[Show music begins]
Katy Cartee Haile: This is Episode 231 of Alohomora! for October 29, 2017.
[Show music continues]
Katy: I’m Katy Cartee Haile.
Michael Harle: I’m Michael Harle.
Beth Warsaw: And I’m Beth Warsaw, and we would like to extend a very warm welcome to our guest today, Sherry. Welcome, Sherry!
Sherry Gomes: Hi, everybody! I’m so glad to be here.
Katy: We’re so glad to have you. Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself, what House you’re in, how you got into Harry Potter, and all that jazz?
Sherry: Well, I have a fun How I Got Into Harry Potter story. My best friend invited me in 1999 to read a book called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. My first reaction was, “What the heck is that?”
Sherry: And I was 42 at the time, and I read a little bit of kids’ books but mostly things I liked as a child. So I said, “Well, okay, whatever,” but the joke was on me because I was hooked from the very first sentence.
Katy and Michael: Ooh!
Sherry: That first sentence tells you so much about the Dursleys, and I fell in love and became an avid fan. I sought out fandom online; a lot of that was quite a bit younger than me. I found “Harry Potter for Grownups” and joined that.
Katy: Yes! Me too!
Sherry: I participated in a lot of really intense discussions, which I miss greatly. I eventually became one of the List Elves. I don’t know when you were there, Katy, but I was Blinky Elf.
Katy: That does sound familiar. I started around 2001 or 2002.
Sherry: Yeah, I was there from about then until… I’m still there, but the list is pretty much dead now.
Katy: Yes, sadly.
Sherry: I went to the last three midnight book releases, and it’s really special because growing up as a blind person in the 1960s, we didn’t get books when everybody else got them. We might wait years, or they might not ever come out. So being able to go to a bookstore at midnight and buy a book that everybody around me was buying was… for the first time, I cried over that.
Katy: Aww! That’s wonderful!
Michael: So beautiful.
Sherry: I now have the books in braille, digital audio from Audible, and I have the old cassettes and CD versions in a crate out in my garage.
Katy: That’s amazing!
Michael: That’s cool.
Sherry: My House: I am a proud GryffinPuff.
Katy: [laughs] Nice.
Michael: Ha! There was quite a heated discussion about that last week.
Sherry: I heard that.
[Katy and Michael laugh]
Sherry: I’ve been equally Sorted into both, and loyalty is the most important characteristic to me.
Katy: Aww. Well, we believe you, Sherry. It’s a thing.
Sherry: That’s right. My wand is unicorn and hazel, and I forget what that meant. My Patronus was a dun horse, and I was disappointed because I wanted it to be a dog.
Michael: Yes. Hey, we have that in common. I wanted a dog, and I got a horse, and I was just like, “What the heck?” I have no [unintelligible] to horses whatsoever.
Sherry: I know.
Katy: You all got horses? Seriously?
Michael: I bet you wanted a horse.
Katy: I did want a horse! Because Rainbow Brite rides a horse.
Michael: That’s exactly what I was thinking it was for you. Yeah.
Katy: And I got the dog. Oh, man.
Michael: Somebody want to trade Patronuses?
Sherry: Since I was 17, I’ve have guide dogs in my life, and so I wanted a dog. But I didn’t get a dog. And by the way, as a little trivia, my current guide dog’s name is “Petunia”!
Beth and Katy: Aww!
Sherry: And you can’t imagine how thrilled I was to get a dog with a Harry Potter name, even if it was Petunia.
Katy: But she has some good qualities hidden very, very deep down.
Sherry: She’s a Golden Retriever, so she’s all good qualities.
Katy: Oh, I love those.
Michael: Sherry, your story about being able to purchase a copy of the book at the same time with being blind reminded me… Do you know about that episode of Arthur? Arthur is on PBS Kids, for those of you who haven’t heard of the show. It’s based on a children’s book series by Mark Brown. The TV series has been going for 20 years – it’s ridiculous – and…
Beth: Wait, is that still on TV?
Michael: It’s still on. There [are] current episodes being…
Michael: Idina Menzel was just on an episode.
Beth: That’s awesome!
Michael: But there was an episode where Prunella… It was supposed to be a parody of the craze around Harry Potter, and Prunella is a super Potter fan. But it’s not Harry Potter; it’s Henry Skreever.
[Beth and Katy laugh]
Michael: And she buys an advance copy, and she’s gloating to everybody because her copy is coming from England, and so she’s getting a genuine UK copy special edition. And everybody else has their copy, but she didn’t get it at midnight; she’s waited until the next day. She gets her copy in the mail, and it’s a braille copy.
Sherry: [laughs] That’s hilarious. I love it!
Michael: So she about loses her mind because she can’t get a copy of the book now, and they’re not going to send it for three weeks, and everybody is spoiling the story for her. Arthur has this weird thing where they always blend popular children’s’ books with vegetable themes. There’s this whole thing where Francine is like, “Now I know why Henry can grow kumquats out of his nose!”
Katy: Oh man! Wow.
Michael: But she actually ends up, at the library, running into a blind girl who can obviously read braille, and she reads it aloud to her and they read it together. And I was like, “That is such a great episode!” And then they end up being friends, and that friendship comes through in multiple episodes. And they still do stuff with Henry Skreever; there [are] multiple parodies with that.
Beth: That is so cute. I used to love Arthur growing up; it was one of my favorites.
Sherry: Well, there’s a really cool thing, actually, about braille Harry Potter books. Because braille books are very rare and usually pretty expensive, and whatever the bestselling book is today, it may never come out in braille, and if it does, it might be in years. But there was an agreement made between J.K. Rowling and her publishers and an organization here in Boston, I think, called National Braille Press, and they arranged it so the last Harry Potter book would be delivered to people who ordered it the day of the release. That’s unheard of.
Sherry: And because of that, blind kids – not to mention me, but I already had the audio CD – got to read that book the day that their sighted friends were reading it too.
Michael: That is so neat.
Beth: That’s incredible.
Sherry: Thank you, Jo.
Michael: Yeah, Harry Potter made a lot of splashes in the publishing world in ways we had never really seen before. It’s neat that that was one of them that could be enjoyed by everybody as soon as possible.
Katy: Yeah, thank you for sharing that with us because I had never heard of any of that. I knew it was available in braille, but I didn’t know if all of them were or how soon they came out after the printed versions. So that’s fascinating to me, and I’m sure it will be to a lot of our listeners who have never heard that before. So thank you.
Sherry: It takes up three shelves on my bookshelf.
Beth: I was going to ask, because I thought that braille usually took up more space than printed word, so I didn’t know if they were a lot bigger.
Sherry: It’s in about 55 volumes.
Beth and Michael: Wow!
Katy: Whoa, that’s amazing!
Sherry: And I own them all.
Michael: That’s so cool. Sorry, everybody, I’m adjusting my mic again.
[Beth and Katy laugh]
Michael: Listeners, if you were on Twitter, you probably saw my mic of nine years die. My mother bought it for me when I started podcasting for audio fictions, and it literally fell apart in my hands after recording two and a half hours of Harry Potter video gaming for our Patreon sponsors. [laughs]
Michael: And so its last good deed was recording Harry Potter.
Beth: Yeah, at least it made it through that recording. [laughs]
Michael: Yes, it made it through the whole thing, and what a wonderful sendoff for it. But yes, I recently purchased a gorgeous Yeti microphone from Blue, and it is blue. It is dark blue and it is gorgeous. I went across town to get it because I wanted it in the color that I wanted, [and] this mic was expensive. To find out how expensive, you can go online and search for it.
[Beth and Katy laugh]
Michael: Blue, if you would like to sponsor this show – you don’t, but you should – I am giving you quite an advertisement here. There are some amazing features on this mic. I don’t think I’ve even unlocked nearly half of them yet. So expect for lots of weird audio on my end. Apologies to Patrick, our editor this week, because he’s going to be like, “Michael, would you stop fidgeting with your microphone?”
[Beth, Katy, and Michael laugh]
Beth: Sponsor us on Patreon to fund Michael’s new microphone.
Beth: Just kidding.
Michael: In fact, before we tell them about the chapter we’re doing this week, Katy, do you want to talk to them a little bit about Patreon?
Katy: Well, sure. Patreon is why we are able to continue doing this amazing podcast. We have so many amazing people supporting us. So if you would also like to become a sponsor, you can go to patreon.com/alohomora, and you can become a sponsor for as little as $1 a month. And this particular episode is sponsored by Fernanda Torres. So we want to give a huge thank you and round of applause to Fernanda.
Beth and Michael: Yay!
Michael: Thank you. You’re not funding my microphone, Fernanda. I bought it myself.
Katy: But you are enabling us to continue this project and make so many people happy and fuel all this amazing discussion, and that makes us happy. It’s fantastic. We love talking to you guys over on Patreon, and Michael is going to be releasing his video game stuff fairly soon. Is that fair to say?
Michael: Yes, it is, actually, because one of the things that you guys’ Patreon money is helping with is that I can purchase some better editing equipment, because I usually edit on Windows Movie Maker, which is the worst thing that ever existed ever. Windows, you don’t have to sponsor this show, because I’m not going to talk highly about your Movie Maker editor. But yes, it’s a nightmare, and so I need better editing software to more thoroughly, properly edit these episodes for you. So I will be getting some of that thanks to you guys. You guys are making that possible so that we can make these Let’s Plays – which are some of our exclusive tidbits that we are going to be releasing – even better. So thank you, listeners. We appreciate it.
Katy: Very much.
Michael: And one of the other reasons that we thank you so much for sponsoring us on Patreon is because we get to do episodes like this particular one. We’re on a chapter revisit, and we are diving into the one book in the series that we have not revisited from the main series yet. We are going into Deathly Hallows, specifically Chapter 34, “The Forest Again.” We highly recommend you read the chapter before listening to this episode, and if you really want to go the extra mile, you can go back and listen to our previous Deathly Hallows episode for Chapter 34, which was Episode 185: “One Foot Through the Veil.” It was an excellent episode. I actually hadn’t listened to it for a while.
Katy: So good.
Michael: And I wasn’t on that one. None of us were, actually, so you’ve got a whole new panel for this episode. But yeah, make sure to listen to that if you want to hear some of the points that we made on that episode. But with that, I guess we go in to Chapter 34, “The Forest Again.”
[Chapter revisit intro begins]
[Sound of Time-Turner]
Dumbledore: Three turns should do it.
James: Chapter revisit.
Harry: I am about to die.
Lily: Chapter 34.
Voldemort: Avada Kedavra.
Lily: “The Forest Again.”
[Chapter revisit intro ends]
Katy: Harry has discovered his true fate: He must die at Voldemort’s hand. Heading toward the Forbidden Forest, Harry passes a fallen Colin Creevey before passing on his valuable knowledge to Neville about Nagini to ensure Dumbledore’s elaborate plan is complete. Realizing that his death is “the close,” Harry finally unlocks the Golden Snitch, obtains the Resurrection Stone, and calls Lily, James, Sirius, and Remus to give him the necessary strength to face his demise. Reaching Voldemort’s camp, the Dark Lord wastes no time, and with a simple Avada Kedavra, Harry Potter is dead.
Michael: Ha. The end.
Sherry: Oh no.
Katy: I was already getting emotional just reading through that. I don’t know if I’m going to make it without crying through this episode.
Sherry: Me too.
Katy: Well, good. I’ll be in good company, then.
Michael: This chapter is a rough one.
Katy: It is.
Michael: And surprisingly short. I forget often how short this chapter is.
Beth: I was surprised by that as well. And before we get into more of the meat of what happens in this chapter, I was just so surprised at how the writing of this chapter is so powerful. And I was intending to read through this chapter and take some notes to add to our Doc, and before I knew it – I was listening to it – the chapter was over. And I realized that I had just become so entranced by the chapter that I had forgotten to pay attention and take notes because it’s just so beautifully written.
Katy: It really is. And speaking of short chapters, I meant to look up… I did look up what the shortest chapter in the entire series is, and it’s from Book 1. It’s “The Potions Master,” I believe. But it is only 12 pages long, and this one is only 14. So it’s not the shortest in the series, but it is one of. I meant to look and see if there was a list to see how far down this one was, but it’s probably top five, if I had to guess, of shortest chapters. But yeah, you’re right. It’s so rich in those few pages.
Michael: That’s so funny that it’s actually longer than “The Potions Master,” because that chapter – I would assume – was longer, actually. Maybe it’s because that chapter is more of an intro to the world and you feel like you’re spending more time in Harry’s world. Because the whole premise with this chapter is that Harry is realizing that he [has] run out of time. So it’s like it’s supposed to go by fast, I guess, which it certainly does.
Beth: Yeah, it’s very fitting to the content.
Sherry: I think it’s some of Jo’s best writing in the entire series.
Michael: That makes me want to go down to a point we had in Episode 185 recall, where Eric very plainly stated, “This chapter doesn’t do much for me.”
Beth: Oh, Eric.
Katy: Exactly my thoughts.
Sherry: I remember that.
Michael: Now, the interesting thing is, Eric has what I think is an interesting argument. Once upon a time, I might’ve actually agreed with him. I don’t anymore. And again, I say this about every chapter we reread outside of the rest of the book. This was a really interesting experience to read separated from the rest of the novel.
