Transcript – Episode 28
[Show music begins]
Caleb Graves: This is Episode 28 of Alohomora! for April 27, 2013.
[Show music continues]
Caleb: Hey, everyone. I’m Caleb Graves, and welcome to our first weekly episode of Alohomora!
Rosie Morris: Hi guys, I’m Rosie Morris.
Eric Scull: I’m Eric Scull.
Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller.
Caleb: So it’s our first episode that’s weekly! Yeah!
Eric: Coming at you more frequently than we used to!
Kat: And with new hosts. Eric!
Kat: You’re here! Welcome to the show as a host.
Eric: It’s good to be here as a host.
Kat: Yeah, the fans are very excited to have you be a part of the show. So…
Eric: Not as excited as I am, I assure you.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Sounds like they’re pretty excited, though. We’ve gotten to read a lot of excitement from the fans out there in the past week since we announced, so…
Eric: Well, now I’m anxious and nervous. I hope I live up to their fantasies.
Kat: I’m sure you will. There’s been lots of good comments, I think, in general.
Kat: The fans are just super excited that we’re going to be in their ears more often, so…
Eric: Yeah, no, that too. Combined with… the new listeners… obviously, also Laura, who will be here…
Eric: …shortly, more regularly. I just think this show is upwards and onwards. [laughs] So anyway, before we begin…
Eric: …we do want to remind the listeners that this week, our discussion will cover Chapter 17 from Prisoner of Azkaban, which is titled “Cat, Rat, and Dog.” So if you do not want to be spoiled [laughs] or if you just…
Eric: In general, it will be a good idea to read Chapter 17 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
Kat: Before we get into Chapter 17, we’re just going to talk about a couple of the discussion points from last week. We’re going to read some of your comments that [were] on Chapters 15 and 16, and the first comment here comes from our main site – and it’s about Pettigrew – from BeansMagoo. It says:
“On the discussion about Pettigrew, I always felt his cowardice and fear of death ruled his life and the decisions he made. He’s so willing to fall to the evil of Voldemort because he’s a coward and too afraid to do what’s right. It’s this same cowardice, stupidity, and fear of death that led him to frame Sirius just so he can survive. So as a rat, it seems his mission is to stay in hiding as long as he can. I don’t think he’d be clever enough to even think about stealing the map or running away because it’s not part of the plan. Without Voldemort and his instructions, he has no mind of his own. These are traits many of Voldemort’s followers have as they live in fear of his “wrath” – it’s much easier for them to skulk behind evil than fight for good.”
Eric: Well, thank you, BeansMagoo, for that assessment. And I tend to agree – I think… Peter, on one hand, is smart in certain times of his life. Like framing Sirius – that was a little bit elaborate for him to have planned. But at his heart, he is a follower. He does need that guiding hand, that instruction, and McGonagall herself earlier in this book had said he was never as clever as the other Marauders. He’s a loner, he’s a follower, and really, it’s just… he does need the direction that Voldemort ends up providing, which is why his only course of action is to return to Voldemort.
Kat: Yeah, no, it’s so true. I liked the part of the comment that says he literally has no mind without Voldemort and his instructions.
Eric: Yeah. I mean… and being a rat for this long of a period of time certainly hasn’t helped.
Kat: Do we think that he became less smart?
Eric: I think he’s definitely shell-shocked. He’s not used to really… I don’t know. It’d be interesting.
Caleb: I mean, I don’t think he had that much to begin with to lose.
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Kat: That’s probably true.
Caleb: Yeah. I mean, I agree with Eric that he’s probably… just interacting with humans in general after being that furry, little thing for so long is pretty difficult in general.
Rosie: I don’t know if I would agree that he has no mind of his own, but he has no strength or power of his own. I think he’s without the courage that he needs to be his own person. But I do think he does occasionally think for himself, whether that’s a good thing or not.
Eric: Yeah, I think there’d be evidence in the book to support that, Rosie, because he has been sort of behaving like a human all year. He’s the one who’s wriggling out of Ron’s grasp because he knows that Sirius Black is coming.
Eric: Or that Crookshanks is going to out him. So he does have that kind of intelligence. From all year, he’s been acting strangely and it’s because his human side is kicking in and realizing that he as a rat is in danger.
Kat: So true. Our next comment is from Hufflepuffskein, and it’s about Trelawney and her gift. It says:
“I don’t necessarily think she is so incompetent as was mentioned in the podcast. She makes correct predictions (even apart from the ‘demented moments,’ as Caleb said). Despite the JKR quote that was discussed, it might also be that Trelawney’s problem is that she misinterprets her visions. She sees the big, black dog and interprets it as the Grim, but it really is Sirius as [an] Animagus. She sees someone will be leaving the class and she interprets it as a death, but it really is just Hermione storming out. I think that she definitely has the ‘gift’ to see, but the gift to correctly interpret visions, i.e., to make predictions, just isn’t there (other than those demented moments).”
Rosie: She never interprets the person leaving as a death. That’s a fan thing. I mean, she only ever says that someone is going to be leaving the class.
Kat: Well, she says someone will be leaving us forever.
Rosie: Yeah, but…
Caleb: Yeah, it sounds kind of ominous whenever she says it.
Rosie: Yeah. It’s her phrasing…
Caleb: Yeah, I…
Rosie: …not her interpretation. [laughs]
Caleb: But I could see where you could get that. I would… I did, the way when I read it, assume the same thing. And I ran across this comment today when I was in the forums and gave it a thumbs up. I really do… I agree with this. I think that she does make at least… it is lost in the interpretation, and she kind of just pushes too far because she’s so dramatic and over the top.
Eric: And she wants to perhaps live up to the expectation that her family has… or that is bestowed upon her family.
Eric: It’s kind of expected that she has the sight. She’s doing a job where she’s expected to be able to give that sort of insight. But as we see, unless she’s in that trance, she really doesn’t have a knack for it.
Kat: Yeah, she’s kind of like ten percent Seer…
Kat: …is kind of how I see Trelawney, you know?
Kat: It’s in her blood, but she just isn’t quite there.
Eric: Just like magic is in the blood. Her special gift is in her blood, but it’s just not that prominent.
Eric: Actually, I had a thought, while on the subject of Trelawney. I, of course, didn’t get to discuss this last week, but I thought I’d bring it up. I saw her prediction as being sort of an allegory… her whole Divination as an allegory for the writing process. If you ever read anything about… some of the great writers talking about how they actually prefer to compose… a common recurring theme tends to be that writers go into sort of a trance when they’re writing for long periods of time. And the conditions around that have to be right for them to be able to emit. But a lot of times, they just.. that creativity part of them is almost channeling something. And so when Trelawney goes into her divine voice, it’s really like the words are just being spewed through her, and she has no recollection of them. I just couldn’t help now – years after first reading this book – connect that to the writing process. I don’t know what your guys’ thoughts…
Kat: I had never thought about that before, not being someone who writes. I mean, okay, I can write but not particularly well. I’ve definitely never been in a trance before, but I could see that happening. That’s crazy.
Caleb: Mhm, yeah.
Rosie: It’s the idea of automatic writing, isn’t it? That kind of…
Rosie: That’s an interesting idea.
Eric: And it’s like… well, who’s really writing? If you just write what comes to your head, are you really composing it?
Eric: It’s like forcing the unconscious to… anyway…
Eric: Hufflepuffskein’s comment that totally brought that out, so I’m going to thank her.
Kat: Okay, so our next comment is not really a comment. I just wanted to talk about a discussion that’s happening on the forums. It’s super intelligent, super in-depth. I literally… some of these comments I had to read about four times because I couldn’t wrap my head around it, but it’s about Time-Turners and Hermione and time in general. There’s a lot of talk about linear theory and circular theory and timelines and Doctor Who and…
[Eric, Kat, and Rosie laugh]
Kat: …I just want to encourage everybody listening to go to the forums and check that discussion out because it is unreal.
Rosie: Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey. It’s definitely a brilliant discussion.
Caleb: Ugh, it made my head numb.
Kat: Yeah, some of the things that they’re talking about are just insane. You guys are way too smart.
Kat: I think all of our listeners are Ravenclaws. Just saying.
Rosie: A few of them are Hufflepuffs.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Kat: Okay, our last comment comes from the forums from HallowErised88, and it’s about Crookshanks. I just thought this was a cute, funny little comment. It says:
“How does Crookshanks get in and out of the castle seemingly on his own? Where do all the cats poo? Is there a cat flap on the front door? How many doors are there that go straight outside?”
Kat: So legit. That’s a totally legit question.
Rosie: Well, yeah, because there’s Mrs. Norris as well. So we know that there’s at least two cats in the castle.
[Eric and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: She just goes to Filch’s office, and that’s why it smells so bad.
Kat: The Chamber of Secrets was my answer.
