Transcript – Episode 23

[Show music begins]

Noah Fried: This is Episode 23 of Alohomora! for February 24th, 2013.

[Show music continues]

Noah: Hey, everybody. I’m Noah Fried.

Laura Reilly: I’m Laura Reilly.

Caleb Graves: And I’m Caleb Graves. And we are joined by our special guest, who’s been with us a couple of times, Michael Harle from MuggleNet Fan Fiction’s Audiofictions podcast. Say hello, Michael.

Michael Harle: Hi, everybody. This is the first time I’m on that I’m scheduled to be here, [laughs] so this is very exciting. I was pretty determined to get these chapters of Prisoner of Azkaban because Lupin is my all-time favorite character from the series, and I actually… I was so thrilled when I found out from JK Rowling’s site that his birthday is actually the day after mine. So, that made it even better.

Noah: Yeah, yeah. He’s kind of a tragic character in the series but, yeah, a hero in his own right. A Gryffindor.

Michael: Yeah.

Noah: Before we continue, I would just like to remind everyone who is listening now that we are analyzing Chapters 7 and 8 of Prisoner of Azkaban today, and for maximum satisfaction of this podcast, we suggest reading the chapters before listening to the episode. So before we jump into it, if you haven’t read the chapters, do it. And then you can comment on the forums and follow along with us on this great reread that we’re doing with everyone around the world. So yeah, did you guys enjoy these chapters this week?

Caleb: I did. It was good to be back on schedule since I’ve been out for a while. It’s good to be back reading and back on the show.

Noah: Caleb, where have you been?

Caleb: Well, two episodes ago I was gone because I was at inauguration here in DC. It was inauguration weekend.

Noah: That’s important.

Caleb: Last time I had to go home for something with family, so… but I’m back now, and we’re going to jump right into the comments for last week’s episode… or not last week, two weeks ago by the time you hear this. I wasn’t on, but it was a really great episode. I listened back, and there were a ton of great comments but picked a few to go over. The first one actually came to us through our email. This is from Ellie, she emails us from Canada, and it’s on the topic of Dementors. And Ellie says:

“If Dementors make you relive all your worst memories, can they potentially be used as rehabilitation for people like Lockhart who have lost their identities through memory charms? You were talking about if there were ‘happy Dementors’ to be used as a rehab for criminals. Maybe they could be used for those St. Mungo’s patients who need to regain their identities. Or for people like the Longbottoms, so they at least wouldn’t have to wallow in their misery all the time.”

Noah: Wow, that is actually a very creative comment. I mean, it makes sense, but I feel once the memories were Obliviated from Lockhart, I don’t think he could even relive those memories because they’re pretty much erased.

Caleb: Mhm, right.

Noah: And beyond that…

Michael: I think it’s so funny that… at the end of Deathly Hallows, Rowling said in an interview that Hermione went and put her parents’ memories back even though she performed a memory-erasing charm on them. But… and maybe it was because Lockhart’s memory charm was so corrupt because he used Ron’s wand. But there have been other cases mentioned where it’s like if a memory is gone, it’s kind of gone.

Laura: Maybe because usually when people erase people’s memories they’re doing it for the purpose of erasing them; they don’t want them to come back, whereas Hermione… so maybe they do have the option, they just choose not to because they did it for a reason.

Michael: So there’s a Dark Magic version of erasing memories?

Laura: Well, I just… I think… yeah, it has that purpose of erasing the memories, and maybe it’s able to be reversed by the person that cast it, but who’s going to do that if they’re trying to erase the memories? Whereas Hermione, she was erasing it not because she wanted to but because she had to.

Noah: But if the memories can come back in some capacity, as it seems to be proven because Jo said that Hermione got her parents’ memories back, where do those memories go in the meanwhile? Are they contained somewhere? Or are they… as opposed to erased, are they just kind of downplayed within the mind? How does that even work?

Laura: Thinking of the way the Pensieve works, where they kind of extract the memory with the wand… and I know in the movie they make it very visual, like it’s an actual, tangible thing. But maybe it’s something like that, whereas the person that casts the spell, those memories kind of get stored, maybe, in their wand, and that’s why they’re able to put it back, should they choose, like Hermione does. If that makes any sense.

Michael: There’s the other issue, too, that memories can be altered by the person themselves who holds those memories, like with Slughorn.

Caleb: Right.

Noah: Right.

Michael: So if you’ve distorted a memory and, I don’t know, the caster is unaware of that or that memory hasn’t been preserved elsewhere… because Slughorn was able to choose to unblock the memory, but there’s that issue, too, of warping your own memories. And I suppose if that’s Obliviated, can you get that back?

Caleb: So you guys had a pretty good discussion last episode about the issue of James Potter and why he becomes Head Boy even though he wasn’t a Prefect. There were a lot of good theories and discussion on the forums, but I picked one that came from the main site from rebeccatheravenclaw and she says:

“It is said by Hermione in HBP (when Harry receives the Gryffindor team captaincy) that Harry now has equal status as Ron and Hermione, who are both Prefects. She says, ‘…and you get to use our special bathroom and everything!’ This, I believe, is how James was able to become Head Boy. He became Gryffindor Captain and that allowed him to sidestep the Prefect prerequisite to became Head Boy. I can’t remember if there is a passing reference to James being the Gryffindor Captain in the books (or if somehow I’ve just automatically gotten that impression) but I tried to factcheck, and on the HPL they don’t mention him ever being Captain, though on the Harry Potter Wiki they say he was indeed Captain. So there are some conflicting reports on this it seems.”

And yeah, I think that… I don’t think we ever really get confirmed that James is Captain. I think it would make sense, but I kind of thought that was an interesting way of looking at it, as a way of ascending to the Head Boyship.

Noah: Right, because we were saying since he wasn’t a Prefect…

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: …how could he possibly just become Head Boy? So that makes sense.

Laura: I imagine someone like a Hermione, who probably thinks the Head Girl or Head Boy status is something that should be achieved through all the work done as a Prefect… I can imagine that if that Head Boy title was given to someone who is just the Gryffindor Team Captain, I imagine someone like Hermione really having a problem with that.

Caleb: I’m sure.

Laura: I think it’s interesting that they do achieve that same status because it’s athleticism versus academics and good character.

Noah: And merit. Oh, wow.

Michael: Well, but if you’re the Captain of the Quidditch team, you have to have leadership skills…

Caleb: Yeah.

Michael: …to successfully lead your team. So there is…

Caleb: If you think about Wood, he definitely exhibits those.

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: Wood is a good example, but now think of the Slytherin Captain who is…

Caleb: But Slytherin is always a different example.

[Michael laughs]

Laura: I guess.

Caleb: When you think about Pansy Parkinson being a Prefect, I mean…

Laura: That’s true.

Noah: And Slytherins just have different ideas about leadership, so it would make sense that the Slytherin captain of the Quidditch team could also be a Prefect or Head Boy within Slytherin because they have different values.

Caleb: Right.

Laura: That’s true.

Michael: There was a really… I just wanted to mention quickly, there was a really good comment in your forums by Firebolt who said he’s actually had experience with this, being in Scotland, but that Head Boys are usually something different from Prefects and there are actually different expectations of the two and that teachers tend to choose people who have more character, charisma, and that they have a closer relationship with. On top of the fact that James might have been the Quidditch captain or not, that is not confirmed, but if you combine that as well he actually does in the end probably have the requirements of a Head Boy when you think about it.

Laura: I believe I have read somewhere that JK Rowling was a Head Girl in school.

Noah: Really?

Laura: I read that the other day. I don’t know how much validity there is to it.

Caleb: I also really like… so the next comment is really quick, it is from the forums rather. It is from Snuffles quickly responding to the Head Boy thing. He says:

“Or maybe he just took matchmaking to a whole new level.”

Meaning Dumbledore set up James to be Head Boy just so that he could matchmake him and Lily.

[Michael laughs]

Noah: Wow.

Caleb: I guess the case would be finalize that, since it had already sort of started.

Noah: Well, Dumbledore is really planning on this whole Harry adventure from the beginning, wasn’t he?

Caleb: Right.

Laura: Yeah, I always thought it was interesting that Ron is eventually selected to be Prefect and such because there are more people in better standing than him. But…

Michael: Yeah, what’s up with Dean and Seamus?

Laura: I think Dumbledore had ulterior motives in this.

Michael: Oh, yeah.

Noah: [laughs] Dean and Seamus.

Michael: Dean and Seamus were probably much better students than Ron. [laughs]

Caleb: Hmm, not Seamus. He blows everything up.

Michael: That’s in the movie.

Noah: That’s movie canon.

Caleb: I still think that would…

[Laura and Michael laugh]

Caleb: …probably be the case. I think Dean would be a good Prefect, but…

Noah: Well, who is making the call? McGonagall?

Caleb: Probably.

Noah: She has a soft spot for Ron, clearly.

Caleb: Right. All right, so our next comment comes from the forums from one of our moderators, Ali Wood, and it is on the topic of Hermione and not liking Professor Trelawney. And Ali says:

“I actually think Hermione might have learned her lesson second year about teachers, and therefore, when confronted with this new teacher who she can see right through, she starts bashing her (for want of a better word). We see later that Hermione doesn’t hate Trelawney, she just thinks she’s ‘a right old fraud.’ Poor Hermione is now skeptical of anyone who can’t show her proof of their great deeds because she was so deceived by Lockhart.”

Laura: I have to disagree with this because I think Hermione’s distaste for this whole subject is less to do with Trelawney as a person and is more to do with the art of Divination because you see she gets visibly upset when it is like this isn’t something that books aren’t going to be able to help you. So I think her fascination with Lockhart was largely… we have talked about this, that she was in love with him because of all the amazing things she thought he did. But I think her not liking Trelawney has more to do with Trelawney not being like, “You are brilliant, most brightest witch of your age.” She is saying, “Oh, you are not very good at this.”

Noah: That is true.

Caleb: But I think that it works hand in hand with what Ali is trying to say because, yes, that is the reason why she was sort of enamored by Lockhart in the beginning, but then she realized by the end that he was a fraud, and that sort of works…

Laura: Mhm.

Caleb: …with her not being able to have a concrete attachment to Divination and Trelawney.

Laura: That’s true.

Michael: Well, and I think people were citing that – because there was a huge debate going on about that in the forums and about Hermione’s view on Lockhart versus Trelawney – and I think people cited it because Hermione adamantly refused to see any faults in Lockhart, and… for the entire year, even though Harry and Ron were pointing out everything that was wrong with him, and…

Caleb: Right.

Michael: …Lockhart wasn’t really doing much to… it was pretty easy to figure out he wasn’t good at anything. But I guess you could also argue the fact that Hermione kind of cites books as the source.

Noah: Right.

Michael: So it’s like Lockhart had published… as some people pointed out in the forums, Lockhart has published works, and I guess Hermione just can’t bring herself to believe that a book would lie.

Noah: Would lie to her.

[Michael laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Noah: We have to… I think it’s a different experience, though. I’d kind of agree with you, Laura. With Lockhart, it was because – as you say, Michael – all these books, she takes books to be facts, so she thought and fully believed that he had done all those things he did. So of course after that, she was… maybe she grew a little bit. But I think her issue with Trelawney – in addition to what you said, Laura – it’s also a matter of pride because…

Laura: Mhm.

Noah: …she was told that, you cannot… you’re not as good at this, and I think she… maybe she won’t say it, but I think she thrives on this teacher attention and the fact that, “You are smart.”

Laura: She also can’t do anything to rectify it, really, because if you’re bad at a certain subject, you can try harder and study harder, but she’s saying, “You don’t even possess the Inner Eye.”

Noah: Right, right. This is something…

Laura: So that’s… no matter how hard she would try…

Noah: Exactly. So it’s not a matter of hard work that she can learn, it’s something that you have to possess inherently, which she doesn’t understand or doesn’t believe in.

Laura: And we learn later, farther down in the book, that her biggest fear is failure because that’s what her Boggart turns into.