Beth: It was.
Michael: And for some reason it struck me, I think, more than it ever has. And maybe that is because we get this separation from the rest of the novel in a way that we’re almost supposed to have from the narration. Rowling really hammers home that Harry is disconnected from the world throughout this chapter. He’s just so in shock that his connection to the mortal realm is almost basically gone. But I think Rowling’s writing has a lot to do with how we connect with this chapter. You all mentioned it, and it was constantly mentioned on the previous episode, where everybody was like, “But the writing!” What is it, though, about the writing in this chapter that sets it apart from the other chapters, do you guys think?
Beth: I think the tone and the content match beautifully. And I think that she is good at that in general, but I think this chapter really hits it on the nose of matching those two things together. And as I said, I think it immerses you in a way that is even above and beyond for Harry Potter, which I think is saying something.
Sherry: Also, I think in every case… Well, at least as far as I can think off the top of my head, in every case before when Harry [has] had to face something dangerous, it’s been in the moment. It’s happened. He has to react. Now he’s just learned this horrible news. It’s not happening right this minute, but it’s going to, and he’s having to face that he has to die. And I like how Jo presents that to us because he’s not just jumping up ready to boldly go where no Harry Potter has gone before.
[Beth, Katy, and Michael laugh]
Sherry: He’s not wanting to do it. He doesn’t want to die. That line about how his heart was beating so frantically and everything… His body and his mind and his soul, they want to survive. And yet he’s still going to do what he has to do. And I think she presented that so amazingly; I’ve never read anything like it. Heroes always just go off and do what they have to do.
Beth: I think it’s a testament to [that] Harry knew that this was going to happen; he just didn’t know. He knew but he didn’t. And so I think while hearing the news from the Pensieve is shocking, it’s also not. I think as readers we also knew this was going to have to happen, even if it was subconsciously. So I think Harry has already started processing it a little bit without realizing it, which allows him to be so calm and so… He just floats through this whole chapter.
Michael: Well, really, when you think about it, that was part of Dumbledore’s plan, to make sure Harry was in a state of mind where he could do something like this. And Harry recognizes that; we read that in the narration that’s reflecting Harry’s thoughts. That’s why I think this chapter is so set apart, because Rowling’s narration is almost always in Harry’s head. It’s weird because the way that she does it, she can go in and out of Harry’s perspective very easily. But [in] that particular chapter, she never leaves Harry’s head. I guess [that] is what does it for me. And by staying in his viewpoint the entire time, it’s almost like you become as breathless as he is in those moments. The feelings that she’s writing become so visceral. I think her talent really lies in being able to describe things that are indescribable. I don’t know how she does this stuff. We’ve talked frequently about [how] it’s already amazing enough that she can describe perfectly what it’s like to be a teenager, and not only that, she does it very well from the perspective of a boy. And now here she’s doing a boy, 17 years old, who’s marching to his death, and every moment she picks is just… She does these very small, observant things about how Harry realizes he’s going to die. It’s not large and dramatic; it’s very subtle and quiet. He walks by Hagrid’s hut and he thinks all the way back to events in Sorcerer’s Stone. And not big events [but] quiet things like [as Harry] “those days we went to Hagrid’s hut and ate rock cakes.” [back to normal voice] Simple things like that. And the reflections he’s having are so profound, like the idea when he realizes “There [are] people out there who are just taking their breaths for granted, and every single one of my breaths means something right now.” That’s insane. That’s crazy.
Katy: Yeah. You’re right, it’s all in his head. There’s so little dialogue. He talks to Neville and that’s about it. The rest of it is all just from within his mind and within his heart. There’s so much heart imagery, and these quotes… I very rarely highlight anything, and I’m even talking on my Kindle, where I’m not doing any physical damage to a book.
[Beth and Michael laugh]
Katy: But even on there, I’m reluctant to highlight. I don’t know why. But this read-through – and I read through it twice because I fell so hard in love with it again – I was highlighting all over the place. It was just quote after quote after quote that just pulls at your heartstrings so hard and puts things in a way that you’ve never heard it before. You’re describing his heart as a funeral drum. It’s like, who would think of that other than Jo? She’s brilliant! Yeah, if I read all of the things I highlighted, it would take a while, so I’m not going to do that.
Katy: But yeah, it’s all of the things you guys just said. I don’t know that I have anything new necessarily to say other than that, but it’s profound. I’ll just say that.
Beth: I think I’m going to have chills this entire episode. Just saying.
Michael: One of the things I noticed and wanted to point out – and this is more back to the beginning of our points that we had here – as I was going through it, I was realizing that this chapter has a lot of recalls to almost every single book in the Harry Potter series. Some of those recalls are very overt, and some of them I thought were, interestingly, a little more subtle. Harry remembers specific events that happened in previous books. He remembers Ron puking up slugs from Chamber of Secrets. He remembers taking Norbert to the North Tower in Sorcerer’s Stone. He’s going through the castle, and in this way Rowling is kind of having his life flash before his eyes.
Katy and Sherry: Oh, yeah.
Michael: And I thought it was interesting how she’s using each book. Because I pulled out some quotes and was looking at how I associated them with each book, and the first one I was looking at – one of the ones that really caught me – was on page 693 of the US edition. And it says,
“And Dumbledore had known that Harry would not duck out, that he would keep going to the end, even though it was his end, because he had taken trouble to get to know him, hadn’t he? Dumbledore knew, as Voldemort knew, that Harry would not let anyone else die for him now that he had discovered it was in his power to stop it.”
And that immediately, for me, recalled the conversations from Order and Half-Blood about fate and destiny and that idea that Harry questions in Half-Blood where he throws his hands up and says, “Well, I guess I can’t escape fate,” and Dumbledore says, “You totally can escape fate, but then you wouldn’t be who you are,” basically.
Sherry: Right. Yeah.
Michael: “You have a choice.” But then that ties back to Chamber of Secrets with the idea of “Your choices make you who you are, therefore you will not run away.”
Beth: And it’s so interesting, too, the way that Harry talks about this, because he says, “because he had taken the trouble to get to know him, hadn’t he?” And that makes it sound much more cold and calculated. Dumbledore also took the trouble to get to know Voldemort, and Harry is describing it in the same way.
Michael: Harry draws a lot of comparisons to himself and Voldemort in this chapter.
Beth: Yeah, and it also does not reflect very well on Dumbledore. [laughs]
Michael: No, it doesn’t.
Sherry: [laughs] No.
Beth: But Harry iss also not accusing Dumbledore here. He is not angry at Dumbledore for this. He is just acknowledging it and accepting it, which I thought was really interesting.
Sherry: I was angry enough for Harry, so…
Beth: Yeah, me too.
Katy: Tell us a bit about your anger at Dumbledore. I know you had some thoughts on that, Sherry.
Sherry: Well, I have a love/not-so-love relationship with Dumbledore. It probably changed as Harry’s life grew and changed, and I won’t get into all of my thoughts because some of it goes back to things about Sirius and that’s not for this discussion.
Sherry: I don’t like Snape, but his comment in a previous chapter about the “pig [for] slaughter” thing really got to me. And when Harry is accepting what Dumbledore wants him to do, though of course I would never want Harry to run away and not do it, at the same time… What was I? 45 or something when I read this book? No, 50. No, it can’t be. Anyway, I just found myself raging: “This child should have a life! He’s had misery and nothing [but] a horrible home life growing up alone and abused until he came to Hogwarts, and now he just has to go give up his life and he’s only 17!” And I just wanted to – as I put in the comments to Katy – toss Dumbledore off the Astronomy Tower again.
Katy: Die again!
Sherry: And what I really wanted to do was grab up Harry and hug him and take him away.
[Katy and Sherry laugh]
Michael: I’ve always found that so fascinating, how strongly the fandom reacts to Dumbledore and his plan in the end. I don’t know; is there something wrong with me? Because I’ve really never felt that much ire toward Dumbledore with his plan. And maybe that’s because I have – and I’ve talked in previous episodes – my connections with Dumbledore and how I feel his choices were informed. When we get to this point, I think, “Well, what would you have had him do otherwise with the knowledge he had and with the way that things had to work out so perfectly?”
Sherry: There was nothing else, yeah. And the next chapter kind of saves Dumbledore because you realize Dumbledore expected that Harry would not die.
Michael: Yeah, and I think the next chapter, coupled with “The Lost Prophecy” chapter in Order of the Phoenix, really brings it home with Dumbledore, and perhaps is the chapter why… As much as I have problems with that chapter in Order… more so because of how it was marketed as “This is the tell-all chapter,” and it was like, “No, it’s not. Half-Blood Prince is the tell-all book.”
Michael: But the thing Dumbledore does state is how much he loves and cares about Harry and how it has been so painful to put him through this and how it continues to be painful to put him through this. And I think Dumbledore has that throughout the whole experience, and in a way the “gleam of triumph” from Book 4 is like Dumbledore saying, “Yes! Got him!” And Harry can maybe make it through this. So I don’t know. I guess I just put a lot of trust in Dumbledore, and I don’t tend to get very angry with him in this moment.
Katy: Yeah. I’ve definitely been angry with him at other points during the series, but when it comes to the plan itself, I’m with you, Michael. I don’t know what else he could possibly have done in that situation. And really, the anger should be toward Voldemort because he’s the one that set all of this into motion by killing [Harry’s] parents and trying to kill Harry. If he had not heard the prophecy, if he had not followed the prophecy, if he had not been a psychopath, all of this could have been avoided.
Katy: So really, it’s his fault, and he’s the one we should be angry at.
Sherry: That’s a good point.
Katy: I’m more angry at Dumbledore during the points like at the beginning of… Oh, gosh, which one is it? Order? Where Harry is stuck at Privet Drive for two months when everyone else is at the Order headquarters. Oh, that one kills me, which I think I’ve made apparent on a past episode. So there are definitely moments where he’s not my favorite character. And thankfully, he apologizes for many of the things I have issues with. He admits when he has done something wrong. He can see the fault of his own; when Sirius dies, he’s like, “It’s my fault. I should have done this and that and the other. I could’ve done things to prevent this, and I didn’t.” So yeah, I try to take his apologies at face value. He literally is remorseful. He’s not just giving Harry lip service. He really feels remorseful. So yeah, there are times we wish he did things differently, but he’s also human, and he makes mistakes like the rest of the characters, so… But in this chapter…
Michael: But less mistakes than most.
Katy: Yes. His guesses are usually right. [laughs]
Michael: But I wanted to map out just a few more of these connections because already that connection unearthed a lot of great discussion, and I wanted to reference some of the other things that these recalls to the other books bring out in this chapter. There were two quotes that I felt had a really major recall. One is from page 695, as Harry is leaving Hogwarts and he looks at the Great Hall to try to get a glimpse of everybody. The narration says,
“He felt he would have given all the time remaining to him for just one last look at them; but then, would he ever have the strength to stop looking? It was better like this.”
And on page 699, after he has used the Resurrection Stone and he can see Sirius, James, Lily, and Lupin, the narration says, specifically about his mother,
“He could not speak. His eyes feasted on her, and he thought that he would like to stand and look at her forever, and that would be enough.”
And I thought these two quotes immediately brought me back to Sorcerer’s Stone and specifically the Mirror of Erised. And we were talking so much about Dumbledore; the Mirror of Erised was training for this. [laughs]
Katy: Oh my God.
Sherry: Wow. I never thought that. That’s awesome.
Katy: Mind blown.
Michael: Right? I’ve made that connection actively before in my reading, and I really feel like this is intentional on Rowling’s part.
Beth: It has to be. Yeah.
Katy: Now that you say it… oh God.
Michael: The way that she describes Harry feasting his eyes on his parents is almost the same language that I think she uses. He wants to fall through the glass. He wants to reach through. He hungers to touch them. And yeah, I thought that was really… Because we’ve talked before about the theory of how omnipotent Dumbledore is and what he might be making happen. And the discussions that even Pottermore has brought up with the Mirror of Erised of “Hmm, Dumbledore just left this priceless mirror in a random classroom while he was tinkering with it, and Harry just happened to wander by it…”
Beth: But I don’t think, all the way back there, Dumbledore knew then that Harry was going to have to die. Do you think?
Michael: Well, Dumbledore says in Order of the Phoenix that he knows from the prophecy that Harry does have to have a confrontation with Voldemort.
Beth: That’s very true. Dumbledore also doesn’t have the Resurrection Stone yet at that point, correct?
Michael: No, he does not. But he knows it exists because he’s obsessed with the Hallows.
Katy: Do we know when he actually gets that? Or… wait, yeah we do, because he burns his hand with it. Never mind.
Katy: Sorry. My bad.
Michael: And the last one that I wanted to pull up – and there are more that are even more literal than these ones – was the one that blew my mind when I realized it last night, but it’s,
“The Dementors’ chill did not overcome Harry; he passed through it with his companions, and they acted like Patronuses to him.”
And of course, this recalls Prisoner of Azkaban. But the thing that really caught me when I thought about it was all four of these individuals who are with Harry, that are brought back with the Resurrection Stone, are all major players in Harry’s ability to cast a Patronus in Prisoner specifically.
