Transcript – Episode 227

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 227 of Alohomora! for August 19, 2017.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Welcome, listeners, to another episode of Alohomora!, where we open the Dumbledore on all kinds of new chapters and topics. Because this is a chapter episode. [laughs] I’m Michael Harle.

Katy Cartee Haile: I’m Katy Cartee Haile.

Alison Siggard: And I’m Alison Siggard. And our guest this week is Howl. Welcome, Howl.

Howl: Thank you. Hi.

Alison: Go ahead and tell our listeners a little bit about yourself, how you got into Potter, your House, all the good stuff.

Howl: Okay. Yeah, so I was actually a really late starter in the fandom. I totally thought that it was childish nonsense and would kind of bash the books without ever having read them. And one of my friends…

Michael: Well, well, well, look who’s here.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Howl: I’m really eating crow now.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Howl: But my roommate challenged me to read them all. He said you couldn’t critique them if you hadn’t read them all, so I did and absolutely fell in love and became an instant geek.

Katy: Aww!

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Howl: And I’m [in] Ravenclaw and Pukwudgie.

Katy: Yes!

Alison: Nice.

Howl: And I have a pear wood wand with a dragon heartstring core, and my Patronus is a dragon.

Alison: Ooh!

Katy: Whoa!

Michael: Your Patronus is a dragon!

Howl: It’s a dragon. And I’m a Master for a long running Harry Potter Dungeons & Dragons game.

Michael: Oh, really?

Katy: That’s awesome!

Howl: Yeah, it’s pretty wicked.

Katy: Wow, super high nerd cred right there. I love it!

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Alison: I don’t hear [about] pear wands a lot either. That’s interesting.

Howl: No Dark wizard has ever had a pear wand.

Katy: Mm!

Michael: That’s really cool. How does one take Harry Potter…? See, now I don’t know much about Dungeons & Dragons

Howl: I love it.

Michael: … but I used to have a friend who wanted to try it and the farthest we got is we made up characters. [laughs] Deep in the recesses of my files I have a drawing of that Dungeons & Dragons character. It basically looks like me but he’s got pointy elf ears.

Howl: Perfect.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: How does one take that and transfer it over to make it Harry Potter? Are there official rules for that, or do you just make it up?

Howl: Well, so a couple of fans who lovingly went to the work of creating a ruleset created this really simple, really light ruleset that’s accessible to all age levels. And I tweaked it a little bit [and] did my own version because there were some things that I was like, “Eh, it’s not really canon,” or “Oh, I didn’t really like that.” And then I’ve been playtesting it basically for a couple of years with a group of friends of mine, and it’s been so much fun.

Michael: Ah, that’s so cool!

Alison: That’s cool.

Howl: Yeah, we’re recording the sessions and we’re going to actually put it online [in] episodic format.

Katy: [gasps] That’s so cool! [laughs]

Howl: So look out for that. And we play in the Generation II timeline, so as far as I’m concerned, Cursed Child isn’t the canon of our story. We have our own canon going on.

[Michael laughs]

Katy: Ha, ha, ha, love it!

[Alison sighs]

[Howl, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Katy: Poor Alison.

Michael: Alison needs to develop a Dungeons & Dragons Harry Potter where Cursed Child is canon.

[Howl, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Alison: It’s okay. I’m just going to go see it again in New York. It’s fine.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Howl: I am also going to see it, even though I’m not a huge fan of the script. I’m going to definitely check out the show in New York because that’s where I’m from.

Alison: Ah, the original cast is coming back and I’m so happy!

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Michael: That was a really exciting announcement. My roommates and I were just talking about it because we’re going to try and put in for tickets and see if we can’t see it. Because Leandra… I’m reading the series to her. By the way, she’s very distressed that we’re recording right now. She said, “I worked hard at the library all day and I was coming home in the hopes that you were going to make me butterbeer and read me Prisoner of Azkaban!”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: So know, listeners, that there are many sacrifices being made for this episode. [laughs]

Alison: Dang, I’m moving in with you, Michael.

Katy: Right?

Alison: Just come home to somebody bringing me butterbeer and reading me Harry Potter? Please!

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yep. There [are] deluxe Chocolate Frogs on my counter as we speak, as well, just waiting to be eaten.

Alison: Oh yeah! I’m moving in with you!

Katy: Yeah, we’ll be there in a few hours.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Howl: Are those homemade Chocolate Frogs? Because my goodness…

Michael: Oh yeah. I melted the chocolate down and I’ve got little molds and everything.

Howl: Wow. Geez.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, it’s disgusting.

[Alison laughs]

Katy: Adorable!

Michael: It’s funny because we were deciding… Since we’re doing the reread, Leandra has this big decision on her shoulders of whether she should read the script and then we’ll see the play, or if she should just wait.

Alison: No, watch it first.

Michael: See, and that’s what she’s inclined to do, but she’s not sure. Especially because we don’t even know if we’re going to get tickets because I think it’s going to be very cutthroat trying to get tickets.

Alison: Yeah, it’s going to be.

Michael: We have good odds because all three of us are going to just have a little laptop session at the dining room table and just all be refreshing the page. It’s going to be insane. That’ll be a little frightening that morning. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about at all.

[Alison, Howl, Michael laugh]

Michael: Cursed Child is off the table right now. Katy, tell us what we’re talking about today on this episode.

Katy: All right, for Episode 227 we are doing a chapter revisit [and] going to Goblet of Fire, Chapter 23, “The Yule Ball.” So you should totally read that chapter again before listening to this episode so that you get all of the references and can fully chat with us in the comments afterward about things we possibly missed or got wrong or that you are happy we got right.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Katy: We’re also very happy to hear those kind of comments as well. And if you want to be a total nerd like me, you can also re-listen to Episode number 61 of Alohomora!, where Caleb, Noah, Alyssa, and Logan discussed this chapter almost four years ago. Oh my God.

Howl: Wow.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Katy: Does not feel that long ago. Fun fact about that episode – and Michael noticed this as well – Alyssa actually predicted that Albus and Scorpius were going to be besties.

Howl: Dang.

Alison: [singing] My sons!

[Katy laughs]

Michael: But it was funny because she did it super sarcastically where she was like, “They’ll be besties!” And then Caleb was like, “Ha! Yeah, sure.”

[Everyone laughs]

Howl: Come on.

Katy: I want to say his exact quote because it was so funny. He just goes, “Ha! As if.”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Howl: Oh, Caleb.

Katy: So funny! So funny.

Michael: Like it was never going to happen. And then Cursed Child just came out of nowhere!

[Katy laughs]

Michael: Gosh, four years ago. That really does speak to how different things were, doesn’t it?

[Alison laughs]

Katy: No kidding.

Howl: Maybe they were listening to the podcast and that’s how they wrote the script.

Alison: Yeah, they did. Oh, just kidding.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Katy: Whose idea was the Time-Turner thing?

Alison: They’re still listening and they know I’m the only one who gets tickets because I’m the only one who loves it. [laughs]

Michael: Because she loves it so much.

Howl: Wait, are we talking about Cursed Child?

Alison: None of you do.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yeah, how did that happen?

Alison: I’m back after a month. That’s what happened.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: I’ve listened to too many Alohomora! and SpeakBeasty [episodes] where everybody’s been poo-pooing on it.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Howl: It’s the curse that keeps giving.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: But again, putting Cursed Child aside… [laughs] Alison, tell us about our Patreon.

Alison: Well, things have changed, but something that has not changed is how grateful we are to our Patreon sponsors, especially the Patreon sponsor for this episode, who is Kat Tatara on our Patreon. And remember, listeners, you can sponsor us for as little as $1 a month, and we continue to release exclusive little tidbits for our sponsors.

Michael: And by little tidbits, we mean, I keep promising you those Let’s Plays and they’re going to happen. And I’m just going to stop talking about them and just let it happen eventually.

Alison: I’m sure we’re going to get lots of stuff at our big thing happening in three weeks… two weeks?

Michael: Oh yeah!

Alison: Three weeks?

Michael: Oh my God. Yeah, what’s that even? [laughs]

Alison: [singing] MuggleNetLIVE!

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Howl: What?

Katy: We have a jingle now. I love it.

Alison: Yes.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Alison: I just came up with that on the spot.

Michael: Brilliant.

Howl: Creative genius.

Michael: For MuggleNetLIVE, we will be at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Do not go to the one in California; that will be the wrong one. I am so sorry if that’s where you end up because we’re not there. But yes, we have reserved the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley for you to come hang out with us on September 1 to celebrate this massive “Nineteen Years Later” date in Harry Potter history when Harry is taking his children to Kings’s Cross. King’s Cross! God, sorry!

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Michael: Twitter… Ah, somebody corrected me on that on Twitter! Ah, I’ve got to give credit to that person who said that. I’m going to go look up their name right now.

Alison: I saw that; it was funny.

Katy: I saw that.

Michael: It was great. It was one of my favorite tweets.

Alison: Not to bring it back to Cursed Child again, but Michael…

Katy: Oh, God!

[Alison, Katy, Michael laugh]

Alison: Well, I’m going to do it anyway.

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Alison: Michael, apparently you’re coming in your Harry “Nineteen Years Later” cosplay.

Michael: Oh yeah.

Alison: And I have suggested I should come as a female Albus. [laughs]

Michael: Yes!

Howl: Ooh.

Michael: Yes, yes, yes!

Alison: Is that going to happen?

Michael: Yes, of course it is! Because you said you’ve been wanting to do that for a while. So our costumes will finally meet and we can have pictures on the Hogwarts Express and everything.

Alison: Aww, look at us.

Michael: [laughs] By the way, that was Carol Headen or @originartcarol on Twitter for correcting me. She said, “I love you, but it’s King’s Cross not Kings’s Cross. You’re driving me crazy.”

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Michael: Love you too, Carol. Thank you so much for that. [laughs] At least I’m not standing in the middle of London right now going, “Oh, I’m at Kings’s Cross Station.”

[Katy laughs]

Michael: So I appreciate that. I’ll be ready for the day that comes when I actually go to the station. But yes, we will be there at the faux King’s Cross station, pretending that we’re in London. And you can join us, listeners. Go to There are still tickets available, if I’m correct?

Alison: Yes, there are a few left, last time I heard.

Michael: And Alison, who are some of the Harry Potter familiar faces that will be in attendance?

Alison: We have lots of amazing guests. We have Chris Rankin, who’s Percy Weasley; we have Luke Youngblood, who was Lee Jordan; Christian Coulson, who was Tom Riddle in Chamber of Secrets; Sean Biggerstaff, the one and only Oliver Wood; Ellie Darcey-Alden, who was Lily Evans in the flashbacks… Most of the kids, actually, from Deathly Hallows are coming, which is awesome. So there’s going to be lots of really cool people there, talent-wise. We’ll be there. There’ll be food there. [laughs] That’s what I’m excited about.

Michael: With our special guests, there is no extra charge, I believe, to have them sign stuff and take pictures and such things.

Alison: Yeah. They’re just going to be wandering around the park, yeah. So you can come up to them, have a chat, share a butterbeer…

Michael: I’m so thrilled that everybody’s just freaking out about Sean Biggerstaff because I’ll just be sneaking off with Christian Coulson…

Katy: No, I’m going to be with you, Michael.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: We were just watching Chamber of Secrets and I was just like, “Mm! God, this guy, man.” And it was great because Leandra and Jared were just like, “Stop it! He’s evil.” And I’m like, “Yeah, but that was the point! Super hot!”

Alison: Yeah, I’ll be spending the night with Luke Youngblood, actually.

Michael: Oh yeah?

Alison: I’m there. My job is to make sure he is happy.

Katy: Oh, that’s awesome!

Alison: That sounds weird, but that’s my job.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Alison: It’s to make sure that he is where he needs to be. Let’s go with that.

Michael: Well-cared for, yes. [laughs] And there will be all kinds of cool things going on too. All of the services in Diagon Alley will be open; you can get your wand at Ollivander’s; Knockturn Alley will also be accessible; the Gringotts ride will be open. And while the Hogwarts section will be closed, you can still ride the Hogwarts Express from Diagon Alley to and back and experience that because that is its own ride in itself as well.

Katy: It’s fun.

Michael: So there’s going to be plenty to do that night, and we can’t wait to see you there. Just remember, you can get your tickets at And with that, we move into our chapter discussion.

[Chapter revisit intro begins]

[Sound of ticking clock]

Dumbledore: Three turns should do it.

Harry: Chapter Revisit.

[Sound of Time-Turner]

[Goblet of Fire Chapter 23: “The Yule Ball”]

[Chapter revisit intro ends]

Michael: And before I get into our chapter summary, I have to say, as a friendly reminder, listeners, you voted for this chapter! This chapter was selected by you on our Twitter, thanks to our fantastic social media team.

Alison and Katy: Woo! Yay!

Michael: So thank you again, social media team, for helping us out with that. Keep an eye on our Twitter, listeners, because that is where those polls come up. And also, I thought this would be a good side note to just stick in here because it seems that a lot of people on Twitter have been asking me this, or just asking the Alohomora! Twitter. But to answer the commonly asked question these days, yes, that is me doing all of the voices in the chapter titles.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: I’m really flattered that you guys couldn’t figure out who it was because a bunch of people have just been like, “Who is that? Who do you get to do those voices?” It’s me, guys; it’s all me.

Howl: Somehow.

Michael: I’m even that person who whispers all of the book titles like [whispers] Goblet of Fire, which you’re going to hear. That’s me.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Katy: There is no end to your abilities.

Michael: I’m just shocked people didn’t know because it’s all I got, you guys. That’s, like, my thing.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Katy: That’s hardly the only thing you’ve got.

Alison: I knew, Michael. I knew.

Michael: Alison knew, and that’s all that’s important.

Howl: I knew.

Michael: [laughs] Thank you, Howl.

Katy: Yeah, I thought it was kind of obvious, but…

Michael: [laughs] But I love that I apparently fooled you all so well. Hopefully, I’ll continue to do that for new listeners who aren’t caught up with the episodes yet. But we go into our chapter summary here for “The Yule Ball”: A note of caution from Sirius to Harry is drowned out by the excitement of the Yule Ball. Barely noticing that her teeth have magically shrunk, Harry and Ron still don’t know who Hermione is going out with. However, the event reveals all with her glamorous transformation while arm-in-arm with Viktor Krum. Meanwhile, Harry and Ron prove to be rotten dates for the Patil twins, with Ron obsessed over Hermione, deeming her choice in men a betrayal of Harry’s confidence, and Harry more intrigued by Percy’s news of Mr. Crouch’s illness, Snape and Karkaroff’s whisperings, Hagrid’s botched revelation to Madame Maxime that he is half-giant, and of course, Cho Chang. As the night ends, Harry receives a cryptic hint for the next task from Cedric Diggory that he is dubious to take and, once reaching the common room, finds Hermione schooling Ron about what’s really bothering him. So this is quite a chapter, actually. I think we’ll talk about why people often forget just how much is in this chapter farther down. But let’s go into a few events that are occurring as a lead-up to the ball in this chapter. And our first point, I think, is from Katy.

Katy: So I obviously reread the chapter as I was preparing for this, and lines pop out to me now that never did before. That happens every single time I reread this series, which I love. And here’s one that popped out to me: “Gryffindor Tower was hardly less crowded now than during term time.” And it had just never occurred to me that some people went home during this Christmas season at Hogwarts because I had forgotten it was only fourth years and above that could go to the ball unless they were a date of an older student, like Ginny. So I guess most of the first through third years just went home.

Michael: That’s so sad, all the rejected first to third years.

Katy: I know!

Alison: Aww.

Michael: Bummer.

Katy: Nobody mentions them. They’re not important to Harry, obviously.

[Michael laughs]

Katy: So it just never even crossed my mind. And then I was like, “Oh yeah, duh. Some people are actually not there.” But then I wondered, too, I’m sure there are other students like Harry… well, maybe there aren’t. He’s unique in this situation where he hates going back to see his family. But if Harry were a third year or under and couldn’t go to the ball, he would have still stayed at Hogwarts; he wouldn’t have gone home to the Dursleys for Christmas. So what would he have done the evening of the ball? He wouldn’t have had dinner because that was at the ball. Would the house-elves send food up?

