Transcript – Episode 234

[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 234 of Alohomora! for December 9, 2017.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Welcome back, listeners, to “Another!” smash episode of Alohomora!. I’m Michael Harle.

Alison Siggard: I’m Alison Siggard. And our guest this week is one of our wonderful, fantastic, marvelous, social media team members, Renae McBrian. Welcome, Renae.

Renae McBrian: Hi!

Alison: Tell us a little bit about yourself, how you got into Potter, wand, House, all that cool stuff.

Renae: Okay, so I am a Hufflepuff and my wand is nine and three-quarters inches Ash.

Alison: [laughs] No!

Renae: And I don’t remember the core right now; I think it’s dragon heartstring. I got into Potter kind of as a thing to rebel.

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Renae: I grew up in a really strict Christian household and Harry Potter was one of the things that I was not allowed to partake in. And so I would sneak into the library during recess and read a chapter here and there. And when I was eleven, a family friend got the first three books for me for Christmas, and my mom is not the type of person to take a Christmas gift from a child.

[Michael laughs]

Renae: So I got Harry Potter into my life and I read the first three books before school got back and then checked out the fourth book, and I haven’t looked back.

Alison: Aw.

Renae: I’ve been obsessed ever since.

Alison: Your wand is really nine and three-quarter inches? That’s amazing.

Renae: It is. I love it.

Alison: That’s incredible.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: I really like that you did guerrilla-style reading of Harry Potter where you snuck into the library. That’s awesome.

Renae: Yeah. I would have the librarian keep a copy underneath the desk for me, with my bookmark in it and everything. Yeah, it was hardcore sneaky, but I had to do what I had to do.

Michael: What House did you say you were in, Renae?

Renae: I’m a Hufflepuff.

Michael: Ah.

Alison: It’s a whole Hufflepuff show.

Michael: It is a Hufflepuff show.

Alison: Yay!

Michael: Yes, Alison can be Hufflepuff instead of Gryffindor today.

Alison: [laughs] I’ll bring out my Gryffindor side for my girl, though, when we get there.

Michael: Yes. Well, yes, speaking of Alison…

Alison: Yes! Because this week we’re talking about quite the Gryffindor. We are talking about Ginny Weasley this week. This was a topic submission on our Topic Submission page by Leia, who is Hufflepuffskein on our site. Also submitted by Allie Marie and Genevieve Bond as well. So it seems like lots of you want to hear us talk about Ginny, and I’m excited because I love her. So I’m ready. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah. No, this should be exciting. I think this conversation has been basically scattered through every past episode of Alohomora! where Ginny comes up, so it’ll be nice to pull it all into focus. But before we get into that, we want to make sure and let you listeners know that this episode is sponsored by Hello Fresh. For $30 off your first week of Hello Fresh, visit and enter the code “Alohomora30.” This episode is also sponsored by Aisha Hawkins on Patreon.

[Everyone cheers and claps]

Michael: Thank you, Aisha. We really appreciate your sponsorship, and you listeners can become a sponsor for as little as $1 a month. We will continue to release exclusive tidbits and special things for our sponsors. We have recently opened up Dumbledore’s Office, our new Facebook group. Kind of spinning off from our cohorts at SpeakBeasty who have their own common room, we now have our own space for Alohomora! fans to come hang out and check with us who sponsor us on Patreon. So thank you again, Aisha, for helping us out with this episode. And with that, we will go in to this episode. We’re talking about Ginny Weasley.

Alison: Oh! I’m so excited.

[Michael laughs]

Renae: My favorite.

Michael: So before we get deep into conversation about Ginny, let’s review a little bit of the information that we know about her. Ginny’s full name – which I recall when it was revealed, nobody was expecting – is Ginevra Molly Potter – nee Weasley, once upon a time, currently Potter. Now the interesting thing in my research about her name… because a lot of people assume that her name was short for Genevieve, but it’s not; it’s Ginevra. And everybody was like, “Ginevra? What is that?”

Alison: [laughs] What kind of name is that?

Michael: But we here on Alohomora! are always happy to help you out with breaking down weird wizarding names. So I dug a little bit and found out from that actually Ginevra is the Italian form of Guinevere, which for a lot of you, just saying that name you’re probably like, “Oh!”

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: And Guinevere is from the Norman French form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar. [pronounced “gwen-hay-far”]

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: I’m sure that’s how they say it in Welsh. It’s beautiful, rolls right off the tongue. It is derived from the elements: Gwen – which, side note, is my mother’s name – which means fair and white – and my mother is fair and white.

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Michael: And Sabara, meaning “phantom” or – I thought this was especially perfect – “magical being.”

Alison and Renae: Ooo!

Michael: As many of you probably know, from the name Guinevere in Arthurian legend, she was the beautiful wife of King Arthur. And according to 12th century chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth [pronounced “Mon-mouth”], she was seduced by…

Alison: Monmouth. [pronounced “Mon-muth”] Sorry.

Michael: Monmouth. Thank you. No, no, no. In fact, you read the rest, Alison, because I’m going to pronounce it wrong and you’re probably going to pronounce everything right.

Alison: Oh no. No, I can’t do the French right. I’m really bad at French.

Michael: Oh, you try.

Alison: Okay. So she was seduced by Mordred before the Battle of Camlann, I think, which led to the deaths of both Mordred and Arthur. According to the 12th century French poet – a name I literally can’t say because I cannot speak French! [laughs]

Michael: Chrétien de Troyes. If anybody wants to correct us, please do. [laughs]

Alison: I can’t speak French for the life of me. Anyway, according to that dude – you know, that guy, whoever he was – she engaged in an adulterous affair with Sir Lancelot.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: [singing] “Lancelot had Guinevere, da-da-da…”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Okay, we’re done. Sorry.

Michael: A pretty popular theme. There’s a whole musical about it and everything.

Alison: Yes.

Michael: [laughs] But yes. I thought that was… kind of reading through this… perhaps, aside from the adulterous affair with Lancelot…

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Which I don’t know if we can really… We can work on fitting that in.

Alison: I’ve got an idea. I like that it’s kind of… I mean, if you twist it the other way, Ginny is a little bit of a heartbreaker…

Michael: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Alison: … with Michael Corner and Dean. But her one true love is Harry.

Michael: [laughs] That’s true. But Harry… well, and to be fair, Harry does die.

Renae: Yes. That’s true.

Alison: Yes.

Alison: I also like that part of the Welsh derivative means “phantom,” because her best spell is the Bat-Bogey Hex. I think that’s funny.

Michael: Yeah. I love… The magical being thing is perfect.

Alison: Yeah, that one’s cool too.

Michael: So yeah, now you know, listeners. Ginevra has a much better meaning than just, “What the heck is that name?”

[Alison laughs]

Michael: And we’re like, “Did J.K. Rowling accidentally put an ‘R’ where it shouldn’t be?” No, she didn’t. It’s supposed to be there.

Alison: And it’s cool, because aren’t all the Weasleys either named after English royalty, or they’re all Arthurian legend? I don’t remember now.

Michael: Are they?

Alison: Yeah. They’re all somehow connected to either… Shoot. Now I don’t remember what it was, if it’s just Arthurian legend or if it’s all somehow names of English royalty.

Michael: Oh, that’s really cool.

Alison: Because you’ve got Arthur, William, Charles… I assume Percy might be short for Percival.

Michael: Oh yeah, yeah. Fred and George.

Alison: Frederick, George, Ronald, and Ginevra.

Michael: Oh. So that’s it. We got it.

Alison: Cool things we learn. [laughs]

Michael: That’s so cool. I never noticed that. Oh my gosh, that’s so clever. Ginny was born on August 11, 1981, which makes her currently 36 years old. That also makes her a Leo, which is fitting when you think about it.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: Let’s see, what else is special about Ginny? Now this is interesting. Her wand wood… We don’t know much about her wand.

Alison: I didn’t know this.

Michael: Well, this was actually revealed thanks to your favorite play, Alison.

Alison: Was it?

Michael: Yeah. This was revealed through Cursed Child, because this was revealed when Rowling and the Cursed Child Twitter posted up that wand design sketch.

Alison and Renae: Oh yeah.

Michael: Yep. And so Ginny’s wand is canonically, of all things, yew.

Alison: I have cool ideas about this, though.

Michael: Yeah. I’m eager to hear that, especially because I think the automatic association with yew wands is Voldemort in the wandlore. And we don’t have to read the whole thing, but I pulled the yew section from Pottermore where Ollivander kind of goes into what it means. And essentially, while he says that yew is associated with the power of life and death, yew seems to have a lot of similarities to phoenix cores in that it can kind of go both ways depending on who’s holding it. So it can go dark but it also can be, apparently, a fierce protector. But what what were you thinking in terms of Ginny with that, Alison?

Alison: Well, I actually kind of like that it’s the same wood as Voldemort, because I think that draws interesting parallels to the fact that Ginny was possessed her first year and her connections to Harry too. Because we know that Voldemort and Harry are similar in a lot of ways and have that connection. And so to have two owners of yew wands that we know about, one of them be Harry’s greatest love and one of them be Harry’s greatest enemy is fascinating to me. That way it’s going either way, right? I also like the the last line in the description: “The yew wand never chooses either a mediocre or a timid owner,” which is awesome, I think. Because especially at the beginning when we first meet Ginny, a lot of people thought she was super shy and she kind of is. But to know that she had that potential and that she’s definitely not mediocre – she’s definitely not – she grows into herself and I think that’s super awesome for her to have that wand then.

Michael: Yeah, it would be interesting to know the rest of the details of her wand, but we have no evidence of her core or her wand’s length at this point. But yeah, definitely with the yew, that does bring up some interesting discussion which hopefully we can maybe dig into a little deeper after we kind of go through her factoids. Another piece about Ginny that was not necessarily revealed via the books – I believe this one actually came from the movies, and then it was confirmed by Rowling later – Ginny’s Patronus is indeed a horse. We don’t know what kind, especially now that we know from Pottermore that you can have a very specific horse.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: But hers is a horse and when reading, I found a summary of the symbolism of horses from, and this lined up with a lot of other stuff I saw about horses as a symbol in other websites. They said the horse is a universal symbol of freedom without restraint, because riding a horse made people feel they could free themselves from their own bindings. Also linked with riding horses, they are symbols of travel, movement, and desire. In mythology the horse is ever present. The Romans linked horses with Mars, the god of the fury of war. Horses were also seen pulling the chariot of Helios the sun god, and in Celtic mythology horses were good luck and were harbingers of good fortune. So all that fits, huh?

Alison: Yeah.

Renae: Yeah, I could see it.

Alison: Other things have horses in mythology too. [In] Greek mythology they were supposedly shaped by Poseidon from the sea, which I think is cool.

Michael: That’s neat. I like that they’re associated with the sun god since her hair is red.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And she’s fiery like the sun.

Alison: Yeah.

Renae: Yes.

Alison: It also makes me think of, in other old legends and just in medieval society, people rode horses when they went stag hunting. And Harry’s Patronus is a stag.

[Everyone laughs]

Renae: That’s awesome.

Michael: She wins. She wins the stag hunt.

Alison: There she goes! She can keep up with it. Fast enough to keep up with it.

Renae: I really like where it says riding a horse made people feel they can free themselves from their own bindings, because she is not only the only girl in a family of boys but she’s also the youngest. And so people are going to have these preconceived opinions about her. And she goes on to do these amazing things and she’s her own person. She’s not Ron’s little sister or Fred and George’s little sister. She is her own wizard. She’s her own person. And I think that is sort of fitting with that.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Yeah. It kind of goes along with how unique she becomes as a character and how she does it. That’s something we have talked about a lot with the Weasleys and how, especially in relation to Ron’s struggle in the Weasley family, of just trying constantly to basically live up to these expectations that are set by all of his siblings. Whereas all of his siblings don’t seem to really have that problem because they have something that seems to automatically set them apart. And Ginny’s definitely that immediately, in terms of being the only girl, like you said. But also, she doesn’t really let that hang her up in her role in the Weasley family. She never really seems to dwell on the fact that she’s the youngest Weasley. She certainly didn’t let that stop her when she got into the professional realm when she left Hogwarts. Ginny went on to do quite a few things. First off, when she left Hogwarts she went into the professional Quidditch league. She became a Quidditch player and she was on the Holyhead Harpies team, the only all-female Quidditch team. We don’t know what position she played. It’s very likely she played Chaser because that seemed to be what she excelled at in school. She also did dabble as a Seeker briefly for Harry, so she might have got into Seeker duties as well.