Eric: That’s true. No, I think, honestly, the Room of Requirement on the seventh floor has a little cat flap.
Rosie: Yeah. [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] Oh, God!
Eric: And they just go in there. It’s a giant sandbox with all sorts of cat toys in there.
Caleb: Oh, God.
Eric: So yes, pets can use the Room of Requirement.
Rosie: I’m sure there are secret passages that are just for cats somewhere in the castle.
Rosie: There’ll be a little portrait of a cat.
Caleb: Opening a whole… another subworld of Hogwarts, but one with cats. [laughs]
Kat: Totally, totally.
Rosie: The next time I go to the Studio Tour, I will definitely track down a portrait with a cat in it so that we can say that that one there is the portrait for cats to go outside. [laughs]
Kat: That sounds lovely. That sounds perfect. Look for that.
[Caleb and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: Okay, well, that was the end of some of the discussions from Chapters 15 and 16. But we also had “Pottermore, In Depth” as our special feature last… last week? Yes, actually. It was actually this last week.
Kat: It was actually last week!
Rosie: That’s the first time I’ve said that correctly!
Rosie: So our first comment… we’re discussing the portraits, which is apt, considering what I was just saying about cats. And our first comment is from Firebolt on the forums, and it says:
“I really disagree with Laura on Dumbledore and his portrait. I think he would want to teach it as much as possible. The point that no one picked up on was his duty as a Hogwarts headmaster. I think he would take this very seriously, and part of that duty is in leaving a portrait behind to help future headmasters and the school as the years go on. Leaving a legacy does not need to be an egotistical exercise, it can be done quietly.”
Kat: Yeah, I…
Caleb: Yeah, slam Laura when she’s not here to defend herself.
Kat: So as I was listening to the episode last week, again, I was screaming at you guys.
Kat: But then someone finally said it. I can’t remember who, but…
Caleb: If it was right, it was probably me.
Kat: Probably. It was pretty clear that Dumbledore taught it everything he knew because how else would Snape be talking to the portrait and learn all this information after the fact?
Kat: Because there were several things that Snape didn’t know that Dumbledore’s portrait seemingly taught him.
Kat: So it’s obvious to me that he definitely talked to the portrait.
Caleb: Judging from the next comment, I think Rosie and I were of like minds on that.
Rosie: [laughs] We were both saying it, yeah.
Rosie: So the next comment was from Saiyangirl on the forums and it says:
“Regarding Albus’s portrait, I agree with both Rosie and Caleb.”
“I believe Dumbledore’s priority was to teach his portrait what it needed to know to assist Severus in helping Harry and getting Godric Gryffindor’s sword to him, for example, so that his plan for ‘the greater good’ could be followed through even after his death. Due to the war looming over the wizarding world, most of his time with the portrait would have been to close all possible loopholes in his master plan. But I do believe that he would’ve spent time with his portrait to impart more general knowledge as well – definitely not personal memories, as Albus has been shown to be a very private (read: secretive) person, but intellectual bits and pieces that can be unlocked if anyone ever enters the Headmaster’s Office and is curious enough to engage his portrait in conversation. It’s part of the legacy all Headmasters and Headmistresses seem almost honor-bound to leave behind. Albus teaching his portrait would make a brilliant fanfic, by the way, but that’s a sidenote.”
I agree. Someone write it!
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Yeah, I think that… and I posted this in the forums today too, that I think… especially given the relationship he and Snape had, Dumbledore knew he was going to die because of the… when he destroyed the ring, and he knew things had to be finished. There’s a lot at stake even though he’s going to be gone. So I think there is a lot of knowledge to impart on that portrait.
Rosie: Definitely. We have to remember that Albus, he discovered the seven uses of dragon’s blood or whatever. He’s a very, very intelligent person, and I’m sure he had lots of theories that he didn’t actually tell anyone that he could have told his portrait as well.
Eric: Very much so, and it’s a little bit disconcerting with this new information that Harry went into the Headmaster’s office numerous times and all the other portraits were just sleeping. With the exception of Phineas Nigellus, none of them seem to really have personalities, so maybe these Headmasters didn’t really do their job that well. [laughs] I can see Dumbledore spending a lot of time with his own portrait just to make sure that he can continue to guide people long after his own demise. I see as it as an oddly different way to seek immortality, really, is to teach your portrait stuff.
Caleb: Because we know that he clearly had, well let’s say, a fascination with that. So…
Kat: Right. I never thought of it that way.
Eric: It’s a less dark way to do that.
Caleb: That’s a really good point.
Rosie: Do you guys ever think that Tom Riddle/Voldemort created a portrait?
Eric: Who would paint him? [laughs]
Rosie: Exactly, but it would be interesting if he did.
Eric: It would, and then one day, when they finished and they demanded payment, he just killed them.
Kat: But didn’t he kind of, in a way, make a portrait out of the locket or out of the diary?
Kat: I mean, it’s not a physical portrait. It’s not a painting, but, I mean, it kind of is, right?
Eric: I’m sure Bellatrix has a little photograph…
Eric: …or a school photo…
Eric: …or something that she keeps under her pillow or something at night, keeps it away from… what is it? Rodolphus or Ravastat?
Kat: Does she sleep? I just kind of assume her hanging from the ceiling like a bat.
Eric: [laughs] Different discussion.
Rosie: I was going to say like a bat as well, but that’s normally Snape’s description, not hers.
Eric: Good point.
Rosie: So at this point, I’d just like to do a little honorable mention to one of our close readers on our main site, and it’s from… I think it’s Killey, K-I-L-L-E-Y-2011, who in August last year actually posted a list of questions as a close-read on our site all about portraits and paintings. I hope that Pottermore has answered some of these for you now, but if not, then maybe you should do a follow-up with extra questions. Or maybe people should go in and read that close-read and join the discussion, answer some of those questions now that we’ve got that new information. And make sure you guys are all writing up those essays and close-reads for our site as well because we love reading them.
Kat: That’s on the archive, not the forums, correct?
Rosie: Yes. Yeah.
Kat: Yeah, great.
Eric: And it’s titled, “Ponderings about Paintings”?
Rosie: It is.
Eric: Oh, okay.
Eric: And so now we get onto the Podcast Question of the Week. Actually, it’s of last week that we’re talking about really quickly here. And here it is: We talked quite a bit about justice in the episode, which is a running theme in Prisoner of Azkaban. So how does the acquisition, or the gaining, of justice between Buckbeak and Sirius compare with each other, or one another? Both are wrongly convicted and they go through punishment as a result of that. So how are those two similar and how are they different? What’s the point of setting those justice themes, of juxtaposing them together, of having them happen at the same time? Also, what is J.K. Rowling trying to accomplish as a writer for her readers by articulating that the government isn’t really able to effectively bring justice for these two parties that are obviously innocent but rather the vigilantes that Hermione and Harry are? And so we did get a big response from RoseLumos on the main site, and RoseLumos said:
“I think there is often a blurred line between the truth and the public’s interpretation of the truth. Even though most people weren’t around to actually witness the crime, there are very strong opinions about what is the truth, who is guilty, and what the outcome should be. I see this with Buckbeak’s case. The Ministry probably read their notes before Hagrid showed up at the trial and automatically assumed that the hippogriff was guilty. After all, has a hippogriff ever been innocent? The same can be said for Sirius’s (lack of) trial. It was late in the war and the Ministry had probably seen hundreds if not thousands of cases of Death Eaters admitting guilt. They heard of what Sirius did and assumed that he, like other Death Eaters, are guilty. I think the message of the metaphor is to never assume someone is guilty, no matter how many times you hear of a similar situation. Each person, as is each case, is unique. If you were not there, you will never know the whole story. Don’t judge, unless that is your job of course.”
Kat: [laughs] And I read this comment and it actually made me think… I had jury duty a couple of weeks ago.
Kat: And it actually wasn’t too bad. It was the first time I had actually ever, one, had to go and, two, I actually… they were actually looking for a jury that day. And so I remember… I won’t go into details of the case because it’s incredibly disgusting.
Kat: But pretty much the minute I heard about what was going on and what I might have to sit on a jury for, my mind was made up. And I agree, this is exactly, I think, what happened to Buckbeak. I think that that jury or whomever was not impartial at all.
Eric: I don’t know that I necessarily agree in these instances. I do agree that bias is a really big problem for any jury. But in these two particular instances we had other factors at play.
Eric: Just very quickly, with Buckbeak’s [trial] it was Lucius Malfoy and his political stance influencing the fact that his son was the one who was attacked and further trying to discredit Hagrid. It’s a reoccurring thing since Book 2 when Hagrid got expelled. There’s this real smear campaign. It all has to do with Malfoy gaining political power which we see again in Book 5 when he shows up at the Ministry with Fudge. And with Sirius, remember Pettigrew did actually have thirteen witnesses, or thirteen dead Muggles. Wait, no, there were Muggle witnesses; thirteen people were killed. But Dumbledore himself gave evidence that Black was guilty at that trial. And if they’re asking Albus Dumbledore to provide evidence in this case, it was that Black was the Secret Keeper. I think that he had a pretty in-depth trial, if anybody like Dumbledore had to give evidence to essentially convince people that he was guilty and send him to Azkaban. So I don’t think it was an easy trial at all for Sirius Black.