Alison: Man, that’s the party I want to be at, actually, in the Gryffindor common room with no one else there, with food sent up to you. Man, that sounds like the real party is going on right there.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Katy: Or maybe some people who couldn’t get dates are just having their own little anti-ball get-together. I totally did that in college when I wouldn’t get asked to these dances. Me and my friends would just [have] an anti-dance party. [laughs]

Michael: Yes, anti-proms and anti-Valentine’s Days, right?

Katy: Yes!

Alison: I’ve done a lot of those.

Howl: And we haven’t seen what they do during the holidays when they’re stuck at Gryffindor Tower. We don’t know if there [are] other dances, right? This is the only example we have of a dance happening over a holiday season.

Katy and Michael: Yes.

Michael: As far as we’re aware, I think so. This gets into a little bit, too, of the whole thing we’ve talked about before of Hogwarts extracurriculars and what people get up to on off hours. Is the Gobstones team just hanging out right now having a sad little Gobstones session? Or is everybody playing wizard chess upstairs or trading Wizard Cards? What’s everybody up to outside of things? Yeah, I’d like to assume that the Heads of Houses set up a food service for people who weren’t attending.

Katy: I hope so.

Alison: No! Starve because you’re 12, not 14.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: Or maybe all those people just had to know where the kitchens were and had to go get their food themselves.

Howl: Sure. Or maybe they can order from their plates like they do later in the chapter.

Michael: Yeah!

Katy: Oh yeah, I like that.

Michael: We’ve pondered that before. There’s an off example in Chamber of Secrets when McGonagall brings Harry and Ron to her office and she Summons a plate of never-ending sandwiches for them. And of course, if it’s going by what we perceive without having the rest of the books as knowledge, and then you look at Deathly Hallows, you’re like, “That defies Gamp’s Law because she’s Summoning food!” But theoretically, she might have been able to have done that within connection to the kitchen.

Alison: Yeah. They finish the feast up in their Houses at one point too. Is it [in] Prisoner? Is it [in] Chamber?

Michael: There is one where that happens, isn’t it?

[Howl laughs]

Alison: Wow! This is sad. I should know this.

[Michael laughs]

Howl: It sounds like Prisoner because it’s possibly when Sirius broke into the school and they had to go back to their common rooms, right? And they were segregated there?

Michael: That might be it because it’s not…

Alison: But that’s when they have the sleepover.

Michael: Oh, that’s right.

Howl: Or it might be when Ginny was taken into the Chamber and everyone had to go back to their dorms.

Alison: Oh, yep. I think that sounds right. No, because aren’t they in class?

Howl: Well, they eat in the dorms. [That] is what we’re getting at here.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah, they do at some point. I don’t remember when, though.

Michael: [laughs] It’s happened before, so yeah, maybe. That’s probably one of those things that can be circumvented if somebody allows it.

Howl: Sure.

Michael: But there’s a big moment with all this background business going on as, I believe, they’re heading to or from the dorms. Harry and Ron look over and they’re like, “Hey, Hermione, where are your teeth?” And this is the beginning of a very interesting thing to examine about Hermione in this chapter, in that she changes herself aesthetically and she’s very coy and sweet about it. She blushes and as she explains, she has shrunk her teeth to “normal size.” They are no longer buck teeth. And according to Ron, too… this was a funny thing that I never noticed before; he also says they’re straight. So her teeth must have been crooked before as well.

Howl: Right.

Michael: And this, I think, is meant to somewhat be a lead-up to what’s going to happen with Hermione’s bigger transformation that we’re going to see at the ball. How do we feel about this change in Hermione? Because I know one thing that Hermione is usually talked about as a character is that she has little to no concern about her outward appearance, and that her brains and her heart are her most attractive qualities. So how do we feel about this as readers?

Alison: I’ve always felt good about it.

Katy: Yeah.

Alison: Just because I feel like this is really a moment [in] Hermione’s growth arc. She goes from this very… I mean, obviously she’s a very bossy, very straight-laced person, and I feel like this is the book where she starts to just kind of… I guess it starts happening a bit in Prisoner, too, but she just starts to take things for herself. She starts to decide she wants to get over her insecurities and she wants to just not take crap anymore, but in a better way than I think she did before. And I always felt that… I mean, maybe this is projecting, since I’ve always connected to Hermione a lot, but she just decided, “Hey, I’m going to make something good out of this terrible situation, and my teeth are an insecurity I have and my parents want me to get braces, but braces suck.”

Michael: [laughs] They do.

Alison: So she’s just like, “Okay, why not?” It’s one of those moments where Hermione… That’s not her main focus, but she’s just deciding something new about herself and something new she wants, and so she just goes for it.

Katy: Yeah. Absolutely.

Howl: And also, this is a response to a curse that was placed on her by Draco. So she’s undoing that magic and then also allowing the healing to go on just a little bit too long so that it works out in her favor. So I don’t think it was something that she would have done had this curse not happened to her and had she not had to have it fixed in the first place, but when she’s there, she’s like, “Why not?” And could you imagine her being the only student in school with braces? Literally none of the other students have braces, and she would be the only one.

Alison: Oh, that would be horrible. Oh man.

[Michael laughs]

Howl: It’s bad enough that she gets insulted in the hall already for being of mixed ancestry. And then let alone have braces? It would just be wild.

Katy: Yeah, that would be like how wizards view stitches. They would just think that was barbaric and so ridiculous.

Howl: Right. [laughs] “What is in your mouth? My goodness!”

Michael: [laughs] Well, and I think the fascinating thing about that is that brings up what she says in regards to the braces treatment, where she says on page 405 of the US edition, “Mum and Dad won’t be too pleased. I’ve been trying to persuade them to let me shrink them for ages, but they wanted me to carry on with my braces. You know, they’re dentists. They just don’t think teeth and magic should…” and she’s obviously about to say “mix.” And that reminded me of our previous discussions about how Hermione… We’re very curious about her relationship with her parents. And it’s interesting because now you have this suspicion coming from her parents that maybe magic shouldn’t cross certain lines. Like, “Mm, please don’t alter your personal appearance with magic.”

Alison: Oh, that’s a good point.

Michael: Yeah. So I thought that was interesting. That seems like a very logical parental concern. I think if I ever had a wand in my hand, whether my parents were wizards or Muggles, I think they would be like, “Please just don’t point that at yourself ever.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: People have ended up with buffaloes on their chest, so really…

Howl: Or a buttock blown off.

Alison: Lost buttocks, yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So many horrible, damaging things that can happen with a wand.

Alison: I think now that you bring it up this way… I know we’ve talked a couple times about Hermione leaving her parents and being separated from them for a long time, but the way you just read that quote made me wonder if some of it is being a teenager. She feels like her parents are left behind in some ways, and maybe she feels a little bit more advanced in the magical world. And so to be like, [in a teenage voice] “Oh my gosh, I have to go home and be with my old, fogey parents who want me to have braces…”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: That feels like a very teenager [thing] for me to think of, whereas she might be more excited to be like, “Oh, I’m going to the Weasleys’ house where everyone is magical and magic is just a part of life and everyone is at the same level.” So that could be part of that too.

Michael: Yeah, it makes sense, especially as a strict rule follower. Hermione is pretty much devoid of magic when she goes home. That’s a pretty extreme thing to have to deal with as a Muggle-born child, that you’re just free to use magic as much as you want for most of the year, and then over the summer you go home and you have to tie your own shoes.

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Michael: Probably pretty annoying after a while. And I think Howl’s point was really excellent, too, the idea that Hermione… What would it be like to be going through having braces on top of what she already goes through on a daily basis?

Alison: Oh, jeez! Yeah.

Michael: That sounds pretty awful. As somebody who had braces, I can speak for her. That is a horrendous experience. I’m pretty sure, pretty confident, that I lost my retainer while at my friend’s house. We were playing a very teenage game of hide and seek, but I was hiding around her chickens, so I’m pretty confident that her chickens took my retainer.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: There’s more to that story.

Michael: I had it before I hid with the chickens, and then I didn’t have it.

Howl: Those dang chickens.

Michael: So watch those chickens; they’ll get your retainer. But my god!

Katy: They want straight teeth too.

Howl: But I have a gripe with J.K. [Rowling] about this. Because if Hermione can fix her teeth, and it’s not some sort of temporary spell that allows her to be a glamour or something, why can’t other wizards fix their eyes? And what is it about the different body parts that makes it inaccessible?

Alison: Okay, as someone who has both bad eyes and had bad teeth that needed to be fixed, yeah, I wouldn’t mind a wand straightening my teeth. That doesn’t seem that bad. But put something close to my eye and I’d be like, “No! Back that thing away. That’s not okay.” I could deal with teeth going wrong. I could not deal with my eyes going wrong.

Michael: That does make sense to a degree, though. There has to be some kind of medical spell or even a potion that probably can fix eyesight because we know through Pottermore through her piece on disability and illness that wizards have pretty much cured the more mundane illnesses and physical issues. And if the teeth thing can be fixed…

Alison: Harry is probably just too lazy.

Michael: Well, I feel like – and this is something we get to later on in this chapter – that’s really a thing that occurs pretty much, actually, up until this book. Harry doesn’t tend to think of magical solutions as his go-to solution for things. So perhaps after 14 years of having his glasses, he just never really… I mean, I know my glasses feel just like a natural extension of myself. I actually reach up for them sometimes when they’re not on my face, so I could see that just being something he doesn’t even think about. Aesthetically, it would be weird visually for his description because Rowling made that a part of him.

Katy: Oh yeah, he would look so weird without glasses now. That’s such a part of Potter, the glasses.

Michael: Yeah, he’d look like Daniel Radcliffe.

Howl: We also see a casual acceptance quirky and unusual. They don’t go jinxing off any boils or freckles or the buck teeth [on] Hermione. This is the first time that we see her actually address it as an issue. So things like glasses – things like a crooked nose or whatever – these are character marks that, in the wizarding world, seem to be signs of character and very positive.

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Katy: Although, isn’t it said that Dumbledore probably could have fixed his nose and had decided not to?

Howl: Oh, he totally could have.

Alison: Yeah, didn’t she say that somewhere? But he left it as a reminder to himself.

Katy: Yeah.

Alison: Because Aberforth broke his nose, so he left it as a reminder to himself. So yeah, that makes sense.

Michael: And on the flip side, I believe this is the book where poor Eloise Midgen tries to curse off her acne, and her nose falls off.

[Howl, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Alison: Oh yeah, that’s right.

Katy: Poor baby. I would have tried it, too, girl. I would have tried it too.

Howl: Don’t the Weasleys sell a pimple-shrinking potion? She could have invested.

Michael: No. Poor thing. There [have] got to be potions for this kind of stuff.

Katy: Yeah! Why don’t they have a wizarding health class where they learn how to do easy magic like this?

Howl: Thank you. Thank you.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yeah, that seems like a really important class. We know that – I think around 2015 – Hannah Abbott was in training as a Healer at St. Mungo’s, so that does seem to be a vocation that you do after Hogwarts. Or maybe that’s a specialized class that you take in your sixth or seventh year, perhaps. But yeah, there don’t seem to be…

Katy: That should just be mandatory. Like, how to get rid of botchery.

Howl: Right. We see Luna cast a spell to fix Harry’s broken nose, so she learned that somewhere. It must be in the curriculum.

Katy: I think she learned that from her mother.

Alison: Yeah, I feel like she learned that by herself.

Katy: I don’t know why I am thinking that.

Michael: Oh, Tonks? The Episkey spell?

Alison: Oh yeah. Because it’s Tonks. It’s Luna in the movie. It’s Tonks in the book. So [with] Tonks, it’s from Auror training.

Michael: And that is something we’ve seen in the books, primarily, that mostly the adult characters know how to treat injuries. The kids don’t really know how to do that.

Alison: Oh, so it’s like the real world where you don’t learn some of those essential adult skills until you actually become an adult.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: And you’re like, “Why didn’t someone tell me how to pay car insurance?”

Michael: It does seem, though, like it would be more useful to know it sooner when you’re basically being handed the magical equivalent of a gun at the age of 11.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: There [are] things you should know how to be able to fix a little more easily. But the other thing is, I believe Alison had a point about Hermione’s transformation from another perspective.

Alison: Yeah. I think, this time when I was reading, Hermione [has] this little jab at Draco right before they start talking about her teeth. He makes some comment, and so she just smiles and she waves over her shoulder and she says, “Hello, Professor Moody.” And Draco flips out, which I thought was really funny because, if I’m remembering right, Hermione was the first one to just decide she’s not taking Draco’s shiz anymore, and she’s not afraid to hit where it hurts, like, really punch him where it hurts, literally and figuratively. She knows how scared and terrified he was of this incident, so she’s like, “You’re going to play something against me. I’m going to play this against you.” And she just goes for it. Whereas, I feel like Harry and Ron up to this point yet… Harry has thrown in a couple [of] verbal jabs, but I feel like not as confidently as Hermione.

Katy: See, girl has the confidence now that she got her teeth fixed.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: I feel like this book really is the beginning of this really blossoming, different kind of confidence that Hermione develops that is part of her arc. Whereas before, I think some of her bossiness came from insecurity and some lack of confidence. But [she’s] developing that and it’s starting to really come out in this book, and I think it really comes out in Order after this.

Michael: Well, and we know this is coming right off of her having slapped Malfoy in the previous book. And I always enjoy these jabs at Malfoy, really more than pretty much most things that Harry and Ron do. Because Harry and Ron tend to react immediately with macho physical violence of like, “Oh, we’re going to get our dukes up! We’re going to punch you in the face, but we’re not actually going to do it because we’re going to get in trouble.” And I feel like it is more of a weakness of Malfoy’s to go at him verbally than it is… Because he takes such cheap shots, that taking cheap shots back at him never seems to be something he expects. Intimidating him physically doesn’t do anything because he has Crabbe and Goyle around him all the time, so he doesn’t really seem to have any concern about that. And it comes as a shock. Hermione has the upper hand in the previous book with slapping him because he doesn’t expect that she would ever react in that way because she ignores him for the most part.

Alison: I think it hits him harder because I think that’s the way Lucius treats him. Verbally.

Howl: Whoa.

Alison: And so I think that gets way under Draco’s skin, then, something especially sharp and clever. I think that could do with him being at home, too, and just his growing up, why that gets him so much.

Michael: Yeah, that’s definitely a great point. They play that up in the movies a lot. I think that first scene in Chamber of Secrets when Lucius is introduced in Knockturn Alley is definitely meant to show that while Draco has run of things at school, he’s nothing compared to his dad. But somebody else is noticing things about Hermione as well, Alison.

Alison: Yes. Ron is the first one to notice her teeth.

Katy: Interesting.

Alison: This whole chapter is basically romantic tension between Ron and Hermione. So much of this chapter. But I think it’s funny that… It says a lot about Ron and that he’s definitely already been paying close enough… This is Ron Weasley, all right? Boy does not pay that much attention to those details in his normal life, so I think it’s interesting that he’s the first one noticing. He’s like, “Oh hey, wait, your teeth are a little bit smaller.” Who notices that?

[Michael laughs]

Katy: The one who’s in love with her. Aww.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yeah. It was just cute.

Katy: It is cute.

Alison: Oh, Ron. You won’t know how to do anything about this, but it’s there. That little crush is there.

Michael: And speaking of Ron, I think Katy had a few points about him. We’ll get back to Hermione. She’s going to have her big moment a little later, so we’ll get back to her.

Katy: Yes. Okay. I love Ron, don’t get me wrong. But I also really, really, really love animals, and he is mean to Pigwidgeon, and it makes me angry because Pigwidgeon is the happiest, sweetest, cutest little ball of fluff in the entire wizarding world, and Ron has to go be mean to him just because he’s excited? Rude! Rude.

Michael: I can’t believe how high-pitched your voice got, Katy.

Katy: Oh, it can go much higher than that.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, yes. For context, probably consider… and I think this is what he is in the movies, and I think Hermione… Ha! Hermione! Rowling, who is Hermione in many ways, has confirmed that Pigwidgeon is a scops owl, so that means he is very, very, very tiny. He can basically fit in the palm of your hand. So he’s a tiny little thing. What were you going to say, though, Howl?

