Transcript – Episode 187

[Show music begins]

Rosie Morris: This is Episode 187 of Alohomora! for April 23, 2016.

[Show music continues]

Rosie: Hello, everyone, and welcome to a brand new episode of Alohomora! I am Rosie Morris.

Alison Siggard: I’m Alison Siggard.

Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller. And our guest today is a familiar voice to all of you, especially if you follow MuggleNet. It is our very own Claire Furner. Hello, Claire.

Claire Furner: Hi, guys!

Alison and Rosie: Hi!

Kat: Thank you so much for joining us today.

Claire: Pleasured. Very excited.

Kat: Fresh home from Tokyo.

Claire: Yeah.

Kat: Jealous!

Claire: Injured. Half of me came home from Tokyo. [laughs]

[Alison, Kat, and Rosie laugh]

Kat: Right. Yes. Tell our listeners a little bit about the park because you went to the Wizarding World there, which I doubt most of us have been to.

Claire: Yeah, it’s great! So it’s just Hogsmeade. So if you’ve been to Hollywood or Orlando, it’s the Hogsmeade section of it, and it’s adorable. The defining feature they’ve got, and no one else has got, is the magical — not the magical lake – the Black Lake. The Three Broomsticks backs out onto it, so there’s a pub garden, essentially, and so you can sit by the lake and look up at Hogwarts.

Alison, Kat, and Rosie: Oh.

Claire: Yeah, it’s utterly delightful. Yeah, and as many people were noting on Twitter, they have excellent merchandise. So I was going around trying to find all the exclusive merchandise. They’ve got tankards. They have really good stuff. But yeah, it was just lovely. It was really bizarre, having spent two weeks in Japan — which is an amazing, amazing country but very different to anything I’d really experienced before — and then getting to Hogwarts; I was like, “This [is] really familiar.”

[Everyone laughs]

Claire: The music, the environment, [and] the merchandise, as well. I had been to the Studio Tour a few times. “I know that merchandise. I know that toy.” Yeah. It was really, really surreal. It was our last day, as well. So it was just a little bit close to home. [laughs]

Kat: You had a little bit of an out of body experience, I bet. “Oh, did I Apparate home by accident? Whoops.”

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Kat: We want to remind everybody that this week we are talking about Deathly Hallows Chapter 36, which is “The Flaw in the Plan” and the end of Lord Voldemort, yay! But read that chapter or listen to it on the lovely audiobook before enjoying this episode.

Rosie: Also, the end of the numbered chapters, so at the end of this none of us will be fine!

Kat: Ugh.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: But before we get there…

Kat: Yeah! I can’t believe that.

Rosie: Me, neither. It’s ridiculous.

Alison: Ugh.

Rosie: So many years, and we’re finally here! And yet, we don’t want it to end.

Kat: I know. Our four-year anniversary was April 18.

Alison: Oh, boy.

Kat: And so we’re recording this on the 21 [and releasing it] on the 23, so we are just past four years!

Rosie: Yeah, just past four years and releasing on the 23, which, we were talking about earlier, is actually the massive Shakespeare anniversary! 400 years since his death! So it’s an appropriate episode release date for such a massive villainous death! It’ll be good.

Kat: Yeah, and it’s funny, too; I was thinking that Shakespeare is younger than Nearly Headless Nick.

Alison: He is.

Claire: Yeah.

Kat: Which is a fun fact.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Definitely.

Rosie: Deathday party for Shakespeare!

Claire: Also, I believe it’s Eric Scull’s birthday on Saturday, and mine on Sunday.

Alison: Oh, wow.

Kat and Rosie: Yay!

[Alison laughs]

Claire: So if you don’t want to celebrate Shakespeare, celebrate us.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That’s very true, yeah! The 23, the day we’re releasing, is Eric’s birthday, so yay! Happy birthday, Claire. Happy birthday, Eric.

Alison: Yay! Birthdays!

Rosie: Hufflepuff birthday wishes all around. Yay!

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: So before we get to Chapter 36, as always, we need to recap your comments from Chapter 35. I think we were slightly commented out from the week before, but we have got some brilliant comments here again. You guys seem to have longer comments now. We’re going more and more in-depth, so you’ll have to bear with me trying to read through some of these essays worth of information.

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: I’ve got some special mentions. There’s a brilliant discussion of Tom Riddle’s broken childhood and some ideas of abuse, so I do urge anyone who is interested in that angsty childhood of Tom Riddle to go and read those comments. I think there [are] about 20 of them in one little thread that is a really interesting read, so please do go and check that out. Also, special mention to ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy because they wrote a brilliant essay on the atheist’s view of religion in the books; religion and faith. And it’s a really interesting mini essay to go and read. So I do recommend going to read that as well. But we have some actual comments that I am going to read out before we discuss. So here is one from SlytherinKnight; they say,

”I absolutely loved Kyla’s point about Harry finally having control of his life for the first time. It resonated so much with me because it was absolutely true. Ever since Harry was born, someone or something was pulling the strings for Harry’s life and destiny whether it be the Prophecy, or Dumbledore, or Voldemort. In this case, Harry finally had a choice in his life and path going forward. Beforehand, Dumbledore was the main one pulling the strings in Harry’s life, leaving Harry with the Dursleys to be raised downtrodden and moldable, guiding Harry through his trials at Hogwarts, and testing Harry against Voldemort. Leading Harry to martyr himself for the greater good. And Voldemort, dominating Harry’s life, due to the Prophecy and Voldemort’s need to show himself stronger and more powerful than Harry. I do wonder, though, if Harry really had any choice in going back, because Dumbledore does remind Harry of all the people he was leaving behind and that Voldemort could still kill the people close to Harry. The puppet master is still pulling the strings and guilt-tripping Harry into returning. I do think that Harry’s inherent goodness and his feeling of wanting to finish things properly would have meant Harry went back to finish Voldemort off once and for all.”

So we’re talking about King’s Cross. We’re talking about whether or not Harry actually did have some autonomy of choice. What do you guys think?

Kat: I think it’s a beautiful notion that he had a choice, but just knowing Harry – never mind all of the other outside influences – I think Harry would have gone back no matter what because the comment and Dumbledore [are] right; that Voldemort could have and did hurt more people that Harry cared about. And I think, no matter what, he was going to go back and avenge them and end this once and for all. Personally.

Alison: Yeah, I think it’s really interesting to say that Dumbledore is pulling strings here because more than pulling strings, I think he’s just reminding Harry of something. In the chapter before, Harry talks about how he feels that Ron, Hermione, and Ginny, and everyone are the ghosts to him in that moment, walking to the forest. So I think Dumbledore reminding him that those people are still alive and still fighting is not necessarily pulling strings; just pointing out something that Harry forgot in this really big and important moment.

Kat: Well, because Harry was all set up and ready to die.

Alison: Yeah!

Kat: He didn’t think he would have this choice, so his mind was set. He was dying. He was moving on, right. So I do agree with what you said, totally.

Claire: Although, with Dumbledore, he might be talking to Harry but it’s all in Harry’s head. Is this Harry’s interpretation of Dumbledore? And actually, it’s just Dumbledore trying to… is Harry trying to convince himself through Dumbledore’s voice? So Harry does have a choice, but he’s already made it up for himself?

Rosie: Yeah, so in that sense: Yes, he’s decided that he’s willing to go and die, but he would always choose to come back if he had the choice. He would always remind himself that he could.

Kat: Yeah.

Rosie: So yeah, he would never willingly go off and abandon the rest of them to the main fight. Our next comment, then, comes from Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals, and it says,

”On the thought about this description of Voldemort’s soul in King’s Cross: I think it signifies how Voldemort treated his soul: ‘… it lay shuddering under a seat where it had been left, unwanted, stuffed out of sight, struggling for breath.’ Voldemort disregarded his soul in exactly this way. He saw no use for a whole, uncorrupted soul; it was more expedient to rip it up, stuff it, stuff the pieces into evil objects, and hide them out of sight, while the remaining soul left in his body became increasingly diminished and unstable, further and further destroyed by all of the other murders and crimes he perpetrated. The piece of soul is described as ‘maimed’ and ‘stunted.’ Again, Voldemort has made his soul this way. As someone said on the episode, if he spends eternity this way, it will be of his own making. That’s why this creature is so pitiful, and yet indecent. For me, these descriptions are some of the hardest parts to read, but I give Rowling a ton of credit for not holding back with this language, because I don’t think it’s meant merely to shock, but to signify important ideas about the type of evil Voldemort is supposed to represent.”

I love this idea.

Claire and Kat: Yeah.

Rosie: It’s definitely symbolic of how destroyed and how little care he had for something that, obviously, needs to be cared for and nurtured to become a full human-looking soul.

Alison: And I think it’s a wonderful reversal of what we usually get. We usually get the symbol first, and then what it actually means, but in this case we’ve gotten what he’s done first, and now we’re getting this very visual, visceral symbol that’s showing us exactly what that means in a more…

Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: … I can’t think of the word right now. [laughs]

Rosie: A literal representation of this.

Alison: Yeah, yeah. [laughs]

Kat: Why…? I’m not sure we’ve ever talked about this, but why do we think Voldemort is so, I guess, ambivalent about his soul? Why is he so willing…? I mean, I know why he’s so willing to do it because he’s scared of death, but he’s a very learned wizard. Wouldn’t he know that there [are] some sort of repercussions for ripping apart the soul like that? I guess I’m just wondering why he’s so careless.

Alison: I wonder…

Rosie: But if you never die, are there repercussions?

Alison: Yeah, and I think if you’re afraid of death, you’re not thinking about what’s the possibility of some afterlife, which is tied to a soul that needs to be whole to experience that afterlife. And so I think he doesn’t care about it because he is so afraid of death that he’s not willing to think about what could happen after death, and therefore he’s not thinking about his soul at all.

Rosie: I think the soul can come to represent a moralistic view and almost an essence of goodness as well, so if we do consider Voldemort to be an evil character, then he doesn’t care about morals. He doesn’t care about that essence of goodness that a soul would be and therefore he really doesn’t care about the soul in that way.

Claire: He’s very narrow-minded in his thought and research for stuff. It’s something that just hasn’t occurred to him. He won’t look into it.

Rosie: Yeah.

Claire: He’s not curious in terms of finding out about stuff in general. He just goes. He beelines toward something.

Kat: Mhm.

Claire: So as I said, he just doesn’t care. He’s just narrow-minded.