Kat: Did he have a trial?
Eric: He must have because… well, in any case, Albus Dumbledore gave evidence against…
Eric: …that incriminated Black. So if there was a trial or not it was… there was a process of… I’m not sure what the term is legally, but there was a process of really condemning him.
Rosie: I agree. I think this [is] less about personal bias in this situation and more about social pressure, almost.
Rosie: So like you said, there is Lucius’s pressure on the committee to actually behead the hippogriff because of its attack on his son and because of his position as being Lucius Malfoy. He’s able to kind of influence people in that way. And with the Sirius case, it’s not even whether Albus gave evidence or not in that trial. I’m still not entirely sure if there was a trial, I don’t think there was, but maybe there was a difference between book and movie at that point. I’m fairly sure in the movie he says without a trial, but I don’t know.
Kat: I don’t think there was a trial.
Eric: You all do remember the line that Dumbledore says he gave evidence.
Kat: Yeah, I do remember that specifically.
Kat: I think…
Rosie: But you can give evidence to police to go and search for someone without actually having to be in a trial.
Eric: Right, but the Secret Keeper thing is pretty darn secret. It’s important but I don’t think he would have told just any police officer at all. I think that would have been to a board of inquiry.
Rosie: But that kind of brings me back to my point that the social pressure surrounding the fall of Voldemort and the need to catch whoever committed this very heinous crime of killing the Potters. You’ve got this sudden hero of The Boy Who Lived and the tragic death of his parents, so you want to solve that case immediately. It’s one of those things that rocks a society to a core. You kind of forget about all the other little problems and make sure you solve this big one to start with.
Eric: You know, now that you say that, I actually think because there was that… earlier in the book it’s heard that Sirius Black, when they go to arrest him, all he does is laugh. He’s driven mad essentially by the fact that he was outwitted by Peter Pettigrew. But if he had had a trial, I think by that point he would have calmed down enough to really argue for his own freedom. Because it’s actually quite easy to just listen to him say, “No, somebody else was the Secret Keeper.” And honestly, this situation probably could have been solved a long time ago. Even with Dumbledore, there would have been other means – other methods like Veritaserum – to prove that Sirius was in fact innocent, so perhaps he didn’t have a trial.
Caleb: I feel like Rowling would have told us in the books if he had a trial.
Rosie: The Wiki says that Sirius was arrested by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and was sent without trial to Azkaban.
Eric: Okay, but even that has some checks and balances apparently, because Dumbledore was asked to submit that information. Or [if] he submitted it to somebody, I don’t think it would have been without reason.
Rosie: I think he probably mentioned it to the Ministry and that’s why they went looking for him in the first place.
Eric: Oh, that’s a good point.
Kat: Oh, right. Yeah, that’s true.
Eric: So yes, well, thank you again. That sparked a good discussion there, RoseLumos. And also we have a comment on the main site from SaiyanGirl. She says:
“I always felt it was very poetic to have their predicaments put against each other in the same book, as I came to view both as very proud.”
Kat: Very true.
Eric: So in that way, both victims are unashamed of what they did because they did it for the right reasons?
Caleb: Team Buckbeak Eat Malfoy.
Kat: Yeah, because he’s a… whatever.
Kat: That’s putting it nicely, but yeah. Jerkface.
Rosie: But then that creates an interesting idea of how bad can you be for the right reasons.
Rosie: I think being proud and being right is different.
Eric: It’s kind of like when somebody says, “I’d do it again if I had the chance.”
Eric: Or Sirius is… and it doesn’t happen in this chapter, but he says, “I want to commit the crime I’ve been imprisoned for.”
Eric: It’s kind of like that mentality.
Eric: So interesting insight there from SaiyanGirl.
Rosie: Okay, so I guess it’s time to start our chapter discussion for this week. So over to Caleb and Kat.
[Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 17 intro begins]
Ron: Chapter 17.
[Sound of leaves rustling and dog barking]
Ron: “Cat, Rat, and Dog.”
[Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 17 intro ends]
Caleb: So at the opening of Chapter 17, there’s a phrase that caught me because of this… what we will eventually find out by the end of the book, this whole Time-Turner charade. But the phrase from the text is:
“Without thinking about what he was doing, he made to turn back, but both Ron and Hermione seized his arms.”
So this is Harry almost turning back after they believe that Buckbeak has been executed. So I was thinking, would he have… I guess he would have seen a missing Buckbeak and MacNair just hitting the empty stump, because that’s what happens.
Kat: Right, right. No, exactly.
Rosie: Yeah, that’s what he would have seen.
Caleb: Because I think it’s interesting when Dumbledore later tells Harry and Hermione to make sure to not see themselves. That’s obviously talked about a lot, but this is something different. Seeing what actually happens, it would have been very puzzling, I suppose. Because they wouldn’t have thought, “Oh, someone messed with time.”
Kat: [laughs] Right.
Caleb: They would have just thought, “Wait, what the hell just happened? Buckbeak got away.”
Eric: This is really interesting. I made a note of this being the beginning of the loop because that axe going down and them hearing it and assuming that Buckbeak is killed, it’s exactly what you’re saying. If they had turned around, Buckbeak either would have been there dead or would not have been there. And my question, I guess… and this is really heady – I’m sure they’re talking about this in the forum – say that Harry, Ron, and Hermione at the beginning of this chapter are the first people to go… they haven’t gone back in time yet, so was Buckbeak really dead then? In their time before they went back in time and prevented it?
Kat: That depends on what form of time you think exists. Is it linear? Is it parallel? Is it circular? Personally, I think that Buckbeak was probably dead at this moment.
Rosie: I disagree because of the way that Jo writes this – the particular sequence with the time changing and the fact that Harry sees himself but thinks it’s his father. That to me proves that she is prescribing to that idea of time that everything has already happened. So Buckbeak would already have escaped at this point.
Eric: That’s a good point. But yes, the way it’s written – the chapter beginning with the swoosh of the axe – very cool.
Eric: And it begins this sort of several chapter circle.
Kat: Dare we call it genius? [gasps]
Rosie: Definitely. [laughs]
Kat: Okay. Sorry, I had to do it. Thanks, Caleb, for doing that last week for me, by the way.
Caleb: You’re welcome.
Rosie: This is one of my favorite chapters ever because anyone who knows me will know that I’m an amazing fan of dramatic irony and the idea that you can let your audience know something without your characters knowing, and this is kind of the complete opposite.
Kat: It’s true.
Rosie: Only the author knows what’s really happening, and we have no clues. And yet, we still have clues, like this empty stump noise.
Rosie: It’s still all happening, and it’s still all completely logical, but we have no idea what’s going on and it’s just brilliant. I love everything about this chapter. [laughs]
Caleb: Definitely. So after this almost-scene, whatever happens in this time frame thing, whatever we want to call it…
Kat: The loop? The time loop, maybe?
Caleb: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I have other words for it, but [they’re] not appropriate to say on air.
Eric: [laughs] Oh.
Caleb: But Scabbers is all of a sudden having a meltdown, and then we quickly find out because Crookshanks comes a-pouncin’…
Caleb: …and then Ron takes after the cat and the rat, and then there’s a dog! We get to know why the chapter is called “Cat, Rat, and Dog.”
Kat: Pretty obvious at this point.
Rosie: We already knew all three of them.
Caleb: So this is the first time we actually see the dog up close because obviously, Harry catches sight of him way, way back, after he blows up Marge, and he catches glimpses of him every now and then, but this is our first real encounter with the dog.
Eric: Yeah, this chapter is really verification that the dog is tangible because they can see him, too. When the dog grabs Ron and pulls him under the stump, this is Harry… for the first time, it’s definitely not all in Harry’s head, which is a concern. Harry thinks he’s going crazy this whole book…
Eric: …until now, essentially, when clearly the dog is a real thing, and it may not mean the Grim.
Rosie: There is a line, isn’t there? Where he’s looking at Ron and Hermione to make sure that they can see it, too.
Eric: But I wanted to bring to attention, Rosie, your excellent point in the upcoming reading that you made. Do you know which one I’m talking about? You can definitely… I won’t steal your thunder here, but you were talking about it being ironic, the title of the chapter?
Rosie: Yes. The fact that there is… the cat is only part cat, the rat is not a rat, and the dog is not a dog. [laughs]
Eric: [laughs] So that may fit in line with what you were saying about the characters… about the author knowing everything…
Eric: …and we’re just led on this journey.
