Transcript – Episode 194
[Show music begins]
Kat Miller: This is Episode 194 of Alohomora! for June 11, 2016.
[Show music continues]
Kat: Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of Alohomora!, no longer mugglenet.com’s global reread of the Harry Potter series – well, kind of. Anyway, I am Kat Miller.
Lizzie Sudlow: I’m Lizzie Sudlow from SpeakBeasty.
Alison Siggard: And I’m Alison Siggard. And this week, our guest is Teyanna. Welcome, Teyanna.
Teyanna: Hello, everybody.
Alison: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Teyanna: Well, like you said, my name is Teyanna. I am a Dean of Students at a high school in San Francisco, California, and I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I always have my Gryffindor lanyard with my keys around my neck, and the kids really love that I’m a Harry Potter fan.
Teyanna: Obviously, I’m a Gryffindor, but I’ve been Sorted into each and every House multiple times and I just chose Gryffindor. But I would say that I am probably kind of like you, Kat – 49% Hufflepuff, 51% Gryffindor…
Kat: [laughs] Nice.
Teyanna: It kind of goes back and forth. Sometimes it’s right in the middle. But I would like to say I’m really a three-part House Hatstall of Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, and Ravenclaw, because those are the three that I’ve gotten the most. But the one that I got initially – right back when old school Pottermore started – was Slytherin, and I immediately went back to change my email to get another one.
Teyanna: But yeah, so that is that. For me, my “Harry Potter story” is that I got into it because one of my students left the Sorcerer’s Stone book in one of the bathrooms and a student turned it in. And I just happened to be at school late one day, just waiting to go to a baby shower for one of my coworkers, and another coworker had just been nailing me, badgering me, to start reading the Harry Potter series. So I picked up the book and said, “Okay, let me see what the fuss is about.” And then a month later, I had finished books one through six, and then about a month after that, Deathly Hallows came out. And so I read it then. That was the only midnight release party that I went to because I hadn’t been into the series just yet.
Kat: But you squeaked in just in time.
Alison: [laughs] Yeah!
Teyanna: Just in time, yes.
Kat: That’s like the last possible minute you could get into Harry Potter right there. That’s great.
Teyanna: Absolutely. Yeah, Last Minute Action Jackson.
Kat: That’s right. And I love that you called it “old school Pottermore.”
Teyanna: Yes. [laughs]
Kat: You’re one of us. You’re one of our people. We appreciate it…
Teyanna: Yep. Exactly.
Kat: … very much. So… you said when you got Sorted into Slytherin, you went right back and did it again. Not a Slytherin fan?
Teyanna: No. I’m okay with it, but I know that that’s not me. And also, I have a Master’s degree in psychology, so I don’t really take too much to the Pottermore Sortings. I actually liked the… it’s actually called the “verified personality test” that I found online. And with that, I got both Hufflepuff and Gryffindor only.
Teyanna: So that’s why I kind of say I’m half Hufflepuff and half Gryffindor.
Teyanna: Yeah, there’s just a specific way to do surveys, and you have to ask the same questions over and over again in different ways and compare those too.
Teyanna: So, yeah.
Kat: Well, thanks for joining us.
Teyanna: No problem. Thank you for having me.
Alison: And we are so excited for you to be here because this week we are talking about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander. So make sure you have read through that. It’s a really fast read, if you haven’t read it before, listeners. And you really should read it if you haven’t read it before, because it’s one of the little gems that we’ve gotten from J.K. Rowling throughout [her] extra material. So read it real fast!
Kat: And how else will you be prepared for November? Like really.
Kat: I mean, you need to have some sort of background. A little bit.
Alison: Yeah. Got to know what we’re talking about.
Kat: Yeah, we’re not discussing the movie today, guys – book only. So, just remember that. Read it. Be cool.
Lizzie: If you want to learn about the movie, that’s when you should listen to SpeakBeasty, which is another MuggleNet podcast. We are all movie, every day, every night, all the time.
[Alison and Kat laugh]
Kat: 24-7, 365 SpeakBeasty…
Lizzie: Oh, yeah.
Kat: And before we do get into our main discussion on the Fantastic Beasts book, we want to tell everybody that this episode is sponsored by Deborah Ferry over on Patreon. Thank you, Deborah. [claps]
Kat: You too can become a sponsor, like Deborah, for as little as one dollar a month. And we did just add a brand-new perk. We did a nice Twitter poll to find out what you guys are looking for, and you can now get an Alohomora! T-shirt from the archives. So it will be a shirt that’s been around three, four, five years… well, not five years because we’ve only been around for four.
Kat: So it’s from our old live shows and things of that nature. So you go over and you select that perk, and we will send you a beautiful Alohomora! T-shirt. And as always, we will continue to release exclusive tidbits for our sponsors on there – dramatic readings from Michael and Rosie and hopefully, if we hit our next goal, we’re going to be doing a “We Play” of the [Harry Potter] video games. So, definitely check that out. Sponsor us if you can. And thank you again, Deborah, for sponsoring this episode. Yay!
Kat: We’re going to jump into our main discussion this week which, as we’ve already mentioned, is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This book is a total of… how many pages? Forty-two. So it will take you all of probably 42 minutes or so to read it, depending on how fast you read. But I’m going to start off here by going through the foreword and the introduction. Although I suppose we could talk about the first page of the US edition here because it’s pretty brilliant.
Alison: I think we should. I like this part of this book. [laughs]
Kat: It’s so cute. So this is… I don’t even know, what would you call this page? Is this the…?
Alison: It’s the inside cover. Yeah?
Kat: Okay. Yeah, because it’s not the title page. So the page before the title page, it says, “This book belongs to Harry Potter” – which I find very cute. And Ron wrote underneath it, “Shared by Ron Weasley because his fell apart.” That makes me a little sad.
Teyanna: That’s so like them, though.
Kat: I know.
Teyanna: You know, they’re so close and Ron and Harry are always kind of mooching off of each other. So that just seems so typical for them to do that.
Kat: They are very co-dependent.
Teyanna: Especially that also seems very typical of them to start writing in the book, saying that “this is mine,” and then Hermione jumping in and them kind of responding to each other and having that little bickering fight.
Alison: Bored in History of Magic, they write in their books.
Kat: That was my next comment. Why is Hermione writing in this book? [laughs]
Teyanna: I know.
Kat: I mean, I feel like she would be very Madam Pince-y about that and not want to write in a book.
Alison: Oh, I get the feeling Hermione is the type that writes in her own books.
Lizzie: Yes. Mhm.
Alison: But she takes notes and makes annotations and likes to color-code all of her highlights in her books.
Kat: [laughs] Oh, gosh, you’re so right! The color-coding…
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Kat: You’re right.
Lizzie: I love her handwriting. I want it.
Lizzie: I’m more of a Ron though, but worse.
Kat: Yeah, my handwriting is pretty terrible too. I totally understand.
Alison: I think mine probably looks like Harry’s more.
Kat: I don’t know. I have a sample of your handwriting. I’ll have to compare it later.
Alison: Oh, that’s true.
Kat: I’ll let you know which one you’re closest to.
Alison: Okay. [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] But it is very cute. I think it’s a nice way to start off the book. And Ron’s little annotation at the bottom that “Dungbombs rule,” I think we all agree with that…
Alison: [laughs] One thing I noticed about these notes that they’re making, there’s a page in the US edition of notes that isn’t in the UK edition.
Kat: Oh, which?
Alison: Up in one of those front pages, the hangman game that they’re playing is not in the UK edition, interestingly enough.
Lizzie: It’s not?
Alison: It’s not. Unless it’s somewhere else.
Kat: Is the tic-tac-toe and the other part in there?
Alison: Nope. The only thing before you get to the actual contents of the book is the annotation that says, “Chudley Cannons – write a decent team in my book for a change, Weasley!”
Alison: Oh! Except I just flipped to the back page. It’s actually at the back. It’s the very last page at the back of the book.
Kat: Interesting. Okay. I wonder why they moved it. Space, probably. That’s interesting.
Kat: Huh. Because I really love that hangman drawing. I like that Harry… was it? It might be Hermione. That could be… is that Hermione’s [handwriting]?
Alison: I think it’s Harry.
Kat: I think it’s Harry too. But the handwriting is so neat that I couldn’t tell. I just like that it says, “You die, Weasley” and he drew a spider.
Teyanna: Yeah. I thought that was Harry, just him typing.
Alison: The word is “Acromantula”.
Teyanna: Clearly Acromantula, but Ron didn’t get it. So that’s why that’s him hanging from the noose or whatever…
Lizzie: It has very long arms.
Kat: Do you think it’s because Ron just has no idea? Or is he terrible at spelling?
Alison: I get the feeling he’s terrible at spelling.
Teyanna: Yeah. I agree.
Alison: That’s fine, so am I.
Kat: I mean, look at all the letters he guessed: G, S, Y, D, E…
Kat: I think that’s an N.
Lizzie: I think he’s also hoping it’s not that. Just avoiding it.
[Alison and Kat laugh]
Kat: That’s entirely true.
Alison: That’s probably why Harry chose it.
Alison: Also, Ron obviously does not watch Wheel of Fortune because he does not know the most common English letters.
[Kat and Teyanna laugh]
Kat: I don’t think they have that in the UK.
Teyanna: I know; that’s always the first one that you choose when playing Hangman.
Kat: I know. R, S, T, L, N, E, Ron. Come on.
Teyanna: That’s it.
Kat: Just kidding. [laughs] Okay, so we’ll move on to the section here that is entitled “About the Author.” So we have one page here that I believe is… who’s this written by? Is it Dumbledore writing this?
Alison: I think it’s just a general… they do that in a lot of books.
Kat: A general person, yeah.
Alison: It’s just a general ghost-written thing.
Kat: Well, I’m going to assume that it’s Dumbledore since he wrote most of the other words in the book. Well, not most, but some of them.
Alison: Fun fact: This is also at the back of the UK edition instead of the front.
Kat: “About the Author” ?
Teyanna: I wonder why they do that. Did they think that Americans really want to know all of this information more than someone else? I mean, that doesn’t make any sense to me. Why change those things?
Alison: I don’t know.
Kat: Who knows?
Alison: Maybe [it’s] just Scholastic versus Bloomsbury?
Kat: Yeah, it could just be a publishing thing; the way they have to publish it or something. Who knows?
Kat: So the author’s name, as we all know, is Newton Artemis Fido Scamander. And obviously, we know him as Newt Scamander, the author and protagonist of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, coming out this November. I swear they’re not paying me to say that.
Kat: So Artemis actually really stuck out at me this time, and I realized that I had never looked that up to know where that came from because I’m not really one… I don’t really know a lot of historical names and things. So I looked it up, and Artemis was the Greek goddess of the moon and hunting, and the twin of Apollo, and the daughter of Zeus and Leto. So that’s kind of cool. I mean, it’s a woman, but still… and she was known as Diana to the Romans, which is funny; Princess Diana and all that… sad moment. But I thought that that was very appropriate to have that as Newt’s…
Lizzie: Kat, do you not watch Disney Channel Original Movies? Twitches! Twitches, Kat.
Kat: Oh, I don’t. That’s not my generation, Lizzie. [laughs]
Lizzie: Oh, well, sorry. In the movie Twitches, there were twin witches – oh, so clever! – and they were based off of Artemis and Apollo. But moving on. [laughs]
Kat: Oh, okay.
Alison: It’s interesting. I mean, it makes sense she would use this name because Artemis is also the goddess of hunting and wildlife, so wildlife and protecting and preserving wildlife was her big deal.
Kat: Yeah, I like that it said goddess of the moon and hunting…
Kat: … which I think is fitting considering the next fact that Newt is very proud of; it’s that he was almost solely responsible for creation of the Werewolf Register in 1947. So something that we know affected Remus a lot. Well, not in 1947, but later in life. [laughs] Obviously.
Alison: Yeah. Am I forgetting or is that something that is not a good thing?
