Transcript – Episode 178

[Show music begins]

Eric Scull: This is Episode 178 of Alohomora! for February 20, 2016.

[Show music continues]

Eric: Hello everyone, and welcome to a fantastic, high-flying 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 Silvia Storti. Welcome, Silvia!

Silvia Storti: Hi everyone.

Alison: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your Hogwarts house and how did you get into Potter? That’s usually our questions.

Silvia: Yeah. Well, old Pottermore sorted me into Gryffindor, but I do not agree with that, so…

Alison and Kat: Oh!

Silvia: Yeah, I feel like I’m more suited for Slytherin, but…

Eric: Huh.

Kat: I love when we have Slytherins on the show.

[Silvia laughs]

Alison: Wait, that means we have all four! Eric and I shift a little bit. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, we do, kind of.

Silvia: There you go.

Eric: Silvia, I would have guessed Ravenclaw, to be perfectly honest.

Silvia: Well, that’s more my sister than me. I’m not very book-smart, I’m more… I can get away with things. [laughs]

Eric: Hmm.

Alison: Hmm.

Silvia: So that’s where the Slytherin comes in.

Kat: I often find that Ravenclaws and Slytherins go hand-in-hand, so it’s not surprising.

Eric: Well, you do share Slytherin’s initials.

Silvia: Yes.

[Alison laughs]

Silvia: And also green is my favorite color, so it’s all-around perfect.

Eric: Oh! You’re making a compelling case.

Silvia: Yeah, there you go. But let’s see, how did I get into Potter? They gave me the first book as a birthday present when I was twelve, and I had no idea that it was a series, so I just read the book and then loved it and then kind of put it aside. So imagine my surprise when I walked into a bookstore.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Eric: How many books were there by the time you found out?

Silvia: I think there [were] only three.

Eric: Okay.

Silvia: Because I read to Prisoner of Azkaban and then I had to wait. I remember that I had to wait, and that was terrible. I read them in Italian first because… I live in the UK now, but I’m actually from Italy.

Kat: I was just going to ask you about your accent because you sound British…

[Alison and Silvia laugh]

Kat: … but also with a twist of something else in there.

Silvia: Oh my God, I sound British? You’re certain of that? Because that’s going to be on my resume and stuff. I can sound British – that’s fine.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: No, you sound like British with a twist of something.

Silvia: It’s probably… I’ve been studying here for five years now. I’m doing my PhD now.

Eric: Oh, that’ll do it.

Kat: Yeah.

Silvia: Yeah, that’s probably why.

Kat: Thank you so much for joining us today. We’re really excited to have you. And I believe you said in your email that you’ve been listening for a while, right?

Silvia: Yeah. I think… I was listening to MuggleCast and I remember them announcing Alohomora! and then I remember seeing posts everywhere and then I thought, “You know what? I actually want to know more about the Potter books in-depth,” so I just started listening to this.

Kat: Yay!

Silvia: Yeah.

Eric: I’m glad you finally applied, too.

Silvia: Oh my God.

Eric: You waited until the seventh book.

Silvia: Yeah, I know. I just… I don’t know why I waited so long. I should have just done it earlier, but…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: You hear that, listeners? Don’t keep waiting!

[Eric and Silvia laugh]

Eric: There will be more on that at the tail-end of the show.

Silvia: Yeah.

Kat: For sure.

Eric: But in the meantime, we’re thrilled to finally have Silvia and to also talk about this upcoming chapter of Deathly Hallows, which is Chapter 27, titled “The Last Hiding Place,” so be sure to have read before going on to our episode’s main discussion.

Kat: But you guys know the drill. Before we get into this week’s chapter, we are going to talk about some comments from last week’s chapter, which was Chapter 26 of Deathly Hallows, where the trio broke into Gringotts successfully, actually, for once.

Eric: Ooh!

Kat: You know, a plan… well, okay, it didn’t go so great.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Kat: But the final result was the same, right?

Silvia: Yeah.

Alison: Which is what’s important.

Eric: Yes.

Kat: Right. Okay. So we have a lot of really good comments on the episode discussion this week, but I did manage to pick three or four here that I think are something… we’re going to have a hard time keeping this discussion kind of short.

Silvia: Yeah.

Kat: So we’ll jump into them with the first one here from Laurel Phoenix. I assume it’s a she. [She] says,

“Random, morbid thought: Do you think the Department of Mysteries ever studied Horcruxes? We all know that the Department of Mysteries explores a lot of different elements, like time and love, so why not Horcruxes? Especially considering how far Voldemort went with making them, I have to wonder if the Department of Mysteries decided to delve into the magic of Horcruxes, if they weren’t already researching them. Which begs the question: How would they study them? Would it be purely theoretical or would they decide that practical study was the only way? We know that murder is necessary to create a Horcrux, so would they gather anyone who had killed someone, either as a criminal offense or during the war, and use those deaths to create Horcruxes? Would it be on a volunteer basis or would they force those who committed murder to split their souls in order to study the effects and the Horcruxes themselves? Would killing in the name of war even count? My mind is full of questions on this!”

Silvia: Mine too.

Kat: I thought that was so intriguing.

Silvia: Yeah.

Kat: I had never thought about studying Horcruxes before.

Alison: Yeah. Are they putting this in the timeline after this book, or are they talking about before this? Because before this, I think it’s made pretty clear that no one knows Voldemort has Horcruxes except for Dumbledore.

Eric: Yeah, and I think there’s a part of Laurel Phoenix’s remark, which is, did they decide to delve into the magic if they weren’t already researching? I think I agree that if it did happen, it happened after the Harry Potter books.

Kat: Mhm.

Silvia: Well… but the Horcruxes were known already. The magic that makes them, it was known already, so maybe there needed to be tests done before even a book could be written about it.

Eric: That’s possible.

Alison: But it was written in medieval times, wasn’t it? Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

Silvia: Yeah, which kind of begs the question… yeah. There wouldn’t be a Department of Mysteries then, would there?

Alison: I don’t think there was, yeah.

Eric: I think the Department of Mysteries is decidedly behind on that sort of thing. Like if you look at the things they are investigating…

Silvia: Oh, yeah.

Eric: Sure time is there, and love, but I think that Horcruxes are very new. Again, not many wizards had created them and certainly wouldn’t tell their secrets.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: It’s a bit like the Elder Wand.

Silvia: Mmm.

Eric: You wouldn’t tell somebody if you had made a Horcrux. I would say that if Harry wanted that to be an area of study or something… but more broadly, it’s more likely that the Department of Mysteries just studied souls in general, like the human soul.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: That would open up the door to studying Horcruxes, or in general, murder, splitting the soul, and all that other kind of stuff.

Silvia: Especially because part of this… it sounds a lot like Nazi Germany using camps to test things.

Alison: Mmm.

Eric: Oh, gosh.

Kat: Oh, boy.

Silvia: I would love for it to be purely theoretical and not just do practical study.

Eric: Me too.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Well, I think that’s an interesting discussion, and I think the listeners should most definitely go and comment on that because I’m really anxious to see what others think about that.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: I feel like we could talk about that for a solid hour.

Silvia: Yeah.

Kat: So we’ll go on to the next one here because we actually do want to get to the chapter at some point today.

Eric: Oh, at some point. Gosh!

Kat: At some point, yes. So the next comment here is from HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis – a lovely regular of ours – and it says,

“Was it even neccessary to tell anyone that they want to go to the Lestranges vault? There are several high security vaults, and the book doesn’t state how far away from each other they are. But let’s assume that you could get off the cart at another high security vault and make your way to the Lestrange’s vault from there. That way they wouldn’t have to disguise anyone as Bellatrix, the security measures that were put in place for her vault wouldn’t have been activated and they would have had more time to find the Horcrux.”

So that’s a pretty decent alternate plan, in my opinion.

Silvia: This sounds like the plan for a heist.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Kat: A little bit, yeah.

[Silvia laughs]

Alison: I’m maybe thinking movie canon, but I feel like that wouldn’t be possible because… I may just be picturing the movie, but I feel like… especially these high security vaults are in their own little… it’s in the middle of the cave, right? So I feel like there wouldn’t be really a way to get from one vault to the other, and that’s almost an added security measure.

Kat: Well, I think there would have to be because otherwise they’d have the dragon for one vault…

Eric: Well, it’s like five. It says in the book there’s four or five others.

Alison: Oh, okay.

Eric: But they are at the lowest level of Gringotts, which is why I think what Alison was saying is probably the truth, that being Bellatrix actually did get them past certain security defences, sure. Hermionie bungled it, they all kind of bungled it, and they raised a lot of suspicion even while they were still in the lobby. There was just simply too many missteps in that short amount of time for them to have gotten safely in and out without anybody knowing they were there. But I still think personally that it was the right course of action, given that they had Bellatrix’s hair to formulate a plan around impersonating her.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: Well… and I also think part of the reason that they went with this plan is that having someone as Bellatrix gives you a lot of authority to get your way through things.

Eric: Well, people look the other way. Or they should.

Alison: Exactly.

Eric: I think the plan was good, but they really didn’t count on people already being informed, both about the wand…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: … and about Bellatrix in general, like when Travers shows up and he’s like, “Shouldn’t you be at the manor? I didn’t think he was letting anybody out.” That is the first mistake. Well, it’s both a blessing and a curse that she’s a recognizable Death Eater.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: But then again it’s her vault that they do need to get into.

Alison: Definitely.

Eric: So ultimately, again, I think it is more of a good thing than a bad.

Silvia: Hmm. I also thought, well, if there is only a limited amount of high security vaults, then they still would have needed a good reason to get to the vaults. Because I’m guessing it is not the same path that the cart would have taken to go anywhere else in the bank.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Well, the high security vaults are for the prime families, right?

Silvia: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: Aren’t the Weasleys one of those families?

Alison: No, I don’t think so.

Eric: No.

Alison: I don’t think they have enough…

Kat: The Malfoys?

Alison: Oh, the Malfoys definitely are. But the Weasleys I think might not be rich enough, which is a terrible thing to say.

Silvia: Well, see…

Kat: I don’t think that that matters. Are they part of the “Prime Thirteen”? I don’t remember.

Alison: I think they got taken off it, didn’t they?

Silvia: See, the Malfoys would have been a good fit. If Harry had disguised himself as Draco, I feel like he would have gotten past security.

Alison: Ooh.

Silvia: Then again, they don’t have much weight in the community at the moment.