Alison: I think she says she likes playing Chaser better, though, doesn’t she?

Renae: I think so, yeah.

Michael: I mean, really, when you think about it, while the Seeker gets all the glory, the Chasers are doing all the hard work.

Alison: Yeah. And it’s more quick action, and I think Ginny would like that more. It changes all the time, you know? You’re not just trying to do one thing, and I think she would like that.

Michael: That’s one of my favorite bits that includes Ginny, actually, in the movies is her Quidditch playing. The Quidditch scenes [are] fantastic in Half-Blood Prince, and she’s shown to be particularly great at it.

Alison: I also love when she runs… Who does she run into at the end of a match? Is it Cormac McLaggen?

Michael: Oh yeah.

Alison: No, it’s Zacharias Smith.

Michael: It’s Zacharias Smith.

Alison: She crashes into him.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yes. She expresses her feelings very openly, which she was also able to do once she left the Holyhead Harpies, because she went to work for the Daily Prophet in their sports department. She was initially their senior Quidditch correspondent, and we actually got to sample bits of her writing back in 2014 when she wrote the events of the Quidditch World Cup. So that was really neat because we did literally get to read Ginny’s writing, some of it live off of the Pottermore Insider. RIP, Pottermore Insider, which doesn’t exist anymore.

Alison: Seriously.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And as we would later find out, thanks to Cursed Child, she became the sports editor at the Daily Prophet. And that’s kind of where we left her at. As far as we know, that’s where she is at this current time.

Alison: Aw. [laughs]

Michael: But we did have a question, actually, because I did put out the call on our Twitter, and Renae and our lovely social media team also put out the call for, “Hey guys, what should we talk about with Ginny?” And you guys very much responded in kind. We got our first response, actually, from one of our MuggleNet staff members, Aurelia, who has just recently joined SpeakBeasty. Congratulations, Aurelia. She asked us on Twitter, “If Ginny hadn’t become a pro Quidditch player, what other career could she have pursued?” What do you guys think Ginny might have done, outside of what she ended up doing?

Renae: That’s a good question.

Alison: Yeah. I feel like it would be something very active.

Renae: Maybe she would go back to Hogwarts and become the Quidditch coach teacher.

Alison: [laughs] Take over for Madam Hooch?

Renae: Yeah.

Michael: Ooh, I like that.

Alison: Aww, this goes into our AU where Harry becomes the D.A.D.A. professor.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: Don’t go back together. That’s cute.

Michael: Aww, I like that.

Alison I do too, actually.

Michael: Maybe she’ll decide that Quidditch is just not for her or she’s had enough with it, and she’ll travel overseas and go play Quadpot in the U.S.

[Alison laughs]

Renae: Yes.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: I can see her maybe like… I don’t know. It fits her so well. I can almost see her writing books, maybe. Going out and researching things, like non-fiction stuff, you know.

Renae: Yeah.

Michael: Oh, that’s interesting.

Alison: Or maybe lobbying of some kind for the Ministry.

Michael: I’m actually surprised, and in a way, I can kind of see why. But I don’t see why Ginny couldn’t have become an Auror.

Alison: Oh, I don’t see it though.

Michael: Well, I only see it because she’s really talented at spell casting, and she seems to have a penchant for hexes.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So really, even then you could say, especially if she’s talented at more complicated curses and jinxes and hexes, that might have been interesting if she had gone into something like or similar to what Bill does for Gringotts with curse-breaking.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: That would’ve been kind of cool.

Alison: Yeah. Maybe instead of an Auror, she may have been more like magical law enforcement.

Michael: Yeah. Not like Harry’s position in the department.

Alison: Yeah. Not specifically going after just Dark wizards, but taking care of all the problems. [laughs]

Michael: I just think about that with Ginny because we see in Deathly Hallows during the battle that she so aggressively wants to be a part of the action, that I feel like whatever – like you said before, Alison – whatever she’s doing it would have to be something active.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Which is funny because then she goes into writing afterwards, which certainly suggests that mentality that comes with age. Eventually you just get tired at some point and you’re like, “I want a change.”

Alison: I think it makes sense for her too, though. It’s kind of analytical in some ways, and I think that’s a very Ginny thing. She’s good at figuring out situations, from what we’ve seen in the books. And so to have her to be especially writing a sports column, to figure those kinds of things out and put it together…

Alison and Michael: Yeah.

Renae: Yeah. She’s definitely knowledgeable enough.

Michael: Yeah. Okay, so we can see that Ginny could either basically have gone… And I think that’s evidenced by what she actually ended up doing, that it makes sense that she would do something active for a while and then settle into something a little more low key, whatever it would end up being. I mean, it also makes sense too. She did have three children.

Alison: And one of them is being an emo child about this point.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yes. Yeah, they’re kind of in the throes of that right now.

Alison: And it seems James is a bit of a handful.

Renae: Just a little bit.

Michael: Yes, so much so that she’s taken them all off sugar. We’ll talk about that later.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: But before we get into all of that, what I wanted to do is actually go through… Because what I found from the listener responses when asking about Ginny, a lot of you didn’t necessarily present topics or even questions. You just told us what you thought about Ginny, which I thought was great because it ended up being more split than I was expecting. But I do think that in some ways this reflects a little bit of a microcosm of how people feel about Ginny in the Potter fandom. And I think that’s something that really… we could nitpick all of Ginny’s specific moments, but she doesn’t have very many. The reason I scream “Another!” and smash my cup all the time [is] not just because it’s a funny Thor reference, but also because she’s not in the books very much. And [she’s] in the movies even less.

Alison: Which now that you bring up Thor, I can see Ginny being kind of a Valkyrie character. I just saw the new Thor; I’m sorry.

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Michael: I still need to see [Thor:] Ragnarok.

Alison: And I can totally picture that. Oh my gosh, that walk she does on the rainbow bridge? That’s Ginny 110 percent. I love it.

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Michael: I really should have seen Ragnarok before this episode, so then I could have a full Thor appreciation…

Alison: It’s okay. I just saw it yesterday. [laughs]

Michael: But yeah, I wanted to go through these comments that you guys left, because I think these are really important about informing how our discussion of Ginny goes in this episode. So I’ll go through some of the tweets that you left us. First one comes from Josh de Lioncourt, or @Lioncourt on Twitter. Josh is actually a friend of one of our other hosts, Katy Cartee-Haile, and they podcast together, I believe. He was just on a recent episode and he said,

“Ginny was one of my faves, and she didn’t get nearly the page time she deserved in the books.”

Follow that up with a comment from @SpencerFannon who said,

“Book Ginny is acceptable, movie Ginny really bad. Worst line in the books: [as Ginny] ‘I know you wouldn’t be happy unless you were hunting Voldemort. Maybe that’s why I like you so much.'”

Alison: Worst line in the books?

Renae: What?

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Alison: What? We’ve got to talk about that.

Michael: We’ll get back to that line, because that is a pretty key line from Ginny. It’s one of the ones that somehow gets remembered from the book, even though it was completely left out of the movies. Another comment from Grace Stratton, or @gestratton:

“As a teen I identified so much with young book Ginny: super shy and the only girl in a large family. In the later books she acquired many qualities I wish I saw in myself at the time: brave, outgoing, etc.”

Next comment from one of our loyal longtime listeners Dis[Kid], or @DisKid90 on Twitter, who said,

“She’s honestly not a character I think about often. Hate to say it, but I was never much of a Ginny fan.”

Another comment from Lynnie @LynnMFarina on Twitter:

“Book Ginny is a badass and one of my favorite characters.”

[Renae laughs]

Michael: And again, flipping the switch from another longtime listener, Theyve_Taken_My_Weezy, or @nearintelligent on Twitter:

“My thoughts are Ginny is not that cool or interesting. I’d rather hear an episode on almost any other character, like Dobby. Dobby is spectacular.” [laughs]

[Renae sighs]

Michael: And our last comment [comes] from Khaleesi A.F… You know what the A.F. stands for, y’all…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: … @nettyspaghetti on Twitter, who said,

“Book Ginny is easily my favorite character. Strong, determined, funny, defensive, outgoing, accepting, caring, and loving without being overly emotional, I admire her so much.”

So as you can see, we have pretty much a scale… Ginny falls on a wide scale for fans. And it goes from, “Mmm, she’s not that great; I don’t care about her,” to “Meh, she exists,” to “Oh my God, she’s great; she’s the best.” And within that scale, that usually is book scale. Movie scale, she fails on almost every count.

Alison: Which isn’t Bonnie Wright’s fault. It’s so tragic.

Michael: I think… now this is funny. We’ll talk about movie Ginny in a little bit. We could have a whole episode just on movie Ginny specifically.

Alison: Probably.

Renae: We really could.

Michael: But the funny thing with this is, why do you guys think that Ginny does fall on this scale as a character? Because I can’t really think of another character in Harry Potter that the fandom reacts to like this. She’s kind of unique in this respect. What do you think it is about her that makes fans feel this way?

Alison: She’s in a funny situation, I feel like. She’s the secondary character, the second tier character, that we see grow and progress the most out of all of them. Which is kind of strange for a secondary tier character, if you know what I mean. Obviously they’ll grow and progress, but we just see her… She goes leaps and bounds, but we don’t see her whole journey. So we start out with her as this little girl who just hero worships Harry and just wants to look at him on the train, and then we jump to this little girl that’s just Ron’s baby sister who’s been possessed by Voldemort. And then we don’t really see her for a little bit. By the time we catch up to her again, she’s this more mature, skilled, popular girl who’s found herself a little bit. And that’s when Harry starts noticing her, so that’s when we get to see her more. So it’s weird because we see her progress so much, but we don’t see the whole thing. And I think it leaves weird gaps that people don’t like.

Michael: What do you think, Renae?

Renae: I think that’s right. Because basically we see Harry Potter from Harry Potter’s perspective. And as much as I hate the trope of the dude falling in love with his best friend’s sister because she gets hot or whatever…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Renae: … it’s realistic in this situation, because in the beginning she’s just there. And then as she becomes her own awesome person, Harry’s like, “Hey, wait a second.” We don’t see how she’s becoming this awesome person by herself or with help from friends and whatever, but we see what Harry notices in her. And I think that people take that as, “Oh, she’s this doting fan girl, and she suddenly is hot and Harry Potter wants to date her.” And that’s not how the story is, if you pay attention to it. But people take from what they see in the movies and they project that onto their opinion. So I think that that’s kind of… They don’t really look at book Ginny as just book Ginny. They look at book Ginny with a side of movie Ginny.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: I think that you’re both right. Especially… I do think movie Ginny is a problem for how people perceive Ginny in a lot of ways, but I do think it is… Because these problems with Ginny existed before movie Ginny really started going as downhill as she did, which happens in the later movies. Just like in the book, she just exists for the first four movies or so.

Alison: And that’s part of the reason I hate Half-Blood Prince so much.

Renae: Mhm.

Michael: [laughs] But the thing is, with the book… Alison’s trying to goad me into a Half-Blood Prince debate.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Renae: I can hear it.

Michael: We can get to that later. But the thing is, I do think that it is a problem in the book. And you know what? I was thinking about it because… the first major point of discussion I have here is, “Are Ginny and Harry a good couple?” and “Is Ginny a good match for Harry?” And that tends to be one of the first things that’s discussed about Ginny. And I think what you guys were saying about how she has this development that’s offscreen and Harry seems to become interested in her basically when she becomes hot or when she makes herself noticeable… I think one of the problems we have as a fandom with Ginny is, for the main part, we think of her in relation to Harry. Some people have a hard time thinking of her as her own individual character. Discussion of her will always turn back to her relationship with Harry in the end. What’s frustrating then is that she, in many ways… her existence, for readers, is defined by Harry. For me, I think that’s a lot of where my problems come with how she’s written, because I don’t want her to be defined just by Harry. But then here we go, that first question. [laughs] I put this one first because I think this is the one that tends to come up a lot in discussion about Ginny. Did these two make a good pair? Because I feel like even more so these last few years the discussion has flared up again about Harry and Hermione as a couple.

Alison: Yeah. I’ve never thought about that. But now that you say that, that may be a benefit of so much of her progression being offscreen in that it’s not like she’s there as a character all the time in relation to Harry necessarily. We know she has her own life before she and Harry end up getting together, which is kind of a benefit. Because then it’s not just like, “girlfriend character is there all the time solely just to become girlfriend.” It gives it a more realistic flair, I think, if it’s like, “she had her own life, she was off doing her own stuff, and eventually she and Harry fell together.” You know?