Teyanna: That’s exactly what I was thinking because when I first heard of the Werewolf Registration, especially in 1947 – and since we are always constantly comparing Harry Potter and the Nazi regime and whatnot – that was the first thing that I thought about, of registering those who are the unspeakables or the unwanted people and forcing them to make themselves known to the public. So that, to me, did not sound like a very good thing. And also his proudest moment was banning experimental breeding. I didn’t really know what to think about that because reading the book, when I first got it, I thought that Newt Scamander was going to be some crazy Xenophilius Lovegood type character. But this makes me not really know. So what do you ladies think?
Kat: That’s funny that I had never… I mean, I thought about all of that stuff, but I had never really thought about it. I’ve probably read this book a total of six times and that’s probably generous. I don’t think I’ve ever read it cover to cover until today when I read it to prep for the episode. [laughs]
Kat: But I do think that that adds a nice level of dimension in Newt’s character because I think, too, just thinking forward to the movie – and again, we’re not going to discuss it – but I think that we are led to believe that he is a solely good character…
Kat: … and I think that this little bit here maybe shows some of his other half.
Alison: Yeah, I wonder if he thinks… because he doesn’t cite it as his proudest moment; I wonder if he feels like it’s a mistake or it was a bad decision to do that.
Kat: We’ll see.
Lizzie: I could see him… maybe the banning of the experimental breeding… I could almost see him doing that with good intentions.
Alison and Teyanna: Yeah.
Lizzie: It’s like [a] not to force breeding kind of deal. Just to keep them pure in a sense, maybe? But yeah, I could see it both ways of him trying to do the right thing so that these animals aren’t being forced to shack up together kind of deal, but I could also see it the other way.
Alison: Yeah, I don’t necessarily see a problem with the ban on experimental breeding. I feel like that’s a safety thing more than anything.
Alison: I just am so interested by this Werewolf Registry thing.
Kat and Teyanna: Yeah.
Teyanna: That really sounds like that’s something that is out of the ordinary from what we are led to believe because I’m looking at my notes of what I wrote down. [It] was what I started off before, in that I thought that he was more like a Lovegood character, going out and being out there and just wanting to get to know what creatures are like outside in the real world and whatnot. But also in finding out that his mother bred hippogriffs and also knowing that he was a Hufflepuff; that led me to think, “Okay, maybe he wanted to learn and explore what these creatures are like so that people can be safe around them, and so that they can interact with them or not interact with them accordingly.” And we all know how hippogriffs are. You basically have to act right in order to even approach them.
Kat: [laughs] Right.
Teyanna: So I’m thinking that he took that thought and those lessons and learnings, and [is] saying, “These are all creatures that need to be valued and they have a life value, so let me find out about these creatures and inform other people on how to deal with them.”
Kat: So two points on what you said… so about the Werewolf Register, he was almost solely responsible for the creation of that. It was in 1947 and Newt was born in 1897, so he was 50 years old, for the record. He was 82 or 83 when Harry was born and he was 101/102 when Lord Voldemort fell. So technically, he could have been alive. I don’t know if we know he was alive. And because I’ve seen a lot of this in response to the experimental breeding – Ron even comments on it later – Hagrid was born in 1928, so he was 36/37/38 years old when that breeding was passed. So he was old enough to know better, is what I want to say.
Alison: Oh, yeah.
Kat: Second, you mentioned that Newt is a Hufflepuff and that’s funny because we never get that information in the book and I’m wondering how that influences his character, as you mentioned.
Kat: See, this is where the tricky part comes in because… is this book Harry Potter canon or is it Fantastic Beasts canon?
Lizzie: Harry Potter.
Teyanna: Absolutely Harry Potter canon because it also says that Newt graduated from Hogwarts, which… I hear other things differently about the movie.
Kat: Right, the trailer has led us to believe that possibly not…
Kat: But he might still. We won’t get into that. Listen to SpeakBeasty if you want discussion on that.
Lizzie: Yeah, ask me again in November how I feel.
Kat: Right. [laughs]
Alison: Yeah. I like to think it’s going to be a good bridge between the two.
Alison: But this is me being my little hopeful self. [laughs]
Kat: Of course, of course, of course. Yeah.
Alison: It’s going to end up being the perfect little bridge of, “Hey, Harry was reading this book by this character in this other series that’s connected and that’s how it’s going to work. And now we get the book, too!”
Kat: Right. That’s what I hope for, as well. Just rounding out the “About the Author” section, there’s a nice little line which I never picked up before, and I love this because the movie is informing my knowledge of the book now. It says he is retired and he lives in Dorset with his wife Porpentina and their Kneazles: Hoppy, Milly, and, Mauler. So he marries Tina…
Alison and Lizzie: Yes.
Kat: … which is pretty awesome. So maybe eventually we’ll get a wedding in Fantastic Beasts. You never know, right?
Alison: Ooh, that would be fun.
Kat: I was thinking… I was saying that, like, “Oh, we’ve never seen a wedding before!” and then I realized like a dumbass that we have definitely seen a wedding before.
Alison: Yeah. Well, we didn’t get much about the wedding.
Lizzie: It’d be nice to see a happy wedding.
Teyanna: We didn’t see the ceremony.
Kat: The ceremony. There you go.
Kat: That’s what I want to see, the ceremony. Because I want to see… we won’t go there about the whole crossing of the… yeah, anyway.
Lizzie and Teyanna: Yeah.
Kat: We are not talking about Deathly Hallows. We’re talking about Fantastic Beasts. Okay. So we’re going to move on to…
Teyanna: In my head it was very beautiful.
Kat: Oh, it was. I completely agree. So we’ll move on to the foreward now, which is narrated – or written, I suppose – by Dumbledore. And honestly, most of this section here is about why the book was published. And it talks about the Comic Relief UK, which is not the same as the American organization, and is actually… the American one is defunct. I don’t know; is the UK one still going? I have a feeling it’s not.
Alison: Don’t they do Red Nose Day, or is that someone else?
Kat: It’s possible that they do. Let’s google that. I’m pretty sure.
Teyanna: Well, I’m not seeing anything that says anything from the UK for Red Nose Day. Everything is American.
Kat: Yeah, so on comicrelief.uk.com, they are… Red Nose Day is on there so I do think they are the ones that do that.
Teyanna: Oh, okay.
Alison: I was going to say, they were around two years ago when I bought my UK addition, so… [laughs]
Kat: Right. So the US chapter of Comic Relief is defunct. It has been defunct for a while, but they were never related regardless. So Dumbledore goes on to say here that this is Harry’s own copy of the book and Harry seemed reluctant to let them duplicate it and print it. And I was really curious as to why Harry would be so reluctant.
Alison: Because of their notes. [laughs]
Kat: I know, but there’s nothing incriminating in here.
Alison: No, but I think he’s probably embarrassed that they wrote dorky things about…
Lizzie: Stuff about Hagrid.
Alison: … and the Chudley Cannons…
Alison: … and, “My name is Gregory Goyle and I smell,” with a picture of a troll.
Alison: Things like that and, “Snape hasn’t read this book, either.”
Alison: [laughs] He was probably just like, “Oh, I didn’t realize someone was going to read that besides me and Ron and maybe Hermione, and this is embarrassing.”
Lizzie: Just like another Disney Channel Original Movie, Read it and Weep.
Kat: Oh my gosh. [laughs]
Lizzie: This is not sponsored by Disney Channel Original Movies. This is terrible knowledge. [laughs]
Kat: I think my favorite weird little scribble in the book here is on page 19 of the US edition of the Glumbumble and they circled “bum” and put an arrow to it.
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Alison: I think… I love, too, the Puffskein that says… Ron writes, “I had one of them once,” and Harry says, “What happened to it?” And he says, “Fred used it for Bludger practice.”
Alison: And it’s just like… what?
Kat: And it’s funny because you can picture them handing this book back and forth in class or something, writing notes to each other.
Kat: There is a lot of Hagrid hate in this book. Not hate, but…
Alison: I don’t know if it’s hate. It’s just…
Alison: … pointed remarks.
Alison: Like, “Has Hagrid read this?” “Hagrid will be getting one soon.”
Alison: “Baby Norbert.”
Kat: Exactly. Yeah, the Ministry of Magic Classification Five: Known wizard killer, “Or anything Hagrid likes.” So…
Kat: It’s funny.
Teyanna: And that’s definitely true, though.
Kat: It is definitely true.
Teyanna: Because Hagrid is… I mean, he had a friend that was an Acromantula.
Teyanna: So clearly, anything that’s a Five X is something that Hagrid likes.
Kat: [laughs] Right.
Alison: I also love the note in Merpeople where they crossed out “less beautiful” and just wrote, “Ugly.”
Kat: Oh, yeah. “Ugly.” I was just looking… I was like, “I don’t see that… oh, there it is, yeah.” There are some very funny ones in here. I’ll be excited to hear which ones the listeners really enjoy. Yeah. “My name is Gregory Goyle and I smell.”
Kat: Super grade school boys.
Alison: Mhm. It’s great..
Kat: But I love it. It’s very funny. It’s that sass that we love from Harry himself.
Teyanna: Sassy Harry.
Kat: There was one other little shout-out in here that I thought was appropriate to talk about because it stuck out at me this time. So it’s Griphook. Dumbledore is talking about the fund which is specifically designated to help children in need throughout the world, and it says, “Wizards wishing to make additional donations should do so through Gringotts Wizarding Bank (ask for Griphook).” I mean, do we know what happened to him? I thought… I guess I always assumed that he was fired or killed or is gone, but…
Alison: Well, this would have to be before Deathly Hallows because Dumbledore is writing this foreward, so…
Kat: Oh, right. Wow! [laughs] That is the most obvious thing in the world.
Kat: How did I not catch that?
Alison: When did these come out? I feel like these came out before Order.
Kat: Alison, you’re so smart.
Kat: Hold on, I’m going to look in my 2014 MuggleNet fandom calendar. No, I’m not; that’s going to take so long.
Alison: Because I am… I’m trying to remember because I remember getting these out of the Scholastic book orders in elementary school.
Alison: I remember being super excited [about] getting this and Quiditch Through the Ages together and basically having a flip-out. And I think that was before Order came out.
Lizzie: This came out in 2001.
Alison: Oh my gosh! Yeah, definitely.
Lizzie: “Text copyright 2001 by J.K. Rowling. Illustrations and hand lettering copyright 2001 by J.K. Rowling.”
Alison: So this might have even been before…
Lizzie: Maybe Prisoner. I don’t know.
Alison: Because yeah, this… I was in first grade.
Lizzie: I’ve had these for a very long time. I definitely got these in elementary school at Scholastic book fairs. I’ve definitely had this for a very long time because she just wrote this as a charity piece.
Kat: She did, she did.
Lizzie: It was just a little side piece.
Alison: And it wasn’t really a big deal.
Lizzie: Right, they were just something that if you were an extra fan at the time, you were like, “Oh, Hogwarts textbooks. I would like to have this in my repertoire.”
Teyanna: And they have already had that interaction with the Acromantula. So I guess this probably came out, what, in the Goblet of Fire year for him?
Lizzie: In the middle?
Alison: But… no, it would have had to be after Goblet because he mentions in the Hungarian Horntail part that… it says something about them being super dangerous and he says, “You’re not kidding.”
Teyanna: Oh, okay.
Alison: So it had to be after Goblet.
Lizzie: Unless she just planned this very, very well, as she sometimes does.
Kat: [laughs] Sometimes. Let’s see.
Teyanna: Amazing. Whoa.
Kat: I’m looking up release dates here because our memories are all failing us.
Lizzie: Goblet of Fire came out July 8, 2000.
Alison: Okay. So yeah, this was probably just after Goblet.
Lizzie: And Order of the Phoenix… wasn’t that the biggest delay between the two of them? Yeah, 2003.
Alison and Kat: Yeah.
Kat: I was going to say a few years.
Alison: Because… so Snape had already taught DADA so that’s Book 3.
Lizzie: [Book] 2. [Book] 3.
Alison: [Book] 3.
Lizzie: Yes, [Book] 3. Don’t listen to me.
Alison: Ron had already been tricked by the Leprechaun gold because he mentions that.
Lizzie: In [Book] 4.
