Transcript – Episode 219

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 219 of Alohomora! for April 29, 2017.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Welcome back, listeners, to Alohomora!,’s maybe-kind-of-now-again-a-little-bit global reread of the Harry Potter series.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: We’ll tell you a little bit about that in a minute. I’m Michael Harle.

Alison Siggard: I’m Alison Siggard.

Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller. And our guest host today is Spencer. Hello, Spencer!

Spencer: Hello, guys.

Kat: Hi! Thank you so much for joining us today.

Spencer: Absolutely.

Kat: Tell our listeners a bit about yourself.

Spencer: Sure. I am currently studying English and education at the University of Calgary in Canada. I’ve been a Harry Potter fan for a long, long time. The first time I got into it was my mom reading it out loud to me as a child. I am a Gryffindor through and through, although my wife tries to convince me I’m a Hufflepuff.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Spencer: And I also got Sorted into Thunderbird on Pottermore, so Thunderbirds unite! That’s about me. My Patronus was a Basset Hound, so I was okay with that.

Kat and Michael: Aww.

Kat: Just like Eddie [Redmayne].

Spencer: Yeah.

Kat: Cute. Very cute. Well, at least you didn’t get a salmon.

[Alison and Spencer laugh]

Alison: Still bitter about that.

Spencer: Yeah, trying to avoid the salmon.

[Alison and Spencer laugh]

Kat: Yeah, well, it’s a crappy Patronus. That’s okay; it’s not my Patronus. J.K. Rowling doesn’t speak for me, okay?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Oh boy. But what she does speak for is her own world in her books, which – guess what, guys – we’re going back to!

Michael: Yay!

Kat: This feels so nice. It’s like a part of me has returned. I don’t know.

Alison: [laughs] So yeah, as you may have heard on our live show – we announced this [on] our live Sorcerer’s Stone movie watch – we are going back to revisit some of our favorite chapters in the book. And this week is our first revisit and we’re going to revisit “Diagon Alley,” Chapter 5 of the first book – Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone – whatever it is for you.

Kat: Yeah. So make sure you give that a read before listening to the episode for maximum listening pleasure.

Michael: Yes. And to clarify with this, listeners, we talked about this a little bit on our live show of Sorcerer’s Stone, which for us, by the way, was just yesterday.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: So it’s like we never left. But to clarify a little bit with this, we will not be going in order with this reread and we will not be doing this every other week. I believe for now we’re going to try every other every other week.

[Alison, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Kat: So once a month, basically.

Alison: Every other episode.

Michael: Yes, there you go. That’s a good way to put it. But we will be jumping around a little bit with this and not necessarily going in order of the chapters in the book. So we don’t expect you to read all the way from the beginning of Sorcerer’s Stone up to “Diagon Alley” or wherever we’re doing for another episode. Just read that chapter in isolation because we want to try experimenting with this and seeing if that changes our experience with how we analyze things. And we’re also hoping that you guys will be suggesting chapters that you want us to reexamine because we all have very different ideas of what we should reexamine.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: Indeed.

Michael: So we want your advice on what to do next.

Kat: We also highly recommend that you guys give a listen to the original “Diagon Alley” chapter, which was actually Episode 2 from, quite literally, five years ago now. So let’s see: Noah, Caleb, and myself were on it with one of Noah’s classmates, Meg Falasco. And it was quite a throwback to listen to Episode 2! Wow, we were green. And our microphones were terrible.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: Back in the day, you guys… This was really interesting, and this is what’s going to be so great about this particular reexamination, you guys, for Sorcerer’s Stone. And I think you kept doing that through Prisoner

Kat: Chamber.

Michael: … or at least Chamber, yeah. You guys were examining multiple chapters at a time. So it was really more about picking out the highlights of the chapter and not really getting the chance to do pretty much the smaller moments, I noticed.

Kat: Yeah, it will be interesting. Because the episodes were two hours when we talked about three chapters, and now we average a two-hour episode for one chapter.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Things have changed.

Kat: Yeah, it’s going to be quite the change. I’m looking forward to it. Should be great.

Michael: And we want to make sure and let you listeners know that this episode was sponsored by Conor Bresnan, who has been a longtime sponsor on Patreon. You, listeners, can become a sponsor for as little as $1 a month. We will continue to release exclusive tidbits, special audio bits, special videos… As I said on the live show, I’m just a hair away from these Let’s Plays. It’s been too long, but I have tested it, so that is going to be a thing. But you guys are the reason that we can continue to do these different experiments with Alohomora!, like our live show that we just did, as well as this new attempt with the chapters. So thank you, Conor. We appreciate your patronage on Patreon.

Kat: Thank you! [claps] We thank you! Snaps, claps, and woo-hoos for Conor.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And now a very important question for you, listeners, because we have a very important date coming up this year. Where will you be on September 1? Because we want you to get ready for one of the biggest parties MuggleNet has ever thrown. We’ve reserved the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley, at Universal Studios Florida just for you. All night long you’ll have unlimited access to the shops and establishments of Diagon Alley, including – as you will hear on this episode – the Leaky Cauldron, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and Ollivanders Wand Shop. You can enjoy rides, food, and take a journey on the Hogwarts Express; you can ride it back and forth. You can also experience the darker side of magic in Knockturn Alley, and then make sure to get ready for an adventure on the multidimensional thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. And as Kat will tell you, watching me ride that ride…

Kat: [laughs] Oh boy.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: … is apparently terribly entertaining. [laughs]

Kat: There is nothing like going on that ride with Michael Harle. Nothing.

Michael: So if that sounds like your kind of fun – which I’m sure it does if you’re listening to Alohomora! – grab your wizarding gear and meet us at Universal Orlando Resort and visit for all the details. It’s going to be an unforgettable night of magic and excitement and it’s all yours. So where will you be on September 1?

Kat: I’m going to definitely be there.

Alison: Me too.

Kat: Yeah. Not that I needed to say that.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: It’s going to be amazing, so everyone should be there.

Spencer: You guys have me convinced.

Kat: Oh, look at that!

Michael: Oh! [laughs]

Alison: Yes. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah. Our little promo there doesn’t mention it, but we also have six cast members and several more who are going to be in attendance, and there is no extra charge for photos and autographs. The opportunity is there the entire evening, so definitely we would love to see you guys there. I’m pretty sure the entire Alohomora! team is going to be there, [knocking sound] knock on wood. We’ll see.

Michael: Yes. I’m working on it and I will be there. If I am there, I will be there in my uniform. So you all better be dressed up because this is serious business.

[Kat laughs]

Alison: Also, from experience, special events at the park are the best time to be there. There [are] less people and it feels more like you’re actually a wizard in the wizarding world, and it’s awesome. [laughs]

Kat: It is a good time.

Michael: I will hound everyone with my obnoxious British accent for the entire evening.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: It will not be dropped. [laughs]

Kat: Well, so we should hop over to Diagon Alley now and get into the chapter, I guess. Yeah?

[Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 5 intro begins]

Dumbledore: Three turns should do it.

[Clock ticking and chiming]

Harry: Chapter revisit.

[Door opens]

[Time-Turner sound]

Hermione: [whispers] Sorcerer’s Stone

Hagrid: Chapter 5. Three up, two across. “Diagon Alley.”

[Sound of bricks moving and people talking]

[Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 5 intro ends]

Kat: Wow, it has been a long time since I’ve read a chapter summary. This is kind of exciting.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Okay, here we go: Harry wakes up to the joyous realization that Hagrid’s visit was not a dream. Hagrid whisks Harry off to London, dropping valuable nuggets of information about wizarding world culture along the way. Arriving at the Leaky Cauldron, Harry is mobbed by adoring fans and encounters a st-st-stuttering Professor Quirrell. After a quick stop at the heavily-guarded Gringotts Bank to withdraw some of Harry’s enormous fortune and retrieve a mysterious package, Harry goes on a shopping spree of a lifetime in Diagon Alley, only briefly marred by an early encounter with Draco Malfoy and ending with a visit to the enigmatic Mr. Ollivander and the purchase of a wand that will tie Harry’s fate even closer to Voldemort’s. Oh, guys, that was so fun!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: It’s been so long.

Kat: I feel all warm and fuzzy.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: It’s good. I am so excited.

Michael: It’s how this chapter makes me feel: warm and fuzzy.

Kat: Yeah, and you two didn’t get to discuss it the first time around since you weren’t hosts at that time.

Michael: Yeah, this is exciting.

Alison: This was a long time before I joined.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Yeah, it’s true.

Alison: I was listening. I wasn’t here yet, but…

Kat: You were a moderator on the forums, which are now defunct, unfortunately. [laughs]

Alison: I was. [laughs] Anyway, let’s just jump in, shall we? Let’s start by looking at the place itself this chapter is named after, of course: Diagon Alley. We get a lot of world-building in this chapter alone. [laughs] As I was reading through it, I realized a lot of the first times we hear about a lot of different things that are going to become very important come up in this chapter. So I kind of wanted to start by looking at the places we find in this chapter that we are introduced to. So the first one is the Leaky Cauldron – the entrance to Diagon Alley itself – and in the book, it says, “It was a tiny, grubby-looking pub. If Hagrid hadn’t pointed it out, Harry wouldn’t have noticed it was there. The people hurrying by didn’t glance at it. Harry had the most peculiar feeling that only he and Hagrid could see it.” So this is kind of our first little jump into the idea of magical realism, this idea that these magical worlds are just hidden in our world, which is a big deal in other British children’s literature, and also just fairy tales and traditional tales told in England; things about fairies and mythical creatures that are just hidden in a second layer of the world we know.

Kat: It gives me so much hope that one day I will just accidentally wander into the Leaky Cauldron or something.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Like, “Whoops! Here I am. Oh my gosh, I’m in the magical world.” I mean, that would never happen, but that would be cool.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Yeah, and I think that’s one of the best things, actually, about Harry Potter as fantasy. It’s not like high fantasy that it’s a completely new world, but it kind of grounds you somewhere. So we’re grounded in the real world and we’re grounded in London in this street that they’re walking down, when all of a sudden they see this door to a new world. And I think it’s one of the things that makes it really easy to connect to Harry Potter, this magical realism.

Michael: Yeah, it’s funny you said the history of British children’s literature and fairy tales because it makes me think of… The ones that sprung to my mind were Narnia, which is probably a lot of people’s favorite secret worlds, just lying right behind average, everyday things. And also, actually, the Hundred Acre Wood…

Kat: Oh, yeah!

Michael: … because it’s somewhere. It’s in this kind of theoretical place in the UK, just a hop, skip, and a jump from your imagination. I guess the other popular UK one would be Neverland: “Second star to the right, straight on till morning.” They’re there. They’re in this almost parallel universe that tends to be, children know how to access. Which is funny because we have, in this instance, an adult accessing it, which is pretty unusual in that respect. Usually these places are reserved specifically for children. The one that pops into mind – and I use this one a lot on Alohomora! as an example – from the US is Oz, because Oz is accessed in a lot of weird ways. Most people know [about] the tornado, but Dorothy also is thrown overboard in a flood…

Alison: [laughs] Oh, gosh!

Michael: … and she gets there on a rainbow. I think there’s one [time] where she gets there by an earthquake. So there [are] lots of ways to get to Oz. [laughs]

Alison: Wow, it’s not fun to live in Kansas when Dorothy is around.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Natural disasters seem to follow her wherever she goes. But yeah, there’s definitely that rich tradition of “It’s right next door,” but you have to have… There’s something special about the individual that gets them into that world.

Spencer: It just makes me think… I was wondering when I was rereading, why is Hagrid the one chosen to be Harry’s guide into the wizarding world? And in that sense, maybe it takes an inherently magical person to be the one who takes you into the magical world, like Hagrid. I know it says when they’re on the way to Diagon Alley, all the Muggles on the train and things are just staring at Hagrid; he sticks out. And so… I like to think he’s so apparently different from the Muggle world that he becomes the perfect guide to bring Harry into the wizarding world.

Kat: Aww…

Michael: That raises a really great question, Spencer – which I don’t know if we have examples from elsewhere in the book that would answer this – but would Harry have ever seen the Leaky Cauldron if he’d gone to London and not known about it?

Kat: [gasps] I hope so.

Michael: Would that be something he could have seen?

Kat: I think so.

Alison: I think he would have. But it does say in the book – which I don’t know why I didn’t remember this – Harry had never been to London before…

Michael: Yeah, so we’ll never really know.

Alison: … which is interesting because Surrey is relatively close to London. [laughs] So it’s like…

Michael: Well, not surprising, considering the Dursleys would never want to take him to London.

[Spencer laughs]

Alison: That’s true.

Kat: Wait. Where’s the zoo?

Alison: That was my other question. [laughs] Isn’t the zoo in London?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Unless there’s another zoo…

Michael: Must be another zoo.

Spencer: It does make me think of the enchantments placed around the Quidditch World Cup in Book 4. Maybe it’s a similar idea, set up to be invisible to the Muggles or distract them so they don’t notice it, but a wizard would see through it.

Michael: That’s why I was wondering if it’s something like… not necessarily a Fidelius Charm, but something akin to that where you have to have another wizard tell you where it is. But I don’t think… Does Hagrid actually point and say, “That’s the Leaky Cauldron,” before Harry sees it?

Alison and Kat: No.

Kat: I have a feeling Harry would’ve seen it.

Michael: He would’ve seen it.

Kat: But he would’ve been an 8/9/10-year-old kid, and he wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Alison: That’s what I would think too.

Kat: Even if it said “The Leaky Cauldron,” he’d be like, “Oh, okay.”

[Michael and Alison laugh]

Kat: It’s not like it said “Magic lives here” or something.

Michael: Oh man, he probably would’ve been like, “What’s that place, the Leaky Cauldron?” And Uncle Vernon would’ve been like, “There’s no such thing!”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: “Grump, grump, grump…” Yeah.

Michael: “Lost his mind!” And Harry would’ve been shut in the cupboard for a month. So I guess it’s a good thing he never went to London.

Alison: Ooh!