Sherry: That’s true.
Katy: That’s so good. Oh my God.
Michael: Because we’ve talked about why… And we can even ask this question of “Why these four?” Because the fandom has asked, “Should it be these four? Are there people who are missing? Are there people whom we know who are dead who definitely shouldn’t be there?” Snape.
Michael: And on the previous episode for this chapter, there was even discussion that I think was brought about by Eric that maybe these entities aren’t even real. And how did Harry call them specifically?
Katy: Oh, we’ll get into what they are in a minute. I have feelings on that.
Michael: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. But yeah, I was just really struck in this reread about how many references to the other books there are and what purpose they are serving in the narrative. I’m hoping that the listeners will go and pick out some other ones for us. Interestingly, the one that I couldn’t… I felt like it was almost too obvious, and I was looking for a more subtle one. I couldn’t really find, in my read, a subtle one for Goblet. The obvious one to me is that Harry has faced Voldemort head on before, and he’s also recalled his parents from the dead before to talk to them. That seems to be the obvious reference, but I don’t know if there’s another one that’s layered in there somewhere.
Katy: Not that I caught, but maybe one of our listeners will, I hope.
Beth: Yeah, I think the Priori Incantatem is the big one, yeah. Definitely. I’m really fascinated by this last one that you called out about the actual magic behind the Dementors not being able to affect Harry in this moment. And I’m wondering if it’s just because his heart is so full of people who love him at this moment, or if it’s because he is the Master of Death in this moment.
Michael and Sherry: Ooh.
Michael: The Master of Death thing, interestingly, I thought came a little late. Because people point out that – and we can talk about this a little later – the Hallows are together for a brief moment.
Beth: Right. He doesn’t have the wand, but he is the master of the wand right now.
Michael: He has the ownership of the wand. That’s true. I never really associated this with the Hallows. I associated this almost really based on what’s being said in the narration, that this is “Patronus Maxima.”
Michael: Expecto Patronum Maxima!
Katy: I love it. Oh, I would love to see some fan art of that, of him walking with his companions and this kind of shield above them, surrounding them with the Dementors above.
Sherry: Oh yeah.
Beth: Listeners. Somebody do it.
Katy: I am not an artist, so don’t expect me to.
Michael: But yeah, because a Patronus is a representation of a soul guardian. But these are literal guardians of Harry’s soul.
Beth: And one of them is actually Harry’s Patronus as well, so…
Michael: Yes. Yeah, James is. Upgrade.
Katy: I know one of our fans has asked before if you could have a human Patronus. Well, here you go. You’ve got four of them. But I think that’s also an interesting question you had, Michael, about who else could have been there. My brain is going blank. Sherry, do you have any ideas?
Sherry: No, because I always thought those were the perfect four for him to have there. They’re the ones he wants when he’s in distress. In the past, that’s who he’s wanted when he’s in distress. He’s wanted one of those four, and probably the ones he feels most guilty about. And we know Harry is loaded with guilt.
Beth: Yeah, but if it [were] a guilt thing, I would’ve imagined Fred being there, or Colin being there…
Beth: Right. Or Cedric. And none of those people are there. And I think, correctly, none of those people are there. I don’t think that they really have a spot in this moment. And so I do think that guilt probably plays a little bit of a part of it, especially for Lupin, but that’s not really the driving force for what brings Lupin back.
Michael: I think Sherry was much more correct in the observation about people [whom] Harry sought comfort from before, more parental figures whom he’s lost.
Katy: If Moody had been actual Moody the entire time he knew him, maybe, but since he was fake Moody for a year… Yeah, I can see why he’s not there.
Michael: I think another one people have pointed out, more so just because Lupin is there… People want Tonks to be there. And as a Lupin fan, I can see why she’s not there.
Beth: Me too.
Michael: She is not as connected intrinsically to Harry as Lupin is, which is funny because we’ve talked in previous episodes, too… That has frequently been mentioned of, “Harry and Lupin don’t know each other. They’re barely friends.” And “Oh, but no.”
Michael: I do think there is a loss in the connection in a lot of ways. There’s a lot of lost potential between the two of them and their friendship. But there is a deep connection there, and it is clearly evidenced here.
Beth: I think even if the events of Prisoner had happened and then Lupin completely disappeared from the story altogether that Lupin still would’ve had a place here.
Sherry: I think so too.
Beth: I think that the events of Prisoner so strongly affected Harry that even growing apart from Lupin didn’t really matter in this moment.
Sherry: I think these four are the ones that, to Harry, are his family. And that’s not to negate what the Weasleys are, but these are his family: his parents, his godfather, [and] his almost godfather. I think that’s part of why they’re there too. It’s why they’re perfect.
Michael: Well, I think your favorite teacher – and yes, I’m saying that on Harry’s behalf, that Lupin is his favorite teacher – is somebody who greatly informs your life. I can definitely say that from personal experience. I’m sure many of us can, that a teacher in a way can be like a mother or a father with some of the things that they contribute to your life. And that all, I felt, tied back perfectly into that observation of how these four play a role in Harry’s ability to cast a Patronus, to not only guard himself but be a guardian for others, which he is going to do. He is marching to his death to save other people’s lives. He knows that. He doesn’t know that it’s going to work the same way that Lily’s death worked, but he knows that people will probably stop dying as much [and] that the battle will end. He goes in with that conscious notion. But yeah, I just thought, “Oh, the reason he even wants to learn to cast a Patronus is not just to protect himself from the Dementors, but it’s to learn how to detach himself from dwelling on the death of his parents because he can hear it.”
Beth: Right. And I think that points to how important Lupin was to him, because Lupin is able to give him, for the first time, more context about who his parents were. Up until this point, he meets a lot of people who knew his parents and who say, “Oh, you have your mother’s eyes” or “You’re just like your father” or whatever. But Lupin is the first person to really humanize his parents and provide Harry with a concept of what they were like, and that sticks with Harry forever.
Sherry: Those are amazing points.
Katy: I love that so much.
Beth: I just want to point out here as we’re wrapping up talking about these quotes from this chapter that I think it’s really evident [that] Rowling’s writing skill and literary skill, being able to weave this web of things all the way through the seven books, is so impressive. And I think we see even her improvement throughout the books here that she is at her pinnacle right here in this chapter. And I think, for me at least, I don’t have a lot of love for the epilogue. I just don’t think the writing is as good, and I think that’s evidenced by the fact that we know she wrote a lot of that early on and then built on it and edited it a little bit at the end. But I think juxtaposing it with a chapter like this, where her skill is so evident… I just think it’s interesting to see her writing progression throughout the books.
Michael: I think that the thing that really boosts that is [that] we know from her that this chapter was in her head very early, even if it wasn’t written early. This was an end goal chapter, and that’s what makes it so… That’s why these callbacks to the other books work so well, and why this chapter is as effective as it is, because it’s been built up so properly.
Katy: And I’ve got a couple of quotes that I don’t think will take too much discussion time.
Katy: I’ll start with the second one because it goes with the theme a bit better. It says,
“Why had he never appreciated what a miracle he was, brain and nerve and bounding heart? It would all be gone… or at least, he would be gone from it.”
First of all, oh my God, I love that writing. I just can’t even. How does that come out of somebody’s brain?
Michael: “And nerves and bounding heart!”
Katy: It’s beautiful imagery. We never think of life that way either. We just go day to day. We are who we are. Very few of us have to think about what a miracle life is, and our brains and nerves and bounding heart and how it all works together. Yeah.
Michael: Oh, I just realized, too, I made a Wizard of Oz reference. And those are all of the things from Oz.
Sherry: That’s right.
Katy: Oh my God. That’s amazing.
Beth: I love it.
Michael: Thank you, J.K. Rowling. You’re validating my point.
Beth: Also, Katy, this note you put there? Now that song is in my head, so thanks. Yeah, Katy was pointing out that this is basically the Tim McGraw song, “Live Like You Were Dying,” so now it’s in my head forever.
Michael: Remember when they would play that on the radio all the time, guys?
Katy: They used to constantly. Constantly. But that’s the first thing that popped into my head when I read this. I was like, “This is what a person with a terminal illness goes through.” Those are the people who have these thoughts. They have the time to have these thoughts. They have the foresight to think about these things. Most people die unexpectedly or you’re so old that you’re out of your mind by that time. But the fact that he had the time – even though it was only half an hour – to go through some of these stages of grief and these thoughts that most people never think about… I love that she included that. And I hope it reminds us – even those of us without terminal illness – to not take our lives for granted and just slow down every once in a while and appreciate what a miracle we are and be thankful that we have a full life that we get to lead and don’t have to fight against an evil psychopath that wants to murder us.
Michael: Yeah, I think Rowling really drives that point home in a way that doesn’t beat you over the head. It’s a very thoughtful way of saying it’s important to live your life in a valuable way, to give your life meaning and not waste it away because there are people out there who may not have as long, and treasure every day. I really like, too, about this quote, how Harry is once again recognizing the ephemeral nature of the physical world. Everybody often points to “The Forest Again” as one of their favorite, most emotional chapters in Deathly Hallows. It’s a top favorite for a lot of people. I think even Rowling has said that it’s one of her favorite chapters, and it should be, for the writing. But the one that always gets me is actually the “Godric’s Hollow” chapter, specifically the end, when Harry and Hermione are standing at Lily and James’s grave. And Harry has, I think, a major epiphany in his learning curve about death in that chapter where he falls to pieces because he realizes that they are just bodies in the ground. And it’s such a striking moment. That’s another moment leading up to the whole series where he’s looking to have some kind of connection with his parents, and he gets as close as you can in the physical world to it. He goes to their gravestones, and it’s almost like he was expecting that they would come back to life if he went there. I think that’s kind of the unspoken thing about that chapter because Hermione really doesn’t want to go to Godric’s Hollow, and I think she understands why that might be a mistake, not only because of Voldemort, but because of what it could do to Harry. And Harry has that realization of “Oh. I got here. I got to my parents, and they are still dead.” And I think he’s having that realization here, the next part of that realization that who we are as human beings in life is amazing, but you leave that behind when you die.
Beth: Well, and this piece here, “It would all be gone, or at least he would be gone from it,” is really moving because he’s realizing that the whole world doesn’t stop when you die, just your world. And so the people around him are still going to have to finish fighting this war. They are going to mourn his death, they’re going to move on, and they’re going to keep living their lives without him.
Michael: That’s a pretty profound realization to have.
Katy: Definitely. And I think it also shows that he already believes in an afterlife full of those people that he loves from his experiences seeing them in the mirror, through the Priori Incantatem [spell], and talking to ghosts. And I’m wondering, would he have been able to march so bravely towards death without that knowledge? He has a leg up on regular human beings.
Katy: We don’t know what happens after we die, but he’s talked to people that have crossed over. So I think he at least believes there’s something to look forward to: that he’s going to see those people again. But if he had never had those experiences… I don’t know. Do you think that would have changed anything?
Michael: Ooh, that’s a big question.
Katy: Sorry, I forgot I had that question. [laughs]
Michael: No, it’s really good.
Sherry: It’s great.
Beth: I don’t know.
Michael: [laughs] That is a valid answer.
Beth: And I had never even thought of it that way. I was thinking about [how] this is a demonstration of [how] he feels like he has led a full life, and he doesn’t seem like he has a lot of regrets that he’s leaving behind. But I think you might be right, that he’s at least comforted by the fact that he has been able to communicate with people who have died, and so maybe there is something for him ahead of him. I don’t know. Man. Ugh!
Michael: This is interesting because this does enter the territory of Harry Potter as a religious parallel. So you’re basically saying, would Harry still have faith? Would he believe in what he can’t see? Because the thing is, even with all of these confirmations about some kind of existence after death, it’s been hammered home that the mirror, Priori Incantatem, and ghosts are not death. Like, proper [death]. They’re a shade of it, but they’re not the proper version, and really, you can’t connect with whatever is completely on the other end. So I do think you’re right that Harry has a slight leg up on that over us, but I think Rowling has also made sure to account for that and say, “Not entirely.”
Beth: Mhm. Harry has also experienced the veil; I think that was pretty clear that while Harry couldn’t communicate with the souls or whatever it was on the other side of the veil, they were there, and they were interacting with each other. At least that was the impression I got from that experience. And so maybe he’s not thinking about that directly in this moment, but that has sort of formed his worldview, having had that experience. And we know, just based on his reaction to the veil, that it was very striking.
Michael: I think that’s absolutely correct. The veil is another representation of faith, and we see that in how each of the characters react[s] to it. Because not everybody reacts positively to the veil when they hear it; not everybody can hear the same things from the veil in Order. And that makes me think of another popular children’s book, The Polar Express, which is also a parable about faith. Because Santa Claus is Jesus…
Michael: … is basically the idea at the end. For those of you who haven’t read The Polar Express, go read it. For goodness’ sake, what are you doing?
Michael: But the ending is the idea that the boy in the story can hear the sleigh bell, and that as he grows up, people in his life can’t hear it, but he still can. And I think that’s very equatable to this idea that Harry had an experience that gave him a sense of faith.
