Transcript – Episode 27
[Show music begins]
Caleb Graves: This is Episode 27 of Alohomora! for April 21st, 2013.
[Show music continues]
Caleb: Hey, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Alohomora! We’ve got a really great show in store for you today. I’m Caleb Graves.
Rosie Morris: I’m Rosie Morris.
Laura Reilly: I’m Laura Reilly. And here we have a very special fan guest, an Alohomora! listener of ours, Pierra. So welcome, Pierra.
Pierra Paradis-Brillant: Thank you so much, guys, for inviting me on the show. Actually I never thought I could be on the show. I even thought about sending an audio file or [something]. I just… “Hey, Kat read my stuff on my DeviantArt page, and she sent me an invitation for… to be on the show,” so I’m really excited to be here.
Laura: We’re very excited to have you. So tell us, where are you from?
Pierra: I’m from Montreal in Canada, so I speak French and English. French is my first language, and I started reading the books around maybe sixteen or seventeen. I am twenty-nine now, so it’s been a while I’m reading the stuff. And actually I started reading the books in French. I read the first four books in French, and then I switched in English when Order of the Phoenix came out. I just read the books in English from this moment on.
Laura: How do those experiences differ between reading it in the different languages?
Pierra: Actually, I like it much better in English. I prefer the books in their original language, and in French they change a lot of names. So “Harry” is still “Harry,” but Hogwarts is a different name. It’s called “Poudlard,” and it’s really kind of silly because when I switched to English, I was having a bit of a hard time [with] who is doing what and who is who in the series, and all the houses have different names in French.
Caleb: It’s like starting a whole new series over.
Pierra: Yeah, yeah! And actually Snape is still “Severus,” but his family name is different.
Caleb: Huh. So that makes me wonder because what we always do toward the end of a book is we talk about the different covers for different books.
Caleb: So the book…
Laura: I love the French covers.
Pierra: Yeah, the French covers are very pretty. I’ve got all the books in English, but I bought the French edition of the first book because I thought the cover was just so great with Hermione, Ron, and Harry in front of Hogwarts, [which] kind of looks like a Muggle school behind.
Pierra: But it’s really nice, and I had it signed by John Granger at LeakyCon last summer. It was really exciting. It was so exciting.
Caleb: Oh, so you were at LeakyCon last summer.
Pierra: Yes, it was my first LeakyCon. I had so much fun. I’m definitely going back to Portland this summer to be there.
Laura: What’s your house? We always have to ask that.
Pierra: Oh, my house. I think I’m with… [in] between Ravenclaw and Slytherin, but if I had to go purely on the personality level, I would definitely be Ravenclaw. But if I go for my allegiance and favorite characters, it would probably be Slytherin, though. I’m a big fan of Snape and the Malfoys.
Laura: Very interesting.
Pierra: And I really like that Rowling actually put sort of French things in her books, like words.
Pierra: I think she was a French teacher at some point, and just the name of Tom Riddle’s… “Voldemort” is actually a weird French kind of sound. And it’s really fun because I can analyze his name and found really different meanings from what we first hear about it because when you analyze, “Voldemort” can also mean “stealing death,” or either it could be death itself flying, so it really has new dimensions to it when you’re reading the books to what Voldemort wants to do and what are his names and actually what type of character he is.
Caleb: Interesting. Cool. All right, well, we do have a very huge announcement to make today. We’ve been leading up to this announcement with our favorite moments over the past few weeks. Myself, Rosie, Laura, Kat, and Noah all shared ours. We posted the last one yesterday. We’ve been leaving you a few hints in those posts. Some of you may have figured it out, but our big announcement is that for the past year the show has been following the format of two chapters for every episode. Every episode runs every two weeks, or a new episode every two weeks. But the big change is that we will now be going to one episode per week, discussing one chapter per episode.
Rosie: Woo-hoo! [laughs]
Caleb: Yay! So we’re really excited about this. We think change is always a good thing, and we think it’s going to be a really cool way to be with you guys more often. Obviously we’ll be there once a week. Our shows will be slightly shorter because we’re talking less – about less content – since we’re only doing one chapter. But we’re also bringing in a new element because it will not be just Noah, Kat, Rosie, and myself as the lead hosts. We are bringing on two more lead hosts. One is Laura, who is on here today, so we’re excited that she’s joining us. And we’re also being joined by Eric Scull, long time host of MuggleCast and several other podcasts. And he’s guested here a couple of times. So we’re really excited that we’ll now have six lead hosts joining you guys every week. We’ll have different combinations of hosts, but we’re really excited about this starting up.
Rosie: We hope this means that you guys can listen to us more often in shorter bursts so that you don’t have to sit through a whole two- or even – as last week’s show – three-hour…
Rosie: … podcast each time. And that you guys really enjoy the detailed chapter analysis that you guys seem to love so much, and we do too.
Caleb: Right. So by the time this episode – that we’re recording now – comes out, I believe… yeah, it looks like we will be recording that first one-chapter episode later in that week, and the following… next weekend will be our first release. So we will be hitting the ground running with this.
Laura: All right. So before we start, just a reminder: To fully appreciate this episode and all the details that we’re going to dive into make sure you’ve read Chapters 15 and 16 of Prisoner of Azkaban, which are “The Quidditch Final” and “Professor Trelawney’s Prediction.”
Rosie: But, as usual, before we go into Chapters 15 and 16, we are going to do our recap of our discussion from last week. So we were talking about Chapters 13 and 14, and these are the comments that you guys have sent in in reaction to that episode. Firstly, thank you to everyone who has commented on my behalf about the “scampered” and “scarpered” issue that they were talking about during the episode. And, yes, “scarpered” is a perfectly normal British word that just means kind of “legging it” or “running away.” Thank you to everyone that said, “Rosie would have said this,” but this is what is happening. So…
Rosie: …proof that you really do need a Brit on these shows. [laughs] In the meantime, however, on the forums we have got… actually, all of our comments are from the forums today. But bravenclaw has said, in regards to the discussion on Umbridge and Draco’s Patronus-casting abilities:
“I think a pure heart can’t have impure intentions. I believe Dolores is pure of heart because in her eyes, she has pure intentions […] I also think Draco can’t produce a Patronus not because he’s impure of heart, but because he himself doesn’t trust himself when it comes to his intentions. As is exposed in the sixth book, he is immensely conflicted and uncertain. Maybe, due to his sixteen-year-old murder attempt, he never fully trusted his own judgement again. Due to this hesitance, he can’t believe in himself to procure the Patronus.”
What do you guys think?
Laura: I think that’s really interesting.
Caleb: That’s a good point. I mean, last episode I said that I think Draco can’t really make the full Patronus because it takes a lot of magical skill, and it’s pretty rare that Harry is able to do it, and that’s why it’s such a big deal he can. But I think this actually plays into that because if he doesn’t have that firm security and confidence in what he’s doing, he’s never going to be able to stir it up to create a full Patronus. So I dig it.
Laura: Yeah, I think… especially that Umbridge is able to produce a Patronus – yeah, I have to agree that has nothing to do with being totally pure of heart because she clearly isn’t. So I think this is a pretty solid explanation.
Rosie: Indigo on the forums also goes into this and says:
“I’ve always maintained the opinion that if someone believes with their heart that they are acting for the best, then, no matter what they do, they just can’t be considered evil, or even bad. Imagine a small child picking up a fish from the water. That child doesn’t know that picking up the fish will hurt it – they think that the fish might want some fresh air. Would you call that child bad or evil? No: they are doing what they think is best. Intentions are very important. If Umbridge truly thought that ignoring the problem and stopping Harry’s story from being heard was the best thing to do, then surely she can’t be considered bad. Her intentions were good, even if she did make the wrong choice.”
Laura: I wouldn’t go as far as to say Umbridge isn’t bad, but I do feel like she genuinely believes that what she’s doing is right. But that – not the torture aspects of what she does – can’t be justified I don’t think as, “Well, this is right,” but I don’t know.
Rosie: Yeah, I agree.
Laura: But her just being a disciplinary – like strict – that’s valid as much as… even though it’s unpleasant.
Rosie: Yeah, so the intentions idea that lets her create a Patronus… yeah, that’s fine, but her methods about going about it and her attitude towards other people tips her on the scale of bad or evil.
Pierra: I think that the Patronus is also related a lot to your will to live and your determination in life, and we know that Umbridge was really… she had lots of goals to accomplish in the wizarding world and the Ministry. So we can say, even though I tend to believe that Rowling just messed up and didn’t make sense in Deathly Hallows about the Patronus… but if we go that way – maybe because she’s a very determined person – that’s… she managed to create a proper Patronus. Not necessarily because she’s good of heart or not because I think Draco is a much better person than Umbridge.
Rosie: Okay, so on another topic from last week, HPAlison wrote in about James’ life debt, saying that Dumbledore was actually the one who raised the idea in Philosopher’s Stone – or Sorcerer’s Stone – by telling Harry that James had saved Snape’s life. But HPAlison thought that Dumbledore was either stretching the truth or lying.
“I doubt that Snape owed any allegiance to James or felt very bad about his death. It was all for Lily. His actions in ‘Philosopher’s Stone’/’Sorcerer’s Stone’ were motivated by his desire to protect Harry for Lily’s sake.”
Caleb: I totally agree. That’s an excellent point because sometimes we take for granted that Dumbledore is always altruistic and… not altruistic. That’s not the word I meant. But always truth-telling and not without a flaw in his… what he’s saying, and obviously we know later in the series that it’s not the case. So I agree.
Rosie: I’ve always assumed that it was about Lily as well. I mean, from knowing about the story between Snape and Lily. I guess it can’t be always known because we only found out in later books, but I never really assumed that it was all because James saved Harry’s life.
Rosie: But it is interesting that Dumbledore would’ve planted this idea in Harry’s head early to try and build a bridge between the two of them.
Laura: Now, this is something I’m not even sure I totally understood the first time reading it – now this is a spoiler going into Deathly Hallows – with Pettigrew having the life debt. It kind of made it seem like he was almost forced to do what he did because of that life debt, but is there an actual tie to that? Like, they have to protect… Snape has to protect Harry because of that life debt or…
Rosie: You mean, like Pettigrew… just before Pettigrew dies, he releases Harry?
Laura: Yeah, I just didn’t know if there was something in the same way, like the love bond is an actual physical protection…
Laura: …rather than just being some abstract something. If the life debt was something that they actually had to be in debt to and not just ignore it.
Rosie: Like an Unbreakable Vow?
Larua: Yeah, sort of. Just something that he wouldn’t even have the option to just ignore it. It’s just because he… even if he didn’t want to.
Rosie: I don’t think so. I think guilt is a very, very powerful force. And I think that comes into play as strongly as love as a force.
Caleb: Hmm. Yeah.
Rosie: But I don’t think there’s any magical relation to it.
Laura: Right. Okay.
Pierra: Yeah, I think Snape just saved Harry because it was the right thing to do. Snape may not like Harry, but he doesn’t want him dead.
Rosie: So also from HPAlison, on a related note, there was a comment that said:
“One thing I’ve always wondered about is the idea of James saving Snape’s life. Snape and everyone else always talks about that incident as a matter of life or death. But you’d think that Snape would have just been bitten and turned into a werewolf. I know that werewolves can sometimes kill, as we see in HBP, but that was with a five-year-old boy not a capable teenager.”