Kat: Yeah, it is probably a good thing.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Well, Harry definitely doesn’t get shut in a cupboard, because he takes his first step into this pub and he’s greeted with basically his life story for the first ever as he enters the wizarding world. He’s greeted with everyone going, [gasps] “It’s Harry Potter!” and freaking out, which is going to become a recurring thing. Every time he enters the wizarding world or sees a wizard, they’ll stop and notice who he is. So it’s interesting that it’s almost quite literally his first step into the wizarding world and he’s accosted by adoring fans. [laughs]

Michael: I think that was a great point for another point you have farther down in this section, Alison, about Harry’s start of his journey and his identity [and] his awareness of his self in this chapter.

Alison: Yes. So after we get through the mob of people all wanting to shake his hand, we get to the actual alley itself. For this part, what I really got interested in was seeing how it was described in the book, and then how it has been portrayed in several different mediums because we have a lot of them now.

[Michael and Alison laugh]

Alison: So the alley itself is described not a ton, actually.

Michael: No.

Alison: I was kind of surprised, but it is described as “an archway onto a cobbled street, which twisted and turned out of sight.” So it seems a lot longer, I think, than a lot of our other visual representations of it give it in a lot of ways. But then we get a few more descriptions as Harry is walking down the street. He passes by a cauldron shop with a stack of cauldrons outside. They pass by an apothecary, where they hear a witch mutter that dragon liver is “sixteen Sickles an ounce,” which is apparently outrageous. [laughs]

Michael: I will tell you how much that’s worth later on because I calculated it.

Alison: Okay. [laughs] There’s a dark shop. All that Eeylops is described as is a dark shop with lots of clicking and hooting in it, which makes sense since there [are] owls in there. [There’s] a window with broomsticks in it. They pass robes, telescopes, and strange silver instruments, barrels of bat spleens and eels’ eyes – which sound completely gross – tottering piles of spell books, quills and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the moon… So I get this feeling from this description that it’s like sensory overload to be walking down this street…

Michael: Yes!

Alison: … that there’s just stuff everywhere, and it’s all so foreign and… This is crazy. [laughs]

Kat: It’s awesome.

Michael: Delicious, delicious eye candy. It was funny [what] you said, Alison, how the actual street itself really isn’t very detailed from Rowling. But having heard you go through this and these descriptions of the things you see here and there, it’s so funny because I feel like – you guys can certainly speak to this too – despite the very minimal description of the street itself and with the description of all the items and things Harry is seeing, I still had a very vivid, clear picture of what this would look like.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: I was very satisfied with what Rowling described, and I was seeing a very layered, rich location when I first read it.

Kat: I don’t remember what I saw the first time because I had seen the movie first.

Michael: So you saw the movie?

Kat: Yeah, before the book. Now when I read it, I just picture Universal.

[Kat and Alison laugh]

Kat: I mean, I basically live there…

Michael: I see a mixture of the movie and Pottermore’s version.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Especially… Pottermore at PlayStation Home is closer to what I saw.

Kat: Oh, that was so good! I was just reminiscing about that on my Timehop today, when you and Eric and I had a party in there because we were the only people playing…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: I miss that so much.

Michael: That was closer to what I saw. Pottermore tends to be closer to what I see because they stick so tightly to whatever little description they find from every…

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So that tends to be more closer to what I see. How did you feel, Spencer?

Spencer: I don’t remember how I first imagined it, but definitely as I go back and reread it now – it might just be because I was reading in the illustrated version – I really like Jim Kay’s pictures.

Alison: I do too.

Spencer: I really like how much is in those pictures. He puts so many little details in there. Diagon Alley is just overflowing with magical items and people and shops, and that’s how I picture it. They had a limited space and they had to try and cram everything in there. And I can say, I think Rowling does a really wonderful job with her descriptions by leaving so much of it to your imaginations. In many cases, I think her writing – the rule that less is more – she just has to give you a little bit and your imagination fills in the blanks. And I think that’s a sign of good writing; it’s not forced on you. She just lets you create your own world with the story.

Alison: And I think that’s why we’ve gotten so many different versions and yet all of them feel right, if that makes sense.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: You were just talking about Jim Kay’s [illustrations], Spencer, and the thing I really noticed about that one is [that] his are very earthy. I don’t know if you guys noticed that, but there [are] a lot of muted brown shades and a lot of plants growing on the buildings, and there [are] owls and toads and rats just everywhere. So it gets this idea that it’s a very rooted-in-nature, organic space. It almost wasn’t built; it grew there, which I think is fun for this kind of secret world.

Michael: Jim Kay’s [illustrations], I think out of all of them, is the least closest for me. That’s not how I really see it at all. It’s interesting. I think Jim Kay’s illustrations, now that I think of it, remind me a lot, for me, of… if any of you have read the poetry books of Shel Silverstein. He’s got more of an exaggerated style that doesn’t really fit for me. And it’s funny because I say that, but I’m more of a Mary GrandPré, who in her own way has a lot of exaggeration to her style. But her style is a little more angular than Kay’s, and when you get the color from the covers, the color really pops in her versions. That, I think, matches more my personal vision. But like you said, Alison, that’s definitely a different approach, to make it look like it grew there rather than was built there.

Kat: I enjoy Kazu’s illustrations a lot, actually. Kazu Kibuishi.

Alison: Oh, I haven’t seen those.

Michael: Yeah, Kazu falls somewhere between Pottermore and the movies, in a lot of ways. But his drawings are very soft.

Kat: Yeah. I like it.

Michael: So his drawings come out a lot like brushstrokes, and he digitally… I think there’s a lot of brushstrokes in it, but he’s also digitally painting his art, so there’s a really different effect going on with his stuff too.

Kat: Yeah, it’s a lot rounder than it is angular, for sure. Alison, you’ve definitely seen these.

Alison: Have I? I provably have but I don’t remember them.

Michael: His cover for Sorcerer’s Stone is Diagon Alley.

Alison: Oh, just the cover. Okay, yeah, I’ve seen the covers. I didn’t know if you meant he had other illustrations.

Michael: The only other one, I think, is the box set, and that’s Hogsmeade. Well, and his depiction of Diagon Alley is interesting, too, because he tends to go for more cool colors, so it almost looks like it’s dark in his version of Diagon Alley. So it’s a little different.

Kat: It’s really nice, though. I really like it.

Alison: Speaking of different – very different from Jim Kay’s version – we get the film version, which I think a lot of people are more familiar with.

Michael: We’re very familiar with it, since we saw it yesterday! [laughs]

Alison: We just watched it yesterday! And actually, we talked about Diagon Alley a little bit yesterday and we talked about how the filmmakers wanted to avoid whimsy in their portrayal of it, which is the opposite of Jim Kay’s, where I feel like there’s a lot of whimsy in it. And they really focused on these impossible angles in the buildings. The whole thing looks like it’s held up by magic, like it’s defying physics in a lot of ways. There are all these crazy buildings [that] are leaning and there never seems to be a right angle anywhere.

Kat: So there’s a town… and I learned this from a friend of mine who worked very closely with Stuart Craig on the films. There’s a town, actually, where Windsor Castle is in the UK, and that is near where Stuart Craig grew up. And there [are] a lot of little buildings in that town if you just walk around. Right near Windsor Castle, guys. It’s right around there. And they are all crooked.

Alison: Oh yeah! Like the little teashop, yeah.

Kat: Every single one of them is completely crooked. You walk down there… No joke, I walked through there in January and I was in Diagon Alley. And so when you watch the film and you see that, it’s very clear where the inspiration for that came from, as far as I’m concerned, anyway.

Michael: The other thing that I had read in Page to Screen… which, by the way, I realize I mentioned a lot on the live show; I’m not endorsing Page to Screen. I don’t get money for endorsing it. I wish I did. [laughs] It’s just a really good book, you guys. You should go read it if you haven’t. But they talked about that idea of avoiding whimsy and impossible angles, that they were trying to think of when Diagon Alley would have been put there by wizards, and were thinking to a farther ago, long ago time. I think they were aiming for somewhere around the 17th century, and they were thinking more of Renaissance era. While they were acknowledging that it was in the area of Charing Cross Road and Covent Gardens, which Stuart Craig kind of said – these are not my words; these are Craig’s – that “That area is kind of plain,” that he wanted a little bit of that, I guess, to seep into the alley. But also that old-timey feel of having these buildings just squished into a space where they don’t belong.

Alison: And I think it’s interesting, too, in the movie; instead of having the street twist very much, I think they really got that feel of there [being] so much to look at, not by having it twist and having so many things to see, but by having you be able to see the whole street, basically, just looking down on it. So instead of having the organized chaos of things… because there [aren’t] a lot of things outside, necessarily, in the movie or if you go to the studio tour. Pretty much everything is in the windows; it’s all about window displays instead of things being outside. So instead of getting that sensory overload of having things all around you outside of the shops, it’s more of, like, there’s this huge street and there’s just so much on the street giving you that feeling.

Michael: Yeah, listeners, you can look up online; there was a map of the movie’s version of Diagon Alley released, which you can actually purchase from the Noble Collection.

Kat: It’s so pretty.

Michael: Yes, it’s very pretty, and it has a general layout for how the alley looks in the movie with all of the shops, including not only ones that Rowling made the names for officially, but a few that I think the movies might have made up on their own.

Kat: Like what?

Michael: Well, Mr. Mulpepper’s Apothecary; the apothecary is never named.

Alison: Neither is the cauldron shop.

Michael: So the cauldron shop is confirmed from Pottermore. But that did come around first from the movie, so some of them are Rowling’s names. There’s one that’s called Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop, Cranville Quincey’s Magical Junk Shop, which I assume is supposed to be that junk shop that Percy is in in Book 2. The secondhand book shop doesn’t have a name. [laughs]

Kat: Mulpepper’s and Sugarplum’s are both in Diagon at Universal. And I know they didn’t put anything in there that wasn’t approved by Jo, so those names may have come from her even if they were just for the film.

Michael: Just for the film, yeah. Maybe they’re official now.

Alison: Maybe. We’ve got Gambol and Japes Joke Shop in Diagon Alley.

Michael: That one is official.

Alison: I’m assuming that probably got run out of business by the Weasley twins at some point. [laughs]

Kat: Probably.

Alison: Well, and then we were talking about… We get the theme park representation of it, which is based on the films. But there [are] a few little differences.

Michael: Biggest one is the entrance.

Alison: We were just talking about… We were trying to remember before the show [laughs] what the order of shops are as you walk down. So what did we decide? We decided you walk in through the archway and you’ve got the Leaky Cauldron on the left, and Quality Quidditch and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes on the right, and then we’ve got…

Kat: On the left… So it goes Leaky Cauldron, and then there’s an entrance to Knockturn Alley there, and then there’s some little shop there. I forget exactly what it is, but after that is… No. What’s on the left?

Alison: Isn’t the apothecary right there?

Kat: Yeah, quite possibly. And Madam Malkin’s is on the left, and then Florean Fortescue’s. They used to have an Eeylops over there, but they changed that when they moved the Shutterbutton’s place.

Alison: Oh yeah. That’s there too.

Kat: Right. So then on the right, you have Quality Quidditch, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, you have an entrance into Carkitt Market where Celestina and Beedle the Bard [are], and then you have that gross place with the eels on the right…

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: … that you mentioned before. The Daily Prophet is right there, and then there’s something else on the right. It’s another shop before you go in Ollivanders, but I don’t remember…

Alison: Is it Flourish and Blotts?

Kat: It could be, but you don’t go in Flourish and Blotts.

Alison: No.

Kat: So yeah, it’s probably Flourish and Blotts.

Alison: Because Wiseacre’s is on the other side, isn’t it?

Kat: Wiseacre’s is the exit for Gringotts, so that is across…

Michael: Yeah, Wiseacre’s is at the end of the street.

Kat: Yeah, that’s on Horizont Alley.

Alison: Which is another thing they added. We got the two new streets in the theme park of Carkitt Market and Horizont Alley. So Horizont Alley, listeners, if you don’t know, runs right across Gringotts, so it is perpendicular to Diagon Alley. And then Carkitt Market and Knockturn almost look like tree branches, coming off of Diagon Alley. They kind of curve off of it.

Kat: Right. And Horizont Alley is actually on the map of Diagon Alley that I have, so that’s not necessarily new. It was just never out there before.

Alison: Oh, okay.

Spencer: Do people actually go and hang out in Knockturn Alley?

Kat and Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Because it’s air conditioned.

Spencer: Oh. [laughs]

Kat: And it’s Orlando, Florida.

Spencer: So that’s the appeal.

Alison: It’s creepy, though.

Kat: Yeah, they have a really amazing Borgin and Burkes in there. It’s super duper cool.

Spencer: Oh, wow!

Michael: And the staff are all really creepy.

Kat: Yeah, they are. [laughs]

Alison: That whole area is creepy. I walk through it very quickly. [laughs]

Michael: So I guess one of the biggest changes for the park is that they moved the Leaky Cauldron so it’s not before the entrance.

Alison: Mhm.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: So it’s just part of the street. And the entrance is…

Kat: There is a sign, if I remember, although I may be remembering incorrectly. Maybe they just talked about doing this. I think there’s a sign in London outside the entrance that is very faded. I might be remembering wrong and they just thought about doing that or something. But it’s been a while since I’ve been; like, two months.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: So long.

Kat: It’s a long time for me, guys.

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Michael: But that’s one of the biggest changes. But then the one that really throws all of this is Pottermore’s version.

Alison: [laughs] Yes.

Michael: They went with the winding out of sight. [laughs]

Alison: Definitely. They also gave us two different sides of Diagon Alley. [laughs]

Michael: Yep.

Alison: So you get… Listeners, if you remember from old Pottermore, you had Diagon Alley the north side, and then you had to switch views to get to Diagon Alley on the south side.

Spencer: Just so they could have Diagon Alley gang wars, it sounds like.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Spencer: The south siders and…

Kat: Yeah, right?