Michael: Mhm.

Laura: But…

Michael: Well, and I think it’s also perfectly mirrored right after their first lesson when they go see McGonagall and she not-so-subtly discusses her distaste for Divination because it isn’t a solid subject. And we’ve seen Hermione before have a distaste for things that she can’t learn from books. Like in Book 1, she doesn’t… she’s very shocked at the fact that she can’t learn how to fly from a book, so she grows to have a great distaste for flying and Quidditch.

Noah: Mhm.

Michael: And so, yeah, she does tend to immediately reject things that cannot be learned from books, so… and then I think that’s perfectly reflected in… her and McGonagall pretty much share outlooks, I think, on teaching and on subjects that are worth learning.

Noah: Right. No, they are very similar characters.

Caleb: All right, and the last recap comment comes on the topic more in general of teachers, and it’s in the forums from suprememugwump, and the comment says:

“Hogwarts has a lot of really bad teachers. Flitwick can’t control a class, Snape is horribly biased, Hagrid (and, apparently, Kettleburn) bring lethal beasts to class, Binns’ classes are always asleep, Trelawney is a fake, Lockhart’s idea of teaching is talking about himself, and Umbridge’s classes involve nothing but reading. Now, I know some of the people I’ve named here are villains, and so have to be bad teachers as well as being bad themselves. But it seems like McGonagall, Lupin, and Sprout are the only good teachers we see. So I think it would be really cool for Caleb to do a special feature evaluating the teachers of Hogwarts – whether they would be hired in a Muggle school (assuming they all had teaching certificates) and if any would be fired.”

[Noah laughs]

Caleb: So I ran across this comment, and obviously the comment comes to me because I’m a high school teacher right now. So… I mean, we won’t take it to a whole special feature, maybe we can expand this in the future, but I love this comment.

[Noah laughs]

Caleb: Had not really thought about it before, but obviously that is… yeah, there are so many teachers who aren’t villains but are not really fantastic teachers. I had not really thought about the fact that Flitwick is… as far as the classes we see from him are not managed very well. He does not have good classroom management. But I think he may get… when it came time for administration – or in this case maybe Professor Dumbledore, or Professor McGonagall since she’s the equivalent of an assistant principal I guess – that he may get docked a little bit on his evaluation for classroom management.

Noah: Wow. Flitwick, I never thought. I hadn’t considered him.

Michael: I like Flitwick’s classes just because his are more hands-on than everybody else’s.

Caleb: True, but he still has… it seems like he has a little… he struggles a little bit with classroom management. The thing you like with a teacher mindset, you definitely want to have them kinesthetically engaged but you don’t… there’s also the element of keeping them under control, and I think actually really, looking through this list, the teacher that I think does it the very best, who we see consistently, is Professor Sprout. I really think she is one of the better teachers at the school because she obviously is always very hands-on. She brings in instruction, she uses background knowledge, and she also has a very good grip on the classroom management aspect. I think McGonagall does also, but I think Sprout does a better job of being more… I think McGonagall is very old school in that she is the classroom leader and she instructs herself, whereas Sprout brings the students into the learning process.

Noah: But Caleb, what about Professor Sprout’s ethical practices?

Caleb: Noah, that is just you, so…

[Michael laughs]

Noah: I think the jury is still out on that one. I’m just saying the ethical practices of these teachers are involved as well as should these teachers be effective? Would they be effective in real life? I mean, McGonagall turns a pig into a desk and then possibly back again. That’s unethical.

Laura: We’re going to get to Snape’s animal torture later.

Noah: Sprout has the Mandrakes…

Caleb: I think Snape would get good evaluations as a teacher, even though he does seem a little biased. But if an administrator or Dumbledore was in there, he does… I think he’s a good teacher.

Michael: [laughs] Well, I don’t think so.

Noah: He nearly poisons Neville’s frog.

Caleb: I absolutely think he’s a good teacher because he keeps them… he’s not just teaching them out of the book, he’s making them be hands-on, he evaluates them on their practical skills…

Michael: But he’s so biased that he picks on certain students if they’re inadequate. [laughs] That’s… he doesn’t just tell… redirect them or help them, he just yells at them. [laughs] That’s not good teaching.

Noah: Yeah, and…

Caleb: Hmm, I don’t think he… I disagree. I don’t think he yells that much. I think he definitely is biased in some cases, but thinking the way he would probably teach a Ravenclaw- and Hufflepuff-filled Potions class, I don’t think we would see the deep grudge that he holds to Harry and often his Gryffindor pals. I think it would be at least lighter. I’m…

Noah: Caleb, if I may, in this chapter doesn’t he find that Neville is not producing a good potion and then nearly has him feed it to…

Caleb: Yeah, but you also have to think. Magic… a magical school is a little different. I mean, when I’m teaching…

Noah: Are you assuming that Snape was going to save that toad…

Laura: Wait, I want to hear that sentence be finished.

[Michael laughs]

Caleb: I’m thinking the level of where that goes is different in a magic school, just like the punishments are different in a magic school – like going into the Forbidden Forest versus a detention in a classroom. You have to think about the scale of things.

Laura: Now, can I just bring up… is Dumbledore doing a disservice… assuming Dumbledore does the hiring, I think he does.

Michael: Yeah, he does.

Laura: Is he doing a disservice to the students by making biased hirings? He hires Hagrid, kind of, because he’s a friend, he hires… I mean, Lupin is a good teacher, that’s one thing, but he is a friend. He keeps Trelawney around, he keeps Snape around. All these professors, he’s hiring for personal reasons. Not all of them.

Michael: Well, I think that issue does come up because as a lot of people mentioned in the forums and as was mentioned in that comment by suprememugwump, there is no… as far as we know, there is no way to get a teaching certification. Like you go to Hogwarts, and I assume if you wanted to do that you’d probably do something through the Ministry, but it doesn’t strike me that anybody has a teaching certificate. McGonagall didn’t. She just, kind of, decided to not do her job at the Ministry because it was boring, so she wrote to Dumbeldore and said, “Hey, can I have the job?” Lupin did the same thing when he found the ad. I think that’s kind of what Dumbledore has to do because I think they purely go on personal experience that they know these people have. I mean, maybe you bring in a resume and just say the things you’ve been up to while you’re not at Hogwarts in your interim years. But I think that’s really all you can do. I think that’s really all Dumbledore was able to do, was just look at people he knew had good credentials and were also good students.

Laura: Well, maybe that has something to say to the fact that all these people are good wizards but not necessarily good teachers.

Michael: Yeah. I think that’s true.

Caleb: But it’s a very good thought and we don’t have enough time to go into each teacher. So what I think I will do, suprememugwump – since you called on me to do this – is I think I’m going to write an article or something that we can post on MuggleNet and Alohomora!. My teacher evaluations.

Noah: Sounds good.

Caleb: So thanks for filling that in.

Laura: All right, so I think now we’re going to discuss our special feature from last week, which was the Unspeakables, where we went into detail about what makes a Dementor a Dementor, and this comment that comes from our forums is from Hufflepffskein and it says:

“When you guys were talking about the Dementor on the train, you were mentioning all the people in the compartment that they were attracted to for their negative memories but you didn’t mention the Horcrux within Harry. A little bit of Voldemort was in that compartment too.”

And I think that’s a really good point, is that there is a little bit of Voldemort within Harry, and Voldemort is most wanted apart from Sirius Black, that the Dementors would come crawling right towards him.

Noah: Yeah, I wonder if the Dementors can sense that Voldemort was inside him.

Michael: Were they going after that piece of Voldemort because Voldemort is the most wanted or because Voldemort kind of calls out to them because he’s…

Noah: Right.

Michael: …all complete uber-evil? I mean, I know the Dementors… that’s the other thing worth mentioning, is the Dementors, it is implied, were going to every compartment. So, it wasn’t just their compartment that ended up with a Dementor examining it. But the fact that the Dementor did seem to have such a hold over their compartment and wouldn’t leave, I think that is definitely something worth noting, the fact that Harry is a Horcrux.

Laura: Right, and the movie adaptation of this, I feel like, warps my mind of this a little bit because in the books they do make it clear that the Dementor kind of just moves through every compartment. It never makes it seem like he’s preying on Harry and the way it looks in the movie where it looks like he’s sucking his soul out.

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: It could have just been that it affected Harry more than the rest of them.

Noah: Well, is it because of the pain that’s inherent in Harry because of the loss he’s suffered? Or is it because of the piece of Voldemort’s soul inside of him?

Laura: I think it has to do with the loss that he’s suffered, but the thing is that Neville is in the compartment with him. Neville has suffered a great deal, also. And I know we debate on who has suffered more and stuff, but I think the fact that Harry has Voldemort inside of him certainly isn’t helping.

Noah: Right.

Laura: It may not be the reason, but it may be a factor.

Noah: And here’s another question – just interesting – that someone brought up in the forums – I don’t know where – but if a Dementor gives Harry the Dementor’s Kiss, does that take out Voldemort’s soul, piece of soul, as well as Harry’s soul? And is that a way to kill a Horcrux?

Michael: Oh my God.

Noah: Or does the Dementor become a Horcrux? [laughs]

Michael: Whoa.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I don’t even know what…

Noah: Blow your mind.

Michael: Yeah, that did blow my mind. [laughs]

Noah: Everybody go. What do you think?

Laura: I don’t think that’s destroying the soul. It’s just extracting it, and I think…

Noah: Right, but would it extract Voldy’s as well?

Laura: I think it would because it’s kind of latched onto Harry’s. But I think that it would be embodied in the Dementor, kind of.

Noah: Ooh, so then the Dementor would become Voldemort’s new Horcrux.

Caleb: I think the Horcrux would just be destroyed.

Laura: Would you?

Michael: I think it might be destroyed, too, because that’s such an extreme dark magic that Dementors are… that they embody. So, I think that… because they kind of just feed on the soul, they don’t house it. At least that’s implied.

Laura: Right. And it’s also… they’re not really a physical…

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: …being. I don’t know if you could touch one.

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: But a Horcrux needs to be stored within an object.

Noah: And now it’s time for the recap of the Posed Question of the Week from last week. I asked a lot about Professor Lupin. Here’s what I said:

“We’ve talked a great deal about Professor Lupin on this episode, and we brought up the fact that rather little is known about his backstory. Lupin’s old briefcase seems potentially significant in the scene where we first meet him, as it may mean that he has been teaching for a while now.”

As you remember, the letters on the briefcase were tattered and coming off, even.

“But do you believe Lupin had prior teaching experience before Hogwarts? Perhaps even in the Muggle world? In general, what qualifications does one need to teach at Hogwarts? Surely Dumbledore doesn’t just pick random witches and wizards off the street – or does he?”

As has been often attributed to him as having poor choices in professors. As Caleb will tell you, many of them are not the greatest of professors. But here’s one good response from HPAlison:

“I don’t see Lupin as having any prior teaching experience. He says at the end of POA that he’s been unable to find paid work because of what he is. Then, in an interview, Jo said: ‘To take Remus first, Remus was unemployable. Poor Lupin, prior to Dumbledore taking him in, led a really impoverished life because no one wanted to employ a werewolf.’ I see Lupin taking on Muggle jobs to make ends meet, but I doubt he went to university or taught in the Muggle world. What kind of knowledge would he have? […] He took on Muggle jobs, but probably menial ones that gave him enough money to put food on the table but still give him enough time to associate himself with the wizarding world. And he probably got sacked from those quite often. After all, he would miss work around the full moon – either because of the moon itself or because he felt so ill before and after. After you’ve lost a lot of jobs, it’s probably increasingly hard for him to find another – unless he always confunded his employers.”

So, that’s very interesting. We have from Jo directly that he lived an impoverished life, but do you guys think he had teaching experience prior to his hire?

Laura: I think in Deathly Hallows it’s evidenced, I guess, how much self-hatred he harbors for being a werewolf because when he leaves Tonks for fear of harming Tonks and his child. I think he’d be so nervous about harming other people that I don’t think he’d trust himself in any position. And it wasn’t until Dumbledore kind of gave him that confidence – that Dumbledore put his confidence in Lupin – that maybe then Lupin started to put it in himself. Because he also leaves immediately, as soon as… he doesn’t try to defend himself after he’s fired.

