which we’ve touched on a couple of times; it’s come up a few times. But I think that this is an important part for the Deluminator because it’s really showing, I think, maybe the true purpose of the device. And I’m wondering: Do we think that this is what Dumbledore originally made it for? Or was this teleportation ability added after the fact?

Eric: I like that question a lot.

Kat: What was the original intention of the Deluminator?

Alison and Eric: Yeah.

Eric: I mean, I can’t help but feel like the original intent was just to put out lights. [laughs]

Kat: I mean, it is called the Deluminator, I suppose, right?

Eric: Yeah. Well, not… I mean, I think it’s referred to originally as the Put-Outer. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah. In the first book, yeah.

Kat: That’s true. In the first book it is.

Eric: Because it puts out lights.

Estee: Yes, Puter-Outer or… [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, and it’s just… well, it’s very interesting that it has this side purpose, this side function, but you can’t help but imagine that it was put there later; maybe even explicitly for this purpose because you… I just don’t see Dumbledore traveling around ever or ever needing to travel around based on the feelings of others who love him.

Kat: Well, see, I thought that, too, but it made me think of Grindelwald. Did he maybe use this to find him later in life?

Alison: Ooh. Uh-oh.

Eric: Wait.

Estee: I don’t think Grindelwald really made it a secret where he was, though. Did he?

Eric: Grindelwald probably blew [explosion sound] up everywhere he went.

[Estee and Kat laugh]

Eric: It’s just that nobody was of a caliber to stop him.

Alison: It wouldn’t surprise me if this is some sort of device he made for the first war, like [a] spy device where all of a sudden you can turn a room dark and then disappear.

Kat: Hmm… okay.

Alison: I don’t know…

Kat: So you think that this little blue light ball-y thing was added afterwards just for Ron’s benefit?

Alison: Maybe.

Eric: The impression… I think we can all agree that that’s why Dumbledore gave Ron this device…

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: I think Ron speculated, probably in the next chapter, “Oh yeah, that’s why he did it because he maybe knew that I was going to have this falling out and that this device could get me back to these guys.” What interests me and something that I forgot was that it works not just once but twice, because he goes to the previous location [of] where they were.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: And then when they leave – or he figures out he was too late – he just does it again and then finds it. What does this actually mean that light is tied to the love in the universe of others for you, or of you for them and that it’s this personalized light? But then also the light isn’t a form of transportatition. Once the light goes into Ron and he Apparates, it kind of influences where he ends up. Because it’s a weird, completely different set type of magic.

Alison: I wonder more if it’s drawn to the people who love you. It’s more of like it’ll connect you to where you really want to go. So maybe it was made for someone who couldn’t Apparate very well, and so it could help with Apparition and getting them where they needed or wanted to go.

Estee: It’s specifically triggered by Hermione saying his name.

Alison: Yeah.

Estee: So it seems a little bit more – I don’t know the word I’m looking [for] – direct or … not as vague as just Apparating where you want to go. It’s like specifically a who-you-want-to-go-to.

Alison: Yeah. Okay.

Eric: The device just puts out lights. The device just puts out lights normally, right? It puts lights back…

Kat: Well… I mean…

Eric: It’s the equivalent of a lighter. And now it has something to do with your one true pair, your best friends, your soul mates, your friends who you’ve been separated with. It’s just a weird, different separate function. I don’t even know if…

Kat: And it’s weird that the first time that it happens to Ron, Hermione says, “You heard me on the radio?” And he says, “No, I heard you coming out of my pocket. Your voice came out of this.” And he held up the Deluminator, and then he goes on to say, “You said my name, so I took it out and it didn’t seem different, but I was sure that I had heard you. So I clicked it, and the light went out in my room, but another light appeared right outside the window.” So there’s something strange built into it that I do truly think is something about heart and love…

Alsion: Yeah.

Kat: … and fate or destiny or something of that.

Estee: Yeah.

Kat: This is the weirdest non sequitur ever, but it reminds me of the compass in Pirates of the Caribbean

[Alison, Estee, and Eric laugh]

Kat: … where it aims you towards the thing that you want the most.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: And all that Ron wants is to get back to them.