I think that werewolves are meant to be incredibly brutal. They bite to kill and eat rather than just bite to create new werewolves.
Rosie: Which is slightly different from what Greyback did when he turned Lupin [into a werewolf], which is deliberately put himself next to a child so that he would be able to bite and turn [the child into one]…
Rosie: …to kind of create his new werewolf race. So I think it was a matter of life and death at that point.
Caleb: Mhm, I agree.
Pierra: And also, Snape got out of there alive and unharmed by Lupin. But what if Snape shot something, some spell, at Lupin and killed him while he was in his werewolf form? I don’t think he would have gone to Azkaban. Probably not because he was actually defending himself.
Caleb: Yeah. Probably some self-defense claim would come up.
Rosie: Which in itself is really sad.
Rosie: So LumosNight3 on the forums says, in relation to Dementors and Horcruxes:
“I don’t think that Voldemort’s soul is actually attached to Harry’s own soul. I believe this came up in reference to whether or not a Dementor’s Kiss on Harry would take the Harry/Horcrux with it. The thing is, Horcruxes are not dependent on other souls to survive; they’re dependent on the vessel that they live in and when that is destroyed, that is what ultimately stops the life of the Horcrux. In this case, the vessel would be Harry’s body, not his own soul. So if the Dementor took Harry’s soul away, presumably the Harrycrux would remain intact and left behind since Harry’s body is okay.”
Rosie: I think I agree with this one, and that raises an interesting zombie parallel. [laughs] Would Harry then become a Voldemort zombie?
Caleb: Right, yeah. I think I agree, too, because I mean I think 1) We still don’t know enough about… this was… we’ve discussed this a lot, but what actually happens to the body whenever the soul is taken away by the Dementor’s Kiss? But I definitely agree that as long his bodily function is intact, then I think the Horcrux remains there. I agree.
Laura: Yeah, this whole… yeah, obviously, what Caleb just said, we don’t know a lot about how this whole thing works, and it’s pretty complicated, I think, but I have to agree with this writer. I don’t… yeah, I don’t necessarily think that Voldemort’s soul is actually attached to Harry’s own, personal soul.
Pierra: Yeah, because I think that the part of Voldemort’s soul into Harry doesn’t mix with Harry’s soul at all. Because we know Harry has his own personality and is not actually invaded by Tom Riddle’s evil soul inside him. So if he got kissed by a Dementor, probably only Harry’s soul would get away but Voldemort’s bit of soul would still stay in his head.
Laura: Now that raises something interesting, in that, if only Harry’s soul is removed but Voldemort’s… now Voldemort’s soul is the only part that’s there, rather than just being completely vacant like other people that get the Dementor’s Kiss, would Harry, kind of, become Voldemort? Because now that’s the only part of him that’s there?
Rosie: I think… I’ve discussed in the past, I don’t think that a single Horcrux can become a full…
Rosie: …version of that person. So he would be a fractured version of Voldemort, but not the whole scary Dark Lord figure.
Pierra: Yeah, I think he would need, actually, maybe something like the Riddle diary to take form. I think the bit of soul needs the memories related to this life to take form. So since Harry has his own memories, I don’t think Voldemort’s bit of soul would actually match with those memories.
Rosie: One thing that is interesting in the concept of the two individual souls in the same body, though, is you said that the two souls are very distinct and that Harry has his own personality, but there is a certain amount of bleed through between the two. The idea of Harry being able to speak Parseltongue, the flashes of memory, and all that kind of thing, the connection between the two.
Pierra: I think the Parselmouth is a part of his magical potential, but not necessarily something related to his soul or a trait of character, for example, that Tom Riddle preferred to do things on his own. But compared to Harry, as soon as Harry discovers something, he tells Ron and Hermione about it, rather than Tom Riddle being as a more secretive person.
Rosie: Yeah. Okay. So maybe would you need two Dementor’s Kisses to get rid of two souls in one body?
Caleb: [laughs] Oh, man. That would be pretty insufferable.
Caleb: Possibly so, though.
Rosie: Because there is still, ultimately, a soul within a body that could be removed. Yeah.
Pierra: Yeah. And what if the reason that the Dementors are so attracted to Harry is because they are sensing Voldemort’s soul inside him?
Laura: It’s like double-soul.
Rosie: He’s like a feast in one person!
Caleb: Oh, dear. We’re taking this to a place.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Pierra: Because Ginny was also very shocked and upset by the Dementor visit in the train. I was reading the chapter last night and she’s just almost as in bad shape as Harry is when they get out of the train.
Rosie: Yeah, she is.
Pierra: So it’s probably a bit… maybe she relived a bit the events of the Chamber of Secrets?
Rosie: Yeah, I think we mentioned that when we discussed that chapter…
Rosie: …that the possession has definitely left a shadow of something bad in Ginny that no one else picks up on, which is really sad. Okay, and to round out the comments from last week, we’ve got Indigo saying:
“By the way, I do think that Flitwick was literally teaching the doors to recognize a picture of Sirius. At least, I think he was trying to, but maybe the doors weren’t really listening. There are doors that you have to tickle to open, doors that pretend to be walls and vice versa, and staircases that move – so why not doors with a learning capacity? Guys, it’s Hogwarts! The trees kill people, they attempt to poison toads, innocent Mandrakes are slaughtered, none of the teachers are qualified, and an evil killer snake can roam the school for months without being noticed. Classes for doors are nothing here!”
Caleb: I think this person… Indigo, I think you are buying into Noah’s mind a little too much.
Rosie: Maybe it’s a secret personality of Noah. He’s just commenting on it.
Caleb: [laughs] I would not put it past him.
Laura: Oh my gosh, that’s most definitely the case. But yeah, no. I don’t understand what’s Hogwarts’ deal in insisting to get all the stubborn furnishings for the castle.
Laura: Just because it’s a wizarding school doesn’t mean we have to have a magical door that won’t do what it’s told.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Laura: I’m pretty sure that the task can be accomplished way more simpler by using a Muggle door.
Pierra: Yeah, that would be much more simpler. And what if the door doesn’t like your face and just won’t let you into the class?
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Pierra: Would that be an acceptable excuse for not showing up to class? Well, the door did not like me or did not recognize me so I had to go hang out in a cupboard room or something like that.
Laura: Yeah, because if he’s teaching them to recognize Sirius and you’re just a little scruffy that day, if you looked someone just…
Laura: The Dementors start swarming, the doors screaming. Not a pretty sight.
Rosie: But apart from anything else, this is a school that teaches transfiguration, including disguise and stuff. A picture of Sirius, you know, he could easily change his appearance so it wouldn’t look like that.
Rosie: Oh well. [laughs]
Laura: He just wears one of those mustache glasses.
Laura: And that’s completely sufficient.
Rosie: “Come on, doors. It’s definitely not me.”
Laura: All right, so now we’re going to discuss our special feature from last week which was “What If?” So we discussed a lot about the Marauder’s Map. This comes from our forums from CharmSky1467. It says:
“Personally I think that the map is protected from the common ways to destroy it like mud, fire, water, dirt, tearing, etc. Lupin has been compared to Hermione in intellect from their respective groups. I feel that Hermione would know how to protect her books from those common nuisances so Lupin would have thought to protect the map. Especially when they used the map to get out of Hogwarts and then changed into animals which, as animals, they were more likely to cause harm to the map.”
Caleb: Yeah, so this comes from our “What If?” question from last time which said, what if Snape had burned the map right as Lupin walked in, effectively destroying it?
Laura: Yeah, I think that’s a completely valid thing to kind of… even in the way Hermione, during the Quidditch tournament, simply does a waterproof spell to Harry’s glasses and saves the day. I’m sure that same thing could probably be applied, not even just to water but to repelling anything that could be harmful.
Rosie: I would very much like to learn this spell to cast on my books…
Laura: [laughs] Yeah.
Rosie: …so that they wouldn’t fall apart. [laughs]
Laura: Just on my iPhone, just to have it be hovering to never fall down the stairs or fall into sinks. Yeah.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Laura: All right, so this next comment comes from Phoenixandtheflame. It says:
“So say Crookshanks does actually kill Scabbers, would they have all just found a dead Peter Pettigrew in the boy’s dormitory? They may not have put two and two together (that Pettigrew was Scabbers) but a fully body of Pettigrew (instead of just a finger) might be enough proof to exonerate Sirius, or at least take his side of the story more seriously (no pun intended).”
“I also don’t really think that Crookshanks would have intentionally killed Scabbers. He has a degree of intelligence; he knew from his communication with Sirius that the rat wasn’t really a rat. I understand we don’t know the degree to which Crookshanks knew the truth. (How well can an Animagus dog communicate with a half Kneazle?) But if he did know that Sirius was innocent and Pettigrew was the reason for his imprisonment […] But on the other hand we know Sirius wanted him dead, so maybe Crookshanks would have thought he was doing him a favor.”
Laura: So this is all, I guess, just about Crookshanks, what degree his intelligence and communication is. I don’t necessarily think it’s very high. I think that last point is probably what it is, that… I don’t think Sirius was able to tell Crookshanks the whole story and have him comprehend. I think it was more just like, “This rat’s bad.”
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Laura: “Go do something about it.” [laughs] So…
Caleb: This just burned from a very basic question of what if Crookshanks had eaten Scabbers. But yeah, I agree that… I’m pretty sure that if given the opportunity, Crookshanks would have gobbled that sucker up. So…
Rosie: I don’t think he was ever planning to eat him. I think he was planning to capture him and take him to Sirius.
Caleb: [sighs] Oh, man. I mean…
Pierra: I think if Crookshanks managed to figure out that Scabbers was some wizard in Animagus form, he probably… he saw as well that the dog was also Sirius in Animagus form. Or maybe not Sirius himself but he knew that the dog wasn’t a real dog, it was actually a wizard. So there’s probably some sort of really basic level of intelligence, maybe mental communication between Crookshanks and Sirius as a dog. Because Crookshanks actually managed to steal Neville’s paper with all the passwords written on it, so he knew that this paper contained the password. He didn’t steal his Potions homework or any other paper lying around, so he knew that the passwords were written on that paper. That’s pretty scary because Crookshanks can read.
Rosie: I think Kneazles are supposed to have a higher level of intelligence than normal cats. I think I read somewhere that they were supposed to be the cats that were worshiped in Egypt and all that kind of thing.
Laura: He’s only half-Kneazle, let’s remember.
Caleb: Well, still, that’s a step above a normal cat.
Rosie: Yeah. And I’m sure that wizards in Animagus form would smell different from normal animals. They would have a wizard-y smell rather than the animal smell. So I’m sure that animals can tell the difference. Maybe.
Caleb: All right. So now it’s time to get your answers from the last episode’s Question of the Week. And the question was:
“The word ‘stupid’ is used pretty loosely to describe Crabbe and Goyle. What is the literary point of Crabbe and Goyle in the series? What do they represent in the books? Is it possible there is more depth to these characters that Jo has hidden along the way? Or are they purely just bullies that are non-important?”
