[Show music begins]
Michael Harle: This is Episode 190 of Alohomora! for May 14, 2016.
[Show music continues]
Michael: Welcome, welcome, listeners. We are live here, just after our watch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and this is Alohomora!, no longer a global reread of the Harry Potter series.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Kat Miller: Aww.
Michael: I’m Michael Harle.
Kat: I’m Kat Miller.
Kristen Keys: I’m Kristen Keys.
Alison Siggard: I’m Alison Siggard.
Rosie Morris: And I’m Rosie Morris. And our guest friends today are all of you guys! We can already see you all lovely people there in the chat. But of course, there are other ways you can get a hold of us as well. This is a live call-in show, which means that you can call us live – believe it or not – firstly, by phone on 1-206-GO-ALBUS – that’s 206-462-5287 – and of course, you can also get a hold of us on Skype, useful for our international listeners. It’s free to use Skype; all you have to do is give us a ring at alohomoramn. You do have to be our friend to call, so friend us first, otherwise it won’t ring through, so do that first. If you don’t get through the first time, keep trying. There are so many people trying to reach us throughout the whole show, but we try and get as many of you on as possible.
Kat: I can’t believe this moment has come. I know we keep saying that, but I mean, we’re here. We’re here. That’s crazy. Crazy!
Rosie: Literally four years and two or three weeks, I think, after we started?
Alison and Kat: Yeah.
Kat: About that, yep.
Kat: I know. Crazy! Crazy. Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess. I mean, it’s true. [laughs]
Rosie: And of course, it is a perfect moment to tell you all about our Patreon. This episode is sponsored by Conor Bresnan, who joined us just the other day on our extra-special Snape live chat. Thank you so much, Conor, for sponsoring us on Patreon.
Rosie: You guys can sponsor us for as little as $1 a month. We release some exclusive tidbits on there for our sponsors, and we are also really, really trying to push toward a $400 goal at the moment, where we are trying to set up some Harry Potter video game live-plays – Let’s Plays – between Michael and [me].
Rosie: You can watch us dying several times, over and over again.
Rosie: We really want that to happen, so please, please, please do go and check us out over on Patreon and sponsor us for as little as $1 a month.
Michael: Yes, Voldemort’s “Nyah!” scream is so iconic.
Michael: But for me, the iconic scream is Harry going, [imitating Harry in the video games] “Wahh!”
Michael and Rosie: “Flipendo!”
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: But we are here to talk about the “Nyah!” and many more things. Let’s dive into our discussion about Deathly Hallows – Part 2 because that was the movie we just watched. Now, before we get into the points, let’s just go ahead and… everybody here, go ahead and put out your basic feelings on this.
[Kat blows a raspberry]
Michael: All right.
Kat: Was that clear enough?
Michael: And why do we feel this way?
Michael: Also, Kat, can you spell that? Can you…? [laughs]
Kat: P-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F-F – lots of F’s – T.
Alison: Oh my God.
Kat: With a couple T’s. Three, maybe four T’s at the end. Well… okay, so are we talking movie-wise or adaptation-wise? Because I feel differently about it depending on the lens.
Alison: Tell us how you feel both ways.
Kat: Adaptation-wise, it blows.
Alison: Oh, yeah.
Kat: It’s almost as bad as Half-Blood in that respect, which is a movie that I love but is a terrible adaptation. And from a film-standing point of view, the slow-motion is a little bit overdone, I hate the forced 3D effects…
[Alison and Michael laugh]
Kat: … I mean, the colors are muted, which are fine, I guess. I don’t know. It’s just not…
Rosie: I think that was artistic choice.
Kat: It was.
Rosie: They were trying to mute it to make it look dystopian, almost.
Kat: Yeah, it wasn’t the perfect film.
Michael: Alison, would you like to provide a counterpoint? [laughs]
Alison: I’ve been thinking about this the past few days, and as an adaptation, yes, it sucks.
Alison: But as a film, I like it. But part of me is wondering if I’m just really nostalgic; this was the first and only one I got to go see at a midnight premiere. [laughs]
Kat and Michael: Ohh.
Alison: So I think some of it might be nostalgic. [laughs]
Kat: How did that end up being the only one?
Alison: Because my mom wouldn’t let me because I was a kid.
Michael: Because you were a baby. [laughs]
Alison: Yeah! So I think I was 17… what year did this come out? I don’t even know.
Alison: ’11? So I would’ve been a junior in high school. So yeah, this was the only one that… and my mom actually came with us; that was the only way she’d let us go.
Alison: So yeah, I think some of it might just be nostalgia. But I do think it’s a decent movie; I mean, we get an Oliver Wood cameo, which always makes me happy. [laughs]
Kat: It’s firmly in the middle of the eight for me. It’s not great and it’s not terrible. It’s fine.
Alison: Yeah. It’s not Half-Blood Prince because I can’t stand Half-Blood Prince, as we all know, since we heard this…
Alison: … and I’m sorry if my voice is terrible, everyone. I was up until… I went to bed at 2:00 in the morning and got up at 6:00 this morning, so…
Alison: I’m at a wedding. It’s crazy. But I love you guys so much I’m here.
Kat and Michael: Aww.
Alison: Yeah, so I mean, it’s not as bad as Half-Blood for me, or even Order, but I can see its flaws.
Rosie: There was so much it needed to achieve to be a good closing film for this series.
Rosie: It was so impossible for it to ever live up to expectations; I think it did really well, considering what it had to do.
Rosie: It just changed a bit that I didn’t like. [laughs]
Michael: Yeah, there was a lot on its shoulders; that’s very true.
Michael: And Kristen? Your feelings?
Kristen: Okay, my turn now.
Kristen: I also have a horrible voice, but it’s because I’m sick. I wasn’t at a party or a wedding.
Kristen: It is probably one of my least favorite films. I honestly don’t watch it as much as the other ones. I hate the adaptation of it. And the film itself is all right, but maybe the first hour, I like? But then the rest I don’t, so even if I do watch it, I usually don’t watch the end of it.
Kat: Finish it? [laughs] Nice.
Kristen: Yeah. I hate the ending of this one, so I usually don’t watch it as much.
Michael: DarkWolfLuna173 in the chat: “In answer to your question: No, this movie is not as good as the Oreos I just had while I was watching the movie. Not in my opinion!”
Michael: That’s my feeling on the movie.
Kat: Well, Oreos; that’s a hard threshold to be above, so it’s hard to beat Oreos.
Michael: Yeah, couldn’t even beat Oreos.
Kat: Yeah. Part 1 might beat Oreos for Breakfast, but it’s close.
Michael: Yeah, no. It definitely might. But we’ll actually have a chance, as will you, listeners, to give your critiques to our very special guest [whom] we’ve acquired for this episode. Kat, do you want to tell us more about him?
Kat: Sure. So his name is John Richardson, and if you don’t know who that is, shame on you, first off.
Kat: And then second, he is a special effects supervisor on… I’m pretty sure he worked on pretty much every Harry Potter film, so he’s a big deal. And he’s going to be joining us in about a half an hour. So we’re going to give him a call; he’s from the UK, so you get to hear another beautiful British voice…
Kat: … and you guys can call in and ask him some questions about his work on the film, and maybe – maybe – we can get some Newt information from him. But probably not. But we can try.
Michael: Ohoho. [rubs hands together] But before we get to John, we’re going to go a little bit into the history of Deathly Hallows – Part 2. Go down that nostalgia trip for you, Alison.
Michael: So one big thing to start with was, of course, as we had discussed when we viewed Part 1, there was a split. And that film split was initially… there was a film split considered for Goblet of Fire, and when it was presented for Deathly Hallows, David Heyman actually didn’t want it. But producer Lionel Wigram insisted that the split occur, and Steve Kloves agreed, and Heyman eventually conceded because there was just too much information. There were rumors that Alfonso Cuaron was in talks to return, and Guillermo del Toro expressed an interest in directing the final Harry Potter films. Didn’t happen, sadly, for me. But Yates did stay on for both parts 1 and 2. And principal filming began on February 19, 2009 and ended on June 12, 2010. Part 1 and Part 2 were shot simultaneously, and they were treated as far as the filming went as one film.
Kat: Which makes me so sad because that means Dan couldn’t have the long hair he was supposed to have.
Michael: Oh, for… [laughs]
Alison and Kat: Yeah.
Kat: Because they filmed them at once.
Michael: Yeah. Those little details that we lose with that…
Rosie: They could have done long hair with a wig. They wore wigs anyway.
Kat: Who wore wigs?
Rosie: They all did. That’s not actually their real hair for lots of their scenes. They all had to have fake hair for most of it.
Rosie: Did you not know that?
Kat: I know that there are wig scenes, but… okay.
Rosie: It’s pretty much a way of keeping it…
Rosie: … as standard as possible. Because all the scenes were filmed out of order – it’s not filmed from the beginning to the end of the film…
Rosie: … like the last scenes were filmed first, and all that kind of thing. So, doing wig scenes and keeping their hair as fake hair is one of the most easiest ways of keeping it consistent.
Kat: So you think Dan was wearing a wig the whole time?
Rosie: Not necessarily the whole time, but quite often.
Kristen: It looks like a wig a lot of the time. It’s that bad.
Kat: No, Goblet [of Fire] hair was the worst.
Michael: As Rosie mentioned, everything was filmed out of order. And actually, even though… I think we kind of have this idea in our heads – this romanticized idea – that [Deathly Hallows -] Part 2 was the ending. And it was, as far as following principle photography, because [Deathly Hallows -] Part 1 actually finished up the shoot in the scene where they escape the Ministry. And it’s actually the part where they jump into the fireplace [that] was the final scene they filmed for principle photography. But Part 2‘s epilogue actually concluded the reshoots because David Yates felt that the initial footage for the epilogue that they had shot felt rushed and the makeup jobs were deemed insufficient. And the entire epilogue was reshot in December of 2010.
Rosie: And they still look too old.
[Alison and Michael laugh]
Rosie: Never mind. [laughs]
Michael: Yates actually said that he considered Part 1 to be the “road movie” and Part 2 to be the “all-out war movie.” As such, Part 1 uses uses what’s called “cinéma vérité” cinematography, which means there was a lot of hand-held camera for a more naturalistic effect; whereas Part 2 was meant to be more operatic and grand, and that is why there’s more fixed camera shots in Part 2. Stuart Craig returned to some old sets for Part 2, including the Chamber of Secrets, as well as Gringotts. The Hogwarts model, for one of the first times – that they used for reference for the film and actually shot quite a few times in the film – was actually digitized so that they could have an assistant to plan out shots and scenes for the Battle of Hogwarts. The destruction scenes were actually shot first, before the scenes where Hogwarts was left intact. So all those scenes you see out in the courtyard and everything in the rubble actually were the first ones to be shot. Let’s see, what else? Oh, yes! Sadly, Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double was paralyzed from a spinal injury during filming – during rehearsal for a scene. The final day of filming – after they leapt into the fireplace for Part 1 – there was what was called the “golden clapboard film” which had all of the cast members hitting the clapboard on their last day on set all compiled together. And of course everybody cried. There is video of it all over the Internet if you haven’t seen it.
Kat: It’s incredibly beautiful, actually.
Michael: It’s very moving.
Michael: Yeah. Heyman, Yates, and Radcliffe all made little speeches at the end.
Kat: And the big hug between the three of them – the trio, at the end…
Michael: Oh, yeah.
Kat: Oh, and they’re all crying! [fake crying]
Michael: That’s the hug that I wanted them to have on the staircase when Harry goes to the forest. I wanted that big group hug with tears.
Kat: Right? I mean, we know they can do it.
Alison: You mean instead of just having Ron in the background like, “Hi”?
[Alison, Kat, and Michael laugh]
Michael: The film was converted to 3D for IMAX during post-production. Shooting was already two-thirds of the way complete when the technology, in the opinion of the crew, became viable. We’ll see some interesting results of that through the awards that Deathly Hallows both won and lost that year. The film premiered at Trafalgar Square on July 7, 2011. It was live streamed to YouTube, so you could sit there and watch it if you weren’t in London…
Kat: Yeah, Warner Bros. is allowed to do that, people, not us.
Michael: Yes, not us!
Michael: And it’s still on YouTube. It’s a pretty cathartic experience to watch if you haven’t, listeners. And it is, of course, the grand epic moment where Rowling declared that Hogwarts would always be there to welcome us home. So it was a pretty…
Kat: Not Ilvermorny, for the record.
Michael: Not Ilvermorny!
Michael: It was a pretty epic premiere. In America, the film premiered at the Lincoln Center in New York City on July 11, and it was officially released en masse on July 15, 2011. At the box office, Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was the highest grossing film of 2011. It is still the eighth highest grossing film of all time. It is the highest grossing Harry Potter adaptation, and still the highest grossing children’s book adaptation. It is the nineteenth film in history to surpass one billion dollars at the box office, which it hit in nineteen days. And it tied with Avatar – which, really, who remembers Avatar anymore?
Michael: And The Avengers, which [is] fair enough because [Captain America:] Civil War just came out. So, that’s legit. The worldwide total gross was $1,341,511,219. So, money, money, money!
Kat: I love how random that number is.
Michael: Yes, the nice nineteen at the end. It’s an uneven number.
Alison: That is a really random number.
[Alison and Michael laugh]
Michael: One more dollar [and] it could have been nice and even. It was a critical darling. It ends its Rotten Tomatoes run with a 96% and a consensus of: “Thrilling, powerfully acted, and visually dazzling, Harry Potter [and the Deathly Hallows] – Part 2 brings the Harry Potter franchise to a satisfying – and suitably magical – conclusion.”
Kat: I feel like that review was only for Alan Rickman.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Alison: Uh… I think some other people did some really good things.
Alison: We had some good performances in this one.
Michael: I’m actually…
Alison: Maggie Smith…
Kat: Okay, well…
Kat: You just don’t even count her because she’s always amazing.
[Alison and Kristen laugh]
Michael: And we’ll get into performances here a little bit because there was quite a bit of talk about that in terms of the awards season. I think for Deathly Hallows – Part 2, that was probably the most talked-about Harry Potter was in the awards season leading up to the Oscars. But before we get to that, it did win a few things – quite a few things – including the BAFTA Britannia Awards in 2011 for Artistic Excellence in Directing – which went to David Yates, not only for Part 2, but actually for all of the [Harry Potter] films he directed – Five through Eight. It also won the BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects; the AFI Award for… a special award was granted for the whole series; the Screen Actors Guild – Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture; Saturn Awards 2012 for Best Fantasy Film; the Hollywood Film Awards 2011 for Movie of the Year; People’s Choice [Awards] 2012 – Favorite Movie and Favorite Action Movie, Favorite Movie Ensemble, and Favorite Book Adaptation – because it’s the People’s Choice Awards and they just make awards up…
Michael: The Teen Choice Awards for Choice Summer Movie and Choice Summer Movie Star – both male and female – for Dan and Emma. Rupert was omitted from that, as he seems to always be, sadly…
Alison: That is sad.
Michael: Yeah, he never got included in those.
Alison: It’s so sad.
Kat: Third wheel.
Michael: And the MTV Movie Awards 2012 for Best Hero – Daniel Radcliffe; Best Cast – Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and Tom Felton. Now, the film also got nominated for a lot of things and did not win. I think a lot of us were talking throughout the movie viewing about Alexandre Desplat’s score, which a lot of people feel is the best next to [John] Williams’s score.
Alison: It’s fantastic. I love this score.
Kat: It’s really good.
Michael: Yeah. There are some very well-established iconic themes in Part 2, which I think was particularly impressive considering how much “Hedwig’s Theme” was the flagship theme for Harry Potter. And somehow he managed to…
Rosie: There were some lovely references to “Hedwig’s Theme” throughout it as well.
Rosie: It came out at the most important moments – even though Hedwig’s dead. [fake crying]
Michael: And he did promise that there would be more of “Hedwig’s Theme” and he definitely delivered on that. The score was nominated at the Grammy Awards in 2012 for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. Interestingly, Alexandre lost to himself.
Kristen: I know.
Alison: That’s the best.
Michael: He actually won instead for The King’s Speech. At the British Academy Film Awards – the BAFTAs in 2012 – there were a lot of other nominations that Harry Potter did not win. It lost Best Production Design and Best Sound to Hugo and Best Makeup and Hair to The Iron Lady. And then you’re going to see a lot through this, listeners, that Hugo takes the cake a lot in 2012.
Rosie: But who’s watched Hugo again since it came out?
Kristen: I love Hugo.
Michael: I do too. It’s such a cute movie!
Rosie: But it’s not a movie I’d watch over and over again.
Michael: Aww, I like Hugo.
Kat: But watchability, re-watchability doesn’t make an Oscar movie…
Kristen: I know.
Kat: Otherwise Jurassic World would be winning Oscars.
[Alison and Michael laugh]
Kat: Like for real.
Kristen: I love that movie too.