Sherry: I also think, as to whether Harry would have gone ahead and done this so… I don’t know what word I want. I was going to say confidently, but that’s not it.
Sherry: Yeah, so readily. Thank you. I think that even if he hadn’t had all these possibly supernatural experiences with people from the other side, he still would have gone forward and done what he had to do. Because he’s doing it for the living.
Katy: Yeah, that’s a really good point. That is a very good point.
Michael: I think, too, we have one of my favorite quotes from the series, and that’s all the way back in Sorcerer’s Stone. If you put all of these examples aside – the veil, Priori Incantatem, ghosts, the mirror – Dumbledore says from the start, “Death is but the next great adventure.” And this knowledge of… And there’s another series for you, listeners. If you haven’t read the full Series of Unfortunate Events, there’s a real on-the-nose parallel that Snicket uses about “the great unknown,” which is death, if you didn’t get it, by the way.
Michael: And I think there’s this element of how simultaneously frightening and fascinating that is to us as human beings. And Dumbledore has a heightened knowledge of that and passes that on to Harry when he’s 11, that difference between people like them and people like Voldemort.
Katy: That’s an excellent point. Thank you for bringing that quote back.
Michael: I love that quote. That’s one of my favorite quotes.
Katy: Oh, absolutely. I just have a tendency to hyper-focus on whatever chapter we’re currently reading…
Katy: … and everything else flies out of my brain. So thank you. [laughs]
Beth: Even from this chapter, Sherry pointed out the quote “His will to live had always been much stronger than his fear of death,” which… I don’t think Harry thinks about that quote from Dumbledore frequently, but I think that maybe it informed him more than he realized.
Michael: So can we talk about Colin [Creevey]? Because Katy wants to talk about Colin.
Katy: Aww! Only if you want me to start sobbing.
Michael: It’s inevitable. We’ve been talking about death all this time and coping with death, so let’s talk about Colin.
Katy: This might do it.
Michael: Let’s see how well we do.
Katy: [laughs] Yeah. These are actually not my words. I would like to thank Jaye Dozier, who was our guest on the last episode.
Katy: She made this comment two years ago on Episode 185 about this chapter and about Colin. And when I read it, it was just like, “Nailed [it]. Oh my God.”
Katy: So good, and I could not have said it any better. So I’m just going to read this and see if I can make it through. Okay.
“I think it’s actually really significant that Harry sees him right before he walks into the forest to meet Voldemort and sacrifice himself. Colin’s small body, ‘tiny in death,’ represents all that Harry is giving up his life for (indeed, what he has given his whole life to fight for already): the innocent and victimized whose lives have been significantly impacted or taken senselessly for one person’s lust for power. Here, Harry reminds me so much of someone willingly joining the military: by Harry putting his life on the line, others don’t have to lose theirs. By Harry walking willingly into the battle, others can have the chance to go on living. Harry walking past Colin’s body on the way to the forest perhaps gives him an even greater resolve to follow through with his plan. The Colin who adored him, who wanted nothing more than his autograph, the Colin who was joyfully overwhelmed with the magic of the wizarding world and all that went along with it – this person is so appropriate in this moment, because he is the epitome of innocence, naïveté, and purity (albeit in a sometimes annoying package). Colin’s death represents the worst effects of war (not only of death, but of children) and why it is necessary to fight evil.”
Katy: Yeah. All of that. I’m so sensitive to his death, and I’m not sure why. I cried already over Hedwig when I read this book; I had already cried over Dobby; probably Fred… but then Colin. And for some reason, it’s just such a short… They talk about him for three sentences and then they move on, but it just got me that this tiny kid came back because he believed so much in this cause. And he believed so much in Harry and admired Harry so much and wanted to be like him that he was willing to risk his life for this purpose. I get mad at Jo for killing him, but at the same time, with the reasons that Jaye just pointed out, I get it, in a sad, sad way.
Michael: I don’t think it’s coincidence that the other deaths you mentioned, Hedwig and Dobby… This trio of deaths are the senseless deaths of innocence. Hedwig represents a more metaphorical innocence of Harry’s innocence, and Dobby represents more of a… What’s the word I’m looking for? He is oppressed innocence. Colin was just innocent. He was just a kid. And Harry feels this same way about… I think the most equivalent death in the previous books was Cedric. And I hate to use this as a point to beat Cursed Child with, but this is why [with] Craig Bowker, Jr., who cares? I think this is exactly why that doesn’t work for me, personally, anyway. That death is trying to be this in the way that Jaye described it, but I think it’s missing these layers that Colin’s character has had built into him already. Because a lot of people tend to not discuss Colin’s death past saying, “Why?”
Katy: Which was my first reaction, and what I was going to type and then I was like, “Wait. There’s more to say than just ‘Why?'”
Michael: Fun fact, Colin’s death was the only death that was spoiled for me.
Michael: Because I woke up the next morning and my friends… This is after my crazy Harry Potter party. I had been reading almost all night. I stayed up all night cleaning up while my friends slept, and then I face-planted into my bed. And then probably late in the morning, around 11:00-ish, I got up and they were all sitting around the dining room table eating breakfast. And my friend Sarah-Louise, who just got married, felt the need to spoil that one for me, I think because she just needed to say it. So she just looked up at me as she was reading her book and she went, “Michael, Colin Creevey died!” And I was just, “No, Sarah-Louise!”
Michael: That was the only death that was spoiled for me in the whole book.
Sherry: Someone did that to me with Order of the Phoenix. I had barely started the book, and somebody emailed me and the subject line was “Sirius dies!”
Beth: That’s the worst.
Michael: Oh no.
Katy: Oh my goodness.
Sherry: I almost couldn’t go on.
Michael: Oh God. Spoilers, people. None of those, please and thank you.
Beth: Well, I’m a little bit bummed, too, that this was not in the movie. At MuggleNetLIVE, Sean Biggerstaff was talking about filming this scene. And the fact that he filmed it and it didn’t make it into the movie really bums me out.
Katy: Me too.
Michael: I’m very strongly inclined to suspect that it wasn’t Colin who died. It was probably Nigel in the movie.
Katy: Well, we hadn’t seen Colin in a while.
Michael: No. Funnily enough, despite [that] the actor who played Colin left the movies, he came back to voice and motion capture Colin for the fifth video game. So if you’re looking to see him again, he’s there. But yeah, I don’t think he returned for Deathly Hallows. I’m suspecting that because the audience got way more familiar with Nigel, and he was basically a Colin stand-in, he was probably used for that scene.
Beth: Well, and it wouldn’t have had the effect that it had in the books anyway because the movies really never explored that relationship with Colin past the “Hi, I have a camera and I’m super annoying! Oh, I have to be here because I’m important to the plot and otherwise I probably would have been cut.”
Michael: Okay, speaking of other characters who don’t get enough screen time, this one never gets enough screen time anywhere. Harry and Ginny. Can we just…?
Beth: No, I think they had plenty of screen time. It’s just that all their screen time was bad.
Michael: It sucks.
Michael: We’ve talked before about how even on the page some of the fandom feels that there is something lacking about Harry and Ginny. And as lovely as it is that Ginny is literally the last thing Harry thinks about before he dies, he specifically thinks about kissing her. I don’t know. For some reason, I am one of those people still who does not… That line just stops me and takes me out for a minute because I’m just like, “Oh yeah. Harry and Ginny kiss, I guess.”
Katy: Yeah, I’m with you there.
Michael: I don’t know. It makes sense narratively that Harry would think of Ginny because of course she’s the love of his life and he will be married to her once he gets through this ordeal and all that jazz. But I guess because we have spent more time with many, many other characters, that’s almost the only part of writing that I’m just like, “Mm. Okay. I’ll buy it because I have to.” But that part doesn’t really do anything for me. I don’t feel the beauty and almost the sensuality of that line that she wants me to have. And maybe that’s just me.
Katy: No, I don’t think it’s just you at all. They’ve been apart this entire book. Why do we care at this point?
Beth: I don’t know. I read it a little bit differently in that I think in that last moment he is just looking for a little bit of comfort and safety, and that being with Ginny and kissing Ginny is the icon in Harry’s brain of comfort and safety, so that’s immediately where his brain goes when he is scared in this last moment. And I think that’s really beautiful.
Sherry: I thought so too, Beth, actually. I really liked that moment, that thought that was his last thought. I liked it a lot.
Michael: I want to like it.
Katy: Help us like it. Please.
Michael: Forget their kisses in the movies. That ruins it.
Katy: They touch each other’s shoulders and that’s it.
Michael: Their kisses have no chemistry whatsoever in the films. But even then, I think a major kiss interaction in Hallows… It’s played off for laughs because Ron interrupts it. And Ron berates Harry for even kissing Ginny, because he’s like, “How dare you? You broke up with her.” And because we haven’t gotten to see a lot of those moments between the two of them, I feel like that moment where the two of them go off and talk in a locked room at the beginning is where she’s just like, “I’m going to try and get this somewhere and you get to see a little bit.” In a way, I almost find the piece of writing she did earlier in the book, that Rowling herself likes, the part where Harry is using the Marauder’s Map to watch Ginny…
Sherry: Oh, I love that.
Michael: That works better to me than this line, I guess.
Sherry: Yeah. I see that.
Michael: I do like the interaction – or lack thereof interaction – that he has with her the moment where… I really like that idea that he goes by and she senses him without seeing him.
Sherry: I like that too.
Michael: Yeah. That is deeply romantic, that idea that she knows he’s there, even though she can’t see him. Wow. Yeah. That I like. [laughs] Oh, here we go. “Another!” smash.
Beth: I was home over the weekend visiting my family and I referenced something about a Thor cup, and my mom was like, “What?” And my dad was like, “Ha, that’s funny.”
Katy: All Alohomora! listeners will always know that reference forevermore.
Sherry: That’s right.
Michael: I feel like Alohomora! listeners who have never even seen Thor get that reference now.
Sherry: I think one reason I like that scene, that last thought of Harry’s, is… I don’t know. Maybe I’m the only one. But from the very first book, when Harry noticed Ginny running after the train laughing and crying, I said to my friend, “At the end, they’re going to get married.”
Katy: No way.
Sherry: Right back then. And so I felt like having that right at the beginning of his adventures, and then when he thinks he’s dying having that be his last thought, just seemed like that circle closing for me.
Katy: That is nice.
Michael: You’re making it work, Sherry. You’ve come closer than anyone to making this work.
Sherry: Well, I think that’s why it works for me. Because I always saw them together from the very first scene with her in the books, of course.
Michael: That’s so nice. See, I hardcore shipped Harry and Cho Chang for quite a while, so there you go.
[Katy and Sherry laugh]
Katy: [blows raspberry] Sorry. That gets a raspberry from me. I have no love for Cho.
Michael: [laughs] Well, and there’s another character that Harry runs into that we haven’t talked about yet, and I know Sherry had a few things to say about Neville and his role in the story.
Sherry: Yeah, I really like that Harry speaks to Neville here at this part. He’s the only one he speaks to, and ostensibly, he’s telling him to make sure that somebody besides Ron and Hermione know. But for me, I found it very symbolic because either one of them could have been the prophecy boy. And Neville proved in this past year that he was equal to that task if it had fallen to him. And I think that this was a way of that circle closing too. Harry and Neville both bring about the end of Voldemort.
Beth: I love it so much.
Katy: Oh. That gave me chills. [laughs]
Michael: I really like it. That makes me recall, actually, in a weird way, Goblet of Fire, in that two characters are sharing a fate that they shouldn’t necessarily be sharing as dictated by a prophecy. Cedric wasn’t supposed to go to the graveyard, and he is literally called “the spare.” And the cup was not meant to be taken by two people. But that’s always what undoes Voldemort, that more than one person, more than Harry, is involved in this dance of fate. And I think that’s excellent to point out that, yeah, Neville could have been the prophecy focus, the Boy Who Lived. And in a way, Harry is handing off a little bit of that to him. Now they are both still fulfilling the prophecy.
Beth: Well, it’s so interesting, too, because Harry knows about the prophecy. And Harry also, I believe, knows that Neville could have been the subject of the prophecy and wasn’t.
Michael: Yes. He does.
Beth: But Neville doesn’t know any of that. And Neville is just fighting the fight just because it’s the right thing to do. And he doesn’t have any idea how close he came to that being his actual fate. Yeah.
Katy: And I love how Harry takes on the role of Dumbledore right here. It even says that. He must be like Dumbledore, keep a cool head, make sure there are backups, others to carry on. Just, oh my God. Harry, you’re killing me. But it’s so smart at the same time. Who else in the series with 30 minutes to live would have the forethought to [think], “Oh, I need to tell someone else to kill the snake, just in case”? I’m so impressed with Harry.
Michael: Well, technically, the only other person who did that in less time was Snape. [laughs] He did that.
Beth: He left it really to the last second.
Michael: There was a lot of chance in that one.
Katy: No kidding. But at least he was already planning.
Beth: I’m curious: After all of this is done, does Harry tell Neville about the prophecy and that Neville could have been the subject of the prophecy?
Michael: I think he lets it slip over dinner one night by accident.
Sherry: Yeah, I like that.