Noah: Right.

Michael: Yeah, no, I don’t think… I think Lupin might have had – like they said – menial jobs. I don’t think he would have been around Muggles. I do not think he would have taken that risk. He leaves Hogwarts in the end because that gets out and he realizes that that was stupid. So no, I’m… even if he did have menial jobs, I think they would have been in the wizarding world, and they wouldn’t have lasted very long.

Noah: Yeah, I would agree. I don’t think he would take that risk. And as you’ve said, Michael, you know Lupin’s sentiments very well, so I’m sure you can feel that. Here’s another answer from MusicalPatronus:

“I don’t think Lupin was a professor before, but I totally see him aspiring to be one. I think his classes were the most beneficial and I think he had a special gift for teaching. I just think his affliction got in the way of his dreams. Obviously Dumbledore would have hired him no matter what, but would the Ministry had let him if they knew about him being a werewolf? I don’t think they would.”

Yeah, we know werewolves are marginalized in society, but I’m not sure the degree to which that is the case. What jobs would werewolves do?

Caleb: Yeah, he definitely would not have been able to be hired.

Laura: Really the only other werewolf we know is Greyback, and we see he went on the evil end. Maybe people that become werewolves – some people – take on that personality.

Noah: Right.

Laura: Just become about it, and that’s who they are now. Whereas I think Lupin doesn’t want to associate himself with that identity. So, I don’t think there’d maybe be a lot to compare to of other werewolves that had been raised and bitten as a child.

Noah: I’m sure that idea of werewolves in society as the ones who are the aggressors… because we know they exist – Greyback and the rest of some of the other werewolves. They have a taste for blood even if they’re not transformed. So, that creates a sentiment in society that… a sense of fear, just even if you’re a werewolf, people – even if they know you’re good – will associate you with this bad culture of werewolves.

Laura: Also, if there’s other good werewolves out there, I doubt they’re bragging… they’re not talking about it. They’re keeping that as a secret to themselves, and I’m sure they only know. They only have as much people in their lives that know about that secret as Lupin does, so…

Caleb: Maybe Rowling should give us more on Pottermore about werewolves in society and the kind of efforts they’ve made. That would be useful.

Laura: Right, because I think if there’s any good people out there, we won’t hear about them. Because they’re keeping it a secret, too.

Michael: Well, I just think it’s a great parallel to… I know it’s been… in real life, it’s been… Lupin, particularly, has been used as a parallel for a lot of things about social injustices, and how people are treated, and prejudices in the work place. So, I think that’s what we’re looking at here, too. There’s people who… you’re looking at Fenrir, who is the extreme end, who just completely embraces that werewolf culture, so to speak, and werewolf pride, and does not back down, and he wants that all to be out there and doesn’t care. Whereas I think Lupin is more conservative and would prefer that people see him as a person first – a wizard first – who just happens to be a werewolf.

Caleb: I think that parallel, though, is what makes it dangerous because that implies that for those sidelined – those groups that are sidelined as far as social justice goes – implies that they have an evil end to them that is parallel to Fenrir. So, I think that’s… you have to be careful about ascribing that to the social injustices that go on right now for us in the real world.

Michael: Oh, yeah. I don’t think most people use Fenrir as an example for that.

Caleb: Yeah, no, no, no, I’m just saying that that’s something that I just thought about.

Michael: Oh, for sure.

Noah: Just in closing, if any fans out there want to write an editorial about werewolves in wizarding society and what it might mean as political satire in our world – what is Jo saying about our society – write an editorial up, or a short essay, and you can email that to noah at staff dot mugglenet dot com. And I would be very happy to post that on our site. That pretty much wraps up our Posed Question of the Week discussion.

Laura: All right, so I guess now we’re moving on to our chapter discussion for this week. We’ll be talking about Chapters 7 and 8, which are “The Boggart in the Wardrobe” and “Flight of the Fat Lady.”

[Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 7 intro begins]

Michael: Chapter 7: “The Boggart in the Wardrobe.”

[Sounds of laughter and voices saying “Riddikulus!”]

[Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 7 intro ends]

Caleb: So the beginning of this chapter, we are in a Potions class and Malfoy is still milking his injury, which is really annoying because he’s being such a wuss, but we all know what he’s doing. But the thing that I pulled out of this Potions lesson was some more animal cruelty, and I hesitate to bring this up because I’m afraid of what Noah will do.

Laura: There’ll be a Twitter account in ten minutes.

Noah: I’m surprised you’re the one bringing it up.

Caleb: Yeah, but… so, Snape – as we’ve kind of mentioned in the recap comments – is threatening to feed Neville’s likely terrible potion to Trevor to see how successful it was. I’m also just thinking, poor Trevor, he’s always getting lost…

[Noah laughs]

Caleb: …Neville can never take care of him properly, now he’s going to be at the wrong end of Neville’s terrible potion. But of course, thankfully Hermione whispers to him some instructions to fix it, but if she wasn’t there… good grief, poor Trevor.

Noah: But Caleb, don’t you think that Snape probably was going to save the toad…

Caleb Absolutely not!

Noah: …with maybe a Bezoar?

Caleb: Absolutely not.

Laura: No.

Michael: No. [laughs]

Noah: He was going to let the toad be poisoned and die?

Caleb: Oh, I don’t think he would… no, I see what you’re saying now. No, I don’t think he would have let him die. I thought you would mean just prevent it from happening. No, he probably would make Neville suffer and think he’s going to die and then fix him at the last second.

Noah: That’s what I was saying. I’m sure Snape was going to save him at the last moment, but because we’re getting this through Harry’s point of view, we just think that he’s going to poison the poor frog and let him die. But Snape’s better than that.

Caleb: Right. I do… yeah, I agree.

Laura: Yeah.

Noah But yes, definitely animal abuse, so ha ha. I mean, that’s nothing to laugh about, but you know what I mean.

[Laura laughs]

Caleb: Whoops. [laughs]

Laura: I was wondering why Neville had… does he carry around Trevor everywhere? Why is he bringing it to Snape’s class so that Trevor can be picked on by Snape? So yeah, I was just wondering what exactly the strictness of people carrying around pets in class is. I know that’s not allowed in Muggle schools.

Caleb: No, I do not let my students bring their pets in.

Laura: Right.

[Noah laughs]

Laura: And that just also gave me the thought of the Gryffindor roommates of… Ron’s got a rat running around, sleeping in his bed. Neville’s got the toad jumping around. [laughs] I would not be okay if my roommates had their strange pets. I would not want a rat running around.

Noah: What if it wasn’t a rat? What if it was secretly a man transformed as a rat?

Laura: Oh, that’s definitely better.

[Michael laughs]

Noah: Would that be better? Okay. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah, I just thought it was interesting that they carry around their pets – or he does at least – in a class.

Caleb: If he doesn’t, Trevor’s just going to hop around the castle. He’s going to do that anyway, but…

Laura: That’s true.

Caleb: After the Potions lesson, Harry and Ron start to notice something’s up with Hermione. They sort of suspect it before, but now they’re starting to really see it. Because all of a sudden she was talking to them but then she’s gone and then they see her farther down the corridor. So, they start to know that something’s up and it made me wonder, are other students who are in her other classes starting to notice this as well? As we know later, she’s using the Time-Turner to get to all of her classes. And then even beyond that, it made me think this book is really heavy on secrets. I mean, we have Hermione and the Time-Turner, we have the history of Sirius Black, we have Peter Pettigrew really being Scabbers, Lupin a werewolf. There’s just so many secrets circulating the castle throughout this book.

Laura: Yeah, definitely.

Michael: Oh, yeah. Now that I think… well, and the Marauder’s Map, the ultimate secret.

Caleb: Right.

Michael: And the interesting thing, too, I noticed, was that maybe these somehow complement each other, but there’s also a lot of grudges in the book – Malfoy’s grudge against Hagrid, Snape against Lupin, Sirius against Pettigrew, Harry’s misplaced grudge against Sirius. These secrets and grudges seem to go hand-in-hand because nobody wants to talk about the truth, and so they’re all harboring these terrible grudges that are often misplaced anyway. So, I have to wonder if that’s what appeals to so many people about Prisoner of Azkaban because it is one of… often I find it’s one of the most popular in the series.

Caleb: Yup, it’s definitely my favorite… well, my favorite other than the last book. So, for a long time it was my favorite for that reason.

Michael: Oh yeah, Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite.

Noah: It’s my favorite movie, but my favorite book is Order of the Phoenix.

Caleb: Mmm.

Michael: It’s also my favorite movie, too. I’m kind of biased. [laughs]

Caleb: Well, I would disagree with the movie.

Laura: Yeah, I’m with Caleb on that. [laughs]

Caleb: I mean, I like the movie and I like the movie as a movie… well, it took me many years to get to that point, but I just…

Noah: Oh. [laughs]

Laura: Me too. [laughs]

Caleb: I will never forgive Alfonso Cuarón for his adaptation. I think he’s one of my favorite directors – he’s brilliant – but I think he tried… well, I could talk about this for hours, but…

Michael: We’ve got to talk… we’ve got to do this for the live show.

Caleb: So after the Potions lesson and Harry and Ron suspecting Hermione, they get to their first Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson and it’s their first actual good Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson after two years of miserable failures. And so we get… we find out that Lupin is going to be much more of a hands-on professor, so they’re very excited about this. And they leave the classroom because they’re going to go somewhere else to do this lesson and they run into Peeves. And Lupin uses this… so first off, Peeves is making fun of Lupin, so you kind of get sort of a flashback of what it must have been like when Lupin was in school. But Lupin uses this Waddiwasi – or however you say it, I don’t know – on Peeves and we also… like I was saying, we see a smile as Peeves is starting to call him names. So, it’s like Lupin bringing back his school days. Which I never really thought about previously reading but now for some reason it made me think, he’s reliving his days at Hogwarts. Which there must be a good amount of nostalgia there, but it’s also got to be very bittersweet because he thinks about James and Lily, and at this point he doesn’t really know what’s up with Sirius. So, that’s got to be also really hard to remember his school days.

Laura: And Pettigrew is dead in his eyes.

Caleb: Right.

Laura: Wow.

Caleb: So I was just thinking, that must be really bittersweet.

Noah: Yeah.

Laura: Recalling happier times.

Noah: Do you think he had a history with Peeves as a jokester? Because the Marauders were jokesters themselves…

Caleb: Oh, I’m sure.

Noah: …kind of like Fred and George.

Caleb: I think… yeah.

Noah: So, they probably go way back.

Caleb: Yeah, I’m sure it’s a very similar relationship. Which is why I also think it’s interesting Peeves doesn’t like… we don’t see more from that from Peeves. And maybe there are other scenes that that happens, but we don’t see it as the reader.

Noah: Right.

Caleb: You know what? It made me think, similar to what you were saying, George and Fred’s relationship with Peeves. I wonder what sort of things the Marauders did to combat Peeves.

Noah: I wonder if Peeves knew that Lupin was a werewolf.

Caleb: Hmm.

Michael: I have to wonder, too, because the thing we find out – at least in Book 5 with Fred and George – is that Peeves has a kind of odd respect for Fred and George, whereas here he has no respect for Lupin. So, you would think if Lupin was kind of a jokester at this school… because it’s kind of implied that Lupin was the one who sat on the edge and watched all the crazy jokes.

Noah: Right, yeah.

Michael: But he didn’t really participate because he was always kind of going, “We shouldn’t be doing this.” So, I wonder if…

Noah: Yeah.

Michael: …that’s why Peeves doesn’t partic… doesn’t show any particular respect for him. So… but this…

Noah: Michael?

Michael: Mhm?

Noah: Would you say he’s the Neville of the group, in a way?

Michael: No, because… [laughs]

Caleb: No way. He’s the Hermione of the group, if anything.