Rosie: Our last comment then comes from Efthymia. Or, well, last but one, penultimate comment comes from Efthymia and says,

“‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’ Things happening in our heads are real. Our thoughts and feelings are real. One of the problems sufferers of mental illnesses face is the lack of understanding and compassion from others because their illnesses are not viewed as real as obvious, physical ones when they very much are so. I think this is all Harry’s brain processing what is happening to him: He is at King’s Cross station because that’s a place he associates with moving from one world to another. The Dumbledore he sees is not the real Dumbledore, but the image he has of Dumbledore – like King’s Cross is the place he associates with going to a different world, Dumbledore is the person he associates with wisdom and advice and imparting knowledge. The way to process what has happened, what is going to happen, and how he feels about Dumbledore – a man who has played such an important part for Harry to get to this place and for whom Harry has received so much new information and has had such mixed emotions for the past year – is in the form of a conversation with that very same wise, knowledgeable, complicated person. I view this chapter as Harry’s brain taking the time to understand and make choices. It’s kind of like a dream – since dreams are the brain’s way to process information and clear the head and bring forth repressed emotions and all [of] that.”

I love this comment and I really wanted to include it, especially because we’re getting close to May. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Just this psychological view of this very magical world is just… it makes it more real, and of course it’s real, even if it’s in our heads.

Kat: And I think that that is part of Jo’s message here too…

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: … that no matter what you believe, and if there’s something in your head, it’s still real. If it’s real for you, then it’s real, and I think that’s important to note here.

Rosie: Mhm.

Alison: I think the first part is very valid. Personally, I still think it’s really Dumbledore, just because he says things about his guilt toward what happened to Ariana. He just talks in a way that I don’t know if he [were] just Harry coming up with that, he would have said those things, if that makes sense.

Kat: Right, an apparition, right.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: I know what you’re saying.

Alison: But I do think the part about King’s Cross and why that’s the surroundings Harry finds himself in is definitely… this is Harry processing and thinking through things, and that’s why his surroundings become what they are.

Kat: Yeah, I would agree with that. I strongly believe that it’s the real Dumbledore in whatever sense “real” he is. And that just… because if it [weren’t] the real Dumbledore, this information could have come from a portrait.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: And we needed to see the real Dumbledore so that we could get the emotion, and the backstory, and all of that empathy, and the regret that he feels from his life, so…

Rosie: Our final comment then comes from IGotTransfiguredIntoARhubarb; just a bit of a fun comment at the end. And they say,

“Am I the only one who really wanted Harry to die? I wanted him to pop his clogs. I was all for the bad guys winning. I honestly thought Harry surviving would be too predictable. I’m 5% Slytherin. I wanted the snake man to win… at the time.”

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Claire: This person is definitely not only 5% Slytherin.

[Alison, Rosie, and Kat laugh]

Rosie: Definitely not.

Claire: They’re 95% Slytherin. Who wanted Harry to die? There were quite a lot of people who wanted Harry to die, but I – oh, God – I would have been so traumatized if Harry had died.

Alison: Yeah. I think that was the only spoiler I actually looked at before this book because I was like, “I have to know. I have to know!”

[Rosie laughs]

Alison: “And if he dies I can’t handle it.” [laughs]

Rosie: But that is the end of our recap comments from last week’s episode. There are still so many brilliant conversations out there, so please do go and read them and join in because you guys are all amazing.

Alison: And more amazing comments are coming up in our Podcast Question of the Week responses. Just to remind you of that question, it said, “Following Snape’s memories speaking on his behalf, Dumbledore is also permitted an opportunity to explain his actions. In the end, these two characters reveal complicated, layered characterizations that place them both in morally gray spaces, often causing fans to have split opinions on the two. Why do some readers react more positively to Dumbledore than to Snape and vice versa? What is it about the two of them that, in Harry’s eyes, places them on even, admirable ground (as evidenced by the naming of Albus Severus Potter)?” So we had a lot of really good, really varied responses this week, and our first one comes again from Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals, who says,

”I think some of the divided response comes down to a reader’s feelings about what each of these characters kept secret – or to use a term that is less loaded, private. Both Dumbledore and Snape guarded some aspect of their true selves from the rest of the world. Snape, in Dumbledore’s words, kept “the best of” himself private – in part because he had to in order to maintain his cover as a spy, and in part because he was protecting his pride. Dumbledore, on the other hand, kept the worst of himself private – his youthful infatuation with power at the expense of his family, and the reasons he delayed seeking out and stopping [Grindelwald]. Snape hid the best of himself while being completely authentic in his feelings of resentment toward Harry. Dumbledore hid the worst of himself while presenting a pleasant, though partly false, front to the world, never betraying the honest internal regrets and worries that he carried. The immense weight that Dumbledore shouldered during his years of protecting Harry is evident in the King’s Cross chapter; seeing all of his plans come together successfully at last, he can finally be happy.”

I think this is an interesting take on it. It’s true that they hid themselves, but it begs the question, is it better to hide the worst, or the best?


Kat: Be completely open and honest, really, is the answer to that question.

Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]

Claire: Also, everything that… Dumbledore’s worst happened so long ago that… probably most people, if they live to 120 – whatever age Dumbledore lived to – did some stuff in their youth that they would probably regret. I think it’s fair enough that he kept some of that private. But I think in terms of people’s interpretation of it and how people feel about it, we see more of Dumbledore as a nice person. Like this one says, it might be what he puts out, but also, we see him as that loving, caring teacher – which I don’t think was false, personally – that you’re going to feel more affiliated with that; whereas Snape’s good side you see for one chapter. And even then, it’s not that good. So I think it’s definitely weighted in that: what’s kept secret and what’s private, but also, what you find more affinity with.

Rosie: It does depend on what you consider to be Dumbledore’s worst, as well. Because sure, the problems that lead to the death of Ariana and all of that kind of thing is a horrible moment of his history, but he’s keeping a lot of other stuff private right up until the end. And it’s Snape that has to reveal to Harry the great secret that Dumbledore was keeping from him, which I can never think of as a good thing. Sure, it would have made the quest that Harry had to go on harder to understand, and he might have revolted against it and all of that kind of thing, but essentially, Dumbledore lied to him for seven years or whatever it was. There was a lot going on that Dumbledore kept private that was directly affecting Harry’s life that he could have made better had he not been so obsessed with this one plan that he had come up with.

Kat: Yeah, I do agree with that. They are definitely both flawed in many ways, but for me it comes down to the reason that people are doing things. So Snape’s reason, for me, has always been selfishly motivated, and Dumbledore’s is less so. It’s still selfish, but it’s significantly less so. He’s doing it for Harry to keep him from dying, obviously, and to help save the wizarding world, and a little bit selfishly because he doesn’t want the mistakes of his past to be repeated. And Snape is doing it purely for selfish reasons, and whatever those selfish reasons are – whether you believe they’re love, or obsession, or whatever that is – for me, that’s where the difference comes in between the two. I’m not saying, again, that Dumbledore is a hero – because he is tragically flawed – but I can side with him and I can sympathize with him better because of his motivations.

Alison: Our next comment comes from Crimson Phoenix, who actually talks about morality and says,

“One theory of moral development in psychology states that there are three stages to morality. In the first stage, the person only thinks about morality in terms of ‘what’s in it for me?’ and ‘how can I avoid punishment?’ The second stage evolves to morality surrounding social norms (what a good person looks like) and maintaining social order. And finally, the third stage involves the social contract (the greater good) and universal ethics (moral relativism)…”

I cannot talk today. [laughs]

“Harry has truly reached the third stage when he is in limbo. It’s as if he can now see all of the pieces of the puzzle fitting together. He can see the social contract between Snape, himself, his parents, and Dumbledore, and he can also see Dumbledore’s greater good of getting rid of Voldemort. That being said, while I think Harry has reached the third stage of moral development, I think many readers are still learning and developing their moral compass. This is where the different feelings towards Snape and Dumbledore come in. Even if some readers have reached the end stage of moral development, their ideas might be inherently different than Harry’s on the grounds that the third stage is all about the individual making morals their own. And those readers who are in the earlier stages of moral development are less likely to take all of the gray areas into account because those moral ideas are so much more concrete.”

Claire: Such a heavy comment. [laughs] It’s really good!

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Claire: But my 9:30 p.m. brain is not processing it very well.

Alison: It’s interesting to say that people will see these characters differently as they develop because I think that’s true. I know as I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen especially Dumbledore very differently. From training to be a teacher and just from maturing you start to see how problematic some of these things are that they were doing even if they did work out in the end.

Claire: And I think that’s part of the reread and everyone’s reread. The idea of growing up with these books and still getting more and more out of them as you become more adult is that you do look at things in different ways and you do think about things more and think about the morals of it more and that kind of thing. You don’t have to, but it is interesting to do so as we found out!

Alison: Our last comment for this comes from Slyvenpuffdor, who says,

“My immediate thought is that it comes down to an appreciation of context and sacrifice… What makes me personally connect and sympathize with Dumbledore is that he has given everything to trying to fight an evil. He made extremely difficult and painful decisions in order to maximize the potential of defeating Voldemort. Did he make mistakes? Of course! That’s the point! It may also be that in the beginning we are sort of [led] to believe that Dumbledore is an omniscient angel that is meant to guide and protect Harry, so when his flaws are revealed and he is humanized later on, there’s an aspect of disappointment. Again, in summary, I think readers that have a sincere appreciation for the circumstances that Dumbledore (and Snape) had to navigate will be less likely to have entirely negative feelings about those characters. I think this is also what leads Harry to appreciate them, as in the end they both get to reveal their pasts and explain themselves to Harry.”

Rosie: Yeah, I agree. I just miss my perfect omniscient angel Dumbledore from the earlier books.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Alison: I do think it’s interesting because we’re led to believe at the beginning that this is going to be the perfectly laid out hero’s journey. Kat, you were saying earlier [that] he is Obi-Wan, right? But I think that’s part of [what] makes these so great, is that these things are all twisted slightly and we get a very human, mythical mentor figure that shows up.

Rosie: Yeah, we’re expecting them to be the capital “H” Heroes, and they become just the capital “H” Humans instead, so yeah.

Kat: Aww, Rosie! That was so touching.

[Alison, Kat, and Rosie laugh]

Alison: That was really profound. [laughs]

Rosie: Thank you.