Alison: But would Draco have that much authority, to be able to go up and say…

Eric: His family’s vault?

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: The Malfoys keep enough of their stuff under their drawing room floor that I’m wondering if they just don’t trust Gringotts or have some other reason for not using Gringotts whenever they need to.

[Kat laughs]

Eric: You know what I’m saying? There are so many dark artifacts that Lucius didn’t entrust Gringotts with.

Silvia: I wonder if the problem is the Ministry. I wonder if the problem is that at Gringotts, at any point, the Ministry could just go and ask the goblins to look inside the vaults.

Eric: I really wonder.

Kat: And by the way, I don’t know where the heck I came up with “Prime Thirteen,” but it’s “Sacred Twenty-Eight.”

[Alison and Silvia laugh]

Kat: My cold has addled my brain. But the Weasleys are on the list, although according to the [Harry Potter] Wiki, it says that the Weasleys deplore their status due to their ancestral interests in the Muggle world.

Alison: That’s right. They don’t talk about it. That’s what it said.

Silvia: Hmm.

Eric: The other thing is [that] these vaults probably don’t come cheap. I don’t care how old your family is…

Silvia: No, yeah, I was going to say that.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Eric: They still, at some point, probably cost more than the Weasleys’ house to get.

Alison: Oh, definitely.

Kat: Wait, but that’s what I’m saying, is… I think that those vaults were gifted. I don’t think that people pay. If you’re part of the “Sacred Twenty-Eight,” I don’t think that you pay…

Eric: Well, I still think you pay…

Silvia: I don’t know, but…

Kat: Well, I’m going to look it up.

Alison: I’ve always gotten the feeling that a lot of these “Sacred Twenty-Eight” families are very wealthy, so…

Silvia: Well, more to the point, I feel like the goblins wouldn’t give you anything cheap…

Alison: Oh, no!

Silvia: … or anything just inherited.

Kat: Our next comment here is from DoraNympha. [She] says,

“Does anyone feel like Hermione wasn’t the best choice to become Bellatrix? She’s always been rubbish at acting, hasn’t she? Most of the time, at least. From the time she failed at seeming casual in Borgin and Burkes to her poor public speaking skills in ‘Order of the Phoenix’, I feel like both Ron and Harry have held up lying under pressure much better than Hermione. Why does she have to be Bellatrix? Just because she’s a girl? (I’m well-spotted, aren’t I?) A month of practising how not to walk like a guy and Harry could have done a more convincing job of playing Bellatrix, I think, but the whole plan would still have gone the same way – or do we think Hermione wouldn’t have Imperiused Bogrod and Travers? What if Ron had been under the cloak and Hermione disguised?”

Alison: I feel like this comment is just saying Hermione is a cinnamon roll: too pure, too good for this world, to lie to anyone.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Silvia: But now I want this to be true just to see Daniel Radcliffe play Bellatrix. [laughs]

Alison: Oh my gosh!

Kat: The comment has a point, though. I mean, why Hermione?

Eric: Well, the comment also says that it would have worked out the same way in the end, and maybe even worse. I love that DoraNympha at least considers that Harry was useful in Imperiusing Bogrod and Travers, and that’s…

Alison: Yeah, I don’t think Hermione or Ron could have done that.

Eric: I don’t think they would have even thought of it, and Harry does it, and that’s actually… that’s ultimately what gets them to the vault, into the vault and out of the vault, the Imperiusing several times of Bogrod.

Kat: Although, isn’t it Griphook’s influence that forces Harry to do that?

Eric: Griphook continues…

Alison: Yes…

Eric: Well…

Alison: A little bit, but I feel like Hermione wouldn’t have had the guts. Hermione has too much of a moral compass to do that, and I… as much as I love him, I don’t think Ron would have had the skill to hold it.

Eric: I still think Hermione was the right choice for Bellatrix, not because she’s a girl, but because first of all, I think she has to learn sometime how to fake act.

[Kat and Silvia laugh]

Eric: And why not now? Baptism by fire. But also because specifically with Harry, I think his purpose is perfectly served. He’s the one who needs to guard Gryffindor’s sword, as sort of the token Gryffindor right now… or not the token Gryffindor, the epitomy of Gryffindor right now. He needs to guard the sword and worry about the goblin, and so he couldn’t be worried about not trying to walk like a guy. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Silvia: I also think that this plan, the plan that they actually went with, kind of plays to their strengths.

Alison: Yeah.

Silvia: As in Harry can improvise, Ron is good at pretending to be someone…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I think that was a compliment.

Silvia: Yeah, kind of. [laughs] But it’s also showcasing the things that we will see in later chapters, so Ron is able to imitate and Hermione is always the one keeping them together and Harry is the one getting things done.

Kat: Well, DoraNympha, I’m on your side.

[Silvia laughs]

Kat: I don’t know.

Eric: Harry should have done it.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: No, not necessarily. I just think she has some good points about… but it’s okay. I will bow to the majority, I suppose.

Alison: It’s true, though. Hermione is rubbish at acting.

Eric: That’s very true. I love that…

Silvia: That is a very good comment, yeah.

Eric: Borgin and Burkes, bringing that up again, I still just…

Alison: Oh, gosh.

Eric: I laugh at our episode on that.

Kat: So our last comment here is more of really… well, just that, a comment. It’s from Casey L. and it says,

“Can we stop and appreciate that, when Harry, Ron, Hermione and Griphook leave Shell Cottage in this chapter, we – and they – are less than 24 hours from the end of this war? With as much as there is left to this book, it’s kind of hard to believe that… even though I’ve read it before!”

Alison: Is it 24 hours?

Kat: Yes, because they break into Gringotts on May 1. Yeah, I just thought… I mean, that was something that we didn’t think about on that last episode, so that’s… well spotted, Casey L.

[Silvia laughs]

Kat: Kind of crazy. But there it is, that’s our recap from last week, guys.

Eric: Woo-hoo!

Kat: Still tons of comments, as I mentioned, over on the main site at, so for sure go over and check it out, and keep that conversation going.

Alison: And before we get to the chapter, we’re going to go over our Podcast Question of the Week responses. So just to remind you what the question was, Gringotts security is supposed to be ‘impervious’ itself, it is renowned and feared, and yet what we experience does not seem as terrible as the rumours suggest. How exactly is the Thief’s Downfall supposed to be dangerous? Is the biggest danger really just being locked in a seldom-visited vault? The curses in Vault Lestrange appear to have come from Bellatrix herself, so why is Gringotts considered to be the safest place in the wizarding world? Outside of Hogwarts, of course. And we had lots of really great comments – lots of long ones this week – so I just picked a couple that were hinted on in a lot of the other ones as well. And our first one comes from Hufflepuffskein, and this is actually from a much longer comment – which you should go read because it’s fabulous – and it says,

“I think it is the folklore of the place and associated with the unsavory character of goblins in general. There may also be connotations of caverns, caves, or dungeons in terms of secrecy and forbiddenness that heightens the image. There is something also to feeling beholden to another group, distinct from one’s own, especially if the other group can be malicious, that can contribute to fear or worry. We’ve mentioned many times about the apparent superior position in which wizards put themselves relative to other magical creatures.”

And then they mentioned one of the recent SpeakBeasty episodes for a great discussion on that topic.

“In the case of Gringotts, wizards have their money guarded by a potentially hostile group and have to actually seek permission to retrieve it. And goblins manufacture the coins that make up wizard currency. It is reasonable that such overarching control of the financial system would engender a folklore of fear and security, even if the reality was not so intense as everyone believed. The lack of theft or break-ins may relate to the fear associated with attempting, as opposed to the actual difficulty of doing it. But probably both.”

Silvia: Wow.

Kat: Yeah, I think that a lot of places that are infamous for things like that are definitely made so by exaggeration and word of mouth and people kind of glorifying exactly what it is, so…

Silvia: Doesn’t it make you think of Switzerland and… every time in TV shows when they say, “Oh, they have a Swiss bank account,” because it’s supposed to be the safest, unbreakable, offshore… that kind of thing.

Kat: Yeah, or the Cayman Islands. Yes, same thing.

Silvia: Yeah. So it kind of feels like they have built up this mythic unbreakable bank and they are just banking on that, excuse the pun.

[Eric laughs]

Kat: We like puns around here.

[Silvia laughs]

Kat: I mean, I guess the fact that there is a dragon is cool.

[Eric laughs]

Kat: So at least they held up one of their promises.

Eric: I honestly… I think that you’re a little mistaken… there’s sort of a false premise in this Podcast Question of the Week because the charms in the vault… I have a quote from Griphook but I lost it, but Griphook says they placed those curses on the treasure to make it duplicate and become hot. He’s talking about the other goblins; he’s not talking about Bellatrix. So the Thief’s Downfall…

Kat: What?

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: Do we know that for sure?

Kat: I don’t believe that.

Eric: Absolutely. A hundred percent. Guarantee it.

Silvia: Is that in the last chapter?

Kat: Well, you’ve got to find the quote if you guarantee it.

Alison: Yeah, where’s the antecedent to that?

Eric: Then give me one minute and I will have it.

Kat: Okay.

Silvia: Oh yeah, it says,

“‘They have added Gemino and Flagrante Curses!’ said Griphook. ‘Everything you touch will burn…'”

They don’t specify.

Alison: Mhm, and that’s the problem. That’s why it’s so ambiguous.

Eric: This entire time he’s guiding them through all of the added protection since… they basically spooked everybody up in the lobby, so when he’s guiding them through and saying this is the Thief’s Downfall, they get into the vault, they have now added the Gemino and Flagrante Curses, said Griphook. Then he tells them exactly how to not provoke those curses. This is all Gringotts specifically in response to an incursion. Normally the treasure doesn’t do this, but all treasure in all of the vaults during a suspected break-in would do exactly what it’s doing now and it’s all because of the goblins. That’s my interpretation of him saying, “They have added Gemino and Flagrante Curses!” It’s a temporary thing that exists only because they suspect a break-in. And I think it’s terrifying – they nearly burned to death and/or get crushed to death in this vault.

Kat: I’m sorry, I’m going to reject your reality and substitute my own.

[Alison and Silvia laugh]

Kat: I don’t believe that it’s… because how would they put curses on something if they’re not even in the vault?

Eric: The entire… all of the vaults are that way.

Kat: How do they do that?

Alison: But they don’t know that.

Eric: Because it’s the bank. It’s like Hogwarts – everywhere… you could put a spell that protects the entire thing.