Michael: Where was that scene in Cursed Child? I don’t know. I feel like they’re almost… Especially after Neville has done what he’s done, I feel like Harry would almost feel he has the right to know that. It’s almost like the question you asked, Beth, about “Should Dumbledore have told Harry that he was a Horcrux?” It’s almost like there was a time to tell Neville this, and it was not before this moment because Neville would not have been able to handle that information in previous years, I don’t think. Now, we mentioned Snape, and I can’t help but bring up this quote because we had referenced it earlier. But on page 697, as Harry sees Ginny, the narration says,
“He wanted to be stopped, to be dragged back, to be sent home… But he was home. Hogwarts was the first and best home he had ever known. He and Voldemort and Snape, the abandoned boys, had all found home here…”
And we talked a little bit about how Harry is in his mind comparing himself to Voldemort, and in this instance, to Snape. What do you guys think the purpose is aside from not making Dumbledore look so crazy? Katy, you had a really great point.
Katy: I don’t know how great it is, but I had a point. He’s just found out the real story behind Snape, so he hasn’t had much time to process, but I feel like he’s already starting to forgive him, to pity him, [and] to understand him. But Voldemort, the person he is going to be killed by… He compares himself to him in this moment, and I also wonder, this close to his own death, is he finally able to be feeling pity for Voldemort, even if only a little bit?
Sherry: I think that started in Half-Blood Prince because I think he felt pity for Tom Riddle.
Beth: Well, and Dumbledore asks him that very question.
Katy: Of course he denies it, but yeah. I always got the feeling that he actually did, but he didn’t want to admit it.
Michael: Oh, he did. Yeah, he definitely did. And I think you’re right that to compare Voldemort in this way almost is favorable. So yeah. “We were all abandoned.” That’s a pretty big step. Because we know that in the next chapter, Dumbledore commends this ability of Harry’s to be so empathetic because Harry’s thought when he sees Voldemort’s broken soul is to help it. He’s repulsed by it, but he wants to help it. So I think that’s a great thing to point out, that “Hey, he understands the feeling a little bit here.” And Harry knows by the end that he needs to communicate that to Voldemort to give Voldemort his last shot.
Katy: Mhm. Interesting, too, that he’s still calling him Voldemort and not Tom.
Michael: I don’t think he’s to that place yet.
Katy: Yeah. At the end, definitely. I don’t know why it would have changed anything for me, but I just think it would have been interesting if he had called him Tom instead of Voldemort in this line. I don’t know.
Beth: I think there are other examples of abandoned people who have found Hogwarts to be home that Harry doesn’t reference here; Hagrid, specifically, but also people like McGonagall. She, now we know, has been abandoned in her life by choice and by circumstance and has found a home at Hogwarts. And so I think there are other people that are examples of this that Harry doesn’t mention here. And I also was just realizing here that Voldemort and Snape and Harry all also die at Hogwarts, which is crazy.
Katy: Oh my God!
Sherry: Wow! Wow.
Michael: I think one person I would add to that list, Beth, is actually Dumbledore.
Beth: I’ve thought about Dumbledore as well, and I don’t know. I think later on he, too, is abandoned.
Michael: Yeah. I think he considers Hogwarts a home in that way later in life. But he definitely runs from the life he had and feels disconnected from that life and finds a safe haven in Hogwarts. I’m sure if you prodded all the characters, they could probably tell you something similar on why they find Hogwarts to be a safe haven.
Beth: But I think all of those other people find somewhere else to be home as well, whereas this small group that we’ve been talking about really don’t have anywhere else. They have another place to go, but they don’t really have anywhere else that is truly home to them.
Michael: And to speak to your point earlier, Katy, about why he doesn’t refer to him as Tom here, I think the last thing Harry needs to understand about that is that, because he’s heard Dumbledore use Voldemort’s real name too… I think the way it’s framed is that Harry thinks Dumbledore is using it to belittle Tom. But I think he realizes that what he’s actually doing is trying to recall his humanity, which in a way is belittling to Voldemort because he hates humanity. He hates mortality. But I think that’s why Harry doesn’t call him [Tom]. Voldemort is still this grand, big, evil thing right now to Harry. He hasn’t been fully taken down from his pedestal of evil. He’s still magical. But with Harry’s final confrontation and with his discussion with Dumbledore, I think he certifies what he needs to know about Tom and that he’s not Voldemort. He’s not this big scary bogeyman; he’s just Tom, which is important about when he dies. But that’s further down the line; that’s not this chapter.
[Katy and Michael laugh]
Katy: One other thing I wanted to mention about this particular quote… The first part, “He wanted to be stopped, to be dragged back, to be sent home.” Who of us cannot relate to this when facing a hard decision?
Beth: Yes. Yes!
Sherry: Oh yeah.
Katy: Anything to take the responsibility away, anything to take the choice away, to make things easier on us. I’ve felt that so many times in my life, and I’m sure you all can relate.
Michael: Oh my gosh. Let’s go home right now. Just screw it. I’m tired of this, guys.
Katy: Just so poignant. I can’t say that word.
Michael: I can’t adult anymore.
Katy: Take it away. Just take it away.
Beth: Just yesterday, I was buying new tires, and I was having a hard choice over which ones to get. And finally I said to my boyfriend, “Just choose. Just remove this decision from my responsibility.”
[Katy and Michael laugh]
Katy: I love it.
Beth: And I’ve definitely felt that much stronger and in much more meaningful points of my life than buying tires.
[Beth and Katy laugh]
Michael: But tires… my God, I relate to that decision. Now, before we move into the Resurrection Stone and start getting to the end here, I do have to mention the two characters who are mentioned a lot but actually don’t appear, shockingly, in this chapter – and with reason – Ron and Hermione. And I bring them up really only because the film makes a drastic change to this. And I think it’s fascinating what the film chooses to do, and I want to hear you guys’ thoughts because I have really impassioned thoughts about the film versus the book.
Katy: Ooh. I look forward to hearing your impassioned thoughts.
Michael: What do you guys think? It’s funny because everybody is just like, “Oh my God, Harry and Hermione’s dance in Part 1,” and I’m just like, “No, no, no. Let’s talk about this.”
Beth: It’s incredibly acted.
Katy: Yes! Oh my God.
Michael: Yeah. It is.
Sherry: Remind me. What did they…? I just watched the movie a few months ago, but I already forgot.
Michael: So this is the moment when… Of course, in the book, as we know, Harry never interacts with Ron and Hermione on his way down. But in the movie, he comes down from the Pensieve and he sees them on the staircase. He, in so many words, tells them without saying what he needs to do. Hermione seems to be way more on the up and up than Ron is, and she says she’ll go with him. And Katy put that here, but watching Emma Watson cry just makes me want to cry. [laughs]
Beth: I know. I can’t… I melt every time in that scene.
Michael: Her voice… She just cries really, really well.
Beth and Sherry: Yes, she does.
Michael: And that line… It’s almost like… Because the interesting thing about the addition is there isn’t a lot of dialogue. Ron has no dialogue.
Beth: Well, and that has always made me a little upset.
Michael: Me too.
Beth: And I guess it’s probably because Ron is so in shock that he can’t really figure out something to say, but Ron doesn’t really even say goodbye to Harry. He just stands there.
Katy: Yeah, just gives him a look.
Michael: “I get you, bro.”
Sherry: But isn’t that what the movie makers always do with Ron, though?
Beth: Yes, it is very true.
Sherry: Bone of contention for me.
Michael: No, yeah. And I think the big failing on that is that it falls into the very stereotypical movie thing of “The girl is being emotional and the boys are holding it together” because it’s almost like… The way that Rupert acts it is you can almost see that he wants to do something, but he doesn’t know what to do.
Beth: Yeah, he looks like he’s on the verge of tears.
Michael: Yes. Which is funny, because if you watch… The thing I would’ve liked to have seen is… if you’ve ever seen the behind-the-scenes footage of their last day of filming…
Beth: Yes! Oh my God! I’m sorry to shout, but yes.
[Beth and Michael laugh]
Michael: No, no. I feel that same passion. That moment with the three of them…
Beth: His face…
Michael: … all three of them huddled together and they completely break down.
Beth: He closes his eyes and the look on his face in that moment gets me pretty strongly.
Michael: Yeah. It’s really powerful just to watch that moment, more so than the movie.
Sherry: I have to find that.
[Katy and Sherry laugh]
Michael: I feel like that’s just a very Hollywood failing to not have Ron and Harry interact. They just give each other eye contact of like, “Yeah, I got you, bro. I get you. Go and die. Cool.”
[Katy and Sherry laugh]
Beth: I think, though, from a cinematic perspective, that the way the book is written… I mean, I love the way the book is written, and if given the choice, every time I would choose the book way. But I can see that that would struggle to translate onscreen and that the emotional impact of this chapter onscreen would not have come across. And so I’ve never been upset that they went this direction. It’s so beautifully acted, particularly by Emma, that I accept it.
Katy: And I love when Harry says something like, speaking to Hermione, “I think you’ve known for a while.”
Michael: [as Harry] “Because you’re on the up and up, Hermione.”
[Katy and Michael laugh]
Katy: But it’s so accurate. I could totally see that, which I don’t think is in the book at all, but it makes perfect sense. So yeah, I’m not mad at that scene at all. And Hermione’s “I’ll go with you” and hugging and crying, every time I’m just like… [wails]
Beth: Well, and that line of “I think you’ve known for a while,” I think is actually Harry saying, “I’ve known for a while.” And he may not have recognized it until now, but he has known that it would probably come to this.
Michael: Well, yeah, that’s interesting, Beth. Because you voiced at the beginning of the discussion that that’s something that’s never said in the narration directly, but something that seems to be implied through Harry’s realization. But in the movie, he does say it. And I can’t recall perfectly verbatim, but I do think he says to Hermione something like, “I think you’ve known for a while. I think I’ve known for a while too.”
Katy: Yeah, I think you’re right.
Michael: That’s pretty well-written shorthand to get across what the book is trying to get across with dialogue, because movies have dialogue because movies have sound, so that’s how movies work.
Sherry: Do you feel it takes away from the impact of the Resurrection Stone by having Ron and Hermione in the scene earlier?
Michael: Oddly enough, I don’t. The interesting thing is I was trying to think of anything that I can compare this addition with Ron and Hermione to, and funnily enough, for those of you who know… and I no longer know the current stuff because I dropped midway through [Doctor] Eleven, but if you watched Doctor Who and you specifically watch the end of [David] Tennant’s run… [laughs]
Michael: Tennant’s goodbye is essentially this additional scene.
Katy: “I don’t want to go!” Ugh.
Michael: Yeah. He goes and he makes eye contact with the people who have meant something to him, and if he doesn’t, he at least sees them. And that’s what they did here, right? I feel like movie-wise it doesn’t detract. Because Ron and Hermione are so important to the story, and if you’re talking movie visuals and movie presence, these characters have to be present again in this span of time or you risk losing their purpose in the movie.
Beth: Well, and in the narration of this chapter, Harry thinks about them and is glad that he doesn’t see them because he knows that it would just be too emotional for him to see them because they are so important to him. And we would not have gotten that bit in the movie. And so if we hadn’t seen them, it would’ve just been like he’d forgotten about them, which I think is really the wrong way to go. He definitely didn’t forget about them. He intentionally didn’t want to see them because he knew he couldn’t handle it. And I just don’t think there’s a way to translate that to the movie without a narrator.
Michael: No, because the only other way I think visually it could be done is for Harry to pass by them and see them but not interact with them. But I don’t think that would work in the movies. Because Ron and Hermione have such a strong presence that they’ve asserted in the films, I think that would have been a mistake not to have them interact with Harry, especially because the movies put so much on… For all we gripe and groan about the movies, Dan, Emma, and Rupert had everything on their shoulders by Part 1 and Part 2, and they carry it really, really well with what they’re given. So I think to not have that would be to just be like, “Well, what were we doing with these characters? Why would we waste these wonderful characters and actors by not having the moment that they need to have?” If anything, I think it makes the movie more rewarding rather than less. And I don’t think it takes away from the Resurrection Stone scene because that scene is also really well done in the movie, which leads perfectly into our discussion about the Resurrection Stone. Yay!
Katy: Squee. I want Sherry to take this one away because she’s got some amazing insight here.
Sherry: Well, okay. This book came out… Was it 2007 it came out?
Beth and Michael: Yes.
Sherry: All right. So that was ten years after my dad died. And just for a little Harry Potter history, Prisoner of Azkaban came out two years after my dad died, and so there’s some reason why I really wanted Harry to have Sirius as a paternal figure. So you understand about my dad. I was born with something called turbinal rheumatoid arthritis, which did a lot of things, but it damaged my optic nerve, which caused my blindness. When my dad and my biological mother split up, my mother did not want to raise me. My father, however, wanted to raise me, and even some of his siblings said, “Maybe you should give her up or put her in a special home.” I was born in 1957, so you can think that was not a time of enlightenment. And my dad would not do that. And he taught me to be confident and strong and to believe in myself, and he taught me that there was nothing that I could not do except drive or fly a plane.