Alison: Just to round this out, just a quick shout-out to this hilarious conversation that was going on, of what if Harry had named his first son for both James and Snape?

Rosie: Oh!

Alison: And it was started by ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy and Wokanshutaiduo… I’m so sorry; I can’t say that name. But it was hilarious…

Kat: Wokanshutaiduo. [pronounces it “Woken-sha-tye-duo”]

Alison: Okay, thank you. I’m really terrible at saying that one. But it was hilarious; they were riffing off the joke of, “You were named after the two bravest men I ever knew,” that whole joke, and it was hilarious. So go check that out on

Rosie: We have got to say a massive thank you to all of our Patreon sponsors. This episode in particular is sponsored by Amy Bertleff on Patreon. You can become a sponsor for as little as $1 a month, and we will continue to release exclusive tidbits for you sponsors. We cannot thank you enough for all of the support you’ve shown us, and please, please carry on. We love you. [laughs] Thank you!

Alison: Thank you, Amy!

Claire: Thank you! Thank you!

Kat: Thank you to everybody! And I guess that’s my cue to start the chapter discussion. Let’s do this, guys. Let’s finish Deathly Hallows, almost!

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 36 intro begins]

Harry: Chapter 36.

Voldemort: Avada Kedavra!

Harry: Expelliarmus!

Harry: “The Flaw in the Plan.”

[Deathly Hallows Chapter 36 intro ends]

Kat: So here we are. Chapter 36, “The Flaw in the Plan,” the last numbered chapter. I can’t believe we’re here, and I know we’re going to say that a lot this episode…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: … so I guess we’ll just jump into it here. So as we all know, Harry returns to consciousness and his body is whole once again. Voldemort sends Narcissa to be sure that the job is in fact done, and she, like any good mother, protects the vulnerable and lies to the Dark Lord. They arrive back at the castle with an apparently dead Harry and the masses react, but Voldemort cannot touch them, thanks to Harry’s selfless sacrifice. In a moment of commotion, Harry escapes under the Invisibility Cloak as the dueling wizards make their way into the Great Hall. Curses are flying left and right, including one very straight shot from Mrs. Molly Weasley into the near heart of Bellatrix Lestrange, ending her once and for all. The moment has come for one to live while the other does not survive. And after explaining the failings of Tom Riddle, the boy who never loved, he falls with a final thunk, departing his body forever. So we pick up this chapter right where the last one ended. Big surprise! We’re in the forest. And Harry has awoken from whatever little in-between life… he had his little moment there with Dumbledore. And he smells the forest and he feels the pain from where the curse of the Avada Kedavra hit him, which I thought was very cool because we definitely… no one has survived it before besides Harry, and he was a baby when he felt it last time, so it is cool to know that that leaves you with an actual physical pain as well as…

Rosie: Do you think he got a second scar?

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yeah, I wonder if he does have another scar! That would be kind of cool!

Claire: A star, or something.

Kat: I was thinking this time that it doesn’t really say… it only says very briefly… but how long do we think they were knocked out, Harry and Voldemort? Was it seconds or minutes? Obviously, it wasn’t too long because when Harry wakes up, Bellatrix is just checking on Tom.

Claire: I think it might be instantaneous. He’s just fallen in, or maybe a few seconds or something.

Kat: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking too.

Alison: I think it would have had to be at least a few seconds to make Bellatrix so worried because… I mean, there would be the initial shock at Voldemort falling to the ground too, but I think for him to not get back up would be part of why she’s so concerned.

Kat: Yeah, because the book only says that they had fallen briefly unconscious. So I was just curious; I wondered how long they were out, and how long whatever was going on inside Harry’s head was going on. And what do you guys…? I’m not sure – and I tried looking to see if Jo has talked about this – but what happened to Voldemort, in that time? Where was he? What did he experience?

Claire: I would love it if he [were] actually in that soul.

Alison: Yeah, I was going to say, I think he might have been. It was so traumatizing. I obviously don’t think he overheard Harry and Dumbledore’s conversation, but I think he was probably in some traumatized state as the thing Harry saw.

Kat: Hmm. I’m inclined to believe that that baby, that bit of soul that was there, was not necessarily Voldemort but was the piece of Voldemort that was in Harry because why would Voldemort go to King’s Cross with Harry?

Alison: I don’t know if he saw it as King’s Cross…

Rosie: It’s like they were both in some… almost a cyberspace and then the cyberspace can form itself into whatever you see, kind of Matrix-style.

[Kat laughs]

Alison: Yeah, it’s a kind of limbo!

Rosie: Yeah, so what Harry sees and what Voldemort sees even if they’re shown the space would be very different. It’s like when Dumbledore looks around in that scene and he says, “Where are we?” “We’re in King’s Cross.” “Oh, are we? That’s very interesting.” I don’t think that Voldemort – no, sorry – Dumbledore can see what Harry can see. They can both sit on the bench [and] they can both talk to each other, but their perception of what they can see and what is around them will be different. You can spend an hour in that space and still wake up a moment later in a very Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe way.

Kat: Yeah. And so Voldemort finally gets up and Bellatrix keeps trying to help him. He’s like, “Stop it, stop it, stop it,” and you need somebody to go and make sure that Harry is dead because you can see him. Harry is not moving purposely. Harry is so good at playing dead.

Alison: I know.

Kat: I could never do this, for real. His arm is all crushed in a weird position and his glasses are digging into his face. That’s super uncomfortable. For anybody who wears glasses, you know that. But why does Voldemort send Narcissa?

Alison: She’s expendable. [He can] dispose of her in a way, I mean, the Malfoys; he has no need of them anymore and I think if he thinks there’s a chance Harry could be alive… what Voldemort would do in that situation is attack whoever came up to him. So I think part of him is expecting Harry to do the same, and Narcissa is someone he doesn’t care enough about and he can just toss to the side and burn.

Kat: But then why would he trust her with such a task? If he doesn’t care about her and he thinks she’s invaluable, that, to me, would mean that he is equating her to being not powerful, so if Harry [were] to wake up in that moment, wouldn’t he want somebody there who could detain Harry or stop him from doing something?

Rosie: We discussed this. I think it was in the “Malfoy Manor” episode. We’ve talked about this moment, and we thought that Voldemort has a very skewed concept of women, and to him, women do whatever you ask them to and at no moment in his mind does he ever think that Narcissa would ever disobey or betray him. So in saying to Narcissa, “You go and check,” he truly 100% believes that she will go and check and tell him what’s happened. There’s no concept of her going to Harry and protecting him in any way. Mothers…

Kat: Being her own person.

Rosie: Yeah, right. Mothers die and mothers abandon you. They do not protect you in Voldemort’s world, so he never even considers Narcissa’s motherhood as a possible weak spot in this stage, which has been his downfall before, obviously, because that is why Lily managed to protect Harry: because he never considered the powerful motherhoodness of it as a protective element because when he was a kid, his mother died.

Claire: I think he’s also having a bit of a brat moment where he’s freaking out over the fact that he’s fallen over. And he’s probably looked up and saw all these people are crowding over him – Bellatrix is being a pain in the ass as usual – and he just looks over… the Malfoys are probably huddled in a corner feeling sorry for themselves. They definitely…

Rosie: They’re probably closest to Harry.

Claire: They didn’t go much further than stage one in that moral compass from the earlier discussion.

[Alison, Kat, and Rosie laugh]

Claire: I think he just saw them and he just felt like… I think there is something about him… there’s a bang, so he obviously sends a curse over to her. So I think he’s just having a bit of a tantrum and she was there probably annoying him for the fact that she didn’t look concerned, and the Malfoys have just been his really easy pick-on for this whole book and almost the last two books when he wants something done and when he just wants to annoy someone. When he wants to take a wand away from someone he just defaults the Malfoys. So this is just him doing something again.

Rosie: Lucius is very much that stage one; Narcissa is going into stage two.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: But she… I do like [that] there’s this little moment where she digs her nails into Harry after he confirms that Draco is alive, and I just think that it’s the only way she can possibly ever show him gratitude ever because… I love Narcissa; I think she is a fascinating character and I can’t wait until we get into topic-based episodes and we can talk about mothers and women and Narcissa. I’m dying for that to happen. But I just appreciate that moment because it feels very raw, I guess, and very real; something that any mother would naturally do is… and release that moment. But immediately following that… as Harry expected, Voldemort – as Dumbledore I suppose says, although he says that about Bellatrix – needs to play with his food, and shoots Crucio at Harry and Harry doesn’t feel it. And again, I looked into this to see if Jo has ever commented on it, and as far as I could tell she hasn’t and so there’s never been a definitive reason discussed about this – not that anything we are going to say is definitive – but I really wanted to hear what you guys thought about why he didn’t feel it. Is it the Elder Wand? Is it because of the sacrifice? Is it both? Is it something else? What do you think?

Claire: I always thought it was related to how he could throw off the Imperius Curse. He had gotten to another level of control because when he was even untrained in Goblet of Fire he was still able to able to half throw off the Imperius Curse, and then he got better and better at it. I think he might have just [gotten] to that final point where he could even throw off the Cruciatus Curse. Yeah. Solid memory.

Rosie: That is interesting.

Claire: I hadn’t even contemplated it being anything else.

Alison: Maybe just because I thought of the same thing as I was rereading it, and maybe just because we talked about it so much last week, I almost feel like it has something to do with the shared blood and… I don’t know exactly what, but for some reason that just seems to work with me because Harry now has the truth of that. And it’s like how before Voldemort couldn’t touch Harry, like in Sorcerer’s Stone where he couldn’t touch him without feeling pain. Now it’s [that] he can touch him, but Harry won’t feel the pain. It’s almost this switch, if that makes any sense. And I don’t necessarily know why, but it’s almost as if because he’s gotten rid of the link that is the Horcrux, now they just have this link between the blood, but that blood is still protecting Harry.

Rosie: There was a comment on last week’s episode that was talking about the fact that they didn’t believe Voldemort would ever have been able to kill Harry with the [Avada Kedavra] Curse; that the [Avada Kedavra] Curse would have killed the piece of soul, but not Harry because the Elder Wand’s allegiance is already to Harry and therefore it cannot hurt Harry in any way, and that’s why he wouldn’t be able to feel this Crucio. My own personal interpretation – I don’t know if I’m the only one – but I thought that it was because Harry was still coming back to his body.

Kat: Oh!

Alison: Ooh.

Claire: Yeah.

Rosie: He didn’t really seem to feel pain in that much sense in this moment.

