Transcript – Episode 230

[Show music begins]

Eric Scull: This is Episode 230 of Alohomora! for October 15, 2017.

[Show music continues]

Eric Scull: Hello, everybody, and welcome to another fantastic episode of Alohomora! I am Eric Scull.

Kat Miller: I’m Kat Miller.

Katy Cartee Haile: And I am Katy Cartee Haile. And we have an amazing guest with us this week, as we always do. The lovely Jaye, and can you tell us how to pronounce your last name?

Jaye Dozier: It’s Dozier. It’s not that fancy.

Katy: It looks fancy!

Jaye: I know.

Katy: Well, tell us about yourself, Jaye, like how you got into Harry Potter, what House you’re in… that kind of stuff.

Jaye: All right. Well, I got into Harry Potter when I was in the sixth grade, so my friend had told me about it and I was like, “I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m into that.” And then he convinced me. He was like, “You have to read it; you’ll love it.” So I read them and I fell instantly in love, and then I became one of those fanatics who would wait out at the midnight premieres.

Eric: Oh, one of those people.

Jaye: Yeah, I know. I say that because I truly was the only one in my friend group and my family. It was in a world where that was not the norm. So I held my banner high for Harry Potter and then I just convinced all my friends to read it. And now they all trust me for book recommendations, so I think I came out on top.

Eric: Nice.

Kat: You are definitely with your people today, Jaye.

Jaye: You have no idea. This is such a dream come true. I’m among my people.

Katy: What’s your House?

Eric: You’re like, “One of those people.” You mean like us.

Kat: Right, exactly.

Katy: Us and everyone listening.

Kat: Mega-awesome super nerds. Yeah.

Jaye: Outside perspective. That’s when I learned to be comfortable in my own skin. Thanks, Harry Potter.

Eric: Speaking of holding banners high, what House banner are you holding?

Jaye: God, this is such a complicated question.

Kat: No it’s not! You have to pick one! You are one. You are one and that’s it.

Eric: That’s a loaded question. Sorry, I’m going to back off. I rescind the question. We don’t need to know.

Jaye: I’ve psychoanalyzed myself so hard on this. So I went onto that Sorting Hat Chats, the blog that they have? I think I heard about it on here. I’ve settled. I’m a Gryffindor but I’ve got some strong Hufflepuff tendencies.

Eric: Nice.

Jaye: I know. It’s hard. But I think I settle on Gryffindor, which… I know.

Kat: That’s good you picked one; that is really important. I get really irritated, and no offense because [coughs] Eric…

Eric: Do you? I can’t tell, Kat.

Kat: I hate it when people are like, “Oh, but I’m like half and half.” No! You have to pick one. That’s the point. If it’s your choices that make you who you are, pick a damn House.

Jaye: It’s not like you can camp out in both common rooms. You have to pick one.

Kat: Yeah. Pick one. You can have a really strong second House, but you have to pick. Just pick one.

Jaye: I think Gryffindor is my primary, but Hufflepuff is how I live it out; it’s a close secondary.

Eric: I feel you. I feel you.

Kat: Good for you. We rarely have awesome Gryffindors on here. I’m just kidding. All of our Gryffindors are awesome. Also just kidding. I’m digging myself a hole. Welcome! Thank you for joining us, Jaye.

Jaye: I’m so happy to be here. This is truly the best. I’m pumped.

Katy: Yay! Well, we are super happy to have you here as well, especially for such a controversial topic as this episode is going to be.

Kat: But is it controversial?

Katy: It doesn’t have to be.

Kat: It’s only going to be because I’m here.

Katy: Yes, precisely.

Jaye: We can all get along, guys. It doesn’t have to be controversial. We can all agree that he’s great.

Katy: Oh no.

[Everyone laughs]

Katy: This episode, we are going to be diving into Sirius Black. Strap on your seatbelts; this is going to be a bumpy ride.

Jaye: Dun-dun-dun.

[Eric laughs]

Kat: It’s going to be fun, guys. Listen, I don’t hate him. It’s not Snape or anything. Let’s be real.

Eric: He is definitely not Snape. He is not Severus Snape, for which we should be grateful. But before we begin, we want to state very loudly and proudly that this episode is sponsored by Elena Rinne on Patreon. You, the listener, can become a sponsor of our show Alohomora! for as little as $1 per month. And some of the perks in doing so, in addition to our undying love and affection, are that we release exclusive tidbits for our sponsors. Also, there’s a brand new perk; it’s fresh off the presses. We have created a Facebook group called “Dumbledore’s Office, and if you are supporting us on Patreon, if you are one of our lovely patrons, you can join us in “Dumbledore’s Office” to talk about all Harry, all the time. And also, we’ll get some portrait frames and you can crawl into them and have a good nap.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Just like all the other headmasters of yonder. Thanks once again, Elena.

Kat: Thank you!

Eric: Thank you for being a sponsor.

Katy: Yay, you’re awesome!

Jaye: Guys, I can’t tell you enough. Y’all are my people. I feel like we’re friends but I just met y’all and so I’m sorry if that’s weird.

Eric: We’re all family.

Kat: It’s not weird. We are friends and we did just meet, so it’s fine.

Jaye: Harry Potter does it. It does that.

Kat: It really does do that.

Jaye: Guys!

Kat: A single tear.

Jaye: Great! I’m pumped. Let’s talk about my main man. I thought I was showing too much of my cards here. I think I have a suppressed crush on book!Sirius that I was a little angry didn’t come out in the movie. I really am.

Katy: I think a lot of people had that experience. I remember back when the movie was cast, I was friends with several people in a Harry Potter meet-up group, and they had their own Sirius picked out. And some literally made t-shirts with different actors on them, like, “This is my Sirius.”

Kat: Like who?

Eric: I forgot about that!

Katy: Yeah. I can’t remember now who they picked. I wish I could, but it was amazing.

Eric: It was, like, Stuart Townsend and stuff. It was whatever actors were big at the time. But you almost don’t even think about them now because there are so many other actors that have come out into fantasy film. But gosh, I forgot about that. Sirius Black is my favorite character in Harry Potter. I still have an AOL screen name that has his name in it, and it was my first AOL screen name that I used for Harry Potter passion and roleplaying and fan stuff.

Kat: Are you not going to share it? Are you going to tell us what it is?

Eric: Well, it’s Sirius Black and my birthday, 423. You can add me to your Buddy List if you still have AOL. Y’all can IM me and I’ll get it when I sign on once a year.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: By saying I still have an AOL account, I mean it’s still alive. It’s not dead. Wish I could say the same for Sirius.

[Jaye and Katy]: Oh!

Jaye: That was below the belt. Too soon.

Eric: Too soon?!

Katy: Well, let’s get this out of the way first, since we’re already there. Eric’s favorite character. What about you, Jaye? Where do you stand on Sirius?

Jaye: He’s up there for me. I disagree with many of his life choices and would not trust him with my own children, but I love psychoanalyzing him. He’s such a good character. I like him a lot.

Katy: Awesome. And then, Kat, go ahead. Just a short synopsis. You can get into it later.

Kat: I feel very similar to Sirius as I do about Snape. However, I do not vehemently hate Sirius; I just think that he makes really poor choices. And I think that he is lifted up on this platform as this amazing person and father figure and friend, and he’s just really not. This isn’t going to be Snape 2.0, kids. Don’t worry about it. But it’s not going to be pleasant, heads up. But it’s not going to be pleasant.

Eric: Well, you can try to make it unpleasant but then the three of us Sirius lovers… Wait, Katy, you didn’t say what you think.

Katy: I didn’t. I’m like with Snape; I’m in the middle of the road. I can see his good points [and] I can see his bad points. But I’m going to try to stay neutral, or maybe by the end one of you will convince me one way or the other.

Kat: Oh, is that how this is going to go? Because if this is a game, I’m going to win.

Eric: These are the stakes! These are the stakes, everybody.

Katy: I feel like I’ve been brought into an area that I was not prepared for.

Eric: Who will win Katy’s affection?

Kat: I’m the Thor in this equation, okay? I’m going to win.

Jaye: Katy, I have candy, so…

[Katy laughs]

Katy: I hope it’s chocolate.

Eric: Come to the Sirius side. We have candy.

[Everyone laughs]

Katy: Well, okay. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, do you want me to launch into a little bit of basic information on the character Sirius?

Kat: Totes.

Katy: Okay.

Eric: Let’s start by saying that Katy really, really pampered this document with some of the most in-depth and insightful notes. However you end up at the end of this, Katy, it will not be for a lack of planning. Let’s say that.

[Katy laughs]

Jaye: He’s not wrong.

Kat: Yeah. All you listeners out there, this is her first official episode as a host, and she did not slack. I’m just saying, shower her with love in the comments, guys, because this is the ish.

Eric: This is huge.

Katy: Thank you, guys.

Jaye: This is Hermione level. I got it and I was like, “Yeah. This is amazing.”

Kat: It’s like, seven pages of notes, and this is, like, a six hour episode, so let’s…

Eric: And they’re all in 8 point font too. It’s the smallest font there is.

Katy: And then Kat came in and crushed it and cut all of it out.

Eric: Butchered it. Butchered it like Buckbeak.

Kat: I did. I cut like 80% of the discussion. And I did leave in good stuff; this is not just a negative discussion.

Katy: I was proud. You were not completely biased in your cutting. Good job.

Kat: Hey, I know how to edit things appropriately.

Eric: Don’t worry. God as my witness, this will not be a negative Sirius episode.

Kat: Also, this is my first episode in almost three months, and I’m really super dope and super, super excited to come back and talk about Sirius.

Eric: It’s good to be back. I almost forgot how to intro the episode earlier, then I channeled my inner Ryan Seacrest and got it fixed. But yeah, it’s been five months for me.

Kat: Crazy.

Eric: “Is Harry Imagining It?” was the last episode that I was on, but it’s fantastic to be back and available and talking about my favorite character with some of my favorite people.

[Katy squeaks]

Kat: Aww.

Jaye: Stop it. Stop.

Kat: All right, all right, all right. Tell us about Sirius’s name, Katy. Tell us about it.

Katy: Okay. This is one of my favorite things to do in Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts: name etymology. So here we go. He is named after the star Sirius, which is also known as the dog star, reflecting its prominence in its constellation, Canis Major or the Greater Dog. It is the brightest star in the sky.

Kat: Do you think the Greater Dog was the alternate name for the Greater Good? I’m sorry. [laughs]

Katy: Oh my God. That’s funny.

Kat: They way you said it, I was just like… It was just so funny. Sorry.

[Everyone laughs]

Katy: Just reverse the letters and add an “O” and there you go. [laughs] But yes, brightest star in Earth’s sky. Also called Scorching, which quite suits his personality.

Jaye: Yeah, he is.

Katy: According to The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasure of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts by David Colbert, in Egyptian mythology, the star Sirius is where it was believed the souls of humans traveled after death.

Eric and Kat: Ooh.

Kat: Fancy.

Katy: Which is also super appropriate. So apart from being called “Sirius,” his other names he was known by were “Snuffles” and “Padfoot.” “Padfoot” refers to his Animagus form; it is also the name that residents of central and northern England – Staffordshire, Yorkshire area – have for the magical black dogs of their legends and fears. Usually, Padfoots guard churchyards or certain roads. They are said to roam the countryside at night. They tend to be larger than ordinary dogs [and] can vanish instantly or fade slowly away while standing still, yet can run extremely quickly. They are typically described as having huge and blazing eyes. They tend to be silent. Because of their association with graveyards, scholars once believed the black dog form was the preferred form of the devil and are usually considered an omen of death and are thus also called the Grim.

Eric: This is perfect.

Katy: When I came across this in my research, I was like, “Oh my God. I have never seen this before, and that’s amazing. I have to include that.” I’m a Ravenclaw. I’ve got to teach you guys something. [laughs]

Eric: It’s just really – for lack of a better word – brilliant that J.K. Rowling would conceive of this character who has all these things going against him. Because he can turn into a dog, but the dog is so commonly misunderstood or mistaken for a devil or a bad omen. And then to work that so directly into the plot of Prisoner of Azkaban, where not only are we taking his dog form as a grim as a bad omen – which Harry is learning in Divination and all that stuff – but he himself as a human is misunderstood and mistaken for being a criminal when he’s really not. It’s so brilliant.

Jaye: I know. It’s amazing.

Katy: Amen. Obligatory genius moment. One of the many.

Kat: Hey, that’s my saying. I’m just kidding.

Katy: [laughs] Stole it. Sorry, it’s mine now. I’m kidding. We can share.

Kat: It’s not trademarked or anything, so you can use it. It’s cool.

Katy: But it’s totally your thing. I just like stealing your things.

Eric: Okay, just give her a quarter and be done with it. We’re moving on. [laughs]

Katy: Moving on. I had to teach you one more thing, all of you listeners, because I had never heard this before.

Eric: [sighs] Oh gosh. One more.

Katy: Shh. You’re in my classroom now, buddy. Shut your trap. Again in my research, I was like, “Whoa. Never knew this. This is fascinating.” So for anyone that’s at all interested in astronomy, most do not know that Sirius is actually a binary star system made up of Sirius A, which is a white main-sequence star, and Sirius B, which is a faint white dwarf companion affectionately called “The Pup.” I just think that part is cool in and of itself. I always thought it was just one star, and it’s not. Sirius A is the bright one that we see. It wasn’t until the mid 1800s or late 1800s that they could even tell that there was a second one beside it because it’s so faint. But it’s there. It’s there. I just was curious if J.K. Rowling knew that, what could this possibly tell us about Sirius himself or his relationship with Harry or others?

Eric: Is there a duality to Sirius’s personality? Would you say he wants to do good, but he’s haunted – either by his past – or he’s incapable of being truly…

Kat: So many things.

Eric: Stop. Do you think that that could be what that’s all about?