Noah: Whoa. I don’t know. Just because there’s some weird back and forth between Snape, Lupin, and Neville in this chapter. And he seems to be really sympathetic to Neville because Snape’s been picking on him, and I wonder if Snape’s picking heavily on Neville because – in front of Lupin – because maybe Lupin was kind of like the Neville of the group.

Laura: Well, I was going to bring this point up later, but I guess it fits now, that I find it interesting really that Snape is such a bully towards Neville. I think it makes sense that he is towards Harry because obviously there is a deeper grudge there, but having been bullied by arrogant students like James and Sirius his whole time at Hogwarts – I don’t know. I just think his total ridicule of Neville is interesting. That he aligns himself more with the bullies that he had been bullied as a child.

Noah: Well, Snape’s… actually Snape’s resentment for Neville goes way back to the prophecy because he also kind of wishes that Neville had been the chosen boy so…

Laura: Ah.

Noah: …that Lily wouldn’t have died.

Caleb: Too true.

Noah: There’s a great editorial on MuggleNet about that.

Laura: That’s true.

Michael: Yeah.

Noah: I’m pretty sure that’s true, but we are getting way off topic.

Caleb: Yeah. So, when they get to the Boggart lesson, Lupin introduces them to what a Boggart is and one of the most interesting creatures for the whole series. I have got to say, Rowling did an amazing job with this, but we’ll get to that more later in the special feature. But he has a quote where he says, “I’ve even met a Boggart that had lodged itself in a grandfather clock,” which is really amusing to me and it makes me think, first off, that… because he’s talking a bit about his work with Boggarts before and it can’t be that Boggarts are just in some way naturally inclined to go toward Lupin. He must have been exposed to them in some sort of other capacity. So, it makes me think, other than the teaching history that we’ve been talking about, he must have been doing some sort of removing dark arts related work.

Laura: He’s like an exterminator?

Caleb: Yeah. Prior to teaching.

Noah: Lupin the… oh, he was an exterminator! He was a magical exterminator! That’s what he did!

Caleb: Something like that because I can’t imagine otherwise why he would have such a… so many occurrences with Boggarts and other creatures.

Michael: Well, it’s mentioned on Pottermore, and this is just extrapolation from very little information and I really am so regretful that the information on Lupin has not come out yet…

[Noah laughs]

Michael: …because I know she said she wrote it, and I was like, “It’s going to come out before this show!” and that was such a bummer.

Noah: Aww. [laughs]

Michael: But she briefly mentions in the section about Boggarts that somebody named Lyall Lupin defeated a Scottish Boggart on work for the Ministry of Magic. And of course this has to be a relation to Lupin. I don’t know if it’s his father, grandfather, or we’re going even further back to somebody he may not even have known, but I think it’s really interesting that she’s already associating his family with Boggart fighters. So, I’m even wondering if this relative was somebody who taught Lupin about magical creatures, possibly just Boggarts or other magical creatures when he was young, before he went to Hogwarts or during his time at Hogwarts. Or maybe even after. So, it’s just that we don’t have that backstory yet!

Caleb: Yeah, I definitely think so. I can’t… I mean, we know Rowling does everything for a reason. So, I can’t imagine that not being the case. In some way, there’s some connection.

Noah: Perhaps he was a house maid in a Muggle home and that’s why he found all these Boggarts hidden in grandfather clocks and stuff.

Caleb: I’m just going to try to not imagine that. So, him being a house maid.

Noah: Okay. I’m already imagining it. Anyway…

Caleb: [laughs] Okay. So, I thought a lot more about the Boggart and the way that Lupin talks about it. Because he’s talking about what defeats the Boggart, is you have the spell – we have Riddikulus that changes the form of the Boggart to something amusing – but it’s really laughter that defeats it. So, it’s not just really the magic in a spell sense that defeats the Boggart, but laughter. So, it’s kind of this idea, I thought of it as true fear and darkness cannot be defeated by just magic, but really by joy and happiness and laughter. And I wonder if that sort of parallels that there’s not really spell or hard magic that defeats death, but rather this emotion. This really powerful emotion that is love.

Laura: That’s a really interesting point.

Michael: Yeah. That… well, and I think it’s…

Laura: I’d have to agree.

Michael: I think it’s so interesting that all of these kinds of spells are associated with Lupin. His whole basis for what he does is just finding the humor and joy in magic, which a lot of the teachers don’t do. I mean, this extends to the Patronus Charm as well. And for this to be the first thing that he decided to teach, he could have taught whatever.

Laura: Mhm.

Michael: So, to go off of this and just be like, “You know what? Magic is fun! Let’s have some fun!”

Laura: Maybe because he has the…

[Michael and Noah laugh]

Michael: So…

Laura: …whole werewolf aspect of his life – which I imagine is significantly depressing – and his being unemployed. He doesn’t have any relationship yet. That magic is a happy thing for him. It’s something that has brought a lot of happiness to his life.

Michael: Yeah.

Caleb: But I want us to keep… be mindful of this sort of thing as we keep going through the books, these really deep elements. Now we’re talking about fear and darkness and previously, and throughout the series, we’re talking about death and what it is that actually defeats them. And see if we can catch any more like this.

Noah: Yup.

Laura: And I think it’ll definitely be brought up with the Patronus and that it has to be a really happy memory. It’s not a matter of just saying “Expecto Patronum.”

Caleb: Yeah.

Laura: There has to be something deeper there.

Caleb: Right.

Laura: So, I definitely think we can find a bunch of parallels.

Caleb: Yeah. So, then we start off the lesson with Neville. And I think… I really love that Lupin really is trying to give Neville his chance to succeed and gain this confidence. And he gets just as much enjoyment of the transformed Snape as everyone else. And this is one of my favorite scenes from all of the films because Alan Rickman is just pure genius [laughs] and him coming out with that getup is just fantastic.

Noah: Perfect.

Laura: I can’t imagine filming that.

Caleb: He’s so great. And I’m also thinking just when Neville in the book is describing what his grandmother is wearing, I’m thinking, what a choice by Augusta Longbottom with that vulture hat. I just…

Laura: Yup.

Caleb: I cannot…

Laura: Put a stuffed vulture on my head.

Caleb: And she always wears that one hat. I just… I don’t know.

Noah: But isn’t that interesting that Lupin just did this because he wanted to see Snape in some grandmother’s clothing?

Caleb: Well, I mean, it’s both, right? He’s wanting Neville to get a chance and… because I don’t think he knew that Snape was his fear to begin with.

Michael: No. No, he didn’t. I don’t think he was expecting that to be…

Noah: No.

Caleb: [laughs] Yeah, but it was a definite bonus for him, so…

[Laura laughs]

Noah: And then Snape is eventually going to hear about this.

Caleb: Right. Yeah.

Noah: Yeah, and who knows what kind of talks go back and forth in the teachers’ common room…

Caleb: Oh, God.

Noah: …about said things.

Caleb: Right. And so, we get to see a lot of characters and their Boggarts, and it made me wonder, can we figure anything out about these characters and their Boggarts? And maybe this is something we can throw to the fans to give back to us. But we know that Parvati sees a mummy, Seamus sees a banshee. It mentions that some people get – it doesn’t say who – someone has a rat, someone has a rattlesnake, someone has an eyeball, which I don’t understand, but…

Laura: [laughs] Okay, I have a really big problem with this because… like Dean, with the severed hand. Snape’s fear… not Snape. Neville’s fear of Snape, that’s legitimate. Harry’s fear of Dementors, that’s legitimate. Is Dean sitting up at night worrying about severed hands? Is that…

Caleb: It makes me think that he’s been traumatized by something. That’s why…

Noah: Yeah.

Michael: Well, no, that…

Caleb: It’s not funny! It’s a severed hand. He probably has been traumatized because of some experience.

Michael: [laughs] Well, I think what Laura’s getting at is just the idea that these…

Laura: They’re very specific fears.

Michael: …fears are… yeah, they’re specific and they’re all magical creatures, things that…

Laura: Horror movie-type…

Michael: Yeah, like things under the bed.

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: They’re not really like… and I think that kind of is answered by Lupin later on in the book, when he states to Harry that there are horrors in his past that the other students don’t have.

Laura: Yeah.

Michael: And that’s why his Boggart is a bit more profound than everybody else’s. I think there… because I was wondering – we can talk about this more later, of course – but if a Boggart is… does it change reflective of somebody’s age and experience? Because people can overcome their fears, so…

Laura: Yeah.

Noah: Right.

Michael: Wouldn’t that…

Laura: I just thought of the exchange he has with Seamus, where Seamus is like, “Oh, did you see me take on that banshee?” and Dean’s like, “Yeah, and did you see me take on that hand?” Good for you, Dean.

[Michael and Noah laugh]

Caleb: I just don’t think that JK Rowling is unintentional in anything. So, I think that she chose these for… while they are, like you said, those common under the bed things – in some ways, with some of them – I think she picks them for a very specific reason.

Laura: Yeah.

Caleb: And I don’t know if we’ll ever get those reasons from her, but I really do think they have a purpose.

Noah: And the truth is that Dean Thomas has a huge backstory that was written…

Caleb: Right.

Noah: …that apparently hasn’t been published yet. So, maybe we would get some hints of that severed hand.

Laura: Yeah.

Noah: Something happened.

Laura: And I also want to bring up the fact that Lupin mentions when he’s talking about the fact that Boggarts get confused, he passingly says, “Oh, someone’s was a flesh-eating… a Boggart was a flesh-eating slug.” Thank you, I didn’t used to consider my biggest fear to be flesh-eating slugs, [laughs] but now that you mention it… all of these things are so specific and frightening. But yeah, I did not enjoy that example.

[Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 8 intro begins]

[Sound of students gasping]

Michael: Chapter 8: “Flight of the Fat Lady.”

[Sound of Peeves cackling]

[Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 8 intro ends]

Noah: All right, so this chapter was called “The Flight of the Fat Lady,” which I thought was funny because the book begins with the flight of a fat lady, in terms of Aunt Marge.

Caleb: [laughs] Good call.

Noah: If you think about it.

Laura: Mhm.

Caleb: I never thought about that. That’s really funny. [laughs]

Noah: That is pretty funny. So, the chapter begins with Draco, just making a weird comment in the very beginning about how Lupin has tattered robes and is therefore not a good professor, and makes the connection between Lupin and Dobby because he feels like they’re dressed the same. And I thought, okay, classist Draco. You’re always doing your thing there, but why… is there anything significant about the connection to Dobby? Of… between… I’ve never thought about it before, but do you see these characters as having anything similar?

Michael: The only connection I could think of was that they both carry in their respective major books – Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban – they both carry information that’s integral to the overall mystery of the plot, but they won’t reveal it. Dobby’s got all the answers, Lupin’s got all the answers, but they don’t say anything until the end.

Caleb: They also both try to stop Harry when they think he’s in big danger. Dobby obviously does in Chamber of Secrets and later in Deathly Hallows, Lupin tries to stop them or at least… well, he tries to, I guess, in a way, stop them but then he tries to join them. So, that’s a little different, but never mind.

Noah: And then, spoiler warning, they both…

Caleb: Well, yeah. Okay. Let’s not talk about it.

[Michael whimpers]

Noah: I’m sorry, Michael. I’m sorry.

Michael: Oh, God. [laughs] Move on, quick! Move on.

Noah: So, yeah. So, Harry’s really loving Defense Against the Dark Arts. He’s having the best time in the world, except he’s hating Potions. Potions is terrible, as per usual. And we get more scenes of Neville and it seems, again, that Snape is being particularly nasty to Neville and Lupin is being very nice to Neville as the story of what happens goes throughout the school and to the staff about what Neville did to Snape in Boggart form. So, what do you… it seems like Neville is this medium by which Snape and Lupin can get at each other that doesn’t come across when they actually see each other in the room a little later when Harry is there, but what do you guys think of that, as Neville being this medium by which the two get angry at each other?