Estee: That’s actually a really good…

Eric: That seems like a fair comparison.

Estee: It’s almost like the Mirror of Erised in a lighter. It’s your heart; it’ll take you to your heart’s desire.

Eric: But why should it have anything to with Apparition at all?

Kat: Right. I guess the funny thing that I think struck me odd is that the first thing he heard was the voice. Like Hermione’s voice came out of this, and it’s about Apparating and it’s about light. What would make you think that there’s an audio component? It’s just really confusing.

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: Waves?

Kat: What?

Alison: Oh sorry, I was thinking sound waves, light waves…

Kat: Maybe…

Alison: If we’re going to break down science-y stuff…

Kat: Yeah, he is traveling, so he is using molecules and waves and all of that.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Well, and the light is referred to in this chapter as being like the glow that happens around a Portkey.

Kat: That’s right.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Ron likens it to that, doesn’t he?

Estee: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. And it’s like…

Kat: Which I guess also made me think: do you think that it changes depending on the person, like the color and the feel? Because he said it felt warm.

Eric: Hmm…

Alison: Maybe.

Ric: Warm might have to do with love. To me that’s like…

Kat: Aww!

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: That’s the love thing again.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Harry finds that warm door at the Ministry, right? Which to me is never love potion. It’s absolutely like the embodiment… [laughs] actual love is behind that door.

Kat: Hmm…

Eric: But… yeah, it’s very interesting. I don’t know that there’s any one answer.

Kat: Yeah, I feel like there’s probably somebody out there who understands the Deluminator like 4,000 percent. We’re going to get some pretty good comments on it this week.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Yeah, definitely. I think so, too… as far that goes. But I think we are all happy to see Ron back.

Kat: Yeah, especially because he brings a wand for Harry, which…

Alison and Eric: Yeah.

Kat: … I thought was very nice of him. How convenient.

Alison: Yes. [laughs]

Eric: Even though I said earlier that it was kind of fast for me for him to be accepted – I realize it’s the plot, but I’ve mentioned before on a couple of chapters ago – maybe only five or six chapters ago – this is the beginning of camping. I feel like this is the end of camping, or at least the end of the dull part of camping…

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: … knowing what the next chapter is. The whole Ron departure thing… in the next chapter they go to Godric’s Hollow, the next chapter is “Bathildas Secret”, [and] the next chapter is coming back…

Alison: What? No, we’ve already done Godric’s Hollow…

Eric: Yeah – oh, after the beginning of camping. Camping actually…

Alison: Oh, okay.

Eric: Camping did not last…

Estee: Camping isn’t as bad as you think it is, Eric!

Kat: Right.

Estee: It’s really not.

Eric: Right, that’s what I’m saying. Camping did not last as long as I thought, or that others would have you believe. It’s actually… as soon as Ron leaves, something about the tone of the book, something about the pace makes you think that it lasts forever. It actually lasts four or five chapters.

Kat: At the most.

Alison: Yeah, it’s not that long.

Estee: I feel like the movie made it feel longer, too. Because the whole first part of the Deathly Hallows movie is entirely camping basically…

Kat: [gasps] No, it’s not. Don’t speak ill against that movie.

Estee: Well, not entirely, no. [laughs] I love both… combined they make my favorite movie.

Eric: [laughs] That’s cheating.

Estee: So I have no… I love… so… [laughs] yes, I’m a cheater. But it is a lot… it seems longer because of the movie, I think. It makes it feel longer.

Kat: Well, we’ll wrap up the chapter, I guess, with Ron saying, “Hey, look! I got away from the Snatchers with this extra wand. Do we need one?” Harry’s like, “H-hey! Guess what, buddy? I do. I do need one.”

[Eric and Estee laugh]

Eric: “Hermione destroyed my other wand.”

Kat: And so Ron has bad luck with wands. He just… anyway, so he’s like, “Yeah, Hermione will maybe eventually talk to me again. You know, she set birds on me that one time, remember.” And she’s like, “I still haven’t ruled it out.”

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: Aww!

Kat: And it’s a good moment because Ron and Hermione smile at each other and all is well in the world. Because Ron pulls out his PJs – like he remembered to pack those, because he’s so prepared.