Michael: [laughs] At the People’s Choice Awards in 2012, Daniel Radcliffe lost Favorite Movie Actor, oddly, to Johnny Depp who won for both Rango and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. And the entire Harry Potter cast nominated in the Under 25 category – that was Dan [Radcliffe], Rupert [Grint], Emma [Watson] and Tom [Felton] – all lost to Chloe Grace Moretz after she had starred in Hugo.
Kat: I remember that, people were furious!
Michael: Yeah, so she was the Breakout Star of the Year. At the MTV Movie Awards – augh! – it only won one thing and it lost everything else to both The Hunger Games and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1…
Michael: … including Movie of the Year.
Kat: Because they are more vicious than Harry Potter fans.
Alison: That… yeah, that’s probably true.
Kat: And I feel like Harry Potter fans got a little cocky with that one. They were like, “We don’t need to vote. We’re going to beat Twilight.” And then we didn’t vote.
[Alison and Michael laugh]
Kat: So remember that come November, kids, okay?
Alison: Vote for Fantastic Beasts.
Michael: Your vote.
Alison: Don’t forget.
[Alison and Michael laugh]
Kristen: Don’t forget to vote!
Kat: I know, I was talking about the presidential election…
Kat: … not Fantastic Beasts. Let’s be real.
Alison: Oh, I’m sorry. I thought it was…
Kristen: I got the wrong ones.
Michael: And then of course, probably the biggest controversy surrounding awards season for Harry Potter: the Oscars – the Academy Awards – in 2012. Harry Potter was nominated for three awards: Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, and Best Makeup. It lost Art Direction and Visual Effects to Hugo and Makeup to The Iron Lady. Warner Bros. also lobbied HARD for Alan Rickman to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and Daniel Radcliffe was not very happy about these Oscar snubs. In an interview he is quoted as saying:
“I don’t think the Oscars like commercial films or kids’ films unless they’re directed by Martin Scorsese. I was watching ‘Hugo’ the other day and going, ‘Why is this nominated and we’re not?’ I was slightly miffed. There’s a certain amount of snobbery and it’s kind of disheartening. I never thought I’d care, but it would have been nice to have seen some recognition just for the hours put in.”
And Dan said of Rickman possibly getting a nomination:
“The performance I found the most moving was Alan Rickman’s. I do think it’s the performance of his career. I think he should get nominations for Best Supporting Actor because it’s so touching and beautiful what he does. I’m really thrilled to share the screen with him.”
But for those of you who had the misfortune of watching the Oscars in 2012, the only mention Harry Potter got by host Bill Crystal was a joke saying that the series had made tons of money at the box office, “but it’s only had to pay 14% in income taxes.” And that was the sendoff for Harry Potter at the Oscars.
Alison: Which… I hope they’re regretting their Alan Rickman choices right now. [laughs]
Michael: Well, and that’s an interesting question that I wanted to ask you guys, because that question did come up in the chat and people were actually kind of split on that. Did Alan Rickman deserve a nomination and/or a win for Supporting Actor?
Kat: Who else was nominated that year? That’s my question.
Michael: Hmm… well, let’s take a look at that… Oscars 2012…
Kat: Because – and I just read it through while you were talking there, Michael – I actually wrote an editorial back on February 27, 2012, if you all want to look it up, on MuggleNet called, “Why Harry Potter Didn’t Win an Oscar.” And I actually firmly believe – sorry – that it didn’t really deserve one. So, you should go read that, and I will say that I am an enthusiast; I watch every single Oscar movie every single year. So, while I say that my opinion is definitely not the final one, I do believe that I am very much informed on the movie industry. So, take that as you will, but Alan – he’s a pretty great actor, and I don’t remember who else was nominated that year. So I think that that will help.
Michael: Let’s see, so we had Kenneth Branagh in My Week With Marilyn, Jonah Hill in Moneyball, Nick Nolte in Warrior, Christopher Plummer in Beginners, and Max von Sydow in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Kat: Oh right, that was before they increased all of the numbers… oh wait, they only did that for Best Picture. Okay, so Beginners was my favorite movie of that year, and remind me who won?
Michael: Let’s find out because this list…
Kristen: Jonah Hill, right?
Rosie: I think it was… was it not Extremely Loud…?
Kat: No, I think it was Jonah Hill, yeah.
Michael: Let’s see…
Kristen: I thought it was him.
Michael: We’ll check out that…
Kat: Because I know it wasn’t Christopher Plummer and I remember being very, very sad.
Michael: No, it was Christopher Plummer.
Kat: Oh! Well, there you go.
Kat: He must not have won for something else because I remember being sad.
Michael: Yep, it was Christopher Plummer.
Kat: But okay, so… remembering those films and comparing Alan Rickman’s performance to them… if they had expanded it, he could have been in it. I don’t know if necessarily one scene earned him the nomination over one of those five people – for me, even though I do think he was absolutely incredible.
Michael: The interesting thing was Alan did react to Daniel’s statement, very kind of tongue-in-cheek. And if you haven’t read the articles, listeners, about what Alan’s fellow actors had to say about him after he passed away, they’re really a delight to read because it really reveals that Alan was just an incredible human being and a very kind person. And he said of Dan’s extolling of his virtues on the screen and in Part 2, his response was: “I guess Dan hasn’t seen a lot of my other movies.”
[Alison and Michael laugh]
Michael: Because Alan didn’t feel that this was particularly… he was very fond of Snape and the performance, but he did not feel that it was his best work. And in fact, most of the adults in Harry Potter felt that it was just a lot of fun for them, but not anything they had to take too terribly serious.
Rosie: They’re not lead roles…
Rosie: … and they’re not even really big supporting roles.
Rosie: The supporting roles in this film are Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Bellatrix even to a point in all that kind of thing. They’re not the main storyline and therefore, you’re not going to get a Supporting Actor role for it.
Michael: Warner Bros. also did lobby not quite as hard for a Best Picture nomination [and] didn’t get it. I kind of felt like the Oscars should have at least [done] what the AFI had the class to do and given them a special achievement award.
Kat: Agreed. Full heartedly agree.
Kat: That’s the Oscar they should have had – an honorary You-guys-made-a-kickass-eight-movie-franchise-good-job Oscar.
Alison: Yeah. Though they did get a really funny How It Should Have Ended video, so… [laughs]
Kat: And I believe the BAFTAs did end up giving them a honorary series award…
Rosie: They did, I went to that night. That was fun. [laughs]
Kat: That’s right, I remember that. Yep.
Rosie: So, they kind of created a special award for Harry Potter and did a special event on the Children’s BAFTAs for that year.
Kat: Right. And let’s be real, if Harry Potter is going to win an award, it should be a BAFTA, not an Oscar.
Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]
Kat: Who cares about the Oscars, really?
Kristen: Yeah. True.
Michael: So I know we’re going to be calling John soon, but I’ll go ahead and go into just a little bit of some of the main discussion here, and we’ll touch on some more points once John gets here. But I did want to touch on some of… we always like to talk a little bit about the actors who joined the series. We didn’t have too many new cast members for Part 2 because most of them had been established. In fact, a lot of people who did come on were actually just replacing other people.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: Interestingly, Warwick Davis actually lobbied for a second role in the movie in addition to Flitwick – he wanted the role of Griphook and he got it! And he replaced Vern Troyer in the role. Vern, who was a good friend of Warwick, played Griphook in Sorcerer’s Stone. Probably one of the… [laughs] not so much for casting but more for portrayal controversial additions – Kelly McDonald as the Grey Lady, or Helena Ravenclaw, replacing Nina Young who had played her in Sorcerer’s Stone. I think there was a lot of disappointment expressed in the chat about her scene.
Rosie: I think that’s more about the CGI that was done on her. I think her actual acting was very good.
Rosie: What makes me the most upset about that recasting was because the original actress had written a lovely letter to a fan.
Michael: Had written to Rowling, yeah. Yeah.
Rosie: And yeah, that’s such a… just because she’s not a big name actress and the character became bigger, you could still use her. You could help her out and give her a bigger role, but never mind. Oh, Michael, you’re being criticized for your pronunciation of Warwick. [laughs]
Michael: Oh, sorry. [laughs] Yes, that is…
Kat: The second “W” is silent in Warwick.
Michael: There we go. Thank you, guys. I hope he’s not listening.
Michael: But yes, that was a shame, actually, because we all get so excited about, of course, the knowledge that Alan Rickman knew a lot about Snape; the key information. But actually, Nina Young knew a bit of key information about the Grey Lady before she was recast. Ciaran Hinds! I believe I pronounced that right. I hope so.
Kat: You did.
Michael: Thank you. [laughs] Ciaran Hinds came in as Aberforth Dumbledore, and he replaced Jim McManus who briefly portrayed him in Order of the Phoenix. I think there was also a lot of “eh” as far as Aberforth’s appearance in the film. Not a lot of terribly enthusiastic reactions from our viewers today. And a few people did seem to like the suggestion that Michael Gambon should have just played him, [laughs] but with altered makeup.
Alison: But I don’t think that would have worked because his voice is pretty distinct and you would have been able to tell it was him and it would’ve been too close, and so I think for just movie fans there would have been too much of a hint that it was Albus again. So I actually quite like the way they did it in the movie. I thought it worked well.
Michael: I think the problem is more with the scripts because Aberforth’s scene just doesn’t make any sense. He’s talking…
Alison: Yeah, but that’s basically my problem with most these movies so I’m very, very sorry.
[Alison and Rosie laugh]
Michael: Yeah, he’s talking about a lot of stuff and you’re just like, “What? What are you even talking about?”
Michael: Jon Key is probably one of the few who actually joined the cast and was new. He was Bogrod. Poor Bogrod.
Kat: And I believe he passed away.
Michael: Oh, did he? Oh, sad.
Kat: I am looking it up now but I’m pretty sure I remember hearing something about that. I could be totally wrong and remembering somebody else, but…
Michael: If you’re listening, Jon Key, let us know you’re…
Kat: Oh, gosh.
Michael: [laughs] Hebe Beardsall joined the cast as Ariana Dumbledore for some just very mysterious-looking shots, and as many people were…
Rosie: It should have been me.
Michael: [laughs] It should have been you, Rosie!
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Michael: Shoulda, woulda, coulda, right? Probably one of the most interesting cast switch-ups that a lot of people to this day still get confused about: Louis Cordice was brought back as Blaise Zabini. He had been established in that role in Half-Blood Prince, but he was, of course, side-by-side Goyle and Malfoy and a lot of people… of course, there are many a joke floating around the Internet of, “Oh, Crabbe is black now!” No, he’s not; that is Blaise Zabini. And he was standing in, actually, for Crabbe because Jamie Waylett was discovered in possession of drugs and a knife in April 2009 by police, and he went to court in summer of 2009, prompting his dismissal from the Potter series. And the script reflected his absence by killing off Goyle in his place, so…
Michael: That’s what you… don’t do drugs, kids. You’ll lose your role in a movie.
[Alison and Michael laugh]
Rosie: The progression of Goyle and Zabini’s characters was actually really nice in the film as well; they compensate really well. And they did show them as unique characters that were just as good as having Crabbe and Goyle there.
Michael: Yeah, I think Joshua Herdman actually did pretty great as Goyle at the end there, too. So…
Michael: A whole new group of young’ns [was] brought in for the “Prince’s Tale” cast, quite a few who are good friends of MuggleNet. Ellie Darcey-Alden was Lily Evans with different colored eyes, but she was still great in the role anyway. Ariella Paradise was Petunia, Benedict Clarke was Severus Snape, Alfie McIlwain was James Potter, and the young man who played Sirius Black might have one of the best last names ever. I’m not sure if it’s pronounced the way it looks.
Kat: It is.
Michael: It is? Okay, it’s Rohan Gotobed. Go to bed.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: … was Sirius Black. We also got a new bunch of young’ns for the “Nineteen Years Later” cast, including Arthur Bowen as Albus, Daphne de Beistegui – which would be a lovely name if I am pronouncing it right – as Lily, Will Dunn as James, Bertie Gilbert as Scorpius Malfoy, Helena Barlow as Rose Weasley, Ryan Turner as Hugo, Jade Gordon – who was Tom Felton’s real life girlfriend – playing Astoria, and…
Kat: Don’t say “was”; you don’t know if that’s true.
Michael: Well, “is,” “was,” maybe, coulda, woulda, shoulda. And Luke Newberry, who sadly was cut; but cast as Teddy Lupin but didn’t quite make it into the movie.
Alison: I still wish those had been there; even just a look at him. Like, “Look, it’s Teddy!”
Michael: I know, right?
Alison: “We mentioned him!”
Kat: You can see them in the super, super, super expensive Harry Potter: Page to Screen set. There [are] pictures of Teddy’s scene in there.
Michael: He’s there somewhere in memory. [laughs] Rosie, all of the listeners are like, “Please let Rosie say the names. Michael, stop saying all of these names so horribly.”
Rosie: I’m not going to be able to pronounce the French one right anyway…
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Kat: Bestegui, [pronounces it Best-eh-ghee] I’m pretty sure. I don’t know.
Michael: And of course, a lot of multiple secondary cast members returned. I won’t read them all but you all were spotting them in the background. I think some of the highlights included John Hurt, who came back to play Mr. Ollivander, which was big and up in the air and people weren’t sure that was going to happen, so that was very satisfying.
Kat: I love him so much. I love John Hurt so much; he’s so good.
Alison and Michael: Yeah.
Michael: Very consistent with his portrayal. And of course, a bunch of faces from Hogwarts, who decided to stick around and pop in and suddenly all became a part of Dumbledore’s Army, so that was nice to see. And sadly, a few of them didn’t make it to the end, probably one of the most notable being poor Jessie Cave as Lavender Brown…
Kat: Mmm. Yeah.
Michael: … who had quite the demise compared to the other characters. What did you guys think of that? Because I know there were just some strong reactions to that moment.
Alison: I still for some reason can’t see it. I don’t know why. Maybe I just never noticed it? I’m like, “Wait, is she really dead? Or is she just not quite dead? Almost dead? Barely dead?” [laughs]
Rosie: I think it’s slightly ambiguous. We see her attacked and we see her lying there; there’s no confirmation that she was actually dead. Unlike Parvati or Padma – whichever one she was – Patil where she’s actually being covered by a blanket and no one seems to notice that she’s just died.
Alison: Is that her? Is that one of the Patils?
Rosie: Yes, you’ve got one of the twins sat next to…
Michael: Padma is covering up somebody. I think in behind-the-scenes footage you can see that it’s just a rando.
Michael: Yeah, because…
Rosie: Where’s the other one then? It would be unusual not to show both of them together.
Michael: Well, that was… the interesting thing is Parvati didn’t come back. Padma did, but Parvati did not for the movie. So I mean, I guess in your head canon, Rosie, it could be Parvati.
Alison: Oh, man. That’s a little…
Michael: So yeah, it could be…
Rosie: Twins did not fend well in…
Alison: Not well here!
Michael: And of course, the other little cameo that everybody lost their minds at, but not at midnight because nobody knew it was him: Sean Biggerstaff flies in very briefly as Oliver Wood.
Alison: Yes, yes! Oliver Wood.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Alison: My favorite.
Michael: So that was nice and exciting. But yeah, that was just a little taste of who returned. We had a lot more people in the background who showed up. And before we get into any further conversation, are we going to be calling John here?
Kat: Yeah, let’s give him a call. Rosie, do I just have to dial 44 to call the UK?
Rosie: I think so. Give it a go. +44.
Michael: And while we call him, listeners, reminder: You guys can call in, too. We want to hear your thoughts, questions, [and] stuff about what you thought about this movie.
Rosie: You can also type your questions into the chat because I am looking at you guys right now!
Michael: So Kat, do you want me to talk about some of these other movie points while you work on that?
Michael: Okay! [laughs] How about we go through…? Because this was a nice, fascinating thing. For those of you listeners who don’t have the Blu-ray or haven’t checked out your Blu-ray in depth like I had not, there [is] a dearth of deleted scenes! Not a dearth because that… no, dearth. Is that right? I used that wrong the last time I said that on an episode. But there are a lot of deleted scenes on the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 DVD and Blu-ray that elaborated on a few things that were missing, including a scene at Shell Cottage where [laughs] Harry elaborates on his Horcrux senses. Ron and Hermione ask, “How do you know what it’s going to be?” And Harry just goes, “I just know, because.”
Michael: [laughs] Fleur provides the Bellatrix disguise to Hermione, and Bill warns the trio of making deals with goblins. So we get a little bit of that Shell Cottage stuff stuffed into a roughly two-minute scene. A very beautiful scene, that I had never seen before, of Harry and Luna at Dobby’s grave. And Luna brings up Dobby and the mirror shard to kind of bring that to our minds again, and she also departs for Hogwarts after saying – in relation to Dobby, she says, “A star in the sky has gone out.”
Michael: Which is a lovely little…
Alison: That’s beautiful.
Michael: Yeah. And she says that’s what her dad would say about people who had departed.