Alison: The Sharks and Jets.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Anyway, so the north side is what is described in the chapter. A little bit more of… You’re looking down the street at Gringotts, and you’ve got the Leaky Cauldron on one side [and] you’ve got the cauldron shop on another side. So we’ve got that, but then we get to the south side, which is where we had Ollivanders [and] the Daily Prophet offices [and]… I think Whizz Hard Books is down there?

Michael: Yes.

Alison: So it used to be really fun [laughs] because you used to be able to click on each shop and you could go into some of them to purchase your school supplies.

Michael: And that was where you went to get your wand; you had to go down… because when Pottermore first opened, the south side was not accessible yet and you couldn’t go right away. And then you’d have to go down there to get your wand and all that, but you’d have to buy all of your stuff first. So yeah, it was quite a bit different. And then the thing that it doesn’t show is… If you had the fortune of playing Pottermore at Playstation Home – as we mentioned, listeners – there’s another little back alley in this alley if you’re going down the north side on the left. There was a little mini game that you could play there with these biting books.

Kat: [sighs] So fun. That was so fun. Oh, RIP old Pottermore.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: I know.

Michael: We miss you very much.

Alison: Wait, hold on. This picture of the Playstation Home south side… Is that a white tiger? [laughs]

Spencer: I was about to ask.

Michael: Well, people could bring in all their little extras from other areas when they came in. [laughs]

Alison: [laughs] Just chilling in the middle of the street.

[Spencer laughs]

Michael: You should have seen when it first opened. I went in on one of the first days in the first week that it opened, and oh my God. Because they hadn’t coded it so that you couldn’t bring all these crazy things from other areas of Playstation Home in yet, so you could bring everything you had with your character in.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: There were people, like, stomping around on unicorns…

[Spencer laughs]

Michael: … and there were people just… Oh my gosh, it was so… And people weren’t in their robes because they didn’t have to be at the time. Yeah, it was crazy packed.

Kat: It was so fun.

Alison: That’s insane.

Michael: There were speech bubbles everywhere because everybody was talking to each other. It was absolutely insane, but it was really cool.

[Alison laughs]

Spencer: Did they update the Hogwarts supplies list after to say that you could bring a toad, an owl, or a white tiger?

Alison: [laughs] A white tiger.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: That would have been funny.

Alison: Can you imagine? Oh, God.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: It looks like, too, from this picture that it’s showing us where the two sides connect.

Michael: Mhm.

Alison: On the left, that white building, which you couldn’t see on Pottermore. Unlike the Pottermore website, that’s… Well, I guess you can kind of see it, but it doesn’t look quite the same. It’s Gringotts.

Michael: It connects in front of Gringotts very similarly to how Horizont Alley intersects with Diagon Alley there.

Alison: Got it.

Michael: They did a similar thing where Gringotts is still at the end of the alley, but it’s more at an angle rather than you’re looking at it straight on. And the road just turns right.

Alison: So yeah, we’ve gotten a lot of different ways of seeing this. [laughs] But what that made me think of is how this area is an overall survey of this world that Harry is entering. I mean, it’s his first steps into it, but we get all of these different things, and it’s where Harry transforms from “just Harry who lives with the Dursleys” to “Harry Potter, wizard.” He goes rags-to-riches. He finds his hidden wealth. He is dressed the way people start dressing in this world.

Kat: [tearfully] He finds his best friend, Hedwig.

Alison: Yeah. [laughs] He picks up all his books that are going to give him new knowledge about this world at Flourish and Blotts, and he gains power from Ollivanders with his wand.

Kat: He also meets his enemy, Draco.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: There [are] a lot of things I realized with this quick reread of this chapter, and one of them is that this chapter really sets the stage. It’s interesting, Alison, [what] you were talking about because he’s getting all the tools to become part of this world, but in a way that… What you would think would be a confidence booster is backfiring on him because pretty much the whole time he’s there… Harry starts at a high because he’s so excited, but as the day goes on he pretty much ends up in this lull because he does not feel capable or worthy of any of the stuff that he has just received. It doesn’t help that Malfoy has egged him, in addition to Ollivander being like, “You’re going to be great.”

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: “The whole world is watching you right now.”

Kat: Pressure, dude. Pressure.

Michael: Yeah. And it’s interesting that this is really the chapter where Rowling sets up a lot about Harry’s self-confidence that is not going to be resolved completely within this one book.

Kat: No, that’s true. Very, very, very true.

Michael: And it’s all in this one little chapter.

Kat: Man, this is like a 45-minute chapter on the audiobook. This is a big chapter.

Alison and Michael: It is.

Kat: I didn’t realize how long it was. I forgot.

Alison: That’s a good point, Michael, that you say that things don’t get resolved that get brought up in this chapter, because this chapter really sets us up for a lot of future books.

Kat: Oh yeah, circle theory all over the place in this biz.

[Spencer laughs]

Michael: Yeah, I was able to pick out a few… And I’m sure there [are] more, but I was able to pick out a few lines and moments that are really important for the future of the Harry Potter series, not only in this book but in many of the other books to come. And it was funny just to realize how integral this chapter is because I think we often point to, say, a lot of stuff in Chamber of Secrets that ends up setting up Half-Blood Prince as an important [and] early thing. But I think Sorcerer’s Stone often gets pretty disregarded for what it does for the rest of the series. A lot of people have put it low on their list because it feels like the fun intro book. “We’re just having fun in the wizarding world.” But there’s a lot of important stuff going on here. Hagrid mentions on page 64 of Sorcerer’s Stone as he says, “They say there’s dragons guardin’ the high-security vaults.” And the dragons are brought up a lot. A few more times Harry tries to actually see if he can spot one as they’re going down into Gringotts. He doesn’t actually see it, but [it’s] a little taste of what we’ll see in Book 7. Hagrid also sets up a really important political issue that could easily go missed, and this is before they even get to the Alley. This is when they’re on their way to London in the little boat, getting away from the hut on the rock, and Harry is asking Hagrid about the Ministry of Magic and Hagrid says, “They wanted Dumbledore fer Minister, o’ course, but he’d never leave Hogwarts, so old Cornelius Fudge got the job. Bungler if ever there was one. So he pelts Dumbledore with owls every morning, askin’ fer advice.” And that’s page 65 of Sorcerer’s Stone, pretty early on. It’s funny, too, because I forget that Cornelius Fudge is even mentioned in this book.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I kind of wish he wasn’t. He’s such a d-bag.

[Alison, Michael, and Spencer laugh]

Michael: But it’s just excellent set-up for what she’ll have down the line with that. That’s really neat that she’s already giving us [a] sense of the political climate. Of course, we have quite a few characters introduced that will be important later. Dedalus Diggle is introduced on page 69, Griphook is introduced from [pages] 73 to 76, and of course Ollivander from [pages] 82 to 85. And probably one of the most important things with Ollivander is Harry’s impression of him. There [are] two specific lines, one on page 82, where the narration says, “Harry wished he would blink. Those silvery eyes were a bit creepy.” And on page 85, after Harry has received his wand, Ollivander says, “‘After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things – terrible, yes, but great.’ Harry shivered. He wasn’t sure he liked Mr. Ollivander too much.”

Kat: Hmm.

Michael: Go ahead, Kat.

Kat: I was just thinking about… You said his silver eyes, and I don’t know, that seemed a very deliberate color. So I went and just had a peek-see here at the “Colors” entry on Pottermore, and it only mentions silver once in relation to Slytherin.

Michael: Huh.

Kat: And so I don’t know if that… I don’t think we ever get confirmation of what House Ollivander is in, do we?

Michael: No, he’s a Ravenclaw.

Alison: He’s a Ravenclaw.

Kat: Was he? Okay.

Michael: Yeah, that’s confirmed from…

Alison and Michael: Pottermore.

Michael: Interesting theory, though! I think what I get from the silvery… And in addition to these descriptions, and I think it’s properly revealed in Hallows, but I feel like we… I don’t know how you guys feel… Maybe we can talk just quick[ly] about how we felt about Harry’s impressions of Ollivander, but I think we were all fairly proven correct that he neither lies here nor there. He’s just kind of an observer. He doesn’t really seem to take a side in some ways. He’s more fascinated in what the wands will do, in a way… what his wands go out to do, whether that be bad or good.

Alison and Kat: Yeah.

Alison: It’s like he’s less worried about the morality of anything and he’s just more worried about the science of it. Yeah, like the science of wandlore.

Michael: Did you guys have any ideas about Ollivander’s involvement further on, or why Harry didn’t like him?

Kat: Hmm. No. [laughs]

Michael: I didn’t really know what he meant to the plot in that respect from this when I first read it.

Kat: Yeah. It was so long ago I don’t even remember it. And again, because I had seen the films, I don’t have any real original thought on these first couple of books, which kind of sucks, but…

Michael: That’s okay! John Hurt was pretty much a perfect Ollivander.

Alison: Oh, yeah.

Kat: He was, indeed. Indeed.

Michael: And a little fun bonus [laughs] from this chapter: This is the very first mention, in this chapter, of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s on page 60; it’s on Harry’s list of books that he needs to purchase. [laughs]

Kat: That’s cool.

Michael: Yeah, nice little tidbit there. Shout-out to all of our fellow host friends at SpeakBeasty with that one.

Kat: Okay, so at trivia night one time, they asked us to match up the books with the author, and I didn’t realize that the author’s last name relates to the subject of the book.

Michael: Relates to all of their subjects, yeah.

Alison: It does!

Spencer: Yep, yep.

Kat: Yeah, so thank goodness for one of our social media team members, and the only staff member [who] lives even remotely close to me, Abby, because she was like, “Oh yeah, it’s this and this, this and this,” and I was like, “What? Mind blown.”

[Michael laughs]

Kat: But yeah, if you guys have never noticed that, it’s very cool. Like – what’s his first name? – last name is Jigger and it’s the potion guy?

Alison: Arsenius? Yeah.

Kat: That’s it, yeah.

Michael: Phyllida Spore for One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi.

Kat: Spore.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Mhm. It’s just very cool.

Alison: And Emeric Switch for the…

Alison and Michael: Transfiguration [book]. [laughs]

Kat: Yeah.

Spencer: We also get the first shout-out of Bathilda Bagshot for History of Magic.

Alison: Oh!

Michael: Oh yes, thank you! I completely missed that one. Yep, she’s going to be important too!

Kat: Oh yeah, that’s a big one.

Michael: There’s so much setup going on here. And I wonder… We talk about this all the time on the show, but you have to wonder how much of this was setup that Rowling did on purpose and how much was setup where she was like, “Ooh, that’s good! I’m going to use that!” later on.

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: Because was she planning to use Bathilda Bagshot all this time?

[Kat and Spencer laugh]

Alison: I think so. That one is big enough. [laughs] I think she was planning that one.

Michael: That’s pretty cool, though. To me, that’s just such a minute detail, just Griphook, Dedalus Diggle… There’s a lot going on here that’s going to come up later, so it’s pretty neat that there is as much as there is going on in this one chapter. I know that wasn’t really something that was noted the first time this was discussed on Alohomora!, just how much of an integral chapter you realize this one is.

Kat: That’s true. Yeah, that’s what happens when you talk about three chapters in one episode.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, we have a few characters that are definitely very important to this chapter, and I think we all had a lot to say about Hagrid. [laughs] One of my questions was, “Hagrid flew? What?”

[Alison and Spencer laugh]

Kat: Yeah, what?

Michael: Because Hagrid says that when Harry asks him “How did you get to the hut on the rock?” He says, “Oh, I flew.” And Harry was quite blown away by that, as was I because I was like, “Umm, no. Yeah, you can’t do that.” [laughs] “It’s not allowed.”

Alison: Maybe he just used a catapulting spell or something…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: … and used it on himself and just went, “Woo!” all the way…

Michael: I just have to question because we already know that Accio didn’t work on Hagrid. I just wonder about the effectiveness even of a charm on him like Wingardium Leviosa or anything of that sort, if that would even work on him. But yeah, I don’t know if that’s a mess-up or not.

Spencer: Is there any…?

Kat: Well, I think so.

Michael: What were you going to say, Spencer?

Spencer: Is there any chance that he took the motorbike there and then when he landed just banished the motorbike away or sent it back home?

Alison: No.

Kat: Maybe.

Spencer: That’s the only thing I can think of, maybe.

Michael: Spencer, that is so kind. You are so kind at giving Rowling excuses.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That is a generous excuse.

Spencer: I’ll be the Rowling apologist, yeah.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: That’s good. She needs some support on this episode when we nitpick this stuff. Yeah, that one was funny because going from all of the things that set up major things in the later books, that’s a major contradiction of the sheer amazement they all have that Voldemort can fly in Book 7.

Kat: Yeah.

Spencer: Hagrid was doing it before it was cool.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Hipster Hagrid.

Michael: I know some people maybe even supposed that he might have had a broomstick, but 1) Hagrid would need an extra-large broomstick… [laughs]

Kat: Wait, hasn’t he said before that broomsticks won’t hold him?

Alison: Oh yeah.

Kat: Yeah, he says it in the “Seven Potters” chapter, right?

Spencer: Yep, he totally does.

Michael: Fly on a broomstick. [laughs] There you go. See, I was trying to help too, Spencer.

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Michael: I was being an apologist as well. It didn’t work so well for me, though.

Kat: No apologies!

Michael: [laughs] But speaking of Hagrid, Spencer, you kind of sussed out a few important things that Hagrid says that might reflect on his character.

Spencer: Yeah, absolutely. We can go through some of these quotes. When I was rereading, I saw Hagrid this time as the “native informant,” which is a term I’m learning in school. But basically, he is Harry’s introduction to the wizarding world, and because he’s the only wizard we know at this point, everything he says we basically take as true. Harry just accepts almost everything he’s saying, which I think can be dangerous at times because some of the things that Hagrid says in this chapter I think are a little bit questionable. So yeah, I pulled out some of the Hagrid quotes that I shook my head at. I wasn’t so sure if I believed it, and I was wondering what you guys thought. So I can go through some of them quickly. The first thing that Hagrid says is that Gringotts is the safest place in the wizarding world except for Hogwarts, and I think that’s something that sticks with us as we read. We always believe Hogwarts to be this impenetrable place of safety, but is it really? I mean, with Barty Crouch, Jr. and Sirius and Dementors and… I feel like Gringotts might be the safer place.