Sherry: I’m still hoping to drive before I die. Anyway, my dad was very flawed. He married five times before he died at age 57. He was not a perfect man, but he was my hero. He was also a firefighter until I was 11, so he was doubly a hero. So I had less love and admiration for Lily than I did for the father figures in the story because my father figure saved me [and] gave me a life I wouldn’t have had if my mother had raised me. So when the Resurrection Stone scene comes up and Harry is surrounded by these four really special people in his life, I was bawling my head off, first of all. And I was thinking how much I know the dangers of the Resurrection Stone. I’ve read the book. But I was thinking how much I would give for just one minute with that Stone to say “I miss you and I love you and thank you for everything you gave me.” So this scene just really speaks to my heart in big ways, and I think especially because of the time. In 2007, I still couldn’t even talk about my dad. I could have never said all this back then, so it’s a really meaningful scene for me. For Harry and what it means to him, but also it just really touched me very deeply.
Katy: Thank you so much for sharing that.
Michael: Good job, Sherry. You made me cry.
Sherry: Oh, I’m sorry.
Michael: I read this chapter twice and I did not cry, but this made me cry. Good job.
Sherry: I made myself cry, too, so there you go.
Michael: No, no. I think what’s super valuable to hear about that, Sherry, is it’s important to remember that we all have different things that we connect to in Harry Potter and why. Because I think people are quick to jump to criticize or… this is not to say even just outside the fandom, but inside the fandom, to criticize aspects of the novels and to ask why Rowling did this or did that or “I wasn’t interested in this part,” or “This part doesn’t connect for me.” But even though we all connect to this series and enjoy it and share it together, we all have individual reasons for why pieces and parts mean something to us, which is why I love having different listeners every other week. I think that’s the important thing to remember in critical discussion about Harry Potter, that it’s not just, “Well, I wanted it to be this way, and I didn’t get my way, so I don’t like it.”
[Michael and Sherry laugh]
Katy: It’s all about perspective.
Michael: Yes. And that’s what makes these discussions about Harry Potter critical and thoughtful. Goodness, we’ve had 20 years to gripe and moan about things we don’t like. And we can still do that and that’s fine, and it brings us enjoyment every once in a while to go, “Angst, angst, angst,” because it’s funny.
Michael: But then when you get down to it… I really love the idea that you’re discussing here about the connection that Harry has with his father figures and how that touched you personally, because by this point I think a lot of the fandom had dismissed James and turned against him because of Order of the Phoenix, which Rowling herself in the writing tried to remedy and was just like, “No, no, no. He’s still a person worth admiring. He just has faults like literally everybody in this series except Lily, who was perfect for reasons.”
Sherry: The sainted Lily.
Michael: Saint Lily, yes. So it’s refreshing to hear somebody talk about the impact of Harry’s father being in that moment because funnily enough, I think a lot of us dismiss James in this scene. But hey, he has way more lines than Lily does in this scene. He has more to say. And there we go with that callback to Goblet of Fire; fascinating, with what happened with the wand order swap. Because I don’t have a later print where the swap happened.
Beth: [gasps] Whoa.
Michael: I have the early print, the original before the swap. And I prefer that version. But I like the idea of the swap, too, because the swap actually gives James more weight in the moment. And I don’t mind that, actually. Stop being so hard on James, you guys.
Sherry: The audiobook has the mistake too. It’s never been re-recorded.
Michael: I figured it wouldn’t be, either.
Beth: I don’t think I have noticed that. That’s interesting.
Michael: About the swap?
Beth: I don’t think I’d noticed that the audiobook was never corrected.
Michael: Oh yeah. They’d probably have to pay Jim Dale way too much money to come back and fix that.
Beth: I’ve just listened to the audiobook a lot, so I would’ve thought I would’ve noticed, but I never have before.
Katy: Yeah, same here. Although I listen to the Stephen Fry versions, so I don’t know if it’s different or not. Probably not.
Michael: Probably not, because they recorded it at the same time. Now, with these figures in mind, though – and Sherry asked this question, too – this brought up a lot of questions from 185, so much so that it was the Podcast Question for that episode: What the hell are these guys?
[Katy and Michael laugh]
Michael: And we’ve referenced this already; we’ve had things that are close to this with the Mirror of Erised, [Tom] Riddle’s Horcrux, the ghosts, and Priori Incantatem. Are these beings any of these things? Harry says the closest they come to is the diary Horcrux, but are these even any of those things? Are they even real? Eric really pushed in 185 that they are not real, and these are embodiments of Harry’s thoughts.
Katy: I disagree, Eric Scull.
[Katy and Michael laugh]
Michael: [laughs] She’s got quotes.
Katy: First of all… I got a quote. I’m backing mine up with science!
Michael: Science works.
Katy: Whatever. With proof.
“He closed his eyes and turned the stone over in his hand three times. He knew it had happened, because he heard slight movements around him that suggested frail bodies shifting their footing on the earthy, twig-strewn ground that marked the outer edge of the forest.”
So they make sound. Maybe not a lot, but they actually physically interact with the world around them. So that differentiates them from most of the other examples. Horcrux-memory Tom could touch Harry and Ginny, etc., so that’s the closest [thing] that we have as an example. But these are obviously not Horcrux memories or evil Dark magic. Personally, to me, I think these are them. They have temporarily been pulled from the afterlife to interact with Harry in his moment of need. And also, Sirius and Remus show up as a younger form of themselves before Harry knew them. Those are my proofs that I use as proof. [laughs] Obviously, it’s not proof; everybody could have their own interpretation.
Beth: I thought Remus [appeared] as a more current version of himself.
Michael: He’s younger, but he’s not as young as Sirius, and he’s not shabby. He’s basically Remus without the werewolf [curse].
Beth: Oh, you’re totally right. “Lupin was younger too, and much less shabby, and his hair was thicker and darker.”
Katy: So to me, they’re more real than any of these other apparition-types that we’ve been exposed to earlier in the series. I’ve seen some comments from people on Episode 185 trying to compare it to what they think the afterlife is. And in fiction, the afterlife can be whatever the author wants it to be. We’ve got to take our own expectations out of the equation for a minute and look at the proof she’s given us or the quotes that she’s given us that sway us one way or the other as to what these are. And to me, I think she’s leaning more toward [that] this is actually them, just as I think she’s leaning more toward [that] Dumbledore is Dumbledore in King’s Cross. I know not everyone agrees with that, but that’s just my interpretation. So go. What do y’all think? [laughs]
Michael: I’m going to use this opportunity to… I haven’t referenced this movie for a while, and actually, through referencing it constantly, I have had listeners tell me they watched it and really liked it or that they have seen it and they love it. Go watch Contact. [laughs]
Sherry: I love that movie.
Michael: I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it, but the ending of Contact speaks to exactly what you’re talking about, and [there] is actually a huge point of contention about that movie and why people don’t like it. It’s why I love it. And the way that death is addressed in that is very similar to this. Very, very similar. It’s almost borderline the same thing, actually. But yeah, like what you’re saying, Katy, what Rowling is doing is beautiful. It’s not new, though. But it is her interpretation of how this works in her world, and I think how… This is inevitably what we’ve been leading up to. As I said, this was an obvious end goal. So I’m inclined to think that yes, they are the actual figures because I feel like there’s a stronger argument that Dumbledore is Harry’s subconscious in the next chapter than these figures are.
Katy: Yeah, I would agree with that.
Michael: Because they’re not just saying things he knows. They’re saying things that he needs to hear that he can’t give himself.
Beth: And I hesitate to use this as evidence, but I think Dumbledore seeking the Resurrection Stone so strongly points to the fact that they are real. And I can’t prove that he knew exactly how the Resurrection Stone worked and all of that, but I think he knew that it would actually be them, and that’s what drew him to the Resurrection Stone. And I don’t think he would have been as drawn to the Resurrection Stone if they were just in his head, because he’s got the Pensieve, and he’s already in his head way too much. He had the opportunity of the Mirror of Erised being at Hogwarts in the first book, and so I think he’s already had those experiences of the versions of them in his head. And I think that he still is longing to see them for real, and that’s why he’s so in pursuit of the Resurrection Stone.
Katy: That’s a very good point.
Sherry: Yeah, that makes sense. I always thought they were real. Some version of real.
Beth: Right. That’s not fully corporeal, but…
Michael: What I was going to say to that point is… What I will give it in terms of not… I’m wondering if this is potentially where Eric’s frustrations come from, and from people who don’t see them as figures, and I think Rowling does this intentionally. The stone does not work exactly as it is said to work in “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” and I don’t think any of the Hallows are meant to work exactly like they work in the story. Because she clarifies that more… You have the benefit farther down the line with the publication of Tales of Beedle the Bard because she clarifies through Dumbledore that Dumbledore – and Harry, I think, hints at it, too, in the book – has this belief that these objects were not necessarily exactly from the story. And I think Rowling said in interviews as well that these objects were probably crafted by the three [Peverell] brothers and not by Death itself. So they still conform to rules of magic, just very advanced, slightly more unknown rules. So the Resurrection Stone… I think the movie does it pretty good. Because that’s an interesting aspect that the movie brings in that the book does not, that Harry tries to touch Lily and he can’t.
Katy: Yeah. That is interesting that they make that choice.
Michael: But the thing is, it’s not terribly distanced from the book because Harry doesn’t try to make physical contact with any of them in the book.
Beth: Yeah, it feels right. That didn’t feel out of left field in the movie.
Michael: No. The movie communicates what this scene communicates in the book, that Harry is not calling them back to the living world. He did not raise the dead because, as has been long established in the books, you cannot truly raise the dead. The Resurrection Stone does the closest thing you can. I think it’s brought some kind of… Ooh! Another movie connection.
Michael: [The stone] is also the ending to A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Have you seen that movie?
Katy: Oh, it’s been a while since I’ve seen that movie.
Michael: Ah, spoiler tag for those of you who haven’t seen it, and I’m going to spoil it for you guys right now.
Michael: Sorry, but it’s important for the discussion. Well, I can hide a little bit. A character is brought back at the very end who has a lot of meaning to the main character, and they are brought back in a very sci-fi way, but it’s not too terribly distant. The idea is that they can bring this character back for a day because they have a physical piece of this character – a piece of hair – and they’re able to bring this character back for a day so they can spend time together. And the character isn’t truly alive and the character has most of their memories, but only select ones and valuable ones. But the idea is that they are able to pull their energy from the universe to bring them back, and they have enough physical connections to do that. And I think here the physical connection is the stone and whatever powers the stone has. That’s how I pictured it. It’s bringing back their energy, but it didn’t bring them back to life. They’re dead.
Beth: You know the scientific concept that matter cannot be created or destroyed? When you die, the matter that was your body goes and becomes other things. If you draw on that and put a magical spin on it, I can see how this could work.
Michael: Yeah. I don’t think that’s too distant from what Rowling is actually trying to work with here.
Beth: We’re all just stardust, guys.
Michael and Sherry: Yes.
Katy: I love it.
Michael: Neil deGrasse Tyson, thank you.
[Katy and Sherry laugh]
Michael: Since we were getting into the religious stuff and the faith stuff, I think that gets into this last point. Harry dies, so that’s a big deal.
Katy: Just a little. Just a tiny, tiny deal. Yeah, he’s definitely a Christ figure in this book. It’s pretty obvious. He dies, he comes back to life, [and] he dies for the greater good. He doesn’t just die; he’s dying for a purpose, and he submits himself to death. He lets himself be captured, so to speak. So there [are] a couple of things from the Bible that are very appropriate here. One verse, John 15:13, is “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” So there you go. That’s Harry Potter. And he’s the epitome of love in this series, so there’s that. And also, I’ve got a quote here. This is also from a couple of years ago from Episode 185, from SistahSlytherin, and they say,
“This chapter reminds me of Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before being apprehended by Judas Iscariot and carted away to his crucifixion. Harry is using the time to reflect on what he now knows and that he must die to help the rest of the wizarding world from Voldemort.”
So I was like, “Oh, yeah, that!” Oh my God.
Michael: Katy, I know you’ve talked before about your past life, basically, but I have to say, I’m very grateful that these useful literary comparisons have come out of that. Because obviously, being Jewish, I know nothing about New Testament. That’s not really my area of expertise. But I do love that you’re able to actually pull out these direct quotes and references, because honestly, as you were reading through SistahSlytherin’s comment, I was just like, “I don’t know how to pronounce half these words.”
Beth: I have the same problem.
Katy: Yay. My childhood was good for something.
Michael: This is very valuable, though, because I think that’s something that’s always been a little like why I can enjoy Harry Potter in this way, perhaps in some ways more than I can enjoy something like Narnia. Because Harry is open-ended enough that the religious parallel is “Take it or leave it,” I feel. Narnia‘s is not. Narnia‘s is “Take it or you don’t understand what’s going on.” But it’s really nice, I think, for those of us who may not be as knowledgeable about the Bible and its contents to be able to see. Because we know that even though I think Rowling… She has basically said in interviews past that while she was raised with religious faith, she struggles with that faith and that she back-and-forths about her feelings on that. But regardless of that, it definitely informed her writing, so it’s very useful for me to be able to see where exactly those parallels are. So thank you for finding these.