And we got quite a bit of good comments from you guys on the main site. The first one comes from KittiAutumn, which the comment says:
“I think that the literary point of Crabbe and Goyle is to show contrast in the ‘sidekicks’ of two major characters. Crabbe and Goyle are seen as the sidekicks to Draco, while Ron is seen as something of a sidekick to Harry. However, what shows the difference is the complexity of the characters; Crabbe and Goyle don’t show much sign of reluctance to Draco during the series (especially in earlier books) and have that brutish follower kind of personality, while Ron willingly helps Harry throughout the series in a variety of ways, even though he also ends up having disputes with Harry. As the series progresses, we see that Ron isn’t just that ‘sidekick.'”
Laura: Yeah, I think this is really interesting that it is kind of… and as much as I don’t even like referring to Hermione as a sidekick because she is the best, but it’s kind of two trios and that kind of stark comparison between them. It’s a good comparison to see, even just the intelligence. Hermione is obviously super intelligent, Ron can stand his own more so than Crabbe and Goyle, so it just makes them seem much more competent of a trio. Whereas Malfoy is kind of on his own in scheming. I always picture him being like… maybe the movies have done this, just like, “God, Crabbe and Goyle. Keep up!” [laughs] Because they are just not comprehending things that are happening.
Pierra: And I was so… I would not really trust anything that Crabbe and Goyle said. I think this thing works that way, “Hmm.” Seeing that level of interest, I wouldn’t trust so much. Whereas Harry and Ron actually… Hermione on this one, too. Hermione is some sort of Google search. I mean, you just throw her something and she tells you everything she knows about it.
Pierra: And I think Crabbe and Goyle versus Ron and Harry are very typical demonstration of the difference between alliances and friendship of Slytherin house versus Gryffindor house. That’s sort of a much more of a business type of relationship. You ally, you follow these people because you think they can lead you somewhere. Whereas in Gryffindor, it’s really more emotional and compatibility of character and that you actually admire the person you are following and you are very much loyal to that person.
Laura: Yeah, I think that’s an interesting… that just made me think of a kind of comparison between the Death Eaters and Order of the Phoenix, that the Death Eaters kind of just follow Voldemort. They don’t actually offer anything to him but more just brute force and blind following, but no one is really scheming for him. Voldemort is kind of the mastermind. Whereas the Order, there’s not really much of a leader because everyone can kind of contribute their own skills and everyone is pretty competent and smart. That’s kind of the same way it is for Harry and the trio. Harry is… while he may be the leader, he certainly has to look towards Hermione for a lot and Ron has his own things that he does. It’s not just blind following and brute force.
Rosie: Crabbe and Goyle are kind of more bodyguards than anything else, I think.
Laura: [laughs] Yeah.
Caleb: I agree.
Laura: Because Malfoy is kind of scrawny.
Rosie: They act as the bouncers.
Caleb: [laughs] Right.
Laura: And he clearly can’t handle anything.
Rosie: They are there to make him look more imposing.
Caleb: So the next comment comes from Snakebites and it says:
“The literary point of Crabbe and Goyle is to make a statement about Malfoy’s character. Instead of choosing friends who may be his intellectual and social equals or superiors (such as Zabini or Nott), he chooses a pair of sidekicks who will leave his place at the center of his personal clique unchallenged. He never has to worry about his friends outshining him in studies or sport, and thus his ego remains safe and secure. He never has to worry about them questioning his views or not laughing at his jokes and also has two imposing figures to keep him safe from the retaliation of others he antagonizes.”
Laura: That’s… yeah, I think that’s completely valid. I know Rowling… I don’t know where it’s written, maybe it was on her website or Pottermore, all that where she has said she wrote that scene between Malfoy and Nott kind of just discussing life and she had said that Malfoy kind of sees himself on equal footing completely with Nott, not superior or inferior at all because they have just been raised in the same dynamic and Nott wasn’t an idiot. So yeah, I think that is totally correct that Malfoy just likes to surround himself with idiots so that he clearly remains the superior one.
Rosie: Do you think it’s interesting that we’ve discussed them as two trios, but they’re actually two lots of six as well? You’ve got, obviously, the main Harry, Ron, Hermione, but also Ginny, Luna, and Neville by the end of the books. And with the Slytherins you’ve got Crabbe, Goyle, and Malfoy, but also Zabini, Nott, and…
Caleb and Laura: Pansy.
Rosie: …Pansy Parkinson.
Caleb: Yeah. That’s really interesting. I’ve never thought about that.
Rosie: [laughs] You’ve got six main characters on either side.
Caleb: Obligatory genius moment! I’ll say it for Kat.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Pierra: Draco, I think, really has a bit of a problem with people challenging him because of these people he’s hanging out with. Because every time it’s either he’s got Crabbe and Goyle siding with him, or when he’s alone he’s just saying, “Well, my father will hear about this!”
Pierra: So that’s the… because he actually cannot rely on himself. He needs to… I think it’s toward Half-Blood Prince that he starts having his own personality because, of course, his father is not around to…
Pierra: …to back him in anything.
Rosie: At that point he needs to start proving himself.
Laura: Has it been shown that Draco is actually intelligent? We’re kind of comparing him, saying he’s this smarter, more talented one compared to Crabbe and Goyle. That may be true, but has he ever actually demonstrated skill in anything besides Dark Arts? And even then, not really? I don’t know.
Rosie: I think he’s very cunning. With all of the schemes that we do see him run, they are his own ideas, I think. And we never hear that he’s doing badly in classes either. So I would assume that he is more intelligent than Crabbe and Goyle, who, I think, Ron describes as “a couple of trolls if he ever saw one.”
Pierra: Yeah. Because Draco actually made it to his OWL Potion too and his NEWT class in his sixth year. And Crabbe and Goyle, obviously, are not there. So I think he’s…
Laura: Oh, yeah.
Pierra: …actually good. I think it would have been interesting to see him in Dumbledore’s Army to see what kind of charms and spells he can make.
Caleb: All right, so the next comment actually is from Pierra. I didn’t even realize that it was from her whenever I was putting it up, so we’re going to let her read that one.
“Another point is that Lucius Malfoy is a very powerful wizard in Britain, and one of the very few Death Eaters to be able to walk free after Voldemort’s first defeat. Crabbe and Goyle’s fathers wouldn’t want their sons to antagonize Draco, they know how Lucius can be dangerous. In return it would strengthen their family name’s reputation – the names Crabbe and Goyle would be associated to Malfoy. The Crabbes and Goyles would be feared and respected, knowing that they’re Malfoy allies. People like the Ministry would think twice before confronting them, knowing Malfoy would support them.”
Laura: That’s a really great point. Just kind of on the politics of everything. And yeah, just…
Laura: …associating yourself with different families. It reminds me of Game of Thrones – creating alliances between families to become more intimidating, but yeah.
Rosie: Even hanging out with friends of your father. If your father is a powerful person and he’s friends with powerful people, and those powerful people have sons who are your age, you would hang out with those people because that’s the group that you’ve grown up with. So I think even from… imagine toddler Crabbe and Goyle and Malfoy all hanging out in a little Death Eater crash or something.
Laura: A crib.
Rosie: But I think Malfoy, being Lucius’ son, would always have had that, kind of, upper hand over the more thuggish characters like Crabbe and Goyle.
Rosie: Because the fathers are described very similarly.
Caleb: And if MTV did a Wizarding World Cribs Edition…
Caleb: …I would totally want the first episode to be for the Malfoy Manor.
Pierra: Yeah. That would be great. I wrote this thinking about Kat’s comment in, I think, the last podcast. She was talking about the roots for the word Patronus, and she came up with the Patronus client system from Ancient Rome, and I think this kind of concept can very well be applied into the wizarding world…
Pierra: …because you have one powerful wizard, and a bunch of other wizards who are less… not lesser families, but less influential and powerful families who rely [on] this more powerful wizard to gain influence and be actually protected against the Ministry, or order wizard factions against them. So we have maybe a Dumbledore network, [which] has people like the Weasleys; and we have Voldemort, who has his own Death Eaters; we have the Ministry. And so we have all those different kinds of… also, the Daily Prophet is actually probably one of the strongholds of wizarding power in Britain. But I think it’s very interesting to see it that way because we see some… it shows how much the wizarding world is actually corrupt, because we see people escaping justice, we see people getting no justice at all, like Sirius Black. He was sent to Azkaban without any trial or anything, but he didn’t have any powerful wizard network to back him up. That may be why he was sent to Azkaban so quickly.
Rosie: Yeah, and Malfoy is definitely a patron, in that sense of the word. We see him on the board of governors and things at the school, so he’s definitely using his money in a very, kind of, patron way to buy power, and also his family name. Yeah, he’s definitely that kind of figure.
Pierra: Yeah, and in Chamber of Secrets – I think it’s in the beginning when, I think, Arthur Weasley gets a fine for his flying car, and actually, I think it’s the retaliation of Malfoy. Because at the beginning of the book, we have Malfoy going to the shop in Diagon Alley that sells dark stuff – Borgin and Burke – and he’s selling dark stuff, and he’s saying, “Well, the Ministry is conducting raids,” but who, in the first place, allowed these raids to take place? And later, I think we hear about Arthur Weasley speaking about this, and Molly actually warning him that that family is trouble and not to do this, and of course something happens after that. Lucius, or someone in the Ministry, managed to find Arthur with his flying car. So it’s kind of a bit of political warfare that Lucius is waging when people actually try to attack him.
Caleb: Hmm. Yeah. All right, and our last comment comes, actually, from an email a fan sent in, from MoonySnowy121, and it says:
“Crabbe and Goyle always seemed like tragic victims to me, characters who inhibited the same fatal flaw that Pettigrew had; the inability to have the courage to make the right choices and think for themselves. They have no independent thoughts throughout the series, constantly influenced by the more intimidating or powerful figures that surround them. The point of Crabbe and Goyle was for Jo – and in the end, the readers – to be able to compare more selfless and brave characters like Harry and his parents to these sorts of characters. In a sense, Crabbe and Goyle were the early versions or hints of Pettigrew; it is possible that they were inspiration for Pettigrew. I think Jo views cowardice as something worse than pure evil, or perhaps she views them as the same thing. After all, Voldemort was afraid of death and made of pure evil. She explicitly says that Malfoy isn’t; it took bravery for him to stand up against Dumbledore in order to save his family.”
Laura: Wait, so Jo said that the Malfoys aren’t cowards?
Rosie: I think Lucius is definitely a coward, but…
Rosie: …I don’t think that Draco is.
Caleb: Draco, and especially not Narcissa.
Laura: Oh, Draco. Okay. I thought it was saying Lucius. Lucius is totally a coward.
Caleb: I think Narcissa is the least cowardly of the bunch.
Laura: Oh, yeah. Definitely.
Rosie: Yeah, Narcissa is so strong.
Caleb: It’s that blood of the Black family in her.
Laura: Hmm, yeah.
Pierra: Yeah. I think Pettigrew would have been much better off if he had been sorted into Slytherin rather than Gryffindor. But I think he went to Gryffindor because he really wanted to be James’ friend and maybe… actually, Sirius stole this position from him, probably right after they were coming [face to face] in first year. Pettigrew just really tried to hang [on] to this dream that maybe one day he’s going to be James’ best friend, but it always was Sirius who was James’ best friend and Pettigrew really resented him for that.