Caleb: Yeah, I think it’s… I didn’t really think about this before, but I think we can see these points as the books go on now where Rowling has ways of making Neville a larger character and this is one of them. In Goblet of Fire, he helps Harry in a way with one of the challenges of the Triwizard Tournament, but I think this is a way that Neville really comes to the front as one of the really important characters.

Noah: Right.

Michael: I mean, I don’t… I wouldn’t say it’s ethical as teachers to do this, to kind of…

Noah: Yeah.

Michael: …fight through a student, but at the same time I don’t think that’s what Lupin was intending to happen. And because… but the thing is, at the same time, I know Lupin knew that this would tick Snape off [laughs] and that the word would get out. Because this is a very juvenile thing of Lupin to do. It also helps because… I mean, at the same time it makes him an awesome teacher because he appeals to very thirteen-year-old sensibilities and he definitely gets the students on his side, but at the same time I know he probably knew Snape is just a sour puss who doesn’t have any sense of humor. [laughs]

Caleb: You also have to think that Lupin was very good friends, most likely, with Alice and Frank Longbottom. So, just like he’s looking over Harry, he’s also doing it for Neville in a way too.

Michael: Yeah.

Caleb: So…

Michael: He’s just looking out for him. So…

Noah: Well, I thought in any case both were kind of manipulating Neville a little bit over much, a little too much. But what have you, they go way back, as we all know.

Caleb: Right.

Noah: Moving through the chapter, we get to Quidditch. We get the first mention of Harry’s taking up the Quidditch team again and Oliver Wood is pumped [laughs] for this new year. He wants to win and I just want to read the speech that he gives, if everyone is cool with that.

Caleb: Yeah, go for it.

[Fife and drum music begins]

Noah: [as Wood] “‘Gryffindor hasn’t won for seven years now. Okay, so we’ve had the worst luck in the world – injuries – then the tournament getting called off last year…'”

[Music pauses]

“Wood swallowed, as though the memory still brought a lump to his throat.”

[Music continues]

“‘But we also know we’ve got the best ruddy team in the school…'”

[Music pauses]

“…he said, punching a fist into his other hand, the old manic glint back in his eye.”

[Music continues]

Noah: “‘We’ve got three superb Chasers.'”

[Music pauses]

“Wood pointed at Alicia Spinnet, Angelina Johnson, and Katie Bell.”

[Music continues]

“‘We’ve got two unbeatable Beaters.’ ‘Stop it, Oliver, you’re embarrassing us…'”

[Music pauses]

“…said Fred and George Weasley together, pretending to blush.”

[Music continues]

“‘And we’ve got a Seeker who has never failed to win us a match…'”

[Music pauses]

“…Wood rumbled, glaring at Harry with a kind of furious pride. ‘And me,’ he added, as an afterthought.”

[Music continues]

“‘We think you’re very good too.’ ‘The point is…'”

[Music pauses]

“…Wood went on, resuming his pacing…”

[Music continues]

“‘…the Quidditch Cup should have had our name on it these last two years. Ever since Harry joined the team, I’ve thought the thing was in the bag. But we haven’t got it, and this year’s the last chance we will get to finally see our name on the thing…'”

[Music ends]

[Laura laughs]

Noah: So, it builds up and it’s great. Oliver’s…

[Music begins]

Noah: …”This is our year! This is our year! We’ll do it, Oliver!”

[Music ends]

Noah: And they all get together and it’s really funny. And then – to sort of finish my big speech with something that people will think is not as exciting – there’s this passage on page 109: “Full of determination, the team started training sessions three evenings a week. The weather was getting colder and wetter, the night’s darker, but no amount of mud, wind, or rain could tarnish Harry’s wonderful vision of finally winning the huge silver cup, Quidditch Cup. So, Harry returned to the Gryffindor common room one evening…” I’m just going to stop it right there because people don’t realize, but so much time just passed in just the phrasing of that section because Jo just suggests that he’s been having suddenly many Quidditch matches every week. So, she just made this huge jump in time narratively and I just thought I was really cool for noting that and figuring that out. What do you guys think?

Michael: I think that… I mean, the thing that I get out of that passage… because that is a pretty good way to transition through. Because the thing I got from the passage was that the weather was changing because of the Dementors.

Noah: Right.

Michael: It’s kind of her subtle suggestion, “Oh, they’re around and that’s why it’s always raining.” But yeah, no, it is a lovely little way to just make the time pass because this is probably… I think the reason she does that here especially in this book is because I’ve always considered Prisoner of Azkaban and Half-Blood Prince to be the books where they’re probably Harry’s most “normal years” – quote, unquote – just because the final confrontation isn’t with Voldemort and he’s not anticipating that it’s going to be throughout the entire year.

Noah: Right.

Michael: So, it’s pretty much just a normal year. He’s just going through the classes, going through the motions. So, I think she did kind of had to speed up time a little bit because there’s not a lot going on in between.

Noah: It’s like she has a narrative Time-Turner, if I may say.

Michael: Oh ho.

Noah: [laughs] And who knows just how many months we jumped in that moment, or weeks.

Laura: Well, we know it’s to Halloween because there’s a feast.

Noah: All right, so in any case we get back to the common room and Hermione is with Crookshanks and Ron, of course, is suspicious because whenever Crookshanks is around he’s always going for Scabbers, so Scabbers is hiding in his bag. And then Crookshanks actually launches on the bag when Ron leaves and is going for Scabbers. Scabbers gets out and hides under a… I believe it’s a tapestry. But Ron says, rather famously, “It heard me say that Scabbers was in my bag,” talking about Crookshanks, and I wanted to put it to you guys. We know that Crookshanks is very intelligent – something like a familiar almost if we’re going into Golden Compass kind of series thing, but do you think that Crookshanks could actually understand Ron?

Michael: Yes.

Noah: Or did it just sort of sense that Scabbers was there?

Michael: I think both because he’s half Kneazle, so…

Noah: Right.

Michael: …he’s intelligent enough to… because I think the other interesting thing is how Crookshanks approaches this whole thing as he hops up on the couch and is slowly chewing a spider in front of Ron, which Ron takes as kind of like a punch in the face. But it’s not. It’s not meant to be. Crookshanks is actually being, like, “Look, I caught a spider. You hate spiders, so…”

[Caleb and Noah laugh]

Michael: “…I’m eating them. Nom, nom, nom.” [laughs] So, he’s actually… in a very misguided way, he’s trying to be nice to Ron.

Caleb: Poor Crookshanks.

Noah: He was trying to be nice. Maybe he knows Ron’s scared of spiders, and he’s saying, “Look, I’m a ginger cat, and I’m getting this spider for you. It’s not going to harm you.”

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: I just wanted to ask what you guys thought because obviously Ron mentions that Scabbers is ill, and we know obviously that he’s Pettigrew, that he’s nervous about something, and I just was curious: Does Pettigrew know that Black is out after him? Or is he nervous about Dementors? Or just the fact that Crookshanks keeps trying to eat him? That Voldemort is out there or whatever?

Michael: The answer to that is later in the book on page[s] 363 to 364, and it’s – well, at least, this pretty much answers it – Lupin says to Ron, [as Lupin] “He’s not looking good at the moment, though, is he? I guess he’d been losing weight ever since he heard Sirius was on the loose again.” [back to normal voice] And then Ron insists, [as Ron] “He’s been scared of that mad cat.” [back to normal voice] But then Harry realizes that’s not right. Scabbers had been looking ill before he met Crookshanks, ever since Ron’s return from Egypt, since the time when Black had escaped.

Caleb: Yeah, so he probably heard the Weasleys talking about it.

Michael: Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: Oh, okay. That makes sense.

Noah: And I mean I’m sure the trio keeps talking about it, too.

Caleb: Right. So, that’s how he gets his info. I’m surprised he doesn’t ever try to transform back into his human form at night or something and try to snoop around and try to figure stuff out. I guess he’s just… there’s really no…

Laura: Too risky.

Caleb: Too risky because everyone thinks he’s dead.

Laura: I’m surprised he doesn’t run away. Why does he have to be living with Harry, pretty much? I’m surprised, as cowardly as he is, that he wouldn’t just go to China, just leave…

[Michael laughs]

Caleb: I think it’s his cowardliness. Again, he probably doesn’t think he can make it on his own.

Noah: Yeah. Or he thinks that Hogwarts is the safest place with all of the Dementors surrounding it, and why would Black come there?

Caleb: Right.

Noah: But if he really knew his friend he would know that Sirius is going to definitely show up. But he’s probably been transforming and stealing food from the Weasley fridge for years now.

Caleb: Right.

Noah: That’s probably why they don’t have enough food to eat sometimes. Yeah. That was bad.

[Everyone laughs]

Noah: But anyway, after this whole incident with Crookshanks, Ron is not speaking to Hermione. And that’s just one instance in these two chapters where either Hermione is angry at Ron or Ron is angry at Hermione, and I’m just saying to myself, “Wow this couple’s fighting already.”

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: It’s already starting. The ship is already starting. However, there is another scene – I’m going to just jump to it – at the end when the portrait gets slashed by Sirius Black – spoiler alert – Hermione grabs Harry’s arm and says… actually the line is, “‘Oh, my,’ Hermione exclaimed and grabbed Harry’s arm.”

Michael: [as Hermione] “Oh, my.”

Noah: So I was thinking Harmony Ship, right? And clearly…

[Michael laughs]

Noah: But…

Laura: [laughs] Clearly.

Michael: [laughs] Definitive proof.

Noah: But I’m not… I personally am a Harry-Hermione shippper, but…

Caleb: I was too in the beginning. I was really determined on Harry and Hermione. By the end I grew to accept it. And now of course I’m fine wth it.

Laura: Really?

Caleb: But in the beginning I was all Harry-Hermione.

Michael: [laughs] I was…

Laura: I’ve never been that way.

Michael: That’s the flip for me because I… of course reading the books I was just like, “It’s so obvious. It’s Hermione-Ron.”

Noah: [laughs] Yeah.

Michael: And then when… afterwards, though, I… while I’m not a Harry-Hermione shipper, I do understand the logic behind the ship. I wouldn’t use that particular “she grabbed his arm” moment, [laughs] but…

[Noah laughs]

Laura: I mean, I wish… I can’t remember my thoughts right now. My memories are tainted by what I think now. Because…

Noah: Right.

Laura: …when I read this book I guess I was ten, [laughs] so I don’t think my mind was even going there. But I definitely never shipped Harry-Hermione.

Noah: Quite, quite right. Maybe I was jumping the gun a little bit by saying it’s a Harry-Hermione ship moment here, but I’m just going to point to all those in the series because I’m sure there’s a pattern.

Caleb: Every moment for me was a ship moment for those two, so…

[Michael laughs]

Noah: It’s what we all really want. But anyway, there’s a little bit more about Hermione’s lack of appreciation for Divination on page 112. She uses some really awesome logic in terms of why Lavender’s pet dying is not necessarily evidence-worthy for Professor Trelawney having predicted it.

Laura: I do love that scene.

Noah: Because Hermione just states, well, “Lavender, if you had a bunny rabbit that was relatively young, why would you be dreading that it was going to die if it was so young?” And Lavender just says… I don’t… she’s completely… she has no idea, and then Ron just comes in and says… what does he say? “‘Don’t mind Hermione, Lavender,’ said Ron loudly. ‘She doesn’t think other people’s pets matter very much.'”

[Laura, Michael, and Noah laugh]

Noah: So logic completely out the window, Hermione just gets angry and pissed off and storms away, and I just thought that was such a hilarious scene.

Laura: On the topic of shipping, this is our first, I guess, Lavender-Ron-Hermione interaction.

Noah: You’re right.

Michael: Oh, yeah.

Laura: Moving on…

[Laura and Michael laugh]

Noah: A lot of romance for these thirteen-year-olds.

Michael: Wouldn’t that be weird if that is Lavender’s attachment to Ron? [as Lavender] “One day in third year, he comforted me over my dead bunny. I love him so.”

Noah: [laughs] And that’s where it all started.