Jaye: The fact that they say “The Pup,” I think, is interesting because it’s not a full-grown dog. I think we’ll get into that a little bit later, but he is somewhat stunted in his growth. We mention that later in the Doc. I think it’s interesting that it’s a dog star, but yet it’s a part of something that’s more like a pup, like a young dog, which I think is something that is Sirius to a T. He’s more young in his representation in the books, but also in his maturity and in the way that he is able to lead. I think that’s interesting.

Kat: Dogs are pack animals by nature, so I think it’s not surprising that there are other stars around. And I feel like dogs are at their truest form when they’re with a group of other dogs since they are pack animals. I think that really does say a lot about Sirius and his personality, personally.

Eric: I will say I think Sirius was happiest when he was with his friends.

Kat: Of course. Absolutely he was.

Eric: He was in his element.

Kat: For sure. So let’s explore that, then. As I was preparing this Document after going through Katy’s insane amount of notes, Sirius is always such a debated character, but there are three very clear facets of his personality and things that are always discussed. Sirius as a friend; not only a friend to James and Lupin and Pettigrew, but also to Harry. Then, of course, [Sirius] as a father figure. And then in death. And also [there are] these other metaphors like mental illness and immaturity and all of that stuff. Since you brought up the friendship one, let’s just start there. Does that sound like a plan?

Eric: Before we begin, I want to ask all of you. Do you guys think that J.K. Rowling hates Sirius Black?

Jaye: No.

Katy: We have a quote from her [that] tells us exactly what she thinks of Sirius Black.

Eric: Really? Do we have to save it for later, or can we read it?

Kat: Let’s read it. Tell us. Do it.

Katy: All right. Let me find it. It’s at the bottom.

Eric: At the bottom where we put all the stuff we weren’t going to talk about?

Katy: Oh no, I hope Kat didn’t delete it. Let’s see. Oh, there it is.

Kat: Why would I delete that? It’s J.K. Rowling’s words. I’d never delete those.

Katy: Okay. The question was posted to her, and this was from her old website. So this is straight from the mouth of the queen. The question was, “Do you like Sirius Black?”

Eric: Oh my God! [laughs]

Jaye: Yes! It’s like you set that up.

Katy: Right?

“I’ve had several letters asking this, which rather surprised me. The answer is, yes, I do like him, although I do not think he is wholly wonderful. Sirius is very good at spouting bits of excellent personal philosophy, but he does not always live up to them. For instance, he says in Goblet of Fire that if you want to know what a man is really like, ‘look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.’ But Sirius loathes Kreacher, the house-elf he has inherited, and treats him with nothing but contempt. Similarly, Sirius claims that nobody is wholly good or wholly evil, and yet the way he acts towards Snape suggests that he cannot conceive of any latent good qualities there. Of course, these double standards exist in most of us; we might know how we ought to behave, but actually doing it is a different matter!

Sirius is brave, loyal, reckless, embittered, and slightly unbalanced by his long stay in Azkaban. He has never really had the chance to grow up; he was around 22 when he was sent off to Azkaban and has had very little normal adult life. Lupin, who is the same age, seems much older and more mature. Sirius’s great redeeming quality is how much affection he is capable of feeling. He loved James like a brother and he went on to transfer that attachment to Harry.”

Kat: Oh, can I just point out the word “attachment”? Sorry.

Eric: Attachment to Harry? Well, how do you mean?

Kat: Well, it says “attachment…”

Eric: You think it’s an unhealthy…?

Jaye: Like in a dependency?

Jaye and Kat: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, okay. And there are definitely important things to talk about there. The reason I ask [laughs] if we think J.K. Rowling hates him is because we have a really good book or so with him in it. Most of the time is spent thinking that he is evil. Then when the rug is pulled out from under us, we fall so deeply in love. At least, that was my experience reading Prisoner of Azkaban for the first time. And finding out that Harry really has family that’s still around, family that he can count on for once… It was basically the short-lived chapter before Peter Pettigrew breaks out and all that goes to hell. But finding out that Harry does have family and then spending the next book where, unfortunately, due to the results of the previous book, [Sirius] is on the run; we barely see him – a couple letters, a couple hang-outs in the cave, maybe – and then in Book 5 he is miserable. He’s just absolutely miserable the entire book. He rivals Harry for how sad and unhappy he is in Order of the Phoenix, and then he dies. So I’m like, “Hey. What’s the beef, Jo? Come on. You hate this guy or what?” I feel as though her quotes that you just read, Katy, were very insightful and fair. I think it’s a balanced opinion. I am grateful that J.K. Rowling wrote a character who is flawed and complicated in the way that real humans are. But I can’t help but wonder, man, Sirius is not a happy character to talk about always because a tragedy does befall him. It almost defines him, I would say. His tragedy tends to – especially after his death – define how we feel and act about Sirius.

Kat: You know what also defines Sirius? His crappy choices.

[Katy and Jaye laugh]

Eric: No, I disagree.

Jaye: Oh, man.

Katy: They are part of the whole picture.

Jaye: If you think about it, though, I feel like most of that first generation of the wizarding war don’t have great stories or endings. You know what I mean? Really, Pettigrew kind of came out on top of those four until the end, which is ironic.

Kat: [laughs] Almost, yeah.

Jaye: But if you think about Lupin, he had a pretty rough life the whole time too. So I feel like she’s pulling in some deeper metaphors there and using suffering as some deeper commentary.

Eric: To see how we react. Yeah, that’s the perfect foil to the argument I was going to make, too, by saying, “Well, all of these other people suffer too, and they’re less immature about it and less flawed somehow.” But getting into the character of Sirius, I do very much tend to see him as a sympathetic character. I feel bad for Sirius, and I want good things for him.

Kat: Why do you feel bad for him?

Eric: If you want to get really personal, he actually reminds me of my own dad who had some flaws or issues relating to me. I just want to say, he’s not the most mature dad of them all at times, so I see my dad in Sirius. I love my dad, obviously, but when I see Sirius and his relationship with Harry and how he relates to him, it’s very clearly more as a best friend than family should be. I see the flaw and that hurts, but I also can’t help but connect to it on a core level.

Kat: Yeah. Now I literally can’t say anything [censored] about Sirius because now I’m going to be talking about your dad. Was this your plan all along?

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Just deal with that. No, again, my parents are both great people and very mature, but I do think my dad at times is, in conversation, spiteful just to be spiteful… or not even just with me; just in the world, right? How he relates to his friends, how he relates to his peers… And that’s just the kind of person my dad is. So going off that, we all have these adults in our lives who have these sorts of flaws and can be petty, can be reproachful, [and] can be biased. Oh God, if you ever talk about the current election or events with your relatives, you see these lines very clearly where there’s a part of them that you may think just doesn’t add up or is particularly immature or spiteful. I see that in Sirius and I can’t hate it. I can’t disagree with it at all. I think it furthers his portrayal as a real person that he is so flawed. But I also don’t hate him for trying, as he does in Book 5, to really mentor Harry, because I think that that makes all of the difference, the fact that he continues to try.

Kat: Yeah. Yo, fam, listen. There’s a reason that they tell you to put your mask on first on the plane before helping other people. Sirius needs to help himself before he can even pretend to start helping Harry.

Eric: Well, if we’re talking about Book 5, Dumbledore removes his choice entirely. Dumbledore is actually Sirius’s greatest enemy. If you want to like Sirius – I don’t want to say anything like that – I have more of a problem with Dumbledore because of how he treats Sirius than how he treats Harry throughout the whole series, to be perfectly honest.

Jaye: Well, Eric, to piggyback off of that thought, I can totally relate to that because he reminds me a lot of my father, too, in a lot of ways. Going off of what you’re saying, I think there is an element of, as we get older and mature, especially with parents or with adult figures, I feel like we’re able to see a more well-rounded picture of their flaws and their sins and their negative characteristics, as much as when I was a kid [and] I could just see the great. I think Sirius is such a cool example of that because the veil starts to lift. In the beginning, when Harry is in his third year, he’s this magical godfather, and then as [Harry] matures, we can start to see that [Sirius] is not. He’s not perfect. [laughs] He actually has some serious flaws, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still appreciate him or try to understand him.

Kat: All right, so let’s talk about… My biggest issue with Sirius Black forever will always be – I’ll never get over it; you’ll never change my mind – the whole trick with the Whomping Willow and Snape. Sirius, never mind… If you even take Snape totally out of the equation and don’t even consider who it is that Sirius is setting up, Sirius literally was going to let his best friend murder somebody. Literally. That is, oh my God, the worst possible thing that you could do to your best friend, [to] literally trick them into becoming a murderer. That is unforgivable in my book. It sealed the deal for me on Sirius.

Jaye: Did he think that he was going to die, or just rough him up? Or did he think that they were going to be able to stop him?

Kat: It’s a werewolf, yo. Regardless, whether or not Remus killed him, if he had bitten him, Snape would be a werewolf.

Jaye and Katy: Yeah.

Eric: Sirius had, at a young age… when that happened… I think you’re right. He had a failure of empathy; [that] is how I’ll write that off.

Katy: To put it mildly.

Eric: I’m not writing it off. I completely agree with you. That is one of the biggest nails for his coffin in general because, again, [it was] not only just getting back at Snape. He and James both had this petty relationship, this grudge against Snape. Mostly maybe James led it, but Sirius overdid it. Sirius went too far. And not even with that, but you’re right; what that would have done to Remus, had Remus actually killed him.

Kat: Or even just bitten him or anything, really.

Eric: Yeah, there’s no way that that could have ended in any better way than how it did end, and you’re right.

Jaye: I feel like that’s got to be a failure of his prefrontal cortex being developed because I see my high school kids make ridiculous decisions that they don’t think out. And I’m like, “Is that just him? Is he being evil, or is that just him straight-up not being able to think through the implications of that?” You know what I mean?

Eric: Yeah. I will say, though – and this is not defending Sirius’s actions – I think that teenagers don’t always think before they act. And in this case, it was a drastic mistake – more drastic than other teenagers who fail to think before they act – but maybe not the largest failure you could ever imagine.

Kat: The fact of the matter is, regardless of what age he was, I feel like Sirius, even as he was older, is still acting in this manner. The fact that he lets his personal feelings and his desire to prove other people less worthy is what continually gets him in trouble. And I can see situations like this becoming easy for Sirius to put other people in, if that makes sense. I don’t see this as something conditional of just the fact that he was a stupid teenager; I feel like this carries over into Sirius’s adult life and – no pun intended – is a serious problem. It’s a big deal.

[Katy laughs]

Eric: Ha, ha, ha, ha.

Jaye: But isn’t that such a quality of him? He is unable to see people that he loathes or that are in a different mindset from him as almost being completely human. If you see Kreacher or Snape, they almost represent this association with the wrong side or evil, so he characterizes them as this other that he can separate from. And so if he abuses them or if he teases them, it’s almost like he lets his mind think that they’re not worthy, which is not a good thing. And I know that’s not a Slytherin quality, but it is a level of “I can separate myself because you’re not my people.”

Kat: Well, it comes down to…

Eric: It’s a defense…

Kat: You go.

Jaye: Go ahead.

Eric: It’s a defense mechanism because of his parents. But that doesn’t justify anything, except to say that early on he realized that he was very much an outsider within his own family, and so he is utterly alone. Whatever mental connections or pathways formed in his head at such a young enough age to want to run away when he was 11, 12, 13 – there were summers when he stayed with the Potter family, [which] I believe is canon – he really does believe that he is, if not better than, definitely separate from his family’s crowd. And that’s the whole Kreacher thing in a nutshell; that’s why he treats Kreacher less than human. And he shouldn’t, but he does because Kreacher reminds him of his family.

Kat: Right. And for Sirius, it comes down to loyalty and being judgmental, which is something… Ravenclaws are really known for being judgmental, but Gryffindors are just as much. And for Sirius, it’s a thing – like I said – if he sees somebody who’s acting in a way that he doesn’t believe is right, whether it’s because they’re treating somebody poorly or it’s not the way he would act, he sees that as an act of betrayal. And he immediately has to right that wrong at any cost because the loyalty is the thing that he values the most, which is why I’m always so surprised that he wasn’t in Slytherin because that is the number one Slytherin trait, loyalty.

Katy: I don’t believe that.

Eric: He was also shoed into that position of valuing loyalty the most because they had their very best friend betray them and kill the other two.

Kat: Yeah, okay, but we’re talking pre-that, Eric. Right now we’re in Hogwarts years. You can’t use that as a defense.

Katy: Hand raise!

Eric: I don’t believe any of these…

Katy: Hand raise! Loyalty is a Hufflepuff trait, not Slytherin.

Jaye: It’s both.

Kat: It is also a very hardcore Slytherin trait, yeah.

Katy: I Googled it; I tried to find Slytherin and loyalty together, and I did not have any luck. If you can prove me wrong, please do.

Jaye: Man, I will pore Sorting Hat chats all day.

Kat: Literally every Slytherin listening to this right now is like, “Yo, I’m loyal AF.”

[Katy laughs]

Jaye: So I know a lot of times they kind of compare… Hufflepuff and Slytherin are really similar because with loyalty, Hufflepuffs are like, “We’re loyal to all of humanity,” whereas Slytherins are like, “We’re loyal to our people.” So that’s why Katniss Everdeen would be a Slytherin because she’s like, “I care about my people more than I care about…”

Katy: What I saw was they care about themselves. It’s all about self-preservation, what they want, what’s going to further their cause… And if they are mixed in with someone who they were loyal to, but all of a sudden they are not going to be helping them on their road to whatever, that person no longer matters to them.

Kat: Whoa! So Slytherins listening, Katy’s email is…

[Jaye and Katy laugh]

Eric: But the case for Sirius will be made or broken in Book 5. I think, Kat, you will agree that Book 5 contains some of the best writing in all of the series.