Rosie: Nothing is what it seems.
Caleb and Kat: No.
Kat: Isn’t that always the case, though, in these books?
Caleb: Especially this book.
Rosie: Yeah. But isn’t that just marvelous? [laughs]
Caleb: Yes. So Padfoot, the dog, takes… so I guess we don’t know he’s called Padfoot yet, but I’m going to call him that anyway…
Caleb: …takes off with Ron. And Sirius is being a little rough with Ron. I mean, he does not care what happens to Ron – as we’ll see in just a second – but it… well, I guess I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but it did make me think, in actuality, does he even care what happens to Ron at this point? I mean, is he just so focused on going after Pettigrew that… I mean, even his… we’ll get to this in a minute, his interaction with Harry is very off. And obviously he’s been in a prison for a long time, but it seems like he has a very one-track mind at this point.
Kat: Yeah, where is Pettigrew at this point? Is he in Ron’s pocket, or…
Eric: I think Ron is holding Pettigrew in his pocket with both his hands.
Kat: So wouldn’t… if I were Sirius, I would just bite the crap out of his chest.
[Eric and Rosie laugh]
Kat: I mean, I don’t know. I guess maybe dragging him away and isolating him is the best option.
Rosie: I think at this point he wants to talk to Harry, so he’s trying to make them follow him, and kidnapping Ron is the best way of doing that.
Kat: You think so? But why would he want to talk to Harry?
Rosie: Because it’s Harry! And because… I mean, he’s been stalking him for a year because he does want to see Harry at the same time as wanting to kill Pettigrew.
Kat: I suppose that’s… okay, that’s true.
Eric: Well, I don’t know. I think he is just after Pettigrew at this point. But it’s not going to be easy to tear Pettigrew out of Ron with Harry and Hermione so close, so he has to drag him somewhere. And look…
Caleb: So his plan is to eat Ron?
Eric: Yeah, I mean think of it like… honestly, though, there are two points I want to bring up. One is that Sirius knows the tree. It’s like a second home to them because he spent all… he spent more of Hogwarts inside the Shrieking Shack than he did at Hogwarts, I’m sure. But he knows that access point like the back of his paw… haha, I said “paw.”
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Eric: So it’s not really that much of a stretch that he would seek seclusion there if he does want to get Pettigrew into a box, essentially like that. So there’s that. And then also the other thing is maybe they do live in a slightly different world than we live in where, of course, when we come upon Ron in the Shrieking Shack his leg is sticking out in an awkward angle, and it’s frightening. It’s actually quite shocking how beat up these children get, both by Sirius and by the Whomping Willow in this chapter. But then again, things like Skele-Gro exist, potions, mending cures, and broken bones may not necessarily take weeks to heal, months to heal, may not ever be the same again. I don’t want to say little injuries, but the injury that the dog causes for Ron probably can be fixed relatively simply with a skilled witch or wizard.
Rosie: You do have to wonder why they don’t start teaching medical spells in Year One.
Eric: There really ought to be more of a medical profession addressed. How do you become matron of Hogwarts? Perhaps we’ll see that on Pottermore, in terms of practicing medicine.
Kat: What is the line, Caleb? What’s the leg line? What’s it say?
Caleb: “But a horrible crack cut the air like a gunshot. Ron’s leg had broken.”
Kat: Oh, God.
Rosie: That’s horrific.
Kat: You know what it reminds me of? What… was [there] like a football or soccer player that happened [to] recently, where the bone was just sticking out of his leg?
Eric: Yeah, basketball.
Rosie: Ooh, that happens so [often].
Kat: Basketball! That’s it, basketball. The one sport I don’t watch.
Rosie: There are some horrible video clips of soccer matches as well, [in which] the foot comes flying off. It’s horrible.
Kat: Oh, my God!
Rosie: I know. It’s really… it’s horrible. [laughs]
Caleb: Ugh. God.
Rosie: But yeah, to go back to the point before about whether Padfoot/Sirius is worried about attacking Ron, I think he’s still under the influence of Dementors and everything. And he is not really looking past the idea of killing Pettigrew and going back to Azkaban, so I don’t think he’s particularly worried about anything that happens along the way as long as he achieves his goal.
Eric: I was just going to make the argument that he doesn’t really have a human relationship with any of them yet. It’s not until they start talking things out in the Shrieking Shack. Eventually he’s comfortable enough to go sit on the bed while Lupin tells the whole story, but he doesn’t have this need to protect them. He’s not friends with Ron yet. So ultimately, like Rosie said, he is still a bit demented, if you will. Although, there was obviously this moment of great love way earlier in the book when he gave Harry the Firebolt, and he arranged for that to be delivered. That’s a bit odd considering now, again, he’s so demented and really deranged, trying to kill Pettigrew.
Rosie: But at this point, Pettigrew is within reach [for] the first time in the whole year.
Eric: Yeah, he was in… I guess Pettigrew was in hiding for half the book, too.
Kat: Right. Exactly.
Rosie: The other thing to think about is the idea of dragging Ron into the tree. Sirius is aware of everything else that’s going on in the grounds at the moment, so he would know that Dumbledore is there, the Minister is there, all of those people that would cause problems if they saw a dog attacking one of their students. He has to get them away from the grounds if he’s ever going to get Pettigrew within this short period of time, so the tree is the best option.
Kat: It’s also all the people that could help clear his name as well.
Rosie: But only if they actually manage to get Pettigrew before he escapes.
Kat: Exactly. Right.
Eric: Yeah, I…
Rosie: And I don’t think he’s thinking about that yet. I think he is solely wanting to kill him. He doesn’t worry about clearing his name yet. Harry has to talk him into that.
Caleb: That’s very true.
Caleb: Well, as they try to follow Ron and Sirius beneath the Whomping Willow, of course the Whomping Willow does not like to play nicely and starts thwacking them around, still pissed about the Ford Anglia. But…
Rosie: The Whomping Willow is the Hulk of the tree world.
Caleb: Yeah. But then Crookshanks comes along and freezes the tree by hitting the really critical knot that stops it from going whacko. But it made me wonder what kind of magic is going on with this knot to stop the Whomping Willow, to immobilize it.
Eric: I don’t think it’s magic, necessarily. It’s a characteristic of the creature. And I think the Whomping Willow should be characterized as… is it alive?
Eric: But even though it’s a plant, it’s obviously alive on some level. The Whomping Willow, the fact that it is described in Book 2 as nearly uprooting itself to attack them, it’s… you ever have that spot on your back where somebody touches it, and it’s just tense, and it’s a muscle?
Eric: That’s why back rubs feel so good.
Caleb: I thought this was about to turn a really sensual turn. [laughs]
Kat: Wait, he is not Noah. Okay?
Eric: I’m just saying… okay, you all have that spot on your back where somebody starts massaging it – or your shoulders, come on – tense after a day’s…
Eric: So this tree is always tense.
Eric: This tree always has just [grunts]. In that spot is maybe a… what’s the word? Chakra or…
Kat: Pressure point.
Eric: A pressure point that was always there. It’s obviously the same spot every time because we learn later that Sirius was able to tell Crookshanks where it was and all about, and that’s how he knows it. But…
Eric: …that’s all I took it as – just biologically if you can – just a spot on the tree where its pressure is at… it’s like stroking the spine of a Monster Book of Monsters. Same thing.
Eric: It just…
Kat: Huh. Okay.
Eric: …releases all the tension that for some reason the tree is able to accumulate.
Rosie: It’s the tree’s Achilles’ heel.
Eric: There you go.
Caleb: I dig it.
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Eric: But I did want to mention, too, and the tree is really being aggressive. It’s actually worse in the movie than it is in the book in a way.
Eric: It’s a little, I think, blown out of proportion in the movie.
Caleb: [laughs] Shocking. A little decorum.
Kat: Well, it flies Hermione around the tree. Yeah.
Eric: A little bit. But to be fair, there were some intense moments in the book as well. It’s actually… here’s a quote I pulled: “Harry blinked blood away from his eyes.” So I don’t know if it’s the rims of his glasses that cut into him when the tree hit him in the back of the head or something, but… and he’s blinking blood out of his eyes. Come on, this is really intense.
Eric: We’re seeing these injuries to these children, and this is way more intense than it has been I think, yet, so far in the Harry Potter series.
Kat: Yeah, I mean, blood. Definitely I think the first time blood has been drawn, right?
Eric: First blood!
Caleb: That explicitly anyway.
Rosie: He was bitten by a poisonous snake in the last book, and I’m sure there was blood then. [laughs]
Caleb: Yeah, but this is…
Kat: Oh, that’s true.
Caleb: …the first time it’s so explicit, I think.
Eric and Rosie: Yeah.