Michael: [laughs] That’s where it all began.

Caleb: Gross.

[Michael laughs]

Noah: So Harry, as we know – moving further along the chapter – he really wants to go to Hogsmeade. And he actually approaches Professor McGonagall who says, “I’m sorry, I can’t sign your form.” And I was wondering to myself, “Well, I think you could probably sign that form, but you’re not doing it because you’re looking out for Harry.”

Caleb: Right.

Noah: Do you think she could have bent the rules?

Caleb: Yes. Definitely.

Michael: Yes. I think everybody Harry encounters about this could have bent the rule.

Caleb: I think any other year – without Sirius Black on the loose – she would have done it.

Michael: Mhm.

Laura: And I mean, I kind of have to be like, “Really, Harry?” Because they mention even Dean, who is particularly good with a quill, could have forged the signature. “Why didn’t you try that first?” [laughs]

Caleb: It’s what I would have done. I would have signed it myself.

Laura: I mean, yeah, every kid ever has forged things on bad test grades, so… please.

Michael: Well, yeah and it’s interesting to think, too, if he had gotten it signed would they have let him go? Because…

Caleb: Probably not. I don’t think so.

Michael: Because…

Caleb: No, I don’t think they would have had to at all. I think they would have stopped him.

Noah: I think they would have still let him go if he had the signature. Maybe he would have had a bodyguard.

Caleb: Yeah, that’s fair. Maybe that.

Laura: I mean, Hermione’s attitude, especially in these scenes, really bothers me because I know Hermione is a rule follower and cares about Harry’s safety, but if she knows that Harry can’t go and that fact’s not changing, does she really need to be, “Well, it’s for the best.” I don’t know. I think…

Noah: She’s a little…

Laura: I know it’s her character, but the point is she is one of Harry’s best friends, and this is a depressing situation for him, that I find… I just was annoyed that she can’t…

Noah: Yeah, doesn’t she come off as really overprotective here? Too much.

Laura: Not overprotective, just self-righteous. Kind of just, “Well, that’s… those are the rules. That’s the way it should be. You shouldn’t even be pitying yourself.”

Michael: Well, I think, like you said, that’s Hermione’s character. I think really she… in a weird way, I think that’s her way of showing she cares. Harry just doesn’t perceive it that way because I mean, she’s trying to do the same thing with Lavender where she’s like, [as Hermione] “I care that your bunny died, but you have to realize that that’s not why your bunny died.” [laughs] [back to normal voice] She’s trying to be very logical…

Laura: That’s true. [laughs]

Michael: …and level-headed in a very emotional moment, and she’s always like that until…

Noah: And she succeeds. It’s very logical.

Michael: Yeah, no. She’s… it’s not that she’s not right. It’s just that she’s not really appealing to the emotional side of the argument, and…

Laura: Right.

Michael: So, but I…

Laura: I was just saying, knowing that the facts aren’t going to change, she doesn’t need to convince him. She should just be a nice friend.

Michael: I think that’s just Hermione being her naggy self that she doesn’t break until later years where she… I mean…

[Noah laughs]

Michael: That’s still carrying over from her early years where she just cannot help but keep sticking a fork in your side and just being like, [as Hermione] “Yes, that’s right. These are the rules. Ha ha ha ha ha.” [back to normal voice] So…

Noah: So, I think these whole scenes are really cool [for] analyzing Hermione because we’re getting a sense of who she is as a character and who she’s becoming, and it just so helps that she’s in a very moody place because, of course, she’s experiencing many more hours of the day via the time travel. But it’s true, she can’t really express this emotional side, whereas Ron is all emotion.

Michael: Mhm.

Noah: And kind of acts by instinct. So on page 116, we see Professor Lupin. Harry cannot go into Hogsmeade, but Lupin finds him, brings him into the office. Filch first finds Harry and says, “What are you doing?” And Harry is like, “You know, I’m just walking around.” But then on page 116, Lupin runs into Harry and says, “What are you doing?” And here’s the quote: “…in a very different voice from Filch.” And I just thought that one section there is like, how much does this guy care? He’s so nice. Just kind of embedded in that line.

Michael: Oh, yeah. That’s why I love Lupin. He’s just…

Noah: You know what I mean? That’s why you love him, Michael. He’s just…

Michael: He’s just awesome. [laughs] I mean…

Noah: Yeah.

Michael: …not only is he a great teacher, but he [also] cares about the students during the off hours, too. And he… I almost feel like – even if it wasn’t Harry specifically – if he saw a student just walking by, and they looked a little down, he’d just be like, “Hey, what’s up?” So…

Noah: He’s going to… yeah.

Michael: Yeah. That’s why I love him.

Noah: However, on the bottom of 116, where Harry is in Lupin’s office, I have noted what I believe is a writing mistake. If I were to go back, I would correct this as a writer. Sorry if I call out the head of our entire fandom, but the scene is he… let’s see.

“‘Professor McGonagall told me,’ said Lupin, passing Harry a chipped mug of tea. ‘You’re not worried, are you?’ ‘No,’ said Harry.'”

All right, so just remember that: what Lupin said, asking if he’s worried. So, this is when Harry said:

“He thought for a moment of telling Lupin about the dog he’d seen in Magnolia Crescent but decided not to. He didn’t want Lupin to think he was a coward, especially since Lupin already seemed to think he couldn’t cope with a Boggart. Something of Harry’s thoughts seemed to have shown on his face because Lupin said, ‘Anything worrying you, Harry?'”

So if you think about it, that section isn’t… so Harry says no, Harry lied, he drank a bit of tea, and then he’s like, “Yes.” Now, the thing about… what is weird about that section is if you think about it in terms of time, basically, it’s… Lupin says, “You’re not worried, are you?” There’s a pause in which Harry thinks in his head all these thoughts, and then he says, “Anything worrying you, Harry?” again. So, just the idea of him repeating the question is kind of a… if you can just picture the scene in your mind, it would look weird on the screen because it would just be Harry thinking to himself, and then the same question being repeated. Does that make sense to you guys?

Caleb: Yeah, I see what you’re saying. I think that’s just the writer pushing the scene with dialogue.

Noah: Right.

Caleb: I don’t think it’s a mistake. I think it’s just… I don’t know. It’s just her using her artistic license to sort of push the scene forward.

Laura: I mean, while it may be a bit awkward, and I do agree it probably wasn’t the best phrasing of words, if you do think of it… it’s not like Harry answered him. He’s kind of having these internal thoughts. Or am I wrong? Did he answer him?

Noah: Well, that’s the thing. He’s having these internal thoughts in between, which…

Laura: Right.

Noah: Because you’re reading it, it gives you the sense of time passing, but really it’s not.

Laura: Well, no, because it’s…

Noah: So, it’s like Harry…

Laura: It’s Lupin being like, “You’re not worried,” and then being like, “All right, Harry. What’s worrying you? Because I can tell by your silence something is.”

Michael: Yeah. That’s what…

Noah: Yeah, but he doesn’t say that.

Michael: Well, no, but that’s what I got from the scene. I don’t think Lupin wants to… that’s kind of a common thing Harry encounters with most of the teachers who ask him this, which happens pretty much every book. But it’s like… Dumbledore does that, too, where he’s just like, [as Dumbledore] “Are you worried?” [back to normal voice] and then there’s a pause, so he’s like, [as Dumbledore] “Are you worried?”

[Michael and Noah laugh]

Michael: So, it’s just kind of… I think everybody knows that they’re… it’s pretty easy to read a thirteen-year-old’s face when they’re pretending that something is… that nothing is wrong.

Noah: [as Dumbledore] “Is there anything bothering you, Harry?”

Michael: [as Dumbledore] “Is there?”

Noah: [as Dumbledore] “I must ask you again: Is there anything?”

Michael: [laughs] Yeah. No, I…

Noah: [as Harry] “No, Professor.”

Michael: It’s just like Caleb said. It’s just pushing that thought home, pushing the narrative forward with Lupin just being… he just cares. That’s all. So… [laughs]

Noah: Yeah. My critique was not of Lupin, but more on a…

Michael: The writing. Yeah.

Noah: …taking a step back on the book itself, on the writing itself. I was like, maybe this is an edit that she would have made, but you never know. So hopping to the end of the chapter, the…

Michael: Oh, can I mention… before you do that, I just wanted to say that I just noticed that it’s… aside from Boggarts, I think it’s so interesting that Lupin has a lot of creatures… that he does… he teaches so many creatures in his class.

Noah: Yeah.

Michael: And I know that, of course, the thing we’re thinking here is that his classes are defense, not care like Hagrid’s. But I always thought it was interesting that Lupin didn’t offer to co-teach, somehow, with Hagrid because I think that would have helped Hagrid out a lot this year.

Noah: Yeah.

Michael: Because it seems like a lot of the questions and curriculum that’s addressed in Lupin’s class seem more appropriate for Hagrid. I mean, they’re learning about Red Caps and Kappas and Hinkypunks, so I just… and I was wondering, too, is this common third-year curriculum, or is this just something that Lupin specializes in? Because, like you guys said, if he’s a magical exterminator, that would definitely make sense. But I just thought that was…

Noah: Yeah.

Michael: …interesting that he’s so creature-based in his classes and that all of his creatures… a majority of his creatures, Kappas and, well… and the way he teaches Harry about Dementors and Hinkypunks, there’s a lot of water-based creatures. And Grindylows. He shows Harry a Grindylow in this scene.

Noah: Mmm.

Michael: And there’s a lot of water-based…

Laura: I do think it’s third-year curriculum because if you think about all of the professors, we don’t really get the sense of what goes on in Quirrell’s classroom. But for the rest of them we kind of get an idea.

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: And Umbridge is the exception.

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: But they kind of all focus on different things.

Michael: Mhm.

Laura: Because even… I think in the Divination classes, Trelawney lays out their curriculum. Like, “We’re going to do this, and then we’re going to do this, and then we’re going to do this.” So, I feel like each class follows that. Like, “This year, we’ll be tackling this subject,” because they kind of do take the same subjects, just at varying levels of difficulty.

Michael: Yeah, okay. That makes sense to me. I just always thought it was weird that Lupin and Hagrid never really interact in the book, considering what they’re teaching is pretty…

Noah: Well, I think on that, Lupin seems the type that he’s going to… he’s more of a bookish guy, and he wants to be in the classroom with the students, but he doesn’t seem the type to really get his hands dirty with the worms.

Michael: Oh, that’s funny because I see him like the exact opposite.

Noah: You do?

Michael: I see it reversed because it’s mentioned that in their first class, they’re so shocked that he wants to do a hands-on practical lesson.

Laura: I agree with Michael.

Michael: So, he never…

Noah: Yeah, but I think there’s… what I’m saying is that there’s a difference between hands-on with the creatures in the classroom versus hands-on with… in the mud, in the dirt, with Hagrid and the Flobberworms and the different creatures outside. Even though, as we know, Lupin spends a great deal of time outside.

Michael: Yeah.

Noah: Naturally.

Michael: [laughs] Well, yeah. But no, I get… I could see your point, but I personally don’t think… just from what I’ve read of Lupin, I think he’d be more up for that. I just thought it was weird that he never addresses that with Hagrid.

Noah: Yeah, it’s interesting.

Michael: Yeah. Anyway…

Noah: You’ve… I mean, Michael, you have a lot of points there. If there’s another one that you want to land on towards the end, we have some…

Michael: Yeah, I’m looking. The other thing comes a little… was the thing with Lupin’s discussion with Harry when he points out fear, which I do think is a very important part of the book.

Noah: That we shouldn’t go over – or we shouldn’t miss, rather – just that fear of the Dementors is fear itself.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah, no, I just think it’s really interesting because when I hear the quote about when he says, [as Lupin] “That suggests what you fear most of all is fear. Very wise.” [back to normal voice] And I immediately…

[Noah laughs]

Michael: …connect that personally with… and I don’t think this connection is encouraged for… I don’t know, for British listeners. But as an American reader, I think immediately of Franklin Roosevelt saying, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” And when I looked into kind of… I was like, “I wonder if…” because that’s such a famous quote about fear. I was like, “I wonder if Rowling was pulling from that in any way.” Because what I felt was interesting is that Roosevelt was President during World War II – which is the war that is mirrored in Harry Potter – and that his greatest contemporary was Churchill, who also… both of them were suffering from physical ailments and mental… like Churchill had heavy depression, which he called “his black dog.”