Alison: So yeah, I think it must have just been right after Goblet.
Kat: So then… let’s see, when did Ron have a Puffskein?
Alison: I think it meant when he was a kid because Harry didn’t know about it, so…
Kat: I’m just making sure that there isn’t… I’m sure there [aren’t] any inconsistencies in here.
Lizzie: It says “Pixie” and then it adds extra, extra, extra X’s because if you’re Lockhart, they’re extra dangerous.
Teyanna: Yeah, that was cute.
Kat: Yeah. No, okay, so…
Alison: “Werewolves aren’t all bad.” Yeah.
Kat: Right, so… okay. Cool, my biggest point of that section was defunct…
Kat: … because I was not using my brain that Dumbledore is indeed dead and therefore could not write this from the grave. Okay, so…
Lizzie: Two for two, Kat Miller.
Kat: Yeah, I’m doing real good today.
Kat: So my last thing that I wanted to bring up – and I tried to look up information on this and I couldn’t find anything – was the Thief’s Curse. It says, “All that remains is for me to warn anyone who has read this far without purchasing this book that it carries a Thief’s Curse.” So the Wiki assumes that this is a curse that is placed on the reader because they don’t buy the book, but… what? But how is that…? How? How? How?
Lizzie: Maybe it’s in the barcode. I don’t know.
Kat: Do you think…? I don’t think they use barcodes in the wizarding world.
Alison: [laughs] Well, but maybe it’s like a barcode. Maybe… you know how at libraries they have magnetic strips in books? Maybe it’s like that but magic.
Alison: And so unless someone takes it off when you buy it, it’s there. I don’t know. [laughs]
Lizzie: There could be an incantation – wow, I don’t know if I’m saying that right – an incantation that when you purchase your books, that a librarian taps or a bookseller taps the books a certain way with their wand and it releases sensors. That could be something, or… I don’t know.
Teyanna: Yeah, libraries have that, too. It’s usually a gray thing that they have on the checkout desk…
Alison and Lizzie: Yeah.
Teyanna: … and the librarians, they rub the book on it, and it demagnetizes the book [in] some way so that the alarm doesn’t go off when you walk out the door.
Kat: Yeah, but how do they know if you’re standing there…? Okay, I’m sure everybody, at least at some point, has gone into a Barnes & Noble and grabbed a book and sat down for an hour and read.
Kat: So how do they track that? I’m super curious.
Alison: Maybe it has to do with page turning or something.
Alison: Can you imagine these accidentally getting set off? Oh, gosh. [laughs]
Kat: Yeah, I just feel like this level of spell is on par with the Taboo…
Kat: … because I feel like it’s super unnecessary and a super violation of privacy and freedom. I mean, I know that one of them was done by Lord Voldemort; I’m not saying that this is equivalent to the Taboo. It’s very different, obviously.
Alison: See, I see it more as lining up with the protections at Gringotts in Deathly Hallows where they have…
Kat: That’s overkill. [laughs]
Alison: Well, okay, not quite to that point, but a low level of that. [laughs]
Kat: Sure, sure.
Lizzie: I mean, maybe you can’t get it at a library. I mean, of course, the Hogwarts library, but if it’s in the Hogwarts library, then the school owns it. Somebody owns it. It was purchased somehow.
Kat: What I would like to see is a bookstore where all the books actually have no words until you buy them and walk out of the store.
Alison: Oh, that’d be sweet!
Kat: That would stop people from reading it, wouldn’t it? And I feel like with the name Obscurus Books, it just works.
Kat: But anyway, if anybody out there has an idea of what the Thief’s Curse could be, please let us know because the Internet has no information.
Teyanna: Yeah, I just know it had me thinking twice about it because I actually gave my original book to one of my students, and I just assumed that it was going to be easy for me to just download to my iPad, but of course, they’re not selling these books anymore. So what I did was I just googled a soft copy of Fantastic Beasts and bada bing, bada boom; it’s on my iPad now. And so I was like, “Well, I didn’t pay for it,” but I said, “I originally paid for it,” so I guess I still technically bought the book, so I won’t have a Thief’s Curse on me right now. But yeah.
Kat: Can you…? Do they not sell that on Pottermore? I thought that they did. The Pottermore store.
Teyanna: That’s probably why I didn’t find it because I was looking at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, I just need to go to Barnes & Noble and get the book again.”
Alison: Oh, yeah.
Teyanna: But I didn’t have enough time to do that, so last night I just googled “soft copy” of the book and I have it now.
Kat: Ironically, they don’t. They have Quidditch Through the Ages and Tales of Beedle the Bard in eBook, but they do not have Fantastic Beasts.
Alison: Oh, maybe because with the movie coming out, they’re going to…
Teyanna: That’s what I thought.
Alison: They said they were going to do a new edition, so that might be.
Lizzie: Which, let me tell you, I am very intrigued to see what this new edition is going to be because one thing is not like the other.
Teyanna: Oh, yeah, of course.
Kat: Well, and they just did new editions of Quidditch Through the Ages and Tales of Beedle the Bard, so I feel like they should have released that at the same time regardless. It’s just an eBook.
Kat: It’s not like they are spending money on publicating… “publicating.” Publishing.
Kat: Okay, we’re going to move on because Kat cannot speak tonight, and I want to get through this before my voice totally fails me. So we’ll move on to the introduction here, which is written by Newt himself, so there is… right?
Kat: Okay, I was right. Okay. So Newt starts this section by talking about himself a little bit. He says that he remembers looking “back across the years to a seven-year-old wizard who spent hours in his bedroom, dismembering Horklumps.” Okay…
Alison: What a weirdo. Just kidding. [laughs]
Kat: Yeah, so then I went to read what a Horklump is, and a Horklump “comes from Scandinavia, and is now widespread throughout northern Europe. It resembles a fleshy, pinkish mushroom, covered in sparse, wiry black bristles.” So that’s kind of mean.
Kat: That’s all. I mean…
Kat: You’re ripping apart animals? I feel like that’s the equivalent of kids who used to burn ants or rip the legs off of daddy long legs.
Teyanna: Yeah, it seems like such a boy thing to do. But also, since it’s an animal, [it seems] borderline crazy. Why are you dismembering some animal just because they can’t fight back? It’s a little strange.
Alison: I wonder if they were already dead. I wonder if that’s a common wizarding garden pest, like gnomes or something. And so…
Kat: I thought you were going to say “past-time.” I was like “Alison, I doubt it.”
Alison: No, no. I don’t think they’re all that crazy. Though, according to Beedle the Bard, that we talked about the other week, fondling them is a thing some people do.
[Alison and Kat laugh]
Kat: Oh, boy.
Alison: But yeah, so I wonder if it’s a common garden pest and so he was like… kids will find dead lizards and stuff and be like, “Oh, look, dead lizard! What’s it made of?”
Kat: That’s so disgusting.
Alison: [laughs] I know.
Kat: I wonder… okay, listeners, you’ll have to enlighten us if you ever did that as a child and you happened to not be a male. I know that’s super sexist, but I feel like that’s not a thing that a majority of girls would do. Obviously, I’m sure that there are some out there, but tell us if you ever dismembered any Horklumps when you were seven years old, or lizards, or burned ants.
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Lizzie: I absolutely burned ants.
Kat: Lizzie, you’re so mean! I’m just kidding; it’s fine.
Teyanna: Yeah, I did, too.
Lizzie: Okay, well, look, I really did not like them. I tried doing the chalk around the ants to see them panic first, and then I took out the flame. It was very… it was a dark time of my childhood.
Kat: What? The chalk? Huh? What? There’s a thing with chalk and ants?
Lizzie: Yeah, if you draw a circle around them, then they freak out and they think they can’t leave the circle.
Lizzie: I think so.
Alison: I’ve never heard that.
Kat: I haven’t, either.
Lizzie: I’m pretty sure. My past would tell me so.
Lizzie: But I think it had to be white chalk or something like that that if you did that, they were stuck.
Kat: Something high contrast.
Kat: Wow, that’s particularly mean, Lizzie. I’m impressed. And a little scared.
Lizzie: I really did not like them. They got in my shoes, and I did not invite them there. They had to go.
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Alison: My brother used to roast grasshoppers, so…
Lizzie: Okay, see? I wasn’t doing that!
Kat: But people eat those, so that’s…
Teyanna: But people eat them.
Alison: We also used to put salt on snails, but… [laughs]
Teyanna: Oh, that’s terrible.
Lizzie: I always wanted to do that.
Kat: Oh my gosh, I was never this mean as a kid.
Alison: Well, I don’t know…
Lizzie: I couldn’t be mean to anybody else.
Alison: Yeah, we just didn’t get it, I think, and it was just like, “Nature. We’re playing outside. There’s a snail.”
Kat: Well, at least you were outside.
Lizzie: Yeah, I was like, ” This is really funny. Ha ha, look at this ant.” I mean, I don’t think any of them ever actually caught fire; I think it just kind of burned out before anything happened to them. The heat would just… [makes the sound of a match being extinguished]
Kat: Oh. Okay.
Teyanna: Yeah, I think I did it one once with one of my friends that was a boy, way back when. And I didn’t know, trying to mimic what they did on TV by using the magnifying glass and thinking that the ant was going to catch on fire. And then I had that guilt of, “Oh, an ant is alive! If you do that, that’s murder. So Teyanna, you shouldn’t do that.” So then I didn’t do that anymore. And actually, my grandfather used to go out in the backyard and step on snails when it rained because they would come out from underground, and it was the most disgusting thing…
Alison: Oh yeah, that’s gross.
Teyanna: Yeah, you could hear their shells cracking, and then he’d just leave them there…
Alison: Yeah, it’s gross.
Teyanna: So it’d just be dead snails squished all over the backyard. It was gross.
Kat: Okay, okay, let’s move on to happier things.
Kat: Albeit only slightly happier. So Newt’s talking about his travels, and he says that he’s visited lairs and burrows and nests across five continents, and he’s seen magical beasts and observed them in over a hundred countries – “witnessed their powers, gained their trust and, on occasion, beaten them off with my traveling kettle.” Okay, so one, obviously a very stereotypical Brit here with his kettle, traveling…
Alison: Love it.
Kat: Got to have his tea. But how hardcore is that kettle that he can beat off a fantastic beast with it?
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Alison: It’s great! [laughs]
Kat: I mean, this was the… well, he first started out in 1918, which we’ll… that’s when he was first commissioned by Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books. And so I feel like maybe it was a really old iron kettle, one of those super heavy ones…
Kat: And I buy it. I buy it.
Alison: He was poor. He probably got it secondhand somewhere. It was probably beat up anyway.
Kat: That’s true. Speaking of him being poor, I did a little conversion here because I was very interested in this. Newt says that he was working at the Ministry of Magic when he was first commissioned – again in 1918 – and he was making two Sickles a week. So for the record, two Sickles is about – right now, current conversion – $1.18 a week. So I looked it up and back in 1918, the average monthly family income in the United States – this is monthly again for a family of four – was $1,518. So actually, that’s not too bad. The hourly wage, depending on the industry – that’s the word I’m looking for – ranged anywhere from 31 cents, 42 cents, 67 cents, 53 cents – somewhere in there. That was the hourly wage. So in comparison, the $1.18 at the current conversion rate that Newt was making, which is two Sickles a week, would right now translate to 0.82 British pounds – so less than a pound per week. So he was making about half of what the UK average was making at that time – which is crazy!
Alison: Exploiting of young people in the workforce.
Kat: Crazy. And I feel like that is so standard for the Ministry of Magic. Please, I hope I did that math right. Somebody correct me, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. But that is terrible. That is bloody terrible.
Alison: Yeah, that really sucks.
Kat: I wonder how you find out how much that is today.
Alison: I don’t know.
Kat: Is there a [way to] find out…?
Alison: I’m sure there’s a conversion app somewhere.
Kat: [typing] “1918 money compared to today”… I don’t know, Google will tell me.
Kat: “Calculate the value of a dollar in 1918.” Okay, but I don’t want a dollar; I want British pounds.
Alison: Well, if you can do a dollar, you can kind of see, I guess.