Kat: Hell yeah. Best book.

Eric: I know it’s your favorite book, right?

Kat: Oh yeah. I love it.

Eric: Not my favorite.

Jaye: Ugh. So much angst.

[Katy laughs]

Eric: But it’s got some of the best writing, and I think we should take a moment to appreciate… There’s such good writing in Book 5, and J.K. Rowling was able to take her time writing it enough that there’s even this question. I mean, it’s a big part of the darn plot of the book, this analysis of Sirius Black’s character. Harry himself is able to ask the question, is he a good parent figure? Because Molly asks it and it’s a huge source of contention for all the other people who are would-be protectors of Harry. And again, I think Dumbledore doesn’t really allow a choice in the matter. It has to be Molly who’s the protector because he needs Sirius for these other things. But I really love just the fact that it is questioned openly and there [are] a lot of layers to it. All of this stuff we’ve talked about so far, too, that comes to a head in Book 5 when he is challenged by Molly and when he is dealing with Kreacher and dealing with Snape coming into his house and this, that, and the other thing… it’s all this perfect bundle of stuff that comes to a head. And unfortunately, I think there is a big, big, big value in reminding people that it is Sirius’s own fault that he dies because he sends Kreacher away, and how Kreacher chooses to interpret those messages sends him directly into the enemies’ territory with Narcissa and Bellatrix. And unless I am very much mistaken, that’s how they’re able to basically know and tell Voldemort what to do to trick Harry and all that other stuff. So he is very much the direct cause of his own demise; his flaws literally result in his own death. And that, I think, innately makes him a little sympathetic, but also it further resonates. I very much believe in karma, and I very much believe that we are the source of our own misery. And here’s a character who is well-written enough that that’s actually the case.

Kat: I mean, he definitely – and I will give this to Sirius’s credit – is one of the characters who gives the most amount of selfless love to everybody. And maybe that’s not always a good thing, but he definitely is somebody who loves with his whole heart without holding back in any way, shape, or form. If you need something from Sirius, he’s there. I mean, that’s, as Eric said, usually to his detriment. You give so much of yourself.

Jaye: Well, it goes back to that loyalty thing. Let’s not forget that Harry himself – and I love the symmetry of this – was almost as reckless of a godfather as Sirius, and he knows that. It’s because he had to go save the wizarding world or whatever. But I think Sirius, in his own way, believes in his own causes or his own things so much that that’s what makes him reckless. And I think it’s an interesting symmetry there that Harry is destined to be as reckless as Sirius was.

Kat: Well, Harry only quips about how reckless he’s going to be. We don’t know what kind of godfather he is.

Jaye: I mean, him being willing to go into the battle and do all of that… he was pretty much willing to die immediately. And I know that has so much…

Katy: Well, Remus wasn’t dead yet at that point.

Kat: No. And also, big difference between Sirius Black being this selfless, kind of rash person, and Harry literally saving the wizarding world. [laughs]

Jaye: That’s true.

Eric: No. Oh, I disagree with that logic so hard. So, so, so hard.

Kat: Why do you disagree with that logic?

Eric: Because it’s like, “Oh, Harry wasn’t as reckless because it worked.”

Jaye: [laughs] That’s so true.

Kat: Harry had no choice. Harry had literally no choice whatsoever. Sirius always had a choice.

Eric: I fall into this trap all the time: You can’t justify somebody’s actions based on the outcome. You can’t do it. It’s flawed.

Kat: Right. You can judge them based on their choices, which is what Harry Potter is all about.

Eric: No, no, no, based on their reasons. It’s all about motive. It’s 50% intention and 50% something else, which I’ll figure out when we talk about it more.

[Jaye laughs]

Eric: Let’s actually go through…

Kat: I don’t think that’s what the Sorting Hat says. I don’t think the Sorting Hat says, “It’s your intentions, Harry.” I think it says, “It’s your choices.”

Eric: Well, that’s J.K. Rowling copying Dumbledore.

Kat: Sorry, whatever. Right, you know what I mean. It’s choices, Eric. It’s not intentions.

Eric: Okay, we need to do a whole episode on choices because that is a BS line. It is overplayed. I hate it more than I hate “Always” as a thing in the Harry Potter fandom.

Kat: Oh, I hate “Always” too. But this is not a Snape episode.

Eric: Yeah. “Always.” Can’t stand it. Well, and unhealthy love as well.

Jaye: I think it’s a different conversation if we’re saying Harry’s choices were justified/who he was as a godfather. Because I think those are two different conversations. I think that he definitely had no choice – he had to do what he did – but if we’re just strictly talking about him as a godfather, then he was reckless, even if he had to be.

Eric: Yeah. And when I analyze Sirius, when I think about Sirius, I’m like, “Well, what was he trying to accomplish? Where did he fall short? Why did he fall short? And what kind of person was he? And where does that net out in some kind of equation of whether or not he’s a good dude?”

Jaye: Yeah. Let’s not forget, he was a victim.

Kat: Okay, but insert anybody’s name in there other than Sirius. What was Lord Voldemort’s intentions? It doesn’t matter what this person intends to do.

Eric: Lord Voldemort’s intentions were to subvert everything and subjugate everybody and dominate everything. That’s pretty clear. What were Barty Crouch, Jr.’s intentions? That’s something a little bit murkier.

Kat: Right. Or Merope. What were her intentions?

Eric: To love and be loved.

Kat: But it’s her choices, Eric. It’s why and how she did what she did. It has nothing to do with her intention. It’s why and how she did it.

Eric: So Kat, you mentioned dogs being pack animals, and I do want to say Sirius is one of the Marauders that we actually probably spend the most time with. Thanks, Book 5.

[Kat laughs]

Eric: Lupin is fairly absent in later books, which actually, to be honest, surprised me. Obviously, we can’t really talk about it here, but Remus’s absence from Harry’s life in Books 5, 6, [and] 7 is very shocking to me.

Kat: It sucks.

Eric: There’s no reason for it other than arbitrary writing, but Sirius is the one we spent the most time with of the Marauders. But since dogs are pack animals, I really want to talk about who Sirius was. What function did Sirius serve as a friend to James? I think it’s safe to say he was a friend to James first and then also as the Marauders, as the four friends that went. What role did he play in the Marauders? Was it just to enable James’s ego and prejudice? Or was there something else?

Kat: [laughs] Yeah, I think he was the fire starter, honestly.

Eric: Okay.

Kat: I think he was the temper of the group.

Katy: I don’t know. I see he and James on pretty equal footing in that. They fed off of each other. I don’t think one was the instigator. I think they both instigated each other.

Kat: Sure. But Sirius had the balls to act on what they were talking about.

Katy: So did James! He was the one that flipped Snape upside down.

Kat: I feel like that’s different than actually… I’m going to go back to the whole Whomping Willow thing. I feel like those are on a different level. That’s like the difference between putting a whoopee cushion on somebody’s chair or putting a knife on their chair.

Eric: Have you never wanted to physically hurt a bully?

Kat: No.

Eric: Were you bullied?

Kat: A lot, yeah. Quite a bit. But that just really isn’t part of my nature. And I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing; if somebody felt like they wanted to get back at a bully, that’s fine and that’s your prerogative. That just is not… I am not a revenge-seeking type of person.

Eric: Yeah. I find problems [and] concerns with my own argument I sort of started there, because Sirius is not the go-to person who got revenge on a bully. I don’t think there’s enough text in canon to suggest that Snape really did bully Sirius or James. Snape probably was more often on the defensive.

Katy: Yeah, for sure.

Eric: Because there was only one of him.

Kat: Definitely.

Eric: So I’m not trying to say that Sirius is some avenging angel [or] some righteous person who is justified in any of his actions. I’m not saying any of that.

Jaye: I do think, probably, so much of the antagonism between Snape and James was Lily-focused.

Kat: Totes.

Jaye: I’m sure James had a crush on her, probably since they were little, so I’m sure him picking on Snape and not liking him because [Snape and Lily] were such good friends and [James] thought [Snape] was weird… whatever. And I’m sure Sirius just tagged onto that. Because he was so loyal to James, he’s not going to like Snape too. And he might remind him of his family or whatever.

Katy: But they attacked him on the train when they first met him.

Jaye: That’s true.

Katy: This is their first interaction ever, and they immediately judge this guy because he wants to be in Slytherin.

Kat: Well, they didn’t attack him, right? What actually happened?

Katy: I don’t mean physically.

Jaye: Attack his beliefs, yeah.

Katy: But they called him “Snivellus” and were completely rude to him.

Kat: That was Sirius, actually, for the record, who called him “Snivellus.”

Jaye: I feel like James and Sirius just found their match in each other. You know what I mean?

Katy: Totally.

Jaye: For whatever reason, I just always think of Ocean’s Eleven [and] the Brad Pitt [and] George Clooney characters. They’re the ones that run the show and everyone’s like… They’re the ones in power. They’re the most visible, the most… I don’t know. They’re the ones that rule the group, in a way. They’re each other’s person.

Katy: Yeah. And I want to know – I would love to hear from some listenersÊabout this – how James and Sirius became such fast friends. Because literally, in the span of five to ten minutes, they are besties.

Eric: Wait a minute. That happens in Book 1 with Harry and Ron.

Katy: But Harry and Ron were not already so comfortable with each other that they were just being rowdy and insulting people that came into their carriage.

Kat: Because they are both significantly better human beings. Like, significantly better human beings.

Eric: I honestly wonder if Sirius suffers in part due to proximity to James because again, Book 5 is where we question James, too, and that’s frickin’ huge. When Harry goes back in Snape’s worst memory and sees that and questions whether or not his father, who he has loved and tried to honor, was a good guy, and the answer so very clearly is, “No, he effing wasn’t,” and Remus and Sirius are in the fireplace and they’re like, “Yeah, he matured later…” But we never see that in later books, either. You’re just supposed to take them at their word that James got better. It’s the same thing with Sirius. The point of that writing was to make us question and was to allow us to see these characters’ flaws. We don’t have the same writing to justify seeing them in a more positive manner. So you either have to forgive them for their flaws and figure out a way to live with what their flaws are, or – as you do, Kat – dislike them for them. And that’s perfect. There’s no wrong way of taking that. But there simply aren’t… Short of that little writing on the motorbike where they’re running around in town, that little short story that J.K. Rowling did, there’s no other evidence to suggest that James and Sirius were capable of having a good time without putting others down and without it being at somebody else’s expense.

Jaye: I don’t love their history. I hate that they’re bullies, but I love the reality of that. I literally went to my ten-year high school reunion this past weekend, and I was seeing people there who I was like, “I would never, ever have expected you to turn out the way you did.” Just the way life can change people. The way people come into your life and change you and your perspective changes. That’s life.

Eric: Can you give an example?

Jaye: I knew a girl in high school who was very reckless, and we all thought, “Man, I’m worried about her leaving high school.” Just the choices that she’s going to make. Wouldn’t listen to authority, seemed to be going on a destructive path… And now she has three beautiful children, is happily married, [and] is doing a lot of advocation work. It’s just really cool to see the way that having some reckonings when she got out of high school and met some great people and got involved… how that can change the whole trajectory of your life. And I feel like James and Lily are just on such pedestals because we’re seeing them through Harry’s eyes. It’s not necessarily a realistic perspective. People can be [censored] because they just… James was probably a very spoiled kid. And that doesn’t excuse his actions, but…

Kat: That is really important, to remember the lens that we’re reading these novels through. It’s really important to remember that.

Jaye: Ron and Harry bond so much because they’re both outsiders. They’re insecure; they’re self-conscious.

Eric: They’re both lazy.

Jaye: Yeah, they don’t really know what they’re doing.

Eric: Chronically lazy.

Jaye: James and Sirius probably grew up very different[ly], very privileged. Even though Sirius had a rough time with his family, they know the wizarding world. They know this world. And I think they just found a connection in each other. Sometimes you just meet people and it’s like, “Yeah, we’re going to get along. We’re fast friends.” Maybe it’s just a personality thing.

Katy: Yeah, it must’ve been. And like you said, we already knew he had issues with his family before he got to Hogwarts. And on the train he’s talking to James about what House he wants to be in if he has the choice, and James says Gryffindor, and [Sirius] says, “Well, my family have all been Slytherins, but maybe I’ll break the tradition,” or whatever, which also made me think, did he have a conversation with the Sorting Hat? The Sorting Hat was like, “Well, you should be in Slytherin,” and he was like, “Nope! Don’t want to be! Want to be in Gryffindor becauseÊof my buddy.” But actually, Sirius would have been Sorted first.

Eric: If they did alphabets in the ’70s.

Kat: Technically, that’s true.

Eric: Back in the day it was probably just as crucial to the plot how they Sorted things.

Jaye: Not like the movie, where they jump from Hannah Abbott to Zabini to Harry Potter.

Eric: Harry Potter. Hermione Granger. Ron Weasley.

Katy: Although James’s father was also in Gryffindor, so it was probably pretty certain he was going to be there.

Eric: That’s the thing: So much for choices, right? The bloodlines run all the way through the Sorting ceremony. But I think on the question of what made James and Sirius so instantly into each other, I think that James had an over-inflated sense of pride for his Gryffindor connection, and Sirius was looking for that to latch onto. Sirius hated his own family. He was misanthropic about it. He didn’t have a high esteem of any of his own lot, so he attached or latched onto James and immediately believed everything that James would say against Slytherins because he hated his own family. It’s textbook putting your own personal issues and using it to define your core beliefs. Once he found James, who was very ego-centric about everything, he just latched on and adopted all those beliefs as his own.

Kat: Right, like people do when they get a new boyfriend or girlfriend. A lot of people do that.