Michael: It’s funny the way her existence off the page can be simultaneously beneficial and detrimental.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Michael: Because I do definitely see that beneficial point that she wasn’t just set up to be perhaps the girlfriend from the get-go, just because she was around all the time. And that’s what people get confused about with Hermione, which was always funny to me when I first read the series, because I never thought Harry and Hermione were going to get together. I always knew it was going to be Hermione and Ron. I can see now, going back, why people thought it was going to be Harry and Hermione, and I can even see why that might have been a good pair. But Rowling had something to say about this, because apparently she was also shocked that people were debating about this too. She actually spoke about this in 2005 after Half-Blood Prince was published but before Deathly Hallows came out, and she revealed this in her interview with The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet in 2005. She said,

“The plan was, which I really hope I fulfilled, that the reader, like Harry, would gradually discover Ginny as pretty much the ideal girl for Harry. She’s tough, not in an unpleasant way, but she’s gutsy. He needs to be with someone who can stand the demands of being with Harry Potter, because he’s a scary boyfriend in a lot of ways.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I mean, I wouldn’t have a problem, but yeah, I get what she’s saying.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: [continues reading quote] “He’s a marked man. I think she’s funny, and I think that she’s very warm and compassionate. These are all things that Harry requires in his ideal woman. But I felt – and I’m talking years ago when all this was planned – initially, she’s terrified by his image. I mean, he’s a bit of a rock god to her when she sees him first, at 10 or 11, and he’s this famous boy. So Ginny had to go through a journey as well. And rather like with Ron, I didn’t want Ginny to be the first girl that Harry ever kissed. That’s something I meant to say, and it’s kind of tied in. […] I feel that Ginny and Harry in Half-Blood Prince are total equals. They are worthy of each other. They’ve both gone through a big emotional journey, and they’ve really got over a lot of delusions – to use your word – together. So I enjoyed writing that. I really like Ginny as a character.”

Alison: This is totally off topic, but that sentence that says, “And rather like with Ron, I didn’t want Ginny to be the first girl that Harry ever kissed,” it sounds like Ron and Harry were going to kiss.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I mean, also… Yeah, [I] wouldn’t have a problem with that, but no, that’s not what happened. Might as well have, but it wasn’t.

Alison: Just unintentional wording. Anyway…

Michael: Oh, yeah. No, absolutely. When I read that the first time I was like, “Uh-oh!”

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: But yeah, as we see here, Rowling did plan this from the start and did seem to have Ginny’s character arc in mind at an early stage in the writing.

Alison: I like that she talks about the thing Ginny’s terrified about is being seen with this super famous person, and that it’s almost like she had to become confident enough in herself – and in Harry as a person, too – before they could be equal.

Renae: I could see that.

Michael: And it’s funny too because along with what we’ve talked about – how Ginny is defined in many ways in the writing by Harry and how she develops – what Rowling is saying too is that she planned these developments. And I do feel, though, that we get all of those little moments about Ginny from other characters. That’s the other thing too. In a lot of ways the gaps about her are filled in by other characters and not by her. Ron says in Chamber of Secrets something like, “she usually never stops talking and is kind of a motor mouth.” But then when Harry shows up, she totally changes. And so you get the sense that really Ginny was always the way that we see her in Order of the Phoenix, but that she was too insecure around Harry to be that way until fifth year. So again, there’s still a little bit of that issue of being defined by Harry. And we had a comment on Twitter from @insinceredave, or David, one of our frequent guests. The British guy who I hit on, if you remember…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: David said,

“A lot of Ginny and Harry’s interactions take place offscreen: summers at the Burrow and Harry stays for six weeks, etc. I always thought that was a shame. They’re perfect for each other, but you need to dig down a bit to realize it. What would it have been good to see more of?”

So like what we were saying, a lot of the things with Ginny happened off-screen. Basically the seeming obvious fix is, put it on the page. So what do we put on the page that we didn’t see or that we would have liked to have seen? What’s missing?

Renae: See, I think that adding too much of a romantic relationship would take away from the story. And I think we’ve discussed it on the show before, where it’s not a love story – it’s not a young adult, fluffy story – and I think adding too much of the relationship would take away from what really matters.

Alison: Yeah, but I think it would be fun to have an outtake. [laughs]

Renae: Yes.

Alison: Like, here are just these outtake chapters. And I think from Ginny I would want to see more of her friendship with Hermione, because I really do think they are really good friends. And I’d like to see a little bit more of that obviously. And because I’m a sap, in Half-Blood Prince Harry talks about that week or month where they’re together and they just spend time on the grounds and [are] having a great time. And because I’m a sap, I kind of want it.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I think that’s one of the big sections that a lot of readers feel they’re missing, because it’s so shoddily summarized. And I remember our talk back at the end of Half-Blood Prince. We talked about this, I think, at Half-Blood Prince and at the end of Deathly Hallows, but I think the major conversation was in Half-Blood, that it basically ends with the narration being like, “They had a week of wild making out!”

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Michael: That’s basically the summary of their relationship, and then by the end of the book we jump [ahead] and it’s like, “Then they had three children.”

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Alison: Honestly, that’s another thing I’d like to see. I’d like to see Ginny and Harry’s relationship right after the books. How did they rebuild that? How did they help rebuild each other? Because I think it’s one of my favorite things about Cursed Child. Harry and Ginny’s relationship is wonderfully portrayed, especially on the stage. I talked about this in a review I did once where… just the way Jamie Parker and Poppy Miller… their body language with each other. They’re always leaning into each other, especially in the moments where Harry is in crisis. He’s kind of leaning into her all the time, and I just loved that physical representation of how much they trust each other and rely on each other. Because to some extent – and Ginny says this in Order of the Phoenix – Ginny is one of the only people who knows what Harry is going through with that.

Renae: Mhm.

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: She’s the closest person to understand what that means. And so I would love to see him tell her the whole story… or yeah, him tell her the whole story – sorry, I think I flipped that somehow – and to see them have to work through that to come up with a good relationship and a good… what eventually leads to a strong marriage, since they’ve both been through such traumatizing things. And we don’t get that in Deathly Hallows. Harry sees her, but she’s talking with Molly and they’ve just lost Fred, and so he decides to give her some time.

Michael: Yeah. She doesn’t really get a last moment with Harry before the epilogue.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: The last kind of substantial moment where Harry doesn’t really interact with her, other than the one that you mentioned, Alison, is where he sees her comforting the other younger student.

Alison: She is the last thing he thinks about too before the Killing Curse hits him.

Renae: Mhm. In the forest.

Michael: Yeah. Specifically about her kiss, because they had that wild week of making out.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And this question about their relationship goes back to that line that Spencer Fanon mentioned that Ginny says at the end of Book 6, when they have that weird Ross/Rachel “they-didn’t-break-up-but-they’re-on-a-break” kind of thing. Ginny says the [line], “I know you wouldn’t be happy unless you were hunting Voldemort. Maybe that’s why I like you so much.” The funny thing for me is… and I joked about… well, I actually meant this seriously when we talked about this on that chapter of Half-Blood Prince. And everybody was like, “No, no, no, don’t be silly.” But honestly, the first time I read it, genuinely my mind linked this up to the ending of Spider-Man 2.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: And I feel like it’s so easy to do, not because of the visual similarities of literally, it’s just a geek with glasses in a relationship with a gorgeous redhead, but also because what Ginny is saying is essentially very similar to what Mary Jane says to Peter. Which is basically like, “Yeah, I know you’re in terrible danger, but also this is kind of who you are. And I would never stop you from being who you are,” essentially. And you know, “Go get ’em, tiger” is not the greatest line in the world, but it’s essentially the same in many ways.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: It’s both women basically in that relationship relenting to the fact that they don’t want to change… well, not even relenting, but accepting that their partners are who they are and letting them go save the world, essentially. The difference being that Mary Jane doesn’t break up with Peter in that movie. Whereas Ginny, what she’s doing is kind of hard to say because every character has trouble interpreting what it all meant by the beginning of Deathly Hallows. But what do you guys think?

Alison: I actually quite like that line because I think that is something Ginny would like. Like I said before, Ginny is a very active, action-packed person, and she likes this guy who’s so noble and wants to take action and things and actually do the right thing. And I think it’s one of the things that made her actually fall in love with him, as opposed to just, “Oh my gosh, celebrity crush!” You know? I think she saw that and she was like, “He’s going to do the right thing no matter what it takes. And he’s just going to go do it.” And I think, yeah, like you said, that she is accepting him for who he is, and she’s okay with that.

Renae: Yeah, I feel like this is a very Ginny line. I think either right before or right after that, she says something like, “It’s for some stupid noble reason, isn’t it?” or something. She’s the only one that doesn’t tiptoe around Harry. She just tells him exactly what she’s thinking because she’s been there and she knows that he’s not going to take offense to what she says. Whereas, you know, Ron and Hermione and everybody else, they kind of skirt around what they’re trying to say, and she’s just like, “No. I know what you’re doing is stupid, but I know what you’re doing is honorable. So just do what you have to do.” I really feel like that is a very Ginny thing. But I know people don’t like it because it seems cliche, I guess.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Well, it goes along with what we read that Rowling said, that to be in a relationship with a guy like Harry Potter, you’ve got to be able to withstand what he’s going to go through. Something about that, in a way, almost – in some sort of weird, twisted, sick way – has to appeal to you to make it work. And that’s how it works is that she can accept that he does these… To me, it also fits along with a lot of the discussion that happens between Harry and Dumbledore between Order and Half-Blood about people’s actions and what they will – like prophecy versus personal choice – and how people will behave. Ginny seems to already be as understanding of Harry as Dumbledore is, that she’s like, “You have the choice to do it. You don’t have to, but I know you’re going to do it.”

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So in that way, yeah. I just compared Ginny to Dumbledore. Yes, she’s that wise.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: Which also leads interestingly, though, this moment – like I just kind of alluded to – that moment in Deathly Hallows where her and Harry have a discussion at the Burrow when they finally get a moment alone. But once they do… that was a very interesting moment to me because everybody starts pinning the blame on who should be at fault for what’s going on with their relationship.

Alison: Are you talking about his birthday? You’re talking about his birthday, right?

Michael: Yeah.

Alison: Okay, good. Just so I know exactly what we’re talking about.

Michael: When Ron barges in and catches them kissing.

Alison: I think it’s one of the most gutsy things Ginny ever does – takes her known boyfriend, who the whole family knows, into her bedroom on his birthday. And everything she says in that scene, I’m like, “Dang, girl! Go!” It’s amazing.

Michael: Remind me of some of the things she does say.

Alison: Well, she pulls him in there, and I think the one I’m thinking about especially is, she says, “I want to give you something to remember me by, in case you meet any Veela out there.” And then she just starts making out with him and it’s like, “Dang! She’s just going to go for it!” [laughs]

Michael: It’s funny too because what happens afterwards is that Ron barges in and then pulls Harry aside and is basically like, [as Ron] “Stop messing with my sister! Stop messing with her heart!” And Harry is just like, [as Harry] “I didn’t do it! She did it!” But he can’t say that. And then Harry actually turns it on himself and is just like, [as Harry] “Oh yeah, this is my fault.” I’m like, “Dude! No, it’s not! You didn’t do anything!”

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Michael: But that leads into a fascinating push-and-pull that Ginny and Harry have throughout Deathly Hallows in the moments they get to be together. Because pretty much the culmination of that when they interact at the battle is Ginny being like, “I’m going to fight.” And Harry is like, “No, you’re not.” She’s like. “Yeah, I am.” He’s like, “No, you’re not.” And she just pushes past him and goes, “Yes, I am!” And then she leaves.

[Renae laughs]

Michael: And Harry spends basically the whole time just being like, [as Harry] “God, I’m so stupid! Why couldn’t I block the door better?”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: [as Harry] “Why am I so bad at this?”

Alison: But then he sees her fighting and he’s like, “Yeah, she’s good.” And then he moves on.

Michael: Well, yeah. He has to relent that, yeah, she’s actually good at that because she goes up against Bellatrix Lestrange. She’s not just doing this…

Alison: Oh, I love that moment.

Michael: Yeah, she’s literally going up against a very, very powerful witch.

Alison: Her and Hermione and Luna all together and… oh, man.

Michael: Yeah. That’s awesome.

Alison: Man! It’s so good.

Michael: And it’s… I don’t know. I just think there’s some fascinating push-and-pull with Harry and Ginny as a couple in that year that’s still showing that they’re… And maybe that also reveals another reason why this relationship ends up falling a little flat for readers, because at 16 and 17 this is a relationship that is still so much in a developmental phase. And then it jumps to basically comfortable home life in the span of a few pages, and we don’t really see what that in-between was to turn this back-and-forth, slightly tumultuous relationship into something so comfortable. I think that’s what I would say is one of the failings. And like you said, Alison, wouldn’t it have been nice to see the recovery period?