Howl: I think that it’s a juxtaposition to Harry’s calm, sleek, noble owl, Hedwig. Ron has this comedic relief punching bag. And the fact that he’s trying to be this dude who has this cute little fluff ball of an owl that’s so happy and joyful and eager to please is pure comedy. And the fact that he sees Pig as this affront to his sense of self… because he would love, love, love, loveÊa sleek, beautiful owl that everyone would be jealous of. But of course, for Ron, things don’t always go that way.

Katy: Yeah. No excuse, but I get it.

Howl: No, no excuse. No, no, no. I think it’s very naughty behavior on Ron’s behalf, but what can we say? It’s Ron.

Alison: Oh, Ronald.

Michael: It’s funny when you think of it that way, too, because actually, Pigwidgeon is getting Ron attention from girls because they’re all ooh-ing and ahh-ing at Pigwidgeon. And he’s just like, “You bring your letter to the addressee!”

Katy: “Don’t show off!”

Michael: Which is funny because Ron does that, in many ways. Whenever he has a moment where he is party to Harry’s outings and troublemaking that get him attention, he shows off and enjoys the attention.

Howl: Absolutely.

Michael: In many ways, Pigwidgeon is a perfect owl for him.

Katy: Oh, but they’re third-year girls. He wouldn’t have any interest in younger women.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: That’s right. He likes Rosmerta.

[Alison, Howl, and Katy laugh]

Michael: Well, and I think you’re right, Howl. Especially because I think that Ron’s lack of nice things is very much highlighted in Goblet of Fire. This is the book where that stops becoming a running joke and really becomes a serious thing, especially after the Quidditch Cup and the disappearance of the leprechaun gold. And it really hits Ron hard that, in his view, he never gets anything nice.

Howl: But this is a gift from Sirius Black; I would be like, “Wow! This is amazing!” But of course, Ron has his gripes about it.

Michael: Yeah. I suppose he can’t go around and be like, “I got my owl from a convicted murderer.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Probably not something he can go shouting about.

Katy: Big step-up from Scabbers, though. Come on.

Howl: Sirius has great taste in gifts, I would say.

Katy: Agreed.

Michael: Firebolts and owls? Yeah, that’s pretty nice stuff.

Howl: Which we’ll talk about later in the chapter as well, with the Christmas presents.

Michael: Yes! But we still have another point, actually, that’s tied to Ron here, I think from Katy.

Katy: Yeah. So after they read Sirius’s letter and Hermione starts going to town on Harry again about not doing anything with his egg yet, Ron completely changes the subject. He’s like, “Just give him a break! Whatever! Want to play some chess?” And Harry is like, “Yes. Obvi. Let’s play some chess.”

[Everyone laughs]

Katy: And they play this quick game; Ron obviously wins. But I picked up this time on a quote, again. Basically, the game ends with “a couple of recklessly brave pawns, and a very violent bishop.” And this time I was like, “Wait a minute, what could that mean?” Because chess and Ron… everything he says, even though it’s not something he means to say or means to make a point of, means something. So I was like, “Okay, what could these pawns and this violent bishop be foreshadowing?” And all I could think of was Harry and Cedric being the pawns and Voldemort being the violent bishop later in the book? I don’t know!

Howl: I just got chills.

Michael: I’m wondering… In my head – I don’t know why – I’m thinking that Moody is the bishop because he’s the orchestrator.

Katy: Could be.

Alison: Ooh.

Michael: But that might be wrong.

Katy: But he’s not super violent. At least not in this book.

Michael: That’s true. I’m trying to think of what the… I don’t know, really, much about the symbolism of chess pieces…

Alison: I just looked it up.

Michael: Oh, thank you!

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Because I was wondering.

Michael: Thank you! What’s the symbolism of the bishop?

Alison: Still doing a little bit of research, but just a real quick search, [the] bishop… They remain on their own color square throughout the whole game. They can only move diagonally. That’s the piece it is. And one of them… It says that some of the symbolism is that one travels the path of the head, and the other enjoins the path of the heart.

Michael: So the head and the heart are disconnected.

Alison: Yeah! So there could be some interesting stuff there with… I don’t know… lots of things.

[Everyone laughs]

Howl: There’s also the white bishop and the black bishop. And if it were Voldemort or even if it’s Barty Crouch, Jr. that it’s referring to as Mad-Eye, then it’s obviously the dark bishop. So yeah, the head and the heart.

Michael: I’m glad you pulled this line out, too, Katy, because it’s probably one of the most interesting ends to a section of a chapter, because it doesn’t end on the characters, really, or anything that’s lingering over them. It just ends purely on that note of the chess game. And I remember that standing out to me because it does seem a little odd, especially in the lead-up to the Yule Ball. So I’m sure it does mean something in that. I like that it makes sense that the pawns could be Cedric and Harry, for sure.

Katy: Especially Harry, because they’re just letting this whole “him being in the tournament” play out. He’s totally a pawn in this; he has no control over it. And then Cedric just gets tossed to the side at the very end as a pawn would; he’s disposable. So yeah, that’s where my brain was going.

Michael: But Harry’s pawn makes it all the way to the other side of the board, and he becomes a queen.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Well, that is also… In literary symbolism of chess, a lot of times it’s not overlooking the little pawns. They’re supposed to be throwaways, but there are ways to win with pawns, so you shouldn’t overlook those. So that could be Harry…

Michael: Yeah! Fun fact, listeners: If you’ve never read Alice Through the Looking Glass, the story is literally a chess game. Alice is the pawn, and she moves to the end and becomes a queen. So if you’re looking for more chess metaphors in your life…

Howl: Aren’t we all?

Michael: … read Through the Looking Glass.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Howl, I see you have a potential setup for these three pieces too.

Howl: When I saw it, I was like, “Oh, yes, definitely Cedric and Harry and Voldemort.” But then I was thinking about it, and really, Pettigrew and Barty Crouch, Jr. are both pawns of Voldemort in this scheme, and Pettigrew especially has to deal with the proto-Voldy, the Voldy baby thing…

Katy: Voldy baby, yeah.

Howl: … and feed it with snake’s milk and all this stuff…

[Michael laughs]

Howl: … so I don’t know if you could call that recklessly brave; it certainly is a dangerous position to be in. And Barty Crouch, Jr. taking out one of the top Aurors of the day, and then taking on his identity and shepherding Harry though these challenges is definitely recklessly brave in a way.

Michael: And they’re both disposed of by the end.

Howl: Yes. They are pawns.

Alison: And Pettigrew ends up being much more important in bringing down the downfall of Voldemort, too, by his hand betraying him.

Michael: Ooh! Well, listeners, I’m excited to see what you guys have to say with this potential chess metaphor. I’m sure some of you will be like, “It’s just a chess game.”

[Everyone laughs]

Howl: There’s good symbolism. It feels like it’s very important. Like a very wink/nod kind of line.

Michael: Yeah! To something. Yeah, absolutely. And it’s funny because – as you mention, Katy – this chess game comes as a result of Harry being like, [as Harry] “Who cares somebody’s trying to kill me?”

[Katy laughs]

Michael: And it was funny reading this. This is, in some ways, the benefit of reading these chapters out of context of the rest of the book that they’re contained in. Perhaps, especially for me, currently rereading Chamber of Secrets, having just finished that with Leandra; after a year of Harry being very concerned that something is killing everyone, he has completely changed his approach and is like, [as Harry] “I don’t care! We can deal with it later.”

Alison: He’s A Very Potter Musical Harry!

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: “But write this essay first.”

Michael: It’s interesting that Goblet of Fire definitely represents, I think, a growing-up in this series. And we’ve already talked about that a lot with Hermione, and I think that’s what makes the books especially rich in comparison to the movies. The movies tend to forget that the characters are balancing school and, in Harry’s case, horrible, death-defying odds. And this is a fun balance of that because you realize that as fun as magic is, I suppose if you’re just accustomed to it for so long, you’re just like, “Uh, I’ll do my homework later.” And it just becomes routine. In this way, it made me think, too, though, [that] we talk a lot about how Harry is a little dumb-dumb sometimes…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I feel like this is not one of his best moments.

Alison and Katy: No.

Michael: Considering how present the threat is this year… like, people are pretty sure that whoever put his name in [the Goblet] is somewhere in the school.

Alison: I just feel like Harry is just so blasŽ about this whole tournament. He never really cares. He’s just like, “Yeah, okay, someone’s trying to kill me so they put me in this stupid tournament. Whatever.”

[Howl laughs]

Alison: “Can I just have the year off? My gosh.”

[Everyone laughs]

Howl: He never really plans anything.

Michael: No!

Alison: Yeah! He figures everything out last minute, and usually because someone else was like, “Have you tried this?”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: “Oh yeah, I probably should take care of that, shouldn’t I?” He’s just…

Michael: Yeah, much to Hermione’s chagrin because this is the stuff she revels in, all these riddles and puzzles, and she’s standing on the sidelines being like, [as Hermione] “You’re not doing it right! You’re not having any fun!”

Alison: He’s so apathetic!

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: He’s just like, “Whatever. This is the fourth time someone’s tried to kill me. Whatever.”

Katy: “Over it.”

Alison: “Fifth time. Done.”

Howl: At this point, the death-defying survival is old hat to Harry, and he’s like, “YOLO! Let’s play some chess.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yeah! “I just survived a dragon a few weeks ago; who cares?” Yeah. But I think it’s funny because we’ve gone back and forth throughout Alohomora! about how on it Harry is, and I think, actually, generally we seem to come to the conclusion that Harry is actually pretty on it most of the time. He is fairly aware and he is not that dumb. He’s actually quite bright, yet I think these kinds of moments are the moments where we feel like Harry is dumb in the text. When there’s something so obviously present – obviously present danger – and he’s just like, [as Harry] “Ah, I don’t care.”

Katy:: I wonder, too, if this is somehow a symptom of his PTSD or… wait. That hasn’t really happened yet; that’s the end of this book. I keep getting it out of order.

Michael: He should have PTSD by now. [laughs]

Katy: You would think. Definitely by the next book.

Alison: Oh, I think Harry is pretty resilient.

Michael: He is!

Alison: Not to say people… But he’s gone through a lot already. It takes something crazy major, like what happens at the end of this book, to really set that off in him.

Howl: It might just be that puzzles aren’t Harry’s forte…

Alison: Oh, definitely not!

Howl: … and maybe it’s more of the actionable things that really get his gears turning and really get him on the level of preforming that we want to expect from our hero. But thankfully, he has Hermione to be like, “Yo! Puzzles are great! Maybe try a puzzle.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And that made me think, too, Howl… That’s funny because we talked so much, too, in the reread about how Harry is determined to really do the big tasks against Voldemort alone, and yet this whole year, really, he’s pretty dependent on everybody else and seems to be blatantly, openly remarking that he’s just like, [as Harry] “Ah, other people will do it for me.”

Howl: Can you imagine if he did do it alone, though? My goodness.

Michael: Oh, he’d already be dead.

Alison: Oh, he wouldn’t have made it. No, no, no, no. Would not have made it.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: He would have seen that dragon, and he would have been like, “Goodbye, world.”

[Everyone laughs]

Howl: He’s like, “There’s a charm that you could use to hide yourself?”

Alison: “See ya!”

Howl: “I had no idea!”

[Michael laughs]

Alison: “A dragon? Really?” [laughs]

Michael: But looking away from the trio for a moment, we look outside the windows and we notice that there are some other students here visiting and they have been having a little bit of time in the limelight. And I think Katy wanted to talk about them a little bit.

Katy: Yeah! I’m always curious [about] the other schools that we don’t get much information of, so any info we do get from schools [other] than Hogwarts, I’m soaking it up like a sponge.

[Michael laughs]

Katy: So I’m like, “Okay, what can I pull out of this?” So there’s a quote… I forget who’s looking outside, or if this is just the narrator.

Michael: I think it’s just the changing of the seasons.

Katy: Okay, thank you. I was like, “Okay, what’s the context again? I just read this!”

[Michael laughs]

Katy: But it describes “The pale blue Beauxbatons carriage looked like a large, chilly, frosted pumpkin.” And that line always reminds me of Cinderella and her pumpkin carriage. And then later in the chapter, we get Hermione having her Cinderella moment. So that just jumped out at me this time, and I thought it was really cool imagery.

Michael: We’ve talked about that before. Cinderella seems to be a fairytale that is leaned on in Harry Potter a little bit, which is funny because – I’ve [her] referenced many times – Lindsey Alice the Nostalgia Chick has called Cinderella: “It is the fairytale-moral equivalent to Fruit Loops”.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: As she put it, “It’s the revenge fantasy where you show up to your high school reunion 20 pounds lighter.” [laughs] Cinderella is a bit thin in many ways, but it depends on what version you’re looking at. But that said, we’ve definitely talked before that Sorcerer’s Stone is in many ways a Cinderella retelling.

Alison: But I like the imagery here! Because we’re going to a fancy ball…

Michael: It is a fairytale.

Alison: … and everybody’s going to be all dressed up, and it’s going to be a moment, and I think it’s nice.

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Michael: Yes. The Yule Ball’s theme is Fairytale 2004 or something like that.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison and Michael: 1994.

Michael: That’s great. Yeah.

Alison: It ends at midnight…

Katy: Oh, God! You’re right. I hadn’t even thought about that. [laughs]

Michael: And Ron has orange hair like a pumpkin. I don’t know.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Something in there. Ron is the pumpkin. Hermione is Cinderella. Something. There’s something.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I might be wrong because it’s been a while since I’ve read it, but with Deathly Hallows, when they’re talking about “The Tales of Beetle The Bard,” Hermione cites that Harry and her have grown up with “Muggle fairytales,” and doesn’t she say Cinderella as one of those fairytales?

Alison: I think she does, actually. Because I think that’s the one where Ron’s like, “What is that? A disease?”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: So it does seem that Rowling knows that she owes a little bit to Cinderella. And in general, Rowling is aware, I think, that she owes a lot to classic fairytales. But yeah, interesting! We’ll have to keep examining for Cinderella imagery. When I just said that, I was like, “Oh yeah! There are giant pumpkins in the second book.” Hagrid is engorging his pumpkins.

Katy: Or is that the third?

Michael: It’s the second book; it’s the third movie.

Katy: Ah! See? I always get them confused! [unintelligible] movies!

Alison: I feel like they mention them several times, though.

Michael: He probably has a habit of enlarging his pumpkins after a while. Because why not?

Katy: Exactly. [laughs]

Michael: Who knows if it’s approved by the FDA?

[Everyone laughs]

Katy: Do not eat! Decoration only!

Michael: But there was more to say, I think, about [in a French accent] Beauxbatons.

Katy: [mocks Michael] Beauxbatons. I love the way you say that.

Howl: [in a French accent] Beauxbatons.

[Everyone laughs]

Katy: We do see Fleur Delacour. [laughs] I almost said Fleur Liqueur.

Michael: Mm, liqueur!

Katy: That sounds like a drink.

[Everyone laughs]

Howl: Now at Harry Potter World!

[Everyone laughs]

Katy: Oh God!

Alison: Would not surprise me in the slightest.

Katy: No, me neither. [laughs] But Fleur Delacour [is] acting a bit vain at the beginning of this chapter, talking about the heavy food and how she’s going to gain weight and won’t be able to fit into her dress robes. And then Hermione is totally judging her…

[Michael laughs]

Katy: … totally calling her out. Being just like, “Wow! She thinks a lot of herself!” Okay, so clearly Fleur grows out of this behavior as she ages. She knows that she’s beautiful by the time Bill gets attacked, and she says, “Of course I’m still going to marry him! I’m pretty enough for the both of us,” etc. But she is not acting vain and talking about or thinking about her looks all the time – as far as we know, from Harry’s perspective – as she gets older and gets out of school, etc. So I think this could be a good comparison for James Potter because a lot of us wonder many times why the heck Lily fell for him because he seems like such a jerk! But this is just an example, I think, of a character we do get to see a bit more of in the books, and how she grows throughout the few years between when she graduates school and goes out into the real world and gets married, etc. So I think James probably did a lot of the same kind of maturing after he left school. Although, before I get to my last point about this, I just want to say – because this cracks me up every time I think about it – on the main site, we have a regular commenter, They’ve Taken My Wheezy, who cracks us up on a regular basis. And once we were having a conversation about why Lily could have ever possibly fallen for James, and he totes called Lily a gold digger! [laughs]

[Michael laughs]

Katy: I laugh so hard every time I think of them. All I can think of is Lily being a gold digger.