Eric: Yeah, it’s true, honestly. But I think that that… So obviously, that maybe points to an unhealthy relationship between James and Sirius too. Sirius had to overcompensate, such as the instance with Snape in the Shrieking Shack, because he was afraid of losing James’s affections. So not only did he have to hate Snape as much as James did, but he had to do it one better, and again, no thought toward how Remus would feel about it. Just completely over-the-top overdo it to the point where everybody was like, “Dude, you crossed a line.”

Jaye: You know what’s interesting? When you said that, I just thought about [how] I feel like there’s such a similarity between him and Harry in the way that they’re strangely so not affected by their upbringing. I think it’s interesting that Harry grows up abused and neglected, but yet he still has this incredible capacity to hope and love. And then Sirius, in a [very] different way, grows up in this… well, actually, pretty similar. I’m sure he was abused and neglected or he grows up in this mindset, and yet he’s so against it. I just think it’s fascinating that both of them have such a strength of mind against the way they were brought up. I feel like that’s pretty rare.

Kat: Yeah. It’s a studied… I’m not sure what the right word is…

Eric: Behavior?

Kat: I guess. You’re a product of your environment. You either become the environment that you grew up in or you actively work against becoming that environment. And I feel like Harry didn’t know the other half of his life, so all he knew was that he didn’t want to be like the Dursleys. And I think that – and this is a whole other episode – Harry really changed as a person once he joined the magical community. And I feel like the same happened for Sirius, because I actually agreed, Eric, with everything that you said. I think that they have a really codependent relationship, James and Sirius. And Sirius is definitely the one who adopts a lot of James’s…

Eric: Poorer qualities?

Kat: Yeah, his prejudices and the like. Because Sirius grew up in a house with a bunch of Slytherins, he’s used to people talking terrible about other people, but he was actively trying to not be that person. And then here is James, this person who also grew up in a house,Êpresumably. We know that he was wealthy [and] probably pretty well taken care of. And those people, more often than not, tend to be kind of judgmental people. So here is Sirius trying to be this different, better person, and then he becomes friends with James, who probably influenced the way he acted quite a bit.

Eric: Well, going back to this whole thing about loyalty, we talked about whether it’s a Slytherin quality; I like hearing that. But the Sirius thing about loyalty… and there’s that line in Prisoner of Azkaban where he says to Peter Pettigrew, “You should have died. Died, rather than betrayed your friends,” which Sirius himself would have done.

Kat: Actually, he says that to Harry in the book, for the record.

Eric: Oh, he says it to Harry in the book?

Kat: Yeah, the quote is, “Sirius looked at Harry, who did not look away. ‘Believe me,’ croaked Black. ‘Believe me, Harry, I never betrayed James and Lily. I would have died before I betrayed them.'”

Katy: He says the other thing, too, I believe.

Kat: He does not. I looked through the entire book.

Eric: I was pretty sure he shouted it, just like he does in the movie. Well, anyway, another thing the movie got wrong. But look, that’s the whole thing. The reason that Sirius says, “I would have rather died than betrayed my friends,” is because to Sirius Black, friendship is everything. Friendship is all he had. If he doesn’t have that loyalty [and] that friendship with James Potter, or whoever it is that’s the source of his closest inner self, then life isn’t worth living. That’s why he’s so willing and happy to die for James and Lily; James Potter’s friendship is everything. His entire sense of self-worth is based on his contributions to that friendship. And when James is taken away from him, he’s just a man. He’s just some guy.

Jaye: Yes, and we’ll get into this, I’m sure, in a little bit. But surely everyone else around him knew that. They saw how close they were. So why were they so willing to just send him to prison? Like, “Oh yeah, he totally would have betrayed them the whole time.” You know what I [mean]? [unintelligible]

Eric: Yeah, that’s problematic. I think really if I were to pay a trillion pounds for J.K. Rowling to write another little short story…

Kat: A trillion pounds? Holy crap, Eric. Where are you hiding this money?

Eric: No, that’s wrong.

[Jaye and Kat laugh]

Eric: Yeah, right. If I were to pay 1,000 or 10,000 to 20,000 pounds for J.K. Rowling to write another little story, I would want it to be Pettigrew’s perspective when all the Muggles were killed and when he did his escape.

Kat: What? That’s what you would pick? Okay.

Eric: Absolutely, and here’s why: because it’s not stated enough, because many people don’t know it, and everybody assumes that’s when Sirius Black killed 13 Muggles and blew open the street. But that was really Pettigrew’s shining moment as a wizard and shining moment as a person when he successfully completed that ruse. That is some Ocean’s Eleven-style breaking-into-the-Bellagio successful stuff.

Jaye: [laughs] You’re not wrong.

Eric: The fact that he was able to convince eyewitnesses – and we know eyewitness testimony is so messed up because people are never really paying attention to where they should – was huge. So the reason I would want the Pettigrew side of when the street was destroyed is because it was so damn clever. Something about it… The execution was so damn clever that Sirius Black broke. Sirius Black knew in that moment, when Pettigrew had escaped, that he was not the one who cast that spell. Because you know. You just know that you’re not the one who blew open the whole damn street. And he knew that it was just so brilliant that Sirius failed as a human. His self-preservation failed, and he allowed himself to be carried away to Azkaban indefinitely, laughing and laughing and laughing. And all because of how smart and how outsmarted he had been by Peter, [which] he had not expected. So I want all of the character nuance there to be in writing from Jo, because not only is it a good moment for Pettigrew – because I think often times Pettigrew gets shunted as being weak, and obviously we hate him for very good reasons – but I think for Sirius too; he had a moment where he could have been self-reflective a little bit, where maybe his eyes would have been opened, and he would have been like, “Holy crap, Peter really got the best of me there. I should be a better person and think about how everything I thought about people my whole life has been wrong.” But instead, that’s taken away from him because he goes to Azkaban, where he’s literally stunted and abused and tortured and all this stuff. He could have had a character moment there, and instead he chose to just laugh and be non-functional. He could have still fought for his freedom but he didn’t.

Kat: Also, wait, I want to retract my earlier statement. I don’t know why I couldn’t find this quote last night when I looked for it for quite literally 20 minutes, but he does scream in here. It says, “‘You don’t understand,’ whined Pettigrew. ‘He would have killed me, Sirius.’ ‘Then you should have died!’ roared Black. ‘Died rather than betray your friends, as we would have done for you!'” So don’t fault the movie; it is in there. I guess just my searching skills in my PDF last night [were] not working for me.

Eric: He is speaking for himself, though, too. Because he would have given up his life for his friends, because to Sirius Black, friendship is everything.

Kat: Loyalty.

Katy: Real quick about Peter: I wonder if that was his idea or if Voldemort told him to do that.

Kat: I don’t think Voldemort had anything to do with that.

Eric: No, no, Voldemort was gone. Voldemort was gone by then.

Katy: Oh, good point.

Jaye: Maybe that’s part of it. When we’re talking about this loyalty aspect and having this friend that he’s had next to him for his whole entire schooling, maybe that’s part of what broke him somewhat, having this friend ultimately betray him like that. Maybe he couldn’t have been so self-preserving because in that moment he was so broken by this betrayal. I think that could be a part of it.

Eric: Yeah. Well, you know what? That’s it then; it’s not loyalty at all. I’ll explain. It’s not loyalty like the Slytherins love and cherish; it’s the fact that Pettigrew is clearly so different from Sirius that he cannot reconcile. He does not understand Pettigrew as a person. He fundamentally doesn’t get it. Because to him, again, his friendship with James Potter was everything. And so for Pettigrew not to be the same way, for that not to be the way Pettigrew’s mind works, Sirius can’t handle it. It has nothing to do with loyalty; it has to do with where you derive your self-worth from. And Sirius’s self-worth was derived directly from having a best friend in James Potter, and Peter’s was clearly somewhere else. So it’s the fact that he cannot fundamentally understand Peter as a person that causes him to be so hateful toward him. Does that make sense?

Kat: Yet he still chooses to trust Pettigrew over Lupin, which is a very funny thing.

Eric: You mean for Secret Keeper?

Kat and Jaye: Yes.

Eric: Well, yeah. He thinks it would be a good joke. Everybody would have a laugh because nobody would suspect Peter. But I think that’s what it is. There’s some intelligence there, right?

Kat: Is there?

Eric: Well, yeah, because even though they would all willingly die – or so he assumes – to protect James and Lily, they essentially wouldn’t have to. Think about who they’re fighting against. Voldemort would have seen all of their accomplishmentsÊand gone straight for the pure-bloods first or gone straight for the OWL students [and] the NEWT students first before settling on Pettigrew. If Pettigrew hadn’t sought Voldemort out, he would have had a heck of a job killing every one of the Marauders and more before actually coming to Peter’s doorstep to torture him to find out the whereabouts of James.

Kat: See, I believe the opposite because I believe that Voldemort preys on the weak, and I think that Pettigrew quite possibly would have been the first one that he went to.

Jaye: Yeah, so I’m going to agree with that.

Kat: Because he could be broken a lot easier than the others.

Jaye: But I also think that was part of the reason why he was chosen. Maybe not in a conscious way, but I think he was probably Sirius’s least favorite of the group, or the one that he probably didn’t connect with the most. So I think maybe part of not choosing Lupin was like, “Well, if one of us is going to get taken out, we’ll all die for them.” You know what I mean? Maybe there was a subconscious…

Kat: Whoa. Yeah.

Eric: Well, just think of it this way, though: In the case of the Fidelius Charm, though, you either have it or you don’t. You either are the Secret Keeper or you aren’t, and you can be tortured to death. Somebody could cut off every single one of your fingers and toes and all that stuff. If you are not the Secret Keeper, you simply cannot reveal the secret. You don’t have it; you can’t give it away. So again, is it an act of [preservation]? Is it actually smart? Because Sirius would have volunteered himself to have died first, and Remus, also not being the Secret Keeper then, could have also martyred himself fighting and maybe gotten a few good shots in against Voldemort. The problem is, if Voldemort really did have these crazy persuasive techniques, then Sirius and Remus – Sirius especially – wouldn’t trust himself to withstand or… I don’t really know, but there’s more to it than just making fun of Peter or thinking Peter is worthless here. I think genuinely, because of the way the charm works, if Peter had not gone to Voldemort, it would have been a lot harder for Voldemort to get what he wanted.

Jaye: I think the crux of it is [that] they just thought nobody would expect this, so it’s just an extra layer of protection. Nobody would go to him first.

Katy: Am I remembering correctly? I feel like I read this somewhere; I may have dreamed it. I thought Sirius at one point said part of the reason that he chose Peter instead of himself was because he was a coward. Or somebody else said that about him. Does that ring any bells at all?

Eric: Yeah, I remember thinking it, but I don’t think it’s in the book. I think the idea is to get as many able-bodied wizards, going with the theory that Peter is just not as competent as the others. And that’s not even a personal dig. He probably was not as good in battle as Sirius and Remus would have been. So again, getting the most able-bodied people with literally nothing to give up – they do not have the key that Voldemort seeks – and having them stacked up against Voldemort is tactically intelligent.

Jaye: I think it’d be a really interesting argument to look at the comparisons between Neville and Pettigrew, like how Neville was able to rise up so much and overcome, whereas Pettigrew chose a totally different route. Because I feel like out of the group, he would kind of be the Pettigrew. You know what I mean?

Eric: Yeah, there’s a BuzzFeed article that just did this, actually, where they compared Neville to Peter Pettigrew, believe it or not.

Jaye: Oh, whoa. Interesting.

Eric: BuzzFeed of all places, yeah. There was a previous article where somebody layered them and compared the original Order of the Phoenix with the new Order of the Phoenix, and then BuzzFeed took it and revamped it a little bit and they changed… Originally somebody else was going to Peter or something, but they made it Peter to Neville and made a strong case.

Jaye: Oh, that’s cool.

Katy: I think the difference is Neville had actual friends that cared about him – at least by the end of the series – and treated him as an equal, whereas with Peter, they tolerated him. He was a tagalong and they let him be a tagalong and they helped him become an Animagus so he could be part of their group or whatever, but I don’t believe they ever saw him as an equal or treated him as one.

Kat: No, I think they used him a lot.

Katy: Yes, exactly. Whereas Neville started to prove himself during the DA lessons that he was actually a capable wizard, and he got it in his mind once Bellatrix escaped. He was like, “I’m going after her. She’s going down! She’s mine!”

Jaye: He needed the friends to bring that out in him.

Katy: Exactly. Yeah.

Jaye: Yeah, it’s so interesting to think about.

Eric: I think the difference between Neville and Peter is that Neville remained pure to his House and to his friends and his family. And [for] Peter, it was not an issue to betray his friends.

Jaye: Yeah.

Katy: Yeah, I feel like if his friends had treated him better, maybe it would have been more of an issue.

Eric: But he still was along for the ride, even if he was like the Ringo of the Beatles [that] nobody appreciates.

[Kat and Katy laugh]

Eric: Like, you have a John and a Paul, okay? GTFO. And a George, [whom] everybody loves. What do you do? Well, you stick with the damn band and continue making awesome music, right?

[Katy laughs]

Eric: Or you leave and quit the band and be the reason the band broke up. And that’s not Ringo. Ringo is more of a Neville character, I think, but Peter is not.

[Eric and Jaye talk at the same time]

Eric: I want to…

Jaye: [laughs] Sorry, go ahead.

Eric: Jaye, go. I mean it.

Jaye: Okay. Well, I was just making a side comment [that] it’s so interesting to think of Pettigrew as the foil to Sirius because who would ever think that? Especially not even physically, but just… I’m sure nobody at Hogwarts would have been like, “Oh yeah, he’s going to get the best of Sirius.”

Kat: Sirius is really arrogant and that arrogance is the downfall for a lot of people. A lot of people. It’s overconfidence. It’s all of those things.