Alison: Ooh.

Michael: Yeah, I think that’s meant to be and that also could easily just as well fit in with things that are set up for later, because I think… Notwithstanding the fans laughing wholeheartedly at Hogwarts being a safe place, because it’s not…

[Alison laughs]

Michael: … I think that’s definitely a set-up. And we’re going to see this with these other ones – you’ve got yours, Spencer, too – but that’s a really… Thank you for introducing that term “narrative informant” because I think that’s really important. I think that’s a term we’ll have to carry with us as we examine other books and maybe look out for other native informants because I’m assuming… and maybe Spencer, you can speak to this more, but I’m assuming a native informant, in a way, can be a really important element if you’re writing a mystery. Because like you said, we take the native informant’s word as truth. We don’t have any reason to question Hagrid right now. He’s proved himself completely trustworthy.

Kat: No, especially the line about Hufflepuffs, because…

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Alison: Oh, I have so much to say about that.

Kat: You’ll hear Hagrid say, “Hufflepuff are a lot of duffers,” and then even Draco says, “Ugh, imagine if I were in Hufflepuff. I’d leave, I think.”

Alison: Oh, I have so much to say about that line, though.

Kat: It sets up so much. Go ahead. Let your sass out, Alison.

Alison: But everyone cuts off that line before Hagrid does. Hagrid says, “People say Hufflepuff are a lot of duffers, but…” and then Harry interrupts him. So we never actually know what Hagrid thinks about Hufflepuff, actually, because it sounds like he’s going to contradict that statement. He’s just telling Harry what a lot of people say, because Draco is already throwing it out there saying, “Hufflepuff is terrible. I’d leave if I got Hufflepuff.” And so Hagrid is throwing it out there and saying, “Okay, so a lot of people are going to say that, but…” but Harry cuts him off before he can finish it. So everyone who uses that line to support why Hufflepuffs are terrible, you are wrong and I will fight you on it!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, and he does kind of remedy it afterward where he’s like, “Well, better Hufflepuff than Slytherin.” And it’s like, “Thanks.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: “Take what we can get.”

Spencer: That gets to, yeah, another quote that we should discuss. Right after, he says, “There’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin.”

[Michael laughs]

Spencer: And I think the same thing is equally problematic because it causes us to believe that everybody who has ever done anything wrong, boom, they’re in Slytherin. If you’re bad, you’re a Slytherin. Slytherin is a bad House full of bad people. And I think it causes a big problem for us as we try to view the world fairly; instead we end up seeing it through Hagrid’s bias at this point.

Michael: I think that speaks to, though – similarly to what Alison said about Hagrid’s statement on Hufflepuffs – that if you’re not reading what Hagrid is saying carefully… Because what he’s saying is “People who have gone bad were in Slytherin,” not “All Slytherins are bad.”

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: Right.

Michael: So that’s the thing to be careful of, which I think a lot of people weren’t. It doesn’t help, but he’s not saying every Slytherin is bad. It’s just how people read it.

Alison: I think, too, this one has to be taken with a grain of salt, knowing that Hagrid is a Gryffindor, especially noting how long and how much Slytherin and Gryffindor have been butting heads throughout the years. Just as, in general, how it is.

Kat: And the fact that Tom Riddle basically ruined his life and he was a Slytherin.

Alison: Yeah, yeah.

Michael: And these are all things in the first round that we don’t know, because we don’t even know, I think… We don’t know confirmed at this point that Hagrid is a Gryffindor yet?

Kat: Right.

Alison: No. I think that came confirmed, actually, on Pottermore.

Michael: Somewhere else, but not here. And these House names… funny to think there was a day when all of us had no idea what these things were. We were as clueless as Harry.

[Alison laughs]

Spencer: Another line that I think is worth mentioning that’s really interesting is [when] Harry asks Hagrid why is it that the wizards have to stay in hiding, and Hagrid’s response [is] “Why? Blimey, Harry. Everybody would be wanting magic solutions to their problems. Naw, we’re best left alone.” And so what do you guys make of that line? Do you think that’s a fair reason for why wizards should stay in hiding, just because they don’t want to be bothered?

Alison: It makes me think of the “Other Minister” chapter, actually, where the Muggle Prime Minister is having a conversation with Fudge and says, “Well, you’re wizards. You can solve all these problems.” And Fudge says, “Well, the problem is the other side has magic too.” And so it’s kind of that understanding that magic brings as many problems as it solves.

Kat: Got 99 problems, you know.

[Spencer laughs]

Kat: I’m not going to sing the rest of that song.

Michael: Magic is all of them.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Yeah, pretty much.

Spencer: To me, it sounds like Hagrid should be rereading “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot.” Is that the story where the moral is that we should be using our magic to help the Muggles out?

Alison: Oh, yeah! [laughs]

Michael: And that speaks to something that was mentioned on Episode 2; I’ve got a few recalls in here. And don’t worry, Spencer, we’re going to get back to your quotes too. I feel like this just integrates really well with the one you brought up.

Spencer: Mhm.

Michael: Because you guys asked on Episode 2, “Is Hagrid prejudiced against Muggles?” And Spencer’s quote I believe is from the page I cited – I believe it’s [page] 79 – where Hagrid does kind of go on this tiny little tangent about why Muggles and wizards shouldn’t really coerce too much. And you guys had posited that maybe this was just something that was bred into Hagrid by the wizarding world, or that maybe he’s meaning to refer more to Muggles like the Dursleys and that he’s not meaning to put a blanket term on Muggles. But I don’t know. What do you guys think?

Kat: Well, I’ve shared my opinion on it, so I’m going to let you guys go.

Alison: I think it’s a similar thing to what we get with Ron in a lot of ways, of just having been only in the perspective of the magical world and so sometimes offhandedly they say things that are derogatory toward other issues in their world that their world doesn’t see as an issue. If that makes sense? It’s that privilege kind of thing. So just that fact that Hagrid doesn’t understand the Muggle world really much at all, and so… yeah, I don’t know.

Michael: I think that’s along the right lines because that goes along with their journey through London where the narration says that Hagrid keeps poking fun at all these Muggle things that he sees: He thinks that parking meters are funny, he hates the turnstiles in the Underground because he gets stuck in them, and I think he says a few times… He’s very similar to Arthur Weasley but with a more disdainful air or a more “Oh, these poor things; they just don’ understand” kind of a tone. It’s a little more condescending than Arthur would be. And maybe that’s it – like you were saying, Alison – it’s a privilege but it’s an ignorant privilege. It’s an innocent, ignorant privilege, almost. It’s not necessarily meant as vicious.

Alison: Yeah.

Spencer: I would agree. Later on in the chapter we see Hagrid defending Muggle-borns and so I think that says something about his character, that he isn’t prejudiced. But I think in this case, it’s not so much a prejudice as much as it is just [that] misinformation and misunderstanding maybe leads to a mistreatment. Because I also think of… The only interaction we get to see between Hagrid and actual Muggles is with the Dursleys, and you can argue that the Dursleys deserve just about any kind of punishment, but Hagrid does bully them, storming into their house and insulting them and cursing their child. So I think it is a little bit questionable, his treatment of Muggles, but I think it just comes from a misunderstanding.

Kat: I have no problem with him storming into the Dursleys’ house. I have a problem with the pig tail. I feel like that was a bit unnecessary considering Dudley is, what, 10?

[Michael laughs]

Kat: He’s older than Harry, so he’s probably already 11. But still… Yeah, I listened to Episode 2 earlier today in preparation for this and I still don’t remember what I said, but I do agree with everything that you’re saying and I think that perhaps it is just that he doesn’t really understand them. We have to remember, too, that Hagrid isn’t 100% wizard.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: He’s got some of that giant blood in him, so to say, and we don’t know how much that affects his biology, so to say, besides the fact that he is just tall. There might be other things about the way he thinks or acts or feels that gets a little… What’s the word? Jumbled? Confused? That’s not even the right word, but…

Spencer: Even just harsh. The giants are always described as really harsh people.

Kat: Yeah, because [he’s] influenced, I suppose, given that he is half giant… so just by nature [and] just by his biology.

Michael: That’s interesting because I would argue against that because I think Hagrid is a prime example of nature versus nurture…

Kat: Oh, sure.

Michael: … and that he’s meant to be like a lot of the characters in the series that aren’t defined by where they come from biologically.

Kat: Okay.

Michael: Rowling doesn’t really seem to much care for that a lot of the time. That would make a good episode in itself. But for more on that, listeners, you should really watch Zootopia because there [are] a lot of things about that. [laughs]

Kat: Michael, did I tell you [that] I finally saw it last week?

Michael: Did you just love it?

Kat: It was…

[Prolonged silence]

Kat: … great.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: It was a perfectly good movie, which I thought was very important.

Michael: Yes, yes, it was. So yeah, go check that out, listeners, if you haven’t heard me recommend it a million times. [laughs] Spencer, were there some other quotes here that you wanted to highlight?

Spencer: Nothing too important. We actually covered most of them, but I guess I just will say in summary, I think it’s interesting that Hagrid’s mentions of Hufflepuffs, Slytherins, his views on Muggles, his views on the Ministry of Magic, his views on Muggle-borns… all those things really stay with Harry. Those really form the way that he thinks. In some cases maybe it’s a little bit negative or a little bit questionable. In other cases, I think we have to thank Hagrid because in terms of dealings with Muggle-borns or whatever, Harry has always been a champion for Muggle-borns, and Hagrid puts him on that path. But there’s definitely a big influence that Hagrid has and so I think we need to always appreciate his character for introducing all of us to the wizarding world.

Michael: I’m so glad you introduce that term “narrative informant,” too, or the “native informant.”

Spencer: The “native informant,” yeah.

Michael: That’s going to be really important for, I think, future discussions. I think that’s a great term.

Kat: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: There was a quote that I wanted to highlight about Hagrid that I think is always a fun one to point out, and this moment occurs when they’re in Ollivanders and Hagrid and Ollivander are having a little chit-chat about Hagrid’s wand and Ollivander says,

“‘Good wand, that one. But I suppose they snapped it in half when you got expelled?’ said Mr. Ollivander, suddenly stern.

‘Er – yes, they did, yes,’ said Hagrid, shuffling his feet. ‘I’ve still got the pieces, though,’ he added brightly.

‘But you don’t use them?’ said Mr. Ollivander sharply.

‘Oh, no, sir,’ said Hagrid quickly. Harry noticed he gripped his pink umbrella very tightly as he spoke.”

[Alison, Kat, and Spencer laugh]

Kat: Yeah, I remember discussing that and talking about whether or not Dumbledore had mended Hagrid’s wand since he had the Elder Wand.

Michael: I was wondering about that because I feel like after all we’ve learned about wands, broken wands just will not service you well. And we’ve never really seen a broken wand that’s so broken do as apt magic that Hagrid’s wand does.

Kat: Yeah, because even… Okay, so let’s just pretend that it’s broken and somehow the wand will work if it’s in two pieces. That gets disproven later when Hermione breaks Harry’s wand and his wand won’t work.

Michael: Harry’s wand, yeah.

Kat: And then even if it was only partially broken, we see a partially broken wand in Chamber and it doesn’t work at all, so that has to be a fixed wand.

Michael: Yeah, I think that’s a really cool theory.

Kat: Or it’s a boo-boo, which is entirely possible too.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: It’s such a good theory, though, because it would work to some degree. The thing is, Hagrid… I’m not sure… It should line up with the timeline. When does…? Dumbledore would acquire the wand in ’45.

Alison: Mhm.

Kat: Correct. So Voldemort was born… Actually, no, it doesn’t line up because Voldemort was born in ’26, which is why it’s so significant that Fantastic Beasts starts in ’26. So Tom Riddle was born in ’26, so he would start in Hogwarts… So he was born in December ’26, so he would turn 10…

Alison: No, he was born on December 31 or 30, [wasn’t] he?

Kat: No, I meant the year ’26, Alison.

Alison: Oh, sorry. [laughs] I thought you meant the day.

Kat: I know.

Alison: I was like, “That’s not right.”

Kat: December ’26, so he would turn 10 [in] December [of] ’36… He’d be 11… So he would start Hogwarts in September of 1937, and so he would be out ’37, 8, 9, 10… He’d be out in ’44, just before Dumbledore got the Elder Wand…

Michael: But it’s possible that Hagrid just held on to his pieces of his wand.

Kat: It is possible.

Alison: Yeah, and then maybe that’s when he completely took over for… Who was the guy before him?

Kat and Michael: Ogg.

Alison: Ogg, yeah. So maybe by that point when he was 18 or something, he completely took over for Ogg and Dumbledore was like, “Let me give you a little gift for becoming our full groundskeeper: It’s your wand!”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: It’s plausible.

Alison: “I’m going to experiment with the Elder Wand.”

Michael: Because Ogg is still around when Molly and Arthur are there.

Kat: Right. When does Hagrid start as gamekeeper?

Alison: I pretty much think right after, right?

Michael: Yeah, it’s not defined when he started.

Kat: Right, because he would have only been 13 or so, maybe 14 when he got expelled because it was his third year, right? Yeah, third year.

Michael: So it’s possible. It’s still a plausible theory. Not necessarily confirmed, but it’s a cool idea knowing what we now know.

Alison: I mean, it might make sense too. Maybe Dumbledore was testing the powers of the Elder Wand…

Michael: Yeah, that would be cool!

Alison: … and then he ended up mending Hagrid’s wand and hiding it in the umbrella. [laughs]

Michael: Well, yeah, because that’s the other thing: I don’t think we’ve ever seen another wand like Hagrid’s where it’s incorporated into another object and still works perfectly.

Kat: Well, the umbrella is just an extension of the hand, which is an extension of… Yeah, so… Hmm, I don’t know.

Michael: Are you saying umbrellas are wands, Kat?

Kat: I’m saying they could be…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: … if it has a wand inside it and it’s held in your hand.