Caleb: Yeah. I don’t know. Well, I think that wraps up the comments from last week’s episode. Thanks, everyone, for sending those in.
Rosie: So we’d better start our discussion for Chapters 15 and 16, which is “The Quidditch Final” and “Professor Trelawney’s Prediction.”
[Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 15 intro begins]
Draco: Look at him blubber.
[Sounds of Crabbe and Goyle sniggering]
Hermione: Chapter 15.
Draco: Have you ever seen anything quite as pathetic?
Hermione: “The Quidditch Final.”
[Sound of a slap]
[Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 15 intro ends]
Caleb: All right. Well, here at the start of this chapter we find out that Buckbeak is set to be executed. All of a sudden now Harry and Ron decide they’re going to help more. Hermione is super emotional because she’s been the one helping all this time, and all of a sudden all is forgiven. So everyone is back to being friends in the name of Buckbeak being executed. [laughs] How wonderful. Sad that it took that much for them to decide they weren’t going to be fighting anymore.
Rosie: They just can’t deal with girls crying.
Caleb: Yeah, that’s it. That’s what makes Ron buckle finally. And obviously Hagrid is depressed at the news of Buckbeak being… the order of being executed when they go and see him. Then as Harry, Ron, and Hermione leave Hagrid they notice that Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle are laughing because they’re obviously very high on the news that Buckbeak is going to be executed. And then we get this wonderful scene where Hermione will take no more of it and slaps the snot out of Draco Malfoy.
Caleb: And as great as it is that she slaps him, I’ve just got to say the punching in the movie is so much better.
Laura: I have to totally agree. I was actually disappointed because of all the books I have reread, I’ve actually reread Prisoner the least, just because I didn’t own it, and because I have seen the movie so many times, I forgot that Hermione doesn’t actually punch him in the face and it was a slap. So when I was rereading I was like, wait a minute, she doesn’t punch him? It’s so much better, but…
Caleb: But still he gets it.
Laura: Well, it’s still badass and I still love it. [laughs] Because you have to remember Hermione is thirteen here.
Rosie: Yeah. But from a feminist point of view, the punch is more empowering for a woman because the slap is kind of…
Rosie: …seen as a bit too girly.
Laura: The slap is something I associate… like, if you’re slapping a crappy boyfriend or something across the face, but not if you’re like, this guy is such a jerk. You just punch him in the face and it’s going to be awesome.
Caleb: I’m sure she has enough rage and frustration between the case and Ron being annoying and classes being hard, though, that that slap had quite the kick.
Laura: There’s a lot of aggression being pent up in that.
Laura: Not to mention, just the years of… the last three years now, I guess, of Malfoy calling her Mudblood and everything.
Caleb: Right. And in this scene she also pulls out her wand before Draco and his cronies take off, and I was kind of wondering here, what do you think she was thinking of doing to him?
Laura: It’s kind of like, I would imagine a Mad-Eye moment, of… not turning him into a ferret specifically, but something along those lines.
Rosie: We know that Ginny is an expert in the Bat-Bogey Hex, so maybe something along that line.
Caleb: Right. Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking.
Pierra: That was a great moment for Hermione because, of course, no teacher actually heard about this because Draco wouldn’t dare tell Snape [in a high-pitched voice], “Hermione hit me,” [back to normal voice] and he would have… I don’t think that it would have been to his advantage to tell that he had been slapped in the face by a girl, especially Hermione.
Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]
Pierra: And I don’t think Lucius would have appreciated to have heard about, [in a high-pitched voice] “That Mudblood hit me on the face.” [back to normal voice] I don’t think it’s Draco. It was a great strategic moment for Hermione because no teacher was around to see this.
Rosie: Yeah. It would have been an embarrassment to admit to it.
Caleb: Okay, so after this they go back to their lessons, and Hermione misses Charms. This is just one more way that I’m just like, “Harry and Ron, how are you still so dumb?” That clearly something is up and…
Caleb: …it’s not just Hermione being all over the place and missing… because Hermione’s excuse of forgetting a lesson – like no, there’s no way you would buy that. It’s Hermione.
Laura: Yeah, they just never… yeah, I was going to bring this up in the next chapter. They just never challenge anything. They’re smart enough to realize something’s up and then them saying, “Wait a minute, how can you be taking those two exams at once?” And she’s just like, “Of course I’m not taking the exams at once.” And they’re just like, “Okay!”
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Laura: “Hermione says so.”
Caleb: Yeah, they refuse to acknowledge the clues that something is clearly up.
Rosie: But at the same time, it’s very nice that they trust her so much just to believe her at face value. [laughs]
Caleb: [laughs] Yeah, a little bit naive though.
Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]
Laura: They so don’t care. They’re like, “Whatever. You be crazy, Hermione, with all your classes.”
Laura: Just don’t even care about it.
Laura: Maybe they just don’t even want to hear about it.
Pierra: They were just lazy about it. Like, okay, it doesn’t threaten anyone’s life or their own Quidditch practice so yeah, Hermione can do whatever she likes. I think…
Pierra: …someone like Hermione skipping a lesson would be actually dangerous for her because she’s got such good marks, and teachers seem to like her a lot so…
Laura: Mhm. Her absence would go noticed.
Caleb: All right and after Charms they head up to Divination class, and they are talking about crystal ball gazing. [laughs] And I just love Ron’s reading, whenever it gets to him to look into the crystal ball, in which he says, “It’s obvious what this means. There’s going to be loads of fog tonight.”
Caleb: Not too clever, but I’m just imagining the moment. And then this sets off… where after Harry and Ron – or excuse me, Harry and Hermione – laugh quite loudly over the joke, sets off this argument between Hermione and Trelawney, and then Hermione takes off out of class, which is… the first time you go through this, it’s pretty… I mean, obviously she has some problems with Divination, but it’s still a big deal for Hermione to just walk out of a class.
Laura: She’s on that adrenaline. She’s having a day.
Pierra: Yeah, she could have just flipped the table and…
Pierra: …[as Hermione] “I don’t care about this class!”
Caleb: I wish she would have flipped the table.
Caleb: That would have been wonderful.
Rosie: I think it’s completely believable though, for anyone who’s ever been that much of an overachiever, to want something so badly and to be so stressed out about it that just the tiniest thing will set you off.
Rosie: Definitely believable for Hermione at this moment.
Pierra: Yeah, and Divination is a very frustrating subject to Hermione because she really thinks she’s wasting her time in this class while she could be doing something much more important and much more rigorous type of magic, like Transfiguration or Charms, and she’s stuck there having to endure Trelawney and whatever she’s crazy about, who’s going to die this year.
Laura: Yeah, I also think this chapter – in these two moments between the slap and the storming out – is good on Jo’s part of just setting up some development with Hermione because at this point, we’ve only really seen from her – in the first two books – her being very strong-willed, very good student, very good friend, but still always that annoyance of never breaking the rules and always being like that. So kind of setting up for future books, especially Order of the Phoenix with everything with the DA. It kind of sets up that she’s breaking out of that character a little bit, and, I think, becoming more likeable to people that might not have liked her at the time.
Laura: Even though I’ve always liked Hermione. But…
Rosie: I was going to say, also, that the circle theory and the parallel theory between this book and Order of the Phoenix is so interesting when it comes to Divination because…
Rosie: …obviously so much of that later book is all about the prophecies, and yet in this book – which is its parallel – we are kind of taught to see that Divination is this kind of loose subject that doesn’t really work, only really works on one or two occasions, and that even Hermione – who we trust above all others on lessons and what we should know – doesn’t consider it an important subject. It’s really cleverly done.
Pierra: Hermione really started probably to consider Divination as being really stupid after McGonagall said that she thought it was actually a really stupid subject. I think Hermione in the first place really thought Divination was not really important. But when she heard McGonagall say herself that she didn’t like it, she actually really picked up on it and really, “At least someone is on my side on this.”
Pierra: And it’s McGonagall so it’s really worth something.
Caleb: I also got to thinking because… I mean, obviously we know Trelawney is, for the most part, not a Seer. At least not as successful as Cassandra from her family. But there are a couple of instances where she’s actually making good predictions, aside from those demented moments where she… as we’ll see in the next chapter. But, I mean, she does see the Grim very frequently in Harry and she sees it here again, and while it’s not necessarily an omen of death, seeing the Grim, the dog, is correct. And she also has… I can’t remember now if it’s Parvati or Lavender that points it out, but…
Rosie: It’s Lavender’s rabbit, I think it is.
Caleb: Well, no…
Laura: No, the…
Caleb: That Hermione… that Trelawney correctly predicted that someone would be leaving their midst.
Rosie: Oh, okay.
Caleb: And that obviously happened right now, so…
Laura: But I think Jo’s kind of commented on that once. I think it… I feel like it might have even been in Emerson and Melissa’s interview…
Laura: …of saying that you can kind of construct… with the exception of obviously the time where she takes on that voice – like we’re going to see in the next chapter – of being a true Seer. I think the whole thing with predicting Hermione’s leaving, it’s almost like constructing things after the predictions are made.
Laura: I think Jo compared it to Nostradamus and being like, “Well, he said that and then that happened.” And kind of just searching… like self-fulfilling the prophecy and searching for an answer that would’ve… doesn’t necessarily have to do with it. So, like, “All right, she said someone was going to be leaving us. All right, let’s think about it. Okay, well, Hermione technically left us.” But… yeah.
Rosie: Yeah, because at the time she meant someone would die.
Caleb: Mhm. Yeah, that’s true. Yeah, that makes sense.
Laura: I really think she’s only a Seer when she takes on that… has those fits. I think the Grim is just her being…
Rosie: That’s an important social commentary in that as well. I mean, so many of what she says does actually come true.
Rosie: But that’s because what she says is so vague and is so much of just cold reading and what a lot of…
Laura: Self-fulfilling… yeah.
Rosie: Yeah. What a lot of so-called Seers and things in our world pretend to do. It’s the same idea and it’s kind of a warning that magical seeing is very rare and should not be believed based on the clues that we are given. Yeah.
Pierra: Yeah, and I think Hermione would have dropped Divination even though Trelawney wouldn’t have made that so-called prediction herself. So it didn’t matter, it just… Hermione just left the class whether or not depending Trelawney is making that so-called prediction. But I think the only way to have a real prediction for Trelawney is that she doesn’t actually know that she’s making it. She has no memory of it.
Pierra: So when she says, “Oh, Professor, you said that’s the one who will leave us forever.” “Yes, I did say that.” Well, it wasn’t a real prediction because she actually remembers it. Because when she makes a real prediction, she has… well, no memory of it, but that’s for the next chapter.
Laura: Yeah, no, that makes me wonder if Trelawney honestly believes that she has the sight power, or if she’s aware and frustrated knowing that she’s kind of making it up and…
Rosie: Oh, I think she’s totally aware.
Laura: Especially if she doesn’t remember the fact that she’s making the real predictions, if she isn’t aware that she has that ability occasionally, if she’s just kind of tortured knowing that she can’t actually do it, or if she’s delusional and thinks that she can.