Alison: I think some of that push-and-pull is why Harry likes her, actually. She very much, especially later, is teasing him. She’s this bright flash all the time, and Harry doesn’t quite know how to deal with it in the books, which I think is funny. He’s always just like, “Um… yeah,” and she just has him twisted around her finger and it’s kind of awesome. [laughs] Because not very many people, I think, can do that to Harry because Harry has so many trust issues. But Ginny just pulls him in, and he’s okay with it.

Michael: Since we’ve mentioned this a lot – and we’ll jump down a little here in our discussion document – let’s talk a little bit about Ginny. As we’ve mentioned, she’s developed so much off the page, offscreen, and we had a lot of questions that tie into that. And maybe some of our listeners put forth ideas about maybe where her character developments happened. A major point is in Chamber of Secrets and one of our commenters on Twitter, @PensivePaige said,

“How does her experience with Tom Riddle make her into the person she becomes?”

We had a similar question from GinnysAtonic, or @Gini_L, who said,

“How did her possession through the diary affect her? Apart from the evilness, did it make her a better witch? Cleverer?”

What do you guys think?

Alison: I actually think it goes more into this tough sense of self she develops. Because she ends up being able to struggle with it for a whole year by herself, I think there’s almost this thing of, “I took on Voldemort for a year basically in my head, and I can do that.” And in some ways she almost beat him; she threw the diary away. And I mean, yeah, it was traumatic and that probably conflicts with some of this, but I think it helped build her confidence a little bit of, “I am tough enough and I am strong enough that I can get through some of these things and be fine.” She was like, “I was 11, and I took on Voldemort for a whole year basically by myself. Come at me, Harry Potter. You won with him once when you were 11. And it wasn’t even real.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Renae: Yeah, I think it’s one of those “I survived this; what can’t I do?” things. I’m not saying that she thinks she’s invincible, because she’s obviously not stupid; she’s not reckless. It seems like everything that she does is calculated, maybe, but not like Hermione-calculated. She’s a good mid[dle] ground between Harry[‘s] recklessness and Hermione [being] calculated.

Alison: She’s a good strategist.

Renae: Yeah. Thank you. That is what I was looking for. [laughs]

Alison: That’s an interesting connection to Ron, then.

Michael: Oh, with his chess-playing?

Alison: Yeah. I wonder how much of that…

Michael: The chess-playing that never really ended up being a thing? [laughs]

Alison: Well, yeah. But I wonder how much of that she learned from him.

Michael: That’s really interesting, that piece in what you said, Renae, about how she’s pretty clever and not terribly reckless. Because I think that’s a big piece about how Harry learns to understand her better in Deathly Hallows, because he does think she’s reckless in Deathly Hallows. And that’s part of the frustration I have with reading about his relationship with her, because most of the time he treats her… It’s funny, almost ironic, to see Harry treating Ginny like a child when Harry is basically just like, [in a pompous voice] “I had this epiphany about being an adult and not running into situations about 12 hours ago. And now Ginny is not doing that. She’s a child. She’s so immature.” And I’m just like, “no, Harry, she’s pretty on it. You just got to get out of her way.”

Alison: Which is funny because I think the moment he really starts paying attention to her is the moment where she’s like, “Dude, grow up.” Because it’s in Order of the Phoenix where he’s going off about freaking out about being possessed and she’s like, “Who do you know who’s actually been possessed, Harry?” And he’s like, “Oh yeah.” And she’s like, “Lucky you for forgetting.” That’s one of my favorite lines. He’s like, “Oh. Sorry. I forgot.” And she’s like, “Lucky you.” Because I can just hear it super dry. But yeah, I think that’s the moment he starts paying attention to her.

Michael: And I guess that’s what’s funny about it, like I said, with how Rowling, in a way, has to write Harry’s relationship with Ginny. Because when you think about it, he can’t just automatically relent and be like, [as Harry] “All right, Ginny. Go into the throes of evil. That’s fine.” Because then he wouldn’t be a very good boyfriend.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But at the same time, it is simultaneously – I guess, like I was saying – frustrating to read Harry stopping Ginny, treating her like the adults around her are treating her, because he’s been treated that way and he finds that incredibly frustrating. And so for him to turn around and basically do it to Ginny, I think, is what frustrates me about his little interaction with her in Hallows. It makes sense because he’s a protective boyfriend. It’s frustrating because it’s a fantasy and she has a wand and she’s capable.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: I think that’s what bothers me. But I guess I wouldn’t be so unhappy if I were Harry Potter’s love interest and he cared that much about me. That would be nice. This episode isn’t about me being single, listeners. I promise.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I’m not envious of this relationship. Shut up.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Renae: I think you need a hug.

Michael: I do. I need a Harry hug.

Alison: We’ll send Dan your way. It’s fine.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But we also did have another comment from Abby (@AbbyJane12) who brought up what you mentioned, Alison, about one of those missing moments from the page, where she said,

“Rereading Half-Blood Prince, and I realized that Ginny’s relationship and friendship with Hermione is really interesting.”

Alison: Yes!

Michael: I think that’s definitely a thing too because Hermione is used, essentially, in that respect… She’s used to develop Ginny because Harry doesn’t really talk to any other girls extensively in his life.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Not because he’s necessarily bad with girls. He’s not great with them, but he’s not bad with girls.

Alison: Yeah, I’ll say he’s bad. I’ll throw it out there. He’s pretty bad with them.

[Michael laughs]

Renae: Just a little bit.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: But with that said, Hermione has a unique relationship with Harry and is therefore able to divulge information about Ginny to Harry. So she does end up revealing that her and Ginny have this friendship. It’s interesting too, because how do we think that came about, and where do we think Ginny and Hermione find common ground?

Renae: I think that in Goblet of Fire, when Hermione went to go stay with them before the Quidditch World Cup, I think that that’s probably when their friendship started, maybe, or grew. She stayed at the Burrow and then she shared a tent with Ginny, and I think that that was one of the things that sort of solidified their friendship because they were spending so much time together.

Alison: Yeah. I think some of it could have started in Prisoner, maybe too, when Harry and Ron aren’t speaking to Hermione.

Michael: We kind of know from that, that actually she spends… at least on the page, she ends up… The purveyor of knowledge on that one goes to Hagrid.

Alison: Yeah. I know she spends a lot of time with Hagrid, but I feel like Ginny, coming off a year where she felt really ostracized and alone, might have picked up on Hermione feeling like that. Especially since Ginny was probably like, “Ron, you’re being an idiot.”

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Alison: And she probably had heard most of what had happened and she was probably like, “Ron, you’re being an idiot.” And so I feel like that may be where it started. I think you’re right, Renae, though. I think it really intensifies in Goblet.

Michael: And of course we do have that… Again, not to define these two by their relationships, but Ginny is attracted to Harry and Hermione is attracted to Ron. So that does probably help.

Renae: True. It’s a bonding.

Alison: Now I want them having sleepovers at the Burrow, just trying to find out as much as they can. Like, “Okay. Tell me what to do here!”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: “Give me the in!” Yeah. I think the big takeaway we get from the reward of this relationship, in terms of how these two develop, is that Ginny and Hermione actually end up encouraging each other. Especially Hermione to Ginny to not get hung up on these boys for a little bit and see what happens. Unfortunately for Hermione, that backfires a little bit.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But in Ginny’s case it ends up being pretty rewarding, not just solely because that, yes, in the end she gets Harry, but because she ends up being able to be herself. And that’s, I would say, the even better reward. Because by being herself, Harry realizes why he would find her attractive. Struggling to impress him or to get his attention did all the wrong things, because lest we forget, she sent him a singing Valentine.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: I hope that – it is my headcanon – that in their further relationship, he brings that up all… the… time… just to make fun of her.

Renae: Yes. Every single day.

Michael: She better.

Alison: Just to tease her about it. He’s like, [as Harry] “So am I getting ‘his eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad’ today?”

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: Well, he’s got to have something to counteract the hippogriff tattoo.

Renae: Oh gosh.

Alison: Yes.

[Renae laughs]

Michael: So I would say it’s that. Now remind me, because I didn’t get a chance to check exactly on this. Doesn’t she send him a singing Christmas card in either Prisoner or Goblet? I think it’s Prisoner. I want to say she sends him a card that just sings really loudly and he stuffs it under his pillow.

Alison: Is it in Prisoner?

Michael: I think it might be in Prisoner when he falls off his broom.

Renae: Yeah.

Michael: Okay, after that whole mystery, yes, I found it.

Renae: Yay!

Michael: So on page 183, Chapter 10, “The Marauder’s Map,” right after the “Grim Defeat” chapter:

“Harry had a stream of visitors, all intent on cheering him up. Hagrid sent him a bunch of earwiggy flowers that looked like yellow cabbages, and Ginny Weasley, blushing furiously, turned up with a get-well card she had made herself, which sang shrilly unless Harry kept it shut under his bowl of fruit.”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: I love her! I love her attempts to cheer him up and show her awkward teenage love.

Michael: I like that she gave him something that sang annoyingly twice.

Alison and Renae: Yes!

Alison: Two years in a row, too.

Renae: I love it.

Michael: I think that’s perfect, though – that matchup that you said, Renee, with Goblet. That these two very adorably poor attempts to get Harry’s attention – terribly misguided attempts to get Harry’s attention – this stopped after Goblet of Fire. She doesn’t do this anymore.

[Renae laughs]

Alison: Where do you think she got the idea in the first place? I bet it was from Molly listening to Celestina Warbeck.

Renae: Oh my gosh. Probably.

Alison: I bet that’s where she got the idea of that’s how you profess your love to someone.

Michael: I mean, really when you think about it, it’s like John Cusack holding a radio above his head outside your window.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: It’s that horrible, silly thing that teenagers think is going to get your attention.

Alison: “Let me send you a playlist of all the songs that explain what I…” Making mix tapes! You’re right.

Michael: Yeah! I was going to say, Ginny showing up and being like, [as Ginny] “I made you a mix tape!”

[Everyone laughs]

Renae: Oh gosh.

Alison: The wizard equivalent of making a mix tape. I like it.

Michael: It’s still the ’90s. There were still tapes then.

Renae: That’s true.

Alison: Oh, it’s totally happening. Accepting. Yes! Taking it. Headcanon.

Michael: That’s this episode’s title: “Ginny’s Mix Tape.”

Alison and Renae: Yes.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But yeah, I think that totally lines up then with what you were saying, Renae. By Goblet of Fire and perhaps that time that she gets to spend with Hermione, while we don’t hear that, their discussions with each other are fully developed in terms of what they decide to do in their approaches with Ron and Harry. Notably, Ginny isn’t sending Harry a singing card.

Renae: About defeating a dragon.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And she does, by that point, also recognize that… I think we do hear, for later on, that it was suggested by Hermione that she just go to the ball and have fun if somebody asked her, rather than wait for Harry… or even try to ask Harry. Which ends up, again, backfiring on her.

Alison: [laughs] Because Harry asks her.

Michael and Renae: Yes.

Michael: [laughs] Which is great. That’s one of those fun moments to go back and find when she does say that… Because isn’t Ron just like being like, [as Ron] “I’ll go with Hermione, and Ginny, you go with Harry.”

Alison: No, [to Ron] it’s more embarrassing if Harry doesn’t show up with a partner and Ginny’s there and he’s like, “So, Ginny, you go with Harry,” and she’s like, “I can’t.”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: And it was like the day before Neville asked her or something, wasn’t it? And she’s like, “Dang it!” [laughs]

Michael: Yeah. The narration notably says that she kind of slumps off to bed afterwards because she’s disappointed. It doesn’t say why she’s upset; it just says she’s not too happy.

Renae: But I love that she keeps her commitment to Neville anyway. That’s so nice. That’s so nice of her.

Michael: Yeah, what a sport, right? No, that’s a wonderful thing to do.

Alison: And I like that they become friends in Hallows.

Michael: Oh, her and Neville?

Alison and Renae: Yeah.

Alison: They become close friends, all of them running the D.A. together.

Renae: Protecting everybody.

Michael: Yeah, she’s kind of considered to be the second-in-command of the D.A. by that time. The neat thing to remember too about that is that she actually named the D.A.

Renae: Mhm.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: So that’s pretty cool.