Estee: [laughs] I just imagine that fiery ginger hair with maroon pajamas…

Alison: Aww!

Estee: Just not a color combination that…

Eric: Clashing so poorly…

Kat: Oh, no, that’s so great! I love when redheads wear maroon. It’s adorable.

Eric: I don’t know that I’ve ever seen redheads wear maroon. Maybe I should just Google “Redheads wearing maroon”.

Kat: Well, half of my family happens to be ginger, so…

Eric: Oh, really? I didn’t know that about you!

Kat: Yeah, my brother…

Eric: Huh.

Kat: Yep, his side of the family, so… yeah.

Eric: So you know all about being around people without souls. That’s interesting.

Kat: [laughs] Lovely. I do, indeed.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: But that’s it, guys, that’s Chapter 19. We are officially more than halfway done with the book.

Eric: “The Silver Doe,” guys. For such a Snape heavy chapter, he’s just in the background the entire time, but we realize the importance of it later.

Estee: Like literally in the background.

Eric: Yeah.

[Estee laughs]

Kat: Ba-dum-dum!

Estee: Hiding behind a tree.

Kat: Oh, look at you making jokes.

Eric: But there’s a lot in this chapter that I feel was really well adapted – I know we just talked about this. For me, the best scene in this chapter that was adapted was just [Harry] in the pool, the necklace choking him and the struggle underneath the sheet of ice.

Estee: Mhm.

Kat: The continuity errors in that scene get me every time. I’m just like, “Aaaah!”

Eric: Oh, really?

Kat: Oh yeah, they kill me. Glasses on, glasses off, glasses on, glasses off…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Oh, you know what? I never ever realize that when it’s happening. [If] somebody points it out, then I’m like, “Oh God, this is awful!”

Estee: Yeah. Oh, yeah! [laughs]

Kat: Yeah, it’s really bad.

Eric: But I never while watching… I’m exactly the sort of person the editors want you to be when they’re like, “Oh, this is fine; let’s not reshoot this at all.”

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Right.

Eric: “No one will notice.” Yeah, I don’t notice – I actually don’t. Because I’m focused on other stuff. But that and the over-beautified – which is weird to read in the chapter, but it’s totally legit, totally from the book – the over-beautified version of Hermione and Harry…

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: … epping away at Ron’s confidence is pretty spectacularly adapted. So that was a good chapter, and now we are going to the Podcast Question of the Week, which – get ready, ladies and gents – is another good one, if I do say so myself. There is a question that is outstanding from the chapter discussion – and outstanding just meaning that I didn’t bring it up earlier, but I really want to – and I’m extremely interested in hearing what the listeners come up with for the reasons behind this. A little bit of something that I had forgotten was in this chapter but is in my mind pretty important, so here we go. This week’s Podcast Question of the Week is as follows:

“In the moments leading up to the destruction of the locket Horcrux, Harry says to Ron, ‘you got the sword out of the pool. I think it’s supposed to be you.’ Additionally, there’s a line of description that says, ‘Dumbledore had at least taught Harry something about certain kinds of magic, of the incalculable power of certain acts.’ Harry’s all-too-sudden decision that Ron should be the one to destroy the locket seems to hinge not on Harry offering Ron immediate redemption for leaving, but on some kind of magical insight. Where does this insight come from? Why must it be Ron who destroys this Horcrux, and what ‘incalculable power’ is bestowed upon him for doing so?”

Again, really interested in hearing what people think about, but Harry makes a big deal about this at the thirteenth hour or the very last moment. He’s like, “You should be the one to do this.” So I don’t know. Maybe it’s just Harry in his weakened state, maybe it’s not. We’d love to hear your feedback.

Alison: All that’s left for us to do then is to thank Estee for joining us again. Thank you so much for being here.

Estee: Yes. [laughs] Thank you for having me.

Eric: If you would like to be on the show like Estee was, there are actually limited opportunities to do so. We have less than twenty chapters left of Deathly Hallows, so get on over to, which is our website, and click on the “Be on the Show” page from the dropdown. No fancy equipment is needed; if you have a set of Apple headphones, that will do it. But ultimately there are a few trials and tests that we put you through…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: [laughs] … just to make sure that you qualify recording-wise. But I’m sure it’s fine. Obviously the diversity of hosts that we’ve had on the show as guests is just a great reflection of how many people we let in, so it’s not too hard. Just go over to the “Be on the Show” page, and you’ll see it happen.