Rosie: I really don’t think that she believes that she can do it. I think that is one of the saddest things, is that she actually can but she doesn’t know, and she’s kind of constantly trying to live up to her grandmother’s legacy.
Rosie: Because she’s got nothing else to do. She’s a really sad character.
Pierra: Yeah, I think she’s…
Caleb: That’s why she turns to the whiskey.
Laura: Oh, God.
Pierra: She’s actually putting on a good show of it like Gilderoy Lockhart, but Lockhart knew that…
Pierra: …what he has done was completely false. At least Trelawney may be not completely aware that she’s not really a true Seer. And when she actually…
Laura: She’s trying really hard.
Pierra: Yeah. When she’s actually a true Seer, she doesn’t even remember. So that’s a bit sad in that way because she doesn’t know that she has this power and she’s not aware of it, but everybody actually knows if they’re hanging out with her for a long time to make a real prediction. But maybe people will just believe that when she makes actually a real prediction it’s just another piece of raving that she’s saying so they just won’t believe it.
Caleb: Yeah. All right, well, shortly after this the Easter holidays begin, and, sad for the kids, they’ve got a lot of homework. Which, what a sucky holiday. But they’re also prepping for the Quidditch final, which is coming up. And they mention that… there’s a mentioning of Charlie Weasley being a great Seeker. And it made me wonder, where does all of this Weasley greatness in Quidditch come from? Because, I mean, pretty much the whole family play. I mean, we don’t know about Bill, I guess, but Charlie does, Fred and George do, Ron does, Ginny does. So it’s pretty good…
Laura: Percy is the star of the show.
Caleb: Ugh. Filth. Just filth.
Laura: I think it’s because they have… I mean, we see… I don’t remember in what book. They kind of play outside because they have… they’re so… because they’re living on this farm and it’s not… they’re totally separated from other people that they kind of have the freedom to be playing outside in the fields. And they also maybe don’t have anything else to do coming from not great means of entertainment. I don’t know what Malfoy does for entertainment, but he can… the Weasleys if they have their broomsticks they can go fly, and that’s how they entertain themselves and get good at it.
Caleb: Yeah. I also just kind of wondered maybe Molly’s brothers were good at Quidditch, Gideon and Fabian.
Caleb: Because they’re twins, right?
Laura: I think so.
Laura: I think it’s supposed to be like a parallel to Fred and George.
Laura: But yeah.
Caleb: Hmm. All right, well, Harry wakes up and he notices out the window… this is in the middle of the night. He wakes up and he spots Crookshanks with a dog on the lawn. So this is really interesting. I’m trying to remember back what I thought about this scene the first time I read it. What is Crookshanks up to? Because this may be one of the first times we get a hint that Crookshanks might be up to something instead of just being a normal cat.
Laura: Yeah, I mean, we… all these exotic, mystical animals are around Hogwarts and then in addition to that the cats, rats, toads, owls. But you know what? No one has a puppy. So the fact…
Laura: …that I’d see a dog roaming the grounds, to begin with, would set off an alarm. [laughs]
Rosie: It would because of all of the Grim stuff. The dog is…
Laura: I would much rather have a puppy than a cat at Hogwarts.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Hmm. So as they go into the Great Hall the next morning, the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuffs are really supportive of Gryffindor. They’re all decked out in Gryff attire. And this made me wonder, would this be swapped if it was Gryffindor… because we know that Slytherin has won the Quidditch Cup for a long time. Many years running. But would it be swapped if it was Gryffindor that had been the winners for so many years? Would they be out there supporting Slytherin?
Laura: I kind of always… I don’t know if I’m making this up, but I kind of always saw it more of an alliance in support between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw and Slytherin that I think if…
Rosie: Yeah, me too.
Laura: Yeah, I think if Gryffindor had been winning, I still think Hufflepuff would still be pulling for Gryffindor just because I can’t see Hufflepuffs ever rooting for Slytherins because their personalities just don’t go together. But I can see Ravenclaw rooting for Slytherin.
Caleb: Hmm. Yeah.
Laura: And the same way Gryffindor, I don’t think, would ever… let’s say Ravenclaw was the one that had kept winning. I don’t think in any world would Gryffindor ever root for Slytherin…
Laura: …in any case, and I think Hufflepuff is the same way.
Caleb: Now, Pierra, you’re a Ravenclaw. So what would you say?
Pierra: I think if Slytherin had been winning for seven years, I think I would be really actually pissed off about it. I would want any other house to win so we can change because Slytherin winning for such a long time is actually really annoying and…
Pierra: …so if it would have been Gryffindor winning all the time maybe people would have been more split up between Gryffindor and Slytherins. But I think I would be just as glad as if Gryffindor would lose at this point because they would be winning too often.
Caleb: Right. Yeah.
Pierra: But I just want to say something about what you talked about Harry’s waking up, about Harry’s dream…
Caleb: Hmm, yeah.
Pierra: …because Harry is dreaming that he is playing Quidditch and Slytherin teams are actually riding dragons.
Caleb: [laughs] Yeah.
Pierra: And that was really funny because Harry is actually having maybe a foreshadowing of the first task of Goblet of Fire.
Pierra: At this point because…
Rosie: Sure, definitely.
Pierra: …the first task is with dragons. So Draco actually is a Targaryen in that Harry…
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Yes! Love the Game of Thrones reference.
Rosie: I would love to play Quidditch on dragons. I think it would be brilliant. [laughs]
Caleb: Ugh. Just dragons any day.
Pierra: Yeah, maybe they kind of upgrade Quidditch like in one hundred years. They are going to play on dragons.
Caleb: Now I just have this image of Draco riding a dragon and screaming, “I will take what is mine with fire and blood!”
[Pierra and Rosie laugh]
Pierra: He’s actually got blond hair!
Laura: No, Draco is Joffrey. [laughs]
Caleb: Yeah, that’s true.
Laura: Do not compare Draco to Daenerys.
Pierra: And Joffrey got slapped on the face a lot in the show, so…
Caleb: Thank goodness.
Caleb: There’s never enough of that. So I picked up on something when the match actually started. We’ve talked about this issue where Rowling has before said there is like a thousand students at Hogwarts and the math doesn’t quite add up from what we know about… at least based on what we know about Gryffindor house and how many kids are in each house, each year. And it also mentions here in the match that there are two hundred people there representing Slytherin. So this two hundred people in Slytherin also goes against the math that we know about houses, but this two hundred sort of supports that about one thousand students.
Pierra: Yeah, I think it’s really crazy. I think Rowling really had a problem with numbers…
Pierra: …because a thousand students at Hogwarts is just crazy; it’s just too much.
Pierra: I think, to my own opinion, if I had to correct those numbers, probably I would say that there’s about two hundred students at Hogwarts and maybe about fifty students in each house.
Pierra: So… and have maybe thirty, forty new students every year.
Rosie: Maybe Harry’s year was just a particularly low yield of kids. Maybe there were just a lot more kids in previous years.
Caleb: I think that’s the only way that her numbers could add up, right?
Caleb: Is like you mentioned.
Pierra: Yeah, or maybe Harry was having trouble actually what a thousand people are there look like. Maybe he saw so many people that he thought it was a thousand.
Laura: [laughs] There’s about three thousand kids right here. That’s how I do math. My lecture hall, there’s apparently three hundred kids in there, and if you asked me to guess, I would have been like, “Yeah, there’s like seven hundred kids in here.”
Laura: I don’t know how to do a head count. [laughs] So…
Rosie: And to be fair, most of these kids have never gone to a Muggle maths class, so they don’t know how to count.
Laura: That’s true.
Laura: What’s a five?
Caleb: Yup. So I also find it very interesting that here we are, the chapter is “The Quidditch Final” and the World Cup is going on down in Kissimmee, Florida.
Caleb: Where we are unfortunately not at.
Rosie: Brilliant timing.
Caleb: I really wish I was at. And I have to give a big shout out because right now it’s the semi-finals and my alma [pronounces “matter”] mater… alma mater – why did I say “matter”? I don’t know – alma mater, University of Texas, is in the semi-finals, so shout out to Texas. Hook ’em horns.
Caleb: Let’s go win this thing.
Laura: We hope Kat and Noah are having a fun time in Florida.
Caleb: Yeah. But what’s most important is that Texas needs to win.
Caleb: But there’s a scene during the match, and obviously as these movies go on we get less and less of Quidditch, which is really unfortunate. But I would have given anything to see this scene where Fred smashes Flint’s head with his bat in the movie. Maybe that’s a little violent for me, but…
Caleb: I just still think it’s… any time Flint gets what he deserves is excellent.
Laura: Yeah. And more Weasley twins scenes are always a plus for me. [laughs]
Caleb: Right. Also, man, so love Lee Jordan and I love it because, especially as a Gryffindor, his bias calling. But it gets pretty out of hand in this match, and obviously it’s a very high stakes, high emotional match. But good grief, how has he not been pulled yet?
Caleb: Obviously McGonagall is always shouting at him to shake back, but surely someone else would have stepped in by now and been like, “Nope, not anymore for you, bud. You’re done.”
Laura: Yeah, I think… they should probably get someone that’s totally unbiased to…
Caleb: Yeah, but I mean there’s obviously not going to be anyone that’s totally unbiased, but Jordan is very vehement about his support for Gryffindor.
Caleb: Which I’m fine with, but…
Pierra: I really cannot imagine Snape making the commentaries for Quidditch.
Caleb: Oh, my God.
Caleb: I just almost spit out my food. That is… just the thought of Snape doing Quidditch commentary.
Rosie: Would be hilarious.
Caleb: Judging everyone constantly.
Pierra: Everybody would be throwing in stuff from the… and having it as the same voice that Rickman has in the movies…
Pierra: …like, [as Snape] “Flint’s pass to…”
Pierra: “…Malfoy. Malfoy, no. Okay, Potter…”
Laura and Pierra: “Five points from Gryffindor.”
Laura: Yeah, that would be great.
Pierra: So aside the Quidditch game, a lot of people actually yelling in this book. I think it’s just maybe what I call “Dementor weather.” The presence of the Dementor actually increased all the emotions that people have, especially the anger and maybe the sadness sometimes because people are crying and slapping each other and crying again and then shouting and…
Pierra: Actually, it’s not that bad.
Laura: Everyone is just…
Laura: …really on edge.
Rosie: Everyone is suddenly thirteen!
Caleb: Including my home girl, McGonagall, who…
Caleb: …goes after Malfoy shouting at him, waving her finger and not having any of it. I love it.
Laura: Everyone just needs to join hands and have a nice séance.
Rosie: [singing] “Kumbaya.”
Caleb: Nobody got time for that.
Laura: Everyone, make some tea. That would be great.
Caleb: Eww. This is Quidditch.
Caleb: But at the end of the match, Harry sees that Malfoy is going for the Snitch, and he catches up with him and he grabs it. And this is one of my favorite moments of the book. It just… the way Rowling closes this chapter is so emotionally powerful. All of the feels are happening because…
Laura: I was so happy when I first read this.
Caleb: You get so emotional for Wood because it’s his last chance to win the Cup, and he gets it.