Michael: So I thought that was really nice.
Kat: I think I might have figured it out and would like to hit dial now.
Michael: Ring, ring!
[Alison and Michael laugh]
Kat: I’ve just got to bring the phone number back up here.
Michael: [singing] Hello. Can you hear me? I’ve been California dreaming…
Kat: Oh, no! It’s not working!
Kat: This is not good.
Alison: Oh, no!
Michael: That’s okay! Somebody said, “Banana phone!” and “Your roof is on fire.”
Michael: That’s okay. We have plenty of points to discuss until we get John on here. So we’ll keep going with the deleted scenes. Kat, you keep working on that. You got this. You got this!
Kat: I’m going to try one more thing. Hold on.
Michael: Okay, so Kat’s going to keep working on that.
Michael: I’ll keep going with these deleted scenes, because they’re just so lovely. The other fun thing about that scene with Luna and Harry is that Ron shows up and kind of shows off his little disguise, and Harry actually tugs at his beard.
[Kristen and Michael laugh]
Michael: And they also discuss the mirror shard, just to kind of really reinforce that idea. There is a deleted scene from the Hog’s Head where Aberforth talks much more directly about Harry’s mission and about Dumbledore, and it is direct dialogue from the book. [It] lasts less than a minute, but [is] probably the deleted scene with the most direct lines from the book. Harry and Ginny – there’s a scene of them on the marble staircase. You know how I always scream “Another!” and smash my [Thor] cup, but I wasn’t so crazy about this one.
Kristen: Yeah, it’s awkward.
Kristen: It’s awkward.
Michael: They go walking down…
Kristen: It’s too bad.
Michael: They’re walking down the stairs marching with the Hogwarts students and Harry and Ginny hold hands as the Carrows kind of look on. There’s a scene on the wooden bridge where Seamus and other students prep the explosives on the bridge and Neville expresses his doubts. Probably one of my favorite deleted scenes – and we’ve talked about this one before – on the Hogwarts battlements, where Tonks and Lupin reunite as the battle commences.
Michael: And it’s a lovely little scene where we get to actually see them being a couple. Who would have thought?
Rosie: There’s the lovely little echo of them holding hands and then, when they’re passed away…
Michael: When they’re passed away…
Rosie: Their hands have just dropped.
Michael: Yeah, it’s sad. And I really think this was one of those scenes that definitely would have helped that. Especially for people who may not be as familiar with the books, just to give that more emotional punch of Tonks and Lupin passing away. Interestingly, there is a deleted scene from the Slytherin dungeons where Filch locks up the Slytherins, Pansy Parkinson references Filch’s Squib heritage, and then the wall explodes and the Slytherins escape in a panic as the Death Eaters begin their attack on Hogwarts.
Michael: And that scene where you see Malfoy Apparate into the dungeon and grab Blaise and Goyle happens right after that scene. So that’s why that scene looks a bit off compared to the others – that’s the Slytherins escaping from the dungeons. And there is a great deleted [scene]. The last deleted scene provided on the Blu-Ray is Ron and Hermione on the stone staircase running frantically down the stairs. And they’re running away from Nagini and the dialogue goes, “Hermione?” “Yes?” “There’s something I need to tell you.” “I don’t want you to say anything you wouldn’t say if we weren’t about to be killed by a giant snake. It’ll just ruin it!”
Alison: That’s one of my favorites. It’s just like, yep, yeah. That would ruin it. [laughs] Yeah.
Michael: So, I’m guessing that one was removed because it’s just a tad too comedic for the moment. But it is a funny little scene.
Kristen: I haven’t seen that one.
Michael: Yeah, it’s cute. It lasts about ten seconds.
Michael: So I guess while we’re waiting for John, we can get into a few of the general thoughts and reactions to the film. I think one of the biggest ones – and this will be a good one to ask John if we get him on – the 3D elements. Because as I mentioned, this film, it was decided, should be 3D. And it was not filmed in 3D; it was converted in post-production. And fascinatingly, you know, we were saying about all the awards [and] how Harry Potter lost a lot to Hugo. And Hugo won a lot of awards and was cited a lot for its use of 3D. I kind of wanted to hear what you guys’ thoughts were, if you did see the 3D, what you feel about it. What [do] you feel about the 2D version of the film and the effect that the 3D had on it?
Kristen: I think I’ve only actually seen this movie in 3D. I saw it in 3D at the theatres and we have a 3D TV, so if I ever watch this movie, it’s only in 3D. I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen the 2D version of it.
Michael: Hmm. How do you feel about the 3D, Kristen?
Kristen: I mean, like I said, I hate this movie to begin with.
Kristen: But when I watch it, I watch it in 3D because it makes it just a little bit better.
Michael: Mhm! [laughs]
Kristen: So I like watching things in 3D, so I thought they did a very good job. There are some where in post-production they make it into 3D and it’s bad. But this one’s good.
Michael: Oh, I hear an echo of us.
Kristen: Yeah, me too. [laughs]
Rosie: Check your headphones, guys. The chat does not like the 3D.
Michael: I think we’ve got someone here with us.
Caller: Hello, sorry.
Caller: Hi, my name’s McKayla.
Michael: Hi, McKayla, you got through!
Caller: Yeah! I’m really surprised.
Michael: Well, so are we!
[Kristen and Michael laugh]
Michael: But we’re glad to have you here. Did you have a comment or a question for us about your thoughts on the movie?
Caller: Yeah, I just wanted to talk about the treatment of Slytherins in the movie. Because in the books they have that whole Slytherins redeem[ing] themselves through the adult Slytherins, like Draco’s mother, and we didn’t really get any of that in the movie.
Caller: It’s just kind of disappointing.
Rosie: It’s very much, “Pansy ruins everything and then Draco walks away.” [laughs]
Michael: [laughs] Well, we did get that little bit with Narcissa, of course, and her saving Harry. I think that’s kind of the one bone the Slytherins get thrown in the movies overall.
Michael: The students don’t really have a moment of redemption, and in fact, the dungeon scene kind of makes it a little better for them if that had been included, because at least they all flee in terror.
Caller: It was just really inconclusive how they just kind of let the Slytherins go and they never resolved what happened to them.
Michael: Mhm. Do you guys think that that plot was necessary to include, to kind of redeem the Slytherins more than they already were?
Rosie: I don’t know if it was necessary. I think there’s so much going on in that film and in that storyline that the story isn’t about Slytherin – it’s about Harry and Voldemort. And I think Jo has tried to do some kind of reparations in the fandom and talk about what would’ve happened afterwards. It’s just not an important feature of the actual storyline. It’s more of a fandom pride thing, with us claiming all of our Houses, rather than what’s actually going on.
Alison: I think it could have been really nice to see some students in Slytherin grow, maybe during the battle. Even something as small as that, I think, would’ve been a nice… because Jo has said that she always imagined that the Slytherins came back. They’re the group that comes back, about halfway through. And so maybe just to kind of include that in some – even just a little visual way without really focusing on it – I think they could have done that and it would’ve been great.
Michael: ISeeThestrals in the chat says, “I feel like the Slytherins still got slight redemption through the adults, but they were never really written that way in the books.” I think that’s kind of what we were getting at too. Really the only one who has that redemptive arc is Malfoy, and I think actually… I’ve never been crazy about Tom Felton’s portrayal of Malfoy, but he does keep that consistency of Malfoy’s character development from Half-Blood [Prince] through Deathly Hallows – Part 2. So I think that kind of saves the Slytherins a little bit as well in that respect.
But I want to go back to talking about the 3D just a little more because I wanted to get some other thoughts and reactions to that. Because I think what’s important to note is that the 3D is what’s heavily affected the death scenes that everyone hates. Unless we have some fans of the death scenes, please call in, fans of the death scenes for the baddies. Because of course the 3D changed up how Nagini, Bellatrix, and Voldemort all passed on – with explosions of confetti! Thoughts and feelings on that?
Alison: Confetti! It’s a parade. That’s all I can think of.
[Alison and Michael laugh]
Alison: Yeah, even if… I’m not a huge fan of 3D at all. Maybe just because the way my eyes hate trying to look at 3D movies. So I think it’s a shame that movies like this are trying so hard to be… to cater to 3D. Because then if you see it in 2D, you get dumb things like confetti-Voldy and it’s terrible. But that’s my thing about it.
Michael: Yeah! They can hear us! Hi, everybody. All right, so since we’re still trying to figure out technical difficulties… Peeves is messing with the connection, I’m sure. Which isn’t relevant because he’s not in the movies.
[Michael, Kat, and Rosie laugh]
Michael: Another… I think we’ll go on from 3D a little bit to actually talk a little bit about the other issue that a lot of people…
Kat: Wait! Hold that thought. Somebody’s calling me from the UK.
Rosie: It’s not me.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Eric: Test. One, two.
Michael: Hi, Eric!
Alison: Oh, it’s Eric.
Kat: Hello. There’s everybody. Excellent. Okay. And John is here, finally.
John Richardson: Hi everybody.
[Everyone says greets John]
Kat: Thank you so much for joining us today. We’re really sorry for all the difficulties we’re having here.
John: That’s all right.
Kat: So tell our listeners – you are live with about, I don’t know, a couple hundred people from around the world… tell the listeners a little bit about what you did on the Potter films, please.
John: I was responsible for the special effects on all eight films. So that involved all the practical effects, all the in-camera effects, flying people on broomsticks, building flying cars, Gringotts cart, the snake door from the Chamber of Secrets, the vault door from the Philosopher’s Stone. And all of the fires, explosions, smoke, and all the other things that happened live.
Kat: That’s… wow, that’s a big responsibility. That’s a lot of things. Wow.
Kristen: Geez, yes.
John: It was enough.
Kat: It was enough.
Michael: John, I have a question for you to start off.
Kat: Go for it.
John: Sure, carry on.
Michael: Okay, so… I think we all know that the Harry Potter films are excellent at combining practical and digital effects, and I think that’s what makes them really special. What were some of the… I’m curious what some of the challenges of that were in some of the revolutionary effects that occurred over the span of eight films and ten years, because there was definitely an evolution there.
John: It actually changed a lot over the ten years because a number of reasons. One is, the CGI technology was getting better over that ten-year period. So they were able to do a lot more. The directors changed as we moved along. On the first three films, certainly, Chris Columbus and Alfonso were much more… they were much keener on getting as much as they could for real. It was only really the last four films that David Yates preferred to go CGI a little bit more than the others had. So there was a balancing act to do all the way through. And then certainly on the first films, I thought we got a very good balance of the mixture of real effects and CGI work. Which, as you said, is one of the things that made the films so attractive. Because we were trying to make everything look as real as possible.
Rosie: And I do think that’s part of the magic of those early films, as well, is that there was so much that were practical effects rather than CGI effects. I had the pleasure of actually going to the Privet Drive Event at the Studio Tour the other day that you were present at, and seeing a demonstration of the letter box with all of the letters shooting out of it that you were doing there. And it really does make those movies come alive, doesn’t it? Because those magical effects were actually real and you could see that they were actual, physical objects. We love everything you did. So thank you very much for all of that.
John: It gives the actors far more to work with because they’re in the environment and they’re dealing with it rather than talking to a tennis ball on the end of a stick in front of a green screen.
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. And I think… I’m going to play the big nerd card here and personally say thank you for the work you did on my favorite of the series, Prisoner of Azkaban, because I consider that to have one of the best balances of practical and special CGI effects. For me they’re married perfectly in that film. I was curious what your favorite out of the series was.
John: My favorite is actually Chamber of Secrets.
John: Because I thought it was just more fun. I think the movie was more fun. It was before they got very dark. And we had a lot of different things going on in that movie. We did all the Anglia cars, we did all the broomstick flying. We had sixteen Anglia cars to do that movie, all doing different things. Some of them we rigged with racing engines to drive through the forest. Some were rigged to turn upside down. Some were rigged to throw the children out. Some were rigged to be crushed on the Whomping Willow. And we had one that actually flew through the air with the children in it on pole arm. There was a tremendous mix of effects in that, which I think is what made it my favorite, closely followed by Prisoner of Azkaban because, again, you can watch that film over and over again and every time you watch it, there’s something else going on somewhere in the screen that you didn’t notice before. And that was down to Alfonso and what he wanted to do and letting us do it.
Kat: Were there any effects that were particularly hard to make, that you wanted to be practical but ended up going digital or vice versa?
John: There were a lot. But there always [are], I think, on any movie. I think… Oh, gosh. There were certain things throughout all of the movies that I think would have benefited from a bit more reality. Particularly, as I say, the last ones. But we still managed to get quite a lot of stuff in. Even when things were being done digitally, we were doing a lot of the elements for the CGI guys. When the Room of Requirement burned down, I spent two weeks out on the backlot at Leavesden burning down huge piles of furniture and firing flaming sofas through the air so that they had real elements of all this stuff to put into their CGI world. So it did balance out, actually, all the way through.
Kat: Can you speak to the moment… We just watched Deathly Hallows – Part 2, the moment where Harry and Voldemort are flying through the air and their faces meld together. Do you have any thoughts or input or… I guess, how that came about? That moment.
Michael: Thank you for asking that. That’s the biggest question I’ve always wanted to ask.
John: That was pretty much all CGI. We did a lot of the flying through the air. To have them flying through the air, with the right attitude, with the wind on them and making things look real. But then those elements are all turned over to the CGI guys to melt them together.
Eric: John, I have a question for you. Did you mention back on Chamber of Secrets, again, the actual Chamber door, you said, that was your department?
John: Yeah, yeah. The door with the snakes, that’s working in the Studio Tour at Leavesden, and on special occasions I go down there and fire it up and let everybody see all the snakes move and see it working.
Eric: How does that work? See, that to me is my favorite practical effect of the entire series. I loved it in that movie, and I still just remember seeing that and just going, “Wow.”
John: Well, all of the snakes were built individually. All the scales were all individually made. The snakes retracting are operated… they’re all set on little linear tracks and move backwards and forwards by pneumatic rams. Bear in mind, this is technology fourteen years ago now, so if we were building it today, we’d probably use electric actuators on everything, but they hadn’t quite come to the market as good as they are now. The snake that travels around the outside of the door, again, it’s fully flexible; the scales are put on individually, and it’s actually driven round a track which is… it’s a dell ring track that we machined out, and it’s got a motorbike chain running in it, and the snake’s attached to that, and then the chain’s driven around by a big cog on an electric motor. And the opening of the door is hydraulic. So there’s a little bit of everything in there somewhere.
Eric: Yeah, that’s the one thing that I would like to install in my own house one day.
Eric: … is the Chamber of Secrets door.
Kat: That’s brilliant.
John: We’ve had a few offers for it over the years.
Michael: And we want to remind our listeners: you guys can call in, and John is here to answer your questions as well. We are watching you guys on the chat, and we will be asking some of your questions as well. But John, you had touched on this a little bit just a minute ago and I wanted to ask about this, because this, I think, is really specific to Deathly Hallows – Part 2, the idea that there could have been perhaps more reality, more practical effects lending to the reality of Part 2 because we’ve all just been talking about… and there was a very strong reaction in the chat as we watched the film, especially to the scenes… the death scenes of Voldemort and Bellatrix, and the scenes that we all understand to have been affected by the 3D conversion process. So we were curious about your feelings on that, and if there were initially different approaches, and how you felt about the final results?
John: I suppose I would have always liked to have had a little bit more practical work in there. And that’s not always my call. I can only influence to a degree, and ultimately it comes down to a lot of other decisions, and at the end of the day it’s the director’s call what he wants or how he wants it to look, and it goes that route. I battled hard to get as [many] practical effects worked in for the destruction of Hogwarts and all the explosions and things. And we got a certain amount in, which I think looks pretty good. We could have put more in maybe. But yeah, it’s one of those things. We sit down and talk about it, but making a movie is a collective thing, and we’re all guided by the director.
Rosie: Sure. John, several of our fans are asking: Was there a particular effect that is your favorite or that you had the most pleasure in creating throughout all the films?
John: It’s a question I’m always asked, and unfortunately there’s not a direct answer for it, because there were so many different things… there were a lot of things, but we had some… we liked the Anglia cars I was talking about or Hagrid’s motorbike, but I think the thing that ran through all the movies that didn’t vary was the broomstick flying because it was one of the first things I talked about to Chris Columbus when we first met. There had never been a film where broomstick flying looked real. And I think that was one of our prime objectives, was to come up with a way of sitting people on brooms that looked as though they were sitting on them and not perched up in the air on something else or hanging on wires holding on to a broom. And then we had to make it look fluid, as though the person was driving the broom but the broom was pulling them and guiding them, so that changed quite dramatically throughout the ten years because of course our actors went from ten-year-old children to fully grown men who weighed four times as much, so everything was re-engineered all the time. We’re always trying to improve on what we’d done in the previous movie, make it look better. So I think that was probably the thing I would single out more than anything.