[Michael laughs]

Katy: I don’t subscribe to that at all, but it’s hilarious. [laughs]

Howl: She ain’t messing with no broke wizard.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Thank you. I’m glad I’m not the only one that had that song playing in my head.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Oh, God. That was hilarious.

Katy: So I just had to throw a shout-out to him because that is never going to leave my mind now, and it’s so funny every time I think of it.

[Michael laughs]

Katy: But also, Hermione making the comment she does; she’s being totally jealous right there.

Alison: Ooh! Ooh! Hand raised! Hand raised!

Katy: Oh, go for it, Alison, go for it.

Michael: Ms. Siggard.

Alison: I don’t think it’s maliciously [done]. I feel like it’s almost [that] Hermione has been planning her own sudden… How do I say this? Hermione is trying to come to grips with how to make herself look nice. [laughs] Again, this could be projecting: I feel like every teenage girl goes through this phase of all of a sudden you’re like, “Oh, I care about what I look like to some regard.” And so to see someone who is thought of as very pretty, especially by her best friends – and especially by Ron – and this girl who keeps complaining about how she looks and, for lack of a better term, her diet regimen and how it’s being messed up. I feel like it’s Hermione’s little insecurities coming back up again, it’s almost like, “Oh, should I be worried about that?” It’s one of those things that I think happens with girls. One person starts thinking about something that’s wrong with them, and then everyone’s like, “Oh, should I worry about that?”

Michael: Well, in this case, it is a little – like you’re saying, Alison – personal for Hermione because Ron has expressed interest in Fleur.

Katy: That’s a good point.

Michael: And potentially, part of where it comes from is that she… First of all, can I just say Hermione wins all the things in this chapter, and Ron is wrong about everything? There we go.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: He’s just trying to figure it out!

Michael: We’re going to get to that later. I just had to say it now because it’s already starting to come up here. And I think Fleur hasn’t really done much to ingratiate herself to the Hogwarts students already…

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Michael: … because she’s come into the castle and has just gone on insulting everything about Hogwarts from top to bottom, so I don’t think that’s helped. And she’s been very obviously vocal about it. And in some ways, I think Rowling is presenting it as a bit of a cultural difference, that Fleur in her way is willing to be more open about it and blunt about what she sees. This is something that I think was going to come up with the schools anyway; in some ways, Rowling seems to be somewhat playing off of stereotypes about the different countries that she’s using here.

Alison: Oh, I think she definitely is, especially with the French. I think there’s almost some snide British versus French.

[Howl speaks French]

Michael: Yes. Yes.

Alison: That all happening there.

Michael: But the British are also fair game in Rowling’s eyes, I feel, because she’s also targeting their prim properness that tends to dictate not saying what’s on your mind, necessarily. Because of course, that’s what’s going to come to a head with Ron and Hermione in this chapter. So everybody seems to be a victim, and I suppose in a way, when you look at it that way, these petty things that the different countries are targeting each other for really, truly turn out to be petty by the end of the year. And maybe what this is all set up for is for Rowling to say, “Yeah, you know, we all poke fun at each other for our differences, but in the end, does it really matter? Because we’re all going to die.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: So that was just something I’ve noticed before with Goblet of Fire. Like many things Rowling does, she plays on expectations and known stereotypes about the characters she introduces, but she usually tends to turn them on their heads. So it’s even happening here early, but [with] Fleur obviously, like you said, Alison and Katy, that’s going to be a big thing a little farther down the line.

Alison: Yeah.

Katy: It just seemed very anti-feminist of Hermione. But again, she’s 15. I can give her a bit of a break.

Howl: This is the most teenager chapter in the whole series.

Alison: It’s fabulous.

Michael: It’s got her on such a personal level too. I think that is where a lot of that is coming from. And I think it’s an interesting difference between how Hermione expresses her annoyances with this issue of her relationship with Ron, and how Ron expresses it. And where they target their anger, and how they show their anger, I think, is important too. But again, before we get to that, let’s go to the other school that we deal with here.

Katy Yes. The all-boys school. Just kidding. I know better.

Michael: According to Pottermore, pronounced “Doorm-strang.”

Alison: Eww.

Michael: Yes. “Doorm-strang.”

Katy: Eww. I don’t like that.

Michael: But you know, Durmstrang.

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Alison and Katy: Durmstrang.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Alison: I love how so many people… I mean, I do this too; everyone [is] like, “It’s [uses French pronunciation] ‘Beauxbatons.’ Make it French.” And then we’re like, “Durmstrang.”

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Alison: Whatever.

Katy: So that school that starts with a “D.” So in Episode 61, when Alohomora! first went over this chapter, the hosts were unsure where Durmstrang was located. And there actually was information out at that time because in the year 2000, Jo did a book reading, and someone took notes. There was no recording of this, apparently, but somebody thankfully was taking notes while they were there and wrote up a report of things that happened and things that were said. And Jo said that she thinks that Durmstrang is in northern Scandinavia, the very north of Sweden or Norway. But Pottermore, which came out much later, is not nearly as specific. They just say… I’ll just read this quote real quick:

“Although believed to be situated in the far north of Europe, Durmstrang is one of the most secretive of all schools about its whereabouts, so nobody can be quite certain. Visitors, who must comply with Memory Charms to erase their knowledge of how they got there, speak of vast, sprawling grounds with many stunning views, not least of the great, dark spectral ship that is moored on a mountain lake behind the school, from which students dive in summertime.”

So I guess we know where it is, but still not specifically.

Michael: Not really.

Alison: I don’t like it being in Sweden or Norway. Durmstrang has just always felt more Russian to me. And so many of the things they do just don’t feel like things that would be done in Sweden or Norway. I don’t know. I mean, maybe if they were founded from Vikings or something.

Michael: That doesn’t reflect really well on Russia. Sorry, Russia.

Alison: No, I’m sorry, Russia. I’m sorry. Not in a bad way. Does that make sense? It’s just the fact that they’re so secretive, and the way Krum describes the castle, and the way the grounds are described. I just don’t see Scandinavia. Because Scandinavia, I think of it as a little bit brighter. But I guess, maybe, if they were going in more Viking-ish tradition, I could see that. It depends on how old it is.

Michael: Well, and thanks to Pottermore, for both Beauxbatons and “Doorm-strang,” we know that the two of them actually take in students from a lot of different countries compared to Hogwarts. So there seems to be a little more of a melting pot at those two schools compared to Hogwarts. So it may be that there is more of a cultural mixing in those two schools. I do tend to agree with you, though, Alison. In my head, they are more associated with Russia, and I think, actually, in my head, it is for not good reasons. Sorry, Putin. I’m not planning to come visit anytime soon.

Howl: On their school flag they have the eagle, right? It’s a two-headed eagle, I believe. And you can trace that to a country of origin. I forget which country it is, but there is a country that has a double-headed eagle. So [that’s] possibly a clue.

Alison and Michael: Hmm.

Katy: Oh. I hadn’t thought about that.

Howl: Well, there you go.

Michael: I think a big part of it that maybe throws us off, too, is Krum’s accent and the fact that he suggests more of that Eastern European character to Durmstrang, but he’s not representative of the whole school necessarily. Now we know.

Katy: Even his name sounds…

Michael: Oh yeah, definitely. And then we’ve got…

Alison: Well, and he’s from Bulgaria. We know that for sure.

Michael: Yes. Because of course, he’s on the team.

Alison: So maybe that’s part of it too.

Michael: Well, then we’ve got somebody like Karkaroff, who is portrayed as more Eastern European in the movie. But in the book, he’s not really given much of a description other than his beard, and he doesn’t have an accent.

Alison: Yeah, I think he’s British. I think we found that out, didn’t we? He’s actually British.

Michael: Well, that was something I was wondering about him, because he was a Death Eater. And as far as the vague things we’ve heard, Rowling has spoken on this a few times. I believe she’s stated before that Voldemort’s initial plan was to take over the UK and then expand through Europe, like Hitler. Hmm. But he never really got to the point of world domination in his plans because he never got that far. And we know that his influence reached a little bit outside of the UK, but it’s suggested that he didn’t really go that far. Certainly not as far as, say, Grindelwald did.

Howl: Well, Karkaroff could have been in the UK and not been from there necessarily.

Michael: He could have been.

Alison: Yeah, that’s true.

Michael: Does he say that he was educated at Hogwarts?

Howl: I would assume Durmstrang.

Michael: That’s what I would have thought.

Katy: I’m not sure if it says.

Howl: Tell us in the comments, people.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yes, help us out.

Katy: Let us know. But we do know that students from Britain can opt to go there, from Draco. So it’s not just students from Eastern Europe that would go there. Maybe even American students can choose to go there, if they so choose. I don’t know. But we also find out something else interesting from Draco, that apparently Durmstrang does not permit Muggle-borns to attend, which I had completely forgotten about. And I’m going to try to put on a Tom Felton right here and read this quote.

Michael: Oh, please.

Katy: It’s going to be horrible, but it’s going to be fun. Okay.

Howl: This is so exciting.

Katy: [clears throat] [as Draco Malfoy] “Father actually considered sending me to Durmstrang rather than Hogwarts, you know. He knows the headmaster, you see. Well, you know his opinion of Dumbledore. The man’s such a Mudblood lover. And Durmstrang doesn’t admit that sort of riffraff.”

Howl: That was beautiful.

Michael: That was actually quite good.

Alison: That was.

Katy: Not really, but thank you.

Michael: Plus, in my head, Malfoy has a higher-pitched voice because he’s a little ninny.

Alison: He totally is.

Katy: I think it’s a little bit more nasal, but nah.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: I really enjoyed that.

Katy: Yay! But yeah, so I had just forgotten that to begin with. And then later in the chapter, when Viktor and Hermione enter the ball, Karkaroff has this nasty expression on his face looking at them. So it made me wonder, “Oh, does he know that Hermione is Muggle-born, and he does not approve of Viktor going to the ball with a Muggle-born witch?”

Howl: Whoa.

Michael: He is a former Death Eater, so he probably…

Alison: Karkaroff is the evil stepmother.

[Howl, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Katy: I like it.

Michael: We’re going to push this Cinderella thing, damn it. This is going good. Yeah, I don’t know if we know that Krum knows that about Hermione. The funny thing is, I think part of the irony here, too, is that everybody on their lips is talking about magical cooperation, but a lot of people don’t seem to actually want that. To me, I’ve always read Goblet of Fire as a very thinly veiled depiction and scrambling up of the Olympics. And while on the surface, the Olympics is all about, “Oh, we’ve come together to do sports because we’re all human beings, and we’re all equal,” that’s not what the Olympics is about. It should be, but there are so many invested interests in the Olympics, and there are so many underhanded reasons for why certain countries participate in the Olympics and personal goals by each country for what they’re trying to achieve that it’s not always as surface-friendly as it seems. And I think that’s what Rowling is trying to get at with this animosity even between the idea that the students from the different schools are dating. I don’t think that’s something that the headmasters necessarily would be very happy about.

Howl: Considering Karkaroff’s history, I just can’t believe that they would allow him to be a headmaster of a school of children.

Katy: Right?

Michael: Well, Durmstrang doesn’t really have…

Alison: Wizards do the weirdest things.

Michael: If you read the whole thing about Durmstrang, they really don’t have a great track record, so I’m actually not surprised. Because it’s implied that some of their previous headmasters have killed people, and people know about it.

Katy: And I think we find out that some parents pulled their students from Durmstrang when Karkaroff became headmaster. So they knew he was a jerk, and they were like, “Nope. My kid is not going to school with that idiot.”

Howl: But what does his CV look like? It’s like, “Oh, you were a former Death Eater. Yeah, you would be perfect.”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Katy: “We don’t even need to interview you.”

Alison: “List your relevant skills: torturing people…”

Howl: “Dark curses.” Wow!

Michael: The section on the headmasters at Durmstrang says,

“The first of the unhappy men that took over wasÊHarfang Munter, whoÊtook over the school shortly after the mysterious death of its founder, the great Bulgarian witch Nerida Vulchanova. Munter established DurmstrangÕs reputation for dueling and all forms of martial magic, which remain an impressive part of its curriculum today. The second dark period in DurmstrangÕs history came with the Headmastership of Igor Karkaroff, an ex-Death Eater who fled his post upon the return from exile of Lord Voldemort, fearing the latterÕs retribution. Karkaroff was an unprincipled and egotistical man who encouraged a culture of fear and intimidation among the students, and many parents withdrew their children from Durmstrang while he was in charge.”

Good job, Karkaroff. Well, he’s probably dead now, so there you go.

Alison: He is dead now. He dies.

Howl: Oh, good.

Alison: They find him dead.

Michael: Alison, you had a point about Durmstrang as well.

Alison: Yeah, it popped out to me this time. When Krum is telling Hermione about Durmstrang, he mentions that it’s small, that it’s dark most of the year, and he says, “The fires are only lit for magical purposes.” And I was like, “Wait, isn’t it cold there?”

Katy: Oh God, I would die.

Alison: So I don’t know. Is it an aesthetic choice? Does it tell us something about the state of the school? Have they lost a lot of funding? Are people not happy with the way Karkaroff is running it? We mentioned that a lot of students were taken out of it. Has the school become kind of run-down? Is that maybe part of the reason Karkaroff is so eager for Krum to win?

Michael: If we’re associating it with Russian history, yes. That would be the case, unfortunately. I gather that that meaning is more about the association with Dark magic because Rowling seems to associate cold things with Dark magic in her books. The other thing, too, is that Durmstrang students seem to be a little more accustomed to the cold because that’s where they’re from, to the point that while Krum is practicing for the second tournament, he just dives into the lake when it’s frozen over. So they seem to have a higher tolerance for that.

Katy: Yeah, isn’t it, like, January?

Michael: Yeah. And he just dives right in. And I think Ron is like, “Whoa! He’s mental!”

Alison: Yeah, January in Scotland. That’s not fun.

Katy: No, thank you.

Michael: But I’ve always gotten the idea, too, that that might even be something that Karkaroff is just doing to toughen up his students, or at least he thinks that’s toughening them up.

Howl: Right. It seems like it’s run more like a boot camp than it is a school for children. But there could be a hot water spring running through the walls ˆ la Game of Thrones, possibly. Maybe the lighting of the magical fires is more significant than we give it credit for. Maybe the fireplaces are only magic or something.

Alison: Okay.

Michael: Well, we do know, too, that… I think that was a good point, Howl, about boot camp, because Krum reveals that Karkaroff made the students row the boat.

Katy: Oh yeah. What a jerk. Slave labor.

Michael: Yeah, Durmstrang is not a great school, at least during Karkaroff’s time. But hopefully that’s changed in the present day.

Katy: Malfoy would never have lasted there. Sorry.

Alison: Oh my gosh, he wouldn’t.

Michael: Yeah, no, manual labor is not really Malfoy’s strong suit, is it?

Katy: No.

Michael: But turning to something a little more pleasant, Christmas Day has come! And of course, we always have to celebrate that in the Potter books with lots and lots of presents and the John Williams theme.

[Alison sings John Williams theme]

Alison: That just makes me so happy!

Michael: So the thing I can’t help but point out is – and Caleb actually pointed this out in the original episode over this chapter – Harry, why are you being such a jerk to Dobby? That’s an awesome gift!

Katy: Right?

Michael: He hand-knitted socks for you.

Alison: Oh, I don’t know if he’s being a jerk or if he’s just uncomfortable. He doesn’t know how to handle that situation. I feel like Harry never knows how to handle Dobby. He does not know how to handle an interaction with Dobby, no matter how many times he interacts with him.

Michael: There’s definitely that element of hero worship that comes from Dobby.

Alison: Yeah, and that makes Harry uncomfortable. And so I don’t think he’s being mean about it; he’s just like, “Oh, whoa.” He just doesn’t know what’s happening, especially because Dobby wakes him up by staring at him.

Katy: There’s that. He did just wake up.

Alison: Harry’s just like, “Oh gosh.”

Howl: Dobby has no boundaries at all. There’s a huge boundary problem.

Alison: Yeah, that’s real.