Silvia: Wait, wait, wait, but goblins don’t have wands. How are they putting these curses…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: House-elves don’t have wands either, and they have magic.

Silvia: Yes, okay, but…

Kat: But they have their own magic. Goblins don’t.

Eric: Are you sure goblins don’t have their own magic?

Kat: I feel like we would know if goblins had their own form of magic.

Eric: Goblins do have their own form of magic, but…

Alison: Well, you’re still also assuming that “they” refers to goblins, which isn’t necessarily true because…

Eric: He’s not talking about the Lestranges.

Alison: But he could be.

Kat: I think he is.

Eric: No, he’s not talking about…

Alison: He never specifies who he’s talking about. There is no antecedent to that day.

Eric: This is a Gringotts specific enchantment that is placed on the treasure because they suspect a break-in. A hundred percent. Guarantee it.

Silvia: Wait, wait, okay. So what if there’s a contract… when you send out for extra security, there’s a contract and they say, “You can have this, this, this, and this curse. You have to perform it yourself because we don’t have a wand and we don’t want the problem.” But…

Eric: I don’t know about that. I don’t think it has anything to do with… I think it’s one of the… it’s part of the Gringotts promise that you get.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Eric: The Thief’s Downfall… okay, let’s use the Thief’s Downfall because it is outside of the Lestrange’s vault. And if I had the book next to me, I could also quote when he says that. But because they suspect that there has been a break-in, the Thief’s Downfall is activated and it’s something that washes away all enchantments. Do you think that goblins didn’t create the Thief’s Downfall, that they had wizards do it for them?

Alison: No, they probably created that. But even if they had…

Eric: Well, they have magic!

Kat: Okay, you don’t know that wizards didn’t help create the Thief’s Downfall.

Alison: Yeah, because wizards work for Gringotts still.

Eric: Well, if wizards even… okay, but I’m saying that the magic… we’re arguing two points here. The magic that is on the Lestrange’s vault is on all vaults at that time, and it wasn’t put there by the Lestranges. That’s all I’m saying.

Alison: How do you know?

Eric: Because when you go to a bank, and they’re on lockdown, and they lock every security door between yourself and the vault you’re trying to steal and the exit, it is not like you can just unlock a door to another vault. They’re all locked down.

Alison: But if it’s the inside of their private vault, the way the wizarding world works, I have a feeling that on the interior of your own vault it’s whatever you want.

Eric: No, no, no. Look… okay, so think of it like Hogwarts. Any enchantment that is placed over Hogwarts is to protect the students within. And in some ways, every student that is within is equally hidden by the charms that are on Hogwarts itself. It is the same way with Gringotts’ vaults. Everything that is [residing] in that building is protected under the same enchantments, and that includes the items in the vaults. So when they think there is a break-in, they activate these additional security measures. It is not just the dragon that’s at the bottom of the canyon, which you need to take a cart through and get past all of the wizards and goblins on your way, but additional enchantments that are going to duplicate the treasure, this, that and the other thing, they are all on every piece of treasure in Gringotts. Because ultimately, the worst thing… and we’re going to talk PR for a second. The worst thing about Gringotts… think about back in Book 1 when it makes Daily Prophet news that there was a break-in to Gringotts. It’s a big deal. You don’t want a PR nightmare. You don’t want to ever say, “Oh, we lost something. Something was stolen from Gringotts.”

Silvia: And also… sorry, this is the second time this would have happened. Because Book 1 is when we get the first break-in, so they would have upped the defenses, I’m guessing.

Eric: I just think that… I really strongly believe that the protections that we see are put on all of the treasure in Gringotts, in response to a threat of break-in.

Silvia: Although, he did seem surprised when they reached the Thief’s Downfall, because he says something about… oh, what is it? “They know there are impostors in Gringotts, they have set off defenses against us!” So it feels like the Thief’s Downfall is something you turn on when you think…

Eric: He knows exactly what it is.

Kat: No, I don’t think so. I always assumed that the Thief’s Downfall is the thing that alerts them. Because it’s a waterfall, it’s something that is on all the time and you go through it no matter what, but there is an enchantment there.

Eric: What? I didn’t think it was on all the time.

Alison: Is it? Yeah, I don’t think it’s on all the time.

Kat: I do.

Eric: By what his line says about… what Silvia just read.

Silvia: Yeah. Well…

Kat: No, no, it says, “They know there are impostors.” No. I think the opposite, sorry.

Silvia: But earlier on… I’m going to read, because it’s just easier.

“They were deeper than Harry had ever penetrated within Gringotts; they took a hairpin bend at speed and saw ahead of them, with seconds to spare, a waterfall pounding over the track. Harry heard Griphook shout, ‘No!’ but there was no braking.”

Eric: So he didn’t expect it.

Silvia: Yeah.

Alison: Mhm.

Eric: But he knows what it is. Immediately.

Alison: Also, to have a waterfall you have to go under to get to those vaults? That would suck. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, it would be like one of those water rides at a theme park.

Alison: Every time you went to your vault, you get soaking wet. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. No, I ultimately think that either the plan was to go in – and they were so confident they weren’t going to get caught that Griphook didn’t think that it was worth mentioning – or that there are… I mean, I think that must be it. That Griphook told them only so much as he had to at the time, but now that he is still pledged to get them to the vault, he’s still informing them of these backup procedures – which weren’t always on, which are now on because they kind of sucked it up in the lobby.

Alison: Well, speaking of Gringotts security, we’ve talked a lot about getting in, but IlvermornyAlumna – who used to be RoseLumos, changed her…

Silvia: Oh, that is a good name.

Alison: Yeah. [laughs] We’re a little excited for the American school.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: But the comment says,

“Maybe Gringotts security plan is more about people getting out than getting in? After all, getting in was almost comically easy, getting out was the really hard part. We talk about goblins being cruel and taking pleasure in the pain of others, so they may enjoy trapping a thief than just keeping him out. It’s like a mouse trap – it doesn’t keep the mice away, it just kills them when they get stuck.”

Kat: Which I think is completely valid because I’m pretty sure that at some point somebody just says, “Oh, they check the vaults every one hundred years,” or something.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: That was meant to be more of a… I’m sure it’s true, but I’m sure it’s also… that was Book 1 and it’s just like, “Oh, that’s clearly really meant to be a funny thing.” But if you think about it, yeah.

Alison: Really? You find that funny? [laughs]

Eric: Oh, it’s hilarious.

Alison: I always found that chilling.

Eric: It’s torturous. It’s absolutely… do you think you’d still be alive after a thousand years? Like, magically preserved and just trapped in a cell? Because that would be more malicious too, than just letting you starve to death.

Alison: No, but it’s so sinister.

Eric: Yeah, but that’s…

Kat: Well, of course it is. They’re goblins.

Eric: Yeah, they’re goblins after all. But I kind of agree with this to a certain extent, except [that] I reject the idea that getting in was comically easy. Again… look, they had a Polyjuice Bellatrix and they performed a few Unforgivable Curses. I wouldn’t say it was comically easy by any stretch of the imagination. They broke the law. An Azkaban-imprisonable offense was committed by Harry Potter more than once to get them down there. So it’s probably not… yeah sure, it came easy to Harry because everything involving the Imperius Curse always comes easy to Harry. But I don’t think that ultimately anybody else could have gotten down as easily, and they were [with] Bellatrix Lestrange, who was going specifically to Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault. So the cards were stacked in their favor, but I don’t think it would be easy. I don’t think getting into Gringotts or breaking into Gringotts perhaps didn’t live up to expectations. For as often as I talk about this book not living up to expectations, I think the Gringotts chapter did completely live up to my expectations.

Alison: Well, that wraps up our Podcast Question of the Week then, for this week.

Kat: Before we get into our chapter, we do want to take a moment and thank our sponsor this week, which is Christina Karas on Patreon. And if you guys want to become a sponsor, you can do so for as little as one dollar a month. No joke, it’s one dollar a month. I sponsor our own show for one dollar a month. All you have to do is head over to, click on the little “Patreon” tab at the top. You can go over there, and you can become a sponsor. Like I said, for as little as one dollar a month. And our post-Deathly Hallows plans, and there are plans – very elaborate plans, in fact – are going to be told to the Patreon sponsors weeks before the general public, so if you want to be in the know then head over there, become a sponsor, and you’ll get all the details before everybody else.

Eric: Absolutely, and that address is

Kat: And thank you, Christina, so much for donating.

Eric: Thank you, Christina.

Kat: Thank you.

Alison: Thank you so much.

Eric: And now we’re here, finally. Chapter 27.

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 27 intro begins]

Harry: Chapter 27.

[Harry yells “Now!” in the background]

Harry: “The Final Hiding Place.”

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 27 intro ends]

Eric: Having incredibly escaped Gringotts on the back of a dragon, the trio’s enthusiasm is muffled only by their anxiety of how to get off of it. After dropping into a lake and swimming ashore without drawing the dragon’s attention, Harry’s scar connection treats him with a direct line into the consequences of the attack on Gringotts. Now knowing that Voldemort knows that Harry knows about the Horcruxes, it’s only a matter of time before Harry and Voldemort meet – at the location of the last Horcrux, inside Hogwarts.

Kat: I liked your play on the knowing.

Silvia: Yeah.

Kat: I always love when there’s like he knows that I know that you know that we know that they know.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Eric: I do, too.

Kat: But they don’t know that we know that they know that we know…

Eric: But now they do.

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: Now he knows that he knows about the stuff.

Silvia: The films missed out on a truly comic scene.

Eric: Except [for] the “Lavender said to Pavarti said to…” in Movie 4.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: That did it enough for me. I don’t ever need another one.

Alison: “Seamus told Dean that Pavarti that told…”

Eric: “I’m not an owl!”

Alison: “I’m not an owl!” Yes.

Eric: So we have a couple of… obviously… now I have to say, Jim Dale nails this chapter in like seventeen minutes, which is crazy.

Kat: Wow.

Eric: I have no idea how he did it.

Alison: I forgot how short it was.

Eric: It’s a short chapter. Only ten pages you said, Kat?

Kat: Yeah. I mean, if you took out the picture…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: … and moved the last bit to the front bit, it’s really only nine pages.

Eric: Americans are so spoilt people.

Silvia: Wow.

Kat: But chronologically it’s ten.