Michael: That’s a nice thought.

Kat: Because the wand just focuses the power, remember? So an umbrella, which is shaped like a wand, could do the same if it had a wand inside it. Not just your normal $5 drugstore umbrella.

Michael: Ahh, there you go raising and crushing hopes right immediately. [laughs]

Kat: Whoops, sorry.

Michael: But to wrap up Hagrid’s section, there’s a lovely quote that I really like that I feel wraps up a lot of the discussion we’ve just had about how Hagrid relates to Harry and his journey. The narration says,

“Hagrid leaned across the table. Behind the wild beard and eyebrows he wore a very kind smile.

‘Don’ you worry, Harry. You’ll learn fast enough. Everyone starts at the beginning at Hogwarts, you’ll be just fine. Just be yerself. I know it’s hard. Yeh’ve been singled out, an’ that’s always hard. But yeh’ll have a great time at Hogwarts – I did – still do, ‘smatter of fact.'”

I really liked that Hagrid specifically notes what it feels like to be singled out. I feel like that was really neat and important that that’s included here because I think we’ll find, as the story goes along… We already know that Hagrid is singled out just for his height, but I think in Chamber and Goblet especially, we will find out just how singled out Hagrid feels in the wizarding world. So it’s a really… Those words will carry weight. In a way, I wonder if they carry weight in a sense that Harry doesn’t fully understand yet when Hagrid is saying it to him. But that’s what makes Hagrid so great! For all we do to knock on Hagrid’s teaching methods…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: … he’s a great guy. Definitely the perfect person to guide Harry through this world. Which is so funny because the other people we meet in Diagon Alley are horrible. [laughs]

Alison: … are terrible people. [laughs]

Michael: One of them we don’t necessarily know from the start, and that one is Professor Quirrell, [whom] we meet in the Leaky Cauldron. And this was interesting because you guys had a discussion on Episode 2 about whether you thought Quirrell was suspicious or not when you first read it. I can say I didn’t think he was. I didn’t see it coming, actually. I don’t know if you guys did.

Spencer: No.

Alison: Not at all.

Michael: He was a good bait-and-switch. It doesn’t help when you’ve got Snape around getting in the way.

Alison: Well, yeah. I think everyone thinks Snape is bad for the first book, and all the other books. [laughs] Just kidding.

Michael: Well, I guess it’s just funny because now Quirrell stands out like a sore thumb because he’s the only teacher that Harry meets before he goes to school.

Kat: Yeah, that’s true.

Michael: And on your first read-through, it is very cleverly done. But this section, what raised a question for me, actually, was the possession timeline with Quirrell, because as Pottermore states,

“When Voldemort realized that the young man had a position at Hogwarts, he took immediate possession of Quirrell, who was incapable of resisting.

“While Quirrell did not lose his soul, he became completely subjugated by Voldemort, who caused a frightful mutation of Quirrell’s body: now Voldemort looked out of the back of Quirrell’s head and directed his movements, even forcing him to attempt murder.”

Now, that’s what Pottermore says. But in the book, there are two statements that I feel bring that into question. They are both in the final chapter, “The Man with Two Faces,” and it’s both the narration and a statement from Quirrell. And the first one says,

“‘When I failed to steal the Stone from Gringotts, he was most displeased. He punished me… decided he would have to keep a closer watch on me…'”

And Harry notes afterward in his thoughts through the narration,

“[Harry had] seen Quirrell there that very day, shaken hands with him in the Leaky Cauldron.”

Alison: Also, doesn’t it say in “The Sorting Hat” chapter that Harry notices the turban as something new?

Kat: Okay, yeah, I think without that top quote from Pottermore, which… Pottermore kind of screws things up a lot.

[Alison, Michael, and Spencer laugh]

Kat: I think that the timeline is plausible because he could have… Voldemort could have been somewhere nearby – and then Quirrell tried to steal it – and then possessed him. That’s kind of the way I look at it.

Alison: I mean, I guess that could work with the Pottermore quote if you think he became completely subjugated when Voldemort decided he needed to keep a closer eye on him. So maybe he was possessing him but in the way he possesses Harry in Book 5. Or Harry doesn’t have a face sticking out of the back of his head.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: So maybe that’s what he was doing at that point?

Michael: But that’s interesting that if… Because we do have to wonder where Voldemort is at this point. Quirrell has to have him somehow [and] support him somehow. But that said, even if – Alison, like you said – Quirrell is hosting Voldemort, but not in the way that he later does with the visual of the head, then how can Harry still touch Quirrell?

Alison: Maybe Voldemort was not strong enough yet. I mean, if he’s not back at Hogwarts yet, he hasn’t been drinking unicorn blood yet, so he hasn’t been strengthened yet. So maybe he’s weak enough that Harry just doesn’t recognize it. Or maybe in Harry’s own confusion and having all these people come shake his hand, he just passes it over as his own feeling instead of…

Michael: Mhm.

Kat: Maybe Quirrell is wearing gloves.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Ahh. That’s actually plausible. [laughs]

Michael: There we go. Look at us being Rowling apologists today.

[Spencer laughs]

Michael: Spencer, what’s your theory? [laughs]

Spencer: Ooh, it’s definitely easier to be a Rowling apologist than a Pottermore apologist.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Aren’t those supposed to be one in the same?

Spencer: [laughs] Yeah.

Michael: [laughs] Technically.

Spencer: No, the only thing that sticks out is, yeah, the handshake. The fact that Harry’s scar doesn’t hurt during that handshake makes me think that Voldemort is not quite on the back of the head yet. But that’s about it. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah, that’s a hard one.

Kat: Is there a line, or anything, about what Harry is feeling in that moment? I feel like there is.

Michael: Let’s check.

Kat: Who has their book?

Michael: I do. Let’s see…

Kat: I guess I have to charge my iPad. I haven’t used my iPad in, like, a year.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: I guess I need to charge it if we’re going to start chapter revisits.

Michael: [laughs] Let’s see.

“Harry shook hands again and again […] A pale young man made his way forward, very nervously. One of his eyes was twitching.”

Let’s see. Where’s the part where he shakes…? Ahh!

“‘P-P-Potter,’ stammered Professor Quirrell, grasping Harry’s hand, ‘c-can’t t-tell you how p-pleased I am to meet you.'”

Harry doesn’t have any internal thoughts in this moment.

Kat: Oh, I thought that was part of the narration. I was like, “What?” [laughs]

Michael: No.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yes, Harry was struck completely dumb. Harry has nothing to say. Yeah, no, Harry has no thoughts on Professor Quirrell in this moment.

Kat: It doesn’t mention his head or anything, huh?

Michael: Nope.

Kat: Okay, so that has to lead us to believe that Voldemort is not with him. It’s just too implausible otherwise.

Michael: Yeah, that feels like a mistake. And like Alison said, that was another big one that I couldn’t remember, that he’s not technically wearing the turban right now.

Kat: Right.

Michael: Because Harry notes that one at the feast. Of course, the movie tried to fix this by having Quirrell choose not to shake Harry’s hand with a little dirty look, but that doesn’t explain why Quirrell doesn’t realize what’s going on at the end when Harry is turning him to dust.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: So good try, movie. You tried.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And of course, listeners, you can read a whole extensive background on who Quirrell is and his story prior to this point on Pottermore, with a slight contradiction in that one paragraph, if you’re looking for that. Maybe you can all reason it out on our main site in the comments this week.

Kat: I guess we really just need to convince Pottermore to listen to this show more closely because then they’ll write more accurate articles.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Be careful. Rowling needs to make a little bible of this stuff that she can quick reference a little better.

Kat: Yeah, the encyclopedia. That’d be cool.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: That would be nice.

Michael: And we go from Quirrell to yet another unpleasant character, who is a little more openly unpleasant: little Draco Malfoy…

Kat: Ugh, what a twerp!

Alison: Oh.

[Alison and Spencer laugh]

Michael: … who just says a string of horrible things. [He] has nothing nice to say in this chapter. I think something that is often forgotten is that this is where he meets Harry. A lot of people remember either that they meet on the train, or if you’re remembering the movie, they meet on the staircase as they’re going in. But no, they actually encounter each other for the first time in Madam Malkin’s. Harry and Draco just have no idea who each other are. But I thought this excerpt was a little important to read in tandem with that because from Pottermore… which is a little more consistent here. Pottermore says,

“Like every other child of Harry Potter’s age, Draco heard stories of the Boy Who Lived through his youth. Many different theories had been in circulation for years as to how Harry survived what should have been a lethal attack, and one of the most persistent was that Harry himself was a great Dark wizard. The fact that he had been removed from the wizarding community seemed (to wishful thinkers) to support this view, and Draco’s father, wily Lucius Malfoy, was one of those who subscribed most eagerly to the theory. It was comforting to think that he, Lucius, might be in for a second chance of world domination, should this Potter boy prove to be another, and greater, pure-blood champion. It was, therefore, in the knowledge that he was doing nothing of which his father would disapprove, and in the hope that he might be able to relay some interesting news home, that Draco Malfoy offered Harry Potter his hand when he realized who he was on the Hogwarts Express. Harry’s refusal of Draco’s friendly overtures, and the fact that he had already formed allegiance to Ron Weasley, whose family is anathema to the Malfoys, turns Malfoy against him at once. Draco realized, correctly, that the wild hopes of the ex-Death Eaters – that Harry Potter was another, and better, Voldemort – are completely unfounded, and their mutual enmity is assured from that point.”

Alison: [laughs] Can I just say, of all the words I would use to describe Lucius Malfoy, “wily” is not one of them.

Kat: I wondered why you were laughing. I’m like, “What’s so funny?”

Michael: Wile E. Coyote.

Alison: [laughs] Of all the words to…

Michael: He is, though. He is wily. He is bad at it, in the end, but he is wily.

Kat: I mean, they probably would have written “handsome,” if somebody hadn’t edited it.

[Alison, Michael, and Spencer laugh]

Kat: But I love this theory, and when Pottermore introduced this, I fell in love with it. I immediately accepted it and loved it and thought it was just truly, truly awesome. And yeah, I have nothing but good things to say about that theory. Not about Draco, but about that. [laughs]

Alison: It kind of supports Delphi!

Michael: [laughs] That’s a whole other episode.

Alison: I’m just going to throw that out there.

Kat: What? Wait, wait, wait. No, we have to talk about this. How does that support Delphi?

Alison: I brought this up on the canon episode, I think, the fact that… It’s a similar thing [to] what could have happened to Delphi, right? If they thought she was going to be a better version of Voldemort, or another chance at world domination, then she gets hidden away and brought back.

Kat: No.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Delphi was born out of a relationship that never happened, so no.

Alison: Ahh, we don’t know that!

Kat: Yes, we do.

Michael: And I’m going to cut it off before it even gets anywhere.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Put the brakes on that, ladies! You could probably have a whole…

Alison: I’m just going to throw it out there [into] the world!

[Michael laughs]

Alison: It’s fine.

Kat: Just for the record, listeners, Alison visited me just a couple of weeks ago…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: … and we had a very civil conversation about Cursed Child.

Alison: We did.

Kat: And we love each other very much, no matter how much we fight about it. I just want to throw that out there.

Michael: [laughs] Well, I think – like you said, Kat – what really makes this great, in this moment, is [that] this makes Draco’s little monologue to Harry even more of a giant screw-up than we know, because he completely ruins his chances here in this moment by saying everything that he says and not knowing who Harry is.

Kat: Shooting off his mouth like a proper villain.

Michael: Yes!

Kat: Monologuing!

Alison: Seriously, though, why does he just start talking so much?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: It’s like, “Draco, shut up!”

Kat: Because he’s a braggart! Draco is a braggart. Young Draco. Not so much older Draco, but younger Draco [is a] braggart.

Alison: That’s true.

Michael: Yes.

Kat: Typical, egotistical Slytherin.

Michael: It’s funny because you get [that little fall] later on when he does try to befriend Harry. But with this background from Pottermore, I think that makes the fall even grander on Draco’s part; just how much he flubbed it up. And it is worth noting that, as we discussed earlier, no, it is not Hagrid who makes the first seeming slander on Hufflepuff. It is definitely Malfoy [laughs] who suggests that if you were Sorted into Hufflepuff, you might as well just leave. [laughs]

Alison: Fight me, Draco! Fight me.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But it’s worthwhile, after seeing all of these characters, to maybe do some shopping in Diagon Alley. We’re here to shop, right, guys?

Kat: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Even if it’s just window shopping, if you’re not as filthy rich as Harry. [laughs] If you aren’t so lucky to have as much money in your Gringotts account.

Kat: He has so much money. Gosh.

Alison: He does.

Michael: One of the big things that you guys asked on Episode 2 – another Episode 2 recall – was Rowling giving Harry a pile of money just cheating?

Alison: No.

Michael: Why not?

Alison: Because otherwise she’d have to find some way to get him to be able to afford school and afford everything, and that’s just… Poor boy has enough complications in his life! Let him have this!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Couldn’t she have made him more relatable to Tom Riddle by having him use the school funds?

Alison: Maybe, but then I think that almost takes a little bit of the complication out of James Potter’s character.

Kat: Who cares? James sucks.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Alison: Whoa!

Michael: Them’s fightin’ words.

Alison: Well, that’s a conversation we’re going to have to table for a little bit later!

[Everyone laughs]

Spencer: I heard James is just Lupin anyway.

Michael: Oh, lord. Oh God, make it stop.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Well, it also makes it a bit more of a fairy tale for this first one, doesn’t it? To have Harry go from rags to riches suddenly?

Michael: Oh, man. Yeah, Sorcerer’s Stone is over and above the Cinderella story. Like, sweet lord, you get everything. Everything!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Money included. Endless piles of money. The thing that works for me with the money comes… I think we see it immediately in this book in the next chapter, when Harry is so generous to share that money with Ron. He has no inclinations to keep it to himself. He’s very anti-Dudley, in terms of his money.

Kat: Hmm.