Alison: See, she’s awesome and she’s there in the background, but…

Renae: Yeah. She’s like that secondary character that’s there for all the important things but not for the little things. So we don’t get enough of her.

Alison: Yeah. Until Harry starts being like, “Oh, hey… you.” [laughs]

Renae: “You exist.”

Michael: No, I think we’ve certainly explored why maybe she ends up being that secondary character and why it has to be the way it is for her to work within the plot and in Harry’s story. I think we’ve broken that down pretty well. It’s still frustrating though, but we’ll get to that. But before we do, listeners, we’re going to take a pause here for just a minute. As we mentioned at the top of the show, this episode is sponsored by HelloFresh. And listeners, if you’ve never experienced HelloFresh, [the] neat thing about it is that much like an owl delivering straight to your door, HelloFresh delivers food right to your door. I actually had this happen. I got this giant box of food at my door, which was awesome because actually, I think the day we got it, I was really not in the mood to have any fast food, which is my normal go-to. I just had fast food before this episode. I wish I’d had something fresh to eat because I prefer actually making home-cooked meals, because I’m the only one out of my roommates who actually likes to cook. And I actually have HelloFresh to thank for that because the neat thing is when you open up the box, not only do they have all the ingredients you need, but they give you a recipe card with all of the things to do. And they try to actually whittle down all of the recipes to six steps, which is really nice because it just makes it feel a lot less overwhelming than if you were looking it up online or using a cookbook. Nobody uses cookbooks anymore, guys.

Alison: I do!

Michael: [laughs] Alison, goodness gracious! No more cookbooks for you.

Alison: I know.

Michael: [laughs] But the neat thing about it was they sent me recipes for… I had this chicken with this really delicious sauce and asparagus on the side. My favorite, though, was the pork chops. The recipe I got had a glaze made out of honey, balsamic vinegar, and adobo sauce. So it’s this sweet sauce with a kick. Yeah, it is really good. So it’s a really easy way to make a meal, especially if you can’t make it to the grocery store. If you’re a 40-hour-plus-a-week employee like Mr. Librarian over here, it’s not always the thing that you look forward to when you leave the library to be like, “Okay. I got to go buy food now and be jostled around by hundreds of other people in the grocery store.” [laughs] Nope. You can just get a box from HelloFresh that comes straight to your door. And listeners, you can have that same experience, thanks to our sponsor HelloFresh. You can get $30 off your first week of HelloFresh by visiting and entering the code “alohomora30.” It’s just as easy as that. I’m sure Ginny would probably appreciate this, especially now that her family is sugar-free.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: No, she does say Harry does most of the cooking. But maybe he’s not dragging her to the grocery store.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah. You know, for all the magic they have to do, wizards still have to go get their food because…

Alison: Gamp’s Law.

Michael: Gamp’s Law. Exactly. Gamp’s Law says you got to get your food. So HelloFresh would be a great way to do that.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So now that we’ve had our fill of HelloFresh – we are quite full now – we can continue on with the discussion, which leads into one of the bigger questions with Ginny that I think we’ve broken apart a little bit here. But is Ginny well-written? What are the strengths and flaws of how Rowling writes her? And Rowling had a little bit of input on this, as far as how Ginny played into the story. Again, this was from The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview from 2005, where she said,

“The backstory with Ginny was, she was the first girl to arrive in the Weasley family in generations, but there is that old tradition of the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and a seventh son of a seventh son. So that’s why she’s the seventh, because she is a gifted witch. I think you get hints of that, because she does some pretty impressive stuff here and there. And you’ll see that again.”

And by that, she was implying what we would see of Ginny in Deathly Hallows. So what do you guys think in terms of [that]? Because this is an interesting quote in that it came from Rowling before the series was finished. Do we think that Ginny does live up to this idea that Rowling wanted her to be – this idea of “the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter”? Which, you know, we love the number seven.

Renae: [laughs] Sevens.

Michael: Seven. Seven again. But what do you guys think about what Rowling said here about Ginny? Does Ginny live up to that, and does Rowling provide that in the writing of Ginny?

Alison: Yes?

Michael: I was going to say… too big a question?

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: I’m trying to think of exactly how I want to answer this. I think so, because she is powerful. She’s a powerful witch; she stands up on her own. We’ve talked about how she’s able to take on possession by Tom Riddle. She is able to go toe-to-toe with Harry when everybody else is tiptoeing around him. And we also get the fact that she’s special because… Not to compare her to Ron, but part of Ron’s insecurity is that Molly wanted a daughter, and Ron is the son that came before that daughter. And so he’s always felt a little overshadowed, I think, by Ginny. [She] is this very precious child, especially to Molly, I think. And yeah, she’s kind of this… not miracle baby, but I always get the feeling she was almost like a miracle baby.

Renae: I think that she definitely does go on to show her strengths, but we might not necessarily see all of them – you know, off-screen Ginny. Because even though she has the option of staying behind and staying at the Burrow and being safe with her family, she goes back to Hogwarts and runs the D.A. with Neville and is making sure that other people are safe while putting herself in danger. And she’s 16; that’s a big thing for a 16-year-old girl. I think that she has just this immense strength that you want to see in your main girl character. And as a secondary character, it’s really interesting that she has all of these qualities that shine so brightly, but we don’t really see them as often.

Michael: Yeah. I was actually just thinking about how we were saying that in many ways, because of her secondary nature, that’s also part of why Ginny can’t help but be defined by Harry being the main character. So in some ways, it’s not her fault; it’s just how the story plays out. But in that way, I wonder sometimes when I think about it too, if it’s not necessarily that Rowling fails Ginny so much as that Harry fails Ginny.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Because Harry doesn’t really… I was thinking [back] to their first substantial interaction, which is the stuff in Chamber of Secrets, and to be fair, Harry does try to be nice to her when he sees her at the Burrow and she just freaks out and runs away. But when they’re in the Chamber, and of course once he wakes her up after it’s all over and she’s just an inconsolable wreck, Harry doesn’t really know what to do. And granted, he’s 12, but at the same time, there is no natural instinct for Harry that kicks in.

Alison: Nope.

Michael: He’s basically just like, “Uh… yeah.”

Alison: [as Harry] “Ron! Help!”

Michael: [as Harry] “Take your sister away from me. She’s crying! She’s crying! I don’t know how to make her stop crying.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yeah, and that is Harry’s general… And not even, again, through the fault of Harry, but one of my favorite classic throwaway humor moments is in Prisoner of Azkaban when they’re getting on the train and Harry wants to talk to them about Sirius, and Ron just goes, [as Ron] “Go away, Ginny.”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Yeah. She’s like, [as Ginny] “That’s nice.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So I feel like “Go away, Ginny” is also how her character is forced to operate for a long time in the series. But it’s that moment… It’s those moments, especially in Order of the Phoenix, where the listeners were asking, “what is it about Ginny’s experience with the diary that makes her the person she becomes?” Well, it’s because then the characters can no longer say, “Go away, Ginny,” essentially.

Renae: Yep.

Michael: When she starts reflecting on that experience with her friends, she can’t be brushed off anymore. The reminder in Order, like you said, Alison – that line of, “Oh yeah, remember who was also possessed by Voldemort?” – suddenly everybody’s like, “Oh my God!” I feel like it’s not just Harry who realizes in that moment.

Alison: [as Harry] “Oh yeah.” [laughs]

Michael: “Oh yeah. None of us talked to her about this.” [laughs] “We just let her quietly deal with it on her own.”

Renae: Poor Ginny.

Michael: And then everybody just got over it. “We were all just so excited because Dumbledore cancelled exams that year.”

Alison: Seriously.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Great. Ignore the traumatized 11-year-old.

Michael: Yes. [laughs] Yes. There tends to be a running track of ignoring traumatized children in the wizarding world.

Alison: [laughs] What?

Renae: Just a little bit.

Alison: [sarcastically] No!

Michael: It’s a theme. Might be a running theme or something. And it’s funny because this conversation, in some ways, makes me come around to the thought that it’s not necessarily Rowling. It’s almost what her story forced her to do with Ginny.

Alison: It’s the point of view, yeah. It’s a failing of the point of view that she wrote it in.

Michael: Yeah.

Renae: Yep.

Michael: Of course, there are other opinions on this. Mr. Spencer Fannon once again had a strongly worded opinion. As he said on Twitter, “How about the fact that she is essentially a female version of James Potter?”

Alison: This is hilarious because Ginny kind of looks like Lily but acts like James, and Harry looks like James but acts like Lily.

[Renae laughs]

Alison: They basically just switched.

Renae: I feel like I saw that on… maybe it was Instagram. Somebody commented that recently. It might have been… I think it was after the fanfiction episode, somebody commented something along the lines of that.

Alison: Oh.

Michael: That’s fascinating because I’ve never really heard the comparison to James. I’ve frequently heard the comparison to Ginny because as people, including myself, can’t help but mention, Harry married his mother.

Renae: Yes.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: And if we go by the movie, so did Draco.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So that’s a little weird.

Alison: That’s weird.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But that’s an interesting idea too. Because I feel like when Spencer mentioned it, he was kind of… Spencer doesn’t really have, we know, a positive outlook on Ginny. Perhaps this was meant in a negative way. But I think this can be spun on a positive axis in some ways in that James Potter, while sometimes we have trouble remembering that, does have admirable qualities that Harry would like in a person. Harry greatly admires his father. I’m assuming that this is referring to how take-charge and gutsy James is.

Alison: Yeah. I think so.

Renae: I could see it.

Michael: Because that’s where the comparison lies, I would say. Right?

Alison: Maybe in some of the recklessness a little bit too.

Renae: But then on the opposite end of the spectrum, where James was a bully, Ginny is friends with everybody. She’s friends with Hermione; she’s friends with Neville; she is the only person who laughs at Luna’s weird jokes.

[Alison gasps]

Renae: She has some similarities but then some extreme differences.

Alison: Yeah. It’s funny you bring up Luna and Ginny because I think before they actually got to know each other in the D.A., Ginny didn’t like Luna and maybe made fun of her.

Renae: Hmm…

Michael: So that’s interesting…

Alison: But then she got to know her and then they became friends.

Michael: A few of our listeners actually mentioned that on Facebook. And one of them, Karina Cotter Butler, said,

“Ginny gets a lot of heat by the fandom for being mean (i.e. when she calls Luna ‘Loony Lovegood’), but she’s also the one who says she’s all right and encourages the others to sit with her. And I personally never interpreted her laughing at the things Luna says as mocking Luna in a mean way, but just laughing at the reactions of everyone else because the stuff Luna says is legit funny.”

And that’s what I… Because it is kind of shocking the first time you hear Ginny call her “Loony Lovegood.”

Renae: Yeah.

Michael: Because I think a lot of people don’t remember, especially thanks to the movie, that it’s Ginny who introduces her that way and tells them that that’s what people call her. But to her credit, Ginny is also the one who basically introduces Luna into their lives. And she does it by essentially being like, “Yeah, this chick’s weird but she’s great.”

[Renae laughs]

Michael: Her weirdness is what makes her great. And I kind of felt like Ginny and Luna seemed to have something of a rapport with each other, to the point that Luna knows that Ginny’s not making fun of her, I would assume, since they seem to get along quite well. They don’t have the head-butting that Luna and Hermione have.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: Which makes sense because Ginny doesn’t get hung up on practicality in quite the same way that Hermione would. What do you think it is though about Luna that Ginny would find attractive in a friendship?

Alison: I think she admires Luna’s honesty and that kind of sense of loyalty Luna develops. Those are probably the biggest things, I think, that she appreciates. I’m sure she appreciates how funny she is too. Ginny’s kind of a jokester and Ginny follows more Fred and George than I think Ron does, actually.

Michael: Well, yeah. We get a lot of that in Order of the Phoenix, and Fred and George become a little more absent from the family due to their business and getting ready to leave Hogwarts. And Ginny kind of not necessarily replaces them, but she takes up the mantle of Fred and George in a lot of ways. It’s kind of implied that she was always this way, and that we’re just seeing it for the first time properly. But yeah, she definitely has Fred and George’s sneaky jokester personality.

Renae: I think it’s [in] Chamber, Fred and George sent her a toilet seat or something.

[Alison laughs]

Renae: Or they said that they were going to send her a toilet seat or something from Hogwarts.

Alison: Yeah, in Sorcerer’s Stone.

Renae: Sorcerer’s Stone, yeah.

Alison: As they’re saying goodbye, they’re like, [as Fred and George] “We’ll send you a Hogwarts toilet seat!”

Renae: Yeah, and I feel like that’s only a joke that they would get. That’s the type of humor they had.