Eric: Wow. Okay, so the first… in true J.K. Rowling fashion, there is so much in this chapter.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: And the first couple of points will be a lot lighter than the last few, so bear with us. But talking about this dragon, which we didn’t get to spend a lot of time in last week’s episode…

Alison: [laughs] Can I just say, I’m glad you titled this point, “WELL DONE, DRAGON!”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Which if my voice wasn’t going, I could say it a lot better.

Eric: Thank you.

Silvia: Oh yeah, it was so cute because it made me think of the cute dragon.

Eric: It’s a cute dragon, and also it’s awesome because it just got them out of Gringotts, a very tight, tough, hot situation. So in fact there’s a lot of humor in the very beginning of this chapter. Harry, Hermione, and Ron are on the dragon, it’s from Harry’s perspective, and Jo writes,

“Behind him, whether from delight or fear he could not tell, Ron kept swearing at the top of his voice.”

So they’ve just broken through the roof, they’re flying over London, and Ron is just shouting curses. And I’m not talking about the magic kind.

Silvia: Nope.

Eric: He’s just swearing.

Alison: [laughs] That’s so Ron!

Kat: Well, we know that he’s a fan of the middle finger…

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Kat: … flippin’ the bird, so…

Alison: Well, didn’t Jo at one point say [that] she wanted to have Ron swear more in these books, but her editors were like, “Hmm, children books. Cut it back, Jo!” [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. Ron is laying a couple of F-bombs right now. [laughs]

Silvia: I wanted to say something that you pointed out last week, that you hoped that the poor dragon wasn’t put down in Gringotts when he was a baby, and I sort of thought yes, I kind of hoped this isn’t the first time that he’s flying.

Eric: Oh.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: You know what? I honestly… I don’t think it’s the first time he’s flown. I think it’s the first time he’s ever flown outside.

Alison: Yeah.

Silvia: Oh, that’s even worse.

Kat: And that’s why I think she just goes and is just done.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Just [whistles] out of here.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: So as rewarding as this is, to have finally escaped – and it says Harry’s only emotion was relief – over time he begins to wonder, “Well, how actually are we going to get down off of this?”

[Eric and Silvia laugh]

Kat: Yeah.

Eric: [reading aloud]

“He had been wondering for some time what they would do if they saw the coast sail beneath them, if the dragon headed for open sea. [And] when, he wondered, had the beast itself last eaten? Surely it would need sustenance before long? And what if, at that point, it realized it had three highly edible humans sitting on its back?”

[Alison laughs]

Silvia: It’s so Harry to think of this after they’ve jumped on the dragon.

Kat: And it’s funny because depending on which direction they actually flew in, which… do we know? Because Gringotts is in London, so did they go east?

Alison: Yeah…

Kat: Because if they went east, they’re going to hit water a lot sooner than if they went…

Eric: West.

Kat: West, or even…

Alison: Well, if they went east, too, they’re going to just hit the channel, and so they could have just made it to France.

Silvia: Oh, I assumed…

Kat: Right, that’s my point.

Silvia: … they went north because when they land and they land near lakes. The only lake district is in the north of England.

Alison: Oh, that’s right. Yeah.

Eric: Ah!

Alison: Ooh, that puts them a lot closer to Hogwarts, then. Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. The dragon is essentially… and I wanted to mention this later, too. The dragon is a character that’s totally helping them out. [laughs] It’s doing them…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Not only did it help them escape, but it’s headed in the same direction that they are, which is… for once I’m not saying it’s convenient. I think it’s adorable and awesome.

Kat: Oh, it’s adorably convenient.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Oh, yeah. That’s a thing, sure. So essentially, Harry comes up with a plan. He says, “I say we jump when it gets low enough.” This is after it has begun a descent into cruising altitude. It lowers and Harry calls back to jump, and they do all jump and they’re able to survive their fall and they make their way to shore. But they go to the opposite shore because they still… this whole thing…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Very impressively, they don’t think that the dragon knows that they’re on it this whole time. So they’re really trying to avoid… even his shouting, even Ron’s cursing. I guess dragons don’t have ears or…

Alison: Yeah, that dragon just wants to get out of there. It doesn’t care that it’s got passengers.

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: It’s just like, go, go, go!

Kat: I probably think that she can’t feel them. Her…

Silvia: The scales must be…

Kat: … scales are so deteriorated that she probably can’t feel very much. I mean, she’s blind. I wouldn’t be surprised if she were numb and deaf.

Eric: Well, partially blind. Or mostly blind, I guess, from the last chapter. But it can still hear, because it can hear the Clankers, now that I think about that. So the interesting thing about the enchantments on the vault… not to dote on this or bring this back, but they’ve all got these heavily blistered and burned garments and skins. It says… here’s a direct quote:

“Both [Hermione and Ron] had angry red burns all over their faces and arms, and their clothing was singed away in places.”

But dittany to the rescue!

“They were wincing as they dabbed essence of dittany onto their many injuries. Hermione handed Harry the bottle, then pulled out three bottles of pumpkin juice…”

So Ron is sitting and watching the skin on his hands regrow, from dittany, as they’re starting to talk about what just happened. But I had this thought that it’s pretty cold, and especially the higher in altitude you go, the colder it gets. So I was thinking that maybe their freshly burned skin actually gave them some sort of extra protection against the cold wind of high altitudes while they were traveling.

Silvia: Hmm. I think adrenaline did that as well.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah, for sure.

Eric: So it combined… you know how you get a sunburn, and even if it’s cold or breezy, you’re kind of warmer than you normally would be?

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: I mean, it depends on how bad the sunburn is.

[Silvia laughs]

Kat: Technically if you have second or third degree burns, you get really cold.

Eric: Ooh. Okay, so maybe it’s not that, but it’s maybe…

Kat: Yeah, and we don’t know how high the dragon was flying either, because she’s blind – or partially blind – so maybe it wasn’t very high.

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: And most of England is at sea level or below or barely above, so…

Silvia: When she was describing how the dragon was kind of looping around to land, didn’t it sound a lot like when airplanes have to do that over airports?

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah, like…

Silvia: I read this chapter, and I sort of thought… it [felt] like Jo was flying and sort of thought, “You know what? This sounds like the same thing that would happen if you were on the back of a dragon.” [laughs]

Eric: But by the time they do get off, it says Harry’s hands were numb with cold. So there’s that. Now the one thing is that once they are safe and once the dragon has not taken an interest in them, there is a brief moment where they have a period of uncontrollable laughter.

[Alison and Silvia laugh]

Eric: I think they realized that [they] had just broken out of Gringotts!

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Or into Gringotts.

Alison: It’s relief to be alive, I think.

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: It’s relief to be alive, and they’re all delirious over everything still.

Eric: Considering what’s about to happen to them over the course of the next twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours, for sure. This is sort of the last happy moment [laughs] where they’re just [like], “We really did that, didn’t we?”

Kat: I mean, I don’t know. I feel like there are other happy moments. When they see all their friends, they’re all pretty gosh darn happy.

Eric: Oh yeah, you’re right. Good point.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: So for the three of them…

Kat: And when Harry gets that kiss from Ginny, he ain’t crying.

Eric: Oh!

Alison: Yeah, he better be happy! [laughs]

Silvia: There’s a wizard rock song about this particular chapter, which I kind of love.

Eric: Really?

Silvia: It’s a Ministry of Magic song. It’s called “This Town.”

Eric: Huh.

Silvia: But it describes this chapter, basically, and I love it because I was reading this chapter and when he says… when Hermione says, “He’ll know, won’t he? You-Know-Who will know we know about his Horcruxes!” And I can hear the song in my head when I read that now because it’s so…

Eric: Wow.

Silvia: Yeah. I encourage everyone to go and listen to it now.

Kat: Actually, Ministry of Magic is one of my favorite groups. I’m going to be legit and real and say that I don’t listen to wizard rock, but when I see bands play, I’ve always really enjoyed Ministry of Magic.

Silvia: Yes.

Kat: But I’ve never heard that song, so…

Silvia: Yeah, I’ll say it again. It’s “This Town.” I don’t remember the album, sorry.

Eric: No, I love when we bring up wizard rock, when anyone brings up wizard rock.

Silvia: Yeah.

Eric: And I have enjoyed, in the past, selections that were…

Silvia: But it’s because you were saying that this is sort of a funny moment that they start laughing, but the song is really somber and… I look at them laughing and I sort of get this bittersweet sensation.

Alison: Yeah, I always heard this… when I heard this laughter in my head, it was just that kind of exhaustion – it’s not really funny, but you’re laughing anyway. I can’t even think of a good example, but…

[Silvia laughs]

Eric: We’re in deep doo-doo. [laughs]

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: It’s like, “I want you to tell me the bad news in a good way.” This entire time, Harry is thinking in the back of his head, and I’m just going to quote… and it’s such a short chapter, but Jo says it best. So he’s wondering,

“How long would it be before Voldemort knew that they had broken into the Lestranges’ vault? How soon would the goblins of Gringotts notify Bellatrix? How quickly would they realize what had been taken? And then, when they discovered that the golden cup was missing? Voldemort would know, at last, that they were hunting Horcruxes.”

Kat: Which is so good. It really… oh God, in that moment too, you realize… and they even say it like, “Great, we have the Horcrux. This is awesome. Voldemort is going to know really soon, but oh crap, we don’t have the sword anymore.”

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: “Now what are we going to do?”

Silvia: It’s like the riddle of you need to get a sheep and a wolf and something else across the river, and you cannot get all of them at the same time because the wolf is going to eat the sheep and then you always have to…

[Eric laughs]

Silvia: … leave something behind and…

Kat: That’s right. I know that riddle.

Eric: Yeah.

Silvia: Yeah. [laughs]

Kat: Oh wait, it’s a sheep and a wolf…

Silvia: So it’s the same thing.

Eric: Kat is trying to solve the riddle.

[Everyone laughs]

Silvia: And they have the same problem because they get the Horcrux and they lose the thing to kill it with, and they get the thing to kill it with and they don’t have any Horcruxes, and it’s just…

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: It’s a good thing they just have people who are willing… they surround themselves with people who are willing to cast Fiendfyre…

Silvia: Yup.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: … which happens to destroy Horcruxes. But that’s way ahead. So Harry has the vision. The vision of all visions. There’s really no better vision, I don’t think. It’s long. It’s lengthy. It’s detailed. And can I just say, we get occasional breaks in perspective. It’s not… this Harry Potter series isn’t always in Harry’s head. This time it’s in sort of Legilimenception again. It’s Harry…

[Silvia laughs]

Eric: But Harry is basically… for all intents and purposes, he’s Voldemort right now. His thoughts are Voldemort’s. His voice is Voldemort’s. When he gets out of the vision it even says, “Oh, it’s weird to have his own voice back.” Voldemort is interrogating a goblin, and can I just say, in this third person perspective, Harry really seems like a badass.