Katy: And actually, I was just thinking about the whole Jesus praying in the garden. Because I actually went and reminded myself of that story – because it’s been a while for me too – earlier today. And he’s praying, not necessarily to… Well, I’d have to read it again. Maybe he actually does ask God to take this burden away from him at some point. I think perhaps he does.
Sherry: He does.
Katy: Okay. Thank you. I thought he did.
Sherry: He says, “Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, your will, not mine,” basically is what he says.
Katy: Precisely. Thank you. See? We’ve got two people here who know a little at least. She’s filling in my place. That’s awesome.
[Michael and Sherry laugh]
Katy: But also during this, which is what Harry is doing, he’s like, “Somebody please drag me away. Please take this burden away from me.” But he’s also strong enough to go through with it, just as Jesus was. But also, while he’s praying, Jesus keeps going back to his Apostles, whom he has asked to stay up praying with him. And he goes back three times, and they’re asleep. He keeps having to wake them up and say, “Hey, guys. Pray with me.” So the whole three thing again, and with the Resurrection Stone having to turn it three times, that again was like, “Oh my God.”
Michael: Well, and then we have three very important objects in this. This is the only time that they’re together, so… dang.
Beth: I had an interesting experience over the summer. My boyfriend has some extremely religious family members, and trying to be friendly with his family, I’m always looking for ways to bridge that gap and have them like me.
Beth: And so I was talking to one of his family members about Harry Potter, and she started to talk about how at first she wasn’t going to let her kids read it because of the whole witchcraft thing. And I was like, “Oh no, this conversation is not going well.” And then we got on the topic of Harry as a Christ figure, and that she had recognized that even back before Deathly Hallows and found that to be a much stronger influence than the witchcraft thing. And that was a driving factor for allowing her kids to read the books. So I just thought that was interesting.
Michael: And I think that’s a major evolution that’s happened with that view toward Harry Potter over the years. We have podcasts out there that are specifically about Harry Potter and its relationship with religion, and I know that many religious figures have actually referenced Harry Potter to further connect with their congregations. They’ve used passages from Harry Potter in sermons.
Katy: That’s amazing to me. That just blew my mind.
Michael: Well, you could easily do it. The “Godric’s Hollow” chapter literally has quotes from the Bible in it, so it’s there. I think there’s a little more nuance and a little less “beat you over the head” that somehow makes it more digestible than Narnia for that. And there’s something more satisfying, perhaps, about the character arcs than Narnia‘s character arcs that makes that work. I don’t know.
Beth: Well, and I find that it’s really easy to fit it in with your personal beliefs. It’s broad enough that you can translate that to what you believe. And it can also inform what you believe, but it isn’t so prescriptive that it only works for a specific religion or a specific belief.
Sherry: I have really, really good friends who are very devout Christians, and they’ve all read Harry Potter and loved it. And while the books were being written, in fact, one of their sons who hated reading… He’s one of those kids you hear about all the time that came to love reading because of the books. And I asked her one time if she had any concerns about the magic and the witchcraft, and she said no. If she’d had concerns about that she wouldn’t let her kids read Narnia or watch The Wizard of Oz.
Katy: Good point.
Michael: Well, and you’ve got an excellent list here, Katy, of other characters who perform this self-sacrifice. The worthwhile thing, especially, about pointing this out is that if you haven’t noticed, listeners, the Christ allegory is in everything.
Sherry: Yes, it is.
Katy: These are just a few examples.
Michael: It makes a pretty good yarn. Somebody figured out that that’s a popular story and then they put it in everything.
[Katy and Michael laugh]
Katy: So yeah, this is going to be very pigeon-holed into the things I’ve been exposed to, which is a lot of sci-fi.
Michael: I was going to say, not only is this a lot of sci-fi, but I’m seeing a lot of ’80s here too. I wonder why that is.
Katy: I can’t imagine why. Now, Sherry helped me with one of these while we were conversing over email about how much we both love Star Trek.
Katy: Woo! So I put these in order of when they came out. So the most recent that I know of was Tris in the Divergent series, if any of you have read those books.
Katy: Have you read them and you hated them?
Michael: I read the first half of the first one and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I have thoughts about that, but this isn’t a Divergent podcast. We don’t have time for these things. [laughs]
Katy: I just want to say really quickly [that] in that one, I was shocked and impressed that the author had the cajones to kill off the main character in the end.
Michael: That was a pretty big one.
Katy: Because Harry dies, but he comes back. Tris does not come back. And I’m like, “Wow, that was a bold decision.” And I think she lost a lot of fans over that. Some people just could not wrap their head around how you could possibly kill off the main character. That’s just not done. But I thought it was actually really bold and awesome, and yeah, she definitely sacrificed herself for the civilization to continue. There [are] some sci-fi examples here. We’ve got George Samuel Kirk, so James T.’s father, in the 2009 Star Trek film.
Michael: Hey. Chris Hemsworth. “Another!” smash.
Katy: And Sherry, this is the one you reminded me of, so remind me how he sacrifices himself? I know it’s at the beginning.
Sherry: Because it’s this alternate timeline, this Romulan leader has come back from a wormhole or something, and he’s going to attack the Kelvin. George Kirk was the first officer; he wasn’t even the captain. And the captain went over to the Romulan ship and was attacked. And in the end, the only way to save his crew and his wife and newborn son, James T. Kirk, was for him to send all the shuttles away, and for him to actually start the self-destruct sequence for the Kelvin and run his ship into the Romulan ship.
Beth: Yeah. That’s an incredible opening sequence.
Michael: One of the things that saves the newer Star Trek movies.
Beth: I agree.
Michael: The first new Star Trek movie was actually not that bad. I liked it.
Beth: Yeah, it was pretty good.
Sherry: Yeah. It was good.
Katy: Then we’ve also got Jean Grey in X2: X-Men United. She holds back the water for everyone to escape and is killed in the process.
Michael: Poor Jean Grey.
Katy: She comes back, too, in a weird way. I don’t like that sequel.
Michael: I know. Nope. Should’ve stopped that sequel.
Beth: Nobody dies permanently in comic books. Permanent deaths just aren’t a thing in comic books, except for Uncle Ben.
Katy: Yeah. You’re right.
Beth: [laughs] You can’t bring back Uncle Ben, but everybody else can come back.
Michael: Well, that brings up a good point, and some of these characters bring up this point. That’s a point that’s brought up about this chapter. Eric mentioned on the original episode that this is maybe why he had other challenges with this chapter. We have this question down here too. Did you guys think Harry was really dead? Did you think he was dead-dead?
Beth and Sherry: No.
Michael: Because I did not.
Sherry: I did not either.
Katy: I don’t think I did either. I honestly don’t remember, but I don’t think I did.
Michael: I think reading it now, we are enlightened enough to know that that’s not really what’s important anyway. But I guess when you’re first reading it, and the [situation] has been “Neither can live while the other survives,” the question is, “Is Harry dead?” And I think by this point, for most readers, the tension of that question was already gone. It’s more the feeling that Harry knows he’s going toward death. And regardless of whether he’s going to be dead or not, he is scared of the fact that death might hurt. He brings that up twice in the chapter about the pain of death. I think that’s the more valuable piece than it is so much “Will Harry be dead or not?”
Katy: Yeah, because like we were already saying, he’s already a Christ figure, so we already had that expectation. And then [in] all these examples in media that we’ve seen, most characters come back. There [are] a few that don’t, but most of the time…
Michael and Sherry: Most of the time…
Katy: Yeah. Love the Star Treks. So we’ve got Spock in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, who…
Michael: Yeah, he’s fine.
Katy: That scene kills me, but I love that movie so much. And we got one of the greatest quotes of all time: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”
Michael: Sounds familiar.
Sherry: But the contrast to that in the next movie [is] when Kirk says that the needs of the the one outweigh the needs of the many.
Katy: Oh yeah. Oh my gosh. I need to go watch those again.
Michael: Kirk is great.
Katy: And then in the new Star Trek – well, the second new one, Into Darkness – they flip it, and Kirk does what Spock did in the original Star Trek II, which I just love so much. But both of them come back.
Michael: See, and that one bothered me a lot because that had the classic J.J. Abrams weird “come back from death potion” thing. He has that in a lot of his stuff. It’s usually the thing that undercuts any J.J. Abrams movies. He’s like, “Eh, it’s fine. They’ll come back.” You have that immediately in Into Darkness. Into Darkness had so much potential to be a really clever flip flop, and what would have been – like you were saying – super ballsy about Divergent, is if they had actually killed Kirk. That would have been like, “Whoa.”
Katy: I can’t even imagine the outrage.
Michael: It’s fine. People would live. They’ll get over it.
[Katy and Sherry laugh]
Michael: Fans don’t know what’s good for them. And I say that with so much love and affection. [laughs]
Sherry: Actually, while we were talking, I thought of another one. I don’t know. Have any of you heard of or read the Gateway Chronicles series by K.B. Hoyle?
Katy and Michael: No.
Sherry: Well, you should.
Sherry: They’re magical and wonderful. They’re probably a little older age group than Harry Potter, originally, but they’re about six friends who meet at a family camp every summer in Michigan, and they go through a gateway into another land, where they have to save the world from this evil shadow. And they all have a prophesied role to play. And the main character – the girl named Darcy Pennington – part of her prophesied role is that she is “twice wed, twice dead, twice stained red.” And she does have to sacrifice herself for this land. And it’s interesting because it’s a girl, because it’s almost always boys or men doing this. So I liked it because it was a girl. And she starts off as being not a really pleasant girl. She’s 13 in the first book, and she’s 13; she’s shy and she’s awkward and she’s uncomfortable with these new kids that she’s never met before and feels like she doesn’t fit in. And then she ends up being their leader and making this huge sacrifice.
Katy: That sounds awesome.
Sherry: They’re great books. The Gateway Chronicles.
Katy: I’ll check those out.
Michael: All this media that we’re going through, and especially these ones, Katy, that you’re citing too… And there [are] some that are flooding to my mind as we discuss. I feel like this idea of this grandiose sacrifice and this self-realization to be able to make these sacrifices is… This universal nature of the Christ sacrificial story is really appealing, and it’s something that seems to be really appealing in these fandom communities that we have, like Harry Potter, like Star Trek, like Star Wars, like Doctor Who. These things happen in all of these series.
Sherry: Lord of the Rings too.
Michael: Lord of the Rings. I was just looking to my right at my pile of Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki films, and I was like, “Ooh. Lots of characters throw themselves on the fire in those movies.” It happens in Disney movies. Characters, especially parents, die a lot. [laughs]
Katy: Oh God, you’re making me think of Bambi.
Michael: You know the week where we were talking about how we cry every time we watch Emma Watson cry? Beauty and the Beast is the same thing. The Beast dies and he comes back to life, and you know that’s inevitably going to happen, but there’s something so emotional about the scene. Personally, for me, not so much in the remake. The remake is great, but the death scene… eh. But holy moly, the original animated version – not withstanding that the animation is gorgeous – there is just something so well-acted in that scene and so well-written and so well done with… You know he’s going to some back to life because it’s a Disney movie, but there’s still something that works really well about that sacrifice in that scene. Yeah, and you even had a Disney movie in here. You have Tron in here. [laughs] Tron: Legacy.
Katy: I do. Kevin Flynn, yeah. He absorbs clues so that his son and the ISO can get away. I always hoped they would make a sequel to that, but I guess they’re not going to at this point.
Michael: Tron is a super Christ allegory. Tron has lots of Christ allegory imagery. That’s an intentional thing in Tron from what I heard.
Katy: I never really thought about it.
Michael: Tron: Legacy, by the way, is my greatest guilty pleasure of all time.
[Beth, Katy, and Sherry laugh]
Katy: It is so good.
Michael: It’s so good. It’s so bad in so many ways, but it’s one of those movies where I will sit down and be like, “I don’t care. It’s pretty.”
[Katy and Sherry laugh]
Michael: “It’s pretty and I’m engaged for some reason.”
Michael: Dang it, Tron. [laughs]
Katy: And I’ve got to give a shout-out to my favorite Star Trek character, Data, who sacrifices his poor self in Star Trek: Nemesis.
Michael: Oh, Data.
Katy: Love Data. B-4 will never live up to you.
[Katy, Michael, and Sherry laugh]
Beth: I don’t want to put any major spoilers out there because I know Discovery is so new, but Discovery turns this idea on its head.
Katy: I’m not listening, I’m not listening… Oh, okay.
Beth: Yeah. You haven’t seen it yet. Stay tuned.
Michael: Discovery is turning a lot of things on its head.
Beth: Yes, it is. [laughs]
Michael: In the best way. I love Discovery.
Beth: Star Trek podcast after this.
[Beth, Katy, and Michael laugh]
Michael: Well, I think this all leads up to a really big question that I think is a great question to end on, which looks like it came from something that MuggleNet produced, actually.
Katy: It is. “Should Harry have died?”
[Katy and Michael laugh]
Katy: I was really hoping you had a strong feeling about this and were going to explain it.
[Katy and Sherry laugh]
Michael: No, I don’t.
Michael: No, I actually think this quote from the book you cited is pretty much my feeling on it. It’s correct.
Katy: Well, go ahead and give it a read.