Eric: So Sirius was sort of a bad dude [and] not the greatest dude going into Azkaban. How is he coming out of Azkaban? What did Azkaban do for Sirius’s emotional state [and] mental state? I’m not going to be like, “Did Azkaban actually improve Sirius?”

[Katy laughs]

Eric: Nobody is going to make that argument, right? Surely. Nobody is going to say that Azkaban made Sirius better. But how did it make him worse, if it did? Or was it sort of neutral? Because again, the whole reason he escaped from Azkaban is because the whole time he was in there, he was able to maintain a little bit more of his self as a result of the non-happy thought that he didn’t do it and was innocent. That’s the way the book states it, anyway. He was able to maintain his personality because the Dementors couldn’t take the happy memory of the evil things he’d done away because he didn’t do them, and thus, he was able to see a clear path toward escape, admittedly 13 years later. What did Azkaban do to him, though, as a person?

Katy: Well, one of our listeners on Twitter, Jasmine Harris, believes that… Well, I’ll just read what she said: “I think he’s broken. Azkaban broke him, and he struggles with that daily.” So that’s her opinion. What do you guys think?

Kat: That’s @JamminH92, if anyone wants to chat with Jasmine out there.

Eric: I don’t think he’s broken. Or if he’s broken, I don’t know that Azkaban did that to him.

Kat: Yeah, totally. I completely agree.

Katy: Maybe Peter broke him. [laughs]

Kat: I think Sirius broke himself, but…

Eric: I think Sirius struggles daily with the idea that his best friend’s son grew up without him. I think that he struggles with his own hatred for his family, his own hatred for himself, and a number of other things. But I don’t know that he’s broken, necessarily.

Jaye: I think it’s more that his growth was just stunted, right? He didn’t have social interaction. He wasn’t able to be out in society and have a job and grow and learn.

Eric: [He’s] sort of [in] solitary confinement.

Jaye: Well, not only solitary confinement; he’s literally stuck ruminating on the same thing that happened on this one day at this one time, and that’s all he has. I mean, I don’t imagine Azkaban gives you books to study.

[Jaye and Katy laugh]

Eric: No. Heavens, no.

Jaye: I don’t think there’s…

Eric: There probably aren’t any lights, even, because the Dementors don’t have eyes.

Katy: Well, he was doing crossword puzzles, so I guess there was some light.

Jaye: Sudoku, yeah.

Eric: The light of day. Sunlight.

[Katy laughs]

Kat: The light of his innocence. Yes.

[Kat and Katy laugh]

Jaye: Didn’t he actually spend most of his time as a dog? I thought I remembered him saying that was the way that he withstood not going insane, too, was that in his dog form he was less…

Eric: I don’t think he spent most of his time as a dog. I think he found, eventually, that he was able to transform, though, because he had maintained most of himself.

Jaye: Oh, okay.

Eric: Or had retained most of himself.

Katy: No, I think she’s right; he did spend a lot of his time as a dog, because he found that they didn’t affect him as much when he was a dog because they couldn’t feed off of him as well. They couldn’t sense his emotions as well when he was in dog form.

Eric: The question I have is just about chronology about when he started transforming into a dog because I’m pretty sure it was closer to the end of his stay.

Katy: I don’t know. I feel like if he waited that long, he wouldn’t necessarily have the power to still do it. They would have drained him so much by then, after that many years. I feel like transforming would…

Eric: Well, people come, remember? Cornelius Fudge comes and visits him, and he’s totally human when he visits him.

Kat: The quote says, “I don’t know how I did it. I think the only reason I never lost my mind is that I knew I was innocent. That wasn’t a happy thought, so the Dementors couldn’t suck it out of me.” Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. “So when it all became too much, I could transform in my cell, become a dog. Dementors can’t see, you know. They feel their way toward people by feeding off their emotions. And they could tell that my feelings were less human, less complex when I was a dog. But they thought, of course, I was losing my mind.” So basically, he says whenever it becomes too much he would transform and shut down his human self.

Eric: And he saved it for the end. He saved it for the end so he could…

Kat: Well, it doesn’t say that.

Eric: That’s how I just read what you read.

Katy: Nope. No, no, no. “The only reason I never lost my mind is I knew I was innocent. That wasn’t a happy thought, so they couldn’t suck it out of me. So when it all became too much, I could transform in my cell, become a dog.” So I think he was doing that the entire time.

Jaye: I think it’s a mix of both. I think he does have the resolve and the nerve to not lose his mind, but he’s also transforming sometimes.

Eric: What I get out of that quote is [that] the reason he didn’t lose his mind was he knew he was innocent, and it’s nothing to do with these day-to-day dog transformations that he’s…

Katy: But they helped. The dog thing helped.

Kat: That’s what he’s saying. It helped him to keep the powers. That’s what it says.

Eric: I think he only transformed into a dog when it was time to get out of there.

Katy: Well, you can keep thinking about it, Eric. We’ll see what our listeners think.

[Everyone laughs]

Katy: Everybody weigh in in the comments. We want to know all your thoughts.

Eric: Oh god, let this not be the big debate topic. It’s so silly; it doesn’t mean anything.

Katy: Well, you’re the one fighting it.

Kat: It means everything.

Katy: Just give in. Give in to the girls.

Eric: So how did Azkaban affect Sirius?

Kat: I don’t think it did. If anything, it hardened him. And it didn’t change the way he interacted with the world per say, but I think it amplified all of the feeling he already had. I think that he is a more loyal person [and] a more rash person, somebody who does things without thinking, ten times more than he was before he went to Azkaban. Because I think Azkaban and the reason he was there and the way he got captured showed him that life is short and it is fleeting and that you just have to act on your impulses. And I think that that’s at the core of who Sirius is.

Eric: I completely agree.

Jaye: Well, when we see him, even before Harry really knows what’s going on, he is, like, a crazy person. He’s not thinking rationally. He’s dragging Ron by the leg into the tree.

Kat: Yeah, that was harsh, man.

Jaye: I think he is in that animalistic survival [mindset of] “I have to do this. It’s what I’ve spent years of my life. I don’t care what anyone thinks.” I think what really changes him is the relationship with Harry.

Eric: When Harry accepts him. When Harry asks him to live with him. Yeah, I think that does change… Whether or not Azkaban changes Sirius, there’s certainly an adjustment period to just being around other humans again, that’s for sure. For Sirius, that might not be something he ever fully recovers from.

Katy: I think Jaye said this earlier, that it stunted his maturity and his growth as an adult. Yeah, for sure. Because when he came out, he was basically acting the same as when he went in, which was 12 years of maturity lost.

Eric: So if he was, like, 24, and now he’s 35, it’s not like he’s regressed, but he’s still aging. So now he’s 35 but he still thinks he’s 24, but he’s older.

Jaye: Yeah, this is controversial. It’s a similar feeling about how I feel about Taylor Swift, right? Weird segue.

Eric: I haven’t listened to her new album.

Jaye: I feel like it’s a case study, when you have this kind of drastic change in life, whether you become famous or imprisoned or whatever. Not the same thing, but I do think there is a sense of… I don’t know. I think there’s a maturity level that happens when you’re able to grow and develop and be among people, and have a… I don’t know, I just feel like that’s been stunted for him. He’s having to learn all of that when he gets out of prison. However…

Katy: I got… Oh, I’m sorry. Please continue.

Jaye: Go ahead.

Katy: I was going to say, I have another J.K. Rowling quote, if you would like it. It’s a much shorter one. This was from 2005, the joint MuggleNet and Leaky Cauldron interview with her. She says, “I see Sirius as someone who was a case of arrested development. I think you see that from his relationship with Harry in Phoenix. He kind of wants a mate from Harry, and what Harry craves is a father.”

Kat: Yeah, because Sirius missed out on all those extra years with James. And Harry is so much like James that Sirius can’t get past the fact that Harry is now a kid and Sirius is now an adult and that he needs to be acting differently with this little human being, [who] is not his friend James.

Eric: But that’s where Molly Weasley’s argument fails too. [It’s] that Harry is not a little human being; Harry is the weapon. He is the savior of the wizard race and should be treated as an adult. Now Sirius is treating Harry as an adult, obviously for the [most] wrong reasons there are that you could ever conceive of, right? But the base point is correct. Harry should be being treated like an adult because he’s going to have to fight a grown man’s war.

Kat: I disagree with that fundamentally.

Katy: You tell me why; then I’m going to tell you why I think like Eric.

Kat: No, I think that that’s another topic. Yeah, that’s another discussion.

Katy: The reason I agree is because Dumbledore says as much at the end of Order of the Phoenix. He says, “I should have told you all of this years ago, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it because you were only 11. You were only 12, 13, etc. You were always too young for me to give you all of this information [that] would have prevented all of this crap from going down.” So even Dumbledore himself is guilty of not treating Harry the way he should have from the beginning, since he came to Hogwarts. So it’s not just Sirius.

Eric: Sirius did. Yeah, no, it’s not just Molly.

Katy: Yeah, sorry. It’s not just Molly.

Eric: Sirius did, just for the wrong reasons because he wanted a new best friend, or he wanted his old best friend back. And we talked about the Shrieking Shack incident being Sirius’s nail in the coffin as a character. Dumbledore’s nail in the coffin as far as I’m concerned, the single one, is when he says, “Harry, I’m going to tell you everything.” And then he doesn’t tell him everything. He pretends that he did; that pisses me off. That’s unconscionable in my book. Because again, think about how things could have been different. Do you guys ever do this where you read the book and you imagine you were Harry Potter and you go in to Dumbledore – but it’s like Book 5 or Book 6 – and you’re just like, “Hey sir, I know everything. Now can we have a real relationship? Because I know what I must do, but also let me pick your brain about a hundred other things about the wizarding world.” Do you guys ever think about that?

Katy: If Dumbledore hadn’t died?

Eric: Yeah, if Dumbledore hadn’t died and how much time we would have had with Dumbledore if he weren’t playing these crazy games with the world and Harry in general, how much useful time and actual mentorship and actual parental growth Dumbledore and Sirius and Remus and everybody else could have provided Harry. Because Harry, in the end, is on his own. And I know that’s part of the writing, to be like, “Oh, it’s the hero’s journey. This is why all the mentors keep getting killed, because it’s just Harry in the end and it’s always going to be Harry.” But I feel bad for Sirius for dying so young and never really getting to see what Harry’s future held in store for his post-war future, just like everybody else. Because Harry never gets to have a real father figure, and Sirius could have been it, and Dumbledore could have been it, but there were always more important things to be done.

Kat: Yeah, okay. I changed my mind because everything you just said, I so disagree with. Yes, Harry should have been treated differently by both Dumbledore and Sirius, but if Harry knew everything – if he had known everything right from the start – there is no way in hell it would have turned out the way that it did. When you know your fate so far in advance, just like Voldemort with the prophecy and everything, you’re going to act different[ly]. Molly and Dumbledore very much had partially the right idea that Harry could not possibly know everything. If Harry had all that information, he would have acted so differently. Yes, sometimes it would have been positive, [but] sometimes it could have been really negative. So we can’t sit here and say, “Oh my God, Harry should have known absolutely everything from the absolute beginning.” That would have influenced his choices so much. We cannot put that on Molly or Dumbledore.

Eric: Okay. At least from the point where Dumbledore says, “I’m going to tell you everything,” he should have actually told him everything.

Kat: He couldn’t! Eric, if he had told him, “Oh, guess what? Sorry, Voldemort is going to have to kill you someday,” Harry would have been…

Katy: He did tell him that! Or not. I’m sorry…

Kat: No, he didn’t tell him that.

Katy: You’re right.

Kat: If he had said that point blank to Harry, like he does through Snape and the memories and all that, Harry would have been dehabilitated. Did I say that right? I don’t even know if I said that right.

Katy: Debilitated.

Kat: He would not have been able to function for the next two years.

Eric: No, no, no. You keep talking about Harry’s never-ending hope and ability to find courage in the face of sheer darkness…

Kat: It’s true.

Eric: Harry totally would have survived.

Jaye: But I think we’re forgetting the fact that he doesn’t reach his full acceptance of capacity until the last minute. He is still reckless even in the seventh book.

Kat: Exactly.

Jaye: And I totally agree with Kat on this because I think… I’m a ride or die for Dumbledore. I love him and I know he’s got some flaws – and that’s a whole other topic – but I really do think that with Harry, it’s not until the very end when he actually sees Snape’s memories, that he comes to a full completion of “This is the journey.” And it takes all of that to get there.

Katy: And all of those needless deaths [like] Colin Creevey.

Eric: But what if Harry weren’t in the room when Snape was dying?

Katy: Exactly!

Eric: He never would have known.

Jaye: Oh, I don’t know. That’s problematic.

Eric: Harry never, ever would have known. Ever.

Jaye: Super problematic.

Kat: That’s true. You’re right.

Eric: It’s really neglectful.

Kat: But that’s what plots are for. [laughs]

Eric: The reason this is in the Sirius discussion, too, is… Again, we’re talking about people who are acting on impulse, but is that better or worse than acting on plans that may never reach conclusion or fruition? So it’s kind of like, “Is Sirius the opposite of Dumbledore?” And let’s [talk about] crimes against Sirius that are committed by Dumbledore in Book 5. He confines him to the house, and that’s fair, to be honest, partly because Sirius is still a wanted fugitive from the Ministry of Magic.

Katy: This is magic! There are ways around that: Polyjuice Potion, invisibility cloaks, Disillusionment Charms. Holy crap, don’t get me started.

Eric: You know what? You’re right. You’re completely right.

Katy: And Dumbledore admits at the end that that was a bad choice of his. He says, “It was my fault that Sirius died.” That’s what gets Harry to stop breaking stuff. So he recognizes that he made a bad choice by doing that. So continue. Just wanted to throw that out there.