Caleb: But then they do get into the shack, and we find that… well, later we find out that the shack was built specifically for Lupin, and it got me to thinking: This is obviously a very special tree then, for one student’s condition.
Caleb: And if there were any other Hogwarts students that would get special treatment like this and, if so, is this something that would really only happen in a man like Dumbledore’s day? I can’t imagine this happening in Armando Dippet’s headmaster days.
Kat: So yes, there is another Hogwarts student that gets special treatment like that: Harry Potter. [laughs]
Rosie: And another one.
Eric: No, they didn’t really build a special sanctuary for Harry.
Rosie: They do for Hagrid. Hagrid’s hut must have been built for him.
Kat: That is true.
Rosie: And that was after he was expelled.
Eric: You just melted my heart.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Eric: But again that was probably in Dumbledore’s day, right?
Eric: Dumbledore was the one…
Eric: Well, Dumbledore persuaded – this is from the book, too – Armando Dippet to keep him on as an assistant to the gamekeeper, Ogg, and then eventually…
Eric: …as gamekeeper himself. Thinking of this, though, I think it is something that’s unique to Dumbledore. But then again, the Shrieking Shack is really the shack that keeps on giving because if they ever had another werewolf…
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Eric: …on the grounds, the Shrieking Shack would still be the perfect habitat for them. So…
Rosie: Ready-made solution.
Eric: …perhaps Dumbledore would have intended possibly… because he’s of the philosophy all are welcome at Hogwarts, and I think that that’s obviously a really tremendous gesture for Dumbledore to do for the Lupins because young Remus and his parents were all really worried about getting him into school. But then again, it does… foreseeably, they could use that for the same purposes again and again and again.
Kat: He was bit young, right?
Kat: So definitely before he was at Hogwarts.
Rosie: Because he wasn’t sure if he was ever going to be able to go to Hogwarts…
Kat: Right. Okay.
Rosie: …is the exact words.
Kat: Just making sure, in my mind, that I was right.
Eric: Yeah. But I did want to mention, too, this harkens back to the Fred and George scene with the Marauder’s Map where they’re explaining the secret passageways of Hogwarts to Harry, and they’re like, “Oh, but one’s got the tree over it. Ha! What kind of moron would build a passageway with a tree over it?”
Eric: And it’s all very funny and ironic because you’re like, well, no, actually we find out now that was intentional.
Kat: And super smart.
Eric: Extremely smart.
Eric: I think the other thing is, too, I don’t think the Whomping Willow would have been put there if there wasn’t a weakness, like the Achilles heel, like what you were saying, like the knot, because that’s a standard way that you can… it’s essentially covering a passageway, so it’s a guardian…
Eric: …in that way. It’s essentially the knot is an essential function to it. It’s like a secret password to a portrait.
Caleb: Well, they do finally get in, catch up with Ron, who’s, like, wallowing and wounded on the ground…
Kat: I mean, is that surprising?
Caleb: [laughs] Right, exactly.
Eric: Well, okay…
Rosie: How did the dog manage to drag him upstairs?
Kat: Sirius is pretty big, right?
Eric: Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk.
Caleb: Maybe Sirius transformed before then?
Caleb: But anyway, they catch up with him but then turn around, and all of a sudden, Sirius Black is there. And first read, he sounds pretty disgusting and creepy right now.
Caleb: So… because of course right now, we think he’s still the bad guy.
Eric: It’s true.
Rosie: Yeah, at this moment it’s kind of horror movie, isn’t it? It’s not particularly…
Kat: Totally. Especially with the line a couple of pages ahead of that where they’re looking at a chair with all the chunks torn out…
Kat: …and it’s like…
Kat: …ghosts don’t do that.
Kat: It’s just so creepy.
Rosie: It’s like no one say, “Be right back,” right now. [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] Right, exactly.
Caleb: But Ron jumps in front of Harry – between Harry and Sirius – and says he’ll have to kill all three of them, which… I wonder what Hermione thinks. [laughs] He’s just kind of speaking for her at this point. I’m sure she would. But…
Kat: He’s protecting her.
Caleb: Yeah… no, Ron is protecting Harry right now. He’s like, “You’re going to have to kill all three of us.”
Eric: Does he actually jump in front of Harry? Because I got the impression that he…
Caleb: Oh, well, that’s true. He can’t really jump.
Eric: He just stands up and says it. But he can’t stand is the thing, and Sirius’s response is something to the effect of, “You really need to save your strength. You’re going to make your leg worse, kid.”
Caleb: Yeah. Right.
Eric: So there’s that, but I… there’s this moment here, and this is really important and it only became really… it hit me because I was listening to Jim Dale read it, and in this scene, part of Ron trying to stand up and saying, “You’re going to have to go through us.” But he can’t – he’s wounded. Hermione, you’re right, is in a corner cowering, almost as bad as Ron. She wants to be part of the action, but she’s really afraid because she knows that if Harry wants to kill Sirius, he’s going to. They try [to] grab him, they try [to] hold him back, but very quickly it develops into this… well, it’s a fist fight, but then there is this moment, extremely important where Harry actually has the time and the ability to kill Sirius if he so wanted. And it’s maybe ten or fifteen seconds in this chapter, but it’s really important because to me… it’s a character-defining moment, obviously, when Harry can’t do it. But really, I don’t think I’ve ever realized before how Hermione is almost powerless to stop him. She can be intellect all she wants, but when it comes to telling him, “No, Harry. You shouldn’t kill this guy who you blame for killing your parents,” she doesn’t.
Kat: What is she going to say?
Eric: There’s nothing she can say…
Eric: …because what Harry is feeling… and fortunately, this is the great thing about J.K. Rowling’s writing, of course. All the answers Sirius is giving are vague and the, “I as good as killed them,” he doesn’t have the chance to even say that right now when Harry is saying, “You killed my parents.” He’s like, “I don’t deny it.” But of course, he means, “Well, by proxy, there was this, that, and the other thing, and eventually I led to their death.”
Eric: But he’s not explaining it. He’s not helping his situation at all, and so Harry has this window of opportunity before Lupin arrives to kill Sirius, and he doesn’t. He can’t.
Kat: Well… and there’s that moment just before where Caleb was talking about where Ron is like, “You’ll have to kill all three of us,” and Sirius is like, “Haha, no. There’s only going to be one murder tonight.”
Eric: [laughs] Right?
Kat: And he grins so big, and I’m just like, “Dude, you are creepy. Totally creepy.”
Eric: I know! And we all think it’s Harry. We all think, “Oh…” he’s like, “I don’t have to kill you two. I’m going to go straight for the meat. I’m going to go straight for Harry.”
Eric: Like I said, he’s not helping his…
Rosie: Genius. [laughs]
Kat: Right. So then Harry jumps on Sirius and attacks him, because he’s screaming at the top of his lungs, “You killed my mum and dad,” and actually it kind of made me laugh a little bit because Harry is this scrawny, little thirteen-year-old…
[Eric and Rosie laugh]
Kat: …and he beats the crap out of Sirius, and I was like, “There’s clearly no gym at Azkaban.”
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Kat: I’m just saying.
Eric: Well, yeah, there is no gym at Azkaban. Of course…
Kat: Prisons have gyms!
Eric: [laughs] It’s funny.
Rosie: I completely disagree with the whole thing that Sirius is… he’s not being overpowered by Harry. He’s not fighting back because he is so overcome with guilt that he is literally… all of things that he’s saying… he’s admitting to killing them and everything because he feels so much guilt over their deaths that he doesn’t want to be forgiven at this point.
Kat: No, but he didn’t admit it until after Harry already had him pinned down on the ground.
Eric: I think there’s an element of surprise…
Rosie: Yeah, I know, but he doesn’t…
Kat: Definitely. No, there is.
Rosie: …want to fight back with Harry at all.
Eric: Well, yeah, there’s definitely an element of surprise that comes to it, though. But when it’s happening, it’s true, I don’t think he really blames Harry for wanting to exact this kind of revenge.
Eric: But Sirius’s own humanity hasn’t really kicked in to the point where he’s like, “No, wait, I can defend myself here.” And Lupin’s arrival really brings that to a front where he’s able to… there’s able to be this conversation about it that wasn’t really an option before because Sirius was being too hasty with wanting to kill Pettigrew.
Eric: And nothing was getting done, and it was escalating really, really quickly to the point where basically when Lupin enters, the first thing he does is Expelliarmus because he senses that the room is just way too tense, that there’s no way that he can guarantee Sirius’s safety through the duration of time it’s going to take for him to explain everything. So he just removes their opportunity to kill Sirius right away. And it doesn’t mean he’s bad, although they take it as being, “Oh, you’re in league with Sirius.” But really, he hands them their wands back once they’ve opened the dialogue. It’s really brilliant. Brilliantly written.