Noah: Oh.

Michael: And also, of course, the connection to the Dementors there obviously while Roosevelt suffered from polio. And both of them initially kind of tried to keep their ailments to themselves and not let anybody know because they were worried it would fail the countries they were taking charge of.

Noah: Well, that’s very interesting because that leads exactly to Lupin who is constantly suffering from his own ailments.

Michael: Yeah.

Noah: Unless…

Michael: Yeah. So, I just… I didn’t know because when I thought of Roosevelt, I thought that’s an odd thing because as an American that’s immediately who I jump to with that quote. But I thought that was interesting that Rowling would… you know, she’s quite worldly and knowledgeable so I don’t know if she meant to be referencing that or if there was something else.

Noah: I think it could be. It could be. It could be a direct reference.

Michael: So…

Noah: All right, so after that scene we get back to the… towards the end of the chapter, Harry, and Hermione, and Ron – they’ve just dumped a whole lot of candy on Harry and clearly they’ve had a great time. There’s the end feast and there are actually some ghosts doing a cool dance. And I don’t know who decorated the hall. I don’t know who generally does or who organizes all these ghosts together to do dances and stuff. I can’t even imagine just the Bloody Baron trying to rehearse something like that. So, they get back to the common room and there’s a big crowd outside of the portrait hole. We don’t know what happened. Percy comes through. [as Percy] “Make way! Make way! I’m Head Boy! Please!”

[Laura and Noah laugh]

Noah: And pushes some first years aside. They fall off their doom off the stairs, but anyway…

[Caleb and Michael laugh]

Michael: Some bottomless pit.

Caleb: And they’re forgotten in the moment.

Michael: Yeah. [laughs]

Noah: [laughs] And we realize the Fat Lady is gone and Percy says, “I actually can’t do anything because I’m just a student here.” So, he calls Professor Dumbledore.

Caleb: On his phone.

Noah: And Professor Dumbledore…

Caleb: On his cell phone.

Noah: …comes pretty much on the spot and asks where the Fat Lady is, and Peeves actually says, “Oh, she ran away.” They have to find her and then we realize from Peeves that it was old Sirius Black who had slashed the portrait hole.

Caleb: Wait, can you read the… I want to… we should get Peeves’ dialogue in here.

Michael: Oh.

Noah: Absolutely.

Laura: I loved the way Peeves brought it up kind of dropping casually…

Caleb: Right.

[Michael laughs]

Laura: …that bomb…

Michael: Like a bomb.

Laura: …versus how it’s done in the book… in the movie, which is more melodramatic with the, [as the Fat Lady] “It’s Sirius Black!”

Caleb: Ugh.

Noah: Right. Well, I’m going to start with… so, we see the slashed portrait. “‘Oh, my,’ Hermione exclaimed and grabbed Harry’s arm.”

[Caleb and Michael laugh]

Noah: I’m just putting that out there.

Caleb: Yes.

Michael: [as Hermione] “Oh, my.”

Noah: “Dumbledore took one quick look at the ruined painting and turned, his eyes somber, to see Professor McGonagall, Lupin, and Snape hurrying towards him. [as Dumbledore in a low voice] ‘We need to find her,’ [back to normal voice] said Dumbledore. [as Dumbledore] ‘Professor McGonagall…'”

[Michael laughs]

Caleb: Eww, since when does he talk like that? [laughs]

Noah: [as Dumbledore] “‘…please go to Mr. Filch at once and tell him to search…'”

Michael: What’s wrong with Dumbledore today?

Laura: Dumbledore’s possessed.

Noah: [as Dumbledore] “‘…every painting in the…'” [back to normal voice] he speaks very slowly because he’s old. “‘…for the Fat Lady.'”

Michael: He sounds like a smoker. [laughs]

Noah: All right, and then Peeves says, [as Peeves] “‘You’ll be lucky!’ [back to normal voice] said a cackling voice. It was Peeves the Poltergeist bobbing over the crowd and looking delighted.” He’s having a great time even though this is terrible. [as Dumbledore] “‘What do you mean, Peeves?’ [back to normal voice] said Dumbledore calmly.” Sorry, I… actually, that wasn’t so calm.

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: That was more of a Michael Gambon Dumbledore.

Michael: [in a hoarse voice] “What do you mean?” [laughs] Grabs him by the shoulders.

Caleb: [laughs] He grabs Peeves by the throat and wrings him out.

Laura: Just hitting Peeves around.

[Michael laughs]

Noah: [as an angry Dumbledore] “Peeves, did you put your name…”

Michael and Noah: [as an angry Dumbledore] “…in the Goblet of Fire?”

[Everyone laughs]

Noah: But Peeves didn’t dare taunt Dumbledore. “‘Ashamed, your Headship, sir. Doesn’t want to be seen. She’s a horrible mess. Saw her running through the landscape up on the fourth floor, sir, dodging between the trees. Crying something dreadful,’ he said happily. ‘Poor thing,’ he added unconvincingly. ‘Did she say who did it?’ said Dumbledore quietly. ‘Oh yes, Professorhead.'” Right, so that’s not…

Michael: No. [laughs]

Noah: [laughs] Peeves is messing up on that part. “With the air of one cradling a large bombshell in his arms,” because it is one, “‘He got very angry when she wouldn’t let him in, you see.’ Peeves flipped over and grinned at Dumbledore from between his own legs.” [laughs] What? “‘Nasty temper he’s got, that Sirius Black.'” Cut.

Caleb: Dun, dun, dun.

Noah: End of scene.

Laura: That was smooth.

Michael: That was quite a reading.

[Everyone laughs]

Noah: Thank you. Maybe that can act as my audition.

Michael: [laughs] [as an angry Dumbledore] “‘Did she say who did it?’ [back to normal voice] said Dumbledore quietly.”

[Noah laughs]

Caleb: Now I just really want an alternate scene where Peeves doesn’t answer immediately and Dumbledore just sends him flying across the room, slamming into walls and…

[Michael laughs]

Caleb: …doing horrible things to him.

Noah: I mean, if Michael Gambon… that’s what he… yeah.

Laura: That’s the movie adaptation.

Michael: Oh, yeah.

Caleb: He pins Peeves to the ground with the heel of his boot by his throat and just demands an answer.

[Noah laughs]

Michael: I really like that Michael Gambon Dumbledore’s solution to everything is, [as an angry Dumbledore] “Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?” [back to normal voice] It doesn’t matter what the situation is.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: That’s the…

Noah: I believe Michael Gambon didn’t even read the books.

Michael: No, he didn’t.

Noah: He didn’t read the books.

Caleb: Well, I’m still a huge fan of him, so let’s not bash him too much.

Noah: Okay. We only bash Pottermore on this show.

Caleb: Right. That’s the only polite move.

[Laura, Michael, and Noah laugh]

Noah: So, there ends the chapter discussions for this week. And now I believe we have a special feature coming your way.

[“The Beast Inquisition” intro begins]

Michael: The Beast Inquisition.

[Sound of fire crackling]

Ron: Hagrid, is that a dragon’s egg?

Hagrid: Yup, what I got there is a Norwegian Ridgeback. They’re rare, them.

Hermione: Hagrid, you live in a wooden house!

[“The Beast Inquisition” intro ends]

Laura: We’ve already talked a bit about the Boggarts and I think we’re going to go into it a little bit more in depth in our Beast Inquisition special feature. So, on the subject of Boggarts, I’m really interested in to what extent they can take on the attributes of the form they turn into. So, we see a Boggart that turns into a spider: acts like a spider, looks like a spider. The Boggart that turns into Snape appears to be looking like Snape. So, I wanted to know if Harry’s Boggart didn’t turn into a Dementor and had turned into Lord Voldemort instead, what form of Lord Voldemort would that have taken? How… to what extent could it act like Voldemort? What can it do? What damage can it cause? What actually is it? Is it just… does it just look like him, or can it actually do anything and act like it?

Caleb: Well, I definitely think he would see him on the back of Quirrell’s head because I think that form is more terrifying and dangerous than the young Riddle memory version at this point.

Laura: Hmm. So, are you saying that the Boggart would reflect the Voldemort that Harry had the memory of?

Caleb: Right, right.

Laura: The one that he’s met as a baby or the form that he would be…

Caleb: Right.

Laura: …eventually, the full body form?

Caleb: Yeah, because if it’s basing it off of his fear, I think that’s what we would see.

Laura: Yeah. Okay, but how is it able to act? Can it do spells? Can it cause any damage? Because Lupin appears to be nervous at the idea of Voldemort appearing in the classroom. Is that just because he doesn’t want to create panic?

Caleb: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah.

Caleb: I think that stems from him not wanting the students to see Lord Voldemort in front of them. We don’t ever really get much about what the Boggart can actually do, but I really don’t think it can physically harm them. I think it can maybe go as far as really damage someone mentally and psychologically. But physical harm, I think it may not be able to go that far.

Laura: No, but the Boggart that turns into the Dementor, it acts like a Dementor. It doesn’t… Lupin says, “The real Dementor would be so much worse.” But the point is it does cause those feelings of feeling sad, feeling cold.

Caleb: Right.

Laura: Because we know when Harry faces it. So, it’s taking on those attributes. So, it’s like, where is the line drawn?

Caleb: Well, I think it is definitely a very special case with the Dementors because of their nature. They act on a psychological and mental level more than just a physical…

Laura: Mhm.

Caleb: …like a spider can bite you or whatever else.

Michael: Well, it’s…

Laura: Right.

Michael: I think what’s interesting about what Laura’s asking is… because it’s addressed a little bit in Pottermore. I wasn’t really impressed by the entry on Boggarts because it pretty much told us everything we already know.

Caleb: Shocking.

Laura: Right?

Michael: [laughs] But the ending paragraph cited some Boggarts that have existed in the past. Let’s see, we’ve got the famous Boggart.

“Famous Boggarts include the Old Boggle of Canterbury (believed by local Muggles to be a mad, cannibalistic hermit that lived in a cave; in reality a particularly small Boggart that had learnt how to make the most out of echos); the Bludgeoning Boggart of Old London Town (a Boggart that had taken on the form of a murderous thug that prowled the back streets of nineteenth-century London, but which could be reduced to a hamster with one simple incantation); and the Screaming Bogey of Strathtully (a Scottish Boggart that had fed on the fears of local Muggles to the point that it had become an elephantine black shadow with glowing white eyes, but which Lyall Lupin [of the Ministry defeated by trapping it in a matchbox]).”

And the interesting thing there to me is that if a Boggart takes up residence somewhere and there’s enough rumors that spread about what it could be… it’s like if everybody in the area has the same fear of that Boggart, it can… it seems to grow in the capacity of what it can do.

Caleb: Yeah, perpetuates it for the Boggart.

Laura: Mhm.

Caleb: I think that what’s really cool about thinking about those things – I hadn’t thought about those in a while – is how different the Boggarts can be from one another because of what you just mentioned. Each of those Boggarts you read off became very different things, like the one that became just like the shadow sort of form. That’s really interesting.

Laura: It’s an abstract thing. And I also think it’s interesting how she even… just the small details saying how a particularly small Boggart… what makes one Boggart, I guess, different from the next in size or power? Because we don’t know what one looks like…

Michael: Mhm.

Laura: …in its own form. So…

Noah: Well, even on that, Laura, to what degree are these creatures sentient and alive? As I’m one to say. And are they necessarily evil, or can they not help their natural actions and what they do? And when you laugh them to death, are they really eliminated? And what are the ethical concerns with that?