Caleb: And the crowd is going wild, and then that… McGonagall is crying, and that makes me want to cry.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: And then that moment when Harry sees Ron and Hermione, it’s this very simple moment where he just sees them, and there’s this smile, and it’s just… this is why you love these characters.
Laura: It’s one of the only moments for Harry that’s just pure happiness.
Caleb: Yeah, it’s incredibly brilliant.
Laura: I might have cried when I first read this. I was nine.
Caleb: I mean…
Laura: It’s a possibility.
Caleb: I might have cried yesterday, so… [laughs]
Laura: [laughs] Okay.
Rosie: It’s an equivalent moment to the Quidditch Cup, when he wins and then gets together with Ginny for the first time.
Rosie: It’s the same level of emotion.
Laura: Yeah, no…
Caleb: Yeah, wonderful.
Laura: Yeah, and then those good feelings all around continue into the next chapter, which is…
[Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 16 intro begins]
Michael: Chapter 16.
[Sound of glass breaking and mouse squeaking]
Michael: “Professor Trelawney’s Prediction.”
[Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 16 intro ends]
Laura: So everyone is enjoying the nice weather, and they just want to be… she says sipping pumpkin juice, playing Gobstones by the lake, just chilling in the sun. That’s totally [how] it gets in springtime. I’m on a college campus and there’s people playing frisbee outside, not going…
Laura: My classes that are supposed to have fifty people in them have three.
Laura: It kind of… even though they can’t do that because they have to be studying for their exams – it’s just what they want – it makes you think how nice and fun it would be to just be going to Hogwarts in a normal year where evil isn’t taking over the world and you’re not Harry Potter.
Laura: Because it’s just like, oh, they’re playing Gobstones by the lake, they’re sipping iced pumpkin juice, which sounds delicious if you’ve ever had the stuff at the Wizarding World theme park. I want that now. But yeah, so it’s a shame that they can’t just enjoy Hogwarts. But everyone is studying for their exams. I love how they say that even Fred and George were working…
Laura: …as kind of a way of saying, “No, everyone is working.”
Laura: And this still strikes me as not being possible, and we know that they do badly on their OWLs. Yeah, Percy is taking his NEWTs. Everyone is on edge. So Ron and Harry, we talked about this, still being stupid over the fact that Hermione is clearly taking double classes, never challenge her. But the beginning of this chapter kind of gives us a real scope of all their schoolwork. I find it, as a reader, sometimes you forget that they’re… they go to class and school is a thing because there’s so much else going on, especially as you move through the next books of all the other stuff that goes on. This chapter, they really talk about, I think, every single one of their classes, and the classes Hermione takes also, because they’re talking about their exams, and they have a lot on their plate. But what I love is the Defense Against the Dark Arts final is an obstacle course, which is the most fun way to take an exam, ever…
Laura: …rather than just sitting there. And I’m starting the official campaign that now every single exam should be a practical obstacle course [laughs] because that’s way more fun. So they have to fight all of these creatures, and what I find particularly frightening is… they have to face a Boggart again, but when they face the Boggart the first time, they were standing outside, all around these people, and the Boggart would come out. Now they have to climb into the trunk.
Rosie: Yeah, that’s scary.
Laura: [laughs] And it sounds like they’re being locked in it because…
Caleb: [laughs] Yeah.
Laura: …they mention Hermione emerges from it and is banging or something. So that’s scary enough to begin with. What if your fear was claustrophobia or something? Now it’s like double fear because you’ve got the Boggart and you’re locked in a…
Laura: …little box.
Rosie: How would a Boggart show claustrophobia? That’s a really interesting idea.
Laura: Maybe just enclosing you in…
Rosie: Yeah, turn into walls that slowly squash you.
Laura: …smoke or darkness or something. Yeah. But…
Laura: Yeah, if you could just… the Boggart could just chill there, take a nap during the claustrophobic kid…
Rosie: [laughs] “Job’s done.”
Laura: …and just be like, “I’m going to let this box handle it.”
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Laura: But… yeah, so it kind of just casually says Harry fought the Boggart. But I was thinking, if he’s in this trunk – and his Boggart, we know, is a Dementor – like he just casually just fought off a Dementor in a little trunk thing.
Rosie: Yeah, isn’t proximity normally a problem as well?
Laura: Right, yeah!
Rosie: With Dementors. How big is this trunk?
Laura: [laughs] Yeah. I also think a lot of the people in the class, I feel like, have an upper hand because they’ve battled the Boggart once before and they’ve kind of seen their biggest fears and figured out how to make it not scary. Whereas we see Hermione, this is the first time she’s facing her Boggart, and she has a meltdown.
Laura: Because this is her first time that she’s dealing with it, rather than the other people that are like, “Oh, this…” Dean, with his hand again, just being, “I know what to do.”
Laura: But… so yeah, Hermione, we get to see what her Boggart is. It’s McGonagall telling her that she failed everything. And she starts screaming hysterically, and it’s a reasonable fear for Hermione that McGonagall would be telling her that she failed everything. I think it’s an unreasonable response that you’d be screaming at the top of your lungs and then sobbing, needing to be calmed down. But…
Rosie: But consider how hard she’s worked this year. To know that everything’s been for nothing, it would be horrible.
Laura: But Hermione has to know… it’s a Boggart, it’s not real! I don’t know. Hermione strikes me as someone that’s so reasonable and logical.
Caleb: Yeah, but you’ve got to think, she’s probably sleep-deprived right now…
Laura: That’s true.
Laura: That’s very true.
Caleb: …not on her A-game.
Rosie: By this stage, her emotional state is at the point that is overriding the logic.
Laura: That’s true. Okay.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Pierra: Yeah, she’s got a lot of pressure of going to all these classes at the same time and using a Time-Turner properly, so maybe she just broke down under pressure when she heard McGonagall telling that she would fail everything.
Laura: And not to mention she’s also in the course of… the week of also… beat up Malfoy and ran out of a classroom.
Laura: She’s having a week. Girl needs a break.
Rosie: This could have been the sixth exam she’s taken that day, as well.
Laura: That’s very true.
Laura: Yeah. But… so now everyone is… they’re all done with the exams. Ron feels inclined to make fun of Hermione about her Boggart. I’m glad he doesn’t because Hermione could have very well slapped him in the face, too.
Caleb: Probably would have.
Laura: She was feeling it, probably. [laughs] But the trio sees Fudge at the top of the stairs, and he says that he’s here to execute the hippogriff without even saying… the appeal was supposed to happen and he’s just saying, “Yeah, I’m here to execute Buckbeak.” And they’re asking, “Oh my God, did he lose the appeal?” and he was like, “Well, no, but…” So Buckbeak’s already lost before this has begun. We know that now the appeal doesn’t have a chance. This is hopeless.
Caleb: No justice. None. Zero.
Laura: Which is… it’s really sad. And that no justice is really starting to hit Harry and Ron, I think. Hermione’s always, since the beginning, seen that there’s no justice in it.
Laura: And Harry and Ron have too, but haven’t really cared. But now it’s really hitting them, like, “Oh my God, they’re totally just killing this thing right now, and it’s so not fair.”
Rosie: I think it’s a brilliant start to undermining Fudge as well. Because before now, we’ve seen him as a very protective character. Like at the beginning of this book, he was there to really help Harry. But at this moment, he’s turning executioner instead.
Pierra: Yeah, that’s really like Lucius Malfoy’s working here.
Pierra: Because I think Malfoy was actually kicked out of the governor’s board at the end of Chamber of Secrets, and I think ever since then he’s tried to regain some inference but rather going to the Ministry and starting inferencing Fudge. Perhaps he actually met Umbridge on his way there and they agreed, kind of a secret alliance, to start inferencing Fudge to distance him from Dumbledore because Fudge was actually really needy on Dumbledore during Philosopher’s Stone. He was always sending him owls and stuff like that, but right now he’s actually…
Laura: That’s true.
Pierra: …taking advice from Lucius and probably Umbridge behind the scenes right now.
Laura: That is very true. So next is the Divination exam and they’re walking into it like, “Well, this is hopeless.” So this is how I walk into math exams, [laughs] just being like, “Well, let’s just pretend to see if something comes to me.” Neville asks has either of them ever seen anything in the crystal ball, and they’re like, “Nope, not a chance.” But the girls like Parvati and everyone, they’re doing wonderful. So Harry goes into his exam and it’s like a one-on-one exam with Trelawney, which is kind of more intimidating when you’re put on the spot like that. And yeah, Trelawney asks what he sees and the first thing that comes to mind is the hippogriff and Trelawney asks, “Oh, are you seeing a bloody hippogriff that’s seizing on the ground?” And Harry probably could have easily passed his exam if he’d been like, “Yeah, that hippogriff is real dead.” But he’s almost taking the book like a secret approach and being like, “No, Buckbeak is flying away.” He’s wilfully making those… making it happen by saying…
Laura: …”Yeah, no, Buckbeak is flying away and it’s freedom and it’s great,” even though he’s not seeing anything. He’s choosing…
Rosie: But ultimately…
Laura: Yeah, that’s true. Ultimately.
Rosie: It ultimately does happen, so Trelawney should pass his exam because it does happen.
Laura: Retroactively, that’s the thing.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Pierra: That’s actually a good occasion to have the students make their imagination work because they have to invent anything and they get a good mark for it. I think it’s… is it in Order of the Phoenix that Harry and Ron are doing their stupid dream diaries and they write anything in there?
Pierra: That’s really funny.
Laura: Yeah, Harry could have easily passed his exam by being like, “Yeah, Buckbeak is seizing on the ground.” But he chose not to.
Laura: He chose to have good vibes for, “No, Buckbeak is going to get off of it,” but…
Pierra: Or maybe turn it against Trelawney and say, “Oh, actually I see a teacher being sacked from the school.”
Pierra: “A very incompetent teacher.” And maybe she’s going to give you a bad mark because…
Rosie: You fail.
Pierra: …you’ve talked against her back.
Laura: Mhm. So now we have the prophecy, Professor Trelawney’s prediction. So Trelawney starts seizing, which would have been terrifying enough, just seeing… not knowing what to do or seeing your teacher… her eyes are rolling back in her head, she’s shaking, but never mind that. [laughs] Now she’s also predicting that the servant will be rejoining the Dark Lord, which of course has [laughs] super significance for Harry. So I think it’s slightly misleading in saying that after having been chained up for twelve years… just as a wording choice, because Pettigrew isn’t necessarily chained up. So I know you’re supposed to, I think, go back and be like, “Oh, well she was talking about Pettigrew and not Sirius,” but a bit misleading.
Laura: So we get the prediction that the servant will be rejoining the Dark Lord once again, and… now, did this prediction happen because Harry was in the room and was talking to Harry? Or could this have happened with Neville’s exam? Like her just having it.
Caleb: I think she had to be around Harry.
Rosie: I think she also fell asleep, didn’t she? This is the end of a long day for her as well. I think the… she’s always talking about this ambiance of her room.
Caleb: Wasn’t that just her excuse, though?
Laura: No. Yeah, no, she didn’t actually…
Rosie: Well, maybe, but…
Laura: It was because she couldn’t remember it and she was like, “Oh, I must have just dozed off.”