Rosie: In my… this week’s reading post, I likened this moment where Harry is hesitating to the moment in the middle of Hamlet where Hamlet is standing with the dagger behind…
Rosie: …his stepfather. And at this moment he could kill him, but then it’s sending him to the wrong place in Hamlet’s mind. And just to have that moment where it’s not Harry that decides, but it’s Lupin that appears and changes it all, it’s really interesting in terms of Harry’s character. He is hesitating a bit too long, but ultimately that decision is taken away from him. So like you were saying, Hermione couldn’t do anything to stop him, but here is one of his father’s best friends coming to save another one of his father’s best friends because of… Harry potentially could have killed him at this point. We never know what Harry would have decided.
Kat: Well, the reason he can’t kill him is because my boy Crookshanks…
Kat: …comes and sits right on top of Sirius…
Rosie: Oh, that’s true. Yeah. [laughs]
Kat: … and I just… this is continuing on my Crookshanks equals Ron theory…
Kat: …that basically Crookshanks is protecting Sirius the same way that Ron was protecting Harry. I mean…
Eric: Well, as it turns out, Crookshanks too knows that Sirius is a good person in a way that… he, obviously, being a cat cannot articulate, and so even though I don’t think that Harry would really…
Rosie: Sitting on him was the best way. [laughs]
Eric: Harry really wouldn’t have any problem killing the cat, I don’t think, if he really wanted to kill Sirius.
Kat: He would be killing his best friend, Eric!
Eric: Uhh, no.
Eric: No, I don’t think he would.
Kat: Yes, he would because Hermione chose that cat because it’s a ginger.
Eric: That cat…
Kat: And that’s why she loves that cat so much.
Eric: She knew that cat was trouble when she walked in, okay?
Kat: [laughs] And Ron too.
Kat: I’m sticking to it.
Eric: But I do think it is a moment that allows, again, that hesitation because somebody in the room has vouched for Sirius in a really unusual way. Because it’s said that Harry is pointing his wand at Sirius’s heart, Crookshanks jumps up literally on top of Sirius’s heart, so here it’s just this feeling that, again, more needs to be said, more needs to be known, it’s too soon, there’s this doubt and uncertainty that Harry begins to feel, and he can’t quite put a finger on it until after Lupin enters.
Kat: Right, which right after this moment we’ve talked about, Harry hesitates just a little bit too long, he internalizes a little bit too much, and Lupin appears and pretty much instantly puts all the pieces together and is very quickly trusting that Sirius is indeed innocent.
Kat: And I was wondering, is he too trusting at this point? Because he immediately puts down his wand and helps Sirius up, just because Pettigrew faked his death? Personally, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is guilty. Maybe…
Kat: I mean, okay, obviously I think he is guilty, but what’s up with Lupin? Why did he just immediately trust this guy?
Rosie: The fact that Harry is not dead. Like obviously he’s watched Harry, and he saw on the map, didn’t he, that Pettigrew was there?
Kat: Yeah, he did.
Rosie: So he already knows that bit, and the fact that Harry is still alive and has been with Sirius for a certain amount of time now proves that Sirius isn’t trying to kill Harry because he would have done it straight away, because he never showed any mercy to Pettigrew or James and Lily if he was the real murderer.
Kat: But Sirius doesn’t even speak.
Rosie: He doesn’t need to. The fact that Harry is alive and hasn’t been killed by Sirius is proof enough.
Eric: And the fact that Pettigrew is alive throws…
Eric: …everybody’s story into question.
Eric: Lupin knows that… “The map never lies,” right? That’s a line from the movie, of course.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Eric: But I think that Lupin knows this. He made the map, and the fact that Peter Pettigrew who is supposed to be dead could show up on the map at all…
Rosie: Means that everything is different.
Eric: Means that everything is on its head, it turns everything on its head. And so I think, yeah, the fact that Harry is still alive when he gets there does help, but also Peter Pettigrew is still alive. And if Lupin were to have kept the map and not forgotten it back in his office – plot point…
Eric: …and taken it with him, he could have shown them all, “Look, dudes, Peter Pettigrew is in this room right now.” So it’s a big deal, that really just I cannot emphasize enough, that is a big deal.
Rosie: Because nothing in this chapter is what it seems!
Eric: I wanted to bring up, though – this seems the opportune moment – that Lupin says to them that he was watching them on the grounds, and even though they were under the Invisibility Cloak, they still showed up on the map. And this is something where I was thinking, “Well, hang on,” because Harry doesn’t just have any invisibility cloak.
Eric: We learn in Book 7 – spoiler warning – he has the Cloak…
Eric: …like Death’s cloak. And so I was thinking, “Wow, the Marauder’s Map is actually extremely powerful.”
Rosie: We’ll talk more about the Marauder’s Map later on, and that gets covered slightly, so yeah.
Kat: Okay, so then on the next page here, Hermione spills the beans: Lupin is a werewolf [and] she’s known forever because she’s so damn smart, whatever.
[Eric, Kat, and Rosie laugh]
Kat: And Ron… like Lupin steps towards Ron because he sees that his leg is broken, and Ron yells at him, “Get away from me, werewolf!” And that doesn’t feel like Ron to me, and I think… I was wondering, if he wasn’t currently terrified, do we think that he would actually be that scared of Lupin? Because Ron… is he a judgy person? I don’t know. What do we think? Would he be that scared of Lupin if he wasn’t in that current situation?
Rosie: I think all he knows about werewolves are stories about people like Greyback. So despite what he knows about Lupin as a person that he’s seen throughout the year, the idea of meeting a werewolf and that whole kind of prejudice against werewolves is completely terrifying.
Eric: Yeah, I agree.
Kat: All right, easy enough. Okay. [laughs] So as we’ve kind of already talked about, Lupin drops a bomb that he was watching them on the Marauder’s Map and that yes, he knows how to work it because he helped write it. Just as I was reading, I remember being like, “Whoa, mind blown.”
Kat: And then of course he mentions that Harry was obviously under the Cloak, and Harry’s mind is blown. He’s like, “Oh my God, you know about my Cloak?”
Kat: I guess Harry, again, not very astute. He didn’t put two and two together. So then Lupin continually states that while he was watching them, they had an extra person with them after leaving Hagrid’s Hut. And Sirius, as Eric mentioned before, calmly sits down on the bed next to Ron, clearly just kind of over the whole situation and ready to get it over with and just calmly states that Scabbers actually is not a rat. And Lupin spills the beans that it is, in fact, an Animagus by the name of Peter Pettigrew.
Eric: “It’s a man, baby!”
[Caleb and Kat laugh]
Kat: Did any of you guess this…
Kat: …or even come close to guessing this?
Eric: No. No.
Caleb: Absolutely not. No way.
Eric: This is one of those things where you can go back and say, “Oh, the clues were here the whole time.” They really…
Eric: I’m sorry, the first time, I remember the very first time I read this book, and I was floored. I was…
Kat: Flabbergasted is the word.
Eric: …floored, completely.
Eric: And there’s just no amount of… there’s nothing comparable to what I felt. The entire… and the next ten chapters of this book is just… I can’t. I could never recreate it.
Kat: Could we easily call this the biggest twist in the series?
Caleb: Yeah, I say so.
Kat: Because, I mean, everybody guessed that Harry was a Horcrux. Oops, spoiler.
Eric: I was going to say…
Kat: Not that anybody is listening who hasn’t finished the books.
Kat: But I honestly think that this is the biggest twist.
Eric: It introduces a whole new level.
Eric: The Animagus thing, which is overused, I feel. By the end of the book, she overuses unregistered Animagi by making not only the Marauders but Rita Skeeter, and who knows how many other people in Book 7. It’s been a while since I read it.
Eric: But this… she kind of pulls the carpet out from under us because we’ve known Scabbers for two books now…
Eric: …and Sirius Black got that mention in the first chapter of the first book. This has been… this is what it’s all been building towards, and I feel like this really is, in a way, a cornerstone to the series, even though it’s only three books out of seven. It’s not the halfway point. But it really… in the same way that Book 4 expands the world of Harry Potter, this does too, only it expands the history with his parents and really creates a previous… like a backstory, is what I want to say.
Kat: So she had this… she definitely had this planned from the beginning, yeah?
Eric: She had to have.
Rosie: Yeah, she must have done.
Eric: But the execution is so good.
Kat: You know what this calls for?
Rosie: Obligatory genius again? [laughs]
Kat: Another obligatory genius moment.
Rosie: This whole chapter is just one huge moment for that. [laughs] It’s just everything.