Michael: I think Boggarts are really heavily tied to… at least in this description on Pottermore, and Rowling has kind of mentioned it before too, but she kind of suggests that, like Dementors, they’re non-beings. They’re not really alive and they don’t really die. They just kind of… they’re, as she…

Noah: Created out of chaos?

Laura: Like ephemeral?

Michael: It’s also, yeah, mentioned kind of like a poltergeist. It’s almost like these things are somehow related in a way. But yeah, I think that… these are things… it’s so hard for me to comprehend how this works because – like you guys were talking about the Dementors last week – Dementors don’t copulate, they just kind of appear. And…

[Noah laughs]

Michael: …I think that’s what’s so neat about these creatures and that what makes them truly part of the magical world, is they just are birthed out of emotion and they disappear based on emotion as well.

Noah: Right.

Laura: Now, I would think this theory… if it wasn’t for the fact that this Boggart is just appearing in a staff room and Lupin asked if they could keep it around. But we know the Boggart that appears in front of Mrs. Weasley in Order of the Phoenix where she’s afraid of all of her family dying and that’s what she sees. Now, are Boggarts created out of situations where people…

Noah: Yes.

Laura: …are living in fear? Just how right now everyone is fearing Sirius Black? Is it preying on that?

Noah: I like that so much. What if they just come out of places of tension? What if the Boggart… it’s a Boggart in the staff room, right? Maybe it came out of there because there’s tension between Lupin and Snape?

Michael: Well, and there’s also…

Laura: Yeah, or just…

Michael: …a large collection of people at Hogwarts that are all fearful of.. well, Voldemort as a general fear. But I think when you have the larger collection of people you have… I think that’s definitely a place where a Boggart would pop up.

Laura: Right.

Michael: It said that’s where a poltergeist tends to take shape as well.

Laura: And the Dementors are, I’m sure, not helping everyone in feeling happy…

Michael: Yeah.

Laura: …and not on edge.

Michael: I think the interesting thing, too, about Boggarts is… because they are part of folklore. Rowling didn’t make them up. But the thing that’s interesting to me…

Noah: Ooh.

Michael: …is that unlike other things where other creatures that Rowling has incorporated from folklore where she usually just uses what’s been given before. She doesn’t change it too much like the other creatures that are mentioned in Lupin’s class, like Red Caps and Grindylows and Kappas. They’ve all existed before in folklore and she pretty much sticks to that description. But I found Boggarts are not how she describes them at all. And what she kind of did… because Boggarts are mostly just random things in every culture. There’s something… there’s so many different versions of a Boggart. And what she ended up doing, I think, was she kind of took them all into one thing and gave an explanation for it.

Noah: Is that true?

Michael: Yeah.

Noah: That’s cool.

Michael: Because there’s this story about a Boggart who was like a… his body was buried under a tree and a man and wife… a husband and wife in a cottage saw him creeping outside their window and they think that the Boggart let their horse loose and stuff and was causing mayhem around their house. But… and then there’s another completely different story about a small, smelly, ugly Boggart. So, it’s kind of like she took all those stories and gave an explanation for them.

Laura: Mhm.

Michael: Rather than go off the folklore of what it is.

Noah: I never knew that.

Caleb: Hmm. Yeah.

Noah: Thanks for bringing that up.

Michael: Oh, yeah. No problem.

Laura: Yeah, and I mean, I know the Boggart that turns into Snape – we don’t see it talk or hear it talk in the books or the films. But if I remember correctly, when Hermione’s Boggart turns into McGonagall telling her that she failed everything in the Defense Against the Dark Arts final exam, that Boggart is talking. It’s acting like McGonagall. I just… I wanted to know when the Boggarts turn into humans… which I imagine is rare. Most people don’t specifically fear humans. Just to what extent can they do anything?

Noah: Well, I think it’s a question of, is the Boggart talking or is it just creating a manifestation of what is in the person’s head and is therefore talking?

Laura: That’s true.

Noah: But can it say anything independent of that manifestation? Maybe not.

Michael: I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure whatever it says… because I think the interesting thing to know, like Laura said, is that Snape doesn’t talk to Neville as a Boggart. And I think that is manifested…

Laura: Mhm.

Michael: …because Neville doesn’t necessarily just fear that Snape is talking to him or anything that Snape says to him; he fears Snape.

Laura: It’s just the idea.

Michael: So…

Laura: Right.

Michael: The Boggart…

Noah: Though Snape was going to… Snape was about to reach into his robes. Did anybody catch that line?

Michael: Yeah, that was weird. What was he going to do?

[Everyone laughs]

Noah: What was he doing, Michael?

Michael: I’ll leave that to fan fiction.

Caleb: We’re going to stop. We’re going to stop with that. We’re going to stop there.

[Caleb and Michael laugh]

Noah: And now, that actually leads us very nicely into the Question of the Week. Which, as I brought up before with Harry and Hermione, there was… I thought there was something going on. A little bit of a Harmony ship, as you may know. And as you guys are all very familiar with the fandom, this fandom loves shipping. From a very long time. Michael, I’m sure you know better than all of us the kind of things fans can write about their favorite ships.

Michael: Oh, yeah. If you… it’s like a Boggart. If you think it, it will appear. [laughs] So…

Noah: [laughs] And if you can think it, it probably already exists somewhere.

Michael: And I say that with so much love and affection. [laughs]

Noah: Right. So, our question for you guys today is: Did Jo leave some ships in the series – some hints and details about relationships – and just kind of pull us along and not complete them in a sense? So, are there certain ships running along – like Harry and Hermione, Neville and Luna – like a stream of hints? We all think that we’ve found them, but do you think she did this intentionally, and specifically in terms of Harry and Hermione? Do you think on some level she was building us up to think that, even though the Harry and… sorry, the Hermione and Ron stuff is very clear, did she also do some stuff between Hermione and Harry? We’re going to read some answers to this on the next episode of Alohomora! but I’m very interested to see the responses.

Caleb: Yeah, I really like this question because thinking… as we do the rereads, I can always think back to my mindset of that first read, and this definitely is really relevant to that.

Noah: Yeah, and I’m sure we’ll be watching these patterns as we go through the entire series.

Caleb: Yup. All right, well we want to definitely send out a big thanks to Michael for joining us again. Especially with the discussion we had on Lupin, you provided a lot of insight. So thanks for joining us, man.

Michael: Oh, my pleasure. And can I just make a little quick announcement about Audiofictions?

Caleb: Absolutely.

Noah: Certainly.

Michael: I just wanted to let your listeners know and our listeners know and anybody who is listening that in late March, inspired by you guys at Alohomora!, Audiofictions is going to be doing our very first live show. We’re going to be reading a short fiction, and at the moment my entire team of MerMuggles and myself, Jessie Lights, Equinox Chick, Chadadada17, theGreatOm, and Apollonious are scheduled to be present for that. We’ll also be making a few more special announcements during the live show in addition to kicking off our new season of podcasts where we read fan fictions that our listeners select. And we always value nominations of stories from MuggleNet Fan Fiction, so you guys can head over to the Black Lake section of the MuggleNet Fan Fiction Beta Forums to drop us a nomination. We can always use more. And if you don’t have an account at MNFF, you can sign up for one in a jiffy and let us know what you’d like to read. And you can also, for now, download shows from our archive via iTunes and Libsyn, and you can follow Audiofictions on Twitter and Facebook as well as watch the headlines on MuggleNet for further updates on our live show.

Noah: And it was great to have you on, Michael.

Michael: Thank you.

Noah: And we’ll be plugging your live show all over MuggleNet when that happens.

Michael: Great. Thank you very much. And thanks for having me.

Noah: Oh, of course. No, it’s always fun. I like to get in my voices too, just when you’re here…

[Michael laughs]

Noah: …because it’s fun. But yeah, if you would like to be a guest host on Alohomora! – and I’m talking to you, the fan listening – you can just email a clip of yourself analyzing the books to alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. Just make sure that in your recording you have the appropriate audio and recording equipment so that your voice comes out loud and clear.

Laura: If you want to contact us in any other way, our Twitter – please follow us at @AlohomoraMN. You can check us out on Facebook at Feel free to leave us a voicemail – we may read some of your messages on future episodes – at 206-GO-ALBUS, which is 206-462-5287. Check us out on the main site at, submit anything you’d like. You can email us at alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. And of course, do not forget to subscribe to us on iTunes.

Caleb: Yeah, and so we have a really awesome announcement for our merchandise store, which you can access by going to the Alohomora! homepage and is right up on the top bar and you will see a link that says “Store.” But by the time this episode releases, the following week – February 25th through March 5th for one week – we are offering $5 off for any purchase in our Alohomora! store. So, be sure to check it out. So, right now the store has shirts with our logo on them and some sweatshirts and some things like that. But they’re really great. You can even do custom colors and there will also be some more awesome shirts in the near future, such as host shirts – which I’m really excited about. I know Noah will be excited about Desk!Pig merchandise and then some Wizard/Werewolf/Unicorn and some other similar little things from the show that we’ve transformed into some shirt logos and designs. And there’s going to be a lot more things such as iPhone cases, tote bags, water bottles, et cetera. So, hopefully some of that will be up by the time we have this really great sale, so be sure to check that out.

Noah: And don’t forget about the Alohomora! app, which is available in the US for iPhone and Android and in the Uk for iPhone, for $1.99 or 99 pence. I recently put up a vlog up there about owls, so that’s something you can watch. Besides host vlogs, we also have transcripts of the show, bloopers, alternate endings – which are quite funny because lots of stuff happens behind the scenes that you guys don’t know about – and much more.

Caleb: All right, well that will do it for this episode of Alohomora!.

[Show music begins]

Caleb: I’m Caleb Graves.

Noah: I’m Noah Fried.

Laura: I’m Laura Reilly. And thank you for listening to Episode 23 of Alohomora!.

Noah: Open the Dumbledore!

[Show music continues]

Laura: I don’t know if this is too personal, but how would you turn your Boggart into something funny?

Caleb: I don’t really know what my Boggart would be right now. That’s hard.

Noah: Yeah.

Caleb: I think… I mean, I hate snakes. I hate them. But I don’t know if that’s what it would turn into because I don’t think that’s really my deepest, darkest fear.

Michael: Would you do what Parvati did in the movie and turn it into a giant frightening jack-in-the-box?

Caleb: No, because that was more terrifying.

Michael: That was more scary, right?

[Laura and Michael laugh]

Caleb: Yeah.

Laura: No, see, that would be even more of my fear. It’s like a meta-fear of not being able to turn the Boggart into something funny enough. I’m getting anxious that no one is going to laugh.

[Michael laughs]

Laura: I don’t know. Because my biggest fear is fish – blowfish specifically – and…

Noah: [laughs] Really?

Laura: [laughs] Yeah.

Noah: You could make it pop or something.

Laura: Hmm? No, that’s what I’m afraid of.

[Everyone laughs]

Noah: Oh.

Caleb: You just made her feel worse, Noah.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Maybe…

Noah: I’m sorry.

Michael: Maybe it could deflate and go poof.

Laura: No, when I was little, I caught a blowfish and I thought it was going to explode and it was traumatizing. [laughs]

[Noah makes exploding sounds]

Laura: Yeah, I don’t know…

Noah: I don’t know what my Boggart is. I think it’s more abstract.

Caleb: Mine is… so on that note, did you fill out the form to do the WART competition for MISTI-Con?

Noah: Yes.

Caleb: What did you… because they ask what your Boggart would be. I remember what I put. Mine was very abstract. I put a cage, so…

Noah: A cage?

Laura: What?

Noah: Well, when we face off in a cage match, now I’ll know and…

Caleb: You don’t want that.

Noah: [laughs] Okay.

Caleb: So, I don’t know what I would do to fix… to change that. That would be really hard. I don’t know, I guess the bars disappearing. That’s not funny though.

Laura: Maybe my blowfish would turn into this Swedish Fish, and just put it on a dessert instead.

[Laura and Michael laughs]

Noah: Well, I know what you’re getting for your birthday.

Laura: Thanks.

Caleb: Whoops.