Kat: If you’ve read the Hunger Games, you’re all set. That’s about the level of difficulty, so you’re good.

[Alison and Eric laughs]

Eric: Have you guys seen Mockingjay – Part 2?

Kat: Yes, I have. I didn’t really care for it, actually.

Eric: It’s amazing, okay.

Estee: What?

Kat: That’s a whole other podcast.

Eric: Yep.

[Estee laughs]

Kat: If anyone out there wants to keep in touch with us, you can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, on, on Tumblr at; our Instagram is @alohomoramn; our website, as mentioned, is, and while you’re there, don’t forget to download a ringtone for free. And as always, you can leave us an audioBoom, which is 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 60 seconds, and you might hear it on the show.

Eric: And let me remind all of our listeners out there that there is in fact an Alohomora! store. And I believe that all of the copy that we used to use has been replaced recently – I’m not sure how recently – with three words that I think resonate or will resonate with everyone: we sell stuff.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Go check us out; click on the store button on our website. Look, guys, this is the gift-giving season. And for the holidays that you’re experiencing with your loved ones, there’s never been a better time to gift flip-flops and T-shirts and water bottles and all sorts of other stuff with your favorite Harry Potter read-through podcast slogans and logos on them to your loved ones and also strangers as well. So go check out the Alohomora! store. There are more items being added or coming up and it’s extremely exciting. It’s great to be there, and also most importantly, it supports the show.

Alison: And also make sure you download our smartphone app for free. Just search for Podcast Source in your app store and listen to us and all of our craziness in our bonus features. And normally, but in our bonus features too even more.

Kat: And as we mentioned last week, starting in January Alohomora! is going to be a patron of Patreon! We’re so excited about this. We really need ways to help us keep the show going. Sure, we don’t have much left, but maybe we’re lying about that? We’ll see.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Kat: But listeners can make a monthly pledge just as little as $1, and it helps fund the show and keep discussion going. More details will be coming in the coming weeks, so just stay tuned to the show and to the website and we’ll give you all the details as soon as they’re available.

Alison: Our slogan is “Open the Dumbledore,” so obviously we’ve got some secrets in line that we’re talking…

Kat: Shhh! Alison…

Eric: The Life and Lies of Alohomora! Hosts.

Alison: What? Dumbledore never lied.

Kat: No, never. Mmm-mmm.

Alison: Never. [laughs]

Eric: Well, everybody, I believe that about wraps it up for this time.

[Show music begins]

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Kat: I’m Kat Miller.

Alison: And I’m Alison Siggard. Thank you for listening to Episode 169 of Alohomora!

Eric: Open the little tiny locket… or the Dumbledore.

[Show music continues]

Kat: So Harry’s dreams seep into reality as day turns into an evening that is as dark as a void. A strange and beautiful light, a Patronus, appears before his eyes and… what?

Eric: What did you write here?

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I was taking notes on my phone.

Eric: “… knowing instruct rurally…”

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Eric: In the country. “… it’s safe…”

Kat: Instinctually.

Eric: Instinctually.

[Kat laughs]

Eric: Okay.

Kat: Whoops.

Eric: Rurally, rurally. Wow.

Kat: Oh my God.

Estee: Well, they are out in the middle of the woods, so…

Kat: There you go. Okay. [laughs]

Eric: Oh yeah, you’re right. Estee with the win.

Kat: And what should he find other than the sword of Gryffindor, and he takes the polar plunge.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Kat: The Horcruxes… [laughs] don’t make me laugh.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: [clears throat] But Horcruxes apparently cannot swim, and it nearly drowns Harry as… this is so bad. It sounds like I’m reading a script. I hate it.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I’m going to start over. I hate it when it sounds like I’m reading a script. The strong arms of Ronald Weasley save Harry from a certain death…

Eric: [in a macho voice] Yeah!

[Alison, Estee, and Kat laugh]

Kat: I love that line so much. I wrote it and I was laughing. Okay. [clears throat]