Michael: That said, it always caught me as quite funny that this section of the chapter… First of all, this is Rowling’s peak section about socks. Oh my God. No wonder people thought socks were going to be a thing so badly in this series, to the point that Rowling had to clarify on her website. Somebody asked her, “What’s the point of the socks?” And she was just like, “No point, they’re just funny. Socks are funny.” And they are. But I do think it’s so funny. I never really understood just how hung up this chapter gets on the idea that mismatched socks are the greatest sin of all time.

Alison: Don’t tell every kid in the early 2000s that. That was the thing.

Katy: I was doing that in the ’90s, thank you very much.

Michael: I just thought that was so funny, because I was like, “Well, even though those socks are mismatched, they’re clearly a set because they’re Quidditch socks. That’s so adorable.” Wool socks are quite thick and not very attractive looking, to be fair. But at the same time, that’s adorable.

Alison: I bet they’re warm.

Michael: Yeah. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Alison: I bet they’re like slipper socks. They’re fluffy and warm and wonderful. What’s wrong with you, Harry?

Michael: Universal Studios, why are you not selling these socks?

Howl: Yeah, for real.

Katy: Right? I would so buy those.

Alison: That’s real.

Michael: And Howl mentioned earlier in the chapter about Harry’s gifts, and I thought that was worth highlighting. I was thinking, because I just realized there’s such a subtle but beautiful and quiet progression of how many gifts Harry gets each year, and I thought that was nice. I just realized that Rowling uses gifts in her series in the way that they’re really supposed to mean. Not as a materialistic statement, but as an idea that a gift is how it’s truly meant to be.

Alison: It’s an expression of love.

Michael: It’s an expression of love, and isn’t it beautiful that Harry…? Because I remember just in his first year, Harry notes that Ron’s pile of gifts is huge compared to his in Sorcerer’s Stone. And he doesn’t seem to mind that; he just notices it. And it’s nice because the narration doesn’t even dwell on that anymore. It’s too busy dwelling on the fact that Ron is only getting hand-me-downs and hates his life, so the tables have turned.

Alison: I do have to say in this chapter, shout-out to Molly Weasley because she always knits Harry a custom sweater for something that’s happening in his life. And this one she did has the Horntail on it, and that happens late November so she knitted that sweater really fast to make it special.

[Michael laughs]

Katy: She has magic on her side, just FYI. [laughs]

Alison: Well, yeah, but…

Michael: I sill like to envision that she does sit there and hand-knit them without magic.

Alison: Or at least she is more involved in it. Maybe if the needles are being magical, though, she’s very selective about her yarn, she makes sure everything is matching and perfect, and… I don’t know.

Katy: That’s true.

Alison: I think she’s very involved.

Michael: That sweater sounds awesome, too, by the way.

Howl: Wizarding World…

Michael: Again, Universal Studios, get on that!

Alison: Hey, they do sell those, and they’re great.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Oh, do they sell the sweaters with the letters on them?

Alison: Yeah, they have Harry’s and they have Ron’s, and they’re wonderfully warm and fluffy and I love them.

Howl: But do they have the Horntail?

Michael: I want one with a dragon.

Alison: I have Harry’s.

Katy: [unintelligible] purchase… [laughs]

Michael: Yeah, get that dragon.

Alison: They’re worth their rather pricey price tag.

Howl: They’re hand-knitted with love.

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Alison: They’re fluffy. [laughs]

Michael: Howl, what was Sirius’s gift this year?

Alison: It’s the knife that unlocks anything.

Howl: A penknife.

Michael: Oh yeah, and that’s not going to become important…

Alison: Except for the Love Room.

Michael: … until Order of the Phoenix, and then it’ll melt, right?

Katy: Sad face.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: That was cool for a second.

Howl: Sirius Black giving this gift to a teenager is like, “Here, go have some trouble. Go get into some stuff.”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Katy: It’s so Sirius.

Alison: It’s very Sirius, though.

Howl: It’s very Sirius.

Michael: Very much a reflection of a Sirius-type gift.

Alison: I like that Sirius always gives Harry very practical but also very edgy gifts, like the Firebolt. It’s practical; he needs a broomstick. But it’s the cool, fastest broomstick. And this knife, it could be handy in situations, but also it could be pretty tricky.

Michael: Yes, forgetting to open a door and front-stabbing, whatever your choice.

Alison: Oh my gosh!

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Just a little… You never know. Sirius has had situations where he has been caught without a wand before, or had his wand taken away, so he probably knows a little more about knives now. Just saying.

Katy: Fair point.

Michael: Fun tidbit that I just had to note because it’s just one of those tiny little canon things that I totally forgot: She gives the wizard crackers a brand name, which totally slipped my mind. They’re called “Cribbage’s Wizard Crackers.” And my mind was blown; that’s all I had to say. That’s just a fun trivia thing for you Harry Potter fans. If you ever go to a Harry Potter quiz, now you know what the wizard crackers are called. That just blew my mind because she seems to have a brand name for everything. I think they’re just called wizard crackers up until this point. So yeah, I just had to fixate on that for a little bit. But anyway, then they go outside, and Katy had a point about that.

Katy: Yeah, so they go out to have a snowball fight, and they make a comment that right around five o’clock Hermione goes in to start getting ready, and they’re making fun of her like, “What, you need three hours to get ready?” She goes away, and then it says about seven o’clock they finally run out of steam for throwing snowballs and go inside to get ready. So I’m like, “Wait. You all were literally having a snowball fight for over two hours?” That’s some…

Alison: Man, that was a full-on snowball war. That was not a little fight. I bet they built barriers, and people were running after people and…

Katy: I want to see that.

Alison: Man, that was probably intense.

[Katy laughs]

Michael: I feel like we’re showing our age, the idea that we couldn’t handle a two-plus hour snowball fight.

[Everyone laughs]

Howl: I’m game anytime you all want to.

[Katy laughs]

Michael: I am not.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Alison: Michael is like, “Bye!”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: “I’m inside!”

Howl: But they’re also throwing snowballs with magic, just FYI. Remember.

Michael: Yes, that is true. We know from Sorcerer’s Stone, as early on as that, that they use magic in their snowball fights. That would be fun, but I think I’d be inclined to be more like Hermione after about an hour at the most. I think I’d go do tamer things like making snow angels and/or something like [building] a snowman. [singing] “Do you want to build a snowman?”

Katy: Oh my God! I thought of the same thing!

[Michael laughs]

Katy: Beat me to it. Love it.

Michael: The world hasn’t had a good Frozen reference in a long time. Frozen has been quiet for a while. I just had to get it out there.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Katy: Nice.

Michael: But Alison had something to note, too, about…

Alison: [laughs] We don’t have to get into this. I just thought it was funny that portraits can get drunk.

Michael: [laughs] They can.

Alison: They never cease to amaze me, the things these portraits seem to be able to do for no rhyme or reason.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Alison: We can’t figure out how, but apparently they can get drunk, so do with that what you will.

[Howl, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yes, more fuel for the fire of all these questions surrounding Hogwarts portraits, right? That portrait piece of Pottermore really didn’t answer any of our questions.

Alison: No, it didn’t.

Michael: They do seem to have their own just separate little world in those canvases, don’t they? All right, okay, so we’ve had our three hours to prepare.

[Alison sings a tune in the background]

Michael: We’re all primped and primed. Everybody gone to the bathroom? Because you’re not going to get a chance. You have to run up to the seventh floor if you want to go to the bathroom again. So here we go; we’re going out to the grand staircase. The music is swelling. Alison is the one-man band here at the Yule Ball.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: It’s the Yule Ball, everybody! The doors are open! Let’s go dance! Oh my God; it’s beautiful. So as we’re walking down the stairs, Alison can’t help but laugh at Ron. Why is that? What does she hear him say?

Alison: This has been one of my favorite lines, just all the time. I don’t know why it makes me laugh so much. But Dean asks Harry and Ron, “How’d you two get the best attractive girls in the year?” And Ron is just like, “Animal magnetism.” And that’s all he says, and it is legitimately one of the funniest things to me, and I don’t know why.

[Howl and Katy laugh]

Alison: It’s just so ridiculous.

Katy: And he says it gloomily. How do you pull that off gloomily?

[Howl and Michael laugh]

Alison: He’s just like, “Animal magnetism,” and just leaves it, and no one says anything about it! Nothing, that’s it. That’s all.

Michael: I personally love that line because shout-out to the Patil twins that you’re the most beautiful girls in the year. Go you.

Howl: And also, you mentioned [it] in the recap, but they got such a raw deal with these two.

Michael: They sure did.

Alison: Yeah, it’s real, though.

Michael: Holler at these beautiful East Indian girls. They can do so much better.

Howl: Yes! Work!

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Howl: Work, Patils!

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Hey, they do. They go get some Beauxbatons boys, apparently.

Michael: Yeah, good for them. Good. For. Them. I’m so proud of them. I’d almost…

Howl: Magical cooperation.

Michael: I would be totally cool… Rowling, if you want to write a whole piece for Pottermore that’s their perspective of the ball, please, please do.

Alison: That’d be great.

Michael: I would love to read that. I’d love to get to know Parvati and Padma a little more. They seem like awesome characters in my opinion. But somebody else is coming down the stairs, and nobody knows who she is, apparently. [laughs]

Alison: I do love how the first time she’s mentioned it’s like, “… and some girl Harry doesn’t know.”

[Howl and Michael laugh]

Alison: When you find out, it’s like, “Really, Harry? Really? This is one of your best friends. You’ve spent every day with her for the past four years. Come on, dude.”

Michael: I guess she wasn’t necessarily using all the three hours to prep because she had to go down to the boat, apparently. So she went all the way up to the seventh floor and then came all the way back down because she comes in with Krum. So she was being practical with her prep time. Very smart thinking. Now, with all of this orchestrating, do you guys think…? And this was mentioned on Episode 61. This question was posited. Do you think Hermione…? How much of this did she hold back on purpose? Do you…?

Alison: A lot.

[Michael laughs]

Katy: I’m with Alison.

Alison: She wanted a moment! And so she set everything in place so she could have a moment. And she got her moment, and I’m so proud of her.

Michael: Now, it’s interesting because do you think this moment was meant as…? Because I have thoughts on this, but do you guys think this moment, she planned this as a wake-up call for Ron? Did she do it for herself? Did she do it for anyone else?

Howl: For herself.

Alison: It’s a little bit of both, I think.

Katy: Yeah, I tend to…

Alison: It’s definitely that moment of, “I’m going to walk in front of my crush, and I’m going to look so good; he’s going to feel so bad that he didn’t ask me out.”

[Katy laughs]

Michael: That’s interesting because I feel like we know Hermione does this on purpose in Half-Blood Prince. And really, I must say, with all rights and privileges, because by that point, Ron, come on. But she does actively take Cormac McLaggen to Slughorn’s party because of Ron. But I always did feel here that mostly this is, for the most part, I felt like this was actually for herself, and that she genuinely hid this from Harry and Ron because she actually thought that they would either not believe her or would make fun of her.

Howl: Mhm. I agree.

Alison: I do think it was mostly for herself. Yeah, I think it was… Like I said, it’s this new kind of confidence, it’s this new part of herself she discovered, and I think she was a little shy about it. So I think some of it was she didn’t want to tell them because she didn’t want them to make fun of her, and she wasn’t too sure about it herself. But then she comes out, it’s great, she’s beautiful, everybody is staring at her, and it’s a nice moment. I like it. [laughs]

Howl: It’s her She’s All That moment.

Michael: [laughs] Yes, because Rachael Leigh Cook with glasses is just so uggo.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Howl: Well, Emma Watson as Hermione is also not…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yeah, right. Beautiful girls just being even more beautiful.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Katy: Such a hard life.

Michael: I do think that Hermione is being a little more genuine here, not really… Even though she is crushing on Ron around this time, she does have feelings for him, I like that until Ron ruined it, she didn’t let that really get in the way of her being proud of the fact that somebody asked her out, and that she could enjoy her evening. I thought that was always a really nice thing about this piece, that Hermione got her groove back.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Katy: Or got it for the first time.

[Howl, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Speaking of two people who got their groove, Howl?

Howl: Well, okay. So first, I want to give a shout-out to Pansy Parkinson and Draco Malfoy because even though they’re total jerks and they’re totally not cool in any way, they do get a moment to dress up and be cute. And I think this was probably Pansy Parkinson’s greatest moment of all time because not only does she get to dress up, she’s with Draco Malfoy.

Michael: Yes, who looks like a vicar, apparently, which…

Alison: Oh my gosh. That still makes me laugh.

Michael: And so we’ve got a lot of familiar faces in the room, and one of them, surprisingly, is Percy, who is sitting up at the table where Crouch should be. And we get the summary here that Percy is in place of Mr. Crouch because Mr. Crouch isn’t feeling well. Now, Alison, you had some stuff to say about this with Percy.

Alison: Yeah, I forgot Percy showed up here, actually.

Michael: Yeah, me too.

Alison: But I’ve said this before. I love Percy’s arc, especially his redemption arc, and I like this moment. It’s an interesting place in the arc, I think. He’s started to climb in his promotions, so he’s started to attach his loyalties more to the Ministry at this point. But he hasn’t quite abandoned his family – and I include Harry in his family – yet. He obviously wants Harry to sit next to him; he comes to talk to Harry and Ron. But he gets a little agitated when the twins go talk to Bagman, and he’s inclined to take Bagman’s side if the twins were doing something to him. So his job is really becoming his most important thing, but he hasn’t quite fallen all the way yet and abandoned family. And it’s an interesting place in his arc that I forgot about. You can see him start to go in that direction before he falls, but he hasn’t quite made it there yet. But he’s going that direction.

Michael: Well, and I think that’s a big part of this, what you were saying, Alison, and why it’s such an interesting piece because he hasn’t abandoned the Weasleys and Harry yet. And in his own way, he’s showing his affection toward them in this scene. But of course, the issue is that Percy is having a major oversight here, in that his downfall here is that he has let his steady climb up the ladder – that has really been consequence of a lot of fortuitous happenstance – unfortunately, allows him to have a huge oversight of what’s actually going on with his boss.

Alison: Too, in this moment, it’s interesting because he’s very… not pretentious.

Michael: Well, kind of.

Katy: Yeah, he’s being pretentious.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Alison: Well, yes, but no, I’m looking for a different word… I can’t think of it. He’s almost talking to everybody like they’re below him…

Michael: Yes, he is.

Alison: … which is part of the reason that he breaks with his family.

Michael: Well, and it was perfect, too, that you mentioned Fred and George because I would say one of the reasons he’s so upset about seeing them approach Bagman is because he knows that Fred and George don’t take anything he does seriously, and that they tend to target him specifically out of all of their family members. I can’t imagine that was a very comforting sight to see them approaching one of his superiors at the Ministry. And of course, we have, too, the little sideline Bagman is laying; pay attention. Fred and George are not talking to him about their fake wands; they want their money. So to be fair, that would be a reasonable concern on Percy’s part, but also Ludo Bagman is a horrible person, so there you go. Everybody’s just being horrible right now. This night is not going well at all.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But somebody who is enjoying themselves quite a bit and does not seem to have their enjoyment ruined at all is Professor Dumbledore, fantastically, who has, really, one of my favorite little speeches. I just love that Dumbledore really doesn’t let anything ruin his fun, and he says so many things with such cheek, and here he has his little piece about what is revealed later to be the Room of Requirement. But of course, the reveal of it – classic Rowling style – is through bathroom humor.

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Michael: Dumbledore needed a toilet. Now, in the original episode, the Podcast Question of the Week was basically parsed down to “Is this truly Dumbledore’s first encounter with the Room of Requirement, or did he know about it before and he chose to drop information about it here?” What do you guys think?

Alison: Oh, he definitely knew about it before.

Michael: You think?

Alison: I don’t think there’s any way. I don’t know if he necessarily knew how it worked or all of its secrets, but I definitely think he knew about it in some regard. I just feel like Dumbledore knows too much about what goes on at Hogwarts to have missed that.

Katy: But he didn’t know where the Chamber of Secrets was, so he doesn’t know everything.

Alison: But that’s a different case because that one you have to be a Parselmouth to find.

Katy: True.