Kat: “Measuring purchasing power of the pound”… ooh! “Initial year.” Okay, 1918… initial amount: one pound, ten shillings, six pence. Correct?
Kat: Okay. “Desired year, 2016. Calculating.” I don’t know how to read this. [laughs]
Teyanna: I found an inflation calculator online. And so… what’s the amount again?
Kat: It is one pound, ten shillings, six pence.
Teyanna: Okay, and that was, they said, 1.56…
Alison: In 1918.
Teyanna: Of course, I need to do this here… [calculating numbers]
Kat: It’s going to be… okay, so does anyone have a guess? I’m going to guess something like $74 a week.
[Teyanna continues calculating numbers]
Kat: Sure? That’s your guess?
Alison: Yeah, that’ll work. [laughs]
Teyanna: Of course I’m getting an error message from the inflation calculator saying, “sorry, the number is not usable.” Like, I put in a dollar and two dollars… [unintelligible] Okay, so my little Google thing did not work.
Kat: Hold on, I found another one. Okay, so the equivalent of £1.56 in 1918 is equivalent to £67.78 in the UK today, in 2016.
Alison: Oh my gosh.
Kat: 67 pounds, 78 [pence].
Alison: How was he alive?
Kat: Yeah. So, think about that. That is two carloads of petrol. Maybe not even. I don’t even know how much petrol is over there.
Alison: Oh my gosh. Yeah, I don’t understand how he was eating and paying rent. [laughs] Poor Newt.
Teyanna: He was finding these magical creatures. [laughs]
Teyanna: That’s the only way. That’s crazy.
Kat: So thank goodness he was commissioned and went out to do this…
Kat: … because otherwise, he might have just died. [laughs] From starvation.
Lizzie: I’d like to think I’ll never complain about being poor again after hearing those numbers, but I will probably complain about being poor.
Alison: Yep. I was going to say, I make more than Newt at my little college job!
Kat: Well, we also live in the US.
Alison: That’s true.
Kat: And don’t forget, the US always made, according to those numbers, more money.
Alison: That’s true.
Kat: Okay, so that is our brief little introduction from Newt there, so we go on to the section entitled “What Is a Beast?” And I really wanted to talk about the three definitions that they go through. So the first one here says that, “any member of the magical community that walks on two legs would … be granted status of ‘being’, and all others would remain ‘beasts.'” The second: “Beings were declared those who could speak the human tongue.” And the third, and the one most widely accepted: “[A] being is any creature that has sufficient intelligence to understand the laws of the magical community and to bear part of the responsibility in shaping those laws.” So, the first one came about, the one that says that any member of the magical community who walks on two legs would be granted the status of being, and that was – I did not write down the year – in the fourteenth century. So that is a really long time ago. What was happening in the fourteenth century? Where’s Rosie when you need her?
Alison: The fourteenth century would have been…
Kat: When did we decide Beedle happened?
Alison: Fifteenth century.
Alison: So it’s even before that.
Kat: Wow. The point being is they probably didn’t know much else. I don’t want to say that they were ignorant, but I feel like some of the beasts and beings maybe weren’t discovered yet, and so maybe this was the best option for them at the time. Perhaps there really weren’t many that didn’t walk on two legs.
Teyanna: It was the beginning of the Ottoman Empire in the fourteenth century.
Alison: Oh, there you go. I think it was before the Renaissance too, which would mean there wasn’t a lot of scientific knowledge.
Teyanna: The Great Famine in Europe.
Alison: Yeah, so that goes with that.
Kat: So do we think that at that time, that was probably pretty appropriate?
Alison: I think so. I think that works for that time period. What I find fascinating about this walking through is it’s almost like trying to close loopholes. [laughs]
Alison: And then throughout all these stories he tells, it’s like, “and the goblins found a loophole, so they had to go back and change it to close that loophole. But then they found a different loophole.” And it’s lawmaking to a T. [laughs] It’s always just trying to close loopholes.
Kat: Yeah, and stop people from doing things that government doesn’t want them to do. But we won’t get into that today. So as Alison mentioned, the first one was changed when the chief of the Wizard’s Council – which is what preceded the Ministry of Magic – Burdock Muldoon, I believe is how you say his name – he held a meeting and invited everybody who was classified as a being to participate in that. And it says that it was crammed with goblins who had brought with them as many two-legged creatures as they could find. And there’s a nice excerpt here from Bathilda Bagshot in A History of Magic, which I’ll read because I think it’s pretty funny. Please excuse my pronunciation because I am not Michael:
“Little could be heard over the squawking of the Diricawls and the moaning of the Auguries and the relentless piercing song of the Fwoopers. As wizards and witches attempted to consult the papers before them, sundry pixies and fairies whirled about their heads, giggling and jabbering. A dozen or so trolls began to smash apart the chamber with their clubs, while hags glided about the place in search of children to eat. The council chief stood up to open the meeting, slipped on a pile of Porlock dung and ran cursing from the hall.”
So, I was just picturing that all in my head and it was fabulous.
Teyanna: Fabulous and terrifying. There are creature running around looking for children to eat. [laughs] That’s crazy. And it also, seems like a terrible governmental move. You would think that there would be some type of checks and balances for decisions to be made and you would think that someone in the wizarding government would say, “Oh, hey, a banshee walks on two legs. You want a banshee being in this meeting? Or trolls walk on two legs. You want them here?” That, to me, was just a poor governmental decision. And of course, that is not going to work.
Kat: Right. So actually, Muldoon’s successor, Madame Elfrida Clagg, I believe is how you say her name, actually totally agrees with your assessment. She’s the one who changed the classification of beings to, “Those who could speak the human tongue,” which then also presented a problem because then people were teaching trolls how to speak and that really wasn’t working out well either. So I wonder how they landed. I feel like legs and speaking human tongue are two of the most ubiquitous things with wizards, so maybe that’s where they were pulling from?
Teyanna: Yeah. One thing that I don’t understand is why they didn’t just say humans are beings and other things are beasts. Because I’m trying to think of a non-human – besides, say merpeople – that would be considered a being.
Lizzie: Goblin. Centaurs.
Teyanna: Yeah, that’s true.
Alison: I wonder – if we’re talking about goblins, merpeople, centaurs – we’ve talked about in the Harry Potter books how there seems to be an almost fear by wizards, especially pureblood wizards, people who have grown up around them, about those creatures because they’re so powerful and a little, a lot of times it seems, bloodthirsty. So I wonder if that was the concern of, “We can’t leave a group like that or a race like that out without creating, potentially, a huge problem.”
Teyanna: And that’s definitely what the goblins would do.
Teyanna: Because they’re so passive-aggressive! They’re saying, “Oh, yeah, okay, so you made this rule that all beings are going to be bipedal. Okay, let me invite the trolls, let me invite whoever else that’s going to basically cause chaos.” And when there’s the new rule, “Oh, you can speak a human language,” then they started teaching the trolls how to speak certain languages and whatnot. So yeah, I could definitely see them do that.
Kat: Man, corrupt government is everywhere. Geez Louise. So we move on to the third and what is known as the most commonly accepted version which was brought about in 1811. And it is that, “Any creature that has sufficient intelligence to understand the laws of the magical community and to bear part of the responsibility in shaping those laws,” which I think sounds like a beautiful compromise of the other two.
Alison: It sounds very Lockean. It sounds very much like John Locke’s writing, which is fascinating, considering it’s so much earlier than that, I think. I don’t remember the right dates. Anyway, it’s almost like the rule of government consent to be governed.
Alison: In some ways.
Kat: And Newt goes on to mention that there are some animals – beasts, wow, not animals – beasts and beings that refuse to accept the classification that they were given. Of course, the one that we hear about most is the centaurs, as they have refused the status of a being and they want to remain firmly in the beast category. And I wonder, do you think that is the right choice for the centaurs? Obviously, we are not centaurs, we can’t speak for them. But what do you guys think? Do you see them more as a beast than a being?
Teyanna: I understand their point of view just because they are so connected to astrology and to nature it’s as – I’m not a centaur but I’m going to pretend like I am for a second…
Kat: Sure, sure.
Teyanna: … as a centaur, I would want to remain a beast to say, “I am a part of nature and nature is a part of me. I’m not a part of you and your stupid government, so I’m going to express and stay in my environment and state that I am nature and I’m going to stay a ‘beast’ and [am] not really going to let you dictate who I am.”
Alison: Yeah, I think it definitely has to do a little bit with not wanting to be tied to the wizard government and not wanting to feel the need to be connected with that when they have their own community structure and hierarchy.
Kat: Right. They have their own government within themselves, right?
Kat: So, I guess that makes sense, and too, this is another one I really wanted to talk about which is the werewolves, and we brought that up before when we were talking about how Newt was “almost solely responsible for the Registry” and it says that right now the werewolves are split between because there’s an office for werewolf support services in the being division. However, the Werewolf Registry and Werewolf Capture Unit is in the beast division. And I feel like, personally, werewolves are one of those things that will never squarely fit in either category because they are both.
Kat: They really are both.
Teyanna: I completely agree.
Alison: It’s the sad… it’s the tragedy of being a werewolf is that now all of a sudden you’re split between these two things and it’s hard to get out of that.
Kat: There’s a duality there that will never quite go away. It will absolutely never go away unless you’re taking the Wolfsbane every month and then even then…
Lizzie: You’re still transforming.
Kat: Yeah. You’re still transforming but you keep your mind.
Kat: So I guess that’s the important question then: Is the difference between a beast and a being, is it the mind? Is it their form? Is it somewhere in-between? Do you guys think that that third and most accepted one is still the one that would be most applicable today?
Teyanna: I do.
Teyanna: In my notes I also touched on werewolves and I said that yes, they are both but I think that it’s really a social aspect that really hurts the werewolves the most and that’s only because they are really not socially accepted. For example, if, let’s say they sold Wolfsbane potion at every store and it was accepted that some people did transform into werewolves but they still kept their minds and if the public was educated about what the whole werewolf affliction is, I think that it could be socially accepted to become a werewolf. But that’s also in a perfect world. So, I think in the “real” world that people are going to continue to be afraid of what they do not know and what they do not understand and they will also continue to have their prejudices against werewolves, basically. And so realistically speaking, it would be hard to make werewolves a part of beings even though I personally think that, yes, they are both but they can primarily be in that… I think they can just be in both and also just be a being because they do always – if they take the Wolfsbane potion – they do always keep their mind and they are able to understand the wizarding laws and hence be considered a being, even though they have the potential to do so much harm when they are not.
Kat: It’s funny because everything you said… there’s been so many things that we’ve talked about that have touched on things that are happening in our world right now…
Kat: … and I don’t want to directly compare anything to werewolves because I don’t want to be insensitive. But there are definitely some issues floating around that, if you removed werewolf and put another word in there, it would be very applicable. And that’s really sad to think about the fact that something in this fictional world – although there are many, many, many things that parallel – this is a pretty sad one.
Teyanna: Mhm. I agree.
Kat: That’s sad. And for that matter alone, I want them to be beings because I think…
Kat: … the thing that I am thinking of which maybe some listeners will get on their own – again, not going to say it – I think that those things, those people are beings. So that’s my two cents there. So Newt also goes on to mention a few other ones, in particular the Acromantulas and the manticores, which are capable of intelligent speech but will attempt to devour any human that goes near them – as we have seen – and also the sphinx, which talks only in puzzles and riddles and is violent when given the wrong answer. So there are exceptions to every law, which I think makes this an imperfect law. But that’s just me, the Ravenclaw, wanting everything to be just so.
Alison: You’re always going to have imperfect laws. I think it’s one of those things that there’s always going to be an exception to every rule and there’s always going to be nuance, that it’s very difficult to capture and make everyone happy in one thing without nullifying everything. I would hope that up in the Ministry there are people who are willing to understand the nuances of things and move things that need to be moved the way they should be, when necessary.