Kat: Obviously, I mean, totally. Everything she’s ever said about anything is, but…
Rosie: [laughs] This twist is very similar to the twist that we see in the book before, where we have trusted Tom Riddle for a little bit, even though we’re kind of not trusting him properly because we’ve obviously seen him frame Hagrid and we don’t really ever expect Hagrid to have opened the Chamber of Secrets. But this is the real moment where the books changed for me. The first two, even with the movies, you can call them children’s kind of literature and children’s movies, but this is the point where the kind of foundation is rocked to the core and they really start becoming adult-themed, and adult-plot twists and adult-complications that perhaps are verging on the more complicated things that people really need to be able to grasp in a more adult way. And yeah, I just think it’s amazing. [laughs]
Eric: It’s interesting that you say that. All the things that we’re discussing on this episode really summarize why this is my favorite book, still, after all seven books. Time travel as a device, but to be so tightly executed, as well as the fact that… and this may go into what you were just saying about the fact that we’re introduced to the two characters, the two adult characters, the only surviving relics of Harry’s past, who grow to be great mentors for Harry, in two completely different ways, but especially in the character of Lupin who is forcing them to sort of step-by-step learn and understand before they act about this whole situation, is really a commentary on what it takes to be an adult, as you just said. So I think it is very strong… this chapter is very strong for that, and this whole book. Many people would cite, I think, the death of Cedric as being the growing-up point for Harry, but…
Kat: Nah. Who cares about Cedric?
Eric: Oh, come on! But you know what I’m saying. I mean, Book 4 is really… because it’s the halfway point, people tend to put it there and say…
Eric: …this is where [censored] got real. But I think it’s here. I think it’s really…
Rosie: Yeah, me too.
Eric: For many, many points, it’s right here.
Rosie: Cedric’s death is the beginning of that second war and it’s the beginning of the really dark stuff, but this is the moment that the whole plot turns on its head.
[“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: Okay, so we are doing our special feature again and once more we have “Pottermore, In Depth” because we got given so much information in that last little batch of chapters. And our very relevant discussion this week is on the Marauder’s Map, and a little bit later Eric is going to be discussing the Firebolt as well. But as we’ve just been discussing the map in great detail, let’s read what they had to say. Again, there’s a vast amount of information on Pottermore and I’m only going to be giving snippets of what I think is the most relevant to our discussion. But if you want to read more, do go onto Pottermore and find it on the relevant chapter. So on the Marauder’s Map, it says:
“Perhaps no students (even including Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Tom Riddle) have ever explored the castle and grounds of Hogwarts as thoroughly and illicitly as the four creators and contributors to the Marauder’s Map: James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. […] The ability of Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and James Potter to become, respectively, a dog, a rat, and a stag, enabled them to explore the castle grounds by night undetected. The interior of the castle, meanwhile, was mapped over time with the help of James Potter’s Invisibility Cloak.”
So I thought it was interesting that they used the two powers of disguise in tandem to create this map. The things that make them particularly special all fed in to make this one particularly magical item. So the next little snippet I read is about the actual spell that was used to create the map, and it says:
“The magic used in the map’s creation is advanced and impressive; it includes the Homonculous Charm, enabling the possessor of the map to track the movements of every person in the castle, and it was also enchanted to forever repel (as insultingly as possible)…”
“…the curiosity of their nemesis, Severus Snape.”
Caleb: Perfect. [laughs]
Rosie: And that… [laughs] but that to me is so specific, like it’s only charmed to insult Snape, not anyone else, that it’s just… it shows that this map was created fairly early in their career at Hogwarts.
Kat: Hmm, true.
Rosie: They are still the immature little boys that would find that funny at this moment.
Kat: All right, that would have happened in their seventh year. Let’s be honest.
Rosie: Do you think so?
Kat: Yes, I do.
Rosie: I think…
Kat: Because boys will be boys.
Kat: But I just wanted to point out here that Noah was wrong and that we were right.
Rosie: What was Noah’s theory? I’ve forgotten.
Kat: That it would insult anybody that would have held it.
Kat: …suck on that, Noah.
Eric: I think that Snape should feel special, though, that it’s just him.
Kat: [laughs] Right.
Rosie: This impressive piece of magic, yeah. Definitely.
Eric: It comments…
Caleb: No matter what place it comes from. [laughs]
Eric: This clears up two, I think, standing questions, which are that… well, the results that Snape got when the map was taunting him were so tailored to him and things like “greasy” and “hook-nosed” that are referenced in the jokes, clearly, this answers the question, does the map have eyes? Because it wouldn’t be able to make those comments, unless a) it was programmed to say specifically those things, which we now know is the truth, or b) if it had eyes and was making those observations that he was greasy and hook-nosed and slimy.
Kat: How does Snape not know who made this map by those very specifc comments?
Kat: No, really.
Kat: He’s so smart.
Rosie: He should know about that.
Kat: How does he not know? I mean…
Eric: You know…
Kat: I think maybe he does know because he recognizes it, doesn’t he?
Eric: He absolutely recognizes it. There’s that line when he confiscates it from Harry, “Couldn’t he have gotten this directly from the source, the original makers?” And he really, heavily suspects Lupin…
Eric: …in that entire scene and the fact that he finds the map in Lupin’s – and this doesn’t happen yet, of course – study, though, Snape is smart enough to put the pieces together and I think it’s… if he doesn’t already know, he absolutely knows by the end of this next chapter, I believe it is, that they created it. But it should be fairly obvious because…
Rosie: What does it say about Snape that it’s been twenty years and his hair is still greasy?
[Eric and Kat laughs]
Rosie: But another thing that Noah should be told at this point is that Noah, I’m afraid the map is not alive. It is a charm and it is specific insults, but it is not intelligence of its own and is not alive. Sorry!
Kat: Hogwarts, three million. Noah, zero.
Kat: Or maybe not three million, maybe two million, but still. Hogwarts is clearly winning the “Is it alive?” battle.
Rosie: [laughs] So to continue the Pottermore information, it says that:
“The masterpiece of a map was confiscated in Sirius, James, Remus, and Peter’s final year and none of them were able to steal it back from the well-prepared and suspicious Filch. In any case, their priorities changed in their final months at school, becoming far more serious and focused on the world beyond Hogwarts, where Lord Voldemort was successfully rising to power.”
Rosie: So the first time I read that, I didn’t actually note the months thing, which is why I thought it would be the earlier years of their life that they created the map, Kat.
Rosie: But obviously by this point they’ve been using it fairly often, as well.
Kat: Oh no, I definitely agree that they made it early on. For sure.
Kat: I just think that they still would have been rude towards Snape…
Kat: …regardless of when they made it.
Rosie: But I think this is particularly interesting in the fact that this is the first time we really find out about their seventh year at Hogwarts and the first rise of Voldemort.
Kat: Right, it’s the first little glimpse, right?
Rosie: Yeah. And it’s that early one small sentence, but it’s… it gives you that forboding feel, doesn’t it?
Kat: Very much.
Rosie: It’s become far more serious and focused on the world beyond Hogwarts. Oh no!
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: But we know that in that fifth year that when they’re taking their OWLs and we see Snape’s worst memory, things aren’t quite bad enough for that tense atmosphere to be coming in. But we know that it has to happen fairly soon after they leave Hogwarts because of the short amount of time that Lily and James were together before they died.
Rosie: So yeah, to get that amount of detail despite never really ever meeting these characters in real life is just amazing. So yeah. Well done, Jo, again! But to hear from Jo herself in Pottermore, the Marauder’s Map actually has a little bit that is Jo’s own thoughts and one of her own little messages to us. And she says:
“The Marauder’s Map subsequently became something of a bane to its true originator (me)…”
“…because it allowed Harry a little too much freedom of information. I never showed Harry taking the map back from the empty office of (the supposed) Mad-Eye Moody, and I sometimes regretted that I had not capitalized on this mistake to leave it there. However, I like the moment when Harry watches Ginny’s dot moving around the school in ‘Deathly Hallows’, so on balance I am glad I let Harry reclaim his rightful property.”
And I think it’s so true that this one item has become the bane of her existence because there are so many tiny little plot holes that make it impossible to believe that…
Rosie: …it would have actually been a real thing.
Kat: Like the whole Pettigrew, Voldemort… why didn’t they notice that Ron was sleeping with him? Right.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Eric: But I think too, she’s referring to the fact that Harry just pulls it out of his trunk or something, but he never got it back from Moody’s office.
Kat: Right. Yeah, exactly.
Rosie: Yeah, but she could easily answer it by just saying, Accio! But I guess he hasn’t learned that yet because he learns that in the next book, doesn’t he? I always forget when he learns Accio because it’s such an important spell.
Eric: Well, yeah. Well, the next book is when he loses it. But yeah, I mean…
Rosie: Yeah. Oh, that’s true. Yeah, so he would have learned it by that point. Yay! [laughs]
Eric: Well, Accio is over…
Rosie: He could easily just go, “Accio map!” and then he has it.
Eric: Accio is overused in the series, too. It’s like Animagi. [laughs]
Rosie: That’s true. [laughs]
Eric: Accio Horcrux books, anybody? Anybody? But there we go.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Rosie: Okay, that is the end of the information on the Marauder’s Map. So go ahead, Eric, with the Firebolt.