Michael: He even thinks to himself when he gets out of Gringotts, “Oh man, if Dudley had this much money and could wander around here, he’d just buy all this stuff and not even want it. He’d just buy it because he could.” That’s why I don’t think it’s cheating, because it serves a purpose farther down the line as far as informing Harry’s character, I guess.

Kat: Sure.

Alison: Yeah.

Kat: And Pottermore fixes that, too, because they tell us that it’s from Sleekeazy’s, right?

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Yes, it’s all inherited, which we had wondered about, I know, up to that point because Rowling had said that she would explain that in later books and never did, but I guess that’s what Pottermore was for. And the other thing that was actually mentioned on Episode 2, in relation to Gringotts while we were there, is the letter that Hagrid hands to the goblin, and you guys did wonder if it was really from Dumbledore or if it was actually from Nicolas Flamel.

Alison: I forgot about that! Ooh, what a good question.

Michael: Yeah, I thought that was a really fun thing to ponder because of course, while Dumbledore seems to have some authority over this, it is Flamel’s stone. It’s got to at least have his…

Alison: I would assume it’s his vault.

Kat: Yeah, I still wonder whose vault it is, which is something [that] we definitely talked about on Episode 2. Is it…? I mean, is it Hogwarts’s fault? Is it Nicolas’s fault? Is it Dumbledore’s? Because it’s totally empty, so you wouldn’t think that it would be Dumbledore’s or Nicolas Flamel’s because… I mean, unless they have more than one. It’s also really far down, right? It’s Vault 713?

Alison: 713.

Michael: Yeah, it’s a top security vault.

Kat: Right, so those are only – [according] to Pottermore – for the oldest wizarding families, so you feel like that’s probably Nicolas Flamel’s vault or a Hogwarts vault. Probably not Dumbledore’s. So why is there nothing else in it?

Alison: I think it’s got to be Flamel’s vault and he got it especially for the Stone.

Kat: But you can’t; there’s a limited number of vaults in Gringotts Bank and those are all wizarding family vaults.

Alison: But if you can make gold, I’m sure he can buy whatever the heck he wants. [laughs] So maybe he can afford this fancy vault and he could move his name up the list and get this vault to keep this safe.

Kat: I don’t think of Gringotts as working that way. Since it’s been around so long, I think of it as… The original wizarding families, they are at the lowest level unless a family dies out, which maybe a couple of them have. I guess we’ll have to look up that information. But the vaults are never available for purchase; [that] is the way I view Gringotts.

Alison: Well, Flamel is old, too, so maybe he is old enough…

Kat: Right.

Alison: … that that was his family’s vault, and maybe then he was able to get a newer vault to keep their normal money in. But this one – this secret, deep family vault – he decided to keep the Stone separate from their normal day-to-day stuff.

Kat: Sure, I’ll buy that.

Michael: Yeah, I always got the sense that security vaults were separate from family vaults. Like security vaults were something you could rent out, almost?

Kat: Right.

Michael: So that’s what I would assume it would be.

Kat: Would this be a security vault, then?

Alison and Michael: I think so.

Alison: Well, it’s one of the special ones with the… Only the goblins can open them.

Michael: So yeah, that’s what I would think.

Kat: So then family vaults don’t involve the goblins, you think?

Alison: Well, they have keys, right? Harry has got a key to his vault? So I would think the family vaults… Maybe they must have…

Michael: Well yeah, because Hagrid presents the goblin with the key.

Alison: Or maybe those are just lower security vaults, because [for] the Lestrange vault they need a goblin.

Michael: Yeah. Oh, that’s hard.

Alison: Oh man.

Michael: [laughs] The signs at Gringotts at the park don’t help because they suggest the theory that you can rent out vaults, if you take that as canon.

Spencer: And we don’t know where Hagrid got Harry’s key from, do we?

Michael: No, we can only assume it’s Dumbledore.

Kat: Right.

Michael: Because Dumbledore seems to be in possession of a lot of things that belong to the Potters. [laughs]

Alison: [laughs] That belong to Harry.

Michael: So I imagine that’s where that came from.

Alison: I’m sure they kept it at their house in Godric’s Hollow, and someone just went and picked it up when they cleaned the house out.

Kat: Right.

Michael: Maybe, yeah.

Kat: Just for the heck of it, I was looking up the Sacred 28, and Nicholas Flamel is not on there. So he wouldn’t have had an original vault at Gringotts. He wouldn’t have had one of those…

Alison: If the system works according to family seniority.

Kat: Right.

Alison: Which the goblins don’t seem to care about.

Kat: But isn’t that pretty much confirmed when we find out where the Lestrange vault is?

Michael: Kind of.

Kat: Right, that it’s at the lowest level, only for the oldest families. And as far as I always thought, that would be the Sacred 28. Since we got that information, of course.

Michael: Hmm. Well, listeners, maybe you can help us out with that and navigate Gringotts for us, because now that we’ve got our money, we’re going to go spend it. [laughs] And before we…

Alison: Treat. Yo’. Self. [laughs]

Michael: Treat yo’ self to some Florean Fortescue’s because it’s delicious.

Kat: Mm, yummy!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: That sounds really good right now. Don’t bring it up.

Kat: I could go for some butterbeer ice cream so bad.

Alison: Oh man.

Michael: But before we go spend it all, let me give you a rundown of how much it’s going to be costing you for a few things if you are running around in Diagon Alley. We get a few prices from things. The first one we get is from Hagrid when he tells Harry to give the owl that’s delivering the paper five Knuts. That is approximately ten cents. Or what would that be in…?

Alison: Five pence.

Michael: Yes, five pence in the UK. So it’s not too bad. You’re giving over a dime for a copy of the paper. Now, this…

Alison: That’s really cheap for a copy of the paper!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Yeah.

Michael: Now, this lady who is outside of the Apothecary who is ranting, “Dragon liver, 16 Sickles an ounce, they’re mad.” That is approximately… It’s almost $8 for that. Five pounds-ish. This all equates to being just over one Galleon.

Kat: Well, actually… I just changed that figure for you, Michael. Which currency converter did you use?

Michael: I used the one from the Harry Potter Wiki.

Kat: Okay. So the Lexicon one is actually the canon one that uses the measurements that Jo had said in an interview, like, forever ago.

Michael: Oh, thank you.

Kat: Yeah, pounds to wizarding money is an even conversion. So one Galleon is £5…

Michael: Okay, perfect.

Kat: … and one Sickle – hold on – is 29 cents, and one Knut basically equals out to, like, zero.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Yeah, it’s one pence.

Alison: It’s a penny!

Kat: It’s a penny, basically, so it’s really easy conversions for pounds. It’s the dollars that get kind of…

Michael: So it’s more like five cents for that paper. Boy, this paper is cheap.

Alison: Dang, yeah.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: It’s pretty gosh darn cheap, yeah.

Michael: Well, the thing that’s not cheap is your wand.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: That is seven gold Galleons. Kat, can you convert that proper for me?

Kat: £35, because…

Alison: Hey, that’s like how much they cost from Warner Bros. [laughs]

Michael: I know, I was going to say.

Kat: Crazy, right?

Michael: How much is that in dollars?

Kat: Current conversion is probably, like, $45 with the current exchange rate.

Michael: Yeah, if you want to get a full remote wand at Universal Studios, that’s about how much much it’s going to cost you. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah, it is.

Kat: Prices just went up, so they’re even more now.

Michael: Ka-ching!

Alison: [gasps] What?

Kat: Yep.

Michael: Even the prices are canon.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Alison: It’s okay, it’s worth it.

Kat: Butterbeer is hella expensive now. The price just went up again.

Alison: Are you joking? No!

Kat: No, sadly I’m not.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Because I’m going back in June and I was going to drink all the butterbeer, [laughs] but if it’s more expensive then I’m going to have to limit myself.

Michael: Well, so that gives you a sense… I mean, having all been to the Wizarding World, we could have all told you that yeah, you’re going to have to load your pockets up pretty good from Gringotts…

Alison: Seriously.

Michael: … if you want to go shopping, because things are pretty expensive in Diagon Alley. But a few of the shops that we pass by, that will make appearances later, have some involvement or inform us a little bit more about the wizarding world. One of the first ones is Quality Quidditch Supplies, and they are carrying, of course, the Nimbus 2000 at the time. Funnily enough, I believe it’s Quidditch Through the Ages – if not Pottermore, then Quidditch Through the Ages – that confirms that the Nimbus 2000 was released in 1991, so the year that this is taking place. So that is a brand new broom that Harry is picking up later. In Flourish and Blotts, as we mentioned, make sure, listeners, to go through all of those titles and authors because they’re all little Easter eggs for you. And in Potage’s, which is the official name of the cauldron shop… The interesting thing about the cauldrons is… So Harry wants a gold one, but Hagrid won’t let him get one.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That’s probably one of those few moments where Harry is trying to spend his money a little frivolously. [laughs]

Alison: I saw the greatest post somewhere the other day that was talking about this that was like, “Harry just wants to bling himself out now that he has money.”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: And then someone was like, “Can you imagine if he walked into Potions on the first day with a solid gold cauldron?” Like, what would have Snape said?

Michael: [laughs] Snape would not have been happy.

Kat: It would have been amazing.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Yes, making himself a target. Well, the interesting thing, though, is that we got this a little bit through Pottermore – back when we had the potion brewing – but the better your cauldron, the faster it’s going to brew. So really, Harry might have actually been showing some excellent potion-making instincts.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Huh. Then it’s funny that they force them to buy the pewter one, if they should just say “at least a pewter cauldron” and let them buy whatever one they want, because the parents wouldn’t know that. Unless it’s a grading thing.

Alison: Unless it’s tricky, yeah, or [if] it’s trickier to use the gold one. Does it heat faster? Do you have to be more precise with things?

Kat: Sure, kind of like using copper cookware. Yeah, same thing.

Alison: Yeah, so maybe they’re like, “All right, these are kids.” And also, Neville melts three of them, doesn’t he?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Yeah, well, it’s just pewter.

Alison: So maybe they’re…

Kat: I mean, that’s the problem, right? If it were a better, harder metal, it wouldn’t melt as [easily].

Michael: Sweet, though. Melted gold.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Dope. Yeah.

Michael: [laughs] Not that Harry needs that, [as] we just established. But yeah, interesting bit of… I think I’m more inclined to agree [with] what you were saying, Kat, that maybe there’s… I feel like the lesson plans don’t account for different cauldrons, probably.

Kat: Probably not. Oh, I just googled to see if I could find the melting point for pewter, and it doesn’t tell me.

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Alison: Really?

Kat: Yeah. Well, I just googled “metal melting points.” Let’s see, melting point of pewter… Oh, it’s only 170 degrees Celsius.

Alison: Celsius.

Kat: Yeah, 170 to 230. [The] melting point of gold is significantly higher… 1,064 degrees Celsius. So yeah, you’d be better off with a gold cauldron. [laughs] I’m just saying.

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Kat: Especially if you’re Neville Longbottom.

Alison: Well, maybe they’re just trying to teach them not to… I don’t know. They’re trying to teach them the exact art and science.

Kat: Okay, Snape.

Alison: Snape is a jerk. Whatever.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: We do have the added element of magic that might be affecting things too.

Kat: Yeah.

Alison: Pewter seems a more traditional witch’s kind of metal.

Michael: Yes, that’s true. It’s more the typical picture.

Alison: Middle Ages.

Kat: I don’t know. I picture cast iron, personally.

Michael: Well, you’ve all picked out your cauldrons. None of you have gotten pewter because you’re not allowed. And then we wander over to the Apothecary. Everybody, pop into the Apothecary. What do you want to buy? I’m going to get some… Ooh, I want…

Kat: I want a bezoar.

Michael: You want a bezoar? That’s a very smart purchase.

[Spencer laughs]

Kat: I know. I’m a Ravenclaw.

Michael: Somebody has been reading her textbooks before she’s even gotten to school.

Kat: Obviously.

[Michael laughs]

Spencer: I definitely want a unicorn horn.

Kat: Whoa. Big spender.

Michael: Boy, you big spender.

[Alison, Michael, and Spencer laugh]

Michael: 21 Galleons!

Spencer: I feel like it’d be worth it to walk into Hogwarts on the first day with the unicorn horn.

[Alison laughs]

Spencer: You’d be swaggin’ out at that point.

Kat: So at £5 per Galleon, that’s $105.

Michael: Woo! Goodness.

Kat: £105. Wait, am I doing that math right?

Michael: Sure.

Kat: 5 times 20… Yeah, right?

Michael: Yeah. Uh-huh.

Kat: Yeah? Right, yeah. Okay, £105, so that’s $140. That’s a lot but also not a lot. I’d pay 140 bucks for a unicorn horn.

[Kat, Michael, and Alison laugh]

Spencer: Absolutely. I just picture the fashion craze spreading of just wearing them on your head like a real horn.

Alison: Oh my gosh. It’d be like unicorn food here.

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Kat: Gross.

Alison: Utterly ridiculous.

Spencer: Definitely one I’m thinking [of is the] Frappuccino.

Alison: Pretty useless.

Kat: This is really wonderful circle theory, but thanks to the Celebration of Harry Potter this January, I learned the sign for unicorn and I love it, just saying.

Michael: Nice!

[Alison laughs]

Kat: It’s the sign for horse, and then you pretend you have a horn sticking out of your head. You take your thumb and forefinger like you’re measuring… Remember when there was this craze where you pretended to crush people’s head[s] with your thumb and forefinger? Does anyone else remember that?

Michael: Yes.

Kat: Okay, so you do the sign for horse, which is… If you put your fingers in an L-shape with your pointer and your middle finger, stick them to your temple and shake your fingers, if that makes sense. Kind of like Rocky and Bullwinkle but with only two fingers.

Michael: Oh yeah, I remember this sign.

Kat: So that’s horse. And then you do the little horn coming with your thumb and forefinger out of your forehead, so it’s like horse with a horn. It’s a unicorn.

Michael: Oh, that’s cool.

Alison: That’s so cute.

Michael: Listeners, when you go to the event on September 1 at Universal Orlando, you know what to ask Kat when you see her. [laughs]

Kat: [laughs] Right, I want to see them…

Alison: It’ll just be our secret sign, everyone running around doing the unicorn sign.