Kat: I like that. I like that. Yeah, I’ve been having problems, personally, with the, “Oh, it’s because of the Elder Wand,” or, “It’s because of the blood sacrifice,” because I have issues with this blood sacrifice anyway. I don’t quite understand how it’s working, and we’ll get to that. I like [the idea] that Harry [is] not quite yet all back into his body. I like that explanation on the table.

Rosie: It’s like waking up from a long sleep and not being able to feel your legs until you get a little bit more blood back in them kind of thing.

Kat: I am excited to hear what the listeners think because I think it’s definitely something that has been talked a lot about and I wish Jo would comment on it, but…

Rosie: He’s has a spiritual epidural.

[Kat and Rosie laugh]

Kat: Yes. Oh, boy. So after Voldemort is done playing with his food he makes Hagrid pick up Harry, which is really great because there’s this nice line where it says that, “the enormous hands that lifted him into the air were exceedingly gentle.”

Rosie: Aww.

Kat: It’s so sweet.

Rosie: And you’ve got the image of Hagrid [being] the one that brought him to the Dursleys’ as the baby and now he’s taking him back to the castle, which is his true home, but it’s so sad.

Kat: It is really sad.

Alison: I just picture this moment when he picked him up from Godric’s Hollow and just… I mean, I’m sure Harry was traumatized and screaming and crying…

Rosie: Yeah!

Alison: … and Hagrid just goes and picks up this little baby and makes him so comfortable he falls asleep as they’re flying around. It’s just… oh, so sad.

Kat: You are being stereotypical weepy little girls.

[Alison laughs]

Alison: Yeah, I will be, right?

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Kat: So Hagrid carries Harry and they’re walking out of the forest and this time I found this moment a little odd, which is where Bane shows up and Hagrid goes, “Bane!” And he’s like, “Happy now, are ya, that you didn’t fight, ya cowardly bunch of nags? Are you happy Harry Potter is dead?”

Claire: Lovely Hagrid.

[Alison and Claire laugh]

Kat: Thanks. Thanks. I honestly wasn’t trying at all. But it stuck out like a sore thumb to me this time. It felt like a way to wedge the centaurs back in there so they could be relevant again?

[Alison laughs]

Kat: It just seemed odd to me. I don’t know. Did it feel odd for anybody else? Or is it just me?

Alison: I think that’s exactly what it is. I think it’s reminding the reader that centaurs are here, so when they come running out to fight in two pages…

Rosie: No!

Alison: … it won’t be like, “Wait, where do they come from?”

Rosie: No, not at all.

Claire: I’m afraid it’s exactly that, but I think there’s an element of… we’ve covered nearly everything that Harry has ever encountered in his life at Hogwarts…

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: Closer.

Claire: … and he’s gone into the forest and we’ve seen the spiders, and it’s that one last thing. But also, the centaurs wouldn’t have engaged [in the war] straight away, so I think it’s the fact that not everyone was getting involved straight away. But I do think… yeah, a little bit. [laughs]

Rosie: See… I always referenced it back to the two previous scenes that we’ve had with Bane. We had the “Mars is bright tonight” scene and the idea of prophecy and the idea that the centaurs know what will happen at the end of this fight and that Harry will win. But they don’t need to interfere [and] they shouldn’t get involved because eventually the good stuff will happen. So for Bane to see Harry dead is almost a kick in the teeth for the horse guys. [laughs] They should have said…

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: They should have interfered, they should have cared more, and that’s why Hagrid says, “Are you happy now?” and all that kind of thing. And I think it was important for even the centaurs to see the fallen hero and to know what happens and to witness this moment of good versus evil and what happens. Whether or not the centaurs know that this was always in the plan and that Harry will come back and that you’ll have this resurrection idea, we don’t know. But I always saw it more as a reference to that prophecy and prophecy fulfilled rather than, “Oh, yeah, there are centaurs in the forest.” [laughs]

Claire: I’m convinced. That was a very good argument and probably right.

[Claire and Rosie laugh]

Alison: Read more into that than I did. [laughs]

Kat: [laughs] Yeah, for sure you did.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Too, it also stuck out to me this time that I always assumed that Hagrid was under the Imperius Curse in this moment, yet it seems that he’s able to just speak at will, which I don’t know if that’s a thing.

Rosie: I don’t think he needs to be told to return to the castle.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: No, he yells at Bane. I’m not sure that…

Rosie: Yeah, that’s my point. I don’t think he needed to be Imperiused in order to want to pick up Harry and return to the castle.

Alison: Yeah. Well, even if he…

Rosie: If he’s being set free, he would respect Harry and try to take him out of that situation.

Kat: But Harry comments that it seems like Hagrid has been forced to obey Voldemort.

Claire: I think he said he’d been forced to stop. I think you could make someone stop without putting the Imperius Curse on them.

Kat: I suppose, but then what’s the point of having Hagrid there?

Alison: Well, even if… he makes it a good show.

Rosie: Where does it say that Harry thinks he was forced? Is it before they’re leaving? Or…

Claire: Something about…

Kat: No, it’s on the way out. Voldemort says, “Stop,” and it says, “Harry thought that Hagrid must have been forced to obey Voldemort’s command because he lurched a little.”

Rosie: Oh, yeah. I would agree with Claire, then. It was just that one command. You have to follow that command; it’s not necessarily the general Imperius thing.

Claire: Although, too… just sorry for the slight runoff, but there is a comment, I think, last week when – oh no, [not] last week, the week before – about why Hagrid was there and whether they just couldn’t kill him because of being half-giant. But I had always thought that it was just they intended for this.

Alison: Yeah.

Claire: But then in this chapter there is a comment where it’s like, “Who’s going to drag the body? Oh, you can take him.”

Rosie: Yeah.

Claire: So it didn’t sound premeditated in that comment, and that was the first time I really read that line and [was] like, “Oh, I don’t know why he’s there now.” [laughs]

Alison: Yeah. [laughs]

Claire: Unlike before, I just assumed that it was all part of the plan, which is kind of an odd one.

Kat: I have a feeling that Hagrid was there to be partly a motivator for Harry. If Harry showed up, he was going to try and fight or be some sort of martyr and, I guess, put up more of a fight with Voldemort. [Then] he could use Hagrid, somebody that he knows Harry loves a lot.

Rosie: But how does he know that Harry loves him?

Kat: What do you mean?

Rosie: How [do] Voldemort and the Death Eaters know about Harry and Hagrid’s relationship? It’s not… I mean, it’s public within Hogwarts, but it’s not that obvious.

Kat: Snape.

Rosie: Why would Snape bother saying it? I mean, there’s no godfather connection like Sirius was. Sirius would make sense because you’ve got that actual, literal connection between the two. These guys are just friends. Yes, Hagrid was the one that brought [Harry] into the wizarding world, but Voldemort wouldn’t care about that. Dumbledore brought Voldemort into it; it doesn’t make him care about it in that same way.

Kat: Yeah.

Rosie: I don’t think that they would consider Hagrid and Harry as a close-knit relationship that they could exploit. I wonder if it’s more that Hagrid knew that Harry needed to be there at this point and therefore almost blundered in and tried to protect Harry and tried to take [the Death Eaters] on himself or something like that and then was made to stop. I don’t know if it was necessarily that they brought Hagrid to the clearing for that reason or if it was him seeking a fight.

Claire: I guess the spiders took him to the clearing, didn’t they?

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Kat: I was going to say, I was under the assumption that the spiders brought him there on Voldemort’s orders.

Alison: Maybe if he does know they’re friends… I mean, it’s pretty obvious if Hagrid isn’t there, right? Even in chaos it would be obvious if he [were] there or not. So maybe he’s the most visible person that they could get to draw Harry to the forest.

Kat: And also, remember that Voldemort knows that Hagrid is the one who had the real Harry in “The Seven Potters” [chapter].

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: So I do think that he’s aware of the fact that there’s some sort of connection between the two of them.

Rosie: Maybe, that’s true.

Kat: Because if there [weren’t], why wouldn’t he have been with Moody or somebody like Lupin or Kingsley?

Rosie: But maybe there’s a whole other story and it’s some backstory between Voldemort and Hagrid from their school days…

Alison: Personal grudge. [laughs]

Rosie: … about the revenge of the spider issue and all that kind of thing. [laughs]

Kat: Right, and it got cut out with the Grawp subplot.

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: Definitely, yeah.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Rosie: It’s gone. [laughs]

Kat: So the Death Eaters and Voldemort, and Harry and Hagrid, they’re all standing on the edge of the forest, and there’s this great moment where Harry says that he can hear the Dementors, but that “[t]he fact of his own survival burned inside him, a talisman against them, as though his father’s stag kept guardian in his heart.” And I thought that it was really cool and very powerful that in this moment, it’s James protecting him from feeling any pain from the Dementors that have in the past affected him so deeply and so strongly.

Alison: It’s a flashback to Prisoner where he thinks it’s James across the lake saving them. That was the moment [when] he found his father inside himself, and now this idea that his father’s survival instinct and fighting instinct are still in him. And in association with that, then all the Marauders – Lily, everyone that was there from the Resurrection Stone – they’re still there, I think.

Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: It’s symbolic of that.

Rosie: It’s [them] saying he’s doing the right thing.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Claire: For me, with the whole Crucio thing, this is how I linked into it when I got the read-through… because he’s able to deal with Dementors, he could also deal with the Cruciatus Curse. I just filled that link in that way. He’s so buoyed by his own survival and what he’s managed to achieve that he’s managed… he’s able to fight off that stuff because they are linked in that way.

Kat: So really it’s magical adrenaline, in a way.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: And so after this moment, Voldemort makes an announcement to the grounds that “Harry Potter is dead. He was killed as he ran away, trying to save himself while you laid down your lives for him. We bring his body as proof that your hero is gone.” We all know that he’s lying and 98% of the people in that castle probably realized that he’s lying. But what is he gaining from that lie? I mean, is it truly only to stroke his own ego? Why wouldn’t he say that, “I killed Harry Potter the moment I saw him, and there was no fight whatsoever because I am almighty and powerful”? I guess I don’t understand the motivation behind this cowardice aspect of Harry that he’s trying to make real.

Rosie: Because death is not enough. You’ve got to shame them as well.

Alison: Yeah. Well, it’s…

Rosie: If you’ve got a hero… if you kill them, they become a martyr. You have to ruin their heroic power in order for them to actually die a true death.