Eric: Okay, so this is from Chapter 13 in the book, “Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw,” and the information is on the Firebolt.
“In the late 20th century, the Nimbus Racing Broom Company dominated its competition. The Nimbus 2000 and 2001 models outsold all other top-class brooms combined by a factor of three to one. Little did the Nimbus designers realize that a racing broom was in development that would knock them from their number one spot within twelve months of its release. This was the Firebolt, a top-secret project developed by Randolph Spudmore (son of Able Spudmore of Ellerby and Spudmore, who produced the Tinderblast in 1940 and the Swiftstick in 1952…”
[Eric and Kat laugh]
“…both serviceable brooms but never achieving great popularity).”
There are two more paragraphs.
“A skillful and innovative broom designer, Randolph was the first to use goblin-made ironwork (including footrests, stand, and twig bands), the secrets of which are not fully understood but which seem to give the Firebolt additional stability and power in adverse weather conditions and a special non-slip foot grip that is a particular advantage to Quidditch players. The handle is of polished ebony and the twigs of birch or hazel according to personal preference (birch is reputed to give more ‘oomph’ in high ascents, whereas hazel is preferred by those who prefer hair-trigger steering). The Firebolt is a costly broom and Harry Potter was among the first to own one. It continues to be made in relatively small quantities, partly because the goblin workers involved in the patented ironwork are prone to strikes and walkouts at the smallest provocation.”
And that concludes the Firebolt summary found directly from Pottermore. Thank you, Jo!
Rosie: Do we know if Harry’s broom was birch or hazel?
Caleb: We don’t.
Kat: Actually, I think we do. I’m pretty sure it’s a polished birch handle.
Caleb: Oh. Hmm.
Rosie: Oh, that’s sad. I would have thought it would be hazel if it’s a hair-trigger steering…
Kat: But wait, I’m going to look it up and verify.
Kat: It’s stream-lined birch twigs that make up the tail.
Eric: There you go.
Eric: So very interesting that there’s an option and really the only comments I have from regarding this post in Pottermore is that I always love the names of J.K. Rowling’s brooms. You know, these typically, like you say, stream-lined or trademark names. But Tinderblast…
Eric: Tinder being a form of wood. Swiftstick.
[Eric and Kat laugh]
Kat: Which is?
Eric: Hitting someone with a swift stick. Nimbus is actually particularly clever, it being a type of cloud, cumulonimbus clouds…
Eric: …in the sky. Cleansweep [laughs] being a reliable broom. And of course, Shooting Star, which is what people if they’re illuminated while they’re flying on brooms must look like to anybody on the ground. So I was just blown away again. Jo has done it again with this history with adding Tinderblast and Swiftstick to the vocab.
Kat: You know, every time I see a shooting star now I’m going to think it’s somebody on a broom.
Eric: There you go.
Kat: Thank you, Eric.
Eric: You’re welcome.
Eric: And I wanted to mention she does bring into this a really interesting… I guess tie-over. I noticed similarities between this and other fantasy series, but she says that parts of the Firebolt that make it special are that it’s goblin made, part of it is goblin made. And this is in line with a lot of other series, actually. Goblins in particular are good smiths and they create a metal that is somehow special. Or even in the Game of Thrones universe, Valyrian steel made by the dragon forgers. You know, just special equipment made by a special race of creatures.
Kat: How many Galleons do you think it costs?
Rosie: A lot.
Eric: The Nimbus was a thousand Galleons, wasn’t it?
Rosie: Yeah. Something like that.
Kat: No way! Really?
Eric: I’m fairly certain.
Rosie: I’m fairly sure we find out the Nimbus’s price, and I think it was in the thousands.
Eric: But then again, I mean, considering its application for professional Quidditch teams, things like this world of sports how everything is so expensive, how the athletes get paid so much money and all that stuff, it’s probably nothing in comparison to what the profit return, rate of return, is on Quidditch games.
Rosie: It’s like a top of the line racing car. Yeah.
Eric: Yeah. Or anything like that. Or it was military equipment, right? Those jets, fighter jets, that cost millions or billions of dollars to build.
Eric: So yes, then that really concludes. It was just a short bit on the Firebolt, so thank you Jo and thank you Pottermore. Yeah!
Rosie: One thing that I want to point out though is that this is the second broom that Sirius has ever bought him because he bought the original toy broom.
Kat: Oh, so cute!
Rosie: It’s so cute! I’m sure this one cost a lot more though.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Caleb: Yeah. All right, so it is time for this episode’s Podcast Question of the Week and it has to do with the chapter title, “Cat, Rat and Dog.” And we talked in our discussion that really they’re not completely cats, rats, or dogs. Obviously Crookshanks is half Kneazle, Peter Pettigrew is in the disguise of a rat, and Sirius Black is in the disguise of a dog. So in these really intense moments of this chapter we see them at moments acting perhaps more animal-like, or on the other hand, in other cases, more human-like. Even in the case of Crookshanks. Even though he is a cat, we see him take on much more humanistic approaches than just any other cat would do. So our question is: Through this chapter, in what ways do they act more like animals and in what ways do they act like humans? And to kind of push you a little bit, how are those distinctions important to drive the plot of this really important turning point of the book? And we would love to read you guys’ thoughts next week whenever we meet back for the next episode.
Kat: Yeah, and I want to remind everybody that you will have approximately five and a half days to get your comments in. So if you want to be on the next episode, make sure you do that sooner rather than later, okay?
Eric: You upped the timetable a little bit there, didn’t you?
Kat: Yeah, but the show is much shorter so you all should be able to get your responses in quicker. So…
Eric: Okay, and remember even though we are going weekly and we have some new hosts, we are always looking for that potential candidate who may be the next Alohomora! guest host. So if you would like to be the next Alohomora! “Top Model” guest host…
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Eric: …please email an audio clip of yourself to alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. One of the other requirements we do ask is that you have the appropriate audio and recording equipment. We do need to know that you can hop onboard with relatively little direction and be a part of our show in the best way possible. And you must also submit content on the Alohomora! website and bringing up some of your own really cool ideas either on the forums or the main page.
Kat: And in the meantime if you just want to keep in contact with us, follow us on Twitter, @AlohomoraMN, Facebook.com/OpenTheDumbldore, and you can always leave us a voicemail at 206-GO-ALBUS. That’s 206-462-5287. Our main website, of course, is Alohomora.MuggleNet.com. And as Eric just mentioned, our email is alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. And don’t forget to subscribe to us on iTunes and leave us some awesome reviews. We love reading them, so keep them coming.
Rosie: Also, don’t forget about our fabulous store, where I’m proud to say my t-shirt is currently winning! Yay! [laughs]
Kat: Hey! [laughs]
Rosie: Thank you all for buying our shirts. We’re so glad that you like them, and thank you for sending in all of your amazing pictures of you guys wearing them. We have tasked Eric and Laura to think of their own shirts, so look out for them in the future. And also look out for more products like iPhone cases, tote bags, and water bottles coming out soon.
Caleb: Yeah, and don’t forget that we have a really awesome smart phone app for you guys to get your hands on, and it is now available in the UK, finally, on the Android market.
Rosie: Yay! [laughs]
Caleb: So make sure whether you’re in the US or the UK you can grab this on the iPhone or the Android for, let’s see, $1.99 in the US and I believe it’s 99 pence for the iPhone in the UK. Is that right, Rosie?
Rosie: Yeah, that’s right.
Caleb: And then so for the Android it’s 1 pound and 29 pence.
Caleb: And don’t forget that also means it is available for the Kindle and the iPad. And on this wonderful app you will find things like transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and so much more. So make sure you check it out.
Kat: And new stuff coming from our new hosts as well, so not just the four of us because I know you’re all so sick of us. I’m just kidding.
Caleb: All right. Well, that will do it for this week, our first weekly episode, and we will excitedly be back with you next week and we will see you guys then.
[Show music begins]
Caleb: I’m Caleb Graves.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Rosie: I’m Rosie Morris.
Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 28 of Alohomora!
Caleb: Open the Dumbledore!
[Show music continues]
Eric: [squeals] I’m having a moment.
Eric: [whispers] That’s the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.
[Kat and Rosie laugh]
Eric: Okay, I’m back.
Kat: That’s right.
Caleb: For sure.
Eric: I don’t know what that was.
Eric: That was just…
Kat: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait a second. So the Nimbus was a thousand Galleons?
Eric: I’m fairly… do you want me to look it up? I…
Kat: Okay, I just want to say that that is almost five thousand US dollars.
Eric: That’s… yeah.
Rosie: Yup, sounds about right.
Kat: Caleb, your homegirl is loaded.
Caleb: She is. She’s throwing it down.
Kat: [laughs] Oh, my God. No wonder you like her so much.