Eric: Confining him to quarters to the point where he becomes reckless and ventures out and gets himself killed… Not only that, but it’s essentially Sirius [who] remarks that it’s the only useful thing he could contribute – because he’s still a fugitive and all this stuff – by giving them his house. But yeah, he’s forced to live in his childhood home, the home he never wanted anything to do with. It would be like making Riddle live in the orphanage his whole life or making Harry live on Privet Drive, still with the Dursleys, well into adulthood. It’s not a good place; it’s not where he wants to be. And unfortunately, Dumbledore insists that that is what needs to happen, and so it just is. But are there any others? What are we thinking about here? Has Dumbledore done anything else to Sirius?

Katy: I mean, Harry was already having these dreams about the prophecy. They knew exactly what he was dreaming about, [or] at least Snape did, and I’m sure Snape told Dumbledore. Because Dumbledore wasn’t talking to Harry because…

Eric: That was another…

Kat: Yeah, guys, this is a Sirius episode, not a Dumbledore episode. Let’s remember that.

Katy: I’m getting back to that. So they knew he was dreaming about these. Why didn’t they just tell him what they were so he wasn’t so curious and kept opening his mind because he wanted to know more? Either Dumbledore or somebody should have just told him, “Okay, you already know this much, so let me just tell you what he’s trying to get at. We can’t really tell you what it says,” or “We don’t want to right now.” Whatever. Or maybe they could have at that point, whatever. They could have told him what it was so he would stop being so curious and stop…

Kat: Well, Sirius wanted to do that, but Harry didn’t need that information at the time.

Katy: Obviously he did or he wouldn’t have…

Eric: Hey, that’s not their decision. Who makes that call?

Kat: Dumbledore. Harry is a 15-year-old boy.

Eric: Don’t care. His best friend – or his schoolmate – just got murdered.

Kat: I was like, his best friend? Come on.

Eric: No, no, no. Sorry. As a Hufflepuff I have to over-inflate Cedric Diggory’s importance.

[Kat and Katy laugh]

Katy: He was the greatest character!

Eric: The greatest person alive! His schoolmate gets murdered right in front of him. I’m sorry, you’re not a 15-year-old anymore when that happens.

Jaye: Okay, out of that whole thing, what really, I think, pisses me off… Sorry, I shouldn’t say that. What really makes me the most angry plot point-wise is the fact that Harry literally has a mirror to communicate with Sirius and does not use [it].

Katy: Yes!

Jaye: Which goes back to the fact that Sirius gives the best gifts. He really does.

Eric: Hey, that’s a good character thing. That’s a great character thing.

Jaye: It is. But I’m saying all of this could have been prevented had he used that thing properly.

Eric: But he’s stubborn.

Kat: He also just shoved it into Harry’s hands and was like, “Here you go; see you later.” He should have taken him aside and been like, “Hey man,” instead of giving him a note. If Sirius really knew Harry, he would know that Harry is not going to look at that, because Harry is the least observant person in the history of observant people.

[Eric and Katy laugh]

Eric: Well, it’s just like the Firebolt, right? Again, the greatest darn gift there is, but no note, no explanation…

Jaye: Yeah.

Kat: Right.

Eric: That’s a character flaw. Sirius gives the best gifts but doesn’t explain them.

Katy: Well, he couldn’t put a note then; he was still a fugitive.

Eric: Oh yeah, he couldn’t.

Kat: That’s true.

Jaye: It just makes me viscerally angry. And then he finds it later in the bottom of his trunk and it’s broken, and I’m like, “Ugh!” It’s the worst. So bad.

Kat: So we have thoroughly covered Sirius as a friend, and I feel like we’re venturing into this father figure territory. So I really wanted to bring up this aspect that, again, we’ve touched on a little bit: his complete recklessness for anything that is law abiding. [laughs] And I think that this is backed up by that little short story that we did an entire episode on before as well. Because he’s pretty – what’s the word? – goading of the officers in that story as well.

Jaye: Yeah, for sure. I love that story, though. I made a comment on this. I love that he seems so at ease in the Muggle world, which makes me think that he probably hung out there. I feel like that was probably his refuge, in a way. He would hang out in these Muggle settings and go to concerts. You know what I mean?

Eric: I definitely see him in the punk-pop [scene] in the 1980s.

Jaye: Yes!

Kat: Totally.

Jaye: You know he made out with Muggle girls…

Katy: Or boys. We don’t know. [laughs]

Eric: All the time.

Jaye: Or guys. Both. You know what I mean? I could totally see him in that world and it being like this escape for him. That goes into that recklessness, right? He’s so comfortable in the wizarding world that [he thinks], “If I can escape into this separate world, I could be whoever I want to be.”

Eric: Yeah.

Jaye: I think that’s attractive to him. I think the recklessness is rooted somewhat in escape in some fashion.

Kat: Oh, definitely.

Katy: I bet he was a David Bowie fan. I’m just throwing that out there.

Eric: David Bowie and headcanon Spandau Ballet as well.

Katy: I have no idea who that is, but okay. [laughs]

Eric: They’re fantastic. You have to look them up.

Katy: Okay.

Kat: It’s funny that you say that because I feel like, Jaye, what you just said, that’s the same for Harry too. He does reckless things because he’s trying so hard to not be the person that people I think expect him to be, if that makes sense.

Jaye: Yeah.

Eric: The success rate might be higher with Harry.

Kat: Uh, not might. Definitely.

[Eric and Katy laugh]

Jaye: There’s bravery there. He is brave in a lot of ways, but it’s the recklessness that gets him in trouble, right? Because there’s a desperation there in some way. Like, “I have to escape this,” or “I don’t want to be a part of this,” or “I want to feel alive in some way.” There’s a little bit of desperation in his recklessness, which is so played out. I’m sure that was only brewing for, what, the 12 years that he’s literally contained in a cell. He’s already a reckless person, so I feel like that would only be compounded so much more now that he’s free.

Kat: And we really see that with the whole DA thing, right? Where he’s encouraging them to have these meetings.

Jaye: [He’s] living vicariously through [Harry] because he’s literally trapped in Azkaban, and then he’s trapped in his own home. This is a man who wants to get out, and he can’t.

Kat: I do agree with Katy. There [are] a thousand different ways that Sirius could have left the house. I understand why Dumbledore was trying to keep him safe, because Dumbledore just wants Harry to feel like a functioning teenager, and I think that if Harry were worried about Sirius being out of the house all the time, he might not have bene able to focus and actually function as a human being.

Eric: Well, so instead Harry is worried about Sirius being in the house all the time. I don’t know.

Katy: Yeah. He worries either way.

Kat: He does.

Katy: Maybe he would have been a bit more worried if he was out and about. That’s fair.

Eric: It’s such a stark contrast to Book 4 Sirius where he’s roaming the countryside, sending a different multicolored bird Harry’s way every other month. That’s the adventure of Sirius’s life. I take it back; if I had £20,000, I want to get J.K. Rowling to write Sirius’s year abroad.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Dodging authorities, going into a tiki bar, getting a cocktail with a little umbrella in it, then Apparating down the beach, laying out…

Jaye: He’s playing music at a pub.

Kat: He probably only had to leave Britain. It’s not like he was a wanted criminal around the world.

Jaye: True.

Katy: I think it said tropical birds.

Kat: Let’s be real; he could go to Tahiti or something. It’d be totally fine.

Eric: It said tropical birds. Fiji, or… I don’t know.

Jaye: There’s a whole other conversation of how they got birds instead of owls to deliver notes.

Eric: Yeah, it should just be owls, but it’s not.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Well, birds are smarter than owls.

Jaye: Just get a local parrot.

Katy: There [are] probably other countries that don’t have owls. Are owls indigenous to the entire world?

Kat: No. Definitely not.

Katy: Yeah, see, there are going to be some continents that don’t have owls. They have to use something else.

Jaye: It just makes me laugh. How does he even get…?

Eric: Did he put a spell on a bird to get it to…? We still don’t know anything about the owl network, do we?

Jaye: No, we really don’t. [laughs]

Kat: Not really.

Jaye: I just imagine him wooing this little bird off a tree. He’s like, “Deliver this.”

[Everyone laughs]

Katy: He just flicked his long, lovely locks, and the bird was just like, “Okay.”

Eric: Honestly, though, the greatest witness that we could call forth to speak to Sirius Black’s character unfortunately could not join us on this episode tonight on account of being a cat and unable to speak. Crookshanks and Sirius have a unique relationship, which grows into trust. I actually was reminded very recently – because I was going through these old trivia questions I developed for Prisoner of Azkaban – that Crookshanks steals the list of passwords that Neville makes [in order] to allow Sirius to go into Gryffindor Tower. And of course, Sirius is still not in his right mind and completely overreacts and would have stabbed Scabbers right there in the dormitory to death. There’s blood everywhere and all this other stuff, and Sirius misbehaved. But he got Crookshanks to do that for him, and Crookshanks, being a Kneazle – being a cat – they’re not innately trustworthy creatures. [There’s] something about Sirius. Maybe it’s just Sirius in his dog form. Maybe there’s a difference. Maybe he’s a lot more muted of a personality as a dog, but Crookshanks would probably be fighting us real hard on Sirius right now.

Kat: Does Crookshanks go away with Hermione’s parents?

Eric: I wonder.

Jaye: I don’t know if that’s canon but I think she said that somewhere.

Kat: I don’t know. I was just thinking, “What? Is Crookshanks even alive right now?” Honestly, probably not because he would be really old.

Katy: Oh, yeah. Not now. I feel like we just had this conversation recently, and someone said that he was at the Burrow – at the wedding, etc. – before Harry and Hermione and Ron take off, so I think he just stays with the Weasleys.

Eric: I’m going to look this up.

Kat: At the Burrow? Okay, that makes me happier. That’s a good place for him.

Katy: Because [it’s the] same thing with Pigwidgeon. Where did he go?

Eric: Also a gift from Sirius. Hello!

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: A slightly annoying gift, but still, yes.

Jaye: He gives the best gifts.

Katy: I would have loved that owl.

Eric: I just googled Crookshanks, and it’s played by a cat called “Crackerjack.”

Kat: I met that cat at the Studio Tour my first time.

Eric: You met Crackerjack?

Jaye: What? Ooh, jealous.

Kat: Yeah, I also met the owl that was Hedwig and Pigwidgeon.

Katy: [gasps] I’m so jealous right now.

Kat: Yeah, you should be. They were awesome.

[Everyone laughs]

Jaye: In the same vein, I’m just going to praise him a little bit here. The fact that he’s a great gift giver, but also – since we’re talking about his recklessness – let’s just give a counterpoint. He really legitimately has got an impressive resume to him. He has so much internal strength. He survives for years in Azkaban, escapes like a total badass…

Eric: He’s the only person to do so, by the way.

Jaye: The only person to do so. He becomes an Animagus at 16 or 17. If you read the Pottermore [piece], it’s such an insane process. He has to live with the fact that the whole world has judged him and hates him. His family has abandoned him [and] tries to erase his existence. It’s just crazy. He literally has such strength to him, which I think is just translated negatively into his recklessness. There’s so much power and so much strength in him that he channels it in such an unfortunate way, and it makes me sad.

Kat: He’s definitely a strong person. For sure.

Katy: And he’s super smart, like you were saying with turning into an Animagus with the others, but he also did really well in his exams. We see him in Snape’s memory where they just finished their DADA OWL exam, and he’s like, “Oh, I nailed that. Easy peasy. Definitely got an Outstanding.” And then Lupin was saying, “Maybe we should study for Transfiguration,” and [Sirius] was like, “Nah, I know all that. No need.” He’s super bright. He was a brilliant, brilliant wizard, at least before Azkaban, and then afterward, yeah. I think that stunted maturity, and he doesn’t get his mojo back ever, which is super sad.

Eric: I blame Voldemort.

Katy: For most things, right?

Eric: Yeah. I think that’s pretty easy in the Harry Potter books to do. Just be like, “If he didn’t have that power grab, things would be a lot different.”

Jaye: I do like to wonder what he would have been like had he lived. Would he be running the Auror office?

Kat: No. He wouldn’t have lived, no matter what. He would have died in the battle. There’s no way he would have made it out.

Eric: There wouldn’t have been a battle, is what we’re saying.

Jaye: Yeah. I just like the thought of him with Madame Rosemerta, just kicking it.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Wait, what do you mean? You’re saying there wouldn’t be a battle? What?

Eric: If there’s no Voldemort.

Kat: Oh! If there was no Voldemort. Okay, I guess I missed when somebody said that.

Eric: [dramatically] He could have been somebody!

Kat: I was like, “Uh… obvi there’s going to be a battle.”

Eric: [dramatically] He could have been a dancer.

Kat: [dramatically] He could have been a contender.

[Everyone laughs]

Jaye: Yeah, what he would have ended up doing?

Kat: He would have been a different person if there was nothing to fight for. Sirius isn’t one of those people who’s just going to have a content life. He’s going to be that person who always finds a cause to be a part of, and he’s going to fight to the death for it. He’s an impassioned person.

Eric: So long as his friends were interested.

Kat: No, I don’t think so. For everything that Sirius isn’t, he is an intensely passionate person, again, sometimes to his detriment, but I do think that he would be that person who is at protests. Maybe sometimes he’s the one who incites the riots and he’s the person who is going to care passionately about the things that he cares about, and he’s going to rally people to help with that cause. And I think that that’s who Sirius will always be and could have been if there [were] no wizarding war.

Katy: Yeah. I love this quote from Hagrid from Order of the Phoenix after Sirius has passed and he’s talking to Harry, and he says, “I knew Sirius longer than you did. He died in battle, and that’s the way he would have wanted to go. He was never one to sit around at home lettin’ other people do the fightin’. He couldn’t have lived with himself if he hadn’t gone to help in the Ministry.” When I read this, I was just like, “Oh my God, he’s a Klingon! Sirius is totally a Klingon!”