Kat: Right. I agree. I hope so. So we’ll move on to the next little bit here and this is going to go quickly because, honestly, there’s lots of things in here but they’re also… I mean, there’s only so much that we can talk about in relation to the Potter novels – because we’re trying to focus on the books and how they relate to Harry Potter because all of this information is just here and we don’t have a whole lot of context in order to discuss and talk about it. Maybe we could return to this book after the movie comes out and see. But again, that implies or assumes that the two of them are related in some way. So I guess maybe we’ll discuss that, but we’ll go on here to the section entitled “Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantastic Beasts.” And it goes on to say that in Muggle art and literature there have been some, often comical, misrepresentations of some magical creatures including the dragon, the griffin, the unicorn, the phoenix, the centaur and so on. And the International Confederation of Wizards argued over the matter of, “What do we keep to ourselves and who do we hide, what species do we hide, and which ones do we let the Muggles see?” And that was in 1692 and, at that time, they decided that 27 species were to be hidden. We don’t actually get a list of what those 27 are and it does say that the number has increased since then. So it’s because of that that we don’t have real life unicorns!
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Alison: All the dragons are gone because they hid them.
Kat: Yeah, except the Komodo dragon. I guess they thought that was acceptable.
Kat: Probably not an actual magical dragon, which is sad. That’s sad. I wonder what else… you think the dodo bird?
Alison: There actually is a beast in here that he says is what Muggles think is the dodo bird…
Teyanna: Yeah, I remember that.
Alison: … and just because it can disappear they think it has become extinct, which is actually one of my favorite little tidbits from this book.
Kat: That is pretty great but I wonder if that was… Maybe it is a relation of the dodo bird. You just said that but maybe that was actually one of the species that was hidden eventually. What else has gone extinct that could have a magical background?
Teyanna: The Indian lion, I guess. The Indian lion went extinct and everyone is really familiar with the African lion but lions actually were in India as well. They looked a little bit different than the African lion.
Kat: Do they have something special or cool about them, though?
Teyanna: They are lions so they are awesome in and of themselves, but no.
[Lizzie and Teyanna laugh]
Kat: Oh. Let’s see. I’m going to google “particularly cool extinct animals” and see what comes up.
[Alison and Kat laugh]
Kat: I got the Tasmanian tiger.
Alison: [laughs] Sorry, that’s just the greatest thing to search: “particularly awesome extinct animals.”
Kat: This is funny, this is interesting. So I did google “particularly fascinating extinct animals” and I got an article which is actually entitled “Sixteen Fascinating Extinct [Animals].” And the first one is the Tasmanian tiger and here’s the funny thing. It says the Tasmanian tiger was listed as extinct nearly 80 years ago but now a team of British naturalists are on the prowl to prove that the species is still alive.
Alison: Uh-oh. It’s Rolf!
Kat: A British naturalist… okay that is a Magizoologist!
Alison: Rolf is on the move! Rolf and Luna!
Kat: How funny is that?
Kat: Wow, that is the coolest thing.
Teyanna: Yeah, that’s awesome. I didn’t hear about that but I heard about that happening down in Australia, not over in Europe. But that is awesome.
Kat: Wow, okay.
Teyanna: Yeah, because I watch weird things like that of weird animals and so on and so forth. But yeah, I had heard about that. That’s crazy.
Alison: They’re all being hidden in Australia with all their other crazy creatures that are down there.
Kat: Oh, I just think… okay, I don’t even think I need to read any more of these because I am now convinced that we are going to get the Tasmanian tiger back…
Kat: …because he and Luna are going to find it. They are going to find it.
Alison: There we go.
Kat: And none of these other ones are particularly exciting. I mean, they’re fascinating but they’re not… the golden toad, the bluebuck, the great auk. Oh, it’s a large flightless penguin-like bird, okay.
Alison: Oh, yeah.
Kat: Oh, this is like a porpoise – Chinese river dolphin.
Alison: That’s a sweet name.
Kat: I mean, that’s not its official name but I couldn’t pronounce the official name.
Alison: Oh. [laughs]
Kat: The Haast’s eagle which is named for the man who first classified the species in 1870 was the largest known eagle to ever have existed.
Kat: Oh, the enormous raptors lived in New Zealand! Hmm, how funny is that? You know, Lord of the Rings, eagles, get it?
Alison: [laughs] It’s the giant eagles. They flew away with Frodo.
Kat: The quagga – party in the front, business in the back.
[Alison, Lizzie, and Teyanna laugh]
Kat: That’s exactly what this website says. That is the quagga – a type of zebra with stripes only on its front half – was all about.
Teyanna: That’s awesome. [laughs]
Alison: Huh, that sounds like a magical creature too. That’s a very Fantastic Beast name: quagga.
Kat: It is. Listeners, if you want to go read more about Rolf and Luna’s excursions to find the Tasmanian tiger, google it because there [are] probably some reports of Muggles who have seen them out and about looking for it. So definitely check that out. In the meantime, we will talk about some other magical beasts that are in hiding. They mention here in a very brief little section that in Tibet there have been so many reportings of the yeti – because each country is responsible for hiding their own fantastic beasts – and Tibet doesn’t do a good job. As well as Scotland, who has a giant kelpie which attracts people and just doesn’t want to be hidden, and of course we all know that to be Nessie, which I think is absolutely brilliant on Newt’s part to write this in here.
Kat: We know it’s Jo, of course, but she’s a cheeky little bugger. So it goes on to say in the next section here, which is “Safe Habitats,” that safe habitats around the world were made for some of these beasts and it made me think – they mention that lakes and rivers are set aside for the use of merpeople – and made me think of the Black Lake at Hogwarts…
Kat: … and how that could be a nice, safe habitat, which I think is really cool because there’s a lot of animals that live in there.
Alison: I think they say that at one part, don’t they, that the Forbidden Forest and the lake are particularly known for being sanctuaries for animals because it’s Hogwarts? Where else are you going to go that’s super safe? But am I remembering this wrong
Kat: That sounds like a Pottermore tidbit. Is that a Pottermore tidbit?
Alison: It might be. I might have just made that up, too.
Kat: Maybe. Michael would know, if he was here.
Alison: [laughs] Yeah, I have a terrible memory.
Kat: So, then there’s a nice little section here – we’ve already slightly talked about most of the things that are in the rest of this section – controls on selling and breeding, that the ban came into place in 1965 and there is a nice little note here from Ron that says, “But no one has told Hagrid…”
Kat: … or that might be Harry. I think it’s Harry, I’m so bad at telling apart handwriting, I can’t tell. The next little section talks about Disillusionment Charms and if you own a Hippogriff how it is your responsibility, you are bound by law to enchant the beast with a Disillusionment Charm every single day.
Alison: How do you find them then?
Kat: I don’t know, but that’s a lot of work. Think about when Moody put one on Harry, they could still see him.
Alison: Can they?
Kat: I don’t know.
Alison: I thought that was the point…
Kat: I assume that…
Alison: … is that you blend into the background.
Kat: Yeah, I think that is the point but I feel like they could still see him, like there [are] wavy lines, like when the heat is coming up from the ground in the summer when it’s all hot, and you look wavy.
Alison: Yeah. Like a mirage?
Kat: A mirage, yes, indeed.
Teyanna: Yeah, that’s what I thought just because there are different levels of Disillusionment Charms and like you said, sometimes it can be a little wavy and they also wear off so that’s why I think it’s a daily thing, like you have taken your daily medicine, every morning the Hippogriff needs…
[Alison and Kat laugh]
Teyanna: … to receive this Disillusionment Charm so that people can’t see it. But also why have them if you’re going to be hiding them the entire time? Because they are such beautiful, wonderful creatures.
Kat: Yeah, you’d have to live out somewhere like where the Burrow is in order to have one without worrying about charming it every day.
Teyanna: Yeah, exactly. Or could you do a Disillusionment Charm in changing the appearance of the Hippogriff to make it look like a horse? So that you can still see where it is but it doesn’t look like some magical creature to the Muggles.
Kat: That’d be transfiguration, technically, so I don’t see why not.
Alison: Interesting. I wonder if Newt helped his mom do that [when] they were breeding their Hippogriffs.
Teyanna: Yeah, I know.
Kat: They’re fancy Hippogriffs.
Alison: So, I wonder if he’s good at that. I mean, I would assume he is but…
Kat: He might be. I wonder… I think we talked about this on the “Fantastic Beasts in Space” episode that we did but I wonder what the difference is between a regular Hippogriff and a fancy one, is that like people who show their Hippogriffs? Do they have Hippogriff shows where they prance around and keep best in show.
Alison: That’s awesome, yes.
Teyanna: That’s exactly what I thought.
Alison: Yes, yes.
Teyanna: And they compare the Hippogriffs to the actual standard of a Hippogriff and measurements and so on and so forth. That’s crazy.
Kat: That makes my heart smile, that makes me so happy.
Kat: Makes me so happy.
Alison: Can you imagine just to have a huge ring and they just have people trotting around these Hippogriffs and then they have flying exhibitions and oh man… that’s awesome, I want one.
Kat: I love it, I love it. Yeah, I really want that to be a thing. Please, Jo – because you listen to this show, obviously – put that in a future Fantastic Beasts movie. I want to see a fantastic Hippogriff show. That’s all.
Alison: A fancy Hippogriff show.
Kat: With people trotting around. Yeah, fancy Hippogriff show, with the little top hats and a monocle.
Kat: Nice fancy Hippogriffs. Okay, so we’ll move on to the third to last little section here and it’s on Memory Charms, and it says that the Memory Charm is most often performed by the owner of the beast in question, however, if it’s severe they would bring in a team of trained Obliviators, and I’m wondering, do they wipe the memory or modify it?
Alison: It’s got to just be modified.
Kat: Do you think so?
Alison: Yeah. It’s almost cruel to completely wipe someone’s memory just because they saw some weird looking animal, so maybe… I’m assuming for the most part it’s just modified to have them think that they saw a weird shaped dog or cat or something…
Alison: … or a horse or… I don’t know.
Alison: And then maybe, if it is super severe they bring the Obliviators in to do a stronger kind of modify.
Kat: Yeah, because we do know that there are two different types of Memory Charms…
Kat: … there is the wiping and the modifying so maybe the Obliviators wipe, maybe that’s their job…
Alison and Teyanna: Yeah.
Kat: … to obliviate the memories.
Teyanna: Yeah, I thought about it as how they do [it] on this show called Grimm, I don’t know if you guys watch it, but basically they talk about how when people see magical animals their brain cannot really understand what they saw, and so let’s just say if a “Muggle” sees a werewolf or something like that, they just see it as a large dog because their brain cannot actually understand what their eyes are seeing. And then in the Harry Potter world that would be someone whose memory has been modified, and then if their memory has not been modified at all then they see the actual werewolf and then they would be the ones to say, “Oh, I saw a werewolf” or whatnot, or they…
Teyanna: Yeah, exactly…
Teyanna: … or Nessie or whatnot, and then if their minds were just completely wiped then they just wouldn’t remember anything and it would be a weird case of, “Oh, I did something yesterday but I don’t remember, and I don’t know why I don’t remember.” So…
Kat: So, I feel like if that’s the case I must see weird beasts a lot, because that happens to me more and more every day.
[Alison, Kat, and Teyanna laugh]
Kat: But speaking of that type of thing, there is a section here entitled “The Office of Misinformation” – which I think is pretty much my favorite office at the Ministry of Magic.
Kat: That sounds like a really fun office to work in. And they liaise with the Muggle prime minister to help seek, it says, “A plausible non-magical explanation for an event,” such as all of the photographic evidence of the Loch Ness Kelpie. So, I think that that’s fun, that would be a fun job. I mean, especially for somebody like me who’s in PR and marketing. Could you imagine working for the Muggle prime minister as a wizard and getting to deal with that? I don’t know.
Alison: It’d be awesome…
Alison: … you would just get to come up with stories all the time of what it was.
Kat: Yeah, you’d get to use your imagination every day. I want that job. I’m going to retitle myself on MuggleNet and that’s going to be my new job. I’m going to come up with some fancy job title for myself, that’s going to be it. But our last section here is entitled “Why Magizoology Matters” and I’m just going to say that it matters because the future, and he goes on to say that obviously they want to ensure that these animals are around for future generations, which I think is the case for pretty much everybody in the world unless you are a very cruel person and burn ants like Lizzie used to do.