Rosie: Oh, okay. I was just thinking that maybe if predictions need to happen when you do… when you are more open to them. But I guess that wouldn’t really work for the original prophecy, so never mind. [laughs]
Laura: Yeah, well I like that Harry calls Trelawney out on her prediction. In the film, when she’s like, “Oh, did I say something?” Harry’s like, “No,” because he’s just kind of freaked out by it. But he was like, “Wait a minute! You just said the Dark Lord’s coming back to his servants and stuff.”
Laura: “Hold up!” But Trelawney is just like, “No, that totally didn’t happen.”
Rosie: “Don’t be silly!”
Pierra: Yeah, she always thinks she’s falling asleep after when she’s making the prediction. But I think it’s really a random moment. I think she could have said that during Neville’s exam or Ron’s exam. But when I’m looking at the prophecy actually, I think she was… the prophecy is not about Peter or Sirius, but about Barty Crouch Jr. because we know at the beginning of Goblet of Fire that he’s actually been imprisoned by his own father under the Imperius Curse and actually managed to escape and rejoin Voldemort. So I think those things actually happened at the same time, so Harry interprets the prophecy as being related to Wormtail but maybe rather more Barty Crouch Jr. because he’s really the faithful servant of Voldemort. Compared to Wormtail who’s just serving Voldemort because he’s kind of a… he thinks Voldemort is really a much powerful wizard than him.
Laura: That’s interesting.
Laura: That would make the chain thing make more sense.
Laura: How did Barty Crouch escape?
Caleb: Well, they switched places… he and…
Laura: Oh, they switched spots.
Caleb: Yeah, he and his mom used Polyjuice Potion.
Laura: Right, okay. Yeah, I forgot.
Rosie: He would have been out by now, surely.
Rosie: And he doesn’t escape again until the beginning of Book 4.
Laura: Yeah, that’s definitely an interesting possibility.
Rosie: Yeah, it could be.
Laura: So Harry is running and he’s going to tell Ron and Hermione like, “Hold up! Trelawney just made this prediction about Sirius Black and Voldemort!” But he gets distracted because they just find out that Buckbeak officially lost his appeal, which he already knew would happen. And it’s really sad because they get it in a handwritten note from Hagrid, and it’s really shaky, and obviously Hagrid is super upset, and it breaks my heart. But they want to go support Hagrid and they need to get there, but they’re not allowed to be there, so they’re trying to figure out how to get there. And rebel Hermione, who’s now all about the rule breaking, is like, “Oh, let’s just get the Invisibility Cloak and sneak out and it’ll be great!”
Laura: And I feel like we need an alternate… create a name for Hermione, like an alter ego…
Laura: …when she gets into this rebel mode, like badass Hermione. I don’t know. I need an official name for that. So they go to meet Hagrid before the deed is done. And yeah, it’s just heartbreaking because there’s nothing they can do and they’re really upset about it. Like, “Well, maybe we can talk to this and can’t Dumbledore do something?” But Malfoy has got his hands in it and nothing is going to help now. But Scabbers is found, and Ron is super happy about that, he’s like, “Oh my God, Scabbers is back and there’s no cats around to kill him!” but Scabbers is scurrying around like crazy, and why is this necessarily… why is he going crazy like this? Does he know Black is near and all this stuff that’s going to happen is going to go down tonight? Because there’s… why would he know anything like that? And why would he be acting all weird? Why wouldn’t he just be chilling like the rat that he’s always been chilling like to keep his cover low?
Rosie: I think he’s freaked out because he’s been found.
Caleb: Yeah. That’s the only explanation. I thought about the same thing. That’s the only thing I can think of, is that he’s had this hiding place. [laughs] Random though it may be, he’s gotten away from everyone, but now he’s been made…
Rosie: Why would he have not left Hogwarts?
Pierra: He was hiding… but he was hiding from the Marauder’s Map because the Marauder’s Map doesn’t cover Hagrid’s Hut.
Pierra: So he didn’t want to be discovered on the map, so he just went to hide in Hagrid’s cabin and he found a comfortable place there and stayed there. And actually it’s really freaking him out right now because the kids found him back. So they’re going to bring him back on the map area.
Laura: And that’s because Pettigrew obviously was part of the map’s creation, which I always forget, and probably saw Harry using it in the dorm or whatever, and… yeah, that’s probably the reason.
Rosie: I’m not sure that Hagrid’s Hut isn’t on the map. I mean, it possibly isn’t, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen it denied or confirmed. I thought the forest was on the map.
Caleb: Yeah, I think so.
Rosie: And the Hut would be between Hogwarts and the forest. But I think he ran away as Scabbers because Crookshanks was after him and because Sirius had been in the dorm, and Scabbers knew – or Pettigrew knew – that Sirius was closing in. So I think that’s why he ran away, but I don’t understand why he never left Hogwarts, as someone who knew all of the secret passageways and all of the different ways of getting out of the castle. I don’t understand why he stuck around because he was never going to return to Ron. I mean, Crookshanks knew who he was.
Pierra: Maybe he was trying to actually hide in Hagrid’s Hut, and maybe sneak back into Ron’s luggage when going back to the Burrow at the end of the year, and just be discovered like, “Hey, look Ron, you didn’t lose your rat! He was just in your luggage somewhere.” But at this point in the story it’s Remus who has the Marauder’s Map, right?
Laura: Oh, yeah.
Pierra: He took it from Harry. So maybe Harry went to the dormitory and told Ron about this, “Look, it’s Professor Lupin who has the map now,” and Scabbers heard this and he said, “Oh, I have to go hide somewhere because Remus will know that I’m actually in the castle.” So he ran away with it because Peter is supposed to be dead. Remus thought that… everybody thought he was dead.
Rosie: If it was connected to the map, why wouldn’t Scabbers slash Peter steal the map? He was living in the same dormitory as them for years, he could have easily taken it. Well, not years, but a year. [laughs] If he knew that he would have been found through it, he could have stolen it.
Laura: Not to mention he’s also at the Burrow in the meantime, where the Weasley twins live.
Rosie: Yeah, they had it. Huh.
Laura: I don’t know if Scabbers was aware that the Weasley twins had it because Ron wasn’t aware of it. So…
Rosie: That’s true.
Pierra: Because Scabbers belonged to Percy before, and I don’t think the twins would have shared their knowledge of the Marauder’s Map with Percy.
Rosie: That’s true.
Pierra: So probably Peter only heard about it too late, about the map, and it was too late for him to actually transform in the dormitory while no one’s there and take the map and keep it with him.
Laura: Okay, and the chapter wraps up on a very sad note: Buckbeak is killed. Hagrid makes Harry, Ron, and Hermione leave so they don’t have to be around it, but they kind of hear that swift sound of the axe coming down and it’s just too much for them to handle. Hermione, in particular, is shaking. They can’t wrap around their heads that the deed is done. There’s no more words that can be said. Buckbeak is dead and it’s very unfair.
Caleb: Ugh, I was devastated.
Caleb: The first time I read this.
Laura: It’s really upsetting because it’s just really… it’s such… I could be wrong but up until now, justice has kind of always prevailed. We see Hagrid get put into Azkaban but then he comes back, Dumbledore gets thrown away from the school, then he comes back, you know.
Rosie: Yeah, and this one is very final.
Laura: Everything that’s bad that has happened has kind of been, you know, fixed.
Laura: This is the first thing like, “All right, this is an injustice; we’ve just murdered someone.”
Rosie: It’s interesting that that’s at the hand of Malfoy.
Rosie: As in Draco, not just Lucius.
Laura: Right. So first injustice, really. That’s it.
Laura: Very sad.
Rosie: So we’ll find out what happened to Buckbeak later on, hopefully, because… [laughs]
Caleb: What’s going to happen?! Ahh!
Rosie: Who knows?! Never read these books before!
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: But it’s now time for our special feature.
[“Pottermore, In Depth” intro begins]
Michael: Pottermore, In Depth.
[Sound of quill writing]
Rita: Well, Harry, the Daily Prophet readers want to hear the in-depth scoop on you.
Harry: Umm, well, I…
Rita: Absolutely brilliant – ignore the quill – tell me more, Mr. Potter.
[“Pottermore, In Depth” intro ends]
Rosie: And we’ve had a wealth of new information given to us over this last week, but we’re only going to do two little sections of it at the moment. So we’re going to look at the Hogwarts portraits because we’ve discussed them a lot and we’ve finally got some answers, and we’re also going to look at Gobstones. And we’ll do the Marauder’s Map and the Firebolt in the next episode.
Rosie: So we’ve obviously discussed the portraits so much about whether they are actually people, whether they are just kind of 2-D representations, whether they have their own intelligence, and guess what? [laughs] JK Rowling listens to our podcast and she has answered pretty much all of our questions. I’m not going to read the whole thing out because there’s a decent-sized chunk that you guys should all go into Pottermore to read, but I’m going to pick out some key points that we can discuss. So there is a point that says, “They behave like their subjects. However, the degree to which they can interact with the people looking at them depends not on the skill of the painter, but on the power of the witch or wizard painted.” Which I found incredibly interesting. We’ve never really discussed that concept before.
Rosie: What do you guys think of that?
Caleb: That’s so interesting, and I can’t believe we hadn’t really thought about that.
Rosie: I guess we’ve only really seen the intelligent portraits of the headmasters. We haven’t really considered the intelligence or power of other portraits that we’ve seen.
Laura: Like the Fat Lady and… you know, I kind of see Sir Cadogan as someone that’s pretty silly and doesn’t necessarily have the abilities that he thinks he does. So he obviously is running through all the different portraits and communicating with everyone. I didn’t necessarily see him as a super powerful wizard.
Rosie: No, me neither.
Rosie: Okay, so another point was that, “The portrait will be able to use some of the subject’s favorite phrases and imitate their general demeanor.” Which if you think about, a painting that we see outside of Hogwarts with Mrs. Black is just horrific. If you think about Sirius growing up in that house.
Caleb: Hmm, yeah.
Rosie: If that’s her general demeanor.
Laura: But then in Deathly Hallows, Phineas… I can never pronounce his name and I won’t attempt to.
Laura: He seems to be communicating with them on a much deeper level than…
Rosie: Well, he was a headmaster…
Laura: Oh, okay.
Rosie: …and maybe he was a great wizard. We don’t really know much about him.
Laura: Right, okay.
Rosie: Okay, but leading on from that we’ve got another point which says, “Neither of these portraits -” these portraits meaning the Fat Lady and Sir Cadogan “- would be capable of having a particularly in-depth discussion about more complex aspects of their lives: they are literally and metaphorically two-dimensional.” So in terms of Sir Cadogan and the Fat Lady, they are literally just the picture that is painted in the portrait. They have no other intelligence than what was given to them at the time of the painting. However, “traditionally, a headmaster or headmistress is painted before their death” and “once the portrait is completed, the headmaster or headmistress in question keeps it under lock and key, regularly visiting it in its cupboard (if so desired) to teach it to act and behave exactly like themselves, and imparting all kinds of useful memories and pieces of knowledge that may then be shared through the centuries with their successors in office.” That is just fascinating.
Laura: That is really brilliant.
Rosie: So do you think in terms of the headmasters that we’re aware of, do you think that Dumbledore would have spent vast amounts of time talking to his own portrait?