Michael: One of our listeners, MyNameIsWonWon, in the chat says, and I think we agree… we’ve cited this before in the previous movies but, “The broomsticks are a triumph,” and I think we were all citing it especially around Prisoner… between Prisoner and Half-Blood, we were all amazed at the progression of the Quidditch scenes and the broomstick effects for those.
John: That’s… thank you for the comment. I say, it was work in progress all the time, but we changed the rigs as we went along; we rebuilt the rigs; we built better rigs; we were able to spend more money as we went along improving them. When I think back to the Sorcerer’s Stone, we were making a movie [that] nobody knew if it was going to be successful or not, budget was tight, prior preparation time was tight, and we did the best we could within those confines, but having got that, as we moved forward, it then became even more challenging to make it better and better.
Michael: And I think we’ve got one of our listeners here on the call with us.
Kat: We do.
Michael: It’s Amanda!
Kat: Hello, Amanda.
Caller: Hey, hi.
John: Hi, Amanda.
Caller: Hi. I was just ringing to ask, were you presented with an effect that proved too challenging, or was there something that the director just came to you and you were like, “I want to give it a good go,” but it just… it didn’t make it?
John: I don’t think so. I think there were various things on all of the films that we looked at and thought, “Well, how are we going to do that?” The Durmstrang ship coming up in [Movie] 4 was always a bit of a challenge, and personally I would have liked to have seen a bit more of that in a different way. But there were several effects… give me enough time and enough money and you can achieve anything.
John: The confines are always the budget and the time [that] you’ve got to make the movie, so… I don’t know. It’s a difficult question, that one.
Kat: We ask this of all of our guests: Have you read the Harry Potter books? Because I know some people on the films haven’t. I’m curious if you have.
John: I read every one. I read the first one six months before there was ever any talk of making a movie and I thought, “Gosh, I’d love to work on a movie of this if they ever made one.”
John: And six months later, I got a phone call.
Kat: That was lucky.
John: And having read the first one, it did encourage me to read the next one and then, of course, once I started working on the films, we were desperate to see the next book come out to find out what on earth we were going to have to try and achieve in the next film.
[John and Kat laugh]
Kat: So is your favorite book…? Is it Chamber of Secrets, as well? Or is it a different one?
John: It’s so long since I’ve read them now [that] I would have trouble picking out a favorite.
John: My favorite, I think, is probably the first one because it was so fresh and different when I read it; I can remember the reaction I had reading it. And I so enjoyed it because of that. When I read all of the books that followed on, I was so deep into the movies [that] it was really difficult to read them as one would just a book for enjoyment. There was more to it than that, if that makes sense.
Kat: Yeah, it definitely does. You were probably seeing the movies in your head as you were reading. I get that. Is there a scene from the novels that you wish you could have put into the movies? [That] you wish you had [been] able to fit it in there somehow?
John: Oh, I’m sure there is but I’d have to reread them all to tell you which one it is.
[John and Kat laugh]
John: I have to admit it was 16 years ago I started reading them, and I haven’t read one now for six years so I’m afraid my memory’s not that good.
Kat: Well, we have 190 episodes of a podcast that you could listen to while you’re reading, so it’s perfect.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
John: Thank you, but I’m busy tonight.
Kat: Understandable, understandable.
Michael: John, I wanted to ask, too, because this… and I don’t know how much you were involved with this since it was more of the CGI than perhaps the practical, but maybe you have some insight into this. Probably one of the most impressive subtle effects that really wowed, I think, all of us, was the de-aging of Alan Rickman to make him younger for the memory scenes. And I wanted to pick your brain about that a little bit because I, just a few night ago, was actually re-watching Tron: Legacy where they did the same effect on a few of the characters, I believe. And it was not quite as effective and that movie was not too far off from Part 2 in terms of timeline, so I was so impressed that you guys really nailed the effects only a few years later. How did that come about?
John: Thinking back, it was a combination of Nick Dudman’s work and some CGI work over the top…
Kat: Nick Dudman is the makeup artist, for those who don’t know.
John: Again, it’s like all things; when they’re done well, if you get the mixture right, it works and it looks real. Going back to the question I was just asked about things that I would have rather done practically, one of the things I thought would have looked a lot better than it did was the Inferi in the underground lake coming out of the water.
John: I was always very disappointed that they ended up as CGI characters because I thought by having some of them, at least, in a more practical sense coming up out of the water it could have been much scarier and more realistic.
Rosie: And of course, shows like The Walking Dead have really [proven] that there are some amazing creature effects that you can create from makeup and from removing limbs and all of that kind of thing. [laughs]
John: And I know Nick Dudman and some of the others felt the same about that.
Rosie: Sure. John, some of our fans are asking a few practical questions, so things like: How big was your team for most of these effects? Would it vary effect from effect, or was there a set group of people that would work on most of them?
John: I normally ran with a team that varied between about 30 and 45 people…
John: … depending on how busy we were and which particular production. But that was the sort of nucleus of my department.
Rosie: Sure. Quite a large team, then. Lots of good input from people. [laughs]
John: Well, yeah. I mean, there was a lot going on because, bear in mind, we’ve got two units, minimum, shooting all the time.
Rosie: Of course.
John: And each unit needed servicing. And we had all the things we were preparing ahead of the units. And some of the snow scenes… to dress the sets with snow, you can swallow up labor. I mean, I used up… and that was 15, maybe 20, people just out dressing the set with snow some days. There was a lot going on all the time.
Rosie: Sure. And of course, you still set the snow on the Hogwarts model at the Studio Tour every Christmas.
John: Yeah, well, the model boys dress that but we do the falling snow and various other bits and bobs throughout the tour, yeah.
Rosie: And if anyone wanted to get into the special effects business, how would they go about training for it? Or how would they get experience, or a degree, I guess, in what they would need to do?
John: Well, the various ways of getting in… I mean, it’s being [in] the film business in this country, and America, come to that. It’s traditionally passed down from father to son. My father was a special effects man, as is my son. And there are an awful lot of other father/sons throughout the industry. But a lot of people have come into it through the engineering side – machinist, welders – but really the only way to be a special effects man is practical experience and to spend years working in the workshop and on the film set and learn the craft of special effects in relation to making movies. So for anybody wanting to come in, the best thing you can do is to get a job on a film crew, even if it’s sweeping the floor and making the tea.
John: I probably brought, during the course of the Potter films, 10 or 15 people into the industry in that way. And likewise, today, a lot of the guys out there who are now special effects supervisors started working with me many, many years ago doing the same thing, making the tea and sweeping the floor.
Michael: So great to hear, John. Because we had a lot of listeners asking that question about how they can get into this profession, so it’s always encouraging to hear that sometimes even when you’re starting small, you never know where it’ll take you.
John: Well, that’s the nature of the game. And anybody wanting to come in, you’ve got to write to people and chase people and, “Please, please, please, can I have a job?” And I used to get inundated with people wanting to work and wanting to come in and those were, I thought, keen enough. If I could give them a chance, I did. For the most part, they’re all fully fledged special effects technicians now, which is nice to see.
Michael: And we know John, too – we won’t keep you too much longer – but we do know that you are helping out with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and I’m sure there are certain things you’re probably not permitted to tell us. But I know our fellow MuggleNet podcast, SpeakBeasty, had just recently reported on how the announcement was made that most of the beasts in the film are going to be CGI. And I was curious with that, as I’m sure we all are; are we going to be seeing some pretty dazzling practical effects in the wizarding world again?
John: Well, I can stop you in your tracks there because I didn’t actually work on the film. I’ve been semi-retired since the end of the Potters. And I still do bits and pieces on movies if I particularly want to and I do quite a lot on the Studio Tour at Leavesden. And that’s, at the moment, been quite enough to keep me gainfully amused. So anything about [Fantastic] Beasts, I can’t help you with, I’m afraid.
Michael: [laughs] Well, we appreciate you being honest and letting us know. You could have made up an answer and we would have taken it as the truth.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: But thank you for letting us know that, John. And we appreciate all the work that you still continue to help out with, as far as supervising the Studio Tour, and all the work that you did with Harry Potter. I think we’ve all… we were just discussing that the films, while we were… the Potter community was quite disappointed to see that the films never really nabbed those Academy Awards and such. But we all are still here talking about them all these years later, so obviously the work has lasted for future generations.
John: Yeah, that is one of the tragedies of the movies, to me, is that on eight movies that were made as well as they were, I don’t think there was one Academy Award over a few nominations. And I suppose that’s the nature of the politics in Hollywood but they didn’t win any. We won a BAFTA or two, which was nice. But that’s life, I suppose.
Rosie: Sure, and hopefully… the Academy may not have recognized it, but there are so many thousands of fans throughout the whole world that have recognized how amazing these effects were and hold a special place in their heart [for] them. So hopefully that makes up for it in some small way.
John: Oh, and it did. It makes up for it more than you know. And I’ve had great pleasure in spending evenings, certainly, at the Studio Tour talking to people and showing them the door and just generally chatting. The warmth and the enthusiasm from the people going through is quite extraordinary.
Michael: Well, and I don’t know if you ever got to talk to her directly – I imagine you have – but I’m sure it was also very gratifying to know that you had a hand in bringing J.K. Rowling’s imagination to life in a way that I know she has found to be very true to her work.
John: Yeah, we did talk a few times. She used to come down to the set, particularly on the earlier films, quite a lot. In fact, her little girl, on the first Harry Potter, was one of the first people to go on the broomstick flying rig.
John: So yeah, she was charming and lovely and everything you would expect.
Kat: Oh, good to hear. Good. Well, we want to thank you, John. You’ve given us a good half an hour of your time and answered all of our questions and we really appreciate it.
Michael: Thank you. Thank you, John.
Kat: And yeah, all of our listeners thank you as well. Thank you so much.
John: Well, my pleasure, and thank you to all the listeners for keeping Harry Potter alive.
Kat: We’re happy to and so are they. Well, thank you, John. We will talk to you soon. Have a good night.
Michael: Goodnight, John.
John: Thanks very much. Take care.
Kat and Kristen: Bye!
Rosie: Thank you!
Michael: Okay, so let’s geek out about that for a minute. Oh my God!
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Kat: That was so good!
Eric: Oh my God! Ahh!
Michael: Everybody in the chat, freak out with us because we’re freaking out. That was fantastic.
Rosie: They’ve got a… [unintelligible]
Kat: I just want to sit down and have tea with him for four hours and just talk about everything.
Eric: Yes, such a lovely gentleman. You know what, Kat? I’ve come up with a new idea for Alohomora! episodes.
Eric: Okay, you know how at the Studio Tour – Rosie, you know this – there [are] all those wands for everybody who has worked on the films? We need to track down and interview every single one.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Kat: Done. I could definitely do that.
Eric: Per episode, one person… Rosie, next time you’re there, write down the names. We’ve got to find these people.
Rosie: I will try. I’ll get all 30,000 names that are in that room.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Kat: The good thing is, I can probably get most of those names through other people that I know. So that works out perfectly.
Rosie: Okay, speaking of the Studio Tour: Like I said earlier, I had the pleasure of going to the Privet Drive event earlier this week and seeing firsthand the magic of all of those envelopes shooting through the letterbox and just seeing how… I can’t imagine being, I don’t know, Dan Radcliffe in that scene, stood in that room as all of that was going on. Because as a ten-year-old [or] eleven-year-old kid, being in that world, it really must have felt like you really were Harry Potter receiving the letter and going off to Hogwarts for the first time. He and his team really did bring that magic to life and it is just amazing what has happened thanks to his skills, and seeing the special effects industry move on so much over these last years. I really do feel that the Harry Potter films have a big role to play in the advancement of CGI brooms and all of that kind of thing. Well, the brooms were real. The CGI screen behind it was not.
Rosie: But it’s just so amazing that we can hold that in our hearts as proof that we had this amazing experience with these films and really did bring it to life.
Michael: Yeah. I think it was great that John mentioned how it’s really helpful to have those practical effects as a benefit for the actors because before prepping for this show, I was reading Page to Screen last night… which, listeners, if you haven’t had a chance to read it, some libraries actually carry it as well because I know it’s a big, expensive book to grab. So make sure and give it a read if you ever have the chance. It’s a great look behind the curtain on Harry Potter. And one of the really neat things was Stuart Craig, the set designer, mentioned how Alan Rickman actually thanked him for creating the boat house scene because he felt that it made his performance more powerful in that moment…
Michael: … because he had something… he was immersed fully in the world.
Eric: “This is the place where I die.”
Michael: Yeah, yeah. So I think the work of people like John and Stuart… I think what’s been really exciting about the Harry Potter films, as a whole, is they’ve really turned a lot of people on to discovering how a movie is made and the kind of work – phenomenal work – that goes into that stuff.
Michael: And I think we’ve still got a little bit of time to stick around and just chat for a little bit about some more points in the movie, right?
Kat: Sure, absolutely!
Michael: Okay, and we’ve got some more hosts here. We’ve filled things out a little more. Eric has joined us.
Eric: Hey, everybody!
Michael: So we’re glad… and Alison is back.
Alison: I’m back! Somehow it worked. It came back.
[Kristen and Michael laugh]
Michael: Live! Live shows, right?
Kat: Our editors are going to love this one.
Alison: Yeah, they’re going to be real happy with me. [laughs]
Michael: So I actually wanted to touch on something… and I’m glad you’re here, Eric, because I think this is the point that you have a lot to say about as far as the early films versus the later films. And some of John’s stuff touched on it and a lot of people were saying, “Can’t see the movie because there is some really bad lighting in this situation.”
Kat: So dark!
Eric: No lighting!
Kristen: Yeah, right?
Eric: Look… and this is something that I actually have a problem with David Yates for, and I love David Yates and what he did for the films. But there were pre-screenings in Chicago, which I happened to catch a couple months before it came out, when not all of the effects were completed yet. But they screened it to an audience because they wanted to see, “Were the jokes laughed [at]?” Now, the interesting thing about this is it’s a long tradition; they did it ever since Chris Columbus worked on Home Alone and they kept that with Harry Potter. But at these screenings David Yates, David Heyman, Alan Horn from Warner Bros., and a couple of others were all present in the theater watching these movies. And after Half-Blood Prince, which I happened to see, I approached David Yates – actually, it was David Heyman – and I said, “Hey, I want to thank you. This was great. Everything, everything…” and they flipped out because they thought that the press had leaked. Anyway, it’s a long story.
Eric: But I ended up saying to David Yates, I said that the film – this is on Half-Blood Prince – I said, “The film is in sepia, what’s up with that?” Because it is. It freaking was.
Michael: Kind of.
Eric: And he said, in a very polite British accent, and a very polite voice…
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Eric: [in a British accent] “We’re still working on that.”
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Eric: [in a British accent] “There’s elements with the lighting we’re still working on.”
Rosie: So at least they were aware of it, then.
Eric: [in a British accent] “It’s a work in progress, yes.” [back to normal voice] They’re aware of it…
Kat: That’s a very good David Heyman.
Eric: Rosie, Rosie, I just got pushed away, brushed off by David [Heyman]. Because you know what? The film is still that way to this day, okay. They didn’t change a darn thing.
Michael: [laughs] As a friendly reminder to our listeners, Half-Blood Prince is not quite sepia. It’s color corrected. And you can actually find an explanation for that in Page to Screen, but I think, in terms, like you’re saying, Eric, of the effect on the lighting, it was a bit more, I would say, Deathly Hallows Part 2 is catastrophic in its lighting.
Eric: It absolutely is.
Rosie: Part 2 is better than Part 1. When we did our movie watch for Part 1, I literally couldn’t see anything on the screen for at least three quarters of the film.
Rosie: Part 2 I could actually watch.
Michael: That’s funny because I actually think…
Rosie: Part 1 is the problem.
Michael: I thought Part 2 was worse because I feel like I missed all of the…
Michael: There [are] some beautiful epic battle scenes going on, and I can’t see any of them.
Eric: You guys can’t imagine the lighting corrections that I had to do on the caption contest when I took screen grabs from the last two films. It’s all lighting correction. Brightness is up 200%.
Rosie: I wonder if there’s a difference in the brightness in UK and US DVDs as there is a difference in titles.
[Alison and Michael laugh]
Eric: I wonder. It’s all just… The point of my story is the colors for me were off in the later films, and almost deliberately so. And that’s the one thing that I just think is the weirdest thing ever, because unless you’re in a theatre where it’s that dark…
Eric: … you can’t actually see anything at the home. You can’t watch the later Harry Potter movies during the day with the sun shining in the room.
Kat: That was my problem.
Rosie: The fans are pointing out that they were marketed as the darkest movie yet.
Alison: I do wonder, though, because I remember seeing it in theaters and not having that problem. So I wonder if they just didn’t think about bringing it to a smaller screen, necessarily, with that lighting and what that would do. Because it looked great on the big screen. But you cannot see anything [unintelligible].