Kat: I want to see a lot of pictures of people on Twitter doing the sign to see if I taught everybody appropriately over the podcast.

[Alison, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Michael: I’m going to buy some Wolfsbane and I want some… Ooh, I want some rose oil because I want my dorm room to smell nice. And get some incense. [laughs] That’s what I’d buy. My Wolfsbane doesn’t cost that much. It’s only a Galleon for Wolfsbane. That’s cheap.

Kat: That is cheap.

Alison: Honey is four Galleons?!

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Alison: What is wrong with these people?!

Kat: Well, honey is… They use it in their tea, so it’s expensive.

Alison: What would I get?

Michael: Yeah, what are you going to buy?

Kat: Get some Horklump juice.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Eww, no. Probably dragon’s blood because that’s sweet and it has lots of uses. And maybe some Lethe River Water because that’s also sweet and dangerous.

Kat: Cool. Are you sure you don’t want Dragonfly Thoraxes? Because those are pretty cheap.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Nah, I’m going to go all the way.

Kat: Okay.

Alison: All or nothing.

Kat: The Noble Collection a while ago… And I don’t think I made this up, but I haven’t been able to find it since then. Maybe a listener can help. I said bezoar because I’ve always wanted a box of bezoars, and the Noble Collection sold them for a hot second. I’m pretty sure either that’s real or I dreamed it.

Alison: What?

[Alison, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Kat: But I can’t find the box. They don’t sell it anymore.

Alison: I’m going to look it up.

Kat: I can’t find it on eBay. So somebody out there has a Noble Collection box of bezoars. I want it.

[Alison, Michael, and Spencer laugh]

Kat: And I will trade you something or buy something from you.

Michael: Look at you, standing outside the Apothecary bargaining with people. [laughs]

Kat: [laughs] I know. I’d be that crazy woman trying to sell you my toenails. “Can I get a box of bezoars for my toenails, please?”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Whatever.

Michael: Ooh, and I’m going to buy some Flobberworm mucus just because it’s funny. [laughs]

Alison, Kat, and Spencer: Eww.

Michael: That’s hilarious.

Alison: Half of these things you could just buy at a grocery store!

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Why would you be buying their castor oil and their peppermint when you could just go to the grocery store?

Michael: Because it’s magic. It’s more exciting that way.

Kat: They don’t have a grocery store. Duh!

Michael: Look how much…

Kat: What’s a Shrivelfig?

Michael: Oh, isn’t that…? It’s like a leaf or a plant or something, isn’t it?

Kat: I don’t know.

Alison: There’s a link.

Michael: Yes. Oh, ooh, it’s a fruit of some kind.

Alison: “A magical plant with powerful properties in potions. The finest Shrivelfig specimens are found in [attempts to pronounce “Abyssinia”] Abyssinia.”

Michael: Abyssinia.

Alison: Abyssinia. Thank you. [laughs] I can’t say that word.

Michael: Oh, that’s a pro tip from Book of Potions.

[Alison, Michael, and Spencer laugh]

Kat: That’s funny.

Michael: “The flowers of the Shrivelfig grow inside the fruit.” Ooh.

Alison: Don’t they have to…? Someone has to…

Kat: They prune the Shrivelfigs.

Alison: And in the Shrinking Solution, Draco can’t do them, so Harry has to peel his Shrivelfigs.

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Alison: And Harry is mad.

Michael: I’m going to pass on the Shrivelfigs. [laughs] I’m good.

Kat: Fine.

Michael: I grow my own. [laughs]

Kat: Oh, all right.

[Alison and Spencer laugh]

Alison: What’s a Jobberknoll feather? That sounds cool.

Kat: A Jobberknoll is mentioned in Fantastic Beasts, isn’t it?

Michael: Yeah.

Kat: Oh, it is! Look at that! Boom.

Alison: Truth serums! Ooh.

Michael: [laughs] Look how much fun we’re having, shopping in Diagon Alley.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: We are having a lot of fun. What’s next?

Michael: Well, we’ve picked up all our stuff from the Apothecary. We have to go over to Eeylops Owl Emporium because, I mean, we don’t want to be those people who go to Hogwarts without a pet, you know?

Alison: That would suck.

Michael: And obviously… I mean, Spencer is spending the big money.

[Alison, Michael, and Spencer laugh]

Michael: So do you all want an owl, a cat, or a toad?

Alison: Owl, duh.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Okay, well, if Al is going to get an owl, I’ll just borrow hers and I’m totally getting a cat because I can’t live without a cat. And I know that that is very cliché, given my name is Kat…

[Alison laughs]

Kat: … but it’s true. It’s true.

Alison: You already have two very cute ones, though.

Kat: I do, but I don’t know if they would like Hogwarts.

Michael: [laughs] You’ll have a Hogwarts cat.

Alison: Eh, Cissy would fit in at Hogwarts. Cissy would like Hogwarts.

Kat: Yeah, I think she would, too, but I can’t go without them both. If I could only bring one…

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I don’t know. I would be a terrible boarding school child. Just saying.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Kat: I couldn’t leave my animals behind.

Michael: Spencer, what are you picking up?

Spencer: Man, I’m really trying to find a good reason why I would want a toad. I just…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: There you go.

Spencer: I want to be so hipster that I’m the only kid at Hogwarts with a toad, but…

[Michael laughs]

Spencer: I just… There’s just no reason. [laughs]

Alison: [laughs] Nice.

Spencer: So I’d probably end up with an owl, but… I don’t know. Either that…

Alison: What kind of owl?

Spencer: … or it’d just be me and Neville hanging out all the time, just letting our toads chill.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Yeah, I mean, unless you have no money left, because you bought all of the… What did he buy?

Spencer: [laughs] That’s true.

Alison: The unicorn horns.

Kat: All of the unicorn horns? Yeah.

Spencer: All of the unicorn horns. That’s probably why Neville ended up with a toad: He spent all his money on unicorn horns.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Hmm. I think his grandmother is just a beep!

[Spencer laughs]

Alison: No, his uncle got it for him. Remember?

Kat: Uncle Alfie, right?

Alison: Yeah… Algie.

Kat: Algie. Thank you.

Alison: Uncle Algie.

Michael: That’s funny that I said we were… So Kat is not even going into Eeylops. She’s going over to the Magical Menagerie for her pet.

Kat: Mhm. I am.

Michael: She went down the street. So which owl did you get, Alison?

Alison: A barn owl.

Michael: Ooh, I want a barn owl too.

Alison: I just think they’re the cutest.

Michael: Yeah, that’s the one I would have picked too. Yeah, I love barn owls. They’re so cute. See… And we’re going cheap because if it was… [laughs] Hagrid went really expensive on that present. He spent 15 Galleons on that snowy owl for Harry.

Alison: Dang!

Kat: That’s only £45. That’s not much for an owl.

Alison: [laughs] That’s true.

Michael: Most expensive owl. Well, that and the screech owl…

Kat: Wait, no, 75… God, why can’t I do math tonight? £75. Sorry. 15 times 5.

Michael: Magical Menagerie… I need to go… I’m going to check on these prices for you, Kat.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: For your cat.

Kat: Thanks, mate.

Alison: My second choice would be a brown owl, though. Ooh, or this barred owl. These are the sweet ones.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: They look super cool.

[Kat laughs]

Alison: They have circles around their eyes. They look sweet.

Spencer: Yeah, those are real nice.

Kat: Errol is a tawny owl, right? Sorry, Hermes is a tawny owl? No, screech owl.

Alison: Is he?

Kat: I don’t know. Look it up. [laughs]

Alison: [laughs] Thanks. I forgot that’s Percy’s owl’s name. Hermes. What a good name for an owl.

Kat: It is a good name, isn’t it?

Alison: Good job, Percy.

Kat: I know.

Alison: Good job. [claps]

Kat: The one thing he’s done right.

[Alison and Spencer laugh]

Alison: Oh, God.

Michael: Well, Spencer, you’re going to be saving some money on that toad. If you want a common one, it’s only five Galleons.

Spencer: [laughs] Perfect.

Michael: But if you want a crested, or harlequin, or western toad, those are nine Galleons.

Kat: Hmm.

Michael: Or you could get a natterjack. Or you could get a giant purple toad.

Kat: Hmm!

Spencer: I think that sounds like the one I want.

[Alison, Michael, and Spencer laugh]

Michael: That’s going to be nine Galleons.

Kat: I would get a tabby cat, by the way, because I already have a tabby cat and her name is Tibby and she’s awesome. So I wouldn’t even have to spend the £45/nine Galleons; I could just bring her.

Michael: There you go. You’re all set.

Spencer: Then you could afford more unicorn horns.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: All of them.

Kat: No, bezoars because I’m smart.

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Kat: I mean, I’m not calling you stupid. That came out wrong.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: He’s not. He’s the one with awesome unicorn horn that he’s walking into Hogwarts with. If I did buy unicorn horn, I would wear it as a necklace. I would string it.

Kat: Like Luna. Dope.

Alison: I’d just hang it above my bed.

Michael: That’s cool. It’d be a nice charm to have hanging above your bed. I bet it would be pretty, too, with the light headed just right.

Alison: Ooh, yeah.

Michael: Well, now that we’ve spent way more than we really should be able to afford, we better go get our wands.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: We won’t talk too much about this, listeners, because if you want more discussion on that, check out, like, every other episode.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Including our wand episode.

Alison: We did a whole episode on wands, yeah.

Michael: Yes, especially the wand episode because we went into gross detail about wands in that episode. But yes, we will of course pop into Ollivanders. If you want, listeners, you can check out more about Ollivander’s story on Pottermore. The fun little tidbits of information we got about him, though, from his profile, [were] that he was born on the 25th of September. His wand is hornbeam and dragon heartstring. It is 12 3/4 inches and slightly bendy. Of course, we found out that he is a Ravenclaw. He had a wizard father and a Muggle-born mother. And I believe it was mentioned before that he actually had a family. I could be wrong, but I feel like he might have had children and a wife.

Kat: I do believe he did have children.

Alison: I remember that vaguely, yeah.

Michael: But that seems to have been…

Kat: I’m on Pottermore right now. Let’s see if it tells me.

Michael: Oh, it’s been taken off Pottermore. It’s not there.

Kat: We don’t have Ollivander’s backstory anymore?

Michael: Well, the details I’ve just read you are on his main profile.

Alison: They’re all we have.

Michael: But that seems to have been altered because… yeah, according to the Wiki, he had a son and a daughter. And yeah, it looks like that was from Pottermore, but that’s gone now.

Kat: What the hell! Does he have a son and daughter or not?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Is Lavender dead or is she alive? I just don’t know.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: There are too many questions.

Michael: Here we go, there’s an archived version through Pottermore. Let’s see if we can see.

Kat: I figure since we’re here, I want to tell everybody what wand I got, even though we’ve mentioned it before. So it’s a laurel wood wand with a unicorn hair core, 14 1/2 inches – remember, it is unrealistically huge – and subtle flexibility. Do you guys remember yours?

Alison: 10 3/4 inches, slightly springy, phoenix core, and either cypress or cedar wood. I’d like to think they are both there.

Michael: Signing in because it’s been a while.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: Oh, that’s my old wand. So my old wand was silver lime with unicorn hair, 10 3/4 [inches], and quite flexible. But as, listeners, you may know from the wand episode, my wand broke in real life, [laughs] so it’s canon that I had to go get a new wand.

[Kat laughs]

Michael: Let me check on my second account where I got a new wand. I think it mostly stayed the same, actually.

Kat: Right. I think just the wood changed or something, right?

Michael: The wood and the flexibility changed, actually.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Let’s see if I can log in here. Oh, I have a different password for that one. So smart!

[Alison laughs]

Michael: My new wand is sycamore and my flexibility has gone down to slightly springy, which definitely makes sense to me. The wood that it’s changed to makes sense to me as well. I’m very happy with my new wand.

Kat: Good. Yeah, what’s yours, Spencer?

Spencer: My wand is larch wood with a phoenix feather core, 12 1/4 inches, and rigid flexibility.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Oh!

Alison: Larch. I haven’t heard that…

Michael: I’ve never heard larch either.

Spencer: I can read it real quick.

Kat: Yeah, read it.

Michael: Yes, please.

Spencer: So larch:

“Strong, durable, and warm in color, larch has long been valued as an attractive and powerful wand wood. Its reputation for instilling courage and confidence in the user has ensured that demand has always outstripped supply. This much sought-after wand is, however, hard to please in the matter of ideal owners, and trickier to handle than many imagine. I find that it always creates wands of hidden talents and unexpected effects, which likewise describes the master who deserves it. It is often the case that the witch or wizard who belongs to the larch wand may never realize the full extent of their considerable talents until paired with it, but that they will then make an exceptional match.”

So I was pretty happy with that.

Michael: That’s a great wand wood to have.

Alison: Wow.

Kat: It is.

Michael: I like this. We’re learning so many new wand woods. There'[re], like, over 20 of them on the site.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: So it’s hard to keep them all in your head.

Kat: It is.

Michael: And of course, we’ve talked at length about the combos that… I believe in the wand episode, Alison actually went through and described the meanings of all of the wands that Ollivander has Harry try that aren’t successful.

Kat: Correct.

Alison: Mhm.

Michael: So listeners, make sure [to] take a look – take a listen, rather – to that episode because that goes into much more detail. The fun last thing from Episode 2 to recall was that the guest actually brought up the comparison of Ollivander to…

Kat: Tiresias.

Michael: Tiresias, yeah. And I thought that was a really neat idea. Do you guys feel that that still holds up?

Alison: So Tiresias was… Just to kind of give you a background, [in] Greek mythology, he’s a blind prophet in Thebes and…

Kat: He’s clairvoyant.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Might be part of the reason [why] we have the Oedipus complex.

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Michael: It’s a thing. [laughs]

Alison: A little bit, yeah. Because yeah, he is part of Oedipus. Yeah. I forget…

Michael: No, he’s in a lot of different stories.