Alison: Yeah. Well, also they have that great moment at the beginning of Order of the Phoenix where everybody’s celebrating the end of Harry’s trial, and it’s the three of them going around singing, “He got off, he got off, he got off!” [laughs]

Renae: Oh yeah. [laughs]

Michael: Mhm. Yeah. And then interestingly, that relationship actually does have a little bit of a turn on its head at the beginning of Half-Blood when Fred and George kind of take up Ron’s mantle, where they’re basically like, “Ginny! Are you making out with everybody at Hogwarts?”

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: She’s like, “Whoa! No, but also none of your business.” [laughs]

Alison: [as Fred and George] “We’re not selling you love potions.”

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Michael: In that way we see, too, that she can go toe-to-toe with Fred and George in a way that, so tragically, Ron cannot.

[Alison laughs]

Renae: Nope.

Alison: Well, Ron’s more like Percy.

Michael: Oh yeah, definitely. It’s funny what happens with Ron and Percy’s relationship because really, like you said, the two of them are kind of alike in a lot of ways. Ginny definitely takes a lot from Fred and George but makes it her own in a lot of ways. But I think that would also kind of wheel back to perhaps where that comparison to James Potter might come from in some ways. I do like the positive spin that no, Ginny’s not a bully. She does say mean things to Ron, though.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: But to be fair, Ron says mean things to everybody. So I guess it’s just a taste of his own medicine.

Alison: What does she say to him in Half-Blood, and Harry’s like, “Ginny, I don’t need you saying that”? And she’s like, “Well, you were too busy, so I figured I’d do it.” What does she say?

Renae: She tells Ron to stop being a prat, and Harry’s like, “Don’t call your brother a prat.” She’s like, “Well, you were too busy, and somebody needed to.”

Michael: Which she thinks is funny.

Renae: I love that so much.

Alison: Oh, she’s great.

Michael: Well, and she really flares up at Ron in the scene in the staircase when he catches her making out with Dean.

Alison: [laughs] Yeah.

Michael: And to be fair, she has pretty much every right to. It’s framed in the narration that she’s in the wrong, but that’s because it’s coming from Harry’s perspective and Harry just wants to punch Dean in the face.

Alison: [laughs] Harry wants to make out with her; that’s what’s wrong.

Michael: Yes, he does.

Renae: The wild animal in his chest.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Still my least favorite metaphor in the entire series.

Alison: Hilarious. It’s so funny.

Michael: So friggin’ weird. But again, Ginny holds her own in that moment. She basically is just like, “Wow, Ron! You’re one to talk.” Kind of shooting back at him about all of his stuff with Lavender Brown and basically also again, just like with Fred and George, being like, “Stay out of my life! I’m an independent person.” Which is nice to hear. It’s nice to hear that from Ginny. Especially when we have the moments where we forget that she is not defined by Harry in the story, she screams, “I’m me!” And then we’re like, “Okay, that’s the Ginny we like.” And then I smash down my Thor cup and I scream, “Another!” Smash. And I don’t get what I want.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Speaking of not getting what we want, then the movies happened.

Alison: Oh jeez.

Renae: Ugh.

Michael: Okay. Because we did get a lot of people who were just like, “Please talk about this.” Danielle Eatock, or @BookWorm_62442 – haha, “Magic” – tweeted us:

“Talk about the differences between Book Ginny and Movie Ginny. The movies were such a letdown.”

Sue Ahn on Facebook said,

“Talk about her wasted potential in the movies and what you wished you could have seen on screen.”

And it’s interesting, Alison – you said at the top of the episode – you feel that Bonnie Wright is not in the wrong on this, that it’s the script.

Alison: Yes, yes. And I have one particular reason for it.

Michael: What’s that?

Alison: And this is recently. Last time I watched Order of the Phoenix… You know that scene when they’re walking on the bridge coming back from the Hog’s Head? And Hermione has the line, “Well, Cho couldn’t keep her eyes off you” to Harry. And they do an interesting thing with the camera. They pull the camera into Ginny, and she just has this sad… Like, she hears Hermione say that, and before that she’s all excited with the gang, right? She’s excited about this new thing they’re doing. But her face just drops when she hears Hermione mention Cho to Harry, and all of a sudden, you just see her withdraw into herself. And I noticed it this time and I was like, “Holy crap.” Bonnie Wright could have done Book Ginny, I think, had they given her the chance. But instead we got the crap we got in Half-Blood Prince, and oh man, I just think she had the potential but the script let her down. They did weird things.

Michael: Interestingly, and Bonnie Wright, if you’re listening, this is nothing against you personally. I’m sure you’re a lovely person. And from what I’ve heard, you’re also really doing well as an up-and-coming director, so kudos because that’s not easy. That said, I am not a fan of Bonnie Wright as Ginny and I do blame her to some extent. I also blame the script; the script is awful. But I do think… and I’m not saying, though, that this was an easy thing. Because even with an awful script, if you have a really exceptional actor, they can rise above it. And one of the problems, I think, with Bonnie’s portrayal is she has no chemistry with Daniel Radcliffe.

Alison: Oh, no.

Michael: And I think there’s a piece of that where… Rupert Grint and Emma Watson talked a lot about that issue with them because they knew more from the start what was going to happen with their characters because it was more obvious and it was built up earlier. And because of that, I think they anticipated what was coming. But that said, when it did come, they both still said that they felt weird because they felt like brother and sister. I think there’s even more of that shown in the actual product of what happens with Bonnie and Dan, because I don’t think they’re comfortable with doing what they’re being asked to do at all. [laughs] And I think Dan can get over it a little easier because he had to because he did it a lot in the movies. Bonnie, poor Bonnie, doesn’t really have much to go off of to begin with. But from there she doesn’t manage to really elevate the material. And what’s interesting is in Half-Blood, her and Dan were given the opportunities to create their own ways to get around that. Her and Dan are to blame for the shoe-tying scene, because they came up with it.

Alison: Oh, did they? Because that’s horrible.

[Michael laughs]

Renae: That scene is horrible.

Alison: Oh, it’s bad. That whole thing is bad. That whole… Well, I hate that whole sequence anyway, but that whole thing is bad. Everything…

Alison and Michael: “Open up, you.”

Renae: It’s so creepy. Jeez.

Michael: [laughs] Yeah, and I think if done right… and again, to me it is a mix. It’s not wholly on Bonnie, but it’s not wholly on the script. There would have been an element to overcome that because I think actually you could potentially do that in a way that is romantic. I think, though, that on the acting side, it definitely failed.

Alison: Their kiss is also really weird and awkward too.

Michael: Oh God. Yeah, their kiss is a nightmare. It’s so funny, too, because both of their kisses were used in the trailers, and the trailers are really good at making you think the kisses are going to be long kisses. But those kisses are…

Alison: They’re not. And they’re both stiff as boards.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And the kiss in Half-Blood, I think, is even more egregious because it is so built up, too. And I’m in the minority on this. It doesn’t completely succeed, but the kiss in Order with Cho is built up to in a similar way, and I think the kiss succeeds in that a little better. Partially because it’s all sprinkled with a lot of CGI around it, but also because I think it’s filmed better and there does seem to just be a better chemistry coming from Katie Leung towards Dan.

Alison: They actually know how to… Okay, never mind.

Michael: No, no, no, no. I think you’re right.

Alison: I was going to say, I feel like they actually know how to kiss. Not like…

Michael: No, it’s a pretty passionate kiss.

Alison: I’ve never kissed anyone and I could probably kiss someone better than that scene with Ginny and Harry.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yeah. No, absolutely, for sure. That, to me, is evidence of that. My roommate, Jerris, says that they really could have – and Bonnie, again, I’m sorry if you’re listening – but they could have replaced her after the first movie and nobody probably would have noticed, to be fair. Because she, unfortunately, doesn’t have that much to do for quite a while. It is nice… I really like that they kept her on, because the movies did go to such effort to keep on the same people from start to finish. Which, in a way, is a nice reflection of the books and how important the characters that are minor later become major. But yeah, I still laugh sometimes when I’m watching Chamber of Secrets and she wakes up. Just her reaction, [as Movie Ginny] “Harry, it was me.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: “Harry, you’re hurt.” Whoa! It’s just pretty great. Again, it’s somewhat unfair. It simultaneously seems unfair to put that much pressure on a child actor, but at the same time, it doesn’t when you know that there are exceptional child actors out there. So unfortunately, I do think some of the blame comes down on Bonnie. But, that said, we can reverse the conversation, too, back to the script. What is it about the script that fails Ginny?

Alison: They just don’t give her any character, really. They give her those weird lines. The one time in the movie I think Movie Ginny is close to Book Ginny is at Quidditch tryouts, when she tells everybody to shut up. And I’m like, “Ah, there she is.” But otherwise, she just gets these lame, shoehorned-in lines that don’t build her to anything. All of her most important scenes that we see her progressing through got cut. And we don’t get the one in Order. We don’t get any of the good stuff in Half-Blood.

Michael: Yeah, Order is interesting because Order tries to almost put in its own things, like you said, Alison, the moment on the bridge. She also has that very obvious moment when they’re leaving for Christmas right before the kiss with Cho. The camera pans in on her as everybody’s leaving the room and she turns and looks at Harry going the other way.

Alison [gasps] She does! I’ve never noticed that.

Michael: Yeah. That’s one of the… between the bridge and the D.A. scene, the D.A. scene is pretty stressed on, actually. It’s funny because the scenes about Ginny are dropped in Order, and because of how Order‘s story plays out, they don’t go anywhere.

Alison: Yeah, they don’t.

Michael: [laughs] So, like you said, she’s wasted in that movie because her true role in that plot doesn’t get utilized with relating to Harry’s experience. So, poor Movie Ginny.

Renae: I know.

Michael: She just can’t win. And then by the end of it… Ugh! Her moments in the battle are not quite as hoo-rah-rah worthy.

Alison: No, though it is a funny line. I love when she comes back. I love that moment: “There’s only one Harry.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yes. Yes. That is fun. It’s fun. It’s weird though. It’s still weird.

Alison: Yeah, it’s kind of weird. But it’s funny.

Michael: I think the lack of chemistry makes that moment weird.

Alison: Yeah. They’re just staring at each other awkwardly. And everybody else in the room is like, “Um… What’s happening?”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: And that staircase kiss, she just is like smashing Dan’s head in.

Alison: She’s also, like, two inches taller than him and it looks awkward on those stairs.

[Michael laughs]

Renae: Yes.

Alison: It just really does. Just the way they shot that, it looks way too weird that she’s taller than him, and they just didn’t deal with that well.

Michael: Yeah. Well, you can even get around that again if there’s passion behind the kiss. There is no passion in that kiss.

Alison: Yeah, exactly. So it’s weird-looking! [laughs]

Michael: And we have just also come off of Ron and Hermione’s exceptional Chamber of Secrets kiss.

Alison: Yes.

Renae: That’s true.

Michael: And then we get that kiss.Alison: And the cute giggle.

Michael: Yeah. There’s a lot better romances going on around us. And Ginny is not, sadly, in that way, integral to Harry’s [thoughts]. Because he can’t voice his thoughts, we don’t know that Ginny is integral to Harry’s feelings and thought process as he’s leaving the school to go die. They do change it where he encounters Ron and Hermione, but he doesn’t encounter Ginny. So there’s nothing gained or lost there. And then again – fast forward – now she’s a mom. She has larger hips and she has nothing to say. And that’s her role in the epilogue. [laughs]

Alison: And she has really weird-looking makeup.

Renae: Yeah.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Yep. That’s what they did to Ginny.

Renae: She is not dressed how Ginny should be dressed at all.

Alison: No!

Michael: [laughs] Well, and since we fast forward, we end up at Ginny’s last depiction: Cursed Child Ginny. She… is there. [laughs]

Alison: Oh, I have many things to say.

Michael: All right, Alison, go.

Alison: Read this tweet first because a lot of them are in reaction to this tweet. So while you read the tweet, I will pull out my soapbox and I will start standing on it.

Michael: Okay. You’re going to dust it off and everything?

Alison: Yes. Yes.

Michael: Put a sheet over it so it’s really pretty?

Alison: Yes. I don’t bring out my soapbox often, but I’m about to.

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Michael: So Howl the Mage – our friend Howl, who guested on a previous episode – over on Facebook asked,

“The retcon in Cursed Child that turns Ginny into an ineffectual housewife instead of the firecracker badass Quidditch star – #justiceforGinny.”