Eric: Considering they had an entire celebration in the park for home video, yeah, it’s inexcusable. I want to put the Harry Potter movie series to fault here and say, “Look, guys, what the hell were you thinking?” Sorry.
Kat: That’s okay. Let’s see what our guest, our caller here, has to say.
Kat: Frederick, hello?
Eric: Hi, Frederick!
Michael: Hi, Frederick!
Caller: This is Frederick, or VoldemortsLostNose on the forums.
Kat: Oh, VoldemortsLostNose!
Eric: Found it! Finally!
Caller: Yeah. It was in Hufflepuff’s cup all along.
Caller: Yeah, I wanted to talk about some of the added scenes to the movie, because I think this movie had some of the best added scenes and some of the worst, but especially Neville’s and Harry’s speeches in the movies. I just break down every time I hear them. When Harry talked to Snape in the Great Hall and when Neville talked to Voldemort in the courtyard. And I wonder what you thought about that.
Rosie: I love Neville’s speech.
Alison: Oh, I love Neville’s speech. I think it’s fantastic.
Michael: I don’t like Neville’s speech. [laughs]
Kat: I think that parts of it are really corny, but I think parts of it are really nice, too. So an edited-down version of Neville’s speech would be perfect for me.
Michael: I agree with that.
Eric: I don’t think it needs to be edited. I think what it is, is the thing that strikes me when I’m watching Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is, for the first time they had to connect what these characters’ relationships were to each other. How much Harry means to Neville. There’s no scene in an earlier film where that has to be established. I think, because the stakes were high, all these characters were fighting for their lives, they felt the need for that speech. It was the right intuition to show not just what was at stake, but that the characters cared about each other. Because there’s just no time for that in earlier movies, where it’s Harry against Voldemort. The speech really works for me. The actors being able to inhabit their characters in a way that makes me believe them as the characters actually have something to lose.
Michael: I think you’re actually right, Eric, in that there’s a need to develop Neville’s personal relationship to Harry in that speech.
Michael: That’s lacking from the films. But in a way, the reason I find the speech corny in terms of Neville taking a leadership role is because I think that’s something the movies actually did really well. They did build up Neville properly. I think there still could be a speech, I just think that it sounds too… It’s the Braveheart speech, it’s the Queen Elizabeth speech, it’s the speech that every movie has.
Kat: Well, it needs to be a little bit more “For Frodo,” and a little bit like Aragorn’s speech in Lord of the Rings, is what I’m saying.
[Alison and Michael laugh]
Kat: Because that speech is really short and it’s to the point and it’s not corny in any way. It’s just beautiful and perfect. And I feel like Neville’s is just a little too long. The whole “Oh, he’s in his heart, and he died for us.” Yeah, we get that.
Michael: And as a lot of people pointed out…
Alison: I think it makes…
Michael: Oh, go ahead, Alison.
Alison: I was going to say, I think it makes… the “in our heart, blah blah blah” thing, it connects it to other themes from other people. That connects it to Sirius, that connects it to other things that have been going on thematically throughout the films, and it shows how it goes throughout.
Rosie: I think my biggest problem with the speech is when Neville lists Fred, Remus, and Tonks as those that have died, because we haven’t really seen Neville have much interaction between Remus and Tonks and Fred, and it just seems very… He’s saying those names for the audience, and not because he’s actually got much…
Kristen: That’s very true.
Rosie: He should be mentioning the ones that are his friends.
Eric: And also because battle is confusing, some of those kids should be like, “Wait, what? Tonks died? What?”
Kat: They’ll be like, “Who is that?” is what some of them are going to say.
Eric: Oh, yeah.
Michael: We’ll get to the deaths in just a minute here. It looks like we have another caller coming on.
Alison: Before we start talking to them though, I’m going to have to sign off.
Michael: Oh, Alison, thank you.
Alison: Everyone, sorry. I have a wedding to get to.
Michael: Not your own, though, right?
Eric: Not your own?
Alison: No, not my own. It’s one of my best friend’s. Sorry.
Kat: Bye, Alison.
Alison: Bye, have fun, guys. Everyone enjoy the show. And I look forward to listening to the end later.
Michael: Thank you, Alison.
Kristen: I’m going to have to leave with Alison as well, even though we’re not in the same…
Eric: Are you getting married, too, Kristen?
Kristen: I wish.
Kristen: But it’s been really fun chatting with everybody, and I’m sure I’ll hear from you guys soon.
Michael: We’ll see you both on the other side.
Kat: Bye, guys.
Alison and Kristen: Bye.
Kat: And with that, we do actually have another caller on the line.
Kat: Rachael, hello?
Caller: Hello, hello.
Rosie: Hi, Rachael.
Caller: Hey. So some of you may not know me. I’m IGotTransfiguredIntoARhubarb.
Kat, Michael, and Rosie: Oh! Yay!
Caller: I’m also a transcriber for the show.
Kat: Oh, thank you so much!
Kat: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Caller: Oh no, thank you. Yeah, I just wanted to call to see if I’d get on.
Rosie: Oh, and you did.
Kat: You’re here!
Kat: Do you have a question or comment or thought about the film?
Caller: Well, I didn’t actually watch the film.
Caller: So there you go. I do love the film. But I want to know what’s your favorite scene?
Kat: Favorite scene.
Michael: That’s a fabulous question.
Rosie: My favorite scene. I just really love Rupert and Emma’s giggle after they kiss.
Kat: Oh, that is really cute!
Rosie: It’s not even really technically part of the scene, because it’s them breaking character, but I love it so much.
Michael: You know, though, that is something that Yates… I’ve got to give him credit for here. Because that calls back to the fabulous scene in Order of the Phoenix when the three of them are talking in the common room and he let the camera keep rolling as they were laughing.
Michael: And Yates really did want to find that natural place for the three of them, and I think in a lot of ways and in a lot of added scenes he really did that very successfully. And the kiss is one of those.
Kat: I agree. And for me, I tweeted out, I’m sure people saw, #Best5Minutes, because it’s definitely The Prince’s Tale for me in this film. That is the redeeming factor of this film for me.
Michael: Oh my gosh.
Kat: As much as I love Snape as a character, we all know how I feel about him, that is by far the best five minutes in the Potter franchise for me, and it is twenty times more powerful in the movies than it is in the books, and that’s definitely all down to Alan Rickman’s performance. But actually, my absolute favorite moment in the entire film is right after “The Prince’s Tale.” You all know I like the silent moments, in Order when Lupin is holding Harry back, all the little silent ones. And right after he comes out of the Pensieve, Harry sits down and just has this kind of, “Oh, F” moment. And it’s dead silent, and that is just so beautiful. I love it so much. So that is my absolute favorite moment in Part 2. For sure.
Michael: I like all the stuff with Scabior. That’s my answer. [laughs]
Kat: Scabior, huh? All the ladies in the chat will agree with you.
Michael: Your rock star. Yes, on the bridge. Kat, it’s funny you said the part where Harry sits and has his realization moment. I don’t know if it’s necessarily my favorite, but it always comes to my mind, because it’s… and we were saying it in the chat during the movie, I feel Emma just nails this scene. I really like that Harry actually does say goodbye to Ron and Hermione as he goes into the forest and I just love Hermione’s reaction. Because if Harry had run into her in the book, that is exactly what she would have done.
Kat: Yeah, for sure.
Michael: No question [she] would have insisted she go with him. And it’s one of my favorite lines, the way she delivers it. There’s something just incredibly genuine about that moment. I hate Ron in that scene…
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Michael: … but I love Hermione in that scene. So that one really…
Rosie: So Emma’s performance of that particular line – the “I’ll go with you” line – is just… I made a Doctor Who reference earlier, so I’m going to make another one now: the moment in “Doomsday” where Rose and the Doctor are on the beach and she’s crying…
Kat: Oh, yeah.
Michael: Yeah… no, it’s that same…
Rosie: That moment is so heartbreaking.
Michael: It is that same feeling in that scene, for sure.
Michael: I think, now… okay…
Michael: Since we were saying favorites, should we say least favorites? [laughs]
Kat: Least favorites? Every other part.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Kat: Just kidding. Least favorite? You know what I don’t like – and this is just my personal thing – when Bellatrix and Molly are dueling, Molly has this moment where she looks terrified and starts backing away from Bellatrix. And I feel like that is not book Molly and I don’t like it. Down with that poor choice.
Rosie: Yeah, it should be anger, not fright in that moment.
Michael: I feel like that moment happens because up until then, there has just been no establishment of these two characters even interacting, and so…
Rosie: That’s true.
Michael: And there’s no risk to that battle, so they were just like, “Oh, we’ll have Molly stumble back so that we can imply risk for a second.”
Michael: But yeah, we all know how that ends anyway.
Kristen: Right. [laughs]
Michael: In a fiery explosion of Bellatrix confetti, of course…
Kat: Also least favorite.
Kat: Anyway, we have another caller, our friend YoRufusOnFire!
Caller: Hey, guys!
Kat: Hey Stephanie, how are you?
Caller: I’m good. How are you guys?
Rosie: Good, thank you.
Caller: Did you guys all enjoy the drinking game?
Kat: Very much so.
Rosie: I was eating chocolate rather than drinking.
Michael: I couldn’t have my butterbeer! I’m poor, now that I moved, so I didn’t get any ingredients to brew butterbeer for this one. But I would have, if I had.
Kat: I used tea with my breakfast. So thank you very much indeed.
Michael: So proper.
Caller: So I have two questions – I’ll ask them at the same time. What scene disappointed you the most? (Cut out the whole battle scene with the tentacle robes!) And then please tell me how you really feel about the awkward Voldy hug.
Michael: I love the awkward Voldy hug.
Kat: Oh, boy…
Eric: I love the Voldy hug.
Rosie: I love the Voldy hug.
Eric: Does everybody love the Voldy hug? [laughs]
Kat: I’m indifferent on the… I think it’s hilarious, but I don’t think it makes sense.
Michael: I think a lot of people…
Rosie: Yeah, there’s no reason for it to exist, but it is hilarious.
Eric: Oh, I would argue that it makes sense.
Michael: I think it makes sense.
Eric: Have you guys not heard my argument? Yeah, it’s Voldemort trying and failing miserably, but trying to seem like your uncle who isn’t in fact the Dark [Lord]… I’m botching my… but I love it. I love it.
Michael: No, I think that’s…
Rosie: He’s like, “Connection is important! Look, I’m a good leader!”
Kat: [laughs] It’s terrible! It’s so bad!
Eric: And he allows himself – because he feels he’s truly won and his arch-nemesis is finally dead – he really, truly believes this. He allows himself the most eerie… it’s eerie because he’s not normally having anything to be happy about. He allows himself this giddy, really weird… it wouldn’t work in any other circumstance, but for me [it does].
Rosie: I love the way he’s still holding his wand as he does it as well.
Rosie: He’s still got this weird, threatening, pointing-his-wand-at-you way about him.
Kat: But also, you said happy and I wouldn’t say that he’s happy in that moment – I would say that he’s feeling triumphant – because I don’t know if Voldemort ever feels happy.
Eric: That’s fair.
Michael: I think that’s correct. The Voldy hug for me works, and it’s weird and it’s uncomfortable, and I think it’s supposed to be. Because I remember at the midnight release, there were so many awkward giggles in the audience when that happened…
Kat: [laughs] Yeah.
Michael: And people flinched and I think that’s what it’s supposed to make you do. Because I think for me, that’s one of the few moments when the Potter films actually succeed at using visuals over dialog to make a point about a character. And the point there is that Voldemort does not even understand what a simple thing like a hug is. That’s how far gone he is. I think that really worked for me. It’s weird but it’s supposed to be weird.
Kat: I think maybe in that moment – you know that study that just came out if you hug somebody longer than thirty seconds – he was just trying that out, that’s all.
Kat: He was just on the Internet that day, reading it.
Michael: Honestly, the way more awkward thing to me are some of the noises that Ralph Fiennes makes through this movie.
Michael: My favorite one is when one of the Horcruxes is killed, and he goes: [imitates a dying Horcrux]
Kat: It’s so bad, it’s so bad!
Michael: It’s great! It’s great.
Michael: We’ve got another caller.
Kat: Hello, Hannah!
Michael: Hi! [laughs]
Caller: So, I was on Episode 161…
Eric: Welcome back.
Rosie: Thirty or so episodes ago.
Kat: Almost a year ago.
Caller: It’s been a while, but yeah.
Michael: We’re glad you’re back.
Rosie: Welcome back.
Caller: Thank you.
Kat: Do you have a question?
Michael: Sorry, Hannah, all of the episodes blend together in our heads. So I was actually looking it up, and … that was the one where … I was making Marty McFly references.
Michael: Just because I felt like it.
Kat: Wow, Michael, good memory.
Michael: Well, I looked it up.
Kat: Oh, fine. Cheater.
Michael: The power of Google.
Caller: I have a relatively silly question and/or comment.
Michael: Well, we were just making Voldemort noises, so we don’t mind.
Caller: So I read the books as a kid, watched the movies over and over, and my boyfriend has only ever seen the movies. And he swears up and down that Harry and Luna belong together because of the movies.
Caller: I needed to get someone else’s opinion on this.
Eric: Okay, okay, great. It’s possible that the screen time shared between Dan Radcliffe and Evanna Lynch is less awkward than the screen time shared between Dan Radcliffe and Bonnie Wright.
Michael: Ooh, that is totally true.
Rosie: That’s true, yeah.
Michael: That is very true.
Rosie: The connection that they show in Half-Blood Prince, I think is the most important bit. Like when he’s inviting her to the party and he goes and looks for her shoes…
Rosie: Sorry, that’s Order of the Phoenix. Yeah, there are some lovely moments between the two of them, but I wouldn’t say they were romantic.
Kat: Yeah. And all you have to do is tell him that Jo says no.
Kat: So she marries somebody else, he marries somebody else… all that.
Michael: Also, Hannah, tell him to read the books. [laughs]
Kat: There you go! That’s a good one, I agree.
Michael: Definitely do that, too. That is an interesting thing to bring up. I think that’s actually a big, worthwhile discussion topic here. So of course we get a few scenes, actually – one scene during the battle where Neville says, “Have you seen Luna? I’m mad about her!” and everybody’s like, “What?!” And then at the end, they sit next to each other and there’s a little implication.
Michael: And I think that stretches to… there are a lot of little surprises and shockers that were not in the book that were added.
Michael: Do we feel that that was beneficial to still keep us a little surprised as an audience? Or was it unnecessary to do those changes, in favor of maybe including other things that they left out?
Kat: Well, in order to include things they left out, they’d have to go back four movies.
[Eric and Michael laugh]
Kat: So I guess I don’t mind all the additional scenes. Especially the nice ones, like the nice Lupin quote, things like that.
Michael: Oh, I love that.
Kat: They don’t bother me as much. They’re insignificant to the plot overall, really.
Rosie: I think it’s nice to recognize the difference between the book characters and the characters that the actors created. I do feel like Matthew’s Neville and Evanna’s Luna would have been more suited than Neville and Luna in the books and that kind of thing.
Rosie: So it’s quite a nice… it’s like they’ve been paying attention to what they’ve been making for a few years and going along with what that looks like and the chemistry that’s on film. And that’s one of the reasons why, unfortunately, Ginny does not work as a film character.
Rosie: It’s because they were trying to force the storyline from the book, and unfortunately there wasn’t really much chemistry between those characters on the film. So I kind of see why those things were done, and it is quite nice that there’s a little bit of difference… as long as it’s not inferring too much.
Michael: Well, those changes also included – as we already cited – one death, but there were quite a few characters who got the axe in the movie that did not die in the book – or whose fates were unconfirmed, including poor Bogrod [and] Griphook…
Rosie: Poor Bogrod.
Michael: [laughs] Griphook, who we definitively see die, and poor Miss Lavender Brown, who we’ve already shed tears for. I do have to express my shock at Lavender, because I remember at the midnight showing everybody’s jaws dropped.
Kat: Well, yeah.
Michael: Because it came out of nowhere, but at the same time it didn’t, because she was referenced as being attacked by Greyback in the book. So it wasn’t a complete surprise.
Rosie: Hi there!
Michael: Who’s this?
Caller: I am Carina, also known as ThatTimeRemusWaddiwassiedVoldy.
Michael: Oh! My much-preferred ending for the books! [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] Yeah.
Caller: [laughs] Right?
Michael: So glad you’re here.
Caller: Yeah, thank you! So, we were talking about casting a little bit…
Michael and Rosie: Mhm.
Caller: … and I really – especially, Michael, I definitely want your opinion on this – but I really love David Thewlis as Lupin…
Caller: … my favorite character. I don’t know, he’s not one of those ones that get a lot of talk, I think, when people are talking about great casting, like Snape and McGonagall and all those others. But for him, he was not at all what I pictured, but he fit Lupin so well to me…
Eric: I would agree with that.
Caller: I feel like he completely embodied him.