Alison: It’s a kind of propaganda. He’s trying to twist this so that he instills more fear and that he can’t be beaten by anyone else.

Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: So he becomes all powerful and no one will do what they do – what Neville does – and keep fighting.

Rosie: It’s the same reason why stocks existed or people got hung, drawn, and quartered, rather than just killed and buried. You had to kill them and decimate their corpse or whatever because of the ultimate insult that is to their memory and to their person. You cannot let them die peacefully. You have to completely ruin their image in whatever way, and if the people are still looking up to them, you have to somehow destroy that idea of goodness. And having [Harry] be a coward and running away makes him that weak hero, the one they all thought was so great but actually turned out not to be, which is interesting if you then think about comparisons between Harry and Snape. They all turn against Snape; Snape is mocked for being a coward and running away. So Voldemort is trying to latch onto that idea and say that Harry did the same thing.

Kat: In this moment, Neville runs up and tries to actually attack Voldemort. I assume that’s what he’s trying to do, trying to get to the snake. And I love Neville and he has a very brave moment coming up and this is all very beautiful and very lovely, but isn’t Neville a little bit foolish in that moment?

Alison: Yeah, it’s a great moment. [laughs]

Kat: I know that he’s being the brave Gryffindor, but come on, it’s Voldemort. And Neville… I mean, sweetheart…

[Alison laughs]

Claire: I can somewhat explicitly see what he tried to do there. It was Harry seeing things – half seeing things [and] half hearing things – so all we know is it looked like someone was trying to lunge at Voldemort. We don’t know whether he actually tried to take a swipe with his wand or whether he tried to physically grab the snake or anything. I don’t think it was necessarily that he just jumped up. I think he was trying to think of something to do, but also [he was] probably just angered.

Alison and Rosie: Yeah.

Claire: Harry is one of his closest friends and he knows there’s something that he can do, whereas Ron and Hermione are probably not thinking of the snake in that moment, whereas Neville is probably thinking, “That was the last thing he said to me. I need to do this.” So he’s acting on that; he’s almost taking on Harry’s role. I think that was said in the end of that chapter [that] he’s sort of taking on Harry’s role of the optimism to keep on fighting. And that’s something Harry would do; he would just lunge. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: You’ve got circles of closeness, don’t you? So Ron and Hermione are too close to Harry to be able to react in any way other than devastation in this situation, whereas Neville and possibly Luna and people on that second ring of… not acquaintance, but friendship and loyalty… I don’t think Neville is thinking at this moment. I think he really does just see what’s happened and reacts.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: And it’s a mark of how far Neville has come over this year that his idea of reacting is actually going to fight. But I think also because Harry had found him earlier in the battle and had said, “You have to kill the snake,” and he had some inkling that if something bad happens, it’s over to him, his immediate reaction is, “It’s over to me; now let’s go.”

Kat: Could this also have been a ploy to get closer to Voldemort? So perhaps if he did something to Voldemort, Voldemort would pull him closer and perhaps give Neville more opportunity to get to Nagini?

Rosie: Possibly. I don’t think he’s that smart. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah, I think…

Rosie: Poor Neville. [laughs]

Kat: Aww.

Rosie: Sorry.

[Kat and Rosie laugh]

Rosie: I don’t think he had the time to think that through.

Alison: Yeah. I think this is more of that rash Gryffindor bravery. That’s just [Neville] saying he’s going to fight them in Philosopher’s Stone in the common room, right?

Rosie: Yeah, yeah.

Alison: It’s just Neville being like, “Bad things happening, must fight, go!” [laughs]

Claire: I don’t think it’s rash; I think it’s emotional.

Alison: Well, yeah.

Claire: I think there might be a part of him that’s like, “I just want to get close to Voldemort to try and overtake the snake.” I think those thoughts are probably going through his mind, but it’s an immediate reaction to seeing his friend dead.

Kat: And it’s funny, Alison, that you brought up that moment in Philosopher’s Stone because I thought of that moment so many times in this Neville encounter because he’s in a Body-Bind and he’s yelling at people. It just reminded me of that moment so much, with the Petrificus Totalus and all that. So Bellatrix is like, “Ha ha, this is Neville Longbottom. Remember, I killed his parents, ha ha!” And Voldemort is like, “Yes, actually, I remember, but you’re a pure-blood so we should probably save you.” And Neville says, “I’ll join you when hell freezes over! Dumbledore’s Army!” Which is great; I love that moment. And then of course we all know what happens next. Voldemort… word? Summons!

[Alison laughs]

Kat: [laughs] Voldemort summons the Sorting Hat, which I’m curious… why? Why does he choose the Sorting Hat of everything that he could take out of that castle?

Rosie: It was Gryffindor’s hat, yes?

Kat: It was.

Rosie: Gryffindor is the one thing that Voldemort has not been able to get his hands on. He has now conquered the castle. The only thing he knows about is the hat, therefore he’s going to claim it as the Gryffindor symbol. Maybe?

Kat: Does he not know about the sword?

Alison: No, I think he knows about it. But he thinks it’s gone.

Rosie: It depends if Snape told him about it. And if Snape knows it is the only thing that would destroy Horcruxes, would he ever tell him about it?

Kat: I don’t know.

Alison: Well, he puts it in Bellatrix’s vault, right?

Rosie: That’s true. Yeah.

Alison: But he thinks it’s gone by that point because they broke into the vault.

Kat: So then he lights [the hat] on fire, so I guess it doesn’t mean all that much to him really.

Claire: I think it is, though. I think it’s…

Rosie: It’s him conquering Hogwarts.

Claire: Yeah, conquering another heirloom or something connected to the founders that wasn’t Slytherin. And it’s also a horrific death and it’s such a visual death, going back to being hung, drawn, and quartered. It’s horrendous; not just hitting someone with a curse.

Rosie: And if all of the Sorting Hat’s songs are about House unity and working together and fighting evil spirits and whatever, by destroying that the whole school then becomes… Slytherin becomes a dictatorship [and] all that kind of thing.

Kat: Yeah, that’s what I was just thinking, that the hat is such a symbol for unity and friendship and togetherness and all those things that he basically hates. But that is a pretty terrible death, if Neville had actually died.

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: But we know that he doesn’t because [of] blood protection. I really want to talk about the blood protection stuff because it starts to show up here. I know we don’t find out about it until later, but I think this is an appropriate moment to discuss [it] because it’s very prevalent here.

Rosie: Sure.

Kat: This for me has always felt a little off. [laughs] So Lily dies protecting Harry and Harry gets the blood protection. Cool. Lily is dead, okay? Dead, gone.

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: So Harry dies and protects everybody, but then doesn’t die.

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: He’s alive. So I understand that they still have the blood protection because he sacrificed himself and he was fully intend[ing] and was expecting to die, but he came back. So how is he protected by this blood protection, too? Because it is implied… and I’m pretty sure it’s said in here. I just read the chapter two hours ago and I already don’t remember…

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: … but he’s protected by it as well. So I want to break it down. Tell me your thoughts on this blood protection.

Rosie: It’s problematic. It’s a bit of a deus ex machina.

Kat: Because it’s supposed to be an amazing, super rare, incredibly awesome thing that happens to Harry.

Rosie: Yeah. Does it only protect them from Voldemort? Does it protect them from Death Eaters? Does it protect them from dying ever? Has he just created a race of immortals? [laughs]

Kat: And does it only affect everybody at Hogwarts? Because Harry died to save the wizarding world at large.

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: So is every single wizard in the entire world or country protected by this blood protection now? It just seems a little convenient.

Claire: It’s just against Voldemort, though, right? Because it’s only Voldemort that can attack Harry because of the blood connection…

Rosie: But the Death Eater spells that are supposed to be hitting the others… with Ginny, Hermione, and Luna battling Bellatrix, none of Bellatrix’s curses are hitting them because of this blood protection.

Alison: Is it, though?

Claire: I don’t think it is.

Rosie: That’s the implication.

Alison: I never got that.

Rosie: Really? Okay.

Claire: Yeah, because there are spells put on them. So the Body-Bind is put on Neville by Voldemort and he shakes it off; when they’re forced to kneel in silence, they can interrupt. But the scenes later on in the Great Hall, where there are multiple people fighting off Death Eaters, I think is just adrenaline probably. But also there are three or four per Death Eater. There is a line where it says Ginny, Hermione, and Luna aren’t even a match for Bellatrix. So even with three of them attacking her, she’s still not dying. I think that’s the [bigger] miracle. It’s not that they’re being missed; I think it’s more that she’s managing to fend off three fairly smart and talented witches, even if they’re younger than her.

[Rosie laughs]

Claire: I’m pretty sure it is just Voldemort that they’re protected against.

Rosie: Okay, I’ll concede to that. I’ve always read it as being part of the blood protection. It just seemed too miraculous to me that they could then have another battle and none of the good side would be injured in any way.

Claire: I think it’s adrenaline; just the fact that they’re all like, “We’re going to go for it now.” And there are a lot more of them. People arrive from other places. Okay. I guess we’ll get to that in another section in a bit.

[Rosie laughs]

Claire: But yeah, the blood protection, for me, is just something that I’ve always gone with. I’m just like, “Fine. I’ll just roll with it,” because I believed it for the first six books so I’ll just buy it for this one too.

Alison: I’ve always thought it was really lovely. I really like it, this idea, actually. It’s interesting that you guys roll with it. I definitely think it’s definitely just against Voldemort and that it does have to do with how willingly Harry walked into the forest and how willingly he said, “I’m going to die.” But I think part of it has to do with that choice when Dumbledore offers him the choice to go on or to go back. And I think that… Harry died, but it’s almost like choosing to become a ghost, if that makes sense, where he chose to come back so the death still counts, but it’s this miracle that he made the choice to come back and is still able to fight his way through this so that it still works.

Rosie: He became the phoenix. He was resurrected but then just carried on. Yeah.

Kat: So does the Horcrux or the missing non-Horcrux factor into the effectiveness of it at all? Because I feel like the blood protection is more tied to a soul than it is to a body, which I think is potentially why it’s still intact after Harry comes back to life after he is resurrected. Because there was definitely a part of his soul… according to the universe, it was Voldemort’s soul but it was in Harry’s body that died and was removed at that point. So does that have anything to do with it? I feel like it could.

Alison: It might.