Silvia: Yeah.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: To hear Jim Dale read it is a treat, but just knowing… the goblin says, “M-my Lord… we t-tried to stop them… im-impostors… broke into the Lestranges’ vault.” It’s just like, “Wow, they really did that, didn’t they?” Like, for the first time, I’m understanding…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: … why Harry and Ron and Hermione are laughing because I’m just like, “That was… it really sounds like they are like a formidable team that broke into Gringotts of all places.”

Silvia: [laughs] And got away with it.

Eric: And got… yeah!

Kat: But I mean, aren’t they?

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Maybe they do stupid things, and Hermione is a bad actress, and they act a little rashly, and they worry about things like flushing themselves down toilets…

[Alison laughs]

Kat: … but they are pretty badass.

Eric: They are.

Alison: They’re the…

Kat: Are they not?

Alison: They’re such a great team. Like, the great thing about them is that they fill in for each other’s weaknesses, they play on each other’s strengths, and they really just fit so well together, that they just make this really cohesive… I mean, they’re golden. They’re the Golden Trio. They’re just… there they are.

Kat: Boo, I hate that nickname, but I know what you’re saying.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: Really?

Kat: I hate when people call them the Golden Trio. It makes them sound like they’re gods. They’re not perfect.

Alison: Okay, that’s a good point. I guess it’s just the differentiating between…

Silvia: It is quite appropriate right now because they have the golden cup, though.

Eric: Oh!

Kat: That is. Which Ron points out, “Oh, don’t wear it around your neck. We’ll look really dumb.”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Classic Ron.

Kat: Yeah, it is classic Ron. You are so right. Classic Ron.

Eric: Yeah. So Voldemort finds out and this is, again, perfect writing from the book from Jo. This is what’s going on in Voldemort’s brain right now:

“The one thing he had dreaded – but it could not be true, he could not see how… […] He was crazed, frenzied, it could not be true, it was impossible, nobody had ever known: How was it possible that the boy could have discovered his secret?”

And this is really the endgame-type stuff that she’s going to. I mean, Voldemort from this point in is so… Voldemort just… he’s never going to be calm ever again.

Alison: And I think this is brilliant because this is where I feel like he starts seeming more human and so he starts seeming more defeatable. Before when he was so calm and collected and dangerous all the time, the odds just seemed so stacked against them that he just loses it here. And he seems so cut down and so finally human again, and so you start to kind of feel they can take him on, like it is possible to take him on because he’s just losing his mind. [laughs] Like…

Kat: I don’t know, I kind of think the opposite. I think that a running around, terrified, desperate… [pauses]

Silvia: Villain?

Kat: Yeah, terrified. I mean, I already said it: terrified Voldemort is probably going to act more rashly than a cool, calm, and collected non-worried Voldemort. And I think that he could actually do a heck of a lot more damage in this state.

Eric: Hmm.

Kat: I mean, he is going to do damage no matter what, but…

Silvia: She does a clever thing with his inner monologue as well, which is [that] she uses the rule of three. So when you are doing a speech and you are trying to get your people to listen to you, you try to use, always, the rule of three. So three things.

Eric: Mhm.

Silvia: So she does this thing because in his inner monologue, he says something… so he says, “His treasures, his safeguards, his anchors to immortality,” so that’s three. And then he says, “Could he know, had he already acted, had he traced more of them?” and that’s three. And then he repeats “Dumbledore” three times, and it just keeps going until the end of his little speech. And it’s very clever because it kind of gives you the impression of a good speech… [laughs]

Eric: Right, like…

Silvia: … instead of being…

Eric: It really hypes up…

Silvia: …Voldemort’s speech. Yeah.

Eric: Like Voldemort…

Silvia: Yeah.

Eric: Well, it heightens the emotions surrounding the revelation and kind of intensifies our feeling about Voldemort. I mean, not that she really needs to – I love that she does – but if you actually pay attention to what happens… here’s a quote:

“Bellatrix and Lucius Malfoy threw others behind them in their race for the door…”

Silvia: Oh my God, yes.

Eric: [continues]

“… and again and again his wand…”

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: [continues]

“… fell, and those who were left were slain, all of them, for bringing him this news, for hearing about the golden cup.”

And I’m just thinking… so what just happened, of course it’s actually really well-adapted in the film when he’s walking…

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Eric: … through the blood…

Silvia: Oh, yeah.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: … of all the people he just killed. But ultimately… and Bellatrix and Lucius have just saved themselves because I really don’t think he would have stopped at them. There’s no reason for him to keep them alive at this point – they’re worthless to him. They have both failed him at… he gave a Horcrux to each Bellatrix and Lucius, and now both Horcruxes have been taken and potentially destroyed by Harry, and so… I mean, they really made the right call here. Of course throwing others behind them, that’s not cool, but if they had been in this room I am quite sure they would have died. I think there is something very satisfying for me seeing that Bellatrix has basically done… or is as responsible for upsetting Voldemort as Lucius was. It’s like now this other Death Eater – who we hate a lot more, I think, than Lucius – has let him down.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Silvia: I’m wondering who was in the room, because we only get that Bellatrix and Lucius… [had] two others behind them and we don’t get to know exactly who went down in this.

Kat: I think it’s mostly just goblins and other random Death Eaters.

Alison: Yeah, I would assume Narcissa and Draco were there, and those would be the two I feel like they would really be shoving out.

Silvia: It’s just… it feels weird that we don’t get a mention of the other major characters that are going to come back later. So Narcissa and Draco, if they’re there.

Kat: I feel like there would have been a mention if they were in the room.

Silvia: Hmm.

Kat: But regardless, I’m not sure that Voldemort would have killed Bellatrix. I’m pretty positive he would have killed Lucius because he already hates Lucius.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Kat: But I feel like the situation with the Horcruxes between the two were actually quite different. What failed with the cup wasn’t necessarily Bellatrix’s fault.

Eric: That’s fair.

Kat: Because it was at Gringotts.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: And she wasn’t there personally protecting it. Lucius Malfoy, quite literally, handed the diary…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: To a wee Harry Potter, too.

Kat: … and was like, “Here you go. Take this thing that Voldemort gave me. It’s yours.”

Silvia: I suppose this is a follow-up of Bellatrix freaking out about the sword earlier on.

Alison: Yeah.

Silvia: So she’s still feeling on tenterhooks about her relationship because she did a blunder.

Eric: Yeah, she bungled Malfoy Manor…

Silvia: Yeah.

Eric: … and that is the direct result of… that’s how they were able to gain access to her vault in the first place. She basically told them the information about the Gringotts vault. That was the whole reason they even knew to go there.

Kat: But we’re still undecided as to whether Voldemort actually knows…

Eric: That’s true.

Kat: … or knew that that information had been leaked, I suppose?

Eric: Yeah, and he couldn’t have…

Silvia: Yeah.

Eric: I don’t think Bellatrix would have expected them to pick up that… or at the very least, they mustn’t have known… he mustn’t had known otherwise. Again, they would have been more prepared to prevent it.

Silvia: No, but I agree with Kat that Voldemort wouldn’t have killed Bellatrix, but I think that Bellatrix still feels like she needs to get out of his way.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Oh yeah, most definitely.

Alison: I think… she’s almost got a guilty conscious about it, you know?

Silvia: Yeah.

Eric: So Voldemort has sort of a misconception here about how magic works or how the world works, but it’s J.K. Rowling again being very good with words. To quote,

“But surely if the boy had destroyed any of his Horcruxes, he, Lord Voldemort, would have known, would have felt it? He, the greatest wizard of them all; he, the most powerful; he, the killer of Dumbledore and of how many other worthless, nameless men: How could Lord Voldemort not have known, if he, himself, most important and precious, had been attacked, mutilated?”

Silvia: Look at how well she does lists.

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Silvia: She’s just using… it’s so well done. I love the writing in this.

Kat: She’s a really good writer, let’s be real.

Alison: Yeah.

Silvia: [laughs] Yes. As if we didn’t know.

Kat: She’s really good.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: She chose the right profession, that J.K. Rowling.

[Silvia laughs]

Alison: I think this quote is… it’s going back to what you could consider Voldemort’s fatal flaw, which is that he doesn’t know as much as he thinks he knows.

Eric: Exactly.

Alison: And he thinks he understands all of this, but Dumbledore points out time after time… and this is kind of just confirming it that he does not understand what he is dealing with, but because he thinks he does, he’s just going to… it’s really the thing that leads to his downfall, is he thinks he understands and he really has no clue.

Eric: I agree. It’s this word and this mutilated. He thinks that he should be able to feel the destruction of the Horcrux, like he does in the movies.

Alison: Mhm.

Eric: He thinks that he should be able to feel his soul being mutilated. What he doesn’t understand is that it’s already been mutilated. The creation…

Kat: I was just going to say that!

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: The creation of the Horcruxes was the moment [when] your soul was mutilated, and Voldemort powered through that because he wanted… as a means to an end. He doesn’t realize that that was when the damage was done. That’s the reason he can’t feel the Horcruxes in the books, is because the splitting has already occurred. They are no longer…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: They are him to the extent that they can keep him on this earth in some form, but they’re not him in every other way. So I just…

Silvia: Well, he’s underestimated… well, he’s overestimating himself and underestimating everybody else, I guess.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: Love!

[Alison and Silvia laughs]

Silvia: Yes.

Kat: I like in this whole moment where he’s… the inner dialogue here. I want to talk about his logic…

Eric: Okay.

Kat: … for a minute, and… do you guys think that… aside from the whole mutilated part because we know that that is f’d up, and he’s screwed up. The way that he’s thinking about the Horcruxes, do you think that his worry is misplaced or correct? Just in the way that he’s thinking about them.

Alison: What do you mean? Do you mean like the order he worries about them or just the [unintelligible]?

Kat: Yeah, kind of all of that. I think just kind of the logic behind his… I can’t even come up with the right word. His evaluation? I don’t know.

Silvia: Yeah, his reasoning behind why he should go for one and why he shouldn’t go for the other.

Kat: Yeah, I think so.