Michael: Oh my God, we are doing some hardcore Lupin love right now.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Eric: I agree. I had forgotten, this comment brought out… I remember when Movie 3 came out, we were just like, “What is with Lupin and his Hitler mustache?”
Kat: Oh, God! [laughs]
Eric: That was totally a legit thing that Harry Potter fans were thinking and saying…
Michael: Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah.
Eric: So the fact that… you’re right, because he’s also not my book Lupin at all by a long stretch, but in the films it works perfectly and I immediately believe him as Lupin. It’s really weird how that works.
Kat and Michael: Yeah.
Rosie: I think it’s because Lupin is such a subtle character and he’s such a normal person in the midst of all of this madness and all of these vaguely caricatured larger than life characters that… his performance of Lupin is so subtle as well that we just go, “Oh, that’s Lupin. There’s no real acting involved, that is just him.” But of course it is actually acting and David Thewlis is an amazing actor, but it’s such a subtle role and such a character that we would all recognize in all of our lives that he does so well at creating it.
Michael: You guys are just making my heart grow three sizes bigger because it’s making me want to watch Prisoner of Azkaban again. Because bringing that up makes me realize that Thewlis is one of the lucky few adult actors who got a good role in Harry Potter…
Michael: … and really stole the show with it, did something quality with it and… Thewlis was not exactly what I pictured. I’m not really even sure what I picture when I read the books. If you asked me to draw Lupin from my head canon, I couldn’t do it. But yes, whatever he did, he reached into the depth of that character, in the way that Alan Rickman did with Snape, on a level that… he went the extra mile and made Lupin, in character at the very least, exactly how I wanted it to be. And thank God the later movies came out and he grew that moustache and beard out and he looked way closer to Lupin than he did in the third movie, so it all got remedied in the end. And yes, Swishandflick27, I am very glad that Thewlis did not get cast as Quirrell, although that would’ve been typecasting because he never plays a good guy…
Michael: … and he always gets decapitated in all of his movies. So, a nice change for him to make it at least all the way to the end and have a pretty great supportive, positive role in the films. But hello, caller!
Caller: Hi, my name is Sarah. I go by RoosterJulia in the forums, which I haven’t been on long, after following you years ago…
Caller: I was in the army… yes.
Alison and Rosie: Oh, wow.
Michael: Wow. Well, thank you for your service and welcome back.
Caller: No problem.
Caller: My comment/questions are regarding Voldemort’s death. A lot of us didn’t really prefer how he died…
Caller: … floating away as confetti, yes.
Eric: [laughs] Voldefetti.
Caller: As a soldier, we had to deal with stuff, especially nearing battle and after battle, and I don’t know, it just… to me it didn’t feel finalizing. You’re used to seeing someone… like Voldemort, he’s someone who was so high and mighty…
Caller: And for him to just die and be left lying on the ground and stuff, it just shows how much mortal he would’ve been, like in the books. Because, I mean, that’s a defining moment…
Rosie: Yeah, yeah.
Caller: He is mortal. No matter how much you look at it, he’s mortal.
Rosie: I completely agree.
Kat: It’s funny because all of the… every fan and every listener of the show that I’ve ever talked to says that, but then you talk to the filmmakers and they say that that just doesn’t show his mortality. Like the fact that he’s floating away into a million pieces and can never come back seems more final to them, and I am just really confused by that. So, I’m with you. Wholeheartedly.
Michael: I think the whole Harry Potter fandom is.
Rosie: Especially with Bellatrix as well.
Kat and Michael: Yeah.
Michael: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Rosie: The idea that these are the two darkest villains and we’ve been fighting against them for several movies now, I guess that they wanted to show them being completely obliterated…
Rosie: … and having no chance of re-coming back. But to have actual physical dead bodies of the good guys and then no physical dead bodies of the bad guys, it really just… yeah, it doesn’t give you an idea of the reality of war and the reality of the good guys actually killing someone.
Kat: I just wanted to see Voldemort’s body being dragged off after the fact. It would have been nice.
Michael: I think you’re absolutely right, Rosie, in that the good guys’ deaths further undermine the bad guys’ deaths.
Eric: Yeah, I like that a lot, a lot, a lot…
Kat: They do.
Michael: And especially because I think that’s… speaking of those deaths, I think that was something that a lot of people were confused and disappointed in, especially the death – Fred’s death. Because if you’re not watching carefully, you don’t even know which twin died.
Michael: Not identified by…
Eric: Wait, which twin died in the movies?
Kat: And the scene that they show, which a lot of people say is Fred’s death…
Michael: It’s not!
Kat: … is actually George…
Michael: That’s George!
Kat: … being disarmed…
Kat: So it’s really terrible.
Eric: Now I’m confused. [laughs]
Michael: Which you only know if you see them on the battlements and you recognize that George is in the purple coat and Fred is in the green one. [laughs]
Michael: So yeah, that was… I think…
Kat: You had to be a very keen-eyed fan to notice.
Michael: Well, and as we had, of course, Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley) on the last episode, and he did mention that Fred… his death, while it definitely impacts Harry, is maybe not completely central to Harry’s story arc in Hallows.
Kat: Yeah, yeah, and I think that’s part of the reason that we just don’t see it…
Kat: … is that it has nothing to do with Harry’s story.
Rosie: And that’s the proximity factor. It would have something to do with Harry if it was done as it was in the books…
Rosie: … where it was Harry physically seeing that death happen beside him and realizing actually, “My friends are dying beside me in this battle.” But the fact that Harry is doing his own mission on such a different path in this film… he’s aware of where Ron and Hermione are, he’s got Luna shouting at him and telling him answers that he works out himself in the book and all of those things. He’s not in that same situation when Fred dies in the film. And so that death is diminished slightly because of that lack of, again, physical understanding of the reality of death within that sequence.
Kat: Right. They made up for it with the awesome Hedwig change in her death…
Kat: … so it’s fine. I mean, it’s not fine, but it’s fine. [laughs]
Michael: Well, and why don’t we go more into this because somebody who – we touched on it, but let’s go a little more in-depth – somebody who got an amazing demise and also an amazing follow-up is of course Alan Rickman as Snape – and as Kat has said, #bestfiveminutes. Why are they the best five minutes?
Eric: I mean, something about him cradling Lily’s body.
Eric: That’s what does it for me. That’s acting – that’s Alan Rickman acting right there – for me. Nothing else did it for me until then, seriously.
Kat: And it is a perfect adaptation of those moments from the book.
Michael and Rosie: Yeah.
Kat: And the music – oh, the music – so good!
Michael: See, what’s interesting to me is that I actually… even though it’s a pretty nailed-down adaptation, I think what’s sad about it is that because of all of the stuff that came previously that wasn’t included… if you do watch it without the complete knowledge of the book, it actually doesn’t make any sense.
Kat: At all.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Kat: Not at all. None, absolutely none.
Michael: And you’re like, “Why am I crying because Snape summoned a doe? I am crying but I don’t know why.”
Kat: Right. [laughs]
Michael: [laughs] And I think it is fair to say that it’s Alan in that scene that sells it because he…
Kat: It’s why his death is five bajillion times more tragic than it would’ve been otherwise.
Michael: It’s amazing that he can make that transition in Snape so quickly because he really hadn’t had reason to really build up that transition, other than the knowledge that he knew about Lily, which was the only additional thing that he knew. And I know the Potter fans have extensibly gone through all eight films and some people have gone so far as to edit together all of the looks that Alan Rickman gives Daniel Radcliffe…
Michael: … and put dramatic…
Rosie: Snape supercut.
Michael: Yeah, supercut them and put dramatic music behind it.
Eric: I think somebody’s shipping Snarry.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Michael: But even with that, it’s still amazing to me that Alan manages to find that piece of Snape that you watched. And I had mentioned in the chat during the movie that it’s like watching Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks – watching a character you really shouldn’t like, but you want them to win, you want them to succeed. There’s something about them that you suddenly sympathize with even in their awfulness, I guess, and he got that.
Rosie: It’s showing the human side…
Rosie: … and that’s what makes us empathize.
Kat: Right, because if Snape had [shown] more of his human side, I’d like him a hell of a lot more.
Kat: Sorry. I’m just saying.
Michael: That humanity comes out with the… we do – like you guys said – we do see Snape at Godric’s Hollow…
Kat: Yeah. Oh, it’s so good.
Michael: … in the rubble. And I do think that really does help the scene a lot. It also helps… just a minor shout-out to the fact that Lily and James’ actors came back I think…
Kat: Props for them.
Michael: Thanks to them for keeping with the whole series.
Eric: Adrian Rawlins and…
Eric: … Geraldine Somerville.
Kat: Yep. Yep.
Kat: Fun fact…
Kat: … for those who don’t know, [Adrian] Rawlins and James Potter have the exact same birthday.
Rosie: He actually is James Potter!
Kat: I know!
Rosie: But, of course, he would have been a lot younger in his dead form because they would have died when they were 20, not [unintelligible].
Eric: Yeah, and now everybody’s at Alan Rickman’s age. Yes, you’re right.
Kat: It’s true. True, true, true.
Rosie: But never mind.
Rosie: We can forgive that.
Michael: … we do want to let you know we’re getting to the last points here. We’re probably going to be wrapping up soon, so we still want you to call in, though. You can still call in before we head out. We really love that we just got a stream of you for a second there. [laughs]
Eric: I do have to head out, though. I’m sorry, guys.
Eric: Like Voldemort, I will be flaking away.
Michael: I hope not!
Kat: [laughs] I hope not!
Eric: No, no, no, not like Voldemort.
Kat: We like you enough; you can stay as a whole person.
Eric: That’s okay. Oh, thank you.
Kat: You’re welcome.
Eric: Yes, I have a birthday party to get to. Not as cool as a wedding…
Eric: … but almost. But I loved you all, and you guys, congratulations on making it this far with Alohomora! This is amazing.
Rosie: 190 episodes.
Michael: We did the thing.
Kat: A nice even number. I’m happy about that.
Eric: I can’t wait to talk [about] the other books with you guys.
Kat: Starts next week! Next week.
Kristen: Going to be good.
Eric: I’ll see you all later. Bye!
[Everyone says “bye”]
Michael: Fabulous. Well, we’ll close out with a few last things. I think one of the things to definitely talk about is the… because it actually doesn’t get touched on too much in a lot of discussion about Part 2 because I think “The Prince’s Tale” overshadows it, but thoughts on “King’s Cross” and Michael Gambon’s bowing out as Dumbledore?
Kat: You know I’ve always been Team Gambon…
Kat: … so I love it. I think it’s great. I think that it’s… I feel like Dumbledore after death… all of his burdens are just gone, and he’s like, “Woo!” He’s enjoying the party…
Kat: … he’s had a few tequilas. He’s good. I feel like he’s the most uninhibited that Dumbledore has ever been, so I love it. I love it. Love it, love it.
Rosie: I think it’s difficult to do because it is such an enigmatic scene in the book…
Rosie: … and so creating any kind of physical reincarnation of it is quite difficult because you have to show these characters as solid and show them in a set environment that is not inside Harry’s head. There are a few lines that are a bit, “This one’s going to be a quote on a poster!”
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: But [it’s] the same in the book so yeah, it’s a good scene. It’s not too bad. It just doesn’t look like King’s Cross.
Michael: Well, I think to that, Rosie, I think the scene falls victim in the same way as “The Prince’s Tale” does in that the explanation that Dumbledore is giving Harry and the things he’s saying really don’t make as much sense if you’re just hearing it.
Rosie: If you haven’t actually seen it, yeah.
Michael: Yeah, if you haven’t read the book.
Michael: And so, they are like… It’s that moment from The Lego Movie where Vitruvius is like, [in Vitruvius voice] “I know that sounds like a cat poster, but it’s true.”
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Michael: It’s that. But I think this scene is actually done pretty admirably. It’s not a standout, but it gets the look right and the feel. I love… it’s my favorite citing of the film of this scene: Roger Ebert in his review, which… he gave Deathly Hallows – Part 2 three and a half stars, he said, “Late in the film, leaving nothing to chance, Voldemort even appears as his own fetus, looking like it’s been simmered in red sauce.”
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: So you do get that visual?
Kat: Yeah, YoRufusOnFire said he looked like a chicken wing, and I was dying.
Kat: I was dying. It was so funny.
Michael: Who’s hungry? [laughs]
Kat: I mean, I am, but not for that now.
Michael: Not for chicken wings.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: And then, of course, quite a few things happened after Harry wakes up, and I think one of the… and we asked John this, and I’d love for you guys to give your thoughts on this. Listeners, again, call in if you have a theory about this, because I do and I feel it’s a stretch, but Harry and Voldemort have quite the showdown. It starts out on the brand-new staircase which we didn’t have before, but the movies are going to act like they’ve been there the whole time. [laughs] And those staircases don’t move. Have to put a little asterisk in here and say, wouldn’t it have been awesome if the battles had been taking place on the moving staircases? Oh my god.
Kat: Yes, high-five.
Rosie: Like the moving staircases are just such a difficult thing…
Michael: To do.
Rosie: … to actually create and keep safe.
Rosie: It would have been an issue.
Michael: It would have been hard. Ooh, we have a caller!
Kat: We do. Hello.
Kat: Hi, Olivia.
Caller: Hi. This is Olivia Kruger or ScarletGhost on the chat.
[Everyone greets the caller]
Michael: Ooh, ScarletGhost, yes, yes.
Caller: I was just wondering your guys’ opinion on the Voldy fetus?
Kat: Oh, yeah. We were just talking about that.
Michael: We were just talking about that delicious delicacy.
Caller: I was just miced out for a sec, so I didn’t hear it.
Kat: No, it’s okay. It’s okay.
Rosie: We didn’t really give our opinions; we just mentioned it looking like chicken.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Kat: That is my opinion: he looks like chicken.
Michael: Olivia, what do you feel about the Voldy fetus?
Caller: I don’t know. I don’t really know what I pictured when I was reading the book, but it certainly wasn’t that.
Rosie: Yeah, I think, again, it’s described in such a way that makes it so grotesque that it’s almost impossible for it to be real, but I do believe it’s… it looks like adult Voldy enough that you can see what it’s trying to be, and it is a diminished form of it, and it looks horrifically burned and deteriorating. So I do think it is achieving what it’s meant to…
Rosie: … but it’s meant to be completely scarless and it’s meant to be all these kind of different things, so yeah, it doesn’t match the book description, but it still does do what it should.
Kat: Does it have a nose?
Kat: Okay. I was just curious. I didn’t pay attention.
Michael: [laughs] No, I think…
Rosie: The head is fairly close to actual Voldemort…
Michael: Yeah, Ralph Fiennes’ head, yeah.
Rosie: Just miniature.
Kat: Creepy for him.
Michael: Yeah, I feel the same way in that it’s done really well in the book, like you said, Rosie, where it’s given this grotesque depiction in a way that… it’s almost like if they had shot it similar to the book where you just see that shot they did where Harry reacts to it, but then not show it.
Michael: They might have gotten away with that. But I do think it worked, for what the movie was trying to get across. They did go so full-on horrific with as best they could that I think it does give you the shock value that you need from it.
Kat: I agree.
Rosie: And you can see the actual dummy in the Studio Tour as well…
Rosie: … and you see it breathing, so it is…
Michael: Yeah, it’s horrifying.
Rosie: … significantly creepy.
Kat: It is really creepy. Hello, caller! Yes, you’re on.
Caller: Hi, this is David or DBDJones999.
Michael: Oh, hi!
[Everyone greets the caller]
Caller: I just wanted to say two things. First, today is actually my birthday, so this has been like a big party for me.
[Everyone says “happy birthday”]
Caller: Thank you! And I also wanted to weigh in on the final battle between Voldemort and Harry.
Michael: Yes, please.
Kat: Okay, let’s hear it.
Caller: I actually really liked the fact that they added a final battle in the movie, because although I like it in the books, I think it would have been just really difficult to be able to do what the books did in the films, because in the books, it’s pretty much just Harry and Voldemort circling each other and talking…
Rosie: Yeah, I agree.
Caller: … which works really well because it’s phonetic, but I think it would be very visually hard to portray that in a movie.
Rosie: I agree.
Caller: And also I feel [that] it just feels like they are having a final battle is a lot better, because Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is really a war movie, and it’s really building up to the final confrontation, so I feel like not having a final confrontation and a final battle might have been a bit anti-climactic.
Caller: I think it’s probably best that they added that in.
Rosie: And I think that goes back to the first movie as well: if you’ve got enough of a showdown from Philosopher’s Stone that there’s a lot of pain happening and there’s a lot of actual physical almost like violence, even though it’s after that discussion. But the touching Quirrell and the Quirrell screaming thing, you have to have some progression from that point, so to just have them talking and then a quick “Oh, and now he’s dead,” would so not work at the end of this film. It works in the book because we can feel that tension building up in the description, but yeah, we needed a battle in this film, otherwise it would be far too anti-climactic.