Rosie: I guess it depends on whether you consider “King’s Cross” as the actual afterlife, in which case Harry’s soul went there and then came back, which would have been a death and then a rebirth and therefore the death part still counts.

Alison: It’s like a near-death experience.

Rosie: Well, [with] a near-death experience you wouldn’t actually die. You’re near death but you didn’t die, whereas this is a post-death experience.

[Kat and Rosie laugh]

Alison: Kind of like when those people die or are medically dead but then come back and they talk about how they’ve seen stuff.

Rosie: It [depends] whether you consider the soul to be a scientific thing because medically dead and spiritually dead are different things. [laughs]

Kat: So I guess we’ll move on to somebody who is actually really, truly dead, and that’s Nagini.

Alison: Woo-hoo!

Kat: Snake is dead! Neville has his moment and he pulls the sword of Gryffindor out of the hat and slices the head off of Nagini, which goes flying through the air in the most brilliant of ways. It’s brilliant. And that’s one of the best moments in the movie.

Alison: Oh, yeah. I love the line that talks about how there’s no sound; you can’t hear any of this actually happen and you can’t hear Voldemort scream, but everyone just seems to be looking at it at that moment and it’s just… it’s crazy. I just love that description.

Kat: It’s really good. It reminds me of when Sirius dies in the fifth movie and they take all of the sound out of it. Oh, it’s so powerful. So in that moment when the slash of the silver blade happens, it says that the crowds are starting to join the fray here. And Thestrals come in to join the fight, which I had never picked up on before, and I think it is really effing creepy.

Rosie: Yeah. You’re being battled by something you cannot see. [laughs]

Alison: Well, they’re mostly…

Rosie: Unless they can all see them now because they’ve mostly…

Claire: I thought at this point everyone could see them.

Kat: Yeah, but if you go by Jo’s explanation, they have to process the death before they can see the Thestrals. So I have a feeling that everybody is truly running on adrenaline. Very few people can already see them. House-elves… so they come marching out. I thought they all left but I guess they’re still here because Kreacher, in this lovely moment with the locket bouncing off his chest, which I think is the cutest thing in the world… But they come into the fight…

Rosie: That’s the thing. Did they ever actually go and tell the house-elves to leave?

Kat: I don’t think so.

Rosie: Because Ron remembers, Hermione kisses him, and then they run straight into the Room of Requirement. They never do anything about it.

Kat: Yeah. I don’t think that they… yeah, I don’t think so.

[Kat and Rosie laugh]

Kat: Oops.

Alison: Eh, things started happening.

Kat: Ron was all about that kiss. It’s fine.

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: All about the kiss. Anything for the snog. [laughs] House-elves have magic. We know this. And they have some great magic. But here they are, and they are hacking and stabbing at the ankles and shins of Death Eaters, according to the book. So why aren’t they using magic?

Alison: I feel like their magic can’t be malicious. I’ve always gotten that feeling that house-elf magic just isn’t very malicious. [It] can’t be used that way.

Rosie: They can’t hurt people. Yeah. There [are] rules with magic that you should only use magic for good. It’s the white magic/dark magic thing. White magic you should never use to injure people. And I feel like part of a house-elf’s contract of working for wizards would be that you cannot injure a wizard. And that’s why Dobby has to punish himself so much when he’s… not only because he’s obviously going against the wishes of the Malfoys in Book 2, but because he’s also caused physical injuries to wizards. He then punishes himself for that.

Alison: Well, and I mean, it’s also an element of surprise, right? They’re not looking down there, so all of a sudden it’s just…

Rosie: And I’m sure Kreacher has been longing to go for the kneecaps for a very long time.

[Alison, Kat, and Rosie laugh]

Kat: Yeah. He is a Slytherin through and through, isn’t he?

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: For sure.

Claire: The Kreacher moment makes me cry every time. I don’t know why. It’s my most emotional moment of this entire chapter.

Rosie: “For my master, protector of house-elves!”

Claire: It’s happy things that make me cry, more than the sad things. And this, when I was listening to this chapter, and… oh, God, it just got me. I was making lunch and I was welling up. I was like, “Oh, no!” [laughs]

Rosie: See, you guys with the American audiobooks, no. Stephen Fry kills this scene. It is amazing.

Kat: I haven’t listened to the audiobooks in a long time, admittedly. I should listen to them again.

Rosie: You should. [laughs]

Kat: But I do agree that that moment with Kreacher is really beautiful and it’s very touching. I just like Kreacher’s arc, even though it’s very incredibly tiny. I enjoy his arc incredibly. So there are a couple paragraphs on page 735 of the US edition that I really, truly love. And I just wanted to read them because I think it sets the tone for what’s coming up.

“Voldemort was in the center of the battle, and he was striking and smiting all within reach. Harry could not get a clear shot, but fought his way nearer, still invisible, and the Great Hall became more and more crowded as everyone who could walk forced their way inside. Harry saw Yaxley slammed to the floor by George and Lee Jordan, saw Dolohov fall with a scream at Flitwick’s hands, saw Walden Macnair thrown across the room by Hagrid, hit the stone wall opposite, and slide unconscious to the ground. He saw Ron and Neville bringing down Fenrir Greyback, Aberforth Stunning Rookwood, Arthur and Percy flooring Thicknesse, and Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy running through the crowd, not even attempting to fight, screaming for their son. Voldemort was now dueling McGonagall, Slughorn, and Kingsley all at once, and there was cold hatred in his face as they wove and ducked around him, unable to finish him – Bellatrix was still fighting too, fifty yards away from Voldemort, and like her master she dueled three at once: Hermione, Ginny, and Luna, all battling their hardest, but Bellatrix was equal to them, and Harry’s attention was diverted as a Killing Curse shot so close to Ginny that she missed death by an inch -“

Okay. So I love that moment because I feel like we are so trapped in Harry’s head and his journey and where he’s headed and where he’s going that for me, at least, you slightly forget about everything else that’s happening, and I think that those couple of paragraphs tell an entire story of what has been happening while we were off in the forest. They were prepping for this. They were getting ready for this; they knew that this was going to happen. And here it is. It’s come to fruition in this moment. And also…

Rosie: And this description is so lovely and cinematic as well. You can just pan across in your imagination and take in this scene happening around you.

Alison: I have so many feelings.

Kat: Yeah. Too bad it didn’t actually happen in the movie.

Claire: I was going to say that. I was reading this over and over and I was like, “Why didn’t they do this in the film? Come on.”

Alison: Yes.

Claire: It just reads so great.

Kat: I know we’ll discuss this in a couple of weeks, but it’s so disappointing.

Alison: It really is, though.

Kat: But I am super impressed by the fact that Voldemort is dueling McGonagall, Slughorn, and Kingsley. That is a kickass matchup. But then, okay, slightly… I am impressed for the three girls, Hermione, Ginny, and Luna fighting Bellatrix, but why is nobody else with Bellatrix?

Alison: I feel like everyone else is just… they’re just distracted by other ones and I love that it’s the three of them together. I love that team-up.

Rosie: Yeah. The girls are going to get her.

Alison: Everything about it, too… just all of their strengths. You have Hermione’s straight-up skill; you have Ginny, who is so good at curses; you have Luna, who is just inventive; and they’re all just working together. I think this is the first time we really see the three of them work together…

Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: … and they just come together to take on this woman that everyone hates because she’s so evil, and it’s just… oh, it’s glorious. I love it. I love this whole moment. It just makes me feel so many things.

Rosie: They are everything that is good about strong female characters, battling the ultimate evil female character.

Alison: Yes! Yes.

Kat: Yeah! So good. But of course, moments after that we get the Bellatrix and Molly moment. But before we get to that, Bellatrix is taunting Molly and saying, “Oh, what are you going to do when Mummy’s gone the same way as Freddie?” And how does she know that Fred is dead?

Alison: Was she there?

Kat: I don’t think so.

Alison: Or maybe she just notices that they’re missing one. I mean, the Weasleys are…

Kat: Yeah, but how was she going to know who is who? I mean, Molly barely knows who is who.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Claire: So this whole section, actually, when she’s talking to Molly, I was wondering, do they have any history? Other than one [being] in the Order and one [being] a Death Eater. But have they met before? Is there any reason why they’d know each other?

Alison: Aren’t they distantly related?

Kat: I think they’re kind of related.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Claire: But even if they’re distantly related, I don’t think they’d ever… it’s not like they’d ever hang out. Were they the same age? Would they have been at Hogwarts together?

Rosie: They… well, Arthur and Lucius know each other from the Ministry. Even though Lucius wasn’t technically working at the Ministry, he would have those connections and he could easily say whatever about them from there. And I do think that Bellatrix and her pure-blood mind and the House of Black and all of that stuff is so engrained in her that every single member of the House of Black will know just how much of a blood traitor the Weasleys are. They have got a black spot on their name because of it. They will know everything they can know about the Weasleys and their family. I do think that Bellatrix will hate Molly as much as she probably hates Andromeda. They’re going to have that same amount of loathing of the blood traitor as they do of the one that married the Mudblood, or married the Muggle-born.

Alison: And it’s a very small community. I mean, they know – or Voldemort knows – that Lupin and Tonks got married at the beginning of this book…

[Claire and Rosie laugh]

Alison: … and it wouldn’t surprise me if they know when Teddy is born, too, very soon after. But it wouldn’t surprise me if they know… if it has gotten through the community over the years that these are their kids, these are their names, and that someone…

Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: … when they found out one of the Weasley kids was killed, they found out which one it was.

Kat: Well, continuing on with this battle between Molly and Bellatrix, obviously we get the, “Not my daughter, you bitch,” moment, which is wonderful. But the actual moment where Molly kills Bellatrix… okay, I’ll read this. It says, “Molly’s curse soared beneath Bellatrix’s outstretched arm and hit her squarely in the chest, directly over her heart.” So look, it’s a mother’s love killing another totally bad person!

Rosie: Mhm.

Alison: I love the comparison to Sirius and how Harry… how it says Harry knew what was going to happen. He just knows because he makes that connection between her and Sirius.

Kat: Mhm.

Alison: And oh, man! That one just hits so hard, [laughs] to think about that.

Kat: So moving on here, we get further and further and further into the fight here. Harry is slowly making his way toward Voldemort and Voldemort witnesses the death of his best and most faithful servant – I guess, besides Snape – most senile, crazy… not senile. She’s not old.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: You all know what I’m trying to say. Anyway, so…

Alison: Insane.

Rosie: Senior.