Eric: I like that.

Katy: He’s the warrior. He needs to constantly be fighting.

Eric: And almost to a stupid point. But that’s like a Gryffindor, too; diplomacy is probably a great solution, but what about battle, though? Battle. Yeah, that’s interesting.

Jaye: Yep. Dying in battle.

Katy: Honor. That whole thing that the Klingons have.

Eric: This is honestly why I ask if J.K. Rowling hates Sirius, because he gets killed by a curtain. Come on.

[Katy laughs]

Jaye: [jokingly] It’s a veil of death, Eric. Have some respect.

Eric: Oh, a veil of death. Ooh, spooky!

Jaye: [jokingly] Have some respect, okay?

Eric: Sirius Black. Only person to have ever escaped Azkaban on his own. I admit that Barty Crouch, Jr. had help. [Sirius] is in there for 13 years; he’s this notorious person, best friend to James Potter, fellow Animagus, fellow Marauder, all this other stuff… killed by curtain.

Jaye: But isn’t it poetic justice, though, that it’s Bellatrix that does him in in the end? The one thing he’s trying to run from is…

Eric: His family.

Jaye: … the thing that takes him down. I don’t think it’s the curtain; I think the curtain is a metaphor for death, whereas Bellatrix is the one that gives him the death blow.

Eric: It is a curse of some sort.

Kat: If you believe in the Zodiac, it’s important to note that Sirius is a Scorpio. They have strengths of bravery and passion and also being stubborn, and they’re known for being the truest of friends. But also in their weakness is that they get jealous and they’re secretive and violent. All the strengths and the weaknesses are things that I think we can attribute to Sirius. They strongly dislike dishonesty and passive people, which, also, I think is pretty gosh darn true for Sirius.

Jaye: He’s the poster child of that. [laughs]

Eric: I keep defining him in my head who he is in the friends group, but when he is actually the lone wolf…

Jaye: The lone dog.

Eric: … the lone Padfoot. Whether or not that’s successful, being his escape from jail. He’s self-motivated. He self-directed to Hogwarts. I know he stops at Privet Drive in the beginning of the school year to see Harry or whatever…

Katy: That is so sweet! Can we just take a second? Aww.

Eric: Yeah. If the Knight Bus hadn’t come, if Harry hadn’t inadvertently thrown his hand up, there might have been a conversation that happened. Who knows?

Katy: [sighs] What could have been.

Jaye: Still, it was just an ongoing argument that Stanley Shunpike ruins most things, so there’s an argument to be made there.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Well, that’s just J.K. Rowling, and J.K. Rowling ruins most things. Can’t we just all agree?

[Katy laughs]

Kat: No! Can’t agree.

Jaye: Sirius equals Taylor Swift? It’s all there.

Eric: You can say what you want about Taylor Swift’s maturity; she’s so rich, she can’t hear you.

Jaye: That’s very true. I love her, guys, I love her, but come on.

[Katy laughs]

Eric: But Sirius, in the year that he’s alone – and even the next year, too – even though he’s corresponding with Harry, he is very much then not defined by his friends. He has some smarts, I guess, which has already been said that he’s a strong character. He survives and outwits – I want to say easily – whoever it is that’s searching for him.

Jaye: Oh yeah. He’s playing a totally different level of game there.

Eric: So that’s another point in his favor. I’m struggling to come up with more points in his favor.

Kat: You don’t have to; he’s a smart guy.

Katy: I don’t think we mentioned the Marauder’s Map, but again, another brilliant piece of magic that he was a part of.

Eric: However they did that! Yeah.

Jaye: The movies just butcher it so badly. It makes me sad.

Kat: All right, let’s not get Eric started on the movie.

Eric: [faking incredulousness] Did you know that Newt Scamander was at Hogwarts?

Kat: We’re not going there! No movie talk!

[Katy laughs]

Eric: [faking incredulousness] Newt Scamander is totally walking the halls of Hogwarts!

Katy: He was that day!

Eric: In Year 3.

Katy: Hey, he’s still alive today, so it’s canon.

Eric: It’s possible.

Jaye: He came for a lecture.

[Eric laughs]

Katy: Conversation with Dumbledore. Just popping in to say hi.

Eric: Is there a lecture hall at Hogwarts?

Katy: That would be awesome.

Jaye: There is on MuggleNet Academia, right? Don’t they tell you to come to the lecture hall?

Eric: Oh, I don’t know. Probably Binns’s class is the closest you get.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: He’s just a guest lecturer; it’s fine. And movie canon doesn’t influence book canon, so let it go.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It’s gone. It’s gone! What else are we talking about?

Jaye: There’s the movie portrayal. There’s him in death. I don’t know.

Kat: There’s, like, seven pages worth of stuff we haven’t even talked about yet.

Katy: Oh, it’s not that much. Jaye, you had a really cool idea about Sirius being a metaphor for mental illness. Do you want to talk about that a bit?

Jaye: Yeah. So I know we’ve touched on how Rowling has talked about the Dementors as a metaphor or a symbol for depression, but I really think Sirius… There’s an argument that could be made that he could represent mental illness in general, so how depression or anxiety or outside forces can affect the mind in general because he was so affected by the Dementors. I think that he could represent that in a way, a representation of childhood regression and I think some kind of mental instability. In general, mental illness is just tragically misunderstood in our culture today, and there’s a lot of stigmas behind it. And I think the way he was so stigmatized as a crazy person or aggressive or a murderer… I think there [are] people misunderstanding mental illness in the same way that I think he’s been misunderstood post-Azkaban. But I think he regresses back into his old ways of thinking, and so he never seems able to move on and forgive, right? And I know people personally, in my life, who have gone through really tragic events, and there’s this PTSD where they just ruminate on the same things that have happened, and they just can’t move on from it. It becomes a mental illness in their mind. It affects their physical wellbeing, it progresses illnesses they may already have. It’s tragic but it’s fascinating to see the way that the mind can affect the body, and I just feel like he is a classic example of regression and this inability to fully grieve, to move on in a healthy way, just staying in the same place… how that affects his psyche. I know there’s a conversation there, I think.

Katy: I think that’s brilliant. When I read this, I was just like, “OMG, never thought of that before.” But its so fitting, especially for him. Because like you said, there are so many hallmarks of these different types of mental illness that we see in him that are represented there. And you don’t even have to look far; once you start thinking about it, you’re like, “Oh yeah, he fits this illness and this illness and this illness.” It’s just something I had never thought of.

Jaye: Which makes me wonder if the Marauders in some way each represent… I don’t think it’s intentional, but you’ve got Lupin with AIDs. I think there’s an argument for Sirius there with mental illness. I wonder if – I don’t know – Pettigrew could be narcissism. I’m not sure. But I do think…

Kat: Hmm, I think that would be James, if anybody.

Jaye: Oh yeah, you’re not wrong. But I think narcissism in the sense of there is a… Literally, all of my closest friends are social workers. So there’s a chronic disease of narcissism where you can’t empathize with people, and you’re so focused on your own life or your own well-being that you literally can’t attach any sort of empathy or understanding for other people. And not just self-importance, like you’re the only thing that’s important, so your opinions, your life… I don’t know. I think Pettigrew’s is more of a desperation, right? It’s self-preservation, but I don’t know. I think, Katy, you had a cool point off of that, too, that maybe it’s just like a genetic predisposition, right? There’s instability in [Sirius’s] family.

Katy: Yeah, I read that somewhere when I was doing research and I was like, “Oh my God! Why have I never thought of that before?” Because [of] his mother and the fact that his parents were second cousins, there’s some incestuous-type stuff going on that can cause all number of physical issues. And then Bellatrix being crazy-pants as she is… So there’s definitely precedent for it in his genetics. So there’s some nature and some nurture going on to cause him to have all these issues.

Kat: And he was also in prison from the age of 21 or 22, insanely young, for 12 years. My 20s were where I would probably credit growing the most as a human being. It’s where I really started to discover who I was, especially after I got out of a really crappy relationship and I actually started to be on my own. I feel like the 20s, and early 30s, even, is where people really find themselves. And Sirius was just, literally, by himself for all of those years.

Jaye: And the way people misunderstand him, I think it’s interesting how people misunderstand mental illness so much too. They just want to put people in a category; they want to separate them. “You’re other. You’re dangerous.” It’s a tragedy because it’s not accurate.

Katy: Speaking of tragedy, Eric, since you’re such a Sirius-lover, why don’t you read this comment from Katie Rose on Facebook that she left us?

Eric: This is a long one, so here we go. Katie Rose [said],

“Sirius Black was one of the characters Rowling was the cruelest to. He grew up in an abusive household, had a few happy years at school with his friends, and then lost it all at 21 when he was blamed for the murder of the people he loved most.”

Excuse me. [clears throat]

Jaye: Getting teared up?

Eric: Yeah, I just can’t get through this, you guys.

“Then he spent the next 12 years in prison being mentally tortured nonstop. After his escape, he was forced to live as a dog but enjoyed only a year or two of freedom before Dumbledore locked him back up in the very house he was abused in. He was taunted by a man who had been a Death Eater and was directly responsible for the death of his best friend [and] tormented his godson, and was treated horribly by the rest of the Order. He finally is murdered at the ripe old age of 34 (actually 36) after having only roughly seven years of happiness that entire time, and even those years were marred by war. He grew up abused, raised to hate, raised to be a Death Eater, and yet he fought the darkness and died a hero. He dedicated his life to protecting others and lost everyone he ever loved because of it. To me, his story is the greatest tragedy in Harry Potter.”

[Everyone applauds]

Eric: I’m not clapping, but I’m raising my wand up in the sky.

Katy: There are so many tragic characters in Potter, it’s hard for me to choose which one is the biggest tragedy.

Eric: That’s fair.

Katy: But she makes an excellent point. The poor guy didn’t have a chance. He did, [and] circumstances [were] the way they were, sure, but some of this was totally his choice. He did not have to immediately go after Pettigrew; he could have asked for help, gone to Dumbledore, [and] told him what happened before just going out on his own to take his revenge. He certainly [brought] some of this on himself. But it is very sad that the circumstances ended up this way and the dominos fell the way they did, and he ended up with a very tragic life.

Jaye: How awful out of all the characters whose friendship is the most intense and the most important to be accused that you would murder the friend that means the most to you. How ironic and tragic.

Kat: I think that’s the thing, as we talked about before, that just drives him nuts. Anybody that knows him would know that wouldn’t be who he is. For me, personally, when people think I’ve done something that they should know I would never do… “infuriates” isn’t the right word, but I guess that puzzles me more than anything. When somebody is like, “I can’t believe you did that, or you would do that.” And I was like, “The thing is, I wouldn’t.” And I feel like that’s, again, as we’ve said, what really pushes Sirius off the deep end. Anybody who really knows him would know that he would never betray James in that way. And he has that moment of “craziness” because it’s just the most absurd thing he’s ever heard in his life.

Jaye: Which goes back to: How did the man not get a proper trial?

Katy: Thank you!

Kat: Yeah, that is total BS.

Eric: That was pushed under the rug. Again, Dumbledore gave evidence that Sirius was the Secret Keeper. But the reason it didn’t get a proper trial is because it was a huge secret. Dumbledore himself would have wanted to keep as many details as possible secret because it had to do with the Potters’ downfall and the downfall of Voldemort. All of that was Dumbledore’s game that he was playing [and] there’s absolutely no way that [Sirius] could have [had a trial]. Even though it’s the after-event – the aftershock of the Voldemort downfall – the government was preoccupied with rounding up all the Death Eaters that the Sirius stuff was pushed under the rug. And as far as Dumbledore knew… Although, he could have just talked to Sirius, which, you assume in reality, that he would have and Sirius would have been like, “No, I wasn’t the Secret Keeper. That was Peter.” And there you have it. But that actually is a nail in Sirius’s coffin because if he didn’t assert that he wasn’t in the end made Secret Keeper, that it was in fact Peter Pettigrew, if he had just leveled with Dumbledore about that, then the fact that he didn’t is dangerous because Peter Pettigrew, a top supporter of Voldemort, is loose for 13 years out in the world. So you have to believe that Dumbledore maybe didn’t trust himself around Sirius, or didn’t even talk to Sirius and just let it go away quietly. I don’t really know.

Jaye: And I was thinking about this too, and I guess I’m all about the symbolism or the metaphor… But I’m like, “Is this one of those cases where people were so quick to believe he was this murderous lunatic?” It’s like, “Oh well, we knew all along. He was a Black.”

Eric: A Black.

Jaye: “He fooled us. Nothing good can come out of that family. They must all be evil.” You know what I mean? It’s not an example of people being unable to accept that people can change. If someone doesn’t fit into your opinion of how life should be, I wonder if they’re like, “Well, we were so fooled and hoodwinked. How could we have [been]?” Because I think we love surprises and drama, and maybe people wanted to believe that, even though it’s horrible. Maybe they would rather believe that one of his supporters is under control. I don’t know.

Eric: Maybe it’s easier to believe an inside job rather than “Somebody got to James and Lily Potter despite all of their protection from the outside”? No, no, no. They were still the great witches and wizards you believed they were; it’s just that it was an inside job. Cut the legs off at the knee; there was nothing they could do about it. But as far as shock value, it ultimately nets out the same because it was either going to be Sirius or Peter. Maybe the whole world would have known – they certainly should have known – that it was Peter who betrayed James and Lily. But that’s just as shocking because they were just as close friend-wise, basically, as far as the public knew. James and Peter were school friends the same as James and Sirius were, basically. So it would have been an equal amount of shock, is what I’m saying.

Jaye: That’s fair.

Kat: From the outside, yeah. Relationships are different from the outside.

Eric: From the outside. Yeah, when they’re in the Three Broomsticks in Prisoner of Azkaban and it’s Fudge and Hagrid and Rosmerta and McGonagall, I think…

Katy: And Flitwick.