Michael: Yeah, I think… It’s great that you brought up the first film, Rosie, because I think that in a way… A lot of what I see as the failings of Film One and Two is that Chris Columbus did adapt it so faithfully that… Listeners, a great thing to do with a film if you want to really see how effective it is, is when you’re watching it and you see the characters talking, just dub all their dialogue just by going, “Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue,” when they’re talking. You will probably be saying the word “dialogue” a lot more in the first two films than you will in the other ones because Chamber and Sorcerer’s depend too much on dialogue to get their points through. I almost feel, though that the battle in Deathly Hallows – Part 2 went the other extreme direction and decided to almost cut all the important dialogue that makes the battle substantial.
Kat: Which is why I dislike it so much. Harry is saying those lines, but he’s like, [panting] huffing and puffing because he’s super out of shape. So you are hearing them… So I feel like there could have been a happy medium in there somewhere where we have that more epic, more cinematic – although I do think the circling each other is super cinematic, but anyway – something less, but something more than the books.
Rosie: And just some of those lines don’t make sense. “Let’s end this, Tom, like we started it, together”? There was a whole other war before you were even born, Harry.
Kat: Right. You were not involved in this in the beginning, buddy.
Rosie: It’s just dumb.
Michael: I actually did pull from Harry Potter Page to Screen a quote from Yates. And the book says,
“In translating the climactic scene between Harry and Voldemort to the screen, director David Yates wanted it to become a visually memorable experience – one which eventually took several weeks to shoot.”
And Yates said,
“It worked beautifully there in the book, but I wanted it to develop into a very big battle. Because I figured we had waited quite a long time to see this. The fight was extended so that, for them at least, it felt like a finale. We had them racing through the school and dueling with each other, then falling off a high balustrade together. So they twisted into each other, they became each other for a moment. I wanted this moment where Harry just pulls Voldemort off the stairway because he knows Voldemort is terrified of dying. So he grabs Voldemort by the neck and says, “Come on, let’s just end this together.” That’s their greatest difference – Harry is not afraid to die.”
Rosie: Interesting. I’m not sure that translates into the film.
Kat: Yeah, I don’t get that at all.
Michael: I feel that it doesn’t translate because that moment is just so focused on the action over the substance of the scene.
[Kat and Rosie agree]
Michael: It’s just a constant barrage of imagery, which of course does culminate in the infamous blending of Ralph Fiennes and Daniel Radcliffe’s faces as they’re Apparating.
Kat: Which makes them look like the terrifying clown from Saw. There is a clown in Saw, right? I’ve never seen those movies. But like… the scary-looking thing from Saw. That’s what he looks like to me.
Michael: Yeah, the little puppet.
Rosie: “Let’s play a game.”
Kat: Oh God, Rosie. You just gave me chills.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Kat: Yeah, it’s stupid.
Michael: I always joke that somebody needs to write a Master’s thesis about that moment because for me, thematically for a long time, I just did not get what it was trying to say. And I think a lot of our listeners in the chat during that moment were like, “Why are their faces pushed together?” And I know when I first saw it, there was a lot of discussion amongst me and my friends that it was almost like that moment was supposed to happen sooner, when they were connected.
Kay: Oh, that would have made more sense.
Michael: Yeah, because it’s pushing a connection that’s not there anymore.
Kat: Not there anymore, right. That’s true.
Michael: My only explanation that I can give – because you listeners asked for my explanation – the only one I’ve got for you is that when they blend their faces together, it is supposed to look so horrific and weird because they are no longer together. They are no longer compatible. And when you try to put them together, they create a monstrosity. That’s all I’ve got for you. [laughs] I can’t explain that scene beyond that, and I feel like I’m overthinking it.
Rosie: I think it’s just a case of overriding logic at this moment and filmmaking for filmmaking’s sake.
Michael: And then of course there is the actual death, and there is not only no explanation from Harry – so I think that’s another thing that undercuts Voldemort’s death, is the satisfaction in the book comes from the fact that Harry does give Voldemort a full explanation of why he’s about to die.
Rosie: Yeah, there’s no explanation of the Horcrux dying or anything given to him.
Kat: Except the terrible, [imitating Voldemort]“Oh, I just felt that and I’m hurting.”
[Michael and Rosie agree]
Michael: The only explanation actually comes after when Harry is on the viaduct with Hermione and Ron.
Rosie: I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t read the books. These films would be so confusing. No wonder they think Harry Potter is overrated.
Kat: Right, yeah.
Michael: That’s what’s so interesting to me about Part 2. It’s such a weird place where I feel this decision was made. But I see this film as the one in the series where the cast and crew just put up their middle fingers to people who didn’t read the books and they were just like, “If you’re here and you didn’t read them, why? Like why are you here?” Because this movie is almost purely for the fans. You have to have the book knowledge to fill in the gaps.
Kat: Yeah, you really do. I remember talking with a friend of mine – I ran into him at the supermarket a few days after this film came out – and he’s not a book reader, he just doesn’t really like books. It’s nothing against Harry Potter or anything. He’s seen all the films, and he enjoyed all the films. And we sat down and probably had a forty-five minute conversation in the supermarket about this final Harry Potter movie. Because he didn’t get it. He didn’t understand it at all. And he had just watched all the other movies before that. So that’s a big failing, as far as I’m concerned.
Michael: Yeah, no. Absolutely. And again, as we’ve mentioned before in previous movie discussions, I think the detriment to them was that the films started as the books were still in progress.
[Kat and Rosie agree]
Kat: It just needed to be a TV series. Let’s be real. That’s all. It would have been amazing.
Michael: [laughs] Make it happen. But after that lackluster death, the other thing that most people complain about with that death too is the fact that nobody’s there to see it. Everybody’s just off in the Great Hall, presumably having a time because they’re all quite happy once Harry gets into the Great Hall, despite that everybody’s dead.
Kat: Right. They just can’t see Voldemort anymore, so they’re like, “He’s gone!”
Michael: He must be gone. He was totally gone the first time when he disappeared.
Michael: We get a few more goodbyes from some of the background cast and Hagrid gets a really awkward hug that means nothing.
Kat: Terrible. [in Hagrid’s voice] “Harry.”
Michael: [laughs] And then Harry goes out to the viaduct to talk to Ron and Hermione about what happened. And, of course, another one of those most infamous changes. He notes that the Elder Wand is his, and he breaks it in half.
Rosie: [in Hermione’s voice] “That was the Elder Wand!”
Kat: Okay, I hate that moment a lot, but I understand why it’s different from the book. Because they don’t put any emphasis at all on the fact that Harry’s wand is broken. They barely talk about the twin cores and all of that. So I get it. And I like the explanation here that you put from Page to Screen. I really like that.
Michael: Yes, from Page to Screen. I’m not sure if this was Kloves, Yates. I should have cited this. But it was one of them who said, “Rowling agreed that it was a perfect expression of Harry’s relinquishing of the possibility of supreme power. It was a visual representation of his ultimate humility.”
Rosie: Yeah. It’s just the same as leaving the stone in the forest and letting it get buried by a centaur’s hoof. That kind of thing. It’s symbolizing that the hunt for the Hallows is officially over. No one can do it anymore.
Michael: I think you guys are right in that, especially the wand lore as a whole just doesn’t get the attention it needs for it to make sense that Harry would be attached to his old wand.
[Kat and Rosie agree]
Michael: And Daniel Radcliffe actually even talks about that, listeners. If you haven’t yet had a chance to watch Radcliffe and Rowling’s chat with each other on the Blu-ray edition of Part 2, it’s a fantastic hour-long discussion. It feels like you’re sitting with them in your living room having a nice chat about Harry Potter and Radcliffe says that he never really had an attachment to the wand because it changed after the first two films because CuarÃ³n made the decision to make the wands more individual and artistic.
Kat: Thank God for him.
Michael: Yes. Because, as Dan put it, all of the wands in Film One and Two are just really smooth, streamlined looking sticks. So he never got attached to his wand. And as we know, he’s infamous for breaking his wand because he used to twirl it around too much. So I agree in that it’s – as far as the movie – it works. I think it’s just kind of shocking. It’s another one of those shockers because, as I mentioned in the chat, I sat there at midnight and I muttered to myself, “That was a historical object.”
Kat: Right, it’s true.
Michael: [laughs] Maybe don’t go just chucking that wherever you please.
Rosie: There is a lovely spark, a little effect, in the middle where it does break, though, at that moment…
Rosie: … so you’ve got the idea of that power being released.
Kat: Right. I love that little, tiny effect that’s there. It’s so good.
Rosie: Yeah. So at least they did it well if they’re changing it that way.
Kat: Yeah, agreed.
Michael: But yeah, and it works in terms of Harry not repairing his wand because he does not have that attachment. So it’s okay.
Kat: He doesn’t even have the little pouch from Hagrid. [sighs] So sad.
Michael: Yeah, so his wand’s gone, ostensibly.
Kat: Yeah, they threw it into the Forest of Dean somewhere, probably. Who knows?
Michael: [laughs] And I do have to give a… before we move on to the final part of that, I actually have to give a shout-out to that final scene as it fades, where the three of them just quietly hold hands and soak it in.
Kat: It’s beautiful.
Michael: I feel like that’s the tone that should have been happening right before when they were in the Great Hall with everybody else.
Michael: It’s beyond words and kind of just…
Kat: More of a somber relief as opposed to, “Yay!”
Michael: [laughs] Yes. Yeah, that would have, I think, felt right for the group, but it is nice to see the trio. And they stand in their usual positions and they’re all in their colored clothing that Jany Temime had applied to them consistently through the series from [Movie] 3 onward. So it’s nice to see that continuity. And then, of course, we… there was a moment at midnight where everybody went [gasps] because it fades out and everybody wondered if “19 Years Later” [were] going to happen or not.
Michael: Especially with all the whispers about reshoots.
Michael: And of course, it did. It comes up on the screen in nice little basic font, “19 Years Later,” and we fade into not King’s Cross, but it is King’s Cross. And we get our little goodbye scene and… thoughts on how that works?
Kat: It needed four words to be better. “It did for me.”
Michael: Oh, yes, yes.
Kat: “It did for me,” that’s all.
Kat: I mean… come on, just four words. I feel like that’s the easiest thing in the world. And I know that that’s the pickiest, stupidest thing to be angry about but it’s so important. Those four words are really important.
Rosie: I think it’s difficult to interpret that fan [fiction]-ey feel into an actual real-life scene, so the thing… the lines that were supposed to be important get underplayed because that’s just general conversation. But yeah, you could easily stress those lines a bit more. I do like that scene, though. I like all the kids; I like the feel they’ve got. The makeup is still…
Kat: Pretty terrible.
Rosie: It leaves something to be desired. But it will be a good set-up for Cursed Child and as a roundoff of that cast and those characters that it does well, I think.
Rosie: I would almost like… I would have liked Draco to have a line or something, just to let him have a final moment other than just him looking rather rotund and balding and stood there next to his wife and son, but never mind.
Michael: [laughs] Alison is not here to say it so I’ll say it: [in a mysterious voice] Cursed Child.
Rosie: Cursed Child!
Michael: I actually think that the makeup is quite impressive in the epilogue and… considering that there had been photos released of what it looked like in the initial principal shoot. [laughs]
Michael: Dear God. Listeners, you can look that up. It’s…
Kat: Really bad.
Michael: If you think they look old in this version of the epilogue, they looked 50 in the original, principal shoot.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Kat: So yeah, Harry was born in what? ’80, right?
Kat: So he’s two years older than me. So next year I’ll be 34 so he will be 36. If I looked like that in just another few years, I would cry. They look so bad.
Michael: [laughs] Well…
Kat: Emma… Hermione looks the best by far. By far.
Michael: I was going to say, she hasn’t changed at all. She just got longer fingers.
Kat: Right, because most people don’t change a whole lot from 19 or whatever to 35. You really don’t change that much.
Michael: Unless you eat like Ron. [laughs]
Kat: Yeah, and have the receding hairline of Draco. [laughs]
Michael: Apparently, Rupert did just insist… they gave him the addition of the fat suit and he was like, “Fatter. Bigger.”
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: Because that fits with Ron.
Michael: Yes. [laughs]
Rosie: Ron would just eat throughout the next 20 years.
Kat: Would he, though? I don’t know if I believe that. I don’t know if I believe that.
Michael: Well, and interestingly…
Rosie: He grew up with Molly’s cooking. I’m sure he would. [laughs]
Kat: Right, but then that means Hermione is cooking for him and wouldn’t you see them being significantly healthier?
Michael: [laughs] Yes, Hermione trying to help him slim down.
Rosie: I don’t know. Yeah.
Michael: I actually… I think it’s interesting that Ron really just makes an appearance. He says nothing and Hermione, actually, does; she gets one line to Rose. It’s a lovely little moment between the two of them. But that’s… Ron is actually the one who talks the most in the epilogue in the book.
Michael: But he says nothing in the epilogue in the movie, and as was…
Rosie: As usual, Rupert gets the worst deal. [laughs]
Michael: Yes. [laughs] Yes, poor Rupert on that. As you said, Rosie, I think the kids are quite impressive as far as the looks.
Kat: They’re perfect. They’re so good.
Michael: Ridiculously close. I have to say – as I said in the chat – if Daniel Radcliffe does look like that at 36, I won’t complain because I think that epilogue Harry is quite handsome and I love his…
Kat: He is going to look significantly better than that when he is 36. Have you…? I mean, you’ve seen the kid recently.
Michael: He probably will.
Kat: Yeah, yeah. He’s looking fine. I feel like a dirty old lady when I look at him.
Kat: I’m like, “Wow! You’re attractive.” I do. I feel so disgusting.
Michael: It’s creepy for me, too. I mean…
Rosie: It’s all right. You can go watch him in Swiss Army Man and completely be… [laughs]
Kat: Oh, I’m so excited for that movie. Total side note. Anyway…
Michael: But yes, now… I mean, I think the thing that was a little… the only thing aesthetically that’s a little disappointing to me for the epilogue is is: One, that even though the colors are brighter, they’re still bizarrely muted and washed out.
Kat and Rosie: Yeah.
Michael: I guess the color pop from Sorcerer’s and Chamber would be too much, but…
Rosie: But it’s supposed to have that same feel of awe and wonder for these little kids.
Rosie: So I guess if we’re trying to see through, I don’t know, Rose’s eyes – which I think the epilogue tries to do a little bit – it is lacking some of that magical purple smoke that’s on the front cover of the Philosopher’s Stone book in the UK, the first edition. That kind of thing.
Michael: Yeah, yeah. The color is still drained, and when… I think you’re right, Rosie, especially when you hear the original “Hedwig’s Theme”/”Leaving Hogwarts” theme…
Michael: … why shouldn’t it be the same color scheme if we’re trying to evoke that? And the other thing I think aesthetically that kind of annoyed me is that everybody is in very posh clothing.
Michael: Nobody’s wearing robes of any kind. It looks just like another regular train station platform. And it doesn’t quite have that magical feel sans the train.
Rosie: Yeah. But I think, again, that’s something that they’ve done throughout the films.
Rosie: They really kind of gave up on the wizarding world wearing robes outside of Hogwarts thing.
Kat: Or even in Hogwarts most of the time.
Michael and Rosie: Yeah.
Michael: Well, a lot of people were expressing big confusion during the Gringott’s scenes because they were saying, “Why did Gringott’s hire normal security guards?”
Michael: They are wizards. If you guys look close, they do have wands. But Jany Temime was kind of going along with the beat-you-over-the-head Nazi imagery of the movie and…
Kat: Yeah, you can see their Probity Probes, too.
Michael: Yes. So they kind of ended up… the wizarding world, as a whole, [gets] victimized as far as their dress code in the later films. And yeah, that’s… we get that lovely little moment with Dan and his “son” Arthur. And they have their hug; they don’t say the words that are supposed to be said, but they say most of it. And then [laughs] as everybody fantastically noted, the final scene… as it closes in on what is initially four and quickly becomes three, as Ginny is not so subtly taken out of the shot.
Kat: Right, very quickly.
Michael: [laughs] I mean, in a way, I feel that that makes sense just because she really isn’t a big player in the movies.
Michael: It is about the three of them in the end.
Michael: So it makes sense. Sad, but it makes sense. And I guess before…
Rosie: And that’s happening again with the Cursed Child casting. We’ve got such famous casting of the trio and we don’t know who’s playing Ginny.
Rosie: Surely she must be there!
Rosie: But we don’t know.
Michael: Yeah, [we don’t] know for sure. But I guess the one thing I suppose we should just touch on a little bit before we go because I realized we really didn’t talk about it at all… because it did get turned into a ride: Gringott’s. That’s a scene. Thoughts?
Kat: That’s a thing that happened, yeah.
Michael: [laughs] It’s pretty cool.