Alison: Oh no, I definitely think that makes a lot of sense. The way he reasons through. “Okay, Dumbledore knew his middle name, so the ring isn’t as safe. Dumbledore went to the orphanage, so then the locket would be the next one after that. There’s that possibility.” I think that logic makes perfect sense, but I think because he doesn’t know how far they are, that’s what’s going to screw him up, is that he doesn’t know how far along they are, that they have already destroyed those, and that they’re moving on to Point Z when he’s at Point A. [laughs]

Silvia: You know when you [said] earlier about him seeming more human in this bit?

Alison: Mhm.

Silvia: I feel like we went from him shouting and being Voldemort to now him thinking and being Tom Riddle. He’s back to being himself…

Alison: Oh.

Silvia: … of second guessing everything, because he’s second guessing which should he visit first, which one is most in danger… he’s no longer in control and he’s just unraveling.

Kat: So he’s at Malfoy Manor…

Silvia: Yeah.

Kat: … right now when this inner dialogue is happening, so he’s somewhere… where do the Malfoys live?

Silvia: Wiltshire.

Alison: Yeah, yeah.

Kat: Okay.

Silvia: Sorry, south of England. [laughs] Sorry.

Kat: So that’s south of London, right?

Silvia: Well, it’s west of London and south as well. So yeah, I guess.

Kat: Okay, southwest. So which Horcrux would be the closest?

Eric: I mean, if you could fly, they’re all… or if you could Apparate…

[Silvia laughs]

Eric: … they’re all equally distant.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: I suppose.

Alison: Do we know where the Gaunts [were]?

Eric: Little Hangleton.

Alison: Do we know where Little Hangleton is?

Kat: Yeah, Little Hangleton.

Alison: And then the other one would be, where is this cave? Which I would assume it’s down…

Eric: Near Dover? Close to Dover?

Alison: Or… right?

Silvia: I think the cave has to be the most complicated one because even if he Apparates outside the cave, then he still has to get through the whole system.

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah. But because he set up the system, I’m sure he has like…

Kat: He has to swim to the cave.

[Alison and Eric laugh]

Alison: But he can fly, so he just flies.

Eric: And we don’t know… this is kind of the brilliance of it all, we don’t know what protections were surrounding the ring, but it’s kind of funny… it’s funny and scary that Dumbledore has already taken care of it and that Voldemort is like, “Oh, that’s the least protected one.” He’s like, “Oh, it’s the ring.” And Dumbledore already destroyed it and we already know that, but Dumbledore basically took the easiest Horcrux and got rid of it.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Thanks, Dumbledore.

Eric: By Voldemort’s estimation. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but knowing that Voldemort, in this moment, is regarding the ring as the least well-protected, concerning there’s Hogwarts, concerning there’s the cave. Just it’s kind of funny like, “Oh, we’re really in for worse work now because the ring…”

Alison: Does he say least well-protected or just the one that is most likely to have already been discovered?

Eric: I think he said…

Alison: Because I…

Eric: Go on.

Alison: I feel like he’s… his big thing is [that] he says, “Oh, Dumbledore knew my middle name,” so Dumbledore could have made the connection to the Gaunts.

Eric: Right. But that’s it, I think, essentially. The majority of that protection was the knowledge that few people knew his relation to them. So…

Alison: Okay, that makes sense. Yeah.

Eric: It’s a shack [that’s] in the middle of the forest, and it’s barely able to be made out as a home, even when people were living in it fifty years ago, so…

Silvia: Which… he’s also relying on the fact that no one knows that his name is Riddle, because the Riddles were there as well.

Alison: Mhm.

Eric: That’s a fair point.

Silvia: [laughs] Sorry. He’s really not working it out very well on the Gaunts and Riddle side.

Eric: Whereas the cave had the blood sacrifice and the thing with the rope and the boat, which was cute.

Kat: Right.

Eric: I think the majority of the protections… and not to say there weren’t other spells – surely there were because even Dumbledore didn’t destroy it flawlessly. But… and I know that’s because of the Hallow, but still I think the majority of the protections around the ring were just in the secrecy of nobody knew where to even look for it.

Kat: And I like, too, that in this moment Voldemort is really thinking about Harry because he keeps saying, “The boy, the boy, the boy.”

Eric: The boy.

Kat: And it’s not until after he runs through all of them that he is like, “Oh, but wait a minute,” because he thinks about the Elder wand, and then he finally lands at Dumbledore.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: I just like the fact that Voldemort here, kind of without realizing it, is giving Harry some magical cred.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: No, he is. He’s saying, “But how could he have figured this out, or this, or this, or this? I thought I was smarter than this 17-year-old boy.”

Eric: And this is what made me, more than anything else, want insight. I wish Jo would write this for charity: previous moments where Voldemort saw into Harry’s mind.

Kat: Ooh, that would be cool.

Eric: I want to know what that perspective is all about. Again, the goblin mentions, “Oh, his two accomplices.” Voldemort has to know that it’s Harry and Ron. He just has to. He’s probably seen them before. But now I can’t think of a single moment when he actually saw them before. So I was like, “Oh, but he would have seen them through Harry’s head,” because you don’t just perfectly plant this fake Sirius dream into Harry’s head unless you’ve toyed around in it before.

[Silvia laughs]

Alison: Yeah. So… I mean, movie canon, but he’s probably seen them hanging out. You know there’s that scene in the Order of the Phoenix movie where he’s in his mind and he just starts flashing to moments where he was with Ron and Hermione, and they were laughing and enjoying themselves.

Eric: And it was repulsive to him because [it’s] love.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: I mean, that’s why he doesn’t really know them all that well.

Alison: Oh.

Eric: Anything that’s love related shuts Voldemort out.

Kat: Yeah, but that’s movie canon so that’s hard to take that in.

Alison: No, I know, but it’s just what it made me think of.

Kat: Yeah. But I’m sure that that’s true.

Silvia: Did you catch where he switched from “the boy” to “Potter”? Because it’s after he says that maybe Dumbledore found out about one and then the other one, and he goes, “But he knew that his Horcrux there was safe” – the one at Hogwarts – “it would be impossible for Potter to enter Hogsmeade without detection…” So all of a sudden, after he thinks, “Oh, maybe he could know where the other ones are,” then he kind of gives him…

Eric: A proper name.

Silvia: … a sort of respect.

Alison: Yeah. I also just had this thought when he kept saying, “The boy, the boy.” I thought of King’s Cross when Dumbledore says, “Harry, you brave…” he goes from “boy” to “man” suddenly.

Silvia: Hmm.

Alison: And there’s almost that parallel there.

Eric: So Voldemort is weighing the safety of his Horcruxes, as we were talking – the remaining Horcruxes – and this moment has happened now where he knows that they have to be on a Horcrux hunt because why else would they come and grab the cup. My question originally was… this is the second time they have made a highly publicized or well-known break-in. Earlier this year it was to the Ministry to take yet another Horcrux, which was the locket.

Kat: Right.

Eric: So my question is, Voldemort must know, right? That Harry broke into the Ministry. Why didn’t this whole revelation of “They’re after my Horcruxes” happen sooner?

Alison: Oh, I have an answer to this. They don’t know because no one knows Regulus stole the locket. So why would they know that that locket is the specific Horcrux locket? No one knows about Regulus.

Eric: But why else would Harry break into the Ministry? There has to be… if I [was] Voldemort, I would be obsessed with it. Pius comes and tells me that Harry Potter was in the Ministry. Why the hell was he in the Ministry? What did he take?

Kat: Right, I agree.

Alison: But did they cover that up? Because they don’t know he took anything, necessarily.

Silvia: Well, actually… that is a good point because what if he chucks it down to “Oh my God, he was trying to save all the Muggle-borns that I was investigating”?

Alison: Yeah. And there’s not a connection between “Oh, they stole a locket. It must be my Horcrux locket.” He doesn’t have…

Kat: Did they cover it up?

Alison: … that connection there because…

Eric: I think it comes down to Umbridge too because Umbridge… and I don’t think Umbridge really knew it was a Horcrux. I think she was just there for the…

Alison: No, she can’t. There’s no way.

Eric: But because she didn’t know it was a Horcrux… and she’s also not a Death Eater, which we have to remember. It’s super important to remember that.

Kat: And she technically didn’t lose a locket.

Eric: Oh, they duplicated it, didn’t they?

Alison: Yeah, they duplicate it.

Silvia: Oh my God, yes.

Eric: Oh, so they don’t…

Alison: And I don’t think Thicknesse was in contact with Voldemort at all. He’s just playing puppet. I’m sure Yaxley or some other closer Death Eater was the one who’s actually reporting to Voldemort.

Eric: So it’s Yaxley… wait, so somebody had to tell… but somebody told Voldemort…

Alison: I don’t know if they told him. Did they tell him?

Eric: That’s a pretty big deal.

Silvia: Well, they might have told him that he was spotted at the Ministry and that’s about it.

Alison: But not why.

Kat: Right.

Silvia: Yeah.

Kat: Why, right.

Eric: Because ultimately I just see Voldemort obsessing over, “Why he was at the Ministry? I don’t have any Horcruxes there. It can’t be anything relating to that,” et cetera. I just see the ball unraveling a little sooner than it did here, if the Ministry stuff got out.

Alison: But I don’t think they would have made the connections between things, is the thing. There’s no clear connections.

Eric: Yeah, you’re right. Especially with Regulus.

Alison: Since they don’t know about Regulus.

Eric: Yeah, that’s true.

Alison: There’s no way to connect it back.

Eric: That’s an interesting little known thing for me. I always have to remind myself… Voldemort, I guess, never found out that Regulus had taken that locket and discovered his secret. Regulus died for unrelated reasons while a Death Eater.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Right?

Alison: Yeah.

Silvia: Yeah.

Eric: Because I like to think that he found out…

Alison: It’s just because he tried to walk away.

Eric: … and then had Regulus killed, but that’s not the case.

Alison: No, Regulus dies in the cave.

Eric: Whoa! Really?

Alison: And so Voldemort doesn’t know necessarily how he died, because the only person who knows how he dies is Kreacher.

Eric: Right.

Alison: Because he tells Kreacher to go home.

Eric: I’ve got to reread that chapter.

Silvia: I mean, to be fair, the entire chapter that we’re reading right now rests on the foundation of “He doesn’t know about the locket,” because otherwise he would be skipping from one Horcrux to Hogwarts…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: He would have moved them all, is what he would have done.