Alison: Yeah, and he was blind.

Michael: That could go with the silvery eyes.

Alison: The silvery eyes.

Kat: Okay, so it says that he was an advisor to Cadmus. Recognize that name?

Michael: Yeah. Yeah, that’s fun. It’s interesting because Cadmus is not the one that Harry is parallel for, necessarily.

Kat: Correct.

Michael: Cadmus in “The Tale of the Three Brothers” is the Resurrection Stone, so that’s actually more Dumbledore in a lot of theories than it is, necessarily, depending on who you ask. Of course, there is also the theory, too, that all three of the brothers, in some way, represent Harry. So take that or leave that as you will.

Kat: Sure.

Michael: Cool link, though.

Spencer: I think he works as Tiresias in a way, just in that… Tiresias as the blind seer. He doesn’t really see the world around him, but he almost feels the world around him. He’s connected to the future and his prophecies more than he’s actually affected by day-to-day actions of the people around him.

Kat: Hmm.

Alison: Oh, good point.

Spencer: So in a similar way, I think Ollivander… like in the way that he sees Voldemort’s greatness and he just kind of ignores his actual actions. Ollivander doesn’t really see the choices [that] people make, but more so he just sees the magic and how it works.

Michael: Yeah. Well, the other thing that you guys talked about in Episode 2 that relates to that is that you wondered what Ollivander’s relationship to power is and to his wands and what they do. And there was a discussion of, does he actually want the power that these wands are putting out in the world, or does he just kind of sit in awe of them? Why is he so interested in the power that his wands eventually show? And does he just simply take glory as an influencer of all of these events rather than as somebody who is a participant?

Kat: I still believe… Well, maybe I don’t… Again, I just listened to that, but I don’t remember what I said. I do believe that. I believe that he is one of those people who enjoys the networking aspect, I guess, of knowing everything about these people because those wands can tell you so much about a person’s personality. The wands that we see on Pottermore, they’re kind of like fortune-telling tricks, and they’re so generalized that anybody can fit it [and] everybody is going to feel something out of them. But for Ollivander, he’s been doing it for so long, and the magic is there for him that he gets to know that person by what their wand is. And I feel like he thrives on that information.

Alison: He’s like the true neutral of the wizarding world.

Spencer: Yeah, he has to be neutral because he doesn’t really get a choice in what his customers do with their wands. He just provides them, so [it] doesn’t make sense for him to really buy into one side or the other. He’s just the supplier.

Kat: Oh, wow! Sorry, I’m reading Tiresias’s Wiki entry, and there’s a photo here of Tiresias striking two snakes with a stick, and it says it’s taken from something and the… it’s a Latin name or Italian.

Alison: It forms the… I can never say this word. It’s the medical thing that Hermes uses.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Yeah, whatever…

Alison: The caduceus.

Kat: The metamorphosis of Ovid or something like that. And it just made me think of Tonks, that’s all. That was literally all I was going to say.

Michael: Oh, that’s funny. When you said “the two snakes,” I was thinking of the… Oh, Order of the Phoenix, the device that Dumbledore uses and then…

Kat: In essence divided.

Michael: In essence divided. Thank you, yes. I couldn’t remember what it was. But yes, that’s kind of what… Because Ollivander is as much in-between giving tools to both snakes, as you will, as that image would suggest. That’s really cool. That’s neat. It’s almost like she did intend Ollivander to be that parallel.

Kat: Of course she did; it’s J.K. Rowling.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Smartypants. Let’s go get some ice cream.

Michael: At Florean Fortescue’s.

Kat: Now that we’re done shopping. It’s on me; I have tons of leftover money since I didn’t have to buy a pet.

Michael: What flavors do we have to choose from?

Alison: Butterbeer!

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Oh my gosh, there are so many. So they have clotted cream, and chocolate chili, and the peanut butter/strawberry… Chocolate/vanilla, of course, for the boring folk out there. Sorry.

Michael: The chocolate/strawberry one or whatever it is, that’s the one that Harry likes, right? They actually serve that one, don’t they?

Kat: The peanut butter/strawberry.

Michael: Peanut butter/strawberry, yeah.

Kat: They do serve that.

Alison: Mmm, that is good.

Kat: Yeah, I’m partial to the salted caramel blondie and the toffee.

Michael: Ooh, can I get the lavender?

Kat: Earl Grey and lavender. Yeah.

Michael: Yes! I love that.

Kat: You can. It’s on me.

Michael: Thank you.

Kat: Spencer, what do you want?

Spencer: Definitely the peanut butter and strawberry.

Kat: Okay, you got it. In a cone or a cup?

Spencer: Cup.

[Michael laughs]

Spencer: Cup with a spoon.

Kat: Okay, you got it.

Spencer: Thank you.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Here you go. All yours. Enjoy. If you come in September, I’m buying you an ice cream.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Oh my gosh, we’re going to have so much fun. See, listeners, how much fun you’re going to have when you come [and] hang with us on September 1?

Alison: Yeah!

Kat: Oh, you know what? Okay, no, I’m not going to announce it because I’m going to talk to the… No, I think I will say this. If you’re an Alohomora! listener and you come on September 1, we will buy you ice cream.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Yes!

Kat: Because Patreon has been making more than enough money, and we can pay you guys back for all of that. So if you come on September 1, we will have an ice cream date. There you go.

Michael: That sounds like so much fun.

Alison: Nice, party at Florean’s. I’m down.

Michael: If you had this much fun shopping with us on this episode, you’re definitely going to want to join us there.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Because this is what we will basically be doing. This same thing, but actually.

[Kat laughs]

Alison: Seriously, though.

Kat: Being like, “Oh wait, this is a lot of money. I’m going to buy it anyway.” [laughs]

Michael: I can’t help but admit that I actually had way too much fun doing that just now.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: No need. It was a lot of fun.

Michael: But we end the day… Unfortunately, tragically, even at Universal Studios, you do have to leave Diagon Alley. But it’s nice because at least…

Alison: What? I’m just kidding.

Michael: It’s fine because Hagrid is going to take us out for hamburgers, so it’s all good.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That’s just a nice little thing that I think a lot of people forget happens. But yes, Hagrid…

Kat: It is. It’s really cute.

Michael: For all of his disdain of the Muggle world, he does take Harry out for a hamburger, and isn’t that sweet? [laughs] And Harry hops back on the train. Nice little reference on Rowling’s part to fellow children’s literature icon Paddington, because Harry goes to Paddington Station briefly at the end there. And he wants to look out and see Hagrid as the train pulls away, but Hagrid has already Disapparated.

Kat: It’s also just where most of the trains come into central London.

Alison: Yeah, it’s a pretty big thoroughfare. [laughs]

Michael: It’s the station. Yeah.

Kat: I mean, I’d like to believe that it’s a shout-out, too, but it’s not. [laughs]

Michael: Or maybe it is.

Alison: It could be!

Kat: It could be.

Alison: You never know. She could have chosen another station.

Kat: I suppose she could have.

Alison: There’s a lot of them!

Michael: It’s a nice connection, too, with Heyday Films, of course, producing the Paddington movies.

Kat: Oh, right. Sure. Of course.

Michael: But that is our trip to Diagon Alley, and what a trip it was! That was a lot of fun.

Kat: Wow.

Michael: But before we leave, we are left with a lingering question… We’re left with many questions, actually, but…

[Spencer laughs]

Kat: Guys, guys, it’s back!

Michael: It’s back!

Kat: It’s back!

Alison: Ahh!

Michael: The only way to answer these lingering questions is to put it forth in the Podcast Question of the Week. [laughs]

Kat: Yay!

Spencer: Woo-hoo!

Michael: And we’ve got a pretty easy one for you this week because we’ve presented quite a few points for and against this, and opened up the Dumbledore for some deeper explanation.

Kat: Oh, are you going to use my question?

Michael: I am. I like this question.

Kat: Oh, okay.

Michael: Let’s explore! Is Hagrid the best first impression of the wizarding world for Harry? We know we’ve talked a lot about how Hagrid influences Harry’s thought process in the wizarding world and how he views things from now on. Do you think he was the right choice? An excellent thing, I think, to tag on here: Who do you think would have been an alternative choice? And with some of those alternative choices, tell us how that would have affected Harry’s viewpoint of the wizarding world. So that’s the Podcast Question of the Week.

Kat: Oh my God, the first one in a year!

Michael: Yeah.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: As Fudge would say, “It’s back!”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Oh, gosh.

Alison: Oh, boy.

Kat: Well, you guys know where to answer that. There will be a separate post for that over on, so do it up!

Alison: Well, as we round out this episode, too, then, we just want to thank Spencer for being an excellent guest. Thank you so much for joining us on our lovely little shopping trip down Diagon Alley, Spencer.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Spencer: No, thank you, guys! It was so much fun, and thank you for five years of podcasting excellence.

Alison, Kat, and Michael: Aww!

Kat: Thank you!

Alison: Here, we’ll give you a unicorn horn.

[Alison, Michael, and Spencer laugh]

Kat: Yeah, I hope you’re enjoying your ice cream.

[Spencer laughs]

Kat: Oh, that was sweet. Thank you.

Alison: That was sweet.

Kat: And next week, we will be going back to topics. So as Michael said before, this will be a chapter revisit, a topic, chapter, topic, chapter, topic. And our next topic is a really fun one – and actually, somebody brought it up at the movie watch yesterday – and so I’m excited that we are going to be talking about it. It is the theory: Is Harry imagining everything? Does he have some sort of PTSD? Is he really in his cupboard under the stairs the entire time? So that’s going to be our next topic. We’re still looking for a guest for that, so if you have thoughts on that topic, go over to, submit, and we just might pick you to be on that really awesome… I think it’s going to be so fun. Yeah, I’m looking forward to it a lot.

Spencer: Guys, that topic gives me so much anxiety.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Spencer: I’m always just like, “No, no, no, it’s all real. It’s all real.”

Alison: Just makes me so sad!

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Alison: “It’s all real.”

Michael: Well, this is a good opportunity, too, to remind our listeners: Please let us know how you feel about these chapter revisits and the topic shows because we want to continue to allow you guys to help us shape this and how this turns out. So if there [are] things that you’re hearing that you think, “Oh, maybe they could change this or add this or maybe do this a different way,” let us know because we want to take your suggestions, too, because we’re just in the early stages of trying this out.

Alison: Yeah, and make sure you tell us [which] chapters you want us to go back and revisit.

Michael: Yes, please! [laughs]

Alison: And to do that, go to our “Be on the Show!” page at Just click on that “Submit a Topic,” tell us what chapters you want us to look at, and let us know if you want to join us. All you need is a set of headphones with a microphone – nothing fancy – and you can come talk to us about your favorite chapter or a chapter that is really controversial or a chapter that you think we didn’t spend enough time on…

Kat: Or a really crazy topic like, “Is Harry imagining everything?”

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Alison: Yeah. Topics, too! We are taking topics.

Michael: What you want to buy in Diagon Alley? Maybe we need to do another Diagon Alley shopping trip somewhere down the line because that was a little too fun. [laughs] But in the meantime, if you want to contact us and let us know what you’d be buying in Diagon Alley, you can do that at a few places. On Twitter, @AlohomoraMN is our Twitter handle; you can find us on Facebook at; our website,

Alison: And don’t forget to check out our Patreon. Remember, Kat just promised you all ice cream…

[Michael laughs]

Alison: … if you show up on September 1, so I’d take that up. [laughs] So check it out at…

Kat: Fact, guys. I’m serious about that.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: I’m all for an ice cream party in Diagon Alley for Alohomora! listeners.

Michael: Yum, yum, yum!

Alison: It [would] be sweet. Then we can all go shopping together.

Kat: Pun intended? It would be sweet, pun intended? Very good.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yes, yes. So that’s We do have a new bonus discussion up there from a few episodes ago where we talked about the Trolley Witch.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: So you can hear all our thoughts on that. [laughs]

Michael: And once again, thank you to Conor Bresnan for sponsoring the show.

Alison: Yes!

Kat: Thank you!

[Sound of applause]

Alison: Thank you, Conor, for sponsoring us today. You can sponsor us for as low as $1 a month and… ice cream.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: And the ice cream will be given to anybody who… You don’t have to be a sponsor, but you should be. You’ll get a large if you’re a sponsor and only a bite if you’re not, okay?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: That’s the compromise, y’all. That’s the compromise.

Alison: Yeah, so make sure you go to and check that out and come join us because guys, it’s going to be super awesome. Dare I say, it’s going to be totally awesome.

Kat: It’s “Nineteen Years Later,” guys. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime anniversary, so don’t miss it.

Alison: Don’t miss it. So I guess we’ll see you there. We’re going to take our underground train out of London and go back to our little homes. I’m Alison Siggard.

Michael: I’m Michael Harle.

Kat: And I’m Kat Miller.

[Show music begins]

Kat: Thank you for listening to Episode 219 of Alohomora!

Michael: [as Hagrid] Three up, two across. Open the Dumbledore!

[Show music continues]

[Alison sings “Christmas at Hogwarts”]

[Michael and Spencer laugh]

Spencer: This is when I start dancing.

Alison: I think that’s the wrong song. I’m sorry.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: No, I think that might be right.

Alison: No, that’s “Christmas at Hogwarts.”

Kat: Oh, yeah.

[Alison and Michael sing “Entry Into the Great Hall”]

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Wow, we are throwing that back to Episode 2 because Noah did that on Episode 2.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: Yes, Noah did that. [laughs]

Alison: And we just… [laughs]

Michael: Waddup! Treat yo’ self!

Kat: [laughs] Now we’re just punch drunk.

Michael: Yes.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Okay? We’re just being silly now.

Alison: Okay, anyway… Well, then we just want to also… We want to…

Michael: We want to just… We also… We really wanna… We wanna!

[Alison and Spencer laugh]

Alison: We’re just going to… [sings] “I’ll tell you what I want…” [back to normal voice] I’m just kidding.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: [sings] “What I really, really want. Yo, tell me what you want, what you really, really want.” [back to normal voice] Yep. I don’t know.