Laura: Absolutely not.
Rosie: Or do you think he would have let himself die?
Caleb: Oh, I disagree. I think he absolutely would have.
Laura: I don’t. I think that the only time we see Dumbledore’s portrait interact was right at the end of Deathly Hallows. But still, even then it’s a brief conversation. But I see Dumbledore as someone who doesn’t care so much about having his legacy live on and being this all-important thing that always has to be wise forever. I see him as someone that was way more busy with more important things like finding the Horcruxes and stuff. He wouldn’t care to go teaching a portrait his own memories just for the purpose of other people being able for him to live on.
Caleb: I don’t know, I think he is so focused on keeping track of things. We see this in the Pensieve and I just think this is a very similar situation to that. I see him spending a lot of time with it.
Pierra: Since Dumbledore knew he was dying a year before he actually died, that would give him plenty of time to actually speak…
Rosie: That is true.
Pierra: …to his portrait and prepare everything in advance. It’s not like a student… it’s not like Hagrid would have stormed into his office and killed him on the spot. He knew what was coming.
Rosie: Yeah, I see this more as a Mirror of Erised than as a Pensieve situation. So he would have been wary about replicating himself after death and giving false hope of more information. But I also agree that he knew that he was going to be dying for a year before he actually did, so he would have imparted as much knowledge into that portrait as he thought would have been useful in the coming battle. Which is why we see it talking to Snape because I think he planned that Snape would become the next headmaster and he wanted to be able to still talk to him, to convince him to still go ahead with the plan because everything could have fallen apart after Dumbledore died. But I think his portrait kept Snape in line and kept everything going in the right direction.
Rosie: But thank you so much to Jo for giving us all that information because it is just amazing.
Rosie: Really try and check it out. Go and read it because there is so much more on there that really just answers pretty much every single question we’ve ever asked about portraits.
Caleb: This just goes to show… I swear she’s listening to the show.
Caleb: Because we have been talking about portraits for so long. [laughs]
Caleb: And boom! All of a sudden, the next big reveal is portraits.
Pierra: Yeah, and actually it gives more explanation on why, for example, Sirius Black’s mother’s portrait is so different from the headmaster’s portrait.
Pierra: Because Sirius Black’s [mother’s] one keeps screaming at people instead of just, [in an old woman’s voice] “Well, in my days you wouldn’t have these kinds of people in my house.”
Pierra: She doesn’t start talking about the old times when she was there compared to the headmaster’s portrait in Dumbledore’s office.
Laura: Yeah, definitely.
Rosie: Okay, so I have a question for you guys: Have you actually got up to the latest point on Pottermore?
Laura: I can’t beat the spell part of Chamber of Secrets.
Rosie: Oh no! [laughs]
Laura: I’m stuck, I don’t understand it. I’ve watched like fifty YouTube tutorials of trying to figure out how to do these stupid spells. I can’t get past it, so I got frustrated and it was like, “This site can be used by seven-year-olds. What’s wrong with me?” and I gave up.
Rosie: [laughs] I got stuck on the gnome flinging for so long.
Laura: Yeah, that was another thing.
Rosie: [laughs] But one of the amazing things that they have now added to Pottermore are clips from the Stephen Fry audiobooks.
Rosie: And I was just wondering if it was still the Stephen Fry ones elsewhere or if that’s just a UK thing.
Rosie: Because if you guys have only heard… is it Jim Dale that reads?
Laura: Jim Dale, yeah.
Rosie: Yeah. If you guys have only heard him then you guys should check out Stephen Fry as well because he is the voice of Potter to me. He’s got the perfect tone and everything.
Laura: I was never an audiobook person.
Laura: So the only audiobook I read was Goblet of Fire because I had rented it from my library when I was like ten.
Laura: And I’m pretty sure it was Jim Dale.
Laura: And I remember just being frustrated because I was young and that was the only time that I had… I didn’t know what the concept of an audiobook was and I was under the impression… [laughs] oh my God, it’s so stupid to think back now, that there’d be different voices for everyone, it was like a whole cast of characters.
Rosie: Some audiobooks are.
Laura: But I remember distinctly thinking – I must have been nine or ten – that I’d be able to hear almost like the actors from the movies.
Laura: Being like… since that movie hadn’t come out yet, being like, “Oh, I’m going to be able to hear what Krum sounds like and stuff.”
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Laura: Thinking of the actors. [laughs] I don’t know, I’m remembering this now. But yeah, that was the only time. And I don’t think I read the whole book. I’m pretty sure I just listened to “The Riddle House.” I’m like banned [from] my public library because I don’t return things.
Laura: So God knows if that’s still in my house. [laughs]
Rosie: [laughs] Okay. Well, do try and get to the appropriate point on Pottermore and listen to the clip of Stephen Fry if you are able to because it will just prove to you that Potter can be listened to as well as read and as well as seen. But more on the topic that Stephen talks about in the next episode because he talks about the Firebolt, but we are now going to go on to the Gobstones information which seemed a little obscure considering… when have Gobstones…
Laura: How much is out there?
Rosie: … been a big part of Potter? [laughs]
Laura: [laughs] Right.
Rosie: But it’s interesting, especially in terms of talking about Quidditch today. Here is another magical sport or game that we don’t really know much about. And I’m only going to give… I’m only going to read a couple of snippets from this: “Professional Gobstone players compete in national leagues and international tournaments, but it remains a minority sport within the wizarding world and does not enjoy a very ‘cool’ reputation, something its devotees tend to resent.”
Rosie: And I can just see this being a perfect game for Noah.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: It’s just exactly the kind of thing that he would love…
Caleb: That’s so real.
Rosie: …and want to change the reputation for. [laughs]
Laura: That’s really funny.
Rosie: So, “The National Gobstone Association has attempted recruitment campaigns such as ‘Give Gobstones A Second Glance’…”
Rosie: Which I can see Noah starting a Twitter campaign for.
Laura: Don’t encourage him.
Rosie: [laughs] But “Gobstones enjoys a limited popularity at Hogwarts, ranking low among recreational activities, way behind Quidditch and even behind Wizarding Chess.” And on a side note… and there’s a small spoiler warning that comes with this on Pottermore in case this is your first read.
Rosie: You may want to skip over this next sentence. “The mother of Professor Severus Snape, Eileen Prince, was President of the Hogwarts Gobstone Club in her time at school.” Which we find out in later books, so that’s not really even new information. But it’s interesting to know that there are other sports out there than just Quidditch and Wizarding Chess.
Rosie: So give Gobstones a second glance.
Caleb: Give it to them. Let them make it a little.
Caleb: Yeah. Well, I’m excited to see… I’m so glad we finally are getting more Pottermore. It seems like this has been…
Caleb: …one of the longest waits, ugh, but we’re finally getting more. I’m looking forward to seeing the other… talking about the other stuff.
Rosie: If it’s all going to be as good as this batch has been, then we can afford the wait because…
Caleb: Very true.
Laura: Because I’ve been just patiently waiting for the past ten years of my life for this background information on Gobstones.
Rosie: Gobstones. [laughs]
Laura: So thank God the day has come. [laughs]
Caleb: Yup. All right, so it is time for this episode’s Question of the Week, which I will take over this time. So we talked quite a bit about justice in this episode, and it is a running theme in this book. And what I think we really want to ask you guys and see what you think is, how does the acquisition or gaining of justice between Buckbeak and Sirius compare with one another? Because both are wrongly convicted and go through punishment for that, or… well, I guess Buckbeak in a way has his own punishment. Being tied up is pretty much a punishment. But how are those two similar and how are they different, and what is the point of setting those justice themes, juxtaposing them together? And also this idea of what is Rowling trying to accomplish as a writer for her readers with articulating that the government is unable to correctly bring justice for these two parties that are definitely innocent. And it’s not the government that’s able to bring them justice but rather these people who are really acting as vigilantes because, when you think about it, that’s what Harry and Hermione are doing when they’re trying to get Buckbeak and Sirius away. Obviously they have personal investment but they’re vigilantes trying to get the people who are innocent – and not just people but the creatures who are innocent – away from harm. So basically what we’re wanting to ask you guys and get an answer is, how would you compare the justice elements between Buckbeak and Sirius, and what is Rowling trying to accomplish by juxtaposing the government failure and the vigilante success? I’ll be able to write it up a little more concisely and more clearly for you guys to answer.
Rosie: Well, great. That about wraps up Episode 27. Thank you so much to Pierra for coming along. I hope you’ve enjoyed your time on the show.
Pierra: I have. It was really fun.
Laura: So if you would like to be on the show, like Pierra, you can email a clip of you analyzing a bit of the series to alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. Just remember you need to have appropriate audio and recording equipment so you can sound as lovely as Pierra did. You can also just submit content on the Alohomora! website, and if we like what you post we could invite you on, which is what I believe we did with Pierra.
Caleb: Sweet. And just to remind you guys where you can keep in touch with us, you can follow us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, Facebook.com/OpenTheDumbldore. You can leave us a voicemail at 206-GO-ALBUS, that’s 206-462-5287. Our main website, Alohomora.MuggleNet.com, and our mail email account, alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on iTunes – it’s totally free – and leave us some comments and feedback because we love to read that.
Rosie: And thank you to everyone who has been sending in their photos of them with their host shirts that they’ve all been receiving from our store.
Rosie: We’re so glad that everyone has been enjoying those and it’s been great to see all of you wearing your shirts. Just as a reminder, the Alohomora! store is accessible through our main Alohomora! webpage and you can go straight there at Alohomora.Spreadshirt.com. And it’s got all of our host shirts with the “Obligatory Genius Moment,” the “Minerva Is My Homegirl” T-shirt, the “Hug Me! I’m a HufflePuff” T-shirt, and the “Is It… Alive?” T-shirt. And they’re available in a whole wide range of colours and sizes and some of them are sweatshirts and normal T-shirts and, I think, vest tops and pretty much anything you can imagine. And our general Alohomora! shirts are up there as well. We are hoping to have more products up soon, including things like iPhone cases and tote bags and hopefully some new designs sometime soon as well. So make sure you do keep checking back for new merchandise.
Laura: Yeah. And while you’re shopping…
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Laura: …you can also check out our mobile app, which is now available in the UK on Android – yay! – for…
Rosie: Finally! [laughs]
Laura: How do you… is it one pound and twenty-nine…
Rosie: One pound, twenty-nine pence. [laughs]
Laura: There you go.
[Laura and Rosie laugh]
Laura: It’s also available in the US and the UK for iPhone and Android. Don’t forget, we’re also available on Kindle and iPad now.
Caleb: Holla! Whaddup!
Laura: That’s Kindle Fire, I’m assuming. Yeah, so definitely check that out. And you can have a whole host of new content like transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and much more. It’s very exciting.
Caleb: All right. Well, that will do it for this week.
[Show music begins]
Caleb: Thanks again to Pierra for joining us. I’m Caleb Graves.
Laura: I’m Laura Reilly.
Rosie: And I’m Rosie Morris. Thank you for listening to Episode 27 of Alohomora!
Caleb: [in a funny voice] Open the Dumbledore!
[Show music continues]
Laura: Harry is Batman.