Silvia: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: So the interesting thing about Voldemort, getting back to him weighing which Horcrux he should search for, he does continue to say that the Horcrux at the school is the safest. So this is a quote,

“As for the school: He alone knew where in Hogwarts he had stowed the Horcrux, because he alone had plumbed the deepest secrets of that place.”

Kat: He’s such an idiot!

Silvia: It’s crazy that…

Alison: Hubris! It’s a hundred percent hubris and…

Silvia: It’s crazy that in this sentence we get the solution. It’s in the sentence! It’s just that we don’t know.

Eric: Wait, what do you mean we get it in the sentence?

Silvia: Well, because he says that he “stowed the Horcrux.” He doesn’t say…

Eric: Ah.

Silvia: The verb gives it away, that he kind of shoved it somewhere, and then he says…

Kat: It doesn’t say “hid.” Right, exactly.

Alison: Yeah.

Silvia: Yeah, and then he says that “he alone had plumbed the deepest secrets of that place,” meaning the Room of Requirement.

Eric: Or it could have been the Chamber of Secrets, which…

Alison: Well, yeah because he had done both.

Eric: Okay, but isn’t it ironic that there was a Horcux in the Chamber of Secrets and it was destroyed in the Chamber of Secrets?

Alison: And they’re going to destroy another one down there, too.

Eric: But when Voldemort talks about “plumbing the secrets…” [laughs]

Alison: [laughs] Oh, gosh.

Eric: And he’s [referring to] the Room of Requirement where the other Horcrux is. It’s funny that the two places that Voldemort thought he, himself, knew about, and it turns out that he was the only one…

Silvia: I just realized that she used the verb “plumbed,” which kind of goes with the Chamber of Secrets.

Alison: [laughs] With the Chamber.

Kat: Right. And also… okay, so Voldemort has been in the Room of Requirement. Let’s pretend it’s even half the size that it was fifty years ago when he went there.

Eric: Agreed. Yes.

Kat: It’s humongous!

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: He’s such an idiot to think that he’s the only person who has ever found that room.

Eric: Well, wait a minute, size is relative. My argument is, when you find the Room of Requirement, you’re like, “I need a place to hide my book.” Let’s say that Voldemort said something that was very similar to “I need a place to hide this.” Everything that’s in that room has been hidden there by somebody else!

Alison: [laughs] Exactly!

Silvia: Oh my God, yes! That is a very good point.

Eric: It’s the antithesis of “I’m going to find a place where no one’s been before.” Everything that’s in that room was placed there by somebody else!

Alison: [laughs] Yeah!

Kat: Exactly. And the thing is, Filch knows about the room.

Alison: Yeah!

Kat: Trelawney knows about the room. Guess what, son?

Silvia: Dumbledore knows about the room.

Alison: Yeah. I think… Voldemort doesn’t realize how the room works.

Eric: Yeah.

Alison: He doesn’t understand that you can make it be anything you want, that it changes to whatever you require.

Eric: I mean, do we think…

Silvia: Where does he think all the stuff comes from?

Eric: Yeah. I mean, that’s the question, isn’t it? It had to have… it can’t just be an affectation of “Oh, Hogwarts created all this other junk to give my junk the ability to blend in.”

[Kat laughs]

Eric: It had… because all of that came from somewhere. I believe – over the generations, over the thousand years – that stuff grew…

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Eric: … by people.

Alison: Definitely. A hundred percent.

Eric: So it’s actually the least safe place to hide a Horcrux.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: Because there’s proof that people have been there before. I think Alison…

Kat: He’s just a dummy. A big old dummy.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: And it’s Voldemort’s arrogance. He thinks he knows everything, and he really knows nothing. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Silvia: Yeah. The hubris you were talking about really [be]comes true here.

Kat: I do wonder how he found it, though. I wonder… because you have to walk by the room three times, so did he find [out] about it in a book…

Alison: I’ve always…

Kat: … and stumbled upon it? Or was he looking for a chamber pot at one in the morning…

[Alison laughs]

Eric: I mean, how did he find…

Kat: … Dumbledore style?

Alison: I’ve always wondered what’s the time requirement of walking past the room the three times, because… and also the set-up of Hogwarts would determine this, but if you’re just pacing the floor of a building that just goes in a circle basically, and you just happen to walk by it three times thinking the same thing three times, then it would pop up. But that’s the architecture of…

Eric: I just find it utterly fascinating how Voldemort… especially… and this is indicated in Book 6, but even in Book 2 or anything like… how he finds out about the stuff that he does. He found out about the Horcruxes through careful interrogation of Slughorn, in addition to presumably that book. I hate that book.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: And he found out… he interviewed Hepzibah to find out about the cup. He interviewed Rowena Ravenclaw’s daughter for crying out loud.

Silvia: It was all a bit of luck, though.

Kat: Not sure if “interviewed” is the right word.

Eric: Yeah, “I kind of had a chat with the Hogwarts ghost…”

Alison: “I persuaded…”

Kat: Interrogated, yeah.

Eric: He really plumbed [laughs] the secrets…

[Alison and Silvia laugh]

Eric: … out of people carefully and I do… that’s just so interesting to me, to think about how he did find out about the Room of Requirement. But if any… if the answer was that somebody else told him, immediately that would rule out that place as being…

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Exactly!

Silvia: You know how Harry keeps saying that most of his adventures are down to good luck and…

Eric: Yeah.

Silvia: He was just lucky; he didn’t do anything. Doesn’t it feel like a lot of Voldemort’s discoveries of Horcruxes or ways to hide Horcruxes are due to luck in the same way?

Alison: Yeah.

Silvia: Because…

Alison: It’s another connection between the two of them.

Silvia: Yeah.

Kat: Similarity.

Eric: I like, too, the idea that Voldemort just completely misinterprets the room in general. Again, Hogwarts is a public place that was made for students, for more than one student. If there’s a room that exists there at all, it’s because somebody built it, and they built it for public use. It wasn’t…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: It’s not Slytherin’s chamber all over again, which was only made for certain eras of Slytherin. It’s not that at all. It’s another room, and you have to assume that other people… thousands of students were there every year. Somebody eventually is going to find it. That’s inevitable.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Mhm.

Eric: If Voldemort…

Alison: Gosh, Voldemort is so stupid about magic!

Eric: This is why I don’t like the back half of this book, though. I think it was setting up for him to be a lot smarter than he is. But some people find relief in the fact that he is just kind of a dummy.

Silvia: Well, this is the problem with showing us his inner thoughts. If she never showed us nothing, we would have just gone along with the story. But because she’s shown us a glimpse of his actual thoughts, we’re just like, “Oh wow, you think like everybody else! You’re human!”

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Oh, that’s very interesting. And I love…

Kat: Human is an interesting word to use. But yeah, I know what you’re saying.

Alison: Well yeah, she even emphasizes that point at the very end when he’s dead. That Harry just looks down at… what’s the line? Like, “the shell of the man”? Something like that. She’s really emphasizing this point that this… not cartoonish, but this really threatening ominous villain that she’s built up was destroyed by his own weaknesses, kind of.

Eric: So there’s a little bit of reference… and it’s not direct, but it’s just in general about the Caterwauling Charm that they’re about to set off. “It would be impossible for Potter to enter Hogsmeade without detection, let alone the school,” is what it says. And when Harry is summarizing, he wakes up from everybody staring at him, he realizes where he’s been, and he says, “He thinks the Hogwarts one is safest, because Snape’s there, because it’ll be so hard not to be seen getting in, I think he’ll check that one last…” which he’s right. That’s exactly what Voldemort does. But, as Harry illustrates, he could still be there within hours.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: This is really what sets… Harry’s summary, the fact that Voldemort now in this chapter has discovered that they’re hunting Horcruxes. He’s about to go and check on each of his Horcruxes. And one of them is where they have yet to go.

Alison: I just realized the Room of Requirement is the whole reason Harry gets into Hogwarts.

Silvia: Oh my God, yeah.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: So basically the room that Voldemort thinks that he knows the deepest secrets of it, yeah, it’s not working with him. [laughs] It’s the whole reason why they can destroy it.

Eric: It’s like…

Kat: And finally, too, in this moment, for once, Harry is just… although the only other time that he has actually done this… well, I don’t know if it’s the only other time, but he just acts.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: He’s not thinking about it, he just knows exactly what to do, where to go, how to do it. And that was with Sirius. That ended pretty poorly.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Thankfully… I mean, it ends poorly in this instance for some people…

[Eric laughs]

Kat: … not necessarily for others. But Hermione, in true Hermione fashion, is like, “No, we need a plan.” And Harry is like, “No, we just need to go. We need to do this because time is running out.”

Eric: For once I completely agree with Harry, though.

Kat: Agreed.

Alison: Yeah.

Silvia: Well, it’s because you’ve seen inside Voldemort as well. Hermione hasn’t.

Eric: Yeah.

Kat: Right, exactly.

Eric: So Harry says… and this is a good line to end on, but he says,

“Can you imagine what he’s going to do once he realizes that the ring and the locket are gone? What if he moves the Hogwarts Horcrux, decides it isn’t safe enough?”

And look guys, as fond as people are of this book, Harry is completely right. What if he moves the Horcrux?

Alison: Yeah. Yeah, that would have been a mess.

Silvia: Can you imagine if Voldemort had got into Hogwarts? The Room of Requirement is occupied. He wouldn’t have been able to do it.

Alison: [gasps] Oh!

Eric: He would have burned the school to the ground rather than…

Kat: He could have just flown right into the Headmaster’s office.

[Eric laughs]

Kat: It’s not like he has to walk through a hidden door to get into Hogwarts. He has Snape there.

Alison: No, no, no. But Neville has made it so that no one can get into the room while they’re in there.

Silvia: Yeah.

Alison: It’s being occupied by the whole DA.

Kat: Okay, again, my point stands – he doesn’t need to enter Hogwarts through the Room of Requirement. He’s Lord Voldemort. He can walk through the front doors.

Silvia: No, I meant move the Horcux.

Alison: He couldn’t move the Horcrux. He couldn’t get to the Horcrux because the DA is in the Room of Requirement.

Eric: That is interesting.

Kat: That is true. But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t show up at the school.

Alison: Oh no, definitely not. But that puts an interesting twist [to] it.

Eric: But the DA doesn’t know that there’s a Horcrux in another iteration of that same room.