Kat: It’s great and I still… we talked about this a bit in the chat earlier; I crack up watching Rupert trying to take off his shirt…
Michael: His clothes. [laughs]
Kat: … and put on a new one because if anybody has tried to get dressed wet, under pressure before… I mean, I haven’t; I’ve tried to get dressed wet before but it’s hard to get that clothing on, but it makes me laugh every time. I love it. Rupert is gold. I wonder how many times they did that.
Michael: I think the big shout-out has to go to, yet again, an excellent Polyjuice Potion scene and dang, Helena Bonham Carter.
Michael: I think everybody was saying they actually confused her for Emma Watson dressed as Helena Bonham Carter.
Kat: Yeah. [sings] A-maz-ing!
Michael: Just totally nails it.
Michael: Yeah. And of course, again, shout-out to Warwick Davis. Good job getting two roles in one film.
Michael: And making them distinct enough that you don’t feel like it’s the same person.
Michael: He did that really well, and he definitely gave Griphook a distinct character. And of course, the Gringotts section is so thrilling that it was turned into a very excellent ride. Listeners, if you ever get the chance to go to Universal, you get to see the other side of what was going on during the Gringotts escape, with Bill and Voldemort and Bellatrix. It’s very clever how they work it in.
Kat: And I highly recommend riding it with Michael, because he’s amazing.
Kat: He’s very hilarious on rides. [imitates Michael on a roller coaster]
Kat: It was great. It was good fun.
Michael: I do react to everything. It’s still scary to me every time I ride it.
Kat: Yeah. I rode it backwards last time I was down there because the cart didn’t rotate appropriately.
Michael: Oh, snap!
Kat: No, that was interesting because everything was happening behind me.
Kat: That was fun.
Michael: Just something to try out.
Michael: But yes, then the film ends with our “Hedwig’s Theme,” somewhat truncated so they could fit it properly into the credits. And I have to note, because I did find it odd – I don’t remember what piece it is. I think it’s the piece when they’re getting the castle prepped. They use that piece for the end, and if you stay all the way through the credits – all the way to the Warner Bros. logo – the music ends on an extremely sour note. And that’s what you end with, which I thought was a very bizarre choice. It felt like it should have ended with “Hedwig’s Theme.” But all right, movie, if you insist.
Michael: I don’t know about you, ladies, but me and my friends held up our wands and were all in tears at the end of that at midnight…
Kat: [laughs] Okay, I sat next to a Snape person…
Kat: And so pretty much the last half hour of the movie was just sobbing for me…
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Kat: … because that’s all I heard next to me. It was pretty rough. I mean, the midnight screening was a-maz-ing! But I definitely went to see it the next day, so I could not sit next to a Snape person.
Kat: Sorry, Snape people. It’s just, she was over the top.
Michael: A little much.
Kat: So, it was a bit much.
Rosie: I didn’t go to a midnight screening, and the UK in general does a different experience of watching films. We’re not quite as vocal as the US.
Michael: Yes, you guys are quiet and polite. [laughs]
Rosie: Yeah, we watch the film [and] we don’t participate.
Kat: So wait, there was no screaming or anything?
Rosie: Nope. We don’t react that way.
Kat: Oh my gosh, I could never do that. I couldn’t do that.
Kat: Couldn’t do it.
Rosie: But I do have to say, with this one, people were crying and things. There was more of a reaction than you’d perhaps see in some other films. But it’s not screaming and cheering…
Kat: So when Neville showed up, your theater was silent?
Rosie: There might have been one or two people [who] went, “Woo!” or something, but it wasn’t a massive thing.
Kat: Oh my gosh, mine was an eruption of “WOOOO!” Clapping and screaming…
Rosie: That’s not how it’s done in our country.
Michael: [laughs] “That’s not how we do things.”
Kat: Wowie. Wow, wow, wow.
Michael: Yeah. I went to see it multiple times in theaters, and actually I think the third or fourth time – and this was maybe a month after it had come out – there was an adult guy who looked like he… I got the sense that he hadn’t read the books but that he had watched the films. And when Bellatrix got hers, he just went, “Yeah!” And the theater wasn’t even full, and he was still getting super into it.
Kat: Good for him!
Michael: Yeah, I thought that was pretty fantastic. And at my midnight showing – I felt bad that I thought it was funny – but there were a bunch of girls sitting quite a few rows in front of us, and during Fred’s death scene she started crying quite vocally, and I just heard an audible [makes slapping sound]. And I realized her friend next to her had hit her in the face. [laughs]
Kat: Oh my gosh! Wow.
Michael: So I think she thought that… even her friend was like, “It’s a little much.”
Michael: So yeah, there were some pretty passionate reactions. My other favorite one was of course when my friend Mary, who was sitting next to me… [laughs] the scene when Pansy points to Harry and says, “There he is, grab him!” she – and I can say this because it’s in the movie – Mary yelled out, “Stupid bitch!”
Michael: So, there were definitely some more passionate reactions on this side of the pond, Rosie.
Kat: Oh, Pansy is the worst.
Michael: [laughs] So it was a great experience. But as we wrap up, final thoughts, not only on, I guess, The Deathly Hallows and the Harry Potter movies, but also this experience in general and getting to join our listeners in conversation and such…
[Kat blows a raspberry]
Kat: No, I’m just kidding. [laughs] I mean, every time we do this – the next thing for the last time, and for the last time, and the last time – I always try to think of something new and creative to say. But there isn’t ever anything other than I’m amazed and always so thankful, and I feel overwhelmed with the love and the support that we’ve had over the last four years. Everything that you guys give to us, I hope that we give back to you tenfold, because that’s what we tried to do. Everything that you send us, we try and reflect it back many more times. You’ve all taught me a lot over the years about myself and about other people and the series and just how to think critically and how to look at things through a different lens. And I can’t thank all of you enough, I truly can’t. It’s been amazing and I’m so glad we decided not to stop. Because this last Thursday we didn’t record, and I was like, “What is this? I don’t know what this is! There’s no recording on Thursday!”
Michael: [laughs] That was weird.
Kat: “I can go on a bike ride on a Thursday evening? What is this?” It felt very weird. So, never again. I don’t want that to happen again. I don’t like it!
Rosie: We always say it, that Harry Potter fans are just the best fans in the world, and to have been part of even the smallest part of the Internet that is devoted to it is just amazing. And you guys have made it so amazing over the last four years, right from that very first idea of: “would this work? We’re not quite sure but we want to do it anyway, because we just want to discuss the books.” And to have you all join in with us and show it so much love and have such amazing, unique ideas about these books as well, we’ve all developed new theories and thought about things in new ways because of you guys. So thank you all so much for joining us on this experience, and like Kat said, long may it continue, because there is so much more that we can possibly do. And yeah, it’s definitely not stopping here. Four years ago we never… we thought the books had ended, the films had ended, but we would just reread the books and try and re-experience what was going on at the time. And to be at this point, four years later on where suddenly, this year we’ve got a play and new movies and new books and things coming out related to those… would this have happened? If the fandom had dwindled in the way that everyone expected it to, would we still be having all of these Potterverse things happening if we had just let it die? Who knows? But Harry Potter is such a big thing to so many people. It will never die, and we will always be here to welcome you home! [laughs]
Kat: I will say that it is personally because of us that Jo is doing all this other stuff.
Rosie: Definitely. Yeah, it’s just proof that Jo was listening to the show, all these four years!
Rosie: We’ve got to the end, so she has to give us new material! It’s fine.
Kat: Absolutely. She’s like, “Oh, those Alohomora! kids, they’re good. I’m going to throw them a bone. I’m going to write some movies for them.”
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Michael: Well, I have to say, Rosie, I think that’s an excellent point as far as… that this has continued the way it has. I think that goes back to when I was listing the awards that Hallows – Part 2 won and lost, in terms of… Twilight fans, I’m sorry, but really, I think a lot of us scoff when we realize [Breaking Dawn] – Part 1 won over Harry Potter.
Rosie: I know! [laughs]
Michael: And I say this as a librarian, Twilight has gone away almost completely. [Stephenie] Meyer even tried to bring it back, and it didn’t work.
Rosie: Yeah. As a high school teacher, these kids are not reading Twilight. They are still reading Harry Potter.
Michael: Yeah. They are still reading Harry Potter, and it’s really heartening to see that material like Harry Potter is the one that lasts [and] is the one that keeps going. Specifically to the movie discussions, I think that’s why these are so important. We said this on our finale episode, on our book wrap, but I really feel this passion about the movies because the books had that better… had that respect and that traction in the academic community a little faster than the movies, and the movies I think are still struggling with that. And it’s because you guys are here having critical, intellectual discussions with us about the films that the film community will start to see that Harry Potter as a series is a work of art. It’s not just a box office popcorn movie. And box office popcorn movies can be so much more – and they are, frequently. But people disregard them – people like the Academy – all those old farts at the Academy.
Michael: And that is true. That’s why they’re changing it up. I mean, we are in a place now where the movie industry has finally recognized that it needs to change things about itself. And a lot of the cast of Harry Potter has been instrumental in that in trying to get those changes to happen. So, I think it’s great to see that you guys have joined us to look at these beyond complaining about adaptation issues, which we still can – that’s important. But if you want to see that respect afforded to Harry Potter, if you want to see it win something like an Oscar, we the fans have to give it the respect it deserves too. And I think we’re on the path to that with things like Alohomora!, and I am just so excited that when you guys join us, you listeners – be it on the forums, the main site, here in the chat – you bring thoughts forth to me that I didn’t even think of as somebody who critically analyzes film. You open my eyes to additional layers in these pieces of material with Harry Potter. So, thank you, everyone. And I’m not going to cry. I’m sorry.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: I’ve been reading these comments in the chat where they’re all thanking us for what we’ve been doing…
Michael: Yeah, I know…
Rosie: And it’s like, “No, don’t cry!”
Michael: It’s beautiful.
Rosie: Thank you guys so much.
Michael: It’s beautiful to see that this is still going. So yes, thank you all for joining us. I think that was the best part of this finale, is that we got just a constant stream of callers there for a little while.
Kat: It was great.
Rosie: And you know, we started the movie watch five hours ago now. So thank you guys so much for sticking with us this whole time.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Kat: Yeah, we always say that. We’re like, “Wow, you guys are with us all day.” Thank you.
Michael: You are. It’s amazing.
Kat: Good thing we plan way in advance. [laughs]
Michael: So thank you to all of you for joining us today. It was incredible to hear your thoughts and get to hear your questions and have you guys sparking our discussion. That’s been one of the most important things about Alohomora! to us, is that we never want it to be that our voices are the definitive opinion on Harry Potter.
Michael: It’s you guys who help us. We’re just other people who have opinions. That’s all it is. [laughs]
Rosie: And thank you all for your really respectful questions and interesting questions for our special movie guest, John Richardson, today – the special effects supervisor for the Harry Potter films.
Rosie: I learned some really interesting new things about those films, and I hope you guys did as well. We are going to try and get some other interesting guests in the future because of course, Alohomora! is not ending here.
Rosie: But… always, always – whether we get fan guests, movie guests, or book guests, or whatever in the future – our podcast is a podcast of fans, and that means you guys, not us. So please, please, please, do continue all of your amazing commentary and all of your amazing analysis that you do on our site. We love reading it and we are looking forward to looking in depth at all of these different kind of topics and themes and all of these things that you guys want to do from now on.
Kat: And we will have – just in case, for some reason, y’all don’t already know this – but next week we are starting with Beedle the Bard.
Kat: And we’re going to have three weeks of Beedle the Bard, and then Fantastic Beasts, two weeks of Quidditch Through the Ages, and then we will start our topic episodes in July. So, something very much to look forward to. And we have our topic episodes… we’re already starting to work on those. The first couple ones are … [claps]
Kat: You’re going to like them. They’re good. They’re really good. Really, really good.
Michael: And we are looking into reading [in spooky voice] Cursed Child.
Kat: [in a spooky voice] Cursed Child.
Michael: [laughs] That will happen once that comes out, but that will be a little later. By the way, listeners, I see all your comments. You’re all very sweet that you want me to do a dramatic reading of Harry Potter. That’s not legal unless somebody pays me to do it…
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Michael: Specifically somebody from Scholastic or Bloomsbury. So you let J.K. Rowling know that I’ve got some great voices, and maybe when they do an anniversary re-read, she’ll call me.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Michael: I would love to do that for you. Who knows? Maybe we could start some special feature or something where I just read a tiny little clip so it doesn’t infringe on anything. But yes, I’m so glad that you guys love my voices. And I love being able to… now that I am not living with my brother anymore, as I mentioned on the previous episode, I love being able to share them with you. It’s fun to get my voiceover needs out every once in a while on this show.
Kat: Mhm. Indeed.
Michael: And if you listeners would like to come hear my voice and all of our voices on this fantastic show, as we said, Alohomora! is still going. We have our details about our post-Hallows plans specifically released as a little video that you guys can check out. You can find that on alohomora.mugglenet.com. We do have a topic submit page on the main site. And we really do want you to please suggest your ideas and thoughts for that. Because we’ve kind of had to skim over certain ideas that we know you guys have really wanted to go more in-depth on, and now is the chance to really dive deep into that kind of stuff. If you have a set of headphones with a built-in mic or a separate microphone, as well as recording equipment on your computer, that’s all you need. You’re all set – no fancy equipment required. You can find out more about all of that at alohomora.mugglenet.com.
Kat: And in the meantime, you can reach out to us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN [and] facebook.com/openthedumbledore; we’re on Instagram at @@alohomoramn; of course, our website is alohomora.mugglenet.com. Don’t forget to grab your ringtone while you’re there, which we’re going to play the song in a minute here. But maybe you want to listen to it every day – I don’t know – I do.
Kat: Or you can send us an audioBoom, which is free. All you need is an Internet connection and a microphone. It’s in the right-hand bar on alohomora.mugglenet.com. Leave us a message under 60 seconds, and you could hear yourself on a future episode.
Michael: By the way, after all this time, we’ve got to shout out to Pogo for letting us use that.
Rosie: Thank you so much for that theme music. It’s so amazing.
Kat: It’s so good.
Michael: If you haven’t checked him out, listeners, he’s on YouTube and he’s done more Harry Potter mixes since Alohomora!, as well as a bunch of Disney mixes, and even a Back to the Future mix. He does some great work, so definitely check him out. And I’m also going to plug here… by the way too, if you’re already following Alohomora! on Twitter, follow all of us individually on Twitter because we love talking to you.
Rosie: [laughs] We do.
Michael: So we like to keep the conversation going past the live shows and the recordings.
Rosie: And we’re just going to do one quick plug for Patreon once more as well. Our show… we are continuing – we’re going to continue no matter what – and it’s always going to be a free show for you guys. But it does cost a little bit to run, and Michael and I are desperate to play the Harry Potter games for you guys as well.
Rosie: We really, really want to do it. It’s partly just for us, as well as for you guys.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: But we are planning on doing kind of a Twitch channel and thinking about how we can do Let’s Plays of those games for you. Our goal is to get up to $400 to make that happen. We are so close – we’re about $30 away – and you can sponsor us for as low as one dollar a month there on Patreon. So every little bit helps, and we will have some fun with the results of that funding. So, please, please, please do go and check us out on Patreon, and we’ve got loads of fun things on there for you guys as well. We put extra little snippets from the shows, all of those things that you will have heard earlier on this live stream if you sat here with us where things go wrong. We tend to put those out there as well.
[Michael and Rosie laugh]
Kat: That really exclusive interview with J.K. Rowling… I’m just kidding.
Rosie: Yeah, of course.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Rosie: Yeah, we try and give back to you guys because you give us so much. So please do go and check it out.
Michael: And… wow! [laughs] It’s like that moment… it’s that moment.
Kat: I know, it’s here.
Michael: I can’t believe it. And you know… I’ll preface the moment by saying that the other fantastic thing about watching the behind-the-scenes and reading all of that was… it’s funny to have just experienced that moment right now because Dan said that he and all of the cast had their day where they experienced the, “Oh… it’s done.” And how incredible that it’s come for us. But luckily, all is well. And we close the Dumbledore on one chapter, and we open the Dumbledore on another. So I’m Michael Harle.
Rosie: I’m Rosie Morris.
Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 190 of Alohomora!
Michael: All together then?
Kat: Yeah. On the imaginary fourth beat?
[Show music begins]
Michael: [laughs] Sure.
Michael: One… two… three…
Kat, Michael, and Rosie: Open the Dumbledore!
[Show music continues]
Rosie: I’m not a creeper, guys. I’m just watching the chat.
[Kristen, Michael, and Rosie laugh]
Michael: It’s okay, Rosie. They love my Daniel Radcliffe impression, but they hate my name pronunciations.
[Kristen, Michael, and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: Maybe you should have your Daniel Radcliffe impression doing the…
Michael: Doing the name pronunciations? [laughs]
Kat: Oh, wait, maybe I need to do it from… I’m in the “add people”… oh! Add people or phone numbers, I got it. Okay. I was hitting the wrong button, guys. Sorry. Okay, I’m going to try this again.
Kat: Four-four… okay.