Kat: But I wanted to talk about this while we were right here, which I think is a good moment. There is a movement or a discussion or a theory going around that Newt is a vegan, and I guess I wanted to talk about that for a few minutes because I feel like there are some things that we just talked about that would lend to believe that he is, and some things to believe that he isn’t, so where do you guys land on the issue, what do you think?
Alison: I think there’s a good chance he could at least be a vegetarian. I don’t know if I would go as far as vegan, but at the celebration in Orlando in January the prop-maker mentioned what Newt’s wand was made out of and it’s not quite completely vegan.
Kat: Which was what? Remind me, I was sitting right next to you and I don’t remember.
Alison: I know, and I don’t remember, there was lime wood and I think he said shells at one point.
Kat: That’s right, yeah, there is a tweet on the MuggleNet Live! Twitter about it, we’ll just have to find it.
Alison: He was like, “It’s a combination of three different things,” or something, which leads me to think he’s not necessarily a vegan because that would mean using nothing animal related and there was something about it that was animal related, maybe it was the shells.
Kat: But the question…
Teyanna: Yeah, according to the Harry Potter Wiki it’s made of lime and contains elements of bone and shell as its core.
Alison: Bone! It’s bone, that’s what we were… yeah.
Kat: So then my question is… but how much of a choice does Newt have, regarding what his wand is made of? If the wand chooses the wizard, he can’t necessarily reject that wand. I mean, he can, but do vegan wands…? Is that even a thing?
Alison: I don’t know. I wonder if it would have [chosen] him if he [were]. If it’s not a vegan wand, or a vegetarian wand, but he is a vegan, then why would it choose him? That doesn’t seem like they would be a pretty good fit together.
Kat: But I mean, again, is there such thing as a vegetarian or vegan wand? I guess we’ll find out.
Kat: I feel like that is maybe something that the movie will answer, hopefully. Because I feel like that’s an important thing for somebody like Newt, who works with animals all the time. And I know that Evanna Lynch has talked about this in regards to Luna before, as well, so…
Teyanna: I don’t think so because I think that… I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t at least every wand have an animal core to it? Whether it’s a phoenix or even a Veela hair strand or whatnot, the core is always animal.
Kat: Magical. It’s always magical. But we have to remember that this is… 1924? ’25? ’26?
Kat: ’26. Yeah, Lizzie jumping in with the correct info there.
Kat: And Newt is almost 30, right? So he’s had his wand for nearly 20 years at that point. So who knows what they used for wands in the early 20th century?
Lizzie: I feel like the conversation we had on SpeakBeasty when this came up was the potential that Newt may eventually have gotten a second wand, when he came to the States. Because based on the information that we got on the different wandmakers, that perhaps Newt was able to seek out a particular wandmaker and explain his intentions and, I guess, his hesitance for certain materials in a wand. Because to think about it, does one wand really last you an entire lifetime? I guess in theory it’s supposed to, but it is wood, right?
Kat: Right, not if you’re Ron Weasley. He’s broken his wand and… right. Exactly.
Lizzie: Not if you’re Dan Rad on the freaking film set, but…
Kat: Yeah, that, too.
Lizzie: It is wood, right? Right? These are wood.
Alison: Yeah, they are.
Lizzie: Wood snaps. Wood ages.
Alison: Well, yeah, but you can make wood pretty strong.
Kat: That’s true.
Lizzie: So I guess it’s just a thing of, are you able to upgrade your wand the way you upgrade your cell phone?
Kat: I don’t know.
Lizzie: So that could have potentially been something.
Kat: I’m interested to hear what the listeners out there think about it, so definitely listen to the SpeakBeasty episode because I know they’ve talked about it at least more than once, and then listen. Leave some comments for us and let us know what you think, but I think we’re going to move on and talk about some of the actual beasts now, right?
Teyanna: Let’s do it.
Alison: Yeah! So… beasts! Woo! Obviously, we’re not going to get to all of them because that would be insane because there’s a lot of them, so instead we all just picked a couple that we really liked, and we’re just going to talk about them. So one that I’ve always very much enjoyed is the Fwooper.
Alison: First of all, because that’s a really fun word to say.
Alison: It has a triple X rating, which means a competent wizard should cope. It’s described as an African bird with brightly-colored plumage that either comes in orange, pink, lime green, or yellow. And these feathers provide fancy quills, which quite honestly is another thing Universal should really make because those would be really awesome, to have Fwooper quills come around. They lay brightly-patterned eggs, and it is said that their song will drive people to insanity if you listen to it for too long, so they’re sold with a Silencing Charm that has to be monthly enforced. They’re one of those ones that you have to do some upkeep, almost like giving a dog or a cat flea medicine, I guess. And there’s a funny footnote that talks about Uric the Oddball, [laughs] who ran an experiment trying to prove that Fwooper song was actually beneficial. Unfortunately, he showed up after a month of listening to it with just a toupee that was actually a dead badger, and that was all he was wearing. [laughs]
Teyanna: The only thing that I can think of that it reminds me of is just a spin off of a peacock, just because of the beauty of it and the plumage and whatnot.
Alison: Oh, yeah.
Teyanna: And she just does a dangerous twist to it. Because I was going to choose the Fwooper also, but then I saw that you chose it and so I just went on to something else. But it seems like an awesome magical beast. And yeah, I just love the whole twist of [that] its song can drive you insane, and it seems like, let’s say, a cousin of the phoenix, one of them that I did choose. Both are beautiful birds, and one can empower. Actually, both of them can have a negative impact on the people who do hear its song.
Kat: Yeah, I like the comparison of the Fwooper to the peacock because, as somebody who has lived in a neighborhood with peacocks, they will drive you insane.
Kat: So I totally, wholeheartedly agree with that comparison, and I endorse it. So thank you very much for bringing that up.
Teyanna: Thank you. I get the Kat stamp! [laughs]
[Kat stamp of approval noise plays]
Alison: The Fwooper is also the namesake of the Fwooper Foundation, which is an animal rights group that uses Harry Potter to encourage people to… I think they’re adopting pets, right?
Kat: I think they’re doing a little bit of everything, but yeah.
Alison: Yeah. I know they ran a cute campaign a while ago about adopting pets, and they used little Pygmy Puffs, and they were adorable.
Kat: They did. It was very cute.
Alison: There is also a Fwooper in the window of the Magical Menagerie in Diagon Alley in Orlando. So if you’re ever there, keep a lookout for that one.
Kat: There [are] lots of fun things in that window.
Kat: There’s snakes and fairies and…
Alison: Snakes that talk.
Kat: Yeah, snakes that talk to you. So there must be some sort of magical power, like a little magic bubble that you walk in and you can automatically understand snakes when you walk in there.
Kat: Because when I leave, and when I tried to talk to the snake in my backyard, he didn’t understand me.
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Kat: So it’s got to be a thing just at Diagon Alley. It’s got to be a thing.
Kat: I don’t know, those Muggles at the Wizarding World, they’re smart people. They can figure out how to do anything, I guess.
Alison: They are indeed.
Kat: And they have Jo, who is the ultimate wizard, on their side so let’s be real.
Alison: Yes, yes.
Teyanna: Yeah, now I have that song, “How much is that Fwooper in the window?” stuck in my head.
Teyanna: [singing] “How much is that Fwooper in the window?” [back to normal voice] It sings a little bit to drive me insane.
Kat: Oh, right, yeah. I automatically did the “woof, woof” because that’s what the song is. Anyway, sorry. You brought up the phoenix before, so did you want to talk about that now?
Teyanna: Yeah. And so, the phoenix… I chose the phoenix because, when I got my wand, I had a phoenix core. And then, in just learning about what the phoenix stands for as well as… what it stands for mythologically speaking, I was [amazed] and I just wanted to talk about it. And so, I liked that it has a XXXX rating from the Ministry of Magic and it is described as being, “a magnificent, swan-sized, scarlet bird with long golden tail, beak and talons.” And so, this is something that, when reading it, I was thinking, “This bird is basically so Gryffindor.” But it nests on mountain peaks, it’s found in Egypt, India and China, and it regenerates and it lives to an immense age. And so, my random questions about phoenixes is: How does it procreate? Does it need to procreate? How often does it do since it actually procreates in and of itself. And one thing that I liked about it was that it can Apparate and Disapparate. And then, also, what I’m deeming to be its cousin, the Fwooper, it can sing and it can, basically, cause harm to someone else. It, basically, instills fear in the heart of the impure people or people who have an impure heart. And it instills courage in those who have a pure heart. And so, that was actually what I wanted to focus on because this is a similar situation in regards to Umbridge and her Patronus. So you think simple-mindedly in that, “Oh, Umbridge was a bad character so therefore, why is she able to produce a Patronus?” But she is a great example in that she fully believed in what she was a doing and what she stood for. And so, the same thing for a phoenix song. Let’s say if Fawkes started singing with Umbridge right there, then she would have even more courage to continue to do the terrible things that she was doing because she fully believed in them. What do you ladies think about that? Is this a good or bad thing or what?
Kat: I like your last comment about the courage because that’s something I hadn’t ever thought about in relation to the novels. And I’m thinking about, after Dumbledore passes – and I know that Fawkes is lamenting at that point and is sad and is leaving – however, Harry hears the phoenix’ song and it affects him. And, maybe, that is part of the reason that he finds the strength to go on and continue to do what he had to do because of that courage from the song of Fawkes. That’s so cool. I think that… I never thought about that before.
Alison: I love that you especially touched on the song and how – I just noticed this – Jo does that a lot with creating birds. In this book, we’ve got the Phoenix, we have the Fwooper, we have the Augury. She talks a lot about how bird song can mean a lot of different things and is a very powerful thing, which I’ve never noticed before.
Kat: It’s really akin to words and we know how Jo feels about words and how she thinks they’re very magical and powerful…
Teyanna: That’s nice.
Kat: … and that is how a bird talks. So I feel like that is their equivalent to words for us.
Alison: And it goes back to Dumbledore’s comment in Philosopher’s Stone…
Teyanna: I was just going to say that, yeah.
Alison: … that magic… Yeah, how music is magic.
Alison: Ooh, I like that a lot.
Kat: Yeah, it’s beautiful. The phoenix is really awesome and I see there’s a note here about why the phoenix was never the animal for Gryffindor.
Teyanna: Yeah, that was a part of my tangent, yeah.
Kat: Which I think is an interesting avenue to explore. Yeah, it’s an interesting avenue to explore, I don’t know.
Teyanna: Yeah, exactly. I think it is clear that she went to… I guess this particular example is what came first: Jo writing that her phoenix was red and gold or Gryffindor being red and gold. And so, when I was writing these notes, I was thinking, “Okay, so clearly that the colors of Gryffindor had… – what am I trying to say? – so was influenced by the actual phoenix. So, yeah, why was a lion the animal for Gryffindor? And then, I’m here in my office and I’m seeing my letterhead that I have of the lion holding the Gryffindor’s sword letterhead. And there is a griffin on the sword hilt. And so I am like, “Okay, so, then if a griffin is actually on the sword of Gryffindor, why was a griffin not the animal of Gryffindor?” And then, I also started thinking about the other houses and I’m saying, “I guess everyone always had that question as well as having the question of why was an eagle the animal of Ravenclaw?” And then, I said, “I guess Hufflepuff and Slytherin were the only ones to get it right.”
Teyanna: But I don’t know.
Kat: I can speak for Ravenclaw and the fact that there’s the raven who’s like a four on the rating scale of a bird. And then, there is an eagle who’s like a ten.
Kat: Eagles are just cooler. And Ravenclaw sounds better than Eagleclaw because Eagleclaw, I mean, Ravenclaw is a thing as well but Eagleclaw just sounds terrible. Anyway, good job. I like phoenixes and I’m excited that we get to talk about them. And I’m excited that their cousin, seemingly, that new bird that Jo came up with for the Fantastic Beasts trailer. Lizzie, what was it called? Do you remember, Lizzie, what it was called?
Alison: Swooping Evil, isn’t it?