[Silvia laughs]

Eric: So it’s conceivable…

Alison: No.

Eric: The fact that there’s always people in it, that’s great that they’re hiding out there and Voldemort wouldn’t be able to get in. But the biggest threat is, now that Voldemort knows they’re on the Horcrux hunt, all he needs to do is reach one of them and move it, and he will forever be immortal. Everything that he’s done now has only been predictable to the point where Voldemort thought he was untouchable. And let’s be real, he was pretty young himself when he was doing all this. Now if he had to choose a place to hide, knowing that all of his other places were too predictable or at least had some semblance of reason, there’s nothing stopping him from, as we said, putting it at the bottom of the ocean or something. There is nothing… this is why it’s so imperative that Harry gets to Hogwarts so soon before Voldemort can, because ultimately… again, even what he’s doing, running around to find the ring and the locket, he’s meaning to redouble protection.

Kat: But isn’t he technically moving a Horcux? He’s taking Nagini with him…

Eric: Well, that’s the mistake.

Kat: … and Nagini is basically confirmed to be a Horcrux in this moment.

Alison: Yes.

Eric: Nagini is confirmed to be a Horcrux, and his big tragic mistake too is not to get her as far away from them as possible but to keep her with him.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Eric: That’s the tragedy. He could put Nagini at the bottom of the ocean and nobody would ever find her. [laughs]

Alison: The thing, though, about him doing something like that is that it’s been pointed out multiple times that… as weird as this sounds, Voldemort is sentimental. He has certain places that he connects with certain things. That’s the reason he hides it in the Gaunt shack, in the cave, in Hogwarts. It’s the reason he chose these particular places.

Eric: Is it sentiment or is it where he draws his own self worth?

Kat: I think it’s both. I think it is… those are, quote, “magical places” that have been significant in his life, and I do think it’s partly… sentiment is not the right word, but it’s the right…

Alison: Yeah. It was the only thing I could think of, though.

Kat: … feeling, so to say. And then yes, and then I do think the other part of it is… what did you say, Eric?

Eric: It’s tied to his identity.

Kat: Yes, exactly.

Alison: Yeah. So I don’t ever think he’d just put it at the bottom of the ocean. That’s not in Voldemort’s character.

Eric: But ultimately, do you think… I think he’s on a precipice of about to change everything that he thought. If he could get to the Hogwarts Horcux… and I love that we just found this reason with he can’t get to, but if he could I think he would drastically break his…

Alison: I don’t think he would.

Eric: … predictability. I absolutely think he would.

Kat: I think that he would focus…

Silvia: You’re thinking rationally about this, but he’s thinking emotionally about this.

Alison: Yeah.

Silvia: Everything we hear in this thought process is not rational. He’s thinking, “Oh, I need to get to them and I need to move them, and I need to find a new place for all of them.” It’s just…

Eric: Well, actually he doesn’t say “find a new place.” What he says is he’s redoubling protection. If you can imagine…

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: … how out of Harry’s league the cave was… you needed Dumbledore, and it killed Dumbledore to get in there. To even double protection on any one Horcrux would ruin Harry and would ruin the series.

Alison: Oh, definitely.

Eric: He would immediately be immortal again.

Kat: But there are very few things that he could actually double up protection on.

Silvia: Yeah.

Kat: He can’t do anything extra at the Room of Requirement. He can’t do anything extra at Gringotts.

Alison: Unless he did, like, some spells on the actual Horcrux itself.

Kat: I mean, yes and no, I suppose. Really, the only two that he can actually do anything to the surroundings of are the ring…

Alison: Yeah, that’s true.

Kat: Yeah, and the locket.

Eric: So it’s a good thing that…

Kat: He can’t do anything else to the other ones, which I think is honestly why he goes there first.

Silvia: Ironically, he should have left Nagini at Malfoy Manor, which he doesn’t…

Kat: Yes.

Silvia: … because Lucius has proved before that he cannot be…

Eric and Silvia: Trusted with a Horcrux.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Kat: Right.

Eric: That’s funny. I think it’s safe to say to the listeners who are still with us after that long and in-depth discussion that that concludes our Chapter 27 talk. However, as long-time listeners will note, the discussion is just beginning, because on the Alohomora! forums and on our web page you can continue the discussion by becoming a member and registering – it’s free – and adding your own thoughts of what we talked about on this episode to that episode’s comments feed.

Alison: Now that we’ve finished our chapter discussion, let’s jump off the dragon into our Podcast Question of the Week. So our question this week is this: We finally find out where the final Horcrux is hidden – and it’s at Hogwarts! Lord Voldemort, in his arrogance, thinks that he’s the only one who has “plumbed the deepest secrets” of Hogwarts to find the room of hidden things. So how exactly did Tom Riddle find the Room of Requirement, and how did it present itself to him? What about the room secured his trust in its (implied) absolute secrecy? So head on over to and let us know what you think in the comments.

Kat: I’m really excited about this one, guys.

Eric: Yeah, super excited about this one.

Kat: Because I feel like… it’s funny, I’m not sure there’s any other spot in the series where we could have asked about this, ever.

Alison: Yeah.

Eric: Which is perfect. That’s exactly what makes a good Podcast Question of the Week.

Alison: Exactly.

Kat: Yup, I completely agree. And you know what makes a really fabulous guest host? Somebody like Silvia.

Eric: Agreed.

Alison: Yes.

Kat: Aww, thank you so much for joining us today.

Silvia: Thank you.

Eric: Especially at great cost to your personal sleep hours.

[Alison and Silvia laugh]

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: I know…

Silvia: It’s okay, it’s only two in the morning.

[Eric laughs]

Kat: … considering it’s, what, 2:15 in the morning for you.

Silvia: [laughs] Yeah.

Kat: Well, kudos to you, our little Slytherin! We appreciate it very much. Hope you had a good time!

Silvia: I did! You guys are wonderful.

Kat: Good. Encourage all the other listeners to send in their applications.

Silvia: I do. And you definitely do not need fancy equipment, because I didn’t think this was going to turn out as good as it did, so…

Kat: Are you wearing Apple headphones?

Silvia: Yeah, I am.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Oh, brilliant.

Eric: Everybody should be like Silvia: start recording a podcast at midnight and do it on Apple headphones.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: But in all seriousness, if you’d like to be on the show, there are still spots available for the remaining ten chapters of Deathly Hallows. Is that still true, Kat?

Alison: Is that it?

Eric: Ten, yeah.

Alison: Oh my gosh!

Kat: Wow. And yes, it’s still true. There are still spots available.

Eric: The epilogue is the would-be thirty-seventh chapter, and this was twenty-seven that we did today, so ten left.

Kat: Wow.

Eric: No fancy equipment is needed – we’ve said that all before – but visit the “Be on the Show” page at and be sure to read carefully, as Silvia did, all of the requirements. Don’t be intimidated, just go and do it.

Kat: Don’t worry, there’s not a whole room of them. Just a short page.

[Alison, Eric, and Silvia laugh]

Kat: I know. And in the meantime, if you want to keep in touch with us, you can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN,, on Tumblr at mnalohomorapodcast, our Instagram – run by the amazing MuggleNet social media team – is alohomoramn, our website – as we’ve said, I don’t know, twenty million times in this episode…

[Alison laughs]

Kat: … is And don’t forget to download your really awesome ringtone for free.

Eric: Ringtone!

Kat: And, of course, as always, you can send us an owl over on audioBoom. Head over to – there’s that website for the twenty millionth and one time.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: It’s free. All you need is an internet connection and a microphone, and maybe some Apple headphones. I mean, that would work too. Just keep your message under sixty seconds, and you might hear yourself on a future episode.

Alison: And while you’re on our website, which, if you’ve forgotten from the twenty millionth and first time, is

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Alison: You can find our store, where we sell stuff.

[Silvia laughs]

Alison: And we’re just going to leave it at that.

[Eric laughs]

Alison: We sell stuff.

Kat: That is a good pitch, Alison.

[Alison laughs]

Eric: Also, there’s a smartphone app! Download it for free. Search Podcast Source in your iPhone or Android’s app store, respectively.

Kat: What about all the Windows people or the Google phones?

Eric: Uh…

Silvia: Yeah, isn’t it called… what is it called? Chrome Store? Something store.

Kat: Oh, yeah.

Eric: Regardless of what your mobile is…

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Eric: … it has a store where you can buy apps for that mobile. And whatever that store may be, the app is called Podcast Source. And that will give you access to bonus content, host vlogs, all sorts of extra stuff, things that were cut from recordings, all sorts of other fun gags. Check out that app.

Alison: Well, for now, we’re going to slide off the back of this dragon and into the lake because we’ve got Horcruxes to find. And I’m Alison Siggard. [laughs]

Eric: Let’s fly Voldemort-style! I’m Eric Scull.

Kat: Whoosh! I’m Kat Miller.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I don’t know, what noise am I supposed to make?

Eric: That was fine. That was good.

Alison: [laughs] I’m sorry.

[Show music begins]

Kat: Thank you for listening to Episode 178 of Alohomora!

Alison: Open the Dumbledore, dummy.

Eric: [in a raspy voice] Who are you calling dummy?

[Show music continues]

Eric: The title is “The Last Hiding Place”?

Silvia: No, it’s “The Final.”

Kat: It’s “The Final,” you are right.

Eric: It is? Well, then in the doc, it’s wrong! [laughs] At the top of the doc, it’s wrong.

[Alison, Kat, and Silvia laugh]

Kat: Oh yeah, it is!

Silvia: Oh my God!

Kat: I typed “Hiding.” Did somebody change that?

Eric: I’m so confused right now.

Kat: I typed “Final.” Did someone change that?

Alison: No. I didn’t.

Eric: No.

Silvia: No.

Eric: Okay. Well, it’s fixed now. Here’s the summary…

Kat: Did you say “The Last Hiding Place” at the beginning of the episode?

Eric: I must have. You know, I’ll just re-tape that in case I did.

[Prolonged silence]

Eric: And here’s the summary for Chapter 27, “The Final Hiding Place.”

Kat: Don’t say, “Here’s the summary”!

Eric: Oh, okay. Well, what do I say?

[Alison and Silvia laugh]

Eric: I’ve never done this before! It’s my first rodeo!

Kat: The clip plays, and then usually you just go right into the summary.

Eric: Okay, all right.

Kat: You don’t have to intro it because that’s what the clip is for.

Eric: Here we go.

Kat: Come on, how many times have you podcasted?