Eric: And Flitwick. Oh God, I always forget about Flitwick.

Jaye: [laughs] Aw.

Eric: I know. I feel really bad right now. [They] are all talking about how it’s not common knowledge. The Fidelius Charm was used, [but] nobody knows that. There’s a lot of stuff that isn’t well-known. So I think a lot of that comes down to… For me, whenever that doesn’t make sense to me, I justify it. Dumbledore was not telling people what was going on there, for good reasons, for once, because it would have led to more security.

Jaye: [sighs] Just the utter lack of proper wizarding judgment is just like, “What?”

Eric: It’s the plot. It’s the plot of the books, and I happen to love Book 3 the most, so I can’t say anything against it.

Jaye: Yeah, I know.

[Katy laughs]

Jaye: That’s fair.

Eric: I’m bound by the Unbreakable Vow.

Jaye: But I guess most convicted Death Eaters… I don’t think many of them got trials, right? They would just whisk them off to Azkaban.

Eric: [as Igor Karkaroff] “Barty Crouch! Junior.”

Jaye: So maybe that was part of it.

Katy: Yeah. Bellatrix and Barty Crouch, Jr. and the other one or two with them got trials…

Eric: The Carrows.

Katy: … and they knew full well what they did. Then why the heck did Sirius not get one? I know it’s plot-wise, but it does make me angry. And like you said, why didn’t Dumbledore at some point go to Azkaban and just be like, “Hey, dude. I really thought you were cool. What happened?” I would have been curious if I [were] Dumbledore. I would have wanted to know the reasoning behind his betrayal and how long he had been betraying them. Was it a ruse from day one, or did this happen later on? I would be curious.

Kat: The problem was Dumbledore had other things he had to focus on, like Harry.

Katy: But not for another ten years. Harry was shoved off to the Dursleys.

Kat: Right. But immediately after the fact, Harry was, and should have been, the biggest concern.

Katy: Right. But I mean, six months [to] a year later, Dumbledore shows up at Azkaban: “So let’s have a conversation.” But it just never happens.

Eric: Yeah, yeah. Poor follow through, Dumbledore. Shame, shame.

Katy: For real. [laughs]

Eric: Katy or Jaye, did you put this in here about the 27 Club?

Jaye: That was me. Yeah.

Eric: I honestly think this is a perfect thing to go out on. I freaking love this; this is hilarious.

[Jaye laughs]

Eric: But are we basically ready to wrap this up? Because we actually already covered the stuff below it.

Kat: Yes.

Jaye: I wanted to make a quick comment just about the movie portrayals. I know they had to separate the generations a lot to make them seem like they were older, but I do think there was a bit of a tragedy that we don’t see. I always thought it was interesting [that] these characters are so young when they get married and have babies. They are in their early, early 20s, and they would look in their early 30s… You can still look incredibly young. And so I think it was interesting that they aged [them] up so much in the films.

Eric: I always thought it was due to Alan Rickman’s casting, actually.

Jaye: Yeah, maybe.

Eric: Because everybody had to be the same generation or the same age range as Alan was. That was why I thought they made everybody’s parents older. But it would have been interesting seeing a 26-year-old actor [playing] Sirius Black back in 2004.

Kat: The problem with that is when you cast somebody who’s 26, they’re going to look 21 on screen. So you have to cast somebody who’s older. And then when you put them up against an 11-year-old [actor] like Dan Rad[cliffe] and against somebody like Maggie Smith, who – God bless her, I love her – was in her 70s when the movies started? It’s really hard to find that middle ground. It’s near impossible.

Eric: Sure. And the film wasn’t about that.

Kat: No, it wasn’t.

Eric: Not in the way that the books are.

Jaye: It probably would have been visually jarring. A part of me just wishes I could have seen the sexy Sirius. [laughs] I’m reading [the books], and I’m like…

Kat: Are you trying to say that Gary Oldman wasn’t sexy?

Jaye: No, never. He’s just not my type.

[Katy laughs]

Jaye: But I can dig his vibe. It’s fine.

Katy: No. When he was all dressed up snazzy, yeah, I could get behind that.

Kat: Oh no, he’s not my type at all. I’m just saying, Gary Oldman…

Jaye: Gary has got it going on. Yeah.

Eric: When you say sexy, do you mean like Kurt Cobain sexy?

Jaye: Yeah! Yes.

Kat: Gross.

Katy: Ew. Kinda greasy.

[Eric laughs]

Jaye: Kinda greasy [and] tortured. But also, I dig it for whatever reason.

[Katy laughs]

Kat: No. Gross.

[Jaye laughs]

Eric: But speaking of Kurt Cobain, I think this a perfect point to end on for Sirius, for now. Obviously, the discussion is always going to continue on our website and all of that, but there’s this perfect comment you have in here, Jaye. Please, read it to us.

Jaye: So I like to think of Sirius as one of those that belong in the 27 Club. If you aren’t familiar with that, there’s a group of famous musicians and movie stars and celebrities that mysteriously all died at the age of 27. And even though he was 36, there is a sense that these people’s fame or glory shine so bright that they just are not long for the world. They’re destined to die young or burn out. And so I always kind of feel like he’s in that [club]. His glory was just too much for this world. He drives a flying motorbike, he’s got surfer hair, he dresses like a rock star, bought a house at the age of 17, he travels by hippogriff, turns into a wolf-like dog, communicates via fire, gives, as we’ve talked about, the best presents… Despite his flaws, I think he’s a fascinating character, and who knows what kind of life he could have lived had he never been imprisoned or had he survived the war and his record been cleared. And I mentioned this… I think he might be running the Auror department or settling down with Madame Rosmerta. But overall, I think we can argue that Sirius is a character that, because he was so passionate and had so much strong emotion and lived his life on overdrive and accelerated so much that he wasn’t long for the world, lived a pretty impressive and tragic and crazy life while he was here.

Katy: And that goes so well with his name. You said he burns so bright. He’s literally the brightest star in the sky.

[Eric laughs]

Jaye: It’s so true. It all fits so perfect.

Eric: [in hippie voice] “It’s better to burn out than to fade away, guys.”

[Katy laughs]

Jaye: And like the stars, we’re all looking at a snapshot of what they looked like thousands of years ago…

Katy: Millions, probably.

Jaye: Yeah. That’s true.

Kat: And we’ve talked about this before, too, when we’ve talked about Draco. This last point in here, I think, is something to discuss. Is Sirius a redeemable character? Is he somebody that pulls through in the end?

Katy: I would say yes because Harry names one of his kids after him. So if Harry can forgive him for his mistakes…

[Eric laughs]

Kat: Okay, that is the biggest…

Eric: Wait a minute, that is not a… No, no, no!

Katy: Hey, it is for me! I love Harry and I love his whatever. So if it’s okay with him, it’s okay with me.

Eric: Unpopular opinion. You love Harry? Really? Seriously?

[Katy laughs]

Jaye: I do think [Sirius] has got many, many flaws. I think he’s a product of his environment and his choices. He’s complicated but I do think in the end that he loved his friends and tried to fight for the right thing, even though it was many times misguided, I think, in my mind. Even with Snape, as much as he hated it, finding some way to be in the same room as him, to me he is redeemed in some way.

Eric: Yeah, I also think he is redeemable. I’ll admit that the Shrieking Shack incident… [I’m] very, very happy that didn’t go through according to plan. Although, if it did, James and Lily would still be alive because Snape would not have overheard the prophecy and given it to Voldemort. Yeah, I do think Sirius is redeemable in spite of all that, mostly for how he loved and how he lived.

Kat: I think that Sirius could have been redeemable. I think that the life that he led while he was alive, before and after Azkaban, was only the tip of the iceberg for him. I think that had Sirius lived, there would have been a lot of things that he would have grown into and learned about, not only himself, but how to interact with others and how to be a better, more complete, more empathetic person. And I think that with time, he could have been redeemable. The Sirius that we get in the novels, I don’t necessarily believe that that’s true. Because I think Sirius had a lot of growing and a lot of living left inside of him, and I think that he just didn’t quite figure it out. But he could have. I think he could have.

Katy: Yeah, those are good points.

Eric: All good points.

Kat: I think so.

Katy: Yeah. So listeners, tell us your opinion: Is he redeemable or not? We’d love to hear what you think, as well as every other thing we said in this episode, but especially that.

[Eric laughs]

Katy: I think that’s an important question.

Kat: Yeah. I don’t think I dragged him into the mud too much, guys. Just saying.

Eric: I think it was a fair fight. All the rules were obeyed.

Kat: There were rules? Nobody told me about rules.

[Katy laughs]

Eric: Well, they were all obeyed.

Kat: I would have broken them if they were there. Just kidding.

[Katy laughs]

Eric: Jaye, we really want to thank you for coming on and being awesome and joining us here for this prolonged discussion on Sirius Black.

Jaye: Guys, thank you all so much for listening to my many opinions. I appreciate it; this has been such a treat. Thank you all so much.

Kat: I think I speak for everybody when I say that it’s our pleasure to listen to our listeners’ opinions.

Eric: 100%.

Katy: Absolutely, and you had some fantastic ones. Thank you so much.

Jaye: Thank you! Gosh, this has seriously been such a bucket list dream come true, so thank you.

Kat: Oh, stop! But you’re welcome.

Eric: Oh, you!

Jaye: It’s good to be among my people. It is.

Kat: We just had a Lockhart moment here. It’s cool. It’s fine.

[Katy laughs]

Kat: It’s all good.

Katy: Well, let me tell you guys what our next episode is going to be about so you can get prepared. It will be another chapter revisit, and we will be going to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 34, “The Forest Again.” So if you want to get ahead of the game, you can go ahead and read that chapter leading up to the next episode. And if you want to go above and beyond just reading the [chapter], you can also go back and listen to Episode 185 where Alohomora! initially discussed Chapter 34 of Deathly Hallows.

Eric: And if you would like to be on the show, just like Jaye was, please visit the “Be On the Show” page at our website, There’s also a way to suggest topics for future shows, which are always important. But also, when you do suggest a topic, you can also put down if that is the topic that you are most passionate about that you would like to be on, and we will consider that for when we actually use these topics. So there’s that. You don’t need too much fancy equipment to be on. In fact, Jaye is recording using Apple headphones, right?

Jaye: That’s right.

Eric: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jaye: [laughs] Represent.

Eric: So yeah, that’s all it was. [laughs] The magic is revealed.

Jaye: That’s right.

Kat: Yeah, they really don’t pay us to say that. I know we always say that, but they don’t pay us to say that.

Eric: They do not.

Jaye: They should.

Kat: They really should, yeah. Apple, are you listening? Cool.

Eric: Is this thing off?

Kat: In the meantime, you guys know how to keep in touch with us. Find us over on Twitter @AlohomoraMN. You can send us rebuttals and stuff there too. If you want to yell at us, we have a list on our Twitter of all the hosts. So you can yell at us and be like, “I hate you because of (x, y, z)!” Don’t tell us you hate us.

Eric: Yeah, tell us you hate us. The block button is very easy.

[Kat and Katy laugh]

Eric: I found the block button earlier. Tell us you hate us, everybody!

Kat: That’s right, exactly. But yeah, we love hearing your opinions over on Twitter and also over on our Facebook page, which is [Our] website, as Eric said a minute ago, [is] And you can always email us, guys. Flood our inbox. We love it.

Katy: And if you have not already, I would encourage you to head over to to look at our reward tiers and see if you would like to become a patron of the show, just like the one that sponsored this episode.

Kat: Miss Elena…

Katy: I’m sorry if we’re saying your name wrong, but Elena, you’re fantastic. Thank you so much. We couldn’t do this without you and the rest of our patrons.

Kat: Claps!

Katy: And we just recently updated our reward tiers, so you should go check them out. See if you want to change it if you’re already a patron, or become one if you’re not. We would love to have you.

Jaye:. I know. For the record, I live in Austin, so I’m trying to track down Michael to read to me in person. So I’m going to buy that for sure.

Kat: [gasps] Oh, that would be super cool! He would totally do that.

Jaye: I know. I’m going to find him at the library. [laughs]

Katy: You have to do this, please. Take video of it.

Jaye: I’ll keep you posted.

Kat: Okay. Give him a heads up or something and be like, “I’m going to find you today,” so he’s not like, “Who are you?”

Katy: [laughs] Oh, it’s Michael; he’d be sweet to anybody.

Jaye: That’s true.

Kat: He would.

[Show music begins]

Katy: But that’s the end of our show. Thanks, everybody, for listening. I’m Katy.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Kat: And I’m Kat. Thank you for listening to Episode 230 of Alohomora!

Katy: Open the Dumbledore!

[Show music continues]

Kat: Also, Eric, I wanted to say, I love when you open the episode going, “This is Episode…” because you sound so Ryan Seacrest when you say it like that.

[Katy laughs]

Eric: [as Ryan Seacrest] “This is American Idol!”

Kat: I don’t know if it’s a compliment or not. It just makes me laugh every time because he’s always like, “This is Episode…!”

Jaye: It’s like Dateline or Sixty [Minutes] welcome.

Eric: Okay. Well, next time I intro an Alohomora! episode, I’m going to get you guys in the background to do the pins and needles sound. [sings the American Idol theme]

[Katy laughs]

Jaye: Can we just be your chorus girls in sequin dresses in the back?

Kat: Oh my God, don’t inflate his ego any more, Jaye.

Eric: Can you? That would be frickin’ great.

[Katy laughs]

Jaye: You’re right.

Eric: Jaye, the answer to your question is yes.

[Kat laughs]

Jaye: Okay, great. We’ll get some doo-wop tracks; it’ll be great.

Eric: Doo-wop? Oh, I love doo-wop.

Katy: Oh my God, this is going to be an amazing episode; I can tell already.