Kat: Insane! That’s the word, that’s the word. So Harry throws up a Protego right in between – a nice big Shield Charm in the middle of the Great Hall – and separates… I always assumed that they were in the middle, but I don’t know how Harry would put up a round Shield Charm. So I guess that it cuts down the middle is what I’m going to assume.

Alison: Yeah. That’s how I’ve always pictured it.

Kat: Yeah… well, not… I’ve always pictured it as them in the middle like a circle, like a cage match.

Alison: Yeah! But I always pictured the Shield Charm going up between Voldemort and Molly…

Kat: Well, right, of course.

Alison: And then they start making the circle around where that Shield Charm is happening.

Kat: But anyway, they’re starting to talk and Harry very casually drops the line that there are no more Horcruxes. He’s like, “Oh, yeah, they’re gone. It’s cool.”

[Alison laughs]

Kat: And Voldemort has almost no reaction. At all.

Rosie: He already knew it was happening.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: I know, but he doesn’t… I mean, he should still react. He doesn’t say anything.

Claire: I guess he knows that they’re all gone because he’s just seen Nagini being killed…

Alison: Yeah.

Claire: … and probably potentially… [stumbles over words] Oh my God, I can’t even speak!

[Alison laughs]

Claire: Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem is definitely gone, although he doesn’t necessarily know that one, actually. But the others he knows.

Alison: Well, I think he…

Rosie: I think he would have had an inkling maybe from the forest and from his own version of whatever King’s Cross was, as well. I think he would have an idea that he is on the edge.

Alison: Yeah. And I think he’s probably thinking that he can defeat Harry and just go make more. So it doesn’t really matter at this point.

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: So they’re circling each other, and they’re going through… you know. And Voldemort thinks that it’s accidents that saved Harry, and Harry is like, “Ha ha, no, because I am smarter than you and I know things that you don’t know, Tom Riddle.” And then they start talking about Dumbledore, and there is a moment where Harry says, “You did not kill Dumbledore,” and Voldemort says “Dumbledore is dead!” And there’s a moment just before that where I truly think that Voldemort is actually, truly scared that Dumbledore is not dead because I think that when he’s screaming at himself and saying, “Dumbledore is dead! His body decays in a marble tomb on the grounds of this castle! I have seen it, Potter, and he will not return!” I think that he is terrified that somehow he was duped [and] that Dumbledore is alive.

Alison and Rosie: Yeah.

Rosie: And I love the way that that’s written, as well. There is a legitimate terror for him and yet hope for everyone else that actually maybe there was some kind of a trick and maybe Dumbledore can still come back, even though Harry is about to tell us, “No, yeah, we get it. It’s not going to happen.”

[Alison laughs]

Rosie: But for Voldemort, there is that element of fear. He thinks it’s impossible, but it could still happen.

Alison: Voldemort is everyone online after Half-Blood Prince, and Harry is Jo going, “Wait, back up… no.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Well, because I think truly… I mean, we know that Voldemort’s biggest fear – Tom Riddle’s biggest fear – is death. But I think his second biggest fear is Albus Dumbledore being alive.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Kat: For sure.

Claire: Also, Albus Dumbledore having conquered death, that would really, really piss him off.

Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: Oh my gosh, yeah.

Kat: [laughs] It really would, wouldn’t it? Especially considering he’s going to die in like six pages.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Kat: Anyway, so they continue on. They talk about Dumbledore. Harry says, “Yes, Dumbledore is dead but you didn’t kill him because guess what? Severus Snape wasn’t yours.” Boom! And he throws this giant bomb in Voldemort’s face. And I figured we might as well take a minute to talk about Snape. He’s mentioned, and all that.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Because they bring up Lily, and Harry says, “Severus Snape wasn’t yours. Snape was Dumbledore’s, Dumbledore’s from the moment you started hunting down my mother. And you never realized it because of the thing you can’t understand. You never saw Snape cast a Patronus, did you, Riddle?” And he goes on to say that, “Snape’s Patronus was a doe, the same as my mother’s because he was in love with her… and you should have realized. He asked you to spare her life, didn’t he?” And Voldemort says, “He desired her, that was all. But when she had gone, he agreed that there were other women, and of purer blood, worthier of him.” And I know everybody is going to have thoughts about that, so I just figured I’d throw it into the fray.

Claire: So another joyful conversation that I like to imagine is Voldemort and Snape having the chit-chat of, “There are plenty more women in the sea.”

[Everyone laughs]

Claire: I can’t picture these conversations, but he’s saying this happened. I just… I can’t even picture it. It’s great.

Rosie: It wouldn’t be a conversation; that’s the difference. It would be Snape begging for Lily’s life or being devastated by her death, and Voldemort lecturing him and saying, “Pull yourself together,” or just, “Shut up! Go and find a pure-blood woman.” It would never be an emotional heart-to-heart. It would always be a talk-down conversation.

Claire: Even Voldemort being like, “Shut up; go and find a pure-blood…” I do imagine by the time that Snape has gone back to Voldemort after Lily’s death, he would be, well, the Severus Snape that we know and love.

Rosie: Yeah.

Claire: The cold and calculating kind of, “Yes, okay. I will find someone else.” But I just still just enjoy that. Just Voldemort using the phrase, “He desired her.” He’s such an asexual character that it just… he’s such a weird character; he’s funny. Him talking about romancing…

Rosie: Not that asexuality is weird.

Claire: Oh, no. God, no, that’s not what I mean. What I mean is just hearing Voldemort talk about relationships or sexuality and desire to… it just makes…

Rosie: Yeah.

Claire: … because he has no understanding of that, but he just throws it off so casually. Imagining him having that conversation with Snape just… I love it. I know it’d be exactly as you say, Rosie. [laughs]

Rosie: And also, to all of you people out there who say Snape was evil because that’s not love, that’s just him fancying Lily and that it’s creepy, you guys all agree with Voldemort.

[Claire and Rosie laugh]

Alison: But it’s true! It’s true!

Rosie: But it’s not. Even Harry says it’s not.

Alison: But he does, though.

Rosie: He does desire her but he also loves her. It was more than that and Harry knows it.

Kat: So here’s the thing, here’s the thing: Voldemort is partially not wrong because Snape truly did desire Lily for a lot of selfish reasons.

Alison: Yeah!

Rosie: But he is wrong [that] that was all. He more than desired her.

Kat: Right. No, you’re right.

Alison: Well, yeah.

Rosie: We’ve already had this discussion.

Alison: Yeah.

[Alison and Rosie laugh]

Kat: So the part of Snape that he put forward to Voldemort was what Voldemort… I mean, yes, Voldemort doesn’t love and he has no idea what that means; even whatever kind of love Snape had for Lily. And so that’s why he truly believes that it was just desire, even though part of it was desire and part of it was whatever anyone out there believes it to be. I’m not going to throw anyone a bone here.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: So Harry and Voldemort continue to talk about Snape and the Dumbledore relationship; how [and] when Snape turned and all of that. So Voldemort goes on to say that, “It matters not.” It doesn’t matter whether Snape was his or Dumbledore’s or all the petty obstacles. “I killed them. I killed Snape. I killed your mom. I killed all of them. They’re all dead and the Elder Wand is mine. I got there before you did.” And Harry is like, “Ooh, wait a minute. Wrong again because actually, I got there first and…”

Rosie: Harry takes a moment to dig in first, doesn’t he?

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: He knows he’s got this big reveal so he’s going to make Voldemort pay first.

Kat: [laughs] He does, and he talks about the Elder Wand because Voldemort says he killed Severus Snape three hours ago. The Elder Wand is finally his and Dumbledore’s last plan went wrong. And Harry says, “Actually, I mean, it did [go] wrong, but also it didn’t go wrong, so why don’t you try and have a little bit of remorse here, Tom? Why don’t you show a little bit of remorse?” And Tom – Voldemort – has, actually, this very odd reaction, which… he says, “What is this?” And I was wondering… I think the fact that Harry used the word “remorse” is what freaks out Voldemort, and I’m wondering if that is something that he read about when he was doing all his research on how to make a Horcrux; that remorse is the only thing that could possibly fix his soul. And so I feel like Voldemort is understanding that Harry uses the word “remorse” and he might know something that he doesn’t know, that he needs to know, that might kill him. You get where I’m going with this?

Alison and Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: I’ve never thought of it like that. I’ve always just thought of it… it’s this weird shift in tone and even what they’re talking about, and he’s just like, “Wait, what are you saying? What does this have to do with anything?”

Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: But I think that’s a really interesting thought that he… because he does know Harry was hunting Horcruxes, and so for him to think, “Wait, how far did he get? Did he get this far to know that this is the only thing that can reverse that?”

Kat: And I’m also wondering in this moment – and we know that this isn’t a possibility – but does Voldemort maybe, possibly, think that Harry has a Horcrux?

Claire: Hmm. I don’t think so.

Rosie: Why would you think that, Kat?

Kat: No, I’m just throwing it out there. I don’t necessarily think that. It’s just this one paragraph where it says, “Of all the things that Harry had said to him,” meaning Voldemort, “beyond any revelation or taunt, nothing had shocked Voldemort like this. Harry saw his pupils contract to thin slits, saw the skin around his eyes whiten.” So I think that Voldemort is scared that Harry has done something or knows something about remorse, or Horcruxes, or something that Voldemort doesn’t know, and he’s just freaking out.

Rosie: See, I’ve never connected that phrase with Horcruxes.

Alison: Yeah.

Rosie: I always imagine this scene is more like Voldemort is gloating. Voldemort is saying, “But I’ve won, I’ve won, I’ve won.” And Harry is saying, “Actually, you’d better make your last confession because you’re about to die.” And Voldemort goes, “But I won!” And it’s that moment of, “Something’s not quite right here. Why is this kid not scared? Why does he still think he’s winning? Why is he asking me to feel remorse?” He’s freaking out because he should have won and he somehow has an inkling that he hasn’t. I agree that he’s got that fear that Harry knows something or that he’s done something. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with Harry having a Horcrux or Voldemort’s Horcruxes. I think it’s purely that situation of, “Hang on, I’ve now explained my entire plan and yet he still doesn’t think I’ve won. What’s going on?”

Kat: But then why use the word “remorse”? Because I feel like “remorse” is so pointed and it’s one of the only words we’ve ever heard in association with a Horcrux. We know that’s how you reverse one.