Alison: That’s right.
Lizzie: Swooping Evil.
Kat: That’s exciting. I’m excited to hear about this Swooping Evil in the Poké Ball.
Teyanna: I know. Yeah, seems awesome.
Kat: Should be interesting.
Teyanna: Yeah and also, in regards to the phoenix though, they were talking about the domestication of it and so, I was thinking about Fawkes and how Fawkes just kind of peaced out right after Dumbledore did. [laughs] I was thinking, “I don’t think Fawkes was domesticated.” So, the phoenix has a XXXX rating and there is a note saying that it only has four X’s because it has never or is so hard to domesticate. But what does a domesticated phoenix look like? I mean, do you have to walk it on a leash and it like flies as you have it on the leash or something like that? I mean…
Kat: I think that… I think Fawkes was as domesticated as we were ever going to get.
Alison: I feel like, in this case, the domestication of a phoenix means they have respect and loyalty to a certain individual which is why I think Fawkes was domesticated for Dumbledore but he didn’t have that same respect, loyalty, connection to anyone else. So when Dumbledore was gone, it was time for him to fly off.
Kat: Right. It’s not as if somebody else could have adopted Fawkes and he would have lived on a happily and healthy bird. For instance, if a human passes and they have an animal, generally, a family member will take it or they’ll bring it to a shelter and someone else will adopt it; that’s a domesticated animal. But Alison, I think is right, that for a phoenix, that’s as domesticated as they’re going to come.
Teyanna: That they’re going to get, yeah.
Teyanna: Yeah, sounds right.
Kat: I guess the next one is a Kappa. Lizzie, yeah?
Lizzie: Yes. So the Kappa has a… I guess a level four X rating. And it’s actually mentioned in Prisoner of Azkaban very lightly – oh, and my notes just went away. So, yes, it’s a Japanese water demon that lives in shallow ponds and rivers. It looks like a monkey with fish scales instead of fur – if you can even attempt to visualize what that might look like, it sounds kind of scary.
Lizzie: And it has a hollow hole in the top of its head to carry water.
Kat: Oh my gosh!
Teyanna: Yeah, I’m looking at the picture that you had in the Google… or the link to the picture that you had in the Google Doc and it’s unbelievable.
Kat: That… wait. Okay, I need to click… I have to click on this.
Alison: Yeah, I haven’t looked at this one, either.
Teyanna: It’s like a monkey/turtle/kid-looking like creature.
Lizzie: Yes, and it feeds on human blood…
Kat: Ooh, lovely.
Lizzie: … but it might not if you throw a cucumber into the water with your name carved into it as an offering.
Kat: Wait, what?
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Lizzie: Yeah. So as long as you carve your name into a cucumber and you throw it in there, you might be spared. No guarantees; depends on how they’re feeling that day. But because… The reason that is is because “Kappa” is Japanese for “cucumber.”
Kat: So we’re probably pronouncing it pretty wrong then.
Lizzie: But there is a way to fight it if you have to fight it.
Lizzie: You have to convince it to bow because then all of the water will fall out of the top of its head, and therefore, its strength will disappear.
Lizzie: And then you can take it down.
Lizzie: And Snape actually said that this creature was from Mongolia, so there’s an inscription from Harry or Ron that says, “Snape hasn’t read this book, either.”
Lizzie: So there’s their little shaft of crass.
Alison: Stupid Snape. [laughs]
Lizzie: I just think it’s horrifying but hilarious at the same time, this creature. The fact that you’re throwing a cucumber… I’m envisioning a river full of cucumbers…
Lizzie: Do cucumbers sink or do they rise? Do they take it as their own and enjoy it for a light snack?
Alison: They eat it? [laughs]
Lizzie: I have no idea, but…
Kat: So in the picture that you posted… if everybody listening… if you just google “Kappa,” you’ll find a picture; “Kappa Fantastic Beasts” probably. But it reminds me of a cross between a zombie and an Inferi and a werewolf-ey/yeti/bigfoot-type person. So I feel like I could outrun it, is my point. And I wouldn’t need to carry a cucumber with my name carved into it to throw him off. Because one, if I’m out hiking somewhere and I find this Kappa and I have a cucumber, I probably will have eaten it…
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Kat: … because I like cucumbers. They’re delicious and they’re good for you. And so…
Alison: But if you’re trying to get across a river or something and they’re there… I mean, they’re going to try [to] drag you down. [laughs]
Lizzie: But see, that’s interesting because you would have to pre-pack a few cucumbers and have carved your name into it as part of your packing list.
Alison: [laughs] Just got them in there.
Kat: A hiking trip, right. Like, “Oh, Swiss Army knife, check. Flashlight, check.”
Kat: “Cucumber with my name carved in it, check.”
Kat: I know that’s… And also, do they leave the water? Do we know if they leave the water?
Lizzie: That’s… I have no idea. It does not mention if they leave the water because how are you supposed to fight it in the water? How are you supposed…?
Kat: [laughs] I’m envisioning you standing on the edge of a river or something, and there’s a Kappa standing there and you’re not touching the water and it’s on the edge of the water. And it can’t… It’s like a mime; it can’t reach out and touch you because the water extends up to the sky.
Lizzie: “I’m not touching you!”
Kat: And you’re just like, ” Ha ha ha! Munch, munch, munch. I’m going to eat my cucumber right in your face.”
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Kat: “Munch, munch, munch.” I don’t know. Maybe I’m just mean but I think that’s kind of funny. It’s very interesting.
Kat: It’s a weird animal.
Teyanna: Yeah. I don’t think they leave the water because they get their power from the water because when they bow, the water comes out from the top of their head and then they lose power, so…
Teyanna: I would actually wonder if any other water fruits would work. Would watermelon work? I mean, cucumbers [are] mostly water also.
Kat: Oh, there’s lots of water, right.
Teyanna: So would watermelon work? Would…?
Alison: Rolling watermelons. [laughs]
Teyanna: I know! [laughs] Just in case.
Kat: Again, I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the watermelon.
Kat: I would just not want to cross the river.
Alison: I wouldn’t want to carry the watermelon!
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Kat: That, too. Yeah. What about watercress? I mean, that is a thing. Or water chestnuts?
Teyanna: Or ice? I mean, if you just want water.
[Alison and Kat laugh]
Kat: Right. That’s true. I wonder what it is about the cucumber. Is it the water? Because technically… if you think about it… if they get strength from water, wouldn’t you want to not give them a cucumber?
Teyanna: Yes, exactly.
Kat: Because it has so much water in it? Wouldn’t you want to give it something like a rock that has…? I mean, well, rocks have water in them but you know what I mean.
Teyanna: I know. Yeah.
Lizzie: It just might be an offering.
Teyanna: When I heard that, I thought about it just like when you’re training dogs. When you train a dog, the command, “Leave it,” or the command, “Give it to me,” or something like that.
Teyanna: When they’re playing with a toy that they don’t want to give up, you give them a treat so that they drop the toy and then they get the treat and you’re able to get the toy. So I’m assuming that’s what it is in this case. You don’t want the thing to take your blood so you just give them a cucumber and then you run away while it’s playing with the cucumber [or] eating the cucumber or whatever.
Alison: Isn’t carving your name into some sort of vegetable [an] old wives’ tale for how to get someone to fall in love with you or something?
Alison: It’s like a potato or something, isn’t it? There’s something about…
Kat: I don’t know; let’s google it because I want to try it.
Lizzie: Do you know how married I would be right now?
Lizzie: All I have to do is carve my name into a potato?
Kat: I know. Carving name into a potato.
Teyanna: Screw Tinder, guys.
Kat: I’m googling this. No, I don’t… Alison, are you making this up?
Alison: I swear it’s something.
Teyanna: I’m googling it, too.
Alison: Or it’s like you carve someone you don’t like; their name into a potato and it does something.
Lizzie: I love potatoes.
Kat: You’re not good at wives’ tales, young lady.
Alison: I’m so sorry. It was a long time ago that I heard about it, okay? [laughs]
Lizzie: If a dude carved my name into a potato and said, “I did this for you,” I would say, “That’s very nice,” because now I have a potato. And then I would ask which way they wanted to cook it to eat it.
Lizzie: Am I getting fries, mashed, baked…?
Kat: Right, right.
Lizzie: Potatoes are serious.
Alison: There’s something…
Kat: Well, I’ve been trying to google it and every time I put in “carved, potato, married, marriage…”
Kat: … something of that nature, I get carved wooden signs. So hopefully, somebody out in the world knows what you’re talking about…
Alison: [laughs] Knows what I’m talking about.
Kat: … and can send us a link…
Alison: Please do.
Kat: … because I want to try that. I feel like that would be the most beautiful Buzzfeed article in the history of Buzzfeed articles.
Kat: “I carved my name into a potato and a week later, I was married.”
Teyanna: Yeah, I didn’t get anything, either. And the only thing I can think of is because… you know how people, couples specifically, used to carve their names into trees? And maybe that was the old wives’ tale, that if you carve your initials into trees, you’ll last forever. But I don’t know.
Lizzie: Well, there’s an old wives’ tale: If you cut an Irish potato in half and you rub it on a wart, apparently it’s supposed to help get rid of it.
Lizzie: So there you go.
Kat: Good to know. Kappas… I don’t know; do they eat potatoes?
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Alison: Those have a lot of water.
Kat: They do have lots of water. And they could be shaped like a cucumber.
Alison and Teyanna: Yeah.
Kat: You could paint it green and fake out the Kappa.
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Alison: It’s not a real cucumber.
Kat: Wrap it in kale and throw it in the water.
Lizzie: Wow, this potato/wart thing is real.
Kat: Is it?
Lizzie: There’s a lot of research about this. I’m going to stop while I’m ahead.
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Kat: That’s all right. I think Teyanna is up anyway with her next animal, right?
Lizzie: Yes, please.
Teyanna: Yes, I am. And so I have – I’m probably going to butcher this but we’re going to keep it moving – a Lethifold. And that is…
Alison: Oh, these things are so creepy.
Teyanna: Yeah, that is a… what is this, two…? That’s a five X guy, so it’s a pretty bad bleep mother-effer.
Teyanna: So, basically it is also called a Living Shroud, and it is a black cloak-like creature found in the tropics. And it basically reminded me of an anaconda because one, it lives in the tropics, and what it does is sneak up on its victim and suffocates its victim and then digests its victim. And so, when I read the description about it, I thought about – [snaps fingers] what is this called? I wrote this down here – I thought about sleep paralysis…
Teyanna: Because the monk who wrote about it, he basically was saying that he was falling asleep in his bed and then he saw this shadow, and then the shadow just got on top of him and he couldn’t move, and then all of a sudden he couldn’t breathe. And then with the history with sleep paralysis… I don’t know if you guys have heard of it, but that’s basically when you are either falling asleep or you are asleep, and then your brain wakes up but your body still thinks that you are asleep. And so you can hear… if your eyes are open you can see, but you just cannot move and it is absolutely terrifying. So, I’ve actually had this happen to me many, many, many times in my life, and…
Teyanna: Oh, yeah.
Alison: Oh my gosh.
Teyanna: It’s actually very common.
Lizzie: This is me on my train commute to work every single morning…
Lizzie: Because someone is always talking on the train…
Lizzie: … and I just want to say, “Please, please stop talking,” but I can’t move…
Lizzie: And then I wake up in New York City…
Lizzie: … and I can’t tell if I slept or not because I just heard the voice the entire time.