Howl: I think this is a good moment to reveal some character differences between Karkaroff and Dumbledore because you notice that this information is given in a back-handed way to Karkaroff, who’s like, “We hold our secrets dearly,” and Dumbledore is like, “I wouldn’t be so pretentious as to say that I know.”

Michael: Yes, no, and that’s what so great about that; that’s really Dumbledore’s conversation style when people are being blatantly rude to him. That’s usually his way of doing a comeback. It’s a Dumble-slap. I love that. That’s a thing now.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Howl: Yeah, and I just loved this idea that Dumbledore, one of the most powerful wizards of the age, or of history, doesn’t know the ins and outs, the super secrets, of this very old, very magical school. Even to him it’s still wondrous, even at his advanced age.

Michael: Well, and the other question that that presents, though, is was he also potentially dropping the information for Harry’s benefit? But my thinking was that I couldn’t think why he would do it here and now. It doesn’t really seem like it would have much relevance to Harry right now.

Alison: Yeah, I tried to think he wasn’t here, just because this is the book where I feel like Dumbledore loses some of his oversight into everything. And from this point, I feel like Dumbledore doesn’t have as much oversight as he did in what’s going on everywhere, and especially with Harry. This just doesn’t feel like… I think he sees Harry listening to him, and I think he thinks Harry is laughing, especially at the Dumble-slap. And so he’s like, “Yeah, no, I got you, Harry. We got humor together.”

Katy: Because yeah, he doesn’t even say what floor it’s on or anything specific that would help Harry find it.

Alison: Yeah. It’s a fun nod for readers, but I don’t think Dumbledore is saying anything to Harry.

Howl: And also in the next… Don’t we also hear this same thing come back in a later book, where they’re like… I believe it’s Ron who says, “Oh, so it could be a bathroom,” and Hermione says, “That’s rather crude, but yes.”

[Michael laughs]

Katy: Yeah, I think Neville finds it that way, right?

Alison: And I think that’s what tips Harry off because Hermione is worried about it, and Ron says that and Harry is like, “Oh, Dumbledore mentioned that.” That’s what reminds him of it. And then that’s what calms Hermione down about using it.

Michael: In the book, Dobby shows them where it is because the house-elves call it the Room of Many Things. But in the movie it’s Neville. Yeah, always a switcheroo.

Katy: I was wondering, too, because in Episode 61 or maybe the follow-up, when they were talking about this question, it was suggested that obviously a huge number of students or professors or both have found it over the years because it’s so full of crap. But the house-elves know about it; the house-elves are the ones doing the cleaning, so they’re probably the ones putting all that crap in there.

Michael: They’re probably the ones who are making it look nice, I’m guessing. They’re probably the ones who are putting it in neat little rows like it is.

Alison: They probably have it catalogued.

Michael: Oh God.

Alison: Harry should have just gone to go ask them about the diadem.

[Michael laughs]

Katy: “So I’m looking for this tiara… Do you have any idea where it would be?”

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: [as a house-elf] “We has many tiaras in the Room of Many Things.”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Probably. That’s probably true.

Katy: That’s amazing.

Michael: And going back to Dumbledore being the one to say this, I think this moment also reminded me, especially with Harry’s laugh, is that a lot of people… We’ve had our debates about Dumbledore as a person and his relationship with Harry. And we talked a lot, too, about Dumbledore on the last episode with the LGBTQIA+ episode. And I do have to say, it’s these moments that I really love about Harry and Dumbledore’s relationship, that they do have a really pleasant, admirable, sweet camaraderie with each other. And they share this really rich sense of humor that you just read and you immediately see that connection between the two of them. That, in a way, really shows me as a reader, I feel, why Dumbledore is so hesitant to tell Harry the whole truth, that he’s going to have to die. Because he’s clearly very attached to Harry. He made that joke purely for Harry’s benefit.

Katy: But then, poor Harry; they go from having this kind of relationship to the next book where Dumbledore won’t even look at him.

Michael: Whoops.

Katy: Ugh. Heartbreaking.

Michael: Yep, I think that’s why it hurts. Because I think, especially in this book, Dumbledore and Harry’s relationship moves up a level. They are seen talking more, and there are deeper matters for them to talk about. They have to interact more because of the necessity of the Tournament anyway. So I think that’s perhaps why that hurts so badly in Order of the Phoenix. Because they’re making jokes with each other over dinner! I have to say, too, [as a] side note: As a very inattentive reader, when I read it, of course Dumbledore’s saying that as the seeker of the bathroom, you may have a full bladder, and that’s why the room would appear. When I was younger, I thought he was saying “Seeker,” like the Quidditch Seeker. And I was like, “Is he saying that Harry has a full bladder?”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: That’s the only time it shows up. But no, that was wrong. Oopsy-daisy. Young Michael, you’re so silly. Anyway, there’s another teacher that’s present and about in this scene that Katy had a note about.

Katy: I did. So as a reminder, Professor Fake Moody is using his special magical eye to have x-ray vision and look through Harry’s robes to see his socks and comment on them. So in the past, when I would read this section, I was annoyed with Parvati, and I was like, “Oh, she’s totally overreacting. Why is she being this way?” And here’s her quote: “‘He is so creepy!’ Parvati whispered as Moody clunked away. ‘I don’t think that eye should be allowed.'” But you know what? An eye that can see through clothing in a school full of minors? I’m with her. That’s disgusting.

Alison: Yeah. That’s not cool.

Michael: Yeah, no. And I think that’s what’s great about it. Because the way that the line is posited, especially coming from Harry’s perspective hearing it, I think it is meant to put us against Parvati in that moment. Just being like, “Oh, what does she know?” But no. She’s totally right. Especially because he’s a Death Eater.

Katy: And even if he [weren’t], because we want to think the real Mad-Eye is not a perv. And he probably is not, but still. You’re looking for weapons or hidden things on a person, but you’re going to see other stuff at the same time, whether you’re trying to or not.

Howl: Also, isn’t he dancing with Professor Sinistra at that moment? Dang. The Patil sisters and Professor Sinistra just get a raw deal.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Howl: It’s like, “Why are you commenting on a teenager’s socks? I’m dancing with you.”

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Michael: I think this is also an excellent time to bring up the fact that this came up a lot in the comments, actually, about our previous episode. And I have to say, you know who else is getting a rotten deal here? Dumbledore. Dumbledore doesn’t dance with any men tonight.

Alison and Howl: Aww.

Katy: I noticed that too.

Michael: He always dances with women. Boo. Just saying. I feel bad for the guy. Because a lot of people said in the comments, and I did have to note that it was hilariously ironic that this was the chapter that was chosen after the previous episode because this has to be the most heteronormative chapter in the Harry Potter books. And there is… Oh, go ahead, Alison.

Alison: I was just going to say, I like to think Dumbledore was just trying to be polite.

Michael: Oh, I’m sure he was.

Alison: Making sure that everyone had a chance. Because who is he dancing with? He dances with Madam Maxime, whom I’m sure a lot of people didn’t want to dance with. He dances with Professor Sprout. I feel like he’s just trying to be polite.

Howl: And also, who can he select from? It’s not like he has a plethora of handsome bachelors to choose from.

Alison: It’s not like he’s going to go dance with Snape.

Michael: I want him to grab one of the Weird Sisters and dance with them.

Alison and Howl: Yes!

Howl: Let’s get weird.

Alison: I want to see Dumbledore do the hippogriff. Yes. [singing] “Can you dance like a hippogriff? Na na na, na na na, na na na.”

Michael: The other question that was raised a lot in the comments for the last episode is do you guys think that couples outside of heteronormative couples would be permitted to go to the Yule Ball? I think they would.

Howl: Crabbe and Goyle.

Alison: Yeah, I don’t think anyone would mind.

Katy: Yeah, I can’t imagine McGonagall turning them away at the door like, “I’m sorry, you can only come in if you’re a boy and a girl.” No. I don’t see that happening.

Michael: I hope not. Because then I don’t get to go to the ball. I’m going to go to the ball. I’m going in anyway.

Howl: It’s reminiscent of the high school dances that I went to. My high school had a policy where you could only have a boy-girl couple, so I would take a girl sometimes. And maybe… I know the prejudices are different in the wizarding world, but this is reflective of that feeling. When I was reading it, I was reminded of that.

Michael: Yeah. No, I think it’s more of not so much a malicious thing as more of a heteronormative assumption by Hogwarts that boys will dance with girls, and girls will dance with boys. But if it happened to be anything else, they probably wouldn’t mind. Or at least, I’d like to think so.

Alison: I wonder, too, if some of it is like formal dancing, ballroom dancing, which I think is usually…

Michael: It is usually opposite genders.

Alison: Yeah. Despite sexual preferences, they still dance male and female for…

Michael: For reasons.

Alison: I don’t know… I don’t know enough about that.

Michael: I know. I really like the idea of one of the champions bringing a same-sex pairing. I think that would have been fantastic. Ooh, I just love it. But whatever. That didn’t happen. But there’s fan fiction for that. And we touched on them just for a moment there. Alison, obviously, you’re a fan.

Alison:Ê[singing] “Can you dance like a hippogriff?” [back to normal voice] I just love the songs on this soundtrack. I think they’re really funny. And it’s really random in the movie that they’re a rock band.

Howl: I love it.

Alison: And they start off with this very nice, classical orchestra, and then all the sudden they bring out this rock band, and everyone is screaming and jumping around. And the songs are really funny if you listen to the words. On the soundtrack, they’ve put the magical world into rock music, and it’s hilarious.

Michael: Yeah, the hippogriff song is probably one of the most Rowling-esque with its lyrics.

Alison: And the song that plays in the movie when Hermione sits on the stairs and cries, the “Magic Works” one…

Katy: Oh, so pretty.

Howl: So good.

Alison: It’s a good one.

Howl: I know we’re going to be talking about…

Alison: Listeners, if you haven’t gotten to listen to all of them, just go listen to those songs on the soundtrack. They’re great.

Howl: I think that this scene was handled so well in the movie. I know we’re going to talk about the adaptations later, but wow. I think they totally knocked it out of the park.

Michael: Well, listeners, if you’ve never put your second disk of your Goblet of Fire DVD into a drive to watch it, you should because the entire song of the hippogriff dance was filmed, not just the piece that you saw in the movie. They filmed the whole thing for the entire song. They never refer to them…

Alison: Didn’t they base…?

Michael: Oh, go ahead, Alison.

Alison: Sorry. Oh, I feel like I read in Page to Screen or something they were just like, “Yeah, we just had a party.”

[Howl and Katy laugh]

Alison: They just put this music on and all the teenagers had a party, and it was great!

Michael: There apparently was a rumor going around that they were one particular band or a Wizard Rock band. They were not. They were actually pieces and parts of a bunch of different popular British bands that they cobbled together for it. And they could not legally refer to them as the Weird Sisters in the movie because apparently there was a Canadian band named the Weird Sisters, and they were going to seek out a lawsuit if they used the name.

Katy: Oh my gosh!

Michael: So in the extended clip, Flitwick introduces them, and he calls them “The band that needs no introduction.”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Howl: Clever Flitwick. Also, Flitwick crowd-surfing. Ugh, I love it.

Katy: Yes!

Alison: That is so funny, oh my gosh.

Michael: Yes, I believe Warwick…

Alison: I also love [that] there’s a shot of one particular girl at the beginning of it who’s just screaming her head off, and it is so funny.

Michael: She’s into it.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, and for you listeners who are curious, first of all, the hilarity of the Weird Sisters is that they are not sisters, they are men, according to Rowling. I was trying to think… The clever pun of this is that the Weird Sisters are named after the witches from Macbeth. And I’m wondering if part of that reference is because back in the day, back in Shakespeare’s time, men played all of the roles in Shakespeare plays.

Alison: Oh, that would be fun.

Michael: So I think that might be part of the joke that she’s getting at, notwithstanding the fact that these are clearly ’70s-esque hard-rockers. The fun thing about these guys, too… and you guys can actually click on all their names that I’ve got here in the Doc and you can see them.

Alison: I’m doing it right now. [laughs]

Michael: Because there are quite a few members of the Weird Sisters, including Heathcote Barbary, who is on rhythm guitar, Gideon Crumb, who plays the bagpipes, Kirley Duke, who is lead guitar, Merton Graves on cello…

Alison: I think his is my favorite card.

Michael: Merton Graves? Yeah, I love his big smile.

Alison: Yeah, he has the dorkiest face; it’s great.

Michael: Orsino Thruston is on drums, Donaghan Tremlett is on bass, Myron Wagtail is the lead singer, and Herman Wintringham is on lute.

Katy: Lute. Of course there’s a lute.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Katy: Amazing.

Michael: If you are curious, listeners, you can Google the Weird Sisters, and beyond finding the movie versions, you will be able to find their Wizard Cards, and they do all have pictures. They were revealed in the Harry Potter video games with all of their names. So that’s a fun little side note there about the Weird Sisters. I think some of the Weird Sisters are actually mentioned in some Pottermore materials.

Katy: I just realized that the cellist’s last name is Graves, like Fantastic Beasts.

Alison: [gasps] Graves is alive! He changed his name.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: Now we know.

Katy: He’s super old, but he’s still rocking out.

[Howl and Katy laughs]

Michael: Oh my God, that was such a twist. We’ve got to take that over to SpeakBeasty.

Katy: Yep.

Alison: Do it.

Michael: That’s good stuff.

Katy: What kind of name is Heathcote? That’s a new one on me.

[Michael laughs]

Howl: A great name.

Katy: It is great.

Alison: Mmm… Wuthering Heights.

Katy: Hey, I love Wuthering Heights.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Alison: Ugh, I hate it. They’re all terrible people. They have no redeeming qualities.

Katy: That is true, but… [laughs]

Michael: I’ve figured it out. It’s Kirley Duke, who is the lead guitarist. He is the son of Chaser Catriona McCormack, who played for Pride of Portree, so he gets his mention in Quidditch Through the Ages.

Alison: Oh, that’s what it is.

Michael: Yeah, so they are mentioned in extra canonical material. But turning to some more serious issues that are going on at this ball with our main characters, there seems to be a lot of commotion over in the corner with Ron and Hermione and Krum and Harry. So first of all, Katy, you had an interesting point about this argument that occurs.

Katy: Yeah, so when Ron goes to town on poor Hermione about going to the ball with Krum and fraternizing with the enemy and all this ridiculousness, it totally reminded me of Arthur going off on Percy in the next book about his promotion, which sends him packing, and he’s just like, “Screw all of you! You don’t understand me. You hate me. Whatever. Bye, I’m out.” And Ron basically says the same thing; he’s just like, “Krum only asked you out to spy on Harry. He doesn’t actually like you.” And I’m like, “Oh my God, Ron! Are you serious right now?”

[Michael laughs]

Katy: How does Hermione forgive him so quickly? By the next chapter they’re talking again, and they’re being polite and all this, and I’m like, “No.” If he said that to me, that boy would be on my [censored] list – sorry – for a good long while. That’s just not cool.

Michael: The funny thing is this is one of the rare instances where Hermione and Ron have a really big blowup, and this is one of the few times that the day afterward they decide just to table it and have this weird, polite awkwardness with each other, and they get over it. And that’s fascinating because we’ve never really seen that happen before, and it doesn’t really happen again. Every time they’ve argued before, they pretty much have a huge breakup, so to speak. This is that one time.

Katy: Yeah, maybe by the end of the night she thinks she’s said all that she needs to say, and he’s gotten as much out of what she said as he’s going to, and she just leaves it at that. But that was totally rude of him. I understand he’s feeling jealous and he’s just trying to take a dig at her, but that was a really low blow. But it also made me wonder, too, maybe this is not the first tirade that Arthur has gone on in the next book with Percy. Maybe Ron has heard this kind of talk at home before, and that’s where he has picked this up. I don’t know; I’m totally guessing here, but what would make him even think to say something like that?

Alison: I think it’s interesting in some regards, too, because this argument seems very childish to me, very much so. So I think it’s interesting that you draw these parallels because it’s almost like… He uses the phrase “fraternizing with the enemy.”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Alison: Ronald, honey. Oh dear.