[Renae laughs]

Alison: [clears throat] Hi, Howl; you’re lovely. I vehemently disagree.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: First of all – feminist rant, here we go – there’s no such thing as an ineffectual housewife. Housewives do just as much work as a woman who chooses to work outside of the home, and part of inclusive feminism should include housewives and mothers as important parts of that. Because if a woman makes that choice to stay home, that’s fine.

Renae: Preach!

Alison: Lots of important things happen in the home. So, that’s great; that’s awesome. Molly Weasley is a housewife and she is one of the most BA characters in these entire books. Second of all, being a housewife and a firecracker Quidditch star are not mutually exclusive – I think we forget that sometimes – not mutually exclusive. And I actually think Cursed Child does some great things for Ginny. She actually tells us flat-out in Cursed Child that Harry is the more domestic one, that he’s the one who cooks more. And I think we see that Ginny is still very much herself and in control of things. When Harry and Draco get in that fight, it’s Ginny who comes to break them up and goes after them – especially Draco. She yells at Draco and it’s a great moment. If you’ve seen it on stage too, it’s very, very clear that Ginny is very much about the relationships of her family. One of my favorite moments is when the adults show up in Godric’s Hollow and find Albus and Scorpius, the first thing Albus does is he runs right to his mom and they just hold onto each other, and it is precious and beautiful and wonderful. And she stays close to him throughout the whole rest of the thing. There’s a cute part, too, they did on stage where they’re in the church and he’s asleep. She’s talking to somebody, but she’s playing with Albus’s hair – she’s stroking his hair as he’s sleeping – and it’s like, you’re such a good mom, Ginny! [laughs] It’s so cute and it’s so precious. So I do not think Cursed Child ruined Ginny. If anything, I think Cursed Child helped Ginny and helped us remember how cool she is in the books instead of our other visual representation of her.

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Alison: And I step down from the soapbox and I put it away. Okay.

[Renae laughs]

Michael: Okay. Counterpoint, but not completely counterpoint. Because the big thing I agree with is yes, the firecracker and the housewife are not mutually exclusive, and Ginny can be both. I think what I gather from Howl’s post – the big thing that I take away from that – is the “ineffectual” and not so much as a housewife but almost… I do think Ginny, out of almost all of the characters for me in Cursed Child, comes off the best because she comes off to me closest to her character. I think it’s cuckoo loco crazy that she wants to take them off of sugar. I don’t know what that’s [about].

Alison: Yeah, that one was a weird line, and Claire and I talked about that… Well, Claire especially talked about that when we had that bonus episode, where she was like, “That’s a line that feels like it was aimed at just your normal, average London theater-goer crowd instead of your Harry Potter crowd.”

Michael: Yeah, it’s one of those… It’s a line that seems to be put there for the sake of just being like, “You guys know what it’s like to be off sugar, right? Diets, am I right?”

Alison: Yeah. It’s kind of funny too, I think, because that’s almost a mom thing of like, “Don’t eat too much sugar! We have to eat healthy!”

Michael: To me it’s just like… Even though it’s a minor, stupid thing, I guess it’s weird in that Ginny… We know that Harry’s family life, at least the way that Rowling left it before Cursed Child, was the idea that Harry essentially has a family unit that’s not too dissimilar from the Weasleys because that’s the kind of family unit he likes. And the Weasleys are very much in the practice of, when they are able to, spoiling their children. If they have the means to, they spoil them. And I can’t imagine Ginny taking away sugar just for the sake of taking away sugar. That’s a very bizarre thing, compounded by the fact that if you take away sugar in the wizarding world, you can’t eat anything.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: It’s funny because it’s brought up in this scene where Albus meets Scorpius. And it really is just like, if you can’t eat sugar in the wizarding world, you literally can’t make friends.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: What are you supposed to do on the Hogwarts Express? What is Diagon Alley for you but just a depressing place to buy books and robes?

[Renae laughs]

Alison: Books and robes are awesome too!

Michael: Yeah, but not when you have exploding candy.

Renae: That’s true.

Alison: I should be honest. When I go to our versions of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, that’s basically all I do is get sugar, so…

Renae: Yeah.

Alison: Yeah.

Michael: Do you know how sad I was that first time I went to the park? I literally went up to the cash register with a giant handful of candy, and the lady told me that my card was at its credit limit.

[Alison gasps]

Alison and Renae: No!

Michael: And this was before I had a smartphone so that I could just fix it.

Renae: Oh, tragic.

Michael: Yep. All I left with was a chocolate wand. [laughs]

Alison and Renae: Aww!

Michael: Yeah. Not being able to have candy in the wizarding world is one of the saddest things in the entire wizarding world. So that’s crazy. I do not think that that fits with her character.

Alison: Maybe it was just a phase. I think it’s just a phase.

Renae: Maybe.

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Alison: It was a moment where maybe they were just eating too much sugar and, like I said, James is a handful; I bet Lily is a bit of a handful [too]. And Ginny was just like, anything to calm it down.

Renae: Yeah. Kids are a handful. When you add sugar to the mix, it is insane.

Alison: Seriously, though.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: I think the other thing with that, though, is that I take the “ineffectual” from Howl’s post to also refer in my head… Ginny… and this is partially dependent, perhaps, on how you see this argument play out and how this whole story plays out in Cursed Child. And ironically, again, in these moments Ginny ends up being off the page in some of this. Ginny kind of watches the whole thing go down from the sidelines, and she never necessarily steps in. She does give advice almost exclusively to Harry. We don’t see, really, a moment where she gives advice to Albus, other than chiding him every once in a while. But she doesn’t quite directly step into this discussion between them. And I think that people find that frustrating because she is a part of the family unit and because that also is compounded with the fact that they do have two more children who are basically also off-screen. There’s references to how the other children are raised as opposed to Albus.

Alison: I’ll counter that one too when you’re done.

Michael: Oh no, please go for it.

Alison: I think it’s a staging thing again. She’s always there but she’s listening, is the thing. I think we get that from Ginny in the books too. She listens and observes and then decides whether she should step in most of the time.

Michael: [whispers] She should step in.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Alison: But she kind of does, and she talks to Harry about that. She observes the situation. She says, “Dude, you’ve got to figure out your relationship with your kid because he’s having this issue with you specifically and who you are.” And I think she doesn’t want to play middle man in that. She wants them to figure it out themselves. And so she’s there a lot and she’s listening a lot when you see it staged. She has that whole scene where seriously she’s just like, “Harry! You’re an idiot! Your kid needs you!” [laughs] I think it’s one of those decisions where she was just like… and she may have almost learned that from Molly a little bit. When Molly got involved in her kids’ issues, it became a little problematic – Easter eggs, fourth year. That’s all I’ll leave that.

[Renae laughs]

Alison: But I think it’s a purposeful decision that she doesn’t step in at that point.

Michael: Yeah, I think it’s purposeful too. I’m not really a fan of the decision because it doesn’t really end up working because things get to such a disastrous point.

Alison: [laughs] Yes.

Michael: It’s kind of like, “well, you tried that. That was really bad. Maybe you should have tried something else.” Because it just gets to such a disastrous point because she steps out of it. And then by the end of it, I feel like she is there to just be a comfort piece for Albus and for Harry – not simultaneously. She comforts them both in different ways, essentially, because she’s not the piece that ends up helping to bring them together either. So she just kind of does it her way for each of them. Which I guess it’s just funny to see Ginny take that backseat in the situation when it is just getting to such astronomically, ridiculously bad proportions. They are literally sitting in the past and she’s just like, [as Ginny] “This is fine. It’s fine.” It’s like, no! It’s not fine! She’s still just being like, [as Ginny] “Harry, you need to talk to your child.” And I’m just like, “we are stuck in the past.”

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Alison: Well, I think she’s like, “You’ve got to talk to him so we can solve this problem. Because right now we’re not going to solve this problem if there’s tension between the two of you.”

Renae: Yeah.

Michael: I guess the other thing that perhaps doesn’t curry favor for Ginny… I actually like this moment, but I think it is soured by who it’s related to. Because I like that they have that dinner conversation where she basically brings up over the table, “Yeah, you sure left me out of a lot of stuff when we were kids.” And she basically references the “Go away, Ginny” concept.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: I think for some of the fans it’s soured by the fact that, of all the people, Malfoy is the one who is just like, [as Draco] “Yeah! Yeah, you left me out of stuff too!” And it’s like, yeah, that’s because you’re a dick.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: This does not equate.

Alison: Yes.

Renae: Like, there’s a reason, bro.

Alison: Yeah.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: There’s a reason for you being left out.

Michael: Because it ends up being that Malfoy is the one that brings that up first, where he’s just like, “I envied you and your friends, Potter!” And Ginny is just like, “Yeah, so did I.” But it’s just funny because the envy is very different.

Alison and Renae: Yeah.

Michael: That’s kind of an unfair comparison to make, and it doesn’t really come off well, I guess, for Ginny to pull that from Malfoy and kind of take his side on that. Because it’s two different kinds of enviousness that we’re talking about in that respect, I guess.

Alison: Yeah, I’ll take that. Okay. [laughs]

Michael: Because I think that essentially any attempt that this play made to make Malfoy relatable to any of the main characters was frustrating in general for people. Because Malfoy’s a dick. [laughs]

Alison: Yeah. It doesn’t play off very well on stage, is the thing. They’re all still kind of like, “Yeah, we still kind of hate you, even though you’re trying to do this.”

[Michael laughs]

Alison: “We kind of hate you.”

Michael: Renae, what do you think about all of this? How do you generally feel about Cursed Child, and then how do you feel about Ginny within that?

Renae: Okay, I’ve only read Cursed Child once and I’ve never seen it on stage, so I have a very limited opinion on it. But as its own entity, I liked it. As canon, no.

[Michael laughs]

Renae: Just straight no. But I actually liked what they did with Ginny. Like you were saying, Alison, she doesn’t have to be this super mom. She can be the housewife and the Quidditch star. She can be whatever she wants to be and it doesn’t matter. Being a mother is not defined by one single set of things to do. From a mom’s perspective, I think that she probably should have stepped in a little bit more.

Michael: Have you ever been stuck in the past with your children, Renae?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Renae: I have not, so I don’t have experience here, but co-parenting is hard. I think that it’s very important to have common ground, and I think that there are some things where she probably should have stepped in. But at the same time, Harry is Harry, and Ginny knows that. So what are you going to do?

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Yeah. I can totally see that. Coming from a very loving but tumultuous family kind of experience in my younger years, I can totally see that. There are moments when one parent has to step back, especially when the parents are not mutually on the same page and need to figure that out for themselves first. Which is also something that I think this play has trouble with Harry and Ginny. Ginny certainly enjoys bringing up the things that Harry fails on in the play. She tends to do that a lot, actually. But usually what happens – what I noticed in the dialogue – is that Ginny kind of goes, [as Ginny] “Harry, you’ve got to fix this.” And Harry’s like, [as Harry] “I know, it’s bad. How do I fix it?” [as Ginny] “I don’t know, Harry, but you’ve got to fix it.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: And that’s kind of how it goes. She never really straight up suggests what he should do. She’s basically just like, “Yeah, fix this, because this is bad,” without really giving input. And I think maybe that’s where people kind of feel a loss, is that Ginny would give more input than that, probably. The Ginny we are accustomed to knowing from, especially what we were talking about earlier, Order of the Phoenix, the Ginny who chimes in with, [as Ginny] “Well, this is my personal experience that you probably don’t know anything about, so I’m going to tell you about it,” that might be… And again, she does that in some moments, but it’s the moments where it’s not very helpful. Like the moments where she’s just like, [as Ginny] “Yeah, Harry, you left me out of your childhood.” [as Harry] “Do we want to talk about this now, Ginny?” [as Ginny] “Yes, we do!” [as Harry] “But Ginny, things are really bad right now.” [as Ginny] “I know they are! And you’ve got to fix them.” [laughs]

Renae: Yeah. She didn’t exactly have the best timing.

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Michael: But simultaneously, it’s funny that I also do feel like, out of all of what I feel are character assassinations in some ways in the book, Ginny for me suffers from that less than everybody else. And I don’t know if that is… Because, Alison, like you said, even though that is how the dialogue goes down generally for me, I do feel like the fact that they do have so many scenes where Harry leans on Ginny and she supports him as best as the script will allow her, I do like the intimacy in those scenes. And those kind of make me feel like, there’s the part we missed between Deathly Hallows‘s final chapter and epilogue. There’s that leaning on each other to help each other out a little bit. That intimacy that goes beyond just making out on the grounds.

Renae: [laughs] Yeah.