[Alison and Kat laugh]
Teyanna: Yeah, yeah. And it’s really crazy because it’s… I don’t know the actual scientific description of it, but basically your brain leaves REM, or enters REM – I don’t even know what it is – but yes, your conscious [mind] is awake but your body still thinks that you are asleep. So, if someone walks past you and you try to move to get out of their way or whatnot, you can’t move, so you naturally freak out. And so the mythology around this, of course, was people took this to [be] a religious thing, and so there are a lot of myths saying that it’s actually a spirit that gets on top of you and lays on your chest and paralyzes you and tries to take your soul. And so, they say that from that mythology, you just have to fight that and so on and so forth. And so for me – I’m a Christian – and so before I even knew what this was, I literally thought that someone was trying to take my soul or whatever; and so I naturally had that religious reaction and tried to protect my soul and whatnot, and then I was able to get so riled up that I actually did wake up. And so, another thing about this is that – what is this called? – the Living Shroud, that’s what it does; it just paralyzes you, suffocates you, and that’s also how the monk in the book Fantastic Beasts fought it. So, he couldn’t move, he couldn’t breathe, but some way, somehow, he said that he used his willpower in getting his wand, and then he eventually fought off the Living Shroud by using the Patronus Charm. Which is also consistent with the religious mythology of that… you have to go to whatever your higher power is to get help from that higher power and use hope to get that Shroud off of you. And so that’s what the monk did, and he thought about… I forgot what the specific example was, but he thought about a happy memory, and he used his Patronus Charm, and that worked and got the Lethifold off of him. And that was proven to be the only way to repel it.
Lizzie: I have to tell you, the moment you said that it was going to suck out my soul, I had a full Office moment where I looked up into a non-existent camera and mouthed the word “lovely”.
Lizzie: That was my only reaction.
Kat: Yeah. That’s terrible.
Lizzie: Unless the NSA is watching me through my webcam that’s not even on… but yeah, that…
Kat: Let’s hope not.
Lizzie: Yeah, really. Let’s not… let’s hope not.
Lizzie: I was just like, “Oh my God.”
Kat: Okay, you have sufficiently bummed us all out…
Kat: … in the best possible way, because this is a very cool animal. But I think maybe…
Alison: It’s so creepy.
Kat: … we should move on to the Plimpy here.
Lizzie: So the next beast we’re going to talk about is the Plimpy. It has a classification of a level three. So the Plimpy is a spherical, mottled fish distinguished by two long legs ending with webbed feet. It lives in deep lakes and it prowls at the bottom for food. It really loves water snails, for some reason. It’s not necessarily dangerous, but it will nibble at the feet and clothing of swimmers. It’s a huge pest to merpeople, and they will retaliate by tying the Plimpy’s rubbery legs into a knot…
Alison and Teyanna: Aww.
Lizzie: Because of that, the Plimpy will then drift away because it’s unable to steer itself with its leg, and they can’t return until they untie their legs, and this can take hours.
Lizzie: So, [the] Plimpy was actually mentioned once in Deathly Hallows when the trio visited Xenophilius Lovegood. Xenophilius went on to talk about how Luna was off collecting Plimpies from the local stream, I suppose, and Luna… one of her specialties in cooking is that she makes Plimpy soup.
Alison: Which… how… what do you think that tastes like?
Lizzie: I have no idea.
Alison: That just sounds gross to me.
Alison: If they’re rubbery, they have rubbery legs, like eww! [laughs]
Alison: Luna, what are you doing?
Teyanna: That sounds absolutely terrible.
Lizzie: And “Plimpy” is an English word for “being a plump.”
Lizzie: And you can actually see a Plimpy in the Lego Harry Potter video games – Years 1-4 in the Black Lake level – which I have never gotten to because I am still stuck at the Whomping Willow in Prisoner of Azkaban.
Lizzie: That is a two-person game, man.
Alison: Yeah, it’s interesting that this would be one that she brought up before. Yeah, Luna, what are you doing? Eww! [laughs]
Lizzie: Yeah, like…
Alison: Someone needs to teach that poor girl how to cook.
Lizzie: Oh, Luna.
Teyanna: Maybe they’re healthy. Because they sound like they’re disgusting, and usually healthy things don’t taste too good.
Alison: That’s true.
Teyanna: So maybe they’re really healthy.
Alison: That is a very good point.
[Alison and Teyanna laugh]
Alison: Well, our last creature then for today is one that I find very fascinating and also extremely terrifying. Got to go with the fun and the terrifying, right?
Alison: And this is the Quintaped. Actually, I think this is the longest entry for a single creature in this book. They are also known as the “Hairy MacBoons”. It has a five-X rating, which is a “known wizard killer, impossible to domesticate – or anything Hagrid likes.”
Alison: They’re carnivorous, they eat humans [laughs]… and they’re only found on the unplottable Isle of Drear off the tip of Scotland – the northern tip of Scotland. They’re these little creatures… they almost look like a fluffy round ball with five fluffy legs that end in a club foot, each of them. They have coarse red hair and a low-slung body. Very interesting story she creates for what these are, which this one seems entirely like something she made up; I couldn’t find anything that was connected or could have been a potential influence for this. But the legend has it that there was a drunken fight between Scottish clans the McCliverts and the MacBoons, and that led to the death of the McClivert chief. So, being wizards, the McCliverts went and transfigured the entire MacBoon clan at night and then realized that they were more dangerous as these human, flesh-eating monsters, basically. So, no one has been able to confirm this story, it says, because they resist transfiguring back. Which brings up an interesting complication we’ve talked about a couple [of] times on the show. Transfiguration of humans, and how that seems to make you lose your mind, and lose your humanity at all. Do you think this confirms that, or is it just like a story that goes with this creature?
Teyanna: I think that there must be some truth to that, because if you start off as a human, and then you are transfigured into something else, it really only takes a certain amount of time where you just lose hope in getting back to your human state and then you just give in. I also think like that choice really depends on your personality. So, we can look at Sirius Black or whatnot. He, being an Animagus, he changed himself to be the dog, but he kept his sanity by just focusing on a particular thought, of just knowing that he was innocent. But if someone was forcibly transfigured then I can see them feeling that they do not have control over the situation, and then with time going by, they just kind of say, “Okay, this is my situation so I’m just going to go with it.” And then after a while that just becomes their thought process, and then even when after all that time, they got the opportunity to change back they didn’t want to just because they were gone too long.
Alison: Yeah, no, I think there’s a lot of truth in that. Apparently in 2014, Pottermore had a map, according to the lexicon, that included a picture of the Isle of Dreare with a Quintaped on it. So, apparently, that’s still going. And also, okay, you guys have to go look this up, because it’s seriously one of the most terrifying things I think I have ever seen in my life.
Lizzie: Why? Oh, no.
Alison: The drawing?
Teyanna: I just opened it up and I jumped back. It’s crazy.
Lizzie: Alison, I need to sleep tonight.
Alison: [laughs] I’m so sorry, because the drawing in the Fantastic Beasts book looks pretty scary. No, this trading card from those old Harry Potter trading cards back in the day, no this is another thing all together. It’s so terrifying.
Lizzie: I think what insults me more is that the damage each turn is only two points.
Lizzie: This is like three years of my life.
Lizzie: Gosh. No, no. I’m closing this.
Teyanna: Yeah, that’s creepy.
Alison: Yeah. So, very creepy. Who knows if we’ll see them again? Hopefully not, they’re really disturbing.
Lizzie: Please no. I vote no.
Teyanna: Yeah, they remind me a lot of spiders. And so…
Teyanna: … when I clicked on the link, I got transferred to Harry Potter Wiki and it just looked like a very hairy, coarse-y, spider with no eyes, or whatnot, because you really can’t see it that well. And then, a couple [of] seconds later the trading card popped up and I was like, “Ahh!” because it shows you the eyes and the teeth and everything. And it has a very maniacal look on its face. And it looks all five X’s of what it is categorized as.
Alison: Definitely. They’re like, flesh-eating spiders. But like, “Eugh. Eugh. Eugh.” Going back to their name, I looked up the name she includes for these Scottish clans. And actually, MacBoon, “Mac” means “son” so we have “son of Boon.” And Boon is a variant of Bone. So, that makes the name of this clan translate to “Son of Bone.”
Alison: Which almost ties into Voldemort in a way.
Alison: And the resurrection spell in Goblet.
Teyanna: Yeah, they had, what was it? Bone of the father, or whatnot?
Teyanna: And then this is bone of the son.
Alison: Yeah. Lots of great creatures in this book. I’m sad we didn’t get to all of them because there are so many and they’re so interesting and the writing is just wonderful. Listeners, again, if you haven’t read the whole thing, go read it right now, because it’s great. Interestingly enough too – I should have mentioned this at the beginning – this is a real thing that happened in Medieval times, that they had these books called “Beastiaries,” – bestiaries? I think it’s bestiaries – where they would make records of mythological and real creatures. So, we’re following along with that as we enter into this new era, and this new chapter, with these.
Teyanna: Yes, we are, that’s so great.
Alison: And I guess all that remains then, now that we’ve gone through some of our favorite creatures is to thank Teyanna for joining us. Thank you so much for coming on.
Teyanna: Thank you, this is great.
Alison: All of your great comments. We’re very that glad you were here.
Teyanna: Yes, I really enjoyed it, thank you.
Alison: And we also want to thank Lizzie for stepping in for us.
Lizzie: Oh, of course.
Alison: Lizzie, tell them a little about SpeakBeasty again, just remind them.
Lizzie: Yeah, so, if all you listeners out there really enjoyed today’s discussion, I think you might be interested in SpeakBeasty as well, which is another podcast MuggleNet runs. And what we cover is everything leading up to the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series of films. Of course, starting with the first film coming out this November. So, if you want to learn more about the cast, and news that’s being brought up, we do have our own features where we do a Beast of the Week. So, we’ve actually talked about the Fwooper once or twice before. We’ve done Nifflers, we’ve done other horrifying, terrifying creatures that Aaron loves to pick out and scare the pants off of all of us. So, if you want to learn more about the Fantastic Beasts films, definitely check us out over there. You can also sponsor us on Patreon, if you’re so inclined. But, we’re really excited to see how the book and the films relate to each other, and how they split apart. So, definitely the conversation about whether this textbook is Harry Potter canon, or Fantastic Beasts canon, will definitely be revisited, I think, on both podcasts in the future. So definitely look out for that. And thank you to Alohomora! for having me once again. It’s always a joy and a pleasure to spend my time talking with you ladies. It’s amazing to say that there are 194 episodes and going on this amazing podcast, so congrats to you guys.
Kat: And if you guys want to be on the show like our guest today, our fabulous guest, Teyanna, you know how to do it. Head over to alohomora.mugglenet.com, and submit to be on the show. You can also submit a topic over on the main site. So, go suggest. To be on the show, you don’t need anything fancy, a set of Apple headphones, or something with a microphone built in, and you are all set to go. So head over there and come be on the show, please.
Lizzie: And if you want to contact us, you can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN – the “MN” is capitalized. Or on facebook.com/openthedumbledore. You can also check out the website, alohomora.mugglenet.com. And please, feel free to send us an owl to audioBoom at alohomora.mugglenet.com. We just ask that you please keep it under 60 seconds so we can get through it and be able to share it on the show. We would love to hear from you all.
Kat: Just one more reminder before we close out the show. That we would love, more than anything, for you to become a sponsor of Alohomora! You can do so for as little as one dollar a month over at alohomora.mugglenet.com or head over to patreon.com/alohomora. And there are lots of really awesome perks there, including AMAs with the hosts, you get to be on a wall of fame, we just added a new one with some T-shirts, so please, if you have it in your budget, then we would appreciate that very, very, very much. And thank you, one more final time, to Deborah for sponsoring this very special episode.
Alison: And I guess this means we are off to go find some fantastic beasts of our own with our magical suitcase and traveling kettle.
[Show music begins]
Alison: So I’m Alison Siggard.
Lizzie: I’m Lizzie Sudlow.
Kat: And I’m Kat Miller, thank you for listening to Episode 194 of Alohomora!
Lizzie: Open the Dumbledore. I’m so excited I got to say that!
[Show music continues]
Lizzie: Guys, I was sorted as a Hufflepuff once.
Kat: You were?
Alison: And it was the best day of your life?
Lizzie: I’ve never told anyone that, I had to get it off my chest.
Kat: So first off, the author’s name is Artemis Fido Scamander.
Teyanna: Newton Artemis Fido Scamander.
Kat: Oh, Newton! How did I miss that part?
Kat: You know why? It’s because it’s like… Okay, I’m going to do that line over again. I feel like a dumbass.
Kat: Hold on, I need to do one more thing then.