Howl: Well, and also…

Alison: So it’s almost like Ron comes at this in a very childish way, and they both decide, “All right, this was stupid, said in a moment.” But when it happens with Percy and Arthur, Percy takes it seriously and gets really offended by it. And even when his mother comes knocking at his door and saying, “Percy, honey, this is dumb,” he won’t give up on it, and that almost says a lot about Percy. Because Percy and Ron have a lot of similarities, but maybe that’s a difference between them is what they decide to hold grudges on.

Michael: What were you going to add, Howl?

Howl: I was going to say, well, it’s really contradictory of Ron to say “fraternizing with the enemy” when he had asked out Fleur Delacour…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Howl: … or tried to do the exact same thing that he’s chastising Hermione for.

Katy: Burn.

Howl: And then also, Hermione comes over and she’s having a great time, and she’s like, “Oh, what’s wrong with you?” And he’s like, “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.” My goodness, Ron.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Howl: [unintelligible] from JK, because that’s a line that’s stereotypically attributed to women being dodgy with men, and here we have Ron turning the tables and using it on Hermione.

Katy: Ooh, good point.

Alison: It’s also a very teenager thing to say.

Howl: Oh yeah.

Michael: I also thought what’s fascinating about this argument, too, is that Ron really pulls Harry into it very quickly, much to Harry’s chagrin. But it’s funny because Ron does it in a way that… I know he’s using Harry as a shield to basically not talk about what is really going on. But it’s funny because he does it in a way that’s very affectionate toward Harry. And maybe again, this is coming fresh off of the LGBTQIA+ episode, but sometimes I think I forget just how… We’ve talked before about the idea of how Scorpius and Albus combat toxic masculinity in some ways, but Harry and Ron are close, like, really close. And I think we forget that sometimes, especially because these moments don’t come up in the movie. Ron doesn’t use Harry this way in the movie. Not as much. It’s really more obvious what’s going on in the movie. So I just thought that was an interesting point. And it’s great, too, because Harry’s one line in all of this is like, [as Harry] “Um, I’m fine with Hermione going out with Krum,” [back to normal voice] and nobody hears him.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Alison: Of course it’s not because Ron doesn’t want to talk about himself, so he’s going to go for “Well, look, you’re hurting your best friend.”

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Alison: And Harry is like, “No.” And Hermione is like, “No! Why would I do that? Harry knows what I think.” And Harry is like, “No.”

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Goodbye!

Michael: The big thing…

Howl: And also…

Michael: Oh, go ahead, Howl.

Howl: Ron accuses Hermione of cheating by suggesting that she gave Krum the answer to the riddle, and it’s like, “Wow! You are really going out for any excuse to be angry at Hermione right now.”

Michael: Low as he can go. And I think Harry’s biggest failing in this moment is, as usual in these instances… and he gives his reasoning in the narration that he’s just gotten back on good terms with Ron. He has his one moment of say, but he knows Hermione is right and he doesn’t school Ron in that.

Howl: #YesAllMen.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Naughty. Naughty, naughty Harry. So this also brings to mind… and this was mentioned in Episode 61, and this is an ongoing debate forever-and-a-half. And more and more as a reader, while I am very much one for canon pairings – and to me, Ron and Hermione is obvious, and this tension in that way shows that – more and more I give an olive branch to the Harry/Hermione shippers, mostly because as we’ve said, Ron takes his attacks on Hermione to the lowest, below-the-belt levels. And he does it a lot.

Howl: A lot.

Michael: This [is] really unacceptable behavior. And Hermione, while she does speak up, and she speaks back to him, she is also very forgiving of it on a lot of occasions. And it’s just very interesting to me that Rowling does write this extremely strong character in Hermione, and yet I still feel like there’s a lot about her and Ron’s relationship that’s problematic. Not necessarily in a way that could put their relationship completely out of the picture, but just that isn’t necessarily the healthiest. There is a little bit of an element of the “Oh, he’s pushing you into the mud. That means he likes you.” And it’s like, “That’s not healthy.” I don’t know how you guys feel about that.

Howl: It’s okay. He grows up to be a fuddy-duddy who owns a joke shop.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Alison: I like it. I think it’s…

Michael: Alison, are there boys pushing you in the mud? Because don’t let them.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Alison: No. No, [I would push them], actually. Let’s be real with ourselves.

Michael: [laughs] Good.

Alison: No, I was the bossy one. Most of the boys tried to… Anyway, that’s another story.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Alison: It was mostly [when] my fifth grade class tried to impeach me as class president, and I think it was mostly led by the boys because I was very bossy.

Michael: Goodness!

Katy: [laughs] That’s amazing!

Howl: Wow.

Katy: Impeached in fifth grade!

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Katy: I love it.

Alison: That’s a whole other story. But I like that they have some conflict and that they miscommunicate a lot, and the root of all their problems is their miscommunication and that neither of them really wants to say what they really feel. Because I think it’s a very genuine thing that happens sometimes. People are, in a lot of cases, very bad at saying what they feel. And Ron and Hermione are teenagers at this point, and so it’s even worse. [laughs] But I think the fact that they still come to love each other and find their way through that, even if they’re like, “We don’t know what we’re doing! Hormones! I like you, but I don’t know how to talk to you,” comes through a lot of what we get in the series. I like that they’re the ones that end up together.

Michael: I was going to say what you’re saying, especially with the hormones thing. Honestly, as much as we talk about these kinds of things, especially as a teenager, even when you think you’re doing you’re best, being a teenager is really messy. And having a full understanding of how to behave is not really your best forte yet.

Katy: No. [laughs]

Howl: Ugh, I did terrible things as a teenager.

[Michael laughs]

Katy: I think we all did. [laughs]

Alison: Didn’t we all? [laughs]

Howl: But I agree, though. I do believe this as a legit relationship, and it seems very real, especially the way that it’s written. But we know how JK feels about the topic of Ron/Hermione and whether or not they should’ve ended up together. But in this moment, yes, they are two teenagers awkwardly trying to navigate feelings, and Ron is doing a terrible job, and Hermione is doing not the greatest job, but she’s doing better. And when it comes to the end, they brush it under the rug [and] let it go. I think they both realize that they both had a little bit of egg on their face, and they were just like, “We can move past this as friends and keep going on.”

Katy: Yeah, I think the important distinction is that Ron, even though he’s being a jerk with some of his comments, is not being abusive. He’s not trying to tear her down like calling her ugly or saying she’s stupid or the things that Snape says to her, “bossy know-it-all,” this kind of thing.

Alison: He’s just angry.

Howl: And jealous.

Katy: Very.

Michael: That’s true.

Alison: Most of the ways he attacks is… he attacks Viktor. [laughs]

Michael: Mhm. I think the only sad thing about that is that he’s… despite not going after Hermione, he’s still puncturing her confidence, which is not nice. Because again, it’s your one moment. But to be fair as well, I think there’s a lot of elements of truth in that as well because honestly, listeners, if you were one of the people whose prom or dance or what-have-you went well, you’re one of the lucky few. So bless you for getting through that and having a great time, because guess what? Nobody else was.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And I think the thing that Rowling is playing off here is [that] really these kinds of things have so much expectation around them, and there is so much prim and properness around them that really it’s a lot to put on the shoulder of teenagers, and they’re bound to not enjoy themselves by the end of it. And that maybe this practice is really a bad idea.

Howl: Yeah, it was doomed to failure from the beginning.

Michael: Yes, well, these are very much the leftovers of those coming-outs that…

Alison: Like debutantes and…

Michael: … yes, that people would do. It’s very much like the leftovers of that. There’s clearly a pomp and circumstance around it, and that’s even the case with your typical high school prom or anything of the sort. Your king and queen and all this silly stuff that still generates controversy and discussion. So I think Rowling’s take on that is just like, “Get ready because that night’s going to suck.”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Howl: And this argument is happening in front of the entire crowd, basically. And then one of the Patil sisters who is the date is like, “Are you even going to dance with me?” And then, “No,” and so they just leave, like, “I’ve had enough.”

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yes, well, they are the two…

Alison: Another great line is when Padma is like, “Are you going to dance with me?” And Ron is like, “No.” And so she goes up to Parvati and the line is like, “The Beauxbatons boy brought one of his friends so fast, Harry thought he must have Summoned him.”

Howl: I love it.

Alison: I’m like, “Oh geez.”

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Howl: The Beauxbatons know how to treat the ladies!

[Katy laughs]

Michael: Yes. Smooth, smooth criminals. They were on it.

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Michael: They were ready for that. But outside of all of this entanglement…

Alison: Let’s go to a real downer.

Michael: … there’s some business going on…

Alison: Someone who really had a bad prom night.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: There’s definitely some mysterious business going on out in the grounds. Shout-out, by the way, to SpeakBeasty. If you’d like to know more about fairies – because they’re sprinkled all over the garden right now – head over to SpeakBeasty and explore one of the more recent episodes where we opened the Newtcase on fairies as the main animal topic of discussion. You can also find more in Fantastic Beasts. This is really their only moment in the series, mostly because they’re useless little creatures in Rowling’s world. They’re just there for aesthetic decoration. Also, fun story, the only other place they feature prominently in Harry Potter is in the Prisoner of Azkaban video game when you have to get their wings for a potion, and Hermione sets them on fire.

Katy: What?

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yes, but they’re horrible…

Howl: It’s canon.

Michael: … so there’s good reason for it. It’s canon.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: I mean, granted, there are still very little Yule Ball-type indiscretions going on in the bushes, which is hilarious. Thank you, Rowling. I think that is the…

Alison: And I love how she’s not clear about it.

Michael: No. I love it, though.

Alison: It’s just like, “Fleur and Davies seemed to be very occupied.” It’s like, “Oh, geez.”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: It’s funny because we were talking a lot on the last episode about depictions of sexuality in the Harry Potter series. There is some stuff going down in those bushes.

[Alison, Howl, and Katy laugh]

Michael: And it is quite obvious. My goodness.

Howl: Well-mannered frivolity, Michael. Well-mannered frivolity.

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Alison: But I love how Harry seems to have this freak-out. Harry is like, “I don’t want to look over there. I don’t want to go over there. I don’t want to do this. Why is this happening?”

[Howl and Michael laugh]

Alison: Harry is not okay with this right now.

Michael: “We could be seen by Hagrid or Maxime, or we could be in the way of everybody having a good time in the bushes.”

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Michael: I’ll just stand still because I don’t know what to do. Listeners, if you really want to see something with that, make sure, again, to stick in your second disk of Goblet of Fire, where they transferred the action in the bushes to the action in the Hogwarts carriages.

[Alison laughs]

Katy: Ooh.

Howl: What?

Michael: Yeah, they shake and they creak.

[Alison and Katy laugh]

Alison: I forgot about that. So cheesy.

Katy: Like the Titanic moment with the sweaty hand on…?

Michael: Basically. No, yeah, Harry goes out into the grounds by himself – Ron is not with him – and he goes out by the carriages that bring the students to Hogwarts. And as he walks out, he looks at [a carriage]. It shakes and creaks. And then Snape opens the carriage, and that’s where Fawcett and…

Alison: Rips open a door. It’s so good.

Michael: Yes, where Fawcett and Stebbins are. They’re in the carriage in that version. But speaking of Snape, Alison had some notes about him.

Alison: [laughs] They put Snape on chaperone duty.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Good idea? Bad idea? Jury’s out on that one.

Michael: Yeah, Dumbledore’s vindictiveness toward Snape knows no bounds, right?

[Howl and Katy laugh]

Howl: I like to think he volunteered so he wouldn’t be at the ball.

Michael: There you go.

Howl: Yes, I was just thinking he might’ve volunteered so he didn’t have to suffer through the ball.

Alison: Oh, there’s an idea. He gets to go punish students who are being happy.

Howl: Exactly.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Oh, look. His natural habitat.

[Katy laughs]

Alison: But Snape and Karkaroff have this conversation, and they’re talking about the Dark Mark. We don’t know that at this point, but that’s what they’re talking about. And Karkaroff is freaking out about it, and Snape says, “Then flee, and I will make your excuses.” How is Snape going to make excuses for Karkaroff without people being like, “There’s a Death Eater”?

[Michael laughs]

Katy: Hmm.

Alison: Maybe there’s a reason.

Michael: Well, Snape is obviously skilled in the art of lying. I’d say…

Alison: [sarcastically] What?

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: I’d say [he] and Dumbledore could come up with something because Dumbledore knows, so that’s not an issue, right? That could definitely be solved.

Alison: Okay. I was just trying to think of something he could’ve said.

Michael: I don’t know what he would’ve said. I mean, I don’t even know what the Durmstrang students were told when their headmaster high-tailed it. Granted, they didn’t seem too unhappy about it, so maybe they didn’t care.

Katy: They were doing all the rowing anyway, so what do they need him for? [laughs]

Michael: Yes. The other thing to note with that is that this is also the night that Snape and Dumbledore have a conversation, and Dumbledore says the “We Sort too soon” line.

Alison: Oh yeah.

Michael: Mhm. And Dumbledore points out Snape’s bravery for what he says to Karkaroff that night. So good job, Snape. This is one of your positive moments. And then you immediately ruin it by yelling at Harry and Ron.

Katy: For standing still. [laughs]

Michael: Yes, I love that. “Keep walking, then!”

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: Good comeback.

Alison: One of them says, “We’re just walking. It’s not a crime now, is it?”

Howl: Ron. Ron got sassy.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Who says that? Is it Ron? Yeah. Dang, Ron, get over it. Someone’s still angry. Someone’s taking risky behavior because he’s angry.

Michael: And I think Katy had a note for a particular moment.

Katy: Yeah, so this is when we first see Rita Skeeter in her Animagus form. And I remember the first time I read this book, I completely missed that. I think most people probably did. But that moment at the end when you find out, you’re like, “Oh my God!” And then on subsequent rereads, it’s just like, “Ugh, how did I miss it? That was important.” They made a point of talking about this beetle two or three times, staring at this beetle. Yeah, alarm bells should’ve been going off in my head, and they did not at all.

Michael: See, it’s things like these that cause the Mark Evans fiasco in Order of the Phoenix.

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Alison: Dang it, Jo.

Michael: Literally gets to the point where we’re supposed to be paying attention to the beetles crawling on statues. You know that’s going to drive us crazy.

Katy: [laughs] True.

Michael: No, it’s very well done. It is expertly done in this moment because Harry is looking for anything to distract him from what he’s hearing. It’s genius-ly set up, and then of course with the follow-ups, with the other moments where Harry, in some cases, does see the beetle and in other cases notices that Malfoy is talking to something in his hand, the water beetle in Herm-own-ninny’s hair… Very terribly clever. And speaking of what they’re overhearing, Howl, you wanted to talk a little bit about that?

Howl: Yeah, so just to cap off this evening of blunders and broken hearts, we have the conversation between Hagrid and Madame Maxime, which couldn’t have gone worse, really, for Hagrid, who was trying to bear his soul a little bit and connect with someone who he thought he had a kinship with. When I first read this, I was like, “Ugh, Madame Maxime is being such a jerk.” And then I thought about my own experiences of being “outed,” and I wonder if Madame Maxime in this moment was seeing a half-giant in Hagrid and then seeing it in herself and hating that part of herself, so she reacts very negatively and is almost in complete denial or delusion about who she is. I wonder if in her life before this moment she had passed as [a] full-blood wizard, or if people just didn’t talk about it and it was never mentioned, or if it’s something very sensitive to her that maybe she was made fun of [for] a lot, and that’s why she has such a strong reaction to Hagrid. But poor Hagrid just really didn’t know what was coming, and Madame Maxime’s reaction was really memorable to me, and it really stuck. And then we also have Ron’s reaction to the revelation that Hagrid and Maxime could be giants or half-giants. And we have Ron’s perspective as the everyday wizard’s perspective on giants in general. They’re vicious, savage, uncivilized. They need to be kept away from wizarding society, which we know isn’t necessarily true because we have Grawp as a good example of a giant who’s not totally vicious and savage and has a lot of tenderness and kindness in him. But Ron betrays this prejudice that wizards have and the reasons that Madame Maxime would be so offended or affronted by this information getting out.

Michael: Huh, I really like how you turned that on its head and gave it through Maxime’s perspective, because she doesn’t really come off very well in the moment. Hagrid doesn’t come off well, but that’s mostly because he’s being fairly indiscreet and not very suave.

Howl: And aloof, really.