Michael: That’s kind of what I take away from Cursed Child Ginny. She’s not the best thing about the play, but she’s definitely not the biggest failing. I think she still has that Ginny spark in her.

Renae: Yeah. She’s still Ginny. She’s just sugar-free Ginny.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: “Sugar-Free Ginny.” That’s another good title.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Sorry, we’re adding that to the list.

Michael: Yes, that is a good title. Yep, she’s no longer Cursed Child Ginny; she’s officially sugar-free Ginny.

Alison: Sugar-free Ginny.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Renae: [whispers] Yes!

Michael: I love it. [laughs] Well, I think we’ve run out of all of the Thor cups that I had for this episode. We’ve Ginny-ed to the end of Ginny, literally. That’s all we’ve got about her.

Alison: It’s okay. Just like Thor, we are going to upgrade to the better, the walk down the bridge.

Michael: [laughs] I’m going to fully get that soon.

Alison: It’s a great moment. You’ll totally get what I’m saying when it happens. You’ll be like, “Yes!”

Michael: I can’t wait to see it. I will make sure to tweet my reactions to Thor: Ragnarok after I see it. And I’m sure it will involve my favorite gif, “Another!”

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: Any last thoughts on Ginny, ladies, before we wrap up on her episode?

Renae: She’s my favorite female character, hands down.

Michael: Why is she your favorite over Hermione?

Renae: I don’t know. I think it’s because I was the bookish nerd… Well, I am the bookish nerd.

[Michael laughs]

Renae: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. And I admired Ginny for not being the stereotypical nerdy character, I guess. And that just kind of always stuck with me. Because I started reading the books a little late, I got less of the having to wait to see how she turned out than maybe the rest of the fandom did. I’m not sure. But something about her just stuck with me, how honest and how fearless she was. I think she has some really great qualities, and I think she’s a pretty good feminist role model too.

Michael: That’s a great way to put Ginny. That’s interesting – the effect she had on you – because you got to get into the fandom a little later. That’s interesting how that affected that perception. That makes sense, considering how much more she’s developed farther down the line. Because if you knew her just from the beginning as “Good luck” Ginny from Sorcerer’s Stone, there’s not much there to work with. And her moments, despite being a major plot point in Chamber of Secrets, [don’t] really help to increase her character by much in the immediate moments. We end the book with her… I think she is seen at the end-of-the-year feast happy, but her last substantial scene, she’s crying her eyes out while her parents berate her. [laughs] So yeah, to have a clearer arc of Ginny from the start of experiencing Harry Potter, I could definitely see the reward of that in her character. How about you, Alison?

Alison: Yeah. I like Ginny. Obviously, she’s never at the level Hermione is for me because Hermione is the one I connected to the most. But especially as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really come to appreciate her and how she’s so authentic. I feel like she’s a very authentic character. It doesn’t feel like she’s trying to fit any of the typical female stereotypes. It’s not like she’s trying to be a feminist stereotype or a girly-girl stereotype or any… She’s just Ginny. And I think she’s awesome, and it always just makes me happy that she and Harry get together. [laughs]

Renae: Me too.

Alison: Because then they have their cute little family and they’re happy, and that makes me happy.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Until Cursed Child, when they’re not very happy.

Alison: No, they get happy! It’s fine.

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Alison: It’s normal to have arguments and have to sort things out. [laughs]

Michael: Even by wizarding world standards, it is not normal to lose your child in the past.

Alison: Well, no…

[Michael laughs]

Alison: But this is something connected to Harry Potter. Has his life ever been normal? No.

Michael: No, normal is boring. That’s true. Yeah, I think this episode has definitely been beneficial for me to really break down… Especially just looking at your comments, listeners, for the prep for this discussion and reading through some of the facts about Ginny really helped to make me realize that… I do think it is in some ways problematic that she, in so many ways, is defined by Harry. In the end, through this episode I’ve seen that maybe that is a problem that we in the fandom have had with Ginny and how we take her apart and analyze her. And there’s definitely a benefit to putting Harry to the side for a minute… and realizing that there is enough to Ginny that we can work with or extrapolate from. But [it] also justifies why we’re frustrated with how she’s written, because we want more of just Ginny. I think that was perhaps why people were really into the Quidditch World Cup writings. Not just because it was like, “Oh my God, Harry Potter, this is happening right now and it’s so exciting,” but also because this is all from the perspective of Ginny! This is Ginny’s perspective, and she’s not dwelling on Harry. She’s not making one mention of Harry in her writing. That falls on Rita Skeeter. And what does Rita Skeeter get for that but a jinx to the solar plexus.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: So isn’t that…?

Alison: I got to go read that again.

Renae: Yeah, me too.

Michael: Yeah, no, it’s great. And I definitely recommend, listeners, if you haven’t read her writings from the Quidditch World Cup in a while, go read them. Because it’s fun to just see, not only how fun it is to get back into that world through Ginny, but also to see… the way that Rowling chooses to portray her. Ginny is very focused on her career and her job and does not let Harry define her in that moment at all. And I think that is actually what makes that piece so strong. So yeah, quit defining Ginny by Harry.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: As Alison said, she’s just Ginny. I like that. That could be the title of her series.

Alison: Just Ginny.

Michael: Just Ginny.

[Michael and Renae laugh]

Alison: That sounds like it’s a… Never mind.

Michael: What were you going to say? Say it.

Alison: I was going to say, it sounds like one of those cheesy ’90s movies of a working class woman.

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: It felt like the title of a potential John Green book to me – Just Ginny.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But we want to also just thank just Renae…

[Alison and Renae laugh]

Michael: … who is not just our guest, but such a great help on our Social Media Team. We really can’t do what we do without the amazing work that our Social Media Team does, and Renae is a big part of that. So thank you, not only for joining us, Renae, for this discussion, but for all the work you do for Alohomora!.

Renae: Thank you for having me. This was a lot of fun. I was kind of nervous, but this was a lot of fun.

Michael: Well, it didn’t show. You were a natural.

Alison: Yes! Awesome.

Renae: Yeah, no, it’s been great listening… or I guess reading all of the feedback from everybody after each episode. We go through [and] we look at all the comments. I try, at least, to like all of the comments, but I think we’re going to start working on responding to all of them. So definitely if you want your opinion heard on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, we’re there, we’re listening, and we’re waiting. So just let us know how you like what we’re doing [and] what we need to do. We need your feedback, so definitely let us know.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. As I hope you realize, listeners, from this episode, the work that the Social Media Team did to get the word out about the Ginny episode, a lot of this episode was built on your comments and your feedback. And it’s because the Social Media Team put that call out there. So thank you again, Renae. We appreciate all you do, and thank you again for being on the episode.

Renae: You’re welcome.

Alison: Our next episode will be a chapter episode, and we’re going to go back and explore one that is very lovely for the month we’re in. We’re going to go back to Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 12, “The Mirror of Erised.”

Michael: How perfectly seasonal and fitting.

Renae: Oh yay, Christmas! [laughs]

Alison: It’s going to be great!

Michael: That is going to be good. That is such a great chapter.

Alison: It is.

Michael: First Christmas at Hogwarts, y’all! We’re totally…

Alison: Honestly…

Michael: We’re signing up on the list. We’re staying behind this year.

Alison: Seriously.

Michael: [laughs] Every year.

Alison: And let’s be honest… well, two thoughts about that. Number one, one of my [favorites] on any Christmas playlist is John Williams’s “Christmas at Hogwarts.” Which brings me to number two. If you can go to one of the parks when they’re doing their Christmas celebration, do it! It’s so pretty!

Michael: Oh, that’s right. You got to see it.

Renae: [sighs] I want to.

Alison: It’s so pretty!

Michael: You’re definitely going to have to gush about that if you’re on the next episode. [laughs]

Alison: Yes, because it is amazing. I definitely was crying at one point. It’s fine.

Michael: And listeners, if you want to be on the next episode – or any of our future episodes – and if you want to contribute to the show, there are ways to do that. First of all, on our main site… which by the way, listeners, we hope is back up by the time you are listening to this episode. We had to port our server over to get it back up and running. So hopefully by the time you’re hearing this, it is up and running and you’re commenting lots on the episode. Yay!

[Renae laughs]

Michael: But once the site is back, you can go to the Topic Submit page on the main site. That’s where you can suggest topics for the show, just like some of our listeners recommended Ginny to be a topic. Because we do tally how many times we get a suggestion. We have categorized all of the topics you got. We have so many to go through, you guys. We have plenty to keep us going for quite a while, but we want more and we want to know if you guys want the same things. So that helps us out a lot. If you want to be on the show, there is a page for that as well on the main site. We have all the instructions. Read them carefully before submitting to be on the show, because not only do we want you to submit a written audition, but also an audio audition because we need to hear what you’re going to sound like. If you have a set of Apple headphones – we say that because that has pretty much everything you need in it, including the microphone – you’re all set. But if you have a mic pair of headphones – and we can get you set up with all the recording equipment that’s free, as far as the… we use Audacity for that – you’re all set. It’s super easy. No fancy equipment needed.

Alison: Well, if you just want to tell us what you think though, just get in contact with us and you’ll probably get in contact with Renae.

Renae: Yep.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Contact us on our Twitter at @AlohomoraMN; on Facebook at; [and] on our website that will hopefully be fixed soon, Thank you for your patience with that, by the way, listeners.

Michael: We appreciate it, listeners.

Alison: We are trying to figure it out, and it will be up and running as soon as we can get it up. We have a YouTube page?

Michael: We do.

[Renae laughs]

Alison: We have a YouTube channel!

Michael: Yeah. That’s where some of our previous discussions have gone.

Alison: Ohh!

Michael: [laughs] Alison is discovering this just like the listeners.

Alison: I didn’t realize that.

Michael: Boom!

Alison: Awesome. We have a YouTube channel ( Or you can email us at

Michael: I have to take this moment to shout out to a few of you fans. Some of you went beyond this contact, and you found me at the library.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: I just recently met Jaye Dozier in person, because she lives here in Austin. She came to the library while I was working on the children’s desk. And I also met a young man – I believe his name is Elliot – [who] actually attended our teen program showing of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And as I walked by a computer he was sitting at, he was on the SpeakBeasty website. And I was like, “Do you listen to SpeakBeasty?” And he looked at me, pointed, and went, “You’re Michael, aren’t you? I met you last week, and I didn’t realize until I got into the car who you were! I listen to SpeakBeasty, I listen to Alohomora!, and I love them. Oh my God!” And I was just like, “Oh, that is amazing that literally one of our listeners actually attends my teen programming at the library.”

Renae: That’s awesome.

Michael: So hi, Jaye; hi, Elliot. It was wonderful to meet you. Come by the library any time. It was wonderful to see you there. And hopefully we can get more chances in the future to talk Potter. Listeners, there’s another great way to get involved with us with talking Potter on our Patreon page. Once again, we want to remind you to check that out ( You can sponsor us for as little as $1 a month. Again, as we mentioned at the top of the show, Dumbledore’s Office is open on Facebook for all of our Patreon sponsors to join us to hang out and chat about Alohomora! [and] Harry Potter stuff that’s on your mind outside of the show in a special space for our Patreon sponsors. And yes, I have not forgotten the video gaming, listeners. I am in the process of… at this point, a lot of it has actually been captured and filmed. But at this point I need a new computer, because I cannot edit this much amount of footage properly for you guys with my current computer. And don’t worry, your money is not paying for it. My parents are going to help me with this Christmas gift of a new computer. [laughs] So I will have a new computer for editing soon, and those episodes hopefully will be out to you soon enough. It’s in the can. We’ll get there soon. So again, for all kinds of neat perks.

Alison: And that’s it for for us, I guess. We’re going to go jump on a broomstick and learn how to fly from Ginny or something.

Michael: That sounds pretty cool.

Alison: She’ll take our sugar away. Dang it!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: If we catch up to her, she’ll give us back the sugar.

Alison: Good.

[Michael laughs]

[Show music begins]

Alison: All right. Let’s do it. I’m Alison Siggard.

Michael: And I’m Michael Harle. Thank you for listening to Episode 234 of Alohomora!.

Alison: Open the Dumbledore. [as Thor] Another!

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Brilliant.

[Show music continues]

Michael: You’re all set. It’s super easy. No fancy equipment needed. Renae can attest to this. [pause] Attest, Renae.

Renae: Oh, I muted myself. Sorry.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: No, it’s fine.

Renae: Sorry.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: She’s like, “Mmm…”

Michael: She’s like, “No, I can’t; it was really difficult. Please don’t be on show; it’s horrible.”

Renae: It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Oh dear…