Michael: Oh, me? Well, Katy found this quote; it was from MuggleNet.com’s book, Harry Potter Should Have Died, which I now just remembered I gave out as a prize at one of my Harry Potter parties. My friend Michelle got this book, I think.
Katy: I had forgotten I had it.
Michael: I don’t have a lot of the extracurricular Harry Potter books that came out from the fandom, actually. But the quote answers the question. In summary, it says,
“Harry is able to dodge death and become the Man Who Lived. Is this an ending that cheats readers who expect Harry to be the sacrificial Man Who Died? The blood protection and Elder Wand both save Harry, and fans love that Harry becomes the Man Who Kinda Lived Twice. The complexity of that is better than if Voldemort had merely killed him dead. Verdict: No – the series would not be stronger if Harry had been killed.”
Katy: Yeah, that book is good because they have two authors and they do devil’s advocate; one will take one stance on an issue and the other takes the opposite stance. They argue their stance and then they come to a verdict. I loved reading both opinions, and I could see it go either way, but I do agree with their verdict on this one. What about you, Sherry and Beth?
Sherry: Me too. I do. We had long debates about that topic on Harry Potter for Grownups,” right up there with the “Is Snape good or evil?” debates. And there was one person who said he wanted the last chapter of the last book to be called “The Man Who Died.” Yeah, I never thought of that. I wanted Harry to live. Remember, I felt maternal toward him. I wanted him to live and have the happy ending he never had in his life. So I was very pleased with the ending.
Katy: What about you, Beth?
Beth: I agree with this, too, that he shouldn’t have died, and I think partly that’s due to the “King’s Cross” chapter where he gets to decide. And I think that the entire series is stronger because of his decision to, number one, die, and then his decision to come back. Those were not passive things that happened to him; those were decisions that he made. And I think that that is crucial and would have been really missed if he had chosen to die.
Katy: It’s a good point because if I remember right, he struggles, not with the decision, but he acknowledges that going back is going to bring him a whole lot of pain. And he realizes it’s not the easy decision. Again, it’s choosing between what is right and what is easy, and he chooses the right decision, which is to go back and finish this fight. So yeah, I agree with you.
Beth: I want to make some Buffy parallels here because I’m a huge Buffy fan…
Michael: Yay, more parallels.
[Beth, Katy, and Michael laugh]
Beth: Yeah, and Buffy dies and comes back to life, which she did not choose. And so it’s interesting to compare getting to make that choice and not getting to make that choice, and how it feels different to come back getting to make the choice.
Sherry: If Harry had chosen to go on to the afterlife, it would’ve felt to me like he was giving up. And yeah, he had the right to give up, I guess, after everything, but he should go back home and get his reward for all he went through. Besides, I personally can’t conceive ever of giving up. I just couldn’t fathom that idea that he would give up.
Beth: Yeah, sounds like our Gryffindor to me.
[Beth, Katy, and Michael laugh]
Michael: Again, I hate to use this platform to… Alison, I swear I’m not doing this just to bash Cursed Child, and I know you’re going to think I am. But that therein lies my problem with Cursed Child as a whole, because one of my favorite quotes from Rowling outside of the Harry Potter series about her explanation for this is that she… And one of the things that I think is the obvious end goal by the epilogue – as much as whatever problems we have with the epilogue – is that Harry’s reward is that he gets a family, and that he gets a large family. And it’s the complete opposite of what he grew up with and something he always wanted. It’s what he saw in the Mirror of Erised. It was his greatest desire to have a family, and he gets that. And for what the epilogue shows, it is a happy family. And I’ve mentioned her many times on the show, listeners, if you haven’t checked [her] out. She used to be called the Nostalgia Chick. Her real name is Lindsay Ellis. Her current YouTube channel is called “Chez Lindsay,” which is a great name. And she did a video series that actually tracked the whole series of Lord of the Rings, and she got to the ending and actually did a lot of comparing to Harry Potter, which she doesn’t like as much. She’s not a big fan of Harry Potter. She appreciates it, but she’s a bigger fan of Lord of the Rings. And she’s not really a fan of how Harry’s story ends; she feels it ends too neatly, and that Lord of the Rings ends more realistically with the idea that the Hobbits just go home and they can’t really go home, and so much so that Frodo can’t even stay. And she uses that as a critique against Hallows, but the way I see it, especially from Rowling’s thoughts on the epilogue and where the story is going, that’s not what Rowling is trying to say with her story. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are setting out for two different morals and endings. And they have a lot of similar ideas, and Rowling was obviously inspired by Lord of the Rings, but I think the end goal for Harry is not Frodo’s end goal.
Sherry: Also, Frodo had a happy life until he went off on the quest with the ring. Harry didn’t have a happy life.
Katy: Good point.
Michael: Yes, they’re kind of inverses of each other in that way. But yeah, no, because that is the goal, Harry dying doesn’t make sense. And just being dead and that’s the end, that…
Katy: That would be so depressing after all he went through. We talk about all the other tragic characters in this series. That would’ve been the most tragic.
Michael: The tragic thing is, when you think about it, she didn’t disappoint anybody because he died, and he lived.
Beth: [laughs] Yeah. He did both.
Michael: Yeah, everybody got what they wanted in that respect. And it’s great because I love the way that… If you’ve ever heard the story from Radcliffe, he asked Rowling before it was all finished – before Hallows was published – “Do I die?” And she said, “You get a death scene.”
[Beth and Michael laugh]
Michael: And you can watch it. They talk about that story on the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Blu-ray interview with the two of them. But it is funny because she says, “I kind of watched your face, and you’re a smart boy. I knew you figured it out.”
[Katy and Sherry laugh]
Michael: So yeah, she gave everybody what they wanted, so why y’all complaining about it?
[Katy and Sherry laugh]
Katy: So we have a Podcast Question of the Week that we want to pose to you wonderful listeners, and that is, “If Dumbledore had told Harry he was going to die earlier than he did, how would that have affected Harry?” And if you want to hear more about this topic and our opinions, you can hear our entire discussion on this over on Patreon. That is patreon.com/Alohomora. But you can also definitely go to our main website and share your own thoughts there in the comments.
Michael: Props to Beth because this was her question…
Katy: Go, Beth!
Michael: … and it initiated a lot of excellent discussion on this show.
Beth: Yeah, I look forward to hearing what our listeners have to add because you guys always have such awesome points that I never would have ever considered.
Beth: Reading comments is one of my favorite things. Well, I want to give a huge shout-out to our guest, Sherry. You have been an awesome guest. You have been so engaged in our discussion and brought up some really great points, so we really want to thank you for being on. And it’s also your birthday coming up, so we want to wish you a happy birthday.
Sherry: It is.
Beth: I think you’ll have already had your birthday when this gets posted, but we’re recording this a little bit early. So your birthday is in a few days, though. Happy Birthday!
Katy and Michael: Happy Birthday!
Sherry: And thanks so much for having me. I had a great time. I had so much fun talking with all of you.
Michael: Your birthday is the day after my brother Charlie’s birthday.
Sherry: Hey! Good people born in October.
Katy: And it’s two days after my husband’s birthday and five days before mine. [laughs]
Sherry: Well, see, there you go.
Michael: And it is two days before my legal birthday, but not my real one.
Katy: Interesting. So many birthdays happening in the next week. This is awesome!
Michael: It’s a good birthday week.
Sherry: October is a good month.
Michael: And Katy, you were the one who found Sherry through the audition process. Because we’ve got to give a big shout-out to Sherry, especially because she’s been a long-time listener and contributor and was actually the reason that we chose this chapter because, listeners, we do know that you voted for a Deathly Hallows chapter. You wanted “The Prince’s Tale.” We will get to it, but not right now. We just did a Snape episode. You can go listen to that one.
Katy: Yes! No more Snape right now!
[Katy and Sherry laugh]
Michael: We need a break from Snape and discussion about Snape for just a little bit. We’re going to get to it, but it’s going to be a little farther down the line. But we did want to do Hallows, and Sherry had suggested this chapter to us, so big props to Sherry for putting this forth and being a part of this discussion.
Katy: Absolutely, and for all of the amazing emails she has sent us over the last year with all of her thoughts on several episodes. We love hearing from all of our listeners, whether it’s on the main website, through email… all the different ways you can contact us, Twitter, etc. We love all of that. So huge thank you to Sherry for sending those our way.
Michael: And another topic that a lot of you have suggested, because yes, my fellow Alohomora! hosts can attest [that] I went through all of our emails. We had so many emails.
[Beth, Katy, and Michael laugh]
Michael: I went through all of them, and I sorted them into a gorgeous Excel spreadsheet on Google…
Katy: It is gorgeous. I love it.
Michael: … with all of the topics that you have all suggested and who suggested them. And we had a lot of suggestions for our next topic, which will be the shipping wars.
Sherry: Oh, fun.
Michael: We’re going to get into it. We will put our fisticuffs [on] and we’ll get out our love notes and go to Madam Puddifoot’s. It’ll be great. [laughs]
Beth: We got into talking about shipping just a little bit in the LGBT episode, and so that got me really excited to discuss it more. So I’m looking forward to this one.
Michael: So prep yourselves, listeners. And Katy can tell you a few ways about how to prep yourself for that episode if you want to be on it.
Katy: Absolutely. What you need to do, even if you don’t want to be on that episode… but if you do, do it for that as well. But for that topic and any other, or any chapter, what you need to do is go to our main site, alohomora.mugglenet.com, and click on “Be On the Show,” and there’s a great description there that tells you all you need to know about how that process works. And there’s a little form for you to fill out [where] you can choose which topic you’re interested in, or you can fill one in in your description. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your opinions on that topic, and you might be chosen to be on the show, just like Sherry. All you need is a set of Apple headphones, something that has a microphone attached to headphones, or it can be separate headphones and microphone. But nothing fancy is required. You don’t have to get Michael’s $150 Blue-whatever-microphone.
[Katy, Michael, and Sherry laugh]
Michael: If you’re going to invest in podcasting for a while, I highly recommend it.
Katy: That’s our second ad.
Michael: By the way, thank you to… I think it was Spencer Miller on Twitter who gave me a boost on the recommendation for that microphone, because that’s the reason I got it. I had already seen it and heard about it, but then that recommendation from a listener put it over the top.
Katy: Thank you! That’s amazing.
Michael: So thank you. But yes, you don’t have to have this mic to be on the show. [laughs]
Katy: Nothing fancy, but we do need you to have a microphone and headphones; that’s all that is required.
Michael: We’re not going to tell you here, listeners, but if you do go to that page that Katy said, you can click on the dropdown menu and you can see ahead to what other topics we’ve already planned.
Katy: [gasps] Giving away our secrets.
[Beth and Sherry laugh]
Katy: That’s a great way to know what’s coming, whether or not you are interested in being in it. And then there’s also a separate link for “Topic Submit,” or “Submit Topic.” Whatever it is. [laughs] So if you are interested in a topic that’s not in our dropdown for “Be On the Show,” you can go to the other one and submit there. Lots of options.
Beth: Also, for Michael’s preservation of his sanity, I would like to remind everybody that if you are applying to be on the show, you also need to send in a sample audio…
Michael: Yes, please.
Beth: … so we know that your audio is all set and of quality that can be on the show. And if not, then we know we can get in contact with you and try and figure out a way to improve your audio situation. But please, please, please send in an audio file so that Michael doesn’t have to go crazy, saying, “Ahh! But you would’ve been such a good guest, but we don’t know what your audio sounds like!”
[Beth, Katy, and Sherry laugh]
Michael: Yes, it’s going to give you a big boost if you send in the audio as well. And if you read the directions carefully, listeners, that’s the important part. We’ve revised the directions a little bit in the hopes of submitting a recording as well as submitting topics a little easier for you. So just make sure to read those directions carefully, and that will give you everything you need to know to submit not only an interest in being on the show, but also a recording. And actually, Beth can tell you a little more about how to get in touch with us, and one of those ways does include our email.
Beth: Yes, so you can get in contact with us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, also on Facebook at facebook.com/openthedumbledore, on YouTube at youtube.com/alohomoramn, our main site at alohomora.mugglenet.com, and you can email us, whether it’s your audio file or anything else you’d like to send us. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katy: And one more reminder to check out our Patreon, at patreon.com/Alohomora. You can sponsor us for as low as $1 a month. And we want to thank again Fernanda Torres for sponsoring this episode. Thank you so much!
Katy: Thank you to all our patrons. You are all fantastic.
[Show music begins]
Katy: So thanks for listening. I’m Katy.
Michael: I’m Michael.
Beth: And I’m Beth. Thank you for listening to Episode 231 of Alohomora!.
Michael: [as Harry] I open at the Dumbledore.
[Show music continues]
Katy: “Heading toward the Forbidden Forest, Harry passes a fallen Colin Creevey before passing on his valuable knowledge…”
Katy: “… to Nagini.”
Michael: I wrote it.
Katy: That would be interesting.
Michael: “To Neville about Nagini.” There we go.
Katy: That makes a whole lot more sense. [laughs]
Michael: So sorry. [laughs]
Katy: Harry wants to tell Nagini what’s up before he goes and dies. [laughs] Okay, let me start that over again.