Michael: Yes, that would definitely be the case. And it’s of course shown through Harry, who’s just like, [as Harry] “Oh my God, don’t say it. I know nothing about dating women, but don’t say that.”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Alison: I love those lines.

Michael: But yeah, no, that’s a really interesting way to alter the perspective, that there is so much prejudice and negative association with giants that maybe that’s not what she would want to talk about.

Howl: Well, and also we have this parallel that we’ve been touching on, especially regarding the previous episode, about this idea of queerness or what does it mean to be queer in the wizarding world. And we don’t have that prejudice of homophobia in the wizarding world, but here we have a good example of a form of prejudice against someone simply for who they are and how they were born. And I think that it’s interesting that we have Hagrid talking to Madame Maxime, confiding in her, and then Maxime rejecting that aspect of herself because we do find out canonically that she is indeed half-giant. But the fact that she’s in such denial of this deeply important part of her life that she blows up and takes it out on someone who was willing to confide the same secret with her…

Katy: Yeah, that’s a really good point.

Michael: And I think Rowling makes a point throughout the series that this attitude, these prejudices, and these stereotypes about people is what, in many ways, undoes wizarding society in their fight against Voldemort, [because] in some ways, they’re a lot like him and they need to stop that if they’re ever going to defeat him. There [are] a lot of prejudices that are built into their society and so many of these characters think they are so much better than Voldemort but in some ways they’re not, which is perfect for this particular book for that to be so prominent of a theme with Voldemort actually returning to full form. And it makes sense that it would be pushed so hard here compared to the other… It’s definitely introduced in the other books, but I think this is the book where it really becomes a big deal. There [are] a lot of layers going on in this chapter that this discussion has made me realize. And even [in] just the reread of this chapter for myself, I noticed how many important pieces are in that. So that said, I want to end this discussion by discussing the book versus movie adaptation because this is something I’m always floored by. Now, a lot of the fandom loves or hates Prisoner of Azkaban; depends on who you ask. If they hate Prisoner of Azkaban, it’s usually because of the Marauders storyline being dropped. Fans also hate Half-Blood Prince and it’s almost solely because of the Burrow getting put on fire and usually also about the memories being botched. That said, Goblet of Fire the movie seems to have a complete disregard for what’s important throughout the whole run time. And looking at what we’ve talked about just in this discussion, not even half of these things make it into this scene. And this scene is just given so much attention in the movie, and yet we don’t get a lot of what we just discussed. How do you guys feel about the Goblet of Fire adaptation of the Yule Ball? Because it is such a big moment in that movie.

Alison: I think they adapted it more as “the big prom event” than what it is in the book which is more of a… In the book, it’s more of a vehicle for all of these different things to come up. It’s a vehicle to learn all this information. It’s a vehicle for all these different ideas about Percy and Dumbledore and international communication and Ron and Hermione’s angst and all of these different things that are coming up, whereas the movie is more of just like, “Prom!”

[Michael laughs]

Alison: And to some extent, like I said, I think there are great moments in that, but it misses a lot of the deeper layers that happen during this big event that… In the book, the event is more of the setting rather than the focus of what’s happening. But in the movie, it’s the thing that’s happening at that moment.

Michael: And granted, the thing I can give the movie is it is visually dazzling. If you’ve ever opened up, as we mentioned before, listeners, Page to Screen, the work that went into making this scene, especially to making the Great Hall look the way it did, was insane.

Alison: The details on the sculptures and the food at the Studio Tour, if any of you have ever been there… oh my goodness. It’s one of the first things you come across in the Studio Tour and I just stand there and stare at it every time because I’m like, “Look at it. Ooh.”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Plus, pretty much the whole cast had to learn how to dance. And to his credit, Daniel Radcliffe learned the little he had to do in about a day’s time because he was off set for a lot of it.

Katy: Oh wow.

Michael: Which, as he argued, was just fine because he wasn’t supposed to dance well anyway.

[Howl, Katy, Michael laugh]

Alison: Well, and the costuming is gorgeous.

Michael: I think Katy has something to say about that.

[Katy laughs]

Alison: Well, I’ve got things, but if any of you have seen at Universal Studios Hollywood, I think it’s actually… Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang… it’s the actual dress. But it doesn’t say anything about it. It’s just in a corner in a shop, and I saw so many people walk past it, and I was like, “I think that’s the real one.” [laughs] Like, “Hmm, okay?” And it’s just beautifully detailed.

Michael: I’m still waiting for Universal Studios to sell Harry’s dress robes because I want them.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: They sell Hermione’s dress, but they don’t sell any of the male dress robes. And those things are sharp! Dang, I want those!

[Alison laughs]

Katy: They sell her dress?

Michael: They do.

Alison: For kids. It’s just for little kids.

Katy: Ooh, lame.

Alison: Which makes me mad because I think it’s a pretty dress.

Howl: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You can do it. I believe in you.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: No, it’s not going to happen. [laughs]

Katy: You overestimate my craftiness.

Howl: The designs for this scene are so good, and the only thing that rivals it is from my favorite movie which is the Half-Blood Prince. Slughorn’s party, I felt, was so visually correct, and I think that the Yule Ball was so visually correct, and in the film I think they handled it as best they could as far as pacing goes because it’s almost as if you’re at the dance. It’s very fast paced; everything is kind of coming all at once. There is a lot of visual spectacle. I think if they had put in these sort of “down time” character moments, it might have slowed things down a little bit. And in the movie it was more like, “Rock and roll, y’all. Run and dance.” And then you have the big climax of Hermione and Ron.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: I think the thing that really irks me about how much focus is put on Hermione and Ron is that poor Hermione and Ron are so useless in the movie versus the book. Literally, by the end of the movie they have nothing to do and so to dwell on them as long as the movie does, I guess, is surprising. And it’s interesting because clearly there was a cut of the movie where the more integral pieces were there, as evidenced by the scene that’s cut of Snape and Karkaroff. And Maxime and Hagrid’s plot doesn’t even make it into the movie…

Howl: Ugh, it’s a tragedy.

Michael: … which is funny because that breaks down Rita Skeeter’s purpose, so she has no purpose in the movie. And the Crouch stuff is a giant mess; this amazing intricate mystery is completely parsed down to a tongue flick to deal with the problem. And so really there’s no mystery in Goblet of Fire; there’s nothing going on except the spectacle. And so I’m just always surprised at that because people target the other movies because they drop major story elements, but Goblet of Fire doesn’t really get targeted in the same way by the fandom for that reason, which I’m always surprised at because the ball is such a huge focus, and aside from the important scenes, it’s almost filmed verbatim of what happens in the book. It’s just really, really long. And then afterward there is this huge tonal change and then the movie is just like, “Oh yeah, there is a tournament going on, whatever.”

[Alison, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Katy: Yeah, I think they did a good and a bad… It’s a good job because it makes you remember when you were that age going to balls or proms or dances or whatever, and Hermione crying at the end is, like, 90% of girls.

Alison: And taking the heels off.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: That’s the thing [where] I’m like, “Yes!”

Katy: The music [is] playing, and I’m like, “I feel you, girl! I was you; I was there! I didn’t even have the Viktor Krum, so you still did better than I did!”

[Michael laughs]

Howl: That’s a change from the books, right? Because Hermione just tells Ron off and then leaves. But in the movie she actually is left off on the stairs crying, which I think [is an] interesting change.

Michael: Yes, Hermione loses a little more in the movies.

Alison: Yeah, but I feel like the tension and that explosion, it’s not as… not “satisfying,” but there is not as much tension in their argument. It’s so short and they don’t keep going after each other. Ron is just surly and Hermione cries. [laughs] And there’s none of this getting really angry at each other and going back and forth.

Michael: No, yeah, I think it’s a little more one-sided, and unfortunately, I think in the way that it’s filmed Hermione ends up coming off a little crazy, actually. She comes off a little crazed. It’s actually one of my favorite moments from Emma. And the camera work is really good in that moment, too, when she’s chasing him out of the Great Hall and the way she delivers the “Well, you know the solution then, don’t you?” And it’s just like she and the camera are chasing Ron, and it’s excellently done. But really, Ron gets the last laugh because he calls her mental as they’re walking up the stairs. And she just sits there, crying, by herself. And I do think she loses in that version. I hate that because I don’t think it properly portrays what the book is… [In] the book, she wins, I’d say. Ron loses phenomenally in the book.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Mike Newell was very accustomed to doing a lot of more romantic comedy type movies and romantic dramas. I think that might have been where that came from. He didn’t really have as much of a grasp on Ron or Hermione in his version because, again, they’re pointless in the movie. Bless their hearts. So yeah, it doesn’t come off quite the way I was hoping. But it’s pretty. [laughs]

Katy: But I will never, ever forgive that they changed the color of her dress. Ever.

Alison: [sighs] Yeah. I’m mad about it too.

Michael: We should all never forgive that.

Howl: They actually gave her Pansy Parkinson’s dress, right?

Alison: Yeah.

Katy: They changed pretty much everybody’s.

Howl: Except Ron’s.

Katy: Well, Parvati’s was still hot pink, I think, but it was described differently.

Michael: Well, in the books, the girls are wearing robes.

Katy: Right.

Alison: Yeah, everybody is in robes.

Michael: I think the one thing they kept for Hermione is the flow-y quality of her dress. Because if you look at it, it’s got those layered pieces on top of the dress that give it that floaty quality. But yeah, it’s pink.

Katy: Boo.

Alison: Which, if you guys have ever seen [it], people have edited it to be blue, and it’s so much prettier.

Katy: What? I want to see that.

Michael: It looks really nice blue.

Alison: [sighs] It’s gorgeous. And also, then I would want the dress even more, though. So maybe it’s a good thing because I don’t really wear pink, and if it [were] actually blue and they sold it in blue, I’d be like, “I want it.”

Katy: Gimme, gimme, gimme. Although, I was super mad because having read the book before seeing the movie, I went to the midnight premiere of the film wearing a formal blue dress, and nobody got it.

Michael: [laughs] Oh, no.

Katy: Nobody got it. Except maybe my friend that I was with, but everybody else just looked at me like I was crazy.

Michael: I was going to say, by that time the marketing had really already pushed her in the pink dress.

Katy: Yeah.

Michael: Aww. I would have gotten it, Katy.

Katy: I know you would.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, the person to attribute that to is Jany Temime, the costume designer. And to her credit, the reason that occurs is because from Prisoner onward, Temime decided that there was going to be a very fixed color scheme for the three of them. Oddly, she chose pink for Hermione. Her explanation for it is a little shaky. It’s basically just that Hermione is…

Howl: A girl.

Michael: Yeah, pretty much. It’s that she’s letting her girly side out in her clothing. And I was like, “Ugh, I don’t like that.”

Katy: No.

Alison: That doesn’t mean it has to be pink.

Michael: Unfortunately, that lends to a very stereotypical association with pink. But Harry is predominately blue, and so that was another reason she didn’t give Hermione blue. And Ron has more of these…

Alison: Is maroon.

Michael: Well, yeah. He ends up getting these very brownish, orange-ish tones because she thought that the Weasleys were very associated with earthy things because of how the Burrow is and that it’s more of a farm home. So that’s how Ron ended up with what he got. And you’ll see it. You can see it in many shots, especially when the three of them stand together. You can see their prominent colors. And yes, Hermione’s is pink.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

[Alison sighs]

Michael: But yes. At the very least, we have Photoshop out there to help fix that for some of us. But with that, that’s the night, the Yule Ball. This ball sucked. Nobody’s happy.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Except for Dumbledore, who’s having a huge laugh over at the staff table.

Howl: He’s having a great time.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Alison: Yeah, Dumbledore is having a day. He’s loving it.

[Katy and Michael laugh]

Katy: So listeners, for the Podcast Question of the Week, we’re going to ask you about Hermione. In this chapter, Hermione finally has her big moment of transformation and confidence boosting. However, by the chapter’s end, Ron has mostly ruined her evening. We are wondering: Is Hermione let down not only by Ron (as well as Harry), but also by the narrative and Rowling’s writing? We would love to hear your comments on this topic, so just head over to our main site and post away.

Alison: And we just want to start wrapping it up by thanking Howl for being such a wonderful guest. Thank you so much for joining us on this episode.

Howl: You’re welcome. It was so much fun.

[Michael laughs]

Katy: You were great. Yay.

Howl: Dream come true.

Michael: Oh, good.

Alison: Aww.

Michael: None of the other characters had fun at the Yule Ball, but did you have fun?

Howl: I had a great time.

[Michael laughs]

Katy: That’s all that’s important. [laughs]

Michael: Howl, you had mentioned at the top of the show about your upcoming Dungeons & Dragons being released to the public. Do you know where that’s going to be put out for people to access?

Howl: Follow me on Twitter at @TheBareboneBoy, and information will be posted there when it launches.

Michael: Nice.

Katy: That’s a great username, by the way.

Howl: I am a huge fan of Ezra Miller.

Katy: Nice.

Michael: Oh, really? I couldn’t have gathered from that.

[Howl, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Howl: I love it. I love it. I love it.

Alison: I’m amazed you snagged that one.

Howl: Yeah, me too.

Michael: Yeah, that’s a good one. That’s a very good one.

Howl: What can I say?

Michael: Well, thank you again, Howl, for joining us on the episode. You were definitely a great contributor for this particular chapter.

Howl: Aww, thank you. My pleasure.

Michael: And listeners, for our next upcoming show, we’re still working on it. We have a plan because we’re going to be doing something a little special. Because actually, for those of you who have already figured it out, our next episode’s release should land around…

Alison: [sings] MuggleNetLIVE!

Michael: It’s not exactly on there, but around there. And of course, you’ve probably also heard from the millions of times we’ve mentioned MuggleNetLIVE on the show, that we will all be in attendance at the event.

Alison: [sings] MuggleNetLIVE!

Michael: So be on the lookout for that. But in the mean time, we are looking for topics, actually, from you. And Alison is going to tell you a little more about that.

Alison: Yeah, if you want to submit a topic, just go to our Topic Submit page on our main site, Go give us topics to talk about.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yes, I can’t stress that enough. Listeners, we know you’re suggesting ideas on our Twitter as well as in the main site comments, but you have to go to the Topic Submit page because we only have so many eyes. [laughs]

Alison: And we want to be organized. [laughs]

Michael: Yes, please.

Alison: Put them all in one place. And remember, if you suggest a topic, you can request to be on that topic. Come talk to us about something cool in Harry Potter you’ve realized.

Alison and Michael: Please.

Alison: [whispers] Talk to us. [back to normal voice] And you don’t need anything fancy, just basic headphones with a microphone and you’re all set. So come talk to us. [whispers] Come do it.

Katy: And if you want to contact Alohomora!, you can do that on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN. On Facebook, we are at Our main website is, and you can email us at

Michael: And a friendly reminder one more time to check out our Patreon. We want to again thank our sponsor Kat Tatara for this particular episode. Thank you once again, Kat, for helping us out with this episode.

Katy: Yay, Kat.

Michael: Different Kat from our Kat. And you listeners can also sponsor the show at You can sponsor us for as low as $1 a month, and it really, truly does help us out here on the show. Because now that we’ve got a main discussion and a recap that we release as two separate files, that’s a lot more space we take up on our Libsyn account. So it really helps us out to host all these files because we want to make sure to do recaps so we can include your thoughts [and] your comments because you’ve left such great ones on our shows. And we want to make sure that these shows are still as much about you as they are are about Harry Potter. So thank you once again for helping us out with that on But this night was a bust, and I didn’t even get to dance with Harry Potter, so I’m out.

[Katy laughs]

Alison: [sings] “So don’t let this magic die, don’t be afraid, no, just look in her eyes.”

[Howl, Katy, and Michael laugh]

Michael: You see the high-heeled shoe just tumbling down the stairs.

Howl: I’m holding up a lighter over here.

Alison: Do I know every word to all of those songs? Yes.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, I’m Michael Harle.

[Show music begins]

Katy: I’m Katy Cartee Haile.

Alison: And I’m Alison Siggard. Thank you for listening to Episode 227 of Alohomora!

Katy: [in a French accent] Open ze Dumblydore!

[Show music continues]

Katy: [sings] “Working my way back to you, babe, with a burning love inside. Yeah, I’m working my way back to you, babe.” Oh my God. He could hear me that whole time I was talking to him. [laughs]