Alison: I definitely think Harry is going for that point. I definitely think that’s where Harry is going and that’s why he uses the word “remorse.”

Rosie: Yeah.

Alison: But I think it’s just [that] Voldemort underestimated Harry and underestimated what he knew. He thought he was just Dumbledore’s puppet, and now he sees that maybe this kid actually is smart [laughs] and has something that he can defeat him with.

Rosie: I don’t think the “remorse” word is necessarily a trigger word or it’s Harry using that word on purpose. I think it’s just what he wants Voldemort to feel. It’s what Voldemort has never felt. Even when he was at the orphanage, he never felt bad for stealing the toys or for torturing the kids. He needs to… remorse is a very human emotion and Harry is trying to make Tom Riddle/Voldemort feel what he should have been feeling all along.

Kat: So they go on and Harry says, “Oh, well, guess what? Dumbledore’s last plan hasn’t backfired on me. It backfired on you, Riddle.” And he goes on to explain exactly how the Elder Wand is actually his and that it was never Snape’s; that it was Draco’s and then that Harry had disarmed Draco only a few weeks before. “So guess what, Voldemort? You lost your shot. You were just a few steps too late there. You were too busy worrying about other things.” And he says that the moment is there, it’s nigh; it’s happening at any second. And Harry is getting closer and closer and closer to that moment. He finally says, “I am the true master of the Elder Wand.” And he drops… he uses Expelliarmus, and I know that this has been a thing that we’ve been up to. We’ve talked about Expelliarmus a lot. But do you think that Harry was 100% positive, in this moment, that this was going to work [and] that this was going to come out in his favor?

Alison: No. Nope.

Claire: I think he did it because it was his only option. He was never going to use the Killing Curse, and Expelliarmus has worked for him before. But he wouldn’t have thought to use anything stronger. He had worked quite a lot out by this point. He’s riding heavily on the wand magic, which so far has worked quite well for him.

Alison: I think there had to be part of Harry that thought, “This could not work. I could be wrong. But [it] got me out of the graveyard. Let’s try it again.” [laughs]

Kat: So in my head, this chapter and this moment – this time where they’re circling each other – went on for like 20 pages.

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: I remember reading it and flipping through it so quick, and it just felt like it went on and it was so good. And there was so much information. In reality, it’s around seven pages, and the moment where Voldemort actually dies is incredibly fast.

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: You don’t get that lock of the spells like you do in Book 4. It’s just golden flames, a bang like a cannon blast, and the Elder Wand is flying through the air, Harry catches it, and boom. Tom is dead. He falls over with a thunk and does not turn into “Voldefetti”.

Claire: Yes, oh my God.

Kat: He actually has a legitimate body that flops over and dies, and Harry is holding both wands in his hand, staring down at the dead Tom Riddle. Dead Voldemort.

Alison: We’ll probably get to this in a couple of weeks, but the way they did this in the movie makes me so angry because this is so thematically important to me, that we see how empty and how… not normal, but empty and mundane Tom Riddle is. He doesn’t go off into confetti and become this mystical creature that was evil. He was a man that did terrible, terrible things and ultimately…

Kat: He’s a Human with a capital “H.”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Yes, and he ultimately becomes nothing.

Kat: But Voldemort is dead, and Harry is swallowed up, basically, by everybody that has been surrounding them in the Great Hall. And the sun is rising and it’s this big, beautiful… it’s so symbolic of rebirth and new life and a new day, a new dawn, a new time, a new era, a new everything. And eventually he finds himself sitting on a bench beside Luna, and Luna helps him escape. He gets the cloak, he finds Ron and Hermione, and they go up to Dumbledore’s office, which… [sighs] movie [in a] couple of weeks, so many thoughts…

Alison: Yes.

Kat: But anyway…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: And they get up there, and Ron and Hermione don’t do a whole lot of talking. Harry walks in and everybody is clapping, all the portraits are so alive, and Dumbledore’s portrait is crying, which I think is very interesting; so he taught himself to cry in the afterlife.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Cool.

Rosie: There’s a moment there, though, when all of the portraits are described as clapping before that, where Harry enters the room and the noise hits him and you really start to understand how messed up they are feeling…

Kat: Yeah.

Rosie: … because [the book] describes it as he’s suddenly terrified by images of the Dark Lord returning and that Death Eaters burst in and all that kind of thing, so you’ve got ideas of PTSD coming in already that suggest that although the war is over, Harry still needs to escape from downstairs, he still needs to use the Invisibility Cloak, he still needs to be hidden, and he’s still afraid of things going wrong.

Kat: So I’ll bring it back up a little bit here, a very little, very little… minutia amounts. And they continue to talk and Dumbledore says, “I am so proud of you. This has been amazing. You did so well.” And Harry says that the thing that was hidden in the Snitch – which we know to be the Resurrection Stone – that he dropped it in the forest; he has no idea where, and he’s not going back for it. Dumbledore agrees, “Leave it there. That was the right choice.” But Harry says, “I’m going to keep the cloak. I’m going to keep Ignotus’s present, of course.” And Dumbledore also agrees with that. And then the good old Elder Wand here comes into play. And Harry holds it up, and [the book] says that Ron and Hermione “looked at it with a reverence,” which, funny, I didn’t remember Hermione doing that, but that’s the movie’s fault for taking that out.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: It’s the movie’s fault. And he says that he doesn’t want it and he was much happier with his own wand, so he pulls out the holly and phoenix feather wand and actually repairs it.

Alison: As it should be. Sorry.

Kat: As it should be, true. How does that work?

Claire: It’s a super powerful wand. It’s magic.

Kat: How is that a thing?

Rosie: It’s the Elder Wand!

Kat: But that’s it. After he repairs his wand, he says that he is going to put the Elder Wand back where it came from, which is in Dumbledore’s tomb, and as long as he dies a natural death, the power will be broken. And I feel [like] that moment right there is where Jo is like, “Oops, I can sneak a story into that.”

[Alison laughs]

Kat: “Whoops, I’m going to take that…”

Claire: “Guess whose children are going to Hogwarts where this tomb is and where this all-powerful wand is that they might have inherited from their father?”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Right. Exactly. So Ron, of course, says, “Are you sure?” and Hermione says, “Yes, Harry is right.” And then we close out the chapter with saying that Harry has had enough trouble for a lifetime. And that’s it. That’s the end of “The Flaw in the Plan,” the very last numbered chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That’s it; we’re done.

[Alison groans]

Kat: I mean, we could just finish now. Nobody would care.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: Many people do! Many people do!

Alison: I do!

Kat: I know. I care. I care too..

Alison: All there is left for us to do, then, is ask you our Podcast Question of the Week: “Harry thinks at the end of this chapter that he has had enough trouble for a lifetime. But were there any troubles that haven’t been resolved by this point? Were there any questions you felt went unanswered by the final confrontation? How do you think they should have been resolved? So head on over to and send us your answer. I’m very interested to see what people think about the ending.

Kat: Me too. Somebody, come up with a very creative Grawp one.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Just kidding. I guess now all that is left to do is thank our guest, Claire, again, for joining us. Thank for coming on this actual last chapter of Deathly Hallows.

Claire: Thank you, guys. I’m so sad. It’s very weird. I can’t believe it’s all over again.

Kat: Again. It does feel like… yeah, it’s an epic finish.

Rosie: Uh-huh.

Kat: Sad. But it’s okay; we have one more non-numbered chapter to go. Oh, boy.

Rosie: And then we’re starting on a brand new venture.

Kat: We are.

Rosie: And if you guys want to be part of that brand new venture, it’s fairly obvious by now that Hallows is completely full because it’s going to finish next week…

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: … but we have now released details about what we’re doing after we finish this book. So we’ve got [the] epilogue next week, we’ve got our book wrap, and we’ve got our movie watch to come, but after that, check out what we are planning to do straight after because there are some interesting things going to happen with Alohomora! If you go and look on our website now, you’ll see that the navigation bar at the top of the page has changed slightly: There is a new “Topic Submit” page [where] you can go and suggest new topics that we will be discussing in thematic episodes of Alohomora! in the future. You can find out more in our post-Hallows release plans video, so please do go and look at that, watch it, find out, and let us know what you think. But we want you guys to be on the show still, and we really do want to encourage you to come in, join us, [and] tell us what you think. And you’ve got the whole realm of the books to explore now. All you need is a set of Apple headphones or some other kind of headphone/microphone recording equipment. No other fancy equipment is needed, just a computer and an Internet connection. We love you guys; we want you to come and join us because this is a really fun show to be part of.

Kat: Yeah, it is! We’ve done it for four years now. Boom. Sorry. Okay.

[Rosie laughs]

Kat: If you want to keep in touch with us in the meantime, you can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN;; our Instagram is AlohomoraMN; our website is – you know it, you love it, you use it – Don’t forget to download a ringtone for free. Wink, wink, those might be going away sometime soon, so you might want to grab them while you can. Just saying. Or you can always send us an owl by audioBoom. Head over to It’s free; all you need is an Internet connection and a microphone. Click the little green button in the right hand menu, keep your message under 60 seconds, and you just might hear yourself on the next episode.

Alison: And while you’re on our website, make sure you check out our Patreon page. You can sponsor us for as low as $1 a month. That’s all it takes to keep us up and running and doing all the wonderful things, and we are so, so grateful to everyone who has contributed to this because you’re amazing. Thank you so much. You keep us going.

Kat: [applauds] I’m clapping. I’m clapping for everybody.

Alison: Yay!

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: And I guess that’s going to do it for us. Kind of a sad moment: our last numbered chapter. We’re going to sign off. So off to go get our own sandwiches from Kreacher.

[Show music begins]

Alison: I’m Alison Siggard.

Rosie: I’m Rosie Morris.

Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 187 of Alohomora!

Alison: Open the…

Rosie: Not my Dumbledore, you bitch!

[Show music continues]

Rosie: So he would use Alohomora… not Alohomora, sorry.

[Everyone laughs]

Rosie: He would use Expelliarmus.

Alison and Rosie: He would use Alohomora!

[prolonged silence]

Alison: Or just gloating on the Death Eaters’ side.

Rosie: Yeah.

Kat: Maybe. Yeah, that’s true.

Alison: “I killed a Weasley.” “Oh, which one?” “Oh, it’s one of the twins.” “Which twin?” “I think it was Fred.” I don’t know. [laughs]

Kat: That’s quite a conversation for a Death Eater to have, but cool.